Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More Randomness & a Tag

I really am trying to be a better blogger, as I'm easing back into a "regular" schedule around here. I don't have any pictures with this post, but I will on the next one.

Jan tagged me...I will get to that at the end of this post.

We finished up a whole week of school and are on day two of week two. Things are going pretty well. I believe this has been the best start of a year CJ has had. There have only been a couple of "bumps" so far, and I'm hoping we don't have many more. He has found that he likes to get up early to do school for now. Yesterday he woke up late and got a late start. He was not very happy about it. So he was back up early again today.

I will be starting preschool with Ruthi after Labor Day, and she is very much looking forward to it. I just have to make myself leave the house one day this week so I can go pick up her curriculum from Aunt Edna! My cousin Robin is letting me use what she used for her boys, but she lives over an hour away. So she managed to get it to my side of town, and I just need to go get it.

I WON'T be leaving the house today, however. I had thought today would be a good day, but it is raining cats and dogs, and I don't feel like driving through any poodles!

I'm so thankful for all the rain we are getting, as we desperately need it. But I really don't care to get out in it unless it is completely necessary. Some people get stupid driving in the rain, and I don't want to be around any of them. Not to mention, it's a hassle getting Ruthi in and out of the car as I'm getting soaked! (Even with an umbrella, I manage to get soaked!)

I'm very frustrated at the moment. For some reason, I can't get a connection on my laptop. It's telling me no connection or hot spots are available. That makes no sense, because I can connect from the desktop. So I know there is a signal. I just can't figure out why my laptop can't find it!

So I will fall behind on blog reading, because this computer is slow, and I don't want to spend all day on here trying to read what I can read in a fraction of the time on my laptop. Sigh.

I'm so glad last week is over. It was a very long week. Not only was it our first week of school, but we were gone every night last week, except Monday. We had church on Wednesday, and we had Upward Basketball/Cheerleading registration/evaluations the other nights. Hubby is the league director at our church, and I help him as much as I can. So we were busy with that. Our season runs early due to the school using the gym during regular basketball season. So our season starts in a couple of weeks.

We have another day of registration/evaluations on Saturday, and then we should be good to go. I finished entering all the forms into the system last night, and am SO glad that is done! Well, I'll have more after Saturday, but not as many. At least I didn't need an internet connection for that!

And now for the tag...I receive an "I Love Your Blog" tag from Jan.

The rules:

I have to pick 7 of my favorite blogs and…

1. The winner can put the logo on their blog

2. Link the person you received your award from

3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.

4. Put links of those blogs on yours.

5. Leave a message on the blogs of the ones you’ve nominated.

I have to say...this is difficult...there are MANY blogs I love and I don't want to leave anyone out. That said, here are my 7 nominations, (in alphabetical order by blog name - except the last one!):

1. Karen at Growing in Grace. Karen is a wonderful mother to 5 beautiful children. She is an incredible writer who always inspires me and makes me think!

2. Christy at Love Generously, Praise Loudly. Christy is a fellow firefighter wife, and even though she lives on the other side of the country, I feel count her my friend. I really enjoy talking to her on the phone (when we get the chance) and if I'm ever in California, I'm totally crashing her place for some girl chat and scrapbooking!

3. Kirstin at Loving Life. I don't know how Kirstin does all that she does. She homeschools her two daughters on top of building a new house and being extremely active in her church. She makes me tired just reading all she does! And she posts some incredible recipes, several of which I've tried and loved!

4. Debi at Nothing of Importance. Although I think the title of her blog is not fitting, as you can tell how important her family who she blogs about are to her! Debi was probably one of my very first "blogging buddies" and I love to hear about what's going on with her family. She's also an avid reader and does lots of book reviews. She's kind of my book-reading hero, as I USED to read as much as she does, but never seem to put the time aside for it anymore. Maybe one day I'll get back into it and join some of the many reading challenges she joins!

5. Lori at Queen of Dirty Laundry. Lori has been about as sporadic with posting this summer as I have. And that's completely understandable as she stays quite busy with her 3 beautiful girls. She is incredibly funny and her girls are a riot. She posts the conversations that go on her house and I always end up rolling in laughter. And I love that Lori is real and down-to-earth. It seems we think alike on so many things and we always get a kick out of that. I think we'd be great friends IRL!

6. Stacey at The Truest Thing. Stacey is one of the sweetest bloggers I "know". True, I don't know her personally, but I can tell she is kind and gentle and the sort of person you just want to hang out with. Her love for God and her family is evident and I love reading what's going on in her life.

OK, there are many other blogs I could list, but on this last one I'm totally cheating:
7. Jan at Making Scrapbooks. Yes, I know she is the one who tagged me, but I really do love her blog! I "know" Jan from way back when I was selling SIAS...I joined her team. And them moved to TLC under her as well. (Even though I didn't end up doing much with either!) When I found out she had a blog, I started reading immediately. She is an amazing scrapbooker and homeschools her 3 children. She's another mom who makes me tired reading about everything she does. I haven't met Jan yet, (only talked on the phone a couple of times) but I intend to soon since she lives not too terribly far from me! And I'm looking forward to it! So, Tag Back Jan! LOL!

Whew - I'm done! I didn't intend to get so lengthy in my "descriptions", but, well, if you know me at all, you know brevity is not my strength!

That's all for now!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Last week's menu went great - I think everyone enjoyed every meal! The menu did produce more leftovers than I anticipated, so we didn't even get to one of the dinners one of the lunches and even one of the breakfasts! They will be carried over to this week, and there are a few repeats as well.

I also tried a recipe for Granola and love the way it turned out. The kids liked it too. I plan to play around with it next time and add more to it.

Here's the plan for this week:

Breakfast - Cereal or Granola
Lunch - Chicken & Rice Wraps
Dinner - Sticky Chicken ~ Green Beans ~ Salad ~ Homemade Rolls

Breakfast - Sausage Gravy Biscuits
Lunch - Cheese Quesadillas
Dinner - Sandwiches/Leftovers

Breakfast - Crockpot Hash Brown Casserole
Lunch - Cold Cut Sandwiches
Dinner - Taco Salad (We didn't get to this last week)

Breakfast - Baked Oatmeal (This is one of CJ's favorite breakfasts!)
Lunch - Homemade Pizza Pockets
Dinner - Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche ~ Salad

Breakfast - Breakfast Leftovers
Lunch - Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Dinner - Leftovers

Breakfast - Breakfast Leftovers or Cereal
Lunch - Out
Dinner - Homemade Pizza

Breakfast - Cereal
Lunch - Out
Dinner - TBD

Be sure to visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie for more great menus!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

She's a Big Girl Now!

(If this post showed up in your feed reader before, it was incomplete, I somehow accidentally published it before I was done. So ignore that one, this is the completed one!)

This daughter of ours never ceases to amaze me. She is constantly doing things I didn't know she could do, or telling me things I didn't know she knew. Sometimes it's just a little scary how quickly she learns things.

Yesterday we headed out on our bikes. We have a wonderful trail to ride on - it was once the train tracks and has been converted. When we all ride together, we go 10 miles, as that is as much as I can handle for now. (When just Chip and CJ ride, they go further.) Ruthi gets a nice ride in a trailer being pulled by one of us.

Chip usually pulls her, but yesterday I pulled her the first half of the way, and I even surprised myself! Chip and CJ had gone ahead on their bikes and went a couple of miles the opposite direction so they could turn around and then catch up with us. We can't pull the trailer down the access trail that is near our house, so we have to load it and my bike up and drive around the corner to a parking lot that has an access. She and I headed out and eventually the guys caught up with us. Even they were surprised how far up we were before they caught up.

At our turn around point, there is a concession stand, bike shop and park. We stop there and let Ruthi play and usually get some sort of treat. I got a really big treat yesterday, to my surprise. Chip bought me a new bike! He had planned to do it before we got there, and had even spoken to the shop owner ahead of time, so he was expecting us. I thought I was just trying out bikes for later on, and had no idea I was getting one then! However, the bike I loved, was in a color I didn't, so he ordered it and it will be here soon!

I told Chip that since I had been riding this older bike for a while, I had no idea what a difference a nicer one would make, and that I wouldn't have been able to appreciate this nice bike had I not been riding the other one for a while. I really could not believe the difference! I even said it was like moving to a Cadillac! I mean, the difference is amazing!

Anyway, getting to the point of my title of this post. While we were there, Ruthi was saying, "I want to ride a bike!"

There was a really cute pink one, so I pulled it down just to let her sit on it and try it out. Much to our amazement, she took off on it! Sure, it has training wheels, but we just couldn't believe it! And she did NOT want to get off. Nor did she want any help! So I took her down to a flat area and let her go. She was having trouble realizing you can only pedal one direction, so she kept stopping as she would try to pedal backwards. But she was having a blast.

When we got back up to Chip, I said, "Maybe this would be a great Christmas present." And he said something about if we waited until then, it would be too cold for her to enjoy it, so why wait? And she went home with a pretty little pink bike.

CJ and I headed on back toward the car. Chip stayed behind with Ruthi to let her ride until she was tired. They didn't get too terribly far.

The funny thing was on the way back, I was pulling an empty trailer, except for Ruthi's baby doll. I know I was getting some very strange looks from people as they peeked into the trailer expecting to see a child and there was only a doll. They must have thought I was crazy!

I passed several bikers on the way back that I had passed on the way there. They had smiled at Ruthi earlier. I just imagine what they might have been thinking when they saw that she was gone! Of course, if they passed her and Chip further up, I'm sure they were able to put 2 and 2 together. The others probably just thought I was some crazy lady.

Chip and I had some fun talking about it later. We decided that it would have been really funny had I introduced the doll as my daughter and really got people thinking I had lost it. I wonder how long it would have taken for us to hear talk about that "crazy lady on the bike trail"!

Anyway, I got back to the car and loaded up the trailer and my bike. CJ just rode his bike on to the house. I headed out to pick Chip and Ruthi up. She was definitely tired, but she wasn't admitting it. She kept insisting she wanted to ride her bike home. Of course, she had no concept of how far that really was!

We got home and I took a picture of our big girl. It's a little fuzzy, because I took it with CJ's phone, since the memory in mine was full. But it's still cute, so here she is:

She's such a big girl!

(And apparently our "Lawn Boy" needs to get a hold of the yard!)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Born to Shop

I think Ruthi has loved shopping since the day she was born. When she was just a little thing of few words, we'd walk down the shoe aisle and she'd stick out her feet and squeal, "Shoooes!" And she wanted to try them on.
One day last year we were shoe shopping and I was trying on a pair. She told me, "Walk over there and let me see." The girl cracks me up.

She loves to shop, and she loves to help. When we are buying groceries, she reaches into the back of the cart and grabs everything she can reach to place up on the checkout counter. And then she helps when it comes time to put the groceries away.

She's a natural.

Today I had to buy some groceries. This time, she was prepared to shop. She had everything she needed - her purse complete with lipstick, mirror, comb and of course, her "cards". She also had her baby along which fit perfectly in the front of her shopping cart.

Yes, HER shopping cart. And look at how cute she is.

(I'm quite thankful for my camera phone right now!)

I don't think she's ever had so much fun in the grocery store. She even kept telling me, "Mommy, I love shopping with you." Well of course she did today!

She did so well. She stuck right by me and didn't run over or into anything. When I needed something from a shelf that was on her level, she was thrilled to get it for me and put it in her cart. By the time we were finished, her cart was quite full.

When we finally arrived at the checkout, she eagerly placed her items on the belt. As soon as she was finished, she opened her purse and pulled out her "credit card." She had to swipe her card to complete the transaction. It was the cutest thing. She pulled it out, reached up to the swiper thingy (yes of course, that's what' it's called!) and proceeded to swipe it.

What I didn't tell her, was that for this machine, you have to swipe from the top to the bottom. She didn't notice that, and "swiped" her card right across the top. I figured it wouldn't have hurt anything if she had managed to get it where it was supposed to go, since it was just a toy card anyway. But the swipe across the top seemed to satisfy her.

However, she wouldn't be totally satisfied until she got to push a button! So once my transaction was completed, and I knew that a button push wouldn't matter, I allowed her to push just one. What a funny girl.

Once her card had at least one bag in it, she was ready to head for the car. I do believe she thinks of today as the best shopping trip ever!

Now I wonder if I'll ever get her into another store without her shopping cart in tow! I may have just created a little monster.

At least she's a cute one!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Summertime Fun

"Little birds" keep telling me that I'm not posting regularly enough! I hope to get back to more regular posting now that our summer is nearing the end.

We started school back on Monday for CJ. Things are going well so far. He got up early today and got busy, so that he was finished by 10 am! I will be starting preschool with Ruthi after Labor Day. She is very ready!

I realized recently that for some reason, I had not managed to get any pictures of the kids in the pool this summer. This year we graduated from the very small kiddie pool, to a larger one in which we can all fit in! It's only a couple of feet deep, which is perfect for Ruthi, but it's big enough for us all to get cooled off and even have a little fun.

I'm looking forward to next summer, as we are talking about getting a larger above-ground pool and possibly a small deck around it. CJ will really enjoy something he can actually do a little swimming in!

Anyway, here are a few pictures of them in the pool.

Ruthi "cleaning" the pool.

CJ was spinning Ruthi around in the water, and she was having a blast!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Climbing Back On the Wagon

The menu planning wagon, that is. I've been very relaxed in my menu planning this summer. Actually, I've been very relaxed about any type of planning!

But it's time to get back on track. CJ started school today, so I decided to get a little more organized about eating! He has decided he wants to try getting up really early (5:30-ish) and get started on his work.

I am NOT planning to be up that early!

That means I need to have something ready for him to eat when he's hungry, which will probably be before I'm awake. So I am planning breakfasts now.

And so we're not rumbling around in the kitchen trying to decide what's for lunch, I'm adding lunch planning as well.

Hopefully this will keep a little variety in our menus, and we're not eating the same thing every day.

I don't know whether CJ will stick with his early morning schedule or not (last year, he liked doing his school work for the day the night before. I let him decide what works best for him - as long as it gets done!), but I like the idea of having breakfasts planned out, so I'm going to do my best to stick to it.

Anyway, here's what this week looks like. Dinners have to be super quick and easy this week, because we will be at the church almost every night. We have basketball evaluations three nights and then church on Wednesday night.

Breakfast - Homemade Cinnamon Rolls (these were DIVINE!)
Lunch - Chicken & Rice Wraps
Dinner - Tater Tot Casserole ~ 30 minute rolls

Breakfast - Pancakes w/Strawberries ~ Eggs
Lunch - Sandwiches (Ruthi and I will actually be out for lunch)
Dinner - Taco Salad


Breakfast - Oatmeal or Cold Cereal
Lunch - Grilled Cheese Sandwiches ~ Ramen Noodles
Dinner - Spaghetti ~ Salad

Breakfast - Oatmeal Apple Raisin Muffins
Lunch - Homemade Pizza Pockets
Dinner - Hot Dogs ~ Mac & Cheese

Breakfast - Muffins or Cereal
Lunch - Cheese Quesadillas
Dinner - Sub Sandwiches

Breakfast - Sausage Gravy Biscuits
Lunch - PB&J sandwiches
Dinner - Leftovers

Breakfast - anything quick - muffins, oatmeal, etc.
Lunch - Out
Dinner - Homemade Pizza

Be sure to visit Laura at I'm an Organzing Junkie for more great menus!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Blogging Poolside...

Kiddie poolside, that is.

In my backyard.

Listening to the very high pitched squeals of a 3 year old as her big brother squirts her with the water gun.

In the water.

Where he might get her wet.

Good heavens.

And it's much harder blogging out here that I'd like it to be. My screen is very shiny and I can see more of the reflection of my house and myself than I can of what is actually on the screen!

But I'm blogging anyway. Because I'm so far behind. And I really don't want to be in the pool at the moment.


I left off with our bowling adventure in my last post.

That was what we did on Monday of the "big" week. On Tuesday morning we headed out to go see the free movie. They were playing "Horton Hears a Who." But when we arrived, all the workers were outside waving everyone away.

They had to cancel the showing due to something that caused the sprinkler system to go off and everything was wet.

I knew a meltdown was imminent and was trying to do some quick thinking. Thankfully, Denise had a brilliant idea - the park!! Ruthi LOVES to go to the park, and since it was early, it wasn't terribly hot yet and was the perfect solution.

CJ had no desire to go to the movie, so he was with Chip. Ruth and "HEvan" had a great time. Unfortunately, my camera still wasn't working at the time, so I have no pictures to share from the park. I did take a few with a disposable camera, but I've yet to get them developed.

Both Monday and Tuesday, after our outings, we spent the rest of those days scrapbooking. On Wednesday we spent most of the day scrapbooking.

On Thursday we went to the World of Coke. The picture I posted here was taken there with the Coke Polar Bear.

If you look closely at Ruthi's face in that picture, you will notice that she is wearing a forced smile. She was quite terrified of that bear. We were standing in line waiting for our turn when she caught a glimpse of him and realized he was moving. She was standing by me, holding my hand. She slowly started backing away, pulling my hand with her. She did NOT want to make her way closer to him.

I picked her up and assured her it was only someone dressed up, and she didn't need to be scared. She was not convinced. As we walked up to him, he stood up. She let out the biggest scream and had the most horrified look on her face. I convinced her to look away from him and to look at Denise who was holding the camera. She did, but she knew that bear was behind her and was still quite scared. I think the fact that he was SO big really sent her over the edge. She didn't mind seeing him from a distance afterward, but she did not want to get close to him again.

Ironically, at the end of the trip, in the gift shop, she picked out a polar bear to take home!

The whole trip was a blast. The 4-D theater was awesome except for the "bug" that "stung" us in the back. I wasn't sure how Ruthi would do, but she loved it. The seats were moving a bit too much for her liking, but once she was in my lap, she was good. She did jump a couple of times when it looked like things were coming toward her, but she loved it overall.

For about 30 minutes before we made it to the tasting room she started asking for "Pite." (Sprite). So once we made it into there, she got her fill. And she had no desire to taste any of the others.

Right after we walked in, CJ and Evan got chosen to do a little race. CJ stood behind Evan and had to be Evan's arms and poured the drink without being able to see what he was doing as he had to put it to Evan's mouth so he could drink it. It was hilarious!

I do believe the tasting room was the highlight of the trip - especially for the boys. CJ's friend Ronald went along with us and he seemed to have a fantastic time as well.

Here are a few pictures.

(OK - I took a break here - I got in the pool with the kids for a while. Chip even came and joined us and we had some great family time. Then he went in to crash. And I fell asleep early, so I didn't get the pictures loaded. Now it is Sunday night after a long day today. But as promised, I'm still getting these pictures up before the weekend is over!)

CJ being silly.

Our little group.

CJ being Evan's hands.

Having fun tasting all the varieties of Coke. (Some of which are simply awful!)

Ruthi was unsure about this 'guy' behind us after her polar bear encounter!

CJ & Ronald. (Ruthi was a bit afraid of this car - we had told her the bear went to take a nap. When she saw this car, she was sure the bear was napping inside!)

When we left, we went to eat at The Varsity. Unfortunately, I don't have any great pictures from there. Then we headed home, stopping at Wal-Mart on the way so Denise and Cindy could print their pictures. Once we were home we did some more scrapbooking, of course!

And that's all for now. If you made it this far, congratulations!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I'm Such A Bad Blogger...

...at least lately, that is. I really thought I'd have more time this week, but I've just been keeping busy. And my mind doesn't seem to slow down enough to actually sit down and have to THINK!

I did finally get caught up on my blog reading - at least that doesn't require much thinking! But I know I need to get back in the game here!

I can't believe summer is almost "officially" over. I'm not ready for it to be! We've been having fun and I don't want it to end. Of course, one of the advantages of homeschooling, is that it doesn't have to completely end for us - we usually don't even go on our vacation until September when everyone else is in school!

Let me back up though and try to do a little recap.

Week before last (was it really that long ago? sheesh!) my neigbor Denise's Mom (Cathy), sister (Cindy), and nephew (Evan) came to spend the week with her. We all spent a huge portion of the week here at my house scrapbooking! And though I didn't actually get very many pages completed during that week, I've gotten many done since then. That week definitely reignited my scrapping bug! Denise and Cindy were whipping out pages left and right, but I tend to move slower and I was having too much fun socializing anyway!

The cutest thing was Ruthi and Evan. He is 10, and he loves younger children. So he would play with her for just about as long as she wanted him to. And she LOVED every second. But even cuter, was how she pronounced his name. She called him Heaven. So adorable, and I'm pretty sure he liked it too.

On that Monday we went bowling. This was the first time Ruthi had ever been, and she had an absolute blast. Well, after she finally got the hang of waiting her turn.
She loved rolling the ball down, but just couldn't stand the though that she was going to have to wait for four more ball rolls before she could go again. Here's
proof of how upset she was.

Thankfully, that didn't last too long. Pretty soon she was eagerly and cheerfully awaiting her turn. And pretty soon, it was back to this face.

The bad thing that happened this day - when we first arrived and paid at the counter, I went to pick up my camera and managed to drop it - from that HIGH counter all the way to the hard floor. EVERYONE let out a loud gasp as it hit. I was devastated. Denise quickly distracted me by reminding me that this was going to be a great day, that it was Ruthi's first time bowling! I think she could see the tears welling up in my eyes, and I am very thankful for her distracting abilities. My camera wouldn't even come on. Thankfully, they had brought their cameras too, so all was not lost for first time bowling pictures. However, I realize now that I only have a few shots of CJ - and they are all from the back. I'm sure I would have taken more if not for my camera incident. But at least between the cameras that were there, we got some cute ones of Ruthi's big first!

And what a first it was! The first game wasn't so fabulous. She got more gutter balls than anything.

But then we discovered the ramps. Once we figured out how to line that thing up, she really had a blast. That, and the fact that we decided on a heavier ball. She was using a 6 pound ball that she could manage on her own. However, it just wouldn't make it all the way down without taking a hard turn for the gutter. So I found a heavier ball for her to use. She couldn't carry it herself, so I helped her.

I would get a hold of it so it wouldn't drop on her toes, and she would "carry" it from underneath. We would walk it over the the ramp and I'd let go. She would send it rolling down that ramp and stand to watch how many pins would fall.

And did they ever fall. Look at this!

Yes, that is her score on the bottom - she beat both of the boys! Sure, they didn't have the aid of a ramp, but they're OLDER after all! LOL!

She would get SO excited. As the ball would roll down the lane, she'd say, "Maybe this time!" And the delight on her face when those pins would fall was priceless.

The third game got even better. Look at what she did!

Your eyes are not playing tricks. That is 3 strikes in a row!!! I don't have a picture of the final screen for this game, but she bowled a 139! That's better than I usually bowl! I think I want to use a ramp next time! Just kidding. Sort of.
And we were able to get printouts of the scores so they will be scrapbooked with the photos.

In spite of the camera incident, it was a wonderful day.
And, by the way, my ultra-fabulous hubby was able to get my camera working again! I'm sure he is even more relieved than I am, because he knew he was about to be buying a new camera! He even told me to look online and start deciding what I want. And as much as I'd love to have a new camera, there are other things that are more important at the moment, so I'm also thankful we are not having to shell it out for a new one!

I intended to do a full recap of the past couple of weeks, but this post has gotten really long. And because I decided to sit down and blog, instead of doing what I should be doing, it is now 12:37 AM and I still need to go iron Chip's uniform for in the morning!

So, I'll end here and I promise I'll be back to finish before the weekend is over. I haven't even gotten to our fun trip where the picture in my last post was taken. (And you were right Jan - it is World of Coke!)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sorry About That!

I did NOT intend to take such a long blogging break. And apparently, my disappearing for so long has disappointed a few people (especially family members!) and I'm feeling the pressure! LOL!

Chip even asked me a couple days ago if I was going to start blogging again, because our family misses it!

So, I promise to do better. I've been QUITE busy the past two weeks, and there hasn't been much time left for blogging. A LOT has happened and I have a TON of catching up to do.

However, on the top of my to-do list today, is catching up on housework! So I'm off to do that. But I will be back soon with an attempt to catch up.

I'll leave you with you with one picture from last week, and I'll be back to explain it later.

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