Saturday, May 31, 2008

Disappointed

Garage sale, day two.

*sigh*

6 hours so far

$10

an average of about $1.60 an hour for three days of preparing and manning the loot

But, dishes done, laundry's done, kids fed a decent breakfast and lunch, 2 errands run, DaHubby and I got to visit most of the morning so it isn't a complete loss.

And, now...

since I can't have another for a year per our city's code

do I box it up and bring it in the house? (which is against "the rule" DaHubby and I set up for garage sales)

Ebay everything I can? (breaking the rule also)

or take it all to Goodwill?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Garage Sale Day One

Well...

Was all done setting up. Ready to price everything. It's was 9pm last night. Then, DaHubby convinced me to move everything out of the driveway and into our tiny one-car garage due to a forecast of scattered rain. In the interest of marital peace, I agreed. Out in the garage 'til 11pm re-setting everything up. Too tired to price. Went in and went to bed.

5am - alarm goes off.

6am - I'm in the garage pricing everything like a crazy woman.

6:50am - I get the first "can I take an early bird look?" Is this woman SERIOUS!?! *sigh*

7:30am - the street is lined up for 4 houses on BOTH sides for my neighbor's garage sale (and who had put the ad in our local paper).

7:30am until 2pm - a blur of activity, selling, re-folding, greeting, chasing the Vikings into the yard, chasing the Viking outta the garage, neighbor watches the loot while I make breakfast for Vikings, Grandma and Papa show up at some point, and then take Vikings to lunch (Praise God!) Then, Vikings arrive home sugared up and WAY cranky. Then it starts to rain. Miscellaneous loot not in garage covered or moved. Then, neighbor watches the loot again while Vikings are tossed crying in the tub (figuratively speaking of course), cleaned up, and placed in their beds for naps.

FINALLY, around 2pm...the Vikings are snoring, the rain is slowing down, and the grand total for the morning?

$48

*sigh*

Well, it's $48 more than I had yesterday! LOL And, I'm going to make something to eat!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Yikes! Plan B!

...and 24 hours to execute!

Was planning a quiet day for myself and the Vikings. Maybe a trip downtown, feed the ducks, go to the park. That kind of thing. And, I was browsing the paper a few minutes ago to see if there were any garage sales around my home and downtown we should stop by.

And, there were THREE garage sale ads within a 6 block area of my house...one four-family one right across the street! That one starts tomorrow!

Now, I was planning on doing a garage sale myself next weekend but to take advantage of the "free advertising" and the large amount of people who will be in the area tomorrow, and after discussing it with DaHubby, I now have 24 hours to get ready for a garage sale!!

AARRGG!! LOL

Boxes. Tables. Permit. Signs. Price stickers. And, what to do with the Vikings?? *sigh*

So, I'll be spending the next 24 hours buried in old clutter trying to organize, categorize, and price! LOL So, if I'm not around much the next day or two, all is fine...just busy!

And, pray for me! I'm gonna need it! *wink*

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


For more WW, check here and here.

Frugal ingredient substitution

I've been working diligently to find more and more frugal solutions to a tight grocery budget (I'm feeding the four of us on $60/week). Trying to put together dinner on Tuesday nights is sometimes particularly difficult since grocery day is Wednesday which is the day DaHubby gets paid. But, a couple of weeks ago I stumbled onto something I thought I'd share.

A few weeks ago, I was trying to make an easy and quick chicken pot pie dinner on a Tuesday night with a recipe where I didn't have all the required ingredients. I needed a can of cream of chicken soup. Hmmm. And, I was standing with my cabinets when I had a light bulb moment.

I've recently started making the Vikings' beloved "cheese noodles" from scratch - using elbow noodles and a cheese sauce started from a standard white sauce of butter, flour, salt, pepper, and milk then adding shredded cheese to taste. It's just as easy. I can make it "cheesier" if we want. And, no "powdered" cheese.

Anyway, I mentioned here that we often have several Raman seasoning packets leftover around here. So, to replace my cream of chicken soup need...I made a more "watery" than usual white sauce (a little extra milk) and added a Raman chicken flavoring packet! This could also be done with bullion granules and possibly a cube, I suppose. Need cream of mushroom? Use a Raman mushroom flavoring packet!

I measured out about 2 cups of my concoction, inserted into the recipe, and DaHubby and the Vikings never knew the difference!

Simple (and frugal) ingredient substitution? Works for me!

For more WFMW, see Shannon's place today.

P.S. White sauce recipes abound on the net but here's the one I use:

3 T butter
2 T flour
1 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1.5 C milk

In a saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil - stirring constantly - over medium heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.

At this point, add 1 C shredded cheese for cheese sauce or whatever seasoning you need!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Homeschool Preschool Math Fun

I had a homeschooling tip published today at Parents Educating At Home/PEAH.com! You can see it here! *blushing* So proud! And, visit Heather for all kids of homeschooling info: homeschool 101, field trip ideas, homeschool benefits, homeschool help, choosing curiculum, and (most importantly) DISCOUNTS! LOL

Desiring your prayers

Despite the good report here, apparently there are battles still to be won. From Peggy's blog just now:

"Wish I had better news to report but.....Peggy woke up did not sleep well last night but does not remember it . She is back a sleep again.

She is not doing well she is very confused and aggitated..I think it might be a combination of the Medicine and her counts going up so quickly but not sure...will see what the Doctors have to say. They have been in to day they are probably going to do a chest xray because she is coughing and spitting up quite a bit of flem. She is also having some problems going to the bathroom. She is so independent and does not want help but if very unsteady on her feet.

Her WBC went up again today they went from 9.02 to 13.52 Not sure if that is all that good waiting to hear from Doctor ...the range depending where is get you information is 4-10 or 5-11 .. all her other count look good to platelets went from 171 up to 178 range is 150-399 so that is good ..Red blood count is down from 2.99 to 2.68 normal range is 4-5.2 Hemoglobin is at 8.2 was 9.2 yesterday Normal range is 12-16 ... her Neutrophil were .876 Sunday and today is 5.67...

She still has the sores in her mouth the Doctor was just in and they are going to stop the Morphine to see if that is causing the Confusion. She also is running a fever this morning of 100.9."

Pray as you are led. She's *so* close to conquering this thing with the Lord's help and healing. She's in the final stretch! Thank you!

How to pass the torch in an area you are weak in?

I feel VERY deficient in this area but, with only a handful of relations long since out of the service and only one or two of my friends having served in any capacity, I have have less than average experience with our country's awesome armed forces.

In spite of that, I am determined to install a sense of thankfulness and pride in the Vikings for all our military families do for us as citizens. And, what is a better example of Christ's love for us than a military force who is willing to lay down their lives to keep us free.

So, the Vikings, my in-laws, and I made sure we got to our small town's downtown on Friday for our Memorial Day parade.

Just as this car went by, I nudged Flicka to say that those solider had bee working to keep us safe. Flicka then yelled "thank you!"

What else could we say?

I just hope it is enough.

For more Pass The Torch Tuesdays, stop by Kelly's site.

My five seconds of fame. LOL

Barbara at MommyLife.net is organizing a card shower for little Alex Barton, the kindergarten whose teacher had his classmates vote him out of his classroom due to his disruptive behavior which is attributed to his autism. She asked for her readers to submit ideas and drafts for a possible button for bloggers to use to spread the word.

I jumped at the chance and created a first draft and then, with Barbara's follow up suggestions, a second draft. However, Barbara went on to pick the one you see here. (congrats, Kari! LOL)

However, as I watched the CBS Early Show this morning, they interviewed Alex and his mom, Melissa Barton. And, when Harry Smith asked Mrs. Barton about the card shower, the Early Show cut away to show a graphic...


and it was MY first draft button! LOL


It was only there for a sec and it'll probably be changed for later broadcasts. But, for that few seconds, I was famous! LOL

Monday, May 26, 2008

Grafting News! A Memorable Weekend!

It appears that at 13 days post-transplant, my bro-in-law J's stem cells are officially starting to graft to Peggy's body! After nearly two weeks of awful and painful side effects and expected reactions, her numbers are increasing substantially! Praise God!

From their blog at CarePages:

Thursday (9 days post transplant [PT]): "She kept me busy we walked and then we walked and then we walked some more...She felt good we probably walked at least 15 times around the halls...She had some pain today in her mouth and throat but they have started giving her morphine constantly and it really seems to help. She is sleeping much better tonight...Peggy's WBC(white blood count) is .49 up from .28."

Friday (10 days PT): "Good Morning!!! Peggy woke up feeling good today..Her WBC jump from .49 to 1.22 which is great, Her platelets went from 46 to 85 which is good...Her vitals are all great ..Just the sores in her throat and mouth although it is being controlled by Morphine.. Otherwise she is feeling and doing great. We have done about 8 laps already today. She received one unit of blood earlier today. Peggy had a really great day today...We can say the engraftment has started ....Yeah Peggy is beginning to get a new Immune system and it is responding so far really well..She felt good all day except for the sores in her Mouth and throat which causes her not to be able to eat or drink anything..."

Saturday (11 days PT): "Peggy woke up feeling great!!! Her WBC Triple today went from 1.22 to 3.78 range depending where is get you information is 4-10 or 5-11 either way she is close to being in that range. all her other count look good to platelets went from 85 up to 130 range is 150-399 so she is almost there too..Red blood count is up from 2.60 to 3.05 normal range is 4-5.2 Hemoglobin went from 7.9 to 9.2 Normal range is 12-16 although she got help on this one with a unit of Blood yesterday her Neutrophil were .09 yesterday do not have them yet ..this is the big one they want the Neutrophil to be 1.0 before going home so we got a little ways to go yet on that one"

Sunday: (12 days PT): "We have been walking and walking and walking and then visiting with others ..We have had a great day!!! Peggy is feeling so well...she actually took a couple of drinks of water today which is great. Doctor Larson said she will start taking away 1 antibiotic at a time and see how Peggy does ...Then try to get her Mouth and Throat Better ...Her Neutrophil went from .09 to a .876 which is Awesome! 1.0 Means she is no longer Neutropenic the averages range is 1.84-7.80 ..."

Please continue to pray if you felt led. We were initially told it would be another month before she could come home. But, because of God's amazing healing hands, it could be as soon as next week!

History of Remembrance

From Wikipedia.com:
The official birthplace of Memorial Day is Waterloo, New York. The village was credited with being the birthplace because it observed the day on May 5, 1866, and each year thereafter, and because it is likely that the friendship of General John Murray, a distinguished citizen of Waterloo, and General John A. Logan, who led the call for the day to be observed each year and helped spread the event nationwide, was a key factor in its growth.

General Logan had been impressed by the way the South honored their dead with a special day and decided the Union needed a similar day. Reportedly, Logan said that it was most fitting; that the ancients, especially the Greeks, had honored their dead, particularly their heroes, by chaplets of laurel and flowers, and that he intended to issue an order designating a day for decorating the grave of every soldier in the land, and if he could he would have made it a holiday.

Logan had been the principal speaker in a citywide memorial observation on April 29, 1866, at a
cemetery in Carbondale, Illinois, an event that likely gave him the idea to make it a national holiday.

On May 5, 1868, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a veterans' organization, Logan issued a proclamation that "Decoration Day" be observed nationwide. It was observed for the first time on May 30 of the same year; the date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of a battle. The tombs of fallen Union soldiers were decorated in remembrance of this day.

Many of the states of the U.S. South refused to celebrate Decoration Day, due to lingering hostility towards the Union Army and also because there were very few veterans of the Union Army who
lived in the South.

A notable exception was Columbus, Mississippi, which on April 25, 1866 at its Decoration Day commemorated both the Union and Confederate casualties buried in its cemetery.


The alternative name of "Memorial Day" was first used in 1882, but did not become more common until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967 .

Happy Memorial Day to all!



And, many thanks to those who have served away or at home to help keep me and mine safe and free.

And, don't forget to thank a veteran today!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Overheard at the Viking Hus part two

Mom: *sigh* "Baby, why are you so grouchy today?"
Pojke: "cuz. *bigger sigh* I dough know"

Because?
I don't know?
What is he...fifteen? LOL

Heard at the Viking Hus this morning

Flicka: "Mom! Mom!? Look! Someone turned my feet purple!"
Mom: "Uh, no sweetie. Get a blanket Your feet are just cold."

It was just a *little bit* nippy at the parade this morning...ya think?

Five Things Meme

I was tagged by Jen at Monkey Barrel Musings. Meeting her via her blog means I now know TWO people with books coming out soon: Jen and Kelly!

So on to the useless facts! LOL

5 Things in my bag:

Leatherman multi-tool. LOL From my law enforcement years. Yes, I’m the only mom I know who can whip out a pocket knife and/or screwdriver at a moment’s notice in the middle of the playground.

A “box” of gum the Vikings prefer that looks like a band aid box.

A open pack of AAA batteries - was moving them from the van to the house but I don't remember what for! LOL

And, I go NOWHERE without my Palm and my Financial Peace envelope system

5 Favorite Things in my Room:

Several stacks of books
Tote bag filled with the Vikings’ baby books and supplies
The coolest Christmas snow globe with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph I like out all year ‘round.
A picture in a frame of DaHubby and I dancing at our wedding
My bible

5 Things I Have Always Wanted to Do:

Speak a second language
Go to Europe
Learn archery
Write something I get paid for
BE DEBT FREE!

5 Things I Am Currently Into:

Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University
Keeping the peace with DaHubby gone so much for work and school
Purging the house for a garage sale
Rookie sewing projects
Getting things together for homeschooling this fall

5 People I Want to Tag:

That’s up to you! If you do this, come back and tell me!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Grandma.

Miss you lots. Love you more. Tell Jesus "hello".

So sad...

Hugging Pojke and Flicka a little tighter this morning...this man's music brought me back to Christ. How incredibly tragic.

Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter killed by car in driveway

"Steven Curtis Chapman’s youngest child died Wednesday evening after being struck by a car driven by her teenage brother in the driveway of the family’s Williamson County home.

Maria, one of the Christian singer’s six children, was taken by LifeFlight to Vanderbilt Hospital, which confirmed the death, according to Laura McPherson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The 5-year-old was hit by an SUV driven by her teenage brother, she said. Police did not give the driver’s name.

The teen was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser down the driveway of the rural home at about 5:30 p.m. and several children were playing in the area, McPherson said. He did not see Maria in the driveway before the vehicle struck her, she said.

“It appears to be a terrible accident,’’ McPherson said.

No charges are expected, she said. The accident was witnessed by two other children; the entire family was home at the time, McPherson said.

Singer/songwriter Chapman, who recently was inducted into Music City Walk of Fame, is one of contemporary Christian music’s most recognizable and most awarded names. "

See full article here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

WFMW: summer sidewalk chalk fun

We go through a TON of sidewalk chalk around here. LOL And, I know it's only $1 a tub most times but I don't always have time to stop what I'm doing and run to Dollar General! LOL

And, when I saw Crayola's line of products like this, I thought I'd hit the mother lode in summer entertainment! LOL But, the Vikings are too small yet as is our budget so I found a recipe in FamilyFun magazine for sidewalk paint that's identical to the one shown here.

It is basically equal parts cold water and corn starch plus a few drops of food coloring. The result is initially kinda runny and disappointing but oh.my.goodness when it dries! Very pretty. Very "dark". Or would it be "thick"? Well, you know what I mean! LOL
Cheap summer fun with materials I keep around the house that keep the Vikings busy for long periods of time? Works for me!

For more, WFMW ideas, go here.

Wordless Wednesday


For more WW, go here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday

I had forgotten how different a room can look with curtains! LOL And, I've been meaning to buy them for Pojke's room. We're moving from his "baby" decor to a "big boy" patriotic red-white-and-blue theme. Then, I came across an idea.

The last Saturday of March, I was taking advantage of Goodwill's "everything's 50% off" end of the month sale and found a flat sheet and a pillowcase for $1.50. And, with the sewing bug running rampant here and there lately, a few minutes with an iron and the sewing machine and *voila*! New curtains!

For more Tackle It Tuesdays, visit 5 Minutes For Mom!

Pass the Torch Tuesday

Flicka the bargain hunter! Dave Ramsey would be thrilled that we're "changing your family tree"! LOL IF ya can't read it, my girl used her own money at her favorite store (Family Dollar) and got her new $3 doll for .99 cents! LOL

For more Pass the Torch posts, visit Kelly today!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Montessori Mondays

A short and sweet one:

Grandma's "duster" and a broom from the dollar store cut down about 12 inches...makes for Vikings so eager to "help" with housework! LOL

This reminds me of my advanced middle school teacher training that described the ideal middle school as one where the students had a voice and were active in the runnings of the school at an age-appropriate level which gave them an "ownership" that caused them to "buy into" what the staff was trying to do. And, as a result, fewer discipline and procedural problems!

Got the broom idea
here and thank you to Barbara for hosting this week's Montessori Monday!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

SAHM payroll


How much are you worth as a SAHM? Check it out here. Thanks to Barbara.

The fourth summer of fun!

Another example of a perk to living in Southwest Michigan...

I mentioned yesterday in my ramblings about having a free kid-friendly event to go to last night. And, OH MY, what a time was had!

I described here a year ago about the public art displays our local area puts on to attract tourism. There have been summers filled with carousel horses (2004-2005), bears (2006), and cars (2007).

Well, last night was the community's "sneak preview" of this summer's objet d'art. This summer's theme? Living on Lake Michigan?

Well, BOATS, of course! Sailboats, tugs, race boats, and canoes...all decorated by local people from professional artists to local students to our favorite children's librarians! LOL

I'm so proud of our local officials and administrators. They have really hit the nail on the head again! A free preview with free pizza, free ice cream, free hot dogs, and a raffle for a drawing they've been promoting for several weeks. And, it was held at our local ice rink facility!

There doesn't appear to be an online link yet to images of all of them like the other links but here's a sneak peek at the sneak preview! LOL






So, if you're in the area after Memorial Day weekend when all these will be place around our gorgeous downtown area, give us call and we'll gladly take you on a tour! *wink*

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Strangest Conversation

The last week or so I haven't seen much on the mommy blogs I read...or even the frugal blogs...about the effect of recent gas prices creeping higher and higher. But, it has been a constant on my mind daily.

An article in our local paper showed me that I'm not the only one. Our local mall has been a joke the last 10 years...more stores closed than open, so empty most days you could look down the main aisle and not see a living soul from one anchor store to the other. Many just chose to drive the 40-60 minutes to Kalamazoo or South Bend - both college towns with MANY more options and selections. But, apparently, that is no longer the case.

DaHubby and I paid $3.99 a gallon Wednesday - which is DaHubby's pay day. We have been budgeting $40 per week for gas - $15 for the DaHubby's Focus and $25 for the Freestar - since October when we started Financial Peace University. And, with the exception of two or three weeks, that's been enough.

The Vikings and I have stayed home to play instead of driving to a further-away park or event a few days here and there on a Monday or Tuesday in the interest of honoring our budget amount. And, I've always combined and organized my errands so it would happen all in one day and in the most efficient path.

But, the last two weeks have been different.

DaHubby and I had an "emergency family budget committee meeting" ala Dave Ramsey on Tuesday and agreed to move things around a bit so I could increase each vehicle's gas amount by $10...hoping that would be enough.

For the Focus (even at 100K miles, the best car either of us has ever owned...and DaHubby's owed some *sweet* vehicles), that's probably another 60 miles. But, the Freestar? LOL That's MAYBE another 30-40.

The Freestar has this neat little gadget that tells me how many miles 'til empty. I put in my $25 on Wednesday. That gadget said I had about 125 miles. Today is Friday. I have less than 50 miles left! All I did was do the groceries on Wednesday and some errands and swimming lessons Thursday.

Now, that's not *really* 50 hard-fast miles but experience tells me that that information translates into a trip to church and maybe one trip to my in-laws (both of which are only a 15-17 minute drive from home. But, IT IS FRIDAY! FOUR days 'til pay day! I have my additional $10 to still put in but we primarily drive the van on the weekend due to the car seats! *sigh*

And, today is the end-of-the-year picnic for our Parents As Teachers group. We haven't missed one in three years. But, it's at the other end of the county. My "50 mile" tank would be gone. So no picnic.

A year ago, this wouldn't have been an issue. I would have just used the credit card for gas and *zoom* we'd be off! But, graduating from and now teaching FPU has changed the way we look at stuff like this.

Tonight - our first family night at home all week - we were going to go take the van to a free kid event put on by our town and then drive up to Lowes so DaHubby could brainstorm and price out materials for a possible, extremely frugal backyard shed.

But, DaHubby and I found ourselves in the middle of the strangest conversation last night...why are the gas levels so low...oh, there's the two extra trips out to the community college for DaHubby for class...and an extra trip out to church and my in-laws this week...no picnic for the kids on Friday I guess...how 'bout we walk to the kid event...hey, how's the gas in the Focus?....maybe you could go alone up to Lowe's instead of taking all of us the van?...do we have enough gas to get to church on Sunday...yea, I got the van's other $10 still...the kids and I can walk the half hour to the beach tomorrow, I guess.

Now, I'm not whining. If there was an emergency, we really do have the money for gas. We're not deprived or in danger because we can't get the kids to the hospital or anything in an emergency. But, I'm finding it absolutely fascinating how our mind set has changed (or as we said in the "corporate training" in the '90's: our paradigm shifted) to try to honor our budget and our financial goals.

When preparing the grocery list this week, I had to take off 10-12 things to keep our estimated totals under the $60 I had in my food envelope. One of those things? Automatic dishwasher detergent. In the interest in honoring our budget, I'll be washing dishes again by hand before payday next week. DaHubby's not particularly happy about that but he understands.

Then, I was only able to afford one gallon of milk...on sale for $2.77! LOL Luckily, there was a half gallon at home so we should be fine 'til next Wednesday.

I had to change a dinner plan at the last minute at the fourth and last grocery store because I had $3 left and the meat I planned on at home unexpectedly only came in a "family size" pack so was over my alloted amount.

Again, I'm not whining. We're eating just fine. No one is going without a meal - if ya looked at DaHubby and I, you'd know we're not going without food! LOL But, the way this FPU process is changing us is just staggering to me.

I asked DaHubby the other day is he was still having fun at this. LOL He chuckled and said it's just become a lifestyle thing and "normal" now. That's a good thing, I suppose. LOL I'm still having fun working my creativity brain cells to see how to have a frugal yet fun, inexpensive but enriched, simplified yet sweet lifestyle. My recent sewing attempts here and here are one example.

And, yes, I get stressed out some about the bills but it's not because we'll have more bills than money but will we have "extra" for our debt snowball! LOL But, seriously, more stress from rising costs of food and gas, our new college tuition and book costs, etc...but that budget is ultimately OUR budget which sets OUR limits so we can still be making significant (like nearly $400 a month) progress on our debt!

Our FPU class last night watched one of the DVD's where Dave Ramsey refers to a pinnacle point in investing. He describes it like riding a bike up a steep hill. You are pedaling and pedaling, sometimes you have to rest, sometimes you get off and walk, you have to "switchback" back and forth to make progress but you are always going forward! You may have people telling you you'll never be able to climb that hill, you'll never get out of debt, you'll always have a car payment, a house payment, you'll never be able to "get rich" on your income, blah, blah, blah.

But, if you keep your eyes on where you are heading, there will be a "tipping point" at the top of that hill. Where all the work is behind you and the ride is before you. Your investments are now making you more money than you do working.

MAN! I can't wait! What a ride it will be!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday Thanks Tank

In honor of Pam and the ladies for Thankful Thursday...

But, I'm honoring folks even more special: those individuals serving in our military.

There's been a gnat in my ear buzzing constantly for over a week now, reminding my brain of the series DaHubby and I watched called Carrier on PBS. We were mesmerized by all 10 hours of footage about life on the USS Nimitz. So many stories. So many broken lives. So many lives living to God's glory. So much bravery. So much complaining. So much discipline. So little laziness. So much danger. So much comradery. We just couldn't pull our eyes away.

Unfortunately, with the exception of an old high school friend who served in Desert Storm while I was in college, this show is about the most contact I've ever had with the US Armed Forces. And, I am seriously impressed.

How much of what we believe in are we seriously willing to die for? Honestly? Many of the people currently serving have to consider it daily.

Not to mention the generations before - thousands and thousands and thousands - in this grand tradition who have laid down their everyday lives and walked away from the family and country they love to go overseas and defend MY liberty to drive where I please, eat where I please, speak as I please, send my kids to school where I please, and worship as I please.

I'm in awe.

So, to the two young men in fatigues who Flicka and I saw at the YMCA today, whose presence there brought all this flooding back, and to anyone else who is either actively serving or carrying on at home while your loved one serves elsewhere:

THANK YOU! We truly don't know what our lives would be like without your sacrifices.

Was hoping never to need this link:

http://www.wikihow.com/Remove-Gum-from-Clothes

Guess who apparently fell asleep with gum in his mouth? And, where in the world did he get it after I brushed his teeth last night!?

*sigh*

At least it didn't end up in his hair...just both parts of his PJ's and several pieces of bedding.

I've mentioned I'm bad with change, right?

About a million times, right? *sigh* But, I'm doing better than usual at least! LOL

When it rains, it's pours! This week was DaHubby's first week of school. From now on, Mondays and Wednesdays are spent with me in a flurry of activity from 3:30-4:30pm as I get everything ready for DaHubby's single hour at home with the Vikings from 4:30-5:30pm. His class starts at six and he's getting home just as I put the Vikings to bed.

Then, on Tuesday we found out about another possible change. Because of some additional training at work, DaHubby is now "certified" on a new software along with another man at the shop.

Good news? Great opportunity since it makes DaHubby more of a keeper in the event of layoffs plus one big customer insists on only this software so there's actually work to be done (and even backed up and waiting) for anyone able to use it.

Bad news? There's only one computer, or "seat" as it is called, in the shop with the software. So, to get the most usage out of that single seat until another can be purchased (for multiple thousands of dollars), it appears DaHubby and his peer will be working out a "swing shift" system.

As of now, DaHubby works 7am-4pm. This new proposal would have DaHubby working 8-5 and then straight to class on M and W. And, he'd be working 1-10pm T, TH, and F. This is in addition to teaching Financial Peace University on Thursdays - we have NO idea how to work THAT out at this point. And, DaHubby probably will have to give up leading praise and worship if the team cannot find another day and time that will work for everyone to practice.

Ya never know what you're holding as precious 'til it's gone! LOL Because if you read that right, that would mean no family dinners at home anymore. *sigh* And, I'm so bummed.

And, currently, my most productive time of the day when I get about 75% of my work done for the day is from 6-10am which will be our new "family time" and 1-5pm is generally the Vikings' and my "home time" for naps and such so I'm kinda lost about how this will all work out.

And, have I mentioned that after nearly 15 years of being a single adult, I'm not really good about "sharing" DaHubby with the "real world" now that I found him? LOL It's only been a week and I miss him.

I obviously was not cut out to be a military wife! *wink* But, seriously, this will probably be exceptional training (and a confirmation) for DaHubby's decision to go back to school since working at either of our area nuclear plants will require rotating through all three traditional shifts.

So, there's a lot of change going on around here which generally makes me feel off balance and a little panicky but it also makes for lousy blogging too! LOL So, your patience would be appreciated as we work through this.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On Chicago Time

At 1:50pm Central Daylight Time today, Peggy received 10 million healthy stem-soon-to-be-marrow cells without complication!

Praise Him - He is good!

Continue to pray that she experience little or no after effects (re: leukemia's version of donor rejection).

God willing, she'll be home in 3-5 weeks!

(My niece, my bro-in-law, Peggy, and my other niece.)

Tackle It Tuesday

Remember the box of old clothes I got for free? And, the dresses I made from the some-new-some-used tossed out t-shirts? And, remember I was going to make some shorts for Pojke using this tutorial? Well, I did it!

Using four old free t-shirts, I created these: Yea, yea, yea...I know I used all white thread but I'm a rookie and it would have taken me FOR-EV-ER to thread and re-thread and do the bobbin loading and changing thing! LOL Plus, I could see what I was doing better!

And, my big challenge for this one? Learning how to make my 30+ year old machine change from the straight stitch to the t-shirt friendly zig-zag stitch! I'm so proud! *big smile*

Not bad for a notorious klutz who has a history of unfinished craft projects...if I do say so myself! LOL

For more Tackle It Tuesdays, check here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

DaHubby's New Challenge

I'm just bursting with the news. I'm so proud of him. I have to share.

DaHubby's current job is moderately stable but fluctuates with the manufacturing industry around these parts that has been seriously knocked down in the current economy. Before we met, fifty hour work weeks and large multi-thousand dollar yearly bonuses were the norm. He was making between two to three times what I made in my fifth year teaching.

I've never seen one of those bonuses in the eight years I've known DaHubby and, at this point in time, his hours have been cut to 40 with no OT and there is weekly talk around his workplace about the possibility of future layoffs.


However, DaHubby's been thinkin' ahead. As a self-starter and a self-teacher and just one darn brilliant guy, he's decided to go back to college! He's never had much use for it up until now. He got in his current shop on the proverbial bottom rung and has worked himself up to one of the highest paid non-supervisory positions in the place. All without a degree.

But, with that industry failing, DaHubby's skills (while extensive) are difficult to transfer and/or assess for someone outside that field since DaHubby never got the piece of paper to "prove" he's an engineer.

Well, design engineer for not much longer. DaHubby is at this moment as I type in his first class that will apply to a new degree just announced by one of our local community colleges, Lake Michigan College. DaHubby will be training to be one of the first people to complete an associates in industrial technology which will train him to be an employee at one of our two local nuclear plants.

As someone who has spent 9 years in college (4 undergrad, 3 post-BA teaching certification, 2 on my MA) and thousands of dollars in tuition and student loans to now be at home full time (LOL), I'm not much intimated by the whole college experience anymore. But, bless his heart, he's a little stressed he'll do well.

I have no doubts...as I tell the Vikings: he's one of the smartest men I know!

So, within about three years, this will be a "dual degreed" home with DaHubby making just what he's making now with the potential to earn much more! *big smile*

And, for those Dave Ramsey fans who are wondering, we're paying for it in CASH! So, THAT'S where most of our stimulus check is going this year - thankyouverymuch! LOL

Montessori Monday

Well, this post is late today...at least late in the day. Monday's are such a "pick up clean up" type of day from the weekend...laundry, extra dishes, extra toys and messes, extra bags to unpack, etc.

Plus, I was having the hardest time coming up with something this week for some reason. I'm *so* in the midst of Pojke's "I do it" stage that it's been a full time job and then some to stay one step ahead of him, trying to think of ways to let him safely and within reason do the things he thinks he's ready for. And, then it struck me! *BAM*

Encouraging independence and the very brainstorming I'm doing is a perfect example of Maria Montessori's theory, just as Montessori Monday's host, Barbara Curtis, says here.

Anyway, one idea I thought I'd share is one of the ways I keep the Vikings close while transversing a parking lot or something similar. Both seem to generally feel that they are "too big" already (at 2 and 4 years old) to have to hold my hand! LOL But, for obvious safety reasons, keeping them close while crossing streets, crossing parking lots, and the like is imperative.

So, some time ago I heard this idea...and I wish I could credit to this blogger but I can't remember where I read it. I just have the Vikings stand on my shadow.

Now, immediately, this "trick" has some limitations...early mornings, late evenings, and cloudy days to name a few. LOL But, by them focusing on "stepping on Momma", they're close enough to be safe (meeting my need) while not having to hold my hand (meeting their need).

And, they get to feel like the big kid.

For more Montessori Monday ideas and examples, go here.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sick Day

Got my big girl with the pukies this morning so we'll be out of commission today while Momma scrambles to find "kid coverage" long enough to make a run for some clear fluids.

If I don't get back today, hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thursday Thanks Tank

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

I am thankful for so much this week...

1. several good days with the Vikings where all seemed right in the world
2. a sense of peace pervading the house Monday and Tuesday
3. God's guidance and that of others in a major life decision we had to make this week
4. minimal Vikings conks, bumps, bruises, and injuries so far this week
5. a church family that continues to astound me with its love and commitment to Christ and God's will no matter the inconvenience or cost
6. a sweet anniversary card from DaHubby
7. even sweeter and ever-abundant drawings from the Vikings lately
8. wonderful warm, sunny weather (at least 'til yesterday! LOL It poured rain all day and now it's less than 50 degrees! Gotta love MI weather!)
9. previous and soon-to-be received care packages in the mail
10. but my favorite thankful thing this week:

Peggy started her LAST round of chemo yesterday afternoon! She'll be done by Sunday with her stem cell transplant next Tuesday! And, then she'll be home FOR GOOD in 4-6 weeks! Praise God!

So, what are YOU thankful for this week?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

First pier walk of the season...

For more WW, go here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday

There's some backstory to this one...LOL

DaHubby noticed while driving home from a few weeks ago a house which occasionally has things set out front marked "free"! Last Friday, he IM'd me from work and said that there were a box of clothes out this morning and would I like for him to pick them up on the way home that night?! LOL

Now, a year ago, in our pre-Dave Ramsey life, I would have never thought to pick up something like this but thanks to Dave, our new-found frugalness, and my budding crafty talents, I said "sure!"

In the box was an assortment of men's and women's tops in a variety of sizes, dressy as well as some ready for the rag bin. I was thrilled to find a couple with tags still on them which I will be putting on Ebay. And, a few t-shirts that will immediately go into DaHubby's rotation.

However, there were a ton of additional t-shirts...and I don't need THAT many rags! LOL So off to the internet for ideas! And, after following this link, I took these three of Flicka's old/too small/stained t-shirts plus three of the FREE adult old/stained t-shirts which with about an hour at the sewing machine went from this:



to THIS:

and I think Her Highness is pleased.


And, for my next trick, I have a couple t-shirts remaining that appear to nearly new but aren't something any of us would wear so I will be making them into THIS!

And, Pojke will also benefit when I take another three and (hopefully) make them into
THIS (if I can have someone give this rookie sewer a lesson in adding elastic!) LOL

For more tackles, stop by 5 Minutes For Mom today.

Monday, May 5, 2008

7 Posts 7 Years

Other than seriously needing to catch up from a lack of blogging last week, there is another really good reason for having seven posts today...and saving the best for last!

Seven is the
number of the day around here today because today is DaHubby's and my seventh wedding anniversary! So, in honor to the man of our house and the most awesome-est hubby in the world, here are my favorite seven things about DaHubby:

I fell in love with him first for those eyes and the smile.
Then, a few months later, I fell all over again when he played piano for me!

He always, always, ALWAYS sees the best in me.
That he brilliantly combines the heart of an artist and the mind of an engineer

That he is so hunka-hunka-hunka *wolf whistle* when he's all sweaty and dirty from workin' outside! *wink, wink*
He is an AWESOME daddy for a little girl!
And, he ROCKS as a daddy for his son as well.


Thank you, my love, for all you have done and all you are doing and for all the promises and dreams we will fulfill in the future. You are my rock, my shelter, and my defender here on earth. Thank you for loving me, making me safe, and giving me the Vikings. You guys rock my world!

Montessori Monday

Generally, this is led by Barbara at MommyLife.net but it appears she's out of town with family today. But, I had this prepared and, for a certain reason that will become obvious soon, I wanted to make sure I posted this today.

One of the Montessori ideas I have the hardest time implementing is teaching little hands to use "fragile" grown-up items (like real plates, glass glasses, and the like) through training, explanation, and practice with "the real thing". Having so few nice things, I'm so so so paranoid about it by habit. But, there's been one neat benefit of letting go of those fears.

Flicka's natural skill with a camera:

Here's to hoping we can learn to continue this practice with equally successful results!

View of Outside Playing

The Vikings' view (notice THREE bikes in the far driveway plus the Jeep and the car LOL):


Momma's view (newspapers, Sunday ads, grocery ads, laundry to fold, timer for laundry currently in, calculator for check balancing, and popcorn for energy! LOL):


A Promise Update

I spoke here two weeks ago about our church's new property and how we're working as a church family to get it cleared for a new building. Well, we went at it again last night! LOL And, DaHubby took another one of panoramic aka "stitched" shots like this one.

The one he took one last night was of the group praying for the property and God's will for it and our future. Came out pretty good - if I do say so myself! LOL


The full size photo is h-u-g-e but if you are interested in seeing it, go here.

Favorite Parade Pics

Shots from Berrien County's Blossomtime parade:

Every year, the parade opens with the Indianapolis PD motorcycle drill team:

The main "royalty" float:

Pojke was "too cool for my shades".

Flicka has DaHubby's Yooper blood! The temp dropped 10+ degrees once we left the house and she *insisted* she wasn't cold in a t-shirt and shorts!

Flicka informed us that THIS is what she wants to be when she grows up! This will make her Granny Tina and Aunts Caylee and Chelsea happy! LOL

That smiling handsome devil in the white jacket as one of Blossomtime's "royals"? A former FIFTH grader of mine from SEVEN years ago! *sigh* MAN, am I gettin' old! LOL

And, any parade has to have clowns...

Add, Ronald McDonald! LOL

Due to the dropping temps and the start of rain, we only stayed for the first hour which was about 60 of the HUNDRED AND FIFTY-SOME entrants! LOL But, the Vikings still had a blast!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

So many milestones, so little time

Been meaning to post for the last week about this one...(thank you again Grandma and Papa S!)


And, Saturday morning, another one:


*sniff, sniff* Where did my babies go?

Shhhh...don't tell the Vikings

We'll be heading out in about 2 hours to go see this year's version of these folks.

A related funny story? Seven years ago this weekend, DaHubby and I were married near the bluff of Lake Michigan. Being new to the area, I had NO idea that the first weekend in May was Blossomtime.

So, it was raining that Saturday morning which could have put a damper on our outdoor ceremony. It literally stopped 30 minutes before the ceremony as DaHubby and several others wiped off the guests' chairs.

Then, in the middle of our vows, traffic suddenly increased on the road passing within a couple hundred feet of our ceremony. The parade had let out and we "suddenly" lost all the audio on our wedding video as every single car honked at us in congratulations! LOL

Another funny fact? For the first time since 2001, it's actually NOT raining for th parade today! LOL

Friday, May 2, 2008

I met someone IRL!

I met a bloggy mom unexpectedly tonight! Talk about a small world!

I joined The Homeschool Lounge a month or so ago. One of the perks was finding a Michigan homeschoolers group within the Lounge. I was delighted to find someone who was from the area in which I reside and made initial attempts to be friendly - eventually suggesting that we meet some place "neutral" so we could meet and our kids could play.

We lost track of each other as our busy momma lives have led us off on daily "bunny trails" but I was thinking of her this morning as I had been marking our family calendar with all the festivals, carnivals, and activities going on in Berrien County this summer. How cool would it be to meet her at one of the free events this summer?

Well, I didn't have to wait that long...DaHubby, the Vikings, and I went to a youth concert at a local church tonight where two of the young men who play in our praise and worship band were performing with their own band. How sweet it was to see not only us "old guys" but our pastor, two of our elders, my in-laws, and several other of my church family show up to cheer these two guys on!

As I'm waiting for the music to start, I see a *really* big weightlifter guy walk in and immediately recognized his wife! It was Shawnna from The Homeschool Lounge! Her hubby and she are part of a ministry which reach out to youth and other people groups through "shows" demonstrating their physical and eventually spiritual strength.

Then, we realized that her hubby, Scott, works with the father of one of the young men we came to see. That father was the one DaHubby traveled to Tennessee with last weekend. And, Shawnna's hubby and that father work together locally! Plus, Scott knows the pastor of another local church where our pastor's son-in-law in the outreach/evangelism coordinator!

Christ's Kingdom...far and wide....or right next door! How cool it is to be part of the body of Christ!? Amen!

Oh good grief!

How many things could I buy with this? Can't remember the last time I spent $100 at one store much less Target! LOL Oh, how the Vikings need summer sandals, Flicka need tennis shoes, Pojke doesn't even OWN a pair of shorts, and neither of my "wow your kids have big heads" children have summer hats that fit! Oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please!!

Five Classes I Wish They Taught In School

GiBee over at Kisses of Sunshine tagged me for an interesting meme. She tagged me a week ago so, while I'm usually pretty good about quickly posting memes, I'm a little behind on this one.

Not to be too serious about it, but looking back lately at what I wished I had known sooner and looking forward as I consider appropriate training and instruction for the Vikings, this has actually been on my mind a lot lately.

So, following GiBee's gracious lead, here are my five "required" classes I wish I had completed.

1. Spiritual Management: This course includes not only individual counseling but also training in a Bible knowledge and living a Biblical lifestyle. This course is meant to not only help the student let loose of old emotional baggage but look ahead effectively so one can meet God, build faith, and learn what God's will is for one's future church, spouse, family, and calling.

2. Personal Wealth Management: The student would learn that ALL of it is God's, that tithing 10% back is the least we can do, and then how to manage the other 90% as a good steward. Instruction includes debt avoidance, paying with cash, being a wise consumer, learning about budgeting, cash-flow planning, living frugally within one's means, insurance, investing, and giving.

3. Personal Property Management: This multifaceted class will train the learner to be able to make simple repairs to property he/she purchases. The goal is to enlighten the student that it is more simple and more financially savvy to maintain one's purchases than to dispose of them and simple buy more. There will be units on simple auto repair and basic home maintenance as well as units on technology upkeep (file management, e-cleaning, and protection via firewalls and commercial virus and spyware software).

4. Personal Environment Management: This class will give the learner a working knowledge of the environmental impact of their every day decisions. Recycling, hybrid vehicles, reducing waste, composting, appropriate landscaping for one's climate, etc. One will also do a special study on the specific ecological features of one's hometown area.

5. Personal Physical Management: This course combines nutrition, health issues and challenges including diet, injury and illness prevention, and the benefits of appropriate physical exercise.

Now, for the part most don't like...the tagging. Since she has acted as a mentor for me electronically and at great distance (LOL), I would be very interested to see what Anita would say for this meme.

Due to the fact I'm interested in how to raise up my babies as beautifully as she's raising up her boy, I tag Lisa.

And, anyone else who is interested in spending time pondering this, feel free to participate!

My missing fashion gene

DaHubby caught this sweet pic of Flicka as we were leaving for church last night to facilitate Financial Peace University.


He really loves his girl! LOL Can you tell?

And, ya want a random true confession? I've always been a fashion flop! LOL I've always been about a year behind or just completely out of the loop on what I should wear and what looks good on me. Apparently, Flicka got the fashion gene from someone else! Check out the full outfit!

And, for those that are wondering...YES, I made her wear shorts under it! *wink*