Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Open House








































I am posting pictures of my Christmas decorations in response to my friend Sonia's Christmas Open House on her blog. I only decorated our Christmas tree, the mantle, and the black iron railing of our dining room this year. I will post some pictures of my favorite ornaments later! :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Little Fluff Goes A Long Way

We finally got our tree up this weekend. It happened in stages. On Thursday, Preach and the kids put the tree up while I was on errands (yes, I planned it that way). Then life got in the way, and we didn't get to work on it until Sunday afternoon. I was a nervous wreck as usual. Preach got out my 7 Rubbermaid bins (nope, not 12. I apparently consolidated last year). The kids kept going through them and getting stuff out, with me yelling, "Hold on! That's breakable! That was my grandmother's! Don't drop it! JUST STOP!!!" I guess they have a really short attention span, because 5 minutes later, we were going through the whole thing again.

Little did I know, Preach did not "fluff" the tree when he put it up on Thursday. Now, I know Preach can fluff. We both worked at a flower shop eons ago, where fluffing was a requirement, and we both became expert fluffers. He *knows* each year the tree gets a good professional fluffing. So after he gets the extra colored lights on it (it is a pre-lit tree but we add extra lights - another lesson we learned from the flower shop - can't EVER have enough lights!), I attempt to fluff it. Well, a section of the clear pre-lit lights go out when I jiggle a branch. No amount of plugging, unplugging, flashlights, anything could make them come on. So you know what that means. I now have a huge dark spot right in the middle of my tree. THEN I attempt to drape my beautiful bead garland on the tree, which *always* goes on the tree. BUT since it had not been FLUFFED, it would not drape right! And I said it looked "stupid" and jerked it all off. Unbeknownst to me, little Prince had the video camera on, taping all of this. (sigh) I think a little rewinding and taping over will be in the near future.

So it just goes to show you that a little fluffing will go a long way.

Now my living room looks a wreck. We didn't get to finish the tree because we had to go to church and practice for the Christmas play (don't even get me started on that). I have overflowing Rubbermaid bins everywhere. My sister and I have made each other promise that we will not let the other one buy any more Christmas stuff at the after-Christmas sales this year! I am serious.

Simplify! Simplify! Simplify! (just trying to practice my New Year's mantra for 2009)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Twas the Month Before Christmas

Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.
See the PC Police had taken away,
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing,
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a 'Holiday'.
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.
Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace.
The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS , not Happy Holiday!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

O Christmas Tree, Where Art Thou?

I want to go on record that this is the most UN-Christmasy Christmas I have ever had in my life! I feel like I'm in this bubble. I hear about Christmas, I see things about Christmas, but I don't FEEL Christmas! You know? And I think it's everywhere. Have you noticed that hardly anyone has decorated outside with lights or those blow-up things? It feels so unreal that Christmas is 2 weeks away. Un. Real.

I do not have my Christmas tree up. I don't even want to put it up. If I did not have kids, I would NOT put it up. And me and my sister have to put my mom's 9-ft Christmas tree up. (sigh) When am I supposed to get all of this done???

I think I've got so much Christmas "stuff" that I finally have reached the point where I don't enjoy any of it. I absolutely *dread* getting out my 12+ Rubbermaid bins of "stuff" to put out. It's just all so ridiculous. I keep buying all this Christmas stuff on sale after Christmas..and I don't even enjoy putting it out! It's not like I buy it to impress anyone. No one even comes over to my house during the Christmas season!

I saw an article in "Country Home" magazine of a lady who used to be like me with a bunch of "stuff" and finally simplified. Her home looked beautiful with just a few choice Christmas pieces. Some of it wasn't even necessarily Christmas-y; it might have been just a bright red throw over a chair or something. I really want to get rid of a lot of my stuff and simplify.

Ahhhh....doesn't that word just make you smile and bring a calmness to you? "Simple" SimpleSimpleSimpleSimple.....love it, love it, love it! I wish that word described every aspect of my life. But it seems my life is the total opposite of "simple". It doesn't have to be, though. That will be my new mantra for the new year: Simplify!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Meme

I found this Christmas Meme at the blog Learning by Living. It looks like fun! If you do this on your blog, tell me in the Comments 'cause I want to see what you wrote! :)

1) Wrapping paper or gift bags? I use both. If it is wrappable at all, I will gift wrap it because I love to wrap! I love to use different paper on all my gifts with pretty ribbon and homemade stamped gift tags! But gift bags have their purpose, too.

2) Real or Artificial Tree? We have an artificial tree. We have done real ones in the past, but I like the ease of an artificial one.

3) When do you put up the tree? Hmmm...it seems to get later and later every year. It's usually about 2 weeks before Christmas day.

4) When do you take down the tree? Just whenever. One year, before we had kids, we left our tree up until July. Don't even ask me why. No, seriously - don't ask me. I can't remember why!

5) Do you like eggnog? No. I like boiled custard, though!

6) Favorite gift received as a child? We didn't have a lot of money growing up. So when Cabbage Patch kids were all the rage, my parents couldn't afford one. So I got a Cauliflower Kid. No, I'm not kidding. It was a doll stuffed into a green plastic cauliflower with a white top. It sounds really cheesy, but I loved that thing. I think I loved the plastic cauliflower more than the doll. I can't remember what the doll looked like. But I remember keeping that plastic cauliflower for years and years, putting "treasures" in there. :)

7) Hardest person to buy for? My mom and grandmother were the hardest ones, but I started buying them photo calendars, and that took care of that! This year, my son was the hardest. I want him to want toys for Christmas, and he wants more "grown-up" stuff like a bow and arrow, BB gun, digital camera, etc. I want to keep him a kid as long as I can!

8) Easiest person to buy for? My 7-year-old daughter. Easy peasy.

9) Do you have a Nativity set? Yes! I love it.

10) Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. I make my own every year, using rubber stamps and cardstock. I tuck a 4X6 picture of my kids in there, and spend lots of money on postage, and away they go! It costs lots of money to make and send them, but I love doing it.

11) Worst Christmas present? I don't like it when people try to buy me clothes for Christmas. I am plus-size, and it's hard enough for me to find clothes that fit the way I want them to when I can try them on.

12) Favorite Christmas movie? Ooooh, that's a hard one! I guess it would be a tie between "A Christmas Story" and "National Lampoons Christmas Vacation". I love them both!

13) When do you start shopping for Christmas gifts? LOL! I start shopping the day after Christmas! I shop all year, especially the couple of months following Christmas with all the sales, so that when Thanksgiving arrives, I just have a few to buy for. I usually save our parents, my sister and BIL, and Prince and Princess for last. But since I do shop all year, when all the good deals come around Thanksgiving time, I have money to buy stuff for myself!

14) Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Heck, yeah!

15) Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? I love eating my Peanut Butter Balls! I only make them at Christmas, and they are my favorite candy! I can't wait to eat them again this year!

16) Colored or white lights? Colored! I grew up with colored lights, and I still continue with them. I just can't get into white lights for me. They are beautiful on others' trees. But my tree will always have colored! I used to put colored bubble lights on my tree until I had kids. They are beautiful, too.

17) Favorite Christmas song? Probably "O Holy Night". There's so many. I actually love all of them.

18) Travel at Christmas or stay at home? We travel on Christmas day, but not too far away, just an hour and a half. We usually come back that night.

19) Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph

20) Angel or star on top of the tree? Oh, man. Honestly, I can't remember what we had last year! It's changed throughout the years. I've had angels, bows, and those long pointy glass ornament thingys. We put something new on there last year, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was!!

21) Open the gifts Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Christmas morning!

22) Most annoying thing about this time of year? Hands down, the crowds. The traffic. Ugh. I hate crowds and traffic!

23) Favorite ornmanet? I guess I would have to say these ice skates that my grandmother crocheted with paper clips on the bottom. They are so tiny and cute! I love all of the ornaments that both of my grandmothers made. My other grandmother made lots of crocheted white stars that I love and will treasure always. I wish I knew how to make them.

24) Favorite Christmas story or book? It would have to be the story of how Jesus was born. It never gets old.

25) Favorite Christmas tradition? We don't really have any traditions with our kids. I would love to make some. I think I am going to research doing a Jesse tree every year and/or the advent. But I guess I will have to start next year. I've got some books that give all kinds of ideas for starting traditions. I wish we did something like make a gingerbread house every year, or bake sugar cookies, or read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve, or something like that. I guess within my extended family, the one tradition that comes to mind that I look forward to every year is the gag gifts we give. It's kind of like a competition to see who can "get" someone with the best gag gift. I don't think most families do gag gifts. But it's really fun. You should try it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TV Withdrawal and Puppy Problems

No satellite is going okay. Well, tonight is my favorite TV night, so I'm having a little withdrawal anxiety right now, but I'll be okay. I'm gonna miss Top Chef and Ghost Hunters. (sigh) The kids have actually been doing good. They have been watching PBS, which we almost never watched before. And they have been watching lots of movies. One good thing about this phone TV thing, is that our internet is faster! Woo hoo!

Well, our 9-month old Yellow Lab mix puppy (who does not look like a puppy - she is HUGE!) is driving us crazy. She is an outside dog, running around inside of a wireless electric fence. On Monday, I was expecting some pictures I had ordered from a photographer of my kids in the mail. Unfortunately, the box wouldn't fit in the mailbox, and the mailman put them on the front porch. I went out around 2:00 to do some errands and noticed paper all over the yard. I had a sinking feeling that I knew what it was. Yep - the $136 worth of pictures and all my mail were shredded into itty, bitty bits.

So far, this dog has chewed up:

* my leather recliner
* the cord to the motor of the fountain in our front yard
* the satellite cables
* a wire hanging from DH's truck (haven't figured out yet just what it goes to)
* 4 screens on our windows

She keeps jumping, biting at, scratching the kids. She is just so darn strong!! She has all these muscles popping out all over her. Everyone is scared to come into our yard. The ruined pictures are the last straw. We are seriously thinking of trying to find her a new home. I think she needs to be with some college guys or something who will roughouse with her and run her a lot. She doesn't need to be around little kids. She does have some good qualities: she is playful - just doesn't know when she's being too rough, she doesn't bark a lot, she is really CUTE, she obeys my DH (just not me or the kids). Prince cries when we talk about finding her a new home. :( So it's going to be hard. Pray we find her a good home!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Downgrading

Well, we did it. We got rid of our Dish Network satellite. Friday, our phone company came and installed a digital programming through the phone lines or something like that. I'm not sure exactly what it is. I'm sure Preach understands it all. All I know is, we only have local channels plus a couple of Spanish channels, C-Span (who in the heck actually watches that channel????), and HSN. It's going to be $25 a month for 2 TV's.

The kids are having a meltdown. They are acting like their dog died or something. I've never seen such sad faces and "poor, pitiful me" sighs. They don't know it, but that only reinforces our knowledge that we did the right thing.

(sigh) It's hard on me, too. I am addicted to the TV, too! I *heart* reality TV! I'm not ashamed of it, either. ;) And "Top Chef" was JUST starting! UGH!

Why did we do this? Why did we give up 24/7 cartoons? Well, there are a few reasons:

1) We wanted to spend more time together as a family, doing something besides watching TV. We've been talking about this for a looooong time.

2) I don't know if you knew this or not, but Cartoon Network turns into "Adult Swim" at night. And "Adult Swim" is absolutely nasty. It's cartoons geared toward adults, I guess. To be honest, if you are watching this crap, you need to re-think it. My FIL told us that he heard that this crap was on Cartoon Network at night, so DH and I decided to check it out. We turned it on like at 10:00 PM one night. I can't remember the name of the show, but what we saw was disgusting. It as a cartoon about all the ways you can die. They showed bombs with realistic body parts going everywhere, gunshots, stabbings, hanging, and various kinds of torture. It was just death after death after death..... It was so disturbing. It was worse than any rated R movie I've seen. So be careful, if you have this channel, and your children are left unattended at night with the remote.

3) Recently, we were sitting at the kitchen table eating supper, with the TV blasting away downstairs. All of the sudden, Prince says, "That is so silly! You can't fall in love by just making a phone call!" Preach and I say, "What??" Prince says that he heard that commercial again. We go and check the TV, and it was turned to a CARTOON station! And they were having commercials about calling and finding your "true love". Obviously, the kids had seen it before. Isn't that just WRONG???

So that's why we have made this switch. It's not foolproof. I know there are still shows and commercials on local channels that are not what I want my kids to see. But at least there are less of them to monitor. One day, maybe we can come to the point where we can turn off the TV totally. But we're just taking it one step at a time. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sheperding A Child's Heart - Part 1

Preach and I went with my BF and her DH to a seminar/conference at a church where the author, Dr. Ted Tripp of "Shepherding A Child's Heart", was speaking. It was so great! He is a Christian, and from what he said, he is a minister. He has written a new book, "Instructing A Child's Heart", which we got a copy of. I want to blog about the information we learned about parenting and discipline. I pray this will help someone.

The whole premise of this book is "Formative Instruction", which is simply instruction that shapes or forms our children. Also, you could call it "deliberate teaching" and giving world-view instruction. Based on Deuteronomy 6.

Here are some quick bullet-points that really made an impression with me and Preach:

* Three Generation Vision - us, our children, and their children - the things you teach your children will affect not only your children, but their children as well. If you just focus on problems of the moment, you will miss giving them a world-view.
** As you interact with your kids, don't act on "survival mode" -
think "Kingdom". For example, if your child is whining for the
upteenth time, don't do just anything (bribery, shame them)
to get him to quit so you won't pull out your hair.

* Family Worship - Dr. Tripp talked a lot about purposeful Family Worship. He encourages us to worship together as a family daily. He suggested reading the Bible, praying together, singing, and maybe memorizing Scripture.

* You are going to impress something on your children. Why not impress on them the love and Word of God?

* God made the world in a way that the world reveals God to us.

* Delight in God, not just believe in God.

* Use the Bible to explain why we do the things we do. Like, why are we the only ones who watch PG movies? Why do we go to church so much? Why are you so strict?

* We assume our children understand things so we don't teach certain things. So our instruction is incomplete.

* Primary place for kids to get Biblical worldview is in the HOME.

* Humans are designed as worshipers! Romans 1 - If we don't worship the Creator, we worship the things created.

* The world is always telling our kids that they can find satisfaction somewhere else (other than God).

* Today, churches shorten and cheapen the Gospel. They preach you just need to get your ticket punched to get to Heaven.

* Until kids are persuaded that "I must have God no matter what the cost", then they will never truly know or serve God. They may "play church" but not mean it.

* Give kids a grand and glorious God - a shrunken God will not do. Don't water God down, so that kids feel they outgrown Him.

Okay, that's enough for now. I hope this has whetted your appetite for more!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Anger Issues

I am deleting my post about how angry I was about the election. My anger is not going to "change" anything (there's that word again). Prayerfully, I can blog about what is going on in our country without anger clouding my words. I think that would be more effective.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Most Embarassing Experience at Blockbuster

The day before Halloween, Princess and I went to do last-minute errands for costumes. After 3 hours of fighting the crowds, we stop in Blockbuster to get some movies. At the counter, I hand the movies and my card to the check-out boy. I hear a buzzing at my ear and move my head. Princess has one of those candy stick things with a plane on top that when you press a button, the propeller moves. She then quickly sticks the propeller IN MY HAIR! Immediately, my long and curly hair wrapped around it. I try to pull it out. Nope. It was stuck. I begin to panic, but try to act cool about it. I laugh and act like this is an everyday thing, getting propellers stuck in my hair. The check-out boy is just standing there, staring at me. I keep making comments like, "Ha ha, I can't believe this, ha ha" with Princess yelling "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!". Finally, I said to the boy, "I'll just pay for it." I figured I would just wear it out the store, and try to get it out at home. Can you imagine? He still just stands there and stares at me. I realize he has been struck dumb by the site of a 30-something year old mom with a propeller stuck in her hair. I ask him for some scissors to cut it out there, just so I can pay for the stupid movies and get out of there. That motivates him to close his mouth and look for some scissors. While looking, a female Blockbuster employee asks why he needs them. He explains (I couldn't hear what he said - probably good that I didn't). She comes over and attemps to pull it out. After a couple of minutes of this, she decides to try and break it open. So I stand there, with all of the Blockbuster employees and customers watching, while she breaks open this toy in my hair. Sucess! I tell her I'll pay for it, but luckily it still worked. I am still acting like this is no big deal, even though I know I am beet red and sweat is running down my face. As I pay for the movies, I say, "Ha, ha, ha. Hopefully Princess learned her lesson!" as I indulgently look at my daughter. I swear to you, as we leave, I see her reach up and push the button of that cursed candy stick propeller!

I'm sure I was the talk of many conversations that night.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

No Plans.....No Problem

We are back from vacation! We took our family vacation last week in St. Augustine, Florida. I guess one word to sum it up for me is....weird. Not weird in a bad way...just...different. And the reason it was weird is that I think this is the first vacation I've ever taken in my life where I was just flying by the seat of my pants. In other words, there was no planning involved. Like....none at all. Usually, I plan our vacation for months in advance, making lists, schedules, looking info up on the internet, searching message boards for tips for theme parks, etc. This time, none of that happened. We only decided to go and booked our room a couple of weeks in advance. At 6:00 PM, the night before we were scheduled to leave, I thought, "Hmmm...might be a good idea to do laundry so I will actually have clean clothes to pack." See a pattern here? I was up until 1:30 AM packing. Got up at 3:30 to leave.

Usually for vacations, this is how prepared I am:
* I make lists - Lists for "Things to Buy" before we go, "What to Do" before we go, "What to Pack" with a subtitle of "Don't Forget This". This year, no lists to be found.
* I pack snacks and drinks for the road (all PLANNED in advance). This year, nada.
* I usually have our vacation planned out to the hour of what we will do each day. This year, we decided to wing it.
* Usually before vacation, I have bought a book like "The Unofficial Guide to Disney" and visited Disney message boards and planned out our route in a theme park to avoid crowds and such. A few years ago, I did this, and we went with my 75-year-old grandmother in tow. I am surprised I didn't cause her to keel over with my mad dash around the park. I kept yelling at everyone, "We have GOT to get on the train by 10:14 AM to get to so-and-so ride on time to see Mickey with no lines! Get a move on!" This year, as you will see, no planning involved.
* I usually have my Christmas list with me so I can shop for Christmas/birthday presents. This year, I left it at home

So, you see, things were different. And it was kind of....nice. No pressure. Now, I won't say that I didn't have moments of panic when I realized that we didn't have a "PLAN". But, amazingly, it all worked out.

We got there on Saturday evening. On Sunday morning, while getting dressed, I bent down, and immediately felt my back go out. I started bawling. I could not believe this had happened. So for a couple of days, Preach had to take the kids to the beach by himself. But he was absolutely wonderful about it. I did make myself go and do some things. But mostly, I just laid around, reading. Pretty nice. The bad thing was the stupid bed. It was a poser - pretending to be a Sleep Number bed. A fake Sleep Number bed. Does it get any better than that? It basically felt like a blow-up mattress. So that didn't help my back any.

We went to the Alligator Farm, which was our whole family's favorite thing we did. It was so cool. If you ever get a chance to go there - GO!! The kids got to get their picture taken holding a baby white albino aligator. For lots of moolah, you could get your picture in the alligator pit with a huge alligator. We passed on that. But we learned a lot there.

On Thursday, we went to Universal's Islands of Adventure. I knew it would be brutal on my back. But Prince is a dinosaur fanatic, and has been waiting anxiously to turn 8 years old so he could ride the Jurassic Park ride. Well, he rode it. Poor thing, I'm afraid he was disillusioned. At the end of the ride, in the dark, there is a huge T-rex that looks like it's going to get you, and then you fall over an 85-foot waterfall. Preach rode it first with just the kids to see what it was like. I was waiting for them to get off. They were pretty wet, and Preach was laughing. He said after they had went over the drop, he tried to talk to the kids, and they were both frozen in shock, staring straight ahead and couldn't talk. I noticed Prince holding his hand over his heart. I thought he was going to tell me his heart was beating fast. Oh no. He tells me that he almost fainted. Preach convinced me to ride it, saying it wouldn't hurt my back. Let me tell you, if you are a tiny bit clausterphobic, don't ride it. I almost had a panic attack in the boat, the way the seats were made and the bar coming down. Then the ride itself was scary. And then we hit the falls. I seriously thought I was going to die. And you should have seen the pictures Universal took of us going down the falls. In the first one, Prince and Princess both looked terrified. In the second one, I had my eyes closed and my mouth open. Princess looked normal, but poor Prince, looked like he was crying. He was so disappointed in that ride.

Now, in previous years, we would have gotten up at 5:00 AM to get ready for Universal. We would have gotten there 50 minutes before it opened to get our tickets (because the guide book SAID so!). And of course, I would have had a plan to have us running to-and-fro to get to the best rides before the crowds. But guess what time we got there?? 12:00! Yep! We didn't even really know we were going to go until that morning.

I'm telling you, it was a very laid-back trip. And you know what? I liked it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Review of the movie: Fireproof

Preach and I went to see the movie Fireproof this weekend.

Wow.

I really don't know the right words to express how wonderful this movie is. It's a Christian movie, made by the church that made "Facing the Giants". This movie stars Kirk Cameron, who is great in it. I loved "Facing the Giants", but I will have to say, that this one is 10 times better! Even Preach agrees.

This movie is about marriage. Maybe you shouldn't tell your DH that when you tell him you want him to go see it. LOL! But you can truthfully tell him that there is lots of humor in it! I mean, laugh-out-loud-funny-humor! It has lots of really funny parts in it. Preach says, "This movie just proves that a movie can be made that is funny without dirty language and s**ually explicit material". Too true.

Even if you say that you have a wonderful marriage, you should go see this movie. I promise, you will leave the movie with a newfound respect for your spouse and what they go through and feel. Yes, there is a Christian message in the movie. And when Caleb (Kirk Cameron)'s father illustrates the parallel of our love for our spouse and God's love for us.....wow. It moved me to tears. If you see it, you will know which scene I am talking about. This movie shows both sides of marriage. You will see yourself in some parts of it. You will see how you can treat your spouse better. You will see how easy it is to fall into Satan's traps.

Go see it. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Just Hangin' Around

Sorry I haven't updated in a while. Not much has been going on.

The cat is still hangin' around outside. We feed it everyday. When Preach and the kids go outside, the cat follows them around. He loves to be petted, and purs like a motorboat.

We've slowly started back to school. We are easing into Tapestry of Grace this week. It's going good. I am trying to figure out what Math curriculum to get Princess. She is having a hard time with number concepts. She is progressing on her reading, so I am pleased with that.

We've almost finished with Princess's room transformation. I will post pictures whenever we are done. The only thing we need to do is recover the cornice thing that goes above her window. Oh, and figure out how to put the billions of toys back into her room. My parents came over one day a couple of weeks ago and saw the piles and piles of stuffed animals in our living room. My dad said he is still having nightmares of all those stuffed animals. LOL! It's obscene. Princess wants a stuffed animal of every single real animal there is. She has a snake, a warthog (complete with a baby warthog), a kangaroo, a skunk, a cheetah, a tiger, lion, and much more. She has just about every breed of dog and cat there is. (sigh) And that's not even counting the dozens of stuffed bears and rabbits she has. The list goes on...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

"She" is a "He" and other stories

We've had a weird past 36 hours or so. But that's par for the course for us.

Here's a quick rundown for you:

Preach and kids picked up a stray black cat at a gas station. They *said* the cat just climbed in their car. I just wonder if the cat had some HELP getting in!

Brought cat home, fed it, and named it Midnight. Preach said the cat was a girl based on Princess's description of the "holes" it had.

Took cat to the vet that afternoon. Vet politely told us "she" was a "he" (totally embarassing!). Did tests on cat to make sure HE didn't have Feline Aids or Leukemia. Vet told us to expect the worse. We started telling the kids we were probably going to have to get rid of the cat (trying not to tell them we would have to put it to sleep). Luckily (for the cat) tests came back negative. Cat just had a bunch of ear mites.

Took cat home, made it a bed in a box.

I couldn't sleep all night, expecting the cat to come in and jump on our bed. In the middle of the night, I awoke to find the cat on top of me. (sigh) I frantically woke Preach up to move him.

Got up yesterday morning with Princess coming into my room saying she hated the cat - he had peed on her BRAND NEW mattress and comforter! UGH! Sure enough, he had!!! Stripped the bed, washed everything. Sprayed the mattress with Melaleuca Tough & Tender and Solumel. I made Preach smell the mattress last night, and there was still cat pee smell. I told him I wanted to buy her a new mattress. Um, that didn't go over too well.

Cat peed again on my bathroom rug. And yes, we had a litter box set up.

Yesterday afternoon, Prince goes to pick up cat, and cat BITES his arm! Broke the skin. Prince said cat hung on for a few seconds. Sorry, cat - but you hurt my baby - you are GONE!!!

When Preach gets home, cat goes OUTSIDE! We are going to feed him, and hope he sticks around.

We learned out lesson on picking up strays. If we EVER get a cat again, we will be getting a kitten. But this was such a bad experience, I don't know if we will ever again do it. I'm not a cat person anyway. I've never owned a cat. I love dogs! Give me a good ol' dog any day over a cat!

Oh, and if any cat owners out there know of how to get out cat pee smell, PUL-EEEEEZE let me know how!!!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Homeschool/Cub Scouts Giveaway!

I just wanted to let my few and faithful readers know of a homeschool/Cub Scouts giveaway on the Learning By Living blog! She is giving away some awesome things - like Explode the Code workbooks, lots of children's books, Bible storybooks, Alice in Bibleland book series, 6 how-to homeschool books, Leap Frog Fridge Phonics, and much much more - all for just the cost of actual shipping! There is also a post where she is giving away a bunch of Cub Scout things!! Stop by and post a comment - you might win!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More Setting It All Up...

I finished putting the first Unit in page protectors. Whew! It took a long time. I'm already trying to figure out alternatives to putting the other units in page protectors. But I know I will end up doing it anyway. LOL!

I am trying to follow TOG's instructions on How To Set Up Tapestry that's somewhere on their website. I am confused on the Student Binders. It's about as clear as mud.

Preach looked at Unit 1 last night, and said he was impressed. He said that he wishes he could go through the curriculum! We have Year 1, and it is Ancient History, which goes through Biblical history.

I still have to order some books to go along with Unit 1. I was doing price comparisons with TOG's Bookshelf to Amazon. And surprisingly, TOG was just as cheap as Amazon! Since I have a $15 Gift Certificate to TOG which came with the package I bought, I will be ordering from them. Gotta do that today. I was surprised that our library system has some of the books, so hopefully I can use those. Does anyone know how Interlibrary Loan works? If I could figure that out, I wouldn't have to buy as many books.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Setting TOG Up

I am going to update my blog often with how Tapestry of Grace is going. I'm going to be honest in my opinions and be "real". So here goes...

I have opened Unit 1 (there are 4 units in Year 1). I went to the TOG online forum and found a link under "Setting It Up" that explains options of setting everything up and detailed list of what to buy. It's a little overwhelming. I printed it off and went to Sam's Club. I know they have the best prices on page protectors and 3-ring notebooks. Some TOGers put page protectors on the whole year's worth of curriculum. It sounds like a good idea in theory, you know, to protect your major moolah investment. But considering you have to buy 1000 page protectors...then you have to put the pages in them. Oh my gosh. I had decided to just page protect the first Unit. Then when I get done with the unit, take them out, and put Unit 2 in there, and so on. Last night I started on putting Unit 1 in the page protectors. Good grief!!! That was a sloooooow process! And frustrating, too!! The pages don't go in there smoothly. So I got to Week 3 before I gave up for the night. Gonna try and finish today.

The Loom CD that comes with it is good. I like how you can print off the Student Activity Pages from it, instead of making copies.

I haven't even looked at the Writing Aids CD yet. Or the Map Aids CD. LOL! Like I said, it's all a bit overwhelming. I really wish I had decided to do this way back in July!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

While Waiting, Part 2 or.."The Dog Ate My Homework"

While waiting on my new curriculum yesterday, it actually came!

Unfortunately, the UPS guy didn't ring my doorbell or knock. And we have a 6-month-old Golden Lab mix PUPPY outside! Can you see where this is going?

Another package came from Vision Forum of a set of DVD's on How To Disciple Your Family. No knock or doorbell on that one, either.

So Preach gets home and finds the two packages. I immediately hear him yell "HONEY!" (that's our puppy's name, not a form of endearment for me) followed by "It's time for that dog to GO!" I reply, "Haven't I been telling you that for MONTHS?" He brings the two boxes inside which now have TWO HUGE HOLES in them where our dog had CHEWED them up! That was close to $400 worth of stuff in those two boxes that she decided to eat. I shakily open each box, and thank you God, she had not reached the "goods" in either one. Whew!

After that little debacle, I inform Preach that I looked up reviews on Target for that chest of drawers, and most people said it took hours and hours to put together, all the parts were numbered wrong, and the bottom drawer was a pain. So we ditched that idea pretty quick. We went to Ashley Furniture, and find beautiful children's furniture for really cheap, even cheaper that my favorite furniture discount store in town. So now we just have to decide what will fit in her room.

Then we went back and forth to Target and Lowe's trying to decide what shelving we could do for Princess's room. We end up with those ClosetMaid cube things, you know, with the 9 cubby holes that you can buy those fabric drawer things to put in? We got 2, and are going to put them together under the big window in her room. I really hope it will hold her toys. She really doesn't have that many TOYS as much as STUFFED ANIMALS. (imagine me rolling my eyes right here)

Okay, off to look at my new Tapestry of Grace curriculum!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

While Waiting..

So while waiting on my curriculum to arrive, I thought I would expound on happenings in my life.

* Fall-out from The Fall: From my fall down the stairs, I got a lovely purple bruise from my knee to my ankle.

* Knat Parts: Unforunately, I never found the other knat wing in my ear. I still have hope that he (she?) was a one-winged knat. I have this fear that when I die, *they* (whoever *they* are) will find a 50-year old knat wing in my ear. Or my head. Or wherever your ear-holes lead to.

* We are re-doing Princess's bedroom. We've been trying to decide what to do about a chest of drawers. Spend a lot or spend a little? I found a cute white one at Target yesterday. The only fly-in-the-ointment (just a little *gnat* humor, ha ha ha) is that it comes in a tiny flat box. Hmmmm...I guess that means "some assembly required". Considering it took Preach TWO HOURS to assemble a cheap-o Target bookshelf , I wonder how long it will him to assemble a complicated chest of drawers? Hmmmm...Well, since he's the one wanting to save some money, then I guess I will sit back with the stopwatch.

* You Might Be a Redneck...if you try to save money by spray painting brown wooden blinds white. Haven't tried it yet, but gonna do it once the weather clears up. Hope it works.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Decision Time

After months of poring over curriculum catalogs and websites, I have made my decision on what curriculum to use for this school year. And the winner is.....Tapestry of Grace! Preach helped me out with this decision, and he felt that this one would best help us fulfill our homeschooling goals. This curriculum has a lot of teacher prep. Most people order it at the end of the school year so that they have the whole summer to prepare! So I'm just a wee bit behind on that part. I think I've just got to take it slow, and not try and do everything all at once. And if I end up not liking it, I can always return it for a refund. They have a great return policy.

It was really hard to hit the "Buy" button, though. It costs a lot of money. But you can re-use it over and over as your children get older. If you had a lot of kids, it would be really economical. I only have 2, but we will be able to use Year 1 two more times after this year (if we stick with TOG), so that's really a good deal. You just have to buy the books for each year. I will hopefully use our library some and since I am always looking for used books and going to used book sales, surely I can find some books cheap.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rejoice with me....

Rejoice with me...our 8 1/2 year old son was baptized this past Sunday, by my DH! We had so many friends and family come for this precious event. I can't even begin to describe how much that meant to me. Some drove a long way to get there. Others came to church who hadn't been in church for a long time. My DH preached a fiery sermon on the Great White Throne Judgement from Revelation. It was a beautiful service! My little Prince now has his own spot saved for him in Heaven. He is the son of a Holy King, a Prince among men, a sinner saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Feelin' Not-So-Frugal

We are Dave Ramsey fans, and thanks to him, paid off all of our debt several years ago. He does not condone using credit cards, and neither do we. But, we do use one as a gas card, and pay it off each month. This card gives you points for each dollar spent, and then you can redeem your points. We decided when we got it to use the points for clothing for the kids. Please note: I only recommend doing this (credit card) if you have had several years behind you of responsible budgeting, and if the one who is the "saver" in the family pays the bills! LOL! We have never carried a balance on this card, always paying it off each month. It has worked for us.

Anyway, my point is...we redeemed a whole lot of points and got $800 worth of Land's End gift cards. The reason I picked Land's End is because they carry little girl plus sizes. Princess is thick around her middle, and very picky of how tight clothing feels (she likes it loose - which I have to say, I am glad of!!). So Land's End is perfect for finding clothes for her. She is SO hard to buy for!!! And it's hard to find modest clothing today for little girls, you know? Land's End fits the bill there, too.

Well, last night I was placing an order for her clothing from Land's End for fall clothes and shoes. Let me tell you....it was hard. It felt so foreign to me to be buying flare knit pants for $18.50! I felt sick. It was so weird paying $29.50 for a horse sweater, even though I know she will flip for it. But $29.50??? You have got to be kidding! I would not have been buying it if I was paying cash for it. I probably would have bought the pants, just because they are a basic necessity, and I am so weary of going all over trying to find pants that are not too tight around her waist and legs. I bought two knit dresses, which were $19.50 each. I didn't think that was too bad. She is really into horses right now, so I bought horse tights for $9.50. I think that was high. I bought Prince two pairs of Climber jean pants with elastic waist that I think were way too high. I only got them instead of regular jeans because they have double reinforced knees, and if you have a boy, then you KNOW why that is important! I bought them both tennis shoes for $29.50 each and church shoes for about the same.

It was just so weird spending that kind of money. I can't imagine having the money to do that every season. I usually buy yard sale, thrift store, or cheap things on sale at Target or Children's Place. Spending these gift cards just felt so...anti-frugal! And, by the way, I didn't spend all of them, but most of them. :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Step Out On Faith

My DH is a bivocational preacher. He preaches every week, alternating days and evenings with an older pastor at our church. Last Sunday evening, he preached a sermon that really spoke to me. I wish more people could have heard it. I'm gonna try and write what he was saying.

He recounted the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 men (and probably 10,000 women and children) with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. This is a very well-known act of Jesus from the Bible. But Preach got a meaning from it that I had never heard before. Maybe you have. But it really spoke volumes to me.

When Jesus and his disciples were faced with feeding the multitude of people, Jesus asked them how they were going to feed them. He didn't ask them because he really wanted to know; he asked them to test them. They were willing to send the people away. Andrew said "This boy has 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Let's see how far that goes", I imagine, in a slightly sarcastic way. So instead of having a little faith, they were willing to send at a minimum 15,000 people away, without having heard Jesus speak. But Jesus took the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and fed all of those people, and still had 12 baskets of leftovers after the meal.

That story is great as an example of another miracle of Jesus. But even better, is what else is symbolizes. When you read that story, do you put yourself in the disciples places? Would you have had little faith that Jesus could feed so many? Would you have rather sent them away, hungry not only physically but spiritually as well? Our first reaction is - NO! I would have had faith that Jesus could take care of it! Would you really?

How many times do we show how little faith we do have in Jesus' power? How many times does Jesus ask us to do something for Him, and we give excuse after excuse of why we can't do it?

Does this sound familiar?

"I can't teach Sunday School because I'm just not a teacher."
"I can't give my testimony at church because I'm not a good speaker."
"I can't go to church on Wednesday nights because I'm just too tired."
"I can't witness to my lost coworker because I'm afraid I'll mess it up."
"I can't present the Gospel to my neighbor because what if he asks me something that I don't know?"

All Jesus asks of us is to just give a little, and He will take care of the rest. He has the power! Believe in His power! Have faith that He will make it happen! Give a little, and He will do much. To me, that is what the story is teaching us. Maybe you're not a good speaker, but get up and start speaking, and have faith that Jesus will take care of the rest. Your words will affect someone.

Have faith that when you do or give something, that Jesus will take it and make it do much more. But you have to be willing to give a little first.

The boy in the story gave up his 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. And look what happened when it passed through Jesus' hands. A multitude of 15,000 people were fed physically, and then were able to be fed spiritually through Jesus' words. All because of a basketful of food.

Step out on faith. Jesus will take care of the rest.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"That IS our medium-well!"

Preach and I went out to eat for my birthday to Carabba's. It was an interesting experience, to say the least. Here's a run-down of what happened:

I order a big ol' steak. The only reason I get it is because right before we left, I discovered my fingernails are getting these indentions or dips in them. I look it up on the internet, gagging over all the gross fingernail pictures, and self-diagnose myself as anemic. So I order a steak to get some iron in my body.

The waiter asks how I want it cooked. I usually order well-done, but decide that since I am paying so much for it, I don't want to risk it being tough, so I order medium-well. The waiter says, "So you want it a line of pink in the middle with brown on the outside?" Sounds good to me.

We get our steaks. I cut into the outside, and see nothing BUT pink! It looks like it's raw from top to bottom. I guess I looked funny because a waitress runs over to me.

Waitress: "Is your steak cooked okay?"

Me: "Um, I don't know. I ordered medium-well. Is this medium-well?"

Waitress: "Yes, that's our medium-well."

Me: "Oh."

So I decide to try and eat it. But I decide to check the middle first. I cut into it, and ...there is BLOOD! I immediately gag, and say, "Ohmygosh.Ohmygosh. I-think-I'm-gonna-throw-up!" This apparently is heard by many, because someone who looks like a manager runs up to me, and asks if there is something wrong with my steak.

Me: "There is BLOOD in it!"

Manager: "How did you order it?"

Me: "Medium-Well"

Manager: "That IS our medium-well!"

Me: "I'm sorry, but I can't eat BLOOD!"

Manager: "We can cook it some more for you."

So I agree to let them cook it for me. He was giving me some attitude about it, like I was an idiot for not knowing that it was THEIR medium-well. But he did come back and say that it was more like medium.

I was so embarassed! He made me feel like an idiot. And unfortunately, we were sitting right beside of the kitchen. I could just feel all of the cooks just staring at me. Whatever happened to "the customer is always right"?? And shouldn't the manager have been a little more nicer to me considering that their restaurant was only 1/3 full?? I've heard that the restaurants are having a hard time during this "recession". So, wouldn't it stand to reason that they would be NICE to the customers when their steaks are not COOKED like they are supposed to be???

(sigh) I never want to go back there. So note to my friends: Don't ever invite me to go to Carabba's to eat!! LOL!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Curriculum Junkie? Oh, Yeah!

Curriculum.....the mere word sends butterflies into my tummy while giving me a jolt of excitement at the same time! Some good bumper stickers for me would be:

"My name is J., and I am a curriculum junkie"

"I brake for used curriculum sales!"

When I find cheap curriculum, I will buy it just to look at it and see what it's like, on the very off chance that I *might* want to use it!

I think I'm also a "method" junkie. I mean, you should see my bookshelf of homeschooling books. I have books on Classical education, Christian Classical education, Charlotte Mason method, Wholehearted Learning, Unit Studies, Relaxed Homeschooling. Since I have books on all these methods, I think I definitely qualify as an "Eclectic homeschooler". I lean toward certain methods, but I need books from all methods, because hey, who knows when I'm gonna wanna change? ;)

I say all of this in fun, but seriously, it is getting to be a problem. Every year, I spend all spring and summer agonizing over what curriculum to get. I finally choose at the last minute, and then we use it for maybe a couple of months, then I'm ready to change again! Part of this is just my personality. I'm the kind of person who would love to redecorate my bedroom every month, if I had the money. But I would *love* to find a curriculum, and just love it SO much, that I would just *know* that I was going to use that curriculum forever!! Like, I want to be known as a certain-curriculum-person. Like, a "Sonlight homeschooler". Or a "Tapestry of Grace user". Or a "HODie". I WANT A LABEL!

So I am going to be blogging a lot about what curriculums I'm considering. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Goals for Homeschooling - Part 2

Have you read my "Goals for Homeschooling" post? If not, take a look at it! This post might make a little more sense, if you do. LOL!

As you were reading my Goals for Homeschooling, did you notice one missing? One that a lot of parents will/would probably put on their lists? Yep, you guessed it! I did NOT put on my list "I want my children to excell academically" or "I want my children to be the best in Math, Science, etc" or "I want my children to place in the top 5 percent of achievement tests". And you didn't see "I want my children to go to the most prestigious college". No, you won't see any of those goals on my list. Why not?

Well, first of all, it's not because my husband and I aren't smart, college-educated people. I did very well in school. I went for about 5 years to college (didn't finish to get my degree, just wanted to be a mommy - long story, tell ya later). My DH got is degree in Computer Information Systems, and made very high grades. Anyway, not trying to brag here, I'm just trying to show you that we do value college educations and getting good grades.

But we value a good, solid relationship with God more.

More important than any academics is knowlege and understanding of the Bible and God's truths. What we want for our children more than anything is for them to grow up to be loving, caring Christians who put God first before their jobs/careers.

When we get to Heaven, God isn't going to ask us how much money we made or how many rungs on the career ladder we climbed. He's going to ask us how many people at work we witnessed to and how many people we led to Christ.

I don't know if I've done a very good job at explaining this. Hopefully you get the main idea of it. God first - academics second. :)



Goals for Homeschooling

I think that it is very important to sit down with your DH and figure out your goals for homeschooling. I believe this is one of the most important things you can do in your homeschooling journey. And you should always feel free to change or adjust your goals during your journey.

I was inspired to write down my homeschooling goals when I was reading two books: Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Sally Clarkson and Heart of Wisdom by Robin Sampson. These are both excellent books that I highly recommend! I wrote down what I felt our goals should be, then DH and I sat down while out to eat one night and went over them. He agreed with all of the goals I had written down.

Here are the goals we came up with:

I want my children to:

1) ....Love God with all of their hearts and to live for Him.
2) ....See God in all that we study.
3) ....To have a happy childhood.
4) ....To have a loving family.
5) ....Be self-learners.

Okay, here are the explanations for each goal:

1) I want my children to love God with all of their hearts and to live for Him.
To study and know God's Word to gain wisdom.
To shape our children's hearts to love God.
Monitor what goes into our children's hearts, not just punish/reward what comes out.

2) I want my children to see God in all that we study.
Make sure any History, Science, Fine Arts, etc has God intertwined.

3) I want my children to have a happy childhood.
Create happy memories for our children.

4) I want my children to have a loving family.
Main focus is on child's bond with us (parents) and sibling.

5) I want my children to be self-learners.
To posess a heartfelt desire and passion to always want to learn and read.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Garage Sale Finds

I've been meaning to do this all week....I thought I'd share what I found while going to yard sales last weekend. It was a very fruitful couple of hours!

New Photo Coasters - $2
2 Pairs of white window sheers - $2
11 mini-clipboards - .25 cents each (to alter and stamp)
Caddie Woodlawn book - .50 Cents
Betsy-Tacy Book - .25 cents
If You Lived 100 Years Ago book - .50 cents
New 2-pack White ledges - $2
New 2 hanging vases - $2
Beautiful flower arrangement in heavy vasy - $3

For My Son:
Class Club Polo - $1
Polo long-sleeve polo - $2
Polo long-sleeve button-up shirt - $2
Kitestrings long-sleeve polo - $2
Slingshot - .50 cents

For My Daughter:
Book with piano keys on bottom - FREE
Horse Wallies (the BIG ones!) - FREE!

VHS Videos -
A Christmas Carol - .25 cents
Tarzan and Jane - .50 cents
Honey I Shrunk the Kids - $1
Honey We Shrunk Ourselves - $1
Jingle All the Way - $1
Dumbo - $1
Fly Away Home - $1

Whew! How did I do?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ground Turkey - Friend or Foe?

Have you ever tried ground turkey? I decided to take the plunge, when I saw how much cheaper it was than ground beef. I've always heard that you can't tell the difference. So I decided to find out.

I bought some ground turkey at Aldi's. I *think* it was one pound for $2.49. This was the regular ground turkey (not turkey breast) with a 93/7 percentage of fat ratio. If you bought the 93/7 ground beef, it was cost close to $4/lb.

I made spaghetti last night with the ground turkey in the sauce. It cooked up quickly, with no "disappearing meat", as when you cook with ground beef. LOL! And surprisingly, there was not an overwhelming aroma while cooking, only a pleasant subtle cooked chicken smell. When cooked, the color was just a bit paler than ground beef. The consistency was the same. I tentatively took a bite of the sauce. The taste was the same!! Woo hoo! It even fooled my persnickety kids! They loved it, and had no idea that it wasn't hamburger! :)

I went to Sam's last night for some apples, and decided to look at the ground turkey there. They had the ground turkey for $1.94 a pound and was the Jenni-O brand. They also had ground turkey breast for $3.15 a pound.

So far, ground turkey is my friend. I am going to experiment using it in different ways, to make sure I still like it. I will update when I do. So be brave - go buy some ground turkey!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Stockpiling Revelation

I decided to clean out my pantry closet today. I have no idea why. I think it was because I had no idea what to cook for supper tonight, and I was secretly hoping there was something lurking in the back of the shelves that I could cook.

Now, keep in mind that my pantry is just a tiny closet with wire shelves in it. Not a walk-in closet. Just an open-the-door-and-the-shelves-are-in-your-face closet.

So I start cleaning out each shelf, throwing away things that had expired. I threw away bottle after bottle of BBQ sauce, salad dressing, marinades, Miracle Whip, microwave popcorn, etc. At the end of my back-breaking work, I had THREE full garbage bags full of expired products!!!!!!

As I later did the dishes, I kept glancing at the 3 full garbage bags sitting in my kitchen. (They were so heavy I couldn't move them anywhere else.) I thought of all of the hours I spent cutting out coupons for those products, time I spent driving to the grocery store to buy the papers for the coupons, time I spent in the grocery store buying the items, and the money I spent on the items. Even if I did get them cheap, it was still a waste to buy all of that just to throw it away.

So I came to the revelation that stockpiling might not be very thrifty for me. I obviously did not think to check expiration dates when I bought this stuff. I mean, if I had checked, I might have had the thought that "Wow, I know we won't eat barbequed chicken 15 times in the next couple of months." Or "You know, maybe 10 bottles of salad dressing is a little overkill since it all expires in two months." But, to be honest, if I had checked the expiration dates, would I have been able to overcome the thrill of getting a good deal and been sensible about how much I was buying?? When you are in the heat of a good deal, your rational sensibility goes out the window.

I wish I had taken before and after pics of my pantry. It looks so nice and clean....and NORMAL right now!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tips for Bloggers

Here is a blog I found that is great for bloggers like me who don't have a clue about HTML. It gives clear, concise directions on how to change things on your blog. Like, how to make your blog have 3 columns, how to add graphics to your sidebar, how to center your title in the header. Very cool! Here is the link: Tips for New Bloggers

Friday, June 13, 2008

Garage Sale Finds

Last Saturday, I went to a few yard sales and found some great deals! I thought I would share.

At one yard sale, I got all of this for $10:
* 2 pairs of dress shoes for my son. One pair was Bass. Both looked brand new.
* 1 pair of rain boots worn once
* 7 books (2 Max Lucado hardcovers, one oversized hardback Winnie the Pooh, and other paperback readers)
* 5 shirts for my son
* 1 pair of pants for my son
* 2 swimming trunks for my son

At another yard sale I got:
* 2 crystal lamps for $10 (I know crystal lamps aren't in style, but I don't care! LOL!!)
* 1 brand new Discovery Toys Money game for $1
* Life board game for $1
* A huge bag of 27 girls hair bows for $3
* A smaller bag of 8 scrunchies, 2 play bracelets, and some barretts for .75 cents
* 3 computer games (Monopoly, NickToons Racing, and an educational game) for $1 each
* "A Christmas Story" VHS movie for $1

At another sale I got:
* A pair of Laredo boots for $1 (I can't tell if they are boys or girls - gotta find out)
* A Kelly's Kids white cardigan sweater for $1
* A pair of Class Club khaki dress pants for $1
* A brand new bulletin board, still in shrink wrap, for $3 (instead of regular corkboard, it has black, kind of like Nerf, board to pin into)

I think that's all. I felt like I did pretty good! I was really excited about the hair bows! These weren't just little bows - they were they fancy ones! Now if I can only get my DD to wear them, I will be happy!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Frugal Finds at the Thrift Store

After locking myself out of my house yesterday, I ended up going with my sister to a thrift store. I got a couple of great finds!

* A pair of Hanna Andersson clogs that look like new, in my DD's size, for $1.69! These retail for $48. Wow!
* A pair of Teva sandals for me for $1.99. They feel pretty comfy!

We went to Big Lots,too. I got (3) 3-pack digital pregnancy tests by Clearblue (??) for $2.00 each! And they don't expire until June 2009. They normally retail for $20 each. They also had a bunch of cool scrappin' stuff. I got some Basic Grey "Mellow" chipboard packs for $2, Basic Grey Wholly Cow rub-ons for $1, and they had but I didn't get some Basic Grey "Oh Baby" ribbon packs for $3. If you have a Big Lots, it's worth going to check it out!

The only other good deal I've gotten lately was a one-day only sale at Kroger for Tyson whole chickens (the ones labeled all natural) for .49 cents a pound. They were originally almost $9.00 each, and I got them for $2.xx each. I got 4! I later heard that Tyson is being sued for the chickens labeled "all natural" were not really all natural, or something like that. But oh, well! It's still a good deal for NOT all natural chickens!! LOL!

Sorry I haven't been posting much lately....We have been super busy with weddings, funerals, and the like. And I haven't felt great. My thyroid is still out of whack! Enough excuses... :)