Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just a Regular Week

Well, this week has really been just like the other weeks since we started school this year...busy!

We still have cross country practice 3 times a week. The older three children have piano lessons once a week, we attend our church service on Wednesday night, and I am training for another half marathon. Thankfully, Jimmy has been off work one day each week since we began our school year, and since we don't do schoolwork on his days off, it has allowed us to accomplish housework, yardwork, and errands on those days.

School is still taking me until 2:00 or 3:00 to complete. It doesn't take any one child that long to do his schoolwork, but it takes me that long to work with each child and/or check his work. Leah is the only child that I assist almost 100% (first grade). Although she usually begins her handwriting page and phonics pages by herself. I listen to her read aloud, drill addition flashcards, and teach her a language arts lesson daily.

I have all but dropped any planned activities with Sam. He basically listens to all of the read alouds that I read to Leah, Clay, and Julie. He plays with educational activities, games, and puzzles, but he spends most of his time playing outside or building with Legos while he waits for Clay to finish his schoolwork. I usually give Clay about a 45 minute break mid-morning to play with Sam while I teach Leah. This helps us all!

As usual, I am learning so much as I teach my children! I love the Sonlight that we are using. We are in Core 5 for Julie and Clay and Core K for Leah. The books are absolutely fabulous! I can tell that we will be using Sonlight products for a while.

Leah has been sewing up a storm. Yesterday she made a purse out of little squares sewed together. It has a shoulder strap, and she made the whole thing by herself using my sewing machine. Actually, I guess it is the girls' sewing machine since I never sew, and they use it almost every day!

Well, that's the update for this week. Pretty much the same as every other week, but I love my life, and I wouldn't change a single thing!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blue Mountain College XC Meet

The day began with RAIN! And that can mean trouble for a cross country meet. Mud, mud, and more mud!

About 5:30 Saturday morning, I went to the garage to locate everyone's rain boots. Guess what? I found one boot for each person. One boot! The dogs had carried off one of each person's boots. Sam actually had 2 boots in his size still on the shelf, but although they were two very different boots--one blue, and one camouflage--I still would have let him wear them--but they were both left boots. So he did not have a pair either. At 5:50 I went to Walmart, and bought everyone a pair of boots. I was home by 6:30, just in time to load everyone up and get on the road for Blue Mountain (about 50 minutes away).

It rained all the way there, but by the time the first race began at 9:00, the rain had all but stopped. The race course was still very muddy, but at least it would not continue to get worse!

For this race, 6th graders were allowed to compete in the Jr. Varsity races, so Clay ran!
Clay coming in for the finish

Clay with his JV teammates

Clay, warming up

And they're off!

Clay in action. See the muddy legs?

Clay coming in for the finish

Olivia and Julie both run in the Varsity race. At this particular meet, both Varsity boys and girls ran 3.1 miles. Cross country is scored by the order each team's runners cross the finish line. You get one point for your place (the first runner gets 1 point, the 15th runner gets 15 points, etc.). Your team score is the total of your first 5 runners to finish. Lowest score wins. Our top 5 varsity girls finished 1st, 3rd, 6th, 14th, and 21st. So that gave us a score of 45. We actually scored the lowest, and won the meet! Also, t shirts are awarded to the top 15 or sometimes 20 finishers in each race.

the varsity girls, all lined up and ready to race

Look at them go! Those four girls you see in green were 1st, 3rd, 6th, and 14th place!



Some of the Varsity girls

happy girls after the race

Pop (who came to watch with cousins Will and Grace) with Julie and Danielle

Grace and Leah

Now, after all of the official cross country races were run, the next event was Leah's big event--the 2 mile open race! This race was the same course that the JV had run earlier in the day, and it was open to anyone who wanted to experience a cross country race. I definitely prefer pavement, but I promised Leah that I would run this race with her. The race begins!

The race begins!

This is at the very end of the race. Yes, that is me in the distance. Leah really was that far ahead of me.....I was not just being polite--she is just fast!

This is in the middle of the race when I was still keeping up with Leah!

Right after the race

Leah coming through the finish chute
Doesn't she look so proud?

silly girls waiting for the awards

Julie getting her t shirt for finishing 6th!

Some of the Varsity girls with Mrs. Heather and their trophy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Exercise in the Homeschool

Today, I have a post over at The Homeschool Classroom. Please visit this link to read about how you can incorporate exercise in your homeschool.

I have been trying to blog about the cross country meet and Leah's 2 mile race (held on Saturday) for over an hour now. It is raining here, and our internet is basically non-existent! I do have a connection now, but blogger is being extremely slow and will not upload my pictures.

I will keep working on it! We had a fabulous time at the meet...mud and all! I spent an hour yesterday afternoon cleaning mud off of 10 pairs of running shoes and boots.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Leah's Running Again

About a year or so, or maybe even longer, Leah expressed a desire to join the family in our running. I promptly bought her some running shoes, and she actually ran a couple of 1 mile fun runs. And then that was the end of that. She's had a full year or more of playing with the other younger children at cross country practice.

About a week and a half ago, Leah announced again that she would like to run. She wanted to be a Spartan. So we squeezed her feet into her running shoes, and I ran with her. The first day she ran 20 minutes with a few walk breaks. She ran 3 times last week, each time running/walking a distance of 1.5-2 miles. She is so proud of herself! She is wearing Julie's hand-me-down running shorts, and yesterday I bought her a new pair of running shoes. 1 whole size bigger. She also picked out a running shirt, that she has worn two days in a row!

Yesterday she ran almost 2 miles with another Mama (I was not feeling well yesterday), and today at Spartan practice she ran 1.7 miles, on a XC trail, in the 98 degree heat! Go Leah!

She is running a 2 mile race this Saturday after the XC meet. Every night when I am tucking her into bed (well, you know, lying with her in bed until I fall asleep, and then kissing her good night when I wake up!), she asks me, "How many days until my race?"

I am running with her, and I can't wait!

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Zealand Dessert

The last few days Julie and Clay have been studying New Zealand. Tonight, they made the New Zealand National dessert: pavlova.

It was delicious!

Here is the recipe, courtesy of

  1. Ingredients

    • 3 egg whites
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
    • 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
    • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
    • 1 pint fresh strawberries


    1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Draw a 9 inch circle on the parchment. An easy way to do this is to draw around the outside of a 9 inch pan with a pencil.
    2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. Add 3/4 cup of the sugar gradually, while continuing to whip. Make sure sugar is completely dissolved. Mix together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with the cornstarch; lightly fold into meringue with lemon juice.
    3. Spread a layer of meringue to fit circle on parchment, approximately 1/4 inch thick. With remainder of mixture, pipe or spoon swirls around the edges to form a shallow bowl shape.
    4. Bake at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 1 hour. Turn off oven, but leave meringue in oven for an additional 30 minutes. When cool, the meringue should be hard on the outside, and slightly moist on the inside.
    5. In a large bowl, combine the cream and half a cup of confectioners sugar, and whip until thickened. Decorate with fruit of your choice; strawberries are excellent.

    Beginning tomorrow, we are studying Antarctica. Wonder what we will cook?

Small Victories

Here is a link to a great post about celebrating the small victories in your life. It is a very timely article for me, because I have been so behind in everything recently! I am going to take Hope's advice, and celebrate each little thing I accomplish today. And if it really motivates me, I will celebrate tomorrow too! I am reminding myself after reading her article that I not only need to be thankful for each small victory in my day, but also be thankful for each and every trial that comes my way. That is God's will for all of us--to be thankful in all circumstances, to count it all joy when we experience trials.

My favorite little saying still applies---thanksgiving produces joy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Big Day, Lots of Pictures

Today was the Saltillo Cross Country Meet.

We arrived to set up our tents and chairs at 7:00 AM. The first race began at 9:00. Our homeschool running team, the Spartans, ran in 4 different races: Junior Varsity Girls, Junior Varsity Boys, Varsity Small School Girls, and Varsity Small School Boys.

The Spartans did a fabulous job! I know of at least two runners who set personal records, and in the Varsity Girls race, 5 of our girls finished in the the top 13 (out of 121 runners). We took the following places: 2,7,8,9, and 13. Go Spartans!

Here are some pictures from the fun day.

This is what it looks like right before each race begins. Each team stands together, waiting for the signal to GO.

Once the race starts, the runners race down a big field, gradually funneling as they approach the trail.

Julie, approaching the finish line

Olivia, right before the finish
She has some new, really pretty, pink spikes!

This next picture has got to be the best race picture ever!

Just look at Catherine edging out her opponent! As the runners approach the finish line, they SPRINT to finish ahead of each other! As soon as they cross the finish line, they must continue through this long chute single file. A race official keeps them in the order that they crossed the finish line until each runner's tag is pulled.

Go Catherine!!

During the races Sam, Leah, and Clay hung around our Spartan tents, enjoying snacks, drinks, and the company of the other non-running Spartans. The older boys mostly sat around and talked, while the older girls crocheted and giggled a lot!

Sam enjoying a snack.

Spartan girls hanging out

My parents--they are always such a huge help at these events!

The two "grandpas". Jimmy's parents came to watch too.

This is me telling Olivia how GREAT she did after her race! I am so proud of my girls!

Uncle Russ and Aunt Megan braved the heat to come and watch too!

Leah and Granmomma waiting for the awards.
The top 20 finishers in each race are awarded t-shirts. Our top 5 Spartan girls all got t-shirts.

After the race, we were all starving, so about 40 of us headed for the Cracker Barrel.

Jimmy is always so good about taking pictures, but there are rarely any pictures of him. Also, my friend Julie takes many, many pictures for the Spartans. Therefore, she is rarely in any pictures either! So I asked Jimmy to take a picture of her and me!

Julie and Me at Cracker Barrel.

Then I asked Julie to take a picture of Jimmy and I would have a picture of my cute husband for my blog! Jimmy grabbed me before I could pose....

My sweet husband!

Now, for a posed picture!

Leah at Cracker Barrel

Leah and Clay

Some Spartan girls on the front porch after we all ate

Great memories (for the adults as well as the children), great day!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Today is Not a Holiday

Well, the leisurely day of birthday celebration is over. Today, I have to get busy.

We have a full day of school, which I am thinking will take us until 2:00 to complete. However, during this school time, I am going to HAVE to take the boys for a haircut. I told Clay that he was starting to look like Justin Beber (is that even how you spell that boy's name?? You know, the teenage singer with longish hair?). Anyway, Sam and Clay are way overdue a haircut, so today is the day. The barber we use does not make appointments, you just have to get in line. Mr. Buddy is a great barber! He takes his time with each client, and he gives my boys excellent haircuts---we just have to wait forever for our turn. I am sure that since today is a Friday, the barber shop will be more crowded than usual. So, I plan on taking both Clay's and Leah's schoolwork with us.

After school and haircuts, we will turn our attention to housework, folding clothes, mowing the grass (Clay), and preparing supper. My parents are coming to spend the night, so we need to get the house in order! They are coming to watch the girls run their first cross country meet of the season tomorrow morning. I am cooking spaghetti, salad, and homemade bread (made in a bread machine!) plus banana pudding for dessert. We will be having spaghetti every Friday night for the next 2 months, because that is what the children like to eat the night before a race.

Also today we need to get all of our things together for the XC meet. I have to pack the big tailgating tent, lawn chairs, a cooler of drinks, snacks, and a 1000 other various items that we may need.

I better get started on the day!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Today is My Birthday!

And it has been a fabulous day!

To read about how the day began, you can read my daughter's blog post here.
I really do have the sweetest husband and children. They worked very hard to make my day special.

I began the day with an 8 mile run with Jimmy and 3 other dear friends. Then I enjoyed breakfast with my family (see Julie's post), and next I opened my gifts. For lunch, they treated me at my favorite Mexican restaurant. Later this afternoon we attended cross country practice, where I got to run about 2 miles or so with the younger runners. Leah ran too!

For supper we are having red beans and rice (that I put in the crock pot earlier today), and for dessert, brownies! Yummy!

What a great day!

Well At Least He Wore Shoes!

It has happened on more than one occasion, that once we get to where we are going, I will realize that Sam does not have shoes on! Most of the time I just let him go barefoot....even to church.

So recently I made two little checklists of things to remember when we are going to the two places we go most often: 1. church 2. cross country practice--both lists include Sam's shoes.

Last night as we were getting ready for church, I reminded the children to look at the list and make sure we didn't forget anything (Bibles, lessons, Sam's shoes, put the dog out). I was the last person to get in the van, and I asked everyone if they got everything on the list. "Yes Mam," was their reply.
I even asked, "Does Sam have shoes?"
"Yes Mam."

As they all file out of the van and are walking into the church building I see Sam's shoes.

But at least he was wearing shoes!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Making Lamingtons

Julie and Clay are studying the Eastern Hemisphere this year (using Sonlight Core 5), and we just finished Australia. We ended this unit by making lamingtons, a traditional Australian dessert.

Julie- carefully separating the eggs


4 eggs
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cups cake flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 375. Separate egg yolks and whites into two bowls. To the egg yolks, add 1/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla. Blend, then set aside. Beat the egg whites with a mixer. Gradually add the remaining sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg yolk mixture into the whites. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix until smooth. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 12 minutes, or until cake center springs back when tested. Allow cake to cool, then turn it out onto a wire rack. When the cake is completely cooled, use a sharp knife to cut the cake into 12-16 squares.


2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. butter, melted
3 Tbs. cocoa
boiling water
7 ounce bag coconut

Mix powdered sugar, melted butter, cocoa, and enough boiling water (about 4 Tbs.) to make a runny icing. Using a fork, pick up a square of cake and spoon the icing all over it, to cover. Allow the icing to drip, and then place the cake in a bowl of coconut. Coat the cake with coconut, and then place it on a plate to dry.

Refrigerate the laminations until serving time.

posing for a picture while cooking....see Clay? He is snacking on a strawberry while he is cooking!

Leah helped too--she is dipping the chocolate covered cakes in the coconut.

The finished product! Yummy!

We are headed out for cross country practice right now, but we are looking forward to enjoying this Australian caked for our dessert tonight.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sherman Day 5K

Me, Yonea, and Lynn
My sweet running buddies!

Ok, I know that I have been MIA all week. What a week this has been! Like I said five weeks ago, this is going to be a hard year. It is still taking me until 2:00 or 3:00 (or until time to leave for xc practice or piano lessons, whichever comes first) to finish school with everyone. Then it is time for piano (Mondays) or xc practice (Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays). On Wednesdays it always seems like there is some errand to run, plus we have church service on Wednesday night, and on Friday afternoons I buy groceries. Somewhere in between the schooling and the running around, I am trying to squeeze in a run for me 4 days a week, daily laundry, daily cooking meals, and daily trying to keep the house in some sort of order.

Today was the first race in a series of 5K races, XC meets, and one half-marathon (for Jimmy and me) EVERY SATURDAY UNTIL NOV. 6! Yes, every single Saturday morning we will be getting up at the crack of dawn to travel all over our great state (and a couple of other states too) to run. FUN! Really it will be fun, and I am looking forward to each and every race.

Now, for some highlights of our fun morning in the great town of Sherman. Mark Bresee does an outstanding job (with the help of our own Tupelo Running Club) of directing this 5K.

The Spartans arrived at 7:00 this morning, in full green attire, ready to run. Of the 100+ race participants, I am guessing that more than half were Spartans or their parents. My friends (and Spartan moms) Yonea and Lynn, that I frequently train with, ran the race this morning. Other Spartan moms that ran were Ginger, Esther, Susan, Amy, and Penny. Several dads ran too--Jimmy (my fast husband who finished the race 2nd overall!), John Y., Jamie, John N., David M., David P., Scott, John S., and other moms and dads that I may be forgetting. We also have a Spartan grandfather who runs most of these races too! We have 69 Spartans on our roster, and I know that it really encourages them to see some of us older people running with them!

Speaking of older runners--I was awarded another Masters Award today. The masters award is for the 1st place runner (male and female) who is over 40! My sweet friends Dorothy and Beverly, who are also masters age were kind enough to let me cross the finish line first! We all finished within seconds of each other. They won 1st and 2nd in our age group of 40-44. Thanks ladies for letting me bring home the trophy!

Some of the other Spartans moms won medals too! Yonea, Lynn, and Ginger all won in their age divisions.

Lynn, Yonea, Ginger, and Me with our awards

Silly ladies texting each other--or maybe we are trying to upload our pictures on to Facebook. We are acting like teenagers!

Olivia--1st Place Female 15-19

Julie---2nd Place Overall Female

Clay--2nd Place Male 10-14

Since Jimmy is our family photographer, I don't have a picture of him. He won 2nd Place Overall Male!

After the race we stopped at McDonald's for a healthy post-race breakfast. Olivia and Julie invited two friends to go with us and to spend the afternoon at our house.

Leah, waiting for her breakfast

Hungry runners below!