Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A House Divided

patriots vs. giants

I had to post this morning, real quick.
I'm still torn about last nights game. While I am so thrilled that the Pats are in the history books - perfect season- great job! I am also sad because of my dear NY Giants. To be honest I wasn't even sure who I was going to cheer for last night, until kickoff!
Here's the background: I grew up a NY Giants fan. My dad was a Giants fan and my great-grandfather was a Yankees fan, so my love for NY teams started before I even knew what was going on. In middle and high school my dad and I didn't miss a Giants game, we always tracked the Pats because my oldest brother was a crazy, go to Foxboro paint letters on his chest in freezing cold weather Patriots fan!

But the Giants were my team.

I had the shorts and the shirts and the jacket and the posters, then in 1993 something happened. While at a high school cheering competition the NE Patriettes, the Pats cheerleaders, came and performed and spoke about trying out for the team. In May of that year a friend of mine and I traveled down to the practice fields where we tried out for the squad.
It went something like this:
We got there early, I mean early; so early I was contestant #1 and she #2. We checked in along with 350 other girls from all around New England. We were taught a dance routine by going over it 3 times then practicing it 3 times as a group. The it was contestants #1-3 on the stage to perform it.
Then the first cut was made. They cut us down from 350 to 175 girls. Both my girlfriend and I made the cut!
Then we were taught another dance and this time went over it even less than before; again I took the stage and performed. The next cut came from 175 girls to 75 - I made the cut, my friend did not. I then made and interview appointment with the coach and traveled back down a week later for that interview. It was at that time while walking down the hall to the bathrooms that I saw Bill Parcells and I realized how torn my heart was. Bill Parcells had been the Giants coach for oh so many years and I learned to view this guy as the greatest coach of the greatest team- now both he and I had to make a change to become Patriots fans, a feat I'm sure was easier for him as he had a healthy paycheck. Anyway, after the interview my mom and I travelled back down 2 weeks later to try out again, this time along with the returning Patrietts. I was contestant #12 and this time in groups of 2 we hit the stage, it was me and a 6 year veteran. The judges consisted of dance experts and players. Hey I thought thee was no fraternizing?

Anyway that day the team was formed and I did not make the cut. In a follow-up interview I was told that being 18 years old I would have made it difficult for scheduling purposes because I couldn't do beer promotions- and those girls did a lot of beer promoting.
So as you can see when I sat down to watch the game last night my heart was torn.

Then, it happened.

To be quite honest I saw the NY uniform and my heart went pitter-patter - Go Giants I yelled! And then I had never seen my own flesh and blood turn so quick on me.

The sofa we were all sitting on vacated quickly and was named the Giants loser sofa, I got booed and when I got up to get a drink I returned to a sofa that had been vandalized. That is the cushions were all on the floor. Nice family I have, huh? They even made all the animals sit on their sofa with them.

I pulled out my old NY jacket and settled in for a late night of yelling and until the 4th quarter happy because a victory I thought we'd have.

Then, and if you watched the game, my beloved men in their ever so nice to look at tight pants, began to unravel. Two plays back to back in the 4th quarter brought out my ever so popular Cuda yelling voice, shouting out tips and plays to the coach and players until we eventually lost 38-35. Good game boys and when I leave the house, call me a traitor or whatever you want to call me, but I'll be happy to be a Yankee and a Pats fan.

Hey I'm in enemy Dolphin territory, a girls gotta do, what a girls gotta do.

NY Giants

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

So to solve the Lego dilema, we'll have to resort to this box of 701 Lego pieces!

They asked for 2, but will most likely get one.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Mars and the Moon

This is so cool. Mars and the moon.
December 23, 2007.
We first noticed this while at the Living Nativity and debated whether it was Mars of Saturn, as you can easily see - it's Mars.
So cool!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Busy in the Kitchen

Wanted to give a photo update on my day of baking.

I'll actually start with the dinner I made. This is a great and easy thing to eat at home or take to a holiday party.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
10-12 oz grape jelly
1 jar chili sauce
1 package Armour brand frozen meatballs (or make your own)

Mix grape jelly and chili sauce
add meatballs
serve over rice or eat as an appetizer
Here's a picture, yum!

Now onto cookies. Since I made three different types I first layed out all my ingredients. I use a cookbook from when I was a kid. I made 3 types.

The first was ribbon cookies. After making the dough, you separate it and add food coloring for any color you want. I chose red, green and white. You layer the dough in a bread pan, or Rubbermaid container if you don't own a bread pan, and let it harden in the freezer for... however long the recipe says or you can do like me and leave it in there until you think it's ready. *smile* Here's the dough in the pan:

Next you take the hardened dough and slice it, then bake it. Currently these are still in the freezer. Another yummy treat!

I also made brownies. The easiest bake of the day because it's from a box! BOGO at Publix this week! Today I made the chocolate, turtle brownie!

Lastly, and my personal favorite, are the cyclops cookies! Here's the balls of dough ready for the oven!

And the final product.

Cold Hands
Warm Heart


#4105 Where Have You Gone?

So we went last night to finalize our Christmas shopping, mainly to get Legos, and I must say I was greatly disappointed. Wal-mart, Target and Toys R Us had a sorry, sorry selection of Legos. So sorry that told Steve I may not purchase my legos at these stores anymore, yes I often speak out of sheer emotion with no consideration of my wallet.

Yes, they had cool kits. The Police Station, the boat, but it was a specific red box of Lego bricks we were looking for. The one that's $9.97 and has 487 pieces, you know item #4105!!!! When I spoke these words to the Toys R Us guy he looked at me like I was a very strange, way to old for Legos crazy lady - oh how glad I am that I travel with a rather large husband, who I'm sure scares people away from calling security on me.

No where in our shopping area did I find this red box of Legos, and upon looking on the website Lego is to blame - I'm not sure they carry it anymore. So the boys will for the first time in 14 years will be getting a Lego gift certificate; which to all you Lego fans out there is probably the best Lego gift they could receive because of the following that is offered at the Lego store in Orlando. It's the fill your cup for $12.99 deal. This allows them to get just the pieces they need.

Nevertheless, I'm ticked that not only did I have to visit 2 Targets, 2 Wal-mart's, but that I had to subject myself to K-B toys, where they tried to sell me mega blocks claiming they're "just as good as Legos"- what? who are you and why haven't the Lego police arrested you yet?

So under the tree will sit these two Lego products, this one simply because I like the skeleton horse, and this one because I like the alien and the boys could always use ship building pieces.

I apologise for the content of this, afterall this season has nothing to do with the size of our Lego collection and everything to do with Jesus, it's just that the red box of Legos is such a staple around here and I'm still upset!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Our Week in A Nutshell

Wow! It's been a busy week.
Sunday was Steve's birthday, 32 years old! We went to see I Am Legend with friends and then came back to our place for pizza, cake and ice cream while hanging out around our new fire pit!

Monday brought work and our first day off from homeschool! I had my office Christmas party and gift exchange, luckily I came out with some homemade goodies!

Tuesday began with the norm and the high schoolers had their weekly meeting and Christmas party. Branden and I went but I had to slip out early because it was our Boy Scout Christmas party as well. I took the chocolate covered saltines and they were a big hit! Steve and I snuck in an hour and a half of out first Christmas shopping of the year! We got just about everything.

Wednesday was out last night of Wired, middle school youth, before the holiday break and the kids were off the wall. My group of 4 girls has grown quickly to 10 and they were all over the place. The game this week was a little bit of one on one competition, I hope to post the video below. Good times we have with 80 middle schoolers each Wednesday night!

Thursday, sweet Thursday, was my day off... and both boys went to a friends! Steve and I used the time to return to Target, where I had been overcharged 2 days before and we ventured into Super Wal-mart.

Side note. I had not been to Super Wal-mart in , well I don't know how long- maybe close to a year, and I would be happy if I never had to visit that place again! I know some of you just love this place but I can't stand it! All the people, all the stuff... I tried to make sense of the food area but finally just left - no thank you I'll stick to my local "regular" Wal-mart and Publix.

Thursday night we had out Lifeguard Christmas party. Lifeguards are the youth leaders in our youth ministry here at church. I first raided my mothers house and then ever so nicely transferred all her neat decor to our food table. We played some fun games and when I opened my gift in our exchange I was thrilled, really I was, to find it was a candy bar and toilet paper! Practical, right up my alley!

So it's Friday and the Christmas parties are over. All that's left is some gift sewing, cookie baking, and our family Christmas Eve at Yiayia and Papou's. I can smell the Greek food now!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's A Swamp Thing

So I made the chocolate covered Saltines, I posted the Ritz version below. They were so good that they didn't survive the afternoon; of course the 4 boys that were over had a little something to do with that!

Today, I was out sitting by the swamp and I took some pictures to help remind us of what our swamp looks like. It's changed a lot since we moved in. It's been full to the rim, low, mucky and dry. It started with a nice canopy covering it until a tornado went through in 2004.

So here are a few pictures I snapped.

The dead trees, twisted and broken from the tornado.

A little on this one. Winter in Forida can be missed if one isn't paying attention. It's always green here, I took this for granted as a Yankee kid visiting each year. Upon moving here I was just thrilled that I could grow plants, inside or outside here in Florida! Now, I am paying closer attention and this place is full of dry, dead plant life in the winter.

The deadness of winter in Florida.

The big, dead tree, top left, near the boys fort.

More of the swamp.

Well, off to baking cookies, more chocolate saltines and a cake for Steve's b-day!
Yikes, I better be careful what I snack on!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In An Attempt of a Healthier Diet

...I'm making these on Thursday!


1 inch sq. paraffin wax
1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips
Ritz crackers
Peanut butter

Spread peanut butter on Ritz crackers.
Melt the square of wax in a double boiler.
Add chocolate chips and melt until cream.
Drop crackers, peanut butter side down, into chocolate.
Use a fork to turn cracker over and slide it up the side of the pan to let extra chocolate run off.
Lay on wax paper and put in a cool place to harden. Store in cool dry place.

...and I'll mopping my floors!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

...and I've started another Daily Practice!

Two days into jogging and I'm enjoying it! And..... I'm actually jogging. I'm not much on exercise, but with the new job and the kids getting older I find my normal, if you can call it that, lifestyle has been more sedimentary. So each morning Fluff and I get up and head out, he hasn't learned the word jog yet he still heads to the van for a ride! He'll get it soon enough.

I weighed myself the other day and it wasn't pretty - I weigh 20 pounds more than when my youngest was 3 months old and 10 pounds less than my max pregnancy weight!

This week I've introduced jogging and a small amount of weightlifting; next week I hope to add squats and sit-ups; then jumping rope and push-ups.

I've also cut sweets out of my diet and since Steve gets grapefruit from one of his customers I've been eating lots of grapefruit - yum. I think with my family history and adding exercise and cutting out sweets, I ate 6 cookies the other day, I should drop some weight pretty quickly; then again the last time I did this I was only 21, and I'm just not 21 anymore??


Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Music

It's been an exciting morning already. At least I've gotten a bunch done. Don't you love those days! Praise God I have the opportunity to get 'er done this morn!

For your Christmas listening pleasure, I'd like to recommend these Christmas albums.
Regis Philbin : Christmas Album; this has one of my favorites Marshmallow World
Bare Naked Ladies : Barenaked for the Holidays album, here for the song list- our favorite family favorite is Green Christmas, so true living in Florida!
Reliant K Let it Snow Baby... Let it Reindeer album - my boys favorite!

I hope you get a chance to play Christmas cheer in your home as we all prepare for the celebration our Savior's birth; you too may one day get to hear from your child,
"Darnit mom, I can't get the Regis Christmas album out of my head!"
to which your husband will respond,
"I know, me too, what song you do have stuck in your head?"
Happy Day!

Meal Plan Monday

Pizza and movie night with family- watching Planet of the Apes

Chicken Pot Pie

Pot Roast

Beef Stroganof

Cajun Stir-fry, date night, boys with Mimi

Leftovers/ grocery shop

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Day 15

Today I am cleaning out the most neglected room in my house: what I call my Florida basement, THE GARAGE!

Our garage is the kids playroom, or better their LegoLand.
I'll update later!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sunday Linkage

Hadn't heard this in awhile. song on youtube

Idea copied right from Rocks in My Dryer

Oh Well, 'Den

So the brakes go in one car and we break a key off in the other. I have my job and other taxi jobs for the kids, hubs runs a paper route; living without a car is hard around here.

We double duty the van knowing the brakes are on their last leg; I sit at work while Steve runs the kids here and there, we arrive early, pick up late and juggle our 2 car life with only one. Then the kids clothes rip and tear so that they each have one pair of pants left that don't have holes in the knees adn well getting to teh store is near impossible.

When life gets crazy like this, as it often does for us, I think of one of Steve's students from back in the day. Mitch was a gentle soul who's simple words ring in my head when bumps in the road of life arrive.

"Oh, well 'den."

Mitch was a "troubled" kid. He sat in the classroom with a dozen other kids who for one reason or another couldn't sit in a "regular" classroom. Most had been labeled as 1st and 2nd graders and I think they just learned to do what they wanted and the system would push them through. Anyway it was on a day when Steve gave Mitch a choice. Either sit down and do his work or go to the office. "oh, well 'den." Mitch said as he got up and calmly walked to the office.

Mitch had accepted his fate. Granted he had a choice and often life's situations are not what we'd choose, but Mitch accepted that he would have to make the long trek to the office and move on.

"Oh, well 'den." I find myself saying this when things don't go as I'd like. Fussing and worrying does me no good.
So what if the house is decorated for Christmas but not clean.
So what is both cars go down at one time.
So what if the kids wear clothes with holes for a few more days.

"Oh well, 'den."
God's got a plan bigger and better than mine and when a bump comes my way I need to accept it, pray and ask how this situation can be used for His glory- and move on.

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
Phillipians 3:13-15

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Day 12, My Day Off

Thursday, sweet Thursdays. I can sleep in, and well, that's about it.

Steve's hitting the books today, with a 12 page paper due on Saturday it's about time he did this; and I'll school the boys before cleaning the ever messy, cluttery house sitting out by our new fire pit reading something.

Making an attempt to be intentional in all I do. Intentionally putting others first, intentionally looking for opportunities to be Jesus to people. I'm also hoping and praying to run into a few of my old friends, Holly and Mickey; and the wisdom of what to say when I do finally see them.

Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Colossians 4:4-6

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Day 11, Truth Cards

It's been awhile since I pulled them out. My truth cards.
Small notecards with Bible verses written on them.
When the boys were little I carried these cards around with me as faithful as their diapers. I'd pull them out and refer to them in the grocery store, in the library and any other place where I wanted to scream or just didn't know what to do. They offered me comfort and strength.
Today I've pulled them out to help me get through.

Not that things are incredibly bad, it's just the persevering thing. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes not. Currently running off to an island and giving up appeals to me more than anything.
But I've tried that, running away - it doesn't work. My problems and issues follow me everywhere, because you see: I follow me everywhere; and my nature is not one of obeying and self-sacrifice. Realistically it's the rebelling against self-sacrifice that is fueling my desire to give up.
So I've pulled my cards out again. Funny how when I drift from certain practices life gets crazy, for instance my cards. It's no wonder I'm beginning to believe the lies I hear, I'm not yoking myself with the Word of God regularly enough to combat the lies with truth. Jesus has said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Something interesting as I did a word study on persevere, there are no results for that word in my concordance; actually there is one for the word perseverance, found in Eph. 6:18.
Instead it's words like "need of patience" and "endureth".

Patience according to Webster:
1: bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
2: manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
3: not hasty or impetuous
4: steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity
5: able or willing to bear

Endure according to Webster:
1 : to continue in the same state
2 : to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding

Patience. This one stands out to me this morning because I can see how my frustration with pressing on and persevering stems from a lack of patience. "Able or willing to bear", am I able? with God, yes; am I willing? not always - that's a choice I must make each day, each hour, each minute.

Endure. Continue in the same state. Too often it's a change of state that I think will make things better, smoother. God's instructed me to endure just how things are; afterall He's written about each of my days, who am I to try so hard to change that.

So here's what I've pulled out and will carry and refer to in the coming days/weeks.

Hebrews 10:36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
James 5:11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
Psalm 119:27-28 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds. My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

And please, if you know me personally feel free to ask me how my walk is going. I can always use the accountability.
Cold Hands
Warm Heart

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Day Something?, Working Through It

Today was one of those days.
I just wanted to crawl back into bed the moment I got out of it.
I wanted to quit my life, check out and sit on some island somewhere where nobody knows my name.
I managed 'til 11:30, then I crashed for a 2.5 hour nap.

So anyway my life's purpose is floating around in my head.
I get frustrated with the distractions that surround me and pull me toward them and away from serving God.
Basically if Satan can keep me focused on myself and my life then I'm no good for the Kingdom, in fact I tend to represent Christ in a poor manner; like today.

Yuck. I though my now life would be easier, ya know the frustrations and bumps would go away. While today I sneaked away I awoke to the reality that stopping, quitting, running away, none are options. Persevere. Press on. Words I'm not crazy about; afterall I like a smooth ride. Persevere and press on carry with them a sense of work with a little pain mixed in.

So I choose to focus on the truth of God's Word to help me through.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Day 9, Doin' Fine - Sunday Linkage

copied from Rocks in My Dryer

This is all I got this week. Check Shannon for more.

Maps of War

Evangelism Linebacker

Great Pics

A Passionate Pursuit of God (From Pastor Ron at

Love this vintage dress

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Day 8 - Think on This and 2 World Series Trophies

"Boredom is self, stuffed with the self. "
Walker Percy

After you've thought on that one, read on.

Today's the big birthday party and I spent my morning overseeing parking with the Boy Scouts for our town's Annual Christmas Tour of Homes. Vaughan and I were assigned Jack Billingham's home. Pretty cool! It was neat to visit with Jack and his wife, Jolene on their front porch, I speak as if we're best friends;but I will say they are some of the nicest people I've ever met.

One of the things about living here in Florida is the amount of athletes that live here. Larry Csonka lives2 towns away and we've seen him at the local Dustin's a few times, then there's the annual football game against Ken Griffey Jr's son.

Back to today -what impressed me most about the Billingham home was it's simplicity. Really not an extravagant home, but a really extraordinary and unique one; color inspired by the family's dishes, which for the record are the same as mine and a real practical layout. The living, dinning and kitchen we all open with no formal living or dinning in the whole house. The children's loft room was the only room upstairs with a bathroom and med size walk-in closet as a toy storage and play area. The laundry room was off the kitchen and was a sort of butler's pantry as well, very "normal" in size. The master bedroom was not any larger than my own, but the shower rocked! It was large and had plants in it as well as a center hanging rain shower head. The guest room was average size, or smaller compared to some new homes, and there was no pool. Jack's study was as big or small as my own seing room and was the highlight of the house. One wall was lined with old ball photos of him, his family and newpaper articles. Pete Rose and Johhny Bench were the 2 that stood out to me. The neatest bit of info I learned was related to 2 canvas' that were hand-painted. They each had a simple Christmas trees painted on them. Anyway Jolene had seen them in a gallery for $600 and didn't want to pay it, so she painted her own!

It was a neat glimpse into the average life of a retired professional athlete.

So a home tour with the intent on inspiring us all to decorate for the holidays has in fact inspired me to follow sports again; viewing 2 World Series trophies will do that to a girl!

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Cold Hands
Warm Heart

Friday, November 30, 2007

Day ? See, I've Forgot Already.

So the daily blogging thing didn't even make it a week! I shall press on.

My dad came into town yesterday and I rode with Steve all day, my day off, doing deliveries and then a meeting last night - blogging didn't make the cut.

Now today my oldest is 14-years-old and I have nothing fabulous to write. I'm happy that he and his brother, and my dad, all went out and about with my mom tonight and then to stay the night, all but my dad. So I'm happy to be kid free!! Is that a good b-day letter? Love you V.

School was great this week! We covered a lot of our magnet unit and will finish it up next week. Then, I'm not sure what we'll do. Right now I'm checking out doing some sort of unit on the Prophets of the Bible. I read in this book that studying the prophets in teen years is a good thing; although I don't remember why. I tell ya the mind's the first thing to go, hehe! We'll at least start by reading about them in the Bible.

Other subjects: math and science went well. Grammar and Greek/Latin were a blast! Yes, we started back to Greek/Latin; Rummy Roots makes it easy and I like this; only I need to come up with a creative way to teach it!

Well Steve's home so I gotta run.

V in the Last few years
At his best friends

With his cat G

My little man in the kitchen!

Schooling outside - experiment time!

He and I- 2 years ago:

He and I- 6 months ago.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

TreehouseSchoolhouse Assignments

Watch the video on the Lagniappe Blog.
Vaughan this is for you to study while making your own video.

Randomness from the Kitchen

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If you're familiar with FlyLady then you know about her routines.
So, just for the record here's my after-school routine:

I ask myself 2 questions.
1. What's for dinner?
2. What activities do we have tonight?

These two questions really make a difference. Knowing that we have to be at Scouts or Youth Group helps out! It eliminates me coming home from work and thinking, what the heck are we gonna eat- I'm starving!

I also find if I can prepare a few meals ahead it helps. I like to have food preped and ready to be put in the oven or grill when I get home. I also like to double a lunch meal so it'll make my lunch hour tomorrow smoother.

For instance right now, I'm making little smokies for lunch- doubled the sauce and will add 2nd bag of lil smokies AFTER the boys have polished off the 1st bag - viola I now have lunch for tomorrow.

I'm also cooking dinner - a turkey breast. I was impressed with the way the boys finished off the turkey this year - we literally ate all the meat! We boiled the turkey bones to get ALL the meat, made it into a gravy and they ate the heck out of it! We got 2 meals out of it! Anyway while I'm doing that I've got chicken marinating in bbq sauce for tomorrow.

This also forces my family to eat heathly and at home, plus it helps me out when I return from work- if "Mum ain't happy, nobody happy!"

Day #5, Wednesday, November 28

I'm writing this morning because we've had such a wonderful morning already. We've made some leaps in our homeschool and I love it!

One of my biggest frustrations lately has been the fact that my children are of the age where they are more responsible for their work than I am. When they were little we'd read together, wrote together, worked as a group to accomplish our daily tasks. As middle school came upon us the boys began to take more responsibility for their schoolwork. They did this with my prompting and with a little of their own will. I teacha lesson, assign an assignment and wait or help as needed for them to hand in the chore. So when math work began to get handed in messy or incomplete or responses to questions are illegible, sloppy or make no scense, I often take that personal.
"I did train them well enough to be diligent"
"I didn't teach them what they needed to be able to do what must be done."
The self-condemnation comes easy for me and in the area of my children it can be the worst.

But today. Today was awesome!
One of my little birdies has struggled with writing. He can create through drawing, video making, story telling; but to write has been like pulling teeth. Not much of a surprise because reading has been a struggle for him too. Anyway after months of what do we do? Today we did it!

In our freewriting time he wrote the most wonderful, descriptive paragraph on the discovery of a cave! As he read it me my eyes filled with tears as I envisioned myself in his cave; dark and damp with the sound of water trickling by my head. It was a freewriting masterpiece!

He did it! He got it!
We prayed, we taught, we waited and he got it!
Thank you Jesus!

Tip Verse for the day: This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! Psalm 118:24

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day #4

My plan was to check in each day with a recap.

Today, I'm exhausted.
I dropped the boys off at Boy Scouts, shot home and am typing this before cleaning, yuck! The bad part about working is that when I leave, 3 other people don't. That means a clean house when I leave is often notthat when I return.

So I need to do a quick clean up before heading back to Scouts for the pick up and I may be crazy but I'm going to see what positions need filling in our Scout Troop. I figure I'm not out enough nights of the week!!

And praise the Lord! We've been praying for Vaughan to bring up his math grade, and after his test today - he did!! He has an "A"!! I'm so proud of both my boys.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I Wish I Didn't Believe This Thought

It has always been of my thought that all 14 year old boys should work. So, on Friday, my 13-year old boy will be 14.

That means on Saturday, December 1st, my baby will be applying for his first job. We've researched who hires 14-year-olds and he knows just the place.

My heart just had a new pain sting it. It feels a little numb.

He's too young to work, he's my baby.

My baby is becoming a man.

Lord, I lift my little man up to You. Why he's been in my care I'll never know, but You chose him for us and us for him; may He continue to grow to be a man after Your own heart. May his heart yearn for Your Word, Your Ways, for You. Give Steve and I wisdom and guidance, we're clueless without You Lord, keep us aware of that. May Your Word guide us all as these coming years approach. I thank You Lord for a little man who is a living example of Your grace, and please Lord may he get the job. ~Amen

Day #3, Monday, November 26

So today went well. As all first days do.

We woke and got started on school. Both boys did well with the 5 minute freewrite, they actually went for 10 minutes. We had a bump in the schedule when family stopped by on their way out of town headed back to NH.

We began our magnet unit today and had fun doing some levitation tricks using latch magnets; I also received a bunch of writing resources today! I can't wait to go through and see what we can use. God provides the perfect materials at just the right time, every time!

I loved working in the afternoon! I'm still having issues with transitions, not sure why? but the afternoon work hours were much nicer. Of course we're back down to 1 vehicle so the car pooling was interesting.

I look forward to tomorrow!

~Cold Hands
Warm Heart

Tip of the day: Teach children to do their own laundry as soon as possible.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Day #2, Sunday Linkage

copied right from Ms Shannon.

here's what I'm linking to this Sunday.

Michael Israel paints on youtube

Walkscore - see how walkable your house it

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Day 1, Sat., November 24, 2007

So with the computer now in the kitchen, I have a chance to blog a bit more. I'm also starting a new schedule on Monday that will have me home in the mornings and working in the afternoons. I plan to journal each day; to keep a record of our month. Yes, the plan is to stick to our my our new schedule for the next 4-week stretch of school.

Our God is an orderly God and as of the last 4 weeks we haven't been orderly around here.

cold hands, warm heart

Tip of the day: Not cooking until everything in the house is eatten is a nice thing to do after Thanksgiving. *smile*

Ravine Gardens

I'm adding this to my Fav Florida Places.

Ravine Gardens in Palatka, FL was a cool place to hang out for a couple of hours today and definitely a place we'll visit again.
If I got married in Florida there's a good chance it would have been here.
The gardens, fountains and terraces were from a storybook. Great job Florida you have once again took me by surprise and thrilled me!
We hiked, and yes I would call it hiking, for 45 minutes. We walked down into the ravine, around the edge, across two suspension bridges and up and down into the ravine a few more times! The paths were easy to find and cover a lot of the 59 acres, we had inclines and did I mention 2 suspension bridges! Of course the 1 hour plus driving time made the fresh air even nicer!

Definitely a place to visit if you live in or frequent the Sunshine State!
The boys say we're going back so they can film a karate movie there!

Now, here's the day in pictures.
Here we are loaded for bear, and p.s. dogs are allowed at the park!
The nuclear power plant on the way, simple things thrill my boys- and the Simpson's have certainly put power plants on the radar around here.

Steve and I with the main garden and fountain area behind us.

A look over the first garden terrace.

All my boys.

Suspension bridge.

Justin sitting on the top of the stairs leading down into the ravine!
Overall I rate Ravine Gardens an "A". Great for families of all ages, pets allowed, lots to do on various terrain.

For My Own Linkage

How to raise a great husband on life today,
you'll have to search down to fin the broadcast.

Friday, November 23, 2007

We've Been Due

OK, so our Thanksgiving was great this year! We've been due for quite some time, for a great Thanksgiving.

Compared to years gone by it was nice. There was no fighting, no yelling, no screaming or bottle breaking. No drunken fights, stories or break-ups. Yep, the cops did not make it this year to our family thanksgiving, so boys in blue if you haven't figured it out yet: we are learning to act normal, or at least civilized!

20 people flooded into our home for Thanksgiving. Cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and great grandmother were all there. It was a hidge podge of Steve's family and mine, and I think secretly a gathering place for the over 60 and single crowd! This year we put all the food on the table and ate and passed the food up and down both sides of the 20 person table! It was cool. After stuffing our faces with excellent American Thanksgiving food and Greek eats we found room for some pie and even celebrated Vaughan's birthday a week early!

What a wonderful way to welcome in the holiday season. Thank you Lord for our family, where we've come from and what we've come through; for love and forgiveness, for understanding and grace. I thank You Lord that you have taken a mess and made it shine for Your glory! Praise You!

A table for 20.


My grandmother, mother and I.

My sister-in-law and new baby.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Homeschool Assignment

I'm going to be using my blog as a linking place for our homeschool. Here are the videos the boys need to watch this week.

What is Maglev?

Maglev Train

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Train speed record broke

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Holidays have Officially Arrived!

First of all, if you missed out on Publix Holiday Food Festival, you really missed out! After attending my mouth agrees that the holidays have truly arrived!

But don't worry if you did miss it because although you didn't get a FREE dinner last night you did not miss out on this cool video on how to roast and carve a turkey and how to make gravy. Yes, yes, many of you know this already - I just learned today! Now of course I have to wait until someone dies to get this job, we already have an expert turkey cooker and carver in the family, but I have been known to cook a thanksgiving dinner at various times throughout the year. You can also pick up a copy of the video for FREE at the store! I love Publix, don't you?! (and by the way, I price shopped and Publix actually beats the "other" store in our areas prices on a lot of items! - compare yourself and tell me what you find out!)

Back to the Food Festival: we ate thanksgiving dinner, two servings. A ham, sweet potatoes and green bean casserole dinner, pumpkin yogurt and egg nog, wedding cake cookies, ice cream on cones, sushi, chips, punch, soda, wine, coffee. Oh and with the coffee I discovered this new creamer:

That's be Pumpkin Spice flavor, yummy!

We also had lil smokies, which we bought and ate 2 packages of today! Pies, cookies and more.

It was a good time!
I bought the ham dinner for tonight as well as Publix sweet potatoes, which I ate for lunch and dinner! They are sprinkled with pecans, yum, yum. Of course I could learn to make it myself, but then again Publix doesn't have a video for that yet!!!

I also got to pick up a Publix reusable shopping bag! I was holding out for the green one! Isn't it cute!

I've added this to the 3 Wal-mart ones we currently use. If you haven't tried these bags they rock! First of all it's less bags than plastic, which id nicer to this earth god gave us,they're easier to carry with the nice long handle to go over your shoulder and reusable for carrying food to thanksgiving dinner to picnics; and they roll or fold up real small to store easily in your car. Yes, I have to store them in the car or, like when i first purchased them, you will be checking out and think "Darn it, i forgot my bags!"

here's the Wal-mart bags, classic black!

So that's what's been going on around here. I already can't wait til the Food Fest 2008!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Just Our Day

Today was a productive day!
Justin woke up and ran the paper route with Steve. 2:45am was an early wake up for the little man, but he did and loved it! When the two arrived home at 6am they went back to bed.
My dad stopped in for an hour and took Vaughan and I out to breakfast - yum!
The I came back and worked on getting the rest of our yard sale stuff to take to my grandmother's for our yard sale on Saturday!
For dinner we went to Publix for their Fall Festive of Food. Samples, samples, samples! We circled twice and got seconds on the turkey dinner and ham dinner. Can't beat that on a budget!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

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Thanks giving is coming up!
I'm so excited! It's the one holiday we host!!
Steve and I both come from large, close families who gathered together at every holiday! When we lived in New England it was hard because that's where we're from, so that's where all our family is. See the tug on our time?
Anyway, praise God we live in Florida, now we are only near half the family. We have the best set up for a Thanksgiving dinner.
We line a table set for 20 in our dinning and living area!!

here's the menu, so far:
Turkey, made by Papou (grandfather in Greek)
Yia Yia Stuffing, made by Yiayia (grandmother in Greek)
Stove Top Stuffing - me
Mashed Potatoes - Yiayia
Spanakopita - me
Tiropita - Yiayia
Cranberry sauce - Rachel
Green Bean Casserole - Mimi, my mom
Gravy - Yiayia and Papou
Rolls - Mary
Greek Salad - Uncle Steve

Chocolate Cream - 2 me
Pumpkin - Mary
Apple - Mimi
other - Yiayia

Boy, that seems like a lot of food, but then again we have a lot of people to feed, and they're all considerably tall; Steve being the shortest. I pray we'll remember in the hustle and bustle of cooking and cleaning we remember the friends we made while at our retail lot who were homeless or in a hotel.

That's what I don't like about this season - the overindulgence. People are going without food much closer than we want to admit/notice. We spend and buy too much temporal, but that's another story, where's my soap box anyway?

Have a blessed one.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I Know, But...

So parenting a teenage is tough.

We are officially head deep in the "I know everything and will argue about it" stage. My 13 years old answers anything said to him with, "I know but..."

I know there is a term Huguenot but it doesn't refer to the people you are talking about.
I know what a variable is, but it's not this.
I know I need to do a science project, but...
I know the sky looks blue mom but it's really...
I know I will wash the dishes but...
I know I need to shower, but...

Some days I just wanna pull my hair out!

Getting the simplest of tasks done, you know the ones I worked many years to get done smoothly, now take a small act of God to get done.

Keep your mouth shut. I tell myself. Let him explain why the cats don't need to eat now, even though they are scratching at the doors. Let him explain why I don't know what I'm talking about in Algebra and he does, even though he got the problem wrong. Let him search and search in the dictionary for a word he says I am spelling wrong only can't find it because it is not I who have spelled it wrong.

After all when all is said and done, he's feeding the cats, washing the dishes and doing his laundry. The "I know buts..." Just seem to accompany everything he does.

Then of course I can look at my own life. My own attitude and see that I too am a know it all. Often when being prompted to make a change in my life I respond with a "I know God, but..."

See I'm not 13 anymore and I've grown to see that I don't know everything; but somehow, in someway, I still hold dear some things- often unknown to me until God reveals them. I can't imagine how often God must shake His head at me and wait patiently as I go on in word in deed in my own way until eventually I end up seeing that "I know, but ...He is right."

So in the wise words of James Dobson I will "just survive" through these years of I know, buts...
As always I'll love every minute of it!!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

We Serve a Cool God

I realised something today. I realized that the vision my church has had for over 6 years is coming to be.

God is answering our prayers.

The vision I am thinking of is for our church to be a breeding ground for pastor's and missionaries.

Well, right now I know three people; actually 3 young men, one in his early 20's, another his late 20's and still a third in his early 30's who are being called to ministry and are taking steps in that direction.

We serve an awesome God!

Psalm 34:10
Then the LORD said: "I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Connecting With God

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I connect to God when I am serving others and when I can spend time alone, outside in His creation.

Serving others has always been easy for me. I can sit back, be quiet and just do what needs to be done. This caregiver in me has aided in having multitudes of boys at the house or serving at my church in various help ministries. I know God is my fuel when I serve others by caring for them.

Alone in nature. The sound of the birds and flowers touch my spirit in ways I simply can not put into words. When I work in my garden and I dig in the dirt, the coolness of the earth connects me to God. He formed us out of this dirt, this cold, lifeless dirt has a beauty in it. A beauty that God saw and knew would transform into His likeness.

A walk in the woods or field. The beach or the prairies of the west. Just being outside observing the world that surrounds me gives me a glimpse of who God is.

I try my best to work these areas into my daily routine. Serving others sometimes get debunked because I get selfish and with work and home school my outside time sometimes consists of driving with the windows down.

I must make a conscience effort to connect with God in these special ways He engraved in me.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

One Day He'll Be All Grown Up

I can't help but wonder sometimes what my boys will be like when they grow up.
Although I'm not sure if they'll ever really grow up in my mind.

But I wonder.

Where will they go to college?
Will they be kind?
Will they stay out of trouble?
Will they like me?

Then, my baby- you know the almost 14 year old one- comes up behind me and just hugs on me. Just hugs.


"I love you mom"
Need I move beyond this moment?



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