Friday, April 24, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up ~ We did ...


We did math ...

We did grammar ...

We read ...

We watched Brain Games ...

We read some more ...

We watched CNN Student News ...

We talked about issues of the past and the present ...

We ran, we rode bikes, we played softball, we played outside, we did some "parkour" at the park ...

We watched Little House on the Prairie ...

We watched our public school elementary's music production of "Go West" ...

And we read some more ...

Only one more week of school for us before our May break.

We. Are. Ready.

Random 5



1. Public schools are not preparing our kids for college, or anything else for that matter. Poor Taylar has just struggled through a research paper this past week (even getting it completely done to realize that it was zapped from her USB stick causing her to have to redo most of it). She has felt so unprepared in completing the specific requirements of an MLA styled paper. This is completely the teacher's fault. It's not that she taught it and the kids didn't pay attention. She didn't teach it and just said, "Do it." It sickens me. And, as an online college professor who has seen how poorly students write, it makes me realize how important good writing skills are and how in a year or two my kids will start to undergo rigorous training in good writing that will last all through high school. It is a necessity.

2. One of the most entertaining things in the world to me is when someone posts one of those philosophical quotes intended to be a slam against someone else, but it 100% describes the person posting it! It is truly hilarious to me! I just want to comment, "Dude, did you even read what you just posted?"

3. Speaking of those philosophical quotes .. this one is all about me. Excuse the potty language. But SO TRUE!! (Unfortunately for my house, and my family, I'm feeling in a pretty good mood this week.)


4. The 5K fever is hot! We run our Girls on the Run 5K (my first) on May 2nd. Taylar wants us to run a family Color Run on June 6th, so we are. I already told you about the Wipeout Run I am doing in August. And this week I am registering Rick, Eli, Brynne and I for a run at the Kansas City Zoo in September. It will be a 4 mile run for me and a 1 mile fun run for them. But we get a hot breakfast afterward and free admission to the zoo. Oh, and the t-shirts. I just love all the t-shirts!

5. My Kyndal's bridal shower is on Sunday. I hope that she has a glorious time and feels completely loved on! Less than a month until the family wedding ceremony. And 30 days until we are soaking in the Caribbean sun getting ready to watch it officially happen on the beach.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Curriculum Choices for 2015/2016 School Year


It's time to start talking curriculum for the 2015/2016 school year. This is always such an exciting time of year as you anticipate all you will learn in the next term.

We are not making a lot of changes in our curriculum choices because we have found a rhythm that really works for us. We know that we are a literature-based homeschool and have found essential courses that we enjoy and challenge us.

Eli and Brynne will be in their 5th/6th grade year next year. We officially promote in January.

Our curriculum choices are:

Bible

New Testament Overview, Grapevine Studies - Stick Figuring Through the Bible. We will continue with this much-loved curriculum. It will likely take us the majority of the year to finish it. It's a great way to start our morning.


English

McGuffey's Fourth Eclectic Reader and McGuffey's Fifth Eclectic Reader. Reading the Little House on the Prairie series really inspired me to have the kids do recitations from these classics. If it was good enough for the Ingalls girls, it's good enough for us. We will do this right after we finish our Bible lessons each morning.



Fix-it Grammar, The Nose Tree (IEW). We will complete The Nose Tree and then move onto the next level. This program has been a good fit for us as it involves literature, writing, and a slow-progression of learning grammar.


Soaring with Spelling, Levels 4, 5 and 6. Brynne has specifically requested that we go back to a formal spelling curriculum. She loves spelling. With an emphasis in writing, that we will begin in the next year or so, it's important that these kids can spell. Plus, the lessons are fun!


Writing. I will come up with a monthly writing assignment that goes along with our history or literature lessons.

Current Events

CNN Student News. Of course we will continue our year with a daily dose of Carl Azuz and his 10 minutes of current events and puns. We love this show! Hopefully we will get in our field trip to the CNN Headquarters in Atlanta next year.


Math

Mastering 5th Grade Math, Volumes 2-4 (Fractions). We are finishing up Volume 1 and the kids have decided that they prefer the teaching methods of Jason over Mr. Demme in Math U See. I have to admit, he has a way of explaining it that seems to resonate with them. Why mess with something that is working.



Life of Fred, Fractions. Yeah, we are going to bring in some Fred. I like how the books use literature to teach math in real life. It will be a fun supplement to our weekly lessons and with Eli's personality I know that he will love the antics of Fred! Math can be enjoyable, you know.



Literature

Further Up and Further In. We had such success with Prairie Primer and the Little House series that we are going back to Cadron Creek Christian Curriculum. We will spend our year with C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia series. This will be our daily read aloud. The kids are very excited to read this series. It covers Bible, art, cooking, music, English, and reading. We discuss these things from the curriculum guide. But, we really use the guide primarily for the health and safety, geography/social studies, science, and history aspects. This is from where I usually draw our science topics for the year.


Science

Further Up and Further In. I will draw our science topics from this study and then use various resources, primarily literature, to teach the topics. We try to do experiments whenever applicable and do science notebooking.

History

World War II Unit Study, self-prepared. Narnia is a fictional world. But it was written during World War II, so we will do an exhaustive study of this period in history. We are using World War II for Kids as our spine and will build on that with books, videos, activities, projects, games, and any field trips we can find. We will finish up the unit with a trip to the World War II Museum in New Orleans.


Reading

The kids will continue to read books of their choice. Brynne is pretty hooked on the Warriors series and there are a gazillion books in the cats series so she will be busy for a while. There is also a series involving dogs and bears from the same author that interest her. And she would like to read the other eras in the Little House series, The Rose Years, The Caroline Years, etc. I am trying to find a series that hooks Eli. He has already read all the obvious ones (Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants, Big Nate, George Brown Class Clown). I have picked up the first book in the 39 Rules series to see if he likes it. If we can't find something he chooses to read, I may just develop a list of books for boys and require him to read them.


And that's our proposed school year. It's pretty much what we are doing this year, but with switching from pioneer years and the journey westward to the world of Narnia. I know that it will be a good year because this was a good year.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge



Have you ever had to wear a uniform? If yes, tell us more. Did you love it or hate it?

Can you say double-knit polyester? When you are a 16 year old fashion guru wannabe of the 80's you do not want to have a job where you have to wear double-knit polyester pants! My first real job was at a restaurant that my grandmother managed at a hotel. Those pants. They were gray, high-wasted, with no pockets on the butt, and flared bottoms. And they had been previously worn by someone else. Ewwww!!!! A short time into that job the zipper broke in those pants. (Thank God!) My grandmother sent me to JC Penney to buy another pair. Darn, they didn't have any in my size (or so I said), so I bought a regular pair of gray cotton pants. I got away with wearing those the rest of my employ there. (fyi .. these pants are so disgusting that I couldn't even find an image to post!)

April 22nd is Earth Day. What is one thing you do personally to be a good steward of planet Earth?

I do two things consistently. I recycle everything I can. I have a separate basket in my kitchen where I put anything recyclable. Thankfully our little town has a recycle pick-up once a week. But even before then I took my recycling to a nearby town to their drop off location. I also compost. I save any scraps I can and put in my compost pile in my garden area. My mom also saves egg shells and coffee grounds for me to put in my compost.

Brown rice, quinoa, or couscous ... your healthy grain of choice? How often are one of the three on your menu at home? Given a chance between white rice, brown rice, wild rice, and fried rice which would you go for?

For healthy eating I eat brown rice, usually about once a week. I do like quinoa okay and will eat it occasionally. But if I got to choose and didn't have to worry about the after effects, I would totally choose white rice every time. It feeds my carb-loving soul. In fact, I could eat stir-fry with white rice every single day of my life.

In your opinion, who has the best job ever?

My husband would expect me to say my job, and he would probably be right. I get the pleasure to be at home (my favorite place to be) to take care of my family all day every day. Sure that includes cleaning up after them, but I wouldn't miss these years experiencing my kids' lives on the front row for anything. Other than that, I would say a travel blogger or writer. Getting to travel and write about the experiences would be amazing! I think I would like to write about how to travel frugally and experience the best of the off-the-beaten path activities.

What's a situation in your life currently requiring patience?

Oh, this child support issue. Next month it will have been in the courts for two years! Over a simple child support issue! Really we just want it over so that area of our life can be put away. It's just a stupid annoyance now, more than anything. I have definitely grown in patience, and have learned who and what are important in my life.

Do you live your life around days of the week? Explain.

Every day is Monday, or is it Friday? I can't remember. Most of my days seems pretty much the same. We do kind of live for the real Friday, though. Then it's the weekend, which we love, of course. Rick is home by Friday afternoon for the weekend. Typically the family is all here together having meals, watching movies, playing video games, destroying my house, having a good time hanging out together.

In a nod to the A to Z Challenge happening around town this month, what 'R word' best describes your April?

Running. Yes, I said it again. But I don't just mean me physically running. I also mean all the running around we are doing getting ready for our ultra-crazy May! The kids and I are working hard to get our schoolwork done for the year so we can take off the month of May. We are working to do some cleaning, purging, simplifying before the City Clean Up Days the first week of May (where we get to dump all our junk). I am scrambling to get our yard in order so that I am ready to plant my garden and flowers and such at the beginning of May. We are preparing for a 5K, a state bowling tournament, a high school graduation, a wedding, a vacation ... all in May. We are running Brynne to and fro to her actual running program and softball practice. We are running non-stop.

Insert your own random thought here.

I am having a love affair ... with coconut. I am obsessed with coconut oil and coconut/almond milk blend. They are so yummy, and healthy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tuesday Coffee Chat




This week Leslie at Time Out for Mom posed this topic: Tell me about a recent fear you have faced.

I only have two real fears and those are snakes and sharks. Thankfully I have not come face-to-face with either of them lately. I am learning more and more to trust God with His plan, no matter what it is, whether I like it or not, so I haven't been having any fears about life in general. That, too, is good.

So I guess I will write about my newest accomplishment, which has not necessarily been a fear but more like an obstacle I did not think I was capable of crossing.

I have accomplished my goal of becoming a runner.


I have mentioned this several times on this blog over the past couple of months, and I post about it a lot on Instagram (@nikki_taulman), so you might be tired of hearing about it. But it is truly something I am so proud to have accomplished!

Being a runner is something I have always wanted to do! I don't know why. In fact, when I see runners I always think how miserable they look. But I still wanted to be one!


When I was in high school I tried to run a few times. I gave it up quickly. I didn't actually even try again until about 5 years ago after we got Crusoe. When I took him for morning walks he would want to walk fast and would pull me, so I started jogging a little bit to give him some running time. That morphed into my starting a street-to-street interval lap around our neighborhood (1.8 miles) every morning. I would walk to the first cross-street, run to the next one, walk to the next one, then run, etc. From my house to the front of the subdivision was half a mile. So one day I decided to see if I could run to it. Then another day I tacked on a little more coming home. Then finally one morning I decided to try to run the full mile to the front of the subdivision and back. I got about 20 yards from the one-mile mark and Crusoe tried to stop and poop. I yelled, "Oh no you don't!" and drug him to that mark. I was so giddy and excited about running that mile that I know I looked like a goof!

Then we moved to Missouri and I gave up running. I rode my bike every morning and walked 3 miles with my mom and her friend, but no running. Yet so many mornings I wanted to take off jogging. The next year I decided I wanted to start training for a 5K that was going to be about a month later. I slipped going out to run a couple of days into that training and pulled a ligament in my knee. I was out of commission for about a year.

Late last summer Brynne and I started doing a little running using a Couch to 5K app on my phone. We got through about week 3 of 8. When volleyball practice started in the fall, we quit. Then a couple of months ago she started running in an after-school program called Girls on the Run which has a 5K scheduled on May 2nd. This was the motivation I needed to get back out there. So I grabbed my app again and picked up with week 4. At first I was about dying if I had to run a 5 minute stretch straight. But it wasn't long before I could run a mile straight, about 14 minutes (I run slow).


I ran a mile straight a few times and then one day I decided to try to extend that. I ran for 20 minutes straight. I tracked the distance and realized I had run 1.5 miles. Then I decided to really push myself just a couple of days later and see if I could make it to a designated spot I had set for myself. I truly thought I would pass out when I got to that spot. But I hopped in my car and tracked the distance and I had run 2.6 miles straight!!! I couldn't believe it!

The next day I made sure my running route was a full 3.1 miles and set out to run it. I did it in 38 minutes.

This was right after I ran 5K for the first time.

I had done it! The really cool part about it is that my 3.1 mile route has several declines and inclines, some steep and some long and gradual. It's tough! So I know that the 5K we will be running on May 2nd will be a breeze because it is on the Katy Trail and is all straight with no hills. Yay!

Now I am trying to get out and run the full route 2-3 times a week. It feels great and I crave it! There is about a mile stretch right in the middle of the run that is the most difficult. I get to a spot where I could easily turn right and head home. And it's right about there that I get in the zone and start feeling good. I always keep running, and when I stop I realize that I could probably run even further.

Wear your sunscreen when you run. That spot on my
nose is where I had to have a pre-cancerous spot
removed.

Running is just something that feels good when I am doing it and makes me feel good about myself. I  like it because I am not competing with anyone. It's just me and my goals. I have also been listening to Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I have decided that running will be my time to listen to those classics I have never taken the time to read.

I am planning to continue making running a priority in my life. I am scheduled for another 5K at the end of August. I hope to sign up for one every few months or so. But, for now, I am not planning on stepping that up to a 10K or half marathon or anything like that. I have no desire to try to reach those goals. For now I am just happy with the level of my physical fitness and how my body is reacting to it. The added bonus is how clear my mind feels, and how good I am sleeping at night.



I feel like a winner all the way around.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Prom 2015 ~ Suhr ... Dawson Suhr Style


Dawson's senior prom was this past weekend with a James Bond theme called "A Secret Mission". If you know my son at all then you know that he does not do things the ways of the norm. First of all, he absolutely did not want to go to his senior prom. He had no desire to go, but belongs to a sweet girl who insisted. As a compromise they decided that they would go to prom, as long as he got to do things his way.

First of all, no tux. He is frugal and could not justify anybody spending money on a tux that he would wear for a few hours. He wanted to wear something that he could use multiple times. We purchased a nice pair of khaki pants and a plain white button-down shirt. That way, he could just coordinate a tie and and other accessories with whatever dress Taylar chose.

Taylar's mom, nana, and I took her shopping a few months ago and she found a gorgeous blingy dress! It was silver and turquoise, which was a bonus because we had found Dawson some great loafer shoes on clearance that had turquoise shoe laces. Perfect!

That meant all we had to do was find a tie, which was easy enough. We added some argyle socks, a cool new Spiderman belt, some silver suspenders (that he only wore for pictures to humor his mama), and aviators.

Love his expression in all of these pics. He sure does love dressing up!

I think he turned out looking rather dapper, even if he was miserable!




And they were all set. Kyndal did Taylar's hair and makeup and she looked absolutely stunning!!

Contouring her cheeks.

Dawson worked until 4:00 p.m. so the plan was that he was going to get home around 4:30 p.m., get a quick haircut, shower and get ready, and then they were going to go to a nearby town for photos (at some cool places for photo ops), and then Taylar was going to surprise Dawson with a pizza picnic at the park before they went to the dance. You see, everybody who was "anybody" was getting together to take photos together and then going out to eat at a restaurant .. all together. Dawson and Taylar did not want to hang out with other people. And Dawson did not want to go to a restaurant in their prom attire. He absolutely hates attention!



But on Saturday morning it was pouring, and I mean pouring! And it was going to be soggy and wet and nasty all day. So a last-second Plan B went into effect.


Taylar and I set up a romantic tablescape on our front porch with candles, flowers, china, white lights and all.



After they got all ready, Taylar's family came over to take photos and the couple sat down to their dinner. It included take-out pizza and brownies. It was perfect!!! We all left them alone to enjoy their meal and each other and Kyndal and the little kids and I went out of town for dinner.




The couple didn't even go to the dance until about 8:30 p.m. and they were home by 10:45 p.m. to watch Chopped on t.v. They do lead an exciting life!

Everything looked pretty cool at night, too, after we got home from going out to dinner.


The next day I asked Dawson how he liked everything. He said it was all great, except the prom itself. But he loved the dinner on the porch and the time spent with Taylar.

I think they were pretty happy with the results.



Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Getting Outdoors


Sometimes I have to look back at my photos to see what in the heck we did this week. Do you ever have to do that? When I reviewed this past week in photos I saw lots of physical activity. That is certainly the name of the game right now as we usher in the magnificence of Spring temps and sunshine. We are all more energized that we just want to be doing something all the time, especially if it is outdoors. Sometimes that even just means sitting on the front porch for a spell.


Yeah, we did math lessons this week (simplifying fractions, converting mixed fractions to irregular fractions and irregular fractions to mixed fractions). We completed a four-day lesson in grammar (we learned about prepositions ... more on that in a minute). The kids continued reading with Brynne having a goal to finish her book in the next 9 days and with Eli starting a new series. We finished Little Town on the Prairie and started These Happy Golden Years. We watched five episodes of Little House on the Prairie for history and two episodes of Brain Games for science. Every morning we started our time with our Bible lessons learning about Jesus calming the storm. And we stayed up-to-date on current events with CNN Student News.


We have a big emphasis on physical fitness as a family with Brynne and I training for a 5K on May 2nd, and Kyndal trying to get slim and toned for her wedding next month. We have found that we enjoy the accountability of working out together, so we have been starting our school day a tad bit later the past few weeks so that we can work out before we start our day. Some days Brynne works out with us and some days Eli does. In the afternoons Brynne has running class and softball practice. The kids like to play frisbee whenever they can, and we even got in a bike ride this week. I am trying to run 3-4 days a week so I am ready for that 5K.

In the batting cages.

A big accomplishment for the kids this week was learning all of the prepositions. Kyndal learned a preposition song in the 5th grade in public school that she still knows! So she spent a couple of different mornings this week teaching them the song. We can proudly say that they now know all of their prepositions.



This has been a big week for Dawson. He has been working every afternoon at the city pool getting it ready to open at the end of May. He had to perform some first aid when the pool assistant manager slipped and hit her head on the pool bottom leaving a gash with lots of blood. He has also started his other new job and works all day on Saturdays until school is over. Next weekend he is manning the store alone all weekend while his bosses are gone. He is loving all of the responsibility ... and the paychecks!

Taylar and Dawson have been dating for 2 1/2 years so, of course, they have been planning to go to prom together. But these days guys come up with creative ways to ask their gals to go. Dawson waited until the day before prom to officially ask Taylar, but he had been working on it all week. He wrote a note to Taylar that said, "I don't mean to be cold-hearted ..." and on the inside of the note it said, "PROM?" He put the note in ziplock bags and froze it in the middle of about a 3 gallon block of ice. He brought the block of ice out to her with a hammer and pick. She had to chip away the ice to get to the note. It was really cute. She said, "Yes!"



Prom was on Saturday night. (I will have a separate post coming soon.) And Dawson's cap and gown for graduation came in this week. In one month he will graduate from high school.

We only have two more weeks of school before our May break. Other than our current volume in math we won't actually complete anything before the break, but we will just pick back up with all our current curricula in June. We are ready for our break in May. We have a major event happening every weekend of the month and it's going to be an exciting and busy one!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Random 5



1. I have never enjoyed playing sports, mostly because I never felt like I was good enough to help out the team. All I ever did was compare myself to someone else's abilities. That's why I like running. It's just me and my goals and my personal successes.


2. This weekend is Dawson's senior prom. Tomorrow he will get all gussied up in his attire (he's doing things his way, of course ... a non-conformist like his mama) and then taking his girl to the dance.

3. But his girl has a sweet surprise up her sleeve for him first. Again, it's totally them ... the opposite of what everybody else is doing. I love it!

4. Yesterday he got his cap and gown for graduation. It was way weird to hang up that man-sized gown of my little boy.

5. And Kyndal gets married in 35 days.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Year-Long Homeschool or Summers Off?


This is a question that is constantly up for debate in homeschooling circles. We have done both. After 5 full years of homeschooling, we have come up with a schedule that works great for us.

Our official homeschool year starts the first Monday in June each year. However, our homeschool day does not look like an official homeschool day until the end of August.

Here is what I mean:

Beginning the first Monday in June we start logging two school hours per day at home. In those two hours, that usually take place between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., the kids do a math assignment, grammar assignment, and read. They read at the beginning of the day out of their summer book club selections. They finish their day reading out of books of their personal choice. And we always have a read aloud time out of a book of my choice.

Both kids attend a book club at our library, one afternoon a week. Another afternoon a week they also attend a gardening class at the library where they learn about nutrition and take care of a community garden.

We also log every physical education hour we can ... swimming, riding bikes, sports, etc., and every field trip, which are sometimes disguised as family vacations!

This is what our schedule looks like Monday through Thursday during the months of June and July. Then we take off the month of August, or the majority of it. Sometimes we start back to school toward the end of the month depending on any time off we have planned in the fall.

When public school kids go back to school, we start shortly thereafter. This is when we get into our regular schooling schedule. We typically do school work from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. each day, breaking for lunch. We do what everybody else does ... we concentrate on the 3Rs, do spelling, read alouds, literature, science, history, and the like. We keep up this schedule until Thanksgiving. Sometimes we take off a week or two in the fall to go to Florida to my parents' house. Sometimes we don't. That might or might not affect exactly how much time we take off for Christmas.

For the past couple of years we have taken off school from just before Thanksgiving until about the second week of January. During this time we just veg and try to stay warm.

When we start back to school in January we hit it hard again, just like our fall schedule. We always take off a week for spring break, and sometimes two if we have decided to go to Florida for our break.

We do our best to wrap up our required school hours by the end of April. Then we take off the entire month of May.

And then we start all over in June.

Looks like we take a lot of breaks, huh? We do! But when we are engaged in school work, we are engaged hard. We keep records of every minute spent learning so that we are sure to meet our state's requirements. We have found that education happens with us ALL THE TIME, no matter what we are doing or where we are going. I could honestly make just about every minute of our lives count for school in some way, shape or form.

So I would definitely say we have a Year-Long Homeschool with lots of brain breaks. It works for us. What do you do?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge



Speaking of April 15th .... what's the most "taxing" thing you've done recently?

These days I try not to do "taxing" things! LOL! So, let's see. Putting away laundry is kind of taxing. Okay, not really .. I just don't like to do it. I cleaned out my refrigerator! That was taxing! And I recently went through the kids' room to organize their toys. Blech!

When did you last take a taxi somewhere and where was that somewhere?

When Rick and I were in New Orleans, I went to hail a taxi to go to the World War II Museum. But the concierge got me a driver instead. Rick and I have taken taxi vans from the airports, but those don't seem like taxis to me. They are more shuttles. Honestly I think the last time I actually took a real taxi somewhere was in Chicago many, many years ago when my mom, aunt, and I went to see Oprah Winfrey live.

What's something you can do today that you couldn't do a year ago?

Run 3.1 miles. I couldn't even do that a month ago. But I have been working really, really hard and I can now do it!!

How often is chicken (or some form or fashion) on your menu at home? Which of the following would you most like to see on your table tonight ... a chicken salad sandwich, your mom's friend chicken, a Chick-fil-A meal, Cracker Barrel's chicken n' dumplings, a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings, or 'hold the chicken, I'm a vegetarian' ... ?

We probably have chicken once a week or so. We love a roast chicken dinner, many times settling for a rotisserie chicken from the deli at Walmart. I would so love to have a full helping of Cracker Barrel's chicken and dumplings, with extra biscuits with butter and honey. Oh, yum!!

What was your favorite television program when you were a kid? What characters do you remember most?

Once a t.v.aholic, always a t.v.aholic. And I am. I watched so much t.v. with my parents when I was young that it's hard to choose just one. When I was a toddler, it was Sesame Street. My mom said that I watched the same episode that was on about four times a day and I cried each time it was over. As I got a little older I loved The Electric Company and Z.O.O.M.  Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was a fave, too. As a family we always watched Little House on the Prairie on Monday nights. Older still, I liked watching Good Times, Eight is Enough, Who's the Boss. Oh, and I can't forget Brady Bunch! I mean, really! Yeah, I think Brady Bunch might have been my favorite. And it might still be.

What was the last piece of 'art' you made?

I can be pretty artistic when I need to be, but I don't really do much in the way of creating art. My most artistic things come in my kids' birthday cakes, I guess. They are so extremely amateur, but they always turn out just how they want them. I always have cupcakes on standby, just in case we end up with a disaster. But I am usually able to pull off their visions. Here are the last two. Remember, they are amateur!!
Thank goodness for pre-tinted yellow frosting, huh?

What frustrates you most about the internet?

When it's not available. Haven't we become ridiculously spoiled?

Insert your own random thought here.

This past week I had a spot on my nose looked at by a dermatologist. It ended up being a pre-cancerous spot. I just knew that something was up. I had a dry patch on my nose that I scratched off and coated in moisturizer. In a couple of days it was back. This went on for a couple of weeks. It looked like a scab but I didn't have a sore. The dermatologist froze it off (OUCH!!) in the office. It got me thinking how important it is to know our bodies so that we know when something is amiss. If you have a concern, have it checked out! I am NOT one to go to the doctor unless there is something serious going on, so I am especially glad that I followed my gut and went to have it examined.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tuesday Coffee Chat



Favorite Things ... What are you loving these days?

On a Tuesday Coffee Chat back in February, where the topic was "Random", I posted some of my favorite things. You can check that list HERE. Those are still some of my faves. But here is a new list:


Topping my list now is my Ninja Master Prep. I love this tool! Blenders and I have had a hate/hate relationship all of my life. I have never been able to find one that worked the way I wanted it to, which is to say that I just want it to blend my stuff for me. I don't need 15 different settings. I just need to put in my ingredients, push a button, and come out with a blended end result. The Ninja Master Prep does just that. It is amazing!! And at Walmart it is only $34 and some change. It's a bargain and works better than anything I have ever used. And, it doubles as a chopper (and comes with a mini-chopping apparatus). Score! I use my Ninja every single day to make my new favorite drink ....


Coffee with blended coconut oil. Oh my. It is such an amazing way to start my day! In fact, at night when I am going to bed I crave that coffee. I brew a pot of Hazelnut coffee, and have a couple of cups as is with liquid stevia and a teaspoon of milk. But when I get down to my last two cups of coffee, I pour all of those ingredients into my Ninja with a teaspoon of melted coconut oil and blend for 15 seconds. It has a creamy, delicious, frothy taste. Delicious!


Speaking of Walmart, I love their Danskin line of workout clothing. It is super inexpensive, comfortable, and perfect for my needs. I have long sleeved yoga shirts, a couple of yoga cardigans, stretch tight-fitted capris, and loose fitting tank tops. My two new favorite tank tops say "Gotta Run" and "Live for the Run". They were $4.96 each. I love these two particular tops so much because my newest craze is ....


Running! Just like becoming a wine drinker, I have always wanted to be a runner. I have run a tad in the past but never made it a priority. The furthest I was ever able to run at one time was a mile. Two years ago I decided I wanted to try to train for a 5K, but slipped and fell one rainy morning and tore a ligament in my knee. That kept me from doing any vigorous exercise for a long time. Then Brynne and I did a little bit of Couch to 5K training last summer, just to get her some exercise. We put it away during the winter. She joined a public school after-school program called Girls on the Run and they are running a 5K on May 2nd. I wanted to run with her but knew I would need to train more seriously for it. So I picked up on my C25K app and continued on. Just a little over a month ago I couldn't run 5 minutes straight without being very much out of breath and miserable. Just this past Friday, I ran 3.1 miles straight. I am addicted to running! It's like water ... the more you drink it, the more you crave it. That's how I feel about running. I crave the high of a run. I am so excited to run in the May 2nd 5K and have already registered for another one at the end of August.


I think part of my build up of stamina and success also comes from participating in the 21 Day Fix. I purchased the dvd's from Beach Body and Kyndal and I have been working out to them for the past month. We have loved the program so much that we started another round yesterday. At the end of the first round Kyndal lost 3.4 pounds and 4.5 inches. I lost 2.4 pounds and 3.5 inches. We are both so much stronger than we were the first week. We love the workouts!!


If you have read my blog for long you know that I am a t.v.aholic. I love my prime time television shows! I am particularly enjoying two shows right now. The first one is Secrets and Lies with Ryan Phillippe (Reece Witherspoon's ex-husband) and Juliette Lewis. Oooh! It's a good one!


I also am loving the new season of Call the Midwife on PBS. Such good television.

I think that's about it for now. Well, except for these. Anything with color is my favorite!