Monday, November 30, 2009

Simple Woman’s Daybook

Outside my window.....We’re back to grey skies after the sun peaked through earlier this morning.

I am thinking.....that the current cold draft I am feeling means one of the kids left the door open. . .again!

I am thankful for.... the love of caring family and friends.
I am pants, light brown T-shirt and a taupe button down sweater.

I am hearing.....The boys outside playing football and the jingle of Lucy the cat’s bell, while she’s most likely climbing the kitchen counters.

I am creating.....the final draft of our Christmas card.

I am (hopefully) bring up boxes of Christmas decorations and put lights up around the front door.  Of course I didn’t do this last week when the temperature was 50!

I am reading.....So You’re About to be a Teenager by Dennis & Barbara Rainey, as a possible gift for our soon to be teenager son.

I am praying.....for continued health during December when the “to do” list seems to reap less sleep and more stress.

I am remembering.....the fun I had yesterday taking Christmas pictures for a family.

I am hoping.....that the rare bacterial infection in my father’s lungs will responds to these new antibiotics.

On my mind....the importance of structure and routine in our daily life and how that needs to be revamped around here.
From the learning rooms....We’ll be challenged to stay on track this month!

Noticing that....when I speak harshly. . . the kids soon follow.

Pondering these words. . . “Resisting the tendency to glory in the glitter of Christmastime, let’s sing instead with Mary, praising God for what He has done.” (Kathy Dane /  Anchor devotional, December ‘09) 
From the kitchen....that pan of rice krispy bars is mighty tempting.

Around the house.....I am happy to report that it’s lookin’ less cluttered than usual around here.

One of my favorite the anticipated Christmas music we’ll soon begin playing around here.

A few plans for the rest of the week....Christmas program practice for the kids, sports club, and possibly taking pictures of a newborn if she decides to make her entrance this week.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you....

A Christmas gift idea for you:

hiskidsThis is our His Kids radio which we bought for the kids as as Christmas gift a few years ago.  They have really enjoyed it. You can check it out HERE.

Introducing the Wi-Fi Family Radio™ & Media Player! The advanced technology in this device will bless your family by providing access to countless hours of Christian internet radio from virtually any room in your home!

If you'd like to visit others who are participating or write a journal yourself, please stop over at Peggy's Simple Woman's Daybook.

Happy Monday,


Friday, November 27, 2009

Are ya ready for some football?

After accusations of being “no fun” parents while

we worked in the office most of the day,

I encouraged Mr. E to log off the computer and

join the boys for some backyard football.

This ranks at the top of their “favorite thing to do” list.

Football with daddy. . .



And guess who decided to come join the fun?

She put on her own dress shoes and toddled outside all by herself!


She’s quiet, but she misses nothing!

We had a wonderful, relaxing, delicious, family Thanksgiving.

The $10-$15 gift exchanged was simple and fun.

All the wrapped gifts were placed in the middle.

We all drew numbers.

We started with #1 who chose a gift from the pile and opened it.

#2 was able to decide if he wanted #1’s gift or choose one from the pile to unwrap.

There were many good laughs and everyone was a good sport.

Here’s the fun family photo. . .



And these three dudes with attitudes were very excited!

They each ended up with Gander Mountain fleece lined hats which they L.O.V.E..


I’d recommend this gift exchange idea to anyone looking to simplify the holiday gift giving process.

Onward we go into the busy holiday season while trying to remember just why we are celebrating and just how to keep it simple.

Happy Black Friday,


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)


We’re looking forward to family traditions today. . .

  • Thanksgiving at my sister & brother in-law’s cabin with my husband’s side of the family.
  • Also celebrating Christmas at the cabin! This year we kept the gift exchange simple:  Each person bought a $10 gift.  We will put the gifts in the middle, draw numbers and each person can choose a wrapped gift or a gift someone else has already opened.  Sounds fun. . . I’ll let you know how it goes.
  • Grandma’s sweet potatoes
  • Aunt Julie’s stuffing
  • pumpkin pie. . .yummmm!
  • And apple pie!!
  • Pecan pie too!!
  • Grandma Z’s infamous 7 layer salad
  • a movie or two
  • making a craft ornament for the Christmas tree

Thanksgiving blessings to all of you,

Heather a


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Simply Grand Reading Rendezvous

Recently I found myself perusing through boxes labeled “Heather” which were stored in the basement of my parents’ home.

It was fun to look through old yearbooks, my blown glass collection, saved letters, and books I had read as a child.

I brought home the books I had discovered and J-man especially reveled in reading two of them.

Fortunately, I was able to check out the remaining books in the series through our local library.  Both are suitable for readers 8-11.

johnpetersonFirst is the series entitled The Littles.

Written by John Peterson (waay back!!) in 1967.

John Peterson (1924 - 2002) was an American author of children's books during the 20th century. He is best remembered as the creator of The Littles, which began as a series of books in 1967, later adapted into a long-running animated cartoon series by DiC Entertainment.

John Lawrence Peterson was born in Bradford, Pennsylvania on February 10, 1924, and attended Pratt Institute before volunteering and serving as a paratrooper of the 11th Airborne Division in World War II. After the war he returned to Pratt Institute and graduated in 1948. He lived in the Clinton Hill district of Brooklyn, New York with his wife Holly (Simmonds), also a Pratt graduate, where he had sons John Christopher, Matthew James, and Joel David Barnes, and a daughter Elizabeth Holly. Peterson later moved to Hankins, New York. His son Chris had nine children who have since produced seven great-grandchildren. Peterson died in November 2002 at the age of seventy-eight.

Peterson was a light-hearted man who enjoyed small tricks and fabulous tales. His legacy will always be renewed with the children; while during his lifetime he spoke all across the United States at elementary schools, volunteered for the Boy Scouts and directed a Sunday school class with his wife Holly at an Episcopal church, his Littles books will always be an aid for the imaginations of youngsters, offering a glimpse between the walls of their own homes into the world of the little mice-like people who live off their scraps.

The Littles Go Exploring

  • The Littles Go Exploring

    Here's the tiny family that always ends up in king-sized trouble! Only six inches high, the Littles have tall adventures full of fun!
    Years ago, Grandpa Little set off to explore and was never seen again - the mystery of his disappearance was never solved. Now Lucy and Tom have stumbled across Grandpa's old papers and maps. When they figure out the path he took into the wilderness, the family packs up and heads out. Surprises await them around every bend - huge turtles, river rapids, and a new family of tiny people!

Littles1       littles3      littles4

The second series I refer to as “the adventure series”, written by Thornton W. Burgess:

burgess Thornton Waldo Burgess (January 14, 1874 – June 5, 1965). Born in Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, he was a conservationist and author of children's stories. Thornton Waldo Burgess loved the beauty of nature and its living creatures so much that he wrote about them for 50 years. By the time he retired, he had written more than 170 books and 15,000 stories for daily columns in newspapers.


Gentle morality lessons, delightfully taught, in a tale about an amiable bear who comes to live in the Green Forest. Large, easy-to-read type and charming illustrations. The other animals are frightened when Buster Bear comes to live in the Green Forest, until he gets into trouble trying to steal blueberries from Farmer Brown's boy and they realize he is not very different from them.

 adventure1    adventure2   adventure3    adventure4   


It’s always fun to find books the kids love to read.

I want to instill a heart of thankfulness in our kids for the gift of books!  There are many children around the world who never have access to books like our children.

Here is a quote from “Books for Africa”. . .

Letter from a Peace Corps Volunteer currently serving at an elementary hostel school in a tiny rural village in Namibia:

“Though there are no chairs or tables in our library, and only a ragged carpet on a cement floor, the children line up outside, waiting anxiously for me to open every afternoon, excited to look through and read, yet again, the same book they read yesterday.

“The children spend long afternoons flipping mesmerized through picture books, tracing words with their fingers, asking for definitions or explanations. The library has become a place that not only creates a love of reading, but offers and inspires an interest in English, the national language of this still newly independent nation, and an awareness of a world outside the hostel walls.”

Happy reading. . .Happy Thanksgiving week!



Monday, November 23, 2009

Simple Woman’s Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, November 23

Outside my’s lookin’ pretty cloudy and grey out there.
I am thinking...I need the Lord’s strength to patiently make it through this Monday.
I am thankful...that the vomiting which occurred in the early hours this morning has ceased.  My trusty little Bissell carpet cleaner once again came in handy at 4:00am. 
From the learning rooms...capitalization rules, factors, Harriet Tubman and deer processing.
I am bathrobe. :o
I am remembering...the look of a very proud 12 year old after shooting his first buck last weekend.
I am our homeschool club talent show this evening.
I am camera manual.
I am hoping... to get uninterrupted sleep tonight.
On my mind...the holiday “to do” list has begun. 
Noticing that. . .those pretty colored leaves on the trees have all disappeared.

Pondering these words. . . “God never built a Christian strong enough to carry today’s duties and tomorrow’s anxieties piled on top of them.”  Theodore Ledyard Cuyler

From the kitchen. . . plenty of weekend leftovers to make it through the next few days. Yeah!

Around the house...some pretty tired kids after deer hunting weekend.
One of my favorite things...inspirational praise music.

Here is a picture for thought

Just had to show that proud 12 year old.


Go HERE to read other Daybooks or create one of your own.

Happy Monday,



Thursday, November 19, 2009


gloomy, grey skies. . .P

headache. . .P

cluttered kitchen. . .P

laundry to fold. . .P

bathroom to clean. . .P

tiredness. . .P

kids arguing. . .P

On the bright side. . .

kids healthy. . . P

dinner in the oven. . .P

pedicure tomorrow. . . P

new dress for Little A, made with love by Oma. . .P


simplicity. . . And for all you sewers out there,

the jumper pattern is by Simplicity, #9854





A brief synopsis of today.

Here’s lookin’ on the bright side,

since, I’m tryin’ to be that glass half full kind of gal ;)





Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Barefoot Contessa’s Potato Salad


I was asked to make a potato salad for a gathering over the weekend.

I think I’ve only made this dish once in my life.

So I went on-line and found a recipe from Ina Garten that sounded tasty.

And it was.

Very tasty that is!

So I had to share it with you.

I used the white potatoes we had remaining from the garden.

The recipe calls for red potatoes.

New Potato Salad


  • 3 pounds small red potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk, milk, or white wine
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion


Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Allow the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, dill, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into quarters or halves, depending on their size. Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl. While the potatoes are still warm, pour enough dressing over them to moisten. (As the salad sits, you may need to add more dressing.) Add the celery and red onion, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature


Back in the day, when we had television. . . I enjoyed watching the Food Network Channel and would very often tune into the Barefoot Contessa.  Since I find bios most interesting, here is one on Ina Garten.


inaIn 1978, Ina Garten found herself working in the White House on nuclear energy policy and thinking, "There's got to be more to life than this!" She saw an ad for a small food store for sale in a place she'd never been: the Hamptons at the end of Long Island. She and her husband drove up to investigate and made the owner an offer on the spot. Two months later she found herself the owner of Barefoot Contessa, a 400-sq. ft. specialty food store.

Twenty years later, Barefoot Contessa grew to a 3,000-square-foot food emporium where twenty cooks and bakers prepared the food. Twenty-five more employees worked in the store helping thousands of customers to choose breads, salads, dinners and baked goods to take home. In 1996, Ina sold the store to her employees. In 2003, the new owners of Barefoot Contessa decided to close their doors and go on to new adventures.

In 1999, Ina wrote her first book, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, which was one of the best-selling cookbooks of the year. The book invites readers into her specialty food store and shares the recipes that made it such a success. In 2001, Ina followed with best-selling Barefoot Contessa Parties! in which she invites readers into her home and shares her ideas and recipes for having parties that are fun for all - including the host. Her follow-up cookbooks, Barefoot Contessa Family Style (2002), Barefoot in Paris (2004), and Barefoot Contessa at Home (2006) all continue her style of cooking with easy, delicious, and foolproof recipes that you can make at home. Her newest book, Barefoot Contessa - Back to Basics will be published in October 2008. Her new series on Food Network - beginning in October, 2008 - will also be titled Barefoot Contessa - Back to Basics.

In 2006, Ina and her business partner Frank Newbold started a successful line of Barefoot Contessa Pantry products, comprised of baking mixes and sauces developed from recipes in her cookbooks.

Ina has been a columnist for Martha Stewart Living magazine and O, the Oprah magazine. Since March, 2006 she has been a columnist for House Beautiful.

Ina lives in East Hampton, N.Y., and Southport, Conn., with her husband Jeffrey, who is a professor at the Yale School of Management.

Ina currently hosts Barefoot Contessa on Food Network.

Happy Tuesday!


Monday, November 16, 2009

Simple Woman’s Daybook


FOR TODAY, November 16th
Outside my window...sunshine and blue skies.  Yeah!
I am thinking...I have a few things to get done while Little A is napping.
I am thankful for...the yard projects we were able to complete last weekend.
From the learning rooms...we read an interesting book about loons this morning.
From the kitchen...Do you think the family will really expect dinner tonight again too????
I am wearing...Taupe sweater and brown pants.
I am creating...Christmas gift ideas. . .for me! :o
I am bring the kids to their Christmas program practice this evening.
I am reading...a Real Simple magazine about house cleaning.
I am hoping...this healthy streak continues for our family.
I am practicing piano and others playing football outside.
Around the house...I cleaned a bathroom and mudroom today.  Feels so nice. . .for a few moments, anyway. J 

One of my favorite things...Hearing the boys play Lego’s together. . .nicely.
A few plans for the rest of the week:  Dentist, teeth cleaning appointments.  Yippee!
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

What a cute baby bump, huh?  A friend of mine (not me) expecting #8!


Go to The Simple Woman’s Daybook HERE to read other Daybooks or to create one of your own.

Happy Monday,


Sunday, November 15, 2009


vote Last week I went to The Homeschool Post to vote for my friend Tammy at Garden Glimpses since her blog was nominated in the Best Encourager Blog category.

I enjoyed browsing the other nominated blogs.

And then lo and behold I got down to the Best New Homeschool Blog category and was shocked to find Simply Grand Central! 

nominatedMy mouth dropped open!  What a fun surprise!

So I am unabashedly asking my regular readers (you do not have to be a homeschooler) to take an extra minute and cast a vote for me.

Go HERE  to vote.  Find the Best New Homeschool Blog which is towards the bottom (#24), click on that, then find Simply Grand Central, click on the dot then hit the VOTE button.

Thank You!!

Your vote has brought a simply grand smile to my face.J


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Look!. . .Up in the tree!

The kids were very excited to spot an owl up in a tree yesterday.

We discovered it was a Barred owl.

Here is an up close YouTube video:

Voice: Loud, very vocal hooting, often in response to each other. "Hoo-hoo-to-hoo-oo, hoo-hoo to wha-aa" suggests " Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?" They are extremely vocal in February and March, and again during late summer and fall. Probably the most vocal of all owls.

owl7Here’s what they look like as babies, 3-4 wks old:



Zman took the following pictures:




Never know what you’ll be seein’ around here.

Happy Thursday!



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Simply Grand Reading Rendezvous

Our author this week is Robert McCloskey.  There are several books I will always remember from my childhood and one of them is Make Way for Ducklings.  I’m collecting copies to give to my grandkids one day.  Here are some quotes from the author:

rmRobert McCloskey, who was born and grew up in Hamilton, Ohio says:

I attended public school, and from the time my fingers were long enough to play the scale, I took piano lessons. I started to play the harmonica, the drums, and then the oboe. The musician's life was the life for me - that is, until I became interested in things electrical and mechanical. I collected old electric motors and bits of wire, old clocks, and Mechano sets. I built trains and cranes with remote controls, my family's Christmas trees revolved, lights flashed and buzzers buzzed, fuses blew and sparks flew. The inventor's life was the life for me - that is, until I started making drawings for the high school annual.

   Years later. . .

On the strength of his new paintings, McCloskey got a job in Boston, assisting Francis Scott Bradford in making an enormous mural of famous people of Beacon Hill. Then he got the idea for Make Way For Ducklings.

I had first noticed the ducks when walking through the Boston Public Garden every morning on my way to art school. When I returned to Boston four years later, I noticed the traffic problem of the ducks and heard a few stories about them. The book just sort of developed from there.

So that he could draw the ducks exactly, he bought four squawking mallards and took them home to his apartment. "The ducks had plenty to say - especially in the early morning. I spent the next weeks on my hands and knees, armed with a box of Kleenex and a sketchbook, following the ducks around the studio and observing them in the bathtub." Make Way For Ducklings was awarded the Caldecott Medal, given annually for the most distinguished American picture book for children, and has sold more than 2 million copies in hardcover and paperback.

Some day I’d like to travel to the East Coast and visit Boston, Massachusetts.   Did you know there is sculpture in the Boston Public Garden in honor of McCloskey’s book?

 rm2 rm1

These are the McCloskey books we enjoyed this week. . .







As with each turn of the page a story unfolds with intrigue and surprise. . .

so was my day today. 

Three unexpected guests.

Each bringing their unique world of experience, stories, love, laughter, and information. . . adding unexpected delight and interest to our day.

Here’s a picture from our first unexpected guest. . .


Driving his infamous 1958 pink Cadillac.

Look who’s  roundin’ the bend. . .


It’s Grandpa!

The kids are just a little excited to greet him.



And guess what? 


He’s takin’ us to Culver’s for lunch!

Unexpected surprises and love from family and friends.

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”  Psalm 107:8-9

Happy reading. . .

and Happy surprises too!



Monday, November 9, 2009

Simple Woman’s Daybook

FOR TODAY... November 9, 2009

Outside my window... it was a beautiful fall day filled sunshine and a delightful temperature of 50 degrees.

I am thinking... this warmer weather and sunshine makes it hard to believe it’s November.  November means Thanksgiving is just around the corner. . . .and then Christmas. . . Yikes!!
I am thankful travels for several family members this week. 
I am wearing... black pants and a brown top with brown vest.  (I have a pretty boring wardrobe. . . I finish this sentence the same every week!)
I am remembering... it was 12 years ago this week I was pregnant and due anytime with my first child.  We were sooo excited!
I am going... to bed on time tonight.  Really!  I promise.

I am reading...  Prayers From A Mother’s Heart by Ruth Bell Graham 
I am hoping... our eldest son has a happy birthday day on Thursday.
On my mind... Little Stellan's miraculous, successful heart surgery this afternoon.  The Lord has done an amazing work in this little boys’ life.

From the learning rooms... Robert McCloskey books this week.  Make Way for Ducklings is an all time favorite of mine.

Noticing that...  with time change we are getting the kids ready for bed earlier and spending more time reading in the evening.

Pondering these words... “Lord, please help me develop a gentle, pleasant tone of voice.  Someone once said, ‘Most of the tensions of everyday life are caused by tone of voice.’  I know it’s true with me.  So please help me.”  Ruth Bell Graham

From the kitchen... I’m lacking in the meal planning department this week.  Not even a pot of soup in the making.  Although one son recently lamented, “all we have is soup nowadays”.  I guess he’ll be glad. :)

Around the house... my carpets were cleaned today and they look sooo much better.

One of my favorite things~ Listening to my kids giggle and laugh as they did this weekend watching herbieThe Love Bug.

From my picture journal...


You can create your own Daybook or read others by going HERE.

Hope it was a good Monday!



Saturday, November 7, 2009

Saturday Cider

We have wonderful neighbors.

They have an apple press and invited

our family to come make cider.

We all had such fun. . .rinsing, turning, filling and tasting!

Absolutely delish!!


And cider tastes super with donuts. . .

Little A says, “Shhhh, I had three but don’t tell anybody!”


Hope you had some delish in your Saturday too!



Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Our children will not always be under our watchful eye,

or surrounded by our hugs, advice, discipline, admonition, etc.

We train, we teach, we discipline all in preparation for the

day they will be out on their own. 

It is then that they will need to “own”  and define their

faith, their self-discipline, their priorities, their morals, their

friendships. . .


And they will most certainly be tested.

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”  James 1:12(NIV)


“Father, thank You that You will never leave us or forsake us.  As our children face difficult situations, remind him of this truth.  Strengthen him to endure these trials so that one day he can receive the crown of life You promised to those who love You.”


This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.” Rev 14:12(NIV)

Dear God, may Your Holy Spirit encourage our children to begin building a lifestyle of patient endurance.  Instill in them willingness to obey Your commandments and always be faithful to Jesus Christ.  Deepen their trust in You their God and Savior.”

The above quotes from “While They Were Sleeping”.

sleepingThis post led me to the book, “While They Were Sleeping” by Anne Arkins and Gary Harrell. (12 character traits for moms to pray)

From the back cover. . . “It’s true-you can teach and model godly values, encourage wise choices, and set guidelines for your child.  But did you know that one of the greatest ways to nurture your child’s life is. . .by praying for him?  This book can be a valuable tool in helping you to pray specifically and systematically for your child.”

I know I need to pray more intentionally and specifically for my children.

I need to pray character into the hearts of my children.

I need to pray they will be prepared and they will know Who to turn to when the day of testing arrives.

Hope you had a good Tuesday,