Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, August 31, 2010...

Outside my window...the sun is blaring but it's not as hot as it's been this month. We got tons of rain yesterday and today it's cooler. Thank the Lord!

I am thinking...about my daughter and how far away from home she seems to be. I talk to her everyday but I still miss her.

I am thankful...that I got yet another extension on my unemployment benefits. God is always watching over us, of that I have no doubt.

I am going...to the library today.

I am wearing...a yellow top, jean capris and white sandals. It's still summer here.

I am noticing...the days slowly getting shorter, and hurricane activity increasing. September is almost here.

I am currently...working on a few scrapbooking pages. Rather than sit and do a whole page at once, I'm doing 2 at a time, and working slowly. It helps keep the creative juices flowing.

I am reading...Matthew for morning devotions, still working through Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage, and a book I found at the library called Christmas Presence, with short stories on the Christmas holiday and how it has impacted different people. An interesting read.

I am waiting...patiently for September 11. That's when BarlowGirl is in concert at our church. I can't wait!

On my mind...I can't believe today is August 31st. The summer went by so fast!!!

From the learning rooms...mostly review for now.

I am pondering these words..."There's no such thing as a Christian who's been spoiled rotten with spiritual gifts." - New Women's Devotional Bible.

From the kitchen today...baked ziti. Haven't had it in awhile.

Around the house...bathrooms need cleaning. Most of the laundry is done but it piles up so fast I'm afraid to look.

One of my favorite things...decorating the house for fall. Soon, very soon.

A few plans for the rest of the week...library today, Awana tomorrow, Cub Scouts on Thursday. That's as far as I want to go at this point.

Here's a picture thought I'm sharing with you...my son taking his swimming lessons this summer. He passed level 2, and we're so happy he did.

Wanna join in the fun? Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook. Have a blessed week.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Move It Mondays

It's Monday morning again, the second week of school, and there's plenty to do. I got up at 6:15 this morning to empty the dishwasher, get my son's lunchbox packed, get breakfast ready, wake my son up, iron hubby's shirt, and get myself ready to go out the door. Whew! Then I took my son to school. What we've been doing (for exercise for the two of us) is parking the car about 2 blocks away at the local supermarket and walking to school. I'd love to walk to school from our house, but because of the way the homes are built and the canals going through, there's no direct way to get there. It's a nice time for us to chat and joke around before he goes off to class.

I'm back home now, and here's the list of things to do for today:

Fold laundry
Fix beds
Get chicken in the oven
Clean kitchen
Clean family room
Pick up cousin's daughter from pre-k and drop off at her house
Clean master bath
Pick up E from school
Maaaybe finish a couple of scrapbooking pages? (I hope)

Yes, it's a fun filled day as always. It was a fun filled weekend too. Great time at church! I baked a coconut cream cake for Sunday school which disappeared as if by magic! Then I baked another cake, a sour cream coffee cake, for my brother-in-law's 47th birthday. That also seemed to vanish into thin air, come to think of it. Oh well, there's no better compliment than an empty plate!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week. Move It Mondays is hosted by Kristilea at In The Lord's Path. God bless.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Vacation 2010 - Aquatica

The one place we enjoyed the most out of all the places we visited was the one place I took the least pictures: Aquatica! We fell in love with it from the moment we saw it out the hotel window.

It was clear to us there was plenty to see and do, but it was nothing like we expected. It was a hundred times better!

Aquatica is brand new, and is part of SeaWorld. It's literally across the street. We went there on our second day, the kids and I because J had to work. We were immediately impressed with all the colors and greenery. It's very bright, colorful and happy. The first place we passed was a large dolphin tank with some sort of tube going through it:

We found out later it's a ride called The Dolphin Plunge. You can actually slide right through the dolphin tank. I'm not much for these types of rides (I get claustrophobic) but J rode on it 4 times. My daughter A got on once, which was more than enough for her LOL. As for E and I, we were content just watching the dolphins, especially when they swam by together. Doesn't it look like they're holding fins?

After that we rented a locker to put everything away, and the camera went in there too. No way was I going to stay out of all the fun just to take pictures (sorry!). The first place we went to was Loggerhead Lane, their version of a lazy river. It was hot out, but the water was sooo refreshing! My daughter decided she wanted to go down the lazy river another way - via the
Tassie Twister. It starts off as a slide but goes into what looks like a giant funnel before ending in the river. She said it was great! She liked it most because you ride it on an inner tube which she prefers, unlike Daddy who likes to just go down without anything in his way.

We then went to the wave pools - that's right, there's two of them, Cutback Cove and Big Surf Shores. One's right next to the other, so they never got overcrowded even though the park was packed. E showed us his swimming skills and even gave us lessons. It was so relaxing, I could have stayed there all day. I'm glad I didn't, though!

Our favorite area by far was Roa's Rapids (if you haven't figured it out by now, the entire park has an Australian theme). While the lazy river is just that, a slow river with everyone floating on inner tubes, Roa's Rapids is a long, fast moving river. No inner tubes are allowed here; a life vest (provided free by the park) can be worn but isn't required. Basically the current is speeding you through the river which has two entrances. We went around and around so many times we'd lose count! It was quite a workout, too - we would swim or run or just let the current take us. I don't recall ever having so much fun and getting so tired at the same time!

The other area we went to over and over was Walkabout Waters. This section is for older kids like my son E. There's also a section for the little tykes called Kata's Kookaburra Cove, for children 5 and under. Walkabout Waters is large, has water spraying from every which way, and also has slides. My son didn't want to go on any of them at first; the height scared him. When J was finally able to join us, he took E with him and showed him it was nothing to be afraid of. Then we couldn't get E out of there! We spent 10 hours at the park the first day we went, and it seemed to go by too quickly. Of course when we got back to the hotel we practically passed out from exhaustion! The last day of our vacation we finished off at Aquatica as well. I don't remember hearing my hubby laugh as much in our entire marriage as he did the days we spent at Aquatica. He and A rode on more slides than I can count!

We visited Aquatica about 5 more times, sometimes for the whole day and other times for half the day after visiting another park. That's the advantage of the Orlando Flex ticket - it's a park hopper pass for Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, SeaWorld, Aquatica and Wet 'n Wild. We did go to Wet 'n Wild but were sadly disappointed. As my daughter pointed out, we might have liked Wet 'n Wild more if we hadn't been to Aquatica first. Wet 'n Wild was okay, but nothing compared to Aquatica. It had more family oriented areas, more stuff for older kids and pre-teens, more greenery everywhere...it just rocked! At the end of our vacation J asked about getting the annual pass for Aquatica - that's how much we loved it! I wouldn't mind visiting a few times a year. We went over and over and never got tired.

Aquatica gets two thumbs up, but we enjoyed lots more on our vacation. More to come!

Observing My Senses

For Today, August 28, 2010...

I am seeing...rain come down on a sunny day. In hispanic culture, there's a superstitious belief that when this occurs a witch is getting married. We have lots of witch weddings here in South Florida.

I am feeling...grateful to the Lord because my brother is getting out of the hospital today. It was determined that his blood pressure dropped, causing him to pass out. His blood pressure medicines have been adjusted, his wrist has a cast, and he can go back home. Praise God for His mercy and healing!

I am hearing...the computer fan, and of course Saturday morning cartoons. They've been a household staple since I was a child.

I am tasting...pumpkin spice cake. Oh yeah, cake for breakfast. It's my favorite fall treat, and since school started this week I thought I'd get in the spirit of fall. It doesn't feel like autumn in South Florida AT ALL, but I can dream can't I?

I am smelling...coffee. My morning treat everyday of the year.

It just takes a moment to observe your surroundings. Won't you join me?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Vacation 2010 - SeaWorld Part 3

Don't tell me you're tired of SeaWorld pictures already! 'Cause I'm not tired of showing them! If you haven't figured it out yet, this is where I took the most pictures. There's just so much to see and enjoy, I didn't want to forget any of it.
Here's my favorite picture of all: I call it, "A failure to communicate."

All right, enough silliness. Let's move on to the dolphins! The show was on the corny side according to my daughter, but I loved watching the dolphins perform. That's all that really matters.

There was an exhibit that included deadly frogs. This is one of them. Can you find the little critter?

The seals were absolutely precious (and precocious!). They knew the people had food for them, and they'd do anything to get fed.

This one saw no shame in begging, and beg he did, LOUDLY!!

We all took pictures with the polar bear near Wild Arctic:

Looks kind of cold, doesn't it? It was pretty chilly in here (which was nice since it was sooo HOT outside). Guess who we were going to see?

That's right, the polar bear! My daughter was so happy. Polar bears are her favorite.

To end it all, here's a family picture taken by a British gentleman who was kind enough to offer. All the parks were filled with British folks. Turns out the kiddies are on holiday (their word for vacation) and go back to school in September, so Orlando gets filled with tourists from the UK. It was kind of funny listening to the mix of Southern drawl and British accent!
Well, that's it for our tour of SeaWorld. Don't go too far, though: we visited several other parks too, and I'll be sharing those soon!

The Friday Five

Good Friday morning to all! The first week of school here in South Florida is coming to an end (to most children's delight). It's shopping day for me; I've gone to one store and still need a couple more to finish up. In the meantime, here's a look into the mind of a forty-something wife and mom (don't be scared):

1. Do you watch/did you watch Sesame Street?
Absolutely! I learned a lot watching this show.

2. Who is your favorite muppet character?
Cookie Monster. He and I have alot in common ;-).

3. Who is your favorite human character?
The two that come to mind are Bob and Maria. Maria I liked especially because she'd say things in Spanish and I felt so important 'cause I understood what she was saying!

4. What is your favorite sesame street song?
The ladybug picnic. It taught how to count to twelve.

5. When you have children, will you let them watch Sesame Street?
My children did watch Sesame Street, and I'm glad they did. It's good, wholesome programming. Not too much of that on TV anymore.

To join in the fun, visit the Friday 5. Have a blessed Friday.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Vacation 2010 - SeaWorld, Part 2

Each time I go back to these pictures it brings a big smile to my face. What a great time of fun and learning! I enjoyed all the different things to see and do and SeaWorld, even if it's just taking cheesy pictures of your kids with Shamu:

Or looking up at a ride that goes waaay up into the cloud ridden sky:

But let's face it: The thing to do at SeaWorld is look at the fish!

My favorites were the manatees (which, by the way, are not fish, they're mammals). They are found here in Florida though they're endangered. My son was amazed to find the reason for that is because of people. Boaters aren't always careful, and the waters get full of fishing line or trash. Other times the boats hit these precious creatures and cause major damage. SeaWorld rescues manatees and tries to get them back into the wild. We were very impressed with the information we learned.

Did you know seamen used to see manatees in the water and think they were mermaids? Incredible!

One thing I love about sting-rays: their faces look like they're smiling at you!

Of course my son's favorite part were the sharks. We went to the Shark Encounter area first, and almost had to drag him out of there! He was just mesmerized at the different types of sharks and the fish that live among them without fear. They're dangerous, but also beautiful creatures.

He also liked the barracuda, but they are the meanest looking fish I've ever seen. They would actually come up to the glass and stare at the people with a menacing look. I'd hate to run into one of those in the middle of the night!

Don't think that's all - there's lots more to come!

Open House Tour - Master Bedroom

We're back! It's home touring time over at 4 Moms 35 Kids, and this week we're showing off bedrooms. I've chosen to show my master bedroom this week and I'll hopefully show the other bedrooms next week. The reason for this is, I already had these pictures from when I got new bedding, and for the most part the bedroom looks the same, so I didn't have to take new pictures. One less thing in my already way too busy day LOL!

The master bedroom is probably my favorite room in the house decor-wise. It's 15X14 so it's a good size room, not too big but big enough for my husband J's favorite part of the room, the king sized bed. For the first 15 years of our marriage we had a full size bed and it worked just fine for us. Then J decided he wanted a bed big enough to fit the entire state of Alaska, even though I was afraid it would be too big. Surprisingly, it fits, along with 2 night stands. I chose the bed because it has wood and wrought iron which is the type of decor I love most. I got the bedding at Kohl's (my new favorite store). It's all reversable so I can have a couple different looks, which is nice since I like to change things up every so often. The curtains I found at Target and they matched the bedding exactly.

The wall unit faces the bed on the opposite wall. This was built by my carpenter brother-in-law along with the nightstands. It started out as a much smaller design, but both my brother-in-law and J kept adding more to it, and before I knew it the wall unit took up almost the entire wall. I was not happy at first, but once it was decorated I slowly came to like it more. It has lots of storage both in drawers and shelves while still looking elegant.

The only thing that is no longer in the room is that television. It was huge, heavy, and the thing just went ZAP one day and decided it didn't want to work anymore. This is one of the "old" style tv's, not a flat screen. It went about 2 feet deep and took 2 men to load into my car so that I could run around town trying to find someone to repair it. Alas, just as I told J, no one was going to fix this because no one makes these kinds of tv's anymore. So it was trashed, and a new flat screen tv took its place, because my hubby can't live without ESPN.

And that's it for my master bedroom. Oh, were you looking for a desk or home office of some sort? Nope, not gonna find it. My bedroom is a place to sleep, enjoy a good movie, cuddling, and reading in bed, not a work space. I aim to keep it that way.

So, would you like to share your home as well? You can visit the 4 Moms here, here, here or here and link your pictures. Have a blessed day everyone!

Thankful Thursdays

I have a couple of things to be especially thankful for today. Firstly, my brother's tests have all come back well. Seems he's a pretty healthy guy. Doctors still don't know what caused the blackouts, but it's good to know his EKG came back fine, and his blood tests all look good. He may need surgery on his wrist; he fractured two bones when he fell. Still, that's nothing compared to all the things he could have had. We're still praying the doctors will have answers for him soon and he can go home.

The next thing I'm thankful for is Awana, which started yesterday. I've been asked to work with the children, helping them learn their Bible verses. It's so wonderful to be able to teach the children and get them started on the right path. This is something the Lord has laid upon my heart - you don't know who the next missionary, preacher, or evangelist will be, but He knows. We're just here to help pave the way. I pray these little children will come to Jesus in their childhood and follow Him all their lives.

Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not depart from it.
- Proverbs 22:6

This month Thankful Thursdays is hosted by Laurie at Women Taking a Stand. Be thankful today and always. God bless.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Health-Wise Wednesdays

Here's the difference between eating a healthy, nutritious diet and eating whatever is available on the road: When we got back from vacation, I weighed myself and found I'd gone from 132.8 lbs. to 135 lbs. I was a little surprised, because even though I knew I was eating alot of high sodium, high fat foods I was also walking ALOT. We'd spend on average about 10 hours a day on foot either walking or swimming or doing some kind of physical activity. I drank plenty of water because it was very hot and humid, too. Still, I managed to put on just over 2 lbs. I wasn't upset about it, though. After all, 2 lbs isn't the end of the world, and I had lost extra weight to compensate, so 135 lbs. is just fine for me.

This past week I've eaten over my calorie count most days, and obviously I haven't been walking as much though I've had lots of errands to run and things to get caught up. Yet this morning I was very shocked to find my weight down to 131.8 - actually less than it was when we left on vacation! I did a double take, then thought about it and realized I was eating more home cooked food and much less sodium. It makes a huge difference! My body may have gone into shock with all the changes, but hopefully it'll get back to normal soon and I'll be able to maintain my weight between 133 and 135 lbs.

I don't want to lose more weight, but I am thankful that I'm learning to eat foods that are good for me. It's taught me some important lessons. First off, it's never too late to start eating right. Second, our bodies crave good eats and are happier when we eat right. And third, it is possible to enjoy vacation without totally overdoing it. Yay, I'm back on track!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Prayer Request Update

My brother has been admitted to the hospital as they run tests and try to figure out why he passed out. He fractured his left wrist at one point when he fell. Please pray for healing, and wisdom for the doctors as they examine and try to find out what caused these episodes. My main concern is that diabetes runs in our family. He's been on blood pressure medicine, although he's been making an effort to eat better and has lowered his cholesterol considerably. We're praying it's nothing major and that he'll be back home soon.

Thank you so much for your prayers. God bless you all.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, August 24, 2010...

Outside my window...it's still soggy and wet from yesterday's thunderstorms, and the skies give the impression it'll happen again today. We haven't had so many thunderstorms in a row for some time; I wonder how much longer this will last.

I am thinking...and praying about my brother. He was just taken to the emergency room after passing out three times this morning. Please lift him up in prayer. He's 41 years old.

I am thankful...my children are getting an education.

I am going...to wash some more laundry. Then I'm going to clean bathrooms. Then I'm gonna start lunch. Then I'm going to pick up my cousin's daughter from pre-k and take her to her grandma's. And that's just the morning. Yeah, I have a busy day ahead.

I am wearing...a navy blue t-shirt with the American flag on it, jean bermuda shorts, and flip flops.

I am remembering...Hurricane Andrew. It hit this week back in 1992. That was a bad one.

I am currently...working on Christmas scrapbooking pages. You know the Christmas cards with family pictures on them? They are great for scrapbooks.

I am reading...the minor prophets for morning devotions. I'm on Zecharias now.

I am waiting...to see if I get an extension on my unemployment benefits. If it's God's will, then the answer is yes.

On my mind...all the stuff that needs to get done around the house, and my busy schedule.

From the learning rooms...E says his teacher is very strict. That's just after the first day. We'll give her a chance and see how the month progresses.

From the kitchen today...spaghetti and meatballs. Homemade marinara sauce, and homemade meatballs, not that packaged stuff. Mmm.

Around the house...so much needs to get done, and so little time to do it with all the errands I need to do. Oh well, one step at a time.

One of my favorite things...vacations. I want another one, please.

A few plans for the rest of the week...library today if it doesn't rain. Awana starts tomorrow, and Cub Scouts on Thursday. I'll be picking up my cousin's daughter from pre-k for the next 2 weeks so I have to schedule that in too. Lots to do.

Here's a picture thought I'm sharing...my daughter got to sing again in church this Sunday. She sang Beautiful Ending by BarlowGirl. She got lots of compliments. My heart swelled with joy and my eyes swelled with tears.

Wanna join in the fun? Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook. Have a blessed week.

Vacation 2010 - 1st Stop: SeaWorld

On our first day in Orlando, since SeaWorld was directly across the street, the logical thing was to go there first. I was very happy; I love marine life, not just seeing it but learning about it. As my son E said, "It's fun AND educational." He asked a ton of questions everywhere we went, which was another reason I was glad to go there.

Of course, you can't have SeaWorld Orlando without Shamu! So, without further ado, here are some shots of the killer whales:

Isn't she a beauty? For those who are wondering, the killer whale that caused the death of one of the trainers a few months ago is not in the show. They also never mentioned the tragedy. The daytime show, called Believe, is dedicated to the men and women in the armed forces, and a very moving dedication it is. Then it's about believing in your dreams.

Notice I mentioned killer whales, not whale. Much is said about Shamu, but there are about 5 different orcas in the show, and if you ask me which is Shamu, I couldn't tell you. They are all magnificent creatures as far as I'm concerned.

I loved when they jumped up out of the water like that!

Look at the size of these amazing mammals (not fish!). I can see where Jonas would have easily fit in the belly of one of them, though I wouldn't want to test that for myself. ;-)

At night they do a different show, called Shamu Rocks. Again, all the orcas are in the show even though Shamu is specifically mentioned. I liked this second show better; less human participation. It was all about the whales.

There's older rock music playing in the background (70's and 80's stuff) but quite frankly I was so mezmerized by the show I don't even remember the songs that were playing. They have 4 screens which turn (as you can see below) with lights and colors. It's quite a show.

It was harder to get shots at night because it was so dark you didn't really know when they'd jump out of the water. Still, it caused a lot of oohing and ahhing.

I think this one is the real Shamu. Don't quote me, though.

There's lots more to come, so stay tuned!

Move It Mondays

Good Monday morning to all! Well, maybe not so good for some: it's the first day of school here in South Florida. That means, kiddos, summer vacation is over. It means traffic is going to be a nightmare again. And it means schedules and routines are back to what they are in the fall. Fall is my favorite season; I'm looking forward to decorating and preparing for cooler weather (or at least that's my hope - it's still very hot and humid here and the rainstorms have been pretty steady).

So it's Monday, the start of the week, and I've got plenty to do today. Let's see if I can achieve the following:

Take E to school, meet his teacher
Pick up J's vitamins at the pharmacy
Clean master bedroom
Do a load of laundry
Get lunch ready (rice, beans, pork chops)
Get some yardwork done
Pick up E from school
Wash and dry my hair

Yep, it's a busy day at our house, but then it always is. And that's a great blessing. Hope everyone has a blessed Monday and a productive week.

Move it Mondays is hosted by Kristilea at In The Lord's Path. God bless.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Observing My Senses

For Today, August 21, 2010...

I am seeing...a brand new day, bright and sunny. We had a terrible thunderstorm yesterday but it looks like just sunshine today.

I am feeling...good about going to visit my friend today. Her surgery was in July and she's feeling much stronger now. We're gonna go over and encourage her.

I am hearing...my son singing. Can you think of a sound more charming than the voice of a 10 year old?

I am tasting...eggs, bacon, and wheat toast.

I am smelling...the comforting smells of home. I missed this place when we were gone.

It just takes a moment to observe your surroundings. Won't you join me?

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Friday Five

Hey, I just remembered: It's Friday! Time for my Friday Five.

1. What's your favorite playing card game? Why?
Hmm, let's see. As kids we played poker sometimes, casino other times, but I think gin rummy was what we played most. Oh, and war. Now I play go fish with my son most times. I guess the favorite would be gin rummy, because I had so much fun playing with my siblings.

2. Poker: five card draw, seven card stud, or Texas Hold 'Em?
I don't know the difference! LOL!! I guess we played five card draw.

3. Where gambling is involved what is the highest amount of money you'd bet on a hand of cards?
As far as I'm concerned, money and cards don't mix. It takes all the fun out of the game.

4. Have you ever had your tarot read with playing cards? If not would you want to? If so was it accurate, interesting, or just plain lame?
I've never had my tarot read, nor do I have the least desire to. I don't believe in that sort of stuff, and I won't spend my money on that either.

5. What is on the back of your playing cards (the swirly red/blue design or is it a specialty deck with photographs)?
I bought playing cards at Islands of Adventure several years ago, and the back of the cards have the park logo along with pictures of dueling dragons roller coaster (now part of Harry Potter), a Jurassic Park dinosaur, Betty Boop, Spiderman and the Cat in the Hat. They're the coolest playing cards I've ever had.

Join the fun at the Friday Five. Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend. God bless.

Vacation - Day 1

I thought I'd give a quick preview of our vacation while I continue to organize pictures. Just a teaser, to whet the appetite: the view from our hotel room. It was amazing!

This is Aquatica, the new SeaWorld waterpark. We could see the entire place from our window!

It was overcast that morning, but just half an hour later the sun was out and the day was beautiful. We had rain most days, but anyone who lives in Florida knows it can storm all of a sudden and be sunny in about 20 minutes. It's what makes Florida special.

If this looks like a fun place to be, let me tell you, IT IS!!!

Here's the view on the right hand side. It's the SeaWorld Orlando parking lot. Over to the left is one of the arenas where they have "Reflections," an evening fireworks and water show. We didn't need to go to the park to see it; we had front row seats of the fireworks right in our room. We got to see them every night!

That blue sign is one of the entrances to SeaWorld. We literally walked there, it was just across the street. Could we have been blessed with a better location?! Not even if we'd planned it. This was totally orchestrated by God. It was the most perfect spot for our vacation, in a comfy and convenient resort.

Eager to see more? Stay tuned! It's gonna be a busy weekend but I'll try to get some pics up soon.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Open House Tour - Living Rooms

Here finally is the post for this week's tour - the living room. Actually, I had trouble deciding which to post - the living room according to the architectural plans, or the room where we do all our "living". It's like this: we have both a formal living room, and a family room. The family room should really be called the living room, and the living room should be called...

I know, I'll show you one step at a time.

This is the family room. It's directly behind and open to the kitchen. This is where we do most of our living. Take a good look - it's usually not this neat and tidy. I had to chase my kids out just so I could vacuum the rug and clear all the clutter before I took the picture. Typically the coffee table is filled with books, toys, games, snacks, and that's just my son E's stuff. We watch movies here on our enormous 10 year old TV. Back when we purchased it, it was the latest and greatest piece of electronics on the market; today it's just a big white elephant. My husband J wanted to get rid of it and buy a flat screen tv with HD and all the bells and whistles, but I pointed out there's nothing wrong with this set. Yes, it's out of style, but so long as it works I don't see the need to spend money on a new television set. Thankfully he agreed.

This is what you see from the kitchen. I love love love those recliners - they are so comfortable! The sliding glass doors lead to the patio and backyard. The wood floors were put in just this year and I love them because they're so easy to keep clean. What a blessing! I was tired of cleaning tile grout!

This is from behind one of the recliners. It's a straight view to the kitchen, the other part of the house that we mostly live in. I guess it's a good idea to have the family room next to the kitchen instead of the dining room - it keeps me close to the family while I'm cooking or cleaning up.

Now for the room known as the "formal living room." This is the view walking in the front door. I've had these sofas, tables and lamps for 11 1/2 years, and they look like new. That's because this room isn't used for "living" as the name implies. It's used for reading. My oldest son and I especially like to read here, because the room is bright, and since it's separate from the family area it's also pretty quiet. I like sitting or lying down on the large sofa with a cool drink and a good book. It's a much better use of the space if you ask me.

This is the opposite view. See that lovely cross over the front door? I got it at Kohl's for $9. It's wrought iron which I absolutely love. The area rug I got after I'd had the furniture for 6 years. I could never find a rug with the right colors for the furniture. I tried every store I could think of, with no success. Then one day I was at Lowe's buying something else, and I spotted this rug. I couldn't believe it: after so much searching, I found the perfect rug at a home improvement store. Go figure.

My brother in law built this cabinet for us. He's been doing woodwork for as long as I've known him. This is actually covered in formica which was picked to match the dining room furniture (back when light colored wood was in vogue). I keep my favorite books on the bottom shelf. A few of my hubby's work awards are displayed here, along with pictures and items I've had for years. I'm always looking for items that catch my eye to decorate my home with.

Behind the loveseat is my "artwork". Basically it's pictures of my family. They aren't my works of art, they are God's. That's why it brings me such joy to display them.

Thank you for coming to visit my home. It's always a pleasure to have company over!

For more beautiful living areas, visit 4 Moms and 35 Kids here, here, here or here. God bless and have a wonderful evening.