Saturday, September 28, 2013

Storytelling Festival

Now this is a post that I'm excited to write about. We just had our 2nd annual Fall Storytelling Festival!

It's sooo much fun. We invite over some of the families from our homeschool group and the kids all have an opportunity to share a story of their choice. Some write their own story, some bring a favorite book, some little ones just tell their story and show pictures and some just enjoy listening. It's a fun way to practice public speaking, reading, listening, respect for others, and sitting quietly. And as a bonus they get to run and play with a bunch of friends for a few hours.

Mary (6) likes to write and illustrate her own story. So we spent the week learning about the writing process and working on her book. She worked very hard and I could see how proud she was when she read it to her friends.

We focused on learning about different prewriting strategies and publishing her work.

We made sure to incorporate her spelling words and I typed up the final draft and cut it out for her. She put the sentences in order and pasted them to her pages. Then she illustrated each page.

She added a cover and a few decorative touches.

We also ask that each family brings a finger food to share. Taylor made her special pumpkin pecan bars and I made little hammies, orange cream punch, and popcorn balls.
We wrapped up the popcorn ball as a take home treat. Cheap, easy, and yummy!

Taylor and I cleaned up a bit and tried to make it look fun and friendly for the kids.

I even grabbed a couple packs of plates and napkins from the Dollar Tree a few weeks ago.

By the time our friends started filling up the countertop with goodies, we had a fabulous lunch to eat before story time.

I think if there was a prize for most creative and cutest finger food, these little pumpkin treats by Mickie would have taken it!

I'm so thankful we were able to have another Storytelling Festival and I can't wait to plan another fun day with our friends!

Friday, September 27, 2013


Here we are, the first week of Autumn!! I thought we'd never get here. It doesn't feel or look like Autumn yet but I'm still thankful it's officially NOT Summer anymore.


We decided to celebrate the arrival of Fall by doing a good deed for a friend. So Saturday morning I woke up early and finished this beautiful pumpkin canvas. We were able to deliver it that afternoon. The girls were so excited to surprise her with it. She wasn't home when we got there and I thought they might be disappointed but they were just as excited to leave it with her husband. We girls know how something pretty can really lift your spirits. I hope it did!!

This week we've been busy preparing for our Story Telling Festival. I had originally planned on doing a writing workshop with some of the kids from our homeschool group but I ended up having to cancel the workshop and just have the kids bring their stories from home. Mary wrote a story about a pumpkin named Sam. It's super cute! I'll have plenty of pictures to share. We were able to get in about 2 days on the writing process and I think we both had fun, which is really the whole point.

Other than that, life is flying by, one day at time. There's so much I want to do and just not enough time to get it done :)

Happy Fall!

Friday, September 20, 2013

October Dinner Menu

One of my main goals for this month is to be more diligent with our finances and resources. I totally stink at a budget and my husband is even worse than me. It's not that we spend a lot of money or buy unnecessary things, it's more of an income problem. A family of six living on one income is no easy task. If you were to look at our bills and expenses, you would easily see that the number going out is greater than the number coming in :(
How do we make it you ask? Well... I don't know. It seems that each month the Lord provides us with the extra we need to survive. It comes in all different forms. It's really quite amazing how many times I've said "we're never going to make it" and how each time we do "make it". God says He will provide and He always does.
Money stresses me out. That is the thing that always gets the best of me. I try to tell myself that everyone on the planet has problems, and I've had the blessing of being able to choose my problems. I chose money problems. I chose to stay home with my kids and not shop, not eat out often, not get my nails done, not spoil my kids with their hearts desire. I chose to worry about bills instead of worrying about what my kids were getting into while I was at work or if they were safe. I chose to know that my family is serving God and that my girls are spending their time focusing on things that please God.
So, with that being said, to help ease some of the pain of feeding a family of six on a household expense budget (meaning everything from cleaning supplies and toilet paper to food) of $800 a month (if we're lucky) I've made a Dinner Menu for the month of October.

It's so much easier to have it all wrote down so I can be sure to have my ingredients on hand and it helps me to not buy food that will go to waste. I'm working on a weekly breakfast menu also but it's not complete. I have a good friend who is awesome at meal planning. I am not awesome but I am trying. I do usually stick to my plan, it's making the plan and stocking up on the food that I stink at.
I try to keep my pantry stocked with dry goods and key ingredients that won't spoil. We order each month from Azure Standard and I stock up on what ever I can afford. This month was tomatoes. Crushed, diced, and quick pasta sauce for those unexpected trouble days.

I also went ahead and ordered a turkey for Thanksgiving. Last year, they were out of them in October. The rest of the items purchase were dried beans (red, black, and white) frozen organic peas and corn, soy sauce, butter, some fresh tomatoes, and apple sauce.
Earlier in the month we order apples and peaches from Bulk Natural. We have really enjoyed peach cobbler, apple pies, apple pancakes, apple oatmeal, and fresh fruit too. I have enough peaches frozen for two more cobblers and I just placed another apple order today.

 I try to stay out of the grocery store as much as I can. Mainly because I hate to leave but also because I'll spend more money if I go often. There are plenty of things I still have to buy at Kroger and Walmart but I try to only go when I have to and stock up there as well.
Taylor's Deep Dish Apple Pie

October planning is starting out great and I'm hopeful for an organized and joyful holiday season filled with yummy homemade food, fun crafts, neat field trips, productive school days, and most of all- amazing memories with my family!

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
I'm working hard every day to treasure these times and not dwell on our struggles. Feeding my family nutritiously should not be a sacrifice I have to make. We can be mindful of our spending and mindful of our health without braking the bank with a little extra planning.   

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Papaw's 90th Birthday!


Today is Papaw's 90th birthday so we spent the afternoon celebrating him with our dear family. He was sleeping in his bed in the living room as we all piled in around him. It felt kind of awkward to me, sitting around him chit chatting with everyone while he just laid there unaware of what was going on. Curtis' sister brought him balloons and tied them to his bed. When he woke up, he did notice the balloons but he had no idea what they were for. His little body just looks more and more fragile each time we see him. He spoke up and sang us a few songs, mumbled some things, and Mamaw fed him his lunch and some birthday cake.

He seemed to eat well. It was quite a sight, seeing Mamaw feed him and tend to his needs. My heart was aching for her. What a women she is! Taking care of her man until the very end. Whatever obstacles are in her way, she just moves around them and keeps on providing for his needs. I don't know that I've ever seen a better example of a true Christian women. Her duties are difficult, her days are long, and her heart is pure. She radiates beauty. She is the wife and mother that the Lord finds pleasing. She is what young women should strive for. I was so blessed today to share these special memories with my family. The children were blessed to see true love at it's finest and witness a loyalty that even time can't destroy. Papaw is surely a blessed man for having such a devoted women to cherish him forever.
Taylor made pumpkin pecan bars

Mamaw's punch... YUM

Papaw's birthday cake