Saturday, July 31, 2010

Who knew a little earplug could be so much fun!

Chloe's favorite toy is an earplug.  I captured a little video of her playing with it.  For some reason her playtime was short lived, though.  But then again, I have to remember that Chloe considers herself a princess and therefore spends most of her time on her throne...aka - pillows and/or blankets!

Friday, July 30, 2010

A schedule that keeps me cleaing!

Cleaning - yuck!  There is only a few times that I'm really in the mood to clean.  I hate to admit this, but I was really only deep cleaning my house about once a month.  And then, because I had waited so long, it took forever!  (Just so you don't think I live in utter filth, I did some light cleaning in between.)  I only felt good about myself as a housekeeper the week of and after I'd deep cleaned.  And so the cycle continued from month to month until my sister Tina introduced me to her idea of zone cleaning.  The perks?  Something in your house is always really, really clean.  You can feel like you've accomplished something every week without spending hours to get it done.  Here's what my zone cleaning schedule looks like:

Week 1 - clean bathrooms and entryway
Week 2 - clean living room
Week 3 - clean kitchen
Week 4 - clean bedrooms

When it's time to clean a particular zone, you really clean it, spending most of your time there.  Dust the fan, clean the blinds, the whole nine yards!  But, that's really the extent of it for the week.  All you have to do is wipe down the bathrooms and run the vacuum and swiffer everywhere else, depending on what you just cleaned.  It ends up only taking an hour. It's not only do-able, but I also can feel good about myself because some part of my house is always really clean.  I no longer have to pick up and/or attempt to lightly clean before people come over.  It's wonderful!!

If you're disgruntled with your cleaning schedule, try this out.  It may work for you as well as it does for me!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A friendly game of bowling

A person can only take so much swimming.  We wanted to spend some time with the kiddos, something fun for them, something cool for us, so we decided to go bowling!  I'm so thankful for Lighthouse Lanes, a smoke free, Christian environment!  We had some buy one, get one coupons, so we loved it even more!!

Look at those brightly colored shoes!  Those precious, little feet won't be little for long!  Just look at Chase's.  Yes, his foot is that enormous one on the right!

The plan was for a friendly game of bowling.  Really?  We should have known better than that!  We put all the little ones (Garrett, Jacob, Ethan, and Abby) on one lane with bumpers and the rest of us (Mom, Tina, Me, Tonya, and Chase) on the other.  There may or may not have been so melt downs about gutter balls or balls that didn't knock down but one pin.  There may or may not have been some trash talking and some pushing.  But, by the second game, everyone was focused on just improving on their previous score.  Garrett won the first game with a score of 112!  (I think I had my personal best - 104.)  Game 2 was won by Mom - sorry Mom, I've forgotten your score, but I know it was well over 100!  More importantly than who won is the fact that a memory was made! 
 See what I mean?  Everything's a competition!!

I love these guys and will miss them terribly when school starts again!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tea Bar & Bites

Kelly and I made plans to go to lunch last week.  I haven't seen her nearly as much as I would have liked to this summer, but that's all about to change as we'll go back to seeing one another everyday!  (Seriously, I think I've seen her a total of five different times all summer!)  Anyway, I can always count on Kelly to make my life more interesting and spontaneous.  We were going to enjoy lunch at D'Arpinos, our favorite Italian restaurant, but at the last minute Kelly suggested a tea room, Tea Bar & Bites.  I had never been nor even heard of this place, but was willing to try something new.  (Can't tell you how many new things "Kels" has introduced me to!) 
As I read the daily specials (listed on the chalkboard you see above) a panic began to rise up within me.  I thought, "I can't eat this stuff!  It's all earthy with healthy.  What am I going to do?"  I told myself there had to be something I would like, so I didn't share my concerns with Kelly.  Didn't want to rain on her parade.  :)   It was packed inside, so once again I told myself that it couldn't be that bad.  Luckily, we arrived at just the right time.  The people who came in shortly after us had to eat outside!  We decided to order something different and then share with each other.  Here's what we ordered:

Kelly - Asian Chicken Wrap (chicken breast, asparagus, red pepper, greens, topped with the house peanut sauce in a spinach tortilla) 

Me - Turkey-Gouda Panini (turkey breast, smoked gouda cheese, artichoke hearts, and house pesto-mayo on grilled tuscan bread)

I was shocked to realize that I really enjoyed the Asian Chicken Wrap.  I know, shocking!!  It was really good!  Kelly and I decided it just tasted light and healthy and was flavorful.  But, I have to tell you, the Turkey-Gouda Panini was just gourmet food at it's best.  YUMMY!  It was the favored dish for us both. 

We decided to splurge and order two desserts to split.  Kelly ordered a Trail-Mix cookie.  (Again I was questioning whether this would be something I would like, but  I was surprised once again.  It was delicious!  It was just the right amount of sweetness - not too much, not too little.  I ordered the Coconut cupcake.  Oooh, this was a little piece of heaven!!!  Seriously, one of the best desserts ever!!! 
Kelly, thanks for suggesting this place!  I really ended up loving it!!  And having some time to visit with you always adds to the pleasure of any event!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Fun

family get togethers (and homemade ice cream!)
catching up with friends
What's your favorite part about summer?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Work Day

I recently set a day aside to get some work done for school.  It's amazing how clearly you can think when you're not tired or overworked.  I got so much done in just one day! 
I spent the last few days of June at a workshop in West Plains.  I got so, so many wonderful ideas!!  And, even though we sat on bleachers in a middle school gym, he (Chris Biffle) had my attention the entire time.  I have so much respect for him.  He offers everything, all his resources, for FREE because he wants to help as many kids as possible.  Wow!  Someone who's not after the all mighty dollar.  I can get behind that! 

Seriously, if are a teacher you have to check out his website here.  I love the Superspeed Reading and Math.  If you are a parent of elementary students, it would be worth your time to check these out.  They are great tools for memorization in a quick, fun way!!

Check this out:
You are looking at lesson plans for the first week of school !!!  Yes, finished in June!!!  I'm so excited at how much time this is going to save me when I go back to school.  Those first few days are filled with meetings and classroom set up.  It's always hard to find the time to plan.  This year there will be no need!!  I'm so glad I thought of doing it early.  This is something I'll probably always do from now on.

I'm sure you've noticed that Walmart has their school supplies out.  That always causes such mixed emotions for me.  I love, love school supplies...the smell, the sharpness of the crayons, the three ring binders and all their new, cool designs.  But, it's also a reminder that school is just around the corner.  Can it really be almost time to start another year?  While that certainly doesn't feel possible, I do find my thoughts going there quite often.  Thankfully, I still have 4 weeks off.  There's no doubt in my mind that I'll be ready to go back when it's time.  Until then, there's plenty of summer fun to be had!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ahh, much better!

Gotta love Pier 1!

Friday, July 9, 2010

A World Famous Sandwich

The love affair began in the Rocky Mountains.  We had been out riding all day.  When we got back to camp, we were exhausted and starving.  My Papa whipped us up some tuna salad sandwiches.  Sitting on top of that mountain with the gentle breeze blowing, there was nothing that could have hit the spot any better!  I'm not normally a fan of tuna, but these sandwiches are the absolute best!  Tina and Tonya have heard me rant and rave about Papa's tuna salad sandwich ever since then.  This week he called and said he wanted to fix some for us.  What a treat!  We had sandwiches, potato salad, chips, fruit salad, ice cream sundaes, and lively conversation; a perfect afternoon!
I remember getting in trouble for rolling around on this footstool when I was a little girl.  I wonder what it is about it that makes it so irresistible.
Papa taught them how to be wheelbarrows.  They loved it!
Thanks, Papa and Grandma, for having us over!  It was a special memory we'll always treasure!

Monday, July 5, 2010

I Love America 2010

We have been praying for today for the past several weeks.  Praying for souls, that God would prepare people's heart for the Gospel.  Praying for the weather, more specifically for 82 degrees with a slight wind and no rain.  We called, God answered.  He answered in a BIG way.  First of all, the high for today was 85 degrees.  It rained in Ozark, but was dry at the site.  There was a breeze that kept things cool, enough so that blankets were needed during the fireworks!  Most importantly, hundreds (that's right, HUNDREDS) came forward!  Pastor John sent out a tweet that said, "I have never seen anything like it at ILA.  Hundreds have come forward to receive Christ as Savior!  Heaven rejoices!"  What an incredible sight to behold!!

We arrived around 1:30 and picked out a spot and set up "camp".  The boys had to play a little football.
The weather was so beautiful!  Abby felt it was a little on the cool side.
When we were finished, we took the kids around to check things out.  We started over in the military area.  Check out those tires!
We knew this was something Abby and Garrett couldn't hurt, an armored truck!

Black Hawk - I'd be scared if I saw this group coming!
10 push-ups = free football or t-shirt.  They did it, too!
At 4:00 Mom and Dad and I headed over to the funnel cakes.  This is where we spent the next three hours volunteering.  It was CRAZY!  Keep in mind it was the ONLY place that sold funnel cakes.  There was always a line!!  You could hardly ever get ahead.  Mom and Dad put powered sugar on the cakes and handed them out.  My job?  Well, I was at the fryer.  While I turned a few, my main job was to get them on the plate and out to Mom or Dad.  The floor was slick as snot and there was 6 other people surrounding me, dripping hot grease on my hands and sometimes legs.  At the end of the three hours, I could barely open my hand to let go of the tongs.  It was hard work!  I so wish I had gotten a picture of my dad.  He had powdered sugar ALL OVER HIM!  His jean shorts were white!  White I tell ya.  He had it in his watch, his eyebrows, name it, sugar covered it!  I came home and showered immediately, but I still smell like grease!!  It was hard work, but I had a great time serving with others!

When I got back to our spot, I ran into Aimee!!  We met when we were taking our Masters classes.  She teaches first grade at Century.  I don't get to see or talk to her much, but I love this girl!  She's absolutely amazing!!  She's not only a fabulous teacher, she's also a Godly woman.  It's always such a treat to see her!

Dinner time!

The message was life changing!  It was such a blessing to watch God move in such a mighty way!  There were so many people coming forward, they had to ask for more volunteers to come and pray.  HE exceeded even great expectations!

I have to be honest and tell you that while I was excited about seeing what God would do at I Love America, I didn't exactly look forward to going.  I've been somewhat of a Negative Nelly lately and just didn't feel like bumping shoulders with over 100,000 people.  I really spent some time praying about my attitude this morning.  When I got there, I felt differently as soon as I stepped foot on the site.  Knowing how we had prayed, I had no doubt it was God's presence.  The entire day was so much fun!  Even with thousands and thousands of people, you didn't feel squished together.  Everything and everyone was so spread out.  I truly enjoyed every single part of the day!!  Thank you, Lord, for answering prayer and for meeting us at the Springfield Underground!