Monday, November 30, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook: December 21st

For Today... December 21st, 2009

Outside my window... Grey sky and barren branches highlighted with the snow left from last week.

From the kitchen... The last batches of Christmas cookies wait. No Bake Cookies and Classic Sugar cookies. I've already made Candy Cane Cookies, Chocolate Pistachio Bow Ties, dipped Pretzel Rods, Gingerbread Men, and Andes Creme De Menthe Cookies.

I am wearing... Black hoodie and grey sweats. It's Christmas break around here... no need to get dressed until we need to leave the house, right???

From the Learning Rooms... Just a few art projects to give as gifts this week and the normal educational play, learning games, and reading. Hopefully we'll make it to Story Hour tomorrow to see Santa!

I am creating... The last of my Christmas letters. The funeral over the weekend changed the schedule around here a bit.

I am praying... For an Advent full of peace, especially for my aunt who sent her husband Home after his long battle with Cancer.

Around the house... Everything was ship-shape a few days ago. As usual, clutter is already begging attention. Storage would be nice someday! Closets void of shelving and doors aren't much help for this housekeeper!

One of my favorite things... watching the kids explore the gifts under the tree. Little Miss unwrapped two before she learned her lesson. Now it's just lots of shaking, guessing, and anticipating.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Christmas festivities and the traditional Serendipity viewing with my little sis!


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

Hubby's office Christmas party had a photo booth- that didn't warn you before it took the pictures!

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Have a truly blessed Holiday,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Here's Ginger!

Who says bridesmaid dresses can't be reused? Oh, yeah. Me! Today, however, Big Sister proved me wrong! She had a school assignment to dress up like a famous Missourian, and she was assigned Ginger Rogers. We looked for dance costumes, casual clothes circa 1930's and 40's, and finally settled on the most fun- Hollywood movie star. Lucky for me, I'd wanted bridesmaids dresses inspired my the 30's and 40's, and my sister's was still hanging in the closet at my mother's house! A quick hem with No Sew, a few safety pins, and finger waves created by my talented mamma, we had a Ginger look-a-like.

Big Sister was pretty resistant to getting up early to get ready and declared that she was glad that her dream wasn't to become a real movie star. But thirty minutes later, she was pretty tickled with the result of our efforts. She said she didn't recognize herself (although her brace-worthy teeth should have given her away)!
At my wedding, Big Sister, 5 years old, shaking it with MY big sister!

Ginger Rogers- the picture that convinced Big Sister that we were on the right track!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Do you ever wonder where you'd be in your life were it not for [fill in the blank]? I am fully aware that the very line of thought negates the "bloom where you're planted"/"Seize the Day" mentality that I typically try to keep. Seriously, though, I cannot be the only satisfied girl on the planet who reminisces about where she was ten years ago and looks forward to where she'll be ten years later.

The thing I've noticed lately is that when I think about what was and is to come, I never find myself wondering what life would be like without my husband. I think about what we'd be like if we'd successfully put off having kids for a few years, I think about what we'd be like if we'd never had any at all, I think about what we might be like with a few more and what life will be like when we finally get to experience being married without kids in the house. Sometimes I wonder what we'd be doing had we managed our finances properly as young single adults or what we'll do in five years when we've recuperated. I wonder what my appearance would be like had I not had more children, what it will be like when I'm able to exercise without children underfoot. I used to reminisce about myself, but now, instead of "What would my life have been like if...?" I wonder what OUR life would have been like if... or what it will be like when...

I used to think that five years of marriage would bring a routine, a constant, a general feeling of having the hang of it. But as we're living year number five, I'm realizing how much we're learning... about ourselves, about each other, about marriage. And the more I learn, the more I realize how little we know. I am SO excited to find out what marriage is like 10, 25, 50 years in. Because, so far, I still feel like I'm playing house a lot of the time. I feel excited about building a future with a wonderful man, and I'm having a blast living as his wife.

I can't imagine where I'd be had I not discovered what marriage should really be like... had I remained trapped by the high school girl naivety about finding self worth in men. I have to admit, when it comes to raising my daughters to be strong, traditional, Godly, and feminine, I'm groping around in the dark a lot of the time. Some days I find myself praying before each sentence I speak to Big Sister. Though we come with our share of faults and weaknesses, it's comforting to know that God has provided a healthy marriage for my daughters to witness, one that sets an example of how preciously she deserves to be treated should she be called to the vocation of marriage. And I thank God every day that Little Mister is watching his Daddy be a dedicated, loving, strong father and husband.

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook: November 16th

For Today... November 16th, 2009

Outside my window... Grey. Cold. One of those mornings that makes crawling out of bed a drudgery.

From the kitchen... Crock Pot Chicken, Cheeseburger Soup, Roast, Tilapia...

I am wearing... Green PJ pants and a brown T.

From the Learning Rooms... After being gone all weekend and not yet readjusted and rested from the VERY full and fun road trip with my little sis, I haven't even begun to plan our lessons. I did, however, pass cotton fields while in California. Little Sis and I stopped and collected some that had blown onto the roadside. I plan to use this natural cotton to teach about the cotton gin.

I am creating... Photographs and Christmas presents!

I am praying... For energy! I'm still dragging SO much!

Around the house... Hubby did a pretty good job of keeping the house clean while I was gone. He left the laundry for me to do (probably a smart decision), so that's what I'll be up to today and tomorrow!

One of my favorite things... being greeted at the airport gates by my husband and kids!

A few plans for the rest of the week... Preschool, Photography, the usual!

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

My first sunset over the ocean!

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Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm in the midst of California prep, but I couldn't wait until next week to share Little Miss' birthday shoot! We snapped pictures off and on for two days, waiting for the little stinker to feel cooperative.... one of the perks to having studio gear on hand! If the process of capturing these is any indication of what the next year holds, I'm bracing myself!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook: November 9th

For Today... November 9th, 2009

Outside my window... The old cedars at the edge of the yard are the only surviving green.

From the kitchen... Our first week of E-Mealz! Last night we had beefy nachos and cucumber and onion salad. For the rest of the week: Stove Top Shrimp and Sausage, Santa Fe Soup, Spaghetti, Chicken and Dumplings, and Tuna Casserole.

I am wearing... A purple tunic top and grey sweats.

From the Learning Rooms... Our pirate day was a HIT last week! It was the first day that Little Mister hasn't been squirrely in weeks. This week is more of the same- reading skills, patterns, and basic addition and subtraction. We're getting better at addition and subtraction, but any pattern beyond "abababa" is still tough!

I am creating... Freezable meals to feed the gang while I'm away later this week! California, here I come!

I am praying... For my husband, that he may continue to be the strong provider that he has been thus far, and that I may find new ways to show him that I appreciate his dedication to his family and career. I pray that 25 years from now, he can look back on the years gone by and remember me as an ever supportive wife who strengthened his career simply by believing in him.

Around the house... Photography gear has consumed the family room. I took a few sample shots of Little Miss' birthday pictures yesterday and have more to do today along with a family Christmas session with a dear friend.

One of my favorite things... The first week of hard core weight-loss effort. Gotta love how quickly those first 5 pounds disappear!

A few plans for the rest of the week... Preschool, Begging my mom to cut my hair before my CA trip, and LOTS of preparations around the house. It makes me feel much better about leaving Hubby with the kids for the weekend when the house is completely in order!

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

Big Sister was in a cooperative mood, so I started her favorite music and let her bop around for a few shots yesterday.

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Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, November 6, 2009

Superficiality... That's a Word, Right?

Although I have very firm opinions on issues that spill into the political spectrum, I by no means consider myself to be politically minded in my own life. Although Little Mister's surprise arrival cut my professional career short, I can clearly remember watching the other high school teachers around me during my two years as an educator. I watched the ones who were fast tracking their way to administration, the ones who took great care to keep the principal and superintendent close, and the ones who constantly stirred trouble.

Me? I was there for the kids. That's it. I was friendly to my coworkers, respectful of my superiors, and mildly involved in faculty activities (secret santa, etc.), but for the most part, I arrived at school, spent my mornings tweaking my lesson plans and preparing handouts, my passing periods helping students who didn't quite understand the day's assignment, my planning period grading, and then left for home promptly after school, taking any excess work along with me. I'm not sure if that's good or bad, but that's me. I'm not a people pleaser by nature, and while I will bend over backward for my family or friends, I've never been one to appease someone for the purpose of advancing myself. I think it's ridiculous that that sort of artificial networking is needed to get ahead in life. Whatever happened to being valued for hard work, dedication, talent, and smarts? I have a hard time digesting the games people play to get ahead in life. While trying not to anger someone with power makes sense, purposely befriending someone for that sole purpose just seems superficial and dishonest.

I hope that I can teach my children the value of self worth, generosity, diligent effort, and being passionate about whatever it is they choose to do with their lives. I pray that God calls them to work free from politics and rich in traditional Christian values, work that will challenge them to grow as individuals in Christ and allow them to bring others closer to God in the process.

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Financial Cleansing

I'm currently on the brink of a lifestyle overhaul. My two main concerns: finances and weight. Big Surprise. As for the weight, I'll post about that if I'm successful, and as for the finances...

Since January when we started to remodel our new home and took on double house payments, I've lost my formerly clear sight of where our pennies are going. While we always make it from pay day to pay day, I haven't been making much of an effort to contribute to savings or watch our eating out. The fact of the matter is that
some eating out is almost essential if any timely progress is going to be made on a remodel with three kids and very little hired help with construction. And there were so many things (like light fixtures) that we've opted to pay out of pocket for instead of increasing our house loan that we tended to purchase those items as we needed them. Most of our savings was used up in double mortgages and electric bills (along with an untimely string of car repairs to the tune of three thousand dollars). It was NOT a fun six months!

After a very sad electric bill (with the winter months still ahead), I decided that it was time to cut back to the bare essentials for a month or two, let the waves in our checking account calm, and then head back into the process of furnishing our house (because getting Little Mister's mattress set off the floor and onto a bed really has to be remain priority around here!).

My intentions for cutting back the spending:

1) Pack snacks for the car so that fast food isn't necessary when the kids get hungry while we're out.

2) Buy Hubby's morning drinks in bulk instead of him buying them on the way to work. Be sure to hand it to him each morning because he'll walk out without it otherwise.

3) Avoid Walmart and shop Aldi or Kroger for groceries.

4) Try
E-Mealz, a site that shops grocery ads and compiles a menu and shopping list based on the sales. Coupon Code DAVE saved $2.50 on the $15 three month subscription.

5) Set heat to 68 instead of 70.

6) Stay home more.

7) Eliminate McDonald's large Diet Dr. Peppers and take water from home instead.

8) Eliminate movie rentals and find free online movies instead.

9) Don't purchase anything that I can live without.

10) Any Suggestions??

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook: November 2nd

For Today... November 2nd, 2009

Outside my window... A soft blue sky backs the bare trees that surround our house. After a few days of hard rain last week, the leaves are ALL on the ground.

From the kitchen... Trying to limit starches and empty carbs this week. Meatloaf, whole grain pastas, and beef stew or chili are in the works!

I am wearing... Green pj pants and a bright pink shirt with a little snowman on the center front.

From the Learning Rooms... Continuing to work on word recognition and basic phonics. Little Mister has been begging me to make him a pirate patch for weeks, so our math/science day will center start with a sewing lesson and center around swabbing the decks and other such nonsense for the little scallywag.

I am creating... Plans for my upcoming trip to California to visit my little sister. I'm so excited to have a weekend alone with her before she gets married! So far we've made arrangements to tour Hearst Castle and visit Sequoia National Park. I can't wait to take the drive up the coast on 101!

I am praying... For willpower.

Around the house... We spent 4 hours yesterday tackling the leaves, but I'm not sure you would be able to tell were it not for the blackened area where our burn pile was!

One of my favorite things... refinishing something! I refinished our rocking chairs recently. The moisture that surrounded our old house took its toll on our white front porch rockers, but they've regained their bright white finish and look amazing in comparison! Next on the list is our deck seating!

A few plans for the rest of the week... Halloween party, finishing Little Miss' mermaid costume, and lots of photo editing!

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

I spent October sharing our Halloween memories, so I, of course, had to share this year's costumes with you all! Little Miss' mermaid costume was a hit with her and well worth the time I took to make it. She was decked out with blue "low lights" and glitter in her hair that she thought was pretty awesome too! Big Sister wanted to be a equestrian competitor, so we bought a riding helmet and made tall boot shoe covers. I had intended to make a Popeye costume for Little Mister, but after I failed at finding a sailor suit pattern, we decided we'd save him for next year and opted for the dragon costume that had been given to us along with Little Miss' hand-me-downs.

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Thanks for stopping by,