Friday, November 30, 2007

The Third Annual Viking Family Advent Calendar: updated

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

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

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

2: put up tree

3: cut out paper snowflakes

4: make EZ ornaments probably from one of these ideas

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

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

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

8. Cmas craft at the library

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

10. night walk w/ parents as sled pullers

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

12. local kids' museum Cmas activity

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

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

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

16. church Cmas party

17. make Scottish black bun

18. Parents As Teachers holiday open house/party

19. night drive to look at lights

20. make some Cmas cookies

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

22. baking a birthday cake for Jesus

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

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

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

A year ago last week...

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

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

Must be my big bloggy blabbermouth! LOL

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

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

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Published Author

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

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


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


Tack själv! (Thanks!)

Thursday Thanks Tank

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

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


Check out other WW's here.

Flicka's Future Photography Fun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

She is SO right!

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

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

Under construction


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

Pass The Torch Tuesday

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

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


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

Monday, November 26, 2007

Peace Like A...

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

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

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

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

Ho, ho, ho! LOL

Mine!

Did ya ever see Nemo?


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

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


mine

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

mine

mine

mine

mine

mine

arguing over who knows what

mine

mine

mine

mine


*sigh*

this is normal, right? LOL

Monday Mucking Thru Leftover Mess

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

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

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

Saturday, November 24, 2007

30DOT wrap up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, November 23, 2007

What Black Friday? How 'bout a WHITE Friday?

What we woke up to today...

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

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The beginning of our Thanksgiving...

...started with this:
"Daddy's home!"



The middle? Four hours spent with DaHubby's family eating so much food it should be illegal! (LOL)

And, the end? The four of us curled up back in PJ's watching free Disney flicks from Family Video ("...They are especially noted for selected children's titles, sports and fitness videos, and educational videos which rent free of charge for five nights, with no other paid rentals necessary...") with the Vikings' "tent" set up on the living room floor.

Perfect day? I think so.

Hope everyone's else was equally wonderful!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This was my holiday weekend homework for my students several years ago...
(I know - I'm SOOOO mean! *wink*)


"What are 100 things you are thankful for?"

DaHubby
Flicka
Pojke
my mom
my dad
my step-dad
my step-mom
my father-in-law
my mother-in-law
Chelsea
Caylee
my extended family
DaHubby's extended family
Pastor Don
Pastor Deb
this home
my neighbors
my health
DaHubby's health
the Vikings' health
food
heat
water
electricity
the Focus
the Freestar
Sis and Bro Br
Sis and Bro Ba
Sis C
the praise and worship team
the rest of my church family
freedom to speak
freedom to worship
freedom to travel
peace
service members who are serving or have served
first responders who work 24/7
this computer
the occasional TV viewing
my church
Jesus
salvation
mercy
grace
righteousness
sanctification
freedom to read His word
freedom to worship
music
singing
playing instruments
being able to hear
being able to see
being able to speak
being able to smell
being able to feel/touch
health insurance
dental insurance
medication
eyeglasses
my ability to read
my love to teach
my love to write
my bloggy friends
ability to travel
beautiful location to live
my education
my giftings and talents
my imagination
my creativity
my marriage
cooking
my kitchen appliances
especially my dishwasher
crafting
the washer and dryer! LOL
for the oncology folks who took care of my mom
for the ortho folks who took care of my dad
for the people currently taking care of my sister
our pediatrician practice
our regular doc
Lisa
Shelagh
Jill
Melissa
Melanie
my other MOMS Club friends
favorite foods like chocolate
ice cream
mashed potatoes
my MIL's Mounds bar cookie
my SIL's no-bake cookies
for DaHubby's sense of humor
for his ability to fix nearly ANYTHING
DaHubby's self-build "sauna shower"
for Ebay
for Freecycle
family that provides 90% of the Vikings' clothes
for "angels" who go out of their way to bless me
for the exceptional teachers, instructors, mentors, and professors I've had

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

WFMW: frugal coupon holder

Well....as an ADD mom who has upped her frugality lately by clipping coupons and cutting out on-sale ads as reminders, I needed a way to organize all these bits of paper and keep them together as I left the house to run errands.

So as opposed to BUYING something, I looked around my home for something that resembled a small accordion file. And, I found this:


I got it from Freecycle from a lady who claimed she was giving up her crafty hobbies and it's for 4 X 6 photos. So, I labeled each page with a particular store that I may frequent and inserted the ads and coupons in that slot.



It can be thrown in my purse or on the passenger seat and I always have everything with me!

Free organization? Works for me! Go by Shannon's place today and see what other cool ideas everyone is sharing.

Wordless Wednesday

An end-of-season garden visitor...

For more Wordless Wednesdays, go here.

Another Small Blessing from Above

As part of our Financial Peace University class, we have small groups. We spent the first 45 minutes or so listening to that particular week's DVD presentation from Dave Ramsey and then spend an hour in "accountability groups" to discuss our questions, the questions from our text, challenges we've faced and/or goals we've achieved.

Over the last 2 months, our particular 10-15 cohorts have heard DaHubby's and my small victories as well as our frustration last week about how we were getting a little burnt out and we *really* missed eating out! LOL

So, last night as we left the auditorium and were en route to our classroom for small group, our small group leader approached us: "Someone asked me to give this to you."

It was a small envelope with the words "be encouraged" written on the outside. Inside was a gift card for Pizza Hut for $30!

Praise God! And, may He bless those who blessed us last night and in the past!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cool!

Saw an article in Family Fun magazine in October. They have held a contest in the past with regards to family-friendly ideas for volunteering. And, in the interest in starting the Vikings off early, I was crusing the pages looking for something I can do with a preschooler and toddler! LOL

Then, I saw
this one. And, with two of DaHubby's relatives currently fighting cancer, with losing DaHubby's brother to lung cancer in 2005, my mom being a melanoma survivor, in addition to the fact that we're within walking distance of our regional hospital facility, this seemed WAY doable.

Well, the phone rang about an hour ago and it was someone in the heirarchy of the radiation oncology department. They loved our idea! They figured that doing this for the in-patient folks would probably not be possible (due to isolation and food restriction issues) but that the outpatient folks who are able to come get treatment and leave might be interested. So, they are checking into it! Yippee!

Not to mention that I got a F-R-E-E ice cream maker on Freecycle! LOL So, other than the prohibitive cost of whipping cream, by the first of the year, we could be in business! I'm so geeked!

Anyone else having a problem?

Several of my feeds on Bloglines (coincidently all Blogger blogs) have errors with regards to their feeds.

PTT Tuesday: I've been replaced LOL

No cute picture to go with this one. Just one of those moments that freeze in time. When you realize just how fast they are growing. And, that maybe...just maybe...you are doing something right. You may just be building and encouraging enough love between them that it will survive despite all the recent and seemingly constant sibling struggles.

First, in a desperate negotiation to get Momma to take them to Dairy Queen yesterday (which has a really cool inside play area), Flicka suggests that first we should go home and have lunch THEN Momma can take us. She also agrees to use her recently started "commission" (aka allowance) to buy her own kiddie scoop/bowl of ice cream (swirled with sprinkles and a face, please!) Not only that but she agrees to buy one for Pojke as well! LOL

Then, after we've arrived, ice creams have been acquired, bites have been tasted and it's off to play. I hastily holler to Flicka - remember to take your shoes off! I turn to de-shoe Pojke and he refuses.

Preparing for a mini-battle with him, he instead says "no Momma, want _____" He promptly walks over to where Flicka has begun playing, taps her on the shoulder, and lifts his foot to have HER take his shoes off!


I hold my breath...hoping she'll not do something recently typical like running screaming in the other direction or knocking him over as he tries to keep his 22-month body balanced on one foot.

And, my heart melts.

She says "What, _____? Oh, you need your shoes off? Let me do it."

He smiles...holds still...then switches feet for her...she puts his shoes in the cubby next to hers...and off they go.

*sniff, sniff*

Stop by here today for other Pass The Torch moments and make sure to wish Kelly's daughter a happy birthday! I'll still be here wiping my eyes and sniffling.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Frugal Checklist

Been hanging out here a lot lately. And, one of Crystal's best posts recently is a reprint from her previous blog. As DaHubby, the Vikings, and I walk step-by-step through this debt-free adventure, I think I will keep a shorten-by-me copy of this list nearby for the next year or two to remind me about how to get where we're heading! *wink*

Tithe.

Read the autobiography of George Mueller and get in a habit of asking God for your provisions.

Pay cash for everything. Don't even think of buying something if you don't have the money for it.

Pare down to the basic essentials. It is amazing what you can live without.

Make a budget and stick to it. Pay for the essentials first. If there is money left over, put the bulk of it in savings.

Regardless of how little you have, put a little money in savings every month - even if it's only $5.

Don't buy expensive gifts.

Have one vehicle.

Stay home more.

Don't buy anything you don't need and only buy things if they are on sale.

Don't eat out. I repeat, don't eat out.

Find ways to have "free dates" with your husband.

Learn to utilize the library.

Pack a lunch for your husband to take to work everyday.

Cut back on meat consumption. .

Stick to simple meals. Cook and bake from scratch.

Learn to mend and home dry-clean.

Last but not least, make it fun!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pensieve's Poetic License

OK, I had WAY too much fun with this! LOL

While poking around at Kelly's site, I saw she was participating in a monthly meme that will stretch my slowly decaying poetry skills. As the one of the biggest English geeks I know (as someone who used to write TONS of poetry and LOVES teaching Shakespeare), I am ALL over this exercise!

This month's theme and form is thankfulness and the limerick! LOL (I'm sure NO ONE I know IRL thinks this is NEARLY as cool as I do! LOL) Anyway, just completed mine a few minutes ago:

In living, God's way is my goal
And given to Him is my soul
So thankful I'll be
That all those may see
God's praises are great to extol

OK, Shakespeare I'm not! *wink*

Anyway, pop over to Robin's site on Monday the 19th when she puts up the Mr. Linky for all the results and see what other "thankful limericks" everyone else created!

Lisa - here me roar! *wink*

I've been poking fun at Lisa for all her awesome and great frugal deals she's been getting lately. So, in the interest of friendly competition frugal fellowship (*wink*), here a few deals I grabbed up this week:

Walgreens:

Palmolive dish soap: reg $1.89? I paid .59!
Always "girl stuff": reg $3.69? I paid $2.17
Bounty paper towel: reg $1.99? I paid $1.25 (I *really* like the plain white select-a-size! LOL)
Two packs batteries: reg $7.98? I paid $2!

The whole trip: reg $17.68? I paid $8.52

And, at a local grocery store whose name you probably won't recognize unless you're in Michiana (that's us down by the Michigan-Indiana border! LOL)

Minute Rice: reg $1.99? I paid .89

The whole trip: reg $15? I paid $7.50

This has really turned into a bit a game lately! LOL With the only downside of dragging the Vikings on some extra errands since I'm not using too much extra gas since fortunately nearly all these places are lumped in one area!

So, excuse me, I have to go get the Vikings ready to go to Target where I'll be buying several boxes of Stove Top Stuffing for .27 EACH! Bwah-ha-ha-ha!

Random thought...

You don't suppose that God allowed this to happen to prepare me to simplify and focus on what's important so that the transition to this would be easier, do you? Hmmm...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Seven days left in 30 Days of Thanksgiving!

And, how are YOU doing with your 30DOT commitment?

At this point, you could have sent out TWENTY-THREE notes! There are 17 of us signed up so that would result in nearly FOUR HUNDRED notes "out there" in the world blessing people!

How COOL is that?

Well, I've been looking at this as kinda like a short-term secret sister! LOL Been sneak-i-ly (I can make up words - I'm a professional! *wink*) leaving them and mailing them. Bwah-ha-ha! LOL And, I've sent out 13 since our last 30DOT check in - including one to our postal person who sweetly wrote on the front of a package the next day "thanks for the note!" LOL

I also sent them to Flicka's Sunday school teacher, a sister-in-law, our pediatrician practice, DaHubby for his birthday, two old friends, our local library's children's section staff, and my pastor.

So, feel free to leave a comment here and describe how it's going for you. And, meet us back here next week for the wrap-up!

Thursday Thanks Tank

In honor of Peach and the ladies of Thankful Thursday...better late than never AGAIN! *wink*

And, this is why I'm thankful today: proof that there ARE people walking their Walk with honor!

Long story as short as possible?

As most of you who read regularly know, we've been trying to get out of debt via Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. As a result, everything that's not nailed down around the house has been getting listed on Ebay! LOL

About 2 weeks ago, I listed a large (like 6 ft by 3 ft) drafting table that I used for crafting that DaHubby got free from a tool and die shop going out of business around here. I started bidding at $99.99, had 7 "watchers", and it sold a week ago Monday for the $99.99.

However, the winning bidder was a Ebay newbie and apparently didn't read carefully when I posted in BOLD ALL CAPS letters (LOL) that it was pick-up or local delivery ONLY. He was in California! *sigh* So, expecting the worst, I dug in for what I expected to be complicated negotiations. Even contacted Ebay to see what my options were if it got "ugly".

He wanted to know if I'd ship it? HUH? I'm a SAHM with two kids under 4 - where in the WORLD would I get the materials to crate up a 6 foot by 3 foot table!? LOL So, for a week I heard barely anything as he supposedly was trying to work out shipping from SW Michigan to CA. As I've had a few difficulties on Ebay (bad buyers and my ID hijacked once by someone overseas), I tried to remember to be a light in the situation and tried to be positive and polite.

So last Friday, I sent an email requesting an update and said that I'd start the report so I could re-list the table Monday because I needed the money ASAP. Unfortunately, that process would label him as a unpaying bidder but it's the only way to "end" the transaction at that point.

Monday...I get an email. Something to the effect of "I can't arrange shipping, thanks for your patience, I deposited $50 into your Paypal account for your trouble. Thank you."

Huh?

And, when I go try to sort out what's going on, I find that he not only paid the half he promised but he PAID IN FULL! And, he doesn't want the table! I was stumped. When I asked for clarification, he stated that he was a believer and he understood when he bid and when he won that it is a contract and he honors his contracts/promises. I could do whatever with the money that I wished and he had written down as a gift to charity!

I wrote him a thank you email praising his example and telling him I was blessed. His gift was perfect timing! Don't know that I'd be able to honor a $100 "mistake" like that!

God is good!

Feeling a little crafty lately...

These were just for getting Pojke to and from the car and into stores (Flicka's are in the works) but I think they came out really well! *blush* If I do say so myself!

The sweater cost me $1.50 at Goodwill's last-Saturday-of-the-month-everything's-fifty-percent-off day. And,
here's the "recipe" for the craft you see in the pic.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What you don't wanna...

hear....a toddler suddenly start screaming the "I'm hurt" cry from the other room

see...when you walk in there's a fountain of blood cascading out of his mouth

do...is have to hold down a really strong nearly-30 pound kid who is screaming and thrashing and force him to hold ice and a red washcloth on his lip (praise God for the foresight of a red washcloth!) while nursing your own 1 inch by 1 inch burn from last night's dinner on your own right inner forearm.

do...is call a poor "helpless" (because he is 20 minutes away) daddy in the midst of above-described thrashing because you can't think straight to ask "how long am I suppose to try and stop the bleeding before I call the doctor?" while the injured child and his sibling stand crying and screaming into the phone as well.

forget...is how to tell time when the suggested 15 minutes ticks by in smaller and smaller and slower and slower increments.

forget...God is in control, blood is NOT the end of the world, and that a fat lip is better than a trip to the ER any day!

Another homeschooling peek

To be honest, we've been in a bit of a slump. Trying to stay "on schedule" has been harder than I planned once the initial "glow" wore off! LOL But, I just got "back to basics" and cut back on my expectations (in a good way) and we're doing great! So, today....

My kitchen wall before:

My hallway/bedroom wall before:

So, first we read "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" that we're using as part of the BFIAR curriculum. Then, I sent Flicka on her own "hunt": for 12 diamond shapes each with a letter A through L on it! She had to find all of them in the hallway and three bedrooms and bring them back to the kitchen. Even Pojke got in on the excitement! LOL Seven down, 5 to go, he says!

After acquiring all 12, Flicka had to put them in order:

Then, to practice counting, I printed out 17 (the number of the day) pieces of clipart featuring houses. (Our unit from KidSparks in currently on families and homes.)

We then read The House From Morning To Night by Daniele Bour and Mobile Homes by Graham Rickard. Then, speaking of "mobile homes," Flicka's Papa D is a truck driver and has been sending postcards from all the states he visits. So we talked about how not only do people live in different types of house but that they live in different places too! And, we did the following:

As far as I can tell, fun was had by all. Not a bad way to spend 40 minutes! LOL

Should I feel impressed? *snort*

get out of debt

Get out of debt

WFMW: baked on food help

Well...here's another one that I figured everyone BUT me knew. Particularly since DaHubby told me about it! And, his ex-wife who DaHubby S-W-E-A-R-S didn't cook a well as me told HIM! (smart man, huh?) *wink*

Anyway, I thought of it last night I was doing dishes and had a 13 by 9 CorningWare pan that had held chicken and veggies drizzled in olive oil, sprinkled with herbs, and baked for 45 minutes! Smelled great, tasted better but GOOD GRIEF - the baked-on mess! LOL

I don't usually put my "good" bakeware and my stove-top pans in the dishwasher at the manufacturers' suggestions. Not a big deal most of the time since my pricey stove-top stuff that DaHubby blessed me with last tax-check season ROCKS and is nonstick. But that CorningWare (another gift) is another story. Not only is it beautiful and really, really white, but it's a relative pain in the butt to clean...

UNTIL!

DaHubby mentioned this...soak it overnight with hot water and dishwasher (ala Cascade-type) detergent!

DUH! *smacks forehead*

Now that I've done this a few times, I'd swear they put ACID in that stuff. LOL After a overnight soaking in water and a Cascade-wannabe, I can almost clean my stickiest, nastiest, baked-on goop with a paper towel!

What's funny is that my in-law's who don't even OWN a dishwasher now keep a small bottle of dishwasher detergent near their sink (which really messes with their guests' minds! LOL) for just this use!

So, really, I'm the only one left on the planet that didn't know this, right?

And, you can stop by Shannon's today for more (hopefully more useful) ideas! LOL

Wordless Wednesday: Flicka's POV

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Armchair Reading Challenge: Book Four

In August, I joined the Armchair Traveler Reading Challenge at A Life In Books. I had an ambitious original post. And, since then I've made it to the Middle East, Europe, and Mexico. My fourth book took me back to Europe...to Scotland specifically...with Liz Curtis Higgs.

This book was written unlike anything I've ever seen before. Instead of a past tense re-hashing of her trip, this travelogue IS the journey. It is in first person present time. You are "taking" the trip: having conversations, eating the food, seeing the sights, discussing the road, enjoying the lodgings right along with Higgs as she shows you around southwest Scotland.

Initially cool but eventually a little tedious. LOL No convenient "jumps" in the timeline to the next interesting point in the journey but every excruciating detail (adjectives, LOTS of adjectives, adjectives ad nauseum) of each step from the landing of the plane, through customs, even renting the car, etc. Ten days later - it's hard to share Higgs' sadness at leaving! LOL

The upside to the details? Cool...really cool...historical details about an area in Scotland that frequently is overlooked due to its more famous, more glamorous, more Hollywood-Braveheart cousin, the Highlands.

And, since this is more of Scotland's "road less traveled," one also receives the benefits of Higgs' passion for meeting the "regular" folks who run the businesses, watch over the historical sites, and speak Scots Gaelic fluently.

The best thing I'm taking away from this book is I think I'm finally starting to grasp the concept of the sense of history that seems to so escape Americans. We're such relative "babies" and other cultures seem to value and appreciate what's "old". Kirks (churches) built in the 1700's still being worshiped in that stand next to the ruins of the original church built several hundred years before. Wow!

If you love Scotland - you'll love this book. And, if you are a detail person - you will LOVE this book. However, if you are the average reader looking for some escapism and leisurely reading, you may want to try something else! LOL I'm still undecided since I know this is on someone's wish list at Paperbackswap.com! *wink*

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Anyone interested in Financial Peace University?

DaHubby just alerted me to this:

Are you tired of being in debt? Think you are in a hole you can't get out of? Are you a veteran? Have I piqued your interest with my gushing about Dave Ramsey? Are you interested in taking Financial Peace University?

In honor of Veterans Day yesterday, use this special email address (fpuvets(at)daveramsey.com) to get FPU online for F-R-E-E (a $99+ value). But, you must do it *right now* before close of business day Wednesday!!

Email the address above and inform them that you are interested and what branch you served in. Then, you will receive an email back indicate how to activate your FPU membership/class.

This offer includes ALL the DVD's, ALL the books, ALL the CD's, EVERYTHING!

So if you are a vet - THANKS!! And, take advantage of this offer NOW!

Three Prayer Requests

The first has been in the back of mind and I've been meaning to post about i...if you feel led please continue to lift up prayers for our elder. God is working already in this situation and Brother K continues to be an inspiration to us all.

We finally got in to see him (many, many visitors yet we've all been restricted to certain narrow visiting hours so he has MAXIMUM time in rehab). His back incision has 22 staples! And, while he has regained nearly 100% of his feeling in his legs, his feet are still not 100% yet. And, non-working feet making working legs pretty useless - so to speak.

Second, we've hit a bit of a rut around here in our good financial attitude! LOL Just like when you start a new diet and about 8-10 weeks after wonderful initial progress, you start telling yourself you don't have to be so strict anymore? Well, this is the financial equivalent! LOL DaHubby and I are finding ourselves justifying this and that - small things with the phrase "well, we'll just take a few bucks out of the emergency fun", that kind of thing. *sigh* So, pray for renewed strength.

Lastly, DaHubby got a call this morning that we have had a death in our extended family: DaHubby's sister's mother-in-law. We are all closer than it may sound. LOL We've all attended church together, shared meals and holidays, that kind of thing. She fell while shopping at our local Meijer's last week, broke a hip, went in to our local regional hospital for the surgery, came through with flying colors, and had been transferred to an outside facility for the remainder of her healing. We're still unclear on what happened. The last thing we heard was that she was doing well and her prognosis was great. Yet, she met the Lord last night at the nursing home.

Your prayers are coveted and appreciated.

Pass the Torch Tuesday

He is truly Daddy's boy when it comes to the piano.


Maybe he'll lead praise and worship someday like his daddy? Or maybe he'll be a "band geek," play clarinet and sax, and get to travel like his mom?

Regardless, one of my hopes since I can remember was making a home filled with music. Step one complete! LOL

Stop by Kelly's today and see what is getting passed along and/or who is passing it down!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Homemade WIth Love: UPDATED

Well, GiBee is at it again...doing something nice for the blogosphere! LOL Today is the start of her "Homemade With Love" carnival. She is asking folks to do the following...

1. Think up your best idea for a homemade gift...could be for the holidays, a welcome gift, a gift for
a neighbor.

2. Make a sample and take a picture.


3. Post that pic with well thought out and complete instructions in a blog post.

4. Then, go to GiBee's bloggy home and sign in with a Mr. Linky.

5. Finally, begin browsing everyone else's ideas and start getting your Christmas list items crossed off! LOL


As for me, being typically difficult and non-compliant (*wink*), my idea doesn't *quite* fit her description but it IS what the Vikings and I are doing for a couple gifts for Christmas. Plus, today is the PERFECT day to do it because...well, you'll see what I mean in a minute.

We have been using
this book for the last few Christmases to try to bring a homemade feel back to our holiday season. I've made her ice cream topping recipe and used her idea of buying/making EVERYONE on your list the same type of thing - last year we did Christmas ornaments. But, here's our idea for this year:

We're "forcing" narcissus/paperwhite bulbs!


And, you know what day you are suppose to plant them on for them to bloom on Christmas Day? TODAY!

You can plant them in nearly anything: a fancy teacup, a regular clay pot, an oversized coffee mug, a ceramic container, a brass container, etc. (With those last two, double line the container with plastic or bubble wrap.)


And, they can be planted in a variet of things: pebbles, gravel, potting soil, sand, just about any supportive material.


Plant the bulbs so they are anchored but the top of the bulb is peeking out.


Keep it wet, not soaking, just wet.


Place in the dark until there's about 3 inches of growth.


Then, bring it out! They do best in bright, indirect light when blooming.


As it begins to grow to its full height, it may begin to lean over. Carlson suggests tying a couple lengths of raffia (or something similar) into a bow around the middle of the plant.

One word of warning: don't try to substitute another bulb for the paperwhite if you are unable to find them. I bought other bulbs and (being a "flower rookie") didn't think about them having a different "blooming" time. The bulbs I initially bought will not bloom until nearly Valentines Day! LOL)

Finally, due to the nature of this gift, I have no personal pictures to show you but I have found several links online to give you a visual. Check these pages out here and here.

So, jump up, dust off your crafty brain cells, come up with an idea, and pop in at GiBee's today...you never know what you'll find!

UPDATED: Just got back from Lowes: bulbs 50% off and four .77 clay pots and that will be $5.00 for four gifts!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Sickness Spent

Blinkie Maker
Make your own Blinkie

Fever spread to Flicka yesterday but both were fever-free this morning...so off to church. But, neither are feeling 100% and this momma's fighting sore throat number three since the end of summer. So, (if you'll notice the popsicle as well) this afternoon was truly a "day" of rest:


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Not quite as good as Lisa YET!

Lisa has been blogging here, here, and here about her journeys into coupons cutting and sale scouring. I do the grocery game each week with our local food stores but very often don't bother with Walgreens...our RiteAid is a mess...and we don't have CVS within 30 miles! LOL However, after cruising here for the last week or so and getting motivated, I just got back from Walgreens since this week's end at midnight and grabbed up a deal that worked for me!

Children's Tylenol: usually $6.99 - on sale with coupon I paid.....NOTHING! FREE!
L'Oreal shampoo: usually $4.99 - on clearance with coupon I paid...$1.99

So that's, $11.98 for $1.99!!

And, a small disclaimer for the shampoo...I've been a Suave girl all my life and, as a result, generally waited for the sales and got most of my hair supplies for less than a dollar but since having Pojke and especially turnin' on the furnace this year - my hair is just not responding the way it used to. So, I'm in need of an "upgrade" in my hair care but I'm still not willing to pay full price for it! LOL

Defeated by "the crud" *sigh*

Wasn't positive yesterday but, boy, am I sure now! Pojke's fightin' "the crud" with a temp that's holding at 101.5 - 101. So, despite my best intentions, nothing accomplished yesterday or today! LOL So, I'm just checking in so everyone knows things are OK but with tomorrow being busy with all things church-related, it'll probably be Monday before I get some significant time to sit down and blog something of quantity (or is it quality? Well, that's another story! *wink*)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thursday Thanks Tank

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

Well, I was determined to take this a different direction today since I've been neglecting posting for this the last few weeks. So, for a variety of reasons that you probably don't have time to hear about (LOL), my TTT post is a list of the top ten Scriptures I am SO very thankful for! Don't think these are in any particular order...

1 John 5.11-12 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Ps 18.1-3 ...I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn [a] of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.

Romans 8.38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[m] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Luke 1.37 For nothing is impossible with God.

1 Peter 1.3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

Joshua 1.9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

2 Corinthians 5.7 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Ephesians 4.26 In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry...

Romans 3.28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law

Ps 27.13 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Stop by the links above to see what others are thankful for this week!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Well, nearly so...What happens when you don't properly thin out your carrots at the beginning of the season...


And, let's just say...the other side is anatomically correct! *blush* *snicker*

Go here to check out other WWs.

WFMW: Backwards Day

Talk about an answer to prayer! I was delighted to check in at Shannon's place this morning and find out that Works For Me Wednesday was a "backwards" day! Instead of OFFERING good momma-tested ideas, we get to ASK for momma ideas to solve a problem/challenge around the house.

So, with the advent of "furnace season" comes a myriad of problems in the Viking household. Skin issues. Dry air issues. Those kind of things. But, what am I obsessing about? What am I racking my brain for? A frugal, DIY way to add air freshener to my furnace filter! LOL

When money was "looser" (isn't that the opposite of "tighter"? LOL), we use to buy something similar to this. It's basically a air freshener "pad" that inserts on or near your furnace filter that disperse the scent through your home as your furnace fan runs. Our favorite was the forest/evergreen.

Anyway, I'd really like anyone's ideas on how to make/create something similar at a DIY cost.

And, go to Shannon's post today and see if there's anyone who needs a bit of wisdom that you have tucked away in your "momma arsenal".

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pass The Torch Tuesday

...the Vikings' technology edition! *wink* I don't know if this is a good thing we should be passing down or not but it is funny nonetheless! LOL

Background: DaHubby generally calls home as he leaves work and we chat while he drives home and I finish up dinner or cleaning up or whatever. Better to chat then than try to talk to each other over wrangling the Vikings
through dinner at this point!

Anyway, this particular evening DaHubby worked really late to avoid having to work a half day on Saturday. The Vikings had already eaten and I needed to warm up something quick for DaHubby to eat. And, Flicka insisted on talking to DaHubby during his drive home. So, I put my Bluetooth earpiece (which I use to make all those in-the-car calls and it also allows me to change diapers, wash dishes, rotate laundry while on the phone at home! LOL) on her. And, then she grabbed her Disney play cell phone. And, this is what I got...

(photo removed for safety concerns)

Not only did she talk to Daddy the whole 20 minutes but she paced back and forth through the house just as DaHubby and I do when we are on the phone! We can't sit still either! LOL

So, stop by
Kelly's place today for more (hopefully more mature! *wink*) folks passing the torch.