Friday, June 27, 2008

Ending the week with a bang

Busy, busy, busy.

After last weekend's sleep deprivation, this week seemed harder than usual.

DaHubby had class on Monday night.

Couldn't tell ya what we did Tuesday night. LOL

DaHubby had his Spring term finals on Wednesday night.

Both Vikings are fighting "eye crusties" the last few days - most likely allergies according to the ped's office.

I've also been feeding my crafty sewing much so that I have two finished projects to show off for Tackle It Tuesday next week. It would be three but I not only ran out of white thread but I broke the needle on the machine! LOL

Finally, last night, the in-laws were over for dinner (I had forgotten about DaHubby's new "no meat" diet and had put a whole chicken in the crockpot LOL). Afterwards, DaHubby and DaGrandpa took out the canoe that DaHubby just recently finished for a test run.

And TODAY we leave in 8 hours to go camping - and did I mention that we have nothing packed, no food purchased, and a week worth of laundry to do?! Oh and that there is a 40-50% change of thunderstorms this weekend? *eye rolling*

For all the miracles Jesus performed, it would seem like He could spare me one today cuz that the ONLY way I'm gonna pull this off today! LOL

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Here lies a faithful monitor - RIP

Well, my second attempt at sleeping in this week (and that means 7 instead of 5am LOL) was foiled this morning with these very sad words:

"Babe, are you up? I think the monitor burned up."

*sigh* I'm up now.

So, with a ton of computer work to do today (camping menus, MOMS Club newsletter, etc.), I am staring into the face of my old, discarded, 13-inch, seemingly HUGE and definitely heavy, screen-rippling', eye-damaging CRT monitor.

Oh, beautiful, modern 17-inch flat screen...we hardly knew ye! *sniff, sniff*

(And, pray that DaHubby remembers all his Dave Ramsey training when the discussion begins on what to do about this...or I'll end up with a multiple-thousand dollar, wall mounted, flat screen for the TV that "will work for the computer too, honey!" *wink* Hey, would this qualify as something from the emergency fund? Hmmm...LOL)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A grocery trip

I get asked regularly how I'm feeding the four of us on about $60 per week. DaHubby has been incredibly supportive with my efforts to keep us within our budget allowence. And, he is really encouraging and thankful when I make my three, four, sometimes 5 grocery store trip (most times w/Vikings in tow) each week as I chase the sales to keep us under our alloted amount.

Most weeks he seems throughly surprised by the amount of food I'm able to bring home for that amount. And, he has been suggesting each Wednesday for the last few weeks for me to take a pic.

Now, after seeing on some of my favorite frugal blogs who post their grocery treasures how much THEY are able to get, I don't feel like I'm doing very well! LOL But, in the interest of honoring my hubby's request to show off a bit (LOL), here's how I did today:

All this plus what I already have in the house (which isn't much of a stockpile...yet!) will provide us with seven dinners, all the Vikings home lunches as well as DaHubby's brown bag work lunches, and the Vikings' and my breakfasts with a few snacks and lots of "finger-ready" fruits and veggies.

The dinner menu for the week is:

crockpot chicken w/mashed potatoes, low-fat gravy, veggies, and a salad

leftover chicken-veggie pot pie

grilled pork chops and corn on the cob

leftover pork on tostadas with chips and homemade guacamole
kielbasa stew (think warm German potato salad a little soupier with chunks o' meat)

turkey BLT's w/ black bean soup

homemade pizza

This is from a four-trip week where I scoured Aldi's, Meijer's, Hardings (a local Spartan brand store), and Martins (a regional chain). This has been particularly hard the last few weeks as DaHubby's diet is changing from comfort/convenience food heavy to low-fat, lots of produce, and nearly meat-free.

I spent just under my adjusted amount of $67.50 today and I have one one-dollar bill and some change left over!
So...tada...that's how I've done least for this week!

What do you do...

...when they give it back?

One of the biggest lessons in the Financial Peace University series is class #13, the last one, called The Great Misunderstanding. He basically says that if you get this last lesson wrong, the rest of the lesson won't matter much in the long run. You'll never truly find financial peace.

As part of the lesson,
Dave Ramsey goes into a lengthy explanation about giving that breaks down to these three ideas:

1. It's not YOUR money - it's ALL God's! We are simply the stewards and He is the Lord of the Manor.

2. We are built in His image. He gives us everything - including His Son. So, if we are to be striving to be Christ-like, we should be giving.

3. If you hold on to your money with a clenched fist, yes, you may not "lose" any but none can come in either. Plus, the universal sign of anger is a clenched fist. On the other hand, if you remember Who is all belongs to, you keep your money in an open hand - yes, money may come and go. You will give and it may not come back financially; your pocket may not grow, but your heart will.

I "happened" to find the soundtrack from this DVD lesson in the mini-van's player this afternoon while doing our grocery shopping. I've heard it before - several times. One of the things DaHubby and I are most looking forward to when we reach that "baby step 7" is the giving! But, in the meantime, we try to bless those around us as we can.

For example, our first family night out that we saved up for so as to do it ONLY with cash, we found at the end of the evening as we sat in a restaurant munching on late night treats with the kids that we would have money left over after we paid the bill. It was late. The poor waitress was not only waiting on us but a large several-tables-long group of loud teenagers. So, we wanted to bless her and gave her everything we had left. That money was meant to be spent that night. The night was over so we gave her the rest! LOL

Well, back to I was waiting in the last grocery line today, the lady in front of me was having trouble. She seemed nice enough. Had said "hi" and "excuse me" when we nearly collided in the produce section earlier. She was being sweet to "my" regular cashier. LOL But, with her first subtotal, it appeared she was about $5 short.

She was using a Bridge card - which is the debit card for the Michigan food stamp program. As I had paid bills (including the mortgage) before leaving the house, I was also acutely aware that it is the end of the month and, if her card was empty, she had no more money for food for the next 6 days.

So, knowing a nudge from God when I see one (LOL), I rummaged in my purse and found my cash envelopes. I had just been braggin' to someone Monday that I had never put the alloted funds in the mini-van's gas tank last week so the envelope is still full when I filled my envelopes for the upcoming week today.

I pulled out a $5 (which, honestly, in our mini-van would not be a whole lot of mileage LOL) and gave it to the cashier. And, the cashier balked. She hesitated to take it so I just laid it on the pile of change the customer in front of me was counting out and she was deciding what things to void off her order with several people behind her. Can ya' say "been there done that"?

When all was said and done (and counted), she ended up not needing the $5 and, after very graciously thanking me and giving me a hug, she gave the money back.

And, that's where I balked.

If the Lord "nudged" me to intervene, should I have taken the money back? Should I have insisted she keep it? Initially, I had simply said "no problem, ma'am...that's why my hubby and I are working the program we're working so we can help in situations like this. Just pass it along some time in the future when you are able to." If I had insisted she keep it, maybe she was meant to give it to someone down the line.

While I'm thrilled at the opportunity to serve, I feel like I may have messed it up somehow. LOL

So, what do you do if they give it back?

Wordless Wednesday

For more WW, go here or here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tree Cuttin' Excitement Day Two

Those busy beaver city workers are back. They arrived right at 8am again! LOL Apparently, it wasn't enough to take more than SIX hours to get down the tree from yesterday.

After spending nearly the entire day yesterday listening to chain saws and the wood chipper, this nice man (who actually took time to come across the street to speak with Pojke when we were first at the curb) is now running a machine that looks like something out of a really nasty horror film that DaHubby assures me is called a stump grinder! LOL

And, again, Pojke is in his glory! So much so, he pulled up a chair to the storm door! LOL

minor housekeeping note - UPDATED

Sometime between 7:30am and 10am, our new ISP installer will be here to change us over from our current local provider to a national, I mean provider. We've done our best to support the little guy but with unexplained and repeated internet outages over the last two years, DaHubby's had it.

So, assuming Murphy's Law is still in effect, I may be unable to be around here for an indeterminate amount of time. *wink*

ALL DONE! Apparently going with a large national company has its perks! LOL We are now have a 6 meg connection instead of 1 meg!


Monday, June 23, 2008

Pass The Torch Tuesday

This is DaHubby and my siblings-in-law. Twenty years span from oldest to youngest.

I still don't know how my MIL did it! *wink* Particularly since she had all 3 girls before she was 21! LOL And, by the time she was the age I had Flicka, her oldest was nearly married! LOL

But, seriously, these are a cool bunch of people including David who is no longer with us. All sweet, smart, crafty, creative, and organized (well, the "organized" doesn't really apply to DaHubby. He must've missed that gene! *wink*) And, they with all their cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. really blew my socks off this past weekend at Relay For Life.

I just wanted y'all to know today that I'm really glad that they will be part of passing their torches to the Vikings.

And, to DaHubby, thank you for sharing these crazy folks with me!

Montessori Monday

As an education pioneer, Maria Montessori was very interested in children exploring with their five senses. And, I've read that Montessori classrooms are a great place for budding tactile learners to bloom even further.

While both Flicka and Pojke are definintely hands-on types of kids at this point, I'm beginning to see a difference between Flicka's age-appropriate hands-on exploring vs. Pojke's growing tactile learner qualities.

Case in point: despite our cutting back financially and living within our means more frugally in the interest of debt reduction, we saved up for a family membership at a local kids' museum. We've dropped other "extravagances" like magazine subscriptions and eating out but this membership is worth every dime - especially when seeing Pojke playing.

One thing Montessori based programs are known for is their open-ended play. There are no "finish" or "winner" or "rules" so to speak. One good example is a water table.

Now in the interest of our frugality, I haven't gone out and bought (or even made) a water table (yet). The Vikings are perfectly fine with a tub or kiddie pool filled with water or "helping" with dishes or "washing" the sink after teeth brushing. But, there is just something about the look on Pojke's face here:

Now, THAT'S a concentrated learner trying to figure out how this works! LOL

The museum's "water table" causes Pojke to come to a stand still for long periods of time - longer than anything but playing with his beloved Matchbox cars.

My mother-in-law describes a time when she would buy small kitchen appliances at garage sales to bring home so a pre-teen DaHubby would have something to take apart to destroy/explore and figure how it worked.

I have a feeling that gene has been passed down! And, I think I've got a tactile learner on my hands! LOL

For more Montessori Monday discussions and examples, visit Barbara's page here.

Big Excitement Around Here This Morning?

Right at 8am, our ever-perky, ever-busy city workers showed up with their noise pollution cheer! *wink*

And, Pojke is in little boy HEAVEN! LOL


Haven't really processed everything from the weekend. Incredibly emotional plus being awake for 40 hours, sleeping on the ground, and being not as young as I was when I used to pull all-nighters (LOL) is making for a slow recovery still today.

Remembering David. Watching Peggy be pushed in a wheelchair for her first survivor lap. My sister-in-law, Sue, the oldest of the Viking sibling crew, was the keynote speaker at the luminaria ceremony Saturday night. Walking the silent lap in memory of those lost.

DaHubby took a video of Sue's speech but he is waiting for our switchover to a new ISP tomorrow which will provide us more than twice the speed connectivity than we have now.

We just want to say THANK YOU to all of you that supported us this weekend with your donations and/or your prayers.

Of the 110 teams that participated, ours was one of the three featured in our local paper Sunday morning. If you go to read the article, Peggy, my brother-in-law Marlon, and my two nieces are featured in the first picture as well.

Finally, it's hard to convey the scope and the power associated with this, but DaHubby captured a picture at the end of the luminaria ceremony which took place under the grandstand pavilion at our county fairgrounds.

Each person there was given an unlit glow stick. Then, the MC said "if you are a survivor of cancer, break your stick...if you are here honoring your parents, break your stick....if you are here honoring a sibling, break your stick...if you are here to honor an aunt or uncle....a grandparent...a spouse..." and on and on and on.

Within a few minutes, the whole place was lit with glow sticks:

Thanks for making supporting our county's Relay which last year was in first place nationally for donations per capita. Thank you for making our team second in the county this year for donation totals. And, to those who donated to Peggy specifically, thank you for making her the top individual fund raiser for the entire Relay this year!

Thank you again. Just thank you.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Spring Reading Thing wrap up

I just can't believe that it's been over 10 weeks since Katrina started her 2008 Spring Reading Thing. It just doesn't seem possible. And, as a former book nut who had time to devour multiple books a week, I'm kinda embarrassed how this challenge turned out! LOL

But, since one of my New Year's resolutions for 2007 was to read ONE book a month, I guess by that standard I did all right! LOL

In my initial post, I set a goal of nearly all non-fiction - a change that provided a large challenge. My original list included:

The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus by Scot McKnight which I am one chapter from completing.

Healing for Damaged Emotions by Davids Seamands which I completed.

Debt-Free Living by Larry Burkett Did not start this one yet.

Fear of the Lord by John Bevere Did not start this one yet either.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Nope - didn't start this one either.

Either a Maria Montessori biography OR The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court The good news for this two? I'm in the middle of a Montessori how-to book called The Mommy Manual PLUS I completed the doorstop that was the one about the Supreme Court.

Maybe a Lynn Truss Nope didn't get to this one either.

I also received Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner via which I had been waiting on for a while so I read that as well even though it wasn't on my original list.

So, for my final tally: 3 completed, 2 in progress/nearly done, and 4 "misses". *sigh* But, it's a lot more reading than I was doing from Christmas 'til March! LOL The Nine held me up for a while - it took nearly a month but it was fascinating.

For some better success stories than I was able to relate (LOL), go to Katrina's Mr. Linky today and see how the other participants did!

Friday Frugal Family Fun

...say that ten times fast! LOL

Crystal, owner and operator of one of my favorite blogs (, is having a carnival to share frugal (of free) family activities for the summer. When she announced this carnival earlier this week, I left a bunch of our best ideas in her comments section but I thought I'd re-post them here today and share with people who stop by here too.

So, this Viking family's idea of free or frugal family fun (can ya' tell I *love* alliteration! LOL) is the following:

Library summer reading program activities: magicians, animals, storytellers, reading time, crafts, etc.

Walk at the nature center or local arboreteum.

Free Wednesday brown bag lunch concerts at our city's outside band shell.

At the same band shell are free jazz concerts on Friday nights as well as two big band concerts on Sundays.

A park a week - we have several parks within our city and outer township limits so we pick one park per week to visit one or two times. Over 8 or so weeks, we've visited every one in the city!

Home Depot's and Lowe's free "kid project" days - Home Depot is first Sat of month and Lowe's is 2nd and 4th Saturdays.

Our city has an antiques sale the first Sunday of each month in the main downtown park and a farmers' market every Saturday - it's always free to browse and visit (LOL) but we often grab a buck or two in change to get homemade cookies from one particular farmers' market vendor.

Our homeschool and MOMS Club groups have play groups - sometimes several a week.

Camping in backyard (The Great American Backyard Campout ( is technically June 28th but it's a good idea anytime! I even saw a cute idea in a recent Family Fun magazine on how to make an outdoor movie screen out of PVC and a sheet! LOL

Garage sale-ing and/or hitting Goodwill esp. the last Saturday of the month when everything is 50% off!

We have saved $15 a month for 4 months and popped for an annual membership at our local kids' science museum - worth EVERY dime on a rainy day. There is also another kids' museum an hour away that has free admission - just pay for gas which isn't too bad for us because we have family in that town so we're usually fed for free! LOL

A sprinkler, a baby pool at the bottom of a kiddie slide, some Popsicles, and some sunscreen is always a great way to "blow" an afternoon.

Go to your local fire station (it's polite to call ahead but we've even dropped by unannounced while walking home from something else) and you'll find some very proud firefighters oh so happy to show your little ones around! LOL

Crafts , crafts, and more crafts using recycled materials - mostly stuff you'd throw away online and/or access books from "The Busy Book" series by Trish Kuffner!

Go geocaching! Free fun, tromping through woods, parks, beaches, etc. and a "prize" at the end. Just visited

On a closing note, I realize many of the preceding ideas are specific to my community but I'm a big advocate of throughly scouring your local paper for ideas! LOL You'd be amazed at what you will find!

If you are interested in additional idea, visit Crystal list of participants today!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I only turned my back for a second...

Typical mistake! LOL

After dinner last night, DaHubby took off for school and the Vikings *immediately* wanted to go outside to play. Having been stuck in the house or in the van going for groceries all morning, I was reluctant to make them wait.

"OK, but stay in the back yard! I'm gonna put these dishes in the dishwasher. Then, I'll meet ya outside and we can go out front."

Yea, right.

This is what I found after I put the last few dishes in the washer and wiped the counter off...

And, uh, that's not our lawn! LOL That's our neighbor's! LOL And, she's fully dressed! And, it was only about 62 degrees! *rolling eyes*

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

One Last Thing...

...before I scare off anyone who subscribes and sees that I posted 4 times already today (and it's only 8am)! LOL

Feeling kinda proud of the luminaries I made yesterday for Relay this weekend. I snapped a pic just now and took off some of the identifying info. Also in the pic are the lip glosses I made. Not included are the bath salts which are made, in a Ziplock on the counter, and awaiting containers.

As of this morning, Peggy is the third highest individual fund raiser in our county; our team is the second highest fund raiser for the county; and we are only $85 short of our $3,000 goal! *big smile*

If you haven't donated to a local Relay or the American Cancer Society recently, please consider going to my ACS page.

WFMW: frugal homemade lip gloss

One of the many things I got done while my internet was down (I mentioned it was for five days, right?) was to finish my fund raiser crafts to sell at our local Relay For Life this weekend. I was trying to cater to the pre-teen girl crowd who seem to attend in abundance with more pocket money than I remember having at that age! LOL So, I thought I'd tackle some frugal homemade lip gloss.

this recipe, it took about 30 minutes to produce 60 small containers (which I got in my local craft store's bead storage section) of chocolate and lemonade flavored lip gloss! Using my teacher discount at the craft store and getting the ingredients on sale and/or at our local dollar store, this whole project cost cost less than $10.

Frugal and fund raising? This week that REALLY works for me!

And, if you would like to help out my family's team who walk in memory of my brother-in-law as well as in honor of my sister-in-law who is currently 5 weeks post stem cell/bone marrow transplant for a rare leukemia and in honor of my mom who is a melanoma survivor, please consider going
my American Cancer Society page. Our team is currently in second place in our whole county for funds raised! And, my other sister-in-law is the keynote speaker at our county's luminaria event Saturday night!

Finally, to see more WFMW ideas, see
Shannon's post today.

Wordless Wednesday

For more WW, check here and here.

Random Clean Up-Catch Up

I have started following the goings-on at SmartyPantsMama recently and I noticed that she is the home of "Munchkin Mondays" where she lets us moms show off our little ones.

Well, while my internet has been down (have I mentioned it was for FIVE DAYS!?), I received an email from Caroline on Sunday saying that Pojke has been chosen to be highlighted this week! COOL!

There's not an individual post so to speak. Caroline has Pojke's smiling face in her right column just for this week. If you are interested, stop by Caroline's place and check it out!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Two hundred and five

That's the number of Bloglines links I get to go through


The number of emails to go through

Yea, we're back online...big whoop! LOL

Somewhat back online

Five days later, the internet can now reach the house but cannot reach my PC at my desk. I pulled out the 6 year old laptop to plug directly into the modem to post this. I'm actually afraid to log in to my email at this point! LOL

Everything here is fine. Without internet, I got an amazing amount done around the house! LOL I'm hoping to post tonight about the crafts and luminaries I made today for Tackle It Tuesday.

And, Relay is in 4 days and I HIT MY FUNDRAISING GOAL! Thank you to everyone who donated!! Can't wait to hand the checks in I received! And, as of last Friday, Peggy is the third largest indiviual fundraiser for our county and our "David's Runners" team is the third highest fundraising team out of 100+ teams! *big grin*

Thanks again SO much and I'll be back as soon as we are 100%-internet friendly again.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Relay For Life: (Nearly) One Year Later

This is a re-post from June 25, 2007.

Occurred at Relay this weekend...

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

"Momma, why are all these people here?"

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

"ALL these people are sick!?"

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

"Momma, why are all these people here?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

If only I had known that 7 months later, Peggy would be fighting cancer as well. *sigh* Flicka's learned more about cancer in the last year than I wish she had to know at 4 years old.

Please consider giving - whether to your local Relay or to our team. Your giving may save life. Someone gave, someone took that money and did research, someone else took that research and developed a treatment, another someone took that treatment and gave it to my mom and Peggy - and my mom and Peggy are still here!

Internet Inactivity

Our ADSL connection went down on Friday around 3:00 pm as a result we are trying to obtain a different provider. We are very reluctantly going to switch to Comcast.


Friday, June 13, 2008

A Viking Pasty Party

Well, just got home a bit ago from our Viking Pasty-Making Extravaganza!

As I described here, our goal was to make about 100 pasties to sell at church Sunday to raise
money for our local Relay For Life which the Viking extended family walk in honor of my BIL David who was lost to lung cancer, my mom who conquered melanoma, and my SIL Peggy who is 4 weeks post-stem cell/bone marrow transplant for a rare leukemia. You can read about them here too.

Also, I found out this morning that Peggy is currently third in our entire county for online donations! And, our team as a whole currently is third overall out of 100+ teams this year.

you feel like donating to the American Cancer Society and have not yet done so, please consider going here.

Anyway, back to the fun at hand.

If you ever wondered what 7 women could do with several pounds of potatoes, carrots, onions, ground beef, flour, and Crisco, check it out:

For 7 women and about 3 hours of work (not including baking time), we should make about $300.

*sniff, sniff* Anyone hungry yet? LOL


Our schedule got a little out of hand the last 36 hours. Most of our time was spent away from the house - not necessarily a bad thing but it throws me off my game in terms of getting stuff done around here.

Yesterday, I spent until 1pm keeping the kids out of DaHubby's earshot. Then, we all ate our big meal of the day then I spent naptime paying bills, balancing the checkbook, and assorted odds and ends. We got the kids up, fed them a snack, and we were off to church.

Last night was FPU graduation! DaHubby and I have been faciliatting our church's first Dave Ramsey class. We started with 13 families. Three of which run a large local nursery together. We knew they'd be not finishing the class this time around once spring started. However, out of the remaining 10 families, we handed out 8 certificates last night!

While we watched the last video, we enjoying a pot luck supper. And, afterwards, DaHubby and I revealed their totals. Over the last 13 weeks, these 10 families have:

Saved about $15,000
Paid off about $47,000 in debt
And, avoided/declined 1.8 million dollars in credit offers!

In 13 weeks!

So, while our schedule was overtaken, it was in a good way. DaHubby took last night off and stayed home with us. And, today is our Vikings Pasty Party!

Now, I just need to get 5 days worth of errands done that keep getting put off! LOL

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

WFMW: recycle your coffee grounds

And, no, this is not a frugal tip on how to get multiple cups of coffee out of one set of grounds! LOL

While flipping through a magazine about a month ago, I saw a small advertisement with "springtime tips". The list contained five ideas from Peace Coffee brand about recycling your coffee grounds.

Being a non-coffee drinker and a novice gardener myself, these were new to me so I thought I'd share. So, we are collecting DaHubby's grounds to do the following:

1. Sprinkle used grounds around plants before rain or watering for slow-release nitrogen.

2. Add to compost piles to increase the nitrogen balance. Coffee filters and tea bags break down rapidly during composting.

3. To make a gentle, fast-acting liquid fertilizer, dilute a half pound of wet coffee ground with 5 gallons of water; let sit outdoors to achieve ambient temperature.

4. Mix in soil for household plants or vegetables.

5. Encircle the base of plants with a coffee and eggshell barrier to repel pests.

While trying to find a site at Peace Coffee to which I could give credit for this idea, I also found this link and this link for a few additional ideas.

Free fertilizer and recycling to boot? Now, THAT works for me. For more WFMW, go to Shannon's site today.

And, please consider reading this post as well if you have time. Thanks!

Wordless Wednesday

(Disclaimer: We did not track, harass, chase, scare, coerce this baby animal. DaHubby was sitting outside his work building for morning break and this little charmer sought him out and came right up to him. Being the ever-thinking photo buff, of course DaHubby had his camera on his belt! LOL)

For more WW, go here.
And, please consider reading this post as well if you have time. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Friday Pasty Feast

Well, with our local Relay For Life closing in quickly (a week from Saturday), the extended Viking crew have mobilized for a final push of fund raising. While my siblings-in-law rack up $1,000+ plus in donations EACH, here DaHubby and I sit. LOL

DaHubby follows the silent-but-understood, bring-no-fundraisers-to-work pledge by his fellow engineers. And, being a stay-at-home mom, the only large groups I come in contact with are at church (where most of my in-laws already go to church) and the MOMS Club (which is already involved in fund raising elsewhere in the community).

The third option is here - at my bloggy home. According to Site Meter, I get about 30-50 hits a day on non-carnival days (like Works For Me Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday and Thursday Thanks Tank). So, you 30-50 of my loyal readers and those of you who stumble onto this blog by Google-chance are my only chance to reach my goal of $200! LOL

That being said, in previous years, the Viking in-laws have held a very large bake sale at our church just prior to Relay. But, this year at the request of Peggy, my sister-in-law who is about 4 weeks post stem cell transplant to battle a rare leukemia, we're having a "pasty party"! LOL

For those of you unfamiliar with this Yooper tradition, you will have to look here, here, or here for an explanation of the background of these cool little meat pies that I learned to cook almost immediately after marrying DaHubby.

My MIL, two sisters-in-law, and I (along with what will probably turn out to be several nieces and several little ones under 5) will be making large quantities of pasties on Friday under Peggy's eagle-eye supervision as well as her recipe to be sold at church this Sunday! LOL

So, loyal readers, you have a choice: either make an advanced order of several pasties or click on my Relay For Life button to donate! *wink*

And, all day Friday, pray for me that in the clouds of potatoes, onions, meat, and flour that I don't get stuffed into one of these little pies as well! LOL

"It is said that the Devil never crossed the Tamar into Cornwall on

account of the well-known habit of Cornish women of putting everything

into a pasty, and that he was not sufficiently courageous to risk such a fate!

-Cornish Recipes Ancient and Modern 23rd edition with supplement by the Cornwall Federation of Women's Institutes

(early legend about the pasty, Cornish women tended to throw in any left-overs they had into it)

Pass The Torch Tuesday

Well, this one is more of a sentimental one than anything the Vikings have done recently. LOL

I grew up in a typical middle-class suburb on the west side of Detroit. I was able to walk half of a block to the closest park, two blocks to my elementary school, and four blocks to our neighborhood pool. I also could walk three blocks to my neighborhood library - one branch in a bigger city-wide system.

When I started junior high (this was before middle schools, of course LOL), I had to cross a major thoroughfare (6 lanes of 45 mph traffic with a grassy median) to get there. My
halfway point? That neighborhood library. And, being the only child of a divorced, working mom, that library became a home away from home.

From what I can recall, it was those years from fourth to eighth grade that really solidified my love of reading. And, they probably planted the seeds for the middle school language arts teacher I would eventually become 20 years later! LOL

My best memory of my little library that seemed so huge and full of information, stories, data, pictures, and future dreams was that my grandma worked there! LOL Coming in a close second was participating in the summer reading programs year after year.

The summer I remember best was the one where I was determined to read the entire
Nancy Drew mystery series. At that time, there was "only" 34 of them. I don't remember if I did anything else that summer (other than my annual trip to camp) than read!

And, yesterday, for the second year, I signed up Pojke and Flicka for our local library's reading program which is opened for ages 18 months to 8th graders! *sniff, sniff*

One of the best traditions my mom instilled in me was reading lots and writing well. And, I know my grandma, the 20+ year library
employee, was also a reader. So, it really touches my heart to know that Flicka is a fourth generation young lady learning to love to read! And, I'm hoping that my grandma, now in heaven, is looking down smiling!

(a pic from 2004)

For more captured Pass The Torch moments and ideas, stop by Kelly's place today!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Montessori Monday

In looking for opportunities for Flicka to practice fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, a subscription from Grandma P to the preschool level Highlights magazine, High Five, has been just the ticket. Each month there's a cut-out project and Flicka is hooked:

For more Montessori Monday ideas, stop by Barbara's site here.

Out of Respect

...for DaHubby's feelings, I removed the post from this morning which included me whining away about how stressed out I am this week. While we had talked about everything in the post, he was discouraged that I had nothing positive to say about the situation and then had shared it with the bloggy world to boot.

Thanks to those of you that got the chance to post the sweet and supportive comments. I appreciate it.

A modern psalm...I like it, Carmen! Thanks for the perspective.

Friday, June 6, 2008

One tiny corner of shade

I had one about 10 X 10 foot square in the back corner of our yard still in shade when the Vikings and I arrived home from errands today. Dreading the thought of keeping them in the house to shade their pale Nordic skin at midday (LOL), I told them to stay in their rooms momentarily and I'd be right back with a surprise.

Filled up the kiddie pool, turned on the sprinkler, slathered them with sunscreen, made slushies with their PB&J's and made it official! Summer is here!

And, thanks to GiBee for her great idea. One bowl contained BUBBLES! LOL

Pensieve's June Poetic License

I've have the worst three ADD days this week than I have in a long, long time. After a week like this, I remember why anxiety, depression, and substance abuse is so often found in people with ADD or ADHD. Lack of sleep this week. The first of this season's hot, humid weather. Lots more change on the horizon...some of which begins next week. Challenging behavior from the Vikings. All of which I feel like I'm handling badly. Dealing with ADD often makes you a bit of a control freak in order to bring some semblance of organization to your day. Change and pressure, while completely normal and to be expected, are not welcome. LOL

I had no idea what to write about this week. Been thinking and thinking and thinking. Then, it struck me 15 minutes ago while I'm trying to keep myself together. And, I wrote this:

madness chaos
overwhelming drowning crying
whirlwind scrambled, gentle placid
calming floating softening
quiet thoughtful

For more on the diamante poem form discussing and/or describing the great outdoors or emotions, go here for an explanation and here for examples.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

SA-WEET deal on magazines

I've cut back on my magazines subscriptions in the interest of funding our debt snowball and the realization that as a mom of two kids under 5, I don't have as much time to read as I would like. LOL But, this deal was too hard to refuse. Try out 1 to 3 issues of your favorite magazines for .99 per title. Go to Start Sampling and hit the link there. Just got myself the following...

1 issue of Today's Christian Woman
3 issues of Good Housekeeping
2 issues of Weight Watchers magazine and
2 issues of Better Homes and Gardens

for $3.96!

That's less than .50 per magazine! It's not Wednesday but that DEFINITELY works for me! LOL

Thursday Thanks Tank

Due to inspiration from Pam and the ladies of Thankful Thursday...

First and foremost - exciting news! Twenty-three days post-transplant and my sis-in-law Peggy is scheduled to be discharged from Chicago Rush hospital today! Praise God! Peggy checked into Rush the first time on Valentine's Day for her initial course of treatment for a rare leukemia (AML) of which the experts at Rush have only seen 19 other cases ever. The second time she was admitted just before Mothers' Day for a stem cell/bone marrow transplant for which she broke the odds again and had not only ONE possible match in her siblings but TWO! And, now, after informing the family that she could be gone until mid to late June, Peggy destroyed the odds *again* by being well enough to come home only 3 weeks post-transplant! We are happier than we can explain!

And, second, more good news! Thanks to a super-kind lump sum donation from a childhood friend who now lives out of state, I'm one-quarter of the way to my fundraising goal for our local Relay For Life that I will be participating in in just over two weeks!

I'm so incredibly blessed in so many other areas...

by a hubby that car pools so the gas budget stretches farther
by friends who call to say they miss seeing me and the Vikings and invite us over for a playdate
that next month we will pay off another major credit card
by church family that just stops by to drop off a beautiful new Sunday dress they thought Flicka might look beautiful in
by having healthy children
by a pastor that just stops to see how our garage sale is going (LOL)
by a surprise watermelon (DaHubby's favorite) for dessert this week from my in-laws
by the interlibrary loan program at our local library which will allow me to participate in this bloggy reading club
and, is there anything better than the sight of a full fridge?

Despite having got less than four hours sleep last night due to a Pojke bad dream and thunderstorms, I'm just brimming with thankfulness today...

...and how more thankful could I be if I just had some more caffeine! *wink*

Oh my good grief!!

Shannon, of Works For Me Wednesday fame, is having an AWESOME giveaway! The WOW CD people gave her TWENTY box sets containing the SEVENTEEN artists/groups who perfrom on their lastest CD.

Shannon's drawing Saturday so go NOW!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My big brother and big sister

Despite the title of this post, I basically grew up an only child. My twin half-sisters (now 20) we're born when *I* was 20 and a sophomore at Michigan State.

To what will probably be my mom's great relief, I've never regretted being an only child. I've had a few "what if" moments but I have no recollection of ever being in want of anything like playmates growing up.

However, DaHubby is number 5 of 6 siblings so, upon marrying him, I immediately acquired an older brother, 3 older sisters,and a younger brother.

Now, DaHubby and I had a whirlwind meeting and courtship. We met. Five weeks later he proposed. And, five weeks after that, I left everything I knew and had been working towards to be with him here on the other side of the state far from all my family.

The first time I met my new "big brother" was when he and DaHubby came to help me move. Those two guys went up and down several flights of stairs several times and then stood and then drove through pouring rain for nearly 4 hours to bring all of my stuff from one side of Michigan to the other. And, during the loading process, my new big brother told off a wise-cracking cranky old neighbor of mine who made some comment about me leaving.

Now, this big brother was a former Marine. And, to this day, he is one of the toughest and strongest men I've ever met. What an introduction for a single only daughter of a single mom of the awesome power and influence of a man who's been trained to defend himself and others. I had DaHubby's engagement promise and now a big brother's additional protection. I already adored DaHubby but I also adored David from that point on, too! LOL

Then, to be honest, having three new sisters was incredibly awkward at first. I had *NO* clue how this sister thing (much less this in-law thing) was supposed to work. But, to their ultimate credit and classiness, the two living locally immediately took me out shopping for my wedding dress when I first arrived despite having only met me a handful of times and they realized I had no other family living close by.

By the time of the wedding, about 8 months later, those sisters had completely spoiled me and made me part of this incredibly close-knit family. Nowadays, they also spoil the Vikings rotten - as is the job of every good auntie, of course!

Tragically, four years after our wedding, it was this Marine, the only big brother I will ever know who, following a startlingly short battle with lung cancer, was taken back to Heaven only five months after completing his first Chicago Marathon.

And, it is one of those wonderful sisters who is right at this minute laying in a Chicago hospital fighting through a 3rd week of painful "engraftment syndrome" from a bone marrow transplant to cure a rare leukemia found just 3 years after losing her brother.

So, in 18 days, I will be walking in our local Relay For Life.

For David - who never got to see how incredibly beautiful and smart his only child, a daughter, K, has turned out since finishing high school and starting college.

For Peggy - who has been through things, procedures and tests, the roughest four months I have ever seen, which no one should ever have to go through and is still praising God the entire time.

And, for my mom - who doesn't talk about it much but is a melanoma survivor as well. Cancer free for nearly 3 years I think!

If you want, I am accepting donations for my local team. The button above will take you to our team's page. Or, you may want to donate locally to someone who you know in real life. But, please donate. It is people who donated previously who funded research into treatment and procedures that saved my mom's life and are currently saving Peggy's.

One way or another - please give.

Tackle It Tuesday

With thanks to DaHubby who was completely responsible for this project while I corralled his "helpers" out of his tools, the paint stripper, the primer, etc.! LOL

We have four large wonderful windows on the side of our "long-as-opposed-to-wide" ranch-style home. They run along the driveway but unfortunately are on the south side of the house. And, I say "unfortunately" since between the old single pane windows which leak miserably and the baking afternoon sun every. single. day., we can't keep the house warm in the winter OR cool in the summer with the current windows.

So, while we initially planned on spending ALL of our tax stimulus check on debt ala Dave Ramsey and our debt snowball, we have just received our new budget amounts for our gas and electric bills - both of which went up significantly. *sigh* So, we'd had it - at least one set of windows it was!

So, I give you...the before:

And, the after:

And, let me say...I am so so so so fortunate to have a crafty, talented, skilled, and handy hubby! *big smile*

For more Tackle It Tuesday, go here.