Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflecting on 2011

Last year I didn't make any resolutions. Just never got around to it. Part of the problem was that I’d not accomplished the goals I’d set in 2010 so I was feeling a bit apathetic towards the whole thing. What’s the point? I don’t accomplish much anyhow…blah, blah, blah. Stinkin’ thinkin’. 

I spent a little time reviewing 2011 and despite the fact that I hadn't set any new goals, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I actually accomplished quite a few new things that I would never have known to even strive for. The Lord really stretched me this year to try new things that I would not have thought possible or even probable. Here are a few things of those things:

1.      1. Taking on a new, larger convention. I’ve been working as a SonlightCurriculum Consultant since 2004 (7 years?? Wow!) and the largest convention I had ever done has been about 1200 people. This year I joined the big leagues with the Southeast Homeschool Convention which was about 2500 attendees. Felt great to take that next step as a consultant.
2.      2. Go on a mission trip. This wasn’t even remotely on my radar screen. Michael was going to take Tommy to Honduras to visit La Esperanza de Jesus, a missionary our church supports. But in the end I ended up being the one to take him. It was my first missionary trip and it was powerful.
3.     3. Run a 10K race. I have been struggling with plantar faciitis for a number of years and had just about given up hope of ever running again. But during a conversation with a friend who suffers from the same condition, he mentioned that hard orthotic inserts have helped him. I had been trying cushioned inserts but hard?? I was skeptical. But I decided to give them a try and started walking in them. No pain. In June Timothy and I began a couch-to-5K program, an app on my Iphone. As the weeks went by and the distance increased but the pain did not, I was able to run and complete a 10 K race. A new niggling pain in my ankle has arisen which I plan on tackling in the new year, but the plantar is doing well. It feels good to run again.
4.    4.  Emcee our women’s retreat. The past two years I have served on the women's retreat planning team as the “hospitality coordinator” which is an area I feel comfortable with. But this year I wasn’t feeling called to that. I didn’t really know what my role should be. You can imagine my surprise when at the first meeting when it was suggested I be the emcee. REALLY?! Me? A borderline introvert who stutters?! Despite the fears I immediately had, I also had a peace that this is what God wanted me to do. And so I did. And I got through it.
5.    5.   Learn a new hobby. I’ve wanted to learn to crochet for years now but never found anyone who would teach me. I would ask people who knew how but it just never worked out to get together. However just last week my friend Natalie taught me. She taught herself with the help of YouTube videos and made a lovely scarf for her daughter. I begged her to teach me and during a coffee date she did. I’m already halfway through my scarf and I’m really enjoying it. It’s easy to do and very portable. I look forward to making more fun projects with this newly-learned hobby!
6.     6.  Sing in the Christmas Choir. This is something I NEVER thought I’d EVER do! Way back in 4th grade I sang in a school choir called Los Cantantitos and the choir directory discreetly told my parents that I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. Years later they shared that comment with me which has forever scarred me. Oh I sing in church, as long as others are singing too. So when Jessica talked me into auditioning for the special Christmas choir and then telling me I’d made it, I couldn’t believe it! I have to say that it was probably the hardest thing I’d done (harder than emceeing). I worked at it a LOT, following her instruction on how to breath and trying to sing “dark” and attempting to “raise my soft palate.” I admit that I sang timidly and lip synced the really high notes that I couldn’t hit. But again, I did it. I overcame that fear and did a hard thing (Ever read that book?)

       So there you have it. These are the things that came to mind as I thought back over the year. I wonder what the Lord has in store for me next year?

This year I’m back to setting goals. They look remarkably similar to some old ones but I'm going to keep following the old adage “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!” I’m going to keep trying!

  • So goodbye 2011 and here's hoping for a happy new year! What about you? What do you feel good about last year?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Kib's Bay 2011

It was down to the wire but we did it! We had Kib's Bay this year! Not sure what I'm talking about? Read up on it here.

We came up with the theme "Mission Impossible!" We woke the kids up at 8:00 a.m. by blowing party horns (a Kib's Bay tradition) and informed the kids how to dress (jeans, tshirt, closed shoes, hoodie or windbreakers). They were ready in no time and off we went to grab a quick Hardees drive-through breakfast. On the drive south on I-95, we reminisced what we've done for Kib's Bay over the years. We came up with the following list:

  • IMAX Movie in 2007
  • Blizzard Beach in 2008
  • Surf Camp in 2009
  • Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2010
After remembering the good times we announced the new theme by playing the Mission Impossible theme song ( via YouTube app on our Iphones). We had a show-up time of 9:45 and as we were a little early we stopped for coffees in St. Augustine. The kids still didn't know what we were going to be doing. After coffee, we drove through town and across the Bridge of Lions. The kids were really curious as to where we were going and were a little worried that it had something to do with the boat!

We pulled into the Alligator Farm parking lot and they were a little confused/suspicious/skeptical. We just waited for them to see the people on the zip line course and for it to sink in. It finally dawned on them what we were doing and they began to get excited. We signed in, paid, and got outfitted with our harnesses. After a little class on how to clip in and move through the obstacles we were on our way. Tommy and Timothy went first and they were soon out of sight. Annie, Michael and I stuck together. There were eleven obstacles before we got to the first zip line. It was long and a little intimidating! But after the first one, it got easier. We did the long course and it took about an hour and a half to complete. The boys would have done it much faster had they done it on their own. At the end I thought we would be able to walk through the farm but that would have been an "additional cost" so we didn't. (really?! for the price of the zip line they could easily have let us in to walk around a bit!) 

We were not allowed to bring in any phones or cameras for fear of dropping them into the pens below. Here are the only pictures we were able to get.

 You can kinda see the course in the distance behind the brown fence.

Afterwards we went just down the road, to the entrance to Anastasia State Park, in the Surf Station Parking lot and ate at Nalu's Tropical Take Out, a converted pop-up camper.

 Then we hurried to our next destination: World Golf Village IMAX theater for the 1:00 showing of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. It was really intense to watch it on a 6-story screen! The IMAX was a throw-back to our first Kib's Bay where we went to an IMAX movie (no one can remember what it is that we saw that first time).

Ahhhh....another Kib's Bay. We had a great time and made another deposit in the memory bank! Boy, are they adding up!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Homemade Granola

I love granola but I don't care for the sugary sweet kind (and loaded with calories and fat!) so I prefer to make my own. I've tweaked the recipe over the years and now this is my standard one. The first one is the yummy, not-so-healthy for you. The variation is the one I usually make: not too sweet, scant on the fat.

Sheila’s Granola
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup coconut
1 cup almonds
1/3 cup wheat germ
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 can f/f sweetened condensed milk
½ cup oil

Spray baking pan with Pam. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix first 4 ingredients. Add next four and mix well. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

You can vary the ingredients at will. Try other nuts. Add raisins or other dried fruit (after baking.) Can be doubled and tripled as long as you have a large enough pan and can stir it.

Healthier version: I cut out the sweetened condensed milk and substitute ¼ cup of sweetener: either honey, real maple syrup or agave nectar. I reduce the oil to ¼ cup. Also oatmeal is increased to 6 cups.

Makes great trail mix when mixed with pretzels, M&Ms, etc. I've also given it as Christmas presents packaged in pretty bags or jars.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Seeds of Kindness

I read this blog post this morning and decided this was what we needed to do this year for advent! But rather than plant the seeds, we would gather them so we could have a visual reminder of the good we would collectively do. So I quickly set about to get what we needed ready. First I typed up a short description of this new activity.
Then scoured around looking for something to use as seeds. I debated using popcorn or beans but I happened to have a sizable amount of coriander seeds I had collected from my cilantro plants. I found a diminutive bowl and filled it up.
Next I found a tiny glass receptacle in which to put the round seeds. I put a pink bow on it (one of the colors of advent) because I didn't have purple. And then I arranged it all together.
We used to read the Jotham's Journey books together as a family as an advent activity but my kids have outgrown the books (memorized the stories) so we needed something else to focus on. I decided to put this little activity together with our advent wreath.
I look forward to all the seeds of kindness that will be planted in our hearts this advent season!