Thursday, August 30, 2018

I'm not dead!

I can't imagine anyone is checking in here anymore, since it has been nearly 4 years since I last posted.  FOUR YEARS!  My, how the clock ticks on!  But my girls have discovered this blog recently, and they absolutely LOVE being able to look back at this digital scrapbook of sorts.  At their behest, I'm going to try to be consistent again at blogging.

I won't try to update 4 years of life in one single post, but here are the basics:

In 2015 we moved from idyllic northern Michigan to North Carolina.  I went back to teaching after 10 years out of the classroom (!), and all 3 girls went to the Christian school where I taught... Olivia in 4th, Ellia in 2nd, and Brienna in 1st.     
Olivia, 4th  

Ellia, 2nd

Brienna, 1st

As for me, I taught 6th grade English and Bible. It was difficult, exciting, overwhelming, rewarding, exhausting, exhilarating, frustrating, and challenging.  
yours truly, 2015.  

But the Lord was good to us, as He always is.  We grew so much during those three years in NC and learned a whole lot about our family's needs and God's desires for us.  
at a friend's wedding in SC

We have so much to be thankful for after having experienced that season.  The girls grew like weeds.  I absolutely can not believe the changes in them!



All 3 girls played organized basketball and soccer in NC in the intramural leagues offered.  

Olivia took one year of piano, and Ellia took 2 years.  They will be continuing to learn this instrument, as they both have a gift for it!

Brienna took one year of violin and did well.  Against her wishes, we're going to try to find someone to continue teaching her.  :)  

Olivia played on the interscholastic middle school volleyball team last year in 6th grade.  She LOVES team sports and wants to continue honing her skills.

Olivia and Ellia had opportunities to compete in state academic and fine arts competitions.  Between them, they competed in choir, piano, speech, academic testing, spelling, and art.  We're very proud of their hard work!

After 3 years in NC, the Lord led us back "home" to Michigan, athough in a different area than we had lived before.  I am not teaching anymore, and the girls are in their 2nd week of their new Christian school.  

2018, just last week.  
Um... WHERE are my 3 baby girls???

And as for me, WELL!  I am in an entirely new season of life!  The girls are all away at school each day, and I am not working outside our home.  This is the first time in my adult life that I have not had a job or kids at home, or both.  I'll be honest with ya, I'm not hatin' it so far!
First Day no kids/no school.  *limited time only*

But you know us... life is never boring!  I'm hoping for some subbing opportunities in their schools, and I'll be volunteering in the elementary cafeteria once a week.  

Oh, and there's also THIS new development:

a precious gift from the Lord, a darling baby BOY!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas goodies!

This year we're simplifying BIG TIME again... we have the tree & stockings, the nativity set, and my grandma's lighted church.  I did up lots of sweets because that is relaxing to me:

  • Gingerbread men
  • cracker toffee
  • peanut butter blossoms (subbed out the PB so Olivia can enjoy)
  • chocolate-dipped potato chips
  • chocolate-dipped pretzel rods
  • Peanut butter fudge
  • rolo pretzel turtles
  • puppy chow
  • Oreo truffles (2 batches)
  • molasses crinkles
  • divinity
  • pumpkin cinnamon-chip scone-kies (half scone/half cookie)
  • chocolate-dipped Oreos
Now that I see that ridiculous list, it would seem I didn't simplify at all.

I did, though!  Baking is fun, and I baked only those things we enjoy! 
However, I'll probably regret all this wonderful junk when I step on the scale next week.  No exercise because of injury + Christmas cookie overload = fitness disaster!

I never was a math whiz.

BUT!  We gave some away, and we've been enjoying them all month!  One last thing to bake for Christmas Day:  pumpkin cake roll.

What are you baking for Christmas?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Another Injury. A Bad One.

On December 1st I injured my back.  
I do this every so often, and I'm usually out of commission for about a week.

This time I really went big.  I'm just now feeling almost like myself again.  
Go figure:  I'm lean and active, and this back injury is probably the worst I've had.

I think God had some priority shifting for me to do.

Brienna was so snuggly that first week, when I literally spent all of the time in bed, except trips to the bathroom (Ouch.) and the 2 showers I took (OUCH.).

She's good company; I highly recommend her if you're flattened by illness or injury.

Olivia made me this very sweet picture for the wall.

We spent a good bit of time cuddling together!   The Lord was very gracious in that He helped them to be good girls and fend for themselves beautifully.  Olivia was a whiz in the kitchen, and they all played together so nicely.

I had a LOT of these babies.  Did you know BBQ sauce is wonderful on sweet potatoes?

Laughing does not hurt my back, I found out.
(Sneezing and coughing, though?  AGONIZING.)

They made many beautiful pictures to hang near my bed.  My favorite was this one by Ellia:

I won't be playing volleyball til after the new year, at least.  
I haven't run since November 30, and I likely won't for another week or so.  I'm okay with that.  

Thanksgiving 2014

The girls and I spent several days in WI during Thanksgiving week.
We missed Nate like crazy, of course.
One day he'll have enough seniority to get more than just Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day off.

I was excited to try out my new running cleats and see if my silly foot injury had healed.
Also:  running cleats are awesome!  Very little concern with slips and falls!

One day I ran a loop past the cemetery where my grandfather is buried.  He's been gone five years this month.

Thanksgiving Day was so fun.  I was able to spend much of the day helping prepare for the evening meal.  I really enjoyed catching up with relatives I see only once a year.
***with my dad***
***Thanksgiving table***

My mom and I broke our own rules and went shopping at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.  I know, I know...sacred tradition and all that.  Sh snagged a nice sewing machine and I played chauffeur.  We felt so young and adventurous!

Day after Thanksgiving we kept the tradition of Leftovers Lunch at my aunt's house.  
(Now that?  That is a sacred tradition.) 

We also had a blast on the sledding hill!

We enjoyed some leisurely times playing games and working puzzles together...

...and playing baby dolls!

How did you spend Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Injury setbacks

It has been weeks now since I had a decent run.
I AM ALL SORTS OF ANTSY.  And that is severely understated. 

I keep giving it a try, once or twice a week, but my foot keeps telling me "OH NO YOU DON'T, GIRL!" 

Now I'm starting to suspect that the treadmill running is exacerbating my problem!  Oh no!!  I've not been able to do more than a mile on it since the pain began! 

So Saturday I took off for downtown, because it's nice and flat. I decided to run at a slow, easy pace and just see how things went.

I happily ran 2.78 miles, until the discomfort showed up. I felt like I could've run 10 more, and I wanted to!  But I want this foot to just hurry up and heal already! 

One of my biggest motivations to run is stuff like this right here:
I want to be able to enjoy Christmas treats without putting on weight!

Last night I tried the treadmill again.  
And I had to stop at .75 for the pain.

Don't want to see a doctor, but this is getting very discouraging!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

6 words per picture

These girls make me crack up.

Tear-jerker and breakfast in bed

I don't even know myself anymore.

This pup is so stinkin' spoiled.

Girls' morning out yesterday!  Yummy lunch!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Picture of Sophistication

I've been without glasses for quite some time now.

Just laziness, really.
They cost a whopping $26.95-plus-tax-and-shipping at Zenni Optical, and that's only because I always pay the additional 20 bucks for the slim, high-index lenses.

My eyeballs have been begging me to just go ahead and order the dumb glasses already.

Bossy little things.

Well, I finally did.  
And don't I look so much more sophisticated?  Grown-up?  Classy?  Elegant?  Mature?  Librarian-ish?

Yeah, I thought so, too!
(I picked these fun frames.)

My eyeballs are so happy.  They can breathe more easily in the evenings, now that they get a little break from my contact lenses before I sack out for the night.

Disclaimer:  Zenni does not pay me, nor do they give me free glasses, for the shout-out.
Which is a bummer, because I'd love to get a couple other fun pairs of glasses!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


One habit I have forced myself into, that makes a WORLD of difference for my everyday sanity and happiness, is making a menu.

I hate having the "WHAT SHALL I MAKE FOR DINNER?" question floating around my brain all day and zapping my mental energy.


I menu plan!  

Lately I've even taken to planning out what sides I'll make with each meal, just so I can be sure to have well-rounded meals with lots of variety.

We like variety.

Here's what we're eating this week:

The salmon will not go over well with my picky eater.
I am open and hoping for suggestions that will help her get it down!

>>>What are YOU eating this week?<<<

Monday, November 10, 2014

Photo & Haiku

Chocolate-dipped apples.
I am weak, so very weak.
But I'm not sorry.
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Woke with yucky throat.
Biscotti and egg sandwich...
Feeling better now.
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Rough morning Sunday.
Snowy roads just made it worse.
Note to self:  MOVE SOUTH.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Do you all agree?
Aaron Rodgers, Duggar guy--
Are they twins or what?!?!
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Orchestra concert.
Serenades and pretty lights.
Cultured, are we not?

Saturday, November 08, 2014


Since the temps are dropping drastically now, I have been drinking far fewer smoothies.
Smoothies were my go-to lunch all summer long!   I love them, but when I already can't feel my fingers and toes, holding & sipping a cold beverage is not appealing.

So now, I have to actually think about what I can scrounge up that isn't too comfort-food-ish.
I love assembling a big fat sandwich... or throwing together a pizza... MMM, PIZZA...

But THE VERY LAST thing I want to do is fall off the healthy-eating bandwagon all winter long!

The second-to-last thing I want to do, though, is add yet another complicated or time-consuming meal prep to my kitchen tasks.  AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!

So I began snapping photos of my lunches, and posting them to my Instagram, so that I won't forget the good ideas when they come along.  Not because I think I'm amazing with food, but just so I can remember when I'm unmotivated!

Here, a nice big salad.  This is romaine, red onion, tomato, cuke, green olives, Craisins, feta, & french dressing.  
Also glazed apple cinnamon oatmeal bread, edamame, and grapes with cottage cheese.

On this day I had a baked sweet potato, half an egg salad sandwich (on homemade whole-wheat bread!  Go me!), and chips--just a few!  Also an apple and some Greek yogurt with a tiny swirl of homemade strawberry jam.  YUM!

Another big salad, yes.  But this one's romaine & baby spinach, cuke/tomato/red onion, feta, pomegranate arils, & zesty Italian dressing.  I love that sweet pomegranate crunch!  I also had a small piece of butternut squash lasagna, which I topped with a smear of pumpkin-chipotle sauce.  SO GOOD!  

My family is decidedly AGAINST this lasagna.  "No meat?!  Squash?!  THE IDEA!!"  Weirdos.

So I just transferred it from the 9x13 to freezer containers.  Super for when *I* don't want to eat what *they're* eating.  So there!  I'll take this luscious lasagna over chili dogs any day!

For the record, the Luscious Lasagna recipe can be found at    I do not use the amaretti cookies.

Today's lunch:  
☆grilled cheese with apple
☆bruschetta-style avo/tomato/feta
☆cheesy broccoli
☆boiled egg

Food makes me so happy.

{{{What do you eat for lunch???}}}