Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The New Me Challenge

Every year we make new resolutions, but if you're like me, you rarely follow through. Well, 2009 is going to be different - I mean it! I'm ready to turn over a new leaf, start a new challenge, become a better person, lose a little weight.

I'm sweating just thinking about it!....

How in the world am I going to do this? I sit at the computer all day and watch my backside spread to the width of the chair - ok, it's not quite there yet, but by golly, if I keep sitting here doing nothing but exercising my fingers ..... well, let's just not picture that, shall we?

So, I thought - hey, my cyber friends will help me! At the very least, they can give me a little encouragement to keep going. And maybe they will even join me. So, here's my thought:

My goal is to lose 15 pounds by my birthday on April 24th. That sounds pretty reasonable, right? I mean, that's about a pound a week. My total goal is to lose 40 pounds over the course of the year and to be able to walk in a marathon next New Year's Day. Hubby and I made a pact - next Christmas our gifts to each other would be....each other! Oohh la la!! How great is that?! And it's free - he's bought and paid for!

Here's my challenge: I have a heart condition that, in the past, has kept me from pursuing much exercise. If I get too stressed, my heart begins to race out of control and I get very weak and dizzy and although I've never actually passed out, it's been close. Besides losing 40 pounds, I'd like to be able to strengthen my heart so that by next New Year's Day, I can walk in a local marathon for a good cause.

Every Sunday, I will post my results here - what I did that week for exercise, if I've lost any pounds, what I ate, my pitfalls and my triumphs.

Want to join me? Then hop on board and take The New Me Challenge 2009. Let's do it together.

Here's what to do:

1. Pick a day each week that you will post your weekly progress.

2. Commit to yourself and to the others who join the challenge that you will do something every week to improve your total health - eat better, exercise, etc.

3. Blog about your progress and use the graphic above.

4. Link back to this post for new Challengers to begin The New Me Challenge 2009.

5. Sign up!

Here's my first post and my pledge.

I pledge to post once a week on Sunday on my progress for the week. I promise to walk at least three days a week to start. I promise to cut out most sweets and soda. I promise to eat more veggies.

Start Date: January 1, 2009

Total Goal: 40 pounds lost & a healthier heart.

Fitness Goal: to walk a marathon on New Year's Day 2010.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Back in the saddle - almost

Well, I hope everyone's had a great couple of months worth of holidays. New Year's Eve tomorrow....I'm ready for the new year, I think.

We had great intentions of spending our Christmas holiday with just ourselves - a quiet dinner, a nice morning of opening gifts, maybe a movie (something different that we don't normally do). I had delustions, I tell ya!

But, we enjoyed seeing family and friends. As for myself, I received some very nice gifts this year.

This is a Chinese tea set from Hong Kong. My father is a professor over there at one of the universities. He knows how I love authentic things. I prepared this hot tea using real tea leaves (not in a bag). I was very pleasantly surprised at the taste! I'm going to learn how to conduct a Chinese tea ceremony and perform it with the girls.

A couple of other gifts: the Rachel Ray knife set - oh, what a joy to have truly sharp knives for once in my life!, a 2009 Paris calendar and my very own Eiffel Tower that now stands in my living room - it's about 3 ft tall. (I visited Paris about two years ago and, of course, fell in love with it!)

Ainsley had a special dinner with Nanny and her friend, Mr. Dean. Being the sweet man he is, Mr. Dean grew out his beard and so when he showed up to pick up his dates for the evening, he looked like Santa! Ainsley was thrilled!

And the other great thing - taking our granddaughter, Faith, with us to our family reunion in Jacksonville. We were exhausted when we got home though!

And now....I get to spend the rest of this week preparing for the 2nd half of our school year. Yippee!!!! Whooo hoooo!

I hope everyone has a great New Years. Next week, you can begin to follow my progress as I lose these extra pounds! Hey, we all need a little accountability, right?

Friday, December 19, 2008


Today, I'm thankful for:

1. The possibility of a COLD Christmas.

2. The anticipation of seeing all the extended family in another week.

3. Having friends to share good moments with.

4. People who actually read my blog!

5. Having the laundry nearly done. (I've discovered I have a fixation on the laundry - I DO apologize!)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Let's Not Forget Them!

"My memories are a little faded these days. They're surrounded by these hazy clouds that float at the edge of my mind's eye. I know they are there though, waiting for my guard to be let down. I know they are not good memories. They hurt. And so, I keep my guard up, always. I can't afford to hurt. I have things to do, people to raise, a life to live. People count on me. I count on myself, although I didn't always.

I remember the fear though. It has never really left me. At first, after I got out, I was afraid of my own shadow. I was afraid to walk out my front door, into the light, into the dark. It lived inside me, gripped my insides like a steel vise, wouldn't let go. It thrived. And it had power over me.

But somewhere in the dark recesses of my soul was a single spark, a pinprick of light. I needed it, craved it. It called to me. I began to dig for it, using every ounce of strength I had. When the fear threatened to twist me into a heapless, shapeless nothing, I clawed my way toward that light. My soul was battered, as my body had been, but the light was in me. And it grew. It grew inside me as I tossed out chunks of darkness. I threw them aside because now, I was angry. Mad and enraged. I wanted my life back. I deserved it. Those other young souls deserved it. I made the decision....

I would be free. I would rise out of the ashes."

This is an exerpt of a book I had started many years ago. It's not necessarily about my life, although I used my own experiences to guide my writing. It's about a fictional character that represents the thousands of women (and children) throughout the world who are abused, neglected, and forgotten.

For the most part I try to keep my blog upbeat and cheery and occassionally witty, but I do have another side to me. A deeper side that wants or needs to be heard. Not heard for selfish reasons, but heard for those who need to be heard and not forgotten about - those who are less fortunate than us.

Many times this issue is swept under the rug and these women and children who are living in or trying to escape from an abusive relationship are pushed to the recesses of our conscious thought. Not on purpose, but because many of us don't live this kind of life, with this kind of fear and hurt. Being one who has experienced this myself (not with my current husband) I have a special place in my heart for these people. I know what it feels like to be in an abusive marriage. The fear, the worry, the stress.

Domestic Violence is a serious issue. We need to be reminded of this and that it happens everyday - to your friends, your family, your neighbors, and co-workers. And there are things that can be done - things that should be done! Here are a few to help you help others.

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1- 800-799-SAFE

Domestic Abuse Links

Here's my challenge to you: Contact your local battered women's shelter. Agree to meet at a general location the director or another representative from the shelter to deliver some holiday cheer to these women and children (baked goods, toys for the kids, christmas cards, etc). They will be happy to receive the donation on behalf of the women and children in the shelter.

Let's not forget about them this holiday season!


Whooo-hooo! I am on a ROLL - I tell ya! Today, I'm thankful for:
1. Having TWO things to blog about nearly everyday.
2. That the winter holidays are almost here and we can take a much needed break from school.
3. That God humbles me every time I do laundry and the washing machine gets off balance and I have to go readjust the load!
4. That my carpet has been vacuumed this morning!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Technology Overload!

Hey, have you seen the news recently? About all the technology that's being invented these days? My husband came home from work this morning spouting something about Asian androids and the end of the world as we know it. Scared me so bad I had to check it out for myself.

Kinda pretty, isn't she? She's a robot. Really!

According to the article she can talk, move, feel pain, and react to outside influences (touch her breast and she'll slap you and call you a pervert!) She can tell the difference between water and Coke. If you tell her your name she'll remember you. Can you say - Terminator!

And have you heard that SkyNet is well on it's way to becoming reality? Remember SkyNet from the movie, Terminator? Just Google SkyNet and see what you come up with.

While I'm not a doom-sayer, could there be something to these new technologies? Something that, if we're not very careful, could potentially be the ending of life as we know it?

What do you think?


Wow! Day 2....I'm doing really well. Here's what I'm thankful for today:

1. Having beautiful music to listen to and relax me (Josh Groban is a big one!)

2. Having my husband home today.

3. Comments and followers on my blogs! I'm like Rae Ann - a comment junkie! And a Follow Me junkie (hint, hint)

4. That the laundry is actually getting done.

5. That our gift buying is nearly complete! We actually WON'T be shopping on Christmas Eve. (Ok, I say that now....)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


It's about that time of year to start making those New Years Resolution lists that never get completed. My husband asked me just yesterday what would be on my list this year.

I told him, "Probably nothing. I never follow through after the first couple of weeks anyway."

Feeling guilty, I succumbed to thinking about starting a list - and five minutes later, promptly forgot all about it. Until a few minutes ago when I came across a post at Critical Mass. She's so inspiring!

So, here's mine:

1. To be thankful for something every day of the year.

The goal is to find five things you are thankful for each day of the year. I guess I'll start today. (This will give me something to write about if nothing else). :)

For today here's what I'm thankful for:

1. Bright blue skies

2. Diet Coke in the frig

3. Most of the laundry being finished - AND put away!

4. That there are other moms like me out there - somewhere...

5. That my husband loves me - he even said so this morning. Awwwww!

By the way, are we supposed to be serious doing this? Ok, ok....I'm really serious about the Diet Coke!

Blessings to all of you!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Link To Me!


A New Chapter

It is with a bittersweet heart that I write this post. It's taken me a couple of days to come to it. I've experienced this loss before, but somehow, it never changes - the feeling of the empty nest.

Last Friday we moved our oldest son down to Panama City to live with his brother, Kyle, who is stationed there with the Air Force. Zach was able to transfer with his job at Publix. The boys are really looking forward to getting an apartment together.

I've been resigned and gotten used to the fact that Kyle has been gone for two years now. He doesn't call his mother nearly as much as she would like, by the way. Every now and then, he'll try to surprise me by showing up on the doorstep. It's always nice to have him home - even though he's a little (okay, a lot) goofy and unconventional. He has a great heart, though, and he loves his family.

Leah hates this picture because Kyle is doing "duck lips". We always said he could be the next Jim Carrey. Believe me, he could!

My fervant prayer is that the boys will take care of each other and stay out of trouble - and call their mother on a regular basis with GOOD news!

And Dad, too, of course! He's been a rock for them for many years now!

I hate the thought of looking forward to the next ones who will leave the nest.

In 3 and a half short years, these two will go off to college to pursue their own dreams. And then, there will only be....

...Ainsley left at home. I'm convinced (if I had any niggling doubt before) that God knows what He's doing - telling us that Ainsley will be our very LAST child. She's surely destined to be the rest of my gray hairs (I only have three at the moment!).
Here's to my children and the love, fun, heartache, laughs, good times and bad, and the fullest cup in the world that they bring to my life. Dear God, I will miss them!
I love each and every one of you!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I must be button illiterit or something.... I see all these really cute buttons out there and I just love them! You moms are so creative!

I haven't figured out HOW you create a button yet, though! Anyone care to point me in the right direction? I WANT a button! My very own button! Everyone else has a button - why can't I have a button! whhhhaaaaaaaa!

Here's some that I've found that are pretty darn cute!

Following In My Shoes


Cheaper Than Therapy

Mom Blogs - Firefly-Shop

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's Christmas Time - Almost!

Over at the The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's blog, they are promoting something that is near and dear to my heart - homeschoolers with the entreprenueral spirit who have businesses.

My husband and I definitely have that spirit. Over the years we've had several home-based businesses.
  • Making scale model replicas of police cars throughout the nation (Blue Line Replicas)

  • Armstrong Pressure Washing

  • Inkwell Services (still exists, but on the back burner) - an offsite administrative service

  • Dana Speed Design - custom painting (cars, motorcycles, signs, etc)

  • Murals - custome painted murals on just about any surface.

  • An in-home bakery/wedding cake business
(This is a local police department's scale model car.)

(This was a mural done for a children's shop.)

(This was a race car my husband custom painted for a local drag strip racer.)
(He even did two trailers for the US Air Force.)

These days, we've been entertaining the thought of actually opening a full scale restaurant. The idea of a restaurant appeals to us greatly. We're not afraid of hard work, that's for sure! The pressure washing and custom painting businesses (which my husband still has, by the way) are often VERY hard work. The wedding cake business for me was a love/hate relationship! If you've never "done" cakes before you may not know all the hours that go into creating a cake - THE cake - for someone.

Anyway, I hadn't meant for this post to be all about us - but, this gives you some idea into who I am. An extended profile, you might say!
But, head on over to the blog post and sign the Mr. Linky if you have a business that you'd like to share with others!

Come Shop With Us

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wii Fit Mommiis

How cool is this?! Wii Fit Mommiis is having a really awesome giveaway!
To kick off the launch of this site and in anticipation of the January 1st “New Year, New You” Challenge, the Wii Fit Mommiis are going to be hosting a Twitter party* on Wednesday, December 10th at 8 pm Eastern (5 Pacific/6 Mountain) that will last 2 hours.

There’s going to be loads of giveaways including a GRAND PRIZE of both a Wii and a Wii Fit donated by the generous folks at Nintendo that I’ll list in a second but first I’d like to post the details of the party.

Back to the Grind

We've played long enough. We taken two weeks off of schoolwork - yes, I know - TWO weeks! We should be ashamed. First there was Thanksgiving week. Then, there was last week due to the play the girls were in (A Christmas Carol). Adding schoolwork in there was just too overwhelming and we were exhausted anyway. We even took yesterday off of school!

But, I've put my foot down! And today, it's back to our regularly scheduled program. I think we've had plenty of time to recharge our batteries. Leah read ALL day yesterday and finished her book. Lizzy watched horse racing most of the day. That's education, right? And Ainsley actually did do a few worksheets. Ok - so, we're all good.

By the way, go on over to Homeschool 101 and check out our "A Day In the Life..." post. It's about us and how we homeschool. Each Tuesday, we'll feature a different homeschool family.

Now - on to the schoolwork. The students are emerging from their dens.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Joys of Christmas

Now, this is what Christmas is all about! Ainsley gets sooooo excited at the prospect of seeing Santa and this year was no exception!

We attended our local Jingle Bell Festival on the courthouse square and Santa was there to greet the kids, complete with south Georgia snow - made from a snow machine, of course!

Ainsley decided she wants what every three year old wants - Barbie dolls and more Barbie dolls!

I expect that Santa won't be able to resist and she will find a Barbie doll or two under the tree.
She's already talking about what kind of cookies we'll be leaving for Santa this year. And she thinks he deserves CHOCOLATE milk this year, too.
While we try to teach our kids the meaning of Christmas, it's a JOY to see the happiness and excitement in their eyes every year.
Here's a challenge I have for you: this year, give some joy to others. Carry around with you some small prepackaged candy canes and add a little note to it "Merry Christmas to you" or "I wish you a Merry Christmas!" and give it to the people you come in contact with each day; the lady at the dry cleaners, the person at the drive-thru window, the cashier at the grocery store. Let's spread a little joy this holiday season!

Myspace Graphics
Myspace Graphics, Christmas Graphics at

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stories, Stories, and more Stories

Our three year old is a born storyteller. She'll tell you that herself! She has such a vivid imagination that is scares me sometimes! And she can come up with some Doozies!

Last night's edition:

Mom (talking to Dad): "You should have seen the fog last night. It was so thick!"

Dad: (talking to Mom): "Yeah. I was driving around last night, afraid I was going to hit something."

Mom: "It was pretty spooky (code word for Ainsley to pop in). It looked like we were driving into nothingness."

A few minutes later.....

Ainsley: "Let's talk about the fog!"

Mom chuckles.

Dad: "Ok. You start."

Ainsley: "What happened to you last night?"

Dad: "I was driving around in the fog."

Ainsley: "And you were afraid you were going to hit somebody."

Dad: "Yes! It was verrry spooky!"

Ainsley: "Yeah. And there were ghosts in the fog!"

Dad: "Yeah!"

Ainsley: "And then what happened?"

Dad: "And then I saw a deer!"

Ainsley: GASP!

Dad: "It had huge antlers and it ran across the road."

Ainsley: "Into the woods?"

Dad: "Yes. So I chased it into the woods."

Ainsley: "And it was spooooky in there!"

Dad: (warming to his story) "Yeah. It was very dark!"

Ainsley: "And then what happened?"

Dad: "I came to a river and fell in!"

Ainsley: GASP!

Dad: "And then I went over a waterfall!"

Ainsley: "I want to go over a waterfall!"

Dad: "And then I swam to shore and there were Indians all around me."

Ainsley: GASP!

Dad: "And they took me to their teepees and painted my face red and blue!"

Ainsley: "I want my face painted!"

Dad: "And then we did a rain dance around the bonfire."

Ainsley: "And then what happened?"

Dad: "And then the deer came out of the woods and started talking to us!"

Ainsley: "What did he say?"

Dad: "He said we were making too much noise and that he couldn't sleep."

Ainsley: "You're a bad boy, Daddy!"

Dad: "I know. I had to say I was sorry and do his dishes!"

Ainsley: "And sweep his floors!"

Dad: "Yes! How did you know?"

Ainsley: "I told him to make you do that!"

Dad: GASP!

There's no end to the storytelling around our house!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sick Mommy!

Oh, how I hate being sick. I never realize just how much the family relies on Mommy until Mommy is down and out.

The dishes are piled in the sink, the trash needs to be taken out, the laundry needs to be washed, dried, folded, and put away, the floors need to be swept and vacuumed, the furniture needs dusted, the sheets need to be changed, the dog needs a bath, the toys need to be picked up, and Mom needs Calgon.

After coming out of my stupor of the last several days, I opened my eyes this morning to a wreck of a house! Doesn't anyone clean around here?!

But no, I forget....even after 15 years of living in the same household and doing the same chores over and over and over again, the teenagers still forget how to wipe counters, run the vacuum, or empty the trash. They forget that the dishwasher was made to wash dishes - wow! and without having to do them by hand! - and even how to check the mail!

What's a mom to do? Well, I'll tell you.... since Mom is back to her old self that means ....

The KIDS get to clean the house - vacuum, sweep, clean the bathroom, load the dishwasher (and turn it on!), do the laundry from start to finish, change their sheets (and maybe mine too!), pick up their toys, and run Mom a bath with LOTS of Calgon!

Watch out! Mom's better!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Candy, Candy, Candy

Ooohh, I love this week's topic! The Homeschool Post hosts these weekly meme's. I don't always have time to post on them but I love to read what others have to say on each one!
So - my fave - it's so hard to choose just one.

Well, I love a good Snickers bar!

But, then, I love DOTS!

But, I've been known to put away a bag of these jelly beans:But, if you put any kind of chocolate in front of me, let me warn you now - I'm GOING TO EAT IT! :)

31 Days of Holiday Crafts

Hey y'all! Check this out. Angela over at "A Month of...." is hosting a blog event. She does it each month with a different theme. December, of course, is 31 Days of Holiday Crafts and I'm the first post up!

Come on over and check out my post. Then, sign up yourself for one of the themes. It's really easy and if you like to share your expertise with others, this is a great way to do it. (Not that I'm an expert on crafts or anything.)

To find out more, go here.

Please be sure to leave a comment there on my post. Every month, Angela asks users to vote for their favorite post of the month and the winner will be inaugurated into the AMOS Hall of Fame where they will forever live in infamy (and get a super cute button to put on their blog). Voting for 31 Days of Holiday Crafts will begin January 1 and close on January 10.


video hosting

video hosting