Monday, December 31, 2007

Pass The Torch Tuesday - a little early

Vikings are still snoozin' and I was going through photos to bring our 2007 time capsule up to date and found this pic was for Kelly's PTT this week!

Since
Financial Peace University and renewed frugality have hit here like a hurricane, the weekly grocery preparations have become a 1-2 hour thing. Most Monday evenings I spend significant time going through the Sunday ads and our Monday newspaper (in which two of our grocery stores' flyers come out) looking for sales and comparing prices.

Since Flicka was subjected to 6 hours round-trip
of Dave Ramsey radio show mp3's to and from Detroit two weeks ago, she has started randomly, for no apparent reason, screaming "we're debt free!" throughout the house. (If you've never listened to Ramsey's radio show - people will often call in immediately following paying off all their debt at which time Ramsey leads them with a 1-2-3 to scream "we're debt free!")

Not to be outdone, Pojke is now "assisting" with my grocery preparation - naming each item as we go:

At this point, I don't know if Kelly is posting tomorrow due to the holiday. But, stop by her place just in case!

Five New Things

Our church had a New Year's Eve EVE service last night! *wink* Pastor gave us tonight off! LOL But, in addition to a candlelit responsive reading and communion (which we normally take on first Sundays), Pastor Don gave a wonderful list I wanted to share with y'all!

Five New Things For the New Year

1. A new song! Place a new song in your heart. No defeatism, no loss, no negativity but be full of joy, victory, faith, and love!

2. A new heart! (Ezek 36.26) Have one full of love, compassion, and kindness.

3. A new spirit (again Ezek 36.26)

4. A new covenant (Jer 31.31) And, remember that He is a God of promises fulfilled!

5. A new name! (Rev 2.17) Remember you are NEW in Christ - born again! You have no obligation to response to your old name. Old things have passed away!

Finally, Pastor shared with us a small peek of what's been on his mind lately. In 2007, the church purchased a large chunk of land a mile or two away in anticipation of a new building in the (hopefully) not too distant future.

But, Pastor wants us to keep our eyes on the Prize, so to speak.

We will obey God. We will build what He wants, the size He wants, where He wants it, how He wants it, and in His timing. And, no matter what, Pastor doesn't want us to be "the church with the big building" or "the church with the pretty sanctuary" or "the building with the huge parking lot". His goal for us? His dream for our church?

That we be a praying church. That we be known as a church who prays and things happen! A church where people get delivered from their pasts and go forward to do their called work for the Kingdom of God.

How could I NOT get behind an earthly shepherd like that?! LOL

Dare ya!

Dare ya to watch this and not cry. Dare ya to watch this and not think of the teen you were or a teen you know. Thanks to DaHubby for sending this to me.

Best Laid Plans...

Well, today was a day to get caught up. DaHubby actually had to work today; yet, he is off tomorrow. But, we've been shot down by dual ear infections in both Vikings! *sigh*

And, when the pediatrician asked if either one had had a cold recently, I laughed.

"Yea, constantly since October!"

So, we headed to Walgreen's with their antibiotics of choice and found a 45 minute wait! *sigh* So, DaHubby will pick up the scripts on the way home.

We're home finally. Pojke's sleeping but fever-free, rubbing his ears, and teething his first two-year molar. Flicka's whimpering in discomfort with a fever and will be heading to bed shortly.


Maybe I'll get back if they both sleep!

So much for out little family "party" tonight! LOL Popcorn, movies, a craft, and our 2007 "time capsule" to peruse. Maybe they'll feel better when they wake up.

Happy New Year to all!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Snow Math

2 Vikings + 1 mom = 15 minutes of getting everyone into outside winter clothes

The time spent outside before someone was cold, wet, or mad because the wind blew snow in their eyes?

10 minutes.

The look on this face:

Priceless!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A survey of sorts...

Hypothetically, of course

In the interest of frugality only *wink*

Has anyone needed to save on a haircut and actually let their local beauty college do it for a discount or free?

If so, how did it turn out? LOL

Just curious, of course

A New Year's Giveaway

If you are frequent-or (or even if you are not) of Laced With Grace, maybe stop by today and sign up for their giveaway. Looks like a good one!

A New Christmas Tradition LOL

We spent/are spending this Christmas much like last Christmas - with sick kids. LOL The upside? It's just colds this time without the pukies. So along with more toys than any one (or two) children should have, we have more green boogers! *wink*

But, we weren't the only ones dealing with it. DaGrandpa arose at 5am Christmas Eve morn to make our traditional several pounds of handmade, homemade, self-ground, self-stuffed Swedish potato sausage and *ahem* couldn't stay outta the bathroom for more than 10 minutes. So, the two local aunties mobilized and our dinner was saved! The result:

And, following THAT dinner, there was the toy explosion in the basement which benefited the Vikings greatly! LOL (And, that would be me refereeing between Pojke's two new truck and Flicka's new Barbie car! *wink*)

Right after this is when Pojke started getting flush and it occurred to me that, while he was drinking lots of fluids, he hadn't eaten anything of significance. So, we scooted everyone off home to bed. Both conked out on the way home so please ignore the fact that on Cmas morn, my daughter was still in her dress and using it as a nightgown! LOL

This is how poor Pojke woke up Cmas morn...with his sister stuffing presents in his face! LOL

Flicka is handing him the Praise Baby video I won for both of them in a giveaway at Shannon's site. Flicka seemed to enjoy her Leap Frog desk I got off Ebay a few months ago. And, Pojke continues to stuff the play money in his Fisher Price "learn your numbers, colors, songs while stuffing money in it" piggy bank! LOL

And, not to be forgotten...since I neglected to post about the trips to each of my parents' homes...they SO blessed the kids with wonderful stuff as well: kid camera, clothes, bath toys, play rugs, tool kits, coloring books, flashlight, candy, play-doh, books, race car tracks...the list goes on.

My mom's side of the family takes turns throwing the Cmas party. This year was my mom's turn and we met at her local recreation center where we were able to use the indoor water park! I got to see nearly all my cousins whom I generally see about twice year. It has been a weird transition for me to see our parents' generation become grandparents and all of us "little kids" become 30 and 40 year olds with kids! LOL

Then, the next weekend, we got to see my dad, step-mom and both sisters. Still some upheaval being settled with regards to my one sister's car accident, the resulting legal stuff, and resulting health-related stuff. But, my sisters looked great and my dad and step-mom seem to be hanging in there.

It has been a very busy but blessed two weeks!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Past, Present, and Future

In Christmases past, it was all about the gifts. Whether I had the money or not, gifts HAD to be given. Two for each of my four parents (mom, step-dad, dad, and step-mom). My sisters who entered this world too early and were able to be held in one hand and are now taller than me, more talented than me, and more beautiful! LOL My three best girlfriends and their six children.

Then, with the addition of DaHubby...gifts for him and all his siblings, their spouses, their kids, and their kids' kids! LOL Then, the Vikings arrived.

DaHubby and I were reflecting the last few weeks about our former gift giving. He shopped exclusively at Lowes for me last year. *eyes rolling* I am still using an amazingly durable purse he gave me in 2004. I've given him "toys" he destroyed, lost, broken, and forgot about...like the Air Hog plane he flew off into Lake Michigan about the third time he used it.

This year - we're not giving gifts to each other. And, I took two gifts baskets filled with cookies, meat rubs, canned tomatoes, and freezer salsa and a forced flower bulb which is due to bloom tomorrow to each of my parents' homes the last two weekends. I bought Flicka's single present on Ebay months ago. I picked up one gift for Pojke using a $10 off coupon at Target Friday night. And, I have one flower bulb left for my MIL and no gifts for the Vikings plethora of cousins.

A month or so ago, DaHubby and I started this mantra over-and-over of "just what 'til NEXT Christmas." But, it dawned on us in the last week. This Christmas - despite the frugality, the budgets, the homemade Christmas cards, the homemade gifts, and even the initial embarrassment of not being able to afford more - has been one of our best.

The tree doesn't look like something out of a magazine - but the Vikings decorated it and it is safe for them to enjoy. I wasn't able to buy gifts - but my home smells amazing from all the baking and cooking! LOL We've done more stuff together as a family this year than any other year so far. DaHubby can only take today and tomorrow off but that's still a FOUR-day weekend! The van's on fumes but I got to see both sets of my parents and my sisters. I have a set of in-laws who seem to like havin' me and the Vikings around (LOL) and I get to eat Swedish potato sausage with the whole, loud, crazy bunch of them this evening.

What more do I need? What could I consider missing?

So, when DaHubby mentioned again lately "just wait 'til next year" I found myself hesitating.

Thus, for Christmases in the future, the silver lining learned from this year? A reminder that IT'S NOT ABOUT THE STUFF! And, as I teared up watching Flicka in her first Christmas pageant, that it's about that little baby in the manger! So while next year may be include more financial peace, we will remember this Christmas and walk in the Truth of the season.

Blessings to you all! Have a wonder-filled, happy Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Another Friday Packing Session

We're heading out of town again this afternoon...this time to my dad's. DaHubby's work party is today from from noon 'til 3pm and then we're off to the Ann Arbor area.

So, I'm finishing laundry, finishing cookies, packing suitcases w/ clothes, diapers, etc., digging out the Pack N Play for Pojke, burning disks of pictures for grandparents. Then, the Vikings and I have to go get gas, buy snacks and drinks for the trip (so we don't stop and buy over-priced junk on the way), a gift for Pojke and a gift for my secret sister at church for Sunday. All this before noon! LOL

I've always wondered how people without ADD deal with ALL this stuff! *wink* Blessings on everyone's weekend plans and on your celebrations of Jesus' birthday!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thinking about exercise goals lately...

Exercising in Michigan in the winter without a gym membership stinks! LOL Especially if you're not the skiing/hiking/winter-loving type like DaHubby. So each winter brings me extra pounds as my summer loving self can't go for long walks.

But as Sara and Lisa have done, I'm thinking about exercise goals for 2008.
And, in the interest of fun and accountability, I've offered to be "home central" to a short exercise challenge to get us through to the beginning of spring.

While most experts claim that it takes 90 days to start a new habit, this challenge is only 70 long. I'm hoping a shorter time will encourage us more to stick with it and that more of us will feel successful. And, like our Financial Peace Univeristy experience, baby steps get things accomplished! LOL And, if ya can do it for ten weeks, can't ya do it for more? Honestly? *wink*


So, I'm thinking...looking for opportunities to create realistic and achieveable goals and the baby steps to get there.
One of mine was to walk indoors with the "old folks" at the mall. But, it's a bit of a hike, early in the morning, and what the heck do I do with the Vikings? Yea, I'll get the exercise...CHASING them around the mall, through the stores, etc! LOL

Then, I saw in our local paper that our local high school (which just recently built a large "field house" to replace and expand their small 1950's era gym) allows the community to walk laps from 6:30 - 8:30pm for free. And, DaHubby agreed to walk with me at least once a week! Yippee! So, one step closer to making a goal.

What are YOU doing for exercise in the New Year? Wanna join us? Grab the button above and start considering what you would like to accomplish between January 11th and the first day of Spring!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Something to think about...

From our final FPU lecture last night...

Whether you believe in tithing or not, you should be GIVING! It's NOT YOUR MONEY! You are only a steward of it for Him! EVERYTHING is His. Unfortunately, less than 5% of Evangelical Christians tithe according to Dave Ramsey's statistics.

"Steward" is from the Old English - it's not a Biblical term. Back in the King James days, the feudal system was the primary economic system. The lord of the manor owned it all and then there were those who owned nothing and worked that land and lived on that land in return for his protection. The steward was the guy who ran the lord's estate for him. Everyone knew that the "stuff" wasn't his but he was responsible for seeing that the funds, capital, herds, whatever were managed to the best of his ability to the "glory" of the lord of the manor.

Ya get it yet? *wink*

"Stewardship drives" are NOT supposed to be about fund raising for your local church. It's about teaching people to Biblically manage what God gave them.

Dave Ramsey's big finale?

Why does God want us to give? Because He is a giver. And, He gave the ultimate: His Son. And, we are made in His image so we are to be givers as well.

Also, His Son also gave His life willingly. How "small" is it comparatively speaking to giveback one-tenth of ALL the Father provided after His Son gave His all for you?

WOW!

Oh YES I did!

Last night, I'm rocking/snuggling Pojke before bed. With his last two nights spent in the big boy bed, out "routine" is a little off and taking a little longer as we convince him to give it another try.

While I'm singing one of his favorites, I happened to glance over and realize we were low on diapers and made a mental note that there were probably three in the holder-thingy we use, maybe one in the diaper bag and that I should get some while we'd be out doing our payday shopping today.

However....

Pojke wakes up at 5am, I change him. Diaper #1

Won't go back to sleep. At 6am I give up and let him come out of his room. He's done his solid business, so to speak, so I change him. Diaper #2.

Flicka's up at 7am. At 7:30, it smells like something died in the house. Diaper #3.

And, I pray he doesn't have any more "solids" today.

10am. Solids. Clean him off and put him in the last swimmy diaper in the house.

10:15am He "liquid overflows" himself right outta that one.

And, there is NOT ONE diaper in the house!

So, I call DaHubby to help me brainstorm a solution that's absorbent AND somewhat waterproof.

And, thus results my son's future most embarassing moment (if he ever finds out). Let's put it this way...

Flicka's "delicates" + some self-adhesive womanly protection + a washcloth + duct tape!

THAT'S what got us to Family Dollar for diapers this morning! LOL

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another prayer request

I ran into a friend at our Parents as Teachers open house this morning.

I did my undergrad at the same time and school in mid-Michigan as her hubby - who was studying to be a teacher.

Then, I was part of a college student ministry with him AND her at a different college in SE Michigan a few years later while he and I were in "the real world" and she was finishing up her undergrad in teaching.

After we all left THAT college, we all taught for a few years in our respective areas of certification. Then, her hubby left teaching and was accepted to LCMS seminary in St. Louis. They were married at some point before or after his graduation and installment. They have since created two gorgeous kids.

Then, by what could be explained as God's infinite grace and plan (LOL), he was called a few years ago to a church just around the corner from where DaHubby and I had been living at the time here in SW Michigan!


Anyway, she approached me this morning and shared the heart-breaking story that's been her life the last few months.

Her husband recently had a setback. Over that last several years, they thought they were dealing with one particular, manageable physical and mental challenge and it turned out to be something entirely different which caused such symptoms and problems that things finally culminated in him attacking her.

He has been hospitalized for his safety and those around him about an hour away. All sorts of people are now involved...child protective services, the court system, etc. The church is providing a full salary for 6 months but the wife now has to return to full-time work while juggling her (I think) 2 and 5 year old. As far as I know, she knows no one here but her church family and me. Her teaching credentials have lapsed since she's been a SAHM so now she has two classes to take ASAP so she can be re-certified and hire-able for a local school district.


I'm at a loss. I'm stunned. My heart's broken for her and for him. To be that ill, that out of control. To have been attacked by the one who promised to love and honor you always. What about their kids? Their extended families? What must his church be going through?

So, I've already asked DaHubby if I may offer to her babysitting services one of the evenings she's in classes. But, I don't know what else to do.

If you would, please lift Amy and her situation up in prayer. And, ask that God may guide me to the correct type of help, service, and/or assistance He would have me offer. I have been lifted up by my sisters-in-Christ on more than one occasion. And, while we may no longer share the same denominational labels, everything in me wants to help her and serve in this situation.

Pensieve Poetic License

Robin selected this month's style and theme: the cinquain and celebration. As there are several forms, traditional and modern, for the cinquain, I just used the one I found that indicated syllables-per-line with no other restrictions or requirements on rhyme scheme or particular parts of speech.

Think of it as a 2-4-6-8-2 syllable version of a haiku! LOL

So, here are some I've been playing around with the past few weeks...

Advent
What is to come
Joyous celebration
Of Christ’s birth and His destiny
Peace reign.

Quiet
The tree, the snow
All little ones in bed
‘Til morning’s loud package ripping
Smiling

Oh eight
Year of promise
Like so many before
New attempts to change, wage battles
Improve

Birthdays
So long between
Each for the little ones
But time flies the more kids you have
Already?

Swing by Robin's place today for some other examples. Or better yet - join in!

More digging out...and a prayer request

Still have more on my list than I have hours in the day and I'm fighting a SERIOUS procrastination/lazy bug right now! *wink* And, for those of you interested in an exercise commitment challenge, got the button done last night but I'm still kicking around the details in my currently-overstuffed brain. It won't technically start 'til after the New Year but I'll be blogging some more details and asking a few questions as soon as I can.

So, I'm still digging out/cleaning up from being gone this weekend. In addition...

Got our "family holiday open house" at 10am with all the families in our county's Parents as Teachers program a half hour from here.

Gotta take Flicka to DaGrandparents at lunch time

Got several errands to run - post office, a MOMS Club buddy, a grocery stop for juice and milk, etc.

Gotta organize for this weekend - we might be making another run over to the east side of the state to see my dad. Apparently the usually-two-hour-bad-weather-turned-it-into-five-hour drive last weekend wasn't enough abuse! LOL

Gotta see the chiropractor at 6pm

We graduate from Financial Peace University tonight! We're completing the class with $1000 in the bank and nearly $1000 paid off in debt in TWELVE weeks!

And, this on top of all the regular household things and crafty projects to finish for presents. *sigh*

And, to top off all this holiday "cheer" (LOL), DaHubby found out that his hours are being cut effective immediately until further notice. The week before Christmas - nice timing! :( If you could pray for God's peace and supply for the next few...days, weeks, whatever...as we tighten belts even further.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Another thing to pass along...

...as I am digging out of piles of electronic paper shuffling and emails from several days offline.

I don't see many service members in uniform/fatigues around these parts but I know people who have served in one way or another during their lifetime. I think this is an excellent idea! Way overdue. I'm all for putting the politics aside and remembering (as these folks put it) that it is about the SERVICE and the SACRIFICE our service members make for us! God bless 'em all!

What do y'all think? UPDATED

Lisa is starting her walking regiment. Sara started exercising to a home DVD. That's two of several of our Faithprints "alumni" group.

So, Anita, Marilee, Debbie and "self"...what do you think? How about all six or so of us start a little motivational challenge and exercise accountability thing? Even a small exercise goal? Got anything y'all would like to start to (at the minimum) get us through the winter "blahs"?

And, to everyone else...would you like to join something like this? While Lisa's goal is year-long, we could start with an exercise goal from New Years 'til the first day of spring or 'til Easter or 'til that time those of us stuck under cruddy winter weather can get outside. and about to get some always-an-improvement amount of exercise.

Updated: well, the first day of Spring will be around March 20th or 21st and Easter is on March 23rd this year according to WikiAnswers. How about setting a goal to achieve over the 11 weeks from January 6th to March 23rd? How appropriate we would be celebrating Christ's risen body with (hopefully) a more-fit one of our own! LOL

Friday, December 14, 2007

As we walk out the door...a true miracle

We're leaving in about 30 minutes for the Detroit area. We're having my mom's side of the family's annual Cmas party tomorrow. But, I just couldn't leave without sharing this...

Remember the last week of October, I shared a prayer request for an elder of our church. Short review? He is a 60-something year old in excellent shape who was cleaning his gutters out. His wife was outta town. He doesn't normally carry his cell phone while doing work around their home but this time, for "some" reason, he did.

And, then he fell. From roof height. Onto the ladder.

He was unable to move his legs on scene. According to DaHubby who saw him in the ER, he was incredible pain. Brother K managed to call 911 and they got the ambulance en route. The initial report from the ER - his back was broke and/or shattered vertebrae in three places and, while they couldn't say for sure, the feeling was he would probably never walk again.

Three weeks later, his wife fell on the ice and broke her ankle. So bad that surgery was required to fix it.

Yet, what is impossible with man is ALWAYS possible with God!

Last Sunday, S-I-X weeks after the initial accident....

They walked into church. It's wasn't "pretty" (as Brother K put it) but they were both there!

Our church went crazy! LOL Laughing. Applause. Crying. Praising. The entire church lined up for hugs. They testified after praise and worship and it started all over again!

My heart was (and still is) so full it wants to burst!

During this season, during 2008, remember...

What is impossible with man is ALWAYS possible with God! *wink*

See y'all on Monday!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More proof that the box is better than a toy! LOL

DaHubby thankfully watched the Vikings last night while I attended our church's leadership meeting and midweek service in the peace and quiet of my own company! He is SUCH a sweetie! And, when I arrived home 2 hours later...this is what I walked in on:


Happy St . Lucia Day!

St. Lucia is a patron saint for Sweden and her feast day is today! By tradition, the oldest girl in the home gets up early, get into a white dress, red sash with the crown of greens and candles and serves fresh coffee and Swedish treats to her family. Generally, "treats" include saffron bread but DaGrandma made a batch of Papa's favorite gingerbread instead in anticipation of today.

Anyway, I woke up the Vikings early this morning after quickly sewing the last few stitches on Flicka's dress at 7am! (I'm guessing this is my beginner's training for future recitals and/or pageants! LOL) And, we were off to the local "old folks home" aka Hardee's where DaGrandparents have their coffee each morning!

Flicka made her entrance but wasn't initially happy with the extra attention.

But, she warmed right up and charmed everyone to pieces!


And, not to be outdone...this was Pojke a couple night ago when I finished the crown:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A compliment? LOL

We were told by our FPU small group leader last night that this quote reminded him of DaHubby's and my efforts during the time we've spent in class:

"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."
-- Mark Twain

That's a good thing, right? LOL

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bloggy Brain Block

Since even DaHubby's has mentioned my absence here, I thought I'd drop in for a sec...

We are all fine. Actually, we are great! Sniffles combined with dry inside furnace air has made our noses mildly uncomfortable but nothing major. Two wonderful days of angelic behavior from the Vikings...well, as nearly angelic as an almost 2 year old and almost 4 year old can manage! LOL

Finally got the tree covered in kid-friendly decorations...applesauce ornaments, paper chains, and Oriental Trading craft ornaments now cover the lower half of the tree - ya know the part that they can reach! LOL Each one a cute addition to the Fisher Price Little People manger scene! And, since our treetop angel was discovered broken (it is still unclear whether she came outta the storage box that way or it happened under the Vikings' supervision after the box was opened), my grandma's antique beaded butterflies adorn the top half out of their reach.

TONS of projects, decorations, gifts, etc. to complete not to mention travel plans for at least one weekend coming up. Finished Flicka's St Lucia costume last night...yes, that is an entire dress without a pattern from one yard of white polyester from someone who has less than 6 hours of sewing machine experience! LOL And, I hot glued her "candles" to her evergreen wreath/crown. She's less than thrilled but Pojke LOVES it! LOL

We've been discussing what kind of cake to make next week to celebrate Jesus' birthday. Flicka thinks He would also want balloons and presents! LOL And, her first Christmas pageant this Sunday morning. Then, our church Cmas party Sunday night.

Tonight is week 12 for Financial Peace University - and next week we graduate! WA-HOO! Then, it would appear that DaHubby (and I'm assuming I'll be helping out some) is starting the same classes at our church in February.

Just got done with a batch of "freezer salsa" with a batch of peanut brittle and meat rubs (down at the bottom of the page) left to go. Since we're foregoing traditional store-bought presents this year and I hate to go to either of my parents empty handed, I'm making up some homemade things for a small gift basket!

Not to mention Pojke's second birthday party coming up the week after New Years! We're going with the train theme and I'll be baking large numbers of small cakes in mini loaf pans for a train cake! LOL

Oh, and none of this has to do with the adult Bible study I'm prepping for, the reading challenge I'm trying to finish, homeschooling, Ebaying for income, housework,...well, ya know the drill. I just haven't had time for any online "fun"!

I have been thinking of y'all, hoping your Advent and Christmas meditations and preparations are going well. Those of you traveling soon - be safe (we're in day 2 or 3 of freezing rain). I'll be back as soon as time and motivation allows!

Blessings!

Friday, December 7, 2007

A little bloggy break

Having another of those I-just-want-to-lie-on-the-couch-and-snuggle-my-kids day. The change of season transition to "home bodies" is underway. LOL Also, I'm tired of racing around, tired of being too busy to enjoy the kids, tired of using a to-do-list to run our days, tired of the to-do's coming before the kids, tired of hauling them all over town for errands, etc.

My brain is having a bit of a ADD moment as well. Overwhelmed by what I think is expected in the next few weeks. List getting longer but motivation waning. In addition to being in one of those I-wanna-cry-at-sappy-commercials emotional states.

Not to mention...ya notice there's no mention of God, prayer, Bible reading in the above? *sigh*

Need some down time without several "imminently pending" things hanging over my head. I used to call this a "stop the world, I want to get off" times! LOL

We're fine - just need a "vacation" of sorts. Blessings on everyone's weekend! Hopefully, we'll see ya fresh on Monday!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

WFMW: What Do I Fix?

This is a themed-week at Shannon's. She wants to know what everyone's best last-minute, it's-the-day-before-grocery-day, there's *nothing* in-the-fridge-but-we-gotta-feed-these-animals recipe is. Our best ideas for these types of days generally involve either pasta, ramans, or consists of some sort or a "breakfast dinner." So, just because Shannon asked so nicely, here's a DaGrandma's recipe!

DaGrandma's pancakes

1 C milk
3 T vinegar
2 eggs

whisk above in a bowl

add 1 t baking soda

then, mix in enough flour (about 1 1/2 C) to make it the consistency you prefer. DaHubby likes the thinner, nearly crepe-like Swedish-styled ones while I prefer the super-thick ones.

And, we experimented and found that if you add 2 T baking cocoa and 2T brown sugar, this make GREAT chocolate pancakes.

Stop by Shannon's today for more recipe ideas.

Wordless Wednesday

First night in the big girl bed: successful...
despite parental worries about no sheets and the height off the floor. LOL


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Another Homeschool Peek

So, we started another month of schoolin' today. Our "mess" for today:

*We sang our days of the week song...a new Flicka favorite.
*Visual alphabet review A thru S
*Letter tracing - hand/eye, small motor - A thru S
*Talked about letter S...sound it makes...
*And, what are *these*? Stars!
*Count them
*Flash cards to match to green paper/yellow stars - what number is *this*?
*Flash cards then in order
*You stamp stars while I...
*Get applesauce ornament dough rolled out and we cut out...stars!
*While she's rolling and cutting, I read "Star Climbing."


Yea, I know...normally, I wouldn't let her do her schoolin' in her PJ's but I'm at a bit of a loss right now! LOL

We've got 8 days scheduled this month with our last one on Thursday the 20th. Then, we'll pick back up January 3rd. We have two mini-units: four days of "sparkles and lights", one day spent celebrating St Lucia Day, and then three days "formally" on Christmas. While I normally have a Bible memorization verse per unit, we're skipping it due the the heavy amount of learning and "reading" of the Christmas story she's getting this month! LOL

My outline for the month can be seen here.

Am I blessed or what?

DaHubby called about an hour ago. We'd been talking about starting to save for a twin mattress for Flicka which would also initiate the change for Pojke to get out of the crib. We've been watching the paper, trolling our local Freecycle, etc. looking for the mattress, the frame, maybe a headboard. DaHubby's sister, Auntie S, offered us the headboard she painted for the nieces many years ago that have been in storage...

"Do you want a white or pink one?"

"What?" (I'm ever the witty conversationalist.)


"(Auntie S) wants to know - do you want a pink or white bed for (Flicka)?"


Gut reaction - "White since it'll go with whatever we pick out color-wise over the years."

"OK, hold on."


And, I hear mumbling and a conversation going on in the background. DaHubby is talking on the land line at work while talking to me on the cell.
DaHubby comes back on the line. His voice is very soft. He said he was flabbergasted. Auntie S had just purchased a brand new pillow-top twin mattress set and was having it delivered today!

*stunned silence*

I had barely hung up the phone and the furniture store called. They were here within 15 minutes! The headboard Auntie S chose is on order but the frame, box spring and mattress are now in Flicka's room!
Too bad we don't have any sheets yet! LOL I haven't had a twin in over 15 years! But, Flicka doesn't seem to mind. *wink*

She's already refused to sleep in her current toddler bed in the meantime (sheets or not) and Pojke's already claimed that bed as "MINE!" So the bed's have changed rooms!

And, I am feeling so very blessed. What an awesome surprise!

Pass The Torch Tuesday

It was one of those evenings last night. Flicka had been gone all day at DaGrandparents house - filled with all the food and sugar she wanted and she proudly declared that she had had no nap.

Pojke was past his bedtime and having a "momma-clingy" day. Bedtime preparations were a nightmare; routine wasn't helping. He
had a dry butt, clean PJ's, teeth brushed...and stood screaming in the crib.

We were hustling Flicka around the house cleaning up the last of her debris. LOL Got her changed, cleaned up, and all appropriate parts brushed and Pojke was still crying.

DaHubby's been working on a project for Etsy that needed attention and had to go out to the garage for the next step leaving me alone with the Vikings...so we tandem rocked. An old favorite for both that we rarely do anymore. The Vikings are getting so big that all three of us b-a-r-e-l-y fit in the rocking chair that my mom rocked ME in! LOL

Pojke still would not quit whimpering and boo-boo-lipping. So, Flicka did another one of those things that makes me hold me breath in its perfectness...

She sang him a song...a made up one...about baby Jesus. TWO verses. LOL I wish I remembered all the words. I DO remember..."_________, don't worry, God is here...He'll protect us."

*sigh*

What started out as a potentially horrendous bedtime turned into the best one in ages!

Stop by Kelly's place to see what other PTT moments folks had this week.

Monday, December 3, 2007

"Doing" Christmas

Read an article this weekend from "Today's Christian Woman". Writer Ronna Snyder talked about an experience last year that changed how she does Christmas. I've tried off and on all morning to find a link but to no avail. So, my shortened version...

Snyder was in Wal-mart last October amid all the red and green decorations which had just replaced the Halloween candy shelves. She felt that despite all her endless running, planning, decorating, shopping, etc. her peace about Christmas was nonexistent. And, it struck her: "what would Jesus think of all this blatant commercialism?"

She pictured him trying to push a cart through aisles of "perfect" trees and plastic mangers, each screaming "buy me, buy me!" while ironically "Silent Night" is being pumped in overhead.

And, she remembered Jeremiah 10.3-4 (KJV): For the customs of the people [are] vain: for [one] cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

Vain customs? Hmmm...And, she had what she describes as a "holiday mindset makeover."

No tree. No decorations. No gifts. Only additional opportunities for great food and great times spent together with her family. And, they gave each other...time. Just time. Stress-free, worry-free time. "Not only time to contemplate the significance of Christ's coming to earth to save us, but time to actually 'live it'."

And, they created a list of fun and inexpensive local activities. They went bowling. They played pool. They went to the ocean (she must live in CA! LOL). They ate out. They ate in with simple, low-Momma-labor meals.

She closes her article saying, "Yes, I wrestled with the seeming sacrilege of having a nontraditional Christmas. But, unwrapping Christmas freed my heart. And, in doing so, it freed my family to have a Christmas that was more Christmas-like than any I'd ever imagined: one packed with incredible memories that'll outlast any present we could've given each other."

While I did not have this experience, I definitely find myself actively, aggressively trying to avoid the "traditional" holiday trappings and expectations. I so wish I had written this article. This gets nearly to the very center of my idea about our family Advent calendar.

And, as we consider our recent financial strains, our renewed interest in frugal living, and our desire to remain in God's will which keeps us focused on Him and not the things of this world, this article reinforces all of that and provides assurance for my efforts to continue this idea.

Finally, it also provides a salve to my worrying momma-mind that I'm not the only one who prioritizes like this despite the pressure I've felt late to conform to what's "normal" in the world.

A struggle: ideal vs. reality

Well, the Christmas tree is up. Just the tree. Plain. Prelit but no decorations yet. Unfortunately, since Saturday the on-going battle brewing over what to touch, not to touch, etc. has already become exhausting and I haven't placed a single thing on the tree.

DaGrandparents gave Flicka a fake white 3 ft tall tree which she has decorated with candy canes, plastic bulbs w/ribbon hangers (none of the wire ornament hangers which give DaHubby nightmares with the Vikings around), and a paper chain that now is proudly displayed in her room on top of her dresser.

And, DaHubby and I sat staring at the tree yesterday...just dreading decorating it *sigh*

Not exactly the spirit of the season, huh? LOL

So, we thought about it and realized that the kids are fascinated with the tree as is. And, maybe we'll just pull out the paper chains, make some applesauce ornaments, thread some cranberries and mini-marshmellows (instead of messy popcorn), pull out the train for around the bottom, things like that and just make the tree more kid-friendly this year.

Not the image I had in my mind (I'm gonna miss my grandma's china bells this year) but motherhood is all about flexibility and creative solutions, right? LOL

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christmas meme

Haven't done a meme is ages...so I stole this one from Christina:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both. But, since I’m not a very good wrapping paper wrapper, I generally lean toward the bags.

2. Real tree or artificial? I fought this one tooth and nail but, as of last year, we’re a fake tree family

3. When do you put up the tree? First Saturday of December generally

4. When do you take the tree down? First Saturday after New Year’s generally

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes, but haven’t had it in years.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Lots of them but the one that sticks out…the handmade doll house my dad made me just before my parents’ divorce that now sits in Flicka’s playroom.

7. Do you have a Nativity scene? Yep!

8. Hardest person to buy for? My father-in-law, step-dad, and my dad. As DaHubby can attest to, I stink buying guy gifts! LOL

9. Easiest person to buy for? Probably the Vikings

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I take the Fifth to protect the feelings of someone who reads this blog! LOL

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Always mail, usually 100+ of them, but this may be the first year in 10+ years I don’t send them out!

12. Favorite Christmas movie? Can’t think of one I like off hand - LOL I wouldn't mind see "The Navitiy" though.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? October/November since we’ve been trying to make a lot of them homemade

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Any goodies my mom or mother-in-law bake

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I prefer colored but our tree is pre-lit with white.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Silent Night

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Have always traveled but since the Vikings have arrived, we try to work it out to be here on Cmas Day

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? yep

20. Angel on the treetop or star? Neither – butterflies! Three of them about the size of your hand from Flicka’s great-grandma's tree.

21. Open presents on Christmas eve or morning? No real “tradition” here. Depends on where we are. Been working towards one on Cmas Eve and the rest on Cmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? “Happy Holidays”

23. Corniest family tradition you do, or miss doing? I don’t know about missing it but even into my 20’s when I was single, I was not allowed in the living room Cmas morning until my mom was up and had a cup of coffee in her hand! LOL

24. Ugliest Christmas decoration ever invented? I’m not a big fan of all the blow-up thingies everyone has on their lawns right now – sorry.

25. Theme trees or homey? I’m a homey person all the way – too much pressure with the theme trees! LOL

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Third Annual Viking Family Advent Calendar: updated

Can't believe that I started a tradition that I'm actually keeping! LOL You can read about our attempt last year here, here, or here.

Anyway, the way this works for us is that starting tomorrow, this Viking family will try to do one Christmas-y, family-oriented, frugal/free activity each day until Christmas Eve. I have one day still unaccounted for but the second third draft of the calendar looks like this:

December
1: Reindog Parade - Don't ask! LOL

2: put up tree

3: cut out paper snowflakes

4: make EZ ornaments probably from one of these ideas

5. MOMS Club holiday card hen party completing party. Too frugal this year to send out my historical mounds of cards but we'll be trying to send out a few! LOL

6. donation drop-off to local school. A teacher friend of mine asked for as many AA batteries for his scientific calculators that we could carry! LOL

7. sleep under tree (have to work the details out on this one yet! LOL)

8. Cmas craft at the library

9. go see the snowmen public art display (still trying to find the link...)

10. night walk w/ parents as sled pullers

11. putting candles in window (with explanation that this may have started as a Celtic/Gaelic [my background's] custom)

12. local kids' museum Cmas activity

13. St Lucia Day. BIG surprises in store for DaGrandpa with Flicka dressed up like the lovely girls in the top photo on this page.

14. make red/green Rice Crispie treats (one of DaHubby's favorites)

15. my family's Cmas party in Detroit - and we're having it here! Wa-hoo!

16. church Cmas party

17. make Scottish black bun

18. Parents As Teachers holiday open house/party

19. night drive to look at lights

20. make some Cmas cookies

21. drive thru local nature preserve, gardens dressed in lights for Cmas

22. baking a birthday cake for Jesus

23. watch Polar Express. Burned on DVD from last year's ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas. We can't watch these anymore "live" since we no longer have cable! LOL

24: go see a matinée, a "real" movie, Pojke's first around noon since DaHubby has this day off!

My goal was for this to be inexpensive and I noticed while typing this out that it is still pretty "money-" and "supply-heavy" so it may still be tweaked. But, what do y'all think so far?

A year ago last week...

...I began the transfer of all my old posts from Faithprints to Blogger. Lisa, Sara, Anita, Debbie, Marilee - can you believe it? A YEAR! So happy Blogger anniversary to us all!

And, I just noticed while logging in the last couple days that I am up to FIVE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY posts! *stunned silence* How did THAT happen? LOL

Must be my big bloggy blabbermouth! LOL

The last year has been amazing, transforming, uplifting, affirming, delightful, and many equally cool things thanks to the ladies listed above along with several others who have been "bloggy mentors", who had gotten here first and showed me the way. Kelly, GiBee, Peach, Laurel, Kari, and others...thank you as well!

My world is better for having "met" all of you!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Published Author

Our church is fortunate to have several pastors present in the congregation. Yet, we are still a pretty small church. We have the couple actually called to us - Pastor Don and Pastor Deb. Then, Pastor T has retired from the ministry at our church and is our pastor emeritus. Then, there are others who are certified pastors (from our organization as well as others) who call our little congregation their church home and step in occasionally to minister when the need arises like DaGrandpa. Another of these is Pastor Harold.

Pastor Harold and I share a fondness for books and have both dreamed of being paid for what we write. By God's grace, provision, and guidance, he achieved this dream first! Directly below our picture in the right column is a new button showing the full cover of Pastor Harold's first book! He's really "arrived" - it's listed on Amazon! Wow! LOL


Please feel free to check it out. Search for the title via my Amazon associates link directly under that button which should you decide to purchase it would provide me with a very small percentage of the sale!


Tack själv! (Thanks!)

Thursday Thanks Tank

In honor of Peach and the ladies of Thankful Thursday...

No specific list this week...just an observation. Before I was familiar with the Biblical call to tithe, I really misunderstood all that was involved. Faithfulness and honoring on our part. Provision on His. "Small" things like that. LOL

Then, I began hearing stories about how the money of folks who tithed was seemingly going farther. Those that gave God the first 10% found that the remaining 90% could be stretched beyond logical, natural explanations.

In the interest of transparency, there are times DaHubby and I have tithed and there are times we have not. But, when we did, I finally experienced that supernatural provision for myself. But, that's another story.

Well, the last 2.5 months, we have been doing Financial Peace University as I've talked about here, here, and here. Yesterday, we hit a milestone. We completed baby step number one! We have an emergency fund with $1000 in it!

And, during the last few weeks, we've noticed a few things...

We seem to be getting fewer bills in the mail. When I open our mail, there's a little basket in the kitchen into which all the bills go to be filed in an organizer by due date. I barely have anything to file the last couple paydays. And,...

We seem to have more money than we can spend! LOL Proportionally speaking, I mean, considering 3 months ago we were going $100-200 in the hole each month. For example, got done grocery shopping yesterday and realized that even after a regular trip, I had $16 dollars left. If you think that's no big deal, keep in mind I'm only budgeting $65 a week!

And, since the Vikings have had monies budgeted for them to earn a quarter here and there for things they do around the house, there was money to spare when both got to pick out a new toy all for themselves at Family Dollar yesterday.

And, when we got done paying all the bills written in our FPU cash flow plan yesterday (DaHubby gets paid on Wednesday if you were wondering), I had over $100 left! There had to be a mistake! DaHubby and I checked the numbers over and over and realized that it probably had to do with the fact that we had to pay a bill last week for about that amount that wasn't scheduled to get paid until this week. Anyway, that extra $100 topped out the emergency fund! Two weeks earlier than planned! Wa-hoo!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've come to realize that remembering that it is ALL God's and He is only asking for 10% of it "back" has increased my thankfulness for whatever portion He allows me to manage.

And, right now it feels like He approves. Praise Him! I'm thankful beyond words.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Man, am I getting a lot of bloggy fodder out of these snow photos or what? *wink*


Check out other WW's here.

Flicka's Future Photography Fun

I read in our local paper yesterday that the consumer market for digital cameras is saturated. According to Ritz Camera, they were the #1 requested electronics gift for the 2006 holiday season. So, what's an industry to do? Let the marketing begin to a new demographic: kids! LOL

Apparently, as my mom was packing it up to leave Saturday after a visit, Flicka and she were discussing the next time we'd see them - around Christmas. And, Flicka (in a typical three-year-old fashion) suddenly burst out with the fact that she's wants a camera of her own.

Now, I've mentioned here before Flicka's seeming obsession with our camera. I've even posted a few of her masterpieces for Wordless Wednesday. I also entered her in a contest for photos from a kid's perspective. So, it has been established that she has an eye like her daddy for a good shot.

So, my mom (being the excellent grandma she is) promptly goes home, goes through the Sunday advertisements, and finds three kid cameras on sale this week! LOL (I come by frugal shopping naturally!) She calls and asks which one do we think would work best. Included in her list is one of these digital cameras from Ritz.

Talk about the marketing folks earning their keep! Even the front lens area of the Disney camera looks like Mickey! LOL

So, DaHubby and I hashed things out over the specs of each one and, yes, Flicka will be receiving her very own camera some time in the next 30 days! LOL

Hey, someone is gonna have to be responsible for taking all the photos of the future! *wink* And, some day if she keeps it up I may actually show up in a few family photos since I won't always be the only behind the camera anymore!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

She is SO right!

Laurel dares ya to watch this and then NOT sing it all day! I'm hooked! LOL

(I'm providing the link since embedding it would ssslllooowww down the blog loading to a snail's pace.)

Under construction


I'm playing with my banner today so please excuse the mess! *wink*

Pass The Torch Tuesday

Well, I had a *really* cute shot of my mom and Flicka from T-giving but it is still on DaHubby's camera's memory card *sigh* No download yet. But, this was a close second! LOL

We start 'em young here! Especially when you're the child of Yooper! LOL Too bad that makes Momma's a "troll"! *wink*


For more PTT moments, see Kelly's site today!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Peace Like A...

NAPTIME! Yee-haw! LOL Gotcha - ya thought I was gonna say "river", didn't ya? *wink*

Anyway, with dual naps underway, I've set myself to the task of doing some scheduled digital picture archiving. While flipping through those from this past weekend, I found a few cute ones from Friday's first snow!

My view from the porch outward looked like this. But, DaHubby's view from outside looking back looked like this:

And, we had to scramble to put together a weather appropriate outfit for Flicka since Momma neglected to plan ahead (since when does it snow in November in Michigan! *wink*) so last year's boots, gloves, and pants with this year's coat and Daddy's hat presented like this:

Ho, ho, ho! LOL

Mine!

Did ya ever see Nemo?


If so, remember the seagulls? Remember these two scenes?

This is the E-N-T-I-R-E conversation today between the Vikings! *sigh*


mine

mine
mine
mine
mine
mine
mine
they are yelling from different rooms of the house
mine

mine

mine

mine

mine

mine

arguing over who knows what

mine

mine

mine

mine


*sigh*

this is normal, right? LOL

Monday Mucking Thru Leftover Mess

Well, after more cooking than I've ever done in a short time and more dishes than I've EVER done in my life, we're finally digging out here...to find a huge, largely ignored unless it had to do with Thanksgiving to-do list of things pending.

So, we will be spending at least today nursing the FOURTH cold already of this season for Pojke and me following the cancellation of anything that would have required us to leave the house today while Momma tries to do laundry, make phone calls, get work done whose deadline in 4 days, plus a lengthy list of random, miscellaneous stuff including cleaning, wiping noses, reading homework, some Ebay work/follow up, wiping behinds, cooking lunch, changing diapers, cleaning out kitchen junk drawers, making more phone calls, putting one or the other Viking in time out (AGAIN! *sigh*), putting Vikings down for WELL DESERVED naps, working on family Advent calendar, doing money stuff, ordering ink carts, and a homeschooling lesson for Flicka.

Did I mention that I woke up at 1am and 4am coughing and got out of bed at 5am? *shew* No wonder I'm tired! LOL

Saturday, November 24, 2007

30DOT wrap up

OK, folks! We're heading into Thanksgiving part II today here at the Viking Hus. We had the traditional dinner with DaHubby's family on Thursday. And, now my mom and step-dad are in town, probably packing up their stuff in a local hotel room.

DaHubby's prepped the "smoke bomb" for a smoked turkey which will go on the grill in about 2 hours. Anita's cranberry sauce was made yesterday along with a cool bread braid recipe I found to replace the traditional rolls.

We had
monkey bread with breakfast. The sweet potatoes go in the crock pot at 1pm. Then, between 2pm and 4pm, a flurry of activity as the traditional green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, in addition to orange-glazed carrots will be "whipped up" for a second dinner at 4pm!

Can you tell what I'm thankful for today? LOL

Anyway, how 'bout the wrap-up for 30 Days of Thanksgiving? Nearly 20 of us spent the last 30 days sending out notes and/or emails to tell those around us that we appreciate them and that we're thankful for them. That's almost SIX. HUNDRED. sweet thoughts and remembrances sent out into the word! That is SO cool!

So, for your wrap up (and this is only a suggestion), how 'bout sharing which the notes you sent out meant the most, will hopefully change a situation, or caused the biggest reaction?

For me - I sent one out to our "head elder" and his wife, Sis D. These folks are our financial mentors and like our "church parents." I had "coincidently" scheduled their note for what turned out to be the week after he was admitted to the hospital! He had broken, cracked and shattered three vertebrae in his back falling from a ladder while cleaning his gutters. The timing was truly all God's and Sis D made a point of mentioning how much they appreciated the note. And, when we went to go visit him Thanksgiving Day, the note was hanging on the bulletin board in his room!

So, what say you all? How did it go?


Friday, November 23, 2007

What Black Friday? How 'bout a WHITE Friday?

What we woke up to today...

The joys of lake effect snow! LOL Forty minutes east of here - NOTHING! *wink* I know Anita
will understand. LOL