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Thursday, October 29, 2009

  1. A big shout out and thanks to Cheryl St.John for giving me a Kreativ Blogger award. I knew an award winning author and blogger as "my BFF" would pay off someday.

The rules for the award are:
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people may not know.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each.

Seven things you may not know about me (I was in a kid mood when I typed this up):
1. Rebekah & I have the same middle's also my dad's name and my grandpa's name.
2. Andrew did not have a name (boy name) until I was hard into false labor a few days before he was born. I was convinced he was a girl, so Cassandra would have been his name.
3. Sean bribed the ultrasound tech at Nathan's ultrasound. He brought her a Snickers bar and told her we weren't going anywhere until we knew girl or boy.
4. I had planned a "My Three Sons" birth announcement until the perinatologist told us, "It's a girl!"
5. I stood in my underwear in front of 600 people. (It was a play and they were ugly granny panties.)
6. My degree is in Theatre--Acting Emphasis.
7. My degree has sat unused for years and years, but it comes in handy when reading bedtime stories to my children...I can do voices. :-)

I'm giving this award to:
1. Sherilyn of Park Place
2. Jennifer at Beauty instead of Ashes
3. Beth at Keesler Chaos
4. Tiffani at Child's Play (found her when searching for 2E blogs)
5. Holly at Embracing the Chaos
6. Jenny at iCraft
7. McLovin at Bored Penguin (He hasn't posted for a while, but start at the beginning of the blog and work forward. He's a jet-setter with a sense of humor.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Boston Market Dinner for $1

Boston Market is giving Quarter White or 3 Piece Dark Chicken meals for $1. Meal comes with Mashed Potatoes and Cornbread.

This offer expires 11/1/09 so use these coupons fast. For all the information and to get the email from Boston Market, head over to Who Said Nothing in Life is Free and get your coupons. Or you can enlarge the photo here and print it out. Their are additional coupons in the email, but this is the best one!

I'm happy to say I had planned for us to have oven baked chicken and mashed potatoes on Thursday for dinner. We're now having chicken and potatoes at Boston Market tomorrow. I can't cook chicken for 5 people at home for only $5. 35. Enjoy!

Wordless Wednesday

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
Me with Bob & Larry (Veggie Tales) and with Mike Nawrocki (the co-founder of Veggie Tales and voice of Larry)
I was able to attend a special preview of the new Veggie Tales Christmas movie at the MOPS Convention.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tips on Tuesday: Good Deals this Week

With Halloween being this weekend, there are several specials going on at various businesses. Most that I found revolve around food (yum)! Most of these are for Oct. 31 only.

I've listed my best finds of the week here so you can find everything in one spot. Anything that isn't good on Oct. 31 only is listed first. Good luck catching these deals before they are gone!

This week at Target, select Hasbro games are on sale for $9 each. Make sure you purchase a game with the Domino's Pizza sticker on it. You'll get a free medium pizza from Domino's. Add the coupon found here for $5 off the purchase of a game and you'll get a game and a pizza for $4.

Taco Bell is giving away a Free Blackjack Taco on Oct. 31 only. From their website: Creep in on Oct. 31 from 6:00pm to Midnight to get one (1) free Blackjack Taco. No costume required. Limit one per person while supplies last.

Dress up in a "burrito themed costume" (rumor is even making a hat out of aluminum foil works) and go to Chipotle from 5pm to close on Oct. 31 and get a free burrito, taco or salad. Check with your local Chipotle as start times may vary by region. Some are starting at 5pm and some at 6pm.

Sonic Drive-In has corndogs for $0.50 on Oct. 31. I believe it is good all day/evening. Check your local Sonic as participation may not be nationwide.

Applebee's is giving children dressed in costume a free kids meal with the purchase of an adult entree. Offer valid Oct. 31 only, lunch and dinner are both included in the offer.

And don't forget events at other stores that don't serve food:
  1. Bass Pro Shops is hosting free family events for Halloween from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 30 and noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 31.
  2. Michael’s is putting on The Knack Free Family Halloween event from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 31, with a free trick-or-treat pail, balloon, candy and crafts.
  3. Toys R Us is hosting a free costume parade from noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 31. Kids will get a free Halloween bag and free treats

Finally, want a FREE treat to give the goblins coming to your house on Saturday night?? Brunswick bowling has the answer. If you go here you can print off sheets of coupons for a free game of bowling at Brunswick lanes. Cut apart the coupons and give one to each trick-or-treater. Free game valid through Nov. 26.

If you know of other freebies or deals this week, please let me know.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ruppe Sisters - It Is Well

Something to bless your day. I've been humming this song all day and thinking about this video. Thought you might like to see it, too.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tips on Tuesday: Families are Forever

Recently, my family lost a precious member. She was my second...or third...cousin, probably twice removed. She passed away quite unexpectedly at the tender young age of 61. (And the older I get, the younger that looks!)

While our family reminisced, one uncle (again, about three times removed) said that we're so blessed to have a reunion every year. If we didn't the only time the family would get together en masse would be for funerals and a very occasional wedding. He said, "No wonder so many people don't look forward to seeing their families. It's only sad times when they get together."

Wow! I thought his comment was profound and I've meditated on it. My mother's side of the family is large overall. My mother's family has had an annual reunion for something like 72 years. It's for all family members, no matter how 'distantly' related you are. This summer, we had 250+ people attend. It's big, it's noisy, we eat too much, we talk too loud, we stay up too late and we have the best time.

I've always focused on the reunion being important to keep our heritage going and the foods from the old country. I believed it was the connection to the old ways that were important. But my uncle's statement hit home on the reunion front as well. The reunion is so important because I wouldn't have known this precious cousin very well if it weren't for the reunions. We've served together side by side. We've shared stories and laughter and shed tears together. So when I remember her, it brings a smile to my face. We had happy times that are helping me move through my grief as I anticipate the day I see her again in Heaven.

I encourage you...the next time someone mentions a reunion or you get an invitation to one...consider going. We always think it's the old ones who won't be around for the next one, but after a twenty-something year old cousin and my 61 year old cousin passed away within two weeks of each other--I'm realizing every one's time is short. Grab the moment and make a memory of a happy time.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

State Music Festival News

Not one trophy, but two. I was a nervous wreck, but the boys seemed cool as cucumbers. Andrew had a minor miss and a little speeding up issue on his second song. Nathan had several missed notes in his song so I was really worried for him. His judge gave the kids in front of him 2's for ratings so I figured he'd get a 2 as well. You have to get a Superior Rating (1+, 1 or 1-) to get a trophy.

Andrew's scores were up fairly fast and he got a 1-. Sweet!! Then I waited and waited for Nathan's scores. It was almost 45 minutes later before they were posted. We were picking up Andrew's trophy when they came down to post Nathan's score. Whew! Always a good day when both get trophies. Nathan ended up with a 1 rating. (I believe Andrew is a little miffed that he got a lower rating with harder music---such is life.)

We celebrated with dinner out tonight. We reminded them over and over that their piano teacher has about 40 kids in her studio and only 3 went to state. The fact that they got Superior ratings at districts makes them winners already. We are so proud of their dedication and hard work and just going and trying. The trophy is icing on the cake, but we were proud of them no matter what the score.

Check out these faces. I think they were a little happy!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sad news to share

My sister called me last night with sad news. Their dog, Zeus, blew a disk in his back and is now paralyzed. Zeus has already had three back surgeries and the last one hasn't lasted very long. It's time to look at quality of life and they have made the difficult decision to have him put down.

She called me after the kids were in bed so I could figure out how to explain everything to them. I know each of my kids will take it in his/her own way...but not something I look forward to sharing. All night, I've been going with the 'ignore it and it doesn't really exist' theory. However, in the light of day, I have to accept it and mourn a scrappy little dog who stole my heart the first time I met him.

I decided to wait until tonight. Let the kids enjoy Friday as there are special activities today at both of their schools. With us living so far away from my sister & brother in law, some of the reality won't really sink in until we go visit at Christmas.

Please pray for my sister and brother in law, our parents and his parents as they go through this time. They are waiting until next week so his parents can come and say goodbye.

Here are my favorite pictures of Zeus from last Christmas. Rebekah & Zeus became quite the pair and she'd entice him to lick her...then she'd squeal and back away while he barked at her squeal.

Zeus, I have to believe that I'll see you again in Heaven. You're the dog who never really knew he wasn't a child. I'll miss you, my little nef-dog (nephew-dog) but I don't want you to be in pain and suffer. Love you, Zeus...go with God.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Grand Ole Opry House

When I was at the MOPS Convention in Nashville, Emily and I took our free time one afternoon to go visit the Grand Ole Opry House and Museum. The museum is free and was a lot more interesting that I thought it might be. (Watch for museum photos soon...)

We were unable to go into the Opry House itself. There was a show that evening, but we had to be back to the Convention Center. After the show, we could have taken a behind the scenes tour of the Opry House, but that will have to wait for another day. We were pretty tired by this point in the trip and Emily's feet were swelling. We decided an hour of walking wasn't going to help the situation.

Here I am in front of the sign. Check out the guitar shaped flower bed.

This gal was all decked out and greeting people as they came to the Opry for the show. I assume she might be in the show...but not certain. I just thought she looked so darling.
Emily & I had someone take our photo by the Opry House. And in case you wondered, Emily chose to wear her purple shirt to honor her road trip friend's (that's me) favorite color. I thought we looked darn tootin' cute together.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

From the New York Times Syndicate. Original link is:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tips on Tuesday: Does Candy cause Criminal Behavior?

A recent article in Time magazine shows a new study linking candy consumption to criminal activity. While the study has raised questions, there aren't many answers out there.

I want to state up front that I think parts of the study have merit and I can't refute their findings. However, I think there's questions that were not asked when the original data was collected that would have given us a better insight. Parenting and discipline styles are not in here.

In the article, two questions/possibilities are discussed: "One of those questions is whether sweets themselves contain compounds that promote antisocial and aggressive behavior, or whether the excessive eating of sweets represents a lack of discipline in childhood that translates to poor impulse control in adulthood. Moore is leaning toward the latter. It's possible that children who are given sweets too frequently never learn how to delay gratification - that is, they never develop enough patience to wait for things they want, leading to impulsivity in adulthood. It's also possible that children who are poorly behaved from the start tend to get more candy."

And so we reach the crux of my post for today. I've threatened to blog on this for a while and it seemed like now is the time. I wonder if some of these kids (or those in the other 41% who had committed a violent crime) were of another side of parenting--total denial of candy.

I was raised in a home where treats including candy, cookies, desserts and sugar cereals were all available in abundance. We were not allowed total freedom, but we were generally not denied sweets in our home. Interestingly enough, I developed a love of plain Cheerios (which I have to this day). I do not enjoy the bulk of the cereals available as they are just too sweet.

My sister and I would often beg for the newest sugary cereal to hit the market and if it went on sale, we'd get one box to try. About 90% of the time, we didn't like the cereal so it would sit on the pantry shelf for months and months. Until I reached Jr. High and High School and started having sleepovers. It was painfully obvious which girls came from homes where candy, sweets and sugary cereals were strictly monitored and mostly forbidden.

The poor girls who weren't allowed these delights at home would binge on our treats. They ate through those ancient (and stale) boxes of cereal. One girl in particular would beg to spend the night every couple weeks. She'd eat dinner at home and come over to my house. She'd have a couple bowls of cereal before bed and two or three in the morning before she left. We could count on her to empty any cereal we hated. She would also eat the 'yucky' holiday candies that we disliked. Nothing was ever wasted by her. And every time she'd spend the night, she'd tell my mom what a great mom she was. Then came the revealing statement, "My mom won't EVER allow us to have fun cereals like this."

Her statement stuck with me. Her mother's zeal to make sure only 'healthy' (substitute 'organic' or 'nothing artificial' or 'sugar-free' in today's society) foods were consumed by her children, she made them Sugar Monsters to rival Cookie Monster. I've taken that lesson and while I am aware of a lot of head-shaking coming my direction, I stand by my personal decision.

I don't really restrict candy and sweets. I'm not crazy--I won't allow a lot of sweets before dinner or at bedtime, but as a rule, the candy jar in our house is a Tupperware container that is open at all times and available to all of my kids. Even Rebekah can get it down when she wants a treat. I have them ask me before they down pop tarts, candy or cookies, but as a general rule I say yes. (And, as a general rule, they don't ask more than once a day--if even that often.)

After an initial binge when holidays or new products come home, I find the candy just sits there. They might eat a few pieces a week, but overall, they don't touch it. Why?? Because it's always there. My kids have no worries about candy or treats--it's always available and they know it. No need to binge since that only gives you a tummy ache. In fact, this photo is of a bag of candy that I started digging out of the cupboard this week. It's going to be donated to the carnival/fun night coming up. And this gallon zip-lock doesn't even make a large dent in the candy-mania in the cupboard.

I will say I do make my kids have delayed gratification in a lot of other areas. We don't jump onto every toy, electronic or other bandwagons until we've researched and saved. We tell our kids no to a lot of things--including sugary foods at certain times. Our kids are learning to delay gratification and have self-control in other areas.

That's my two cents on the whole candy causing crime report. My biggest hope is that others will consider loosening up on some of the things we deny our children to help teach them that moderation is the key. Let children enjoy some of the 'spoils of youth' while they are young by teaching moderation in all things.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nathan's Big News

Nathan got some REALLY BIG news on Friday.

Yes, we've kept it quiet all weekend because I'm trying to get a photo. No, I don't yet have a photo--keep forgetting until bedtime. Will post as soon as I snap it. (**Tired mama wants to note that all pictures are now duly taken and uploaded. Whew!)

Nathan came to the van on Friday with a new piece of jewelry. It's a yellow dog tag on a chain.

Nathan was the Cub of the Week for his room last week. He earned his dog tag in the area of respect. He also managed to move up to purple all five days last week. (We have the green-yellow-red system, but his teacher this year gives a purple if you go above the standard.) We are so proud of him.

I'm thrilled that he has the character quality of respect. Lack of respect in many of today's young people is a major pet peeve of mine. I'm grateful for kind hearted children who show respect to themselves and others.

Nathan--Daddy & Mommy are so proud of you. We know you worked hard to earn such a special honor. Love and hugs to you today and forever.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

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


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Tips on Tuesday: Free Day at Disney in 2010

Have you heard the buzz for 2010?? Disney is attempting to give away 1,000,000 free admissions to either Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California.

How can you get your free one day pass? It's a new program being rolled out by Disney called "
Give a Day, Get a Disney Day." Disney has partnered with HandsOn Network to create a little magic around the country. HandsOn Network is a clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities. They will help connect people to projects and will certify that the work was done.

"We are trying to inspire 1 million people to volunteer in their communities and we're inspiring them to do that by giving them a free day at a Disney park," Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

HandsOn Network has 70,000 affiliated agencies, from Habitat for Humanity to local food banks, churches, health care centers, and educational programs. Once a person has completed their service, it will be verified by HandsOn and volunteers can then print out an online certificate that can be redeemed at a Disney park.

I read through all
the FAQ's. You need to be aware that you must be 18 or older to register on the site. Once registered, you can add up to eight additional people from your household. Children may participate in certain projects and may earn a free day at Disney. Children must be between the ages of 6-17 in order to participate and earn a free day. Their volunteer service must be completed with an adult. Limit one free day per person.

I know their 'Free admission on your birthday' program was a huge success this year. That program ends at the end of 2009. For 2010, Disney has taken what I consider a unique approach to giving away free days. I'm excited to see what one million people helping in their community will look like. Sign up at the website to get an email to register. Registration for the program is not yet open, but you can sign up to be reminded to register when it does open.

If you're thinking about a Disney trip in 2010, I'd suggest considering Giving a Day to Get a Disney Day.

Friday, October 02, 2009

I snuck one...

Quick post to tell everyone how sneaky I was this morning...and I got away with it!!! My kids tend to not leave me alone during the day and naps are hard to come by unless Rebekah is sleeping.

Today, Nathan is home from school with a higher fever, but feeling fine. Sigh, hate for him to miss school, but don't want other kids to get sick. Nathan was playing computer games and Rebekah was playing with her 'New Toy House' and watching a little TV. I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open. So without telling either of them what I was doing, I just wandered to my bedroom and laid down. I managed to get a 25 minute power nap before I heard the rumblings of children who realize their mom has been gone too long. So I got up and nobody is the wiser.

Until now. I got up, fed everyone lunch and then took a minute to tell you. I feel much better now and hope everyone else who is sleepy today gets the chance to catch a few zzz's.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Road Trip Recap

Had the opportunity to go with Emily to the MOPS Convention in Nashville. We had a great trip and got to see and hear wonderful speakers and worship. I came out of convention feeling much more equipped and refreshed as a mom and as a leader.

I'm still sorting through all the photos, but here are some of the 'adventures' along the way...

The "Tennessee Welcomes You" sign was a welcome sign after MANY hours on the road.

Along the way, I tried to get some photos of the 'rolling' hills.

Once in Nashville, we stayed at the Gaylord Convention Center. What a absolutely huge, giant, bigger than you can believe place!

Here were some of the funnier things we saw at the Gaylord...

All speed limits on the property are 24 MPH instead of 25. Then, I went into a Women's restroom that had obviously been converted for the convention. If you look carefully at the photo, you'll see the urinal hidden by a green drape. They roll these drapes in and place them in front of the urinals and flip the signs from Men's to Women's.

Cover the eyes of the kiddies....

We happened upon this sign at the mall...sort of scary. If you click the photo, it will open in a larger format. The sign said, "Womeins Sexpo Oct 3rd." Yes, Women's was misspelled and I didn't ask any of the locals what a Sexpo was. I don't think I really wanted to know.
Stay tuned for more photos from the actual convention.

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