Friday, May 31, 2013

My Homemaking Binder Part 1

For years I used a homemaking binder.  It was my brain in a binder!  I kept everything in there--

  • calendars
  • school schedules
  • cleaning routines
  • home maintenance checklists
  • business cards
  • phone numbers
  • to do lists
  • meal planning
  • grocery lists
  • children's activities information
  • addresses
But about three years ago, when I got my first iPhone, I stopped using my binder, and I began making lists and keeping up with things electronically.  I put the Teux Deux app on my iPhone and iPad, and it also synced with my laptop.  I used the calendar on my phone/iPad/laptop, and those calendars synced also.  And, I don't know anybody's phone number anymore!  Well, I do know 4:  my parents' number,  Jimmy's parents' number, his sister's number, and my friend Lynn's home phone number, except that she hasn't had a home phone number for years! (So that number is not even useful anymore!)

But I missed my paper.

So slowly, I have moved away from the Teux Deux app (mostly because I was informed that they were going to start charging a monthly fee to keep the app interactive.)  I am not interested in paying a monthly fee for an app!  I began using a spiral notebook again for my ongoing, never-ending to do list. I started writing my weekly menu plans on my paper calendar notebook.

But I still feel a little bit disorganized!  I don't have a central place for my calendars and lists and menus, etc.  I have papers hanging out of my calendar notebook.  I find myself entering items on my iPhone calendar and also writing them down.  

So, I am going to remake my Homemaking Binder.  It's going to be a work in progress for a couple of weeks, until I can get it just how I like it.  I have been reading about other people's homemaking binders online, and I am getting some new ideas.  When I finish my binder, I will write a post about it and hopefully include pictures.

For now though, can you help me?  
Do you have a homemaker binder?
What categories do you have in yours?  I am looking for fresh ideas, because I don't want to leave anything out.  
Please leave a comment with your bright ideas!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Seth's Graduation

My nephew, Seth, is just one week younger than Olivia.  Jenny and I enjoyed being pregnant at the same time.  Well, she enjoyed being pregnant!  I just hung on the best I could and tried not to die from throwing up!  Anyway, Seth and Olivia and loved growing up together, and now they have both graduated from high school!

Last Friday, we all attended Seth's graduation ceremony.

We parked beside Seth's truck.....I HAD to take a picture of the kids standing in front of it!  
What a truck!

 Cousins!  Olivia and Seth

Our family with Seth.
(Not sure what kind of face Sam is making)

After the graduation, we all went to Granmomma and Pop's (Megan, Jenny, Jeff, Seth, Anna Kate, and our family) for cake and coffee. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I think we have finally got our yard in order!  
Last year we (well, I did not participate any because of my surgery) did the bare minimum in our flower beds.  We tried to keep them weeded, and Jimmy and the children put out a little bit of fresh mulch.  I think a small amount of pruning was done too.

This year I wanted to work hard and make our yard look pretty!  Jimmy and Clay do such a fantastic job keeping our grass mowed and the yard edged, trimmed and weed-eaten, and I wanted to contribute by cleaning out and maintaining our flowerbeds (and we have many, many beds!).  It has been slow progress---I have worked an hour or so here and there for over a month--but I think I am done!  All I have to do now is to keep the weeds pulled and the plants watered.

Here are a few pictures of our yard.

 A couple of weeks ago I bought 120 plants!  108 of them were those pink vincas.  I also got four purple and yellow/orange plants for my planters beside the pool, and the rest were herbs.

 Here is this bed before.
I raked out the dead stuff, and then Jimmy tilled up the entire bed.

 I planted the 108 vinca plants!  It took me all day, and I got a sunburn.  After planting them, Jimmy and Clay mulched around them.

 An out of order picture--the bed, after it was tilled.

 Pretty pink flowers--all planted!

 The herbs, sitting in front of our blueberry bushes.
I planted mint, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, and basil.

One of the planters by the pool.
Olivia bought these plants for me for Mother's Day.

The very next day after all of my hard work, planting those 120 flowers, we had a flood!
When I came home from the grocery store, this is what greeted me!

 My poor, poor flowers!

 They were drowning!


I am happy to say that the beds dried out, we added some more mulch, and I don't think I lost a single plant!  The bed looks like it did in the first picture.

Over the last week, I have bought and put out 88 bags of mulch.  (Wait, 87, I saved one to put where I may see an empty spot.)  Clay, Sam, and Julie, helped me put out several of the bags, but the majority I have done myself!  I enjoyed it!  It was like getting a workout.  I am covered with hundreds of bug bites, my hands and fingernails and arms are stained brown, and I am sore, but my yard looks so pretty!

Here are some pictures of what the kids call our Secret Garden.  This is the bed we can see when looking out of our kitchen window.  The other side of this bed borders our woods.

Some of my bushes need pruning, but I am not sure how much to cut back now that it's May.  I wish I would have pruned them back in March.  We did get all of our monkey grass cut back, and it is growing beautifully!

When the pink vincas have multiplied and covered the bed, I will try to remember to take and post a picture.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Olivia's Graduation Reception

We held a small reception in our home to honor our graduate, Olivia.  It was a lovely Sunday afternoon, and we all had a delightful time.  My friends Lynn and Leanna helped me plan, prepare, and host the event, and I am so pleased in how it all turned out.  Olivia is a lovely young lady, and it was so much fun hosting this reception!

I have a few pictures to share--some are of us preparing for the reception, and some were taken during the party--and they are in no particular order!  It frustrates me to try to move these pictures around on blogger.  I usually end up accidentally deleting some of them!

Here they are--memories of a special day.

 Olivia and her art teacher, Mrs. Vicki

 Leanna and Lynn carrying the cake to the kitchen to cut.  We had just finished taking pictures of the food table.  Leanna expertly cut the cake into 66 squares using dental floss!

 Mrs. Ginger (Olivia's piano teacher), Leslie, and Olivia

 the table displaying Olivia's senior board--this table also held her gifts

 some of the 400 strawberries that we dipped in chocolate

 Aunt Julie and Me

 Lynn and I washing dishes the day before

 Olivia dipping strawberries

 Olivia and my parents

 Olivia, Martha, and Margaret

 Olivia, Catherine, and Anna Beth

 Ashley and Olivia

 Me, Lynn, Leanna, Olivia, and Julie
Leanna made the delicious mints--they were shaped liked diplomas!

 Olivia and Julie

 a pretty flower arrangement

 a view of the kitchen table

 Olivia in the dining room

 Olivia, waiting to greet her guests

 Leanna, ironing tablecloths the day before

Julie, dipping strawberries the day before.

Jimmy created a 10 minute slide show of pictures from Olivia's life.  This was played continuously in our den for our guests to enjoy.
We were all so happy to host this special day for Olivia!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Menu and Miles

On the Menu This Week

  • pasta salad
  • Southwestern green salad, homemade bread
  • roasted vegetables with a sweet balsamic sauce, brown rice, spinach
  • spaghetti, salad, bread
  • baked potatoes, salad
This recipe is from last week's menu.

Quinoa Salad
***recipe adapted from a Fatfree Vegan Kitchen recipe***
(This blog has lots of yummy recipes!)

1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
3 cups water
1 Tsp. minced garlic (from a jar)
1/2 tsp. salt

Cook quinoa in water with garlic and salt, following package directions.  Fluff quinoa and allow to cool.

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
kernels of 2 ears of cooked corn on the cob (I microwave mine in the husks for 4-5 minutes.  Let cool and then peel and cut corn off the cob.)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 green green onions, chopped (if desired)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 avocado, chopped
salt, pepper, cumin (about 1/2 tsp.) to taste

2 limes, squeezed

Combine all veggies in a large bowl.  Add quinoa and mix well.  Squeeze lime juice over salad and add salt, pepper, and cumin to taste.  Stir to combine.


Miles This Week

This week marks week one of my half marathon training (well, actually the race is 14.2 miles, which is 1.1 miles longer than a regular half marathon).
The miles:  5, 4, 6 (including hills), 5, 8.  Total 28

Be sure to visit OrgJunkie for more menu ideas.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Piano Recital

Our annual piano recital was last Thursday night.  This year I had four children taking lessons--it was Olivia's final year and Leah's first year.  The evening's recital was delightful.  So many talented young people playing beautiful music.  I really enjoyed hearing each child's piece.  Of course, it was sad knowing that this was Olivia's last piano recital.  She did a wonderful job!




 All of Mrs. Ginger's piano students

Parker, Carson, (Lynn's oldest sons) and Clay

Each year after the recital our family enjoys a special dessert together to celebrate.  In years past, we have gone to Baskin Robbins, but this year Julie prepared a special homemade dessert.  So we all went home for delicious chocolate peanut butter dessert cups and cappuccinos made by Jimmy.

May is always such a busy month.  A month of celebrating endings.  Bittersweet!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Keepers At Home Night 2013

Earlier this month Leah celebrated another completed year of Keepers At Home.  We ended our year with a lovely ice cream and cake social, and the mothers presented their daughters the pins that they earned this year.

 Julie, Leah, Avery, and Olivia

This was Leah's 4th of Keepers, but I have been a Keepers mom for 11 years!  All of my girls have made special friends and learned many skills as members of our Keepers At Home club.

 A beautiful cake made by one of the Keepers moms.

Sweet Leah!

Leah earned the following pins this year:
Bible Memory:  general (for learning one Bible verse each week)
Bible Memory:  The Beatitudes
First Aid

I learned that there is a pin for duck tape project--she will definitely earn that one next year.

It was a nice night!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Olivia's High School Graduation

On Friday night, May 3, 2013, Olivia officially graduated from our homeschool!  We could not be more proud of her.  She finished all of schoolwork a couple of days before the big night!

Our local homeschool group, CHENM (Christian Home Educators of North Mississippi) hosts a really nice graduation event each year.  The night of recognition and encouragement features the Kindergarten, 8th grade and Senior graduates.  This year's senior class had the biggest representation that I can remember--20 homeschool graduates.  Some of these young men and women we have known for 12 years.  Before the ceremony begins, a slide show of the seniors (featuring photos from baby-present) plays continuously.  Kelly put together the senior slide show this year, and he did a super job!

My parents came to our house before graduation to give Olivia her graduation gift, to visit, and to take lots and lots of pictures!

 all of our children

After the graduation ceremony, the audience is invited to a reception.  Each senior has a table (actually two seniors per table this year) which has a cake (the senior chooses the icing color and cake flavor) and framed pictures of the graduate.  Here are Olivia and I standing beside her senior table.  She shared a table with her friend of 12 years, Anna Beth. 

We were joined at the graduation by many friends and family members.  I was so happy to see each of them!
 Jimmy's parents with Jimmy, me, Olivia, and Julie

 Olivia, opening a graduation gift from one of her aunts.

 Aunt Jenny, Aunt Megan, and Olivia

 Olivia and Uncle Kelly
(Not really our uncle--just an endearing name for a dear friend.  Between the fact that Lynn and I have the same maiden name even though we are not related, and my kids calling Kelly "Uncle Kelly", people mistakenly think that Lynn and I are sisters!

 Kelly, Lynn, Me, and Jimmy
We wanted a picture of the four of us "all cleaned up"--not wearing running clothes!

 Uncle Ryan (my brother), Olivia, and Aunt Mary Margaret

 Sweet Sisters!

 Lynn, Millie Janalee, and Julie
Couldn't leave out a picture of that sweet cousin!

 The Graduate

 Olivia and Coach Heather

 Olivia with my parents

 Julie and Pops

 Olivia and Anna Beth
Their Senior Boards were side by side--just like their cakes!

Each senior creates a Senior Board, which is a display of pictures documenting their lives and their interests.  They also include items to display in front of the senior board.  These boards are on display in the walk-through area between the auditorium and reception area.

 Olivia's Senior Board

Our sweet Olivia, all grown up!

Diploma in hand!