Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...November 4, 2010

Outside my window...beautiful sunny, blue skies and a pretty good west wind blowing across the lake.

I am thinking...about the growing number of phone calls I need to make today (because they have been put off much too long) and the fact that due to terrible cell reception at my house, I should really drive to town and sit in my car to make the calls. I won't go into how much I can't wait for May so I can finally be free of this cell phone contract and go back to being able to talk on the phone *in* my house. I wish it wouldn't cost $$$$ to get out of a cell contract!!!!

I am thankful insurance. We have been blessed with excellent coverage for years. This was so evident when I was in treatment for breast cancer several years ago. Yes, there are things I have had to fight for coverage for and it hasn't always been easy to deal with. However, I know many who have suffered devastating financial problems due to medical expenses after a serious illness. This week we have to sign up for our benefits for the coming year and although there are changes to our plan I'm not crazy about, I am thankful for the coverage and thankful that the premium isn't going up. I'll have more expense out of my own pocket in the form of a deductible we haven't had previously, but I know the Lord will take care of us.

From the learning room... we began a Music Appreciation course this week. Rachel is loving it! I watched her listening to the CD Monday and I knew exactly what was going on in her mind - she was choreographing ballet to the music!! It was pretty funny when she told me that's what she was doing because I could already tell : ) We are also starting a new writing program this week and I am actually excited about it. Wow, did I just say that?? We are starting Jensen's Format Writing and praying for good results.

From the kitchen...Today I will be making Taco Soup to take to Mom's Renew tonight. My family will be having leftovers ; ) They don't mind and there is a choice - Dirty Rice, Crockpot Mexican chicken and rice or sandwiches. Love that I have an easy to please family!!

I am wearing...jeans and a black turtleneck. So glad to be able to start wearing some fall clothes now that the weather is cooler.

I am creating...lesson plans and Christmas lists.

I am our homeschool group's Mom's Renew tonight. Tonight is a Souper Renew - soup, bread, and dessert and Detra Thomas will be sharing a light-hearted message with us followed by a sweet time of fellowship.

I am reading...A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. It's the story of Bill Bryson hiking the Appalachian Trail. Parts of it are quite funny and some of it I'm not crazy about because I think he's an evolutionist so I skip over it because it gets boring and I don't agree with him ; ) Mostly, I love the tales he tells of his hikes! He adds in some of the history of AT as well as the National Forest Service. I'll give you a warning if you might be inclined to read it - it has some foul/crude language in it.

I am find the perfect pair of shoes for the Western Arkansas Ballet Silver Anniversary Gala. I found the outfit yesterday, but no shoes. I tried raiding Rachel's closet but that didn't work out too well - her foot is bigger than mine : ( I have a couple of other places to shop this afternoon.

I am hearing...Pencil eraser and the gas heater. It's pretty quiet in the school room : )

Around the house...let's skip this one and hope no one knocks on my door for a few more days!! Let's just say I can't wait for Saturday to get here so I can get some major cleaning done. The dust bunnies are taking over.

One of my favorite things...parent observation month at ballet! I observed Rachel's Advanced Pointe class on Monday. She even asked me to videotape some of the center work. Love the opportunity to sit in on her classes and see progression from one year to the next.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Saturday night I'll be attending the Silver Anniversary Gala for Western Arkansas Ballet. We've spent untold hours with this organization for the past 10 years and look forward to celebrating this milestone with them!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...
Wishing I was back here. Spent a week in this house @ Estes Park, CO in August with all my siblings and most of their kids. One of the greatest vacations ever...

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

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Fun - July 2010

Robert and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on February 22, 2010! We wanted to take a trip but we knew it would have to be later in the year since Robert's job as outage coordinator keeps him working long hours and unable to take vacation pretty much from Feb. - May. Then, Rachel got accepted to a 4 week ballet intensive in MI and we decided to let her go, knowing we might not be able to have quite the trip we were hoping for. Robert was pretty surprised that I would sacrifice the trip, knowing how much I'd wanted it but, I really wanted Rachel to have the opportunity to attend this particular intensive. So, we decided that we would send Rachel to MI and hopefully be able to enjoy a short trip to pick her up at the end of her camp. The Lord blessed us unexpectedly this spring so we were able to plan a trip after all!! We decided that we would fly Rachel to MI and then we would drive up at the end of her camp to see her performances and bring her home, stopping in Chicago for a few days on the way north. The highlights of the trip follow.

Monday, July 12, 2010

We left Fort Smith about 10:00 a.m., stopping in Springfield, MO for a late lunch. We considered spending the night in St. Louis but decided to go ahead and get most of the drive to Chicago out of the way on day 1. We stopped for the night in Ratoul, IL. Our drive was great. I've never seen so many cornfields in my life!! There were some beautiful farms along the way. I have traveled through quite a few states in my life but I had never been through Indiana and Illinois.

Illinois Cornfield

Tuesday, July 13
We arrived in Chicago about 11:00 a.m. First stop was the Museum of Science and Industry and Lake Michigan. We parked at the museum and walked under Lakeshore Drive to see Lake Michigan - wow! It's so pretty and felt like we were at the beach : ) We walked back to the museum and spent a few hours exploring the exhibits. Very cool place - we could have spent a few more hours there. We'll keep it on our list of places to visit next time. We drove further north on Lakeshore and got checked in at our hotel, The Ambassador East, in the Gold Coast area. The hotel is on a quiet, mostly residential street about 2 blocks from Lake Michigan. We could see a bit of the lake from our room. We got settled in and then started the first of many miles of walking we did in the city! We stopped at the Water Tower Visitor Center and bought 3 day CTA passes that are for the buses and El. We had great Chicago pizza at Giordano's, thanks to the recommendation of several friends. The hotel porter asked if we were going to have pizza while in town and when we told him Giordano's on the recommendation of friends, he said we have good friends!! Thanks LeAnn and Janine! After dinner, we took the bus to Navy Pier and enjoyed a few hours there. We then walked down Michigan Avenue and back to our hotel.

Lake Michigan
Navy Pier

Wednesday, July 14
The first adventure today was taking the bus to the Farmer's Market at Lincoln Park. WOW! What an awesome farmer's market! We enjoyed strolling through the booths and seeing all the great produce and baked goods. We bought some raspberries and enjoyed while listening to some music. We walked a bit through Lincoln Park and then took a bus back to State Street. We had an awesome lunch at P.J. Clarke's. Spent the afternoon exploring more of the city by bus, the El and walking, of course - shopping at Macy's, texting pics of Joffrey Ballet studios to Rachel (love ya girlie!!), exploring Millennium Park and taking pics at Cloud Gate. After returning to the hotel we had a quick dinner and then headed for Burnham Harbor. We took a three hour sunset/Navy Pier fireworks sail on the tall ship Red Witch. It had been a hot day but on the water it was nice and cool. A very fun evening! As if we hadn't experienced enough of the transportation options of the city, we hailed a taxi for a ride back to the hotel.
Joffrey Ballet
Cloud Gate @ Millennium Park
Helping raise the sails

Thursday, July 15
We started the day with a late breakfast at Lou Mitchell's. Located at the beginning of the old Route 66, this place was like walking back in time. The food was oh, so good! Can you say fresh squeezed orange juice, double yolk egg omelettes, and fried potatoes? Robert says this was probably the most expensive breakfast we have had but it was so good and there's nothing like going to a good old-fashioned diner every now and then. We took a peek in Union Station and walked along the Chicago River for a bit before taking a water taxi to Navy Pier. We considered taking an architectural river cruise but decided to just take the water taxi instead. In the end we were glad we opted for the shorter water taxi to the pier as it was pretty hot on the river and the architectural cruise was 90 minutes in the sun. In the past two days we had done so much walking that by this time, I had shin splints and was exhausted!! We decided to spend the afternoon visiting "Sue" at the Field Museum of Natural History. This was a museum that we could definitely pass up on our next visit to Chicago. It was a good escape from the heat of the afternoon but we didn't enjoy it near as much as we enjoyed the Museum of Science and Industry. We spent an adventurous hour trying to get back to the Magnificent Mile by bus as rush hour was starting. I'm still not sure how they got that many people on that bus!!!! At one stop we finally decided we could probably manage to get off the bus so we did. We caught the next one and it was nearly empty : ) We enjoyed a really nice seafood dinner at Hugo's Frog Bar & Fish house, followed by a little people watching in the park across from Tavern on Rush. It was fun watching the valet's parking all the $$$$$ cars and then watching them try to open a car they had locked the keys in : ) We made our way out to the shores of Lake Michigan and enjoyed spending some time at the water on our last night.
View from the water taxi
Another view of the river


Friday, July 16
Today we said goodbye to Chicago and headed for Flint, MI. We got a call from Rachel while we were stopped for lunch and she said if we made it to Flint before 5:00 to call her as she had a three hour break between rehearsals. We made it to Flint about 4:30 and stopped by the Whiting for a quick hello and of course, a great hug! It was so good to see our girlie, even for just a moment. A month is a long time, you know!! We checked into our hotel in Flint and then drove about 20 miles north to Frankenmuth, MI to visit Bronner's Christmas World. I ordered some Nutcracker ornaments from Bronner's last year and somehow remembered it was close to Flint. It's the largest Christmas store in the world so, of course we had to shop a little! After we had had enough of Christmas in July we drove to the Bavarian Inn Restaurant to try a little German food. Let me re-phrase that - it was A LOT of German food!! Neither of us had ever had German food but we really liked it. It was fun to try something new. I'd love to go back to Frankenmuth for a visit if we are ever in the area again. It was a really neat little town.

Saturday, July 17
Today is the day - We get to see Rachel's end of camp performances! We spent a lazy morning at the hotel then walked across the street to visit Flint's Farmer's Market. They have an awesome market - part of it is in a permanent building and is open year-round with fresh meat, chicken, cheese, wine, and produce. During the spring, summer, and early fall there are booths outside selling produce, flowers and homemade salsas, etc. After visiting farmer's market's in Flint and Chicago, I think I'll have to try the Fort Smith market soon. We met Bob and LeAnn (their daughter was in Flint as well) for lunch and then we went to the matinee performance of the Magnus Midwest Dance Intensive at The Whiting. Rachel's level danced their ballet piece in the matinee performance and all levels were cast in the finale. After the matinee we went out for a light dinner with Bob and LeAnn. We had fun with our waiter who liked to hear our southern accents! The evening performance was great and we loved seeing Rachel perform her jazz piece. Fun to watch our mostly classical ballet dancer in a jazz piece with a blonde, bobbed wig as part of her costume!! The evening performance was followed by a nice reception and we finally got to see our girlie again - all dressed up. She spent her last night back at the dorm with her friends, enjoying those last few bittersweet hours before the girls would all say goodbye and head back to their home studios.

Post performance family pic

Sunday, July 18
We moved Rachel out of the dorm and were on the road by about 10:15 a.m. We stopped for lunch in Lansing, MI, dinner in Effingham, IL and made a stop at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO before stopping for the night on the west side of St. Louis. Enjoyed hearing Rachel's stories from her month in MI along the way.
Flooded Mississippi River @ St. Louis
Gateway Arch

Monday, July 19
We were on the road by 8:45 a.m., made a lunch stop in Joplin, MO and were home around 4:30 p.m. It was a great trip and it's good to be back home with everyone back under one roof. Now the unpacking and laundry begin ; )

Thank you, Lord, for blessing us - first, with 25 years of marriage and secondly, with a fun trip to celebrate.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For today...March 29, 2010

Outside my window...another late night daybook entry means it's dark outside

I am thinking...about how much I would love to finally get around to some long overdue blog posts. I love the daybook because it's pretty easy but I really want to sit and blog some other thoughts.

I am thankful for...God's word - ever so timely! Pastor Marty preached on Lordship yesterday and the message really helped me determine some priorities today, including getting back to having a daily quiet time in the MORNING. Last night an unpopular clothing decision had been made involving the girlie in our house and she wasn't very happy about it even though she knew the reasons behind the decision. This morning after I had read my devotional and some scriptures, I picked up The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian (it's been untouched for months) and flipped to a page to read. The title, you ask? "Staying Attracted to Holiness and Purity". Hmm, coincidence? I don't think so!! Here's a portion of the prayer included with this chapter: "You have said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" Matthew 5:8. May a desire for holiness that comes from a pure heart be reflected in all that she does. Let it be manifested in her appearance as well. I pray that the clothes she wears and the way she styles her hair and chooses to adorn her body and face will reflect a reverence and a desire to glorify you, Lord." At lunch I was able to share this with my daughter and let her know that I believed this was confirmation that the correct decision had been made. Later this afternoon, we went shopping together and were able to find clothing that she liked and that also met with the approval of the parents. She admitted as we left the store today that she was just mad last night because she couldn't get the "cute" stuff online but what she had found today was much to her liking. Cute and appropriate - thank you, Lord for showing us the way!!

From the learning room...trying to regroup after spring break and get as much work done as possible before ballet festival mid-week, next week.

From the kitchen...
Monday...Fajitas and refried beans
Tuesday...Turkey Club Pizza and salad
Wednesday...Red Beans and Rice (from scratch, not a box mix, just for Robert!)
Thursday...Italian Chicken and Pasta Toss, salad, french bread
Friday...not sure yet
(maybe I'll blog some of these recipes this week)

I am wearing...the usual - jeans and a shirt

I am creating...a plan for planting! I bought basil, parsley, and cilantro seeds to start this week. I already have mint that has come up from last year. I want to get flowers in my bed but the weather man says not to plant the flowers before April 10, the average date for a last hard freeze here.

I am Mom's RENEW tomorrow night. This is a gathering of Mom's from my homeschool support group. We'll be discussing high school transcripts and enjoying sweet fellowship with one another.

I am reading...Return from Tomorrow by George G. Ritchie with Elizabeth Sherrill.

I am hoping...for a date night soon : ) Those are especially rare during "shutdown" but a girl can hope! We were given a gift card for our 25th anniversary and we haven't used it yet so who knows, maybe this long weekend will give us the opportunity.

I am hearing...noticing the neighbor's dog finally quit barking. I can only imagine how annoyed some of our neighbors must have been when we had a dog who would sometimes bark endlessly when there was a possum or some other critter outside at night.

Around the's a mess! There's no other way to put it : ) Rachel and I started cleaning out closets last week when we got home from visiting family. The closets look great but the "stuff" that we are getting rid of is still in various places in my house. Gotta get it outta here!!!

One of my favorite things...sweet surprises from sweet friends. For example, Rachel turned 16 last week and some friends got together a surprise lunch for her at one of her favorite restaurants! She was truly surprised. I wish I'd had a picture of her when the realization of what was going on hit her : )

A few plans for the rest of the week...Mom's RENEW, Rachel's getting a haircut tomorrow, returning library books, and preparing for celebrating our risen Savior!!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

Happy Birthday Rach!

To read more daybook entries, visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...March 16, 2010

Outside my window...night has come after a beautiful spring day with lots of sunshine

I am thinking...about planting flowers in my flower beds. I'm sure I'll be really inspired after I visit my sister this weekend and see what she's been planting!

I am thankful for...the trip I took to Oregon two weeks ago. My grandma went home to be with her Lord and Savior and I was able to fly back for her funeral which was really a "celebration of her life". She was blessed with a long life - 93 years! I have so many great memories of visits with her and my grandpa. There are nine grandchildren on this side of my family and we were all able to be at the service. It was the first time since 1977 that all nine cousins were together in the same place at the same time!!

From the learning rooms...trying to get some work done before we take our spring break. Geometry...proofs...need..I..say..more??

From the kitchen...yummy lasagna from the freezer. Gotta love freezer meals : )

I am wearing...jeans and a new super soft sweater
I am creating...a packing list, an errand list, and a to-do list

I am visit my mom, sister, and in-laws later this week : )

I am reading...just finished Karen Kingsbury's Even Now and Ever After. Need to finish What the Bible Says About Healthy Living by Rex Russell, M.D. and Eat Right for Your Type by Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo
I am hoping...I get lots accomplished tomorrow despite a couple of appointments that will interrupt our day.

I am hearing...Rachel's ankle's pop as she walks down the hall! That girl pops and cracks like crazy. Must be a ballet thing - the girls at the studio do it all the time too!!

Around the house...preparation for my trip to La. later this week. Trying to think about decluttering and spring cleaning *soon*

One of my favorite things... long phone calls to catch up with a lifelong friend...then knowing we might actually get a rare "in person" visit in a few days!

A few plans for the rest of the week...couple of appointments tomorrow for Rachel; prep for my *baby's* sweet sixteen birthday next week!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing..
Nancy, Carolyn, Jody
3 Cousins at the Oregon Coast

To read more Daybook Entries, visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY... February 8, 2010

Outside my window...this is a late Daybook entry so it's dark outside, but I have my back porch light on so I can still watch it snowing!

I am thinking...about how nice it has been to have had a day at home since all activities were canceled tonight due to the snowy weather.

I am thankful for...SNOW! I think I am worse than a kid - I love the snow. I don't like being out in the snow, but I love watching it fall and how fresh it makes everything look. Now, tomorrow, will be a different story...wet, slushy, mud.

I am wearing...sweats, a turtleneck, a long sleeve tee, and warm socks

I am remembering...that I need to type lesson plans for the rest of the week

I am going... to run errands tomorrow afternoon ~ need to buy a birthday present for my sister, do some banking, and return library books while Rachel is at ballet

I am currently reading...Lots of travel books : )

I am hoping... to figure out Quickbooks soon!!!!!!

On my mind... my Mom and my big sis - called them both this evening and had a nice visit. Can't wait to see them in April.

Noticing that...the picture collage frames are still waiting to be hung on the wall. I just have to hurry and choose which pictures to finish filling them with and decide where to hang them. Decisions, decisions, decisions...(and I'm learning
after all these years that I really don't like making decisions!)

Pondering these words...Matthew 6:33 "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." From Pastor Marty's "First" series to start 2010.

From the kitchen...used this slow, snowy day in this busy, busy week to spend some time in the kitchen and put some things in my freezer. Bieroks for dinner tonight and the freezer; beef and bean burritos for dinner tomorrow night and for the freezer.

BIEROKS (a pocket type sandwich)
1 lb. ground chuck
chopped onion (to taste -
maybe 1/4 cup)
chopped green pepper (to taste - maybe 1/4 cup or less)
1 can sauerkraut
1 bag frozen roll dough (I use Rhodes brand and I usually thaw about 20)

Thaw the roll dough according to the directions on the package. Brown the ground chuck with the onions and peppers, then stir in the sauerkraut. Take two balls of roll dough and roll them flat on a lightly floured surface. Spoon several tablespoons of meat filling in the center of one piece of the rolled out dough. Top with another dough circle and press the edges to seal, making a "pocket" type sandwich. Place on a cookie sheet. Continue until you have used all of the meat filling and rolls. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes - until golden brown. These freeze well, wrapped in foil.

Around the house... laundry and ironing tomorrow

One of my favorite things...SNOW!

From my picture journal...another picture from the Jan. 29 snow. I didn't really take any today. It's not near as pretty today because the temperature stayed about 33 or 34 so the snow was melting all day as it was snowing. The pictures of today's snow would never show the amount we actually got because of the ongoing melting.

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

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY... February 1, 2010

Outside my window...there is still a good bit of snow left from Friday's storm but the sun is trying to shine today.

I am thinking...I have really neglected my blog for a long while.

I am thankful for... the simple things in life...a long walk through the snowy neighborhood with my favorite person : )

I am wearing...jeans

I am remembering...the nice slow weekend with nowhere to go.

I am going... it's a typical Monday ~ home until early evening; then, drop Rachel at ballet and I'll go to the young women's cancer support group I am part of.

I am currently reading...Lots of travel books : )

I am hoping... to find a decent airfare this week for my trip to Atlanta at then end of the month.

On my mind... my Grandma who is in the hospital and scheduled for surgery today.

Noticing that...I really need to hang the collage frames the kids gave me for Christmas.

Pondering these words...Matthew 6:33 "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." From Pastor Marty's "First" series to start 2010.

From the kitchen... crock pot barbecue

Around the house... laundry and cleaning floors

One of my favorite things...SNOW!

From my picture journal...
A snowy view of our house from the dam.

To read more daybook entries, join Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY... January 4, 2010

Outside my window... cold and sunny after waking up to a surprise dusting of snow and light snow throughout the early morning.

I am thinking... hubby asked me last night where I would like to go to celebrate our upcoming 25th anniversary. I'm not sure so I've been doing some looking online and thinking about where I'd like to go. We'll most likely be staying in the states. Any ideas?? Where are your favorite places?? Leave a comment to let me know your favorites!

I am thankful for... my warm home

I am wearing... jeans and a turtleneck layered with a new tee

I am remembering... how nice it was to spend time with family through the month of December

I am going... nowhere until this evening!!

I am currently reading... Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury

I am hoping... to get my blog layout changed. I intended to do it months ago but have neglected my blog since then. I tried earlier but I can't seem to get the layout saved.

On my mind... friends who are going through some difficulties.

Noticing that... I need to put away a few more Christmas items.

Pondering these words... " Why do we give all the power to the new-year and overlook the power of a new day? Why do we believe January 1 has more hope than a simple sunrise?" Pastor Marty Sloan

From the kitchen... Monday - Broccoli Ham Ring & salad
Tuesday - Homemade Pizza
Wednesday - Chicken Enchiladas, corn & salad
Thursday - Jambalaya from the freezer & salad
Friday - Meatloaf from the freezer, roasted red potatoes
I'm also making vegetable soup with a leftover ham bone which will be great with all the frigid weather this week.

Around the house... still trying to get the house back in order after Christmas and traveling the week after. Most of the boxes are packed away but there are still a few items lingering that need to find their homes : )

One of my favorite things... seeing joy on the face of my daughter!

A photo I am sharing with you...
Allan & Rachel on Nutcracker day

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