Riverbend Ramblings

~Riverbend Ramblings~
The days are long, but the years are short.
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Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Florida Soapflakes Snowflakes
I had you going there for a second, didn't I? :) We've been doing lots of fun stuff together as a family over Christmas vacation. A couple of nights ago we traveled with some friends from our church to a nearby community to enjoy the festivities. The promised hourly snowfall delighted the kids. I myself did not care for the taste of soapflakes, but the ice cream was delicious!As we walked the path around a lake we spotted a large nativity scene. I was thrilled to see this public display recognizing Christ's birth in such a very touristy area.The kids were fascinated with the fountain area where water randomly shoots up out of the ground. They worked up enough courage to make a few dashes across. There was one little girl who stood in the middle of the fountain and was soaked to the bone. It was a slightly cool night, so I'm surprised her parents let her do that. My kids' mean ole' mom would never allow such a thing! :) Mickey is thinking, should I make a run for it? Not on your life, Bud!Bookworm (on the right) and her friend had a wonderful time of fellowship.Curly Girl and her friend "J" were nearly inseparable all evening. They are in the same class at school and enjoy playing together. We may have to invoke the 6-inch rule a few years down the road. ;)There were several horse and carriage teams for hire. Instead of riding in this lovely conveyance...we settled for a horse-drawn wagon to take our rather large group for a ride. These two fellows were beautiful and very well-behaved.Curly Girl and "J" were invited to ride on the front wagon seat with the driver. They had a blast sitting right behind the horses. Curly Girl was "fluttering" and giggling the whole time. Naturally they caught quite a whiff from their "rear view." Kids are somehow equipped to enjoy the most unpleasant things with glee. I am so thankful for the opportunities the Lord gives us to make more special family memories. As the kids grow older they will forget the specifics about Christmas gifts and all the hoopla, but they will remember the times we spent together laughing and loving. And they'll remember soapflakes.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008
A Clean Start
From time to time I receive emails asking me how I keep my house so clean with six people living in it. I have to laugh when I get those questions. You should have been here last week! I'm the first person (my husband would be the second) to tell you that my house is never spotless or completely free of clutter. After all, it's not a museum; it's a house. We live in it. However, I do think that having a clean house is important. I want my home to be a haven for my family, their favorite place to be. Housecleaning is necessary if you want to have an inviting, comfortable home. It requires that dreaded four letter word w-o-r-k, and it requires planning. I'm a big list person. I make lists for everything and enjoy checking things off of my lists as I accomplish them. I have a binder where I keep a list of housekeeping routines and chores that need to be tackled throughout the year. I used to spend quite a bit of time writing out additional lists of daily household chores, but then last year I came across a useful tool that has saved me lots of time in the chore planning department. I ordered the Motivated Moms Chore Planner, and I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that it was one of the best things I've ever spend a few bucks on. It was such a help to me that I put up an affiliate link in my sidebar because I wanted other ladies to know about it. The Motivated Moms Chore Planner is a printable chore list, available in eight different versions including a few that have a daily Bible reading plan, that can be downloaded and saved to your computer. You can then either print the full year out at once, print a week at a time, or just view it on your computer. These printable chore lists are just what you are looking for if you need to know exactly what to do each day around your home without having to plan it all out yourself. I just ordered my 2009 Daily Planner. You can view samples of the different planners here. Get a clean start on 2009! :)


Monday, December 29, 2008
A complete Christmas
Lots of cocoa...
Recipe planning...
Time in the kitchen...
Clowning around...
Our family had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope you did, too! The last several days we have been taking it easy and spending time playing together. It is so nice to have a break from our regular routine. The kids have been staying up very late at night watching Christmas movies and munching on goodies. Late nights mean they have much-later-than-usual waking times, but that's what vacation days are for. ;) Lots of smiles, lots of laughter, lots of time together. Deep conversations, too, with a certain seven year old who was so excited to celebrate Jesus' birthday, but can't quite understand that He isn't a certain number of years old. I love to see the wheels turning in her head. I also love hearing my children wish Him a happy birthday and tell their Heavenly Father how glad they are that He sent His Son to die for their sins. That made my Christmas complete.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Merry Christmas!
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. ~~Isaiah 9:6 KJV
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Is it just me or is time flying by???? We have been super busy the last several days with piano recitals, Christmas programs, and various other Christmas activities. I can't believe that Christmas is just eight days away! Thankfully I have most of my shopping done. I still need to pick up a few more stocking stuffers and finish wrapping gifts. The kids all have Christmas parties at school on Friday, so we'll be baking cookies and getting other goodies together for their classes. Last night Mickey, Curly Girl, and Bookworm took part in our Christian school's performance of "Christmas on the Air." It was the best children's Christmas program I've ever seen! The gospel was presented in such a clear way. The director did an outstanding job coordinating all of the different choirs and drama groups. Mickey and Bookworm are members of the Elementary Choir (hence the fancy outfits) and performed several numbers. I didn't even know about it ahead of time, but Bookworm performed a solo of Away in a Manger perfectly. Curly Girl sang a song with the K3 through 2nd grade students. I'm so proud of this threesome! :)Today we're welcoming two little houseguests from our church family, ages 1 and 3, who will be with us for a couple of days. Their mommy gave birth on Monday to a healthy baby boy, but she is now suffering the after effects of severe preeclampsia and will remain in the hospital for a few more days. I've always wondered what it would be like to have six kiddos running through the house. I guess now I'll get to find out. :) Enjoy your day! :)

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Toby loves getting lots of attention and playing with the kids. But I'm not sure that this is exactly what he bargained for.

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Monday, December 08, 2008
A little something fun for you
I always enjoy Ruthann's posts at Warm Pie, Happy Home. She is one talented lady! You can read Part I of her Christmas Open House here. I am as content with my home as a bug in a rug, but it's fun to see what other ladies do to make their house a welcome place for family and friends. I'm always in need of a little decoration inspiration. :)

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The Simple Woman's Daybook~ December 8
For Today: December 8, 2008

Outside my window...it's a cold, sunny morning.

I am thinking...how important it is to use a calendar for planning all of the upcoming Christmas events.

I am thankful for...the ministry of missions. Last night we finished up our annual Missions Conference at church and totaled our Faith Promise goal for 2009. In spite of financial changes people are experiencing due to the economy, our church increased the goal for next year. Praise the Lord!

From the kitchen...a cup of hot peach tea.

I am wearing...my jammys (it's cold and early!).

I am creating...a Christmas card list.

I am going...to help put up the Christmas decorations at the church building today.

I am reading...in my Bible: II Timothy; just for fun: a biography on Mrs. Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

I am hoping...the kids continue to stay healthy in the midst of the sickness that is going around.

I am hearing...good gospel music on our church's radio station.

Around the house...laundry; deep cleaning the living room; boxing up the children's outgrown clothes to give away.

One of my favorite things...socks on my feet to keep them warm.

A few plans for the rest of the week...shopping; piano lessons; a trip to the library; attend a Christmas banquet.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...Bookworm recently competed in the regional spelling bee and won! She advanced to the state bee finals and made it through eleven rounds. We are so proud of her!


Thank you for reading my Daybook. You can read more entries at The Simple Woman's Daybook.


Thursday, December 04, 2008
Liquid Sunshine
As a native of Central Florida, I've been around citrus fruit all my life. I grew up on a dirt road that had a couple of houses and thousands of orange trees on it. I remember sitting on my swingset and watching the workers pick the fruit. They were paid by the box, and boy could they pick that fruit fast! All the boxes were then loaded on semi-trailers and hauled to the Donald Duck processing plant in town where the fruit was turned into frozen concentrate. I'll never forget driving by a processing plant in another town when I was a teenager. There were so many trailer loads of fruit sitting out in the sun rotting while waiting to go into that plant to be processed. After seeing and smelling all that fruit, I vowed never to purchase concentrated orange juice--yuck! I couldn't believe they would use all that rotten fruit to make orange juice. Hopefully that was just one really bad day at that plant and not a regular occurrence. The citrus industry was huge around here until a series of big freezes hit Central Florida back in the early 1980's. Many citrus growers, including my grandpa, were wiped out. Some growers started over from scratch and stayed in the business. Others turned their land over to developers. What a change took place in the landscape! It's amazing to see huge housing developments where mile after mile of trees used to be. Today our county still produces a lot of orange juice and ships fruit all over the country. but business is nothing like it used to be. Even in the local stores you hardly ever find local fruit; most of it comes from California. I've never understood that. We have a fruit cocktail tree in our yard. It's supposed to have lemons, honeybells, and navels on it. I'm a little worried that everything will end up tasting like a lemon, but we'll see. I would like to get a grapefruit tree planted in the future. I like to eat grapefruit for breakfast. My neighbor across the street brings over a bag of oranges from his tree once in a while, and my in-laws have a couple of trees that we put to good use. What tastes better (and costs much less) than store-bought juice? Fresh-from-the-tree-squeezed, of course! It tastes even better when an eight year old does the squeezing. :)

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Monday, December 01, 2008
Meet our new addition
This past summer in the midst of our move two of our pets, Dewey the Bulldog and Sassy Cat, passed away. The kids were very sad, but the excitement of the move lessened the pain a little bit. There was so much going on, plus they still had our Schnauzer to run around with. A couple of months ago we started thinking about getting another dog. I had mixed feelings at first, but what's a mom to do when she's so outnumbered? :) We would take family trips to the pet store just to look at all the cute little puppies. The kids would beg to take one of those adorable babies home, but the pet store prices were just unbelievable. We searched the internet to no avail. We also visited the local Humane Society and SPCA adoption centers, but they mostly had large dogs. My hubby and I agreed that a small dog would be better for us this go around, preferably a Shih tzu. Mr. C bought me a Shih tzu right after we got married. He was a wonderful, spoiled dog. ;) We had to find another home for him when Mickey was a baby due to his severe allergies, but we agreed that someday we would like to have another Shih tzu. My husband's searching finally paid off, and just over a month ago the most adorable little buff-colored Shih tzu you've ever seen joined our family. He took to me right away and follows me around the house all day long. We had a hard time coming up with a name for him. All the names that seemed to fit were girl names, but eventually we settled on Toby. He's had his first visit to the groomer, but he still has a lot of hair. At least we can see his eyes now. :) We've already taken him on a couple of trips, and he's doing very well with potty training. I am so glad that we have added this little cutie to our family!

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The Simple Woman's Daybook~ December 1
For Today: December 1, 2008

Outside my window...we're having perfect Florida weather: clear, sunny skies with a high around 70 degrees.

I am thinking...about several thank-you notes that need to be written and mailed.

I am thankful for...a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday. I didn't have to cook this year; we traveled out-of-town and enjoyed the day with my dad, brothers and sisters, and their families. I even got to meet my 6 week old great-niece!

From the kitchen...ravioli with marinara sauce simmering in the slow cooker, a tossed salad, and fresh garlic bread.

I am wearing...a blue and khaki striped skirt, navy blue shirt, and brown jacket.

I am creating...a 700 piece Thomas Kinkade puzzle that is causing me to age prematurely. Seriously, this is the toughest puzzle I've ever worked on!

I am going...to take Lil' Nut on a walk around the neighborhood.

I am reading...in my Bible: I Timothy; just for fun: The Cure is in The Cupboard by Dr. Cass Ingram. I decided to read through this book about the many uses of oregano again after mentioning it to my friend Susan last week.

I am hoping...that we have good attendance at church later this week for our Missions Conference.

I am hearing...Lil' Nut playing a game.

Around the house...laundry; finish decorating the house for Christmas; go through the kids' seasonal clothes.

One of my favorite things...cinnamon-scented candles.

A few plans for the rest of the week...a trip to the vet, grocery shopping, piano lessons, and attending the evening services at our church's annual Missions Conference beginning Wednesday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...
Check out the trunk of this cypress tree at my in-laws' house.

Thank you for reading my Daybook! Visit The Simple Woman to view more Daybook entries. :)