Friday, May 30, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ A Big Week

This was our last week of summer break. It was another relaxing and great week. But, again, no pictures.

The Past Week in our Regular Life

We have spent this past week preparing for Kyndal to move across town. This doesn't just include her, but Chloe as well. Kyndal has lived away from us for a time when she lived with her dad. Chloe has not. Now, before we get all weepy, Kyndal will be here every morning dropping off Chloe and probably expecting a packed lunch to go to school. Then she'll be here every evening to pick up Chloe and probably scam some more food. Until they are able to afford a washing machine, she'll be here doing her laundry. And, if Collin's work schedule keeps him away from home any evenings, you can bet she'll be parked on my couch because she hates to be alone. I am not worried about the transition. I am just more excited for her future. And, getting your first house is pretty cool.

Dawson also completed his junior year of high school. I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around the fact that he is now a senior in high school and so close to making his own life changes. He has plans, real plans, for his future, and it's fun to witness. Thankfully he won't be leaving home for at least the next five years while he goes to school.

Rick and I both had to deal with some unpleasantness from our past decisions this week. But that will likely never end so we just have to keep moving forward, trying not to let it get us down.

The Schooling Basics

Next week, folks … next week. (Secretly I am ready to get back into a routine of school work. I have been staying up way too late and sleeping in way too late in the mornings for my taste. Plus, even though the kids would NEVER admit it, I think they are a tad bored.)

The Schooling Fun Stuff

And nothing here either. We made sure we didn't do any schoolwork this week because we have known, full well, that next week we are back at it. We were lucky that we didn't even have our gardening class this week. I do have our first day of lessons ready for Monday. We are going to start with something a little fun.

The Kitchen

When Rick is here on the weekends I find myself cooking so much more healthy. We eat more fish and vegetables. During the week I fix what the kids like, which is usually pretty easy and thoughtless since they usually want the same things over and over. I enjoy planning meals that I know Rick will like, walking with him to the store to get the ingredients, and then fixing my man a good home-cooked meal.

The Days Ahead

Things get exciting today. Collin closes on his house this evening and he and Kyndal are moving into the house this weekend. We have spent the last month preparing for this move, both physically and emotionally. Collin is also starting his new ironworking job on Monday, so he is very excited and nervous. I am so proud of him. Although he is not my son-in-law as of right now, I still think of him as such. He's a great kid who loves my daughter and is a hard worker and all-over sweet guy. We enjoy having him in our family.

Brynne has a softball game tonight. Then we are heading over to the house for a painting all-nighter so they can move in their stuff tomorrow. Hopefully Rick and I will be able to get some time to stain our front porch this weekend, as well.

The Books We are Reading

Mom: A Woman's Place by Lynn Austin, A Life of Balance by Frank Belgau.

Brynne: A Surprise for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher (on break from reading).

Eli: Big Nate: Goes for Broke by Lincoln Peirce (on break from reading).

Read Aloud:  The Raft by Robert Trumbull (on break from reading).

The People and the Places

My mom is off to Florida for a week with friends, so I am on Grandma duty (visiting my grandma at the nursing home). Other than that it's softball, watching baseball games of some friends, grocery shopping, and working over at the kids' house.

The Savings Jar(s)

I didn't put anything in the change jar this week. That's the first time this has happened this whole year! May is a looonnggg month for our finances and this week I have been driving on fumes (and doing lots of walking instead) and we have just made do with the food we have had. We dribbled out the last of the milk last night. I will be doing some grocery shopping this weekend, however, so I will have some to add then.

The Bible in a Year

I have read through Jeremiah 9.

The Favorite Things

I have been so proud of Dawson this week. He is working toward requirements for an A+ Scholarship that will allow him to attend any community college in our state for free to receive an associates degree. He is planning to attend school to major in Construction Technology. He had to take an extra math test as part of his qualification and he did it and scored well-above what he needed. He also stepped up with enough saved money to pay his car insurance even when he hadn't really had to save it over the last few months. He enjoys being responsible and has felt an immense amount of pride at his accomplishments. I have been equally as proud.

Really, I am just experiencing a lot of pride in my kids all the way around. They are a great bunch. I am blessed.

Linking up

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Poppins Book Nook ~ Punia and the King of Sharks: A Hawaiian Folktale

Poppins Book Nook

It is time for another edition of Poppins Book Nook and this month's theme was Folktales. I have had our book picked out for several weeks, but we take our summer break in the month of May so we haven't read it yet.

We start school again on Monday and we will be devoting our entire first day to it. We will be learning about folktales in general, reading our chosen book, and learning all about the Hawaiian Islands. We will even have a special dinner. Please come back on Tuesday of next week when I post all about it. Until then, please feel free to start looking around at the other entries this month, and be sure to link up your blog post if you read a folktale in the month of May and did activities about it.

Clip Art by Melon Headz

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Blogging Through the Alphabet (Favorites Edition) ~ E is for "Esse Quam Videri"

Esse Quam Videri ~ to be rather than to seem.

I have been having dreams lately where I am living in our old life in Oklahoma. And I am so stressed while dreaming and so relieved when I wake up.

Our life in Oklahoma was good in a lot of ways. It was just different. I was different.

For 12 years living in Oklahoma, I spent a lot of time "seeming" to be someone I was not. At the time I didn't realize that I was unhappy. I thought I was happy. But really, I was exhausted. I was exhausted from trying to fit in where I did not and trying to seem to be someone I was not.

In Oklahoma we had to dress the right way, attend the right things, teach our kids the right way, discipline the right way, keep our home the right way, entertain the right way, maintain our yard the right way. The right way was the way that someone else thought it should be. And I spent all my time trying to be that person.

And then we moved to Missouri.

Here, those things absolutely do not matter. I have never been more stress free. There is no one to impress, no one who cares, no one who dictates.

Here are a couple of examples:

To attend Easter service in Oklahoma, I would spend hours …. days, really, picking out our outfits. We had to be coordinated perfectly, because everybody else was. We never measured up, of course, because we didn't have the money for those really great outfits. We did the best we could so others would look at our family and think how cute we were. This was on Easter! How we were dressed should have been the last things on my mind! And if I was going to take the kids to a birthday party??? I wanted my kids to be the cutest ones there. I would stress about their outfits, sometimes buying new clothes.

This year, in Missouri, I didn't even buy us new clothes for Easter. I dug through the closets and pulled out clothes that didn't clash, and off we went to church to celebrate Jesus. We went to a birthday party a couple of weekends ago, and I didn't even pay attention to what they were wearing. Why did it matter? They were going to play at the park with friends … true friends.

In Oklahoma, Rick and I (mostly Rick) would spend our entire weekend working on our yard. We spent way more money than we had, and way more time than we should, trying to get our yard up to snuff in our snooty neighborhood. We tried and tried, but we could never compete. Our neighbors had the money to hire all of their work done. We didn't so we did it all ourselves. We did a good job under the circumstances. But it was stressful and disappointing.

We have a postage stamp yard at our house here in Missouri. It takes me less than 30 minutes to mow the whole yard. We don't have thousands of dollars of landscaping. But we have exactly what I enjoy. I am proud when I plant something new or when something blooms. And when I am done spending my time on my yard, I grab something to drink and swing on my porch swing admiring my work.

These are just a couple of examples of how I have changed … and most of it was in my attitude and perspective. Some of it did require some real change of our circumstances, however.

Rick and I walked to the grocery store twice this past weekend. Why? Because we could. Because we had time. We weren't overwhelmed with yard work or house work or activities. He mentioned on our walk that he feels like we were at our vacation home when he is in Missouri with us on the weekends. We have time for walks. We have time to watch an entire two seasons of a show on Netflix. We have time to cook out and make our evening meal the highlight of our day. We can go have fun watching our daughter play softball, celebrating her little victories instead of worrying if she is playing perfect enough to get a softball scholarship someday. We can take two hours to do a household project instead of spending an entire weekend doing it. And we can take a nap.

I have found who I really am, and I am happy with that. I no longer pretend to be someone I am not.

I am "being" the real me instead of "seeming" to be who others think I should be.

Esse Quam Videri. Who are you?

Ben and Me

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ REALLY Relaxing

We just completed our third week of summer break. That means we only have one week left (sniff, sniff)! So what does summer break look like to us?

The Past Week in our Regular Life

I wish my husband could have been here to see me this week. Even when I say I am on break or vacation or going to relax, I rarely do. I find so much to fill my time. There are things that I should be doing right now … I still have lots of purging and organizing to do. But, I actually spent a couple of days really relaxing this week, laying on the couch getting caught up on some t.v. and reading while the kids played in their p.j.'s most of the day. Now, I have to give some of the credit to the allergy-laden headache I had for those two days. But it was still relaxing, no matter the reason! It felt good.

The Schooling Basics

Tick .. tick … tick …. tick …..

That is the sound of the clock ticking down the days we have until we are back to some schooling basics. We are trying to ignore that sound.

The Schooling Fun Stuff

More gardening class this week. The kids planted several of the raised beds with tomatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, okra, peppers, lettuce and spinach, and watermelons. Keeping the beds watered in an area where there is no water source is going to be a challenge. We are going to have to transport water up there every day. We are certainly hoping for some rain! And we have been lucky and have had some the last two nights.

The Kitchen

More family favorites this week … manicotti, taquitos and rice, and 50 cent corn dogs from Sonic! Then my neighbor gave me a bag of crappie and we grilled it with some cheesy mushroom pasta.

The Days Ahead

Brynne had a softball game last night. It was an exciting game and they won … their first! Brynne got the final out by scooping up the hit at the pitcher's mound and throwing the girl out at first. She also got a good hit and pitched awesome! Rick and I had so much fun watching her!

This weekend is Memorial weekend. Rick and I have some projects planned around the house. Hopefully laziness won't get the best of us (so far it has). Kyndal and Collin went to the lake with my parents for the weekend and Dawson is working this morning and then going camping with a friend.

We will be soaking in this last week with Kyndal before she and Collin move to their new house next Friday. It's not like I won't see her everyday .. she is only moving a few blocks away and I will be babysitting Chloe, my grand dog, everyday while Kyndal goes to school. And, likely, I'll be feeding her every night because Collin has a new job that will keep him away from home until later at night. But it will still be strange to not have her here all the time, especially in the mornings while she is getting ready for school.

The Books We are Reading

Mom: A Woman's Place by Lynn Austin, Living So That by Wendy Blight.

Brynne: A Surprise for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher (on break from reading).

Eli: Big Nate: Goes for Broke by Lincoln Peirce (on break from reading).

Read Aloud:  The Raft by Robert Trumbull (on break from reading).

The People and the Places

Court went great on Tuesday. But, unfortunately, it's still not over. We only got through about half of the testimony so are on recess until another date can be found, and that won't be until at least late-June. Sigh. Oh well, God's timing is perfect so I am just trusting Him to conclude this thing when He sees fit. It will be over eventually and my kids will get support, so I am not worried. I actually enjoyed spending the day with my dad and Kyndal.

The Savings Jar(s)

I put $1.73 in the change jar this week.

The Bible in a Year

I have read through Isaiah 48. Love how God's prophecies of 2,000 years ago still speak true for today.

The Favorite Things

A rainy and cool Saturday … watching movies, making the best carrot cake ever, lounging in comfy clothes, reading, fixing a good dinner, and enjoying a glass of wine. Even doing some laundry doesn't wreck the mood. We are hoping to watch the full first season of Bomb Girls tonight on Netflix.

Being so busy enjoying life that I don't even take time out to take any pictures. I am learning to really live in the moment … loving life instead of blogging so much about it.

Linking up

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Trident Case ~ Kraken A.M.S. Case for iPhone 5/5s {Schoolhouse Review}

I do not own a smartphone, or more specifically an iPhone, but my husband and children do. Over the years I have heard too many hysterical shrieks when a phone has been dropped not to understand that a good phone case is a necessity! Our family was given the opportunity to review either a Kraken A.M.S. case or a Cyclops case from Trident Case. We chose the Kraken A.M.S. Case for Apple iPhone 5/5s in the color black.


  • Hardened Bio-Enhanced Polycarbonate Shell
  • Shock-absorbing TPE
  • 3 layers of protection
  • Built-in screen protector
  • Protected device controls and ports
  • Detachable media stand
  • Belt clip/holster
  • Lanyard loop
  • Meets or exceeds MIL-STD-810F military standards
  • Drop protection
  • Vibration
  • Dust filters
  • Rain/wind protection
  • Degradable/compostable/recyclable

How We Used the Product

I determined which one of my family members would give the case the biggest run for its money, and that was Dawson, my 17 year old son. When the case arrived he was so excited to get the package opened and get it installed. To be honest, it was a little tricky to get opened the first time. And we thought it was odd that the instructions for how to use the case were inside of it, so you had to figure out how to open it on your own before you could read the instructions. Having them loose in the box or attached to the outside of the product would have been helpful. However, after some maneuvering he was able to get his phone placed securely in the case.

And that was the last issue we have had with it.

Our Opinion

One of Dawson's immediate favorite features was the "kick stand". He is able to watch videos or movies on his phone with it standing up. He loves this! (And his friends are pretty jealous of it, too!)

Is it heavy duty? Absolutely! On more than one occasion Dawson has come to me to report on how well it is holding up. Here are some of the (unintentional) tests that the Kraken A.M.S. had to pass (and let's just say that it sure is a good thing he had a good sturdy case on his phone this month): Dawson accidentally dropped his phone down the stairs from his room to the kitchen and it rolled end over end. The stairs are not covered in a plush carpet, so without a case the phone would have very likely been ruined. On another day he also dropped it face first onto the asphalt parking lot at his school when he was getting in his car. There were no cracks in the screen and the phone was, once again, saved. There were also several small drops through the review period that would have likely resulted in at least a cracked screen.

Dawson has been using a well-known phone case for the past several months. He told me that when he drops his phone, the little attachment clasps get loose. You can also see visible wear on the corners of that case from when it has been dropped.

These did not happen with the Kraken A.M.S. Case. All of the clasps are still very securely closed. And even though it has been dropped a few times, there are no scratches or dents in the case. He was also impressed that the kick stand has remained sturdy.

All-in-all the Kraken A.M.S. phone case has been a hit with my 17 year old son. My 19 year old daughter wanted to know why she didn't get one. Just before I hit "send" on this post I asked him if he had any final words about the case. He just gave me a thumbs up.

Product Details

Trident Case has the Kraken A.M.S. Case available for the iPhone 5 or 5s for $49.95 and can be used by all ages. It comes in black, blue, grey, pink, red, trident green, or white. The Kraken A.M.S. case is also available for various versions of the iPad, Kindle Fire, and Samsung Galaxy Note. For the iPhone 5 or 5s, there is also the Cyclops case available.

You can read reviews on the other Trident Case products mentioned above by visiting the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Blogging Through the Alphabet (Favorites Edition) ~ D is for Daily Encouragement

This year I decided to read the Bible in its entirety. I am using and reading The Message. The website set up my schedule for me once I indicated my start date and I have the schedule bookmarked. Each night before I go to bed I read my assigned passages. I read anywhere from two to five chapters of the Bible each night, and I am currently on Isaiah 28.

Here is the really cool thing about this … God is speaking to me in my daily situations through my daily reading. This is not an accident. God is using His word to speak to me every single day about the exact thing I am going through every single day and encouraging me. He is lifting me up and guiding me and reminding me that He is always in control!

I spent the last few weeks reading the books of Judges and Kings. Reading about all of the constant evil and betrayal met me right where I was in my life. And then something happened this week in regard to my situation to open things up a bit. Although I was elated at part of it, I was discouraged at another.

And then I started reading my assigned scriptures. I was blown away with the encouragement I received from God. He told me that, no, my suffering is not quite over. But he is waiting on His mount, watching, waiting for just the right moment when He will arrive. Those poor, oppressed nations will be vindicated. Those arrogant, prideful and evil nations will fall.

God said this to me this morning in Isaiah 25… (I encourage you to read its entirety, especially if you are not quite at your moment of victory, because this is what is coming next.)

1 God, you are my God. I celebrate you. I praise you. You've done your share of miracle-wonders, well-thought-out plans, solid and sure. 2 Here you've reduced the city to rubble, the strong city to a pile of stones. The enemy Big City is a non-city, never to be a city again. 3 Superpowers will see it and honor you, brutal oppressors bow in worshipful reverence. 4 They'll see that you take care of the poor, that you take care of poor people in trouble, Provide a warm, dry place in bad weather, provide a cool place when it's hot. Brutal oppressors are like a winter blizzard 5 and vicious foreigners like high noon in the desert. But you, shelter from the storm and shade from the sun, shut the mouths of the big-mouthed bullies. 6 But here on this mountain, God-of-the-Angel-Armies will throw a feast for all the people of the world, A feast of the finest foods, a feast with vintage wines, a feast of seven courses, a feast lavish with gourmet desserts. 7 And here on this mountain, God will banish the pall of doom hanging over all peoples, The shadow of doom darkening all nations. 8Yes, he'll banish death forever. And God will wipe the tears from every face. He'll remove every sign of disgrace From his people, wherever they are. Yes! God says so! 9 Also at that time, people will say, "Look at what's happened! This is our God! We waited for him and he showed up and saved us! This God, the one we waited for! Let's celebrate, sing the joys of his salvation. 10 God's hand rests on this mountain!" As for the Moabites, they'll be treated like refuse, waste shoveled into a cesspool. 11 Thrash away as they will, like swimmers trying to stay afloat, They'll sink in the sewage. Their pride will pull them under. 12 Their famous fortifications will crumble to nothing, those mighty walls reduced to dust.

God is in control. God is in control. Just be patient. God is in control.

I am immensely thankful to God for the daily encouragement he provides me. Without Him, I wouldn't be able to make it through my day.

Ben and Me

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My Prayer for Today

If you are so inclined to lift me up in prayer today, I would appreciate you believing the following for me …

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Hurray for May!

May just continues to restore my faith in good things coming to those who wait. As great as the past couple of years have been living here in Missouri, we have had our share of hardships. In fact, some things have caused downright misery. But this month has just brought more good news after more good news. We are a happy family. And we deserve some good things. We are soaking in the goodness and thanking God for His plan and provision.

The Past Week in our Regular Life

Rick starts his new job tomorrow. We are very excited about what this means for his future and our family.

Eli woke up on Wednesday morning with a tummy ache and had to do a day on the couch with a puke bucket close by.  But after a day of TLC by his mama, a night of hogging my covers in my bed, and sleeping in until 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, he was feeling much better.

I have spent almost every day cleaning out closets and switching out our winter and summer clothes.

The Schooling Basics

School is for losers! Just kidding! But we sure are enjoying the fact that we are on summer break this month! May rocks!

The Schooling Fun Stuff

On Thursday the kids in gardening class started filling the raised beds with soil. Those little kiddos worked so hard and got all of them filled in an hour except for one box. This class is going to be so awesome! We already have a really great recipe to try from our Nutrition Newsletter.

The Kitchen

Let's see … homemade pizza, tacos, pancakes and bacon, hot dogs, and burgers. It was an easy week. Then this weekend we did our first grilling and had steaks, pasta salad, grilled corn on the cob, homemade macaroni and cheese and fruit salad. Tonight we had "Chick-fil-a at Home" which is fried popcorn chicken, waffle fries and chocolate shakes. Rick and I had our popcorn chicken over a salad.

The Days Ahead

This is just going to be a good week. Life is moving along beautifully. I am enjoying my home, my garden, my newly planted flowers, my children. I am so excited for my husband's new job and the possibilities it opens up for us as a family. We will have an easy week of just hanging out as a family, doing some softball, getting Dawson through his last week before he becomes a senior in high school. I am looking forward to another weekend with everybody home for movies, meals, and projects around the house. Small town living is the best!

The Books We are Reading

Mom: A Woman's Place by Lynn Austin, Living So That by Wendy Blight.

Brynne: A Surprise for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher (on break from reading).

Eli: Big Nate: Goes for Broke by Lincoln Peirce (on break from reading).

Read Aloud:  The Raft by Robert Trumbull (on break from reading).

The People and the Places

I had to go to an early morning court date on Thursday for my child support case. The good news is that it will all be over on Tuesday! Hallelujah and amen! Then we can all just get on with our lives without that cloud hanging over. It was a long day and I stopped and got groceries on my way home.

Brynne had her first softball game on Friday night. It was cold and raining. The girls lost 15-10, but they are a young team and really played well! Brynne pitched one inning and did a good job, especially under the pressure. She almost caught a pop fly and got a good hit. She really loves playing sports!

The Savings Jar(s)

I put $2.48 in the change jar this week.

The Bible in a Year

I have read through Isaiah 8. After the evil and brutality of I and II Kings, I am glad to start reading about the prophecy of the coming of Jesus.

The Favorite Things

My husband, my kids, my dogs, my family, my town, my home. Life just could not get much better.

Linking up

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Blogging Through the Alphabet (Favorites Edition) ~ C is for Chamomile Tea

Photo Credit

You thought I was going to say coffee, didn't you? There was a time that I definitely would have. But I have some pretty serious reflux issues that necessitated a trip to the doctor and a prescription of Prilosec. The acid levels in coffee and my beloved green tea were major culprits in my anguish.

Before going to the doctor I did some research and learned that chamomile tea is good for reflux sufferers. So, I (reluctantly) gave it a try. I was worried because I do not like flavored coffees or teas and I don't like things too sweet. But, the chamomile was a pretty good balance. It only took a few cups for me to get used to it tasting different than green tea.

I was still having major heartburn and burning in my throat at night, even with that change. Many foods were bothering me and I was just miserable and losing lots of sleep. So after suffering for about five years, I broke down and went to the doctor. Dietary changes just weren't going to cut it.

At the time I met with the doctor I told her I just wanted her to give me something that would allow me to start drinking coffee again. She said that after a period of time I could try to integrate some of my triggers to see how I tolerated them.

I was feeling much better within a week or two, but didn't want to chance it. I did have a cup of coffee at church one morning and didn't feel any effects. I even found that I could drink a large travel cup filled with coffee one morning when I had a long early morning drive. I didn't have any problems then, either.

You would think these instances would make me want to start brewing up a pot of coffee each morning again. Because, if you know me, coffee was my number one favorite thing in the world. I have always thought of drinking coffee as an experience, and have been a coffee drinker since I was in high school.

But, I have found that I don't crave coffee anymore. I don't crave the morning caffeine rush. Instead, I crave a warm, comforting cup of chamomile. In fact, I drink about 4 to 6 cups of a it a day. I like it that much.

So chamomile has replaced my desire for coffee. And my stomach thanks me.

Ben and Me

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ A Fab Mother's Week

The little kids and I are thoroughly enjoying our break from school. We are loving sleeping in, having some extra jammie time, and doing exactly what we want. You might be wondering how we "do" summer break.

We start our new school year the first Monday in June. We do school work from 10:00 - noon each morning, Monday through Thursday, in the months of June and July. I log these hours and anything extra we do, like classes at the library, extra reading, sports and swimming. I accumulate these hours and call them "summer hours". We use them for breaks throughout the school year and to determine our end date for the year.

We take off the first few weeks of August and usually start around the third week or so. That is when we launch into our full 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily schedule, Monday through Friday. I officially start logging our 1,000 required hours at this time. I also log any extra classes, sports, field trips, etc., even if they are on the weekends.

We try to take off about two weeks in October, the week of Thanksgiving, about three weeks at Christmas, and two weeks in April for Spring Break. This is where our "summer hours" come into play.

This schedule allows us to conclude our required schoolwork of 1,000 hours at the end of April and take off the entire month of May.

The Past Week in our Regular Life

We continue to have lots to celebrate! The offer Collin put in on the little house was accepted and he and Rick worked together to secure a loan for the house. He closes on it at the end of this month. Kyndal has been busy making lists and buying odds and ends that they will need. My sister graciously gave her a ton of home decorating items (wall hangings, rugs, pillows, curtains) that will make the little house so adorable. It's a fun time for them!

Rick officially accepted his new job and starts in a couple of weeks. For now he knows that he will be working 4, 10 hour days so that he has Fridays off. That means he will be home one extra day a week. We are all really happy about that! We spent some time this weekend dreaming about when he is living here full time and not having to leave on Sundays to go back to Oklahoma.

The Schooling Basics

Basically … there hasn't been any. Not a book has been opened this whole week. Love it!

The Schooling Fun Stuff

We did start our new weekly class at our local library put on by the University of Missouri Extension Center. It is a gardening and nutrition class. The kids will be planting vegetable gardens in a public space behind the doctor's office. They will learn about gardening and nutritional eating and will be responsible for the upkeep of their gardens. There are about 20 kids enrolled and my kids are really looking forward to it.

The Kitchen

One evening this week it was so muggy that I just did not want to turn on the oven. We had bbq pork ribs in the crock pot and garlic pasta. It was really good! Now that it is warmer I am enjoying a daily salad. My favorite? Lettuce and spinach, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, cheddar cheese, cherry tomatoes, almonds and honey mustard dressing. So good!

An on Mother's Day my littlest sweetie made dinner and cupcakes! She just needed a little supervision, help cutting chicken and cooking it, and putting things in and out of the oven. She is my mini-me and I love her to pieces!

The Days Ahead

Brynne is supposed to have her first softball game tonight, but there is a 100% chance of rain. She has practice on Tuesday night and private pitching practice a couple of evenings. Then she has another game on Friday night. Yes, it's softball season!

The kids have gardening class on Thursday afternoon.

Otherwise, I can't think of anything else we have going on. Man, that's nice to say!

The Books We are Reading

Mom: A Woman's Place by Lynn Austin, Living So That by Wendy Blight.

Brynne: A Surprise for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher (on break from reading).

Eli: Big Nate: Goes for Broke by Lincoln Peirce (on break from reading).

Read Aloud:  The Raft by Robert Trumbull (on break from reading).

The People and the Places

My mom's birthday was on Monday. We always eat lunch at her house on Mondays to visit with my niece (who my mom babysits on Mondays) and my aunt (who comes to town to visit my grandma). I told her I would bring lunch that day and she requested turkey wraps. We had some chips with our wraps and strawberry shortcake for dessert.

Yesterday was the ice cream social at my grandma's nursing home, so my mom and I went out to spend some time with her.

Rick and I went on our annual Mother's Day weekend flower buying trip on Saturday to the Amish greenhouse and I purchased the majority of my flowers for my house. He and I spent the evening planting flowers and now everything looks so pretty! It's one of my favorite days of the whole year.

The Savings Jar(s)

I put $5.51 in the change jar this week.

The Bible in a Year

I am still right on track for reading the Bible in a year. I read my assigned passages as the final thing before I go to sleep at night. I am reading out of The Message. I have read through 2 Kings 17.

The Favorite Things

I have been spending a lot of time outside working in my gardens. My vegetable garden is all planted. I have two types of lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, chives, green peppers, jalapeƱos, basil, oregano, rosemary, green beans, and cantaloupe.

Then I cleared out some beds of debris and did some planting. This one has pumpkin seeds and sunflowers planted in it. Looks barren now, but soon there will be lots of pretty vines and flowers!

This one has a new rose bush, some butterfly and hummingbird seeds, and a couple of starts of a new butterfly-attracting perennial that Taylar's mom gave me (that I cannot remember the name of for the life of me!).

And here is where I put the hydrangea shoots I dug up from my grandma's house. She has the most amazing hydrangea bush that produces humongous blue blooms. I am praying over my little starts that they will come up and flourish! Right now they are looking pretty sad. I also planted some more of those butterfly-attracting perennials.

Of course Mother's Day was fantastic! Really, the whole weekend was awesome, but my family made my day special. Dawson and his friend unloaded the dishwasher for me, Brynne cooked all of our meals, Eli cleaned his room, Kyndal and Collin bought me a garden stone and travel mug, and I got sweet texts from Dawson's girlfriend, Taylar, and his best friend, Tonio (aka My Other Son). Rick and I spent some time sitting on the front porch while I enjoyed a glass of wine, and we played lots of board games as a family. The girls and I took the dogs for a walk in the evening and then we came home and got caught up on The Amazing Race. It was the perfect day!

Linking up

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Blogging Through the Alphabet (Favorites Edition) ~ B is for Backstreet Boys

Ben and Me

On Kyndal's 5th birthday my mom and I surprised her by taking her to a Backstreet Boys concert. She and I had watched (and taped on a VHS tape) a Disney Backstreet Boys concert. She knew every word to every song and every move to every piece of choreography. The three of us had the most amazing time at that concert!

Then in 2011 Kyndal and I went with my sister and niece to the NKOTBSB concert (New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys). That will go down as the single most fun thing I have ever done in my life. It was so, so fun!!!

Kyndal and I love to put on some Backstreet Boys while we are cooking. We know every song and love all of the new music they produce.

On June 7th we are at it again … Backstreet Boys will be in concert at the outdoor Starlight Theatre in Kansas City and we will be there! I cannot wait to spend that night with my daughter.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What a May!

The Taulmans are having one heck of a good month so far!

Rick co-signed with Collin on his home loan and it was approved! Collin gets to purchase the house he wants for his and Kyndal's future. I am so proud of him for taking this big step toward my daughter's happiness and well-being. And I love Rick so much for stepping out in faith for the future husband of his step-daughter. It takes an amazing man to do something like that, and I love him all the more today because of it. We are so blessed to have him leading our family.

And speaking of leading our family …. he has officially accepted his new job and will be making the transition there in a couple of weeks. We are hopeful that he will immediately get to start spending more time with us here and less time working there. Now to figure out where in the heck we are going to put his office in our house! It's a good problem to have.

We also found out yesterday that Eli and Brynne's bowling team did win 1st place in state in their division out of 16 teams. We are so incredibly proud of them! Eli also ended up in 5th place in singles out of just under 100 kids. It was such exciting news!

The rest of the month looks to be just as great! We are off school this whole month and I am currently purging closets and dresser drawers while the kids enjoy some much-deserved jammie time. The weather is beautiful and my garden is in and already flourishing. Collin will be closing on his house, Dawson will be finishing up his junior year of high school, and an icky situation is almost over. We are looking forward to summer living!!!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Blogging Through the Alphabet (Favorites Edition) ~ A is for Almonds

I will be joining Marcy at Ben and Me for another round of Blogging Through the Alphabet. I thought I would put a spin on it and post each week about a favorite thing of mine.

This week I am posting about Almonds … sliced almonds, to be exact.

I love sliced almonds. They add that little extra bit of crunch and are very healthy. I sprinkle them in oatmeal, greek yogurt, bran cereal with raisins, and in chicken salads.

I always keep a bag of sliced almonds in the refrigerator to sprinkle on anything that sounds good.

Some of the health benefits of almonds are: they reduce heart attack risks, they lower bad cholesterol, they provide healthy fats and aid in weight loss, they lower the rise in blood sugar and insulin after meals (which is why they are great to eat with carbs), they are an alkaline protein so help fight osteoporosis.

Ben and Me

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ We're so Happpppyyyyy!!!!

What a fantastic week we have had! Eli and Brynne completed their 4th year of homeschooling on Tuesday. We have completed our required 1000 hours for the 2013-2014 school year and are now on summer break. We will start our new school year on June 2nd. Additionally, there are a lot of exciting things going on in our family and there is a lot of happiness going on!

The Past Week in our Regular Life

I mentioned in a recent post that Kyndal will be graduating from cosmetology school in September and that she and Collin are excited to start their lives together. This week Collin put in an offer on a small house in our hometown and it was accepted! There are a lot of "ifs" going on with how it will all work out, but we are just trusting God to work out the details if it is in His will that he purchase this house.

And after two years of Rick and the rest of our family living in two separate states, there looks to finally be an end to that arrangement! Rick was offered a job this week with a previous employer. They offered him the amount of salary and vacation he wanted and agreed to a remote employment situation which would allow him to work from our home in Missouri! We aren't sure exactly how that will all work out, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and we are so thankful!

The Schooling Basics

This week we just finished up some things, mostly math. We completed Math-U-See Gamma, moved forward with CTC Math and division, and did more simplifying fractions. The rest of our time was spent reading and working on our literature unit studies. Once we logged the 1000th hour, we shut the books!

The Schooling Fun Stuff

I posted all about our lessons associated with The Raft by Robert Trumbull in my Poppins Book Nook post.

We also completed the remainder of the activities in our unit study of The Courage of Sarah Noble. I will be posting all about those in my upcoming review of Progeny Press.

The Kitchen

It was the end of the month this week so we did a little scrounging for meals. We had manicotti, french toast, and Little Caesar's $5 pizzas. After I went to the store on Thursday we had a rotisserie chicken with rice and broccoli. Rick isn't home this weekend so we will have some easy kid-friendly meals.

The Days Ahead

I am currently working on a project called 20 in '14. For the first 14 days of May I am going to do 20 projects around the house. This includes some home improvement, organization and LOTS of purging! I will be posting more about that next week.

Tomorrow I am the "guest" speaker at my church's annual Mother-Daughter Banquet. I will be speaking about Lessons from a Cucumber Plant. My ladies church group is also in charge of the table decorations so I will be working on those tonight and tomorrow.

The Books We are Reading

Mom: The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, Living So That by Wendy Blight.

Brynne: A Surprise for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher.

Eli: Big Nate: Goes for Broke by Lincoln Peirce.

Read Aloud:  The Raft by Robert Trumbull, The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh (finished).

The People and the Places

I posted about the state youth bowling tournament last week. Well, as of right now, going into the last weekend of state tournaments, the little Cobras below are in 1ST PLACE in the State of Missouri in their division!!! Not only that, but Eli is in 3rd place and Brynne is in 20th place in singles. That is out of 77 kids! We are absolutely ecstatic at how well our kiddos have done! We are keeping our fingers crossed that they will maintain their place standings!

Yesterday the kids and I went to the USCBHA National Cattledog Finals. We had watched cattle dog trials at the fair a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun. The dogs were really fun to watch! A handler even asked us if we would like to spend some time playing with and walking a puppy who needed some attention. We spent about an hour with Mack. We were in love!!!

The Savings Jar(s)

I put $3.94 in the change jar this week.

The Bible in a Year

I have read through 1 Kings 11.

The Favorite Things

Life is treating the Taulmans pretty darned good. We have had a tough few years but feel like we are now on the upswing. I give God all the glory for bringing us through the storms to the warmth of sunnier days.

Brynne has finally decided that she wants her own room. In Oklahoma we had a five bedroom house and all the kids had their own rooms, but she always wanted to share with Eli. When we moved to Missouri we downsized to three small bedrooms which had Eli and Brynne still sharing a room. Our basement cannot really be finished because of some moisture, but it is livable. So, we took a very small room that had been built by previous inhabitants (I won't even tell you what we think what might have been going on in that room), painted the walls and concrete floors, and turned it into a bedroom for Brynne. My mom and I finished it on Thursday and she spent her first night there. It needs a new rug and some new lighting, but otherwise it's perfect for her and she is thrilled.

Linking up