Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What's Up Wednesday: January Edition

How is it already the last Wednesday in January?!

This wasn't "this week" exactly, but a couple of weeks ago I shared on my IG feed a chicken Milanese and four cheese penne.  I thought it was an absolutely lovely meal.
 It was fancy without being fancy.  And you know what?  My people did not like it.  At all.  I mean, I didn't even put the salad on their plates, much less on top of their chicken!

Another of my favorites this month was soup.  We had all of two (yes, TWO . . . I am so not even exaggerating on this one) cold days this month, and I took full advantage of it.  I couldn't decide which soup to make so I made all three:  baked potato because I knew everyone would eat it, and it's Hannah Kate's favorite, broccoli cheddar because I had a beautiful head of broccoli a friend gave us from his garden and chicken noodle because I just wanted chicken noodle, and I wanted an excuse to roast a whole chicken so my house would smell good!

Sometimes I cook a meal that just "takes me back."  You know what I mean.  It just takes me back to my Mama's kitchen and my childhood days.  Kinda like the song . . . country roads take me home to the place where I belong . . . But, I digress.  

Anyway, this was one of those.  It wasn't for us, but I sure enjoyed cooking it on Monday.  My Mama put a roast in the oven every Sunday before church, and it was already ready when we got home.  This squash casserole is my all-time favorite and reminds me of my Grandmother.  I'd much rather mashed potatoes than rice any day of the week.  My favorite way to eat green beans is sautéed in olive oil until they are just crisp tender and seasoned with sea salt and lemon pepper.  But smothered in bacon isn't too bad either.

But this week we had lasagna on Monday night, teriyaki chicken bowls with broccoli and pineapple last night (no worries . . . I set aside a couple of the chicken breasts to oven "fry" for the kids and served that with macaroni and cheese) and my crockpot is full of chili for tonight.  Tomorrow night we're having mini ground turkey meat loaves with mashed potatoes and butter beans.  I'm not sure about the weekend yet, but it will probably involve steak and French onion soup.

Honestly, I haven't been thinking back a whole lot.  I've spent most of my time either living in the moment or looking forward.  That's a really good place to be right now. 

I got a new pair of glasses a couple of weeks ago, and I absolutely love them!  Yes, I know.

I also really enjoy spending my Sunday mornings with these kids.  We are very small in number, but it is such a privilege to lead them in Bible study.  I never ever imagined myself teaching the youth class, but the Lord had other plans.

It's really just everyday life over here.  We did go to both of LSU's home gym meets and a boys' basketball game.  I have to admit I'm getting into the gymnastics thing.  Ellie is, too.  I'm afraid she's about to trade in her ballet and tap shoes for the balance beam and trampoline.  Actually, I'm MORE afraid that she's going to ask to do BOTH.  I can't even think about that right now.  All I can say is that she's rather captivated when watching gymnastics.  This was taken at the gymnastics meet last Friday night.

Nothing really.  I mean, dance costume pictures are going to be a little crazy this year from a logistical standpoint, but probably doesn't even count (see below for what I'm looking forward to next month!).

I'm getting ready to teach Ellie how to read.  She seems to have a good handle on phonics now, and she so wants to be able to read.  She carries books around with her all the time and "pretends" like she's reading.  I know it's still early yet.  So we'll see how it goes.

I also need to get serious about teaching Hannah Kate how to play the piano.  I think she's going to pick it up really quickly.  I just need to be more disciplined in our lesson time.

Mason wants to learn how to play the violin.  I have no idea why.  I mean, he heard me say a couple of years or so ago that I wanted to learn to play the violin.  So maybe that's where it came from?  He's constantly beating on things so it makes more sense to me that he'd want to play the drums.  Not that I'm at all open to that.  Or the guitar.  Why not the guitar?  So I started thinking that maybe we could take lessons together.  Violin lessons, that is.  I'm just not sure yet how to make that happen.  

There's a little something I've been thinking on for several years now.  It's one of those things that I'm not sure yet how it will come to be.  Or even if it will come to be.  Maybe it falls into the category of dreams perhaps.  But God has graciously opened (or rather cracked) the door.  For the first time in six years, I'm not participating in Bible Study Fellowship this year.  It just didn't work with our homeschool schedule, and I knew the Lord was calling me to fully commit to homeschooling.  That meant I had to leave BSF.  It was hard.  It was harder than hard!  But I'm hopeful that opportunity will come around again.  So that just means I've been doing something different for my own personal Bible study.  A few weeks ago, I decided to do Kelly Minter's All Things New Bible study.  I bought the student book and just planned to do it on my own.  It's really designed to be done in community with other ladies.  The Lord ultimately burdened my heart to see if there were any ladies who wanted to join me.  I wasn't expecting much, but I put it out there.  Next Monday my living room will be filled with ten or so ladies who are joining me for Bible study!  How exciting is that?!

I'm almost finished reading my fourth book of the month.  Yes.  Four books!  In one month!  I absolutely love to read, always have.  That's my happy place.  I decided I wanted more of that in my life this year so I made it happen.  The first book I read was Natchez Burning.  And, oh my!  This book captivated my attention from start to finish (except for the fact that the last few chapters were rather unbelievable - literally - in a plot that otherwise was).  Even though there were a few things I didn't like about this book, I'm definitely reading the next one in the series!  Really and truly, mysteries are my favorite!  I then read Karen Kingsbury's Shades of Blue.  I used to read a lot of her books.  The Redemption series will always be my favorite of hers.  I read The Legacy.  It was okay.  My favorite part of that book was the setting - England!  And now I'm almost finished with The Ashford Affair.  Again, England.  Next on my list is The Secret Life of Bees.  I've heard so much about this one, and it was actually Natchez Burning that finally led me here.

So, instead of watching anything, I read.  Football season is now over.  Except for one last game.  Normally, I'd care less about the game itself and more about the food and the commercials.  But this year?  RISE UP!

The birdies and the frogs and the crickets.  And I hear the pounding of a basketball on concrete and the laughter of a child.  Seriously.  I'm currently sitting in the truck with my windows rolled down while Hannah Kate is at dance.  I have another two hours and fifteen minutes left.

For the first time in a very long time, I have absolutely nothing written in pen in my planner for the weekend.  That doesn't mean I won't be doing anything.  That just means I'm not planning to do anything.  I'm hoping it will stay that way.

February is not my favorite month.  But it does get us to March.  So that's what I'm looking forward to.  But, if it has to involve February, the thing I'm most looking forward to, I guess, is the girls' dance pictures.  I just can't believe it's that time already!  We absolutely love their costumes this year, especially for ballet.

I forgot to mention this last time, but Ellie is riding her bike without training wheels now! She actually learned how right after Thanksgiving.  Mason and Hannah Kate were ultimately responsible for teaching her how.  And she's so proud of herself.  She's the cutest thing flying through the yard on her bike.

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