Monday, February 28, 2011


Hello, blog readers!

I am not sure why I have not found the time to blog or read blogs for the last few weeks. It seems like life has gotten much busier around here, but I can't exactly put my finger on why. It could be that I have two big time consumers going on.....the 90 day Bible reading and the marathon training....or it could be my new hobby of searching out and preparing healthy, low calorie meals and snacks for my family and me.....I really am not sure, but I seem to have less computer time recently.

I still think about my blog and all of the blogs that I love to read!

Here is a little bit of what has been going on here at the Johnson household.

  • I ran 44 miles last week, and I set two personal records: the longest run so far (19 miles) and the most miles logged in one week. Lynn and I will break both of those records this week since we have 45 total miles this week, and our long run is 20. I have surprised myself during this marathon training. My running pace has slowed down considerably. Before I began my marathon training, I envisioned myself as being able to run a 10 minute pace during my long, long runs. Prior to mid January, I considered that a comfortable, slower pace. Now that I am 8 weeks into the marathon training, I have found myself getting slower and slower every week, even on my shorter runs of 5-6 miles. Running the distance has definitely slowed me down. We average 10:40 or so on our super long runs, and I now run a 10:20 pace on my treadmill for the shorter and medium (8-10 mile) runs. But running at a slower pace is ok for me! It has allowed me to complete the miles without any major injury, and for the most part, all of the runs have been enjoyable. Lynn and I talk the entire time we do our long runs--our therapy sessions! Another surprise I have found during this training is that I am no longer sore after long runs. It's really strange. I may be stiff, and my knees sometimes are sore after I sit for a while, but I rarely have that overall body aching, and my legs don't throb when I get in bed at night. Normally when I ran hard or long, I would be miserable! I guess slowing down the pace and/or my body acclimating to the long miles has prevented the soreness.
  • Jimmy and the three older children ran a 5K (the children) and a 10K (Jimmy) last Saturday in Memphis. I took lots of pictures, and I will blog about the day soon. It was a fun race to watch!
  • We finally visited Megan and Russ in their new home.
  • I helped Julie sew for one hour last week, and since Jimmy has two days off this week, I plan to have two more sewing sessions with her. She is making Olivia's birthday present, and it is going to be so cute!
  • I got my hair cut chin length! All of my family and friends and family seem to really like it, and I do too! I am not sure if we made any pictures of me Saturday.....if I find some I will post them when I blog about the race.
We have another packed week, but I hope to carve out more computer time.
Enjoy your week!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Veggie And Bean Simmer

I am currently on the lookout for low calorie, tasty, healthy supper recipes. I found this recipe for Veggie and Bean Simmer in my Kroger coupon mailer. It was delicious! And only 166 calories per 1 cup serving.

Here is the recipe with my adaptions.

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbs. refrigerated chopped garlic

Saute the above until onion is tender.

1 cup chopped fresh broccoli,
1/2 each of red pepper, yellow pepper, and green bell pepper, cut into strips
2 medium zucchini, chopped

Cook this for a few minutes until the vegetables are all tender.

Add: (at this point I had to transfer the veggies to a larger pot)
2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans petite diced tomatoes

Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes.

For seasoning, I added:
1 tsp. cumin
sprinkling of salt
sprinkling of garlic salt (I like salty foods!)

Enjoy this filling and healthy dish. You serve with bread and a green salad.

If you have any yummy, low calorie, healthy supper recipes, please share!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I am on day 56 of reading the Bible all the way through in 90 days. I want to express my thoughts about how reading the Bible daily in this manner has changed so many areas of my life, but I have difficulty writing my thoughts. I can blog all day about house cleaning, organization, planning, running, and documenting my family's comings and goings, but I am finding it difficult to put into words my thoughts and impressions.

So here goes. I am going to just list the various things that have come to my mind over the last 56 days. I am good at making lists! These items are in no particular order, and I am using a list to convey my thoughts so I won't have to wonder about sentence structure or if my thoughts are flowing in a readable manner.

  • reading large portions of Scripture is easier than I thought. I get started, and the time just flies.
  • making the time to read large portions of Scripture is easier than I thought.
  • I find myself thinking about what I have recently read all throughout the day. I compare it to the summer that I read all 14 of Karen Kingsbury's Baxter family books. Whenever I had a spare moment, I was reading those books (this was before I had a blog or even read blogs, so I had time to read more books). I would stay up really late to finish a book, or just one more chapter. And then, all throughout the day when I was doing other things, I would find my thoughts wandering to the fictional Baxter family. Now it's that way with God's Word. I stay up late finish reading or reading ahead. I find my thoughts drifting again and again all throughout the day to God's Word and what I read that day. I think about my life and the constant choices I am making in light of Scripture. I am more deliberate about trying to live my life pleasing to the Lord. He is on my mind more and more.
  • I am seeing the flow of the big picture of the Bible. Does that make sense? When I read the Psalms, I could visualize David as he wrote the ones he did, because I had just read about David's actual life. I could remember Saul chasing him....the Psalms came alive to me.
  • I am discovering much God telling the Israelites over, and over, and over (I highlighted these passages, and I have lost count of how many there are) again to obey His commands--to not turn to the right or left hand from them--that they would be blessed if they obeyed, and cursed if they did not, and the repeated themes in Proverbs. When you read something repeatedly, it sticks with you!
  • The more I read, the more I realize how much I don't know! I have all kinds of questions for those whom I think are more knowledgeable about the Bible than me.
  • I am already looking forward to reading through the Bible in 90 days again. Yes, I do plan to do this again after taking a 3 month break when I finish it this time.
  • And most importantly of all--I have seen a huge change in my priorities. Reading God's Word has taken top priority in my daily life. It was not before. I would like to think that reading my Bible was my top priority each day, but in reality, until 50 or so days ago, it wasn't. I now schedule my day each and every day around my daily Bible reading. My first choice is to complete the reading as soon as I wake up each morning. I am allowing myself one hour for this, and if I sleep a little later than I planned, or I have interruptions from the children, then I will skip something else on my to do list for the morning--including running, in order to make sure that I get my Bible reading done. I then just shift everything else to later in the day. I will admit that previously I would have chosen to get my run in rather than my Bible reading.....I reasoned that I could read the Bible later in the day..and I could, but my priorities have changed. The Bible reading comes first. Some days I have to run in the late afternoons, but that's ok. I make sure that I set my alarm clock early enough to read before running. Even when I have to meet Lynn at 6:00 AM.On days that I don't get finished with the reading, then finishing the reading is my first priority when I get in bed at night or even sometime in the day when I have a little bit of down time. I reach for my iPad to read the rest of the day's reading or even read ahead when I have extra time like waiting for the children to complete piano lessons.
  • I find myself seeing the people in the Bible as more real. Of course I know that they were real people, people just like me with hopes and dreams, sorrow and joy, work to do, and people to love...but now, they just seem more real. That may not make sense, but it is something that I have noticed.
So there it is! The list of observations about reading the Bible all the way through in 90 days. I challenge and encourage you to try it if you never have.

It will change your life.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

I found this fun blog hop on Christie's blog....I thought I would join in today. Be sure to click here to visit The Homeschool Chick for more homeschooler's journal entries.

In my life this week... I ran more miles in one week than I ever have (40), and I made homemade bread for the very first time (photos later).

In our homeschool this week...Clay made a play-doh model of the brain, we made edible play-doh for all of the children to enjoy, we started reading aloud two new fabulous books (Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? and The Horse and His Boy), and Julie began a research paper.

Places we're going and people we're nephew's first baseball game, two outside runs at the city park this week, bowling with our homeschool group.

My favorite thing this week was...making edible play-doh for the children.

What's working/not working for us...working--reading aloud first thing after our Bible lesson. Not working--getting a normal amount of schoolwork done on Mondays before our piano lessons. I don't want to leave anything out, but it's so hard to get it all done before 1:30, and no one (including me) wants to finish school after we get home around 4:00.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...Have any of you tried the new Horizons Pre-Algebra? I am thinking of using that for Clay......

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

the brain

Friday, February 18, 2011

52 Weeks of Organizing, Week 7

This week's assignment from Organizing Junkie was to purge till it fits. What a super idea! Except that I must admit that I did not purge anything this week. Not one thing. In fact, I have not done any work on my February list this week, not even one little bitty 15 minute session. Nothing.

With that admission, I want to encourage you. Whether you are taking this 52 week challenge, or if you have your own goals and plans for cleaning out and organizing your home, if you have slacked off a little bit, don't give up! Next week is a new week. Tomorrow is Saturday! Maybe you can squeeze in a little bit of declutter time tomorrow. That is my plan. I am determined to clean out and organize my freezers either this afternoon or tomorrow. Hopefully I will get to it this afternoon because tomorrow's 18 mile run plus my brother-in-law's little birthday celebration and my nephew's baseball game might take my whole day.

Here are this week's questions for OrgJunkie's 52 Week Challenge:

Questions to ponder: 1. Let’s talk stuff! What have you tossed out this week? Like I said earlier, nothing--except for the daily trash and junk mail!

2. Have you ever regretted something you’ve gotten rid of? Why? I can't think of anything right off hand.

3. How tempted are you to rush out and pick up pretty organizing containers first? Very tempted! I love containers! But even though I am tempted, as I attack each area of my home for cleaning out and reorganizing I plan to get the space in order first, and then see what containers I need. After that I will look over my stash of containers and see if I have something that will work. If I still need a new container, then I will buy one! As I clean out various drawers and closets (and that secret room) in my home, I am sure that I will purge the contents of some of my existing storage containers, freeing them up to be used again.

Please visit Org.Junkie for more 52 Week Challenge updates.
Happy purging!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Last Saturday Jimmy, Olivia, Julie, and Clay ran a very muddy 5K race. The recent snow had melted, and since this race was a total cross country course, it was a muddy mess. Leah, Sam, and I even got muddy shoes, and all we did was watch!

Running in mud makes for a slow time, and the neither the children nor Jimmy set any records. They all agreed that it was a tough run. In fact, the most of the adults that ran this race stated that this was the toughest 5K they had ever run. I am so glad that I was a spectator!

some of the Spartans before the race

Sam and Jared, hanging out in the bleachers
The finish line was on the football field.

Carson and Clay before the race....they are still clean.

Avery and Leah

The runners at the starting line. This was probably the only part of the course that wasn't ankle deep in mud....and it was still muddy even though it looks green.

Around mile 2

Martha and Julie after the race.

Julie ran out of her shoes before mile 1! She said the mud just sucked them off. However since her shoes weighed about 5 pounds caked with mud, she actually ran better in her sock feet. She completed the race in socks. The last part of the race was on gravel, so she did ruin her socks--they were full of holes!
After the race she went back and found her shoes.

Muddy Olivia

Muddy Clay

a close-up of that mud

even closer

Jimmy hosed the shoes off outside, then I washed them in the washer, and they all came clean!

Here are all of the Spartan race winners. Coach Heather won overall female!

one more picture of muddy feet

Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Valentine's Day

Today was a fairly normal day, even though it was a holiday. Mondays are always hard for us. We have to leave the house around 1:30 for piano lessons, and on most days we eat lunch around that time, plus we don't finish our schoolwork until 3:00 or so. We even started at 7:45 this morning (since it was Valentine's Day and I knew the children had Valentines to exchange), and we still did not finish school before piano time. Then after piano we went to the city park to run, because it was a beautiful day! The temperature was 68 and sunny. Such a pretty day to be outside. Even Sam and Leah each ran 1/2 mile today.

Thankfully, we did some Valentine celebrating and crafting on our snow day last week.....

We made cinnamon red homemade play-doh. It smelled delicious!

Clay kneading his dough

Leah and Sam with theirs

Olivia and Julie joined in the fun too!

Can you see the heart indention?

Then we made Valentines for friends and family. They made a big mess, but they also produced some beautiful Valentines. Some we mailed, some were delivered yesterday at church, and some were exchanged this morning. I love handmade Valentines! Each of the children made fabulous Valentines for Jimmy and me. Heirlooms!

the Valentine-making mess

Sam, working hard on a Valentine

Jimmy gave each of the children some chocolate candy tonight, and earlier today I gave each of them a fun, but practical or needed, Valentine gift. These gifts included Twist Up Pencils (now everybody has their own set), a new Guess Who? game (our old one had soooo many pieces torn or missing, and they play that game all the time), and for Olivia--an assortment of socks for her to make sock animals out of.

Jimmy and I did not exchange chocolate, because we are both watching our caloric intake. Even though we are both training for a marathon, we have both recently started making a conscious effort to reduce our total calories and make sure that what we are eating is healthy! chocolate for us. (My mother-in-law did send us each a bag of M&Ms--my all time favorite candy, but I only ate 7 M&Ms---about 25 calories worth!)

Sweet Julie crocheted the sweetest gift for Jimmy and me:

no calorie chocolate candy!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Snow Day

Thursday morning we woke up to a frozen driveway and a few inches of snow! The last time our area had a big snow we were still at Disney World, so this was our first time this season to wake up early and enjoy the snow. Snowfall records have been set here in Mississippi this winter. It really is strange having so much snow.

Wednesday the weather forecasts predicted snow and ice overnight, so Jimmy went to his parents' house and picked up his childhood sled. He also bought a couple of new plastic ones for the children to use. We were prepared! The snow began falling around noon Wednesday, and driving conditions rapidly deteriorated. Thursday morning, area schools and businesses were closed due to the icy roads, and Jimmy's clinic closed too. We truly had a snow day!

So everyone bundled up in their warmest clothes, hats, coats, and gloves (no pajamas and crocs for my children today---it was COLD), and the fun began!

Clay, Sam, and Jimmy posing with their sleds.

Yes, that is our CHRISTMAS TREE behind them. It is still on our patio. Occasionally, the wind blows it over, and one of us will stand it back up. Doesn't it look so pretty, flocked with snow?

This was my both my children's and my first experience with sledding. What fun! Our frozen driveway was perfect for Jimmy's old sled. The new sleds worked well for sailing down the snow covered hills.

Julie and Jimmy, getting ready to sled down the driveway


Sam tackled the small hills--over and over again.

Here comes Julie!

Julie--cold, but having lots of fun

Here comes Clay!

Julie and Me
I was brave and took a turn sledding down the driveway. It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. We have a sharp turn in the driveway, and I didn't crash into the snow!

Julie, Ashley (a friend), and Olivia

Sam, taking his sled up for another ride

Julie and Clay, giving me sledding pointers before my turn

Here I go!

Jimmy and the children...minus Olivia

Leah and Jimmy

There's Olivia--they all look cold!

Leah with her sled

Olivia had fun sledding too!

I left Jimmy and the children to enjoy the snow while I prepared a hot breakfast of pancakes and hot chocolate. Everyone eventually came inside to thaw out and fuel up. Then we enjoyed a leisurely day of a little bit of schoolwork, a little bit of laundry, a little bit of housework, and a little bit of game playing. After lunch we made Valentines and I made red cinnamon scented play doh for the children. The ice mostly melted by mid afternoon, so Jimmy went on the hospital for a little while.

It was a fun snow day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fun With Leah

First of all--WE HAVE SNOW AGAIN!

This is the most snow that our neck of the woods has had in one winter! I actually went to Kroger this afternoon, and I could not find a parking place. After circling around a couple of times, I finally got a place! Inside the store was not much better. I wasn't stocking up because of the snow (like I guess most people were), I was just doing my weekly grocery shopping.

Anyway, Leah has had a fun week. Monday, I took her to our monthly Keepers At Home Meeting. Now that Olivia and Julie are older, only Leah and I attend Keepers. I think she really enjoys this time with just the two of us. I enjoy it too. I am having to make some new friends.....friends with ladies who have children Leah's and Sam's ages. I sometimes feel old around these ladies, since most of them do not have teenagers like I do.

The activity was beading. The girls strung beads to make beautiful necklaces.

Leah, Avery, and Lilly Grace, making their necklaces

the finished product

Today, Olivia and Julie did this fun activity with Leah while I was out running errands. I got the idea from a post at The Homeschool Classroom earlier this week.

Floating Hearts

Cute, cute! and now our house looks like Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Want to Sew!

Doesn't that look like me?

(Well, not the hair....although I may be getting my hair cut short soon--another story--and not the actual sewing....I haven't sewn in YEARS!.....but I want this picture to look like me!)

Olivia and Julie have been sewing a lot lately, and I am inspired! I want to join them. We turned a spare room into a sewing room last fall, and they now have the greatest set-up. I cleaned out the closet in there, and I organized all of their fabric, patterns, and other sewing supplies. For Christmas, all three girls received cute fabric, patterns, thread, and trims as gifts. Since then they have created many lovely things. Olivia mostly makes craft type items, and Julie has been trying her hand at making skirts.

Which leads me to what I want to do. I want to sew my girls some cute twirly skirts! But the main obstacle is WHEN? Can I squeeze one more thing into my day? Do you sew? When? Also, if you have made twirly skirts (or any other kind of below-the-knee cute skirts), where do you get your patterns?

I am really daydreaming about all of the sewing I want to do. Hopefully I can begin by finding the right patterns. Then the next time I am in town, maybe I can buy the supplies. Maybe by then I will have figured out the time to do the actual sewing.

We'll see! Maybe I need to wait until after the marathon!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hosting a Valentine's Party

I have a post at The Homeschool Classroom today. It's all about planning and hosting a Valentine's party in your home.

Please check it out! Click here to read it.

Menu Plan Monday

  1. spaghetti with homemade sauce, salad
  2. chicken and dumplings
  3. 9 bean soup, salad
  4. pasta with zucchini
  5. homemade pizzas (I am trying a homemade pizza crust for the first time.) I am also making my own pizza sauce. We will have sauteed onions and bell pepper, cheese, mushrooms and pepperoni for toppings.
  6. baked fish, roasted sweet and new potatoes, salad
  7. raviolis (not homemade), salad
Very Easy Pasta or Pizza Sauce

1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced (I use the kind in the jar, already minced)
4 (14 oz.) cans diced or crushed tomatoes. If not crushed, then crush in your food processor.
1/2 onion, chopped finely (if desired)
1 tsp. salt
basil, Italian seasoning, etc. to taste

Saute the onion (if using) and garlic in olive oil. Stir in tomatoes and salt. Simmer until thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Add other seasonings and simmer a couple of more minutes.

You can visit for more menu inspiration.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cleaning and Running

Last night Olivia and I cleaned out our kitchen refrigerator. I am so happy to check one item off my February to-do list. It took us an hour and a half! We took every single thing out, every shelf and drawer, and scrubbed from top to bottom. Then we couldn't remember how everything went back in! I think we finally figured it out. The refrigerator looks great, and I enjoyed the time spent with Olivia, laughing and talking while we worked.

This morning I met Lynn and Kelly for our long run. We ran 17 miles! My longest distance to date! It was 29 degrees with light snowfall, and it warmed up to 30 by the end of the run. The wind was brutal at times. I thought my fingers were going to freeze off! I did have on gloves, but they are made of some sort of breathable material, and they were letting in too much air! We ran a little bit slower than we normally do, and my knee didn't bother me too much. I think resting for 2 days prior to this run, plus icing and exercising must have helped. I am a little bit bothered that I did not get all of my planned miles this week (4 short since I skipped Thursday's run to rest my knee), but I am just going to accept it. Next week we have 39 total miles planned with an 18 mile long run.

I am really too tired now to attack any cleaning projects today, but I hope to clean out the kitchen and laundry room freezers tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Resolutions Part 4

Household Goals

This can be a pretty broad topic, but I am making a list of all household related tasks that I wish to accomplish in 2011. These are basically tasks that I tackle every year, but making a list that I can check off inspires me!

Laura over at is hosting a weekly organizing assignment. I just discovered this, and I plan to look at the past assignments as well as check in weekly to see her ideas. I will try to participate in this as my time allows.

My plan is to make a list of everything I can think of that needs to be done in my house.
  • deep cleaning (refrigerators, windows, garage)
  • small organization tasks (drawers, shelves, pantry clean-out)
  • huge undertakings (the secret room--an unfinished storage area off of Olivia's room that needs a major, major clean out and organization)
  • seasonal items (kids' closets and drawers as the seasons change)
  • outdoor items (flower beds)
I am making my list using Teux Deux. I like this program, because I can update it on my phone or on my laptop. I love seeing the items crossed off! And I don't have a million little bits of paper all over the place. I am listing all of the household jobs under the Someday category. You can even make sublists in the Someday area of Tuex Deux.

Secondly, I am planning time to actually do the work! Some of the tasks can be worked on daily or a few times a week in 15 minute increments. You don't have to wait for a whole afternoon free to clean out one drawer. Just set your timer for 15 minutes and get busy. Stop at the end of 15 minutes and finish up the next time you have 15 minutes to spare.

Some of these tasks will require one or more hours to do. I will either break those down into work on it for one hour a week, or I will pick a day once a month or so and just spend the whole day getting it done. During our Spring Break we usually tackle outside work, and so I will get the majority of the windows, garage and flower beds done during this week. I will need to plan on garage and flower maintenance for the rest of the spring and summer.

One job that I am really dreading is cleaning out that secret room. When I finally get that accomplished I will share before and after pictures.

For February my list includes:
  • clean out all three refrigerators
  • clean out and organize the contents of my freezers
  • clean out my nightstand drawers (2)
By spreading out the jobs over the whole year instead of trying to do them all in one weekend or month, I think that organizing and maintaining your home is doable and can even be enjoyable.