Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Here goes - A baker's dozen is 13 items instead of twelve. The reason? Long ago when bakers would sell loaves of bread, they were required to meet a specific weight. If they did not, they could be penalized (flogged) and/ or fined. In order to avoid a tiff they started adding an extra loaf, also known as "inbread" or "vantage loaf." This practice started with The Worshipful Company of Bakers, which dates back to at least the reign of Henry II (1154-89). This company is still in business.
They aren't sure when the phrase became common, but that it dates back to at least 1599. I'm glad they have adapted the practice to include doughnuts & cookies. Yes, I know I included a picture of my pecan pie. Bakers may include pies, but I never buy them so you tell me!
There you go - some new information is always fun!
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I found this blog on my old myspace. I don't really use it anymore and this one was the only one worth saving (not that it's very interesting).
In 2001 I was friends w/ a girl named Katie in Oregon (we are still friends). She decided to sign up as a Creative Memories consultant. Her sister was really into scrap booking, as well as her Mom and a bunch of friends. I was not one of them.
Her first month or so in business, her sister invited me to a workshop. It was only $10 and included a night w/ some ladies.....I was game. I showed up w/ my 10 pictures and started working. It was actually fun. I scrapped Cyra's first birthday. Awwww..... That first night I bought a $200+ package of supplies. But, over the next year I bought nearly $1500 worth of stuff. I used most of it, but had lots of duplicates. I think I really ordered just to get the "free" and "exclusive" items. I'm such a sucker.
Well, now that we only use a digital.......I have no actual photos. I don't have time to put them on a disc and then take them to get developed. What makes me think I'm going to have time to add pretty papers, stickers and other embellishments? I'm going to sell it all on ebay. It's taken me almost a year to finally make that decision. Sheesh.....I think I have stuffitis.
Don't get me wrong. I love the look of scrapbooks. My sister in law Jennifer has her own scrapping company. Check it out! But, I don't have time and frankly......I ain't that great!
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Warning - for those who don't want to hear my opinion about Christmas Eve service at GCC, click the back arrow now.
It's not a secret that I was pumped for the Let It Be Christmas series that GCC did this December. They did a great job tying in Beatles songs to their message. But I have to say that parts of the Christmas Eve service disappointed me.
First, the good things. The Culps rock! They did a great job explaining how to hold / blow out the candle. Yes, these things can be difficult when you consider the ages / intelligence in a room of 2000. It was very funny.
Hey Jude started off rock, but ended up being good. The back up singers on the sides of the room were a little quiet, but a nice touch.
They were also able to slide in Blackbird! The kite thing was cool, a little artsy, but cool. Angie & Kim have the most amazing voices EVER!
The best thing all night was Let It Be. I was ruined 30 seconds into the song. Tears streaming down my face. My shoulders started to do that thing.....you know that thing that shoulders do when you cry really hard. I think Kenady was a little worried about me.
Decided to erase the parts I didn't like - it's not important enough to cause hurt feelings.
I saw Dustin & Allsion Brown at Wal-mart today and asked them what they thought. I really like Dustin's idea. "What if next Christmas, they put Mark Beeson on stage... it's totally dark with a bright lamp shining over him and he reads the Christmas story?" Any of you who have heard him speak, you know THAT would be inspirational.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Yesterday at Wal-mart, Kenady hopped up on an empty pallet in the holiday food section. I look over and she's "G-ing" it up saying "chicka, chicka, chicka, chicka....WORD." She had cute arm motions to go along with her "rap".
Of course Campbell sees her and jumps up there too. She says "chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken....BIRD." =)
Kenady said she learned it from Hannah, Oliver & Lilly.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
This is my all time favorite Christmas movie. The first time I saw it........I hated it. It must have been a bad day or something.
The girls have been re-enacting this scene several times a day. It never fails to make me laugh.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I did my best to send a Christmas letter to all of my close family & friends. If I missed you....I apologize. Here is a Conforth family update:
Hip hip hooray! It's Christmas! It's here!
It's our family's favorite time of the year.
Our tree is up and stockings are hung,
We are all ready for more Holiday fun.
We went to Disneyworld. It's just like heaven.
The girls loved all the shows and the rides,
An egg hunt at Epcot topped it off right!
It was nice to see everyone, but time sure flies!
Flying home just in time for school to start,
Cyra's in 3rd grade.....she's really smart.
Cyra also loves singing & Scouts.
Enjoying herself, that's what she's about!
Dancing, singing it's her time to shine.
Her little tiny fingers are learning to write.
They're even quickly learning to type!
It's always in her eyes, she doesn't care.
Her favorite toys are Mickey Mouse.
I find them stashed all over the house.
In shoes, in socks, all over the place,
You should see her sweet little face.
A Pomeranian we named Cora Estelle.
Ross picked her out as a gift for us all,
She's only 5 pounds and 8 inches tall.
But at least he doesn't travel far away.
He's home each night for the girls to love,
Handing out tickles, kisses and hugs.
I do my best to keep things arranged.
Juggling things between church, school & Scouts,
All the while making sure I don't get burned out.
We do our best to keep you all in the loop.
May this Christmas bring you joy and love,
And a year of peace that's sent from above.
Just thought you should know since we're so far apart.
The Conforth family
Ross, Mandy, Cyra, Kenady, Campbell & Coco
Cyra came home with this yesterday. She saw it in a book at school and took the time to write it down. Check it out:
"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island and at the bottom of the Spanish Main ... and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life."
This is perfect for her since she LOVES to read (and Disney). I think I'll find an old looking map, burn the edges, have someone write this quote on it and frame it.
What a cool thing for a kid to be inspired by.
Campbell woke up at 3 am screaming for me. I went to get her and she said "You bonked my head!" I assumed that meant she had a headache. Her poor little forehead was burning up.
We snuggled on the couch for awhile until she asked for a cracker. I got her one, but also got some medicine to help with the fever. I always forget that the act of crying because I've just given her medicine......makes her vomit.
Poor little thing had yucko in her hair. I gave her a tepid bath which I think helped cool her off a bit. She fell asleep snuggling with Ross and woke up at 6:30 and told us "You bonked my head!"
She's currently laying in my bed watching "tb" and drinking fluids.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Yesterday we had a winter storm warning in Granger, this morning we have a flood warning.
BTW - we did wake up to a ton of snow. I couldn't open my front door. I had to go out the garage and shovel up to the front door.
I think it's time for some serious sledding!
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Big shout out to Heather Stevens. She's the best babysitter anyone could ask for.
Heather has been such a blessing to our family. Ross & I were able to attend our finance classes because she committed to babysitting for us each Tuesday. She's also been available last minute several times, even last night. Ross & I received a gift certificate and wanted to go out to dinner without kids.
She usually brings some sort of craft project to do with the kids. Last night she brought socks, fluff & string. The girls made cute little snowmen. Heather also fills & empties the dish washer. HALLELUJAH! Her mama taught her well. I always did that when I babysat, but not one of my sitters has except Heather. I don't feel like I pay her enough for the job she does.
Heather has been saving to buy herself a new computer. I guess it's around 1300 for all the equipment she needs. I asked her how close she was to her goal. She's at 1021! So close! I replied with "Well, you can add 30 more to your pot." Her response "Well, I can add 27." YES! This girl tithes on her babysitting money. Now you can see why I love her so much. I hope she rubs off on my girls.
Heather, if you're reading this..........we all love you so much and thank you for the blessing you have given our family. We always know our kids are in good hands when you're with them.
Friday, December 14, 2007
I've been thinking about all of my old friends lately. Not just back in Oregon, I mean OLD friends. Here are a few folks I've been thinking about:
Ernie Born - he was our neighbor in Cottage Grove. He used to let me help him polish aggots in his garage. I spent a lot of time with him and his wife Linda. She passed away when I was in 4th grade. But, he's still living in Cottage Grove. I talked to him a few weeks ago and he ended the conversation with "I love you kid." (I'm 31 now!)
Kim Bolton (Snauer) - we shared our birthday for many years. I think it was a ploy by our mothers to save money! We spent nearly every weekend together. I once ripped the head off of her cabbage patch doll by accident....sorry again Kim. One time she told me that her brothers' girlriend lived on Kenady lane and asked me if I could spell it. I spelled it like the President, I was wrong. The cool spelling stuck with me and I named my daughter after it. Kim & I even worked together at a hotel. I was able to attend her wedding as well.......she was a beautiful bride.
Patrick McDonald - his brother Christopher was a good friend to my brother Marty. We got stuck playing together quite a bit. He hated playing school, but I insisted. Once for Valentines Day, he gave me a whole box of those gross heart candies. He had picked out all of the ones that said kiss me and gave me the rest. Like I said, we were just friends. =)
Tori Bell - she was one of my best friends from 3rd - 7th grade. We lived close and spent every spare moment together. She had 1 brother and 3 sisters and they lived in a 3 bedroom house. While their quarters were cramped, they always made me feel welcome. Her Mom would feed us ramen & kool-aid and send us to the neighborhood park. Tori's room was small and she had to share, but I still think about how well she dealt with all of that. She didn't have a beautiful vanity to hold all of her Wet & Wild eye shadows and Salon Selectives hairspray. Do you know what she used? A cardboard box turned on it's side. It was perfect. She could put all the stuff down below and put a small mirror on top. Her curling iron resting next to it. Remember, we all had big bangs back then! I quit using my own vanity and instead used a box.
Katie McClure - she was my absolute BEST friend growing up. She lived in a beautiful home on Watagua. Her room had this cool playroom attached to it. Her brother Michael's room had a laundry chute. We spent a lot of time going up the stairs and sliding down that chute.
Their house backed up to some trees, so we would play war with my brother and hers. The boys always ended up tying me to a tree. I never fought back because Mom would send me in a dress and I didn't want to get dirty. I was easily defeated.
Her Mom Melinda was tall and absolutely beautiful. She always made me try new foods while I visited (I was extremely picky). One night it was beets. I LOVED them. My mom had always told me I would, but I resisited.
In high school I was having a problem with a young man harrassing me. My parents decided it wasn't safe in Cottage Grove for awhile. I went to Phoenix Oregon to stay with the McClure's. It was so nice of them to open their doors to me for over a month. I remember years later at a conference we were asked to write down someone's name whom we admired greatly. I remember writing down Melinda's name. Their family made a HUGE impression in my life.
Anyway, these were some of my best friends growing up. Some of us are still close, but all are still friends in my book.
For any of you back home who have been asking me to post my favorite songs from our Let It Be Christmas series....watch Eleanor Rigby here. Skip forward to about 19:10. I'm not sure if they could top this, but I'm sure they'll try. Can't wait!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I was given the opportunity to plan a Christmas party for all the employee's kids that work at Ross's company. Hello? I would LOVE to. I started a few months ago and decided on a bowling party. I submitted a budget, bought individualized gifts for all of the kids, planned a menu and hired a Santa. It was a lot of fun shopping with someone else's money. =)
The party was last night and it was fun. We went to Signature Lanes in Elkhart. Casey & Heather did a great job repleshing our food and helping us throw a successful Christmas party.
The kids had a great time meeting Santa (2nd on list) and his family. Yes! He brought Mrs. Claus, Buddy, Jack Frost, Snowflake and little Twinkle (all elves). This Santa had a real beard and he assured me that it will be even longer next year!
Anyway, I had a great time planning the entire event. But much to my surprise, Ross's boss sent a $100 gift card to Casey's restaurant in Elkhart as a thank you. I've never been there! It will be nice to have a date with my husband.........now we just need a sitter.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Check out this girl Tiffany Jo Allen. She's a country recording artist who has done some amazing renditions of pop songs! I love her version of No one by Alicia Keys!
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Commercials are supposed to sway you towards a product right? This one sways me, but I'm not sure if it's what D&G was going for.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
We had to go the the Girl Sprout bank today. I had 45 checks to deposit...it was going to take awhile. Kenady noticed the Krispy Kreme "Hot Now" sign lit up. She cunningly asked "If we are good while you're at the bank, can we get a free doughnut?" How can I say no to doughnuts or free?
Of course, they were angels. Not a peep out of them. We get in the car and drive the 100 feet to Krispy Kreme. Kenady runs in and asks for her free doughnut. "We don't give out free doughnuts anymore honey?" What!?! When did that happen? "April" she tells us.
It's sad, one of my least / most guilty pleasures taken away. I had convinced myself that consuming the 200 calorie original glazed was somehow ok because it was free.
Monday, December 3, 2007
We lost our power on Saturday night. We came home from church at about 9:15 and from Goodwill on......darkness. Icey roads and darkness. We pulled up to our house and no Christmas lights. We get inside and prepare girls for bed. They brushed their teeth with bottled water, went potty but did not flush and snuggled down with footie pajamas and an extra blanket. They were ready for a night without heat.
I went downstairs and emptied out the fridge into a box and put it in the garage. No need for a cooler...it's freezing outside. Ross & I lit a few candles, then sat in front of the fireplace and closed our eyes. It was so quiet. Perfect time to head up for some well deserved (and lacking) sleep.
The kids were too afraid to get out of their blankets. The phone wasn't ringing. No wash machine buzzing. About an hour later the power flashed back on! Neither of us could believe just how noisy the appliances are in the house. The fridge started going. The appliances all beeped at us. Our clean air system kicked on. The basement tv was blaring the football game that Ross had paused before we left. It was almost deafening after the silence we were enjoying.
Of course it was only 10:00 and now that the power was back on I could catch up on my Tivo.
Monday, November 26, 2007
I am so excited for GCC's upcoming Christmas series. Let It Be....Christmas. For those of you who know me extremely well, you know that growing up, knowing all of the words to The Beatles songs was almost a requirement in our house. My brother it the ULTIMATE fan. My Mom was a close second.
I love almost every song put out! I can't list all my faves but here are a few:
Let It Be
War Is Over
Ticket to Ride
When I'm 64
I am the Walrus
Ob La Di
While my guitar gently weeps
Happiness is a warm gun
BASICALLY, THE ENTIRE WHITE ALBUM
Long and Winding Road
And I Love Her
Anyway, when I was in the 3rd grade, my Mom and I were having a quiet day at home listening to The Beatles. That was a daily thing like I said before. She sat me down and said that she wanted me to sing Let It Be at her funeral someday. I replied with "I want you to play Purple Rain at mine." Needless to say, I was unable to sing at her funeral. But Marty (my brother) and I put together an amazing montage of photos of her 51 years on earth. We played Garth Brooks The Dance, Kenny Rogers Through the Years, The Beatles And I Love Her and Let It Be. It was so powerful. Everyone, I think even the church staff, had hot tears streaming down their faces.
If any of you see me at church over the next month (I'll be the one sobbing profusely= /) Don't worry, they are tears of joy. Numerous years and countless memories that are somehow ALL tied to Beatles songs. I think Christmas Eve's song selection will be the most difficult for me.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I've been attending church for 24 years now (I'm 31, but I had a small break during my teenage years). I can't tell you how many styles of churches that I have personally attended. I grew up in a Pentecostal church. I've attended a Catholic church, Baptist, Lutheran, Foursquare and Mormon. I'm sure there are more, but they slip my mind this morning.
The point is this: Not one of them kept my interest. Now, I know it's not the faith aspect that is not interesting. It is. Just read the book of Revelation and see just how interesting God truly is.
The part that's not interesting is the monotone voice of the pastor. He doesn't move. He stands up on a pedestal with his pulpit and Bible. Spouting scripture and excpecting that we can all find it in our bibles by the time he starts reading. Yeah right. Picture someone brand new with no Bible. How do they feel during this process? Or picture me ....I just don't know where everything is that quickly. Ask me to find Genesis.....I got that covered. The four gospels, no prob. But most books in the Bible, I have to hunt and peck for.
And when did church attire become haute couture? How come at most churches I've attended, you are expected to wear a dress and your kids must have perfect hair and look like you are well rested? That stuff is only for the movies people. Come on! Who are these perfect people? I'm reminded of the song sung by the Veggietales. The applicable verse goes "Oh you can't get to Heaven, in a washing machine. Cause God don't care if your clothes are clean." Ok - now I do want to sit next to someone in church who smells nice. But who cares that they're wearing a dress. Shorts and flip flops are cool with me. In fact Rob, one of our pastors, did that almost all Summer. ATTN PASTORS - wearing flip flops actually makes your congregation respect you even more. You seem more like a real person. This is a good thing.
I also love walking into a building and knowing you matter. There's something about walking into our church that is different that any other church I've attended. The smell (lattes), the decor, the staff. Seriously, people gather early just to have coffee together and socialize in the foyer. During my first visit to this church, I honestly felt that these folks cared for me. They didn't know my history. They didn't know all of the truly grotesque things I've done in my past. But when I was there I felt that the atmostphere, the seating, the kids facility, the music.....it was all directed towards me. It was just what I wanted / needed.
Speaking of their music; It is indescrible. I'm not sure if I can put it into words. Maybe thinking about my other church experiences would help me. The most memorable and hopefully forgettable worhsip experience was at my last church. The leader is a wonderful pianist and singer. The problem is that she caters the songs and keys to her voice. I know, she wants to sound good. The problem being that hardly any of the men can reach her note, even in a key lower. The other problem, most women can't reach her soprano note. The result: Most folks mouthed the words. This left me feeling empty after worship. I was saying to myself "Please let this be the last song." I'm not sure if they thought about having some other folks up there to provide harmony that the rest of us could follow. Worship service became a concert for this woman. My favorite worship leader at GCC is hand down, Trace. He rocks. There is no way you can't be totally ispired by him and his rocking guitar. Unless you are my Mother in law (whom I love) who says it's "too loud." You all remember that t-shirt from the 80's? "If it's too loud, you're too old." Nuff said.
Sheesh - I didn't mean for this to be a rant. Some of you back in OR have been asking questions. Here are your answers. You could also watch last week's service and see for yourself.
All I can say to all of you back home who are skeptical of, what you call "smoke and lights" churches. Check out some of my blog links. Especially Tim Stevens who is writing a book on the use of Pop Culture in the church. You can even complete a survey that will help him choose his subtitle. These are God loving people who use their time, money, and lives to show folks how much they matter to God. Thank heavens they do so without the use of an organ.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Thanksgiving is just around the corner! I LOVE the smell of Thanksgiving. The butter, onions & celery sauteeing is the best! My Mom used to make so many baked goods, no wonder we packed on a good 5 lbs during the Holidays. I don't make stuffing any other time of year, so I'm looking forward to that the most. I'm starting my baking today. Here's my schedule:
Monday - clean spare bedroom (my cousin is coming from Detroit)
make sugar cookie dough
bake banana bread
Tuesday - make pie dough
bake pumpkin bread
Wednesday - bake & decorate sugar cookies
bake pecan pie
rip stale bread for stuffing
make bread dough for rolls
prepare the brine for the turkey
Thursday - turkey goes in the brine at 6 a.m.
dinner's ready at around 2
Yes, I like Thanksgiving. But let's be honest.......it just means we're that much closer to Christmas!
Monday, November 12, 2007
My daughter & I are part of an organization, we'll call them the Girl Sprouts. =) Every year the Sprout troops raise money for activities & service projects. We need around $1500 for the year. The girls parents do pay a small amount in dues, but the rest is earned by selling cookies. The girls plan their sales pitch. The learn selling safety. They also figure out sales goals based on their projects. Some of this year's activities include:
Sponsoring a troop in Iraq of young women
Making plates for the local firefighters
Homemade dog biscuits for the humane society
And many many others......
Girl Sprout cookies are a tradition. People buy them because they are a limited item, they taste good, and who could resist those sweet faces. The problem this year is that there are SO MANY Sprouts in my neighborhood. Someone pulled their kid out of school early on the first selling day, in order to hit the neighborhood before anyone else could. Frustrating to say the least. Mostly because I didn't think of it first. Just kidding.
The troops goal this year is 1500 boxes. Cyra's personal goal is 136 boxes. We only have 41 so far. If any of you locals want some, let me know. I haven't met all of you in person and this might be a fun way. The choices are:
Lemon Chalet Cremes - vanilla cookie with lemon creme filling (new)
Trefoils - shortbread
Do-Si-Dos - crunchy oatmeal with peanut butter creme filling
Samoas - vanilla cookie, topped with caramel, coconut & chocolate
All Abouts - shortbread cookie dipped in chocolate (new shape)
Sugar Free Chocolate Chip - need I say more?
Tagalongs - vanilla cookie topped with peanut butter, dipped in chocolate
Thin Mints - THE most popular cookie
I've been told that they all freeze extremely well. I wouldn't know personally because they never make it that long at my house.
On my last flight to Oregon, I was able to travel without my 3 girls. VACATION! I was a little worried about the flight so I brought along a book to read. No book needed. I found Jane.
Jane and I were in seats A & C....no one sat in B. Hallelujah. We had extra fanny room. =) This was one of those divine appointments. We talked and talked and all of a sudden the 4 hour flight was over. We seriously discussed everything. Our significant others, family members lost, freindship woes. I truly enjoyed the entire flight. Except when the woman in seat 9A started having diabetic seizures. That was a tad scary. Good thing we had 2 doctors on board to help. Forget about the fact that they were plastic surgeons!
Anyway, Jane is an awesome woman with some amazing skills. She creates video game characters. She even did the characters for Guitar Hero. Oh yeah. Cyra thought that was so cool. "Mom, you met someone famous!" she said.
I'm not sure if I'll ever see her again, but I'm going to try to keep up with her. It's not everyday you meet such cool people.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Thanks so much for all of the messages and prayers. It's awesome to come home to such a warm reception.
Dad is doing awesome. He followed Dr. Nguyen's (pronounced Win) instructions to the "T". He was up walking a few days ago and even did a few stairs! I was so impressed with his ability to actually rest. In fact that was the topic at our old church on Sunday morning. He rested a lot those first 2 days and then he took to the hallways for his therapy.
It was nice to spend some quiet time with him. I watched him sleep a lot. I got to know some amazing nurses. I taught them to salsa in the hallway during the patients nap time. The trip was an overall success.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Today is going to be filled with laundry, cooking meals for the weekend and packing. I'm heading to the airport at 7 tomorrow morning, and I'm going to be in Oregon at about 1 pm PST.
My Dad's heart surgery was pushed back another day because of his meds. He'll go in Thursday morning and should be done right as I arrive at PDX. I ended up going to PDX because of the cost difference. I booked one of those last minute Travelocity deals. It was $492 including a rental car vs. the $690 for a flight only (last minute).
I feel bad leaving Ross on such short notice. Normally when I leave him, I've had weeks to prepare additional meals that he can take out of the freezer and make easily. This time I'm leaving him with all 3 girls and haven't had time to prepare a thing. Today is that day of preparation. Along with finishing up costumes for tonights trick or treating.
I can't even fathom what 5 days w/ out my family will be like. I'm not sure I'll know how to behave w/ out them. Do I even remember how to converse with adults. We'll see.........
Monday, October 29, 2007
The family & I went to Sam's club about 2 months ago and bought this beautiful red coiled bamboo platter. This thing is HUGE. About 26 inches across. I have it sitting on a shelf in my dining room. It was only 19.97.
This morning, the little girls and I went to Sam's Club and saw that they have a similar platter in stock. Since mine is really beautiful and affordable, I considered buying one as a gift for a friend. Guess what? This one's not 19.97. It's 34.53. Could one really be that much better than the other?
This is proof (at least to me) that stores raise prices before holidays so that they can lower them and trick us into thinking we are getting a good buy.
I've read a few articles saying that the average American Christmas budget looks like this:
Tree & decorations $100
Christmas dinner & treats $100
Wife's family $200
Husband's family $200
Spouse gifts $200 / parent
Kids gifts $200 / kid
For a family of 4, you're looking at $1400.00. WOW - do they all have cash saved up? My guess is that they don't. We don't spend near that amount on Christmas. This is our Christmas budget:
Tree $75 - IN trees are expensive
Christmas dinner & treats - $75.00
Kids gifts - $200 for all three
We are going to be responsible this year. No family gifts! No gifts for each other! Small gifts for kids! I'm refusing to spend money on things we don't need and will be sending to Goodwill before next Christmas. And seriously, do we adults need more stuff? Don't we just buy stuff as we need it? Although I have been holding out for my favorite slippers to go on sale. I would love it if Ross bought those for Christmas.
I'd love to hear what others do for Christmas. Leave me a comment.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
We are driving home from Wal-mart today and Cyra says "Wanna hear the joke I made up?" "Sure" I say. This the joke:
What is a toilet's favorite holiday?
Halloweener..................HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA....Cyra, please don't tell that joke at school.
Why did Tigger flush himself down the toilet?
He was looking for Pooh.
Obviously she's 8.....toilet talk drives me crazy.
She also informed me that in less than 30 years, I can redeem my senior citizen discount. Thanks Cyra.....Mommy loves you too!
Friday, October 26, 2007
So, my Dad had his angiogram yesterday. He had an artery that was 95% blocked. The doctor could not put a stent in because it would affect the performance of the others he has. The doctor chose instead to use a balloon. He suggested that Dad undergo a quadruple bypass to solve his heart problem. My Dad goes into surgery on Wed morning at Sacred Heart. I feel the need to visit him at least for the weekend, but flights are so expensive. I'm hoping to do a Thurs - Mon. I'll let you all know if I find one at an affordable price.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I'm not sure what to say about my Dad. All I know is that I can't stop thinking about him today.
As a young man he served in the Army and was posted as a helicopter gunman in Vietnam. He was discharged several weeks early because his own mother was in the hospital losing her life. When he returned home, he married my mother whom he dated for several years. They had my brother Marty 10 months after they were married. I came along over 3 years later.
Even though he worked away from home, driving truck, I still have tons of memories of him. We spent weekends getting his fishing gear ready for a big outing. I held the flashlight while he maintained our cars. I watched while he split firewood for the winter.
Every Sunday he would take me to Grandma's house so I could attend church with her. Of course, he'd stop at Big Foot donuts beforehand. He loved to shop at Bi-mart. We went almost daily. He'd always park in the side parking lot and walk farther. I once asked him why. He said that his odds were better to not get in an accident in that area. Hardly anyone parked way over there. I remember him paying me $.25 if he said "stomp that bug" and I would take off my shoe and do it barefoot. He also paid me a $.25 to say "10/4 good buddy" ................funny only to us, since he was a truck driver and that's my birthday!
Dad was always taking pictures of Marty & me. Mostly in front of the dancing room mirrors or in front of the big tree in the front yard. I really treasure those pics now and need to start taking more of my own beauties. I remember taking a bath and drying off in front of a raging fire he'd build in the woodstove. Mom would braid my hair and as a special treat Dad would let me get one of his white undershirts to wear as a nightie.
Once I was asleep in my bed at around midnight. Mom and Dad were up watching movies. I remember hearing my door open and saw the two of them peaking through the crack. They giggled when I asked what was wrong. "Nothing, we just wanted you to get up with us and watch a movie and eat popcorn." That was fun to have a secret date w/ out Marty. I don't think I've ever told him about that.
I remember Dad teaching the neighborhood kids how to cast a fishing pole off of the corner park's play structure. He also strung a rope from two trees on opposite sides of our driveway and taught the neighborhood kids how to do the Army crawl. They used to use it to get across swamp land in Vietnam.
He went back to school when I was 11, to be an electrician. Those were a few hard years for them, but we didn't really notice. He used his new skills to help me with a science project, a mouse electric chair........Mr. Settlemeyer didn't seem to appreciate our efforts.
Christmas time was never his favorite. But it was my Mom's. She's buy massive amounts of gifts and bake tons of goodies. We'd have Grandma over and have a great time. Talking to him now, I think he disliked it because growing up Christmas wasn't a big production like it was with my Mom. They'd have a nice meal, but no extravagent gifts. I guess that's what happens when you have 10 kids!
There are countless more that I could tell, but the point is ....my Dad is a wonderful man. He served his country, and his family well. He now has diabetes and a heart condition, both are effects from his exposure to chemicals in Vietnam. Today he is undergoing another angiogram (I think this is #4 this year) and he sounds a little scared. He called and ended with "I love you kid"...........but no goodbye. I'm crying, but I know the tears are selfish. If something happens, he's going to a better place. My family is left behind with only these memories.....and thousands more. I LOVE YOU DAD!
Monday, October 22, 2007
Do Not Be Yoked With Unbelievers
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
I have a girlfriend in Oregon who has been married for quite a few years. She was raised in church and has attended / volunteered every since. She married her husband quite a few years back even though he wasn't a Christ follower.
I can't tell you the stress it has brought to her daily life. Who can she go to with parenting issues? Not her husband. He doesn't have the same values in life. When she does, it just causes a theological debate. Who can she ask for prayer? Not her husband. He doesn't pray and thinks those who do are wasting their time. Who can she serve with? Not her husband. He's too busy to have concern for others who are oppressed.
What kind of life / marriage is this? Not one we would purposely choose.....I would hope. She says she didn't think this far in advance. She didn't take into consideration all of the parts of her life that would be affected by being yoked with someone who doesn't have the same "work" ethic.
I think sometimes our minds get clouded by the idea of love that we easily forget about the lives that are affected by our choices.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Has anyone read 2 Samuel 23? Notice that the story of Shammah is similar to Flik in A Bug's Life? They are both tired of the injustice they've experienced. To quote Mark Beeson, quoting Popeye...."that's all I can stand, I can't stands no more!"
They stood up for something that they believed in even if it costs something. Would I be willing to do that. Hmmmm.......I would hope so.
Monday, October 15, 2007
On Sunday morning I was scheduled to attend a Children's Ministry meeting at GCC. I was told about it weeks ago and made to understand that it was important to attend. There was a packet of info to turn in so they could do a background check.
The meeting was to start at 10:30. Tardiness being my pet peeve, I was there at 10:15. There was another gentleman there. A firefighter who got convinced by his wife to work in the nursery (I think this woman wants a baby!). We waited while MANY people passed us heading into the sanctuary. Church staff even went into the conference room where the meeting was held, but locked the door behind them. We assumed they just weren't ready for us yet. I'm sure by now, you guys would have all gotten it........there was no meeting.
Finally at 10:50 I went to the front desk and asked about it. The meeting had been canceled because of the series on volunteering they're doing right now. They decided to have one after the series is over. Nobody told us.
Seems that scheduling events is hard when you have so many people to account for. There was a mix-up several weeks ago w/ our Financial Peace class co-inciding w/ another volunteer opportunity.
The woman told us that there would be another volunteer training on Tuesday. "What about Financial Peace classes on Tuesday" I asked. "Those were finished weeks ago." she replied. "No, we still have several weeks left." I said. "Oh, well maybe there won't be one on Tuesday."
Anyway, I just headed back home. It was only 60 minutes out of my day. Hopefully I can make the next one........when they figure out the schedule conflicts.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
The New Pastor
The new pastor was visiting in the homes of his parishioners. At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to his repeated knocks at the door. He took out a card, wrote "Revelation 3:20" on the back and stuck it in the door. When the offering was processed the following Sunday, he found that his card had been returned. Added to it was this cryptic message, "Genesis 3:10." Reaching for his Bible to check out the citation, he broke up in gales of laughter.
Revelation 3:20 begins "Behold, I stand at the door and knock."
Genesis 3:10 reads, "I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid for I was naked."
I'm not quite sure how to feel about Halloween anymore. In Oregon, our church sponsored a "Harvest Party" which included games, food & lots of candy. People there are against Halloween activities like trick or treating. Even the pastor expressed concern in that area. We decided no more Halloween with out really thinking about it.
Now, we live in Indiana. Almost everyone here celebrates Halloween and this is a HUGE Christian community. I'm torn. I've heard both sides expressed, but can't seem to decide for myself. I personally don't enjoy scary stuff, and neither do my girls. But, is there anything wrong w/ dressing up and going out to get candy?Any opinions out there?
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Tonight was church. I lost it w/ Kenady's teacher.
My girls bring their bibles to church. I want them to start young with a good routine of reading scripture. Although I know they don't read them during service, I just want them to be in good habits. The teacher usually just puts them on the counter to pick up on our way out.
Tonight at pick up, Kenady couldn't find hers. I went in and looked EVERYWHERE with help from the teachers! The head teacher said "We discourage kids from bringing things from home." I replied w/ a bit of a sarcasm "It was a Bible." She repeated "We discourage kids from bring things from home." I replied "I'm surprised that this church would discourage kids from bringing in their bibles." I thanked them for helping me look for it and left. She walked away angrily.
When I came out of the classroom, I told Ross what happened and that I was a little ticked at what she had said. She came out at the same time and made an off hand comment and wanted me to come back downstairs so we could talk about it with Jeannie (she's in charge). I came back down and she swore up and down that she didn't say that. "Then what did you say?" "I didn't say that." We went round and round about the subject. "I'm not upset about the bible being lost, I'm upset that you said not to bring it." It ended in denial, rudeness, tears and her throwing "acting like Christians" in our face.
I ended up apologizing for my over reaction. I know she didn't mean to say it that way. At least I hope she didn't. Even though she's a paid worker, it is a church and I'm sure she knows that the Bible is a key part of it! We walked upstairs and started looking for Kenady's bible. She either left it by the computers or someone may have put it there instead of returning it to the proper classroom. But, either way we found it. To be honest, I was surprised anything could get lost in that room. It's meticulous. Everything has its place. GCC is extremely organized even in their kids' rooms.
I still think the teacher lumped the Bible in with "things from home." And I still take offense to that. But I understand that it's hard to keep track of 35 kids especially if they all brought something. It may be a job for her and not where her heart leads her to serve. I wasn't a very good example of a loving person tonight. I realized that I really have a temper! How come none of you ever told me?
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
That car you've been looking at purchasing -
Car dealers make about $100 on the sale of a new car.
Car dealers make about $800 on a car that you finance with them.
Car dealers make around $1300 on a car that you Fleece.....I mean Lease.
Why do you think they push leasing? Is it to save you money, or make them more money?
Shop smart and SAVE!
In 1949 Frank McNamara was having dinner w/ one of the Bloomingdale's. As he reached for his wallet to pay for the meal, he realized he had no cash. He had to call his wife to bring him some. He vowed that that would never happen again. He then developed a credit card that could be used at more than one store.....Diner's Club. They would collect the $ from borrowers and pay that money to the store charging the store a 7% fee for th service. There was NO INTEREST charged to the customer. It took until 1958 for American Express and Bank Americard (later called Visa) to arrive.
The Sears store in 1910 has an advertisement saying that you shouldn't buy anything on credit. Now Sears not only owns Discover, but they make more $ on credit than merchandise. Would that really classify them as a retailer? I would say they are more of a financial institution.
Statistics on credit cards:
*According to USA Today, 63% of bankruptcy filers blame credit card bills and 89% of filers STILL get offers.
*Ram Research Corp. states there are over 50 million Discover cards, 49 million Citibank Visas, and 48 million American Express.
*According to Wall Street Journal there are over 63 million Sears cards with over 700,000 applications per month.
*Credit card issuers sent out 4 billion pieces of mail last year to 93 million households, which is an average of more than 43 offers going to each household, as reported by Ladies Home Journal.
*Capitol One and MBNA, two of the major issuers, spend $60-$70 million each quarter on credit card offers, according to CardWeb, Inc.
*USA Today notes that Citibank, the largest issuer of Visa, will spend $700 million this year just marketing credit cards to your high school and college students.
*Colleges can earn $50,000 to $100,000 per year just to allow a credit card company to operate on campus. Credit card have become a rite of passage into adulthood.
*According to American Express, 33% of consumers use plastic more frequently today than five years ago.
*According to the Federal Reserve Board, consumers' outstanding debt on credit cards and other revolving loans has grown continuously over the last decade hitting $1.5 trillion last year.
*Cards that offer airline miles as rewards say that 75% of airline miles are never redeemed.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
When I was little my Mom didn't seem to care about her birthday. She went about doing her household duties; running to the store to grab milk; dropping off dry-cleaning. I never understood why. I thought she should decorate the house, bake a beautiful cake, and do whatever she wanted ALL DAY!
I always think about my Mom on my birthday. We used to spend the whole month of September and half of October celebrating it. Shopping, lunch, movies.....whatever.
Well today being my birthday, guess what I'm doing all day? Household chores. I would love to go to dinner instead of cooking. I would love a cake from McDonald's instead of baking one myself. I'd really love to go shopping. Sadly, birthdays seem overrated now. Kids get so excited. Adults get depressed. I am by no means depressed. I don't feel a day over 21 (I'm 31 today). But, I don't feel like celebrating. At least not anything bigger than dinner out. I guess that comes with old age.
Great. Next my hips or knees will give out. Then comes blue hair & depends.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
This book is hilarious! Death Warmed Over by Lisa Rogak. The first story is as reads:
"An elderly man was at home, dying in bed. He smelled the aroma of his favorite chocolate chip cookies baking. He wanted one last cookie before he died.
He fell out of bed, crawled to the landing, rolled down the stairs , and dragged himself into the kitchen, where his wife was busy baking cookies. With his strength waning, he made it to the table and was just barely able to lift his withered arm to the cookie rack.
As he grasped a warm, moist chocolate chip cookie, his wife suddenly whacked his hand with a spatula.
"Why?" he whispered. "Why did you do that?"
"They're for the funeral!"
I LOVE to cook, so these types of stories really get me. The book contains recipes for foods commonly served at funerals from all over the globe. I know, it's totally morbid, but intriguing. Here are a few examples.
Greek Orthodox - Mercy Meal Fish
Amish - Funeral Pie
Ireland - Irish Wake Cake
Great Britain - Buried With Ham
China - Buddha's Delight
Mexico - Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead)
The book also has stories from funerals as well as posts from old funeral home price lists.
Here are a few I enjoyed.
From a funeral home price list circa 1920
For composing the features $1.00
For giving the features a look of quiet resignation $2.00
For giving the features the appearance of Christian hope and contentment $5.00
(Which one would you choose? Marketing!)
A Culinary epitaph
Here Lies The Body of Our Anna
Done to Death By A Banana
It Wasn't The Fruit That Laid Her Low
But The Skin Of The Thing That Made Her Go.
Veteral Pillsbury spokesman Pop N. Fresh died yesterday of a severe yeast infection. He was 71.
Fresh was buried in one of the largest funeral ceremonies in recent years. Dozens of celebrities turned out, including Mrs. Butterworth, the California Raisins, Hungry Jack, Betty Crocker, and the Hostess Twinkies.
The graveside was piled with flours as longtime friend Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy, describing Fresh as a man who "never knew how much he was kneaded." Fresh rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with many turnovers.
He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Still, even as a crusty old man, he was a roll model for millions.
Fresh is survived by his second wife; they have two children and one in the oven. The funeral was held at 3:25 for 20 minutes.
Anyway, I got a kick out of this book. Maybe you will too!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Dr. Bob (our pastor) used a song by this group to portray the love that God has for us as well as the love we should have for others. He also quoted C.S. Lewis :
"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. In fact, the only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from the danger of love, is Hell."
ALWAYS LOVE LYRICS - NADA SURF
To make a mountain of your life
Is just a choice
But I never learned enough
To listen to the voice that told me..
Always love… Hate will get you everytime
Always love… Don’t wait till the finish line
Slow demands come 'round
Squeeze the air and keep the rest out
It helps to write it down
Even when you then cross it out
But Always Love… Hate will get you every time
Always Love… Even when you want to fight
The service was awesome. Dr. Bob can always bring you to tears and makes you re-evaluate. I LOVE this church.
Friday, September 21, 2007
I go to Dancesport on the Plaza in Mishawaka, IN. They teach all types of ballroom. I like the studio for the most part. Of course, anyone who dances knows that there's always drama / gossip at dance studios. I just try to avoid it. I really just miss having some adult conversation. Even if it's only in passing on the dance floor. Oh, and the excercise is nice too! Since joining Financial Peace, I gave up my dance classes. It was costing 68 per month to go 2 times per week. Not a lot of money, but that could still go towards debt. We're getting closer BTW.
The point of the post is that, I was cleaning out my dance bag last night and found that I have one more punch on my punch card. I can go for free! Well, not really free. I paid for it quite awhile ago. I'm excited to see my friends, and have a little fun. I especially miss seeing Candy.
It's been over a month since I've gone. I may have forgotten some of the steps. = /
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I am a total ebay fanatic. I sell stuff all the time! One of my friends suggested I try Craig's list. You can list for free...who doesn't like free?
I listed several things on there this weekend. My fourwheeler, Ross's truck, our trailer. I was so excited to get an email a few days ago about the trailer. They wanted to know if it was still available. I responded quickly and looked up the person's name on my nationwide database. They live in GA. The language from the email was kind of weird, but we figured he was some foreign car collector, by the way he spoke. He offered full price. He would send the cashier's check and when it cleared the bank, we would wire the shipping money to the shipping company and they would pick it up at our doorstep. Not actually our doorstep, but at Ross's work.
I decided to look up more info on transactions made through Craig's List. It seems that this type of arrangement is common, but not safe. People from Nigeria arrange these types of transactions. You wire the money and then weeks later, the bank discovers the check is a fraud. Aren't these the same people who did that lottery scam?
Anyway, seems I still have a trailer for sale. Ding dong it!
Monday, September 17, 2007
Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE cookies. Not the store bought kind, homemade is the best. Some of my best memories of my Mom are baking cookies w/ her, as well as licking the beaters.
I used to wake up in the middle of the night, seriously 2 a.m., to the sound of the mixer. If you had known my Mom, you'd know she did a lot of strange things at 2 a.m. For example, she'd vacuum my room.......Yes, at 2 a.m.
I was always worried that if I got out of bed to see what kind of cookies she was making, she'd get mad. I would lay in bed and wonder, trying to find another excuse to go out to the kitchen. I'd always end up going out there, I just couldn't wait another 5 hours to see or taste them. She never got mad at me. She'd plop me up on the counter and give me the beater, as well as several heaping spoonfuls of....whatever kind of dough.
Later on, she teach me how to make all kinds of fabulous cookies. Ginger, snickerdoodles, thumbprints, stained glass, crinkles, etc. My problem now is, that I still LOVE cookies, and the dough. I finally figured out how to get my baking fix and not eat the whole batch in a matter of days. I make a HUGE batch, scoop them on to cookie sheets and freeze them. Then I can stick them in a large freezer bag and pull them out a few at a time. I'm not sure why it took me so long to figure this out! Anyway, last night at about 9:30, Ross said he thought it was time for some cookies. So, I pulled out 6 little lumps and popped them in the oven. 8 min later........perfection. From my Mom's recipe box, to yours..........
Choc - Oat Chip Cookies
1 C (2 sticks) butter softened
1 C firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
2 T milk
2 t vanilla
1 3/4 C all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 1/2 C quick cooking or old fashioned oats, uncooked
2 C semisweet chocolate chips
1 C coarsely chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Beat butter & sugars. Add eggs, milk & vanilla. Add flour soda, salt. Stir in oats, chocolate & nuts. Drop onto ungreased sheets. 9-10 min for chewy cookies. 12-13 for crisp cookies.
These freeze very well! You can transfer them directly from the freezer to the oven w/ out defrosting! Hope you love them like we do!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Some of you know that Ross & I started the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University several weeks ago. It's been interesting to see how much of a difference it makes to physically write down your budget the way Dave suggests instead of our own way, or even worse, no budget at all.
One of Dave's ideas is to give kids commission instead of an allowance. He says there are enough people in the world who want allowances made for them, lets try to train children differently before they get to that mindset.
I sat down with both older girls last week and discussed a chore chart. We decided which kid will do what and how much they could possibly earn. Cyra has 5 chores and can earn $5 each week. Kenady has 3 chores and can earn $3 each week. Here's my dilemma. I constantly remind them to check the chore chart. It's supposedly to be like a job. If you don't do it, you don't get paid and eventually your job will be given to someone else who will do it in a timely fashion. I have to make sure I give them the opportunity to succeed without constant reminder.
Cyra has 3 envelopes. Church, savings & spending. $1 to church, 2 to savings, 2 to spending. The spending money is for anything other than family activities. Mostly toys, treats or birthday gifts for friends. I pray that she learns to use money wisely and has no interest in credit cards when that time comes. She's hoping our new plan can help her to become a millionaire by the time she's a grown up. I know she can!
Kenady has a clear plastic jar. The money gets wadded up in a ball and put in the jar. Dave thinks that helps them to see their money grow and then get smaller when they spend some. She's pretty excited about doing chores!
As for us, the plan is AWESOME! It's so basic, but novel at the same time. So far, we've paid off 7500 in debt! We can't wait to be debt free! Our new mottos is "Let's do the things that other won't, so that later on, we can do the things that others can't!"
Friday, September 14, 2007
Tim Stevens, one of the pastors at our church, posted a blog that talked about the difference between kids who use myspace vs. kids who use facebook. Although I don't agree with the findings, it did get me thinking.
I do not like using facebook. I actually like myspace. It's so much prettier. We girls care about that stuff you know! Do people really think of me differently because I have a myspace page? I only use it to keep up w/ friends back in Oregon. Then, I started thinking back over the past few months and the influence of myspace. I had a great girlfriend (one of over 25 years) that got me started on myspace. It had fun at first, but then I made a HUGE mistake several months ago. Apparently I told somebody something that was meant for my eyes only. I know, I know, at 30 years old, I should know better. The truth is, I'm not sure what I told. Maybe it was something so important, that I should have kept it a secret. The friend of 25 years did not contact me and tell me she was upset w/ what I'd done. Her boyfriend told me. I apologized for saying.....whatever it was I said. She just wished me luck in my life and said she harbored no ill will.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not upset at her for doing what she did. I'm upset with myself for ruining a great 25 year friendship. But, there are always blessings that come from these type of things. I cried, lost sleep and prayed. In the middle of the night I woke up w/ a scipture in my head. I ran downstairs and read it - 2 Timothy 2:16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more ungodly. Whoa.
At that point I decided that I would make sure to avoid putting myself in that type of situation ever again, including ridding myself of the myspace world. I'm also working w/ my girls to help them avoid godless chatter at their young ages. I also promised myself that if, or should I say when, it happens to me I will make sure to apply grace or mercy on the situation. Cyra asked me "What's the difference?" Here's the easiest explanation. Grace is - getting something you DON'T deserve. Mercy is - NOT getting what you DO deserve. I deserved to lose the friend. I don't deserve the grace that God has given me. I must pass that on to those who hurt me as well.
I'm a little nervous about this blog thing. Several people have asked me to do one, but I've been reluctant. I'm not a great writer, nor do I claim to be. I'm a great speller, but sometimes tend to use punctuation improperly. If those things are important to you......don't subscribe!
The things that I want to gain from writing this are 1. Feel like I'm having some type of adult interaction 2. Find a way to express the things I'm thinking w/ out actually having to write (I have horrible penmanship) 3. I LOVE, I mean LOVE to type. It's part of my OCD (more later)
So, here we go! It may take a little while to find my bloggerific voice, but it'll come!