Monday, December 31

Still

Antique Mommy had this meme and I liked reading hers, so I figured I'd take the easy way out this last day of 2007 and do my version.

Still amazed: that God blessed me by making me a mom.

Still getting used to: the fact that college kids think I'm old.

Still loving: my laptop computer.

Still proud of: having my employer ask me to take a temporary assignment on a permanent basis.

Still not proud of: the way I get grouchy and impatient when my To-Do list gets overwhelming.

Still hoping: that I'll start liking my body the way that it is.

Still worried: about being enough of a Godly influence on my kids to equip them to handle the world they live in.

Still never going to: sky dive.

Still pretending: that I'm going to be a competent digital scrapbooker some day.

Still reading: my Bible through, which I had hoped to finish by the end of 2007.

Still wanting to read: the rest of the C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia.

Still interested in: learning how to use the power tools that fill up our basement workshop.

Still not interested in: taking up the sport of hunting, although the entire rest of my household has done so.

Still looking forward to: camping this summer.

Still not looking forward to: seeing my boy start middle school.

Still failing: to eliminate procrastination from my list of bad habits.

Still grateful for: my sweet husband who builds me up every day.

Still praying: to see my kiddos grow up, find their mates and have a happy family of their own.

Still not believing in: the idea that "you can have it all." At least not all at once.

Still believing in: Jesus.

What are YOU still doing?

Saturday, December 29

Couldja Give Me a Minute?!....

....to catch my breath?! While grabbing a few items from the store, I nearly tripped over the Valentines cards and Yellow Peeps they have out for Valentine's and Easter. Good grief, People. Let me get my tree down first.

Friday, December 28

Say What?!

Muh Main Man desperately wanted to get himself Brainy Boy the nifty Schwitzer 300 RC helicopter that was for sale at the mall kiosk. It was way overpriced, I might add. In Nice Mom & Cool Wife form, I agreed, but through gritted teeth.

You see, we've been buying RC vehicles, helicopters and planes since, well...since we found out a boy was in the womb. And they work for about the first 15 minutes until one flies it into the woods. Or crashes it into the pavement. Or some mystery malady hits the battery. Then we sit the ailed aircraft on the kitchen counter until Easter, fully intending to fix or buy some new part for said toy. Eventually the piece of junk becomes part of the scenery and I can safely throw it out without anyone noticing it disappeared.

But anyway. We bought this one. And I cautiously admit that it has worked so far. It appears we've made a record because now we are three days post-Christmas without any permanent destruction. UPDATED: I take that back. As I'm writing, Brainy Boy has come in with the antennae broken in half. So there ya go. What'd I tell ya?

But this leads me to the process of getting the thing up and running in the first place. Apparently we've been graced with this piece of machinery from the far away land of China. Where else would it be from? And the hunk of fun-ness is rated for ages 14+. My kid is 11. Maybe that's the problem. The first statement I noticed on the box was "Caution: This is not a toys." Yeah, toys. As if they were giving us a Two-fer-one. Apparently Chinese-to-English translation isn't all that smooth.

Then, they proceed to explain that "The fly requires a warm weather with no wind." I didn't realize we were purchasing a fly, but it's good to know, nonetheless. The instructions also helpfully point out that the helicopter rotates "anticlockwise."

Perhaps the two most helpful cautions:
1) Do not play the chopper in strong winds, which can confuse your control. I totally hate it when my control gets confused.
2) Main rotor blades and tail blades and gear can rotate at very high speeds in your playing and therefore can inflict severe damage or injury to people especially from parts such as your face, fingers, eyes and hairs. And not just one hair either.

I think it was easier when our dads were putting together Radio Flyers on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 25

I'll Be Home for Christmas!

With all our family living scattered near and far, it's a rare occurrence for us to spend the entire Christmas vacation at home. But this year we are, and we're actually excited about it. It was awesome to attend Christmas Eve service at church last night, come home and do the Christmas Eve traditions and then get up this morning with no place to go! After we attended our annual candlelight service at church (in which Little Chic sang), we came home, sipped a little Purity Egg Nog, read the Christmas Story from Luke 2, opened our new Christmas jammies and settled in for a traditional viewing of Little Lord Fauntleroy.

When the movie was over, Little Chic was initiated into the world of "non-believer" since this is her first year of officially not believing in Santa. She has been on the fence for a while, but she was never really ready to admit it before this year. We live in a family of skeptics and realists, so it's amazing that she held out as long as she did. The initiation included watching "Santa" eat the cookies that we always leave. I had intended to do away with this ritual, but Little Chic thought it was such a hoot that the family dog always does the honors, and she wanted to be around for DogSpot's first experience as the stand-in. Believe me, it was as much a thrill for DogSpot as it was for Little Chic. Little Chic also humored us with a sweet letter to Santa to go along with the snack. I'm quite sure DogSpot was not nearly as impressed with the personal note as she was the cookies.Today was no disappointment either. The morning started bright and early, and the only small glitch we had in the day is the near brawl between Muh Main Man and Brainy Boy over the new RC helicopter. Which was a gift to Brainy Boy. From Muh Main Man and me. Hmmm. Gonna have to work that one out. But anyway.

Merry Christmas to all, have a wonderful holiday season and the diet starts on Monday.

Monday, December 24

Merry Christmas To All

During his sermon yesterday, our pastor related statistics about how many people, including pastors, don't enjoy the holiday season because of all the commercial pressure we put on ourselves. One woman, in the middle of a hectic shopping trip, remarked that whomever was responsible for Christmas should be shot. A fellow shopper responded, "Don't worry, they already crucified Him."

I'm sorry to say that I've had my frazzled moments this season, but I hope you'll join me in getting your perspective back and remembering why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

Enjoy your family, enjoy your traditions and enjoy your moments reflecting on the real meaning of Christmas.

"Thanks be to God for His Unspeakable Gift." II Corinthians 9:15

Thursday, December 20

I Wonder What Exactly Guaranteed Means?

We all know that I can procrastinate along with the best of them. But I do consider myself a realist nonetheless. Do the online companies really think that I will swallow their line when they promise that if I order in the next 4 hours, they will, in fact, deliver the perfect gift to its recipient by Christmas day? I mean, seriously, enough with the marketing emails every time I open my in-box. It's down to the wire, now, People. And checking out all your ads is putting me way behind. Just give it up and send a New Year's gift if you weren't on the ball. That's what I'm gonna do.

Tuesday, December 18

The Big NYC

Okay, so Little Chic and I went to NYC last Saturday. This was a long-awaited trip as we are both city girls at heart, and we were psyched to see the Big Apple in all it's sparkly Christmas splendor. We were gettin' a little worried about the big bad Nor'easter that was supposed to come, but luckily our trusty weathermen were completely wrong. As usual.

But so. We got on the bus bright and early, which was an exercise in determination for me in the first place. We made the trek into the city, got dropped off at Bryant Park and the day started.We decided to start out with a bit of education, just to make the bus fee worth our while. As if it weren't already! We headed down to the United Nations all excited to see the national flags for ever member nation. It would have helped if it had been a weekday so the flags would have been actually flying. Disappointing. What was not disappointing is the fact that once we entered the building, we found out we were in international territory. That was weird. We even sent postcards to ourselves with special UN stamps that can only be used in the UN post office inside the building. I made a slight boo-boo when the woman asked what country I needed a stamp for. I got wise and thought that I'd send Muh Main Man his postcard with a Norwegian stamp for his family heritage. Apparently she meant where was I sending the postcard TO which would explain why they cost 3 times the amount the US ones cost. I bought three of them. The tour was highly worthwhile and Little Chic, even at 10, got a lot out of it.

We proceeded to Grand Central Station and saw their Christmas light show which was a nice break from the walking we'd done already. I realized that it's not so gross to sit on the floor of a public subway building when your feet are desperate for a rest.

Rockefeller Center was no disappointment with the fabulous tree and the four-hour wait for ice skating. We passed on that particular pleasure, although Little Chic was a bit disappointed. But Hey. We live in the north. We can ice skate at home for $6 and no wait.

We finished up at Toys R Us which had been Little Chic's big dream. It ended up being shoulder to shoulder people, causing us to clutch one another like crazy people so as not to be separated. We did enter the madness and stand in line 45 minutes to buy a video game for the ride home.

We were disappointed to miss dinner at Hard Rock Cafe but a 3 hour wait was going to make us miss our bus and cause us to faint with hunger. We opted for a local pizza joint and it was actually pretty good.

We are already planning our next trip back, but that will be in warmer weather with fewer tourists. Hate those tourists ;)

Incidentally, Muh Main Man took Brainy Boy the same day on a snowmobiling expedition. He took my camera along. Grrr. Luckily, Little Chic received an early Christmas gift of a camera of her own from Grammy, which we had with us. So we got lots of shots like this.... There are more where that came from, but we'll spare ya.

Monday, December 17

You Gotta Be Kiddin' Me!

Okay, so I'm at my local Walmart this morning. The one in rural upstate New York. I hear them making their morning announcements, sending out a special thank you to the employees for their hard work this past Saturday. According to Walmart officials, my small-town Super Walmart was #1 in sales for the Entire Company on Saturday. For real?

From what I hear, it was a madhouse but I would've expected stiffer competition from say, the City?

Wednesday, December 12

How Do You Holiday?

Melanie is always good for some interesting memes that get-to-know-ya better, so I figured I'd steal this one from her.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? All different prints of wrapping paper.
2. Real or artificial Tree? Totally fake, but pre-lit, so no light aggravation for me, Baby.
3. When do you put Christmas tree up? I try as soon as possible after Thanksgiving. Sometimes a little later than sooner.
4. When do you take the tree down? I always feel very self-satisfied when I have it down before the end of January. It was very embarrassing the year February came and I hadn't packed it away yet, so I try not to let that happen any more.
5. Like egg nog? I'm an egg nog snob. I suppose I don't like it enough to drink just any brand. But Purity from Ithaca, NY. Well, let's just say it's more like melted ice cream than egg nog. In calorie count as well as taste. I promise you, my favorite brand will totally beat up your favorite brand.
6. Do you have a nativity scene? Oh, I do. This one. It's purty.
7. Favorite gift received as a child? I think maybe a Barbie Camper I got....not really sure.
8. Hardest person to buy for? The Dads.
9. Easiest person to buy for? Little Chic. You call it a gift, she loves it! And she gets excited about clothes now too!
10. Worst Christmas gift? Probably a bird that Muh Main Man bought me. I adored it at the tine, but it pooped all over our apartment because we treated it like a dog. We named it "Woodstock" and it could chirp exactly like our telephone. We were constantly answering the phone only to hear the dial tone with the bird looking all suspicious-like as if saying, "Who, Me?!"
11. Mail or email a Christmas Card? That would be neither. Which is why I keep a blog.
12. Favorite Christmas movie? Little Lord Fauntleroy with Ricky Schroeder.
13. Favorite food to eat at Christmas? My shortbread Christmas cookies.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Oh, I'm sure I have, but I've also been the willing recipient of one, so who's complaining?
16. Favorite lights? White inside, colored outside.
17. Favorite Christmas Song? Love 'em all.
18. Travel during Christmas or Stay Home? Lots of time we're visiting family but this year we are home. And I get to take advantage of the after-Christmas sales. Yay for me!
19. Can you name Santa's reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen & Rudolph. ( I knew every one myself~!)
20. Angel or Star on Tree top? A cute pine cone star that matches my house.
21. Least favorite thing about this time of year? The frazzled bustle that sometimes takes the fun out of the holiday season.
22. Which one person do you really want to see blessed this Christmas and why? My Auntie, who has had a stressful year.

Logan, the Sky Angel Cowboy

This is about the sweetest thing I've heard in a while. Just right for Christmas-time. *Sniff*


Credits: Stolen from my brother, who is always good for scouting out those funny, touching or generally interesting web videos.

Tuesday, December 11

So Much Goin' On In So Little Time

I'm well aware that although we're alive and well, Blogdom has not kept you properly updated on all the comings and goings. And coming and going we've been.

For one thing, Brainy Boy shot his first deer this week. It was unplanned, downed from the back yard, but thrilling nonetheless. Or so I've been told. I have to say that I've not quite witnessed Muh Main Man be such a proud Papa. Not even on the birth-day of his own offspring. You'd-a-thunk Brainy Boy was proving his manhood. Apparently the guys thought he was. It was a button buck, so all the males in the household are feeling extra test-os-teroney. Although Little Chic has by far been the more enthusiastic of the hunting-champs-in-training, Brainy Boy has a newfound interest in the sport. We'll see how that goes when he spends hour upon cold hour in the tree without seeing anything. That's not generally down his alley. But we'll see.

As for my own whereabouts, I started subbing yesterday at one of the district schools and will be until Christmas break starts. I'm working in the school office and it's been really fun for a change, but enough to make me wonder what in the world I was thinking with Christmas fast approaching. I proudly report we've eaten a hot homemade meal every night after I've gotten home from work. Both days.

Little Chic had her holiday program at school for Tempo Tigers, the chorale that she joined this year. Attending her concerts is sometimes the teeniest bit stressful as she is very intense about everyone being very early and getting just exactly the right spot in which to see her the best. Once the show begins, though, it's all smiles. Well, all except for Brainy Boy who gets to watch for the second time in a day. Although her solo was a booming success, Muh Main Man was struggling with Musical-Picture-Taking-In-a -Dark-Auditorium 101, so you'll have to take our word on the awesomeness.

Little Chic and I are getting excited for a bus trip to NY City this Saturday and we're gonna see the City in all it's Christmas fabulous-ness. We're planning to see the big tree in Rockefeller Center, the awesome Toys R Us with the ferris wheel inside and we're gonna take a carriage ride in Central Park. Muh Main Man and Brainy Boy are so jealous of our excursion, that they have scheduled a competing trek into the Far North for a day of snowmobiling extreme.

So I bid you adieu while I act responsibly and take care of life for a few days. Or maybe a day. Well, at least an hour anyway.

Thursday, December 6

All Sorts of Gadgety Goodness

There just aren't many things that warm the heart of one like me more than when I get invited to a party dedicated entirely to gadgets. And how much better is it when I can legitimately profess that I ne-e-e-e-d to go because it furthers my never-ending and generally unsuccessful quest to become a domestic goddess. Really it does. Now what man can argue with that? Not Muh Main Man. Or perhaps he's just indulging me.

So I bounced gleefully off to a Pampered Chef party a couple of weeks ago and have been checking my doorknob each and every day for the delivery of the u-tin-suls that are now gracing my kitchen utensil caddy. I just love it that they have their own caddy. Oh, it makes my heart uh-flutter, it does. Now at this time of the year, many a party-goer is looking for gift items for their loved ones who are all cook-ey and bake-ey and all. That is a bit much to ask of me. I get within catalog-view of the loveliness and my wish list just grows ever longer. Unfortunately it is usually for stuff which I will never use. Since I'm not a master chef. Or even a decent cook for that matter. Just ask my son. But I love each and every item, nonetheless. Recently I have curtailed my wild imaginations of becoming Rachel Ray and have kept my order forms to containing everyday items that, if not used for edible material, will do an equally fine job on play-dough or craft projects.

So last night, I did nearly have a conniption and heart-attack rolled into one when I careened into the driveway, late for the 8 o'clock episode of Kid Nation and happened to glance on the kitchen counter. Muh Main Man had failed, I say, failed to tell me in our many text messages back & forth that my dearly beloved utensils had arrived. At long last.

I sacrificed and missed the juvenile cuteness of Kid Nation while I ripped open each package and dreamed of creative ways I am gonna use them. I even thought of a few cooking uses for one or two of them.
So here they are in all their beauty. I'm not even going to tempt you with the useful cuteness of the teeny tiny measuring cup that measures teaspoons. Can you even believe it?! How great is that? I have one more piece that's not shown because it was a spatula that was used to serve lasagna this very night. Proving that even frozen lasagna can feel Pampered when properly served.

Wednesday, December 5

(Don't) Let It Snow

Winter has hit us a bit earlier than usual this year, and yesterday we christened the season with the first snow day off school. Since DogSpot is only eight months old, this was her first experience with piles of the stuff and she doesn't seem to mind it one bit.

DogSpot has also taken full advantage of Muh Main Man's hunting prowess and has fulfilled her dream of smelling a deer's butt. This is something she has always wanted to do but up to this point, has never gotten up her nerve. It was very considerate of the deer to stay completely still so as not to spook Her Wimpiness. DogSpot is freakishly afraid of everything including her own shadow. Of course, all the cold and activity wears on one's furry energy level, so a snooze with Sissie by the fire is always in order once you come back inside.

I have not enjoyed the snow deal as much as the Short People and Muh Main Man. My idea of winter activity is skiing or snowmobiling on the days when your jacket is actually making you too hot. I'm not big on the snow preservation temperatures. I'm also not into bundling. I'm in the minority, though. Muh Main Man has had the snowmobile in action every day, and the Short People have spent hours inviting frostbite to their noses. They are dreaming of the long winter ahead of us, with smiles on their faces. I, on the other hand, have huddled inside watching them all, jacking up the thermostat, pretending that I'm back where I belong. Which is anyplace warmer than here. And dreaming of my flip-flops.

Tuesday, December 4

Elf Yourself

I'm feeling indulgent to my readers today ;) This is by popular request. Enjoyment at my expense. I'm nice that way.

Saturday, December 1

More Thanksgiving Recounts

To indulge those who weren't present and who haven't seen my family for a while, here are some other pictures of our week away...





My Sis, My Mom's Sis & Me





Amy, Dale, Brooke,Connor and Liam (turning two while we were there)








Uncle Dave (my dad's youngest brother and his family) From lt to rt (Josiah-15, Dave, Jonathan-21, Martha-18, Aunt Susan, Emma-10)










Aunt Susan with her eyes open ;)









Bravo to Ken who suggested that the men do all the Thanksgiving dishes. They even kept their smiles on to the end!



Contrary to Popular Opinion....

....we really did have a Thanksgiving celebration with some of my family. Indeed, I've been home a week without giving all the juicy details, but that's because I've been unpacking the eight over-the-weight limit bags we hauled back & forth, working at school and intending every day, yet failing to get my Christmas tree up.

So though I've kept you in desperate suspense up to this point, I assure you, I have lots to tell. I can't begin to describe how overdue I was to spend some family time with my own flesh & blood since I live so far in the nether regions away from them all. Bonuses always come with that sort of rare family get-together and this time was no exception.

First and foremost was my chance to meet my very first blog friend. Sort of. She's a friend of my sister's, she reads my blog, so wah-lah. Blog. Friend. There ya go. Since her name's the same as mine, you know she's gotta be cool. And she likes the same kind of TV shows as me--who knew two reality TV junkies could co-exist under one roof in a house that receives no television channels.?! We suffered together. And we TiVo'd at home simultaneously. In the spirit of things. Best of all, she brought me a bunch of loot from my man, Dave Ramsey, who we all know that I uh-dore. I even took the fleece blankie on the airplane with me, complete with his logo embroidered on the corner. I got all sorts of jealous looks, I did. It was either that or the other passengers thought I was stuffing a particularly plush airline blanket into my laptop case. That was probably it. Any-whoo, I have this secret plan to kidnap her as my BFF and to coerce her into doing the Amazing Race with me some day before I'm too old. I haven't completely hatched the plan yet, but I'm working on it.

Another side benefit of having Thanksgiving with far-off family is that you get to celebrate Christmas early. This was the year for descriptive monogrammed jackets. All I'll say is that Muh Main Man picked out his own snowmobile jacket and received it compliments of my ma. Does the logo say anything about him? I do think so. Little Sis gave me mine and I've worn it in sub-freezing weather even this very day.

One of our favorite days of our vacation was when my Uncle Dave came over with his family from Galvaston, TX. It was so cute to see the way Little Chic and Brooke took to Cousin Jon the way I remember all the nieces taking to our favorite uncle (his dad) when we were but giggling bitty girls. Jon followed in his dad's footsteps and endured the pestering in good-sport fashion.

All in all, we had a fantastic time at Mom and Ken's beautiful lakeside house, the weather cooperated, at least for the first half of the week, and we actually hated to go home when it was time. Could have been that we had to get up at 4am to catch our plane. Because we all know how I love those early mornings.

Tuesday, November 27

Lost & Not Found

Little Chic had a half-day of school today for parent teacher conferences, but since Brainy Boy is classified as middle school, he had to go the full day. This is a new occurrence this year, and one that Brainy Boy isn't taking to so much. Little Chic and I decided to take advantage of the rare few hours together so we had lunch and then made a run to Walmart supplies for an upcoming school project.

Little Chic decided to take along her purse, containing a hard-earned $24 that she has been saving. She had her eye on some new Webkinz, so she decided this was the day to shop. We made a stop in to Hallmark and picked up one stuffed animal, then headed on to Walmart for the school supplies. Like many 10-year-olds, Little Chic is not always the most organized, and she plopped her purse, containing her remaining $14 in the cart beside mine. As luck would have it, when I emptied the cart and returned it to the cart park, I didn't realize her purse was still in the shopping cart. We were on our way to the second Webkinz stop when she realized it was missing. We swung back around to Walmart and the parking lot, but cart guys were already wheeling the carts inside. We looked in all we could find with no luck. We took a run into the Customer Service counter, but at that point, nobody had turned in the purse.

The purse is a favorite of hers as Muh Main Man bought it for her after a long-ago business trip, so she was more upset about the purse than the money. That and the fact that I had pity on her and took some of the blame. So I replaced the $14. I'm a sucker like that.

Anyway, we imagined that maybe the money will go into the hands of somebody who really needs it and maybe it's God's way of blessing somebody who's hungry. Although admittedly they'd have to steal it to get the blessing. So it probably doesn't count. But we won't talk about that.

Anyway, we'd really like the purse back, even if it's empty. Here's hoping...

Sunday, November 25

Home, Happy Home

We're back from our blast to Thanksgiving in Texas. This is how we looked there. It's not how we look today, believe me. I'll be posting all the juicy details later, but first we wanted to throw out a big "hang in there" to my brother and his family who did their own traveling to a family Thanksgiving in Indiana. While there, they witnessed his in-laws having a very serious car accident. Thankfully God was watching over them and it wasn't fatal, but their recovery will be long and difficult. Also thankfully, my brother, along with his kids and wife, were following the Grandma & Grandpa, so none of them were in the involved vehicle. We love you guys!

Friday, November 16

Thursday, November 15

Sisters by Chance, Friends by Choice

My little sister is who I want to be when I grow up. We haven't lived near one another for any of our adult lives, but when we are together, we are remarkably alike. I remember once when I went to visit her, I found half a dozen items scattered through her house that were identical to items in mine. It was weird. And cool at the same time. Though we have similar fashion taste, she's the only one who ever wears fashionable. I err too much on the soccer mom practical side. But after being with her, I always promise myself I'm gonna spiff up and I hit the stores trying to mimic what she was wearing. She also has the creative flair that I got shorted. I decided to start digital scrap booking. I totally could not figure it out, so I never got off the ground. She actually started and has the most awesome layouts you've ever seen.

She did this one of us the other day, and it made me cry. She said exactly what I've said to Muh Main Man a million times over. The layout is hers, not mine, and the credits are here.
She is going to be published in the April/May 2008 issue of Digital Scrapbooking magazine, so hop on over and tell her that her layouts are pretty. It would really make her feel good if you confirm that she was even more stylish than me way back then.

Tuesday, November 13

LOVING WELL, with Beth Moore

Girls, I've got a treat for you this time. Guys, don't take off; I'll catch you on the bottom side of the post...

Lots of you are familiar with Beth Moore. If you're not, your missing a chance to know your best girlfriend. Beth is a gifted speaker and writer who is known for her ability to get to the heart of the Scriptures and tell you in plain, every day language just exactly what it means to you. And she does it in a "Girl, I gotta-tell-ya-because-I-love-ya" kind of way. She's also known for her in-depth Bible studies and video seminars that are practical for both women and men.

The video seminar I just got though, beats all. It is called Loving Well, and is different from anything Beth has done so far. It is geared toward a weekend ladies retreat rather than her usual in-depth, time-committed studies. It's called a "Retreat in a Box", sort of like those bed-in-a-bag things you see at JC Penny. The kit comes with everything you need to have a spiritually-geared girls weekend. It's complete with a leader's guide, all the videos, a bunch of ice breakers and games, some promotion posters with 48 invitation postcards and best of all....a cute little tote bag in the lime green motif to carry it all!
When I opened the box, of course I immediately grabbed out the tote and loaded all the stuff in it. I had to just admire the cuteness of it for a while before I broke open the actual goods. The leader's guide is a concise little "how-to" manual that takes you through a suggested schedule and tells you what helpers you might need to put a weekend together. You can easily follow the directions even if you've never organized so much as a birthday party. There is a journal that goes along with the study that the participants use for about six weeks after the seminar to follow up on the topic of the retreat. She also includes a CD-Rom with all sorts of print resources and advertising material. To help you get the word out, there is a short promotion video on the DVD that you can show to get all your girls begging to be invited. The entire package retails for $99 and that's a bargain if you've ever shopped around for video seminars. You can get it here, and I suggest that you dash over before all the smart girls deplete the inventory.

Now, I did the videos in a the second suggested format. I used the DVDs in my Sunday School class and since the videos range from 37 to 50 minutes, they fit perfectly in our alloted time slot. There are four sessions, so we covered them nicely in a month. The topic was so popular that we had women come from other Sunday School classes for the four-week session and I have three other leaders begging to be the next one to borrow the DVDs for their own studies. If you use the weekend format, you'll watch one video on Friday night and the three remaining ones throughout the morning and afternoon on Saturday.

The best part of the entire package is definitely the topic of the seminar. It's called Loving Well, based on I John, Chapter 4. The premise is that you can't properly love others until you've been loved well by God first. Beth hits home the point that as Christians, we are called to especially love those who are difficult to love, and that God wants to provide the key to doing just that. The topic is rich and effective and would be great for men and women both other than the fact that she is specifically talking to "us girls" and you guys might get a little tired of hearing us all giggle over "girl stuff."

So here's where you come in, Guys....take the kids to Grandma's for the weekend, hire Merry Maids to spiff up your house (I'm sure it doesn't even need spiffed) and instruct your ladies to invite a dozen friends over for a little weekend getaway at your place. They'll thank you for it because they'll be able to start

Saturday, November 10

Barely Minimum

Muh Main Man bought a snowmobile this week. We've He's been dreaming of owning a sled, and one practically fell into his lap. He's been watching the skies all week, waiting for some promised flurries to make their way to the ground so he could take it for a trial run. We got the snow this morning. Is it just me, or is this what would qualify as barely enough to be called a snowfall ?! The important thing is that we look good on it :)

Friday, November 9

I Love It When the Chips Fall In My Favor

Although my local Sam's Club didn't make me feel special in my gift-toting dilemma, Bath & Body Works has come to the rescue. Now, I am not generally a coupon maven. Not that I'm all un-frugal or anything. I'm just allergic to hassle. I tend to forget to clip the coupon, or more likely, once I clip it, I forget to bring it along. Or I get there with the coupon and there are all these limit on it. Limits aren't my thing so I'm not the champion cents saver in that sort of way. I'm more of a sales type of girl.

But then.

Into my mailbox came a $10 off a $30 purchase from Bath & Body works. The fine print didn't say anything about regular purchases or excluding this-n-that, so I've clutched it to my bosom since the day it fluttered it's paper wings into my mailbox. So I'd have it when I needed it. You know how those needs just pop up sometimes like that. Anyway, I decided I needed it today. For some stocking stuffers for others. And for some scent-a-ma-thingies for myself. I use them in my outlets because I'm a smell freak. I smell things sometimes and if it's not good...well, let's just say I'll dig high & low to figure out where the smell is coming from. But back to the coupon.

Not only did the lovely Bath & Body works let me buy all sorts of 75% and 50% and special $3 items to add up to my $30 (so I could get the $10 off) they also rewarded me with a $10 gift certificate for spending $20. Apparently I'm highly motivated by rewards because I'm going back over tonight to spend the $10. And to get the free lip balm which also came delivered into my mailbox via a nice little coupon.

Excuse me while I get to clipping...because now I've decided to clip.

Thursday, November 8

I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

I'm so excited because I won something! I never win anything! But I won the American Pastime Collection from Channel Craft. It came from Patriot over at Made in the USA blog, so I'm psyched!! I should have it in about two weeks, so it'll be here in plenty of time to tuck into some lucky body's stocking for Christmas!

Ahead of Myself in a Desperate Sort of Way

Thanksgiving is in a mere two weeks from today and generally that's not cause for alarm. But this year it is. We are traveling to see family for Thanksgiving and Clever Sister thought it would be a great idea to exchange gifts while we are together. I thought so too when she first suggested it. Two weeks ago. Since then, I've been scrambling to do in a few weeks what usually takes me a few months. Namely, shop for unique and creative gifts for each member of my family. I was a bit smug and self-satisfied last week when I scored gifts for all the little ones in one fell swoop at Target. I was particularly excited to see how the Aqua Dots would work once little niece opens them up. But Plan B has yet again reared its ugly head. A mere 18 hours ago, NextDoorNeighbor emailed me a story about how Aqua Dots were being pulled off the shelves. Being the Snopes hog that I am, I looked at the link and Googled a few articles. Nothing much came up so I figured the information source wasn't reliable. So I deleted the email.

Fast forward to 10:00pm last night when apparently the mainstream media got a hold of the story that Aqua Dots are apparently coated with a dangerous chemical and will kill your kid if they eat them. Which they might since they are all colorful-like and stuff. So this morning, not only is the story all over the media but the internet is almost devoid of pictures and links to the toy that was supposed to be a hot item this Christmas season. How'd they do that so fast?!

Anywhooo, I'm going tuck my tail between my legs (as if it will fit) and dash back to Target to see what's the next best thing. And it's probably not going to be something creative and unique. But oh, well.

Wednesday, November 7

Argh

I found something at Sam's Club that I want to buy for Christmas. It needs to go with me to TX at Thanksgiving time. I tried to order it online but it said you can only get it in club. So I went in club, just like they told me to. Yes I did. The thing turns out to be too big to take on the airplane along with the other myriad items that we'll be taking along for a week long trip. Plus early Christmas. It's also too big to mail at a reasonable rate.

So I go to the nice customer service man and ask if I can pay for it but just pick it up at the Sam's Club in TX. He says he's sure I can. He calls his manger who says it's just not possible. Nice Customer Service Guy is looking at me with a perturbed look that says his manager is not cooperating. Of course he isn't. He even suggests to his manager that perhaps a different manager would be able to "make it work." Manager did not appreciate this and Nice Customer Service Guy apologized to me, but decided to save his job. For which I did not blame him.

And so.

I will be calling TX Sam's Club to see if perhaps they will let me place an order over the phone. If not, my mom will be trotting over to buy her own Christmas gift. And that just won't do.

Monday, November 5

House Meme

I don't do these very often, but every once in a while, there's a bit of "get to know ya" that can be accomplished, so here ya go...

House meme:

1. What kind of soap is in your bathtub right now? Equate moisturizing shower soap.
2. Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator? No
3. What would you change about your living room? I'd put in hardwoods.
4. Are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty? Dirty, and waiting to be run.
5. What is in your fridge? Besides food? A package of anti-barf suppositories and a jar of fake cucumbers for your eyes that are over a year old(that I keep contents for both ends of your body in the same place, huh?)
6. White or wheat bread? Usually wheat but Muh Main Man has been begging for Italian so I've been indulging ;)
7. What is on top of your refrigerator? A wicker basket containing our phone book.
8. What color or design is on your shower curtain? Sort of a tan with a purple and green flower motif.
9. How many plants are in your home? 3 and they are new, so we'll see how long they last.
10. Is your bed made right now? Yes, but not neatly.
11. Comet or Soft Scrub? Comet
12. Is your closet organized? All except for my shoes.
13. Can you describe your flashlight? My husband is an emergency responder. Which means we each have at least three. Even the kids. The closest are a yellow one and a green one. The weirdest are those ones you shake up to regenerate their batteries.
14. Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home? Disposable if I have them on hand, out of the can if I'm drinking soda and glass is my last resort because I wash them by hand.
15. Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now? Never.
16. If you have a garage, is it cluttered? That's Muh Main Man's area and it's a disaster. But we won't talk about that.
17. Curtains or blinds? Only valances. I live in the country and like my windows bare.
18. How many pillows do you sleep with? One big one.
19. Do you sleep with any lights on at night? Night light in the kids' bathroom and the kitchen counter spotlight.
20. How often do you vacuum? I Swiffer vac the kitchen every day or so and about twice a week every where else.
21. Standard toothbrush or electric? Standard
22. What color is your toothbrush? Green
23. Do you have a welcome mat on your front porch? Yeah, but it doesn't say welcome. It's for the dirt.
24. What is in your oven right now? The roaster pan thing that comes with most ovens.
25. Is there anything under your bed? Oh, yeah. 2 Rubbermaid sweater boxes full of Muh Main Man's CDs on his side plus two wicker baskets on my side full of the books I'm reading.
26. Chore you hate doing the most? Laundry and dusting.
27. What retro items are in your home? None
28. Do you have a separate room that you use as an office? Kind of a balcony where our computers are.
29. How many mirrors are in your home? 4.
30. Do you have any hidden emergency money around your home? If I did, I wouldn't tell you. But, no.
31. What color are your walls? Many colors. Brainy Boys are yellow/blue. Little Chic's are aqua. The dining room is gold/red, living room is taupe and moss green and the rest is white.
32. Do you keep any kind of protection weapons in your home? Remember, Muh Main Man? He hunts. So, we have lots of long guns. Plus he's on the SWAT team. So he has a pistol. It's loaded. So do not sneak into my house. I will shoot you. After I get the gun out of the safe. Which is complicated. Because you have to put your fingers on the finger pad just so...
33. What does your home smell like right now? Asian Stir Fry (yes, I cooked. From scratch).
34. Favorite candle scent? Pear, cucumber, fresh fruity scents.
35. What kind of pickles (if any) are in your refrigerator right now? Lime pickles.
36. What color is your favorite Bible? Green hardcover
37. Ever been on your roof? No, but my kids have.
38. Do you own a stereo? No. A boat load of radios.
39. How many TVs do you have? 2
40. How many house phones? 2 cordless because our cells don't work at home.
41. Do you have a housekeeper? If I could justify it.
42. What style do you decorate in? Kind of eclectic.
43. Do you like solid colors in furniture or prints? Solid
44. Is there a smoke detector in your home? Muh Main Man is also a fireman, so yes.
45. In case of fire, what are the items in your house which you’d grab if you only could make one quick trip? After the people and pets, I'd grab my computer (for the pics) and my fire safe with our documents in it.

Saturday, November 3

CAUGHT in the Act!!

I've already tired of the role of Candy Police in the aftermath of Halloween and frankly, it's just become easier to eat the loot myself rather than to continually monitor the intake of the Short People. I was trying to be as inconspicuous as possible and my sneaking was advancing tolerably well. It became more difficult once I made Little Chic sort through and discard anything she didn't like. What was I thinking?! Add to that fact that we both like the same things, and it's become Mission Impossible, People.

So I was rummaging through her bag the other day before she got home from school, looking for something that I like that she wouldn't miss immediately. There was nothing in that category. My next step was to look for something that she really shouldn't have anyway. I settled for the regular-sized bag of M&Ms and left the more appropriate-sized mini bag for her. I devoured the thing and promptly forgot all about it. That night after dinner, we all heard a wail coming from the vicinity of the Halloween candy bag. Little Chic was furiously upset that Somebody had eaten the full-sized bag of M&Ms that she was intentionally saving for Just. This. Moment. The worst part about it was that all of us were assembled together in full view of the guilty party. Brainy Boy was sitting there looking all bewildered and innocent-like. Muh Main Man was sitting there, half wondering if it was DogSpot since it surely couldn't be ME since I'm on the last leg of a quest to lose a few more pounds before Thanksgiving. I was sitting there wondering how I was going to bluff my way out of this one. In the end, there was just no bluffing to be done. And I'm usually a champion bluffer. I came clean, admitted that I ate them and promised to immediately buy her another package. It worked out well that I was heading for the drug store at that moment to pick up a prescription. Otherwise I would have been heading there just for the candy.

I dashed to the store, and inadvertently picked up the new Ogre-sized M&Ms to replace the ones I had eaten. Now, why couldn't the ones in the Halloween bag have been Ogre-sized to make all my shame and humiliation a little more worth it ?!

Thursday, November 1

Halloween Pictures



Here are the Halloween pictures of Little Chic who was dressed as Chinese Royalty (in her own description). Blogger was having issues this morning so they couldn't go with the post they belonged to. And yes, I did the hairdo myself. Even the teal highlights. While I was sick. Just call me "Super-woman."

MaMa's Alive, But Not Well

The winter ick has hit me, but luckily has spared the Short People thus far. The world doesn't stop for sick moms as you know, so fall activities and Halloween have carried on as scheduled. I have indulged in some moping around the house in between all the bustle so I am surviving just fine.

The highlight of the week was last night, of course, with even DogSpot succumbing to the peer pressure to celebrate. Brainy Boy would have none of the nonsense, but told Little Chic she could bring him back a treat or two if she so desired. She was happy to oblige as it added a benevolent excuse to do the Trick-or-Treat ritual. Pictures will be forthcoming once Blogger sorts out its issues.

Monday, October 29

Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen

We had another near-fatality during church yesterday. I discovered it when I got home and saw the insides of one very precious Ty Beanie Baby strewn all over the floor. DogSpot accomplished a near decapitation and I arrived in the nick of time to save the bear's life. This particular Beanie has been a constant companion to Brainy Boy since he was a baby and we call him Snowy. Snowy would also be precious to collectors if he hadn't been so well-loved since it he is actually a rare polar bear named Chilly. Snowy has a fraternal black brother that we call Soot, whose official Ty name is Blackie. Soot is not nearly as sweet to collectors as he is to us. Snowy has been through many traumas with Brainy Boy, even getting his own x-ray when Brainy Boy broke his arm when he was four years old.

Luckily Brainy Boy rode to church with Muh Main Man in the truck so I had time to do a little damage control before he got home and saw the tragedy. I tucked the insides back as best I could and things looked a bit better by the time Brainy Boy got a glance. In true hero form, Muh Main Man assured Brainy Boy that he could repair the damage and he's had a bit of experience in this particular area, if you remember from poor Silver here just a few months back. As you may have guessed DogSpot was the culprit but she didn't act appropriately sorry enough for Brainy Boy's taste. She's in the virtual dog house even as we speak.

Happily, Muh Main Man came to the rescue, did his magic, and Snowy is alive and well. Muh Main Man is getting so good in the needlepoint arena, that I'm going to ask him to make me a ruffled blouse next.

Saturday, October 27

Muster of Creativity

My least favorite aspect of each school year is the creativity needed to complete required projects. Grades depend on them, People. And that is not my department. Little Chic was gypped in this very desirable feature in a mother, but fortunately she got doled an amount appropriate to fulfill us both.

The first picture is her atomic model of the element sodium. We shopped for supplies together, she selected and I paid. Then she assembled with me only monitoring the burn factor of the hot glue gun.

The second picture is one to which I can claim a measly portion of bragging rights. PTA mom friends took me under their wings and we made these strawberry treats for the class Halloween party together. I can take credit for the look of shock on each and every fruity face.

Wednesday, October 24

Fur is for People Too!

As I laid down for a rare snuggle with Brainy Boy last night, he remarked, "Mom, I like it when you snuggle in bed with me better than when Dad snuggles with me." I was shocked at this revelation since Muh Main Man is a lot more inclined to these bedtime snuggles than am I. I thought that perhaps it was because Dad falls asleep on the bed and takes up way too much room. This doesn't go over well with Brainy Boy who likes to sprawl across the entire bed. He doesn't even allow DogSpot to sleep with him.

But the truth was revealed when I asked him why he like snuggling with his mom so much. "It's because Dad's legs are furry."

So there ya go. Just wait till he realizes that his are getting furry too.

Tuesday, October 23

Like No Apple Tree I've Ever Seen

I bought this little gem monstrosity today and once we got home and were in the middle of devouring it, I noticed this little tip. Which we did not need since the Short People suddenly decided they don't mind nuts all that much....


"...If for some reason you have the will power not to finish the apple in your first sitting, put some lemon juice on the remainder of the raw apple, and wrap the apple tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate."

Seriously, People. If for some reason? What, are they being funny because they know their apple is so delicious that you can't resist eating the entire mammoth at once? Or are they being sarcastic because they know the only person who would buy the caramel, chocolate and nut-laden calorie heavyweight and pay $7.95 for it would be somebody who regularly binges on way-to-big-for-one-sitting servings?

They could've saved themselves the paper, because No, we did not have the willpower to save any of it.

Monday, October 22

Walking on Streets with Dogs

It seems that our walking dilemma has resolved itself, thanks to a little doggie bridle that I found at Petsmart. The same day I bought it, Rochelle suggested it saying that it worked well for her dog.

DogSpot did not love it at first and tried using her very gangly legs to pry it off her nose. After a treat or two though, she forgot she had it on. She's like me that way. With the treats. Anyway, she pitched no fits and lunged after zero dogs, compliments of the strap going over her nose, giving me full left and right turning control of her head.

Don't worry, any activist friends out there. It's not a muzzle and her full treat-eating capacity was spared. And it has the word gentle in the name, so who can complain about a product named "gentle" anything?

Saturday, October 20

Katchy Keywords

On a whim, I decided to look at the keyword searches that people do and then come across my blog in the process. You know, for entertainment. I shouldn't be bored--I've got plenty to do, like put in my pot roast for dinner tonight. But well, it's Saturday.

Some of the results were typical like looking for "mom medical transcriptionist blogspot" or even "prairie home companion tickets" because we all know I've been a bit obsessed with that particular topic since September. But a few of them were just downright weird. Like "grape smuggling gear" or even "coal boy." Or try this one - "sleeping with a bruised side" and "consolation announcement."

But some of them were downright embarrassing that my blog would come up as a result of the particular search. Not just once either. I'm talking about the search that read "CVS model: sudafed tracking and pharmacy." And the other one that said, "sudafed as appetite suppressant." Nice.

What in the world have I been blogging about ?!

Friday, October 19

Admitted Defeat

I had such high hopes for sending my dad to the Garrison Keillor show in Charlotte tomorrow night. But, it's sad, folks. I just didn't succeed in my quest to score 2 tickets. Part was the fault of my shortsightedness in not realizing they'd sell out in a mere 7 minutes. Part too, was at the fault of one very dorky Mr. D who sold two tickets out from under me. But so it goes. As they say, "You snooze, you lose."

I'll know better next time and get them on pre-sale.

Wednesday, October 17

Things You're Dying to Know....and a little advice on the side

I'll be kind and start with the advice. I would not suggest under any circumstances that you personally taste this product to ensure that it will work to save your new little ivy plant that you got at the grocery store from the nibbling boredom of the cat. It will work, no need to taste it yourself. I already did. I'll not be sharing how I know this. But I promise you, it works.

Now then.

DogSpot and I were alone for our walk this morning. We did not have our usual companions so we went to a less distracting place than the usual neighborhood for our walk. This also worked. I was much less distracted. It's amazing what you can get the dog to do when you actually tell it what you want. She did splendidly, and my arm was able to remain at my side where it belongs rather than in the usual "Heil Hitler' look stretched out in front of me. Well, except for the small conniption she threw when we passed some other dogs but that's to be expected. It's amazing that I have a terrier and then am surprised when she acts all excited like, you know....a terrier.

Anyhoo...we celebrated our success, her with some left over pork chop and me with a stop at Panera. And guess what?! They have a pumpkin spice latte which is surprisingly as good as Starbucks' for a bargain .20 cents more. I still have to try the recommended Dunkin' Donuts variety which I'll be sure to do by week's end I'm sure.

Ta-Ta for now!!

Tuesday, October 16

Dog Walkin' Woes

In my Dog Whisperer enthusiasm, I've taken it upon myself to 'master the walk.' In the words of my man, Cesar Millan, it's important that I don't let DogSpot drag me along on our walks or she's gonna think she's the pack leader. And we can't be having that, now can we?

But DogSpot doesn't see things that way. Each morning, she gleefully hops in to the back of my Explorer, enthusiastically hops out when we've gotten to our walking spot, and then she just takes off. The poor thing has about strangled herself and crippled me in her quest to lead us off into the wild blue yonder and she's just about yanked my arm out of socket a time or two. You'd think the little beast weighed more than 33 pounds.

I've tried all the tips. I faithfully recored each and every episode of the show and pore over all the instructions. And I try to follow them, I really do. But my dog just doesn't turn into the little miracle that Cesar promises she will. I've used a regular collar, I've used a harness, I've used a backpack (which is on hold until her fix-it stitches totally heal), I've even used one of those slip collars.

I'm coming to the sad conclusion that it's not the dog. It must be me. I guess I just have bad energy. And according to Cesar, you just can't walk a dog when you have bad energy.

Monday, October 15

Premium Sludge

I had such high hopes for today. After an appointment for some less-than-pleasant female maintenance, I drove myself over to Barnes & Noble for my 2 favorite things in one place. Now I love the library and all, but what really gets me going is when I get me some books along with some lah-tay. Starbucks, that is.

Now that fall has finally arrived, they have my third favorite flavor...that would be Pumpkin Spice Latte. Tall, nonfat, no whip. That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it, uh-huh. You get the idea. What about my first and second favorites, you ask? Well, my first fav (cinnamon dolce) has gone the way of all favorite things and has been discontinued. I was devastated to be sure. But then I discovered the gingerbread latte and got happy again. #2 won't be out until deeper into the holiday season. Apparently the fact that Christmas trees are already for sale does not influence the barista's ordering habits. But, I digress.

I plopped my books on the counter and optimistically ordered my drink. I was even happy as I plunked down $3.50 and I thanked the guy when he handed me my steaming cup. I took a swig or two and didn't really notice anything out of the ordinary but once I had gotten into my car and fully integrated into traffic, I splashed a drop on my hand. And Bloggies, it was orange. Now don't get me wrong. I realize that pumpkin is orange. Even the spices that go into the "spice" part are probably orange. But I've ordered this drink lots of times. It has always been brown. Like a latte. Not orange. And from then on, it just didn't taste right. And I haven't been right all afternoon. The more I think about it, they probably gave me a steamer, which is the milk and the flavor without the espresso. And we all know, that just won't do.

Sunday, October 14

Mad Hunter Strikes Again

It was another dandy day in the realm of bow hunting yesterday as Muh Main Man scored yet another success for the hunter and gatherer instinct that is so alive and well within him. The pressure was on as last year's record buck was something to be reckoned with. He didn't exceed the catch from last year but he did himself proud nonetheless.

The Short People and I did the appropriate amount of oohing and aahing, even running the camera into the deep, dark forest last night. DogSpot rose to the occasion in her first up-close encounter with a stag and made all sorts of fierce noise in an attempt to protect the homestead from the dead intruder.

Muh Main Man did resist the temptation to take the beast along to church this year. He save sthat privilege for the Pope & Young records like last year's but the picture was passed around to many an admirer, I assure you.