Friday, October 29, 2010

Jumbo Peanut Butter Polka Dot Cookies

... or Polka Dot Peanut Butter Jumbos from the Favorite Brand Name Recipe Cookbook.  We always called them Jumbo Peanut Butter Polka Dot Cookies at my house.  My Mom used to make these and send them with us in our lunch box for school lunch.  My brother would sell them to other kids during lunch, they were so popular!

Ellie made them today to give to her AWANA leader tomorrow for her appreciation exercise in her handbook. 

Here's the recipe:

1 cup margarine (or butter, we only use butter at our house)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda (baking soda)
1 and 1/2 cups M & M's Plain or Peanut Chocolate Candies

Beat together margarine (or softened butter), peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy; blend in eggs.  Add combined flour and soda; mix well.  Stir in candies.  Drop dough by level 1/4 cup measure onto greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for 14 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  Cool on cookie sheet 3 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool thoroughly. 

Makes about 2 dozen 4-inch cookies

You can make them smaller if you like and just lessen the cooking time.  Last time Ellie and my Mom made these cookies, they used leftover Peppermint M&M's (from my Christmas candy stash) and butterscotch morsels, because I didn't have enough M&M's in my stash.  Today, we ran out of peanut butter and Ellie didn't want to add sunflower seed butter to make up the difference (Wyatt is allergic to peanut butter, so I keep sunflower seed butter on hand for recipes that he will eat...and I like it just to make sandwiches for me).  Anyway, we made up the difference of peanut butter with nutella.  It was a yummy chocolaty addition, not a huge change, but a subtle hint.  With all the different kinds of nut butters and M&M's, the possibilities are many!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Strawberry Cake

This is a recipe from my sister's in-laws.  I made it for two of my friends who also have birthdays in September a couple of years ago.  If you like strawberries and cake, you will like this cake!

Strawberry Cake
Ingredients:  White cake mix
                    3 Tbl flour
                    1/2 cup milk (or water)
                    1/2 cup oil
                    1 small package strawberry jello
                    3 eggs
                    1/2 the juice from 12 (or 16) oz package of frozen strawberries, thawed
                     (plus some strawberries that will pour in when draining the juice)

Mix all together and pour in prepared pan (greased and floured, 11 x 13 or large rectangle pan with tall sides works best... you need room to pour the icing/glaze on when hot).  The pan should look like it barely has any cake mix in it.

Bake at 325 degrees for 35-45 minutes.

Icing/Glaze Directions:

1 stick melted butter
3 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Rest of the thawed strawberries and juice

Mix well and pour over cake when it is hot.

My pan is really smaller than I should have used.  I believe I used multiple round pans before, but I forgot when I was making this cake for Thomas's birthday this month.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Making Your Home a Haven: Week 3

I really wasn't sure I was going to get anything done on the Making Your Home a Haven Challenge this week because this was our "vacation week".  My hubby took the whole week off from work and he had plans for Monday and Tuesday, but we went to visit my cousin on Wednesday and didn't come home until today.  The challenge for this week was to de-clutter an area of our homes and make a plan to keep things de-cluttered.  Also, to look for anything that is cluttering up our spiritual lives.  That is adding to burning a special candle, playing soft music and praying for peace in our homes.

With getting things ready to leave, etc., I really didn't think I was going to do any more than just cleaning the house and doing the dishes.  Then I actually found myself with the want to for de-cluttering and not really time, but I made that time for de-cluttering.  I really love to have a clean and organized  home, but I have found that a difficult task since I have had children (almost 10 years now).  My new plan for keeping things de-cluttered is to make sure I pick up at least one thing that doesn't belong every time I leave a room and head towards where that thing does belong. 

I chose my "new" buffet to de-clutter.  The buffet is a catch all in the kitchen (along with the "old" buffet, but I wasn't sure I could accomplish that area, too).  I'm constantly telling the kids or my husband to "put it on the buffet".  So, here is what the buffet looked like before:
I sorted and threw things away and put things where they actually belong.  Now you can see my pretty new recipe basket that my Mom and Dad got me for my birthday.  I can get to things again.  And our "dirty mouth" bucket is empty and ready for coins, just in case anyone is not letting their yes be yes or their no be no (Matthew 5: 37 and James 5:12).  Here is the after:

This made me feel so good, that I decided to clean off the old buffet.  Sorry I don't have a before picture of this, if you imagine it about half as bad as the new buffet, you'll get the idea.

I know I was enjoying this because I love how everything looks and function when it's all neat and organized.  I was also enjoying the work because I pulled out one of my favorite candles; a red white and blue cinnamon scented candle the my sister-in-law Therese gave me.  I had a God Rocks! cd in my juke box and I was singing along with the Bible verses.  If I had already been packed and ready for our trip, who knows what I might have accomplished?!

Looking forward to next weeks challenge!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

50's Night at AWANA

Last week the kids AWANA club had 50's Night. They all dressed up like they were going to a Sock Hop.  We checked out the thrift stores for skirts, but didn't find anything for Ellie.  We also checked out my Mom's house, because she made a bunch of poodle skirts years ago for her job.  We had no luck.

We researched the 1950's and clothing online.  Then I started searching through my material.  A bunch of my material was from my Mom's leftovers.  As I was searching, I came across half of a pink cut out poodle skirt!  Then I found the other half!  Well, I only needed half, because they were adult size and Ellie is not adult size yet.  So, I sewed up the side together then rolled down the top and made a casing for elastic.  I had Ellie search for poodle silhoettes.  She printed her favorite and I cut it out of black felt.  Then I sewed on the poodle by hand (why by hand? I don't know!).  Then I found a length of gold beading that my grandmother had given me.  I cut that and glued it on with hot glue for the poodles collar.

These are the leftovers.

I found my almost-like-saddle shoes, my pink sweater with my intial embroidered on it and a black and white polk-a-dot scraf.  Here is Ellie's finished look:

Wyatt was even easier to fix up.  Aren't boys usually easier in the clothes department?  We did have to go to Walmart (nothing at the thrift store, again), because my son doesn't wear jeans.  He wear slacks and sports pants.  He also didn't own a white shirt, because they usually get stained.  I explained to him how he had to roll up his pants and his shirt sleeves; and he (and Ellie) had to tuck in his shirt.  Not tucking in his shirt would have been sloppy and just not done in the 1950's.  We bought some "wet look" gel  to "grease" his hair with.  I think he looks pretty cute as a greaser.  He promised to dress up like this when we go on our date (and he did!).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Making Your Home a Haven: Week 2

This weeks Making Your Home a Haven Challenge was to keep lighting the candle and also add playing soft music in your home.  I'm glad Courtney clarified that she wasn't specifying classical music necessarily, but more mood setting music.  I like classical, but I am really more of an oldies (original rock 'n' roll) kind a girl.

Our favorite music right now is by the God Rocks!.  I know the cd covers look like a children's cartoon.  Definitely not music that grown ups are going to like!  Wrong!  God Rocks Bibletoons actually is a children's cartoon.  A children's cartoon with Bible lessons mixed in, where Bible verses are set to music that reminds you of Elvis, the Beach Boys, and the Beetles.  Anyway, I LOVE singing and hiding God's word in my heart.  The picture is of my God Rocks! music collection. I own all their cds.  I'm also teaching their curriculum in my Sunday School class.

The kids even put on one of my God Rocks! cds when I was working on staining our deck.  I was so proud.  I was listening to my music outside on my mp3 player with speakers.

Music makes such a difference in our lives.  If you've ever switched listening from popular music to Christian music, I'm sure you can attest to a positive change in your attitude.  I know making the switch made a difference for me when I was in 8th grade.  And at times I went back to listening to more popular music, but I didn't like the mood it put me in.  I do still occasionally listen to other music, but 90% or more of my listening is Christian music.  Be careful little ears what you hear!

I'm still not lighting my candle, but just using the candles as a reminder to pray for my home and family.  Honestly, I really haven't needed the candle.  Last week has gotten me on a roll. I've been pretty much a pray anytime anywhere person for a long time (or at least it feels like a long time), but I've been more conscience of my praying since last week and that has just spilled over into this week. 

Praying anytime, all the time, any where and every where reminds me of last Friday's episode of Faithville.  Speaking of kids shows that are really great adult shows, if you haven't seen Faithville, you should check it out.  Faithville is a program set in the 40's with actors (vs. the God Rocks! Bibletoons) and is really a series on discipleship.  The last program I watched the newest neighbor in Faithville could not believe that people were praying in public!  One of the greatest things about adding the digital boxes to our old television sets was getting the Smile of a Child network, a Christian network where we found God Rocks! and Faithville.

I'm really enjoying this challenge.  Next week is de-cluttering...and boy do I need some of that!

Friday, October 15, 2010

What's In Your Closet? Homemakers Challenge

This weeks Homemakers Challenge was to create three new outfits and not spend any money doing it.  You could use those unknown treasures in the back of your closet, trade clothes with someone else, or find another creative way to make new outfits for nothing.  Well, I found a way to get one new item for nothing. Honestly, it was the best part of the challenge for me. 

I found this purse on sale at Walmart for $5.00.  I had an art set I had bought for myself from Walmart and never used.  So, I bought the purse and returned the art set!  Purse is now free!  I am really picky about my purses.  They always end up heavy, and I have scoliosis, so I am not packing a heavy purse on one arm. I love backpack purses, but they make the skin on my shoulders break out.  That means I have to have a purse that goes across my chest.  The purse I had been using was denim and packed full was round and looked frumpy all by itself.  This is taller and flatter and holds things stiff.  It also has a pocket on the side to hold my cell phone!

My first outfit includes a black t-shirt that I wear all the time.  I mostly like to wear black t-shirts with pearls and dark jeans.  I paired the t-shirt with my stone washed denim, that I usually leave as "back up" jeans in the bottom of my closet shelf.  I don't think I've ever owned anything completely orange (besides a 01 General Lee t-shirt)  until my friend Brandy gave me this sweater for my birthday this year.  I had not worn it till today.  This is my "date night" outfit.  Tonight was Daddy-Daughter date night and Mommy-Son date night.  Which meant Wyatt got to be my photographer for most of these pictures.  He got a little wild on some of them, and not all of them are in perfect focus.  But thanks to my little photographer, because otherwise I would have had to set up the tripod and set the timer.  I wore my favorite black boots.  I haven't worn them much in the past couple of years, but I really like them.
Is orange my color?  I don't know.

I just like this one, even though I'm looking down.

Here's one with the new purse!

This is better of the deck than me, but you can see the boots better than the other pictures.
 Wyatt helped me with the rest of my outfits.  Except for this one.  The manager at my part-time job was cleaning out her closet and asked if I wore dresses.  I do, so she passed me on some of her old ones.  And I do mean old ones, we are talking some vintage 80's dresses.  This was the best one.  Actually, I really like it.  It is a shirt style dress with pockets!  I love dresses with pockets!  I changed up my glasses for this dress, too.  The boots are some old ones again.  I love boots, especially with dresses. Red is my favorite color.  The belt is an old.  Wyatt actually did pick that out for me.  I had elastic belts like that when I was a kid in the 80's.

Outfit number three is from the reaches of my closet.  The jean skirt is one I bought on sale because I thought it was cute and my sister had made one from old jeans of hers like this.  Then I never wore it.  Well, I wore it once to church.  The sweater is old, too. I pulled it out this last week for Ellie to wear to 50's night at AWANA.  I don't wear my penny loafers very often, but the loafers kind of gave this a 50's look.  I took the belt off the skirt that came with it and I might actually wear it like this.

I have a bonus outfit because my photographer and fashion consultant did not approve of the red dress.  He really liked this outfit with the bracelet he made for me a year or two ago and the scarf he took off a different shirt.  The pants are hand-me-downs from my sister, that I'm pretty sure she got at the thrift store.  They are old J-Crew, polyester and plaid (hard to see in the picture), but really pretty comfy and a nice length.  I paired them with the penny loafers, too. I love my white button up shirt, but I don't wear any white shirts very often because I get stains on them...or the children stain me.  I didn't like scarf at first, but Wyatt really liked it and it does look good in the pictures.

So, the thing I learned from this challenge is that I need some exercise.  I was looking at this pictures and at myself in the mirror.  I don't have the good excuse the Amy Bayliss has for having extra pounds... an adorable new baby boy.  So, Amy, if/when you read this, here's my idea for the next challenge:  Making a Routine for Exercise...or something like that!  I think the ladies at my church are starting a Zumba class and I'm a bit nervous about joining a group of ladies to exercise, but I'm thinking these pictures are making me a lot more needy and less nervous.

Thanks to my two photographers, my sweet kids, Ellie and Wyatt.

Encourage me judges!

Mice or Rats?

My husband informed me this morning that we needed to buy some sticky traps because we had a little mouse in one (a sticky trap we already had)  in the garage and he saw a big mouse that the cat was not going after.  Well, all day from time to time I heard squeaking noises coming from the corner of the garage.  Mice seriously creep me out, so I was not investigating.  I did see a little one, baby looking, that appeared to be dead near the garage door.  I decided to leave it for my dear, darling, wonderful, manly husband to deal with because he would be home soon.  Well, when he got home, he pulled everything out of that corner of the garage and discovered SEVEN baby mice.  Well, he and the kids think they are mice.  My first thought was that they are field mice from the field across our driveway, but they seem awfully big to me.  I don't know, they could be rats.  Ellie and I looked up images of baby rats and mice on the net and there is not a big difference in the pictures.  Yuck, yuck, yuck! 

I took a picture because the kids decided they were cute, and not so creepy.  They chased away our dog when she tried to go after them.  Then they put them in a shoe box out by the tree we always take pictures at in front of our house. 

I told my mom about them, and she suggested taking them way back to the back of our property (six acres). I suggested that to Thomas and the kids.  They agreed it would be good to let them be free and whatever happened to them in nature would happen.  Wyatt thought it was good to give them a chance at life and not just kill them our let the dog eat them.  He was speaking so eloquently about the creatures, I was moved by his compassion and slightly less grossed out by the rodents (though I'm still grossed out).

Our garage is cleaner and neater than it's ever been.  I guess the momma rodent decided we would make a good place to deliver her babies.  I hope the dog and cat keep any other mommas away.

Thomas was threatening to get another cat, because ours wasn't mousing anymore.  The cat tried to redeem himself though.  While I was staining the under side of our new deck, our cat brought a nice fat shrew over to show me and chew on a bit.  I think sometimes that  he's offering to share when he brings his kill over like that.

Well, life couldn't get much more basic than that.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Misty Cupcake: The Cupcake Challenge

I'm participating in Amy Bayliss's Homemaking Challenge.  Her first challenge is to create a unique cupcake that tells us about who you are.  I've been brainstorming all week!  My first idea, with a little help from my daughter was a Surprise M&M cupcake (M&M was my self-given nickname in 6th grade).  Then I thought of a Peanut Butter and Banana Surprise cupcake (you know, for Elvisgirl, like Elvis and his Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches...which are pretty yummy!).  Then I thought about making something that I already had all the ingredients for and included a couple of things I really love:  Chocolate and Strawberry Cupcakes.  Well, the more I was thinking, the more I thought that none of those was really me.  I do enjoy cooking and creating the occasional new recipe, but words are really my ingredients.

                                                        Misty Cupcake
                                                          by Misty aka Elvisgirl

M is for Mother.  I've always wanted to be a mother, as long as I can remember. 
                             I am so thankful for my two children. 
                            As much as I knew about being a mother, I really knew so little. 
                            My children and my God teach me every day.
I is for Ice Cream.  I love ice cream.
                               I love to eat ice cream.
                               I love to make ice cream.
                               I love to share ice cream.
S is for Sister.  I am the oldest child in my family. 
                        I have a younger brother and a younger sister.
                        I am a sister in Christ to many people!
                        I call my daughter Sister
                            (like Sister Bear from the Berenstain Bears),
                                     she is my sister in Christ.
T is for Teacher.  My teachers always told me what a good teacher I would be.
                           I couldn't imagine teaching a bunch of other peoples children.
                           I LOVE teaching my own children. 
                           I am a mom, a homeschool mom, a home educator.
                           I am also a Sunday School teacher.

Y is for Young.  Ha, ha!  I'm starting to feel my age...33 and nine days.
                         I've had three gray hairs now!
                         I still like to have fun.
                         My kids think I am cool.
                         I hope I always stay young at heart.

C is for Christ follower.  I've been a Christian since I was seven years old.
                                      I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home.
                                      Having evolution taught exclusively
                                                  in Biology class was really challenging.
                                      For years, I tried to make evolution mesh with the Bible,
                                                  but that doesn't work.
                                      I am freer in Christ now than ever,
                                                  by truth in Bible and the evidence of science.
U is for Up Late.  I've always been a night owl.
                             My Daddy worked the night shift most of my life.
                             I enjoy the nighttime ( I like the daytime, too, though). 
                             I'm up late writing this.
P is for Patient.  The ladies at work are always saying how patient I am
                                              with difficult people.
                           I've really had to pray a lot for patience.
                           People are funny and think that just because I homeschool,
                                             I was born with patience.
                           I thank the God for the Holy Spirit
                                             who works in me to produce the fruit of patience.
                           Galatians 5:22 "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace,
                                             patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
                              gentleness, and self control, against such things there is no law."
C is for Chalk.  I ate chalk last year in the Nutrition Class
                                            that I taught at our homeschool co-op.
                         The purpose was to encourage the kids
                                         to really examine things and not just believe things
                                         were good food because advertisements said so,
                                         or because people ate them.
                          The funny thing was,
                                         a bunch of the class wanted to try eating chalk.
                          Chalk doesn't taste bad; it is calcium carbonate.
A is for American.  I am proud to be an American.
                               I am a patriot.
                               I enjoy studying American History
                                           and acting it out as a Civil War reinactor.
                               I got married on the 4th of July.
K is for Karaoke.  My kitchen is 50's Diner Style.
                              My karaoke machine looks like a Juke Box.
                              The only thing that would be more me
                                             in doing the "cupcake" this way is if I sang it.
                              I love to sing in the kitchen!
E is for Elvisgirl.  I got special permission from my teacher in my
                                            American History 101 class,
                                            to do my term paper (for high school/college credit)
                                            on Elvis Presley.
                            I had to prove that I wasn't just doing a biography,
                                            but American Historical significance.
                            That earned me the nickname Elvis,
                                            which I changed to Elvisgirl in college.

I think that after that, whoever reads this, knows me a little better.  I am a crazy woman and am participating in two challenges at once.  I was helping my hubby stain our new deck tonight and didn't get around to blogging when I hoped.  I didn't want to be a non-participant in Amy's first challenge; so here lies my "cupcake" and I'm linking up!  I don't appear to have missed the deadline.  Best wishes to all.  I look forward to visiting every ones cupcake entries and getting to know you all, too!

P.S.-I had to add that I know this not very homemaker-y, but I promise to do better next time! 

Making Your Home a Haven Challenge Week 1

This month, I'm participating in Courtney's Fall Challenge over at Women Living Well: "Making Your Home A Haven." For week one we were to buy an extra large candle and light the candle everyday and when the candle catches your eye, say a prayer for peace in your home.
I really liked the idea of this challenge and it seemed pretty simple. Sometimes my house feels like total chaos and some peace sounds really good. I already had the perfect candle. The cutest yellow candle with a fall leaf base that a former teacher gave to me when she visited my home. The candle was so special, I had put it away and never used it. Well, the first thing I hear from my dear son is "That stinks." But every time I looked at the candle on Monday, I said a prayer for peace in our home. And the peace in our home was challenged yesterday. Not to mention the fact that the candle would not stay lit. I just gave up and used it as a reminder to pray, lit or not.

Today, I tried a different candle, one my Mom gave me, that smells like a strawberry rubarb pie (I'd only used it once). It smelled wonderful, but that candle did not stay lit either. I'm not going to stop though. I'm going to keep lighting the candle and keep praying whether the candle stays lit or not. Again, the peace in our home was challenged. I've worked for years on my temper and I was really thankful these past two days that I was able to deal with the challenges with patience, peacefulness, gentleness, and self control. I know that at other times in my life I would have responded in anger. Instead, I've been peaceful and able to use the scriptures for training, teaching and correcting (2 Timothy 3:16).

So, I've especially been thinking about the fruit of the spirit. When I was younger I don't think I realized that Galatians 5:22  referred to the fruit of the Holy Spirit within us, I'm pretty sure I was thinking the reference was to the human spirit. Wow, I know now that I couldn't get along and produce such awesome fruit without the Holy Spirit. That reminds me of a sermon I heard on the radio recently. The pastor was saying "The Christian walk is not difficult, the Christian life is not's IMPOSSIBLE."; and the Christian walk is impossible without Christ living in us (Philippians 4:13).
Well, the rest of the week was pretty much the same.  I gave up on lighting the candle, and just used it as a visual reminder to pray for peace in our home.  The candle reminded me of a story my sister was reading me out of Christian book for young moms (I'd actually picked it up for her, but it had great info in it for moms at any stage of raising children).  The story was about how this mom was sad a frustrated that she didn't have time for her morning quiet time with God, she misses her time with Him.  As the story goes on, God talks to her and tells her that she may time have the hour or whatever she had uninterupted before, but she does have moments throughout the day.  So she began to use the quiet moments changing a diaper to thank God for the changes he'd made in her life, washing things for washing her clean of her sins.  She began to feel refueled in those small moments throughout the day.  That is kind of what the candle did for me, made me be more aware of the moments throughout the day that I can use to pray for my family.

I'm really looking forward to the rest of this challenge!
Galatians 5:22 "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, against such things there is no law."

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness."
You can read about the other ladies who are participating in the challenge Women Living Well.  We're all linked up on the Week 1 post from Courtney, which is well worth a read!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Farewell to Summer... and Spring

I haven't written much this summer. Feels like we've been sick the whole time. I know it wasn't, but then it almost was. I was sick for almost two weeks (not bed ridden the whole time, but kind of crummy feeling. Then Ellie was sick. Then Thomas was sick, and Wyatt got sick while Thomas was sick. Everyone ran a fever, except for Ellie. And everyone was crummy feeling for over a week.... So there went our summer.  Needless to say, I have not accomplished what I planned to accomplish this summer.

I feel like I'm moving in slow motion. Although anyone who looks at my calendar would say I'm overbooked and that's why I can't get anything done. Nah, if everyone would stay well and the family would stay on top of their chores (or rather get back to them, after being sick), then I think we'd be in pretty good shape.

So, as all our regular "school year" activities are beginning again, I'll bid our "summer" farewell and not dwell on that which was missed.  I haven't written much over the end of Spring and most of Summer, so this will be a re-cap.

In May, the kids and I reenacted at the Civil War Kids Days.

Also in May, the kids finished their first year in AWANA. Ellie completed her first Truth and Training Book and Wyatt completed two Sparkys books. Their Bible memory has inspired me, and helping them memorize their verses is helping me to hide God's word in my heart, too.

In June, Ellie became a member of the Sonshine Girls, a new, local, Christian Girls Club. They have  monthly meetings.  They have pins with beads that they earn for learning things like cake decorating, horses, etiquette, and more.  They do community service, camping, and have a mother-daughter-grandmother tea party planned.  Each month they memorize a new Bible verse and earn beads for that, too.  Here's Ellie with her cake:

On our anniversary we saw the Bellamy Brothers in concert as a family.  The kids fell asleep on the way there.
Aw!  My cute little babies.

Gimme a Redneck Girl...

Thomas and I went to see the Bryan Brother's play World Team Tennis for our 11th Anniversary date. Thomas played in multiple tournaments and came home with "hardware" from each one. Also in July, the kids participated in Cow Appreciation Day at Chik-Fil-A.  I made their costumes.

What we did do was Summer Reading Programs at both our county and the county north of us. Which kept us hopping with cool programs at the library, book checkouts, and lots of reading.  It's not often you get to see a lion cub at the library.  This baby had the most beautiful blue eyes!

Our church did a Vacation Bible School on Sundays during Sunday School and Worship Service. I helped out at the registration table each week (except when the boys were both sick one weekend) and met a lot of new people who came to church. Our family did cookie deliveries for the church for second time visitors; we had a lot of fun meeting new people and families that way, too.

We had dinner with friends quite a few times.

The kids and I went to see Annie, the musical, with my sister and her oldest daughter. Our friends from church were in the musical, and my sister's step-niece was also in the show.

We celebrated our extended family's birthdays and anniversaries.

My friend, Colleen, and I got geared up for the Homeschool Support Group that we started. Our first meeting was in August, and we now have seventeen families! Which I think is an amazing start for a new group.  Next month I'm going to speak on Homeschooling on a Budget.

We sold our old red 1988 suburban.  Bye, bye Old Red (formerly Big Red).  Then we bought a newer Chevy pickup.

From April to August Ellie lost her 9th, 10th and 11th teeth.

My sister cut Ellie's hair and my hair.  Here are some before and after pictures:

Lighting was not so good, but I love that smile!

Aunt Sarah with the scissors!

She really likes her hair short...  she cuts it like this every time it gets past her shoulders, but then she decides she needs to grow it out again.

This picture makes me miss my long hair!

This is why I  have forehead wrinkles.  Why must I do that?

This is just funny.  Seriously, I have to do something about that chin.  I'm thinking that creepy  5 or 10 lbs needs to creep away again... no, I know, I need to get around to adding PE back to the school schedule and work on my ice cream and chocolate addictions.

We put siding on the house.  Thomas and his friend built us a new deck!  After 10 years of living here, we finally have a deck that is level with my patio door.  Hurray! I'm still painting the basement....and the foundation.  Thomas is getting ready to stain and waterproof the deck.

I finally made plum preserves.  Although, I wound up throwing some of the plums out.  I should have gotten around to it sooner, or frozen them. 

This month I got a  new-to-me SUV, a GMC Envoy.  It's really fun, because I haven't got to pick out a vehicle since I was 15 and got my S10 Blazer.  I'll be really glad to have a 4-wheel drive this winter again.  We won't have to share the old suburban in the winter anymore.

I went with the Sonshine Girls on their camping trip last weekend.  I slept in a tent for the first time in MANY years.  When I got home, I had to use liniment on my neck and shoulders.  Ellie and I, and all the group, except for the leaders two girls, went geocaching for the first time.  It's kind of a treasure hunt with clues from a GPS download.  We found two out three of the geocaches.  

While we were gone, the boys (Thomas and Wyatt) bought a picnic table for me!  Yea!  I have wanted one for a long time.  My Dad and Mom put the table together (mostly Dad, says Mom) while they were here with the kids yesterday.

I know I'm about a week late, but WELCOME AUTUMN!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thank you God, for pictures!

I'm so thankful!  When I'd all but given up on recovering my lost pictures, my dear hubby tried the memory stick in the computer again and got it to work long enough to transfer the pictures to the desktop.  While he left it transferring, the memory stick died again!  But not before he got all my missing pictures back for me.  I knew I was waiting too long to try to get something done, but I hadn't given up hope.  I didn't want to send the disk away somewhere and the only "local" place was an hour away... in not the neighborhood you want to go to by yourself, or with children.  Anyway, I kept putting it off, and I'm glad I did.  :)  Thank you, God, for letting me have my pictures back.

Here are a couple of birthday pictures that I was really sad to be missing:
Poor Ellie, I couldn't find the birthday candles (they were in the trunk of my car from when I'd celebrated birthdays in the park with my friends in September... I found them when I cleaned out the trunk) and we didn't have a 9, so Ellie held the 6 upside down before we lit it.  Oh, that is a sad moment in motherhood.

Wyatt birthday cupcake tower/cake in New Mexico, at his cousins house, because his birthday is the same week as Thanksgiving.  He hated that haircut.  The hair dresser messed up and cut it shorted then the guys asked for.

It's My Birthday!

Thirty-three must be a magic year. My brother called to "tell me I was old".  Honestly, I can't remember the last time my brother wished me a Happy Birthday, so I will take it!  My sister and her three girls came to hang out with me this afternoon.  I managed to catch almost all my birthday calls.  My sister took some pictures of me.  I have been wanting to update my blog picture, since I've had new glasses for a year now.  I can't decide which picture I like...or if I want to wait and take one closer to the blog anniversary. 

I told my sister that I look like I have a double chin in some of them.  She said, no you don't.  So, I'm being brave and posting them.  While she was taking pictures, she was looking through the camera and at one moment she said, "You look like Mom."  Which I take as a compliment, I've always thought my mom was pretty.  It's funny though sometimes, when you look in the mirror and see your mother staring back at you. 

Last night was parent night at AWANA and I got to go.  I was sitting on a chair with Ellie and one of the girls at  her table said, "Is that your mom?  I thought she was your sister!".  I told Ellie that people used to say that to me and my Mom all the time, actually sometimes they still do.

So these are my birthday pictures.  Should I use one of these for my profile picture?  Which one?

I like how green my eyes look in this one.  The color is truer, but I'm thinking I should have adjusted it, because I look paler than I do in real life.

This looks like my skin tone.  This is similar to the one Ellie took of my for my profile picture almost 2 years ago.  Only the lighting is better and I still think that I look like I have double chin.  :(

The coloring is kind off crazy in this one with the sun shining on me and  bit of shadow.  Changing my shirt to a pink color might have affected that too.  I like my chin in this one.  :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Treaure Hunt

This kids needed some motivation today and I needed to see some better attitudes with their schoolwork.  I still have most of my old toys, well preserved.  I didn't get a lot of stuff (at least not compared to some kids), but my parents taught me to take good care of my stuff.  Anyway, they like my old toys.  So, we made a bargain.  Ellie could have one of my old Cabbage Patch Dolls and Wyatt could have three of my old Hot Wheels.  Not the best bargain on original cost, but they were both happy.  I was happy, too; I saw instant attitude changes.

The Cabbage Patch Dolls that I was going to show Ellie were in a plastic container in our storage room in the basement.  It took me a while to remember where I'd put them.  I have a lot of stuff in there!  Especially since I am still painting the basement and I keep shoveling things in there to get them out of the way.  (I so need to concentrate and eliminate, as my Aunt June would say, when I get done with the painting projects.)  Wyatt got my Russian Cabbage Patch Doll, because he had been promised one of my boy dolls when I gave Ellie my My Child doll.  So, his deal was a little sweeter.  Well, in finding the doll container, I found an identical container that held some of my tiny doll like miniature Strawberry Shortcake Baby, some of my paper dolls, coloring books, folders.

The real exciting finds were in my books.  I found the Young Writers book from my elementary school.  I was "published" in it in 5th grade.  It was so exciting to be chosen for the book.  It's just a bunch of facsimiles (remember those?!) bound together with a comb binder, like the "books" I make for my kids at home, but I'm so excited I found my winning story!  I thought it had been thrown away over the years, lost forever.  I also found a SuperMag that my neighbor (about 5 years older than me) had given me.  I thought I'd gotten rid of all of them.  Wyatt found one at a thrift store and was so excited to ad this one to his collection. I found my Helen Keller book that I had just about convinced myself was not mine, but a library book, because I couldn't find it here or at my mom & dad's house (or that it was just lost forever, too... I should've known they were together!).  I found all those fun books we pulled out and stapled together in elementary school.  I can't wait for the kids to read them.  I found a stack of Wee Wisdom Children's magazines that I didn't even remember keeping and a couple other books that I don't remember reading.  Books are definitely treasure to me.  My Bible is the best treasure, but these other books are pretty special, like finding old friends.

Well, I'm off to read my kids The Not So Wonderful Step Sister by Me in the 5th grade!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Making Your Home A Haven: Fall Challenge

Okay, hopefully I am doing this right.  Almost two years into this blogging thing and I have still not figured everything out.  Courtney over at Women Living Well  has set out a Fall Challenge.  Each week there is something new to do to make your home a haven.  You can check out the list and instructions to join the challenge over at Courtney's site, but I'll give a short explanation here.

Week 1 is a candle lit everyday and a prayer for peace in your home every time you look at the candle.  Week 2 adds soft music and remembering to use peaceful words and have peaceful relationships.
Week 3 adds cleaning up clutter and thinking about what clutters up your spiritual life.
Week 4 adds tender moments with your family, ah, cuddles!
Week 5 (final week)  adds pleasant aromas from the kitchen.

The Bible verse for the challenge is John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."