Monday, December 25, 2006


Grabbed a few books when in Chicago to quickly read. They were "youth" level, but pretty good. The two books I've finished in the last three days:
  • When Santa Fell To Earth by Cornelia Funke (also author if Inkheart, Inkspell, Dragon Rider and The Thief Lord)
  • The Fairies of Nutfolk wood by Barb Bentler Ulman
Now, I'm reading a book I picked up a while ago and need to read:
  • Gideon the Catpurse by Linda Buckley-Archer
Coffee, Christmas cookies and the kids playing with new Christmas toys...time to read. :)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Holidays!

I sit here typing, drinking my Earl Grey tea with milk (an activity passed on to me by a dear, English friend :)) and waiting for my unusually, red painted nails to dry. It is the holidays after all, so red nails, it is. :)

I have five minutes to blog before we begin to create our salad and fondue for the Christmas eve dinner. We are going to church at 5:30, where we are the advent candle lighting family, which means we four each say something about the waiting of advent being over, let the joy begin, and then my husband will light the candles. My husband's parents and grandparents will also be attending with us, which is special and joyful. Then we all head back here, to our home, for dinner. We have a tradition with my in-laws, where we try to create something new each Christmas eve. We started doing this about five years ago. In the past, we've had crab cakes, monte cristo sandwiches, turkey artichoke paninis and I can't remember what else. So, tonight is beef, shrimp, dipping sauces, cheese fondue for bread and vegetables, and chocolate fondue with amaretto and hazelnuts-recipe here:,,FOOD_9936_23052,00.html?rsrc=search
fruit dipping. Then, to top it off, Rachel Ray's Eggnog Bread Pudding. Here, I inform with the recipe:,,FOOD_9936_32458,00.html?rsrc=search

We had a great time in Chicago, packing many activities into four days and three nights. We had some transportation snafus, but nothing major and we were all safe. We visited the American Girl Place, Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier, The Field Museum (including paying extra to see the King Tut exhibit, which was a long wait to see each item, but worth it. The historical value was tremendous, especially for our girls who enjoyed it and learned a lot!) We also swam a number of times in our hotel pool, went to some good restaurants and shopped the Magnificent Mile.
Then we came home, and tried to catch up on chores and shopping to be ready for the holiday.

I got the many cards, photos and letters out in time for Christmas, and have received many in return. It's nice to receive items from long lost friends, photos of children and catch up on busy lives.

I sold some items on ebay, made about fifty-three dollars and found it was a pain in the neck to try to get everything shipped out in time to head to Chicago. I did some great shopping via ebay, though, getting some original, and unusual gifts for family. I'm pretty sure I spent more than I made, however!

Also, our church voted on the addition of the second campus, as I mentioned in a previous post. About two hundred people showed up for the vote. Thirty-one voted against, and one abstained. The rest voted for the merger, which is an exciting adventure for our church! :) Our recommendation was challenged at some of the question and answer sessions, but upon hearing our explanations, things were more well received.

Well, off to partake in cooking with my dear husband. He's the real chef around here. :) I'm the baker, he's the chef/creator. :)

Happy Holidays,
dear readers, and be safe this season.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Pomegranates, Germs, Ebay

Our youngest daughter, on a recent trip to the grocery, talked me into buying pomegranates. She'd tried one last year at school, remembered that she liked it (although that was all she remembered) and thought we should get some. Well, I researched just a bit about them (finding some info here: ) and we had them with our dinner tonight. I did find out that they are great for your immune system! Which is wonderful for me, the substitute teacher. Teachers are always around lots of germs, kids who don't wash hands a lot, leaving germs everywhere, but subs are exposed to infinitely more, possibly seeing many different children every week. So, these immune boosting seeds are a little blessing. Thankfully, I'm not a germaphobe and don't think of these germs too often, even declining to get a flu shot (risk taker? Nah, just knocking on wood right now... :)) Anyway, I didn't see anything about side effects from eating too many seeds...hmmm. :)
I have also been shopping a bit on ebay, looking for hard to find items for stocking stuffers for parents and in-laws. It's been fun and I haven't gone too overboard. I did receive an item that one of them already had, so I'm trying my hand at selling on ebay...however interest in my item is low...
I'm up to my ears in Christmas cards I still have to do; as you know if you've read the blog or know me, I like snail mail and often handwrite letters...well, you guessed it, I also handwrite all 100 Christmas cards. I also have about a third of my (our) shopping to do for the upcoming holiday, although all I've bought has been wrapped, thus far. You readers know I need to inform in my blog entries: so here is how to write a Christmas letter (although I don't usually do this...)
Or some other Christmas card info:
And how to wrap a present neatly:
and how to wrap a present uniquely:
Our first forum at church, a short presentation followed by question and answer session was Sunday night and we had a nice turnout. It was a bit nerve wracking at first, and I take it so personally, that I was steaming a few times, but it all worked itself out, with almost everyone leaving with a positive feeling. We have another of these forums this coming Saturday morning, an open house that afternoon and the final vote on Sunday eve.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Church Presentation

Well, I am taking a break from a writing process. It's been a while since I had to write something multiple times/drafts, but it's been even longer since I had to present something in front of others. My church has the opportunity to take on another church in the area. The other church has a dwindling congregation, due to a pastor who has since left the religion to start his own church, and is in a changing area that has high diversity in its surrounding neighborhoods. Our church can vote, in a meeting next month, to help this church or not. If our church votes not to help, this other church will soon, probably, close its doors. If our congregation votes to take on the other church, our church will have all the business, funding, hiring, etc. aspects, but two campuses in two different areas of the city. I have been on a committee since August to research the current church's facilities, congregation, programs, surrounding neighborhood and nearby churches, to see what it would take/need to get it back in working order. Now, it's finally time to compile all of our data into a presentation/recommendation for our church to vote on. Now, I feel the pressure. I felt that our information gathering was purposeful, diligent and fun, but now, all eyes will be on this information and I've already written and rewritten my draft four times! We will meet tonight to put our pieces together, as well as another meeting next week, and then it will be Thanksgiving week and into the next month!
In other news, we will be heading to my home state on Thanksgiving for the annual deep fried turkey, too much other food, football and shopping in the wee hours on the day after Thanksgiving. I look forward to seeing one of my new nieces then, as well. I just can't believe November is half over and December is speeding towards us!!
I have been scrapbooking when I can, went to a "crop" (an evening of scrapbooking at someone else's house, as well as snacks and conversation) last night and am hosting a "crop" here on Friday. I must clean like crazy and make the snacks, as well.
Other than that, I've been substitute teaching, although not too many jobs this week, and running the kids around.
I think I forgot to mention that I had quit training for the marathon in August. I just couldn't fit the long runs in conveniently and sadly, I quit running altogether. I felt my pants getting tighter and began running again this weekend. Yesterday I didn't fit it in, but did a yoga DVD: my youngest daughter asked if she could exercise with me, so we did the video together and she asked when we could do it again! I just feel more like myself when I run/exercise! My husband started running and lifting again this week, too! That's about it from here....

Friday, October 27, 2006

Travel, Shepherds and Turkey Feathers

My husband and I have recently been talking about winter travel ideas, so he can plan his work vacation time accordingly. We talked about a cruise, Hawaii, beaches, Caribbean, and dude ranches. All sounded great...until I got to the price. I'm sure we could find some "deals" but it would be right before Christmas, so we didn't want to compile deficits to our accounts! We decided on a shorter trip to Chicago. We will be in the cold with no beach, but are sure a few days there would be fun for our girls who have never been there. We haven't been there for twelve years, either. We did get a hotel with a pool, so some swimming can be enjoyed. :)
Another interesting thing this month: our church started a Shepherd's program. Selected people keep in touch with one or two youth who have gone off to college. These youth can be close to home or far away, but are living at college. We send them cards, packages and let them know we're praying for them. I thought it was right up my alley, being that I love to send letters through snail mail, so I accepted when the opportunity was offered. I have taken on two college students and sent them each a card about a week and a half ago. I am planning on mailing another card to each tomorrow. Who doesn't like to receive mail-that isn't a bill or junk mail (which was the original mailbox spam! :)) I love it, and I truly love to send mail: letters, notes, cards (I was on a big stamping and cardmaking kick for a while...) and our girls' artwork.
This is a season when I send more mail: Our family mails out "Thankful Feathers". Back in 1998 I saw an article in Family Fun magazine about thankful feathers. The family made a construction paper feather, mailed it to family and friends. The family and friends wrote their names and what they were thankful for on the feather and mailed it back. I loved the idea, and we've been doing it for eight years. I type up a newsletter of what we're thankful for each year and how much we love and appreciate our friends and family-we truly do-and mail it off. I usually mail them on Nov. 1, but with unknown plans for subbing, I got them out today. Then we read the feathers, remember the need for being thankful, gracious, and and then we put them on a turkey. We have made paper mache turkeys, drawn them on posterboard, drawn them on my husband's office white board...multiple turkey ideas, in fact. :) The girls love receiving mail and we love the "message" of being "thankful".

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Two more great quotes

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln

"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." -Marcel Post

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another good quote

"If you are lucky enough to find a way of life that you love, you have to find the courage to live it."-John Irving

Classroom Ideas

I have been subbing in several different classrooms since the schoolyear has started. I have been in one first grade, three second grades, one third grade, four fourth grades and two kindergartens. I am planning on (trying to) get back into the classroom in the next few years and have been jotting down ideas I liked. Here are some:
  • joke/riddle journal: a composition notebook that goes home once a week with one child. That child brings it back on a certain day of the week, reads their joke to the class. The children raise their hands if they think they know the answer. The child who is called on and knows the correct joke answer gets to take it home the next week, and the children can't raise their hand if they've already had it once. All jokes must be appropriate.
  • word journal: see joke journal but with a word from the dictionary and other students must guess the word from its definition. Also must be appropriate.
  • Weather report: daily reporters (which change weekly) check the weather report before coming to school and then again when they get there. Today the weather is supposed to be...with a high of... and currently it is...
  • making word connections: using week's spelling words and turning them into a crossword shape. They use as many words as possible: who can use the most?
  • pocket math: teacher guides on the board, each child has a paper with a list of squares on it. Go around to each table and ask each student how many pockets they have. For example: table one has: 4,4,9 and 4. Using double facts, we know 4+4=8, then nines facts, 9+4=13. Then 13+8=21...Do this for all tables, then total. The class has 112 pockets. That is more or less than last Friday? Add results to a graph.
  • estimation jar: one student brings in a jar full of items of their choosing. The class estimates how many are in it. On Friday, they tell how many items are in it. The student who is the closest, brings it back next week.
  • "Books we've read": make a copy of the books read as a class and put the copies up in the room so the children can see what has been read throughout the year.
  • talking wheel or stoplight system for classroom talking level: red is no talking, silent, such as during testing. Yellow is only whispering and green is talking in inside voice, as in working in groups.
  • Teacher file folders for days of the week: a crate with six folders: Monday through Friday and a "to be copied for next week" file. After copies are made for the days, plans have been made, etc, they go into their file for the day.
  • special chairs: a chair for teacher to read aloud from: I have seen stools, step stools, desk chairs, wooden chairs painted in a special theme, and rocking chairs. Also special chairs for the student of the week to sit in during times after they've finished their work
  • Indoor recess supplies for kids: games, books, drawing supplies, mindware optical illusion books would be great, math manipulatives
  • The music room I was recently in had a bulletin board that said "go bananas for the language of music" with a big banana and fun letters. That could be used for any topic: go bananas over multiplication or vocabulary, etc.
  • Substitute teacher folder: with common things that are done daily, discipline, seating charts, etc. in it, easy to find
  • I was told by my supervisers when I was student teaching not to "shhh" the kids, to find other ways of getting their attention back, during down time or changing activities. I've seen several in my subbing assignments. Some are: 1)clapping a rhythm and then the students repeat it, 2)saying "if you can hear my voice clap twice", 3)teacher says "123 eyes on me" and the children reply "456 zip our lips", 4)saying "I love the way (name) is sitting quietly and waiting for directions. Good job, (name)!", 5)counting down from five and when you're at one or two all chilren should be quiet, 6)ring a bell
  • discipline methods: flipping a card, moving a magnet, coloring in a graph, losing points toward special activities, losing tickets to a "prize drawing" at the end of the week, the word recess on the board for an extra recess, bad class behavior got those erased, which had peer pressure encouraging others to follow directions, helping each other, a binder called "the book" and after a warning, name goes in the book...
  • rewards: "pig points" like a piggy bank where they earn points for an extra recess, tickets for reward drawings, my supervising teacher back in college gave a drawing for a slip of paper that was a homework pass for those times when they had something big after school and didn't get their homework done, but it had to be approved by parents and teacher.... stamping cards-when they are good (saw in music) they get a stamp on their card, after so many stamps they get to pick a small prize. (in the music room it's a stamp at the end of each period and after twenty it's a piece of candy or gum as a prize)
  • On walls: quotes, posters, classroom rules and/or classroom constitution, "what students expect of me" which is decided in the first week of school and discussed as a class, bsaket at each table with books in it for silent reading (for example library books students go down and choose weekly) so kids aren't wandering around or asking to go to the library for books when they complete their work before other kids, wipe off board/paper with lunchcount (here we have lunch a, b, or c choices and packing), job list (paper passers, board eraser, office messenger, etc), packet for lunch tickets (for kids who paid on Monday to buy all week), big calendar like from office max with specials on it (art, music, gym, libary) and days off school, "ready, set, go...morning routine": sharpen pencils, turn in homework, do lunchcount, begin work listed on the board, etc., flag for pledge, signs of "fair ways to choose" for those times kids get in disagreements (pick a number, roll dice, pick names from a hat, one potato two potatoe, etc), school motto, school rules posted up where kids can see them, clocks out of paper to show times for things (kids often say when's lunch? and they can see the paper clock showing the time they go)
I'm sure there are others, but I haven't written them down and I've forgotten them for now. I'm excited at the thought of teaching in my own classroom...then I'm nervous about all the work!!! :) Off to get some things done around my own home, now.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Aumtumn quote I liked

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Albert Camus

Thursday, October 05, 2006

It's been over a month!

I was posting regularly and then I got caught up with...well, life. :) My girls were involved in soccer more heavily, my husband went to Arizona on a business trip. I began substitute teaching 4 out of 5 days per week and our youngest daughter turned 8 this month! We have been busy on a boating trip with friends, heading to my home state for a family baby shower, and my family has been to visit us recently, as well. We also went to my home state to visit my brother and his wife, and their first, new baby. She is adorable, with a ton of hair. She's very strong already, going to give my brother a run, for sure!
I also haven't blogged due to the fact that, while my techie husband was out of town, my laptop crashed and something happened to my connection. This lack of connectivity caused me to "fiddle" with things I shouldn't have been and ended up causing some of our equipment to smoke. Literally smoking, burning plastic. I found a way, with the help of a techie friend, to work around the burned connection and get back online until my husband got home...and we went to buy new equipment. I also got a new laptop. Hopefully it will last me a while...
I was having trouble deciding on what to inform about in this blog. I had big plans for today's blog...but then I accepted a substitute teaching job in a music class today. So, the blog is relatively short.
Promise not to wait so long before I write again!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

New Family Traditions

I recently read an article in Real Simple Magazine (see also about starting new traditions. Here, in our family, we have daily, seasonal and holiday traditions, but starting or trying out new ones is a great way to spend/spend more time together. Just this week our oldest daughter asked my husband if she and he could start running together. Yesterday they got up at 6, ran the "big block" for starters and talked on the way. They both thoroughly enjoyed it, and hope to make it a "tradition". Today it was raining, but hopefully they can do it again tomorrow. Some of our other traditions include picking apples, going pumpkin picking, cutting down our Christmas tree, writing quotes or Bible verses weekly on the kitchen chalkboard, cheering on our local college football team, saying our nightly prayers together, and visiting my family in the state I grew up in every Thanksgiving. As our kids get older, our time passes even faster and the minutes we get to spend as a family are fewer and farther between, so I liked this article and its ideas as "tradition starters" to find a few more things to do together. Here are some of my favorites, but not all from the article. Hope you find some you'd like to try.
  • "tour the world: adopt a holiday from another country and honor it with gusto. Prepare a massive traditional Chinese feast for Chinese New Year; eat crepes and watch classic French films on Bastille Day
  • walk on: Go for a (moderately) challenging hike with your family every January 1. Even if your resolutions don't make it past February, you'll have started the year on a healthy note-and the exercise does wonders for a Champagne hangover.
  • have the early bird special: Change the evening-meal routine by serving breakfast for dinner every Friday night. Wear pajamas to the table for the full effect.
  • stage a camp-in: Spread out sleeping bags in the living room, light a fire in the fireplace, cook up s'mores and tell ghost stories by flashlight
  • hot topics: place a jar in the middle of the dinner table and fill it with conversation starters written on strips of paper. Each night a family member can take one out and read it to the group.
  • have a historic birthday: Celebrate the birthday of a historical figure your family admires. Example: for Mozart's birthday (January 27th) prepare Austrain cuisine, watch Amadeus and have the resident family musician treat everyone else to a brief concert on his instrument of choice. "
  • Others included: host a rain-dance party outside with kids in swimsuits, relive your first kiss with your partner exchanging cards, etc, logging miles in a family travel journal, celebrate "opposite day", volunteer together, encourage variety with "spontaneous family day", and showing fido how much you value him during National Pet Week beginning on the first Sunday in May.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Lunch Ideas

Well, the first week and a half of school for the girls has gone extremely well. They are both having a great year so far! Phew! :) They have been making friends, working hard and their teachers seem to be very kind, but expect a lot from them.

Just a short entry today, lots to do, but I already had complaints of the "same old same old" lunch ideas for the girls, as they pack everyday. I began some research. Although these seem like common sense, we get stuck in a rut and have trouble thinking outside the (lunch)box. Here are some ideas we'll be trying in the next two weeks (I found these at and
  • bagel with vegetable confetti: a bagel with cream cheese and chopped up colorful veggies
  • sushi rolls, using imitation crab meat and rolls of cucumber slices, avacado and or tortillas
  • hot chili in a thermos with a bag of Fritos and or cheese to sprinkle on top when ready to eat
  • lunchables, the cheap homemade version: meats, crackers, cheeses, cream cheese and veggies
  • sandwiches cutout with cookie cutters, and different kinds/colors of breads
  • stuff an apple: core an apple and fill the hole with peanut butter or cream cheese and raisins
  • snack mix with cereal, dried fruit, nuts and goldfish crackers
  • banana bread/muffins
  • yogurt mixed with berries and a side of whole grain crackers
  • peanut butter and apple on a whole wheat tortilla
  • bake store bought biscuits in the shapes of stars, use them for sandwiches instead of bread
  • peanut buter and apple wraps

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Stinging Reality

Since I wrote last, while at my grandparents' cottage, I was stung by a wasp/bee.

It stung me between the forefinger and thumb on my right hand. It happened around four o'clock. By dinner, I had lost my first knuckle to swelling, still painful and had a sausage for a thumb. This continued until my entire had was swollen so fat I couldn't see any knuckles, which is very unusual for me-they're usually very clear to see and I have thin fingers. I had a huge hand, it was red, itchy and painful. I got some benedryl and took a pill every four hours-and it did nothing. So, we left a little earlier than we had planned,the next day. We came home and I went to an urgent care. The dr. said it was normal (my mom now says she's talked to other health professionals and they disagree) and the swelling just seemed like a lot because it was confined to my hand. She said it would go away in a week, but she gave me a tetanus shot-I couldn't remember the last time I'd had one-and a shot of steroids in my keister. It didn't help until the next day, and then the swelling went down and the redness and heat went away, but the itch continued for three more days. I lived. My family was worried because my brother is deathly allergic, must carry an epi-pen to inject immediately in case of a sting. So, my family thought I was developing such an allergy. Hopefully not. I work in my garden with no fear of the many bees who are busy working there. I would like to continue in my blissful ignorance. :)

Speaking of my garden, I had to pull out my large area of daisies. The grubs ate all the roots-I could pull them up with no effort at all and they were all brown and crispy. Grubs are the larvae of the previously mentioned Japanese beetles. I have not sprayed pesticides anymore: they're not good for any of us and they don't do any good after it rains. I also learned (my children love animal planet tv channel and heard that:) a baby hummingbird relies mostly on bugs for its diet, so that's why I hadn't had any in my garden. I have many plants they and butterflies are supposed to like, but the pesticide was keeping them I have the quandry of lovely plants that are bug free, but also butterfly and hummingbird free, or some hideously destroyed plants but more visitors I like, with tagalongs that I don't.

Mom and Dad came over earlier in the week on their way to a sporting event. They stayed overnight, to get some of their drive out of the way. It was nice to have them for a visit.

Well, school starts next week and my now middle-schooler is getting a bit nervous about the changes. My younger daughter is super excited to go back. Can't wait. I want them to slow down in their growing up, but I can't make them. :)

I will be substitute teaching again this year, and am subbing in the kindergarten all week next week. The teacher will be there, and the kids come in small groups each day, but the teacher will be doing assessments, so they need someone to keep an eye on the other kids. I get full time sub pay so that will be really nice.

That's it for now.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Smart Energy Sources

I have been very busy since I last wrote. My husband, kids and I headed down with my in-laws to see my sister in law in a neighboring state. We went to the coutry's largest garage sale, which occurs every year at this time. My sister in law had perused local stops before we had arrived, so she knew which ones were junk and which ones had good stuff we might actually buy. :) We spent some time looking and then headed to a nearby state park, which was very nice. We were only gone from home a total of twenty-four hours, but it was a very nice trip. The car ride down was pleasant visiting time with the in laws, too, as there is always good conversation. We have also been school shopping and had Vacation Bible School this week at our church. We head up to the grandparents' cottage to visit this weekend, as well.

Onto the title. I have been thinking a lot about what I can do to preserve our environment... something President Bush has apparently no interest in. Politics not being my main point, I have been researching other means of energy. A friend of mine and her husband have geothermal heat and it really works for them, so I have been looking around for information to share:
geothermal heat is an environmentally safe and sound, renewable energy. Here is a website with general information
" According to the EPA, geothermal heat pumps can reduce energy consumption—and corresponding emissions—up to 44% compared to air-source heat pumps and up to 72% compared to electric resistance heating with standard air-conditioning equipment. GHPs also improve humidity control by maintaining about 50% relative indoor humidity."

Another reliable energy source is the sun: solar power. There are small solar power kits you can use to work as your energy source which are reliable and pollution free.

Here are some other ways to reduce energy use:

A non-renewable resource we are using at a tremendous rate is oil. Now that artic drilling has stopped...which shouldn't have taken place in the refuge as it was, so a viable renewable resource is ethanol.

Why isn't our government working on these things, making them more available, and cost effective?? Maybe our President likes oil...using up the nonrenewable resources

Speaking of cars and other alternatives, there is a new documentary coming out that sounds interesting, although I have yet to see the trailer all the way through, called "Who killed the electric car?" "Plot Outline: A documentary that investigates the birth and death of the electric car, as well as the role of renewable energy and sustainable living in the future."

A blog I recently found on alternative engery that is pretty interesting, as well.

One last side note, referring to an earlier post and environmental safety, I have gone back to using dishsoap and water sprayed onto the leaves of a plant for the beetles. I have to spray it on after every rain. The pesticide only killed some and others came from around the neighborhood to replace them, so this soap answer isn't perfect, but it's working as well as the other stuff, and it's better for us and the environment.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Welcome Home

My girls are home, which is a very nice. I drove an hour and a half to meet my grandparents halfway to pick them up. The house was far too quiet without them. :) Although, it was nice to clean their rooms without them here: I could throw things away that I knew they didn't use/play with and no one was here to complain. I also did clean out the crawl spaces and rearranged the furniture in their rooms, as well. My husband and I went out for dinner almost everynight and one morning for coffee while we were sans kids, as well, which was wonderful. We rarely get time without the girls, let alone more than one night at a time. It was great to have some date time, and even better not to have to schedule a sitter! :) We just went out to a few dinners, had some beers once, and a glass of wine another night. We went with his parents out and some window shopping, as well. I was at a loss for a moment as to what topic I'd be "informing" on, but then I looked up cheap date night ideas!
Some ideas I found were, not great, or extra creative, but I was on a time limit:
  • zoo
  • museum of fine arts
  • art festivals
  • state park
  • farmer's market
  • pier to feed ducks
  • picnic
My husband is anxious to see the girls and is on his drive from work. Then he will be taking our little beagle to the vet. What a wonderful husband, because I don't want to take him! :) He, the dog, needs his nails cut and refuses to let me do it, as his previous owner didn't do it too often, so he's not used to it or like to have it done.
Hope all is well.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Dad's health scare

We have just returned from my parents' house.
My mom called Thursday night from the small town hospital and said that Dad was in the emergency room with chest pains, numbness, headache: possible heart attack. They did tests and kept him overnight. At that time they thought he had angina.
On Friday they called and said that he was being transferred to the nearby college town, bigger, better hospital. There they would do a heart cath. Which could tell them of blockages and if needed maybe do a procedure while they were in there... very scary. And hard to be away from home/family. My family of four quickly packed up and headed to the hospital, which is a three hour drive.(here I take another opportunity to inform. :))
They took him in Friday evening and did the test, which sends a camera in through a vein in the groin and looks at the heart's passageways. This was supposed to take an hour, but only took half an hour. The doctor said there were no blockages, whatsoever. The doctor said he hopes his heart looks like Dad's. So, good news. I took he and Mom home that night where he slept comfortably. Now we wait for some other tests to be done, possibly next week to figure out the cause of the symptoms.
While there, my family convinced me to leave my daughters for a few days, without the hubby and I! I don't do that very often and feel out of my element when I do.
My hubby and I drove home-without my wonderful girls-and I read "True Believer" aloud to him. We often do this with Nicholas Sparks books: read them aloud to each other. We picked it up again this afternoon and finished the book. It was a good book. We have also read aloud Message in a Bottle, the Notebook and A Walk to Remember. Wonderful reading.
Currently the hubby is off to mow the lawn in the heat and our house is oddly empty and quiet. I miss those girls already and we just left them yesterday. My husband says it's good for all three, the girls and I, to be apart for a short time. He also asks what I will do when I have an "empty nest"? I will bother him, I guess! :) We get them Wednesday, which feels not soon enough, to me, but will give me time to reorganize the file cabinet and crawl spaces, and hopefully time to paint our master bathroom and to glaze the kitchen with some sort of new technique. Maybe I will even find time to scrapbook! :)
That is all for now. I am happy that my father has a strong heart and my heart currently is missing my girls tremendously.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


It is looking like a rain or storm is headed my way, the dark clouds blocking out the sun. I have a few chores to do, it is Thursday and my list says clean the upstairs, but I have scrapbooking on my schedule, too. I started it about a year ago and I am just doing yearly family albums, not going back and doing baby albums for the girls right now. I am mid March of last year and enjoy it when I take the time to get out all my supplies and work at it. In doing so, I come across quotes I like to use. There are some in the magazines I peruse, but there are also a number of sites I like to look up quotes online. Thought I'd share some:

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Family Trip

Now that the mounds of laundry are shrinking more house cleaning tasks have been attacked, I can sit down to blog. We went on a family vacation and since we've returned home, I have had much catching up to do. The piles of laundry filled my laundry room and it seemed as if it would never go away, after all, people keep wearing more clothes! :)
For our summer vacation this year, our family of four, as well as my brother-in-law's family of five, headed to Myrtle Beach. We drove, and it was a long drive. We stayed there for five nights and enjoyed the waves, sun and sand. The kids had a great time making sandcastles and we went to a midevil times show, which was a great dinner evening for all of us. And, oh yes, we sunscreened: should have bought stock in sunscreen. My poor daughters came out every hour to have me put a new layer on them.
After the beach, we separated and our family headed to Williamsburg. We only had time for one full day there, but we spent it wisely. The kids trooped through the heat all day, and we all had a great day! It was so interesting to see the buildings, reenactments and hear the stories of the times. We also stopped at Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, on our drive home. It was a great stopover. I had never been to any of the three places, so I had a extremely wonderful trip. And for my hubby, he'd been to Williamsburg and Mount Vernon, but it'd been ages. The girls loved it, as well, especially my oldest who has studied the time periods in school.

An update on the nasty beetles: I found a chemical-which must be horrible to the environment because it smells like chemicals after you use it and it lasts for a day or so-that seems to rid them until the next rain washes it off! The bees and butterflies aren't bothered by it, so that is good, but the beetles keep returning and destroying my garden. It was sad to return from the trip and see half of my daisies brown with death, and purple coneflowers black from the nasties.

Summer has flown by. We still have one month month! But July is about to be finished already! I cannot believe time has gone so fast. I think it goes faster as the children grow!

I finshed several books in the last three weeks since I've written:
  • Wicked, which is very odd
  • Keepsake Crimes, which was a fast, easy mystery
  • Photo Finished, a sequel to the Keepsake Crimes
  • and I began reading True Believer by Nocholas Sparks, as I like all of his books that I have read.
Tonight we take our neighbors out for dinner for keeping our two dogs the week we were gone, and then the week is half over! Hope the summer is going well for you.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Garden Pests

Well, another two weeks of summer have flown by since my last post. We have had our wine party-which turned out to be a great party! We served stuffed mushrooms, sausage on rye toast, a raspberry and nutella on puff pastry dessert, cheese and crackers, crab cakes (which everyone raved about so here is the recipe:,,FOOD_9936_27332,00.html
We love Paula Dean!) We also had some pastries with cream cheese fruit dip and fruit, shrimp cocktail, a few other appetizers and many wines. :) A few we didn't even open. We had a chardonnay, a few rieslings, a moscato, a couple cabernet sauvignons, a malbec (my new favorite) and a zinfandel. Our guests stayed, well most of them, until almost twelve thirty, which is late for us! :)

We've also had a wedding in the state we met at college, a trip to my homestate and a great time with the family at my paternal grandparents' lake cottage. We also brought my maternal grandmother home with us until tomorrow. We have had a busy and fun week with Gram. We've tooled all around our area and shopped more than I normally do.

Onto the title: Garden Pests...Ugh. My flowers in my perennial and annual garden are growing so nicely and then they returned for their annual buffet: the Japanese Beetles.... for those of you who are lucky enough to not know these munchers, I educate here:
They have thoroughly attacked my purple loosestrife, my daisies, my purple and white coneflower and my black-eyed susans! They eat or kill all of said plants in a short amount of time, but the traps only attract more as does squashing them one by one...yes, I've tried it and I've also tried organic and pesticidal methods of destruction. They have not led to the demise of the beasts in the several years of my I'm about to break down and call a pest control company and pay an arm and a leg to get rid of them. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

What to focus on?

Today I have many topics I'd like to type about, but a short matter of time to write about/weigh in on them. I mentioned in a previous post that the Earth is getting hotter and glaciers are melting, and has just released an article on the web about said heating. Take a look, inform yourselves about global warming!

VP Cheney said that Iraq pullout would be "worst possible thing"...hmm, I saw this headline and thought, I bet if you asked the families of lost soldiers, they'd say the deaths of those soldiers would be the "worst possible thing" but that's just me...

In more personal, unworldly news, the wine tasting party is getting nearer. We are set up with a sitter, we bought the wine last night and settled on food to pair with the wines. We have a wide variety and I'm a little nervous that we got a little carried away there: Most things I've read about wine tasting parties are to pick select topics like "New World vs. Old World" or "Chardonnay vs Reilsling". We, however, will be starting the evening with the wines that the guests are bringing (we don't know what those will be). My hubby will put a tasting amount in plastic cups for each guest and bring out "tasting #1" and then we all taste, write down thoughts, cleanse pallette with bread or cracker and then try #2, and so on. Once we have done this (for four red and four white, if the guests don't produce this amount, we have others to fill in) we will go into the kitchen for food and wine pairings. Hopefully my studying has been correct and the pairings will work together! :) We hope for nice weather so we can migrate out to our patio and the firepit as the evening progresses, too.

In other news, personal news, I finished an awesome book yesterday: "Marley and Me". If you are a dog lover, and I believe, if you aren't, it is a wonderful, descriptive, emotion-filled book. Did I mention that I loved it??!!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Ahh, new shoes

I got new running shoes today. I had gotten my last pair in April last year, and from June to Oct. alone last year, I put on 300 miles. I wore those shoes as my everyday shoes, as well, and ran in them the last two months, too. They were worn out. The indents and prints on the bottoms were completely worn off/down. It felt good to put on new shoes, fresh shoes, but the price about gave me a heart attack! It's always painful to spend too much on shoes. But it will feel great tomorrow when I run six miles again, in new shoes. I will be getting out bright and early so I beat the heat.
In need of running shoes? :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Well, it's been a while since my last post again. The life of a mom. :) My youngest is in swim lessons, we have both the girls enrolled in the library reading program, we've been to the library almost everyday (which has increased my reading again, as well!) and both girls have enjoyed having friends over for more than an hour, which is what they get during the week on schooldays. They both have done "homework" from summer bridge books, but not a ton, it is summer. My parents came down for a weekend visit which is always nice! And our Bible study finished up here this weekend, so we cleaned and cooked a little harder than usual. My husband's sister came up from her neighboring state for a short visit yesterday, as well, so we did dinner with her and my mother-in-law. We've begun our planning for our wine party, with some of My husband's coworkers and their spouses, significant others. I have sent out the invitations and begun my "research" so I am thoroughly prepared. :) In the informative I have a few wine sites for you, the reader. I, myself, have started to enjoy a red merlot, whereas last year at this time, I didn't try anything red! I preferred reislings and gweztriminers (sp?) but I'm growing. :) Well, hope the summer is beginning well for you.,1663,FINE_10778_29005,00.html,1972,FOOD_9869_25483,00.html

Saturday, June 03, 2006

It's almost one o'clock

I have ran 7 miles, showered, ridden my bike to a local restaraunt for breakfast and coffee, spent an hour in my garden weeding and planting, weeded our backyard landscaping, helped choose where some new plants would go and eaten lunch. It's only 12:50... so I still have a little while before the hubby and I head out to dinner and a movie...what to see? Not sure yet. In the time allotted before dropping the kiddoes off at the in-laws I will probably help my oldest clean the hamster cage, and begin organizing something...I have a list a mile long but haven't chosen what to start on!

Friday, June 02, 2006


Well, I have waited a bit to write again. It was Memorial Day weekend and we took a trip to my grandparents' cottage. All three of my living grandparents were there, my parents, and my brother and his wife, who is expecting. The weather was wonderful. The cottage is on a lake, so the girls played in the water quite a bit. My husband got sunburned, as well. We came home Monday to piles of dirty laundry, yuck. I subbed last Friday and this Tuesday in kindergarten, again, but then tackled the laundry and got it caught up again. I am currently supposed to be cleaning house, but rain makes me sleepy and want to crawl back into bed.
My husband broke his principles and bought me flowers! They arrived yesterday, they were beautiful and totally unexpected! My husband likes to buy plants which last, whereas fresh flowers look nice for a bit and then die. But, he surprised me this week with a beautiful arrangement. It was such a pleasant surprise. He had told both girls and neither spilled the beans, which is unusual! :)
The girls have just a few more days of school left. They are giddy about the upcoming vacation. My youngest will be sad, after a week of vacation, but my oldest is looking forward to time away from school.
I'm not reading anything at the moment, aside from the Bible study book, the Bible and devotional book for the group I'm leading. I am, however, reading a book to the girls: Judy Moody (was in a mood. Not a good mood. A bad mood.) It is a silly chapter book for kids, but the girls have gotten a laugh out of some of it.
Soccer, dance, tumbling, school meetings, and the like are all over with. Our evenings are pretty free...until the summer activities and get togethers start! :)
Previously, I wrote about my great dog, Merlin, the weimaraner. He is a beautiful grey, he's big and has great ears. He is affectionate and sweet...I could go on and on. However, my second the avenue of informing, I will tell about him. He is a "stepchild", so to speak. His name is Percy, and he was my sister in law's dog. She moved into an appartment and couldn't keep him. So, we said we'd take him for a bit. Then the hubby said we'd keep him...ugh. The dog doesn't like me; it's as if I'm the stepmother and he doesn't like me for taking his mom's place... He is supposed to be full bred beagle, but he seems more to me like a mix. He's just brown and white, with no black. And his tail curls over his back....
He is good with the kids, and my husband, but he gives me a difficult time. I keep trying though, and now, when there are thunderstorms (which he hates) he has come to me, so I believe he's coming around. He stole my youngest daughter's waffle last week, however, and had to go into his kennel.
I think that is all my news. I am off to finish the housework.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Soccer Weekend

My oldest had her first soccer tournaments this weekend. Her team played three half hour games on Saturday, along with the other eight teams in the league. It was played in the round robin fashion. The weather was great. Our girls won two of three, and after an undefeated season, they were quite saddened to lose. Also, in the last game, my daughter got hit in the face by the ball and bent her glasses, which added to her bruised ego. In the first game, however, she played her toughest game ever. Other players' families came over and said that was the best they'd seen her play. They were impressed and so we were proud!
Then, on Sunday afternoon, we headed to the semifinal game. Here we played the regular hour long game against my daughter's old coach and several schoolmates. It was a very exciting game which my daughter's team won 1-0. So, onto the finals which were last night. It was a hard fought game, but my daughter's team lost to a team that they beat two times earlier in the season. They were wasn't the world cup, but it meant a lot to them. Tonight we have a party for our team, desserts and trophies included. At this age, they don't get trophies unless they are one of the two top teams. It should be a nice evening.
I subbed yesterday again, but for second grade this time, for a teacher who runs a tight ship. Eveyrthing was thoroughly organized and the kids were pretty good. I had a nice day.
My younger daughter is pretty excited because it's "spirit week" at their school, which means:
Monday is dress like a friend day (my daughter's dressed like each other!)
Tuesday was mix and match
Today is pajama day
Tomorrow is wacky hair day
and I think Friday is wear a sports emblum day.
My youngest loves it! She went in a nightgown and shorts today, taking her slippers, too. :)
I ran today, started the official training program for the marathon. I ran four miles today and was pretty tired out at the end, but it felt good to cross it off the schedule. I'm going for finishing and reducing my time this year-last year's time was slow, although I am proud I finished. :)
Hopefully I do this year, too!! :)
So I am still informing, which is what blogs are for, as my husband says, here are my fav running sites! Enjoy! :),,s6-0-0-0-0,00.html

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Two latest books I've read

I had time on my lunches to read. I have read two books lately.
1."Ella Minnow Pea" which was very good. I loved the concept.
The note from the publisher is this (from

Ella Minnow Pea is an epistolary novel set in the fictional island
of Nollop situated off the coast of South Carolina and home to the
inventor the pangram The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The
Lazy Dog. Now deceased, the islanders have erected a monument
to honor their hero, but one day a tile with the letter "z" falls
from the statue. The leaders interpret the falling tile as a message
from beyond the grave and the letter is banned from use. On an
island where the residents pride themselves on their love of
language, this is seen as a tragedy. They are still reeling from
the shock, when another tile falls and then another....
Mark Dunn takes us on a journey against time through the eyes
of Ella Minnow Pea and her family as they race to find another
phrase containing all the letters of the alphabet to save them
from being unable to communicate. Eventually, the only letters
remaining are LMNOP, when Ella finally discovers the phrase
that will save their language.

2.I also read "Love, Rosie", which was previously published as
"Rosie Dunne". It was a nice book, but not my favorite. I liked
the concept of this, too. (, again):


Sometimes you have to look at life in a whole new way . . .

From the bestselling author of PS, I Love You comes a delightfully
enchanting novel about what happens when two people who are
meant to be together just can't seem to get it right.

Rosie and Alex are destined for one another, and everyone seems to
know it but them. Best friends since childhood, their relationship gets
closer by the day, until Alex gets the news that his family is leaving
Dublin and moving to Boston. At 17, Rosie and Alex have just started
to see each other in a more romantic light. Devastated, the two make
plans for Rosie to apply to colleges in the U.S. She gets into Boston
University, Alex gets into Harvard, and everything is falling into place,
when on the eve of her departure, Rosie gets news that will change
their lives forever: She's pregnant by a boy she'd gone out with while
on the rebound from Alex. Her dreams for college, Alex, and a
glamorous career dashed, Rosie stays in Dublin to become a single
mother, while Alex pursues a medical career and a new love in Boston.
But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel, structured as a series
of clever e-mails, letters, notes, and a trail of missed opportunities,
Alex and Rosie find out that fate isn't done with them yet.

Both were fast reads. Both were written in the forms of letters
back and forth from the characters.
Oddly enough, the character in one
has the last name of Dunn and author's name of the other is Dunn...

Rain Rain Go Away

Well, it's been raining for the last week, and chilly! I was all ready for warmth and working in my garden. Then the rains began and the temp dropped.
I haven't subbed since Friday, which has been nice. I had time to get a haircut, get groceries, catch up on laundry, prepare for our Bible Study, and tidy up around here. I feel like the things at home get dropped when I work outside the home. The girls keep me busy, as does volunteering in their school, but teaching takes up more time. I have subbed for the last sixteen school days. It has been fun, but I needed a couple days to catch up around here! :)
The girls only have about fifteen days of school left in the year. So, time has flown by again this year. We have soccer tournaments for our oldest daughter on Saturday and then soccer is over until next fall! Some weeknights will be free! :) I saw this article on (better homes and gardens magazine online) about happy families and it was interesting, so I educate here: :)
I have only run a few times per week, so that hasn't improved, but hopefully it will. A marathon is a big goal. Hopefully I will someday be in shape again!!
I have now become like the people I know from high school who blog...too long in between updates! And not enough time to type up an update when I do sit down here...
One thing I do enjoy and that makes more time is organizing around here... I saw this site and thought it was good, too.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I have been working like crazy these last few weeks. I have been a kindergarten sub, a fourth grade sub and a music teacher (the teacher is on bedrest through the rest of the year, but they have to find a long term sub with a music degree and mine is only in elementary ed.) I have subbed at least three days in the last three weeks.

I have also been to bad weather soccer games, piano lessons, tumbling, school functions, and a Women of Faith Conference since I wrote last. It is always so uplifting and I appreciate going. Their theme this year is Contagious Joy-what a thing to share with others!

I can't believe the end of the schoolyear is so fast approaching. I'm not ready for my oldest to go off to middle school! With all my subbing, my volunteering in their classes and school library has dwindled to almost nothing! I feel bad about this. I have thoroughly enjoyed subbing and being around the kids, though.

I have been squeezing in some exercise, though. My birthday has passed since I wrote last and my husband and I got new bikes so the four of us can ride as a family, which we have done about five times since getting the bikes. I also have picked up running again. It stinks that I'm so winded, when last year I ran a marathon and didn't have to slow to a walk until mile 23. I took too much time off and now I feel so out of shape.

Well, to inform as my hubby thinks all blogs should do ;) here is some information on women runners and heart disease.,5033,s6-78-185-0-7552,00.html
With my family history, I could be at a higher risk for heart disease, so I need to exercise!! We've been trying
to eat more organicly, and healthily, with less meat, more veggies.

That's all for today, just thought I'd better update! Hope you are well, reader.

Friday, March 31, 2006


Well, it's been a bit, again, since I've written. I have become the blogger that never writes. Or updates every few weeks, not days...

I wrote that I've been substitute teaching. The last three weeks I've done at least four of five days. I have ranged from the littlest kindergarteners to the fifth graders who are taller than I am. For those readers who know me, you know they don't have to be super tall to do so. :) I did not sub at all last week, which turned out to be good... read on.

I had a mole removed some time ago, December I think. It was a minor thing; no stitches or anything. Well, the biopsy came back that it was pre-pre cancerous. If the remaining cells, left from the previous surgery, are not removed, twenty percent of people have them turn cancerous. So, I went Tuesday to have these cells removed. It was supposed to be no big deal, twenty minutes and a couple stitches and I'm out...well, what it "supposed to happen" and "what actually happens" are two different things. If you put your finger on your temple, the mole was a bit above that. They give me four or five local anesthesia shots and they begin. They get partway through and realize the skin they were going to tug the incision closed with is too close to my eyebrow. It would've given me a minifacelift, so to speak, and leave the side of my eyebrow closest to the hair sticking up and looking distorted. So, they work a bit more, and tug from the other side. This leaves skin lacking hair in the hairline...requiring a mini hair transplant... Well, after an hour the surgery was complete. A 1/4 inch mole turned into a 4 inch by 2 inch incision and 9 outer stitches, I'm not sure how many internal ones. What a crazy thing. And now I must return to the dermatologist to have the stitches removed next week, and then every 6 months after that, as my risk has improved. So, no more gardener's tan, or runner's come the spf 50+ and hats.

I have moved into a "jounalling" vein, instead of the informative vein that I had adopted as of late, so here is some information on skin cancer... I got this info from

Here are tips on preventing skin cancer...
Sun Safety
rotect Yourself and Your Family All Year Round
  1. Seek the shade, especially during the sun's peak hours (10:00am-4:00pm)
  2. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
  3. Cover up with clothing, especially a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  4. Avoid tanning parlors and artificial tanning devices.
  5. Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that includes vitamin supplements.
  6. Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens can be used on babies over the age of six months.
  7. Teach children good sun-protective practices.
  8. Examine your skin from head to toe once every month.
  9. Have a professional examination annually.
  10. Avoid tanning and especially -- do not burn! One blistering sunburn doubles your risk of melanoma.

Do You Know�?

  • Year-round sun protection is important
  • The sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation can penetrate many types of clothes?
  • It can also go through automobile and residential windows?
  • It can damage your eyes, contributing to cataracts, macular degeneration, and eyelid cancers?
  • When you're on snow or ice, your face and eyes are at almost twice the risk of UV damage because of reflected glare?

Recently, to combat these hidden dangers, The Skin Cancer Foundation expanded its Seal of Recommendation program. For more than two decades, the Foundation has granted the Seal to products containing SPF 15+ sunscreen that meet the highest standards for safety and effectiveness. Now, in recognition of the need for extra forms of sun protection, several other types of products have been awarded the Seal as well, including . . .

  • a UV- protective automobile window film
  • a UV-protective residential window film
  • a UV-blocking face mask
  • a laundry product that can be added to detergent to increase UV protection in clothing
  • sunglasses that protect against UV and high-energy visible light

More than 200 products in the United States and some 20 abroad currently have qualified for the Seal. For a list of these products, call 1-800-SKIN-490, or send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to:

The Skin Cancer Foundation
245 Fifth Avenue
Suite 1403
New York, NY 10016

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Well, it's been ages since I wrote last. I have been to busy to "inform" anyone. :) I substitute taught 5 1/2 of the last 6 days, compounded with the girls' activities, my church circle's annual "all daughter dinner" and a quick visit back home. We went up to visit the family and take food to my parents.
Today we went on a family walk. It was beautifully sunny, however a bit on the frigid side. The dogs were so excited when we got the leash out; they love walks! I have inherited my second dog as my sis in law could nolonger keep him. He's a beagle. Barks a lot, but loves to snuggle, and he's small. His name is Percy and we've had him since December.
My dog that I've had since June 2000, is Merlin. He's an 80 pound weimaraner. He's a "mama's dog". Some mornings he won't even get out of his bed when my husband comes down for work, he bolts up when he hears me get out of bed. Here you will see a photo of a weim.
Weims are high energy. Merlin just slowed down from "puppy behavior" in the last year or so. And he was born April of 2000. He's a bundle of strength and pep, but he is great with my daughters. He is very protective of us girls and does not like salesmen who appear at my door. :)
He is very gentle with my children and learned commands wonderfully, however, his first year with us was a challenge. Neither my husband nor I had ever really had indoor dogs, so this dominant guy was an adventure, but we stuck it out and he is a wonderful dog. He loves to run with me and play with the girls, to be touching me all the time that I'm home-he has not liked that I've been gone all day subbing!
Here is a weim club of America website for further info,
although some of these characteristics do not fit my boy at all. :) He's a spoiled guy, that's for sure, but extremely smart and loves his family. That's all I have time for, for now.
Hoepfully I'll get time to write more soon!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Dove's Campaign

If you were watching the Super Bowl, you probably saw the Dove commercial about girls' thoughts, feelings & esteem. It may have made you think, smile, or even scoff. As a mother of two daughters, each beautiful in their own unique ways, I found it interesting, touching and sad, as well. I have been to the website, read some interesting things, and wanted to share.
Here's the site:
"Let's give self-esteem a little boost".

Greenland's Glaciers Melting

This is an interesting article on glacial melting!! Here is a bit of the article found at the address above:

"An increase in surface air temperatures appears to be causing the glaciers to flow faster, albeit at the still-glacial pace of eight miles to nine miles a year at their fastest clip, and dump increased volumes of ice into the Atlantic.

That stepped-up flow accounted for about two-thirds of the net 54 cubic miles of ice Greenland lost in 2005. That compares with 22 cubic miles in 1996, Rignot said."

Monday, February 13, 2006


Well, my oldest daughter taught me to knit last Feb but I didn't really get into it until this winter. I have knitted scarves for my aunt, my mom, my sis in law, my mom in law and my two girls. My attempt on the girls' wasn't too hot, but they were first and they don't judge. :) I have enjoyed the basic knit scarf. One stitch top to bottom. However, my brother's wife came down and said, here's how you purl... Ahhh. It's been harder than I thought. I am working on it. :) I need to get scarves made for my grams, too. So, in the vein of informing, here are the basics to knitting and purling. It truly is relaxing. My mom cross stitches and with the pattern, counting, highlighting what is done, many threads, it can be hard, esp to do in the car! But knitting (at least a scarf with one basic stitch) is easier. However, I'm not attempting a sweater where counting and a pattern are also necessary!
Found this at:

How To Knit

wpe549.jpg (5681 bytes) CO= Cast On

Make a slip knot on the needle about two yards from the end of the yarn. (This amount varies according to the number of stitches to be cast on, but always allow plenty!) Holding needle in right hand, loop end of yarn around left thumb and hold it in the left palm. Insert tip of needle into loop on thumb, pass yarn leading to the ball around needle from back to front, draw yarn through loop. Slip loop off thumb and tighten stitch thus formed on needle.


wpe54A.jpg (6285 bytes) K=Knit

Holding needle with cast-on stitches in your left hand and second needle in your right, with yarn at back insert tip of right-hand needle into the first stitch from left to right, front to back. With right hand, pass yarn under and over tip of right-hand needle, draw yarn through stitch, and slip stitch just worked in off.


wpe54B.jpg (6435 bytes) P=Purl

Holding needle with stitches in your left hand and second needle in your right, with yarn at front insert tip of right-hand needle into first stitch from right to left, back to front. With right hand, pass yarn over and under tip of right-hand needle, draw yarn through stitch, and slip stitch just worked in off left-hand needle.


wpe54C.jpg (4976 bytes) Inc=Increase

Work the stitch as usual but do not slip the stitch just worked in off the left-hand needle; work again in the same stitch inserting the needle into the back of the stitch. Now slip the stitch worked in off the left-hand needle.

Another method of increasing is to knit one stitch in the back of the stitch in the row below, then knit the stitch above as usual.


wpe54D.jpg (4245 bytes) Dec= Decrease

If knitting, insert tip of right-hand needle into second stitch on left-hand needle, then into first stitch; work the two together as one stitch.

wpe54E.jpg (4124 bytes)

If purling, insert tip of right-hand needle into first stitch on left-hand needle, then into second stitch; work the two together as one stitch.

SL 1, K 1, PSSO

wpe54F.jpg (7411 bytes) SL=slip. K=Knit. PSSO= Pass slipped stitch over.

Slip stitch from left-hand needle to right-hand one without knitting it. Knit the next stitch. Insert tip of left-hand needle into the slipped stitch, pass it over the knitted stitch, and off needle.

Yarn Over

wpe550.jpg (4274 bytes) YO= yarn over

If knitting, bring yarn to front of work, over right-hand needle to back, and then knit the next stitch.

wpe551.jpg (3955 bytes)

If purling, wind yarn completely around the right-hand needle from front to back. and then purl the next stitch.

Casting on during work

wpe552.jpg (2964 bytes)

Turn work so needle to which yarn is attached is held in left hand. Insert tip of right-hand needle into first stitch, pass yarn under and over and draw it through stitch; leave stitch worked in on left-hand needle.

wpe553.jpg (3178 bytes)

Transfer new stitch from right-hand needle to left-hand, needle. Repeat for the required number of stitches, then turn work again and continue as the directions specify.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Emeril's Venison Chili

The husband and I went to an adult-only-chili party last night. It is an annual event held by some friends. They have always had it on our daughter's birthday weekend, so we couldn't go in previous years, but they moved it this year, so we were able to attend. After discussion and debate, we went with a venison chili. It's recipe name (the recipe is below) is originally Tex-Mex Venison Chili, but we adapted our chili title to "Tex-Mex Bambi Chili". We used venison from a deer Dad got last year, steaks and ground. Hubby's hard work won him the "Most Original Chili" award at the party-and a bottle of Red Truck wine! :) The chili is a bit on the spicy side, but is good. We're eating some more when our bball team plays this afternoon! Try it, it's extra lean meat and it tastes like beef!,,FOOD_9936_22137,00.html

Tex-Mex-style Venison Chili
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2003
Show: Emeril Live
Episode: Kicked Up Venison

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless venison rump, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 pound ground venison, or ground pork
1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 to 3 large jalapenos, seeded and minced, to taste
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can crushed tomatoes and their juices
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer
1 1/2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons masa harina
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Grated cheddar cheese, garnish (Longhorn: recommended)
Minced yellow onions, garnish
Cornbread, corn muffins or garlic bread, optional accompaniment
In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the meat and Essence, and stir with a long-handled wooden spoon to break up the pieces. Cook, stirring, until the meat is brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, jalapenos, chili powder, pepper flakes, paprika, cumin, oregano and salt, and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, beer, and stock. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the meat is tender and cooked through, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, dissolve the masa in the water and stir to make a thick paste. Add to the chili and stir to incorporate. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cilantro. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Ladle into chili bowls. Sprinkle with grated cheese and minced onions. Serve with hot cornbread, muffins or garlic bread, as desired.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup

Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

Courtesy & Chivalry

"Life is not so short but that there is always time for courtesy and chivalry."-Emerson

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Reminder for Me

"Your children will become what you are, so be what you want them to be."-Doris Lessing

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Goodness Within

"Goodness is the only investment that never fails."-Henry David Thoreau

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I recently completed an terrific series of books. They are the Mitford books by Jan Karon. They are fictional, surrounding "Father Tim" and the small town he resides in, as well as the townspeople's interesting lives. The first book started a little slow for me, but I quickly fell in love with these books-devouring every one until I had to wait for the next to be published. The last book in the series was in November and I finished it the week it came out. I shared the series with my friends and they love it, too!
Here's the website:
The books truly are heartwarming and leave you with a good feeling, as well as a feeling of: read the next book!! :)

Currently I am reading A Taxonomy of Barnacles by Galt Niederhoffer. I haven't gotten too far into it, but the review I read was good and intriguing. So, hopefully I will like it. :)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Good question

"Ask yourself, 'How would the person I want to become, deal with this situation?'"-Bill Treasurer

Monday, January 23, 2006

Red Velvet Cake

My oldest turned eleven and we had a busy day. We did flowers, balloons, and decorations. She played at a friend's house for a short while. I cleaned house, cooked cheesey potato casserole, and then began the long, arduous journey of red velvet cake. It was passed down to use from my husband's great-grandma, Marie. She made it as a tradition. Now, I do. I make it for my husband's birthday every year and this year our daughter requested it for hers. Here is the recipe (to make sure I'm sharing info with the readers. :))


  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 oz. red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda sprinkled over 1 Tbsp. vinegar


Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Sift flour, salt & cocoa together. Add alternately with buttermilk. Beat 3-4 minutes after each addition. Stir in baking soda and vinegar mixture by hand. Bake 30 minutes at 350° in 2 9-inch greased and floured pans. Some online recipes say three nine inch pans, but they are incorrect because it is spread too thin.

Then the frosting that came with our recipe that makes the cake:
  • 1 C. Milk
  • 1 1/4 C. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C. flour
  • 3/4 C. Shortening
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Combine milk & flour & cook until thick (like a white sauce) Stir constantly. Set aside to cool. Cream sugar & shortening until light and fluffy. Add vanilla & cooled cream sauce. Beat until icing becomes stiff.

It is truly a wonderful cake. It takes a while, with the cooking of the frosting and all, but it's worth it.

So, before my in-laws got here, I finished the housecleaning... to inform my readers, here are some housecleaning tips:
I found these at

Refrigerator Odors

  • A little vanilla poured on a piece of cotton and placed in the refrigerator will eliminate odors.
  • After cleaning the refrigerator add a dash of lemon extract to the rinse water for a fresh scent.

Stuck on Food

For stuck on food on a casserole dish, try adding 2 tablespoons of baking soda and boiling water to cover the stuck on food. Let sit for a while. The dish will be much easier to clean.

And this from good old Martha ( go to living and homekeeping) here is how to make a bed...if you get around to making it!! :)

How to Make a Bed

Follow Martha’s easy, efficient system for making a bed perfectly.

1. Begin with a good-quality mattress and box spring. Protect the mattress with a cotton cover; Martha adds a wool pad.

2. Unless you’re using a fitted sheet, make hospital corners with the bottom sheet, starting at the bed’s head: Drape the sheet evenly over the bed, leaving about 1 foot of fabric hanging beyond the head. Stand beside the bed, toward its center, and pick up a side hem. Pull the hem toward you into a taut crease, then raise the creased section over the mattress so the sheet makes a triangular tent over the bed. With your other hand, smooth the sheet flat along the mattress’s side. Then fold the creased section down over the side, and tuck the sheet snugly under the mattress. Repeat the process at the foot and other side of the bed.

3. Add the top sheet, and make hospital corners at the bed’s foot.

4. Leave the sides untucked for easier sleeping. Finish with a blanket, quilt, or down comforter.

Ok, enough informing for tonight. :) I am enjoying deciding what information I'm going to add to the blog. At least for now, I am. :)
Tomorrow my daughter takes her birthday treats to school (store bought this year) and we are secretly repainting her room while she's at school! My husband took the day off so we could work all day and then surprise her when she gets home...Fingers crossed that all goes well!!

Fictional Characters Have Blogs

I saw this in the USA Weekend yesterday and thought it was interesting. Fictional Characters are now getting their own blogs. Three examples, in case you didn't know and didn't read the article, are:
Dwight Schrute (The Office) is Dwight Schrute's Space (
Barney (How I Met Your Mother) is Barney's Blog (
Joe (Grey's Anatomy-which is the greatest show on right now) is Joe's Blog (
The Nurses Station (Grey's Anatomy)

In other news, my oldest girl turned eleven today!! Busy day ahead!

Global Warming

I still want to be informative, so here is are also some facts to inform you about global warming. I found these at:

Global Warming

Welcome! The fact that you are already here shows that you know how serious the issue of global warming is to our futures. Here is some basic information on what global warming means, and how you can help to stop the process. Thanks for visiting with us!

Do scientists agree about global warming?

Scientists who study the climate are still arguing about how fast the earth is warming and how much it will warm, but they do agree that the earth is warming and that it will keep warming if we don’t do anything about it.

What is causing global warming?

Scientists agree that the burning of fossil fuels like oil and coal cause greenhouse gases to escape into the air and that these gases are causing most of the warming. Another cause is deforestation (cutting down trees). Trees soak up carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases, from the air.

What is the difference between "global warming" and "climate change?"

"Global warming" refers to the increase of the Earth's average surface temperature, due to a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. "Climate change" is a broader term that refers to long-term changes in climate, including average temperature and precipitation.

What will happen if global warming continues?

There are already some changes happening because of global warming. Sea level is rising and some animals are already moving to new homes. It’s already too late to stop global warming completely.

If the warming gets worse, as scientists expect, there may be some kinds of plants and animals that become extinct (disappear completely) because they can’t move to new homes. There may be more storms and floods. Sea level may rise so much that people have to move away from the coasts. Some areas may become too dry for farming.

What is being done about global warming?

Global warming is a very difficult problem to fix. People are having a hard time agreeing on what to do about it. For example, everyone agrees that wasting energy is a bad thing to do. But some people think that the federal government should make laws about it, while other people think it should be up to each person or business to decide what to do.

Many states and businesses in the United States are not waiting until the federal government decides what to do. They have already started working on the problem.

What can I do about global warming?

You don’t have to wait until you are grown to do something about global warming. Scientists agree that the burning of fossil fuels is causing global warming. Since these fuels are burned for energy, and everyone uses energy, everyone can help stop global warming just by using less energy.

Think about the things you do each day that use energy. The lights in your house use electricity. The TV and computer use electricity. The washing machine, dishwasher and dryer all use gas or electricity. Every time you ride in your car, it uses gasoline.

There are some very simple things that everyone can do to help stop global warming:

· Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Use fluorescent bulbs in your room.

· Turn off your computer or the TV when you’re not using it. Unplug chargers when not in use.

· Wait until you have a lot of clothes to wash before using the washing machine. Don’t use the machine for one item just because it’s your favorite shirt.

· Take shorter showers. Heating water uses energy.

· Close the blinds on a hot day if the sun is shining in. Dress more lightly instead of asking for the air conditioning to be turned up, or use a fan.

· Dress more warmly when it’s cold, instead of asking for the heat to be turned up.

· Offer to help your parents keep the air filters on your AC and furnace clean.

· Walk short distances instead of asking for a ride in a car.

· Plant a tree.

· Learn more about global warming so you can talk to people about it.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


My husband has informed me, as well as one of our "gadget intelligent" friends, that blogs should "only be used to share information", to "inform" people. They are a bad way for people to profile others and find out personal information. So, I have removed all our names in an effort to protect our identities. ;) I have removed most directional indicators, as well.
Now, to inform those who read my blog...what to inform readers on...hmmm.
Let's start with this:
In our Women's Circle at our church, we often discuss books on parenting. This year we have a small "tips" book that gives a little tidbit. One of us chooses one, we read it, and then all of us try to practice that all through the week. It's a great reminder; most are common sense, not new information, but great reminders. The book is called "Parenting at the Speed of Life: 60 ways to capture time with your kids" by Rick Osborne. There are ideas like leaving them notes, telling them about times they don't remember about themselves on their birthdays, to celebrate their entrance into our lives, hugging them 19 or more times a day, and telling them that you believe in them.
The book we read, not just for tips but for discussion, last year was "Power of the Positive Mom" by Karol Ladd. It is Bible/faith based parenting advice/information and we read a chapter every other week. Again, some of it is common sense, but they give you so much more in this book! The chapters are:
  • Portrait of a Positive Mom
  • Priciple #1: the Power of Encouragement
  • Principle #2: the Power of Prayer
  • Priciple #3: the Power of a Good Attitude
  • Principle #4: the Power of Strong Relationships
  • Principle #5: the Power of Your Example
  • Principle #6: the Power of Strong Moral Standards
  • Principle #7: the Power of Love and Forgiveness
This book really spoke to me as a believer in God, as a mom and as a wife. One reminder from the book that has stuck with me and that I liked was this:
"Some psycologists say that for every negative comment a person receives, they need to hear ten positive comments to overcome the effects of the negative one. Ten to one-now that's a lot of positive words, especially when you consider all the negative input our kids are likely to encounter during a typical day." I like that the book later points out our job as parents is to work on bringing that positive to our kids more frequently, as well as the other people we come in contact with.
Proverbs 12:25 says, "An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up."
I needed to be reminded of this, because, in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, I raise my voice to say "hurry up!" more than I should, for starters. I don't compliment the positives as often as I should, either.

Friday, January 20, 2006

A Friday Jaunt

The hubby and I got the girls off to school and then headed to Amish country and perused a few furniture stores. We were looking for a kitchen table. We didn't order or buy anything, but did decide on the style we liked. We especially liked a cherry one that was rectangle, simple and had two leaves. We had a great lunch. Then we headed back. We spent two hours on the way there driving and two on the way back, but had a nice time chatting along the way, and stopping at out of the way places. When we got back it was about time to get the girls from school.
Last night I went with a friend, and we met two of her friends, for dinner. The food was good and the maragaritas were strong. The company was great. We chatted and enjoyed the food and atmosphere.
We have a pretty slow weekend ahead, dinner at friends' tomorrow, as well as watching the Buckeyes play. Hopefully we can get our oldest a lamp or two for her room to go with her bed stuff to finish off the room for now. Then church on Sunday. Monday is our oldest's birthday and my husband's family comes over for dinner. We're having blueberry pancakes, sausage and I'm not sure what else. I'm thinking she'll choose frozen fruit; the family recipe, and a broccoli quiche. She hasn't chosen a dessert right now.
Both girls are finishing up their Girl Scout Cookie sales, as the forms are to be turned in no later than Monday. They've done ok, not nearly to their goals, but enough. And we will finish out the forms buying a few boxes (a few??) to stuff into the freezer. :)
Yum: tagalongs and thin mints...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Be great in little things.-Francis Xavier

Little things...hmmm, yesterday I had a day full of them. :) My day began with the hubby taking our youngest out for her "breakfast with Dad" and our oldest and I eating homemade cranberry orange bread. It was yummy fresh from the oven.
We then got caught up in the whirlwind: getting lunches packed, school papers ready, outfits that didn't fit, power outage, and new fallen snow.
After getting them off to school I took care of the necessities, more little things. I ran to the grocery to get eggs, berries, just a few other things. I went home and the power was back on. I did laundry, picked up in the girls' rooms and the basement, made appts (an eye appt for our oldest for one), etc.
Our dog had hurt his leg Thurs or Fri and was still ginger on it when my parents were here. Dad said he thought it might be a dislocated hip, being that it wasn't better. I had to take him to the vet yesterday because he was still having trouble going up stairs, and things. So, I debated that early in the's like a child with a cold. You worry that it might be something else, but you don't want to take them to the doctor and have them tell you what you already know: it's a cold...but just in I took him yesterday afternoon to tell me it was just a deep bruising near the knee. He got pain pills and restricted exercise (he's a weim, so that's about impossible!) and she found the beginnings of arthritis, as he has pills to take for the rest of his life. my husband was thrilled about this, I might add. our dog gets so stressed when we go to the vet, that he is a freaking out, losing hair, mess. He was so exhausted from it that he slept all evening! He's back to himself today: following me around everywhere, all the time.
Then, last night, our youngest had tumbling, our oldest had piano lessons and my husband played basketball, too. It was all over by 8:30 and we watched the Buckeyes beat the Badgers by ten points.
I also finished a scarf for my aunt, during the day, and sent it off in the mail, as well as a gift for a friend whose birthday I missed.
our oldest's birthday stuff: her comforter, pillow shams, decorative pillows and bed skirt arrived yesterday, as well.
So, it was a good, productive day, even if it was full of "little things". :)