Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What's Up Wednesday - 7.26.16

Since I've had a rough time keeping up this blog the past few months (years?) this link-up was perfectly timed today.  Things have been going on at lightening speed here in the Bell home so I thought an hour to sit down and reflect a bit might be a good thing :)

WhatsUpWedUpdated
The ladies that host this are so fun to keep up with -- head on over to their blogs to see what's up with them too!
Shaffer Told Me To, The Larson Lingo, and Mix & Match Mama (find her in my sidebar!)

These are the questions this time around:


What we are eating this week:
We had a family meeting on Sunday and each of us had to outline our goals for the next two months.  Mine was that I would provide three meals a week for my family.  We had previously decided that we really only need three original dinners during the week because of schedules and leftovers.  With going back to work and everything that goes along with that, others will have to chip in and help out with ideas, shopping, prepping, etc.  So far this week I made a Facebook (have you seen those Tasty videos?) shrimp-spinach-pasta dish that was outstanding on Monday, fruit bowls and Mommy McMuffins today and I'm planning on Aunt Susie's chicken skewers on Friday when my sister comes (she's going to bring fresh Ohio corn on the cob -- yea!).


What I'm reminiscing about:
I recently ran across a Facebook post that I made several years ago about the beginning of the school year being my favorite.  I was trying to reassure nervous parents and ask for their trust in the school, their teachers, and to be positive about the year for their kids because THE SCHOOL STAFF CAN'T WAIT TO BEGIN!!!  I really didn't know if I would begin another school year as a teacher and have recently (like, last week) been given the chance to start over again.  I've been doing lots of reminiscing about previous lessons, previous activities, what worked, what didn't, etc., etc.  Can't wait to get started again!!!

What I'm loving:
This hot weather!!!  I know most people hate it, but being cold is so miserable that these oven-like temperatures just aren't awful to me.  I love the summertime, I love the sunshine, and I love the heat.  Just wish we were enjoying it on the lake. . .(if you click on that link you'll really get a blast from the past!!!

What we've been up to:
Check out my previous two posts :)
This week, specifically, Frederick has been at his club's soccer camp each night from 5-8, Margaret decided not to play club ball this fall and instead joined her new school's HS soccer team, Marie handed in her hard-earned HS soccer bag at her large public school to join the HS team at her new, much smaller private Christian school, withdrew three kids from their public schools and filled out endless paperwork for their new schools, went to a new-job meeting to meet my new team and collect my teacher editions, did my drug test and fingerprints, and we're trying to have some family movie nights before Fall Schedule Madness hits (in two weeks).  So far we have done Miracles from Heaven, Race, and The Temple of Doom. . .today I bought several more at the used book store:  Stand By Me, Miracle, Oceans 11 & 12, and Freedom Writers.  OK, the last is for me.  I doubt I'll get anyone on board for that one.

What I'm dreading:
Ummmmmm. . .not a thing that I can think of.  I'm nervous about the beginning of the school year but just because it's overwhelming right now.  TOM is dreading the rat race of school-work-sports-games-etc but I thrive on that :)

What I'm working on:
THIS - ha!
Oh, and, of course, pages and pages of notes and ideas and questions and paperwork and "stuff" that goes along with beginning a new job, a new school, and a new school year.  Although it's a new grade level to me (7th grade pre-algebra) it's not a new subject necessarily.  I love teaching math!!

What I'm excited about:
Duh.  Have you been reading?
Oh, and a party back in Rickman with old tennis friends.  I simply cannot wait to see everyone and am so thankful to be included in this wonderful group again!!

What I'm watching/reading:
Yea, well, I'm not much of a television watcher. . .I begged Tom not to get rid of Netflix this summer so I could catch up on my favorites (that he hates) -- Scandal and House of Cards.  Yea, I think I've watched three episodes of Scandal?  I do love being at home in the mornings during the summer and catching the TODAY Show, though.
I'm currently reading Private Paris.  I really have had a chance to read a lot this summer -- just finished a David Baldacci book, Target.  I started a private Facebook group for book suggestions this summer, though, so if you'd like to be a part of that private msg me on FB!

What I'm listening to:
Right this minute -- another dumb TV show or something that the kids are blasting on the television in the other room.  I'm so tired of the TV.  I just started a book on CD but forget the name -- I'm not even one chapter in -- or I listen to the same playlists constantly.  We also listened to the latest John Grisham Theodore Boone book on the way back from OH last weekend.

What I'm wearing:
My favorite thing - an athletic shirt and tank.  Oh, and of course, the constant sweater or jacket.  Yes, even in this heat -- the air conditioning is COLD.

What I'm doing this weekend:
I really don't know :)  My sister and her friend are stopping by Friday on their way south but other than that. . .it looks like a very rare, empty weekend.

What I'm looking forward to next month:
Soccer!!!  Especially seeing my girls play together :)

What else is new:
That's about it Friends!  I'd love to hear what's going on with all of you if you have a chance to link up at any of the above host's blogs.

Today's picture of the Day -

Filling out the student applications for their new school.  As usual, no joy in being the subject of the Picture of the Day.

Love,
Jenni

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Life Lately - July 2016

Our summer lives pretty much revolve around this place - Cedar Lake Camp.  I took this in the quiet early morning hours a couple of weeks ago.  My children LOVE this place.  My husband and I are grateful for the family they have built there.  The Holy Spirit lives and abides in this place.  It is an incredible camp led by people who serve the Lord with their lives and discipleship of campers and counselors.
This was Week 5 -- the last week of the summer (the county that borders this camp only has 1 WEEK of summer break left!).  This was Margaret and Frederick's week :)  All four Bell children were supposed to be there this week but Marie ended up with high school soccer that she couldn't miss so only three were there.


The biggest bummer for me is that I didn't get a camp picture of Thomas this year.  Every time I saw him at camp it wasn't near the entrance.  Tom did, however, snap this shot of him at canoe camp (when CLC takes older campers and counselors off-site for a week):

This was early morning quiet time before small-group Bible studies.  Thomas, Marie, and Tom all spent the week on an island on Dale Hollow Lake this year.  Good for them!  I could never do it. . .











He sent several pictures, which I was so appreciate of. . .
I visited the island/camp the night they "moved in".  Thomas set up his Eno for me while they were on the lake tubing.  I could get used to hanging around like this with this view. . .but would need plumbing and electricity!!






This was on our 21st anniversary -- it's all I got :)  I'll take it every year of my life!!!
The week they were all gone my dad came for a few days.  We had a "fancy" dinner one night -- filet mignon and grilled potatoes, peppers, and onions!

We also went to the Blount Mansion -- love finding new things in our town to explore.
I love history and the perseverance the generations before us had.  Some items are so ingenious and some items (like the slave insurance) so sad. . .
This was called a "please touch" table, encouraging us to pick up the items and explore that way -- very cool!

The front of the house was changed from the back to the front. . .when Knoxville was first being settled in this area, visitors came in off the river. . .as the town was built up, visitors came in off the street. . .


What amazed me the most was that the building was completely original.  The number of families (and businesses) that had occupied it through the years and yet, the floors, walls, doors, ceilings had all stood up through it all.


Traveling bar
Items in the governor's office - especially interesting was the pair of curved scissors to cut the candle wick while it was still burning. . .


No more than 5 to sleep in one bed. . .and a border paid for this?!?

The Bells were here for a *great* day of boating on the lake!!!!  Tom is fresh from 7 (8?) days on an island with no electricity or plumbing (or permanent structures!!!) so he's looking a little rough. . .little did we know -- and I'm glad we didn't -- that this would be our last full trip on the boat for the summer.  The next weekend we went out and after a little tubing fun. . .
Margaret, a friend, and Marie

Friend, Margaret, Marie

Marie on her own. . .















We stopped the boat so the girls could switch up and it wouldn't start again.  We weren't too worried. . .this has happened before and Tom knows it needs a new starter. . .dragged it over to an island and tied it up while we ate and such. . .but still, after 45 minutes or so and lots of poking around the engine. . .still wouldn't start. . .
 And then one of the oars snapped in two so we resorted to skis to paddle in the back and Margaret and Tom to swim in front.  Luckily we only had to do this about 10 minutes before some people came to tow us in (never thought to take a picture!). . .
Thomas hadn't come out with us but was in town so he drove over to the dock to pick up Tom, Marie, and her friend, drove them to the marina where we put the boat in, drove the trailer back and loaded her up for the night.  Margaret, Chelsea, Frederick and I watched the sun set at Lillydale. . .



And then it was a long, dark, windy trip back to the boat shed. . .luckily we were spending the night at Cedar Lake so we didn't have a long drive home too.

The next morning we ran out to the boat shed before church to see if it might be an "easy" fix. . .


But. . .no. . .

Tom spent the week thinking about, talking about, and researching some ideas and we went back (it's about 1.75 hours one way) the next weekend and although he thinks he has the problem pinned down, he needs to be able to work on it at home.  Essentially, unfortunately, our boating season is over this year.  The days we had were fabulous though!




 This girl that I'm so super proud off headed off to soccer camp with her HS team Sunday morning and I went over early Wednesday to watch her play before pick-up.
 It's been fun having this guy home (he was gone 8 weeks this summer!) and he was a good sport and let me snap a Picture of the Day together with him at the dog park. 

After we got home Wednesday from soccer camp we made a spur-of-the-moment decision to head to Ohio for a few days.  Frederick would miss soccer golf with his soccer team, all would miss schedule pick-up at the HS, Margaret would miss her freshman orientation, I would miss my Friday tennis. . .but we all decided it would be worth it since we haven't had time to get up there once all summer!!  Tom was the only one who couldn't miss work :(
It was a great trip and I can't *believe* I didn't get any pictures of the cousins!!  On Friday my mom, sister, AVJ, Marie, and Margaret went into town for lunch and a little shopping. . .the entire time we were there I looked for someone off the street that I could ask to take a quick pic of the 6 of us but it just never happened.  I did get these on Thursday night though:

The "reason" for dinner was Grandpa Fred's upcoming birthday!!!
Nancy and Thomas made a wonderful meal for all of us and then the following night Jodi had all of us down for a cookout.  The thing about going to Ohio is that I *never* starve -- ha!

It was, unfortunately, a super-short trip that was made a tad longer when Tom decided that he would drive down after work on Friday night and let Thomas take the car back on Saturday (he had to work) and we all got to stay a bonus day and not go home until Sunday. 

So. . .that's life lately around here. 

There's so much more going on -- HUGE changes have come down the pike at frightening speed this week, but that will be another post another day.  We have been waiting on the Lord and His timing for a job for me. . .for soccer and school schedules for the kids. . .for a direction spiritually for us all. . .and He is answering. . .so quickly it's overwhelming.  When the dust settles I'll make it "Facebook Official" and hopefully get a post out. 

We have had a great couple of months at home this summer.  I should blog in smaller chunks, I know ;)  This was done in the middle of the night -- I've been working on it since about 1:30 a.m. and it's now 3:40.  Time to go back to bed. . .I have an 8 a.m. dentist appointment!!

Love,
Jenni

Thursday, June 30, 2016

June 2016

Since I am home, guess I should do a better job of keeping up with this here ol' blog :)  I love following the ones in my sidebar and even if *I* don't have any followers, it's a super great diary for me to look back through in my melancholy moods. . .

Have you seen the My Social Book that you can get on Facebook or Instagram?   I have ordered two now and really, really like them.  I post a Picture of the Day almost every day so I have a nice record/diary/scrapbook from Facebook (I've never gotten on the Instagram bandwagon. . .).

(PSA:  Most pictures are un-edited. . .if I took the time to do that. . .well. . .it could be another month - ha!)

June 1st Picture of the Day - Frederick's first Junior Team Tennis tennis match!!  I think he won in singles 8-0 and then he and his partner won their doubles match too.  Great way to start the season!
 June 2nd Picture of the Day - Off to Cedar Lake Camp for a few days for Staff Training Week.  Thomas had already been there to staff a retreat the week before, now it was his training week. . .Marie is a CIT (counselor in training) so she only had to go the 2nd half of the week.  They asked me to come and work on the staff bios again.  I love this camp, I love their mission. . .and I especially LOVE how much my kids love it!!! 
Because I'm a nerd, this is truly what I enjoy doing. . .going through their profiles, editing and changing. . .I believe there were 45 staff members this year!

June 3rd Picture of the Day - My finished product
Turns out I overlooked 2 staffers so they have to change some of the fliers out as the weeks go by (they don't have all 40+ every week) and I have noticed as I've gone back this summer that they write the name of the cabin they are in on top of the plastic sleeves and then erase at the end of the week.  This was a FUN project!!!  (Yes, I spaced out and hung them all too :)  They are attached with velcro to the wall so the camp can take down and change/replace as they wish.)

June 4th Picture of the Day
Anna, Margaret's friend (and a neighbor who is moving very soon -- boo!  At least they'll still go to the same school), wanted to do something but if it was up to Margaret, she wouldn't leave the couch (I know, not MY kid!).  Anyway, we loaded up bikes and went over to a trail I had spotted in the spring.  None of these people wanted to go much further than this point but, truth be told, we're not huge bikers and the seats are pretty bad for any lengthy trips.  This was fun though!  I bribed Margaret with Big Ed's pizza afterward -- yea!

I took this picture while we were waiting for a table and texted Anna's mom saying, "yea, these girls are ready for High School". . .ummmm. . .I think???
















June 5th Picture of the Day - I tried the popular FB recipe for foil-packet Shrimp Boil on the grill but decided to put it all together in stoneware and put that on the grill.  It was so good everyone asked for it the next night too!!!
June 6th Picture of the Day - This is Chelsea. . .almost every day (no matter the temperature) that we take her to this particular dog park
She won't jump off unless chasing something -- a stick or a ball.  We don't even have to go to the end of the dock with her anymore. . .we just stand in about the location I shot this picture and she runs around and off the dock by herself!!

June 7th Picture of the Day - this project (Margaret's Room)
That grey paint looked green over the purple so it was a double coat of primer, followed by 2 coats of grey. . .just that wall and the one opposite.  She's keeping the turquoise wall to the right.   And her closet wall will be chalkboard paint.
Ummm. . .the grey walls are done and new curtains up. . .still have some work to do (but she is sleeping in there again -- this only took about a week.  I know.  A week.  Sigh.  I didn't work on it every day though.)

June 8th Picture of the Day - real life. . .our shopping list (it really wasn't my Picture of the Day -- just the only picture I took that day -- ha!)















June 9th - I love this one!!!  It wasn't my Picture of the Day. . .just one I "snuck". . .my girlie driving!  All the way to camp (about 1.75 hours).  Yea for her!  First long-haul.
THIS was Picture of the Day for June 9th 
Cedar Lake Camp 2016


June 10th Picture of the Day - I posted this one because I just absolutely love it.  She is so. . .I don't know. . .everything.

















June 11th Picture of the Day - We finally, finally made it out!!!

June 12th Picture of the Day - Pool time in our neighborhood. . .that is my foot (lounging and reading -- my favorite thing to do at the pool!) - Frederick and Tom are tossing a football at the far end and Margaret is along the wall in the pool (back to me) talking to a friend sitting on the deck.
No big deal - just "real life" (a real GOOD life)

June 13th Picture of the Day - Day 1 of Margaret's "Project of the Week". . .before and after.  We didn't end up leaving the set black. . .this was just a compare/contrast after she primed a couple chairs with the rust-blocking primer.

June 14th Picture of the Day - Frederick (on left) and a couple of his friends wanted me to take them fishing.  In 95 degree heat.  In the middle of the day.  I didn't mind. . .only they were surprised they didn't catch anything -- hahahaha!!!  
I wanted this to be my June 15th Picture of the Day but my husband said his dad would "freak out" if I posted it on social media that they were out of town.  Good point.  And a great picture so I'm including it here (since they are now home, safe and sound).
Nancy - June 2016 - Maine
June 16th Picture of the Day - more paint!!!
The spray paint were the last cans we needed to finish Margaret's project, the can was to finish her room (I took in that almost-empty can and asked for another -- I only needed < one tray more!! -- and only after everything had dried and I was putting outlet covers back on did Tom and I notice:  the color wasn't the same!!!  Ugh!!!  Lowe's did this to us in Marie's room too. . .last time I buy custom-mixed paint there.  Grrr.  I'll have to eventually re-paint that wall. . .but not now. . .), and the samples are for our bedroom.

June 17th Picture of the Day - We needed something other than the van to haul the boat over all these East Tennessee hills. . .
He's been on the look-out for months and months and has had his eye on this one for weeks.  He's really happy with it (although it needed about as much work done on it that it cost us!!) but should last another 100K miles?  We have really become big fans of Toyota over the past 3 or so years. . .

PICTURE OF THE MONTH - I couldn't even caption this one on FB because. . .well. . .I don't believe there are words in the human language to describe it.  This man has been surely blessed by the Lord!
Father's Day 2016
Luke 12:48b - "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked"  NIV
We are privileged to serve the Lord!!!

June 19th Picture of the Day - his turn!!!
Camper - June 2016
June 20th Picture of the Day - Margaret's completed project -- we love it!

It looks like I haven't downloaded any other pictures from June since then. . .stay tuned. . .

Love,
Jenni