Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oh Happy Day!

I just got word that my sweet friend Charity had her baby very early this morning! I don't want to steal her moment by posting before she has a chance to post, but I'm sure her blog will be updated at some point soon, so be sure to go over and see the baby!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch we are neck deep in schoolwork. Which is satisfying, and also very much like daily knocking your head into a wall. Somedays, you go back see that wall multiple times...just because it feels so good.

Normally I manage to keep a positive spin on things, but I think I may have underestimated teaching both a teenager and a preteen at the same time. For I am out-numbered and apparently, I've lost all credibility and must be challenged on all sorts of reasoning.

I never did this as a preteen or a teenager...I never "knew it all"...I never had to be told fifty-bagillion times to do things...at least thats the way I remembered it. Plus, I didn't have the luxury of being educated at home...I had to walk to school up hill, in the desert, with the blistering heat without shoes...both ways!

My kids are also prone to exaggerating.

I think they get that from their Dad.

But I digress...

(But thank you for letting me vent)

Where was I?

Oh! Happy Day! That's where I was....

I have been happily crocheting while at soccer practice, and when I have 10 or 15 minutes in between coming and going...so i've finished a couple of projects.

You'd like to see them? 

Why I thought you'd never ask!

Here they are:

I made this shrug, and it didn't come out quite like I envisioned. It's a bit bulky and makes me feel, well, I won't go there...but maybe I won't be concerned about vanity when it gets cold outside. We'll see.

This pic is a little blurry. I thought about asking the kids to stop studying to take my picture, but then decided that might be bad form.

I also had a couple of custom orders for hats, which I am 50% finished (although this pic is a couple days old so these aren't quite done.)

All right, my pre-algebra student is here and wants the computer to do his math (of all things!)

I hope you have a great day!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Random Poll: Picnics

I love to laugh.

I especially love it when I get to laugh uncontrollably.

Yesterday, The Mister and I had a very deep and serious conversation about picnics.

It all started at the lunch table as we discussed a church picnic that is coming up next month. The date for the outdoor venture was announced, but the time was not. 

If the picnic is during the day, we can go. If it's during the evening, we can't (we have a fancy-dress military dinner/event that I don't want to miss.)

During this great debate I defended my theory: whenever you eat in a park, its a picnic.

He thinks picnics are only done in the daytime (and require certain picnic paraphernalia.)

We agreed to disagree.

Later, while reading together in our room (or I should say he was reading and I was playing Angry Birds) he found my daughters Flip camera and decided to bring the aforementioned topic up. I tried to rebuttal by bringing up past evidence. He objected.

So here you go...

I know this video is probably only funny to me...I love to laugh that uncontrollable, snorting, spitting, laugh that is good for the soul. Plus, I love it when The Mister and I are having so much fun that we fail to use good english.

But the REAL reason I brought you here today is to ask you to help us solve this debate:

When is a picnic a picnic?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Links: Fun!!

It's 4:00p on a Friday.

I'm am wiped out.

Y'all, its been a good week, but its been full.

So without further adieu I give you this weeks links:

What Kind of Housekeeper Are You? This post is so funny...I've been thinking about it all afternoon...while folding laundry.

Like music? How about a 38 Song Medley, sung by two sisters (one who happens to be an understudy in the Broadway Touring Production of Wicked.)

Need a laugh? Check out Catalog Living - A blog written by the people who live in your catalog.

Or Bad Year Book Photos - Pics willingly sent in by folks who have some stellar photos of themselves.

Need someone to pray for? Pray for Charity.

We are all anxiously waiting for her baby girl to arrive. I even got to spend some time with that little bundle who finally kicked me with gusto. Which made me love her even more. Seriously, other than my own children, I don't think I have anticipated a baby more than this little one.

If things go as planned, I hope to have a post of me holding that baby next Friday or Saturday...unless that sweet little things thrills us all and comes early. So let's pray!

Happy Friday!

Read With Me gals - I hope you had a great week! I'm nearly caught up...hooray!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


A word to the wise:

Yesterday I was given a new high-powered antihistamine (and a referral to the allergist) to treat a long-time issue I am having with chronic hives.

The label on the prescription said - Do not operate large machine equipment.

Uh, that would be an understatement.

Unfortunately, in a series of events that required my being off ANY antihistamines since Monday, I was literally covered in hives, from head to toe. So when I walked out of that office with the Rx in hand, I made a bee-line for the pharmacy.

The pharmacist took one look at me and said: You are going to wait for this aren't you. 

It was more of a statement than a question.

Upon receipt of said antihistamine, I walked my itchy, red, swollen self, to the car, ripped open the bottle and swallowed a little white pill.

Not wanting to undermine the warning of operating heavy machinery, I swung the mini-van into the Starbucks drive-thru for some high-powered caffeine to counter the drowsiness that might come.

I'm glad I wasn't far from home.

Turns out that Atarax is pretty potent, and is actually not just used for hive-y girls like me. It's also used for a sedative. Which I found to be true. I don't even want to know what happens if you take this pill without caffeine.

I should also warn those of you who are teaching ancient history while under the influence of sedatives. You might experience confusion and tell your husband you are non-functional a bit sleepy because of Ataxerxes (who was the King of Persia).

This morning I still feel a bit loopy. I'll be switching back to Zyrtec and will cope with the break-out hives that occur, because being comatose (although hive-free) isn't gonna work.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ladies Who Lunch (Surprise Edition!)

A friend of mine celebrated her 40th birthday on Saturday.

She doesn't know it, but she is having a birthday luncheon today.

I LOVE birthdays.

I LOVE friends.

I LOVE lunching with the ladies.

Its the perfect trifecta.


Monday, August 23, 2010

A New View

I'm typing at you from a new corner of the Little Yellow House on the Hill.

One of my goals this year was to get the kids transitioned from doing school in my formal dining room to desks in their room.

I really wanted to move the computer out of that room too.

So this weekend I did it.

And the dining room looks like this.

That table has two more leaves, which makes me happy. There is nothing I like more than a crowded table of happy faces.

Speaking of the table...this one was given to us by our amazing neighbor and friend, Helen. It is handmade out of exceedingly hard and heavy wood (I think she said it was Walnut). The craftsmanship is amazing. I need to find some dining room chairs, but I can hodge-podge seating if (and when) I have friend over to break some bread.

As I was reorganizing I realized how much I take for granted in our home.

Although I call our house "the little yellow house on the hill", it is actually good sized (especially for a small family of four). There is more than enough space for our family. And yet, I found myself thinking that I didn't have a "place for this" or  "I need new shelving for that", when the truth is we have PLENTY of space here... I could get rid of some stuff and move other stuff around...making room for the things that needed to be put away.

So that is what I did.

I emptied out both of the linen closets up stairs and got rid of three bags worth of things we didn't use: receiving blankets and cloth diapers, just to name a few. I also gave away those sweet board games my children aren't using anymore. So long CandyLand.

I was able to empty three shelves in the linen closet, making room for school supplies and curriculum.

It felt good to have less and use more.

And it makes me feel every so grateful for this house...A home we have had the privilege to call "home" not once, but twice.

So very thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Read With Me: Why Are We Reading Anyway?

*In January, a group of bloggers decided to read through the Bible in a year. This post is for them, and for anyone who may need encouragement to read the Bible.

Hello Read With Me friends!

Tanya is on a much needed vacation this and next week, so it is my privilege to fill our fearless (and faith-full!) leader's shoes.

So how are you doing?

Or wait...

Instead, tell me what you are learning?

We are nearly 3/4's finished with this shin-dig. But then again, maybe we're not.

Today I am going to share a quote that I have in my bible, on the very first blank page after the cover: (I scanned it so you would know its true)

If you can't read it, it says:
Why study the Bible?
Because for the Christian (for Kellie) it is more than a duty, it provides protection for the daily battle, comfort for dashed hopes, and continuing education for a live that is worth living.
-Howard Hendrix*
 I got a little behind in the Old Testament passages this summer. It was hard for me to keep up with the time when kings go to war, when it was the time to read literature poolside.

I did read a little every day  every other day (ish) and managed to keep up in the other sections.

Three weeks ago, when I decided to transition from the laid-back summer schedule to the more-structured school year schedule, I was tempted to despair...How in the world was I going to catch up? And finish with all y'all?

Amazingly, I opened up my Bible to that Hendrix quote, hand-written so long ago that I had forgotten it was there.

Y'all, are you like me? Do you need a reminder that this isn't a race, or a duty, or a To-Do List we get to scratch out every day?

Do you need to be encouraged to approach your reading with daily protection, encouragement, and wisdom for the daily battle of life, in mind?

I do.

As Abe Lincoln said, "Endeavor to persevere" my friends! You can do this. You can finish. But more importantly, you will come out better for it when you are done.

So, don't tell me where you land in the Read With Me schedule, because it really doesn't matter. Instead, tell me: How you have felt protected, or encouraged, or inspired toward a life worth living?

I tell you what I've learned in the comments too!

Happy Friday!

* I do believe I took the quote from a book entitled Living by the Book by Howard Hendricks. I do not know which page the quote is located on. Unfortunately, in my written quote the authors name has been misspelled.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In Spite of Myself

This morning I woke up feeling a bit foul. 

Not physically, but emotionally.

Lord, I said, save me in spite of myself.

Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. (Ps 61:2) 

I had no idea how those words would play out. Or how how that quickly-uttered prayer might get me through this day...

Every blessed week once in awhile I make mistakes that force me to remember that in my own strength I am nothing.

This week is no exception.

(Except for the part where I made two mistakes.)

Mistake Number 1: 

I had some really fun video of my two students on the first day of school. 

As I went to upload the videos, I accidently deleted them instead.

So the very big and fun (and really funny) first day of school will only be a memory for those of us who were here.

My thought was that I would just "re-enact" the 1st morning on the 2nd day of school. 

Only, my best laid plans changed the face of my youngest student.


I took The Girl to her scheduled orthodontist appointment to get (what I thought would be) her expanders adjusted.

The doctor wasn't happy with how slowly her teeth are moving, so he switched the plan, and an hour and a half later, my baby came out with braces.And she looks the same, only different. 

The metal brackets have filled out her face; they changed that sweet baby face into a portrait of an older girl. Both beautiful, but different.

Maybe its just me...but I felt like she aged a lifetime while I read a magazine in the lobby, unaware of the change set before me. 

I didn't anticipate the emotional road I would travel over such a small thing...but for some reason, it doesn't feel small in my heart. Even though this course is what's best for her, I'm gonna miss that snaggly toothed grin.

My kids are growing up...and I am helpless to stop it...and I deleted the moment before all the change had begun.

Mistake Number 2: 

If you know me in real-life, or have read the blog for awhile, you might know that I love pinto beans. I was so excited because I recently purchased a brand new electric Cuisinart Pressure Cooker, under the recommendation of a dear foodie and friend, The Carpool Queen. She told me that this machine would revolutionize my bean baking. She is wise, that CPQ.

I bought my machine of quick-cooking pressure, exactly one week ago today, and have used it about as many times.

My MO has been to set the cooker on the glass top stove top while it does its cooking. I've done this for years with my CrockPot because....well, I thought it would make for less mess if anything should spill or boil over.

Hindsight says it was a stupid idea.

Today in an attempt to boil water for macaroni (my little brace-face requires soft food of the non-bean kind) I accidently turned the wrong burner on. I didn't realize my mistake until the fire alarm sounded and thick, acrid, plastic-smelling, smoke filled the downstairs.

In attempt to take make things easier, I doubled the work. (Not to mention expenses.)

Lest you think this post is complaint, I want you to know that nearly every week every once in awhile I'm reminded that I am not in control. As a matter of fact, I'm the antithesis of "control." I'm meant to be helpless. Consider this quote:
Throughout the book of John we see people coming to Jesus because of their helplessness. The Samaritan women has no water (see John 4). Later in the same chapter, the official's son has no health. The crippled man by the pool of Bethesda has no help to get in the water (see John 5). The crowd has no bread (see John 6) The blind man has no sight (see John 11).
We received Jesus because we were weak, and that's how we follow Him. Paul told the Colossians. "Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him" (2:6) We forget that helplessness is how the Christian life works.
(Paul Miller, The Praying Life,  pg. 55)
For years I have tried to hide it, deny it, stuff it, fix it, control it, lose it, and talk around it. 

I like to think I'm in control; have all my courses in check. I like to think that there is nothing I cannot accomplish, or secure. 

Honestly, I like to think I cook my beans and my macaroni too.

Today I was reminded that I can't. 

I cannot stop time; or have things done my way; or keep things that I desire...and often those things that I really think are good and rational plans can sometimes be folly waiting to be born.

And every once in awhile, on the days when my eyes are open and my ears strain to hear...and the stench of plastic is a vivid reminder of the chaff God is burning in my life...I remember that by myself I can do nothing. (John 5:30) And I will never be alone

Will I make mistakes? Of course!

Will I wish I "would've, could've, should've?" Absolutely.

But the real question is: Will these things drive me closer to a God who cares deeply for his children? 

Or will I allow a prideful desire to keep up appearances, and wear myself out fighting in vain for control I do not own?

Lord... save me in spite of myself.

(and if at all possible, save my appliances too.)

Friday, August 13, 2010

What I Learned on Summer Vacation

There is always a point in the summer when I suddenly realize that I am ready.

Ready for routine, and order; A schedule and plan.

That moment happened yesterday when I came home from our last "hurrah!" with friends at the pool.

I'm ready for days at home, where we will be more than busy. But its a quiet busy; a peaceful busy.

This weekend is the last of our summer vacation and I feel ready for the coming year.

My house is clean, the school room is in order, the schedules have been set, the alarm clocks tested.

I've done all I know how to do for the coming year, I don't know how to be more ready.

Of course, life can will throw curve balls from time to time...there's nothing like best-laid-plans to mess a girl up.

My goal for the school year is to remember what I've learned this summer

I started it several months ago with this post, declaring my freedom from summer to-do lists and and filled up schedules.

Although the kids did several day-camps and both competed on a swim team I knew I wanted a few things accomplished this summer.

I decided I wanted company, cooking, and crafting...and that is exactly what transpired.

But you know what? I also got that closet cleaned that I had put off for many years.  I also finished several books and accomplished things that needed to be done, not because they just happened, but because I had time for them.

In not choosing "100 Things To Do This Summer"  I got to choose "5 or 6 Things That Really Matter" (to me and my family.)

And I actually finished them.

So now, although summer is nearly over with its sunshine and fun, I am ready. To take on the changes; in season, schedule, and school.

I'm also ready to use what I learned this summer, and carry it into fall.

Things like this:

And this:

(See how I sneaked these things in?)

And that is what I learned on my summer vacation.

Happy Friday peeps!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Throwback Thursday: CoffeeGal Beginnings

Last night I had the privilege to keep the three youngest children of a friend of mine.

I had always dreamed of having at least 6 children...before I had two of my own and realized how much work they are.

However the three kids I kept last night were no work at all. Of course, I did very little since my kids entertained them most the evening.

When I added up there ages 2, 5, 7, 10, and 12 (including mine), I looked at The Mister and said, "You know we could have had all these kids."

And he looked at me like he was glad he was "fixed".

Anyway, in lieu of a post where I actually have to think (since as a mother of five I made homemade chocolate chip muffins, which I would totally do all the time if I was a mother of five) I am going to give you an old Polaroid of the youthful CoffeeGal:

Here I am circa 1976-ish, writing, in a handmade sundress (my Aunt made), and my ballet shoes....See, nothing has changed... I still love to write, wear handmade goods, and have a flair for the arts.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When I Cannot See The Way

I'm alive.

I didn't get sucked into the vortex that was my pantry/laundry room project. But the deed is done, and I am glad.

The blog has been silent this week as I have slashed and dashed a very big "to do" list.

But the biggest thing that needed to be done has been accomplished - the one thing on the list that has plagued me for ten years: I applied for a replacement Social Security card.

My original one was stolen 10 years ago, three days before I gave birth to The Girl. Someone took it from my Target shopping cart. The purse was never found.

So I sat in the crowded SS office with a young women to my left who had just gotten married. Behind me sat a women who held her 3 month old son, who made the sweetest little sounds.

To my right was an African American grandmother, whose blindness and braided silver hair told me she had lived many years. She would giggle when she heard those sweet baby sounds coming from the seat behind us...and she would lean into me and say in a wise and tender voice, "Sweet sounds...reminds me of my baby who is sleeping."

Brings tears to my eyes...

There I sat, in that crowded place of humanity that was both bitter and sweet. A reminder of the days that have been, and of the days that come.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about Gods providence, how God continually, unceasingly takes cares of us. I've been thinking about how hard it is to understand.

This morning I read 1 Thess 5:7:

Be joyful always;
Pray continually;
Give thanks to God in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Ten years ago, I couldn't understand why, three days before a planned c-section, my purse had to be stolen. 

In that bag was (among other important things) my military ID and my medical cards. I'm serious when I say, the hospital would not have allowed that baby to be delivered without those two cards. So I spent three frantic days pulling strings to get them replaced...and I've spent the last 10 years dreading that visit to the Social Security office.

And yet....

Had that bag not been stolen, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to sit next to those three beautiful women. Sharing in their joys. Sharing in their sorrows.

It was only an hour and seventeen minutes of my life. How sad I would have been to have missed it.

Today, with the vision of 20/20 hindsight, I can look up and gratefully say thank you

May this be a lesson to choose joy and gratitude when I cannot see the way.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Friday links: Procrastination Style

As you read this post I should will be up to my eyeballs in the pantry/laundry room makeover extravaganza. I've procrastinated too long and must meet my goal of having it finished "before the weekend."

Anyway, here are a couple of links for you this Friday:

Are you on Twitter? So am I! If you're a blogger, or a reader with a Twitter account, let's follow each other.

Oh, but just as means of honest communication, if you Tweet solely to "pawn your wares", or more specifically your undressed body, I will probably block you. I'm just sayin'.

Moving right along...

I loved this post from a mom who's keeping it real, and focused on what is True. She has also inspired me to make a Peace Prize, not for my kids, but for myself...cuz often I'm the one who needs to work on living out Phil 2:14

I am reading two AMAZING books right now:

Helpful Truth In Past Places: The Puritan Practice of Biblical Counseling

The Mister actually got this book a while ago and asked me to read it. I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying it. Its so applicable for me personally, but also as a mother, friend, and wife.

The other book I am reading is The Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World.

This is a book that I am tempted to sit and read all at once, but have to remind myself that slow and steady will win the race. If you have ever struggled with prayer (and I believe we all do at one point or another) I would encourage you to find a copy.

I'm also reading a fiction book but its not one I would actually recommend cuz the story line is pretty predictable and the writings not all that great, so I'll wait to find a REALLY good one to recommend. Or maybe you might want to recommend one to me?

Lets see what else did I read this week.....Oh let's go for something really tasty.

I have tried a handful of times to make Pound Cake and have been disappointed every time. This post from New Every Morning is different from others I've tried, and the picture makes me want to bake, so I am certain I will be trying it out next week...after I replace the butter my dog ate.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

A Lot of Nothin'

Mark this day on your calendar.

I have nothing to say...

I think today may be an excellent day for Random Thoughts from Kellie's Brain.

1. I didn't clean my pantry yesterday. I did this instead....

(details to come)

2. Whenever I walk out of Costco my kids roll their eyes at me.


Glad you asked! When you push your cart full of super-sized bulk items to that nice lady who scribbles on your receipt, you'll pass some kiosk-like displays for tires, trips and flooring. You will see this picture:

When I lived in Texas I went to church and did ministry with the gal in this picture. She is in every Costco I have ever been in - Michigan, Arizona, Texas and North Carolina, just to name a few.  Every time we pass the picture I'll look at my kids and say, "Say hello to Sami!"* and the eyes start rolling.

So if you see her (picture), say hello... May those around you roll their eyes.

*Names have changed to protect those who don't know I am writing about them.

3. I'm trying a new recipe this week for Turkey burgers. It calls for pureed roasted eggplant. I'm not going to tell my peeps.

Of course, The Mister may read this before the burgers are served. In that case, I love you honey. And I'll serve a nice cold beer with the burger and you'll never know the difference...I hope.

4. Kona the Wonder-mutt is getting on my last nerve these days.  Not only did she steal an entire stick of butter off the counter (that was softening for a zuchinni bread recipe)yesterday, but she also took a peanut butter sandwich off of the table while we weren't looking and happily gobbled it up.  I assumed that she would have bathroom issues after all that grease and fat. But she's been fine. I had no idea when I rescued her eight years ago from the perils of the pound that I was adopting a goat.

5. I'm shivering. Its 125 bagillion degrees outside (with 200% humidity) and I am sitting here shivering?

All right, I'm done being random.

Now its your turn, tell me something random about you, and if you're a lurker, I'd love to hear from you!

How's that for random?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


What I really want to post on this drizzly Wednesday morning are the Works in Progress (WIP) I've got going on in my office:

Things like this sweet Cozy Cottage. 

I could sit and daydream about the sweet old couple that lives there. I can envision The Mr. of the cottage getting the wood burning fire places stoked so the The Mrs. could sit by the hearth, sipping hot coffee and feeling, well, cozy in her little house in the woods.

But the Cozy Cottage hasn't been so much a WIP as a PIP, or Procrastination in Progress.

I also started another little ornament, because when I start PIP's I commit with my whole-heart.

These are all WIP's..

And these are the PIP's:
Door Number One-

Door Number Two - 

I started this summer with very few goals.

I wanted to craft and sew.

I wanted to cook and bake.

I wanted to have fun at the pool.

And I wanted to clean out the pantry (although I was pretty sure this goal was lofty.)

But now it must be done (with fervor I cannot find), and it must be done today.

To make a very long story short, I kept a lot of non-perishable food (Cereal, dry pasta, spaghetti, granola, and canned goods) in the garage on a shelf. 

The mice left lovely thank you gifts for the buffet they have enjoyed.

So I must organize, clean and rearrange so all food (including canned foods) are in the house, and all cleaning products and general junk (in the laundry room) get put on the garage shelves, making more "pantry" inside.

Which is going to be a lot of work and unfortunately, the end product won't have pretty hand-embroidered flowers, lovely bead work, or happy thoughts of living in the woods.

But, we won't have rodents... 

...and I already live in a little house in the woods.

So, all is well that ends well.

What are your WIP's or PIP's today?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A Glimpse at my Morning

Last week a friend told me that the software that came with the Flip was not only fun, but exceedingly easy to use. I thought I'd give it a try.

Notes about the video: I am not "winded" when I talk, but can be "long-winded", and the blog I mentioned regarding the ornament-kits is: Alicia Paulson's Posie Gets Cozy.  You can link to her shop through her blog.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 02, 2010


Two weeks from today, summer vacation will be over.

School will start and my "slow and easy" days will be filled with busy-ness.

I'm looking forward to it.

And I'm not.

Yesterday was a beautiful day in my neighborhood as a cool-front came in and gave us a tease of the fall days to come.

I'm not rushing, I love summer with its high heat and pedicured toes. But I love fall too and it was nice to have a taste of the goodness to come. A reminder that seasons change...in nature, and in life.

I have several "seasonal" changes happening right now that are good, but it's still change. 

As I do with all changes, I fight between wanting to excitedly throw my hands in the air, roller coaster style, and burying my head in the sand wondering what I've done.

I fight fear and I revel in the newness. Although not usually at the same time.

Ambivalence may be the worst part of change and is often what gets me trouble.

I was out with a couple of girlfriends a couple weeks ago and we were talking about things in our lives. We aren't all dealing with the same thing, but how we cope is eerily similar...we often fight for what we want, and in the process forfeit what we desire.

I am praying that this year, in the growing-pains that come with new seasons, I can keep my sight on what I truly desire. Instead of allowing fear or inconvenience to sway me from the good that comes from change.

Its gonna be an awesome year...