Friday, June 29, 2007

Summer Read Together Challenge

Jennifer has started another reading challenge and Flicka and I are all in! While Jennifer admits that her idea was to focus on the age 6 and up group, I recently had a children's book recommended to me and I believe it fits what seems to be the spirit of Jennifer's challenge.

The Treasure Tree will be Flicka's and my first "chapter book". I discovered this title via someone in the blogosphere and had it on my wishlist at paperbackswap.com. Then, I remembered! *smacks forehead* What about the library?! Well, DUH!

So, we checked it out Wednesday. And, we'll see how it goes. Finally, since Jennifer's challenge goes until August 27, I reserve the right to add another book to this list at a later time - depending onhow this first one goes! *wink*

So, if you've got at least one kiddo (child/tween/teen) and at least one book and would like to join us, click over to Jennifer's starting post and sign up now!

DaHubby's 15 Seconds of Fame

Do y'all have any recollection of this post from February? If not, here's an excerpt:

So, while I had seen it in our local paper, it hadn't registered on my "radar" that the comedienne Kathy Griffin was performing locally Saturday night. Our local community college has a good sized performing arts theatre as well as classrooms, student theatre facilities, and a "conference" area all in one building. The Home Show was in the "conference" section. Ms. Griffin was to perform in the professional theatre that evening.

As we are wrapping up our final loop of all the exhibitors, we find ourselves having difficulties getting to the front of the place because there are two teams of camera person/cord handler/person with a clipboard blocking half the doors we're trying to get to. We assume the local news is covering the Home Show (which considering the size of this area was probably the lead story that night! LOL), so we are trying to figure out how to best avoid these folks. Meanwhile, out of the corner of my eye, a man approaches Da Hubby and says "would you like two free tickets to see Kathy Griffin tonight?" And, then came my ADD impulsive moment for the week...

Before my "does-this-sound-obnoxious?" filter can kick in, I blurt out to Da Hubby in front of this poor guy "there is NO way we're going to see that!" First of all, Da Hubby has less than NO interest in anything related to Hollywood and would have NO clue who she was. And, while I barely recognize her name, I also remember that her material is probably not something I want to sit and listen to for two hours.

The guy seems surprised but says "fine"and walks off. Then, I noticed the camera...it's filming people taking the tickets! And, it just filmed me "making" my husband refuse the tickets! *blush* Then, another light bulb...Kathy Griffin does a reality show so they film EVERYTHING she's doing for Bravo. *gulp* Well, they couldn't find my little exchange even remotely interesting, right?

So, we barrel thread our way gracefully through the mass o' people bottling up near the doors with the double-wide stroller to suddenly realize that Flicka who had chosen to walk next to us was about to get flattened by another camera guy walking backwards. My Mama Bear instinct rears her head and growls loudly "Watch out!", grabbing Flicka, and nearly taking the camera guy out myself.

When everyone recovers, I'm starting the stroller toward the doors again and hear from behind me "so what are YOUR names?" I turn around to a bank of lights and cameras with Kathy Griffin holding out her hand to Flicka and a friend! I cannot describe how difficult it was not to jump immediately in and scoop Flicka up outta there but I walked up and Ms. Griffin looked up and said "are ya coming to my show tonight? I'm here at the Mendel Center. You want free tickets?"

I mumbled something about not having a babysitter and how we just can't do anything impulsive like that anymore *fake laugh* and off we went - Flicka none the wiser that her momma just talked to a lady on TV who has cameras following her everywhere for a reality show! *sigh*

Bad news? This episode aired this week!

Good news? I am not in it! LOL

Bad news? DaHubby is!

Good news? Someone at his work saw it and says DaHubby was just in the background while Ms. Griffin embarssed someone else! Praise God! *wink

What's Going On At Our House This Weekend...

It's nice to have a "handy man" around the house! *wink*

First, what we found after removing the brink planter on the side of our porch...a nice big empty hole with no support! *sigh*

Then, DaHubby's specialty:

And, the results of last night's work:


Watch that first step! It's a doozey! LOL

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thursday Thank Tank

Inspired by Peach...

1. Thankful for small reminders that despite all the "mommy mistakes" I can tally up in my head daily that the Vikings might just turn out OK. *wink*

2. Thankful that an area band has begun their summer Brown Bag concert series on Wednesdays again. Yesterday morning, the Vikings and I took a walk, went to the library for reading time, went to the concert for a picnic lunch and then rode the free horse-drawn trolley around downtown. What a treat!

3. Thankful for a wonderful "date night" last weekend with DaHubby - we went canoeing...just the two of us like we use to do B.V. (Before Vikings)

4. Thankful (again) for a successful Relay For Life experience. It was such a blessing to participate. Especially this. If you missed it, here's our county's initial totals.

5. Thankful for the mixed blessing of not having to serve jury duty this week. I'm torn- I'd love to have serve (it was the first time 21 years as a registered voter that I've been called) but just not THIS week! LOL

So, what are YOU thankful for? Or, go see what Peach listed today or join the ladies at Sting My Heart for Thankful Thursday!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

TFTS recipe swap: desserts

OK, I wasn't going to post for this today but when I just went here and saw that only FOUR people posted "diet-friendly" dessert ideas, I thought "that's pitiful!" LOL

So here's my attempt to relieve some healthy-eaters' dessert cravings:

Two Point Shake

1 C skim milk
2 T sugar free pudding mix any flavor
1 T fat free Cool Whip
1 t vanilla
8 ice cubes

Put all in blender and process until smooth and thick.

After DaHubby tried his first one, he's requested them several times since DESPITE being only two points! LOL So it can't be ALL bad, right? *wink*

WFMW: Squeezing Out Some Extra Cash

Do you have your utilities payments on a "budget plan" - where they estimate what they think your average monthly bill would be and you pay the same amount all year round? For, example, instead of paying a $200 gas bill in the winter and a $30 one in the summer, you get a nice round amount of $90 a month every month?

If so, here's a way you might be able to squeeze a little unexpected cash out of it.

Last fall, due to an anticipated harsh winter, our natural gas company warned us of a gas cost increase. As a result, our budget amount went up about $10-20 a month. However, the winter (in typical Michigan fashion) didn't cooperate with the meteorologists' predictions and it was much milder than expected.

In addition, we have made several improvements to our home's energy efficiency in the last 2 years since we've purchased it. We have been using less gas than the previous owners whose usage is considered when set our budget amount.

Result? A significant surplus of funds being sent to our gas company! In the area of $500+! When I finally noticed how high it was getting, I thought "I need to call those folks! That money is just sitting there and it's MINE! (LOL) What's the worse that could happen? They say no?!"

Our gas company was perfectly agreeable to sending us a refund check (minus our current gas usage costs) with only one condition: we had to go off the budget plan! *sigh* But, the up side? The nice lady said "once you receive the refund check, just call back before fall (when our usage will begin to rise again) and ask to be put back on!"

So, for a 15 minute phone call and a note written on the calendar for September to "get back on budget plan," I received a $500+ check in the mail within 4 weeks! Wa-hoo!

"Free" money - that works for me! *wink* Go to Shannon's site to see what other "mommy ideas" folks are sharing this week!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - a little early

Visit other Wordless Wednesday participants here.

To Those Military Families in Ohio...

I can tell from my site meter that some of you are from the Buckeye State...and some of those may be military families. So, I'm passing along this link about identity thieves claiming they're are affiliated with the American Red Cross who are targeting OH military familes.

And, to everyone who serves - either in the States, overseas, active, reserve, soldier, or support family - THANKS!

Relay Update

"Last year the Berrien (County, Michigan) Relay raised a dollar amount that came close to topping the nation, based on population size, and this weekend they topped that number by almost $50,000, bringing in more than $482,000."

All I can say is "praise God!"

source: http://www.wsjm.com/stories/00000_Relay-for-Life-events-raise-nearly-$600k_133503.php

Monday, June 25, 2007

And things keep rolling...LOL

It appears that I'll be called in for jury duty for Tuesday and possibly Wednesday. So, all the posts rattling around in my head for In Other Words, Tales From the Scales, Works for Me Wednesday, and Wordless Wednesday may just have to be put on hold! LOL

All is fine but I may be scarce...blessings on everyone's activities and I'll definintely pop back in if there's any developments in that "other" area" I've been mentioning! *wink*

It Still Makes Me Cry...

Occurred at Relay this weekend...

At 10pm was the luminary ceremony. There were speakers, singers, etc. for a short time followed by a "silent lap" around our county fairgrounds (our "track") in honor of those lost to cancer. A little too heavy for me to want to take the kids to so we stayed back at our tent site. Flicka insisted so someone watched Pojke and then Flicka and I slid in the side of the grandstands to watch. After a few minutes of sitting patiently and quietly...

"Momma, why are all these people here?"

"We're trying to raise money for people who are sick, sweetheart."

"ALL these people are sick!?"

(chuckle) "No, baby...some are sick, some got better, and some just know someone who was sick."

"Momma, why are all these people here?"

(thinking she's just not gonna get this...)"Well, baby, sometimes when people are really sick, they don't always have enough money to find the thing that can make them better. So, we're trying to get money for those people who are sick to help them out."

(a few second pass...she starts shaking...) "What's a matter, sweetie?"

(she climbs into my lap, buries her head, she's crying, and then looks up at me and says...)

"Momma, I have money at home they can have!"

And, Momma loses it. I've been a mess ever since. But, I think we'll be doing this next year! *wink*

(photo above is one of the many luminaries honoring Big Bro D aka David. In the photo is my three awesome sisters-in-law, David, DaHubby as a teen, and my remaining BIL.)

Another 5 Minutes for Mom Giveaway...

Those ladies are doing it again...go check out here what they are up to between now and July 4th.

In the "some practical/something useful" theme, I'm in for the ice cream machine and "mommy business cards" so far! LOL

Digging Out...

Out late Friday night on "date night" with DaHubby.
Saturday 10am 'til 11pm - we were fortunate enough to be part of the miracle photographed above.
Sunday exhausted and off schedule babies plus exhausted and aching parents made for a long day.
But, thank you for all your prayers, comments, and emails this weekend - about Relay and about the upcoming big decision! *wink* I'm sorting the whirlwind of our home right now and getting things back on track. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And, when I know our team's totals and that of the event, I'll let you know! :)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

In Like A Lion; Out Like A Lamb! *wink*

Today is the last day of Katrina's challenege: Spring Reading Thing. And, she's asked those of us who participated to give a wrap-up. Here is where this post's quirky title comes in! LOL

My original list was very different from what I accomplished. Of the four books I set out to read, I completed two of them: Bringing Up Boys and Obsession.

However, I completed another five: When You Rise Up, Kingdom Come, Gone, Homeschooling For Dummies, and the book I won from one of Katrina's awesome giveaways, Lightning and Lace.

On the plus side, I completed all seven of my books in the first 8 weeks of the challenge. Which means...I haven't completed any more since mid-May. *sigh* I really pooped out after the fiction ran out! LOL While completing that many books in that short of time after not reading for so long felt AMAZING, once I got to some of the non-fiction which needed full concentration and brain expansion capabilities - I got "de-motivated'! LOL

But overall, it was a VERY positive experience! THANKS KATRINA! You rock!

Don't ya hate it when (part two)...

someone about SIX feet tall crashes IE with your wonderful system of windows and tabs open and now you don't know what you had left to do or comment on? *sigh*

Just swamped today...

Have 2-3 posts to post today but have had no time thus far. There has been development on this front. I've got swim lessons with the Vikings in 45 minutes. Haircuts for Flicka and me at 5pm. Gotta fit a nap in (for the kids not me! Although a nap sounds REALLY good after this week has panned out! LOL) BLAH!

So, hopefully, I'll get those posts done shortly. Hope everyone is having an amazing day!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tales From the Scales side dish recipe swap

This week is side dishes. (Go here for their main dishes post)

I have two suggestions since I couldn't choose. And, I linked to them instead of me having to type them all out! LOL I'm all about efficiency! *wink*

Crispy Herb Bread (a high-calorie garlic bread replacement even DaHubby likes): 1 slice is 2 points

Vegetable Trio: 3/4 cup is 1 point

Go to the TFTS post today for more side dishes ideas!

WFMW: No More Voice Mail!

Well, at least DECREASE the amount of time you spend in voice mail! LOL

I don't remember where I stumbled onto this but I figured we all have (by sheer necessity) had to deal with products, employees, and/or companies who have not lived up to their end of the customer service bargain!

And, nothing is more irritating than already been peeved and then having to spend 2, 5, 10, 30 or 60 minutes wandering through voice mail purgatory, then being on hold, and plotting what you are REALLY gonna to say to the poor person who is going to eventually answers the phone.

In the past when I call a customer service line, my general plan (if I'm in a hurry) has been to ignore the voice mail options and act as if I'm one of the few remaining people on the planet with a rotary phone and I simply wait for a nice operator to answer the phone and direct me to the exact person I need! LOL However, those clever technology devils have now come up with voice recognition now so I can speak my choices! *wink* So, I can't exactly pretend I'm mute so my technique has been stumped a few times.

Consider the Get Human 500 database! Five hundred sets of directions to get directly to a human in customer service. The list is hardly comprehensive but has come in handy occasionally to get right to someone who can actually help me before my kids figure out how to build a working space shuttle from tin foil and toilet paper rolls! LOL

If you are interested in other other cool mommy ideas, pop over to Shannon's place and check out today's ideas!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Real Dads Don't Need Wagons! LOL

And, yes, they went ALL the way around the block like that! LOL

The Downside...

I often brag about share how much I love living in Southwest Michigan with the Lake Michigan shoreline being a 30 minute walk from our home. There are many wonderful reasons to live here. However, with the good...comes the bad.

I guess this goes under the category of "what were they thinking?" *sigh* Such a waste. Makes me sad.

Another prayer request...

What a week! One potential crisis yesterday and another today! LOL Yesterday's had the potential to get really bad really quick. Today's is a possibility for a wonderful outcome but requires a big decision.

So, you more-mature-than-me, more-objective Christians...I have a question for you. Imagine this scenario: you feel God is directing you to take a certain path. You do it. But, it results in some difficulties. You pray about the difficulties and pray for God's direction in how to deal with them. Then, something comes up which will relieve those difficulties but take you away from that initial path you felt God wanted you to take...

How do you tell if that "something" is an answer to prayer or a too-good-to-be-true deception from the devil to get you off track from the original plan?

Feel free to throw in your two cents and, needless to say, lift up this vague situation to the Lord! *wink*

Don't you hate it when...

...something (or someone under 3-foot-tall) crashes the computer where you had all these wonderful tabs and windows open waiting to be dealt with like a virtual to-do list? *sigh* Now I can't remember what I had open, what I was working on, or what was waiting for comment! Grrr...

photo credit: http://www.creativepitch.org/home.htm

My First Tackle It Tuesday

And, it just a small one but I'm using Tuesdays as a deadline, an accountability, and a motivation to get some small organizing projects done around the house the next month or so.

So, I give you my first small attempt at a pile of clutter that has been SERIOUSLY bugging me! LOL

Before:

After:

Cost: $5 at our local Dollar General

If you are interested, go to 5 Minutes For Mom and see what else everyone tackled this week!

97 Hours From Now...

...is the beginning of our county's Relay For Life weekend. And, my in-laws are on a crafty, baking, planning, and follow-up phoning whirlwind! LOL You've probably noticed the ticker up above reminding me that I am now officially in panic mood to help get everything done!

As I've posted before
here and here, we lost DaHubby's Big Bro D to lung cancer on February 28, 2005. He was a non-smoker who had run his first marathon 4 months earlier and he was only 44.

So, in preparation for "Relay in Paradise - no one is an island in the fight against cancer" theme, tropical colored shirts should be in anyday. Lots of tropical decorations have been sought out and hid away for decorating our weekend home-away-from-home on our assigned little square of dirt at the county fairgrounds.


There are a record number of teams this year - over 100. Our team page seems to indicate we have a long way to go but it is only recording our online donations. (By the way, thank you again, Anita, for supporting me and being my only online donation! LOL) Our team actually is #22 out of the 95 teams registered online for fundraising totals so far with only 7 team members!

So, to add even more to that total, t
wo of my sisters-in-law, a niece, and I made over 20 bracelets out of UV sensitive beads last night. We threaded and knotted 'til we ran out of cording and still have beads left! *sheesh* But, while we were putting them together, one of my niece's friends called, heard what we were doing, and ordered three! LOL Praise God! I'm considering ordering more beads since it appears these are going to be a "hot item"! *wink*

And, I have 7 more pairs of flip-flops to make sometime in the next 4 days! *wipes sweat off forehead*

But it is all for a great cause....in memory of great brother...being done by a great family! I'm so blessed. If you feel led, please click
here to donate. If not, please pray that this event is successful and that their participation in this event heals this family's broken hearts even if just a little. I appreciate it!

Tales From the Scales May Day Challenge Week 6

The good news? I’ve gotten about a half dozen comments in the last week about how much weight I’m losing. The bad news? I gained a ½ lb.! LOL So, this week’s increase in emotional, impulse, and late night eating are banished once again! LOL Here’s to another week!

Two great pieces of advice someone gave me this week: if you *think* you are hungry, try drinking a 8 oz. of water first. Sometimes we are so NOT used to feeling truly hungry that what we are feeling is simply our body saying it's thirsty! And someone else told me that once you actually *feel* thirsty, you are already getting dehydrated! So, basically....DRINK YOUR WATER! LOL

And, remember…

Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Prayer Request- updated

We have an unspoken prayer concern that we would appreciate that you would take before the Lord today if you feel directed to do so. Could be nothing. Could be something. We have some steps to go through today to determine which it will be. We seek wisdom in making the correct decisions along the way and peace with whatever it turns out to be.

Update: This issue resulted in no big deal! Yeah, God! And, thanks for your prayers! There's some minor follow-up but it should resolve itself. Wa-hoo!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

How DaHubby Spent His (Day Before) Fathers' Day!

Wife-less. Kid-less. With Uncle J and a friend. Being dragged around by a boat! *wink*
Happy Fathers' Day, sweetie! You are the BEST!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Voting Is Open!

Please consider going here, scrolling down, and voting for my picture of Pojke in Karen's humor-themed photo contest. Voting is now open and will remain so until Sunday night at 8pm. Thanks!

Those of you who homeschool...

I'm trying to encourage an amazing turnout for Kelly's call for your best homeschooling tips, suggestions, and ideas.

Pass the Torch documents many of Kelly's passions - two of which seem to be her kids and photographing her kids! *wink* She also has been doing a series on her homeschooling experiment this year.

So, if you homeschool, please consider submitting something for Kelly's "writing project" as she calls it.

Speaking of Summer Reading...

As a former language arts teacher, can I say Scholastic and their online store rocks!? LOL Their book clubs and my participating students helped me create an amazing array of FREE books for a classroom library in about 2-3 years. They bend over backwards to make the process of getting books to a child and getting a child to read the easiest I've seen.

So I was thrilled when I found an online coupon codes from
Coupon Chief for Scholastic Books where if you buy four books, the fifth is FREE! And, I always like FREE! *wink* And, be sure to check out their "outlet store" tab on their webpage. Another possibility is the 94 gift suggestions under $15! Wa-hoo! I smell a bargain!

Coupon Chief also has coupon codes for Amazon (feel free to use my link in the right column to go there since I'll make a few pennies if you do! LOL), Audible.com (audio books for an iPod, for example), and Half.com (a good place to find used textbooks for the fall).

So, go! Hurry! Find some wordy goodness you like...but, for goodness sake, don't pay full price! *wink*

Does a Momma Bookworm Proud...

We arrived home from our local library about 30 minutes ago. Had spent over an hour picking out books, doing crafts, playing trains, browsing magazines, and signing up for the summer reading program. Fortunately, our library has partnered with some local businesses and the Vikings will be eligible for things like a free cookie from a local deli, a free taco from Taco Bell, etc.

But, what a flashback THAT was! (By the way, "rumor" has it that you should keep your eyes open here for a possible summer reading-with-your-kids program online soon!) From the age of 5 'til I graduated high school, our neighborhood library was 5 short blocks away. I LOVED to spend time there. Especially after school (it was on my way home from junior high) and especially once my sweet Granny B started working there! I remembering participating regularly in that branch's reading program most summers.

Anyway, I took some of the recommendations from the mommy blogosphere and checked out
this book and two others from this author/illustrator who was also one of the people who created "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom." The illustrations are beautifully cool! Reminiscent of Eric Carle.

Flicka also insisted on picking out her own books and choose an additional four. Anyway, this is all the farther she got in the door when we got home...


This moment of mommy goodness was spoiled by the next words out of her mouth..."OK, Mom, I read all these. Can I have my free taco now?"

*wink*

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Reminder: Vote!

According to Karen's post at Write From Karen, go to this post between 5pm Central time Friday until 8pm Central time Sunday night to vote for the funniest photo...hopefully it is mine! *wink* There should be a voting poll at that post during those times where you can cast your vote.

As of now (7pm Thursday night), I am one of 15 competitors including my sweet blogging buddies Anita and Lisa.

Give us all a look-see and VOTE! *wink*

Thursday Thank Tank

Inspired by Peach...

1. Thankful for good results on a bone density test I had 3 weeks ago. It was worrisome during a recent physical that I had lost some height (nearly 2 inches!) since having the Vikings. The test showed all was fine but my doc recommended adding calcium to my daily intake.

2. Praise again for all going well following Pojke's procedure. Watching his language beginning to blossom this past week has blessed my heart!

3. Thankful for my sisters-in-law and a niece who so liked a craft project idea I had for our Relay For Life team fundraising that we all are meeting this weekend to make them all! (Now, I just have to finish 8 more pairs of these to sell at the Relay before the 23rd! LOL)

4. Thankful that there was a little extra left over after DaHubby's paycheck that I'll be taking the kids to the local Y for five more weeks of swim lessons! This will be Pojke's first!

5. Thankful for a hubby who has embraced my frugal mentality (even if it is short term *wink*)by digging up several old 2' by 2' blocks of concrete buried under years of "stuff" between our garage and fence, breaking them up into small pieces with a hammer and chisel, and then re-laying them down in the same area with weed barrier. It's taken 3+ evenings but I *REALLY* appreciate that it saved us from running to Lowe's for "just a few supplies" which always leads to a larger, more expensive run! *wink*

6. Thankful for the opportunity to use my "newsletter"/MS Publisher skills again as I am now the new co-editor of my 2007-2008 MOMS Club newsletter and the techie/"typer-in-of-all-information"/layout person for our church newsletter! LOL

7. Thankful for the relative health and safety of my immediate family. I felt exhausted after hearing all the prayer requests for healing, comfort, grief, and other issues among my church family last night at midweek service. *sigh* So much to deal with...but trying to remember that HE is in control..always...all the time!

8. Thankful for the opportunity to serve my pastors this month. Despite my worrying about it, it has really kept them even more on my mind and in my prayers as I was able to take Pastor Deb some fresh picked strawberries last week (thanks for the idea, Anita!) and whipped up a batch of chicken veggie soup yesterday for Pastor Don and Deb's dinner!

9. Thankful that I'm seeing some light at the end of the tunnel (finally!) with one of our financial stresses! Wa-hoo!

10. Last, but obviously not least, I'm thankful that despite being overwhelmed daily with "to-do's" that occasionally I am reminded to focus on the One who is the Author of it all and what He has done for me!

See what Peach is thankful for today or join the other thankful ladies at Sting My Heart for today's Thankful Thursday!

Word Explosion

Well, an update...Apparently, not only was Pojke to sail through his procedure last week with no after-effects but we've had a word explosion here this past week! "Suddenly" we're hearing new words like:

"dog"
"down"
"door" (I holler "front door everyone" when we're ready to leave for some place! LOL)
"papa"
"woof" (we can finally hear the "f" at the end)
"cow"
"ow!"
and the perennial favorite "no!"

And, the words we already recognized are getting clearer like "was dat?", "want dat!", and "a-oo-yah!" (that's hallelujah for those of you not familiar with Pojke-speak! *wink*)

I was hesitant to admit that Pojke was having problems hearing and chalking it up to other explanations (a boy, a second child, etc.)...most likely to avoid having this procedure done at all. But, thankfully, all seems well in Pojke-world! *a sigh of relief*

(Also: don't forget that voting begins tomorrow for the picture contest I entered. Come back tomorrow for the link to vote!)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

WFMW: Because you never know...

Well, this would not be something I would normally worry about. I have never known (to my knowledge) someone who is allergic to bee stings. No one in my family is allergic to bee stings. I've never know anyone (to my knowledge) who has to carry an epi-pen. But, my brain's been working over this since a RN came to talk to our MOMS Club group last month about summer safety.

Most of the moms who participate in this group have little ones who are newborns to preschool-aged. Most of those kiddos have not had their first "experience" with bees and the like. However, apparently, many of the moms are carrying epi-pens, prescribed by their pediatricians, and encouraged by this RN who showed us how to use one, when and if that first bee sting comes. Because you never know if your child is allergic *until* it first happens.

One mom said that "any good pediatrician worth their weight" wouldn't argue with you if you ask for a script for one to keep "just in case".

Preparing for *every* inevitability? Impossible. Being (sanely) prepared. That will work for some. Just thought I'd pass the idea along...

See Shannon's site today for more good mommy ideas!

photo credit: http://www.allergicchild.com

Wordless Wednesday...

Picture by 3-year-old Flicka found after I "dumped" the memory card in the digital camera last night...


For more Wordless Wednesdays, go here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pass The Torch Tuesday

Jumping on Kelly's bandwagon...

I always dreamed I would marry a man who'd be able to serenade me and play me music. And, I got one! *wink*

Now, it warms my heart more than I can say to see him passing that along to the Vikings!

My Favorite Book...

As someone who has always been a big reader (did I mention my mom tells everyone that I read well before kindergarten? LOL) and that reading is one of the few things that I'll sit still for (I read most of the Nancy Drew mysteries in a summer? *wink*) and that despite my best intentions I became a middle school language arts teacher...I think it is safe to say I've done A LOT of reading!

So, when Anita announced a contest in which she asked for our favorite book of all time, I'm a little stumped. I've read tons of English lit classics. I'm a closet Shakespeare fanatic. I'm a "summer brain candy" addict who has read all the books from Jonathan Kellerman, Patricia Cornwell, Michael Connelly, and Diane Mott Davison.

But, when I think back to the point in time where I became really aware of the power of reading and its ability to take me places, teach me things, and complete absorb me with a well-told narrative, I remember Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time.

I still have the original copy that I got from my elementary school's "Reading Is Fundamental" program! LOL I've bought several additional copies that I've had in my classroom library and that I've given away. Before junior high, I had a complete set of the Wrinkle series. And, I've been through at least two more sets that have come and gone over the years.

It wasn't until I was in a "kiddie lit" class in college that I learned of Wrinkle's Christian allegory. Even then, it didn't mean much to me other than more symbolism.

But, looking back...knowing that God was chasing after me even then (LOL)...I sometimes wonder if all the words that created that story of good and evil, of the disembodied IT that took away one's will, and of the LOVE that could free someone from it, I think this book kept God's love in my "memory banks" and was a seed that (eventually) blossomed into the faith I treasure today.

Drop by Anita's contest post and see what other books were people's favorites.

A "Dangerous" Giveaway

EverydayMommy is giving away a copy of "The Dangerous Book for Boys" in celebration of Fathers' Day!

This books captures all the "boyish" skills that our overly politically correct time in history is not passing down but which appeared to richly feed the imaginations and lives of previous generations.

And, all she is asking for is a story of something daring, adventurous, or adorable that a son has done. Unfortunately, Pojke has only given me 17 months of material to pick from!

When I was pregnant with him, so many people told me that he would be SO much different than Flicka was. With the arrogance of a younger person, I thought..."well, MY kids won't be like that. I already raise Flicka with equal opportunity for "girls" and "boys" things!"

How little did I know! LOL As Flicka reached that wonderful age where her personality and preferences emerge at the same time Pojke was born, they showed me!

Anyway, I guess the most adventurous and brave thing I can remembering Pojke doing at this point happened the day we went on a tour of a dairy farm with our MOMS Club group! While Flicka seemed completely overwhelmed by the level of noise and the sheer size of the "momma cow" and "baby cow" they introduced us to, Pojke was itching to get closer! LOL So much so, he wanted "down" in the barn, made a bee-line for the baby bull's stall, walked right in, and walked right up to pet him!

This little bull towered over him and it seemed all Pojke wanted to do was see what he looked like up close and what he felt like! LOL I think I'm in BIG trouble since he does this with every animal we see. I'm gonna have to keep him safe until I can send him to my alma mater's vet school! *wink* Maybe I can send him here!

See what other daring, adventurous,and adorable things some sons have done here!

May Day Weight Challenge - week 5

Well, there's good news and bad news. The good news? I lost another 3/4 a pound for a total of 9 pounds.

The bad news? It's ONLY 3/4 of a POUND! Grrr...

To be fair, I've been sliding on my food journal and points keeping so shame on me! *wink* That is the single most important thing that has kept me on track before. The other is that I missed one of my "walking dates" last week and GOODNESS did I feel icky not exercising!

So, I walk this morning. I walk Friday. And, I'll try to squeeze in another. And, I need to make more pages for my food journal - PRONTO!

Check out how everyone else is doing this week at Tales From The Scales.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Once Upon A Time I Started a Blog...

Chili is holding a carnival today about the origins of our bloggy lives. See the other entries here.

How did you start blogging?

I've always been an English/writing/reading geek. I "lost" most of that when I became a SAHM. So, I needed some "me time" after the birth of Pojke. Was fearful of joining the big commercial blogging world - too much inappropriate junk. Found Faithprints - a Christian site and started writing about all the stuff in my head when I wasn't sleeping, feeding Flicka or nursing Pojke.

Did you intend to be a blog w/a following? If so, how did you go about it?

No, not really. Was terrified of criticism and flaming but that was part of putting myself "out there". Testing out the "new" person I've become by re-discovering Christ and becoming a wife and mother.

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?

After a year of doing this, I would like to: glorify God with my writing, make people laugh and/or feel they're not alone by sharing my mommy adventures, and possibly make a little money to help out the household budget.

I hope I'm doing the first two. I've made a whopping $30 (give or take some quarters) through PayPerPost.

I'd like to better utilize Associate Content (possibly with or without blog publication. I don't know),maybe some advertising, maybe more PPP.

H
as the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?

Some. Instead of simply being a diary and such, I've found the networking/fellowship side very rewarding. Also, I've found myself a much better, more organized, more thoughtful believer thanks to the people I've met so it's made me (I think) a better blogger.

What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?

How welcoming, understanding, and supportive my little corner of mommy-blog universe was.

Do you make money with your blog?

Yes, I've made between $30-40.

Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?

Some. But, as far as I know, only my mom visits regularly.

What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?

Jump in! Cautiously! *wink* Give it a try - it's not as scary as it seems but take precautions to keep your personal info secure.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Viking Baby Boom 2006 - 2007

We were at an older niece's high school graduation party yesterday. Caught a photo similar to one we got in March 2006...(that's Flicka holding Pojke on the right):


And, yesterday, 15 months later:


Four sets of parents. Eight cousins. Oldest? Five-years-old. Youngest? 13 months. We've all been busy! LOL And, we're all exhausted! *wink*

More later..

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Weird Toddler Food Connoctions Part Two (updated...)

OK, can I just say...Ewwwww! Breakfast just now: if you can't tell...that's yogurt...spread on a piece of turkey!

Come on! I can't be the only one with a kid who does this! LOL What combinations have your kids and/or family come up with?

UPDATE: And, during lunch, Momma gave her (of course) milk with her beef taco and homemade tortilla chips. But, Daddy sneaked her a small glass of root beer into which she dumped the milk and drank the whole thing! Lest I be too repetitive...Ewwww!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Am I Funny?

Karen over at Write From Karen is having a photo contest with voting beginning 5pm CDT June 15th until 8pm CDT June 17th. The theme is "humor" and since the most humorous things that happen around are centered around my kids, this is the photo I've chosen:

Oddly enough, I have relatively few pics that would be funny to "strangers"! LOL Most are capturing moments with the kids that elicit an "awww" from family and friends, not necessarily laughter!

I just like the look on Pojke's 4-month-old face compared to that of the one on his hat! *wink* I kinda wish the prize was cash because Pojke is gonna need counseling if he ever finds out when he's a teenager that I posted this picture of him! LOL

Feel free to go check out the other participants. And, I'll post next Friday to remind anyone interested that it is time to vote and where to do it!

Weird Toddler Food Connoctions?

OK, I know every family has their culinary quirks. Uncle Joe might eat his cottage cheese with pepper. Grandpa might eat ketchup with his scrambled eggs.

My parents, when dating as teenagers, dipped their pizza in french dressing which I continue to do...to DaHubby's horror - yea, right! Complaints coming from a man who dips HIS pizza in ranch dressing! *wink*

I use to eat honey and peanut butter sandwiches at camp. I've also been know to eat a salami and thousand island dressing sandwich when in grade school (and don't ask...I have NO idea where THAT came from! LOL)

But, what Flicka often comes up with can either floor me or make me want to run out of the room! LOL

Her request for breakfast yesterday? Peaches. Canned peaches. Only peaches. With ketchup. AND mustard.

And, she cleaned her plate!

Ewwww...

So, it got me thinking...what are some of the unusual combinations you've heard of? From either your current or former toddler or another source?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Thursday Thank Tank

Inspired by Peach...

1. Thankful for q-u-i-e-t: with two toddlers in the house, it's hard to come by! LOL And, there has been more of it since we turned off the cable in April. Fewer choices ON the tube means MORE choices around the house! *wink* But, there has been some extra moments this past week when this beautiful, sweet, heavy, silence falls over the house. *sigh* And, it's like salve to this tired mommy's soul!

2. Thankful for a mom who sends Dairy Queen gift certificates so her kid, son-in-law,and grandbabies can go get a treat together!

3. Thankful for a father-in-law who is a man of God, who is still an awesome preacher at 70+ years old, and (due to some extended family disputes this week) who is an amazing example of Christ's love.

4. Thankful...oh, so thankful...for a good result for Pojke's procedure this week. He's doing wonderfully.

5. Thankful for a hubby with a green thumb! Sooner than expected if they keep up this growth rate, I'm going to have more broccolli, cucumbers, onions, carrots, tomatoes, various peppers, and spices than I know what to do with!

6. Thankful for the "girls-only time" that Flicka and I spent strawberry picking yesterday morning.

7. And, thankful for the awesome taste of freshly-picked Michigan strawberries and sweet cherries! We are all drunk with it and licking our red-stained fingers...although I'm not looking forward to Pojke's diapers today! *wink*

8. Thankful for a friend of 30+ years who I can have not spoken with in months, who I can call at 9:30pm at night with a pressing question, and who will answer it and then spend an hour talking and catching up, and who ended the conversation with "I miss you." Miss you too, kiddo! We live too far apart! *wink*

9. Thankful for my 2 other long-distance friends who think nothing of having not spoken in person with me for quite a while but then do not hesitate to say "SURE!" when I ask via email for a personal and/or professional reference! LOL

10. Thankful for this bloggy outlet and the online support I continue to receive daily. You ladies bless me more than you know!

Visit Peach today (and wish her sweet Darling Prince happy birthday!) or see what the wonderful ladies at Sting My Heart are thankful for today!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Tales From The Scales recipe swap: main dishes

Well, I know it's summer and the thought of hot soups and stews are probably less appealing right now but we're still eating them at least once a week for a variety of reasons:

1. LOW POINTS!
2. Lots of veggies
3. LOW POINTS!
4. Easy on the cook
5. LOW POINTS!
6. Relatively inexpensive ingredients
7. LOW POINTS!

You get the idea.

Anyway, I can't recommend the
Taste of Home recipe finder enough. Thankfully, this first recipe is from them partially due to the fact they post the nutritional info on most of their low-fat recipes. So,here's my recommendations:

Pinto Bean Stew: 4 points per cup

I have three others that I would recommend but the TOH site says they are for magazine subscribers only. So, if you are one, there are also these options:


Kielbasa Cabbage Stew: 6 points for 1 3/4 cups
Slow Cooker Chili: 5 points per cup
Easy Minestrone: TWO points for 1 1/3 cups


So, go to Tales for the Scales today for more recipe ideas. Beth has scheduled these recipe swaps for each Wednesday for the next four weeks!

WFMW: The "Busy Book" series

Yea, I know I've posted about these before but since I continue to use them over and over and over. And, since they saved (some) sanity on our recent trip from heck weekend away, I thought I'd mention them again. The best part is how they use inexpensive materials from around the house or relatively small budget items from the Dollar Store, Lowes, etc.

Shannon is looking for ways to handle the "Mom, I'm bored" moments of summer. While my Vikings are not wuite old enough yet (thank God!) to utter this exact phrase, I know a bored toddler is a dangerous toddler so I give you (again) - The Busy Books:

The Preschooler's Busy Book

The Wiggle & Giggle Busy Book: 365 Fun, Physical Activities for Your Toddler and Preschooler

The Toddler Busy Book

Arts and Crafts Busy Book

The Children's Busy Book

So head over to Shannon's place today and see what other awesome, boredom-busting ideas are being tossed around.

Wordless Wednesday

For more Wordless Wednesdays, go here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Free Stuff

A country girl at The Wooden Porch is giving away a gift certificate to JoAnn's Fabrics and Crafts. I would l-o-v-e to get back on my crafty vibe with some new stuff! All ya' gotta do is go leave a comment and post a post!

Update on Pojke

Does this look like someone who went through a medical procedure 3 hours ago? LOL
I am probably having a harder time than him! Pojke came home without making eye contact with me (BIG guilt trip, Momma!) but, once on his own turf, he grabbed his buses and off he went! Other than the cotton in his ears, you'd never know what he'd been through.

Everything went as described. (TMI warning!) I only wish they would have warned me about the smell of...well, basically, burnt flesh. I almost lost my breakfast. A follow up appt in 2 weeks and no water in his ears (so no playing in the tub with Flicka) for four weeks. But, we're home safely. Thanks for all your well wishes and prayers.

Horses, Bears, and Cars, oh my!

One of the perks about living in Southwest Michigan is being able as a "local" to enjoy some of the cool things these communities create to attract tourists. We don't always agree with the choices our local administrators make in this regards. But, they really hit the nail on the head this summer!

The summer after Flicka was born was the first year one city began this public art display. Our understanding was that it would not only attract tourism but would possibly raise money for a real carousel "in memory" of an amusement park that use to stand on the local beach. The horses were beautiful to look at but that's about it. They were somewhat fragile and succumbed to quite a bit of vandalism. They were removed at the end of the season and (I believe) were offered for purchase to local businesses and residents which raised funds for the future carousel.

Last summer, Flicka was thrilled to see these bears all over a nearby downtown. Much more kid-friendly and many had a cute sense of humor as the local artists dressed 'em in some really creative ways!

Then, the 2007 summer "fleet" was debuted last month. OH MY! Climb-able. Kid-proof. Adorable. Funny. Everything that makes them friendly to all ages. We took Pojke and Flicka there last week and they never spent time on one for long - they just kept running to the next one...and the next one...and the next one. LOL

(Warning: sweetness overdose in the following pictures...)