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Monday, January 19, 2015

Simple Woman's Daybook~ Hello 2015 and We are MOVING edition

FOR TODAY: January 19, 2015

Outside my window...the breeze blows cool and the sun shines brightly to warm the earth. The predicted high today is 65* with a bit of clouds to decorate the sky.

I am thinking...that this year is starting off with a bang. We have changed from a nuclear family of 5 to a multi-generational family of 7 in the past 6 months. We've already celebrated one birthday this year, gymnastics season starts Saturday, we are buying a house this week and moving on Sunday. Phew!

I am thankful...for grace and strength, and mercy that comes new every morning. For patience gleaned from years of (semi) faithful practice. For boxes from friends and strangers alike. For quiet music to calm frantic thoughts.

In the kitchen...not much this week. After Eleventy billion moves (or so it seems) I may have actually accepted that I can't cook at both houses at once, that I should just accept that we will have to eat fast food a few times, and that even I, self proclaimed Do-It-All-Wonder, can't make everyone cooperate when it's time to feed the hungry bellies. Hercules wants the quickest things to eat when he is working so he doesn't lose momentum. To that end, this week's pitiful (but smart) meal plans:
M~HUGE batch of lasagna, salad and garlic bread *everyone likes it AND it reheats well
W~Fend for yourself night, since only 2 of the 7 will be home for dinner
Th~Fast Food at the new house (we sign this day)
F~Game Night at the new house (just snacks and drinks, no 'real' dinner on Fridays)
Sat~All Meals out (Dan, Pat and Jay will be moving while Mom, Derek, David and myself will be in ABQ for David's first meet of the season)
Sun~ MOVING DAY! B: donuts and coffee
                                    L: Pizza and drinks courtesy of a friend who wants to help, but is VERY pregnant
                                    D: Taco Soup, chips and drinks (hurray for the crock pot)

I am wearing...jeans, a flag t-shirt, socks and tennies.

I am creating...packed boxes. LOTS AND LOTS of packed boxes. And, my darling daughter in love's late Christmas gift. She knew it would be late when she requested it, and doesn't mind waiting, but I'm working on it as I can during this extra busy season we're in right now.

I am going...to pick up David from work later and that is it. I already ran a few errands this morning and I intend to enjoy the rest of my day at home.

I am wondering...If I will ever find everything again after this move. We are renting a storage unit for the first time in our marriage, and I'm wondering if that will make the garage so 'comfortable' that we never get rid of it.

I am reading...The Imposter Bride, which so far is painfully boring, and Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist, which thankfully is not. And my Bible. And 7, because I CAN. NOT. STOP. reading it. Over and over and over...

I am hoping...that when I look back at my life, I don't just see chaos, but the hand of God clearly leading me, and that I followed willingly, even if it looked like chaos from this end.

I am looking forward to...feeling really, truly, actually settled in at a house for the first time since we moved to the wilds of NM 7 years ago. Since then, we've lived in 5. And when you consider that we've lived in this house nearly 3 years, no wonder I was so sick of moving every 5 minutes for a few years. But this (barring God leading us elsewhere) is our forever home, so we are putting our stamp on it, and putting down roots. Woot!

I am learning...that grace is a marvelous thing. And that I don't extend it to others nearly often enough in this crazy beautiful difficult world we live in.

Around the house...Boxes. Did I mention we are moving in a few days? ;)

I am pondering...the contents of my pantry and freezer, and how they could possibly hold so many things yet, after 3 full weeks of pantry challenges. (yes, we bought things like dairy and produce, but have largely lived off of our excess for the past 3 weeks) Oh well, a reminder to keep doing pantry challenges monthly to use up the extras.

One of my favorite things..."The Sound of Music"

A few plans for the rest of the week: Packing, moving, not losing my mind, getting to David's meet and back safely.

A peek into my day...  A "Welcome home" card left for us by the previous owner. How incredibly thoughtful!
If you've enjoyed this post, and you also enjoy the simple things, take a peek over here to see more daybook entries and to join the fun!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 Goals: Simplify, Streamline, Enjoy!


I have several goals for this year, so I'll add them as I sort them out completely. I'm starting with my new motto for the year.
Simplify, Streamline, Enjoy
I want to de-clutter like crazy and learn to say no to the good things so I can save my yes for the BEST things!

I want to become more efficient instead of feeling like a headless chicken running in endless circles trying to do...it...ALL.
As my parenting/homeschooling years come to a close with David, and approach their end with Patrick, I want to enjoy these years with my family. Family has always been a priority, but sometimes LIFE derails us until we are just existing, not thriving together. To that end, here are my goals in no particular order, just as they are coming to mind.
Personal Goals: include, but are not limited to:
~Losing 20-25 pounds this year with portion control, walking/elliptical/cardio 3x per week, WATER every day and more veggies.
~Writing a letter a week. At least

~Read a book a week. A book for me, not a read aloud with the kids, or an educational book, or a book I feel like I *should* read. A book that I want to read, for personal pleasure or a how-to book on a topic I am interested in reading. (yes, I'm a speed reader, so this really should be no problem)

~At least once a month, do something just for myself. Take a trip to Starbucks to blog, get a massage, say no to an 'obligation' so I can goof off, go to the movies by myself, take a walk, browse the bookstore without the grabby monkeys with me, etc. Things that keep me centered, and able to co-parent the Man Crew and live this crazy life I love. 
Spiritual Goals:
~Read through the Bible in a year
~Be active in our BREAD group on Facebook

~Be more proactive/mindful in my prayer life
~Get more comfortable saying, "How's your walk with Jesus this week?" And, "How can I pray for you today?"

Couple Goals:
~Read a book about marriage 3 times a year
~Go on an actual date with Dan every 8 weeks (I am trying to be reasonable)

~Re-read The 5 Love Languages and become fluent in Dan's language.

Financial Goals:
~Stay on top of the bills (I totally stink at this, so it's a challenge)
~Create an emergency fund of $1000

~Complete the 52 week money challenge (I should save $1378 by increasing the amount I put in each week by $1)
~Keep our grocery budget at $150 or lower each week, which will be a trick with our current household size of 7.

Schooling Goals:
~Finish the year on time...don't get bogged down by every little distraction
~Find ways to keep DT's interest instead of just slogging through the work each day

~Help D figure out what he's doing this school year (He's barely started school for the year yet. *le sigh*) and what he wants to do after this year.
~Encourage P to continue to be self motivated to get school done. He's managing his own schooling this year. I'm really pleased!

Family goals:
~Reinstate FAMILY game night, not just 'everyone' game night. I'm missing homemade pizza and just my family around the game table.
~Watch less TV and do more activities together outside

~Spend some one on one time with each child every week. (I tend to get caught up in the herd mentality since there are always so many here, but that lets my own children fall through the cracks, and that's not ok)

OK, so there are more than even I though there were. Oops. However, I'm aiming high this year. Keep me accountable, friends. I'll try to post about once a month to keep you updated.

A Book a Week in 2015 Challenge

I challenged myself and a few friends to read a book a week this year (or a day, month, year, whatever you can do). Then I printed out the owl-so-cute printables found here  and made myself a 3 ring notebook with enough pages for a whole year. I'll update this as I read through the books. If you want, feel free to leave the books you're reading this year in the comments, and we can use them as recommendations for our next book to read.

Here's my list

   1. Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine~Rating: 5 stars
~Notes: An excellent read for the overworked, overtired, over-everything person in your life (like YOU). Full of practical hands-on advice, interesting anecdotes from herself and other readers of her blog, and questions to make you pause, reflect and then redirect your life. Superb.
   2. The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler~ Rating 2.5 stars
~Notes: This book did not interest me at all, and I considered just quitting it about 17 times, but I'm not a quitter, and hope springs eternal that the book will get better. But it didn't, so this one was a complete bummer for me. I don't care for stories that are told 'inside out' where you're just kind of tossed into the story and have no idea what's going on for most of the book, but perhaps that is just my opinion and not a faulty writing style. It just never really seemed to get to the point of the book, or even let you know what the point WAS.
   3. Confessions for a Raging Perfectionist by Amanda Jenkins~ rating 4 stars
~Notes: This book came highly recommended to me by a friend who enjoyed it thoroughly. It is a good good, especially if you struggle with perfection-ism (which I obviously don't. If you don't believe me, come to my house and admire my dog hair tumbleweeds, my boys' clothing that doesn't match and the clutter around my house. LOL) This book is well written, thought provoking, full of scripture and even has a small group study guide included. 
   4. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline~ Rating: 4 stars
~Notes: Here's the review I posted on Amazon:
I don't normally care from books that jump back and forth in the time line and between storylines, but this one is done so skillfully and so artfully, that I could not put it down, and when I managed to put it down, I couldn't stop thinking about it, and what would happen next. Molly and Vivian's story is a fantastic piece of literature. A story of love, loss, redemption and the triumph of the human spirit. And a good amount of history thrown in for good measure. It even has questions at the end for a book club discussion. Read it. You won't regret it.

   5. A Hopeful Heart by Amy Clipston~ Rating 4.5 stars
~Notes: A delightful (if somewhat predictable) read. Amish woman meets English man, sparks fly and she has to choose between the life she's always known, and the possibilities of a new adventure. It's not too deep, not too complicated and it's a perfect book for some Sunday afternoon reading either on the porch swing in the sunshine, or curled up by the fireplace. Can't wait to read the next one in the series!
   6. Declutter: The Art Of Minimizing Your Mess (a Kindle QuickRead) by Daria Foster~ rating 4 stars
~Notes : Here's the review I posted on Amazon: This is a great reference for those just getting started on the decluttering journey, or someone who needs a reminder to stay the course down the road. It is well written, succinct, and touches on the most important topics without becoming bogged down with numerous details. I would recommend this to anyone thinking about downsizing, decluttering, or moving towards a simpler life.
   7. A Mother's Secret by Amy Clipston~ Rating 4.5 stars
~Notes: I said I couldn't wait to read the next one, and I meant it. :) Another lovely simple read about the Amish community. Amish woman with a secret meets confirmed bachelor Amish man. Sparks fly, but can she trust him with her secret...and her heart? Delightful. 
   8. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker~ Rating 5 Stars
~I know I've read this before, but I can't stop reading it. It is reading perfection. It moves my heart every single time I read it. Funny, compelling, heart felt, and a call to live the Christian life the way Jesus meant it to be lived. It's so good, I've recommended it to everyone who will listen, I've read it aloud to Dan, I've quoted it on FB and in conversations, I've considered buying a case full and giving them as Christmas gifts, and I've read it nearly 20 times. Find it, buy it, read it repeatedly and be moved. It will change your life. I promise.

*update as of 3/18/15* It appears that I am about 3 books behind, but considering we are in the throes of gymnastics season and we are 6 weeks post-move, I'm going to call that a win. I'm hoping to be caught up by the end of screen free month. I'll keep you posted. 


Joy Journal 2015

Hi Friends!
Over at Ben and Me, I found this great printable to journal my joy this year. I printed it out, 3 hole punched it and put in multi-colored book rings to make my journal complete, and placed it next to my laptop on my desk so that I can record something from each day that brought me joy. I guess that makes it Grati-Tuesday every day this year. :)
Come along on the journey with me and add a comment about something you are grateful for this year.


  1. A Fresh Start
  2. SNOW!! In Cruces
  3. A perfect BLT
  4. A tidy junk drawer
  5. Completed House Paperwork
  6. ---
  7. Time spent with Dan at the end of a busy day
  8. A quiet evening at home
  9. 7 Wonders (new game for Game Night)
  10. A 'Welcome Home' card from the previous owner
  11. Family Photos :)
  12. Our credit score went UP, thanks Bob!
  13. The check from Dan's retirement came in today!
  14. A love note from Love Monkey
  15. The B-Bunch's Buick
  16. A delightful chat with 'Shua and Tony
  17. Packing helpers
  18. Patrick (Happy 16th birthday)
  19. A day off
  20. A great day of school with Derek
  21. Dan's boss bragging about him to me
  22. WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!! (in a blizzard...in Cruces. Weird)
  23. 1st Game Night at the new house (no, we haven't moved in yet)
  24. David's 1st meet of gymnastics season
  25. MOVING DAY! Best move ever
  26. We found Thunder, who had become lost in the move
  27. Kitchen is set up *enough*
  28. Bedrooms are set up completely except for the master
  29. Bathrooms are fully set up
  30. Snake Atrium completed
  31. Fish tank here safely


  1. I met with Jesus at home while the Man Crew attended church. Jesus is easier to find when the house is empty of boys. ;)
  2. ---Lost To---
  3. ---The Move---
  4. ---Aftermath and---
  5. ---Ensuing Exhaustion.---
  6. ---Good things happened, I just didn't record them in time to remember them. Oops---
  7. Dan built me a spinning DVD rack. SCORE!
  8. SEEK series started at church. Fasting, anyone?
  9. Mike Eorio came to visit the new house.
  10. Sister-Girl Night
  11. Derek is nearly caught up in school after the move and subsequent mayhem
  12. Autumn Rose (great niece) was born safely this morning.
  13. Manicure with Grace for the Father/Daughter dance at MPCC
  14. David's 2nd meet
  15. Lunch with Doug and Amy.
  16. A day spent at home.
  17. A coffee date with Myra and Amy
  18.  Being productive!
  19. Road trip to Phoenix which included a sing-along <3 li="">
  20. David's 3rd meet
  21. Safe drive home
  22. Setting up Game Room with Dan
  23. Back to 'normal'
  24. Happy birthday MOM
  25. Happy 40th birthday Dan
  26. Great chat with 'Shua
  27. Met Autumn Rose. I have died and gone to great-auntie heaven!
  28. David bought a car :) 92 Nissan Pathfinder...with his own money


  2. David got his driver's license
  3. Science experiments with Derek, thanks to Magic set from B&N
  4. MORE science experiments
  5. Free pecan firewood, just come and get it
  7. Pig Roast at Bobby and Julie's house. Good times!
  8. Started 'GOD IS..." series at MPCC
  9. ON schedule to finish school before July
  10. Finally back to the library, and paid my enormous fine. Oops. LOL!
  11. Dan got a new chainsaw and chopped all the wood for the fireplace this year.
  12. Happy Birthday Lizzie!
  13. Hanging pictures in the Living Room and new friends at Game Night
  14. I remembered the time change, hurray!
  15. A relaxing Sunday anticipating the WHOLE WEEK OFF of work
  16. Hanging my star lights with Dan on the patio
  17. Jodi's Learn for a Lifetime 5 year anniversary celebration
  18. Rachel is arriving today for a visit!
  19. Reviving my long neglected blog :) Hi friends!
  20. Relaxing day off before Super Fun Game Night
  21. State Meet with David in Abq
  22. Church at R2R
  23. Spent the day baking and hanging out with Rachel
  24. Jay and Rachel cooked dinner for us. 
  25. ---
  26. ---
  27. Dinner with Bobby and Julie (new friends through Dan's work)
  28. Rachel arrived safely back home
  29. Hercules and Ricky had such fun together working on RC cars
  30. I had breakfast and a nice chat with Ricky before he left
  31. Back to Sister-Girl Night (alone)


  1. GoodBYE Screen Free Month
  2. Hello NO Pants April
  3. Good Frieday
  4. Many compliment about NPA attire
  5. Resurrection Day
  6. Took my first ever decent selfie
  7. Funny comment from Pat (him: Mom, when are you doing haircut? Me: Why? Him: Because my unicorn is dead, of course. Me: Bwuahahahah!)
  8. More compliments on NPA
  9. Road trip for Regionals with David and Karen: Hope to see Andy-Boy as well
  10. Arrived safely in Co Springs, CO
  12. Home safely
  13. Coffee with Karen
  14. Thrift store SCORE: 6 new-to-me pieces for under $4
  15. TAXES were paid months ago. Woot!
  16. Keeping up with my blogging
  17. 2 more new-to-me skirts for $6
  18.  Created a fire pit in the courtyard: Thanks Hercules!
  19. Started the 50 Shades of Black and White series at MPCC. GOOD STUFF!
  20. David got new glasses
  21. A great day of school!
  22. Dinner out with the Benson ladies
  23. Catch up on blogging
  24. Birthday Game Night: Alex, Art, Charlie, Cody and David G.
  25. Gymnastics Banquet
  26. Homemade pizza and movies with the whole family
  27. ---
  28. ---
  29. ---
  30. ---




  1. Happy birthday G!
  6.  Happy birthday, Boss Man
  7.  Happy birthday, A


  2. Ricky arrived :) I knew he was coming this time. 
  3. Ricky + Game Night = too much silliness for this old lady. Good times
  4. Happy Independence Day America! We relaxed at home. Alone. Perfection, even without a bbq, fireworks or multitudes of people at our house.
  5. Lunch at Cracker Barrel with all the men, plus Ricky
  7.  Started a Squats Challenge with the CEO Moms group on FB
  8. Lazy day at work. 
  9. Wrote some letters (way ahead on this yearly goal)
  10. RAIN! In the desert
  12.  Big Batch Cooking day, and free peaches!

  13. Wet-N-Wild with D, P, DT, A and Merrick. Short but FUN!
  14. Happy birthday Z
  15. Chatted with 'Shua
  16.  7 Wonders played at the new house. FINALLY! Woot
  17.  David hosted a MtG Tourney. Fun was had by all
  18.  Dan and Bobby arrived safely in Iowa City for their new jobs
  19.  Mean Machines Camp for DT
  20.  Long chat with Karen by phone
  21.  Pat and Gracie attending Project Jerusalem
  22.  Made a new friend (Melody) while preparing lunch for the Project Jerusalem kiddos
  23.  Breakfast with the BossLady






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