Monday, January 26, 2015

3 a.m. and the police are at the door!

That's never a good way to wake up. My thoughts immediately start to race. Did something happen to our college son? Did someone break into the cars? Did something happen to a neighbor?

No. We back up to an apartment complex and a gal had gotten into a fight with her boyfriend. He threw her Prius keys over the fence into our backyard. In the middle of the night. Now the policeman wants to search our backyard. In the rain. He is apologetic. I feel sorry for HIM having to wake us and search around in the dark and the rain.

My mind wanders as I lie in bed and can't fall back to sleep. Ephesians 4:26 comes to mind: In your anger do not sin. I like what Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary says about this verse:

If there is just occasion to express displeasure at what is wrong, and to reprove, see that it be without sin. We give place to the devil, when the first motions of sin are not grievous to our souls; when we consent to them; and when we repeat an evil deed. This teaches that as sin, if yielded unto, lets in the devil upon us, we are to resist it, keeping from all appearance of evil.

I'm sure that the man had a reason for his anger. He should be allowed to express those feelings to his girlfriend. However, his anger led him to actions he should not have effected. I'm not saying that throwing keys over a fence is a sin. But "consenting to the anger and repeating the evil deed" is. 

In case you were wondering, the policeman did not find the keys. I could NOT fall back to sleep until almost morning. Then I missed my run date with my running partner. We looked again for the keys this morning. Still nothing. 

A seemingly harmless act will now have expensive repercussions. Replacing keys can be costly! The takeaway? Think through your actions when you are angry to be sure you don't regret them later! 

Now, I'm off to make a second cup of coffee. I'm gonna need it today!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sonlight Turns 25!

To commemorate Sonlight Curriculum's silver anniversary, they are hosting a year-long blog party on the 25th of each month. The topic for this month is Introduce us to your family. Are you just getting started homeschooling? Or do you have graduates? Or somewhere in between?

I first began homeschooling in 2000. My kids were 5 years, 2-and-a-half years and 3 months old. Since it was only Kindergarten, I was pretty confident that I could handle it, even if I did have a newborn! I had attended a homeschooling convention the month before and had found out about Sonlight at a workshop (thanks Shawne and Katy!). I ordered my materials and was so excited to be able to homeshool using BOOKS and have a plan! (Love the IGs!) Although it was challenging, that first year was so fun and it gave me the confidence to try it again the next year. And the next. And the next. Over the years, we have enjoyed our time together reading, learning, and traveling to visit many places that we had learned about.

Fast forward 15 years and now my kids are 19, 17 and 14.5. I've been homeschooling for 15 years and all of them with Sonlight, with some supplemental stuff thrown in as well as joining various co-ops and support groups. My oldest is now in college, a sophomore at the University of Florida. He used Cores A through H before going to a private high school. My second son is now a junior and is currently doing Core 300. He is dual enrolled in our local community college for math and writing, takes advanced Physics at a co-op and Italian 2 through Landry Academy. My daughter is a freshman and she is currently doing Core 100 as well as taking Geometry, Biology, Spanish 1 and Logic through PEP, a local co-op.

Although my career as a homeschool parent will draw to a close in three years, I will cherish the time we've had together: the fun, the memories and the great stories!

On a recent trip to the Eternal City
Be sure to check out what other bloggers have to say about homeschooling with Sonlight!

Sonlight Blog Party

Friday, January 23, 2015

Wish list: What are you coveting?

The Style Me Bloggers are back with another post! What are you coveting; what's on your wish list? Luckily, I’m a pretty contented gal. I have spent years cultivating that attitude thanks to the Proverbs so I don’t pine for things very often. 

I did reach a place where I didn't like my house. We had let things go for so long for a number of reasons (kids are small~what’s the point?/we want to travel instead/let’s fix up the boat and go on a year-long cruise/single income family). But now the kids are growing up and are no longer trashing furniture, the boat is sold and is no longer a drain and, well, we still ARE a single income family, for the most part. That part has not changed. However, with the other changes, we can now focus on getting the house squared away and making it more attractive and more pleasing.

It began, interestingly enough, with the economic downturn which prevented us from selling our 3 bedroom house and upgrading to a bigger home. We ended up staying put and added on a bedroom to the house. Then a moldy shower convinced us to do a major bathroom renovation in our master bath. That went so well that we revamped the hall bath as well. And a friend’s advice of painting the brick in the family room and another friend's recommendation of furniture rearranging has led to a completely new look in there. I’m finally loving my home!

My weight loss last year caused me to need to buy new clothes. That led to me be willing to try Alison Lumbatis’s Style Me Challenges back in the fall which led me to try new things, clothingwise. I’ve always been a pretty traditional person, and especially so in my clothes. I like to buy timeless pieces and I don’t follow the trends very much. However, Alison's challenges have gotten me out of some ruts and have encouraged me to be more adventurous and creative.

So with those things in mind, here are some things that are on my wish list right now

1. Oversized watch – It doesn’t have to be anything super fancy or expensive. I’m happy with a $10 Walmart one. It was an item on the challenges that I never did get.

2. Cognac shoes (both flats and boots) – I’ve only recently begun wearing boots and I usually use black as a neutral. I think cognac will be a welcome and versatile change. But I'm picky with flats. Not too pointy or rounded. Not too much toe cleavage...

3. Losing the weight I gained on vacation in Italy – It’s just not budging. I really need to buckle down and get focused and quit cheating. I really do. I want it GONE!

4. A dehydrator – I think it would be great to be able to dry my own fruit and tomatoes and chilis from my garden. But I want a good one and good ones cost $$$.

5. A large walk-in closet with wooden hangers – I love Carrie’s closet and love how it looks like shopping in a boutique! However, mine is small and there’s no room for wooden hangers! That being the case I would love to have all matching huggable hangers. It would create more space in my closet and help it look neat since the hangers would all match.

6. New floors in the house. - I'm really tired of carpet. I want it all gone.

7. A house at the beach. - This *is* a wish list, right? A girl can dream?!

Okay, that's about it. Check out the other bloggers below to see what their wish lists are!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Pineapple Soy Pork Scallopini

Chops on the grill
This recipe came about because I had pineapple juice I wanted to use up from the champagne punch from our Christmas Eve party. It was quick, easy and very tasty!

1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup white wine
2 garlic cloves, sliced
pork scallopini (I made 8) or thin cut pork chops

Place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl or zip lock bag. Add meat to marinade and allow to sit 10-30 minutes. Grill until done. Place marinade in a small saucepan and cook until reduced.
Cook the marinade to make it safe to eat.
Serve the chops with sauce and your favorite sides. I served it with roasted cauliflower. 
Roasted cauliflower is an easy side dish. 

Linking to Skip to My Lou's Made by You Monday
Skip To My Lou

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Zooma Half Marathon

Today I ran the Zooma Half Marathon which was in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island. This is a women's race series. My running partner, Lisa, and Lisa's friend Heather and I signed up for it about 3 months ago. We stayed at the Hampton Inn in downtown Fernandina and it just happened to be right by the start! It was great because we were able to walk out to the start just a few minutes before the start.
Ready to start!
The course winds through downtown Fernandina...
On Center Street
...turns north on 14th street and crosses over a bridge which then leads you through a back gate into Ft. Clinch State Park. 
Beautiful morning!
After running to the beach access area, you turn around in the parking lot and run out of the park, onto the beach road and then end at the Ritz Carlton. The worst part was running through soft sand. It was a bit longer than 13.1 (more like 13.3.)
Although I did not set a personal record, I had a great race. It helped to have Michael and Annie along with Lisa's daughter, Rachel and her friend, Shelby cheering us on. We even had our good friends, John and Denise, cheer us on! They came up and stayed with other friends Lu and Sandy, who hosted us the night before for a tasty Tex Mex dinner!

Zooma had a nice after-party on the lawn at the Ritz but we were starving and ready to eat our well-deserved post-race burger, so we didn't linger long.
Our blingy medals
Thanks to Lu's suggestion, we ate at T Rays and had a great burger!
I even ate the bun and the fries!
Now that that one's behind me, I've gotta find something else to train for. My Sonlight pals have invited me to run in their hometowns. Hmmm...I'll have to see when those races are! Destination races are fun!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sonlight Curriculum

I'm in Colorado for the Sonlight Training Conference, getting all trained up for the 2015 convention season. Sonlight is celebrating their 25 year anniversary and they have lots of cool things planned in conjunction with that.
Company luncheon in the warehouse
Clowning around with Donna of NH
I enjoy coming out here. This is my 7th training conference (one was in Florida) so it certainly feels familiar by now, but I still get a little thrill getting to go to HQ.
The indefatigable Luke giving us some computer training!
 (That's not a duck face. I caught him mid sentence.)
We had some snow on the first day, just for me because I prayed for it, but the weather started warming up after that.

We are feeling the absence of some friends who are no longer with Sonlight but we are making new friends with the new people. (Jamie of Alabama can be seen in the picture below. She's a stylish southern cutie and you can check out her blog here!)
Quick break between trainings
Sonlight has some fun stuff planned to celebrate their 25 years. One is a year-long blog party that they are hosting on the 25th of each month. Be sure to come back for my post on the 25th! If you're a Sonlighter and a blogger you can join the fun here.

Sonlight Blog Party

Can you spot Sarita??
If you're a Sonlight and NOT a blogger you can share your Sonlight story here. Because if you are a Sonlighter you are part of the Sonlight timeline too!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Apple, Bacon, Caramelized Onion and Brie Pizza

It was pizza night, but rather than making our usual homemade pizza we decided to mix it up a bit. I remembered a recipe for an apple and brie pizza but I couldn't find it anywhere so I decided to just do my own thing. Since I didn't want to add a tomato sauce but thinking it needed something "wet," I decided to brown up some onions. The sweetness of the onion would complement the sweetness of the apples. I was initially going to use prosciutto to add a little protein and a salty element but the two stores Michael went to didn't have it so we made the switch to bacon. I recently discovered Hormel Black Label bacon (the link has a coupon) and it is my new favorite! I love it when the grocery store has it on BOGO and I have a coupon! I stock up and throw it in the freezer so I always have this yummy bacon on hand. This past Christmas we went through 8 packages of it! (I made a LOT of bacon wrapped dates!)
Onion and bacon
Back to the topic at hand. I sliced up the brie and the apple while the onion was slowly cooking in some olive oil and the bacon was cooking away in the microwave.
Apples and brie
When all the different elements were ready (mis-en-place), it was time to assemble the pizza. We were initially thinking of grilling it but now that we are using a cold fermented dough, it comes out really wet and hard to work with; it wouldn't transfer well to the grill. I stuck with baking it on a Pampered Chef  stone cookie sheet. First, I spread out the onion, sprinkling the bacon on top of that. Then I arranged the apple slices and finally, the brie.
Ready for the oven!
Since I didn't know if Timothy would like this "fancy" pizza (Annie was at a sleepover), I made a small regular pizza (sauce, mozzarella, bacon and onion) in small cast iron frying pan (picked up that tip recently somewhere but can't remember where). 
Personal pan deep dish delish!
Both came out beautifully. And tasted really great! 
The final product!
If you follow THM, this is on plan but a crossover since the dough (which was fermented for 5 days) and apple are E and the bacon and brie are S. Plus the onion (E) is cooked in oil (S). Regardless, it was tasty AND on plan!

Linking up with Skip to My Lou.
Skip To My Lou