Saturday, December 26, 2015

Happy December 26th!

Well.  Another Christmas Day has come and gone with all the flurry and fun associated with it.  We have had a wonderful (yes, stressed at times, but mostly just wonderful) December. I have so enjoyed having both of my college girls home. Our house has been full of family, crafts, puzzles, legos, dolls, and lots and lots and lots of cooking!  I have spent hours in my kitchen these last few weeks.  But for the most part, I have enjoyed every minute.

Like most of you mamas, I slept 4.5 hours Christmas Eve night.  I kept myself fortified yesterday with coffee and mocha punch.  I also took a 15 minute nap later in the afternoon.  We had a delightful Christmas Day---my parents came Thursday night.  They spent the night and spent most of yesterday with us.  It was such a blessing having them here!  My mama and daddy helped me so much in the kitchen preparing our special Christmas dinner.  I usually don't have our special meal ready until 4:00 or so, but yesterday since I had so much help, we ate before 2:00!

So I slept late this morning, and I have so much to do (clean-up from the Christmas fun) that I don't really know where to begin!  I am also already thinking forward to the new year next week and all the goals I want to set for myself.  I love January 1 with its blank slate.  I like to make New Year's resolutions and goals for myself.  In fact, I have so many areas that I intend to work on and improve that I told Jimmy that he may not even know me any more. :)

I jotted down a few areas that I intend to set goals for myself.  I wish I had a day to be alone and just think and write plans, goals, ideas, etc.  I would love to read Pinterest for hours to learn new ideas for meeting my goals, but the reality is none of that is going to happen.  So, I will work with what time I have.  A little bit here and there while cleaning up our December/Christmas Day festivities.

Here are the areas I intend to work on.  I hope to blog specific ideas and plans as I make them.
Feel free to share any ideas you may have as well.

  • Bible Study 
  • Hospitality
  • Fitness
  • Healthy Eating
  • Planner/Homemaking Binder
  • Homeschool
  • Housecleaning
  • General cleaning out
  • Leisure
  • Vacations
  • Office Items (Bills, Filing, Budget, etc.)

And here are my precious children!

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Fall in Review

Since I have been such a failure at blogging lately, I decided to share a few photos that give an overview of our fall. Much of my life over the last few months included lots of traveling.

I traveled to Tampa and back 4 times since August….driving three of those trips and flying only one. 
I saw Olivia and Julie run in two XC meets, and Jimmy was able to see four of them.

I made several 2 hour + trips to Tennessee and one to Clinton, MS for Clay's high school XC meets.

We attended five (or maybe 4? I already can't remember….there were 7 home games in all….) Mississippi State home football games, complete with all day tailgating, visiting, etc.

When we were home we diligently completed our schoolwork, and we have listened to hours upon hours of audio books for both Sonlight and Clay's English class in our car while traveling hundreds of miles. 

Some pictures in no particular order…...

 Olivia and Julie at one of their XC meets

 Madison, Julie, and Olivia at their XC Nationals Meet Banquet

 Julie and Cassie at a XC meet

 Olivia and Julie at a XC meet

 Joe, Leanna, Kelly, Lynn, Jimmy, and Me at a MSU game.

 Lynn and I were unable to attend our homeschool group's field trip to the pumpkin patch, so we just took our children on another day.  We pretty much had the place to ourselves.

 Leah with a rabbit at the pumpkin patch

 on the "hayride" getting their pumpkins

 We attended the Prince's Halloween party.  This year Jimmy and I did not dress up because I simply could not find the time or energy to plan and make us costumes!
Leah was Honey Lemon from Big Hero 6.

 Sam dressed up as his uncle Sam Johnson.
Sam Johnson and Sam Johnson.

 One glorious night in October Leah and these other sweet girls were baptized into Christ!

 Olivia and Julie texted this picture to Jimmy one night……It was an ENO party.
It looked pretty dangerous to me, and I did not ask how the people in the upper ENOs got up there.  Olivia is 2nd or 3rd from the top. Julie is 3rd from the bottom.

 Another December tradition for our family is to run the St. Jude Marathon or Half Marathon.  This year Jimmy ran the full, and Lynn, Leanna and I ran the half.  Leanna and I are happy to be finished in this picture!

 Here we are, freezing before the race.  
Lynn took these pictures which is why she is not in them!

The three amigos before the race. 
Lynn and I wore matching outfits. Our leggings had Christmas lights on them!  :)

 Jimmy and Julie and the XC Nationals Meet Banquet

We went to see the Nina and the Pinta which were docked on a nearby waterway.  Of course these are replicas, but it was an interesting tour.

 My children, Lynn's children, Leanna, children, and a few cousins outside one of the ships

Clay, Leah, and Sam wanted to have an ENO party of their own.
(They used a ladder.)

Monday, December 7, 2015

December Traditions

Now that it is December 7, we are in full holiday mode around here.  Over the years we have established several December/Christmas/New Year's traditions.  When thinking about holiday traditions for your family, don't try to do everything you read or hear about other families doing.  That would be too much!  It's fun to look on Pinterest, just remember that comparison can lead to either pride or despair….neither being a good option.

I'll share what our family does.  We started simple and small, but over the years of moving, and with the arrival of more children, we have added some new traditions.

1.  Thanksgiving:  We celebrate Thanksgiving Day at my parents' house with my parents, my two younger brothers (and their families), my grandmother, and sometimes my uncle.  My mother usually does all the cooking, which is such a blessing!

2.  The Christmas Tree:  We buy a live tree from a local nursery either just before or after Thanksgiving Day. Now that I have children in college, no matter when I buy the tree, we wait to decorate it until the girls are home from college. I serve popcorn, hot apple cider, and hot chocolate, and we listen to Christmas music while we are decorating the tree.  I always get frustrated while putting on the lights!

3.  Christmas Countdowns:  We have two different ways of counting the days of December until the 25th.  One is putting an felt ornament on a felt tree calendar that my mother made for us when I was a child.  She restored this calendar years ago for my children to use, and they love it!  The other way is a basket of wrapped Christmas-themed books.  I wrap 24 books at the beginning of the month, and they take turns unwrapping one book a day.  We read the book each night at bedtime.  I have had these same books since Olivia was little!  I actually have more than 24 books, so I just choose my favorite 24 to wrap and put the rest in the basket for them to read at their leisure.

4.  The Sibling Store:  I set up a "store" of gifts that I have bought for my children.  Each child shops for his or her sibling from my display.  Some years all children buy all of their sibling gifts from me, some years they don't buy any, and some years it's a mix….for example, Clay needs to buy just one gift from my store this year---he has either purchased or made a gift for his other siblings.  I began the sibling store many years ago when my children were younger.  I did not like taking them around town to shop for their siblings. And often they did not have enough money to buy what they wanted.  So I buy a few things for each child (that I know they will like), and I charge a flat rate for each gift. Usually $5 a gift, which is a bargain!  They like to spend their money on one another, and I like for them to have appropriate, non-overwhelming choices.  Of course, if they want to make their siblings a gift instead of buying it, that's great!  After "buying" or making their gifts, they wrap them and put them under the tree.

5.  Pajamas:  I always give my children a new set of pajamas on Christmas Eve.  They all act surprised by what the special Christmas Eve gift is!  :)  (I know that they know what they are getting!)
Some years I have sewn them all pajamas pants, but most years I purchase them.

6.  Baking Goodies:  We have our standard recipes that we make each year, and I also try one or two new recipes each year too.  I spread this holiday baking over 3 or 4 sessions to keep from being overwhelmed.  The kids love helping me!  We package some of the goodies in small containers (that I buy 75% off each year after Christmas) and give to each family in our church's congregation.  I make other containers of goodies for various other people like my hairdresser, our barber, our mechanic, etc.  We also give goodies as favors for the families that attend our Johnson Christmas Party.

7.  Cookies:  We make sugar cookies every single year for the children to decorate.  They always make some special ones for Santa Claus.  Some years we make gingerbread men too.  And one year I made homemade gingerbread houses for my kids and Lynn and Leanna's kids too to decorate.  That was fun, and I may try that again this year.

8.  Family Gatherings:  We celebrate with my parents and the rest of my family on the Saturday before Christmas.  The cousins all draw names and exchange gifts.  We take turns hosting this party, and this year it will be at my house.

I host Jimmy's extended family for a appetizer/soup/dessert party one night near Christmas (it all depends on Jimmy's work schedule when I can have this party).  This is a fun time for all of his aunts, uncles, and cousins to gather for food and fellowship.  Since we consider Lynn and Kelly family, they come to this party too!

On Christmas Eve we go to Jimmy's parents' house to celebrate with his mother, siblings, and their children.  It is also Jan's birthday, so we give her birthday presents before the meal, and then we switch to Christmas mode after the meal.  We eat lunch together and then exchange gifts.  Jenny, Megan, and I do most of the cooking for this event.  :)  We come home to eat supper (I always leave some sort of soup cooking in the crock pot), and I give the children their special Christmas Eve present.  Surprise!

9.  Christmas Day:  Santa Claus comes.  We eat a special breakfast and leisurely open our gifts to one another.  We stay in our pajamas all day!  I cook a special mid afternoon meal--steak, shrimp, potatoes, and salad.  Jimmy visits the hospital and takes a little something to the nurses on his floor that have to work that day.  The children play with their new toys and games, and I relax as best I can.

10.  The Elf on the Shelf.  I almost forgot.  We started this elf thing last year just a week before Christmas Day.  That is another blog post. (Or I may have blogged about it last year.  Let me check).

I think that's all.  I send Christmas cards, and I have Christmas dishes that we normally eat on through the month of December.  But I haven't gotten them out yet this year!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


It's December 2, and I flucuate between I AM SO STRESSED OUT PANIC MODE and oh, December is such a lovely month, and I am enjoying all our family traditions.

We enjoyed a fun-filled visit from our two college girls and Julie's roommate, Ellie, for 6 days.  It was delightful to have them home!  We bought our Christmas tree, visited Granmomma, spent Thanksgiving Day in Forest with Mims and Pops and all of my family, decorated the tree, took our Christmas card picture, had Russ and Megan and kids over for supper, and attended the Egg Bowl (and tailgated all day prior to the game).  Whew!  Six packed days!  And I washed and ironed mountains of laundry.  :)

I always give my children a new ornament or two to unwrap as we begin decorating our Christmas tree. This year I included Ellie, and I also added two more fun surprises to their gift bags……a new Christmas t-shirt and a fun holiday-themed fleecy blanket.  The blankets are the perfect weight--not too heavy--and they are so soft!  I also had one more surprise.  An "old-fashioned" popcorn maker.  The kind that you put a little oil and the kernels in the bottom of the maker and plug it in.  In about 5 minutes you have delicious popcorn!  I served that with apple cider and hot chocolate while we decorated the tree. I have served popcorn, cider, and hot chocolate over the years, but always microwaved popcorn.  There is no comparison.  That popcorn was so good!

I actually have an hour and a half right now, before my English students arrive, so I am going to get out my Christmas shopping list and update it as I go through the bags and boxes of items I have already purchased.

Tip for today:
Finalize your online shopping list and order very, very soon!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Deck The Halls

Monday night "the other Kelly" (what my children call our friend who was one of Jimmy's college roommates--not to confuse him with "Uncle Kelly"--Lynn's husband) helped me decorate our house for Christmas.  Well, actually he does all the decorating, I just help unload the boxes and watch him work his magic.  This is the 11th year that Kelly has done this for me.  He makes our house look so pretty and festive!

 the top of a chest in my dining room

 the chest in the foyer

 the mantel

 my collection of Santas

 the metal tree Clay made me….I keep seasonal decorations on this tree year round.  
For December is has handmade ornaments (made by my children) and personalized ornaments with our names on them from years past.

 the bookcase in my den

 a little table in our den

 the Christmas card tree….
This is what it looked like when we brought it down from storage.
It looked like a Grinch tree!
 our kitchen table
Julie made these placemats a couple of years ago.

the Christmas card tree--all straightened (and propped up and taped together)

I picked up Olivia and Julie and Julie's roommate from the airport last night and we got home around 11:15.  The are here for 6 nights for their Thanksgiving break!  Woo! Hoo!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Well, hello there and Happy Holidays!  Let the holiday season begin.
I tried to make my blog look a little "Christmasy".  I may tweak it a little bit.

Ok.  So since I have not blogged in forever, let me reintroduce myself.

My name is Roan Johnson.  I am happily married to the love of my life, Jimmy. We celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary back in June. We have five children:  Olivia--20, Julie--18, Clay--16, Leah--11, and Sam--9.  I am a full time homemaker and homeschooling mama.  This is my 15th year of homeschooling, and with two girls in college, I am down to teaching only three children.

I enjoy planning and organizing, reading, running, sewing and scrapbooking, although I never seem to have (make) time for sewing or scrapbooking. Sometimes I enjoy cooking.  I am a faithful weekly menu planner. I like routine in my days, and clutter and chaos stress me.

I am a Christian. I love my church family. I aspire to learn more and more from God's Word, so I always have some sort of Bible study plan going on.  Over the years I have completed the Read The Bible in 90 Days Challenge I think 3 times.  I am planning on doing this challenge again beginning in January.  I cannot recommend that challenge (and it is a challenge) enough.  To read the entire Bible from cover to cover in such a short period of time really impacts your life.  It helps to get the big picture of God's plan for His creation.  Currently I am reading High Voltage Prayer (the workbook) by Edwin Crozier, and I am also studying Acts for our weekly Bible class.

I began blogging in May of 2008, and I blogged diligently and regularly until the beginning of 2015.  I explained about why I took a hiatus in this post.   Then I announced that I would blog for 100 days straight, beginning on my birthday, September 16 (which is 100 days until Christmas).  But then I failed at that.  When you get out of the habit of doing something, it is really hard to begin again.  We just read about that in our book club book Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin.  Beginning a new habit is fun and exciting (most of the time), and your motivation to succeed is high.  When you experience a disruption in your habit and you desire to begin again, it is much harder the second time to be successful.  I have experienced that difficulty recently in both my running and my blogging.  Both are activities which I enjoy very much, but for some reason have struggled with actually doing them.

So. Hello again.  I am not making any promises this time, but I do plan to share some thoughts, encouragement, holiday planning tips, and just the mundane happenings of my life on somewhat of a regular basis.

This afternoon I am taking down my fall decorations to prepare for Christmas decorating tomorrow!

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Trip To Tampa

We are home from a 5 day trip to Tampa with Kelly and Lynn, and their oldest son, Parker.  We took Clay and Parker for an official college visit, and we were able to visit with Olivia and Julie too.

Much fun was had (as always when we are with Kelly and Lynn). Many laughs and many memories made. Lynn and I ran twice while we were there--4 miles each run, and it was hot. Jimmy ran many miles (20 one morning).

We attended some college classes.  Clay and Parker went to 5 classes, I went to 3, Lynn went to 1, Jimmy went to 1, and Kelly lasted about 10 minutes in college algebra.  :) We were also able to attend chapel twice, and we visited two different churches for services yesterday.

Jimmy took lots of pictures, and I hope to share some tomorrow.  It's late, and I don't think he has even downloaded them to his computer yet.

Leah and Sam stayed behind with Megan for half the time and half the time with Leanna.  Thanks girls!

While at the airport waiting to leave and also on the plane, I did some reading….I finished Tom Sawyer and I read my chapter for our book club this week.

That's all for now. Tomorrow's plans include beginning another week of half-marathon training, homeschool, XC practice, art lessons, grocery shopping and laundry.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Work and Play

I am reading both Tom Sawyer and Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin, and I found a passage in each book regarding work and play--both similar in a way, and both worth pondering.

From Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer, p.19:
"…..he would have now comprehended that work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do."

From Better Than Before, p. 193:
"But it turns out that extrinsic motivation undermines intrinsic motivation, so rewards can turn enthusiastic participants into reluctant paid workers, and transform fun into drudge work."

Now think about those two quotes for a minute.

Also remember that what is fun for one person may not be fun for another, and the same is true about work. 

Play is what we do because we enjoy doing it.  Work is something that we perceive (and usually rightly so) we have to do. Play can become work if we are doing it for the wrong reasons, and this usually affects our attitude toward the activity in a negative way. Work can be perceived as play if our attitude toward the task at hand is a positive one.

Most of it is in our mind.

Before this all gets too confusing, just remember that whatever you are facing--play or work--thanksgiving produces joy. Find something to be thankful for. Enjoy your work, and enjoy your play, but in all things give thanks to God who makes it all possible. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

This and That

  • We are still watching the MSU game.  So far, it has not been too much fun to watch.  It's not over yet, so I am still hopeful.
  • My girls are coming home for fall break in less than two weeks!  Yay!
  • What did we do before Google?  How did we find the answer to random questions? 
  • Do you ever look at your Pinterest pins?  Or do you just pin things and never look at them again? I recently looked at all my pins, and I was so inspired by the things I had pinned!
  • Megan introduce me to Bitmoji, which I immediately shared with Lynn and Leanna. Our texts will never be the same!  :)
  • The game is almost over. It's not looking too good for the Bulldogs.  :(
  • M&Ms are my favorite.
  • If I run 3 miles in the morning, I will have all my miles for the week.
  • That's all.

Friday, October 2, 2015

My Laptop Was in Tallahassee

Last night when I got ready to blog, I realized that my laptop was in the car with Jimmy…in Tallahassee! He went yesterday to Tallahassee to watch the older girls run a cross country meet at Florida State University.  It was another huge meet for them. I am so proud of them, and I am so happy that Jimmy has now seen 3 of their meets this year!

Tomorrow we are grilling out and watching the Mississippi State vs. Texas A&M with Kelly and Lynn.  Go State!

I haven't gotten out my fall decorations yet.  I went to Megan's house Thursday, and it looks so cute and fallish.  So cute!  I am hosting two bridal showers in November, so I really have to get out the fall decor!  I did plug in some leaves wallflowers last week, so at least my house smells like fall.

It's time to think about Christmas.  As soon as I see that Hobby Lobby has their Christmas gift wrap out, I'll let you know.  They will have it 40% off I'm sure.  They will put it 50% off later, but by that time most of the cuter prints are sold out. They actually had a few rolls of Christmas wrapping paper the last time I was there, but very, very few.  I can't wait until it's all out on display!

Well, it's almost midnight, so I better click on "publish" or this post will not make it today.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Better Than Before: Chapter 2

This week's running book club met this morning to run 8 miles and discuss chapter 2 of Better Than Before, entitled:  Self-Knowledge:  Distinctions.

This chapter presented several pairs of types of people followed by examples of each.  I wrote down most of these choices on my hand along with some key words from the discussion questions at the end of the chapter.

The written reminders really facilitated our discussion….until I started sweating.  And also, for most of the pairs I wrote down only one of the choices, and sometimes we could not think of the other choice!

All in all, it was a lively, enlightening discussion, and a great run!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hemming Jeans

Since I am short, I rarely find jeans (or any kind of pants) that are not too long.  The only exception is "ankle length", which is just the right length for me.  I bought a new pair of jeans last weekend, and of course they were too long. I remember seeing on Pinterest a neat way of hemming jeans that retained the original hem.  I did a quick search, found this Pin, and I was in business.  In about 15 minutes I had hemmed my jeans! I was so happy.  This really is such an easy way to do it.
You can find this pin here.

Happy hemming!

Monday, September 28, 2015

This Time I Did Forget!

Last week, one night I almost forgot to blog, but yesterday, I completely forgot!  I realized early this morning that I failed to blog yesterday.  Sunday morning I actually planned the hymn I wanted to share (we sang it at our worship service), but I got so busy yesterday, that I never even turned on my computer.

So……now I've broken the 100 days of blogging streak that I wanted to do.  :(
But, I am not giving up.  I will begin again today, and hopefully yesterday will be my only slip-up.  Keeping goals is like that…..If you make a mistake, just pick yourself up and get right back to it.

Here is the hymn.  What wonderful words to ponder.
The notes in my hymnbook state "C.E. Couchman (1986); based on Psalm 119:11, 18, 28, 50, 55"

Thy Word Is a Treasure

Thy word is a treasure, more precious than earth's fine gold.
How my heart grows richer each time the story is told.

Each page holds a promise:  peace, mercy, redeeming love.
Each promise exalts my hope to sing praises above.

Thy word is all wisdom; thy counsel I gladly seek.
Guide my understanding; open my eyes, Lord, to see.

Thy word gives me comfort when sorrows seem hard to bear,
A song for my journey, strength when my soul would despair.

Thy word is eternal, though heaven and earth must end.
Thy truth shall endure forever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

My Saturday

At 6:00 this morning, I took Clay, Parker, Carson, and Sam to the Frank Horton Invitational XC Meet in Memphis.  Clay and Parker are both on our homeschool XC team, the Spartans, and Carson and Sam are the cheering and supportive brothers!  Jimmy is on call today, :( and of course my older girls are away at college.  They did not have a meet today. Their next meet is next Saturday at the Florida State University.

All of the Spartans had a fantastic race day!  Most of the runners either set a personal record, ran much faster than they did at the last meet, or both.  There were twenty-something teams running today, so this was a big meet.

The rest of my Saturday included making my weekly grocery list, buying the groceries, picking up Leah from a birthday party, cooking supper, and cleaning my kitchen.  Since I slept only 4 hours, 47 minutes last night, according to my Jawbone UP, I plan to retire early tonight.

It's time for me to go through Sam and Leah's clothes and weed out what is too small or in too bad of shape to wear next year. Then I will go shopping in my basement (from my boxes of hand-me-downs). Lastly, I will make a list of what (if any) new items they need for fall/winter.  I know they will need jeans, but hopefully, not much more than that!  Oh, shoes too.  I will probably buy Leah a couple of new outfits so that her entire wardrobe is not hand-me-downs, but that is all.  Passing clothes from one sibling to the next is such a blessing.

Happy Saturday night to you.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Our First Running Book Club Meeting

Leanna, Lynn, and I met Esther this morning for a 7 mile run and discussion of our very first book, Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin.  Esther did not know we were reading the book, but we quickly summarized the introduction and chapter one for her.

Then we began talking about what we had read. Chapter one describes the Four Tendencies regarding habit-keeping.  I know there are various quizzes and assessments available to determine one's personality, but this one is geared to how or why you keep habits in your life. The four tendencies are:
1.  Upholder
2.  Obliger
3.  Questioner
4.  Rebel.
You can click here to take the quiz to determine which tendency fits you.  We all talked about which one we thought we were and why.

I am mostly an upholder, but I have a little bit of a rebel tendency every now and then.  Not a rebel in the sense of breaking rules or engaging in sinful behavior, but rebelling against something that is ok, but not my idea. I can be bossy (surprise!), and I don't take commands very well…..but for the most part, I am an upholder.  But here is another twist.  While I am almost always compliant with both outer and inner expectations (goals that people know or don't know about), I am careful to set goals that I feel I can achieve… I can be an upholder!  What a cycle.

So if you so desire and have the time, take the quiz.  Leave me a comment and tell me which tendency you are.  And if you are surprised that I consider myself an upholder.  :)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Homemade Granola Bars

Julie was our granola bar maker, and since she has gone to college, I am back to making them again.  I had to look up the recipe!  Also several people have asked me for our granola bar recipe recently.  The recipe I had previously published on this blog has been tweaked.  So, I decided to retype the recipe with all the changes that we have made.

Homemade Granola Bars

6 cups rice krispie cereal
6 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups chopped nuts
1 12oz. jar natural peanut butter
1 21oz. jar brown rice syrup
3/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
2-4 scoops protein powder (optional)

Melt peanut butter, brown rice syrup, and chocolate chips on stovetop. Stir in salt, vanilla, and protein powder (if using). In a very large bowl, mix cereal, oats, and nuts.  Pour melted ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until well combined.  Spread mixture into two greased 9x13 baking pans.  Put bars into the freezer for 10-15 minutes.  Cut each pan into 20 bars.  Wrap each bar in a small piece of plastic wrap.  Store at room temperature.

I need a little bit of blogger technical help.  I cannot remember how to access the "About Me" widget on the left upper sidebar of my blog.  I need to update the years I have been married, the children's ages, and my picture.  I have searched all over the blog account pages, I cannot find where to do this.  Can anyone help me? I have clicked on this widget under the "layout" tab, but it does not allow me to make any changes.
Thank you so much!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I Almost Forgot

I began a blogging streak one week ago today, and as I was getting ready for bed tonight, I realized that I never posted today.  Since I said I would post for 100 days straight---I turned my computer back on!

I really like to read.  At any given time I have at least two books going.  Currently I am reading, reading out loud to my children, or listening to on Audible the following books:

Climb Happiness Hill
Plugged In Prayer
the Bible
Better Than Before
Tom Sawyer
By the Shores of Silver Lake
The Indian in the Cupboard
Across Five Aprils

I think that is all.  Leanna, Lynn, and I chose Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin for our first running book club book.  We have to read the introduction and chapter 1 by Friday.

I better get to reading!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Little Bit About Our Homeschool This Year

This is the first year in a long time that I have had only three children to homeschool.  But it still takes me all day!  Not really, but on most days, if I do all subjects with Leah and Sam and check/review all of Clay's work, it takes me from 8:30AM-3:00PM.

Sam is in the 4th grade, Leah is in the 6th, and Clay is in the 11th.  Clay does all of his subjects independently, but I spend about 1 hour each day checking his work, having him make any corrections, and teaching him any new math concepts he had trouble with that day.

Leah and Sam sit at our schoolroom table (with me in between) and complete their schoolwork.  They do some subjects independently, some with minimal instruction (math), some with a little bit more instruction (writing--IEW), and some completely with me (science and Sonlight).

I laughed earlier this summer when I was planning my school days.  In past years I have labored over color coded schedules with 30 minute intervals---a MOTH schedule at its finest!  This year I jotted down a few things on a scrap piece of notebook paper.  :)

Here is our current daily routine:

7:45 AM:  Make sure all children are awake and drinking coffee (except for Clay who does not drink coffee).  Morning chores, breakfast. Clay is normally up before this time, and he begins his schoolwork before Bible time.
8:30:  Bible lesson and Scripture memory drills with all children at our kitchen table.
9:00:  Clay--upstairs to complete his schoolwork, Leah and Sam to the schoolroom.  I help Leah and Sam as they need me and check their work as they complete it.  They make their corrections at that time.
11:00:  Clay is still working.  I do a science lesson with Leah and Sam.  We usually have a snack during our science time.
11:30:  Leah and Sam take a break. I work with Clay at this time (reviewing/correcting/teaching math)
12:30PM:  Lunch (I do some laundry, make phone calls, answer emails, etc. during this time too.)
1:30:  Sonlight reading with Leah and Sam. Clay finishes any English work or other schoolwork he has not completed.
2:30:  We are usually done for the day. If we are later to eat lunch or the Sonlight readings are longer than normal, we don't finish until 3:00.

On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays (afternoons) the kids have extra activities outside the house. On Wednesday afternoons, beginning at 3:00, I teach a small English class at my house for Clay and 5 other 11th graders.

That's it!  Our homeschool day.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Edible Cell

It's hard to believe, but it has been 5 years since my children made their very first edible cell.  Clay was in the 6th grade, and all five of my children participated in this fun activity.

Now Leah is in the 6th grade, and she and Sam (4th grade) are studying Apologia's Human Anatomy and Physiology course. We finished the first module last Thursday, and Friday they made the cell.

You can click here to read all about the first edible cell we made (and see how much my children have grown!)

Leah made the jello, and after it cooled I let them make the cell all by themselves.  

They actually took most of these pictures themselves too.

Fun and educational!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday's Hymn

Here is a hymn to hopefully set the tone for your upcoming week.

Take Time to Be Holy
W.D. Longstaff, Geo. C. Stebbins

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide with Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God's children; help those who are weak, 
Forgetting in nothing His blessings to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret with Jesus alone.
Abiding in Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul;
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shall be fitted for service above.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Last Couple of Days

Jimmy and Clay left yesterday morning at 4:40AM for a 1400 mile round trip to Gainesville, Florida, to see Olivia and Julie run in a huge cross country meet. They also delivered Olivia's goldfish that I forgot to take when I took Julie to college back in August (Olivia had to fly down to school a week early for a summer school class…..and I was supposed to bring the fish, except that I forgot!)

 Proud Daddy with Olivia and Julie after the Mt. Dew Invitational

While they were gone Leah, Sam, and I cleaned house, did some school,  bought groceries, and hosted 6 other children for a little spend the night party. (Lynn's younger two children and all four of Leanna's). They played while I prepared food for our family Bible study meal (that we had tonight) and packed the car for the tailgating at the Miss. State ballgame (earlier today).

The three mamas (Lynn, Leann, and I) and 11 children left around 8:00 AM this morning to go see the Bulldogs play. All three of our husbands were unable to attend today's game (Jimmy--on his road trip, and Kelly and Joe were working). The teenage boys set up and took down our big tent, and we all worked together hauling everything to and from the car. We enjoyed a nice day in front of Allen Hall, relaxing and eating lunch together before the game.

We watched the Bulldog Walk, rested in the shade a little bit more, loaded up all three of our vehicles, and then went on in the game.

It. Was. Hot.

 Lynn, Leanna, and Me---before the game---before we melted.

 The Children

A selfie we took after sweltering at the game awhile.
Nice photo bomb from the guy sitting behind us.
None of us have a twitter, but we texted the picture to Kelly to see if he could add it to the #maroonselfies so we could appear on the jumbotron (We never saw it). :)

We left at halftime in order to make it back home for our family Bible study.  We made it just in time! And guess who else made it too (before us!)?  Jimmy and Clay.

That's my last two days.
And that's post #4 of 100!

Friday, September 18, 2015

My St. Jude Half Marathon Training Plan

I have had this plan all summer, and I have been doing the first couple of weeks of it repeatedly. I think I have done the runs exactly as listed only twice. Most weeks I either ran only once or twice or I did a longer run than listed and then didn't run much more! Anyway. I looked at my calendar earlier this week, and I realized that I have exactly 12 weeks until the half marathon, so it is time to follow the plan!

I have 2 miles left to complete week 1, but I did not run the miles as directed….I ran 4, 7, 3, and I will run 2 tomorrow to finish it out.  Lynn and Leanna have been more consistent in their running lately, and they are already up to a 7-10 mile long run. I will continue to run their long run with them and adjust the rest of my miles accordingly.

Ok. Now that I have published my plan…..I have to follow it.  :)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Running Book Club

This is the stack of unfinished books on my nightstand.  Most of them were begun earlier this summer….I am rereading Tom Sawyer for the English class I am teaching, and yesterdayI chose Better Than Before to be the first other book that I finish.

A few weeks ago Leanna suggested that she, Lynn, and I have a running book club, which means that we choose a book to read at home and then discuss it weekly while we are doing our long run.  Doesn't that sound like fun? It really does to me. The problem we are having is choosing the first book. We considered Little Women, because it's the next book I need to reread for my class. However, this morning we discussed maybe doing a Gretchen Rubin book (she has three that I like).

I am going to suggest that we choose our first book by Saturday and have the first chapter read by the time we do our long run next week.

I'll share what we chose when we figure it out.  :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Running Motivates Me

I have gotten out of the habit of doing many things the last several months.  Blogging and running are just two of those things.

This morning as I was running (and my running has been so sporadic lately), I came to a couple of conclusions.
1.  I have got to get back to doing two things that I know I love doing (running and blogging).
2.  I am going to start TODAY doing those two things again.
3.  I have a plan for both blogging and running. 

Running:  I am supposed to be training for the St. Jude Half Marathon in December, and I have a training plan in place for that.  Starting this morning, I am following that plan.  No excuses.  No exceptions.
Blogging: Today marks 100 days until Christmas Day.  I know that because (1) I received an email stating that fact, and (2) Today is my birthday, and I always know that from my birthday until Christmas Day is 100 days.  So, I have given myself the challenge of blogging every day for 100 days.
Usually, setting goals and putting them on paper motivates me to keep the goal.  

My blog posts will vary in content and length, but I am committing to posting something each day.

*****I want to share a somewhat short explanation of why I have fallen out of the habit of blogging since last February.*****
  1. We discontinued our satellite internet service last February.  Ever since then we have used our iPhones as personal hotspots to use the internet on our computers.  I have had a mental block regarding this.  It really is not that big of a deal to connect to my phone in order to access the internet on my laptop, but it is  perceived inconvenience. No more.  I am going to make myself blog even though it requires a tiny bit more effort than just opening my laptop and starting to type. In case you are wondering, we live in a somewhat rural area where absolutely no high-speed internet access is available except for satellite (which is overpriced, slow, and unreliable). I even contacted our public service commissioner this summer, begging him to do something so we could have high-speed internet.  They are working on it. Which means it may be years before something is available in our area.  :)
  2. This is the most important reason I have not been blogging……last February my beloved father-in-law, Jim was diagnosed with cancer (cholangiocarcinoma), and to be honest, the stress of that journey and all it entailed overtook my daily life. It was a precious time. Sadly (for us, but happily for him), Jim passed from this life on July 29. My sister-in-law, Megan, blogged perfectly about our experience, and you can click here to read it.  Anyway, I was conflicted the entire time about my blogging.  From the beginning of my blog, I have purposed to keep it real. Meaning that if I had personal struggles I tried to share them, not in a way to ask for pity, but hopefully to encourage others.  I have always wanted my blog to be an encouragement to others.  I never intended to paint a false picture of "having it all together/super mom" while my personal life was falling apart.  So, when things got tough the last several months, I just stopped writing----not because I did not want to share our struggle, but because I felt like it was not my story to tell. Does that make sense?  I felt it was too personal to share someone else's illness…….on the other hand, I did not feel right blogging about the silly and mundane things happening at my house, when we were all going through such a trial with Jim.  It just didn't seem right.

But I am ready now.  

Last Saturday, my dear friends Lynn and Leanna and all of our families (17 of us in all!) ventured to the first MS State home football game of the season.  Our three families bought season tickets this year (all together---a row of 17).  Fun!  Lynn's sister and her children joined us for tailgating before the ballgame.  And, sadness!  Olivia and Julie are both far away at their own college, and will not be joining us---except for the State/Ole Miss game which will be played while they are home for Thanksgiving break.

 Jimmy and Me

Me, Leanna, Lynn, and Lesley

The game was fun….even though we LOST!  We stated for the entire game (bad decision!), and so since the game was not over until midnight, and there was the biggest traffic jam ever on campus--thousands of people trying to leave at the same time--we arrived home at 3:30 AM.

This is what sat in front of us!
Check out the purple and yellow checked pants.
(He was an enthusiastic LSU fan--let's just leave it at that.)

Until tomorrow…….

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Smoky Mountains Trip

Here are a few pictures from our trip to the Gatlinburg, Tennessee area last month. 
It really was a fun and relaxing trip. We stayed in the same cabin that we had stayed in two years ago. It is very spacious and clean, and we enjoyed it again.

We did the 8 mile craft loop one day and ate at the Wild (something?) Tea Room. I can't remember the name!  But it was delicious, and the boys were all good sports eating at a fancy tea room!

The other days we spent doing various hikes and the boys each did a blacksmithing class in Pigeon Forge one day. Well actually, Clay did a copper class, and they both had fun!

The children--they are all so tall now!

 The children and the mama

 The whole family---a nice stranger took this picture.

The brave kids on one of the skinny bridges.