Riverbend Ramblings

~Riverbend Ramblings~
The days are long, but the years are short.
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Thursday, January 31, 2008
She's Learning

Lil' Nut is a nut!!! She's pretty smart, too. She can incorporate playing dress-up, talking to her ponies, and singing into a microphone all at the same time. :)

This afternoon I was doing some work in our office/music room when she came to me and asked me to get down a bag of dolls that is stored in the top of her bedroom closet. I told her I'd be there in just a minute.

Well, I got sidetracked. A few minutes later she came back.

"Mommy, you're not obeying me! I said to please come and get my dollies for me!"

She actually used a very respectful tone of voice, but her choice of words just cracked me up! Where do you think she learned that "you're not obeying me" phrase?

I apologized to her for forgetting about her dolls and promptly went to get them. Unfortunately, they weren't on the shelf in the closet. Apparently I put them somewhere else, but I can't remember where!


Tuesday, January 29, 2008
A "Normal" Day
I love "normal" days. Housework. Schoolwork. Training. Laughing. You know, the stuff life's made of. Today was a "normal" day.

This morning Curly Girl got all dolled up to go spend part of the day with Mrs. Betty, one of the widows in our church. They made plans to eat lunch together and go to the store to browse the toy aisles. I'm so glad that my kids have substitute grandmothers who love on them since their grandmas live far away.

Big sister Bookworm loaned Curly Girl a pair of hoop earrings, put her hair up in a ponytail, and dabbed some lip gloss on her lips. Curly Girl only had one handwriting worksheet to complete today, so after we reviewed phonics blends and the five addition family she was ready to head out the door. Can you tell she's happy to have a special date?

Bookworm finished up her study on Sequoyah, the famous Cherokee Indian who developed a written alphabet, as part of her Georgia history class. She even got to practice writing some Cherokee symbols.

This afternoon I baked six dozen cookies for three first-time visiting families we had at church on Sunday. I made Cream Cheese Cookies and The Butler's Chocolate Chip Cookies. This was my first batch using Becky's (actually, her husband's) recipe which I found here. Mr. C said that he prefers The Butler's over my usual chocolate chip cookie. My feelings weren't hurt one bit. I think I've found a new favorite cookie dough. :)
Cream Cheese Cookies

The Butler's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bookworm did a splendid job folding a load of cleaning towels for me. She is such a wonderful helper around the house. She was singing hymns at the top of her voice while she folded. I stood in the next room and smiled to myself while I listened to her. I wish I were always so cheerful when it comes to doing my chores.
After all of the day's lessons had been checked I found a few spare moments to play Frisbee with Buddy. He ran around the yard like a little tornado. I think he'll sleep soundly tonight.
Can you tell from my new blog look that I'm in the mood for spring? I guess I need to get the Valentine's decorations down from the attic. Maybe climbing up and down the stairs will count as my exercise tomorrow. :)

I hope you had a nice, "normal" day, too!

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Friday, January 25, 2008
Friday :)
Brrr! We had another frigid twenty degree morning at our house. My wonderful hubby quickly got the fireplace going, so it was toasty warm in the main rooms. Those of you who have spent your whole lives functioning in cold weather just amaze me! I sure have enjoyed seeing snow this year, but I don't think I would like to have to live in it day in and day out.

We usually eat a quick breakfast like cereal or oatmeal on weekday mornings (this morning I had grits, ya'll), but once in a while I like to fix something heartier, especially when it's cold out. Breakfast casseroles are great because you can prepare the dish the night before and just pop it into the oven in the morning. By the time the kids have done their chores and had devotions, breakfast is ready. I'd rather prepare a casserole than stand over the stove for half an hour cooking eggs to order. :) This recipe feeds our family of six. Enjoy!

Sausage Casserole
4 slices of bread, cubed (soft bread works best)
9 eggs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb. bulk sausage
1/4 cup chopped onion
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bread cubes in a greased 9" x 13" baking dish. Brown sausage until cooked through and drain. Pour sausage over bread crumbs. Beat eggs and combine with cheese and onion. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Pour over sausage. Bake for 25-30 min.


I was tempted to have the kids do their schoolwork at the dining room table instead of in the schoolhouse this morning, but we braced ourselves for the chill and headed out there anyway. The small heater in the schoolhouse was working as hard as it could, but small hands have a hard time gripping a pencil until they get warmed up. My students worked diligently, and we were all glad to head back into the house at lunch time.

I'm looking forward to a somewhat relaxing weekend. This afternoon I'm going to bundle up and head to the grocery store to do my weekly shopping. Friday isn't my favorite day to go to the store since it's usually quite crowded, but I really don't want to go tomorrow because I have some housekeeping tasks to tend to, and we have plans to fellowship with a family in our church later in the day.

I'm still working on my little laundry problem. Most of the online tips suggest trying a solvent such as WD-40 since chapstick has a petroleum base. I'm not crazy about spraying chemicals on things my children sleep on, so I'll give good old vinegar a try. I'll let you know if it works. :)

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Thursday, January 24, 2008
Mr. C's chapstick has been missing for a couple of days. I finally found it this afternoon. In the laundry room. In the dryer. After I finished drying a load of sheets.
Oh, well! At least these bright pink spots are on pink sheets. I'm sure the little girls won't mind. :)

I'm off to try a few home remedies to see if I can get these spots out.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Do you need a pick-me-up?
Chyrll of Chyrll's Corner is hosting a mid-winter giveaway. She's actually giving away four packages of goodies. Go here to enter. The contest closes as 2 p.m. on January 31, and winners will be announced later that day. Tea and books...a delightful combination! :)


Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I spent one thousand bucks today

I thought that might get your attention. :) Yes, it's true.

Sunday morning as I was eating breakfast, I lost part of a tooth. I've had a filling in that molar for 25 years; my tooth decided it was too weak to handle that big filling any longer. I haven't been to the dentist since after child #2 was born, and he just turned 8. I spent yesterday checking out a few dentists and finally made an appointment with one whose website really impressed me. I know one of the hygienists who works there, so that made me feel a bit more confident.

Today I went to the dentist, spent an hour in that dreaded chair, and had a temporary crown bonded. When I went to the receptionist's desk to pay and schedule my next appointment, she told me that today's visit was $998. I thought maybe I didn't hear her right, perhaps as a result of the numbness in my head. I said, "Oood-u-eese-epeet-at?" My mouth was really numb, so let me interpret that for you. "Could you please repeat that?" Without blinking an eyelash she said, "$998." I just about fell flat on the floor.

Oh, how I wish we had dental insurance! Instead of crying on the ride home, believe me- I thought about it, I decided to count my blessings instead.

* The dentist's office was by far the nicest I've ever been to. The waiting room looked like a picture from BH&G, and I had a flat-screened TV right in front of my face in the chair so that I could watch FOX News while the dentist drilled away. Maybe that's what a big chunk of my $998 is going towards.

* The office manager graciously allowed me to pay 1/2 of the amount today and the rest on my return visit.

* As the dentist was examining my tooth, another piece broke off. I'm thankful that I was able to get an appointment quickly before more damage was done.

* I haven't had any pain at all. It could have been much worse.

* I was super impressed with the dentist. He is a Christian and has been a dentist for 35 years. I felt like I was in good hands.

* The Lord provided the money for today's payment. I know He'll provide the rest when the time comes to pay it.

The Lord's going to teach me something as a result of this experience (besides the importance of taking care of my teeth). :)

Maybe it's trusting Him to provide for our needs.

Maybe it's not worrying over things I can't control.

Maybe it's the importance of being a good steward.

Whatever it is, I just hope it doesn't involve too many more hours in the dentist's chair.

ETA: Ladies, thank you all for your sweet, encouraging comments. I feel a little better knowing that I'm not the only one who puts off the inevitable, unpleasant tasks.

I have more to rejoice about; I'm not experiencing any jaw pain today. The dentist thought that I would since I had to keep my mouth open for so long yesterday. I guess he didn't know that my jaw gets lots of exercise on a daily basis. :)

Image from here.


Thursday, January 17, 2008
Snippets From Our Day
This morning we awoke to find that yesterday's snow had melted. The remains of our poor little snowmen proved that it wasn't all a dream. The children and I were slow-going this morning. We stayed in our jammies a little bit later than we usually do and chatted together over cups of hot cocoa.

After the day's lessons were finished we headed to town for Bookworm's weekly piano lesson. The other three kids and I spent a little while browsing in the local thrift shop while we waited for her. Everything in the store was 1/2 off. I spent around $10 on several books for our schoolhouse library, a jar candle holder, 3 classical music cd's, 2 brand new Easter baskets, and a couple of old Disney movies.

By the time we got home, it was time for afternoon chores and dinner prep. Curly Girl was my kitchen helper today. She made her first batch of corn muffins all by herself (except for Mommy helping with the oven). While I was supervising her, Lil' Nut decided to clean the kitchen cabinets. She said, "Mommy, I'm cleaning 'cause I'm the scullery maid." I kid you not. You can tell she has brother who loves to play pirates. :)

We enjoyed a filling supper of pinto beans with rice and Curly Girl's corn muffins to warm us up tonight. I used a big ham bone to add flavor to the beans. They simmered away on the back of the stove all day. My kids love pinto beans. I didn't bother to tell them that beans are inexpensive and high in protein. :)
After supper cleanup the kids entertained me with their new robot costumes. The boxes from Mickey's birthday presents were still scattered around the house, so he used them to make robot parts. Lil' Nut must have found a Christmas stocking that didn't make it back up into the attic. :)
My hubby is out of state for a couple of days attending a Bible conference, so I planned ahead and checked out the DVD of Jane Austen's Persuasion to watch tonight. Methinks a cup of cocoa and a snuggly blanket will join me. :)

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Go Figure
Ya'll know that after waiting all of my life, I finally saw snow a couple of weeks ago. Well, would you believe what arrived at our house today? Yep. SNOW!!! About an inch accumulated before we headed to church tonight. It sure was fun while it lasted!

This, my friends, is what memories are made of.

Bookworm is ready as the first flakes begin to fall.

Daddy had a blast playing with the kids.

Curly Girl was all smiles.

Our Schoolhouse

Lil' Nut was so proud of our little snowman.

Bookworm made snowballs from the snow on the truck.

Brother and Sister share the love.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Since all of the Christmas decorations have been packed away, my front entry table has been in need of a little touch of winter. This snowman family is ready to greet visitors with a warm welcome. I can't wait to decorate for Valentine's Day!


Monday, January 14, 2008
We've spent the last few days enjoying a special visitor at our house. Grandma C came for a quick visit while Grandpa C is on a missions trip preaching in the Philippines. Even though she's only able to stay for a few days, we treasure the time we've had her here with us. I haven't had time to check blogs or reply to emails, but I'll try to catch up after our guest heads home. Today turned out to be a pretty productive day for us. The children and I headed out to the schoolhouse after breakfast. Everyone worked diligently until lunchtime. When we came back inside, Grandma had a hot meal waiting for us: fried chicken tenders, fried okra, field peas, and corn muffins. It was such a treat for me to get a break from kitchen duty! :) After we finished school I went to town to run a couple of errands. Grandma fixed shrimp scampi for supper. It was delicious! I didn't quite get my all of my regular Monday chores finished up this afternoon, but they'll keep. I've learned to just do the best I can each day and try to focus on the most important things. Tonight after supper I lit a favorite candle and curled up on the couch with the kiddos to watch the Shirley Temple classic Baby Take A Bow while Mr. C was at church for a men's meeting. Hopefully I'll have time to do a little bit of reading before bedtime, too. I haven't had much time for reading yet this year. Have a wonderful evening! :)

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Friday, January 11, 2008
January 11
Two very special members of my family are both celebrating their birthdays today.

Mom, I can't believe you're now eligible for Medicare. :) Happy birthday! I love you and wish I could be with you today.

Curly Girl and my mom
Today is also my little boy's birthday. Our millennium baby is now 8 years old. Happy birthday, Case! Out of all the boys in the world, you're my favorite. :)


Tuesday, January 08, 2008
A Nice Way To End The Day
Lickin' the spoon...

Warm-from-the-oven brownies...

Family time and a movie...


Monday, January 07, 2008

We had a relaxing weekend around our house. I spent most of Saturday getting our house tidied up. The Christmas decorations have made their way back up into the attic to hibernate for the next 11 months. I pulled out my label maker and labeled each of the boxes before they were put away. I've been a good girl lately and have not purchased any Christmas decorations this season with the exception of a perfect nativity scene. It's designed to be played with, and the kids have had hours of fun with it. As long as I don't stop at Cracker Barrel's big sale that's going on right now, we won't have to convert any additional attic space for storage. See, I'm learning to be content with what I have! :)

I've been thinking about contentment a lot lately in regards to material things and the everyday ins and outs of being a keeper at home. Gina and Mrs. B have written some excellent posts about the very important roles of wives and mothers. Just yesterday I had a conversation with a young mother about her desire to be able to stay at home and take care of her five small children. She is facing the possiblity of having to get a job due to difficult circumstances. After praying with her and encouraging her to keep trusting the Lord to provide for her family's needs, I spent some time reflecting on how blessed I am to be able to spend my days caring for my family.

To be honest, there are moments when I am not as thankful as I should be about the opportunity God has given me to serve my family. There are times when I am not content; however, God has me right where He wants me!

Caring for my family and showering them with love is the highest calling I could ever possibly have. I don't need to be busy elsewhere; any fulfillment that I need can be found in nurturing my family. God's grace is sufficient. Through His grace, I can be content.

Today as I homeschool my children, wash four loads of laundry, prepare meals, kiss a tear-stained cheek, correct a disobedient child, iron my husband's shirts, clean the bathroom...(does the list ever end?)...I do not labor in vain. I can count on God's grace to see me through.

But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. ~ I Corinthians 15:10

Count your many blessings, and have a wonderful week! :)


Friday, January 04, 2008
Beauty Bargains
I like to spend one-on-one time with each of my kids whenever I can. Finding that special time is challenging. Today it was Lil' Nuts turn to spend some time with me. What do mothers and daughters like to do together? Shop.

There's a town about 25 miles away that has a very small mall. A small mall is better than no mall at all. I decided to pop in to B*th & B*dy W*rks to see if they had any clearance items left. I hit paydirt. Thankfully I still had some spending money left that I received for Christmas.

I've been running low on facial skin care products, so I decided to try a few items that were 75% off from the Pure Simplicity line. I can't wait to use the pumpkin mask. It smells good enough to eat--like pumpkin pie without the cinnamon.

I picked these up for $1 each. The scent is Enchanted Orchid, which I like even though I'm not into flowery scents. They'll make great gifts for our next ladies' fellowship at church.

I was able to stock up on soap and hand sanitizer for the kids. I don't buy the good stuff unless it's on sale. These ended up costing about $1.25 each. Not bad. I think we have enough soap now to last a month or two.

Lil' Nut got to pick out something special from the 75% off table. She's been begging for a bath ever since.

Lil' Nut and I enjoyed lunch together at her favorite restaurant (the one that has the cows encouraging you to eat more chicken). We finished our errands and headed home.

There's nothing quite like a mommy/daughter date with a charming 3 year old to finish off a great week.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008
Winter Wonderland Dream Come True
I saw snow!! For the first time--EVER!! Can you tell that I am excited about it? The picture in my last post was of Mr. C's attempt to write the date on the windshield of the truck. He gave up after his typo. :)

Now, for those of you who have lived in a place where snow is a common occurrence, you won't understand what a big deal this was for me. Having lived in Florida for all but the last couple of years of my life, s-n-o-w was not in my vocabulary. When I was a teenager I visited the mountains a couple of times during the winter months, but I never saw snow. Last year we took a little trip hoping to see some, but the weather didn't cooperate.

On New Year's morning, Mr. C suggested that we pack a couple of bags and head up the road a ways in search of snow. According to the weather forecast, it was a sure thing. I quickly threw some warm clothes together (as quickly as you can do for six people), called the pet sitter to see if she would accommodate us on short notice, and hurriedly went over some school lessons with the kids. We headed off just before lunchtime.

It took us about 2 1/2 hours driving time to reach our hotel. We enjoyed a feast at the restaurant there. So much for starting out the year with a healthy meal. I enjoyed every bite of fried chicken, fried okra, black-eyed peas, and strawberry cobbler with ice cream. :)

As we headed back to our room, we were hopeful that these clouds held snow.

We spent the evening in our room watching a Twilight Zone marathon. Since we don't watch T.V. at our house, this was a real treat for the kids. Mickey and Bookworm were clinging to one another and squeezing hands during the "Mannequin" episode. I took this picture to show them the next time they're unkind to one another just to prove that they really do love each other. :)
After we got the kids to bed, Mr. C peeked out the door. This was what he saw.
I was jumping up and down and ran outside- in my jammies- to have my picture taken in the snow. No, you don't get to see that one. ;)

We awoke to this.
There was enough snow for everything to look lovely, but not enough to really play with. So, we hopped in the 'Burban and headed just over the state line into North Carolina to some property owned by friends. Here are some pictures from our playtime atop Cold Mountain.

We played a bit longer than planned, so Mr. C had to drive very fast carefully for us to make it home in time for our mid-week church service. We made it back with an hour to spare.

Was my little snow experience everything I hoped it would be? Definitely!!

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