Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shoe shopping with Grace

If you take Grace (4) shopping for some everyday shoes (with velcro, please!), she will instead sit on the floor and say "Eenie meenie minie mo" over glitter shoes.

That's not a surprise, is it?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

You Capture: "What inspires you?"

This week's photography challenge was to find what inspires each of us.

I could have said that what inspires me is the beauty we can find around us in the everyday things--the beauty of God's creation, the beauty of that particular mix of sweetness and silliness that I see in my children, the beauty of well-chosen words, the beauty of relationships.

Because, ultimately, life is about relationships.

With that in mind...

This week I was listening to a song from an album that my son introduced me to, and a particular line struck me:
...And this life sentence that I'm serving
I admit that I'm every bit deserving
But the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair

--Be My Escape by Relient K (click on that link to watch/listen on YouTube)
No, life is not fair. And especially in the area of eternity, I don't want it to be fair. I don't want to get what I deserve. "The wages of sin is death." That means that what I deserve--what I've earned because of sin--is death. Eternal separation from God. So, no, I don't want to get what I deserve. I want grace.

And I can't have that without first having a relationship with Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

Photo of a painting in my home of Jesus

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NIV

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 24-25 NIV

And if that isn't inspiring, I don't know what is.

Check out other You Capture entries at I Should Be Folding Laundry.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Get the wiggles out!

We have a pretty large, long back yard, which can come in handy to get the wiggles out so my 8 year old can focus on school work. I have him run back and forth 3 times; he typically giggles through the 1st run and then picks up speed on the 2nd and 3rd time. ;)

I don't have him run every day (he's pretty active on his own), but do this as needed to help get him to the point where he can do what we need to cover. If needed, I will interrupt school time to have him run; when he comes back to his work, he can think much clearer and our school time goes much better...plus he's getting in better shape for Upward basketball.

If it's a rainy or particularly cold day, some indoor things I've done with Josiah are:
  1. Jumping jacks, running in place, sit ups, or other exercises that don't require a lot of room or equipment. I think last year Josiah's record for jumping jacks was 112...whew! (And he did those on his own. I would ask him to do 30-50, which he can easily do.)
  2. Running or briskly walking back and forth down the hallway a certain number of times. Depending on the layout of your home, you may have a nice little "track."
  3. Using a deck of cards, you or your child(ren) assign a simple exercise to each suit. For example, diamonds are jumping jacks and clubs are sit ups. Draw a number card and have your child do that many of the exercise...so if you drew a 4 of diamonds, you would say, "Do 4 jumping jacks." The randomness of this makes it a little more fun. I wish I could remember where I heard of this hint, because I certainly didn't make it up. :)
After burning off some energy, we can move through the seatwork much faster and he is paying attention...and that works for me!

This post is also linked to Helpful Homeschool Hints, hosted by Angie at Many Little Blessings.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What'cha think?

I've been hacking away obsessively gradually cutting my hair shorter and shorter over the last week or so, and this is where I've stopped.

(For now.)

(Just kidding, Jason.)

I would like to cut another inch or two off the back. But that may be pushing the limits of my "talent" (ha) and my husband's nerves, so I won't.


Kidding, Jason. Just kidding...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You Capture: Serene

Serene...hmmm...Yeah, I could use some of that.

This week I captured serene skies

Can you see the tiny thumbnail of a moon?

and a serene, frosty morning. (That was Sunday morning; most of this week--today included--temperatures have been back in the low 70s.)

I captured serene looks on the face of a sleeping child

Oh, the cute button nose! Grace looks most like she did as a baby in this shot.

And, oh, the sweet cheeks!

I captured this serene view while we were at the library and my daughter was lining up all the Angelina Ballerina videos to make a choice.

And the square looked serene as we drove through to continue our errands.

After errands were done and we were back home, Sleeping Beauty continued the nap she had started while we were on the road. She is apparently not doing well with the time change--she rarely takes a nap, yet slept for 2.5 hours this afternoon...slumped over a chair in the living room...with no one being particularly quiet.

...Which explains why she was anything but serene while we were out today.

Check out other You Capture entries at I Should Be Folding Laundry, and join in on the fun!


All photos are SOOC except for some cropping and the editing of the street signs for bloggy secrecy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Dramatic sunset

Both photos are SOOC.

Visit 5 Minutes for Mom for more Wordless Wednesday participants.

Works for Me Wednesday: Storage during Christmas, plus storing Christmas lights

This is way too early for me to be talking about this (although my 8 year old keeps asking, "When are we goin' to put the Christmas tree up?" and, more importantly, "Where will we put the tree? We'll have to put all the furniture back the way it was to have room."). However, I know there are people out there who decorate early, so I thought I'd go ahead and post this.

We have a fairly small home--adequate, certainly, but not enough room for everything to be "out" once we put the Christmas tree up. Last year, I came up with a solution.

And I even took a picture of it.

Once the tree is out of the huge box, the kids bag up some of their toys (specifically, larger ones--like my daughter's ride-on Dora the Explorer "car" and her toy upright vacuum). I only asked the younger ones to bag up their toys, since they are the ones who have a history of leaving toys in the living room in the first place. The bagged toys go in the box the tree came out of, and they live there until the tree comes down again.

This next hint won't declutter your home but will, hopefully, prevent the headache of tangled strings of lights...next year. It is fairly simple but multi-step.
  1. I am the only one who handles the strings of lights. The kids don't help here, and neither does my husband. Pick the appropriate person in your household to be in charge of the lights.
  2. As you take each string of lights off your tree, put the free end into an empty cereal box and, as you take off the entire string, gently push the string of lights into the cereal box. The end you plug into the outlet will be at the top of the box when you are finished.
  3. Seal the box with packing tape, label it appropriately, and pack it away until next year. Repeat for each string of lights. You'll have one cereal box for each string of lights. (Boxes from vanilla wafers are usually large enough, too.)
  4. That's it. The string of lights won't get tangled as long as you carefully, methodically put the lights into the cereal box--no tangles, and no fitting each bulb into a specific spot in the original packaging.
  5. Next year, hold the box (or put it on the floor if you are careful to avoid stepping on the lights) as you decorate with lights.
  6. Deal with the kids' excited squeals of, "You keep cookies [cereal, etc.] in the attic?!?" as you bring out the boxes next year.
OK, so maybe there is no step #6.

I've done this for nearly all of my married life and have never had a tangled string of lights. Not even once. And that works for me!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A comedy of errors

I found this partially written post in my drafts folder from late September...and I decided to finish it.


OK, so I had been pricing things and searching for more items around here that I could add to the things I'm consigning, and my drop-off day arrived on Tuesday. Jason had offered to stay with the younger two while Robert (13) and I took the load to the consignment sale, and I had the minivan loaded up and ready to go when he walked in the door. We left with plenty of time to get there...and then noticed the gas light was on. Ugh. I stopped for gas, and then the fun began...

When I started the van, it started shaking...and with a car load of clothes on hangers and boxes full of stuff, it was a loud kind of shaking! I cautiously left the parking lot (bad gas?) and drove up the road to a nearby church where I could pull into the parking lot (read: in case we needed a tow truck) and called Jason. The "check engine" light was flashing. My first thought? That must be really bad. (It is. But not as bad as it could have been.) The owner's manual lists warnings about the damage it could do to the engine as well as the risk of fire. I was sufficiently scared and decided to drive back home, trying to drive as "moderately" as I could, as suggested by the manual to avoid, you know, fire. We threw everything into the truck and Robert and I hit the road again.

And the gas light came on. Seriously?! "This is crazy!" I shouted exclaimed, shaking my head in disbelief. Robert added, "...and a little funny." I didn't want to take my chances on (possibly) bad gas, so I drove a little before stopping for gas. I certainly didn't want to push it, though, because apparently if there was ever going to be a time that I run out of gas, it would have been during this trip.

The rest of the drive to the consignment sale was uneventful and, during one blissful part, traffic-free. We had to put most of our items on the sales floor in the hottest building I've been in in a while because they were short-handed with help. All in all, we were gone from home for over two hours.

And you know that playpen I was determined to sell this time around, since I had forgotten to price it? I left the tag (which I was going to attach after I assembled it) in the van when we switched vehicles. Ugh. So, on CraigsList it will go. (Which is what my aunt suggested in the first place.)

Or, as Robert said, "God doesn't want you to sell it." ;)

I was disappointed because although I sold about half of my things, I really didn't sell as much as I'd hoped. Good stuff already gone? Nobody wants my kids' clothes? I don't know...but still I made a little more money and have fewer things around the house, so I can't complain. The combined total from both consignment sales was, ironically, exactly enough to cover replacing our water heater that died last month.

Before (and way before...before the first consignment sale) photos are here, and the after photos are here:

Let me know if you want any of it... ;)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Overheard: Control issues of a 4 year old

Grace [holding my pop-up folding hair brush I keep in my pocketbook]: You can listen to my music. I have a video of it right here on my phone, and I'm watching it. When it's over, I'll choose the next song.

Her cell phone is so much fancier than mine. It's a flip phone, and it controls the CD player in the van. It even has a mirror! ;)


Grace [to Josiah]: It's OK, Josiah--you won't get in trouble. I control Daddy.

She said it in such a matter-of-fact voice, you'd think she believes it. I have no other comment on this one.


Josiah recently checked out a
Family Circus comic book collection from the library. All three kids have spent time flipping through the pages, including Grace. She found one comic where the mother is standing facing the kitchen sink as she washes dishes and says, "No, honey. I've never wanted to be like Lady Godiva. Have you?" Dolly is behind her, completely disrobed and perched on a rocking horse with her clothing scattered on the floor around her. Grace's reaction? I'm so glad you asked.

Grace [indignant]; That is so wrong! Mom, look at this! That is so wrong! [flips back several pages to find another comic] That's not her horse!

And here I was thinking she had a problem with Dolly's lack of clothing.


Grace [slightly distressed]: Mom, can you teach Daddy to ready? He always says the wrong words.

Yes, he paraphrases children's books. And, wait...I thought you controlled Daddy, Grace...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

You Capture: Silence...and Halloween

I know, I know--it's like oil and water..."silence" and "Halloween" just don't go together. You are certainly not experiencing any silence at fall festivals.

Robert dressed as a hockey player in sweats Jason, Josiah dressed as a basketball player, and Grace dressed as a princess ballerina. (So, basically, the younger two dressed as they would on a typical day at home.) Robert had his menacing glare down pat.

But there are rare moments of silence or, at the least, relative quiet, as our talkative Josiah reads in the van on the way to the library...

and, of course, I had to include a couple of photos of my beautiful girl sleeping.

Check out other You Capture entries at I Should Be Folding Laundry, and join in on the fun!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday: Swag Bucks

I have recently begun using Swag Bucks to earn...well, Swag Bucks. These Swag Bucks can be redeemed for lots of things, but I the whole reason I started with this was because I found out that you can redeem your SBs for $5 Amazon.com gift cards!

Get started:
It's easy to sign up for Swag Bucks. Click here to start an account. Clicking on the links I'm including in this post will benefit me because I will be the one referring you. However, if you have a friend who already has a Swag Bucks account, find out their referral code and use their information. After you set up your account, spread the word via email, Facebook, or your blog--when you refer someone, you earn up to 1000 of the Swag Bucks they earn if they use your referral code. A family would share an account.

Earn Swag Bucks: When you do an online search, always do your search through the Swag Bucks site. The easiest way to do this and earn SBs consistently is to download their Swag Bucks toolbar. With the toolbar, you can stay logged in to Swag Bucks and easily do your online searches without even having to think about it. One advantage of the toolbar is that it "remembers" what you have typed before (for instance, "Facebook"). Plus, you earn 1 SB each day just for having the toolbar. (You also earn 1 SB each day for visiting the Surveys page and for voting in the Daily Poll.) If you do not want to download the toolbar, you can still go to swagbucks.com and do your searches from there.

There are other ways you can earn Swag Bucks, but I earn the vast majority of my SBs through the SBs that are randomly awarded for searches. I started with Swag Bucks in September, and don't do that many searches online. Still, so far I have redeemed SBs for three $5 Amazon.com gift cards and I'm already back up to over 300 SBs in my account.

$15 to spend on Amazon.com for doing nothing more than searching online? That
works for me!

Do you do Swag Bucks? Do you have any hints to share?
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