Monday, December 22, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook


For Today...
December 22, 2008

Outside my window...
it's very cold; 17 degrees with a windchill of 8. Probably the coldest weather this year and unusual for our area. The sun is trying to peek through some clouds. Maybe we'll make it to the predicted high of 29.

I am thinking...
about our friend Travis and his "home going" service today. This is a young man who taught me so much about grace and strength in the midst of your circumstances through the way he lived his short life. You can read more about his story at www.prayfortravis.com

I am thankful for...
the gift of our Savior; the gift shopping and grocery shopping being done; the gifts that are wrapped and under the tree; a childhood that included lots of Christmas traditions that I carry on with my own children today, especially when I am reminded that not everyone has those same kind of memories and traditions.

From the learning rooms...
Christmas Break!!!! Well other than some things that could be considered "Home Economics" - you know lots of help is needed and wanted in the kitchen.

From the kitchen...
This morning started with French toast for breakfast. We'll end the day with a pot of chili, which is perfect for this very cold day. For the rest of the week, we'll be working on some holiday food: cut-out and decorated sugar cookies, pralines, and orange balls (extras to share with friends), refrigerator roll recipe that will make cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning breakfast and dinner rolls for Christmas dinner, everybody's favorite finger foods for Christmas Eve dinner.
Christmas Day dinner is Chicken and Dressing Casserole, green beans, black olives, rolls, and fruit salad, and Jesus' birthday cake.

Aunt Vickie's Chicken Casserole
3 chicken breasts, cooked, boned and cut up
Mix 2 cans cream of chicken soup with one soup can of milk and one small container of sour cream. Spoon liquid over cooked chicken in a 9x13 pan. Mix 1 package Pepperidge Farm herb seasoned stuffing mix, 1 cup water, and 1 stick of melted butter. Spread on top of soup and chicken mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Orange Balls
1 stick of butter, softened
1 - 6 oz. can frozen orange juice, thawed
1 - 12 oz. box vanilla wafers, crushed
1 box powdered sugar
1 package coconut and or chopped pecans

Add sugar to softened butter and cream well. Add juice and mix well. Mix in crushed vanilla wafers. Roll into 1" balls and then roll in coconut or finely crushed pecans. Chill for 3 hours.


I am wearing...
still in my warm flannel pj's.

I am creating...
a to-do list

I am going...
as few places as possible this week

I am reading...
The Shack

I am hoping...
to end today with a very clean house, clean laundry and the baking started.

I am hearing...
Rachel cleaning the kitchen. She's an excellent kitchen cleaner!!! I am blessed.

Around the house...
Dusting, sweeping, moping, cleaning bathrooms, and laundry. I want to get it all done today so I can bake tomorrow and then enjoy the rest of the week with my family and very little to do except fun stuff!!

One of my favorite things...
Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service

A few plans for the rest of the week...
preparing our home for Christmas, spending time with Robert (who's on vacation after today), Candlelight Communion Service at church, probably board games and movies with the kids.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
The last daybook entry I shared a picture of Rachel's nativity set. This time, it is Allan's. He received the Fontanini "My First Creche" set as a gift at his baby shower (he is an early January baby) and we have added a piece to it for the past 18 years.



Merry Christmas to all and thank you to Peggy for hosting at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook


For Today...
December 8, 2008

Outside my window...
it's gray and cool out this morning. Rain is expected later today.

I am thinking...
As I typed today's date I was reminded that it was 34 years ago today that my dad passed away. I was nine years old at the time. My mom was 35 years old and left to bring up 4 children ranging from 2 1/2 to 13 years old. She put her trust in the Lord to help her with the task and He was faithful to walk with her along the way. Thank you, Mom, for giving us that legacy. I love you!

I am thankful for...
a much needed good night's rest.

From the learning rooms...
The usual assignments this week. I want to look for some fun Christmas activities. Even though my student is in 9th grade, I think she would enjoy a fun Christmas art project : ) I regret not doing enough of those type things when the kids were younger. I can't have a do-over so I will just do what I can for today.

From the kitchen...
I am ever so thankful for freezer meals this week!!!! Tonight will be my only night at home until Sunday so most days I will cook a meal at noon and that way the guys have a nice supper to just heat and eat each night.

Monday... hamburgers
Tuesday... jambalaya (from the freezer)
Wednesday...stew (I will make a big batch and freeze 1/2)
Thursday... Crockpot scalloped potatoes with ham
Friday...spaghetti (sauce from the freezer)

I am wearing...
jeans, long sleeved Nutcracker 2007 tee shirt, tennis shoes, gray hoodie

I am creating...
with Rachel's help - Nutcracker gifts - jars of homemade cocoa mix. I might re-do my blog if I find the time this week. I'm not really happy with the font colors - some of it isn't easy on the eyes.

I am going...
nowhere today unless it's to the post office to mail Christmas packages!

I am reading...
the Matthew and Luke accounts of the birth of Christ

I am hoping...
to finish decorating my Christmas tree today; to put away all the light and decoration boxes that are scattered around my house; to start cleaning for the weekend.

I am hearing...
nothing expect the ticking of the clock and the clicking of the keyboard

Around the house...
lots of cleaning needs to be done in preparation for a visit from the in-laws for Nutcracker this weekend! I'm hoping to have time to do a little baking this week. I also have to make a dessert for an after-Nutcracker party - Anyone want to share an idea for a holiday dessert???? Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments!

One of my favorite things...
the smell of a freshly cut Virginia Pine Christmas tree standing in my living room after a trip to the Christmas tree farm.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Nutcracker, Nutcracker, Nutcracker!! You think I'm kidding?? I just spent my Saturday and all day and evening Sunday (after church) working at rehearsal and picture day. I'll spend Tuesday through Friday nights at the convention center volunteering at the security/check-in desk. I'll be there again during the Saturday morning performance and then I'll actually attend the night time performance and after-Nutcracker party. It will be a FULL week and despite the complaining I might do about all the time it takes, I really do LOVE it!!!! I am a little bit partial to the dancer who is dancing the parts of Spirit of Christmas, Snowflake, and Flower, just in case you wondered. Oh, and I do have a non-Nutcracker activity this week - it's book day on Thursday! We'll be discussing the book "Shopping for Time". I am excited about it - that was a very timely read for me and I look forward to hearing what others thought about the book as well.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Rachel's nativity set.

To read more "The Simple Woman's Daybook" entries, visit Peggy here.



Monday, December 1, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook


For Today...December 1, 2008

Outside my window...This is a late Monday post - it's dark, COLD, and I see the pretty Christmas lights my son put up yesterday.

I am thinking...about how much I need to do in so little time.

I am thankful for...my husband, my son, my daughter, my warm home, hubby's job, health and happiness.

From the learning room...trying to get lots of work done this week since next week will be a week of long, late night rehearsals for Nutcracker. I usually assign an easier workload the week of Nutcracker.

From the kitchen...Tonight's dinner was meatloaf (from the freezer - YA! for freezer meals), macaroni and cheese, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Most of the rest of the week is unplanned for the most part. I'll be using some freezer meals and things from the pantry. Robert's on vacation this week so I am trying to be a bit flexible ; )

I am wearing...jeans, gray, burgandy and black turtleneck

I am creating...worked on Christmas cards today

I am going...to do some Christmas shopping tomorrow afternoon.

I am reading...re-reading Shopping for Time.

I am hoping...to find a good deal on a dress for Rachel for an after-Nutcracker party.

I am hearing...the t.v. and Robert on the phone

Around the house...Christmas decoration boxes are everywhere, waiting to be put away or used; the laundry pile from our Thanksgiving trip is significantly smaller than it was this morning.

One of my favorite things...shopping and lunch with my big sis last week.

A few plans for the rest of the week...hopefully a trip to the Christmas tree farm on Saturday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...
(I'll have to try to add one later - we had to change printers this morning and the one that's currently connected doesn't have a picture card slot)

Thanks to Peggy for hosting The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook


For Today...
November 24, 2008

Outside my window...
Blue, sunny skies, a bare tree, mild temperatures

I am thinking...
about how much laundry there is to do today.

I am thankful for...
an early morning shared with Robert; a beautiful moon he showed me on his way out this morning - the sun was reflecting on the moon and it was so pretty. I wish I had grabbed the camera but it probably wouldn't have shown up well anyway.

From the learning room...
We'll have school today and tomorrow but we are working with a modified schedule. We'll work on science, Spanish, geography and literature. Those have taken a little longer than anticipated at times so we'll work on catching back up on those as needed.

From the kitchen...
I've been working on my holiday baking plans.
Menu for the week -
Monday - Chicken Tenderloins
you can find the recipe from Southern Plate here.
Tuesday - One-Pot Salsa Beef Skillet
Out of town the rest of the week : )

I am wearing...
the usual

I am creating...
lists, lists, and more lists. The holidays tend to do that to me. I have to tell a funny story on myself. I recently started keeping a spiral bound notebook - nothing fancy - just something from the school supply cabinet. It has my grocery list, errand list, Christmas shopping list, and it has a nice pocket page in front where I had some coupons, you get the idea. Well, after church yesterday, I knew I wouldn't have a car today so I decided to do my grocery shopping for Thanksgiving stuff. Last night, I went to pick up my notebook to check my lists and make some more. The notebook was nowhere to be found. I finally realized I must have left it in my shopping cart. I was a bit embarrassed to call and ask if it had been turned in - like I said, it was nothing fancy, BUT, it had all my lists in it!! I got up the nerve to call and ask if it had been turned in. Sure enough, it was at the service desk. I get ready to make a mad dash to pick it up and then I can't find my keys. Can you hear the laughter that was going on in my house!!!! I was an open target for lots of jokes. Now that I have my handy notebook back - all is well once again. Might need to make a list of places my keys might be ; )

I am going...
to observe Rachel's ballet class tonight. It's parent observation month at the studio so I have been observing a class a week. Tonight's the last one.

I am reading...
Shopping for Time...How To Do It All and NOT Be Overwhelmed by Carolyn Mahaney. This is our "Book Day" group selection for next month. I received the book last week and read it in a couple of days. I am going to read it again this week, highlighting some specifics. It's an easy, fun read but also very convicting to me right now. Definitely something I needed to read for this present time.

I am hoping...
Allan's meeting with an advisor today will produce a plan for his spring semester of college.

I am hearing...
Christmas music from Rachel's room. I know; it's not even Thanksgiving yet. I caved and let her turn it on while she finishes decorating her room.

Around the house...
lots of laundry today. Preparations for our trip to Louisiana. Rachel started decorating her room for Christmas last night. She's finishing some of it today - all but the tree. Normally, she wouldn't do it until after Thanksgiving, but when we return home from our trip, she won't have much free time because of Nutcracker rehearsals. This is her 7th year to be in The Nutcracker and I can't begin to tell you how many nutcrackers she has in her collection. She decorates her room with them and last year we finally bought her a tree for her bedroom because she has more Nutcracker/ballet ornaments than will fit on our family tree!!!!

One of my favorite things...
the reaction when I splurge on a "coffee shop" hot cocoa for us girls after a long day of ballet rehearsal followed by Christmas shopping. I am so glad my kids appreciate these "little" things!

A few plans for the rest of the week...
spending time with our families, giving thanks for the many blessings of the Lord in our lives.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...


Some of the collection of Nutcrackers














Thank you, Peggy, for hosting The Simple Woman's Daybook each week.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Giving Thanks

This post has been swimming in my head for more than a week. I wasn't sure whether to post or not, but as I think about the week ahead and all that I have to be thankful for, it seems an appropriate post. It's just one of those posts that is hard to write - it would be easier just to tell you, except that I would probably have a hard time getting it all out. And, now, I will have a written record of this to look back on.

Many of you know of my battle with breast cancer. Many of you who read my blog are family or friends who were there to pray for me and offer your words of encouragement along the way. You may be one who prayed, called, brought meals, invited Rachel for a sleepover at just the right time, sent a card, took me to a doctor's appointment, or if you happen to be my loving husband reading this - you took off work every Friday for 27 weeks to take me for my chemo treatment and sat with me for those long boring hours. I have said it before and I will say it again; there are no words to adequately express my deep gratitude to those who held me up through the greatest battle I have ever faced. As we approach Thanksgiving Day 2008, I am reminded of just how much I have to be thankful for, especially the fact that I am here, enjoying life, and all tests indicate that I am cancer free!! Two years ago, I was sick, bald, and definitely not enjoying life too much. What a difference!!

What I really want to share with you is how thankful I am for friends who follow the leading of the Lord to pray when he burdens their hearts and also how God works to meet our needs when we aren't even aware. A few weeks ago, after my quarterly checkup with my oncologist, I was scheduled for a bone scan to check out some back pain I had been having. I shared that information with my family and a couple of close friends and asked them to pray. If you have ever had cancer, you know that waiting for tests can cause great anxiety. I was doing pretty well keeping the anxiety level low while trying to also prepare myself for what might be. I just kept praying for the Lord to give me peace about it. The Thursday I was scheduled for my scan, Allan and I had to share a ride to town so I dropped him at the college and ran by the FBC Library to check out some school materials and a book to read during my wait time. It never even entered my mind that morning that it was the day for our Book Day group to meet at FBC (I had previously planned to not participate in that particular book day because of other commitments). I wasn't terribly surprised when I ran into one of the ladies who leads the group, but then the light bulb came on and I remembered it was book day. We said hello and chatted for a moment. I opened up and mentioned to her that I was going for a scan shortly and she told me the ladies in our group would pray. I left thinking about how glad I was to have seen her and to know they would be praying for me because my nerves were shot already and it was only 8:30 a.m. They would be meeting and praying soon. I headed for my 9:30 appointment at the hospital and I was finished with my scan by 12:30, then met a friend for lunch. The next morning, a neighbor, who I don't see much any more, other than in passing, called. She's a nurse and she helped me give myself the first shot I had to take daily during chemo ; ) We chatted for a few minutes and then she asked, "so, how are you doing"? I'm sure there was a pause on my end of the phone. I was thinking, "okay, I haven't seen her in a while, and she's calling me to see how I am doing. Is this just a coincidence or do I tell her I had a scan the day before or do I just skip that and say I'm fine?" Long story short - I told her what was going on. She told me she'd really had me on her heart lately and now she knew why. I hung up the phone and really began to think about how God was taking care of me. I finally got the call the following Monday with the scan results. I had been dreading the call, not just because of the obvious, but because, to be honest, my doctor's nurse is just not very personable. She's usually pretty short and curt. Well, it ended up that one of my favorite chemo nurses called with the results and she actually read the report to me with emphasis on the "no evidence of disease" and was just as happy as I was on the phone with her!! Then, the story goes even a step further. Rachel was talking to one of her remix leaders last week and she asked Rachel how I was doing and told Rach she'd been praying for me lately. She had no idea that anything had been going on.

Isn't God good?? Sometimes, this journey begins to overwhelm me with the realization that it doesn't really ever end and I get so discouraged. Then God reminds me through instances such as these that all I really have to do is to trust him because my life is truly in HIS hands. I believe God orchestrated every step of this to remind me just how much He cares for me and every detail of my life. How could I ever even doubt it for a moment? I want God to get the glory in this and that is my purpose in sharing with you.

I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened." Romans 1:21

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chicken Tortilla Soup

My friend LeAnn shared this recipe with me a couple of months ago and I have been wanting to try it ever since. I finally got the chance to try it today. I fixed it for lunch and Rachel and I both loved this. It's very easy too, especially if you have cooked chicken in your freezer : )

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 tbs. olive oil
2 medium - large onions, cut into medium dice
4 large garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 quart chicken broth
1 16-oz. package frozen corn
2 4-oz. cans chopped green chilies
2 15.5-oz. cans black beans (drained)
4 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Tortilla Chips, to serve
Shredded cheddar cheese, to serve (optional)

Heat oil in large soup kettle over medium-high heat. Add onions; saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add garlic cloves, chili powder, and oregano; saute 1 minute longer. Add tomatoes, broth, corn, chilies, beans, and chicken. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, to blend flavors, about 20 minutes. Stir in cilantro; let stand a couple of minutes. Serve warm with tortilla chips, and top with cheese if desired. (After cooling, soup can be refrigerated for 3 days.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...
November 17, 2008

Outside my window...
It's been a beautiful fall day - lots of sun, cool temperatures, still some pretty leaves on the trees; As I type my daybook, I can see Allan working on his project outside - his 1979 convertible Super Beetle.

I am thinking...
about how close Allan is getting to finishing his car! He worked on it all weekend with diligence even in the very cold wind on Saturday. He ran into a couple of problems, just things he couldn't figure out, but today, with a fresh look, he found the solutions - such a smart guy!!

I am thankful for...
friends who prayed at the Lord's prompting, even though they didn't know the circumstances or that there was actually even a need. I am also thankful that they shared this with me because it shows me just how much the Lord takes care of me.

From the learning room...
good plans for a productive week

From the kitchen...
Monday - homemade chicken and dumplings
Tuesday - Beef Stew (with extras for the freezer)
Wednesday - baked flounder
Thursday - Red Beans and Rice
Friday - Grilled hamburgers or meatloaf - depends on the weather ; )
Saturday - Chicken Tenderloins (another recipe from Southern Plate)

I am wearing...
My favorite jeans, burgandy shirt, and Clarks

I am creating...
plans for Christmas shopping; Christmas card list

I am going...
to Sam's for the ballet studio and to my cancer support group

I am reading...
No Holly, No Ivy by Wanda Luttrell (read over the weekend)
I received my next "Book Day" book, Shopping for Time, How to Do It All and NOT Be Overwhelmed by Carolyn Mahaney, in the mail today and read the introduction. I can't wait to get home tonight and have a little time to read more.

I am hoping...
to get some Christmas shopping done later this week

I am hearing...
music from Rachel's room as she gets dressed for ballet

Around the house...
got lots of laundry done today!! Trying to keep the clutter under control after working hard on it Friday. Thinking about how to decorate for Christmas this year - where oh, where is the tree going this year?

One of my favorite things...
making holiday plans that include a trip to visit family!!

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Just a few errands to run while I am in town taking Rachel to ballet; books are due at the public library and the FBC library; It's a pretty quiet week at our house.

He is a picture thought I am sharing...

This brilliant orange tree was outside the conference center at Lindsey's Resort last weekend.

Thanks to Peggy for hosting The Simple Woman's Daybook


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mom's RENEW

Last night was our home school support group Mom's RENEW. Kelli showed us how to get really creative with our holiday food plans! I had seen pictures of some things Kelli had done in the past but she outdid herself last night. I am hoping to try a couple of the ideas with Rachel through the holidays. This might make for some fun home economics lessons! Here are some pictures of what Kelli presented (and these are only the things I took pictures of - there was more).


Turkey Shaped Cheese Ball

Veggie Pizza Wreath


dipped fruit to form a wreath


Turkey Bread Bowl for Dip


Indian Corn Cookies


Cornucopia Veggie Tray


Pilgrim Hats


Veggie Tree


Ham and Cheese Stuffed Tree

These were all so pretty and tasted great. Most of them don't seem that difficult but we'll see how it goes when we try them at home. I'd like to try the turkey cheese ball, cornucopia veggie tray, and veggie pizza wreath. Rachel wants to make the Pilgrim Hats and I am sure she will want to make more things when she sees the hand out Kelli shared with us. LOTS of cute ideas. Visit Kelli's blog here to see more pictures. Thanks Kelli for your inspiration!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fly Fishing and Fellowship

I had the opportunity this past weekend to attend a Casting for Recovery "reunion" retreat. All of the women who have participated in the five retreats held in Arkansas were invited. There were about 40 women who attended this past weekend. We met at Lindsey's Resort in Heber Springs, AR for a weekend of fellowship and fishing. We were blessed with gorgeous fall weekend weather - cool, lots of sun, low water, and the peak weekend of leaves changing colors. I was a participant in the June 2008 retreat which you can read more about here. I shared a ride to that retreat with Charlene, from Fayetteville. We shared a ride once again and enjoyed the drive - catching up on what's happened in our lives since June. We were some of the first to arrive at the resort (or as some of us determined - it was more of a man's fish camp than what we termed a "resort"!) and were delighted to find that we had the only cabin (we shared the cabin with Judy and Ruth - two ladies from our June retreat) that was on the river!! We got unpacked as others began arriving and there were lots of hugs and laughter as we reunited with those we had met at our June retreat and met new friends who had attended retreats in earlier years. We walked around the resort a bit then we all met in the conference center for dinner. After dinner and dessert we visited for a long while, made plans for Saturday and then headed back to our cabins. Saturday morning dawned sunny and cold as we made our way back to the conference center for breakfast. After breakfast we split up into groups - those who were fishing and those who were shopping or sight-seeing in the area. Of course, I chose to fish - especially since I have an awesome CFR fly rod that has been begging to be used since June!! I fished with Denise (who is an instructor/former guide , so she was helping us instead of actually fishing) Tasha, Diane and Sister Carol at Cow Shoals. Diane was the only one to catch anything but we all had a great morning on the river. The group met at a riverside lodge, The Driftwood Lodge, for a catered lunch, served riverside. The proprietor, Sherry, and her daughter served an excellent lunch with wonderful hospitality! After lunch, I fished near the dam with Denise and Tasha - again, I didn't catch any but neither did a lot of the people we saw fishing so I didn't feel too bad about it. Denise fished this time and she did catch one brown. I just enjoyed the serenity of where I was for the day! After we decided we were cold enough and not catching any fish, we headed back to the resort to rest a bit before dinner. We met in the conference center for dinner, dessert, and lots of visiting. We finally headed back to our cabin about 9:30 but the four of us sharing the cabin continued to visit until the wee hours of the morning. Sunday morning ended with breakfast and plans for future reunions, a cookbook to raise funds for future reunions, and a website to help us keep in touch with one another. We shared lots of hugs and "till we meet again's" before we headed for home.

As Charlene and I visited on our way home, we reflected on the weekend and on the June retreat. The June retreat was a very emotional weekend for me in many ways. It was a very good time for reflection on where I had been but also a time to begin looking forward and thinking about where to go from where I was at that point in time. I came home with some much needed new perspective on some areas of my life. It had been very "out of my box" to even apply to attend a retreat with people I didn't even know. It proved to be a great step forward for me. There still are no words to really say how that weekend affected me in so many areas of my life. I just know that I am thankful I had the opportunity to participate and to meet so many wonderful women who I wouldn't have otherwise had the opportunity to meet.

This retreat was somewhat different. It was a wonderful, laid back time of fellowship, friendship, encouragement, fly fishing, or shopping, just whatever you wanted it to be. This weekend, I felt as if I were among 40 of my best friends, laughing and playing, encouraging and being encouraged. No matter where we have been or where we are going, we are bonded by our experiences with breast cancer, experiences that no matter how they try, no one else can really understand. I am thankful for these women whom God has placed in my life. They are angels of encouragement and hope.

The Simple Woman's Daybook


FOR TODAY...
November 10, 2008

Outside my window...

it's cloudy and just beginning to rain - a much needed rain. The temperatures today are forecast to be in the 50's. The maple outside my window has lost almost all of it's leaves. It's beginning to look a bit like winter.

I am thinking...
about the holidays. I love Thanksgiving and Christmas! We'll be traveling this Thanksgiving to share the holiday with our families!! I can't wait until we return home and pull out the boxes of Christmas decorations and go to the tree farm to choose and cut our tree.

I am thankful for...
my wonderful weekend away! Lots of fun with fellow breast cancer survivors - some I met at a retreat this summer, some new friends who attended earlier retreats; a full day of fly fishing on a gorgeous river with the leaves at peak color.

From the learning room...
back to regularly scheduled programming (after dad's vacation last week). Reading Jane Eyre with Rachel

From the kitchen...
I think we'll have crock pot chili today - it's excellent on a cold, rainy day! I had intended to make this Friday morning for my family to have Friday night while I was gone but I totally forgot about it in the excitement of getting ready to leave. I called home after lunch to admit I had forgotten and they laughed at me and told me it would be fine as long as I brought home some trout on Sunday - ha, ha!!

I am wearing...
I hate to admit it but I am still sitting here in my warm flannel pj's ; )

I am creating...
a Christmas shopping list

I am going...
very few places this week - yah!!

I am reading...
Jane Eyre with Rachel; hope to get my book day book in the mail this week!!

I am hoping...
to start getting some photos put into books this week. It's a project that's been looming since spring but I keep putting it off. It really shouldn't even take that long - just a matter of tackling it!

I am hearing...
the rain outside my window.

Around the house...
it's laundry day; unpacking that didn't get done last night.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
A fun Mom's RENEW on creative cooking ideas for the holidays; observation at a ballet class

One of my favorite things...
the peace that is found, standing in the middle of a cold stream, fly rod in hand, surrounded by beautiful trees, fishing for trout. God created such an awesome landscape for us to enjoy!!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

To read more Simple Woman's Daybook entries, visit Peggy here.



Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook


For Today...
November 4, 2008
(I'm a day late this time)

Outside my window...
It's a beautiful, sunny, warm day. The maple tree outside my window is shwoing lots of color.

I am thinking...
about how nice it is that Robert is on vacation this week and how I am glad he is blessed with good weather to enjoy.

From the learning rooms...
The usual, but also some extra time with daddy this week since he is on vacation

I am thankful for...
the Worldview Weekend materials I found at the FBC Library last week. We missed the seminar recently and I am so thankful for this blessing from the library.

From the kitchen...
Beans and cornbread

I am wearing...
Jeans and a red top

I am reading...
some magazines; Jane Eyre with Rachel

I am hoping...
for a great weekend! Fly Fishing on the Little Red River on a beautiful fall weekend at Casting For Recovery "reunion retreat".

I am creating...
nothing at the moment ; )

I am hearing...
someone mowing their lawn - actually probably mowing their leaves!

Around the house...
Clearing off the bar; clean laundry

One of my favorite things...
walking through the fall leaves on a warm, sunny day

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Observing ballet class tonight; having a tooth filled tomorrow - yuck!!!; retreat this weekend

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...


To read more daybook entries, visit Peggy here.

Friday, October 31, 2008

TGIF

Ever had one of those weeks when you were glad it was over? This week fits that category. I'm glad it's Friday and we get to start Monday with a fresh slate!! I had such big plans for this week, too. Rachel had fallen a little behind on some of her schoolwork. Not bad. Just enough that I had hoped to get her back up where she needed to be in those few subjects. Last Friday, she started showing signs of not feeling well. By Sunday afternoon, she was on the couch and sleeping a lot. She is finally feeling somewhat better today. It's been a long week. School has happened every day except Tuesday, which was her worst day. But, no catching up as hoped. So, we started out with a sick child. Then, we had to have our dog put to sleep Monday afternoon. She'd been a part of our family for almost 10 years. Lots of sadness, yet relief that she was no longer suffering. Yesterday was a crazy day with lots of running around town and lots of time waiting around during some tests I was having. The good part was - I checked out a book at the FBC library and got lots of reading done during my waiting time. In fact, by bedtime last night, I had finished my book!! Now, I can't wait to return the book and get another by the same author (Terri Blackstock). I am glad that next week is a new week, and I hope and pray that we will accomplish much to make up for this week. Robert will be on vacation and it will be nice to have him around during the day. We have some projects that need to be tackled too - hope we get them done!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Road Trip

We came from Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina. Some by car, others by plane, didn't matter; the destination was the same: Texas! Rachel and I had a wonderful trip to Dallas to visit my brother and his family. We set out early Friday morning, stopped in Sherman, TX for lunch and then headed on to Rob's. We made it there just in time to go with Sharon, Sophie, Wendy, Emily, and Sophie's GiGi (Sharon's mom, Jean) to have Sophie and Emily's pictures taken at the Pumpkin Patch. Oh, what fun to watch those girls at the Pumpkin Patch. They were adorable for the photographer and oh, so patient while she took photos of the girls together as well as separately. When the pictures were finished, the girls were off to the bounce houses, and inflatable slides. After the inflatables, they rode a barrel train, ferris wheel and a live pony! What fun for two little city girls. When the girls were worn out, we headed back to Rob and Sharon's to wait for the rest of the family to arrive from Louisiana. I took on the task of providing dinner for Friday night - making ahead and freezing lasagna and manicotti to bake there. We had a nice dinner of lasagna, manicotti, salad, and some wonderful bread from the bakery at Tom Thumb. We spent Friday night catching up and watching the little girls play.

Saturday morning we all headed out for Sharon's baby shower. Her friends gave her a very nice shower/brunch. Lots of good food, fun games, and lots and lots of gifts for baby boy!! After the shower I wanted to take Rachel to one of her favorite stores that we don't have at home, Delia's, so we headed to Southlake for a quick shopping trip. She found some jeans and a couple of other items on sale which was great. Wendy took on the task of Saturday night dinner and made one of our old family favorites from growing up, Chicken Enchilada casserole, with salad and bread. We finished the night with lots of visiting.

Sunday we enjoyed spending some time outside playing with the girls before it was time to leave. It had been such a wonderful weekend, great family time, beautiful weather, lots of love; it was hard to say goodbye. It is pretty rare for all of my siblings and my mom to all be together in one place so we try to savor the moments when we can. Rob and Sharon were real troopers to have us all stay at their house!! We offered to stay in a hotel but Sharon wanted one big sleepover, so one big sleepover she got! There were eleven of us for the weekend. I'm pretty sure we'll all be making our way back to their house when baby boy arrives but we'll be kind and not all show up at once!!!

Here are a few pictures from our weekend together:



Nancy, Wendy, Jody, Rob, Mom

Pumpkin Patch fun!

The baby shower

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook



For Today...
October 27, 2008

Outside my window...
it's dark and cold.

I am thinking...
about what meal to take to a friend having surgery next week.

From the learning room...
just regular school this week. Co-op classes ended last week.

I am thankful for...
time spent with family last weekend; hearing my sister's voices last night and tonight.

From the kitchen...
today's menu was
breakfast - pancakes
lunch - leftover Frito pie
dinner - dirty rice, black-eyed peas, War Eagle Mill Biscuits

I am wearing...
jeans and a turtleneck (yeah for cooler weather and a change of wardrobe!)

I am reading...
the book of James; A Singer sewing instruction book

I am hoping...
for a quiet week; my girlie to feel better soon; my post to not disappear into cyberspace this week ; )

I am creating...
some baby gifts again

I am hearing...
my kids watching tv; the dryer - lots of laundry has been done today

Around the house...
bathrooms were scrubbed today; lots of laundry was washed and dried; bills were paid

One of my favorite things...
playing the Hungry Caterpillar Game with Soph

A few plans for the rest of the week...
get lots of school work done!! work Saturday's Nutcracker rehearsal; hopefully a little fly rod casting practice

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
Rachel, Sophie & Emily at the Pumpkin Patch

To read more of The Simple Woman's Daybook, visit Peggy

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pray for Travis

Asking my friends to please pray for our friend Travis. You can read his story here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For today...
October 13, 2008

Outside my window...
early morning clouds have broken and left us with a mostly sunny, cool morning. A breeze is blowing through my open windows.

I am thinking...
about phone calls that need to be made today, errands that need to be run this week, and school planning that I need to work on

From the learning room...
we need to choose a new book for literature study; press pattern pieces and cut fabric for a pair of sleep pants; hopefully get those pants completed this week

I am thankful for...
the chance to participate in Paint the Park Pink on Saturday with my friends from the young women's cancer support group I am a part of. There were eight of us from the group who attended the survivor breakfast and did the one mile walk. I am also thankful that my girlie decided to walk with us this year! It was a fun morning.

From the kitchen...
hmmm...that area needs some help this week ; ) Let's see, when I looked at the menu yesterday to see what's ahead for the week, I noticed some empty spots. That's not a good thing! (well, it might be for me - I could stand to miss a few meals) My family might really like having meals this week though. I'm not sure what happened when I menu planned, maybe I just left some blank because we have a busy week and I wasn't sure how it was going to go. I think this will be my plan:
Monday - baked fish, salad, baked potatoes
Tuesday - still not sure here (it might have to be eat out because of our schedule)
Wednesday - leftover jambalaya
Thursday - from the freezer - Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, and a veggie
Friday - Sunday - those days are up to the guys - the girls will be gone!!!!

I am wearing...
denim shorts, sunflower tee, tennis shoes

I am reading...
nothing particular at the moment. I have forgotten to order the book I need for this month's book day so maybe I can get that and get started reading.

I am hoping...
to stay on task this week. Lots to do before a weekend trip.

I am creating...
working on Rachel's sewing project with her this week. Baby gifts are DONE!

I am hearing...
the washer and dryer, barking dogs, the breeze blowing my blinds

Around the house...
The kids and I worked on cleaning over the weekend so not much to do except keep it clean! I did some closet cleaning this morning.

One of my favorite things...
visits with family

A few plans for the rest of the week...
homeschool support group officer's meeting, quarterly oncologist appointment, homeschool co-op classes, Rachel and I are driving to Dallas to visit my brother and s-i-l. We'll be there for her baby shower as well as my Mom, two sisters, and three nieces - fun times.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
These beautiful girls are cousins. They are two of the nieces I can't wait to see this weekend!

For more of the Simple Woman's Daybook, visit Peggy at The Simple Woman.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Grab a Glass of Sweet Tea and Sit a Spell

Yes, you really do need to get that glass of sweet tea to enjoy while you read this post because I just know you are going to go visit Christy at Southern Plate and your mouth will be watering as you read. I was recently introduced to Southern Plate while reading Kim's blog. Kim raved about some recipes she had tried so I just had to take a peek and see for myself. Now, I love to read cookbooks and have a nice collection of them with a few favorites that are pulled from the shelf time and time again. As much as I love to read cookbooks, I have never been very good about actually trying new recipes. All that changed when I found Southern Plate. I was so inspired (maybe it was the picture tutorials!) that I immediately printed out six recipes and we tried four, yes FOUR, new recipes in one week. The first recipe we tried was Country Casserole. I doubled the recipe - it was too easy not to make one to freeze. My family loved this casserole and I loved how easy it was. Next, we tried Pizza Rolls and they are great for busy weeks or weekends when everyone is eating at different times. The other two recipes we tried were Salisbury Steak and Crock Pot Chicken and Dressing. The Salisbury Steak was great and pretty easy so I doubled that recipe and froze half so that all I have to do is thaw and throw it in the crock pot to heat on a busy day. The Crock Pot Chicken and Dressing was good and will feed a crowd. I love crock pot recipes because we have one or two days a week that our schedules make it hard to get a good meal on the table without the help of the crock pot. I have two more recipes that I printed that I want to try soon. Robert's favorite salad dressing is Thousand Island and Christy has a recipe for homemade Thousand Island that I can't wait to surprise him with. The other recipe I can't wait to try is Chocolate Cobbler!! This looks divine and according to Jen, it is! I think we have to have some ice cream to go with this one though and I forgot to buy ice cream this week. The great thing about Chocolate Cobbler is that the ingredients are readily available in my pantry. I hope you took the time to visit Christy as you read this post! If you are like me, you might just decide you'll have to add her cookbook to your collection.

EDITED to add: We tried the Chocolate Cobbler over the weekend and it was a wonderful dessert - warm, gooey, plenty of chocolate served with vanilla ice cream on top.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Beautiful Day!

Yesterday was a beautiful day! Robert had to drive over to Camp Orr yesterday to complete some training for climbing and rappelling for Boy Scouts. The original training weekend was last month but they were unable to complete the training because of bad weather with hurricane Ike. They left early so as to not get flooded in by a low water bridge at the camp. We saw damage yesterday that Ike left in his wake - they had to cut 7 trees that fell on the road leading out of camp - if you have never been to Camp Orr, let's just say, it's an adventure getting there!! If you haven't been to Camp Orr but have been to Kyle's Landing on the Buffalo River, you would understand - Camp Orr turns off of the road to Kyle's Landing. To say the rocky road is steep and winding as it makes it's way to the valley floor would almost be an understatement.

I decided to ride along yesterday so Robert wouldn't have to make the trip by himself. I knew it would be a long day for him as it's about a 3+ hours drive from home. This is also one of our busiest times of year and our time together is at a premium. Now, for those of you who don't know me well, I am NOT an early morning person. To ride along, meant a 4:45 a.m. alarm, being on the road by 5:30. But I was determined to go! I had never been to Camp Orr and was looking forward to seeing where "my guys" have spent some summers and weekends Boy Scout camping. I love the Buffalo River area and knew the camp was on the river and would be beautiful. It was tempting to stay home and go to church, spend the afternoon working on laundry, sewing some baby gifts, and cleaning (I know Sunday should be a day of rest but it isn't always around here!!). I am so glad I didn't stay home.

Here are some reasons why:

A beautiful sunrise (my picture doesn't do it justice)


I got to spend some quiet time alone at this outdoor chapel with an awesome view of God's wonderful creation. There's nothing like quiet time in a place like this, no distractions other than pure beauty.


This is another view from the chapel area. It was so quiet and peaceful here. The trees are just beginning to show some color. The birds were soaring in the thermals.


Twin Falls. A short hike near the entrance to Camp Orr. I heard this is one of the most photographed places in Arkansas.
An elk in Boxley Valley. Robert saw a herd of about 50 when he drove through the area last month. We didn't see that many but there were probably about a dozen or so in this field. They were a little hard to see but Robert stood on top of the truck to get a good picture. This was on our way home. There were a few people stopped watching for them. Early in the morning there were LOTS of people watching for them but it was quite foggy so they probably had to wait a bit for the fog to lift.
The entrance to Camp Orr with the fog lifting.

Robert training for "Weekend on Ropes". Yesterday they practiced rescues at the tower, then they hiked to Copperhead Cave (what a name - and NO - I didn't go along - just the name will keep me away from there - lol!) to practice rappelling down into the cave. I watched them at the tower then went exploring while they went to the cave. I don't particularly like caves - something about being surrounded by darkness and not knowing what's in there just gives me the willies.
I went exploring at the "swimming hole" at Camp Orr. This is the Buffalo National River - absolutely beautiful river. We love to canoe there although I haven't gotten to go for a few years. Maybe next year!
Just playing with the camera shooting some leaves that had fallen in the river.
We made it home about 8:30 last night. We had dinner at the Pizza Hut in Clarksville which reminded me of our dating and early married days when we had Pizza Hut pizza a lot because there weren't many choices in the town where we lived. As if my day hadn't been blessed enough, I walked in the door and immediately noticed that my kiddos had done some cleaning and laundry when they got home from church yesterday! This blessed me beyond measure because they had no idea how much I had struggled with the decision to be gone for the day, knowing that there were many things at home that really needed my attention. I believe the Lord knew I needed the day away and took care of the rest for me! It was a day that was good for the soul.

The Simple Woman's Daybook


For Today...
October 6, 2008

Outside my window...
We woke up to much needed rain this morning! The rain has stopped but it's still cloudy with more rain expected later. I looked out my window a few minutes ago and found this little chipmunk at my flower bed. They are so cute but I don't like it when they burrow in the flower bed!!


I am thinking...
about what needs to be accomplished today, like catching up on laundry and paying bills

From the learning rooms...
writing lessons, a pretty regular day

I am thankful for...
the time I got to spend with my husband yesterday!! (I think I will give yesterday it's own blog post later today)

From the kitchen...
breakfast was French toast.
The menu for the rest of the week:
Monday - Chicken & Dumplings
Tuesday - Beef tips & Noodles
Wednesday - Spaghetti & meatballs
Thursday - Blackened flounder
Friday - Spicy Chicken Spaghetti
Saturday - Homemade Pizza
Sunday - Rob's Jambalaya

I am wearing...
jeans, Cinderella ballet t-shirt, tennis shoes

I am reading...
Hope to get back to "The Excellent Wife" and complete it

I am hoping...
to complete the baby gifts I have been working on

I am creating...
Those baby gifts referred to above. Finished the "minky" blankey Saturday!!

I am hearing...
the dryer just stopped meaning I need to finish my post and reboot the laundry

Around the house...
I finally got the fall decorations out Saturday!!

One of my favorite things...
being gone, then returning home to a nice clean house, thanks to my kiddos who did it without being asked. It made yesterday and even better day than it had already been.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
home school co-op classes, Mom's Renew, Paint the Park Pink

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...



This is the chapel at the Boy Scout Camp ORR. I spent some quiet time alone here yesterday. What a beautiful site for a chapel, overlooking God's beautiful creation.

To read more Daybook entries, visit Peggy at "The Simple Woman"

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook -11


For Today...
September 29, 2008

Outside my Window...
bright sunshine, warm afternoon

I am thinking...
I'm glad a cool front is forecast for tomorrow. I am ready for more fall days with the house opened up for fresh air; relief from the air conditioner bill

From the learning rooms...
working on writing skills today; end of chapter reviews in science and geography

I am thankful for..
encouragement from many unexpected places last week - not that I should be surprised, doesn't the Lord always provide just *what* we need, just *when* we need it? Everywhere I turned I felt like someone had been "reading my mail"!

From the kitchen...
meatloaf, oven roasted red potatoes, and green beans

I am wearing...
jeans, melon colored blouse, and a pair of Clarks that are a "hand-me-down" from my daughter(now that's fun - getting hardly worn shoes that she outgrew - she has a big foot : )

I am reading...
my Bible

I am hoping...
to be home as much as possible this week and to enjoy this beautiful weather.

I am creating...
I have been working on the prep work for some baby gifts. Need to get busy with the sewing machine this week.

I am hearing...
the birds singing in the tree outside my window.

Around the house...
working on implementing Flylady once again. After an encouraging Mom's RENEW last week I have been inspired to *really* work on this as I work toward a welcoming, peaceful home.

One of my favorite things...
cooler temperatures and changing colors

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
working on school stuff, "snack mom" run to Sam's for ballet today, Rachel's optometrist appointment for a check up and new contact lenses, homeschool co-op classes, maybe a date with hubby to see the new movie "Fireproof"

A picture thought I am sharing with you...
a beautiful picture that my sister shared with me from her recent trip to Canada (thanks Nancy!). I think it looks like a postcard! Maybe one day I will get to see Moraine Lake myself.




For more Simple Woman's Daybook entries, visit Peggy

Friday, September 26, 2008

Handbag Giveaway @ Handbag Plantet

Handbag Planet is having a handbag giveaway to celebrate it's launch on October 15. Free handbag every hour for 24 hours!! Register online.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Encouraging Words

Yesterday as I sought encouragement from God's Word this is what I found:

Psalm 43:2-4 "You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight."

Psalm 27:1-5 "The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling."

Fear and doubt creep into my mind little by little, it seems, and then suddenly I find myself in this "pit". Then I tend to feel so guilty that I have let those things take hold that it just compounds that feeling of failure and I feel so unworthy. As I read these Psalms yesterday, the realization hit me that even David, and the sons of Korah, had to seek the Lord for encouragement. They didn't write the Psalms when things were going great in their lives. They encountered times of troubles and heavy hearts just as we do today. Not that I didn't know that before - it just spoke to me in a different way as I read it this time!

Casting Crowns has a new song, Slow Fade, that I have been hearing on the radio and it has really spoken to me as well. These lyrics warn that things don't happen "in a day" that it's a slow fade. What a warning to heed! Those thoughts that slowly come in and take hold can lead to a "slow fade" if I am not standing on God's Word. Here's the chorus to that song:

"It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
And thoughts invade, choices are made,
a price will be paid when you give yourself away, people never crumble in a day
It's a slow fade, It's a slow fade."

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook -10

For Today...
September 22, 2008

Outside my window...
On this first day of Autumn, a thick fog is beginning to lift and I see peeks of blue sky

I am thinking...
about what needs to be accomplished this week

I am thankful for...
a restful weekend

From the kitchen...
For dinner - a new recipe, Pizza Rolls, from Southern Plate
We tried Country Casserole over the weekend and it was a keeper
!

I am wearing...
jeans, t-shirt, tennis shoes

I am reading...
nothing new this week

I am hoping...
to keep grounded in the Word of God this week in an effort to overcome the battle of the mind that I have been engaged in for some time but especially this weekend. This is NOT a place I want to be! I came to the realization this weekend that although my "war" is essentially over, I have emerged a wounded soldier. Our pastor taught a message on "Great Faith" yesterday and I see that I need to embrace that message to help with healing my wounds. Some days, I'll be honest, I'm just not sure I can do it. I know I cannot do it within myself - only with the Lord's help. It's the battle between what God's Word says and what the natural world says. I suppose it shows my weakness and where I MUST rely on the Lord every day. I am thankful that I have a Savior who heals all wounds. I pray for much personal growth as I work through these issues.

I am creating...
working on creating a peaceful heart this week

I am hearing...
birds singing and Nutcracker music. An odd combination, I know, but when you live with a ballet company member, it happens...in September!!

Around the house...
I need to get out the fall decorations

One of my favorite things...
good conversations with my teenagers : )

A few plans for the rest of the week...
young women's support group, home school mom's RENEW (topic is Flylady - a personal favorite), hopefully lunch with a friend that was supposed to happen last week but didn't.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...



my blog is titled "Life at the Lake" and here's a view from my back deck!

To read more "The Simple Woman" posts, visit Peggy