Saturday, February 28, 2009

Surprise!



Remember "the committee" that blessed us with the GINORMOUS Box of Super Bowl Supplies right before Super Bowl Sunday??


Well, the "committee" has struck again!


Friday night we received another surprise drop-off that included 3 huge buckets of ice cream and all of the makings for banana splits!!!! How fun is that???





The children and I spent Saturday doing some much-needed housecleaning and laundry, while Alan took care of some things at the office and ran some errands for his mom. Those who were sick spent the day sleeping, watching movies and playing computer games. Everyone looked forward to the promise of ending the day with some delicious ice cream sundaes!



After supper was eaten and cleaned up, we played a game of Cranium Conga, and then we enjoyed creating and eating our ice cream sundaes!



This is Tiffany's picture-perfect creation!






Matthew enjoyed having his ice cream in a cone!








Here is Hannah's concoction!






And here is mine. Of course, I thought it would seem ungrateful to not share in the fun
of the ice cream party,
so here I am enjoying a small, tiny, diet size ice cream sundae!!




Poor Joseph found that the ice cream soothed his sore throat and feverish body.




So, if any members of the "committee" happen to drop by my blog and read this post, Thank You for your generosity!! We loved every bite of it!

Keeping Score


We have some kind of sickness at our house. The victims are mostly just fevered and lethargic. (The best kind of sickness from a Mom's perspective! Especially when no emptying the contents of one's stomach is involved!!!)


Matthew is obsessed with his temperature. We have two digital thermometers and he keeps taking his temperature (under his arm) every few minutes and announcing his "score". One time he asked me, "Mom, If Josh and I have the same score, does that mean we have the same sickness??" :)


Yesterday, his fever was down and he thought he was getting well! So, he announced that his temperature was Zero. After a sibling explained that you would die if your temperature got too low, he began to worry about that end of the equation! So, he kept taking his temperature and if it were lower than the last time, he would come to me with a worried expression on his face and ask me if he were about to die!! After calming his fears, I tried to explain about body temperature and how God created people so that their body temperature had to stay within a certain range or they would die. Interesting -- trying to explain that to a concerned six year old!


Chris joined the ranks of the ill last night, and my family room is beginning to resemble a hospital room with three sick children camped out in there with all of their blankets and pillows and stuff!


Oh, make that four! Here comes Joe, holding his head and moaning and headed for a couch!


Friday, February 27, 2009

Five for Victory






As I've mentioned before, we really enjoy a good read-aloud book. I don't read nearly as much as I used to in years gone by, with the busyness of our aging family, but we still aim for a chapter or two during lunch each weekday.



Currently, we are reading Five for Victory by Hilda van Stockum, which is the first installment in the Mitchell series. We read this series several years ago, and we love these books! The author has a wonderful ability to capture the craziness and chaotic fun of family life with young children. When we read the cute things that Angela Mitchell says or does, we all look fondly at our little "Angela" (a.k.a. Bethany), and laugh aloud!



This book is not only fun, but will give you a glimpse into family life in America during WWII.



I wanted to share a fun sentence from the book that really caught my eye yesterday! I think you'll like it:



"Joan wondered why it was that uncles and fathers were so noticeable when they were home, and mothers and grannies when they were away."



How true is that? ;)



Have a good weekend with your family! And remember to enjoy the printed word together!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Twins??


What do you think? Do these two fellas look alike?

Would you believe that both young men are 15 years old? Well, one of the young men is currently 15 years old, and one of the young men was 15 about 35 years ago!!! :)

Yep, these pictures are of Alan and Joseph. Do you think they look like "twins?"











I took both of these pictures of Joseph last Saturday. While Alan was at the basketball game with Taylor and Joshua, I took Joseph out for lunch, just to spend some one-on-one time with him. That is one way we carve out special time for each of our children -- by occasionally doing something with them by themselves, like running an errand together or going out for a meal together. That way they have an opportunity to share their hearts and get our undivided attention!










Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Weight Loss Wednesday: Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss

As promised, I am going to post my weight loss here each Wednesday, and invite you to join in!! Please leave a comment and link to your blog if you want.

Well, here it is -- I lost 1.5 pounds since last Wednesday. I feel sure it would have been 2 pounds, if it weren't for Free Pancake Day yesterday at IHOP!!! ;) I'm just glad the scale moved in the right direction this week! How did you do??


In addition to posting my progress, I'm also going to explore some aspect of the weight loss journey here each week. Today I want to talk about Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss. I am going to post this enlightening article, which I found at Weight Loss Moms. Read it through a couple times and let it sink in.


"In order to lose weight, your body must burn more calories than it takes in, but keep in mind that your body needs calories for energy and when you exercise; your body needs even more calories. Before I talk about energy, the first thing you must understand is that losing weight and losing fat is not the same thing. Just because you lose weight, does not mean you lose fat, and just because you lose fat, does not mean you lose weight.

When people talk about losing weight, what the really want to do is lose the excess fat on their body and obtain an attractive figure.

When you eat, the body uses most of the calories for energy. If you eat more calories than the body uses, it will get stored as fat. If you do not consume enough calories per day you will lose weight, but you will also lose energy. When you do not consume enough energy (calories) for your body, it will start using up your energy stores to make up for the energy deficiency. Unfortunately, the energy stores used is not your stored fat, but instead it’s protein and carbohydrates (carbs) that will supply most of the energy (stored fat makes up a very small percentage). Your body will take the protein and carbohydrates from your muscle cells; causing your muscle mass to reduce (say goodbye to that toned attractive look) which forces your metabolism to decrease (a low metabolism = slow or no fat burning). When this happens your body requires less energy to maintain its new lower body weight (remember the body weight is lower because you loss muscle), which is why your body conserves energy by slowing down the metabolism. In other words, the body has adapted to the new lower energy (calorie) intake which means that you will no longer continue to lose weight.

Keep in mind that the weight you had lost in the first place was mostly water weight and you will eventually gain it back in the form of fat, not muscle (in order to get your muscle mass back to the way it was before, you have to work on rebuilding it). When carbohydrates and protein that are already in your body are used as the energy source, your body will lose water weight because both carbohydrates and protein hold water in the cells. In essence, you are dehydrating yourself to lose weight. So yes the scale will go down, but approximately 75% (if not more) of it is water instead of fat. And just so you know, exercising while consuming a small calorie intake just makes the situation worse. This is because when you exercise, you start burning off more energy and the more you workout, the more energy your body needs. I already told you above where the energy comes from, and if you do not give your body the energy it needs, it will just feed on your muscles even quicker now that you are exercising. So eat more food! In addition to this, when you cut down too much on your calorie intake, your body will start storing calories because it doesn’t know when you will eat again. The calories that are stored will be stored as fat. So in other words, when your body is storing energy, it’s basically storing more fat.

To summarize my point: Not eating enough calories results in muscle loss, dehydration, slower fat burning, and your body will always adapt to a lower calorie intake.

Bottom Line: if you can’t maintain that lower calorie intake for the rest of your life, you will gain your weight back when you get tired of starving yourself!

To lose weight properly (burning fat) you must increase your metabolism (weight training) and your need for oxygen (aerobics) while eating enough calories each day (nutritious diet) to give you energy and maintain the protein in your muscles because protein helps build muscles, which indirectly burns fat. This brings up another good point: When you build muscle your weight will increase because your muscles are made up of mostly water, but your body fat percentage will decrease because building muscles increase your metabolism (in other words, muscles way more than fat, but take up less space than fat). So keep in mind that losing body fat can’t be measured by a scale; use a measuring tape and also look at yourself in the mirror, and then you will see the true results. One of the best ways to know if you are losing more body fat than water is by using a body fat analyzer.

Make sure that you focus on fat loss not weight loss. Your goal should be to lose weight by burning fat, not losing water from your muscles. Remember this when you choose your weight loss program. "

This article was written by Vernita Sherman of Ultimate Fat Burning Secrets. Ultimate Fat Burning Secrets is an online resource dedicated to exposing fat burning secrets that weight loss companies are keeping from you. Vernita focuses on teaching you the truth about how to permanently lose weight the healthy way at http://www.ultimatefatburningsecrets.com/




Now, to illustrate the truth of this article, I want you to read this Amazing Testimony from my dear friend, Trisch, over at Never a Dull Moment. I think you will be surprised by her results!! In fact, her testimony proves the need to expand Weight Loss Wednesday to include Inches Lost and not just pounds. In fact, the inches we lose are really far more important than the pounds we lose! (Did you notice how few pounds Trisch actually lost???)

So, please share your progress in whatever way you want! But, please share! It will be an encouragement to us all!

Well, I think this gives us plenty to think about until next week! Don't you???

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Free Pancake Day

This morning we made the amazing discovery that it was Free Pancake Day at IHOP! That was too good to pass up, so everyone worked extra hard all morning, and then we went to IHOP for lunch around 1:30 pm. Each person got a stack of 3 free, buttermilk pancakes! We drank water, but I "splurged" by ordering some side dishes of bacon, sausage and eggs, which we shared around. (I wanted everyone to have some protein to balance all of those carbs!!) So, for a total cost of $9 for the side dishes, $6 donation to the Children's Miracle Network, and a small tip, we had a nice "free" lunch and a lot of fun! :)


















Out of the Mouth of Babes




These pictures were taken of Bethany, age 4 1/2, at church on Sunday. For various reasons (primarily because of moving to another state), we were not able to participate in a baby dedication service at church when she was a baby, like we did with all the other children. However, we had the privilege of being part of a parent/child dedication service at our church this past Sunday. Although there were other toddlers, she was definitely the oldest child being presented to the Lord, and now that I think about it, I guess we were definitely the oldest parents standing up there, too!! :)

Bethany is such a little mommy, and mothers the babies at church to death! She also constantly amuses us with the things she says, and I thought I would share this little scene from yesterday:


Bethany runs to me sobbing, with Hannah close behind.


Bethany to me, inbetween sobs: "Hannah says I can't marry Diana (a little friend she knows from church)!"

Me to Bethany: "That's right, sweetie. You need to marry a boy."


Bethany to Me, sobbing even harder: "But I don't have any favorite boys!"


Me to Bethany: "Oh, Sweetie, you are just little! You don't need a favorite boy yet! You have a long time before you need to get married!"


Bethany to me, still sobbing her little heart out: "But, Mommy, I want a baby in my tummy!!!"


Well, at least she understands the correct order of events!!! :)


This story reminds me of a story that my mother tells of her childhood. When she was about six, she was in the hospital with a severe strep infection. When she saw the babies in the hospital nursery, she told the nurses she was not leaving without one!~! They told her to come back in a few years, and they would give her one of the babies then! But not to be deterred, she told them bravely, "I'm NOT stupid. I can see that there aren't many babies left, and they will all be gone by then!!!" :)


Isn't it a blessing when little girls DESIRE to be mothers, and look forward to the day that they can have babies of their own??? If only, we can prevent the world from taking this natural, God-given desire away from them and keep them from being brainwashed by this feminist generation!!!!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Makes Me Happy Mondays



My friend, Karen, at May I Ask You a Question, always posts about something that makes her happy on Mondays. So, I decided to do my own Makes Me Happy Monday post.


I have a busy afternoon with an eye doctor appointment, baseball practice, and some errands to run, plus my regular lengthy to-do list. So, I decided to make supper this morning and put it in the crock pot. It Makes Me Happy to know that my supper is already made and simmering in the crock pot! What a good feeling!!! I think I will try to make this a new habit!


Tonight's supper is Taco Soup. This is an easy, inexpensive and well-liked recipe. You might want to give it a try! It is easy to keep most of the ingredients on hand in your pantry and can be pulled together in a jiffy.




Elizabeth's Taco Soup

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
4 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes (can use Mexican flavored or those with added chilies)
2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, undrained
2 15-ounce cans corn, undrained
4-5 Tablespoons of taco seasoning mix
2-4 cups water

tortilla chips
Mexican 4 cheese
sour cream


Directions:

Brown ground beef and onion. Drain well.
Add remaining ingredients.
Simmer on stove or in crock pot until ready to eat.

Serve bowls with crushed tortilla chips, grated cheese, and dollop of sour cream as desired.



Now, here is another thing that Makes Me Happy. I recently discovered these bars at our Sams Club and just had one of the Dark Chocolate Almond bars for my morning snack. It was Delicious!!!! These incredible bars have only 120 - 130 calories, 2 grams of protein, 24 grams of carbohydrates, and 9 whopping grams of fiber! To be a perfect snack, you would need to add something with some more protein, such as a cup of milk. But, these are so good!!!!




And knowing that I've already posted on my blog for today also Makes Me Happy!! What makes you happy today?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dealing with Disappointments

Are you the encourager for your family?

It seems to me that being an encourager is definitely a part of what we do for our families. We have both the privilege and responsibility of encouraging our husbands and children as they struggle through the daily disappointments and trials of life. Fortunately for me, I feel that I have the spiritual gift of encouragement/edification, so it comes naturally to me.


And yet, at times it seems that every ounce of encouragement is drained out of me! There are so many needs just in my own family.


I seem to have been in a "listening" and "encouraging" mode lately, as my husband and two adult daughters and three high school sons have all shared various disappointments and challenges. There are problems associated with jobs, and also fears of losing a job, and concerns about not being able to get a job due to the extremely sluggish economy. There are definitely financial concerns and budgetary woes. There was a cancelled trip and the resulting disappointment. There are major decisions to be wrestled with. There are concerns with school and work loads and "teacher troubles" and disappointments over grades. There was the crushing defeat in a state play off basketball game Saturday by just 2 points, and the disappointment of not getting any playing time after the coach gave reason to hope . . . There was disappointment over not getting as much scholarship money as we had hoped and wondering how we will ever make up the gap . . . And, I could go on and on . . .


I want to "fix" every problem faced by those I love. I want to listen and offer encouragement and practical suggestions. And, I'm so very glad my family comes to me when they need to talk. I always want to be there for them!


And yet, it just seems that every ounce of encouragement has been wrung out of me, until there is none left to encourage my own soul. Ever been there? How do you find the strength to continue encouraging??


I love Psalm 61:1-2 -- "Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I."


And Psalm 25:17 -- "The troubles of my heart are enlarged; O bring thou me out of my distresses." (My troubles are enlarged, because I take on all the troubles of my large family!)


And Psalm 55:22 (Amplified) -- "Cast your burden on the Lord (releasing the weight of it) and He will sustain you. . ."


Do you have any favorite verses that encourage and strengthen you?

How do you encourage your husband and children, while staying encouraged yourself??

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Weighing In on Weight Loss

I have developed an ironic sort of hobby over the past few years. I collect books on weight loss and fitness! Not only do I collect them, I actually READ them, highlight them, and even take notes on them!!! Some of these books I have even read multiple times!! I read them at night before going to sleep; I take them along on trips to read; I read them while waiting for boys at ball practice; I read them while sitting by the pool in the summer; I even read them while working out on the treadmill or the elliptical machine! Just for fun, I decided to take all of the weight loss/fitness books off my bookshelves and stack them on my scale. Would you believe they weighed in at 24 pounds?????? Here is a picture!!!!!






Want to see a close up view???





Now, if you are totally Amazed by this stack of books, let me tell you that these aren't ALL of the books I have read on the topic! I have also checked out a few books from the library and I have done tons of research online!! My boys tease me because I'm always researching tips about how to lose fat and build muscle and I can give them quite a bit of information about how much protein they should eat to build muscle, etc.


Now, what's really ironic about this whole thing is that I am not a pound thinner for all of this research and study!!! Is that not CRAZY???


But, I have learned a thing or two of value from all of this reading. Want to know what I've learned???


1. Reading and researching about weight loss and fitness will not make you lose weight or get fit!!!!

2. Looking for the "perfect" program will not give you the "perfect" body!

3. Experts often disagree about the best way to lose weight and get in shape, which is partly because people are not all the same. Some people may be successful following a low-fat diet, while others will have more success with a low-carb diet. So, you do have to find what works for you.

4. You need to find a program that you can live with. I have found that I can lose weight on a low carb diet, but I can't stick to that kind of diet for long, because of my lifestlye and budgetary constraints.

5. Probably most any plan will work IF you follow it closely enough and stick with it long enough. I am probably too strong in the "flexibility" department, and I am definitely weak in the Patience department! I need to zero in on a specific plan and Just Do It!!!



Well, that is probably enough weight loss wisdom for one day!! I have decided to start a series called "Weight Loss Wednesdays." I plan to post book reviews, nuggets of wisdom (no, not chicken nuggets!), and thoughts about my weight loss journey. I also plan to weigh in each Wednesday and share my weight loss (or not!) on this blog. How is that for accountability??? I'm hoping that the pressure of knowing I must weigh in and then post it on my blog each Wednesday will help me stay on track!


I would love to have you join me!!! Are you bold enough to join me for a weekly weigh in each Wednesday? You don't have to share your exact weight, just how much you gain or lose each week! Post it on your own blog or in the comments section.


Also, I'd love for you to post comments if you are a mom who has successfully won the "battle of the bulge" while homeschooling and managing a busy family! I really want to hear what worked for you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Presidential Poetry

A question from our presidential board game, prompted me to think of this poem, which I wrote while taking a poetry class in college:



The President Was Shot Today



The President was shot today,
while I played tennis in the sun.
I'ts the new American way.

It was predicted to be this way.
Because a man misused his gun,
the President was shot today.


Which led some of our men to say,
"I told you he was too old to run."
It's the new American way.


And some just simply knelt to pray,
"Oh God, please bless our sick nation;
the President was shot today."


And others continued on their way,
ignoring what Hinckley had done.
It's the new American way.


The President will live, they say,
but a new era has begun.
The President was shot today.
It's the new American way.


Little did I know at that time how much our great country would decline into immorality and "tolerance" and liberalism and socialism . . . . It is Very Sad to witness the destruction of a country once founded upon biblical principles . . .

Another Celebration!

We had so much fun with our Valentine's Day Celebration, that I decided to try to come up with something fun for President's Day, too. Admittedly, it is not a day we normally celebrate!


I put the children in charge of decorating the table, instructing them to find some books and games about Presidents in the school room to use to make an arrangement for the dining table. I also told them to build a log cabin out of Lincoln Logs, since Abraham Lincoln, and many other US presidents were born in log cabins. This is what they created:









Didn't the table turn out cute??



While Tiffany helped the younger children decorate and set the table, Joshua grilled the chicken to Perfection! I love chicken breasts when they are tender and juicy, but don't have much tolerance for a dried out, tough chicken breast!! So, I was very pleased with Joshua's efforts! Now, I suppose Venison or Rabbit Stew might have been a more traditional meal, keeping to the theme of log cabin leaders -- but we went with what we had on hand! I guess we might have had opossum or armadillo stew -- but I just haven't learned the art of "road kill" dining!!!! ;)



After eating, we divided up into two teams, pitting one side of the table against the other, and tried answering the questions from the Hail to the Chief board game. We had fun testing our knowledge of US history, even though the teams were a bit lop-sided! It should come as no surprise that Taylor's team won the challenge!




Now, don't feel bad if YOU haven't had any special celebrations lately!! There are many nights that it is all that I can do to get dinner on the table, and sometimes it just doesn't seem worth the extra effort to try to come up with something creative, especially when the big boys think my ideas are a bit goofy, anyway! You know what?? They may make noise sometimes, but they're just trying to be Cool, and secretly I think they like Mom's crazy ideas!! ;)

On the other hand, sometimes we just need a little push to be creative and put a little more effort into our family meal times. Anything we can do to build memories or create family bonds that anchor our children's hearts to home is well worth the effort! If you need some inspiration or creative ideas for your family meal times, may I suggest The Family Meal Table by Nancy Campbell?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Valentine's Celebration

Happy Valentine's Day!


We spent most of the day doing a major house cleaning! I made job lists for every person and we all worked hard giving the house "an extreme makeover!" Alan and Josh absolutely transformed the garage!! It looks great!!


We really needed Tiffany here, as she is a White Tornado around the house, but she went to SC for the weekend to visit her friends from Converse and ended up spending some precious time with Ashlyn, too. We missed her help and her company!!


I really want to brag on Hannah. She worked so hard in her room and closet and really stuck with it, even when she got tired of working!!! She ended up with a huge bag of trash from under her bed and from her closet! She decluttered and dusted all flat surfaces, and it looks incredible in there! It is too bad that Ashlyn wasn't here to see what a good job Hannah did in their room!!!


Hannah also made a beautiful cake for Valentine's Day all by herself! On top of that, she made Valentine cards for everyone and gave each person some candy. Hannah is just like that -- always generous and thinking of others and eager to spend her hard-earned money to bless other people!!!





Hannah was also my partner in "crime." :) We decided to surprise the family by decorating the dining table for Valentines and creating a special celebration for the family. We had so much fun decorating the table together! First, we washed our white tablecloth and red placemats, so they were fresh and clean, and then put them back on the table. Then, we "spilled" some pink, red and white Valentine's M&Ms all over the tablecloth and also sprinkled some Conversation Hearts on there too. With the addition of a red heart garland (all purchased at CVS when shopping for bargains there on Friday), our table was transformed into a work of beauty! See what you think . . . .




Early in the day, I browned some Italian Sausage and lean ground beef with some onions and green peppers, and then added a #10 can of crushed tomatoes and some other jars of sauce and lots of good Italian seasoning and by supper time we had a delicious pot of spaghetti sauce!

I served Spaghetti with some sauteed asparagus. It may seem like a strange combination, but it was good! I bought some fresh asparagus and sauteed it in olive oil and garlic and then steamed it just a bit and it was delicious!!! (Thank you Brooke and Mallory!!!) ;)

Then, I sort of combined two salad recipes, and came up with this beautiful salad:




The strawberries were such a nice touch for Valentine's Day, and I found some on sale that were so sweet for this time of the year! I served this with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing, and it was so incredible!!!

Check Spelling

Then, I turned on Pachabel's Canon in D -- and it created such a beautiful ambiance! Mum Mum came over from her cottage to join us, and we had a lovely dinner. Here are some pictures of our celebration:








For dessert, we had Hannah's cake and these decadent truffles, along with some Hazlenut coffee! YUM! :)






Decadent Truffles

1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
3 cups confectioners sugar
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla


In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioner's sugar, until well blended. Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla, until thoroughly mixed in. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Shape into 1" balls and roll in ground nuts, cocoa, coconut, confectioner's sugar, sprinkles or mini chocolate chips. I think it would also be amazing to dip these in some dipping chocolate. Unfortunately, I didn't have any. OH, I just had a brainstorm -- I could have cranked up my chocolate fountain and dipped these little beauties in that! Now that would be incredible! :)


But, alas, I'm supposed to be on a diet here . . . . .


I hope your Valentine's Day was Special too!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

25 Things About Me

My friend, Kathy, at Momofmany, has tagged me to list 25 things about myself. I must admit that I have been procrastinating on this. Twenty-five is a lot of things!!! But, here goes:


1. I got married when I was 20 years old!
2. I've been married to the same man for 26 years come May 14th!
3. I graduated from college in 3 years with a BA degree in English.
4. After graduation, I worked as a technical writer.
5. When I got married, I planned to have one or two children; three at most!!!
6. I have one sister who is four years younger than me.
7. My sister and I used to fight a lot when we were young, but when we were getting along, we liked to play school and library! Many old books I have still have "library pockets" stapled to the cover page!
8. I persuaded my sister to start a blog, and she has a lovely blog! (BTW, we no longer fight! We are now very close, even though we live far away from one another.)
9. Between my sister and me, my parents have 15 grandchildren!!!
10. My favorite food is Italian. I love pizza, spaghetti, manicotti, etc.
11. I love Chocolate!
12. I love eating raw cookie dough!
13. Because of items #9, 10, 11 and 12, I have a bunch of weight to lose! :(
14. I enjoy trying new recipes, but get tired of having to put together a meal night after night.
15. My favorite color is blue.
16. I love watching old movies, especially those with Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant.
17. I never broke a bone, until this past fall when I broke my ankle by tripping in a hole in my yard!!!
18. I love email and blogging!
19. I hate spiders!!!! (Just ask my sister!!!!)
20. I drive a 12 passengar van with 12 fishes on the back!
21. I used to drive a 15 passengar van, until we had a rollover accident.
22. In the spring of 2006, our family took a 5 week trip from the east coast to the west coast and back!
23. My favorite part of the trip was going to White Sands, NM.
24. I have been to Canada and Mexico, but not overseas.
25. I have never been on a cruise, but would like to go on one someday.


OK -- I did it! Now it's your turn:

Rebecca's Refining

Captured

Singularly Blessed

She Looketh Well

Divine Calling

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Spirit of Loveliness

Jules from On Eagle's Wings, has awarded me "The Lovely Blog" Award! I've never received a blog award before, so I'm quite honored! Jules is a lovely person with a lovely blog. Since she lives in New Zealand, her blog has a slightly different "flavor" to it, which you will find enjoyable! You will also learn a lot about life "down under!" Please pay her a visit soon!


I'm going to pass this award on to:


A Wise Woman Builds Her Home



This is truly the Loveliest Blog I have ever visited! I just LOVE the beautiful, old-fashioned pictures and the soothing music that plays in the background while you read this woman's inspiring and edifying words! This blog is a real oasis of refreshment!


There are many blogs I enjoy, but in trying to pick just one that deserves "The Lovely Blog" Award, I started thinking about what makes a blog - or a woman - lovely. It is not just the outward appearance, but the spirit of that blog - or that woman - that communicates true loveliness. I remember my Mom always saying, "Beauty is as beauty does."


1 Peter 3:3-4 says, "Do not let your adornment be merely outward -- arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel -- rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." (NKJV)


My prayer for myself is that I would develop and exhibit such a spirit of loveliness.

Monday, February 9, 2009

For the Chocolate Lover

I think I figured out why I like to post recipes. First of all, Emily will try them all and give me Rave Reviews!! Who can resist that???

Secondly, they are Safe Posts. Recipes are not fraught with emotion; they can't offend anyone; I don't have to mull the wording over and over in my mind; and they are quick to type in!!

So, just in time for Valentine's Day, here is a recipe for all chocolate lovers!!!





Triple Chocolate Cake


Ingredients:

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 small pkg. instant chocolate pudding
1 3/4 cups milk
2 eggs
1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan. (Actually, I just sprayed it well with Pam.)
3. Mix all ingredients together well, except for the chocolate chips.
4. Fold in Chocolate chips.
5. Pour batter into Bundt cake pan.
6. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.
7. Let cool slightly, and then turn cake out onto a cake plate.

ENJOY!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Senior Night

Friday night was the last regular season game for all of the school's basketball teams and also Senior Recognition Night. A night for looking back and remembering . . . a night for looking ahead and anticipating . . .







First, we watched the B team boys easily win their game. Josh (#42) and Joe (#22) both ended the season on a good note. Then, we worked the concession stand during the varsity girl's game. After that, we participated in the senior recognition before watching the varsity boy's game.








When it was our turn, we walked to half court, hand in hand, Alan on one side of Taylor and me on the other side, while the announcer read a list of Taylor's accomplishments and his expressions of gratefulness to those who had contributed to his successes. I was not expecting such enthusiastic applause and loud cheers from the crowd for our senior! Neither was I expecting the huge bear hug that Taylor gave me at half court. A surge of love and pride swept through me at that moment . . . emotions felt by everymother whose son has grown into a fine young man overnight. My heart overflowed and spilled onto my cheeks, not just for what my "baby" has accomplished, but for the young man he has become and the character he has demonstrated . . . .












The varsity boys won their game 71-52 to end their season with 18 victories! All of the seniors started. Taylor played well, hustled, rebounded, jumped up and intercepted a pass with his long arms. He looked good and it felt like "old times." It was so exciting to watch him playing -- for all of about 4 or 5 minutes . . . Then, it was back to the pine . . . big sigh.


A bittersweet ending to what should have been an Exciting Senior Season . . .

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Will our Scholar Get the Dollars??




Alan and I spent the day at LaGrange College with our son, Taylor, who was invited to participate in their Presidential Scholarship Competition. While he agonized over his essay and endured two interviews with faculty members, we relaxed, did some reading, attended a panel discussion for parents, and enjoyed the beautiful campus. Then, we were reunited for a delicious dinner and "debriefing" in the dining hall. It was a good day. Now all we can do is WAIT . . .






There appeared to be about 50 students competing for the coveted cash. All of them outstanding scholars, athletes and leaders in their high schools. There are only two Presidential Scholarships being awarded. So, we ALL anxiously WAIT . . .


Taylor spent last Saturday at Shorter College, doing essentially the same thing. So, we AWAIT those results as well . . .


WAITING is hard! Who will win the scholarships??? Will our scholar get the dollars???




Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A STAR is born!



Today I ate lunch at the Country Club! That's because my husband and I had the privilege of attending a luncheon honoring all of the STAR students from our county. Amazingly, our oldest son, Taylor, is the STAR student for his high school!

In Georgia, the senior in each high school with the highest SAT score (from a single sitting), who is also in the top 10% of his class, is recognized as the STAR student. Each STAR student names a STAR teacher, and both are honored at this luncheon. Each of the STAR students also inspired those at the luncheon with a short speech.




It is hard for us to believe that our son is the STAR student for Sherwood! This is an amazing accomplishment for him!! I homeschooled Taylor up until 10th grade, so I know.


This is the boy who did not read at all until he was 8 years old! But then, he took off and became a voracious reader, especially of histories and biographies.


This is the boy who was always distracting himself and his siblings during school and chore time.


This is the boy who was constantly day dreaming, and when he was a young boy, referred to these day dreams as his "favorite thinks."


This is the boy who actually admitted to having trouble not letting his mind wander while he was taking the SAT!


This is the boy who seemed to let everything I tried to teach him "go in one ear and out the other" and kept me Crying Out to God Daily!


This is the boy who entered high school in the middle of the fall semester of tenth grade as a shy and reserved young man, and volunteered to work a problem on the chalkboard in Geometry class the very first day, astonishing his mother!


This quiet and withdrawn boy also astonished his mother by deciding to run for student council. I don't know if it was his clever campaign posters ("Big T for Vice P") or his crazy speech, but he won!!! He served as Vice President of student council his junior year, and then went on to become student body President this year!!


I share all of this to encourage all you mothers out there with children who are dawdlers, day dreamers, highly distract able, and unmotivated. There is hope!!! God is not through with them yet! He will perfect that which concerns them! Your children will amaze you and surprise you with giftings and talents you never knew they had!!!

"And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." ~ Galations 6:9.


Taylor with his STAR teacher, Mrs. Shephard


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