Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Why Do You Take Them Food?

Monday afternoon one of my friend's mother passed away.  Within minutes of hearing the news, Lynn, Leanna, and I were making our take them a meal plan. Some of our questions to each other were:

What night should we take it?
What can we prepare/pick up that is simple to prepare and delicious too?
How best can we coordinate our efforts since Leanna had a homeschool co op all day, Lynn and I had Spartans practice, and we all have school and other homemaking responsibilities?

Sam overheard most of this conversation (talking/texting with Siri), and he asked me, "Why do you take them food? Before I could answer he continued his questioning.

Sam:  And why do you take food to someone when they have a new baby?  Why can't the daddy hold the baby when he gets home from work while the mother cooks supper?
Me:  Well…..first of all, it takes a while to cook supper.  I am sure most daddies are ready for supper when they get home or shortly thereafter….so it would be nice if the food was ready or almost ready.  And the new mother is tired.  She is tired from giving birth and also from not getting much sleep.  She has to get up a lot during the night to feed and take care of the baby.  She also may be chasing toddlers around and/or trying to keep her older children on task with their school work.  She may have children that she has to take and pick up from school, etc.  Bottom line, it is such a nice thing to have someone bring you a meal after you have a baby.  And it's nice to receive those meals for a few weeks.
It's a good way for people who love and care about you to show their love and concern for you.
Sam: Well, why don't people take breakfast and lunch too?  They have to eat that too.
Me:  That's a good question.  Sometimes people do bring you muffins or some kind of breakfast bread to reheat.  That's a really nice thing to include with your supper meal.  But really, the family can eat cereal or toast, and usually there is enough food given to them to use for leftovers for lunch too.
Sam: Why are you taking food to Mrs. Barbara?  Why do you take food to a person's house when they have someone in their family to die?
Me:  Again, it's just the kind thing to do.  The family is so sad, and cooking a meal is the last thing on their mind.  They need to eat.  They may have out of town family coming in to stay.  They are busy with funeral plans.  Someone bringing them a meal, a meal that can feed lots of people, is such an act of kindness.  It's how we can show love and concern to someone going through a difficult time.  It's an act of service.  It's just a good thing to do.
And we take food to people when they are recovering from surgery or are suffering from an extended illness, or are confined to bed for some reason.

Then I asked him if he remembered all the food that family and friends brought us when I had my surgeries almost 3 years ago.  I reminded him how excited he and his siblings were each night when someone brought a delicious meal.  It was such a treat, and so, so helpful!

So here is the meal the my friends and I came up with, and we agreed that it came together so easily that when the need arises, we will do this menu again.  Some of the food was take-out, and some was prepared in our homes.

Our menu:
chicken strips (Abner's Chicken)
2 large salads with dressing and breadsticks (Olive Garden)
1 gallon of tea
baked potatoes and fixings
baked beans

Here are a few pointers/ideas for taking food to someone:

  • Use disposable or non-returnable containers.
  • Provide paper goods (plates, napkins, etc.)
  • Consider taking a simple breakfast item as well.
  • Plan your "go-to" meal for when the need arises.  In fall and winter I usually prepare a roast with carrots, potatoes, and onions in my crock pot, green beans, and rolls.  In spring and summer I usually make a pasta salad, a green salad with dressing, and a fruit salad.  With both meals I fix rice krispie treats for dessert.
  • Double casseroles when you make them for your family and freeze one to give to another family.
  • Make sure you cook enough of the food you are taking to someone for your family too!
Taking a meal to someone in need is such a blessing….both to the giver and the receiver.

Monday, January 26, 2015


I finished reading Detectives in Togas today to Leah and Sam.  It ended well.  That was the last book in Sonlight Core B!  Hooray!

But instead of beginning Sam in Core C tomorrow (the second part of world history), I am going to put him with Leah in the last 7 weeks of Core D (American history, part 1) and then keep him with her all the way through.  I have done multiple cores for many years now, and I am just ready to teach one core.  Just one set of read alouds.  Sam has listened to most of Leah's books anyway, so he really is not skipping any chunk of history.  Plus, he will have world history and American history again, at least one more time, before he graduates.

Tomorrow we begin The Journeyman in Core D.  Occasionally Sonlight adds new books to their core (and omits some others) and I find myself reading a book to Leah or Sam that I have never read before. The Journeyman is one such book. I have no idea what it is about!  We will find out tomorrow.

For our bedtime reading, we finished Farmer Boy a couple of days ago.  Jimmy is reading Climb Happiness Hill to the family after supper each night.  I plan to begin a new bedtime book tonight…..I think it's going to be Little House in the Big Woods.  I want to make sure I read all the Little House books to Sam, because I doubt he will read them on his own when he gets older.

I am still not through with Pride and Prejudice, Home is Where My People Are, or Running With the Girls, because I have not had any time to read lately!  When I finish P &P, my next book to read will be A Tale of Two Cities.

And I am thinking about beginning reading through the Bible in 90 days beginning February 1.  I have not done that reading in a while (maybe over a year), so I would like to do that again.

What are you reading?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Oodles of Poodles!

Leah has been celebrating her 11th birthday for almost two weeks now! Her actual birthday was while we were at Disney World, so that was fun of course.  Then we had our full day family celebration the day after we got home from Disney.  And her final celebration was today.

My mother, the ultimate party planning extraordinaire, enthusiastically planned a 50's Themed party for Leah.  She carefully attended to every detail….all I did was send the invitations and purchase the party food.  She and my daddy came last night and began the set-up.  We did most of it this morning, and here is the result…...

 This life sized stuffed poodle was the centerpiece of the "photo-op" area.  I took a picture of each guest as they arrived by this little set-up.

Here are a few pictures of the fantastic table setting.  The girls just oohed and ahhhed as they saw how cute everything was!

 The placemats are records with pink labels glued on the center.

 My mama and Leah
(She made Leah's new poodle skirt too, and also brought her a pair of saddle oxfords to wear).

 All of the girls
except two who were running a little bit late

 The party menu:
pink lemonade, cupcakes with pink icing, chips and dip, and ice cream sundaes.

 the girls enjoying their party food

 Mims and Pops
The girls played charades for a little while in our den followed by holding a hula-hooping contest.  One of the girls hula-hooped for over two minutes without dropping the hula-hoop.

Then they moved outside to play with the jump-ropes my mother gave them. Their party favors were part of the table decor and included a pink jump rope, a slinky, and a bottle of pink fingernail polish.  

 some of the girls posing

Here are some of them again.

They played tag and on our playground before coming back indoors to watch Leah open her gifts.
We were so fortunate to have pretty weather today.

A big thank you to my mama for planning and executing such a fabulous party.  Leah talked about it all day….right up until the time she finally went to bed.

It was a good day.

Friday, January 23, 2015

10 Ways to Make Your Homeschool Day Run Smoothly

Almost four years ago I wrote a post for Real Life at Home (formerly known as The Homeschool Classroom) entitled, 10 Ways to Make Your Homeschool Day Run Smoothly.

The points I made in this article still hold true for me.  I was reminded of #1 as I slept later than usual this morning.  I still awoke before any of my children, but not early enough to get all of the things done that I needed to before the start of our school day.  So, I have skipped my shower (for now), and will begin our Bible lesson in 12 minutes.  I am reminded again of why my day runs so much more smoothly when I get up at 5:00.  That may not be the magic number for you, but for me, it is.

I'm setting my alarm for 5:00 AM tomorrow!

Enjoy reading this post, and I hope it encourages you!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fitness Goals Revised

Well, one of my goals for 2015 has already been modified.

I don't want to continue with the T25 workouts.  I just want to run.  I think I am too old to be jumping around with the youngsters on the video.  Ha!  Even though one guy on there is my age, the rest of them are much younger and fitter.  My knees began hurting after just two workouts.  I know that I could modify the workouts to protect my knees, but I really would rather just run.

So, I am just going to run.  Run on my treadmill.  Run in my driveway.  Run with my younger children.  And run with my friends.

And now I am going to "run" put my kids to bed so I can get up early enough to meet Leanna for a 6:00 AM 10 mile run tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Books

I received two new books in the mail today!

Home Is Where My People Are by Sophie Hudson (Boo Mama)
Running With the Girls by Lacie Whyte and Dane Rauschenberg

I know that Sophie's book will be fantastic!  I flipped through it today while we were waiting for Julie to get her driver's license renewed (in Mississippi, when you get your license at age 16, it is an intermediate license, and then after 6 months you can get your permanent license).  Anyway, I was thrilled to see names of friends from Mississippi State talked about in the book.  Sophie and I were at MSU together.  We reconnected while going through rush……we were in the same group because of our last names (Sims and Simmons).  Previously we knew each other from Mary Alpha's dance classes when we were in elementary school.  Anyway, Sophie is a gifted writer, and I love the familiarity of her settings and characters.

Running With the Girls is a collection of stories about female runners.  Real life women, not necessarily start athletes, but women who love to run and began running for a variety of reasons.  I'll let you know how I like it after I read it.

I am about 3/4 finished with Pride and Prejudice.  I am really enjoying this book, and I cannot believe that I have never read it before now.  It is Clay's next book for English this year, and unfortunately, I do not think he will like it at all.  It is such a girl book!  He will survive though. And write a paper about it too!

Going to read now.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The First Day Back To School

Well, the first day back to school in this new year went just fine!  It's just 8:30 PM, and I am ready for bed, but the day went well.  We completed all of our schoolwork, went to piano lessons, Sam's and Kroger.

Speaking of Kroger.  It is total chaos right now!  They are remodeling or maybe just rearranging the store, and I. CANNOT. FIND. ANYTHING.  I told the store manager last week that he was messing up my personally made preprinted grocery list.  I have the items that I buy listed in columns in order that they appear as I walk up and down the aisles.  He apologized and laughed!  He reminded me that it has been 10 years since they rearranged the store.  When I told him that I would start taking notes and create a new list, he said for me to wait a few weeks!  That things were changing every day, and it would be at least four weeks before the store layout was finalized.

So today I wandered around with all the other bewildered shoppers looking for groceries.  I finally found the chocolate syrup----in the produce section!

I still have one more Disney World post.  About the races that 10 of us did while we were down there.  But, I do not have all the pictures on my computer yet.  We used Lynn's phone to take most of the pictures, and I have not put them on my computer.

Even though today was our first day back to school, Olivia enjoyed a holiday today.  When we asked her what she was doing today she said, "kayaking with manatees".  Well that sounds like a fun thing to do.  Not something we could do here in Mississippi!  She had a fantastic time!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Disney Group 2015: The Rides

We are starting back to school tomorrow after a much needed, much enjoyed month-long break!  Actually, Julie started back last Thursday, and Clay did three subjects on Friday, but everyone is beginning bright and early tomorrow morning with a full day of schoolwork!  I have been planning and preparing for this semester for a few days now.  I think I am ready!

One of the fun things about visiting Disney World is the exciting rides.  I generally do not ride anything that spins, and that includes the Tea Cups at the Magic Kingdom or Mission Space at Epcot.  Lynn and I both take 1/2 of a non-drowsy Dramamine each morning as we enter the park--just in case!

 Most of the children LOVE riding these teacups.

A fun and exciting thing happened to our party of 31 while the children rode this ride.  Apparently, the Disney worker had to split our large group of children up and could not let them all ride the teacups at the same time.  Clay, Parker, and Carson said no problem!  They were fine with riding on the next go around… the nice Disney worker rewarded their patience and good manners with a GOLDEN TICKET!  Which was a fast pass to any attraction in the Magic Kingdom for our entire party of 31!  Wow! 

 I'm in the middle holding the GOLDEN TICKET!

 We unanimously chose the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  That is a new ride at Disney, and there were no fast passes available for the entire week we were there.
So we got to ride it…..and we did not have to wait in the 2 hour + line!

These next few pictures were taken while we were waiting to ride Toy Story Mania.  We went straight to that attraction when we entered the park because there were no fast passes for it all week either.
The wait passed by quickly with all the cute toy displays.

And then there was the TOWER OF TERROR!
The last and only time I had ridden the Tower of Terror was four years ago.  Lynn laughed her head off the entire time while I screamed like I was dying……

But this year Sam wanted to ride it (for the first time), and he asked me to ride it with him.

So I did.  And Lynn rode with me again.  And also Jimmy, and about half of our party.
Sam and I both survived. I just closed my eyes the entire time and somehow I made it!

And then guess what?? When Olivia joined us that night, she asked me to please ride it again with her!
So I did.  But this time wasn't nearly as bad.  I closed my eyes the entire time again, tried to relax and just put my mind somewhere else.  That really is a scary ride!

However, I love the Rock-N-Roller Coaster.  I rode it three times.  Once with Olivia!

Only the brave and crazy youngsters rode the Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom.  Of course they all got wet.  Wait….Esther rode it with them!  :)

 Sam got the wettest!

 Here we all are walking to the Pirates of the Caribbean.  Always a favorite!

 Winnie the Pooh

 Working hard to rack up points on the Buzz Lightyear ride!

 Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

 That's Me and Jimmy in the back---on Rock-N-Roller Coaster.
It was intense!

 Big Thunder Mountain Railroad again.

And again.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Disney Group 2015: The Adults

Please bear with me…..after this post, I have only two more Disney-related posts planned:  The Rides and The Runners.

Disney World is as much fun for the adults as it is for the kids!  We grown-ups had tons of fun on this trip.

A few fast facts:
  • This is the 4th time the Mims Family (Kelly and Lynn) and our family have vacationed together at Disney World.  We have had adjoining hotel rooms every time.  We bring the coffee pot!
  • This is the 2nd joint vacation for the Johnsey family (Joe and Leanna), the Mims Family and us--we all went to Seaside together last May.
  • This is the 2nd time the Sanders Family (Greg and Esther) have joined us on our Disney vacation.
  • Jimmy, Leanna, and Stacee are all 1st cousins.
  • Joe and Mark (Stacee's husband) are 1st cousins as well.
  • Lynn, Leanna, and I had a party in the laundromat several nights while we were there.
  • We ate a lot of pizza.

 Jimmy and Greg

 Lynn and Kelly
They celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary while we were there. These red shirts stated that on the back.

 Stacee and Mark

 Me and Benjamin from France
Benjamin spent about an hour with me at Epcot helping me sync my phone and my fast passes with Kelly's phone.  It was crazy!  But he finally got our two families connected so we could get our fast passes all together.  Then Leanna and Esther searched fast passes that coincided with ours.  I must say that the fast pass situation was a stressful thing.  I prefer the old way of just going to the kiosk at the ride and having your fast pass ticket printed out.  I think we got it all figured out by our last day at the parks!

 Leanna and Stacee

 Mark, Joe, and Kelly……looking seriously at something.
Jack seems to be looking at it too!

Me and the Green Army Man
This was outside Toy Story Mania…..a ride that we had to wait in line for a very long time for because there were no fast passes available.  It was fun though.  We all just visited and enjoyed the distractions provided while we waited in line.

 Me and Jimmy

 Me, Lynn, and Esther

 Greg and Esther

Kelly holding Winnie-the-Pooh

Friday, January 16, 2015

Disney Group 2015: The Kids

When all five families were together we had 21 kids!  22 when Olivia was there. 
There were more girls than boys, and the children ranged in age from 6-19.  This was the first time our group did not use any strollers.  It was great!  Everyone was tall enough to ride every ride except for Rock-N-Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios.  Most of the children rode every single ride.

Here are some of the pictures we took during the week.  Jimmy printed out 150 of these pictures on Wednesday, and Julie and Leah have been scrapbooking with them.  

 This was at the Coke tasting place in Epcot. 
A favorite spot!

 The younger children did the bear stamp thing at Epcot.  At each country they got their bear stamped and sometimes the country's representative would write the children's names in their native language or draw a picture to remind them of that country.

 This is another activity at Epcot.  Some kind of clue game.

Fun times!
Special memories!