Riverbend Ramblings

~Riverbend Ramblings~
The days are long, but the years are short.
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Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Prayers Needed
The last few days have been rough! My dear husband awoke around 11p.m. Saturday with severe abdominal pains and vomiting. He vomited 40-50 times over the next 8 hours and was in excruciating pain. I knew that this was not the flu! I had emergency surgery three years ago, and I could tell from the level of pain he was experiencing that something was very wrong. He finally consented to going to the ER. A young couple from our church came to our house to watch our 4 kids while we high-tailed it to the hospital. To make a long story short, Mr. C had an emergency appendectomy on Sunday night. He was able to come home yesterday and is doing pretty well, although he's in quite a bit of pain today. Please pray for a speedy recovery! Also, I think I was just worn down from going so long without sleep and from the stress of my husband being so sick. I now have a fever and cough, and I think I'm just functioning on auto-pilot right now. The older children have been good about doing their schoolwork without Mommy's help, and the little girls are doing their best to play nicely. :) Please pray that I will feel better so I can care for the rest of the family and that sickness won't spread throughout the house.


Saturday, February 24, 2007
"The way you manage your own home is important, too. Very important. Little things again- like having the table set when John comes home. And making the meal the most important thing in your life at that moment. Nothing lifts a man's spirit like the odor of fresh coffee and meat and muffins baking in the oven. And when you whisper 'Darling, I cooked this especially for you!' Well- that's a big deposit in your happiness-for-life bank account."

~ from Papa's Wife by Thyra Ferre Bjorn

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Here are some pictures of the recent birthday-girls enjoying their birthday cakes. Lil' Nut wanted a chocolate cake, and Bookworm wanted a strawberry cheesecake covered with whipped cream. They have both inherited my sweet tooth!

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Monday, February 19, 2007
Happy Monday! I've been a busy little bee this morning. So far I've washed (and put away!) 3 loads of laundry, swept the house, tidied all of my "hotspots", dusted my bedroom, and finished today's school lessons. Whew! This afternoon I'm going to reward myself by curling up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. I'm almost finished reading Papa's Wife by Thyra Ferre Bjorn. This is the first book in the trilogy, and it has been easy, light-hearted reading. If you are a fan of Anne of Green Gables, The Sound of Music, or Jan Karon's books, you'll enjoy Papa's Wife. The weather here today is still on the chilly side, but it should be warming up in the next few days. I told the children that maybe it will be warm enough to set up the hammock later in the week. :) I'm looking forward to warmer sunshine-filled days!


Remembering Presidents' Day
We've been studying about some of the early American Presidents for the last couple of weeks. I had each of the older children write a short story about a President of their choosing. While we've enjoyed learning some new things together, there have been some challenges. It's difficult for me to explain to my children how America used to be. It's hard for them to imagine a time when our nation's leaders actually sought God's wisdom and guidance as they forged the way for us.

I came across this quote by President Abraham Lincoln that I wanted to share. Though the words were penned 144 years ago, they are, unfortunately, even more fitting today. May we all be encouraged to pray for America and our national leaders.

The Forgotten God

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.

Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

~President Abraham Lincoln (March 30, 1863)

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Thursday, February 15, 2007
The Big Reveal
We had a fun time yesterday celebrating Valentine's Day and Bookworm's birthday. She opened a few small gifts after breakfast, but I mentioned in another post that I had a big surprise planned for later in the day.

While Mr. C took the kids visiting at the nursing home, I got busy working on Bookworm's bedroom. I taped some streamers over her door so that she wouldn't go in her room if she arrived home ahead of schedule.
I worked as fast as I could to get the new things into the room and the old things out. Despite all of my planning, the kids arrived back home before I was finished. Bookworm was very curious about why she couldn't go in her room, so I told her that I was giving her room a very thorough cleaning as a birthday gift. She was still a bit confused, but she was convinced that everything was normal when she heard the vacuum running.

When I finally had everything in place, I grabbed the video camera and hid in the corner of the room as Mr. C told her she could enter. When she opened the door she started screaming and jumping up and down. She was absolutely thrilled!! I think the *makeover* was a big success!

Here are some pictures of the finished product. You can't tell from these pictures, but Bookworm's walls are a pinkish-lavender color. She has wanted a horse-themed room for several months, and this set goes perfectly with the wall color. The new items on the dresser are the lamp and pony with the cowgirl.
Bookworm loved the bright colors on the bedding.

Here's a closeup of the quilt. The sheets are the same pattern as the cream colored stripe with tiny flowers.

This pillow is adorable! It's designed like a western shirt with the fringe and the front pocket.

The lamp was probably my favorite. It has a little horseshoe charm with pink rhinestones on the pull-chain.

I want to share the story of my search for these goodies, but that will have to come in another post!

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007
A Life-Changing Valentine
My life was forever changed on February 14, 1998. I received the most incredible gift of love that day- I became a mother.

Oh, how I remember those first few weeks at home with a newborn! I had read every "What To Expect" book out there, but I still had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Bookworm and I began our journey down the mother/daughter road together. On days when I questioned my skills as a mother, one smile from that precious face would clear all doubts away.

I've made many mistakes on our journey, but Bookworm and I have continued the growing process together. She has turned into a young lady right before my eyes!

Sometimes I wish that I could turn back the hands of time and be able to do those early days over again. I'd like to think that I would make fewer mistakes. But I can't go back. Instead, I'll embrace each new day and strive to be the mother that God would have me to be.

To my Birthday Girl,
I pray that in the coming year you will grow closer to Jesus and seek to please Him in all that you say and do. I'm so very thankful that God chose you to be my firstborn! Daddy and I feel so blessed to have you as our daughter. You will always have a special place in our hearts. Happy 9th birthday, Sweetie! I love you bunches!

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007
I've enjoyed a leisurely afternoon pampering myself in preparation for tonight's Valentine Banquet. I enjoyed a relaxing bubble bath with my favorite scent from Bath and Body Works, Japanese Cherry Blossom...

and gave myself a pedicure with my favorite shade of polish from OPI called I'm Really Not A Waitress.
Now I'm all dressed up and ready to go! This year we reserved a restaurant in town for our banquet instead of using the fellowship hall at the church building, so I didn't have to spend the day decorating! I have to admit that I'm looking forward to an evening out with other grownups and no children. One of the teenagers from church is going to watch them for us. This will only be the second time in a year and a half that we've left them with a sitter. Now if the rain would just let up; at least I won't be the only lady at the banquet having a bad hair day!

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*Signs* of Valentine's Day around our house:

I've placed some of my fovorite Precious Moments miniatures on the kitchen counter where I can glance at them throughout the day. These were gifts Mr. C gave me on our first anniversary. They make me smile. Our "love table" greets visitors as they enter the front door.

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Monday, February 12, 2007
Happy Monday!
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I spent Saturday doing some cleaning projects that require more time than I can devote to them during the week. It always feels so good to get caught up with things around the house! Sunday we had a wonderful day at church; Mr. C preached some great messages (which he always does :D). Mondays are just about the weirdest day of the week for us. Bookworm has a mid-morning piano lesson in town which throws the morning school schedule off a wee bit. We jump back into things after her lesson, but it does take us longer to finish up our work. Mr. C sometimes takes part of the day off on Monday, so today is was nice to have him home with us. He treated the kids to McDonald's for lunch, which means I have four more Happy Meal toys around the house to step on. :-} This afternoon a friend from church rode with me to pick up some birthday goodies I'd ordered for Bookworm who will be turning 9 on Wednesday. I am soooo excited about Bookworm's presents! I'll just say that when we painted her bedroom a couple of months ago, I knew it was time to change her room decor. She is absolutely in love with anything and everything to do with horses, so I've been searching high and low for some things to complete an "Extreme Makeover" in her room. I'll share pictures with you after the "transformation." I've been updating the children's ChorePacks, but it is taking me longer than anticipated. My kids are such a blessing around the house, but recently they have not been doing their best on their chores. Part of the problem lies with me not checking the chores consistently. I need to take some time this week to re-train them in some areas and work on my consistency. :D Tomorrow night we are having our church-wide Valentine's Banquet, so between preparing for that and Bookworm's birthday, I have a pretty busy week ahead of me. I do have a few thoughts to share on the Valentine's theme of l-o-v-e, so hopefully I'll get around to posting those later this week.

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Friday, February 09, 2007
Lil' Nut received quite a bit of cash for her birthday, so yesterday we planned to take her shopping. The children worked diligently to complete their schoolwork before lunchtime. Mr. C decided to take the family to a restaurant for lunch, so we loaded up and hit the road. We live quite a ways from our shopping destination, so we had plenty of time to decide where to stop for lunch. I suggested that we go here. Reservations are usually required, but we decided to take our chances. We arrived after the bulk of the lunch crowd had left, so we were able to get a table immediately. Let me just tell you that we pigged out! I enjoyed some fried green tomatos, turnip greens, mac & cheese, corn, beans, roast beef, and yellow squash. Dessert was pure bliss-- peanut butter pie and New York cheesecake! Need I say more? We finally arrived at the mall and headed straight to the Build-A-Bear Workshop. I think that the prices they charge for creating a furry friend are rediculous, but if you could have seen the expressions on Lil' Nut's face as she added the stuffing, bathed her bear, and picked out its clothes, you would have thought it was worth it. Lil' Nut had enough money left over for a more practical gift: a new pair of shoes. We were able to find her a cute little pair of sandals. Yes, I know it's still a bit chilly for sandals, but Spring will be here before too long. We went to Toys R Us (Curly Girl calls it Toys 4 Us :D) but didn't buy anything, and then we went to Sam's Club to stock up on a few essentials. On our way home Mr. C was so sweet and let me run into a school supply store and a Michael's craft store for a few minutes. Oh, I just love going to Michael's! I picked up some supplies for a Valentine craft to make with the children at church. It was pretty late by the time we got home, and I was glad that we didn't even need supper since we were still so stuffed from our huge lunch. We had a wonderful day and accomplished a lot!

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007
WFMW~Valentine's Ideas
Valentine's Day sometimes get short-changed at our house because it's also my oldest daughter's birthday. This year I'm working on making the day a little more special for my kids and focusing on what we can do to make the day special for others as well, so I thought I'd share a couple of ideas for the Love, Sweet Love edition of WFMW.

One group of people that often gets left out of all the Valentine's hoopla is senior citizens. Last year for Valentine's Day, our church presented each of the widow ladies in attendance with a beautiful single red rose that had a poem attached to it. Several of the ladies had tears in their eyes. I'm sure they really miss their husbands on Valentine's Day! This year our family will be going to a local nursing home on Valentine's Day. The children will sing songs and deliver hand-made Valentines. We don't take sweet treats, as many seniors have restricted diets, but the residents sure do appreciate a little card and a smile from a young person.

Can't think of an inexpensive gift for an older friend or neighbor? We made some envelopes out of white paper and placed a few individually wrapped tea bags inside. For those who like candles, you could place a scented votive in the envelope.

Now matter how old someone is, they always appreciate a visit, a smile, a kind word, and a little something that says, "I care about you!"

For more Works For Me Wednesday ideas, head over to Rocks In My Dryer.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007
One of the *joys* of homeschooling is keeping track of all the paperwork. I maintain a portfolio for each child which contains daily work. I keep all of their graded tests and quizzes in a separate notebook so that I have easy access for recording and averaging their grades. I've been staying on top of grading their papers, but I've fallen way behind in getting them into the notebook.

I had about 6 weeks worth of graded papers piled neatly stacked on top of my desk. I sorted them by subject and then 3-hole punched them. It took less than 15 minutes to get this job done, and now I'm all caught up!



Thanks to Five Minutes For Mom for hosting Tackle It Tuesday.

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Monday, February 05, 2007
My sweet baby girl turned three years old today! As you can see from her picture, she is something else! Her nickname is "Lil' Nut" for a reason!

She has an uncanny sense of humor. She is constantly saying things that just crack us up. She can give you this certain look that has "royalty" written all over it.

Each day she chooses a different name for herself. At church she tells the nursery workers her name for the day, and she will only respond to that particular name. It might be the name of a Disney princess or the name of one of her sister's friends, you just never know.

She is a thumb-sucker, but she only sucks the thumb on her right hand. Those little front teeth are protruding ever-so-slightly. She loves to have polish on her fingernails, but I've told her that she can't have polish on her thumb until she can keep it out of her mouth. She'll come running up to me saying, "See, Mommy, I'm not sucking my thumb! Will you paint it?" I tell her that we'll wait a while and see. Sure enough, that thumb will be back in her mouth a few minutes later.

Lil' Nut is very affectionate. She gives hugs and kisses to all of her favorite people.

She has great comprehension for a little person, too. She really understands that her grandmas live in "Fworida" and that it takes all day to get there.

She wants to marry her daddy when she grows up, and she's already begging to wear my wedding dress which happens to be hanging in her closet.

She loves her brother and sisters and is always wanting to play with them, although she and Curly Girl have seemingly endless battles over Polly Pockets and princesses.

It's hard to believe she's turning three. All day long we were asking her, "How old are you now?" She would smile real big and say, "Ummm, two! Ummm, four!", just to tease us, and then finally she would tilt her little head to the side and say, "Fwee!"

Happy Birthday, Lil' Nut! I love you bunches!


Menu Plan~ February 5th
Sunday: roast tenderloin; rice; fried okra; fresh bread

Monday: birthday cake (yep, you read that right)

Tuesday: turkey chili; cornbread

Wednesday: pancakes; bacon; fruit salad

Thursday: chicken and rice bake; broccoli; squash casserole

Friday: pizza; salad

For more menu ideas head over to Laura's.

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Tasty Turkey Chili
Turkey Chili
2 Tbs. oil
1/3 C. diced onions
1/3 C. diced peppers
1/3 C. diced celery
1 Tbs. garlic
1 - 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
1 (16 oz.) can chili beans~ undrained
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatos and green chilies~ undrained
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
chili pepper to taste

Saute the vegetables in oil until well browned. Add the turkey and cook until browned. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes.

You could also put everything in the crock pot after you brown the turkey and let everything simmer on LOW for a couple of hours. I also shredded some sharp cheddar cheese to top the chili with. Very yummy and easy, too!

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Sunday, February 04, 2007
The Joys of Motherhood
I just have to tell ya'll what my kids did this evening. We eat a light supper/snack before heading to church for the evening service. I usually serve the kids popcorn and apple slices--something simple following a big Sunday meal. Well, this afternoon I actually took a nap (oh, what bliss!), and when I awoke I was a little on the groggy side. Lil' Nut informed me, "You're getting your supper soon." I didn't think anything about it until Curly Girl and Mickey Mouse walked into my room a few minutes later carrying a cookie sheet with two plates on it. Yes, indeed, they fixed Mr. C and me quite a snack: leftover rice from lunch with Frank's Hot Sauce sprinkled on top (they didn't think about heating it in the microwave); a handful of potato chips; about a tablespoon each of peanuts and raisins. Now, that's a meal if ever there was one! I guess they haven't learning about balancing carbs yet. I nibbled on the raisins and peanuts but passed on the rest. I wish I would have thought to take a picture of our "feast", but I wasn't awake enough to think about it. The kids were so proud of themselves! It's good to see that those lessons in the kitchen are really paying off! :)

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Friday, February 02, 2007
Today was a special day for me and Shay (heretofore known as Bookworm). She has been saving up her money so that we could go on a mommy/daughter date. Isn't she sweet? I enjoy spending one-on-one time with my children, but my first-born is the child that craves time with me the most. She has been looking forward to to our "date" for quite some time.

After we finished school and prepared lunch for the rest of the family, Mr. C came home early so that Shay and I could head out for a fun afternoon. Shay got to choose where we were going to have lunch since it was her treat. She chose a restaurant in a nearby town. We had a very nice lunch together. Shay ordered a cheeseburger and fries, and I ordered a yummy chicken dish. We shared a brownie and ice cream for dessert.

After lunch we visited a few stores and just did some browsing. We went to the Dollar Tree and found some cute Valentine decorations. There's a small mall in the town we were in, so we decided to go to one of the department stores there since I had a $10 off coupon. We were able to find two skirts and two shirts for Shay (these are going to be saved for her birthday that's just 2 weeks away), and I found a designer handbag on clearance. Our total for all these goodies was under $30!!! We were really bargain-shopping! Our last stop before heading home was the grocery store. The store was packed, but expected no less on a Friday evening. When we got home we fixed pizza for everyone, but we were too stuffed from our late lunch to have any!

I'm so thankful that Shay and I were able to share a special time together this afternoon. She is growing up so fast, and I want to be able to make wonderful memories with her that we will always look back and smile upon. She is a real treasure!

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Thursday, February 01, 2007
Decluttering Challenge
I just found out (thanks to Copper's Wife) that Susan has started her homemaking blog With Heart and Hand...By Grace up again. While catching up on some the posts she has written recently I was excited to read about her Decluttering Challenge.

I'm constantly decluttering around my house, but I often get sidetracked and don't completely finish what I started out to accomplish. That's something I'm working on right now, so I decided to join Susan's Challenge.

Here's the scoop: spend just 15 minutes a day getting rid of clutter, post about it or leave a comment on Susan's blog, and post a link on Mr. Linky. Simple! Oh, but not-so-simple for me! Once I get started on an organizing project, it's hard for me to stop! The key for me will be limiting my decluttering time to 15 minutes.

That's my goal: 15 minutes a day.

In order to achieve my goal, I need to plan it into my day. I used to have a set time scheduled each day for working on cleaning/organizing projects, but over the past few months I have let my attention drift to other things. I plan on writing my "decluttering time" on my daily schedule.

I'm looking forward to seeing what I can accomplish during those 15 minutes a day.

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Rainy Day Fun
Last night we stayed up rather late keeping an eye on the weather radar. We were hoping to wake up and see snow on the ground, but when we awoke it was to the pitter-patter of rain instead.

The kids and I stayed in the house all day where we were warm and dry. We finished up our school work after lunch. I was trying to think up a fun activity for the afternoon, but Curly Girl came up with a great idea all by herself. She suggested we have a puppet show, and so that's exactly what we did.

Mickey Mouse and Bookworm hauled a couple of dining chairs into the family room and draped a blanket over them for a background. Mr. C and I were very entertained by Joseph, Moses, and Lamb.
Lil Nut sat on Daddy's lap and was absolutely captivated by the puppets- until she decided she wanted to be part of the show, too.

The puppet show was a big hit and will make a great addition to our list of "rainy day" activities.

**If you have any rainy day activities that have been a hit at your house, please share them with me! :)

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