Friday, July 3, 2015

Random 5

1. The Wipeout Run is at the end of next month. Since I haven't been running as regularly as I was when I was training for my first 5K, I decided I better register for another one to give me motivation to get out there and run. I don't want to kill myself on the Wipeout course. My friend Jessica and I are going to go back to my old stomping grounds, Springfield, Missouri, on July 18th to run in an all women 5K through historic Springfield called Girls Just Wanna Run. I ran two miles earlier in the week and, I have to admit, I struggled. It was really humid though. This morning it was a nice 65 degrees so I pushed myself to run a full 3.1 miles. I did it without much trouble so I know I can run the whole race next week.

2. My grandma had the most amazing hydrangea bush at her house. I mean HUGE periwinkle blooms. Gorgeous!! I tried to start some bushes from cuts but was never successful. My mom did get one to start and it is growing nicely. Now that my grandma has passed her house has been sold. This week Dawson and I went over and set to digging up the hydrangea. I wanted to get the root ball. It was crazy hard to get it up, and we didn't end up getting the mother root. We did end up breaking our shovel, though. The root was seriously about 3 inches in diameter and we had no idea where it started. I planted three plants together next to my chainlink fence in the front yard and another one on the side of my house. These two places get different levels of sunlight so I am anxious to see what happens. I am seriously going to be praying over these bushes every day. I so badly want to carry on this legacy of my grandma at my own house.

3. Next Saturday is Kyndal and Collin's wedding reception, the original date of their wedding. Even though they ended up getting married in May, we decided to keep the reception the same date because we had sent out Save the Date cards way back in January for that date. We have so much to do to get ready for it. Next week is going to be nuts!

4. Several years ago my mother-in-law suffered through a bout of colon cancer. She beat that and then a couple of years later had to battle through another round of treatments to eradicate a tumor in her lung. She went in for her Scan this past week and the tumor on her lung is back. They also found a mass of some kind on her bladder that she is having tested. She has also been having some severe headaches so they did an MRI yesterday. I have not heard any of the results of her testing. We are believing for minor issues with her bladder and headaches and that she will charge through her treatment for her lung as strongly as she did the last round.

5. Tomorrow we will celebrate the birth of our son-in-law Collin (he'll be 21) and the birth of our nation. Our family will be kind of all over the place in the morning but hopefully all together at my parents' lake house by the afternoon. Enjoy your 4th of July celebration!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

First Day ~ July

Yesterday was July 1st and you know what that means! It's time for another look at our First Day.

Rain drops on my flowers.
And on the stone path.

The dogs did not want to go out into the rain to potty.

Read aloud time .. Escape from Mr. Limoncello's Library

Some lunchtime Chopped

Financial Aid documents for Dawson, my college student.

I'm still doing the Fix a few days a week with running.

On our way to speech therapy.

Had to leave the session to pick up my library book I left
at the dentist office last week.

I can't get enough of watermelon!!

Things were a little dicey around here for a few hours.

Mommy, is there a tornado out there?

No, boys, just LOTS of rain!!

Join Nicole at Journey to Josie for her First Day Linkup. Take loads of photos on the first day of the month and share your day.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

On Saturday July 4th America celebrates her independence. What is your favorite thing about the day? Your favorite food on the 4th? Do you fly a flag at your house? Fireworks - yay or nay? Any special plans this year?

For over 100 years our town has held its 4th of July celebration at our historic park. I have attended this event many of the years of my life and so have my children. We participate in frog and turtle races, egg and water balloon tosses, sack and egg races. It is an event we try our hardest not to miss. We used to spend the afternoon and evening swimming in my parents' pool and watching the fireworks from their house while the kids jumped on the trampoline singing "God Bless America" and lighting sparklers. Since they sold their house and moved to town, we now go to their lakehouse some years and stay home to watch the park fireworks on others. Fireworks were nothing we really ever spent money on when we were kids, and we don't now with our kids either. We usually let them buy some snakes, smoke bombs, sparklers, etc. Although I enjoy a fireworks show, it's not something that I have to do to feel as though my 4th celebration is complete. Now 4th of July is even more special for our family because it's my new son-in-law's birthday. This year he will be turning 21!! We will be celebrating at the lake.

What's something you recently got for free?

My sister is awesome about giving me her expensive hand-me-downs. She gave me a couple pair of True Religion skinny jeans and a pair of Miss Me denim shorts. Oh and a pair of black Nine West boots that are awesome! I would NEVER spend that kind of money on clothes, but she does and passes her used things down to me. I totally appreciate it!! She keeps me fashionable!

The Statue of Liberty, The Liberty Bell, The Washington Monument, or Mount Rushmore ... how many on the list have you seen? What is your favorite historical American monument, and why?

I saw The Washington Monument on a trip to DC when I was a senior in high school and in 2009 we took the kids on a vacation to Yellowstone and stopped at Mount Rushmore on the way there. Mount Rushmore was pretty darned cool. Someday I would like to go to New York and see the Statue of Liberty. I'm not sure if The Alamo would be considered an American monument, but it is such a neat place to visit. If you have never taken a trip to San Antonio, Texas, I encourage you to do so. Stay near the Riverwalk, experience the Spanish American culture, and walk through The Alamo after watching the Alamo movie at the IMAX. It is super cool.

When it comes to the news are you more ostrich (stick my head in the sand) or hog (they have room to take a whole lot in)? How much attention have you given the recent news reports regarding ISIS and the acts of terror they've perpetrated against those who do not share their belief or support their cause?

I very rarely watch the news or have much of an idea of what is going on in our world. There isn't much good news, and I choose not to surround myself with constant negativity. During the school year I do keep abreast of our world's news through CNN Student News. At least it is watered down to a middle school and/or high school level. The news is reported in a 10 minute segment and then we move on. I am not one to sit and watch debate after debate after debate about the same issue. ISIS is just another evil that I pray God sees fit to eradicate.

We're talking plain ice cream ... vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry? Choose one.

Chocolate. Yum, although I am not a big ice cream fan. My snacking choices hardly ever point in the direction of ice cream.

Share a song you love containing the word 'stars' in the lyrics or title?

Immediately I started singing "Lucky Star" by Madonna. Oh, the good ol' days of 80's big hair Madonna.

Describe and/or say goodbye to June with an acrostic.


Insert your own random thought here.

I've got a new PBS favorite drama series ... Poldark on Masterpiece Theatre. Oh, it's good!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday Coffee Chat

What's on your Summer Fun List?

Our summers don't get too wild and crazy. We spend the first part of it consumed with Brynne's softball games and the last half of it soaking in doing as much of nothing as possible because school is on the horizon.

Thankfully God saw fit to give me two little kiddos who like to stay home. They don't really care if we do much of anything except hit the pool once or twice a week. They like to sleep in, lounge around in their pjs, play with their electronics, and venture off to their rooms to play with their toys. Every once in a blue moon they ask to have a friend over, but not very often. So during the week we don't do a whole lot.

We usually go on some sort of family vacation around the summer months. Last year we went to California for 10 days at the end of the summer. This summer's vacation took us on a cruise at the end of May because Kyndal and Collin were getting married on the beach in Cozumel. We had a great time, but the kids say that they are glad to just be home.

We have no big plans the rest of the summer except to go spend four days at my parents' lake house with our best friends from Oklahoma. We will also likely go to the lake a couple of other Saturdays.

My brother, sister-in-law and niece are coming in from Portland, Oregon, next week for about a week. Collin's 21st birthday is on July 4th, and we always spend that morning at our historic park playing fun old-fashioned games and then going to the lake. We are having Kyndal and Collin's wedding reception on July 11th. I am running a 5K with a friend on July 18th, and Collin and I are running the Wipeout 5K at the end of August. Brynne and I will have birthdays in August, and we always try to do something fun as a family around each kids' birthday. This year Brynne wants to go to Schlitterbahn water park so we will probably do that.

And that's our summer.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Granite Countertops on the Cheap

Last week I posted about the cosmetic renovations we had to make to our house when we purchased it three years ago. We had very limited funds and lots of things that needed to be updated to just make the house livable. We had a faux light wood laminate countertop in the kitchen that was in pretty good condition, but it was ugly. We had put a fresh coat of paint on our cabinets, spruced up the hardware, and put in nice laminate tile flooring. Those things just made the countertops look dingy and dated. But we did not have it in our budget to replace the counters.

My mom found a Giani Granite Countertop Paint kit in Bombay Black on clearance and thought we could give it a shot. It was extremely easy to apply, only took an evening and an overnight drying of the top coat.

For the most part the countertops have held up very well over the past three years, with some scratches in the high-use areas. Then along the front of the countertops it started to really rub off. It has been that way for about 6 months.

See the worn places on the right hand counter toward the front?

Well, getting our new stove made me want to spruce up the countertops. I had kept the kit so just reapplied the base coat and granite paint in the areas where it was needed. Instead of using the provided top coat, I bought a Minwax brand of high gloss polyurethane. I wanted it to have the high gloss look of granite this time. And, I hoped the good polyurethane would hold better. I applied three coats.

It's so shiny you can see the reflection of my coffee cup!

And it looks amazing!! It is so shiny and you can't tell where I patched it up. It looks even better this time around.

If you are in a position where you would like to spruce up your countertops, but don't have a budget for it, I recommend the Giani Granite Countertop Paint sets. There are two other colored kits. If I would have been purchasing it I would have probably purchased the lighter brown, but the black and copper color really looks great in our kitchen. And it was only $50. Plus you can play around with the colors to get your desired shades. I used a little more copper to keep it from being too dark.

I am considering purchasing a kit for our bathroom countertops, too.

** I was not contacted by Giani to write this review nor did I receive anything in return for it. I just simply liked the product and wanted to pass along my thoughts about it.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Journey Journal ~ 5 Random Activities for Summer School Week 3

This was a regularly scheduled non-school school week because of all of the activity we had planned outside of the home. We were all. over. the. place. this week! Seriously, I have not been behind the wheel of my car this much in a week since we moved from Oklahoma three years ago. And most days we drove to two different towns. Talk about a random week of schooling! But we definitely counted these activities as schooling. Lots and lots of learning!

Basketball Camp

Brynne and I travelled 30 minutes to the University of Central Missouri Monday through Wednesday. She attended the Jennies girls basketball camp each morning for 3 1/2 hours. She learned skills and drills and experienced some thrills. It was a great camp and she thoroughly enjoyed herself!

Book Club

On Monday afternoon Eli attended the kids' Book Club for Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library. (Brynne was at camp.) They had to each invent a unique game to present to the class. Brynne made a board game, with the help of Dawson, called "Sibling Wars" and Eli made an interactive game called "Walkie Talkie Book Rush". All of the kids in the club voted on the games. Brynne won first place and Eli won third place. They worked so hard on their games, with Brynne spending literally hours on hers. It was a very deserved win.

Swimming Lessons

While Brynne was at basketball camp, Eli was attending swimming lessons back here in our hometown. Kyndal took care of getting him to and from lessons as I couldn't be in two places at once. I was finally able to attend his lessons with him yesterday (today is cancelled because of rain). He took on Level 3 and conquered it without any problems.

Softball Games

On both Monday and Tuesday evening, Brynne had softball games. One of her games was out of town. They lost one very hot game and won their second game. Their team is having an excellent season! They have improved so much as a team!

Dentist and Speech Therapy Appointments

On both Tuesday and Thursday afternoons we had to drive to a nearby town so that Brynne could get two cavities filled. And on Wednesday afternoon we drove to that same town for Eli's weekly speech therapy. Eli is actually learning so much at his speech therapy appointments about his speech anatomy. He even has homework this week to research a famous person who stutters.

Is it just me or is this a conspiracy? Get cavities filled
and receive a coupon for sugar in a cone? Hmmmm ...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Stove ~ Blogging Through the Bible - Women Living Well (Good Morning Girls)

When we moved into our house three years ago, it was completely unlivable. We had one week and a certain amount of dollars available to get it to a place where we could move in. We painted everything, sanded and stained hardwood floors, made repairs, etc. The bones of the house where here, most were just old bones. One of those old bones was our stove.

It was an OLD stove, with only three operational burners. But the house needed other things more, like a floor in the kitchen, so a stove was put on the back burner (ha, ha!!). It was a really ugly and disgusting appliance, but it worked. I realized I didn't even have a picture of it because I have made sure to keep the stove out of any pictures. But then I came across this one with the stove in the background. I cropped it and it's blurry, but you get the picture (ha, ha again!! I am so punny today!)

Strangely for the past three years I have been completely content with this stove, other than the fact that it has been an eyesore. In fact, the stove had kind of become my symbol for contentment, something I clung to.

I have had the opportunity to learn about contentment the hard way. I don't recommend that method. The consequences are lingering today and will continue to linger for many more years to come, I am afraid. But I was able to look at this old stove and creatively try to determine how to cook a full meal on it and be reminded of how important contentment really is and how far I had come.

This week's Women Living Well Proverbs study has had us parked on Chapters 6-10 which are all about wisdom. There have been many lessons on being aware of the adulteress. I have looked at the adulteress with a wide lens in this study as being anyone or thing that entices another away from that which is good. Yes the verses are literally intended to warn a man against the wiles of an adulteress, and to instruct a woman so that she knows what to look for in one who is after her man. But the principles can be applied to so much more!

The biggest problem of the adulteress is that she is idle at home and has a lack of contentment. She wants what she should not have. She is not keeping herself busy at home so has time to wish for other things and to dwell on things outside her home.

Do you find that when you are idle or bored that you dwell more heavily on things, that you worry about things more, that you start to find that you are just not content with what you have?

It happens.

Do you realize that when you are not at your own home, but are always out and about at someone else's, that you start to wish you had some of what others have? Do you start to believe that their house is better, their husband is better, their kids are better, etc.?

It happens.

When we lose our contentment we start to wonder what it might be like to have something or someone else. Right?

When we lived in Oklahoma this was a real problem for me. It was a constant race of keeping up with the Joneses (and we really didn't like the Joneses, you know what I mean?). The emphasis there was to go, go, go and do, do, do. We were rarely at home, trying to keep up. Contentment was an almost impossible thing to attain! We had a super nice, large house with really nice things. But our neighbors always had more, our friends always did more, etc. I would stress about what the kids were going to wear to church or a friend's house or a field trip or a holiday party. It was exhausting and ridiculous!

Probably the biggest change for me in moving back to my small hometown in Missouri is that I no longer participate in this type of rat race. I am completely content with my small, imperfect home. I let my kids be who they really are instead of trying to dress them up like a friend's kids. I don't think about the next thing I would like to buy or the next change I would like to make to my house or the next outfit I need to get for the kids. I have embraced being the Keeper of my Home and rarely leave it unless it is for a direct purpose.

I can honestly say that I do not even know what the majority of the inside of my friends' houses look like. When we get together it is at an event, usually with our kids, usually sports or swimming at the city pool or going to the park, etc. I don't think about what they are wearing, what they are driving, where they are going next.

It is so freeing!

I don't know what I am missing because I am not out seeing everything I don't have. I have worked hard to make my home a place of respite and functionality. I love it here. I don't want to see what I am missing because I feel like I am not missing out on anything I truly love.

Those women out there who are stirring up trouble in others' homes are women who are bored and lack contentment. If they would embrace their own homes and their own families and get busy at it then they wouldn't be seeking what others have.

Now, back to the stove. A couple of months ago a second burner went out and left me with only the two small burners. It has been inconvenient but I have made it work. I finally gave in and allowed Rick to purchase me a new stove this week. We didn't shop around for the newest brand, style, etc. I knew that I wanted a smooth top electric range to match my other white appliances. To be honest, I don't even know what is "in" in the world of stove top ranges, and I don't care. I have no idea what kind of stove any of my friends have. I wanted one that worked, and had all four burners, and was one that was easy to clean. We went up to our local furniture store, paid a tad bit more for it than if we had gone to a large box store, but supported locally instead and allowed them to do the work of installing it and removing my old one. It was a win-win for everyone. And I have a new stove.

There was nothing wrong with purchasing a new stove when it was needed. Sometimes we need new things. The problem lies in having something perfectly good, although not perfect, and desiring for something perfectly better when we don't need it.

The key for so much of me was in contentment. Contentment can be obtained. I believe the key to others' contentment is being busy at home, creating a home that makes you happy, and protecting it and doing your best to protect those within its walls.

Wise women will find contentment.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

June 23rd is National Pink Day. What's your favorite something pink?

Honestly, not a fan of pink. So I guess I would say the pink shade of the sky at sunset. Or the pink in this wedding bouquet at Kyndal's wedding in Cozumel last month. It sure was pretty!

What did you enjoy most about gym class when you were in school? How about the least?

In high school girls only took gym class one year, and usually freshman year to get it done. We had a very strange high school gym teacher. She always took our jewelry from us to keep locked in her office during class, then she would come out with it all hanging from her fingers and say, "Jewelry, ladies???" She looked at us all creepy like. We swore she took our jewelry just so she could look at us changing clothes when she brought it back out to us after class. But in elementary school, gym class was fun! I loved when we played line tag and dodge ball.

What memory is brought to mind by the smell of roses?

Unfortunately, not a good one. My first marriage ruined my extreme love of yellow roses.

Do you prefer to read or write?

I love doing a little of both.

Sam Keen is quoted as saying, "Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability." Would you agree? Is laziness ever respectable? How will you be lazy this summer?

The definition of respectable is "proper, correct, socially acceptable". The lazy days of summer. They are so important. These are days when it is important for us to recharge and rejuvenate for the busy days that begin in August and continue through the months of spring. Laziness for us really comes in the form of sleeping in more often, watching more t.v., taking more naps, and reading more.

The Florida Keys, Disney World, or a resort somewhere on the Gulf Coast ... which Florida destination would you choose (and why) if the trip were today?

If I could leave today I would pack up the kids and head to my parents' house in Pensacola, Florida. That is all the resort I need or desire. It's pure relaxing heaven.

What question do you hate to answer?

When are you going to do some laundry? Ha! I do keep it caught up for the most part, but occasionally I am asked this question.

Insert your own random thought here.

For those of you who have followed the child support saga for the past couple of years, I can now say that it is finally over! All arrearages and judgments have been paid and now it is just a matter of receiving the regular monthly amount for Dawson until he gets out of college. Free at last!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday Coffee Chat

Only two more Tuesday Coffee Chats until the host Leslie takes her summer break (sniff, sniff). Here's this week's prompt ...

Be inspired! Share something that inspired you this week: a quote, a photo, a story in the news. Let's spread some positivity!

I ordered this coffee mug from Cross Training Couture this week. (If you would like some inspiring workout wear, they have some really great stuff!)

I think this mug says it all. I can't wait until it gets here!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Father's Day Weekend

With finances and schedules we had not seen Rick since our cruise!

He stayed in Oklahoma a couple of weekends in a row to recoup and to save us a little money in the back-and-forth gas expenses of coming home every weekend. We weren't able to spend his birthday with him (although his mom and sister's family took good care of him) ...

And he and I were not together on our 14 year anniversary, so I toasted him in a text ...

So this weekend we wanted to be sure and celebrate him for his birthday and Father's Day. We had lots of projects to do around the house .... install window air conditioning units in the bedrooms (in the nick of time as the temps jumped way up on Friday), order a new stove, do some yard work, continue with painting the trim on our house, etc. It's always loads of fun around here, even on holiday weekends. I did put together a little survival kit for Rick while he watched the U.S. Open.

Our way of celebrating usually involves meals, so on Friday night we had some brats during air conditioner installation. On Saturday night we enjoyed some goulash while watching the U.S. Open. And on Sunday I made Rick's favorite meal of jalapeƱo chicken enchiladas for dinner that he got to enjoy right after painting trim and helping me with mulch and just before driving the four hours back to Oklahoma.

I can't say we did anything too big to celebrate, but we did spend the entire weekend together which was very nice! We even had the grand dogs! Yadi helped Papa drive.

Brynne did ditch us on Saturday afternoon ... She attended her very first sleepover! She had a great time playing Beanie Boos with her two best friends, Jenna and Marabella. I am so happy that she has found these two sweet girls. Good friends are hard to find, and parents I trust with my children is even harder!

All-in-all it was a nice weekend. Most of all it was just nice having Rick back home.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Journey Journal ~ Summer School Week 2

We had a pretty quiet week this past week which totally makes me happy, especially with the busy week we have coming up!

On my way to get groceries ... alone .. in the quiet.

Wow. How I love summer school. I am sure that after a long while of it I would finally get bored and be ready for more substance in the way of a deep literature study or science unit study. But for now there is something so glorious about spending mornings on the couch reading great books to the kids, honing up on some math and grammar skills, and then finding learning in the everydayness of summer.

This week we continued to read Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein. We completed another set of lessons in math (adding fractions with same denominators and then simplifying) and grammar (more of the same diagramming).

Jason from's Mastering 5th Grade
Math Volume 2 (the kids love his boring presentation?).

The kids were assigned a project at Book Club last week to create a unique game. Dawson helped the kids and they came up with some great ideas. Brynne literally worked hours on her board game. Eli's game is more of an interactive library game with walkie talkies.

Additional learning this week came in the form of Wii Fit (emphasis on yoga) for Brynne and speech therapy for Eli (more speech machine learning, aka anatomy).

I received some of our curriculum for next year. The next level of Fix-it Grammar looks challenging, so we better really pay attention when finishing this current level.

I have started planning a bit for science and for our WWII studies. I am also toying with the idea of leading a literature enrichment class at our library one afternoon a week for 4th-6th graders, much like the Book Club that the kids are currently attending. I'd like to keep it in the WWII area so am looking at The Victory Garden by Lee Kochenderfer. We would likely have the small community garden available to us to do some fall planting so it would be a neat class, I think. Even if we don't do the class at the library, I am thinking of at least inviting a few of the kids' friends to do it here at our house and use our garden.

We will not have regular school this next week because Brynne has basketball camp every morning and Eli has swimming lessons. Add in some evening softball games, a doctor appointment, and two separate dentist appointments and we are going to be quite busy.

Taking the week off from book studies so we can avoid
doing this at every appointment. Schoolwork on the go
is a perk of homeschooling, but I think this week we need
a break from it.