Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dancing With The ...Elves?

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

A Hoedown?

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Doing the Charleston

Send your own ElfYourself eCards


Ok, it's cute when the kids do it, but this is downright hilarious! Apparently, the kids come from a long line of talented dancing elves!!!!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Fun Facts About House Hunting

17 The number of years we've lived in this house

16 The number of years we've been looking for a house with more land

10 gazillion The number of houses we've walked through

6 The number of offers we've made on a house

4 The number of those houses (including the one in which we now live and our new house) within 15 miles of each other on the same county road

1 The number of those houses that were 300 miles away

4 The number of those houses I absolutely loved

4 The number of hours we waited before calling in a verbal offer on our first house

5 The number of children we've welcomed home here

2.4 The number of acres we have here

11 The number of acres at the second house we bid on

12 The number of days we were in this contract before we voided it because we discovered the septic holding tank was under the garage floor covered with a sheet of steel

18 The number of inches high the crawl space of that house was into which the sewage was leaking

0 The number of houses still standing on that property, still for sale 9 years later

15 The number of inches thick the log walls of the third house were

5 The number of acres at the third house

9 The number of inches of bat guano lurking in the attic of this home, resulting in our voiding the contract after the inspection

2 The number of years later that Mr. GT's branch company near this home closed (glad we didn't move 300 miles away!)

1 The number of offers we put in which weren't accepted

10,000 The number of dollars apart we were on this fourth offer

21 The number of acres at this fourth property

12 The number of acres at the fifth house

4 The number of Black Labs living in this house

2 The number of piles of dog doo we stepped over during the showing

1/4 The number of miles we were outside of our school district boundaries

1 The number of days our dream farm went on the market after our offer was accepted

1000s The amount of money we lost by pulling out of this contract

6 The number of months we waited before looking at the dream farm

3 The number of times the closing date was moved during this sale

7.8 The number of acres Mr. GT and the kids will be romping on at our new house

3 The number of miles away we are moving

Priceless Making your dreams come true.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I Own Two Houses!

Well, Mr. GT and I are now the proud owners of two houses!

We've lived in our current house for 17 years. When we bought it, it was an absolute steal by today's prices. The subdivision across the street was still a farm with cows on it. The housing market hadn't ballooned in our area. We got an old farmhouse-type home on 2.5 acres in town and a creek to boot! The value has about tripled since then.

Even so, everything else we've ever looked at in those 17 years (and we've looked A LOT!)has been JUUUUUUUST out of our reach, price-wise. We live on one income and we're frugal. Mr. GT wasn't willing to carry a mortgage that would put us under if we missed a month's payment.

So we waited on his dream of being out in the country for real. We looked and we looked and we waited. Every so often, we'd get on a moving kick and go looking at houses and would find one and put an offer on it.

Five times we put in offers. Four times they didn't work out.

In the meantime, we lived life and paid off our mortgage. We paid off four cars. We added five children to our family. We put an addition on our 1100 sq. ft. little farmhouse and almost doubled the size.

We bought a piece of land out in the country on which to build. A hair too far from our community. In a different school district. Mr. GT loved it and I pretended to.

And we waited.

While we waited, a house not far from us, the prettiest little farm, came on the market. For just a hair more than we could afford. Five or six years later, it was for sale again. Now we could afford what it had been the first time, but the price had increase, of course, and again it was out of reach.

We put an offer on a different house, a really great deal! The next day, our dream farm was up for sale again and this time we could have made it work. Except for the house we had just "bought."

For all sorts of reasons, we ended up pulling out of the contract (don't do this!) on the great-deal house. Shell-shocked, we swore we were staying put forever.

Fast forward six months and no one has purchased the dream farm. The sellers are getting desperate, the market is failing, and fall was fast approaching. They dropped the price.

The house on the dream farm was 500 sq. ft smaller than our current house. It's in the wrong school district by about 1/2 a mile. There were lots of things that could be wrong about moving there. On a whim, Mr. GT decided we should go look at the house (we'd never been inside or looked at the property).

And he fell in love.

Long story short, it fit my criteria for being accessible to our community and the nearest large city. The house was an old farm house. It has a walk-up attic (oh, I've always wanted one!) The land was open and copious. There's room for animals and a workshop and a garden and fruit trees. There's a tire swing and a barn with secret rooms and a chicken coop.

So once again we put in an offer. And we waited.

We sold our land for a profit to a lovely couple from Chicago (Bill and Dave). They plan to retire there.

Our offer was accepted, our closing date came and went. The current owners graciously extended the closing date. There was a steady parade of viewers through our current house, but no offers. Mr. GT began to panic at the thought of holding two houses, but we we stuck it out and again our closing date approached.

This time, we kept the appointment, we signed the papers, we paid the check and the old owners took off in their RV to work on Habitat for Humanity projects.

We own two houses!


Rose Bud and Dodo (her next door best friend) are out plowing around in the snow, hiking up and down the hill to the prairie and just sharing friendship (and snowballs). It's so good to see them out in their snowpants and hats and mittens just having fun. Just plain fun with someone you've been best friends since you were babies is all too rare for 13 year olds these days.

Pepper and LayleyHey (her next door best friend) have 12 inches of new snow to play in. They are bundled to their noses in pink and purple. And what are they doing? Swinging on the swingset! I think Pepper swung for half an hour!

(They do have a snow fort they are working on, too. Code name: UTD)

Mrs. Hey, next door, is snowblowing her driveway. Her husband plows for the next town over, so he's probably been gone since 2 this morning. You know, the shoemaker's children never have shoes. Anyway, she thinks she's getting into the Hottest Wife on the Block contest, but I have to say, she is no match out there in her frilly, furry suede jacket and fuzzy boots. Any woman knows that you get more Hot Points for wearing HIS snowsuit!

The four big kids shoveled off the deck this morning. Isn't that sweet of them? Yeah. They needed it cleared off so they could sprinkle birdseed all over it so the cat would have something to watch.

Sunshine LOVED the snow today! He came out with Mr. GT and me. He had no qualms about plowing through the 12" across the driveway. He waded through and then followed Mr. GT down the path he was making with the snowblower. it was very cute. He waved to Rose Bud and Dodo up on the prairie. He got invited into the UTD by the girls. He pushed the shovel around a bit.

Now Banana Boy is actually PLAYING with Sunshine in the house! Just recently, Sunshine has become more "playable" and apparently Banana Boy has just recently developed more patience! They are collecting stuffed animals and having a parade.

So all is peace and love at my house today in the midst of the storm outside.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Friday, December 12, 2008

Things That Crack Me Up

Pepper cracks me up. She couldn't get this cotton to stick to her face while she was standing up, so she lay down on the rug so it wouldn't fall off

I know Baby Jesus isn't supposed to be funny, but my kids arranging the manger cracks me up every time!  Something about all those people and critters clustered in so tightly.  My very favorite in this picture is the sheep right smack in the middle of the picture, right in front of the manger.  Little People sheep crack me up.

Sunshine in glasses cracks me up.  The funniest thing was, after he took them off, I thought he looked odd, like someone who wasn't wearing their glasses!  If he ever needs glasses, I guess we won't have to search long for a style that fits him!

Happy Cracking!

Are Y'All Reading My Homeschool Blog?????

Small Things With Great Love

I moved it, you know. I know, I know, I don't post there that much, but you could leave me a comment once in a while.

I'm going to be biting the bullet and unloading some homeschooling stuff over there that I don't think I need any more, so if you're in the market for new (to you) stuff, check it out. I hope to have it up by the end of the month. I'm such a curriculum junkie. I buy stuff because everyone says how great it is and then I can't get rid of it because one of my kids MIGHT need it some day. But it is ridiculous to hold onto it if I'm not using it, right? And I can't use everything. There's not enough time in the day, right?

So big sale at my other blog, coming soon!

Ho Ho Ho With Sunshine

For Nonny....

Here is the pop-up book. Daisy and Banana Boy put it together last night.

BTW, you might think I'm really dopey for getting so excited about my 3.5 yo son saying Merry Christmas. Well, in his world, that IS a big deal! it is still a struggle for him to put two words together in such rapid succession. And you can clearly tell his pronunciation is WAY delayed! So Mommy was SO excited that he could get Merry Christmas out! Go, Baby!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

If Your Kids Aren't Cooking Your Thanksgiving Meal...

...they should be!

Mine were such a big help on Wednesday (we're talking last week, the day before Thanksgiving...I'm that behind in posting). I think it has something to do in the phrasing. I don't ask them to cook. I say, "Who's making the green beans this year???"

Rose Bud pounces on that. "ME! I ALWAYS make the green beans." Okie Dokie, then.

Daisy, not wanting to be outdone, jumps in with "I get (GET, not want, but GET. It's a privilege) to make the cranberries!"

Pepper: "I do the jello!"

Banana Boy: "What do I make????" Oh, Sweetheart, YOU get to make the sweet potatoes this year. A chorus of Yays.

"Me do??" Sunshine, my sweet darling, you are going to help Mama make the stuffing. What better job for a 3 year old than to be given a shaker of something to shake over a big bowl of croutons?? Here, Honey. Shake this. This is sage. shake, shake shake. Ok, that's good. Now shake this salt.shake, shake shake.shake, shake shake.shake, shake shake. That's good. That's GOOD. Ok. Stop. STOP!!!! Ditto with the pepper and the thyme.

Apple-Sausage Stuffing
1 loaf day old bread, cut in 1/2" cubes
1/2 lb. pork sausage
1 c. celery
1 c. onion
2-3 apples, chopped
2-3 c. chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. fresh parsely
thyme, rosemary, sage to taste

Cook pork sausage. Saute onion and celery in pork drippings. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Bake in greased casserole until top is brown and the middle is hot.

Rose Bud is like the wind. I didn't get any pictures of her making her green beans. She did do it all herself. She also mixed up the spices for me to rub on the turkey. She had great fun picking out what to put in. I did allow some tandoori seasoning, but drew the line at pizza seasoning. In spite of her 4 attempts to add it, our turkey was not pizza-flavored this year.

Green Bean Casserole recipe right off the can of french-fried onions

Turkey rub: Combine a bunch of shakes of your favorite turkeyish spices in a bowl. Maybe 2 t. of each. We used sage, thyme, rosemary (pine needles, Pepper calls them), salt, pepper, tandoori seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, crushed bay leaves. Stick your hand (and part of your arm, if it's a big turkey--you'll want short sleeves for this task) under the skin of the turkey, loosening it from over the meaty parts. Rub combined spices under skin over meat. Dump the extras inside the turkey, front and back. Cook in an oven bag. Mmm, mmmm. Perfect every time.

Daisy is obsessed with our new yummy cranberry recipe. New is relative, I guess. We've been making it for 3 years, but it's our newest Thanksgiving staple.

Marni's Cranberries
1 1/2 bags fresh whole cranberries, rinsed
1 orange (I wash it with dish soap and hot water to remove the wax)
1 c. sugar or to taste

Toss the cranberries into a food processor. Cut the ends off the orange and slice it into eighths, leaving the peel on. Take out the white pithy center core thingy and toss the slices into the food processor along with the sugar. Whir until finely chopped. Chill overnight before serving.

Pepper is our jello maker. She just loves to make jello and has been making this jello for 3 years now (although we've been serving it for over 10)

Grace's Jello
1 large or 2 small boxes jello (we like cranberry at Thanksgiving)
1 can raspberry pie filling
1 cup sour cream at room temp.
1 cup boiling water

Dissolve jello in boiling water. Chill 45 minutes. Whisk in sour cream and pie filling. Chill overnight. Serve with whipped cream on top. You can use any jello and pie filling that is appealing. The classic combo is rasp. jello w/ blueberry filling.

Chopping and food processing was a perfect job for Banana Boy.

Sweet Potato Casserole
3 cups cooked sweet potatoes
1/2 c. evaporated milk
2 eggs
1/4 c. melted butter
1/4 c. sugar

Blend in a food processor until smooth. Pour into a casserole (we have a ceramic pie plate we use)

1/4 c. melted butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. crushed corn flakes
1/4 c. chopped pecans

Mix well and sprinkle over sweet potato. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Daisy made a snow turkey.

The girls made the Thanksgiving placecards.

Mr. GT stayed home sick from work. This means he was REALLY sick. He helped out by entertaining Sunshine.

He was REALLY, REALLY sick

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I'm simply thankful today that Mr. GT's family, who was in a car accident tonight, are all right.

They are shaken up, bruised and sore, but they are alive and at home tonight.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Don't Let the Baby Make Coffee, Either

You've read the funny-ha-ha about baking a cake with a toddler, right? (note from me: I was going to link to the story, but would you believe I cannot find it online??? Unreal. Send me the link, if you know where it is.) Well, today I'm going to tell you how to make coffee with one.

Walk bleary-eyed to coffee machine, toddler chattering non-stop at an ear-splitting level behind you.

Rinse old coffee out of pot. Clean out yesterday's filter and left-over grounds.

Turn off machine toddler has turned on. Send toddler to fridge to get coffee grounds.

Stop toddler from putting grounds directly into machine basket.

Put filter in.

Get vacuum to clean up coffee grounds toddler has sprinkled on floor when "missing" the filter.

Guide toddler's hand in putting rest of scoops into filter.

Turn coffee machine off again.

Add water.

Wipe up counter from toddler's "help" adding water.

Allow toddler to finally turn machine on.

Send toddler to get cream from fridge and spoon.

Put sugar back from the very teetering edge of the counter.

Lift toddle off of counter and get OWN cup (breakable) from cupboard.

Push cup back from teetering edge.

Push cup back again.

Carry toddler to different area of house until coffee is done perking.

Allow toddler to put sugar in bottom of cup.

Wipe sugar off counter.

Wipe toddler tongue marks off counter where toddler "wiped" sugar off counter.

Dump 4-5 tablespoons of sugar from cup back into sugar bowl.

Pour hot coffee into cup.

Wipe coffee off counter from toddler moving cup at last second before you poured.

Allow toddler to stir.

Wipe counter from coffee sloshes.

Allow toddler to add cream.

Pick up cream carton and thank the Lord the toddler likes to screw caps back on before bumping carton over.

Clean up more stirring sloshes.

Allow toddler to lick spoon.

Enjoy coffee.

Wonder why sugar sticks to spoon when making the second cup. Oh, yeah. Toddler licked it..... sigh

Monday, November 24, 2008

Don't Let the Baby Poke the Potatoes

It's a job best done only by adults. Strong adults. Adults with the power and strength to penetrate the skin with the fork.

Friday, November 21, 2008

File This Under: You'll Laugh About This Some Day!

For her kid birthday party, RoseBud wanted to go swimming. So off to the pool we went, RoseBud, two friends and Daisy, Pepper and Banana Boy.

The night was a blast! The 3 girls had fun. My 3 middles hung together and swam. Pepper right away decided she'd like to go down the water slide, so her sweet big sister RoseBud took her up and down the first time. Daisy and Banana Boy were too chicken until 30 minutes before we had to leave. Then, once they'd tried it, they LOVED it!

The kids are big enough now (Sunshine stayed home with Mr. GT) that they can go where ever, it's not such a big place that I can't see them, and there is free Wi-Fi! So my laptop and I lounged in a deck chair. What a great evening!

At 8:45, I took my 3 littles into the "hot pool" to warm up, then got them out and dried off and changed. The night had gone by like a dream. No outbursts from BB, everyone got to do what they wanted to do. Very fun.

So now the plan is for me to run Daisy, Pepper and BB home, while the big girls stay at the pool. I'll be back in a few minutes.

I'm collecting coats and goggles and towels and suits when I hear a familiar wailing noise. I look up, and here come BB across the deck AND HE'S SOAKING WET! Soaking. Wet. Shoes and all.

No one saw it happen, but apparently he went to tell the big girls they had to get out of the pool (they didn't) and he tipped over.

I'm thankful he got himself out right away and safely, considering he was fully clothed! He's a pretty good swimmer for 6.

But, boy, was he MAD at being wet through and through. I kissed the top of his head (it was dry) and sort of hugged him without getting myself too wet. Put his coat on and trudged him out to the van. I called ahead to Mr. GT to be ready at the door with a big towel! (and he was)

Poor BB. He did stop wailing by the time we got home and Mr. GT scooped him up in the towel.

When I got back to the pool, there were little frozen tracks all the way from the front door to where we had parked. It made me so sad.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sick Sick Sick Sick Sick

Our house is germ central. I have been sick for over 10 days. Each of the kids has had it or is getting it or is getting something new. Grandma and Grandpa came for Banana Boy's birthday, even though I warned them we were sick. Grandma said, "Oh, I NEVER get sick! We'll be fine." I figured Grandpa would catch it, though.

Ha! Guess who's sick! I talked to Grandma last night and she's in rough shape. (Really, I don't think it's funny. I know how she feels!) Grandpa's fine.

So don't expect to hear from us for a while yet.

cough, gasp, choke, sneeze

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday

Today's Works For Me Wednesday topic is what toy is an absolute keeper in your house?
(Yes, I know today is Thursday. I started this post yesterday and never got around to finishing it.)

So, if we had to move to a deserted island and could only bring 5 toys, what would they be?

Well, sand toys, of course! Just kidding.

1. Probably Playmobil. The kids play with this more than anything else. And if they could only bring one set, it would be the Playmobile bunnies.

2.. Wooden blocks.

3. Into the Forest (this is a board/card game I can't stand and they choose it hands down over and over again to play with each other.)

4. Bananagrams. This is our current favorite game

5. Snap cubes. These are a math manipulative. Colored cubes that snap together. My kids love to build stuff out of them and creat elaborate figures.

Now, this list was actually hard to come up with over the span of all 5 kids. It would be easier to break it down by kid...

Rose Bud...her tiny flocked animals. At 13, she STILL plays with these!

Daisy..Playmobile Bunnies

Pepper... Playmobile Bunnies

Banana Boy...if you ask him, he'll say horses. He's on a horse kick right now and thinks he loves horses. Strangely, he loves to think he loves thme but doesn't actually play with them so much. What he REALLY plays with is the wooden blocks. kitchen. He plays with this more than anything thing else he has.

And here is a GREAT perspective on Christmas gift giving I lifted from To Love, Honor and Vacuum

"But let me chime in on the toys anyway. What we did last year for gifts for Christmas was give one Gold gift, one Frankincense gift, and one Myrrh gift. Or, in translation, we gave one gift they wanted, one they needed (like underwear!), and one to nourish their soul."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Banana Boy Calls It

Who will be the next president of the United States?

"I think it will be that Marak Obama, because McCain was in the war and probably he's tired."

Amazing what they pick up when we think they aren't listening... (not that he heard it here)

And who does Sunshine's vote go to???


I guess he's a write-in candidate.....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sheep Dash

Here's a fun little game.  See how you 40 year old mamas compare against your Wii-pro 9 year olds.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hollow Pumpkins Echo

"Echo! Echo!"

Pepper, cleaning the bathroom today shouted out to me, "Mom, there's something wrong with the toilet! It's not swallowin'."

Posted by Picasa

Ten Things Tuesday

I am thankful...

1. That I got to help out at Kindergarten today with the pumpkin party. We measured the pumpkin (which we named Stephanie), guessed how many seeds might be inside (and counted) and carved it. I love kindergarteners!

2. That BB has been having a really good week. The meltdowns have been few and far between and the ones he has had have been short and easily intercepted. He has been showing great self-control. I'm so proud of him!

3. That I can homeschool Daisy and Pepper. I enjoy spending my days with them. THey are sweet and funny and helpful and kind.

4. That we are going to spend 3.5 days with my in-laws. I like my in-laws! And it's fun to go somewhere else for a change. THe kids will have a blast and I'm going to work on Grandma's Christmas present which is a scrapbook of her latest trip. (she knows already, so I can write it out loud).

5. That I am alive.

6. That my mom likes to babysit. A lot. (was I thankful for this last week too? I can't be thankful enough. It's a huge help!)

7. That I love my job.

8. That so far, having a 13 year old has been pleasant and easy.

9. That 10 years ago I gave birth to sweet Daisy.

10. That I am not in any immenent danger of giving birth again! (adopt, yes; babies, no more! :D )

Monday, October 27, 2008

There's a Prayer Book, Too!

And I own it! Hot diggety!

I bought the three book package by the author, Sheri Rose Shepherd. I knew His Princess was the first book and I just planned to get to the others later, when I'd finished it. Saturday I needed something to read (and I don't generally care to just plow through devotional books cover to cover in one sitting) so I picked up this other book.

It goes along with the first one!

So here, belatedly, are some nuggets from the prayer book, called His Princess: Prayers to My King.

My King Who Chose Me "I need You to help me let go of who I think I am and become who YOU SAY I am."

My King, Help Me Find My Identity In You: "Give me the passion to bless people so that I will stop wasting my life trying to merely impress them. Lord help me care more about what you think than what others think."

and the devotion that goes along with this latter one: My Princess, You Don't Have to Fit In.... "I have a royal call on my life. I must remember I wear the crown of everlasting life, and through me, He will do abundantly more than I could ever dare to dream."

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10 NIV

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Do we look vicious to you????

Pepper asked Banana Boy today, (regarding our kitten who has claws and a sometimes short temper) "Banana Boy, do you want to play with Maple now while he's not vicious?"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Precious Daughter

"And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:18

The daughter of the King is the daughter of the the God who created the universe and he is delighted with me. He formed my body, he fashioned my mind and soul. He knows my personality, my needs, desires, heartaches and disappointments. He loves me passionately and patiently. His arms are not too big to hold me. He is my King and my Daddy in heaven. (and I have not thought of any of this on my own. It comes out of the book His Princess: Love Letters from Your King)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

As long as we're on the princess theme

I've been thinking about being a princess. What do you think of when you think of a princess? What image do you pull up in your mind? What characteristics does a princess have?

Here's a random brainstorm. If you have additional thoughts, please share them.


...are rich
...are beautiful
...are perfect
...wear lovely satiny clothes
...wear a crown in a castle
...have a handsome prince
...are bugged by wicked witches
...ride in cool carriages pulled by white horses
...are nice
...are admired by the common peasant
...are envied by the common peasant
...are plagued by dragons to walk in the castle garden to do nice things for the common peasant happily ever after the harp
...have beautiful long flowing hair

any more you can think of???

I'm a Princess

Here I go again. Good intentions. Be a better person. Get to know God better. Really understand what being a daughter to the King means. (It means I'm a princess!)

For a real-life view of what being a princess entails, read this. Leslie is a princess, too. And here are some thoughts Renee has that go along with the theme (although she doesn't mention being a princess specifically)

Here's what I'm reading: There's a link in the sidebar.

And here's today's first devotion. In an effort to avoid plagiarizing the whole book, I'm just going to pick out a few random passages that speak to me. I don't know that there will be commentary. Depends if I feel like commenting, I guess.

Here goes. Devotion one.

"You didn't choose me, I chose you." John 15:16
My Princess, my chosen one (that's me)
God will wait for me to be ready to start living his amazing plans! He will show me how to let go of the things in my life that are holding me back from the blessings he wants to give me. He is my King and the Lord who chose me.

Going great so far. I have a sneaking suspicion that too much time on the internet would be one of those things holding me back. Just ask my family.

Well, at least you got to share ONE devotion with me! LOL


Thankful Tuesday is Here Again

Fast on the heels of last week's Thankful Tuesday. Way to keep up with the blogging!

In no particular order....

1. I am thankful I am alive

2. I am thankful for my 5 healthy, funny, intelligent and beautiful children.

3. I am thankful for my wonderful, ever-patient, helpful, wise, frugal, patient, hard-working, patient, hot, patient husband.

4. I am so thankful God is patient, loving and kind, slow to anger and full of mercy. And that he loves me.

5. I am thankful for an excellent public school system which is serving 2 (and soon to be three) of my children so well.

6. I am thankful for the freedom to homeschool in whatever way best suits us which serves 2 of my children so well.

7. I am thankful for yellow soup. My kids love it!

8. I am thankful for my wonderful girl friends who continue to like me in spite of me.

9. I am thankful for our very sweet cat, Spider. He's a great cat and a pleasure to know.

10. I am thankful for coffee.

Not very deep today, but heartfelt!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ten Things Tuesday

I've been looking for a fun posting theme for my blog for a while and haven't found anything that trips my trigger. Today I read on Leslie's blog (and if y'all don't read Leslie's blog regularly, you should! She is SO funny! Most of her posts have me laughing out loud (that's LOL, for those of you who don't get out much)) that she is in a crabby mood, but was inspired by Shara to post Ten Thankful Things Tuesday. That inspired me.

ANYhoo.... Here are Ten Things I am Thankful for Today (why all the unnecessary caps???)

1) I am thankful that we have found a spelling program that works really well for Daisy. "Works really well" means a) she doesn't cry when she does it, b)it improves her speleng (that's how she spelled it, as a joke this morning) and c)there is no extra work for me (because if there were, it would not get done. (Oh, btw, it is Sequential Spelling and you can buy it here)

2) I am thankful that Mr. GT got to Minneapolis safely.

3) I am thankful that Sunshine has not poo]ped in his unders in two weeks (and yesterday he even took off his diaper after his nap to use the potty!!!!!)

4) I am thankful I have such funny kids that make me LOL (see post below)

5) I am thankful that I am able to sleep when my boys are in my bed. They were both piled in around me like puppies last night since Mr. GT was gone. (Incidently, he CAN'T sleep when anyone is touching him, so he hates a puppy pile.)

6) I am thankful for our extended family who are just nuts about my kids. Nonny, Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie, Uncle, this means YOU!

7) I am thankful that because my extended family is nuts about my kids, they are willing to watch all five of them. Often.

8) I am thankful for our excellent public library system.

9) I am thankful for the maple tree that grows in my neighbors' yard and is like FIREWORKS every fall. It is so beautiful, it is breathtaking! (right now it is red, yellow, orange and green!)

10) Ooh, I can hardly pick just one more... Ok, this one. Yesterday I was reading to Pepper about our beliefs about baptism since we are Lutheran and AWANA is not. This phrase struck me yesterday, so I am thankful that because I have "abundant life in Christ [I am] living as a 'saint and a sinner' -- totally forgiven and totally in need of forgiveness." All at the same time! Isn't that cool!

In fact, I'm going to share the whole quote with you.

"Praise God! We can teach our children that the Christian life is not a dreary struggle to get better, to reach perfection, to look good, or to maintain a "religious high" (guilty of this!). Abundant life in Christ is...

-living "in Christ" as a branch lives in a vine (Johne 15:5)
-trusting God -- God's mercy, forgiveness, and promises
-living as a 'saint and a sinner' -- totally forgiven and totally in need of forgiveness
-receiving again and again the gift -- new life in Christ
-responding to God's love by loving God, the neighbor, and all creation -- faith active in love
-being empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit
-clinging to Christ alone for comfort
-giving thanks each day that...


(FROM Let the Children Come: A Baptism Manual for Parents and Sponsors by Daniel Erlander copyright 1996)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Vote for Boobah

Tonight while we were watching Dancing With the Stars, Rose Bud, out of the blue, says, "Did you know John McCain looks like a Boobah?" (she's apparently not a Republican!)

Naturally, just then, a John McCain commercial came on and by gum, if he doesn't look like a Boobah!

So here, for your viewing pleasure, John McCain and a Boobah.

Well, if he doesn't get elected, maybe he can look forward to a career in preschool television...

She didn't get it from me!

Six Year Old 911

I'm happily at home and Banana Boy and Little Hey are playing next door. Actually, they were having a picnic, but they must have finished eating.

Pepper comes running to me saying, "BB is bleeding!" I start calling for him and she says, "He's not here."

"Well, how do you know he's bleeding?"

"Little Hey is here." Sure enough, Little Hey is playing on our deck, now that his message has been delivered.

"Little Hey, where is BB? Is he bleeding?"

Little Hey nonchalantly responds, "He's at my house. He's bleeding."

I run for shoes and dash out the door, sure he must be hemorraging in Dog's (she's Little Hey's mom and gained this lovely nickname thanks to Sunshine) arms.

Little Hey jogs behind me. Panting, I ask him, "Is he with your mom?"

Calmly, "No. He's on the patio."

So my kid is bleeding to death and rather than run for help to the house 6 feet from the accident site, you walked over to my house?

I take off, speed trails behind me like a cartoon and sprint to my poor Banana Boy.

He's sitting on the patio with a skinned knee, whimpering softly to himself.

As soon as he sees me, he breaks into wails of pain.

Well, we get him all cleaned up and Dog offers us a bandaid. Just as I am snuggling the still wailing ("IT STINGS!!!!!" BB) I look out her back window to see a red wagon hurtling down her (steep!) lawn. The wagon tips and two boys FLY out across the yard.

Pepper was sweetly taking Sunshine and Little Hey for a wagon ride.

Now LH is whimpering. Sunshine is laughing.

LH limps to the house, tired of playing. BB, who has stopped wailing to watch the wagon action, now limps over to me like a 98 year old man.

Dog thoughtfully invites both boys inside to watch a movie. "Don't touch anything! Don't go near anything!" she hollers. "No more injuries!"

Friday, October 10, 2008

Back to Blessings

I haven't been blogging about blessings lately.

Today I am blessed by basil.

Mr. GT is a seed saver and collects the garden seeds to plant again next year. Today he brought in basil seeds and my house has a wonderful smell of spicy, dry basil as well as a refreshing fall smell. It's finally warm enough to open all the windows again after about 2 weeks of "cold spell." It's one of those beautiful fall days where the sun is warm and golden, the trees are beginning to turn and the wasps and ladybugs are swarming lazily on the warm side of the house.

So long as they stay on the OUTSIDE of the house.


Dad was doing something with honey. I don't get quite what, but at some point, he had honey water of some sort and he offered it to the kids to drink. "WAIT! I have to get my proboscis!" Pepper yelled as she ran off for a straw.

This morning Pepper and Dad were snuggling in bed and having some silly times together. Of course, it wasn't long before Daisy and Sunshine heard the laughter and joined in. Daisy and Sunshine, having some game of their own, were playing drums on everything they could reach, including Dad's knees. "DAD! I am TRYING to snuggle with you, and they keep BAMPING me!" Pepper wailed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The 6th picture in the 6th folder...

I think it's a pizza smile from Banana Boy. Doesn't he have a great smile?? I love when his eyes smile, too.

This post comes from a challenge from Owlhaven which comes from a challenge from someone else (see Owlhaven's post) to post the 6th picture in the 6th folder in your Pictures file on your hard drive.

So there you have it. A beautiful picture of my Banana Boy.

And had it been the 2nd picture in the 6th folder, you'd have gotten this:

This lovely picture is the Lyme rash on Rose Bud's back from last summer. You can just barely see it. It had been way more visible, but at that time, we thought it was just a bad mosquito bite. It wasn't until a week or two later when her knees hurt (ok, no big deal in a growing 11 yo) AND her toes hurt when she bent them (now this is too many sore joints!) that the lightbulb went off in my head and we ran her to the doctor.

Aren't you glad it was the 6th picture??

Friday, October 3, 2008

I'm 40! And You're Not!

Hippo Birdie, to Me!  

Guess where I was 40 years ago today?  Well part of the day I was in and then I was out and squalling and nekked.

I'm old, I'm old, I'm old now!  (that was singing, in case you couldn't tell)

Entering the last half of my life....

Once you're over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.

Hippo Birdie, to Me!

and to Amy C., too!  Hippo Birdie, Amy!

Y'all lurking out there reading this blog (and I know you're out there!) can leave me a comment wishing me a Hippo Birdie.  Come on.... how many of you are there??

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This Blog Has Never Been About Politics

but today Banana Boy has brought it to the forefront. Apparently, he's a Republican.

He was snuggling in bed with me tonight and an ad came on the TV.

"Aaargh! He's on all the TIME! Why does that Marak Obama have to be EVERYwhere???!" he said with disgust.

He didn't learn it from me!

That Would Be Tacky!

Pepper said to me today, "I'm glad I'm not a cork board. Everyone would be sticking me with tacks all the time. Isn't it a good thing I'm not a cork board, Mom?"

I'm so happy, Honey, that you're not.

The Last Day of Nothing

It was hard today, not to run out and spend money. What would it matter, just one day away from October 1? What's the difference between today and tomorrow?

I'll be the first to tell you (and my kids will be 2nd through 6th!) that I am not a committer. I never stick to diets. I never stick to chore plans. I never stick to resolutions. I never stick to behavior modification charts.

I didn't stick to the 30 Days of Nothing.

But I think I made a good attempt. With a few leaps off the wagon to get me through, I didn't quit. I climbed back on and tried again the next day.

We definitely have saved money.

It has been good for me to curb my impulse spending. I really really did! I even talked myself out of a few purchases by making myself wait and having time to think it over.

Some of it wasn't hard. Driving less was easy. Actually, I didn't really drive less than I have all summer. That was something I cut way back on when gas went over $3.00/gallon.

Grocery shopping less was easy. With our garden and our fairly well stocked pantry, I was able to make it through the month without really buying anything but bare necessities like fruit & milk. I did use the food I'd bought from Market Day at the beginning of the month. We've eaten all the Italian wedding soup, half the ravioli and some of the salmon. The pop tarts have made a great snack for the kids.

The challenge will be to avoid the impulse purchases at the grocery store from here on out.

The tough thing for me was not eating out. At the beginning of the month it was easy, but near the end I've been weak. I had that little mental health date last week. And last night I took the kids out for pizza as a reward for doing bonus chores over the weekend. And because I was hungry for pizza. Plus there was McYuk last week, too. Total spent on eating out this month: $130, including tips. Number of meals for that price: 21.

I didn't do the awareness of the state of the world exercises that I wanted to do with the kids. They did get into this more than I thought they would, though. They were often the ones who reminded me, when I wanted to spend money, that it was the 30 Days of Nothing. Even Banana Boy, who is usually pretty far from reality, being only 5 and not a very good listener, warned me the day we went out to lunch: "I thought this was the 30 Days of Nuthin'!"

I know some people are starting new fun ideas of a different sort for the month of October. Owlhaven is doing Love Stories for October.

In our house it will be The Month of Birthdays. We have three coming up this month and Banana Boy's quickly following in November.

Goodbye to the 30 Days of Nothing. It's been fun hangin' with you. I think you've taught me a few things. Maybe I'll see you next year.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: A Date

Mr. GT and I have decided that Sundays will be our date night (afternoon). Today was the first one and I was delighted to be able to see Fireproof (see my sidebar) on its opening weekend. We spent $12.50 on the tickets and then had Starbucks as a treat afterwards, courtesy of Auntie who sent me a Starbucks card for my birthday. What a treat!!! Thanks, Auntie! It was a great date! Oh, and I guess it cost us $15 for babysitting: $14 for Rose Bud (payable in text minutes for her phone for the month of October) and $1 for Banana Boy towards his I-want-to-buy-people-birthday-presents fund for behaving while we were gone.

The movie. I really enjoyed it. I normally hate to watch movies. I'm so ADD and for some reason, as I've gotten older, it's a big emotional effort to get involved in a movie. Most times, I will choose not to watch one, so I was dreading this just a little bit.

But it was a very enjoyable movie. It entertained me.

And that was the big difference, Mr. GT and I decided afterward, between this movie and Facing the Giants (which I've seen 3 times, believe it or not!). Facing the Giants moved me and changed my thinking about some things. It motivated me to change parts of my life.

Fireproof entertained me. It was funny, it was suspenseful, it was romantic. But I didn't find it as inspirational as I had Facing the Giants.

I was a little disappointed. I was expecting more inspiration for marriage. I mean it was there, but I was expecting something different. I don't want to give too much away before you've seen it.

Should you see it? Yeah! Take your spouse or your girlfriends and go see it, especially in the theaters. Send Hollywood the message that consumers want this kind of movie. And enjoy it.

Maybe it will speak more to you than it did to me.

If it does, I'd love to hear from you about it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Please Pray for Little Noah

Posted on Kate's blog this morning

If you don't know Noah's story, read here

If you are a homeschooler, you are likely familiar with Kate's family business, Hands and Hearts.

My Target List

Here are the things I've been waiting to buy....

Dish soap
Laundry Soap
Stain Stick
Coffee Filters
Cat food (the cats have been very patient about this)
Cat litter
Snacks for BB's classroom
Kitchen sink cleaner
Coffee Pot
A new computer (birthday present for me: I want a Macbook and have money from closing out my dad's estate to use)
Rose Bud's birthday presents: AB, LB, ITC & ES (she reads my blog!)

I did talk myself out of a new pda. In researching the Macbook, I discovered the new ITouch and coveted it! I stopped at the Apple store the other day to play with one and it is nice, but I realized it doesn't hold files the way my Palm does (ie: my booklists!) nor does it have a very useable Bible program (what I use my Palm for more than anything else). So I decided I'd maybe upgrade from my Palm Tungsten E2 to a TX (which can access the internet). Then I talked myself out of doing it for my birthday, because my E2 still works just fine. So I'll watch for a sale and wait for my current Palm to die before I upgrade.

And I discovered that I will be perfectly happy with the 13" Macbook and don't need the 15" (which Mr. GT thought I would).

Oh, and I found the most darling computer case to go along with my new Macbook!!! Want it want it want it.

So there you have it. My shopping plan for October!

I'll get around to posting what I've learned for the month in a day or two.

The 30 Days of A Little Bit

Have you noticed I haven't been here?

Um, yeah. I've been cheating.

Kind of.

Mr. GT thinks I have been cheating.

Well, I have, actually.

Let's see, I've gone out to lunch with a girlfriend, her daughter, my kids and a neighbor kid. It was a mental health date. She and I both needed it. Amazing what a glass of wine can do to make you a better mom! That and an hour with a girlfriend!

I also went out for a glass of wine with the same girlfriend plus one more the next night. More mental health work. My mental health is pretty excellent right now!

I fed my kids at McYuk one night. In my defense, I have been doing a GREAT job making supper every night so we don't have to eat out, making sure we eat lunch at home (or at my mom's!) so we don't have to eat out if we run errands, and cooking with just what we have in the house or the garden. I really haven't bought any extras at the grocery store.

But Rose Bud had a cross country meet and Daisy had piano lessons and Banana Boy had Kindergarten parent night and Sunshine had a doctor appt. all morning and my mom was babysitting. I just didn't get supper made ahead of time for my mom to feed the kids.

So I drove through McYuk. You have to know, though, that I fed all five kids, me and my mom for $7.26! I think that should count for something!

I've had Starbucks twice. But I use my Starbucks card. Once was a total lazy thing--that same day Sunshine had his doctor appointment at 8:30. I never got coffee made before we left. The other time was another mental health prop. Banana Boy and I shared a frappucino over therapy. It makes a great reward for hard work at the therapist!

I went to the grocery store and spent $80. I bought milk, 5 packs of deli ham (on sale 8 oz. for 99 cents!), 6 packs of shredded cheese on sale (hey, I have to have something to work with if I'm going to cook!), yogurt raisins and bagels for Rose Bud's school lunch and some more poo]p treats (hey, the kid poo]ps a lot!). Oh, and ice cream (on sale!) which is a total necessity. Also chicken to donate to the youth fundraiser cooking project thingy and some items to take along with the dinner I brought a wounded friend one night.

In the savings department, I made 4 birthday cards with my long-neglected Stampin' Up supplies and used 2 more birthday cards from my Current stash. Didn't spend any money on birthday cards this month!

I also talked Rose Bud out of ordering cross country sweatpants for $25. She was pretty ok with that.

Back in the spending department, I ordered school pictures for both Rose Bud and Banana Boy, $19 and $27, respectively (BB's package included a yearbook and there was no way to exclude it, hence the extra cost).

Rose Bud spent $4 going to the football game last week.

And I need to order birthday presents for the girls so they arrive in time for Rose Bud's birthday. I could just order hers, but it makes sense to order all of them and take advantage of the free shipping.

Oh, and there was a garage sale. Here's what I got:
2 pair of jeans for Rose Bud
2 pair of plaid cotton pants for RB (these are really cute and some fancy brand she likes)
2 pair of like-new Land's End wind pants for RB
1 pair pajamas for RB
5 pair of pants for Pepper (size 6 slim and she likes them)
1 pair jeans for Daisy (she's a plus size, so she's hard to fit)
3 sweatshirts /fleeces for Daisy
1 new with tags Land's End sweatpants for Daisy
1 top for Daisy
5 Land's End t-shirts for the boys ($1 each, most with tags on)
1 like-new Land's End spring/fall jacket sized for Daisy now, but in red so the boys can wear it eventually (this was FREE--there was no price tag and I asked if she'd just throw it in as a volume discount!)
1 Land's End winter coat with a hole in the sleeve for $2 (will patch hole and use as play coat now for Daisy, later for Pepper and the boys. It's Navy)
1 new-with-tags Land's End winter coat for Daisy $10
a couple of books she threw in
5 little dolls and a bead necklace kit for Pepper--free

Total: $71.25

So there you have it. The ups and downs of my 30 Days of Nothing in the last week.

Only 3 days to go.

I keep thinking, maybe it's silly to not just buy something now that we're only going to run right out and buy Oct. 1 (I have a Target list!), but then I remind myself, it's not just about going without, but more importantly for me, delaying gratification. Yes, I could buy it now, but how about I just WAIT.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

God always speaks to us with the words we need most to hear

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36)

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Perfect Life

This post is for all of you out there (and I know you're there, because you've told me so!) who think I am such a perfect mom with a perfect life.

I have Banana Boy home from school today because he couldn't get it together long enough to eat breakfast and get dressed before the bus came. He was too busy shouting at Rose Bud that he was going to kill her and it was all her fault. What did she do? She nicely asked him to let Sunshine sing at the breakfast table.

I have Rose Bud who then went on to lecture me on (in front of him) how letting BB stay home from school today would result in him always wanting to stay home from school. Uh. Thanks. Your point? So he flunks out of kindergarten and gets homeschooled. More time with mom = more bonding = a more well-adjusted attachment disordered kid.

Daisy can't play outside. Ever. A dog might come into the yard. All requests for children to now go burn off their energy outside are met with whining and tears.

Pepper can't walk today because she dreamt that Daisy stabbed her in the leg with a knife (hope my social worker isn't reading this today) and so today her leg hurts. She can't walk, only limp. I chased her out to sit in the sun (without sunscreen) to read a stack of books.

Sunshine is on his 3rd set of unders and probably needs another change. He has stubbornly refused to listen to any request, command, order or instruction today. All such requests are met with "NO!" and a grin.

And the cat found my diva cup in the shower and took it to the basement to chew on.

Gross? Well, welcome to my perfect life.

At least I have coffee.

Edited to add: THIS is why I read other blogs. Thank you to Mary at Owlhaven for putting my day into perspective. And thank you to God for speaking to us through others.

Friday, September 19, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day 19 Rescued Again

Thank you Mom for loaning me your coffee maker. Thank you Mom-in-Law for offering to loan me your coffee pot (if I came to get it and brought the kids for a visit! :D ). Thank you AJ, for offering your pot as well.

I am back in the coffee business.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day 17

I NEED to get to Target! I must shop at Target.

Target bags are the only plastic shopping bags that fit in my bathroom and kitchen wastebaskets and I'm out.

30 Days of Nothing: A Crisis of Major Proportions

I've got plenty of coffee. A friend and I ordered coffee from a farm cooperative thingy this summer (what are they called?) and every other week had a pound of coffee delivered practically to our homes. I'm the only one who drinks it, except for one cup by Mr. GT on the weekend, so a pound every other week lasts me just fine. In fact this should last me through December, probably.

I'm stretching the half bottle of creamer my mom bought. There's still a cup or two in there. My turbinado sugar is holding out and I'm willing to use regular sugar if I have to. I'm resigned to skim milk.

The filters are getting low. I haven't counted them, but I think it will be close. Worst case scenario, I can make a big pot every other day and reheat in between.

I've got it all covered. The 30 Days of Nothing should not impact my coffee consumption by much.

I broke my coffee pot today.

I was rinsing it out and my wrist got all wild and I smacked the bottom of the pot against the separator between the two sinks.

And then I poked a hole in my finger cleaning up the shards.

The kids weren't interested in having me sign anything in blood for them.

I refuse, even though I could, to buy a new coffee pot during this month! In the face of all of the suffering of the world, my coffee pot is broken.

I'm not trying to be all holy or righteous or anything. I just recognize the stupidity of this. Poor me, American suburban mom, can't make coffee for the next (I'm counting) 13 days. I refuse, on principle, to break with the spirit of the 30 Days of Nothing by running to Target for a new coffee pot.

Even though I could.

Lots of people couldn't.

I have a young friend who is pregnant. She doesn't have a car and her boyfriend doesn't have a license. She has to bum a ride to get her prenatal care 20 miles away. What a pain! But she's doing it.

I have a friend with a homeless son. He has a job and a car. But it's not enough to cover rent. Their grandson is living with them so he can attend school regularly. He doesn't like it. He wants to be back at his old school with his old friends.

I have a friend who is homeless. She has four kids and a job. She was supposed to move into a new rental and so she let the old one go. The new one fell through. The kids are living with their dad so they get to school regularly. I'm not sure where she stays.

I have a young friend who couldn't live with her parents. Bad news. Her grandma took her in and that worked out fine until the grandma got too sick. Now she had nowhere to go, so her ex-boyfriend offered to let her stay with him and his mom. Only he had a condition for her living there. She is only 17. She was left with no alternative but to move in with her unstable dad 100 miles away. She would have been a senior this year. She would have graduated. She was one of the sweetest and most hard working kids I know. I don't know how she's doing now.

My coffee pot is broken. That sucks.

As Pepper informed me this morning, I'm "going to have a COURAGEOUS headache!"


Monday, September 15, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day 15

Whoo Hoo! Whoo Hoo! I saved $25 today!! Because I really wanted THIS and if you bought it together with THIS, it could be yours for the low, low price of $16.80. Of course, because it's eligible for Free Super Saver Shipping , I would have had to buy something else for $8.20.

But I didn't!

Hence, $25 goes in the jar!

Whoo Hoo! Whoo Hoo!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day 13b--Garage Sale Find

My mom came over today and since she reads my blog, she brought me some coffee creamer.

Background you need to know: My mom is practically known by name at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Goodwill, St. Vinnie' get the picture. She is the consumate bargain shopper. It's what we did for fun, she and I, when I was a teenager. We'd come home, lay it all out on the couch for my stepfather and wow him with how much we had saved (we got $4 million worth of stuff for $37.50!)

So she brought me coffee creamer because she felt sorry for me, suffering and not able to buy any.

Isn't that sweet!?

I thanked her joyfully and took the creamer. It felt...a little sticky and half-full.

Jokingly, I asked, "Why is it not full? Did you get it at a garage sale?"

Actually, she did.

Luckily, it was her own garage sale last weekend. It was left over.

Hee hee.

Thanks, Mom!

Oh, BTW, I ate at work again today. There was a bowl of black bean chili that was poured and not needed and sat there about half an hour (yeah, I'm not one of those salmonella-paranoid people and I thaw my chicken on the counter, too!) I ate it. Except we're really not supposed to. So I paid for it. $3.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day 13a

Today hasn't really happened yet, so I can only report on what has come before. Here's the email Mr. GT sent me this morning:

Almost halfway through the month – documented receipts only:

Groceries $85.81 monthly average is $480

Fuel $117.92 monthly average is $350

Household $41.55 monthly average is $290 (this is where Target falls)

Medical $6.45

That’s it.

I did cave last night and have fish and french fries last night at work. $2.50 not saved.

An Exciting Opportunity to Help Women in India

PLEASE don't just dimiss this post! PLEASE at least go read the information and consider signing up to participate. It says the deadline is Sept. 12, but that has been extended and you have until Sept 23 to get involved.

Sonlight Curriculum, the company we use for homeschooling is partnering with Mission India to raise $200,000 for literacy education in India, particulary among women.

It's explained so well here and here, so I won't go into a lot of detail here.

Before you run screaming the other way at the thought of donating MORE of your hard-earned cash in these tough times, let me tell you what your commitment needs to be:

Pennies. Nickels. Dimes. Quarters. All you have to do is collect your loose or spare change for 8 weeks. No cappucinos to give up. No checks to write. Whatever is in your pocket goes into your rice bag.

There are also education materials available which I encourage you to sign up for. You'll get a weekly email including these and a package in the mail with your rice bag.

You know how close to my heart India is. I am always excited for any opportunity to learn more about this beautiful country so I can share it with my boys. The Indian people are so full of pride and spirit and drive. And some of them are so very poor with little opportunity. India is also a thriving, growing country of people of fabulous intellect and skill, but like in America, there are people who have and people who have not, but the opportunity to go from being a have not to a have is much less in India.

Anyway, even if you don't collect anything, please take this opportunity to learn more about the India I love. Sign up.


Friday, September 12, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day 12

Blah Blah Blah. I was tempted. I wanted Starbucks. I wanted a burger and fries at work. I wanted a candy bar at the grocery store. I wanted to stop at the liquor store to replace my wine box (chill....I buy about one box a month and often I share some of it!)

I still buy milk. I still buy gas. I bought paper plates to donate to Banana Boy's classroom.

Basically, I'm spoiled! If I sit right down and think it over, this 30 Days of Nothing isn't really hard. We've got plenty of food in the house. There is ice cream and chocolate chips and wine and there is money for gas and milk in the check book.

I feel kind of phony with this whole thing. So I'm saying no to Starbucks. Yay, me. I'm saying no to a cheeseburger at work. Yay, me.

There are people who can't get to work because they don't have money for gas. Or can't take their child to the doctor because they don't have health insurance or cash to pay. There are people somewhere who have not eaten today.

Poor me. No Starbucks.

It's like a little game. It IS a little game.

I lamented to Mr. GT at the beginning of this that we really hadn't planned ahead and 'stocked up.' Just fine, he replied. People on a truly limited income don't have that luxury.

I miss my coffee cream.

Sour cream would be good on our beans and rice tonight. At least we have cheese.

I don't think my kids have noticed at all. Rose Bud maybe a little.

Maybe we're going about this all wrong, but I'm considering this sort of a failed experiment. Should we be suffering? Is that the point? You make up your own rules.

I said I would post about my goals for this project at some point, and here we are at Day 12. Time for goals!

Goals.... goals....

For myself, I'm finding it useful to curb my impulse spending. That was one of my goals.

I'd like to increase our awareness and empathy for some of the tough roads people in other parts of the world have to travel. We haven't done any of those projects yet. What is is like to eat only rice every day? Or at least rice at every meal. What is eat like to eat nothing but a small cup of rice all DAY? What is it like to drink unsafe water? What is it like to walk a mile or more for clean water? What is it like to really have to make an effort to worship our God? What is it like to be afraid to?

I think those were the two biggies for me. I'm not sure what Mr. GT is getting from all of this.

Oh, BTW, despite having canceled the order, his pop tarts came in today! Guess we'll be eating organic brown sugar/cinnamon pop tarts when we've run out of everything else.....

And then God says to me....

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day 10

I forgot to mention that one day we had to buy more poo[p treats.

You know, for when Sunshine does it right, instead of in his unders. Which, I may add is happening all the time now. Doing it right, that is. Thanks to the poo[p treats.

But we were getting low. (Partly because he shares them with me. I figure if I have to wipe his poo]py little buns, I should get a poo[p treat, too! And if I have to clean out unders, I get TWO!)

So off to the grocery store I went. Chocolate is really the only reasonable poo[p treat, and I had seen a big sale on Hershey Kisses when I was there (for MILK!) on Sunday. Often, if you get there early enough on Monday morning, you can double-dip the sales because they already have the new sales entered in the computer but they haven't yet taken out last week's sales. You can still stock up on the things you forgot to buy last week and get the new stuff, all in one trip.

Alas, I was too late. Hershey Kisses were no longer on sale. And boy, has the price of chocolate sky-rocketed! So I was good and bought the Milky Ways on sale, even though I don't like Milky Ways.

Necessity? I think so!

PS Funny Mr. GT story. He comes home from work and Sunshine, who has been really wanting a poo[p treat all afternoon, since we came home from the store, but who is all pooped out for the day, brings the dish of treats to him.

"Daa-eee! Poo]p!" he shouts, holding up the dish, which really means, "Daddy, Mama bought new poo[p treats today and they look so yummy and they are in this dish and I want you to see them and open it and maybe one will fall on the floor and I will have to eat it!" (he's a boy of few words)

Mr. GT, being Mr. GT, takes the dish, sees it is filled with brown lumps, cracks the lid, takes a whiff and says, "POO[P! EWWWWWWWWWWWW" making a terrible face.

Sunshine erupts in gales of laughter. Silly Daddy. "NOOOOOO!" he says. "Teet! Teet!"

No money saved.

Thank God For Small Blessings

Blessing #1: Rose Bud, who was a very sweet sister to do her little sister's nails, way back when Pepper was recovering from her tonsillectomy
Blessings #2: Here is Sunshine, pretending to go to work (ie: pretending to be me--remember? I waitress part-time)
What's the blessing, you ask? That this is NOT REALLY what I have to wear to work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Blessings #3: The picture doesn't really do it justice, but I had to change a lightbulb today. In our vaulted ceiling. A big light bulb. Guess what happens to a lightbulb that falls from 10 feet up and bounces off the computer table? Yeah. A big mess.

The blessing? It was the BURNT OUT lightbulb and not the brand-new $14 apiece lightbulb!
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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day 1,304

I'm a little messed up on my days, so let's just confess that dh bought milk and bananas and pears on Sunday. He did buy the 10 cent/lb bananas that are a hair past their prime, so we got 3.7 lbs of bananas for 37 cents! Milk is a necessity (in fact, I was supposed to stop for some today and forgot!) and fruit is too. Pears were on sale.

Mr. GT also bought cilantro one day to aid in the crafting of homemade salsa from the garden tomatoes.

Other than that, we've been fairly purchase-free.

My box of wine is getting pretty low....... If Owlhaven can count a gallon of ice cream a week as a necessity....

Story Problem of the Day:
If a dad normally buys bananas at 49 cents a pound, how much will he save if he buys 3.7 lbs at 10 cents a lb during the 30 Days of Nothing?

Enter your answer in the comments and don't forget to show your work!


Monday, September 8, 2008

The Bleeding Ahem

As anyone who has been reading either of my blogs for a while knows, we've been potty training. Well, Sunshine has been potty training (the rest of us have been PT for a long time!)

He likes me to sit with him in the bathroom as I wait for the happy dripping and tinkly sound, so I spend a lot of time looking at his ahem. (Yes, I know perfectly well it's appropriate name and for the record, we call it appropriate name in our home. But to avoid attracting a whole new readership of weirdos, for today's purposes it will be his ahem.)

And he has an adorable ahem! It's in its natural state (would YOU send your 3 year old in for that surgery??) and like every other part of him, it is cute.

Anyway, today while sitting on the floor staring at the ahem and waiting for it to do its thing, I noticed it looked a little raw around the edges. Well, I thought to myself, maybe it's getting a little chapped hanging out in those damp-all-the-time unders. I asked him if it was owie. No. He wasn't complaining about it or about using it, so I forgot about it.

Fast forward to after dinner. I am once again spending time in the bathroom with him. As I'm pulling down his pants, I see a clot of bright red blood in his unders, right where the ahem would rub.

I look at the poor ahem and it too is covered in little globs of bright red. I scream for Mr. GT to come quickly and look.

He comes running and I explain how poor Sunshine is bleeding. Sunshine has no comment and seems to be enjoying all the hullaballoo.

I carry him, pants half-mast, to the other bathroom where there is better light. Mr. GT looks a little squeamish. Not having an ahem myself and not feeling the least bit squeamish, I get my face right down there for a good look.

Sure enough, there is blood rimming the tip. But where is it coming from? Mr. GT looks worried and about to faint (remember the tonsilectomy?).

I grab the box of wipes and start to gently clean it off. Sunshine is now getting into the spirit and starts wailing, "OWWWWW!"

I take a closer look at the wipe.


Why does it look so.........textile-ish?

"Look at this!" I shove the wipe in Mr. GT's face.

Suddenly it dawns on me. The child is wearing brand new took-the-tag-off-this-morning red sweatpants.

He's bleeding red fuzz!

Of course they couldn't have been blue or green sweatpants. It would have all been obvious so much sooner!

I'm just glad his little ahem is ok!

Laugh away.

Annoy Someone You Love

Title totally stolen from Christine's blog where you should run right now and read the article linked HERE.

It's good to THINK!

30 Days of Nothing: Day 7


Mr. GT always changes his own oil, so this is no savings at all today. But it was cute. Sunshine got his little toolbox and a few tools and came outside to find Daddy under the truck. "Sunshine! Tools! Sunshine tools," he informed Daddy. Bless him, Daddy let Sunshine take all the lug nuts off the tires with his wrench (pretend, of course) and poke around under the hood with his screwdriver.

Savings for Days 5 & 6: $3.50 each night at work that I didn't buy my dinner there. Total: $7.
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Friday, September 5, 2008

30 Days of Nothing: Day Four

Whoo Hoo! Did I save money today!

We'll cut right to the chase.

We left the house at 11:30 to pick up Banana Boy at school. Ate lunch at my mom's (thanks, Mom!) Savings $5 if BB and I would have gone to Mickey D's for a dance through the dollar menu (see, I'm cheap to begin with!)

BB and I drove to town for his appointment and I REALLY wanted to stop at Starbucks. Or Target. Or the half-price bookstore. OR ANYWHERE I COULD SPEND SOME MONEY!!!!!

But for our purposes here, we'll just count Starbucks. $4.50.

We ran a couple of errands since we were in town (60 mile round trip from home) and I picked up a prescription. Necessary $6.

Dropped BB back at my mom's so I could run some more errands in our town. Went to the library. Oops. $1.80 in fines. Plus Rose Bud has $1.20. Must be more careful about that, especially since I can very easily renew my books online from the comfort of my desk. Totally unnecessary spending: $3.00

Picked up a newspaper and soda for my mom, but she paid me back.

Went to work, BUT, before I left, I ate dinner first! This is a huge area of unnecessary spending for me (and unnecessary calories!). We get our meals for half-price during our shift, but even so, it's $2-4 each night I work. We'll call it an average of $3, so 3 more saved there.

And Mr. GT has a little story to share. He is in charge of ordering for us from our local food coop. Last month he ordered, as a treat, a case of organic pop tarts (er, toaster pastries, if you want to be legalistic). They were out of stock with the last delivery and were supposed to come in this week. Again they were out of stock. They offered him a different flavor, but he declined and actually cancelled the order. Savings: $23 (that's a lot of toaster pastries!) They totally would have been a treat (mostly for me-- I LOVE pop tarts!) and we absolutely didn't NEED them.

So, today's savings: 5 + 4.50 - 3 (library fine) + 3 + 23 = $32.50.

Oh, Mr. GT also bought chicken feed this week. Necessary.

And we're going to start putting our savings on little slips of paper in a jar on the table to keep track. Good idea I got from someone else (sorry, don't remember who right now) who is doing the 30 Days.