Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My First Blog Award!

Thank you so much, Michelle! My fabulous niece blogs at Somerset Cottage, please stop by and say hello.
There are some rules that came along with the award, and here they are:
  • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them on your blog
  • Share seven things about yourself
  • Pass along the award to up to fifteen bloggers
Sounds like fun! When I read Michelle's list, my first thought was that I wouldn't have to write a list, I could just copy hers. Except for the fact that I am waaay past 40 and I've never been a nanny, it's spot on! My niece and I have so very much in common. However, I guess I'd better come up with my own list, so here you are:
  1. I can't swim. I grew up in an area where bodies of water were rare, so I never had an opportunity to learn. I would feel as though I had conquered the world if I could just learn to swim!
  2. I love pretty paper. Stationery, notecards, greeting cards, wrapping paper, just about anything! I can close my eyes and visualize my first box of stationery: delicate pink dotted Swiss with a rose on the corner of each sheet. So began a lifelong love affair with all things paper.
  3. I'm messy. I am not a naturally organized person and I struggle with this daily.
  4. Laundry is my favorite chore. I love the challenge of removing stains and the smell of clean laundry, especially if it has been line dried. I miss my clothesline. A lot.
  5. I was an early talker, only a few months old when I said my first sentence. Just ask my family. I haven't stopped since. Just ask my family.
  6. I am often lonely. I am not unhappy, but I often feel very alone, especially after Jonathan is in bed for the night.
  7. I am an emotional eater. I eat when I'm sad (or lonely, not good) and celebrate with food when I am happy. Another lifelong struggle I haven't conquered.

Now it's time for me to pass the award along and I'm sending it on its way to:
                                Wendi at My Heart Is Always Home
I really enjoy reading her blog and I am sure you will, too! We have children the same age, she gives lots of great tips and good recipes, and she's real!

Thank you again, Michelle, for giving me the award and the chance to share a little more about myself!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Filling In the Gaps with "Homeschooling"

Science: Which material is the best conductor of heat?
When I was considering my options for Jonathan's education, I gave lots of thought to homeschooling. For a variety of reasons, I decided that, for now at least, this was not the best option for our situation. However, there is a lot of homeschooling going on around here!
I feel very strongly that a child's education is a partnership between parents and the child's teachers. Making sure Jonathan is well educated is my responsibility, not a teacher's. Certainly teachers and schools are very important, but ultimately it falls on my shoulders to see to his education. I will do everything I can to see to it that any gaps in his "formal" schooling are closed by filling them with what he needs.
I like to think Jonathan has been homeschooled since he was born, starting in infancy. I used to carry him to the front door every morning when he woke up. We would open the door, take a look outside and talk about the day's weather. He has been read to consistently since birth. He knew his colors and shapes well before he was 18 months old, and has always had a supply of toys and books to stimulate his mind.
I can stop now, right? He's in real school. I don't think so! Last year he had science in preschool, which he loved! I don't think he will have very much science in kindergarten, not the hands-on kind he loves. We have decided that Friday mornings before school will be science day, when we can do experiments and demonstrations and learn about a variety of things. We've done this for two weeks now and it is fun!
Homeschooling our children is, or should be, part of every parent's life for many years. We have so many opportunities every day to teach our children. Be it manners or morals, math or science, or a host of other things, we are our child's teacher. As such, we need to be aware of teachable moments. Always remember they will learn far more from us than from any teacher they may have, whether we are homeschooling or not.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Clean Slate

This is the freezer in my garage. Empty. A clean slate, waiting to be filled with food again. This is what had to be thrown away, because it had thawed too much to be safely used.
Four trash bags full of food, most of which was purchased this month. How sad is that? I spent almost the entire day cleaning my refrigerator/freezer in the kitchen, then emptying the garage freezer and giving it a complete top-to-bottom cleaning (which it really needed!). Do you know what a mess purple, red and blue popsicles can make when they melt and seep through their wrappers?
I have also spent a great deal of time in the kitchen this week salvaging what I could from the freezer fiasco.  I shared some with a friend so it would be used instead of winding up in one of those trash bags.
I am hoping to figure out a system to help me keep track of what's in the freezer and how long it's been there. I'm playing around with an inventory sheet but will have to see one like this will work for me. If it doesn't, I'll keep working with it until I get it right!
At least I now have a clean freezer, ready for more bargains to fill it! But I really hope this doesn't happen again......

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's Been One of Those Days!

This morning I went to the garage to get something out of the freezer for our breakfast, and what do I see? A trickle of water running on the floor coming from the freezer....uh-oh. Yep, the freezer door apparently was not properly closed when a certain young man got a popsicle from there after Sunday's soccer game. After about 14 or 15 hours, everything in the freezer had thawed, and unfortunately it was pretty full from sale shopping I'd done earlier this month. What to do? First, you cry. Then you see what can be salvaged.
The meat was still cold, just thawed, so I know what we will be having for dinner every day this week! I cooked 3 lbs. of chicken breasts which I will use to make chicken salad and cut into cubes for quesadillas, etc. I put boneless ribs in the oven and then made barbecue with them this afternoon for sandwiches. I was in the kitchen a large part of the day and saved quite a bit, but there was a big loss, too. I will wait until after our trash day on Thursday (oh how it hurts to throw away all that food!) and then I will turn off the freezer and give it a good cleaning on Friday before restocking it.
I left the car in the driveway after a trip to the post office so I could have more room in the garage to work in the freezer. When I got in the car at 3:00 to go pick Jonathan up from school, I found two crayons from a restaurant completely melted on the console. Dripping hot crayon wax everywhere, but at least not on the cloth car seat! I ran inside and grabbed the first thing I saw, a box of baby wipes. They actually did a pretty good job getting the wax cleaned up.
It's been quite a frustrating day, but then my boy brought this home in his backpack:

It made me smile and it made me realize that even though it was a difficult (and expensive!) day, we're still doing okay. All is still right in our little corner of the world.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Finding a New Daily Rhythm

Summer is winding down and school has begun, so Jonathan and I are having to adjust to a new daily routine. Long summer days have meant later bedtimes and waking later. Meals have been at various times each day, depending on where we were and what we were doing. We could take off for an adventure on a moment's notice.
Jonathan is attending afternoon kindergarten, but I am setting the alarm clock and getting both of us up early. He gets on the school bus at 11:30, so he has to have breakfast as well as lunch by then. If he doesn't have breakfast early, he won't be hungry for lunch! Last week he had a light breakfast and a more substantial lunch at 11:00 and that seemed to work well. I made dinner earlier last week. He came home hungry and we need to have an earlier bath and bedtime, so dinner needs to be ready by 5:00 or 5:30.
Tomorrow he will begin having homework. He will bring home a packet of papers on Monday which need to be completed and returned to school on Friday. We'll have to make time for that, and I am very glad he had some minimal homework in preschool. He is familiar with homework and knows it must be done!
Soccer season has started and our games are on Sunday afternoons, first one today! Practices are on Wednesday's from 6:00 to 7:00, so that's a busy evening. Dinner must be over by 5:30 and we come directly home to a bath and then bed!
It will take a couple of weeks to get in the groove of a new daily schedule. I will make necessary adjustments until we figure out what works best for our family. What is most important is making sure Jonathan gets what he needs to maximize his potential: healthy food, fresh air & exercise and a good night's sleep.

Friday, August 19, 2011

How To Break A Mother's Heart

Take one innocent little boy......

Watch him get on a great big yellow bus all by himself.....

See him wave goodbye as he heads off to school all alone.....

I didn't cry the first day of school. I never cried at preschool. Today I did.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

38 Years Ago Today.....

....I was a brand new, very young, very happy Mommy! My first child was born, in the wee morning hours, following about 36 hours of labor. Tiny (6 pounds) and perfect. I knew, even then, what a blessing he was.
He was such a sweet child, smart and serious, he approached everything with such intensity! He'd look at you with those big dark brown eyes and you were compelled to listen to what he had to say. He was always a friend to the underdog, a natural leader. All of these qualities combine to make him very successful in his adult life.

It was a different world I brought him up in, compared to now. We lived in the country, surrounded by family. There were no computers, no DS's, no bicycle helmets. He rode in the back of his father's pick-up truck. He played freely with his friends and I didn't worry so much about predators, everyone knew everyone else and most were family. I remember when MTV came on the scene, a brand new concept, and trying to decide whether or not it was appropriate viewing for him. Times starting changing about then, the world expanded with lightening speed, requiring this mama to be more in tune to the relationship between outside influences and my son. There were some conflicts, of course, but we made it through the teen years relatively unscathed.
It was amazing to watch him grow, to navigate himself through those early adult years as he struggled to find himself and figure it all out. He matured very quickly and seemed to know what he wanted. At 26, he married the girl that's exactly right for him, they will celebrate 12 years of marriage in Oct. At 29, he became a father, and a more involved dad I've never seen! One of the things I most admire about him is his dedication to the welfare of his family.
Even though I mostly blog about Jonathan, because bringing him up is my day to day life right now, my older son is just as loved and just as special. I protect his privacy a little more, because he wants me to and because I should.
Today I am remembering my firstborn as a little boy, and how thankful I am to be his mother. I'll tell him that when I phone him later today. And I'll tell him how much I love him.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The First Day of Kindergarten

(Warning: lots of proud mommy photos in this post!)
My little guy is now officially a kindergarten student! He had a wonderful first day! His class is in the afternoon, so we left for school right after lunch, which has to be earlier than we are accustomed to. So he got dressed, got the backpack, and away we went!
Of course, we had to take his teacher a small first day of school gift. This is her very first year teaching. I looked on my gift shelf and found this cute little notebook with an apple on the front and thought that would be appropriate. A matching sticker on a manila shipping tag and we had a small surprise for Miss Schoborg.
Here's my boy walking toward the day that will forever change his life--and mine! No more being home with Mommy all day, no more preschool. This is the real deal, the first of many years of continual learning, challenges and growth.

He was excited to find his name and where he will be sitting and to see all of his new classmates and potential friends.
(Why was I the only parent who walked with their child all the way to the classroom to take a picture or two of the big day?? I thought the place would be crawling with parents!)
I left him to begin his day and came home to do this:
I baked his favorite cookies, oatmeal, for a special after school surprise. I had the plate on the table, waiting for him when we walked in.
Then it was back to school to the uncharted territory of the after school car pick-up line, which took about 30 minutes or so. Remind me to always have reading material in the car!
He was excited and chattered all the way home, telling me all about his day. He was ready for his cookies and milk when we arrived home.
He proudly showed me his first paper and a "Jonathan's Rules for School" book they made today. Of course this took pride of place on the refrigerator.
The rest of the evening was just as busy. I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner--his request-- and then it was off to 6 P.M. soccer practice in preparation for his first game this week-end. Home for a bath, snuggle time and in bed by 8:30. A memorable day, for sure, but the best part? An after bath hug from my son as he said he wished every boy and girl had a "good Mommy like you". Now that's priceless!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

School Starts Wednesday, and I Am Thankful!

....And not for the reason you are probably thinking! While I admit it will be nice to be able to do the grocery shopping all by myself, I will miss my little boy as he heads off to kindergarten. He is a great companion, and we have lots of fun together.

As I look at my 5 year old son, I am filled with gratitude. I am so very thankful he is healthy. He is able to go to school, to run and play. He isn't likely to get behind in his schoolwork because he is sick so often he misses a lot of school. He can see and hear what is being taught.

I am thankful he is confident. He knows he is loved. He is quick to make friends and is kind and considerate. He's mischievous, but in a good, little boy way.

I am thankful he has a good mind. He's a bright little boy with a love of learning. He is interested in everything! He asks lots of questions and he listens to the answers. I think he will truly enjoy learning new things, and I will do everything I can to make learning a joy for him.

I am thankful for his two years at an exceptional preschool. It was worth every dollar spent and every mile we drove to get there. I am thankful he will begin kindergarten armed with all he needs to know to be successful, both socially and academically.

I am thankful that I am able to provide some extra-curricular activities for him. Soccer and t-ball. Passes to the fun and educational Cincinnati Museum Center , the zoo and aquarium. Occasional visits to interesting places where he can have enriching experiences. Going to parks and places to be outdoors to soak up the sun. While these things may not be absolutely necessary, they can contribute to a well-rounded, well-educated child. Not all education is done in the classroom.

I am thankful he has a stable and secure life at home. While we certainly do not fit the mold of a typical family, I feel he gets what he needs to flourish as he grows. We have routines, we have proper discipline, and we certainly have an abundance of love. Some things may be missing, things I can't provide, but what matters most is love. I try to fill our home with a sense of calm and security, we are safe here. We can be ourselves with no fear.

I am thankful his tummy is full. My heart breaks when I think of children going without the food they need. I am thankful I can provide a nutritious breakfast and lunch for him before he's out the door for school. I won't have to worry he can't concentrate on learning because his stomach is growling. I can put dinner on the table when he returns from school. For this I am thankful, it is something I don't take for granted. How desperate a mother must feel when there is not enough food to feed her children!

I often give Jonathan a hug while telling him "I am the luckiest Mommy in the world!". I am, for I have two handsome, intelligent sons, both of whom are doing quite well in their respective stages of life. For all of this, and for so many additional reasons, I am thankful.

So, even though I may look forward to a little "me" time while Jonathan is off at kindergarten, what I am truly thankful for is a healthy, happy, well-adjusted little boy who only needs to be concerned with learning what is being taught.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Family Ties

This has been quite a busy week, but a good one. I have spent lots of time with family this week. I rarely see any of my family, everyone except Jonathan is hours away (for now, see my previous post!).
Last Sunday I took a trip back home to Eastern Ky. to visit with my sisters, nieces and nephews. It was a short trip but we got to see several family members, and Jonathan gets to know his family a little better.

Above is Jonathan riding a Mule on country roads with my niece. She and Jonathan are my parents' first and last grandchildren. This niece is 5 years older than me, the daughter of my oldest sister. My dad was 50 when I was born so Jonathan was born 100 years after his grandfather. My mother and my sister-in-law were pregnant at the same time, so my 2nd niece is two months younger than me. We had a quick visit with her, too.
We visited my sister and Jonathan had some playtime with her granddaughter, my great-niece Elizabeth. They will both start kindergarten this year.
We stayed overnight with another niece, Michelle, and her family. We spent some time at Jenny Wiley State Park, but mostly just hanging out and catching up. Jonathan is especially close to her boys, Johnson & Jonah.
I had hoped to spend a little longer with my family there, but my grandmother services were needed! My son had the children in town with him this week as my daughter-in-law was preparing to get their house on the market and he is transitioning into his new position at work. Wed. & Thurs. I had all three of my "babies". The top photo is Jonathan and my two grandchildren at the zoo. We also spent some time at a local play area and a lot of time playing and crafting here.
It was so nice to see many family members this week. I am reminded of the connection we have that isn't broken by time or distance. It's a very special tie that binds us all together!

Friday, August 5, 2011

We Have A Winner! (and One Happy Grandma!)

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by my blog and entered my give-away! I so appreciate your comments and hope that you will all stop by again. The winner was determined the old-fashioned way. I put all of the names in a bowl, one time for each way you qualified, and gave the bowl to my 5 year old. He took out one folded paper, and the winner is.....Gina from Home Joys! Congratulations, Gina, I will contact you via your blog!

A couple of weeks ago, my older son phoned. "Mom, are you sitting down?" My first thought was that another grandchild was on the way, but that wasn't the case. What is the case: my son and his family are moving back to this area! They moved about 7 hours away from us when my granddaughter was 7 months old, 8 years ago now. You have no idea how hard it was when that moving van pulled away! Now, he has accepted an offer within the same company and will return with his family sometime in the next few weeks. Needless to say, I am one happy grandma!! My two precious grandchildren will be back in town for me to spoil!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Gift of an Experience

Everyone loves to receive a gift, whether it is beautifully wrapped or in a paper bag. Jonathan received some wonderful, fun gifts for his birthday, and he is enjoying playing with them.

There is another type of gift that is a joy to receive and also to give, and that is the gift of an experience. At times this involves no money, just a gift of time or talent. Sometimes the experience requires cash. Either way, the recipient of the gift gets something special, whether it's getting to do something out of the ordinary or spending time with someone special. Memories are made, and they last a lifetime!

Jonathan received two such gifts for his birthday, both from the extraordinary preschool teachers he had this past school year. Even at his young age, he will always remember these special ladies. Mrs. McDaniel gave a gift of her time to make his birthday memorable by being a science professor at his party. What a fun time we all had, thanks in large part to her willingness to do this.
His other teacher, Mrs. Brenda, gave him the gift of painting at Color Me Mine. He loves doing this and it is something we rarely do. He was very excited to get to paint the snake he's been wanting! (Yes, a snake, he's a boy after all.) This was followed by a trip to the movies to see "Mr. Popper's Penguins". What a fun day, one he will always remember!

Most of us, child or adult, have all the "things" we need. I do feel toys are very important to children, they need them to fuel their imaginations and allow them to be kids. However, giving someone the gift of an experience lasts a lifetime.Whether a movie or concert, fishing or taking a trip, time spent reading or doing crafts with a child, paying for lessons or a camp, helping a friend with gardening or housework, such is the stuff memories are made of, for both the giver and the receiver. That is the type of gift that doesn't gather dust on a shelf!

Enter today to win a copy of  "Where Women Cook"! Winner announced tomorrow! See my post on Mon. Aug 1st for details!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Another Fabulous Goodwill Find

Yep, this is a very heavy wood dining table and four Windsor chairs. Every piece is marked Heywood-Wakefield, noted manufacturers of mid-century modern furniture. A Goodwill find for only $75!! I had to make a trip to Lexington to pick it up, but it is now for sale in the antique mall. I told you my sister found some fabulous things at her Goodwill!

There is still time to enter the drawing for Friday's give-away! Details on my Mon., Aug 1st post!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Be Prepared"

I am the mother of an active five year old boy. He plays in parks, goes fishing, plays sports. He likes to run, ride his bike, climb trees. Since we are often on the go, I put together a first aid kit to keep in our car. It is intended for minor injuries incurred while playing. I have had it in there since he was about two years old.
I needed it yesterday when his friend cut his foot while the boys were playing in a park. It's the first time I have used it in a while, so I took a look at it when we got home. Some products had expired, so off we went to Walgreens to replace a couple of things.
Here is what I keep with us:
Hydrogen Peroxide wipes, for cleaning dirt from scrapes and cuts
Neosporin foaming wound cleanser
Sterile pads for scraped knees and such, and for wiping away the foaming cleanser!
A box of band-aids in assorted sizes
A tube of Neosporin ointment
It all fits nicely in a little round container I bought on clearance after Christmas one year.

Do I need any other items in my first aid arsenal? What have I forgotten?

Don't forget to enter my give-away! See my post on Monday, August 1st, for details!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

100th Post Give-Away: "Where Women Cook"

It's my 100th post!!! In honor of the occasion, I am having my very first give-away! Here is what I have chosen for you: the premier edition of the bookazine "Where Women Cook: The Heart & Soul Of Cooking" featuring none other than the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond! This issue is no longer available on the newsstand, and is my own personal copy, so it has been read. Who cares, right?? If you are the winner, you will also receive a 100% cotton kitchen towel in shades of blue, with a stack of coffee cups on it.
Here is how to enter the give-away: Leave a comment here on my blog for one entry (please be sure to leave email or other contact information!) If you follow me, you'll receive another entry. Mention the give-away on your blog, and link it back to me for another entry. Please be sure to let me know how many ways you have entered! Winner will be drawn on Friday, August 5th. Good luck, you will enjoy the magazine!!

I just found out that my niece Michelle is having a FABULOUS give-away on her blog, Somerset Cottage! Be sure to visit for an opportunity to win!