Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My boy

I know this picture could make him look like a real urchin. And he sometimes is. But then there are some days that I am convinced there is not a sweeter little guy on the planet.
This past Sunday I was down with a very bad headache. It had plagued me all Saturday night, and when Sunday morning rolled around, I was not in any shape to go to meeting with my family. So Ron got all the kids fed and ready to go. When the kids came to tell me goodbye, Tristan was very worried that I would be home by myself. What if I needed something? He actually became upset thinking about it, and told Ron he really needed to stay home and help take care of me.
So while I dozed off and on that morning, he kept himself entertained. And every so often he would tiptoe in my room and say, "Momma, do you need me to get you anything?"
No, Bubba, I already have everything I need.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook~March 30th

Outside my window...spring-like again. windy, but warmer

I am thinking... this Monday is getting off to a slow start. I could use another Sunday.

From the learning rooms... back to a normal school week

I am thankful for... last week's trip to Austin. It was very successful.

From the kitchen... don't have to fix dinner tonight. We're going to a birthday dinner for my father-in-law.

I am wearing...flannel pajama pants, long sleeved T-shirt

I am reading... just finished Cruel Intent

I am hoping...that our church issues can be resolved without a division

I am creating...nothing right now

I am hearing... kiddos starting the day (finally)

Around the house... laundry, misc. chores

One of my favorite things... the house smelling clean when we come home from a trip

A few plans for the rest of the week...mostly school, with a few extra-curricular things thrown in

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...Morgan working hard to take care of Trixie.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Snapshots of a Saturday

Insert adventure here,




and here.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Capitol Day

Thursday was Capitol Day for the Texas Chapter of the National Coalition for Public School Options. It was an activity packed day! Every family that attended had an appointment to meet with their state senator and representative. (If the senator or rep was not available, the families met with a staffer.) My family's represented by Senator Kip Averitt and Representative Rob Orr. Senator Averitt was on the floor when we went to his office, so we met with an aide. But Morgan got to sit behind his desk and imagine for a moment what it would be like to have an office in the Capitol.Representative Rob Orr was also still on the floor. However, one of his staffers took us up to meet him outside of the House chamber.

After our meetings, we went to the Sam Houston building where the rest of our group was hanging out. Seana Baughman and David Fuller, both from TXVA, spoke to the families. We were eagerly awaiting the arrival of Senator Dan Patrick. He represents a district in the Houston area and is a strong supporter of virtual schools.After his talk, he hung around for some photo ops.Then it was time for lunch and a tour of the capitol building.
All in all, this was a very successful day for the coalition! I'm already looking forward to next year!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A horse and her girls

A horse...

and her girls...

I asked Ron, "What is it about girls and horses?"
His reply: "I don't know! I'm still trying to figure out what it is about girls!"

The Simple Woman's Daybook~March 23rd

Outside my window...WIND

I am thinking... that this is the first Monday after Spring Break and that's exactly what it feels like!

From the learning rooms... we are trying to get back into the swing of things

I am thankful for... my hubby. he's everything I need him to be today

From the kitchen... spaghetti and garlic bread tonight

I am wearing... brown t-shirt, light gray yoga pants, socks

I am reading...The Secret

I am hoping... that this wind brings some rain for the garden

I am creating...feeling not very creative right now

I am hearing... one kiddo finally stirring

Around the house... laundry, school, and planting some more in the garden if I don't blow away out there!

One of my favorite things... visiting with Trixie

A few plans for the rest of the week... normal school things plus a quick trip to Austin on Wed and Thurs

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you... I love where we live!

Friday, March 20, 2009

A tour

As you may have figured out by now, this week was Spring Break. In lieu of some outrageously overpriced real vacation, we decided to stay home and clean house, feed baby goats, count the eggs our chickens are laying (I know, I know, they haven't hatched yet), and muck the horse stall. Ok, so we didn't actually get to choose between all those things and a fabulous vacation destination. That had already been decided by the fact that Ron had to WORK.
Now, I know you're feeling sorry for us. And you're probably ready to book us on some immediate flight to some wonderful place with lots of sand, snorkeling, and sunshine. But wait, I haven't told you yet what we did that was FUN.We got to visit a candle factory. It was extremely interesting to see how they make the candles that are sold at DeeJay's Candles in Fort Worth. They hand pour their candles, so the quality control is excellent.And to see the rows and rows of cups to be filled. It's crazy to me the sheer number of candles they can pour in a day.We were invited to the factory by Debbie, the owner. I'm very fortunate to have her as a friend and it was very generous of her to let us come. Thanks, Debbie!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Missing Person

So I heard this song by Michael W. Smith not long ago and had this thought: "How did this guy get inside my head??" Since then I've listened close and read the lyrics. They are so applicable to different times in my Christian life. I wish I could say that I never struggle and am always a good testimony to my family and other people around me, but I do and I'm not. The lyrics to this song make me realize the opportunities I can miss when I'm consumed with bitterness, defeat, worry, etc... I'm committed to reading my Bible and praying to the Lord for grace, mercy, compassion, and wisdom...will you join me?

Missing Person
Michael W. Smith

1st Verse:
Another question in me
One for the powers that be
It's got me thrown
And so I put on my poker face
And try to figure it out
This undeniable doubt
A common occurrence
Feeling so out of place
Guarded and cynical now
Can't help but wondering how
My heart evolved into
The rock beating inside of me
So I reel such a stoic ordeal
Where's that feeling that I don't feel

There was a boy who had the faith to move a mountain
And like a child he would believe without a reason
Without a trace he disappeared into the void and
I've been searching for that missing person

2nd verse:
Under a lavender moon
So many thoughts consume me
Who dimmed that glowing light
That once burned so bright in me
Is this a radical phase
A problematical age
That keeps me running
From all that I used to be
Is there a way to return
Is there a way to unlearn
That carnal knowledge
That's chipping away at my soul
Have I been gone too long
Will I ever find my way home

There was a boy who had the faith to move a mountain
And like a child he would believe without a reason
Without a trace he disappeared into the void and
I've been searching for that missing person

He used to want to try to walk the straight and narrow
He had a fire and he could feel it in the marrow
It's been a long time and I haven't seen him lately, though
I've been searching for that missing person

For that missing person
For that missing person

Oh oh, oh oh,

There was a boy who had the faith to move a mountain
And like a child he would believe without a reason
Without a trace he disappeared into the void and
I've been searching...

He used to want to try to walk the straight and narrow
He had a fire and he could feel it in the marrow
It's been a long time and I haven't seen him lately, though
I've been searching for that missing person

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Where are you?
Where are you... (fades to close)

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook~March 16th

For Today...

Outside my window... back to spring after an "indian" winter

I am thinking... that this is my first attempt at this and I hope I do it right!

From the learning rooms... Spring Break is here!

I am thankful for... my kids working together yesterday to get lots of things done

From the kitchen... Asian beef noodles with salad tonight and I actually have a menu planned for the week

I am wearing... still in my jammies!

I am reading... nothing right now except my Bible and devotions

I am hoping... for the ground to dry out some so we can plant our garden

I am creating...peace in my home by getting some cleaning done this week

I am hearing... kids listening to a story

Around the house... huge basket of laundry needs folded and put away, grocery shopping to do

One of my favorite things... an evening at home, eating popcorn and drinking sparkling cider with the family

A few plans for the rest of the week... grocery shopping and just get out and enjoy this weather!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...My daughter Morgan loves my cousin's daughter Reese. Reese just turned one and we had such a good time at her birthday party. Morgan is my youngest, so it's been a while since I've attended a birthday party for a one year old! Such memories it brought back!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The little goat that could

Meet Lucky:
This little cutie was one in a suprise set of triplets. Her momma abandoned her and her sister in favor of the bigger, stronger boy. The kiddos and I bathed and fed, nursed and encouraged through that first night. It was long and eventually the sister just gave out. She never could walk and as a result, the fluid never cleared out of her lungs. But this girl was different. Plucky. She took to the bottle right away and has been so much fun to have around.
Last Sunday morning when I went to feed her, she was extremely weak and sickly looking. She sounded very congested and I was afraid she might have had pneumonia. The resident goat "vet" declared it was worms, so we treated her for both and hoped for the best. By that evening she was much better. By Monday, she seemed back to normal and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
Then last night she started exhibiting those same symptoms. It's too soon to treat for worms again, but we gave her more antibiotics and once again waited to see if she'd make it through the night.

She did! And although I can't be certain she's truly all better, every day is a victory for her!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Snapshots of a Saturday

Crummy weather

Breakfast (from our own chickens)

Seeds that have soaked overnight

Potting soil

Newly planted seeds


Birthday present to mail

R/C Helicopter

Goats in garage

Just a typical Saturday here. How was yours?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Forecast: Chilly with a chance of chili

Ok, so maybe a more appropriate title would be, "Bone-numbing, windy, rainy cold with a 100% chance of some tasty, spicy, gut warming beef chili," but why mince words?

Fast All-American Beef Chili
Serves 4-6
The Best 30-minute Recipe (are you noticing a pattern yet?)

1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed
2-3 t minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 t sugar
salt and ground black pepper
2 T vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
3 T chili powder
2 t ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 lbs 85% lean ground beef

1. Pulse tomatoes and their juice in food processor until slightly chunky, about 5 pulses.
2. Bring tomatoes, beans, chipotle chile, sugar, and 1/2 t salt to boil, covered, in large saucepan. Reduce to simmer and continue to cook until needed in step 5.
3. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over med. heat until shimmering. Add onion, chili powder, cumin, and 1/4 t salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
4. Increase heat to med-hi and add beef. Cook, breaking up beef with spoon, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes.
5. Stir in tomato-bean mixture, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Don't forget all the classic chili accompaniments, such as cheese, cilantro, sour cream, crackers, etc...

And while we're on the subject of ground beef (weren't we?)...I like to buy mine in bulk from Costco or Sam's. When I get it home I brown all of it, breaking it up as it cooks. Then I drain all the grease off and freeze it. (The meat, not the fat. However, I would never judge you if you froze your fat.) This makes my recipes that use beef this way much less greasy and saves me a few minutes on a busy weeknight because I've found that I can simply thaw the meat for a minute or two in the microwave, then add it to the recipe. Which leaves me time to create long-winded run-on sentences, such as the previous one, that give English teachers nightmares and leave most people rolling their eyes.

I suggest you make this tonight, or tomorrow night, or any night really. But especially tonight. After all, it's in the forecast.

A new favorite song

These lyrics really spoke to me. When my world is falling out from under me, I want to remember that I can stand in Him. The title of the song is "Shadowfeet" sung by Brooke Fraser.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

13 Steps to start the New Year

The following is an email that Ron wrote and sent out at New Year's. I think it's too good not to share with all!

Hello all,

Hope you all started 2009 happy. We did and still are, however sometimes it's funny how life goes.

13 STEPS TO START A NEW YEAR!! (well this is how we did it anyway)

1. Memorial/Funeral for Larry Woods scheduled for 4pm.
2. 6:00am. Tristan starts throwing up, lasts all day, I stay home from the memorial.
3. 3:00pm. Mom & Dad are on their way to CO. I jump in my truck to go feed their dog and check on goats. Back out of driveway and run over Leigh's favorite cat.
4. 9:00pm. Leigh takes cat to vet, it has a crushed spine or pelvis. Office visit $95, X-ray $200, surgery $????. Cut losses at $95 and put cat to sleep.
5. 11:30pm. Bury the cat.
6. Midnight. Tristan is crying his stomach hurts, I tell him to go see Momma for stomach meds.
7. Leigh comes into our room expresses concern at Tristan's pain level. I go to living room and begin to poke and prod a little on his stomach, and am rewarded with an earsplitting shriek of pain when I get to lower right side of abdomen.
8. 12:39am. I am driving out the driveway with Tristan heading for Cooks Children's Hospital in FW.
9. 1:20am. We are checked in and heading to his room in ER.
10. 5:00am. Dr. Whoever says Tristan has appendicitis and will be given a hospital room then have appendix out later today.
11. 12:30pm. Tristan is taken to surgery. (Leigh arrived around 8:30am after taking girls to Brent and Jennifer's house)
12. 1:45pm. Dr. Bass (surgeon) comes out says all went well, however the appendix was perforated and Tristan will be in the hospital till Mon. at least. He will be on antibiotics via IV to combat the infection and has a drain in the side of his abdomen to catch fluids.
13. 5:00pm. I am at home to take a shower and get Leigh some things as she will be spending the night tonight, then me, then her and hopefully we will be all be home after that.

I wanted to share this sequence of events as I found it a humorous start to a new year. We are doing well and are very thankful things seem to be progressing properly at the hospital. Tristan has been a real trooper and tough guy, always downplaying the pain level and providing the nurses and doctors with any information he thinks will help. When one of the nurses told him his temperature was 38 degrees Celsius, he asked "What's that in Fahrenheit?".

I wish you and yours a happy and successful new year.


Ron & Leigh

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Friday, March 6, 2009

Kung Fu Cake Cutting?

Last night we attended the birthday party for Morgan's TaeKwonDo instructor, Master Pahanish. (That's him cutting the cake.) When asked how old he is, he was heard to say, "I don't know. It's just one of those black belt mysteries." Yes, of course it is.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Van Gogh in the making...

..or Picasso, or Da Vinci, or Matisse...just pick your favorite.

My oldest daughter is taking an art class at a neat local studio called Van Grow. Every week she learns about a famous artist, then attempts a piece of art that mimics the artist's particular style.

Here's her rendition of a Picasso,

and a Grandma Moses.

To see more of her artwork you can visit Artsonia and search for her artist name: Madison4184. Artsonia is an awesome website where you can upload your child's artwork and show it off. You can even buy things like mugs, postcards, and sketch pads that feature your kiddos art work on them. Very cool.
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