Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Financial Peace Update

Well, we just finished our sixth class last night! And, what a difference it has made! In six weeks we have:

- began the process to dump our current whole life insurance (which is costing us a fortune!) and getting new term life insurance

- as of today, we will have $450 in our emergency fund - and this is after running at a $200 DEFICIT each month prior to starting this class!

- we submitted the required paperwork plus a version of Ramsey's form letter and a copy of our current month budget to my student loan company to ask if they could me in a 6 month forbearance period where we pay only interest while we get our bearings with this. People around us told us - no way they'll approve it, DaHubby makes too much money, it'll take months 'til you hear from them, etc. Ten days later, we received a letter from them saying not only would they love to work with us but they gave me TWELVE months instead of six.

- DaHubby's got the mini-van with "for sale" signs in it, he's got the wood boats he handmade with signs in them, plus he started an Etsy account for some additional handicrafts he can sell.

- I've been going through the basement and have been an Ebay fool! For example, on Monday I listed a drafting table we got for free five years ago when a local company went out of business. It's a wonderful old table and I intended to use it for crafting and such but I just haven't had the time I'd hoped for since the Vikings' arrival. I did a little quick researching and listed it for local pick up only for $99. Within 24 hours, I already had a bid! That'll be a confirmed minimum of $99 in our pocket within two weeks!

And, we've acquired some funny frugal stories...

I won't tell ya' how many times we've had Raman noodles in the last three weeks! *wink*

While at DaGrandparents' last Sunday for my MIL's birthday celebration, she offered to keep Flicka for a couple hours while we went home, got some stuff done, whatever. We actually turned it down because the extra trip back to their house would have meant I would have needed gas in the Focus before DaHubby got paid today! LOL

And, last night, the Focus was now *really* low on gas but we had to pick up Flicka and go to our Financial Peace class. Hmmm...so in an effort to not debit any gas and to honor the "when-the-cash-is-gone-YOU'RE-DONE" philosophy, DaHubby comes outta the garage with the gas can for the lawnmower! LOL No lie - we put 2-3 gallons in the car and had enough to get that running around done last night and enough for me to get to the bank and to the gas station this morning! LOL

I get the feeling many would be horrified by the lengths we're going to but it's actually become a game of "how far can we get on as little money as possible?" No one is being deprived of anything - we're not going hungry, we're not endangering the Vikings with no heat or anything silly like that but the Vikings and I DID stay home the last two days and found fun around our neighborhood and back yard as opposed to driving all over. It isn't about being "punished"; it's about being disciplined, I guess. And, we're tired of worrying about money!

If we can sell the van, it's only 14-18 months before we could call Dave Ramsey on his radio show and be one of several who can scream "WE'RE DEBT FREE!!"

And, speaking of screaming, remind me to share the story about hollering "CHEETAH!" when checking the mailbox! LOL

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pass The Torch Tuesday

Better late than never...
our internet is up but is currently running at slower than the slowest dialup! *rolls eyes*


Good thing this pic is pretty self-explanatory! LOL

And, for those who are worried about Flicka's safety...she's rinsing away our frugal toilet cleaner of baking soda and vinegar!

For more PTT, see Kelly's blog today!

ADSL Problem

This is DaHubby you may not see proper grammar or spelling. Anyway DaWife wanted me to let you guys know that our connection at home is off line. This is not related to the problem yesterday. Just got off the phone with our service provider at home. It appears someone cut a Fiber optic line in Grand Rapids causing pretty much all of there customers in SW Michigan to be without internet. Very very very slow internet at best.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Mopey Monday

...recuperating from our weekend. Have ya ever seen a more pitiful pair of worn out kids? LOL Morning mind-numbing PBS re-runs! *wink*

Then, a long walk, a nap for Pojke, schoolin' for Flicka, now we're prepping for DaHubby's arrival home for dinner.

Also have a prayer request -
one of our elders (who happened to be our real estate agent for this house) fell from the top of a ladder while cleaning the gutters of his house last night. There are 2 confirmed cracked vertabrae that have now been reinforced with steel rods but one crushed vertebrae that they haven't been able to do much about yet. There's been follow-up CAT scans to try to determine the extent of spinal cord damage.

Thanks for whatever prayers you can lift up.

For the Christian trendsetter...

...who also likes free stuff! LOL

ChatterJam.com is a new website for folks interested in about-to-be-released faith-based products. The idea sounds much like what the bigger "mommy blogs" get to do: they send you cool, new faith-based product for free and you get to review it. Then, either the feedback goes back to the manufacturers for improvements or out to the public to spread the word and create the ever-important "buzz."

So, if you think of yourself as someone who would like to be ahead of the curve of what's new, hot, or cool in faith-based products, consider signing up for
ChatterJam.com.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

FYI - UPDATED

Our domain provider is currently offline...so no banner photo, no cute little giveaway buttons, etc. but, more importantly, no email at any of our northernbranches accounts. If you've emailed recently or left a comment, I'm not receiving anything at this point...just so ya know!

Well, it would seem out email is up but the access to my banner pic and buttons is still spotty. Step by step....inch by inch...closer and closer... LOL

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Somebody Prayed Me Through

Infertility stinks. It's like your body is betraying you - losing its "natural" function. Well-meaning people are inadvertently cruel. "Why haven't you had children yet?" What a thing to say to someone who is part of a couple whose nearly every waking moment is about temperature taking; cycle monitoring; invasive procedures; often prohibitively expensive, uncovered medications; in some cases multiple miscarriages; repetitive disappointments witnessed in ANOTHER negative EPT and daily reminders of feeling like a failure. And, it was a tough way to spend my newlywed years...a time normally spent getting to know each other not being tested by fire and stress.

When I met DaHubby, I was 32. I had recently re-committed to going to church. And, I had been trying to find and follow God's will and had been waiting and waiting and waiting for the right guy. Once he came along, I figured all would be blessed - because isn't that always what it was like in God's will, I naively believed at the time. How little I really knew.

Four years later, I was broken. My spirit was beaten up. My hope nearly gone. My faith shaken to the core. We had been married three years. Spent the first year being "not careful" assuming nature would take its course. Spent the next two coping with the realization and repercussions of the fact that something was actually wrong. DaHubby even had his share of invasive and/or embarrassing procedures and moments.

Then, it was early spring 2005 and we had been trying for 22 unsuccessful cycles. I had had an awful miscarriage (are there any other kind) 8 months before. The church we were attending at the time had intercessory prayer on a weeknight and my most vivid memory of it was falling to my knees, weeping, and repeating over and over and over "Your will be done, Your will be done, Your will be done..."

One day we heard on the radio that Allen Asbury was going to make a local appearance. Now, we are in an out-of-the-way part of Michigan. It's nearly an hour to any kind of "civilization" i.e. concert venues, big name stores, etc. To have someone like this locally, playing at our high school auditorium...for FREE...is unheard of!

At that time, his hit "Somebody's Praying Me Through" was all over the radio. And, when he sang it at the concert that night, I fell to pieces. That song, along with "I Will Wait Upon The Lord" just broke me down into a puddle at His feet. It renewed me, gave me hope to hang in there a little longer. I was *sure* that baby was coming. So, I just had to be ready and willing to receive in His timing.

But, the lyrics of "Somebody's Praying Me Through" continued to hold me up through many, many hard nights, more disappointments, more procedures, more medications until finally that summer, I found myself pregnant with Flicka.

On Friday, the Vikings and I were on our way home from our morning running around. And, that song came on the radio. And, like it did the first time, it stripped away all the "stuff" of the week (the whining, the crying, the struggles, the diapers, the injuries, the bickering, etc.) and reminded me what life was like without the Vikings and how desperately I had wanted these little miracles just a short few years ago.

"Baby?"

"Yes, Momma?"

"Did you know this is your song? This is the song that Mom and Dad used to sing over and over and over when we were waiting for God to send you to us."

She was quiet and listened to the rest of the song. She asked me to explain again about the song and seemed to think about it. Then, last night, she asked to hear it again...knowing I had a copy here at the house.

So, I put the CD in. And, we danced. And, when I couldn't stand looking into her sweet little face at arm's length any longer, I picked her up and I held her so tightly as we danced and I sang it to her again. Then, Pojke wanted in on the action. LOL So, I sat on the floor, held my babies tightly, cried, and sang it one more time. Just for them. DaHubby found us in a pile on the kitchen floor. He helped all of us up - and my sweet hubby and I put those sweet blessings to bed.

So when you're drowning in a sea of hurt
And it feels like life couldn't get any worse
There's a blessing waiting to push back the curse
'Cause somebody's praying you through

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Viking Mommy Roller Coaster - UPDATED

(Updated: I'm also using this for my Thankful Thursday/Thursday Thanks Tank. For those looking for that, I know this is long but there are many moments within for which I'm thankful! LOL)

Yesterday turned out to be one of those up-and-down days. Kinda like
this day - where you feel like you are riding in a blender! LOL

First of all, thank you to everyone who comments, visited, and/or signed up for 30 Days of Thanksgiving I was so worried I wouldn't do Kari proud by getting at least a few folks to participate! *wink*

Second, thanks to my loyal regular cheerleading squad (yea, that's you Anita, Peach, and Debbie) for your sweet response to my FPU post from yesterday, too. You ladies have reached out with words and actions that back up the support you give me and it is very much appreciated.

However...LOL

My bubble got burst around dinner last night. Talk about Murphy's Law! LOL At least it didn't cost us anything! Except a little sleep and some "parental peace."

First, in the middle of eating dinner...the power goes out. Despite the typical Michigan "bipolar weather" we've been having lately (a few days of 80 degree sunny followed by a couple in the 50's with atrocious winds) thankfully, we normally are not affected. If we have any power issues, it is back on within the first few minutes 99% of the time. Not this time!

Let the hysterics and water-works begin! LOL Flicka worked herself into such a frenzy about it: the sun was going down, it was gonna be dark soon, her bedroom was gonna be *really* dark soon, what were we gonna do? Momma can't go get candles - they aren't safe. What are we gonna do? The batteries are dead in one of the flashlights. Oh me, oh my!

So, I ran out to get candles, gas for the Focus (hoping the gas station hadn't lost power too because I was on fumes waiting for DaHubby to get paid yesterday), a few things at the grocery store. Luckily, DaHubby called during that time and said the power had come back on. Praise God!

So, I get home and at this point we had missed midweek service. But, DaHubby still had praise and worship practice. So, off he went around 7:30pm. About forty-five minutes of "Lilo and Stitch" later and the Vikings got thrown in the tub for pre-bedtime preparations.

A half hour of soaking and pruning-up later - after repeated trips in there to check their safety and the water consumption on the bathroom floor - Pojke begins screaming. Not necessarily an immediate emergency usually. LOL Probably just a bath toy dispute. But, then...Flicka adds her screaming to the mix...telling me to come quick!

I find the two of them c-o-v-e-r-e-d in a half bottle of Suave shampoo...most of it over Pojke's head. He is absolutely slick with it and it is mostly in his eyes. Apparently, Flicka had climbed the edge of the tub, using the faucet as a brace for her 30+ pound body, to reach the shampoo. She's been such a momma lately that she wanted to wash his hair.

Instinctually, I grab Flicka and put her in the back of the tub, move Pojke to the front, and turn on fresh water to begin rinsing his eyes. Unknowingly, I create another problem...a huge, nearly-comic level of suds. Pojke's screaming. Now, Flicka's screaming. And, the water just doesn't seem to be helping fast enough. There is just too. much. shampoo! Everywhere. And, there's water. Everywhere. If we ranked bath time by the number of towels soaked, this would have been a 6 or 7 towel-er!

After about 10-15 minutes of rinsing Pojke is still. screaming. And, so is Flicka. So, I call DaHubby who thankfully is already on his way home after practice. It's takes until nearly 10pm to get everyone calmed down. Plus, I couldn't seem to shake the thought that rinsing with water wasn't enough so I called the on-call pediatrician. Because of Flicka's reaction to irritants and bug bites, we didn't want to wake up to a situation worse than when he went to bed.

Can I just say there is a VERY GOOD reason that the Vikings' pediatric practice is on my list for 30 Days of Thanksgiving!? I absolutely LOVE these docs! Especially the one who was on call...who also happened to be the one on call when Flicka ate the elastic string from one of those candy/Sweetart bracelets when she was about Pojke's age.

Anyway, Dr. S assured me that I did good and Pojke would be fine. He also suggested giving him some Benedryl for the night to ease the itching and make him comfortable enough to sleep. Praise God that all would be OK with that!

And, poor Flicka. She felt awful. She was really pitiful. And, didn't fall asleep until nearly 11:30pm. Not only was she was worried about Pojke but apparently she has seen too much newspaper and TV coverage of the California wildfires and has become worried about our risk of a house fire. *sigh*

Such big worries for such a little body.

So, we're hoping to start today with a fresh slate. She seems fine this morning despite the shortage of sleep and Pojke seems no worse for wear. I'm praying that God's peace will follow us through this day today...and that we will be aware of it, appreciative of it, and bask in it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Twenty-four hours ago...

DaHubby and I were doing this...keeping in mind this is a family-friendly blog! *wink*...

Dave Ramsey would be proud...that is me with the REALLY big scissors in my right hand cutting up every. single. one. of our credit cards! All TEN of them: 3 Lowes (don't ask! LOL), 2 Best Buys, a Home Depot, and 2 sets of 2 Visas and Mastercards.

And, look at that smile on DaHubby's face. Never thought I'd see it from cutting up his precious Lowes card(s)! *wink*

Financial Peace University, Ramsey's 13-week course we're attending via DVD's at a local church, is making a HUGE difference in our lives and in our marriage. We're in agreement about our financial goals...finally! And, DaHubby is working all the OT he's offered, we have not eaten out in over a month, we have not used a credit card since starting the class, by this time next week we should have $400 in our emergency fund (Dave's baby step #1), we're changing our life insurance all around so we quit losing money on a bad deal we got years ago, the minivan is up for sale, and, if the van is sold soon, we could be completely out of debt (with the exception of the house) in 14-18 months!

Praise God!

That grace may cause thanksgiving to abound

Today is the first day of 30 Days of Thanksgiving! Can you name thirty people in your life that bless your socks off!? LOL

Hopefully, once you get writing, you may find that it'll be hard to *limit* your list to 30...and that is the ultimate goal. More awareness of how truly blessed we are. Like the Advent season leads us to Christmas, think of this as a daily reminder to prepare us for Thanksgiving.

This challenge is not meant to be difficult or complicated. Simply make a list (written or mental) of thirty people in your life that make your daily walk easier: friends, family, those that have made you smile when your day is somewhat blue.


Then, resolve that every day from today until Turkey Day you will send a note (either snail mail, hand-delivered, or electronically) to one of those folks.


So few of us regularly take the time to drop an "atta boy" or "atta girl" on someone but so many around us could really use it. We all have rough days, doubts, and grumbling times. You could be the one to brush away those clouds for someone!


And, while this challenge is not exclusively meant for believers, for those that are - this outpouring of daily thanksgiving and praise should be a lifestyle! And, maybe this is the way to begin that habit!

Col 2:6-7 As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.


So, are you with us? If so, sign in with Mr. Linky below. Please link to your specific post. At your bloggy home, your post may contain as much as you feel comfortable sharing. While it's not about focusing on ourselves, perhaps share some of your list, how did you choose the people you did, are there any good stories about why someone is on the list, talk about the process you went through to create your list, etc.


Then, during the next 30 days, you may receive feedback...you may not. In that time, perhaps post about what, if anything, happened either in terms of feedback or a change in your heart. These notes of thanks may be just the "seed" in situation around you that may grow into an open door! You can leave these updates in the comments section on this post.


Finally, sometime Thanksgiving weekend (or thereabouts) please consider posting a wrap-up post. I'll post another Mr. Linky here on Turkey Day that can list 'em up all straight and organized. LOL


DaHubby will tease me about this but there's a song off the recent Monk and Neagle CD that I swore I didn't really like when it first came out that puts in nicely:

This is a call for a change in my heart

I realize that I've not been doing my part

When I needed a savior, I found it in Him

He gave to me, now I'll give back to them

May we bless so many socks off that much of our circle of influence is standing barefoot! *wink*

2 Corinthians 4 15 For all things [are] for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Explanation...

...for anyone who is interested. A little Swedish history.

I've been fighting the itch to change my template. LOL (One battle lost.) I wanted to change from the fall leaves to something like a "naked tree", a cool nature silhouette kind of thing - no snow yet, just the naked tree since I'm mourning the passing of summer and fall. (*sniff, sniff* The furnace finally kicked on independently this afternoon.)

Anyhoo, I've been searching through DaHubby's multiple photo albums and computer files to no avail. *sigh* So, how 'bout something Viking-related until I can manage that?


The above banner pic is a close-up of the
linnaea borealis - provincial emblem of Småland in Sweden. This province is the home of Carolus Linnaeus (Carl von Linné) who is known as the "father of modern taxonomy." He is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology. This flower is also often referred to as the national flower of Sweden but I've found today while surfing that that claim is actually undocumented.

Oh, and speaking of history...another interesting tidbit: did ya know that my little Vikings are related to this guy? *wink* The Vikings will be brilliant, dontcha know? And, famous. And, will support DaHubby and I in the style in which we WISH we had become accustomed! LOL

Got yours? UPDATED

I've got my 30 Days of Thanksgiving list ready to go for tomorrow...do you?

Please join us here tomorrow!

1 Chronicles 16:34 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for [He is] good! For His mercy [endures] forever.

Updated to add: I just realized that BooMama...THE BooMama of mucho mommy blogging fame has linked to this contest. Thank you, thank you, thank you all the BooMama fans joining us here. I'm blessed more than you know!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pass The Torch Tuesday

Just a small one this week...the behavior issues around here have been pretty trying lately. But, I did notice a particular trend in the last week: Flicka's become "the mom." Poor Pojke now has two of us after him! LOL

But, one sweet example was when we were out running errands - one of which included running into the library just to pick up a book I have had on hold that had finally come in. Just as I normally would she explained what we were doing, had him hold her hand, helped him up the steps of the library, kept telling him to stay close while I was standing at the desk, and tried to hold his hand all the way back to the car.


She also had been signing "You Are My Sunshine" to her baby dolls! LOL That was the o-n-l-y song she would settle to in those colicky months after she first arrived. Passing the torch of mommy-hood...maybe I'll get to be a grandma someday and see these skills come to fruition! *wink*

Stop by Kelly's place today (her theme today is "PTT - the Halloween costume edition" but since we don't "do" H-ween, this was the best I got this week! *wink*) and see what other PTT moments folks are sharing.

My "Big Sister"

I've seen many of us talk about our church families. I happen to L-O-V-E mine...warts and all! LOL I have my "church grandma" - Sister P. And, Pastor Deb (despite not being actually old enough to have a kid my age) is the Vikings' "church grandma" especially since she was there when both arrived into this world - praying over me as I labored, whispering God's promises in my ear as I pushed, and then over them as they took their first breaths.

But, I also have a "big sister" - Sister C. She has had a really rough road before coming to Christ. Abuse as a child. Drug use as a teenager. Many bad decisions. More drug use as an adult. Yet, God miraculously, instantly delivered her from her meth use five years ago when she gave her life to Him. And, He walked with her as she gave up cigarettes two years ago. Her testimony feels me with hope and makes me cry like a baby! I'm so proud of her.

Yesterday was "Recovery Sunday" at our church. We have a growing recovery program run by a man, Brother O, who was instantly delivered from alcoholism after tens of years of drinking. This program is less than three years old and is probably one of the fastest growing ministries in our church. It not only covers the more familiar addictions of drugs and alcohol but also addressed other things we use to "cope" instead of relying on God: food, control, sexual things, certain types of relationships, etc.

Brother O had four Recovery folks give short testimonies yesterday. First - a former "biker dude" who use to be addicted to meth and crack now clean. Then, an abused wife who left her situation and moved several hundred miles to go where she felt God wanted her. An older couple's individual testimonies with regards to his depression/suicidal thoughts being lifted and her issues with control and manipulation being brought out into Christ's light and exposed for what they are. And, finally, Sister C.

I'm guessing she felt most of us had heard her testimony before. Most know her story. So, she simply sang a song. But, what a song it was...If you have not heard this "updated" version done by Chris Tomlin, it's a must-see! (Or would that be a must-hear? LOL)



Now, you can see why I cried like a baby. And, why I'm so proud of her. And, why I think our God is SO AWESOME!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Starting October 24...UPDATED


this will be the new home of "30 Days of Thanksgiving" for 2007.

Kari at Healed Waters is the creator of 30DOT but she is currently on a "blog sabbatical." With her permission and blessing, I'm going to be her "thanksgiving headquarters."

Last year, I tagged along on Kari's adventure for what I think was her first year doing this. My momma always raised me up to be a good conscientious writer of thank-you notes. Because of that, I've seen the power in a well-written, well-intentioned note to make someone's day. And, edifying someone (whether a believer or not) encourages the pay-it-forward spirit which I am ALL for!

Early last October, I made a list of 30 people in my life that I felt needed to know that my world is a little better because they are in it. I thought a list like that would be hard to create...and, actually, it was not. I also made a little card in MS Publisher using Kari's button graphic explaining what I was doing and why.
Then, starting October 24th, every day for thirty days I "snail mailed" or emailed someone on that list.

My online buddies. My pastors. My parents. My in-laws. The folks at my local Walgreen's pharmacy who put up with my wacky-weird questions when one of the Vikings is sick. The Vikings' pediatrician. My favorite lunch spot's staff. My mail carrier and newspaper delivery person. My favorite cashier at the grocery store whose line I always wait in no matter how long because she's so nice to the Vikings.

Who around you do you appreciate? Who makes a tough day a little easier to get through? Who silently takes care of small (or big) tasks around you? Who makes you smile and thankful they are part of your life? Wouldn't it be nice if they knew how you felt?

Leave a comment here if you'd like to participate. And, consider posting at your bloggy home about what you think you might do and/or who you might honor starting next Wednesday. Then, perhaps do a follow-up post after your Thanksgiving food coma subsides and tell the bloggy world how it went.

And, may the glory be His alone.

Updated to add: I just realized that BooMama...THE BooMama of mucho mommy blogging fame has linked to this contest. Thank you, thank you, thank you all the BooMama fans joining us here. I'm blessed more than you know!

What's better...?

A day spent "putzing" and a completed to-do list

OR
A day spent listening to Tad and The Letter Factory CD for the ump-teenth time,
watching as Flicka makes an army of bears...
... and Pojke discover the joys of Plah-Doh for the first time!

Cleaning up grounded-in Play-dohs wins! LOL

And, laundry can wait...we're off to Dairy Queen for a quick lunch with Grandma's other gift certificates.

*sigh* These days I really like being a mom.

Ya Ever Have One Of Those Days?

Where you are moving, running, sorting, cleaning, driving non-stop from the moment your feet hit the floor? Well, I had one yesterday. And, what's scary is that I was that busy despite having cleared some things from my schedule because I'm still fighting this cold and I thought Flicka and I could just hang out for a bit. Yea, right! LOL

This cold - while affecting no else in this household anymore - has caused me to get no more than 4 hours of sleep per night since last weekend...and not always four in a row...until last night...finally!

And, Flicka's behavior has been less than stellar lately...although, to be honest, mine hasn't been great either. So, I thought some one-on-one "momma time" might improve matters. Weeelllll...it did and it didn't.

Other than the 3 screaming/crying/choking tantrums before 10am and the two more right before bed - the middle of the day went fine! LOL

4:30am - 7:30am Momma chores (yes, you are reading that right. Once I got up for a glass of water and ANOTHER cough drop, I couldn't fall back asleep so I just got up and took a long steamy shower to clear my head.)

7:30am Vikings up and the tantrums begin

9:30am Both Vikings screaming due to some perceived slight in the backseat as we leave the house

10am drop off Pojke with DaGrandparents

10:30am-11:15am groceries at Aldis

11:15am-12n groceries at Hardings (and I got a week's groceries for under $50!! Wa-hoo!)

12-12:15pm Unpack groceries, pack lunches for both of us

12:30pm Momma's chiropractor appt

1:30pm Flicka's swimming lesson

2-3pm Driving out and back to drop off a meal for an older couple at church in need

3pm - Call DaGrandparents...Pojke's napping, right?...No? *sigh*...you need to bring him home early?...I'll be driving right by the exit, I'll come get him.

3:30pm Oops....I packed the last four diapers in the diaper bag this morning...no diapers at home...must stop at Dollar General.

4pm FINALLY! We're home...but no one has had a nap...I get hold of DaHubby on IM who offers to make dinner. PRAISE GOD! I L-O-V-E that man!

4:30-5:15pm Momentary peace...Vikings playing quietly...Momma sneaks off to read the paper in her room until...

5:15pm DADDY'S HOME! Chaos ensues.

6pm dinner...my sweet man can put together a good meal!

7:30pm Vikings in tub

8pm "Care Bears" pre-bedtime 30 min video goes in

8:30pm the tantrums begin again

8:45pm the thunderstorm starts *sigh*

9pm Pojke's out cold

9:30pm FINALLY Flicka's asleep

What did Anita tell me once? To appreciate these times because they go by so quickly?! LOL Quickly? I feel like I'm riding in a blender!

Oh! And, did I mention?...While the Vikings were in the tub, DaHubby and I started filling out the very large, very thick life insurance packets that had arrived yesterday because...the insurance company's nurse will be here this morning at 10am to check us both out, draw blood, and give me an EKG (who knew that my ADD meds which are technically a class 2 drug and an amphetamine with a hefty heart attack risk would put me in a higher risk category than DaHubby's maintenance drugs for high BP and cholesterol).

Give me strength, Lord. I'm gonna need it....before I fall over! *wink*

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The McDonalds version of a "Pentecostal handshake"

We've been so very blessed with support - emotional and financial - since starting Financial Peace University. While attempting to get our entire financial life overhauled, we have identified some additional "holes" where money was "leaking out" of our budget. With us cutting back in so many areas, some folks have seen to it to bless us with a little here or there (or A LOT) right when we needed it. Much like a Pentecostal handshake - which I've learned in the last few years is passing money inconspicuously from your hand to another's as a gift via a handshake.

For example, we haven't eaten out...at all... in over 3 weeks. That's a BIG deal to us - especially to me who now is cooking 3 meals a day 7 days a week! LOL No McDonald's. No stopping for juice and a snack for the Vikings amid a morning of errand-running. No date nights. Nothing. So, my mom...the ever-providing grandma...sent the Vikings gift certificates...for McDonalds! Wa-hoo!

Well, today my curtain climbers and I were out running errands and found ourselves just wrapping them up at 12:45pm! Yikes! They were little troopers considering on a normal day they would have eaten lunch and be getting ready for "quiet time" (you can't use the "nap" word around Flicka LOL) at this point in the day. So, I treated them to McD's as a result of Grandma's blessing.

While we munched on two Happy Meals between the three of us (neither Viking usually finishes one meal independently), a man approached our table. He looked about my age, maybe younger. Clean cut but "dusty" - perhaps he was a dry-waller, a contractor, something like that. He says to me with a smile - as I'm wiping ketchup off the table, the chair, Pojke, and every other surface within 30 yards - "you don't happen to shop at Toys R Us, do you?"

I chuckled. Normally, we don't. The closest one is over 30 minutes away and, up until recently when it occurred to me Flicka will be F-O-U-R in the spring, we've still been more of a Babies R Us family. But, knowing what he was getting at, I said, "sure, why?"

And, he hands me $10 in coupons for Toys R Us!

McD's apparently has started their "Monopoly" promotion again. And, he had collected five $1 off and one $5 coupon for anything at a TRU store...even online! Wa-hoo!

I must have said thank you a dozen times. He just smiled and walked away. I'm not sure if he realizes the difference that could make in getting a little something for the Vikings but God knows. And, I know God will bless that man for reaching out and sharing what he had...even if it was a stack of Monopoly pieces! *wink*

WFMW: Free kid-bonding construction style

I'm wondering what rock I've been living under that I didn't know about this sooner! LOL But, do y'all know about the "kid build"programs at Lowes and Home Depot?

The first Saturday of every month your local Home Depot has a project all pre-cut, organized, bagged, tools-provided for little hands to build. Despite being labeled as for 5-12 year olds, Flicka and Pojke have done two of these now and they are a BIG hit.

And, apparently, Lowes does a similar program (Build N Grow) on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

Best of all, everything is F-R-E-E!

Works for me. Stop by Shannon's today to see what other ideas resourceful moms have come up with.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Armchair Traveler Reading Challenge: Book Three

In August, I joined reading challenge. Lesley is the host of the Armchair Traveler Reading Challenge at A Life In Books. Following my original post, I've "been to" Persia/Iran and England. And, apparently, I am not the only one traveling all over the world - figuratively speaking of course! LOL When Lesley's original post reached 100 comments/reviews, she posted another! Wow!

And, now I've been to Mexico.


While my first two books were on my "Plan B" list, I did get to read one of my first choices! My mom sent me
Nothing To Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone as a surprise. And, while I read it immediately, I haven't gotten around to posting the review until now...6 weeks later! So goes the life of a ADD mama with a nearly 2 year old and a nearly 4 year old! LOL

This book was
interesting to me since, in pre-Vikings life, I had always figured I'd end up traveling alone. And, while I have no particular reason or explanation, I've always wanted to learn Spanish. Mary Morris now teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College. At one time (the book has a copyright date of 1988), she took an extended sabbatical to "escape" New York for a while and ended up in Mexico with some money and a typewriter.

I was looking to live vicariously through her submersion experience in a new and different culture. As someone who never felt like they "fit in," there was a time when I daydreamed of leaving everything and taking off like that. Free of past mistakes, of what was expected of me, of what few responsibilities I had acquired.


In this way, the book was a letdown.

I never "bought" that Morris was on an adventure - she was just running from something. It didn't seem like she interested in learning anything per se - just licking recent wounds and attempting some extended self-analysis. Even with a change of location, environment, and hemisphere, she seemed just as miserable as she must have been in New York.
The people she met - stereotypical. A native. Fellow ex-pat writers. "Hippies" and those of alternative lifestyles. Young folks with backpacks on vacation. Even the eventual "boyfriend" she hooks up with turns into a college seminat about cross-cultural dating, Manifest Destiny, and colonization.

Even Morris' travels out of Mexico seem to be for no particular reason than to wander - but wandering without any of the "romantic," spontaneous overtones...like "let's take off and only make right turns and see where that takes us." LOL


There ARE new friendships, relationships, and location discoveries but everything just seemed so mopey. It was a struggle to finish but I'm glad I read it.

I confess...

...I'm a closet history buff who can't WAIT to spring all this date-y goodness on DaHubby and the Vikings! *tee-hee*

Was cruisin' PayPerPal and found a company that does multiple walking tours in several cities in the U.S.. DaHubby and I have talked for years about how badly I want to take him to Washington D.C.. I went once in high school and have been dying to get back there since.

And, one of the reasons I've been interested in homeschooling was to be able to do traveling to historical site (preferably off season! LOL) and explored them in depth when the Vikings are old enough.

But, this company has some really cool walking, biking, and mass transit tours with some awesome historical significance. While I live within 90 minutes of most of Trusted Tours' Chicago tours, these Charleston tours caught my eye immediately. Particularly the one called "The Patriots of Charleston Tour."

While I wish it was more affordable (it would be $74 for a two hour tour once both Vikings were 8 yrs old), how cool is it that we would see the Old Exchange Building and hear about the three native South Carolinians who signed the Declaration of Independence?

So, at what point do kids first learn about Charleston and/or the Revolutionary War? Hmmm...


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday Sweetness

In the interest of s-l-o-w-l-y increasing our "class time," this month we will do two mini-lessons on Saturdays. Today was the first...

For those that have asked about what do I do with Pojke...well, today he jumped right in with Flicka at the dining room table for our opener - coloring and practicing our I's

Then, we went outside to practice our numbers. Today, I was interested in her verbally counting to 11 but threw in seeing if she could ID them as well. I'd call out a number and she had to run and stand on it. Pojke got in on the action as well...running in circles in the driveway! LOL

Then, we took a walk around the block, picking up and counting leaves and ID-ing their colors, and then headed back home to where a hot iron and wax paper was waiting and...viola!

Crafty things to greet our visitors.
*sigh* I'm really likin' this homeschooling thing! LOL

Thank you...

Laurel
Anita
Jules
Anita
Marilee
Anita (again! *wink*)
Kathryn
Carmen
Amy
Debbie
Jessie
Anita (I'm seein' a pattern here!)
Laura
Jessie
Debbie
Mert
Jessie (another constant encourager)
GiBee
Kelly
Karen
Anita
Jessie
Lynn
Kathy
Jillian
Sara
Kari
Lisa
Anita
Sara

Those names represent emails from the last five months that I have squirreled away in my Outlook folders that have made me smile, made me blush due to the praise, and made me feel lifted up by your words.

Despite feeling like I've been falling behind, slacking somewhere, or too overwhelmed to respond, you all have been a source of blessing for me. When I lose my perspective and my focus from Him, you all set me back on the right track - looking up and then out!

Thank you.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A little homeschool report...

Have I mentioned lately how much fun I am having? LOL And, Flicka seems to be enjoying it too! *wink*

Yesterday, we...

*practiced out new memory verse: "Where you go I will follow" Ruth 1.16
*recorded our weather (connected to a leaves and weather lesson from KidSparks) *read "Mary Had A little Lamb"...and mentioned that the lamb has four legs (why we did this will become clear in a few more lines! LOL)
*introduced a little donation bank (made of an empty tissue box and tin foil). We'll be collecting and/or saving pennies and loose change all month. The last week of October, we'll open it up and make or buy something for our local fire station since October is Fire Safety/Prevention Month.
*practiced writing 1 thru 4
*practiced recognizing A - H
*wrote out some of the above in white glue and added bird seed for an *ahem* interesting hands-on practice (and, Marilee...below that is the post-colored-pasta result! LOL) *while some Celtic fiddle music in the background (cultural heritage), we sorted a bag of M&M's by color, counted them, and then ATE THEM...
*as Momma read a story about apples going from baby trees to market
*we then read "Blueberries for Sal" as part of our BFIAR curriculum.
*that led into a discussion of "classifying" the animals we encountered in that book and in "Mary..." earlier *Read "Little Bo Peep" for one more classification example

Not bad for 45 minutes work! LOL

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday Thanks Tank

Inspired by Peach...and the ladies of Thankful Thursday.

This week I'm thankful for...

...God's blessing on a fellow infertility "alumni" who found out last week she's pregnant again! Praise Him!

...my mom. God's been working on both of us as we turn our relationship into something that could be pleasing to Him.

...DaHubby. Oh, where do I start? For his dedication to being the head of this home. For his motivation and encouragement as we head down a new financial path via Financial Peace University. For his cheerful, smiling face that doesn't falter when he walks in the door to two grinning, dirty faces and a house that looks like a cyclone hit it because Momma's fighting a cold.

...for awesome God-fearing in-laws. Not only was their FIFTY-FIFTH wedding anniversary in August but my FIL's 75th b-day was Monday. I'm still stunned into awe by their life of serving in ministry and serving each other.

...for a wonderful first for Flicka: her first non-family birthday party invite. LOL Despite some uncharacteristic shyness and a T-O-N of questions, she seemed to have a wonderful time with some of her new friends from MOMS Club.

...for great results on a evaluation that Pojke took this week. We are part of our local Parents as Teachers program and Pojke was given a Brigrance assessment for basic skills and flew through it with flying colors. There's been a hints thrown at us about a possible language delay due to his repeated ear infections. So, it does a momma's heart good to know that he scored a 95 where a normal range is 60-98. I also helps that Flicka was with my IL's so as not to steal his thunder! LOL

And, as always, I'm so very thankful for God's enduring grace, patience, and love.

So, what are YOU thankful for this week?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

WFMW: Another Momma Shortcut! LOL

I haven't done WFMW recently - partially because of lack of time but also due to a feeling of lack of creativity! LOL But, necessity is the mother of invention!

Was prepping for a lesson for Flicka which included dyeing pasta green, red, yellow, and orange to make a lovely fall noodle-n-glue tree. LOL As I went to gather the alcohol and food coloring, I realized...crud, I'm out of food coloring.I went to buy some more and found the standard small box of four bottles priced at over $3 at my local grocery store! So, I tried Dollar General. No luck. Hmmm...so as I stood there in the "cooking/ingredients" section, I was trying to think of an inexpensive solution and/or alternative.

And, it was staring me int he face...literally! LOL

If I have sooooo much trouble battling Koolaid powder and Jello-type powder stains on my counter tops, wouldn't they have enough "umph" to color pasta?

So, with 3 boxes for $1 of lime, cherry, and orange gelatin mix, I headed home.

I filled 6 muffin tins about 2/3 full of alcohol and about 1 T of gelatin powder. The powder doesn't dissolve but the dye is released. I soaked the pasta through dinner prep and consumption and after I was done with the dishes, I scooped out the noodles and laid them on a cookie sheet to dry...

Colored pasta at 1/3 the cost? That works for me!

Stop by Shannon's today to see what other cool ideas everyone's come up with.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Overwhelmed...again. *sigh*

Why am I so resistant to change? Why is my daily life so rocked and shattered by a break in my plan? Something as small as a spilled drink or as large as a major financial overhaul seems an equally insurmountable. I've often thought that change is related to control...especially with my ADD. A controlled, scheduled, planned environment provides a stable platform for my organizationally-challenged brain to accomplish what needs to be done.

And, it is this inflexibility that I find so aggravating in others when I can't seem to fit into someone else's plan.

And, what is all this angst doing to the Vikings...as I rush them to activities where we're running late because I had to finish just one more thing, blow up over stupid stuff, and can't (or won't) make time to just stop and play with the Vikings because dishes and laundry and deadlines can't wait?

Things are falling through the cracks again. Nothing major yet but my follow-through lately stinks! Blogging, emails, events with the kids, commitments for church, our homework for Financial Peace University, household "extras" above the standard daily housework. I'm getting TONS done but there's always leftovers. And, I always feel inadequate, even a failure when something simple gets forgotten, misplaced, broken, etc.

I know the Lord made me this way for a reason. I'd like to think that my ADD allows me to think outside-the-box as much research into others with it have revealed. But, even that creative thinking fights with my desperate need for order.

And, that's a whole 'nother issue: the only thing I should be desperate for is Christ and His word.

I'm still sorting it all out. Spending a lot (maybe too much) time in my head. Priorities still changing. Wanting to spend more time here but can't seem to find enough uninterrupted time to do it.

So I keep plugging along...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Wa-hoo!

What a nice surprise for a icky, sticky, we're-all-draggin-from-the-weekend Monday morning!

I just received an email from Shannon (of WFMW fame and a recent award). I won one of her giveaways at BloggyGiveaways.com

Soon, I will be the happy owner of either a CD or DVD version of Praise Baby's Christmas edition!

And, that will be the second Christmas gift for the Vikings! LOL

Saturday, October 6, 2007

God bless Home Depot! LOL

Today was our local HD's "Safety Day." I'm guessing it was timed to coincide with National Fire Safety Month. Three firetrucks, an ambulance, a police car, and junker car that the firefighters took apart for a "Jaws of Life" demonstration. Then, it's also the first Saturday of the month so it's a "Kid Build" day with a DIY kids' project! We had a blast! (And, everything was F-R-E-E!!!)

Pojke trying out the big water hose!

No....YOU go first! *wink*

Couldn't get neither Viking to try on the real chief's hat! LOL

Can you tell by the look on his face that it is almost nap time? LOL

And, could they have picked a better craft?
It's a fire truck crayon holder! LOL

Friday, October 5, 2007

For those with little ones still in carseats...

I just received an email from Toys R Us indicating that the Evenflo Triumph car seat we purchased for Flicka that Pojke is now using has been recalled. Nothing major (bummer, no new car seat! *wink*) but they'll be sending me some gadget to install on it to make it safety compliant. And, it probably took more time to find the model number than it will to actually install it though! LOL

Anyway, if you've got a Triumph (the BEST car seat in the WORLD as far as we're concerned) that might have been manufactured between September 2001 and October 2005, you might want to give these a links a view: one from
Toys R Us and the one from Evenflo.


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Apples, apples everywhere! LOL

Today was our first day in our new unit(s) for October. We started a new memory verse, recorded the weather on our new weather calendar, reviewed the numbers and letters we learned last month and then....on to the apples! LOL

A book about apple types
Taste-testing 3 different kinds of apples
Making apple sauce
And, doing apple prints!


*whew* What a morning!

Financial Peace University

Well... One of the things we've been busy with...getting depressed about...worrying over...being convicted about...getting motivated about is our first two classes in Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.

Several people have asked via email what exactly that's all about. So, I thought I'd try to explain a little and give some basic info.

Included in Dave's "About Us" info on his website is the following: The Lampo Group, Inc. is providing biblically based, common sense education and empowerment which gives HOPE to everyone from the financially secure to the financially distressed.

And,
Financial Peace University is a 13-week class to go from financially distressed to a path leading to financially secure.

DaHubby and I aren't necessarily bad with money. We impulse buy occasionally. We like technology. We both have excellent credit. But, as we've found out in the last year, we are seriously overextended right now. And, while we're blessed to infrequently argue about money, we ARE tired of worrying about money. And, as we are finding out, having excellent credit is not necessary a positive thing. Not NEEDING credit should have been our goal all along.

Dave also has a national radio program of which DaHubby's been listening to HOURS of old broadcasts on the internet while at work. That along with the classes we are taking at a local church (you can also take this class online), there are some MAJOR changes in store for the Vikings' household.

Last night, as we were working on our "homework" for next Tuesday, it was REALLY hard not to get REALLY discouraged. It'll be YEARS before we get this right again. And, it's gonna get worse and hurt a little more before it gets better.

As part of the class, Dave has "baby steps" to accomplish in a particular order. And, since we currently have a spending plan that's still running us into the negative on a regular basis despite several rounds of "trimming", we are struggling to even complete the first one: to have $1000 set aside in the bank as as emergency fund.


Dave has a very no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is style. And, there are already things we're hesitating about that would raise his ire. While we are both willing to do what it takes to get out of this mess, we are grasping to keep our second vehicle and doing everything possible to not sell our current home. However, it becoming clear that we will likely have to give up the first to keep the second.


And, we have learned enough that we have found "hidden money" in places where we could trim, transfer, re-negotiate but not enough to have a spending plan that works as it should ala Dave Ramsey.


And, like AA programs and the like where you are trying to change major life habits, you have to WORK the program to have it WORK. So, we're plowing through, negotiating, and evaluating each step as we go.


And, it's been brutal...on both of us.


My brain was so overwhelmed last night by all we have to do and have to accomplish that I just wanted to fall into bed, pull the covers over my head, and cry.

Anyway, this program comes HIGHLY recommended to us. And, we found out that a couple at church that we see as mentors used this program to get to the place where they are now - a place we've envied frequently. So, cutting, trimming, delaying gratification - they will continue indefinitely...until we see some progress.

Christmas shopping already? *sigh*

Yes, it's true. Christmas is only 82 days from now. But, that also means it's only 11 paydays between now and then. And, one thing I'm learning about recently is planning w-a-y ahead for big purchases.

So, yes, I admit, I've already selected and received a Cmas gift via Ebay with thanks to my online earnings from blogging. A certain member of this household is addicted to all things Leap Frog and Tad-oriented so a small Leap Frog item is now resting comfortably on the top shelf of my kitchen panty.

But, the internet is SERIOUSLY gearing up for the holidays already and CouponChief.com is no exception.

I've mentioned these folks before as a place where I search for online coupons, deals, sales, etc. They are adding new ones each day. So in the interest of my Cmas planning and hopefully in the interest of yours as well, I thought I'd list a few.

I had to laugh when I was looking for deals on things I could use for homeschooling and found some Edmunds Scientific deals that look like they'd make a better gift for DaHubby than for the Vikings! LOL

And, being the bibliophile I am and one that hopes to pass along this trait to the Vikings, I'm interested in how I could use these Scholastic Books coupons for items for Pojke and Flicka.

So, if you are an online shopper and if you're even close to being ready to consider your Cmas shopping yet, give those links a look see!



Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Homeschool Report For September

Well...by the numbers:

Number of memory verses: 1 (Numbers 4.26)
Number of classroom "days": 8 (2 per week)
Number of times we read "Prayer For A Child" as part of the "Before Five In A Row" curriculum: 4
Number of time we read "Ask Mr.Bear" as part of BFIAR: 3
Number of "field trips" outside for activities: 3
Numbers Flicka practiced orally counting up to: 10
Numbers Flicka practiced writing: 1 - 4
Letters Flicka practiced writing: A - F
Colors covered this month: 3 (red, blue, green)
Shapes covered: 3 (hexagon, triangle, rectangle - don't be too impressed! LOL We took pictures of a stop sign, yield sign, and our Neighborhood Watch sign and matched 'em to a sheet of 10 possible shapes! *wink*)
Senses explained and explored: 5

We also made bread, discussed where it comes from, talked about rhyming, worked on small motor (scissors), and talked about why Daddy and Papa call her a "Svenska flicka" on the day we talked about the letter "F" (intro to historical culture).

Boy, for about 12 hours time, we actually got a lot done! *wink*

Anyway, both of us have already learned ALOT! LOL But, ultimately, I'm getting to know better what Flicka is capable of and have already "tweaked" some things so October will be even better!

October? Well, we'll be doing...

10 days of class
10 nursery rhymes
3 days on "apples"
4 days on "leaves"
3 days on "pumpkins"
Another Bible verse
Learn about Daniel
Practicing writing A - L
Practicing verbal 1-13
Practice writing 1-7
2 more books from BFIAR
9 other library books
Work on sorting and classification
Creating a calendar re: October's weather
A month-long penny hunt to donate
Fire safety info (since October is Fire Safety Month)
Talk about anger management/feelings
Scottish music
Swedish culture lesson
Make apple sauce
A TON of crafts
3 more shapes (circles (apples), squares (baskets for the leaves), and ovals (pumpkins))
Small and large motor re: handing a ball

*whew*

No wonder planning takes so long! LOL

Little Fires

Just popping in...All is well in the Vikings' household. All healthy (for now! LOL) and nothing major going on. Just a rash of little fires I'm trying to deal with. Church newsletter deadline. Homeschooling planning and executing. Activities for MOMS Club. Chiropractic appts twice a week. Homework for Financial Peace University. Groceries, housework...y'know - all that mommy-n-family stuff! LOL Prioritizing in such a way that blogging has slid down the list a tad. Just wanted everyone to know we're good...even great...just busy.

Ecc 5.20:
For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps [him] busy with the joy of his heart.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Oh YES I did!

I don't know whose idea it was to have our annual Fall Festival/Pig Roast this weekend on the last day of the fast (*snicker* actually, it's been planned for months) but, yesterday, I was pretty miserable. LOL But, with the help of a Ziplock bag and some patience...oh, yes I did! I had BBQ pork this morning for breakfast! Wa-hoo!

And, I plan at some point today to have what will probably be the best tasting ICE CREAM ever - thankyouverymuch! *wink*

Lastly, there is a bag of M&M's somewhere in this county with MY NAME ON THEM!

To those of you who encouraged, supported, and lifted me and my church family up in prayer...THANK YOU!