Friday, July 31, 2009

Peek Into my Frigidaire Freezer

We've been happy to be a Test Drive Family for the new Frigidaire refrigerator the last couple months. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I love being able to have crushed ice at the push of a button! I thought you might like a peek into our freezer today!

The front panel shows me that it keeps a steady temperature of -2 degrees Fahrenheit, which is good because it keeps our boxes and boxes of Popsicles nice and frozen!

This is the top of the freezer. In the top drawer shelf is our collection of ice packs. Whenever a kid around here gets a bump, they get an ice pack. It saves on Tylenol and makes everyone feel better. Yes, even the green turtle is an ice pack -- he has a gel pack built into his tummy.

Above the ice maker you can see another ice pack - but this one is for the cooler - a bunch of ripe bananas that I'll make into banana bread as soon as it's not 117 degrees outside, a container of expensive sorbet that I bought on impulse, and a Hot Pocket.

Moving down the freezer -- you can see that there are plenty of shelves! The door shelf below the ice/water dispenser folds out for easy access. I have a shake drink, an extra pound of butter, and an lemon ice cup in that shelf. Below, there are 2 cans of apple juice and another ice pack. And, finally, Lydia's leftover smoothie.

It's hard to see, but those 2 shelves below the icemaker? Popsicles, Popsicles, Popsicles, more Popsicles, cherry ice cups, ice cream bars and frozen chocolate chip cookies. Yes, I have 2 entire shelves dedicated to frozen treats.

The next 2 shelves are actually drawers that pull out so that it's easy to see what's hiding. I have a couple bags of frozen vegetables, frozen chicken nuggets, homemade spaghetti sauce, and 3 bags of frozen fruit.

As you can see, there is plenty of room for my family of 5 and our freezer needs! There is plenty of room for more, but I do have a 2nd upright freezer in my laundry room where I freeze meats, more vegetables and I think even another box or two of Popsicles. (I buy them on sale.) Since I try to buy in bulk when I find good prices, it's useful to have a second freezer.

Have you visited the Frigidaire site lately? Don't forget to head on over and enter the Daily Dare for a chance to win new appliances!

Friday

It's 1:30AM Friday morning. I went to the grocery store at 10:30 PM so that we'd have milk when the kids woke up (and so I could go without the kids.) I didn't have a very good plan, though, so I will likely be back at the store on Saturday -- but I do have enough to get us through tomorrow.

I'm done teaching for the week, and I don't have a new class to prep for (until next Thursday.) I have a couple writing assignments in the hopper, but no pressing deadlines.

So, tomorrow, (I mean today -- you know, but I'll go to bed soon and then when I get up again) I'm going to enjoy my kids. We're going to have a leisurely breakfast and I will throw in a load of laundry. We'll head out to the library and Colin will fill his bag with books and Nate will seek out audiobooks. Lydia will run around like a crazy child and try to remove all the books from the shelves. After the library, we'll run through the bank and the kids will get lollipops from the teller.

We'll come home and play a little Wii. For lunch, I'll make boxed mac & cheese because it's my oldest son's favorite food (and has been since he first started eating.) I'll do some more laundry.

I will read aloud from Mossflower, because we haven't made enough time for read alouds lately and Nate told me he missed that.

I may check my email, but maybe not. Part of the reason I stayed up so late was to finish up my monthly invoices and get them sent off. A day away from the computer sounds nice right now.

I will make a phone call to make plane reservations for a trip I've been offered at the end of August. And, I'll call a friend to check on her sick toddler. But, other than that, the phone calls can go to voicemail.

When the sun is low in the sky, we'll don our swimsuits and head out to our pool. I'll make up a pitcher of lemonade, fill the ice bucket, and we'll swim the late afternoon away.

When my husband comes home, we'll enjoy pizza for dinner and maybe a movie with the kids. And, after they're in bed, we'll enjoy an adult movie.

August looks like a crazy busy month. So, on this last day of July -- I'm taking it easy!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tell Me Thursday - Jane


Yesterday I posted this picture of my sister and my daughter for Wordless Wednesday. Those two are thick as thieves. Lydia's middle name is Jane -- and yes, she absolutely was named after my sister.

My sweet sister, who I can always count on to help me, to make me laugh, to be my friend. My sister and I may be 11 years apart in age, but that has never stopped us from being close. In addition to being a great sister, she's a fantastic aunt.

My kids adore her, and my daughter especially will ignore all others in favor of being held, carried, sitting next to her aunt. Even I'm 2nd fiddle when Aunt Bunny is around.

She's the Queen of Distraction, and is able to distract temper tantrums and meltdowns with amazing finesse. Lydia is always looking for the monkeys lurking around in the grocery store, thanks to her aunt.

Her bright smile and easy laughter make her a jewel. I'm grateful every day that she chose to move across the country and settled close to me and my family. There's so much I couldn't do without her help -- including simple things such as grocery shopping some weeks! She supports me in my decisions, and doesn't second-guess or judge the things I do (at least if she does she doesn't tell me! LOL)

I still remember the day she was born, and how excited I was to be a big sister. She's my friend, and my sister, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Did you play Wordless Wednesday yesterday? Don't forget to play Tell Me Thursday today and tell your story!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Jane

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Review: PUR Filter (and GIVEAWAY!)

A while back, I blogged that we have 5 gallon jugs of water delivered to the house because my husband won't drink tap water (with good reason! he got sick when Milwaukee's water supply was contaminated in the 90's and has been leery ever since.)

A lovely PR person for PUR came across that post and contacted me wondering if I'd like to try out the PUR Water Pitcher with LED Indicator. I received it 2 months ago and have been using it steadily ever since. I was prompted to write this review tonight because the blinking red light on the pitcher let me know that the filter needs to be replaced. I'm extremely happy that the filter lasted almost 2 months -- considering that we filled it at least once a day, sometimes more.

The filter gets rid of tons of things -- including nasty cryptospridium. I often threw in a few lemon slices or cucumber slices to flavor the water, and we easily drank a pitcher a day. In our family of 5, we could use a bigger pitcher -- and I see that they do make a larger size (PUR 2-Stage Water Dispenser)

The pitcher we've used holds 55 ounces of filtered water. Each time I re-filled the pitcher, I pressed the small light on the top. When it was green, I knew the filter was still effective -- as soon as it turned red I knew it was time to replace the filter. I really liked this feature, as I could see myself forgetting how long a filter had been used, and not replacing it for months.

The filters run around $20 for 3, which should last my family about 6 months. That is definitely less than the cost of bottled water delivery!

The taste of the water was fresh and crisp. Our tap water doesn't taste bad - but it does have a funny taste most of the time. I didn't notice any funny taste after it was filtered through the pitcher.

My husband was willing to drink it, which meant that our water delivery bill went down in the last 2 months. He did still drink from the large jugs, but was okay with our kids drinking from the PUR filtered water, and would drink from it himself sometimes.

PUR wants to send one of my readers a PUR pitcher to try for themselves! Leave a comment on this post and tell me how much water you try to drink in a day! Comments will be accepted until the end of the day on Sunday, August 2, 2009.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Money Saving Monday #20

Saturday, we visited a local museum and had a lovely day. On the way home, a truck drove by us on the freeway and started pointing at the front of our van. Bo got off at the next exit, and we found one of our front tires quickly going flat.

He filled it with air, but the damage was such that it wouldn't hold air so he had to put the spare tire on. (as an aside -- I'm so glad he was driving when this happened and not me!) Nate was excited because he got to help his dad change the tire.

We took a trip to Wal-Mart, because we had purchased our tires there last, and had the road hazard warranty.

The road hazard warranty is $10/tire and covers road hazards and flats. Wal-Mart will pro-rate the cost of the tire based on remaining tread -- if the damage is not to the sidewall of the tire and is covered under their rules. They will also repair a flat at no charge, if the flat can be repaired.

It turned out that they applied $22 towards the cost of a new tire for the damaged tire and we replaced 2 more tires in addition as long as we were there. The question was -- is the road hazard warranty worth it?

Last time we also purchased 3 tires (no, I'm not exactly sure why we seem to replace 3 at a time -- the van does have 4 tires) and we opted for the road hazard warranty. It cost $30 for the three tires, and we got $22 back.

That doesn't seem worth it, does it? We've almost always purchased the road hazard warranty -- but the last time it didn't apply at all because of side wall damage. We decided to refuse it this time and saved $30. Even if we do have a flat -- the cost of repair is $9.50. That's less than the road hazard warranty! This warranty hasn't been a money-saving offer for us.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A New Bed

A few months before we married, Bo & I bought a new mattress and a suite of bedroom furniture. It wasn't fancy, but we did splurge on the more expensive mattress. We bought a bed frame, a dresser and an armoire of sturdy pine. And a mattress that I was afraid to lay on at first because I didn't want to like it because of what it cost.

As so often happens, my dear husband encouraged me. I laid down and knew that we had to spend the extra money for that mattress.

That was more than 12 years ago. We began our married life in that bed. We conceived all our babies in that bed (sorry if that's TMI). My water broke in November 2000 in that bed. I practically lived in that bed nursing my oldest the first few months after his birth. I went into labor in May of 2002 in that bed -- 4 weeks early. And nursed and co-slept with another babe. I grieved my miscarriage in that bed. And spent the last few weeks on bedrest in April 2009 in that bed before Lydia joined our family. And, once again, I spent many many hours nursing a new babe in that bed.

12 wonderful years of secrets and love and sleep and nursing and tv-watching and snuggling. 12 wonderful years of expectations and new beginnings.

And, last Friday, that mattress headed out my door for donation. A brand new, soft, luxurious, king-sized bed took its place. I hold the memories in my heart, but that bed represented the last 12 years of my life in many ways. I was sad to see it go.

Until I sank into the soft comfort of our new bed. And knew that I was ready for another decade of expectations and new beginnings.

Winners for iTunes!

The winners for this drawing have been drawn!

Thanks to random.org for helping me choose the winning comments. (#7, 13, 21)

How do you know if you won? You'll get an email from me asking for your address.

Thanks to all who entered! Watch my blog next week for another giveaway (something for the kitchen this time.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Small Successes (Vol 26)

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Over at Faith & Family Live, Danielle encourages moms to share three small successes they've enjoyed during the week. It's wonderful to click through and read about the successes of so many moms!

Here are mine for the week:
  1. I sent out an email and reached out to the responses for my request for cleaning help. Having help with this task will make other things go much more smoothly, I know (from past experiences!)
  2. I made spaghetti sauce in bulk - and froze enough for 4 more meals!
  3. I had dinners planned for the 3 days I worked full-time out of the house.
What are your successes for the week? I'd love to read about them, so please post!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kiwi Magazine

Have you seen Kiwi magazine? I bought a copy at Barnes & Noble 2 years ago and have had a subscription ever since. It's full of healthy, smart, fun articles for families. If you haven't checked it out, you should!

And, I'm not just saying that because they gave my blog a shout-out this week! I pay full-price for exactly one magazine subscription right now -- and it's Kiwi. Lots of fun stuff at their website and on their blog, too!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Crushed Ice Makes My Day!

My new Frigidaire refrigerator has been chugging along the last few weeks making ice as fast as we use it. I confess that my absolute favorite thing about this new refrigerator is the fact that I can put a glass to the door any time of the day or night and get a glass full of crushed ice.

Another big bonus for me? We haven't yet run out of ice -- and we use quite a bit of ice in this house on a daily basis!

So far, the new refrigerator has worked like a dream. From the front panel, I can see that the temperature in my refrigerator and freezer side maintain a consistent 37 and -2 degrees Fahrenheit. I've filled both sides with food, and it holds plenty of food for my family of 5.

My only complaint (and a small one at that!) is how often I have to wipe the front of the refrigerator to get rid of marks. I've never had a stainless steel appliance, so I was happy to read that the stainless steel on this appliance has fewer smudges. Maybe it's just because I have a house full of children, but I have to wipe the smudges off a couple times a day. I can't imagine what it would be like if it was more easily smudged? It's not a big deal, though, and I am training the boys to take over that job during meal clean-up!

Money Saving Monday #19

I had a pleasant surprise on Saturday when I stopped at Paradise Bakery to buy lunch for my sister and me. When they rang up our meals, and I handed over my loyalty card, they let me know that I had earned a free meal and a free drink! It's great when that happens!

Loyalty cards help businesses track what people buy, which helps them create specials, discounts, and make merchandising decisions. It also allows them to provide specific discounts and specials to loyal customers.

I have quite a few loyalty cards, and I use them because they are money-makers for my budget. This weekend, I earned a free lunch. Last week, I received a $10 reward from Office Max for past purchases. I also have loyalty cards for Pet Smart, Lakeshore Learning, Best Buy, Staples and all the local grocery stores. Fry's Grocery Stores (part of Kroger) sends me customized coupons once a month or so based on my past purchases.

You can register for most loyalty cards online, or take an extra few minutes while checking out to sign up. As long as you remember to use them when you checkout, the savings add up over a year!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Review: Return To Sullivan's Island

I recently received an advance copy of Return to Sullivans Island for review from Mother Talk. I was looking forward to reading the book because I love the beach, and living in a beach house, in a beach community, is a dream of mine.

This novel is the 2nd in a series, and the waiting list at our library was longer than the time it took for this second novel to arrive at my home. The book stands on its own, and I will probably read the first one as soon as it becomes available. I would like to learn more about the family this series is based on, and find out more about the various personalities of the characters.

I would characterize this book as a good beach read. While I was looking forward to reading about the main character's year housesitting a beach house, unfortunately the main character wasn't very excited about it. She's a typical, self-absorbed, young woman and I confess I didn't care much for her character. I knew I was in trouble when the first few pages had her treating her small dog with as much deference and care as a small child -- a personality trait that I don't find attractive in anyone.

I had high hopes for this book that were not met -- but that's likely because I was thinking how absolutely wonderful a year at the beach would be -- with plenty of opportunity to write and enjoy the peace and quiet. Instead, I found myself reading about a character who I felt needed a good shake most of the time! Perhaps I'm just too old to find her attitude appealing.

Of course, there were conflicts in this book, and romance, and discoveries. The book wasn't awful, it just wasn't delightful.

* In exchange for my honest review, I received a free copy of this book and a small gift certificate in compensation.*

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Do You Jump on Your Bed?

**Comments are closed! Three comments have been chosen & have been contacted. Thanks for entering! **

Do you jump on your bed? Do you let your kids jump on the bed? What about when you stay in a hotel?

I confess -- my kids do jump on the bed, and I've been known to encourage jumping on hotel beds. Which is why this promotion tickled my funny bone.

Intercontinental Hotel Groups sponsored the "World's Biggest Bed Jump" this summer, and are offering a special "Stay 2 nights, then get 1 FREE" offer through August 15. When you stay at any IHG hotel (Holiday Inns, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo & more) for 2 nights between now and August 15, 2009, you'll receive a free night anytime between now and December 26, 2009!

There are some specific rules -- so check out Get A Free Night for all the details.

The lovely PR person for IHG, Susannah, sent me iTunes gift cards to give away to help my readers create their own bed-jumping playlist! Because we all know that jumping on the bed is much more fun when you've got some great tunes playing :)

I have three $10 iTunes gift cards to give away! To enter, leave a comment telling me if you jump on your bed, or what song you'd add to your playlist if you won, or where you're going on vacation this summer.

The giveaway will end next Friday (July 24, 2009 at 11:59PM). Giveaway open to US residents only. Winners will chosen randomly. Entries must include a valid email address for contact purposes. (Or you can leave a comment, and then send me your email address via email.)


Tell Me Thursday - Flip

This picture pretty much tells the story. It's of my oldest, doing a flip into our pool. It's something both boys pretty much taught themselves to do -- and it's fun to watch!

If you played Wordless Wednesday, don't forget to follow up today with Tell Me Thursday!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Money Saving Monday #18

When I shop online, (and it's not Amazon), I always search for promotional or coupon codes before I process my order. Usually I type "coupon code" and the name of the store I'm shopping at into my search bar in order to find those money-savings codes. You can often find codes for percentages off, free shipping, or sometimes even free with purchase offers.

It takes a few extra minutes, but overall it's well worth the time spent. Recently, I've started visiting Coupon Chief to look for coupon codes. At their home page, they list popular and new coupons. You can also search for codes for any store.

Coupon Chief has more than 40,000 coupons for over 8,000 stores right now -- making it one of the largest coupon code databases.

I like that they offer an email subscription so I can receive a newsletter in my inbox reminding me of their service and letting me know what new coupons are available.

They also offer an interesting program that pays you if you upload coupon codes that others use. Their Pay-2-Share program will pay you 2% of all sales made via the coupon you upload, for the stores that participate in the program (and there are tons it looks like!)

The next time you shop online, don't forget to search for a coupon code!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Snuggling

My sweet L recently weaned. It was a gradual process, and while I'm comfortable and know it was time, it was also bittersweet. For the last couple months, she was only nursing at night before bed. I started cutting down on the amount of time she nursed, and started offering to snuggle her instead. I stopped nursing her at all at naptime. And, slowly, when she would ask to nurse, I'd offer to snuggle her instead.

She hasn't nursed in 2 weeks now, and when it's naptime or bedtime, she asks me ever so sweetly to snuggle and has stopped asking to nurse. I'm glad I still have that one-on-one time with her and I do enjoy snuggling her at the end of the day to help her get ready to sleep.

My 7yo has a hard time falling asleep. The truth is, he has almost always had a hard time falling asleep and I snuggled him and laid with him for years. The last few months he's been asking to snuggle, and I have put him off. This week, though, I didn't. I have snuggled him before bed and he has been going to sleep quicker than before. I don't know why I resisted - except that their bedtimes often overlapped and I took more time with my youngest.

The last couple nights I have agreed to his request, knowing that he won't always need an extra snuggle before bed. These are the moments I want him to remember -- when I agreed to do something he wanted/needed, and not when I refused. He still fits in my lap, and we have the chance to talk a little before I shush him and just hold him.

These are some of the moments I cherish.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Small Successes (Vol 25)

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Over at Faith & Family Live, Danielle encourages moms to share three small successes they've enjoyed during the week. It's wonderful to click through and read about the successes of so many moms!

Here are mine for the week:
  1. Went out with a friend for dinner. It's sort of a new friendship, and every other time we've gotten together it's been with our kids. It was nice to enjoy dinner, and then Barnes & Noble, and then a run to Wal-Mart for milk & diapers with her. She's a sweet, awesome, faithful, wonderful woman and I'm glad our friendship is growing.
  2. Managed to get enough laundry done so that DH had clothes to take on his trip. He left yesterday for Milwaukee to surprise a friend for his 40th birthday and to visit our family & friends (including his uncle who is battling cancer.)
  3. Planned 2 weeks of meals and made plans to get together and cook them all in one day with above-mentioned friend. I can't wait to see how this goes, and hope we can continue it!
What were YOUR successes? Please blog about them, as I love to read the good things that happen each week among my internet mom friends!

Tell Me Thursday - Water Baby


Our pool was about 94 degrees last weekend. It feels wonderful (to me - some people think it's too warm) L, however, agrees with me. Here she is, resting peacefully on the waterfall in our pool. It looks like she's sleeping - but I must have caught her in a blink! Within seconds, she was scampering over the rocks and waiting for her dad to pull her around the pool again.

If you posted a picture for Wordless Wednesday, be sure to tell your story & let them know at Tell Me Thursday!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Monday, July 06, 2009

Review: EA Sports Active for Wii

I know there are a bunch of bloggers who received copies of EA Sports Active in exchange for blogging, but I bought my own copy this weekend to try out.

I need to get into better shape, and I need a way to exercise that is time-efficient. The cost of a gym membership, plus the time involved, and the child care issue . . . made me want to find something to do at home. Walking in the summer when it's 90 degrees at 7AM just doesn't work very well for me.

We own the Wii Fit, but I got tired of the loooong pauses between exercises, and the inability to put together a routine that flowed from one exercise to the next. I always felt like I spent more time waiting than I did exercising. (That being siad, it is a fun game, the kids can play and be active, and we did have a lot of fun competing in the different events/games as a family. I just felt like I needed something more intense.)

I started the "30 Day Challenge" this morning. You can use the balance board from Wii Fit, but you don't have to. That's good - because we need batteries in our balance board and I didn't want to let another day go by before I tried it out!

I liked the fact that there was a routine, with varying exercises. I liked that I could skip over the "how to" videos easily. I liked the fact that it had me build up a sweat, and that I was finished in 20 minutes! You are encouraged to get 60 minutes of activity in during a day -- and I'm sure my time in the pool later will fill out my full hour.

I fumbled a bit putting the numchuk into the leg band and getting it back out depending on the exercise. I think this will get easier as time goes by - today was the first day and I wasn't sure yet what exercises had me holding the remote & numchuk and which had me with the numchuk in the leg band.

I wonder about the durability of the resistance band. Time will tell - and even if it does break, we have another one in the house to replace it. My husband plans to take the "30 Day Challenge" as well, so we'll see how it holds up.

I'm not going to post my starting stats for the Internet at large, but I will post throughout my 30 day challenge and let you know if I've lost weight and/or inches. I'm interested to see if I can stick with this program!

Money Saving Monday #17

Today I stopped at Bath & Body Works to see what was left from their big semi-annual clearance sale. It was the last day, and I was hoping for some great deals.

They had a few 90% off items, as well as some 75% off items that I picked up. They also had a special "buy 3 get 3 free" for bath gels, lotions and body sprays.

I walked out with 6 bottles of bath gel, 1 bottle of lotion, 1 bottle of hand soap, 1 bottle of body spray and 3 bottles of anti-bac for only $34.35. The total retail cost was over $100!

One of the reasons I paid so little was because I had a coupon that they sent me in the mail for $10 off $30. When I received it, I immediately put it in my coupon wallet, which I keep in my purse. This way, whenever I am out, I have my coupons with me!

I also take the few minutes to fill out surveys that are included at the bottom of receipts. I rarely call the ones that offer the "chance" to win a gift certificate, but I always fill out the ones that offer $$$ off a future purchase. My receipt today offered a code for $10 off $30, and a recent restaurant visit offered $3 off a future visit. These codes usually have close expiration dates, so keep track of those.

I keep these receipts in my coupon wallet as well. It helps me always have the chance to save money when I'm out -- even if I didn't plan a visit to a particular store. I have a cute coupon wallet I received as a gift, but even an envelope tucked into your purse with coupons can help you save!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Review: A Modern Day Hero of Divine Love

I recently received a copy of A Modern Day Hero of Divine Love (biography of St. Gianna Beretta Molla) from The Catholic Company for review. I first heard of St. Gianna around the time she was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2004. I was on a Catholic moms email list, and one of the moms on the list had a devotion to her and called upon her during her difficult and dangerous pregnancies. I quickly found myself drawn to her as well and her message of devoted maternal love.

This biography is short (32 pages) but provides information about her life that left me wanting to learn more about her. She came from a big family, devoted to God and the Church. She was raised with no doubt that each life was a magnificent gift.

St. Gianna was intensely spiritual, and became a doctor so that she could minister to others. She believed wholeheartedly in Divine Providence, and she shared her faith and wisdom throughout her life. After her death, her writings and lectures continued to inspire those who read them.

During her last pregnancy, she was adamant in telling her husband that if a choice had to be made, he should choose to save the baby's life. St. Gianna died shortly after that baby's birth, but left behind a inspriational legacy of charity and love.

In addition to the biographical information, this book includes wonderful family pictures, excerpts from her writings, and prayers to and about her. I really appreciated the inclusion of this extra information, but wished that the book included the miracles that helped her become a saint.

If you want to learn more about this wonderful saint, please visit The Catholic Company and purchase a copy of the book.





This review is part of The Catholic Company's review program. In exchange for my honest review, I received a copy of this book.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Many Hats

We all wear many hats as we move through life, but I'm feeling a bit like the man in "Caps for Sale" when I begin thinking of all that I've taken on these days.
  • Wife - I'm feeling that my hubby is a bit neglected these days and I know we're not connecting as much or as often as we should ;(
  • Mother - This one is probably the biggest cap on my head, as it can never be put aside and they're always needing something. This role fills my days and nights and I am currently working on patience.
  • Homeschooler - Being responsible for my children's learning is an awesome and sometimes intimidating task. I am extremely proud of the fact I taught both my boys to read.
  • Software instructor - I love this job, but it definitely takes much more time than just the time to show up to teach a class. There's prep, and more prep, and sometimes courseware development that happens in between the rest of life at home. Teaching, though, feels so right -- and I confess I love the stroking I receive when I have good evaluations written about me by students. I am a good teacher, and I'm proud of that.
  • Writer - Another job I love. Another job I fit in among responsibilities at home. Having multiple assignments with multiple companies can get a bit overwhelming some days, but I enjoy it! It falls a bit into teaching, as I tend to write non-fiction, personal essays and things that I hope inform and teach others. Even if it is just about how many different roles I'm juggling right now. LOL!
  • Housekeeper - pretty self-explanatory. I don't do a very good job at this one.
  • Chef - My husband is the better cook. I do what I can.
  • Laundress - I'm behind again on laundry. When I can stick to my 1 - 2 loads per day, I can stay on top of it, but as soon as I miss a day or two, it takes weeks to catch back up.
  • Sister / Daughter / Cousin / Family Member - I could probably step up the game for all these relationships; if only I had some more time. I do have some fabulous family, and I'm especially glad my sister lives just a few miles down the road.
  • Friend - I am blessed with some wonderful friends. I am trying harder to create time to spend with them, even though I have deadlines waiting. And laundry.
  • Catholic - My kids help me grow closer to God every day. They remember to say Grace, and prayers, and to thank God regularly. I know it's from example, and am so glad that when I may be floundering a bit, my kids bring me right back.
I'm not willing to give up any of these roles, but I'm struggling these days with balancing them all.

If I could get a bit more successful I'd love to get help in the Housekeeping role by bringing someone in again. A friend and I may give 30 day cooking a shot, which would help in the Chef role. I may have to give up Homeschooling, but I have a few different ideas about how we could continue that I'm exploring.

Different seasons require different things, and this season of my life is requiring that I take on quite a bit. I know I'm up for the challenge, I just need to find some space for myself so that I can continue meeting the challenge. A bit more time with friends and family; a bit more time with just myself; a bit more time in prayer.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Small Successes (Vol 24)

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Over at Faith & Family Live, Danielle encourages moms to share three small successes they've enjoyed during the week. It's wonderful to click through and read about the successes of so many moms!

Here are mine for the week:
  1. My oldest asked me kindly to go to the bookstore, and while I had work to do, and was tired, and thought of a million excuses . . . I picked up my purse and popped out to the car with him, leaving my other 2 home with my husband. He talked my ear off the entire ride over there, and impressed me with his growing conversational skills (So, Mom, which was your favorite part of the Ice Age movie? Hmmm, well I liked . . . ) Then, we spent almost an hour perusing books and didn't have to chase his toddler sister, or ask his brother to be patient. We were able to just wander together and look at books. On the way home, we had some deeper discussions (Well, I could be a dentist and a writer and a track runner and a magician. Because sometimes you have talents and you should just use them!) and even deeper discussions (I would feel absolutely awful if my best friend in the world died.) In the bustle of life, I don't always take the time to just "be" with my boys anymore. Last night reminded me how precious that is.
  2. I was able to step back and not get involved in some drama that occurred. It was a very conscious decision to step away and it would have been easy to get drawn in. I am SO very glad I did not!
  3. I got through 75% of the laundry :)
Head on over to Faith & Family Live to grab the button & share your own successes this week!

Tell Me Thursday - Cactus Love

I absolutely love this picture. It's 3 years old, but it is one of my all-time favorites. It was taken by my husband, of me and N when we were visiting Goldfield (a tourist/mining town near our home.)

This picture was on an external hard drive which failed about a month (or longer?) ago. I thought the drive was history, but then B found that the power supply had failed. So, he bought a new case for it, plugged in the new power supply . . . and fried the motherboard.

I was so upset with myself for not continuing the online back up service and not really knowing what I lost from that drive. I knew that the drive was toast!

But, my resourceful hubby saved the day (again!) After some research on the internet, he found another drive exactly like the one I had on ebay. He purchased it, swapped motherboards, replaced the case & power supply -- and it was BACK! I renewed my online backup service and have been backing up my drives.

This was one of the pictures on that drive that was almost lost forever! (If you don't regularly back up, please do! I have over 100G of photographs on my hard drives . . . and I don't ever want to worry about losing any of them again!)


If you posted a picture for Wordless Wednesday, be sure to tell your story & let them know at Tell Me Thursday!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Cactus Love

Review: Guitar Hero for Nintendo DS

Around Christmas, DH found an XBox and a copy of Rock Band for a fantastic price. So, we added the XBox to the shelf with the Wii and I resigned myself to the fact that we have MANY video game systems in our house and that the drum set was just part of the living room decor. Then, we played Rock Band a few times -- and I was hooked! What fun! We gave up singing, but loved playing drums and guitar. It is an absolute hoot!

So, when I heard that Activision had a version for Nintendo DS, I was interested. Then, Mom Central asked if I wanted to review Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits! And, if I had more than one DS, I could also review Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits so we could play against each other. Well, we have FOUR Nintendo DS's in our house, so they sent me both games. (Thanks again, Mom Central & Activision! You rock!)

They are SO MUCH FUN to play! My DS (mine is shimmery pink) used to get played the least, but that has changed since these games arrived. The guitar part attaches easily to the console, the sound is good, and it is tons of fun to play along with the songs. I like the fact that there are multiple levels and even multiple ways to play. If I just want to play a quick song, I can choose to do that -- or I can play in Career Mode and build my following and earn points for clothes and better equipment.

The multi-player mode works great. My husband and I duel each other (he almost always wins) and my sister and I dueled each other in the van last week on the way to the circus. There are plenty of songs and plenty of variety.

My husband plays late at night with headphones - which he says makes it even better because the songs sound better and there's less distraction. My boys have played it and have fun, but it is made for older kids (mainly because of some of the lyrics.) This game is the most fun for me & my husband.

If you're looking for a fun game, and want to let out your inner Rock Star, give these games a try!
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