Saturday, October 31, 2009

Recipe Alert!

Anybody seen the recent issue of Kraft Food & Family? Don't put it in your stack of stuff and then forget it is there. It is chuck full of recipes that are simple, inexpensive, and incredibly tempting. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert, it's all in there! Let me know which ones you try...I think I'll go for the peanut butter cup pie, cheesy green bean casserole, and pumpkin cream cupcakes. Mmmmm!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It Was A Sad Day When...

I saw in the news that our town had finally succumbed. We would be getting our 1st Chuck E. Cheese. Now all you 'cool' moms are thinking that I'm crazy...I mean, what an awesome addition to the neighborhood, right? Ha! Not for me honey, the last time I was in a Chuck E. Cheese was about 10 years ago, before I even had kids (I was dragged in there by another couple who had a little boy and they evidently thought it was just the coolest place on the planet), and I would have really been happy to avoid a return visit.
We have become desperate for a reason not to go...Greg actually looked at me one day and said, "I really think it would be a sin for us to go to Chuck E. Cheese. Look at the looks like a casino for kids! Doesn't the Bible say something about "avoiding the appearance of evil?" we were really desperate!
My kids have been great about it though, and if I'm not mistaken, the place has been open about a year, and we have not yet patronized it. I told the kids right up front that a Chuck E. Cheese visit would not be like our McDonald's drive thru stops (like every five minutes, already!), but would be for something special like a good grade card or something similar to that.
Last week, I had an idea straight from Heaven. Trick or Treat was to happen this week, and it also happens that we are in revival. There's nothing more frustrating than to try to dress everybody up, fly around town begging for candy, and then quit 30 minutes early, quickly change clothes, and take 4 completely sugared up kids to sit through an hour and a half service. So not worthwhile! Since trick or treating is something that the kids enjoy, I decided to make them a deal...would they be willing to trade Trick or Treat for Chuck E. Cheese? It was a unanimous and enthusiastic "yes" vote, and I'm happy to report that I finally found a decent use for the place.
Tomorrow is the big day, so by the evening my mental state may be completely altered, and my mind forever fried, but the kids will be happy and hopefully poorer in calories and cavities. So...I'm signing off for the time may take me until Monday to fully recuperate. So long for now!
p.s. I'm also happy to report that Chuck E. Cheese also gives tokens to kids who bring in a good report card! Since our kids just got theirs yesterday (and they were swell students this quarter), we may make off better than we thought! Just don't tell my kids about this...they'll try to drag me back in January...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Little Blessings

I'm amazed every day by the way God chooses to bless those who live according to His principles. Not that it is a new concept, just one that is beginning to affect me in a very personal way.
I know that this is something that people probably get sick of hearing about, but a couple of years ago, I was introduced to Dave Ramsey's radio show and consequently have listened to and read after him religiously (basically, financial issues fairly quickly become spiritual, so I don't feel guilty for it).
Although we haven't consistently put his principles into practice, I have gleaned much practical truth from them, and have begun to do some things as simple as to wait a little bit before making even small purchases, in case something better comes along. We tend to be able to live without a little more than what we think. :)
Here are a couple of blessings that have resulted from that just within the last week:
~Allison's black dress shoes were a little tight. I hated to spend the measly $ it took to buy a new pair, so I held out for just a few days, and to my surprise, another mother came to me with 2 grocery bags full of shoes. Most of them fit her or will fit her soon. Some still had tags, and all were in great condition. So...I got 1 pr. of black dress shoes in the bag plus at least 10 more that I didn't even really need.
~I hate buying pantyhose. I have to wear them during the winter unless my skirts are long, otherwise I freeze. They are expensive and I have to have a certain brand. Don't criticize me unless you have had to buy them to fit a shape like mine...I know there are cheap hose out there, but I can't have them splitting out every time I cough! Ha! The brand I buy has hit $5 at WalMart, and that's just a little too much for me to want to dish out. So, I waited...even wore knee hi's (hate 'em). Today, while at Dollar Tree buying some little things for my nieces, I found what must have been a closeout of my $5 pantyhose. I got an pile of them...$1 each!
~Kaitlynn needed a new winter coat. I hate shopping for coats, about as much as I hate buying pantyhose, and I know the really good prices won't happen until closer to Christmas...or so I thought. Last Saturday, I decided to take the dreaded plunge. We went to Sears first, basically because we entered at that end of the mall, and would you believe that there were 2 racks of heavy, beautiful girls coats for $19.99! I figured they had the weight of a jacket, but after checking everything out, found that they were as heavy and warm as the real expensive coats. I wanted to get brown (once you are the mother of four, you determine that even if pink is prettier, it shows dirt...brown and black are the bomb!), but our store didn't have the brown in Kait's size. She was bummed, so we ran to Penney's to look. Nothing cheap, nothing we liked. I called Valerie, who was out by Eastgate Mall in Cincy, and gave her the description. She was able to buy one there, and send it home with a friend who just happened to be travelling back to Lima the next day! So Kaitlynn has the $55 coat she wanted @ the fantastic price of $19.99.
It's amazing how things happen when you choose to make wise decisions. I know that these are small things, but they are just a sample of the blessings we have had this week!
Has God done something very special and very practical for you lately? I'd love to hear about it!

Happy Birthday to...

9 lbs. - 21.5 in.
Born October 28, 2009
2:15 p.m.
Momma and little Will (as well as Daddy and 2 "big" sisters) are doing fabulous!

Here are two very proud aunties (this is my 1st biological nephew)...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hey Everybody...

just wanted to let you know that Alli survived her immunizations yesterday...or maybe I should say mommy survived them! I have never had Greg to go with me to a dr. appt. except for a few times when I was pregnant. Just never thought it was really a "two-man" job, and I like to feel that I can handle things on my own. Usually that works okay for me, but the thought of going in that place alone yesterday was more than I could handle! Greg could not go, so my mom (knowing my severe weakness in this area), pushed her schedule around a little, and met me there. The horrid nurse was sitting behind the desk when I walked in, but fortunately she was not the one to see Alli. The poor little gal was scared to death the minute we walked into the hallway toward the exam rooms. She cried and cried every time they touched her, and she kept repeating the same words, "Done? Almost?" It was pitiful. Mom kept her occupied as much as possible with m&m's and pictures. After an almost 2 hr. visit (is that normal?) and 5 shots, we were able to leave the little torture chamber and head for home! This is my absolute LEAST favorite part of mommyhood!
Anyway, just wanted to let ya know the outcome. Thank goodness for an "off" day today so that she could rest and recoup.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mealtime Quandry

As winter and cooder temperatures are approaching, I am looking for quick, nutritious meals to serve to my family on weeknights. When the kids were younger, we ate out a lot. It was easy to go to Bob Evans or someplace nice, and get a good meal. I wasn't guilty about that because I have always worked full time, and had enough to do when I was home without cooking and cleaning up. Now things are changing a bit, and a free "kids night" meal at a local restaurant is no longer enough for my growing boys. We can spend all my earnings real quickly! Also, the kids would much rather eat at home, and it provides more quality time for us. Growing up, my mom always worked, either in the ministry or in nursing, but she was fantastic at putting together economical, yet satisfying meals each evening. Needless to say, I would feel guilty to feed my family mac-n-cheese and hot dogs for dinner! Although I would do it in a pinch, I feel much better putting something out that is tasty while incorporating a variety of colors, textures, and flavors. I don't mind baking a pre-made frozen entree' (decent quality and flavor) and adding veggies, salad, bread, etc. Since I was not born for the kitchen (we have it cause it came with the, recipes that are lengthy or complicated scare me.
I would love to hear your ideas for nourishing and comforting (this can be the most important part) meals for cool nights.

p.s. While you're browsing the web, be sure to check out my cousin's blog
SHE was born for the kitchen!
Thanks for the interaction on my last post. I have friends who take their kids to this same doc, and they too feel that the nurses are bad, but the doc is good. It is difficult to reconcile one with the other, but that is how it seems to be. Due to my busyness this past Monday, I rescheduled her appt. for this coming Monday. You have given me the courage to call and voice my concerns ahead of time. Greg may be going with me, as well. If nothing else, maybe he'll scare them into being nice to his baby! Ha!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mommy SOS!!!

I need some advice. I'm getting ready to admit something that some of you will think is worse than the unpardonable sin, but please don't take this opportunity to lecture me about it...that's not the point of the post, and quite frankly I've already beat myself up enough. :)
Allison is 23 months old, and the only immunizations she has received so far are the initial Hep (at hospital) and her first round at 2 mos. (which she took considerably later than 2 mos!). This summer I changed pediatricians due to the fact that the one we had used for about 9 years was having health issues, and the last couple of visits I actually had to take my child from the exam room back to the conference room to see the doc cause she couldn't come to me, for whatever reason. I just wasn't real comfortable continuing on with it, although the nurses were great and I hated to leave them.
The pediatrician I was switching to was really good, and their new location was a little more convenient for me, so I assumed smooth sailing.
I made the mistake of scheduling a joint appt. for Kait and Alli in late July. Kait would have her kindergarten exam, and I would get Alli one round of immunizations. My girls are both pretty paranoid of anything medical, and I should have known better. Long story short, Alli's well-visit had to be changed to a sick visit due to a viral infection. Two office personnel came in to do the appt. Not sure if they were nurses or medical assistants. One appeared to be training. I asked them to please do everything for Kaitlynn first, because Alli would start screaming the minute they touched her, and continue until we left. I didn't want Kait to have to endure that trauma cause she was already scared to death.
I was surprised when they completely ignored my request, and began their exams, alternating every procedure. It was pure torture. After 15 minutes of Allison screaming, Kait began to cry. I kept thinking that it shouldn't take too long, but failed to realize the extent of a kindergarten exam these days. Vision screening, urine sample, hearing test, on and on and on. Every time the office personnel would leave the room, Kait would ask me when they were going to do the shots, etc. I had told her that, based on previous experience with the boys, the shots would be fairly painless.
The doc came in and was so kind. She calmed Kait down, and even had her smiling. But not for long. A little bit after the doc left, the needling-weilding woman appeared. Literally, holding the syringes out in plain view, she came in rather rudely asking if she would need to bring in the other nurse to "help hold her down". Any five-year-old hearing those words would freak out a bit. Kait began to cry again, and of course, Alli too. I said no that I would help. Holding Alli on my left hip, I used my right arm to try to hold Kait down while the nurse crammed her ginormous stomach into Kait's legs. She went to insert the needle, and Kait flinched which caused her not to be able to inject. This made the nurse mad, and she angrily said, "This is why I HAVE to have someone who can hold her down. She is going to hurt herself!" She was huffing and puffing, and looking very irritated. I said, "OK, I'll do it." Still holding screaming Alli, I laid myself across Kaitlynn's chest, and held her legs with my right arm. Within a little bit it was all over with, and the nurse exited the room, never to be seen again...thank God. We sat there for a minute, not quite sure what to do. We hadn't been told that we could go, but I didn't necessarily think that conditions were favorable to stay any longer, so we gathered our things and headed for the front desk. I said, "I guess we are finished. Is there anything else I need?" The secretary said that she didn't have anything for us, so we left.
Once I reached the van I realized that I hadn't been given any info. regarding the girls weight or height, and the had failed to clue me in on the shots that Kait had, or any side effects I should be looking for. I started to go back in, but figured that the kids would go ballistic again, so I decided to wait til later. Plus I was so upset about the whole thing that I really wanted to wait until my emotions leveled out before addressing the situation.
So here it is mid-October, and I have to get Alli in for her immunizations. I considered just taking her to the Health Dept., but would actually end up paying twice as much because I only have a $20 copay for an office visit. I also don't really feel like taking her into that environment right now. I have an appt. at the doc for this coming Monday. I feel that I need to request a different nurse, and share my experience with the doctor. Do you think that is overboard? What would be your response? Seriously, I love the doctor, but I'm scared to take her back there!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Valuable Moments, Vital Decisions

With each passing day, my "mommy paranoia" is more difficult to suppress. At times the "what-ifs" tend to overwhelm my mind, and if I'm not careful, they can sap some of the joy from my journey.
As a couple of our children begin to approach the pre-adolescent years, the reality is that their days under our roof are swiftly passing. Soon they will be making their own way in life, for better or for worse. The fact that we as parents are accountable to God for our role in child-rearing should make us even more determined to follow His rules.
Day-to-day routines should not just happen to us, we should happen to them. Why? Because successful parenting isn't achieved by accident, or simply doing what is convenient. It is realized only through hard work, determination, and fervent prayer.
Every moment is valuable, and every decision is incredibly vital.

If you have a suggestion or comment for ever-learning mothers, feel free to share. We could all use some fresh insight and perspective on the most important job God assigned to womanhood!

CEC 2009

Yesterday our school staff attended ACE's Christian Educator's Convention in Indianapolis. Because of sickness, Mrs. Pouzar and Mrs. Nichols were unable to go along, so it actually ended up being a daddy/daughter date. :) 6 hours of travel, and 8 hours of sessions later, we were both exhausted and refreshed. It is possible!
It seemed that this year the topics were more relevant, and the speakers more passionate. I came away with a renewed sense of conviction and ferver concerning the Biblical mandate of Christian Education. I hope to share some of the session notes with you as I continue to process them in my own mind.
Here I am with the greatest boss and dad in the whole world. I'm not makin' that up! Preachers are a dime a dozen, but a pastor (there is a difference) who has also committed to being a Christian school administrator, can be a rare find. My dad has taught me so much through the years! He is a man of both conviction and compassion, and I am so glad to have the opportunity to share in ministry with him!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Just To Keep Ya Humble...

I really think God gave us kids to remove any extra traces of pride that may be left floating around in our once-carnal hearts. And just to be honest, paybacks stink! Haven't we all done things as children (before we knew better, of course) that embarrassed our parents half to death? I know I did, but I'm certainly not going to discuss those situations on this blog!
Instead, I'll share something that my 21-month-old daughter did yesterday...and yes, I blushed..big time.
I was working in the Upper Level Learning Center (grades 7-12), and Allison came in with her bottle to tell me she wanted more milk. I took the bottle, and headed out the classroom door for the kitchen. Just as I left the room, I heard her say, "Mommy, Popsicle! Mommy, Popsicle!" I turned around to quiet her, only to see her with a huge grin on her face, waving a certain feminine product which she had managed to dig out of my purse. That, my friends, will keep ya humble.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Help...I'm Drowning!

I'm admitting it...on the anyone who cares to read...I'M A PACK RAT! There! Now my husband can quit telling everyone, cause I already did it! Seriously, though, I hang onto everything. It's quite an oxymoron, really, because I hate clutter and the stress it brings into my life. Yet I find myself grasping at the most insignificant things, rather than just releasing them to God, the Goodwill, or even the garbage.
Everything around us these days shouts: SIMPLIFY! I love the word. It's so bold and crisp. It is written on one of my favorite prints in the living room, sounding like an easy plan, but oh, how difficult the execution!
I just finished a book that I actually began reading in May. There's no explanation on the huge lapse in time, except for the fact that I have spent all of my free time during the last 3 months organizing and reorganizing my piles of clutter. Anyway, "Sanity Secrets For Stressed Out Women" is one of those reads that is impossible to digest quickly. From it I learned that one of my biggest stressors is the piles of stuff that I have accumulated over the last 30 years. (Yeah, it's bad...I mean, how many former A.C.E. students still have their Congratulations! slips from 2nd grade? This chic does...I'm serious).
Even though our house is not huge, we have more than adequate storage, and I'm very thankful for that, but at this point every available cabinet and closet is full and running over! Somehow restacking and reshuffling the same ole' junk in 42 different ways doesn't change the fact that it is really impossible and totally unnecessary to cling to stuff.
So, I have come to a conclusion that I am feeling very good about: I'M DONE!!! I'm not living this way anymore! I don't have to keep clothes in hopes that someday somebody will wear them...I can pitch 13-year-old GBS class friends aren't going to cry if I get rid of their wedding bulletin (or the dress I wore to the special occasion)...God doesn't expect me to keep a ridiculous purchase just because I wasted money on it...old Christmas card photos are not meant to be term papers for Liberty won't ever be read again anyway...deflated mylar balloons from the birth of the first child will mean nothing to him when he reaches adulthood (or even his 10th birthday, for that matter) get the picture! My husband should be proud by the time I'm finished with this gargantuan project. I'm adding square footage to the house without building a's that for a stimulus package!

Only through personal experience is one able to understand how freeing this revelation has become. A life of clutter, whether tangible or intangible, makes one less effective in many ways. If you struggle in this area, a great book for you to read would be "More Hours In My Day" by Emilie Barnes. A "messie" by birth, Emilie shares her personal battles as well as strategies for successfully organizing a home of which you can be matter who drops by for an unexpected visit. If you are geographically close to me and would like to borrow my copy of the book, I'd be glad to share.
If you have a moment, leave me a note to let me know how you are "simplifying" this fall. Maybe we can form our own cheer squad and keep each other encouraged!


For several months I have contemplated the idea of starting a personal blog. I have never been one to keep a journal, although I often wished I had penned some of the moments of my journey just for the sake of recollection.
Today I am taking the plunge, and although some of my ramblings may never make it beyond "Save Now" rather than "Publish Post", I hope this becomes a place to share ideas, experiences, and insights. My goal is that it be an interactive blog, with responsive readers who are willing to be transparent. , but whether or not it attracts any traffic, it will be an outlet expression. Thanks for stopping by ~ I hope to hear from you often!