This Just In ...

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Blog Has Moved

Hi Faithful Followers.

I have decided to move this blog. The new address is

I hope you'll come for a visit soon.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rick Rocks ~ When He Doesn't Think I'm Sexy

Rick thinks I'm sexy. He tells me that all the time. He thinks other men should be jealous that I am his wife.

But the other day Rick came in from work and said, "You look cute!"

I loved that!

Yes, I love that Rick thinks I'm sexy and I try hard to dress and present myself to him in the ways that he thinks are sexy. But there is just something great about being told you are 'cute' by your husband. It brings a smile to my face every time I think about it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Meal Schedule Continued

Now that I have my meal planning acronyms set, it's time to start planning meals!

Yesterday I planned the next two weeks. I must say, having a guideline to follow sure made it easier! But, I still found myself spending too much time thinking of meals.

How often do you see a recipe on another blog and think, "I'd like to fix that!" And, maybe you even Bookmark ("Favorites" for Microsoft users) it. But then it gets sucked into the thousands of Bookmarks you already have and then you never get to it, or even find it.

To solve this problem, I created new Bookmark folders with the titles of my day-of-the-week meal planning acronyms {did that make sense?}. For instance, I now have folders entitled "Mexican Monday" Recipes and "The Favorites Thursday" Recipes. When I see a recipe I like I decide which category it would fall under and immediately Bookmark it into that folder. So when I go to plan meals I can pull up that folder and choose some new recipes.

I've already got a couple in there I can't wait to fix!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nicole's Daybook

Outside my window... It rained this morning, so now it is cool and the wind is blowing and it feels like a Fall day. I love it!!!

I am thinking... about how it is the simple things in my life that make me feel so happy and peaceful.

I am thankful ... that this year's visit to Missouri for Kyndal and Dawson didn't stir up a torrent of turmoil, like last year's did.

I am wearing... a pair of black yoga pants, t-shirt, zip-up hoodie and Nike's.

I am planning... lesson plans {always lesson plans}, girl and boy frog Halloween costumes.

I am creating... the beginning of my Christmas list.

I am going... to sit here on my back porch, by myself, enjoying this cool weather, playing on my computer, for at least the next 30 minutes while Dawson does his Algebra.

I am reading... Mad Dash by Patricia Gaffney; The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw and Radical by David Platt.

I am hoping... that Rick and I continue on this path of connectedness for a long time ... forever would be nice.

On my mind... is the little bully on Eli and Brynne's bus who pulled Eli's hair yesterday and threw a rock at him and spit on him and Brynne. We now know the child's name, and will be making a formal complaint to the bus driver.

From the learning rooms... Brynne came home yesterday and said, "Do you know how to make homework? I don't have any and I want some." I gave her a kindergarten page from Eli's Summer Bridge book. She did a subtraction page. She's 5. Eli is doing really well earning his marbles by completing his work. We are even giving him marbles for doing his homework without complaint that he takes to school to add to his jar. He had his first assessments on Friday and got a 100% in math and a 93% in phonics. I am still thrilled about Kyndal's attitude toward her school work. She told me she got a 100% on her Biology test on Monday, and that was after she missed school Thursday and Friday and was gone all weekend. Dawson is still studying Ancient Egypt and plugging along in his other subjects. His good attitude continues to amaze me and its so fun to see him smiling about something he has learned!

Noticing that ... I get so tired in the afternoons from lack of hydration. Better go get some water!

From the kitchen...Dawson and I just threw an entire lentil casserole down the drain. He made it for one of his Ancient Egypt assignments. Gross! Who eats that stuff????

Around the house... are sleeping puppies. It's nap time!

One of my favorite things... is standing in the driveway with two other moms watching our kids (9 total at our bus stop) load the bus, eager for their day.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Kyndal's physical therapy and ortho appointments, football games, homework, Fall t.v. in the evenings, swinging, a trip to the art museum Thursday night to sculpt with clay, and a date night this weekend.

From my picture journal.
The cool inside of a sunflower. This sounds dumb, but I really didn't know where the sunflower seeds came from! I plucked them all out and am going to salt and roast them for Rick. He loves sunflower seeds.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Menu Plan Monday ~ The Week Before the New Schedule

I clean house by use of acronyms, based on the day of the week. I've blogged about it before.

While looking for an appetizer recipe last week I came across some recipes I would love to try! It got me thinking about how boring and predictable our menu has become. I haven't tried anything new in a long, long time. And I am bored with cooking. That's not a good place to be on the cusp of winter cooking.

So, I decided to implement a meal planning schedule based on acronyms, as well.

I already had our menu planned for next week, so the new schedule will start on Monday, September 20th.

The plan will be:

Monday ~ "Mexican" Monday {We love Mexican!}

Tuesday ~ "Taste of Home Cookbook" Tuesday {Cook something out of one of my many Taste of Home cookbooks.}

Wednesday ~ FFY, still Fend for Yourself {I don't care what it is as long as I don't have to cook it!}

Thursday ~ "The Favorites" Thursday {Where everybody gets to take turns requesting favorites, like spaghetti, chicken fettucine, baked salisbury steak, etc.}

Friday ~ "Freezer" Friday {Whatever I make, I will make a double portion and freeze one for later use. I am also toying with the idea of making a triple portion and giving one of them to a special person in our lives as a Christmas present that lasts all year.}

Saturday ~ "Sandwich" Saturday {BLT's, egg sandwiches, paninis, grilled cheese, etc.}

Sunday ~ "So Easy" Sunday {Hot dogs, burgers, Tyson chicken sandwiches, chicken quesadillas, etc.}

This starts next week. Here's what we're having this week:

Monday ~ Weight Watchers Salisbury steak, homemade mac and cheese
Tuesday ~ Broccoli and beef stir fry
Wednesday ~ FFY
Thursday ~ Chicken tetrazinni
Friday ~ Mexican pizzas
Saturday ~ Chicken sandwiches
Sunday ~ Pizza bread

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rick Rocks ~ Because He is Thoughtful

Although I am bored with what I have to say about myself right now, I still have very important things to say about my husband!

Yesterday it was raining. My garage door opener is jacked up right now. When I went out to take Eli and Brynne to school, my Suburban was parked in the garage in Rick's spot . He had pulled his car out of the garage and moved mine over to his spot so that I could use his garage door.

Without doing that I would have had to back my car out, park it, get out of my car, go into the garage, hold my garage door button down until the door was closed, open Rick's garage door, go out his door, get back in my car and close his garage door ... all while in the rain.

I felt such a swell of happiness when I sent the kids out to the car and walked out and saw my car moved over.

Rick Rocks ~ Because he is thoughtful!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I am feeling, for now, a pulling back from this blog.

Who wants to read this stuff anyway? What do I really write about? Does anybody really care but me? And if I am the only one who really cares, then I am a narcissistic freak of grand proportions ... not to mention full of more pride than humanly possible.

Sometimes I have real things to share, like a yummy new recipe or how to make a fun t-shirt. But my other ramblings?

Rick says I should keep writing if only for myself because it is a place where I can get my thoughts out. He also said that he learns more about what's going on inside my head by reading my blog than he gets out of me personally.

Anyway. At this time I am obsessed with homeschooling and what I am sharing on that blog. The link is on the right sidebar. And, I still post regularly on Taulman Times: Special Edition to keep my family updated on the kids. That link is on the right, also. So, if you are one of the few who are actually curious about me and my family, you can see more than enough activity there.

There's nothing wrong with me. I'm not depressed. I'm not angry. I'm just bored with myself and more interested in my family right now.

Thanks for reading, and check in every once in a while to see if I've had a change of heart.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nicole's Daybook

Outside my window... It's cooler and cloudy and is going to rain today.

I am thinking... about how I just don't belong anywhere. We went to some good friends' for a party on Sunday night. I didn't fit in. I imagine the women there were looking at me thinking what a snob I was. I just didn't fit in. It got me thinking about how I used to be friendly. In high school and college I was excited about meeting new people and would be social and mingle. I don't know if it's being burned one too many times, or if I really just don't care anymore. But I am a snob. I have no desire to talk to people or get to know new people. I enjoyed talking to the couple of people I knew. But otherwise, I just didn't care.

I am thankful ... that I am able to be involved in my kids' schools.

I am wearing... a pair of denim capris, a white tank top, my favorite brown moccasins and my hair in a pony.

I am planning... lessons and a couple of days off from school on Thursday and Friday.

I am creating... nothing.

I am going... to go to Brynne's Mom and Me Muffin Morning on Thursday.

I am reading... Mad Dash by Patricia Gaffney; The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw and Radical by David Platt.

I am hoping... that I am wrong about my ill feelings.

On my mind... is the genuineness of people. I may be a snob, but at least I'm not pretending not to be. Last week I was walking in the evening and I walked past the house of some people we used to go to church with. I had an image of what a "nice" family they were, what a "Christian" family. I heard the dad yell to his son, who was in the backyard pulling the hose around, "**** you are a complete idiot, despite what you think. Go the other way! **** take the hose the other way!" And he wasn't saying it like, "Hey **** you doofus, take the hose the other way. Oh, geez, what a goof ball." No. He was calling his son an "idiot" and meaning it.

From the learning rooms... Brynne's will get smaller this next week because they transferred a pre-k teacher (Brynne's from last year) to kindergarten so they will have 20 kids in a class instead of 30. I was told by Eli's teacher and resource teacher that since we started our marble box that he has gotten all his work done and hasn't even had to go see the resource teacher to help him finish it!!! Kyndal is still doing well and enjoying her classes. Dawson will have a very busy day today and tomorrow because he and Kyndal are taking off school Thursday and Friday to go on their yearly trip with their dad.

Noticing that ... First it was frogs. Then it was butterflies. Now? Armadillos! Glad I decided not to plan a fall garden. They would demolish it.

From the kitchen... we have a full pantry, fridge and freezer since I went to the store this weekend and our menu is more on track this week.

Around the house... It is super dark because some of our house lighting is not working.

One of my favorite things... is a cool Fall breeze, my back porch and a cup of coffee, all at the same time.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Busy school days, quieter evenings.

From my picture journal.

On our window last week.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

While looking for a couple of my appetizer recipes yesterday I came across sooooo many recipes from the past and new recipes that I want to use. So next week I plan to tap into some of those! But for this week, more of the same 'ol same 'ol.

Monday ~ Stuffed peppers (and stuffed pepper mix over rice for the kids)

Tuesday ~ Chicken fettucine and french bread

Wednesday ~ FFY

Thursday ~ Crescent chicken

Friday ~ Salmon, veggies and rice (and fish sticks for the kids)

Saturday ~ Grilled chicken wraps

Sunday ~ Paninis and grilled cheese sandwiches

Have a great week!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

'Tis the Sneezin'

It felt like Fall yesterday. Beautiful temperatures, the first home high school football game and this ....

Yep ... we got t.p.'d! Rick said it must have been done by a bunch of girls though because they almost decorated our trees and bushes with it and it wasn't more than 10 feet off the ground. My thought was that I could have really used that toilet paper this week to wipe all of the snotty noses in my house.

Because, yes, it's also cold and sinus season. And we had our first bout of it this week.

So that brings me to the topic I think I raise every single year, but it's worth repeating. What do you do to help ward off sickness in your house?

Our Eli has a weak immune system, especially with upper respiratory infections. For many years he has gotten pneumonia more than once and he's the one most likely to get the flu. I take many measures to keep him healthy so that he misses minimal school.

1. Vitamins. Very important! We take them all year round, but especially during this season. I just use a gummy mulit-vitamin for the kids and I take the cheap Wal-mart brand of woman's multi-vitamin. I also take extra calcium for my bones.

2. Immune Boosters. For the past few years I have religiously given my little two an extra gummy vitamin called 'Lil Critters Immune C. I swear by it! I think, and my doctor agrees, that the zinc in that vitamin is what has kept Eli pneumonia-free the last two winters. I cannot recommend it enough and should get paid to endorse this product.

3. Humidifiers. We run humidifiers in the kids' rooms during this entire fall and winter season to keep the air moist.

4. Green Tea. Brynne won't drink it, but Eli and I definitely do! We each drink a cup of it every evening. Green Tea has proven to have immune boosting qualities. And, I just love it's soothing feel.

5. Sleep. Everybody here gets their sleep. It's so important to stay healthy!

6. Healthy Eating. I would never claim that we are the best at it, but I really do try to make sure my kiddos eat as healthy as possible.

What do you do to try to stay illness-free in your home?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Rick Rocks ~ Because He Picks Up Where I Leave Off

This week I have been sick with some yucky sinus junk. I have had no energy and absolutely no desire to do anything I would normally do.

I put the kids in the bath last night, but then went to lay down while they played. Rick came home from work shortly after that and just went in and washed them, got them out and into their jammies.

Then he told me that he would be cleaning up the kitchen from dinner, so I was not to touch it.

Then it made me remember that in the mornings when I come into the bedroom, after getting everybody off to school, that our bed has been made by him.

I am thankful to have a husband who is mindful of things I have left undone or incomplete and then completes them for me without me having to ask, beg or nag.

And I've mentioned before that my Love Language is Acts of Service. I have felt very loved.

Rick Rocks ~ Because he picks up where I leave off.

Thursday, September 2, 2010



That's me today.

The end.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


At Christmas I copied a shirt I saw at An Affair of the Heart.

For Brynne's birthday party on Saturday, she had a cooking/baking party and the colors were pink and zebra print.

Remembering that I had some leftover zebra fabric, and she had a pink t-shirt that was going to be too small next summer, I made her a "5" shirt for her party.

Basically I just free-handed a 5 on cardstock, cut it out, traced it backwards on the back of the fabric, cut it out and used Aleene's Okay to Wash-It to attach it to the shirt (love that stuff since I don't sew!). I took a couple of coordinating ribbons, tied them in a bow and safety pinned it to the top of the five. She had already had the zebra hair bow and corker bow, so she wore it combined with her shirt.

Easy, didn't cost a dime and looked so cute at her party!

Go here to see all the party details!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Nicole's Daybook

Outside my window... It is going to be another too-hot day. It's especially yucky because we had a few teaser days of cooler weather last week.

I am thinking... about how glad I am I do not have to put my kids on the bus in the morning and then rush off to work for a tiring day, to then come home and have to do my family responsibilities. I am so thankful that I get to stay home and do what I love.

I am thankful ... that my little kids go to an elementary school that has teachers who work to meet the individual needs of their students.

I am wearing... a pair of jeans (even though it's going to be stinking hot today .. this time of year I just can't wait to get into jeans), a white t-shirt, a cropped striped nautical themed cardigan and black flats.

I am planning... lessons for Dawson, at all times. I'm always looking for interesting things we can add to our unit.

I am creating... nothing this week. After Brynne's birthday party this past weekend, I need a few days off.

I am going... to continue to be mindful of the needs of every member of my family and do what I can to provide for their needs, all without losing energy and without losing myself in the process. Hefty challenge, I know. But this issue of balance is a constant struggle.

I am reading... Mad Dash, by Patricia Gaffney.

I am hoping... that I get back into my cash-only system of spending money so that I can keep a better handle on my budgeting. I have really slacked in this area this summer.

On my mind... is how being "chosen" is so important to me. I want to be important to people and it drives me, too much I think.

From the learning rooms... Kyndal is continuing to put a lot of effort into her school work. Dawson is still learning about Ancient Egypt and keeping very busy! (You can click on the Journey to Excellence link on the right sidebar to keep up with his progress.) We met with Eli's teacher and resource teacher last week to discuss ways to help him complete his work and transition to the next assignment without being frustrated. We came up with a cool system, I think. Brynne continues to rule kindergarten. She is doing great, is well-behaved and a blessing to her teacher (in a class where she has 30 kindergarteners!).

Noticing that ... I allow my busyness to run over the relationships in my life. My love language is Acts of Service, so I naturally serve others to show them I love them. But that's not the love language of any of my family members, I don't believe, so when all I do is serve, serve, serve, they don't feel loved. Again, a constant struggle! Time to slow down and just love my family. But how do I do that in the midst of doing all I do and, consequently, loving all I do?

From the kitchen... is almost everything we had on the menu last week because we just seemed not to get to much of it.

Around the house... Trees have been cut down and trimmed. We had several dead (big) trees on our acre lot and it was sad to see them down. But, our property looks so much better now, especially after Rick spent time this weekend trimming the ones we still have.

One of my favorite things... is having my sweet, fat, fuzzy Quincy curled up right next to my stomach while I sleep.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Tonight is Kyndal's Back-to-School night at her school. Rick, hopefully, gets back from a last-minute business trip to Nebraska. Tomorrow evening Tess is coming over to spend some time with Dawson for a while and Kyndal has physical therapy. On Thursday she has physical therapy again and Dawson and I will volunteer at our elementary school. On Friday the older kids are leaving for the weekend with their dad. The rest of us are staying home. I thought we might go roller skating on Saturday. But, we'll see. I really plan to do nothing on Sunday! Monday is Labor Day and we have nothing planned.

From my picture journal.

I saw this truck this morning and it reminded me that I had taken this picture when I was behind it one day. It's the back of a septic tank truck. This is especially funny to our family because my dad does this for a living. He calls his septic tank truck "The Turd Hearse".

Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday ~ Repeats

Because of a crazy birthday weekend, a date night out and an unexpected business trip for Rick, we ate lots of easy on-hand things the past few nights. So, you will see a familiar menu this week.

Monday ~ Leftover Easy Chicken Parmesan

Tuesday ~ Meatball subs

Wednesday ~ FFY

Thursday ~ Crescent chicken

Friday ~ Mexican pizza

Saturday ~ Salmon and veggies for Rick and I, fish sticks for the kids

Sunday ~ Stuffed peppers for Rick and I, stuffed pepper mix served over rice for the kids

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rick Rocks ~ Because These Boots Were Not Made for Walkin'

I don't buy much for myself unless it is super cheap, or unless Rick just makes me!

The other day I saw this picture in the Rack Room circular and me, being an extreme-lover-of-boots-but-too-frugal-to-spend-much-on-them kind of girl, I put the picture on Rick's dresser with a note that said, "I love" and instructions that he could buy them for me if he ever wanted to pick me up a little something.

He said, "You know I'm not going to go in there and buy you those boots. But you go buy them tomorrow!"

The next day, knowing me and how I would talk myself out of needing/wanting them, he left the picture sitting on the kitchen counter when he went to work.

Then he called me a couple of hours later and told me to go get them.

And, I did.

And, I love.

{I also took advantage of BOGO and a $10 coupon and got Brynne three more pair of shoes for this fall. You can make the girl not be frugal (when her husband tells her to buy herself boots 'just because'), but you can't take the frugal out of the girl.

Then after my dream night before last, Rick texted me a couple of different times during the day to tell me how I was the only one for him, or something like that. He knew I was anxious about my dream and wanted to provide me with reassurance, which helped my day tremendously. Good to know he's not walking anywhere but toward me.

Rick Rocks!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I had a dream last night ...

and it was horrifying!

I dreamed that Rick and I were getting ready to renew our vows. I had asked a friend of ours to stand up with me. We were getting ready and she bailed on me because she said she found out her cat had been hit by a car. I was upset but started curling my own hair. Big chunks of it fell out.

When I walked out into the sanctuary of the church, everybody was staring at me like "they knew something".

Come to find out, that friend had been having an affair with Rick.

Then they both got bold about it! I immediately filed for divorce (like a minute later he had the papers in his hands). I couldn't get her to leave the courtroom during the proceedings. She wouldn't leave. And Rick was so mean to me, yelling at me.

I was sobbing so hard I couldn't breathe. I was trying to get the kids loaded up in the car so we could leave. But the woman was there taunting me. And Rick didn't care about me anymore.

My alarm went off at 5:15 a.m. so I could go run, and I just couldn't do it. All I wanted to do was go back to sleep and put some distance between me and that dream.

When I was taking Kyndal to her friend's this morning, all the talk on the radio was the divorce of Tiger Woods and Elin. The discussion on one station was about whose fault it was. One DJ said that Tiger has accepted 100% responsibility. But the other DJ said that "nothing comes between happy couples", that Elin had at least a small percentage of responsibility for his affair in that she wasn't providing him with some kind of need. There was much debate about that. I tend to agree with the second DJ. I know there are exceptions (like sexual addictions, etc.), but I've always been under the opinion that affairs are not the cause of divorce, but that affairs are the result of other problems in the marriage. {I don't presume to blame Elin. Tiger had a choice.}

And then a couple of my favorite blogs are discussing some of these topics.

And I have mentioned on my own blog in the last couple of days how I feel, I know, I have been neglecting Rick because of my busyness.

This is heavy on my heart today. We need to take care of our spouses. When I am hearing the same thing from various sources I always perk up and pay attention! I know that it is God speaking to me, wherever I am at (in the car, sleeping, reading blogs ... cause He knows that's where I'm choosing to spend my time), trying to get my attention.

Father, I hear you!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Putting ME in my Day

Well, at first I didn't think I had a thing to talk about today. And, really, I don't. My life right now consists of kids, kids, kids and more kids. Between school, school at home, life after school, a birthday party this weekend with three more coming up, and holidays bursting onto the scene, there's not much time for me.

And I'm not complaining. It's a season, sisters! And I know this because I have an almost 16 year old. It's gone in the blink of an eye.

Anyway, how do I keep MYSELF in my life during busy seasons like this that require giving so much of myself to others? Here are my thoughts.

1. Gotta get up early and exercise. Getting up early stinks, but it is "me" time that I desperately need. It keeps my joints lubricated, keeps me toned and gives me a much-needed energy boost. Then I'm ready for the day.

2. I don't have the time in my day to actually go to a Bible study right now. I have chosen, instead, to do a book club with Marla Taviano, reading the book Radical by David Platt.

3. Getting the kids to bed by 8:30 p.m. so I can spend some time with Rick. Spending time with him is difficult. Remember the "kids, kids, kids and more kids" issue? But it is so important! Our summer has left us neglecting our date nights. These will move back up the list in being a priority! We need those times together.

4. Trying to fit in some alone time every day, even if it's just giving Dawson an assignment and running downstairs to do some blogging or taking a 20 minute power nap late in the afternoon before the other kids get home.

5. Drinking lots of water, taking my vitamins, eating healthy, getting proper sleep. These things make a world of difference to me in that I know I am taking care of myself.

6. An occasional night away. I've been invited to be an accountability scrapbooking partner for a buddy. Getting out one afternoon and evening a week to create memories for my family will likely recharge me.

7. My new one ... making Sunday a day of rest and doing exactly that! ... not getting out of my pjs, laying on the couch, catching up on DVR'd shows, reading, napping, just sitting with my family.

For now, this is the best I can do to maintain ME.

Now my "star student" is coming down the stairs throwing his nerf bullets onto the stair bannister, which tells me he's done with his writing assignment. So, gotta go!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nicole's Daybook

Outside my window... It is pitch-black dark and humid! But, it's only supposed to be a high of 89 degrees today. Break out the jeans and sweaters!!! It's also a full moon outside and at 1 a.m., when I was taking a dog potty, it was so light in our backyard! It was weird!

I am thinking... about how I need to adjust my schedule so I am not a zombie by 6 p.m. every night. I tend to over-do it in the area of scheduling, and try to fit too much into my day, and then I crash and burn. The problem with this is that the only person getting any good part of me is Dawson because he is here all day. (And Rick was afraid that would happen.) And I am very passionate about teaching him so am giving it 168% all day. But I don't want the other four members of my family to get the exhausted me when they finally come home. I'm not exactly sure what to do about that except practice some mind-over-matter and will myself to keep my energy level up until bed time.

I am thankful ... that everyone is enjoying school!

I am wearing... my running clothes.

I am planning... the remainder of Brynne's birthday party that is this weekend.

I am creating... a poster for school announcing the Fall Craft Party for kindergarten and first grade, that's in November (gotta start getting parents on-board early and we have parent meetings this week) and paper chef hats for Brynne's party.

I am going... to have a slightly more low-key day today, because I don't have to run Kyndal around all day today (she has a friend who just got her license ... mixed feelings!)

I am reading... Shadow Dance, by Julie Garwood. I haven't read at all this week, and I want to.

I am hoping... that Little Miss Brynne does good being the first Calendar helper of the year in kindergarten today.

On my mind... is a blogging friend whose marriage is in real trouble.

From the learning rooms... Kyndal is on top of school so far and I am very proud of her! She did get a couple of classes switched, that she is hoping will help her out some. Dawson is really surprising me with his attitude and quality of work in homeschooling. Check out Journey to Excellence to see what all he is doing. I was told by Eli's school counselor that she is just so amazed at how mature Eli is this year and so accepting of school. He did his first homework last night. And Brynne is ruling kindergarten. She knew how to spell "Red" yesterday and got chosen to be the first Calendar helper which is a big deal! All the kids are doing so great!

Noticing that ... Having teenagers isn't so bad .. at least having mine.

From the kitchen... Goulash, subs and kabobs on the menu.

Around the house... This house needs cleaned like someone's mama is coming for a visit. Oh, yeah, mine is this weekend! Better get busy!

One of my favorite things... is the wave of silence that comes over the house when the last of the kids goes to bed. Ahhhhh .....

A few plans for the rest of the week... Tonight is the kindergarten parent meeting. Tomorrow the older kids have youth groups. On Thursday Dawson and I will volunteer at Eli and Brynne's school and then that night is the first grade parent meeting. On Friday Dawson has a get-t0gether to attend (which has become so important for him to do). My mom and niece are coming on Saturday morning and Brynne's 5th birthday party is that day!! Check back for the cute party ideas! My week mostly consists of schooling Dawson, cleaning the house, getting ready for Brynne's party and running the kids around. I'll be ready for Sunday and some relaxation!

From my picture journal.

Just after riding the bus for the first time! It was fun!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday ~ Another Easy Meal Idea

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago about how I get oh-so-tired of the turkey sandwich and like to shake things up a tad bit at lunch time (my favorite meal). But, I want to keep it simple and healthy and as low-fat as possible.

My last meal I talked about was the turkey burger. And for being oh-so-tired of turkey, this one involves turkey, too. But, they are both 'with a twist'!

Turkey Panini and Easy Homemade Pasta Salad

For the turkey panini, you use the bread of your choice (this time it was rye). Spray each side with spray butter. Load up with sliced turkey, fresh sliced mushrooms, sliced red onions, fresh spinach. Then top with other slice of butter-sprayed bread. Grill on George Foreman (or in my case a Sunbeam knockoff) grill. You can add cheese, use ham instead of turkey, substitute other veggies ... whatever fits your taste buds. I just love this variety!! So yummy!

For the pasta salad, cook garden rotini noodles. Rinse with cold water until they are cooled off. Add fresh sliced tomatoes and sliced black olives (other veggies if you want them). Add about a half of a cup of shredded parmesan cheese. Then add enough Fat Free Italian dressing to taste. I don't like mine too tangy, so I just add about a half a cup or so.

And there you have it.

We had this for dinner on Friday night. Here is Rick enjoying his!

Now on to this week's menu ...

Monday ~ Rick's favorite Goulash

Tuesday ~ Subway at home (haven't gotten to this the past two weeks)

Wednesday ~ FFY

Thursday ~ Sirloin and veggie kabobs with rice (Sirloin was on sale this week. This is a rarity for us!)

Friday ~ Meatball subs

Saturday ~ Mexican pizzas

Sunday ~ Easy chicken parmesan and spaghetti noodles

Have a great week!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Summary of My Weekend

Wow. This is going to be an interesting year! We had a great first week back to school. Everybody seems to be energized and loving it!

My schedule {yay for a schedule!} changed drastically looking like this now:

5:15 a.m. ~ run
6:00 a.m. ~ brief computer time
6:15 a.m. ~ shower and get ready
7:00 a.m. ~ drive Kyndal to town for school and get Dawson up
7:30 a.m. ~ get Eli and Brynne up and off to school
8:30 a.m. ~ unload the dishwasher, make the beds, start household duties of the day
9:00 a.m. ~ homeschooling
Noon ~ lunch and housework
1:00 p.m. ~ homeschooling (or errands or volunteering at school)
2:30 p.m. ~ Kyndal picked up
4:00 p.m. ~ Eli and Brynne home
Evening ~ homework, dinner, getting ready for the next day, school meetings, projects, homeschool planning, baths.
8:30 p.m. ~ kids to bed and Rick and me time


So, what did I do this weekend?


And that included a couple of trips running errands, making birthday party invitations, practicing making paper chef hats for Brynne's party, running Kyndal and her friend around town taking pictures for a class project, cleaning the floors, washing sheets, inputting grades, finishing planning next week's lessons for Dawson, and a host of other things.

Yeah, that's all.

But, I did do all of this in comfy clothes and a laid back attitude. Why? Because I'm too wiped out to be too stressed about anything.

I'm still tired, but I'm relaxing as much as I can today and catching up on reading blogs I enjoy and enjoying my coffee. I'm just going to take it easy because ....

tomorrow my schedule above starts all over again.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rick Rocks ~ A Letter to my Husband

Dear Rick ~

I just wanted to take a moment and tell you what a great husband and father I think you are.

I know that right now you are experiencing extreme frustrations at work, and it doesn't look as though it is going to get any better any time soon. For some men this might not be a big deal. But, for you, I know that it is. That is one of the reasons why I love you ... because of your integrity and work ethic! I just wish your company appreciated those traits in you, as well!

I appreciate, so much, that you are working hard not to bring your work frustrations home with you. I know that it is not easy. Thank you. It is our desire to have all of you when you are here. But on the same token, I want you to feel like you can vent to me whenever you need to. You can't hold it all inside and I desire to be the friend to you that you need. Who knows, I might even have some helpful insight.

Dawson and I have been reading the story of Joseph. It was 13 years between the time that Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and when he was appointed over all the land of Egypt. During that time God was stripping him of all his pride, teaching him patience and building his character for the insanely big job he would have in the future. I pray that your time of hardship is not 13 years! But, hopefully you can look at the story of Joseph and gain some hope and encouragement.

I truly believe God is using this time to build you up for something important he has planned for you.

But, in the meantime, you are doing something so important! You are committed to being a wonderful husband and amazing father. These are important tasks and we need you in these areas! Don't forget that!

I love you, babe! I love our life and I thank you for working so hard so that I can do the things that are important to me.

Things are so crazy right now with school starting and the new schedules, etc. I promise to continue to work hard to make you a priority in my day when so many others and things are tugging at me.

I love you so much!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Summer Wrap-up

Tell me .. did you have a good summer?

Some summers are better than others for me. Last summer was horrid! This summer was excellent!

Of course, it didn't hurt that we started it out right by Rick and I going on a long {much-needed} cruise through the Hawaiian Islands. Heaven!

After we got back, though, it was time for the reality of four kids. I had a lot planned. And in reviewing our time I think we accomplished everything I set out for us to do for the summer, and then some.

Here's what we did ... {I am pretty sure I blogged about everything on this list on, at least, one of my blogs.}

* The YMCA splash pad
* Kyndal church camp
* Library (numerous times)
* Turning a freezer box into a spaceship
* Swimming at a couple of neighbors'
* Gilcrease Museum
* Picking blackberries
* Funtastic Island playground
* Philbrook Museum
* Playing golf
* Big Splash (numerous times)
* Making bird feeders
* Swinging
* Organizing toys
* Lots of time spent with boyfriends/girlfriends and other friends
* Justin Bieber concert
* Time at grandma and papa's
* Dawson lots of trips to the lake
* Go Figure! exhibit
* Roller skating
* Vacation to Oklahoma City

To end our summer we invited my sister, Kristen, and my niece, Rylee, down for a weekend of fun and shopping!

As you can see that included Starbucks! A sweet summer (and rare) treat! And since Brynne rode in a car stroller for six hours at the mall, she got to ride the merry-g0-round.

Also that weekend, Aunt Kristen schooled the younger ones in a game of hoops.

We had a really great time with them! That is especially sweet because my sister and I did not get along at all when we were kids and teenagers! Then we went through a several year period of estrangement. Now we are very close, both raising teenage daughters (who are just like each of us). I value very much the auntly advice she gives Kyndal and feel that after all these years I have found a true friend in my sister.

It was a perfect way to end the summer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First Day of School Photos ~ 2010-2011

Kyndal ~ 10th Grade

Dawson ~ 8th Grade

Eli ~ 1st Grade

Brynne ~ Kindergarten