Sunday, October 30, 2011

Getting Ready for the New Week

Our fall break week last week went by in a blur!  I accomplished a lot, however, I did not complete every single thing on my "to do" list.  I will just have to save it until our December break.  I stayed so busy last week that I only turned on my computer to post my running miles on Daily Mile.  No blogging!  I still have pictures and stories to share about Nationals, Spartan shaving cream fun practice and Spartan Crazy Hair and Sock practice.  We also had our end of the season Spartan pizza party last night, and Olivia, Julie, and Clay ran a 5K yesterday morning.  All of the pictures documenting these events are on Jimmy's computer, and I plan to make time to catch up really soon!

We will begin school tomorrow, bright and early!  Thankfully, this upcoming week is a 25 mile running week for me, and so I do not have to run tomorrow morning.  In fact, I am only running two days this week:  Tuesday--5 and Thursday--20.  Then, the following week I have 47 miles, which is the peak week of marathon training.

We are going to make a minor change in our schedule this week, to see if it will work.  I am finding that each afternoon when we are all done with our schoolwork, everyone (including me) is too tired to think about cleaning house.  We are able to pick up the house each afternoon before supper and put away our clean laundry, but frequently I have not required the children (nor myself) to do our daily cleaning chores.  So what happens is that after a week or more of our neglecting to clean the bathrooms, vacuum, or dust, the house is really dirty, and it takes an entire day to get caught up.  After spending two days of our fall break cleaning house, I decided that there has to be a better way!  So, this is what we are going to try starting tomorrow morning.

Each morning after our regular chores/Bible reading/breakfast, we are going to do our daily cleaning chore before we begin our school day.  Currently my goal is to begin each school day at 8:00 AM.  Now, I am aiming for 8:30, which should give us enough time to do some housework.  I am committing to trying this for one entire school week.  I will reevaluate after Friday to see if this is something that we want to stick with.

I have a laminated chore chart hanging inside our pantry door.  There are rectangles for each child and me under each day of the week.  Each box has a chore listed. We simply mark off the jobs as we complete them.  At the end of the week, I wipe the chart clean, and we are ready to begin again.

I spent some time Saturday making a monthly menu.  I considered shopping for a month's worth of groceries, and even began making a list, but I decided that it is just too much for me to tackle.  I am not sure I have storage for that much food, and with Thanksgiving coming up, I knew that I would be making trips to the grocery store for specialty I plan to shop tonight after our church service for just one week's worth of groceries, just like always. I am glad to have such a large list of supper ideas to choose from.  I have had the same grocery list for years.  I print off about ten of them at a time.  This grocery list is simply a list in column format (in teeny-tiny font) of all items that I buy at the grocery store.  I have the list grouped by aisle, in the order that I walk through the store.  Each week I highlight what I need to buy and I write the quantity out to the side if I need more than one.

I hope all of you have a fantastic week!

Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Monday, October 24, 2011

We're Having a Fall Break!

Hooray!  It's our annual Fall Break from school.  Jimmy is off for the week, and we are all so excited to have a little bit of down time.  We have completed 45 days of school so far this year. My goal is to complete 180, so we are about a quarter of the way through.

Today we began our day by running 10 miles!  I ran my 10 on the treadmill (it's really not as bad it sounds!), and Jimmy took Olivia, Julie, and Clay to meet three friends to run in town.  The children are training for the St. Jude Half Marathon, and Jimmy and I are still running more and more miles each week in preparation for the St. Jude Marathon.  By the way, I will NOT be running another marathon anytime soon.  I hope to meet my goal time of having a 4 in my finish time (as in any time under 4 hours, 59 minutes), and then I am going to take a little break from long runs.  I think I want to try the Insanity workouts again, but this time do the workouts just like they are prescribed.  60 days of Insanity only, without supplementing the workouts with runs.

After running, we went to our mall's food court for lunch.  Yum!  Then Jimmy took Leah, Sam, and Clay to run some errands and then go home while Olivia, Julie, and I went shopping for the girls a new Sunday dress.  After HOURS of shopping at several stores, I have concluded that modest, stylish dresses for young girls are not in style nor available!  We finally found each of them one dress, but it took hours!  I also did a little bit of Christmas shopping for Leah, and we went to Hobby Lobby for the girls to buy supplies for their gift-making.

Jimmy and the children he had with him visited an elderly man from our church family today while we were shopping.  He had just put his wife in the nursing home today, so I hope that their visit cheered him up.  Mr. Neaves mentioned that he wanted some bacon, so Jimmy went to town and picked him up some....and also bought bacon and the other items needed for us to have BLTs for supper!  When we got home from our shopping, Julie and I prepared the sandwiches, and they were delicious!  Unhealthy food can taste so good sometimes!

The rest of our week includes two last cross country practices, each one with a fun theme or activity.  Tomorrow's practice is Shaving Cream Fun (in which I will NOT participate), and Thursday's practice is Crazy Hair and Sock Day (in which I MAY participate).  Our official cross country season for Fall 2011 concludes Saturday with our end of the year pizza party.  I hope to have pictures from all three occasions, and I plan to blog a little bit about each event.

Also this week I plan to go through each child's clothes and weed out what no longer fits, what is out of season, and go through the hand-me-downs and fall/winter clothes in storage. I also need to clean out my closet!

For this week's marathon training, I have to run a total of 45 miles.  This week's long run is 20 miles, which I will be running with Jimmy, Lynn, Kelly, Esther, and Heather.  I could never run this distance alone!

Thursday night we are having some dear friends of ours over for dinner, and Friday I plan to take dinner to Season (one of Jimmy's first cousins that lives here in town) in honor of the birth of her first baby.  He is one week old today!

Hopefully tomorrow I will blog all about our recent experience at the National Homeschool Cross Country Championship.  We drove over 800 miles this past weekend to Springfield, Missouri, and back for this event.  We took many, many pictures, and it was a memorable trip.

I think that's about all I have planned for the addition to some housecleaning, laundry and catching up on the ironing.

I am glad to have a Fall Break!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Holiday Hint #3

Here are today's hints:

1.  Decide what homemade/handmade gifts you and your children will be making and make a list of the needed supplies.
2.  Shop for the supplies.
3.  Plan a day to actually work on these gifts (even if it is a baked good, and cannot be made until later in December).  Put the day/days on the calendar!  Maybe you need to work on them once or twice a week, or set aside a Saturday for crafting/baking.  Plan it.
4.  Order Christmas cards if you need to.
5.  Buy stamps.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scripture Memory

I first made my Bible Memory Box about a year and a half ago.  We have used it almost every single day since then!  It has definitely been worth the little bit of time that it took to set it all up.  I have a blog post describing how I set it up, and you can read it by clicking here.  Last summer I finally bought a filing box to put all of the dividers and index cards in.

I feel like it is very important for both my children and me to memorize Scripture.  One of the verses we have learned is "Thy Word I have hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee."  (Psalm 119:11)  I usually have two verses for the children to learn each week.  One is a short verse that begins with the letter of the alphabet that Sam is learning.  Leah (and the other children too) learned these verses two years ago when she was in kindergarten, and Sam remembers a lot of them since we drill them regularly.  The other verse we work on each week is either a longer passage of 2-4 verses, or a portion of an even longer passage of Scripture, like an entire chapter.  We began learning Psalm 103 at the beginning of our school year.  By drilling it daily, even Leah and Sam can say most of it with a little bit of prompting.

I am constantly amazed at how well my children recall around 100 Bible passages since we are drilling them daily.  It only takes about 5 minutes each morning, and of course that is time well spent!

I challenge you to set up your own Memory Box!

Psalm 103

A Psalm of David.
 1 Bless the LORD, O my soul;
         And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
         And forget not all His benefits:
 3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
         Who heals all your diseases,
 4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
         Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
 5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
         So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 
 6 The LORD executes righteousness
         And justice for all who are oppressed.
 7 He made known His ways to Moses,
         His acts to the children of Israel.
 8 The LORD is merciful and gracious,
         Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
 9 He will not always strive with us,
         Nor will He keep His anger forever.
 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
         Nor punished us according to our iniquities. 
 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
         So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
 12 As far as the east is from the west,
         So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
 13 As a father pities his children,
         So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
 14 For He knows our frame;
         He remembers that we are dust. 
 15 As for man, his days are like grass;
         As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
 16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
         And its place remembers it no more.[a]
 17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting
         On those who fear Him, 
         And His righteousness to children’s children,
 18 To such as keep His covenant,
         And to those who remember His commandments to do them. 
 19 The LORD has established His throne in heaven,
         And His kingdom rules over all. 
 20 Bless the LORD, you His angels,
         Who excel in strength, who do His word, 
         Heeding the voice of His word.
 21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
         You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
 22 Bless the LORD, all His works,
         In all places of His dominion. 
         Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Holiday Hint #2

Gift Wrapping Supplies

Wrapping gifts is one of my favorite part of the holidays.  I enjoy the pretty paper and  colorful ribbons so much!  I have bought gift wrap from a variety of places over the years, and I have found that Hobby Lobby gift wrap is my all time favorite.  It is heavy enough to not tear when you wrap a gift, but thin enough to work with.  The width of the paper is good too--not too wide or narrow.  Hobby Lobby has it on sale this week for 40% off, and I bought a few rolls yesterday.  I couldn't resist!

My favorite places to buy ribbon are or  At Paper Mart I buy the 1 1/4 inch poly satin and the 3/4 inch poly satin.  The pink color called cerise is a lovely hot pink color.  At Superior Gift Wrap I buy the Splendorette ribbon.  The green color called citrus is a fantastic lime green.  At both places I also buy curling ribbon, raffia, and tulle.  I have also bought boxes of clear bags from these sites for gifts too.  I don't order from both sites at one time, I just take inventory of my ribbon to see which colors and products I need, and then I check prices at both sites.  I shop at the one that has the best deal for what I need at the time.  Both websites also sell gift wrap.  I have bought wrapping paper from both sites in the past, and the paper is good quality, but the rolls are not very wide.  It is hard to wrap anything larger than a shirt box in their paper.

Today's Hint:
Take inventory of your gift wrapping supplies.
Make a list of what you need to buy, and plan your purchases.

This is what I make sure that I have:

  • white tissue paper (the best buy is from Sam's when they put it out)
  • a variety of brightly colored wrapping paper
  • clear tape
  • basic ribbon (1 1/4 inch) of the common colors
  • 2-3 rolls of 3/4 inch ribbon in red, lime, hot pink
  • curling ribbon in a variety of colors
  • tulle in a few colors
  • raffia in a few colors
  • gift tags (I need some cute ideas for this.....I normally just buy the stick on ones from Hobby Lobby)
  • clear bags

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Here is this week's menu.  I am trying a new recipe tonight that I found in a Southern Living holiday magazine at my parents' house.  We just got home from a visit with them--we left Thursday after cross country practice, and we came home just a while ago.  One of my grandmothers is in the hospital, so we visited her.  I also went to Target and did a little bit of Christmas shopping.  Julie had a home ec sewing lesson--helping to make a Snow White costume for Leah, and all of the children had a relaxing time at my parents' house.

Brunswick stew.  I would like to have homemade bread with this, but I don't think I have time to buy groceries and make bread before supper.  I will pick up some bread at Kroger.
leftover stew, hopefully homemade bread (lunch), and cereal, toast and/or oatmeal for supper
shrimp scampi
bean soup--I never got to cook this last week.
spaghetti with homemade sauce from the freezer
leftovers from the soup and spaghetti

Brunswick Stew

3 quarts chicken broth
1 2lb. bag frozen baby lima beans
1 2lb. bag frozen niblet corn
1 lb. red potatoes,cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup BBQ sauce
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 lbs. pulled pork, cooked

Boil broth. Add limas, corn, potatoes, and onion. Return to boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add tomatoes, BBQ sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir in pork. Simmer for 15 minutes.

I am going to try to remember to link up with Menu Monday at on Monday morning.  Please visit that site for lots of menu ideas.  Plus the entire site is an organizational inspiration!

Friday, October 14, 2011

B90 Update

I finished!

I finished my second reading of the entire Bible in 90 days on October 8th.  This time it took me exactly 90 days.  Also this time I was joined by Jimmy and Julie in this endeavor.  We all started back in July.  Julie completed the challenge in 87 days, and Jimmy in 86!  I was so happy for both of them.

Reading the Bible this quickly takes me about 45 minutes a day.  Before I actually read the Bible using this plan, I doubted its benefit.  I wondered how I would retain the information since I was reading quickly, without taking the time to take notes or study.  I learned even more the second time through!  As it says in Hebrews 4: 11-13

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

I learned so much!  I read a different version this time (the first time I read English Standard Version, and this time I read New American Standard).  I am already planning to read the Bible in 90 days again, this time beginning in January.  Will you join me?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Holiday Hint #1

Well, it's getting to be that time of year!  Time to plan for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve and Day.  I am going to try to post a tip/idea/hint/task once or twice a week for the next several weeks.  Basically, I am going to just post my own to do list, and maybe some of you can benefit from it.

1.  Locate your Christmas binder.  Make a new dividers for this year, 2011.
2.  If you have bought any gifts throughout the year, locate them, and put them in one central location.  Then write in your Christmas binder everything you have bought and who it is for.
3.  Look at your Christmas card address list, if you are sending Christmas cards.  Make any corrections, and then print out the labels.
4.  Begin thinking about your actual Christmas cards.  Have you already taken a picture that you can use?  Do you need to plan a family photo session?  Are you going to compose a family letter?  Are you going to make the cards?  Plan to buy your supplies soon.  I also plan to buy stamps as soon as they have the holiday ones available.

I think that is enough for this week!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Corinth Run With Rotary 5K

 On October 1, our whole family ran in Run With Rotary races.  Everyone but Sam did the 5K, and Sam ran the 1 mile fun run.  It was a cool morning!  Perfect temperatures for running a race.  Jimmy warmed up for the 3.1 mile race by running 11 miles.  When training for a marathon, you get the miles in whenever you can!

 Jimmy and I visiting after the race

I ran with Leah, and she had set the goal of finishing in under 34 minutes.  Her previous PR was 34:07, and she wanted to beat that by at least 8 seconds.  She ran fast!  In the middle of the race, she slowed a little bit, and I told her that we would have to pick up the pace if she wanted to beat 34 minutes.  I told her it was her choice.....and she began to run a little bit faster!  She worked hard!  

And she met her goal!  33:44!  Go Leah!  She was so happy.  And to top it all off, she won first place in her age division (totally unexpected), and she got one of the cool trophies--an actual running shoe!  Hers had pink on it, and that thrilled her even more.

 Leah with her cousin, Grace.  Leah is displaying her orange timing chip.  This is the first race that she has run that had timing chips.  She felt so official!

 Olivia and Leah trying to stay warm after the race.

 Sam approaching the finish line in the fun run!

 All smiles and eating a post-race candy bar!

 Sam's timing chip!  He took the discarded side of someone's official chip and put it on his shoe.  He was convinced that it would help him run fast.
It's still on his shoe!

Sam was so proud of himself during this race!  For a few days afterward, he would tell anyone he came in contact with that he ran a 1 mile race that was over a mile (it actually was 1.2 miles)---with no walking, no jogging!  Just running!  Go Sam!  He is now running one mile (or less) at each of our cross country practices.  He will be faster than me before I know it!

Clay and Olivia after the race

Julie with her shoe trophy!  A man's size 13!
Jimmy's trophy was the mate to this shoe.

Olivia and Clay won a shoe trophy too.  Sam said that next year he wanted to run the 5K so he could win a shoe!  We'll see about that!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jimmy's Birthday

We began the day with homemade monkey bread.  It was delicious!  We enjoyed a nice family breakfast.  We rarely eat breakfast together, so this was a treat.

 Clay and Sam, ready to eat!

 Leah, sleepy, but smiling!

 Julie and Olivia

After breakfast, we moved to the den for the present opening.  Fun!

 Sam giving his daddy a birthday hug!

Later that morning, Jimmy, Clay, and Sam joined over twenty other dads and sons for a homeschool camp out.  They had a grand time, and Kelly made sure that everyone knew that it was Jimmy's birthday!

The girls and I and some of their friends all went to see the movie Dolphin Tale and out to eat supper.  Fun night!

Saturday morning the boys packed up their campsite and went canoeing.  I took the girls to the Topper Day 5K, and Olivia, Julie, and I all ran the race.  Leah wanted to just watch this one.  I only ran it as a somewhat fun way to get in the remainder of my 39 miles for last week.  Topper Day was nice, and we had a great time!

Saturday afternoon, we all returned home!  After unpacking all of the camping gear and showering, the boys joined us for a nice evening at home.  We had supper together, and then we finally ate Jimmy's flan birthday cake.  We called it flake...cake + flan = flake!

I think Jimmy had a nice birthday weekend!  

Yum!  Yum!

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Typical School Day

I have a post today at The Homeschool Classroom.  It was suggested that some of us writers describe our typical day of homeschooling.  Hopefully to encourage the readers.  I hope that my post doesn't scare anyone!  We are very busy around here, and I run a pretty tight ship!

Here is the link.  Enjoy!  Next month I am writing about some myths of homeschooling moms (supermoms)--and how I have dispelled most of them!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

My Weekly Menu

Although it is fall, the weather here in Mississippi is still pretty HOT!  We have had some cooler temperatures at night, down in the fifties, but the days are still warming up into the eighties.  So, I am not really ready to cook soups and chili, but I am running out of options for not so hot meals that can be prepared in the crock pot while we are gone all afternoon for cross country practice.  I hope our cooler weather settles in soon!

Here is the menu for this week:

  • chicken and rice, black eyed peas, garlic bread (made my Julie's friend, Leslie)
  • shrimp stir fry, served over brown rice
  • 15 bean soup with ham (crock pot)
  • baked chicken strips, homemade macaroni and cheese, corn on cob, black eyed peas
  • pork roast sandwiches (roast made in crock pot)
  • pork roast, potato salad, slaw
  • leftovers on Friday night
You may visit for more menu ideas and recipes.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Birthday Flan

Tomorrow is Jimmy's birthday, and for his birthday cake, I decided to try a new recipe that was in our newspaper this week.  Jimmy loves flan, and I have never tried to make it before.  Olivia and Julie have, and it turned out delicious.  This recipe looked good, so instead of trying to make my usual pecan pie (that always turns out pitifully) for Jimmy's birthday, I made the flan cake instead.  We won't eat it until tomorrow, so I am not sure how it tastes!  I am posting the recipe so that if I do want to make it again in the future, I can just get the recipe from my blog instead of having to save a newspaper clipping!

Flan Cake

1 box cake mix
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup sugar

Prepare cake mix according to box directions, and set aside.
In blender, combine both milks, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract.
In skillet, cook sugar over medium heat until melted.  Do not let it burn!
Grease 12 in. cake pan (I used my new smooth-sided bundt pan) and pour caramelized sugar in the bottom.  Add cake mix batter.  Carefully and slowly pour milk and egg mixture around the sides of the cake batter in the pan.  The cake mix will rise and the milk mixture will be at the bottom of cake.
Place this pan inside a larger pan and fill the outer pan halfway with water. 
Bake at 350 for one hour.
Once the cake has cooled, refrigerate overnight.
When ready to serve, run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a serving plate.

I also made homemade monkey bread to serve for Jimmy's birthday breakfast tomorrow morning.  Yum!

This morning, Jimmy, Lynn, Kelly, Heather, Esther, and I all did our long run together.  Lynn, Kelly, and I ran 18, Esther ran 16, Heather ran 20, and Jimmy did 22.  Jimmy did his 22 miles 1 minute faster than the three of us did our 18!  I am exhausted!  Jimmy and I have been rewarding ourselves with a Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks after our long runs each week.  Lynn and Kelly joined us today in honor of Jimmy's birthday tomorrow.  

We are planning a fun morning for Jimmy tomorrow, and then he and our boys will be going on our homeschool Father/Son campout.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Feeding The Preacher

We are having a gospel meeting at our church this week (John Isaac Edwards is our speaker, and he is doing a fantastic job!), and as usual, I signed up to feed the preacher one night.  You know what that means......clean the house!

Not that the preacher is coming over to inspect the house, but hosting the visiting preacher in my home for a meal twice a year is an excuse for me to do some deep and thorough cleaning of my house.  We spent most of the day Monday and a little bit of yesterday doing just that.  We cleaned the entire house from top to bottom.  It is not often that my whole house is all clean in one day!  I also trimmed the overgrown shrubs, Clay and Jimmy mowed the yard, and we all pitched in to scrub, scrub, scrub!  And cook.  While Clay was sweeping out the garage, he asked me, "Is the preacher really going to look at our garage?"  Ha!  I told him that actually the preacher would probably not even leave the den/kitchen area, but it made me feel better to know that the house was clean!

Well, John came for dinner last night, and he did not look at the garage.  But, we had an enjoyable meal, and we all had a good time getting to know him better.  And I am so glad that my house is clean!