30 December 2010

a year in pictures


gifts from my girls
careful eyes on the road
cowboy day
bread baked by my hand
with mayhaw jelly
the bounty
a day at the ocean
first day of 1st grade
his first truck
his great grandfather's hunting truck
restored by his grandfather for him
beauty in Eureka
movie night
Harry Potter!!

28 December 2010

The Versatile Blogger Award

All Things Beautiful just blew me away with The Versatile Blogger award. Phyllis is such an example to us all. She worked as a counselor until the birth of her first child. She homeschooled/homeschools her children. With some of these  children having special needs and her battling her own physical limitations, this can be challenging. However, she does it with love and creative intensity. Luckily, she shares this journey with us on her blog All Things Beautiful. Thank you Phyllis!

Now for the rules:
::Thank and link back the bestower of the award  ::share 7 things about yourself.  ::Pass along the award to bloggers you enjoy

  1. i love being at home. more and more i choose to stay here.
  2. i want to camp at every State park in Texas and every National park in the US.
  3. taking photographs makes me smile.
  4. cooking for others makes me smile even brighter.
  5. i know the value of the lessons taught to me by my mother that were taught to her by her mother and so on.
  6. i LOVE banana pudding
  7. my life has improved 10 fold as i have made a conscious effort to be present in all i do.
I love each of these blogs. These ladies inspire me and make me a better person with each post.

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window...   is the quiet of night. the stars are shining and there is a crispness in the air.

I am thinking...  of how my home is my haven.
of how i want to be nowhere else in this world.

I am thankful for...  a new day to do better than the day before.

I am wearing...  my absolute favorite black lounge pants, black silk tee, and smart wool socks.

I am remembering...  that I can't be everything to everyone. That I have to just be me.

I am going...  to start preparations for the Spring garden

I am currently reading...  ::In the Company of Others by Jan Karon
::Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan

I am listening to...  Jack Johnson, of course!

I am hoping...  to become a better version of me...
::listen more and speak less
::judge not
::be present in the moment and slow down
::become more frugal

On my mind...  ::this blog and the future of it
::how to set a more peaceful tone in my home

Noticing that...    more and more, little by little, I am finding my true self.

Pondering these words... "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

~Atticus Finch

From the kitchen...  pork tenderloin, mac & cheese, broccoli, eggnog bread pudding

Around the house...  ::the guest bathroom is getting a little make over
::books are being read
::games are being played
::laughter is abundant

from the school room...  ::spelling words
::reading the classics
::learning to cook

One of my favorite things...  being loved.  

27 December 2010

sweet Janice

Janice Faye Fortenberry Jackson. I loved my sweet aunt like she was my own mother. Maybe that is because my mother loved her aunt like a sister. That is how they grew up, like sisters. My mother lived with her beloved grandparents, Tate and Nadine Fortenberry, from the time she was 2 years old until high school. Janice was younger than her but very close in age. They were as close as close could be. They did everything together. They even dressed alike often. Mother, as did the entire family, thought Janice to be an angel here on the earth. She was special. Always a kind word spoken softly. Always there to help whenever needed. Even though she had every right to be bitter and in poor spirits. She was sick from the time she was  nearly graduated from high school. It was Lupus. And she was sick. so sick. But never a unkind word spoken from my sweet Janice. Never. We lost her when she was my age, 38 years young. So young. Leaving behind the child she so desperately loved, Kevin. She was an example to all that knew her. That example and her spirit lives on.
Rest in peace my Janice. I know you and Patsy are together again.
I love you.

the day after Christmas

is the best day ever. I love the stillness. I love to watch my peeps with their new treats, having a good time. I love that I don't have to cook...leftovers are my friend!
I hope your Christmas was merry and bright. I hope you it was filled with family, and love and warmth. I know mine was. There was a missing piece or two. Of course, my mother was missed. She oh so loved the holidays. Kevin's mother and step father were missed as well...1st Christmas in 18 years without them. They traveled to visit Carroll's sisters. He was diagnosed with Large Cell Lymphoma a few days before Christmas. Naturally, he needed the arms of his sisters for comfort and support before the chemotherapy starts. So, this Christmas was low key and quiet for us. It was our first to spend with just the 5 of us on Christmas Day. Can I tell you a little secret? We loved it. It was a no fuss day. A all day in your pjs day. A day I will forever cherish.

Right now, my fellas are playing new games and reading new books. Sawyer is tapping away on his typewriter. Many newspapers have been written since Christmas morning. I am devouring my Around My French Table ~Dorie Greenspan. I see pumpkin & gorgonzola flan in our future.

Good night my friends. I hope that you too are soaking up the end of this season and getting ready for the newness that is fast approaching.

Merry Christmas.

25 December 2010

A Christmas Prayer

Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels, 
the gladness of the shepherds, 
and worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. 
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. 
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, 
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. 
-Robert Louis Stevenson

24 December 2010

this moment

A Friday ritual. 
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. 
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. 
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wishing you a magical Christmas!

22 December 2010

merry Christmas to...

to us, everyone.  On this eve of Christmas eve I am thinking of all those people still running around getting that last gift or worrying about turkeys and ham. Thankfully this year that is not the scene here. We are "ready". We are ready to spend a quiet Christmas together. Tomorrow night Kevin's sisters & families will join us for a couple of hours and then it will just be us for the rest of weekend. We are ready to read of Jesus's birth. We are ready to watch It's a Wonderful Life. We are ready to just be.

Wishing you the merriest of Christmases.

right now, i am

...thinking (and smiling) of this boy at The Nutcracker. Oh how he loved it.
We all did. He feels like he needs a typewriter so he can dream up a story
that people can dance to. That just may have been arranged. 
Thank you Amanda for the magical Christmas gift! It truly made the holiday for the Bonins this year.

now playing @ the bonin farm...What Child is This?

20 December 2010

merry Christmas to...

the making of lists. If you are a regular reader you know my LOVE of the list. Here is my list for today...less than a week till Christmas Day oh my!

::grocery shop
::make rosemary swag for front door
::finish gift shopping...only Kevin to go
::make chocolate dipped fortune cookies with my peeps
::watch Miracle on 34th Street with my peeps and a girlfriend
::conquer this sea of laundry we have here
::nightly Christmas light crawl
::Planet Earth puzzle with Sawyer
::smile, laugh, giggle, soak up my fellas
::not let stress into our space...enjoy this time!

What is on your list?

now playing @ the bonin farm...O Holy Night by Harry Connick Jr.

18 December 2010

merry Christmas to...

our teachers.

Nothing says Merry Christmas and a big thank you for all the hard work than red velvet cupcakes in a jar.
What is your favorite homemade yummy this year?

15 December 2010

right now, i am

...soaking up a little bit of new color in the kitchen. Soaking up the feeling I get when I am in that space. Soaking up the love and service it was for my mister to transform the kitchen walls. Knowing how he dislikes to paint, I know just how much he cares for me to do the work. Each time I see these walls, I will see & feel his love. Thank you Kevin. I love you too.

now playing at the Bonin Farm...Do they Know Its Christmas?  -Band Aid

14 December 2010

around here

(a little painting in the kitchen as well)

there is much Christmasing going on. trees, snowmen about, cards hanging, my favoritest of all favorites, The Nativity....so love this time of year. it has become a bit melancholy for me. my mother so loved decorating and painstakingly choosing gifts for her friends and family. pounds & pounds of fudge made, dozens of cakes baked, and cookies too. i do miss her so. what a beautiful Christmas legacy she left. she taught me what Christmas was truly about...goodwill towards men.

now playing at the Bonin Farm...It Came Upon a Midnight Clear and Please Come Home for Christmas sung by the Eagles

13 December 2010


18 years ago I married a boy. A boy who made me laugh. A boy who I knew would be the best father. On that cold, winter's night, so many asked if I were nervous. Maybe it was my youth, but the answer was not one bit. I was young, but I knew marrying my best friend was right. Here are some of the reasons why... 

  1. You are the funniest person I know. My cheeks hurt on a daily basis from laughing with you.
  2. You love your boys....from pinewood derby cars to advice to simply loving them.
  3. A chick flick doesn't scare you.
  4. You know how to fold in a batter.
  5. You "face painted" a spider web on your head just to make us smile....that and you want to tattoo one on said head.
  6. You bought me chickens and built them a wonderful home to live in.
  7. You can still spin on your back...and will at any moment, any place.
  8. Your laid back attitude evens out my OCDness...especially when it comes to our peeps.
  9. You are so intelligent...you can fix anything and seem to know Everything.
  10. You painted my kitchen turquoise even though you HATE painting.
  11. You always notice when I have something new on...actually that may be a bit annoying.
  12. I learn something from you everyday.
  13. I don't know a harder worker than you.
  14. You taught me to love Blizzards.
  15. Every time someone asks you for your telephone number, you spit Mike Jone's rap...281-330-8004.
  16. When your neck was hurt and we took you to the doctor. The form had a picture of a body and asked you to label where it hurt. You drew an arrow towards the neck and put "ouch" in a speech bubble.
  17. You love your mother and are willing to do anything for her.
  18. You give the best hugs & kisses.

May we live to sit in rocking chairs while watching our grandchildren play on our lawn. I love you to pieces!

Listening to at the Bonin Farm...River sung by Robert Downey Jr.

10 December 2010

this moment

A Friday ritual.
 A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. 
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. 
A moment that is oh so special to me.

09 December 2010

10 right now

  1. houses with Christmas lights shows choreographed to music...that thrill my peeps.
  2. decorating my sweet friend's Christmas tree with my bestest bud.
  3. Christmas parties
  4. SmartWool socks...especially blue striped ones!
  5. serving my fellow man
  6. wishes
  7. Man Shops Globe...Keith Johnson truly has the best job on the planet.
  8. Christmas novels
  9. Christmas cards in the mailbox...i LOVE to get mail.
  10. french limonade
What is your passion right now?

~now playing at the Bonin Farm...What Child Is This 

08 December 2010

right now, i am

...savoring a moment from this weekend. A family tradition. The lighted Christmas parade. It was different this year...warmer than usual. But oh so special. The twinkling lights, the children's faces, the time spent together just being together. These moments that many call simple, refer to them as "nothing special" are just that to me, special. These ordinary moments are what makes life extraordinary.

~now playing at the Bonin Farm...Silver Bells sung by Harry Connick Jr.

03 December 2010

this moment

A Friday ritual.
 A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. 
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. 
A moment that is oh so special to me.

02 December 2010

25 things to do before Christmas

  1. Put up the Christmas Tree...check, thanks to Sawyer
  2. Bring out the Nativity Scene
  3. Make reindeer food for Jordan & his peeps
  4. Make reindeer food for Sawyer & his class
  5. Read a Christmas story to Sawyer's class 
  6. Make chocolate covered cherries for my dad
  7. Mail said cherries
  8. Make Sawyer's fence for his animals...and a barn?? how am I going to make that barn.
  9. Ask Kevin to make Sawyer a barn for his farm animals present
  10. Decide on an ornament to make with Sawyer's class
  11. Stencil the front door mat for Christmas....thank you Lisa for the idea
  12. Find the turquoise balls I want to add to my tree this year
  13. Sew Sawyer's pencil wrap gift
  14. Decide on a gift for the swap @ Sawyer's scout pack meeting
  15. Attend the Nutcracker Suite ballet!! ....thank you my sweet friend for the fantastic gift!
  16. Read The Christmas List before book club
  17. Read A Christmas Carol just because it is Christmas
  18. Read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever with Sawyer ( and because it is my favorite Christmas fiction)
  19. Read the true story of Christmas with my family at least weekly to keep our focus where it should be
  20. Watch An Avonlea Christmas and The Man Who Came to Dinner
  21. Fill our Christmas bag for the homeless...hand warmers, cough drops, homemade cookies, toothbrush/paste. I wish that sack was larger.
  22. Bake cakes & cookies and make candies for our friends gifts
  23. Take our Christmas lights nighttime drives with hot cocoa & popcorn...one of my favorite traditions we have.
  24. Buy  and donate groceries to the Southeast Texas Food Bank
  25. Address and mail Christmas cards
  26. Make eggnog and hot cocoa mix
  27. Make a rosemary swag for the front door
  28. Remember to enjoy this season...to not focus on the commercialism of the holiday, to stay low stress and high love & warmth. to make gifts from my heart and to be of a generous spirit. to never lose sight of what this season is truly celebrating.

Whew. That is a few more than 25. I am over the moon with this list. Every single item on it is something I truly look forward to doing.
What is on your list?

01 December 2010

hello December

I have been waiting for you. On this first day of December, I woke up to 29 degree weather! That is not the norm in Texas....I have worn shorts on Christmas before. The ice on the foliage, the hot cocoa with breakfast, and bundling up to get out the door was the perfect way to start this Christmasy month off right. Today, I will finish the decorating of the tree (Sawyer decorated it for us Thanksgiving evening) and put my sweet Nativity scene out. Oh how I am a fan of this time of year.
and I am a fan....

23 November 2010

A month of gratitude

family. i am thankful for my sweet family. for the unconditional love and support they supply me with. i am thankful for that same love that came from my mother and father. for their teaching me to love in that way. 
i am thankful to understand that family is not confined to the bounds of blood relation.   i have those in my life that love me as if i were there own. for that i am truly grateful....

for Brenda who treats me as if i am her own daughter. who includes me in every way as if i were her 3rd daughter. she has made losing my own mother sting a little less and for that i am eternally grateful.

for Laura Lee who is a true sister to me. one who i can run to in need. one who i can giggle with, have literary discussions with, share recipes with, or just veg with. for those comforts i will be for ever in her debt.

for Christine & Cathy who are my sisters...my partners in crime. who love me and my family as if we were their own. who teach us about love, no matter what, no matter who. who are a good time! who i love to pieces.

for Sarah, ahem Amanda. my dearest, bestest bud. who from the second grade has had my back. in good times and bad. who has taught me that doing the right thing is always in vogue. who taught me the value of friendship. who builds me up everyday. for who i am better for having her in my life. i will always love you!

for Laura E. who is my friend, my teacher, my business partner. who has shown me what a good parent looks like. who has shown me what a good friend looks like. who loves my peeps and has the best conversations with them. who wants the best for them and isn't shy in letting us see that. who teaches me that sometimes its OK to jump without looking. who i am on a terrific journey with and grateful everyday that she asked me to join in on.

Family is the most important thing in the world. 
Princess Diana

19 November 2010

this moment

A Friday ritual.
 A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. 
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. 
A moment that is oh so special to me.

18 November 2010

A month of gratitude

thankful ....

  • beauty...purple pansies, perfect pecan tarts, Autumn nail polish, Robert Frost poetry, and eyes that dance
  • Jordan's sensitivity and his smile
  • homemade cocoa on cold mornings
  • my sweet friend Marlo
  • spelling bees with Sawyer
  • watching Cameron solve the hardest puzzle ever...in no time
  • being comfortable in my own skin

16 November 2010

a month of gratitude

wisdom. I am thankful for wisdom. Thankful that Kevin's doctors had great wisdom in performing and reading his procedure today. Thankful for the wisdom a judge and attorney had today to have a court case of a fantastic father we know fall in his favor. Thankful for the wisdom teachers have to help educate my boys. Thankful for the wisdom of the Lord I listened to when choosing my sweet mate. I do love him so. Thankful for the wisdom of my mother and her mother & grandmother before her. That I listened and learned and use all that wisdom in taking care of my family...and treating others. I am also thankful for......

  • crisp cool weather
  • friendships that have stood the test of time and those who i hope will
  • imagination...mine and my peeps. love LOVE to watch their imaginations in motion
  • broccoli cheese soup
  • burt's bees lip gloss
  • Jan Karon
What are you grateful for today?

13 November 2010

An Autumn Weekend Day Planner

Outside my window... the chickens cluck, the birds chirp, and there is stillness and cold.
I am thinking... of ways to be a better mother and wife.
I am thankful for... knowing the importance of the little things in life. not getting caught up in keeping up with the Jones and the drama that goes along that.

From the kitchen... homemade hot cocoa, carrot cake cupcakes and some yummy greek grilled chicken.

I am wearing... cardigans and wool socks.
I am creating... on the sewing machine, Thanksgiving napkins and in my mind, Christmas wish lists.

I am going... to stay right here under this blanket with my book!
I am reading... In The Company of Others by Jan Karon.

I am hoping... to find rest in Him.
I am hearing... peeps involved in a game.

We are learning...sign language, spelling lists, The first Thanksgiving

Around the house... smells of pumpkin brulee candles, the sound of a few Christmas songs (a little early but oh well), and cleaning out that terrible garage.
One of my favorite things... being with all my peeps on a lazy weekend.

I am looking forward to...cooking and baking for my family this Thanksgiving...especially my dad who is coming in!

You really like me!

I feel like Sally Field accepting her award! My little blog has been nominated for Babble.com's Top 50 Mom Blogs for 2010. Can you believe it? I actually am in the top 100...which doesn't take much. So if you are so inclined, hop over there and give me a vote.
I hope your weekend is as luscious as mine. Lots of nothing and everything all at once. Can you say restful?

Today I am grateful for...

:: sweet folks that have given me some recognition
:: cold, rainy days
:: movies and homemade hot cocoa with my peeps
:: groovy wool socks...a souvenir from my last Eureka trip
:: a little guy that has walked around singing Jingle Bells ALL day
:: that same little peep that has decided learning sign language is for him

12 November 2010

this moment and weekend to look forward to

I have so many moments to savor from this week. Unfortunately, I have no image. My camera was not in it's usual spot...right by my side...this week. So sad. There has been some fun going on around here. Kevin and I had a fantastic date night with our pals. A beautiful Sunday. Tuesday night I had a mini girl's night out at my fave deli. And last night a terrific and much anticipated reunion with some of my high school girls. And yet NO CAMERA. So, picture my favorite moment...8 giggling women at the sushi bar reliving times gone passed. 

Now for the future. This weekend we have big plans. We plan to do a lot of NOTHING! The list includes....

  • pizza 
  • movies
  • jump rope contests
  • board games...lots of apples to apples & sorry sliders
  • bike riding and nature walks
  • snuggled up under blankets with hot cocoa and good books
Mom also plans to

  • bake crackers and bread. oh and a chess pie
  • mani & pedi @ home
  • read, read, and read some more
  • laugh with my fellas and wish Kevin didn't have to work
  • NOT do laundry, polish floors, scrub bathrooms or clean windows

A weekend like that sounds simply divine to me!
What is on your weekend list?

09 November 2010

A month of gratitude

The wind is blowing crisp, the birds are chirping, the chickens are clucking away and my mind is instantly drawn to my mother. Oh how grateful I am to have had a mother like Patsy Elizabeth. She was a beautiful southern lady with auburn hair  and  a sweet spirit, inside and out. I learned something from her every day. That was one of her gifts...educating. She knew a little something about everything and was never stingy with that knowledge. I am better for having had her in my life. Today I am grateful for that because she...

  • above all else loved
  • taught me how to cook
  • taught me to garden with an organic hand
  • was an example of righteousness
  • was articulate
  • gave me the gift of education and a love of learning
  • taught me how to mother...breastfeeding & cloth diapers when it was NOT the norm, lead with a quiet voice and understanding heart, and be generous.
  • loved the past and learned from it
  • loved me

07 November 2010

a month of gratitude

  • that love is patient and love is kind
  • for family date nights
  • and adult date nights
  • a church and church family that loves you as if you were family
  • fall flowers...i adore violas and pansies
  • reading a good book

05 November 2010

this moment

A Friday ritual.
 A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. 
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. 
A moment that is oh so special to me.

04 November 2010

a month of gratitude

  • studying spelling words with my littlest peep
  • chatting with old friends and new on facebook.....so thankful for that venue!
  • a sweet boy, future veterinarian, who loves Sadie's puppies
  • educating myself with good books, good videos, and great examples. thank you all you fantastic mamas, papas, and friends!

03 November 2010

right now, i am

soaking up these cousins.
 i am in complete disbelief that one has graduated high school and moved on with her life. while that sweet blonde and her boy cousin will do the same this spring.
all 3 special people.
 all 3 going to do great & wonderful things.

02 November 2010

a month of gratitude

  • to right and privilege it is to vote. i have never taken that for granted. my love for politics began in middle school when my father ran for county judge. today i stand at the polls with our friend Chris Ingram while he bids for the Justice of the Peace. still exciting and still my duty....my honor.
  • for the cooler weather that blew in last night. please oh please let the 90 degree days be gone.
  • the ride to school with Sawyer each morning. we do spelling words. makes my day.
  • our fantastic dog groomer. she is a former classmate of Kevin's. and she is wonderful....and super cheap. only $20!
  • my job. working at ClassSearch.com is the bomb.

01 November 2010

a month of gratitude

"When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude."
Elie Weisel 

here it is again. the perfect time to reflect on what is important. what makes you happy. focusing on what we should be grateful for.

this guy. my heart. i am over the moon grateful for this guy. one who would "tattoo" a spider web on his head for a giggle (but really wants one!). ever our hero. ever the coolest dad out there. one who...

::spins on his back
::can spit a Beastie Boy rhyme anytime, any place
::is known as Mike Jones
::a reader of books
::eater lover of buffalo wild wings 
::is totally MacGyver...the man can fix anything
::listens to my stories over & OVER again and will still laugh with me 
::wore a mullet wig to the Kindergarten fall festival just to make us smile
::is a reluctant chicken farmer 
::works so extremely hard for us
::loves his mother oh so much...i do love that about him ( and i love that sweet cajun lady too!)
::is a Godly man
::sings along with the radio with me
::indulges me in chick flicks (Julie & Julia, Atonement), shopping for kitchen everything, and even shoe shopping just because he loves me.
::has my heart right there in his hand

Today I am thankful for:
*this space. a place where i can share my thoughts and beliefs. my hopes and dreams. my successes and failure.
*friends. old and new alike.
*my 3 peeps. i love you boys so.
*this season of my life.
*Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for me.