Thursday, June 30, 2011

School Is Out!

We finally finished the 2010-2011 school year last Thursday!  Hooray!  Everyone was promoted to the next grade!  For the next 2 years, I will have five official students in my homeschool.  It will take most of our five week break for me to prepare for our upcoming school year.  I plan to blog throughout the planning/preparing process in hopes of helping someone else along the way.  I have a couple of new ideas that I plan to implement--things that I have learned by reading other people's blogs.  I love how we can all share ideas via the internet!

I had previously planned to begin reading through the Bible again in 90 days beginning July 1.  However, the next B90 Challenge hosted by Mom's Toolbox is running from July 11-Oct. 8, so I am planning to begin July 11th.  This schedule will actually work better for me since July 1st is tomorrow!  And I am not ready for this challenge yet!

I have not done an Insanity workout in over a week!  I experimented with doing the workouts with no jumping (as in no moves with both feet off the floor at the same time), and my knees almost immediately got better.  My knees had really been giving me trouble--hurting pretty badly every time I went up or down stairs or when I bent down to pick up something.  Instead of doing the Insanity workouts last week, I did CrossFit workouts instead.  Those workouts don't hurt my knees at all!  I have even mastered the box jump!  The one that Jimmy built for me is the perfect height.  He also built/installed us two pull-up bars, one inside our workout room and one outside beside the driveway.  Jimmy also marked out a 1/2 mile length on our driveway, so we are all set for CrossFit at home.  By the way, I cannot pull myself up even one centimeter on the pull-up bar!

I'll post all about our week at Rustic Youth Camp really soon!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Are You Growing in Christ?

Yesterday a friend of mine on Facebook posted a link to this article:  How To Tell When You Are Growing in Christ--and When You're Not.  Excellent article!  Just click on the title and it will send you right to it.

I have been studying the book of James since the beginning of April.  I plan to begin the 90 Day Bible Reading Plan again on July 1.  In the meantime, I am going to read Colossians 3:1-17 daily.  Maybe more than once a day.  This article has convicted me and inspired me.

What do you think after reading it?

The closer we get to the light, the more imperfections we see.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Twenty Years Ago!

Yes, I know that this is the same wedding picture that I put up every year.  I have only two wedding pictures scanned (by Jimmy), and I have no idea how to take old pictures and scan them into the computer!

It is so hard to believe that we have been married for twenty years.  Like Kelly said last night at his 40th birthday party...that's half his life!  It's almost half my life (I'm 41).  We have lived in eight houses/apartments/student housing since we have been married.  We lived in Jackson and the surrounding area for the first 9 years while Jimmy completed his medical training. (His first year of med school was when I was a senior in college.)  We lived in Corinth for 7 months, and now we have been in the Tupelo area for 11 years this October.  We have lived the longest in the house we are currently living in.  Unless something really strange happens, we will never move again.

In some ways the twenty years have flown by, and in some ways I cannot remember my life before I was married.  It has been a wonderful twenty years!  God has blessed me with a fantastic husband, and I am grateful for him every single day!

Monday, June 20, 2011

How To Schedule Your Homeschool Year

I have a blog post today at The Homeschool Classroom.  In my post, I list several different scenarios for scheduling your homeschool year--different combinations of weeks for school and days off for vacation time.  I think that when most people begin homeschooling, they automatically think that they have to follow the traditional school-year calendar.  While that is certainly one effective way to schedule your school year, you are not confined to that calendar.  Each family needs to consider their husband's (and sometimes the mother's too) work schedule as well as their personal preferences when choosing a school year schedule that works best for them.

Please click here to read about a few different choices of school calendars.

In just five days, our family will be beginning one part of our school calendar that everyone enjoys--5 weeks off!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Saturday

Busy, busy, busy.  That's how it's been around here!

This morning began with Jimmy taking Olivia, Julie, Clay, and two of the girls' friends who spent the night running at 7:00.  I stayed home with Leah and Sam and ran on the treadmill and did an Insanity workout.  My knees have really been bothering me, so today I did not do any exercises that required both feet leaving the floor at the same time.  Instead I just substituted another non-impact exercise for each of those 30 second to 1 minute intervals.  I did squats and two different weight lifting arm exercises.  I plan to do substitutions like this from now on during the Insanity workouts.  I am so happy that I was able to do the jumps (power jumps, globe jumps, basketball drills, ski jumps, etc.), but for the health of my knees, and to prevent me from injuring myself to the point of not being able to run, I am going to continue the modifications.

Next, I took Leah and Sam to a picnic at Trace State Park, which was hosted by our friends, the Guptas.  We enjoyed great food and fun company.  The children played near the lake and found all kinds of treasures like frogs and fish heads.  Thankfully, Leah nor Sam touched the fish head!  The Guptas are originally from India, and after I told Shruti that we had just finished studying the Eastern Hemisphere, and that my children had all kinds of questions for her and her husband, she invited us over to look at her saris and other Indian items.  The Guptas have already hosted us in their home for an authentic Indian meal.  It was delicious!

After the picnic, I returned home to deposit Leah and Sam with Olivia and Julie and take their friends home.  (Meanwhile, Jimmy took Clay to visit his parents and other family). Then I ran many, many errands preparing for our upcoming Rustic Youth Camp.  I am helping to teach 21 five and six year olds (Sam's class).  My Bible lessons on the day I am teaching are Jesus calling the Twelve Disciples and Jesus' first miracle, turning the water into wine.  I bought all of my supplies today for those lessons as well as all that I would need for crafts on my teaching day.  I also did a little bit of birthday shopping for Julie while I was out.  Her birthday is coming up in July.  We just got a Joann's store, so I spent a good bit of time in there checking it out.

I picked up a Father's Day present for Jimmy and stopped by Kroger for a few things for his Father's Day lunch tomorrow.  Lastly, I picked up pizza for supper, because it was close to 7:00 PM before I arrived back home.

After our pizza dinner, Clay and Jimmy cut the grass while the girls and I tidied up the entire house, cleaned our kitchen (it had not been cleaned all day!), folded and put away lots and lots of clean clothes, and wrapped Jimmy's Father's Day gifts.

Now everyone is in bed!

I leave you with a recipe for Shrimp Scampi.  This is a little bit different than how I normally make this dish--it was delicious!

Shrimp Scampi

1 pound angel hair pasta, cooked
2 pounds shrimp
2 sticks butter 
4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp. jarred minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. (or more) Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt

Melt butter in skillet.  Saute garlic for just a minute.  Add other ingredients except for shrimp and pasta.  Let simmer a few minutes and then add shrimp.  Cook shrimp until pink. Pour sauce and shrimp over drained pasta.  Taste and add more Jane's Salt if needed.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Back to School One Last Time

Jimmy has been off for a couple of days, but today he went back to work and so are we!  We have eight more days of school for this official school year.  We are going to work very, very hard and and finish up our 2010-2011 school year on June 24.  That will give me about 5 weeks to clean out and prepare for the upcoming school year, which will begin on August 1st.  Also during those five weeks we have a week of Rustic Youth Camp, Vacation Bible School, running camp, and our family beach vacation.  I will squeeze in school planning when I can!

Although we will finish all of our grammar, writing, science, and math on June 24, I will still be reading aloud to the children all summer.  We will be finishing The Hobbit, Heidi, and two other Sonlight books for Leah.  I also plan to drill addition and subtraction flashcards with Leah a few days each week.

I want a blog makeover!

Do you have any suggestions?  I am not too computer savvy, but I have been able to successfully install LeeLou backgrounds in the past, but it really takes a long time.  I prefer low cost or free!  I enjoy reading a blog that is visually appealing (pretty!).  So, if you have any words of wisdom, please share!

Monday, June 13, 2011

What A Weekend!

Our fun-filled weekend began early Saturday morning as we travelled to the Pratts community for the Frog Level 5K.  Jimmy, Leah, and I ran this race.  This was Leah's very first 5K!  She was so excited and nervous!  She has been training for a few months now.  It really is hard to run in Mississippi heat and humidity, but Leah was a trooper!

Her finishing time was 37:05, which was way ahead of her goal of beating 40 minutes (I knew she would beat that time!).  We walked about every 1/2 mile, and I carried Gatorade for her to drink at the 1/2 mile and 1 mile point.  I dropped the Gatorade on the side of the road (near a policeman blocking a cross road) for us to pick up on the way back (the 2 mile point of the race).  They had water at the 1.5 mile turn-around point.  When we got back to the 2 mile marker, our Gatorade was squished!  A car had run off the road and flattened it!  I encouraged Leah that we could make it to the finish line without a drink (what choice did we have?), and she did great!  She was hot, but she never complained...she just pushed through and kept on running!

Leah won first place in the under 10 age group!  We are all so proud of her!

Just before the race began

As we were approaching the finish, some of Leah's supporters ran in with her.

Getting close to the finish line

Hot and tired after the race

Leah with her 1st Place trophy!

Jimmy tried again to break 20, and again, go so close!!  20:10 was his time!  That is still so fast, and I know that he will soon reach his goal.

After the race, we went home, packed up and headed to Memphis.  Of course we stopped by Target, and I bought some new plastic baskets/bins for the children's school books.  We call these "work buckets".  I have been using 18 qt. dishpans for work buckets for about 7 years now, but they are starting to crack.  I have looked all over town for some new dishpans, but all I have found are 12 qt. ones.  Those are too small.  At Target I found stackable basket/crate type containers with wheels!  They had pretty colors too!  When I get them loaded with the school books I will take pictures.

We checked in our hotel (what a highlight for Leah and Sam to stay in a hotel!), we went to downtown Memphis for the Gibson Guitar 5K race.  Jimmy ran this race too, along with Olivia, Julie, and Clay.  The race began on Beale Street.  As we were waiting for the 7:00 PM start, all of a sudden a huge storm blew in!  There was lightning, loud thunder, and then the rain.  Buckets of rain!  The race began amid these conditions, and Leah, Sam, and I were left drenched, looking for some shelter.  We found a parking garage near the finish line, so we were able to watch the race there.  Every single person--all 1500 runners and the spectators-- were soaking wet!  In spite of the horrible conditions, my family still ran well.  Olivia and Julie both got a trophy, and Clay was not too far from a personal record!  I will post their times in the Race Results sidebar.

We got back to our hotel around 10:30.  Sunday morning we worshipped at the East Shelby Church of Christ with Jimmy's cousins and their families.  We also ran into a family that used to worship with us in Tupelo...they live in the Memphis area now.  We joined Jimmy's family for lunch (along with about 100 other people from their congregation) at Shelby Farms.  After a delicious BBQ lunch, the children played on the new (and very neat!) playground at Shelby Farms.  I plan to take the children back there when it is not so hot!

We arrived home just in time to unload the van, unpack, start the washer, and head back to town for worship at our local church.  After our church service we joined about 20 of our church family members for a CrossFit workout at the park.  What a workout!!

Last night's CrossFit workout:
Warm-up--Burpee Dodgeball.  If you got hit by the ball, you had to do 10 burpees.  I think I did 60!
The Workout--1/4 mile run followed by 21, 15, and 9 repetitions of dead lifts and thrusters.  The final exercise was 21 burpees.  As we were doing the final burpees, I heard Lynn exclaim, "I just ate grass!"  Tough workout.  We were timed, and I completed my round in 11:19.  I am not sure I had the best form for the dead lifts (I think my total weight was #65), because my lower back is hurting.  At my age, something is always hurting after a workout!

We arrived home from the workout about 10:15, I think, and I got everyone fed, bathed, and in bed by about 11:15.  A late night!

What a weekend!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Insanity Day 31

I did it!

I am still walking around!  In fact, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be!  I surprised myself.  I made it through the entire warm-up without having to stop.  Then we did the max interval training which is 3 minutes of a series of exercises (45 seconds per exercise) with a 30 second break in between.  I think we did 4 or maybe 6 sets of the 3 minute torture followed by the 30 second try to catch your breath so you won't aspirate the water Shaun T. keeps telling you to drink!.  I lost count.  The total workout was 56 minutes. 

There were some new variations of push-ups that I couldn't master (some I just couldn't even do more than one or two of)--how many variations of the push-up can Shaun T. come up with?  So I just did the best I could on those moves and substituted with the push-ups that I can do after I tried and failed at the new kinds.  I plan to master those push-ups!

Here are some pictures of Jimmy's latest handy work.

 the new pull-up bar
On the floor, you can see the mat that I do the Insanity on.

This is the plyometric (jump) box.

The main box is 16 inches tall (perfect for Lynn, me and the other girls).  In the background you can see a 4 inch insert which will make the box 20 inches tall (for the men).

the 4 inch insert

the plyo box at 20 inches tall

painted and almost finished--Jimmy has to put a carpet covering on the top so we won't slip when we jump up on the box

Today is NOT a vacation day.  Jimmy went back to work today, so we are getting ready to do school.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Insanity Day 30

Here is Shaun T.'s quote for today: (about 25 minutes into the workout)

If you are fatigued, then you just have to be stronger and push through it!

Now that is a good motto for every day life!  I am going to have to remind myself of that quote tomorrow when I begin phase two of Insanity.

Today I finished the first phase of the Insanity workouts.  The last six workouts have been the same thing:  Core Cardio and Balance.  I have really enjoyed these workouts, because I CAN do the entire workout!  These workouts serve as a bridge between phase one (regular insane workouts) and phase two, called MAX insanity workouts (super insane workouts!).

I previewed tomorrow's workout, and my mouth was literally hanging open as I saw what I will be attempting tomorrow.  I may end up in the hospital!  Over the next 24 workouts, there are five new workouts plus the Core Cardio and Balance that I just completed.  The new workouts have names like--Max Interval Circuit Training, Max Plyometric Circuit, Max Cardio Conditioning, Max Cardio Recovery, and Insane Abs.

I'll blog tomorrow if I live to tell about it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Our Vacation

Jimmy is off until Friday of this week, so we have had a vacation!  We chose to stay home and work and play around the house.  We are having a Gospel Meeting at our church this week, so we are attending worship services nightly all week.

Monday we cleaned our entire house from top to bottom.  Everyone helped, and then Jimmy and Clay also did all of the outside mowing and yard work as well.  We had signed up to feed the visiting preacher on Monday night, so the girls and I prepared supper while the boys did the outside work.

Yesterday I did loads and loads of laundry, ran and did an Insanity workout, played with the kids in the pool, and read.  Jimmy and Clay built a pull-up bar in our our workout room and began constructing two plyo (jump) boxes.  Clay's metal detector that he ordered (he has been working very hard and saving money for quite a while now to buy the metal detector) came in yesterday afternoon.  He searched for treasures outside until it was time to go to our church service last night.  After our service we joined a couple of other people and our guest preacher at our regular preacher's house for dessert and coffee.  Another night of getting the children to bed at 11:00 PM!

This morning Jimmy and I met Kelly, Lynn, Amber, and our guest preacher (he did CrossFit with us and ran 3 miles with Lynn and Kelly Monday night too!) at 6:00 AM to run 10 miles. We had a great run!  One of the fastest us girls have run in a while.  When Jimmy and I arrived home around 8:20, Clay and Sam were already in the yard with the metal detector, searching away!

The rest of today's plan includes folding all of the clothes I washed yesterday, reading, and finishing up my schoolbook ordering for next year.  Jimmy plans to finish the plyo boxes, and we are meeting Lynn, Kelly, the guest preacher, and some others too at a local Mexican restaurant for supper before our church service.

I love a vacation spent at home!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Did A CrossFit Workout!

Well, I finally gave CrossFit a try.

A group of people from my church family gathers every Sunday and Wednesday night after our church service to "do CrossFit".  They have been doing this for quite a while now, and a few weeks ago Clay and Jimmy started joining them for a workouts.  Next, Olivia and Julie gave it a try.  Kelly has been doing it for a couple of months, and Lynn started doing some workouts with them as well.

I held out as long as I could!

I was afraid of the intensity of the workouts.  I made excuses....I am a runner, not a crossfitter; I am doing Insanity--isn't that enough of a challenge to my comfort zone of running mile after mile; the workouts are too late at night for me to be out with my younger children; etc.

Sunday night I joined them.

We warmed up with a 1/2 mile run followed by a series of squats, "duck walks", push-ups, and some kind of pull-up exercise (I forgot the official name--we hung from a bar and pulled our knees up to our chests).  Next came the workout.  We were divided into groups of 4 or 5, and each group did 10 minutes of the prescribed routine.  John (our leader) explained the moves and the order in which we were to do them.  We were assigned a partner to count our repetitions, and then John started the clock.

This was the workout.  We did the following as many times as we could in 10 minutes.

1.  15 box jumps (you know that very tall box that you see on The Biggest Loser--we had to jump up on it 15 times.)  I completed 15 jumps (holding with one hand on my counting partner's arm for balance---I am scared to death of jumping on that box!  I tried once last week when I was just watching the CrossFit workout, and I landed on the box and then fell backwards right back off!)  After my first rotation, I just did 15 step-ups for the rest of the rotations.  Jimmy is building two jump boxes right now, so I can practice!
2.  15 sit ups
3.  shoulder presses (or whatever they are called) until you can't do anymore  I was given 10 pound dumbbells to lift up and down as many reps as I could before giving out.  For the first rotation, knees stay locked.  For the second rotation, we could bend our knees while lifting, and for the third rotation, we did some sort of combination of bending our knees while lifting, standing up straight, and then bending again at the end of the lift.  I think I got it right!

We repeated steps 1-3, alternating the different types of shoulder presses with each round. Our counter kept up with how many shoulder presses that we did, and that number was our total score for the workout.  I did 90.  The next day John informed us that anyone who completed more than 60 presses would have to increase their weight next time.  What a reward!

Now for the crazy part.  I pushed myself (my girls and Lynn like to say that I am competitive, which I usually deny), and I paid for it!  By the time we got home, I felt terrible!  As terrible as I felt after that very first Insanity workout that I did when I quit Insanity (for a couple of days!).  But I am not going to quit CrossFit.  I surprised myself by liking the workouts.  I really don't know that much about what we will be doing at each workout, but from what I understand, there is a different exercise each time that will be counted and timed.  I think the box jump is in a lot of the workouts (that's why I have to master that thing once Jimmy gets it built!).  I am not sure if I can workout with the group every Sunday and Wednesday night--it does make for a late night out with the children--but I definitely want to do it at least once a week.

How's your exercising going?

Running With the King 5K

Last Saturday Jimmy and Clay ran our local annual Elvis Festival 5K run, called Running With the King.  Olivia was out of town with a friend, and sadly, Julie was sick!  She began running a fever and coughing on Friday morning.  She was so disappointed!  This is the one 5K that she has run every single year since she began running.  I simply chose not to run this race.  Lynn and I ran three miles before the race, and then we watched, cheered, and took a few pictures.

It was so hot!

This is the beginning of the race.

Jimmy and Clay after the race.  Their clothes were soaking wet!

Jimmy set a PR (personal record) in this race!  20:04.  He really, really wants to break 20 minutes in a race.  I know that he will meet that goal soon!

Clay, Sam, and Leah with the King!

Clay with his "trophy" for finishing 1st in his age group--a Polar Bottle with the Elvis Festival logo on the side.  Our family really likes these Polar Bottles!
Jimmy won a Polar Bottle too (2nd place in age group), but I failed to get a picture of him with his.

Next race(s):
June 11--Frog Level 5K (Jimmy, Leah and Me)
June 11--Gibson Guitar 5K (Jimmy, Olivia, Julie, and Clay)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lamplighter Books

A couple of weeks ago my friend Lynn and I attended the annual Mississippi Home Educators Conference at my alma mater, Mississippi State University.  We had a fabulous time---just us girls--and we were joined by Jimmy's cousin for part of the time.  We attended several "key-note speaker" sessions, and I also attended a workshop about preparing your child for the ACT.  We visited with friends, went for a 5 mile run around campus, ate supper at our favorite college restaurant, and stayed up late in our hotel room, talking!

Mark Hamby of Lampligher Publishing was the keynote speaker, and he was excellent!  What a moving speaker.  I was laughing and crying, sometimes at the same time.  He honestly shared his life story and how "good books" changed his life.  I must admit that I had not heard of Lamplighter books before the conference.  I am not sure how I have missed them.  Well, actually, we did own one Lamplighter book, The Three Weavers, but I did not know that it was part of a collection of good books.

I bought 12 books from the Lamplighter Publishing collection of 150 books.  Part of the conference special when buying 12 books was to get one more book free along with two dramatic audio CDs free as well.  So, to the delight of my older girls, I came home with 13 books and 2 CDs.  They have already each read three or four of the new books, and we listened to both of the CDs in the van during our recent trip to visit my parents.

These books and CDs are life changing!  The characters in these books exhibit such integrity.  I know that the books are fiction, but I can't help but think that real people who lived during the time period that these books were written were somehow different than most people who live today.  The "good guys" in these books are moral, courageous, have Biblical knowledge, and they live lives of such integrity. 
We may never again listen to a "book on tape".  These audio drama CDs are just that--audio dramas!  It is not just an interesting voice reading the book.  There is dramatic background music and other sound effects, plus different voices for each character.  The CDs are excellent!

The first Lamplighter book that I have completed is called That Printer of Udell's.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!  
I am currently reading A Peep Behind the Scenes.  I hope to make time to read all 13 of the books that I bought (I have so much Sonlight reading to do too).  I am modifying my "booklist" for 2011 to include these 13 books.

I plan to collect these Lamplighter books for our home.  Lamplighter Publishing offers a bookclub, and I am looking into joining that after my girls have read the first set of books that I bought.

What are you reading?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cleaning Out the Dreaded Rooms

First of all, here are some pictures of my newly organized bookshelves in our den.  Some of the shelves on the right half are holding the Sonlight books.

Here is a close-up of some of the Sonlight books.  Those colored stickers on the bottom of each book designate the book's core and whether it is a reader, a read aloud, or a history/geography book.

an even closer picture
These books are from Core B, and they are read alludes.

I am exhausted!

I have tackled two major clean-out and organize projects this week.  The storage room and the secret room.  The secret room is an unfinished area that is accessed through a closet in one of my daughter's bedrooms.  For over six years, we have just tossed things into that room.  Things that we wanted to keep (most of it, anyway), but just didn't quite know what to do with.  Whenever I would clean out a closet in a child's bedroom, I would put all of the stuff that I wanted to keep (for grandchildren) in the secret room.  The girls also placed many, many items in there too.  You could not see the floor!

And I forgot to take before pictures, but trust me, it was cluttered!

I had some really good help in cleaning out both of these rooms.  I cleaned and organized each room for four hours on two different days this week-- I had a hired teenager to help me on the both days, and also Clay helped me on the second day.  They were my go-fers, and that saved me a ton of time.  They vacuumed, moved things, took out trash, and hauled all of the "give away" stuff to the garage.  I would not have been able to accomplish all that I did without their help.

Here are some after pictures.
Remember, you could not see the floor before I began!

Those are Chubbs baby wipe containers stacked up on the left.  I collected them for the entire time that Olivia and Julie were in diapers.  They stopped making them right when Clay was born.  
Those are baby toys on the right and at the end (things I am saving), and also on the left are two bookshelves that are holding plastic storage boxes of various items.

the bookshelves

the Chubbs blocks

the other end of the secret room on the left

the right side

just another picture showing the clean floor!

Now here are pictures of the storage room.  I have to clean out this room about every 6 months.  Stuff gets piled in here too.  It wasn't nearly as bad as the secret room, but it still required four hours to get it into shape.

No before pictures of this room either!

I printed out new labels for my plastic storage boxes.  I previously had them numbered, but the cats shredded my master list that told what was in each box.  I just printed the contents on each label.
That table is for bow making.

cleaned-off shelves!

I like seeing the bare floor!

I keep my not currently used school books on this shelf.

Now the rest of my house looks like a bomb exploded!  You know how it is....when you are cleaning one area, the other rooms are neglected and stuff just multiplies!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wrapping Up Your Homeschool Year

Click here to visit.

Today I have an article posted on The Homeschool Classroom site.  You can click on the link underneath the picture above to read it.

In today's post I shared some ideas about wrapping up your school year--something we all need to do once a year, whether we school year round or take a full summer off.

I hope you enjoy the post!