Saturday, January 31, 2009

Free groceries!

Today we took advantage of a deal at a local furniture store, netting a new dining room table and four chairs and a certificate for $500 worth of groceries!
Basically for the next 20 months, we buy groceries every month (at the same store), submit up to $100 worth of receipts and then get a $25 gift card per month. Pretty interesting concept. So, of course with coupons and store sales, wow! Imagine the deals and stock!
I am also pretty excited to be getting a new dining room table! :) Ours was worse for wear before we had human kids! We bought it back in '99 or so, when we were in North Carolina. The cats, our kids then, scratched it up some, especially when they used it as a launch pad! They would sit on the table in order to look out the kitchen windows. So when they wanted to get off the table, they would take off. Or sometimes, if they were going at a full run, they'd jump on the table and slide for a little bit.
And then my DH decided to use it as a saw-horse so the table has a couple chunks missing! It's been around a while, especially considering that we'd been in five different houses! As C says, it's the only table our family has known. And, truth be told, we didn't use it much until we had kids. When we get the new table this week, the old one will go into the basement, to be used in my "craft corner."
Getting a new table was one of those things on "Our List." The need has come up now that M is sitting at the table with us. She is still in her high chair, which has been lowered to table height and the tray has been removed so she is eating from the table. But eventually she will need her own chair. Oh, yeah, we only have three chairs as the fourth was broken somehow.
So the grocery deal made it enticing to get a new table. We had thought to get a new mattress too but shopping for that will HAVE to be done without kids. The girls were OK at the furniture store but S wanted attention and M, although in the umbrella stroller, tired quickly of sitting in it. And it was tight to maneuver the stroller around the store at times.
How does one shop for a mattress anyhow?? In my opinion you really don't know how it will work until you've had a chance to "sleep on it" for a while. But it seems to be that you can't simply return a mattress after a couple weeks. You almost have to take your chances that what feels right or OK on the showroom will be the same way when you bring it home to sleep on for years to come!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Friendship Bread

A couple weeks ago, I was given some starter batter for Amish Friendship Bread. I haven't seen Amish Friendship Bread since I was in high school and my mother was making it with her friends!

So this time around, a friend "gave" some to me because she did not intend to make it. Not enough time, she said.

OK. I decided to give it a go. I had to add some more ingredients to the bread and then divide it into four bags. There was batter in the bowl yet, which I was able to then take and make into bread by adding yet more ingredients, including vanilla instant pudding mix!

The bread came out real yummy. I was pretty darn proud of myself.

I was concerned on who would take the other starter breads. Thankfully I had a lunch date with some ladies from church, who took the bags off my hands!

AND I gave a bag back to my friend who originally gave me a starter bag! I haven't heard if she ever got around to making it. She swore then that she was going to get another starter bag to me. Ha!

Another friend of mine said she and her friends had a nickname for this Friendship Bread. Wish I could remember because it was pretty funny.

Future quilter

This week we focused on the letter Q. We talked about Queen and read and talked about Queen Esther. Then we talked about Quilts. I found a great craft on-line so that S could make a paper quilt block. On her own, she colored each piece. Some were solid colors and others had circles inside, framed by a color. Turns out that we were then able to make a pattern based on what she colored!

She had fun putting it all together. Maybe when she gets older we can try to make a quilt. I will, however, need to call on my close friend A for pointers!! She makes amazing quilts!

I am looking forward to R next week, and not just because I put that lesson together! One of the activities I found was a Rocket Day, in which we do all sorts of activities to pretend we are astronauts in space! And maybe I can find some freeze dried ice cream!
Like how S drew a person "sleeping" under the quilt. :)

To be His daughter

I’m doing a book study after all this winter.
In the last couple weeks, I felt God convicting me to face my past, which will help me build a stronger foundation as His daughter.
So I am doing a book study on Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
It’s a book that has been in my radar; something I’d see in a catalogue, glance at, let click in my mind before moving on to something else. I even saw last semester that it was being offered but intended to take this semester off to do other things.
God had other plans!
I guess I was curious enough about the book but, to be brutally honest with myself, I was afraid to get it/read it because I didn’t want to face the lies I have been fed, led to all my life. Lies I willingly believed even.
Through different signs from God, I agreed with Him that I was meant to read this book and do the study. I don't know that I would have read the book on my own, honestly, again because I was afraid to see the real me.
Going through the first chapter today didn’t quite scare me off but I know I have a long road ahead, one that will reveal even more lies that I was unaware of.
That is how Satan works. He tells such deceptive/clever/sweet lies. And, without the right tools, like God’s truth, we eat them up.
I know there are A LOT of lies/sins in my foundation. A lot! I did not grow up in a Christian home. We were Sunday worshipers during my childhood and I stopped attending church in high school. I did not know what it meant to have a close personal relationship with God. I did not know truly what Christmas was about or what Easter was about. They were just holidays really. We did not read the bible or have family devotions. I did not know that God was someone I could talk to at any time; someone to turn to in times of need and celebration. He was just someone out there, untouchable, cold, hard, unforgiving.
And so, probably as a matter of survival, I’ve been in the mindset that what is in the past is in the past and move on.
Lies!! All of it!
Now, I am not saying that now, as a Christian, I am perfect. FAR from it!! I fail God, my husband, my children, myself on a nearly daily basis.
But, as I have thought about this book, I know that in order for me to live as Christ would, to be a true daughter of His, to be one to enjoy a good marriage and have Godly children, I need to address who I am, faults and all. I need to break from the bondage of these lies that fill my life.
The lies grab us, even more so as Christians because Satan is out to get us. He doesn’t want us to have a relationship with God. He wants to break us.
I see that as a Christian woman in today’s society. It’s a hard job. A lonely one. And it becomes so tiring that we fall prey to the prowling Lion.
We are constantly bombarded from all ends, which causes us to question who we are; what is our identity in Christ? Family members question and mock me for my decisions and how I raise my children. Who are you, they think, to be a Christian given your past? Friends, especially non-believers, also poke at my weak foundation. They don’t know me all that well but they do _____ so why shouldn’t I? Why should I make them look bad?
And society and all the media forms….don’t get me started! There is absolutely no support from those outlets. Christian women are left feel alone, to struggle with their identity. They are made to feel like some goodie two-shoes and outcasts.
SO I am hoping this study will reveal the lies in my life. Help me to address them. To recognize all the lies. To learn to resist the lies. And especially help to equip me more with God’s True Word so that I can stand firm as a Christian woman, wife, mother and daughter of my King.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More deals!

I think I am starting to get a hang of this couponing thing. I went to the grocery store and spent about $40 on two transactions with a total of over $40 in savings with sales and coupons!!
I had to remind myself to do two transactions to, as the cashier remarked, get the best bang for my buck since today is double coupon day!
Some of the items I saved on: store brand cheese (99 cents); Pillsbury Savorings (2/$6, minus 2 $1 off coupons, which were doubled); baby carrots and hamburger buns were B1G1; Totinos Pizza rolls (2/$5 minus a $1/2 coupon, which was doubled); and Romano Macaroni Grill meals were on sale (2/$7) so I got to use two coupons for $1.10 off! I also took advantage of the boneless, skinless chicken breast sale. I bought a couple packages that will go right in the freezer, unless I decide to cook them up right away to save some time in the future when making meals.
I also made sure to steer clear of the cashier I had last week because I had Internet coupons in my pile. I don't think he would have been happy to see me again!
The cashier I had today was AWESOME! She didn't bother to scan the Internet coupons, instead just typing them in by hand! So easy! Why couldn't the guy do that last week?? And she made sure to point out that I had a B1G1 opportunity. The bag lady was also very good in bagging everything up right.
All in all another good shopping day!

Date night!!

I'm so excited! My $15 gift card came in the mail today from Oil of Olay!!! :)
I had gotten the card by buying Olay Regenerist products last month, which I got for GREAT deals! I turned in the UPC codes, dropped the form in the mail and now here it is!
I'll combine this card with a little rebate I got from SC Johnson and Chris and I can enjoy a nice date. Now we just need to schedule a date. :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Music is my life

I love music. I love music to meditate to. I love music to dance to. I love music that moves and inspires. I love music for praise and worship.
I recall as a child listening to Oldies and Classic Rock. I went through a hair band, rock-n-roll phase; due to a boy, of course.
My first concert was when I was a junior high student. It was a Carmen concert at the Rosemont in Chicago. I remember singing at the top of my voice that "our God is an awesome God." Sadly, I did not understand what that all meant as I was growing up. But now I do and so my songs of praise are truly heartfelt.
My second concert was a Yanni concert. I know. Hardcore. But it was AWESOME!
So I've been super excited to have access, where I can share my music pics on this blog.
Yesterday I added some great pieces. The first song on the play list is from The Lord of the Rings and was the song that I used as my "wedding march." Talk about moving music! I tear up every time I hear it as it reminds me of that glorious day!
The second song is from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe movie. The third song is from Prince Caspian movie. And the fourth song is U2's Beautiful Day, which was another song we played for our wedding; after we were pronounced husband and wife.
I've left my other picks on the play list and added some songs from Riverdance. I love Irish dance (wish I were that talented but I'll have to settle on just watching) and Celtic music as well.
I really hope you get an opportunity to listen to the songs. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A day at home

Life likes to clip along here. So it was a relief to see a free day with all of us home!
A little housework and cleaning was in order for the morning. But then I wound up sitting on the couch reading to the girls. Eventually C joined us. Then, inspired by a Blue's Clues book that we got for free from a raisin company, we decide to make a fruit salad.
I cut apples, oranges and bananas while C peeled a grapefruit. The girls tasted some apple and watched the process. S got a chance to peel an orange. They both added raisins. M added the grapefruit and got to stir the whole deal up. It was a very tasty treat!!
Later I made a delicious carrot cake for dessert at dinnertime. And for dinner we got to use our new meat thermometer. I found a super easy and delicious recipe for a pork roast. (a mixture of cinnamon applesauce, brown sugar and ginger poured over a two pound pork roast.) Honestly I don't make many roasts in the oven, instead relying on the crock pot for roasts and recipes that call for ground beef, chicken or other simple proteins. But this recipe sounded super easy so I decided to give it a try. We got the meat thermometer for Christmas. It's one of those you stick the probe into the meat and leave in during the cooking process. You can monitor the temperature of the meat on a display you leave on the counter. Sweet! And the roast came out at the right temperature and nice, tasty and juicy.
We have leftovers, which C may toss on the grill for dinner tomorrow. Can't wait!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

HUGE savings

Today was a GREAT day to go grocery shopping!! WOW! I got some great deals and used a lot of coupons, some of which were doubled, and took advantage of many sales and sales/coupon combos!
I did two transactions and spent about $60! Look at ALL the great stuff I got!

I usually don't blog about this kind of stuff but I am pretty proud of myself. I am not a die-hard couponer but this time there was too much to pass up! I really took advantage of coupons and sales. I think I used coupons for 90 percent of my purchases and bought store brand and/or sale-only items.

The best deal, in my opinion, was the cereal stock-up: buy 6 General Mills cereals and get $10 off your total grocery bill AND get a coupon for a free gallon of milk (to be used later).
(I didn't get the free milk yet because I have to consult with a die-hard couponer friend for some best bang for buck tips.)

Then I stocked up on Boxtop for Education brand items. If you bought 15 items, you got 50 free Boxtops to give to your local school. (Incentive for me to get my Boxtop collection together and to our local elementary school.) A majority of Boxtop items were on sale as well AND I got to use a lot of my coupons.

There were many P&G products on sale to coincide with the Savings Book that was in the Sunday paper. I was going to use the Oil of Olay coupon at Walgreens but the product was cheaper at the grocery store. ($3.99 minus $1 coupon, minus $1 from doubled coupon!).

I've got to say this was fun. I don't always take advantage of double coupon days. Sometimes the timing is off or we are pretty well stocked or I just forget. Right now I can say that we are pretty well stocked and what I do buy over the next couple weeks will be things like milk, bread and ground beef and chicken (to go with the six Helper meals I got today!)
A couple drawbacks:

Shopping with kids: The girls were fine but there were a couple moments where I wished they weren't with me so I could focus and make sure I was doing the right stuff

On-line coupons: I do love being able to get coupons on-line and using them at stores but I swear the check-out guy was going to kill me! I could see him furiously trying to get them to scan. He got frustrated quite a bit. I wish those coupons could all scan easily. I am just glad that I was able to use them all! On top of that, a line was forming behind us, which I tried to ignore.

Finding places to store all the stuff: One of these days I am going to have to clean off the pantry shelves we have in the basement. I can see now we are going to need more space.

If you want to know more about couponing or where to find the best deals, check out the Web sites I follow like Deal Seeking Moms, Mom For Him and the others. They keep an eye on all the deals, coupons to be had, freebies to be had and more. I also like that many of those sites scour the sale ads and give you savings scenarios (how to take advantage of sale prices with coupons to get a better bang for your buck!) They are definitely worth checking out!!
Happy shopping!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tumble Bumble!

Today was M's first day of tumbling. We are taking a class through the local parks and rec.
M had a blast! She was very well behaved and tried a lot on her own.There were about 10 other kids (and their parents) in the class.
The class began with stretches. Then the teachers had all her "friends" line up along one wall and then do things like jump across to the other side like a frog or walk like a bear to the other side or walking backwards. It was so darn cute. I was so surprised that M did the bear walk. She did an awesome job!
Then the class went through an obstacle course for the rest of the time. The kids walked on low balance beams, jumped over hoops and then practiced somersaults. It was a lot of fun for the kids. And they learned patience and taking turns.
At the end of class, each child received a smiley face stamp on their hand. M was so proud of hers! She was excited to show it to Daddy and Tae-ha.
And, no, I did not take pictures. As I was putting M in the van to go, I thought about the camera but, since I didn't want to be late for class, I decided I'd try to bring the camera with next week. I've got to get something to add to her scrapbook!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dad of the Year

I love to watch C with our girls! He goofs around with them, plays all sorts of games with them and just wants to be with them. He is also a firm father, willing to stand his ground while one of those girls tries to wrap him around her finger. And he has the typical frustration moments but tries, like all parents who experience failures and successes.
This weekend, he and S enjoyed a game of dolls. She loves to play dolls with him. I have to hand it to him that he is able to play dolls with her again and again. It can be a little trying, given that she likes to control the story and how your doll is going to talk or act.

But it is fun to see her imagination at work. And to see C's patient participation. Way to go, Dad! (And yes, this blog will embarrass him but he is such a great, loving, wonderful father. I am so blessed! And I know the girls will have such loving memories of a father who is a father.)

Merry Maids

One of my favorite household tasks is vacuuming. And it's is especially fun when the girls "help." We turn on some loud music and then go to town. The girls mostly like to dance but they also like to vacuum their rooms and other areas.
That makes me desperately wish that their toy vacuums actually worked! That would be SO nice! S's little Dirt Devil is supposed to pick up some stuff but half the time it doesn't work properly. It's funny because S will then bang on the thing to get the motor to kick into gear. She didn't pick that up from me! My Dyson Animal works like a dream!

I'm glad the girls like to help with vacuuming and other cleaning. They even wash windows! Such good helpers! I pray this willingness/eagerness/desire to help continues as they get older!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chillin' Out.....literally

An Arctic freeze hit us earlier this past week. You'd think I'd have spent the time blogging while being stuck indoors. And yet, no. I was cleaning and reading and cooking and playing with the girls. Life did not slow down while we were home Wednesday through Friday.....chillin' out. Was the house sparkling clean and homemade meals on the table every night. No. I did some of each over the course of three days. But I found that I treated that time more like the snow-days of my childhood: watching TV, playing, reading and just chillin' out.
Of course by Friday I was ready to get out!! By Thursday night, I thought we would be venturing out. We have ballet and story time scheduled that morning. But come Friday morning, the school district had cancelled classes again, which meant no ballet. I was able to get out Friday night for some me time! I attended the monthly crop, where I finished M's 1-2 year book. My next project will be to start on S's book for this year. I can't wait!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Homeshooling update 1/09

After a much needed winter break, we resumed homeschooling last week.
Actually, we officially started today, getting back into the core curriculum.
Last week was more of a review of the alphabet and numbers, although we didn't do as much as I thought we would.
But today we jumped back into the core curriculum, going back to O. Before we took our break, we did work on O and P but did not do as much given all that needed to be done for Christmas preparations.
Today's theme was my all-time favorite: Outer Space. It was a lot of fun and we used some great on-line resources (Nick Jr.'s Dora Storybook with tales about Little Star and Dora's Space Adventure) and, from the library, Alphabet of Space, which came with an audio CD with a catchy song and read-along. We ended our lesson with Mooncake by Frank Asch.
I am excited to get back into the curriculum. Tomorrow we will do a couple outer space related things (space pudding!) and I have an activity on owls. Thursday we will focus on ocean. Friday we will focus on Obey (The Ten Commandments and maybe talk about the importance of rules and, as a family, establish some house rules, which was something I just happened to be talking to S about today; an idea I'd gotten from a parenting guide on positive discipline and an age by age guide.
I'd also picked up a couple weeks ago some games that focus on O and P.
And, looking ahead to P, I am excited to see it is on Prayer, something I am hoping S will understand more so that she can use it as a way to combat her recent fear of the dark.

Preschool graduation

Here are some pictures from S's preschool graduation last December.
The ceremony was cute. The kids wore homemade graduation caps. We watched a slide show with highlights from the four-week program. The kids walked down the aisle to get graduation certificates. And then there was a time for treats and socialization.

S really enjoyed the preschool program. We are looking forward to future participation. This spring the class will be two periods long so I hope to find something fun for M and I to do. Hopefully the weather will be warmer and dry so we can park hop. In fact, there are two parks near the high school.

Sylvia goes to accept her certificate.
The proud graduate!

Bringing back the childhood memories

Given the frigid temperatures this week, I decided my family needed something to warm their bellies this morning. So I made CoCo Wheats, a cereal I have not had since childhood! I remember as a child scooping cold CoCoWheats from the pan.

It was SOOOO good and SOOOO easy to make! Yum! And with a dollop of RediWhip.....mmmmmmm!

M enjoyed it the most. S said she liked it but she was slow to eat it, which is typically a sign. And when asked if she'd eat it another time, she said no.

More for me!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The heat's on!

It was 20 degrees Sunday night while my hubby was outside grilling up some tasty burgers.
Yes, outside on a January night, grilling as if it was a hot day in July. He even had a beer in hand. But at least he was properly attired for the winter bite with a thick flannel coat and Green Bay Packers hat.

My menu for today called for burgers for dinner. I decided to use the Omaha Steak Burgers I'd gotten for a STEAL back in October.

C decided to fire up the outdoor grill to cook them. OK. That sounds great! Plus I didn't have to cook. :) I didn't think it was too crazy of an idea. And it seemed to be the thing to do given the Rose is Rose comic in today's paper.

We also decided to grill up some onions. C suggested putting the raw onion rings, seasoned with Kosher salt and topped with a few pats of butter, into a foil packet. Boy! Did those turn out AWESOME!! WOW! What an unexpected treat! They were sweet and just oh so yummy!

Add those babies to the burgers and it was an excellent meal!

I've never had Omaha Steak Burgers before. I thought they were very good although, honestly, it was hard to tell if it was because of the burger themselves or the Lawry's Seasoning I used. C thinks they were a better quality of burger.

Sadly, I could not finish all of my burger but we have leftovers for tomorrow. I just wish we had more onions but C polished those off.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Turn up the volume!!

If you are able to hear my Playlist (see the bottom of this blog), then you have GOT to turn up your speakers to this new artist! Keith L. Cooper, who should be the first one to play when you logged in to this blog, practically makes his fingers fly across the guitar strings! He is awesome!! His music makes me fly!
If you can't listen to the playlist, then find him on Google or YouTube so hear and see his music. It is well worth it! It reminds me of the music in August Rush, which if you have not seen I also highly recommend.
I can't wait to get my hands on Cooper's CD, Sacred Dance.
Speaking of my playlist, I've added some new Sara Groves, Steven Curtis Chapman and Jars of Clay music. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


"M, tell us a joke."
"Time....Dog....Whatever." (followed by peals of laughter.)
M continues to amuse us. Lately she has picked up a family trait: humor. The joke she likes to tell comes from her sister: What did the dog say when he bonked his head on the door? Whatever!
M loves to hear jokes and will tell them. She also likes to make funny faces and laughs for silly reasons.
She is a riot! At 2-years-old she is outgoing, independent, independent and fiercely spirited!
She is like a sweet-tart. You take a bite, enjoy the sweetness and then BAM! The tartness hits you between the eyes, making them water.
The other day I ran across a Christmas letter from 2007. Here's what I wrote about M:
"She seems to be advanced in so many areas. Likely she is just trying to catch up to big sister! M is walking, which is just what she needs so she can get in to everything! She is such an angel but she can be such a mischief maker! And she has such a spirit! The coming years promise to be interesting!"
And it was! This second year is more about independence and spirit. SO many new things to deal with!! She keeps us on our toes, that's for sure! Let's see what this next year will bring!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Boys beware!

The girls have really been into dressing up. It's like a switch went on in them. For S's birthday, Grandma and Grandpa got her a dress-up trunk with three princess dresses and matching crowns, wands and necklaces. It was a nice addition to our small collection of dress-up clothes (garage sale finds like old costumes).

We got the trunk in mid-November and the girls played with it once in a while.

But, like I said, it was like a switch went on and now they, M especially, want to dress up ALL THE TIME. On Jan. 1 we went to visit friends who have a daughter a couple weeks older than S. L was wearing a dress and her mother said that she was really in to wearing dresses this winter. Funny, I told her, because the girls were like that last winter; always wanting to don dresses after nap time.

Well, a certain pair of little ears must have been listening, because the next day, M woke up asking to wear a dress with necklace and crown and ballet slippers.

And so it began. Now she thinks she needs to wear dress-up clothes every day. And will even have a fit if she can't wear one.

And now it seems that any little friends who come over will be asked if they want to play dress up. And that includes boys. We had a little friend over and the girls got him into a dress, dress-up heels and a crown and wand.

I don't dare post any pictures of him (of course I took some!) but it sure was cute to see all of them running around and dancing. I will gladly give his mother copies though so she has something for when he graduates or even gets married. :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Family Update

It's a new year so here are some updates and such.
We celebrated one year in this house. And we have no plans to move!! We still love this house and location. We didn't make any interior changes to the house although we did decide not to have a first floor laundry, instead opting for a much needed mud room. I think a project for this spring/summer would be to paint M's room and remove the wallpaper and paint the master bathroom. Also, furniture purchases are in the future but maybe not this year.
Outside we did a lot of de-landscaping. We got rid of two of the beds in backyard and started on the third, which we hope to finish this coming summer. This coming summer will see landscaping changes and other exterior projects that C may know more about. :)
I continue to freelance for the local paper and niche magazines. I recently expanded my work to include another publishing group. And, God willing, I will also be a radio show hostess this year. I am still involved as a small group leader with our church's mother's group. The church will soon be re-launching its updated women's ministry, which I hope to become involved in. I continue to scrapbook memories for both girls. I am almost caught up in their books so my next move sometime this year will be to go through old pictures, especially from our time in North Carolina. I also hope to focus more with my walk with God, as in spending quiet time with Him, reading the Bible in a year and working on my devotionals.
God willing this year we will be able to do a family vacation this spring/summer. I'm not talking Disney World (have to wait until the girls are older) but maybe local like Chicago. Or if time and money allow, go to North Carolina. :) But I'd settle for something local.
C continues to work on his solo project. It's solo because he's the only one from the company working on it. He may be travelling a couple times in the next few months. He continues to proof-read the sermon notes and worship songs at church, a job he enjoys, although he can't gt out of that mode when he's in church. :)
S turned 4 last year. She "graduated" from preschool in December, although she will be in the preschool program again in the spring...and likely that will include a graduation. She is still in ballet, which she really loves. She is also our little artist so come February she'll be in a preschool art class. She continues to make us smile with her laughter, jokes and innocence. She is a bright girl, so eager to learn. We will continue to home-school. I may even attempt reading this summer.
M turned 2 last month. She is fun, curious, independent, spirited. Like a sweet sweet but then that sweetness becomes the sourness, hitting you between the eyes. She absorbs everything so she learns a lot quickly, like her ability to sing songs, do parts of the alphabet and counting, play with puzzles and blocks and more. She is set in her ways on things so we have that independent spirit and fickleness to deal with. She will be taking a tumbling class this month and possibly another class in the spring.
We will also be doing a playgroup this year so hopefully she'll get to interact more with kids her age. We may also tackle potty training this winter yet. And I expect this summer M will move to a toddler bed. We'll see. Knock on wood, she's not attempted to get out of her crib. I'm hoping we'll be able to wait until summer before making the transition!
Well, I think that's it. I'll be sure to post more updates in the future.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Lazy Cat Parade

Oh, the life of a cat! To sleep, be petted, sleep, eat and sleep some more. Such a hard life!
Our cats have the good life, as you can see in this picture.

We call this the lazy cat parade. As soon as they get a chance, the cats, Kelly (the orange one) especially, like to climb onto our bed, where they sleep the day away.

We've had Josey (forefront) and Dave (middle) since 1999, when we were in North Carolina. Dave was this little ball of fur. He was the runt of the litter and looked like Gizmo from Gremlins.

Josey, sadly, was rather smelly, in that she had a gas problem. But we took to her anyway and gave her the nickname of Josey Beans. Dave we eventually called Davey, Bag of Bones and Huffer Puffer because he liked to huff and puff when he played.

Their names, by the way, stem from Clint Eastwood characters. His character in Play Misty for Me was named Dave. And Josey came from The Outlaw Josey Wales.

While we were in NC, we took the cats on road trips like to the Outer Banks, the mountains and eventually Wisconsin for a couple trips home. We even purchased harnesses and leashes so we could take the cats out for walks. They sure did look funny!

When we moved back to Wisconsin in 2003, we acquired Kelly shortly before we married. She came from a litter on the farm. Sadly, she'd been abandoned by her mother. I felt to blame because we'd seen that litter before Kelly had been abandoned. So we took her in.

Kelly was named after Clint Eastwood's character in Kelly's Heroes. She was a little orange ball of fire! She quickly changed the pecking order in the house. She would be a sweet little kitten but then, in the blink of an eye, would turn on you with her teeth and claws! She often liked to pounce at our feet as we came around a corner.

Before Kelly, Josey was the head. But Kelly asserted herself with no problem. And our sweet, quiet Davey suddenly became a brute, of sorts.

Peace now reins in our house....for the most part. We have the lazy cat parade, in which they can all sleep peacefully together.
But there are times when the fur literally flies as Davey and Kelly get involved in some sort of Mortal Combat.

Music lovers

Over the years, we've grown quite a collection of CD's. This is especially true in the children's music department. We love to give the girls CD's as gifts.

Yesterday, my loving husband had an OCD moment and decided to reunite CD's with CD cases, etc. We had many of the kids CD's in one CD case so the music was easily accessible to the girls. Also, I tend to put two CD's in one case.

It was an evening project that went from his original find a CD to play for the organizing first the kids CD's and then our music.

Eventually he also decided to do some rearranging by moving CD's into "ours" and "theirs" groups. Now the girls have their collection in one place in the play room and we've got our CD tower in the family room.

Sadly, we don't listen to music as often as we used to. Mostly we listen to the kids CD's or the radio. So I don't know what is going to become of our tower of music. Maybe we'll start listening to music again. It was fun to see what we had so I can see pulling some oldie but goodies out.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Hello! I'm back!!
It's been busy since I posted last. I knew I wouldn't be posting anything Christmas week given holiday travel and all but this week has also been busy with various other things that blogging was the last thing on my mind.
Christmas was enjoyable. Travel wasn't too bad, despite some snow on the first day. And the girls did well on the road trips.
We went to MN for Christmas Day and celebrated with my sister and parents. My brother could not make it because of reasons ranging from hassles with airlines to being scared away by the weather. That was super disappointing because I was looking forward to having all the family together. But we still enjoyed the visit. And the food! The holidays sure do bring out a lot of stuff from goodies to yummy comfort foods. We enjoyed tamales for Christmas breakfast and my sister even made a delicious turkey for Christmas dinner.
Then we went to Medford to celebrate Christmas on the weekend. With the whole gang together it made for a lot of presents under the tree! The girls had fun playing with their cousins and I got to do a little reading. :)
C took two weeks off so we enjoyed some time around the house and doing various odds and ends this week.
New Years was quiet, just how I like it. We could have gone to a friend's house but we decided to chill here. We are home-body's. We ate some yummy finger foods (it's sort of become a tradition) and then got in cozy PJ's and watched WALL-E while eating brownies topped with mint chip ice cream. Yum! C and I stayed up til midnight but we missed the ball drop because we were watching something else.
Today we went to Wausau to visit his best friend, who we have not seen in a year. It was good to re-connect with them. And the girls had new friends to play with.
We have the weekend to enjoy although I do have to face cleaning and getting things back into order before next week. It's weird because it actually does feel like I've been on vacation too, of sorts.
Life will get back into routine next week. I've got two deadlines for two different publications. And, God willing, our radio show will be picked up and we'll have all three hostesses present.
We will resume homeschooling. This "semester" we will be doing some things differently. I think we'll do a review next week and then get back into the curriculum. I think we left off at P. I still plan to teach S one-on-one but I may do it in the morning on the core days, which I'm moving to Wednesday and Thursday, which are days without anything scheduled.
S resumes ballet next Friday. We are also going to enroll her in a preschool artist class in February.
I plan to enroll M into a tumbling class through the parks and rec department. That should be interesting because I think the class that will work for our schedule is an early evening one. So that will be an interesting adjustment....balancing the class with dinner and bedtime. Good thing that the class is only once a week and for a few weeks.
Later in January our church's mothers group resumes, which I am totally looking forward to. I've decided not to take a class through another church. Instead I think we will join a playgroup at a local family resource center. We will continue story time at our favorite place.
Also, potty training looms for M.
And I am considering enrolling both girls into swimming but I'm thinking that could be a late spring class and, even then, something on the weekend.
So definitely back to normal. Sounds like a lot but it isn't really since most of the stuff happens three days a week. Plus we enjoy it and it will help us from getting cabin fever. :)
Now I am just praying for a healthy New Year!