Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Put On The Garment Of Praise For The Spirit Of Heaviness

Isaiah 61
1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
3To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
4And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
5And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
6But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.
7For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.
8For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
9And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed.
10I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
11For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.


Have you had a heavy heart lately? I know I have. It is my nature. Did you know that there is a cure for that? I did, but I am prone to forget. I am going to try to practice what I have been reminded of lately.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

And The Winner is....

Sorry about the sideways video. i forget that blogger hates my camera's sideways videos. It wont let me turn them.
So, without further ado:

video
Julie @ My Journey To Family!
Julie will be getting this lovely tin filled with Starbucks goodness.

Which is filled with this cutie-patootie travel mug,

a $10 Starbucks gift card,

Hey, did you know that the first coffee card that you register to your e-mail address earns $5 in rewards? So, if you happen to have multiple e-mails... I'm just sayin!

And because I am such a nice person, I am throwing in the coupon that just came today for a free bowl of oatmeal that came in today's mail.. Apparently, it is perfect.

Congratulations, Julie. E-mail your address to me at ginagae at aol dot com, and I will put this into the mail for you by Wednesday. (No promises about tomorrow, sorry.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Give Away- Homemade Gourmet

My newfound bloggy friend, Jen (Thanks Debbie for the intro) is doing a give away. What precisely is she giving away? Why dinner, of course. Actually 4 of them. Who among us hasn't stood peering into the fridge in frustration wondering what to make? Well, she has the answer to that. Go check it out.

200

Today is the day! I have reached my 200th post!
In honor of my 200th post here is my list of 200.


1) I was born in Anchorage Alaska. That makes me a "sourdough." A sourdough is a white person born in Alaska.


2) Did you know that even though San Fransisco is the sourdough capitol it actually originated in Alaska? The gold miners developed sourdough because regular bread would not rise- it was just too cold. Instead they figured out how to get the bread to rise by fermenting it. Seriously. Which means that I am white, doughy, and full of fermented gasses. Hmm.


3) We moved to Washington State when I was 4. For my parents this was coming home.


4)I am the youngest of 6 kids.


5)I always liked living in a big family.


6) I had teen aged sisters when I was in grade school and I always loved it when their friends came over after school to hang out or to work on school projects. My sisters and their friends were so cool. I think that also explains my insane love for 80's music. Cool big sisters=cool music.

7)My brother is the oldest. He is 9 years older than me and has had some sort of a job since I can remember. The only time he stayed around the house was when he wrecked his car and was laid up for about a month. He was on crutches for Months and when we played games like baseball he would use his crutch as the bat.


8)The nice thing about him having a job and being gone all the time is that there was always good stuff to eat stashed away in his room. Stuff like sugared cereal, Red Vines, and Coke. He tried to hide it from us, but we still managed to find it.


9)I grew up on a hobby farm. Which means that even though we ate very well from our land my dad and mom still had to have "real" jobs.


10)My dad was an auto body mechanic and my mom was a bank teller.


11)We had cows, pigs, chickens, and at one point rabbits.


12)We had huge gardens, and we picked the berries that grew all over.


13)I had special hide outs, I could catch garter snakes, and I could tell just by listening if the electric fence was hot.

14)By the time I was in middle school my brother and 3 oldest sisters had moved out.


15)Instead of riding the bus home after school I would spend the afternoon at the library, walking around town, or go to one of their houses to watch CABLE.


16)As long as I was in the appointed place at the appointed time when my dad went through town on his way home this arrangement worked out just fine. I guess you could say I was a Free Range Kid.


17)When I was in middle school my dad started dying. Seriously. He was killing himself at work. It was finally determined that he had heavy metal poisoning and that if he wanted to live he better find a different line of work. Not easy for a guy who quit school after he got thrown out of his 4th district in 9th grade.


18)He got his GED and worked on his pre-recs while I was in middle school. He continued to work in the body shop as much as he could on the days he wasn't sick. This led to:

19)When I was in 9th grade we moved to Marietta, GA just outside of Atlanta. My dad went to Life Chiropractic College and worked at any job he could find. He stocked grocery shelves, he delivered pizza, and I'm sure he did other stuff I just can't remember what. What I do know is that he never went back to auto body work.


20)Georgia was fun for me. Not so much for the sister that came with us. She was miserable and returned "home" after one year. That made me the only child for the first time in my life. While it didn't mean I was spoiled by stuff it did mean that I got spoiled by having all of my parents' attention and by the fact that I was pretty much allowed to go anywhere and do anything I wanted. I wasn't one to cause my parents to worry, and the kids I hung out with were all good church kids.


21)My dad and I both graduated in 1993.


22)We moved back to Washington that year.


23)While we were in Georgia one sister had gotten married and my brother and another sister had both had kids. I had a hard time letting them call me auntie. It wasn't until I married that I felt I was old enough to bear the title.


24)I nannied for a year out on the Olympic Peninsula. It was a growing up experience for me. it was the first time I had lived away from home. I nannied for the daughter of our pastor who had been my parents' favored babysitter for overnight jobs. You know, like for anniversaries and such.


25)When I went to college at the local community college a lot of my professors recognised me because of my dad or older sisters who had had them before me. I took a P.E. class and on the first day I was early. The teacher walked in, looked at me, and said, "Oh, so you're my Ro**b**ok. I had your dad. Has he figured out how to jump rope yet?" I always took P.E. because 10-15 credits was the same price and I could always fit it into my schedule.


26)I finally graduated with my AA when my 3rd child was an infant. I kept plugging away at it after I got married. A class here, two there.


27)By the time Libby came along I only needed 5 humanities credits. I took Spanish. It was an accelerated course, which meant 4 weeks instead of 12, and I was already fluent. 4 years of advanced high school Spanish, baby!


28)During the first class the baby sitter called and asked me to come get the kids. She said that the boys were not a problem, but since she also had a baby the same age as Libby she couldn't handle both of them.


29)The professor said that as long as she was quiet, Libby could come to class with me. I timed it so that I would get to class early, nurse her and change her diaper, and she would sleep in her car seat in the corner for the next 2 1/2 hours.


30)I got my 2 year degree in only 7 years!

31)Someday I want to go back. I think I want to study interior design. Maybe.


32)I love my life.


33) I have a super husband and 5 (usually) great kids.


34) We really like to hang out together. We bought a white water raft so that we could play together while our kids are still young enough to think we are cool.


35)We like to hike and camp as a family.


36)I hope that as my kids get older they will want to bring their friends to hang out at our house the way we did when we were growing up.


37)I love my house. I consider it a gift from God as it came along at precisely the right moment and not a second sooner.


38)It is about 3000 square feet and we have filled each one of those square feet with kids and kid stuff.


39)We have 2 city lots. The house fills one and the yard is the other.


40)I still love driving up to the house after being gone for a day or so and being glad to be home.


41) I don't like to clean it. We have 3 bedrooms, a massive family room, living, dining, kitchen, mudroom, sun room turned "kids office" which is where they do homework and crafts and where Jesse has his school area, 4 bathrooms, and a 2 car garage- half of which houses my office ( guess why my kids call their room the kid's office).


42)I served on the MOPs steering team at Camano Chapel last year.


43)I have been going to MOPs since Jesse was 1 year old.


44)I served as a small group leader for 3 years before I became the Special Tuesday coordinator.


45)This year I am not doing anything and it feels a little weird. I hope to be asked back onto the steering team again in the future. I had to work on some other priorities this year instead, so I had to give my position up.

46)I wish I was more stylish.


47)Every day I don my uniform: jeans or denim capris, tank top and zip front sweatshirt. I guess it's alright for the glamorous life I lead, but even when I try to dress up I feel like it is all wrong somehow.


48)I am going through a frumpy phase- even if you don't think so I see it in my head.


49) My hair is starting to turn grey- and even though I refuse to color it, it still bugs me a lot.


50)I am still carrying around my "baby fat" even though my baby is 3 1/2.


52)I REFUSE to wear high heals. I have seen first hand the mangled messes that are my mother's feet from wearing high heels everyday of her life while working on her feet.

53) I met my husband when I was 20. We always seemed to be out together late at night and the only part of any given restaurant that was ever open late was the bar. I remember one night the restaurant opened one tiny table for us that was technically not in the bar- it was on the carpet- and we had to walk ALL THE WAY AROUND THE BAR to get there.


54)I was 21 for 6 months before I got pregnant. Oh well, at least I could still legally sit in the bar to have my pop.


55) I knew during our second date that I would marry Sebastian. It took him a lot longer to reach my conclusion. He was worth waiting for.


56) I only ever had one other boyfriend before I met my husband. I think that was really great because I didn't have a lot of emotional baggage coming into our marriage.


57) When we married Sebastian was not a resident of the US. I remember sitting in INS court and all i could think about was telling my mom and dad that they better figure out a way to get us back, because if he was deported I was going to go with him.


58)When the Order for Deportation was dismissed I let out a huge sob of relief. I didn't realize until I did that that I was actually holding that back.


59) We celebrated that night by going out to dinner at the space needle. that was 10 years ago, so:


60) This year we either have to renew his green card or he has to apply for citizenship.


61)He wants to maintain duel citizenship.


62)I think it would be cool to figure out a way for our kids to have duel citizenship. Does anyone out there know how this works?


63) Sebastian's parents came to visit us about 7 1/2 years ago. They stayed with us for 2 1/2 months. When they applied for their visas they had to make it clear that they would not be staying and that I would not be using them as granny-nannies.


64) We had a lot of fun showing them around our state- which is about as big as their country.


65) We went to Romania 6 1/2 years ago and stayed for a month. It was really neat to see the things my husband had told me stories of. My very favorite was to see the Black Sea.


66)If I ever get back there in the summer I want to stay at the Black Sea for a week. I may even pay a gypsy girl to give me a mud wrap. The gypsies walk up and down the beach selling absolutely everything. You never have to leave your towel if you don't want to.


67) I took our 5 children to Romania in February. 30 hours and 4 international airports in 3 countries and they were as good as gold!


68) Austrian Airlines ROCKS! My kids were SO spoiled by the flight attendants.


69)Sebastian's parents had never met our 2 youngest children and they hadn't seen Elizabeth since she was 6 months old.


70) I hope we get to see them at least once more.


71) One year Sebastian was working in Eastern Washington. He left for work at 4 am on Monday morning and got home at 9 pm on Friday night.


72)I guess those weekends were long enough. I found out that year that I was pregnant with Jonah.


73)It was also the year I painted my bedroom pink. It was my room. He was just a guest in it!

74) my favorite color is red. It makes me happy. I should wear it more often, but I have a closet full of red's sweet little sister, pink. I even have pink Converse.


75) Since I married Euro I have done away with the top sheet on all our beds. Top sheets are just a pain in the butt!


76)My kids all have blankets small enough to throw in our monstrously huge washer. And, since they are kids, we do wash them a lot.


77)We have a down comforter and a couple of duvet covers. I found some modified suspender or mitten clips that hold the comforter in place and make it so I can get the thing inside and straight all by myself.

78) Since I have lived in this house I have never had a reliable dishwasher. I spent a lot of time hand washing. Now that I have a new kitchen I sometimes start hand washing the dishes and get about half way done before I have that "DOH" moment and load the rest in the dishwasher.


79) I like to wear make up- for about 2 hours. Then I start touching my face and it all goes to pot and I have to wash my face.


80) I was 28 the first time I got my eyebrows waxed. I wonder how I lived that long...It hurts to high heaven, too.


81)And I just don't get it- I gave birth 5 times without an epidural, 4 of those times without any pain medication at all, and I cry when i get my eyebrows waxed.


82)My theory is this: When you give birth you have no choice but to GET IT OUT. Waxing your eyebrows is purely optional. Oh, and I'm deathly afraid of needles.


83) I'm deathly afraid of needles. I can get a blood draw OK, but then I cry when it's done and I have to sit a while so I don't pass out. Shots? Hold me down!


84) I am totally immunized and up to date on my tetanus shot.


85) I drink Coke. And coffee. If I wasn't deathly afraid of needles I think I would have a caffeine drip running all day. Water is strictly for bathing. And boiling pasta.


86)I am a good cook. But I hate to do it.

87) Jesse is a good cook and he loves to do it. I love to let him.


88)I bought a bottle of Liz Claiborne perfume before Jonah was born. He says I smell like Mommy when I wear it, which is nearly every day.


89) Caleb eats with his eyes. if it looks weird- fugeddaboudit. I eat with my nose. Actually smell is very important to me in a lot of things.


90)I make judgements about food, people, and how clean my house is based on smell.


91) My favorite is to go for a walk in the evening- especially on a fall evening- and count how many people are doing their laundry. I can smell it if the dryer is venting.


92) I love to stand close to my husband and smell him. He doesn't smell like cologne or laundry, just himself. Every once in a while he smells the way he did when I met him.


93) When I'm alone I can run every appliance, the TV, and a radio or two- but add a kid or five to the mix and I need to turn everything else off.


94) I am a night owl.


95) See #85.


96) I dream sometimes that my childhood house is for sale and we buy it and we move in- just so my kids can experience my childhood. In my dream the house is not furnished with things from my childhood. We bring our own stuff. Anybody care to psychoanalyze me?


97) I love to paint walls. It's gratifying. You can take dingy and dirty and turn it into "WOW" and no one can come along and "unpaint" it in an hour.

98) I like to sew.


99)I need to finish some face cradle covers for my sister's massage table.

100)Then I need to shorten my girls' curtains.

101) THEN I need to finish the roman shades I started for the kids' office.

102) Lastly I need to finish the double wedding ring quilt I started 9 years ago.

103)I want to figure out a way to earn some money. I am thinking about trying my hand at some custom bows and barrettes. I have built in hair models.


104) I am a closet design freak. See #31.

105)Blogging takes up way too much of my time, but I LOVE IT.

106) I can fix a lot of things around my house. I have 2 glass window panes calling out to me right now.

107) I plan to pick all the Italian prunes off our tree next week and dehydrate them. Our second favorite way to eat them- right after fresh.

108) I also plan to make apple sauce from the apples on the tree in our yard.

109) I told my husband I wanted to try to write a book this year. I have a really good idea swimming around in my head.

110) I take picture and my family says, "Are you gonna blog about this?" I do take pictures just for my blog, but I have way more that never make it out of my Kodak program!

111) I like to read but I hardly ever afford myself that luxury because once I have a book in my hand I can't put it down until it is done. The world could burn down around me for all I care....


112) The 2 best books I read this year were A Thousand Splendid Suns and Created To Be His Helpmeet- for very different reasons.

113) I don't think it is fair to have grey hair and the beginning of wrinkles, and still be getting zits.


114)I looked at my chin yesterday and I saw my grandma!

115) Ditto for my hands- except she doesn't bite her nails to the bloody stump.


116) Elizabeth and my grandma have the same birthday 80 years apart.

117)They have celebrated together every year since Libby was born except for this year, because we were in Romania.


118)My grandma still hasn't quite forgiven me for not naming Libby after her. In fact she calls her "Mary Elizabeth".


119)I need a week in the Caribean with my family, and 5 nannies.


120) It will never happen.


121) I wear glasses.


122) I got my first pair when I was 18 months old.

123) I burried a pair in the back yard because I didn't want to wear them.

124) My parents dug and dug and they never could find them.

125) Mom, I burried them right off the slab from the back door of the garage. I can't remember if it was to the right or the left.

126) I'm sorry.

127) I have tried wearing contacts. Several times. I hate them.

128) Praise the Lord for high index lenses! No more Coke bottles for me.

129) I am legally blind in my left eye.

130) I am secretly afraid that something will happen to my right eye in some kind of freak accident and I will go blind.

131) Speaking of afraid: I was almost sideswiped today when a lady changed lanes into my front quarter panel.


132) I reacted fast enough to avoid an accident.


133) She never knew. My horn doesn't work.


134) I was almost sorry I didn't let her hit me so I could get a new car.


135) Then I looked over at Jesse and re-thought that. He was sitting in the front passenger seat.


136) I am trying to be thankful for the car that I own. I have no car payment.


137) I can't wait until Jesse can drive some people around for me!


138) I would rather be cold than hot. you can always put more clothes on, but there is a limit to what you can take off!


139)I hate to wear socks.


140) I bought socks for myself this year for the first time in 5 years.


141) I will take comfy undergarments over sexy ones any day. It doesn't matter much anyway....


142) My favorite dinner is taco salad- but it has to be made with Doritos and topped with 1000 Island dressing and Ketsup.


143) I only like Heinz ketsup.


144) I only like Campbell's cream soups.


145) I only like Best Foods mayonaise.


146) Mustard is mustard is mustard.


147) I do not eat bell peppers. I can taste them when my mom tries to pick them out of stuff to trick me. I can taste them if food is left uncovered in the refrigerator.


148) I do not eat any kind of peppers. Period. For any amount of money.


149) When my husband was a teenager, his uncle dared him to chew and swallow a super hot, super tiny pepper. For $100 US.


150) Sebastian made $100 that day.


151) He was sorry the next day.


152) Even though it is still 5 years away, I am torn about going to my 20 year class reunion. Will I even matter there?


153) I try not to run my kids around too much, but...

154) All the kids go to church on Tuesday night. Jesse goes to youth group at one church and the other kids go to AWANA at our church.

155) Jesse is going to be taking a cooking class for the next 6 Wednesdays.

156) The girls are taking ballet on Thursday nights.

157) Jesse goes to co-op on Thursdays.

158) And Jonah goes to daycare on Thursdays so I can work.

159) Poor Caleb needs an activity.

160) I spent all day cleaning my office. Yeah, it was that bad.

161) I have people coming over tomorrow.

162) I'm not ready for them....

163) We bought a bond tonight. In 12 years it will have more than doubled in value.

164) We've already decided that we want to buy more bonds.

165) We have severe fruit fly issues today. I also had a severly rotten apple in my fruit bowl along with some very ripe bananas.

166) In order to get rid of fruit flies clean your kitchen and remove all food from your countertops. Put a few inches of apple cider vinegar in a quart jar. White vinegar will not work. make a paper cone with a very small hole at the bottom. tape it so it will stay and drop it into the jar. The cone should not touch the vinegar. Trim the cone to be an inch or so taller than the jar. Cut flaps from the top of the cone to the rim of the jar and fold them over so that they lap over to the outside of the jar. Screw the screw band in place over the inverted cone. The fruit flies will be drawn to the smell of the jar, will walk down the cone and not be able to get back out. Many will gorge themselves on the vinegar and drown. When you have gotten rid of your infestation, swirl the jar to drown the rest.

167) I won't have a fruit fly problem by this time tomorrow.

168) I chew my finger nails badly.

169) When my nails are to short to bite off I peel them.

170) When I can't peel them amy more I bite the skin around them.

171) It's ugly and I hate it and I need to stop.

172) I want to finish painting my kitchen this weekend, but I don't know if I will have the time.

173) There is never enough time.

174) I also need to make the curtains for my dining room- but I don't have the time.

175) Lately I have been having the baby twinge. I am hoping it will go away. Until it does, please keep your infant far away from me.

176) This is the first year in 11 years that I haven't had a baby in diapers.

177) We didn't have any birthday parties for our kids last year. I decided that I really like to make thier birthdays special and I really missed the parties. I think this year we will have parties, but keep them low key.

178) I like to watch movies. I don't really care what kind as long as it is not horror.

179) Horror movies give me terrible nightmares- the kind where I wake up in a cold sweat, sitting straight up in bed, and unable to breathe.

180) I don't really like chick flicks as well as I like a good comedy. Like Hitch- or just about anything with Will Smith.

181) I think Ed Harris is really good looking- for an old guy.

182) I haven't washed my windows in over a year. I keep thinking that we will replace them and so they wouldn't be worth the wor.

183) I should wash my windows this weekend.

184) See #173

185) I don't like chocolate.

186) Or Ice cream.

187) Or yougurt.

188) I will eat them, but they're not my first choice.

189) I really like candy like hot tamales, bottle caps, or licorice. And I like Orange Sherbet the best. Any brand will do. There's nothing I like in place of yougurt. I can eat a lemon yoplait- but even then I start to gag before I finish. I think it's the thickness in the back of my throat.

190) I love storage boxes. I have a clear storage tote fettish. Brand is not of uttermost importance, but right now I am loving the newest rubbermade totes in all thier sizes.

191) I am super organized. I just can't keep up with every one else to be organized for them, too.

192) My favorite stores are: Target and Office Depot.

193) If I go into a store and I am not greeted (like a clothing store at the mall) I will turn around and leave and not buy anything. I'll go find what I am after somewhere else.

194) I hate bad customer service. There is no excuse for being rude or lazy.

195) I will always leave a 20% tip when I take my kids to a restaurant. They're a lot of work and I am so glad that someone else is doing it. We have taught our children to ask to have thier needs met. They can keep a waitress running!

196) I am giving away some Starbucks goodness in honor of my 200th post. Starbucks has some really good non-coffee drinks, Mom. Don't be afraid to enter.

197) To enter my give away you have to leave me some comment love.

198) You get a second entry if you tell me something you learned about me- especially if you have known me my entire life.

199) You get a third entry if I am on your blog roll.

200) I will draw a winner on Monday, September 21st.

I hope you managed to read the whole post and not just skim through it with your eyes glazed over. :)
Happy 200 to me!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

If You Wanna Laugh

Out Loud. And you have the time, go browse Sniglets

Sniglet (snig' lit) n.
Any word that doesn't appear in the dictionary, but should.

Picking Blackberries







Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Job Board

Because Kat asked, and because I am conspicuously missing pictures lately;
Here is how I made our job board
Start with a piece of poster board.
I like the new ghost lines.
I also love my clear quilting ruler and my permanent markers in every color.
I sectioned a part of the poster board off for each kid.
Then I printed off all the jobs.
Yes they are certain colors for a reason. Each type of job has a color.
That way I can tell at a glance if they have been evenly distributed.
Cut apart your jobs and laminate them.
I highly recommend that every household come equipped with clear contact paper.
And a cutter. And a clear quilting ruler. And permanent markers.
Buy some Velcro sticky dots.
Stick the fuzzy side to the jobs.
This is called "nuecro" by the way. Look it up.
Neucro (new' kro) n. The negative or "uncharged" strip of Velcro that Posicro adheres to.
And put the scratchy side, or "posicro", on your job board.
Posicro (pah' sih kro) n.
The magnetic or "charged" strip of Velcro. ant Neucro
Attach your jobs and you are in business.
Next week I will take Abby's jobs, move them up to Libby. Caleb gets Libby's, Jesse gets Caleb's, and Abby gets Jesse's. Jonah's are pretty static right now. After a 4 week rotation I will take them all down, mix them up, and redo the whole process.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Figured Out Where The Money Went

I was so bugged all day yesterday about how I managed to spend $189 on groceries that I sat down with my receipt and broke down my menu by price. For anything I had on hand the price is zero- and we do have a side of beef in the freezer. Here's what it looks like:

Monday: Whole Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Corn
Whole Fryer $7.55
Corn 3 @$1
Mashed Potatoes $0
Salad (I'm lazy) $3.55
Total $14.10

Tuesday: Split Pea Soup
Pork $2.08
Saltines $1.19
Split Peas $.79
Total $4.06

Wednesday: Build Your Own Pizza
Home Made Pizza Crust $0
Pizza Sauce $0
Mushrooms $1.69
Pineapple $1.99
Olives 2@ $1.19
Peperoni $3.99
Total $10.05
I'm thinking that the real cost of this meal is more like $13. Does that make it a better deal? We sure like it homemade and I don't have to try to make sure that everyone has only what they like because the pizzas are individual.

Thursday: Taco Salad
Ground Beef $0
Salad $3.99
Doritos $3.79
Tomatoes $4.32
Onion $1.15
Salad dressing $0
Cheese $6.99 (I certainly wont use the whole brick,
but I did have to buy it to make this...)
Total $20.24
This one really weighs in at about $15 when you factor in the actual amount of ingredients used.

Friday: BBQ Steak, Salad, Potatoes
Steak $0
Potatoes $0
Salad $4.00
Sour Cream $3.19
Total $7.19
Again, I think the real cost of this meal is about $12.

Saturday: Chicken Pot Pie
Pie Crust $3.59
Veg All 2@ $1.49
Chicken $0 (Left over from Monday)
Total $6.57

Sunday: Roast Beef, Potatoes, Carrots, Dinner Rolls
Roast Beef $0
Carrots $3.39
Potatoes $0
Home Made Dinner Rolls $0
Total $3.39
This meal would cost about $10 to make based on the ingredients.

Lunch is packed from home, except on Wednesday when the kids can buy hot lunch. That leaves only Saturday and Sunday to plan out:

Saturday: Hot Dogs, Chips, Fruit
Hot Dogs $1.50 (I know I said I hate them,
but Caleb asked for them specifically)
Buns $1.29
Chips $2.29
Total $5.08

Sunday: Mamaliga (Which is the Romanian word for polenta)
Corn Meal $2.28
Sour Cream $0
Cheese $0
Total $2.28
I would estimate the real cost of this meal to be about $4.50 because some of the ingredients were figured into other meal costs.

Then there are the other things I need to buy such as:

Fruit:
1 pear $.90 (Yes, just 1. It was a bribe to be good in the store)
Bananas $1.44
Green Grapes $4.00
Red Grapes $4.92
Watermelon $4.94
Total $16.20

Snacks:
Yogurt 14@ $.77 (The kids eat this as snack,
never breakfast. I don't know why,
but ok. I'm sure I could get this
cheaper, but they like Yoplait and
they don't waste any of it.)
Fruit Snacks 2@ $1.59
Rice Crispy Treats
Rice Crispies $2.99
Marshmallows $1.29
Cheezit's (BOGO) $3.39
Uncle Dan's $1.50
Total $23.13

Jelly Supplies (Remember those blackberries?)
Freezer Jars $3.89
Sure Jell $3.19
Lemon Juice $1.99
Total $9.07

Cereal and Milk
Cereal 3 bags for $7
Milk 1 free with cereal
Milk $2.75
Total $9.75

Staples and Misc
Butter 2 @ $2.50
Eggs 2 @ $1.99
Nally Chili $1.29
Spagetti O's $1.99
Dish Soap $3.50
Total $15.76

Beverages
Coffee $4.99
Wine $4.99
$8.99
$9.99
$6.99
Wine discount -$3.10
Coke $8.79
Total $41.64
Yes, folks I think we have found a gaping hole here- but neither one of us can function without coffee and neither one of us is willing to give up their vice. Mine is the Coke, by the way.

When I look at this from a different perspective, we can't eat out for less than $70. I can deal with $15 meals, but I wish I could figure out more of them for $5 or $6.

Monday, September 15, 2008

$$$$$$$$Grocery Shopping$$$$$$$$

The last couple of times I went grocery shopping I spent over $250! Are you kidding me?! Last week we ate out of our refrigerator and pantry, but this week it was looking pretty bare. I just got back from the grocery store and I thought I had made a cheap menu. Thought. I spent a total of $180 today. So much for a cheap menu. I even found a couple of bargains. Malt-O-Meal cereal was on sale 3 bags for $7. While I realize that this is more than $2 each, you get more cereal than a standard box. Not only that, but when you bought 3 bags you got a free gallon of milk. I spent $9 on Coke, and about $30 on wine. Please tell me what on earth I spent the other $134 on?

Is this a reasonable amount to spend for a family of 7? Really?

Does anyone have any suggestions about how to get this number lower?

I don't clip coupons because A) I don't take the paper, and B) The coupons are usually for things I don't buy.

And please don't suggest any recipes with hot dogs as the meat. I HATE them!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Blackberries

The drive home from church was short. It was a beautiful day, and they were discussing what they should do with the rest of their afternoon. Out of the corner of her eye she caught a glimpse of the blackberry bushes. She slowed the car and looked at the plump black berries shining like jewels in the sun. They decided they would run home, change clothes, and come back.

Back in the sunshine she gently pulled the berries, waiting for them to yield. The bush suddenly sprung back and the berry dropped into her hand. She breathed in the aroma as she dumped the berry into the bucket. She liked to pick berries. Her husband and kids were spread out down the country road. The “baby” running back and forth, occasionally dropping a berry into “her” bucket. It was hers, too. The rule was that once you had put a berry into the bucket you couldn’t eat it until they had been processed into a finished product. Knowing this, the kids spent most of their time eating berries. Very few kid berries made it into her bucket. They stood on the road side and ate black berries until their fingers and teeth were stained.

She liked the solitude of it. She could let her mind wander. Back she went to her childhood. It really wasn’t so long ago, maybe 23 years, but it felt like forever.

As a child she had grown up outside of town. Way outside. She kept herself busy. Running through the woods, swimming in the river, climbing trees, and picking berries. All kinds of berries grew wild on their land. There were huckleberries growing out of the rotting cedar stump near her favorite hide out. There were salmon berries all over the gully. And there were black berries. Acres and acres of black berries. Their land backed up to government land, through which ran high voltage power lines, a service road, and little else unless you counted the occasional mountain lion, and she and her sisters. This is where the black berries grew. Big. Maybe they were supercharged by all the power running over head. Whatever the reason, the berry bushes covered nearly every inch of the land and they were loaded with berries.

Her grandfather had a produce truck. He sat by the road and sold his wares off the back of his truck. Blackberries would fetch a good price. He bought them from the kids by the gallon bucket and sold them to his customers by the pint. They were never rich growing up, but money must have been unusually tight that year because as soon as the berries began to ripen they were sent out to collect them.

She and her sisters would stand and pick with the sun warming their heads. As the day got warmer the sun began to burn her scalp in a straight line right down the middle of her head creating a perfect red meridian between her brown ponytails. They would pick until their fingers were crimson. Invariably they came back in with a few nasty scratches. Each weekend they all went out together- from mid August to mid September- as long as there were berries on the bushes. The berry juice stained her fingers so deeply that even a good washing in the evening couldn’t get them clean.

When her dad would pick with them he carried a plank with him. When they had stripped the front of the bushes, she picking low and he picking high, he would drop the plank into the brambles and direct her to walk up it. Her older sister would walk up behind her and the next sister closer to the ground. Since she was the youngest she was the lightest and the plank wouldn’t sink into the briars.

She dragged her hand out of the bushes and jolted back to the present as she jabbed a thorn into her thumb. She popped her thumb into her mouth and gave the stab a little suck. When had her hands gotten so soft? She laughed a little as she threw a small handful of berries into her mouth. Too late she remembered that she didn’t really like them straight off the bush. As she spat them on the ground she thought that it would all be worth it when she sat down to a hot bowl of blackberry cobbler after dinner.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Gae Family Mint

****Soapbox Alert****

Where does money come from?
Do we as adults even know?
How do we teach our children to value money?

Here's what works for us:
I frequently take my kids shopping with me. In the grocery store I have my eldest calculate the best unit price for a particular item. The next two have learned to look for the unit price on the shelf tag and I am teaching them about finding the best deal, Because it is not always cheapest to buy the least expensive item- think unit price. The 4th is in charge of finding cereal for $2 or less and the 5th is in charge of not touching anything and looking cute when he asks for a FREE cookie. (Or "lick cream" at Starbucks.)

When we go to the clothing store, we shop the clearance racks and I have taught my children no disdain for 2nd hand.
We have recently committed to no more eating out. *Sob* This includes my beloved Starbucks. Sorry, Jonah, no more "lick cream" for you. But even before the new commitment to eating out of our own refrigerator I could learn you a thing or two about eating cheap on the town.

Red Robin has coupons that they give to doctors, dentists, and chiropractors for free kids meals. My dad happens to be a chiropractor. At the local Denny's, kids eat free from 4pm to 10 pm Tuesday through Friday. And not just one or two kids per paying adults. I once took all 5 of my kids in for a free linner all by my self. On Sundays a local Mexican restaurant has kid's meals for 99 cents. And they don't care if I only order a coke and eat all the chips and mild salsa. I asked.
As for financial responsibility on the kiddo side....

We decided before our first child had teeth that there were no "magical creatures" that would leave money lying around. Lose a tooth, bring it to mom, walk away a dollar richer. All presents come from mom and dad, not some fat guy with infinite resources. And there is no rabbit dropping money filled plastic eggs in the yard each spring. That's not reality.

We have a job board, where each week the jobs are posted. The jobs that are beside each kid's name are the ones they are expected to do each day. There are other jobs on the board too that can be done for extra money- but only after all the regular chores have been finished for the day. The kids can do as much "overtime" as they want, provided they have already finished their assigned jobs. If they are asked to do a job that is not on the board, and believe me there are plenty, then it is understood that it is a job they do because they are members of the family.

If the kids miss no more than one day of chores in a week, the pay is $5. If they miss 2 or more days then the pay is $0- and we don't work on Sundays. From the $5 they tithe $.50, and $2.25 goes into each child's savings account. I make the kids go through the exercise of splitting the money up and I make it easy by providing the correct denominations. Then we make the trip to the bank where they make their own deposits. The other $2.25 is theirs to do with as they please. The catch? If we are at the store and the kids ask for something that is not a basic need, the answer to their question will always be a question of my own: "Did you bring your money?"

OK, I'll climb off my soap box now. I want to hear what works for you- and I especially want to hear from you, Kris.

If you want to read more people's ideas about how to teach kids the value of money, go to The Parent Bloggers Network, who not so coincidentally is giving away 3 iPhones in conjunction with Capitol One.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Flyin' My Redneck Flag

Betcha' didn't know that I am a closet "chit kicker," didja?
When I have my wife beater tank top on and my muffin top spilling over the top of my shorts, when I sit in my car with the windows down and the radio blaring the local country station, when I swat the flies as the kids run barefoot in and out of the open door- oh yeah, I fly my redneck flag. And the flag swings to the RIGHT no matter which way the wind blows.

So, if you have a right blowin' chit-kickin' redneck flag, click here to see the genius that Aaron Tippin has created.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rememberance Day

When I get up in the morning, free
I remember you.
When I see my friends who have kissed you goodbye for such a long time,
I remember you.
When I see my children running down the sidewalk to be home,
I remember you.
When I see your children whom you have not seen,
I remember you.

Thank you to all of you men and women who have chosen to serve our country to secure my freedom. Thank you to those of you who will never come home. Thank you to your wives and husbands who have given you to us. Thank you for the children that you leave behind- who stand tall and proud and want to grow up just like you. Thank you. I remember you.

Monday, September 8, 2008

We All Want To Throw Things At Our Kids, Right?

What parent hasn't wanted to throw something at their kid every now and then?

Yesterday September was confused. It thought it was August. So we went to our favorite beach to play. We don't actually swim at our beaches- don't get the wrong idea. They are rocky and barnacle-y, and the water is cold, and we don't even take our shoes off. But we do like to use the drift wood to build forts, and to sit in the rocks and throw them into the surf. And best of all, we like to find "Angel Wings." Those are clam shells that are fully open but still connected at the hinge. Those are the things we like to do at our favorite beach.
Yesterday was no exception. Well, except that throwing rocks into the surf got boring. So I started throwing them at the kid's feet. Just little ones. Only when they weren't looking. And mostly at Caleb. Because he's fun to pester.
Pretty soon Caleb figured out it was me and made a game out of it. "Hey, Mom, throw a rock at me and I'll see if I can hit it with my sword." The child has an ever present stick that usually becomes either a sword or a light saber- depending on the mood. "Hey, Mom, try a bigger one."
"Mom! Just one at a time! You're cheating!" "Dad, try that piece of wood."
So we sat there for about a half hour hucking stuff at Caleb.
I mean, who doesn't want to throw stuff at their kids from time to time?

Whew!

That was me sighing in relief.
Why?
The 11 year old just started his second week of homeschooling, and guess what?
Week one was fabulous!

On the first day we set up his space the way he wanted it. Next we drew up a contract. I Love that thing. We brainstormed all the good and bad behaviours we could think of, and all the consequences and rewards that we thought should go with them, and we wrote it all out and signed it. He has a copy hanging on his school wall and I have a copy in my lesson planning binder. No excuses.
I wrote out his lesson plan and he just went to work. He was at it at 9 am everyday last week. With out being told.
The best part? He's happy. When he's done with school, he's done. No homework hanging over his head, no raging because he has had an awful day. Just my happy, funny, charming boy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Talk

I have now officially delivered The Talk to two of my kids. Under VERY different circumstances. The boy asked, so I answered all of his questions matter of factly and tried not to show him that I was DYING inside.
The girl, however, took off alone on our hike last weekend. I finally caught up with her and read her the riot act. And she burst into tears. "Mom, I'm SEVEN." "The boys are way ahead of us!" "It's not fair."

"But you're really small. And the boys are TOGETHER- and older and bigger than you. And I know it's not fair."

So, I had to tell her why I wig out if she tries to act her age. Lord, Help me! Why did the facts have to be given from such a negative angle?
So I hugged her, and we hurried after the boys who had run for the bathroom at the trail head- Together.

Answer Me, Please

Do you have kids who are old enough to babysit?
Do you have younger kids?
Do you let your older kid babysit your younger kids?
Do you pay your older one to sit?

Jesse is 11. Jonah is 3. Jesse has watched Jonah for me 2 times recently. Both times I went to the school (remember, we share a fence with the school) for about 1/2 hour. I am trying to decide if he is actually old enough to do that sort of thing more often and when I am a tiny bit further away- but still in town.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jonah-isms

Today was a funny day from the mouth of Jonah.

He was in my office while Jesse and I were messing around with computer stuff. He picked up a shim and said in a very sweet voice, "You're really not going to be happy about this," and proceeded to spank the unsuspecting Jesse with the rather wide shim!

After his bath tonight I was putting his jammies on and he said, "Don't see my butt, and my p*nis, and my boobs."
I said, "You don't have boobs. You're a boy."
With out skipping a beat he said, "Then don't see my moobs, Mom."

Oh, yeah! Three year olds are never a complimentary mirror to view ourselves in!

Hallelujah

Amen.

Summer's Send-Off

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Why Do We Say That?

  • Why do we drive on parkways and park in driveways?
  • Why is spaghetti considered Italian food when noodles came from China and tomatoes came from The New World?
  • Why do we say that things are slower than Christmas? In my experience Christmas has always just whizzed past.
  • How come the youngest child in a family is always "The Baby" even when he/she is 33 years old?
  • Why do we call it Labor Day if no one works?

To all of you, Happy Labor Day. To most of you, "Happy Day Before Your Kids Go Back To School."