Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Being Thankful

I have so much to be thankful for, both during this season and every single day.

Olivia is home for the holidays!  I picked her up last night from the airport (which was a traffic adventure!)  Her plane had been delayed until a 5:15 landing, and it never crossed my mind that at 5:00 in Birmingham there would be bumper to bumper traffic.  When I finally arrived at the airport, the traffic was just as bad.  I have never seen so many cars at the airport--I guess everyone else had a loved one coming home for Thanksgiving too!  I finally got Olivia and was able to say a quick hi to some of Jimmy's relatives that were at the airport waiting with Olivia before we maneuvered our way out of the airport and onto the road headed home.

We were welcomed by four excited children and one super happy Daddy!  Olivia was elated to see all of the Christmas decorations and our beautiful (and very large--it didn't look that large at the nursery!) Christmas tree!  The kids and I bought the tree Monday, but we waited to decorate it until Olivia was home.  Jimmy and the children put the lights on the tree last night while they were waiting for Olivia and me to get home, and after a bowl of hot taco soup, Olivia was ready to help us trim the tree!

Julie had prepared homemade caramel corn, and she made hot chocolate and hot apple cider to go with it.  We played Christmas music in the background, and decorated away!  The tree is just beautiful.  I don't think we have room for another ornament, and every ornament has a story.  I love hearing the children say…."I remember when we got this ornament…..Who made this one?…..Oh, this is so pretty!…" And they tell the same stories about some of the ornaments each year.  And they laugh and tease one another, and I am so thankful to have all five of my children together.  We took a few pictures, but really pictures can't capture the loveliness of the evening.

I am thankful to have a loving husband and sweet children.
I am thankful for my good health.
I am thankful that my husband has a job, and that I am able to work full time as a homemaker.
Most of all I am thankful for my Savior, Jesus.

"Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name."
Hebrews 13:15

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Holiday Hint #2

  • Online Shopping:  I prefer online shopping to going to the mall any day!  Clay and Leah want to go Black Friday shopping this year (I am not sure what they will be shopping for!).  I may see if Lynn is up to it.  Anyway, if you are an online shopper, it's time to begin.  Most companies are offering free shipping right now, and even if the offer is not on their website, you can usually Google free shipping coupons.
  • Start Wrapping Gifts:  Once I get my ribbon in, I plan to begin.  I like to set the goal of wrapping a certain number of gifts each day. I usually try to wrap three at a time.  It is a good idea to set up a card table in your bedroom or somewhere like that where you keep all of your gift wrapping supplies.  It is only a big mess for a few weeks.  (That's what I used to tell myself before we I had a full-time craft area).  Don't forget to mark on your master list each time you wrap a gift.  Otherwise you will be missing Aunt Susie's handmade scarf and have to unwrap both her gifts that you already wrapped to see if the scarf is inside one of them or that you somehow lost it!  Not that I ever had to do that!  :)
  • Christmas Cards:  Decide if you are sending them or not.  Choose a picture, if necessary.  Take a photo if you need to.  I do. We plan to make our Christmas card picture while Olivia is home for Thanksgiving break.  Order the cards.  Review your address list.  Make note of people who have moved or have other changes.  (Sadly, like if someone's spouse passed away this year).  I try to make these changes throughout the year as the event happens, but it is still a good idea to carefully review your address list before you begin addressing the cards.
I am wrapping up my marathon training for the St. Jude Marathon.  Last Saturday, Leanna and I did our last super long run, 22 miles.  Jimmy, Greg, and Esther did 22 miles also.  We met two hours early for a 9 mile run and ended just in time to run the Shakerag Half Marathon here in Tupelo.  This morning, Leanna and I met to run our next to last long run--18 miles.  We ended the run after 15.5 miles.  It was so cold and windy, the course was extremely hilly, I forgot to restart my watch after our potty break, Leanna's watch was dead before we even began, and the last straw was that I fell and hit the pavement around mile 14 or so. We will do one more 15 mile run next week and then basically rest until the race.

I'm off to do some online shopping!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Holiday Hint #1

Well, it's that time of year!  Time to plan for the upcoming holiday season.  Now I don't want to rob the Pilgrims like my friend Kelly would say, but, like always, my house has been decorated for the fabulous fall season since September.  It's time for me to break out the red and green!

Plus, we celebrate Thanksgiving dinners at both my parents' and Jimmy's parents' homes, so I don't mind at all getting my Christmas decorating done before Thanksgiving!  In fact…….I plan to buy my live Christmas tree either next Monday or Tuesday--as soon as Mid South Nursery puts them out.  Olivia comes home Tuesday night for her Thanksgiving break, and we plan to trim the tree as soon as she gets home!  My friend, the other Kelly, as Sam and Leah call him, is coming next Monday night to help me with the Christmas decorating.  (Ok, he does almost all of the decorating….I just assist or try to stay out of his way!)

I plan to share hints over the next few weeks.  These are things that I am doing, and maybe it will give you some ideas too.  And of course, if you have great ideas to share, please leave a comment.  We all learn from each other!

Holiday Hint #1 (actually more than 1)
  • Buy Christmas stamps.  When I asked the postman to show me the choices last week, he brought out at least six different stamps!  What a fun selection!  I chose the gingerbread houses.  My guess is that as it draws closer to December, the selection will not be as varied.
  • Get out your Christmas binder.  Record any gifts you have already bought and make a list of what else you need to buy.
  • Buy gift wrapping supplies:  ribbon, tape, wrapping paper, gift tags, embellishments, etc.  I did not order any ribbon last year, so this year I had several colors that I needed.  My favorite ribbon is the Splendorette ribbon sold at Superior Gift Wrap.  I buy the 1/1/4 inch wide, the 3/4 inch wide, the 3/8 inch wide curling ribbon and the wraffia (yes, that's how they spell it) at this site.  My favorite wrapping paper is sold at Hobby Lobby.  When I bought mine a couple of weeks ago it was 50% off.  I am pretty sure it is still on sale.  Don't forget tape!
That's all for now!  Happy Holiday Planning!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thirty Minutes and a Timer

What do you do when your To-Do List is way longer than you know you even remotely have time for?

How do you make sure you stay on task when studying your Bible, praying, or memorizing Scripture?

How can you make time for bigger projects like crafts, sewing, or major cleaning out?

Thirty Minutes and a Timer

It works!  I feel sure I have blogged about this before, but I have recently begun using my timer for more and more things.  I use the clock app on my iPhone.  It has a timer and a stopwatch.  My children like to shock and surprise me by changing the end of the time tone.  Sometimes what they pick startles me! 

Here are some ways that I currently use my timer.
  • Each morning I set the timer for 5 minutes and update my To-Do List for the day.  That is the very first thing I do each morning, so when I begin my Bible study, I am not distracted thinking of what all I need to remember for that day.
  • Next, I set the timer for 10 minutes to write in my thankfulness journal and then pray.  I have a list of people who need prayers in the back of this journal.  I just go down the list and pray for each person and situation.  I leave a sticky note to mark where I stop.  When the timer plays its tune, I close the journal.
  • Then I set the timer for 10 minutes again.  This is when I copy and read Scripture and take notes. 10 minutes--and then I stop.
  • Then final 10 minutes of my Bible time I use for memorizing Scripture.  The children and I work on a passage each week, and they learn so much faster than me.  I need time in addition to the time we spend together in learning the verses.  
  • For sewing:  I am still working on the pillows and drainage bags for mastectomy patients!  When I do sew on them, I set my timer for 30 minutes.  I have a sewing area in my basement, so I can leave everything all set up.  So, I am able to use the entire 30 minutes on actually sewing.  But when I had to sew in a common area of our house (the schoolroom table or the kitchen table) I would set my timer for 25 minutes, and then use the last 5 minutes to clean everything up.  You would be surprised at how much you can accomplish in 30 minutes.  Just grab the 30 minutes whenever you can--after supper before bedtime, after the kids are in bed, in the afternoon before time to cook supper, etc.  A little bit here and a little bit there--it all adds up.
  • I will use my timer as I begin wrapping Christmas gifts.  Again, I have an area where I can leave it all out, but if I didn't (and I used to not have this area), I would allow a few minutes at the end for clean-up.
  • For bill paying and various "office" type work.  Again, if I know that I only have 30 minutes for this task, I am less likely to get distracted by unrelated emails and websites!
  • For cleaning out a closet, drawer, refrigerator, pantry, etc.  Thirty minutes of work in one of these areas is certainly better than nothing. 
Basically any task that you have, whether it is unpleasant (like cleaning out the garage!) or fun but overwhelming, can be accomplished with thirty minutes and a timer.  The key is to stop when the timer says stop.  If you do "just a little bit more", before you know it you have spent and hour on the task and then you are behind on whatever else you need to be doing.  And, thirty minutes is not a magic number.  If all you have are 15 minutes, then set your timer and get to work for 15 minutes.  If you wait until you have a huge block of time to accomplish an entire task, you may never get to it.  It's better to work a little here, and little there, and eventually get the job done!

Don't procrastinate.  Set the timer.  Do the work.  :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I had to sign in and re enter my password when I clicked to begin typing this post.

I guess that's a sign that it has been too long since I last posted!

We left last Thursday after Clay's weekly biology class for Chattagnooga, TN.  Lynn and Kelly and their family joined us for a little mini vacation.  Fun!  Fun!  We stayed in a hotel in Chattanooga Thursday night, and then went to Rock City Friday morning. We had the attraction basically to ourselves.  It was cold!

After Rock City and lunch, we drove about an hour to Dayton, TN, to meet the other Spartans.  Our two families checked into our cabins, and then the children played outside on the campground while we waited for the 31 Spartan runners and their families to arrive.  We were there for the NACA national cross county meet that was held on Saturday morning.  We all attended a nice banquet for the runners and their guests, and then we retired back to our cabin for coffee and visiting.  We drank gallons of coffee on this trip!  It was so cold!

Julie and Clay joined the other Spartans for their 3.1 mile (5K) races Saturday morning.  Did I mention that it was freezing cold?  Many of the moms and dads joined us in our cabin to stay warm (and drink coffee) until our runners' events.

The Spartans did great!  The girls' team  won 2nd place overall, and the boys' team won 3rd overall.  Very exciting!  (And Jimmy took about 300 pictures over the three days, and I hope to post some later--I haven't even had time to look at them yet!) Almost all of the Spartans set personal records at this race, including Julie and Parker (Lynn and Kelly's son).  Clay ran a great race too!

I really, really enjoyed this getaway.  Being with friends and being away from home was very relaxing.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Momo's 90th Birthday

Last Saturday I took the kids (Jimmy was on call last weekend, and of course Olivia is at college) to my grandmother's 90th birthday party.  Momo is my daddy's mother.  She is in good health and is full of energy.  She is a big talker (maybe that's why I talk so much too!), and always has an interesting story to share.  She also clogs and sings!  

My first cousin, Karen, hosted the big event at her house.  The weather was perfect for the outdoor BBQ.  We all had such a good time visiting with family members and friends--some that I knew, some that I recognized but needed a little reminder of their names, and some I met for the first time!

I took Jimmy's camera and made lots of pictures.  I plan to make a photo book of all of the pictures and give it to Momo for Christmas.

Here are some highlights.

 My parents and my children

 Sam, Momo, and Leah

My cousin, Karen (the hostess) and me

 Me and Momo

 Jewel (Momo's brother) and Momo

 Ronald (Daddy's first cousin) and Roland (my daddy)
They were looking at some old, old pictures of the family.  Ronald and Daddy knew everyone in those pictures.

My daddy and Momo

Happy Birthday Momo!

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Fun Party at the Prince's House!

For the past several years (8 maybe?) we have joined many other families for the annual Halloween Party at the Prince's house.  John and Leigh graciously open their home to lots of excited children and adults in costumes.  We enjoy a meal together (with lots and lots of candy!) and then the children go trick-or-treating. 

Here are some pictures from this year's fun night.

The Hosts!

Our Family--Toy Story Characters:
Woody, Mr. Potato Head, Mrs. Potato Head, Barbie, Sid, and Jessie