Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Necessary Pruning

Blogging over at Jelly Telly today on God’s pruning in our lives

Occasionally I trimmed a branch that had a dead flower and a brand new bud on it and realized that sometimes you have to sacrifice something good along with the bad to get something even better – more new growth!

Read the rest over on the Jelly Telly blog. : )

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Bake something springy!


I like to bake. A lot. I just don’t ever take time to do it. There always seem to be other things that are pressing on me with more urgency. However, I spotted these little goodies on Pinterest some time ago and have been waiting for an opportunity to bake them up – they just cry spring to me.

Carrot cake donuts with a pineapple cream cheese frosting. So so good. Please do not judge me on my mad frosting skillz. Because I don’t have them. : ) However, I do have a donut pan and it is so fun to use.


Approved by all the children. Even from the munchkin that didn’t know that the donuts had both shredded carrots and pineapple in them and was somewhat aghast when she found out. Score.

Note: The recipe also calls for toasted walnuts sprinkled on the top, but I didn’t have any and my people aren’t huge nut fans. However, if I had been eating the whole pan, they would have surely been covered in them. : )

Friday, April 19, 2013

Insta-Love Friday

I love Instagram on my phone. I thought I’d share a few of this week’s photos … snippets of what has been going on around here. (You can follow me on Instagram @stephanie_simplethings).

A fun evening with old friends. Some that it had been way TOO long since we had seen each other.


Just hanging around and reading.


Ran 22 minutes. In a row. Without dying. Worth noting. : ) (Using this free app).


Took a tree climbing break one day this week.


“Mama. Picture. Tree.” He was pretty proud he got up there on his own.


Two more weeks of Bible study. I will be sad to see this study of Kings and Chronicles end.


Our Classical Conversations formally ended a week and a half ago, however the last week has seen a flurry of review work as both the N’s worked toward achieving mastery in three of the subject areas that we memorized this year. (There were seven total: timeline, history, science, English grammar, math, Latin, and geography). Both of the girls chose history, Latin, and English grammar.


Both girls passed with their tutors (who check them on every. single. fact. in their subject areas) and our director (who does a random check so you don’t know what’s coming). So proud of their hard work and am very inspired to try and do it myself next year. : )

A rare hour alone before picking up the munchkins.


Never ending soccer and softball right now. Soccer ends next Saturday and then we just have softball. We have loved all this time outside in the sunshine (when we have seen the sun).

Starting my pile of books for this next year’s school reading. My favorite.


Loving on a new baby. Missing having one that size around our house. The recent one climbs trees now, ya know? : )


Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

School Room Switcheroo

Our school room got a little facelift last week … unexpected and much enjoyed by all of us!

You can see a little of the room in this picture below.

The schoolroom has gotten a huge clean out and scrubbing. As ready as we'll ever be to start school in another week! 

Basically, we flipped the room and suddenly it seems like it’s a whole lot bigger.

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Currently ::: An April Edition

Outside my window... a grey day. It looks like rain and they are talking storms. Typical spring for us. But, with all this rain, come the blooms. (And the spring allergies, but I’m not going to go there). : )


I am thankful... for an unexpected morning off of school. The oldest is taking a standardized test as a nearby church and when I was doing a recent check on our days of school we’ve completed, the little girls have enough extra days that I decided they could have the day off. We took N1 to her test, stopped and picked up coffee for Daddy and delivered it to him at work, and have had a nice easy morning around the house. It wasn’t something that I had planned for but we are thoroughly enjoying our slower pace today.

In the kitchen... I’ve been craving any and all things Mexican lately. Last night I made these crunchy black bean tacos (using taco shells instead of corn tortillas because that is what I had) and they were super fast and good before we had to run out the door to Awana. Over the weekend, I made not one, but two batches of this Mexican Caesar salad and even tinkered with the dressing to make it healthier (subbed non-fat Greek yogurt for the mayo and you can’t tell the difference). So good.

In the schoolroom...  we are trucking along. N2 finished up both her 1st grade math and handwriting this week and as far as her materials go, she’s technically done for the year. However, there is that pesky matter of another 35 or so days that we still need to get in the next month and a half. So, on to her 2nd grade work it is! B is still plugging along on her reading lessons – there are good days and bad days – but we are taking it nice and slow and I’m encouraged about the progress I am seeing. She’s a very different girl from her sisters and that makes her B in all areas including how we approach her schooling.

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I am wearing... blue skirt, white tank top, blue cardigan. Spring clothes.

I am creating... schedules, menu plans and lists to get us from here to there for this month. We are full into both soccer and softball and most of our evenings are spent soaking in the sunshine at one field or another. This is when I am so very thankful for our homeschooling days which make the many evenings out seem easier to manage. That said, I’m trying to come up with portable dinner ideas that aren’t sandwiches every night and don’t involve a drive-thru. Takes more planning on mama’s end.


Dinner at the ballpark on Tuesday.

I am going... to pick up my biggest girl from her test in a bit and a soccer practice for another girlie tonight.

I am pondering... on friendship. Pursuing, cultivating, tending, encouraging, coming alongside … all that.

I am reading... No Name for the Reading to Know bookclub. I’m a little over half-way through the book and though it’s slow going, I’m eager to get back to it every time I get a spare minute. N1 picked up the first Harry Potter book last week and is now on to book two. I’m driving her nuts asking her where she is in the stories and what is happening. : )


I am looking forward to... time with old friends that are in town for a quick trip this weekend. Time to catch-up and marvel over how big each other’s babies are.

I am learning… lessons in kindness, most especially from my husband.

Around the house... lots of spring purging. I went through all the kids’ clothes when we were on spring break last week and we’ve handed down what we can to siblings and friends and the rest is gone, never to be seen again. The little girls’ room also got a major overhaul by daddy and we’ve cleaned out quite a few things that they have outgrown. For several years we have had a wonderful wooden kitchen in their bedroom that has been well played with. We definitely got our money’s worth out of that toy! However, my little girls have asked for desks for their bedroom and therefore the kitchen has to go. I love that they want desks (I can certainly relate to that), but I’m a little sad that one of our well-loved toys is a thing of the past. This growing up is hard.

A favorite quote for today... this verse from my Bible study last week:

The Lord is good,
A stronghold in the day of trouble,
And He knows those who take refuge in Him.
Nahum 1:7

God knew this was one that I needed to be made known of on a week that I saw several friends hurting. God is good to give us His scriptures!

One of my favorite things... Classical Conversations and what a blessing it has been for us this year! We have our last tutorial this Tuesday and have finished our year minus some memory testing that two of the girls have chosen to do and our year-end celebration. We have loved getting to know the other families in our community and I’m very excited about our parent practicum (three-day training) that’s coming this summer where I get a chance to get inspired and encouraged for next year. (If you have wondered about CC and what it’s about, Monica at The Homespun Heart has been doing a blog series on CC that is very thorough. Part one and two are here with part three still to come. Worth a read if you are interested!)

A few plans for the rest of the week… soccer practice, softball practice. Soccer games and a softball game on Saturday. A concert at our church on Saturday night to raise money for a well in Guatemala. Friends in town to catch-up with. And the normal things of life like making sure we have food to eat and clean uniforms to wear.


A peek into my day...


He is such a boy.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Project Life :: Still Happening

It seems like I’ve dropped blogging about Project Life completely (and that hasn’t been entirely intentional), but I’ve still been working on it!
These are just a few photos from the week of March 11-17. I didn’t take a ton but just a snippet to show you what I’ve been working on. This is such a mish-mash of journaling cards – I just grabbed and didn’t try to match or work with a theme at all. But it’s done. : )
On the left:
  • little girls helping their brother figure out the pedals on the tricycle. (Still not quite there yet).
  • Reading aloud one of our recent chapter books. (stickers on the photo came from one of my monthly Studio Calico PL kits).
  • A photo collage that I created in PicFrame (and labeled with Phonto) on my phone chronicling my meals for a day, and journaling a bit about changes I’m making in our kitchen. That could probably be a whole ‘nother post on it’s own.
  • Journaling cards above are from (far left) Olive digi kit, (2nd) Cobalt digi kit, (3rd) Studio Calico kit, and (4th) Kraft digi kit.
On the right:
  • trying to squeeze in a few pages while I’m waiting at a cold soccer practice.
  • boy faces
  • playing cards with cousins.
  • journaling cards are (1) Seafoam digi kit, (2) Wellington Childhood digi kit, (3) the back of one of the Studio Calico cards, and (4) one that I made by wrapping a 3x4 grid card with washi tape from the Studio Calico kit.
Another simple week in the books.
Project Life is a product and a system created by Becky Higgins and available on It can be anything you want it to be. You can view all my posts about Project Life here. I'm always happy to answer questions about how Project Life works for me, if you have any.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Pinterest Success Kitchen

It just feels like a day for some link-love.

I’ve made a few recent finds on Pinterest and thought I’d share a few successes.


Oven baked fajitas. I may have this on the menu two more times this month. These were so good.


Chicken and white bean enchiladas with salas verde. Another winner. I made a few of these with corn tortillas instead of white ones and they were tasty as well. (Crumblier, if that’s a real word, but good).

Protein ranch dressing. No picture, because my jar is about half gone and messy, but seriously good.

Leprechan floats. An annual St. Pat’s tradition for us. Sprite + lime sherbert.


St. Patrick’s Day necklaces.


Swig Sugar Cookies. These have been all over Pinterest of late, and they are so very, very good. I had plans to make them for Easter but a sick girlie postponed some of our Easter plans to Monday. Worth making even though we didn’t get to share them over the Easter weekend.

It feels good to make my time on Pinterest productive lately! : )

For more Pinterest stories you can visit Keeping Up With the Johnsons. : )

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Batter Up

Last night was N1’s first softball game! We have been plagued with rain (or snow!) along with illness, so she has only been able to make a couple of practices before last night. It was exciting to finally get out on the field and play some ball.


Those of us on the sidelines were heavily bundled as the temps were in the mid-40s. Brrrr.


For the most part, she played outfield and made one terrific stop on a ball!


At bat…


… a hit!


Her (chilled) fans.


So fun to watch her enjoy herself out there and be a part of the team.