Saturday, September 29, 2007

Music at it's finest

I am sitting in my hotel room on our mini vacation and can't sleep. So I thought I would draw your attention to my new thing on the side bar.

My personal radio.

I love music. But I struggle finding radio stations that have a good mix of music that I like. So I use

It's great. I load up my playlists with the songs of the moment, and they play them at random. No commercial interruptions.

So, on the off chance you are actually interested in the mix of music I listen to, go ahead, listen. Or better yet, go make your own. It's like making your own mix tape, only better.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Mother of the Year, I am not

I would love to say that I go through my days cleaning, cooking, and teaching with a smile on my face. My quiet and gentle spirit always winning out. My kids knowing that their mom has undending patience and understanding.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. There are times that I lose my temper. I get angry, frustrated, and sometimes I lose it. I yell.

So the kids were talking the other day and they revealed to me that they have talked about their plan for when I get mad. I had not known they had a plan until then.

They actually have two plans. If we are in the car when I am angry, they all stop talking. No noise. At all. If we are at home they listen until I am done "talking" to them, and then they quietly sneak away to their rooms until I calm down.

I thought these were pretty wise plans. Giving me peace and quiet calms me down faster than anything. So then I asked what their plan was for when Knight is mad. They don't have one. That is how little he gets mad.

So the other day I got really upset. I had been having a bad week anyway, but this was the final straw. Nothing that was totally devestating, but completely irritating. They were supposed to be working on school and they were fooling around. I was trying to do the dishes, but kept having to go back into the living room and tell them to work. Then they spilled a full cup of hot chocolate in the livign room. On the carpet. They are not supposed to eat or drink in the living room.

So I lost it. Even more than normal. So, the plans took effect and the kids disappeared. I started to calm down. Then to my great shame they gave me card. It was filled with lines like..."turn that frown upside down", "maybe if you wore makeup you wouldn't look so angry", and "Don't worry, be happy".

So, I will not be winning the Mother of the Year award, but at least my kids take it with stride.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wrapped Emotions 4

Wrapped Emotions buttonThis weeks wrapped emotions prompt was I think scary for all of us participants. It asked us to be real. To be honest. To really share.

Finding a place of trust...I'm trying. Being a Christian (and this is
not a push to those who are not) I know my peace within is found in God. I also
know that I must learn to trust myself and to release many fears...

there is a place somewhere...a place you can pray, meditate, think and
quietly face the reality of what is holding you back in life. It could be the
bathroom...a corner in Starbucks...your front porch...a park bench. But go
there. Quietly open up to trust...

Whatever you take from this, take it to your art journal. Create what
you feel. No, there are no suggestions, no list of materials...this is
freestyle. This is you...What you it a page of jumbled words,
mingled colors, introspective images...should be intimately yours. If you are
not comfortable posting your completed journal page, no problem. Write a blog
post with what you are comfortable sharing. Should you find yourself trying, yet
not completing this ritual, share is not failure to try.My heart hopes
we will share...that we will trust ourselves...that we will uncover more of our
wrapped emotions


I love Melody. Her heart for her kids and for the Lord shines through on her blog. But as I read and re-read this I kept thinking that I don't have to learn to trust myself. In all honesty, I need to stop trusting myself. Don't get me wrong, I do have trust issues. I do have fears. I honestly believe that they are the same fears that everyone has. The fear of rejection, the fear of failure, the fear of the unknown, the fear of the trials yet to come, the fear of being hurt yet again.

I have described myself as a vessel that has been weakened. I have the fear that if someone hits me in a weakened spot, I will shatter. So I keep people at arms length. When I see hurt coming, I distance myself from it. Self preservation. At least that's what I call it.

But this lack of trust has nothing to do with me. I trust myself. I know that if I do things, control things, plan things, I will be fine. I want to control the intimacy in each of my relationships, I want to control how much of myself I share, I want to have plans, make plans, and execute those plans. I want to do it all. I trust myself with my heart, my soul, and my mind. Do you see the problem with this?

The problem is...I became a Christian nearly 11 years ago. I had decided to put my trust in Christ...not me. Trust is a choice, as those who are doing this challenge found out. They are choosing to trust. And so I need to get back to that place of trust. Not in myself, but in Him.

He has been faithful. I have seen that. I know that I know Him. I know that I have been redeemed. But when he brings these trials into my life, for my own good, I pull back. I fight him. I start leaning on myself again. I will "cowboy up". I pull back on my trust in him. Not that I would ever say I don't trust him, but if you look at my fruits, you will see the truth.

So, I need to start trusting him fully again. That is a very scary thing for me. Not because he hasn't been good and faithful, but because I know he is going to do what is best for me, not what I think is best for me. He wants to show me the area's in my life that I have not surrendered all to him, and then he wants me to let him work. I am stubborn, and the process is not fun. But I also know that I can't do it on my own. He not only will give me the trial, but he will give me the strength to get through the trial. I just need to trust. And if he shatters me, I also need to trust him in that. With my all.

Today, I will renew my vow. Today, I will admit to trying to do it myself, to turn my life over once again to His will, to His glory, to His praise. And because of His grace alone, he will forgive me, let me crawl up on his lap and rest in His love. And then he will start his work once again.

Monday, September 24, 2007


If you came here to hear about all the great things in Paradise right now---check back tomorrow. It's Monday and I want to vent today, but knowing this is an upbeat blog, I will limit myself. So in the spirit of love I will first say what I should say to count my blessings. If you want the code of what it really means, keep reading.

What I am thankful for today....

1.Thank God it's Monday. It's nice to have a day off.

2. I am so thankful for Nyquil. I am able to sleep through the night because of this great invention

3. I was able to have a great talk with the Frito-Lay rep. I don't normally get to see her.

4. I am thankful that we have high speed Internet and that we can do our research for the products we want to buy in the comfort of our own home.

5. I live close to a mall that has stores in it that would potentially carry the products I decide on from my research.

6. We headed off to the lake. It was such a beautiful Morning.

7. The kids were able to try out the new tandem s.o.t. kayak.

8. I sat in our fishing boat for the first time today.

9. Jim at T.J.'s is really nice

10. I snuck in a nap

11. I showered this morning.

12. Knight is safety conscience and knows right from wrong.

What I really mean....

1. It's already Monday, and my plans for today have to change because Knight decided he wants to go fishing. I really struggle when someone messes with my plans, even if it is not a big deal.

2.I woke up with my NyQuil hangover. This cough is going on something like 5 weeks. I have slept most days this month only with the help of NyQuil. Someday, I will be healthy again...maybe.

3. I went in to get my pay slips that should have been signed by the Tombstone guy. The slips were not there for me. I missed the deadline to turn them in this week, therefore I will not get paid this week. And these slips were from work almost a month ago. (But I did get to chat with Carol. She can be so fun.)

4. We have a new purchase we would like to buy, and I need to decide what is the best value for our money, what is the important features our family will use, and what is going to hold up under the use of six people. I'm overwhelmed. And I hate shopping.

5. I decide on one, go to the only store in town that should have this product. No luck. I have to do it online or pick something else. I hate shopping.

6. We get to the lake. I have never been to this lake, but Knight highly talks about this lake. The wind is blowing toward the boat landing. This is the color of the water. I did not edit this picture in any way. The only thing the picture doesn't show is the texture of the water. It is THICK. Reminded me of someone making playdoh liquidity. And it smells.

7. The kids went into the kayaks because I couldn't get myself to touch this water, therefore I could not kayak. I didn't want to risk a dock entrance because I would panic if I fell into this water.

8. We decided that since I was not kayaking, we (the adults) would go in the fishing boat and be there in case the kids needed help. The motor quit working and we had to paddle back to the landing. So much for my first ride in the fishing boat (that we've had for 2 years)

9. I didn't think to check and make sure all of our life jackets were in the van before we left (They got the boats and gear ready). We didn't have them all. Knight had to go up to a resort up the road and rent life jackets. (This lake is 45 min from our home)

10. Waiting on the kids to get done fishing off the dock (again, the boat stopped working) I fell asleep in the van. J-Bird came to me 10 min later since he needed to wash his hand. He had stuck his hand in the pea soup called the lake. I couldn't get back to sleep.

11. Kids tried to shower when we got home. The hot water heater is acting up again.

12. I was ready to burn the house down. Not really, but if a tornado came when we were all out of the house, I can't say I would devastated.

IT'S MONDAY. It will be better tomorrow.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


**Ok, I am tired, ready for bed, but I have been trying to be more faithful in my blogging. So since I don't have the energy to type out what I want to say I dug through my post drafts and came up with this one waiting to be published (obsessive, isn't it?) Hope every one's weekend is going well.**

I saw this on someone else's blog and thought it looked fun. Anyone who knows me would say that I am not shy, but deep inside, where I actually have of them is shy.

[x] You don't like public speaking.

[x] You find it hard to talk to strangers.

[x] You don't like to look people in the eye.

[x] Being introduced to new people makes you nervous.

[ ] You hate to go shopping alone.


[x] When you're in a group of people, it's difficult to think of what to say

[ ] You have a lot of trouble talking to the opposite sex

[x] You hate to be teased

[ ] You hate answering the door


[x ] You don't like to ask people for help.

[x] You can't stand people watching you.

[ ] One on one conversations make you nervous.

[x] You hate to read out loud.

[x] You don't like answering questions.


[ ] You dread ordering food at restaurants.

[x] You are uncomfortable at parties, unless you know everyone well

[ ] You don't like to talk, because you're afraid of being embarrassed by what you say.

[ ] You wish you were more outgoing.

[x]You hate being in the center of any room


[x] You don't know how to react to compliments.

[x] You prefer reading, writing, or listening to music than being around too many people.

[x] You blush easily.

[x] You don't like singing in front of a lot of people.

[x] You are not good at asking other people out


Times it by 4

TOTAL: 68%

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Leeann at the world: through the eyes of me has given me the You Make Me Smile Award. Leeann is a newer blogger and I have really enjoyed getting to know her through her blog. I really enjoy reading her posts and would have awarded this to her, had she not been the one to receive it first.
The maker of this award created it for this purpose.
"The thing that I love most about blogging is that I learn so much about a
person just by reading their blog. I have met MANY wonderful people with
wonderful stories to tell, and I am grateful every day for each person that I
have the pleasure of crossing paths in life with. I wanted to create something
special for the people who have inspired me through their blogging; the stories
they tell, and the lives that they lead with grace and dignity. I visit their
blogs for inspiration and encouragement. Although there are MANY people I want
to give this award to at this very moment, I am going to choose five bloggers:
Please grab your badge and wear it(with a smile) proudly, and pass it on because
you inspire and encourage me, thank you. So, now it is my turn to pass it on."
Now, as most bloggers know, it is easy to get a big head here in Bloggityville. Awards are passed around, a lot. I am not saying that I am not grateful, but I would like to do my part in making awards mean a little more. So, for that reason, I am only going to give this to one person. Whether she passes it on to one, five, or anywhere in between is up to her.
I am awarding this to Melody at Slurping Life. Not only does she challenge me to get in touch with my feelings (the nerve!) but she is real. She has her good days, bad days, tiring days but she tries to look at the humor in it all. And I have fallen in love with those boys of hers. Not too many people in bloggityville have impacted me on a daily basis like she has. And for that reason, she makes me smile.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wrapped Warped Emotions 3

Wrapped Emotions buttonWhen Melody started this blog, I have to say the thought of thinking and posting about emotions wasn't the most comfortable thought in the world. In fact, I will admit I thought about saying thanks but no thanks. That was until the first couple assignments. I was on a roll there, thinking this is a piece of cake. I had even convinced myself that no matter how hard the assignment, within reason, I would give it a shot (there are a few things that is off limits though). Then came assignment #3. In part she said this...

Our WE creations should represent something substantial. A book has
substance...pages bound your day to day life. Your creations and
thoughts deserve the same substance. The time you set aside to create, connect
and express yourself should not be treated loosely. It deserves a proper binding
to signify it's substance.

This week I want you to purchase or make an art journal in which to create your projects or to put
photos of your creations which are not worked on paper. An art journal being a
(spiral-my choice) bound book of sturdy blank pages of any dimensions you
choose. You can find them at an art supply store, arts and craft store, even
T*rget and W*lmart.

You may construct your own book of bound, blank pages in any
manner you choose.Once you have the journal, take your first WE project (the
collage) and mount it in the book. Trim it, cut it into pieces if you need to,
re-collage it, but put it in there. Then from your blog print a copy of your
photo and post for your last week's project and mount it in the book. Do any
additional art work, embellishment or collage you choose as you add these
creations to your art journal. You're creative. You can make them fit.

This is the project that made me want to give up my dedication to the project. You all are thinking....WHAT?!?!?! Yeah, going and getting a bound book to keep my projects in made me almost throw in the towel. To be honest, I still am not totally convinced I should do this one. Let me explain...

I don't like bindings.

At. All.

I don't even like to be needed. Wanted yes. Needed makes me want to run. I don't want to be forced to do something, be around someone, feel like I should help someone, or even feel the need to keep people in my life. Yeah, you heard that right. I don't have a need to keep the same people in my life. Quoting a friend that is in the processing of moving away from our area-
Relationships are more fluid than I imagined, and life goes on.

That has been my way. I will be your friend now, but if you chose to walk out of my life tomorrow, I will not stop you. I will not make you feel guilty. You are in my life for the time being. I will enjoy that. But someday if you choose to leave, I will wish you well. No hard feelings.

So when Melody said I should have a binder for my projects it caused my stomach to do flips. I don't want another binding in my life!

But then I slapped myself silly, got real, and went out looking for a compromise. I found one. I spent a whole buck on it. And it already came decorated to fit my blog theme! It is a mini photo album. And since I am not a pack rat at all and had already thrown away my project from week 1 (shhh! Don't tell Mel!) I just made a photo of it, along with the photo from week 2, stuck it in my adventure book and wah-lah, project done. And without too much panic.

So, here is me admitting that this struck more emotions than child hood memories, or crawling on the floor of the church, but I got through it. It has to get easier from here.

Yes, I know. I have warped emotions

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen autumn signs that we have already experienced here in WI

1. Ice in the bird bath in the morning.

2. The furnace turning on, when it is set at it's lowest setting.

3. Friends firing up their wood stove

4. Geese flying south for winter

5. Taking hot baths just to take the chill out of the bones.

6. Breaking out the hot chocolate.

7. Scraping windows if you get up before the frost has a chance to clear

8. High School football starting

9. Wearing sweat shirts and shorts in the same time (and at the same time every once in a while)

10. Actually thinking the words wind chill already

11. Wondering if I need to take down the trampoline yet (it actually snowed the day J-Bird was born---Oct 5th!)

12. Making plans to winterize the boat.

And of course.....

13. Leaves

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wordless Wednesday

Mr. Peddle Puller Himself--

Monday, September 17, 2007

Weekend Update

Have you ever noticed that by blessing others you recieve a blessing? Sometimes, ok, most of the time it feels that you get an even bigger blessing. Such was the case this weekend.
Our church has a free garage "sale" every year, where the church body brings in unwanted items from home on Thursday and Friday, takes whatever they want those two days and then we open it up to the public on Saturday for the community to come and take what they need.
Now, I have never shown up on Saturday during the sale. I have gone to clean up, but my dislike of crowds have kept me away. Until this year. One of my friends talked me into working the kitchen with her giving out coffee, milk, bars, muffins, etc. Friday night one of the leaders saw me taking pictures and put me on camera crew.
I have heard the stories of the crowds but to see it for myself was amazing. The first people arived to stand in the cold at 6:30am knowing full well that the doors did not open until 8am. When I got there at 7:25 the line was substantial. And it had gotten below freezing that night. Brrrrr!!!
What a fun morning! We left the sale to go to J-Birds state peddle pull. He was so excited to be a "state champion"! It took f.o.r.e.v.e.r. for his time to pull. During that time we were able to sit and visit with family. Knights parents and sisters showed up, along with my parents and spouses, and my sister. One of my favorite parts of that day was when J-Bird asked to go be with Grampa. I asked which one, since there were 3 around and he pointed to his 3 grampa's sitting on a bench talking. I really don't know if my kids have seen the two sides of the family in the same vicinity in their memory so this was extra special for them. I love this family!

Friday, September 14, 2007

My little hams

As you will notice, I put a picture header on my blog. I picked up my camera, sat on the floor across from the couch, and called the kids. They figured out that I wanted to take pictures of the four of them.
These kids are such hams! They goofed off until my camera battery died. When Knight came home they were telling him what a great time they had making up poses for the camera.
Who wouldn't love these kids??
*Leeann is right (see comments)--I have changed my look a lot lately. I promise I am done for a while. I have needed to take the time to learn how to put a picture header for some time now, but I just changed templates instead. No more, at least for a while.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wrapped Emotions 2

Wrapped Emotions button

This weeks WE project had us looking at our comfort zone public places from a different viewpoint. This had me stumped at first. I don't go a whole lot of places. I thought about the places that I frequent the most and it is WalMart and church. Now, you can't normally drag me into Walmart unless I'm there to work (I stock shelves for Old Dutch, and Tombstone, along with L.D., on weekends.) I think I probably spend $20 a month in that store. To go there when I don't have to, I don't think so. So that left church.

Gotta say, this felt a little like cheating. Melody specifically said-

A public place, not your living room or Aunt Bessie's kitchen.

This was technically a public place. But I am probably as comfortable there as I would be in Aunt Bessie's kitchen. Nobody thought twice went I went up to the front of the auditorium, bent down on the floor with my camera and took some pictures. I took a couple of shots with different viewpoints. Here's what I came up with.

*Edited so Melody won't lose what is left of her sanity* To be honest, I am not 100% sure what is the part in color. I think it is someone's foot in the back of the auditorium. I edited the photo to be mostly b&w with the only the center focused, and the very end in color because the shot from under the chairs reminded me of a tunnel. Church---light at the end of the tunnel---it seemed appropriate. To see the original photo, untouched click here. Again, I put WAY too much thought into stuff like this!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wordless Wednesday-

What kids are doing when mom is trying to capture the leaves changing colors...
For more Wordless Wednesday's click here.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Did I ever tell you that Knight is a wonderful, sexy, completely skilled, jack of all trades handy-man type? No? I don't know why that never came up. Let me think...

As I was sitting here, playing on the computer I remarked that I am not sure what to blog about.

Stupid me. Knight is nearly about half as sarcastic as I am. What I am saying is that he's a tad more sarcastic than the average man.

So he reminded me that he was being manly today. He finished putting in the new kitchen windows, loaded truck, gave J-Bell some L.D. shelving unit for her room, and ate ribs.

Can you feel the testosteroni that is just ooozing out of him today? Now he just needs to fill the air with his special "air deoderizer" and it will be all good.

So, since I really don't have anything to say since I literally slept through most of the day, I will follow his suggestions and talk about him.

Isn't he great?

Really, not everyone could or even would want to listen to my wit attitude every day. He is one unique hubby.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

In my mothers eyes.

I have this nasty habit of over analyzing everything in my life. Why do I do the things I do? Why do I feel the way I feel? What is really important to me? Is it really? Does my life and actions show the importance of that? Is this what I was meant for in life? Am I doing the things I am doing for the right reasons? The right motivation? Am I succeeding at what I want to be accomplishing or am I failing?

Get the picture?

I have always wondered where I get this self analyzing trait. Today I found out.

I am considering going to school. Not teaching my kids, but becoming a student again. But the questions start. What would I be good at? Would I enjoy it, or would it just be something I am capable of? Would I feel content in that field? What happens if I find I don't like the field?

So to get perspective, I talked to both of my parents today. First I went to my dad's house. I talked to him about different fields that I am considering. He is always pro-education so I didn't get anything but positive remarks about me going. I did get insight into the fields I am considering. I think he eliminated one completely.

Then I called my mom. Her first question was "what is going on in your life that makes you feel that you need to do this at this point in your life?" She's not meaning it in a negative way at all, just analyzing. Then she told me to write a book. Yeah, right! I don't think so.

She has just recently (last Thursday)retired for the moment. This woman never sits still, she'll be working again soon. She is at that place where she is wondering what the next chapter in her life should be. What does she want to be when she grows up. We talked about being in a crossroads in life, new chapters, personalities, etc. She is as analyzing as I am.

This is where I get a lot of my personality. I saw myself today in my mother. Some would see themselves being like their mother as a bad thing. I don't. I just never have made the connection to how I process my life and she processes hers.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Ooops, I blinked

I took one of the kids with me to work last night while giving Knight the evening off. We always pay the kids with either dinner out before we start the work or 1/2 price appetizers at Applebees when we are done. They are constantly begging us to go work with them.

As we are done and on our way home, I hear, "Mom, don't you hate it when boys look at you and talk?"

"What?" I am completely not understanding the question let alone where it came from. I'm, I don't. I kinda prefer my husband to look at me while he talks to me.

She repeats it word for word, so I repeat my question. Then she hits me with...

"Well, my friend hates it when boys are looking at her and talking to each other."

Ahhh, now I get it. I also get that her friend really doesn't hate it. This particular friend is at that age where she is trying to get the attention. This particular child of mine is not at that age, or stage of development, and yet I am faced with dealing with the issue of boys with this child also. I already have one to deal with. I don't need two.

"Well, you need to expect that. Your kids are getting to that age, dear" you are all thinking.

I think I blinked somewhere. No way am I old enough to have had kids. Wait...I guess having 4 isn't so bad, I can handle that. But I'm already dealing with puberty, boys looking at my precious little baby girls. Pretty soon, they are going to want to start driving, dating, and then they will have the guts to move out of my house and leave me!

Didn't I chose to home school so they would never grow up, never have boy issues, we wouldn't have to deal with them having friends that teach them things we don't want them to learn. These evil friends are putting it into their minds that it is ok to grow up and become independent from me.

Remind me not to blink again. I wouldn't want to miss anything else.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Wrapped Emotions 1

Wrapped Emotions button

This week's assignment for WE was to eat our favorite candy from our early childhood. Since this is the first week, I will put the instructions up, so you can see how this works if your interested in playing.

We are going back to our childhood years. For the sake of those of you
(and me) who are trying to relocate our creative spirit, our first project is a
very simple one. Think kindergarten art. Think like a kid. Think messy. Don't
worry about the finished product. Play and have fun.

As a young child what was your favorite-absolutely-loved-to-get candy
treat? Now go buy it and eat candy. Save the wrapper or box. Sit back, savor
your treat, close your eyes and remember enjoying the candy as a child. What
were you doing? Who was there with you? How did you feel?Now create a collage
expressing that childhood emotion. Include the candy wrapper in your collage.

What did you discover? Was it the thought or act of eating the candy as
a child which invoked your emotion? Or was it the people or event? Or was it
aspects of both?

So as I used all my brain power and I honestly have no memory of "candy" from early childhood. You see, my mom was June Cleaver. We had home made dessert, every night. I still don't know when the frozen pizza actually was invented because I think I was 14 before I tasted my first one. So I thought about my favorite treat as a kid.

Rice Crispy bars. Again, I could have gone and bought one for the collage, but that would not have been right. These were home made. So here is my picture...

Can you feel the perfection of my early childhood? The family is all accounted for, the sky is blue, the grass is green, not a cloud in the sky. If you look carefully you see 4 red dots around the picture with some writing on them. Those are easy buttons. The easy buttons were in abundance in my childhood.

For some reason, rice crispy bars take me back to Crete, Greece. I was around 5. We had just moved to Crete, and we were still living off base in an upstairs apartment (I think). There was a large dumpster that had chickens around it. My parents would ask me to take the garbage out, and I was so afraid of the chickens!

There was a field on the other side of this small dirt road or alley. There were trees close to the edge of the road. One day the greek man that owned the property strung a goat up between two of the trees and slaughtered the poor thing. After lunch we went out to watch and he used the opportunity to teach us. He showed us the liver, the heart, etc. He gave us a great biology lesson. As we were watching this, my younger sister, Becca, came out and handed the rest of us a rice crispy bar for desert.

It must have not been a normal thing, if I am to remember it so clearly. But it didn't feel wierd either. I know that this was shortly after we had moved to Crete, as we were not in that apartment long. But it is such a vivid memory. There were lots of kids around watching, not just me and my older sisters. I have often wondered if the man was speaking Greek or English. That may be a strange question, but I also remember talking to a waiter in a restaurant over in Crete, and mom has mentioned that he only spoke Greek. I just remember talking to him. Not that it was in Greek.

I was so blessed to be able to have the experiences I have had growing up. My mom and dad were absolutely great parents, and with 4 sisters there was always something fun to do. We moved around and were able to experience new places, new cultures, new things. My mom didn't just sit around the house. We went. We did. We explored. I could not have asked for a better childhood. I hope that showed in my simple, clean picture I created.

If you want to play with us, just click 0n the WE button at the top and log in each monday to find out the theme for this week!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Thursday Thirteen--Blogittyville

Here are thirteen reasons why I choose to spend time in bloggityville...

1. I get to peek inside other people's windows, with their permission.

2. I can only see what others want me to see, and generally that is the best part of themselves. Bloggityville tends to be a pretty upbeat place to spend your time.

3. You can go and visit people as your schedule allows. Take as little or as long as you'd like. They are just happy you stopped by. Come by at 6am, noon, or midnight. Makes no difference

4. You meet some really great people.

5. You meet people that you normally wouldn't. You also get a different perspective than you might not normally get staying in your own circle of influence. Sometimes you get the perspective of a duck.

6. You can choose everyone you want to spend time with. If their is someone you don't click with, no hard feelings, you just don't go visit.

7. You tend to remember the funny or good things that happen around and to you. You are always looking for a "good post" moment.

8. I can live in a world that will make believe with me that my house is clean, my kids are well groomed, never fight, and I can do it all.

9. The same ones that make believe that my life is perfect will put their cyber arms around me if I need to admit that I am not perfect (not saying that has EVER happened. I am perfect. Just read my blog! ;-)

10. Bloggityville is a great place for an outlet for my emotions. I may not let everyone know what those emotions are, but it gives me a place to talk.

11. It shows me how the Lord is working, not only in WI, but all over the world.

12. I never know what to expect when I pull up to someones place. It may be funny, sad, heartwarming, or routine.

13. Remodeling your place doesn't have to be expensive. Or take a lot of time and skill.

If you are a part of bloggityville, let me just say thank you. You brighten my day. Bloglines (the town crier) is so wonderful to let me know when something is new in town.

Wordless Wednesday--View from my maiden voyage in the new kayak

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Aww Shucks

Anyone who has ever taught their kids history class at home has encountered the discussion of how people used the bartering system in the past. We have used different curriculum's and they have all explained in great detail how the bartering system works. Even this year, studying Egypt, they didn't have a money system, they had a bartering system.

A couple of years ago the kids would have dutifully acknowledged what I was trying to teach them and moved on. They have not done that since Knight has worked his current job. They are now very aware of the barter system. Since we have all of these outdated Little Debbie products that we are able to sell, give, or eat to our discretion, we have lived the barter system out well. We do sell the out dates to either businesses that are looking for that kind of thing, to some friends for lunch boxes and snacks, and we also give some away, but we trade them. A lot.

We don't usually pay for milk anymore. We trade the milk vendor for L.D.'s. We also trade one of the bread vendors, one of the potato chip vendors, and on a rare occasion one of the pop vendors. He even trades some of his customers L.D.'s for gasoline. It's one of the benefits to owning your own company. It's legal and somewhat free.

This time of year we have an extra added bonus. He has found a couple people wanting to trade fresh corn for L.D.'s. We had found one farmer last year that thought this was the best thing ever, and had looked forward to Knight coming back this year. They had ran out of the L.D.'s in late spring, as they stuck them in the freezer and made them last.

As a side note here, Knight doesn't think small. Ever. When he sees a deal, he will buy as much as he can justify.

You can see where this is going, can't you?

Last year he traded that farmer two boxes of out dates for 24 dozen ears of corn. Yeah, 288 ears of corn. Oh yes he did. We were shucking for 2 days, and it took hours to cut off the cob and put in the freezer.

So this year, he did things differently.

About a month ago he came home and said that the store up the road begged him to trade, so he only brought home a 50 pound feed sack (think about the size of a 50 lb dog food bag, but thicker) full of corn, plus about 2 dozen in a box. He didn't want to take too much since he still was going to trade the farmer. It was probably a total of 10 dozen, give or take a dozen.

So two weeks ago he brought home 11 dozen.

A day of shucking, another day of cooking, cutting, bagging and freezing.

Then this weekend he picked up the rest of the corn. Another 14 dozen. This time we did most of the shucking, cooking, cutting, bagging and freezing in a day.

Here are the things you learn...

1. Even with an electric knife, your hands hurt by the end of the day

2. Even with the electric knife off, if it is falling and you think to catch it, you will get cut.

3. The kids shuck better when they are watching on the laptop while shucking.

4. 14 dozen ears of corn, cut off the cob, fills about 5, 5 quart ice cream pails full of corn

5. Corn freezes well on the cob, but takes up a lot of room

6. Corn also cooks roasted on a stick over an open fire (like you would roast a marshmallow)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

One thing about living in Wisconsin is that I am always feeling like I'm turning into a hick. I have never wanted to be a small town girl, a redneck woman, or a country hick. Not that I want to be high society. I want to not be one to pretend to be someone I'm not. I want to be real. But I do want to have a certain level of sophistication around me.

That being said, today we took our yearly outing to the demolition derby. I can have fun going once a year and this year was no exception. The track was pretty wet for the first heat and that meant that it went on f.o.r.e.v.e.r. I seriously don't mind sometime going by but this particular heat had the cars having trouble getting any speed on them whatsoever. In fact, more than one car started on fire because of the work the engine had to do.

As the track started to dry out, my entertainment level rose. Not because the crashes got more intense, but because by the second heat the large size cars started flinging mud. Into the crowd. Knight had wondered allowed what it would be like to sit on the other side of the track, until the cars started flinging the mud. Then we were glad that we sit up far enough that we were not getting hit.

It was also a bonus that we knew two of the people that had cars inthe derby. They both had midsize cars, both in seperate heats, and both qualified for the final feature. (their cars are the two station wagons on the upper left and upper right of the picture pile) In the final, one of the guys took first, while the other took third.

It still is difficult for me to watch people destroy their cars, with them inside. I am so afraid that one of these days someone is going to get hurt. They do have an ambulance there, but when one of the cars went through the logs that block off the area, even the ambulance got scared and backed up.

It did make me feel somewhat like a hick, sitting there with the whole purpose of watching cars smash each other to pieces, listening to the announcer. I guess I am just used to a different form of entertainment. And I knew I was out of place when the announcer commented, "All of the drinks down there are $2.00 so beer cost the same as water. If you're going to drink, you might as well have a beer." Gotta say, that is not a norm in my world. In fact, the picture at the top of this post was the back of a shirt that the woman in front of us was wearing.

But what makes this paradise is that there is variety. We have more than just routine. We can enjoy family, friends, and life. No worries, no guilt. We are blessed.

Have you ever noticed that the things that happen to make you realize you take things for granted are never a positive experience? It's not like you wake up one bright sunny day, the temp is perfect inside and outside, your house is clean, your kids are behaved, everything is perfect and you get slapped with the realization..."I am so thankful that my furnace works!"

I don't know, maybe you do. I am not saying that I am not aware of how blessed I am. I feel that I lived a charmed life, really. But sometimes the Lord just has to take the time to let me know, specifically, what it would be like to live without our luxuries.

This past week or so, I have been very aware that there is great blessing being able to reach over, turn a little handle and get hot water. I honestly have no memory of a hot water heater in one of my houses ever going out. Ever. Not as a kid, not as an adult. I have been aware that they do go out, but I have never experienced it. Until last week.

It all started Wednesday with J-Bell going to switch laundry over and coming up saying that there is water all over the floor in the basement. I go down and realize that the water is dripping from the copper pipe connected to the pressure relief valve. Remember, I have not lived through this. Not only was it new to me that there was a pressure relief valve, but I didn't realize that there was a pipe in the back of the heater. I knew about the draining faucet things at the bottom, the water intake, but not this pipe. I shut the water off to the heater.

I call Knight. He doesn't even know who I can call. And he is an hour away with work to finish up. I'm on my own. So I do the sensible thing. I call my friend and ask her, not really expecting an answer, but just in case. She doesn't even have the pipe I'm talking about. So she calls her hubby, who diagnoses my problem as the pressure relief valve by talking to her. Then he tells her who I need to call. It's a mutual friend/acquaintance. I call and they can come in a couple hours.

I call Knight, who is talking to someone and they have an experiment to try to figure out if it's the thermostat or the valve. They want me to turn the water on, but turn the power off with the theory that if it's the valve, it will keep leaking and if it's the thermostat it will stop leaking once the water cools down. I try that and it stops leaking.

The repair guy comes, sees that the thermostat isn't in correctly anyway and blames that (it's worked the almost 7 years we've been here but whatever!) puts it in right, turns the power on and tells me to watch it. Thanks. It starts leaking 4 hours later. I call the next day and tell him it's still leaking. He's busy (four wheeling) and will come the next day (Friday).

He comes, changes the valve. It's not leaking by this point. Go figure. But I don't like to play these games. Let's just get it fixed and then I don't have to watch and see if I have water in my basement. (thankfully there is a drain in the floor close to the heater so it doesn't go everywhere) Knight and I think it's the thermostat but what do we know. It fixes it. At least that's what we thought.

Monday we get the bill. $85 bucks. For a valve.

Tuesday I go to wash my hands and burn myself on the tap water. Great! Our heater is turned down enough where a two year old couldn't get burned and now it spikes on it's own. Another call to the guy. He's out of state. He'll call when he's back in town.

Knock on the door on wed morning has him here, with a thermostat. He changes it and just charges for the part. An even $100. But now the thermostat and the valve is changed.

Thursday night I go to take a shower and there is no hot water. I head down and look at the heater. The thermostat has a reset button that has popped. I hit it and the thing starts working again. I get to take a luke warm shower at 10pm, but at least I get to take one.

Friday, J-bell lets me know that when she went to take a shower there was no hot water. I go down and hit the stupid button again. I have hot water today (so far).

I am very reminded of the blessing of hot water. "Yes, Lord. I hear you. I am thankful for the simple things, like hot water. I get it. Now, can you keep my hot water heater working??"

I truly do live a charmed life here in paradise. I still have not had to live a day without hot water. It might not have been ready every time I wanted it, but I have been able to shower daily. Will my adventure with my hot water heater continue? Wait and see....