Saturday, January 31, 2009

In One Word

Saw this done by a buddy of mine of Facebook. Looked like a challenge - especially for a chatterbox like myself! LOL

USING ONLY ONE WORD! It's not as easy as you might think! Copy and change the answers to suit you and pass it on. It's really hard to only use one word answers. Be sure to tag the person you received it from!

1. Where is your cell phone? charging
2. Your significant other? studying
3. Your hair? ponied
4. Your mother? vacationing
5. Your father? hermitting
6. Your favorite thing? DaHubby
7. Your dream last night? unremembered
8. Your favorite drink? tea
9. Your dream/goal? righteousness
10. What room you are in? living
11. Your hobby? technology
12. Your fear? alone
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? DEBTFREE
14. Where were you last night? bowling
16. Muffins? scones!
17. Wish list item? unsure
18. Where you grew up? Michigan
19. Last thing you did? cooked
20. What are you wearing? PJ’s
21. Your TV? silent
22. Your pets? none
23. Friends? blessed
24. Your life? blessed
25. Your mood? PMS-y
26. Missing some one? Lisa
27. Car? Goldilocks
28. Something you're not wearing? socks
29. Your favorite store? Borders
30. Your favorite color? blue
33. When is the last time you laughed? yesterday
34. Last time you cried? yesterday
35. Who will resend this? unknown
36. One place that I go to over and over? Aldi’s
37. One person who emails me regularly? Jamie
38. My favorite place to eat? Cozumel
39. Why you participated in this survey? challenge
40. What are you doing tonight? *snicker*

Growing Up - part one

Been walking through a couple "momma moments" this of which is that the Vikings have taken to wanting to make their own breakfast. Plus, Mr. I'm-3-now-and-I-need-no-help-to-do-anything and Miss. I'm-gonna-be-5-in-5-weeks have been on a sandwich kick lately...requesting them at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So, what's a momma to do? Bake bread and teach them safe butter knife procedures! LOL

This morning's breakfast - PB&J for Flicka and ham & mayo for Pojke. (Don't worry they also got bananas and oranges! LOL)

Yesterday's breakfast? (And, notice it's still dark out *yawn*) Ham & mayo & apples for both! LOL

So, is it normal to be all teary-eyed and photo-obsessed over such a simple thing? Don't know, don't care. It's just breaking my heart and the apron strings one tiny cord at a time.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My "baby" cousin!

Remember that "little" cousin of mine I mentioned back on Veterans' Day? The one that was at USMC boot camp? LOL

All I can say is YIKES! Every bad guy in the world better be shakin' in their boots! He is SO coming after YOU!

Semper Fi, Evan. And, congratulations again!

Thursday Thanks Tank

Short and sweet and in no particular order - it's been a hard day (PMS, ADD, and preschoolers are a BAD combination! LOL).

Yet, I choose to praise my God and and King:

Thank you for the friend that sent me a message via Facebook that she was praying for me today - just because I was on her mind

Thank you for the fellow engineer at DaHubby's shop that passed along an extra load of bread this week.

Thank you for my step-dad who has offered to loan DaHubby his steel-toed boots since DaHubby need a pair with his upcoming internship hours at the DC Cook Nuclear Plant.

Thank you for the distraction of swimming lessons and trips to the kids' museum - things paid for before the job hours cuts.

Thank you for in-laws who unexpectedly show up at swimming lessons just to laugh, make faces, and cheer on the Vikings.

Thank you for a mom who has an uncanny sense of memory for every little request or wish that any of us at the Viking Hus have. Currently, she's keeping her eyes peeled for a particular poster for Flicka.

Thank you for the safety and protection over my younger twin sisters whose home caught fire the morning after their 21st birthday. *sigh* Thank you for Chelsea's "wood-burner fire smarts" and that she was able to get everyone (human, canine, and feline) up and out. Everyone is fine but there's much to be rebuilt and replaced.

Thank you to my student loan company has also agreed to put me back into forbearance so we do not owe them those payments for a while.

Thank you for my cousins - many of whom I had lost any non-holiday contact with over the years as we've become moms and dads and grown-ups. Thanks to Facebook, I've talked to them more in the last month than I have in the last 5 years! They are an amazing bunch!

And, finally for today, thank you Michigan's school-of-choice option. Because of it, DaHubby, Flicka, and I will be going to a very special kindergarten tomorrow to "interview" the school, teacher, and classroom for a perfect fit for Flicka for the fall if homeschooling proves impossible due to me returning to work.

Please stop by Pam's place today for more Thursday Thanks Tank!

Birthday Cake Round Up

You ever wonder about all those cool cakes some moms make for their kids' birthdays? Well, that ain't me! LOL While I have made it a tradition already that I try to make something cute, easy, and different each year for the Vikings' birthday, I'm definintely still in the Jiffy cake mix category!

So, I'm participating in a meme today that shares birthday cake ideas. I already linked up with these posts: Pojke 2009, Flicka 2008, and Pojke 2008. But, I can't find find a pictures of any of Flicka's other cakes. And, apparently I only posted about the type of cake I was going to make for Pojke's first birthday but never actual here's a pic of the table with the 3 Lego cakes I made in 2007.

If you are interested in seeing some *really* cool cakes, stop by FishMama's bloggy home today.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Life/Parenthood with an Engineer


The opening segment of DaHubby's radiation protection class today:

Yep, I'm sure my mother-in-law went through this moment w/DaHubby about 35 years ago! LOL

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank - updated

This is a tough one today, but I'm gonna try. Three weeks ago, DaHubby was working 40 hrs/wk. Last week, it was 32 hrs/wk. Next week? Twenty-eight. That's a loss of about $1360 in income for the upcoming month. But, God provides...

Thank you God that the owner of DaHubby's workplace chose to go to 3 days per week with our health insurance intact as opposed to laying him off entirely.

Thank you Lord over and over and over again that we completed Financial Peace University the fall of 2007. If it were not for that class, we would be in such dire straits right now that we'd be looking at losing everything including the house and the mini-van.

Thank you God for what I've learned online from frugal bloggers like Crystal and Toni. If it were not for their advice and instruction over the last year, we would have no idea how to get through the next few weeks/months/however long it will be.

Thank you God for all the people I know who are bending a knee on our behalf: our families, our church family, our friends.

Thank you Lord that, despite the obvious financial repercussions, this a blessing for DaHubby as he was juggling full time school AND full time work. This takes some of the pressure off and it's been SUCH a comfort to have him home more often.

Thank you Lord that, despite having to consider a possible outpatient procedure for Pojke soon, the Vikings are in perfect health.

Updated to add: Thank you Lord for the staff at our local bank who agreed to defer this month's van payment!

Updated again: As cruel and insensitive as this may sound (especially to those like me who are infertility "alumni"), I'm choosing to praise God's timing and wisdom that I lost my pregnancy last August since I now would be 6 weeks from delivering Böna into these circumstances.

We have a roof over our heads, utilities on, a little money in the bank, and one paid-for vehicle in the driveway. I have job applications out and my paperwork being approved to re-institute my teaching credentials.

Guide us in Your wisdom, Lord, as we make decisions over the next few weeks. Thank You for Your unfailing provision. Help us to swallow our pride and be willing to look around us for assistance. We have nothing to be ashamed of for we are Your children.


Stop by Pam's place for some more praise and thanks.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

WFMW: recycling Christmas photo cards

The last few weeks I've heard a couple really good ideas about what to do with all those Christmas photo cards everyone receives during the holidays. I tried trimming the photos and put them in this last year but I was looking for a different way this time around.

I don't remember why I had place mats on my mind - probably something to do with the amount of crud I've been scraping off my dining room table lately! LOL But, using some cardstock and clear contact paper, I came up with this:

Now, most of our meals are shared with family and friends as the Vikings identify the people on their mat. The new problem is "but Mom *I* wanna eat with I want to..." LOL But, that's still manageable.

For more great WFMW ideas, stop by Shannon's today.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

These are the days...

...I wish we could homeschool all day, every day, forever and ever! LOL

Yesterday: reviewing numbers/letters w/Flicka and colors with Pojke. Small motor stuff by threading pasta.

Today: "science" talking about planets, counting them, which one's biggest/smallest/farthest/nearest, cutting/small motor control, reviewing circle and star shapes, discussing constellations, and practicing some writing.

20 years remembered

New Bibles are a wonderful and terrifying thing. LOL I've had the same Concordia study Bible since the days I started seeking God and attending church regularly again at a LCMS student ministry at Michigan State.

While I have wandered from those Lutheran beginnings, I kept that Bible close since I had gotten in the habit of marking the date near Scripture that was significant at the time along with notes, thoughts, and such. The last 20 years of my life are in that Bible.

Dates from 1988 show me struggling with my new commitments to God and a dating relationship that was taking some inappropriate turns. Verses marked around 1991 show my need for God as I got laid off from my first post-college job and went home, tail between legs, broke after returning my birthday presents for the cash to pay my rent. 1993 brought verses that showed my struggle again with another relationship. 1997? Verses about giftings and finding one's call in God's will as I embarked on my new teaching career.

Then came verses marked as I struggled to understand what God had planned in my life in terms of long-term commitments. I was just hitting 30 years old and wondering why God had brought me through the last 10 years to that point alone. I sincerely looked into missionary work since - being single and certified to teach - I would find traveling alone easier.

The new millennium brought meetings and orientations with a missionary group I was interested in and my "date notations" reflected that search. However, midway through that year, God dropped a bombshell on me. I met DaHubby. LOL And, by the end of 2000, I see possible verses marked for our wedding in 2001.

The next four years grew increasingly dark as we struggled to conceive as newlyweds. The verses I marked then eventually took on a very desperate, seeking, and pleading tone. There are verse marked with praise as Flicka then Pojke arrived in our lives. And, the verses I've marked since their arrivals are more haphazard and scattered as I've struggled to balance being a mom and being a disciplined reader of the Word.

And, that brings me to the end of 2008. It has been 20 years since that brand new NIV study Bible was plopped in my lap by some very good friends - one who is now a missionary in Russia and another who is a LCMS pastor near Chicago.

My new Pentecostal leanings have changed what I'm looking to get out of my Bible reading. I find myself frustrated being a NIV reader in a KJV/NKJV church family! LOL I also want to dig deeper - academically as well as spiritually. While I LOVE Concordia's notes and concordance, I was wishing for something to help me make Scripture more personal as well as with a little more Pentecostal flavor.

I couldn't find just one Bible to do that so I ended up with TWO! LOL For Christmas, I received a NKJV New Spirit Filled Life Bible AND an Amplified translation. And, while I haven't written in either of them yet, I already feel the "jolt" of a changed perspective. The Scriptures I've read before several times are taking on a new twist, showing new meaning to me. The Spirit Filled one uses some very basic "word wealth" to open up the original Greek meanings to me. And, as a good rookie Pentecostal, where did I dive in at?

The Book of Acts.

May the Lord reveal to me greater understanding and may these books become another 20 year testament to God's greatness and all that the Lord has brought me through like my Concordia does now!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Worried about homeschooling?

Do you have family members worried about your homeschooling? I do. No matter what we say or do, family members are worried about us considering homeschooling for the next couple years. Some have held their tongues (but we end up hearing about it from another source); some have outwardly challenged us.

While the post I read today is IN NO WAY directed at my parents or my in-laws, "Homeschooling - memo to grandparents" contains the very best explanation of why we are considering homeschooling at all.

If you are a homeschooler or know one and want to help, read it here.

Readjusting - again

My apologies to those who read here often. I've spent so much time "micro-blogging" on Twitter and Facebook that I've been neglecting more developed thoughts here...and it's beginning to show.

Life here at the Viking Hus is back on the mouse wheel. DaHubby is back to school full time while working full time. I'm back on some homeschooling after letting it slide out of sheer momma survival. And, we've faced the usual kid stuff - play groups, swim lessons, doctor appts, ear infections, colds, post-holiday letdown, etc.

And, on top of it all, DaHubby was not laid off (praise God!) but his hours were cut by one-fifth. So, while we're in pretty good shape thanks to Dave Ramsey, we're living on about $650 a week with $1100/month in house payment/property taxes and a $550/month "stupid tax" aka minivan payment. Visa, student loan, and everything else (food, gas, utilities, etc) are coming out of the remaining $950/month.

I've been off my game on all fronts - mothering, housekeeping, homeschooling, Bible reading as well as blogging - and just surviving. And, that's really not acceptable. "Surviving" is not what I want to model for the Vikings.

While Twitter and Facebook lend themselves (too well) to my ADD personality, my first love is blogging and I miss using it to lay out the random deeper thought I have in the midst of laundry, dishes, potty training, etc. I'm trying to get back on track. Trying (again) for some greater peace and organization. Trying to re-prioritize things back where they should be.

So, again, my apologies.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Growth Spurt Anyone?

My normally I-don't-want-breakfast kids are on an eating rampage! LOL

For more WW, go here and here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Counting blessings

Looking at silver linings...(will be updated as the day goes on)

1. That DaHubby is still working 32 hours and didn't get laid off today.
2. That the absolute perfect job (temporary, full time, and UNFILLED) just "happened" to be brought to my attention yesterday.
3. That DaHubby's vacation check comes in this week.
4. That we've been on the Dave Ramsey plan over a year so while this is scary, it's not as scary as it could be
5. That despite my teaching credentials apparently expiring without my knowledge that it's a relatively easy fix with a surprisingly low amount of paper shuffling.
6. That every person I've had to contact today appears to be a believer and agrees that "there must be a reason" and "everything will be OK"
7. That it is only one more year and DaHubby will be DONE with school and all this will be a memory!

That the student loan people and their compatriots will be as easy to work with as those I've contacted so far.
That DaHubby can still focus on school while I keep things on an even keel financially.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A three snowblow day

You've heard of a three dog night? Well the last 24 hours have been a three snowblow day. DaHubby estimates about 14" of snow have fallen enough to require one snowblowing last night and two today.

DaHubby assessing the need for the second snowblow first thing this morning.

The Vikings blurrily cleaning off Daddy's car.
My "best boy ever"
No close ups of Flicka (sorry, Grandma)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Another Dave Ramsey testimony! LOL

The Happy Housewife aka Toni is on vacation this week. When she asked for volunteers to do guest posts while she was gone, I jumped at the chance to write for her as I am incredibly thankful since she is one of the reasons we're doing so well with our grocery budget right now! LOL

Well, she put the post up already tonight for her Frugal Friday post tomorrow! *big smile*

Frugal dilemma

Was shopping last night and hit upon a dilemma...

Before I leave the house, I do my usual prepwork which includes figuring out to within about a dollar how much I'm going to spend. And, with only $60 cash in my food envelope, it gets pretty specific! LOL

I need shortening this week - have been planning on making pasties for DaHubby and need it for the crust. Even at Aldis, their huge can was about $3.40. I was trying to cut corners as I go - knowing I needed to drop about $3 in costs before I was done. So, I figured I get a smaller can at a subsequent store, thus saving a buck or so.

When I got to Meijers, their smallest can was still $2.49. And, therein lies the dilemma.

The larger can at Aldis was obviously a beter deal per ounce but I was trying to cut my out-the-door costs. And, yet, it was just killin' every frugal gene in me to buy the smaller can for that price.

So, what's a frugal girl to do? Opinions?

Amen, amen, and amen!

Thanks to Heather for sharing this...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

WFMW: a "Move It Move It" cleanup

From what I've read around the mommy blogs, I'm not the only one who finds getting kids to clean up their mess can sometimes present a challenge. The Vikings are 3 and almost-5. And, I'm trying to teach the habit of cleaning up their toys and such. But, it was turning into my naggin/them whining and I needed a better solution.

Need a new strategy? Try this one:

About 2 or 3 times a day, I ask the Vikings to pick up: generally before quiet time, before DaHubby arrives home, and before bedtime. So, we've turned it into a game. We play this video which is just under 3 minutes - and, as I assured the Vikings, ANYONE can clean for 3 minutes! LOL

The idea is to "move it move it" as fast as possible (safely) while putting away as much as possible (where it belongs). Add those disclaimers or you'll have a mess and/or injuries on your hands! LOL

When we first started, one three-minute run though generally got the majority of the mess and I was happy with that. But, I was THRILLED later to find them playing the video 2 and 3 times (Flicka knows how to hit "replay" for YouTube! LOL) while they then asked for the hand-vac and kiddie vacuum! LOL Plus, I can now walk away while I clean up some of the "grown-up mess" while they clean up.

And, if you had enough of Madagascar, maybe try something else. There are also kid video sites in abundance like Qubo and Sesame Street videos among others.

Kids gettin' excited about cleaning up? Now THAT works for me! Stop by Shannon's today for more great WFMW ideas.

Wordless Wednesday: DaHubby's attempt at accident reconstruction

See more WW here and here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Something else on my mind today...

Sue had a great post today about attitudes. Ours as wives. As a witness to our hubbies.

Let me ask you...what would your husband say about your attitude?
How do you suppose he speaks of you when you are not around?
And what do you think his friends say about you behind your back?

I'm fortunate enough to know - for the most part - what DaHubby says about me when I'm not around. What makes me catch my breath sometime is what must he think of my attitude? As my best friend, I vent all the icky stuff I'm feeling and dealing with. Eight times out of 10, he helps me with whatever it is. The ninth time - he's just listening to me vent and knows he needs to just listen. LOL it's that tenth time I'm worried about.

I want this home to be a place of relative peace from the world for us - especially for him as he is working full time and schooling full time and needs a place to rest, crash, and re-group.

Now, I'm not suggesting I should start keeping things from him but maybe be more careful about what I say and how I say it. And, for the days he's really struggle (as am I), what am I showing in terms of my faith in Christ?

And, as Sue ended her post:

"How can you change your attitude to show your husband that your faith in God and His Word is real...without using words?"

Thanks, Sue!

Considering this...

I've been reading this book and I can't seem to turn a page without something shaking me to my core to re-think how I spend the precious hours I'm given each day.

"Recently I was talking with a friend about a biblical passage on grace: Ephesians 2.1-10. In that passage, the apostle Paul insists that apart from Christ we are dead, and in Christ we receive love, mercy, and new life. All this comes to us as a gift, the gift of grace. We cannot do anything to earn it. My friend asked me if I ever truly experienced God's grace. As I thought about her question, I realized that (observing) the sabbath, more than anything else, has enabled me to experience this grace that comes to us in Christ.

"The sabbath teaches us grace because it connects us experientially to the basic truth that nothing we do will earn God's love. As long as we are working hard, using our gifts to serve others, experiencing joy in our work along with the toil, we are always in danger of believeing that our actions trigger God's love for us. Only in stopping, really stopping, do we teach our hearts and souls that we are loved apart from what we do."

As things are in "God's economy", such a simple lesson in unfathomable grace from such a simple but obedient task.

One other thought - completely my own and not the author's - if we tithe in obedience, in thankfulness, and in worship and if it is to remind us that it's all God's to start with and we are dependent on Him alone, what would it mean to tithe our time? Ten percent of each day is about 2.5 hours. So, wouldn't it seem appropriate in some way that we spend that much time in His presence?

Or, another way of thinking about it - seven days a week and one tenth of that is about 17 hours - about what you would spend awake on any given day. Couldn't we spend one day resting, truly focusing on Him for one-tenth of our time?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Potty Training: Day One

After two weeks of saying with every diaper I changed "what happens on your birthday?" and Pojke responding "I stop whair-in die-purrs", we took the plunge (no pun intended) today.

We took a dry run (again no pun intended) on Friday when DaHubby changed Pojke's butt and put him in underwear for the afternoon. We've talked about it at every opportunity.

Then, he got up this morning. DaHubby got to him first. Pojke put on his "un-dee-whairs" and hasn't looked back today. Three accidents - two at home; one at Grandma's. He pooped in the naptime diaper. Other than that, a completely uneventful and stress-free day...NOTHING like potty training Flicka! LOL So, not only did we survive day one, I got a ton accomplished today. So, I feel like least until the next household catastrophe! LOL

And, no good milestone is complete without some pictures! LOL

Practicing on New Years Day:

Friday's dry run - and yes, that's a training potty in the middle of my living room. Hey, I'm all about keepin' it real! LOL

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Cake in the Making

Yea, yea, yea. I know I've been off the bloggy grid for the most part since before Christmas. Just too much jugglin' and not enough quiet time to think deep thoughts. The backhanded blessing of being a child with divorced parents? Multiple holidays.

I cooked a T-giving dinner weekend for Mom and Stepdad Nov 16th

Took part in in-laws' T-giving Nov 27th

Mom's side Cmas party near Detroit: Dec 13th

In-law's Cmas: Cmas Eve

Dad, Stepmom, one half-sis over for Cmas dinner: Dec 27th

And, now Pojke's birthday is this coming week. LOL No wonder I don't feel like I've been able to stop for 8 weeks! LOL

Kept it simple this year. No big party; we're going for a playdate tomorrow in K-zoo with 2 cousins and another family we know. Then, lunch. Then, cake and ice cream at Auntie S's house.

But, it's become tradition that I make a cool cake! LOL I've blogged about a few
here, here, and here. This year was no exception. So, using this and this as inspiration, I give you...the making of this year's cake for Pojke:

Cars and candles to be added tomorrow.

Oh, and in tribute to my frugal bloggy mentors (Happy Housewife, Frugal Dad, and Money Saving Mom), the cost of this cake? $4.50.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Go Spartans! Beat Georgia!