Saturday, January 31, 2009

Interesting Evening

Tonight we had guests for dinner. Everything was so nice. The kids were behaving. The food actually turned out very well. The conversation was quite engaging. And then the light started to flicker.

I thought at first that it was just a bulb above the table that was ready to burn out and thought nothing of it, but then all the bulbs started to flicker and the next thing we knew ... POOF! All the power went off! It came back on within seconds and everyone cheered, but a bit prematurely. The lights all flickered again and then went off for good.

I had thought about making our dinner really classy by lighting a few candles, but with seven kids involved, I had decided against it. After the lights went out, I ended up digging out all the candles I had and lighting them all. Oh, what a treat for the kids! They all loved it! Well, Christopher was quite leary of the whole thing at first, but he got used to it.

So after we were finished eating, we were a bit at a loss as to what to do. The kids had all wanted to play in the basement, but it was way too dark and there was no way I was going to let them take candles downstairs! (We had no working flashlights. Go figure. I've learned my lesson, though. I have to HIDE several flashlights from the boys because they drained all the batteries!!) The kids played hide and seek for awhile, but they kept running and bumping into each other because it was just too dark.

We decided to have our ice cream sundaes for dessert by candlelight. It was a lot of fun actually, because it was something so out of the ordinary. Timothy cracked us all up though when he ran upstairs to get his mini-flashlight from his room. He shouted down to us, "Hey! Guess what?! The lights up here don't work either!"

We ended up all playing Uno by candlelight and the kids, and the parents, had so much fun! It was definitely a memorable evening, and not one I would CHOOSE to repeat, but because of the uniqueness of it all, we'll remember this night together for a long time! Just before our guests were ready to leave, the lights came back on and everyone cheered again! The power had been off for only about two hours, but it's amazing how much we take electricity for granted!

The power has been on ever since, and I'm thankful because now my dishwasher is humming, the house is warming up again and the toilets are all flushed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Paid to Give My Opinion!

I did something soooo fun today! I was part of a focus group for a local research company and I got paid for sitting around a table with six other women talking about cleaning products! I am not allowed to disclose the company or any of the proposed ideas from the company, but basically, there is a company that produces a "green" product line of house cleaners and we had to give our opinion on the labeling, the shape of the package, the advertising, etc, etc. It was fascinating and very interesting to hear the other women's points of view.

One thing that came out of several of us women was that some of the packages were just too "busy" with the labeling. It turns out that most of us were moms of young children and the comments that came out were that we appreciate labels that are simple and basic and not crowded with too much information. We don't have time to stop and browse and read the fine print on cleaning products or anything else for that matter! When we're in a store, usually we have mere seconds to glance at the packaging and we make our decision on what we see in those brief seconds. Here I thought that I was the only one who had that problem, but I guess not!

At the end of our hour, we were all given a bottle of this cleaner to take home PLUS a nice cash payment for our time and opinions. While I don't really need this cleaner since I love my Watkins stuff, I don't mind a free bottle of cleaner! And the money sure was an incentive as well!

I sure hope they call me again! As one other mom in the elevator on the way down said, "What a fun evening out! AND we got a free bottle of cleaner! AND we got paid for it!" Yep. I think I like getting paid to give my opinion!

Monday, January 26, 2009


What's all this you ask? Well, I'll tell you. My sons never cease to amaze me. The artistic ability of Timothy especially is demonstrated over and over ... all over the house! Remember the wall mural that he drew over a year ago? Well, he decided to add to his portfolio. I ran upstairs to the boys' room for something and I just couldn't stop the scream escaping from my mouth! Timothy had decided to play a giant-sized game of tic-tac-toe ON THE FLOOR of their room IN CRAYON! He explained to me that he even used two different colors so that he knew whose turn it was. When I asked him who played, he told me that he was playing ... ME!
I pulled out a brush, a rag and the Watkins All-Purpose cleaner and made him start scrubbing! It was a LARGE version of tic-tac-toe and it took a LONG time to clean up, but he finally finished and the carpet looks great! Whew! The only problem now is that it doesn't seem like there is much regret for what he had done. It honestly seems as if he doesn't understand that drawing a tic-tac-toe game with crayon on the carpet was something that he shouldn't have done.
I love my little artist. For a four-year-old, he really does have a talent for drawing, but I see that we still need to work on teaching him WHERE he is allowed to draw! I'm also thankful that you can hardly tell where that huge game was drawn. It was right in the middle of the room, too, so I couldn't have even hid it with a piece of furniture or anything. As one of my friends (who has no kids!!!) asked, "Well, why did you let him have a crayon to begin with?" Ha! Just wait a few years and I want to see what happens in HER house!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

If I Could Do It Over ...

Ok, let's have some fun today. Finish the sentence:

If I could do it over ...

Let me give you a few examples to start you off.

If I could do it over, I wouldn't turn the stove on high and use my new pot to make popcorn. (It just makes things too smokey and ruins beautiful new pots! Boo hoo!)

If I could do it over, I wouldn't change the ingredients in Betty's Crockpot Enchilada Casserole to something I think my family would enjoy better. (You just end up with a table full of complainers and a crockpot full of muck.)

If I could do it over, I would give him the benefit of the doubt instead of jumping in with accusations.

If I could do it over, I would read the instructions FIRST!!! It saves a lot of time.

If I could do it over, I wouldn't worry so much about what people think about how we raise our kids. I would just pray that God would help us do what is best for OUR family.

If I could do it over, I would tell more of my friends in school that I was a Christian, and then tell them why.

If I could do it over, I would adhere to traffic laws instead of thinking that I could slip by.

Ok. Your turn. What would you do differently if you could do it over? Comment anonymously if you need to!! Ha ha!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Allergy Agony

This is what it looks like when a five year old boy discovers that he has an apparant allergy to cats and now needs to take eye drops to help relieve the irritation...and this was one of the more calm photos we tried to take. Poor kid. He was not happy about taking eye drops! Poor Mom. She was not happy trying to get them into his eyes. Poor Dad. He had to step in because Mom was beyond frustrated with this guy. One good thing that came out of all of this is the fact that we now know we will NOT have indoor cats at our house! Hooray!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We're So Rich!

I saw a Family Circus cartoon many years ago where little Billy was holding handfuls of Christmas cards and he was shouting with joy, "We're RICH!" I have tried and tried to find that cartoon online to post on here because I just loved it. This is what I think every time I see all of our Christmas cards, too. We're rich! Look at all those precious jewels on our doors and walls! God has blessed our family with so many family members and friends that we can't be anything BUT rich!
These are the Christmas cards that we received as of December 27, 2008. We got about ten more after this, but these are the ones we had at that time. Do you recognize yours? You have helped make our family rich and we are so thankful! If you don't see your card, maybe it came after December 27 (or is hanging conveniently on our refrigerator with the magnet you glued on the back!). I hope that your family is blessed with similar riches!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cream of Wheat

The boys are just LOVING Cream of Wheat these days! Must be all the snow, wind and sub-zero weather we've been having lately. One day before Christmas when I was trying to get a Cookie Kitchen order done during crunch time before breakfast, Stephen saw my sprinkles and asked if he could decorate his Cream of Wheat. Why not?! This is the beautiful Christmas tree that he came up with. Isn't it cute?! Since then we've done space shuttles, roller coasters, sunshines, mini golf courses, you name it!

How do you eat your Cream of Wheat? If it's getting a bit boring to you, try decorating it. It's so much more fun that way!

PS It works with oatmeal, too!

Friday, January 9, 2009


One of the highlights of our trip to Ohio over Christmas was the very short visit Liz and I had with our dear friend, Ruth. What made it so special was that we grew up with Ruth in East Akron and our families were so close that our parents had every right to treat each other's kids as their own ... and they did ... both with love and discipline and everything else in between! Liz, Ruth and our cousin, Jill, were even baptized together, so our bond is quite close. The problem (situation) now is that Ruth and her family live in Alaska! Needless to say, we don't cross paths too often these days! This is why our visit together in December was so precious. We can be apart for years on end, but when we're all together again, it seems like we just pick up right where we left off and nothing has changed!

Ruth sent an e-mail this morning letting us know that they arrived back in Anchorage today and she shared some thoughts about their trip back East (or do you say 'down south'?) I asked her permission to share it here because I felt that she verbalized her thoughts so well about the subject of HOME. It has given me a lot to think about today and I'm thankful that she agreed to let me post it here. Thanks for being a guest here today, Ruth, and thanks so much for the precious visit we had together!

Some thoughts about "home"....
When we left Anchorage in December we said we were going "home".
When we left Ohio in January we said we were going "home."
When we were in your houses we felt at "home."
When we were in some places that we had never been, but were with you, we felt at "home."
When we talk about a believer dying, we say he or she has gone "home."
When we think of heaven, we call it our heavenly "home."
Is it a place, a feeling, things, that make a home?
The dictionary says home is "a place where one lives."
I say it is the people and the relationships we have with them, that make whatever we call home, "home."
My mother-in-law has redecorated her home. It looks different without all the wallpaper. But that didn't make it "not home". It was "home" because she was there.
The house where I grew up is not a place I visit or even drive by anymore. My dad is not there. It is not "home."
In contrast, heaven is a place I have never been and yet it is my eternal home. Why? Because God is there and as I get to know Him and spend time with Him, wherever He is is "home."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


This morning we woke up to a beautiful, white blanket of snow! Of course the boys wanted to shovel, so we all bundled up and headed out to rescue our driveway from the countinuous powdering of precipitation. Fred had already left for a meeting, so it was just the boys and me out there plowing away at the heavy stuff that was already on the ground. Even though the neighborhood had that beautiful quiet that occurs after a new snowfall, that quiet was interrupted by the non-natural sounds of many snowblowers. At one point, I stopped to lean on my trusty old shovel and I just laughed out loud as I looked around. All the female neighbors that were out clearing their driveways were using SHOVELS! All the men were using SNOWBLOWERS! You'd think that it would be the other way around, you know, the women being the weaker vessel and the men needing to show their strength. But no. When it comes to snow removal, snow blowers are more powerful and manly than a simple shovel, I guess. Now, I don't know if snowblowers get the job done any faster than a shovel or not because it seemed to me that all these men were going up and down and up and down and back and forth and back and forth just enjoying the sound of the engine and the smell of gasoline or something. They had to find every little scrap of snow to whoosh away while it would have taken mere seconds to just plow that shovel through and be done with it already! That's ok. I found it quite humorous and enjoyed watching these guys so diligently clean their driveways and sidewalks and the road in front of their driveways and their neighbors' sidewalks and their own driveways again and ...... (Now if those same men would clean the insides of their homes with the same detail, I'm sure there'd be many a happy housewife on our street!)

After we exhausted our efforts in clearing the driveway, the boys decided to pull out the sleds. I stood at the top of the hill watching them for a few runs and then decided that I'd help them pack down a slide by taking a turn myself. Wow! I was hooked after that first run! Even without snowpants and with my short ankle boots, Christopher and I stood in line together at the top and took our turns going down that hill, too! I was sopping wet with sweat, snow and Christopher's snot, but did we ever have fun! I wish I could have videotaped us going down because he was squealing with delight and roaring with laughter if we tipped over. At the bottom of the hill he'd shout, "Up the mountain, Mommy! Come!" and we'd start all over again. My hip bones are a bit sore tonight. I think I hit one too many moguls on each trip down.

The boys are at school tomorrow, but since it's been snowing off and on all day and there's more predicted for tomorrow, I just *might* take Christopher outside so that I have an excuse to slide down that hill a few more times myself! Anyone want to come over and sled with us?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Statue of Liberty

Timothy asked:

Mommy, do you know why the Statue of Liberty has her hand like this? (Stretches out his arm Statue-of-Liberty-like)

Why Timothy?

Because she's holding a tomato.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Credit to Karen

Well, I never realized the stir this picture of Dad would cause! I honestly didn't even remember where it came from, I just knew that I had it sitting in my files and was waiting for the day to use it. Karen reminded me that this was her picture from an old digital camera that she had and she sent it to all of us. goes to Karen for this memorable picture. If you want a more socially acceptable picture of my dad, click on Karen's link on the side and see her post for January 2. Her picture is more like the dad we know and love!

Dad, thanks for being such a good sport about this. You know we love you!

Friday, January 2, 2009

January 2

Happy Birthday, Dad! You always love to give us a bit of humor, but today is my chance to give you some back! Even this clever disguise doesn't hide who you really are! We love you and pray for you. Happy Birthday!