Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wordless Wedneday: Mighty Massive Carrot!

During our one-day defrost due to a deluge of rain and flood warnings last week, we were able to dig up some root veggies that hadn't made it to storage yet:


I have multiple ones this size. LOL Can anyone say CARROT SOUP!?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Night Birthday Party

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: A Yooper Snowride

For more WW, go here or here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My sick snorin' boys


Both on antibiotics:
one from an ear infection; the other from an unexpected root canal.

Both adorable
Both exhausted

Aren't I blessed? *wink*

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fall Reading Challenge at Katrina's

Well, back in September, Katrina started another one of her reading challenges. We had a chance to make some reading goals with about 12 weeks worth of time. I chose the following list:

48 days to the work you love by Dan Miller (lib)
A Childhood Remembered by Helene Cooper (?)
Yesterday's Weather by Anne Enright (on hold at lib)
The absorbent mind / Maria Montessori (lib)
Eats, shoots & leaves : the zero tolerance approach to punctuation by Lynn Truss (lib)
Cranford by Elizabeth Crandall (PBS.com)
Friends for the journey by Lucy Shaw and Madeleine L'Engle (en route via ILL)

And, as usual, I wandered off my list! LOL

Miller's book
is at our library but I never got around to it. And, when I looked in September, I couldn't find Cooper's book at my library or through interlibrary loan.

I did read Yesterday's Weather by Anne Enright but was disappointed. I had initially been excited by the structure of several short essays. With small kids, it's hard to follow a long story! LOL But, I've apparently been out of the loop with popular books too long and found her stories didn't really speak to me anymore.

Absorbant Mind took two tries through interlibrary loan and it is still sitting on my kitchen counter unread! LOL

Lynn Truss' book was an unexpected delight! I actually laughed out loud but had problems explaining the jokes and stories well enough to DaHubby for him to appreciate them! LOL All I can say is she spoke to the English teacher in me! LOL And, I would highly recommend it.

I'm halfway through Cranford and I'm having trouble finishing it after several weeks of trying.

I finished Friends for the Journey just in time to start tracking down a copy for my best for her birthday in October! A little choppy but very deep and WELL worth the read!

And, I'm on page 258 of 467 of The Moon in the Mango Tree which I only started Saturday! Excellent story!

So, I got 3.5 books done from my original list of 7 plus added another. At least I'm batting about .500! *wink* And, that's better than some of my other reading challenges!

So, stop by Katrina's this week and see some wonderful book reviews for the New Year and to see how everyone else did!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cheating?

It's weigh-in day again with The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. I have been using the church scale since it's one of those doctor office sliding scale types with half-pounds and quarter-pound increments while I have a who-knows-how-old floor scale here at home.

Unfortunately, we missed church this weekend due to traveling for an early Christmas celebration with my family on the other side of the state.
Last week, I *did* however try to make my home scale as close as possible to the readings I got at church on December 7th. So, while I missed weighing in on the 14th, I stood on my home scale this morning to find that it appears that I'm another 3.5 pounds lighter.

So why does this feel like cheating? I don't really want to celebrate just yet since it isn't an "official" reading from church but I'm hopeful that at least I am still down in numbers no matter what.

So, with that disclaimer and explanation, if the home scale is correct, I've lost 8 pounds in the last seventeen days! *big smile*

Stop by the weigh-in post today to see how everyone else is doing!

Wordless Wednesday: Floating

*sniff, sniff* My getting-too-big girl


For more WW, go here or here.

WFMW: Memories in a Can

Following Shannon's lead and due the general craziness that's taking over here, I'm re-posting one of my WFMW's from earlier this year.

Two weeks from tomorrow on New Year's Eve we will be cracking open a little mini-time capsule from 2008. The last two Januarys, I went to our local Lowe's paint department and purchased a plain empty paint can with lid. During each month, we place the "memorabilia" of our recent activities in it. At the end of each month, I also glance through a month worth of photos and pick out a few, label them with a date, and add them in.

On December 31, 2007, we finished dinner, cleared the table and opened a year worth of memories! Pojke was a little small to remember all of it (given he turned one in January 2007 LOL) but Flicka remembered nearly everything!

And, the memory can is labeled with the appropriate year and stored (somewhat) more conveniently on a shelf in the basement.

Head over to Shannon's for more great WFMW ideas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Fourth Annual Viking Family Advent Calendar

Each year I've been trying to make it a tradition to spend December first through Christmas with one small extra Christmas and/or family-related activity for us to enjoy together. I wasn't blogging in 2005 but posted about this in 2006 and 2007.

And, we're about halfway through our 2008 attempt! LOL We've only missed 2 activities so far but no worries! We did something else that day together. Some folks have asked me to share my list again so here it is for this year:

1 paper snowflakes
2 candy garland (candy dots on paper)
3 see downtown snowmen (public art display)
4 MOMS Club craft
5 community tree lighting
6 library gingerbread house 1pm $1.50/each
7 put up Cmas tree
8 wreaths from paper plates
9 school donation? (donated batteries to favorite local science teacher)
10 night walk/drive to see lights
11 red/green RC treats
12 St. Lucia Day
13 Family party
14 go see Papa B and Granny T
15 HS orch/choir concert 7pm
16 PAT holiday party
17 red/green gumdrop craft
18 Fernwood (nature center lights display)
19 ice skating (11am-6pm)
20 kids museum family activity
21 church Cmas singspiration
22 MOMS Caroling and Craft @ nursing home
23 Cmas cookies
24 Jesus b-day party

Each year things get tweaked here and there. I also make sure I take advantage of everything I can find in our little local paper that's free or inexpensive. Finally, I balance the crafts and cooking-related type activities with the ones that take no preparation just to keep me sane! LOL

It doesn't have to be complicated and this is done in conjunction with our Jesse Tree devotions each night and, so far, it really works for us.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Our Jesse Tree/Garland

I had been eagerly anticipating starting a Jesse Tree type devotion with the Vikings this year. No one I've spoke with IRL was familiar with them. But, after seeing several of my bloggy friends talking about theirs, I did some research and came up with our own.

With the Vikings still being so hands-on and things-lost, I didn't want a tree at their level this year for an entire month. LOL If this is something I want to do year after year, I need the ornaments to be actually ON the tree after 20-some days of anticipation! LOL

So, I hung a garland over our couch. I also bought two bags of wood "craft shapes" and printed over the devoitions and clipart I found here. Clip art colored and glued on shapes + box of office clips + dollar store garland and VOILA!



We are about halfway through and the Vikings seem to be retaining many of the stories and lessons night to night. And, they DEFININTELY know that when that garland is all full, it'll be Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy (early) St. Lucia Day!

St. Lucia, the patron saint of Sweden, has her feast day on December 13. But, we will be traveling tomorrow and Papa will be working tomorrow so we took the liberty of celebrating a little early.

One of the traditions on St. Lucia Day, the beginning of the Christmas season for Scandinavians, is that the youngest girl in the house wearing a white dress, red sash, and a wreath upon her head lit with candles wakes her family on the morning of the 13th with all sorts of traditional Swedish goodies.

So, last year Grandma made Papa's favorite gingerbread cookies and Flicka passed them out at Da Grandparents favorite morning coffee spot.

And, this morning, we packed up the van at 7:15am to take treats to DaGrandparents at their newest breakfast spot.





Flicka picked out Junior Mints and Reese's mini-cups (Papa's favorites) along with some store-bought gingerbread cookies. And, I was so impressed and proud how brave, excited, and sweet she was this morning.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A heart for helping

Now, first of all, I'm not bragging. Lately, I've been feeling like the good things the Vikings do is in spite of me instead of because of me. But, right now, I'm a big ball of momma goo on the floor.

Flicka just asked for me to make breakfast for them. As I finished what I was working on, I pulled her up on my lap.

"Baby, I have so much to do today. I don't know how where to start. What do you think I should do? How am I gonna get it all done?"

"I know, Mom! I'll make our breakfast all by myself!"

OK, honestly? I inwardly groaned. Especially when Pojke jumped in too. But, we just had the sweetest moment as Flicka put some mayo on bread and Pojke and I count out ham slices and cut up and counted apple slices.

No fighting. No whining. No complaining. And, most shockingly, no mess. LOL

It was probably 3 minutes at most. And, probably the best 3 minutes of my day. And, I smiled.

"Thank you for making breakfast, baby. I really appreciate it. You are getting to be such a great helper and an awesome big sister."

And, she smiled even bigger.

Stand

Despite my awful day and my awful attitude yesterday (forgive me, Lord), Barbara made my morning by posting the following:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sisterhood Weigh In

I fought the scale - and *I* won this week...despite some really terrible, horrible, no good, very bad PMS.

I've noticed that the first weeks of weight loss for me are usually pretty rewarding. Since I am immediately dropping all the bad food (ice cream, chips, creamy diary, cheeses, etc.), the first few pounds come off pretty easy.

But, it's gonna get harder so I'm digging in for the long haul - especially since I have no real exercise options working for me at this point in time. (So not a winter person - in another life, I must have been a bear. LOL) The plan is to fix the food issues first and, by the time I hit that eventual first plateau, it will be warm enough again to get back outside.

But, as of last Sunday, I've lost 4.5 pounds since the first of the month. That is an awesome start and I'm thrilled but I have a *really* long way to go so...one baby step at a time...one foot in front of the other...one day at a time.

Wordless Wednesday: Too Cold To Swim Now! LOL

For more WW, go here or here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

This morning's mess

We ran out of time last night due to Christmas light problems so I promised a first-thing-in-the-morning craft followed with a bath. So, at 7:15am this morning, this is what my kitchen table looked like (LOL):


And, guess where they are now! LOL

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tonight's Fun

Pojke's lights:

And, Flicka's tree:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What it is truly about...

It's not about the perfect gift.
It's not about the food, goodies, or the travel.
It's not about your crazy aunt whoever or your family history.
It's not about the perfect tree.
It's SO not about this (LOL):
It IS about family, love, grace, and will-this-really-matter-in-20-years.

And, ultimately, t's about this:


O come, o come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
until the
Son of God appear.
Rejoice, rejoice,
Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

Oh, thank you Lord that this is the Truth!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursday Thanks Tank

My home is a real stumbling block for me. I'm often self-conscious and worried when having people over. Whether family or other moms, when someone walks in the front door, I always seem to see what's wrong with my sweet little house. This is connected to a lifetime of feeling inferior, out of sync, and different but I'm looking at it now more as a contentment issue. In addition, it strikes me as a last hurdle in our "live like no one else" instruction through our Financial Peace training.

So, my TTT is set up for me to recognize the blessings I initially see as problems around my home.

The "leaky" kitchen windows? They give me a beautiful view while doing dishes.

The leaky spot on the roof? I have such a blessing to have a hubby that will climb up in the attic with all the varmint, the spiderwebs, insulation, etc and is able to fix it!

The leaky basement? It stores all the stuff we've collected as well as treasured memories (now stored in waterproof boxes LOL). It also is the home for a washing machine and dryer that work and don't require me to drive to a laundromat - Vikings in tow.

The icky, scuffed, ripped linoleum kitchen floor? A perfect, no-worries surface for all the Vikings' misadventures. Pojke's impromptu crayon drawing - no problem! The Matchbox car race scratches - no problem! Spilled food and drink - no problem! Muddy/wet/snow-covered feet/boots/shoes - no problem!

The old, rundown side-by-side fridge that drives DaHubby and I crazy with its inconvenience? It's filled to the brim with good food every Wednesday.

The half-planned half bath with some problems that came with the house? Hubby covered the tiny, stand-up shower stall with a Plexiglas-type cover and *ta da* instant sauna/steam room!

The mossy, constantly damp, mosquito-lovin', no-fun-to-play-in, not-fenced-in-backyard? Hosted three years of an awesome vegetable garden created by DaHubby and gave me the motivation to learn to preserve tomatoes, carrots, and green peppers.

The poison ivy growin', neighbor's lilac tree overgrowin' south exterior wall? Keeps my babies cool and shady in the summer.

My ever-present dust bunnies and gritty floors? We're so blessed to live near sandy Lake Michigan - a dream I've had since I can remember.

My kids' oddly shaped, seemingly small bedrooms? Constantly messy and overflowing with the blessings of family and friends who give us new and hand-me-down clothes and toys.

My crooked concrete sidewalk leading up to the house? Crooked because I have an AMAZING hubby that spent several days two summers ago building me an AMAZING deck/front porch!

So what little "irritations" are really a blessing for YOU this week? Check in with Pam today too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Can't make this one up!

The Vikings are not really up on their bloggy alter egos. While both know that they're Daddy's little "Svenska Pojke" and Svenska Flicka", that's about as far as their awareness goes. So, imagine my surprise to here them singing this Veggie Tales song while playing this morning:

"We're Vikings!"

We're Vikings, what do you know, the terrors of the sea
We're Vikings, where ever we go, pillaging happily
We're Vikings, let there be no ambiguity
Cause who doesn't like a pile of loot?
Some gold, some jewels, and a shiny suit?
And a giant screen TV to boot?
A Viking's life for me!
Yo ho!

Flicka leads this duet and she's missing the "terrors" and "pillaging" but it's hysterical nonetheless!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Viking deconstruction/re-construction part 4

Well, UPS (bless their little brown hearts) just delivered my first *real* winter boots. Ugly as sin (LOL) but warm up to -40 degrees! And, even approved by DaHubby- Mr. Yooper man!

Here's Flicka playing Vanna:

But, what is making the Vikings even MORE happy? The BOXES and the butcher-paper packing material! LOL

Not sure what these will be turned into since we already have a train, a Polly house, dog houses, and a bed for Flicka's lovie.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Vikings' Life Verses

Have heard from friends of different denominations mentioning they have "life verses" from the Bible - generally from a confirmation class experience. I missed that step myself and I am not currently in a denomination that does it either. But, I've always liked the idea. (This has been in correlation to the reading and research I've been doing about speaking a family blessing over the Vikings each day.)

So, I took step one today. After many weeks of praying, considering, and digging through my Bible, I picked out two verses that I would like to be the Vikings' life verses until such time they are able to pick their own that speak more to their hearts' desires.

I made up a little something for each of them in MS PictureIt to post over their bed:

Flicka's verse speaks to the struggles that we endured to conceive her as well as the joy surrounding her arrival. She is our hope and our tree of life in terms of carrying on after we are gone. Also, her IRL name refers to a type of tree so I thought it was appropriate.


Pojke's verse was much harder to find, much more elusive. I felt like Elizabeth all through my pregnancy with him. Every praise and worship practice, every Sunday morning when DaHubby and I sang, every time music played or a preacher got all loud Pentecostal-crazy at our church, Pojke jumped in my womb. Prenatally, he appeared to love music and voices singing and preaching. As his conception was entirely unexpected, a true miracle, and answer to prayer, it is my heart's desire like Hannah for him (if it is God's will) to return to the Lord in a life of service.

This was a really heart-defining, soul-searching experience. As I'm in that season of life where I'm in the day-to-day trenches of caring for these little amazing miracles, it's difficult for me to stop and in silence and contemplation truly consider what God has in store for them. In a typical mommy moment, it's bittersweet to already be considering what they will be doing when they leave the comfort and safety of this home...particularly since I'm still changing Pojke's diapers! LOL

So, the second step is to create a blessing that I or DaHubby will speak over the Vikings each night before bedtime. That is one of my "resolutions" for 2009.

Finally, some sibling peace...


...but how can they be comfortable?
and how long will it last? LOL

Pumpkin pie day two

Remember the two pies I made yesterday. And, remember how I blogged here about my little pie crust troubles. Well, here are the two pies after their time in the oven:

The one on the left is the store bought crust; the one on the right is the homemade.

The one on the left is gone; we haven't tried the other yet
so no taste testing yet but at least they looked respectable! LOL

Thursday, November 27, 2008

And, while the pie is baking...

...I got the Vikings involved in a little dessert craft! LOL Using this recipe as our starting point, Flicka and Pojke put together lil pilgrim hats using striped shortbread cookies, Reese's mini-cups, and Starburst "licorice" in red, orange, and yellow cut in squares (couldn't find inexpensive, fine-point frosting nor Chiklets or any other square small candy).

Easy and frugal last minute pie crust

With so many things to put together today (and I'm not even cooking the actual MEAL! LOL), I decided on frozen pie crusts for my pumpkin pies. As you probably know, they generally come in pairs, one spooned up inside the other. However, when I separated mine this morning, the bottom one was crushed and broken. So, of course, I scrambled online to fine a quick and easy pie crust recipe. What I found was this!

Mixing done IN the pie pan. No rolling into a perfect circle (it is this frustration that's kept me from trying before). No transferring it in one piece to the pan (the other reason). No tearing or ripping the dough en route. In other words, PERFECT for me! LOL

And, this is what it looked like pre-cooked:
Then, I'll update in an hour or so to show you how it turned out! LOL

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his,
and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness...

Psalm 30.4

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Viking deconstruction/re-construction part 3

The boxes from part two found themselves being "re-purposed" the next day as dog houses!



Two days of fun and they still have the toys Grandma and Papa brought them! LOL

See part one here.

Vikings deconstruction/re-construction part 2

Another example of "recycled" toys around here lately...the "train":


See part one (the "recycled" sweater dryer) here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving and parachutes

Did the entire Church worldwide get the same sermon yesterday about the 10 lepers who were healed and the one who gave thanks? LOL Well, I got it twice.

As a guest at our local COG Saturday night, their senior pastor used that story in Luke 17 as his main Scripture. Then, at my home church Sunday morning, Pastor D made reference to it as well. But, there was one other allusion I heard that has stuck with me all weekend and I just wanted to share it during this week of Thanksgiving for those of us in the States.

Captain L Charles Plumb flew aircraft for the U.S. Navy during Vietnam. The story of his life, his training, his capture, and his time as a POW have been so extraordinary that it has been captured in books and he is now a motivational speaker who tours the country.

The pastor I heard speak on Saturday shared this story from Plumb's life:

A few years ago, Capt. Plumb was in Kansas City having a meal. A man across the restaurant kept looking at Plumb as if he knew him and eventually approached him.

"You're Capt. Plumb...you
flew jet fighters in Vietnam. You were on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down. You parachuted into enemy hands and spent six years as a prisoner of war."

Plumb confirmed that yes that was him but inquired how the man knew all that.

"Because I packed your parachute."

Standing before him, many years older, was the sailor who had packed Capt. Plumb's parachute days, maybe hours before he fell into enemy hands.

Plumb describes jumping up and shaking the man's hand and said "...
I've said a lot of prayers of thanks for your nimble fingers, but I never thought I'd have the opportunity to express my gratitude in person."

The men spoke for a few more minutes, parted ways, and then Plumb says that later that night, he still could not get the man off his mind.

"...I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform - a Dixie cup hat, a bib in the back and bell bottom trousers. I wondered how many times I might have passed him on board the Kitty Hawk. I wondered how many times I might have seen him and not even said "good morning", "how are you", or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor. How many hours did he spend on that long wooden table in the bowels of that ship weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of those chutes? I could have cared less...until one day my parachute came along and he packed it for me."


So, who is packing YOUR parachute? Who is holding you up physically, spiritually, or prayerfully? Who does those everyday, small things in your life? Who is the person who you may not have acknowledged that is packing your chute as you read this. Who do you need to seek out and thank this week?

Contemplating...the mall

With the holiday season springing itself on us earlier and earlier each year, consumer spending and conspicuous consumption are running rampant in many U.S. homes. Since we've joined the Dave Ramsey bandwagon and began "acting our wage", the holidays have been very different around here.

This year is no exception. While I've been saving for a small Christmas fund since June, I'm still making most of the gifts we're giving including the ones for the Vikings. And, we've been blessed with several hand-me-down toys that the kids will be receiving as well.

And, at some point in the last week (although I can't remember where) as I perused my usual frugal bloggy goodness, I remember reading "just skip the mall this year" and "going to the mall is NOT entertainment".

Now, I know the writer was referring to just going to the mall to hang out and mindlessly buy something to fill a day when there's nothing to do but it got me to thinking...

I'm all for skipping the mall. One thing I "caught" from my dad is the desire to try to frequent small business owners and avoid the "big box stores". But, in a community as small as ours, I've noticed that mall is something else all together.

It's our community center - a place with the space and parking for events, activities, etc. passing through the area or on the calendar to set up shop. Our mall has had animal shows, musical events, and beauty pageants. There's been 4H displays, craft shows, and scavenger hunts.

Just this weekend, I took the Vikings up there for National Family Volunteer Day. About 15 or 20 of our local community groups - ranging from Hospice at Home to the Girl Scouts to Animal Aid - were all set up at tales in one of the mall's "intersections". And, over the course of two hours, we...

...made cards for those in hospice
...made containers to collect pennies for our local cancer service
...made welcome bags for children at the abuse shelter
...made place mats for 2 of our area nursing homes
...packed small boxes with books and such for children sick in the hospital, and
...braided materials to make chew/pull toys for dogs at the animal shelter

Free entertainment for the kids and learning about giving at the same time. Talk about a frugal lesson that ol' Dave would be proud of! LOL

So, while I understand that randomly walking through the mall wanting to be entertained or thinking I'll somehow be "fulfilled" by purchasing something is SO budget-defeating and self-deluding, and I'm not naive enough to think that the stores and the mall are hosting all this stuff out of the kindness of their wallets, I think there is still a place for going to the mall even for the frugal. At least in this neighborhood.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fingers and Toes

Our home church is a small group but growing. Yet, Sunday mornings usually hover around 100 believers in attendance. It is also more of a drive for us (about 17 minutes) while so many other churches are around the proverbial corner.

One of those churches is the local Church of God (COG). It's one of probably three of the "megachurches" for this relatively small city and they generally have close to 100+ families each Sunday. Our city's COG is known for its outstanding children's programs and it also has a Saturday night "come as you are" contemporary service.

When DaHubby was in the early throes of balancing full time work and full time school and in an effort to balance it all and get all his homework done, he missed several Sunday morning services at our church and took advantage the peace and quiet to work on his never ending to-do list.

Earlier this fall, I noticed the COG's sign for their Saturday night service. I started thinking about how much I missed going to church with DaHubby. About how awesome their kids' program is. And, about how close in beliefs their church is to ours. But, I couldn't fight the nagging feeling that I was somehow "betraying" my church family.

Two weeks ago, the four of us were driving past the COG just as their service was starting. I was in sweats, DaHubby in jeans, and the Vikings still had dinner on their faces. LOL We again marveled at how that church with its HUGE parking lot is ALWAYS busy. Then, DaHubby and I looked at each other and said "you want to try it?" "Yea, let's really test if it's really 'come as you are'!" So, we went. And, everyone had a wonderful time. And, they were incredibly gracious hosts. Yes, the kids' program rocks. Yes, the worship was awesome. And, yes, the senior pastor's message was good as well.

But, that's not our church.

Without going into the whole story, we know that we know that we know that we are supposed to be at our little country church right now. DaHubby plays piano and shares the responsibility of leading praise and worship with another sister-in-Christ. I sing with the P&W team and participate with the women's ministry. The kids know that church is a second home.

But, we really enjoyed the COG service.

See, that's the cool thing about the body of Christ. Our church and the local COG - we're just fingers and toes. We told our pastor we visited there and he's not stressed about it. And, we stopped and introduced ourselves to the COG pastor and praise team leader. We were polite and enthusiastic but clear that while we enjoyed ourselves and appreciated their ministries we had a church home we love.

The local COG can do amazing outreaches to the community that will touch so many lives. They have the financial power and historic presence (they're celebrating 100 years next year) to be a beacon of hope in this area.

But, our little church's ministry is elsewhere. It just serves another part of the Body. Our church has grown from 30-some people with DaHubby and I being the youngest participants and the only ones with kids to 100 people in attendance and a kids' program expanded to 3 rooms in just under 5 years.

But, we're both working for the same goal...bringing souls to Christ.

The kids and I went to the COG's Saturday night service again tonight to get out of DaHubby's hair for a bit so he could get some work done. And, again, they were incredibly gracious hosts. I even joked with praise and worship leader that his line-up of music was so good that we'd be stealing for our service in the morning. I even ran into someone DaHubby used to work with and his wife. The kids had fun. I got to worship, sit quietly without the Vikings interrupting and actually *hear* the message! LOL It was wonderful.

But, we'll be in our regular seats tomorrow morning with all DaHubby's family around us, and amid our wonderful church family.

We're just fingers and toes.

Incidentally, that's how I feel about my bloggy friends as well. We don't often discuss our denominational differences. We focus on what we have in common - our love for Christ and serving Him and others. For example, I'd like to think that Anita and I will have our mansions in Heaven right next door some day. And, hopefully, GiBee won't be too far down the block. And, it would be cool if Sara's and Lisa's heavenly homes just up against my back fence! LOL Like most of my bloggy friends, I've never met these wonderful ladies in real life. Yet, I know they are serving Christ in their communities just like I'm trying to do here.

Again, we're all just fingers and toes.

Frugal Rules!

To those who tease and make fun of our frugal living - frugal entertainment, frugal shopping, etc. - who's laughin' now! LOL Check out our schedule for today:

Dale's Donuts (9a-12p)
free woodworking demos and activities
the cost of a couple doughnuts! LOL


Lowe's Build & Grow (10a-12n)
FREE


Volunteer Day @ Mall (11 - 2pm)
Part of National Family Volunteer Day: "
The Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan has invited area nonprofits and civic groups to have hands-on volunteer activities for you and your family to do. There will be at least a dozen activities for you to choose from and you will be able to learn how you can be involved in your community all year long."
FREE

Family movie day at local library w/"Kung Fu Panda" (2-4pm)
FREE


A whole day's entertainment for less than $2!

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's heeeerrrrre (in best "Poltergiest" voice)

What we woke up to 30 minutes ago:


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WFMW: EZ pumpkin cooking

Pumpkins are everywhere the last few weeks. But, this year I had my eyes peeled for good pie-making pumpkins as well. So, while we had two carvin' pumpkins for the kids, I also picked up two pie pumpkins from our local farmers market a few weeks ago.

Then, my mom and step-dad were here last weekend for an early Thanksgiving. And, while my mom brought a ham and the potatoes, I was looking forward to making that green bean casserole thingy as well as a pumpkin pie from scratch.

However, as the weekend wore on and Sunday night's dinner loomed near, I was getting crunched for time and needed a low-labor, stove-and-oven-free way to cook the pumpkin. So, within a couple minutes of Internet surfing, I found a solution - or actually made one up.

Adapting directions for cooking squash, I just cooked the pumpkin in the crockpot while at church! I simply cut the stem off, cleaned out the "goop", and cut the pumpkins in quarters. I put about an inch of water in the bottom and, after 3 hours on low, ta-da! All fork tender and ready to be pureed for pie!

For more WFMW, stop by Shannon's site today.

Wordless Wednesday: Give Me A Little Kiss?

For more WW, check here and here

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Relay Repeat!

Since my local paper doesn't have direct link to their articles (they use this funky "read it online" widget with no hyperlinks), here is the direct text from today's local section:

Relay repeat
Relay for Life again leads nation in amount it raised per capita to fight cancer

By JULIE SWIDWA
H-P Staff Writer

For the second straight year, Berrien County’s Relay for Life ranks first in the nation in the per-capita amount of money it raised to fight cancer.

The Relay for Life 2008 at three sites in Berrien County this year raised $735,000. That equates to $4.58 per capita, more than three times the na­tional average of $1.34 per capita...

...Shelli Knoll, community representa­tive for the Great Lakes Division of the American Cancer Society, said Berrien County raised 6.5 percent more money than in last year’s award-winning event. Besides ranking first in the nation in per capita money raised, Berrien Coun­ty raised more total money than any other county in the Great Lakes Divi­sion, which covers Michigan and Indi­ana.

*big smile* We are mighty proud!

Viking deconstruction/re-construction part one

Apparently, my make-it-from-scratch, recycle/reuse, crafty mantra is starting to rub off on Flicka. A few months ago, we found a sweater drying rack in the garbage during a walk. It was loose, uneven, but nothing a piece of duct tape couldn't fix - plus the first thing Flicka said when she saw it was "baby bed"! LOL

So, for about 4-6 weeks, it's been a "baby bed"...until she and her brother stepped on it trying to climb up some random piece of furniture and it broke.

Then, what does Flicka do?

"C'mon (Pojke) - let's go make a art thing!"

My daughter then took apart the entire drying rack, separated the good pieces from the broken one, discussed (at length) with her brother what they could use the mesh for, and requested tape to start putting together....her own easel! LOL




Unfortunately, they moved on to something else before they finished their quest so I have now completed pictures. But, for no cost, it kept them busy for over an hour! LOL

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Ya know when you read something and you say "YES! That's *exactly* what's been kicking around in my head and they've put it down on paper perfectly"? Well, Laurel posted this Friday and it is attributed to Carol Wimmer.

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not shouting ‘I’m clean livin”

I’m whispering ‘I was lost, Now I’m found and forgiven.’


When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I don’t speak of this with pride.

I’m confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.


When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not trying to be strong.

I’m professing that I’m weak and need His strength to carry on.


When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not bragging of success.

I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.


When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not claiming to be perfect,

My flaws are far too visible but, God believes I am worth it.


When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I still feel the sting of pain..

I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.


When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not holier than thou,

I’m just a simple sinner Who received God’s good grace, somehow!

Busy plus an upcoming project

Didn't realize it 'til just now that I hadn't posted since Thursday. Apparently, my Twitter and recent Facebook addictions has taken more time than I thought - because I'm definitely online as much as always but just not here writing! LOL

Friday we spent the day at home just chillin' out and DaHubby surprised us with a dinner out with a family from church.

Saturday morning we ran errands and played while DaHubby was in school. That afternoon DaHubby and I "divided and conquered" the Vikings by having Flicka helped Daddy with a household project (with tools!) while Mom and Pojke attended a wonderful 3rd birthday with some friends. (Note to self: apparently it's time to be more careful what I wear to "mommy events" since one mom at the birthday party blurted out "Wow, I've never seen you so dressed up [I was in a jean skirt and sweater!]- you're always in sweats." LOL)

Sunday morning was spent in worship with DaHubby leading the P&W team and me singing with some of my favorite church buddies. We tried out one of the new songs we've been working on. DaHub's wasn't too happy with it but I thought it sounded great! LOL

Then, Sunday afternoon - the grandparents descended! LOL My mom and step-dad came over from the Detroit area and will be here 'til Tuesday. SO, we will probalby be somewhat scarce as we visit and have some fun.


And, speaking of fun, two weeks from today I'm starting our Viking Family Fun advent calendar so the planning is underway! Brainstorming from last year's calendar and tweaking some things here and there, I have about 14 of the 25 days filled so far. I'll reveal what exacctly we're doing as we get close to December 1.

Finally, for those that picked up on the prayer request via this blog, Twitter, and Facebook, please continue to keep my friend D in your prayers. The only update I've heard is that she's been released from the hospital but have yet to hear about any memorial-type services for her son, Ethan.

In addition, there's been a bit of a setback from my sister-in-law Peggy. She's been celebrating being able to return to work as of November 1 but almost immediately began to have some unexplained swelling in her legs and her docs around here are sending her back to Chicago today for an appointment with her cancer-fighting team.

Thanks as always to everyone who keeps up with our tokig liv (crazy life) via this blog. Your continued comments, emails, thoughts, and prayers are very much treasured and appreciated.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Another angel joins heaven

For my friend, D.



Lord, let me be Your light. Let her feel Your peace. Touch the families. Comfort them all. Heal their hearts. Take this little one into Your arms. Your will be done.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

WFMW: back on the horse

Been out of the WFMW game for a bit - gave up all my best ideas and have been too much actually in the trenches to look around at some of my shortcuts! LOL But, this occurred to me last night as I put Flicka to bed.

In the interest of saving energy when Flicka was only 15 months old and we had just moved into this house, DaHubby installed a motion detector switch in her little playroom area adjacent to her room. That way as she walked in, the lights would go on. And, after she had walked away, the lights would eventually go off saving us money.

The other "accidental" benefit was her complete disinterest in climbing something to turn on the lights for her budding independent self! LOL

While she is four now, we still use the timer. I activate the light as I put her to bed so that she can read her books before falling asleep. When the light goes off, it's time for sleep. Luckily, for those wondering, we've had no problems with her intentionally re-activating it to lengthen her story time (yet!)

It definitely works for me. For more WFMW, stop by Shannon's bloggy home today!

Wordless Wednesday: Momma's boy

While Pojke is definitely 100% boy, occasionally a small peek of me peeks out...especially the part that LOVES books! LOL And, the book he's reading was a gift to me in 1975! LOL


For more WW, go here or here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vikings vs. Bovines

So, ya may have heard if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter that we had a dairy farm tour with our MOMS Club today. Andrews University is in our county and hosted us at its new dairy facility. And, we had a wonderful time despite Pojke's first impression which he put succinctly:
"Momma, those cows are STANKY!"


First, we were in the milking parlor:


Then, it was off to the "momma barn"



This is the "dalmatian cow" - just ask Flicka, she'll tell ya so.


While human females can't seem to go to a public restroom alone, apparently bovine females eat in threes! *wink* Who knew?

Then, it was off to the calves' barn - oh my were they cute...but LOUD!



But, the tour ended with a little excitement when this little lady decided to escape and proceed to nursing on the knee caps of 3-4 moms until harnessed back in by a staff member! LOL
Once she was captured and contained again, we head off to visit Daddy at work and came home for lunch!

Oh please oh please - no ice storm!