Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Proud to be a Fish

It seems that I feel the need to address the title of my blog today. For those of you unclear as to what the heck I am talking about; the title of my blog "Fish Out of Water" refers to our family as Christians (the fish) and our experience in the public school, not private (hence, the "out of water" part).

People in my Christian world have strong opinions on this subject matter. In fact, it's difficult to have a civil conversation with some Christians if you are one of those, like us, who do not send your kids to the Christian school. It can get heated.

To be blunt, our main reason for going public is plain and simple, the money. It's darn expensive to do the private thing! Darn expensive! So darn expensive, that we have friends who are very pro private school but have sadly had to pull their kids out and go to the public school because it was beginning to get to be too much.

I wish I could say our reasons were more noble, like that we send our children to public school so that they can be missionaries for Christ and so that they and we as a family can have a positive impact on the nonbelievers we come across. But no. It's the money.

So, what brought this on you might ask. Well, a friend of mine whose brother, I believe, writes for a Christianpublication in Canada, posted an interesting article on Facebook today. (I think he does book reviews). He was discussing a book called, "Going Public; Your Child Can Thrive in Public School." by David and Kelli Pritchard.
I have not read this book. I have only read the review that my friend's brother wrote. It was interesting. Interesting enough that I may check this book out and interesting enough that I wanted to share it with you.

No matter what our reasons for going public or private are, the fact is that we as parents, have a responsibility to educate our children. I like how the author of the book says that when his kids start (public) school, they are not going alone. It is a "family expedition....that mom and dad are not just involved with the children but with the school and teachers and leaders."

I believe that's how it should be no matter what type of school you go to. GET INVOLVED!! These are your babies we are talking about! You should be there. Get to know the teachers on a personal level. Let them get to know you. Know what's being taught. AND TEACH YOUR KIDS AT HOME!!!

And let me say that I am not in love with the whole public school thing. I am not pro P.S. and anti private or vice versa. I will never argue that P.S. is the way to go for everyone. There are defiantly things that bother me, even make me angry. But this is the path we have chosen for our family for now and we are going to make the best of it. We can and will thrive and survive. AND, possibly come out better for it?? I can't say. And it could be that one day we do give private a try. I do know, from my personal experience, I found it easier to be a Christian when I was in public school than when I attend a Christian college. I know that is not everyones experience, but it was mine. I also know from my current experience that it is SO easy to stay in my little Christian cocoon, yes, even though we are in P.S. I can just ignore all that I see around me that is of this world and surround myself with just God stuff and God people. That's what Jesus did, right? (**note the tone of sarcasm here** ~clears throat~).

So, for now, we will do what we can to prepare and encourage our children to be in the world but not of it, to love our Lord God with all their hearts, to strive to honor Him in all they do, and to
stand up for what they know is right and true, despite what their friends or even teachers may say, as we should no matter what school they attend.

That being said, below is a link to the article/book review. From what I understand, this book is meant to encourage families like us who, for whatever reason, find themselves as Fish Out of Water.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wanna See My Big Girl?

She's really my baby, but not my baby anymore. She's 4, practically in kindergarten if you ask her. She's tall for her age so everyone assumes she's at least in kindergarten anyway.
Elliott started her last year of pre-K on Thursday. MY last year of pre-k. This year marks the 6th year I have been at this preschool. It's been a good 5 years. I've made some pretty good friends and met some interesting people. My kids have all enjoyed this preschool, (though now they say/sing things like, "1st/3rd grade rules, pre-k drools.") They too have made some good friends too.

She was SO very excited to start school, mainly though because her sisters had already started and she'd been moping around the house all the week before says, "mom, I don't know what to do."
So now she's started. And I must savor this last year of little kid-dom.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

No Pain, No Gain

Boot camp started this week. And it kicked my butt.

I'm wondering just how effective something like boot camp can actually be when it causes me to be so sore the days after that I am unable to exercise any further.

Zumba resumes tomorrow. I'm hoping the soreness will have subsided enough so I can shake it along with everyone else and maybe make up for not having exercised yesterday or today.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bird Song

You might need to turn your volume up for this one. I recorded this in our back yard, our own personal bird sanctuary.

Just listen.

Be still and know that I am God.- Ps. 46:10

Are not tow sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground a part from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your heard are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. - Matt. 10:29-31

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Honey's Spaghetti

My grandmother, affectionately called, "Honey", was a southern girl. She was born and raised in Alabama and lived out the rest of her life in Georgia. When I get back to my roots and try to think how to cook southern style, I think of Honey. She could make any meal southern. She could make tacos southern. Don't ask me how, but when I make tacos they never taste like they did at Honey's house. She was also famous for her Southern style spaghetti. There is nothing Italian about this dish.

I know I've mentioned Honey's spaghetti before but I was reminded of it again the other day because I made it. I don't really make it that often. First of all, it takes a while. There's a good hour of prep and then there's the baking and the clean up. It takes a decent amount of various pots and pans to cook which means a lot of clean up time, my least favorite part of cooking.

Also, it serves an army. The recipe fills 2 dang casserole dishes. 2! I remembered too late that I usually 1/2 the recipe when just making it for less than 20 people.

It has a homemade sauce that calls for a healthy portion of bacon grease. After all, who doesn't love a good glob of bacon grease now and then? Then it has bacon on top. And cheese. A pound of cheese. Yes, I said a pound. 1/2 a pound is mixed in and 1/2 a pound on top, under the bacon. What's even worse (or maybe better) is that my grandmother used even more cheese. I remember when she was giving me the recipe, she said, at least a pound, "I use a little more."

So we had company over after church this past week and I decided to break out Honey's Spaghetti. I made 2 whole casserole dishes of spaghetti. I froze one the the other we gobbled up after church.

This is not a diet type meal. This is a mmmmm....bacon and cheese really do make things taste better meal. You can just run it off later.

The picture above was taken before the other 1/2 pound of cheese and the pound of bacon was added on top.

So, in case you were curious, here is the recipe for Honey's Spaghetti: (I've noted my changes in red)

1 large can of chopped tomatoes
14 oz. bottle of ketchup
1 TBSP salt
1 TBSP Pepper I use 1/2 a TBSP
1 TBSP paprika I use 1/2 a TBSP
1 pound bacon
3 bell peppers I use 2
5 medium size onions I use 2 med-large
3- 8 oz boxes spaghetti, cooked
1 pound sharp cheddar, grated

Heat the first 5 ingredients together on low.
Fry the bacon
Grate the bell pepper and onion
In a portion of the bacon grease, add bell pepper and onion with 1 cup of water. Cover and steam out most of the water. I've never been able to effectively steam out most of the water so I cook them in the water for about 15-20 minutes until they are really tender and then drain the water.
Then pour into tomato sauce.
Mix noodles and 1/2 of the cheese and then add to the tomato sauce. Mix well.
Pour into greased casserole dishes.
Sprinkle remaining cheese on top followed by the bacon strips.
Cover and heat through until cheese is melted at 350, about 20-30 minutes.

If I am freezing some or just cooking it all ahead of time to have at a later date, I freeze or refrigerate before baking and I don't add the cheese and bacon on top until I am ready to bake.

*Remember that this recipe makes two casserole dishes worth. So if you are just making it for your family, 1/2 the recipe.

So there ya go, that's Honey's Spaghetti. Enjoy. :)

This picture was taken after 1/2 was already eaten.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What the first day of school means to me

UUUGGGHHHH... (in case you were wondering, not a happy sound).

and now, just some pics of a couple of some real cute kids on their first day of school (a 3rd grader and a 1st grader)

They look super excited don't they. They actually were. I did not cry this year, nor did anyone else.

Next year, however, when I take ALL 3 of my babies to school and return home utterly alone, I will probably be balling.

It was a good first day. The trick is, will they still be excited in a week or 2 and will there still be no tears.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

So Now, What?

Well, that's it. "It" refers to several things. Today was kinda a big day in our house.

1. It was the last day of summer vacation. School starts tomorrow. Boo Hoo and Yipee. I will miss having the kids around (and mainly the sleeping in), but can definitely appreciate when they are gone. Plus, I am looking forward to getting back on a little bit of my own routine.

2. Today was the first day we had NO KIDS IN THE NURSERY!! Elliott is 4 and in our church, when you are 4, you move up to Sunday School with the big kids and children's church during worship. Today was promotion Sunday so she moved on up. What's happened to my little girls??? In the eyes of the church, apparently, I no longer have any babies.

3. Elliott learned how to swim today without floaties. Finally. Yes, she is only 4, and just turned 4, but she has been capable of doing this all summer but lacked the confidence to let go. Today after practicing swimming on the steps (which are all of 3 feet long) she finally made that leap. And let me tell you, once she did, there was no stopping this kid. She was ready to swim laps. She was jumping right into the deep end. No fear. I'm glad, but now I really gotta watch her. She seems to think that she can all of a sudden swim at the same level as her big sisters. Since then, I can't tell you how many times we have heard, "aren't you so proud of me!!" She is SO proud of herself. And her sisters are proud of her. It's really sweet the way they encourage her.

So now, the summer is gone, I have no more babies at church and all my kids can swim without the help of any floatation devices. I don't know whether to do a jig or to sit in a corner and cry. *sniff, *sniff

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Another Success

So, yesterday I told you of my t-shirt embellishment success and my inspiration from the way my fellow VBSers tweaked their neon green shirts. Another inspiration also came from VBS but with a different type shirt. My poor friend, Susan, who is cursed to be an Auburn fan (her hus went there) had her boys in the cutest AU t-shirts. I think she said her friend made them. This was indeed one of those times that I mentioned in my post yesterday when I said to myself, "I can make that!" And guess what! This time, success. It actually turned out pretty much how I envisioned. Actually better. See, my husband was blessed to attend the esteemed University of Alabama. Buying AL gear here in GA is kinda difficult due to lack of selection and high prices. (I got an AL shirt in AL this past weekend and paid $9 whereas I would have paid at least $15 in GA for the same shirt). So, inspired by my friend's kid's unfortunate orange and blue colored shirts, I decided to make my own.

I turned this:

Into this:

I say it turned out better because I hit the fabric store looking for material that was red with white polka dots and instead found red hounds tooth. Now, for the uninformed, hounds tooth has become a symbol of Bama pride ever since the famed coach from the 70s, Bear Bryant wore a black and white hounds tooth hat all the time. Couldn't find polka dots but found hounds tooth. Who woulda thought.

So I made a shirt for each of the girls. Now that I've had success, there's no stopping me! Who knows what I'll do next!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Can I just tell you how proud I am of myself! I have never been very crafty. I like to pretend I am and will occasionally get inspired by something I saw in a store that is way to expensive and will think to myself, "I can make that for 1/2 the price!" Ya, right. 9 times out of 10, my inspirations are either never completed because I've realized 1/2 way through that it's just not going to work out, or it does get finished and goes right into my circular file (a.k.a. the trash can) because it looks like a 5 year old did it.

So anyway, I was recently reinspired. Part of my inspiration came from VBS (Vacation Bible School for any of you unchurched folks). Our VBS shirts this year were a pretty unappealing color of neon green. Many of the more artsy and crafty gals at our church "tweaked" their shirts by making a little snip here, a little cinch there, and sometimes a little added ribbon. It all got me to thinking.

Last week, I got my girls a new first day of school outfit. They all got skirts, Kristin and Grace these cute plaid skirts and Elliott a cute little brown skirt with big pink flowers. To go with the skirts they got plain t-shirts. It looked cute enough that way. There was enough going on in the skirts that the plain shirts weren't too plain.

Enter my VBS ugly shirt inspiration. We headed to Hancock fabric and picked out some embellishments. Kristin is my less is more kind of child. She picked out 3 simple, delicate, flower like buttons to sew in the top corner of her shirt. She did it all herself.

Here's a close up of the buttons she chose. They are quite delicate and intricate. She'll be our classic beauty, cause you know all our girls are gonna be beauties of some kind.

Grace is my more is more child and LOVEs to accessorize. She chose a large flowery iron on. She wanted me to add some buttons around the flowers. I have not done that yet and am not sure I will.

Elliott is 4 and I can still convince her for the most part, what she wants. So she chose some brown and pink and green buttons that will match with her brown skirt with the pink flowers and green leaves.

Given my crafty track record, I was very happy about the way they turned out. AND I even had another craft success today! You'll have to come back tomorrow to see that one.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The View From Here Part 3

So, if you've been reading my blog for a while, you might remember when I posted about the view from our hammock out back. If you don't remember, it's here:

About a week ago while we had about a 20 minute reprieve from the heat AND I had a few minutes to myself, I laid out in the hammock. The view has certainly changed quite a bit since my last pic in February.

Next time, the view from here should be full of fall color!