Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Still in Shock....

Please tell me I was dreaming when Cheetah Girl , Sabrina was voted off of Dancing with the Stars.

I lost all respect for this show. Apparently talent doesn't count for anything.....

I don't even care who wins, seriously. I think maybe the producers just did this for shock value because I just can't believe after being the first couple with a perfect score they got voted off so early.

I want a re-count!

The Jury Has Reached a Verdict

I had read a review of this Tide Pen not working very well on anything but fresh coffee stains. I would like to come to the defense of the Tide Pen. I used it on a week-old chocolate pudding stain on the fabric of one of my counter stools and it got the stain out. It also worked on a day old ketchup stain on a white shirt.

Due to the large amount of both ketchup and chocolate that my family consumes, that alone is worth stocking up on the 5-packs at my local Giant.

I now need a product that gets pen off my eggshell-colored microfiber couch. I know. You're wondering why with 3 kids and a dog I even bought a light colored couch when dark brown would have been a much more practical choice. I wanted to look like a sophisticated grown-up, okay? I wanted to pretend my off-white couch would stay that color because no one that lives here would ever do somersaults, eat, drink, shed, slobber or color on it.

I'm allowed an occasional delusional moment, aren't I? Humor me, please!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

This Old House

A parade brought us back to our old neighborhood last night and for a moment the nostalgia left me speechless. We reconnected with our former neighbors and I answered their questions about our new house, all the while screaming inside my head, "I WANT TO HAVE SIDEWALKS AND A 2-STORY HOUSE WITH AN ATTACHED GARAGE AND FRONT PORCH WITH ROCKING CHAIRS ON IT AGAIN!". We parked in a friend's driveway across the street from our old house and I obnoxiously tried to look in the windows and stop feeling like someone was in OUR house who didn't belong there.

Bizarre, aren't I?

One memory in particular stuck out since it was a chilly night. Last year, the cast of Pollyanna had come over and we went Christmas caroling. We had so much fun and the neighbors were really moved by it, one man ran after us to thank us and say that it had made their night!

Yeah. That makes me sad. But, I need to take my own advice that I tell the girls when they miss our old house. It is alright to have good memories of living there, but God has more memories for us to make in our new house and neighborhood. I am reminded that He has a plan for us here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm an ENFP!

Click to view my Personality Profile page

After checking this out on Classic Mama's and Like I Was Saying's blogs, I wondered if my personality changed, too?

Nope. Maybe just a bit toned down versus a few years back when I would have probably scored a 95% extroverted. I do like an occasional quiet night at home and I enjoy structure now. But, social events with gobs of people exhilarate me and don't drain me. Boring, routine, mundane tasks drain me! I need to read a few more of the details to fully understand all this, but that will be for later tonight when everyone goes to bed! Sometimes, I wish I could tone myself down a few notches because my loud, talkative personality grates on even my own nerves at times. I'm working on it! Being the "new mom" on the block has helped me listen more and talk less, so there is some progress being made!

Strangely enough, when they compare me to other (famous) people there were only a couple ladies and all the rest were men on my list! Dr. Suess, James Dobson and Bill Cosby just to name a few.

Hersheypark in the Dark - oH mY wORD Style

This is what we were doing while #2 and #3 were going on kiddie rides....there are actually about 15 pictures, but I didn't want to bore you with all of them.

I'm not sure what was wrong with #2, she acted like she was going to hurl, but I think my dramatic flair was contagious!

#1 was yelling at me to stop embarassing her because I started screaming like a little girl as the Trailblazer pulled away from the station.

This was right after The Husband knocked himself upside his head with the camera and almost dropped it....I was motioning for him to PUT THE CAMERA AWAY!

I haven't been on the Tilt-A-Hurl since I was about 12 years old. It was actually fun despite the look on my face here.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Looking for Ideas

Last year our family began a new tradition of "celebrating" Advent after a guest speaker at MIA got me all excited about doing this. Our theme in our home last year was The Names of Jesus. It was wonderful to have the girls take turns most mornings of choosing a card like "Bright and Morning Star" and then read the scripture verse, pray and then make a craft that immediately got hung up on our kitchen cabinets. I purposely ignored the nagging voice inside my head that told me the kitchen was looking way too cluttered because each day the girls could just look around and be reminded that our Jesus is the "Wonderful Counselor" and so on.....

We tried to do this for the full 21 days of Advent, but in reality we got about 16 days complete and that was good. Soooooo, now I am already thinking of what I can do this year and I can only come up with:

The Miracles of Jesus (I'm leaning towards this one since the girls have each begun their own prayer journals that we write in and pray for most nights)

Christmas Carols (study a different Christmas carol and the history behind it, as well as the meaning)
My challenge, as you may have guessed is keeping it engaging enough for an 11 year-old, but simple enough for an almost 6-year old. Has anyone got any other suggestions?

And, if you've never done anything like this before I highly recommend it! These activities reminded us of the real meaning of Christmas and our home was strangely peaceful during the holidays. Yes, it was our first year in a long time we didn't own a business that had us running around like chickens with our heads cut off, but I think this is what made the real difference. Jesus became more real to my kids (and, me!) last year and not just a cute baby in a manger. I'm anxious to see what He has in store for us all this Advent season!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I'm Doing the Happiest of Happy Dances!

It works!! It's sneaky, but it works!!!

I was inspired when I checked this out over on Like I Was Saying's blog. I then went and visited the Sneaky Chef website. I must admit, I was skeptical. I've tried to "sneak" healthy veggies into the kid's food before, but they always caught me!

This time I got cauliflower /zucchini puree past them mixed in a batch of mac-n-cheese and THEY CLEANED THEIR PLATES! I let #1 in on the secret and she told me it was completely undetectable.

I could go into great detail about being a mom that tries to push the healthy stuff, but that there is one particular child of mine whose weight and healthy food intake keep me awake at night. But, I think we are making progress.

Score one for the mom, score a healthy meal for the kid.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Two More Friends to Add to My Cast of Characters

Yesterday, as I was leaving school after dropping off some things I ran into the elementary school principle and another mom, who I had met briefly through a neighbor mom, who actually lives a few blocks away. The principle asked if we knew each other and we both nodded our heads. Then the principle asked if we REALLY knew each other. Now, I'm nodding my head and smiling awkwardly, while the other mom looked confused. Then the principle said to the other mom, "I gave Melissa the contact information for Moms In Touch". Then the light bulb went on and I realized she was connecting us because we both love the Lord!

Well, now we really do KNOW each other! We spoke in the parking lot for awhile and then her and her family stopped by when they were trick-or-treating last night and we met them all. They stayed for over an hour! Their 2 young boys and our girls played together great the whole time they were there. The Husband really hit it off with Her Husband. I can tell I'm going to enjoy getting to know this lady. We talked about so many things and ended the night with a hug and a promise to see each other at Moms In Touch next week.

The mom who had originally introduced me to this lady (who, for lack of a better name I will call My New Friend) also lives in the neighborhood and her youngest daughter is #3's "best friend", O. My New Friend said she has been friends with O's Mom for years and she is close to giving her life to the Lord. Isn't that funny how God moved us in up the street and we are developing a friendship between us? She is such a nice lady and every time we talk, it's as if we've known each other for years...I'm really enjoying getting to know her and feel as if we are moving past the small talk. Now, I can be praying for her and her family to surrender their hearts to Jesus!

So, those are my 2 new friends and how God brought us together. I am really starting to understand why the powers of darkness tried their best to keep us from buying this house! I am blessed to be here, we all are, actually! The school, the neighbors, it all feels like this is where we belong! It's like God keeps letting me in on all these little surprises He was storing up for us! Have you ever showered your kids with gifts and they keep looking at you wide-eyed and are like "there's MORE?"? That's how I feel right now and I think God is delighting in revealing it to us!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hell Hath No Fury Like That of a (Stage) Mother Scorned

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am chairing the Talent Show at our elementary school and I have been so excited! Our theme is "We're All in This Together" from High School Musical and I are going to emphasize this catch phrase while we rehearse by teaching about teamwork and our place in our community. Everyone is going to be asked to bring a non-perishable item to the show to support our local food bank. I've been praying for an atmosphere of unity.

Well, I better pray harder.

Yesterday, I sent the flyers out explaining auditions and how the show was going to be set up. Because of time limitations (the PTO begged me to keep it to an hour) the kids are going to get to chose what talent they do, but then we are going to help them make up the routine and we will chose their song and group them accordingly (thus eliminating the potential to have 3 girlfriends dressing up raunchy and gyrating to a Brittany Spears song).

Oooooooooh....some parents have not really embraced this change and I shudder to think of what my inbox is going to look like today after I received this email from a concerned parent last night:

Could you please explain more about your plans for the talent show? Specifically I'm interested in how the dance routine(s) will be handled. Will there be multiple dance routines? Is there a limit to the number of students on stage at one time? If there multiple dances, will the participants be grouped by skill levels? Who will be choreographing the routine? etc.etc.
My daughter was very excited about entering the talent show. She and 3 of her friends had already picked a song (from HSM2), had some dance and costume ideas, and had someone to write a routine for them. Now she doesn't even want to be in the show. I told her before she quits, I'd send you an email to get more information.

I believe I responded to her questions as best as I could and I explained the reasons why we have made some changes and I assured her the kids would have input in whatever routine they were going to do. What I really wanted to write back to her was:

Good! I hope she doesn't try out because I don't want any bratty girls with bad attitudes in THIS show.

But, I didn't write that! It was a little discouraging, though as I realized that perhaps there was a very good reason no one else stepped up to direct the Talent Show. Maybe they were the smart ones who recognized the potential of moms getting ugly and competitive. Notice I say "Moms" because the dads will pretty much do whatever you ask them to do and be reasonable about it!

So, if you could pray for me when you think of it. I was already feeling slightly overwhelmed by the thousands of details that must be worked out and I do not want to be distracted by feeling as if I am not qualified to do this. I take some consolation in knowing I have the support of the principle, music teacher and PTO presidents, but I also can't help but think about how in the Bible the same people who wanted Jesus to be king, turned on Him and crucified Him a few weeks later. People can be like that, you know? Okay, now maybe that was a little over dramatic!

I want this to be an experience the kids never a GOOD way! I have no hidden agenda and I believe I heard from God to take this on. But, I'll be honest...I'm scared.

update: this was her reply to my email.....Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. (my daughter) spent 7 years in dance and finally quit because she hated the weekly practices in large groups with no chance of standing out on her own. This just "smells" so much like what those things she hated about dance. She was so excited about the talent show because she was looking forward to doing what she wanted...with whom she the song she wanted...etc. I've suggested she go ahead and audition and then if she doesn't like the "assignment" she could just back out...but so far she's still saying no.

What a great way to teach commitment! If you don't like your part- just quit! This attitude reminds me of this. Oh, God....please keep my skin thick and my heart soft!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Trip to the Principle's Office

Technically, I shouldn't be blogging because I didn't exercise today nor do I pan to later due to a very, very, very busy rainy day that includes helping at a middle school BINGO party, an orthodontist appointment and then a PTO meeting....but, I just feel like there is a choir of angels singing the Hallelujah chorus over me right now. Why, you ask?

Because I had a meeting with the elementary school principle this morning about the Talent Show I am heading up and I stayed an extra hour to talk about MY SWEET JESUS! with! the! school! principle!

Did I mention we go to public school?

I know this may not seem like a big deal, but I'm going to reiterate that I had decided, for at least the next year, our family was going to take a stand for what is pure and make a difference in the public schools. I imagined that to be a very sacrificial and difficult task to take on. I was so wrong! It has been very peaceful most days. Possibly because our elementary school principle PRAYS for our kids! She's a choir singing, Jesus loving sister in the Lord. And, we had a heart to heart chat this morning about how to build relationships and help change people's lives through prayer and the love of Christ.

Now, that's how I like to start my day!

And, now the guilt is getting to me that I blogged without exercising! I may have to go hop on the stepper at some point today.....

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I Want to Have My Cake and Eat It, Too

As God is so faithful to deal with my soul and flesh I have decided one of my problems that I seem to struggle finding balance with is being a supportive wife/mom, but still being me and maintaining my status as an individual. Too much of one or the other has never been much of a good thing for me. I want the best of both worlds, yet, it seems unattainable most days. It is this "philosophy" that seemed to cause the spiritual desert I've found myself struggling with this year. How can I do it? It seems so hard and I think I may have given up on the Melissa part.

Through God's gentle whispers I have come to the realization that I have reached a plateau in my spiritual life and set up camp there. I've climbed this far and I want to rest. And, that's okay. For a season. Not permanently. God told me (as I was face down sobbing into the carpet last night at a retreat) to put the harness back on because I need to start climbing again. He will be my strength, I just have to watch my footing. And, if I do fall my harness is protecting me...I just have to find the right footing again and keep heading up the mountain. And, I believe it will be glorious at the top of that mountain!

I've felt jealous, left out, guilty, and all sorts of disqualifiers that have put me on dangerous footing with my spiritual walk lately. I'm not sure what started it other than feeling like so much change has happened in the last few months that I've lost myself along the way. I don't know what depression or a breakdown feels like, but I have the feeling it's been knocking on my door and I've come close to entertaining it. There is good news....this dry desert I've been traveling only makes me want to surrender more and more of my life to Jesus. In this place of isolation, I am seeking. He is speaking. As I escaped from the "noise" of running a busy household for 5 minutes to sit in the quiet of dusk tonight, I sensed God telling me I'm like a rechargeable battery that has gone too long without a charge. He plugged me in this weekend and I'm starting to feel the power come back. Not my power, His power. The beautiful thing about it is that He is doing it to see His kingdom come, His Will be done. Of course, I'm receiving the blessing, but it cannot stop there. When He pours that kind of love and power into us, He expects it to flow out of us. That is life changing and anything but ordinary.

So, as I ponder each day if I've struck the balance of being wife/mom/Melissa I have to remember that He is in control, I just have to be courageous and content with the journey He has mapped out for me right now. And, faithful. It's important to do the right thing even when I don't "feel" like it.

One day at a time. I want to be more like Him.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I'm Getting Old But at Least I Have a Lovely Bedroom

Life seems to be moving at the speed of light. How did I become the mother of a 6th grade middle schooler, 2nd grader and kindergartner? How?!! My kids were just toddling around last week, right? These thoughts hit me as I helped #3 put on her shoes as I thought to myself, there is only one more child of mine left that can't tie her shoes. Yet. The day is coming. Only one of my kids rides her bike with training wheels and that too will be coming to an end. Perhaps, I'm more nostalgic now of these "lasts" because when I had my "last" kid in diapers I couldn't wait to be done with that! And, at the time of #3's baby "lasts" I had another preschooler and 2nd grader to distract me, who were still so needy themselves.

I really don't feel old. Most of the time. My gray hair now comes in patches instead of the occasional stray, but I still don't think of myself as a seasoned parent. Many days I'm nearly as frazzled as if I was nursing a baby talking on the phone while cooking dinner. Nowadays, most of my frazzled moments are in the car driving to soccer practice while studying #1's vocabulary words, talking on my phone to The Husband, eating a bagel. Which, if you have not gone to Panera and tried their breast cancer bagel with cherries in it STOP what you are doing and drive there NOW to get one. I have a Baker's Dozen in my freezer and they only sell them the month of October. No cream cheese necessary, it shouldn't be called a should be called dessert. I think it is officially named the Pink Ribbon bagel and did I mention that it is insanely delicious?

On a totally and different random note (because this is how I think), the rest of my new bedroom furniture arrived yesterday. Can I tell you how absolutely divine my bedroom looks?! I've had the same antique, roughed up bedroom furniture since I was 15 years old. This has been a treat. It is modern and delightful and with my Woodwick Candles burning on top of my chest last night it was extremely romantic. And, of course you know I'm talking about my new CHEST OF DRAWERS, not my actual chest, right? oooh....that would hurt.

I think I'll leave you on that note. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Happy Fall!

Try to ignore the "Zazzle" written across their faces and look at how ADORABLE these girls of mine are. I could just squeeze and hug and kiss them all day!!

By the way, in case anyone is wondering why they don't seem to be very coordinated with their clothes, I have soooooo many portraits of them in white shirts and jeans, matching dresses, etc....I told them as long as they had brown on they could pick what they wanted! We didn't actually order the top one because #1's face is covered with leaves, but I couldn't resist the bottom picture which is already framed and on my end table!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Random and More Random

I, being the kook that I am, had to run around the playground with the kids after dinner tonight. So I could blog.

This is probably going to be filled with the some of the many random thoughts that have crossed my mind recently so consider yourselves warned.

First and foremost.....Dancing with the Stars!!! Oh my word.....Sabrina and whoever the guy is (Eric?) got a PERFECT score last night. And, although I personally preferred last week's hand jive, I found myself holding my breath almost the entire time they danced because it was so intense. And, kudos to their rendition of You Spin Me Right Round Baby Right Round Like a Record Baby, Right Round Round Round, by Dead or Alive. And, speaking of the 80's, The Husband and kids are watching American Gladiators as I am typing this. The winning prize is only $2500!! Ha!

I had an idea for my next business. It is called the Restaurant Doctor. I would like to go in and fix all the problems with restaurants that are pathetic, but have potential. Not that I am completely qualified since you know, I closed my own restaurant a year or so ago because it was failing. Not miserably, and at least I have a good track record with the Subways we had. So, that should even things out a bit on my resume. But, anyway, there are so many restaurants out there that just need a tweak or 10 and I can do that. They don't even have to pay me money, I can be compensated in food. It's genius, pure genius, I tell you!

My other random thoughts are way too complex to get into now, but involve the mean middle school lunch ladies that make kids dump out their food if they go over the limit on their debit card. Or, the strange dream I had again last night about being in a play that I never rehearsed for (Little Abner, which I've never even seen). Or, the slow, but steady climb out of the mysterious funk I've found myself in for the last few months. Way too much to blog about in one sitting.

Monday, October 15, 2007

My Prayer for Today

Lord, I ask for your mind today. To put aside all thoughts and temptations that try to ensnare me and hold me back from being exactly who you have called me to be. Lord, I am forever grateful for your friendship and soft whispers that calm my fretting soul on a daily basis. Help me to always hear your whispers even when the storm comes and the winds blow. Thank you for equipping me with everything I need to CHEERFULLY serve my family and others today. You are so good and faithful and I ask to be more like You today. Your perfect love and triumphant victory over sin is the strength that will carry me through today so I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE, without striving to do things my way. I am safe. I am safe. Thank you.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'm Posting So You Know What That Means!

During soccer practice last night I walked for 35 minutes minus the time it took to push #3 on the swings a few times and a quick trip to the port-a-potty. So, since I exercised last night and already worked out with my good friend, Denise Austin this morning I am allowing myself the reward of blogging! Yay me! By the way, have you ever noticed that Denise and I have the same hair cut....she wears hers straighter than mine and it is obviously blonder, but there are definite similarities there (besides just our rock hard abs!! hahahaha!). Our workout today was at some tropical resort, which of course reminded me of the cruise we took November of 2005.'s enough to make me want to get a job stocking shelves at Wal-mart on the midnight shift to save money to go back. Well, not really, but it would be nice.

While I walked around the soccer fields last night I thought back to when soccer had started and we were in the pre-moving stage. I feel as if that was about 40 years ago. I'm not sure there is much of the same Melissa left anymore. I'm not sure if that makes me happy or sad. I've taken on this sort of numbness that isn't bad, but just seems so unlike me. Maybe I'm growing up and maturing! I told a friend on the phone last night that I feel as if I'm in a constant state of PMS. Now is supposed to be my "happy" week and I'm feeling that familiar battle against being frustrated. Sure, we have about 4 different fundraisers running simultaneously around here for various activities. And, yes, we lost 2 library books and I have to deal with that, and yes, I have to write a letter to appeal the claim that was rejected by our health insurance company for #2's pediatric urologist appointment in August, and sure, we have no health insurance until December. So what if The Husband rarely works less than a 14-hour work day and I had to miss my PTO meeting last night so I could take #1 to worship practice and #2 to soccer practice.....blah, blah, blah....I AM A BLESSED WOMAN!! I mean it! I feel like I shout this to myself 27 times a day and I do believe it, I just have to be reminded.

I am going to do what God tells me to do by only thinking about things that are excellent, noble, pure and praise worthy. Like the fact that #2 is enjoying soccer again. And, the fact that The Husband has a job we can actually live off of. And, that #1 made the yearbook team. And, that #2's teacher asked me to plan the fall party so there are no Halloween activities. And, #3 is already learning to read and write in her first few months of kindergarten. It's all good!

It's all how I look at it.

Now I Mean Business

I have not lost a single pound since my lament regarding my "Muffin Top". Why you ask? Because I still haven't been exercising and I've been stuffing myself with large quantities of food, some healthy, most not.

So, here's the deal. I will not blog in any form (reading or writing) until I have completed 30 minutes of exercise that day (shudder). Extreme, I know. Don't try this at home.

Now you'll know what's going on if you don't hear from me for a couple of weeks.....ummmm, I mean days.

It is sort of like a grown-up reward without the chart to put the stickers on. Maybe I'll have to do that soon, too. Anything to make my jeans stop cutting off my circulation!!!!!


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Oh My Word, For Once I Have An Opinion!

I never follow American Idol or Dancing With the Stars or any other reality show with the exception of The Apprentice back in the day when it was new and actually interesting to watch.

But, hot diggity dog....I'm cheering for our favorite Cheetah Girl, Sabrina, in the current Dancing with the Stars episodes. She is fabulous and my only complaint is that I must T-Vo the show because most of the other costumes are too skimpy for the girls to see, even though the dancing is so much fun to watch! So, we can't exactly watch it LIVE (which is why I missed the whole Jennie Garth tripping thing, and I must say being a former 90210 fanatic in my B.C. days, I felt very bad for Kelly...I mean....Jennie).

I'm just so very excited that I can comment on something about today's pop culture besides High School Musical.

Have Your People Call My People

I have agreed to chair our elementary school talent show in February. The funny thing is that I have no idea what I am doing because I have never been to one at this school before! It is not a talent show in the traditional sort of way where each child gets up one or two at a time and performs what they have prepared. No, that would take a billion hours to get through and everyone complained that the last talent show was too long. Sooooooo, I have to come up with a way of grouping the dancers with the singers with the musicians with the gymnasts and maybe throw in a couple yo-yo tricks. In the same song.

I did suggest some new things, like a demonstration area for kids who have talent (we ALL do!) who don't want to perform on stage. They can display art work, craft projects, creative writing and photography projects. My other new idea that seemed well-received was that every student participating in the show is required to have a parent help with something like set up or tear down or helping back stage or at the refreshment table. With the overall intricate coordination of each act I do not want to be distracted by our lack of volunteers. And, who knows? Some of the parents may be surprised to find that they actually ENJOY helping with their kid's activities. This could be revolutionary....this could change the could........

Ok, I'm back now. The good news is that I don't feel pressured or stressed out about every little detail that needs to happen. I'm a planner. Planning invigorates me. Even when the kinks get thrown in, I like to figure out a way to fix it. Then, I like to get my hands dirty making it happen. My problem is delegation...I get too worried I'm going to bog others down and stress them out that I try to do too much myself (and throw in a little fear of the unknown since I don't always know for sure that person will follow through with their end of the deal). In the years of owning our businesses and leading within several different ministries I wish I had a better follow through of recognizing people's talents, delegating appropriate tasks to go with their talents and then releasing them to do it without worrying what could go wrong. I understand sometimes everyone needs to pitch in with the "dirty work", but I want to encourage people to grow where God has placed gifts in them, whether it is people at church, school, work and especially at HOME.

So, if there are any choreographers and musicians out there who have any advice to throw my way, I'm ready for it! I'm sure this will be the first of many posts regarding this adventure!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Getting in Touch with My Inner Rachael Ray

I've been spending quite a bit of time here. My family is happy about that. I have tried through out the years to prepare food from scratch with the occasional box of mac n cheese being used for emergency! In fact, one time I found a box of Tuna Helper at the back of the cabinet and I made it in a pinch. The kids were like "Mom, what is this? This is horrible, it's tastes like chemicals...are there trans fats in this?......" I took all of our plates and threw them away before anyone could try to take a second bite (which I don't think would have happened anyway!).

But, as good as homemade is, I was becoming bored with the food I was making, and I had noticed at the middle school magazine drive that I was helping with that a lot of people were ordering RR's magazine.

So, I've been printing her recipes and they have all been delicious. They are fairly easy and I've even done a few substitutions when necessary. I suggest you head over to her website and print off some for yourself!

And, please throw that Hamburger Helper away!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Just in Case You Wanted to Know.....

I've been blogging longer than I've had my slow cooker rice pudding recipe.

How do I know this, you ask?

Because when I pull it up in my bookmarks, the recipe is right underneath it, along with a Florida real estate link I checked out when we entertained the briefest possibility of moving to Tampa.

Now, you'll all sleep better tonight knowing all this.

Your welcome.

Our Four Day Weekend

There are things I miss about homeschooling; however, what I could never really appreciate was holiday and vacation breaks because we saw each other every day. Well, we have a 4-day weekend thanks to our friend, Christopher Columbus and I am really looking forward to some down time....okay, maybe "down time" isn't exactly what we'll we be having, let's call it "quality time". Today we are getting my van fixed, getting pictures taken with my FREE coupon, going to watch the movie, Game Plan, and somehow I've got to squeeze in a couple hours of work and a trip to the library ( to explain that we lost 2 books during our move and we've renewed them 3 times!). The weekend will be spend at #2's soccer tournament and we will wrap up on Monday with a one hour trip to my mom's house to see her 2 new puppies. No, not much down time, in fact there are some potential stress indicators in that schedule! But, I prayed this morning for God to shower down His peace and strength and that we can get everything accomplished and make it a fun memory!

I'd really like to see the girls all get along thing that's hard for them to do when they are not used to being together all day....I nearly strangled them various moments over Labor Day weekend! I fought constantly with my brother growing up but I wasn't being raised in a God-fearing home and he was a boy. I love him to pieces, but I wasn't always a very good big sister. I don't want my trio growing up feeling guilty about the years they spent bickering instead of enjoying each other's company! I must say, it gets worse as they get older....when they were younger they hardly ever fought with each other. On the other hand, I was always hovering to intervene at that age! Now, I leave them to pretty much fend for themselves until there is bloodshed or excessive meanness.

Enjoy your holiday weekend! Go make some memories. Good ones.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Blessings in Unexpected Places

Lately, I can't help but smile when I think about all that we've been through this year. I smile at the thought of how much I believe God wanted us to move here and be in this school district despite hell's attempt to throw every kink into the plan. I smile when I think of our next door neighbor, Sophie (not her real name, of course), who is 86 and confined to a wheelchair. You see, when we left our old neighborhood we left the "development" of kids and sidewalks. We thought that was a major sacrifice. But God, being so good and knowing the whole picture, had something better in store for us! Our neighbor, Sophie, is so sweet...she is like an institution in our little town, everyone knows her! My girls have really taken to her and #3 asks to go over to "Miss Sophie's" house because "it smells good" and she keeps all sorts of snowmen out on her coffee table for when the kids drop by. Their favorite is a goose with dress up clothes! She is the neighborhood seamstress and nothing leaves her house without being ironed! She did a great job on some drapes that we needed hemmed.

My point being, this new home we have has opened up doors that we never would have had opened to us in our old house. I have this feeling like we BELONG here. In addition to Sophie, I just met Edie a few doors down, another older gal who seems so unsure of herself and in my first conversation with her the other evening she started to cry when she was telling me about how much she misses her mother. I really think she just needed someone to listen to her and give her a hug. One day soon, I know God will open the doors to be able to freely pray for her because she will know we are safe and that we care about her.

We also, after a lonely summer, have found where all the kids are! Not many #1's age, but #3 has her pick of her kindergarten friends, with her new best friend living a block away! How cool is that? She was the one who mourned our move from the old house the most because she left behind her best buddy (it was a good thing, trust me.....he could be very manipulative). This new friendship and the others she is developing in school seem much healthier with more give and take.

As for #1 and #2, they are really doing well in school and we are building relationships with the parents, students and the teachers. #1 found out she made the yearbook staff and we rejoiced with her! #2 seems to be doing better with soccer after the major meltdown. Perhaps, the coaches started to realize there may have been a grain of truth to what I was saying, despite the delivery of it! Even when I went into school to have lunch with #2 the other day I was delighted with her group of friends that treat each other well and seem to have a lot of fun together. And, they liked me! I could barely keep track of all the overlapping conversations they were having with me simultaneously! It was fun and did I mention? felt like we BELONGED.

All in all, I am pleased. It is sort of like the dust is settling and I can start to see what life is going to be like for us. It is not perfect, but for the most part it is filled with joy and peace. It is also fun to watch the gifts God likes to send down our way when we aren't expecting them!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

My Last Game Coaching the Gray Elephants

This final game of the season ended my career of coaching soccer because next year #3 will be running with the "big dogs". That will require more detailed, experienced coaching then "kick the ball in the white team's goal" and "don't use your hands". I'll be happy to cheer from the side lines!

I was given a sweet gift certificate to Lady Foot Locker (funny, how my team doesn't really know me and actually thinks that I'm ATHLETIC....boy, I sure fooled them!). We had a pizza party and trophy presentation and now my schedule is a little less hectic.

By the way, you can imagine my delight at the beginning of the season when our team voted on the name The Gray Elephants....yes, that got quite a chuckle from the spectators when we would huddle up and shout "1, 2, 3, Gray Elephants!!". It really helped with my self-esteem issues, as if the Muffin Top comments weren't enough! Just kidding.....I'll always remember the Gray Elephants!

There is More Than One Way to Scramble an Egg!

Yesterday the girls were outside jumping on the trampoline after school. #3 came is and declared she was "hot" and took her shirt off. Her walking around the house half naked is nothing new, so I just went about my business as usual. Later on, GAS told me she had seen #3 go into the refrigerator and get an egg. She then put the egg in her armpit. GAS asked what in the world she was doing and #3 replied, "I'm hot"! GAS (laughing) suggested she put the egg back before it made a big mess.

I asked #3 if she's done this before and she said yes, because it helps to cool her off! I wonder where she sticks the bacon......

Monday, October 1, 2007

I'm Thinking Happy Thoughts

I'm doing slightly better today. In fact, my morning devotional (which I haven't been reading, no surprise there) was from Philippians regarding our thoughts and how we should only meditate on things that are lovely, pure, excellent and praise worthy. No mention of meditating on thoughts that are angry, guilty or judgmental (at least not in my Bible!). Whoops. My bad.

I also realized, and am a bit embarrassed to admit, that I am a raging (literally) hormone with a bad case of PMS right now. I'm wondering if my lack of comments on yesterday's post was because everyone was like "Oh My Word! She's totally freaking out.....who kidnapped the silly lady and replaced her with the ranting lunatic?". I think I left the Internet world speechless with my wrath. I'm sorry. For the record, I had apologized to Coach M before I even left the field and he assured me I was not out of line. It is just so out of character for me to go .....uhhhh....what's the best word for how I acted?........BERSERK....that I felt awful on top of feeling awful.

But, I've gathered my wits about me by allowing God's word to wash my mind with thoughts that are good and pleasing. It actually helped me to enjoy my last night coaching our Kiddie Kicker game. Our final game and party ended the season on a good note.

Now, that is something excellent and praise worthy to think about!