Monday, February 14, 2011

16 Wonderful Things About Becca

She's fearless:


She's fashion forward:


She can do a "do":


She's helpful:


She's a good listener:


And a good talker:


She knows the value of a good nap:


She loves her brothers:


She cooks:


And cleans:


She's a clown:


She's always ready for a new adventure:


She loves animals- even when they don't love her back:


She's a good friend:


She loves God:


She's our princess:


Happy Sweet Sixteen, beautiful girl! We love you.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Daybook for October 11

Daybook for October 11, 2010:

Outside my window... a beautiful sunny fall day, even if it's on the too-warm side

I am thankful... that my parents have closed on a house right down the road! We love having them here, and they help me so much. They kids are excited that they have bought a house with a pool. The only bad thing is that they are close enough for the kids to easily get there on their own, but they have to cross a four-lane road to do it- Yikes!

I am wearing... my 4-H T-shirt (because I'm leading the 4-H Club Meeting later this afternoon) and my new jeans that I got for 25¢ at a yard sale on Saturday: SCORE! I can shop every store at the mall and not find jeans that fit right, so it's a big thrill to find some in a yard sale.

In the learning room... Co-op break was Friday, but the kids (supposedly) went ahead and finished their school assignments for this week. We'll see. Ben is upstairs doing his math on the computer, and Becca is supposed to be doing her math too, but is more likely on Facebook. John Mark is supposed to be doing his math but is preparing the club activity for the 4-H meeting instead.

I am remembering... that my sister's birthday is at the end of the month. She is finishing her medical residency this year and still remembers to send us cards for our birthdays, and I'm always late with hers. Sigh.

I am going... to the AT&T store tonight to pick up my new iPhone! One of the Kindergartners spilled a cup of water inside my purse (!) and killed my old cell phone. Since our contract was up for renewal anyway, and our area FINALLY got 3G a couple of months ago, John decided we should just go ahead and get the new iPhones. Yay!

On my mind... all the things I have to do this week! The Christian school where I'm subbing is on break this week, so I have four days in which to accomplish many things: finish moving John Mark into his new room, change the family over from summer clothes to winter clothes, complete as many of my co-op lessons as possible, get Philip started on his science fair project, help John Mark move his budget over to an envelope system...

From the kitchen... leftover hamburgers and hotdogs from the cookout yesterday. Mmmmm!

Around the house... we hosted our small group at our house this weekend, so John cleaned up the yard and powerwashed the porches. They're nice and clean for now, but I heard him fussing at a spider who dared to spin a new web on his spotless front porch.

One of my favorite things... my small town's BBQ Festival. It is one of my favorite events of the year, and this year John and I went on Thursday night... and Friday night... and Saturday! It was fabulous.

From my camera...

with vocabulary...

and Rachmaninoff...

and especially math!

Even the cat is frustrated.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sketch Tuesday: Something with Whiskers

The kids have been having "Art Class with GranMartha" once a week, and when I found Sketch Tuesday at Harmony Art Mom, I knew they'd be interested! She has a new theme each week, and this week's theme was "something with whiskers". The end results were pretty tame after all the wild ideas I heard floating around this week:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Daybook for September 20

FOR TODAY September 20...
Outside my window... is a dark sultry evening. Much too hot when I'm in the mood for fall!
I am wearing... denim capris and a gray Colts tee that was rejected by one of the older kids- not "cool" enough, I suppose.
From our studies... a biography about Harriet Tubman in literature and the Napoleonic Wars in history. And lots of math. Lots.
From the kitchen... Blackened chicken sandwiches for dinner tonight (the smoke alarm went off because the house was full of smoke) and Tortilla Soup in the crock pot tomorrow.
I am creating... I went to an all-weekend scrapbook crop this past weekend and had the most wonderful time (even though I did not win the grand prize Cricut... again. Oh well.) I even got 13 pages completed!
I am going... to school tomorrow! I'm substitute teaching this fall at a nearby private school for a teacher who is going on maternity leave. She's not actually on leave yet, but I go over about once a week so that I can learn the kids' routine and they will be familiar with me by the time she delivers in a couple of weeks. My mom is helping me with my own kids, because we are continuing to homeschool them as well. Since the school only meets M-Th, we can still participate in co-op on Fridays. I am feeling a little schizophrenic this fall.
I am reading... I recently finished "Mockingjay", the last of the Hunger Games Trilogy. It was not as good as the other two books.
I am hearing... a quiet house. John Mark is still messing around in his room, and John may or may not have fallen asleep on the couch. Everyone else is out for the night.
Around the house... we are in the process of moving my office into the downstairs den so that John Mark can have his own room. It's a work in progress, since I have to find places for an entire room's worth of stuff. However, I like having my desk in the den much more than I thought I would.
One of my favorite things... a clean, organized desk. How long will it last?
A few plans for the rest of the week... Ladies Bible Study on Thursday, maybe lunch afterwards? Ben also goes to the orthodontist to get spacers put in to prep for braces, and then co-op on Friday.
I am thankful... that this school year has worked out well so far. I stressed all last spring about co-op, about what to do with my teens, about how to pay for everything. God is good.
From my picture journal... a recent co-op field trip to see the Nina and the Pinta

Monday, November 09, 2009

Daybook for November 9

FOR TODAY November 9...

Outside my window... Our maple trees are finally thinking about turning yellow. They're always such Johnny-come-latelies. Philip did manage to rake a large pile yesterday-- for entertainment purposes, of course!
I am pondering... the passage of the Health Care bill by the House. I had hoped they could delay it until next year, but now it seems on its way to reality... and it scares me.
From our studies... Philip and Ben are reading about Lewis & Clark, and there is currently jar of an unidentified red liquid on my kitchen counter that the boys tell me is for making crystals. Considering the number of times the jar has been shaken, stirred, moved and otherwise disturbed, I can't imagine what exactly will be coming out of that jar, but it should be interesting.
From the kitchen... BBQ Chicken in the crockpot tonight, so something will be ready when we get back from the 4-H meeting. 4-H meetings wear me out!
I am thinking... that John and I had a great time on our bicycle ride Saturday morning! I'm pretty sure I was in college the last time I rode a bike any distance, but he started riding this summer as an alternative to his daily walks. He tried to talk me into walking with him this weekend since Becca, his regular walking partner, was gone to a youth rally, but we finally settled on biking. He let me ride his bike, which has a more comfortable seat, but I still have a sore tush today!
I am going... to take the kids to 4-H this afternoon, and we have some exchanges to make at Kohls, since it's by the 4-H office.
I am reading... Finished The Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks last night and rather liked it, in spite of the fact that he killed off another one of his characters!
I am hoping... that the cold weather will come back. I think October and November got mixed up somehow.
I am hearing... What Child Is This? played by Benjamin. Over and over. And over again. And then I'm sure Philip will practice O Holy Night. Over and over. And over again. They are practicing for the piano recital in December, and December just can't come soon enough.
Around the house... we still have remnants of Halloween that must be put back in storage... usually this happens about the time I'm pulling out the Christmas decorations. But we hosted Care group last night, and things are reasonably clean again!
One of my favorite things... A quiet house, with no one home but me. Saturday was a beautiful day, so after our bike ride, John took Nathanael fishing out at the dam. The three older kids were at the youth rally, and Ben, who is not much of an outdoorsy kind of kid, went to play at the neighbor's. I had the house all to myself for about three fabulous hours... ahhhh. It's a rare, wonderful thing.
A few plans for the rest of the week... Just the normal activities this week, but then, I said that last week, forgetting that six of us had dentist appointments all Tuesday afternoon, and a Gen J meeting for the high schoolers, and a parents meeting at choir. Who knows what I'm forgetting this week?
I am thankful for... good friends! I ran my first 5K at the end of September, and my friend Penny offered to run with me. I didn't think it would matter whether I had anyone running with me, but in the end, I was really happy to have her support and encouragement. We ran a good race together!

To see more Daybooks, visit The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Daybook for November 2

FOR TODAY November 2...

Outside my window... Sunshine! We've had SO much rain, and many gray days lately. But today is a beautiful day. Our poor mulberry trees, which really took a beating during January's ice storm, have lost all their leaves throughout the center and on the top, but not on the sides. They look like little old bald men, trying to hang on to their last fringes of hair.
I am thankful... for Allstate's Accident Forgiveness. I scraped our piano teacher's red Monte Carlo while I was backing out of our driveway last week. Sigh.
From our studies... Nathanael is working in his writing book at the table next to me. He loves to write, but I have told him no more stories about Star Wars or Batman. This mom can only take so much!
From the kitchen... Hot oatmeal for breakfast this morning, and peach yogurt. Tonight, everyone will make their own mini-pizzas, one of the kids' favorite meals.
I am wearing... Jeans, a pink top and a beige cable-knit hoodie cardigan. (Does the word "hoodie" bother anyone besides me?)
I am thinking... about how much fun John and I had at the dance Friday night! There were lots of people there, and many came in costume. John didn't think he would enjoy it, but we both had a great time. We figured out our swing dance moves this week!
I am going... across town to Aldi's, to see if I can get some cheap groceries. May stop at the half-price consignment sale and see if anything interesting is left.
I am reading... The Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks. I generally have a low tolerance for teenage love stories, but I do like Nicholas Sparks as long as he doesn't kill off his main characters, as he was in the habit of doing for a while.
I am hoping... that the cat will remember that she really does enjoy using her litter box. She's been in rebellion lately, and it is definitely taking a toll on my patience!
I am hearing... It's fairly quiet around here... odd. The boys must be laying low after I threatened to throw every bit of Halloween candy in the trash if they didn't stop arguing about it.
Around the house... I have some serious cleaning to do! My bathroom is beyond ick and there is lots of muddy laundry, thanks to all the rain.
One of my favorite things... A fabulous yard sale! I stopped by one late Saturday afternoon and bought five pair of pants for $5.25... and four of them fit! Whoo-hoo!
A few plans for the rest of the week: Just the normal activities this week. The three oldest kids will be gone to a church youth event this coming weekend, and I have to get the planning done for next Monday's 4-H club meeting.
From my Picture Journal: Halloween night. The three oldest kids went off to a youth group Halloween party, and after John took the little boys around the neighborhood, he built a fire in the chiminea and we roasted hot dogs and S'mores. It was a perfect fall evening!

To see more Daybooks, visit The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Daybook for October 26

FOR TODAY October 26...

Outside my window... cool and partly cloudy. Yesterday was the most gorgeous fall day, though, and last night was a *perfect* night for Trunk-or-Treat and a bonfire behind the church afterwards!
I am thinking... of emails I need to send (I love email... I am so not a phone person!) and the items I need to find at the consignor's sale tonight. I usually don't have to buy the kids a lot of clothes any more, but it turns out that Nathanael only had about 3 shirts come out of the winter box of clothes. I guess that's what happens when you're child #5.
I am thankful... that Upward football season is over. I can have my Saturday mornings back- yay!
From our studies... Catching up on Algebra and Physics; studying the "Triangle of Trade" and the African slave ships in history; making a model of some yet-to-be-determined animal habitat; and finishing up this week's lapbook on Cephalopods (did you know that's what octopuses and squid are?)
From the kitchen... You know, Mondays just aren't good kitchen days for me-- we're out of everything! But I hope I can manage Blackened Chicken Sandwiches for dinner tonight after Track Club (or did we eat the chicken already?)
I am wearing... still in my favorite pink house robe and blue terry slippers, because I'm still gathering the energy to put on my running clothes and head out the door. Not a phone person, and not a morning person either :-)
I am creating... Do you know I did not go scrapbooking on Friday?? The Hunter Duo did not get out the door until after 7PM, and I hadn't finished getting everything ready for consignment. It was a very sad thing.
I am going... running, as soon as I get the kids settled into something time-consuming. The dog will be so happy- he gets all excited every time he sees me putting on my shoes, but I haven't taken him anywhere in several days.
I am reading... I finished Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer this weekend. It's a harrowing first-hand account of the Mt. Everest climbing disaster that killed 5 people in 1996. Compelling story-telling!
I am hoping... that the box turtle on the front porch really is hibernating, as the turtle book says he should be and is not, in fact, dead.
I am hearing... It's a complaining sort of morning around here: we ran out of milk, which gets everyone off on the wrong foot. At least there's Halloween candy to make up for the dairy deficit.
Around the house... All the hunting gear from John and Philip's Youth Hunt expedition must be washed and put up again. The laundry room is much roomier, thanks to the loads of clothes and other junk taken to Consignment and Goodwill this weekend! The upstairs carpets are freshly cleaned (at least some parts), thanks to the Very Dirty Dog and the Very Bad Cat. I'll be picking up contraband candy wrappers for the next several weeks.
One of my favorite things... October afternoons! I ran an errand downtown last week, and the late-afternoon sun made everything seem bathed in gold. I felt like a kid just getting out of school, with an entire day of adventure still before me... but I had to go to the grocery. Sigh.
A few plans for the rest of the week: Must gather (and hem as necessary) four chorus uniforms before Thursday night; our wonderful friend Ross will be here to help John Mark with Physics before church on Wednesday; and on Friday night, John promised to take me dancing!
From my Picture Journal: Me and my Granny, this past July. Granny always mailed each grandchild a card on every holiday, but since she injured her wrist a couple of years ago, she can barely write any more. I must remember to put her Halloween card in the mail this week.

To see more Daybooks, visit The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Daybook for October 19

FOR TODAY October 19...

Outside my window... is a beautiful, crisp sunny morning! So wonderful after all the gray, rainy days from the past two weeks
I am thinking... of a long list of to-do items: calls to make, bills to pay, 4-H Club business to handle, math to grade
I am thankful... that John has finished some major tasks at home and at church. He was almost giddy with excitement this morning!
From our studies... Today is the day to finish up the bulk of the science lapbook on mollusks. Ben and Philip are reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond and the high schoolers are reading Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis.
From the kitchen... must use the porkchops in the fridge tonight. Boring, but I'm glad they're there so I don't have to make a grocery run. John Mark is restarting last night's bonfire in the garden so the boys can roast hot dogs for lunch, but I'm going to have couscous and chickpeas instead. It's definitely time for a grocery run.
I am wearing... a cozy blue cotton jog suit, pulled out of the winter clothes for the first time this morning
I am creating... it's been too long since I've created anything, but I do have scrapbooking plans for the weekend, while John and Philip go on the Youth Hunt
I am going... nowhere, until I take the kids to Track Club tonight!
I am reading... Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. Her writing is lyrical, beautiful
I am hoping... that John Mark's work will give him the time off he's asked for in November. I want him to be a good employee, but at this point in his life, there are other things that should take priority.
I am hearing... John Mark going in and out the back door. The dog's tags jingling as he investigates John Mark's comings and goings. Ben talking to himself as he works on his math program on the computer. A fairly quiet morning around here.
Around the house... it is unusually clean, since we worked all weekend to catch up on housework and yardwork in preparation for the Youth bonfire and cookout last night. Experience tells me the clean won't last for long, no matter how much I fuss, so I'll just enjoy it while it lasts.
One of my favorite things... running in the fall. The cool weather is great for running, and the scenery is beautiful
A few plans for the rest of the week: Ballroom Dance with John and football practice for the boys on Tuesday; Co-op and Praise Team practice on Wednesday; Ladies Bible Study, piano lessons, and Children's Chorus on Thursday; a scrapbooking crop on Friday (yay!); last football game, football banquet and clothes to the big consignment sale on Saturday; JAM worship and Trunk-or-Treat on Sunday
From my Picture Journal: Philip, at the pumpkin patch last fall. Photo taken by his lovely cousin, Becky

To see more Daybooks, visit The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy September

I've declared this Happy September Week, and this week I'll be sharing all the things that are making me happy lately. (Because isn't that a lot better than listening to all the things I want to whine about?)

Co-op Break! We're five weeks in, and our homeschool co-op has gotten off to a great start this year. The co-op is quite a bit smaller than it's been in several years, but that has turned out to be a blessing: we're all enjoying the low-key, stress-free schedule that we keep now. Even so, there has been so much craziness with all the other stuff on our calendar that I'm glad to have a week to catch up and maybe feel a little more together when we begin again next week.

Running-- who woulda thunk?? But it's true: for the first time in my life, I have a cardio activity that I actually enjoy. A couple of years ago, it occurred to me that I ought to be able to run around the block; it seemed like one of those life skills that might come in handy at some point. Alas, I could barely run to the stop sign at the end of the street! Besides, I was miserable every time I attempted to run, so I figured I was just one of those people that was not meant to run. But back in June, I received this book from my paperbackswap wishlist, and it was exactly what I needed. A book for real beginners, a book that assumed you could not run to the stop sign at the end of the street. I read it... and began to run. I run three days a week and cross-train or rest on the in-between days. I do run-walk-run intervals, and that's probably why I enjoy it so much. It makes the time go really fast, and I don't get worn out. When I first began, I had already been exercising on the elliptical machine and walking for several months, so I was ready to begin running two minutes and walking three (at that point, I actually could have run to the stop sign at the end of the street- but not a lot farther!) Now I'm up to running eight minutes and walking one, and I'm training to run a local 5K at the end of September. I know! And I'm totally sold on run-walk intervals. If you want to know more, you can read about them at Jeff Galloway's site.

Homemade bread! This cookbook has revolutionized (and added many calories) to my life. I now make homemade bread at least 3 times a week, and you know how much I hate to cook! But 5-minute bread? Even I can handle that-- and boy, is it good! You can see a demonstration of just how easy it is here:

And I just discovered that they have a new cookbook coming out in October: Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients. It will definitely be on my Christmas list!

So what are you happy about this week?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

What I Did This Summer

Hellooooo! Anyone still out there? Somehow life doesn't ever seem to slow down enough to let me gently back into blog-world, and all three of my blog readers have complained about my extended blog break :-). I'm just going to have to jump back in and hope for the best! If you've wondered what's been going on, here's what we've been up to:

The kids have been camping: church camp (John Mark, Becca and Philip), Camp Barnabus (John Mark and Becca go with our youth group to serve special needs kids for a week each July); IT Camp, Engineering Camp and CAD Camp at the local college (John Mark); Rocket Camp (Philip); Space Camp: Mission to Mars (Ben); and finally Space Camp: Mission Specialist Training (Nathanael). I'm going to do a happy dance on the day I finally send them all off to camp at the same time. And then I'll probably take a nap.

House guests! My parents came and stayed with us from the beginning of May to the end of June, although they took a couple of side trips to see Grandma Crocker, Daddy D's mother. On their "off nights" with Grandma Crocker, we were visited by old friends from Baton Rouge, Jimmy and Connie, with their four kids; and then a couple of weeks later, Brent (John's best friend from middle school through college) came to see us with his wife, Yvonne, their two girls and Yvonne's parents! We definitely had a busy house during the month of June.... and it was lots of fun!

The Great Washington D.C. Trip, Part III: Every few years, GranMartha and Daddy D take a group of the grandkids to Washington D.C, Williamsburg, and Jamestown. This year, it was Philip and Ben's turn, along with their cousin, Savannah (fortunately for GranMartha and Daddy D, all the cousins have been born in clumps of three :-). They were gone for about a week and half, and the boys report that they had a most excellent time!

Dogs. Remember Lucky, the chocolate lab? He didn't last, poor guy. He just couldn't make it as an inside dog, and our neighbor on the corner had it in for him, so our friends, Penny and Rob, graciously took him in. But Lucky was a ramblin' sort of dog, and eventually rambled off to parts unknown. Maybe he wasn't so Lucky after all. But then... then came Solomon. Solomon is the new dog in town, a very large, sort of smelly, but very sweet black lab who is not quite a year old. He was John's Father's Day gift, and after a few potty and chewing mishaps, Solomon seems to be settling into the family quite nicely.

Visits with friends! Not overnight friends this time; these are local friends, and we had some wonderful get-togethers this summer with Jessica and Ross, Ashley and Steven and their girls, Ian and Lisa, Penny and Rob, and I had a wonderful lunch with lovely Lynn. Did I mention that we've had a really fun time with our friends this summer?

Trip to Indianapolis: Over the 4th of July weekend, we went to Indianapolis to visit John's family. We met his nephew, Cameron, for the first time (and Cameron is 18 months old!) He's very cute. I had a fabulous time shopping the Goodwills with my sister-in-law (Indianapolis has the most fabulous Goodwill stores-- they're more like really large consignment stores, but cheaper!); John hung out with his brothers; the grandkids played with the Grandparents; and we had a super-fun pool party and cook-out with all the extended family at Aunt Gayle's.

I turned 40 (!) and John and I had our 18th anniversary. 40 really isn't so bad; the really scary thing is that in 10 years, I'll be 50-- Ack!! Anyway, after boycotting my birthday last year (he is a birthday rebel), John was fabulous this year: he took me shopping at the outlet mall in Indiana and bought me two new dresses that I love, and even though we were driving back home on the day of my birthday, he made a special trip to the store for cake and ice cream when we finally got home. Good husband!!

4-H State Communications Days Competition: I drove Philip, Ben, and Nathanael to the state competition in July so Philip and Ben could compete. They both placed second in their categories, which was fabulous, considering that they had to completely prepare on their own this time around! We also went to see Granny, Aunt Mattie, and Half-Price Books (I've raised my boys right-- they love a book store as much as I do!)

The Garden.... and oh, what a garden it is this year! John had some troubles at first: the cucumbers got some kind of cucumber bug and all died; the yellow squash, zucchini, and red onions completely rebelled and did not come up; and the corn got demolished first by a wind storm and then finished off by a family of skunks. BUT... tomatoes, oh my word, you have never seen such tomatoes! Enormous tomatoes, some the size of grapefruits, and hundreds of them! And the peppers! John planted several varieties of bell peppers, pepperoncinis, banana peppers and a few other varieties as well, and they are beautiful! We've loved our pepper patch, and we've also enjoyed the sweet onions, brussels sprouts and the red cabbage. (I had no idea what I was going to do with an entire row of red cabbage, but I've got a fabulous spinach-tortellini salad that calls for red cabbage). Our garden has done well for us this year, and we have loved picking dinner right out of the back yard!

Our poor sad vehicles... I know, this is boring. But it would've made an interesting blog post to explain the checklist procedure one must follow to get John's long-suffering mini-van started (yes, the one he took off-roading); it has a push-button starter now. John is the original car hacker. As much as we would love to take advantage of Cash-for-Clunkers (clunkers are all we have around here!) we decided we were better off utilizing what we already have, so... we took the transmission out of the tan van and stuck it in the dying red van ($400- whoopee!) And John finally fixed the Honda so John Mark could...

Get his learner's permit! It will be another wonderful day when he gets his license, because he'll be able to take over my job chauffeuring his sister to and from her many social engagements-- yippee!!

School: I was so stressed out by the end of the last school year-- you should be so happy I was not blogging! I would have been all "whah, whah, whah, blah, blah, whah, whah, whah...." We ended the school year in a whirl of activity: Civics Club trip to the state capital to page for the Senate, a trip to the Renaissance Fair (in the rain- very authentic), piano recital, chorus concert, various Awana and 4-H activities, trip to the homeschool curriculum fair in Nashville... I was Worn. Out. But things finally came together for this school year, I got a good bit of my lesson planning done, and we began school this past Wednesday. I think it's going to be a good year! Co-op is a much smaller group, and it's refreshingly peaceful :-). All of our other activities seem to be coming together pretty well too, so I have a happy feeling.

And finally, I guess I should mention one of the major things that has kept me occupied over the past several months: my weight loss journey. It's really a long story, but the nutshell version is that I began going to Weight Watchers in January and surprisingly, I liked it! I like the program, I like the meetings, and best of all: it works for me. After John saw the success I was having, he began going to a 10-week Weight Watchers at Work, so we do it together now. I've lost 65 pounds since January, and he's probably lost... 40? (I don't really keep up with his weight). We both began walking, and after school was out, I began working out at the gym (now Becca and John Mark go with me). In order to keep this to the nutshell version, I'll stop the story there, but making time to exercise and just the mental energy required make healthy choices has definitely cut into my blog time. But it's been a good thing, yes?

And that's what I did this summer.