Thursday, December 31, 2009

Just popping in . . .

from a holiday blogging break to wish you

A Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Primal by Mark Batterson

This is a potentially life changing book.

I suppose that you could go on as normal and not change anything, but why would you want to?

In Primal Mark Batterson encourages us to love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength and goes on to explain how that is possible. Heart is tied to compassion; soul is a sense of wonder; mind is insatiable curiosity; and strength is sweat.

I had already decided to do the 90 day challenge, his chapters on wonder confirmed that I made the right decision. There are tips and encouragements to make the challenge easier.

There is also encouragement to keep learning - about anything. If entomology interests you - then learn about it and learn about how the Creator of the world wanted such a vast variety. If immunology interests you then learn about the way the creator designed our bodies to fight off disease. God is there in microbiology and in the macro. The more astronomy you learn, the more His creation is amazing.

This is a must read for anyone who is tired of stale Christianity. I admit, I was less than enthusiastic (because of other books) before I started to read but before many pages were read, I loved it.

I was given this book by WaterBrook Multnomah to read so that I could provide a review - but I was not told what to say.

If you want to purchase this book you can click here. I receive no compensation for you doing so.

A new challenge for a new year

About 3 B.C. it was a simpler time. There wasn't all the clamoring noise that there is now and I could more easily accomplish what I wanted to do.

That is 3 years Before Children - so about 13 years ago. Anyway, I made a challenge to myself of reading the Bible in a year. And I did it. But some of those brain cells have since died and I need to reread it.

So I am going to take the 90 day challenge. Yep, I am going to try to read through the Bible in 90 days.

Seriously, if I can read the Twilight series in less than a week, I should be able to read the Bible in 90 days.

Is it going to be easy? No, but rarely is there very much value in the easy stuff. The blessings that I am going to get from this are going to be huge - no, I am not talking about prosperity gospel. I am talking about the blessing of getting to know my precious Savior better.

So do you want to join us? There is a group of us taking the 90 Day Challenge through Mom's Toolbox.

Amy from Mom's Toolbox says:
A few years ago I read through the Bible, cover to cover, in 90 days… Yes, the whole thing. (Okay, I’ll admit it. My first pass took 97 days, but I’ve done it in 90, and helped many others do it in 90, since then!)

And now I want to help even more people read it in 90 days… because it really did change my life.

So now I’m inviting you to join me, as I attempt to lead my first online community of readers and we blog thru the Bible in 90 days, January 1, 2010 – March 31, 2010.

I’ll post my (almost) daily observations about the reading at least 5 days a week and host Twitter parties each Monday night of the program so we can talk about the reading together.

I’d love to have you join me in this adventure.

I’m not going to mislead you, this is a terrifically challenging task. At minimum, you’ll need to get your hands on the official Bible in 90 Days Bible ($14.99 at and plan to read 12 pages a day, 84 pages a week for 90 days straight. (That’s about an hour of reading every single day, but the print is nice and large and the footnotes are minimal…. I’ll explain more later as to why this specific Bible will help you achieve this goal. But let me be clear that this is an NIV Thinline Bible. No content added (except a reading schedule), nothing taken away. We will be reading every word of the NIV Bible straight through, from Genesis to Revelation.

I’ll be here every step of the way, cheering you on and praying for you, too. But that’s not all, a few other blogger buddies will also be cheering you on as we build our reading community and dive into this adventure together.

So are you in?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Let it Snow!

I have to admit to a bit of snow envy right now. I am seeing pictures of snow and hearing of kids playing in the snow and the truth is I am a wee bit envious. Even though I deliberately chose to live below the snowline - because I really don't like being cold. And frequent snowfalls can be a pain. Snow has that annoying tendency to accumulate.

But I am feeling a bit of snow envy.

We had a freak snowfall - it fell but it didn't stick - and I remembered how beautiful it is to watch.

So I would love for it to snow here.

On a weekend.

And we have no place we have to go.

And we don't lose power.

So let it snow!

Friday, December 18, 2009

40 Loaves by C. D. Baker

40 Loaves - Breaking Bread with Our Father Each Day is a devotional book that tackles the tough questions that a christian may ask. Why are some Christians so hard for me to like? Why do I avoid sharing my faith? why don't I feel safe at church?

Each loaf is one of the tough questions and C. David Baker attempts to answer the questions.

Honestly, I didn't like this book. It wasn't that I disagreed with the theology, but the idea that a question like "why do I feel like a hypocrite?" could be answered in 3 pages is ridiculous.

Some chapters did make me angry, like the chapter "why do I resent authority?" which blamed a woman for resenting authority because she didn't trust Jesus enough when she listened to her church that told her to stay with her abusive husband.

All in all, I couldn't recommend this book to anyone. While the answers weren't quite platitudes, they were pretty close to it.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
If you wish to purchase this book for your own, here is a link:

I get no payment or reward from you purchasing it through this link.

The little things

This morning I woke up to a quiet house.

No buzz of the alarm clock, no hum of the heater, nothing.

The power was out. It hadn't been out long, it wasn't yet cold (or any colder than usual). I got up, looked out the window and saw the electrical truck driving around, looking for the problem.

I knew the power would be coming back on.

I knew we would have heat.

I knew we would have food.

I knew my husband would be home that night.

I knew my children were healthy.

I may not  have been able to follow my routine because of a power outage, but that is a very little thing. A minor inconveienece.

Since my routine is to make some hot tea and read email - neither of which I could do with no power - I just went back to bed. My 6 year old had crawled into my bed and so I snuggled up with him and went back to sleep.

But I felt grateful for the little things, those little things that can be such big things.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Melting Pots

Sometimes East Texas seems a bit insulated from the rest of the world.

Other times it seems like a veritable melting pot.

Yesterday I was looking for soup bones to make a Czechoslovakian soup, the only place I could find them was the Mercado (Mexican market). While we were there, Junior saw a black man and told him "ni hao" which is Chinese for "Hello."

We are good friends with a Chinese couple and they have taught us a few words for different things and I guess it seemed an appropriate time.

Never mind that he is also taking a Spanish class which would be much more appropriate in a mercado.

So for a moment there were 5 cultures overlapping.

By the way, the soup did turn out good.

Monday, December 14, 2009

weighty matters

I am overweight obese according to medical standards. I don't like it, in fact I hate it. I miss the body I had 17 years ago.

I was looking at the bmi thing tonight and computing it up and I need to lose 57 pounds to be barely in "normal" weight range.

57 pounds.

I think that is about how much my son weighs. That is how much I weighed at 10 years old (I was a skinny, scrawny thing. I got over it though).

While I am grateful that I don't have as much to lose as many/most of the people on Biggest Loser, I still have a lot to lose. A medium sized child's worth of weight.

I have lost some,  6 pounds. So I am making progress. So 6 down 57 to go.

I love cookbooks

I love to look at them, I love to read the recipes and imagine myself making them. I love to get new ideas from the cookbooks. I have had a large collection of cookbooks, many of them picked up at garage sales.

I tend to think that people actually ate better when cooking wasn't opening a box and adding water. I really resent the children cookbooks that don't teach kids how to cook but rather how to open cans and boxes.

One of my goals for both kids is that they will know how to prepare a recipe without using conveinence foods; that they will be able to make a soup from ingredients that they find in the fridge; that they will not only be able to follow a recipe but improvise and improve on a recipe.

Oops. I didn't mean to get on a soap box.

Anyway, I was saying I used to have a lot of cookbooks. A lot. But I got brave and went through the shelf and pared it down by 2/3rs (at least) and took a huge stack(s) into the used bookstore. I kept some of them, the special ones, the ones I use all the time. I kept my Grandmother's Betty Crocker cookbook from the 50s. I also have my Great-Aunts Joy of Cooking from the 50's. And no kitchen is complete without the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook with the red plaid. Plus a few others but now I have space on my bookshelf.

Space for more cookbooks.

Mostly kidding.

But I feel so much lighter now and free-er. And I don't feel one tiny bit of regret about any of those cookbooks. Now if I could just do that with other stuff. . . .

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My hands are covered in band-aides

I have been a little clumsy with the sharp implements lately.

Tuesday, I cut myself twice on my left index finger while being stupid. You know how you are not supposed to hold something in your hand while cutting it, you should put it on the counter or on a plate? I don't always to that. Well, I was cutting slices of an apple and got distracted. Luckily it wasn't deep but it almost looks like I tried to dissect my finger (or it would if it were deeper). It took 2 band-aides.

But that was my non-dominant hand so I wasn't worried.

So yesterday I got some tiles for a reading manipulative (I'll explain later on my homeschool blog if it works well). I got those sheets with the 36 small tiles attached to each other. I was lucky enough to find 3 sheets with one broken tile apiece so I got a discount (I am cutting them apart from each other so it doesn't matter if there was a broken one).

So anyway, I was pulling the broken pieces off and sliced my other index finger. Knitting is a challenge with band-aides on both index fingers.

So then I was complaining to Hubby about how I haven't used this many band-aides since I was a kid and pulling off more of  the broken bits and jabbed myself in the hand badly enough to need another band-aide (I don't like leaving blood trails everywhere.)

Hopefully I won't injure myself again while using the razor blade scraper to get the glue bits off the tiles when I separate them.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Oh and another thing on the wheat free bit

If there is a wheat/gluten intolerance there can be a bloated, full feeling after eating it. Since wheat is in so much, it is difficult to accidentally have a wheat free meal unless you try so you may not notice the bloated feeling. And it may be a more general bloating, all over.

Well, I have noticed the past few days my wedding ring just spins around on my finger. The same finger that it has been snugly on for months.

And I have lost 4 pounds. WOOT!

In a related bit of news, I went to the doctor today and found out that my blood sugar is creeping up high. I am not diabetic yet but if I don't change some things I will be. I am hoping that getting rid of the wheat will be enough to cause a significant change since I don't eat that much sugar-sugar (although I did get quite a bit from all the pasta and bread). I loathe sweet-tea (bad southerner), don't like soda, and really don't eat that much candy (nothing like a daily basis).

Surely it is from all the processed wheat products.

I hope.

Argentina - the card game not the country

I remember being a little girl and watching my extended family play cards. They would sit around the table and laugh for what seemed like hours and tell stories and I desperately wanted to play. But I was too young and the game too hard.

Then when I was 9 my family went overseas for 6 months and my mother taught me the card game. I guess she was homesick and wanted something familiar and you really need 3 people to play.

So when we came back, I was finally able to play cards with everyone and I loved it. Stories were swapped and jokes told and we all bonded.

There were rules of the game and then there were the "shoulds" of the game. Things like you should not sit to the left of Granddaddy because he never threw away what you needed. You should have someone sit between certain players because they play as a team and it is not a team game.

There were also rules that are not against the rules but will get you banned from the game - like no throwing away wild cards. Wild cards have a high point value and so can really cost you if they are in your hand, so some family members will throw them away on the last hand rather than have them count in their score.

So in case you are wanting to play, here are the rules to Argentina - by the way, that isn't the real name but the real name was forgotten decades ago.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I feel a bit like a manic depressive

This stupid diet is going to drive me crazy. I start thinking it won't be to bad, we can easily substitute in recipes, we will get it figured out and then I get slapped back into reality.

We went looking for popcorn, Hubby prefers the microwave kind because it's easy and less mess to clean up. Out of the multitude of types and brands and low butter, butter lover, and all the other stuff there was one type of popcorn with no milk products. One. And it was kettle corn. And my kids don't like sweet popcorn.

Junior wanted a treat as we checked out. Well chocolate is a no-no because it has milk. I don't let my kids have nutrasweet and so gum is out. I thought a Rice Krispy Treat was safe because it is Rice Krispys and marshmallows. Nope, it has milk in it too.

It made me want a beer. But beer contains wheat and so it has gluten and so it is a no-no.

I found myself wishing that someone in the families of the bigwigs in major manufacturing would be struck by allergies and so they would realize how important an inexpensive alternative would be.

But then I start getting hopeful again. I am a pretty good cook and it has GOT to get easier. And we should start feeling better.

And so go the mood swings.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Treasured by Leigh McLeroy

Treasured by Leigh McLeroy is a beautiful and thought provoking book. Inspired by a treasure box from her grandfather where she found things like a key ring with 2 keys, a coin purse with a little over a dollar in chance, cuff links and a tie tack and a shaving brush, Leigh McLeroy looks at what God might have in his treasure box.

Each of the items has ties back to their Biblical past but also illuminate our lives now; the fig leaf that clothed Adam and Eve points to the shame we feel now over various things. I had never thought about how God removed their fig leaf covering and dressed them in animal skins just like our efforts at removing sin don't work and so God had His son remove our sins.

It is a wonderful book and can help us to see how the Old Testament connects to modern day life, how these events of old can illuminate our modern hearts.

Author Biography:
Leigh McLeroy is the author of The Beautiful Ache and The Sacred Ordinary. An avid collector and recorder of everyday moments, words, and wonders, Leigh’s keen eye for God’s presence in ordinary life infuses her writing and living with a deep, insistent joy. A frequent conference and event speaker, the author makes her home in Houston , Texas , and posts often on and

To purchase this book directly from Randomhouse you can go here. (I get no proceeds from you going this way)

I received this book free from the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I received no other compensation, nor do I get any other profit. These thoughts and words are my own (except for the bio, I copied that).

God Gave Us Love and God Gave Us Christmas

God Gave Us Love is a sweet little book with beautiful pictures. Little Cub and her grandfather are fishing when the otters interupt the trip. Little Cub's Grandfather tells her how God gives us love, there are different kinds of love and how acting loving even when we don't want to is the right thing to do.

I read this book not only to my children but also to a group of 4 and 5 year olds. The kids were entranced and engaged by the beautiful story. Little Cub learns that love helps us see the good in others, even when they make us grumpy and one little girl mentioned how her teenage sister makes people grumpy.

I really enjoyed reading this book to the kids (and also for myself).

God Gave Us Christmas begins with Little Cub asking if Santa 'vented Christmas.
She learns that it was God who "invented" Christmas because he loves us. Little Cub and her mama go on a journey to find God, which they can do because God is all around. They see God in the Northern Lights (they are polar bears after all), in powerful events like chunks of ice breaking off cliffs, and in the stars that He put in the sky.

I read this also to the kids and this was their favorite. One of the girls thought it was funny that anybody would think Santa invented Christmas - but she is a pastor's daughter. A boy was really annoyed that we don't have anything like the Northern Lights in Texas and didn't seem appeased that there are no alligators in the polar regions. The pictures in this book are also beautiful.

Author Biography:

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the award-winning author of nearly thirty titles, totaling more than 1.5 million books in print. She writes in a broad range of genres, from adult fiction to devotional. God Gave Us Love follows in Lisa’s classic tradition of the best-selling God Gave Us You. She lives in Colorado , with her husband, Tim, and their children, Olivia, Emma, and Jack.

To purchase this book directly from Randomhouse you can go here for God Gave Us Love and here for God Gave Us Christmas. (I get no proceeds from you going this way)

I received this book free from the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I received no other compensation, nor do I get any other profit. These thoughts and words are my own (except for the bio, I copied that).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My daughter complained about me to her piano teacher

And not about the broken arm!

No it is the diet we are on now. I know I need to cut out gluten, my son needs to avoid dairy and I am not cooking 3 separate meals.

So we are all doing gluten-free dairy-free.


Not so much.

Anyway, I think the first 2 days have gone pretty well. I don't think anyone has felt deprived too much. The problem is that Daisy is really craving pasta and bread. Not so much on the dairy but a lot on the pasta and bread.

She wants to learn how to make gluten-free ravioli, gnocchi, dumplings, and french toast. She is skipping right past the easier stuff like pancakes for the things we will have to create recipes for.

But she is also intensely craving wheat products which tells me she needs this as much as I do. Maybe if she gets used to eating this way, it will be easier on her later.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Of broken bones

Somehow my Hubby - after all the stupid things he did in his youth, BB gun fights, falling out of pickup trucks and I don't know what all else - never broke a bone.


I broke my arm twice. I fell out of a swing when I was 3 and fell of the jungle gym at school when I was 4.

If you had asked me to bet on which child would have the broken bone first, I would have bet my son and thought it was easy money. I called him death-wish boy for a long time because of the stupid dangerous stuff he did - dropping staples in a floor plug, cutting a light cord with sissors, etc.

Well, I would have lost.

Four weeks ago she was using a basket ball as a soccer ball and tripped over the ball. She nearly landed on her face but used her hands to catch herself. We mistakenly assumed that it was a bad sprain because she could move her fingers and wrist without problem. So we gave her an ice pack and ibuprofen.

She went skating a few days later but was careful because she didn't want to fall.

She did the food contest where she carried a heavy bowl around.

She went to soccer the next week.

Her wrist never looked bruised, it was a little swollen but not hugely.

But the swelling didn't go down so we thought it was a really bad sprain.

Last week, we were in the doctor office for a completely unrelated issue and mentioned it to the doctor. He strongly suggested that we get it x-rayed and so we did.

Y'all, she broke her arm! She had broken her arm 3 weeks earlier and went around doing normal activities - she did favor her arm somewhat. Do you have any idea how much that me feel like a horrible mom?

We asked about an arm brace and the doctor said that we would be taking the brace off soon anyway if we had known about the broken arm.

So things continue on as normal except I have much more respect for my 10 year olds pain threshold. She says that she didn't know what a broken arm felt like so she couldn't say that it hurt bad enough to be broken - which I suppose is true.

But now she knows.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Behinder and Behinder

Well, I am finally feeling better but it has been a busy week so there is more to come but I am tired and need sleep.

Just so you know, I have stories of broken arms, flying, mice, and recipes - but no flying mice or recipes with mice. Thank goodness.

So more to come. . . .

Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie Montana

Sometimes you are able to find a book that instantly captures your interest and from the first page Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie Montana by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss had my interest.

The story is of Julia Cavanaugh, a young orphaned woman who travels west to Montana on an orphan train with her young charges. At the final stop, she finds out to her horror that the matron of the orphanage thought an arranged marriage to a prospector would be romantic. Stranded in Montana, Julia finds out where home really is.

I loved this book from first page to last and would highly recommend it to anyone. In fact, I am letting my mother read my copy (and I hope I get it back - hint, hint.)

About the Authors

Tricia Goyer is the author of several books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW's Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. Goyer lives with her family in Montana. To find out more visit her website:

Ocieanna Fleiss is a published writer and has edited six of Tricia Goyer's historical novels. She lives with her husband and their four children in the Seattle area. Connect with Ocieanna on Facebook!

The authors, Tricia and Ocieanna, have put together one humdinger of a contest for this blog tour! Enter the Fall in Love With Lonesome Prairie Contest and WIN a perty Montana Gift Basket!  

To enter, simply fill out the entry form ( ), (then tell 5 or more friends about the contest)! The winner will be announced December 14th, just in time for an old-fashioned Montana Christmas. Giddy-up!

The Winner of our ‘Fall in Love with Lonesome Prairie’ giveaway will receive a fantastic Montana Gift Basket, including:
*Winter fleece throw
*Huckleberry chocolate bar
*Paula Dean candle
*Burt’s Bees gift set
*Wild Huckleberry taffy
*Montana stationary notebook
*Montana greeting card set
*Montana ball cap
*Montana apron
*Montana refrigerator magnet
*Charlie Russell 2010 Montana Calendar

This book was provided for review by the Litfuse Publicity Group. These thoughts and opinions are mine. If I hated the book, I would have said so, and certainly not lent it to my mother.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


It has been a very, very long week at our house and I haven't really spent very much time online. So I am sorry about the lack of posting, somethings I was asked not to post about yet (but will), others I just haven't gotten around to yet.

My lump was a lymph node. I don't know why I have a swollen, hard lymph node that has been that way for over a year but that is what it is.

The Dentist office from hell (Here and Here and Here) has responded to my complaint from the BBB with a letter "I will write off the $250 since that is what you requested. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas."

No apology or anything although I didn't really expect one since I know they don't think they have done anything wrong.

I suppose there may also be some legal reason. Like if they had said "I am sorry that we treated your family so badly" then I would have some form of proof if I decided to sue. Whatever. At least it is over.

I went to a new doctor on Thursday, I was feeling ok but I am tired of these headaches and tired of being sick and my current/previous doc didn't want to take the time to figure out what was wrong. So I am going to this new doctor and I tell her that I really think I need to go back on the gluten-free diet - although I didn't really do "gluten-free" more like "low-gluten". Also because of Junior's milk difficulties, might as well make it gluten-free, dairy-free.

I did the low-gluten thing for about 6 months, from last Thanksgiving until June. I felt much better at first but then closer towards June, I wasn't feeling as well and then went on the large family vaca where gluten-free was nearly impossible. While we were gone I didn't have a headache (I also drank like a fish which I normally don't do). So I decided that since I didn't have a headache while I was gone and ate whatever I wanted, it couldn't be the gluten.

But the headaches are back and I have been sick almost constantly since June. If I have to bee of gluten to be healthy then I guess that is what I need to do. I am hoping that I won't become one of those people that get very sick if they accidently ingest a tiny bit of gluten, but maybe it will help me stay gluten free.

Anyway, the Doc agreed with me, and then added some more things to avoid if I want to get rid of the headaches/migraines.
  • Cheeses (but I am doing dairy free so that is included)
  • red wine, beer (well, beer has gluten so that makes sense; red wine has tannins)
  • red dyes
  • red wine vinegar (since it is made from red wine that makes sense)
  • some fermented food (like soy sauce, but most soy sauce is made with wheat anyway)
  • MSG
  • caffeine (this one is a problem)
  • artificial sweeteners (as a family, we avoid the artificial sweeteners. It has caused me problems before but that is another post)
  • chocolate (ack- food of life! I don't know if I can do this)
  • "Natural Flavors" - ok this one was always concerning to me anyway. What are the natural flavors they are so afraid of telling us what it is?
  • Plus the wheat, rye and barley that contain gluten

Almost as bad, I have to keep a food diary. So if I cheat, I either have to write it down or lie.

And all this right before Thanksgiving. blech.

On the other hand, just to reinforce all this, I had one of my worst migraines in years (like over 10) on Saturday. I spent all day in bed until Hubby got home and could take me to the urgent care center.

It might have been viral or bacterial because poor Junior had one too. His head hurt so bad that he cried and then took a 2 hour nap with an ice pack. He couldn't watch tv because the light and sound bothered him. Luckily the ibuprophen and ice pack worked for him.

As for me, I had to do things the hard way. I took an Imitrex at 6 am but the headache only mildly eased off at 10 am (but hurt to bad to get up and take more medicine). At 2 I took some cafergot when I got Junior an ice pack (and me another) and made us both some tea (for the caffeine I am not supposed to have). At 4:30 Hubby got home and took us to the dr - Junior felt mostly better but I was still praying for death.

The Doctor suggested a shot of Imitrex and compazine - I thought she meant 1 shot but I didn't really care too much. It was 2. I have mentioned before that I don't like needles - that is only when I don't have a headache. When I do have a headache, I am all for being a pin cushion if it gets rid of the pain. Which this time I nearly was.

15 minutes later, my head still hadn't improved so she mentioned that I could get Toradol intravenously. I thought about the eww/ouch factor of the IV push and decided to get rid of the headache.

So the nurse looks at my veins and goes for one in my hand. It doesn't work. She tries again in the hand. It doesn't work. Tries near the elbow and it doesn't work. And this doesn't count all the times she thought she was going to try one and then decided that it wouldn't work there. I nearly had a bath in rubbing alcohol.

So she calls someone else in, he says "I am going to get this on the first try." He was wrong. He got it on the second try. In the process though he bumped against sosmething (tendon or nerve) and it was like an electical jolt went from my elbow to my thumb. It was very weird.

The toradol, while not making me loopy, did get rid of the headache. Finally. All of a sudden my stomach reminded me that I hadn't eaten all day.

And after watching that, Junior will never again get another migraine.

Actually the kids found it all very informative:
"Why to you thump the shot like that?"
"What is that red stuff?"
"Why did you put blood in the shot?" - since I can't watch, I didn't know that happened but apparently they draw back on the plunger to be sure it is in the right spot.

And now, gluten-free seems to be the lesser of two evils.

And if you read this whole thing, you deserve an award.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I was giving a ride to a friend's 6 year old son with my own 6 year old in the car (Daisy was with the friend) and I heard this conversation:

E: Do you do Halloween?

Junior very, very puzzled: What?

E: Do you do Halloween?

Junior very, very puzzled: Huh?

Me: Yes E, we do Halloween.

E with a gasp of horror: Oh Halloweens very bad!

Junior still very, very puzzled: Why?!

E still horrified: All that candy can make you sick!


I should explain that our Halloween candy will last for months. We are mean parents who don't allow them to gorge themselves on candy and rarely buy candy bars at the store. They get a peice of candy after lunch and after dinner - which sounds like a lot if you are talking regular bars, but these are the "fun size" candies.

And yes we do Halloween - not the evil or scary stuff though. Daisy was Dorothy from Wizard of Oz and Junior was Darth Vader - ok, I suppose Darth Vader could be classified as evil if you are a Jedi. But I am not a Jedi nor do I know any.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Would you like some whine with that?

Ok, I don't like posting poor-pitiful-me posts but I feel like something the cat wouldn't bother to drag in. I am so tired of being sick.

Three weeks ago, I had a particularly vicious cold which left behind it's dear friends, sinus congestion and chest congestion.

While I was putting on some Mentholatum on my chest, I found a lump. Since I had my yearly appointment in a week, I mentioned it there hoping my Dr would say "It's no big deal, it is just a swollen lymph node." Instead she sent me to have a mammogram "just in case."

So I had to wait a week until I could get an appointment for that, had it done on Thursday and still don't know the results. Just so you know ('cause I didn't) it is much easier for you to stay at the same location for your mammograms. If you don't, they have to send the old films before they will read the new ones. And it takes them awhile. I could have walked from one location to the other several times before my films finally got sent.

Then while all the lump thing was going on, I got sicker. I came home from church last Sunday, curled up on the couch in flannel pajamas under a blanket and shivered. Hubby told me to take some ibuprofen and then an hour later I had soaked the pjs with sweat and was thinking of moving to a nudist colony.

Monday and Tuesday was pretty much a repeat of Sunday, but Tuesday evening I went to the doctor. He said either it was flu with a false negative, some other virus, or an early bacterial infection. He gave me an antibiotic but I think he was really thinking it was unnecessary because he kept telling me I didn't have to fill it right away. Since I was pretty sure a sinus infection was at least part of it (my teeth hurt in the way they only do with a sinus infection) I promptly filled it.

The day after the first 2 pill dose I felt human again. No fever, no chills, no sweats. It was wonderful.

The next day I felt pretty good.

The next day I was tired and had a bit of a head ache. And took a 3 hour nap.

The next day my teeth hurt again, headache all day, and another nap and I took the last antibiotic.

My thinking is, the antibiotic kicked the bacteria pretty badly the first day where it was a 2 pill dose but isn't strong enough in the single pill doses to do anything.  So now I have a call into the doctor office (minor emergency clinic so it is open on Sundays) and hopefully they will call me in something stronger. That doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

And hopefully tomorrow I will find out news about the mammogram.

And that is the end of my whining.

The end.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Food! Glorious Food!

Both of my kids love participating in the 4-H County Food and Nutrition contest. Junior is considered a "Clover Kid" and so he isn't really judged - he gets asked questions but his ability to answer isn't scored.

Daisy has to go into another room with three adult judges and then gets judged and ranked.

Her first year she won first place for applesauce bread, last year I don't remember how she placed with her baked apple.

This year she won first place again! She made Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta which is so perfect in the fall.

She is supposed to know things like how many calories per serving, what are the primary nutrients you get from the dish, how you prepared it, what you could substitute and could it be made healthier. The judges don't taste the food - or they aren't supposed to, there was a food poisoning incident several years ago - but they do look at how it looks and smells.
Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 pounds uncooked chicken breast, cut into 1 inch peices
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped
3 1/4 cups chicken broth
12 ounces pasta
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for just a minute. Add the cubed chicken and cook through. Add squash, rosemary and saute for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer until the squash is tender and the liquid is reduced by about half, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often. Drain pasta.
Toss the pasta and squash mixture in a large bowl until the liquid thickens slightly and coats the pasta. Transfer the pasta mixture to a wide shallow bowl and serve.

Junior's dish was Baked Cheese and Pasta - well Macaroni and Cheese but he didn't do macaroni noodles.

His dish has been more challanging for me just because of various problems. The first time he made it, I forgot we were doubleing the recipe when we added the cheese. So it only had half of the neccesary cheese. It was good, just not cheesey.

When we were making it for the contest I planned on us making it the night before and then baking it the day of. So right before bed, we are in the kitchen and trying to make it. I had gotten a block of cheese because I needed sharp cheese and it was cheaper more economical and was going to use the food processor. It broke. So we are scrambling around looking for the cheese grater - Daisy didn't even really know what it was - so that 12 ounces of cheese could be grated. And I had to make the bread crumbs to go on the top because I don't know where bread crumbs are since they rearranged the store (and I was too tired to ask).

Luckily it all turned out well.

Baked pasta and Cheese
1/2 pound pasta in desired shape 3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon paprika 1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper 1 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes.
Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My first time

Well, I filed my first complaint ever with the Better Business Bureau.

I don't like doing that. I am not that kind of a person. I am the kind of person who gets mad, complains to family and then carries out a one person boycott.

I didn't complain about the dr who possibly caused my pregnancies to be high risk.

I didn't complain about the anesthesiologist that bullied me into using the type of local that he wanted to use for my surgery (spinal vs epidural). I didn't even complain after the spinal didn't go well.

But I did complain about the dental office that tortured my child and then called me a bad mother.

Oh! And now they are saying that they don't restrain children because they don't want it to be a bad experience. So I should be glad that they didn't make it more traumatic than it was. Hmmm, maybe I should have slapped the office manager and then said "Well, at least I didn't hit you as many times as I could have."

And they are now saying that the wait a year plan is something they would never do because of course insurance wouldn't pay.

And that possibly some of the money owed is because insurance only paid half of what they promised to pay for Junior's work. So I am not sure if they really know what the amount owed is for.

In any case, I have now sent a complaint to the BBB and will hopefully hear something sooner rather than later. I am also going to send a complaint to the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners and I think there is one other place I can complain to. As of right now, I don't want to post a negative review on every dental and local review site.

Really I just want this whole thing to go away and to never have to deal with that office again - on the other hand, the idea of paying them anymore money is repugnant.

Either way, the ball is about to be back in their court.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pots for Snot

Since I have been going through a vicious cold, I thought I would let you know about neti pots.

Never heard of them?

Not surprising, they are a well kept secret. Of course most people don't want to talk about snot and "nasal irrigation" because . . . EWWWWWW.

But that is what I am going to do because it has made me feel so much better.

I have 2 neti pots, both of them purchased by me at Walgreens (just cause I knew they had them). My first neti-pot was made by SinuCleanse and looks kind-of like the ones on their website but mine seems to be an earlier model - mine is a few years old. We call it the gravy boat. Yep, I know that is incredibly gross but it does look like a plastic gravy boat. It came with a little plastic spoon to stir the salt mixture with, but I promptly lost it.

You know the feeling of getting water up your nose as a kid? It is somewhat like that, not quite as bad UNLESS you try to forgo the salt mixture. If you try and skip the salt mixture, the pain will be incredible. With the salt mix, it is somewhat uncomfortable but it does really help.

So why did I get another one? I got the NasaFlo Neti Pot because it said it wouldn't hurt. And it doesn't. Not at all. This one looks more like a little blue teapot but it functions in pretty much the same way and the other one. The part that goes in the nose is also a little more comfortable because it isn't inserted like the SinuCleanse. It does have to be dried open, you can't clean it and then close it up so there is a potential to lose the lid.

I think the difference in solutions is that the NasaFlo uses isotonic instead of hypertonic solutions - basically (if I understand this right) the hypertonic is stronger, saltier while the isotonic is balanced to be painless.

If you are wanting to do the hypertonic solution, I would suggest the SinuCleanse neti pot. Otherwise I would suggest the NasaFlo - which does have a hypertonic salt mixture avalable (or you can use 2 regular packets).

I have read that daily "nasal irrigation" can help prevent the cold and flu - it washes the virus away before it has a chance to get bad - so it is something you may really want to try.

I was not paid for my opinion nor was my opinion requested by either company, I just wanted to give a comparison that I did on my own. I purchased all the items and received no form of compensation.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Brandi Carlile - Giving up the Ghost

One2One Network gave me the opportunity to listen to the new Brandi Carlile Album - Giving Up the Ghost. If you are not familiar with this artist, this is her third album and her music has been categorized as pop, rock, indie, folk, and alternative country (which I have never heard of). Her music has been featured on Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice.

As for this album, I have really been enjoying it. There is a wide variety of songs but they do fit nicely together. Brandi Carlile's voice has an amazing range and the music does seem to showcase it nicely.

The song Caroline features Elton John and seems to have some of his piano playing whimsy. Another song, That Year talks about the suicide of a friend while they were in high school - but isn't maudlin or overly depressing.

The albums tracklist:
Looking Out
Dying Day
Pride And Joy
That Year
Before It Breaks
I Will
If There Was No You
Touching The Ground
Oh Dear

Brandi Carlile is an artist you will want to check out.

I received a download of the album free for review but have received no other form of compensation or gain from this review. I receive no compensation for any purchase or download of the album or any songs. These are all my own opinions and thoughts of the album.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Girls Night Out

The guys at our church decided for a guys event they would go to a hockey game. A two hour drive away. And it was guys only. And Hubby and Junior went.

So Daisy and I decided to do our own thing and we had so much fun! First we went and got her a haircut and then we hit Old Navy's 50% off sale and found some great deals for her. Then we went into the mall, walked the whole mall, and didn't really feel tempted to buy anything.

We dined at our favorite Italian restaurant, Joe's. Daisy got the adult portion of manicotti which comes with a salad. She didn't want the salad but I told her it was coming out anyway and ordered the house dressing for her. I have to tell you, their house dressing is like nothing else I have tried before - I think it is marinara with a large amount of vinegar - but it is delicious. That dressing turned my daughter into a salad lover. She ate every bit of it and then needed a to-go box for almost half of the manicotti.

After we ate, it was still somewhat early so we decided to go rent a couple of movies - chick flicks and watch them. We got New in Town and Monsters Vs Aliens and watched both of them. We were disappointed with New in Town, it was funny but there was way too much bad language for a pg movie. I would have classed it as pg-13 because of all the swearing - but I guess because they were the lesser offensive words they didn't count. I dunno.

Monsters Vs Aliens was funny. We both loved it and laughed and didn't have to cringe when a** or s**t was used - even though it also had a pg rating. I guess because of the "violence".

Anyway, Daisy and I had a wonderful girls night out and girls night in. It was well worth not getting to go to the hockey game.

A new friend and a swap

I love getting good stuff, fun stuff in the mail, so when I saw the swap over at The Homeschool Post, I had to sign up. When you sign up for it, you get paired with a "Swap Sister" that you email, get to know and pray for and then buy a gift for. And your swap sister does the same.

On Tuesday, I got a fun package in the mail from my swap sister Nikowa. She sent a Food Network magazine, a wonderful notebook in my favorite color, a Celestial Seasonings fruit tea sampler (I am trying the apple cranberry zinger right now - yum), 2 delicious smelling candles, a pack of Lifesavers, a pack of Doublemint, and a container of Orbit.

The biggest blessing has been getting to know Nikowa. She and I have quite a bit in common, we have kids the same age, same favorite color, and quite a few other things. She homeschools her oldest but it about to start the adventure of co-schooling her younger son. She blogs over at Knowledge House Academy so please go get to know her too.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

When I am sick, I make soup

Soup is one of those comfort foods for me, I love tomato soup in all sorts of ways, cream of soups, hearty stews, I just love soup. When I am sick chicken soup is what particularly appeals to me.

I have given you my strict recipe for chicken noodle soup. In the spirit of that soup, I was making a chicken soup yesterday, decided to put in rice because we had a bunch of left over rice from something else. I forgot the onion but did put in the celery and carrot.

Then I tried something new, I put in 1/2 of a butternut squash that I just cubed into about 1 inch cubes.


It took the chicken and rice soup to a whole new level of good. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the squash but it did its usual partial melting thing where some was firm like a carrot but other just flavored the broth.

Hubby and Daisy loved it, (Junior wasn't very hungry and "doesn't like soup").

All in all, it was a definite do again.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I wanna fly like an Eagle

One of our favorite places to eat is the county airport. I know that sounds sort of weird but it is where Junior wanted to go eat on Saturday after soccer.

We have a smallish county airport. I guess it is smallish, I wouldn't really know. I don't think anything commercial is flying there now, or at least not on a regular basis. It seems to be mostly prop planes but Hubby says there was a small jet there the other day. I dunno.

Anyway, we have a smallish county airport that has a little cafe, the kind with stools up at a bar and mismatched tables. They have a limited menu - mostly burgers, sandwiches, and chicken strips. No soda fountain so if you order coke, you get a cup with ice and a can. The food is good but not the absolute best.

But this is the view out the window where we sat:

That is with no zoom, I-could-hit-the-plane-with-a-french-fry close. If the glass wasn't in the way. And I could throw worth a cuss.

And just beyond those two rows of planes that you see is a runway that you can't really see in the picture. But somebody with a good throwing arm could throw a ball at a plane landing.

So while the food is good I think the whole reason the kids love eating there is the planes. On a Saturday there are plenty of landings and take-offs, quite a bit of goings on to watch. Junior found it fascinating that the propeller disappears when it starts spinning. We have had discussions on how the wind direction could be important during takeoff and landing.

So a meal and some learning. That's a good combo meal.

Since I find it hard to believe we have the only county airport like this, there may be another one near you.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I have a confession - I was wrong

It almost never happens doesn't happen often - ok, happens more often than I would want to admit. But I was completely wrong.

Have you ever read about the Roman baths? There was a series of pools and rooms - hot, cold, etc - the way a person would get cleaned is to rub oil on and then later scrape it off with a strigil.

Did you get that? Cover with oil and then scrape it off to get clean.

EWWWW is what I thought.

Well, maybe not completely. I have been washing my face with oil for the past week and I am loving it. My face feels clean, not oily but also not dried out.

While I am not doing it precisely as the Romans - no strigil here - I am seeing more value in what they did. Soap is so drying and it seems so silly to strip all the protectant off my skin and then put on lotion.

So before bed I massage in some oil (right now I am doing a mix of olive and castor) into my face. I give it a minute and then use a washcloth as warm as I can stand it and hold it on my face until it cools. I then wipe off the extra oil.

That's it.

The olive oil dissolves all the gunky oil on my face, the castor is supposed to help draw out blockages from the oil glands/ducts/whatever. The heat opens up the pores.

Whatever. My skin is no longer hurting and flaking. It also seems to have cleared up my complexion.

So the Romans actually had a very good cleaning method! Well, I am unconvinced on the strigil, it sounds too much like something in the gynecologist office - but otherwise very effective.

I suggest you try it. I was doubtful at first but I really love how it feels.

By the way, I bought the oil with my own money and am receiving no compensation from olive growers, oil producers or anyone else.

Friday, October 23, 2009

7 quick takes

Don't forget to check out Conversion Diary for more quick takes!

1. It drives my husband crazy but I honestly don't do it on purpose. I have a tendency to forget where I put my keys last. They could be in my purse, on the counter, in my pocket of the jeans I was wearing, the pocket of the jacket I was wearing, or some other totally random place.

If it hasn't been but a day or two since I used them last, I can usually find them fairly quickly. But if it has been more than a couple days . . . .

Wednesday I lost them. Completely. As in we spent all day cleaning and decluttering hoping to find where I had left them. We missed piano, didn't get to go to the library, didn't get to the grocery store.

That evening I found them. In my jacket pocket. I shook the jacket much harder than I had the previous 3 times I checked it and heard a jingle.

2. Thursday it was wet rainy and gross outside, plus my stomach hurt so I planned a nice quiet day at home. It didn't happen.


As a 4-H project, Daisy has been raising rabbits - and not the cute little fluffy pets but the meaner meat rabbits. We have found homes for most that she has raised so it hasn't been too bad.

Yesterday though one of them was sick, belly swollen like a balloon. I was pretty sure what it was and that it would probably be fatal soon. The one person who might have known what to do was unavailable. Hubby wasn't home and the poor thing was miserable so I had to dispatch it. That was the first time I had ever had to do anything like that. And hopefully the last.

We did get a homeschool lesson out of it though, we went ahead and dissected it and so identified the heart, lungs, stomach, intestine, liver, kidneys, bile duct, etc.

3. Charlie Hall band came to perform on Saturday night and Sunday. Saturday night was cold (for us anyway) so it wasn't as well attended as it might have been but it was so much fun! I love the music - nice and loud and the kids had a blast. For those of you that don't know him, he sings a lot of praise music although I suppose it could also be called christian rock.

We loved their music. You should check them out.

4. I still haven't heard from the evil dentist office if they are going to continue trying to make us pay. They were supposed to call back the next day (almost 2 weeks ago). I have been trying to call the past 2 days but no answer.

5. Daisy bought her first brand-new good camera with her birthday money. She loves taking pictures but pushing her into artistic pictures is not as easy I would have thought.

I do have her taking as many pictures as possible and have told her 30 shots of one thing is not too much because in that you may have 1 that you love.

6. The men of our church are going together to see a hockey game as a guy's get-together. Junior is so excited that his Daddy is taking him even though he has no clue what a hockey game is. Hubby has never been to one either. Daisy is glad she is a girl and so she can't go.

I wish I could go.

7. Our wal-mart remodeled. That means it takes twice as long to find everything. I hate wal-mart.

The Search for God and Guinness - Stephen Mansfield

Ok, I admit it appealed to my contrary streak to get a book from a christian publisher about beer - and not one denouncing beer but telling how faith was as important in the heritage of Guinness as brewing beer. I was amazed at how well I enjoyed the book though.

The book description reads:
It began in Ireland in the late 1700’s. The water in Ireland, indeed throughout Europe, was famously undrinkable, and the gin and whiskey that took its place was devastating civil society. It was a disease ridden, starvation plagued, alcoholic age, and Christians like Arthur Guinness—as well as monks and even evangelical churches—brewed beer to offer a healthier alternative to the poisonous waters and liquors of the times. This is where the Guinness tale began. Now, 246 years and 150 countries later, Guinness is a global brand, one of the most consumed beverages in the world. The tale that unfolds during those two and a half centuries has power to thrill audiences today: the generational drama, business adventure, industrial and social reforms, deep-felt faith, and the beer itself.

It was a fascinating look on the history of Guinness beer and the Guinness family. I was impressed that one company, one family could do that much good and it shines an even harsher light on the modern companies whose main focus is following the almighty dollar.

I didn't know that Arthur Guinness - founder of the company - brought the first Sunday Schools to Ireland, and they were controversial. Rather than a short class after church, they were an all day class and an out reach to the children of the poor slums.

I didn't know that one of the Guinness descendants was a revivalist compared to Moody and Spurgeon and then founded a school to teach missionaries how to mission in China.

I admit to being a bit bored by the descriptions of how many barrels per year were sold and some of the other business-ey business. But it is a business type book so that is expected. And some of they business-ey stuff was interesting - like the talk of Guinness going into advertising (which it avoided for a long time).

All in all, it was a very interesting book. I would recommend it with one caveat - it is not an easy or quick read (though I suppose that depends on your background). I am a history buff and so found the history fascinating but someone who didn't and also is not interested in business would get bogged down.

I was given the book to review by Thomas Nelson Book Bloggers (click the button on my sidebar if you want to sign up). I received no other form of compensation or reward - just a free book. These thoughts are all my own (except for the quoted portion - duh).

Joshua Bell - At Home with Friends

I was given the opportunity to review Joshua Bell's new album though One2One network. I think I have mentioned before that I have rather eclectic music tastes so I was excited about this. It is various musical friends that perform with Joshua Bell on the songs - people like Sting (oh, I love Sting), Josh Groban (another favorite), Kristen Chenoweth.

In fact, here is the track list
I Loves You Porgy featuring Chris Botti, trumpet
Come Again featuring Sting, vocals
Oblivion featuring Carel Kraayenhof, bandoneon
Cinema Paradiso featuring Josh Groban, vocals
Para Tí featuring Tiempo Libre, various
My Funny Valentine featuring Kristin Chenoweth, vocals
Maybe So featuring Edgar Meyer Sam Bush and Mike Marshall, strings
Grieg: Sonata No. 3 featuring Sergei Rachmaninoff (Zenph re-performance)
Eleanor Rigby featuring Frankie Moreno, piano & vocals
O, Cease Thy Maiden Fair featuring Nathan Gunn, baritone
Il Postino featuring Carel Kraayenhof, bandoneon
Left Hand Song featuring Regina Spektor, piano & vocals
Chovendo Na Roseira featuring Dave Grusin, piano
Look Away featuring Edgar Meyer, bass and Chris Thile, mandolin
Variant Moods: Duet for Sitar & Violin featuring Anoushka Shankar, sitar
I'll Take Manhattan featuring Marvin Hamlisch, piano
Left Hand featuring Regina Spektor, vocals

Sounds great, right? That is what I thought too.

Now, honestly I found myself getting annoyed at the album. Sometimes the way it was mixed was too heavy on the violin - like during the song with Sting, the violin drowned out Sting's voice. Same with the Josh Groban song.

I was also disappointed with the Rachmaninoff "duet" - an old copy of a Rachmaninoff performance in 1928 Germany restored and re-recorded. Again the violin was a bit heavy.

In fairness, it is a album based on Joshua Bell playing the violin and he does play very well. He also has a wide range of styles he can play with. He is a very talented musician.

I just didn't particularly like this album.

But that is just me.

By the way - I did get this CD free to review sent to me by One2One network. I received no other compensation and these are all my own personal opinions about the album.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mommy Creativity

I keep seeing moms who say and think they aren't creative.

I disagree completely because HELLO, kids make you be creative. Even if you aren't teaching your kids knitting or painting or whatever, you are still being creative.

Sometimes kids ask very creative questions that need creative answers.

Sometimes it takes being creative to make the punishment fit the crime.

Sometimes getting a kid to eat their vegetables calls for creativity.

Sometimes getting a child out of the house appropriately dressed takes creativity.

Every day I find I am having to be creative somehow with my kids and not just on art days. It may be convincing my kids to do something that they would rather not or trying to figure out how to explain something so that they "get it."

So don't tell me that you as a mom are not creative. I won't believe you.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Something my kids are REALLY bad at

and I am grateful . . . they stink at lying. The are awful and so transparent - and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Honestly they don't try it very often and it never lasts very long. They know the punishment for whatever infraction will be worse if they lied about it.

They also don't see any purpose in lying to others - like telling friends some kind of exaggerated tale. It is a particular pet peeve of mine and I have been open with them in explaining why I hate it.

Actually, most kids are bad liars. Most kids also don't know how to censor what comes out of their mouth. Most parents know this and so won't say anything in front of a child that they don't want repeated. Little Nancy will tell the church that you think the choir director's wife is a stupid cow, or that mommy and daddy "grown-up wrestle" or any number of things that you DON'T want told.

Of course most parents also don't try to convince their children to lie to authority figures and tv news crews. Most parents don't try to create a media firestorm that an adult would struggle with keeping the story straight.

What kind of parent would want to teach their child to lie?

Harry Connick Jr - Your Songs

I was lucky enough to be able to receive the new Harry Connick Jr album - Your Songs - to review for the One2one network. I admit I have very . . . eclectic music tastes. I like music from almost all genres and from most time periods. It is easier to describe what I don't like - rap and Barry Manilow (sorry Heather).

So what I was expecting from Harry Connick Jr was more of his lovely Frank Sinatra-esque music - and there was some of that. But there was also some that seemed Barry Manilow-ish. Maybe it is because of the time period that those specific songs are from, none of them are Barry Manilow songs, but I kept thinking the next song would be Copacabana.

Don't get me wrong, there are some songs I love on the cd - All the Way, Besame Mucho, The Way You Look Tonight, Some Enchanted Evening, Mona Lisa - but it isn't my new favorite cd. It might have been if the song selection had been different.

The most critical family members tolerated it although there were comments that it sounded like Dave from Alvin and the Chipmunks - in fairness I think it had more to do with the style of music than Harry Connick Jr's voice.

So if you like Frank Sinatra and Barry Manilow you will probably love this album - either that or you will think I am crazy for the comparison to Manilow.

I was given the album for free but received no other payment of any kind for this review. These are my unbiased and unedited opinions.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What about community service?

The last two Saturdays have found our family involved in some form of community service. It has been great for the kids to get involved and to see Dad and Mom get involved. It has also been good for us as a family.

Last Saturday our church and 2 other churches got together to put a new roof on a widow's house. I didn't really think that sort of thing was done anymore, communities used to do that sort of thing but it seems that people are more interest in what they can get out of something.

Anyway, one of the 90-something year old widows in our church needed a new roof and asked for help. The men and women were going to get together on Friday and finish it up on Saturday - but it rained on Friday. So Saturday morning the work started at 8:30 with the people of our church providing lunch. Hubby was there when the work started, the kids and I got there about 10:30 with some food - 1 gallon of corn and a chocolate cherry cake.

The kids and I got to work picking up the pieces of shingles that were on the ground and then Junior used a rolling magnet to pick up nails. While the kids didn't really do very much actual roofing, we were there until about 4 when the roof was finished. Daisy worked almost the entire time, Junior found another little boy about his age and played while he worked. At one point there were 50 people there working in some way so the roofing job went very quickly.

We had already signed up to help with the roof when we found out about Texas 4-H One Day. On October the 10th, 4-H had a one day volunteer effort where club members were supposed to do some kind of volunteer work, whether it was mowing someone's lawn or making someone a meal. So for our One Day effort, we helped in a roofing job.

Today our county did a community cleaning project. Volunteer teams were assigned areas to work - parks, road sides, etc - and asked to pick up trash. Our 4-H club did this last year and enjoyed it so we did it again this year. Since we have small-ish children working with us, we were asked to clean up around the softball parks - less of a risk with cars. The litter was appalling. In about 2 1/2 hours we filled 33 large trash bags with mostly beer bottles but also a large amount of plastic bottles.

The kids work hard at this but have a great time. Not to mention, I am sure they will think hard before they chunk a bit of trash into the woods.

Later tonight we have a concert that doesn't have anything to do with volunteering but is just fun. Charlie Hall is going to be performing locally so it should be a fun night.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WFMW- Quick bread recipe

Ok, I like to try new things and experiment which sometimes mean I bring home a new beer to try. Some of these are absolutely wonderful and others . . . leave a bad taste in the mouth.

Those that we don't like then just sit in the refrigerator taking up space. For weeks.

So now I cook with them. I know wine people say "only use a wine you would drink" but usually when I don't like a wine or beer it is because it is too strong in something. Cooking dilutes those flavors, especially since I usually can't use enough to get a wine or beer flavor (the kids whine about it).

One of my favorites is Southern Living's Sweet Beer Bread.

Sweet Beer Bread

  • 3 cups self-rising flour - I have also made it with half self-rising and half whole wheat BUT then you need to add some more leavening - like baking soda or baking powder but I don't remember how much

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 12-ounce light or dark beer (which is a bottle or can - really convienent for measuring)

Dump the ingredients in a bowl and stir. Pour into a lightly greased 8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch loafpan.

Bake at 375° for 55 to 60 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool on wire rack.

With the different beers, you get different flavors. I have made a couple that were slightly bitter because the beer was a bitter beer but most were very good. I am thinking that an Apple Jack beer would be really good with this, add some cinnamon and you have apple cinnamon bread.

Using beer this way works for me. Check out more Works for Me at We Are That Family.
Check out more Works

Monday, October 12, 2009

I just love it when someone tells me I am a bad mother

Today I had to go argue with the dentist office; you know, the one that made my child terrified of the dentist. Two years later and I am still upset about it.

A year after what they did to Junior, they sent a bill for over $250 for work they had done on my husband before Junior's torture treatment. I called about it, holding back the rage I felt and was told that they hadn't sent the bill to the insurance company and that bill was automatically generated when they billed the insurance company.


Well someone else was doing the billing during that time. Don't worry, insurance will cover it.

So a month ago (a year after the previous bill and 2 years after treatment), we get another bill. I see red again and call only to find out that they want me to speak with the insurance company to beg them to pay.

Yes, the dental office that I get enraged about wants me to do a favor for them. So I mention it to Hubby so that he can tell the human resources person (or whoever it is that deals with insurance problems).

We got another bill.

So I went up there to calmly explain why I couldn't plead with the insurance company. And why we no longer go there.

They feel completely justified in the way my son was treated and actually blame me! If I had chosen to explain that it might hurt, it would better have prepared him. So I am a bad mother for not scaring the crap out of my child before taking him to the dentist.

I don't know how the missed cavity is my fault but I am sure it is. Some how.

Oh, and the billing problem is not their fault either. Now they are saying it is the insurance's fault. They did bill insurance immediately, insurance said to submit the claim again in a year (does this make any sense? because it doesn't to me). Then after the year they resubmitted the claim and insurance is denying it (DUH! Any idiot could have told them that would happen). So it is all the evil insurance companies fault.

I would love to live in a world where nothing is my fault - except I guess I can't since I am a mother.

Thing is, I took the high road. I just wanted to never think about that dentist and his office again. I haven't complained about them by name except for to a few friends. I didn't file a complaint with the ADA only because the dentist I grew up using is my cousin and I called him. He explained that some dentists do feel that the anesthetic is worse than the drilling.

I didn't complain to large groups of people, like the local homeschool email group I am on with well over 150 members. I haven't complained about him by name anywhere. I haven't filed a complaint with the BBB (although I am seriously thinking about that one).

I keep hoping it will work out somehow. My son has gotten better with his terror of dentists. I keep thinking that we can put that dentist office behind us and never deal with it again. At this point, that is all I really want from them.

Maybe not only am I a bad mother, but also a stupid one to think that I will get what I want from someone who has already made (overpriced) large amounts of money off my family.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

On Sunday

I sat in the floor. He sat in my lap. He sat and leaned into me because he loves me and I was there.

He is getting big enough that it is uncomfortable. His weight strains my back muscles because there is nothing for me to lean against. His not so little body overflowed my lap.

The leader asks the group a question and he doesn't respond. I whisper it in his ear and he whispers back he doesn't know. I know that means he is too shy to answer. I lean forward and kiss the back of his head, glad that he still allows this.

He is six so it won't last much longer. He won't want my lap forever so I ignore the sore back and discomfort from the floor.

The last time he shows such affection won't come with warning or fanfare so I treasure each time in my heart.

My baby is growing up.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

You know you wanna

Elizabeth Esther is doing a Saturday Evening Post. People submit their own best post of the month, whether it is funny, sad, thought provoking, artistic or a recipe.

I have done it. I chose Pick your side now.

It is your turn to do it now.

You know you wanna.

Friday, October 2, 2009

7 quick takes

Don't forget to check out Conversion Diary for more quick takes

1. I really, really hate it when there are a bazillion ideas for posts floating around in my head (kind of link watching dust motes in the sunshine) but when I get to the computer they all disappear. Unfortunately it happens too often. I have thought that it would be convenient to have my thoughts transferred to the computer - kind of like a portable thought Dictaphone without the talking out loud. The problem is that it is scary enough for me to follow my thought process - I don't know that anyone else would want to see the true "stream of conscious"ness.

2. Our homeschool group does soccer this time of year, we just meet on Saturdays and the kids are divided into three groups. With the younger groups, it is very relaxed and low key. No score keeping, the kids are divided into teams each Saturday and the coaches try to get the talent evenly spread out so there isn't one team obviously better than the other.

The kids love it, this is Junior's first year and he was a bit nervous at first but he had a good time. Not that he will admit it. No, he was only smiling so he could stretch out his mouth.

3. Boys wisdom: "If everyone in the world all pooted at the same time, all the free air would smell really, really bad." (pooted would be passing gas, flatulence, whatever you want to call it).

4. We had co-op today and I have had some mild virus all week. By the time we finished and I picked Daisy up from her extra class, it was 4:30 and I had a headache and was tired. So I thought I would lay down for a bit and ended up sleeping 3 1/2 hours.

Hubby knows how much a I hate to take naps, I may doze off on the couch but I seldom lay down in bed for a nap. So he knew I needed the sleep and took care of everything for the evening - even reading the stories which he really isn't fond of doing.

5. We are currently taking large doses of vitamin D because I have heard from various sources that a vitamin d deficiency is linked to flu and colds. Researchers in Canada or studying to see if this is also true of the h1n1 virus.

In the meantime, I prefer to go ahead and take it and ward off (or reduce the symptoms). So we all recently started taking vitamin D in addition to the regular vitamins. Perhaps I wouldn't have gotten sick if I had gone ahead and started taking it earlier. (There is an interesting article here explaining more about it and the science behind it. The first part of the article is talking more about why this guy started researching it, but it does get into the science and research).

6. Have you seen this video?

I wish I knew more about the history of it but I think it is still amazing. Both Junior and Daisy watched it, he liked the music at the beginning and thought it was impressive to watch but didn't really understand the story. Daisy understood the story better but wasn't sure why the live veiwers seemed so upset. After all it was such a long time ago that the war happened (1945). It didn't seem quite so far away when she learned that her great-grandfather would have fought in that war had he lived in the Ukraine.

7. Shameless plug: I also have the two other blogs, homeschool and recipes. I have even been a little better at updating them so I would love it if you would check them out. They are featured in the buttons up top that say "Our Little Homeschool in the Pineywoods" and "Kitchen Chaos."

Ok, I am really tired despite the long nap so I am done. That's all. No more. Fini.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Noticer

Although I read a lot there aren't many books that I would recommend to just about anyone. The Noticer by Andy Andrews is one of the few.

Jones an old man of undetermined age and background helps a young homeless man - not by giving a handout but by giving him the tools to improve his life. Later the young man finds out about the others that Jones has helped: the couple on the brink of divorce, the old woman who thinks her life is over, the business man who is too busy getting ahead to notice what he is leaving behind.

Based on a true story but weaving in fiction and allegory, The Noticer is a beautifully crafted story from the young homeless man. It is a fairly quick read except, in my opinion, this is one to read slowly and savor. This is an excellent book to add to any collection.

As a side note, as a homeschooler I love how much Jones taught through biographies. We must read more biographies.

I was able to read this book through the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger. I get no compensation for doing this review, only the book to read. If you are interested in doing some reviews yourself, click the button in the sidebar.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I am turning into my mother - or maybe not

I come from a long line of Dallas Cowboy fans. I can remember my (great) Granddaddy, Grandmother, and Mom all yelling at the TV when a Cowboy game came on. I grew up with names like Roger Staubach and Danny White.

I also would try to go outside when the cowboy game was on because, y'all the yelling was LOUD.

Even though I did somewhat keep my distance during game time, I did consider myself a Cowboy fan.

I mourned along with everyone else when Tom Landry was fired.

Tom Landry should still be coach.

I still consider Jerry Jones the new owner, the villian who fired Landry.

Now I watch Cowboy football and yell at the tv. My kids hate game day because they say I am too loud.

I have to confess though, I saw part of the Houston Texan game against the Tennessee Titans. That was a good game! And I didn't get mad at Tony for thinking too much about Jessica and not being able to throw the ball. And there wasn't any illegal tripping like in the Cowboy game that followed.

Although, my throat was a bit sore by the time the Cowboy game came on.

But I enjoyed it.

I also enjoyed the Texan game yesterday. Although, they totally should have won. Stupid Refs.

They didn't make a bunch of glaringly stupid errors. At least not compared to some of the Cowboy games I have seen.

So I may be turning into a Texan fan. I will still root for the 'Boys but I am losing some of the loyalty.

I am just glad my Grandaddy doesn't know.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Weird Wednesday

Apparently some part of me likes coming up with problems no one else has had and stumping support people.

I would really like to get rid of that part.

I have had a cell phone that would randomly delete numbers, then one that insisted the bluetooth was on when it was off, then one that wouldn't make phone calls unless there was internet access. We have had other people's insurance tacked on to our mortgage - every single person I talked to at the mortgage company said "oh but we wouldn't do that" until they realized that they did.

Today my land line phone service died. Except, I still have DSL through the same line.

Yes, I know. It's weird. I spent almost all day moving furniture trying to get at each one of the plugs to see if that was the problem. Bought a new cheapo phone to see if that was the problem.

When Hubby got home he spent 20 minutes and wired up a device to plug a phone into to see if it was the line outside the house or inside. So it took him 25 minutes to confirm what I spent all day doing.

I was a little annoyed because of no phone service but it wasn't too bad because I still had internet. Until about 2 or 3 pm and the internet died.


All afternoon and evening it was "oh, I need to look up _____. Wait, I DON'T HAVE INTERNET!" or "I need to send an email to _____. Wait, I DON'T HAVE INTERNET!" And then "That would make a great blog post. Wait, I DON'T HAVE INTERNET!"

After a very long and frustrating day, I thought I would just double check and amazingly the internet is back. Angels sang, I did a happy dance, Hubby got annoyed.

See, there is a chance that I was wrong and only thought the internet was alive when the phone was dead. Which would be more understandable. Because only half of our services going out is weird. But the net being back means I was likely not wrong. So the weird thing is the true thing.

Hopefully I will have phone service back sometime tomorrow. And the internet connection won't die again. And maybe I will be more coherent.

Edited to add Well they came today and I watched them out the window and they had to bring one of the cherry picker trucks. It turns out a mama flying squirrel had made her nest in the line box thingy (it is the long black box that looks like it would be great for holding french bread or newspapers). She had 5 baby squirrels so young that their eyes weren't open yet.

The phone guys found a box to put them in so they could have another nest and mama flying squirrel is checking out the new digs. She may decide to move the nest again but at least she isn't completely avoiding them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Secret Keeper Girl and a question

Now that Daisy is getting to be a certain age, we have been discussing modesty more. Fun.

To help with the whole thing, I got the "Secret Keeper Girl" geared to 8-12 year olds. It is a mom and daughter thing, with mom and daughter going out on dates and discussing "the truth about their "internal wardrobe," their external beauty-and to have a blast in the process!"

So we did the first date on Saturday, it was supposed to be a tea party but Daisy hates tea. And it is hot anyway so we went for dessert at Olive Garden. The discussion was great and I think it gave both of us something to ponder.

Something she told me about has been sort-of bothering me.

We have a family rule that stupid and shut-up are not allowed. It is too easy to use it on each other and that just does not build the family up. With younger kids, they don't see how some occasions are ok and others are not so it is just easier for it to be a general rule.

Well apparently some of the girls at camp were talking and one said that if you weren't allowed to say shut-up then you weren't cool. According to what Daisy said, this wasn't directed at Daisy but it still hurt her feelings.

Since she has a good head on her shoulders and is compassionate, and I don't think she would be using stupid and shut-up constantly, we lifted the rule. I explained why the rule was there in the first place, explained that it didn't solve conflict blah, blah, blah.

I also explained that people don't typically notice the words you don't say until they have been around you for a long time. For instance, I would bet that none of my friends know that I don't like the word "hiney". It just annoys me and so I don't use it, there are many other words that mean the same that don't make me cringe.

I suppose the real reason this bothers me is that it hurt my baby girl. But also because I don't like shut-up. It is rude, hurtful, and it tells someone that you don't value them. I may have thought it at my kids but I don't want to verbalize that message at them. Really the only value where I might use it is an emergency situation. Stupid is equally vile, although I do find myself using it on the other drivers around me (or some other word that means the same like idiot, moron etc).

So what do you think of those words?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Random Dozen

1. Which is worse: a long, boring meeting or standing in a return/exchange line after Christmas?

Well, I would have to say long boring meeting because the line I would have to be corralling my kids in a long line I didn't want to be in. The long boring meeting I would either not have the kids or if it is 4-H, the long boring meeting is their fault.

Plus the whole sit-down vs stand-up makes the meeting a winner anyway.

2. Except for maybe Rosie O'Donnell or Ann Coulter, nobody likes confrontation, yet we all have to deal with it. When you feel cornered and defensive, do you "bite back" or become passive aggressive?

As much as it sounds like a cop-out, it really depends on hormones. Most of the time I become passive-aggressive and retreat. There have been a very few occasions where I have gotten into a rage, but since I have felt the need to apologize afterward, I prefer to leave.

3. Do you know anything about your genealogical background? (What country, culture, ties to prominent historical figures, or other stuff.)

Primarily Scotch-Irish, some German, English, French - no Italian wich is amazing considering my love for all Italian food. There was one cousin who traced the family tree back to the Plantagentets (which only means something to the history buffs). I do have a cousin who was a movie star back in the black & white days, if I remember right her dad and my great grandmother were siblings. That's all I know about though.

4. What is the quickest way a person can endear him/herself to you?

To treat the old and the young with respect. To listen, both to what is said and what is not said.

5. Cake, pie, cookies, or ice cream? (Note there is no "all of the above" option. You must choose one. Feel free to elaborate on flavor or memories tied to this dessert.) If you'd like, you can share a recipe, but you certainly don't have to.

Either cake or ice cream and it really depends on the mood and the weather.

6. Females: Do you regularly change your handbag to coordinate with your outfit?

No. Usually when I change purses, the old one is dead to me.

7. Are you task-oriented or relationship-oriented?

relationship My to-do list is too long for me to pay any attention to it.

8. IHOP, Bob Evans or Cracker Barrel?

Never eaten at Bob Evans, there isn't a Cracker Barrel nearby so by default I would say IHOP (but I would prefer Cracker Barrel)

9. Have you ever left a movie in progress in a theater? Why?

No, if I do make a mistake and go to a movie I hate, I hold out hope to the very end that it will improve.

10. What is one area of life in which you would like to develop more discipline or organization?

Can I chose the whole thing?

11. Was middle school fun or painful?

Horrible, painful, awkward. Not that High school was a bowl of cherries either. I have come to terms with being a nerd or geek since then though.

12. What is your favorite Fall beverage?

We don't do fall here in this part of Texas, it goes from blasted hot to danged cold in a couple days. I have heard of a mythical event called fall but haven't witnessed it. Is it like the similarly mythical event called autumn?