Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Random thoughts on a cold afternoon

It is very gray and cloudy here today, and Scott actually got to stay home because it was sleeting a little this morning. (Here in Mississippi school gets canceled if there is a threat of snow!) We are finished with school (GASP!) for the day, and the house is orderly (enough), so I thought I would sit down with a cup of coffee and just post about a few random things.

First of all, I have realized since Christmas how enjoyable home schooling can be... when you actually stay at home! It is amazing how much more peaceful our home stays, and how much more rested I feel, and how much school gets done! I know that sounds like a "well, duh!" kind of statement, but it is true! Since I have stopped cleaning and sewing for others, we actually have time to finish all of our school work... AND read library books together! Of course things come up, and we have already had one week without much school getting done b/c of some things; BUT... it is nice to be able to say, "yes, Josh, it is a stay at home day... I don't care what you wear!"

I mentioned the Bible reading plan that I am following several posts ago. The Old Testament reading has just finished up in Genesis, and I have been thinking about the different individuals in the line of Abraham. It seems as if each time I read through, God shows me just a little bit more of Himself.

This time it has been in the area of His righteousness. I have always been able to agree that God can do whatever He chooses; however, there has always been some small place of questioning in my heart on the matters of Cain, Ishmael, Esau, and some others. I can't really go into a deep explanation of how God has reconciled this matter within me, but somehow, He has. I suppose through reading and John's sermons of late, God has shown me more of Himself, given me a little more insight into the characters of Abel, Isaac and Jacob, and also shown me a little more of Cain, Ishmael, and Esau.

A friend of ours, Kurt Strassner, has a BLOG that is definitely worth keeping up with. His post today gave me an increased bit of clarity in this matter. In fact, it was one of those... "yeah, that's what I have been thinking... I just didn't know how to put it into words" moments. He was writing about the disciples, but I think the same thing can be said for what I have been learning also. The following statement comes from his blog:

That is, He chose them, not because of any innate potential in themselves … but to demonstrate His power to change and use any life – no matter how normal or sinful.

Clear, concise... so true, and so applicable to us as well.

Finally.... Remember, I titled this "Random Thoughts..." This is my solution to the need for budget cuts in the Mississippi school system. (Gov. Haley Barbour has done what seems to be a good job of making sure our state does not spend what it does not have. As a result, education is getting a budget cut for the coming year.) Instead of people losing jobs, why don't all of the schools and government buildings just turn the thermostat down to 60 degrees in the winter, and 75 degrees in the summer? Every time we go see Scott at school, go to the library, or worst of all, the drafty courthouse, we are greeted by a blast of warm air upon entering. Almost immediately, our children start peeling layers and getting red-cheeked because it is so warm inside! I wonder how much money our government spends each month just in electricity bills... I bet some SERIOUS cash could be saved in that area....

OK, time to fix dinner now... enough babbling! Have a nice day!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

You call that a date?

Saturday morning at 8:30am we had our children all "farmed out" for the day and evening. It was just us two grown ups, and we were heading off on a date. Scott was bundled up in layers, and I had packed my "secret agent" watch, my ipod, and two packs of GU.

"Wait," one might say, "I thought you were going on a date!"

A date ...yes
Conventional.... no
A Duley Date... definitely

Scott and I were going to Starkville, MS together, and I was going to participate in my first half marathon. (Technically my second, but the first was 4 years ago, and I just jogged for fun w/o training.) We arrived in Starkville about 10:30, got signed in, and then hung around the wellness center for an hour or so. Anthony Mathenia and his fiance, Hannah, arrived shortly thereafter.

At 11:45, it was time to head to the starting line. Runners of all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders filled a train of 5 buses, and took off. We drove 13.1 miles out of Starkville to a little town (I don't even know if it could be considered a town... it would be like calling Keownville a town) called Pheba. The official started us off promptly at 12:30, and it was a race back to Starkville. Anthony and I getting on the bus

The course was a far cry from the pictures of fan-lined streets in Boston; the squads of cheerleaders and bands were absent. However, there was an occasional cow or horse, one or two stray dogs, some roadkill, and the people working the water stops to cheer us on!

The first ten miles went fairly smoothly. The hills were rolling and not too terrible, and I was able to keep my pace right around 7:30/mile. The last three were a different story.... the word "brutal" comes to mind... Quite hilly, and my legs were beginning to feel heavier and heavier! I slowed to an 8:00-8:30 pace and gutted out the last 5K.

I was thankful for my ipod, especially at the 12 mile marker. Just when I thought I had lost my mind for doing this, a song with a good beat came on and stirred up something within me. Scott was waiting at about the 12.75 mile point, "encouraging" me, as only my husband/football coach could. I gave him the plaintitive "I CAN'T run any faster look," then smiled to myself and booked it as best I could (with legs weighing at least 75 pounds apiece) to the finish line. My finish time was 1:40:03, and I was the 5th female finisher, and 2nd in my age group. Not too shabby for a big mama! :) I feel much better about being able to continue to train and complete the Nashville marathon at the end of April.

I should have mentioned this before... Anthony wasn't just running the race. He was running the race after arriving only about 12hrs prior from Ethiopia! Crazy man... his legs cramped up about mile 10 or 11, but he finished! Wow... that was an accomplishment, b/c I would have been at home recovering from African water and jet lag....

I got showered and we headed off to the post race dinner and awards ceremony. We got nice embroidered backpacks instead of trophies, which was really nice. I wonder how much landfill space is being used up by old 5k trophies that people don't know what to do with? :)

Aside from a really upset stomach and sore calves, I feel fine and ready to continue training!

SPECIAL NOTE TO MY RUNNERS: As you know, there are 3 qualifiers as to whether or not you have given a race everything you've got... Yes, I officially gave it all I had. I had to have a little help in the finish chute, and I made a super fast break for the bathroom... I am not asking you guys to do anything I am not willing to do myself! :) Love you guys! :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Now and then

This past weekend, some old friends of ours came to visit for the day. Scott and Josh Ford played football together at Lambuth University, and Ashley Ford and I both ran cross country for Lambuth. Although we did not run at the same time, we were fast friends with much in common when we met soon after Scott and I were married.

Will and their oldest son, Weston, are almost exactly the same age... within a few days of each other. One day I will have to post about a canoe trip we all took when Ashley and I were pregnant with the boys... two wedding rings lost in the river, one wedding ring found in the river, many bruises, and a train passing by all night long 100yds from out tent... well, that's another story

Scott and Josh spent the day cutting firewood and doing work outdoors. Those two are peas in a pod- eager to work, and never eager to sit around inside, no matter what the temperature might be! In contrast, Ashley and I are peas from a different pod... we enjoyed hibernating together, INSIDE, by the fire! We spent the day visiting and keeping an eye on the children.

What a sweet time! Ashley is one of those friends that I do not get to spend much time with, but I still consider her one of my closest friends. We chatted about homeschool, raising children, our duties at home, running, and most encouraging to me, evangelism/discipleship. It is truly wonderful when friends can act as iron sharpening iron to each other, and I was reminded of the importance (and concerted effort it takes) to use the time God gives us in the community for His glory.

Here is a picture Sarah just found of Scott and Josh right after college

Sarah also pulled out this picture, which had nothing to do with last weekend, but it is one of my favorites from years ago... taken at Pinecrest, a church camp in LaGrange, TN.

Those were the days... Ok, back on track... Here is a picture of Scott and Josh now

Boy, are we getting old! Here are pictures of the Ford family and Weston with our boys


I am ready for SPRING! We have had an unusually cold winter here in Mississippi, and I have been hibernating for the last few weeks. Aside from running and doing necessary chores, I have been hanging out close to the fire! (It doesn't help that our thermostat is set on 54 these days!)

Scott has done a good job keeping lots of wood split for us to keep warm in the close vicinity of the fireplace... it has been a little reminiscent of Kentucky! (We heated the downstairs of our house solely with wood) OK, never mind... nothing could compare to seeing your breath in the kitchen in the mornings! A few hundred miles north makes a BIG difference!

mighty wood splitter
Josh keeping warm (not that he even has nerve endings- the kid runs
around half dressed and barefoot all the time!)

We are still feasting on our Duley Deerest, as well as two other does that joined our freezer club! I have made deer meatballs, deer stew, deer goulash, deer tacos, deer burgers, deer spaghetti... you get the idea...

yummy deer goulash

Two nights ago, I ventured away from the fire to my sewing area upstairs. The girls had a birthday party to go to, so VOILA... I call it "purse de la scrap pile!" or... an illustration of necessity being the mother of invention!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Literature choices

Even as I begin typing, I can imagine some of the pain and displeasure this post will cause some of my fellow homeschool friends, but here I go...

When I was in college, the professors were completely child-centered in their philosophy... to the extent of making it impossible for a teacher to have a life and do everything they thought you should do in the classroom. For example, according to the interests of the student, the teacher should design a completely individual plan spanning across several subjects. So, some students might be reading and studying about horses while others are reading and learning about robots. Some might be snacking on pretzels (need to eat while learning), others might be hanging upside down on the couch in the reading nook, and others might be wearing large headphones for silence while others are wearing them with music.

I thought there were many great things about this... but I saw the joke of it all actually happening with a classroom of 30 children. Part of the appeal of homeschooling was that I might be able to do things like this with my own children.

Another thing that was harped on in college was, "get the kids reading, no matter what it takes!"

This was a little bit bigger of a pill for me to swallow... I just didn't know about all of those little series' books like Goosebumps and such... what happened to quality literature?

As we began homeschooling, I had read lots of books that convinced me I was right in not swallowing the "junk food literature" pill. Our first child learned to read with great ease and getting her to bury her nose in a book... a good quality book... was not a challenge.

THEN.... our next child, sweet Sarah, had a very difficult time learning to read. I think she has a mild case of dyslexia, and on top of that is not as academically motivated as her sister. After trying so many things to get her to enjoy reading independently (amidst many shed tears, frustrating moments, and much more), I saw Sarah sitting and laughing out loud, totally engaged in a book at the library one day.

We were with some homeschooling friends, and the little boy had showed her a book he was reading. She was reading over his shoulder... READING!!! This was progress!! I was dumbfounded, and ready to check out the book.... hey, I was ready to buy the whole set!

But there was a moment of crisis... The book? Way worse than Goosebumps... (I guess, I've never read them...)


Yep, you read it correctly. More specifically, it was Captain Underpants and the Bionic Booger Boy!

I had to weigh the good vs. evil... Good: Sarah was reading (did I mention this was MAJOR!)... Evil: Ok, judging from the title, you may probably surmise that it is a book solely based on potty humor... not exactly the dream of a classical educator

I finally caved in... Ok, so what really happened was I started reading it too and got so tickled that I agreed to let her check it out.

The result? It worked; she decided that reading wasn't so bad after all! (And, the Captain Underpants craze was relatively short-lived!)

I am still not a fan of junk literature, and I definitely require the kids to get their fill of good, quality reading. However, I have made allowances for light reading in free time.

Yesterday, Will begged to check out a Captain Underpants book at the library. Once again, I conceded. Yesterday afternoon, I got another treat. Will and Josh stayed together on the couch giggling for about an hour while Will sounded out the book, line by line. This time, it was not Captain Underpants and the Bionic Booger Boy... Oh, no... this time it was Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assult of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds).

Hey, at least the word "subsequent" is in the title!

Tonight, Will possibly broke his toe by getting it stuck in a treadmill. To make him feel better, he and Scott are snuggled up in a chair reading Captain Underpants together... I am not sure who is enjoying it more! :)

Never fear... Back to the Book of Romans and Adam of the Road tomorrow!

Friday, January 9, 2009


I sincerely appreciate the concern several of you have expressed to me over the last two days. I did not intend to take health concerns lightly; I truly did not think that there might be something serious going on.

At the request of a good friend, I contacted a physician in our church. His first response was that it sounded like a heart condition because of the blue hands and feet... Heart condition? What? I am a 32 yo female runner! No way! And then came doubt...

What about that time.... and how about all those varicose veins... and remember when....

I almost had myself convinced that I did indeed have a heart condition! I went to my appointment this afternoon and discussed everything that happened and other symptoms.

I will give you 3 guesses about the diagnosis...


That cracks me up! Seriously, for some reason, some people experience exercise induced hives. It seems that for some, exercise causes a release of (sp?) histamines that can result in a break out of hives!

No, I am not going to stop running! However, I am going to start carrying a Claritin in my running shorts just in case I feel the tingling coming on again. Hopefully it will stay completely random. If not, I should just take a Claritin before I run each time!

NO SWEAT! (Pun intended...)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Yesterday's run

Yesterday I had a very interesting thing happen to me at the end and after my run. I am still not sure exactly what happened, but it was a good reminder of how dependent we all are on the Lord.

I had a plan. Just enough time to feed everyone an early dinner, go to town, quick 5 mile tempo run, head home, shower, get all of us to church. No sweat.

Turns out, that sweat seems to have been the little factor leading to the demise of my schedule! I got on the treadmill, warmed up, ran 5 miles (8 min. pace), and cooled down. Somewhere around mile 4 I began to notice my arms, around my nose, and around my sports bra/armpit line really tingling. I figured what was happening... three or four times before, I have broken out in an itchy-hivey rash in certain areas after running. It will last until I get in the shower and then I am fine... no sweat.

When I got off the treadmill to stretch, I saw that my arms and legs were entirely covered in hives. I stretched for a minute and then headed for the van... still planning on getting to church and figuring it would go away in the shower... As I walked out the door, I started to feel light headed and swimmy, but I thought it was because I had ran and then not stretched as long as usual. When I got in the van, I had the longest ride ever... it took large amounts of self control not to claw my skin off! I was itching terribly, especially my scalp and legs!

When I came in the door, everyone made a strange noise... that "uuuggh... what happened to you," kind of noise/facial expression. I looked at myself in the mirror, and I was bright red (like looking like I had just fried in the tanning bed) from hed to toe and covered in hives... Except, of course, my lips, hands, and feet... which were this weird dead person purplish blue!

I jumped in the shower, washed off... got super dizzy... ended up in bed FREEZING but running no fever for the rest of the night. By bedtime I was back to my normal color and feeling better, but how weird!

As I was resting, I was thinking about my plans. We always have a plan, a schedule, or an agenda. How many times do we forget that we are not in control! The Lord is the one in control of our minutes and days! What motivation to then center our minutes and days around Him- seeking Him, living our lives in a way to honor Him!

I was also thinking about health in general. How many times do we just go exercise or do our daily duties without giving thanks or even thought to the Lord for the health to complete them? It is so easy to forget that He formed us, sustains us, and is in control of all things. I am guilty, for sure, of taking things for granted and not being thankful even in the small things.

So, this morning, I am thankful for blue toes and a red body... a great lesson for me! Actually, I am even more thankful to NOT have blue toes and a red body! :)

I have no idea why that would have happened... one theory is that it was an allergic reaction to something... shampoo, laundry detergent, lotion, etc. The problem is that none of that has changed.... I don't know why it would happen 3-4 times randomly over the last 4 months, each time increasing in severity. Another is that something I internal is being excreted in my sweat and I am having an allergic reaction to that... who knows!

Scott thinks its the sports bra I am wearing... (it is only 18 years old and beginning to dry rot in the elastic!) He thinks it is breaking down and emitting some type of toxins into my body! Just kidding, that's his way of making fun of me!

I know this is way too much information... but a little excitement gave me something to type about ! :) Have a nice day!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Goals for New Year

It is after midnight, but one of my goals for tonight was to catch up on my blog, so please excuse any comma splices or other grammatical train wrecks!

I have 3 main goals for the upcoming year... one Spiritual, one Physical, one involving Character, and then a few smaller things that I probably won't keep... but they sound good now.


2008 was not an easy year in a few different ways. On a spiritual level, I feel like I was up and down, "tossed about," and relying on emotions far too much.

I did not use a Bible reading plan this past year because I wanted to study a few books of the Word on a deeper level. I would read a small portion of Scripture, think about it, and often read a sermon or commentary on the passage.

This is wonderful and worked very well... when I was on the top part of the roller coaster... However, when I was looking too hard at self, too caught up in passing things, or too busy to take time to think at all, I found myself not being diligent to seek the Lord as I should.

Our pastor and my husband often quote (I think it's...) Spurgeon as saying, "we have as much of Christ as we want." Whoa... what a stab in the chest, especially when you are forced to admit that you must not want very much of Christ.

Anyway, This year I am going to use a Bible Reading Plan that I have used a few times in the past. John Piper has recommended it for his church, and I have benefited from it as well. There are four bookmarks for the four daily readings (don't be overwhelmed... the readings are not long). There is a reading in the OT, Psalms, Gospels, and NT. I really like it because while you are plowing through Exodus or Ezekiel, you are still getting a bit of the gospels and Psalms.

It is not as in depth as using the commentaries, but I think that consistency over the course of the year will probably be more beneficial than what I did last year. AND, the sections in the gospels and New Testament are quite small and lend themselves to meditation and/or commentary reading.


The second goal I have for 2009 is to run the Music City Marathon. Many posts ago I referred to a list of goals I created in high school. In addition to marrying a cowboy, moving to Texas, and having a house with a big front porch, I also listed runing a marathon as a lifetime goal.

Well, I am not pregnant, I actually have a little time to train, and I am not getting any younger!

Best of all, we get to stay in a hotel 2 nights!!! For me, staying overnight in a hotel is like the pinnacle of excitement. I am not kidding... I looked forward to going into labor because going to the hospital was kind of like staying in a hotel!

I am sure I could have found some other way to get my husband to go out of town with me for two nights rather than torture myself for 26.2 miles... but I never really claimed to operate on logic.

I have 3 smaller goals for the marathon... going from most realistic to least...

1. Run it around 4 hours.
2. Beat my father-in-law's marathon time (he ran one 20 or so years ago), which was just under
4 hours. :)
3. Qualify for Boston, which would be 3:40 for my age group. (I'm serious... LEAST realistic,
but, hey, you never know, right?!)


It has been brought to my attention that I am joked about as being a match-maker (Emma), a busybody, and Mrs. Cravitz... you know, the nosy lady from Bewitched?

Well, although my pride was a little pricked to know people had been talking about me behind my back, I realize it is true and I don't really like that about myself.

I determined that a goal for 2009 would be to stop playing match-maker. When our friends from KY came for a visit, I determined I would not pester Matt about moving to MS. It dawned on me that a better goal would be to just mind my own business this year. It will probably go a long way towards a better 2009! (Some of the difficulties of 2008 would have been avoided if I had learned this lesson earlier.) Of course, learning a lesson and actually putting it into practice are two different things entirely, but I really, truly want to do a better job of not offering unsolicited advice, speaking when I shouldn't, and stickin' my nose where it don't belong! :)


Okay, here are the goals that I have every year: I am going to start writing letters every week. There is one friend in particular, Tobey, who I dearly love but do a HORRIBLE job staying in contact with. For example, she sent me a very special gift that means a lot to me... MONTHS ago.... I have not sent her a thank you note and I am an awful friend... Thank you, Tobey... I am sorry! This year I really will try harder than the last 5 years!

I am going to keep my life simple. (Stop chuckling, those of you who know me well!) Seriously, I have taken great pains over the last 2 months to cut away extra stuff and fulfill obligations without renewing them. Hopefully this will greatly benefit the education of our children... When you homeschool, it really helps to be at home at least a few days of the week!

And, I am going to lose 10 pounds. Ha ha just kidding, but I would like to eat less sugar... I know, even more ridiculous. Nevertheless, I mean it this time, I am going to cut back on the sweets... don't ask me how that one is going!

I know there was more I wanted to say, but because "getting off coffee" was on the list, too... I need to go to sleep now... can't keep my eyes open any longer...

Catching up part 3

After our company had spent the weekend with us, I was fully aware that I had only one week until our school year would resume.

Remember the state of my house? It had not improved too terribly much at this point... a little spit shining here and there, but that's about it!

I felt compelled to have an annual purge/organize/clean day... which turned into 31/2 days! I started by removing everything from my attic, re-arranging, organizing, and purging as I replaced things. I then continued through our school room and the entire downstairs. When we moved into our home back in April, I unpacked boxes, but it was time to really organize things and get rid of all of the piddly little junky things that accumulate when you have 4 crafty children under the age of 10!

I know there are probably some moms gasping because I threw away puff ball/ pipe cleaner art and some of those little plastic bead things that you melt together with the iron, but so be it... it had to happen.

Meanwhile, a cold had been going through our home, and we all had our turns with stuffy noses and the need for Nyquil. Sarah was NOT particularly fond of the stuff!

While I was creating mass upheaval INSIDE our home, Scott felt it best to remain outside for the majority of the time. In order to make it a profitable few days, he organized the shed he had built a few weeks ago, shot a buck, and made significant progress on our chicken coop!

Now, we are completely aware of how redneck our shed and chicken coop look to ordinary observers.... BUT... my wood genius made them both out of almost all salvaged (key word for FREE) materials!
The chicken coop (made of fence panels, cedar trees, and 4x4s from a friend's play house) is attached to the shed on one side with a door to get into the nest boxes. Scott still has to finish the roof and make an enclosed run coming out of the open end.
Scott with his 5 point. Ok, Kentucky people, I know this looks like a dog to you, (and it was relatively small for around here, too) but he sure is tasty! We took this one to a processor and had the whole thing ground up... more versatile for spaghetti, tacos, etc.

On one of my cleaning days, our friends the McCallums came over. Ginny and I were both wearing our camouflage overalls, (very functional for working in the house and helping the wood genius) and we tried to take a picture. In one I have my eyes totally shut and squinting, and in the other she has a silly face b/c she is trying to keep her eyes open without squinting... oh well! Anyway, they came over and while I sorted through cabinets and took down Christmas decorations, Nathan installed our dishwasher (got a hand-me-down that was newer than our other hand-me-down!) and Ginny cooked lunch for everyone! They have been a great example of servanthood to us, and we appreciate them more than they know!

By Thursday afternoon, the house was in order, everyone was healthy (enough), and we went to Pontotoc to celebrate 2 friends' birthdays. We had supper and played several games... you know, old people fun... Taboo, Outburst, Pictionary, etc. It was a great evening! Happy birthday, Ron and Meagan!

Friday dawned, and we hit the floor running to prepare for Sarah's birthday party. She wanted to have some friends over to have cake and do some horse crafts. We ran to Tupelo to go to Hobby Lobby, came home to decorate, and got the cake iced. When we got home, Hillary and her family were already there. They came to celebrate with us and spend the night. While Hillary and I orchestrated the party, Scott and Adam worked on the chicken coop and went hunting... pausing for cake and ice cream, of course!

On Saturday I went for a long run (see next post), took a nap, and pooped out until it was time to cook supper and plan for this week's school. Boy, I am ready for a nice, "normal" week!

Catching up part 2

On the morning of Christmas Eve, we headed to Memphis to celebrate with family. My sister, brother-in-law, and their two children live in Memphis, but they came over to spend two nights at my mom's house with us. Talk about a house full!

On Christmas Eve we went to my mom's church and then came home to have snacks and open a few presents. me, mom, Hillary on Christmas Eve

On Christmas morning we exchanged gifts and had a nice brunch. I made a shrimp and grits casserole (Jill Robbins' recipe) that was delicious! We played with gifts and drank coffee until it was time to get ready to go to the Duleys.

mom and Josh Christmas morning

Scott's dad only lives about 1o minutes from my mom, so we went over to spend the afternoon with the Duleys. We exchanged gifts there, and Sharon had prepared a huge, delicious Christmas dinner! (I sure was wishing I hadn't eaten so many shrimp grits... "but why stop now," I thought!) I can't pass up sweet potato casserole!
Sharon and Bobby with the kids

The kids always love hanging out with their uncles (ages 16 and 18), and we can't wait until they are our neighbors here in Keownville!

When we got back to my mom's house, she remembered that she had gotten the kids Memphis shirts to get a picture with my dad.. (huge Memphis State... uh... University of Memphis fan)
I had to put my camera down for the group shot to make funny faces, etc. I am not sure if we ever got any good ones, but here are a few cute shots while mom was setting up her camera:

Levi, Hannah, Sarah/ Will, Evelyn

We stayed Christmas night and had a good time "throwin' down some Spades" after the kids were in bed. The next morning we packed up and headed home to Mississippi. Soon after we arrived, some close friends from Kentucky arrived for a visit. They stayed for the weekend, and we (esp. Scott) were blessed by their visit. I wish I had a picture, but alas, it is stuck in Scott's phone and I do not have the technological savvy to retrieve it!

Catching up part 1

It has been quite a while since I have posted, and the month of December was a blur! I will dedicate the next few posts to our holiday activities and goals for the new year.

The first few weeks of December were spent madly finishing school, decorating for Christmas, sewing and knitting gifts, and trying to maintain somewhat of an orderly home. Three of the four were accomplished... it wasn't number four!

If you have basic sewing skills and would like a practical, decorative idea, I think that these dish towels I made for several people turned out really cute.

I cut strips of 5 different fabrics 2" wide and sewed them together. Then, using my rotary cutter and mat, I cut a 3" strip going across all of the different fabrics. I sewed the strip of pieced fabrics to a flour sack dish towel and then finished off the top of the strip with a piece of bias tape or rick rack. I did some with a Christmas theme, some with a harvest theme, and some with a summer theme; however, you could pick fabrics to match a particular kitchen, holiday, etc. I would like to make a set for myself next!

I also made several bathrobes for niece and nephews, knitted a scarf, and knitted two pairs of slippers.

OK, for real... you can imagine what my house looked like!

On December 20th, we celebrated Will's 7th birthday. He was particularly excited because we actually celebrated ON his birthday! Scott's mom, Kay... AKA Nana... came up for the weekend. The kids always look forward to her visits, and this was no exception!
For his birthday, Will wanted to have a few friends over to play Uno and board games. Nana brought the treat of the day, "No Stress Chess." Will had enjoyed learning about chess at our medieval feast, and now he has his very own set. I, too appreciate the little cards explaining which piece moves where!

Will and his friends at the "Uno Party!" So, I can sew, but cake decorating is NOT a strength of mine... the giant cookie was supposed to be decorated to look like an Uno card!