Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Are you gooder than me at grammar?

Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?
Make a Quiz

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Brett's at it again!

Our friend has been at it again! Here are some pictures he took for Christmas the other day. He now has a website and I'm encouraging my friends to check it out! If you're ever in the area, give him a call and give him some business~you won't be disappointed!
I love these 2 of Gracie!

Here are 2 great ones of my little girls.

Here are 2 family ones.
And then here is Katie Boo. She was being a little toot and had been crying and had been quite uncooperative. Brett was able to snap this one of her daddy "comforting" her. I love the look on her face! It's like she's saying, "Don't I know just what to do to get what I want?!!?"

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving week

Happy post-Thanksgiving week to all! Here's a "quick" summary of our week & weekend:

*The girls anxiously awaited the arrival of "Grammer & Pappy" (my parents) and "Bigmother & Bigdaddy" (my grandparents) on Wednesday afternoon. It was a coooold, grey, windy day which, in my opinion, fits perfectly with the holiday. It had even sleeted the day before which is quite rare for around here. One of the school districts "out in the country" even let school out early and I think they saw some snow. I'm sure that's very funny to people who live in other parts of the country, but we don't get a lot of that kind of weather here in South Carolina!

*Chris built a fire that afternoon & evening which I LOVED! I just love a fire in the fireplace; it makes the room seem so cozy. We had baked spaghetti that night along with caesar salad & french bread. I had made chocolate cake for dessert (recipe from the back of the Hershey's cocoa box~yum!)

*Chris got up at 6:30 and stuck the turkey in the oven-then went back to bed! We watched the parade off & on throughout the morning and cooked. I'd wanted to eat around 12 so the rest of the day could be relaxing and we just about made the time. Pappy took the girls for a walk while we cooked. It was a beautiful day. Just cool, but not cold at all like the day before and it was very sunny.

*Our menu: turkey, dressing, cranberry salad, deviled eggs, rolls, green beans, harvest casserole, mashed potatoes, apple pie, pecan pie, mince pie, chocolate cake, fudge, cookies

*We lazed around the rest of the day, napped, spent some time outside, the men watched the Cowboys (Chris is a HUGE fan!), Mom & I played 'Phase 10.'

*Mom & I got up and left around 7:00 (not too early!) and went to a few stores. There was something at Target I needed to get that was on sale enough to warrant getting out with the crowds. We then went back home and picked up the rest of the family and headed to the mall. We did some shopping there then went downtown. We have a very cute, quaint downtown so it's always fun to shop there. We ate lunch at a little cafe then browsed. I don't think any of us actually bought anything down there but it's fun to look.

*Poor Katie was having some tummy issues so the 4 of us ended up going home a little earlier than the rest of the group.

*Gracie & Bigmother decorated some cookies that Bigmother had brought with her. Katie helped some too!

*That night, after eating leftovers for dinner, Chris & my dad drove about 70 miles to watch GAC play football. (You can see here that Katie has Pappy right where she wants him. He was feeding her! They both loved being with each other!) Mom & I and the girls put on our p.j.'s and stayed in. (My grandparents stayed in a hotel so they left pretty early each night to go there.) I made a birthday cake (red velvet) for my dad who will be "60" on Wednesday and the girls made cards and we wrapped a couple of presents. We watched "Monsters, Inc." and played some games with Gracie after Katie went to bed. We even taught Gracie how to play 'Phase 10' and she did pretty well for a 6 year old. Pretty soon though, she was made the scorekeeper while Mom & I continued to play for a little bit. It's not as much fun to play with only 2 people though.

*We all kind of slept in on Saturday. Chris & I (mostly Chris) made breakfast burritos for breakfast. They were good but nothing like when we lived in Uvalde! Man, those ladies in Uvalde could cook some breakfast burritos!!!!! YUM!

*Pappy opened up his gifts. They were nothing big, but just a little something to say "happy birthday." Gracie used one of her dollars to buy him something at the Dollar Tree and he showed her that he would like a magnifying glass set for when he reads his maps so that's what she got him. Chris & I got him a sweater vest.

*Chris started getting the Christmas wreaths out for the windows and blowing off the roof and raking, etc. The girls spent some time playing outside with some of the grandparents while I started getting the tree set up, etc. I have to admit to not being as excited as I usually am about decorating. I think it's because I know we're going to be gone for over 2 weeks during Christmas so I hate to spend too much time putting stuff out when no one will be here to look at it. I know, I know, I sound ooooollllllddddd!

*Chris & I had to make a run to the church building so I could get things to prepare for my Sunday School class. After that, we picked up some things for lunch & dinner and we all ended up at the park for lunch. As you can see, Gracie & Katie "attacked" Pappy while he tried to take a nap in the sun! Once again, it was a really pretty day.

*We made tacos for dinner and had Pappy's birthday cake. We got the girls bathed & picked out clothes for Sunday then Pappy, Grammer, Chris & I all played 'Phase 10.' Can you tell I love that game!?!? It was fun.

*We all went to church that morning. In the 1st/2nd grade class, our lesson was on 'Isaac & Ishmael.' We read the story then talked about how it was hard for Abraham to send away Ishmael because he loved him but he did it because God told him to and Abraham obeyed God because he loved Him. We talked about things the girls find it hard to obey but they know they need to do it because to obey their parents is to obey God. They chose one of their answers and illustrated it, along with illustrating a part of the story. I'm planning to make a portfolio of some sort of different things they've done in class, along with the memory verses they've learned and pictures I've taken. It's a work in progress (mainly in my mind at this point!) I need to spend some time there this week taking down the "fall" things and putting up "winter" things.

*Katie got to spend lots of time with her Pappy during church although she did take one little trip down the pew to see Grammer for just a quick visit before she wanted to go back to Pappy (definitely her favorite!)

*We had put a roast in the crockpot along with potatoes & carrots so we just had to throw together a salad and some rolls and we were ready to eat when we got home. Everyone got packed up, gave out hugs and they were on their way shortly after lunch. (You can see here that Gracie is in her "Sunday afternoon nap clothes"....bow, pantyhose & a t shirt! HA!) Of course, I need to mention that my grandmother can come live with me anytime because she is an absolute machine when it comes to washing dishes! I have never seen dishes get done so quickly in my life! She would wash, 2 or 3 of us would dry, then someone would put them up. It was great!

*I took an AWESOME nap (in my own bed rather than on the pull out couch!) then we headed back to church. We came home afterwards, ate some more leftovers and watched Amazing Race then a Hallmark movie.

We had a good time and now it's back to the real world. Chris went back to work. Gracie went back to school. I'm blogging and thinking about all the things I should be doing. It is my afternoon carpool day so I'll be getting dressed at some point today!

Time to start thinking of all the things we need to pack for our Christmas trip!

Sunday, November 26, 2006


So much to say; so many pictures to post. Here's one from the week: the girls waiting at the door for their grandparents & great-grandparents to arrive on Wednesday afternoon. I remember the feeling of anticipation I used to get as a child when it was almost time to see my grandparents! I'm glad my girls feel the same way.

I hope everyone had a great week!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Thanksgiving is coming! Well, we should give thanks everyday but the official "Thanksgiving Holiday" is coming! My parents & grandparents will be here tomorrow laden with food & ingredients to make more food. I just put together 'Baked Spaghetti' for tomorrow night. As soon as it cools, I'll place it in the fridge, next to the thawing turkey, where it will stay until time to stick it in the oven tomorrow. I have 'Pineapple Pumpkin Bread' in the oven right now that we'll use for our breakfasts. I will be attempting fudge later in the day and the list goes on. I'm thankful that Chris is off tomorrow so he can help me with "last minute" cleaning. In honor of this time of year, here are 5 things I'm thankful for today:

~God, for all that He has done for us, all that He does for us daily and all that He will continue to do for us. for His love!

~Jesus, for the same reasons as above. It sounds so small to say simply that but I guess it's hard to put into words all the reasons I'm thankful for them.

~Chris, for the love he shows me daily. I don't think one day ever passes that he doesn't tell me he loves, kisses me, and shows appreciation for what I do. He makes me want to be a better person.

~Gracie, for the sweet heart she has, for the way she "hungers & thirsts" to do the right thing and wants to please us & God. I'm thankful for how loud she sang out the other night when we stayed home from church Sunday night. She'd had a headache so I kept her in and she wanted to do "church" together. We got Chris' songbook that he keeps at home and sang some songs. She sang & sang & sang. I loved it! Her favorite is "Go Tell it on the Mountain."

~Katie, for her enthusiasm for life, for the way she makes us laugh and brings us such joy on a daily basis. I'm thankful for how many times a day she requests that we sing, "Jesus Loves Me" and "Jesus Chidren" (Jesus Loves the Little Children)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Why did Jesus get baptized?!?!?

So Gracie and I were having some Bible reading time today. I asked her if she wanted to read about the birth of baby Jesus. She opened it to Matthew and started reading the different subheadings (I think she thinks of those as different stories which I guess they kind of are.) She decided to read "Jesus and his family return to Nazareth" and "Jesus is baptized." Her deep question after reading these 2 stories:

Why did Jesus have to get baptized if he never did anything wrong?

I love that her question shows that she understands that Jesus was perfect. I love that she is beginning to understand baptism more & more.

After we discussed that question (and I hope I didn't mess up the answer too bad~I had Chris follow up on it later too), I said it was my turn. I went to Luke and was going to read about Jesus' birth. Gracie started saying something about the New Testament only talking about Jesus as a man. I was confused and said that no, it talks about him as a baby, a child and a man and explained that Jesus wasn't born until the New Testament.

She continued with her questioning, rather insistenly saying that Jesus couldn't be baptized before He was born. I was quite puzzled at this point and then finally realized what she was talking about! Since we had read about His baptism in Matthew and she knows that's the first book in the New Testament then we jumped to Luke to read about His birth which she knows comes after Matthew (thank you, Bible books caterpillar!) she didn't realize how this made sense.

I explained to her how the Gospels are different accounts of a lot of the same stories. After a little explanation I think she somewhat understood it. I said, "If you write a story about the birth of Jesus, and Leigh Ann writes a story about the same thing and Kira does too and we put it all in one book, that's what it is like. You might write about some details that Leigh Ann won't and Kira might write about some details that you won't etc."

I love her thinking & desire for comprehension & understanding when it comes to the Bible! I love that I have Chris to help me parent her & Katie. I only pray that we will do the job God wants us to do!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Daddy day at school!

Last Wednesday was Chris' Geography presentation at Gracie's school~He presented to all 7 1st grade classes in 2 different groups. He did a great job! His job is directly related to the geography field, so it was right up his alley to do a presentation for 'GIS day' during 'National Geography Week' (which I actually think is this week.) Unfortunately, due to Katie being sick, I didn't to go watch but in the words of Mrs. Stauffer.....

Chris......Your presentation was wonderful. The kids and teachers all loved it. I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. Please do not get rid of this presentation as I will be calling you next year to come in and do it again. Gracie might leave my room but I tend to keep using the parents. Again thanks for all your hard work and the great presentation.........Stauffer

I was very proud of him for doing this. It's a little out of his comfort zone to do things like this but I believe parental involvement~on the part of both parents~is so important when it comes to our children. I didn't even have to ask him to do this either. He volunteered the first day we met Mrs. Stauffer; I didn't know anything about it.
Here's a proud Gracie with her daddy!
Since I didn't get to go in to help on Wednesday (which is my usual day to go help) I went on Friday. It was Chris' Friday off, so it worked out for me to go in that day. I worked on reading with some of the kids and helping them take AR tests. I like being in the school environment and seeing what's going on. I'm VERY nosy so I have my eyes & ears open the whole time I'm there, just observing the different teachers and kids. Of course, I have to admit that I'm not sure I'm ready to go back to teaching full time. I enjoy being there but I also enjoy leaving after awhile.

I am reminded often why I try to encourage & support Mrs. Stauffer because a teacher's job is a tough one. Anyone who thinks they have an "easy" job because "after all, they get out at 2:15 and have summers off" probably hasn't ever been a teacher or even spent much time in a classroom. Their job doesn't stop when the bell rings. Teachers are to be admired & respected. Of course, some are better than others. That is true of any teacher in any school...public, private or homeschool. In general though, teachers are to be admired.

Also, I think all of my "regular" readers probably already know this, but just in case......please work with your children at home and don't expect the teacher to do it all. I know some people tend to think that any parent who puts their child in a public school (or private for that matter) is just "outsourcing" their parenthood and putting off their responsibility as a parent onto someone else. Unfortunately, that is true for some parents. However, it is not true for many.

I just encourage every parent to spend time teaching your child at home. Go over what they're learning at school but add to it as well. Don't expect the teacher to do it all and then when your child doesn't learn to read or something blame it on the teacher. It just floors me sometimes to see the lack of parental involvement with some children & their education.

This can be applied to Biblical knowledge as well. It is our responsibility as parents to make sure our children are learning about God & the Bible. True, it is great to be able to use resources such as Bible classes at church (or school if they go to a Christian school) to help our children learn about God but ultimately it is our responsiblity as parents to see that they are taught correctly. I'm not going to just send Gracie & Katie to Bible class twice a week and expect them to be taught everything about God without ever teaching them myself, so I'm not going to do the same thing with "regular" school.

Yes, we do send Gracie to public school, but it is our responsibility to make sure she's learning what she needs to as far as those academic subjects go. Yes, we use Mrs. Stauffer as a resource to help teach her those thing, but ultimately it is our responsibility to make sure she's learning everything she needs to know. If she gets to high school and can't get accepted to college because she doesn't know enough, that won't completely be the fault of the school. We should have known well before then that she wasn't getting what she needed. It is our job to make sure she's learning what she needs to know, add to it if needed, take away from it if needed and even make a change in how she receives her education if needed. It is our responsibility as parents!

If you're a homeschooler, then of course you have a very direct involvement with your child's education already. If you do send your child to school, be a support to that process. (If you don't support the process then why are you sending them to school in the first place???) Of course, this isn't to say that you can't try to change things if you think they need to be changed. Definitely we should be our child's advocate. If we feel that something being done~or not being done~needs to be changed, then it's our right & responsibility to respectfully try to change it. Thank your child's teacher, support your child's teacher, encourage your child's teacher. If you have a chance, offer to volunteer in your child's classroom. Offer to do projects for the teacher at home. Many times they need things done like tearing workbook pages out of workbooks, putting together spelling homework folders, cutting out things, making games. Things that might take you just an hour or two to do at home. Imagine how much they might appreciate that! Send in a treat to your child's teacher every now & then.....a loaf of bread you baked, a small candle, a Starbucks gift card. I remember how hard I worked as a teacher and a little "thank you" like that would have meant a lot! PRAY for your child's teacher. Pray with your child for their teacher.

Anyway, I didn't mean to get on my teacher soapbox. I'm not really sure where that came from, but I felt the need to write it!
We had a good weekend. As I mentioned, Friday afternoon I went to the school. Later that afternoon, I took some "stuff" over to a friend's house for a garage sale we were doing on Saturday. Then our family went to eat and shopped at a few stores. Just a casual Friday night together. One of my favorite kinds of nights!

Saturday, we were all up EARLY for the garage sale. We were at my friend's house by 6:45. Gracie stayed with me and played with her son while Katie had a "Daddy & Katie Boo day." He actually brought us back doughnuts & Starbucks before they went to get the oil changed, etc. I did okay on the garage sale. Any little bit helps these days. When we got home, I took a nap! Then we decided to spend some of the garage sale money and took the girls to the movies. It was fun!

Sunday was a good day at church although I was about ready to put Katie up for adoption afterwards. She was such a mess!!!!!!! "This too shall pass" right? right? right? We had another good class in 1st & 2nd grade. Our story was about Hagar and then about Sarah laughing when the angels told Abraham she would have a baby. We talked about how God asked if anything was too hard for Him...including helping her have a baby even when they were old. We also talked about how she lied about not laughing and God reprimanded her. I had them think about something that is hard for them to do and then talked about how nothing is too hard for God and He can help them with whatever is hard for them to do.

One little girl said she needed help with the monkey bars; one needed help playing football without falling down and one needed help not getting embarassed. It's so fun to listen to what they will come up with. We included these needs in our prayer journal.

Our Life Groups are over for the year and we will sign up for new ones in December. We all met together at the church building last night for church and had potluck afterwards. I LOVE potluck nights. I'm not sure why, but I just love eating together at church; it's fun.
Today I'm going to try to get the house cleaned up. I have a PTA Board meeting tonight for which I still need to type the minutes from the last meeting (last month!) I'm bad about putting that off! Tomorrow is a special day at school where the parents are invited to come participate in "hands-on activities." Mrs. Stauffer said they will rotate through 4 different classes doing different things. That should be fun!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Fall pictures

One of our friends took some "Fall" pictures of the girls on Saturday. As usual, I think he did a great job! Of course, I may be a bit biased seeing as how they are my girls. At first, I didn't like the ones of Gracie as much just because she looked so old and grown up. However, the more I look at them the more I like them! I do think I'll have her wear a bow or headband or something for Christmas pictures because I think that will add a bit of "little girl" back to her look, without making her look too little. She has entered the phase of not wanting to wear bows as often. *sigh* She is growing up!

I have already "hired" our friend to take their Christmas pictures. I can't wait to have them done. Of course, I have to find something for them to wear first!
Today has not turned into the day I was expecting it to be. With it being election day, Gracie didn't have school. When I was teaching, we just had to keep the kids quiet while walking around campus, but apparently now the schools are closed, which is fine with me. We were planning to attend a "playgroup reunion" of sorts. With Gracie being in school, along with some of the other older children who used to attend all the time, one of my friends thought it would be fun to get together to play like we used to. I thought it was a great idea. Chris had a meeting at church tonight but I was planning to take Gracie to Hunter's house and Mary Beth and Katie & I were going to head to a local Christmas craft etc. show.

When Katie started throwing up last night around 2:30 a.m., I knew these plans were altered. Needless to say, today turned into pretty much a "pajama day." Katie only threw up twice during the night but has kept fever pretty much all day except for the few hours surrounding Motrin. Tonight when I gave her Motrin I'm not even sure it has helped. She has basically laid on me for the last couple of hours. Now that Chris is home from his meeting, he is taking a turn. (If he hadn't had his meeting, he would have stayed with the girls while I went to the craft show.) Her little eyes just look so droopy & sick. She had times during the day when she & Gracie played and she seemed to feel fine but now that the nighttime has come, the fever & lethargy are back.

Tomorrow's plans are changed as well. Not only is tomorrow her day to go to MDO and me to go help in Gracie's class, but Chris is going up to the school to make a geography presentation to all of the 1st grade classes as well. Mary Beth was going to watch Katie for me so I could go help him set up and watch him do his presentation. I was really looking forward to it! I was then going to get Katie and take her to MDO and go back to the school for my regularly scheduled time to be there. Needless to say, I won't be doing any of that. MB said she would still watch Katie, and that's very sweet, but I think I'll probably just keep her at home and take advantage of getting to laze around another day. I'm really anxious to see how Chris does with his presentation to all the 1st grade classes and am so proud of him for volunteering to do this. I know Gracie will be beaming to see her daddy "teaching" at school!

Since I knew Gracie would be disappointed about not going to playgroup (which I actually think she forgot about it~*whew*) or going to her friend's house tonight, I let them make a fort using the couch cushions. I'm usually much more uptight about them doing that but I pretty much let them play however they wanted to this morning. I'm sure you can tell by the pictures that pajama day means pajama day hair as well! Can you believe how crazy Katie's is?!?! Gracie & I also played "Hi Ho Cherry-O" (while trying to keep Katie from stealing all the cherries) and they watched part of "Annie." I am so proud of having passed along my love for all things "Annie" to Gracie and Katie is quickly catching on. We were singing "Tomorrow" this morning and Katie (during one of her "up" times) was singing loudly, "....a day awaaaaaay!" We all 3 took naps this afternoon. It was a good day for it.
The ladies day was good. As soon as I walked in the door, I saw Mary, a girl who used to live here in who has since moved. It was soooo good to see someone I could hang out with all day. By the end of the day, the lady she had come with just about acted like we'd known each other forever which was so nice! Of course, I had to pay $50 to go to this ladies day. What?!?! I thought it was free! Oh wait! The ladies day was free. The $50 went to the locksmith who had to get my van open so I could retrieve my keys, purse, cell phone & Bible that were laying on the front seat!

That's right. I locked my keys in the van! I have never done that before. I was trying to rush because I wanted to follow the lady who had parked next to me so I'd know where to go in. (I was nervous because I was going by myself.) I laid everything on the driver's seat and stepped out and turned around to put on my coat. The door closed. Aaaaggghhh! Well, suffice it to say, I got to know the lady who'd parked next to me. She was very nice and got me a phone book and checked to make sure everything turned out okay. I could have called Chris but he was 45 minutes away with the girls~and I had the carseats! Oh well.............

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Pineapple Pumpkin Bread

Today marks 3 years since Maw Maw died. Of course, I had to hear "I Can Only Imagine" on the radio this afternoon. I do imagine her up in Heaven and wish she could send me a letter letting me know how wonderful it is. I seem to think of her pretty much everyday and lately have been even more so. I have a watch of hers that she gave me before she died. I don't wear it that often but I did today just to remember her more throughout the day. I also have a necklace that I wore that has on it a small diamond set in some gold. The diamond was from her engagement ring. At some point she had it taken it out of her ring and set for a necklace and I was able to have this after she died. I wear it often along with a heart that has a small diamond in it that was a gift from Chris when we got married.

I think of her house and can so vividly picture things like her carpet and furniture and dishes, etc. Funny how I don't really think of the apartment she lived in from 1995-2003. She had a stroke in '94 and was truly never the same to me. I guess I remember the "pre stroke" Maw Maw the most since she is the one in the happiest memories. We still had happy times after '94 but I think I missed the house so much and associate that with the stroke since she never went back to live in it after the stroke.

I miss her.
On a happier note: the girls "helped" Chris carve a pumpkin this week. Gracie wasn't too sure about sticking her hand in to get out the gunk but Katie didn't have too much of an issue with it. The girls had a good time decorating it with their "artwork." Gracie was disappointed because she apparently thought Chris was going to carve out everything they drew. Unfortunately for her, he stuck with the traditional jack-o-lantern face.

We took the girls trick-or-treating to a few houses down the street and then they sat on the porch handing out candy to other kids. They both took their job quite seriously. It was funny. Once dinner was ready we retired from the Halloween experience and turned out the porchlight. We had a couple of doorbell rings after that time but not too many.

I felt kind of bad because we met some of our neighbors last night for the first time and we've lived in this house for 4 1/2 years! I felt kind of ashamed. Of course, it's not like they'd come to introduce themselves to us either but we should have been more proactive in meeting them. One of them had just moved in about a month ago because the older man living in the house had passed away. I didn't even know that! I have a new resolve to be better about knowing who they are.
I made some 'Pineapple Pumpkin Bread' yesterday from 'Cooking with Paula Deen.' It was really good! Here is the recipe if you'd like to try it:

Pineapple Pumpkin Bread
Makes 2 loaves

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 16 oz. can pumpkin
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 (9x5 inch) loaf pans.
In a large bowl, combine flour and next 7 ingredients. Add eggs and oil; beat well. Stir in pumpkin, pineapple and pecans,
Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean.

I kept some for us and sent some to Mrs. Stauffer. I like to send a little goodie to her from time to time. I try to show appreciation since I know how hard she works! I will be making this again; I really liked it!