Monday, March 30, 2015


February.  What a dreary sound.  Some people may think of  LOVE and HEARTS.  All I can think of  is just how much longer there is of winter!  And what about that stupid GROUNDHOG!?!?!  He ALWAYS sees his shadow.  Grr!  In fact, this year I have NO idea just how that rodent saw a shadow!  It was pretty cloudy here.  It's all a sham, folks! 

And then there was the sickness, a horrible sinus infection lasting upwards of two weeks in which I lost my voice for a few days (which if you know me at all, you know that is torture for me LOL)!  Ugh!  Followed a week later by the worst migraine I've had in nine years.  So I spent quite a bit of time  like the picture below...

In my JAMMIES, with some tea, reading a book!

So not ALL of February was bad (even if I was sick)!  We celebrated the Sammy Boy's Birthday!  What a hoot!  He had a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse birthday, and Danielle had these adorable cupcakes that looked like Mickey ears.  Skyeler bought Sammy a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse tool set.  Aly got this picture of Sammy in the hat, safety goggles, and drill.  The goggles were the best LOL!  Aly 

I wasn't the only one sick in February!  Cheryl was too!  Yet she loaded up the boys and came down for a visit over the President's Day weekend!  Yaroo!  She is MUCH better at sucking it up than I am.  I am a wimp and a baby.  (And proud of it)!  So they came, and we vegged, um I mean sat, in our office...aka the couch...for the whole time.  Well, except when she drug me (read guilted me) out in freezing cold wind chills to go to the thrift store.  Though she did reward me with Starbucks :)

They Yahoo's found ways to keep themselves occupied, they always do!  But first we have to mention a truly MOMENTOUS occasion!  Are you ready for it?  Skyeler drove ALL of them to get donuts!  It's the first time Skye has driven the Yahoo's anywhere!  God is good and brought them all back in one piece :)  

Our favorite donut shop is AWESOME!  Bryce was dying to have their Maple Bacon Donut.  He posted it on Instagram LOL!  With other flavors like Oreo Cream-filled and Creamsicle,  and the best Long mouth is watering just typing about it!  

Bryce also was not feeling great.  He only went outside with Aly and Carter for a little bit.  Aly is obsessed with climbing trees (even when it's freezing outside).  After hearing Bryce say that Aly said she needed help, I was a little worried about what kind of help.  Sometimes Aly needing help means that she may be hanging upside down from the tree!  So I get out of the "office" and go peek outside the front door.  What do I find?  This...

I'm not sure they are appropriately using the garbage can :)
And they wonder why we call them Yahoos!

They also played a lot of a game Bryce brought, Last Word, as well as consumed not only donuts, but Valentine's candy, Starbucks frapps, and Uncle Dan made them Fried Oreos.  All in one day!  I am thrilled that they still enjoy getting together so much!  We always have fun, even when we are sick!

February is also Oscar's month.  I kind of unknowingly started a tradition where we watch these every year.  Skyeler has taken the tradition a bit further.  She sees it as a time to stock up on all of her favorite candy to enjoy while watching the Oscar's.  We were not as familiar with this year's movies so it took some of the fun out of it.  I actually went to bed early.  But the candy was enjoyed either way :)

The snow finally started falling in February, though for most of it it was too freezing cold to get out in it, much to Aly's dismay.   In fact, Skyeler had a whole week off work due to snow and below zero wind chills.  Dan was sick that week with the stomach flu and so we spent the week holed up in our electric blankets watching episode after episode of 24!  At the very end of the month, we finally got a snowfall that was not also accompanied by the bitter wind chills, and Aly went out to build.  Last year she made a Dalek Snowman.  This year she was going to try and make a Cyberman but the snow just wasn't the good packing type.  

My Bible reading was a bit sporadic this month due to all the sickness.  And my devotional book that I've been using didn't have the gems this month that it had so often had in previous months.  I did start getting caught up on my reading of the New Testament.  The church is reading through the New Testament in 2015, and I was a bit behind.  I made great strides catching up this month and hope to be fully caught up by the end of March.  Reading the Book of John and Acts much like a short story helped me.  I realized that more often than not I read for depth, but in doing so I miss some of the flow of the context.  It's been good for me.  

I don't think I added anything new to my Bible Journal in February.  Not good! But if I would have, I would have added this quote I found in my Well-Planned Day Planner.  I found it to be profound...

"People do not drift toward holiness.  Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord.  We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith.  We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated."   -D.A. Carson

I find this more and more common in our youth today, and surprisingly, I'm also beginning to see this among adult Christians.  Why we feel the need to step away from God's Word, and try and make God and the church like the world, cater to the world, I don't know.  I suppose it is because we are children of sin.  And sin  is "fun" and "easy."  Lining ourselves up to Christ is hard.  I sometimes feel that I'm hanging on by a thread to all that many would call just "tradition" of church.  But I see our time in church  as so much more.  A disciplined life, a giving up of my time, a respect for God's Word, showing my children that God comes first.  I continue to struggle to get my daily Bible reading and Prayer life in balance, but I pray that I will grow in the continuing and come forth as gold.  

Here's looking forward to March and Spring!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Musings of a Bookworm

I participate each year in a 52 Books in 52 Weeks book challenge with a wonderful group of ladies via an online message board.  Pretty much I view my books as my friends, I like to revisit them often, rarely straying out of my comfort zone reading of fantasy and Regency romance.  Over the last few years that I have been participating in this challenge, I have stepped out of my comfort zone a few times and broadened my horizons.  There are always way more books to read than I have time for.   

This year myself and a few friends (in real life LOL) are going to start getting together each month to share what we've been reading.  I'm really excited about this as Robin and I have been discussing doing this for a long time.  I'm looking forward to our first get together in February!

January was a slow reading month for me!  Getting ready for my scrapbook weekend with Cheryl took some time, as well as The Princess Bride becoming a longer read than I thought possible!   Here's what I've finished, though, along with a short review.

As You Wish by Cary Elwes was a perfect book to start off the New Year!  I was so excited that Dan bought it for me for Christmas.  It was not only humorous but touching as well. I thought he wrote with a captivating voice.  Robin said Greg just listened to it on audio, and it was read by Cary Elwes.  I was thinking last night that I might just pick that up and listen to it again!  He really did a great job of pulling you into the making of the movie, making you feel like you were there and that you were just one of the family. My favorite parts were Andre’s fart, Chris Guest, hitting Westley on the head (and sending Carey to the ER), and Cary sharing his "As You Wish" moment with his grandfather.  I have a new appreciation for some of the movie scenes, especially the two mentioned above.  I can say that the work that he and Mandy Patinkin did to prepare for the duel at the top of the Cliffs of Insanity was unreal!  That whole scene was done by the two of them in its entirety (well, minus the acrobatic flips on that bar). What an impressive feat!  I can't wait until my family reads this so we can talk about it, though I have to admit to not being able to keep myself from sharing the part about Chris Guest knocking Cary out.  I rarely read non-fiction, so not only did I start my year with a non-fiction book, but I'm rating it EXCELLENT! A MUST READ! for any fan of The Princess Bride.

Next, I read The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami.  Murukami was the author of the month in my Book a Week group.  I loved the typewriter font and felt the physical book itself was a great little package.  However, it was a strange tale. I didn't find it terribly spooky or creepy, though, and I'm a wimp.  When I finished it, I thought, "That's it!?!"  Where was the rest of the story?  Was I missing some profound meaning?  Was the girl actually the boy’s beloved starling?  I actually had a theory halfway through the book about what was going on but was not even close.  After mulling it over for a day, I think that many short stories are abrupt, leaving questions unanswered.  It doesn't make me want to read one of his chunksters (especially since I don't think they are PG), though I found his writing easy to read.  I would hate to put that much time into a book that is 7x the size and still come out with that unsettled, unfinished feeling.  I'm glad to say that I read a Murakami, even though it's a short one.  INTERESTING but the absence of a concrete ending leaves it lacking for me!  

I was excited to read The Princess Bride by William Goldman after finishing As You Wish.  However, it took forever to read!!  I don't know if I'm disappointed in the book or in the fact that it took such a long time!  Days later I still had mixed feelings.  While I enjoyed the actual story of The Princess Bride, I did not enjoy Goldman's narrator voice.  No matter how many times I told myself that Goldman's interruptive narrations were fictional, I still found myself thinking they were real.  Ugh.  That was so annoying.  I also found Buttercup a little vague and insipid.  Robin Wright did a great job of giving her balance and spunk in the movie.  I love princesses and fairy tales, and happily ever after, but some of the interactions between Buttercup and Westley were over the top.  On a positive note, as far as the fairy tale part of it goes, it was a fun read.  I liked getting the back story on Fezzig and Inigo.  The Zoo of Death was an interesting, and intense, part that they left out of the movie.  Although I'm glad I read it, the movie was far superior to the book!  I would categorize this as an OK read but I’m not sure I would recommend it.  Skip to the movie!

Per the recommendation of the Book a Week girls, I picked up and finished Neil Gaiman’s Fortunately, the Milk.  It was cute.  I think that Madi and Makenna will enjoy it as a read aloud.  This was my third Gaiman.  I read The Graveyard Book last year, and Stardust a few years ago.  I can’t say that he is my favorite writer but I certainly applaud his unique stories and creativity!  When you pick up one of his books, it’s like you know that you are not going to get a formulaic story.  I appreciate that.  In fact, The Graveyard Book still floats its way into my mind now and again.  I think I may have liked it better than I thought.  But back to the milk!  I chuckled at the reference to the pink pony with a pale blue star.  Obviously the author is familiar with the My Little Pony craze J   And the image of the nice, handsome, misunderstood wumpire also gave a chuckle.  All in all definitely a CUTE book that is a great read for the kids!

Sometimes I have a favorite quote or two from a book.  This quote reminded me of Matt Smith's Doctor.  I could see him saying this!  Favorite quote:  “We have spoons.  Spoons are excellent.  Sort of like forks, only not as stabby.”

Co-op Ramblings

Our little co-op has taken on a different look these days.  Since it is now down to only four of us, I suppose we could call it just getting together.  But I stubbornly refuse!   Really, though, 
co-op is cruising along, and we are settling in to our different look.  

Sammy adores going to co-op!  I mentioned in a previous post that we bought Sammy a Spiderman backpack for co-op.  Unfortunately, I could not get a good picture of the backpack, but here is Sammy more than ready to go to co-op!  He starts asking to leave as soon as he realizes that Aly and I are there in the mornings.  I think he might push Madi and Makenna out the door early if he could.

Our first co-op of January was cancelled do to ice, so this day was a make-up day.   We had only a partial schedule and then lunch out at Chick-fil-a (yeah!)  Today in science Priscilla and Aly built a well from the K'Nex Simple Machines Wheels, Axels, and Inclined Planes set.  I had purchased this to go along with one of their Physical Science chapters.  There was so much information contained on the teacher's disc that came with the kit!  Originally, I had planned for them to build more than one model from the kit, but between the actual building time and the extras on the teacher's disc, well, we ran out of time.  We are thinking of setting aside a separate day just to dive headlong into the whole kit.

After the well was built, Priscilla and Aly did some experiments.  Eleanor and Sammy were having a snack, well Sammy was having "elevenses" like a hobbit as he had already had breakfast and second breakfast lol!  The little ones were a bit fascinated with the girls' experiment which was made funnier when Michelle found a little person in the toy bin to ride up and down in the well bucket!  Both Aly and Priscilla love the hands on aspect of science.  I love their enthusiasm!  

In Art class we began learning about value.  I've had a value lesson pinned on my Pinterest board for quite a while, just waiting for the right moment.  Which will actually be our next co-op as I found another value lesson that I thought would be a great winter project as well.  The Snowmen at Night Chalk Pastel drawing turned out lovely. We ended up using the book, Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner for our inspiration as Snowmen at Night had a huge wait list at our library!  Anyway, I was so pleased with their results!  

Aly drew on Calvin and Hobbes for inspiration for her snowmen!

Tea time was cut short today, but we were able to fit in Aly and Priscilla's I AM Poems.  I love these simple formulaic poems.  I was assigned to write one in high school, and I love how it shows personality.  Aly's is as follows...

I am a fighter and a geek
I wonder what I can unlock
I hear the typing of the keys
I see the codes of my computer
I want to break them all
I am a fighter and a geek

I pretend the enemy is easy
I feel my sword in my hand
I touch my opponent with its blade
I worry I won't hold him off
I cry when they reach my family
I am a fighter and a geek

I understand that these are dreams
I say that I will do them 
I dream about the time I will
I try to grow stronger
I hope that I'll fulfill this wish
I am a fighter and a geek

Skyeler's little pre-schoolers theme was snow today.  They read The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett, glued cotton balls on polar bears, made puffy paint snowmen (though they turned out just a bit abstract since they thought that the puffy paint should encompass the whole of the page!), and had pretend snow in their sensory bin!  As you can see the pretend snow was a HUGE hit and completely messy!  Sammy made it a full body experience LOL.  

Our second co-op day of the month dawned with a two-hour school delay!  So once again we were strapped for time.  It was our annual Pajama Day, and it couldn't have been a better day for it!  Michelle had the science experiment today which dealt with electricity.  Priscilla and Aly not only lit up a light bulb but tested different objects that they found around the church for conductivity.  They also spent some time with Aly's set of Snap Circuits.  

We moved on to our value lesson with painting this week.  Mixing colors was more difficult than I anticipated as getting a gradual increase from light to dark was a bit tricky.  Today's lesson was just to get the background painted.  Next co-op will be adding an image to the value background.  

Tea Time was a bit off kilter since we missed our first co-op of the year.  So we had poetry day again.  I assigned a project for the girls to work on for the rest of the year.  Their mission is to find a poem they like for each of the 36 poets assigned.  Since we alternate our poetry with our literature pick each month, I felt they were not getting exposed to a wide variety of poets and poetry.  I hope this assignment will broaden their horizons some.  In class we studied Haiku (which the girls were very familiar with), Lantern Poems, and Cinquains, as well as a short interactive lesson on cliches and how NOT to use them in your poetry writing.  It was Aly's turn to choose the next book to read, and she chose Sherlock Holmes.  Since there is only two weeks until our next co-op, I assigned only seven of Doyle's short stories.  I look forward to this as I haven't read any of them.

The Arctic was today's pre-school theme.  Skyeler used one of the books from her childhood (thanks Aunt Sherry), Shamu and the Adventurous Seal Pup, as the focus of their theme.  The pictures in this book are so adorable.  Sammy and Eleanor made their very own stuffed seal pup (which was a huge hit), glued marshmallows onto to a seal pup, and painted a seal pup with watercolors (very colorful that!).  We even found a special arctic snack to make, a polar bear ice cream cup!  I love having the little ones at co-op!  Skye does an amazing job with them.  

Monday, February 2, 2015


Before I begin...
This sweatshirt sums up how I feel about winter!
I really should have bought it!

"I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth."  
Luke 11:8
The first verse of the New Year to jump out at me.  
I realized that many times the next verses are the ones that get all of the attention:
"And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."  
Luke 11:9-10
So why did verse 8 jump out when everybody is talking about verses 9 & 10?  Maybe because verse 8 tells us that even though the asker is a friend, the person being asked still will not give him what he is asking for.  Wow!  The person being asked wouldn't give his friend what he was asking for BUT (or until) because of his importunity he will get up and give it to him - as much as he needs.  So what exactly was importunity?  According to to importune means to demand with urgency or persistence.  I think sometimes we forget that drive-by prayer is not the answer.  Sure verses 9-10 are important:  ask and it will be given, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened, but we need to remember that God wants us to be persistent in our prayers!   I never feel as if I have a handle on prayer.  Just how much am I supposed to ask for?  How can I be sure it is God's will when I ask?  So maybe this jumped out at me because God just wants me to be faithful and persistent and let Him do the rest.  I'm still struggling with the drive-by prayer, but now I am striving for more.

I enjoyed that quiet time New Year's morning to get into God's Word.  After ringing in the New Year the night before - why DO they call it ringing it in, for me it pretty much involves yawning it in -we were ready for the crazy pace of Christmas to be over!  New Year's Day was lovely, with twelve hours of college football and a new electric blanket to keep the cold at bay (thanks Mom and Dad!).  I do love football (and that electric blanket), and it was a good day as most of the SEC lost which made for a happy hubby.

Ok, so the crazy pace of Christmas was over but we still had some Christmas left to celebrate!  Danielle, Kenny, and the kids came over to exchange presents.  We always have so much fun that we often wonder why we don't do it more often!  The kids were crazy excited, and to be honest so were we!  Last year I did a Little House on the Prairie theme for the girls.  This year was Harry Potter, complete with books, wands, chocolate frogs, and the Wii Lego game all in the coolest trunk I found at Hobby Lobby (which I will admit to wanting to keep for myself).  Sammy's theme was Spiderman!  We got him a Spidey backpack and water bottle to take to co-op!  He kept putting ALL of his presents in his backpack.  It was so cute!  The kids were jumping around so much that most of our pictures were blurry, but here is Skye opening her present from the kids, and Aly, Madi, and Makenna cuddled up watching a movie after all the excitement was over.  

In case you haven't met the newest animal member of our family, let me introduce Everdeen.  Granny found Everdeen wandering around the hollar before Thanksgiving.  She thought that the girls and Bryce and Carter would enjoy having the bunny around for Thanksgiving week before finding a good home for him.  Well, we did find a good home for him.  With us!  Like Skyeler was not going to come home with that bunny.  Aunt Cheryl said it was divine intervention.  Skyeler had been wanting a bunny for over two years!  Well, the ornery booger has already wormed his way into our hearts so I had to include a couple pictures.

The highlight of my January was a scrapbooking weekend with Cheryl!  It had been a very long time since we had had the opportunity to get away without all those yahoos!  You wouldn't believe the shopping we got done (see picture below) with no yahoos getting antsy or accidentally pushing open dressing room doors while were are in it (ok, so that really hasn't happened for 12 years but we will never forget it LOL!).  I was excited to finally get to scrapbooking our vacation to Orlando (yes, that was 3.5 years ago, good thing I'm not anal about staying current!).  13 pages scrapbooked over the weekend!  Two more than Cheryl!  Woot woot!

In the midst of the cold, freezing days of winter, there is still beauty to be found.  A beautiful sunrise shining through the frosted windows.  The picture doesn't do the sparkling crystals proper justice.  

And what good would any blog post be without pictures of my girls?  Skyeler channeling her inner Downton Abbey, and Aly rockin' her new outfit and necklace from Aunt Cheryl.
(please excuse the quality of the pictures, obviously I seriously stink at taking them with my phone!)

Skyeler has been reading Harry Potter to Madi and Makenna (hence the Harry Potter theme for their Christmas presents).  Just last week they finished reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets so we decided to have them over for a movie night sleepover.   We watched both Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  I had no idea that it would be such an interactive experience LOL!  There was lots of wand waving and Wingardium Leviosa spells.  And Sammy was cheering louder than Hermione during the Quidditch Match!  What a blast to be able to share these with the kids.  Skyeler said it's the closest thing to experiencing it for the first time again.

So January of 2015 is behind us.  Looking back through my Bible Smashbook (thanks, Robin!) I'm reminded of something I wrote down at the beginning of the month...

"It is wise to seek God's direction daily so you know 
where to spend your time."
Jackie Wellwood, One Hundred and One More Devotions for Homeschool Moms

As I see just how fast time flies, I want to remember this quote!  I am striving to spend my time wisely and not waste a precious minute of what God has for me.