Monday, January 20, 2014

Menu and Miles

Monday:  tilapia with spinach, salad
Tuesday:  rice and bean buffet --I cook a pot of rice, and then I set up a buffet of toppings:  various peas and beans, corn, chopped tomatoes and onions, and various sauces.
Wednesday:  BBQ chicken, baked beans, slaw, rolls
Thursday:  roasted red pepper rice and lentils

I exercised 5 days last week--2 days of T25 and 3 days of running (3 miles, 3 miles, and 6 miles).  This week I plan to do 2-3 days of T25 and run 3 days again (3 miles, 4 miles, and 7 miles).
I really like the T25 workouts.  I cannot keep up with the people on the DVD…yet!  I hope to be able to after a few weeks.

This and That:
  1. Julie got her driver's license a couple of weeks ago. Yay!
  2. I sewed some doll clothes before we started back to school, and I hope to sew either an apron for Olivia or a cute peasant dress for Julie.  I also have a pants outfit cut out for Leah, but I cut it out so long ago, that it may be too small for her now.  My secret to sewing is 30 minutes at a time.  Actually, 25 minutes.  I use the last 5 minutes to tidy up my sewing area.  But, it all adds up, and 30 minutes is not enough time for me to get overwhelmed or frustrated while sewing.
  3. I recently decided to follow the teacher's guide for Leah and Sam's Apologia elementary science course (it's the ocean animals one, I can't remember the exact name).  What a great idea!  I had been following my own plan which meant that we sporadically completed the lessons….. and since we started back to school in January, I have followed the lesson plans provided.  Guess what?  It works!  Their plan is so much better than mine!  And it saves me time.  If we keep on track, we will finish the course in April.  Leah and Sam have already decided which course they want to do next--Botany.  I have already done that course twice (with Olivia, Julie, and Clay), so I hope I can do it again.  I will!
Happy Monday!

Visit for more menu ideas.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Occupying Older Homeschooled Students

I have an article today at The Homeschool Classroom.  It's about what to do with older students while you are working with your younger ones.

Click here to read it.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Where Has January Gone?

I can't believe that it's already January 16.  The month is halfway over.

I had grand plans to list all kinds of goals and resolutions and even choose a focus word for 2014.  And then I was going to blog all about it.  Honestly, I haven't listed one single thing!  I have thought about what I would like to focus on for 2014 (and really for the rest of my life!), but I have not put any thoughts on paper.

Where has January gone?
The first week of January, Olivia was still home from college, so my only plans were to enjoy her company and get the house back in order from Christmas.  I actually did that in one day--13 hours on December 26 I worked and worked until you would never even know that we had celebrated Christmas in this house!  Of course I had lots of help from my hard-working children.

The second week in January Olivia, Julie, and I all had the flu!  I also took Olivia to the airport so she could fly back to school.  I attempted to do some school that week, but since I was sick I didn't accomplish much.

And now it is the 3rd week in January.
I began school in full force at 8:00 on Tuesday morning.  I reviewed our school schedule from the fall, and I tweaked it a little bit.

We are now all meeting at the kitchen table at 8:00 each morning for our Bible lesson.  (Previously we were meeting at 9:00, with the plan that anyone up and ready should work on schoolwork independently until 9:00.  This gave me time to get my marathon training in before the Bible lesson.)

At 8:30, I move to the schoolroom and sit between Leah and Sam.  Julie and Clay work wherever they wish, and I am available to check and/or help with their schoolwork as needed.  I move back and forth between Leah and Sam, and we continue in this manner until about 10:30 or 11:00.

Next, I read Sonlight books to Leah and Sam.

Next, I review any math problems that Clay needs help with and critique his writing assignments as needed.

We break for lunch, and then I do science with Leah and Sam and also finish up any necessary tutoring with Julie and Clay.

The rest of my afternoons consist of laundry, housework, running errands, other chores, and cooking supper.

This new routine has served us well this week.  I think we have found our groove in our school day, and hopefully this success will continue.

Focuses in 2014
In Joshua's farewell address to the Israelites, he reminds them of all that God has done for them and how God has fulfilled every promise He made to their forefathers.  He also admonishes them to remain faithful and obedient, or God's anger will burn against them, and they will reap dire consequences.  Two verses in Joshua 23 stood out to me when I read this last week.

"But you are to cling to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day."  Joshua 23:8
"So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God."  Joshua 23:11

These two verses don't directly relate to the two words that I want to focus on for 2014, but then again, they do.
Brother Earl, one of the elders in our congregation, frequently says that Jesus was the most unselfish person that ever lived.  That is so true.  Being selfish is something that I need to work on.  Not in the sense of "That's my plate!  You can't eat off it!" But more in the sense of looking out for the needs of others before my own.  Again, it really is not so obvious…I don't buy a bunch of clothes for myself and then have no money left to buy new shoes for my child who has outgrown his…my selfishness shows up more in my personal daily agenda…I have my own selfish goals, and sometimes they keep me from living a life of unselfishness.  A life of putting the needs of my husband and children above my to-do list--even though the to-do list contains really good things.  Is any of this making sense?  Anyway, I think I need to work on developing the quality of unselfishness in all areas of my life.

Simplify.  Another thing I really want to work on.  As in spending less time planning every detail of my life and more time actually living it.  I need to try to not make things so complicated.  This will be a work in progress as I ponder what all I want to simplify.  I just know that my life has felt cluttered lately, but not necessarily with things.

About the verses--in order to live a life pleasing to the Lord our God (no matter what my focus words are for this year or any other year), I will need to cling to the Lord and take diligent heed to love my Lord.  How do I plan to do this?  By immersing myself in God's Word and diligently loving Him.  I will learn how to be unselfish by reading His Word, and I hope to actually practice unselfishness and simpleness by loving God.  Loving God by obeying His Word.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Leah's 10th Birthday

Yesterday Leah turned 10.  I think she had a great day!  Before we went to our church services, we enjoyed a special breakfast together at the decorated table.  The theme was notebooks and special pens.  Leah loves to write, and she is always jotting down things in notebooks and on paper.  Also, she asked for a set of Frixion erasable markers at least once a day for the past month!

 the table

 The markers that she asked for!!

 Waiting for her breakfast--hash brown casserole and coffee.

Leah opened one present before we left for church--a handmade gift from Julie!  Inside was a handmade wallet with some money inside.  Julie wanted her to be able to buy something at our trip to the mall later that afternoon.

 the cute, cute owl purse lovingly made by Julie

The pictures from the mall are after these….but after church we went to eat at Kyoto's (Japanese hibachi!).  Next we went to the mall for part of Leah's birthday present.

These pictures are from when we got home.  Time to open presents!

 so excited!

 pajamas for her doll, Molly

 "Is it really Molly's bed??"

 "Wow!  Look at this box of clothes from Mims and Pops!"

 Leah (with her new purse) and Julie

One very fun part of the day was going to the mall to get her ears pierced!!
Avery talked her parents (Kelly and Lynn) into getting her ears pierced too!

"Oh!  We are so scared!"

 "But look at our matching outfits!"

 getting the holes marked
a little scared…...

 The Piercing!
(holding a stuffed animal for moral support)
 How pretty!

 Now it's Avery's turn….and she is not so sure either!

Whew!  Glad that's over.
It wasn't so bad!

"I'm so glad we did it!"

Leah used the money Julie gave her to buy a few pairs of earrings to wear when she can change them out, in 6-8 weeks.

Leah's birthday cake was cream cheese swirl brownies.  She blew out all 10 candles, and we enjoyed a yummy dessert.

It was a delightful birthday!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Menu and Miles

Well, it's not Monday, but I normally plan my menus on the weekends.  Our menu weeks usually run from Saturday-Friday, so I am just going to go ahead and post today and link up to Menu Plan Monday on Monday.

I have been married for almost 23 years, and I still have to motivate myself to plan a menu and create a grocery list each week.  It takes me about 10-30 minutes, depending on how involved our upcoming week is and whether or not I want to try out any new recipes.  But, like most tasks, the anticipation of the task is worse than actually doing it!  You would not believe how many menus I have typed and saved on my computer and of course there are all of those on this blog as well.  Anyway, weekly menu planning, for me, has benefits that far outweigh the sometimes unpleasantness of doing it.

For a refresher course, this is the simplest way to make a weekly menu plan.

  1. Use your computer or a piece of paper to create a grid for the meals you need to plan for for a week.  I create a simple table in my word processing program--well, actually, I just use the same one each week, but I delete the previous weeks' menu and start over.
  2. Look at your calendar and see if you are going to be out for any of your meals.  That's easy.  Just mark that block off!  Also make note of any meals you need to take to people or any potlucks, etc., you will be participating in.  Write (or type) it all on the grid.
  3. Fill in the blanks with meals.  I rarely fill in breakfast or lunch because we usually have the same things.  If I need a special breakfast or lunch, I type it in.  
  4. As you list a meal, highlight on your master grocery list or write on your grocery list all ingredients you will need to prepare that meal.  Don't forget to shop your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer first.
  5. Ask your family members if there is anything that they need from the grocery store.  Remind them that you won't be going again for a week.
  6. Check the list that you (hopefully) keep on your refrigerator or pantry door where people can list items as you run out of them--like ketchup, grits, etc.
  7. Check your inventory of staple items to see what you need to stock up on.  For instance, I keep a certain amount of each type of non-dairy milk we drink each week, so I check to see how much of each kind we need.
  8. Fill in your grocery list, check over it one more time, and then you are ready to go to the store!
  9. Post your menu in your kitchen so that your family knows what's for supper.  I also make a note on the menu if I need to do something the night before like soak beans.
Menu This Week:

Saturday:  Bible study--taking quinoa salad and black beans
Sunday:  Leah's Birthday!  Breakfast:  hash brown casserole,  Lunch:  restaurant
Monday:  chili
Tuesday:  refried beans tacos
Wednesday:  roasted cauliflower, asparagus, sweet potatoes, green beans, mashed potatoes
Thursday:  black-eyed pea cakes, leftover mashed potatoes, salad
Friday:  pizza

Miles This Week:
Since I had the flu, I did only one workout this week (while I was sick!--I was in denial that I was sick.)  Beginning Monday, I hope to resume my workout plan that I began the week before last.
Alternate three days of running (3 miles, 4 miles, 10 miles) and three days of T25 workouts.  Rest on Sunday.

Beginning Monday, you can visit Org.Junkie for more menus.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Flu

That's what's been going on around here!

It began with Olivia last Thursday, then Julie came down with it on Sunday, and I started feeling poorly on Monday.  And yes.  We all got the flu shot last fall.  Well, all of us except for Olivia who was away at college.  Ironically she got her flu vaccine last Thursday, and began running fever and feeling badly that same night.  At first we thought it was just a side effect from the vaccine, but it ended up being full blown flu.  We are pretty sure she contracted it from the Winter Camp that she and Julie attended earlier last week.

Anyway.  I was convinced that I just had a bad sore throat, cough, and cold, except that I have been FREEZING cold all week.  The temps here have been way colder than normal, but as it turns out, I was running fever.  So, since I had planned a birthday party for Leah tomorrow afternoon, I decided to go to the dr. yesterday and have a flu test.  That way I would know if I should cancel the party.  Well guess what?  To my surprise, I tested positive for the flu!  This is the first time I have had the flu.  Fortunately, having the vaccine has seemed to lessen my symptoms.  I have not been nearly as sick as poor Olivia.  Julie had it pretty bad too!

I am praying that the other members of my family do not get sick!

We changed the birthday party until next week, but I still plan to have Leah's family celebration on her actual birthday, which is Sunday.  I MUST be well by Saturday, because I have some birthday shopping and cooking to do.  Being sick is such an inconvenience!

I have narrowed down my word for 2014 to either Serve or Simplify.  Maybe I will choose both!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

It's a New Year

I'm excited about 2014.  January usually is a very busy month for us--we have two birthdays in January, and then there is the getting back to school.  We are starting our homeschool back on January 7.  I have prepared everything.  (I think.)  I even have Leah's and Sam's spelling words written on the board!  We have all enjoyed a nice long break from school, but next week, we will be working hard.

New Year's Eve we celebrated at Kelly and Lynn's house.  My children wanted to stay until midnight, so we did! It was a nice night of food, fun, and fellowship.  I played Mexican train dominoes and drank lots of Coke!

I began 2014 with a 10 mile run with Leanna.  That was my longest run since December 7, and actually only my 4th time to run at all since then.  I took a much needed break from running during the holidays.  But I am back on track now!  I began Monday with my current exercise plan:  run 3 days a week (3-4 miles two days and 10 miles one day) and do T25 3 days a week.  Jimmy gave me T25 workout program for Christmas, and I am really enjoying it so far.  (I have completed 2 workouts).  I changed my registration for the Mississippi River Marathon from the marathon to the half marathon.  It's about 4 weeks until that race.  My goal is to complete it faster than I did the Disney Half Marathon in 2011.  Since I won't be stopping to take pictures with Disney characters, I hope that this is an achievable goal.

It's the time of year for resolutions and goal-setting.  Also for choosing focus words and reflecting on the past year.  I have set some goals and I am still selecting a focus word.  I began the B90 Bible reading plan for the 4th time this past Monday.

Have you set goals?  Are they general or specific?  I am leaning towards more general goals this year.  I'll share when I get my thoughts together.

Happy New Year!