Friday, July 25, 2008

Know & Tell Friday ~ Travel Edition

This week my Nancy Drew instincts were all wrong. So wrong I won't even tell you how wrong. I'm not much of a traveler, so these are certainly going to be interesting.

1. What is your favorite mode of transportation (flying, train, car, boat, etc.)? Why?

My favorite mode of transportation is by car. I think it has to do with control issues, because I feel like I have the most control in that situation. Flying would be second. I haven't really traveled on a boat (like on a cruise or anything) and I don't ever really want to. There's this nagging fear of being out in the middle of the water and having no control over anything, and not many options to get out fast. You'd think based on that flying would be a problem, but I guess in my mind if there's a problem in flying, it's over pretty fast one way or another. I've never traveled by train.

2. If you could fly like Superman, jump and swing like Spiderman, swing on vines like Tarzan, or fly on an umbrella like Mary Poppins, which would you choose?

I would fly on an umbrella like Mary Poppins, because she's a neat freak, and who doesn't love Julie Andrews?

3. You're driving down the road and see a small cluster of people, all with their thumbs out hoping to hitch a ride with you. As you near the group you realize that the people standing there are Queen Elizabeth, Johnny Depp, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and John Grisham. You only have room for one person. Who would you pick up?

None of these people. I'd wait for Barbara Bush.

4. What was the most memorable trip you've ever taken?

I'll have to go with the most recent trip that did not constitute a vacation and say my trip to Michigan, to see where I'll probably live the rest of my life and buy/build a house.

5. If you were planning a road trip with your best friend, where would you start, what would you stop to see, and where would you end?

Assuming that would be Hubby, we would start at our home and go to each major league ballpark in the country. We would end at our home. Our friends here in Virginia want to do the same thing.

If it was a girlfriend best friend instead, I have no idea right now. My creative juices are zapped by the sounds of tape ripping off a roll and the craziness of this move. But believe me when I say I'd love to take a nice little trip right about now!

6. You are able to transport yourself back to any time. What would it be and why?

Now Reese didn't say if it was just to observe and then come back, because that would make a difference in my answer! I don't want to go back in my own personal life. I've made mistakes, and plenty of them, but I'd just make different ones if I had to do it all over again. Don't tell my husband I said this, but I'm not perfect. And I wouldn't want to live in a different era, because I like my modern conveniences too much.

7. Would you have flown with the Wright Brothers when they first discovered air travel?

Probably not. But not because I'm afraid of heights, but because I wouldn't have been in control.

Can you tell that control issues are a recurring theme? That is why we are moving our own stuff this time. I We can do it right and no one else can. Hubby has to pick up the truck tomorrow morning, but I will try to post some pictures before too many boxes get moved out to show you the chaos.

Go and visit Heather & Reese at Kickin' It In Crazyville for more Know & Tell Friday!

Anti-Charlotte Update:

Because we were too busy yesterday and today, we didn't get to gift Anti-Charlotte with her rubbing alcohol saturated cotton ball. But yesterday after I took pictures and blogged about the little nesty thing, she proceeded to eat it all. All! The only good thing is that I don't have to worry about little ones running free. But she's still alive. How?!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Anti-Charlotte Is Still Alive

Now you see why I never say never. Because if I'd said I will never post another spider picture...well, you get the picture.

Our internet went down for the second time in two weeks on Tuesday morning and we just got it back up and running yesterday. We're packing like crazy people, but I had to do a quick post.

Monday was the spider finding, and by Tuesday morning I thought the spider would have been dead without oxygen. Not! I screwed the lid on super tight to make sure no air could get through since the anti-Charlotte was hanging around up at the top and I thought some air might be seeping in somewhere.

Fast forward to last night (Wednesday) when Buddy said, "She's not moving except her little pincher things. I think she's about dead."

This morning we go out and she's moving, she's smaller, and she has a little nesty looking thing which we're assuming are eggs. And you know they're cannibalistic so she'll just eat and live. And somehow she's getting oxygen. Maybe she can produce that too. So in honor of her ability to live in a jar without oxygen and reproduce multiple poisonous spiders, she will be receiving a cotton ball saturated with rubbing alcohol as a gift from us later today. Gotta do something, because she's not moving with us! Here are the pictures of a smaller anti-Charlotte with a more defined hourglass now that she's not so fat with her little nesty thing, just in case you want to use them to teach your children anything:

It's kind of like an unrequested science project.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Look What We Found!

Today Hubby worked on cleaning off the back porch, cleaning the back yard up, etc., since we're clearing quarters in less than two weeks. We had to take our trampoline down a few months ago because we unknowingly put it up against the housing privatization rules, even though we'd had it up for a year and a half. It's been on the back porch all this time waiting to be properly folded and stored. Now we could no longer procrastinate. So while he was wiping it down, look what he saw scampering across:

Hubby caught it in this empty bird feeder. It's very fat so it couldn't get out. Can you see the hourglass shape?

After I got home from a day at the outlet mall with our friends from Illinois, he showed it to me and we carefully switched it over to this jar (a Longaberger jar no less; it was a gift). You can see how fat the creature is in the picture below. It was playing dead after I had just tapped banged the jar on the counter to get it out of the top of the lid.

This spider will have to live in this jar with no holes poked in the top until it dies. I am not kind to spiders. I have a great fear of them. It is now back on the porch still in the jar because I'm paranoid the jar will be accidentally knocked over and broken. I hope no spider lovers read this, and I'm sorry if you are. But it's poisonous people!

And don't plan on ever seeing spider pictures again on this blog. I'm a little surprised that I'm posting these. But really, my first real black widow ever not in a zoo building glass-encased safety cage. Kind of deserved it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

In Honor Of Randomness...

Since Know & Tell Friday was the Extreme Randomness Edition, and I have totally unrelated things to blog about and no way to segue from one to the other, I am choosing to honor the theme of randomness and tie up loose ends here. Thank you, Heather, for helping me out unknowingly.

1. On our "quick" trip to Detroit, we had to look for mugs of course. Pittsburgh was the big city on the way I didn't have. Got it! But you might see an odd mug in the picture below. We told our friend the reason we were a day longer in coming home (the one that had our other son) was that we swung down to Tampa because we had decided to winter there. Had her going for a minute. Well, her husband had gone to New Orleans a few weeks ago and I had him get me a mug while he was there, and he got her one too. She's hooked. So when we were in Detroit I had to get her a mug from there (Hubby already had gotten me one some time ago) and when I went in the store, they had three Tampa mugs. So I picked me up two, because I don't have Tampa either. Woo hoo!

2. I'm packing boxes upon boxes upon boxes. This is what our living room looks like right now:

3. This is what the boys' room looks like at the doorway right now. You can't even see the boxes in front of the window because the door is blocking everything.

4. Earlier this year we had the Awana Grand Prix races. When Hubby went up to the church on the Saturday when the commander had all his power tools available for use, he asked me, "Do you want a car?" I said casually, "No, not unless it's a flower." He came home with the kids' cars plus this, in it's unpainted form:

Here's what it looked like racing down the track:

Hubby painted it with the fuschia and orange because I love those two colors together. I won a second place trophy for design, but it wasn't a super speedy car. It didn't do horrible, but my girls' punchbuggies were too fast for me to keep up. I'll post those pictures another time. They are about half as long as my flower and cute as a bug, pun intended. We competed in the category for older clubbers and leaders.

5. Our two girls had three best friends in Illinois, two were sisters and moved to Texas right before we moved to Virginia, and one is still in Illinois (not a military family). When her parents asked her what she wanted to do for vacation this year, she said, "Go see the girls." So they are here right now. We've never had someone come just to visit us. We really feel special. She has an older sister who graduated from high school (homeschooled) and is on a trip to Italy right now, and two younger brothers that are nine and two and a half. Today the little guy was eating Cheetos when he was tired. You know what your fingers look like when you eat those, and then how a little boy rubs his hands all over his face when he's tired, and this is the outcome:

His ears were even orange! Isn't he cute!

6. We went to the Transportation Museum and had a picture taken of Hubby and me. He's scruffy now. Everyone who sees him comments on how he must be on leave, because you can't have facial hair like this in the military.

And here are the three girls. I'm actually putting two pictures, because if you look close in this first one, you'll see a naughty little Caboose putting a peace out sign in Sparky's armpit. I had told him no bunny ears, so that's what I got.

Here's a good one where they switched places and Sparky and Sassy sandwiched her between them:

7. We are having a nickname change. Now I don't plan to do this on a regular basis, or really ever again, because it could be very confusing, but it has become necessary in the youth of the blog. The boys are teasing a certain girl named Sassy, so we are going to change her blog nickname to Chatty, as in Chatty Cathy. We actually call her that in real life on a frequent basis, so it really makes more sense.

8. Menu planning is out the window for the next two weeks until I move. I'm just trying to get rid of the last few things in my freezer and cabinets, and then buy things that I will use before I move. And if you know how to add about 12 hours to every day, let me know. I could use them.

Have a blessed week!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Know & Tell Friday ~ Extreme Randomness Edition

So here's the deal: Heather asked me if my Nancy Drew instincts kicked in and figured out that today's questions were extremely random. She blames it on her "deep-thinking better half" being on a much needed mini-vacation (aka: Reese). I personally think it would be hard to come up with questions on a weekly basis, so kudos to you! But back to my instincts. I think the fact that I couldn't figure out what the questions would be about indicates that I thought they would be random. :) Okay, off to the questions.

1. Why were you given your particular name?

I was given the name Kayren (pronounced with the long *a* sound that *ay* makes in day or play) as opposed to Karen because my mom's middle name is Kay. I've had to explain the pronounciation of my name my whole life, even though it's pronounced exactly like it's spelled. I talk fast, really fast, even though I'm from the South, and on the phone people think I say an *L* sound instead of the *r*. We won't rehash the middle name. It has no significance and I don't like it.

2. What's your favorite song of the moment?

This one is hard, because I usually have favorite songs. But I'll play the game and pick one, because I try to follow the rules. "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Avalon is my choice. But if the question was to pick two favorites, my second would be "In the Blink of an Eye" by mercyme. And if it was three favorites my third choice would be "All for You" by Sister Hazel. And I've always liked Gloria Estefan's version of "Everlasting Love." What a beat! Do you like how I didn't really break the rules but got around them?

3. What are you wearing today which is most reflective of who you are?

Comfy clothes ~ a knit shirt, capris, and slip-on sandals, not those thong sandals that bother my toes and my OCD.

4. Have you ever had a pet that was not a cat or a dog? What was it?

When I was growing up I had a few goldfish. I also had hamsters. I named them Jack and Jaclyn (I can't remember which one came first now because I've lost those brain cells) but they were after Jaclyn Smith of Charlie's Angels. I had more hamsters than just those two though. Before we moved here we had two guinea pigs (one died right before we moved and one we gave to a school) and two water frogs, which were very cool. We gave them to another homeschool family of three boys. You grow them from tadpoles you get in the mail. They were actually Sparky's. She's a reptile and amphibian lover.

5. What type of exercise do you do to keep in shape?

I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that it might incriminate me. Or not.

6. What is your favorite movie of all time?

This one is as difficult as the favorite song question, but I'll just list one ~ "It's a Wonderful Life."

7. Do you enjoy gardening or working with flowers?

Yes, but I'm not very good at it and haven't had proper opportunity. Since we've lived in military quarters or temporary homes, we don't invest tons of money in this area because ultimately we'll move. I'm excited to see what we can do with our new home, although I foresee a degree of professional landscaping involved at the beginning. I'm a little ignorant in this area, and being in the climate we will be living in, I'm assuming different flowers than I've been used to may be necessary for survival. I've usually lived where there are very hot summers.

Now go on over and visit Heather & Reese at Kickin' It In Crazyville. There's no Mr. Linky this week, but you just have to look through the comments or post yourself there if you want to participate.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Talk About a Trip!

Whew! What a trip! I now have much to gab about for this and future blogging.

I'm not sure if I mentioned that Buddy was staying back in Virginia with his best friend's family. It was kind of like reverse summer camp ~ we went away. Everyone did well with the separation, but we were sure glad to see him again! We ended up having to stay an extra day in Michigan so we didn't get back until Wednesday night.

The day before we left, I got to make a fun trip in to the doctor. I've let stress affect me too much (I need to read Lora's recommended read about The Frazzled Female) and I broke out in shingles. If you don't know what they are, because Hubby didn't, it has something to do with the dormant chicken pox virus. My mom's had them three times in her life, so I consider myself lucky. This was no walk in the park, especially considering I was getting ready to take a road trip. You don't want to go meet a new realtor, the building company representative, etc., in your yuckiest, least tight clothes with your pants pulled down a little where the waistband doesn't touch the bumps. Saggy pants in any style really aren't that attractive. So I thought of how bad poor Job had it and marched on in a little bit of style choosing a decent shirt as loose and long as possible ~ and saggy pants. Hey, there's only so much you can do.

We left on Saturday and didn't get to the Detroit area until a little after 2:00 Sunday morning. We used hotel points for our visit, and we had guaranteed our room when we reserved it online, but whenever we're going to be super late we usually call ahead when it starts getting around 10:00 at night just to let them know we are definitely coming. Fast forward to my husband's new favorite commercial he saw watching fishing on ESPN. It's for some Evinrude boat motor, I think, and a husband and wife are fishing out on a boat. She's quite the chatty one, and he's not. At the end of the commercial it says that the motor only needs serviced once every 21 million words for a woman, 7 million for a man. I looked online, and apparently there is a study that says women say three times as many words as men (there were other studies, but that one popped up several times on the google list). So back to the phone call, which I made to the hotel to confirm we were coming. I let them know our name, that we were going to be late, about what time we expected to be there, wanting to make sure they knew we were coming, and various other tidbits of information that were completely relevant to the conversation. I hang up the phone and Hubby says something like, "21 million words." He proceeds to tell me that when he calls to confirm when he's traveling that he's going to be late, he just says his last name, he'll be a late arrival, and that's about it. Not that he's rude, just not what I would call "informative." I'm informative. I give people information they might need or like to know or like to have, or that they might not need or like to know or like to have. Regardless, I'm informative, talkative, and friendly. I'm 21 million plus.

This is the first black squirrel I have ever seen. My husband has talked about seeing them up in Michigan. This one was close to our hotel.

This is a windmill farm we passed on the way home. We weren't able to see it on the way since it was dark. Not like the windmills I grew up seeing!

We were able to get things worked out on our house purchase/build. I can't wait to start posting pictures along the way. They already had the basement poured and the driveway completed and were waiting for a contract before they started any of the construction. They are going to try to have the house completed by the end of October, but it depends on the weather cooperation. We'll be living in a furnished apartment until then. The nice thing about this particular apartment is that it has a one-car garage, which will probably hold some of our stuff, because I don't know how we'll be able to even fit all our school books and supplies we'll need for three months in the apartment. It will be nice to have it close and handy and not underfoot. Actually that applies to everything since we can line the walls with boxes if we want.

I finished a book on the trip and started another one. I read "The Cat Who Could Read Backwards" by Lilian Jackson Braun. It's the first book in her Cat series, and I was fortunate to find a paperback with all three of the first books in one volume. It took a little while for me to get into the book and the characters, but once I did I enjoyed to book. I wasn't able to figure out the whodunit, which doesn't bother me, since I'd prefer to not know all through the book who it was anyway. I haven't had any trouble getting into the second book and I'm probably over halfway done with it. I just don't have much time to read right now since I'm so busy packing boxes and trying to make plans to move in two weeks.

I have more to share about our new house, about Hubby's retirement party today with his office and how I was sneaky (but I'm only good sneaky, even though I'm good at being sneaky), and homeschool planning amidst a move, and for new highschoolers on top of it! But I am still very tired from our trip and this post is long enough already. It will become a full blown novel if I'm not careful.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow with Heather & Reese and Know & Tell Friday, but I haven't had time to really look at anyone's blogs since I've been home, so my Nancy Drew instincts haven't kicked in so I can figure out what they're asking in the questions this week. :)

And by the way, I'm so computer illiterate it's shameful. Sometimes my blog locks up and I don't know why, but one of the suggestions by blogspot is to clear some temporary internet files and then repost. So if you're subscribed and get extra emails because of that, sorry. I don't know how else to fix it. I actually had to let my "Pictures" post post in the middle of the night before I actually left because I was having problems.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My Life In Pictures?

So here's the scoop...if you're reading this, I'm really not here posting it right now. I tried the advanced posting on blogger. So if you read it, leave me a comment and let me know!

We are actually on a quick road trip from Virginia to Michigan. Yes, quick. Up on Saturday, back on Tuesday. In between, we're buying a house. Actually if all goes as we plan, we're making the choices for the one we're having built. Plus we'll be making plans to stay in a furnished apartment for about three to four months; a short time really since the basement is poured and the builder is just waiting on a contract to commence building.

And I didn't want to leave my blog all alone for that long, so I thought I'd try the neat little posting feature where you can choose your date and time. I saw this photo meme on Mari's blog. She has great Works for Me Wednesday tips and on Thursday she has some good slow cooker recipes, Crock Pots for those of us from the South who aren't too worried about copyright infringement. Recently her cat was a guest blogger!

So back to the point, you answer these 12 questions and follow the directions, which took me a minute (really a lot of them) because I've never *flickred*. And you have to open more than one window at a time. At least I did, but I'm technically challenged even though I'm a math geek. It's because I went to school before they had computers. And that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

The Rules:

~ type your answers to each of the questions below into Flickr Search
~ using only the first page, pick an image
~ copy and paste the URL's for the images into fd's Mosaic Maker (you have to set the columns to 3 x 4)

The Questions:

1. What is your name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

So give it a try yourself and have fun. One word of advice: every so often a slightly offensive picture would pop up in the middle of the others. It would be completely unrelated, but you might want to make sure your little people aren't right over your shoulder just in case.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Know & Tell Friday ~ Spouse Edition

This week in honor of both Heather and Reese's anniversaries, they're having the spouse edition of Know & Tell Friday. After having read Reese's sweet poem and knowing it was her anniversary week (before knowing that Heather's was this month too), I had a funny feeling we might be talking spouses. I'm just going to reiterate that I want to be Nancy Drew when I grow up. I'd be really, really good at it.

So that said, and all digressions aside for the moment, here goes nothing!

1. Where did you meet your spouse?

I already know I'm in trouble! I met my spouse in first grade. We were in the same class. Our teacher was Mrs. Minge, and it was her very first year to teach. And no, we were not boyfriend and girlfriend.

2. What is your favorite personality trait about him?

Golly, only one. You made this hard! He's very funny.

3. How old were you when you met your spouse?

Well, based on question number one, I guess you can figure out that I was all of six years old.

4. How old were you when you got married?

We were both 19 when we got married, in the summer between our freshman and sophomore years in college.

5. What is your favorite way to spend time together?

My first thought was watching ball games, since we seem to live at the ballpark with our kids. We used to live at Busch Stadium and watch the Cardinals when we could. Here was my Hubby managing Buddy's all-star team tonight. He was in the middle of spitting a seed. Good thing I have a not-so-good digital camera that doesn't pick up details.
But when it comes down to us spending time together, just the two of us, we like to go out and get coffee together.

6. How did your spouse propose to you?

In the car in the parking lot of the Bonanza restaurant.

7. Where did you go on your honeymoon?

We went to Branson, Missouri, which was about two hours from our hometown in Arkansas. We stayed at the Holiday Inn for two nights (remember, we were broke college students) and during the day went to the water park.

To participate in Know & Tell Friday or just to read some other fun posts, go visit Heather & Reese at Kickin' It In Crazyville.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

9 on the 9th ~ Unusual Things I'm Thankful For

Virginia has been a tough place for us these past two years. We've made a couple of good friends, but not nearly as many as we usually do. It's like we've been outsiders looking in the whole time and never quite fit in. So I decided for my 9 on the 9th hosted by All That Naz, I'd do a list of some things I'm thankful for, not necessarily about Virginia, although the first one definitely applies.

1. Never having to think about whether I have enough people to get in an HOV lane.

2. Matlock reruns ~ I can't get enough of them. Of course my husband got enough of them about seven years ago.

3. The Sterilite company.

4. My label maker...need I say more?

5. Ikea ~ neat furniture for organization, cheap, and I'M GOING TO LIVE LESS THAN AN HOUR AWAY FROM ONE!!!

6. My children bickering ~ that means I have them with me safe and sound. Although I prefer safe and sound and not bickering, but we've had a rough day.

7. Daisies ~ they put me in my happy place.

8. A flexible real estate agent ~ because the rain keeps postponing all-star little league games, which is postponing our trip to finalize our house.

9. Imitrex ~ how'd they live in the olden days with migraines?

If you'd like to participate in 9 on the 9th or to read what others have listed, go visit Mrs. N at All That Naz.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Talk About Tuesday ~ Flat Stanley (Give a Homeschooler a Project...)

Because we homeschool, we have been exempt from the second grade facscination with Flat Stanley. We'd never heard of him. But boy was he fun to have around!

If you too are unfamiliar with Flat Stanley, it is a story in which Flat Stanley is flattened by a bulletin board, and while he is flat he goes on adventures. Our personal Flat Stanley came to us via Caboose's best friend from Illinois (by St. Louis). Other Flat Stanleys have apparently visited the President of the United States and flown around the earth with astronauts. Now those are some adventures! Since we had to send Flat Stanley back, we took color copies of him for each child to keep (not just Caboose). Here is a picture of our Flat Stanley. Notice the details. There are some extras drawn on by this gifted second grader because his father is an artist (he can paint on a wall where it looks like you're looking out a window).

We were asked to let Flat Stanley do things in our everyday activities with us and send pictures if possible. The idea is that the classroom that sent Flat Stanley learns some geography about where the different Stanley's go around the country and/or world. Well, if you give a homeschooler a project, they are more than likely going to go a little crazy. We did a little scrapbook to send back. I told you we had fun with Stanley.

One of the places Stanley got to go was to Virginia Beach to Monsters on the Beach. It's one of only two places left where the Monster Trucks still race and do freestyle on the beach. Here's Caboose with Flat Stanley with the Atlantic Ocean in the background:

Here's Flat Stanley in the sand on Virginia Beach (he almost blew away!):

Here Flat Stanley is waiting in line to get in to Monsters on the Beach:

Here Buddy and Caboose are in front of the newly designed Stonecrusher truck with Flat Stanley:

Here is a picture in case you have kids that like monster trucks:

Another place Flat Stanley went was down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Sparky had a softball tournament the weekend before Memorial Day. On the way there you pass Digger's Dungeon, which is Dennis Anderson's garage and shop for his monster truck and others that are in his family. By the road out front is this truck, and Sassy and Sparky are with Flat Stanley:

Stanley got to stay with a bunch of girls in a beach house in Nags Head. He wasn't too crazy about that. This was the next day when Sparky was warming up her pitcher before the game (she pitches about 55 mph). If you haven't read before, Sparky is only about 4 feet 10 1/2 inches.

And then because we didn't want Stanley to miss out on school while he was on his adventure, and because we're mean that way, he had to sit down and do school with Caboose. That was not his favorite part of his trip. Although staying around all those girls with cooties was a pretty close second.

These are just a few of the things Flat Stanley did while he was with us. It was funny to leave the house and hear everyone say, "Does somebody have Flat Stanley and the camera?" You should have seen the looks at the dentist office!

Lara is talking about new ideas this week, so to read about it and see what others are talking about this Tuesday, go and visit her over at The Lazy Organizer.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Proverbial "Who Moved My Cheese?"

Change can be a blessing or a curse, depending on your perspective, according to this book. According to Caboose, it's a curse. There is nothing to be gained from it, nothing good can come from it, it can only be bad.

As I've said several times before, we are moving soon. So soon in fact, that I've started packing some boxes. See, we are doing what is affectionately referred to as a partial DITY. In military terms, a do-it-yourself move. My OCD finally caught up with me after the last move. We were packed in our little duplex wall-to-wall with boxes, and even unpacking was a much bigger challenge than ever before. I decided to do clothes first, because it made sense to me to get them put away in the drawers and closets to see what space I had left for toys. Well, when I open a box that says clothes and there are two items of clothing and the rest are toys, or it was half and half, or worse yet, it was some clothing and items from other parts of the house the packers needed to stick in a box, that created utter chaos. At that point I asked Hubby if we could move all our boxes next time, or at least most of them. He understands my OCD, and he is willing to stack like boxes together in proper rooms to facilitate proper unpacking. He humors me.

Since the box packing started in the boys' room, Caboose was in there part of the time and started talking about the house that we think we are going to buy. This house will mean that he has a separate room from his brother, which he has never had. We had decided that we could still use their bunk beds in Buddy's room, maybe not bunk them and just put them as twins, and he could sleep in there when he wanted, but his stuff could be in his own room across the hall. He liked that his room would be across the hall. What he didn't like was that the beds would no longer be bunked. He'd get to sleep in a room with someone, but it wasn't good enough because it was change. Arg! I mentioned his aversion to change in my Know & Tell post last Friday if you'd like to feel a little more sympathy for him Hubby and me.

This slightly sad conversation led to a sadder conversation about his sister Sparky leaving for college. She's 14. They talked about how she needed to go to college to be able to do the job she wanted (be a missionary) and then he asked how long it would take and could she drive home every night to sleep. That proceeded into a discussion about how long Hubby and I were in college (your typical four years), how he was never going to college, and how he would have a job when he was old enough if he planned to live at home forever, which he does, because he doesn't like change. The weeping began. It was a tough evening as real life began to become a little more reality for an eight year old boy. After he went to sleep, amidst my packing boxes and ripping tape from the roller, I snuck my camera in and took these pictures of him sleeping peacefully.

He has his snowman sheets because he doesn't like change and they will be his sheets probably until they have holes.

He has piles of animals on his bed because he can't put any away in a box because they can't "breath" and he can't stand not to have them out and available at a moment's notice. And then there's the change issue.

Can you see the trace of red, white, and blue peeking out in the middle of this picture by Caboose's leg? Now I don't know if that is officially "Bed Bear" or "Car Bear," but I'm guessing it's Car Bear because it doesn't look very beat up. If you're familiar with Beanie Buddies, he had Spangle as an infant. I got it for him on my 34th birthday, two weeks before he was born. He loved that bear like nobody's business. Without using my hands I can't describe how he sucked on his two fingers upside down and held the paw at the same time and rubbed it. Oh, the memories. Well, Bed Bear only has stuffing in his head now. Car Bear looks a lot better. He became the bear we took out of the house so we never lost Bed Bear, because it was that big of a deal. Car Bear was actually another Spangle that was Buddy's, but somehow Caboose crawled around and found it. We realized the benefit of two bears and just replaced Buddy's. Caboose didn't go anywhere without his bear, sleep without his bear, do anything without his bear. It was literally his security blanket for years. We have so many pictures of him when he was little and one or the other of the bears was in the picture. These bears will always hold a special place in our hearts.

That said, there are a lot of things that are changing right now: Caboose's cheese is being moved, he doesn't like it one little bit, but at least he can find comfort in knowing that nothing will ever happen to those bears.

And because cheese was being moved at paces even too rapid for me to keep up with last week, I fell off the proverbial menu planning wagon. I failed miserably. We started out great with our roast and chicken spaghetti, but then things went downhill from there. We did have waffles one night, and I'll have to post my waffle recipe next week when I post a new menu plan. The good news is, I still have all the goodies in my freezer and cabinets to make the stuff from last week's menu that I didn't make. The bad news is, cheese is still moving rapidly, maybe even more than before, so it will be an adventure to see what the week brings.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Know & Tell Friday

After Reese created the questions for this week's edition of Know & Tell Friday, she woke up thinking, "It's the 4th of July. These questions should be about America's birthday!" But she's living in England, which is no longer enemy territory, but makes Independence Day a little less prominent, although she did mention in a separate post the irony that many Brits are joining them on base for the Independence Day celebrations. Maybe they like a good air show? Well, whatever the case may be, go check out Heather and Reese's answers, and get to know some other people through their Mr. Linky posts. I've been looking forward to Fridays because this has been so much fun!

1. If you are a blogger, what got you started? Have you ever made, or do you hope to make, money blogging?

I had several reasons for starting a blog. I had been on several that are hosted by moms using one of the main homeschool curriculums we use (the one for history, literature, worldview, geography, etc.). Now I don't know that my blog will ever be anything like theirs, I just like them. My cousin started a blog at the beginning of the year and it's a great way to keep family up-to-date when you live far away, even though she lives close and gets to visit family often compared to us. We haven't seen anyone on either side in over two years. I also like being able to record things that I don't want to forget, little funny things that happen, tips that might benefit others, menu planning for accountability, and there are a lot of neat people out there. It's kind of like having pen pals when you were growing up. I'm not sure that my blog is focused enough yet. I sometimes end up writing about whatever excites me on a particular day or about whatever "tragic" happened that day. I've been using the meme's (did I use that word correctly in a sentence?) to help stay focused somewhat, and they're fun. And I also needed a blog to participate in some of the giveaways I was finding, but that wasn't the primary purpose. So ultimately, there were multiple reasons, all culminating to the creation of my blog.

I have never made money blogging, and I don't plan to. At least I know one focus of my blog, which is a not.

2. Are you a collector of anything?

Yes. Nancy Drew, Dana Girls, and Hardy Boys books. Stamps, although I haven't actively collected since I was a teenager, but my grandfather gave me some of his things before he passed away. They are precious to me. Starbuck's cityscape coffee mugs.

And I can't finish answering this question without mentioning baseball cards. Now I don't know if this question was specific to me or generally to my family, but the baseball cards at any given point could help us go over any weight limit allowed by the U.S. Government in a move. And they are not mine. But I do know lots about them. As a husband or son you couldn't ask for a much better sports wife or mom, because I know sports. But when Hubby's cards take up the entire bottom of his closet (at least it's not a walk-in), and I mean entire, because there is overflow on the top, that's a lot. Sparky has about as many as Hubby, and Buddy has as many as the two of them combined. Sassy and Caboose have little in comparison to the masses.

3. Apple juice or orange juice?

Orange juice.

That one came out of left field.

4. What are 3 of your best personality traits?

I am a true friend and can keep a secret.

I am witty, although when it borders on sarcasm it always gets me in trouble. I've learned the hard way many times in my life.


5. Name 1 thing you miss about being a kid.

I miss my grandparents being young (only my grandma is living) and going over to their house.

6. What is usually your first thought when you wake up?

I don't want to get up, leave me alone, don't make me get up, that alarm is driving me crazy, be quiet, I don't want to get up, did you make coffee yet, I'll get up if you make coffee, bring me the coffee in bed, the coffee is too cold to drink because I dozed off, don't make me get up, I don't want to get up, oh okaaay (with serious whine). I am not a morning person. God gifted me with morning children. Where is the irony in that?

7. Regarding material possessions: the more the merrier or less is best?

Less is best, although I have problems with one of my children. Caboose can't let go. We went shopping for new sneakers about a year and a half ago. His old ones were too small. We picked out the new ones, he wore them and put the old ones in the box, and a few minutes later I noticed he had tears in his eyes by Hubby. I found out later that he realized he would have to get rid of his old shoes now that he had new ones. We still have those old shoes, but he only gets to keep one old pair. Our printer broke a few months ago and we had to buy a new one. He was very upset about that, and he was not keeping a broken printer in his room. So he finally went out on the porch and said a few words and hugged it good-bye. I'd say I feel sorry for his wife, except he says he's not getting married and is going to live with us forever. Hmmm....

Thanks to Heather & Reese over at Kickin' It In Crazyville for another round of fun questions!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Works For Me: The Five Ingredients Or Less Edition (Chili)

Our family loves this chili! This is something I've come up with on my own and then doubled along the way so we can eat on it for leftovers (usually two more times, but sometimes just once). The main thing you need to know is not to follow any part of the package directions from the chili seasoning mix.

2 pkgs very lean ground beef, about 2 1/2 to 3 lbs (I use 97%; you could use ground turkey too)
2 pkgs McCormick's Chili Seasoning (the original one, not the one that says mild or hot)
2 cans Chili Beans
1-2 large cans diced tomatoes (this is how you could make your chili stretch more)
1 large can tomato sauce

Brown the ground beef and then add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for about 15 minutes and serve. I usually only put about half of the second can of diced tomatoes in, and then I'll hold the tomatoes back so the rest of the juice flows in. My kids aren't crazy about the tomatoes and pick around them. If I only use one large can of diced tomatoes I will usually add a smidge of water.

For more great recipes using 5! ingredients or less, go visit Rocks In My Dryer.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Book Review ~ Sisterchicks Go Brit!

I just finished reading this seventh book in Robin Jones Gunn's series. The Sisterchicks books are always about a different pair of "Sisterchicks" that go on an adventure together and along the way find some truths about themselves and God.

This was my least favorite of all the books. I should have had some warning when I didn't like the cover because unfortunately, I judge a book by its cover. That's how I sometimes end up picking out a new series. Seriously. I found the Lumby Lines series that way. Digressing again, I know. I felt like the author had to try to fit God into this story; it didn't feel natural. Although there were a few funny situations, there wasn't as much humor in this book as in the others. I actually laughed out loud in some of the others and woke my Hubby up if I was reading in bed. Overall, I was disappointed in this book. It may have been because I expected more after having read the others. I don't know that it was a bad book, it just wasn't that good. When I finished it, I wasn't disappointed that it was over.

My favorite book in the Sisterchicks series is Sisterchicks Do the Hula, although I enjoyed all six of the first books. There was just something special about that one to me even though I've never been to Hawaii.
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