Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday Coffee Chat

What's on your Summer Fun List?

Our summers don't get too wild and crazy. We spend the first part of it consumed with Brynne's softball games and the last half of it soaking in doing as much of nothing as possible because school is on the horizon.

Thankfully God saw fit to give me two little kiddos who like to stay home. They don't really care if we do much of anything except hit the pool once or twice a week. They like to sleep in, lounge around in their pjs, play with their electronics, and venture off to their rooms to play with their toys. Every once in a blue moon they ask to have a friend over, but not very often. So during the week we don't do a whole lot.

We usually go on some sort of family vacation around the summer months. Last year we went to California for 10 days at the end of the summer. This summer's vacation took us on a cruise at the end of May because Kyndal and Collin were getting married on the beach in Cozumel. We had a great time, but the kids say that they are glad to just be home.

We have no big plans the rest of the summer except to go spend four days at my parents' lake house with our best friends from Oklahoma. We will also likely go to the lake a couple of other Saturdays.

My brother, sister-in-law and niece are coming in from Portland, Oregon, next week for about a week. Collin's 21st birthday is on July 4th, and we always spend that morning at our historic park playing fun old-fashioned games and then going to the lake. We are having Kyndal and Collin's wedding reception on July 11th. I am running a 5K with a friend on July 18th, and Collin and I are running the Wipeout 5K at the end of August. Brynne and I will have birthdays in August, and we always try to do something fun as a family around each kids' birthday. This year Brynne wants to go to Schlitterbahn water park so we will probably do that.

And that's our summer.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Granite Countertops on the Cheap

Last week I posted about the cosmetic renovations we had to make to our house when we purchased it three years ago. We had very limited funds and lots of things that needed to be updated to just make the house livable. We had a faux light wood laminate countertop in the kitchen that was in pretty good condition, but it was ugly. We had put a fresh coat of paint on our cabinets, spruced up the hardware, and put in nice laminate tile flooring. Those things just made the countertops look dingy and dated. But we did not have it in our budget to replace the counters.

My mom found a Giani Granite Countertop Paint kit in Bombay Black on clearance and thought we could give it a shot. It was extremely easy to apply, only took an evening and an overnight drying of the top coat.

For the most part the countertops have held up very well over the past three years, with some scratches in the high-use areas. Then along the front of the countertops it started to really rub off. It has been that way for about 6 months.

See the worn places on the right hand counter toward the front?

Well, getting our new stove made me want to spruce up the countertops. I had kept the kit so just reapplied the base coat and granite paint in the areas where it was needed. Instead of using the provided top coat, I bought a Minwax brand of high gloss polyurethane. I wanted it to have the high gloss look of granite this time. And, I hoped the good polyurethane would hold better. I applied three coats.

It's so shiny you can see the reflection of my coffee cup!

And it looks amazing!! It is so shiny and you can't tell where I patched it up. It looks even better this time around.

If you are in a position where you would like to spruce up your countertops, but don't have a budget for it, I recommend the Giani Granite Countertop Paint sets. There are two other colored kits. If I would have been purchasing it I would have probably purchased the lighter brown, but the black and copper color really looks great in our kitchen. And it was only $50. Plus you can play around with the colors to get your desired shades. I used a little more copper to keep it from being too dark.

I am considering purchasing a kit for our bathroom countertops, too.

** I was not contacted by Giani to write this review nor did I receive anything in return for it. I just simply liked the product and wanted to pass along my thoughts about it.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Journey Journal ~ 5 Random Activities for Summer School Week 3

This was a regularly scheduled non-school school week because of all of the activity we had planned outside of the home. We were all. over. the. place. this week! Seriously, I have not been behind the wheel of my car this much in a week since we moved from Oklahoma three years ago. And most days we drove to two different towns. Talk about a random week of schooling! But we definitely counted these activities as schooling. Lots and lots of learning!

Basketball Camp

Brynne and I travelled 30 minutes to the University of Central Missouri Monday through Wednesday. She attended the Jennies girls basketball camp each morning for 3 1/2 hours. She learned skills and drills and experienced some thrills. It was a great camp and she thoroughly enjoyed herself!

Book Club

On Monday afternoon Eli attended the kids' Book Club for Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library. (Brynne was at camp.) They had to each invent a unique game to present to the class. Brynne made a board game, with the help of Dawson, called "Sibling Wars" and Eli made an interactive game called "Walkie Talkie Book Rush". All of the kids in the club voted on the games. Brynne won first place and Eli won third place. They worked so hard on their games, with Brynne spending literally hours on hers. It was a very deserved win.

Swimming Lessons

While Brynne was at basketball camp, Eli was attending swimming lessons back here in our hometown. Kyndal took care of getting him to and from lessons as I couldn't be in two places at once. I was finally able to attend his lessons with him yesterday (today is cancelled because of rain). He took on Level 3 and conquered it without any problems.

Softball Games

On both Monday and Tuesday evening, Brynne had softball games. One of her games was out of town. They lost one very hot game and won their second game. Their team is having an excellent season! They have improved so much as a team!

Dentist and Speech Therapy Appointments

On both Tuesday and Thursday afternoons we had to drive to a nearby town so that Brynne could get two cavities filled. And on Wednesday afternoon we drove to that same town for Eli's weekly speech therapy. Eli is actually learning so much at his speech therapy appointments about his speech anatomy. He even has homework this week to research a famous person who stutters.

Is it just me or is this a conspiracy? Get cavities filled
and receive a coupon for sugar in a cone? Hmmmm ...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Stove ~ Blogging Through the Bible - Women Living Well (Good Morning Girls)

When we moved into our house three years ago, it was completely unlivable. We had one week and a certain amount of dollars available to get it to a place where we could move in. We painted everything, sanded and stained hardwood floors, made repairs, etc. The bones of the house where here, most were just old bones. One of those old bones was our stove.

It was an OLD stove, with only three operational burners. But the house needed other things more, like a floor in the kitchen, so a stove was put on the back burner (ha, ha!!). It was a really ugly and disgusting appliance, but it worked. I realized I didn't even have a picture of it because I have made sure to keep the stove out of any pictures. But then I came across this one with the stove in the background. I cropped it and it's blurry, but you get the picture (ha, ha again!! I am so punny today!)

Strangely for the past three years I have been completely content with this stove, other than the fact that it has been an eyesore. In fact, the stove had kind of become my symbol for contentment, something I clung to.

I have had the opportunity to learn about contentment the hard way. I don't recommend that method. The consequences are lingering today and will continue to linger for many more years to come, I am afraid. But I was able to look at this old stove and creatively try to determine how to cook a full meal on it and be reminded of how important contentment really is and how far I had come.

This week's Women Living Well Proverbs study has had us parked on Chapters 6-10 which are all about wisdom. There have been many lessons on being aware of the adulteress. I have looked at the adulteress with a wide lens in this study as being anyone or thing that entices another away from that which is good. Yes the verses are literally intended to warn a man against the wiles of an adulteress, and to instruct a woman so that she knows what to look for in one who is after her man. But the principles can be applied to so much more!

The biggest problem of the adulteress is that she is idle at home and has a lack of contentment. She wants what she should not have. She is not keeping herself busy at home so has time to wish for other things and to dwell on things outside her home.

Do you find that when you are idle or bored that you dwell more heavily on things, that you worry about things more, that you start to find that you are just not content with what you have?

It happens.

Do you realize that when you are not at your own home, but are always out and about at someone else's, that you start to wish you had some of what others have? Do you start to believe that their house is better, their husband is better, their kids are better, etc.?

It happens.

When we lose our contentment we start to wonder what it might be like to have something or someone else. Right?

When we lived in Oklahoma this was a real problem for me. It was a constant race of keeping up with the Joneses (and we really didn't like the Joneses, you know what I mean?). The emphasis there was to go, go, go and do, do, do. We were rarely at home, trying to keep up. Contentment was an almost impossible thing to attain! We had a super nice, large house with really nice things. But our neighbors always had more, our friends always did more, etc. I would stress about what the kids were going to wear to church or a friend's house or a field trip or a holiday party. It was exhausting and ridiculous!

Probably the biggest change for me in moving back to my small hometown in Missouri is that I no longer participate in this type of rat race. I am completely content with my small, imperfect home. I let my kids be who they really are instead of trying to dress them up like a friend's kids. I don't think about the next thing I would like to buy or the next change I would like to make to my house or the next outfit I need to get for the kids. I have embraced being the Keeper of my Home and rarely leave it unless it is for a direct purpose.

I can honestly say that I do not even know what the majority of the inside of my friends' houses look like. When we get together it is at an event, usually with our kids, usually sports or swimming at the city pool or going to the park, etc. I don't think about what they are wearing, what they are driving, where they are going next.

It is so freeing!

I don't know what I am missing because I am not out seeing everything I don't have. I have worked hard to make my home a place of respite and functionality. I love it here. I don't want to see what I am missing because I feel like I am not missing out on anything I truly love.

Those women out there who are stirring up trouble in others' homes are women who are bored and lack contentment. If they would embrace their own homes and their own families and get busy at it then they wouldn't be seeking what others have.

Now, back to the stove. A couple of months ago a second burner went out and left me with only the two small burners. It has been inconvenient but I have made it work. I finally gave in and allowed Rick to purchase me a new stove this week. We didn't shop around for the newest brand, style, etc. I knew that I wanted a smooth top electric range to match my other white appliances. To be honest, I don't even know what is "in" in the world of stove top ranges, and I don't care. I have no idea what kind of stove any of my friends have. I wanted one that worked, and had all four burners, and was one that was easy to clean. We went up to our local furniture store, paid a tad bit more for it than if we had gone to a large box store, but supported locally instead and allowed them to do the work of installing it and removing my old one. It was a win-win for everyone. And I have a new stove.

There was nothing wrong with purchasing a new stove when it was needed. Sometimes we need new things. The problem lies in having something perfectly good, although not perfect, and desiring for something perfectly better when we don't need it.

The key for so much of me was in contentment. Contentment can be obtained. I believe the key to others' contentment is being busy at home, creating a home that makes you happy, and protecting it and doing your best to protect those within its walls.

Wise women will find contentment.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

June 23rd is National Pink Day. What's your favorite something pink?

Honestly, not a fan of pink. So I guess I would say the pink shade of the sky at sunset. Or the pink in this wedding bouquet at Kyndal's wedding in Cozumel last month. It sure was pretty!

What did you enjoy most about gym class when you were in school? How about the least?

In high school girls only took gym class one year, and usually freshman year to get it done. We had a very strange high school gym teacher. She always took our jewelry from us to keep locked in her office during class, then she would come out with it all hanging from her fingers and say, "Jewelry, ladies???" She looked at us all creepy like. We swore she took our jewelry just so she could look at us changing clothes when she brought it back out to us after class. But in elementary school, gym class was fun! I loved when we played line tag and dodge ball.

What memory is brought to mind by the smell of roses?

Unfortunately, not a good one. My first marriage ruined my extreme love of yellow roses.

Do you prefer to read or write?

I love doing a little of both.

Sam Keen is quoted as saying, "Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability." Would you agree? Is laziness ever respectable? How will you be lazy this summer?

The definition of respectable is "proper, correct, socially acceptable". The lazy days of summer. They are so important. These are days when it is important for us to recharge and rejuvenate for the busy days that begin in August and continue through the months of spring. Laziness for us really comes in the form of sleeping in more often, watching more t.v., taking more naps, and reading more.

The Florida Keys, Disney World, or a resort somewhere on the Gulf Coast ... which Florida destination would you choose (and why) if the trip were today?

If I could leave today I would pack up the kids and head to my parents' house in Pensacola, Florida. That is all the resort I need or desire. It's pure relaxing heaven.

What question do you hate to answer?

When are you going to do some laundry? Ha! I do keep it caught up for the most part, but occasionally I am asked this question.

Insert your own random thought here.

For those of you who have followed the child support saga for the past couple of years, I can now say that it is finally over! All arrearages and judgments have been paid and now it is just a matter of receiving the regular monthly amount for Dawson until he gets out of college. Free at last!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday Coffee Chat

Only two more Tuesday Coffee Chats until the host Leslie takes her summer break (sniff, sniff). Here's this week's prompt ...

Be inspired! Share something that inspired you this week: a quote, a photo, a story in the news. Let's spread some positivity!

I ordered this coffee mug from Cross Training Couture this week. (If you would like some inspiring workout wear, they have some really great stuff!)

I think this mug says it all. I can't wait until it gets here!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Father's Day Weekend

With finances and schedules we had not seen Rick since our cruise!

He stayed in Oklahoma a couple of weekends in a row to recoup and to save us a little money in the back-and-forth gas expenses of coming home every weekend. We weren't able to spend his birthday with him (although his mom and sister's family took good care of him) ...

And he and I were not together on our 14 year anniversary, so I toasted him in a text ...

So this weekend we wanted to be sure and celebrate him for his birthday and Father's Day. We had lots of projects to do around the house .... install window air conditioning units in the bedrooms (in the nick of time as the temps jumped way up on Friday), order a new stove, do some yard work, continue with painting the trim on our house, etc. It's always loads of fun around here, even on holiday weekends. I did put together a little survival kit for Rick while he watched the U.S. Open.

Our way of celebrating usually involves meals, so on Friday night we had some brats during air conditioner installation. On Saturday night we enjoyed some goulash while watching the U.S. Open. And on Sunday I made Rick's favorite meal of jalapeƱo chicken enchiladas for dinner that he got to enjoy right after painting trim and helping me with mulch and just before driving the four hours back to Oklahoma.

I can't say we did anything too big to celebrate, but we did spend the entire weekend together which was very nice! We even had the grand dogs! Yadi helped Papa drive.

Brynne did ditch us on Saturday afternoon ... She attended her very first sleepover! She had a great time playing Beanie Boos with her two best friends, Jenna and Marabella. I am so happy that she has found these two sweet girls. Good friends are hard to find, and parents I trust with my children is even harder!

All-in-all it was a nice weekend. Most of all it was just nice having Rick back home.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Journey Journal ~ Summer School Week 2

We had a pretty quiet week this past week which totally makes me happy, especially with the busy week we have coming up!

On my way to get groceries ... alone .. in the quiet.

Wow. How I love summer school. I am sure that after a long while of it I would finally get bored and be ready for more substance in the way of a deep literature study or science unit study. But for now there is something so glorious about spending mornings on the couch reading great books to the kids, honing up on some math and grammar skills, and then finding learning in the everydayness of summer.

This week we continued to read Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein. We completed another set of lessons in math (adding fractions with same denominators and then simplifying) and grammar (more of the same diagramming).

Jason from ScienceandMath.com's Mastering 5th Grade
Math Volume 2 (the kids love his boring presentation?).

The kids were assigned a project at Book Club last week to create a unique game. Dawson helped the kids and they came up with some great ideas. Brynne literally worked hours on her board game. Eli's game is more of an interactive library game with walkie talkies.

Additional learning this week came in the form of Wii Fit (emphasis on yoga) for Brynne and speech therapy for Eli (more speech machine learning, aka anatomy).

I received some of our curriculum for next year. The next level of Fix-it Grammar looks challenging, so we better really pay attention when finishing this current level.

I have started planning a bit for science and for our WWII studies. I am also toying with the idea of leading a literature enrichment class at our library one afternoon a week for 4th-6th graders, much like the Book Club that the kids are currently attending. I'd like to keep it in the WWII area so am looking at The Victory Garden by Lee Kochenderfer. We would likely have the small community garden available to us to do some fall planting so it would be a neat class, I think. Even if we don't do the class at the library, I am thinking of at least inviting a few of the kids' friends to do it here at our house and use our garden.

We will not have regular school this next week because Brynne has basketball camp every morning and Eli has swimming lessons. Add in some evening softball games, a doctor appointment, and two separate dentist appointments and we are going to be quite busy.

Taking the week off from book studies so we can avoid
doing this at every appointment. Schoolwork on the go
is a perk of homeschooling, but I think this week we need
a break from it.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Random 5

1. I had my first hummingbird at my feeder last night! I have had the hardest time attracting hummingbirds at our house here in Missouri. I didn't get a photo because I was just stunned when I saw it and just sat and stared (and squealed!).

2. This week I got back into my regular exercise routine. Three mornings I did a 21 Day Fix workout, and two mornings I ran. I hadn't run in about a month so I was a little nervous to get back out there. I put in two miles on Tuesday and a little over three miles on Thursday. And I didn't feel like I was going to die. I have to keep at it because I am running the Wipeout Run in August and a 4-mile run in September.

3. It has been so rainy here for so long. Although I love a good rainy day, and I really do love a good rainy day (even several in a row), I am hoping that we get some sunshine and warmth soon. We haven't been able to get to the pool, have no desire to go to the lakehouse, and my garden is never going to produce any yummies!

4. Kyndal and Collin's wedding reception is in a couple of weeks. I've been coming up with some fun food ideas for their rustic lace theme. Gonna be a fun night!

5. This next week is going to be nutty: Brynne has basketball camp in the mornings at a nearby university; Eli has swimming lessons in the mornings on those same days here in town; Brynne has a softball game one evening; Brynne has dentist appointments on two separate afternoons; I have a follow-up medical exam one morning while she is at basketball camp; the kids have Book Club on Monday afternoon and gardening class on Thursday afternoon. Next week is one of our scheduled no schoolwork weeks because of all of this craziness. Hello summer!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Blogging Through the Bible ~ Women Living Well (Good Morning Girls)

When Rick and I got married he wrote this beautiful little passage that we put on our wedding programs called "The Story of Us". It described our meeting each other on a path. We were both walking on it, separately and in the same direction, looked over and saw each other. We decided that the path would be easier to walk together. (First of all, where has that poetic couple gone? It's easy to get caught up in the everydayness of life, huh?)

This week I started a Bible study with Women Living Well whereby we read one chapter of the book of Proverbs each morning (thus a Good Morning Girls study). Then we SOAK it. This is a simple process where you read the entire chapter, chose one or more scriptures that stand out to you (the S), write it down with any observations you have about it (the O), apply it to your life and particular circumstances (the A), and then get on your knees in prayer (the K). It is such a simple but powerful way to study the Bible. 

I am doing this study with my friend Cheryl at Say What? She is a Navy wife, homeschooling mom of two teenaged sons, stationed in HAWAII! (Yeah, I know ... lucky!) She and I do our study each morning and then e-mail each other about what we have read and answer the discussion questions provided by Women Living Well. It's a pretty cool deal.

This week we have been reading the first five verses of Proverbs, learning about the importance of seeking and obtaining Wisdom.

On morning I asked God to speak specifically to me, to give me something practical to take with me. And boy did He!

He led me to Proverbs 4 versus 25 through 27: "Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil."

Photo Credit

A path.

Evil is the snake on the path. 

Are you afraid of snakes? I am DEATHLY afraid of snakes! We had lots of them when we lived in Oklahoma because we lived right off a bluff. I often told my neighbors that if they ever drove by and saw me laying in the driveway, it was because I had seen a snake and dropped dead. Terrified, I tell you!

What would I do if I was walking on a path and saw a snake? I would scream in terror, turn and RUN! I wouldn't sit and toy with it for a while. I wouldn't start to look at its positive attributes and make a pros list of why it might make a good pet. NO! I turn and run!

Proverbs 4 verse 15 says "turn from it and go on your way."

That's what I would do with a snake on my path. I would immediately stop, turn from it, and go on my way (quickly!)

Why do we toy with evil thoughts when they enter our mind and heart? Why do we start to make a pros list of why it might be something good for us? "Guard your heart because it is the well-spring of life." ~ Proverbs 4:23.

God says to "let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you." If you are looking around, taking in the sights, not really paying attention, you will step directly on that snake and it will bite you. In life, if I am not paying attention on my path, I will step right on that evil thought or attitude and it will bite me before I have even noticed it. Then the venom is in me, goes straight to my heart, and it's hard to get out.

"Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm." MAKE level paths. They don't make themselves. I take that to mean stay in the Word. Firm up your path. It is easy to recognize an evil if you first know about it and are prepared for it.

In each of our lives we have those "things" that trip us up, time and again and again and again. Satan isn't that creative. He has to use the same tactics on us over and over. You know it to be true. Think about that "thing" that just keeps coming up in your life, marriage, friendships, parenting, etc. Yeah, I know mine. 

I need to be keeping my path level for my tripping feet. I need to be reading the Word and doing the Word.

Lastly, "do not swerve to the right or the left." If you are on a path and you swerve to the right or the left, you are going to go OFF the path God has laid out for you. That doesn't mean you can't get back on the path. But the way back onto the path is rocky, thorny, and usually uphill. Oh and there are lots of snakes to deal with! It is not fun to dig and climb your way back onto the path. So stay on it.

But when you come to that snake, immediately turn and go back the other way. Allow that snake to get bored and frustrated and go on its way, then you can continue onto the place where God is leading you.

Good stuff this week. The Word is such a cool thing. 

I'll be linking up this article at the Women Living Well/Good Morning Girls Friday link-up.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

June is National Great Outdoors Month. Have you spent any time appreciating the great outdoors this month? If so where, and if not do you have any plans to enjoy the great outdoors before the calendar turns?

I've spent a good amount of time outside working in my yard, pulling weeds, putting down mulch, planting flowers, cleaning out my raised beds, and planting vegetables. As much as I enjoy doing that, I really enjoy experiencing the outdoors on a rainy day. We have had a lot of those lately, and I grab a cup of coffee or tea and head to my front porch to soak it all in (no pun intended). I love the watch the birds and squirrels when it is raining. It quiets my soul.

What's a current hot button issue for you?

Parenting styles, most of which involve the parents sitting on their butts and yelling at their kids/grandkids. I realize I live in a neighborhood with some colorful folks. But I have started to see a trend! Nobody talks to their children, discusses things with them, teaches them. Instead, they sit in one spot in their front yard, never getting off their butts, absorbed in their phones and/or cigarettes, and then scream at their kids to do or not do certain things. It makes me want to scream! I can't imagine sitting somewhere and screaming at my kids, especially outside for the whole neighborhood to hear.

What's a food or treat that 'disappears like hotcakes' in your house?

Frozen waffles. We go through boxes and boxes of frozen waffles, and have for years. It seems to be that one thing that everybody likes to eat.

How hot is too hot?

I would prefer for temps to not get over 80 degrees. I would rather a freezing cold day than a hot day. I don't do hot.

Do you have an artistic outlook on life? What does that mean to you?

In some ways I would say yes, in others no. I do find joy in the things and experiences around me. I really enjoy things deeply and internally, taking things in and holding them close. But there is also a rigidity to my days, a certain order that I require for peace.

What's one question you'd like to ask your father, or one you wish you could ask your father?

I'd like to know what my dad wanted to be "when he grew up". He went into the Navy right out of high school and after his enlistment period came home to work in plumbing construction with my grandpa. That is what he has done his whole life. But I wonder what he really wanted to do with his life. I've never asked him. Perhaps I should.

Something you learned from your father?

How to make gravy. It's an art, and he taught me well.

Insert your own random thought here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tuesday Coffee Chat

Your nickname ... Growing up it was Nikki. When I went to college I ditched it to be more sophisticated with my given name, Nicole. That worked well until we moved back to my childhood hometown three years ago. Guess who I am again? Yep ... Nikki. And there is no fighting it.

Your eye color ... Blue.

Your hair color ... Well, that one's a little tougher. I am a natural dishwater blonde. With a little help, I am a highlighted, sun-kissed blonde.

One fact about you ... Today is my anniversary! Rick and I have been married for 14 years. It's been a great ride and I am excited to see where our journey takes us next.

Favorite color ... Green, mostly lime green. It's my "signature color". Anytime I can buy something in a particular color, I go for lime green. Look ... Rick was even wearing my favorite color in the above photo.

Favorite place ... My house. I could stay here and not leave it ever.

Favorite celebrity ... I have a Top 5: Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Shemar Moore, Mark Wahlberg, any bald guy. I always tell people that if they wanted to spend a ridiculous amount of money on me that I would like to spend an entire day with Tim Gunn. In the movie about my life I want Diane Lane to play me and Vin Diesel to play Rick.

Favorite animal ... I love birds. I just want to sit and watch them all day.

Favorite song ... Favorite songs change constantly, don't they? I have favorite 80's hair band songs, favorite disco-vibe songs (Abba), favorite mushy love songs, favorite contemporary Christian songs, favorite country songs, etc. Right now I am loving the song Take Your Time by Sam Hunt. I am constantly singing it.

Favorite book ... It's hard to pick a favorite, but how about Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. In the past few years I have really loved The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom and The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin. My favorite author is Kristin Hannah. My childhood favorite book was A Room for Cathy by Catherine Woolley. It was my favorite because I always wanted my own bedroom (I shared with my sister) and Cathy finally got hers. I have an old paperback of it on my bookshelf.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Happy birthday to this great man! We love you, babe!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Journey Journal ~ Summer School Week 1

I've decided to change my Weekly Wrap-up title to Journey Journal. Kinda catchy, don't you think?!

It felt pretty good to get back to a school routine this week. Even the kids said that two and a half hours of school each day wasn't too bad. Truth be known, I think they enjoyed getting back to it, too.

We leisurely get into our school day at 10:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday. We are wanting to finish the books in the Little House series so have been starting our day each morning with about 45 minutes of Farmer Boy.

Next, the kids do a math assignment from Mastering 5th Grade Math, Volume 2 (this week they were doing introductory addition of fractions) and a grammar assignment from Fix-It Grammar, The Nose Tree. That takes about 30 minutes. We also did a fun fractions addition game from Sheppard Software. Do you ever use any of those online educational games? They are really quite good!

Then we go back to reading aloud as we read about 45 minutes out of our library summer youth Book Club selection, which is currently Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein . This is a fabulous book that we are absolutely loving! So perfect for summer reading for a 9 and 11 year old! On Monday afternoons they attend their Book Club at the library where their leader has them do fun projects. This week she wanted them to draw and design their own libraries. Brynne got right to work on hers. Ummm .... Eli probably needs to start working on his.

The kids then end the day reading out of their personal books for anywhere from 15-30 minutes each day. Eli is reading the first book in the How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell. So far he is loving it! Brynne is on the third book in the Warriors series by Erin Hunter, Forest of Secrets.

Additional schooling comes in the form of swimming, softball, and speech therapy (this week Eli was learning all about his "speaking machine", which included anatomy).

Mom gets in some good reading time at the pool!
A sweet treat on the way to therapy.

Wait, that's me. The parents scrimmaged the girls one night when the other
team didn't show up for the game. We killed 'em!

And then it's play, play, play ... just like summer should be.

I have finally had the time and cooperative weather to get some gardening done and to spruce up my flower pots.

Then there's reading, hanging out with my 2 year old niece, working out, and binge watching Gilmore Girls.

She likes to be gated into the kitchen so the dogs can't
bother her while she's playing with her magnetic letters
on the fridge. Really, I don't cage her in.

Today is Friday and we take the day off. I let Eli and Brynne do something last night I have never let them do ... stay up ALL NIGHT with Dawson and his visiting best friend, Antonio, playing video games in Dawson's room. Eli made it until about 1:30 a.m. and Brynne finally gave up at 4:00 a.m. It is now 2:00 p.m. and they are still asleep!!! Two teenagers in the making, right there.

Summer rocks!