Riverbend Ramblings

~Riverbend Ramblings~
The days are long, but the years are short.
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Friday, March 30, 2007
Dyson Give-A-Way
5 Minutes for Mom is giving away a Dyson Slim Vacuum! With all the spring cleaning going on, everyone needs a vacuum. I have definitely coveted admired the Dyson vacuums and would love to own one! All you have to do to enter the contest is sign the Mr. Linky here and link to the contest on your blog. The winner will be announced Wednesday, April 4.


Spring Cleaning: Day 1 follow-up
It felt so good to complete all of the tasks on my cleaning to-do list yesterday! Most of the laundry room chores were ones that I complete on a monthly basis, so it didn't take too long for me to finish that room.
The family room was a different story. We spend a lot of time in our family room, and it can easily become a clutter-magnet. Last night Mr. C had an appointment, so I was able to really focus and accomplish a lot in this room.

My first task was attacking all of the dust in the room, beginning with the ceiling fan. (Ewww!) I used a vacuum attachment instead of a feather duster because I don't like all the dusties floating down to the floor.

After the dusting and window-washing was done, I culled through the magazine rack. It had outdated newspapers, grocery store ads, and tons of magazines in it. I threw away all the old papers and any magazines that had been torn by curious little hands and decided to save the homeschooling magazines, Taste of Home, and Christian Womanhood magazines for future reference. I sorted them according to category and placed them in a plastic magazine storage container on one of the bookshelves. The most recent magazines and curriculum catalogs that I haven't had a chance to peruse will stay in the magazine rack on the fireplace hearth. Mr. C's newspaper is there, too.
Curly Girl helped me scoot the couch out of the way so that we could vacuum underneath it. Guess where all of her missing puzzle pieces were??? She did a great job sucking up the dust bunnies! We made a game of it, and she was so disappointed when the vacuuming was finished.

The other time-consuming project in this room was the entertainment center. We have built up a large kid-friendly video/DVD collection during our days as non-television watchers. Many of these have been given to us as gifts or purchased at yard sales, and we enjoy watching a movie together on Family Fun Night. However, the shelves do not stay organized for long, and I have to admit that I'm obsessive about grouping "like with like" (that's for you, Copper's Wife) even when it comes videos. I can't stand it when the Veggie Tales get mixed in with the Shirley Temple movies!

I removed everything from the surface and shelves, gave everything a thorough dusting, and then re-grouped the movies. We'll see how long it stays organized. :)
We really enjoyed sitting in a fresh, clean family room last night. Today I'm taking it easy, but I'll be working on the other rooms in our home next week. Spring is definitely here!

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Thursday, March 29, 2007
Gettin' With It~Spring Cleaning: Day 1
I appreciate the kind words and prayers on my behalf as I've been recovering from bronchitis. The end result of all that coughing was some torn muscles, which although very painful, was much better than having broken ribs. :) If you could have seen the way I walked all humped over, you would have thought that I was a little old lady! I felt like one, that's for sure. :) I'm still taking pain meds as needed, but I'm trying not to use them too much. I'm not one who likes to rely on medicine. I'm still only functioning at about 75%, but I'm rejoicing that this is not something permanent like so many health conditions can be. Even though I'm still quite sore, I'm feeling good enough to get back into my homekeeping routine. I'm just fed up with how things have gotten disorganized around our house the last few weeks. So, I'm taking a couple of Motrin today and diving into some much-needed spring cleaning. We've seen the worst of the pollen, I think. Mr. C will work on the exterior of the house while I get busy inside. The little girls will be helping me while the older kids are doing their school work. Here's what's on my to-do list: Laundry Room dust entire room clean light fixture wash the window inside and outside wash baseboards vacuum behind washer, dryer, & freezer wash Buddy's food and water bowls clean the utility sink Family Room clean ceiling fan/light fixture dust entire room wash the window inside and outside vacuum under furniture wash baseboards clean blinds/wash window treatments cull magazines straighten contents of entertainment center mop wood floors I'll check back in later today and cross off the tasks that have been completed. Hopefully we'll be challenged to get a lot accomplished! :) Do you have any projects to work on around your house today? Lunchtime Update: The laundry room is almost finished! I will start on the family room this afternoon. :) Evening Update: My list is history, hallelujah! I'll post some pictures tomorrow. Sweet dreams! :-)


Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Tuesday's Tackle
Since I couldn't get any spring cleaning done today, I decided to tackle Mr. C's pile of clothes that needed ironing. Thankfully I didn't have to do too many white dress shirts today. :)
10 shirts and 3 pairs of pants later :)

Find out what others are tackling at 5 Minutes for Mom.

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How to get out of spring cleaning:
Move to a state with a high pollen count. I'm seeing green--Everywhere!

Growing up in Florida I thought the pollen was pretty bad with the orange blossoms and pine trees, but that was nothing compared to what it's like here. The only good thing about the pollen that has overtaken our home is that it gives me an excuse to postpone my spring cleaning. It's absolutely pointless to try to clean anything right now. The pollen just layers everything.

Mr. C rinsed his truck off, but it was covered again a few hours later.

Mickey Mouse hasn't had to sweep the back porch in several days because the stirred up pollen just settles back down again.

The kids have had loads of fun drawing pictures on the glass top of the back porch table. The little girls think the the pollen is chalk dust.:)

Even though we take our shoes off before entering the house, we still carry pollen in on our clothes. Buddy's coat of black hair is covered in it every time he comes in, too. There's a thin layer throughout the house. It's been much worse than last year, maybe because we haven't had any rain lately. I shouldn't complain too much, though. If it weren't for the pollen we wouldn't be able to enjoy the Creator's handiwork.

hedge in front of the house

forsythia in the garden

crabapple blossoms in the back yard

I guess we can endure the pollen and reap the blessings of nature. Thankfully we haven't had any severe allergy outbreaks. I hope all of you are enjoying spring where you live, too! :)

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Monday, March 26, 2007
Menu Plan Monday~ March 26
Happy Monday! Here's what's cookin' at our house this week:

Sunday~ roast tenderloin; creamed corn; broccoli; rice; cornbread

Monday~ sausage and cheddar quiche; pancakes

Tuesday~ fried chicken tenders; black-eyed peas; fried okra

Wednesday~ hamburgers; fries; fruit cocktail

Thursday~ roast chicken; garlic potatoes; broccoli w/cheese sauce

Friday~ pizza; salad

You can find more menus at Laura's. :o)


Sausage & Cheddar Quiche
One of my favorite foods is spinach quiche. However, a couple of my kids won't touch it! I experimented a little and came up with a quiche that has been a big hit with the whole family. If you enjoy quiche, then this recipe is a very simple one to add to your menu plan. It's great for breakfast, brunch, or even supper. We have breakfast foods for supper from time to time at our house. I usually serve this quiche with pancakes. The ingredients are simple, but you can substitute with whatever you have on hand.

1 frozen pastry crust (I stretch this recipe and use 2 deep-dish shells.)
1 lb. bulk sausage
1/2 c. chopped onion
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. basil
dash of garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 c. milk

Prepare the pastry shell. Cook the sausage until it's brown and drain. Combine the sausage with the next six ingredients, mixing well. Spoon the mixture into the pastry crust. Top with the cheese. Combine the eggs and milk, beating until just foamy. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the cheese. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes or until the quiche is set.


Saturday, March 24, 2007
Remembering My Wedding Day
My husband and I became friends when I was in the 9th grade and he was a senior. I knew right away that he would always have my heart, but I had to learn a very tough lesson in patience as I waited a few years for him to realize that I was THE ONE for him!

Twelve years ago today I married the man of my dreams. We have grown closer than I ever imagined was possible, just like God intended. Our hearts and souls are knit forever, and we've been blessed beyond measure.

Today I was reflecting on our wedding day, all the butterflies and attention to last-minute details. I arrived at the church building a couple of hours before the ceremony and sat alone in the quiet auditorium. A sweet peace that I can't explain came over me, and I could feel God's arms around me as all the jitters just melted away.

This first picture is of me getting ready in the "bride's room" at the church building. The second picture is of me and my flower girl, Savannah. She grew up and married our ring bearer (I'm serious!) and gave birth to a baby girl just a few weeks ago.


Our 12th Wedding Anniversary
I'll always be grateful for this day-

for the meaning it has,

the memories it holds,

and the wonderful life

it's brought me!


Friday, March 23, 2007
Making Progress
Those of you who left encouraging comments about the sad state of my flower garden will be pleased to know that we're making progress! The children and I have finished raking about 2/3 of the flower beds. Mr. C took part of the afternoon off and was able to clean out most of the leaves from the front yard. We're just about ready for a few truckloads of mulch. I'm beginning to have some hope!

The little girls had the most fun looking for creepy-crawly things that were unearthed with all the raking. They showed no mercy to this little fella.

We've all been spending a lot more time outdoors this week, and that means that the kids have been getting to bed later and having a harder time rising the next morning. The fresh air and exercise really tires them (and me) out!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Thanks so much to all of you who have been sending get-well wishes my way. :)

Yesterday's trip to the doctor was very beneficial. I do not have any broken ribs, praise the Lord! Most likely I've torn a couple of muscles. I'm taking some medications that have helped decrease the pain. The doctor said it could possibly take 6-8 weeks for me to feel "normal" again. I really can't complain, though, because there are so many people who are struggling to just survive each day. I'm blessed!

Since I was feeling a little bit better, we all enjoyed eating our lunch outside. Curly Girl and Lil' Nut ate their food in the garden.
Bookworm and Mickey Mouse opted to dine on the big rocks in the front yard.
It felt so nice to sit outside for a while and enjoy the beautiful weather. I'm so glad that spring is officially here! We spotted some cardinals and a brown thrush while we were outside. We also spotted two butterflies in the garden.

I took some time to evaluate the state of our garden. It looks pretty pathetic right now. Instead of raking up our leaves in the fall like most people, we instead wait until spring. This isn't due to our gardening smarts--we're just a bit lazy. It's going to take a lot of work to get the garden from what it looks like now
to what it looked like last year.
At least I have a lot of little helpers. :)

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Monday, March 19, 2007
Menu Plan Monday~ 3/19/07
Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! :)

I planned this week's menus with very simple meals that my nine year old can prepare because I'm still having a lot of rib pain. :( I'm going to the doctor tomorrow for some heavy-duty pain meds and (hopefully) some relief!

Sunday~ roast sirloin; fried okra; squash casserole; rice; cake brownies

Monday~ leftovers

Tuesday~ hot dogs; fries; fruit salad

Wednesday~ tacos

Thursday~ meat loaf; mashed potatoes; sauted squash & onions; black-eyed peas; salad

Friday~ pizza; salad

Thanks to Laura for hosting Menu Plan Monday.


Cake Brownies
Yesterday I needed a quick, easy dessert to go with our Sunday dinner. I grabbed my MOMY'S cookbook and found this recipe for Cake Brownies. I served them warm with some vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Cake Brownies
1 box chocolate cake mix (I used Devil's Food because that's what I had in my pantry.)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 bag chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix the first three ingredients until a crumbly mixture develops. Add the nuts. Press 1/2 of the mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Heat the condensed milk, chocolate chips, and vanilla over medium heat until melted, stirring constantly. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cake mixture. Top with the remaining 1/2 of the cake mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

chocolate mixture poured over 1/2 of cake mixture

the finished product

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Friday, March 16, 2007
We've been enjoying our week with Mr. C's parents. We've basically thrown our daily schedule out the window, but it's good to be able to do that every once in a while. I am much more appreciative of our routine when we've been off of it for a few days. We doubled up on some of our school work so that the kids could take a couple of days off for some fun.

All of the children have enjoyed some one-on-one time with their grandparents. Mickey Mouse spent several hours this week flying a new model plane with Grandpa. We have too many trees around our house, so they flew the plane in the large field behind our church building. Everything was going great until a sudden gust of wind planted the plane in the lofty limbs of an old oak tree. Mr. C and Grandpa spent a few frustrating hours attempting all sorts of things to get the plane down. The plane eventually did reach the ground again with the aid of a chain saw. :)

We took advantage of the good weather and visited a nearby nature center. There were many babies running around playing together. They reminded me of spring. Bookworm was begging to bring one of these cuties home.

These buffalos would just stand there and look at us. They seemed to enjoy munching the mulch more than the grass.

We all enjoyed the otters. They were so silly!

We are so thankful that Mr. C's parent were able to spend a few days with us. I wish that we were able to see our extended family more often, but I think that all of us appreciate the special times we are able to spend together so much more now than we did when we lived 5 miles apart. We certainly treasure these days and the memories we are making.

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Monday, March 12, 2007
Children's Devotional Ideas
My friend Kate has created a new blog that is geared toward little people. It's called Mini-Manna for Little Lambs. I have been blessed by many of Kate's devotionals, and I'm looking forward to sharing her kid-friendly devotionals with my younger children during our "fun preschool" time. Head over to Mini-Manna for Little Lambs and take a look. Thank you, Kate, for your hard work! :)

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We had a wonderful day at church yesterday. Two new families visited with us, so I think I'll be baking some cookies later today. :) We always like to take some fresh-baked goodies to our visitors. My husband preached a wonderful message on "The Curse of the Law." I'm so very glad that we live under grace and not under the law!

This morning I've been busy around the house sprucing things up in preparation for the arrival of Mr. C's parents. They will be staying with us this week. The kids are so excited to have their grandparents here since they haven't seen them since Christmas.

We're having the most wonderful weather! Each day after I wake up I head straight to the window to see if their are any new signs of life outside. These blooms greeted me today.
I hope you are having lovely weather where you live. Have a blessed week!

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Friday, March 09, 2007
Hugs From God
Today while I was cleaning up in our home office I came across one of my old prayer/praise notebooks. I sat down in my rocking chair and spent some time reading through the entries.

Reading over the requests I was lifting up before the Lord 2 years ago and remembering how He answered those requests was such a blessing! I was even more encouraged when I looked at the "praise" pages. Each day I had listed at least 5 things that I specifically counted as blessings. Some of these blessings were what I considered "big"; others were small in comparison, yet I had to smile as I recalled each one. Here are a few examples of praises for one particular week:

~ The potty-training child stayed dry all day.

~ My husband watched the children so that I could have some free time.

~ A child did a great job setting the table.

~ Someone bought me a new bedspread.

~ I found dry-erase markers on sale.

~ I remembered to return library items on time.

~ We received an unexpected check in the mail.

~ I was able to spend some time baking cookies with the children.

~ A child read his first words.

What treasured memories! I have so very much to be grateful for! Do you see how keeping a praise notebook is a way of journalling God's love?

I continue to write in my blessings notebook which I've titled Hugs From God. I've found it especially beneficial as a pastor's wife to record the ways that God shows His love to Mr. C and me as we serve Him in the ministry. Sometimes we lose sight of all the many miracles the Lord constantly works on our behalf, and I'm sure that many years from now we'll enjoy reading over the ways we've seen God bless.

Do you record God's blessings in your life? If not, start by finding a notebook or journal. You may even have an unused one laying around the house. At the end of each day, list at least five ways that God showed His love to you that day. You may also want to list prayer requests in a section of your notebook so that you can have a record of how God answered your prayers. Save each notebook as you fill it up with blessings. Every once in a while, maybe on a day when you're feeling down, flip through the pages and recall all the hugs- big and little- that God has given you.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Favorite Things: Birthday Gifts
One of my birthday gifts was a new place setting of my Johnson Brothers china. This pattern is called "Summer Chintz", and I selected it years ago as part of my wedding registry. Mr. C knew that I was wanted to add to my collection, and he surprised me with these lovely pieces yesterday.

Although we don't use this set every day, it is definitely one of my favorite things. The children feel so special when the table is set with my "good" dinnerware. The dainty flowers remind me that spring is just around the corner!

Thanks, Sweetie, for such a thoughtful gift!

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Just thought I'd check in and let you all know that I'm still alive! :)

The past 10 days have been quite challenging for our family, but God has been so good to us, and I'm happy to report that things are on their way back to "normal." I sincerely appreciate the prayers and well-wishes from my blogging pals. :)

Mr. C is recovering from his appendectomy. He has been a very pleasant patient! He is not the type to whine and fuss when he's sick. In fact, I usually feel quite helpless as his nurse. I came down with the flu the day Mr. C arrived home from the hospital. The next several days were all a blur. I'm not sure how my poor children would have fared had it not been for some of the sweet ladies at our church who prepared meals and delivered them to us. I finally went to see the doctor yesterday and was diagnosed with bronchitis. I'm starting to feel a bit better today, although now my ribs are letting me know that I've done plenty of coughing.

To top off everything else, today is my birthday! I was feeling good enough to open some very nice presents this morning.:) Mr. C treated me and the kids to lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, and then he took me shopping. I actually didn't buy a thing! We didn't stay at the mall very long; I was worn out in no time! I did receive some birthday money that I'm saving to purchase a new digital camera. If you have any suggestions on a make/model that you would recommend, please pass along the info! I'm specifically looking for a camera that takes great indoor pictures.

Hopefully the remainder of our week will be uneventful. We're expecting company this weekend, and then hopefully Mr. C and I will get away for a few days to celebrate our upcoming anniversary.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

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