Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fabulous Fall Weather!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

After over 2 weeks of miserable rain, rain, and more rain, over the weekend the sun reappeared! Yesterday morning we awakened to cool fall temperatures and low humidity! It was a glorious fall day! This morning is even cooler! This kind of weather makes you want to be outside all day. Leah started a Nature Journal yesterday for us to take turns making pages in. I think this afternoon we will need to make a walk through our woods for inspiration.

I opened our kitchen door yesterday morning to let in some cool, fresh air. When Sam came in the kitchen he ran outside.....and then ran right back in saying he was cold! He promptly got a blanket and went back out on the porch.

enjoying the beautiful morning

Olivia is learning HTML/XTML coding as part of her Computer Literacy course this year. She is building a website, and for the past several days she has been creating graphics. When I was browsing to select the above picture for my blog today, I found this cute coffee graphic she had made. When I chose it however, and resaved it as a JPEG, I found the name Julie on it. I guess Olivia is sharing her knowledge with her sister! Since they are both still asleep, I am not sure who made this graphic, but it sure is cute! I wonder if they made it for me!

Have a fabulous fall day!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Just Some Random Things

First of all, this week's Christmas prep assignment---begin thinking about Christmas cards. Print out your addresses (or begin typing them into a word document if you need to), and read over them. Make any corrections (people who have moved, or sadly passed away). I keep a stack of envelopes with return addresses that I receive throughout the year that I know I will need as I update my Christmas card address list. This stack includes any Christmas cards that were returned to me last year. The post office usually puts a little yellow sticker with the person's correct address if you have the wrong one. I also look through our newest homeschool directory and think of new friends I have made throughout the year and add any new addresses to my list. Then, I make all of the corrections on the computer, and the addresses are ready to be printed out.
The next part of preparing for Christmas cards is to think about what your children (or you and your spouse too) will wear for the photo if you send photo cards. I bought black long sleeved t shirts today from Walmart for my children to wear this year.

Secondly, from time to time people ask me either in person or by commenting on my blog if I ever have a "bad day". Of course I do! But who wants to read about someone whining about their problems!! I will make an exception today, however. I have had a headache for 3 days. I periodically get headaches, and they are so bad that I want to go to bed and cry. I get grumpy. I feel nauseaus. The headaches along with a busy schedule, a messy house, and a never ending laundry pile can cause me a little stress! I cannot figure out what triggers the headaches, and taking ibuprofin sometimes helps, and sometimes doesn't. I may go 2 or 3 weeks without a headache, and then I may go only 2 or 3 days without one. About a month ago I stopped taking ibuprofen on a regular basis thinking that the medication itself was causing me to have headaches. I did not have a single headache until Sunday! So who knows what causes them!

Thirdly, a friend sent me a link today for a neat website called Old Fashioned Living. I only spent a few minutes looking around, but I found a good looking recipe for Black Eyed Pea Soup that I plan to try, and I also found a couple of great articles under the Moms category. One is called Say Bye Bye to Burnout, and the other is called How to Stay Calm. The burnout article addresses the downfalls of multi-tasking, and the calm article offers advice on just to stay calm! (instead of yelling, screaming, crying, breaking down, etc. when your child spills a whole can of coke on your freshly mopped floor just as you are heading out the door for piano lessons.....oh that really did happen today!)

Fourthly (is that a word?), I did an entire Algebra I lesson today with Olivia, and I got only 1 wrong! However, this took 45 minutes, and I am not sure how to work this into our day, every day! Leah is taking off with learning to read. I love teaching my children to read! For our family read aloud, we began a new book today, Son of Charlamagne. I can already tell that it will be a great book!

So, yes, I have bad days. Yes I am for real! Yes, my whole house is never clean all at one time, and yes I frequently forget to put shoes on Sam before we go somewhere! That child goes all over the place barefoot! And finally, yes, I am grateful to God for every single blessing that I have, and I am grateful to Him that my problems are really nothing in the whole big picture of life! My verse in the header of this blog is one I read, reread, and pray on a daily basis.
Be Joyful Always!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What's For Supper?

This week's menu is not really that creative--I planned my menu and made my grocery list while riding home from my parents' house (I was not driving!). Since I was not home to use Connie's Blog to assist my meal planning, I am not trying anything new this week.

pasta salad, fruit salad
BBQ, coleslaw
lasagna, salad
taco soup
chicken and dumplings, green beans
meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peas
shrimp scampi, salad

I bought enough ground beef to make 5 recipes of Little Cheesy Meatloaves. I will serve one this week, and freeze all of the others. I also plan to freeze 2 portions of BBQ and 2 portions of taco soup for future meals too. I will probably divide the lasagna into 2 casserole dishes and freeze one of those. This is how I cook for my freezer. When I am cooking something that can be easily doubled or tripled, I do it and freeze the extra.
Please visit for more menu ideas.

Wing Dang Dash 5K

Pops and Olivia

Yes! That is the name of the race we ran Saturday! It is held in my hometown, and the theme celebrates the local chicken industry and blues music. Our family traveled to my parents' home Friday night where we enjoyed a delicious pre-race supper of spaghetti prepared by my mother.

This race also had a half mile fun run after the regular 5K, so Leah and Sam ran. This was Sam's first race! The night before and the morning of the race, he said that he wasn't going to run....but when race time came he lined up with his 2 older sisters and ran! After the race he said, "I ran FAST!"

No one set a personal record (well, I guess Sam did since it was his first race!), but we all did our best. Jimmy won 2nd place 40-44, I won 1st place 40-44, Olivia won 1st place 14 and under (and she was the 3rd female finisher), Julie won overall female, and Clay won 2nd place 14 and under. Leah and Sam were awarded finisher's medals, and a couple of frisbees!
The frisbees!
For Leah and Sam, the best part of the morning was getting their race packet after the race!
Leah had asked for a couple of weeks if there would be a race packet....I knew from the past year when Jimmy and the kids ran this race that they only gave race packet! So my mother made Leah and Sam a race packet! We put their race t-shirt and several little race packet type items (calendars, sticky notes, key chains, etc.) in a bag.
Sam and Pops
Sam with Olivia and Julie running the fun run
Leah and Mama running the fun run!
Julie and Clay after the race
Leah before her race

My parents served us another delicious meal of boiled shrimp, and then we headed back home. We listened to the heartbreaking MSU/LSU game on the way home.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Some School Thoughts

Yesterday Olivia was having trouble with some of her Algebra I problems, and Julie didn't understand her science material covering 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree levers and wheels and axles.....I tried to work the math problems that Olivia had worked incorrectly, and I got the wrong answer too! Then I read Julie's science material and had no idea how to answer the questions. I had a moment of feeling overwhelmed. Tears filled my eyes as I asked myself what in the world did I think I was doing? I cannot educate these children! I said a quick prayer for wisdom, took a deep breath, and the moment of panic soon passed. I reminded myself that their education is more than equations and simple machines. While I do want them to excel academically, and I am preparing them for college, the big picture is their spiritual and character training, homemaking and creative skills, hard work, and their service to others. I also reminded myself of the reason I purchased the science and math curriculum that I did---Teaching Textbooks math comes with CDs of every single problem worked! Apologia Science is written to the student, and it also includes CDs for further explanation. Thankfully, Jimmy is a super resource for both science and math questions! Olivia and I used the math CD to watch the computer man work the problems she had missed. Jimmy helped Julie with her science this morning. I don't have to know it all or even have all the answers! I can utilize the many resources that are provided, and together we can figure it out!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday

Whenever I order something online I like to keep a record of my order, but I don't want a piece of paper to have to keep up with. So instead of printing out the "receipt" or "confirmation page", I simply copy the page and then paste it into a word document entitled Confirmation Pages. I save all of my receipts in this same document. Periodically I will delete the pages for items I have already received.
When I receive the confirmation email for items ordered online, I move the email into a separate folder called Confirmations. Now I have a record of ordered items if I need them, but I don't have pile of paper!
It works for me!
Please visit We Are That Family for more great tips.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Countdown to Christmas!

Yes! It is time to start thinking about the Christmas season! Megan found this great website called 100 Days to Christmas (which began on my birthday--Sept. 16! Who knew that I was born exactly 100 days before Christmas?). This blog/website has a daily tip to help you prepare for the Christmas season. I plan to visit this blog from time to time for new ideas, but I will still pretty much follow my plans from years past.

Now is the time to get out your Christmas binder. Create a new section entitled 2009. I laminate a piece of paper with 2009 typed in the center (either red, green or Christmas themed paper). I keep a spiral bound notebook tucked in the front binder of my binder, because I still like to make a written list of gifts bought, and items to do or buy. When I have purchased or made all of my gifts, I then type a master list and check off each item as I wrap it. The typed list goes inside the binder.

This week's task is to create a list of all the gifts you have already bought. Remember, shopping throughout the year is less stressful and also easier on your budget. I have purchased several gifts over the last few months, but have not written them down yet. I have them all stored in one extra large plastic storage box. This week, my goal is to open that box and record on paper what is in there and who it is for. From this point on, I will record each gift as I buy it.

One more task for this week is to finalize any plans for handmade gifts. My girls are creating gifts for their friends, teachers, coach, and all of the ladies in our church. We are buying the supplies they will need this week so they can get started. We will make a list of every person who receive a handmade gift, and they can check off each name as they finish.

While I have my Christmas binder out, I will look at the previous I gave, gifts I created, gift recipients, recipes tried, parties hosted, etc. This will help me as I plan this year's season.

Next week.....Christmas card prep.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Life of Service

A couple of months ago I began a Bible study on the topic of our service to God. Numerous times I have planned to blog about my studies, but many Scriptures pertain to service, and I haven't been sure where to begin or how to organize my thoughts. I am using a concordance, and I just started with the first entry and am reading/studying one or more verses each day. I am also reading the entire chapter or section that surrounds each verse to make sure I understand the verse. After several weeks of reading about service in the Bible, I am beginning to see some sort of way to organize these verses by subtopic. Some of these topics include serving God, serving others, and who/what not to serve.

My plan is to periodically share some thoughts and lessons learned about living a life of service to God. As I have written before, I like to blog about my life, my family, our activities, my hobbies and various other things that have merit, but are not the most important thing. The most important thing to me as a Christian is living a life pleasing to the Lord.

Luke 10:38-40

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus's feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Cumbered and careful in this passage mean to be distracted by things of secondary importance. I am guilty of being cumbered about much service on a daily basis! However, Jesus told Martha that only one thing was needed! I pray that I may earnestly seek that one thing. Every day. Time spent reading God's Word and praying to him cannot be skipped or replaced by important things. My prayer and my goal is to choose the one thing that is needed, and to be less distracted by daily life. I also pray that as I strive to serve God in all aspects of my life, the fruit of the Spirit will become more evident.

Galatians 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Muddy Race!

Olivia's shoes after the race

This morning the Spartans participated in their first cross country meet of the season. A big Thank You to Saltillo High School for allowing us to run in their meet. We appreciate them and the other local public schools that allow our homeschool cross country team to compete.

Cross country meets are so much fun! Even in pouring rain! It has rained here for the last 7 days, and today was no exception. I am not talking about a light drizzle, but a downpour! The cross country trail quickly became a mud pit! The runners were crawling up the big hill on their hands and knees. They were caked in mud from head to toe, especially the runners who slipped and fell!

Today's meet consisted of 6 races: JV boys (2 miles), JV girls (2 miles), Varsity 1A-3A girls (2.5 miles), Varsity 4A-6A girls (2.5 miles), Varsity 1A-3A boys (3.1 miles), and Varsity 4A-6A boys (3.1 miles). The Spartans ran in both JV races and both 1A-3A races. The top 20 finishers in the JV races received T-shirts, and the top 15 in the Varsity races received T-shirts. 5 Spartans won T-shirts! Olivia and Julie both earned T-shirts....Olivia was 10th and Julie was 2nd in the Varsity Girls race.

Some of the Spartan girls before the race----when they were still clean!

Nervous varsity girls right before their race started

Varsity girls after the race!

Mud! Mud! Mud!

Leah and Sam enjoying a sno-cone

Leah and Julie

Clay and his friends....these young men are not old enough to run in the cross county meets....but somehow they still managed to get muddy!

Varsity boys waiting for the awards

Mims and Pops
I am so glad that my parents came today! Jimmy had to work, and there is no way I could have managed the tent, the chairs, the cooler, the shoes, the younger children and the mud if they had not come!!

More of the Spartan Family
Lexie, Erica, Liesa, Kathy, David, and Josh

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Visit to the Beautyshop

Monday, Leah and I visited the beautyshop. We were both needing a haircut! Leah desires for her hair to be LONG like her older sisters' hair, but I explained to her that in order for it to grow out long and healthy, we needed to get one last short haircut. I reminded her that both Olivia and Julie were 5 or 6 when they had their last short haircut, and now look at their long hair!
So she agreed!


Leah--another AFTER

About my haircut.....the hairdresser cut about 4 inches off. It is basically the same style, just shorter. However, I am having a difficult time styling it. I am a hot rollers and lots of hair spray kind of girl, and this hairstlyle may require a round brush and blow dryer kind of styling!
I can still make a pony tail!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Final Birthday Post!

When I posted about my birthday this morning, only Sam and I were awake......or so I thought! Sweet Julie had been awake since 5:30 AM rapidly finishing this beautiful afghan! She finished at 8:00 AM. Olivia told me numerous times today that this afghan was truly a labor of love. Julie has been secretly working on it for 24 days! It matches my bedroom perfectly, and it will be a family heirloom!

the beautiful afghan
My next surprise gift was from Clay. Clay is the rockhound of the family. He has quite an extensive collection of rocks from all over the United States. The only reading he does outside of assigned reading for school is about rocks or legos! Clay generously gave me a blue rock and two unique shells from his personal collection. I am displaying these in my bedroom also.

two shells and a rock

Julie cooked a delicious breakfast of homemade cornmeal blueberry muffins--Yummy! She had the table set and ready when everyone awakened.

yummy muffin

We spent the rest of the day doing schoolwork, and the children cross-trained while I tried to conquer the clean laundry mountain.

We dined at Abner's for supper, and then attended our Wednesday night church service.

Leah, Olivia, and Sam at supper

Me, Julie, and Clay at supper
Can you tell that I got my hair cut Monday?

The Lord has greatly blessed me with a wonderful, loving husband and five precious children. I am so undeserving of these blessings. I seek to serve God each day by serving my family. However, I am weak, I am selfish, and I fail each day. Thankfully, my family is always loving and always forgiving. I am so grateful for all of their love.

I had a great birthday!

My 40th Birthday!

Today is the BIG DAY, but actually I have been celebrating for several days! We make a big deal over birthdays here at the Johnson house. Not necessarily with big parties and such, but by making the birthday person feel special....doing their chores for them, cooking their favorite foods, taking them to their favorite restaurant, giving them thoughtfully picked out or handmade gifts, and just letting them know how precious they are to us! My sweet husband and children have done just that for me beginning last Friday night!

The Spartans gathered at Coach Heather's house Friday night for a season opening, Spartan spaghetti supper.....and a surprise for me! We arrived a few minutes late, and as we approached the barn where all of the people and food were, suddenly Heather took my picture, and the whole crowd erupted with Happy Birthday!

They sang to me, and then directed my attention to a huge banner that Jimmy, some of his nurses, and the girls had made. All of the Spartans had written their birthday wishes on it.

Jimmy had even bought a delicious cake from a yummy local bakery, cupcakes, and pink plates and napkins (my favorite color). The cake was pink (strawberry) too!

On Sunday, we continued the birthday celebration. Today, Jimmy has to work, and I will not see him until church tonight. We won't get home until around 9:00, so Jimmy and the children chose to celebrate most of my birthday on Sunday afternoon.
We enjoyed a delicious lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant, then while Jimmy and I were gone for a little while, the children decorated the table.
We had coffee, M&Ms (my favorite), and some of the delicious birthday cake from Friday. Then I opened my gifts!

All of my precious children

A beautiful card from Clay
He got carried away drawing candles, and actually drew 50!

Julie made me a beautiful necklace with matching earrings
my card from Julie

Olivia crocheted these cute slippers!

a gift from Jimmy--a GPS for the car!!

a black dress
Jimmy had taken me clothes shopping a few weeks ago for my birthday! I am actually wearing a dress and cardigan from that shopping trip in these pictures.

the slippers
My family really made my birthday special. The children may have a few more surprises for today (they are all still upstairs, asleep, I guess!).....and I plan to take us out to eat tonight before church (so I don't have to cook supper on my birthday!).
I know that it will be a super day!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another Day, Another Practice!

Since it is cross country season, running is a bigger than usual part of our lives right now. The children have practice 3 days a week, and meets or races every Saturday--until the last Saturday in October!

Jimmy was off last Thursday, and as usual he brought his camera to practice. I am so happy that the takes hundreds of pictures each month to document our lives! Several of my friends have noticed that he always has his camera, and I am so glad that he does!

Here are some highlights of a recent practice.

Amy and Me

Happy Spartans!

Olivia and Catherine

Sarah, Julie, Martha, and Hannah--stretching

Leah and Avery--playing

Me and Esther--Esther ran her first marathon last Sunday! Go Esther!
At the end of today's practice the bottom fell out of the sky. It was raining bucketfuls, and thundering and lightning too! I got drenched just walking from the covered pavilion to the van--with an umbrella. Of course the children were soaked to the bone and muddy too! Today was a trail run! We had planned to go from xc practice straight to our monthly Keepers At Home meeting (with a stop for supper on the way), but instead we had to go home so I could change into dry clothes, and the girls could shower. We were that wet, and they were that dirty!
The girls had a delightful time at the first Keepers meeting of the new school year. Leah made 4 different kinds of pretty and pleasant-smelling soap (Thanks Anita), and Olivia and Julie crocheted. This year the older girls are bringing handwork projects from home to work on during our meetings. They are visiting while working and having the best time! For the Bible study time, the mothers are taking turns speaking about the verses from Proverbs 31:10-31. We are studying 3 verses a month.
Another day, another practice, another long to-do list with not much crossed off!