My Current Giveaways

Keep watching--more coming soon!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tips on Tuesday: What's your gift?

Have you ever wondered what your true gifts are? What are the things God placed inside of you for the benefit of not only you, but also all you meet? I recently stumbled upon two sites that help you find your gifts.

This first site about
Spiritual Gifts Analysis is an in depth site that uses the format I've used in written assessments. You can do a free spiritual gift analysis at this site.

The second one is a
Spiritual Gifts Test Inventory and while it is shorter, it is still a good one. I believe the full analysis gives a better snapshot of yourself, but some people prefer this inventory because of the shorter format.

If you take one of these tests, remember to answer quickly--don't sit and think about it. Go with your gut. You'll get the most accurate self-assessment that way.

Some of you might wonder why this is such a tip. Well, if you know about yourself and where your strengths lie, it is much easier to get along with others. It's also easier to understand when someone takes charge of a situation that it's their gift in action. Besides, most people I know are striving to be the best person they can be. What a great way to improve yourself by knowing what your gifts are.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Kindermusik Begins Again

All of my children have gone through the Kindermusik program. It's singing, dancing and movement as well as learning the fundamentals of music and instrument playing. It's a fantastic program that has really helped my kids do well as they moved from Kindermusik to piano lessons. I recommend it for all children, regardless of whether you intend for them to play an instrument or not. You can learn more at including finding a studio near you.

Our studio had an open house where we got to do fun things and meet some of the people who would be in our class. This year it's kind of fun...Rebekah is the only girl in her class. While I feel bad for the teacher, Princess Rebekah is loving it!

Here are some photos from the open house. It was a lot of fun.
A beam of sunshine came in the window just as I snapped this photo. She was playing with the streamers and rolling around on the floor.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tips on Tuesday: Target Will Price Match

I have found out some interesting news. Target is re-starting their price matching program. For those of you who remember the old days, it will be different. Please read through the rules below.
We touched on price matching back in this Tips on Tuesday: Grocery Smarts post, so I wanted to share the new Target information with you.
Target will price match same item products in their stores. According to the website, it is all stores nationwide. The item you are price matching must be in a current printed competitor advertisement. You will have seven days from the date of purchase to actually do the price match.
***PLEASE NOTE: You can NOT price match the item at the registers. You must pay full price in the checkout lane. The item will be rung up at the current price and you will need to go to Guest Services (customer service counter) to do the price adjustment (a.k.a. price match).
While I'm glad Target is price matching again, it is a much more cumbersome system and not as user friendly as the Wal-Mart system at the checkout lane. I feel they designed it to discourage price matching--especially on groceries. Part of me wants to rebel and go price match every item I purchase out of the grocery section. Part of me wants to forget it and just keep shopping at Wal Mart. I have not yet tried price matching at Target. I will point out it would be terrific for toys and other larger ticket items!
For all of the disclaimers and the complete list of exclusions to the price match program, please visit Target's Our Low Prices Promises & Facts page.
One final note--it does not state anywhere online that I could find about the actual ad. I will assume you must show the competitor's ad in order to receive the price match. It doesn't state that online (as far as I saw), but it will be my assumption that no ad, no price match. If I'm wrong, please post and let me know!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Big News...

The following invitation was sent home with Andrew.

Congratulations, Andrew
You Have Been Selected
to serve as a
Member of the 2009-2010
Student Council
We look forward to a great year!
Andrew wanted to be a part of Student Council last year but was not selected. I knew it was a tight race last year, but I learned more of the selection process this year. Andrew had to fill out an application and write a five paragraph essay all about himself. Then the top candidates are selected by the Student Council sponsors and sent to the classroom teachers. The team teachers select the top girl and top boy from the team to be on Student Council. There are 8 teams at school so 16 students were selected out of the 1000+ students in the building.
We are thrilled that Andrew was selected for this honor. He had been on student council at the former elementary school, but when we moved, the new elementary school didn't have a student council at that time. After Andrew went to middle school, they got a student council at elementary. He's thrilled to be back in a leadership role.
Great job, Andrew! Dad & Mom are so proud of you for the hard work and effort you put into your essay. We pray you will continue to work hard and be a blessing to those you work with and to the students of your school. We love you!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oink Flu Delays Party Number Two...

With the possible H1N1 (Swine) flu at our home, we had to do a little re-arranging for Andrew's family party. We were going to go to a local pizza place for a buffet lunch, but needed to switch that so he & I could get home to the rest of the family.

We were talking with my folks about where to go for lunch. Andrew was trying to pick a different place to eat that wasn't one of our 'usual' food spots and came up with Wendy's. I suggested a cafeteria to step up his lunch a bit from one that comes wrapped in paper. He looks at me and says, "The Steakhouse?" Hmmm--maybe that's a step too far. We settled for the 2 for $20 at Applebee's. The steaks were yummy and he got a free dessert.

After lunch, we went to my folks to let him open his presents from them. He got a Toontown card and some clothes...including the "I Have No Idea What Happened To My Homework" shirt he's been keeping his eye on at Kohls. Then he wanted to show what the #1 Lion's fan did after their season and put the bag on his head.

That night, we opened our gifts at home from us, his other grandparents and his Tio and Tia. He got lots of nice clothes, a little cash and the High School Musical extended DVD with all the bonus stuff on it.

Even though we were fighting the Oink Flu, I think he still had a great day!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Birthday Bash Number One

For Andrew's birthday bash, we took our family and four of his friends to a local water park for the day. We started off at our house opening presents. Then we took off for the pool and a ton of fun.

Rebekah loved the kiddie pool this time. She also LOVES the lazy river. We spent hours in the lazy river with her. Nathan would slide on the slide in the kiddie area, but Rebekah only did a couple of times.
In one pool, there's a climbing rope and 'mushrooms' that you have to cross to get to the other side. The boys had a great time on this!

We had dinner at the pool restaurant and 'dessert snacks' in lieu of cake. Rebekah didn't get a nap and collapsed on Sean while we were ordering dinner. She slept on him for about 45 minutes. Here she is just waking up.
All in all, the boys seemed to have a grand time. One boy had to leave after 4 hours. The rest of us were there for 7 hours total. We took in seven kids and came out with seven kids...and the best part of it was we took the same seven kids out that we took in. Whew!
Andrew had a fantastic time and we look forward to swimming at the indoor water park again this winter.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tips on Tuesday: Avoiding "Oink Oink" in Your Home

H1N1---Swine Flu---words that strike absolute terror and pandemonium in some of my friend's lives. I'm not an extremist to begin with and I think most epidemics/pandemics are a little over inflated and over rated. And now that our Nathan has survived a virus that really probably was Swine Flu, I feel like I can offer comfort and wisdom to those in the panic population.

First of all, I'm going to tell you our story so you can laugh with us and our laid-back approach to life. Last Wednesday, we sent all three kids to AWANAS. They had a great time and Sean had to get them to stop running all over the place to load them up and bring them home. As we're getting pajamas on, Nathan starts complaining of a headache and from his reactions, I can tell he's fighting a migraine. He was light sensitive and kept trying to get undressed with a pillow over his face. I helped him get ready for bed, gave some Tylenol for the headache and closed up the Nathan Cave for the night.

In the morning, he's up and getting dressed for school. Nothing out of the ordinary other than moving slow. Since the kids are up late on AWANAS night, we expect them to be dragging a little on Thursday. When he started to have a mini-meltdown about breakfast, he went to the couch and started in again with things on his eyes. Sean went to hug him and ask if he still had a migraine and when kissing Nathan, he realized there was a fever. It got up to a 101 a couple times in the day, but most of the time hovered right at 100. Nothing Tylenol couldn't control. Before bed on Thurs. night, he started complaining about a sore throat. Looking in his throat, it looked suspiciously like strep throat so off to Urgent Care.

***Side Note*** Even the Urgent Care doctor thought we were freaks. Sean took Nathan in while I put the kids to bed. Please note it only costs us about $5 more to go to Urgent Care instead of waiting for the doctor's office to be open. My theory was that Strep needs antibiotics. Why not get them before bed and let him sleep off the first 8 hours of the antibiotics doing their work. The doctor couldn't believe we'd come in the first day of symptoms. He commented on this several times that most people wait a while before coming in to the Urgent Care. So, in my mind, we're really great parents to care enough to seek treatment right away. LOL!

The Urgent Care doc said it's not strep and the symptoms were similar to influenza/flu or H1N1/Swine Flu. Frankly, I thought the guy was off his rocker. I chalked it up to standard kid virus and kept going. He had fever Friday and it broke Fri. night. He was fever free/symptom free all day Sat. Just a little run down and resting after running around like usual. He slept 12 hours from Sat. to Sun. and woke up with a cough and a low-grade fever. It never went above a 99.7, but we chose to keep him home from school on Monday because of the cough and to give him one more day to heal up. The 99.7 makes it 'technically' ok for him to return to school, but we wanted to err on the side of caution.

Last night, I decided to check on the Swine Flu and see what the symptoms really are. At the CDC Website, they have great information on when it becomes life threatening, but not good basic info. The best info I found was at the UK Comparable Website. The UK site says,

So far, most swine flu cases have been mild, with symptoms similar to those of seasonal flu. Only a small number of people have had more serious symptoms.
If you or a member of your family has a fever or high temperature (over 38°C/100.4°F) and two or more of the following symptoms, you may have swine flu:
unusual tiredness,
* headache,
* runny nose,
* sore throat,
* shortness of breath or cough,
* loss of appetite,
* aching muscles,
* diarrhoea or vomiting.

Wow! In hindsight, perhaps it was H1N1. He had headache, "high fever"--since when is 100.4 considered high?!?!---as well as sore throat and he got the cough. He had loss of appetite, but that comes with fever around here. It was the easiest illness we've had in a long time. Saturday and Sunday found him running circles around the house and jumping on the mini-trampoline because he was going stir crazy. He didn't really look sick, but the low grade fever was indicating to me his body was finishing the fight.

When I guffaw out loud at the media with their inflamed reports of H1N1--the Killer Flu, don't mind me. I often think these reports are a smoke screen by the media and the government to keep us from focusing on things they don't want to discuss. If you are immuno-compromised, the H1N1 flu has the potential to turn into something worse if untreated. For those at high risk, all forms of flu should be treated with caution.

Here's the final kicker of the experience. When at the Urgent Care, the doctor said he wouldn't test for H1N1 even though he believed it was what Nathan had. When Sean asked why not, the doctor said the test is $200 and the current course of treatment for children with H1N1 is Tylenol. His course of treatment for Nathan (flu or no flu) was Tylenol. No need to put a dot on a map at $200 to be given Tylenol.

My recommendation for those with panic attacks over H1N1 is to relax. It was truly no big deal here. We've had colds that were worse than this. The hard part is the recovery is long...especially when he's feeling great and isn't allowed to go out and play.

Tips to keep healthy:

  • Cover your cough. DO NOT cough or sneeze into your hands. Please cough into your elbow or shoulders. It helps keep the germs from spreading.
  • Practice good hand-washing techniques. If you haven't learned how to wash hands, soap/scrub while you sing happy birthday to yourself (about 30 seconds). I put the Hand Washing against H1N1 Poster above.
For those in panic about the Oink Oink Flu, take a deep breath and remember it's really not so bad!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Andrew holding newborn Nathan...

Nathan holding newborn Rebekah.

The three blessings Sean & I hold most dear. We hope each of you know how much your Daddy & Mommy love you. Each of you was prayed for, longed for and a true gift from God.

(No newborn Andrew pics--he was born before the digital revolution. Have to find and scan those photos.)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Tips on Tuesday: Less than perfect Mothering

I just received this email into my inbox. It hit home so hard in my current space and place in life that I could hardly breathe. As I try not to be a helicopter mom (you know--always hovering), I often war with myself between allowing independence and holding onto my babies. I thought this was the most poignant thing I've read recently. Enjoy!

Less-Than-Perfect Mothering
Carla Foote, Director of Communications
MOPS International,
"I was watching parents drop their kids off at school last week, and I noticed a trend: many parents didn’t want to let their children go off on their own, for fear that they might come across disappointment, failure or difficulty. Moms and dads wanted to stick around, so they could continue to protect their kids.

We put lots of pressure on ourselves as moms to “get it right.” (Whatever “right” and “it” are.) Somehow as we make our way through the thousands of things that make up our individual mom-styles, there’s still a nagging suspicion that our kids will turn out terribly if we mess something up.

There’s nothing wrong with aspirations toward being more patient, nurturing, organized or more whatever as a mom, but I think our children learn important life lessons in the less-than-perfect times – when we make “mistakes.” How we mother during this less-than-perfect life builds resilience in our kids. Life is, after all, less than perfect.

Toys will break, sandwiches will be sliced incorrectly and playground friends will be mean. These inconveniences and heartbreaks might be the best preparation for inevitable disappointment later in life. After all, cars break down, breakfast toast burns and some degree of relationship disappointment is inevitable.

It’s an important job to show our kids how we (less-than-perfect moms) take deep breaths and move forward in the face of trouble, disappointment and discouragement. Even if we’re not graceful under pressure, our children can watch us apologize, stand up and brush off the dirt.
By the way, I wasn’t watching first-time school kids being dropped off – this was freshman orientation at college! Let’s decide to let our little (and not-so-little) ones walk their own rocky paths every once in a while. It will be good for them in the end."

Copyright © 2009 by MOPS International, Inc.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Must See Video

We saw this video at our MOPS Kick-off. I laughed so hard I almost cried. Hold onto your hat and get ready for a good belly-laugh. Oh, and don't watch if you are hungry--it ruins some appetites.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Remember the Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer? Well, kiss them goodbye!

It's true, we've kissed the last days of summer vacation goodbye. And I got Andrew outside early enough to get photos before any of the other middle school moms came out with their kids and cameras. Phew! After all these years of practice, we're able to get all the shots I want in about 30 seconds.
He did insist on having a quick shot with his sister (who was awake, up and dressed before we had to get Andrew up for school...what's with that?!?!).

Nathan is excited and ready to go.

He loves his new Bakugan backpack. It's got a big 3D photo of the main characters. Nathan's cool...and I think he knows it.

After breakfast in the cafeteria, he headed to his room. He sat down at his desk and got straight to work. No time for photos in the classroom--bellwork is calling. He loves his teacher and in a few short days, it's become apparent that she loves him right back.

Rebekah & I went with a neighbor to Starbucks for breakfast. A nice way to kick off the school year. And she only had a few days to wait for her school to start.

Rebekah on the first day of Preschool. She's got her new Dora Backpack (formerly known as a Pack-Pack) and her big girl smile on.

It's always good to have big brothers to watch out for you and give you one more reassuring hug before you go.

Rebekah was climbing up my body the first day of preschool screaming, "Don't leave me mommy!" As soon as the teacher was ready (and guarding the door), I put her down and walked out. Good thing the teacher was waiting because Rebekah bolted for the door and would have beat me to the car if Miss Jodi hadn't caught her on the way past.

Ever since the first day, she now walks into school and runs into the room with a jaunty wave and a "Bye, mom!" I usually ask if I could have a kiss before she goes. She always gives me one and into the room she goes. Whew! We have to thank Miss Deana from MOPS/Bible Study for working long and hard (even during the nauseated first trimester of her baby #4). Miss Deana is the reason I think the preschool transition has gone so well. It's good to have friends who patiently work with your kids and help them get past the velcro stage.

Now they are all in school. While Rebekah is gone two days a week, the hours do fly by and she is quickly home again. Glad to be into a new routine after our summer of therapies. All the kids are excelling at school and love being back.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Free Blue Bunny Aspen or Sedona

You Try, We Buy Labor Day Offer

Click here for the rebate form. Purchase any Blue Bunny® Aspen or Sedona Frozen Yogurt Granola Novelty over Labor Day weekend (September 5-7, 2009). Mail rebate form, the original receipt and the original UPC bar code from the package. Claims must be postmarked by 9/19/09 and received by 9/23/09 to be eligible.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Related Posts with Thumbnails