Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Waltons Revisited

Remember at the end of the TV show "The Waltons"? They all start saying goodnight to each at a time....and it takes forever. That's what is going on at my house every night. Tucker yells his good-nights to each of us one at a time...then Savannah chimes in and says hers. I think Bruce does it just to make us all laugh....and then of course, I HAVE to do it or I look like the party pooper. Yes, we are The Waltons Revisited. Good night John Boy. Good night Mary Ellen.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekly Wrap - Up

I saw this meme on  Jennifer's site and decided to join in.

1. This week Savannah started piano lessons. She loves music and has been begging to begin lessons of some sort. Since most instruments require a basic knowledge of piano we decided to start there. Because of the beginner piano camp she attended last summer, she was able to play over half the beginner piano book for her teacher on Wednesday. Wow! I guess she retains that sort of thing!

2. We learned about explorers Lewis and Clark this week in social studies. She learned to pronounce Sacagawea's name - which proved difficult...and hilarious!

3. We are almost finished with our Horizon's Math book 1. 2 more lessons and we move to book 2. We worked on telling time, money, measuring by inches and subtraction facts.

4. She completed several chapter books for fun this week. For fun at bedtime, she read through one of her ABeka readers from last year.

5. She worked on her Masterscapes with colored pencils. She's very creative!

We had a good week!

Join in on weekly wrap ups at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Friday, January 29, 2010

Rainy Day Favorites

What do you like to do when it's cold and rainy outside? That's what this weekend is shaping up to be for my part of Texas. Here's my favorites...I'd love to hear yours.

1. Observe a Pajama Day- staying comfy cozy in our pj's with socks or slippers.
2. Make Homemade Chili and Rice- comfort food.
3. Read a good book- I have a few waiting on me
4. Game time with the family- we are on a wii kick right now, but like UNO and checkers too.
5. Catch up on housework/declutter- believe it or now...this is my favorite time to do these chores!
6. Movie time!- rent something off the TV or pop in an oldie but goodie.
7. Sit out on the covered porch and watch the world go round
8. Take a nap
9. Build a tent in the living room for the kids to play in

Hope you enjoy your day...whatever the weather!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Whatcha Reading?

Are you reading anything good these days? I am in the mood for some new books..which means a trip to the library or Half Price Books very soon. I missed my yearly New Years Day trip to Barnes and Noble so, I am itching to get my stash of books for the year!

I'd love to hear what you're reading...what you've liked....what you haven't. Fiction, non-fiction? Historical or Contemporary? Cookbooks and Gardening....I am game for it all. What do you recommend?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Boys and Underwear

When Tucker was potty training we let him run around in his underwear so that he could easily learn to go to the bathroom. That was a year ago. Then why, oh why, does he still insist on stripping his clothes off and running around in his underwear as soon as he enters the house?

Today I have dressed him 3 times in the same set of clothes. He disappears for a few moments and then, he reappears....yep, in his underwear. He tells me " It's more comfy, mom" ....oh boy!

I have been trying to get a cute picture of him playing his drums that he got for Christmas....but I can't...because yep, he's always in just his underwear.

Any tips for getting this 4 year old to keep his clothes on?
Is this normal? Is my boy going to need therapy? Will I?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Where's the Power?

Do you ever wonder where your spiritual power is? Of course it's in Christ...but I you ever feel like you've misplaced it with your keys and then you search and search...til you find it? It's been there all along.

I've been struggling with this very thing some lately, truth be told. In an area in-particular...PRAYER. I have a friend, Donna, who is going through some pretty intense (to say the least) healthy issues. I have a friend in Gunter who entrusts me to pray for her pregnancy, another friend who I assure her I will pray for her kids. But what happens when I feel like my prayers are hitting the wall? When I start wondering, Is God even listening? Why aren't things changing?

I started thinking about this last night as some things that I have been praying for were getting progressively more grim. Disappointment with God, myself and others engulfed me. I looked up my favorite scripture and noticed some unmistakable truths:

I will lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

What's my job? - to look to the hills....then I am reminded that all the help comes from the supreme Creator of heaven and earth....all power is in His hand. I'm powerless when I get my eyes off Him...when I misplace Him.

I've got a bit of renewed focus today. I'll be honest. I'm still concerned for these requests that are etched on my heart....but I'm plugged into the power. I'm looking at the hills (even in Texas) and I am reminded of the greatness of our spectacular God who can and will make all things new.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Living Generously

My spiritual gift is not mercy. Big surprise to those who know me personally, I know.

That's why I sometimes find it amusing that God would have given me the spiritual gift of giving. What was He thinking?

Recently I have been thinking about ways that my family could demonstrate living generously. On our income, with two mortgages (house still hasn't sold in Gunter) and bills just like everyone else, I didn't know how it was going to happen, but asked God to begin opening doors. And he did...I love it when that happens.

I don't want to be generous because it will make me look good. I want to be generous because there is something in me that wants physical needs to be met so that Christ can be shared. Sometimes it's months before you know how someone's generousity has impacted another person, but it's encouraging to hear when you've played a small part in bringing someone to Christ.

On multiple occasions God has used the generousity of someone else to bless me. Just recently I can testify that our church was extremely generous by welcoming us on as staff, with meals, and a pounding and gift cards. This boosts my confidence in a God who will not see His children begging for bread. It endeared my heart to this congregation that was sensitive to the needs of others. And lastly, allowed my children to see the body of Christ working. They were amazed!

As a parent, I desire for my children to know the joys of giving generously. I don't want them to hold so tightly to possessions that they ignore the needs of those around them, or worse yet become hardened to the eternal result that can happen when someone's heart has been softened by the generousity of another.

I'd love to hear how you are teaching your children to be generous....or how you have been impacted by the generousity of another.

"Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:6-7



Friday, January 22, 2010

Tackling the tough stuff

After Christmas, my kids room became tornado alley. Remnants of Christmas boxes and paper where everywhere and although we had straightened several times, things just weren't clean and orderly. So this morning we tackled the tough stuff. Organizing, sorting, designating certain drawers for certain things, cleaning out from underneath the beds. It didn't take all that long...and the rewards, at least for me, are endless...but start with the fact that I would not be mortified if anyone needed to use the kids bathroom and stopped to peak in their rooms.

As we were all working on this chore we talked about the benefits of keeping their rooms tidy. Savannah mentioned a few:

1. I can have friends over more often because my room won't be a mess
2. I can find my things easily
3. I can get ready faster

As she was talking my mind drifted to the benefits of keeping our lives clean...and I discovered much like cleaning there are some immediate benefits to living clean before the Lord....and of course our eternal reward is the greatest of all these.

1. I don't have to worry about being "caught" because of something I said or did
2. I have freedom to be transparent
3. I am a good example to others- my children, friends and family
4. I please the Lord
5. I develop good habits

Living in this world and maintaining cleanliness are difficult things to do. We walk in the muck and mire of a sinful world...including our own and many times at the end of the day need a spiritual bath, complete with the washing from His Word.

Just like organizing the kids rooms and tidying them, a great satisfaction took over when we were finished and saw the completed work. I know we will have to do it again...probably sooner than later but I was pleased with the way the kids worked. I was glad they helped tackle the tough stuff. I was even more glad when Savannah saw the benefits.

I kinda think God sees us the same way...Please with our work....but even more so when we understand the benefits of following His command.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Blog

For those of you absolutely going insane that I am writing so much about what I am eating and the few baby steps being taken towards a more healthy diet, you can relax now. Your ships come in. I've started a separate blog altogether for this pounds down adventure. If you are interested go to Pounds Down here and click follow to keep up to the minute with tips, success stories, food reviews, encouragement and more....and I will even tell you when I am hungry enough to eat a cardboard box. I hope you'll join us!

10 things you can do to help a hurting friend

Lately, I've watched several friends go through some pretty "bad" circumstances. We all have times that we feel like we can't handle one more thing...and the truth is, that's exactly where God wants us all the time. TOTALLY dependent on HIM. I want to help. I want to do something that will ease their pain. I want to help shoulder the burden with them.

Here are a few things that might help a friend going through a rough spot:

1. Listen (no brainer here)
2. Distract them - take them shopping, go for a walk, have a game night
3. Take care of their kids
4. Help clean their house
5. Take a meal to them
6. Buy a gift certificate for a mani-pedi
7. Pray with them and for them
8. Don't forget about them after a few days
9. Offer to run errands for them
10. Provide godly counsel...or find someone who can.

How has someone ministered to you through a rough time? What did they do?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Out with the Old...In with the New...

So, in order to make room for some healthier food choices for myself, I had to do a little cleaning out of the pantry and fridge. Now, I realize if I was completely self-controlled, that there's a good possibility that I could eat regular food, in the right portion sizes and be healthy. But....I am NOT there. So, here are a few recent finds that are yummy to my tummy....and maybe yours too. Let me know if you try them. Tell me what you think.

Today for lunch I tried the Creamy Tomato Basil....and it was better than any tomato soup I have ever had in my life...and I'd like to think I am an expert tomato soup tester...because I do like it...A LOT!

Lipton Tea with a Hint of Peach has been the saving grace to my recent Diet Coke death.
I do not sweeten it.
Yes, it has caffeine, so if that bothers you...don't drink it.
What it doesn't have is whatever was making me retain water and swell.

For those of you who like salty and sweet...this is the answer.....and of course while I would enjoy it more if it was covered in, oh, I don't know...say...chocolate, it certainly satisfies those sweet and salty cravings.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pounds Down Week 2

2 pounds this week
6 pounds last week
8 pounds total weight loss since January 4

That's 8 Boxes of Butter...thank you very much!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Happy Days...

It's been an insane couple of weeks. It seems like every time I turned around we were out the door for something. When I looked at my planner last week I noticed we didn't have anything scheduled for this weekend and I knew I could make it!

The first thing I did was clean my house on Friday morning. There is nothing better than looking at a clean house, freshly vacuumed carpets, empty laundry baskets and a shiny least for me. We already had dinner guests lined up and a great friend who had offered to watch my kids for the evening. Before the night was over she had welcomed my daughter to stay overnight. What a nice treat for Savannah and us!

A relaxed dinner with friends and games to follow encouraged lots of laughter and fun. After the kitchen was tidy and Tucker was tucked away, I vegged in front of my long lost HGTV- dreaming of spring planting, composting and canning.

Saturday morning Tucker and I snuggled on the couch til Bruce and Savannah came home. We ate leftover taco salad for lunch and the kids played wii almost all afternoon while Bruce and I read and looked at magazines. He and the kids did run up to the school to watch a friend play basketball, but I opted for a chick flick on the couch...and I confess...a little snooze!

After a wii tournament and a little Incredibles the kids headed off to bed and Bruce and I watched a movie. It was truly the quietest weekend we've had in months. I don't dislike our busy schedule, but I do enjoy it when, as a family, we can have a quiet day at home, with nothing pressing calling our names. There's no place like home.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Prayer for Haiti

Today I am reminded how important it is, as the body of Christ, to pray. As the news reports look more grim with each hour since the earthquake hit Haiti my prayer is that those Christians who will provide relief effort will share Jesus boldly with love. For those hurting from greater loss than I've ever known, may they receive the hope that comes from knowing Jesus and the peace that passes our earthly understanding.

My heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones, but mostly for those who weren't prepared to meet eternity. What a quick reminder that we are never promised our next breath. It's time to do more to tell others and share Christ at every opportunity.

Bruce summed it up last night at our church discipleship class.
He said, "When that earthquake hit, eternity welcomed 50,000+ people."
For a moment I thought to myself,
"I wonder how many knew Christ"
..and then another thought popped into my head
"I wonder how many didn't".

Sometimes the reality of heaven is so comforting that we neglect to think at all about the reality of hell.

I find myself motivated by remembering both places.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

If Jesus Built a Parking Lot

Check out William Vanderbloemen's Blog today. I'd love to hear your thoughts....what would your sign say?

Today mine would read: RESERVED FOR THE TIRED

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pounds Down

Down 6 pounds after my first week of taking better care of my body.
Yes...that's 6 boxes of butter.
I apologize if this is TMI.

For those who've wondered...AM I DOING THIS RIGHT?

As a mom, as each new year dawns, I have a special talk with goes something like this:

Self: How's it going with the kids? Are they healthy? Growing? Happy? Learning? Exploring?
Where do we need to re-strategize? What changes need to be made? Where do they need to be taught more? Disciplined more? Guided more? Where are they struggling spiritually? What can you do to help?
Have you ever been there? Wondering if you're doing this parenting thing right or not? Well, I will testify that I make my fair share of mistakes, but there have been a few things that I have learned along the way, or that others learned and passed on to me, that have helped me.

Here are just a few:

1. Put my husband first.
2. Hug and Kiss my husband in front of my kids (they laugh and snicker...but it's good and healthy for them to see us affectionate towards each other)
3. Divide and conquer. Thankfully Bruce is an excellent father and is more than willing to help with the kids...this has included our nightly rotation with the kids when they were younger . We alternated nights to care for the babies when they were still waking in the middle of the night. That ensured we each got a good nights sleep at least every other night of the week. And a good nights sleep goes a long way in a marriage...and in parenting.
4. Pray with and for your kids...even when they are babies.
5.Don't over schedule- for yourself or the kids.
6. Make sure that you are excited about the things of the Lord. That will spill out to your kids.
7. Talk about spiritual things with your kids. Let them see you living your faith out every day.
8. There are plenty of ways to correct your children. Spanking is only one of them.
9. Don't start allowing your kids to do, wear or act one way when they are 2 years old and then change the rules when they are 13. You'll save yourself a ton of heartache.
10. Don't let media have a greater influence on your kids than you. Monitor TV, music and literature. Talk with your kids about pop-culture and explain appropriate and inappropriate behavior.

Without exception, my own private prayer life has been strengthened by being a parent. We place expectations on ourselves and our children that are sometimes unreasonable. Seeking God's face  and searching for His plan for our family are key in any parenting plan. Thankfully the Lord gives us plenty of scriptures to dive into regarding his plan for the family.

See Deuteronomy 4:9-10, Deuteronomy 6:6-9, Deuteronomy 11:18-19, Proverbs 13:24, Proverbs 19:18, Proverbs 22:6, Proverbs 22:15, Proverbs 23:13-14 , Proverbs 29:15 , Proverbs 29:17 , Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21.

What are you doing right? Share your thoughts- I'd love to hear about them!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

That's What I Love About Sunday

Sonya over at Truth 4 the Journey posted this video last week on her blog. I can honestly say this video brought back a flood of memories from my childhood. Sundays were sacred at our house. No shopping, no eating out, the house was quiet, we read the paper, books, took a nap and ate a big meal at lunch, and attended church for Sunday School, Worship and Evening Service. I loved Sundays.

I am thankful for this reminder of the good life. I am also thankful for a God that didn't require his children to work 7 days a week, but knew and afforded us the goodness of a day at rest. Shame on us if we don't observe this.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Just Sayin'

Well, I am at the end of the first week of trying to take better care of my body. Here's a few things I learned along the way...

1. 2 packages of oatmeal for breakfast are amazingly satisfying...and can get me to noon before I want anything else. (Yes, I know all the other values to eating oatmeal...but essentially for me, is that I feel "full" and don't want to eat a dozen donuts between 10:30 and 11:00am.) Just sayin.

2. 2 apples a day also help satisfy my hunger issues, plus gives me a little something sweet.

3. Unsweet Tea with a Hint of Peach helped me get through my diet coke withdrawals.

4. I did eat out 2 times, once at Arby's and once at Sonic. At Arby's I got a turkey sandwich and an unsweet tea and at Sonic I got a chicken strip wrap and water. No fries, no onion rings, no tater tots, no curly get the picture.

5. I ate whatever I fixed my family..I just ate a reasonable portion. I didn't eat a second helping except for green beans one night.

My 1 treat to myself this week was 2 pieces of homemade banana bread. Yummy!

I will post my pounds down results on Monday morning.

I'd love to hear what you are doing to stay or get healthy in 2010...leave me a comment!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Easy Topping for French Bread

Tonight with Bruce's birthday dinner of chicken spaghetti and salad, we added a little treat.  Our favorite french bread recipe:

1 Stick Melted Butter (yes, use the real stuff)
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese (shredded in green can/jar at grocery store)
1/2 Cup Mayo (don't waste your low fat stuff on this recipe)
1-2 Tsp Garlic powder (or more depending on your taste)

Mix it up and spread it generously on a loaf of french bread. Broil for less than 5 minutes (be careful, watch it closely because it burns quickly).

You will think you died and went to a heavenly Italian restaurant.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I'm ready....

1. to go to Atlanta to see my new niece.
2. to have a date night with my hubby
3. to give my house a good cleaning
4. to read a good book
5. to spend some time with friends
6. to clean out my van
7. to do some decorating
8. to get my haircut
9. to teach my kids about the art of being thankful
10. drumroll wish the guy in this picture......

You are loved.

Learning our own way

As a homeschool family, learning our own way is something we've been doing for a couple of years now. I don't take any curriculum too seriously, after all, did the curriculum writer have in mind that my 7 year old would rather sing her subtraction facts that recite them from memory. I doubt it.

Today as she was singing "Fourteen minus five equals nine......", I was sitting there thinking how thankful I am that we are able to choose this way for our kids. Believe me, I know it's not for everyone, but for us, seeing Savannah learn in such a way that is the best for her is rewarding, not only because she is "getting" it, but because she is being creative and having fun too.

God must love it when His children "get" it. We all learn differently, some a little quicker than others, some with visual aids or music, others through the written word. But in that moment of learning, when the light pops on and you finally understand what He's been trying to teach you, don't you know He smiles!

How are you learning your own way this new year? A new Bible study, a new worship CD, a familiar book, reading God's Word?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ordered Steps

Psalm 119:133

Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

This year I want a few different things for my family. I've mentioned these in other posts and you are already probably bored out of your mind that I am even mentioning them again, but for me, repetition will be what starts a habit and habits become lifestyles. 

One thing I am hoping to establish is a more orderly house. I used to want an orderly house so that if anyone dropped in during the day, I wouldn't be embarrassed. Then I wanted an orderly house because that's what stay at home moms did...cleaned house. But, really the reason I want an orderly house is because "I" do better when things are picked up. I am less fussy, less irritable, more fun, more creative, happier, less moody. I am a better me. 

I've found the things that distract me from being an orderly housekeeper aren't bad, kids, husband, church, reading, blogging, crafting, me. But if I let these things take the lead then I usually can't give my best to God in other areas He allows me to serve. 

I will never be my mom when it comes to housekeeping. She was wonderful. Towels all faced the same way in the linen closet, baseboards were cleaned regularly, you could open the kitchen drawers and find something with ease, you could eat off the floor. However, I am making some strides. I've enlisted the kids too. We made Family Chore Charts and everyone gets a chart....yes, you can imagine Bruce's delight to find his waiting on him this morning. The kids get a sticker (ok, Bruce gets one too) for every chore completed. At the end of the month they get to go have a blizzard at DQ if they've been diligent. 

I am also organizing some things to make life more manageable. I am keeping a Day Planner for the first time in years. This will help us not get too busy. I'm tracking our bills there and keeping unpaid ones right there so I can see due dates easily. I'm also keeping track of b-days and anniversary dates for our family there.

Anyway, this first Monday of January went pretty well. I'm looking forward to this little headway toward a more disciplined, ordered life...the one I believe God is calling my little nest to follow.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Baby Changes Everything....

Introducing my fresh from heaven niece, Sydney Claire Anderson, born Christmas Day. (Ignore the date on the camera.)

Sunday, January 3, 2010


This is how it went down:

After a long night of Disney's New Year's Eve Showdown, Savannah and I headed to bed (Tuck and Bruce were at Winter Freeze with the youth from church). Savannah was trying to settle down but was grunting, complaining a bit and fidgeting like she couldn't settle down.

I asked, Savannah, do you need some Geritol?
She asked What's that?
I say, It's medicine for old people. You sound like an old person complaining like you are.
She says, Do you take Geritol?


I say, No I am only 37
She says, That IS old

Never mind Savannah.
Happy New Year to me.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sing Off

Did you catch Sing Off on NBC during the month of December? I didn't, but in a stroke of good luck I accidentally hit the ON DEMAND button on our remote control and saw that it was a guess what we've been doing? Yep....I've watched all four episodes.

Here's the premise of the show in case you missed it: Judges searched high and low across the US and Puerto Rico for acapella groups to compete in a vocal only contest. 8 groups began in the competition and over the course of 4 nights groups were eliminated and in the end one group finished as the champions. I was hooked from the first song.

This wasn't your typical church acapella song. The harmonies were so beautifully tangled with the melody. Each group had an obvious strong soloist but they never stole the spotlight. It was a complete team effort. Voices made up each part of the invisible band. Percussion, brass and strings could be heard but not seen. The voices were the instruments.

The amount of talent was unbelievable. Yet...alone, I am not so sure any of these people would be asked or contracted to make their own CD, but together with the other voices, any one of these groups would have been worthy.

Here's a link to The Sing Off where you can watch some of the videos.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Friday, January 1, 2010


I remember Y2K. Do you? I remember because I was sick as a dog...with flu type symptoms and was snugged in bed wishing someone would just put me out of my misery.

Guess what? I have that feeling again....I could make the Nyquil commerical. So today, between sneezes, I've been reading with Savannah, helping her make some new goals for the new year, snacking way to much, watching TV and playing a little wii. I tried to clean out the pantry, but only got 1/2 way through before I was in a sweaty feverish state (TMI?).

For the last few days I have been thinking about what I want to be saying at the end of 2010. I am constantly reminded that my days are in HIS hands and that no matter the goals, resolutions or plans I make...without His guidance, His plan and His power, I am weak and will fail. So, with that in mind I have been praying about the things I've been sensing Him leading to do in my life. Bruce and I have talked about some of our family goals and even today as Savannah and I chatted about things for her to strive for, we prayed that God would help her achieve her own milestones.

Here mine are:

  1. Love Jesus More = Love Others More
  2. Read more of God's Word
  3. Be more consistant in our parenting.
  4. Take better care of these bodies God gave us.
  5. De-clutter (does this sound familiar? it's on my list every year!...I made lots of progress last year..more to come in '10.)
  6. Eat more meals together as a family
  7. Plant garden in spring
  8. Re-establish date night with spouse
  9. Write more
Praying you achieve all that God has for you in 2010!