Friday, May 16, 2008

Blogging Break

It's been really busy around here, and I'm going to be offline for a while enjoying my family. Just wanted to let you know. I'll see you next month. :^)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Encouragement from a protein

HT to my husband at Growing Vertical for this one. I had tears running down my face as I watched.

This is crazy. The audio is playing in background while I'm working and it's making me cry all over again.

Want to see the inside of a cell? Go see Brian.

I WON...

I WON...
a new blog header! (Or should I say my first blog header?) I'm so excited!!! Because I have my own URL, I can't use all of bloggers template features, I'm just stuck with a basic template since I can't figure out html. But Sashwhy is starting up a new design business and had a header giveaway as a promotion - and I won! (Did I mention that already?) Go check her out, maybe you can get a new header too, then you'll be as excited as I am. Hehe.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


That doesn't fit very well, does it? Since I don't know how to fix that, I guess I'll just have to blog more until it moves down to where there is more space. :^)

Evangelistic Movie

I've heard that this movie was inspired by Way of the Master's "Hell's Best Kept Secret".

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I'm tired of throwing out buns

Notice to all bread companies: I know that I am not the only person in this country that would appreciate a combo bag of buns. Just a bag that's half hot dog buns and half hanburger buns. Because with half of my family not eating wheat, we just don't use up that whole bag. I've tried freezing them, but they shrink and are never the same. There have got to be a lot of senior citizens, singles, and small families that would be just as happy with such a product.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Romancing your husband - Dates

Some people say that to have a healthy marriage you should have date nights. I wouldn't go that far. Many couples throughout history did just fine without "date nights." But they probably still carved time for each other. To take a walk, to talk, to plan, to dream.
How does this romance your husband? Well I can't speak for everyone, but my husband looks forward to our date nights even more than I do. When I'm away from the kids, I am more relaxed and carefree, and I can focus just on him. he can really relax and unwind too. We feel young again. We can do the things that we enjoy without interruption. And I don't have to tell you how date nights with your husband will usually end, especially if the kids aren't home.

Our date nights are easy. We're very blessed to live near Brian's parents, and they enjoy having our kids sleep over one night a week. Obviously this doesn't always happen due to illness and other factors, and sometimes we have work that must be done or a meeting to attend, but usually we have a date.

Now I am very cheap. Having a free babysitter has already eliminated a huge expense, but we still do cheap stuff. A typical date night will find us at Hardees with a buy one get one free thickburger coupon and a shared soda. Then we head home to a DVD rented from the $.99 vending machine in the grocery store or a missed season of a favorite TV show. That was about all that we could do most of the winter because of Brian's health. As his health continues to be in a much-improved state most of the time, we look forward to revisiting some of our older date ideas.

  1. Free outdoor summer concerts, from downtown jazz, to university bands, to bluegrass at someone's home
  2. Heading downtown for ice cream cones and a walk through the park
  3. Many cities, including ours, have free Shakespeare plays in the park
  4. Meeting up with friends for an iced coffee (you can get them for free on May 15 at Dunkin' Donuts)
  5. Going to the lake for a picnic to watch the sun set
  6. Completing a fun project at home
  7. Shopping for a special item, such as patio furniture, or a new outfit.
  8. Art museum concerts or lectures
  9. Tandem biking
  10. Roller blading (I really just put this on here for you, because Brian really doesn't care for it, but he used to do it with me. )
  11. Reading a book or poetry to each other
  12. World music or open mic night at the coffeehouse, another shows documentaries and indie movies

How do I find all of these things?

  1. Many cities have free publications that list local events, newspapers do as well. Post any concert schedules you find inside a cupboard door for easy reference.
  2. Go to your own visitors center and pick up materials - you'll find plenty of things in your area for dates, family nights, and day trips.
  3. Order your own state's visitor guide
  4. Bookmark all of your city's websites, as well as all local towns and other nearby cities, and write any events in your date book. We have a town that has weekly jazz concerts, a state park that has bluegrass concerts, a science center that has folk concerts, a city that has weekly concerts on three different nights within 30 minutes of us - and that's just the short list! Don't forget to bookmark recreation district websites, state park sites, and historical sites.
  5. Keep tabs on your favorite stores. Whole Foods, for example, often has musicians, cooking demonstrations, and wine tastings. Ten Thousand Villages has cultural events.

No babysitter? Try working out a babysitting swap with another couple that you know well. Same night every week, one week you keep their kids, the next they keep yours. Or try working out a deal with a college student - free food and use of the washer and dryer might lower your overall cost. Or maybe a free art or music lesson.

Need some ideas? I love these books:

  1. The little black book of Dating ideas
  2. The Dating Handbook: 2002 Things To Do On a Date

One of our favorite weekend "getaways" ever was a conglomerate of ideas from lots of books. We were newlyweds and pretty broke (but gas was really cheap!). Friday night we covered all of the electronics in the house and turned all of the clocks around and put the watches away. We slept in with a plan to go to Denny's whenever we wanted to eat since they serve breakfast all day, then we went to see a movie because there were several good ones playing, so we knew that we could choose one regardless of the time of our arrival.

Later we played "spy" following a random car at a distance, and when we lost track of it, we just made random turns to see where we would end up. We ended up not far from another city, so we headed to their mall for a ride on the carousel. It was a crazy, very relaxing weekend.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Romancing Your Husband

I was out with my girlfriends tonight and we covered every topic imaginable. Romance was a brief topic, but it got me thinking because I used to be the world's greatest romantic, and now I'm not too sure that I am. The feelings are there, but the distractions are great.

Don't get me wrong. My husband is beyond compare. I have not heard of anyone that can hold a candle to him. He is my lover, my confidante, and my best friend. We talk about everything and love to debate stuff. We finish each other's sentences. And we love our date nights.

But I used to leave lipstick messages on his truck windows, fill his pockets with love notes, buy him special gifts. Now I try to have freshly made iced tea at dinner, make phone calls for him, pick up his favorite chips, and leave a candy bar in his pocket. It's good, but just doesn't sound quite as romantic. I think that I could do better. It certainly couldn't hurt to try. I've never heard anyone complain that their spouse is "just too romantic." Besides, my collection of dogeared romantic idea books are a bit dusty.

So girls, buy a new nightgown and a copy of 1001 Ways to Be Romantic , my old favorite. (This is not a Christian book, and I don't recommend it for the marriage advice. But it is a large list of romantic ideas, so you can afford to skip any objectionable ones and still have lots to choose from.) These lists from that book should get your wheels turning:

223a Daily Romantic Checklist:

  1. Compliment your partner.
  2. Spend twenty minutes of uninterrupted time together.
  3. Check in with each other during the day.
  4. Perform one small and unexpected gesture.
  5. Say "I love you" at least three times.
  6. Thank your partner for something.
  7. Look for romantic concepts in the newspaper.
  8. Take an extra minute when kissing good-bye.

223b A Weekly Romantic Checklist:

  1. Bring home one small, unexpected gift or present.
  2. Share some form of physical intimacy.
  3. Share an entire afternoon or evening together.
  4. Share two insights you gained this week.
  5. Write at least one little love note.
  6. Mail something to your partner.
  7. Make love!
  8. Plan something special for the upcoming weekend.

223c A Monthly Romantic Checklist

  1. Plan one romantic surprise for this month.
  2. Re-stock your stash of greeting cards.
  3. Go out to dinner once or twice.
  4. Rent at least two romantic movies.
  5. Make love several times!
  6. Make plans for a three-day romantic weekend sometime in the next three months.
  7. Plan one romantic event with a seasonal theme.

223d A Yearly Romantic Checklist

  1. Make a New Year's resolution to be a more creative romantic.
  2. Make plans for your next anniversary.
  3. Think of an unusual way to celebrate your partner's birthday.
  4. Review your plans for your next vacation.
  5. Create a special "Romance" category in your household budget.
  6. Make plans for Valentine's Day well in advance!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Okay, I admit it

I'm scared of the dentist. I knew I had a cavity. I've seen its mark for over two years now, and I finally made it to the dentist for the first time in eight years. They always manage to hit a nerve when they brush my teeth. And they scraped tartar off of my very sensitive teeth for a very long time. Not fun. That was last week.

And today, ladies and gentlemen, I am going to have my first real filling. Not a little filler thing to prevent a cavity. But the real thing, with,... a drill. And shots in my mouth. Now I can happily donate blood, and used to get four allergy shots a week. But in my mouth?!

And did I mention the drill?

Pray for me.

The power of music

Sometimes I forget. I forget in the midst of mediocre music. I forget because the continual noises of three children more often have me craving silence than any kind of sound.

Today I was reminded. I finally got an ear bud that plus into my cell phone, which has a mini SD card. This is the first time I've used headphones for music personal cassette player in high school?

So far the only thing on it is the Valley of Vision CD.

It was lovely. I cleaned up the kitchen and danced a little, and clapped, and actually enjoyed cleaning up the kitchen. I folded laundry and hung up clothes, and was happy to do it. And I sang along.

And when the children came in from the yard with problems and requests, I wasn't irritated at all. Because I think that it would have really felt like the sin it is, if praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit came in one ear and anything but kindness and gratitude came out of my mouth.

I look forward to being reminded again tomorrow.

It Was Love
Words and music by Mark Altrogge

As recorded on Valley of Vision

It was love that brought You from above
To walk upon the earth
And love that caused Your weariness
Your hunger and Your thirst
It was love that caused You to be tried
And tempted by the foe
And love that brought the nails and cross
And love that bought my soul

How wonderful Your love, the mystery of mysteries
Filling up my heart, more glorious than I know
How wonderful Your love
There's nothing else so sweet to me
I'll never be apart from the Lover of my soul
From the Lover of my soul

Your love is filled with holiness
O Spirit, fan this flame
Your love will never cease or cool
Your love will never change
O let me see Your love for me
Around me everywhere
The shining sun, a gentle rain
Remind me of Your care

© 2005 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Cinco de Mayo

Don't laugh, but it just occurred to me today that cinco means five, so Cinco de Mayo means Fifth of May.

I really have never thought much about the holiday. Brian likes it because it gives him an excuse to go out and eat Mexican at lunch, and he loves Mexican food. He also works for a very cool company that loves to celebrate about as much as I do. His top boss is taking, I think, the entire office out for a Mexican lunch (and I don't even know if anyone in the office is of Mexican descent.)

Anyway. Here's some stuff for a last minute celebration of Cinco de Mayo:

  1. First read the Wikipedia explanation of this holiday so that we can all be smart together and actually know why this is a holiday. Or have your kids do this informative reading and comprehension activity.
  2. Choose a meal plan from Kraft foods, make these taco nachos or Mexican pizza, get some take-out, make tacos, or buy some seven layer dip at Walmart.
  3. If you don't have everything you need, why not visit a local Mexican grocery?
  4. Read Meet Josefina or some other book about Americans with a Mexican heritage. Or just read a book or two about Mexico. I like this one. And Learning Pages has one for free this month. (Not a member? It's free and their stuff is really cool.)
  5. Make this Mexican flag pinata
  6. Do the Mexican Hat Dance; we have it on a Music for Little Mozart's CD
  7. How 'bout some printables? Learning pages has this fun picture with questions to answer. Apples 4 the Teacher has lots of coloring pages. Family Fun has cute streamers .
  8. And finally, crafts. DTLK has a printable Hot Pepper craft. Kinderart tells you how to make a paper bag poncho.

graphic by Celeste’s Holiday Graphic Collection

He wants to be just like his dad

Saturday, May 03, 2008

New Websites

It's always fun to find new kids websites. Angelina Ballerina has a new website! My girls, especially Rose, are big fans. That site led me to:

PBS Kids Sprout - they have the cutest website. Rosie just came down with a fever of nearly 102, and fell asleep watching Noddy video clips.

There are lots of healthy kids recipes, with names and designs based on favorite characters:

And after you've tried them out, you can upload a picture of your kids making or eating them. My kids are gonna love that! You can also upload photos for various parts of the Gallery. And there are pages of video clips of sign language words from The Good-Night Show.

There are also pages of simple (and I mean really simple) crafts. No, you might not think they're beautiful, and they might not make good Mother's Day gifts, but they'll keep your kids occupied with simple household materials and lots of creativity. Some favorites:

And finally back at those creative, veggie loaded, kid-friendly recipes, I clicked a link to:

KidsHealth where there are even more great recipes with sections of recipes for kids with cystic fibrosis, diabetes, celiac disease, and that are vegetarian. as well as educational games and experiments, information on childhood illnesses and accidents from kids' or parents' perspectives, a whole sections of "How the Body Works" videos that Ethan might totally love (though the one I watched seemed a bit slow-moving) The teens section of the site has some good stuff, but also lots of information you would expect from a public school type setting in regard to private matters. There's also a "Growing Up" section that you may want your kids to avoid before turning them loose on the site, on the other hand, it could be helpful if you are needing to discuss puberty and related issues.

Have fun exploring these new sites or just enjoying the links that I found. See you later!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Ethan's first book review

is posted at his blog. Check it out!

Outside fun

Playtime outdoors is spring and summer at its best. I want my kids to be out and active as much as possible. As the weather continues to warm and schools let out, I've compiled a list of outdoor activities to encourage or suggest when a little variety or suggestion is needed:
  1. Pitch the play tent with or without the rest of the tunnel syste
  2. Sprinkler
  3. Slip 'n Slide
  4. Washable finger paint
  5. Picnic
  6. Charades
  7. Baby, if you love me, smile
  8. Wagons
  9. Giant bubble wands (available at the Dollar Tree)
  10. Sidewalk Chalk
  11. Make and tend their own small gardens
  12. Card games
  13. Freeze tag
  14. Ball tag
  15. Duck,duck, goose
  16. Red light, Green light
  17. Simon Says
  18. Follow the Leader
  19. Hopscotch
  20. Ride bikes
  21. Ride scooters
  22. Roller skate
  23. Jump rope (and teach the rhymes)
  24. Wash the cars, toys, playhouse...
  25. Make a toad abode
  26. Plant trees from the random seedlings
  27. Make rubbings
  28. Water guns
  29. Pass football (nerf)
  30. Play catch
  31. Sit and spin
  32. Walkie talkies
  33. Light sabres
And a few more that require mostly inexpensive purchases:

  1. A big ball - the 40" Bigens play ball sounds lie a good possibility, but I can't find one
  2. Hula hoops
  3. Spray bottle painting with food colored water
  4. Chalkboard paint on one side of the shed
  5. Two inexpensive tea sets, one for sand and mud, one for real lemonade and cookies
  6. Croquet - Brian thinks I'm nuts for imagining that it will be used for something other than pounding each other
  7. A clothesline to facilitate hanging a sheet for painting, puppet shows, etc.
  8. Badminton
  9. Stilts - empty paint cans? seems like no one uses those big coffee tins anymore
  10. A cheap pool to put at the bottom of the sliding board for a water slide
  11. And maybe even a sand and water table - something like this?

I like to find cheap toys at yard sales that can be left outside. We have a castle toy and a set of megabloks out there for years that are still doing great, as well as various dump trucks, a sturdy bug box, toddler ride-ons, and playground balls, among other things.

Ethan, is, of course, clambering for a treehouse and zipline, but both require a bit more of the "handyman factor", which I pretty much totally lack. We're all hoping and praying that daddy keeps feeling better and better - then the possibilities could be endless. :^)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The "Short" Shopping Trip

The Family Dollar and Bi-Lo are side by side. I wanted to look for the same (late) birthday present for my sister-in-law that I've been looking for for a few weeks. A pretty photo type box for storing letters and several pretty packs of notecards. (Have you noticed that, whatever you decide to buy as a gift for someone is always everywhere in plain view until you decide that it's exactly what you want to get , then suddenly, you can't find it anywhere.) And then I was going to pay a bill at Bi-Lo and pick up a short list of five things. Did I mention that I had three kids with me? Let's begin now.

Exit van, cross parking lot, "can we ride on the merry-go-round?", no quarters.

In dollar store, Ethan stops at shoe bin, flashing flip-flops, they're cool, searching for sizes, Rose takes off ballet flats to try them on, too small, back to looking for present.

Find only one pack of notecards, try to continue down aisle, "mom, look at this", "see this", "can we get this"

"If you ask for it, the answer is 'no' " (haven't I said this before)

"Look at this" (picks it up), pass shoe shelf, Rose has shoes off again to try on adult flip-flops, put shoes back on (did I mention they're a pain to put on)

"No one is to pick up anything else." Each one picks up one more thing. Informed that I've begun a tally for each infraction, now standing at 1 and 1, Mom finally wins a round.

"Who are we shopping for?", "Aunt Kristy", find beautiful storage box

"Mom, look at this", am I crazy?, "I said the answer is 'no' ", "It's not for us, Mom, it's for you", "Thanks, but the only thing that I want is to get out of this store."

Eventually we make it out of that store. Stop at merry-go-round with perfect $.50 change. Head to Bi-Lo. Put girls in cart.

Go to bill counter, "Mom can we get a [free] cookie", pay bill, get cookies, debate over rotisserie chicken flavors, compare sizes, "ooo, broccoli", Ethan weighs chicken just for fun, choose apple slices over melon cubes, Ethan weighs those too (even though they're packaged and the weight is marked).

On to the sample guy with his delicious sauteed veggies and chicken. We all love it, except Rose who doesn't like veggies or chicken (or anything else, really, except breakfast, PBJ, and bananas). Add seasoning to the list. Try it on the chips...

"AHH!" "Too spicy!" "We need a drink" "Where's the water fountain" "I don't know" Catch up with the pharmacists (that we, thankfully, haven't seen much this year). Find fountain. Get everyone a drink. Go to spice aisle. Can't find spice. Get it from sample guy. Back to original list. Get pull-ups. "Ooo, I really want poptarts." "Not this time."

Okay, Scotch toilet scrubbers. Do they have them? "What are they?" "What do they look like?" Show picture on coupon. "Is this it?" Give up. Get milk.

On spying a grapefruit juice carton Ethan: "See, Anna, I told you that there were red lemons" Me: "They're pink grapefruit, not lemons, and they're called Ruby Reds."

Head toward batteries. No button cells. Look around elsewhere. Sick of looking. want to go home. Forget button cells - Walmart another day. Get in line.

Anna: "Look, Mom, are those poptarts? I really want poptarts" "They're not poptarts." "I think they are, Mom, can you go look?" "I can see them, they're not and we aren't getting poptarts today."

Ethan: "Ooo, Mom, this cereal has an Indiana Jones spoon in it. "Oh?" "Can I bring it to you?" "Honey, you can't eat it. It has gluten" "Please, Mom, just check it." "It has gluten." "Please..." "Fine, bring it... It has gluten." "That's okay, you guys can eat it and then I can have the spoon." "I don't even know how much it is." I go to find the price. Why am I doing this? I don't even want this. Am I really losing it? $3.57. "I am not paying $3.57 for cereal just to get a spoon." "Please." "I'll get it on sale or at Walmart later, if I can."

Finally. Check out....

One and a half hours.