Sunday, December 21, 2008

Is Anyone Else Feeling "Stuffed" Yet

Here it is less the a week till Christmas, and yet I already feel like I have had enough season goodies to last me a life time.

Does anyone else, sit back and ponder as I do "Why do we do this to ourselves?". So much junk food, is associated with this season. But could we take away the candy canes and the fudge, and the overindulgence of the "big day" feast, and still feel content?

Don't get me wrong I love the holiday goodies as much as the next person, and I love to bake them too; the smells and even just the simple action of baking brings back a ton of great memories for me. But, it use to be I would make 6 or 8 different things and we ourselves would polish it all off. Now I make those same 6 or 8 favorite different things but I make them before Jack's hospital shift so he can take half to share, or before a holiday party, so we can bring half and share.

Now here is a real "evil" I will confess too, last year, the day after Christmas I was so sick of the goodies, I threw them all out. Yep, fudge and cookies and all into the garbage, this gal had, had enough of the "chub" and took control.

So if you like me love to bake, but hate the leftovers on the body from over indulgence, remember, share and throw out if you must. The memories are in the baking, not in the inches!!!!

Our other two little angels

Below I wrote about Thomas and his main part in the play but my two other children were in the choir. Aiden also got to play bells during one song ( I really wish I got a picture of it, but Thomas got a nose bleed on stage during that song and I had to help him, but I did get it on the camcorder, but of course its not compatible with the blog settings) .

Anyways Thomas' nose bleed was over before his next line, so all went well. And I managed to snap this picture of the choir, Aiden is in the back row third from the end, Courtney is in the row just in front of Aiden, third from the end with her hands in the air "praising Jesus", she really gets into her songs.

They all had a blast, I did too, it was a great season of children's choir. I am looking forward to the spring semester.

Our Head Angel
Sorry the picture is sort of blurry, I took it during the final dress rehearsal, while robing and crowning ohhhh.... about 30 other little angels.
Thomas sent out his last year of being in a children's church choir with a bang, his character got the most lines in the whole performance, which made this Mama (that is what Courtney calls me, its sounds so cute!!!) and Daddy team very nervous. But he pulled it off wonderfully, and made us both so proud. I am sure Jack and I could of lit up a room with our faces alone once the night was through.
Jack and I both had the opportunity to see how far our little extremely colicky baby had grown, these last almost 13 years, last Sunday night during the play. You see there was a 4 year old girl I had the opportunity to watch all season long, whom reminds both Jack and I so much of Thomas when he was little. I even shed a tear in one practice while watching this child during the near final practice, thanking God for reminding me just how far Thomas has come. She like Thomas at that age, seems to see no reason to communicate with others verbally, and seems to be content in her own little world. I am sure , just as us ,her parents are wondering just when she will leave her little world and join theirs.
I had the opportunity to hopefully give those parents a little bit of hope, as I told them, Thomas too really spoke little at 4 and here now at 12 he has the most lines in the church play. The thought of it still blows me away, we really do not know what the mind and plans of God are.
I hope they received as much encouragement from my comments as I did
from, looking from their little girl to my big boy and saying "Thank you God for all you have done for my son" .
We finished off this joyous evening with a trip to Sonic for a slushy (it was Thomas' pick) and a drive thru the Gas city light display. Then we took our three little angels home to bed. It will definitely be a highlight of our Christmas 2008 season.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sorry there are no pictures this week, we are experiencing computer problems and I can't get the pictures to come up. Hopefully next time I write it will work, I know some of you only come here for the pic's of the kids!!! And I don't blame ya, they are very adorable if I do say so myself!!!!
Ten things I love about the Season
1. Jesus' birthday, its the main reason for this Season, and I love imagining what it would have been like to have been there.
2. My children as they light up and get so excited.
3. The Christmas light displays, we have a great one here in Marion, but I like visiting others too, thankfully so do my children.
4. Christmas trees. I love just sipping hot tea in a darkened room, no other lights but the Christmas tree and not a soul stirring but me, I take time to remember and give thanks.
5.Giving, not just to the kids and to relatives but to others, and in secret is always best (although I am often found out).
6. Snow, not a lot, it can stay a few weeks though, to help slow me down and take a few extra minutes to reflect.
7. Sleighing in the snow: one thing I love about being a fit mama is that I can get out the crazy carpets along side of my children and go screaming down the one and only good hill for sledding in our corn country town.
8. My hubbies Christmas card for me: I treasure the handwritten words in it. I forget what the gift is but I Cherish his written words.
9. Christmas baking: It brings back memories of mom and all her cookies and canning and Christmas fruit cake, oh if I could only have a piece of her trifle right about now!!! Nothing ever came out of a box in my home growing up.
10. Christmas crackers and advent calenders: Just a few traditions I like to pass on to my kids. I loved opening a door on my advent calender each morning knowing the more doors I saw open the closer it was to Christmas. Now my kids are at those calenders the second they wake up to do the same thing. And Christmas crackers are the only thing that makes it acceptable to wear a paper crown during a fancy dinner affair, now that is dining my style!!!
What I learnt during my "De clutter Week"
1. When things reach a certain level of caous people loose the urge to spend their few available minutes making a difference, but when harmony is found people are willing to pitch in and keep it up.
2. There are way too many receipts in ones life
3. I own an huge amount of small pointy scissors
4. We have more medication slogan ink pens than 10 families should own
5. We are mainly tea drinkers yet till De clutter week we owned three coffee pots and not a single kettle!!!!!. Now we own one of each.
6. Yard sales are only economical if you can buy only what you need, and not what you think is cute cause you can run out of room for cute real fast!!!
7. I am one of those people who grows tired of looking at the same Nick Knacks real fast, so I pick up new ones (cheap at yard sales of course) but forget to toss the old ones when I arrive home, now its one in one out.
8. Close cupboards may look neat but they can hide a lot of stuff, and if you don't keep up it will take over.
9. If you don't have the time to read free magazines, even if they are free don't bring them home.
10. Dust piles up in the weirdest places, and so does dog hair!!!! ( I will just leave you wondering on that one)
My Big Decision
I know you all have been on pins and needles for the last two weeks wondering what I decided to do with the time I had over our home school fall break. Well except for those that I e-mailed all week with updates!!! (hope you guys were not sick of me, I needed some cyber support). I decided to do option C and give the whole current home a good go through. I tossed, I shredded, I boxed and donated, I dusted, I swept I vacuumed and scrubbed. I also, pondered and questioned, doubted and giggled even shed a tear or two, but it was worth all those hours. I took the time after each room was done to sit down and enjoy a cup of hot tea in it, and really enjoy the feeling of knowing I had no crumbs under my fanny, and no webs over my head.
Now I did not manage to get the whole house done, but I did get all the main floor except the front porch (hey there is no heating out there and remember I am a 40 degrees is freezing winter, western girl!!!!) I also got the dreaded craft room done upstairs, and I got a few Christmas decorations up in each house and got all my snail mail cards out and all but two parcels,sent the other two are all ready to go in the mail tomorrow.
It feels great, and it even inspired my husband to poetry, he left me a homemade card out one night for me to find in the morning It reads "The house is beautiful and so are you" I am considering framing it, so I can look at it for inspiration the next time my home gets so out of control!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

No that is not a relaxing ahhhhhh!!!! its a pull your hair out, O boy I got so much to do before Christmas AHHHHHH!!!!!
This could be a short blog today, I have brownies in the oven for the "praise dinner" at church tonight, the second of the Christmas season festivities (last night we enjoyed the annual Christmas parade and town light up)
Now I love, big church get togethers, but part of me is stressing out a bit, not about the brownies, made them thousands of times, and people love em, they will be fine (thanks Cathy for the recipe), nor is it the get together, I love potlucks.No it is the fact that a praise dinner means that Thanksgiving is this week, and that is the start of the Christmas season.
Courtney as you know from last year will be expecting a tree and decorations by the end of the week. And here is where the stress begins, do we have Christmas here or over at the Reno house that will be oh so close to completion by Christmas.
If here then I take this week that is marked as our Fall Break and put my hours normally put in homeschooling and put them into cleaning the place up (it needs it, I have been spending a lot of hours over at the reno lately and its way behind!!!!)
OR do I forget our current home a bit longer and go painting crazy at the Reno home to insure we are in before Christmas.
Oh and don't forget option C, I spend the week clutter busting our current home to get ready to move, and then at weeks close set up one room at the Reno home to have Christmas in whether we move or not. That way Courtney's little christmas tree fanatic heart is put to rest!!! (And I do mean Fanatic that girl redecorates our christmas tree daily)
You see the kitchen is done, except for the counters, and Jack could easily get those completed by Christmas , also done is the study off the kitchen and I could simply move over a small couch and set up the tree there. The boys beds are done (jack made them new bunk beds) and in their rooms, and Courtney's just needs a mattress. Our bed as you know is already there!!! Has been since summer. Hot water needs to be turned on, but other than that the home could be considered livable but not quite done.
So I am leaning towards option C and thinking of going on a fast from exercise and painting this week to further clear my schedule to clutter bust and dust and pack up. If I devote Monday Thru Friday to it, all the junk should be gone and we should be in great shape for a quick move if we do decided to get in before Christmas.
But the other part of me wonders if I would be better spending the time painting, cause perhaps we really could get done before christmas if I just give it my all for a few more weeks (and Jack too of course). Then we could just move the big essentials in before Christmas and move the little stuff after (but that could really drag out moving!!!)
What do you think??? What would you do??? Declutter and pack, so that no one sees the dust bunnies under your couch when they come to remove it, Or paint like a madwoman so you can get out of your plaster caving in house, faster!!! (the dining room ceiling hole is growning daily, we cannot eat our christmas ham in there without opening up a shade umbrella to cover the whole feast)

Either choice, is going to leave me time strapped for the Christmas preparations, I am going to keep it simple this year, only a few decorations are coming out, if I know your e-mail you will be getting a e-card this year from us.
My husband pretty much took care of the baking for us, Although I think he might have inadvertantly added more work to our load. I know he had best of intentions when he signed us up at work for a cookie exchange, BUT the exchange grew from 10 people to 23, I begged him to get us off, 23 dozen bake goods is too much to make and receive, but apparently the time line is up and we are stuck, so now I am going to have to squish and afternoon of fudge making into my schedule cause he put us down for FUDGE!!!!! I got to make 23 dozen fudge pieces!!!! Yeah I can just see my kitchen now, and me, what I make tastes great but I am far from a neat baker, I am going to have a lot of chocolate to scrub that night (hmmm Jack said he would help, sort of a sorryful offering for his blunder(he seriously had know idea we would be responsible for making that much) , perhaps I will put him in charge of chocolate scrubbing)
So if you live locally guess what your getting for Christmas from us, you got it your getting a plate full of various baked goods!!! I don't even know if I know enough people to give that all too!!!Perhaps I will throw a big cookie eating party instead of a cookie decorating one this year!! Oh wait a minute I have no home good enough to through a party in yet, one is falling apart the other is not yet put together AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
Pray for me, I am going to need a big boost of energy and commitment either option I choose this week!!!
Well that is all for this week, the kids are all gone to a friends house and I got to clean up the kitchen from the brownies and then myself and get their clothes together for the praise dinner, and get the brownies on a platter, you can bet that that will include tasting a sample!!!
Have a great week!!!! May your kick of to the holiday season be more relaxing than mine.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A note to My Readers (however many that may be!!!)
Although I have been doing fairly well at writing every weekend, I am now going to go down to once every other weekend. As you will read this week Jack and I decided to use his new found every other weekend off (he quit his pager weekend job) to put in a good full day and full evenings work at the renovation house. I am not a night owl at all!!! I can manage one late night as long as the next day is easy. Since we are putting in that hard of a day at the house we are going to really take it easy on Sunday and spend some quality time with the Kiddo's that day, and also enjoy a afternoon nap leaving me little time to write. Sorry napping, comes before blogging in this family!!!

What we do with our Saturday Nights!!!
Some people kick back and relax on a Saturday night, others hit the town, still others visit friends, as for Jack and I , we paint the night away while our children sleep on air mattresses in the boys now newly floored room. We are down to just a few large projects left now, and since we have a bed already there, we decided Jack's weekend off would be a perfect time to put in a late night and put in a few more hours at the reno. . Jack sanded and then primed all 27 doors and 7 drawers, on one side, while I painted the first coat on most of the kitchen cabinets and the study cabinets . We fell into bed just after midnight and decided next time we do it we need to bring something to put on the windows of our bedroom, there are a lot of street lights on that side of town!!!

Our Halloween Night DJ

I have never met a man as crazy for Halloween as Craig White. My children, and Jack and I have loved spending Halloween with him and his family for the past 6 years now. When they were neighbors each year it was a haunted house. Last year they had just moved to a new neighborhood so he downscaled things a bit and dressed up like Darth Vader to greet the kids at the door. This year he was in full Halloween mode once again, he had strobe lights going, a smoke machine and his DJ stuff rocking his garage. It was so funny to watch the tricker treaters approach the house, they all stopped at the end of the driveway and paused a little as if questioning whether we were giving out candy or having a private party. Thank you White's for another enjoyable Halloween night!!! Hope were invited again next year, and if we aren't well we will crash it anyhow, no matter how hard you try my children see Halloween and Whites, like most people view peanut butter and jelly, you can't have one without the other, and I agree!!!

Trick or Treating With the Gang!!!
Besides the fact that it was a big football game night at the local high school, we had a blast on Halloween, we had a tonne of great food to eat at Shannon's followed by gathering of even more candy, door to door, and then our very own personal dance held in the White's garage held by the crazy for Halloween DJ Craig. We finished the night off with a trunk or treat, and did not get home till almost 10 pm!!!

A Lesson in How not to style hair and apply Makeup

Courtney wanted to be Frankenstein's bride for Halloween, so with my friend Shannon's help we made her into just that. She thought it was just fabulous, so who knows what I am into once she hits teenage hood!!!

What else do you do with your pumpkins after the big night!!!
Yes I admit, it seems a bit redneck and I am sure that is what the cars zooming by while we did this event on a school day thought too!!! I am sure it seemed strange to see three school age children and their parents out smashing pumpkins with brooms and baseball bats, oh and did I mention we also experimented by dropping them at different heights. But truly readers it was so much fun!!!! It was a great break between school sessions, and I am sure it will now be an annual event around our household.

The finished results

Below is a picture of the children and their dad carving the pumpkins, here is the final product. The one with the tongue is Courtney's, The middle is Aiden's and the end on is Thomas'. We did not place them outside since we were gone at a friend's house, so we left them inside for a few days where we could all get a bit more enjoyment out of them

It's a Daddy thing

Around here Daddy does the annual carving of the pumpkin event. It all started in the first year of our marriage where he came home one afternoon to me just about to take a knife to a pumpkin. Horrified at how I was holding the knife he quickly took it out of my hand and scolded me like a five year old (he likes doing that, he scolds, I beat a subject to death, we are paired in our bad habits). He then said those words I am sure he regrets, "from now on I will do all the carving of pumpkins in this household". But seriously he loves doing it, although the children's requests are getting harder and harder to create.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Read and enjoy!!!
Hope you have a great week.My kids are already starting it off in great anticipation of Halloween night!!! They already have more energy than this old house can handle, I can forsee a week of getting them out to use up a bit before all the plaster on my ceiling is gone!!!
6 going on 30
Yep this is my Courtney is all her morning glory. Daddy got her hooked on morning hot tea when she was about 2. Now so that you don't shout at me for the caffeine trouble we are creating, it really is more milk than tea, but she loves it. Actually what I think she loves most is that Daddy makes it for her.
So these are words for my future son in law out there, you better make good tea, if you want to win my daughter's heart, cause she is a true acts of service gal, you could buy her all the gifts in the world and she would be less than impressed, however take the time to make her a good cup of tea and she will love ya forever.
If you are wondering what my service is for her, its her morning oatmeal, and it has to have just the right amount of brown sugar and raisins and cinnamon.

Our little Gal is Famous!!!
Yesterday evening we experience Halloween Fun round two. If you read this blog often you will know Halloween fun round one, was a few weekends ago when we visited our friends at their "Autumn Camping Weekend" where they decorate up campsites and pass out candy.
Halloween round two, took place in a tiny community by us called Sweester. We started in the late afternoon with a "trunk or treat" at our church, each persons trunk was all decorated and there was a game the child played at each parking place and then received candy for playing the game. The kids loved it and we also got free dinner there too!!!
We then went to the community costume judging contest, which included more candy and then all walked in the parade down to the "pumpkin walk". The pumpkin walk is a walking trail that once a year close to Halloween people bring carved pumpkins to be judged and they they line them up for everyone to walk by and see.
We followed that up a visit to the clowns for balloons and then a hay ride and a cup of hot chocolate with a free cupcake. On the walk back to the car we hit one more Trunk or Treat at another community church.
The kids were exhausted and so was I so we went straight home to bed!!!
On the walk, Courtney and her friend got their pictured snapped by a photographer, I knew it was the paper once she asked for their names. So I went to the corner store to get a copy before Courtney woke up this morning, she was pleased as punch to see her picture!!!
The final round of Halloween for our family will be on the actual day, then the costumes will retire to the costume box for another year.
My Well Known Secret!!!
I was not going to post this but since most of you already know since the forced confession at Bunko of Friday night (up to then only two close friends knew but they were apparently dying to share the news) , I thought why not, cause some of you might find this information helpful!!
I woke up the morning of the mini to discover that I had forgot to pack an essential item for the run, I had forgotten those things your mother always tell you to make sure are clean every day, yep I forgot underwear for the run!!!!
What underwear I had was less than appropriate for running (and that is all I will tell you about that). I panicked at first and then remembered my husband's habit of always packing extra underwear on trips, (yes some of you already know where this is going). Yep, he had a spare pair of his famous Hanes boxer briefs with the comfort waist bands, He denied me it at first, but I begged, we had no time to stop to get me more of mine. So he gave in.
Here is what I want you to know though, if you are a runner or you ever become a runner, boxer briefs are great for races, there is no bunging, no sagging and you will not get chaffing!!! (chaffing is a not so wonderful experience of longer runs) I am sold, I told Jack a piece of him is coming on each race from now on.
Love Hurts!!!
This week Jack finished the front porch of our reno. house. Months ago I had purchased this swing for a cool price, off my friend Shannon. I love this swing, I have been anxiously awaiting for it to be hung up, so when I saw the porch done, I asked Jack "please can you hang it?". He of course reminded me swing weather is almost over, and winter will soon be here, but when he saw my disappointed look well he set out to surprise me by hanging the swing while I was busy with the children one afternoon last week. I discovered what he had done, not when I saw the swing but when I found him at our current home wrapping up his poor thumb!!! He injured it while trying to fix complications he was having while hanging my swing.
I couldn't love him more, but wait I can, look at the lower corner of the photo down by his feet and you will see an outdoor plug also lovingly put in by Jack for me and my laptop!!!
I am now totally looking forward to next summer and a leisurely evening spent on my swing with my laptop and a movie, oh and my honey cuddling by my side would make it even better!!!
My Goal
Last week, I said that I total blew my goal for the mini marthon out of the water. Well one reader wanted to know what that goal was. I had set my timer on my watch for 2 hours and 45 minutes, thinking that my bad head cold that I had, had all week would slow me down from my original goal of 2 hours and 30 minutes, as you can see I beat both those goals, inspite of my congestion.
Now I have been wondering what to do next. I am signed up for a mini in May, but that seems a long way off. I am pondering on the thought of perhaps a "sprint" triatholon that takes place in Carmel early April, and the swimming part is in a pool. But I am still pondering it, cause my swimming is weak and I don't know just how many laps 400 meters is, it would certainly be a challenge, and those who know me know I love a challenge!!! We will just have to see.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Enjoy the posts for the week, see you next week.

WE Did IT!!!
God is great!!! To those of you who know me and do not believe, I know you may not understand, but my God did not leave me to run these 13.1 miles alone, he whispered to me the entire way.
You see, I started running a few years back cause God told me too. I had been speed walking since shortly after Courtney was born, when one day I was walking, praying and asking God what's next, I heard him say "Run", I said "are you crazy it's been decades, and I never really was any good" then I remember being a child and sulking at my third or fourth place ribbon and hearing my mom say "Don't sulk be happy, you were 4Th out of hundreds' you are ahead of way more than you were behind girl!!! What are you sulking for? Rejoice!!!".

I got the message, it's okay if I am not number one, just cause we are not number one in a certain area does not mean we do not have talent in it. Talent is simply excelling more in an area than most, not all.

So I started running, and it was hard at first. I never seemed to get past the 2 mile mark, and I could never get disciplined to stay at it during the winter months. In fact it was not until this spring that I finally seemed to start advancing. But when I ran it felt so good, I felt (and still do) like I was pounding out my problems, and sweating out my worries, with God by my side. Many times, since mom's first news of terminal cancer, I would have to stop as I was in tears, crying first for her, and then over the loss of her.

You see running has been a great emotional outlet for me, has been since childhood. I have been a runner since 1st grade, I just never knew how much I missed it.

So this race was for mom, and it was for God. Thanks mom, for never missing a race, for never letting me get so hung up on being number one. Thanks God for always being by my side, for taking me through this difficult season of life, and for restoring my strength once again. I will always have a deep hole in my heart for my mom, she was my number one fan!!! But I know she will be glad to know, I have got my energy back and I am her "little daddy long legs" once again.

For those of you wondering how I did. I did it in 2 hrs 21 minutes and 47 seconds. It shocked me to see my time, I surpassed my goal no more than that I blew it out of the water!!!

I am sore today but recovering, and already making plans to do more!!!!

What I did Last Weekend
It was one of those strange but great 80 degree weekends last week, so what did I do? I pretended it was summer and did some gardening. Well, actually I always do about 90% of my planting in the fall. Why? you ask, no it is not because I procrastinate ( although I am good at doing that too) But, really it is because the plants can be found at your local nursery for 50% to 75% off, so you can get plants for as low as $1 a piece, that's dirt cheap for perennials, and with my less than green thumb, I will take a stab at gardening at those prices.
Seriously my gardening skills are not worth full price, I did not inherit my dads gardening skills, those that know him, know he can grow anything, anywhere, his daughter however (at least this one my sister, she has got the green thumb) , has yet to keep a house plant alive longer than 2 years and that was one of those really extra hardy very hard to kill types.
I am liking my arrangement though and these plant should have long enough to put down roots for the winter, I have done it the last three falls and have gotten great results, I loose about 10% of what I buy each year, but remember I am no "green thumb".

Read it and Weep!!!
I know I have said it before but I have got to say it again. I love CVS!!! It has to be the greatest 24 hour pharmacy around. Everything in this picture cost me $6.69, this week they paid me .53 cents to take away 10 toothbrushes, I got candy corn for just the tax, Powerade that they paid me .62 cents to take off their hands, I love it!!!
I am going to try to venture into the land of Kroger next, there is one in the town we go to home school co-op in and I read blogs where people really sweep up great deals each week.
Take the plunge pick a 24 hour pharmacy near you or a double coupon store, start small and build up the savings!!!! I know it's overwhelming at first, but once you have done it a few weeks you will soon be a pro!!!
Editor's Note
Alright someone brought to my attention that Indiana is on central time and not eastern so some of you may of thought of me and my run during the wrong time yesterday morning. Sorry, you see Indiana did not follow the time change thing when we moved here, so I never really check out its time zone, and when we started changing, well this homeschooling momma lives in a universe where time zones (besides pacific where the majority of the relatives live) don't really mean to much to me. I just change my clocks when the radio tells me too!!! I promise I will sort it out when it comes up in the kids textbooks (that's the same why I finally figured out my 9X's table!!!!! Ha, Ha, all you former elementary math teachers of mine, I finally got it!!!!!!)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sorry I missed you last week!!!
If you checked in last week you might of noticed my absence. It was a event packed weekend, Saturday consisted of Jack and Thomas helping a friend move then we all spent the afternoon trick or treating, and the evening at Jack's staff party. Sunday morning was church and then I spent the afternoon with three other gals grabbing up Vera Bradley purses at discounts of up to 80% off. I was in purse heaven!!!! We finished our afternoon with a feast on carbs. at Olive Garden (got to love those breadsticks and endless salad bowl) and a trip to the mall before heading home, so you could say I did not have a minute to spare last weekend let alone an hour!!!

My Little Helpers!!!
The last two months I have been working on a project that was a long time coming. I have been training the kids to pitch in more around the house and do their share of the load. The kids are really enjoying it cause it means they are getting their chore charts finished quicker and each time they complete one of the above pictured charts they get $5 richer. I also will match their short term savings if they set a goal on a large item. Right now Thomas has his eye on a zoo computer game, Aiden Batman Lego for PlayStation and Courtney wants a twin doll from American girl (yeah she shoots big!!! mom and dad are going to shell out considerable for their half if she really does it).
Courtney is my finger print remover and dog feeder. I figured it was only fair for her to remove the finger prints since she creates more than half of them.
Aiden drys dishes, sweeps and spray mops the floors and changes the sheets on all the beds.
Thomas washes dishes, vacuums, walks the dogs and picks up the dogs parcels that she kindly leaves on our backyard (not his favorite chore believe me)
They also put away their own laundry, clean up their rooms at night and once and a while I have them do a large scale organization of their toys.
Now there is a daily limit on their chores to a maximum of 1/2 their age meaning, 3 for Courtney, 4 for Aiden and 6 for Thomas and most chores take 15 minutes or less. Only about 3 days a week do we reach maximum limits.
This is leaving mom, with more time to bake, do the bills, and plan for groceries for the week.
We are also enjoying more family times, for bike rides and swims at the new YMCA.
I am also noticing a greater respect to keep things clean, just the other day I heard Thomas yell at Aiden "HEY YOUR GETTING CRUMBS ALL OVER MY CLEAN FLOOR , CLEAN IT UP!!!"

Doesn't this add a bit of old country charm!!!
I think I have told you before the we as a family unit have been very hard on our 100+ current home, this is the latest disaster that happened in August. It is the ceiling over our dinning room table, it first started out as a small crack, but with three kids who seem to think that jumping off the top bunk is an Olympic event to be practiced over and over again till they get the landing just right, well lets just say it grew. It became a hanging flap and that is when my hubby decided he would try to fix it. His quick fix solution was to put a couple of screws in it. Well I was not home when this happened (otherwise I might of pointed out my doubts as to this method working) so he tried it and lets just say I came home to find this!!!! Turns out the whole mess crumbled all over his adorable Bald head, no injuries and luckily the table was covered with a cloth so it was not hurt either. But, now I am stuck with looking at this till we finish the reno. home, and more dust is falling each day and dinner is now an adventure as to can we eat one more meal here, before more plaster crumbles away on top of us!!!!

Halloween Comes Early to the Huizinga Household this year

Well not really, we still have more Halloween fun planed this year, including a "trunk or Treat" at our Church, Saturday the 25Th followed by a pumpkin walk that night, and then Halloween night we will be tricker treating with our old neighbor's whom we crash every Halloween night, its a tradition for us.

But this year we finally made it to the annual Autumn weekend that our friends attend at a local state park, they get out their campers for one last camping weekend before winter sets in (although as I write the weather forecast is for temperatures in the low 80's today so winter I think is still a while off). They decorate those campsites up for a bit of Halloween fun and then go tric er treating through the campsites and there are a lot of them, we did not hit probably half of them and my kids managed to fill up a plastic walmart bag to bursting, I had to double bag it.

With two more candy based events ahead of us this month its a good thing I have taken up half-marathons, cause I of course have to eat the candies they don't like, I can't waste those. Oh!! and don't forget the mandatory candy testing us parents got to do to make sure its suitable for child consumption!!!!

The kids loved it and apparently so did their dad, he wants us to get our own spot for the event next year!!! (got to fix that pop up tent trailer first!!!)

My Big Race Is Now Less than a Week Away!!!!
Yep you heard me it is less than a week away till I pound the pavement in Indianapolis along with oh almost 6000 other runners to take part in just over 13 miles (that's 21 km) of sweat producing knee stressing running. Crazy thing is I actually paid them to let me do this!!! And even crazier I have been training for it and looking forward to it for months and have already paid to do another one in spring!!!!
None of my friends signed up for this one though, something about not being ready in time!!! HUM!!! the gal beside me in the white tank top pictured above can't use that excuse on me any more, she just ran for a straight 2 hrs with me yesterday to help me prepare.
I have my own perfect race goal, but I am keeping it quiet cause who knows what Saturday might bring, a "perfect race" may not be what presents itself, I may get rain, cramps, freezing temps or other such things that will change my time significantly.
So if you happen to be up between the hours of 8:30 till around 12:30 Eastern standard time think of me, and my crazy adventures in Indy as I pound the pavement (and remember I paid someone to allow me to do it!!!)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

That's all for this week!!!
Enjoy the new pics of the home. Didn't get too much posted this week, the darn desktop is dying, I really need to transfer all the photo programming stuff to my lap top Jack got me for my birthday. I use it for other stuff but just have not found the time to load in all the photo software yet.
Enjoy!!! and remember, send me an e-mail, or leave me a comment so I know someone actually reads this thing!!! Some of you already are and I thank you for it!!!
For My Little Princes!!
I wanted to put a chandelier in our bedroom so bad, but Jack was not into it, so I went for a practical yet stylish ceiling fan instead, which truly I am glade we did, with three windows in our room it creates a great breeze.
But when it came to Courtney's room I just had to ask again ,and Jack caved!!! Me and Courtney went to Lowe's and found this cute thing for 50% off. She loves it and I love it!!!

The room of beauty and frustration!!!
No this is not Thomas showing off his love of purple, he just happened to be in his sister's room while I was taking the picture and asked if he could be in it.
This is what became of the picture I showed you long ago of a strange pretty much unusable storage area above our stairs. We knocked it into Courtney's room and made her a loft bed out of it, so that she will have tonnes of floor space for play.
The strange patches in the purple walls you see have caused me much frustration and disappointment. For some reason the paint did not stick in all areas of Courtney's rooms and it bubbled and peeled. I am going to get around to fixing it, but for now I just look at it and go, Uggh!!!!!!!! I vacuumed the dust off the wall just like all the other rooms, I primed it and painted two coats just like all the other rooms, me and the paint store guys are stumped!!!
Perhaps its a lesson for me to learn about vanity!!!
There is an explanation!!!
You may be wondering, why a picture of a bed. Well this is our new bed, and yes it is in our renovation home, waiting for us. You see when we moved, we had great difficulty getting our King size bed up our stairs (it actually put the very first hole in the plaster of our current home). That day Jack said to me " honey without the aid of a chain saw that bed is never coming down!". So the king mattress has never really been the same since it got so squished to fit, plus we are in a different stage of life now then we were when we got the king over 8 years ago, then we considered ourselves lucky if we had the bed to ourselves for more than an hour before a child rolled in for the night, or sometimes it was two children one on each side squishing us.
Sigh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now those days are gone, no children climb in bed with us any more, so we can go down to a queen once again.
I know you are still waiting for the reason it is at our new home, I am getting there just let me enjoy reminiscing a bit would ya!!! Okay well, we purchased our kitchen appliances at one of those all and one stores, and they happened to have a great sale on memory foam type beds that week as well, and it meant we would save the price of two deliveries, so we bought it. Thinking at that point by the time the appliances came 2 months later (you can store them at their warehouse for 2 months free of charge) that we would be close to done, and in need of the bed by then. Ya!! Whatever! Life happens,.
So we had them put the bed upstairs, and a week later I found this headboard at a yard sale and gave it a fresh coat of paint, I also found the sheets and the comforter at a yard sale too, so we went ahead and set it all up as a way to protect the bed till we move in.
Jack took a 3 hour nap on it a few weeks back (when he was planning to work on the kitchen), he claims it is really comfortable!!! (apparently this bed, may be a source of distraction for Jack in the months left of Reno's)
Coming to a floor near you!!!
A claw foot tub will eventually sit here, if we can get those daisy decals off that is, otherwise it might be a modern day tub and tile surround. I do love how this floor turned out though it is commercial vinyl tile purchased for .32 cents a tile, this is the colors we did upstairs, in the downstairs we did blue and white. It was easy to install and cost under $100 per bathroom with all supplies included.

Upstairs Bathroom Cabinets
This is a poor picture but it just give you an idea of the storage we built in to the upstairs bathroom. Again my goal for this house, once I knew it was the one we were going to most likely keep of the two was for storage for every thing. Our current home has one main floor closet, and only 2 of the 4 bedrooms have closets, hence I am always looking for places to stick things. I do not want this nightmare again if I can help it. So one night while watching HGTV, while knitting of course, I noticed they used a stock pantry in a bathroom for more storage, and when it was all trimed out and completed it blended in really well, and I went ahh!!!!! we got to do that. So no more screaming to the kids to run, for towels, or toilet paper, or such, it will all be in there.
Oh and guess what, I found a great 3 feet by 4 feet mirror at a yard sale with a fabulous frame for a great deal at a yard sale. It is like brand new!!! ( the Lord provides and provides)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Well there you have it
Enjoy this weeks rambling, I actually cheated this time and went a bit over an hour, due to stopping the clock to do something for Courtney and then forgetting to turn it on again when I started typing so really its and hour and 15 minutes of rambling this time.
Still I got alot done to read it all you will have to click on "older posts" on the bottom cause I actually wrote two pages this time!!!
Hey do me a favor, leave me a comment so I know someone actually reads this thing!!!

The TV Altar
This is found in the family room, really you cannot miss it cause it is huge and takes up the entire wall!!!! I was hoping for a bit more book case and fireplace feel and a bit less TV feel but it came out a bit unbalanced. I am painting the fireplace surround white and the rest chocolate brown to sort of take a bit of emphasis of the TV.
This is of course Jack's pride and joy he did not even let me paint it. I got to prime it and pick the colors but that was all.
If you are wondering how we ended up adding a fireplace, well it was a major close out deal at Lowe's one day and we could not resist the idea of curling up on a cruel harsh Indiana winter's day.
Okay winter really is not as bad here as other areas, but for this coastal girl where winter was like rain for months and snow maybe just a few days, its really Harsh to me!!! Oh well at least its sunny here in winter, I could not stand the Okanagan's grey winter days, I felt like getting a ladder up to the sky and tearing at the clouds, several times I swear to you I did get outside and screamed at the sky "would ya just do something, rain, snow whatever, just do something, cause I cannot stand do nothing grey days"
My Floor to ceiling book shelf
This is in the room I am calling the study, most would call it the formal living room, but a homeschooling family of five does not get much use out of a formal living room but a library we will. I am always picking up books at yard sales and thrift stores and really want to make this room a warm and cozy place to curl up with a book. This will be a TV free room. It is at the bottom of the stairs and opens up to the front porch and the dining room so it has a lot of exits off of it, so it is going to be tricky to get that cozy feel I want.
This is also the book shelf I had to "bat my baby browns" for a backing, Jack wanted to leave it drywalled but I did not see that standing up to the abuse of our family so I fought for bead board and won.
He on his own came up with a brilliant plan of drilling a hole in each long shelf and putting a plug in, in the bottom so at Christmas time I could put some of our books away and use it to display our Christmas village, with its lighted up store fronts!!!

My Laundry Area
Now when I say mine, I do mean mine, I know my kids are probably old enough to help and one of these days I will at least show them how to start the washer and dryer, BUT I am a tall lady who barely fits her long legs into "Long" labeled clothes, and that means I am very careful about how I laundry those clothes so that I don't look like I am even taller in pants two inches too short. This laundry area is my planning, one side of shelves is for dirty laundry the other side is for clean folded laundry that needs to be put away, all can be done at a hands throw.
The washer and dryer we got was a total God thing, we were in Home Depot one day when in the middle of the Christmas tree displays we saw this beautiful stacking washer and dryer set just sitting there (so I guess that whole Christmas tree disaster was worth it after all) (if you don't remember my agrivating run in with the tree check out last Novembers postings) . Anyways turns out it was a display model that they sold to us for less than the price of the washer itself, they basically threw in the dryer for free!!!
In case you are wondering where the set is, its on my front porch, I look at it every day and remember I need to set some time aside in the week to go and paint so that one day soon I will actually get to use it!!!
The ceiling I am so glad I batted my "big brown eyes" for
My daddy always use to say to me, honey your baby brown eyes are going to be your greatest weapon, all you got to do is bat those puppies and you will have your man doing whatever your little heart desires.
Well I save that power for important things like high ceilings off the kitchen. Jack fought me several times on this one, something about it being a big time waster to add. But now he loves it too, it really adds a wow element to the back end of the house.
Oh, okay I did use those "big brown eyes" a few more times on the project, including the attic, and the backing of the libary bookshelf, and perhaps a few small other areas!! Thank you Lord for my "baby browns".
Our Study Area
Picture this in your head painted black and covered with papers (cause I do admit I have clutter problems). It is right off the kitchen in what was probably a breakfast nook at one time, but was a fourth bedroom when we bought it. We opened it up and the ceiling as well (see next picture) and decided it would best suit us if it functioned as homeschooling central). I am going to add a small couch to this room with a side table to hold my knitting and a folding adjustable height table for the child whom I am helping at the time. Above the desk area will sit a flat screen TV that can be turned in to be viewed in the bar area of the kitchen. The opening of the desk is large enough to fit two chairs comfortable, and will more than likely be a well loved spot for Courtney and all her artwork creations.
More Kitchen
Jack and I really tried to use every square space of the kitchen for as much storage as we could. I am so looking forward to having a pantry and a large closet just off the kitchen. Because we used ready made stock cabinets we did have to make a few of our own open cabinets, so to make it all look the same, I am going to paint all the cabinetry a creamy white, those of you who live near can check out the color on my arms and legs and hair in just a short while, as I plan to start painting it in the next few weeks (Jack has a bit of finishing work to do, and then I will need to prime it, then finally paint!!!).

Our Kitchen
I brought the camera over the the renovation house in hopes to show you a few pictures of the Pop up tent trailer Jack bought last week but that is another story (that includes numerous hours of frustration, in which I am proud to say I only heard 2 bad words utter out of my husband's mouth, that's a vast improvement in the past 13 years we have been married)
Anyways, instead of watching my husband rant and rave, I decided to take a couple of pic's of the house for ya all. (Although I have got to admit I thought about turning my camera on video mode and taking a clip of his temper fit, but he would not have found that as funny as me and my readers might have, and well I do have to live with him).
I hope you enjoy the sneak peak. Still a lot of work to do, but we are getting there.
What else is there to do, when your brother's got a game?
Soccer season is in full swing for the boys and although I enjoy watching the games , the other children really only like the "big action" moments, so as a way to ensure I will actually get to watch the rest of the game with few interruptions from the other "non-playing" children, its one of the few times I allow them to play their portable video players, other times are long trips, dentist visits and time at the renovation house.

She finally Caved and joined in!!!
Courtney has not been a fan of video games until the last month or so. But now she is hooked much like her two brothers. She is making due with her brothers old Game Boy Advanced, but has already put a Pink Nintendo DS on her growing Christmas list, (that includes a swim doll, and various other products from commercials)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

One last short comment
The hour is going far today. So I've got one last thing check out and read about a lady who will truly make you feel challenged to squeeze more into you day.
I Love CVS
Many of you who live locally have received my e-mails raving about CVS, which is a drugstore near me that offers great deals. Thanks to sales, with Extra Bucks, and manufactures coupons I know pay little to nothing for Toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, hygiene products, razors, makeup, and facial cleanser.
If I have not got you hooked yet, please go over to the side column and click on and you will not be sorry, she has a sidebar listing marked "for those new to CVSing" or something like that and it will go over how to do it all.
I caught the bug from my friend over at winning personality, so check out her blog too!!! She is hilarious and if you go back far enough in her archives (I think it was march) you will find a very fictional story that has my picture attached to it. Well okay so its not really fictional but it is at least a bit exaggerated, well at least the part about my yarn being blessed, anyways, I guess truly the rest does describe we very well.
I know I already have two of you readers very hooked on CVS, but I feel it is my mission to get all my local friends to at least give it a try, I cannot be the only one who enters the local CVS and has the cashier shout over the counter "Hey it's that coupon lady again!!! How low are you going to get that total this time!!!" (seriously it has happened, and I want to know I have company in this ).

My new Sport!!!

After 3 years or running in the summers I finally decided to Kick things up a notch. A few things helped first I finally went to the doctor's this winter to find out why I was so tired all the time and sore all over, which turned out to be a iron defficiancy problem!!! Within three months I felt loads better and even my weird migranes went way down in frequency.
If you are wondering why I call them wiered well count on me to suffer from a form of migrane only 5% of migrane sufferers get, that actually cause one half of my body to go numb!!!!

Any ways enough about my wierd body, lets get back to running. The most important reason I began running longer and more often was because my friend Jami took up a liking to it too, and then her liking spread like wild fire and now at least three other friends are running. They are now my sisters in sweat!!! And believe I am no daintly lady I sweat a lot!!!

The pictures above are of my first official race as an adult, I use to love to run in grade school got lots of ribbons in a box somewhere to prove it. Still I was a bit nervous that was oh lets say 20+ years ago I kind of did not remember what it felt to race.

Well apparently I still remember how, me and Jami both won 3rd place in our division, okay really I got the 3rd and she got the 4th but we really finished together and I only placed before her cause I saw the ladies hand reaching out for our time cards first.

My next goal is a mini-marathon this coming October just over 13 miles of running, I think that works out out to just over 2o km for you Canadian folks. Strangly I am looking forward to it.

I am also planning or registering for the Indy 500 race in the spring, no I am not taking up car racing, they have a mini-marathon around the track before the big car race. Its suppose to be one of the largest ones in the nation. I figure having that as a goal will keep me focused on my workouts over the winter when I would really rather be hibernating.

My Big Surprise!!!
It all started yesterday morning, when Aiden desperately seemed to want to spend some time with Dad. Dad showed up around 10 and had just a bit more hospice work to do before heading to the reno house. I asked if Aiden could go with him he said, well not now but he can come with me on an errand at 3, we will be gone till 7. I of course not being one to survive off of few details (I am a very detail person I got know all the who, what, when, where and why) Asked for more information about the errand. All I got was a big fat "Its a surprise you are going to have to wait!!!.

Well several phone calls later, and I finally guessed it, and Jack admited to it. He had already picked it up by then. He bought what you see pictured above, a 1996 pop up tent trailer, with a queen size bed on one end and a double on the other, fridge, stove, tv and vcr, heater (but no airconditioning) roll out awning and the green carpet to go with it. They even threw in all their camping supplies for a cool $1700.

The kids are already begging to go out in it. I think we have a few weeks left where we could. Jack quit his weekend on call work at Hospice, so we should have the time (I know I know we got a house to complete but ya got to have a bit of fun now and then)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Lets Jump right back in shall we!!!
Yes that is a picture of my 6 year old girl jumping off the high dive and enjoying every minute of it while her mother takes the safe road and sticks to the lower diving board. Anyways lets get away from the fact that my 6 year old is braver than her mother and just cover some ground of what is happened in the last few months of non-existant blogging for me (I think the last one was late march).

Our family is still working on the first of our two renovation homes (we live in one). Things really took a slow down in the winter, once Jack took his new position at hospice, good thing is we own it, so the cost of holding onto it is low. I had one wise woman say really when you look at it, my hubby has renovation as a hobby and our holding cost per year are about the same as an annual green fee to a exclusive golf course BUT, I will get those green fees back with perhaps some profit when he is done, not many people have a husband with a hobby that does that!!!!

I am the official painter of the project, now up until this year my experience painting has been very limited but over the last few months I have learned a few things.

1. Buy the more expensive painters tape, you will not regret it (However if you do buy the cheaper tape, your frustration level will rise when you realize you now have to touch up a lot of areas that were pulled off by the Cheap tape!!!)

2. When painting in tight spaces where a hat or a shower cap, cause paint takes a long time to come out of hair, and you will get tired of people saying "there is something white in your hair!!!"

3. A good scrub brush full of body wash will take most paint off skin!! (what can I say I am a dripper and I hate using gasoline it stinks!!)

4. Always have a roll of paper towels handy for spills and oh ohs!

5. Those little edgers on wheels are the greatest inventions for painting near ceilings!!! They beat the edge paint brushes hands down.

6. When all else fails, go to Sherwin Williams and confess your lack of knowledge, and they will be happy to help you.

Some of you may be wondering just what our time line is now for our current renovation house. Well truthfully I give up on time lines, but I do know what has to be finished, its pretty much painting and more painting and more painting for me while Jack has to put in closet systems, redo the front porch, put in the claw foot tub and upstairs sink, put in all flooring throughout house, and put up a lot of trim , around windows and doors and floors and ceilings, oh and he has to hang those doors (which again need painting). There are also the kitchen counters to install, as well as the kitchen sink.

But truly we are still enjoying the work, it is very satifying for me to go over there and put in four hours of work and go back another day and see that those four hours of work are still done and not undone like the hours of work I put in to keep our current home clean. For Jack, its a change from dealing with people all day. We both love a challange and it truly has been a challange and continues to be one that we are pluging away at.

There goes the timer. I don't write much in an hour do I !!! Well I had computer issues today for the first ten minutes my picture would not load!!! See you next week.