This Just In ...

Click on the images on the right sidebar to see what the kids are up to!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Brynne's New Haircut

Brynne has been wanting to get her hair cut for quite some time now. We have resisted because her hair is just gorgeous!! And, I know that once you cut it off it never grows back the same!

But, this summer she has been miserable with it! It is hot and stringy and when she sweats it wraps around the back of her arms and gets stuck in her armpits and it pulls. It gets stuck in her swimming suit. And, it just looks scraggly most of the day. She wants to wear it in a pony all the time.

My sister is a hair stylist, so we decided to let Aunt Krissi cut her hair this week. Because her hair is so long, she could donate it to "Locks of Love". So, we did it ....

Here's her hair just a few days ago

And here it is now

And here's how it all went down

Exactly 10 inches were cut off, and we'll be donating her beautiful locks as soon as we get back to Oklahoma.

She looks so grown up .. ** sniff, sniff ** .. But, she LOVES it! And so do I !!!

Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today  ~  June 30, 2009

Outside my window... the sun is shining brightly and my parents' pool is glistening!

I am thinking... how I wish Eli would not have gotten up at 6 a.m. on this first day of our vacation at my parents' ... urghhh!

I am thankful ... that I don't work outside the home and am able to take off with the kids a few times a year to come up to my parents' for some family time and some R & R.

From the learning rooms... nothin' ...

From the kitchen... I have the week off.

I am wearing... my new p.j.'s.

I am creating... our annual 4th of July t-shirts and plans for my 20th reunion this Friday that's here at my parents' house.

I am praying ... for a friend shaking an addiction.

I am going... to finish my cup of coffee and then fix breakfast.

I am reading... "Secrets" by Jude Deveraux.

I am hoping... to lay out in the sun this afternoon.

I am hearing... fans humming and the t.v. on in the sun room.

Around the house... the doggies are playing and everybody but me, Eli and Brynne are sleeping.

One of my favorite things... is 4th of July week! We come to Missouri every year for the week and get ready for the festivities. My hometown has had a celebration at the park on the 4th every year for over 100 years. It is so fun and my kids love it .. wouldn't miss it for anything! They have traditional frog and turtle races, sack races, egg races, egg and water balloon tosses, watermelon eating contests and so much more. It's an awesome time for our family!

A few plans for the rest of the week... Today my sister, niece and Kyndal are going to Walmart to pick up some supplies for my reunion and then going to the movies to see "My Sister's Keeper". Hopefully we'll get to come home and lay out for a while. Tomorrow we will probably just swim and make our t-shirts. On Wednesday we are all getting our hair done. On Thursday there will be more swimming and Rick is coming in the evening. On Friday is my 20th high school reunion. And on Saturday we'll be celebrating the 4th at the park. We'll head back to Oklahoma on Sunday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing..

Brynne's new haircut .. a separate post on this later!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Family Fun Day ~ Big Splash!

At the insistence of our LifeCoach, we have begun having weekly family meetings. We have them on Sundays at 5:00 p.m. They are non-negotiable and we plan all things around them. It is an electronics-free time and we spend our time discussing the week ahead. We call our meetings TTM, for Taulman Team Meeting. We start out with the calendar and everybody discusses their week and we write everything down. Then we talk about meals and plan them together as a family, so as to hopefully get everybody's favorites taken care of. Then we talk about whatever needs to be discussed as a family. It's been a really great time for us together.

At the end of the meeting we plan a time for us to all do something fun together during the week. Then we eat dinner together. Sometimes that's the only night of the week we actually eat dinner together.

For our Family Fun Day this week we went to Big Splash. That's not a big deal for me and the kids because we have season passes and go at least once a week. But it was special because Rick went with us.

Here are some highlights ~

This week we are having our annual July 4th family celebration in my childhood town. It's always filled with tons of family memories.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Let me just say that I love homegrown tomatoes. Yum!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Harvest

Well, I did it. I actually grew some tomatoes! I picked them this morning and they are ripe and beautiful! 

They actually came off what I call my "cheater plants" .. the tomato plant I bought fully grown.I also have 2 tomatoes on another one of my cheater plants. But, I have about 8 tomato plants that I started as seeds that are doing fantastic, and I am certain that in a month or so I will be enjoying tomatoes from them!

I have one green bean. And now the green bean plant is dying. So, I think I'll just pick it and eat it raw and call that one quits.

I am getting ready to replant my zucchini plant in one of our flower boxes because the pot is just not big enough and it's starting to die off.

I have so much basil that I can't even use it all. It's crowding out my little pepper plants, so I hope they can continue to grow and maybe produce some peppers by the end of summer.

All in all, this has been a fun experience for me because I knew nothing about vegetable gardening before I started. I have gained some knowledge and next year will be so much better.

For now, I'll just go fix some BLTs and enjoy my two tomatoes.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Rick Rocks ~ Because He Does Windows, and So Much More!

Last Saturday, my sweet husband jumped up and declared that he was going to wash our windows ... and off he went. He washed the windows, both inside and out, on our entire downstairs! Although that is amazing itself, the truly cool part is that I never even mentioned that I would like to have the windows washed. He's just that kind of husband!

That's not all he did that day. At the end of the day we made a verbal list of all he had accomplished, and it was astonishing! I love him so much because I never have to ask him to do something for me. He always says, "Is there something I can do for you?" He really does try to make my day easier for me. And I appreciate that SO MUCH! It's so nice because he has been so active with the caretaking of our children that they don't care who takes care of their needs. They love daddy just as much as they love mommy. 

Katy Lin's topic on My Husband Rocks this week was "fitting together". It reminds me of the anniversary card I gave Rick a couple of weeks ago, and so I want to say these words to Rick again ...

My hand fits your hand the way my life fits your life the way my heart fits your heart. All I ever want is just to be with you.

Rick Rocks ~ Because He Does Windows, and So Much More!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Frugal Vacationing

I'm a little off my blogging schedule this summer. I used to post about my grocery shopping trip on Wednesdays, but there really hasn't been as much structure to that so far so I'm not really organized on that front (still shopping frugally, just not documenting it.)

What's on my mind right now is our vacation we are taking in a couple of weeks.

We try really hard to take the kids on some kind of vacation every summer, and then Rick and I try to get away every year together, too. The kids' vacations tend to be the more frugal ones. We've been to Branson, Missouri, where we only spent $350 for a full 5 days. Then we went to St. Louis, Missouri, (our favorite, I think), and only spent $750 for a full 5 days. The next year we splurged a little and went to San Antonio, Texas. I think we spent about $1,300 for that week of vacation. Then the next year we really splurged and took the older two kids on a 7-day cruise. Even at that we only spent about $3,000 with excursions and all, for 4 of us. And we had been planning that trip for many years. Last year, since Rick and I went to Bermuda together, we just took the kids to Dallas and stayed at Great Wolf Lodge for 2 nights. That's not a cheap vacation, even when you do it the frugal way. But, it was fun.

This year we are going on a week-long camping trip with Steph and her family to Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills of South Dakota; Cody, Wyoming; Yellowstone for 3 nights; then the Grand Tetons. Steph and I are both frugal gals, so this has been a well-planned trip. They're doing it a little cheaper than us because they are borrowing a family member's 5th wheel. We are renting a pop up for 10 days, so we have that extra cost. But, the campsites are only going to run us about $150 for the whole week. Gas will be the most expensive cost. 

As far as activities, we have some plans to do some cool things at Mt. Rushmore and at the Grand Tetons. But, mostly, once you pay the $25 to get into Yellowstone, the cost is minimal, if any. And we're taking the majority of our own food. By using our food budget for that week, that we already have to use anyway, we won't be out much in food.

I've managed to save some money out of my grocery savings from the year to pay for any food on the road and extra treats. And we've saved some gas money out of our gas budget from this year (during that short period of cheaper gas prices) to pay for our activities we have planned. I worked at Just Between Friends to pay for the camper. So, really, all we will have extra to pay for along the way is gas. I'm pretty happy with that!

So, I've got a few questions:
1. To where have you taken your family on a frugal vacation?
2. Have you gone on this particular vacation? Can you give any advice?
3. What are some unique things you do with your kids in the car on long travel days?

I'll probably have several more random posts about this soon, seeking additional advice.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

I'd first like to thank everybody for their advice about my son and the rattlesnake incident. The general consensus is that the report idea is a great one, but because "boys will be boys" that I am being too harsh by taking away everything he holds dear until he gets the report(s) done. I know that he knows the dangers of snakes .. I'm more concerned with his lack of discipline especially when he is on a camping trip with an organization that's backbone is teaching it's boys leadership and self-discipline/control. Guess he needs Boy Scouts more than he thought he did.  THANK YOU so much for your advice! I will take it all and put it to good use! (He will thank you for keeping me in check, too.)

Now on to ...

For Today  ~  June 23, 2009

Outside my window... IT. IS. HOT (again)!!!

I am thinking... that I have been so lazy this summer, which is totally not like me, and I don't care!!

I am thankful for... the relationship that Rick and I have and how we are able to talk through anything, and how I always feel better and safer when we have talked through it.

From the learning rooms... we have learned that you should not trap a rattlesnake when you are at camp, or anywhere else for that matter! We are also hitting the library weekly. Kyndal is receiving some Algebra tutoring a couple times a month this summer.

From the kitchen... it is quiet as the girls are next door babysitting and Eli is still asleep.

I am wearing... my p.j.s

I am creating... some lists for our vacation to Yellowstone.

I am praying ... for my MIL and my friend's dad who are both receiving chemo right now.

I am going... to enjoy the peace and quiet of my morning for a bit longer.

I am reading... "Secrets" by Jude Deveraux.

I am hoping... that Rick and I receive some peace about the direction God is leading us and that we are able to hear His call when He gives it.

I am hearing... birds chirping outside.

Around the house... are running sprinklers and a new mama bird and her babies in the nest on our back porch (this is the second set of babies we've had up there this year).

One of my favorite things... is Brynne's long, beautiful blonde hair. But, we are going to cut it much shorter next week. It will be sad, and will likely change her whole appearance. But, it's so hot and sticky. When it's down it get stuck under her armpits when she sweats and it's driving her, and me crazy. It doesn't help that she got a wad of gum stuck in it yesterday and I had to cut a chunk out of the underneath of her hair. It's time ... I can't believe it, but it's time ...

A few plans for the rest of the week... Today the kids and I are heading over to Steph's to go swimming. Tomorrow I am cleaning the house because we have another Open House on Thursday evening. On Thursday I am starting my new summer Bible study (yea!), going to the doctor and then spending the afternoon/evening at Steph's working on plans for our vacation! On Friday the kids and I are going to Big Splash. Dawson gets home on Saturday from Scout Camp, so I'll be doing lots of disgusting laundry. After church on Sunday we are all going to Big Splash (even daddy) while we have yet another Open House. Kyndal has a church camp celebration party that evening, and then we're heading to Missouri for the week on Monday. 

Here is a picture thought I am sharing..

Sisters ...

I'm not sure who adores who more.
There are 11 years difference between these two, but they hang out like a couple of BFFs.
Kyndal babysits next door this summer, and Brynne is right along with her every time.
Brynne has been sleeping with Kyndal in her bed this summer, and you should hear the two of them in there talking and giggling.
Kyndal takes Brynne to the movies, and with her to baseball games with her friends.
Brynne doesn't understand when Kyndal goes to do something alone, why she can't go.
I am eternally grateful for their relationship.
My sister and I were in our 30's before we became close, or even liked each other for that matter, so it means so much to me for my two girls to not only love each other as sisters, but treat each other as friends.
Thank you, Kyndal, for making your baby sister feel so special!

Monday, June 22, 2009

I Could Use a Little Help

I got one of those phone calls today .. one you dread getting as a parent .. the "out of 750 kids yours is the one acting up" call ...

At first I was scared because I recognized the number on Caller ID as being one of Dawson's Boy Scout leaders. It was actually the wife of one. I was told that Dawson was not hurt or anything, but ...

apparently he had not shown up for his merit badge class this morning. When the leaders went to investigate they found him in his tent with a rattlesnake that he and two other boys (one of them being his tent-mate) had found and caught and put in his lizard carrier.  Yes, I said a rattlesnake!!!

Well, he's in trouble. The boys were told that their parents would be called, but that they would be given a second chance. If there are any more incidences they will be sent home. How humiliating!

Now, here's where I need some help. I am BIG about discipline being linked to the crime committed. I don't like to generally ground my kids or take away privileges that don't make sense. I want them to remember specifically the incident and the consequences attached to it. And I would like them to learn something from it.

So, here's my question ... how would you discipline him? I know that he is humiliated and upset at camp right now. That's just the way he is. I trust his Boy Scout leaders to discipline them appropriately while he is there. (He's being separated from his tent-mate). But, I do think he should be disciplined at home, too, for humiliating his family and for just being plain stupid.

So, comment your suggested forms of discipline. 

Right now I am leaning toward him being unable to play with any friends or anything, and losing his cell phone, DS, Playstation, etc., when he gets back until he researches (the old-fashioned way by going to the library and reading books) and hand writes me two reports: one lengthy one on the dangers of snakes and the other one on self-discipline and self-control. He hates to write and hates to do school work, so this should hurt him sufficiently. And, maybe he'll learn something in the process.

Any other suggestions??

Our House Tour

I had a request from one of you to see pictures of our house. Since we have it for sale, we have tour pics that you can view. I almost posted the link here, but then realized that it has our address right there in the http address. So, if you want to see pictures, shoot me a comment with your e-mail address and I'll send you the link.

Enjoy .. and make an offer if you want!!!

Menu Plan Monday

Oh, the Dog Days of Summer ...

Monday ~ Spaghetti and breadsticks
Tuesday ~ Salmon and rice
Wednesday ~ Fend for Yourself
Thursday ~ Dinner at Matt and Steph's
Friday ~ Soup and grilled cheese
Saturday and Sunday ~ Unsure .. I'll figure it out today and update

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!!

I'd like to wish an extra Happy Father's Day to my dad, Bill, and the father of my children, Rick!

Here's how we spent our day ...

We got up a little early to get Dawson ready for his Boy Scout week at camp. Rick opened his gift (some volleyball clothes and some jalapeno filled green olives). Kyndal spent the night with a friend, and Dawson was going to be gone by the time she got home, so we took some fragmented photos of Rick with me and the kids.

After Dawson was delivered to his Troop, we took the little guys for donuts and then went on to church. After church we came home so Rick could do his second favorite thing ~ watch golf on t.v. (Playing golf would be his favorite thing, but it's just too stinkin' hot for that!!)

Rick and Kyndal loved on each other for a few minutes ...

While the kids were playing, and Kyndal was taking a nap, Rick and I went out to water the flowers. We decided to sit down on our porch swing. Rick and the kids bought me this swing last year for Mother's Day. It's one of my favorite things. Here's a picture of it.

And here's a picture of Rick and my face as I sat down next to him and we heard a screeching noise right before it hit the ground with us on it!

And here's a picture of it now.

Rick woke up Kyndal immediately and they headed into town to buy me a new one. They couldn't find a good one, so now I am swingless. ** sniff, sniff **

We had our Taulman Team Meeting, without Dawson, and planned our week, which is going to be busy! Then the three of us had a pretty deep discussion about what we should do about moving, how we're feeling about our options and what we think God is trying to do in this situation. It is a time of some confusion, so we are just waiting right now.

I fixed Rick his requested dinner of Baked Salisbury Steak and Homemade Mac and Cheese. Then we had cantaloupe for dessert, his favorite of course! Rick and I ended the day watching HGTV's $250,000 Challenge. They totally gave it away in the previews who won, so the excitement just wasn't there, but it was nice to just sit together in peace and quiet!

I'm so glad we got to spend the day together, and wish that Dawson would have been here with us. But it was a nice day anyway!

I hope that my dad had a nice Father's Day! We're heading to Missouri to see them on the 29th, so we'll give him extra loves then.