Monday, June 30, 2008

Talk About Tuesday Home Edition ~ It's All About Perspective

You're going to have to stick with me on this one, because I promise it's going somewhere. I may just go around the world and back a few times, but there's a valuable lesson here. There was for me anyway.

Here's a sample picture of the military duplex in which we live. This is not the one we live in. I could not take a picture of the one we live in, because our screened in front porch is bad. Really bad. Really, really bad. Now housing takes a picture of one that is going to be the most flattering on their website and not make it look like the 60 year old dump home that it is.

We are six people living in a three bedroom duplex with one full bathroom and one half bathroom. Do you know how many showers six people take in two years in one bathroom? Well, when the painters don't use the right kind of paint in the bathroom, this is what happens:

Ceiling directly above the shower by the light/vent fan
Window Frame

Door Frame
These pictures are in no way the only places it's bad. These are simply representative. The walls around the top of the shower, over the door frame, and across about half of the ceiling look like the picture by the light/vent fan fixture.

Back when my husband first entered the military, if you had too much stuff to fit in your military housing, they'd put your overflow goods into storage for you until you moved again. Since the military has now gone to privatized housing, everything we knew and loved is gone. Forever. Now we sign a lease. And we have to give 30 days notice. For military housing. And when we sign this lease, we are signing that it is "adequate" housing, which means that they will no longer store your overflow goods, because they are providing you adequate housing and you signed your lease saying so. So the local shelter loves you. And knows you by name when you've only been here one month and you have no other friends.

Now this post had no four bedroom housing when we moved here, and we made the family choice to live on post for Hubby to be able to come home for lunch, be home quick after work, etc. It was our choice. That said, they built four bedroom housing for Hubby's rank and were finishing it up, and in the first part of this year I went and asked about getting on the list to move into it when it was completed. They told me we couldn't move into the four bedroom housing (unless our family situation had changed, meaning more kids) because we signed saying our housing was adequate, even though they had no four bedrooms at the time. Okay, angry me left, and ever since then I have driven a different way home so as not to drive by these new pretty homes, which is what we would get if we moved here brand new right now:

The irony of this whole thing is that we got a letter about two months ago (after Hubby had decided to retire anyway) and housing offered to let us move into one of the new three bedroom houses. Since I can be a little bit witty sarcastic, Hubby chose to go talk to them and get the scoop. Turns out they can't get enough people in their new housing to qualify for a bonus, so they were offering to let some of us in the existing housing move. But the four bedrooms were already filled, Hubby was retiring anyway, and we weren't going to help them out, because we would have had to move ourselves, and why would we do that for three months. That would be just a little bit silly.

I've been very bitter about this ever since my first visit into housing, thus the decision not to drive by that area. It was the same distance to drive the other way, so I used that as justification, but my family all knew why I drove home that way. A couple weeks ago I read this post about perspective, and it really made me think about how blessed I am to have a home for my family, even if it is not big enough for us, and certainly inconvenient, and not very nice. But it's a home, and it's temporary, both from an earthly perspective and for us right now. This was always temporary. And we're getting ready to move on, and I need to let it go. I've been coveting my neighbor's house, and that's wrong.

This week is the Talk About Tuesday Home Tour over at the Lazy Organizer. She's talking about her ceiling fans. Go and see what others are talking about too! It can't be as yucky as my peeling and chipping paint. So go have fun!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Last week's menu went perfectly great until the weekend when we had lots of unexpected things crop up on Saturday and then I didn't get the roast purchased for Sunday. I won't even tell you what we had for dinner on Saturday night, because those of you out there who are health nuts would cringe at the mommy in me that let my kids have cereal for dinner. But we have healthy cereal in the house, and everyone at least half of us had healthy cereal.

The Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix went over fantastic and none of the kids was any the wiser for it. Hubby knew, and he said he could tell a slight difference, but not enough to matter. The great thing about this mix is that it has no MSG, and the Old El Paso packages I was using had MSG, and I didn't realize it before. Here's the recipe that equals one commercial packet (I'll follow with how I make tacos):

1 T chili powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano powder
1/2 tsp salt

The nice thing about this is that some of these items come in organic versions. I didn't try using fine sea salt, but I will in the future now that I know what the original version of this recipe tastes like and how it compares to a commercial packet.

When I make tacos, I always purchase the taco kits that have taco sauce in them. My family does not put taco sauce directly on their tacos, so I always mix the sauce into the ground beef. Since I didn't buy the taco dinner kit this time, here's what I did:

approximately 2 1/2 - 3 lbs ground beef (we have extra for leftover taco salad), browned
Add to the browned ground beef and simmer until done:
2 taco seasoning mixes (recipe above)
1 1/3 cups water
1 cup Old El Paso taco sauce (I used mild)

I'm not going to share my Lemon Chicken Recipe from last week because the sauce did not come out right. The chicken was great without it, but it wasn't cooked any special way.

A few weeks ago I got this cute vintage apron from the Apron Queen at Rick Rack Attack when she hosted a giveaway for the first 60 of us who posted her button on our sidebar.

Sassy is wearing it for me. You can't see all the cute details, but I'll tell you the one I like the best is the little *x* stitching that is used to hold all the seams instead of regular stitching. It's done in brown on the cute peach and white-checked pattern. It reminds me of cross-stitching that I do. It also reminds me of something my grandma or great-grandma would have worn. I tried to find a picture to post of them in one of their aprons, but I couldn't put my hands on one. I thought since we were talking about food today it was a good time to talk about aprons that keep our clothes neat and clean while we're cooking that food!

This week's menu has my roast plus some of our standard fare. I'm going to include recipes (marked with *) for a few of the items at the end of the post. That said, here's this week's menu, just dinner this time since lunch will probably be mostly leftovers or sandwiches (pb&j, grilled cheese):

Monday ~ Roast in the crock pot
Tuesday ~ *Chicken Spaghetti...this is different from any other I've ever tasted
Wednesday ~ Marinated Grilled Boneless Pork Chops
Thursday ~ *Homemade Chicken Tenders
Friday ~ Fettucine (recipe next week because I follow the box and tweak it...tastes like Olive Garden!)
Saturday ~ Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts
Sunday ~ I'm clueless, but I'll figure it out by then

Chicken Spaghetti:

2 cups cooked & cubed chicken
1 box (16 oz) cooked spaghetti
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can diced Rotel
1 can chicken broth
Shredded Cheddar (I use a finely shredded mix Kraft makes)
Shredded Parmesan

Mix soups, Rotel, and chicken broth. Combine with chicken and noodles. Pour into a 9 x 13 ungreased pan. Cover with shredded cheddar cheese (recipe calls for 8 oz but I use at least 2 cups) and sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-60 minutes or until bubbly around edges. (I actually think mine only takes about 30 minutes.) I think the Rotel gives it a different flavor so it doesn't taste just all "chicken-y."

Crispy Chicken Tenders:

(My husband would marry me again if he could just because of these!)

**Note ~ I buy two large packages of the frozen Tyson chicken tenders at the commissary when I make these and then we eat on them for a couple of days. I have to multiply this recipe by four (except for the vegetable oil) when I make this many, and I cook them in two large square grill pans on the stove to save time.

1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk (the substitution is to use 1 T lemon juice and add milk to equal 1 cup for each cup of buttermilk I works perfectly when I don't have buttermilk)
1/8 tsp red pepper sauce
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
Pinch cinnamon
1 cup vegetable oil

1. Combine buttermilk and red pepper sauce in a large bowl. Add chicken; let stand 10 minutes.

2. Combine flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and cinnamon in another large bowl. You can remove your chicken from the buttermilk and dredge each piece, then place them on waxed paper prior to cooking them, or you can do it as you go and put them in the pan.

3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until oil is very hot. Cook chicken in batches until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. I sprinkle them with a little salt while cooking, but this isn't called for in the recipe. Transfer chicken to a cookie sheet and keep warm in a preheated 300 degree oven (I don't do this; I just put them on paper towels to dab out the oil as much as possible).

And when you make these Chicken Tenders, wear an apron, because I always get a grease spot or two on my clothes that won't come out if I don't wear one. See, the apron fit the post!

This week the Organizing Junkie is out of town, so Laura at Heavenly Homemakers is hosting Menu Plan Monday for her. Go check out some other menus and recipes there. You'll find a variety!

Maybe We'll Win Something

I found this great website and giveaway through browsing my cousin's blog today. You know, the one that I mentioned on Friday that has a beautiful singing voice. Well, I thought it looked like it might be fun to participate, and so I'm giving it a shout out in my post and a prominent position on my left side bar. If you'd like to participate too, or even just to check out the Tip Junkie, go check out all the information about the 20 days of giveaways here. I didn't get a lot of time today to look over her blog, but it is definitely something I'm going to get back to tomorrow and spend some time looking over the archives.

Hope everyone had a blessed Sunday!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pickin' Daisies

This red flower is a gerbera daisy I got at Sam's in early June. It's not around anymore. I'm using it just for illustrative purposes. I still had it around, when...

...I bought a bunch of pink gerbera daisies at Sam's. Last year every time I bought daisies, within 30 minutes of taking the netting off the petals, this is what they would look like. The petals would all fold back, and many times the flower would be so heavy it would get very droopy on the stem. Well, since I still had a red one left that had survived, and it was on the counter next to where I placed the entire bunch of pink flowers, I observed something I might never have noticed, or not for a very long time. I know the picture of the red is an almost side shot, but can you tell what it is?

Well, look at these pictures of the lovely, and I mean so lovely I can hardly stand it, gerberas I got at Sam's today.

The little one was broken and had to be put by itself. But do you see the difference between it and the one above, and the similarities between these and the red one?

These have littler middles. I specifically looked for gerberas with "little middles" today, and I'll be if they don't look perky after I took the netting off. That's the secret: pick gerberas with little middles, and you won't get the droopies. And I very possibly just made up a new word.

I'm fussy about my daisies. My family would tell you I'm fussy about lots of stuff. Don't let them fool you!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Know & Tell Friday

I was going to read Heather and Reese's answers to their questions over at Kickin' It In Crazyville before I answered these myself, but I was afraid it would affect what I came up with myself. So I'm going to answer, and then go back and read what fun stuff they had to say. You do the same.

1. If a five-dollar bill magically appeared on your doorstep at the beginning of the day, every day, what would you do with it?

First I would try to find out who left it, because that's the Nancy Drew in me. After I got over the initial shock and bought my kids ice cream from the ice cream truck a time or two, got myself a venti White Chocolate Mocha from Starbuck's a time or two, got Hubby a venti Caramel Macchiato from Starbuck's a time or two (he'd be with me), I'd find a meaningful use for it. We sponsor one little girl right now through World Vision, and with $5 every day, we could sponsor five more children.

2. Tell us about your favorite teacher from elementary/middle/high school.

I had a lot of favorite teachers in elementary school. I was kind of a teacher's pet. My favorite was probably Mr. Polich, my 4th grade teacher, because he let me go out in the hall with my best friend, Kim, and practice for the school and district math olympics. We'd make up hard math problems just for fun. Sick, huh? If you haven't read my blog before, I'm the oldest child, Type A, perfectionist, OCD...a very left-brain kind of girl. And I'm originally from the South, Arkansas to be exact, so I can call myself a girl.

My favorite middle school teacher was my 7th grade science teacher. He ate fried worms in class. It was not Mrs. G.r.z.y.b.i.n.s.k.i. Do you know how many sentences I wrote in study hall with her name in them for talking? The fact that I can still spell her name without blinking should be a good indicator.

My favorite high school teacher was probably a tie between two different teachers. It was not my 10th grade geometry teacher but was my 12th grade Algebra II teacher. They were the same one. I had an attitude adjustment between the 10th and 12th grades. You had to know him to love him. The other one was a teacher I had for several business classes.

3. If you could make one person disappear for good, who would it be?

Only one? Based on the current news events, I'd say Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Even rhymes. Or the North Korean president Kim Jong Il. I don't know if it still is, but you should read this article about North Korea being the worst country in the world. Most people know it's bad, but most don't (or didn't) know it was the worst. There's so much in the news about other countries and about the only thing we see about them is the nuclear stuff.

4. Do you believe in fairies?

I do not believe in fairies, but I do believe in angels.

5. What era is your favorite for music?

The 80's is my favorite era for music. My kids just look at my husband and me so strangely when we hear a commercial or we're walking through a store and we just start singing along. And we're not singers. Hubby is better than me. My sister and my cousin were gifted with the beautiful voices. And I mean beautiful.

I still have a penchant for a little disco in these bones though.

6. Have you ever, or would you ever, have cosmetic surgery?

I have never had cosmetic surgery. I make it a rule to say never, because I always end up doing it then. I don't see that I would ever have a reason to have cosmetic surgery. I don't think we should mess around with what God gave us just to try to look better. I think when people have medical reasons, or have scarring from burns, that's a whole other story.

I could currently qualify to have cosmetic surgery on my stomach. I have a separated abdominal wall from my last pregnancy (eight years ago), but unless I develop a hernia, I'm not willing to risk major abdominal surgery. It's not worth the risks. I want to see my kids grow up.

7. If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?

My first name is a doozy! I've had to explain the stinkin' thing my entire life. My mom's middle name is Kay, so I'm Kayren (long *a* sound) instead of Karen. It's pronounced just like it's spelled, but it's been butchered so many ways I've lost count.

My natural father that divorced my mother (after he saw me one weekend of my childhood life when I was six months old when he returned from Viet Nam) gave me my middle name. Now yes, I have issues, but no, that's not the reason I despise my middle name. Louise. Yes, Louise. Ugh!

So now that you've had the lenghty explanation of my name, what would I change it to if I had to? Not if I wanted to, but if I had to. You know, as much trouble as my name is, this is not something I've ever thought of. Who would I be if I wasn't me?

I don't think I could legally be Sweetness, my husband's nickname for me. I've always liked the name Mary, and I knew someone I really liked with that name. I had a really good friend named Jaclyn in the third grade, and then of course there was Charlie's Angels to make me really like that name. I had a hamster with the name Jaclyn, so I think I wouldn't pick that one for myself. Kate is another name I really like, not Katherine or Katie, because I'm not a kid anymore, just Kate. Nice and simple, but pretty. And my initials would stay the same.

I'm Kate.

Kate signing off.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Great Ink Pen Debacle, Part 2 (Subtitle: Mom, Why Is The Dryer Purple?)

When the military designed new uniforms a few years ago, someone thought it was a good idea to put a place to keep your pens handy on the sleeve. So there are these little slots for you to put a pen or two down on the lower part of your arm, like in a Mead binder.

The Great Ink Pen Debacle, Part 1, was about a year and a half ago, right after Hubby bought two new uniforms.

The first incident involved the washing machine and was fairly minor in comparison to this one.

I believe this pen made it through the wash cycle because it's a different washing machine than was in use during the original Great Ink Pen Debacle, because that washer bit the dust, but not because of the Great Ink Pen Debacle. (This is only further proof that I picked a bad washer and it's really not cleaning the clothes well. That's a story for another day.)

This is where family had just gone for a few hours...

...when I opened up the dryer to fold clothes and found this, including miscellaneous pen parts strewn about...

Well, after determining the damage, most of which was to Hubby's clothes, and further determining that I could not get any ink off with normal cleaners I had (I did not try bleach and I probably won't), I got old rag towels wet, did a dry cycle, and it appears that the ink is not coming off through an entire dry cycle onto anything. That's a blessing.

But does anyone out there know a good way to get this ink off the inside of my dryer? Every time I see it the OCD just screams inside my head. Caboose's answer is, which I'm thinking won't be a lot of help.

And in case there are inquiring minds, I am speaking to Hubby. With civility.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Page Protectors ~ A Girl's Best Friend (Keeping Kid's Artwork Under Control)

Years ago I had to come up with some viable option to keep control of my four kids' artwork. I only had three with artwork at the time because Caboose was an infant, but it was still everywhere, and a file folder just wasn't cutting it, because I tried that. So I went to Sam's and bought a four-pack of 1" D-ring binders and the big whopping pack of 200 page protectors (which is under $10 there and at most discount clubs). I used my trusty label maker to put each child's name on the outside of their binder along with the title "Artwork." That was necessary, because these are not the only binders in our homeschool closet. And to digress for a moment, I heart my label maker. It is a best friend of the chronically organized OCD personality. Back to the binders, the only thing this doesn't work for is 3D items or super large things that can't be folded in half easily. Here are a couple of pictures of some older artwork, and the kids love these because they can flip back through them. It's kind of like a scrapbook for them. I also put dates in pencil on the back, and I don't let them make stuff just to put in the binder. It has to be quality.

If there is a really special school paper they have done, I will also put it in here for safekeeping.
I also use page protectors in my recipe binder to keep recipes I've pulled from magazines, people have copied for me, or that I have printed from the internet. I use them in my homeschool binders for certain things that will be used for a number of years and need to withstand time. I use them in my "control journal" or "household notebook" to keep things in each section easy to find, as opposed to keeping it in just a pocket divider. I use them to keep scrapbooking idea pages in a binder. The list is really endless. And you can reuse them. I've rarely thrown away a page protector.
To see what works for others, visit Works-For-Me-Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Want to be Nancy Drew When I Grow Up

I've always been a BIG reader. My favorites when I was growing up were the Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew. I would have been the oldest girl Jessie, because she was super organized and a little bossy. I wanted to have a train car in my backyard and keep my milk in a cold stream. But not nearly as much as I wanted to be Nancy Drew. I still want to be Nancy Drew when I grow up.

I used to get Nancy Drew books for my birthday and Christmas. I read all the Nancy Drew books more than once, and I had over half of the original yellow-bound matte finish books. After I was out of high school they continued to come out with these original books in paperback form for a while. These are not the paperbacks they have out today. I bought those at Wal-Mart when they came out until they quit making them. After the wonderful invention of the internet and ebay, I was able to fill in the missing yellow-bound matte books, and now have a complete collection. See:

I have been re-reading them occasionally in between my grown-up books. Because I still want to be Nancy Drew when I grow up.

I learned how to be a loyal friend from Nancy. Do you know how few people you can really trust with a secret in this world? It's a shame! Nancy was always neat and tidy - just what the OCD personality falls in love with. She drove a blue car - my favorite color. You know, sometimes I still drive the speed limit just because I know Nancy wouldn't exceed the speed limit to chase the criminal. Nancy always had the right clothes. And to top it all off, I love a mystery! I still love to read mysteries. Christian fiction mysteries are the best, but some of them even have too much of an edge for me. If it's a little creepy or gruesome or has something really bad that happens to someone, I don't care how good the redemption is, I still can't get the bad picture out of my head. I'm still creeped out by the last book in Terri Blackstock's Cape Refuge series.

So I was thrilled when they came out with the Nancy Drew movie last year. I wanted to play Nancy Drew. If they had come out with the movie when I was in high school I could have. Because I'm one inch shorter than Emma Roberts and I used to be as little as she is. A very long time ago! And she wore such cute clothes!

Now the question on your mind might be, "Okay, so how old are you anyway?" Well, if you're game enough to go look at this post and do the math, you'll know the answer. Because no matter how old I am, I still want to be Nancy Drew when I grow up.

Encourage your children's dreams today. They might be with them for a very long time!

To see what others have to talk about today, go visit Lara over at The Lazy Organizer.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I started menu planning back when my girls were about a year old. My cousin introduced me to her sister-in-law's method. She would cook several meals on Saturday that could be frozen and eaten over the next two weeks. This worked for a little while when I just had Hubby and I as the primary meal eaters in the family, and also when there was a lot less to do as far as family activities and commitments because this took an entire Saturday.

Another method of menu planning I used was Once-a-Month cooking. I only did this a couple of times. This took an entire Saturday and I found that there was too much tweaking to make meals that my family would eat. Again, my children were small and didn't eat much at the time.

The method I've used for the longest time and still use with the greatest success is to plan meals weekly or for two weeks at a time. It just kind of depends on my mood when I sit down to figure them out how long I plan for. Sometimes I will plan out lunches in detail but I don't do it very often. I always wish I had because it always works better when I do.

So that said, here is my menu plan for this week:

Lunches (not planned by day):
Spinach Ravioli
Cheese Quesadillas
Macaroni & Cheese
Taco Salad (with leftover taco meat)
Loaded Baked Potatoes

Monday ~ Breakfast for dinner...Pancakes/Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Tuesday ~ Chicken Pot Pie...this is a regular menu item for us
Wednesday ~ Tacos with homemade Taco Seasoning...see note below
Thursday ~ Lemon Chicken
Friday ~ Friend's house for a family birthday party
Saturday ~ Spaghetti
Sunday ~ Crock Pot Roast with Homemade Gourmet's Grandmother's Sunday Roast Seasoning

I'm making the Taco Seasoning for the first time. My family loves my tacos, and I happened to look at the package of taco seasoning last time I made them. It has MSG! I'm not going to tell them I'm doing it differently and just see if they notice. We have tacos at least twice a month, so this is something they have a taste for. If the taco seasoning is good, I'll post the recipe next week. I got it a year or so ago on another homeschool mom's website. The Lemon Chicken is also a new recipe, so if it's good, I'll post that recipe too.

Check out tons of recipes with Laura over at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

How'd You Spend Yours?

Today is my 23rd wedding anniversary. Hubby and I were both 19 years old when we got married in between our freshman and sophomore years in college, after having been high school sweethearts since the 9th grade.

Now that you're back from doing the math to figure out how old we are, and no, we haven't had our birthdays yet this year, this is how we spent the day:

Look at the dirt on that girl! I really think they should be able to patent some kind of softball facial scrub, because every time I reapply her sunscreen she sure gets a good one. There are even some small rocks in there.

I spent my 22nd anniversary at a Little League All-Star baseball practice for Buddy. The last few anniversaries have certainly been unusual and not what I would have planned, but priorities change with children.

But I'm not going to say that I didn't want to do something different than sit out in 90 degree weather, where it's still hazy and smoky from some North Carolina fires (and we're in southern Virginia), where it's very dry right now, so when the wind blew the dirt on the field - oh my goodness! I even have dirt in my hair! The wind was blowing so crazy that there were several dirt cyclones on different fields during the day. I will say they were extremely cool to watch. Some even got applause. How odd is that. So if I could have, here's once place I would have liked to have gone for my anniversary:

And if I couldn't have gone there, I would have liked to have done this, but in my own bed, without the dirt in my hair:

And if I could have gone to eat and then taken a nap, that would have been even better.

But I wouldn't trade this smile or dirty face for the world:

So that's how I spent mine. How'd you spend yours?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Killer Cat

Remember the story about Peka from the Father's Day post? If not, read here and then come back.

Guess whose side of the bed this is? You get one hint and one guess. The hint is that it's not mine.

And isn't that a stinkin' cute striped pillow? I got it on sale at Kohl's. I don't go there unless I have to have something, because I could buy stuff there all day long, every single day. Well, the girls needed new swimsuits, and we went when they were giving away Kohl's cash. Free money! Who doesn't like that? And we had to have the swimsuits. Not an unnecessary purchase. So I go back about a week later to spend my free money and I get this super cute decorative pillow for my bed on sale half price. I just wish you could see the whole pillow. I should have thought of that when I was taking the picture, but the cat's gone now.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Know & Tell Friday

This looked like something fun to do on a Friday evening, so here goes! It has to be better than the TWO! softball practices I've already been to today. For the same child.

Which is your favorite season? Why?
Winter is my favorite season because I love to be in a warm house and look at the snow coming down outside, which by the way I haven't seen in a long time, but it looks like I will because unless something drastic happens, we're moving to Detroit, Michigan, in a couple of months, or less!
Spring is my favorite season because I love to see the flowers and bushes blooming and everything green after winter.
Fall is my favorite season because I love to see the beautiful colors of the leaves.
Summer in not my favorite season.
Was this a fair answer?
Are you a bikini or one piece gal? Do the same rules apply to your daughter if you have one?
I am a one piece gal, or a tankini with shorts gal, which wears like a one piece. But alas, I am nothing right now, because the one tankini I have is a size too small and I refuse to buy a bigger one.
Absolutely the same rules apply to my daughters! We are big on modesty and not showing our bodies to tempt boys or men inappropriately. Our boys are also taught not to look. If there is something in public that they should not look at, we say, "Look at your shoes." That means to walk looking with their heads down so they don't see what we consider offensive or inappropriate.
Funny story. One night I had Buddy in Target about six months ago and he was pushing the cart. He asked me to help him because he couldn't push it straight, and we were walking up the large main aisle right after you walk in toward the back of the store. Well, he was looking at his shoes. They had very large pictures hanging from the ceiling that had less than modestly dressed women.
We're equal opportunity prudes.
What is your favorite summer getaway? Beach? Lake? Mall? Indoor ice skating? Why?
My favorite summer getaway is any place air conditioned. I don't do well in heat because it makes my migraines worse.
You're on a sandy beach, looking out at a perfectly blue ocean. The weather is perfect. What's on the table next to you? What book are you reading? Who is sitting next to you? What are you drinking?
A gerbera daisy in a vase would be on the table next to me. I would be reading a light mystery book, not the kind that would creep me out or give me nightmares, but not necessarily the one I would figure out immediately. Hubby might be sitting next to me, except that somebody has to watch all the kids, so maybe one of my Sisterchicks from Illinois. I am drinking a cold beverage with no ice. It would have been Diet Coke, but I gave it up about eight days ago. Now it would probably be unsweetened tea with just a smidge of sweet tea to take the edge off.
Do you tan? If so, are you an all-natural tanner or do you go to a salon?
I do tan, but I can burn first. You would never know I tan well if you saw how milky white my skin is, but I have skin that turns into the coppertone kid color. I have never been in a tanning bed in my entire life. I have the distinct privilege of getting farmer's tans regularly at baseball and softball fields every summer now.
What is your favorite summer clothing?
I primarily wear capris with t-shirts or a loose, flowy cotton knit top. I like sandals instead of flip-flops. I've never been able to do the thing between my toes. I think it bothers my OCD.
You're suddenly able to transport yourself to any summer in your past. What year would you chose to be in?
This is a question that I honestly have no answer for. I have different things I like about different summers, but no one stands out over the others. It probably has to do with it not being my favorite season. I think I'm weird.
On the modesty issue, two books that I highly recommend are by Dannah Gresh with Pure Freedom. It might not be for everyone, but if it's a concern that is on your heart, these are great resources. I've included below each picture what the website has to say about them.
Secret Keeper Girl promises to be one of the greatest tools contemporary moms have to connect with their 8-12 year old daughters, while at the same time teaching them vital truth about beauty in a world that bombards them with lies. But don't count on this Bible study to feel like homework! Secret Keeper Girl is the most fun you and your daughter will ever have digging into God's Word together. (Think: facials, tea parties, shopping challenges.)
During eight fun and easy-to-plan dates you and your daughter will tackle many questions including what is real physical beauty, what's the source of beauty, how can I feel it, why do I have to dress modestly, how do I know if I'm dressed modestly, who is most likely to influence my sense of style, am I enhancing or distracting from my beauty with what's inside?

Over 100,000 in print, this new edition includes all the secrets of the original PLUS Dannah's own "Truth or Bare?" fashion tests.
Reintroducing the break-thru book that teaches today's young women to embrace modesty. Secret Keeper: The Delicate Power of Modesty speaks to a generation in the midst of fashion at war with God's design for a woman's beauty. Revolutionize her thinking and her wardrobe with this, the first resource available for teen girls and young adult women to persuasively present modesty as a prized virtue.
To see what others have to Know & Tell this Friday, pop over to Kicking It In Crazyville. You'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Works-For-Me Wednesday

I got this heavy duty fabric basket on sale recently for $7.99. It has rope handles on the ends that you can't see, and it's about sixteen inches long so it's not some teeny little thing. I got it to hold my hair dryer, diffuser (did you see that mass of curly hair in the picture?), wipes for quick bathroom clean-ups, and other personal items that you don't just want sitting out for the world to see. I love it, and it fits on this little shelf we use in our bathroom perfectly.
I have never liked bathroom cup dispensers. I don't know what it is about them, I just don't care for them. But I have also never come up with a viable option...until now! I love gerbera daisies, and I started looking for a daisy dish online the other day thinking I might find something small to put my little hair clippy things in. Well, has things that the Target store does not have, and oh my, do they have daisies. They have these gerbera daisy condiment/dip bowls in a set of four (includes pink, orange, red, and yellow). I got them yesterday from my favorite UPS guy, and here is the pink one. It's now the proud holder of bathroom cups. Isn't it cute, even if you can't see the center. Although it didn't get pictured, the red one is holding those hair clippy things I mentioned. Maybe another day.
This is some of what works for me in keeping my bathroom neat and tidy.

Check out Rocks In My Dryer for other Works-For-Me Wednesday tips.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Talk About a New Mug, or Two, or Three, or Four

Hubby started getting these Starbucks mugs for me when he traveled to Seattle and went to Pike Place, the location of the first Starbucks. Now as he travels through different airports he checks out the Starbucks to see if they have the city's skyline mug available. We have a friend who is now on a mission to help me get different ones, and even carries my list of what I already have with him. These are the ones he brought me tonight to Sparky's softball practice - Philadelphia and Atlantic City.

On my way home Hubby called with a "Yay Me" story. He flew through Cleveland tonight on his way to Detroit. On the stopover he went in the Starbucks and they had a Cleveland mug, and the sales clerk told him a funny story about the box they opened with the Austin mug in it. Well, I don't have Austin yet, so Hubby said he'd like to take a look at it. When he told the clerk he'd like to get it too (he'd already paid for his Cleveland mug and drink purchase), the guy said, "Just take it. Would you like a box for it?" Woo Hoo! Hubby is flying back through Memphis on Wednesday. Wonder if they have one?

These mugs are 18 ounce mugs. 18 ounces! I love to drink my coffee from a big mug, not some dainty little thing. These mugs fit the bill.

To see what others are saying this Talk About Tuesday, go visit Lara at The Lazy Organizer. She's having a giveaway.

Monday, June 16, 2008

It's Genetic

Today Hubby went to the dentist. When he got home he said the hygenist was not kind. After I gave him the "I'm not sorry for you because you've never felt the pain that me and the kids that have had braces or mouth appliances have had" story, I asked him why it was so bad.

Hygenist made Hubby's gums bleed. She hurt him. She told him his gums were receding because he brushes too hard. Hubby confirmed he uses a soft toothbrush. You see, I've had the hygenists in something like five different states over the last 10 years tell me I brush too hard, so I understand this completely.

So after hearing his story, I said something to make him feel better. I told him it wasn't his fault he brushed too hard. You see, we're both the oldest children from our families. So that means we have Type A personalities, we're athletic teeth brushers, and it's not our fault, because it's genetic. He liked it! He immediately felt better and all was right with the world again. I love it when I can make Hubby smile.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to Hubby! You're a great Dad! We were waiting to get seated for lunch at one of Hubby's favorite places to eat when I took this picture. We usually only go on Father's Day or his birthday, unless Buddy picks it for his birthday meal.

Pictured in order from left to right are Sassy, Sparky, Caboose, and Buddy. See my first post if you need explanations.

Pictured below is our cat. In the interest of not protecting his privacy I will not be giving him a nickname for the blog and will be calling him by his real name, but please don't tell him. It's Peka, short for Topeka, like in Kansas. This was his name when we adopted him from Petsmart, and at the time Caboose was only two years old and left off the first syllable. We liked it and it stuck.

So the reason for the picture on Father's Day of the cat is that Hubby is allergic to cats. Not bad, just a little. He just can't be right in the cat's face or lay his head where the cat has been. And the funny thing about that is Hubby is convinced that Peka is trying to kill him. And not just recently, but for the past five years! Peka likes to sleep on his side of the bed during the day, but not at the end, nice and snug up by his pillows. But really, Peka just loves him. He would have said Happy Father's Day too if he could have, so instead he curled up with Hubby and Caboose the other night on the bed and watched Monster Jam. He's a man's man, or man's cat, or you know, whatever.

That's Caboose's caboose.

Happy Father's Day from us all!

Friday, June 13, 2008

I Love Lists!

I'll just get it out in the open right now since I didn't do much of an introduction about myself last time, like my friends really needed it, but I'm a little bit of an organizing freak. And I might have underestimated the little and the bit just a little bit.

So while we're on the subject I'm also a little bit OCD, again prior reference apply. And I love lists! Handwritten lists, checklists, grocery lists, homeschool lists, my homemade computerized Wal-Mart and Sam's Club lists...I make lists when we travel, when we have to move, for Hubby if we're going somewhere separately so he remembers what to take when I leave the house first. Hubby is not a list maker. That is all I will say on that matter.

Well, Karen over at The Master Plan is having an exciting contest to win an online interactive Master Plan of Lists, Lists, and more Lists. Ooh! I would like to win that and satisfy some insane left brain tendencies for a while. Here's the link to her contest here. If you don't win, because I sure hope I do, you can purchase it right now at $10 off if you go to The Master Plan. You can also see the complete table of contents and some sample pages.

Another day will bring my obsession with baskets, bins, organizing, and labeling. I think I mentioned OCD?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ready, Set, Go!

It's somewhat daunting finally typing my first blog post. I've thought about it, dwelled on it, mulled it over, and I'm still not sure what it should be about.

So I guess I'll do a quick introduction of my family. In the interest of privacy I will not be calling them by their given names, including my husband of 23 years (well, in a little less than two weeks), hereafter referred to as "Hubby." He is in the Army, but within months will be retired and moving on to something new, which means our family will be moving again, very possibly out of state and halfway across the country. We currently live on the Virginia peninsula and expect this move to be a permanent one. Here's hoping!

We have twin 14 year old fraternal daughters who also happen to have completely different personalities. They are true miracles as they were born at 27 weeks following a ten-week complete bed rest stint on my part. The oldest, by seven minutes, will be referred to as "Sassy" and the youngest will be referred to as "Sparky." I don't really think Sassy needs much introduction or explanation. Sparky is short for Spark Plug - think 4 feet 10 and 1/2 inches of pure softball grit, playing catcher no less, and you can kind of envision that one.

Our next child is an 11 year old boy, who also happens to love baseball and plays catcher a lot too. Ever since he was little we have called him Buddy or Little Buddy, so he will be "Buddy" for blogging purposes.

Our youngest child is an eight year old boy who has so many nicknames I can't even remember them all. I came up with a brand new one today with the help of the kids, and since he is the youngest and final member of the family, he will be "Caboose" for the blog.

I homeschool and have ever since the girls started kindergarten, so we are just finishing up our ninth year since the girls are completing 8th grade. I've enjoyed watching them learn to read, do math, and just seeing their faces light up when things "click." We plan to homeschool through high school, so next year will bring new challenges for us in our planning.

Although I haven't alerted any family or friends yet about my blog, I hope I can use it to keep them updated about our family, especially since we live many states away. I look forward to making some new blog friends, and if you happen to find me, please leave a comment to let me know!

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