Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Felicities ::: September 12


Things that make me happy:

  • iTunes

  • a fairly productive week of pre-K this week!

  • Dawn's blog - she gives me such great ideas of projects to do with the girls, not to mention (I think) she is a kindred spirit and I love reading her posts.

  • another new favorite that inspires

  • early bedtimes - for the girls, for me - it's good

  • a new-to-me sewing machine! My Mom has two and she is giving me one, just in time for me to maybe try my hand at making a few things for my girls at Christmas!

Happy Friday! Link up over at Becky's!

Touches of Autumn

Next week we are going to be talking about Autumn in our pre-K work! One of my favorite times of year, especially here in Tennessee. The colors of leaves are breathtaking and I am always ready for the cooler weather. :) We've been doing some cleaning around the house today and put up a few autumn touches to enjoy over the next few months.

Touches of Autumn

N1 and I hung this banner over our large window in the family room.

Touches of Autumn

This is the pass-through window between our kitchen and family room. On display are a few fall cookie cutters, my tea pot, and a candle. That is also a bowl of candy that desperately needs cleaned out (and a bunch of it throw away)!

Touches of Autumn ::: My Tea Drawer

A reorganization of my tea supplies was also in order. The cans are loose teas from Adagio Tea. I had ordered Travis some sample packs of their loose leaf tea for Valentine's day and there are some very unusual flavors in there! Some of my favorites were their vanilla tea and peppermint. They also have a traditional Earl Gray (loose-leaf) that is good. :) Also, in the bottom left corner of the picture is loose-leaf tea from my good friend Laura. She has just started her own tea business and I can vouch that it is good (as are her prices!) If you have time, please stop by her site and look around. I would really like to try some of this tea - Yogi's Egyptian Licorice. I love black licorice, and think it would sound good in a hot tea.

I hear munchkins stirring from rest time so off again. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Summer Reading

Summer Reading

Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Noelle is here showing off our summer reading wall. For June, July and August, we kept track of what we read and when we had finished a book, we put in on our "shelf." Since we read short children's books, to qualify as read meant we read it 2-3 times (sometimes more) and had somewhat of a grasp of the story and could talk about it. For a summer project and first trying this, I though it worked well. :)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Children's Classics ::: Picture Books

Children's Classics

One of our favorite picture books is The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. Most know Ms. Burton as the author of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. I happened upon The Little House while perusing library shelves some time ago and casually threw it into our book bag. Little did I know that I had a stumbled on a classic AND a new family favorite.


The Little House tells the story of, coincidentally, a little house! :) This little house is loved and cherished. Children play in her yard and she watches the seasons change around her in the rural area where she lives. However, the Little House starts to notice changes around her. More cars begin traveling the rural roads where she lives, fields start disappearing, and house and skyscrapers take their place. Before too long the Little House is forgetten and abandoned in the big city.

While we love the story (and it does have a happy ending), we love Ms. Burton's artwork as well! Her biography says that she always drew her pictures and then added the text. The pictures are simple but full of details that capture a child's attention. The house really is alive in the pictures!

If you are looking for a new book (or author) to try, we heartily recommend the works of Virginia Lee Burton and, most especially, The Little House. (As a note, has a compilation of 4 of her best known works - Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Katy & the Big Snow, Maybelle the Cable Car, and The Little House - at a great bargain. We snatched it up this week to hold for a certain 5-year old birthday that we will be celebrating in a little less than a month!)

For more favorite children's picture books, head over to 5 Minutes for Books! I'm going to hopefully add some new ones to my list to check out the next time we're at the library. :)

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook ::: September 8

Do visit Peggy's to see all the other daybook posts this week!


Outside my Window ... dark. I'm getting to this a little late today. :)

I am thinking ... that I need to get some planning done tonight. Seems like life is kicking into high gear this week with more fall activities starting back.

I am thankful for ... our insurance. That's not something that I think about a lot, and that I usually take very much for granted. However, I am about to embark on a long dental journey and I am so thankful that much of it (not all by any means) will be covered thanks to my husband's job and his hard work to provide for us.

From the kitchen ... tonight's dinner was meatloaf, sweet potatoes and ceasar salad. Yum.

I am creating ... a mess on my desk. :) Trying to work on several different projects all at the same time and making a mess in the meantime. Plus Travis cleaned out a desk and now I have more stuff to pitch or relocate. And to think I actually had it pretty clean on Friday.

I am going ... or actually went to the dentist this morning. It wasn't the best of appointments ... wisdom teeth come out in a few weeks, then I have two more appointments for other unpleasant work. *sigh*

I am wearing ... Pink comfy pants (needed comfort clothes at the dentist this morning), a white t-shirt (my 2nd for the day b/c the girls got the first one dirty earlier), and socks and tennis shoes.

I am reading ... Inkheart by Cornelia Funke and 1 Peter (my Bible study starts next week!)

I am hoping ... to make some headway on a routine around here. I want to start a few new routines, especially with the littlest girls, and need to figure out exactly what I am trying to accomplish.

I am hearing ... Travis in his office/studio with my friend Gina. They are recording keyboard tracks for a cd our church music team is recording for next spring.

Around the house ... things are relatively picked up, laundry has been put away, and girls are a-bed. I'm about to get off the computer for the night, pop some popcorn, and read.

One of my favorite things ... popcorn, made in our whirly popper thingy with the good butter salt. It's probably my favorite evening snack, hands down. Except when I need chocolate. :)

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week ... Nothing major, just routines that are falling into place as things start up. Tomorrow is our errand day and N1's dance class in the afternoon. Wednesday is when Awana starts back for N1 and T at church. Thursday and Friday, right now, are free and clear (yea!) as is most of the weekend. I do need to find some time to practice for a special that I am singing at church on Sunday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...


Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday Felicities ::: September 5


Things that make me happy.

  • peanut butter hummus

  • husbands that pick up Diet Coke at the store

  • House, M.D.

  • quiet weekends

Better late than never ... link up at Becky's!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A First for Us

Someone is having her first birthday party in a few weeks. Someone is very excited.

I am a little shocked that I have an almost 5 year old. I *shhh* bought her a dress for her birthday and *sniff* it came from the little girl section of the store and not the toddler section. It's a good thing, but a little sad for this Mama.

The text is fuzzy on purpose on the invite - I didn't want my internet stalkers all showing up with outlandish gifts for my girl and making me look bad. ;)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

September Menu

I'm working on getting back to planning my menu for a whole month. I was planning for about 2 weeks, but it seemed like I was running to the grocery store entirely too much (with three small children) and so it's back to the monthly drawing board. Several months ago, when I was talking with Travis about how I could do the shopping more efficiently, he offered to start taking us on a Saturday. That has been the biggest help. We have two baskets (one for food and one for girls - LOL), and we just knock out as much as we can in one fell swoop. For us, that usually means going to Aldi's first, then Sam's, and then a stop at Walmart for those things I can't find at either place or don't want to buy in bulk. Then, for the most part, I'm done for the month! Occasionally we will need milk or bread (or some fruit for snacks because the girls have been eating grapes like candy this summer!), but that's either a quick trip for me or Travis picks it up on the way home from work. A much better system for the time being, that's for sure!

As for September, I've got almost the whole month planned out for meals. There are several days that are not planned, but that is intentionally left open for leftovers or for when a meal gets shuffled because plans change. I've also designated Tuesday as a crockpot day - that our dance class day for N1; since we get home about 5:20-5:30, I want to just be able to cook some pasta/rice/veggie quickly and dinner be ready. Wednesday night is going to to be easy as well. That's our Awana night. We don't see Travis until after it's over (which is 8-ish) and I didn't like making dinner for half of us at 5:30 and the other half at 8:30 every week. So, I've picked one easy meal and we'll all eat a quick dinner after Awana and then hustle girls to bed. This month it will be quesadillas/nachos - something easy to prep before and make quickly.

Anyway, with all that said, here's the plan for the month:

1. (Labor Day) hamburger cookout, beans, corn
2. CP Roast chicken with potatoes and carrots (I actually didn't make this last night because we had lots of leftovers from the cookout)
3. quesadillas/nachos
4. bbq keilbasa, grean beans, corn and/or salad
5. pizza night
6. leftovers
7. Sunday lunch with family, usually eat leftovers for dinner, snack or make popcorn
8. meatloaf, sweet potatoes, ceasar salad
9. CP brown sugar chicken, some kind of veggie
10. quesadillas/nachos
11. leftovers
12. pizza night
13. homemade chicken nuggets, tater tots, salad/veggie
14. Sunday lunch with family, usually eat leftovers for dinner, snack or make popcorn
15. nothing planned
16. CP cream cheese chicken with pasta and broccoli
17. quesadillas/nachos
18. nothing planned
19. pizza night
20. CP hashbrown breakfast casserole, fruit (I'm going to a homeschool seminar this day so I'll prep dinner before I take off)
21. Sunday lunch with family, usually eat leftovers for dinner, snack or make popcorn
22. Snack-y dinner with T after the girls go to bed ... Heroes starts back this night so we'll wait and munch while we watch.
23. CP chipotle chicken with sweet potatoes
24. quesadillas/nachos
25. leftovers
26. pizza night
27. nothing planned
28. Sunday lunch with family, usually eat leftovers for dinner, snack or make popcorn
29. nothing planned
30. CP fried chicken recipe (I'm very excited about trying this ... I may bump it up in the month because it sounds soooo good). :)

Anyway, there's our month in a nutshell. We'll see how well this works. Most of these I'll flesh out with more veggies as the time comes - this is mostly for the main dish help I need. :) By the end of the month we should start getting our CSA basket and I plan on organizing our meals around the veggies that we get every other week. I'm so excited about that!

Note: all the crockpot recipes for this month come from this site. If you are not reading, you should be. :)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Cracks. Me. Up.

Cracks. Me. Up.

Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

I needed to find this photo today for a laugh. Two potty accidents, one library meltdown, and I still think this girl is absolutely hysterical.

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook ::: Sept 1

Do visit Peggy's to see all the other daybook posts this week!


Outside my Window ... a sunny beautiful Labor Day!

I am thinking ... that Labor Day creeps up on me every year. (I think it's because it's one of those floating holidays without a set day, i.e., December 25, February 14, etc.) It's always a fun surprise to remember that we have a long weekend with Travis all of a sudden!

I am thankful for ... our relaxing Sunday yesterday. My folks came over for lunch after church. After they left, the little girls and I took naps; when everyone woke up we took our bikes over to the park and played for a bit. It was a refreshing day after being on the run for most of Saturday. (Not that Saturday wasn't a great day, too, but it wasn't as conducive to relaxing!)

From the kitchen ... massive menu list and our main once-a-month grocery store run last week so I am excited about that. (I may post that later if I get time). Today will probably be sandwiches and leftovers for lunch and the plan is to grill hamburgers tonight. Provided I get out and buy hamburger buns today. There is always something that I leave off the list! :)

I am creating ... joining in on Shimelle's Learn Something New class (more info here). I did this one last year, so since I'm alumni, I can take it again for free. Who knows what I'll create, but I love the inspiration and prompts that fill my in box for a month. :)

I am going ... to buy hamburger buns today. :) And, if time and husband permits, I'm going to sneak off to Target and do a little perusing and shopping for an upcoming birthday event we have in about a month.

I am wearing ... my jammies! Must. get. dressed. :)

I am reading ... Just finished The Willoughby's by Lois Lowry last night. Cute story. I started Harlen Coben's The Woods and had to put it down last night only because I couldn't keep my eyes open any more. Also reading Elizabeth Foss's Real Learning.

I am hoping ... to get invitations for a baby shower in the mail this week. At the top of my to-do list!

I am hearing ... munchkins playing and chattering.

Around the house ... the big girls are coloring at the kitchen table and E is playing at my feet. T is in his office working on his seminary class homework - he's taking Greek!

One of my favorite things ... putting a new month of pages in my calendar.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week ... I'm working on implementing our fall schedule this week. This is my game plan for using less gas, consolidating errands, and being more frugal with our time and money. (Lofty goals! LOL) The gist is that I try and do any and all errands on Tuesdays. We generally get out on Tuesdays and eat lunch with my Mom and sister and N1 also has dance on Tuesday afternoons. I'm going to try and keep my errands to those afternoons when I'm out and it would be a wasted trip to come back home to just turn around and leave again. Any errands that don't get run at that time will be done on Wednesday evenings while T and N1 are at Awana at church (and eventually N2 starting in January after she turns 3). This means I need to be more organized about what we really need, what T can pick up on his way home from work if it fits, and hopefully have more time at home. I know there will be days where we will get out to do some fun things (like the zoo or the park) but I want those trips out to JUST be for fun, and not tacking on errands every time we walk out the door.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Doing school work together ... T is working on Greek and N1 trying her hand at it. :)