Monday, June 29, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - June 29

I did this blog post before I left for camping and I THOUGHT I set it to post automatically. Apparently, I did not. So here it is. A week late. lol But now you get a photo from the week.

For Today... June 29, 2009

Outside my window... Campers and tents

I am thinking... about the week ahead at Family Camp and the ominous weather forecast.

From the learning rooms... Childrens and Teens programs at Family Camp

I am thankful for... the opportunity to attend Family Camp this year, after two years of working during the summer.

From the kitchen... A pre-planned menu of easy meals, as much pre-cooked as possible. Even using the slow cooker at our campsite!

I am wearing... Probably shorts and a short-sleeved top, flip-flops

I am reading... The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (actually a re-read).

I've been watching... Confessions of a Shopaholic

I am hoping... that I can jog my same routine at the campground this week - five 40-45 minute sessions during the 10 days. (NOTE: I managed three jogs. The weather was WET WET WET!)

I am creating... better relationships with family and friends

I am hearing... kids riding their bikes up and down the dirt lane

Around the camper... Probably a bunch of dirty laundry right about now. Planning a laundromat visit in another couple days.

One of my favorite things... Sitting around the campfire, sharing stories.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Enjoying the teaching and worship at Family Camp, as well as the lazy afternoons.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you:

Monday, June 22, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - June 22

For Today... June 22, 2009

Outside my window... Late afternoon sunshine, green grass, kids coloring with sidewalk chalk.

I am thinking... about kids growing up - three of Bob's nieces/nephews are engaged to be married (and maybe four?).

From the learning rooms... Library Summer Reading programs

I am thankful for... good family relationships.

From the kitchen... sandwich stuff and chips for lunch, taco fixings for dinner.

I am wearing... Khaki shorts, yellow tank top, black flip-flops, hair in a barrette, no makeup.

I am reading... The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich comes out this week! Hopefully I can obtain it before leaving for Family Camp! And I need to read Frankenstein....

I've been watching... Vantage Point (wow! Need to watch again, paying more attention), High School Musical 2, Just Friends (terrible!), NCIS Season 1 (still)

I am hoping... that I can jog my same routine at the campground next week.

I am creating... a menu (and grocery list) and packing list for camping

I am hearing... Kids talking quietly out on the front lawn, the fan humming in the window, someone starting a lawnmower

Around the house...WAY too many library books!

One of my favorite things... A nice day at the BEACH.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Work Tues-Thursday, meeting with Soccer registrar, Two of the kids are doing 3 days of VBS, my sister is coming with her 4 kids to spend a day, and we are getting ready for a trip.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.

Tell me what you think James is holding!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Working with Fondant Icing

Several people expressed interest in how it was to work with the fondant for Suzy's birthday cake. If that was you, you're in luck, since I had James take some photos of us creating the cake. Each [hoto has captions describing what we did.

The fondant was much easier to work with than I had anticipated. However, it was also more expensive than I anticipated. I bought a 2 lb. container for about $14.00. We only used about half of it though. What I bought was Satin Ice fondant. They had smaller packs of several colors of Wilson fondant, but it didn't fit what we needed. A brochure came along with it that helped me figure out what to do. As I said, it wasn't too intimidating.

The funny thing? Suzy didn't EAT any of the cake. She only wanted ice cream. Oh well! LOL

Monday, June 15, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - June 15

For Today... June 15, 2009

Outside my window... Sunshine! A cloudless blue sky! A carpet of green grass! A neighbor walking her dog. A shiny red pickup driving by.

I am thinking... about Blu-Ray and regular DVD. And what if a movie comes out as a "Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy combo package"? Does that mean I can play it in my regular DVD player??

From the learning rooms... Continuing with Sun & Fun. Each child has earned several suns so far, with James leading the pack.

I am thankful for... a great thought-provoking sermon yesterday. Thank you, Pastor Nathan!

From the kitchen... A few groceries I got this morning, and an empty menu planning sheet. I better get to that!

I am wearing... Jean capris, a lilac sparkly tee, and black sparkly flip-flops (Guess I AM sparkly!)

I am reading... I didn't read Perelandra yet, so maybe that will happen this week. Going to be starting Frankenstein soon for book club, although I have to say I am the least excited about that choice of any we've done so far. Would far rather read the new Jeffery Deaver I just got from the library, so maybe I'll be doing that instead! I have way too many choices for reading material actually, and not enough time to read.

I've been watching... The Librarian and the Quest for the Spear, NCIS Season 1, New in Town (Zellweger, Connick), The Importance of Being Earnest, Galaxy Quest (first time!)

I am hoping... David's camp week is both fun and spiritually challenging.

I am creating... Working on my queries and editing Mystery Valley Ranch

I am hearing... Birds chirping, kids talking outside

Around the house... Some neighbors moved out yesterday and passed a lot of stuff on to us, so I'm sorting through that. Painting commences this week!

One of my favorite things... Beach Days! They're awesome!!!

A few plans for the rest of the week... Work every day, pick strawberries, meeting with SOF Co-Leaders, David is at camp Mon-Fri, Our 21st anniversary on Thursday, Beach Day Friday, David has a car wash fundraiser on Sat, and we have an open house to go to over the weekend.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.
This is the pie I made for Bob's birthday at the end of May. It's a Strawberry Dream pie. This time I made it with a chocolate graham cracker crust (storebought), strawberry jello, and frozen whipped topping (and cream cheese). It can be made a lot of different ways, but strawberry is his favorite.

From Drop Box
From Drop Box

Sunday, June 14, 2009


A couple weeks ago, James got a set of large building toys at a garage sale for $5. When I looked on the internet, I found they are called Omagles and they were quite expensive new ($150 or $250, depending on which set you got.) They don't appear to be available anymore. Here are some of the things he's built.

Picasa slideshow. If you can't view it, click on it and it will take you to the web album (I hope).

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Fill-in #128

ffi we go!

1. I grew up thinking that every Christian ought to have the same opinions. (Yeah, I know. What was I thinking?)

2. Google Reader was the last website I was at before coming here. (or facebook, I clicked them both within moments of each other.)

3. Why don't you write a blog post right now? (What? You don't have a blog? Well, write me a comment then.)

4. The computer helps me relax.

5. Thanks for the comments (if you leave any) If you don't, why not?

6. I am working with someone who is very off-putting.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to Suzy's party being DONE, tomorrow my plans include Field Maintenance Day (soccer) and BOOK CLUB and Sunday, I want to get David ready for camp!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - June 8

For Today... June 8, 2009

Outside my window... a steady rain, empty trash cans

I am thinking... am I? I don't think I am yet.

From the learning rooms... the completed Sun and Fun program (shamelessly stolen from my friend Jennifer and already posted by me last night)

I am thankful for... Freecycle! Check it out. I got two pair of cross-country skis and some tart pans this weekend.

From the kitchen... a completely filled in menu - leftover chili and cornbread for lunch today

I am wearing... jeans, Batman tee, pink sweatshirt (because I'm COLD), black socks, wet hair, no makeup (Not going ANYWHERE today)

I am reading... The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde and Mr. Knightley's Diary (one of the Austen men diaries) by Amanda Grange. I didn't read Perelandra yet, either, so maybe that will happen this week.

I've been watching... Pollyanna (2003), He's Just Not That Into You, Speed Racer

I am hoping... that I like running outside as well as I like running in place in front of the TV. What I'm afraid of though, is that I will find it dull. Gotta crank the tunes and pound the pavement, starting this week or next, in preparation for camping week when I won't HAVE the opportunity to run in front of the TV.

I am creating... Working on my queries and editing Mystery Valley Ranch

I am hearing... James playing with the set of Omagles building toys we got at a garage sale and he's singing a Veggie Tales song while he plays. Bob is joining in with the song.

Around the house... We've popped the camper to air it out in preparation for the camping season. It looks like it survived the winter quite nicely. Also I think we're going to start painting the second coat on the house this week. More Melted Butter!

One of my favorite things... a relaxed rainy day, like today!

A few plans for the rest of the week... Work every day, meeting with the soccer board, soccer field maintenance day, and BOOK CLUB!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.
I rode the penny horse at Meijer when I was a kid. It's still a penny! (I don't know why she's making that scared face; she wasn't scared!)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sun and Fun

Sun and Fun
We finished our "school year" back before Memorial Day, but I like to keep the learning going throughout the summer. An incentive plan helps to keep motivation high!

I've always looked on my friend Jennifer's Sun and Fun plan as a great idea. My own summer learning has never really been very organized, unless we were just continuing our "school year" all summer long. So, this year, I stole her idea (with her permission!) and modified her Sun and Fun for use with my own kids.

My goals for them this summer are to keep current on math, to keep reading and writing skills sharp, and to do some map skills that we don't make time for during the school year. So, I created a list of goals that the kids can do to earn a sun. My list is the same for all the kids, but they will work on their own levels.

These are their possible assignments: Do a mapwork page, Do a math page, Read for 30 minutes and write a summary. Read for 30 minutes and narrate a summary, Write a letter, Write in your communication journal, Listen to a whole audiobook, Memorize a Bible verse (new one).

I asked the kids for some input on rewards and got some ideas and then added some of my own. Setting the prices was the hardest part, I think. But I set them high and I can put them on sale, if needed.

Here are a few of the rewards. Candy bar, pack of gum, Slushie, watch a DVD – your choice, 1 hour computer game time, 12 pack pop, Trip to McDonald's, Poster, Invite a friend to spend the night, Tracfone card, Trip for you and a friend to the water park

The suns are that graphic up to the left, printed out quite small. I'll sign each one as I hand them out, so there's no confusion there. I printed out 60 of them to start and it's easy to print more when I run low.

I printed it all out cute with a nice font and some suns. I'll take some photos as we go along. If you want the handout, or the complete list of rewards, leave me a comment or email me.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Fill-in #127

ffi we go!

1. I won't really relax until my son gets back home. (And this is just a little taste of the rest of the summer. Here and then gone again.)

2. My favorite thing for dinner lately has been Chicken and veggies.

3. All I seem to hear around here is bark! bark! bark!

4. A nice long walk sounds great! Should have done it sooner. Now the sun's going down.

5. My scale had some good news for me this morning.

6. When all is said and done, my daughters apparently just don't understand the concept of keeping their room straightened up.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to taking the kids to a carnival down the street, tomorrow my plans include finding something fun to do and Sunday, I want to welcome my son home!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Re-learning: Snacking for Weight Loss

The learning is never-ending around here, and I've been re-learning how to eat. Yeah, for years, I've been eating incorrectly. No, my technique is mostly correct - although I have been known to read while eating and sometimes even talk with my mouth full!

What I'm talking about is re-learning some bad food habits that have been with me all of my adult life, resulting in my weight being at an unhealthy level. This year, I'm getting serious about making my life healthier. The kids are benefiting too, because they see the direct effects of my lifestyle choices and the more fattening foods are not as often in the house.

I've been counting calories since the beginning of January and exercising regularly since then, and I've lost 20 pounds. Not an earth-shattering weight loss, but I'm pleased as punch! (Er.... not punch, maybe pleased as a nice glass of ice water?) I'm still exercising, counting calories, and losing weight.

I'm not one of those people you may meet who say things like, "I've been so busy I forgot to eat!" or "All I had for dinner was an apple." Nooo, food is never really far from my mind. Four children who are always hungry helps keep food at the top of my to-do list as well. My blood sugar doesn't stay level very well, I suspect, so I need to always have a high-protein snack around in case it needs leveling off.

I thought I'd share some of the snacks that help me get through the day. I usually eat a snack mid-morning, another, often slightly more substantial, mid-afternoon, and then usually something in late evening (since I am a night owl).

I try to limit snacks to around 100 calories. If I feel hungry still, I can add another 100. In the evening, what I eat depends on how many calories I have left in my daily count.

So, here are some of my favorite snack foods. The kids eat most of these snacks. Not everyone likes everything, but at least one of them would eat any one of the snacks.

Fruits, like bananas, apples, and clementines are great and already portion-sized.

Almonds - I usually eat 12 of them and it's under 100 calories. Protein packed and a whole food.

popcorn - do you wonder if air-popping is worth it? Check the calories on your microwave popcorn and THEN look how many servings are supposed to be in that bag! I used to eat the whole bag myself! Try spraying your air-popped popcorn with butter-flavored pan spray and then shaking on some of the many popcorn seasonings around. It's not the movie theater, but it's a nice crunchy snack and the seasonings add flavor.

Rice Cakes
- crunchy and flavorful. Move past the plain ones, people! Chocolate, caramel, apple cinnamon, cheddar! Lots of choices and mini or regular sizes too.

- OK, this one is a luxury. But one tablespoon of Nutella is under 100 calories and sometimes you just need its creamy goodness. Spread it on a chocolate rice cake! YUMMY!

Sugar Snap Peas
- Satisfies the "I need a crunchy mindless snack" vibe quite well for me. They have a mild taste and the texture is good.

- Some are as low as 35 calories! It's nice to be able to have what my kids are having! Kroger has banana, melon, and other tasty flavors beyond grape and cherry.

Last tip? Almost anything can be a snack if you pay attention to portion size. Of course, I eat many more things than are listed here. Measure your food. Measure chips, measure ice cream, measure your beverages, measure all of it!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

James' Curriculum

The unusual thing about James is that he started kindergarten in January just after he turned 5. That's when he was ready, so that's when we started. However, that means he has changed grade levels (as much as that matters to me, which is to say NOT much) in January. So he is in 4th grade now and will continue to be in 4th grade until Christmastime.

- James will finish Gamma over the summer and start Delta as soon as he is done. He finds math pretty easy, but still struggles with a few of the multiplication facts, so we'll make sure those are memorized perfectly by fall.

LANGUAGE ARTS - James will continue with what he's been doing. Reading real books and writing about them in his literature journal. Some written comprehension questions. Spelling Power. Penmanship (cursive). Writing letters. I'll increase the amount of work and the difficulty, as well as expect more.

SCIENCE - I don't know yet what James and Suzy will do for Science. It won't be Apologia! lol

SOCIAL STUDIES - We'll continue with Mystery of History 2 and hopefully move into volume 3 before the year is out. We'll be resuming our chronological study somewhere around the year 1000.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION & HEALTH - James will play fall and spring soccer at the U10 level again next year. He will likely take a PE class at co-op (every other week). I am thinking about putting him in wrestling, and if you've ever seen him, you know he's built to play football. I know we are not ready for that level of commitment yet though.

VISUAL, PERFORMING & APPLIED ARTS - James will continue his monthly art class with Mr. West and probably take an art class at co-op. Other than that, we'll continue with our home art projects and crafts. We do lots of singing around here, but formal music lessons aren't a priority for any of us. If James shows an interest, we'll follow up.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE - Probably none, but maybe I'll get brave and start doing Spanish again.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - June 1

For Today... June 1, 2009

Outside my window... a blue bike laying on long green damp grass, a bird rising off the grass and flying into the tree, sun dappling the pavement, a silver sedan driving by following by a white one and then a bright yellow coupe.

I am thinking... about all the things that I need to do this week - vision, doctor and dental appointments to schedule for the kids, Make arrangements to pick up some curriculum, call several people, schedule swim lessons and field schools and that's just off the top of my head.

From the learning rooms... Some map workbooks ready to hand to the kids. And a half-baked idea about earning points for doing summer learning.

I am thankful for... a husband who prays.

From the kitchen... a grocery list and a half-written menu plan for the week.

I am wearing... Jeans, black long-sleeved shirt (that I LOVE), white socks, white tennies, makeup on, hair blown straight.

I am reading... about ready to start Perelandra by C.S. Lewis. I've had a hard time getting into fiction lately. I'm going to get 1000 Splendid Suns from the library in book format, since I wasn't able to finish listening to the audio.

I've been watching... NCIS Season 1, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (LIVE at a nearby high school - Twice!), George and the Dragon (a PG movie that was just ok, the bloopers at the end were hilariously funny though!)

I am hoping... that the scale will show a decrease this week. (Thursday is weigh-in day.)

I am creating... a synopsis of my novel Forget-Me-Not. Harder than it sounds really, because not only does it have to condense the action of the novel into about 5 pages, it also has to be written in a compelling voice. That way the agent will want to read the whole thing. This MUST be accomplished this week. MUST. MUST. MUUUUUUUST.

I am hearing... James asking Bob where he is going, the announcements from the PA system at the school down the street. (It's incredible how loud those are!), birds chirping, faint audiobook noises from upstairs.

Around the house... Planning Suzy's birthday party! I have a large pile of feather boas as a start.

One of my favorite things... Cheerful attitudes

A few plans for the rest of the week... Work every day, meeting with the soccer registrar, homeschool parent support meeting, kids have their last art class, park day, and David is going to Cedar Point with friends.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.
David bought an old Lego robotics kit at a yard sale for $3 and has been busy creating all kinds of things with it. The kit was designed to be R2-D2.