Sunday, November 9, 2008

Yes, I'm alive

This has been a crazy busy few months. Since I last posted, my mom spent a few weeks with us, the girls started school, dance class, and church activities, I have been subbing regularly, and on and on. I have lots of great ideas and info to share, so I promise to be back soon!

Before I go, I have to share my newest find with you! I've found an easy way to earn some extra income. gives us cash back when we shop online at places like Best Buy, Target, Gap, Old Navy, and a lot more. Even better, when we tell people about it and they sign up, we get paid every time they shop. It's based on a sound business model and it's FREE. Just follow the link below to check it out.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Road Trippin'

I had to take a break from everything for the past week. It was difficult at first, but by the end of the week, I enjoyed the simplicity. The first leg of our road trip took us to a horse farm in Ocala, Florida. We stayed in a mobile home surrounded on three sides by horse corrals and stables. There was a rooster waiting on the porch every morning an two goats close by. The downside - no phone (except our cell phones), no internet access, no television, no modern technology. With that said, I need to get away to decorate for a birthday party. Now, that I have access again, I will get back soon to give all of the details.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vacation Time!!!

Our family is getting ready for our biggest vacation ever! We will be driving to Florida, then to Missouri, then back home in time for school to start. My mom will be coming home with us and staying for a month. The planning for this trip has been beyond crazy with our plans literally turning upside down. Originally, we were going to drive, towing my husband's motorcycle, to Missouri first. After a few days, my husband was going to ride to Florida and stay with his sister for a week or so before riding home alone. The kids and I were going to stay with my mom for a week and then she was going to ride home with us and stay for a month. After lots of consideration, we changed around to our current plans without the motorcycle. Stay tuned for updates as we travel the great USA!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

So Tired...

I looked forward to this summer. No school and lots of down time. Instead I have worked at the college, the kids have been busy going all over, and projects have popped up regularly. I have gotten very little sleep and only a few items checked off of my to do list. Since the summer is almost over and we have not had any down time, tomorrow we are going to make it happen. My husband and I are dropping the kids off at Grandma's so we can get a weekend of rest and relaxation. We have tickets to Monterey and a weekend of solitude. We plan to do absolutely nothing for our two day getaway. Nothing except some swimming, movie-watching, eating out, and sleeping. When we get back, I will get back to that to do list.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Disclaimer Nation*

*This post is not intended to alter, change, or otherwise influence your opinion. Please read this while you are sitting down. Reader assumes all risk of injury that may be incurred while reading this post.

I am watching television. Well, not really. I have the television on for noise while I complete my evening tasks. A paper towel commercial flashed across the screen with a mother cleaning up a HUGE mess with only one sheet. Amazing. Before I watched this feat, a disclaimer popped up that this does not depict an actual comparison. The commercial then shows two paper towels, side by side cleaning up the same mess. If this isn't a comparison, then what is it?! The best disclaimers flash across the fastest. Do not try this at home. This test was performed on a closed track. A professional driver completed this course. Although this is an actual testimony, the part is played by an actor. Names are not real. You only pay shipping and handling for a total of $99.99. We have never actually used this product, we want you to be our guinea pig.

OK, so I haven't actually seen this disclaimer, but I'm sure it's been there. If not, they need a disclaimer for the disclaimer.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You Want Me to Do What?

I am a wimp. I admit it openly. I do not like to sweat or even be hot. Cold is bad too. I don't want to carry too much stuff, so I pack light. It drives my husband nuts because he is the man who is always prepared. I do not like to climb steep hills or slide down them either. I do not like heights or the dark. My idea of camping is a hotel without a pool. My hair and makeup don't have to be perfect or "done," but I don't like to be messy either. I am a picky eater so I would rather go hungry than creative. In spite of all of this, I was asked to join our local volunteer Search and Rescue Squad. I'm sorry, did you say my name? I think you meant my eight-year-old who is braver than me, right? After much deliberation, I was sworn in last month and it is finally sinking in. I tricked myself into thinking I could do this until last week. Last week some of our guys went on a search that was tough for them. They hiked miles upon miles through the mountains (the elevation varied from 8000 to 11,000 feet) looking for a lost hiker. What was I thinking?! Oh yeah, they asked me to join so I could sit at the command post and tell others what to do. They have seen me with my children and know that I am good at telling people what to do. Why was I worried? I can do this.

Too Much For One Day

Today has been a difficult day. Looking to the bright side, out of difficulty comes greatness. We have a neighbor that has become family to us. He is divorced and his twenty-something kids have gone their own ways without staying in touch. This man whom we have befriended now introduces our kids as his grandkids and we include him in our lives. On my way to work I received a phone call from him letting me know that his 94-year-old mother passed away early this morning. Numb from the phone call, several other things happened to me today taking my day further down. Not wanting to be couped up in the house after my husband left for work, I took the kids over to their "grandpa's" house to cheer him (and me) up. We talked for a few minutes before he told me that he called his son to let him know about his mother's passing. This was the first time they spoke in two years. My friend became teary-eyed just talking about the conversation. Later in the day he was able to make contact with his daughter for the first time in about the same time span. For a moment I felt like I was intruding on this family moment, but I was honored to be included in his experience today.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Day Camp

For anyone in Barstow with children ages 8-12, the Desert Discovery Center is a place you don't want to miss. They have educational programs year-round for families and during the summer they spend four weeks educating children about the local environment. The classes are taught in week-long sessions, so your child can attend one week or all four weeks. To see some pics and commentary from last summer, click here:

For more information or to sign your child up, contact Rosa at (760)252-6060.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I Feel An Energy Drain Coming On

My children have learned that when someone has a bad attitude, fights, talks back, etc. then the "energy" is drained from the family. The children have a new way of putting that "energy" back: by doing chores. I placed a jar on the counter and filled it with slips of paper with chores written on them. The chores range from sweeping the floor to straightening the books on the bookshelf. When I feel an "energy drain" coming on, the "drainer" must pull a slip and complete that job to give back the "energy." My middle daughter was so excited about it, she volunteered to pull a slip (clean the kiddie pool). No more blackouts here!

Almost Amazing

I found a product that I was ready to endorse to my readers today. My husband and I are so fed up with the condition of our carpet that we would like to replace it. This product came highly recommended to get out the smells and such and possibly give our carpet a second chance. I was eager to try it, but the shipping price stopped me in my tracks. I will wait on the endorsement until I can order the product after payday (see previous post - payday isn't until next month). I guess that gives me something to write about in August.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I Need Some Money Honey!

My "summer job" ends this week and I need to get some money together to pay the bills for the next few weeks. Actually, it is kind of a funny situation. I will not even receive my first real paycheck from this summer job until mid-August, almost two months after I started the job. Who chose this schedule where you only get paid once a month? It stinks! In any case, I NEED some money to pay some bills before my car and home and everything in my home disappear. One of the things I found today is big crumbs. From my understanding, you sign up at this website and then do your online shopping through them. You earn cash back for your purchases and the purchases of people who sign up under you. I signed up today to try it out. If you would like to also, here is my link: It's not a get rich quick scheme, there is no out of pocket expense, and it works with Ebay. Three big pluses. I'll tell you more soon...

Do you have a great idea for me to make some money? Post it here in the comments.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What?! No plans?!

I got home from the college today after my four hours of tutoring. Actually it was slow today so I didn't actually tutor, I just read my book, "Believing God" by Beth Moore and played on the internet. It was a strange day for us. It was a day with no plans. Today is our Friday. My husband works Sunday to Wednesday nights, so Thursday afternoon is like Friday and we normally do something fun with the kids, like go to the drive-in or out to dinner. Sometimes we will have a "sleepover" where we move the couch back and spread blankets on the floor so we can watch movies and eat popcorn into the wee hours. Today was different. I got home and we ate dinner (another oddity about us: we eat dinner in the early afternoon, skipping lunch). After dinner, my husband, our baby, and I laid down for a nap. I woke up at eight p.m. to find my baby still asleep and my husband working in the garage. With no plans to speak of, we improvised and went to Coldstone for some ice cream and then did some shopping at Wal*Mart before returning home. Maybe this is the sign of a quiet weekend. There is nothing on the calendar until Sunday. Three free days in a row only comes about once a year in our household, so I look forward to getting lots done this weekend.

*Just a little plug for Coldstone: They are doing a baseball themed summer promotion. One of the promo flavors, blueberry muffin ice cream, should not be missed!

Horsin' Around

I did a search today to find some great ideas for my daughter's fifth birthday party. She wants to have a horse theme and I thought that I would find some unique and creative activities. I struck gold with the first site that I clicked on: I found games, invitations, food, drinks, and more. Best of all, it was all FREE! Some of the ideas I had already thought of, such as "Pin the Tail on the Horse," but there were also some things that I added to my list. Another plus for this site, almost every idea is workable with a limited budget and resources. I'm not sure where I could find horse-shaped gummies, but most everything else they suggested to use I already have. There is no excuse for a boring birthday party!

Do you have any ideas to add to my list for a horse-themed birthday party for a five-year-old? I would love to post them here!

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Wise Choice

My oldest daughter is an interesting girl. She enjoys dressing up and being pretty, but she also loves to play in the mud and be a kid. In first grade, her school friends were already telling her things like, "If you you don't join my Girl Scout Troop then you can't play with me at recess." Banana just did her own thing and didn't let it get to her. She chased boys on the playground regularly, so she could tell them about Jesus an invite them to church. She isn't into the things the kids around her are into. When she got a Hannah Montana doll for Christmas, she asked if she could give it away because she just didn't like Hannah Montana. I urged her to play with the doll because it is, after all, just a doll. I told her that Miley Cyrus, the girl who plays the character, is a Christian. She still didn't want anything to do with it because she just didn't like how Hannah Montana looks and acts. After the recent choices made by Miley Cyrus, it looks as though my daughter has made a good choice in who not to look up to.

Disclaimer: Before I get angry messages about knocking down Miley Cyrus, I must say that I am praying for her to make wise choices. As difficult as it is to be a "regular" kid, it must be many times more difficult to grow up under public scrutiny. At the same time, I do not want my child to idolize any person (including myself) and expect that person to always make the right choice. I am proud of a child that can see past the glamour that captivates many of us.

Talk To Me

My husband and I will be going to Monterey in a couple of weeks. It is an interesting turn of events in this troubled economy. My mom came to visit us last summer and the flight was so terrible that she was given a voucher for a free flight from the airline. When she called to use the voucher for her trip out this summer, the person told her that the airline would no longer be flying from California to Kansas City and the voucher must be redeemed by July 15th for a flight before September 1st when the airline stops flying. My mom looked online and saw that the airline still flew from Ontario to several nice destinations, so she offered the voucher to us. The value of the voucher was enough for my husband and I to fly to Monterey for a getaway.

So, on a limited budget, what should we do when in Monterey? We will arrive on a Thursday afternoon and leave Saturday morning. We want to know where to stay, what to eat, how to get around, and what to do for fun. Let me hear from you!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It Was Wicked!

My wonderful husband took me to Hollywood for a wonderful weekend getaway. He surprised me with tickets to the play "Wicked" which was fantastic. The acting, the sets, the story line, the music, everything was amazing. After the play, we went to The Pantry for dinner. This is an historic LA eatery that my husband's family went to regularly when he was a kid. The food was delicious, just as we remembered it from our last visit ten years ago.

Our trip home this morning was quite an adventure. Our GPS, aka Jill, took us from Hollywood to Pasadena on surface streets. It was a beautiful drive, but long. I was glad when we got on a familiar freeway and I could see landmarks that I knew.

Back to the life...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Break Time

I just have to say good night. I will miss you this weekend, but I will be back on Sunday, Lord willing. In the morning I will be off to a relaxing weekend with my wonderful hubby. First I need to finish packing, get the kids packed, set out the dogs' food for the pet sitter, get the kids into bed...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Birthday

To my husband's two brothers (one "real," one a good friend since boyhood). One's birthday was July 4th, the other's is tomorrow. They are both currently in Iraq working for a private contractor. They were hired by the same company and went to live in Iraq about a month apart from each other. In a community of 30,000 workers, they ended up living across the street from each other. In spite of this, I know they must be terribly lonely, having been there for a couple of months and knowing that their wives and children are here. We love you guys and you are in our thoughts and prayers. For fear of the cake and ice cream not lasting until your return, we will eat your share and get more when you return! Love you!

Event For Barstow Locals

Clothing Swap
Bring your unwanted clothing and shoes.
Leave with "new to you" clothing and shoes.
July 27th 4 to 6 pm
at First Baptist Church in Barstow (by Rite-Aid)
Infant through adult clothing and shoes in clean, usable condition.
We would like to have the clothing ahead of time to sort it before the exchange.
It is free and we welcome anyone to attend (so please share this post).
The more participants, the better it will work!
Leftover items will be donated to local charities.

To arrange pick up of clothing or if you would like more info, post a comment and I will get back to you.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wednesday's Wisdom

Summer is a great time to clean out closets and cubby holes. Let the kids get involved and help with the decision making. About every other month, I give each of my kids a storage tub. They are allowed to keep as many toys as will fit into the tub with the lid on. There are a few exceptions such as Barbie houses and doll strollers. Each child may keep one house and one other "big" item. They may also keep a few stuffed animals on their bed. This helps to keep the clutter under control. The remaining items are either stored in our shed in a storage container to be rotated back into their room later or donated to the local thrift store.

Do you have a great tip to share? We would love to hear it. Post it in the comments on Wednesdays or email it to me!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


My first daughter was a tame child. If you left her somewhere as a baby, she would still be there when you came back. She walked at one year and did not give me many headaches. She did not get into things other than her toys and she was generally happy and content with her situation.
My second daughter was my Tasmanian devil. At eight months she walked. At one year, I found her on the counter reaching for the top of the fridge because she knew candy was there. At nearly five, she has learned to calm herself down so I don't have constant panic attacks. Now, my baby has found her way in the world. Yesterday, I found her standing on the kitchen counter, looking in the cupboard to get graham crackers for a snack. After I asked her to let me know when she wanted a snack, I added Tylenol to my shopping list.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Date Night Coming Soon!

Oh, I can't wait for Saturday! My husband firmly believes in the importance of date night. I do too, but I don't go out of my way to make it happen like he does. This Saturday his company has a block of tickets for a show (my husband is surprising me as to what show it is) that he guarantees to be amazing. The girls are going to a friend's house for the night so we can stay the night in Los Angeles after the show.

As much as I love my girls and spending time with them, it is important to have time away. With a husband that works nights and two children most of the time (one toddler and one home schooled), it is difficult for us to have a conversation without interruptions. This gives us that chance.

Now, I must get to packing and cleaning and preparing for a fun weekend. Only five more days until we go!

A Simple Hello

Over the years and as towns have become cities, we have lost so many of our social graces. One in particular has caught my attention. We never say "hello" any more. Back in the day (before my time) you knew everyone that you walked past and so you must say hello out of courtesy. I get a taste of that small-town feeling when I go to Wal-Mart near my home. Rarely do I get to make a quick trip because I usually run into two or three people that I know and must stop to say hello and chit chat. Honestly, I enjoy that feeling.

I do not enjoy my walk to work because I have quite the opposite feeling. For the summer I am tutoring at the local community college. I park my car towards the back of the parking lot to build a little exercise into my day and then walk to the library where I tutor. Every day I pass at least one or two people that I do not know. Very rarely does any one make eye contact and a hello is even more difficult to receive.

What happened to us that we are too busy or distant to say hello to people we pass? I have begun to go out of my way (not always, I am building up) to say hello to people who come within speaking distance. Generally people respond with a greeting or smile, but not always. That momentary connection brightens my day and helps me to feel just a little more connected to my fellow townspeople.

Give it a try. Say hello today and brighten the day of someone you will never see again.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

My To Do List

Today, while I was happily playing with the kids in my Sunday School class, it hit me. I have to get everything ready in the next couple of weeks before I go on vacation. Everything includes get my kids ready to go back to school, prepare for Promotion Sunday for the Sunday School class, get a plan together for a new girls program I will be leading at the parks and rec center, get a plan together for the girls group I will be leading at church this fall, clean my house for my mom's visit (she will be coming home with the kids and me from vacation), and on and on. OH MY! My to do list suddenly grew exponentially! Five weeks until vacation and five hundred things to do. OK, so I exaggerate. Really there are only four hundred ninety six things to do, but the other four will be on the list by the time I am finished with this post.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Whose Birthday Is It?

My daughters and I read a book today about how the American flag came to be. It talked about common stories, such as the idea that Betsy Ross made the flag, and then presented some facts about the history of our flag. By the time we closed the book, I felt that the girls didn't really get much out of the story. That thought was confirmed when, later in the day, Banana proudly proclaimed that today is the birthday of our flag. I look forward to helping her learn a little more this year when she studies American History in school.

In any case, Happy Birthday America!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


It is amazing how quickly my family's schedule fills up even though I try to keep it simple. My kids each do only one activity in addition to school but by the end of the school year we had something planned for every minute it seemed. Between the dance recital, Father's Day, parties, picnics, and everything else, we have barely had time to sleep.
Now that summer has arrived, I am thankful for those extra minutes to sleep in. I say minutes because I have only slept about thirty minutes later than I was when school was in, but oh, they feel so good! I think I am soothed by the simple idea that I could sleep later if I wanted to (not that my children would let me).
Now if that maid would just show up and clean my house. She is running out of time before the dinner we are hosting on Saturday. I think I might just have to give up and clean the house myself.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Hizard Wants to Come Home

I am a firm believer that children will entertain themselves when given the chance. Often when we go on vacation we do not bring toys. We spent Memorial Day weekend at a cabin in the woods with friends. Te toys stayed home and the kids never missed them. They spend their time at the cabin digging in the dirt, hiking, rock climbing, and exploring. During their adventures, Bear found a friend whom she introduced as "Hizard." This reptilian friend was about four inches long and she carried him with her all weekend. He crawled down her sleeve which she thought was great, but mostly he perched on her palm. On the second day of our vacation, she brought him to the kitchen door to talk to her daddy. She announced that her hizard told her that he wants to come home with her. We couldn't help but laugh and she stoicly took him back to the horseshoe pit where she found him. After along heart-to-heart with him, she came back empty-handed and said that she told him he had to stay. Life is so hard when you are four.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Covering My Behind

Someone anonymously left comments that I may possibly face a slander lawsuit for what I am saying about my experiences over the past month, so I am covering my behind. If you read my previous posts as events occurred, I began by saying that I may very well likely be allergic to this product (all names have been removed to, once again, cover my behind). Something in this product brought out the worst in me (in more ways than one) and I think it is reasonable that if this would happen to me, it would happen to others. No offense here to those who are, but I am not one of those people who is allergic to many things. When I am affected for weeks by a product, it gets my attention. Like I also said in my prior post, my children used it without problems. I, however, would never put it on my body again.

Another anonymous comment accused me of not providing documentation from doctors (who could have written that I wonder) and I would like to say that the company in question did not request any documentation when I said that it was available or I would have provided it. The person I spoke with jokingly said he would like for me to fly to their location to see their people, but I would have done so for their benefit as well as mine. When I asked about a doctor in my subsequent contact, they could not refer me to anyone, nor would they know what type of specialist to refer me to.

At this point, I want all of you to learn two things from my experience:
1. Be careful what you use! There is a link in one of my prior blogs to a website that has listed several sunscreen products that have caused reactions such as mine. Take a look at it and keep it in mind when yo go shopping for sunscreen. A friend referred me to this list when she experienced BURNS from her sunscreen (completely different product).
2. When you have a good or bad experience from a product, let the company know so they can work out any problems there are. If you don't tell them, they don't know! I make a habit of recognizing good experiences. This one was just bad enough to demand my attention.

As for the anonymous comments, I don't publish anything you won't put your name on. If you don't want other readers to see your name, let me know and I will delete your name before publishing your comment.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Still Burning

Well, it's been three weeks since I used the sunscreen that changed my life. Maybe that's a little drastic. It has definitely changed my skin. There are several tiny sores where the rash once was and my skin itches like crazy. I feel like there are tiny bugs crawling all over my skin. Constantly. I can make the itching subside by taking antihistamines that make me sleep all day and night. What a choice!

I spoke to the Director of Quality, at the manufacturer of this particular sunscreen. According to him, no one has ever had a reaction to their products and they are truly sorry that this happened to me. It is not company policy to give refunds, so they are instead sending a care package to me which contains, get this, sunscreen!!! I have spent at least $100 in doctor visits, medications, and home remedies to alleviate this discomfort, am considering visiting an allergist or dermatologist for further treatment, but they will not reimburse my $8! His company can't even be troubled to refer me to an allergist or dermatologist because "We do not normally use such local Texas specialists in our research & product development projects." His suggestion is to go again to my primary care physician and get a referral to the appropriate physician (more money out of my pocket).

As a precaution for you, test any product you use before covering your body with it. Learn from my lesson! To give the product a fair representation, my children also used the product without problems. I only wonder if you want to take the chance of being one of the few like me who is not so fortunate.

Friday, May 16, 2008

She's Growing Up

Today was my oldest daughter's first official day volunteering at the local library. She "volunteered" on many occasions while I worked there, but really she was just staying busy while I worked. Today I dropped her off and she worked while I goofed off. I don't think she was entirely thrilled when I left but when I returned she was not ready to leave. She has a special assignment to decorate a box for children's books. She was so proud to show me what she has finished so far. I could see her puff her feathers when she got to tell me where to put things when we were cleaning up. It was one of those proud mom moments.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I Got Burned By My Sunscreen!

Last weekend, my husband and I went to Laughlin for Bike Week. Despite my olive complexion, I took sunscreen because I expected to be in the sun all weekend. I chose my kid's sunscreen, SPF 50, because I did not want to risk a sunburn and I am trying to take better care of my skin. Little did I know that I would have been better if I had left the sunscreen off entirely.

I applied the sunscreen (one of the new aerosol types) liberally to my arms, neck, chest and back before we left camp on Saturday morning. By the end of the evening Saturday, my skin was a little broken out, but I figured it was just from the wind or some other cause that was harmless. My neck is very sensitive and I just don't get alarmed too quickly about it any more. The next morning I woke up and it was a little worse, so I went easy on the sunscreen. By the time we got home, I was revisiting everything I had eaten or done because the discomfort level was rising.

My mind just kept going back to the sunscreen. I spoke to a friend who is a nurse and she recommended Benadryl to ease the pain but I would just have to endure it for a couple of days. I used topical and oral Benadryl as often as the packages allowed. After a couple of days, the Benadryl was doing nothing and the rash was now on my legs as well. By Friday I could not stand it and I went to the doctor. She was shocked when she saw me and, agreeing it was the sunscreen, prescribed an antihistamine, a steroid, and an anti-itch medication to help me get past this.

It is now Monday and I am still going nuts from the itching and ugly hives that will not subside. Yesterday I spoke to a friend and she not only had a reaction to her sunscreen, she had third-degree burns. She referred me to the article below that has lots of helpful information. We both have learned the hard way that more is not always better. Hopefully, as you lather up this summer, you can take a lesson from us and avoid getting burned by your sunscreen.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Itch, itch. Scratch, scratch.

We have a thing for rashes in my home. My oldest daughter had Scarlet fever fever in kindergarten and missed the field trip to the county fair. My middle daughter had roseola on her first birthday and slept through her party. As an adult, I have developed some quite inconvenient allergies.

During college, I developed an allergy to a prescription cold medication. The ingredient which caused my reaction is found in most daytime varieties of over-the-counter cold medications and I recently developed a rash on my hands and arms just from taking two pills out of the package for my husband.

Last weekend, I found a new allergy. I am now six days into a terrible reaction to sunscreen that I used while on vacation. Ironic that I, a sun-loving person who is normally irresponsible in my sun-protection use, would be allergic to sunscreen. I have sedated myself with Benadryl (worked the first night), covered my affected skin with ointment, soaked in oatmeal baths, and tried countless other remedies. One well-meaning person gave me a Benadryl stick to apply the first night. The thought of applying that to my outbreak, dot by dot, made me laugh, giving me a momentary distraction.

Excuse me now, I need to go avoid scratching my back.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

This year many of my family and friends are celebrating milestone birthdays - my daughter turns 5, my husband turned 30, a cousin turns 18, and I have friends turning 50 and 60. They all have or will celebrate with a party complete with friends, cake, ice cream, and lots of fun. I decided that I would do the same even though it is an "off" year for me as far as numbers go. I hosted a BBQ at my house for all of my friends and family and had the best day! From late afternoon until bedtime, friends came and went, bringing food and smiles to share. I was able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the company of some wonderful people without the normal distractions. This day was the best gift I could have given myself. I think I have started a new birthday tradition. I have to say thank you to my family who helped with everything and my friends who made the day so memorable.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Three Rings

I recently lost a ring that I purchased while on vacation with a friend during our senior year in high school. My finger did not feel or look right without my ring but I wanted to find just the right ring to replace it. Yesterday I found the ring. Three actually. I was at the store to purchase a couple of things, armed with some birthday money just in case I found something extra. While looking at earrings, this set of rings caught my eye. I added the set to my purchase. When I got to the car, I took the rings out of the package and placed them on my finger. It instantly struck me that there were three rings for my three girls.

One ring had a smooth, polished finish. The largest of the three, it reminded me of my oldest daughter. She has an amazing innocence and a simplistic view of life. Fashion, boys, makeup, and popularity are things her peers think of often, but she is a free spirit. She is more content to dig in the dirt, sleep in late, and spend time with her younger sisters.

Another ring is a slightly thinner band made of a braid. This is my middle daughter. Although she is tiny in stature, her personality is bold and a force to be reckoned with. She will not be left out nor forgotten. She is a complicated person, always keeping those around her on their toes.

The third ring is a tiny band with bumps around the circumference. The first thing people notice about my tiniest girl is her curly hair. It drives me nuts because it is never in place, just like my curly locks. Like her oldest sisters, she will leave an impression on anyone who crosses her path.

I think I found the perfect rings with which I can adorn my finger.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

No Apology Necessary

My 8-year-old daughter told her babysitter's teenage daughter that she didn't have to listen to her because she is not the boss. Well, actually she was the boss at the time because the babysitter left momentarily and left her daughter in charge. My daughter apologized when the babysitter returned. When I found out about it, I told my daughter that she needed to write a letter of apology to deliver tomorrow. She expressed her opinion that she has already apologized and is finished with the situation.

After some time sitting on her bed thinking, she now sees things my way and is writing her letter. Ugghhh...

I love my children, I love my children, I love my children. That statement was for my sanity.

I suppose God feels the same way about me on a regular basis. I do something I know I should not do and then do the least act I can to remedy the situation. I feel like it should slide, just this time, and He says no, not good enough, go back and fix it.

It's amazing what we can learn from our kids.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Choosing an Education

I have always wanted to work with kids, and by the end of high school I knewI would end up teaching. For many years I was against homeschooling and private schools. I felt that it is most beneficial to all of our children if we all supported public education. If we as parents poured ourselves into public education as we often do into homeschooling and private schools, then public schools would be so much better. I became enlightened when my own daughter was in first grade.

I have always known my chid is intelligent aand the school confirmed that when we received a letter inviting her to participate in GATE for the following school year. By that time, I had already begun the process to enroll her into CAVA, a charter homeschool program. It was not that I didn't pour myself into her education nor did I dislike her teacher. I was frustrated that my child spent all day at school, studying reading, writing, and math and came home with several pages of homework every day. I wanted to spend time with my daughter at night doing something other than homework. I did not understand why there was no time for social studies, science, art, or music.

I considered transferring her to another school in the district where I substitute taught on several occassions and liked what the teachers got into their classrooms. Around the same time, I spent some time with a friend who homeschools through CAVA. It is the best of both worlds. This public school allows parents to teach but provides all of the curriculum and materials needed, including language arts, math, history, science, art, and even music. There are many families that use this program and they meet regularly to meet the social needs of children. The children have time to do things other than school.

Without hesitation, I enrolled my daughter and she will successfully finish second grade with CAVA. When I say that is an individual choice, I don't just mean for each family, but each child. I would not consider homeschooling my four-year-old until she is at least in first grade. I know that she needs to be in a classroom, even if she has rough days dealing with the other kids. She needs to learn to be part of a group, follow directions, and other social skills that she would not get in a homeschool setting. And then there is always our baby who may do something entirely different from the others.

For more info on CAVA, click here.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Who, Me?

Growing up, and even now, I always felt like I didn't quite fit in. My friends were popular but I was not. My friends wore the right clothes, but I did not. My friends had it right, but I did not. It didn't really bother me, I wasn't interested in the "right" things. I had my own idea of what was "right." I didn't want to be the life of the party, I didn't want to spend all of my money on expensive clothes, and I loved my old car. I enjoyed being home early so I could sit and talk to my family before going to bed and I enjoyed being the "good girl."

Even while I dated one of the popular people, I stayed the same. While he was the life of the party and did his thing, I remained the same. Sure, he drug me into the spotlight when we both ran and were elected to district offices for our youth group, but I did not change who I was.

After several years, we married and moved away. We have been married ten years now and recently went back to our youth group for a reception honoring one of the adults from when we were involved. With our children in tow, we journeyed back many years and were shocked at what we found. Several people who were involved when we were came to us, excited to find out about us. Individually, they expressed their admiration for us and shared that they looked up, our values, and our accomplishments. That was shocking enough, but it was not the end of the surprises. Later in the evening, some of the current members came to us and asked if we were that couple they heard about that set the standard for appropriate behavior. With a smile, we acknowledged the reputation while inwardly questioning this legendary status.

I find it amazing that although society has gradually loosened its morals, high standards are still valued. Those kids looked up to me, of all people. Maybe they also looked up to the girls with the prettiest dresses, but they looked up to me for who I was, and am. Apparently, actions do speak louder than words and people do still have some traditional values. I am thankful I never changed who I was to please someone else or I would have missed this moment that will last much longer than that temporary popularity.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What a Way to Start the Day

While perusing the paper this morning, I read the most delicious news. Fosters Freeze in Barstow will celebrate it's 60th anniversary by selling hamburgers, sodas, and ice cream for 60 cents. For a person like me who would be completely content to live on ice cream alone, this has made my day! Don't miss out, it will only be from 11 am to 2 pm! I will definitely be there early.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Houston, We Have a Flat Tire

My husband and I had it all worked out. I dropped the kids off with a friend and was on the freeway, on my way to the dealership to drop my car off for warranty work. My husband was about twenty minutes behind me and was going to meet me at a restaurant where we could have some alone time before getting the kids. I pulled up close to a semi and began to hear a loud noise. After a brief moment, I realized this noise was coming from my car and it suddenly became difficult to drive. I maneuvered to the shoulder and got out to see that my front passenger tire had blown out. I got back into the car and pulled my phone out of my purse. Just then, it began to ring. Looking at my caller ID, I saw my husband's face. When I answered the phone, he asked what's happening. I explained my problem and he said he would be there soon. Shortly after, he arrived, changed my tire and sent me on my way. We continued our evening as if nothing out of the ordinary happened. After all, no one had to visit the emergency room.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My Broken Head

Our family hosted a yard sale on Saturday. We did well considering the wind and my husband and I considered the many ways we could spend the extra cash. Towards the end of the sale, our four-year-old was jumping on the sofa. I was busy with a last-minute customer and not really paying too much attention. This level of activity is normal for my girl. So is the stunt she pulled when she jumped off the couch and landed head first in the dirt next to the couch. I heard no screams so I continued with the customer. A moment later, the screams came from my older daughter when she saw the blood running down her sisters face. I yelled at my husband and he came to see the problem. He carried our daughter into the kitchen and pulled out the peroxide and cotton balls. Under all of that blood was a fair-sized cut, not too deep, under her bangs. Ironically, she and I decided last week that we would let her bangs grow out. While I looked on and held tightly to my child, my husband cleaned the cut as best as he could. An uncertainty about how clean the cut was and a concern for scarring, we decided a trip to the urgent care clinic was necessary. Upon arrival, my husband was told that because she landed on her head, they would need to go to the emergency room. Fast forward to the two of them sitting on a bed in the E.R. hallway talking to the nurse. The nurse asked my daughter what happened and my daughter replied, " I broke my head." Later my daughter asked her daddy if there were pieces of her head laying all over the place.

Thankfully, she got through her ordeal (third hospital visit for a head injury for the record) and is healing happily. She got ice cream on the way home and shared with the teddy bear the hospital volunteer gave her. She proudly wears her hospital bracelet and is excited about picture day tomorrow with her forehead glued shut and bandage protecting the wound. I, on the other hand, am mourning the fact that I will be sending my "extra money" from the yard sale to pay the hospital.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Refreshment in Amboy

Our family went to beautiful Amboy for a few days of relaxation and refreshment. Anyone who knows Amboy is probably thinking I am crazy, but it was a wonderful weekend. Driving through Amboy, you see the remnants of a small but liveable town. There once was a restaurant, hotel, gas station, school, and other unrecognizeable buildings. Now, only a few residents remain but no businesses. My husband works just outside of Amboy and stays in a travel trailer on a coworker's property during the workweek, along with several other coworkers. The girls and I joined him for a quiet time in the desert. While he worked, the kids enjoyed digging in the dirt while I caught up on my reading. Wen he got back to camp on Friday, we ventured down a long dirt road to see a ghost town (remnants of houses and a mine) and sand dunes. When we arrived at the point where vehicles must stop at the sand dunes, we got out of the car and found nature at its finest. The ground was peppered with white flowers that looked like poppies. At closer glance, giant caterpillars, 3 inches long, were munching on the flowers. The kids were enthralled with the sight. On the way back we found a lemon grove where we picked enough lemons to make lemonade when we got back to the trailer. The following day we slept in, leisurely packed up, and headed home, stopping at Dairy Queen for ice cream on the way. We ended the "vacation" with pizza and movies at home. I doubt we spent more than $100 (gas being half of that cost) but we all had a great time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

So Cal Spring Break Cabin Fever?!?!

In beautiful, sunny Southern California, I would never think of having cabin fever over spring break. But that is exactly the situation in which I have found myself. I planned every day of spring break so that my kids would not have a chance to complain of boredom and my child who needs constant activity would not have a chance to find trouble. Saturday we went to Calico, Sunday we celebrated Easter, Monday was a visit to the library, and yesterday a visit to Grandma and Papa's house. Today would have been a trip to Coldstone for ice cream and then the park, tomorrow we leave for vacation returning Saturday, and Sunday is church.

Instead we are stuck indoors because the wind is too bothersome to allow for an enjoyable day outdoors. This would be good since we have so much to do to get ready to leave tomorrow, but the kids are going crazy and in turn driving me crazy! My solution? Pull out a new something I have stashed away so they can have some new fun and I can get some work done. I have lots of goodies hidden in my closet for just such an occasion. Sometimes it is a trip to the doctor, sometimes a sad day, sometimes an accomplishment, and sometimes just because, but a smile is guaranteed when I reach into the depths of my closet. I have DVDs, stickers, books, and other things that I pick up occasionally when they catch my eye and then into the closet they go.

Now, to get my work done...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rise and Shine!

Good morning! It is spring break for my kids and that means vacation time! Our budget and my husband's work schedule do not allow for a "real" vacation at the present time, so we improvised. My husband works in the middle of nowhere, almost two hours from home and far removed from civilization, so he and his coworkers stay near their job site in travel trailers during their work week. The kids and I will be joining them for a couple of days this week and the kids are thrilled! In addition to the usual sunscreen and reading material, we packed sand toys and a small blow-up swimming pool. The guys have a BBQ pit, so we will take the makings for S'mores and hamburgers. The remains of a volcano are nearby so we will take a hike and I'm sure my kids will find treasures along the way. If we have time, we will also visit a real ghost town (no souvenir shops here). Voila! Instant, inexpensive vacation!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter at Calico

Our family visited Calico on Saturday for their Easter activities. When we arrived, we were able to to park fairly close to the steps, thus avoiding waiting for the shuttle to ride to the entrance. Activities scheduled throughout the day included an egg hunt, coloring contest, best Easter dress contest, live music, pin the tail on the bunny, and photos with the Easter bunny. Near the entrance, two boys handed out bags with goodies inside to the children. We ran into the Easter bunny several times throughout the day and my kids were eager to meet and take pictures with this welcoming friend. We also visited the photo shop where Mariah took a studio photo on the kids dressed in their best. The Easter egg hunt was fun for all of the kids, except our family had to split up. There were two simultaneous hunts, one for kids three and under and the other for kids over three. The older kids were limited to taking ten eggs each to allow everyone a chance to get some. Most of the eggs were filled with candy but some had tickets inside of them to visit the pottery shop for a gift. The gift was a medallion that the child could paint. For those who did not get a ticket, they could purchase a medallion for a small fee. Children could also visit the saddle shop to creat a leather keepsake for a small fee. My kids made bookmarks and bracelets. While there, we watched a gun fight, something Calico has been without in recent weeks. We also had a snack at the refreshment stand at the entrance. When our day was done, we took up the offer of a shuttle ride back to our car. The only thing we missed by visiting on Saturday was the sunrise service on Easter, which we heard from friends was wonderful. That will have to be included in our plans next year.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

I pray that your family feels the love and presence of God on this special day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Hog Heaven Update

Next month I will be hosting a surprise 30th bithday party for my husband. He thinks we are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary, but of course, we aren't. Things are starting to come together and I am so excited. I'm glad I don't have to keep it all secret because I love sharing all of the great ideas I am coming across. We have lots of Route 66 stuff to decorate with and I am working on the music list currently. Friends are collecting stuffed pigs to strategically place around the room and one of them is wearing a leather jacket and sings born to be wild. Oh, I can't wait.... If you have any suggestions, please share them! It is impossible to go over the top!

Catching Up

I didn't realize it had been so long since my last post. Things have been crazy busy here. Not just busy, but crazy busy. I began homeschooling our oldest child, left my job, and attacked my massive to-do list. My husband was assigned to a new work location slightly farther away from home and his entire schedule changed, thus changing our family schedule. Our middle daughter was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder after I began an aggressive campaign on her behalf with doctors and school staff that she needed help with some issues they were overlooking. Fortunately our youngest goes with the flow, at least for now. And then there are the holidays, Thanksgiving at our house, two Christmas celebrations with each side of the family, and on and on. Don' t take this for complaining. I love it all, except for the heartaches with my little girl, except even these difficulties mean that we are now getting help and we are getting our ducks in a row for when she starts kindergarten next year so it will be a smoother transition.

I am glad to be back and look forward to being able to get back to writing. If you have a moment, check out another of my time fillers at and let me know what you think! Happy New Year!