Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fun Christmas Idea

My friend Carmon (and Mike's cousin's wife) has an awesome etsy site, Cola Cuties. Great bows & headbands & hats for little girls - very unique. And beautiful - and I mean REALLY beautiful wipes containers - both large size and travel size. Run over there and check her out!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lazy Day

There are many thanksgiving games taking place today. The most popular with the kiddos...the Farming Game. I really don't like the Farming Game. It is sometime fun to play if I have a partner to cheat with. I know that sounds bad, but the game is much like monopoly with a ranching twist. I am not a rancher and I don't like monopoly. Not a good combination.

I hoping we play some Pit or Carcassonne or Cities and Knights of Catan. I think I'm on kid over-load and that's why those ones sound better. I did play part of a game of Sorry with the kids - that counts as family time, right?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Over the river & through the woods... grandmothers house we go.

Although that should read, over the hills and through the sage brush...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Good smells

You know it's Thanksgiving time when you can smell Chex Mix cooking in the oven!

My Children Are Afraid

My kiddos do not have school today. So I have inherited four more slaves! I told them that I wanted a vacation for the next three days so we were going to work and get all our chores done today. And if there was any whining or complaining I would started taking away privileges, like TV or Computer or video games or friends or lunch. I am happy to report that they all ate lunch and the upstairs of my house is halfway clean.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Calories, you mock me!

I heard yesterday that the average American consumes 400 more calories per day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the average Thanksgiving meal is over 4000 calories - twice what should be consumed in one day. What they didn't take into account is that I will eat pie for breakfast for the next two days.

I have tried to set in place some things to avoid weight gain.

  1. I will try a few bites of something instead of eating the whole thing.
  2. I will not eat something I do not like. (why waste my calories on something yucky!)
  3. Drink lots of water.
  4. Take that walk on Thanksgiving Day, that I always think I'll take, but instead sit and watch football.
  5. Walk on the treadmill (because it is too cold outside!) four days a week.

I know I don't walk enough to account for the extra 400 calories, but at least it is something!

I reached a plateau with my weight loss and really don't have the motivation to try something hugely different headed into the holidays. I'm just gonna stick to the things I know to do and hope to keep those extra calories at bay. Of course I've already blown that with the doughnut I had for breakfast this morning. So in good Scarlet O'Hara fashion...

Tomorrow is another day!

Monday, November 24, 2008


I have four children at our elementary school. At this point, should nothing change, I will have children at that school until 2018! I sorta think I should be involved. I have limited my involvement, though to two events. One held in February...the other ongoing. Today I have to work on the ongoing project and I just don't want to!!!! I will spend the entire morning (except for the time I play Scramble on Facebook) working on it. Monday is suppose to be my "day-off", but because there is a short week, I have to do it today. And I really question whether or not it is improving my children's education. I think it may be time to re-evaluate my involvement.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Meat Me

My mother in law brought over 40 lbs of ground beef the other day. It joined the 30 lbs still in my deep freeze. I am so grateful for that meat - especially with rising prices. But what does one do with 70 lbs of ground beef?

We've had tacos, chili, spaghetti, lasagna, goulash...any other suggestions?

I might also see if someone wants to buy some chicken breasts and trade me for some ground beef.

Maybe this weeks meals should be entitled, "Ground Beef Served Seven Ways".

Friday, November 21, 2008

Refrigerator update

Well, I thought we had solved the problem. We completely emptied the freezer and refrigerator and found ice underneath the freezer tray. We defrosted and cleaned everything out. The refrigerator looks like I bought it last week. It is beautiful. It is still keeping things cold. But it is also still leaking water. So...honey, I think you are a wonderful repairman, but I think it is time to call a professional.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Martha, Martha, Martha

Today in Bible Study we were discussing Mary and Martha. This was the first time I really realized that the whole story is only 5 verses long. There is a lot packed in those verses! (Luke 10:38-42)

The story isn't about not being Martha. It's really about having a Mary heart. A heart that desires to sit at Jesus' feet. I don't think I'm of base saying that most of us are more like Martha. We are easily distracted. How many times have I started to have some quiet time with God, only to think of three or four things that I need to do today? How many times have I made out my shopping list on my church bulletin? Do I put off the important time with my kids even to finish one more load of laundry?

I want to say the story is about priorities, but it is more than that.

Interestingly, the parable recorded right before Mary and Martha is the Good Samaritan. Where people were too busy doing "godly" things to take care of the practical. Mary and Martha is more about being too busy doing the practical to pay attention to the godly. There has to be a balance.

Three things that the ladies said that encompass the whole point...

Don't get so busy that you miss the "Big Guy"! I loved how she called him the big guy! If you were at work and got so busy doing what you were supposed to for your boss, that you forgot to engage in conversation with your boss, your boss would not be impressed! (How's that for a major run-on sentence!) It isn't about impressing God, but He is our boss - how do we treat Him?

Remember who we are doing this for and why we are here. Oh how I wish that were said at the beginning of every ministry meeting or PTA meeting get the idea. I think I even need to remember it when I am mopping the floor! (I hate mopping the floor!) This is all about reframing our outlook. Sometimes when we are discouraged with church stuff, I have to be reminded that people's eternity is at stake. Gives a whole new perspective on taking care of the cranky three year old.

Finally, this is the first generation that is a society of human doings not human beings. We have forgotten to just be. We always have to be doing something. We have perfected multi-tasking. So this week, instead of always having something in my car to do while I wait, I am going to phone. I challenge you to try. I'll let you know what happens.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Raising Kids

Okay, it maybe cheating a bit by posting someone else's post, but I thought Vicki Courtney's words at Virtue Alert were so perfect on this subject.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It is a beautiful day...

...the sun is shining. is 60 degrees outside this morning.
...we made it out of the door on time this morning with everyone dressed and fed.
...Costco is carrying Egg Nog.
...and $40 gave me 3/4 of a tank of gas.

God is good!

Monday, November 17, 2008


There are some songs that I could listen to over and over. And today on my day of rest (after I get the kids off to school & mop the floor) these two songs will probably play one after the other for at least an hour!

Steven Curtis Chapman - Yours

Aaron Shust - My Saviour, My God

Travis Cotterell - In Christ Alone

Travis is one of my favorite worship leaders! Amazing voice, Amazing leading abilities, Amazing humility, and leads me to my Amazing Lord!!!

They all bring me to tears! But happy tears! The second was played at my sister's memorial service last year and the third always reminds me of my grandmother, called home two years ago. Today will definitely be reflective, but a very good reflective!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Grieving Change

It has been three years now, but I have just begun the acceptance stage of grieving.

I really hate change. Yet there has been so much over the last three years. Our church in Indianapolis had a motto, "Heartland is changing lives." I joked with our pastor that that really didn't mean salvation, it meant upturned lives...weekly. Kidding, of course, Heartland lead and is leading people to the life-changing relationship of Jesus as Saviour. Heartland, and more specifically our pastor, Darryn, helped me to accept little changes with less resistance.

This big life change of Mike becoming a pastor, moving to Montana, and starting a church has been way bigger than I would have ever anticipated. It was not a little change. I had said I wouldn't marry a pastor (technically I didn't) or move to Montana.

As a family we used to spend Saturdays on projects and Sundays relaxing and playing. And weekday evenings together or with friends.

Now we spend Saturdays doing last minute preparations. And Sundays implementing the plan. And the weekday evenings are filled with Bible studies or prayer time.

Mondays are now more of a relaxing time - or really more of a recovery time. And one that does not include the kiddos.

Now having said that, I think we have adapted well. Instead of a whole day for family, we get Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. And there are nights that the kids get "Daddy time", and nights they get "Mommy time". And no one seems to be suffering. However, I really can't remember the last time we were all in the same car.

I really think that our new schedule is not bad, just different.

The change that has really happened is in my heart and I am stubborn! I dig my heels in and hold on tight. So I have been slow in the acceptance. I have been trying to make our new schedule look more like our old schedule. So when we have stuff going on Sunday afternoon and evening, I begin to resent that we are not spending time "vegging" in front of football, slippers on our feet, and nothing to do. What I have just now come to accept is the little times. Like the hour & a half that I was able to sit on the love seat this afternoon with my husband, watching football, holding my sleeping two-year old. It was a sweet moment. And instead of wishing it could last all afternoon, I was thankful for the 90 minutes we had.

I was asked this past week if I like Billings. I don't think I can come to the point that I would say I love living here, but I can say I enjoy it. I love the people that we have met and developed relationships with. I love the activities that we have been able to be involved in with our children. I love the slower pace that we have had (although this being Sunday, it doesn't feel too slow). I love the opportunity we have had to be closer to grandparents. I love the opportunity we have had to introduce people to Jesus. And that makes all the change worth every difficulty!

Is Saturday of working on projects more important than a day showing Jesus to someone that hasn't seen him before? That is a trade off I am willing to make!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Posting today

I am trying to post every day, but there are those occasional days that just get away from you. Today is one of those days that started way too early and now after 9pm, I am just sitting down. Except I'm not really...I'm standing at my ironing board waiting for my sheets to finish drying so I can make the bed and go to bed!

So just know that I thought of you today...and good night!

Friday, November 14, 2008


For the past week, I have been finding water in my refrigerator. I have a freezer on top refrigerator - no water/ice in the door - just your plain jane run of the mill refrigerator. The settings were off a bit - freezer too cold - refrigerator too warm - touched by little hands I'm sure. But we fixed that and mopped up the water. However, there is still water accumulating on the top shelf. The amount of water is significantly less now, but still requires a paper towel or two every day. Yesterday Mike pulled the refrigerator out and vacuumed behind and underneath. This evening I though I would tackle the inside of both refrigerator and freezer. Any other ideas????

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lil JJ

This evening Jarrett asked if he could show us his break dancing, complete with "spitting".

Maybe he needs to change his name to Lil JJ.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Where do my tax dollars go?

Today when I went to school to pick up the two middle children, Judson was outside for PE. His class was running around in what looked a bit like a game of tag. However, one child was running around with a rubber chicken. When he got home, I asked him what was going on. In a very non-chalant voice he said, "oh, we were playing capture the chicken".

My tax dollars at work people!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


How is it that one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Carlo's Carnival

This is a sweet family in our church. It was realy fun to see the whole church family help out!

It was actually the top story on my local google news section!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Dinner

Most people get excited about the weekend. No time...relaxed schedule. While my kids "day of rest" is usually Saturday, Mike and mine is more Monday. So instead of TGIF, we have TGIM - don't think that will fly as a restaurant!

Since Sundays are kind of hectic, I have really tried to plan ahead to have a nice meal for lunch, so we get some family time around the table before the afternoon activities start. This cookbook is by far a favorite. I have had it since college and I have to say there isn't a single recipe that I have tried that our family didn't enjoy. I haven't tried all of them, but I will say I have made more than 50%!

Today's lunch: Fresh bread in the bread maker - set to finish when we walk in the door, and Corn Chowder in the crock pot. I adapted the recipe a bit to fit our family and thought I would share with you. Still - the cookbook...a good thing to add to your Christmas list!

Corn Chowder - from Just a Matter of Thyme adapted by me!

1/2 cup butter
4 med potatoes, peeled and diced
(they call for minced celery, but my family doesn't care for it)
1/2 onion diced

Saute in pan until onions are soft. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp for flour over the mixture and cook for a few minutes.

Dissolve 4 tbsp. chicken bouillon in 2 cups of water.

Put all of the above in crock pot.
Add 1 red pepper, diced
20oz frozen corn
4 cups of milk (I use skim, but the recipe calls for half & half and the half & half is very, very good!!!)

Cook on high for three to four hours or low for six to eight.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

This feeds my family with some leftovers.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Babies are Grown Up

Today I as a mommy took a significant step in recognizing that my babies are not babies anymore.

I cleaned out a drawer in the kitchen that has some odds-n-ends in it. It included four pacifiers.

I threw them away.

I do not currently have a child that takes a pacifier. In fact the youngest two never would take one. That makes the "baby" that took a pacifier 5 1/2 years old. And she only took one until she was a year.

I almost cried when I threw them away. I thought maybe I should put them in a baby book. The baby book that has yet to be completed. I kept Mikalah's, but she was my first.

Nope, into the trash they went. And thankfully Mike took the trash to the alley. Otherwise....

Friday, November 7, 2008

No More Blue Bins

It is official...after much swapping of dressers, a closet organizer for one child, and a friend to motivate me...I am no longer using two big blue bins for my dresser! They weren't even matching bins. It was bad.

The dresser that I now occupy may not be my dream dresser, but it is a huge step in the right direction - much better than blue rubbermaid bins.

One organization project down, fifty more to go!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Big and Small

I think it is funny how one day our world can seem so big and the next so small.

On Tuesday, 121,170,126 people voted...that is over 120million people and that is not all of the American public. That makes me feel very small in a big world.

Now I know that Billings is not a very big town, but when I go to Costco and spend more time talking to people I run into than shopping, I feel like the world isn't really that big. When my husband can chat with his brother in Sudan as if he was next door, or I can IM with my sister in TX, the world feels smaller.

Then when I fly somewhere and am in a airport with thousands of people I DON'T know, it feels big again.

Today, just four blocks from our house, local authorities busted a meth lab. Not a huge one, but a meth-lab. I still feel like our neighborhood is a peaceful and safe neighborhood. However that is one of those things that I always feel like happens elsewhere in our big world. Instead it happened in my small world.

I guess both big and small have good and bad.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Did I Pass the Test?

We had parent-teacher conferences today...four of them. For some reason, it makes me feel like I am taking a test.

Do I do everything I am supposed to as a mom? Do I read to my kids? Do I help them with their homework and projects? Have I taught them to be respectful? and responsible? Am I involved in making their school a better place?

I know most of those are "mommy guilt" questions, but I still took homemade pumpkin biscotti (thanks to Elizabeth) to all of their teachers as bribery. I was a good brown-noser in school and somehow stepping back into those musty smelling halls bring it all back quickly!

Their teachers seemed pleased with the kids and really had nothing negative to offer, so I guess I passed the test.

Monday, November 3, 2008

One of those well, duh moments.

This article showed up on Google News yesterday.

Study: Sex on TV Linked to Teen Pregnancies

Umm, Hellooooo, we are just getting this idea through our heads? Now if only that would translate into some action.

Well, here is someone doing something...Vicki Courtney. She has written several books both for girls and for their mothers. Her latest is, 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter. As the mother of a 12 year old trying to navigate fashion, friends, boys, and her own body, it is definitely one I am reading!


When we lived in Indiana, they did not spring forward or fall back. I don't know the technical term for what schedule they were on, I just knew that half of the year I was in Eastern time zone and the other half I was in Central. they have since changed that and now always stay in Eastern time. But when we moved to Montana, we had to start changing our clocks twice a year again.

I always get the bedroom clocks changed the night that time changes, and the computers do it by themselves. Which is a little creepy, but very convenient. The microwave and stove clock usually get changed sometime on Sunday, along with any television equipment that doesn't change by itself.

My watch usually doesn't get changed until later in the week when I'm sitting waiting for kids or in some boring meeting. And the laundry room clock was never changed in the spring, so now I don't have to change it.

But the van is a different story. I need to always know if I am on time or not, because I hate being late. So when I'm driving I need to know the exact time. I am not one to set a clock ahead just so everyone will be on time, I set the clocks according to the cell phone which is connected to a satellite, so it must be the right time. That way we know if we are late.

I have had the same van for over four years - maybe even five - hard to remember when I have resigned myself to driving a beast for the rest of my motherhood years. You would think that by now I would know how to change the clock, but every year I have to get out the manual and look it up. It is just not information I apparently need cluttering up my brain. So again, this morning, I was searching for how to change the van clock.

Are your clocks all set????

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Out of Costco?

We discovered yesterday that our Costco membership had expired. Usually for the whole month before they remind me and ask if I would like to renew it. This year they did not. Also, I usually use my executive membership rebate check to renew my membership - it usually covers the fee plus some. However, because the rebate check comes in August and the membership isn't up until November 1st, sometimes that doesn't always work out that way. Like this year.

Yesterday, I gave Mike some money for milk and sent him to Costco. They allowed him to purchase his milk, but confiscated his card. They are serious about their membership! I told Mike to think of it as an opportunity to get a new picture. If only it had been my card that had been confiscated!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Hangover

Disclaimer: my camera is acting up and not getting the focus right. These are a little fuzzy. The giraffe
The sleepy head

the pirate

the basketball player

the girl scout (complete with cookies)

The volcano (his flames binked)

the whole crew.
They are why I have a sugar hangover today...not because I ate too much of their candy!