Friday, August 31, 2012

He is 16 Going on 17

My younger son is 16, going on 17.  A very hard age to mother, I must say.  There are so many things a boy must learn as he grows up in order to be a man of integrity, honor and one who values a job well done.  Yet many of the things he must learn are dangerous, at least to me.  You see, he is my child and so it makes it hard to let him begin his journey to manhood.

He has begged to use the riding mower, and after countless hours of begging, I told him he could begin to learn from his father.  Of course, our mower is old and decrepit and so has to be coddled in order to use it.  For instance, every time my husband wants to mow, he has to drag out the compressor to blow up the tires.  See, our budget is tight, and tires are expensive.  So that meant that our son would also have to learn how to use the compressor without blowing the tire or himself to smithereens. 

So finally, after learning all the ins and outs of lawn mowing, he took his first spin.  I was happy to see that he didn't speed around--he took his time and was relatively cautious.  I was worried about my gardens and the above-ground pool, but he took a wide berth which was easily seen where the grass was not mowed!

Another manly thing I have let him begin doing is lighting our charcoal grill.  He now knows how to put the paper in the chimney thing and get that going.  He knows not to leave it unattended.  I do watch from the window though.  Next, he will be learning how to actually cook on the grill.

I have to confess it also took me a long time to let him cross our busy street to check the mail. 

We have also given him permission to look for a part-time job, and then, once he saves up for driving lessons, he will begin that adventure, one I am really dreading.

These are just some of the many transitional things we have allowed him to do this past summer.  This is hard for me, as I worry so much about my children.  But I am determined that he be trained so that he can feel prepared as he inches towards manhood. 

I pray that God will give me the wisdom to help my son be cautious and make good choices, especially when it comes to his safety, and that He will hear my fervent prayers for my son as he grows up.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Well, people, the verdict is in!  The sonogram showed...a healthy little girl!  So happy for my daughter and son-in-law.  Our family has a lot of experience with girls.  I have four sisters and I have three daughters, so this will be fun! 

There hasn't been a baby in our family for quite some time.  My youngest girl, now 13, was the last baby in our extended family.  So it should be interesting to see how all the teens (mostly boys) in our families react with a new baby.  They are in for some fun, that's for sure!  I am really looking forward to how they respond.

I am so thankful to God for the good report of the sonogram, as well as for all your prayers.  Thank you all!

I will keep you updated as the pregnancy progresses!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Boy or Girl?

My eldest daughter is pregnant with our first grandchild.  I am so excited!  Everything is going well, even with the scare of her having a gene for carrying cystic fibrosis.  But through God's grace, her husband does not also have that gene.  God is good!

She has struggled with the usual morning sickness but is starting to feel better.  Tomorrow, though, she is having a sonogram where she and her husband may be able to find out whether their baby is a boy or a girl.  At first she was excited to find out, but now she is worried about everthing else they might see, for example, the lungs and kidneys. 

So all of our excitement is tempered with her worries.  Please pray for her and her little one that everything will be fine.  I have been encouraging her to pray also and to trust in God.  So your prayers united with ours will be so appreciated!

I will be certain to update you tomorrow evening about the outcome.  God bless you all!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fifty, Not Frumpy

I think someone switched closets with me.  It looks like the same one I've had for years, yet somehow it doesn't belong to me.

It seems lately I put on outfits I've worn many times before and somehow, they don't look the same.  The skirt seems a tad short or the slit a little high.  The neckline is showing too much of my neck and decollete.  The waistline of the pants seems a wee bit snug.

I've decided that around 50 is the hardest time in a woman's life to find clothes that look good on her.  It is like walking a tightrope.  On one side, I don't want to look like I'm trying too hard to look younger, and on the other side, I don't want to look "geriatric" as we say in our family.

I'm noticing that I bypass the shorts and reach for capris instead.  The tanks all seem to show too much skin, and not because it looks too sexy, but because the skin doesn't look so great!  Those tops that fit close to the body, well, they seem to show every bulge and bump.  I gravitate more to the fabrics that "skim" the body.

And jeans, well, that's practically impossible!  Trying to find a waistband that falls where I want it is difficult at best.  They all seem to come either right under my tummy or through the middle of it.  Not a good look!  The ones that come right under the navel are my favorite, but good luck finding those, especially without them looking frumpy.

Dresses are also challenging.  I'm the type of person that looks best in tailored, dramatic clothing, yet most dresses favor the tiny print and lace lady with a hem around the ankles, kind of like "Little House on the Prairie".

And shoes!  I have a closet full of heels that I put on and take off after walking around in them for five minutes.  These are shoes I have worn for years!  Too painful--I reach for the more "sensible" shoes instead of the "sitting" shoes.

So every time I have to go somewhere that requires decent clothing, my bed becomes a pile of discarded outfits as I try on one thing after the other and look in the mirror.  The only one happy about this is our local thrift store who gets all my cast-offs.

I'm considering posting future blogs with outfits I wear to get my readers' opinions on them to help me decide whether they are frumpy or lovely and sophisticated (the look I am going for).

Please join me in my clothing journey.

I am also considering hairstyles in this project as I have grown my hair out after years of it being short and I'm thinking it makes me look like a teenage wannabe.

Let the games begin!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Change is Never Easy

Change.  It is never easy.

Especially change that is not chosen but is thrust upon us. 

Some change is exciting, like having my oldest daughter expecting my first grandchild in January. 

Some change is difficult, like having my oldest son and his wife move back to Louisiana after having lived with us for almost three years.   Or my sister going back to work after almost twenty years of spending time together on a daily basis.

Then there are the high school graduations in our extended family and what comes after that.

Our family is certainly in the midst of a time of transition.

It seems that things stay the same for a few years and then suddenly, change comes in bunches.

I'm not really good with change, although when I was younger, I loved it.  My husband and I moved at least ten times in our early years of marriage.  We had five children.  I loved trying new things out, like Mary Kay or college classes or a part-time job.

But now, I like ordinary.  I like boring.  I like things on an even keel.  I hate surprises.

But as I have grown older, I have learned to roll with the punches; to expect the unexpected; to go with the flow.

And life is much easier that way. 

I do admit to crying some tears over the changes that have been made and are occurring in our family.  Yet I find that I can handle them.  They are not keeping me down.  I just keep moving on down the road of life and focusing on my three children still living at home, and cherishing the time I have with them, as well as spending time with my parents.

I can't stop change.  Life is all about change.  But I can accept it as God's will and trust that He knows the plan and that He will help me through anything I need help with.  And that, my friends, is very comforting.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Where Has Patriotism Gone?

Our beautiful country celebrates its birthday today.  We are so blessed to live in such an amazing nation, "the land of the free, and the home of the brave".

But do we really appreciate the gift of freedom we have been given?  Do we think with pride of the United States of America? 

Not so much these days.  We take these gifts for granted.

I remember the days of "Desert Storm" back in the late '80s.  Patriotism was at a fever pitch.  Flags were everywhere:  on clothing, on lapels, on homes.  When the National Anthem was played, tears sprang into our eyes.  My children sang "God Bless the USA" every day at school after pledging allegiance to our beautiful flag.  We were so proud to be Americans.  We all felt as "one nation". 

But today, things have changed.  Instead of feeling like "one nation", we are all tearing apart at the seams.  Our pride in being Americans is overshadowed by selfishness.  It is all about "me" and not about "us".  We are not all working toward the common good.  We are working for our own good, ignoring what is happening next door or in our communities. 

So, on this day of Independence, let us call to mind the beauty and wonder of our great nation and the people within it.  Let us all come together and give thanks for the gift God has bestowed on us all.  Look at our "grand old flag" and remember what it took to have it wave on that pole.  Sing our National Anthem and really ponder what happened to bring it about.  And ask God to continue to bless our nation and guide our leaders to do what is best in these times of dissension. 

And "let freedom ring"!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bring on Summer~

Yay, summer!  Bring it on!

I have always loved summer.  I think it started when I went to school.  That last day of school was so amazing!  Imagine, two months to do anything I wanted or nothing at all!  No getting up at the crack of dawn or homework.  Just a lot of empty hours waiting to be filled with whatever I wanted!  Heaven!

I spent many of those hours reading, crafting, playing outside and reading. We played marathon games of Monopoly, played house outside, rode bikes in the yard and dug lots of holes.  And we could even go outside after dinner.  Wow!  My Mom didn't even drive then so we just stayed at home and amused ourselves, me and my four sisters.  It was such a relaxed, laid back time.

Today, I still love summer because I still yearn to throw all schedules to the wind, to go where the day leads me and do nothing if I want to without feeling guilty. 

I don't set my alarm since the sun wakes me early anyway.  I just take my time.  I brew a cup of coffee and sit out on the deck and enjoy the peace and quiet of hearing no school buses.  I watch my birds at the feeders and bird bath and just start my day in an unhurried way.  It seems to make the rest of the day feel less crazy, no matter what it brings.

I try to share this philosophy with my own children, even though they are homeschooled.  We think of fun things to do.  For instance, the girls are going to read all the Trixie Belden books in order.  Last year it was the Hardy Boys. 

The girls want to try and learn to sew.  They are all learning to swim in our above ground pool we bought two years ago with change we had saved in gallon jugs.  We eat outside at every opportunity.  We would like to go to a new spot for a big family picnic.  We are just going to savor this summer! 

Don't let this summer fly by!  Slow down!  Take a deep breath.  Look around at the beauty of summer and the relaxed smiles on your children's faces and your own.  Treat each summer day as a gift to be opened and try to think like a child again.  I promise you, you won't regret it!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tribute to Dad

Dad, I love you.

I don't say it very often, but I do love you dearly.  You mean the world to me and have been a very important part of my life.

I remember when we were little and you worked nights.  Some mornings we would wake up to find a little pile of pink Canadian mints piled on the kitchen table for us. 

Mom didn't have her license then, so Saturdays, Dad, you would take us grocery shopping.  We thought it was great; especially when we would stop at Kelly's Hamburger Stand for a hamburger, fry and milk.  What a treat!

And how about when Mom was in the hospital after having my sisters, we would wake up and you would be making scrambled eggs.  I loved your scrambled eggs!  We thought it was fun--kind of like roughing it without Mom!

You never complained when you had to bring me back and forth from my part-time job when I was a teen, and would wait patiently no matter how long you had to wait.

You took me out to find my first car--a big, huge bomber of a car.  It was like driving a bus, but it was safe!

You walked me down the aisle when I got married 31 years ago and danced with me at the reception.  It was a bittersweet moment and probably the only time I have ever danced with you!

Remember all the houses you looked at with us when we bought our first home?  I don't think you knew what you were getting into when you suggested we buy a fixer-upper, especially when Jerry (my husband) wasn't very handy.  He sure had a lot to learn, didn't he? 

But you were there for that first renovation, and the second and the third...up until what was hopefully the last one just 5 years ago. 

You have bailed us out financially so many times that I have lost count.  And you never asked for repayment.

You have been a wonderful father, husband and grandfather, and such a wonderful role model as a gentleman. 

Dad, I love you very much and am so grateful for what you have done for me and my family, and for what you continue to do. 

Thank you, Dad!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Top Ten Tips in Remodeling

A few years ago, during the real estate boom, we added a second floor to our home and then remodeled the first floor (which was in dire need).  After living with the results of the remodel for a couple of years, I will share what I have learned about our decisions while remodeling.

1.  Make sure you have a linen closet in your bathrooms, or at the very least, outside the bathroom.  We have none.

2.  Do not have a rolled edge on your counter. Every bit of liquid will go over the edge and end up in your drawers.

3.  Be sure to put a recessed light over your bathtub or shower. We have one in the master but not the other bath, and I regret it. With the light, it's like taking a shower in a hotel.  Love it!

4.  Do not use laminate flooring if you have animals.  They tell you it is water resistant, but a couple of puddles and the edges lift up.

5.  Put pull-out drawers in your bottom cabinets in the kitchen, otherwise you will spend a lot of time on your knees searching the back of the cabinet for items.

6.  Use corian for counters.  We have a granite island and corian counters around the sink.  I hardly ever do any chopping or put anything liquid on the granite.  I spoil it and treat it like a baby. The corian is so easy to keep clean and even though it is a light color, stains come right off with a little scrubbing.

7.  Try not to have light painted cabinets.  They look pretty and cottage-y, but boy, do they have a lot of splatters and drips.  They are hard to keep clean.  Wood-toned cabinets hide a lot more.

8.  Be careful where you put your light switches.  We thought we put ours in great places, but some of ours are really inconvenient.  For example, put the closet switch right near the handle side of the door, not the other side.  Same thing in the bathroom.  We have to go around the door to get to the switch.

9.  Make sure you have plenty of lighting in your walk-in closet.  We have one recessed light in ours, and I can't see anything in the bottom racks of the closet as the top racks shadow them.

10.  Be sure to have a nice range hood over your stove, rather than a microwave hood.  We originally had a hood, but now have the micro hood.  I really miss the hood as it removed so much more of the cooking odors and smoke, plus the bottom of the micro hood is too low and gets really greasy.

11.  (OK, it's supposed to be ten, but I can't forget this:  Be sure to have a clause in your contract that penalizes the contractor dollars per day for going past the time when the project was supposed to be finished.  It will light a fire under them, trust me!)

I hope these ten tips will help you in any remodeling you might be in the middle of or considering.

If you can add to my tips, please comment below.  Just think how many mistakes can be prevented if you share your experiences!

Friday, May 25, 2012

I Am So Blessed

Someone I love, after reading my blog for some time, mentioned to me that I needed to post something uplifting.  After all, she said, my blog is called "Mom So Blessed".  So I am honoring her wisdom with this post.

I AM blessed..

More than I probably even know.

God gave me two wonderful parents to love me and guide me into the woman I am today.  And they are still guiding me, thanks to God for their continued good health.

I also am blessed with the love and friendship of my four younger sisters and their children.  We enjoy each others' company so much that we do everything together, from shopping to going to church.

God has also blessed me with my wonderful, handsome husband of almost 31 years.  We are best friends and enjoy a warm, loving relationship that grows even better every year.  I still look forward to our "date night" on Fridays.  He has also been a wonderful provider for our family which enabled me to stay at home and homeschool our children.  And as a father, well, let's just say his children adore him!

Which brings me to where I feel the most blessed in my life. 

My five wonderful, healthy, happy children who range in age from 13 to 29 and of whom I am so proud!

No job has been harder than being mom to these children, but what love and grace has been my reward for that hard work.  And what amazing children, all so different, but strong in heart and love for each other. 

And I am so blessed to feel the love of God in my life.  So many times I have felt His hand in my life and seen so many prayers answered. My relationship with God is what holds me up through the glorious times as well as the heartbreaking ones.  He is the first thing I think of when my eyes open and the last thing before they close at night.

I pray that God knows how blessed I do feel in my life here on earth and that he will continue to guide me in my "right path" and that "goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Facing My Fears

I am an avoider.

I admit that I try to avoid all unpleasant things in life if I possibly can.

The things I avoid can range from insignificant to very important.  And I feel remorseful when I look back over the things I have avoided.

I avoid doctors and dentists.

I avoid people in pain.

I avoid wakes and funerals.

I avoid visiting people who are ill and not expected to live.

I avoid cantoring in church.

I avoid volunteering for things.

I avoid sad news stories.

Isn't that embarassing?  And why do I avoid all these things? 

I've been meditating on it and realize it is due to fear. 

I am afraid.  Afraid of pain:  physical, mental and spiritual.  I run away from things that force me to endure these things.  Yet by running, I am making them bigger and scarier.  They will not go away!

And I am missing out on the life God intended for me by avoiding the uncomfortable things that happen in this life.  No one here on earth will have a life free of pain, anguish or fear.  It will come at some point.

I need to pray to ask God to help me embrace all of life, the sad and the joyful, to face my fears;  and to put others' needs before mine--to be a servant.  Perhaps in that way I will overcome my fears and have courage in Him.

   I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Friday, May 18, 2012


I have decided why things in my life don't turn out as well as I expect.

I'm lazy.

I don't know how, but I am.  I never really ever sit down for most of the day, but somehow I'm still lazy. 

I've decided that I want results without the work.  For example, I dream of being super fit and looking amazing at 51.  Yet I have trouble squeezing in 15 or 20 minutes of exercise a few days a week.

And when it comes to food, I intend to eat healthier every day, but I give in to temptation quicker than the blink of an eye.  Or I make menu plans with lovely, carefully prepared meals, but end up just making my "go to" meal.

I want to have an organized home, but the task just seems overwhelming.  I start and get some areas neat, but others just become worse.

I look at other peoples' yards and gardens and wish mine looked as neat and well-manicured.

I want to learn to play more than chopsticks on the piano, but give up after a few tries.

I want to have successful shops on Etsy and to write my blog, but I am having trouble doing what needs to be done to accomplish those things.

All this has led me to believe that at the root of it all, I am lazy.  I want all these things that I just mentioned, but I am not willing to put the work in to achieve them.  It just seems easier to continue on the way I have been, and just envy others (a sin) for what they have.  I know that those achievers had to work hard to have the results I can see.  And I have the desire to do what it takes, but something happens from my mind to my hands.  I just can't seem to have the staying power.  Or in other words, discipline.  That's what makes me feel lazy.

So I have decided, that in order to achieve something that requires hard work, discipline and dedication that I will pare my dreams down a bit.  In the next day or so, I will be praying for guidance in what God would have me put my energies into and then go full throttle into working towards that.

I will be sure to share with you where I believe God is leading me in the next few days.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Quilting Sheep: An encouraging word...

This is so beautiful that I wanted to share it with all of you!

  A Quilting Sheep: An encouraging word...: Run to your Father's arms and nestle in His bosom! ( James Smith , "Comfort for Christians!") "Be still--and know that I am God!" Psalm...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tribute to Mom

I love my Mom.  She is my best friend.  That is why I want to pay tribute to Mom today in honor of Mother's Day.

There has never been a day in my life when I have not spoken to my Mom, and most days I also see her.  We do everything together from grocery shopping, to thrift store shopping, to going to the doctors!  We just enjoy each others' company.

I wish every child could have the childhood I had, and Mom was the center of it all.  She made my childhood one of freedom from worry so that I could just be a child.  I (and my four sisters) spent every nice day outside, from morning til dark, just playing.  All we had to play with was a swingset, a couple of bikes, a picnic table, some old pans and clothes, and that was about it.  We amused ourselves for hours with just these few items.  Mom would peek out at us from time to time, or come out on the porch if there was any yelling or arguing.  Such pleasant, happy days!

Mom was also the one we ran to when we had a "boo boo".  She would comfort us, dry our tears and bandage us up.  A hug from Mom would make everything better.  And when we were sick with the chicken pox, she made it more like a vacation than an illness!

As I grew older, Mom and I had many heart to heart talks about everything under the sun.  She always answered all my questions, difficult as they may have been.  She helped me look at all sides of an issue before making a decision, and loved me even when she thought I was making the wrong one.

I thought that as I grew older, I wouldn't need Mom as much.  Boy, was I wrong.  I seek her wisdom just as much and feel closer to her all the time.

Even now, when my Mom looks at my face, she knows that something is bothering me.  I'll cry and tell her about it, and even if it is silly, she will make me feel so much better.  I always feel calmer in Mom's presence.

So, for this Mother's Day, I just want Mom to know how much I cherish the time I spend with her, how much I appreciate the life she has given me, and how much I love her.

Mom, Happy Mother's Day, and I love you more than words can say!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Seeking Simplicity

I wanted to share with you an amazing book I have been reading lately called "Abundant Simplicity" by Jan Johnson.  It has certainly been eye-opening to me, and perhaps you might find the same.

It is as Jan says about "discovering the unhurried rhythms of grace".  Isn't that what we all crave deep down in our souls even as we run around "multitasking"?  

Since I have started reading this book, I can actually feel a little serenity seeping into my life.  Not that my life is any less chaotic than before, but I am beginning to look at it in a whole new light.

I am trying to discern what is necessary in my life.  And that includes things, thoughts and things I choose to do with each minute of the day.

One of the things I have added is studying my Magnificat devotional in bed, right before I close my eyes.  But in order to do this, I have given up watching the news at 11 while in bed which I was addicted to.  

But I feel so much more relaxed when I close my eyes at night, with God's word the last thing I think about before sleep.  

And then, when I open my eyes in the morning, I once again grab my Magnificat and my glasses and read the morning prayers as well as the Mass for the day.  What better way to prepare myself to tackle the day?  And the peace and quiet of that early morning prayer seems to let me hear God's voice a little more clearly.

Some of the things I have chosen to lose are the stack of magazines and newspapers sitting by my chair.  I've decided that when it feels like a chore to make myself read them, it is time to dump them or recycle them.  

And then there are my clothes.  From now on, when I put something on in the morning and it doesn't feel great on or look great, off it goes into the donation bag.  No more messing around with uncomfortable clothes or ones that just aren't me.  My closet looks much better for it and so do I!

Then there are the things I sign up for.  You know how it is.  Bible study, choir, a class, cantoring.  I've decided that I am going to spend as much time as possible with my family, rather than with others.  My children are growing up so quickly, and my parents getting older, which is causing me to value my time with them all the more.  With God's help, I'll have time later in life to devote myself to helping others besides my family or getting involved with things without the fear of taking away from family time.

I'm now trying to discern what I want to concentrate on here at home.  I am currently selling on Ebay as well as Etsy and trying to keep up with my blog.  Therefore, many of my hobbies have fallen to the wayside like sewing, quilting and reading.  This is the hard part for me right now.  I'm praying that God will direct me in the path he has chosen for me, and that I can hear Him loud and clear.  My goal is to use most of my energy left over from being a mom to do what God would have me do, so I am listening very closely, and trying to clear my mind of the chaos of life.

I will try to continue to keep you updated in my quest, and I really recommend that you pick up the book I mentioned at the beginning (Abundant Simplicity by Jan Johnson) to begin your journey like I have.  Best wishes and prayers to you all!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Slacker Mom...Continued

The other day, I posted on being a Slacker Mom, Slacker Teacher, but never really touched on the slacker mom aspect.  I feel the need to do this now.

I had been thinking about my Mom, especially with Mother's Day coming up and what a wonderful Mom she was, and still is.  She was an incredible example of what a mom should be and I certainly wouldn't be who I am today without her influence.

And so, when I compare myself to Mom, I feel like a slacker mom.  She was so good at training us, in a good way, to be organized, clean and kind.  Somehow, in raising my five children, I failed to do that.

For example, when we were little, as soon as we got up, we went into the bathroom to wash our face and brush our teeth.  Period.  Some of my children haven't washed their face in days, and some I have to mention their "dragon breath" before they brush!

Every Saturday was bed changing day years ago (and still is for my bed).  But at my house, I'm lucky to see my children's sheets once a month!  As for making beds, (which I do mine every day), I wonder if my children are feeling well if theirs are made.

We were also required when I was little to keep our rooms decently clean, including dusting.  My children's rooms have paths to their beds through all their stuff.  I have to avert my eyes during evening prayer so that I don't have anger in my heart during a prayerful time.  And I don't think my children know what dusting is!

Bedtime with Mom was set in stone, except for exceedingly rare occasions, like a good episode of "Wonderful World of Disney" on Sunday nights.  Usually it was 7 to 7:30 p.m.  At our house, bedtime can range from anywhere between 9:30 and when I go to bed (usually 10:30). 

Mom was a quiet, loving authoritarian.  We respected her wishes and wanted to please her, so we always (mostly) did what we were told.  Somehow that gene did not pass on to me, the slacker mom.  I could never be a CEO or a boss for that matter.  I somehow missed out on Mom's amazing ability to teach and to lead and instead wander through life with no clear household rules.  Being a follower is not a good attribute for mothers.  Moms need to be leaders, and instill basic habits in their children, all with a loving heart.  

I love my children dearly, but I feel I have done them a disservice in not teaching them and expecting some very basic things from them.  I tend to overlook a lot, as I like to keep the peace and don't like confrontation.  Perhaps I should study in my mind more closely how my Mom led our family with love and patience and maybe glean a few tips.  Perhaps it's not too late!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Hate Teeth...The Extraction

It is done.  The tooth is gone as of 2:00 p.m. yesterday.

I almost didn't go. I could barely eat lunch due to my nervousness. It took all my strength to get in my van and drive to the appointment.  But I did.

And once there, I went right in and my dentist numbed my mouth.  A few moments later, he began working the tooth out.  Or as he stated, the three pieces of my tooth.  

It made a lovely noise as he was working.  Kind of like nails on a chalkboard, which was actually the tools against my tooth.  And then, he had to push down on my jaw as he was working.  It felt like my jaw was coming apart at the joint.

My heart was pounding so rapidly, it was skipping beats and I could feel my whole body shaking.  A small tear or two slipped out the corners of my eyes and I prayed without ceasing that it would be over soon.  And then it was over.

The dentist patted me on the shoulder and said it should feel better now that I had rid myself of that broken tooth.  

I felt a little shell-shocked, and couldn't really respond due to the wad of gauze I had clenched between my teeth.  But I managed to walk out to the desk where they informed me that I had a co-pay I needed to take care of.  Couldn't they have had me pay BEFORE I went in?  Somehow I wrote the check and headed out to the van.

It was then that I regretted turning down offers from my family to drive me to the appointment.  It seemed like a hundred miles to my Mom's house where I had left the children.

By the time I got home, I just wanted to cuddle up in my chair and try to relax.  I couldn't really eat anything; but I managed to down a whole can of cream of chicken soup.  It was not very satisfying though and my tummy was growling all the way until bedtime.  

So here I am, blogging away, after a decent night's sleep, trying to get back on schedule and not keep thinking about yesterday.

I do know that in the future, I will try to avoid at all costs having a tooth pulled.  And lest you think I have a low pain tolerance, please know that I have had five children and two were without pain relief!

Thank you for your prayers regarding my tooth.  And please feel free to share any dental moments you might like to add to my comments.  I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Slacker Mom, Slacker Teacher

This morning I read a wonderful blog post .  It really opened my eyes to see that I am a slacker mom and slacker teacher. 

I am totally disorganized.  I also think I have Attention Deficit.  These are not great things to be when it comes to being a mom and teacher.  

At the end of every day, I struggle with the fact that really, in all those hours, I have accomplished very little, especially when it comes to our homeschool.  And I have to face the fact that I am the one who is causing this, not the students.

My teenage son is a "reluctant learner".  He's very intelligent, but just doesn't get much work done.  I have to really stay on him for him to stay "on task".  And do I do that?  No.  I'm floating around doing umpteen other things besides teaching school:  laundry, dishes, sending out packages from my Etsy business, checking the computer, etc.  Meanwhile, he's wasting time doing everything but his work.  We are like parallel teacher and student, never meeting at all.  And that is just sad.

My girls pretty much get their work done on their own, with very little input from me.  They are able to stay on task while my son and I drift aimlessly from one thing to another.

I cannot expect something from my son that I myself am not able to do. 

It is me that needs to change before I can help him to change.

I am taking this issue to prayer, because I feel so weak in this area, so without self-discipline.  And I need to acquire it quickly, as I have so few years left to help my son to learn.

I plan to work with him, too, by admitting that I, too, have a problem focusing, setting goals and accomplishing them, especially when it is something I don't like to do.

I need to set a good example to my children, not only in learning self-discipline, but how I go about it.  They need to see my struggles and how I try to overcome them.  And maybe together we can become the homeschool I know we can and should be.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I Hate Teeth...The Sequel

Just a quick update on my Friday trip to the dentist

My appointment was at 11:00 a.m.  Luckily, I only had to wait a couple of minutes as my heart was racing with fear as to what the dentist would have to say.  Luckily, he is easy on the eyes so that helps to soften the blow.

He took a look at the x-rays the technician took and whispered the word "fracture" to her.  Now I started to think maybe I had broken my jaw or something since it had been swollen there.

Then he came over and looked at my with his big brown eyes and said he had bad tooth was fractured.  

Phew, I thought, is that all?  What a relief!  He said he couldn't fix it, that it needed to come out and that he could do it right then.  What?  I must have looked like a deer in the headlights.  I just panicked.  I wanted to get out of there.  As I said before, I am an avoider so I just wanted to escape.

I asked, does it have to be today?  He said, no, it would need to be in the next week or so to prevent more damage.  Thank goodness!  I could put it off!  Hurray!

So, I chose to make an appointment for the next Monday.  And then he proceeded to grind the sharp edges off for me as it was hurting the inside of my cheek and I couldn't put my teeth together.

So I left feeling pretty pleased with myself for putting off the inevitable.  And then, my tooth started to really hurt.  More than it had before I went to the appointment!  I should have known when the technician said I could take 800 mg. of Motrin (prescription strength) for the pain.  I can't take that because it melts my stomach, so I managed with just 2 ibuprofen (hey, I'm tough!  I had 5 children with very little pain relief).  

It did get a little better.  And this morning, it is feeling pretty good.  In fact, it feels so good, I am starting to feel like maybe I don't need to have the tooth taken out.  But I will overcome my urge to run away from the appointment and plan to be there on that Monday to have the extraction.

Please continue to pray for me!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Hate Teeth

I hate teeth.  Really, I do.  Especially mine.

You see, I don't have very good teeth.  Last year I had the pleasure of having a root canal to save a tooth.  It was actually pretty painless.  I was surprised.  But anyway, I had a temporary crown put on at that time with the instructions to come back for the permanent crown.  Oh, and don't forget your check for the permanent crown when you come.

So, needless to say, I didn't go back due to our lack of money.

At Christmas, I was eating a yummy, gooey cinnamon roll and suddenly felt something in my mouth that shouldn't have been there.  Come to find out, it was my temporary crown.  Oh, boy!  It felt awful in my mouth but didn't actually hurt, so I chose to ignore it as we still didn't have extra money for dental work.

Then, in March, I chomped down hard on some food item and saw stars.  The next day, my jaw was swollen and tender, but I couldn't see anything in my mouth that looked broken.  So, once again, being the avoider that I am, I just tried to ignore it.

The week before Holy Week of this year, it started to really act up. I couldn't bite down hard on anything and had to cut my food up really small.  I knew the time had come to see the dentist.  

So I prayed to God that He would let my tooth stay together until after Easter and Confirmation.  You see, I cantor and sing in the choir at our church and we were scheduled to sing throughout Holy Week, including Easter Vigil, Easter morning and Confirmation on Monday.  I was afraid I would have to have my tooth pulled and that I wouldn't be able to sing for all those events.  And God was so good.  He did let me sing and worship Him without pain.

But now, I have an appointment tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.  Of course, they wanted me to have my teeth cleaned first, but I had to tell them that would be much too painful.  Could they please do something for my tooth first?  And she said, yes, X rays.  And wouldn't you know this week studies came out that state that people who have dental x-rays are at a way higher risk of brain cancer?  Great.  More worries.

So I plan to bravely march off to the dentist tomorrow (check in hand) to find out the fate of my teeth.  Please pray for me as going to the dentist is at the top of my list for places I hate to go. (or is it my ob-gyn visits).  Anyway, I will let you all know what happens after my appointment.  And please, don't forget your prayers!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Unfinished Projects

My life is an unfinished project.

Or, more accurately, I am overwhelmed with unfinished projects.

Everywhere I look, I see something else that needs to be completed.  For example, in my home, half of the interior doors are only primed, and they have been that way for five years.  Our new (five years old) set of stairs to the upper level?  Well, they are still bare wood.  There is no stain or finish.
Our deck outside the house has no railings.

Inside, there is missing baseboard, missing trim, missing paint, etc.  From where I sit, I can see numerous unfinished projects.  And if I open my kitchen cabinets, I can find many old, worn-out "to do" lists of household projects, with nary a single item checked off as finished.

I don't even want to think about my unfinished craft/sewing projects.  Oh, and I mustn't forget those half completed cross stitch, needlepoint and crewel kits.

As for my life being an unfinished project, well, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

Perhaps I need to make a real effort to finished at least something.  Maybe I'll rip down all my old lists and start afresh.  I'll choose one glaring, unfinished project that doesn't cost much to do and get started.  That way I could actually feel good about getting something done.

I'll let you know what I decide to finished first.  Stay tuned!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

It's Good Friday, the saddest, most somber day of the Christian calendar.  We must all endure this retelling of Jesus' suffering in order to even try to realize the glorious gift that is ours on Easter morning.

It was our infirmities he bore,/our sufferings that he endured,/while we thought of him as stricken,/as one smitten by God and afflicted./But he was pierced for our offenses,/crushed for our sins;/upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,/by his stripes we were healed./We had all gone astray like sheep,/each following his own way;/but the Lord laid upon him/the guilt of us all. (Isaiah 52)

This passage is as true today as it was in Isaiah's time.  We have all gone astray.  Like sheep, we follow so many things other than Jesus.  And we forget so easily the sacrifice He made for us.  That is why, at the very least, we should meditate on His pain and suffering on this day, Good Friday.

Christ became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted Him
and bestowed on Him the name which is above every other name.  (Phillippians 2:8-9)

Obedience.  A word most people ignore these days.  Shouldn't we try to employ some obedience into our daily lives?  Obedience and humility go hand in hand.  Putting others' needs before our own--isn't that what Christ did?  He thought of all of us, putting aside the thought of all the pain He would endure.  Our needs were above His needs.  Wouldn't life here on earth be so much better if everyone would think of others before themselves and would be obedient to the will of God?

Behold your king!

"Take him away, take him away!  Crucify him!"

Every time we choose to sin in this life, we are screaming "Crucify him!"  We are helping to pound the nails into Jesus' hands and feet. We are turning our backs on Jesus' pain, suffering and humiliation.

It is finished.

It is done.  The ultimate sacrifice had been made.  And we are so undeserving, so selfish, so sinful.  That is what makes Christ's sacrifice the ultimate gift to us.  

So please, today, take some time to be there at the foot of the cross where Jesus suffered so.  Look up at His beautiful pain-filled face, and repent and suffer along with Him, if even just on this Good Friday.  Because Easter Sunday means nothing if we can't share some of the pain of Good Friday.

May God bless you and bring you closer to Him on this sad and mournful day in anticipation of the glory of Easter Sunday.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Waiting With Baited Breath

This week has been very difficult for me.  I have been waiting with baited breath for a response from Bank of America about whether our request for a mortgage loan modification has been approved.

This modification has been under review for at least 30 days, and during that time, we have had to fax and re-fax umpteen forms, tax returns, and paystubs.  And we are waiting, and wondering:  what we will do if our modification is denied?

We are already down to a bare bones budget.  We eat a few meatless meals each week, shop for clothing and footwear needs at Salvation Army and Savers and hang clothes out to save on energy.  We kept our thermostat at 65 this winter and at 60 upstairs. 

So the only options would be to let the house go and find somewhere to rent (and with 3 children at home and a boatload of animals a very tall order, not to mention the cost) or I would have to get a job.

This would be somewhat traumatic to our family as I have been home with all five of my children since they were born.  Two are grown now, but three are still at home.  I also homeschool them.  We are very close.

But I'm still praying hard for the modification, and if it doesn't come, well, we'll just go with the flow.  I know God has a plan in all of this,  even though it seems so difficult right now.  Our family has been through difficult times before, and it always seemed that doors opened at all the right times to help us.  I'm trusting on the hope that things will happen for us again.

But as these last days of waiting come to a close, I almost like being in limbo because I can't do anything right now.  I am forced to wait and that is somehow comforting to me.

I will certainly keep you all updated as to what happens and I would appreciate any prayers you can spare for us!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Top Ten Supplements I Take

Here are my top ten supplements I take every day to stay healthy (and happy)!

l.  A multivitamin with iron (I like the gummie kind. They absorb better).

2. Fish oil (1000 mg.) for nerves and heart health

3.  B Complex (gummies) for nerves and energy

4.  Lecithin (400 mg.) for processing cholesterol

5.  Ginger (500 mg.) for digestion and joints

6.  D3 (1000 mg.) for immunity

7.  L-Carnitine (100 mg.) for heart health

8.  COQ10 (100 mg.) for heart health

9.  Vitamin C (500 mg.) for immunity and allergies

l0.  Hawthorne (500 mg.) for heart health

These are what I take on a daily basis.  Please consult your own physician before adding any new supplements to your diet.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Let Me Off!

OK, I think I've had enough.  Can I get off now?

Lately, I feel like I've been in one of those hamster thingies, you know, the exercise wheel where the hamster gets in and keeps running and going nowhere.

That's me.

Please let me off!  But I'm not sure how to get off.  I jump out of bed in the morning and somehow I'm right back on the wheel.  I keep running, but I'm going nowhere.  The day goes by in a blur and then suddenly, I'm back in front of my bathroom mirror, brushing my teeth before bed, and I can't, for the life of me, even count three things I may have accomplished that day.  And then it's into bed to sleep and jump back on the wheel in the morning.

This problem seems to have become worse once I turned 50.  I thought things slowed down then.  Is it because of my children that I'm still homeschooling?  Are they making my life fly by?  Is it because I have so much to do?  I almost feel dizzy the way time flies by.  And I'm not sure how I can stop it or even slow it.  I try to take a deep breath and relax, but that only helps for a moment, and then I'm off to the races again.  

I thought by posting this, maybe some of you out there might have some suggestions.  I'm open to try just about anything, jut let me get off this wheel!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Top Ten Tips on Laundry

It's Top Ten Tuesday my friends, so I thought I would share my top ten tips on laundry, our favorite chore!

l.  Use half the detergent called for in your washer and your clothes will be clean (if not cleaner).  This tip from a washer repairman.

2.  Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to washer to soften water and clothes, as well as add to the cleaning power of your detergent.

3.  Dry off seal on HE machines, especially at the bottom to prevent mold and mildew.

4.  Leave door open on HE washers when not in use to also prevent mold and mildew.

5.  Don't overload washer or clothes won't clean as well as a lighter load.

6.  Use mild baby detergent on delicate sweaters, blouses and slacks.  The clothes will stay new-looking longer and they also smell great!

7.  Use cold water to wash, especially on nice clothes to prevent shrinkage.

8.  Don't use softener sheets in the dryer as they can clog your lint screen with softener residue.  Also, softener sheets may have chemicals in them that are not good to inhale.

9.  Use the cool-down cycle on your dryer to prevent wrinkles.

10.  Hang blouses and slacks up immediately after removal from dryer to avoid ironing later (and who likes to iron?).

I hope these tips help you in your laundry tasks this week.  Please feel free to add any tips you might have regarding laundry.  I would love to add them!

God bless you!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Surviving Daylight Savings

I did it.  I survived the first week of Daylight Savings Time.  Surviving Daylight Savings is so exhausting, I must say.  I still feel like a zombie, wandering aimlessly through the day.  

For instance, on Monday, it took a pry bar to get my eyes open.  Now mind you, we homeschool, so I didn't have to be up to meet any time deadlines but my own.  But still, starting homeschool at 10:00 a.m. can really put you behind the whole day.  I decided to just accept the fact that Monday would be a "wasted" day and try not to stress out about all the things I wasn't accomplishing.  And pray without ceasing!

And did you notice how long the evening seemed this week?  It seemed that after dinner, it took forever to reach bedtime.  I just gave up and went to bed to get it over with instead of waiting for it to come to me!

And if you take medication like I do, especially one that has to be taken at the same time every day, (and I mean on the dot), this week can be an exercise in math skills.  My phone alarm would go off at 7:00 p.m. when I am scheduled to take it, but it would really only be 6:00 (pre-Daylight Savings).  So I would have to set the timer for 50 minutes and take it then.  Then the next day, I would set it for 45 minutes and so on and so forth.  Even with all that, I am still struggling.

I feel bad for Moms with babies that eat every 3-4 hours.  Just when you have their schedule all down pat, here comes Daylight Savings time to mess it up.  I used to use the method that I use for my medication to try and ease my babies back into a schedule.

But, all in all, I survived Daylight Savings.  I'm still feeling a little bleary-eyed and sort of in a fog, but it's getting better every day.  And a gorgeous day like today helps a lot.  I think I'll sit out on my deck for a bit today and enjoy Spring bursting at its seams.

God bless you and please, I love to hear from you!  Feel free to leave a comment.  I try to respond to each and every one!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Top Ten Tips to Lose a Few Pounds

Since I've passed the 50 year mark, I've noticed some pounds creeping up on me and it's frustrating as I've never had to watch my weight before.  So I thought I'd share my top ten tips to lose a few pounds (and they're relatively easy)!

1.  Drink only water.

2.  Eat a small salad before lunch and dinner.

3.  Exercise at least 20 minutes per day, 4-5 days per week.

4.  Eat a handful of nuts between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. each day.

5.  Eat only rye bread when you have a bread product.

6.  Eat at least 1/2 - 1 cup raw carrots each day.

7.  Eat 1/2 cup cottage cheese or Greek yogurt each day.

8.  Eat 2 squares of Dove chocolate each day.

9.  Try to include avocados and olives into your diet.

10.  Have a small snack before retiring (I eat 1/2 cup corn flakes or rice chex.)

These little changes can help ward off those nagging pounds that can  creep up on us.

Please feel free to comment and add any tips you have found to work for you!

God bless!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Ikea Effect

Have you ever heard of the "Ikea Effect"?  Well, let me try and explain it to you.
This past Friday I was shopping in a local antique place that has four floors stuffed with "treasures".  It was so much fun to look at all the things that were for sale.  Only problem is, after going through the first two floors, my eyes started to dart from item to item, and I wasn't able to focus on anything.  Everything became a blur and I knew it was time to leave.  The "Ikea Effect" had begun.
This syndrome was first noted in our family at the local Ikea store, and thus the name "Ikea Effect".  When Ikea first opened near here a few years ago, we ventured forth to check it out as we had heard a lot about the store, but had never been in one.
It was amazing!  And cheap!  It was so much fun, for the first floor.  And then, we all became overwhelmed with the sheer number of items and started to wander in a zombie-like state.  In fact, we had to consult our map (which should have been a warning to us) in order to find our way out.  We couldn't even remember ten things we had seen between us at the store!
There are other places that can bring on the "Ikea Effect".  Large craft stores, large quilt stores in New Hampshire, Disneyworld, and flea markets can all bring on the symptoms.  
Perhaps it is because I have late onset attention deficit disorder.  But I wanted to warn others in order to save them from embarrassment.  
If you have felt the symptoms of "The Ikea Effect" please comment below and we can join forces to find a way to cure this unusual problem.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day Gone Wrong

Yup, today was a day gone wrong.  I should have known from the moment I opened my eyes.  My broken crown tooth was hurting and I got up late.  I went downstairs and found a big puddle outside the catbox. There was a sinkful of dishes needing to be loaded in the dishwasher.

After loading laundry into the washer, my daughter and I put an exercise DVD into the player and began to do the wretched thing.  A few minutes into it, our ancient old dog decided to have some sort of seizure where he ran around at 100 miles per hour all the while bumping into the walls and anything else in his way.

So we had to stop the video and I had to hold the dog so he wouldn't hurt himself.  Twenty minutes later he lay down and went to sleep, thank goodness, poor thing.  I then tried to gulp down some breakfast and begin some sort of homeschool.  

Next came a quick lunch and then a trip to our local Registry of Motor Vehicles.  You see, I happened to notice on Monday that my license had expired  three weeks ago on my birthday.  Now, I did try to renew it that very afternoon, but when I went in, there was a huge crowd and they were all holding the same renewal paper I had.  So, I thought, I'll try again tomorrow.

So, I had planned to be there this morning, but the doggie incident kind of scrapped my plans.  Anyway, I arrived at the RMV at 1:45 and saw that I had 20 people in front of me after looking at my paper with my number to be served.  Only I hadn't noticed that there was an I in front of 172.  And that there was also an A172, D172, etc.  

So, I took a seat on the hard wooden bench and got ready to wait.  At that time, I recalled how I had gulped down a large glass of iced tea at lunch before arriving at the RMV.  Big mistake.  No bathrooms.  Finally, after exactly one hour, I made my way to the window, looked in the vision machine, took my picture, signed away and paid my $50 and then left that place as quick as I could.

On the way home later, we stopped to vote in the primary.  It was my daughter's first time voting and we were both excited about that. Until we got to the table and found that she was not on the voter list even though she registered this past summer.  So that meant that all the elderly ladies working the polls had to figure out what happened.     Not to mention that they couldn't find my name either, but that was due to the fact that our itty bitty town had been split into two precincts, and both were voting from the same elementary school gym.  Does that make sense?  

So, finally, I voted, and then my daughter finished all her paperwork to allow her to actually vote.  I even took a picture of her outside next to the "vote here" sign.  

And now, after reading my post, I feel a little sheepish calling it a "day gone wrong".  It ended up being an all right day and one we probably won't forget for a while.

I'm sure you've had days like this!  Please share yours by commenting below.  I'd love to hear your stories!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Why Is Everyone So Angry?

Yesterday, I witnessed an upsetting incident at our local McDonald's Drive-Thru at lunchtime.

There are two entrances to the drive-thru that merge into one, with traffic coming off the highway for one entrance and traffic coming through the shopping plaza for the other.  We were coming through the plaza and when we entered the line, heard a car beeping its horn over and over.  In looking to see who it was, we saw a man in a small car trying to squeeze in front of the vehicle right ahead of me. He was beeping his horn and yelling out his window at the driver. 

She (the vehicle in front of me) continued forward to the order microphone.  This made the man very upset.  He jumped out of his car and was gesturing and yelling loudly at the other driver, saying she cut him in line and then he kept jumping in and out of his car and yelling even more.  

I'm not sure what he wanted her to do, as there is no way out of the drive-thru once you've entered, but he proceeded to try and back up and drive over the curbing through the landscaping.  He must have thought better of it, because he jumped back in his car and moved forward to order.  After ordering, he again jumped out of his car and was yelling at the lady as she was paying at the window.

Now, I must say, I was ready to dial 911 and said so to the employee at the ordering microphone, but he said it had been taken care of, I guess meaning that the manager of the restaurant had called the police.

I, as well as the woman being harassed, had children in the car which made the whole scenario even more traumatizing, as we didn't know what the man would do next.  I really wanted to get out of there, but there was no way to escape.  

The police did arrive, but only after the angry man had left the area.  

It was frightening to behold the anger the man displayed just because he had to wait one more car to order his lunch.  It just seems that these days, there are a lot more angry, impatient people out there, especially on the road and when waiting in line.  

Whatever happened to manners or just being kind or gallant?  Is it because everyone is overdosing on caffeine, turbocharging and energy drinks?  And nowadays, you never know if that angry person will become violent, instead of just verbally abusive.  It really scares me as I wonder where it will all end.

So, if you recognize this happening where you are, too, please let me know.  And if you know someone like this, maybe you can gently encourage them to handle their anger in a better way.

God bless!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Homeschooled 13 Year Old's Favorite Books

I thought I would share my daughter's favorite books.  She is an avid reader and aspiring novelist. You will rarely find her without either a book or pen and paper in hand.  

l.  The Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan
2.  The Brotherhood Chronicles by John Flanagan
3.  Both Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
4.  The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan
5.  The 39 Clues by various authors
6.  The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley
7.  The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
8.  Ella Enchanted by Gail Carlson Levine
9.  Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
10.  The Hardy Boys series by Franklin W. Dixon
11.  Jack Blank by Matt Myklusch
12.  Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo

She has read these books over and over while still managing to fit in new reads.  She is amazing!  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Horror of The Hunger Games

I must confess, I did read The Hunger Games.  Not because I wanted to mind you, but because my 16 year old son is enthralled with it, as well as a teen cousin of his.  Or maybe entranced.  And that concerned me, especially since my son is not a big reader.

So, I sat down one night and read the whole book.  And I was shocked at what was in The Hunger Games.  I had thought it would be part fantasy, part science fiction, but I was wrong.  It is pure horror written for kids.  Stephen King for the young, if you must.  

The violence was shocking and horrible.  And so unfeeling.  That stunned me.  And where were the "good guys" ?  I couldn't find them.  The whole tone of the book was hopeless, disturbing and thought-provoking in a bad way.  And, in a way, almost hypnotic.  As my 19 year old daughter said, she hated the book, yet wanted to keep reading, and that fact bothered her as well as me.

The book is about the future where the government, in retaliation for an uprising, selects children from 12 and up through a lottery.  These chosen children are then placed together in a designated area where they are to eliminate all the other children in any way necessary.  The last child alive is the winner and their family is compensated with food and supplies.  And, by the way, this whole scenario is watched live by the nation on a reality TV show.

Why are we allowing our children to read The Hunger Games especially as Christian homeschooling parents?  There is no redemption, no love, no faith in these books at all.  They are the opposite of what we are trying to instill in our children.  

Isn't anyone else concerned about the way The Hunger Games has become an obsession with children and teens?  I beg you to read one of them so you at least know what your children are being exposed to.  It will be an eye-opening experience for you. 

Please let me know how you feel about this issue and leave a comment as I feel very alone in my thoughts on The Hunger Games.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Overwhelming Worry

It happened again.  A new study came out about bacon and sausage causing pancreatic cancer.  Just one more thing to worry about.  I'm not sure if this study will stick, but just in case, since we have pancreatic cancer in our family tree, we'll scale down our bacon and sausage intake to just special occasions.
Worry, worry, worry.  It gets so overwhelming sometimes thinking about all the bad things out there in this world that can hurt us. I begin to feel that life is scary and I worry about that!
Every time I pick up a newspaper or magazine, or watch TV, there is something to worry about.  Coffee is bad, there is a deadly virus on the horizon, ticks live in the yard all year, Lyme disease is running rampant, a child was abducted, the car has safety issues, Norovirus is in the area, a cruise ship sank, a candle caused a house fire, immunizations cause autism, e coli is in the meat, salmonella on the vegetables, is that mole cancerous, well, need I say more?
But I am determined not to let worry overtake my life and my family's.  I am doing my best to focus on the best in life.  As St. Paul says, "whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things" Phillippians 4:8.
God doesn't want me to focus on the dangers and perils of life.  He wants me to focus on the graces and blessings of this life, and to realize that this will all pass when we are with him in heaven.
So, these days, when I begin to worry (which is often) I say the little prayer, "Jesus, I trust in you" and know that whatever comes my way, He will be there by my side helping me to deal with it.
May God bless you all today!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Gone Bad

It all started innocently enough.  My hubby wanted to make plans for Valentine's Day and so mentioned this past weekend about cooking steaks on the grill.  I thought it might be a good idea, but suggested hamburgers rather than steak, as the budget is a little small this week. He agreed.

So, Valentine's morning, I made coleslaw to go with the burgers and chips.  Later that day, hubby called saying he was leaving work (late of course) and that he would stop by to pick up the ground beef, rolls and wine.

He finally arrived bearing ground beef and a steak, fired up the barbie and I formed the burgers.  Did I mention that he purchased salad fixings, too?  And the fact that I had already made coleslaw?  And that he bought 1 steak?  Remember, we are feeding 5 people.  Anyway, so out to the grill (in the dark) went the meat.

Ten minutes later, the back door opened, and there is hubby bearing an uncooked platter of meat.  Seems the grill is not functional at this time, which means that I will now have to make either the stove top or oven greasy, depending on the method of cooking the meat.  

My crabbiness ensues.  More work for me!  I then drag out my panini/grill and look for my directions which are generally underneath the grill in the pullout drawer.  But they are nowhere to be found and so I have to remember the settings and the time for cooking steaks and hamburgers.

The steak goes on first and proceeds to steam to a lovely shade of gray.  Into the warming drawer it goes.  The burgers go next and they are more succesful.  

So, at 7 p.m., all the hungry vultures descend on the food.  I look at the steak (aka shoe leather) and decide to have a burger and a big glass of wine to fortify me for cleaning up the greasy stove after dinner.

I do have to add that hubby and kids did help with the cleanup after our "romantic" and disastrous Valentine's dinner, so it wasn't all bad.

It seems we haven't escaped the Valentine's Day curse even after 30 years of marriage, since I can't recall a Valentine's when things have gone right.  Something always seems to happen!  Maybe we'll try takeout next year.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Conquering Clutter Challenge 3 - Mission Accomplished

Wow, I thought I'd never finish with this last challenge!  But, boy, am I thrilled with the results.  I can't wait to start creating in my new clean space.  To remind you of what this sewing space looked like before, here's the photo:
There it is, in all its glory.  First thing I had to do was to find a home for my items I'm going to sell in my new Etsy shop called Cottage Garden Vintage, opening soon.  That was easier said than done.  I had to clear a big shelf for those.  So, those things on that shelf had to find a new home.  They were mostly older homeschool books that I had tried to sell previously on Ebay, so I had to make the executive decision to donate them.
I then put all my assorted sewing supplies in the drawers they belonged in, as well as thread, pin cushions and measuring tapes.  Patterns were placed back in their file boxes.  
I put up the curtains that had been draped over my serger and actually opened my serger after ? years.  Wow!  
Other random items either found a new home, were tossed in the trash or were donated.
And now, for the final reveal.  Brace yourselves!
Isn't that beautiful?  I think so.  
I hope this gives you the inspiration to begin your own conquering clutter challenge.  
I know I am looking for my next challenge to share with you.  Stay tuned and God bless you!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Quick Money-Saving Hints

Here is a short list of easy things I have been doing to save a few dollars:

1.  Hang clothes out on clothesline on nice days, even when it's cold.

2.  Washing clothes in cold water.

3.  Replace regular light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs.

4.  Cancel magazine and newspaper subscriptions.

5.  Cancel XM radio subscription.

6.  Shop at thrift stores for clothes and shoes.

7.  Plan my menus before grocery shopping.

8.  Drink brewed iced tea instead of soda.

9.  Stretch meals with pasta and rice casseroles.

10.  Buy drugstore cosmetics rather than department store counter cosmetics.

These were just some simple changes we made that put  a few dollars back in our pockets.  Small changes can feel less painful than some big changes!