Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Easter Egg Hunt That Didn't Happen

For the last eight years, we have hosted an Easter Egg Hunt at our home on the Saturday before Easter.  I hide 500 candy filled eggs, and we usually have about 50 children hunting them.  It is a fun occasion, and one that my children eagerly look forward to each spring.

I began checking the weather for our area on Thursday.  It did not look good.....a 50% chance of rain.  That's ok, I thought.  That means that it was a 50% chance that it would NOT rain.

Yesterday, the forecast looked even more gloomy, and by this morning I could tell that it was going to rain all day long. Our egg hunt is an outdoor event.  I serve the refreshments on our front porch, the eggs are hidden all over the front of our property, and everyone spends the afternoon visiting in our front and back yards.

I never even hid the eggs!  So now, I have 500 candy filled eggs....well, actually I now have 450 candy filled eggs.....

My sister-in-law Aunt Jenny, and my niece Grace, Jenny's son Will and his fiance', Elle, Uncle Russ and Aunt Megan, and Millie Janalee, and Heather and her family all still came to the Egg Hunt that wasn't.  I cooked a quick supper (with Heather's help) and we enjoyed a simple Mexican meal.  And lots of coffee!  Jimmy and Heather both did a long run this morning.  All of my children except Sam ran a 5K this morning, and I finished out my 50 mile week with a 5 mile run this morning.  We needed coffee!

Olivia, Julie, Hannah, and Sarah hid 50 eggs for Will, Josh, Sam, Leah, and Grace to find--upstairs in our house.  Surprisingly, it did not sound like a herd of horses up there during the egg hunt.

I still have 450 candy filled eggs!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Father Daughter Banquet

Tuesday night was the annual Father Daughter Banquet, hosted by our local homeschool organization. This is an event that my girls look forward to each year!  Many of the mothers work together to make this night a special one.  Some mothers cook the food, some decorate, some plan the entertainment, and others serve the Fathers and their daughters the meal.

Here a couple of pictures of Jimmy and our girls before they left for their evening out.

After the dinner, Jimmy joined a couple of other Dads and their daughters for a second dessert at the yogurt place.  It was a fun night for all of them! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Clay!

Today is Clay's 14th birthday.

We have enjoyed a full day of family celebration.  We began with breakfast at this table.

Next, Clay opened his presents......Jimmy and I gave him a gift from us a couple of weeks ago, so today he opened his gifts and cards from his siblings.  Later in the day he received some money from his grandparents, so Jimmy took him shopping at Harbor Freight.  He bought a special kind of hammer and a wrench.

 building with Lincoln Logs 

 This crocheted thing was made for Clay by both Olivia and Julie.  It is the sour candy thing from Wreck It Ralph.  I don't know its name!  It's floating arms and legs are hanging by fishing line.  Very cute!

 Leah made Clay a coupon book with coupons for doing his laundry, making him sweet tea, and other things as well.

Sam gave Clay a sand dollar that he had picked up from Seaside.  It was special to Sam, and that made it a special gift for his big brother!  He even wrapped it all by himself!

 The birthday lunch--pasta salad and fruit salad.

 The birthday cake--homemade with love by Julie.

 The inside of the delicious cake--layers of various shades of blue!

Tonight happened to be the night of the annual Father Daughter Banquet hosted by our local homeschool group.  While Jimmy took the girls to this event, Clay, Sam and I were joined by Leanna and her two boys and Lynn's boys, Parker and Carson, for supper at Abner's.

 Clay and his cousin, Jack.

 The whole crew:
Parker, Clay, Carson, Sam, and Joey
Wait----not the whole crew---Jack was hiding under the table!

And now for some pictures of Clay (and some of his siblings too) from the past.

Happy Birthday, Clay!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Questions and Answers

As promised a couple of weeks ago, here are some of your questions.  I will try to answer them the best I can.

Do you start with dry lentils and cook up a batch or how do you cook them? 
I cook the lentils by following the directions on the back of the bag.  Basically you cover them with water, I like to add about a teaspoon of salt, bring them to a boil, and then simmer until they are tender. This takes about 20-30 minutes.  I drain them before adding them to the other ingredients in my Lentil Loaf recipe.  (It really should be called Baked Lentils---it doesn't make a loaf that you could slice).  For lentil soup, I just put the dried lentils in the crock pot or big stock pot, cover with water or vegetable broth, add seasonings and a chopped onion, and cook until thick and tender.  Lentils are really easy to cook.  They do not require any presoaking, and the cook in about half an hour.

How do you grind your corn? Do you use your mill? 
I ground the corn using my NutriMill.  With a little bit of trial and error, I figured out the best way to do it.  I added the corn slowly, about 1 cup at a time.  With wheat berries, I just fill up the hopper and turn it on.  The corn has to be added slowly to insure a quick flow.

Can you post your bread and bagel recipe? 
Here is the link to my bread recipe: Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

I'll have to type the bagel recipe later.....Julie always makes the bagels.  She is not here, and I am not sure which recipe she uses and what modifications she makes.  I will share it soon!

What do you use to slice your bread? 
An electric knife.  It slices better if the bread is cooled.

I have read that, too, Roan, about reusing the plastic bottles. What I don't understand is why, if refilling and reusing causes cancer, don't they cause cancer in the first place?
I actually did a little bit more internet research on this topic.  This is what I found several sources saying.  So even though reusing plastic water bottles do not appear to cause cancer, I know that buying multiple water bottles and discarding them each day (even recycling them), can not be good for our environment.  So, I am happy with the Rubbermaid water bottles that I bought.

Do you still have a link for your instructions for marking your bible?
Here is the link to the blog and the articles which show how to do this.  I have not completed this marking.  In fact, I think I may put that on my summer list! 

I was wondering specifically which curriculum you purchase/use with IEW, I've looked at their stuff a few times and have been thinking about starting using some of their curriculum.
These are the IEW products I have used in the past:
  • SWI A (with Olivia, Julie, and Clay)
  • The Elegant Essay (with Olivia and Julie)
  • Medieval History (with Olivia)
  • Life Science (with Julie)
  • All Things Fun and Fascinating (with Clay)
  • The TWI handbook to make up my own lessons
Next year I plan to use SWI or SWCC B or C course with Clay.  Leah will do SWI A, and Julie will do the American History book.  I really like IEW.

Ok, that's all the questions from the past few weeks.  If you have any more questions (that you think I can answer!), please leave them in the comment box.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Here's the boring update on life.....Jimmy and I took Olivia for a college visit, Thursday-Saturday.  I spent the rest of yesterday afternoon picking up my other children while Jimmy ran 24 miles.  My dear, dear friends Heather and Lynn kept my children for three nights while we were gone.  Julie stayed with Heather, and the rest stayed with Lynn and Uncle Kelly.  All of the children had a super fun time and were exhausted when they got home.  Everyone in our house was asleep before 9:30 last night.  Olivia actually collapsed on her bed shortly after we arrived home, around 4:00 PM.  She did not wake up until 8:00 this morning!  Staying in the dorm wore her out!

Today was spent attending worship services, teaching Bible class, attending our monthly Ladies' Bible class, buying groceries, unpacking, doing laundry, and tidying up my house.  Actually, I am still not done.  I was posting my run from this morning on Daily Mile, and just decided to do a little blog update before I get back to cleaning my kitchen.

For the second week in a row, I went to the grocery store to buy a week's worth of groceries using a list that I made a few minutes before shopping.  I made it at the restaurant at lunch, and then Jimmy and the kids shopped at Sam's while I went to Kroger.  I probably won't be posting my weekly menu tomorrow, and I will not be trying any new recipes this week.  I plan to be back to careful menu planning and list making next weekend!

I was unable to get my long run in for the week since we were out of town, so I will be doing it tomorrow--22 miles.  The longest long run before the marathon.  My week's total miles will be 49.  I hope I survive!  Jimmy just finished a 70 mile week!  Yes!  We are both crazy.

Well, that's it--oh, one more thing.  Jimmy and I made friends with another couple who had their daughter visiting the college too.  We all four became fast friends, and I found out that my new friend was a runner.  And not just any crazy marathon runner...she is an ultra runner!  She had just completed a 60 mile race last Saturday. ultra?  Lynn?  Heather?  Esther?  Leanna?  Anybody interested in training for an ultra??

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

This and That

I got a text last night from a friend prodding me to blog more often.....I really want to!  But sometimes I am so busy living my life that it's hard to make time to blog about it.

We had our first Spartans Homeschool Cross Country Team spring practice today.  We will be practicing once a week until the beginning of May, and then we will not have organized practices until our running camp sometime in August.  Of course all of the runners and their parents were so happy to see each other.  The kids ran one mile time trials, and I am happy to say that all of my running children were pleased with their times.  Leah is reminding me more and more of Julie as a runner.

We stopped by Hobby Lobby on our way home to pick up some supplies for Olivia to make her Senior Board to display at graduation.  She chose a hot pink, turquoise, lime green, and orange color theme, and most of her supplies are sparkly!  I am so glad that she is talented in the arts and crafts area, because I am not!  I know that her board, which is supposed to be a reflection of her personality and her life, will be perfect!  We have had the best time browsing through all of our old pictures.  She is selecting pictures that depict her life for her board, the yearbook, and the senior slide show, which will be shown at graduation.  Some of the children made many funny comments about the various pictures.....

  • "Mama, your hair was so dark and you look so young!  Were you about 20?"  (I was actually 25, holding Olivia when she was a baby, and I did not have any gray hair!) ***Sam
  • "Mama, what is that chalk stuff all over my face?"  (A picture of Sam, just after his birth)  "Why didn't that chalk come off when the doctor pulled me out of your throat?" ***Sam
  • "Mama, your old fashioned dress is so pretty." ***Leah
  • "Daddy looks like a little kid." ***Leah
  • "Mama, you could have so won an ugly sweater contest!"  (Commenting on my many, very pretty Eagle's Eye sweaters) ***Olivia
  • "Who is that Chinese baby?"  (Commenting on someone's newborn picture) ***Sam
Collecting these pictures, reminiscing, and watching Olivia create her Senior Board is going to be so much fun.  And a little bit bittersweet!

This week is my highest mileage of my marathon training.  I ran 6 yesterday, and I ran 11 this morning.  My total miles for the week will be 47 which includes a 22 mile long run.  That's a lot of miles, and at this point I am questioning my sanity.

I did not post my menu this week because I accidentally threw it away.  I decided to buy groceries last Saturday after my long run, and I just made a quick menu on my thrown-together-in-the-van grocery list.  After unloading the groceries, I threw the list away.  OOPS!  I am winging it each day, trying to remember why I bought the items that I did.  I won't be trying any new recipes this week.

I hope all of you are having a great week!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Four Things

1.  I am watching National Treasure while running on the treadmill.  I am almost finished.  I have heard this movie numerous times while the kids watched it in the van, but it is much better to put faces and scenery with the script.  Even though I know how it will end, it is still a great movie and a great distraction while I am running.

2.  I have tried two new recipes this week.  One was really good and everyone but Leah and Sam liked it--Lentil Salad, and the other was ok in my opinion, but everyone liked it--Mexican Fiesta Rice Salad.  This one had 1/4 cup of homemade tofu mayonnaise in it.....this was my first experience with cooking with tofu.  It was a little icky to handle, but once I put it in the food processor and blended it with the other ingredients, it was fine.  I think that is why this salad was just "ok" with me.  I couldn't stop thinking about that tofu!

3.  This is a five day school week for us.  We rarely have five day school weeks, but Jimmy was not off any this week.  We are all tired, and the time change has not helped.  We are about to begin our fifth and final day of school this week!  Hooray!

4.  I got way, way, behind in folding clothes this week.  Way behind.  I had continued to wash and dry, but I had not folded any clean clothes since last Friday!  Yesterday, Julie spent about 3 hours folding and sorting all of those clean clothes.  Then we all pitched in and put them away.  What a job!  What a blessing to have a daughter to help out--and I didn't even ask her to!

That's our week in review.  Plus I had a nail in my tire that I had to go get fixed yesterday, and we had overnight company one night this week.  All three girls went to a sleepover after we had dinner with dear friends another night this week.  Olivia had a four hour senior meeting/game time/lunch yesterday, and in spite of all that we have done school all week!  (See #3).

My weekend plans consist of buying groceries, cleaning my entire house, running 20 miles in the morning, and preparing/submitting all of the pictures and write-ups required for Olivia's portion of the homeschool yearbook.  Plus keeping up with the laundry so I will not have a #4 next week!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fun Marathon Training

I guess for most people the words fun, marathon, and training don't seem to go together.  Some of the time those words don't belong together to me either!  But most of my long and medium runs are fun, because I run them with friends.  We talk and visit and solve all of our problems while running.  It's great therapy!  

Last Saturday, Leanna and I went on a new running adventure.  Normally, we meet at a subdivision in Tupelo, and run miles and miles from neighborhood to neighborhood.  We have a friend who allows us to use her bathroom (and keep Gatorade and Gu there too), and we also have a couple of other designated spots where we drop off drinks before we begin running.  It is both convenient and safe to run there, but sometimes we need a change of scenery.  So Saturday we ran somewhere new.

The hills of Hwy 350.  And these are hills that I will always remember.  Usually when someone asks me if a course or route is hilly, I respond with "I really don't remember".  Unless it's the Bodock 5K race course in Pontotoc.  I definitely remember that one mile hill at the end.  But, Hwy. 350 is hilly.  About three hills in all, but they are long, long hills!  And since it is an out and back route (7.5 miles out, 7.5 miles back), you get to run those long, long hills twice!  Fun!  Jimmy, Leanna, and I all had 20 miles on our schedule, so we ran 2.5 miles out and back (and didn't encounter a hill yet) before we joined the 350 Lunatics at 7:00 for the remaining 15 miles.

Koach Kenneth Williams organizes a group of "lunatic" runners weekly on Saturday mornings.  The minimum distance is 8 miles, and of course you can come early and therefore run as many as you want!

 Leanna and I posing by the 350 sign.  Can you see that small hill in the distance?  That is NOTHING!  We ran up mountains!

 The entire group of lunatics

Leanna, Koach, and Me

It turned out to be the most difficult long run that we have done.  It was the longest that Leanna has ever run, so that was a milestone in itself.  Those hills really whipped us! Our pace was slower than when we run in the flat subdivision, but I know that it was good training!

After the run, Jimmy and I joined Koach and a couple of other runners at The Whistling Dixie Cafe for a southern breakfast.  I think everyone but me enjoyed pancakes---I am not a big fan of pancakes, so I ordered plain grits and a plain biscuit.  It was delicious!  And I drank 4 cups of coffee!

I have two very long runs left--a 20 and a 22.  Then I taper down to a 17, and finally a 15.  My 20 mile run this week will be back on my regular course, and I am getting to run half of it with Lynn!  Fun!  Then I plan to run the last 10 alone.  I figure I need to practice running by myself since I don't have a running partner for the actual marathon.  Do you think I can run 10 miles without talking to someone?  If you see me out there, I may be talking to myself!  I am counting on making friends during the marathon, but in case I have periods with no one to chat with, this Saturday will serve as a good practice session for me.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Mess

I won't name names, but one of my children helped me cook supper tonight.  He or she had a little accident--he/she dropped the bowl of pancake batter.

I did not panic.  I sent the child and all other children in the room to just go ahead and take their showers while I cleaned the mess.  I really didn't know where to begin.  I used almost two rolls of paper towels, and then a hot dish rag---rinsing it over and over again.  It was very difficult to get the batter out of the decorative end of my island.  The batter even splattered and ran inside the cabinets.  Yuk!  Lastly I mopped, and mopped, and mopped.  The whole cleaning session lasted about 45 minutes.

Not all of the pancake batter was spilled, so the three children that were here (two were gone to a birthday party, and Jimmy was at work) had pancakes.  I just fixed myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  And then I had oatmeal for dessert.  I was hungry after all of that cleaning!

My week has been sort of like that pancake batter spill.  A little bit yukky.  I guess some days are like that.  I am in the hard part of my marathon training, and I feel guilty for all of the time I have to spend running and then recovering from the run.  Blah, blah, blah.

A couple of nights ago, the girls and I had such a fun time playing dominoes.  It was crazy!  Leah was acting so silly, and we were all laughing so hard.  I love times like that.  It more than makes up for the yukky times and the spills.

A year ago today I had my double mastectomy.  Some times it seems like it was just last month, and other times it seems years ago.  Looking back, it doesn't seem like the whole ordeal was that bad!  Time has a way of clouding your memory.  This morning I ran 10 miles, and this time last year I was on the morphine pump.  What a big difference!  I am so thankful, so thankful for my life!  I have such a loving, supportive husband, the best kids I could ever ask for, wonderful parents who are available to me at a moment's notice, a super family of siblings, in-laws, etc., a loving church family, and the dearest friends.  I don't deserve any of that, but I am so grateful.  I am grateful for the good health I am enjoying today, and I try not to take it for granted.

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High;"
Psalms 92:1

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Language Arts Ideas

Today I have post at The Homeschool Classroom featuring spelling and creative writing ideas for elementary students.  These are not fancy or difficult to implement--just ideas that I have used for my children over the past several years.  Click here to read the article.

Have a super day!  And stay warm!  (It is so cold here!)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Menu and Miles

I have had a few questions over the past couple of weeks (left in my comments) and I hope to answer all of those questions and share the requested recipes in the next day or so.

Here is this week's menu.  

Sunday:  white chili, tortilla chips or rice
Monday:  minestrone, homemade bread
Tuesday:  BBQ bean and corn wraps, oven "fried" onion rings
Wednesday:  roasted vegetables, potato stuffed bell peppers
Thursday:  honey lentils, mandarin broccoli, salad
Friday:  pasta salad, fresh fruit salad

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup baby carrots, chopped
1 large zucchini, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp. chopped garlic (from a jar)
2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. oregano
1 cup whole wheat pasta, cooked (measure and then cook)

Saute onion and garlic in a tsp. of olive oil.  Add a little bit of the vegetable broth if it begins to stick.  Add zucchini, carrots, and the rest of the broth.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes.  Simmer about 5 minutes.  Then add beans and oregano and simmer while you cook the pasta.  When pasta is done, add it to the soup.  Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.  

Here are my miles for this week.  Getting last week's miles was tough!  I hope my runs are easier this week (mentally).

Monday:  6 (already done!!)
Tuesday:  4
Wednesday:  3
Thursday:  10
Saturday:  20

Please visit OrgJunkie for more menus.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A New Water Bottle

I am so excited!  I have finally found a reusable water bottle that I like!  I have been looking on and off for a long, long time now.  I love drinking water out of store bought water bottles--and Ozarka is my favorite brand.  But it's really not about the taste, it's all about the bottle.  I used to buy one or two cases a month, and then refill my bottles several times before putting them into the recycling bin (which by the way is NOT convenient for me---recycling that is.  I have to put all of the full bags of recyclable products in the back of my van and haul it about 25 minutes away to the local recycling plant.  There is no curbside recycling program out here where I live.)  

Anyway.  I read last year that refilling and reusing disposable water bottles could cause cancer (and I read this just after my breast cancer diagnosis so I stopped refilling my disposable water bottles right that very minute!). I have continued to spend too much money at Sam's on water bottles, all because I could not find a reusable water bottle that had a drinking spout that I liked.  I don't like straws, suction thingys, big openings, stainless steel bottles, polar bottles, etc.  I just wanted a reusable bottle that was the same shape and size and had the same drink opening as a regular old Ozarka water bottle.

Friday when I was at Walmart, I looked one more time.  And I found the perfect water bottle!

 The top (drink opening) is the same size and shape as a disposable water bottle.

It holds 20 oz., which is just about the same size as my Ozarka water bottles.

The water bottle fits perfectly in the cup holder in my van (a problem I had with previous water bottles that I tried--they were too big or too tall for my van cup holder).

I bought two.  One to drink out of, and one for the dishwasher.  Kind of like when I had sippee cups for the kids.

They are Rubbermaid brand, and I can't remember how much they cost.  But the total cost of two new water bottles is way cheaper than what I was spending on bottled water each month.

Problem solved.  Our well water filtered through a Brita filtering pitcher tastes delicious in my new water bottles.

Friday, March 1, 2013

What a Week

I can't believe that I haven't blogged since Monday!  This has been a busy week.  I thought it would not be at the beginning of the week, but it has been.  Jimmy was not off any this week, so we had school all five days, and that is unusual for us.  By today, all of the children and I were weary!  But we kept on, and we got a lot of school done this week.  We finished The Bronze Bow yesterday, and it was such a good book.  A really good book!  I alternated reading it aloud here at home and playing it on CD in the van when we were out and about.  I wish I could find more of our read alouds on CD.  That really helps my voice and our time.

It is a little over 6 weeks until my marathon.  This week the training has begun to wear on me.  I went from four to five days of running this week.  In fact, I am not even done with my miles for this week yet.  I am running the last 4.5 miles in the morning.  Maybe in the snow!  We are having snow flurries right now.  It was 33 degrees when we ran this morning.  Most of my outside runs since November have been in temperatures below 40.  And then the marathon temperature will probably be 80!  Blah!

I have gotten behind on my B90 Bible reading this week.  Blah again!  I hope to catch up by reading extra tonight through Sunday.  My goal is to be back on track on Monday.  I think I should be on Day thirty-something.  I have gotten up at 4:30 AM to run three days this week, and that has made me tired! There are days that I literally fall asleep reading out loud to the children after lunch.  But I am not the only one who does this!  My friends have confessed to me that they do the very same thing.  And just like at my house......the kids tiptoe away and then the mama wakes up to everyone scattered here, there, and everywhere!

Clay, Sam, and I attended our homeschool Mother/Son Dinner last night.  It was fun, and I plan to blog about that too.  We played a competitive game, and while I claim that I am not competitive, my friends beg to differ!

I am missing my friend Lynn on my long runs!  She is doing the Insanity workouts right now (in week 5!), and so she is running with Leanna and me only occasionally.  Leanna and I are having a blast running together---planning our days, solving all of our problems--but I still miss Lynn!  We trained for three marathons together, and it seems strange to be training for one without her.  In fact, I don't have anyone to run this marathon with.  Leanna is running my long and medium runs (and sometimes other runs too) with me, but she is not running the actual marathon. I am a little concerned about who I am going to talk to for 26.2 miles.  I talk (almost non-stop if you ask Leanna or Lynn) while running.  I don't think I can run for 4+ hours without someone to chat with.  Lynn told me to carry a sign advertising my need for a "chatting and running buddy" when I got in my corral at the race.  I am sure I will find someone!  Jimmy and Heather are running too, but they are way too fast for me, and each of us has personal goals for this race.

I'll go ahead and share my goal.  That way, if I meet it, you can rejoice with me, and if I fail, you can cry with me!   4 hours, 29 minutes.  That's my goal.  That's a 10:15 average pace, which includes walking at the water stops.  Lately, Leanna and I have averaged a 9:32-9:55 pace on our long runs--but we haven't run longer than 18 yet.  I still think a 10:15 average pace is an achievable goal, unless my IT band flares up like it did at the Disney Marathon--and then I'll be hobbling and crying!

Well, that's my week--schooling, running, cooking, and cleaning.  And I did my monthly shopping at Sam's this afternoon plus my weekly shopping at Kroger.  Tomorrow's plans include running, attending a baby shower, running a few errands, and doing my monthly Walmart shopping.  Then, hopefully, time to rest, read, and blog.

Have a super weekend!