Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The dog is a better farmer than I am

In the spring, I did what I always do.  Plan a garden.

Dan tilled my stuff up.

The kids bought me lots of different fabulous veggie plants for mothers day.

And I planted.  This time I ran string and created a grid- very formal.  None of that crazy love garden planting I did last year.  No way, this time I was serious.

Emily made a map so we could keep track of what we had done.

And then I watered and waited and watered and waited and watered.

Everything died except the tomatoes.  And they have yet to get any bigger than a golf ball before ripening.  It's a sad sad excuse for a garden.  And dang I really tried.

And then low and behold- right in the middle of the yard I noticed this.....
A pumpkin vine.  Last Fall our crazy dog loved taking the kids pumpkins and pumpkin parts as we were out back carving and running around the yard with them.  We gave her a little pumpkin to 'play' with when Halloween had passed- and I do believe that this is where she left it.

No water.  No tilling.  No chart.  No strings.  No rows.  No planning. Nothin.


I read an article on how to 'artificially inseminate' pumpkin plants to ensure fruit and I was contemplating grabbing some qtips and giving it a try, but chances are if I go near it, it will die. 

I'll just leave the heavy farm lifting to Rosie I guess.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What do YOU do?

I coupon.

We have family that could really use the benefits of couponing, but I can't get them to think BEYOND the thought of saving $.30 on an item they don't need anyway.  She always says that most coupons are for things she wouldn't normally buy and then she spends more than she would have trying to use them.

And there have most certainly been times in my past I did the same thing.

But now I am a couponer, as opposed to someone who uses coupons.

I watch sales, I know the sale cycles, I shop multiple stores and buy only the items on sale, and I combine store incentives with my coupons to get double bang for my buck.  And I don't buy one of that item when I find a great deal at or below my price point- I buy 4-6 of them.  That is what a couponer does.

I pay $.50-$.80 for a jar of spaghetti sauce. I pay nothing for shampoo, toothpaste, make up and deodorant.  I never pay for than $1 for a box of cereal (name brand cereal).  I most generally don't pay more than $2 for laundry detergent and even milk can be bought with a store credit earned or a coupon used.  There are very few times that I grocery shop and pay for than 50% of whatever the shelf tags say.

Sure- there are things you can't get around.  Fresh meats, fruits and vegetables.  But when they are on sale, I try and stock up.  And if they are not on sale, I look for an alternative that is.  Grapes at $3 a pound?  We go for the bananas on sale for $.29 lb that week.  Chicken at full price?  How about tacos instead with the $2 ground beef.  Nothing else, we fall back on spaghetti- cause you know I have multiple jars of sauce in my cabinet.

I shop smart, or at least I try to.  I buy light bulbs when they are free, even though I have a package in the cabinet, because eventually I'll use them and that is a savings.  I stock up on Advil when it is $.40 a bottle so that I don't ever have to pay $5 for it when I actually have a headache.  I have more canned tomatoes in my cabinet than I would ever dreamed possible- but at less than $.10 a can how could I go wrong?  I've had to make room in a few extra cabinets in my kitchen to store the food- but I never worry about not having plenty for my family now.

And I MAKE money sometimes with store deals.  Which I apply to the stuff that is hard to save on. 

I read blogs daily (hip2save and the krazy coupon lady are my favorites) and I read the store circulars like it is my job.  It takes time, but I love it and therefore I never think of it as a chore.  And if one week it starts to feel like a chore?  Then I don't do it.  And I don't worry about missing a week or two of deals because I know I have most everything we need in my cabinets already.  And if there is a product for free that we will never use, I most generally pass on it.  Unless it is something that would be useful to the food bank or someone I love- then I pass it along.

For our family, it works.  It is who I am and who I have always been- I've just refined it a bit.  And I LOVE doing it.  I feel like I'm hunting and there is such a victory in stretching an already tight grocery budget even farther!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


 Yesterday was just a regular ordinary day.
Dan is working nights/afternoons/early evenings this week, so I suppose that is out of the norm.
 And both Emily and Sam stayed home sick yesterday, one with a huge headache and one with a stomach thing- probably both the same thing. That was not normal.
 Oh- and Dan burnt up an entire tray of turkey bacon in the microwave and you can smell that horrible odor from as far as the mailbox.  I had to boil lemons in the microwave just to begin to make it less stinky. That is (thankfully) something we don't do every day.
 And I suppose that there is one more thing that was a bit different.......... I GOT TO GO ON A HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE!!!!
 One of the generous souls at the air show has been teasing me for years that he was going to take me up, and then yesterday he called and confirmed that last night was the perfect night for a flight.  AND he wanted me to bring Allyson!
 It was without a doubt AMAZING!  This world that we live in, the one I drove through on the way to his home, seemed much more ugly than once we were up above it.  All the ugly melted away and all I could see was beauty.
 I was amazed at how glorious this experience was.  And that I got to experience it with Allyson???  So amazing.
 This was the poor soy bean field we we 'scruffed off' some speed before landing.  Poor beans.
 This was our pilot.  Who was also Ally's 5th grade teacher.  God is amazing.  No coincidence there, I'm sure.  She was calm and reassuring, in command and yet relaxed.  She made it such a beautiful ride for us.
 I had a hard time snapping this picture because I had to let go of the death grip I had on my pole- but it was so amazing I had to take it.  And then I grabbed my pole again.  It is so quiet and calm up in a balloon.  Yet you can hear small children screaming HI and dogs barking and chasing your shadow on the ground below.  At one point we were 1000 feet up, at some points we were 300.  It was unreal.
We live in a broken world where mean and hatefulness seems to fill even the most gentle of people.  It is a true testimony to our Lord that HIS peace and love still live in this land when a group of people give their entire evening to someone else, just because they want to.  That gift that was given to Ally and I was not lost, and I will be forever grateful for the kindness, given out of Christian love and goodness, that was given to me.  I feel renewed that the world can be good, that people can be good, and that God's good is continuing to flourish.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

One day at a time

School is up and running.  Which means that the calendar is filling.  Or is already full.  Or over filling. Over flowing.


Every time I turn around someone is handing me an 8.5X11 sheet of paper full of things to add to the calendar.  Sports.  Church.  Girlscouts.  Boyscouts.  School.

I'm sure that this is nothing that every other family in the country isn't going through as well.  I'm just choosing to whine about it, and since this is my blog my busy schedule trumps yours.  At least in my head.

I sat last night and added all of our 'things' to the calendar that I know of for now through December.  And dude- the next free day we have is January 1.  Only because I don't have that calendar yet, of course.  But even though our calendar is still in shrinkwrap at the store, I'm sure we are scheduled to do something that day already.

I wouldn't trade this for anything in the world.  These children.  This home.  These things that they love to do.  But I would totally slow it all down if I could.

But I can't.  So instead I will head to the store and buy a new calendar.  One with days the size of dinner plates so there is room for everything.  At least in theory.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Hot Mess

I just threw the kids out the door to school.

Yes- threw.

The bus comes earlier every day.  Which is really frustrating when you are the mom of a child who refuses to do anything quickly.

Ally is getting up easily this year and stays focused.  Most days shes ready in time to actually have to wait for the bus.  And Sam- he is like a rocket.  I never expected his mornings to be so easy, but man am I grateful. 

Grateful because Emily- well she is NOT like a rocket.  It takes that child twice as long to do anything.  And she pushes the limits when it comes to time.  This morning she was one bite into her breakfast and in her bedroom trying to find shoes when the bus came, 10 minutes early.

It creates stress in my mom heart.  I can't handle it.

Not to mention she was wearing these atrocious shorts covered in neon peace signs, love and doodles- her baseball jersey from two years ago- and a pair of tennis shoes that have seen their better days.  And she didn't even have them on, she had just slipped her feet into them and was shuffling down the drive.

Would a good mom have let her stumble into her world like that?  Man, I just don't know.  But it's what I did.

Each day this week seems busier than the one before- and I feel like we're ALREADY hanging by a thread.  Time for this mom to get an organized plan together for our lives instead of letting them just happen.

Today- help clean my mother in laws new condo, home for a quick shower, lunch with sam, lunch with emily, work for a couple hours, home to gather kids off the bus, try to do a couple loads of laundry and whip up some supper before it's time to leave for a girl scout event for emily and softball practice for ally.  Oh- and Dan has to go back to work at his moms tonight, so apparently all the evening stuff is on me.

I would cry but there is not time.  I'm just feeling s t r e t c h e d too thin and about to snap!

Monday, August 13, 2012

My husband acts like he knows EVERYTHING

Dan and I have different views on a lot of stuff.

Mine mostly switch back and forth all the time depending on my mood, the moon cycle, and how much coffee I've had.

Sometimes I'm easy going and laid back.  Sure- drag every single toy we own out in the yard and spread it all over.  Sure- draw all over my van with sidewalk chalk, it will wash.  Sure- dig up a giant hole to drive your monster trucks in and discard the mountain of dirt wherever you want.

Sometimes I'm not.  But really, what mom isn't?

But for the most part if it gets the kids outside working off some sillies- I say go for it.  Just please, for the love of pete, DON'T BREAK ANY MORE BONES.

That being said- I am in favor of the slip and slide.  My husband, he says it will kill the grass.  As if leaving the slip and slide in the yard for two measley days will kill the grass.  Peeshaw (do people say that anymore? or did they stop saying that when I was in high school?  if so- I say bring it back.  It's a highly useful term). 

Regardless-The grass most certainly will not die from just a couple days of high plastic usage.  Lighten up Dan.
Well- I'm off to look for some fast growing grass seed.  Happy Monday!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Don't order soup if you want a sandwich

It has taken me every ounce of my 37 years to realize things about other people.

Some people are calloused.

Some people will not ever hold their tongue to spare someone elses feelings.  Nor will they every realize that I hold mine to spare theirs.

Some people will judge you, constantly and repeatedly.  Regardless of what they say to you, or how they act, they are judging you and in their head they think they are right.

Some people act like they are close to God, when in reality they are so very far from Him.

Some people just want to hurt.  They have no desire, ever, to care or love.  They just take a satisfaction in hurting someone else.

I have always assumed that there is good in people.  That ALL people were thinking of others feelings, so if they went out of their way to say something mean to me then it MUST be a huge issue and they just had to share it.  But now I see that some people just share the mean stuff all the time, regardless.

I am accepting of other people.  I have friends of all types, and I love them (sincerely) for the people that they are and who God created them to be.  I am also very sensitive, and I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Sometimes people will change their directions just to squish it.

People can be jerks.  No matter how much forgiveness I try to seek, they still are.

I'm so thankful I married a genuinely kind and loving man- he takes me for the woman the Lord created me to be and he never once makes me feel like it's not enough.  Thank you Dan.

And thank you God.  For you do the same.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A holiday of sorts

I can not begin to tell you what a blessing this weekend was.
With the kids going back to school and all the chaos that THAT brings, I think we were all in need of something fun.
And Saturday, we headed far far away to Santa Clause Indiana to Holiday World.
It's just a little hole in the wall amusement park but it has this GIGANTIC water park, of which there are no pictures of because HELLO- we were in the water?!?
I am here to tell you that listening to Christmas music and riding Santa themed rides does not change the fact that I had swear rolling down every crevice of my being. 
 It was HOT!
Emily wanted to ride these rockets so dag gone bad- but she was a bit too tall and over the weight limit.  She wanted to ride the seahorses too- but same deal.
I must say- this was our first trip to a park where all of our children were tall enough to ride whatever they want- and too tall for some (as emily found out).
We rode the white water rapids, log flumes, scramblers, eagle things, giant water roller coasters, whatever we wanted.
Dan and I even got to ride roller coasters with Ally- who is now apparently a roller coaster guru.
The kids LOVED this little ride in the kiddie part.
First it takes them way up.......
And then drops them just like that.
This was Emily's favorite ride.  She is not a huge risk taker and doesn't so much love the fear that comes with crazy rides.  This was right on pace.  Please notice Allyson in the last car, being a good sport.  Kind of- at least, even with a scowl and her arms folded, she is on it.
And here she is again, thrilled to be riding the train.  I made us all wait in line for EVER to ride the train ride.  Only I didn't realize we were going to have to basically fold our legs over our heads and not BREATHE during the hold thing as we stuffed ourselves into these tiny little cars without room for your legs.
Here are Sam and Emily in the caboose.  Please note Dan in the car ahead of them. His car was tiny teenier than Ally and I's- so basically he had to tear off his legs and leave them at the station.
And it was such a silly ride that just went around Holidog world and back.
But on that ride I realized that my kids know none of the nursery rhymes- which is basically a big parenting fail (they had statues acting them out and they didn't know any of them).
Emily even made me explain what happened to Jack and Jill.
So sad.
Here is a super great picture of Dan and Sam riding the super high swing things.  Sam LOVED anything that went fast and high.  Dan was a good sport and rode with him since I would have thrown up (circle rides- carousels included- don't work for me, or Ally, or Emily we found out)(but she didn't puke even though she said she was going to- yay emi!)

Basically that's all the photos I took.  I was too busy just enjoying my family and the time we'd been given.  Luckily, Sam apparently snapped quite a few photos from our breakfast at the hotel though- so I have something to offer.....

 Even though we didn't check into the hotel until midnight- house keeping was kind enough to begin banging on our door at 9am.  They wanted to see if we'd checked out yet.  Kind and generous people. 
 So much for sleeping in because she woke up Sam who began asking immediately how long until lunch.  We were so busy at the water park we skipped dinner.  And when we left the park, we were too tired to eat.  The boy woke up STARVING.
(classy- I know.)
 The girls and their water goggles.  We had so much fun in the hotel pool until it was time to pack it up and head back home.
Such a great way to spend a weekend.  It was nice that everyone in our family was together and happy.  Even though Ally complained a bit about not having friends, that she'd rather be at home and that the rides were not like Kings Island- she was having fun.

Now back to reality- the one without santa rides, swimming pools and omelet stations.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


At the end of every year in elementary school, the kids come home with a summer workbook.

I'm not sure if this is just to torture the parents, or the kids, or both.  Or because the school really thinks that we are going to just lay around and play video games all summer long while slowly turning our brains into soup.  Whatever the reason, and I'm sure there is one, the kids are asked to complete this workbook over the summer and return it the first week back to school.

And I knew it was coming.  And I didn't want to have the end of summer stress over completing/finding/working on said workbook.

So at the end of the year, I instantly grabbed the kids backpacks and pulled out all of the returned art projects, pencil boxes, piles of papers and the summer workbooks.  Except Sam didn't have one.  Only emily.

Strange.  I double checked but Sam most certainly did NOT have one.  Nor was their a letter about one. And since I checked the same day as they brought everything home, I was confident in my assessment.  Which is where I made my mistake.

So all summer, Emily faithfully did a page or two every few days.  Plugging right along.

Last week- just a few short days before school begins- Emily and I are looking over her completed work and how much is left to do.  We are chatting over why she has had to do it, why she WILL do it even if she doesn't want the ice cream treat, and why it is valuable.  And how strange it is that Sam didn't have one.

"That?  Oh I have one of those" he said, very casually while playing a video game and turning his brain into soup.


Sam- it was not in your bookbag, you didn't bring one home?

"Yeah I did.  I put it in my desk drawer, I'll show you".

And there it was. A brand new, never touched, not a single flippin page completed summer workbook with a letter from the teacher tucked neatly inside.  Apparently he came straight home from school and took it right to his new desk in his room and tucked it away for safe keeping. And that was that.

And so for the last week of summer break, we have been working basically non stop on his summer workbook.  Tracing numbers, counting turtles, linking like items.  I can only hope that he will plow through the rest of it tonight in order to have it completed by tomorrow- the deadline.

Next year, I'm gonna stand at the door like a metal detector and scan them before they can come in the house.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

And so it begins

I have always been a stay at home mom.  Sure- I've worked part time here and there- sometimes from home, lately at an office, sometimes not at all.  But my first and foremost job has always been right here at home.
So what do you when all of a sudden you are there alone?

 Today- Sam begins all day school.  All. Day. Long.  First Grade.  As I sit here the tears are stinging my eyes.  He is gone, there at school now.  They were going to play with playdough first thing this morning.  He and his giant backpack full of school supplies- gone.
When Emily began 1st grade I cried for weeks.  I'm not even joking.  It was aweful.  This is worse.
Same deal with Allyson.  When she was gone for the entire day, it almost sucked the wind right out of me.
 Once they start school, it all changes.  No more leisurely trips to the museum on boring afternoons.  No more surprise picnics at the park just for something to do.  No more midweek trips somewhere just to get away.  It's all very rigid and scheduled.
 And the years just zoom by and before you know it you have a grown woman standing in your front lawn.
So that leaves me here, alone.  Everyone is gone.  I don't have anywhere to be or to do.  Well- I could clean the house but lets not go CRAZY.  I suppose I'll make another cup of coffee, shed a few more tears and begin the count down for 2:00- when they come back home.

Last year I wrote about getting my pink slip.  That most certainly is how this feels, my services are no longer needed here.  I suppose I can just hope for the stomach flu or chicken pox- then I'll be back in business.