Thursday, December 27, 2012

Just Do the Next Thing

My list grows longer by the minute.  I keep thinking of one more task, one more phone call, one more project.  There are Christmas decorations to take down, children's rooms to clean, gifts to put away, errands to run, plans for the upcoming year to make, and of course in the midst of it all the normal cooking and cleaning and laundry must continue.  Additionally,  I want to enjoy these next several days with my family while we are taking a break from school.

Where do we begin?  In God's Word.  That is always the place to begin, and it's the best way to begin each day, no matter how busy your day is.  Quiet time alone (or with a small child or baby beside you or in your lap when necessary--I still have days like that!) to read your Bible, copy Scripture into a journal, list items on your thankful list, and pray; that is the way to jumpstart your day.  In the busyness of daily life we may be tempted to skip this time, but it is so important!  We really cannot afford to begin our day without time in God's Word.

One little hint:  when you are reading your Bible, praying, writing in a journal, etc., you may find that your head is full of your plans for the day.  Keep a notebook with you, and jot down each distraction as it pops into your mind.  Then you don't have to focus on that in fear of forgetting to do it later.  It will be on the list.  After writing it down, you can quickly get back to focusing on God's Word.

Next, make your list.  Keep your notebook nearby as you go throughout your day.  Write down things as you think of them.  Some items on my list I assign to a particular day, and some items are all listed on one page.

Then,  just do the next thing.  And do the next thing again, and again.  Stop periodically to play with your children or read them a book.  Some times I set my timer on days like this--30 minutes of work followed by 30 minutes of play.  My kids call this a pleaning day--a little bit of playing, a little bit of cleaning.  It may seem like taking breaks during your work will waste time, but I find that I am actually more productive and the day is more enjoyable when I schedule breaks into my day.

My goal for today is to take down all of our Christmas decorations.  I would love to accomplish more than that today, but I am being realistic.  I also have 6 or 7 miles to run, a couple of phone calls to make, and two errands to run.

So for today, just do the next thing!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

This has been a really fun day!  The children woke up before 6:00 AM, but we began our celebration around 6:05.  We have opened presents and enjoyed delicious food all day.  The house is a wreck, but we are all about to get ready for bed.  The mess will be there tomorrow, and no one wants to clean on Christmas Day!

Tomorrow I have to resume my final weeks of marathon training with a 10 mile run.  Maybe that will burn off all of the holiday food I have enjoyed today!  I don't think I will take down the tree tomorrow, but I do hope to straighten up the house.

I hope your day was a good one too!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Making My List and Checking It Twice

We had a super Johnson family Christmas party last night!  Lots of family members attended.....I think I counted 46.  The girls crafted Christmas ornaments, the boys played legos and blocks, the adults visited and passed around Millie Janalee (Russ and Megan's 5 month old baby), and everyone ate delicious food and enjoyed one another's company.  Jimmy and I took numerous pictures, including a group photo, but they are on Jimmy's camera, and I can't download them right now (I think the battery in the camera is being recharged).  Anyway, I will share pictures from the fun night later on!

I got to bed around 12:45 AM, and my alarm went off at 5:30 AM.  I was NOT ready to get up!  But my running shoes were calling me, and Lynn and Esther were planning to meet me.  22 miles.  It was freezing out there--32 degrees when we began, and the wind was so strong.  There were times that we were almost blown off the street!  Esther stopped around mile 9 (she ran 20 yesterday), and Lynn and I struggled to finish out the 22.  We stopped three times at our friends the Claytons' house, and every time I wanted to just curl up on their couch with a cup of coffee!  But we pressed on.  And on.  And on.  We had to walk a lot at the end--my knee started hurting, and we were just both tired.  But we finally finished!  4 hours, 20 minutes.  I am really hoping that the magic of Disney will carry us through this marathon!

I am so tired and sore that I cannot get off of my couch.  I have already taken a short nap, and now I am making my final to-do lists.  I have a grocery list, a gift wrapping list, a cooking list, and a general to-do list made.  I assigned tasks to each day, today through Monday.  I hope that I can make homemade cinnamon rolls tonight.  That is part of our Christmas Day menu, and I would like to make them today and put them into the freezer.

While Lynn and I were running today, I lamented the fact that this holiday season has not flowed the way I wanted it to.  This whole year has thrown me for a small loop, and I am already planning on how next year I will be more organized, and I will work on Christmas projects all year long--beginning this January!  I have forgotten several things this December, including gifts and crafts, and I have not had the time I like to have for just enjoying the season.  We haven't put together any puzzles or played any games this month.  I have just been too busy!  And I don't like that.  I am looking forward to visiting with my parents and my brothers and their families this weekend and later visiting with Jimmy's family too, but I am really looking forward to Christmas Day--a day when I will enjoy a long leisurely day with my family.  Watching the children and Jimmy open their gifts, playing with them with their new toys, drinking mocha punch and coffee all day, and preparing a special meal for my family--all in my pajamas.

I'm going to work on my list now if I can get up!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Sewing Surprise

I had another nice surprise yesterday.  The man from the sewing repair store called me to tell me that he had fixed my serger, and I could pick it up!  Wow!  I didn't even know that my serger was in the shop.  It had stopped working Sunday while I was in the middle of my sewing.  Unknown to me, Jimmy and Julie took it to the sewing store on Monday.  I stopped in the middle of my holiday cooking to drive to town and pick up my serger!  I was so happy!  A super surprise!

Last night after I got all of the children to bed, I finished my sewing project.  And the fact that I had a perfectly working serger made the work go super fast!  I can't share pictures until after the gifts are opened, but it really isn't that big of a deal.  The big deal is that while I planned this project back in the summer, I did not make time to work on it until very recently.  I hope that my family members are not expecting anything really fantastic, but I truly enjoyed sewing my gifts!

Today's plan includes folding a mountain of laundry, cleaning up my sewing mess, and wrapping lots of presents.

Happy Holidays to you!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Making Christmas Treats

Today was a kitchen day for us!  I had planned to just bake and decorate sugar cookies today, but the cooking session went so well, that we just went ahead and did all of our Christmas treat cooking.  We made and packaged 65 tins and bags!  We also saved a sampling of each item plus almost all of the sugar cookies for our family to enjoy.  After this marathon session in the kitchen, I made a salad for supper!

This is what we made:  sugar cookies, reindeer food, seasoned oyster crackers and rice krispie goodies.

Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup softened butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda

Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg, vanilla, and almond.  Mix. Gradually add the flour and baking soda.  Divide dough into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill for at least two hours.  Preheat oven to 375.  Roll cookie dough on a floured surface and use cookie cutters to make various shapes.  Bake cookies for 8 minutes.  Move to wire racks to cool.

1 box powdered sugar
2-4 Tbs. milk
2 Tbs. meringue powder

Beat icing mixture until the desired consistency is reached.  You can divide the icing into smaller bowls and use food coloring or paste to color it.  Spread on cooled cookies.

I usually double this recipe.  Today we made stars, circles, stockings, trees, gingerbread girls and boys, and candy canes.
rolling out the dough for the sugar cookies

 cutting out the cookies

cookies waiting to be iced

cookies cooling

decorating the cookies

some beautiful cookies

some more pretty cookies

Rice Krispie Goodies
(my favorite!)

6 cups rice krispies
1 cup sugar
1 cup light karo syrup
1 cup peanut butter
1 bag chocolate chips
1 bag butterscotch chips

Cook sugar, syrup, and peanut butter in a saucepan over medium low heat.  Pour this mixture over the rice krispies and stir until well combined.   Press into a 9 x 13 glass dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Microwave the chips until melted.  Stir them well, and then spread over the rice krispie mixture.  Allow to cool completely before cutting into small squares.  I usually place the dish in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

 stirring the rice krispie mixture

 waiting for the melted topping

 stirring the topping

 spreading the topping

 Reindeer Food
1 box rice chex
1 stick butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 bag milk chocolate chips
3 cups powdered sugar

Melt butter, peanut butter, and chips in the microwave.  Pour over the rice chex and stir until well coated.  Pour the powdered sugar over the mixture and toss until completely coated.  Spread on wax paper to cool.

 tossing the reindeer food

 cooling reindeer food

Seasoned Oyster Crackers
1 box oyster crackers
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 package ranch dressing powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dill weed
1/4 tsp. lemon pepper

Mix oil and seasonings in the bottom of a large mixing bowl.  Add box of crackers and toss to completely coat.  

 We put some of the treats in tins.

 Some of the treats were put in bags.

We will be sharing these treats with friends and family members over the next few days.  

Monday, December 17, 2012

I Shopped Till I Dropped!

I am reminded again why I normally do the bulk of my Christmas shopping before November!  It is crazy out there!  Yesterday I made myself a schedule for this week.  I cannot believe that this week before Christmas is also my peak week of mileage for my marathon training.  I have 47 miles to run this week!

Sunday:  Sew, sew, sew.  I sewed all afternoon, and then again from 7:45 PM until 12:30 AM.  I hoped to finish my projects last night, but my serger stopped working, and of course everything took longer than I had planned.  I hope to finish up tonight or tomorrow afternoon.

Monday:  Run 7 miles, and then finish up my Christmas shopping in town.  I made a detailed list of what all I needed from various stores, and I left the house at 11:15.  I just arrived home, and I am taking a short break off of my feet before I fix a salad to go with the taco soup I left in the crock pot.

Tuesday:  Run 11 miles.  Buy all groceries I will need until Sunday.  Make sugar cookies.  Making and decorating sugar cookies is a traditional I started with my children years ago.  I will mix up the dough, cut various shapes out, and bake them, and then the children will spend lots of time decorating each one.  They turn out so pretty, and they are yummy too.  I also need to wrap some presents and finish my sewing if I don't finish it Monday.

Wednesday:  Run 7 miles.  Prepare goodies to give to each family in our church, the families that will come to our Christmas party Thursday night, and also a few other various people.  Wrap more presents.

Thursday:  Clean the entire house.  Clean, clean, clean.  Prepare soups for the party.  We are hosting our annual gathering of Jimmy's extended family.  Everybody brings food, and we eat and enjoy one another's company.  I do have a couple of craft activities for the younger children to do.

Friday:  Run 22 miles.  That will pretty much ruin my day, but I hope to feel like wrapping the rest of the presents.

Saturday:  Celebrate Christmas with my side of the family.  I hope to take lots of pictures and share all the fun of this day.

I love this time of year!  I love wrapping presents, making lists, cooking special holiday treats, listening to Christmas music, and watching Christmas movies.  I love making special memories with my family.  This is a very busy week, but I am so happy to have so much to do!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wrapping the Gifts

As I was looking back through the archives of my blog to find my post about how I organize the gifts that I wrap, I was reminded of how much I have to do!  In the past years, I began posting my holiday hints in October!

We finished school yesterday, and my plan for today is to gather all of the gifts I have bought and sort them out.  I will add everything to my master gift list, and then I will make one more final shopping list.  I will be making note of how many and what kind of batteries I need as I sort the gifts.  I expect this to take me all day, because I have some cleaning to do in the storage room before I can drag out all of the gifts.  My next task will be to begin a pretty big surprise sewing project that will be gifts for some members of my family.

A friend asked me on Facebook how I sorted my gifts as I wrapped them.  I am going to repost what I wrote about this back in 2008.  This year I will be doing option #2, because I have so many rolls of pretty wrapping paper, and I want to use it all!

From 2008

Today's tip is about organizing your gifts as you wrap them. If you are like me, you have more than one Christmas celebration, with gifts going to more than one family gathering, plus the ones you will be opening in your own home. I have two different ideas:

1. Choose 3 (or however many different gatherings you have) different rolls of wrapping paper. Wrap all of the gifts for people that you will be opening presents with in one location with the same paper. For example, I would wrap my side of the family's gifts in green and white polka dot paper; Jimmy's side of the family's gifts in red and green "Merry Christmas" paper, and the gifts that are exchanged between my family and me on Christmas morning would be wrapped in candy cane striped paper. The presents are easily sorted this way. You can keep all of the gifts under the tree, and just easily gather all of the ones you need for a particular family event. When I use this method, I also choose a 4th roll of paper to wrap the gifts that go to people outside our home, but not to family gatherings (Sunday school teachers, piano teachers, the children's friends, etc.)

2. Wrap the gifts in whatever paper you choose, but designate a place to store the presents, sorting them by destination. When I do it this way I put my family's gifts in our  bedroom, Jimmy's family's gifts in our schoolroom, and the gifts for others on a table in my storage room. Our family gifts go under the tree.

Some years I wrap each of our family member's gifts in the same paper, using a different roll of paper for each person. 

This year I did not order any new ribbon!  That is a first for me.  I have plenty on hand, and if I run out of a particular color, and I many other colors to choose from.  I did buy a few new rolls of wrapping paper at Hobby Lobby.  Hobby Lobby has the best wrapping paper in my opinion, and the last time I was in there, it was on sale for 50% off.

I plan to have a most productive day, and I hope that you do too!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Latest Happenings

I still haven't done much of my Christmas preparation because we have been busy with other things--mostly seasonal things.  I am reminded why I like to have my Christmas shopping (including gifts, party supplies, craft items, baking ingredients, etc.) complete by the end of November.  December gets so busy, and I enjoy the busyness better if I am done with the shopping!

Here are some highlights of the last few days.

Today we are doing our last day of school, and then we are taking a long holiday break!  We will resume our studies on January 7.

I did a good bit of Christmas shopping last Sunday afternoon, but I plan to finish it up next Monday.

 Sam, AKA Turtle Man, with the three mice he bagged....unfortunately (or may fortunately) the mice were already dead, so unlike the real Turtle Man, he was unable to release them back into the wild.  Yes, these three dead mice were underneath the bookcase in our den!

I hosted the ladies from our church for our annual brunch and Christmas ornament exchange.  This event is always so much fun!

 Lynn and Jessica
Jessica is my hip, much younger friend.  Her parents are dear friends of ours too!

 the ornaments...ready to be exchanged

We joined the Prince family, the Mims family, and the Johnsey family and visited a local retirement home to sing Christmas carols to the residents.  This actually was our Keepers and Contenders event for December. We shared small gifts with the residents, and spent some time visiting with them.  One of their residents is a member of our church, and she is delighted when we come every year.

After singing to Mary Alice and her friends, we then went over to visit another widow from our church, Mrs. Sybil.  She is a shut-in, and of course she was delighted by our visit too!

 All the children and Mrs. Sybil

Earlier this week I hosted a Christmas tea party for Leah and her Sunday school friends.  These girls dressed in their holiday wear and brought their dolls in holiday fashions too!

 The festive girls

Olivia and Julie attended their annual party with their close friends at Anna Beth's house.  They were asked to wear tacky Christmas sweaters to this party!  

My festive big girls
Note Olivia's Christmas socks and glittered red shoes!

That's the latest for around here!  I am still running and training for the Disneyworld Marathon.  This week features 45 miles!  I have done 21, and will finish up this week's miles with a run of 4 tomorrow and 20 on Saturday.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Nice Surprise

This morning when I got home from running, I had such a nice surprise!

Last night I was mentally lamenting the fact that our schoolroom was a big mess!  I had planned on tidying it up this morning while I was helping Leah and Sam do their school.  Now normally I don't multi-task while we are doing school, but I really did not think I could stay focused on Leah and Sam with all of that mess in the background.

When I came inside the house this morning, I noticed the lights were on in the schoolroom, so I peeked my head in to see who was busily working on schoolwork.  No one was in there, but the room was all clean!  Everything was put in its place.  The marker board had been cleaned, and I could tell that the furniture had even been dusted.  A cleaning fairy had visited while I was running!

When I came upstairs I asked Clay (the first person that I saw) if he was my cleaning fairy.  He had no idea what I was talking about.  Then I saw Julie and I just knew that it had been her.  But no, Julie said that she had not even been down in the schoolroom yet.  So I figured it must had been Olivia.  She was still asleep, but I guessed that when she was putting up our dog last night, that she must have noticed the big distressing mess and wanted to surprise me.

I guessed wrong!  I actually had two cleaning fairies:  Leah and her friend Avery!  Avery had spent the night last night and the two girls had set their alarm for 6:00 this morning (the very time that Lynn--Avery's mother--and I began our run).  Avery told Leah that she wanted to clean something (what a girl!), and Leah suggested that they clean the schoolroom.  So those two sweet, hard-working girls snuck down to the basement and cleaned away.  They even dusted our workout room after Jimmy stopped running on the treadmill.  They were sneaky.  Jimmy never even saw them or knew that they were awake that early!

What a nice surprise!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Helpful Holiday Hint #2

Microsoft Office Free ClipArt
First of all, while I have made progress on my list making and list crossing off from Monday, I have not completed everything.  So, I am still working on my tasks from earlier in the week!

Today's hint is about making a Master Gift List.  I type this list every year.  I title the document Christmas Gifts 2012, or whatever the current year is.  I use a table format with four columns.

Column 1:  The person's name
Column 2:  The gifts for that person (one gift per row)
Column 3:  A column with the heading "Bought".  I check this box when I have actually bought or made the gift.
Column 4:  A column with the heading "Wrapped".  I check this box after I have wrapped the gift.  This saves so much confusion, especially since my girls help me wrap presents.  How many times have you wrapped a few presents only to forget what you wrapped?  I stick on a gift tag and mark off the present as "wrapped" as soon as I put on the last piece of tape.  My girls know to either tell me immediately and watch me check off the "wrapped" box or check it off themselves!

I always print out this master gift list and carry it around with me as I am shopping.  I update it on my computer as I shop or wrap gifts, and when I am all done with my shopping, making, and wrapping, I print out one final copy and insert into my Christmas Binder.  It is so helpful to look at previous year's Master Gift Lists as I begin planning my current year's Christmas preparations.  It is almost like a journal---looking at the gifts I made or bought for my children over the years.

I really, really enjoy gift giving.  I like the planning, the buying of supplies for handmade items, the online shopping for toys, books, and games.  I love to wrap presents and make pretty bows for them.  I love to see my children's delight as they open their gifts.  I sometimes even have a surprise for Jimmy, and that is so much fun too!  I always have a gift or two for him, but it is hard to surprise him with the contents.  He usually figures out what the gift is before he opens it!

My master gift list is not complete.  I have some lists in my spiral bound notebook.  I have some lists on my phone.  And I have a partially completed master gift list on my computer.  Today's goal for me is to consolidate all of those lists into one master gift list on my computer and print it out.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

St. Jude Half Marathon Weekend

On Friday, we left around 10:00 AM headed to Memphis for our 5th annual St. Jude Marathon/Half Marathon weekend.  Our first stop was the physical therapist's office, for Jimmy to have therapy on his injured knee.  He was hoping for an "all clear" to run, but sadly, he was just unable to run this marathon.  Mark prescribed several strengthening exercises for Jimmy, and hopefully, his knee will cooperate for him to run the Goofy Challenge (a half and a full marathon in two days) at Disneyworld in less than 6 weeks.

As usual, the two days were full of fun, food, and fellowship.  We have established a few traditions for the St. Jude weekend.  We usually stop at Target or Costco on our way into town.  Then we attend the race expo to pick up our race bib and t-shirt.  We usually spend a couple of hours at the expo visiting with friends and looking at what the vendors have to offer.  

Our next tradition is eating at the Spaghetti Warehouse.  We had a party of about 30 people, and thankfully, they seated us in a back room at two long tables.  Megan, Russ, and Millie Janalee joined us, and everyone wanted a turn to hold Millie Janalee.  This was the first time for most of my friends to meet her!

After supper, Leah and Sam went home with Aunt Megan for the night.  They had a super fun slumber party, and you can read all about it by clicking here.  Our family, along with Lynn's family and two other friends and their children all stayed in a different hotel this year.  We had a relaxing evening of visiting and playing games in the hotel lobby.  Very low key.  Jimmy spent the evening debating whether or not he would run anyway, AMA (against medical advice).  He was so tempted!  How difficult it is to be an injured runner when everyone around you is excitedly preparing for the big race!  Julie was unable to run too.  It was a sad couple of days for both of them, but they made the best of it by cheering all of us on, and Jimmy documented the entire two days with tons of pictures!

Here are some pictures from race day.  They uploaded in no particular order.....

 Clay, after the race.
Clay set a PR in this race, 1:51.  

 Lynn and I, posing after the race.  
That's us in the middle with the pink hats on.
Our finishing time was 2:22.  We were very pleased with that time.  It is nowhere near our fastest, but not our slowest either.  We just treated this as a training run for our Disney marathon.  We had planned to run 5 or 6 miles before the race, but instead opted to visit with everyone in the hotel lobby.  Good decision!

 Clay, receiving his finishers medal.

Julie, Alec, Me, and Lynn--around mile 2.

 Before the race

 Clay and Parker before the race

 One of many group photos before the race

 This photo features Clay, Parker, Olivia, and Catherine--in the middle of the picture.

 Running friends--the fast ones are on the outside!  Heather and Esther are Jimmy's running buddies.  I am sure they missed his running with them as much as he missed it!

 On the right are Michelle and Kim--the fast walkers!  They walked the half marathon, and they did a super job!

 Heather and Olivia before the race

 Scott, Heather's husband, in the middle--waving.
This was Scott's first half marathon.  In fact, this day featured several firsts for Scott:
First time to run more than 7 miles.
First time to wear his new running shoes.
First time to wear his running shorts.
He did great!!  He finished way before Lynn and me!

 just another group photo!

 Jimmy, Julie, and a few other Spartans who had parents running the race waited here for everyone to pass--this was around mile 2, and they cheered and took pictures.  It was so nice to see them on the race course.

 Our cheering squad and their signs

one last group photo.
Amber, Julie, Me, Lynn.

After the race, we ate a late lunch at Huey's (another tradition).  Megan brought Leah and Sam to us, and then we headed home.  Well, actually, we went to Corinth for the Christmas parade, and then we headed home.

A fun weekend!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Hints: High Speed Version

Since my life since last February has been out of the ordinary for me, I am not where I am usually am in regards to my Christmas shopping, planning, organization, etc.

But it's ok.

Way back in January I chose a focus word for 2013.  Choose.  I wanted to be careful how I spent my time, and I wanted to make the best choices every day.  For the past several months I have been periodically forced to choose to rest and scale back some of my normal activities.  That has left me with limited time to accomplish what I wanted to do, and I have chosen to do school with my children on any and every day that I could.  I have also chosen to resume running and I am currently training for a marathon that is 6 weeks away.  That takes time too.

So this year I did not plan any handmade Christmas gift projects in July (we were still doing school since we had taken an unexpected six week break back in February/March).
In August, I did not begin buying wrapping paper and ordering ribbon.
In September, I did not order my Christmas cards.
In October, I did not make a complete Christmas gift master list and do most of my shopping.
In November I did not finish my Christmas shopping or prepare my Christmas cards to be mailed on November 30th.

And now it is December 3rd, and I am about to condense several months of meticulous planning and executing into about three weeks!

I got out my calendar last night and just looked at December for a few minutes.  I made several lists--some on paper, and some on my Teux Deux site.  I am planning on doing a little bit at a time (well, a lot at a time, actually) in order to get everything done by December 24.  I am streamlining where I can, but I refuse to omit any special traditions just because I am behind.  I don't even like to say that, "behind".  Behind who?  I have learned so much this year about not being in control.  I am so blessed and grateful that I have good health today.  I even feel pretty much like my old self!  Except that I am really not stressed that I have not been publishing or practicing my annual holiday hints!

So here is my first holiday hint for the 2012 Christmas Season.

Holiday Hint #1
Make master lists.  Write down anything and everything you can think of that you need to do, buy, go to, make, bake, etc. for the next few weeks.  These are the lists I am working on.  My goal is to have these lists completed by Wednesday. (The actual lists of what I have to do completed, not the items on each list completed!)

  • all parties/functions/family gatherings, etc.  This list includes events I am hosting as well as ones that we are invited to.
  • gift wrapping supplies (gift wrap, tape, tags, scissors, ribbon, cute things to put on bows, etc.)
  • Christmas card supplies (cards, stamps, return address labels, addresses, labels to print addresses on)
  • baking supplies for gifts, special baking with the children, meals/parties I am hosting
  • master gift list--gifts I have bought (thankfully, I did quite a bit of online shopping while recuperating in my recliner back in October).
  • shopping lists (gifts left to buy), organized by store or website
  • sewing list (I have a major sewing project planned--gifts for family members!)
Getting all of these lists down on paper will help my brain so much.  Then I can get to work.  In addition to making all of these lists, I plan to complete some of the items on some of my lists this week. I have set several deadlines:

  1. Prepare Christmas cards for mailing.  The cards came in before Thanksgiving, but I have not even taken them out of the box yet.
  2. Two shopping assignments. (Pier One and Starbucks)
  3. One online order
  4. Buy paper goods for Saturday's Brunch that I am hosting
  1. Wrap a friend's gift that I will be seeing that afternoon.
  2. Wrap teacher gifts (Bible class, piano, art, etc.)
  3. Mail Christmas cards.
  4. Make and mail invitations for another party that I am hosting.

I think you get the idea.  Taking my super, super long list of things to do/places to be/things to cook, and breaking it up into daily tasks makes my stress level go down!

I hope to share my high speed version of holiday hints for the next few days.  Maybe some of you out there can benefit from my late start!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Menu and Miles

muffins, pancakes or waffles, oatmeal, cereal, grits, protein fruit smoothies, or toast
salad, PB&J, frozen burritos, or leftovers
Sunday:  salad, soup (Amy's Organic lentil soup or minestrone)
Monday:  stir fry vegetables, brown rice
Tuesday:  refried beans tacos or burritos
Wednesday:  pasta, marinara sauce, salad, bread
Thursday:  red beans and rice, salad
Friday:  BBQ bean & spinach wraps, oven fried onion rings

You can visit for more menu inspiration.

Well, I did not get all of my miles in last week, but it's ok!  I was 6 short, for a total of 38.  Lynn and I did not run any miles before the St. Jude Half Marathon yesterday, so I did not get my 44 miles in.  We had a fabulous race (well, you can't really call it a race, it was just another long run), and I will post all about it soon.

This week's mileage is 25!  Yes!  Just 25!  We are beginning Week 9 of our 14 Week Marathon Training Plan, and thankfully our Koach scheduled us a low mileage week back during our very first marathon training.  We have kept that low mileage week in the schedule both times since!  Here is the plan for this week:

Monday:  4
Wednesday:  3
Friday:  18

Happy Eating and Exercising this week!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Christmas Countdown

Last year, I blogged at The Homeschool Classroom about a counting the days to Christmas tradition that involves reading Christmas themed books.  You can click here to read my article.  One note, we did open one book each day last December.  Sweet Julie selected and wrapped 24 books for Leah and Sam to take turns opening each day.  I haven't wrapped our Christmas books this year, but it is on my list to do before December 1st.
Here is the link to the post.

We also have a felt calendar that my mother made for my brothers and me when we were children.  It has a Christmas tree at the top with 24 pockets that hold ornaments at the bottom.  All of my children take turns putting an ornament on the tree beginning December 1st.

December is around the corner!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Menu and Miles

I did it!  Last week for the first time in a few weeks I completed all of my weekly miles for my marathon training.  40!

This is my marathon training so far:
Week 1:  26 miles--complete
Week 2:  30 miles--complete
Week 3:  33 miles--none
Week 4:  35 miles--walked a few
Week 5:  37 miles--walked a few
Week 6:  39 miles--ran 32...almost there
Week 7:  40 miles--complete!

This week, Week 8, features 44 miles with a long run of 18.  Well, since Lynn and I are running the St. Jude Half Marathon on Saturday, I am just going to get the miles in like this:  10, 7,7,7, and then the 13 to get to a total of 44.

My Menu
Sunday:  homemade potato soup
Monday:  pasta salad
Tuesday:  mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus, black-eyed peas, sauteed zuchinni, green peas
Wednesday: sweet and sour vegetables served over brown rice
Thursday: bean and brown rice salad

You can visit for more menu ideas.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Two Thanksgivings

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend, celebrating at both my parents' and Jimmy's parents' homes. At both places all of the children and grandchildren were able to come for the food and fellowship, except for Jimmy.  It was his year to work Thanksgiving, but he will be off for Christmas and New Year's Eve and Day!

We enjoyed turkey, dressing, and all of the typical side dishes at both houses.  And of course delicious desserts.

Here are some pictures of my loved ones.

My brother Ryan and his wife Mary Margaret

Clay with my grandmother, Momo

The younger cousins playing Legos at my parents' house.

My brother Rhett, his wife Amanda, and their youngest son, Johnson.

My grandmother, Meme, with Olivia

Leah and Olivia with Millie Janalee

Leah holding Millie Janalee

Sam, Millie Janalee, and Olivia

Clay and Grace

The sisters-in-law
Jenny, Megan, Me

Julie, Millie Janalee, and Olivia

Elle, Will, and Millie Janalee

Olivia and Seth--born exactly one week apart!

 Clay, Russ, and Will, putting up Granmomma's tree.

 Julie, fluffing the branches and decorating

 Sam, helping the other younger cousins trim the tree.

The finished product.
Megan even brought presents to put under the tree!

I enjoyed seeing all of my family!  Now we have just a few short weeks until we all gather again for our Christmas celebrations.  I have a lot to do between now and then to prepare!