I was a little surprised when I was pulling away from Target one morning and saw this sweet little duck family making it's way across the parking lot. (Not to mention I was also surprised I actually had a camera with me!)
Momma Duck made it up over the curb without a problem, but some of the little ducklings struggled more than others. She waited patiently and eventually all six babies made it up.
Getting down proved to be another challenge and after Momma Duck came back to give a little encouragement, the little duck family was on it's way for more parking lot adventures on their way to their destination.
Here are just some miscellaneous pictures from life this summer
that I haven't shared.
Matt's birthday dinner at Abuelo's in June.
Sarah attended her first dance camp in June. It was a princess dance camp. They put their hair up each day and painted their nails one of the days.
On the last day, they all wore their own princess dresses and performed the dances they had learned. The lighting was really bad because of the large windows, but I managed to get this one.
Before we went on our Nashville trip, Matt decided to take
Sarah out to wash the car.
She was so excited!
She couldn't wait to get her swimsuit on and head on out!
There has been more to our summer than just these pictures show, but I wasn't really good with remembering the camera. I think it must have been sitting in the heat watching baseball. It fried a few too many brain cells.
So, I've been trying to cut costs and be more frugal since I quit working. I've succeeded in some areas and failed miserably in others. I still can't seem to get control of our food budget. My mind seems to have gone to mush in that department, but I have been saving some extra "dough" on our electricity. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist that pun!)
We purchased a portable clothes line and I've been using that as much as possible instead of using the dryer. Even though I am not sure exactly how much it has been saving us, we definitely believe it has made a difference. With the high temperatures, the ac has had to run much more than normal even though we try to keep it up as high as we can comfortably stand it. Our bills the last two months have both been just at $100 and we expected it to be much higher with temps above 100 for so many days.
We ended up going with a portable umbrella style, although it would not be my first choice. For one thing, we hated to put up a permanent traditional one and take up the room for the kids to play. We didn't think having someone run into the line or a pole would make for a fun afternoon. We thought about a retractable one, but that still meant putting in a pole somewhere since there are currently no great surfaces to attach one. We also considered a permanent umbrella style to keep it out of the way, but the only good place for that was visible from the street and that really didn't look so good for curb appeal.
So...we found this one that got good reviews and it was only around $40. I have to say that I definitely prefer the traditional line style, but this is still working out very well. The traditional style allows for better air flow and I think the clothes probably dry faster. However, I am learning better how to attach clothes to this one that does allow for the air to flow through the clothes more and in the heat we've had lately it really doesn't take long for the clothes to dry. Another bonus is that since it is portable I can even use it inside if the weather doesn't cooperate. I have actually only done this a few times since it does take up so much room in our little space, but it works!
Do you see the brown grass!!
I still do use the dryer, but try to limit it to loads like undies. We do have neighbors on all three sides that probably would prefer not to see our "unmentionables". :-) However, having this has cut our dryer usage pretty much in half, and I seem to actually get through the laundry quicker - believe or not!
So, score 1 for the frugal quest!
And, of course, you know who had to have her picture taken, too.
I really can't remember the last time it rained here. We've had it around us, but somehow it always seemed to elude us. Until Sunday night! We were all so excited that we had to open the door just to watch it. We had forgotten what it looked like!
With the lack of rain for so long the grass has turned crunchy and brown and the flowers are struggling not to do the same. So, we've done the only thing we could do...water. Without water our new plants (and the old ones) would die. So we provide water for them to live.
Just like the plants, our bodies need water to survive. We can survive for a while without food, however only days without water. Without water our bodies would surely die. So we drink water in order to live.
However, as I was thinking over all this I was reminded that there is something else that needs watering. Something else that would cease to live without water...our souls.
"Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:8
Our souls need a special kind of water. Not the water that comes out of the tap, but a living water.
Just like our bodies become dehydrated without water, our souls shrivel up without the living water. My soul has been thirsting of late because I haven't been drinking enough living water. I haven't spent enough time visiting with the one that gives the living water to provide my soul an adequate amount to nourish it. I have been tasting enough to keep from shriveling up, but not drinking enough to keep from wilting like the plants outside my door on these hot summer days.
"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God." Psalm 42:1-2
I think it is time to sit and drink a tall glass of living water. Oh, how refreshing to my soul!
A few months ago I won a $50 American Express card from Rentals.com through beneathmyheart. There was a long list of projects to choose from, but when we found this fan on sale we decided to use the money to purchase it for our bedroom. It is a Hunter fan and was regularly $129. We got it for $85!
The one that had been in there was really too small for the size of the room. Sarah's room was the only bedroom without a fan and we had already decided that when we did replace ours, we would put that one in her room.
(I had originally planned to spray paint the brass parts, but the way the filter was installed for the motor I wasn't able to. Spray painting that particular piece would have clogged up the filter and caused the motor to overheat.)
Recently I received an email about a sweepstakes on their sister website Apartment Guides and was asked if I would be willing to share it with you. Who doesn't love a chance to win $10,000! :-)
From now until August 14, visit yourpicksyourplace.com to vote on the room design you like the most and be entered for a chance to win a $10,000 grand prize or one of eight $250 weekly prizes. You can vote once each day through August 14, so be sure to stop by and cast your vote for a chance to win!
Now through July 17, you can vote on the dining room.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Sweepstakes ends @ 9:00 PM on 8/14/12, subject to
Entry Periods outlined in Official Rules. Must be a US legal resident of
the 50 US or DC and 18 years of age or older. Sweepstakes subject to full
Official Rules available at www.yourpicksyourplace.com.
Void where prohibited.
You can also find various design and decorating tips from
HGTV host Kim Myles.
If you want a chance to win a $100 American Express gift card in association with the sweepstakes, be sure to check out Traci's blog.
(Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Group, Inc. partnered with bloggers like Traci to promote their sweepstakes.)
All I can say is that I'm SOOOO stinkin' frustrated!! Not to mention angry, saddened, overwhelmed, anxious, and scared...
I gave Daniel a placement test this week to determine which level of math we should get for the upcoming year. I knew he was behind. That was one of the main reasons for taking him out of the middle school and homeschooling him.
Because I suspected he was behind, I was a bit anxious to
find out where he stood. I was not, however, expecting to discover
that he was still on a 4th to 5th grade math level! Which means the last two years of math were pretty much a waste.
First, I have to say that Daniel is not stupid. He is actually very smart. Unfortunately, he is also very lazy. He doesn't want to spend much time on figuring something out or working through a problem. He wants an easy button! So, part of this issue lies on his shoulders.
Second, I know many wonderful teachers and admire their dedication and love for their students. I also know that there is no way in this lifetime I could stay in a room full of kids all day long 5 days a week (not and keep my sanity). I have great respect and admiration for teachers who love what they do and do everything they can to help each child succeed.
So, with those things said....
I'm frustrated and angry at his teachers for not noticing or communicating his struggles to keep up, and at the public system for not providing the help teachers need to teach their students when they have to spend so much of their time trying to maintain order and discipline in the classroom.
I'm angry at myself for being so busy and tired from work and other activities that I didn't invest the time to make sure he was getting what he needed to succeed.
I'm saddened that the public school system is in such a state that teachers aren't given the freedom to really teach and see the joy of a child's face light up when they finally understand. They no longer get to spend the time making if fun to learn. They have to make sure they get to everything that will be on the test so the school can get high enough test scores.
I'm overwhelmed at the task before me over this next year trying to get Daniel caught up and ready for high school (whether that be at home or somewhere else).
And I'm anxious and scared at the prospect of now figuring out where to begin and how is the best way to teach him math.
But I also take comfort in knowing the first step to take...pray and have faith that God will direct our path over the coming year. God got me into this homeschooling thing. I know He will get us through it.
(Even though there are times I do still wonder...what in the heck was He thinkin'?!)
We were in Nashville this past week and weekend for a baseball tournament. As much as we love watching the boys play, I thought
we were going to melt away.
This wasn't the hottest! We saw 110 and 113!
How the boys could stand out there in that heat and play ball is beyond me. But they never complain and are always ready to go. They played 3 games of "pool play" Wednesday and Thursday, and then 2 games of tournament play on Friday. They won their first game, but lost the second one. Since we had a free place to stay we decided to stay in Nashville through the weekend.
Brian and the boys enjoy watching "American Pickers" on the History channel, so we went to the store they opened in an industrial area of Nashville. It was in an old automobile warehouse, which looked really cool.
We also spent some time at the Opry Mills Mall, ate lunch with friends in the beautiful downtown area of Franklin, and drove through several college campuses. We finished off the weekend with great worship at our friends' church and a wonderful time visiting before heading back home.
Now to catch up from being gone and get ready for the next tournament....