Friday, October 16, 2015

Still Alive, Still Breathing, Still Thankful

yes to all the above!  Days have been feeling shorter and longer at the same time; they feel harder, too.  No room for margin.  No spare time for anything.  No extra time for the big chores.  Been working on that ~ finding the time, delegating, letting go.

Haven't given up hope, yet, that I can get back to this blog and be posting more regularly.  Mulling over changes.  In the mean time, I leave you with this lovely photo:

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Finding Time vs. Making Time

Do you see the struggle already?  The conflict of finding time in what we consider important versus making time for what truly IS important.  So many things that need to get done, should get done, want to get done, and the things we ought to get done.

As we've lived through the a portion of the summer already, I've missed countless opportunities to joint down the good, the moments of gratitude, those markers that serve as reminders of where we have been and accomplished.  Glimpses that are now a memory that may be remembered or may be forgotten.  In this, I'm often reminded to come back here to write, to make notes, to remember, to be thankful.  Most of the good this summer surrounded a few of our military friends moving back to the area.  So enjoyable to sit with friends, one on one, and catch up.  Pleasant surprises at church, as I connect with one friend and see a friend who's back in the area.  It felt like days of catching up . . . squirrel . . . as another friend walked in.

My making time:

  • to connect with my husband
  • to connect with those who are important - even a quick hello, hug, face book note, whatever
  • to lesson plan ahead so I'm not rushed
  • to connect with our kids, one on one
My finding time:
  • to go through various things and purge
  • to attend to things around the house
  • to decorate more simplistically
  • to find easy and good recipes
The take on all of my pondering is that there are things you just need to make time for; faith, family, and friends.  Just about everything else is a "find the time".

Thursday, April 30, 2015


What more can I say about the day.  Both kids woke up later than I would have liked and are now napping.  Yes, in the "real world" or in a "school building" they would be moving around numb with tiredness.  Well, if they are working, were this tired, hopefully they could take a sick day.  It is a perk of home schooling ~ allowing sleep to happen and still get their work done.  It just means that their free time has been used up by sleep instead of electronics and we're okay with that.

Otherwise, it's been a good day, a quiet day, a fast and slow day.  Windows open, birds chirping, planes flying, dog barking, regular neighborhood noise kind of day.

What I'm choosing to be thankful for today:
  • extra, quiet moments
  • shower
  • remembering what's in our cabinets and making a good lunch
  • being able to meal plan "on the fly"
  • a working vacuum cleaner
  • kids happy with getting hair cut at home
  • looking forward to summer
  • being available for our boys
And to close out this quick post, a photo of daisies ~ I should buy some this year!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"Oh The Things You Can Think"

 Our family is just coming off a Suessical high!  Puns are happening, it just can't be helped.  Fun is inevitable, just let out a whelp.

Thinking "aloud" here!  Oh the things you can think.  Thinking I need to be more intentional about blogging here.  Life is just whizzing by; more quickly than I care to admit.  Things, again, in random order, but no 1's or 2's, as they're all equally good:
  • being "kidnapped" by friends
  • homemade poptarts
  • grass growing in thicker than years before
  • car passing inspection (thought I had issues with the brakes)
  • plants not fully dying
  • planning out 2015/2016 school year already
  • heating pads for achey back
  • coffee ~ you just can't be thankful enough
  • having the windows open
  • kids having good group of friends
  • co-op winding down
  • planning meetings for next year
  • bees buzzing along
  • monogrammed bag
Cute bag, just for me

Under watered plant!

24 hours after a good watering,
it is thriving again

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Random Life & Thankfulness

Some days, it really pours.  The good seems and feels so obvious.  The things just seem to come flooding in.  So many things.   Memories, moments, remembering!

Thankful I haven't given up on this blog, in that, there are days that it is hard to see the good and be thankful.

Today, it's:

  • a bag I've been using for co-op, monogrammed just for me (or a few of my closest Jennifer friends ~ lol)
  • dollar store run
  • good chips, cheap
  • co-op tie dyeing going well
  • color being contained, mostly
  • good cleaning products for the few dribbles
  • small group and transparency
  • kid trying to do his hair for Suessical
  • not the only parent doing hair and make-up in the parking lot
  • hacking some one's facebook status with irrelevant, to topic, discussions
  • seeing friendship through this all
Yesterday brought a few as well:
  • Thankful for friends
  • Starbucks runs
  • text messages
  • Holy Spirit speaking
  • kid going crazy reading
Will try to come back and add photo's later and post to the various places!  If you came here early, hope you enjoy your pictureless read.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Another Show, Another Opening

And this go around it is "Suessical, Jr."!  Our favorite actor, is the Purple & Yellow "Who" Dad!  I laughed when I heard that, didn't know I had grandkids already.

Anyway, just a general shout to Northern Virginia Players.  What a great sense of community, family, and friendship these shows build in the kids and families as well.  There are folks you can laugh and cry with.  Folks you can call, in a pinch, when you need something.  Friends who go out of their way to help.

You can check out the link, above, to see past shows, and order tickets for Suessical, which opens tonight at 7:30.  Two shows tomorrow and 3 shows the following weekend.  You'll be amazed at the quality of the show, from kids 8 yo to 18 yo.  This will be a fun event for little kids as they'll see a lot of familiar Dr. Suess characters.  You won't want to miss out.

Thankfulness out of this:

  • friendship blossoming for our kids
  • seeing our kids shine in their talents
  • seeing our kids extend themselves further than they imagined
  • our kids being appreciated by adults
  • random acts of kindness
  • friendships blossoming for the mom's and dad's involved
  • learning patience
  • learning time management

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lots of Random, Lots of Good, Lots of lots!

Trying something new in my blogging ~ keeping a rough draft going, of my thankfulness, so that when I decide to publish (and rewrite) I don't have to wrack my brain for what has brought me joy.  This is the first writing like this, so no telling how many days it will take to actually hit publish!!!  I may shoot for every two to three days or so.  It will honestly depend on the photos that strike me or the moments of awe.

  • school finished and graded by 1:23 PM
  • curious kid doing self guided science experiments
  • catching up on sleep after a bad night of sleep ~ priceless
  • cool breeze, open window, and bird sounds
  • making a double batch of brownies
  • meal planning for a full week, before grocery shopping
  • beginnings of deep cleaning
  • kids at "tech week" for "Suessical"
  • hustling, all day, to get chores done
  • time off from school
  • working washer and dryer (even if the washer leaks a bit)
  • daffodils
  • trees popping with spring buds
  • knowing what is for dinner
  • getting frozen dinner parts out early
  • Pandora playing all day long
  • enjoying the company of our kids
  • finding out I am ahead on my bible study
  • time to sit for a brief bit
  • the smell of clean blankets
  • reviewing photos on phone
  • Kevin coming home with meat and wine (weird combination, but brings pleasure)
  • double batch of brownies in oven
Know it is such random stuff!  But it's the joy in randomness that makes life interesting and keeps my mind off the the bad!  And with this, believe it is time to get up and clean some more.  Yes, I will be crashing later from all of the stairs and laundry and other related life stuff.

Just one photo today!  Kid played with food coloring and
water.  Cool, huh?  I liked it, he had fun ~ win/win!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Wonderful Things, Days, Moments

So many random things, so many good things, so hard to put them together in paragraph form.  It's okay to not be able to write in standard form.  I don't always want to stray from a normal format, but there are times when you just need to jump into a list, like now!

                  p  i n g
                                        with no regret
  • a sunset so orange, it felt warm in a cool evening
  • the sunrise, the following morning, being a softer, colorful version like a favorite quilt pulled up tight
  • using mason jars for Kevin's and my Easter candy
  • being reminded on my grandparents putting candy jars on their heart, at Christmas, for each grandchild
  • time with my folks.  Wonderful time to just catch up, in person
  • seeing some of my siblings and their spouses
  • easy ride to their house and home
  • early morning car ride and seeing a beautiful moon
  • getting the deck cleaned up some for summer
  • warm days, skin turning pink
  • bbq chicken, with a good, but mild kick (drats, didn't write anything down)
  • opening day for Washington Nationals
  • attacking a to do list that feels a mile long
  • checking all the "must do" boxes on my to do list (and then some long term stuff)
  • celery drying slowly
 one side of jar

 the other side
We do minimal candy, but really good candy!

dried leaves from a bunch of celery

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Days That Speed Along

This is one of those blog posts, I just don't know how to title. Catchy isn't happening, honesty seems to forthright, and inspiration is lacking!! Life has been busy. School has been trucking along, mild colds hitting the household (thankful it's not the big colds going around), and general hustling to where we're ready for bed early in the evening. The other day, felt hit hard by the need to sleep, early in the day. Laid down, for what I thought would be 20 minutes, if I was lucky ~ 3 hours later I forced myself up. Didn't expect that as I am generally not a napper. Anyway, you add all our activities, school getting doubled up so kids can take Friday off, and general life things (chores, shopping, and what not) it has made for some long, tiring days. Don't mean to sound like I'm complaining, if it reads this way. It's just been an exhausting week. Looking forward to life being a bit slower. That will happen soon, very soon at the rate our days seem to be speeding along.

Any hoot, still finding the good and lovely things. Here's how it's been going lately:

  • finding a favorite pen in the van
  • 3 rolls of Washi tape
  • "labeling" new electronics with said Washi tape
  • kid realizing a choice in one tape matches the cover of new phone (lol)
  • making bread this evening
  • good doctors appointment
  • getting the hang of using a planner
  • getting things checked off a list
  • finding a mysteriously placed bag of aquarium gravel
  • potting some pansies in a pretty container
  • buying a few parts and pieces to make new curtain rods
  • getting ready for bed

  •  first purchase of Washi Tape
    wooden box, behind tape, has been prepped for new purpose ~
    you can only faintly see where apples had been painted!

     see how well the dots match the chevron pattern!

     close up of hummingbird on planter

    planter with pansies in it
    looking forward to gifting this soon!

    Thursday, March 26, 2015

    Real Life, Birthdays, "Fails", and more!

    There are many phrases that are over used, way to many to go into here.  One heard around our house a lot is, "It is what it is"!  This phrase is usually followed with something like, "so how are we going to deal with the pieces (or mess, or clean up, or move on and learn).  It's our way of say, "it happened, how are you going to handle the next step?"  It just seems to bring the situation down to a level that we can respond calmly and find a good solution.

    How does this lead into this post ~ plenty of ideas floating through this noggin of mine.  First and easiest, while make pancakes for breakfast and seasoning my cast iron skillets, I turned on the wrong burner.  The burner that my favorite cook book happened to be slightly resting on.  After a few moments, there was a burning smell.  Found my error, got book off to find only a little scorch mark, and turned that burner off and the correct one on.  It's things like this that I want our boys to understand why it's good to have another around and not to walk away from cooking or lighting fires.  You have help, should something go way wrong.  I look at this as, my favorite cookbook has more character and more proof that it is, by far, one of my favorite go to books.  Pages are wrinkled, splattered on, reinforced, notes made on them, and so on. Love this book because I can make the recipes into more healthy, organic recipes by simple substitutions.  I don't need to buy a special book just for eating healthy.  It's basically healthy and can be stepped up a level easy enough.  So, I am thankful for this well used, messy, burned cookbook.  It will stay on my shelf for a long time.  Sad days will following when it is beyond repair.

    A birthday happened earlier this week too.  Another marker that a year has come to an end and a new one starts.  New goals seem present, more so than New Years Eve.  Little things about making our house more of a home, a safe haven, a place folks want to come to.  Goals of better organization and cleaning and using the whole house and property better.  How can we bless others with what we have?  What things can I make, for cheap, to show my personality?

    There are fails along the way too.  Ideas that seem like such a good idea at the time, but when reality meets the road, it back fires.  Other ideas, for instance while cooking, it's just not as neat and tidy as those cooking shows that have many things tested out before they actually film.  I'm okay with this, especially when our boys keep coming back to the kitchen asking for more ~ I must have made something right!

    And the more, just random pictures that I've seen, that make me happy.  Also pictures of things I'd love to make.

    How all this summarizes into a thankful list, just keep on reading a bit longer:
    • favorite cookbook showing it's love just a bit more
    • lazy birthdays
    • simple presents
    • candles
    • ice cream
    • favorite meals
    • date with my husband
    • revamp of goals
    • funny pictures that make me smile
    • life is not perfect, but it is full of thanksgiving

    Sunday, March 22, 2015

    What Brings Out Your Focus?

    Your drive?  That "Type A" side we all have to varying degrees.

        My "A" side strikes every once in awhile, but not nearly often enough.  It's here this afternoon though.  In just a couple hours at home, alone, I'm able to get chores done in crazy time.  Though, those two hours are not enough time to get the WHOLE house done, it is just enough time for noticeable progress, and that will have to be good enough.

    As is my "nature", I enjoy taking pictures of things that strike me as cool, beautiful, or unique.  I've also been know to take photos of things that tie into a blog post that is rattling around in my head.  That is what happened with today's writing and photos.

     Just warm enough for Charlotte to hang out
    on the deck while I cleaned.  As I was focusing on a good
    vacuuming, things got moved of the floor.  I took
    her bed outside and she slept half on, half off.

     My desire for cute planner.  Making my own or finding one to down
    load and print, just didn't happen.  I wanted to much out of a home made
    and it was taking to long.  Store bought, with a plastic front and a place
    change change out a cover, to the rescue.  Bonus ~ under $8.00.

     Must have ~ month view with just enough room to get a good over view
    of what is going on that month.  Yes, April is still blank, will be updating that soon.

     Week view ~ again, enough room for all that needs to be in there.  I will still have a 
    homemade school calendar (via Donna Young's website) with detailed notes on that.
    I'd hate to see how big the calendar would be if I combined home and school on one calendar.

    I also tied ribbons on the top spiral loop, to further personalize it and to add in finding the 
    exact page I wanted.  When I do fill things in, some will be in pen, some in pencil.
    I'll color code, either with highlighters or colored pencils, so a quick glance
    I can see who's items are who's.

    My list of joy and thankfulness (today and random last few months):
    • store bought planner to personalize
    • time to clean
    • talent show for 5th & 6th graders
    • warmth and sunshine
    • boys earning their advanced red belt in TKD back in February (next belt is black)
    • boys getting second stripe, yesterday (two more to go)
    • breakfast for dinner

    Friday, March 20, 2015

    Been Awhile, but Still Thankful

    Many things in life have changed since beginning this blog.  Many things I don't care to share in the open Internet.  What truly matters is finding, seeing, feeling, and believing in the joy that is around you and me.  It is there.  It always has been.  It always will be.  There are days that it is so obvious and lists grown on those days, like spring flowers.  Other days just feel dark and lonely, a desire to retreat to the dark corners exist.

    I began writing, as a way to focus on the good and joyful things.  Some days were easy, many days hard.  Writing became easier as life's kinks got worked out.  During this, unfortunately, writing became one extra thing to do on a busy day's schedule and I needed to take a break.  I was, and still am, thankful for the little things in life.  The big things to.

    If you are wondering why I chose to write today, there is an overwhelmingly strong feeling of being thankful today.  Probably began yesterday and continued into this morning.  Many things, that look like this:

    • dog finally coming home after a 20 minute run through the woods (and yes, right before we needed to head out)
    • younger son, in joyful tears, hugging our wayward dog (I forget how attached he is to Ms. Charlotte)
    • friends noticing, I seem to have a happier demeanor
    • another good nights sleep (still getting over a slight cold, so sleep is a wonderful thing)
    • a rainy morning
    • leftover soup for breakfast
    • a heating pad for achy muscles
    • smelly pup, curled up by my side (I probably would have missed her to, had she not come home yesterday)
    • thankful that it is Friday
    Will probably be trying to get back to this blog, just not daily or with such large gaps in time.  How often would you want to see it?

    Anyhoot, here's one last photo, of the wayward pup:

    Friday, January 23, 2015

    Another sick day

    We're in for round two, unfortunately!  Oldest has it and think I am coming down with it.  Not a fun experience, being sick.  It'll pass, eventually!!!!!!!!!!!

    Today's thankfulness:

    • Kevin coming home
    • cut wood drying
    • things put away
    Will get back to longer posts!  Enjoy the short and sweet for now!

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

    Sick day posting!

    Older kid coming down with what younger kid had!  Just the good again today:

    • good co-op with the boys ~ they made airplane launchers (check out the link to Frugal Fun for boys; lots of great things to do)
    • time for small group
    • early bedtime, but not as early as yesterday
    One of those days that just can't think of all the good!  Know it's out there, but just hard to remember to make note of it.  Life is like that sometimes.  Good to keep an on going list.  Please!  No judgement that I haven't updated the 2015 list in a week or two.  Maybe this weekend.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2015

    Short and sweet today

    Had lots ideas for cute pictures and funny lines.  Turns out, I'm just to tired today to be worried about a long post.  Thankfulness for the day:

    • evening activities being canceled
    • needed veg time
    • easy good, dinner
    • heating pad
    • finding my fleece jacket
    • almost bedtime!

    Tuesday, January 20, 2015

    Another Day, Another Birthday

    Yes, our boys birth dates are only a week apart!  It makes for some crazy times over the years.  When they were younger, their friends were mostly sets of brothers, their age.  Made it so convenient to have a friends party ~ 3 hours or so, 10 to 12 kids in the house, along with a few extra adults, and we were done till the next year.

    Having seen this years round of birthdays, it was a bit more work, a bit more baking, more cleaning, but less parental involvement.  The boys each did their own thing with their friends.  We just provided food.  The kids ages, for both parties, were between 12 and 18; that made cooking easy - pizza, chips, lemonade, cake, and ice cream.  All things we can do well!  DONE!!!

    Anyway, today is about Ian.  He's officially 12!  He seemed quite happy to have gotten exactly what he wanted: cash, Lego's, Duct Tape, Crunch Bars, and an Itunes gift card.  So easy!  Especially when friends took care of some of it without know what he REALLY wanted.  Love when things work out that way.  It's just cool.

    The good for the day:
    • almost finishing our bathroom
    • seeing color combinations I liked (see photo below)
    • train whistle (it truly never gets old for me), for some reason it helped me focus today
    • seeing delight in my child's eyes
    • lunch out with the family
    • easy dinner ~ catered to the 12yo ~ hot dogs and chips

     Barn Yard Red Ipad easel, Yellow ware bowl,
    and green scale in the back ground.

     Someone had asked if I would make 12 number 12's
    and hide them around the house for him to find.
    A tradition that got started a few years ago, that he
    really enjoys.

     Cupcakes for the final round of sweets!  Just a quick
    glaze of icing.  The ratio of cake and icing
    was much better with these.  And
    not much left as most went to Scouts tonight.

     Recycled a bag, for his gifts tonight.
    Can you see the pile of 12's.  He found them all,
    but needed a hint for two of them.

    Can I have a candle please?

    Monday, January 19, 2015

    Odd day for photos

    So let me just jump right into the photos today:

     odd combination of things, on the smallest counter
    in the kitchen.  Something from each of the three members
    at home!

     Mentioned some time before Christmas that we needed
    new kitchen hand towels to my MIL and showed
    her the ones I really liked.  She
    picked these out for me.  I like how
    bright and cheery they are.
    They seem super absorbent too.

     Passing into the kitchen, saw a cheek needing to be
    kissed.  It made him laugh.

     a visiting lady bug!

     The owner of the blue water bottle, busy at school.
    Not sure if he was aware I was taking photos.
    What is that, Jennifer S., the "Mamarazzi"?

    Someone was so excited by the
    word cheese, she came with her blanket
    and begged awhile.

    Even though the day was long; lots to get done; things to wash, dry & fold; there is much to be thankful for.  Counting it all joy.
    • leftovers for lunch and dinner
    • fun picture day
    • starts of a new play
    • getting most of a to do list done
    • being okay with what didn't get done
    • feeling tired at the end of the day (both physically and mentally, in a good way)
    • looking forward to the last of the celebrations tomorrow
    • thankful for a teen keeping laundry going
    What has brought you joy today?

    Sunday, January 18, 2015

    Early Edition

    Anyone remember that show?  Guy gets the newspaper early and goes around saving people.  I decided to blog write early today in the hopes of being off of electronics by dinner time today.  Didn't sleep well last night and it's been a gray day.  Both of those factors equals one heck of a tired mom.  I have successfully resisted the urge to sleep.  Instead, have printed a bunch of biology stuff for the next several weeks for Mr. 9th grader, gave some lessons to the 6th grader on how to take an open book test, gotten dinner started, made more coffee, opened some "old" mail and separated it appropriately, took a break for chocolate milk, cleaned the kitchen a bit, and may read some after posting here.  All this since we got home about 1:30 PM or so this afternoon.  Ready to crash and burn, but boys have a few key things to finish up today before sleep is an option.  One is working on Biology and History, while the other cleans his room.  I snicker, because in high school I dreaded the Sunday afternoon homework routine.  It was the pits.  Think Mr. 9th grader would agree with me.  He's already taken a power name this afternoon.

    The good today:

    • at a glance with Kevin, kind of agreed on something, to be discussed more, but still can communicate with a nod
    • being taken out to lunch after church
    • walking the dog, even if it was cold.  We both got to stretch our legs
    • encouraging a church friend about a few things for himself and his wife
    • son wanting to fill out a leadership form, for Youth Group
    • other friends checking in on me
    • getting dinner started early ~ mild Italian sausage in a marinara sauce, with bread

    Saturday, January 17, 2015

    Another Saturday, Another Party

    Ian's birthday is coming up soon, so he got to claim today to have some friends over.  Was rather pleased that he kept the guest list short and the length of time short too.  Had I planned it out, there might have been more 6th graders for a longer time period.  Thankful he didn't know what I was thinking.

    What I like about having people over, is that we clean and the house stays that way for a couple days anyway.  Hopefully we'll keep it "clean" longer than we did after last weekend.  heheheehe!

    Thankfulness for the day:

    • clean house
    • pizza for dinner, again
    • leftovers for another day
    • time to read
    • cool presents for an almost 12 yo
    • time for Netflix
    • warm clothes in a not so warm house (we keep the thermostat in the high 60's)
    • beautiful sunset
     Sunset tonight!
    Love the orange/gold, pinks, and purples!

     Birthday Card

    Duct Tap Wallet kit!
    A successful gift.

    Nifty Star Wars Fighter
    Plain and pilot not to scale.

    Friday, January 16, 2015

    Friday Traditions

    Seems often now, that the boys ask what is for dinner, then remember that it is Friday and realize it's pizza night.  13 plus years of pizza on Friday night, you'd think they'd have it down by now.  lol!  Sometimes I forget and don't have crust, sauce, cheese or anything ready for it.  Whoops!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Remembered the dough in time this week, but forgot about the sauce, so I had to do a quick version.  Still turned out alright though.  You master the quick after 13 years.

    Overall a good day, so here's the highlights:
    • not having to go anywhere early in the morning
    • leftover donuts as part of breakfast
    • boys did most of school on their own
    • Quest Sold Out for our 6th grader
    • one hair cut down, one more requested
    • sunshine and blue skies for a pleasant change in scenery
     comfortably doing school, in shorts,
    while listening to music.  He keeps his grades
    up, so why not?

    pretty puppy eyes!

    Thursday, January 15, 2015

    Planning, Schooling, and Laziness

    all rolled into one day.  Don't think we rolled out of bed until after 8:30, maybe closer to 9:00 AM.  At least the younger one and I.  We just needed the sleep and it felt wonderful.  Especially when the coffee started kicking in.  Thought it would be a no drive day, but a couple places needed/had to be hit.  Oh well!  At least they were relatively quick!

    School took awhile, but that has been the normal lately.  We just seem to be having a lot of days where school is a bit here and a bit there.  Not a solid, straight amount of time.  It's getting accomplished, boys are learning.  Learning book stuff and learning how to roll with life's oddness.

    Began planning for Ian's birthday.  He's looking forward to having friends over and to his actual birthday.  He's making requests for cakes, icing, and ice cream flavors, to the extent that I had to get a cook book out to explain the difference between a yellow cake and white cake.  Knew it was basically the differences between the whole egg versus the yolk, but was curious about the other stuff too.  Not a whole of difference beyond that, more the proportion of ingredients.

    Things to be thankful for today:
  • slow morning
  • remembering to getting things done
  • early bedtime
  • finishing up round one of cakes
  • writing this blog post early
  • relief from a tension headache
  • making donuts with new pans

  •  Regular sized donuts, made in new pans
    this morning; liking them already!

    Something lovely from facebook
    this morning!