Thursday, August 30

School Shopping "Ya-Poo"!

Every year I look forward to this ritual--I always loved it as a kid. Every year, I forget the previous year's experience and that it never quite lives up to my childhood memories. It's usually just me and the Short People, but occasionally Muh Main Man goes along. Yesterday, since we are getting down to the wire, we decided to go during the day with just three of us.

I always glance over the two lists and think to myself that it's not that bad, it's not going to cost much and we'll get it done in a flash. I'm always wrong. I'm not a big piecemeal shopper--I tend to go where I can get most of it in one shot. The list always looks quite short so price comparison never seems that important.

So yesterday we headed out to our Kmart which is kind of by the wayside and doesn't get that much traffic. Of course, they only had about a third of what we needed and it cost about a third more than other places. But I was determined, so in the cart it went. Now Brainy Boy is a "tick it off the list" kind of shopper. He doesn't care what color or style it is as long as it's on the list. I prefer the cool-looking stuff, but he doesn't want to bother. He ended up with quite the collection of black, white and blue notebooks and accessories. He's happy with that. Little Chic, on the other hand, discovered the new Crayola Total Tools which are half as useful and twice as costly as the regular variety. I like snazzy and all, but I'm also into functional and these didn't look it. I did give in and let her get the glue and the highlighter, but the other stuff had to be the normal ones.

Next stop was Target, where we got another third of the list checked off including backpacks. Brainy Boy's is black. Plain black. It does have the handle and rollers but that's about as fancy as it gets. Little Chic went for the tiger motif to match our school mascot and it looks like it will hold up probably until Halloween. Fortunately it was cheap.

Last stop was Staples where we succeeded in finding the last few remnants of our list and I put my foot down refused to by the Easy Button that they have prominently displayed in the front of the store. For some reason, my intelligent children actually think that hearing that thing say "That was Easy" over and over is as fun sitting and playing video games all day.

We ended the day with everything we needed and succeeded in spending a full $100 beyond what I anticipated. I'm sure we could have gotten it cheaper if our school hadn't been so determined to conceal teacher assignments (with their corresponding supply lists) until the last possible minute. As if that will actually prevent determined parents to complain that Joey got the meanest teacher in the school. Anyway, we're done, packed, labeled and ready for the big day, so bring it on!

Tuesday, August 28

The Way to Say It

I'm not much for bathroom humor, but this made me laugh louder than I have in a while. I especially love the fancy script that you see in that wall calligraphy that I always admire! The sad fact is, living with two males in the house who think anything toilet-related is hilarious, it would fit right in with my determination to make this a place of comfortable dignity and their equal effort to make it the boy's locker room. You can find this and other zany quotes at Urban Outfitters.

Monday, August 27

Feelin' Friendly

Today was Brainy Boy's turn to have a friend over. Remember Friday when Little Chic had her own sleepover? I have to say that Brainy Boy was a good brother and left the girls to their games for the most part. Not so with Little Chic. I am reminded why I resolve to always have friends over on the same day. She has poked, pestered and annoyed the boys pretty much all day. She has been in the middle of every X-Box game, presumably to watch. She has refused to play on the trampoline herself until the boys decide to do a game of popcorn. She has even accompanied them to release a dead mouse we caught in the garage. As if she were really interested!!

We did attempt to arrange an impromptu distraction for her but all friends in the close vicinity were unavailable. Except for me of course. I guess that's the joy of being a little sister. I wouldn't know about that.

Saturday, August 25

Different Looks

Okay, I changed my profile picture. Since I don't post pics of myself very often (no need to broadcast the double chin that is developing) I haven't needed to admit that I've grown out my super-Chic short haircut. Appears that it was a little too "butch" for Muh Main Man. He stuck with me for about a year, then confessed that having me look like Brainy Boy from the back....well, it wasn't much of a turn-on apparently. So I've actually had this chin-length coif for a bit although the picture doesn't exactly feature the whole effect. You get the idea from the extremely small square at the top of my blog, I'm sure.

Makin' Friends

Last night was a make-up sleepover. Make-up because it was originally scheduled for the day my van kicked the bucket. And what a sad day that was. I'm not talking about the van, either. The Short People were ready to commit mutiny when I revealed that the sleepover with the friends would have to be postponed. So we rescheduled for last night.

Unfortunately, Brainy Boy's friend wasn't able to make it last night. He has to wait until Monday because of his family's schedule. Quite the debate ensued about why it didn't need to be fair that Little Chic's friend was coming over anyway. In an effort to capitalize on the situation, Brainy Boy thought he should be able to forego doing his chores as a sort of "consolation." I retorted that I should assign him a few extra chores since he isn't busy with his friend especially now that I have to endure two nights of midnight giggles instead of one. He didn't see it my way.

In the middle of Little Chic's sleepover, it dawned on her that she will be friendless on Monday when Brainy Boy's friend arrives. That's. Just. So. Not. Fair. Hmph.

Friday, August 24

Unique Sculpture

This is what bored children do when their mothers ask them to do a simple task....I just wanted the empty hangers from the closet. But no. Little Chic brings me a masterpiece that she wants to remain as it is. "And please don't take it apart" says she. Um hmmm. I'll get right on finding a place to hang this little decoration front and center. Because I didn't need to actually use those hangers. I was just wanting to admire them.

Time for the Short People to return to school, I say. Doing all the simple tasks myself will be a small price to pay for not hearing complaints that the resident "Activities Director" is slouching on the job. And all you in Blosphere are welcome to send sympathetic comments my way since our children in the nether regions here don't start school until September 5. I used to think all those rejoicing moms were so MEAN to celebrate with breakfast out on the first day of school. Now, are you kidding me? I just needed a little experience under my belt to get that particular piece of wisdom. They'll be so much happier too, with their friends all day. That's what I tell myself anyway. It makes me feel much less like one of those mean moms.

Thursday, August 23

House on Wheels

We all know how domestic duties are not among my favorites. I have enough problems keeping my floors respectable and laundry out of the overflow stage without having any extra work. And now we have a camper. It was nice while we were camping in it, but I'm not looking forward to any more housecleaning than I already do. Muh Main Man is generally a laid back kind of guy but he is getting a bit too demanding about the housekeeping issues associated with the little metal and canvas abode sitting out in our driveway. We have already scrubbed down the canvas inside and out, wiped down and vacuumed every surface and I've mopped the floor by hand. I think I might just move my stuff to live out there because now it's cleaner than my house is. The one nice thing about it is that I can collapse that thing down to the bare bones and park it for the winter and it'll be just as clean when we pull it out next summer. I wish I could do that with the kids' rooms when they get out of hand!

Wednesday, August 22

(Wo)Men at Work

In an effort to fix some page loading problems that readers are having, I, in my ignorance, I am attempting to do surgery on my blog. By myself. Again. Last time, this did not work. But in true do-it-myself fashion have faith that THIS time I can do it.

Do not fear, I have called a professional for help, but they are not responding fast enough to satifsy my ADD tendencies. So I am making sure that they will have their work cut out for them by the time they arrive to rescue me in my HTML-dumbness. I will be posting, but it might look a little different for a while. Kind of like Alice in Wonderland. Just a little less Wonder and a little more Land. But can I call you "Alice"? Just to make myself feel better?

Tuesday, August 21

Problem Solved

I went to Target (the place of all things spiffy) and got MonsterPaw a new carrier. Did you know you can get wedding clothes for your pets there?! What is up with that? I just want to take my cat to the vet. Anyway, I bought the cheapest one I could find since I only use it for her once a year visits to the vet. She approves (please excuse the poor picture quality due to my unpreparedness. She is the gray blurry thing hopping inside). Apparently she just wanted something pink to ride in. So I called the vet and they squeezed me in for Thursday. Hopefully she'll like it just as much then.

On other notes, poor DogSpot is "learning" not to sit on the couch. We made that mistake with HyperDog and we always looked like we were evolving into white wookies and I didn't like that. DogSpot isn't taking to it that well, but the squirts of water from the spray bottle are making the floor look much cushier.

And just in case you're wondering, nothing has changed from yesterday. DogSpot has not succeeded in winning Monster Paw's heart. Not even one extra toe. Even though she's diligently trying.

Monday, August 20

Cats R Nice....When They Wanna Be

MonsterPaw has never forgiven us for adopting DogSpot. Not at all. She has withdrawn to the top floor of our house (which is actually half a floor since our living room has a cathedral ceiling) and I've had to move all her gear like the litter box, food and toys upstairs. She does not venture nary an extra toe of hers downstairs since the frolicking white puppy came to live here. She does occasionally sneak down to peer around when the dog is outside, but at any sign or noise of the pup, kitty-cat jets back to her own zone. It's not that she's actually afraid of the dog. She just doesn't like her. On the occasions that the dog ventures into the cat's space, our sweet and quiet feline becomes a ferocious tiger all spitting and hissing. DogSpot is actually quite a-feared of the snooty one.

To complicate matters, MonsterPaw needs a rabies booster shot because of the bat visit we had a few nights back. My brilliant mind needed yet another thing to worry about and I decided that there might be the most remote chance that the bat could perhaps, maybe have been in our house with the cat while we were camping. Mind you, we have seen absolutely no signs of this, but one needs something to fret about. I'm not one to leave well enough alone, so I called the vet and scheduled a booster shot just in case. Turns out that MonsterPaw is also overdue for her distemper, so it all works out.

Except that since she has been living upstairs, she apparently isn't getting as much exercise as she used to. Which means she's gotten fat. Now she doesn't fit into her little kitty kennel anymore. I didn't think this would be a huge problem because she is monstrously nosy. At any sign of an open door, drawer, closet or bag, she sneaks inside to investigate. I planned to set the little crate on the floor, have her crawl inside for a look then, BAM!! I'd shut her inside. Except that we were running late and I didn't have time to humor her neurotic skittishness around new things...meaning she was taking to long to check out the crate. Little Chic and I discussed the least traumatic route to lure her where we needed to get her, even entertaining the idea of putting some cat nip inside to bait her. I quickly rejected this idea as our last experiment with the weed caused a night full of romping and wild behavior and not a wink of sleep (and not from the humans in the house.)

I decided to take the capture into my own hands and I did something she really doesn't allow--I picked her up. She's affectionate in her own way, but she calls all the shots of lap sitting and petting and such. If you make any move yourself, she doesn't like it. So she didn't like it. She liked it even less when I started stuffing her furry head into the crate. That was no problem since her head is no chubbier than it used to be. It was her belly that was filling the mouth of the crate and her legs were kicking, squirming and scratching along with a pathetic noise that I suppose was to be a meow. I got the clever idea to put the crate on end and put her in rear-end first. She obviously has her mother's hips, so her butt was no better than her belly, and her legs were sprawled straight out refusing to be shoved into the box. I even resorted to dismantling the box, holding her into the bottom half and trying to crash the top on to keep her inside, but alas, she escaped that too.

After about 15 minutes of the struggle, I had to call the vet and admit that my stubborn cat would not go into her crate and apparently I'm going to have to buy a bigger one. I doubt they were hugely disappointed at the cancellation because this would be the same cat that crawled into an open space in their ceiling last year, causing them to make a hole in the bathroom wall to get her out. Meanwhile, the cat sulked around the bedroom for the next half hour, highly insulted that I tried to take charge of her bodily whereabouts. As for me, I escaped with ego intact, but a stomach full of battle scars. But she better watch it, because next time I'll win.

Sunday, August 19

Vehicle Fit for a Prince

It has been about three years or so since Muh Main Man and I have made the eight mile trek to church in the same vehicle. Muh Main Man, as you well know, is a hero to the community and runs with the volunteer ambulance squad. He uses the possibility of getting a squad call as his reason for driving his own vehicle where 'ere we go. Funny thing is, if I want to ride along in his pick-up truck, he's just fine with that. He actually prefers it. He doesn't worry about any theoretical calls he might get as long as he's at the wheel of his own truck. The naked truth of the matter is....he hated my van. He said it's because it was always breaking down. I think it made him feel yuppy. And that was just too much for his redneck-wannabe ego. I made the comment to ma-in-law last night that with my new Explorer, I was willing to wager that we'd all be going to church all together, although I wasn't going suggest it myself.

I'll just say, I ain't been married to the same guy for 18 years fer nuthin. I've learned a thing or two about him along the way. Sure as shootin', this morning he was loading some cargo that we were taking to church into my SUV. I innocently queried as to why he wasn't putting the load into his own truck bed. He looked at me as if I had a third eye. "We're riding together to church." Oh, we do every Sunday. I couldn't let it pass without mentioning that now that I have a vehicle worthy for "the Prince" to ride in, those emergency calls are going to have to get put on the back burner. And maybe I'm going to have to change his moniker on this blog again, like to "His Majesty" or maybe "Your Honor." Crazy that we all thought that hunk-a-junk was okay for me to ride in!

Friday, August 17

Reflecting in the Lake

In case we party hardy with the in-laws this week, I might run short on screen time. And I wouldn't want to keep you waiting. Because I know you are dying to know how our last camping trip in El Pop-up went. It was dandy. I hated to see it end. Partially because I was coming back to a messy house. So it goes.

Some of the highlights were...DogSpot learning that a place by the campfire is much more pleasing than on her lawn blanket all by herself. She will be needing her own camp chair next time, because I'm not giving mine up again.

A visit to the rope swing was a real hit. Muh Main Main is learning what it felt like for his parents when he did all his daredevil stunts. He does not enjoy the sensation of his heart in his throat.....

....and DogSpot's first introduction to aquatic animals. It was quite alarming for this most cowardly member of our family.

We only had two minor mishaps during our trip. First, Muh Main Man got all sentimental-like and decided he needed to purchase a small log cabin that burns incense. His mama used to have one under the Christmas tree, and apparently it brought back fond memories. When the incense is burning in the cabin, it makes it look like the chimney has smoke coming out of it. It was adorable until the "balsam fir" scent began to smell curiously like cigarettes. Now the camper needs a hefty dose of Febreeze.

The second issue happened on our morning of departure. Muh Main Man went to the beach to get the fishing boat ready to load up. He scurried back to the camper to announce that the boat had been stolen! It had completely disappeared from the beach. After donning his official Tactical Medic T-shirt, his Sheriff's ball cap and grabbing his pistol, he took off to find the culprit. Turns out that either the wind, or more likely some rowdy teenagers playing a prank, had pushed the boat off the shore and it had floated completely out of sight. It took a spin around the lake in a friend's boat to locate it. Luckily we retrieved it--I was really not looking forward to the return trip home without Muh Main Man's most favorite camping possession. It was really going to ruin my day and even my new Explorer wouldn't have been enough to cheer us up. But all turned out well and we made it home in one piece.

The kids only complaint was that DogSpot takes her half out of the middle when riding in the car.

Home, Hectic Home

You know how it feels to come home to a nice clean house all refreshed from vacation, ready to get back in the groove? Good, because I don't either. Due to the mayhem caused by my lemon of a van last week, it was a whirlwind getting out of here Saturday morning on our camping trip. Frankly, I was glad to leave my messy house behind. We pulled in last night, lurched into the driveway, and I was greeted with the pleasant sight of my new Explorer. That's where the nice ended.

While camping, we got the thrilling news that company was coming a week early. Now don't get me wrong...I love my in-laws and am very happy they are coming. It always means lots of fun for us and the kids (and lots of free dinners out!) BUT, the urge to impress just doesn't get fulfilled when I have a 24-hour window to clean up a week's worth of untidiness and another week's worth of camping gear and dirty laundry.

Add on to the excitement of getting home with the other nice discovery that a bat was in the house. I am telling people that it came in while we are unpacking. I am denying the possibility that it had been in for any time while we were away. I do not see bat droppings anywhere, but MonsterPaw (the cat) seemed quite comfortable with jumping five feet in the air to catch the thing. She wasn't successful, but she was looking like she'd had some practice. I was afeared that MonsterPaw was overdue for her rabies shot, but apparently I was on the ball and she's up to date.

Muh Main Man went back to his old trick of breaking out the BB gun to hunt the critter, without luck. The bat found a teensy crack in the top of our stone fireplace, and I'm fooling myself into thinking it sneaked back outside. I don't even know if you can get outside from that route.

We all slept in the master bedroom with the door closed, all except for DogSpot who came home with a case of .... we'll just say, stomach problems. I believe it is from all the cigarette butts she ate while digging to China at our campsite. Her rabies shots are up to date so I felt fairly comfortable leaving her to fend for herself in her crate.

I'm off to impress the ma-in-law, so Ta-Ta for now!

Friday, August 10

I Feel So Much More Buff

I am so much less a soccer mom than I was a few hours ago! Here's my new wheels...

And then we have Vanna, who is just as thrilled as I am about our sporty new truck. She has figured out every feature and already knows the keypad code to get into the car. She has adjusted and readjusted the rear air, put the seats up and down, checked out all the bells and whistles (including the handy cup holders) and regularly shows me the new discoveries. And to think, we've only had the thing five hours! When we went to Walmart tonight, she wanted to "test" it out by leaving the keys locked in the car and using the keypad to get back in, but I decided not to tempt fate.

I'm a Redneck....But Don't Tell Me!!

I'm coming to the sad conclusion that Muh Main Man has had some, um, "unfortunate" influence on my taste. He has always been proud of the fact that he's a little bit "country" but that's a tendency I strive to stay way, far away from. However on our last few camping trips, we've seen all these people with little nameplates on their campsites, and I took a hankering to wanting one. I figured Muh Main Man would think it un-manly like, but apparently if it has to do with anything out of doors, then even decorations will get a thumbs up.

My good friend, Angel, jumped to the task and used her creative juices from her business, Take It Personal, and whipped me out this little gem. She even took pity on my car-less state and delivered it to me in time for our trip tomorrow. Now I can be in full campsite fashion and I'll be the envy of every tree-hugger out there.

It may be too teeny to read, but the signpost on the bottom says "Pop-up, Sweet Pop-up"!

Life....Or SOMETHING Like It

Well, the transmission of my van officially died, which put Muh Main Man and me into a tailspin as mine was the paid off car that we were driving till it died. That we did. It's just that we intended for that to be another 100,000 miles. That it wasn't. So of course this happened the week that we are going on our last camping trip and there are lots of supplies to replenish, propane tanks to refill and food to get. And me without a car.

We put ourselves in overdrive and have visited a dozen car places in the last three days, and we have settled on a vehicle. I have to admit that although it wasn't a planned purchase, it is pretty much what I would have chosen had it been. I had to wait the appropriate amount of time and act the correct amount of dismayed before I could jump up and down with glee. This didn't seem to bother Muh Main Man too much. We both figure as long as we're getting something new, we might as well like it.

So, pictures will be posted at a yet undetermined time. We are getting my green 2004 Ford Explorer which has 34,000 miles on it (with the third row seats, I might add) sometime this afternoon. Before we do, I'm packing like a maniac (well, except for this short moment to relay the details) and then I'll be grocery shopping (with my new car!!) So pictures will be posted, but I'm not sure when.

We leave for camping bright and early tomorrow and don't get back until sundown on Thursday. I might pop in to grant you a peek at my new wheels if I have a chance, but if not....Adieu.

Thursday, August 9

Some Days Really Stink

My van, which has been a lemon since the day I bought it, has been in the shop since Monday. It has been having engine problems and neither of my front windows will roll down. So we took it in to have it fixed. This is the zillionth thing that has been wrong with it, but the weird thing is, I really like this vehicle. It's a pretty 2002 Patriot Blue Dodge Grand Caravan Sport and the first van I've ever had. And I really liked it. Did I say that?

Anyway, the shop called yesterday and informed us that it'll cost half of what the van is worth so we've decided we've sunk way too much money into it already, so we're gonna get rid of it. Luckily it's paid off, but the bummer is, I was planning on driving this thing till it died, hopefully in, like, four more years. We're headed for another camping trip on Saturday, so we feel a little stressed about sorting things out before we go. Such is life.

Tuesday, August 7

Back to Its Rightful Owner

Here's a funny story that happened nearby, although I'm sure the unfortunate family wasn't amused.

A lady had a garage sale on Saturday. She sold a large ceramic turtle for .50 cents to a woman who wanted to use the turtle as a cookie jar. The problem was that the lid wouldn't come off. The two discussed the best way to remove the lid, and the buyer left with the turtle.

The husband of the seller became alarmed when he couldn't find the turtle in the house and asked it's whereabouts. He was distraught upon learning it had been sold, because apparently the turtle contained the ashes of his first wife who had died. Thus the sealed lid. The wife felt terrible as she hadn't realized the turtle contained anything at all. The couple immediately contacted the local paper searching for the buyer, and the notice even made our front page for two days, though we are several towns away.

As luck would have it, the turtle has now been found. Apparently this morning, the newspaper received an anonymous call from the buyer, stating that she had donated the turtle to the local Salvation Army. A worker at the Salvation Army feared that the turtle had already been put on their truck going to their distribution center where it could then be dispatched to a nunber of Salvation Army stores. Fortunately for the original owner, the turtle caught the eye of the thrift store manager, and she pulled it off the truck. She planned to sell it at the store with a ticket price of at least $7.99, she said. When the newspaper contacted the Salvation Army, staffers were able to find the turtle and set it aside for the owner to repossess.

I just want to know who is organized enough to buy something at a yard sale on a weekend and have it tried out, rejected and to the donation center two days later?! I thought I was donation happy--but this lady even has me beat.

Paper Back Swap

You have no idea how elated I was to find this! I have been spending way too much money at Barnes & Noble and way too much frustration at the library when I can't get what I'm looking for. And I was just wondering what I was going to do with a few books that I've read this summer that I don't want to keep.

I'm weird with books--I love having books around, ones I've read, ones I haven't, ones I might--and I love to read. I usually have several books going at once and I always have a very messy stack beside my bed. I love to own books that I enjoyed reading. Sometimes I'll purchase a copy of something that I read from the library. But I never read a book more than once. If I've read it, I never read it again. I just can't seem to get back into it. The rare exception is when I've tried to entice my kids to read a childhood favorite of mine and they won't. Then I'll resort to reading aloud, like I did on a recent camping trip reading Johnny Tremain around the campfire. Guess who I found sneaking in extra chapters between me reading aloud?!

Anyway, I'm signing up today and getting my books listed. This is gonna be great!

Sunday, August 5

Effective Parenting in a Defective World

Proverbs 22:6 "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. (NLT)

I've been a big fan of Chip Ingraham, from Walk Thru the Bible for a long time. When I first listened to his Living on the Edge broadcast on my local Christian radio station, I was immediately drawn to his frank, down-to-earth style of communication. So you can imagine my excitement when the mail guy hand delivered a package that contained the leader kit for a small group study called Effective Parenting in a Defective World for me to review. It just turns out that I was already intimately familiar with this particular package considering the fact that last summer, I went through this nine-week DVD course with a group of parents from my church. At that time it was my first opportunity to hear Chip's perspective on the topic of parenting and raising one's children and I was not disappointed. The study proved to be a rich experience and I gained some straightforward, practical advice on raising healthy, well-balanced children who love and respect God and their parents. As well, I had the opportunity to share and relate to other parents who were going through parenting issues and challenges that were similar to mine. I found the study to be relative to families with children of all ages, bringing some direction and basics to parents of young children as well as giving hope and confidence to parents of older ones. In addition, parenting couples and single parents alike are able to identify key strategies to strengthening their families and building their child's potential.

The DVD study contained in the leader's package is designed for a lay person to be able to lead the study simply by coordinating and facilitating a group of parents. The leader's kit includes nine teaching sessions of 25 to 35 minutes each and they are led by Chip so there is no need for the study leader to do any teaching. The sessions are scripturally based and include some real life examples from Chip's own parenting experience. He speaks straight to the parent with challenge and motivation and his insight is presented in a way that can be immediately put into practice. In addition, the leader's kit provides a printed leader's guide that walks you through the content and schedule of each session and a participant workbook is included as well. Along with viewing the DVD during each study session, it also includes a few minutes of participant discussion as well as an assignment given by Chip to use with your children that week. The participants support one another and keep each other accountable to follow through with the weekly assignments.

The DVD leader's kit for Effective Parenting in a Defective World can be ordered from at for an extremely reasonable $99.95. The leader's guide is fairly easy to follow even if you've never facilitated a group before. The suggested format is described in the manual, although I had to search a bit to find out how long each video segment is. I wasn't able to find the length of each individual video session since it wasn't listed anywhere that I could find in the leader's manual, on the label of the DVD nor on the DVD menu chapters. It would be helpful to know exactly how long each video topic is, especially if you are running a tight schedule for your study. Other than that minimal annoyance, the directions are laid out in an easy-to-understand manner. It's also of note that as the facilitator, you need to use your copy of the participant manual along with your leader's manual as there are a few questions, particularly in the weekly assignment sections, that aren't specifically written in the leader's manual.

There is a book of the same title as well as other companion resources available at the web site. Topics covered in the nine sessions are: 1) How to Raise Positive Kids in a Negative World, 2) Building Relationships that Bond, 3) How to Develop your Child's Full Potential, 4) God's Process for Teaching Obedience, 5) How to Discipline Your Child Effectively, 6) Punishment Versus Discipline, 7) Words that Discipline, 8) Five Smooth Stones for Parenting and 9) When All Else Fails.

This is a highly valuable resource for growing your family God's way and I definitely recommend you try it for your next small group study. All in all, you'll have an easy way to lead parents to God's plan for their children.

Saturday, August 4

Let Me Tell You What I THINK

You all know I love new stuff. I love gadgets. I love mail order catalogs. I love places like TJ Maxx where you have to shuffle through piles of stuff in search of a treasure. And you know how I feel about the Salvation Army. I guess I just like treasure hunts and hoping to find something really good.

Well, sometimes, something good just finds me. And it did recently. I was contacted by a media company that works with several Christian ministries. I am going to do an occasional product and resource review and post them on my blog. I'm not getting paid for the reviews...I just get to keep what I'm reviewing. I love that! So keep watching and pretty soon, I'll tell you what I think. As if I wouldn't do that anyway?! Just look for the button, and you'll find my review.

It's 10 O'clock and All Is Well

Even though I would love to sleep until noon on most Saturdays, it was not difficult to get up this morning. We hopped out of bed and dashed over to see Little Chic do her farewell show at summer camp. She looked happy to have us come watch the show, but didn't seem overly eager to get home. She made us promise to let her return next summer before she agreed to leave the ranch.

She shared her bunk house, South Dakota, with 9 cabin-mates and a counselor, Renee'. I was impressed enough with Renee's ability to keep 9 girls corralled and happy, but it's clear she's not a mother yet. Little Chic informed me that although the minimum shower requirement was three, Little Chic "accidentally" only took two because, well, there just wasn't time. Apparently we need to bone up on some of those adolescent skills that need managing when mom's not around, namely, needing more than 2 showers in a seven day period, preferably one per day.

Little Chic was thrilled to show us her skill at riding her horse, Flash, in the relay races. Flash lived up to his name and flashed right out and brought Little Chic in 3rd place, acquiring her the coveted horse medal. You may notice that Little Chic's hair is not flying behind her in the wind, and that would be because this was a walking relay. It was thrilling nonetheless, I assure you.

Our last part of the tour was viewing the 50-foot Alpine tower that our very small girl climbed. She assured us that there are 30 routes to the top and that she successfully made it all the way up.

This is her dad when he found out she had made it ALL the way to the top.

Thursday, August 2

Not a Lonely Only

Brainy Boy, as sweet and sensitive as he is, tends to be the type that likes his alone time. He certainly has his share of friends and is sociable enough, but he never complains about being lonely. Ever. It has crossed my mind a time or two that he would have been a very contented only child. It's not that he doesn't love his sis--he just likes his space. And she likes his space too! So he's actually made out pretty well this week with Little Chic gone, and frankly, I think he's soaking up the quiet. She's the singing, chatting, communicator of the family and we don't have many quiet moments with her around. Sometimes it about drives him buggy. It's certainly never dull when she's here, and I for one, have missed her singing as she combs her hair every morning. And singing while she does her chores. And singing while she plays the computer. And singing while she...well, you get the idea.

We've kept the shopping to a minimum for Brainy Boys' sake and have tried to cater some of our activities more his liking. We've made 2 trips to the library, a couple of lunches out (Brainy Boy adores eating out--he fancies himself a gourmet) and tonight an outdoor movie at the community pool (Night at the Museum).

One bonus of the week alone was that Muh Main Man taught him to ride the Big Bear four-wheeler which certainly would not have happened had Little Chic been here. She would have insisted on her own solo turn and dad's still too protective to allow that with her lighter weight and smaller size (and her need for speed--wonder where she gets that from?). Brainy Boy is much more cautious and rule-keeping than his sister. She's like her dad that way...Brainy Boy profusely thanked his dad for the privilege and assured him that he feels "much more manly now." Seriously, he said that with a completely sincere countenance.

UPDATE: We opted to eat at Friendly's for dinner since it was just the two of us (Muh Main Man had Hazmat training), and then we rented the movie to watch at home. It was a bit to warm and buggy for Brainy Boy to enjoy watching the movie outside. He's a fall and winter kind of kid. I suppose it's a good thing that we camp in the Adirondacks where it is eternally cool at night. But, I digress. The movie was hilarious, and even though it's hard to impress us, we both highly recommend it.

Wednesday, August 1

Notes from the Campfire

Yeah...!! We f-i-n-a-l-l-y got our first letter from Little Chic who is away at camp for a week (in case I didn't mention that before). I was beginning to wonder why we carefully picked out the puppy dog stationery and made a special run to the Post Office for the heart stamps she wanted. She didn't lose them after all. As she says in her very own, 9-year-old handwriting.....

Dear Mom & Dad

I'm haveing a great time at camp! And I did make new friends. There's Sarah, Merea, Hope and Zodie. Rideing horses is fun! Today were going on a trail today!

Your Kid,

"Little Chic"

Rug Doctor

My carpets have been in need of serious attention and rather than hire somebody to clean them, in true do-it-yourself fashion, I rented a Rug Doctor last night and started the healing process myself this morning. It cost me over $300 to have somebody clean 2 small bedrooms and very small hallway last time I had it done professionally, so the $26 rental fee for the extra-wide model, as well as the fact that you can get them anywhere from Eckerd's to the grocery store sounded really good.

I have to say that other than the 3 hours of sweat-inducing effort, it was a pretty simple task. I won't even tell you about the water I dumped. I can't quite bring myself to confess the state of it. Let's just say I've resolved to do this job a lot more often from now on.

Most satisfying was that I did the entire job myself, including moving the necessary furniture, going to get the apparatus, and working the machine--including all necessary dumpage and refilling. Well, maybe not the entire job. There are some furniture pieces that need to be moved back after the carpet is dry tonight. I may muster up some help for that...but not because I need it. Just because I don't feel like doing it all myself.