Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

This is Jolie and she is wishing you a very Blessed and Happy New Year! Jolie was a gift to my niece for Christmas and she looks forward to many days of snuggling and book reading with her new friend.
Grant me the strength from day to day
To bear what burdens come my way.
Grant me throughout this bright New Year
More to endure and less to fear.
Help me live that I may be
From spite and petty malice free.
Let me not bitterly complain
When cherished hopes of mine prove vain,
Or spoil with deeds of hate and rage
Some fair tomorrow's spotless page.
Lord, as the days shall come and go
In courage let me stronger grow....
Lord, as the New Year dawns today
Help me to put my faults away.
Let me be big in little things;
Grant me the joy which friendship brings.
Keep me from selfishness and spite;
Let me be wise in what is right.
A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye.
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I've played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.
~Edgar A. Guest

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Advent Quilt

Now that I have photo capabilities I wanted to share the Advent quilt wallhanging I made and our family used this season.

(Sorry for the lighting issues...I just didn't want to take it down quite yet to get a better picture).

And a few of the felt ornaments I made. Each of them went into one of these pockets. The envelope flap was down until the day arrived and then we lifted it and hooked it to the button I sewed immedicately above it.

I wasn't sure what to make. What symbols I would use. I went back and forth and finally landed on just doing a mish-mash of Christmas/Winter related images.

My kids have an ongoing debate about whether this DOVE looks more like a chicken or a monkey in the face!

I'm being lazy this morning and didn't want to take the time to edit this one further. Tilt your head, k?

This is SUPPOSE to be a wreath, but it mutated in size and ended up looking more like a teething ring.

Despite all the flaws and artistic anomolies, no one wants me to change ir improve any of these. They say they find "joy" in them. Weeeeeell!! I think their joy and ulimately their laughter is at MY expense! hrmph. *wink*

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cathedral Window and T-shirt Quilt

It's a good thing my sis doesn't read my blog. She'd KILL me for posting this picture of her, but I had to PROVE she was actually crying over her gift! LOL

Do you see that dark blue square toward the middle there? The one that says "World Champions"? Well, there's a little story behind that. I searched all over to get enough Royals tess for this quilt and one place I looked was my local Freecycle group (check it out if you're interested at I posted what I wanted and why and had only ONE reply, but what a reply it was. The gal has had this sweatshirt since she went to the "I-70 series" back in 1985. She's not a big Royals fan, but she just couldn't bring herself to just toss it out considering this was the year that the Royals actually WON the World Series. I was thrilled to get this from her and include it in the quilt. As a matter of fact it was the first block that J pointed out specifically and "wowed" over. :-) Aaaaah, Glory Days.

I couldn't decide which of these to post so I thought...I'd post them both.
I'll post up the sock monkey after I edit a certain little someone out of it. :-)
By the way...see those letters that say "Go Royals"? I learned how to make them here from Lazy Gal Tonya.

Merry Christmas? Yes it WAS!

At my friend Jody's reminding I've decided to put this journal entry on my blog. For posterities sake if you will.
There's so much that has gone on this week and if you were right here in front of me I'd tell you each and'd probably wish I wouldn't! LOL

I've spent the entire week sick. Dh and I have both had this icky cold/flu thing, but we've managed to muddle through. Now, of course that doesn't sound like a "lovely Christmas" at all, but the Lord blessed us with just enough pockets of energy to be able to participate in all of our planned activities and to complete the projects we were working on.

We went to dh's family's on Christmas Eve. Some who normally don't come, came and it was simply wonderful to have them there. A very full house with over 30 in attendance, not counting the smaller children. We played our usual white elephant exchange (dh wasn't able to put together the leg lamp he intended this year, but he's set on getting it done for next year! ) and with that many people you can imagine what a variety of little "pale packaderms" we had floating around the room and what a roaring good time it was! LOL

The best part though, and I have to remember to send my sil a note about this, was the reading of the Christmas story this year. Dh's family has a variety of levels of those committed and not-so-commited to Christ and even those who are anti-anything Christian, but my sil took this opportunity of CHRISTmas to insist that the Christmas story be read from Luke and to remind all there what this holiday is all about. Afterwards she asked another bil to pray and then another to start off some caroling. It was uncomfortable for many and a few sneaked out after the prayer, but mainly everyone stayed and enjoyed a heartwarming Christmas experience. I was very pleased (as these family events are infamously unpredictable.)

On Christmas day, I woke up first and started our morning breakfast casserole, coffee and hot chocolate and waited for everyone else to start moving around. This gave me just a bit of time to sit in the dark living room and pray by the glow of the Christmas tree lights. In that moment I was thinking mostly of how the Lord had blessed us so richly with gifts under our tree. I could look at nearly every present either purchased or handmade and marvel at either the way the Lord provided the funds or the time to accomplish there presence there. I was also thinking of how different our Christmas celebrations are now that we've been set free from the bondage of our cult-days and delivered into an understanding of what the oft used phrase "Grace and Mercy" means. You can imagine how that little time warmed my heart (despite my sniffles and coughs), amen?

Eventually everyone began to stir and we shared our last Advent devotion from Handel's Family Advent Reader. Dh and I enjoyed this so much, but the children want something different for next year. Ah well.

Then...present time! We all received some fabulous gifts relative to our interests and personalities...books, DVDs, CDs, hobby supplies, clothes, etc. I was most impressed with the thought that went into each. Ds got dd a nice stereo for her room. Hers' died early this year, but we didn't see a real need to replace it as she was still capable of listening to CDs in her DVD player, though the sound quality is greatly diminished via the television speakers. This was unacceptable to Mr. and Miss Music so....ds rectified that.

Ds was thrilled to find 2 new effects pedals under the tree (one from us and one from L's family). None-electric guitar folks won't know what this is, and I barely do myself, all I can say is that pedals are THE thing to have in order to manipulate "tone" and "distortion" among other things when playing guitar. Bottom line...he loved it.

**A fun little side note here: L. has been in Paris (btw, they did make it safely...thank you for the prayers), but she devised this cute little plan to gift ds every day that she is gone. She enlisted my help and so every morning since last Saturday I've had a new present to set out for ds before he wakes up. His favorite soft drink, a picture frame with their picture in it etc. In each is a cutsie little note, too. The very first day was funny. He got this little monkey and you can record your message into it by pressing the palm of one of its hands. Then you press the other hand to play-back. Well, my son...pressed the right hand the first time, heard the message and then, despite a note being wrapped around the recording hand that said, DO NOT TOUCH THIS HAND,...squeezed it and erased her message. He decided to make lemonade out of lemons, recorded his own message to her and went straight to the post office to ship it to her hotel in Paris! Silly kids. ***

Besides some really gorgeous fabric, I received an electric mattress cover. The temperature of our bedroom is a long standing battle between my Husband-The-Furnace and I. We resolved that a few years ago when we began using an electric matress cover with dual controls. But, alas...that went the way of all electronics and died. Now...we can restore peace and love to our sleeping quarters . Aaaaah, sweet harmony!

Dh's gifts under the tree were varied and nice...a new casual coat with sherpa lining, etc, but nothing to "wow" anyone. Here's the thing. WE (he and I) had agreed on the amount of money we would spend this Christmas and we stuck to it. In that, we also agreed that we wouldn't get each other anything over $25 and that it would only be ONE thing. You see? Well, I had been scrounging a dollar here and there for a while to be sure I could get something nice for him without him knowing it (that is the downside of not having your own income I suppose...they always KNOW what's in and out of that checking account! LOL) and so I really didn't feel like that rule applied to me. But...I didn't want him to know that until after he'd done his shopping (of course, that mattress cover tells me HE broke the rules too, so I don't feel too badly! LOL)

Sooooooooo.... After our family gift exchange we went to my sister's house to share with her family. ***(I know this is getting way too long,...I'm sorry. If you've made it this far, you're a faithful friend and deserve a reward! {{{HUGS}}} - I just can't decide what to leave out!)***

There I had dh's "big" gift hidden all this time so he thought his gift getting from me was done. We all opened our gifts from one another (which I'll tell you about in a second) and then when it was all said and done, my sister stood up and said something like this to my dh "Oh my! I almost forgot. Santa came by and knew you'd be here today and so he left this for you" and there, behind the sofa was a BIG package hidden under a quilt. He was perplexed as to what it could be and so he went over and knelt in front of it...the card said it was from the kids and I. When he tore it open it was something he'd been wanting for a Everlast heavy punching bag. (I know this sounds like a silly thing, but he just has always wanted this to workout on so.....) Can you believe my soft hearted hubby teared up?? He just is always so grateful and surprised when someone gives him a gift. I love that about him. He cries over little gifts the kids draw, dvds...whatever really. :D Anyway! I was pretty proud of myself for keeping that one a surprise!

Both of the quilts I made went over extremely well (pics in next post). My sister's so much so that she sobbed to receive her cathedral window wall hanging. Big, giant tears. She said she was just surprised and knew how much time that took to make. With a response like that, it makes you want to get started on another, kwim? Sis and I also went in on a video camera for dd. She's been wanting one for ever-so-long and we hope to encourage her creative film making with this little item. It also takes stills so even though I didn't get the camera I wanted per se, I will have digital picture taking capabilities again! YEAH!

We spent the day there, the boys playing Risk and the girls just chatting in the living room (I snoozed on the sofa under the Royals t-shirt quilt for a sleeps well. :D). And dd video taping it ALL! Then we came home and dh's brother surprised us by coming over with frozen pizzas and gifts and so we did our gift exchange with them.

The girls loved their little reversible headbands, we got the boys shirts with fun sayings on them (like "Most of the people who drive me nuts are in my family"), and my sil really loved her spa kit with the eye pillow and matching headband I made. We finally made it to bed around midnight. All in all it was a lovely, lovely Christmas with lots of familial love everywhere! I couldn't have asked for more!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's the scene right now at my home.

Christmas music in the background, pumpkin spice cake in the oven (love that smell! mmmmm) and cranberry apple sauce on the stove. My family is still snuggled in their beds and I am enjoying the moment sitting in my jammies with a cuppa coffee (black all the way).

To all of you who are racing around finishing last minute details in preparation for a crew of people to descend upon you...I salute you.

Me? Oh, I'm bringing a dish to my sister's for lunch and another to my dh's family's home for dinner. That's it for me.

I have so much to be thankful for;
*The unconditional love of my Heavenly Father
*The passionate devotion of a strong, talented man
*The good health and friendship of my teenage children
*Family and friends to love and enjoy

So much count my blessings would overwhelm me.

May yours be too numerous to count as well.

Happy Day!

Monday, November 05, 2007

I Hope I Win!!

Wouldn't YOU like to win a custom header for our blog? I think this looks like so much FUN!

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Okay Ohio Farm Girl...I'll play! These are my senior pictures from high school! LOL Oh, for that size 2 jean again. *sigh* Big hair, skinny fanny. Go figure!
Now it seems I must tag 3 others to post pics of themselves on their blogs...old, new, grown or baby...whatever you'd like. Let's see that beautiful kisser! I choose....
Leslie at Abiding
Clarice at Storybook Woods

Monday, October 08, 2007

First Date!

*sniff* My baby...he's growing up.

This is my son and his homecoming date. See that corsage? I made that. I was a florist for what seems like EVER, but this was the hardest corsage I've ever made. I'm soooo rusty! Oh, well. I don't think my flowers were the focal point of the evening, I'm sure.

A farmer down the street from Lyndsey's house let us use his property. Isn't this bridge pictureesque? (Ignore the metal building in the background....none of us are photographers).

They have such fun together.

When asked to describe his night Jordan summed it up in one word..."Amazing" (ooooh brother! *eyes rolling*)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Aaawwww shucks! Thanks Ohio Farm shouldn't have! But, I'll accept just the same. (loved your curtains by the way!)

Now, suppose I need to Pay it Forward so I'll nominate Abiding, Bessie's Simple Days, Question the Culture, Thornberry.

Thanks again!

Birthday Me!

You know it's bad when you're late wishing YOURSELF a Happy Birthday and I am!

I had a nice day yesterday with a few surprises (nobody can EVER surprise me as a rule...they are always SO obvious when trying to get me to give my "favorite color if I was choosing a sweater" etc! LOL)

But not this year. My dd surprised me with the materials for a fleece tie blanket that she and I constructed yesterday. Come oooon winter! I'm well armed now. :-) Many friends sent me well wishes, cards and goodies.

Apparently there's more to come on Sunday from dh, ds and others! My love language is "gifts" and can imagine I'm looking forward to it!

Here's a special video a friend sent me. Thanks Jody!
(I can't remember how to embed it!)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Win Enrollment in My Access

I entered to win the writing instruction program
MY Access! Home and the SAT Prep Pack
on the
HSB Company Porch!

I never really enter contests. Mostly because I don't like getting my hopes dashed against the rocks of disappointment, but I had to enter this because I've wanted my daughter to have a formal writing program for a while and just haven't been able decide on what or how. So many choices and decisions and I don't like gambling our family's money on "maybe". IF, however I could try one for FREE...well, that's another story as far as I'm concerned.

And so...if you feel the same you might wanted to enter too (though I recognize that I'm decreases my odds by mentioning it! *grin*)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I clicked my way to Jason Holm's website and was tickled at what I found there. His "Schools are for Fish" series of comics is a treat for any homeschooler, I think. Yes, he can be a little "in your face", but it's on purpose and you have to love a guy willing to say what he's really thinking.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Laptop Sleeve

I found this over atThornberry. I think it would make a nice gift for my sister or my brother-in-law or just about anyone I know (or you know) with a laptop.

And here's a great thread from Craftster on a different version of the same thing. This one has the sleeve with a matching messenger bag. My sis would love this too as "matching" is of the utmost importance to her.

This one is also very funky and I like the idea of maybe some really funky Japanese or Moroccan fabrics for this...hmmmmm.....

If you know of any more really good tutorials for a a laptop sleeve, please share them with me. I need something ultra-masculine for my brother-in-law...hmmmmm. Leather? I've never worked with that. Corduroy? Not sure.

Anyway, let me know if you make one or it inspires you to do something else like it. I'll try to post pics if I do one.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

89 Days Until Christmas!!

Now I know, I know...I hate skipping over holidays or even entire seasons and pointing my focus toward Christmas too soon. I recognize the retailers have had Christmas decorations et al in the stores since July and you're tired of seeing that. I'm with you.

The only reason I bring up the Christmas Countdown is to keep myself (and you) aware that if you're planning on any handmade gift giving...NOW is the time to start.

Today I am making a list of those folks that I'd like to gift with something from my needle or kitchen or other handcrafted category. And then I'm going to begin my search for the perfect gift to suit them. I've been gathering a file of gift ideas for a year or so and I'm hoping to find even more. I'll try to remember to share here if I come up something especially nifty!

Here's one for instance:
CD Pocket Tutorial

What Time of Day Are You?

***You Are Midnight***

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.
Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.
Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.
You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

What Time Of Day Are You?

Monday, September 24, 2007

To Autumn

To Autumn

John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Holy Suffering

The Lord has been bringing something to my thoughts and heart lately and I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it. Have you ever done that? It's like you KNOW there's something you're suppose to seeing...some truth that has escaped you that you need to "get", can't quite reach it yet. I know that it has something to do with suffering and our response to it, the way we think of it and the necessity (?) of it. As I say I still don't have it all clear in my thoughts, but this exposition from My Utmost for His Highest is part of what I know the Holy Spirit is showing me.
The Holy Suffering of the Saint
Let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good . . . —1 Peter 4:19

Choosing to suffer means that there must be something wrong with you, but choosing God’s will— even if it means you will suffer— is something very different. No normal, healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he simply chooses God’s will, just as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not. And no saint should ever dare to interfere with the lesson of suffering being taught in another saint’s life.

The saint who satisfies the heart of Jesus will make other saints strong and mature for God. But the people used to strengthen us are never those who sympathize with us; in fact, we are hindered by those who give us their sympathy, because sympathy only serves to weaken us. No one better understands a saint than the saint who is as close and as intimate with Jesus as possible. If we accept the sympathy of another saint, our spontaneous feeling is, "God is dealing too harshly with me and making my life too difficult." That is why Jesus said that self-pity was of the devil (see Matthew 16:21-23 ). We must be merciful to God’s reputation. It is easy for us to tarnish God’s character because He never argues back; He never tries to defend or vindicate Himself. Beware of thinking that Jesus needed sympathy during His life on earth. He refused the sympathy of people because in His great wisdom He knew that no one on earth understood His purpose (see Matthew 16:23 ). He accepted only the sympathy of His Father and the angels (see Luke 15:10 ).

Look at God’s incredible waste of His saints, according to the world’s judgment. God seems to plant His saints in the most useless places. And then we say, "God intends for me to be here because I am so useful to Him." Yet Jesus never measured His life by how or where He was of the greatest use. God places His saints where they will bring the most glory to Him, and we are totally incapable of judging where that may be.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The God of Hope

“May the God of hope FILL YOU with all joy and peace AS YOU trust in him, SO THAT you may OVERFLOW with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Ever had one of those weeks where every day feels like Monday? Well, here it is Wednesday and I can't seem to shake that feeling, but...this verse is my prayer.

I'm asking the Holy Spirit to fill me with hope, joy and peace as I trust Him...even to overflowing. How about you? Do you need a little more trust SO THAT you too may OVERFLOW with hope?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Square Watermelons?!?!?

I almost didn't believe this, but what do ya know! - It's true! Would you eat a square watermelon?

I'm a little weird about my refridgerator so I think I'd like this. I like all of my storage bowls to be square or rectangular because it wastes less space and my fridge is so small as it is...well, it just makes sense to me.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Christopher Columbus!!

My daughter has just been given the part of Jo March in a small local production of Little Women! She's nearly busting and so am I! I can't think of a character that she would have been better suited for as she herself is a creative, determined free-thinking sort.

I can't wait!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Here We Go Again

Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves. ~Abbé Dimnet, Art of Thinking, 1928

Thus ends our first official week of the new school year. I have to say that it's been a good week and both of the children are very pleased with all that they accomplished this week.

As the years have gone by I've become pretty relaxed in our homeschooling. Too relaxed according to my son who this year actually WANTS me to "turn up the heat" on his requirements, assignments, etc. This hasn't been easy for me because it required alot more planning and research than I'm use to, but after only this week, I can see that my efforts are and will pay off.

There's alot to be said for a relaxed homeschool environment and I can't say that ANY of our time has been wasted in "laying back" on formal studying of certain areas, etc. But I also think that there's something to be said for a well planned, tough(er) schedule and requirements. For instance...

In years past I've been frustrated with my children sleeping in too late and then whining and complaining their way through their school day. Now, they have a plan book with my requirements in it and they don't have TIME to whine if they intend to stick to the plan.

Also, in former years we've struggled and fought over too much time spent in mindless pursuits like television watching and computer/video games. Thus far, we've had none of that and I think it's because their minds are engaged all day long and they are old enough now to see that tv and computer games are a waste of time and a waste of precious mental energy. What I'm saying is that now they have to be a bit more judicious in their pursuits, prioritizing them because they only have so many hours of free time in their day.

I don't want to squelch their inquisitiveness or desire for exploration, I just want to raise the bar so that they know what they're capable of. week down and thirty something to go!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wrong Twin Killed in Down Syndrome Abortion

I read this over at the Mommy Life blog and she's probably right...we'll probably not even hear mention of it in the American mainstream media! She has a child with Down Syndrome herself. Thanks Barbara.


Vatican Ire Over Botched Twin Abortion
Herald Sun, Australia, August 30, 2007

A BOTCHED abortion of a fetus instead of its Down syndrome twin has prompted the Vatican to compare abortion to the Nazis' selective breeding practices.

Italy was embroiled in a bitter ethical dispute yesterday after it emerged that a surgeon had accidentally terminated the wrong fetus while trying to abort its Down syndrome twin.

The operation on a 38-year-old woman 18 weeks into her pregnancy was performed at the San Paolo hospital in Milan in June but has only just come to light.

The fetus who had Down syndrome was also subsequently aborted.

Weighing into the controversy, the Vatican said aborting a Down syndrome child was the result of a culture of perfection resembling Nazi eugenics.

Read more here.

911 - I Need Help with My Math

Saturday, August 25, 2007

To Die for the Sake of Living

"Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. 'He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,' is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide -- or a drill-book. This paradox is the whole principle of courage even of quite earthly or quite brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice. He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier, surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine. No philosopher, I fancy, has ever expressed this romantic riddle with adequate lucidity, and I certainly have not done so. But Christianity has done more: it has marked the limits of it in the awful graves of the suicide and the hero, showing the distance between him who dies for the sake of living and him who dies for the sake of dying. And it has held up ever since above the European lances the banner of the mystery of chivalry the Christian courage which is a disdain of death; not the __________ courage which is a disdain of life."
-- Orthodoxy G.K. Chesterton

This quote is ringing in my heart strings and I'm re-reading it again and again, turning it over and over and each time finding more to understand. This one phrase, in particular speaks to me:

"he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine."

That's how I want to live. Like a brave soldier on the battlefield of life. To crave for life...abundant life by I crave/need/require water. And yet to live with such abandon, wholely relying on His Sovereign Will that I'm careless or careFREE enough to live like I was dying. To really understand that nothing I risk for the Sake of the Cross can be anything worse than the sweet, sweet wine of death for the Believer.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bad Idea: A Novel (with Coyotes)

I'm not much of a reviewer. As a matter of fact, I've given thumbs up to books I later wished I'd advised a bonfire for, so I recommend this book with much hesitation and a few cautions.

If you're looking for a nice, easy Christian read: predictable and comfy from start to NOT read this book. Here's a review from

"BAD IDEA by Todd and Jedd Hafer takes readers on a road trip with eighteen-year old Griffin Smith. About the time I thought I knew just who the main character was, another - and sometimes disturbing, facet of his personality would be revealed.

Difficult subjects are not shied away from or addressed in a predictable way. Each chapter brought a surprise, and kept the action and the road trip moving forward - with a few unexpected detours.

I especially enjoyed the hilarious, mental riffs Griffin would take off on. Reading BAD IDEA represents a departure from my usual fare, and I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to read this book. Once I started, I had no intention of cutting my trip short."

Bad Idea: A Novel (with Coyotes)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Shopping Woes

I don't shop.

Oh, I do go to stores and pick up things now and then, but I'm not one of those gals that likes to stroll through the mall, dazzled by the latest designs nor do I exclaim every couple of minutes, "Oh! How cuuuuuute is that?!" or "*gasp* Look at that jacket. Isn't that adorable?!"

Don't get me wrong. I use to enjoy that sort of thing, but then things stopped fitting me right and a fitting room began to feel more like a torture chamber with mirrors so I could watch the horror unfold for myself. Now when I have to buy clothes I buy them with a few rules/criteria in mind.

Number one: Comfort. If it doesn't take me from a sink full of dishes, to the living room sofa for a read aloud then to the store for some milk, then it doesn't belong in my closet.

Number two: It has to cover and camouflage any thing on my anatomy that I need to de-emphasis. No longer do I have the luxury of caring about how "cuuuuuuute" it is on the rack. What really matters is if the top is long enough to cover my poochy tummy and is it blousy enough to hide my bra bulge. If it's in a favorable color that is simply a bonus feature. And then if it is also currently in style...well, then I've won the lottery, ring me up and call my day a success!

So, now maybe you see why I say: I don't shop...until yesterday anyway.

You see, next week I go to Dallas with my husband to be wined and dined by the company he works for. Next week I have to lay aside my t-shirts, jeans, bermuda shorts and yoga pants and don something that says I shop and I know what I'm doing.

So, back to yesterday. Yesterday I went through my closet and confirmed what I already knew. I had NOTHING to wear that was even approaching nice enough for this little trip. The only solution? To shop.

I left my home and headed out to shop. I won't bore you with the details of the hell that is a department store fitting room nor will I fill your ear with complaints about the obstacle course some call a parking lot, but I will tell you that I left the house at 11am and didn't return until after 4pm. In my arms I had 5 large bags of clothes. Only a small sampling of the HUNDREDS of items I'd pulled on and off throughout the day.

Now, mind you...I went shopping for ONE outfit. ONE. A top and a bottom. A dress. Didn't matter. Just ONE thing because I am only going to be gone ONE day. In my defense it did have to go from a day in an office to a dinner out which made for more of a challenge, but was only ONE outfit. But there I was stumbling in the front door with my arms cramping from the strain of the hundreds of dollars *gasp* of clothes I brought home to try on in front of a mirror that doesn't lie and a pretty honest husband and daughter.

As an aside...does it necessarily spell disaster to have a 13 year old girl and a 40-something man as your personal fashion coordinators? Oh, I sure hope not or I'm sunk for sure!

Dragging in my "finds" I head straight to the bedroom to start the fashion parade. I lay the prospects across the bed, take a deep breath and dive in (might as well get this over with). Slip on the skirt, pull on the blouse...traipse to the living room. Hear the critique. Go back to my room for another round.

One HOUR LATER: Sweat is rolling down my back and sides and I can feel tears stinging the back of my eyes. How frustrating! If only I were a size 8 I just KNOW my life would be much simpler! I had narrowed it down to two possibles, neither of which I loved, but they both lived up to rule Number Two. My darling husband comes into the bedroom and hugs me, tells me I'm beautiful and makes a few more suggestions.

Thirty minutes more and I have an outfit that I actually like. I think I can actually hold my head up in public and maybe even look someone in the eye. :) John then said he'd go with me to return all of my unwanted items and even helped me pick out a pair of shoes while I was out - Shoes! Now that's a whole other animal. Shoes I love! Shoes I can shop for. Shoes are my friend because they don't laugh at me for being a bit chunky and I don't have to hide anything or make sure something is long enough when I buy shoes. Heck, shoes are so easy, you can try them on right out in front of everyone and their cousin. No shame there. No hiding out in the torture chambers in front of the lying mirrors. As a matter of fact. I have nice feet if I do say so myself so shoes...there's a fashion item I DO like shopping for.

So, here I am. The day after. Alive and well and actually pretty pleased with my new duds. When I say pleased of course I mean I can live with them. They're not as dressy as I was going for, but they're not as casual as I'm used to. All this anxiety and what did I end up with you ask? Can you believe I went through all of THAT for a pair of black cuffed capri pants, a fooshy poly-blend blouse and a pair of wedges?!

What will I do when it's time to shop for a bridesmaid dress for my sister's wedding? I shudder to think of it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Follow Up

I have (by my own design) such a small readership, but I wanted to follow up my last mournful post so as none of you will think I've fallen into a deep dark tunnel of depression. (or whatever ;))

I've joined the local homeschool group again. I haven't been in one for years simply because I didn't need them and, while we have several to choose from in our metropolitan area, none of them really needed me either. I just never really seem to fit. Now, though I think I need that IF only for the 411 on what's available for high schoolers locally. If all that I use is the calendar of events, then I'll have gotten my $20/year dues worth, I think. :)

In addition I think the Lord has provided some direction and peace for me about my children. I've just got to hang on to that and we'll be just fine.

Thanks for your concerns all. Onward and upward.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Maybe I Need a Mentor

Really, I'm starting to get a little...oh I can't think of a word that applies exactly. Maybe flummoxed? Discombobulated? Anxious? Grouchy? At one time or another all apply to how I'm feeling about getting the kids ready for college. I simply don't know what to DO! What's the first step? How does one even choose a college to look at? A major? Even a course of study?

Jordan is getting frustrated because it seems his friends (at least the ones who have similar goals to his) are starting to zero-in on at least a general area of study. "Something to do with physics" one says. Or from another "I'd like to work with computers". Poor Jordan feels scattered and lacking focus and frankly, I'm sure it's MY fault. I haven't given him enough experiences to choose from and THAT'S why I need a mentor because I can't give him experiences that I don't even know exist!

One friend's just come back from a 6 week trip to Mexico. It was a special program provided by a local college that he was able to find out about, apply to and was accepted for. I, hick-at-heart that I am, didn't even know that such things existed OR how to go about finding more of the same.

Another has had a job for the last year working with computers...writing programs, grading websites, building simple video games, etc. A perfect fit for him and a great launching point.

But my son, for instance, is interested in public speaking and law. HOW and WHERE do I find experiences for him in this area? Where do I even start? He's also interested in history and music. But neither of these seem to appeal to him as a career choice although they might if I could conceive of how they'd be used in the "real world". I wish there was a BIG list of careers and we could go down and check ones that sounded good to him and then begin looking for local folks who actually did that sort of thing to ask them questions about their work. THAT would be helpful, but does such a list exist? I have no idea!

Yes, I think I might need a mentor...a homeschool mom who has gone before and can be our guidance counselor. But who has the time or inclination? I'm back to square one because I have no idea how to FIND someone like that! "Excuse me. But would you like to be at my beck-and-call prepared to sacrifice time with your family in order to invest in mine?" Uh...I just don't see it happening.

Oh, I have several internet friends I can ask this and that to (and frankly, I'd be completely lost without them rather than just mostly lost!), but I need someone local who is familiar with the programs and opportunities here. *sigh* We have a large homeschool group in my state, but it seems most of them either drop away in high school OR their greatest ambition is to bake the perfect bread or, in the case of the young men, have only ONE area of interest, most of which are in no way a fit for my son (computers, medicine, etc). We just don't seem to fit.

And I envision a similar problem coming up for my daughter. She's such a free creative and artsy. Most of the homeschoolers around here do not look favorably upon a female like her. She's too bold and vivacious for their tastes. I can envision her being an author or a theatre major. If it was the year 1965 I'd see her wearing fringe and beads and singing "all we need is love" while painting her walls with rainbows and tie dying her t-shirts!

She is a musician as well, but, while she enjoys the music she plays, the people she plays with tend to be very stuffy and uptight. I might even call them "snooty" if I couldn't think of a better word, which I cannot. They wouldn't even consider listening to Superchick or Skillet when there was Vivladi to consider.

It seems I find out about opportunities AFTER they've passed us by. I'm completely out of the fact...I don't even know if a loop exists! How do others seem to know about this stuff, but I do not? I'm always late, it seems.

Back on my knees. It's really all I can see to do right now. :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

John sooooo ROCKS!

I feel as giddy as a high school groupie when my honey plays his guitar. Love that guy!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Blogs of interest

I've been surfing the blogosphere pretty heavily the past couple of weeks and have run into several that I've enjoyed returning to again and again.

Here are a few I like:

For Personal Finance


Currently these are the two areas of the most interest to me. LOL

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Bicycle Romance

Last Saturday our children had plans to spend the day and night at their friend's house and that left John and I to our own devices. (can I get a 'yee-haw'?!).

Now, what does one do when your teenage children are all gone from the house and you havea gorgeous day to do whatever you like? As for us, we strapped packs and coolers onto our bikes, loaded them with food, lots of bottle water and a blanket, put our bikes in the van and took off for a bike trail.

We'd not been on this trail before and didn't know what to expect...flat, easy going? Hills? Rough road/trail conditions? Who knew and...who cared? We just wanted to have a little adventure with just the two of us. We didn't have to worry about whether or not our youngest could keep up, or if we took a long time or...ANYTHING!

It turned out that the trail was a little bit of everything with some sunny open prairie-type terrain and other parts were more woodsy and lush (my favorite). We had level spots which made for easy conversation and smooth pedaling and we also had some thigh-burning hills to keep things challenging. It wound around quite a bit, meandering along parallel with a little creek/river sometimes. It's so nice to hear running water over rocks don't you think? We saw lots of birds that I couldn't identify, a blue lizard that I think must have been a salamander, a little water turtle and a deer that ran right across our path. We even had to be cautious in some areas to avoid the occassional kamikazee bunny or squirrel that just run right out in front of your bike.

One of the best things was that we stopped when we wanted and road when we wanted. We ended up riding about 10 good hard miles one way and stoppping to rest in the town we lived in when we first were married (about 40 miles from our home now). We found a lovely park with gorgeous trees and spread out our blanket underneath it to eat and nap. There was a festival of some sort going on at a historic farmstead across from the park and we could hear the band playing while we dozed. I wondered at one long had it been since I'd laid on the ground and looked up at the clouds going by? Too long. How 'bout you?

After a good long rest we started back. We road over 20 miles over about a five hour period.
We came home to a crockpot of black bean soup, crusty bread and salad and then sat around the house in our underwear, just because we could (is that TMI?) LOL and played board games until we couldn't stay awake any longer.

*sigh* I really did have such a great time.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Share The Road

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My son and I have just returned from a bike ride around our city...thankfully. I say "thankfully" because we were almost hit by a car. Not wanting to be overly dramatic, let me explain that it was probably just a matter of ignorance or oversight on the part of the elderly driver who pulled out in front of us, though we, who were on the main thoroughfare clearly had the right-of-way. Of course, it really doesn't matter who's right when a bicyclist is laid out in the ER or worse.

That got me thinking. You know...before we purchased our bikes just a few months ago, my family probably never really knew the traffic laws and rules as they relate to cyclists and surely we're not the only ones.

For instance, did you know that:

- Each state has their own specific bicycle and traffic laws?

- Some states define bicycles as vehicles, some as slow-moving vehicles, and some give them all the rights and responsibility of vehicles without being vehicles.

- Regardless of how it is defined, provisions ARE made for bicycles by each state and each cyclist AND automobile operator SHOULD be aware of their states guidelines.

- In states where bicycles are given "all rights and responsibilities" as other vehicles (as is the case where I live) a cyclist has the RIGHT to drive in a lane of traffic JUST like a car or truck does. Most cyclist, out of courtesy do move to the right side of the road IF the lane is wide enough that a car/truck can pass them safely, but if not...then the cyclist has NO OBLIGATION to give up the lane to the car/truck anymore than a slow moving farm vehicle or truck would. Sometimes, drivers simply MUST be patient.

I encourage each of you as drivers of automobiles to thoroughly review your states bicycle traffic laws and learn how to safely Share the Road. The next time you're on the road with a cyclist, give them space and respect. It's alot harder than it looks.

And while you're at it...think about getting a bike yourself. It's a fantastic way to spend time with your family, enjoy nature, save money (gasoline is $3.23/gal here right now) and burn some calories while you're at it.

More bicycle safety links Here

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Station

When I was young my dad ran a gas station on the edge of our small town in Kansas much like the one in this photo. I have many good memories wrapped up in that place. And many lessons that are still with me today.

I learned:

...To ride my "Leave it To Beaver" bicycle in the driveway.

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I remember this very clearly because I turned too sharply and ran headlong into the "island" where the gas pumps are at and discovered that even girls can "rack" themselves.

...Good customer service when I was asked to pump in a certain dollar amount of gasoline and ran it over 2 cents. My dad instructed me to tell the lady in the car to "nevermind" about that extra because it was my fault that I didn't stop the pump sooner. Good customer care didn't stop there however. Every customer got their windows washed and an oil check up too at no extra charge.

...That all people were created equal, but that some folks didn't get the memo. This was back when a gas station was "full service" rain or shine, whether the customer parked under the side with the awning or not. The driveway bell would 'ding' as a car pulled in for service. My dad would immediately march out the door, past the vacant covered side of our station where this person could have driven, into a gushing midwest down pour on the exposed portion of the drive where they did drive, to fill up this inconsiderate person's vehicle. A few minutes later he'd come back into the building, his shirt darkened by fat rain drops and commenting about the questionable intellect of "some people"( Maybe I should call that a vocabulary lesson?).

...That I LOVE peach ice cream with little bits and chunks of real peaches in it (the Schwan's man was one of our regular customers).

...To take pride in whatever work I did, even if it was "blue collar". My dad never came to work without his dark blue Dickie slacks andlight blue button-up shirt being nicely pressed, over top of a clean white under-tee. Oh, and of course his black dress shoes shined. I know...because every evening I would get out the polish and cloth and buffing brush and shine each black leather shoe.
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...How to count back change properly using a roll of bills and a belt coin changer. For those who don't know... start with the amount they owe and count UP to the amount they give. If they owe $3.71 and they give you a five dollar bill, you start counting back to them handing them change as you say it, starting clicking the changer with pennies - ".72, .73, .74, .75" then adding in one quarter - "4.00" then give them a one dollar bill, "5.00. Thank you ma'm and have a nice day." Oh, where has that skill gone?

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...How to mop a tile floor using a string mop and ringer bucket. It's an art you know, especially if you try to work yourself out of a room and not into a corner where you'll be trapped.

...How to remember the combination to a underground safe/vault in the backroom.

...How to stock a cooler full of milk, rotating the old to the front and new to the back.

...How to bribe a crying toddler with a free hostess Twinkie and thus help another of our regular mommies to make it home with her sanity intact.

...How to make someone feel good about themselves with just a few words. My dad was notorious around town for "flirting" with all the old ladies who came in, asking each of them when they were going to "run away with him".

...Where to hide if I saw a tornado and how long I could stand out back of the station gripping my dad's hand, watching it and two others like it converge, before I needed to run into the concrete building for cover. (Have you ever heard a tornado? It roars by like a train and's as still as sleep afterwards, except...the birds almost instantly start to sing out).

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...Generosity. Every now and then someone would come to the station and not have the money for gas. My dad always worked out a way to get them what they needed and keep their dignity intact. Bartering or even taking an IOU from some folks, everyone left our station with a smile on their face.

..How to use a looooooooong measuring dipstick to check the gasoline level of the underground storage tanks and what the view looked like from up on top of a gasoline tanker truck. I was sure I wanted to be a truck driver for years and years.

...How to make friends. One of my favorite friends was a man (who's name I can't recall) who drove a junk car trailer. He'd stop in as he came through town and each time, he'd trade me one of his silver dollars for two of my quarters. I was so young at the time that I didn't really understand that he was getting the muddy end of the stick. As a matter of fact I was sure that I was cutting him a deal because after all, he was getting TWO coins and I was only getting ONE, albeit mine was bigger. I've always loved silver dollars and the special shine they have to them, don't you?

Not every memory I have was rosy however. I can remember a time when a man came to our station about closing time. I remember that he was very tall and wild haired and that I was immediately afraid of him. My mom was there (she was the station bookkeeper) and I ran over to her. She must have sensed something was wrong too because she nudged me under the leg opening of the big, green steel desk. Of course, I continued to peek out and watch my dad and the Wild Man. I can't remember the words, but I do know that this man was agitated about something and began swearing. I watched my dad slide his hand into his deep right front pants pocket. My little heart must have been pounding like crazy because I knew that in that pocket my dad kept his gun "just in case". The intensity of the discussion rose, the man's language became more and more rough and before I knew what was happening, my dad, a short man with a tall temper (Italian/Irish heritage...what can I say?) had the big Wild Man pushed against the wall with his black handgun on the man's chin. Instantly the Wild Man's demeanor changed from belligerence to fear. He apologized and left. We never saw him again.

Yes, I have many memories of the little old gas station. It's not in my hometown anymore, they tore it down years ago to make way for a strip mall, but every time I go there...I drive by anyway and think of my childhood and wonder what part of who I am now wouldn't be there, if it wasn't for my experiences at The Station.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Finished Sewing Room (Studio)

I realized I never posted about my FINISHED sewing room. I know I said I would call it a sewing "studio", but apparently pretension doesn't suit me and I've just not ever been able to make that word stick in my mind. Ah well.

Here are some pics. I really, really, REALLY enjoy being here! Despite the very small space and the mess it's in. One day it will be completely organized (yeah, right!)

Inside Out Origami Flowers

I've been busy again in the sewing room. I rarely get time for so much playing around, but I guess that's what happens when you feed the kids pizza rolls and stay in your pjs all day!

This is a fun fabric folding technique I saw on an episode of Simply Quilts featuring Rebecca Wat and her book "Fantastic Fabric Folding". It's very simple and I've posted the instructions with pics HERE.

Have fun!

Cupcake Pincushions

I spent a good amount of time yesterday trying to figure out how to make these little cupcake pincushions I saw online. I played and played and finally came up with a rough idea of how to.

Here are my results.

I had just cleaned out my daughters closet (well, SHE cleaned it out and then I went through her cleaning and dug up this nifty colorful sweater) and thought I'd try it out. I'm pretty happy with the results and am thinking I'll make some up and give as Christmas gifts next year or throughout the year as the need arises.

Moving on...

Man are my abs sore today from a little 10 minute ab routine I found on tv. No crunches involved which is good since I can't seem to do those right and results. Today, however the pain in my gut is testimony to the effectiveness of this little routine. Yippee!

Friday, January 19, 2007

She's baaaack!

Boy it's been a long time since I've posted here. I basically set up this blog and then waltzed away from it for...oh, it looks like 6+ months! Well now I'm back. It's a new year and a time for new beginnings. Not resolutions mind you...those only fail. Just a time for a fresh habits, new ideas, new adventures.

My first new adventure is a return to a more health conscious lifestyle. John and I are attempting to lose some weight. 10lbs a month is our goal and thus far I'm at 5lbs down! Whoohooo!

This is my favorite way to exercise currently. I used this video and others in her series to lose nearly 30lbs last year. It seems too simple and almost weird to think that you would "walk" and not be outside (or on a treadmill), but I'm telling you...try it! It's a good work out and low impact to boot.

Walk Away The Pounds by Leslie Sansone

10,000 steps a day keeps all sorts of diseases away!

So 5lbs in 2 weeks...sounds good, right? Well, hubby is down 15lbs! Men! It just doesn't seem fair, ya know?

Well, plan on seeing more of me (or if all goes as planned LESS of me) in the future