Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Our Summer Vacation

Yes, I know...I have again fallen off of the blog wagon, and have lots of catching up to do...hopefully soon.


We just returned from a fun summer vacation to California last week, and I am proud to say that I have already ordered a photo book with our pictures from Snapfish!

Yea for me...that NEVER happens!

Here is the link if you would like to check it out.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

It is well with my soul

Today, as I think about Easter, I am just so thankful for the hope that Christ has given us through his death and resurrection.

This is one of my favorite songs, and I love the story behind it.

So powerful.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Make A Difference!

I know that I have been missing in action for a while, but I have just been distracted by other things.  I hate that it happens, but it does.  Life just offers so many distractions from blogging!  :)

I will get back on board soon though.

I did want to write a quick post today linking to something that I read on Kelly's Korner this morning.

I'm sure that many of you have already read her post because it seems that most everyone reads Kelly's Korner, but if you have not, this post is worth reading...and worth acting on.

Friday, March 18, 2011

DIY Decor Links

Not too long ago, I learned how to bookmark blog posts that I loved, so that I could go back and access them at a later time.
I can't believe that it took me so long to discover this, and there is no telling how many wonderful posts I have read and forgotten about over the years, but no more! is my sweet friend now, and because of my new friend, I was able to quickly and easily find these great links to share with you today!  

I'm actually not a big DIY kind of girl, BUT, I love to save money, and these are some ideas that 

I am seriously wanting to make a drum shade like this one that Thrifty Decor Chick did!
It is exactly what we need to hang over our school table.  
She gives step by step instructions, and I think I just might be able to pull it off...for CHEAP!

That's in my budget!

And how about these pretty curtains that Kimba @ A Soft Place to Land pulled together?

You won't believe the bargain that you (or I!) will be able to get on these!
Looks like hanging the rods would be the hardest part!


And just for a little inspiration, take a look at this pretty space...

Check out Carrie at Buzzings of a Queen Bee, and see what this space looked like "before".
It is a rental home, so no major fix ups were involved.

She and her "distraction decorating" philosophy, show us how to get busy using what we have!

Take a look around her site...she transforms space after space!


And last, but not cute is this???

Jessica at Chapman Place has a tutorial on how to make one of these for your front door.
She has also done a heart for Valentines day.

I'm thinking that a big flower for spring would be fun!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken Lasagna

I love crock pot recipes, and this one really is delicious!
My whole family loves it!

It is one of the more complicated crock pot recipes that I have tried, but very worth the effort
Even though it has spinach in it, my 4 year old loves it...
that's gotta tell you something! :)

I began making this last year, before we realized that Caylie can't have gluten.  
As with many recipes, this one could be modified to be gluten-free by substituting the pasta and the cream of chicken soup with gf versions.

2 cans Cream of Chicken
1/2 package of frozen chopped spinach...thawed, drained and squeezed
1 (9 oz.) pkg. of frozen, diced, cooked chicken
1 (8 oz.) sour cream
1C milk
1/2 C Parmesan cheese
1/3 C finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
9 uncooked lasagna noodles
1C shredded mozzarella cheese

Stir together first 10 ingredients in a large bowl. Spray crock pot with Pam and place 3 lasagna pieces in bottom. Break pieces as necessary to cover the bottom. Spread 1/3 of the spinach mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat these 3 layers 2 more times. Cook on High for 1 hour and Low for about 5 hours.

* I was kind of generous on my cheese measurements. :)
* My lasagna started getting pretty crispy around the edges after about the 4th hour (which actually ended up adding to the flavor!), but keep an eye on it toward the end if it is your first time to make it

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yahoo Groups and Homeschooling

When I began homeschooling, I discovered Yahoo Groups, and these groups have been a
very helpful resource for me as a homeschooling mom.

Some of the Yahoo Groups that I am in, or have at one time been in, are...

*Apologia Science

*Apologia Biology

*Apologia Physical Science

*Elementary Apologia Science

*Homeschool Links (one of my favorites!)

* IEW Families

*Sonlight (there are also many subgroups within with Apologia mentioned above)

*Used Curriculum (general used curriculum, and specific used curriculum...Sonlight, etc.)

There is a Yahoo Group for just about anything that you can imagine,
and if you don't see exactly what you are looking for,
you can start a group of your own.

To join a group, you usually need to send the moderator some basic information about yourself.
After you are approved (which may take a day or two),
you will then have access to discussion forums, helpful files containing worksheets, study guides, quizzes, tests...whatever other members of the group may have created or found to help their children,
and then choose to share with the rest of us!

The "Homeschool Links" group that I mentioned above can connect you to helpful online resources.
This is how I found about, the free geography site that Christian now uses on a daily basis
It is also how I came across a very helpful Etymology resource that I added to Caylie's Apologia Biology last year.

You can customize how you would like to get updates within each group.
Some members choose to receive e-mails whenever there is an update within the group,
while others just check the site occasionally to see what is new

I started out receiving e-mail updates,
and for some groups, that brought too much into my mailbox,
and so I would then go in and change my options for that group.
You can choose exactly how you want to use each group that you join.

If you are beginning a new curriculum, or just want to have additional resources and support for the curriculum that you are already using, this is a
great, free source of learning and connecting.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review the Revue

Caylie has spent a good part of the last 2 weeks performing at The Rep in 
"Review the Revue".

She loves doing the show, and even though she stays so busy during these times, she doesn't mind juggling her time around to squeeze it all in.

Corey and I took the boys to see one of the performances a couple of weeks ago, and then this past Saturday night,
mom and I attended the closing night performance.  

Caylie did an awesome job, and it was an exciting show!

Tim also came for his 2nd time, and brought her some beautiful red roses!
She loved that!

Several of her friends from her old school were also there for the show.
(Including Elizabeth, who is like a sister to her!)
They are a great group of girls!
They all went out for coffee after the show, and Caylie said that it felt like family.
She has known them all for so many years,
that she said that it just felt completely natural being together again.

Here Caylie is with her sweet director, Nicole.  

This will be the first summer in 3 years for her not to do the summer show at The Rep
It is going to overlap with her mission trip to Jamaica,
and she has decided that Jamaica is a priority.
Her mission trip last year had such an impact on her,
that she can't wait to return!  
She hopes to perform at the The Rep next fall for her last high school show.

Here is a bonus link to a news segment where
 one of the fabulous acts from "Review the Revue",
The Four Reps,
is featured...check it out!
It will put a smile on your face...I promise!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Good Reads For Tween/Teen Boys

This post was inspired by a comment that I received about the above picture,
which appeared in this post last week.

The reader wondered why my child was reading a book entitled, "Monk".

Rest assured, I am not encouraging my son to head off to a monastery!
That would be really weird...especially since we are Protestant!  :)

The "Monk" series, by Lee Goldberg
is based on a television show about a quirky, OCD detective,
named Mr. Monk.
Christian has enjoyed watching the show, as well as reading the book series.
The reason that he has the book on his school shelf, is because he chose to use it for a book report that he is doing right now.  Christian has checked the books out from our library.

Another book series that Christian has enjoyed reading is the
Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz.
The Alex Rider books are about a boy who is a spy...
kind of like a young James Bond.
Christian has read all of the books in this series...
also found at our library.

I am always excited to learn about books that are good for young teen boys.

I would love to hear from some of you who may have middle/ junior high aged boys.

What books have your boys enjoyed reading
just for fun?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Five Question Friday

This is my first time to participate in
Five Question Friday.
It is a weekly meme, with different questions each week!

1. Do you know what your REAL hair color is?

Yes, and unfortunately, since it has been way too long since I have had my highlights, everyone that sees me knows what my real hair color is too!  :)

2. Do you plan ahead for summer, or fly by the seat of your pants?

We usually plan some sort of family vacation,
and the older kids spend a week at a
Christian summer camp,
but other than that, we just kind of let things happen.

3. What is your favorite meal to cook?

I don't know that I have a specific single favorite meal,
but this potato cheese soup recipe
(linked to my recipe blog),
is one that is fast, easy, and delicious.
Everyone always likes it.  

4. Do you get offended by not receiving thank yous?

Thank you notes?
Not at all!
A verbal "thank you" when I give someone something is more than enough for me!

Save yourself some ink and a stamp when you come to my name on your thank you list!

Sorry Miss Manners...I've got bigger fish to fry than waiting by the mailbox for a thank you note!  :)

5. How did you meet your best friend?

I met my BFF, Teresa, in college at OBU in Arkadelphia! We were both in the same sorority (EEE). 

Right after Corey and I got married, I schemed with our other sweet friend Nancy, and we forcefully, I mean, thoughtfully set Teresa up on a blind date with Ky, Corey's best friend from high school. 

The rest is history!

5 kids, and almost 20 years later...
we still love to tell the story...and we are all still best buds!  :)

Here is a picture of me with Nancy (far left) and Teresa (far right) when we met for breakfast at Mimi's Cafe last year.

And here is a picture of Corey, me, Ky and Teresa with our youngest kiddos, Carson (the mystery man under the party hat), and Rachel as we celebrated New Years Eve a little over a year ago!

Love ya Teresa! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Get Motivated

Sometimes I find myself just not wanting to get to work on laundry, or on dishes, or on picking up around the house, etc.

Does this ever happen to you?

I have a few little tricks that I sometimes use.  

The first one is setting my oven timer for 20 minutes.  

What happens with me, is that once I start moving, I keep going, but sometimes it is just 
that first spurt of energy and motivation that is hard to come by,
and my timer provides that spurt!

When I know that I am allowing myself to waste time, I often set my timer, and make myself start knocking things out.  Sometimes I have a list, other times, I just walk through the house, and can clearly see what needs to be done.  The game is that
for every 20 minutes of work that I accomplish,
I earn 20 minutes to do something that I am wanting to do time, reading, rest, etc.

Of course this really only works well during
Carson's nap time, or if he is not home!

I did this a couple of days ago, and was amazed at the difference a few 20 minute segments of work made!  The tasks that I was dreading, and avoiding, became much more manageable, and were taken care of painlessly...with a little bit of fun time mixed in!

Another trick that I play on myself involves TV time.

I am not a big TV watcher.  Occasionally I will DVR shows to watch after I go to bed (and skip through the commercials), but I rarely watch daytime TV.

One day this past weekend, Corey and the kids were all away, and although I had lots of things that I needed to get done, there was a Lifetime movie on that got my attention.  I made a deal with myself that
I could watch the show only if I worked during all of the commercials.
For most shows, about 1/2 of the time slot seems to be taken up with commercials, so watching a 2 hour movie allowed me to get quite a bit of work done, while still watching a whole movie!

The last trick that has worked for me, I have only done once, but it really worked well!  

One morning, my BFF Teresa and I were talking on the phone.  Our youngest kiddos were not home that day, so we had quiet houses, and chores to get done.

We decided that we were going to give ourselves 2 hours, and told each other the chores that we wanted to accomplish in that time

We hung up the phone, and hit the ground running!

When we got back on the phone 2 hours later,
we were both exhausted from working so quickly for 2 whole hours...but excited to report to each other how motivated we had been...and that
we had gotten everything on our lists done!
We both laughed and talked about how it had really lit a fire under us!

(I just texted her and told her that we need to do it again!)

How do you get motivated to do house work?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole

This recipe was served the morning of my cousin's wedding many years ago. I loved it so much that I asked for the recipe, and have made it many times since!  

6 slices of bread (gluten free bread can be used if necessary)
1 lb. sausage
1 1/2 C cheddar cheese
6 eggs
2 C half & half
1 tsp. salt

Cut crusts off of bread. (I don't always do this part.) Spread margarine on both sides of bread. (I usually only do one side.) Place bread in a greased 9x13 dish. Cook sausage and drain on paper towels. Spread over bread. Sprinkle with cheese. Combine eggs and 1/2 & 1/2 and pour over sausage. Cover and chill overnight. Remove 15 minutes before bake time. Bake, uncovered, 45 minutes at 350.

Monday, March 7, 2011

School Room Reorganization

Saturday morning, I woke up wanting to tackle a project.  I didn't have anything specific in mind, I just knew that
I wanted to get something done, and check it off my list!

When I went downstairs into the school room/dining room, I decided that it was time to reorganize.

It wasn't horrible, but as the year has gone on, the shelves had gotten a little messier, and there were things that needed to be moved to new places and other things that just needed to be thrown away.

Here is the "before" of our school bookcase...getting kind of sloppy.

And "after"...much better.

Caylie's supplies.  (Many of her books and supplies are kept in her Co-Op backpack.)

Christian's school supplies.

Teacher resources for Christian's subjects.

Teacher resources for Caylie's subjects.

Reference books/ books that are not currently being used.

The trash pile.

The "move to a different spot" piles.

This is where we keep my old scrapbooking supplies, that are now great for school projects.  I also keep homeschool catalogs in here, as well as some of the curriculum that Caylie has finished with, that will be passed down to Christian.  This cabinet needed a little bit of work as well.


After...just neatened things up a little bit.

Top drawer is for pens, pencils, etc...

One side drawer is for our chalkboard supplies, and some guitar supplies.

And when I was finished...I had an empty cabinet on one side...

and an empty drawer right above it!

Love that!!!  :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Random Thoughts

As we head into the weekend, here are some random things that I have floating around in my head this morning. 

1) Last night Corey, the boys and I, went to see a preview performance of Caylie's show.

She is doing another preview performance as I speak type, and the official opening night is tonight.  There are two shows tomorrow, one on Sunday, and I can't even remember what next week's schedule is.

It keeps us running, but she really loves it, and she did a great job last night.
I love to hear her sing, and watch her dance, and see her expressions as she "does her thing" on stage!
She is so expressive, and enthusiastic!

Next Saturday afternoon, Corey is going to go to the matinee performance with his parents, then on Saturday night, my mom and I will go to the closing night performance.
I am looking forward to getting to see the show again, and being there for the final performance is always exciting.

2) For the previous two years, I have attended the Arkansas Homeschool Convention in Searcy.  I have enjoyed going, but had decided not to go this year.  

A couple of months ago, I heard about the
MidSouth Homeschool Convention
in Memphis, a convention I had never even known about previously.
(How that happened, I'm still not sure!)

Memphis Homeschool Convention

The MidSouth convention is much bigger, and brings in great speakers, so I was really interested, but since Caylie's show was opening this weekend, and so much craziness comes along with that, I had decided that I would have to pass on attending this year.

Yesterday drove me crazy as I kept hearing of other moms that were heading to the convention!  I pulled up the schedule of sessions, and as I read through it, I wanted even more to be there!

I went to Corey and asked what he would think of me leaving at 6am this morning, and driving to Memphis, spending the night, and coming home tomorrow evening after the convention ends.

Although he knew that it would be a juggling act, he said that he could manage it, and that
I could go if I wanted to!

He's great about that kind of stuff.
We tend to be pretty spontaneous about things like this, but even so, as the night went on, and I realized that I wouldn't get home from Caylie's show last night until after 10, and that there were sooo many loose ends that I felt I would leave hanging if I took off this morning,
I decided that I would just not go.

  It would have been hectic, and tiring, but also very educational and inspiring, so I keep bouncing back and forth about whether or not I made the right decision.

3)  In other news, I posted here about how we missed the opportunity to sign Caylie up for the
1/2 marathon in Little Rock that she had been training for.
As a result, we found another 1/2 marathon near
Galveston, TX,
and decided to make that our family's Spring Break trip...
adding in some beach time, a fun water park, and a day trip to Houston.

Caylie has continued her training, but for the last couple of days,
she has had some pain at the bottom of her the area of her ankle.
She says that when she puts weight on the ball of her foot, that it hurts.

This is obviously not a good thing.
I don't want her to hurt herself more by continuing to run if she shouldn't,
but I also don't want her to have to miss the opportunity to meet a goal that she has been working toward!

  We are hoping that taking a few days off from running, will give her a chance to improve.

We will see.

Hope you have a great weekend!

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