Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday night

Whatcha up to tonight??

THIS is what we are up to this Saturday evening (and most Saturday evenings for that matter!):
Whole grain blueberry muffins, baked for the morning:

Prepping for Sunday school.... I have the most awesome class ever.

Normally, my hunk of a man would be at the weekly youth meeting but he has been feeling quite sick lately. =( So tonight he is home (which I like...just wish he weren't sick) and is finishing up his sermon for tomorrow.

Seth: Why are you taking a picture of me right now?

Me: I'm documenting our Saturday night. Smile.

Seth, says nothing but drinks his tea in defiance.

My new prayer journal. Yeah for Hobby Lobby, where I found this one!

Working on next month's nursery schedule.

That dumb dog is on my desk because he was severely annoying me earlier so he is in a "time out"... indefinitely.

Sweet little baby girl wants Mommy's attention...

Iron and set out church clothes...

All bathed and fed, building a castle...

Mommy needs a BREAK!

The end.

Hope you have a wonderful Sunday tomorrow!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

I don't want to be tofu

Any tofu lovers out there?

We're not tofu eaters around here. I've tried tofu a few times, and if it's part of a good recipe, I actually don't mind it all. But Seth is completely uninterested.

So if you do love tofu, I have nothing against tofu as a food. But I don't want to be tofu.

You see, tofu can be scrumptious or disgusting, depending on the other ingredients in the dish. Tofu takes on the flavor of whatever is mixed with it.

I started using tofu to describe people when my husband and I were preparing for a youth conference trip. We were taking about which teenagers should be in hotel rooms together. When I said, "That girl is tofu", what I meant was that girl is easily influenced by the people in her company. Put her with other kids who are behaving and she will behave, but put her with kids who are not behaving and she will do as they do.

I don't mean it to be derogatory. Most teenagers are tofu. I was tofu. Sometimes I still am tofu. But when you have a teenager around who is not tofu... whom you trust to do right when the people they are with are not... it's really refreshing.

Lately, I've been thinking of my spirit, or attitude. Is my spirit tofu? Does it take on the flavor of whatever is thrown into it?

Do you ever notice that when the weather is warm and sunny, generally everyone you meet all day is in a great mood? I think that is especially true in a climate such as where I live, where the bleakness and monotony of gray frigid days wears on all and we begin to crave Spring like an Adkins dieter fantasizing about a flaky, buttery dinner roll. Call it a vitamin D deficiency but it almost seems like people wake up in the morning, check on the weather report and decide what kind of mood they will be in based on what the weather man predicts.

We're acting like tofu: mix sunny weather into our day, and we will be sunny and cheerful. Mix in rain and clouds and we will mimic the weather with our spirit.

More than being a mirror of the weather report, I don't want to be tofu when it comes to the circumstances and events of our lives. Life has tough stuff in it. It rains on the just and the unjust alike, the book of Job tells us. And yet that same Bible tells us to "Rejoice evermore!" The two can sometimes contradict one another in our mind and certainly in our actions. It's because we're being like tofu. We're taking on the flavor of the other ingredients of our life.

I don't want to be tofu. I want to be chocolate.

One of the better tofu dishes I've tried was tofu pudding. Do you know what it tasted like? Chocolate pudding. I didn't taste tofu at all. The only ingredient I could distinguish was chocolate. Beautiful, delicious chocolate. It overwhelmed every other contributor in the pudding.

I want to be chocolate. I want to decide the flavor of my day. I want to decide what kind of disposition I will have. I do not want the news to dictate that today will be a bad day because the world is full of bad things. I do not want the actions of others to influence my spirit.

It seems that woman in particular are more susceptible to allowing outside influences to determine their spirit. I dislike over generalizing the genders... surely men and women are different and some obvious trends do exist, but I understand that individuals within the sexes vary. Moody, sensitive men do exist (is there anything on Earth less attractive than a moody man?) and rumor has it that a good female driver does exist, though it is admittedly not me. There are a few marred mailboxes to testify to that. I wish I were joking!☺ The fact, however, that most scented candles are bought by women and (at least in our house or van) it's always the females reaching to turn on the happy music, tell me that women are more inclined to rely on outside stimuli to affect them in a positive way. The old saying of "Men are like microwaves and women are like crock pots" also affirm that women take more to get in the right mood... for anything. ;)

It's ironic, isn't it? As women, we set the tone and atmosphere of our homes, and yet we are the most dependent and susceptible to our own environment to shape our own personal temperament.

I want to be chocolate. I want to choose to let the Bible and the blessings and the joy dominate my frame of mind. Not only that, but maybe I could flavor the world around me with a little more chocolate too? Most people are tofu: letting the circumstances around them govern their mood. One traffic jam can ruin their whole day. But amazingly, one friendly clerk at the post office can brighten a day. Doesn't it seem to be the responsibility of a Christian to be the chocolate that flavors it's surroundings, and not the tofu that soaks in whatever is around?

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost it's savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Matthew 5:13

When we act like chocolate instead of tofu, we can actually obey I Thessalonians 5:16 and "Rejoice evermore". How is it that some people can sing songs of praise by the lifeless body of their loved one? They decided to be chocolate. How in the world can a cancer patient have a smile on their face? They decided to be chocolate. How can one mother with a house full of rambunctious kiddies be cheerful while another is barely surviving? How can some people, with the same cares and trials that we all face, possess joy in a dark world? They decided to be chocolate.

They carry their own joy with them, and share it with others.

Do you flavor your own life, or let others do it for you?


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pinky's talent

It occurred to me as I wrote that title that I have never blogged about Pinky.

Eden = Pinky

Several months ago, I was helping Eden out of her car seat and said "Come here, Pumpkin!" to which Eden scrunched up her face and said, "I not Pumpkin. I Eden." Hmmm, I thought. Okay she doesn't like to be called "Pumpkin". I can accommodate that. So later on, while addressing her, I said, "Come here, Eden." and she grinned the biggest grin of her life and exclaimed, "I not Eden- I PINKY!!!!!!!!"

"You're 'Pinky'?" I asked.

She reiterated, "I Pinky!"

Eden loves pink. She wants to wear it every day. It's so "boo-tiful. I wuv it." as she would tell you.

So "Pinky" it is. Sometimes "Stinky Pinky", if the circumstances warrant it. ☺

Now that you know who Pinky is, let me tell you about her very special talent.

Shooting straw wrappers 6 feet away by blowing through the straw.

And now the secret is out: our little family has no class. All efforts of teaching ladylike behavior are utter failures. Yet even I must admit that it's pretty impressive how far that two year old can shoot them.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Long live the... cook?

While working through her phonic lesson on the letter "Q", Maddie was coloring a picture of a queen.

"Mom, do I know any queens?"

"No, I don't think you do." I answered.

"Are YOU a queen?"

Smiling at that, I replied "Well, I'm the queen of this house!"

Maddie thought that was funny and was quick to correct me: "No, Mom! You're the cook!"

*sigh* When she's right, she's right. ☺


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Curls N Twirls for Girls

Are these not adorable hair flowers? =)

Curls N Twirls for Girls makes these and many other styles of hair bows and super cute skirts. I happen to know the talented lady who makes these... she's been my friend for over 10 yrs. She's one of those friends who you still consider your friend even though you never see each other because of living on different sides of the country. We've kept in touch via facebook. Here's why she's terrific (besides the obvious talents in bow making...):

Picture me, 11 years ago at the tender age of 16 (oops I think I just revealed my age), tall and gawky, resembling Olive Oil in a non-cartoon form (not much has changed in the department), with braces and missionary hose* on.

* Missionary hose: a pair of nylons constructed with a left leg from a pair whose right leg is full of runs and a right leg from a pair whose left left is full of runs. The ratty side of each pair is snipped off and both panty portions are worn, thus resulted in double control top and a single right and single left leg that is (mostly) run-free. Commonly worn by poor college girls attending a college with a dress code requiring nylons.

Baptists and their nylons... I'll never understand.

Back to our story.

I was starting my second job ever, the first outside the comfort of the college premise. I was to become...

dun dun dun

a telemarketer.

Yes, I sold credit card protection plans and mortgage insurance and accidental death insurance over the phone for 4 1/2 yrs. Do you think less of me now? It's a crummy job but it's a job. I was and still am grateful that I had a way to pay my school bill and (later... not at 16) pay for my wedding. Stressful and not what I want to do ever again, but I learned a lot while annoying people during their dinner hour. People skills, boldness, persistence, resilience, and 100 ways to eat a peanut butter and jelly sand which (I personally think popping a few Doritos in one makes a nice variation). Every job will teach a person character, but a job telemarketing teaches you Character with a capital C! ☺Truth be told, the ruder/grosser/more bizarre potential customers were on the phone the better. I loved having a good story to tell at the end of a shift. Not that I encouraged it... no, I'd rather have a sweet person on the other end of the line who was just dying to buy whatever I was selling. But when the person I was calling was less than nice (or uh... appropriate), it really didn't rattle me. What did rattle me: mean supervisors. A few of them made me cry. Of course I was sleep deprived (as were we all), homesick youngin' so maybe it didn't take too much.

But on that day, my first day, I was scared and didn't know what I was doing. As is the case with companies based on sales, the pressure to have big sales numbers was of course high, especially for the supervisors. And usually the supervisors would pass that pressure along to the sales floor. So there I was, wide eyed and unsure of what in the world I was doing. I'd never even had a credit card so the idea of getting others to accept one or "protect" the one they already had was more than a little daunting. And then I was introduced to my supervisor (aka. the master mind behind Curls N Twirls). And she was nice. And she put no pressure on me. She was nice. So I relaxed. Because she was nice.

Niceness goes a long way, don't you think?

And as it turned out, I was pretty good at selling things that I was, in actuality, clueless about. So I made sales. And my supervisor continued to be nice to me. And on the days when I couldn't get a sale to save my life, she was still nice to me. When I was sick, she told me to go home. Sometimes, when young people are given positions of authority, it goes straight to their head, ya know. But this wasn't at all the case with my first supervisor. She was respectful to us lowly underlings. =) As time went on, I had different supervisors. Some of them... well, the lofty achievement of supervisor at the telemarketing firm was more power than they could handle. ;) And eventually, I became a supervisor myself. And any time a scared newbie came over to my desk for training, I remembered my first sup. And I tried to be nice. Niceness goes a very very long way.

So, children, the moral of today's post is:

1. Be nice. People will remember it.

2. Don't be rude to telemarketers. They are so used to it, nothing you say will daunt them (in fact they may be bragging out ruining your day after you end your rant and hang up). The nicer you are, the more likely they will actually put you on the "Do not call" list, instead of assuring you that they will but "accidentally" forget to. (Not saying I ever did these things... but in 4 1/2 yr.s you see things... terrible things. ☺)

3. If you are in the market for cute hair flowers, check out Curls N Twirls For Girls facebook page. You can customize your flowers' color, size, etc.

4. Three month olds do not look at a camera on demand, no matter how much you beg.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy ♥ Day

This is me and my beloved at our church's Sweetheart Banquet. We had a great time, fellowshipped with our friends and played some fun games. Somehow, along the course of the evening, I revealed to everyone that I know how to yodel (really, who doesn't know how to yodel... nothing to it!). I did not however demonstrate, therefore leaving with some shred of dignity in tact.

Dating is funner and funner the longer we're married. Or should I say "more fun"? Whichever is correct, dating your husband is highly recommended. Getting dressed up, wearing something without spit up on the shoulder, going someplace special... all the things you'd do if you weren't an "old married couple" except now that you are "an old married couple" you get to actually enjoy your food instead of being self conscience about the massive pile you managed to scarf. And the best part is that at the end of the night, there is no saying goodbye and going seperate ways. ♥

Happy ♥ Day to you!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

That crafty craft store

This afternoon I needed one thing from the craft store. ONE thing. Well, I did plan on checking for a Valentine's card for my beloved, so one, possibly two items.

I bought 11 items.

The craft stores are crafty that way. Not crafty like Martha Stewart... but crafty like the serpent in the garden! ☺

Crafty: Skilled in or marked by underhandedness, deviousness, or deception

If you have a Hobby Lobby near you, you can understand how easily this happens.

But to be fair, I have been saving boo-cu bucks with my couponing-gone-wild. Last week, it was Wednesday (I get my weekly money from my honey on Monday), I had done all my grocery shopping and I still had all the money Seth had given me for the week. ☺☺☺My fellow coupon-ers know that last week, Rite Aid was insane. I literally MADE $40 shopping at Rite Aid last week. Yes... they paid me.

I've considered elaborating on my blog about the wonders of couponing and how I plan to pay for my children's braces, college educations and weddings via Rite Aid, but I know that other sites, such as The Krazy Coupon Lady do a fantastic job explaining the ins and outs of it all. Maybe one of these days I'll add my 2 cents but anyway, back to my justification of the craft store extravagance.

I needed some Spring in my home. NEEDED it.

Apparently, we here in the tundra of upstate NY are experiencing a record breaking snowy cold winter. As I've said before, I don't pay much attention to the weather. All I know is that Baby, it's cold outside (and sometimes inside). As February inches along, the longing for warmth and flowers and grass and flip flops grows stronger and stronger with each windy, ice laden day. So to encourage Spring's arrival, I put a sign on my door.

You may think it's a welcome sign to welcome guests. But it's really a sign welcoming Spring itself. You see, the bird is the internationally symbol for Spring... so this literally reads "Spring - Welcome". Or maybe I just thought the bird was kinda cute and the sign was 50% off.

And to bring some Spring-ish cheeriness indoors, this cute lil' sign in the living room.

This is the one and only place where I do seasonal decorations. And I basically just decided on that when I forgot to take this removable hook down after Christmas. I've never done the whole change your decor every season thing. Because.. I didn't want to spend the money. I didn't want to have to organize it all. Dust it all. And I. do. not do. tchotchke.

Tchotchke: an inexpensive souvenir, trinket or ornament.

In other words, I have no knick knacks. I sort of despise them.

If you have them, I don't despise yours.

But if it's in my house, I do.

However, hanging a seasonal little do dad on the wall... that sounds nice. ☺

I also got some cute little things to make cute little cupcakes for the kids at school for Valentines Day. I of course, I got two cute little aprons for my cute little girls to wear while we make said cupcakes.

And the other things I bought I won't tell you about 'cus they're some one's birthday present. And even though she probably doesn't read my blog (not many 4 yr. old's do) one can't be too careful about these things.

So the moral of today's post is to be very careful the next time you venture into a craft store. Don't get a cart... that's just asking for trouble. Maybe you should go with a friend to help you be strong. Unless your friend is someone like me.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Beauty AND brains

Shall I warn you know that I am about to be an obnoxious mother bragging on her kid for doing what every other child in the world eventually does as well? ;)

Maddie is doing FANTASTIC in her phonic lessons. She is... (are you ready???) .... READING!!!!!

Is there anything more exciting to learn!!!?!!!

I suppose you could say we're homeschooling... when people see me with my tall-for-her-age four year old out and about during school hours (which we actually do less and less of these days), they wonder why she isn't in school. I didn't really think anything of it, since she just turned 4 in October, but I guess (around here anyway) most kiddos her age are in K4. So when asked, I started saying that I was teaching her pre-school at home.

"Oh." with raised eyebrows.

"Well, I do have an elementary teaching degree". I say... even though I don't really know why I feel compelled to "legitimize" teaching her at home. But it does make the eye brows of the inquirer go down. I think I might stop saying that though... because leaving a trail of eye brow raised strangers in my wake is kind of entertaining.

I think homeschooling is great. When moms (and Dads too) solely take on the huge responsibility of educating their children and do a great job at it, I pretty much think they are super heroes. Really. SUPER HEROES.

It sort of scares me though, to be perfectly honest. For a while, I almost couldn't wrap my mind around homeschooling, especially once you have children of different ages/grades. Probably because there are a lot of different methods and routines and approaches to it. I think I was imagining myself trying to utilize every single good idea I ever heard of into one all-encompassing mega thorough homeschooling experience. And it was exhausting just to contemplate.

So maybe you're wondering why I even think about homeschooling... isn't my handsome hubby the principal of a small Christian academy? (That's what you were thinking isn't it?) First of all, I know it's hard but I would thank you not to dwell on my husband's handsomeness. Unless you're (as like half of my readers are) related to him, it's a bit inappropriate. ☺

Secondly, yes. Let me explain our little school: it's like homeschooling, at the church. We have about 10 students who primarily work independently. They use Alpha-Omega curriculum (mostly) and the staff (other than my husband and his father) are parent volunteers.

Little ones obviously need constant one on one teaching so Kindergarten is done at home. And with the absence of my mother in law at the school, first grade will probably need to be done at home as well.

So I'm a sorta kinda homeschool-er. ☺

And this isn't officially kindergarten anyway. She just seemed ready to learn to read so... we started.

Both Maddie and Eden LOVE "school time". We read one verse from Proverbs, and we pray. I really enjoy hearing children pray, especially my own. Then we review the letters and their sounds, the vowels, maybe sing the alphabet song (or a totally unrelated song if the girls ask) and then we introduce another letter. We practice it's sound, practice writing it, talk about words that begin with it, trying reading a few words, color a few pictures and then we end with the most anticipated animal picture. Maddie holds the photo and tells me what she observes about the animal just by it's picture. Then I read to her a small paragraph about the animal. She just loves this part.

She is actually reading words on her own. Already. They are 2 or 3 letter words but she's reading them. On her own. Already.

(See... that was the obnoxious part I warned you about...).

I attempted uploading a video of her reading... hopefully it works. ☺ She sailed through the first half of the sentence and then got a little tripped over the last word. Not too shabby, though!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Assume the (sleep) position




Makes me laugh! ♥