Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Blogging Through the Alphabet (Favorites Edition) ~ I is for Indian Summer

In the 90's I watched a movie that will forever be my favorite: Indian Summer. I even have it recorded on a VHS tape. (Remember when we did that? And when we paused the recording during commercials? Yeah.)

This movie has an ensemble cast with my favorite actress, Diane Lane, and some other popular actors and actresses of the time: Alan Arkin, Bill Paxton, Julie Warner, Elizabeth Perkins, Kevin Pollack, and Kimberly Williams before she became a Paisley.

The story unfolds when Uncle Lou, the owner of Camp Tamakwa, invites back several "kids" from the Golden Era of the camp for a reunion. The grown-up kids now all have adult issues of their own and a week back at camp is just what they need. They participate in camp pranks, old camp activities, and even crushes are rekindled. It is primarily a drama, with some sweet humor, and just a nostalgic visit back to the days of summer camp and the angst of real life as it unfolds in the lives of the characters.

Indian Summer is one of those movies I could watch over and over and over. I just recently saw it available on DVD on Amazon and I am planning to purchase it very soon for my library. I just need to grab a box of tissues before I watch it. It's a perfect Sunday afternoon movie.

Here is the trailer if you are interested. Great movie!!

Ben and Me

Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ The Busy Days of Summer

The sun finally came out this week and it actually got hot enough to turn on the air conditioner. Although I am not a huge fan of the heat, my garden and flowers sure appreciated it! However, last night we had a storm come through and the temperatures dropped. We slept with the windows open and it was fabulous!

The Past Week in our Regular Life

This was a much busier week. Last weekend was filled with celebrations for Rick's birthday and Father's Day. Brynne had a hot softball game on Monday night. And we worked at the softball dinner and silent auction on Thursday night. We were also much busier during the day, as well, with library classes and other activities.

Then this past weekend Rick spent the majority of the weekend painting the exterior trim of our house while I helped Kyndal and Collin get ready for their housewarming party that was yesterday. The house is looking so fantastic! We are painting all of the burgundy/purplish trim gold and green. It takes a lot of work, and Rick only has the weekends to work on it, so it will be several weeks before it is done. But I love it so much! It reminds me of the house in Portland, Oregon, where my brother lives. It just brightens my day to look at it!

You can see a little of the burgandy trim in the top of the picture. I have hated that trim since the day we first looked at the house. It made it look like a summer camp cabin. But the new colors have such pop and are lots of fun!

I have been stashing stuff in my basement for a garage sale, and putting it off, forever and ever. I decided on Tuesday night that I would throw together a sale on Friday. With my mom's help I pulled it off and made enough to get me another full tank of gas for all of the driving back and forth to Brynne's basketball camp and softball games I have to do this week.

The Schooling Basics


The kids completed four more lessons in their Veritas Press Bible curriculum. All I can say is that it's just good stuff.


Both kids moved onto 5th grade division with CTC. They completed four lessons, scoring very well. They got their first taste of short division with fractional remainders that tripped Eli up a bit. We'll be working on it again this week to make sure we've got it down before we move on.


We are reading every day for about an hour. This includes personal reading, our literature study, and the book the kids are reading for their book club. Summer is just a great time to read!

The Schooling Fun Stuff

I had high hopes for the library class this past week on Plant Science. But, it was a little dull. In fact, it was a lot dull. It was on composting and greenhouses, but they certainly didn't make it geared toward kids and it certainly didn't involve any science. At the end of the class they each made a glove greenhouse. We'll see if we can get something to grow. The kids weren't too impressed. It was a waste of time. But, it did get us out riding our bikes to and from the library, so that's something.

But the kids continue to enjoy their book club reading Capture the Flag by Kate Messner. They have one more week with this book and then will be starting another one soon. Their teacher is very enthusiastic and they are really having fun.

The Kitchen

I also had high hopes for a recipe for cauliflower tortillas. They looked so good. And they turned out so bad. They were impossible to flip over unless you made them really small, and then I can't imagine how you would get a taco out of it. Mine just fell apart. A whole head of cauliflower only made about 6 tortillas and they were a lot of work. I guess I'll just stick with my too-high carb flour tortillas for my black bean tacos.

The Days Ahead

What a crazy, busy week we are getting ready to have! This morning Kyndal and I were in a nearby college town with Brynne while she attended a basketball camp. I will be taking her there tomorrow and Wednesday morning, too. She has softball practice tomorrow night and then softball games on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. She ought to be a total bawl-bag by about Wednesday afternoon.

Dawson is babysitting the kids Taylar regular babysits for each morning this week while she attends volleyball camp. We are going to meet ourselves coming and going this week.

The Books We are Reading

Mom:  Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman (finished), The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty.

Brynne: Frozen: The Junior Novelization (finished), A Surprise for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsolver and Suzanne Woods Fisher

Eli: Big Nate: Goes for Broke by Lincoln Peirce (finished).

Read Aloud:  Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan, Capture the Flag by Kate Messner.

The People and the Places

Our city pool finally opened last Monday so the kids and I went for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, on Friday after my garage sale, and then again on Saturday evening for a couple of hours with daddy. And I didn't take one picture. I was too busy reading my book. I can do that now. The kids are old enough that they can swim with lifeguards without me having to watch their every move. It is nice!

Brynne went to the little 3-hour Vacation Bible School at our church on Saturday and had a lot of fun. Eli opted out this year.

Yesterday Kyndal and Collin had a housewarming party at their new house. It was such a great day spent with family and friends! The food was awesome! (Shout out to my dad for smoking the pork and Pam, Collin's mom, for all the delicious sides and desserts!) I made my usual party potatoes which were gobbled up, as usual.

The Savings Jar(s)

I added $8.38 to the savings change jar. I noticed when I got home from Kyndal's party, and after Rick had left to go back to Oklahoma for the week, that he had left me a pile of change on my dresser. I think he's gunning for a super cool Christmas gift!!

The Bible in a Year

I got all caught up on my Bible reading and have now read through Ezekiel 27.

The Favorite Things

My boys being together. They might be almost 18 years old, but they will always be goofy 11 year olds to me. It's always so nice when the best friend comes for a visit. We miss Tonio!

Linking up

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blogging Through the Alphabet (Favorites Edition) ~ H is for Home (and the people in it)

I am not going to say much here, because I say it all the time. I love, love, love my home. In fact, as I sit here and type this I just look around and feel so happy. It is small, it is simple, and it has everything I could ever need. And, it's just darn cute. Who would have ever thought that my favorite place to be would be a $30,000 tiny home in a not-so-desirable neighborhood in the boring little town where I grew up.

Wanna know what makes this house a home???? ….

the people who come in and out of it on a regular basis. They are the heartbeat of this home. And my heart is happy.

We are doing all kinds of little cheap cosmetic changes to the exterior of the house. It's still a work-in-progress because we are working on it here and there when we have time. But so far I love it!

Ben and Me

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cheers to 13 Years!

Today Rick and I are celebrating 13 years of marriage. The unlucky 13? I think not. In fact, I think I am the luckiest woman around.

Although Rick and I will not get to spend our anniversary together, he gave me my gift this weekend. He bought me a Ninja Master Prep Professional so that I can quickly whip out my smoothies. And this one chops and stuff, too. It's awesome! He is planning a surprise for me if I can ever not overfill our weekends with activities. I will be giving him his gift when we finally celebrate.

So, cheers to 13 years of marriage, babe! I love you so much!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Those Important Men

Today was a day to celebrate the important men in my life … those Fathers who make my life and the lives of my children special.

Let's start with this guy. My dad, Bill. He is a rock solid man with a big ol' soft heart who loves his kids and grandkids. I am not sure what we would do without him some days. He's the guy to call in times of trouble and he's the guy with the answers.

Then there is Collin's dad, Tracey, who has spent the last three weekends in a row at Collin and Kyndal's house making sure everything is running smoothly and looking good. He has raised a good son for my daughter and I am grateful to him.

And, finally, there is the daddy who makes my babies' lives shine. Rick is a great husband, but he is also an amazing father. I have never known anybody who puts his children first the way that Rick does. He gives up his own comfort and pleasure to do whatever it takes to be there for his children whenever they need him (and that is no easy task from 5 hours away). I cannot think of one time in the past 14 years that he has not dropped everything for the needs of one of his kids. I am grateful for the way he shows the boys how to take care of a woman and the girls are so blessed to always have a dependable man in their life. We are all lucky to have him.

We fixed a big lunch at home this afternoon for these men. We had spinach and pepper jack grilled chicken rolls, grilled corn on the cob, party potatoes, jalapeño poppers, cucumber and onion pasta salad, brownies, banana bread, and root beer floats (Rick's favorite). It was such a great meal!

Then Rick and I and the kids (plus Collin and Taylar) all went to the movies to see How to Train Your Dragon 2. Going to the movies is always a fun time with this family. There were lots of laughs, and quite a few tears. It was a great movie!!! Definitely a must-see if you are a Hiccup and Toothless fan.

I feel a little guilty that we all enjoyed the day just as much as, if not more than, the guys. It was a perfect day together.

Happy Father's Day! Dad, Tracey and Rick … we love you!!

Four Four

Yesterday was Rick's 44th birthday. For his birthday I saved my pennies (literally) and took him to Kansas City to dinner at Outback Steakhouse and to a comedy show at Improv Comedy Club. Rick loves comedy and we had a really fun night just being together, sharing a good meal, and laughing.

The rest of the day was busy, as well. We started out with a softball double header for Brynne. On the way to Kansas City we stopped at Lowe's to look at screen doors. I don't know that we have ever gone on a date that we haven't stopped at Lowe's.

On the drive home from the show, we stopped to view the strawberry moon, stopped again to try to figure out what some mysterious flying lights were in the sky (UFO's maybe? nah, just planes from the nearby air force base), and then stopped yet again to pick up the lawn mower out of the back of Collin's truck where it sat after breaking down.

Funny story, my sister was on the way back from Kansas City yesterday afternoon and passed a stalled truck she recognized. She called my daughter to ask if that was Collin, and it was. So, she turned around and went back and picked him up. That was a  lucky coincidence! And then Rick and I just happened to be on the same highway later that night so we could pick up the lawn mower. My dad and Collin were up first thing this morning to go pick up the truck.

Then we stopped at Walmart on the way home. Yes. There is always a Walmart trip involved in a date, too.

All-in-all it was a really fun day and night and I enjoyed spending it with my husband. We don't get the opportunity to do that very often. I hope that he enjoyed his birthday because I loved spending it with him.

Happy birthday, babe!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Blogging Through the Alphabet (Favorites Edition) ~ G is for Garden

I love to garden.

I love starting something from virtually nothing, nurturing it, and producing fruit. It is soothing to me and makes me very, very happy.

My garden area is special to me, a place where I can retreat by myself and wander amongst my raised beds, stopping to clean up this one, water that one, and pull weeds from yet another.

My garden gives me a sense of accomplishment and peace.

I thoroughly enjoy any vegetables and fruits that come from my garden, but even in those years where my production has been low I have enjoyed just watching my garden grow.

So far this year I have already harvested all of my lettuce. I have carrots that are a few weeks away from being ready.

My tomato plants are monsters!! And there are cherry tomatoes popping up.

I have two types of pepper plants, some cabbage and brussel sprouts that I hope to keep the bugs and other critters from eating.

The green beans are coming along, and I need to plant some more. This is the first time I have planted cantelope and they are looking great! And, my first pumpkin patch. Oh, I cannot wait until all of the flowers are in bloom and we dig in the fall to find pumpkins!!

If you can't find me around the house, just check my garden and I am probably there milling around, picking weeds and just looking things over. It's my happy place.

Ben and Me

Friday, June 13, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Rainy

It has been a rainy, rainy week! Literally every day it has rained. Today is the first day we have seen any sunshine. I can't really complain because, as you know, I am a major homebody and am always looking for an excuse to stay home. This week provided it. We didn't have any evening activities and other than a couple of trips to the library, we really didn't leave the house.

The Past Week in our Regular Life

The only problem with having nothing scheduled to do is that it causes me to stay up later at night getting sucked into a t.v. series (right now it's Orange is the New Black on Netflix … warning, it is raunchy and I have to fast forward through some scenes) and reading. But then that has me not wanting to pop up early in the morning to get my quiet time before the kids get up and so I feel rushed all morning to get us starting school by 10:00 a.m. Oh, the tragedy, I know. I do prefer an earlier morning schedule and going to bed earlier at night. I really haven't slept all that good this week. I plan to get back on track on Monday.

The Schooling Basics


We are using a product from Veritas Press on the Old Testament. We have spent the last two years Stick Figuring Through the Old Testament with Grapevine Studies, so I thought this would be a nice change of pace and review. It's great for me because it is all on the computer. The kids watch a video and have lessons and even take quizzes. They seem to really be enjoying it and it's a good start to their day.


We are continuing with CTC Math this summer, which is also a web-based program. While one of the kids does their math assignments, the other one reads. Then they switch. They have exclusively been doing Division with CTC. They started with the third grade materials during the school year and once they completed them they moved onto the fourth grade materials. They just completed fourth grade and will move onto the fifth grade division materials on Monday. Once they have completed all of those lessons, I plan to have them go back and do all of the math sections for fourth grade.


We are doing lots and lots of reading. The kids are doing the Fizz, Boom, Read program at the library. So to fill their sheets I am having them read picture books each time we go up to the library for their programs. It's funny to see how much they do not enjoy picture books now that they have moved on to more age-appropriate stuff. But, it doesn't hurt them to read some fun and easy things.

Then they are each working on their personal choices. Eli is still into Big Nate. Brynne has been reading a Frozen book she received as a gift, comparing it to the movie. Then she will likely finish up her Lily Lapp book.

We are also reading Sarah, Plain and Tall and Capture the Flag for our literature unit study and book club.

The Schooling Fun Stuff

Our map study from The Land from Moving Beyond the Page has been really great so far. We have done map studies before, but the worksheets in this study are really great. The kids are enjoying it!

We have lots of library activities going on this summer. Thank you library staff for schooling my children for me!

On Wednesdays the kids are in a book club where they are reading Capture the Flag and doing fun activities. Last week they had to plan a secret society and this week they have to find something from history that they would steal if there were no consequences. Think National Treasure here. They are enjoying the creativity and brainstorming they are doing with their friends.

Then on Thursdays they attend their gardening class where they are learning all about nutritional eating, while taking care of a community garden. Then starting in a couple of weeks they will also get to attend a class with the same teacher called "Kids in the Kitchen" where they will actually be learning cooking skills.

The library also has other programs throughout the summer. We attended the first one yesterday. It was on forensic science and they go to learn how to lift fingerprints and obtain DNA. It was a great class put on by our sheriff's department. Next week the program is on plant science.

The Kitchen

Yep, kid-friendly meals rock. Last night I made mini pizza muffins. You just take small, cheap biscuits and cut them in half. Stuff each one-half into a mini pizza pan section. Add a little pizza sauce, one pepperoni, and some shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes. And that's an easy dinner. My kids love it!

I also made some oatmeal raisin cookies for our snack this week and they were delicious.

The Days Ahead

This is going to be a busy weekend! Rick's birthday is tomorrow. We are starting the day with a softball double-header for Brynne. Then Rick and I are going to Kansas City where I have prepared a night out for him. I think he will enjoy it. Sunday is Father's Day so after church I am going to come home and make a nice lunch … spinach and pepperjack rolled chicken breast on the grill, party potatoes, fresh green beans, and jalapeño poppers. We will have root beer floats for dessert. Then the kids and I are taking Rick to the movies to see How to Train Your Dragon 2. We love to do movies as a family and have really been looking forward to this one.

The Books We are Reading

Mom:  Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman.

Brynne: Frozen: The Junior Novelization

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

Read Aloud:  Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan, Capture the Flag by Kate Messner.

The People and the Places

We went "to town" on Friday to get groceries and haircuts. Brynne got about 6 inches cut off her hair. Eli got his usual. Kyndal is the only person he trusts to cut his hair. Then we stopped by the nearby Liberty Park and the rose garden to take some new pictures for a Father's Day gift for daddy.

The Savings Jar(s)

I drained the savings jar for Rick's birthday/Father's Day gifts. So I am starting over and put $2.65 in it this week.

The Bible in a Year

I am still a couple of days behind, but only a couple. I will be caught up by Monday. I have read through Jeremiah 48.

The Favorite Things

Reading. I have challenged myself to read one book per week for the rest of the summer. Since we only do schoolwork from 10-noon every day, that pretty much leaves my afternoons open to do some reading. That is what I have been doing this week and it has been great!

Linking up

Blogging Through the Alphabet (Favorites Edition) ~ F is for Florida State of Mind

As you know, my parents have a house in Pensacola, Florida. Since they purchased it a few years ago, the little kids and I have been able to go there for 7 to 10 days a couple of times a year. It always astonishes me how at peace I feel when I am in Florida. I'm just in a completely different place emotionally when I am there.

Thankfully my kids are homebodies and not real interested in running around all the time. We have a few places we like to visit, and we love to go to the beach a couple of days. But we are usually all tuckered out by early afternoon and ready to head back home for some dinner and showers.

Our routine is to sleep until 9 or so in the morning. The kids play while my mom and I take a long walk. If we are going out for the day, we try to get moving around late morning or just after lunch. We head out to our destination for a few hours or to the beach. We try to get home by about 4:30 in the afternoon. We fix an easy dinner, sometimes go for another walk, and the kids take their showers. We are all pj'd and ready for bed by about 6:00 p.m. Then the kids head to their bedroom to play and my mom and I settle into the living room for some t.v. time and reading. We sip hot tea and relax until bedtime, which is usually fairly early. And then the next day we do it again.

Since the house is clean when we arrive, the only cleaning we need to do during the week is as we make messes. We sweep here, vacuum there, or throw in a load of laundry.

While in Florida for a week I typically read about three novels. I try to do that at home but other things always seem to win my attention. If I get through one book in a month at home, I am doing good.

Every time we come back from Florida I swear I am going to keep my Florida State of Mind. I determine to simplify our home and belongings and activities. I try to get us home and settled for the evening by 6:00 p.m. and head to the couch for t.v. and reading time. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's just not possible all the time.

Before long I find myself back into the rush of regular living and longing for another trip to Florida. There is just nothing like it.

Ben and Me

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Late

This post is overdue. It is from last week! We have started back to school, but summer activities are also in full swing. Although we are more relaxed in some ways, we are extra busy in others. Therefore, this post is late.

The Past Week in our Regular Life

It was a rainy and stormy week which gave me a chance to get quite a few things done in the house. We have lived in our house for two years and I finally got around to painting the back entry way to our house leading down to our basement. It was a yucky job and I realized why I had been putting it off for so long. But, it's done. Finally!

The Schooling Basics

Our schooling basics this summer consist of Bible, math and reading. We are using a review product from Veritas Press for Bible (which is fantastic). In math we are finishing up our division concepts with CTC math and then will be going back to do all of the 4th grade materials to get ready for 5th grade math in the fall. And the kids will be reading …. doing lots of reading. They will continue to read from their personal books every day, and ….

The Schooling Fun Stuff

We had a lot of fun with a Moving Beyond the Page literature and science unit study last summer. So we are at it again this summer. We are reading Sarah, Plain and Tall and doing a full literature unit study on it. And in conjunction with that unit study we are doing a science and social studies unit study called The Land, which includes a lot of map study.

Each Wednesday and Thursday we go to the library. On Wednesday the kids are part of a book club reading the book Capture the Flag by Kate Messner. On Thursdays we attend our gardening class where we have planted a community garden in town and are learning all about nutrition. This week we will be making a garden taco.

The Kitchen

Kyndal has been living in her house for a full week now and it didn't take me long to realize that she is the one who likes the evening home-cooked meal. The other kids are pretty laid back when it comes to meals. Honestly, they don't really care what we have as long as they are fed. I think I will be  doing a lot less full-meal evening cooking and more kid-friendly meals.

The Days Ahead

We don't have any softball this week, so it will be a quiet week (until Saturday when we have a double header). But this weekend it will be a busy one with Rick's birthday on Saturday and Father's Day on Sunday. I am working on a plan for Rick's birthday, and I think we are going to take the family to see How to Train a Dragon 2 on Sunday afternoon. Rick and my 13th anniversary is on Monday, so we will be celebrating sometime soon.

The Books We are Reading

Mom: A Woman's Place by Lynn Austin.

Brynne: A Surprise for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher, Frozen: The Junior Novelization

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

Read Aloud:  Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan.

The People and the Places

My mom and I spent all day Friday at an annual subdivision garage sale in Kansas City. As always, we got some great stuff. I got Kyndal several things she needed for her house, a coffee table with baskets that I plan to convert to a bench for our back entry, several pairs of shoes for myself (seriously, about every color of flats you can imagine and two pair of boots … and a brand new pair of Toms for $1.00), and odds and ends for the kids. It was a really fun day and one I thoroughly enjoy spending with my mom.

The Savings Jar(s)

I put $5.14 in the savings jar this week.

You might be wondering what I plan to do with the savings jar money. Well, Rick's birthday, Father's Day, and our anniversary are this month and are always within a few days of each other. I like to be able to celebrate him without having to ask him for money to spend to celebrate him … know what I mean? So, I am using all of the change I have saved the first half of the year for him, and only him. Then I will use the change saved in the last half of the year for his Christmas gift.

The Bible in a Year

I am officially about one week behind on my Bible reading. With all of the rain this past week I have been sick most nights with a terrible sinus headache, almost to the point of a migraine. Then we were crazy busy all weekend. I will get all caught up this week, though. I am just doubling up on my reading. I have read through Jeremiah 22.

The Favorite Things

Kyndal and I went to see Backstreet Boys in concert on Saturday night. It was so awesome! That was the third time we have seen them, the first time being when she was 5 years old. I guess you could say we are officially groupies.

Linking up