Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Our Trip to Utah

A while back, on September 30, our family flew to St. George, Utah, for a week long vacation.  Well, actually we flew into Las Vegas and then rented a minivan for the two hour scenic trip to St. George. Jimmy and I made this same trip two years ago for him to run the St. George Marathon, but without any of our children.  We enjoyed it so much, and the landscape was so breathtaking, that we knew right away that we wanted to return and bring the children with us.  Sadly, Olivia was at college so she could not join us.  However, when she was home for her fall break, she viewed the hundreds of pictures Jimmy made while we were out there and her siblings told her all about their adventures.

We spent our days roaming around and taking short hikes in Snow Canyon and Zion National Parks. The mountains and vegetation is unlike anything we have here in Mississippi.  God's creation really is awesome!

The children, especially Leah and Sam, climbed many, many rocks!

We hiked The Narrows, part of which included a trek down the river.  That water was FREEZING!  Leah and I turned around before the end of this hike.  We waited on the others on a rock in the sun, trying to warm up!

This picture was taken just before we did the hike up to Angel's Landing.  Do you see the warning sign in the upper right hand corner?  I stayed pretty nervous on some of these hikes, fearful that Sam would fall!  We did not actually hike Angel's Landing, but we went up to the point where you can go on to that spot.  It's called Scout's Lookout. That was a dangerous enough hike in my opinion!

Everywhere we looked, the scenery was beautiful!

Jimmy ran the St. George Marathon again, and he did a great job!  He was slower than his last time on this course, but he finished strong and healthy.  Last time he injured himself, and it took him about a year to fully recover.  This picture was taken after the marathon, and you can see that he looks good and is smiling!

Another hike.  Those kids will climb on anything and anywhere!
I began to get a little claustrophobic in this part of the hike.

The day before we left we went back to Las Vegas in order to fly out the next morning. We attended a worship service at the same place we went the last time we were in town, and it was nice to see old friends.  Later that afternoon we took the children to Hoover Dam.  This picture is taken inside the dam. We also walked across the mile long pedestrian bridge that overlooks the river and the dam.  That made me a little nervous too.

Just before going to the airport for our flight home, Jimmy took the boys to the Lamborghini dealership.  They were THRILLED.  Both of them are really interested in Lamborghinis, and they were able to see numerous ones in person.  But they did not touch them!  One of the employees at the dealership was really nice and allowed Jimmy to take their picture with every single car (but no touching!).

This is a super short synopsis of a really wonderful trip.  It was very relaxing for me.  I ran 2 times while I was out there, and running in that altitude and up and down those hills proved to be a tough workout. I never set an alarm, and the days were so nice just spending time with my family and enjoying God's marvelous creation.

It was a good trip.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


I filled up my most recent Gratitude Journal yesterday.  I began it on March 18, 2012, and I wrote on the last line yesterday, November 18, 2014.  2 years and 8 months.  I aim to record 5 things each day that I am thankful for, but if you do the math, you will see that I missed some days here and there.  But still.  2,672 blessings are a lot. I wish I numbered my entries from the beginning…..I started listing five things I am thankful for each day over 18 years ago. These blessings are recorded in plain spiral bound notebooks, pretty journals, and also on loose leaf paper in various binders.

I just started a book called Climb Happiness Hill by Alan Bryan.  My friend, Joe, lent it to me, saying that he was pretty sure it was out of print.  I did a little bit of googling, and I found it!  I am taking good care of his copy, but I plan to order my own in the next couple of days.  I am not even through the first chapter, but I can already tell that this will be a book that I read and reread.  The author presents "Rules for Happy Living", and there are 15 in all.  The first rule is one that we all know:

Count your blessings, not your troubles.

Keeping a gratitude journal is one way to do that.  Also, as you go about your day, whenever stress, doubts, complaints, etc., creep into your thinking (and will eventually come out of your mouth!), purpose to count some of your blessings instead.  I began trying this yesterday.  What a challenge.  I was surprised at how many negative thoughts and internal murmurings ran through my brain.  As much as I remembered to, I would stop myself and quickly think of a positive spin on that negative thought.

I plan to continue this challenge today.  Wouldn't that be a good habit to develop?  To purpose to replace all negative thinking with positive instead.  To express thankfulness in each and every situation.  We are commanded to do that, you know.

"in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

That pretty much sums it up…..in everything give thanks.

I began a new gratitude journal today.  It is a pretty one that my girls gave me for my birthday.  I had been saving it for this purpose.

So what about you?  Can you purpose to count your blessings, not your troubles today?  Can you recored your blessings in a notebook?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Menu, Miles, MSU, and More

stir fry vegetables
brown rice
homemade egg rolls

penne pasta with zucchini and red sauce

homemade chicken noodle soup
homemade bread

baked potatoes

sauteed vegetable and hummus wraps
sweet and spicy sweet potato rounds


You can visit OrgJunkie for more menu ideas.

Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Rounds
4 sweet potatoes
2 Tbs. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. paprika
3/4 tsp. chili powder
2 Tbs. olive oil

Peel and slice potatoes thinly. Pour olive oil over potatoes in a large bowl, and stir to coat.  Sprinkle spices and brown sugar over potatoes, and stir again until all potatoes are covered.
Place on a greased or foil-covered and sprayed baking sheet, in a single layer.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender or slightly crunchy.

This is the peak mileage week of our marathon training.  I ran 11 miles this morning, and I have 36 miles left.  One run will be my long run of 22 miles.  I am planning on meeting Leanna and Stacee for that run on Friday.  The rest of the week I will run 6, 4, and 4.  I think that adds up to 47!

Sadly, Mississippi State could not pull off a win against Alabama.  However, we had lots of fun watching the game----good food, good friends, good fellowship.  We had four couples and 17 children at Leanna's house for the game.  It was a fun afternoon.

My dryer stopped working on Friday, and so I spent Friday night at the laundrymat.  Fun!  I do love those huge washers and dryers though.  I got all of my laundry done in 1.5 hours.  Folded too.  The repairman is here this morning, and I will be washing, drying, and folding for the rest of today when he gets it up and running!  I am so appreciative for modern conveniences!

We plan to get our Christmas tree at the beginning of next week.  That is if the nursery where I buy my tree from each year has them.  I plan to get a SMALL tree this year.  Last year's tree grew on the way home from the nursery.  It was SO LARGE last year…..and a little bit lopsided.  It did not look like that at the nursery! So, I will be looking for a smallish tree--9 feet tall, max.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, November 14, 2014


That's how I feel, but I am working on it!

I'm nearing the end of my marathon training.  In fact, next week is the highest mileage of all--47 miles with a long run of 22 miles.  Yesterday Leanna and I ran 18 miles in the freezing cold (31 degrees), and it actually sleeted while we ran!  We were not expecting that! Tomorrow I plan to run 9 miles with Lynn, and she just texted me that the temperature will be 24 degrees!  Crazy!  I will wear tights, running pants, five shirts, two pairs of gloves, a hat, and a headband.

Lynn came over yesterday afternoon, and she and I along with our girls went the the city of Baldwyn's Christmas Open House for an evening of Christmas shopping.  It was a lot of fun!  We met Leanna there too.  I got quite a bit of my shopping done.  Those were my first purchases of the season.  I made a list and felt quite accomplished checking many items off.  Jimmy and Leanna's cousin, Season, has the cutest store in Baldwyn, and I bought several gifts there.

I worked some on my Christmas binder this morning. I began by transferring everything to a new, larger binder.  Mine was overflowing.  I love the Better Binders from Staples, and I had an empty one just waiting to be my new Christmas binder.  I cleaned out some extra and unnecessary pages and then printed out a master gift list table.  It includes each person that I give a gift to, what the gift is (I fill in this part as I make or buy the gift), and when it is wrapped. I use basically the same table each year.  I just delete last year's data, and print out and save a new blank one.

And one more thing:

Hail State!

1Mississippi State (48)1
2Florida State (12)2

We will be watching tomorrow's game with our fellow Bulldogs:  Lynn, Kelly, Leanna, Joe, John, and Leigh (who really is a Bama fan) and all of our families. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cinnamon Muffins

These are Leah's favorite.  I made them this morning so I thought I would share the recipe before we begin school.

***You may substitute the flour with all-purpose flour.  I grind my own flours, and use those, but I am sure that regular flour will work great!  You can also use any kind of milk.  I use organic sugar (I think it's raw?…..it's pretty big brown granules…..I bought a 50 lb. bag from Azure Standard almost a year ago), but again, plain white sugar will do too. Oh, and instead of the ground flaxseed meal, you could substitute 2 eggs.

I think that is all the modifications.

Here is my recipe:

Cinnamon Muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oat flour
1 cup brown rice flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbs. ground flaxseed meal
2 Tbs. cinnamon
1 cup natural (unsweetened) applesauce
3 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
2 cups milk (I use 1 cup soy and 1 cup almond)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Blend dry ingredients thoroughly.  Add wet ingredients and stir until well combined.  Bake in greased ( I spray with olive oil spray) muffin tins for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.
Makes 16 muffins. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

It's Already November

Where does the time go?  I can't believe that it is November.

I have done nothing to prepare for Christmas.  Well, I have bought a roll of red wrapping paper and two rolls of easy to tie ribbon.  And like I said last month, I am NOT buying anymore gift wrapping supplies.  My challenge for myself is to use up all that I already have!

Some years I have had all of my Christmas shopping done BEFORE THANKSGIVING!  Not this year.  In fact, I have only not even begun a list yet.  But I plan to make a list before next Thursday.  That is the night that I am going to the Baldwyn Downtown Open House. (And I totally just made that name up).  It is is downtown Baldwyn (where Leanna and I do our long runs each week), and it is their Christmas open house, but I don't know the official name of this event.  I just know that Baldwyn has the cutest gift shops, one of which is owned by one of Jimmy's first cousins, and I plan to get a lot of my Christmas shopping done from 5-8 next Thursday night.  Fun!

Last weekend was so much fun!  First, we went to our friends, the Prince's house for a Halloween party.  Jimmy and I dressed up as Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, only I did not wear red spandex.  I made our costumes (don't be impressed), and they did turn out cute!  I will post a picture another day. (They are in my phone, and my phone is far away from me right now.)  Julie was Rapunzel from Tangled, and she made her costume too, and you will be impressed when I share the picture.  Leah was Dorothy, (wearing a cute costume my mother made), and Clay and Sam were, well, I'll let you see when I share the pictures.

Then, on Saturday, we went to see the Bulldogs play.  The #1 football team in the nation, Mississippi State!  We arrived in Starkville at noon, and joined Kelly and Lynn and their children for a chilly day of football, food, and fun. It was cold! We had not tailgated since the last year that we had season tickets with Kelly and Lynn, and that was was several years ago. We really had a great time.  We went early to secure our spots near the sidewalk for the Dawg Walk, and that was an experience!  Those football players were treated like movie stars walking on the red carpet!  Ha!  And Dak Prescott had three bodyguards!

We almost froze at the game, but we stayed until the very last second.  What an exhausting game.  Thankfully, the Bulldogs came out on top.  We got back to our tailgating spot about 10:00 PM.  We had already packed everything up before the game, so we hung out in and around Kelly and Lynn's truck until 11:30, and truly "tailgated".  We ate the rest of our food and drank cokes from the back of the truck.  And most of us crammed inside the truck to try to keep warm.  When the traffic looked like it was moving more than 1 foot per five minutes, we decided to ease into the line of cars and try to get home.
We arrived home at 1:00 AM.  I am so glad that we got to set the clocks back.  We needed that extra hour of sleep.

I am drowning in schoolwork, making study guides, list making, graduation planning, marathon training, grocery shopping, laundry, housecleaning (or lack thereof), etc.---just like you!  :)

Olivia is in New York for a national college XC meet.  Wow.  She is far away from us!
The kids are ready for me to read Farmer Boy to them before bed…….