Monday, December 28, 2009

Going the extra step

NOT even miles...

Sometimes I get "brilliant" ideas. They're really cool--to me. I get ideas, get going on them, and then I wither when... it comes to involving others in my plan. What if they don't think it's brilliant? what if it's not? It's probably not... probably been done... I am probably just an idiot to think it was ever even interesting in the first place... then it dies, a lonely grey pile of dust, to be swept into the cobwebs of my mind.

Do you have some great idea? Perhaps this is the big year to make it happen. Write it down. Consider it. Get a buddy. Do some research and make it happen! Even if it doesn't make you independently wealthy, it's a growing experience!

Scrapbooking and Faith

While you are busy wracking your brain as to how, exactly, you are going to improve over 2010, here's an idea that gives a little twist to journalling, scrapbooking, even blogging. All these things and more can be combined into Faithbooking.

Faithbooking can be "a creative expression of a family's spiritual journey". This would be the place to put those faith building events that can be passed down to encourage generations to come. Baptisms, births, miracles, blessings can all be recorded here. When a child brings home a Sunday School paper with a picture of God, this is where it would go. This isn't the summer sprinkler pictures we show our friends, but the more spiritual side of our family.

Pages can be done by every member of the family or with contributions from each, verbally or in the form of a picture, piece of fabric, poem, ribbon, keepsake,... only you will know what is appropriate for your family memory. There could be one assigned record keeper or anyone could be allowed to contribute, or there could be regular times when certain questions are posed and answers written, testimonies recorded. Notes taken in church with the thoughts of the person taking them would also be appropriate here.

This year would be a great time to start a Faithbook together. It's a great way to focus on what's really important. :D

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Brotherhood of the Scar

I had no idea there would be so many positive things coming out of my surgery.

I was a big fraidy cat to get it done. My doctor was amazing, my care impeccable, my recovery immediate and my scar is healing. Everything went well. I had two disks taken out and fused. That means they put in a metal bar and screwed it to my vertebrae and replaced the squishy disks between the vertebrae with plastic. Since my squishy disks had all squished out, my vertebrae were out of place and sawing on my nerve. The surgery completely fixed this. But I digress.

Now total strangers have a commonality that completely circumvents convention. The man pumping my gas the other day (I accidentally pulled into full service, which was worth blogging about all on it's own!) and the bright young accountant I saw at the office both immediately felt at home with me and showed me their scars.

It was really cool, having total strangers completely lower any barriers to chat about something meaningful to them. Really cool.

I mean, I chat. To anyone, about anything. I talk to people in stores, in waiting rooms, at libraries (SHHHH!!). It's one of those things. Out going, yes. I love chatting with people.
I even (sigh) facebook. But that's what I dislike about digital social networking, it's easy to know about everyone's every day life without having any idea of their real stories. What makes them real?

The Brotherhood of People with Cervical Fusions is awesome. How long did you take to feel better? Who did your surgery? Which disks? How long before you were back to work? How are you doing now? Did you follow doctor's orders? What else happened when you got your nerves back? They just jump into these questions. I went to church for three months and hardly anyone mentioned the enormous neck brace I sported. Like it was embarassing and not to be talked about. But those who have BEEN there have no trouble asking the cool questions and delving right in. Of course there are two reasons for this.

They care, because they have had it done too.

They know, they can see the scar, so they identify a commonality.

So many times we go about our shallow little lives without delving into others' reality. Never finding commonalities. And we are less because of it.

How much more wonderful the relationships where you know about each other enough to be sorry they got a diamond, or glad they're pregnant... how would you know? On Facebook or in person when you discover someone is pregnant, you wonder, is that a good thing or is this going to be a huge problem for them? Is this planned or is this going to destroy their relationship? What do I say? So you say, Wow! which, in and of itself, isn't much of a comment, but does show you read the post. (I don't like diamonds, by the way. How would you know? Send pearls! Or colors!)

So many times I find myself inadvertently offending someone because I didn't know enough to comment correctly and they choose to answer defensively. Look, if you REALLY know me, you'd know I do have opinions, but I wouldn't hurt your feelings on purpose for anything. I respect you and how you feel, completely. Politics, religion, idiology, morality, I can put all that aside and still love you and care about you.

We just need something in common.

Thanks, brothers and sisters of the Cervical Fusion. I love all of you, too. And thanks for the lesson.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Seize the Day

My insurance company is awesome. I love them and they send me stuff that's actually worth reading. In the latest issue they list 18 things to do before you turn 18. I'd list them here but they're copyright protected. Bummer. But it made me remember another magazine, Family Fun, which listed things you should do this summer, and rated them as far as difficulty, helpfulness, etc. They were things like, learn to do a cartwheel, whistle through your teeth, tie a bowline....

So many times we let the time pass, handling what we have to, and without a plan, we waste a lot of time. It's important to set plans and learn about things that are important to us or when the opportunity arises.

My youngest son just learned there is a fencing expert in our church. What a great time to learn how to do some cool swashbuckling moves! We have a child who will be moving away from home. When he does, we'll be learning all about his new home. This is not as spectacular, but it's part of the whole "Seize the Day" idea. Take those moments that are there for you and make something happen!

Sometimes YOU are the one who has to make them happen. Some opportunities fall in your lap, granted. You recognize them and appreciate them, that's super. But sometimes you have to reach out of your comfort zone, make sacrifices, make changes in your routine, and grab something less substantial but more meaningful.

If you're bored, try to discover why. Are you unable to do the things you want? How can you change that? Can you do something else? When I lived at Fort Bragg we were completely broke. I was clipping coupons and spending every "spare" dime on food. Sometimes we went without things. We didn't have cable, the dryer died, the stove burned up, the air conditioner didn't work. I had a little child and was pregnant. Gas was a luxury saved for getting Daddy to work and all of us to Church Sunday. I realized I really missed shopping. Grocery shopping with a little kid and pinching every penny buying the worst cuts of meat (could never afford potatoes or beef at all!) was just not very fun. The Library was too far away to justify the gas. There was, however, a book exchange, and I did have some extra books. I took some down there and traded them for "new" books. It wasn't SHOPPING shopping, but I did get to take my time selecting interesting books, looking at them, and picking the prizes to take home. The book exchange only charged tax, which was far less than a dollar a trip. It satisfied my need to "buy" something, got me out of the house, gave me a purpose, and helped my reading hobby. It also helped me weed out books I really didn't "need". I looked forward to these trips and really enjoyed them.

With fewer resources we learn to make do, we learn to be creative, and we learn self sufficiency. I would never have learned to change the oil on a car if I'd had money to pay someone else. I would not be so good at building a fire if it hadn't been the only way to heat my house. I would not appreciate hand me downs as much if I had been spoiled with name brand new clothes all the time. I would not have appreciated nature as much if I hadn't taken the time to go in my back yard and hang clothes.

It's important to have times in your life where you have to "make do" and times you have to do things that are hard and uncomfortable. Asking directions in a foreign country, changing a tire, working a job you don't like all build character and give you something they search for a lot these days, self esteem. If you know you can handle things yourself, and you don't have to rely on someone else, the government, your church, or friends, it does give you a sense of self that is stronger. This works as a family too. If you and your spouse can handle the vicissitudes of life together, it makes your relationship stronger.

So no matter what your circumstances, Seize the day! Set some goals for yourself. Here are some things to get you thinking!

Do a good turn daily (okay I totally stole that from Boy Scouts!)
Learn something new daily
Learn how to do something well
Pick a family to shower blessings on. Have them over for dinner. Give them presents. Include them in family fun times. Bring cookies.
Find someone who knows a skill who will share it with you.
Make a Christmas ornament.
Choose a hobby or talent you'd like to master and read about it on the internet, at the library, talk about it with friends and total strangers, and see how far you can go. Find out if there are any competitions locally, and see what it takes to enter.
Start or add to your own blog. You have something to say!

If it's career oriented, cooking a special meal, learning how to jumpstart your car, or learning more about local politics, it's making you a more informed and more interesting person, who has confidence and abilities. Confidence is attractive. See, reading -- and acting upon-- this blog may make you more beautiful!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Library List

This post is about biographies. When I look back at my library use, it's actually been kind of systematic at times, sometimes just random learning. I went through a phase of biographies one time where I read about the lives of people that were fascinating. Maria Von Trapp and Sir Lawrence Olivier were two that stand out in my memory. Sometimes you are pretty limited to the selections on the shelves but you may be amazed what you learn from people. The autobiographies are best. You get more of the "attitude" when you read their writing, feelings come out better and they're just more interesting.
Take a look online or at your local library. Read about the life of a great person. Read about the life of someone who lived in a different time or place.
Think about someone famous you admire... they've probably either been written about or have told their own stories. Reader's Digest did a huge series of condensed books on people, 4 to a book, sometimes more, of varied people from music legends to political figures to inventors and innovators. Before the end of the year you should be able to put your feet in someone else's shoes and enjoy the walk!

Friday, September 25, 2009


You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that, my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
Adrian Rogers 1931

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What is important?

It’s about gratitude, and perspective…

I know my grandmas would laugh about this, because I am sure I was a silly brainless kid once…

But it seems lots of people today don’t know the difference between a necessity and a want.
It surprised me when I was doing credit counseling (very briefly) that there were people who would hock a watch to get money for Easter dresses for their children. Then they’d pay the fee, buy back the watch, and use it like a credit card for other events….
Credit cards are bad enough but pawn fees are even higher.
Going into debt for things you need, if carefully managed, can be helpful. I don’t know anyone who could pay 100% of their first home. Cars these days are very expensive. So besides settling for a very small home or a used car, obvious alternatives to overreaching your income, going into debt can be the only way these things are possible. If you can’t work on cars, getting a used one can be even more expensive than new, so I won’t belabor that.
I have recently been inspired by the family who got out of over $100,000.00 in debt by hard work and frugal choices. By knuckling down and working hard, they managed to pay it all off, and now have freedom from debt, a house, and the satisfaction of having completed a Herculean task.
I also know a woman who challenged her family to buy nothing new for a year. They would scour yard sales, second hand shops, resale stores and link up with friends to trade clothes and find the things they might need. Food was, of course, exempt. They gave themselves 5 “outs” or times when they could buy a new item. One time, on vacation, they had lost their sippy cup for the baby, and after a thorough search of the local thrift shops, came up empty handed. That was their only “out”.
What do you need? Really?
How grateful we would all be if we truly learned to live within our means, to find joy in making do, to learn how to be happy!

I’m making a list of things I am willing to sacrifice for. Things I am grateful for. No whining!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Christmas Lists

Yes boys and girls. It's time to make out your list for Santy Claus!
My mom would throw a Sears catalog at me and let me go for it. It was pointless because unless I could wear it or it was otherwise immensely practical, I didn't get it. I made my own clothes for Barbies I got from friends... but I digress. You might want to break it into four sections:

1. Things I need for school, sport, to wear or to sleep better at night:
2. Things I would like for school, sports, to wear or sleep better at night.
3. Things I would like for hobbies I like to do
4. Stuff
It's just a way to get them to think about things they need as well as the things they just see that are shiny in the catalog. I'm sure there is a better list! Tell me what you do!!

Dont forget to make a copy and send the original to Santa Claus, North Pole

North Polar - Santa Claus P.O. Box 56099 North Pole, Alaska 99705-1099
If you want a reply you need to follow instructions here

or email to in English or French for your French Immersion Student!

Don't forget to track Santa at NORAD. We do this every year. Gives NORAD something to do besides watch for missiles and UFOs. :D

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bucket lists

Here is the "Real" bucket list from the movie:

The "Bucket List"

  1. Witness something truly majestic
  2. Help a complete stranger for the common good
  3. Laugh till I cry
  4. Drive a Shelby Mustang
  5. Kiss the most beautiful girl in the world
  6. Get a tattoo
  7. Skydiving
  8. Visit Stonehenge
  9. Spend a week at the Louvre
  10. See Rome
  11. Dinner at La Chevre d'Or [1]
  12. See the Pyramids
  13. Get back in touch (previously "Hunt the big cat", added after being earlier added and crossed off)
  14. Visit Taj Mahal, India
  15. Hong Kong
  16. Victoria Falls
  17. Serengeti
  18. Ride the Great Wall of China

Some of these things mean nothing to me. Some I have done, but would not have counted my life unfinished without them. I keep seeing mock bucket lists on facebook and other places and wanted to see what this was really about. Some things are just more important to some people.
Here's the challenge: this is what lists are all about. Make your own bucket list. As you broaden your perspective, add to the list. As you become more understanding of what's important to you, you learn more about yourself.

Feel free to share here or keep it in a Chock-Full-Of-Nuts can...

Here is some facebook stuff to give you more ideas:

The Bucket List

( ) Been to Europe
( ) Been on a cruise
( ) Gone on a blind date
( ) Skipped school
( ) Watched someone die
( ) Been to Canada
( ) Been to Mexico
( ) Been to Florida
( ) Been on a plane
( ) Climbed a lighthouse
( ) Swam in the ocean
( ) Cried yourself to sleep
( } Seen the Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C.
( ) Played cops and robbers
( ) Flown a plane
( ) Owned a boat
( ) Own/Rode a motorcycle
() Watched grandchildren grow and loved every minute
( ) Recently colored with crayons
( ) Been to the Kentucky Derby
( ) Been to Key West
( ) Been to a rodeo
( ) Sang Karaoke
( ) Paid for a meal with coins only
( ) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't
( ) Made prank phone calls
( ) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose (hasn't everyone)
( ) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
( ) Danced in the rain
( ) Written a letter to Santa Claus
( ) Been kissed under the mistletoe
( ) Watched the sunrise
( ) Seen the green flash at sunset
( ) Blown bubbles
( ) Gone ice-skating
( ) Gone to the movies
( ) Gone to a Drive-In Movie
( ) Owned a convertible

1. Any nickname -No
2. Mothers Name - Yes, she has one
3. Body Piercing? - ears once only
4. How much do you love your job? How much... I love it.... hmmmm I do but hard to measure
5. Birthplace? I don't answer this as it's confidential
6. Ever been to Hawaii ? No
7. Ever been to Africa ? no
8. Ever been to China? no
9. Ever been to Europe? yes
10. Ever been to Austrailia? no
11. Ever been to South America? no
12. Ever been to Russia? no
13. Ever eaten just cookies for dinner? Yes
14. Ever been on TV? Yes -- very briefly
15. Ever steal any traffic sign? No
16. Ever been in a car accident? Yes
17. Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? Mine is 5
18. Favorite number? Are we buying chocolate or cutting inches off my hair?
19. Favorite movie I like many movies... All time fave gotta be It's a Wonderful Life.
20. Favorite holiday? Christmas
21. Favorite dessert? hot homemade chocolate chip cookies
22. Favorite type of food: seafood
23. Favorite day of the week? Saturday but I like the rest too
24. Favorite brand of body wash - I still use (gasp) SOAP
25. Favorite smell ? gardenias or lemon blossoms- not the perfume but the real flowers
26. How do you relax? Tempurpedic
27. How do you see yourself in 10 years? Older

Heidi's Bucket List
1. Be patient with my husband
2. Raise my children well
3. Continue every day to improve myself, broaden my vision, learn something new
4. Someday, write a book worth reading
5. Help people in need before they request it
6. Continue to work on my family history
7. Be completely debt free
8. Attend or at least see every graduation, wedding, birth blessing, and baptism of my progeny until I die
9. Every boy an Eagle Scout
10. Learn when to accept ignorance and when to fight it; personally, never stop learning
11. Live so people want to be more like me
12. Always find creative ways to answer challenges or teach

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Food Storage Update

Our latest addition to the food storage is a can of Heritage seeds.

Why would you want Heritage seeds?

In case you haven't been gardening much in the last 10 years, you probably wouldn't realize that you pretty much can't buy a fruit, vegetable, tree or even plant that will give you fertile seeds.

WHAT? Plants make fruit and the seeds make more plants! What are you talking about?

Not hybrids. Hybrid seeds are (almost always) genetically altered so that they will not reproduce.

I KNOW!! Look, it's just wrong in a way isn't it! But those hybrids are resistant to pests and diseases, specially developed to produce bigger, more colorful, healthy plants and fruit, veggies, grain. (WHAT? They're messing with the grain too? Oh yes, and for longer than the rest.) So the companies that develop these specially resistant, healthy, bigger plants "copywrite" them by making them so they won't reproduce. THey do get seeds, just not fertile ones. So you have to buy them again. Every year.

Heritage seeds are unaltered and will reproduce seeds that can be saved and planted again. If I need a garden that bad, I am going to need a SUSTAINABLE garden. What if some calamaty happens? If I am desperate enough to cultivate, plant, water, weed (ough!) and tend to my plants, I am going to have to have more seeds to use next year or next season (we have a long growing season and often can get two crops in.) OF COURSE I hope that Home Depot and other garden supplies will be there for me indefinately, but how cool to have, and if I do use them, how cool to learn together with my kids how the great Circle of Life is supposed to be... not Driving back and forth to the store! Planting, harvesting, planting again.

Also adding more powdered eggs to the food storage. We have used the can we bought quite a bit and I decided it would be a super addition to the pantry. There are a lot of things you can make with eggs that you just can't without! They're incredible!

Spay and Neuter your Pets Please!

What to do about stray cats?
Do you feed them?
I will state my opinion and then get some quotes for ya. I think a lot of people feel sorry for the cats/kittens and put out food for them. Then there are stray cats around. And they make more.
If I find a stray I either ignore it completely, hoping it will go away, or catch and release-- catch it then give it a good home. If I keep it, I take it to the vet, spay or neuter, and care for the pet. I have done this with dogs and cats. Sometimes animals just come in to your life, sometimes you go find them. Regardless, responsible pet ownership means shots, and fixing. Sure, kittens are cute, but really, unless you are a breeder, and make lots of money with your kittens, you really don't need to add to the surplus population.
Our "no kill" pound is full and won't take more animals. No tiny kitties, no puppies, no purebreds. You can take bred dogs to the specialty pounds, like there is a Great Dane Shelter somewhere about 3 hours north of us. They only take Great Danes. For many the only other option is The Pound, where the kittens will be put up for adoption for three days if there is room. You are more likely to get a kitten a new home if you find them one. However, too much of this will wear out your welcome with your friends and neighbors.
From a great metropolis in California, there is a website that states:

The kind people at the local dog pound hesitated to give an exact answer the first few times that my child and I asked how many animals a year they euthanize, only answering, "way too many." They later gave me some statistics which show that, unfortunately, the number in the Sacramento County area alone is in the thousands.

In 1998, of 25,302 incoming live animals (2,963 came in dead), only 4,231 were adopted/redeemed. That leaves over 13,000 animals that were "put to sleep."

Do you get it? Can you imagine being down on your luck and needing a job so bad you would be the one to handle that problem? IN ONE YEAR-- that means roughly in a 5 day work week you would euthanize 50 animals a day. And go home and try to sleep. And that's just in one shelter in Sacramento.

The Asheville Humane Society, one of the “Founding Lifeguards” of the campaign launched in January, recently released a six-month report that shows an increase in animals' lives saved. From January through June, 3,239 dogs and cats were taken in at the AHS animal shelter, compared with 3,487 animals during the same period last year. Of that number, 1,280 lives were saved, including adoptions and pets returned to their owners, reflecting a 40 percent rate of lives saved compared with a 37 percent rate for the same period in 2008.

So 40% chance. THey are thrilled that the numbers are better, and thank all those who adopt from shelters.

So please, please don't add to the problem! Keep your kitty from making more, and don't encourage a congregation of strays where they can breed and make more too. If you care about a stray, take care of it.

Something else to note: Our city, and many others, actually do a "catch and release" program. Our neighbor just never got around to fixing her cat. I volunteered to pay for the cat's fixing, but one day the cat disappeared. Three days later Tigger was back with a missing part and a clipped ear. We discovered that the city catches and neuters cats they find that are not feral. Though I don't condone waiting for someone else to fix the problem, it's a great idea and hopefully keeps the population down and is cheaper than the alternative - euthanizing more animals.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bookishly Speaking

Books and reading material:

Here are some interesting things to share:
This is not my personal all time list but sourced) :

Here's a list for the librarians out there, stolen from my sil on Facebook that she stole from her friend Chuck:
It's a list of the top 10 things to infuriate a librarian.

So yes, we are getting ready for that back to you know where time. A friend just put out there that she's decided to buy her kids a new book at the beginning and ending of school. What a great idea! How better to jump-start the enthusiasm? She chose these:

"I Don't want to go to School", "Is your Mama a Llama?", and "Clovis Crawfish and Friends". We're in a place where we totally appreciate Crawfish, and school starts real early.

I understand they are putting Maurice Sendak's book, "Where the Wild Things Are" to the big screen. Sigh... is Hollywood that desperate? THat's like putting "Harold and the Purple Crayon" (by Crockett Johnson) to film. Come on. It's not about spelling things out, it's about imagination. Will I go? Probably not... but I will send friends who will rate it for me :)

My 'Tween has read the Twilight books and likes the "all about me" kinds of books. It will be interesting to see how she feels about reading after the dreary year ahead is half through. My pick of her reading list is Animal Farm for it's humor. (That was a joke, there is Absolutely No Humor in that book... but more in there than any of the other blithe assignments.) Oh well there are lessons to be learned.

I am sticking to non-fiction drudgeries right now and hope to wrap my stuck in tar little mind around making and sticking to a budget (Ho, hum. Dreariness. I am going to have to build in budget items for "Ice Weasels" and "Glue Sticks" just to have some flexibility. (If you know me, you know I own about 4 states worth of glue sticks, or enough to supply a kindergarten class until 2045.) Money is the only thing I hate making lists about (unless it's what I want to buy. Of course).

So books... take me away and don't let me down! Here are some books that are wonderful for that starting school off right celebration!

I can beat 40 tigers today Seuss (Ok anything by Seuss. If you want a challenge, go for "Oh Say Can You Say?" My personal fave.)
Anything by Tommie DePaola
Anything by Maurice Sendak
Bread and Jam for Frances
The Mango Tooth
M&M Counting Book (also cheerios, etc.)
and for older kids, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What to do with all the Koolaid?

I get really tired of Blogger not liking the way I press the buttons I guess... here we go again!

As many of you know I recently became the owner of a great deal of Koolaid. About 400 packets. I was completely out and we’re going no soda this summer, and with mom and dad and four thirsty kids that’s a lot of koolaid.

My friend Carlie said, “That’s not enough Koolaid for the summer, it’s enough for the decade!”

So I got to thinking, and found this great website where they dyed silk scarves with koolaid. Aparently you can’t dye cotton with it, it’s a stain, and won’t set, but silk and wool work great. So I bought a bunch of white silk scarves and we went at it. We mixed a little water with the koolaid and painted or dunked. We had a lot of fun!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Another website you shouldn't miss

I have a few places I go when I need cheer. Here are two of them. Enjoy!

Honestly, you need to laugh sometimes!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

New Bookshelf

I just found a new application, and thought I would check it out and share it with you. The idea of having an online bookshelf is just funny! I just can’t have enough books.

If you haven’t been to my house you may not have known this about me, but I have a serious book collection. If a collection is ten or more of similar objects grouped together in an organized fashion, then it’s a collection... though my friends have mentioned words like “obsessive” “Huge” and “bigger than the public library”.

I asked my boys to put together a database for me so my books could be catalogued. Ever since I was in first grade and learned about the big wooden box with the tiny drawers I have wanted to have books and organize them. Now that I have enough, we’re all technologically improved. It’s still a lot of work.... to get them all organized. The boys were very excited at first then realized I meant ALL the books... and they became a little wary, unwilling to even begin on a task that looks truly overwhelming. I thought it would still be good to get them organized and inventoried... but they are realistic with the amount of time it would take to accomplish this.

How nice if you could just get the books to pre-organize themselves (which originally I was thinking, buying library copies with the Dewey Decimal coding already conveniently completed. Ahhh.... Which brings me to Kindles. Of course the idea intrigued me immediately. You can download books to the Kindle instantly and carry them around with you. You can carry 20 or 30 books and even more in the same area a paperback used to fit. Ah, now that has possibilities! Since, however, I was raised on paper and ink, I still have doubts that reading from a screen will be quite as satisfying... I am a digital immigrant, after all, and though I do attempt to adjust and learn upcoming technology, it’s not my first language, and reading is for fun for me at this point. I did notice that the downloads are just as much as buying and shipping the same book at times, which of course does nothing to sway the consumer in me.

So until they make it impossible for me to say no, I will keep my old friends on the shelves and take good care of them, since I know they have taken good care of me, educating, entertaining, and enlightening me for many years past and hopefully for many years to come. Enjoy the shelf of my current reads and I will hopefully update it often!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Change can bring fear

It was amazing to see all the presidential stuff and how much Obama wanted to bring change. I think lots of us like some kind of change, but lots of change fast is usually not good. Driving is good, crashing is bad. Sometimes getting a lot of money at one time can even be bad. Who knows. Lots of people see the huge governmental changes and are freaking out. I have had some freaky moments too... Some of it comes to pass, some of it gets bogged down in bureaucracy. Sometimes people vote and judges overturn. Sometimes justice is not possible. You can't do everything for everybody. I am sure everyone has done something nice for someone who didn't say thank you, and you think twice about doing something nice for them again... or we measure who is deserving (ill children) and who isn't (non-working -by choice- healthy person with big screen TV). The government doesn't always have that concern. They want to shower everyone with money. Well, that's nice until you realize it's YOUR money getting showered on big-screen-tv man.
There are other things that upset people lately. The fear that Christianity is being driven out of our country. I got an email today about "in God we trust" not being on the presidential dollar coins. Ok, it's NOT on the coin face but it IS on the edge. Squeezing "God" onto the edge of the money doesn't seem very nice to some... it does look like the next step is OFF. It's a small thing.... but a change that looks ominous. But get real people! If you want to be scared, start reading up on what the value of the dollar is doing and what will happen if we go to the Amero and share currency with Mexico and Canada. If you want to be scared, look at the amount of debt China is holding.
Not to be completely depressing, and I am not a financial advice giver by any means, but there are a few things you can do to try to keep America from becoming something you don't recognize.
1. Read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Keep reading all the other amendments that have been put on the books.
2. Read some books by founding fathers and try to discover the intent they had to found our country on solid ground.
3. Start reading legislation. It looks like Chinese at first but try to muddle through and educate yourself. Pick a subject that is important to you or an amendment that stirs you and see what's being proposed that violates the spirit of the amendment... become educated and try to learn why the legislation is being proposed - and who will be hurt, and who will be helped by it.
4. Attend local government meetings. It won't always make sense at first but eventually you start to see the reasons why people do the things they do. Call them when you think they're wrong. At Public Forum time, ask your questions.
5. Look around at websites, news sites, and forums, you-tube etc. but remember it's not always factual.
6. Quit believing all the stupid emails gaged to make the masses terrified, and don't pass them along unless you are certain they are valid.
7. Writing your congressman may seem futile, but every letter counts. Some local leaders get a lot less mail than you might think. Go ahead and write. Please write in such a way that they want to respond to you and won't dismiss you as a "nut".
8. If you do get involved, be persistent and try to see it through. It takes time to figure out how to make legislation happen. It's different everywhere and in every level.

In the meantime I am still collecting dollar coins and watching the news on the value of our money. We've already been working at lowering our debt. It's always a good idea in any economy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Food Storage

I gave a class at our local newspaper office about food storage and mailed out some info to some ladies who weren't able to attend. Here is a short thing to consider when planning, storing and buying food:

1. Expiration Dates
2. Will we eat it? Is it something in the rotation already?
3. Do we have the necessary other ingredients/equipment to make this food work?
4. How can we find a substitute for some short term storage food (like frozen chicken... canned or dehydrated chicken will work for some things)
5. Where am I going to put it?
6. Now that I'm stocking up how much is too much? How much is enough?
7. Does the food I have stored include items that require little or no cooking?
8. Have I considered an alternate fuel source?

The big problem for me is that my alternate fuel source is the grill. I love me some burned food. My dh has bbq'd chicken down to an art form. It's beyond science. But canned chicken isn't good on the grill and neither is anything else shelf stable (with the possible exception of Spam. We'll let you know.) Of course I can still boil water on the grill but it's not ideal. SO it's a work in progress.

Tip: Put a bay leaf in your flour and in your rice. It keeps any little nasty buggies from hatching somehow. Cool huh!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Surprises in the Food

I made the chocolate chip cookies a few weeks ago and they were a big hit and I mixed up a double batch to make into a cake today. It was so thick I added a half cup of water. We had talked about how much they tasted like Snackin' Cake... so I decided to try it out. I think the 4 cups of chocolate chips were too much. If there can be too much. But it's another FAT FREE RECIPE!! I put an ad on the bottom of the blog for, check it out! There are more too... I am interested in trying the Twinkies... that involves yellow squash! Next time someone gives you a squash you'll know what to do. They even sell this stuff canned. And you're eating your veggies!! Gotta keep this small. Don't want to let the word get out too big! If this gets back to the kids my secret will be out!!

Monday, April 6, 2009


Any art that involves FIRE is welcome at Pyromania, a local arts project that offers lots of free stuff. If you live in a place that offers a Pyromania, ours is terrific. They raffle chances to make glass beads,

everyone makes glass tiles, cuttlebone casting (make your own necklace), and clay work for free. You can observe live pot throwing, bronze casting, building a kiln, blacksmithing with wrought iron... and buy some of the offerings as well. It's a lot of fun and gets everyone Fired Up about Art!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Flower Show

We had a very busy weekend. Among the other items on the agenda we went to Pyromania which was next to the Flower Show. A friend treated me to admission so I had to go. What a wonderful gift! I haven't been before but it was truly fantastic. If you know me, you know I am a sucker for taking pictures of flowers. Always have been since my first 126mm camera. I've gone through a lot of cameras since then but I have really enjoyed taking and giving away my pictures. Here are a few of the 200 I took! Kind of randomly chosen too, they were all spectacular. The grape looking ones really were interesting... little balloon flowers... and of course the orchids were incredible... I just love them. A great outing you may be surprised how much you enjoy!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Scavenger Hunt

Ok tonight we were supposed to have a family activity and it ended up being my turn to plan it (I plan all of them. Sigh.) So while I was in traffic on the way home I came up with this idea.
Scavenger hunts are still fun... I was making a list of things to go see and take pictures of, when I decided it would be more fun if the kids had some input here. So I went home and made sure dad hadn't made plans (he hadn't) and passed out little scrapbook paper rectangles to everyone. (I am thinking ahead here. I should have passed out acid free pens too. You have instant titles for your pages. But I digress.) Everyone had to write an adjective on the paper. To my delight no one, not even my 9 year old, had to ask me what an adjective was! They all passed their papers back and a few wanted to do two so I let them. I did'nt do any myself because my hands were full getting the camera together. SO we got in the car and pulled out the first word.


Ok that would be my sarcastic teenager. We went immediately to his girlfriend's work (where she was) and took her picture, the person who wrote that word had to take the pic.. He said she was ornery. We jumped back in the car and drew pretty. Instead of jumping back out and taking another picture of this pretty girl, we went to River Ranch, a very pretty center of town/subdivision and took a pic in the gazebo as it was starting to rain. First we thought a pretty car but were unable to find one that qualified!
The next word was Delicious. Dad had keenly planned ahead for this since he had not made dinner tonight. So we all went to Pizzaria Venti where dinner is guaranteed to be delicious.

Colorful. That was McDonalds with their bright indoor playplace. Then

Smelly. Right around from McD's was a dumpster with stacks of cardboard outside. We all (except dd11 who took the pic) stood in front of the piles of trash with our noses plugged.

Next was purple. We could not think of anything so we went to Target and everyone was commanded to find something purple for under $2.00. We came out of there with an eggplant, some Easter grass, purple peeps (which, no doubt, will provide the entertainment for our next Family Evening, MORTAL PEEP FIGHT! It involves the microwave.) and several foam swords they saw and could not resist. They had a fight in the Target foyer, which qualified for the next word, Beastly.
The last one was Memorial (I know, wierd) and it was dark so too late to be puttering around the cemetary so we went home. Dad celebrated that it was a great Family Evening! The kids all had a great time.
You can do lots of variations on this theme and still have a fun evening together as a family. Certainly eating first would have lightened the budget and we didn't have to buy stuff at Target, I originally planned on everyone holding up purple clothes but hey. Dad got involved and that's good too.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

You can do anything!

Ok first of all if you have heard of a craft, you can make it. If you have seen something, you might be able to make it. Investigate! The only thing I have wondered about making and given completely up is that instant hand wash stuff.
See if your little squirt will like playing these old/new games! You may be reminded here of something you already know how to do, and if not, a little searching on line will teach you, no doubt about it. Youtube videos of everything from playing piano to dance to knitting. Search. Find. Sticking to indoors since not all of you live in the Glorious Confederacy where it's 80 degrees outside in March. All age ranges here!

1. Hide a bunch of paper shamrocks around the house for them to find.
2. Paint with acrylic or tempra on the sliding glass door or mirror. Hey it comes off easy with a razor blade or water and some scrubbing.
3. Check the weather in the paper every day, and record it. Chart temperature highs and lows.
4. Have a broken toy clinic. This works really well for us with broken Christmas ornaments. We had wooden ornaments from Germany and the glue all let go, so we have a clinic and glue them back together or pitch them if its not worth it. Toys or books are great too. With some magic tape, an eraser and a damp cloth you can fix many book problems.
5. Pictures of Me collage or placemat. Take pictures of each child and give them to them, let them arrange them and then get out the clear contact paper and cut a piece the size of a place mat. Stick on face down, add stickers or glitter if you wish. Finish with another piece of clear contact for the other side. Alternatively, do birthday cards, Christmas cards, or Valentines. Right now (March 10) Valentines are in plenteous supply and 90% off. Make them for friends or family too.
6. Make a color day. Notice red. Wear red. Color with red. Point out things that are red. Play the Memory game and give extra points for matching red. Play checkers and let him be red. (Pick another color another day)
7. Take time to teach a homemaking skill today. Measuring water into the bowl is a skill. Breaking an egg. Peeling a potato. Opening a can. Starting the lawnmower. Be age appropriate, but teach something. Kids don't know how to clean by watching you. They aren't watching you, their eyes are glazed over completely. Get them to do it and show them what products help them. Mops, string v. sponge.... rags v. towels or paper towels.... Chlorox Clean Up v. Orange Cleaner. Empty bathroom trash cans into kitchen trash. Wash out trash containers. Even that can be fun if you use humor. Wash the car, the dog, the sink, or the windows.
8. Make a slam book. Play on computer together. Play a board game. Read a book.Read a magazine. And next time you go out get a dryer box!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Friendship Book

I think it's best to call it a Friendship Book, it reflects more accurately what it is. Remember, no taking it to school (and if you do, keep it well hidden! It would really be great the last 2 weeks of school if you don't get yearbooks to sign then! And the school classwork is light, and there's time!)

You can do themes too, as well as the regular questions or make an ABC Friendship Book.
I will come up with one for the younger set, but here's one straight off of Facebook. I will try to edit this up!
Ok I would add colors in here, what do you like that's black, green, under those letters. Yellow was the only one? Come on. I gotta have pink crocs. Type of shoes (Flip flops, sandals, heels, crocs, loafers, tennis shoes, bare) Cell Phone Ring Tone was another one I was surprised was not on this list. Musical. Color of postit notes. Favorite highlighter shade. You can ask about anything. Favorite hairstyle - pony, loose, hair bow, curls, straight... Another one I always wanted to be asked was What will you name your kids? Girls love wedding questions too. Who will be your maid of honor? What kind of flowers will you hold? Will you Dance? Ok some more...... uhhhh Perfect date (I just saw Miss Congeniality again LOL) ... Favorite doodle... So you see this can be quite involved. Designed to make you think about yourself, which teens and pre-teens love to do anyway! A great thing to break out when a new friend comes over. I am making a list I like of 140 of them and printing them on the owner's favorite colored paper then using glue sticks on each page. Hey, you already have to number all those pages!! (Below is the list, I noted queries I feel you may want to leave out) There are 78 below so if you've already done the front pages, you can do the backs with these (leaving out the 8 you like least). More fun!


- Age:
- Annoyance:
- Animal: .

- Birthday:
- Best feeling in the world:
- Blind or Deaf: (I dislike this question, and what if your friend is deaf?)
- Best weather:
- Been on stage:
- Believe in Magic:
- Believe in Santa:

- Candy:
- Color:
- Chocolate/Vanilla:
- Chinese/Mexican Food: (you may have covered this on the other qs)
- Cake or pie:
- Continent to visit:
- Cheese:

- Day or Night:
- Dancing in the rain:

- Eyes:
- Everyone's got:
- Ever failed a class?: (Not a good question either)

- First thoughts waking up:
- Food: This probably also covered

- Greatest Fear: May want to leave off
- Goals:
- Gum:
- Get along with your parents?:
- Hair Color:
- Height:
- Happy:
- Holiday:
- How do you want to die: I don't like this one either

- Ice Cream:
- Instrument:
- Jewelry:
- Job:

- Kids:
- Kickboxing or karate:
- Keep a journal?

- Love:
- Letters:
- Laughed so hard you cried:
- Milk flavor:
- Movies:
- Motion sickness?
- McD’s or BK:

- Number:

- One wish:

- Perfect Pizza:
- Pepsi/Coke:
- Quality:
- Reason to cry:
- Reality T.V.:
- Radio Station:
- Roll your tongue in a circle:
- Ring size:

- Song:
- Shoe size:
- Salad Dressing:
- Sushi:
- In the shower:
- Strawberries/Blueberries:

- Tattoos?: Ok preteens are prob doing the water based ones...
- Time for bed:
- Thunderstorms:

- Unpredictable:
- Vacation spot(s):

- Weakness:
- Which one of your friends acts the most like you:
- Who makes you laugh the most:
- Worst feeling: Iffy
- Wanted to be a model:
- Worst Weather?:

- X-Rays:
- Year it is now:
- Yellow:
- Zoo animal:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Make a Slam Book

Did you ever do this as a ‘tween? A Tween is a girl between 10 and 12, not quite a child and not yet a teenager. We made slam books to share a little of ourselves with our friends, kind of like those goofy internet quizes I get even now.

It starts out by taking a lined notebook and numbering each page one to 26. You can leave a few pages blank to draw on (flowers etc) and definately the last few pages for autographs, yearbook style. The numbered pages will have headings like those below, after the first page, which would be name, and you can add phone number and address if you wish. This does make it easier for Mom when Birthday time rolls around!

Feel free to decorate each page if you wish. So you understand that each person pics a number ( I just did #17) and I answer on the line for 17 on each page. I can’t go onto another line or I take someone else’s space! When you’re done you’ll have a page of favorite colors, etc. Here are some page toppers to start you off. Feel free to copy and paste these onto a doc to enlarge and paste onto the top of each page.

Your Name
Phone Number and email
Fav color
Fave number
Fav sandwich
Fav animal
Song on the radio
Disney movie
Slogan or saying
Quote from a movie
musical instrument
subject in school
snack food
characteristic you are working on
something you love about your best friend
where would you vacation if you could go anywhere
fav book
fav book series
fav piece of clothing
type of candy
type of ice cream
give me 5 adjectives that describe you
top 5 activities
what would you do with an empty jar?
If your best friend was an animal what would they be?
Telephone or text or email?
Fav video game
Fav website
Fav blog
Fav You-tube video
Board game
Best teacher
Best vacation
Name 5 random objects
Name 5 things in your room
something you do at school that's goofy
project you've done
Fav pizza
Is your mom cool?
Fav place to shop
What makes you laugh?
If you had to give a speech in public, what would it be about?
What colors would your wedding be?
Cake or pie?
Favorite Christmas activity
What did you dress up like last Halloween?
Favorite Easter treat
How many grandmas and grandpas do you have?
If you had a day to do anything what would you do?
Crafts you like to make (Origami, making posters, etc.)
Sports you like to watch
Balloons, crepe paper, cards, posters, pinatas... what makes a party for you?
Name a hero
Name a superhero from a comic book you admire
Person most qualified to help with your homework
When I grow up I want to be (Career)
When I grow up I want to live in (house, tent, apt, duplex, mansion, palace, villa, plantation, tiki hut) and where?
5 characteristics of my husband
5 characteristics I will have when I'm grown up
5 things I want to learn to cook
5 places I want to go someday
Name something that smells good
If you were at a restaurant that served anything what would you order?
Soup or Salad
Grand Plans-- Something amazing you'd like to accomplish
Draw a flower-dress-monster

OR you can buy some slightly more decorated version...we did ours with 9 cent notebooks from Walmart (they go on sale at school supply time)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Disney Trivia

Make your own customized Trivia Game! We do Disney movies and assign one to each player to come up with 10 questions. Here are my latest to get you started:

In Bedknobs and Broomsticks, what is the magic enchantment that animates objects?

Dragoona Merquoitees dracorum satis dee

(Hasn't worked for me yet LOL!)

In Bedknobs and Broomsticks, what is the name of the Magician?

Dr. Emmelius Browne

Where does the magician in Bedknobs and Broomsticks live?

In a house abandoned due to a large unexploded bomb in the front yard

Which in Bedknobs and Broomsticks island holds the key of the enchantment? The Isle of Nabumbu

Where do they find the other half of the book they need? Portobello Road (in posession of the Bookman)

When Miss Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks tries to turn people into toads, what happens? They turn into white rabbits

What are the kids' names in Bedknobs and Broomsticks? Charlie, Carrie, Paul

What are the kids' names in Peter Pan? Wendy, John and Michael

What does the Magician sell Paul? A small object to make bird noises, it cost a penny (he couldn't get it to work either)

What town are the children from in Bedknobs and Broomsticks? And where do they go? London, Pepperinge Eye (You can pick the difficulty by the age of the replier!)

What does the magician in Bedknobs and Broomsticks do at the end of the movie? Joins the Army (to be specific, the Old Home Guard)

In which other Disney movie do you see the actor that plays the magician (Dr. Emmelius Browne)? He's the dad in Mary Poppins

Sing as much of the song as you can remember of the letter Jane and Michael wrote to put in the paper to get a new nanny? If you want this choice position, have a cheery disposition, rosy cheeks, no warts, play games, all sorts, you must be kind you must be witty, fairly sweet and fairly pretty, take us on outings, give us treats, sing songs, bring sweets. Never be cross or cruel never give us caster oil, or glue, treat us as a son and daughter, and never smell of barley water. If you won't rule or dominate us we will never give you cause to hate us, we won't hide your specticles so you can't see, put toads in your bed or pepper in your tea, Hurry Nanny! Many thanks, Sincerely, Jane and Michael Banks (Yes that's from memory so it may not be 100%)

Diaper Cake

I made another cake recently LOL! It's a diaper cake. Simple. Cute. Expensive but very useful. So only make one of these for someone you really like. They are cute with just the diapers with a cute ribbon around them, but you can decorate them all you want. Some people put thermometers, baby spoons, clippers, you know all the little essentials, but you can also do washcloths (they look like candles!), socks, and toys. Whatever you want. Many times these little items can be found at the Dollar Stores. When you decide to do these you can start keeping an eye out for good baby deals and just have them on hand. I prefer the medium sized diapers because baby will be in them the longest, and they are going to need newborn ones right away, so they can keep the cake longer if it's size 3. You can do two tiers or three, I liked three, but I still considered four as I still had diapers. It's gonna be an impressive centerpiece to any baby shower. I would say if you are throwing the shower it's nice because then you don't need another centerpiece.

I have to say I would have liked to have cuter ribbon to go around the outside, but I couldn't find any to save my skin that day (I thought it would be easy!) so this one doesn't look as cute as it would with a wide bright ribbon.

OK detailed instructions follow:
First, Get all the diapers (I got a box from Sams with 4 packs in it and had quite a few left) and a really long bit of ribbon like a huge 100 ft roll of Christmas curling ribbon or whatever.
Second, look really inept with diapers all over the table and internet directions clutched in your hand with confused look. Husband comes over and figures out that:
1. Roll one diaper very tightly. Take the curling ribbon and make a slip knot and lasso the diaper around the middle and tighten up.
2. Wrap second diaper around the first, pulling it tight with the ribbon. Before the end of the diaper occurs, slip another diaper underneath. Keep it all tight with the ribbon. YOu will continue layering like this all the way to the end. When you are done with the whole layer, go around the whole thing a few times and tie it off where the ribbon came out of the last layer. Make sure it's tight.
3. Repeat with the top layer only this time you'll start with lassoing a bottle, or wrap a diaper around a bottle and lasso it. If you want a bottle sticking out the top that is.
4. When you are done with your layers, wrap them around over the curling ribbon with bright ribbon and tie in a cute bow.
5. Put your entire creation on a cardboard circle if you have one or be really careful transporting it. If desired, put baby items all around, stuffing in the diapers. Optional wooden Valentine sticker hearts, flowers, animals or trucks if the mom has a theme that matches. You can see from this one that the oragel, while useful, isn't cute, so keep that in mind when you are collecting cute little baby things.

You are so privileged! I searched the internet and most people want to sell these so they won't give directions. Other directions were really complicated and no more successful than this. Mine was so tight I carried it without a bottom and had no problems, but honestly you need two people to do it well, one to hold the center and the ribbon and one to feed diapers one at a time. I couldn't have gotten it that tight by myself. Let me know if you have questions!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Ok the Cake was a HUGE HUMONGOUS hit! I made one and the kids ate it... all. So I made another one for dinner, we were having company. Gone. Made one the next day. That is 3 cakes in 2 days. Maybe it was the shape, it was a bundt, and I usually do rectangles. I rarely ever frost. Don't need the calories and no nutritional value. So I shook a tiny bit of powdered sugar on this baby and it was very popular. The first one had black beans, which went perfect in the chocolate cake, and the second and third had red beans. I recommend the black, and make sure there are chocolate bits or chips in the cake if you are serious about avoiding detection. I didn't even tell my husband. It's just best to get them eating them. They don't have to know that what they don't know will probably make them more healthy!! Hee hee hee!

PS My cake was not as purple as the one below. It was brown like a chocolate cake should be. If the cake had been that purple they would definately been suspicious!

Strengthening Communication

SO you blog, you have friends you chat with online, you probably have a Yahoo group or two (or 8 or 9) that you follow. Here are some things you have probably noticed with online friends:
1. They can't spell.
2. Some are more technically proficient than you... and where did they get those smileys?
3. You really don't know them.

Unless you are a very good communicator, your message is often misread by others. It's hard to be clear and convey messages that, in person, would be very simple. We speak in person and we pick up each other's body language, stress on which word, etc. It makes a huge difference in print.

Sometimes when I am writing to encourage someone it comes off wrong... once I wrote to cheer someone who was down, and they had gotten over it by the time they got my message, and they were, like, What? I'm fine? Why do you always think I am down? I 'm not like that all the time! Sheesh, I didn't even get points for trying.
So I tried rereading my posts out loud, but since I know what I mean it didn't help my clarification much. And humor! It is easy to make people laugh in person, but in print they don't always get it. When you do a play on words they just think you misspelled. Frustrating. I also tend to be a great wide reciever... "GO LONG!!"
SO I am sticking to form on that one... but I think I am learning that my best communicating is in public. I am going to put together a powerpoint presentation soon and I am really looking forward to it. Usually when I speak in public I offend one person who just isn't going to get it no matter what, but I also get a lot of cudos, so I am HOPING that is a sign. (One time I did a presentation on Strengthening Communication and my big visual was of a hand-drawn cartoon of a bodybuilder --- strength, bodybuilder...get it?--- anyway I offended someone who was disconcerted by his lack of a shirt and his little Speedo. How many bodybuilders do you know that show off their muscles by wearing a suit? Other than Arnold Shwartzenegger--It was a DRAWING people.... ok so besides her lots of people liked my pic. I am NOT Posting one here because I don't want any feedback on the bodybuilder!)

So let me give you a few tips from my Strengthening Communication class:
1. Just do it. Call or write. If you write, you can do it any time and not be worried you're catching them at a bad time or that as soon as you're on the phone some household disaster will occur. Email if that's an option. Send a personalized note.
2. Send something extra. I like to include a little poem or something, like, when I wrote thank you notes to thank people for coming to an event recently, I included this one:
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. Marcel Proust.
3. Even in email, include a salutation and a closing like a real letter. If you were making a phone call you'd say, Hello!, Right? A short, terse email is very frosty without any Hello! of any kind. And a closing is a great time to tell you they are important to you and that you care about them.
4. Make a printout of your Christmas list and choose someone to write to every week or month. It's even easier if you print it out on the labels already so all you have to do is stick it on the envelope. Then they're off the list and you won't write to them twice (unless you want to or they write back!)
5. Make short phone calls and people are more likely to call you. There are people I don't call because I know it will take way too long to get extricated or because I know we both like to talk too much! There is a lady at church who calls me and always keeps it under 2 minutes. She gets a funny story from me and gets off. Though she is mentally challenged, I don't mind 2 minutes. Now if she kept me for an hour I'd seriously think about Caller ID.
6. When communicating with family members it's great to have stories to tell them. Write down some things that happened this week, good or bad, and you won't be having long mental blocks when they call or you are writing. My husband calls and just wants to know what I had for breakfast. He's so sweet! He just feels he's missing out. So I always try to have a story for him. For my grandma I save all the paintings and drawings in a manilla envelope and when it's full I send it along with cards made just for her.

Let me end by telling you my story today.
My husband has a very unusual work schedule. I gotta preface with that.
I tucked the girls in last night and one was blocking my view of the room, rather obviously.
"What's going on? Ok, now I HAVE to come in and see what you're hiding."
It turns out she was hiding her sister, who was in bed crying.
"Sweetie, why are you crying?"
I finally got the answer after going between them for a while...
"She said that if I miss the bus and I'm late to school you could go to jail!"
Well, technically this is true. Our state has started new truancy laws. This poor child has missed less than a half hour total of school due to late check ins because the bus either did not pass or passed early and we waited, not knowing. If the bus shows up at noon and picks them up (after they've been waiting since 7am) and brings them to school it's excused, but if I bring her 5 minutes late, I am raising a truant child and flying in the face of all convention and rule about school attendance. It's insane, but it's the new law. I think it's nuts. But I try to comply and get her there on time. Sometimes I am one minute late and have to sign her in. Anyway, she misses one more minute and I have a hearing. Cool, huh!
This is where dad's work schedule comes in. There are a few days a month that he's not there to back me up. So I really need my bedbug to get out of bed on time.
So I said, very cheerfully, "Well, she's right, so I guess you'll just have to get up early every morning!"
She dried her tears and agreed she'd make a greater effort in the mornings to keep Mom from the slammer.
I appreciate that. And she got up and dressed in record time this morning!

Anyway, it's those little moments people want to hear about. The things they would be part of if they were there.
So go write to someone, already!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

OK it's been a LONG time since I got to this blog. Sorry. I have been working on food storage questions. There have been lots of people asking about it and I have been getting my information together. I think what gets me the most excited about this is that the economy being in the dumps has made people realize they need to get thinking more intelligently about storing and using food, and money. Second most exciting thing is that I realized the expiration dates on this stuff is sooner than I thought: One of those "Objects in mirror closer than they appear" moments. We've been thinking about getting more food storage but I want to do this intelligently. I want to buy beans, but then we have to EAT them! So instead of buying 200 cans of beans I bought some at the store. I bought some sneaky stuff too. Red Beans and Rice is pretty simple to figure out... but no dice. I even got white beans and rice mix thinking they'd never see those beans in there. I even added hamburger. Nope. I can't even get them to eat the garbanzo beans in the salad. Is there hope for us? I just found out about a recipe for chocolate cake with beans in it. I think it just might work....You puree beans and add cup for cup instead of the oil in any recipe. Nice huh! I'll let you know!