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!