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Friday, October 30, 2009

So I Think I Love to Watch Dance!!

What an amazing night!

Kyndal and I went to see the live tour of Season 5's So You Think You Can Dance. Can I just say that it was one of those events where you just sit back and enjoy it and smile until your face hurts! I was happy for three straight hours!

I haven't had an opportunity to spend one-on-one time with Kyndal in a long time and we were like a couple of girlfriends out having the night of our lives! Kyndal .. I had so much fun with you!

And the talent! Wow! We saw all of our favorite routines, and some new ones, and watched some of the most talented young people I have ever seen. What a special group of young adults who are touring the country entertaining their fans. The show was witty and fun and the dancing was fabulous! The moves of some of those dancers would, quite literally, break my back.

Here are Kyndal and I before the show ...

Oh .. I forgot to mention our seats. We were feet level with the stage about 15 yards from it, at about 4:00 (if you were looking at a clock). Other than being on the other side where the judges usually sit, we could not have had better seats! Kyndal was so excited when we got there and saw where we would be sitting.

Here is a photo of the opening group number and a couple of random shots of the dancers in my favorite routines.

I really wanted to post a couple of videos of my favorite two dances, but it was taking forever to load, so never mind!

And here is a group photo at the end.

If you don't watch this show, you must! The new season just started. The top 20 performed this past week on the show and one guy and one girl were eliminated. So, you'd be getting in right at the beginning of the season. It's on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. central on Fox. I just can't say enough about it!


This is where Kyndal and I are right now. We're having a great time!! Check back tomorrow for an update on what we experienced!!

No Photo Treat

Today was the last dress up day for Red Ribbon Days. The theme today was "Don't be tricked, drugs are no treat."

The kids were supposed to wear their Halloween costumes.

But, I can't post pictures or that will negate the excitement of the Halloween Photostravaganza scheduled for this weekend's post!

So here are a couple of hints as to what Eli and Brynne dressed up as today, and what they are being for Halloween.

He's in red, his cousin's in green,
jumping for stars and mushrooms.
He's trying to save Princess Peach,
battling through ice, tunnels and other rooms.

She comes ridin' in on her horse,
with a lasso in hand,
ready for a gunfight,
with the baddest dude in the land.

That shouldn't be too hard to figure out!

Leave a comment and let me know who you think they are being for Halloween!

What are your kids being, if you celebrate.

Rick Rocks ~ Because He's My Biggest Fan!

Rick reads my blog every day. Many days he even reads it during his 9:00 meeting. And it makes me smile to know that he is interested in the things I have to say from my heart. (Because, all of my posts are directly from my heart.) In fact, sometimes in the busyness of life, that might be the only way he does get to hear what I really have to say.

Some of my blog posts offend people, and because of that I get negative responses. And sometimes "Followers" even cease to follow my blog anymore because of those posts.

But, it always seems that on days when that has happened, I get a specific phone call from Rick or a specific face-to-face comment about how much he enjoyed my post that day and agreed whole-heartedly with what I said. He encourages me to continue to be open and transparent. I know there are those who appreciate my honesty. What I appreciate is that my husband does more than anybody.

My followers will come and go. But, Rick is my biggest fan and he'll stick around forever .. no matter what I say.

Rick Rocks ~ Because He's My Biggest Fan! (and I'm his!)

**I haven't given credit back to Katy Lyn in a while. This "My Husband Rocks" concept was her idea and the graphic above is actually hers. I love doing this post every week and I hope that others get back into doing it regularly. Our husbands are blessed by it!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cloudy With a Chance of No Pumpkins

Last year when Eli was in Pre-K, it was raining and cold on the day his class went on the field trip to the pumpkin patch. Since he had just gone with Brynne's preschool class a couple of days before, we opted not to go again on the cold, yucky day (well, I opted for us not to go!)

In a previous post I told you about Brynne's trip to the patch this year. Today is Eli's trip. And, guess what, it's raining and cold! The teachers actually cancelled the trip, so I didn't have to be the bad guy. Instead they are going to wear their new kindergarten t-shirts, watch a movie and have snacks. And, the lady from the pumpkin patch is going to bring them their craft to do in class. Isn't that nice?

Eli was really looking forward to it this year. First of all, he really wanted to ride the school bus! And, he loves Charlie Brown movies. He's been watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown all week. He has been extremely annoyed and frustrated that Brynne has had a small, real pumpkin to play with while they watch the movie (she got it at the pumpkin patch, and he was supposed to get his today).

Knowing that the weather looked questionable for today, I decided to take Eli and Brynne to the pumpkin patch last night so he could get his pumpkin. He also wanted to "cut one by myself." So, we picked out a small one (to play with) and a little bit bigger one (to butcher, with a tad bit of help from mom). And, he was happy. And I diverted a meltdown for this morning when I told him that his trip to the pumpkin patch had been cancelled (although he'd been forewarned).

Here are some pictures from our quick trip there last night.

Today's dress up day for Red Ribbon week is camouflage ~ "Join the fight against drugs!"

Here are my little warriors.

Tough, aren't they?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Free Humiliation!!!

In exchange for the following coupons I am providing you, I am asking you to help me embarrass myself! Go to and vote for my morning face photo. You could help me win a $50 Kum & Go gift card! You may not recognize me (seriously! .. I look that bad!) I'm the one in the camper, with the light blue hoodie holding the coffee mug and making the most ridiculous face with the most ridiculous bed head. Lest you judge me, I had just spent 7 straight nights in a row sleeping in a pop-up camper in freezing temperatures having only taken 2 showers in that week. Be kind! Yes, I could have killed Rick for taking this photo of me, but if it wins me $50 then it was all worth it! And, besides, our family motto of "If you don't want it on the blog, don't do it" applies to me too!

If you are from this area, or have a Kum & Go in your area, here are some coupons for you!!

Drink your FREE Cherry Coke while pumping your FREE 5 cents per gallon of gas!

And tell all your friends to vote for me!


Here are pictures from the past two dress-up days at Eli and Brynne's school for Red Ribbon Week.

PJ Day ~ "Follow your dreams .. don't do drugs!"

Brynne's YMCA soccer jersey (dear God, look how dirty her shoes are .. they will be cleaned before she leaves for school!)

Eli says, "Go Pokes!!"

Team Jersey Day ~ "Team up against drugs"

The older kids actually have dress up days at their schools, too, but neither one of them wanted to participate. Kyndal hasn't even mentioned dress up days. And Dawson said only the "popular" kids are dressing up at his school because "they want attention." He is a non-conformist .. just like his mama. I am starting to see a personality trait of mine coming out in him!

Basically, if other people are doing it, there's no way in the world I am going to do it. It doesn't matter if it's a good thing or bad thing. I'm just not doing it. No Harry Potter or Twilight for this family. No Oprah for this woman. No Jon and Kate Plus 8 nonsense. No "popular" Bible studies for me. No fad diets or exercise routines are a part of my day. No cliques or organized small groups for Rick and I. If it becomes popular, I run as far away from it as I can. Any psychologists out there who want to tell me what that means?

I like to think that I just live by Romans 12:2 ~ Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. I really do typically believe that if everybody's doing it, that I should strongly consider taking the road less taken.

But, I have a feeling it's something more.

Dawson appears angry at the people and things that jump on the bandwagon of something. I can relate to that, because it's exactly how I feel (and have always felt, even since I was his age). I think it really has to do with being frustrated with people not being their genuine selves. They are putting on costumes to conform with what they think others want them to be. There just aren't enough people in this world who are confident enough in looking deep within to find their true selves, who they are in God, and just being that person! They are always trying to be someone else, and it's irritating. It's hard to love people for who they are when they are never being who they are.

(In fact, just this morning I deactivated my Facebook account again .. this time for good. It feels like everybody uses their status updates these days as a way to make themselves look better than anyone else. There are very few people on there who I feel are genuine in what they say. I found myself starting to do the same thing. It was time to sign out.)

Perhaps some of these things have something to do with my trust issues.

So, we stand alone on many things. And I just don't believe that's all bad.

Until Eli and Brynne can form their own opinions about how they feel about conforming to the "norm", I'll still encourage them to participate. Because, they are having fun! But, if they ever decide it's not for them, then we'll just stop doing it. I want each member of my family to know who they are, to be confident in it, and to live it, even if it means losing "friends" in the process.

I feel like I've lost friends in mine.

(As a side note, before you think, "Well, you devote a blog post every week to how great one of your kids is and how your husband rocks! Aren't you doing the same thing?" I want you to understand the intention behind that. I doubt anybody who reads my blog feels like I sugar-coat my life to be something wonderful and amazing. I have good days, and just as many bad days. My husband hacks me off and my kids disappoint me. I don't disparage them, if possible, out of respect for their privacy. But I do discuss issues openly on a regular basis. My weekly posts about them are for me just as much as for them. It forces me to always be looking for the good in them, even in the midst of the bad.)

What a Kid! Wednesday ~ Brynne

I haven't posted about Brynne in a while. She is one of those consistent kids. She's good pretty much all the time. She's sassy as all get out, but so serious and well-behaved.

So, today I just thought I would talk about some of her qualities that have surprised me lately.

Like, at home she is the gal in charge! Da Boss! There's not a quiet moment! She talks non-stop, dances, sings, teaches, oh my! So, imagine my surprise at the walk-a-thon when she told me to Stoooooooppppppp! when I tried to sing or dance with her to the music! She was embarrassed! She is so subdued in a large group, has no intention of being pointed out or the center of attention.

But then, when her friend was crying because she wanted her mommy, she went right up to her and took her hand and walked the rest of the walk-a-thon with her, holding hands. She is so motherly and nurturing!

She is doing so fantastic in school! She loves it, although I think she may be slightly bored with the level of content. She spends every moment at home coloring, painting, doing preschool workbook pages (and kindergarten and first grade), cutting with scissors, etc. She also spends almost every minute of the day sounding out every word she hears to determine what letter it starts with, what words it rhymes with, etc. I asked her the other night if her head was tired at the end of the day from all of the thinking she does. She said, "Yes." It is apparent in that she goes to sleep right at 8:30 p.m. and sleeps most mornings until I wake her up at 8:30 a.m. to take Eli to school. Twelve hours of sleep is a little unusual for her. She used to be an early riser. But, she is exhausted from all of the learning!

And I'm exhausted from all her learning!

But, I am so very proud of her each and every day! It's so nice as a mama to never, not for one second, have to worry about her and whether she is doing well, behaving, being kind, etc. I just love her to pieces!

What a Kid!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today ~ October 27, 2009

Outside my window... it is chilly and raining! Yucky morning to go work out, I can tell ya!

I am thinking... about how I can be so down in the dumps all weekend, and then have such a positive and uplifting day yesterday. And I have no particular reason for either.

I am thankful ... that God has blessed Rick with a good job and good income and good work ethic so that I do not have to work and drop my children off at a daycare center at 6:30 in the morning every day (which I saw many people doing this morning on the way home from working out), and so that I can go to field trips and volunteer at the school and donate items needed for my kids' classes, and such.

I am wearing... grey yoga pants, a white tank top, Reeboks and a gray zip up hoodie.

I am remembering... my own words to someone else, and how much easier and more confident I am when I say it to her but how I have a harder time believing it for myself.

I am creating... my new Simple Living Visual Journal. I teased about it yesterday. You can go here to see where I got my inspiration.

I am going... to get my nails done today (I'm overdue) and maybe take a little nap in the rain later!

I am reading... the book Kyndal bought me for my birthday, but I can't remember the title. It's by Debbie Macomber. Since it will likely take me a couple of months to finish it, I'll get you the title next week.

I am hoping... for a quick sale of our house so that our plans can get into high gear!

On my mind... is changing our lifestyle .. so exciting!

From the learning rooms... report cards come out for Eli and Brynne on Friday. Kyndal and Dawson have started the second quarter of their first semester.

Pondering these words... "The important thing is to listen to your life and hear the ways in which your moments desire to naturally discover themselves with a pen." ~ Ann Voscamp

From the kitchen... I stored 3, 16 ounce baggies of fresh pumpkin and then roasted pumpkin seeds with Alicia's recipe that you can find here. Thanks, friend ... Yum!

Around the house... it is soggy!

One of my favorite things... is feeling good all over ~ mind, body and soul!

A few plans for the rest of the week... Today I'm going to take a little afternoon time for myself. On Thursday I am going with Eli's class to the pumpkin patch and then going to the school to make copies for his teacher. On Friday Kyndal and I are going to see "So You Think You Can Dance" live! I can't wait!! Brynne has a soccer game on Saturday, and then I'm taking Dawson and his friends for pizza and to the skateboard park for his belated birthday party. Then it's Halloween and time for trick or treating! On Sunday I'll be taking all of the good candy (mostly chocolate) out of all of the kids' candy bags.

From my picture journal.

The view yesterday from my back porch swing.

Get to know other special women at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Red Ribbons, Patches and a Mystery

There will be multiple posts every day this week. It's one of those kinds of weeks where so much is going on! There are class trips, dress up days at school, my regular daily posts and the extra ramblings of my mind (lucky you).

This is Red Ribbon week at our schools, our drug awareness week. Each day the kids are encouraged to dress up in a theme to remind them of a fight against drugs. (Kind of heavy stuff for little guys, but the dress up days are fun anyway.) Today's dress up day was crazy/mismatched socks symbolizing "Sock it to drugs." Brynne was easy. She was going to the pumpkin patch with her class today, so I just bought her two different pair of Halloween socks and she wore one on each foot. Then I just dressed her to match in a Halloween shirt, skirt, tights, boots and barrettes. But, what do you put on a little boy? It's not as though Eli has funky socks! He's kind of a whitey-tighty with plain white ankle socks type of kid. I found him some Air Walk long basketball knee socks, with different colored stripes across the top. He wore them with basketball shorts and and a zip up hoodie. He wasn't real excited, but wore it anyway.

Then Brynne's class went to the pumpkin patch here in town. They went on a hayride, took pictures, picked out a small pumpkin, had a snack, heard stories, did a craft, played a game and ran through a couple of mazes. But, the highlight was riding the school bus! I could have taken her home with me after the pumpkin patch, but she wanted to ride the bus back to school and have me pick her up there.

I bought a couple of pumpkins for Kyndal and Dawson to carve (because they have complained every year that I never let them carve our pumpkins!) After belly-aching about how much work it was to clean them out and carve them (teenagers .. humph!), they finally finished them. We don't carve pumpkins very often, huh?

Brynne drew a pumpkin patch with sidewalk chalk.

Eli played video games in the house and finished off Sunday's donuts.

And finally ... I bought this today.

"What is it", you ask? Well, you'll have to wait to find out! This was just a little teaser to keep you coming back for more!!

Less, Not More

Several years ago I attended a small town church. I am not 100% sure of the denomination .. I think it was a United Church of Christ. The pastor was the former school football coach who went to seminary at the prompting of the church members. On Sunday mornings he would say, from the pulpit, "Jim, the Chiefs are on at noon. At 11:15, stop me." And Jim would. Because we needed lunch before we watched the game. I don't remember there being very many programs at the church. In fact, there wasn't even a Sunday morning nursery. All children went to service with their parents. The ones with small children sat in the back section with tote bags full of things to keep them busy. The worship music consisted of hymns sung, accompanied by a piano. There weren't any rituals. The sermons weren't heavy-hitting. Instead, I remember them being very uplifting and spurring me to want to do things for other people. The main emphasis of the church was to worship God and love the people. Nothing more, nothing less.

I miss that.

Yesterday Rick took the kids to church and I stayed home. I just can't go. I just can't. I needed some time alone and he recognized that. Besides, the little guys love to go to church.

But I thought about lots of things while they were gone. For the better part of 10 years or more, I have felt inferior in the body of Christ. I feel like I have been in a whirlwind of being told how much more I need to be doing! It's never enough! I need to serve more, give more, attend more, evangelize more, fellowship more, pray more, read the Bible more, do more Bible studies. I don't have any more.

And it's not that I don't believe we should do these things. I just believe that we should do them out of an extension of love, not guilt and/or condemnation. I've walked around for many, many years feeling guilty and inferior! And I just can't believe that the God I serve wants His people, His church, to do it all out of guilt and condemnation. I know He wants us to do all we do out of love, not out of a sermon.

When I feel inferior, I retreat. I completely distance myself from anybody or anything that, intentionally or not, imposes its superiority over me. Instead of feeling challenged, I feel defeated.

I seek the simplicity of the church I once so joyfully attended. I pray that it's out there for me.

You will start to see a thread in my posts. If you want to know what it is that I want ... I want a simple life. I want less, not more. I want it to be enough to just love God and His people. The thought of that life provides me with such peace.

Menu Plan Monday

Last week's Aldi-only menu was pretty darned good! The only thumbs down I got was to the Doritos casserole. Seriously, how can you go wrong with a casserole centered around Doritos and cheese? The kids just didn't like it. Otherwise, though, it was a successful week.

Here's this week's Aldi-only menu:

Monday ~ Homemade mac and cheese and Homemade applesauce (save the peels for apple muffins for a snack later in the week!)

Tuesday ~ Creamy chicken burritos (using left-over chicken from Sunday's Roasted chicken)

Wednesday ~ FFY

Thursday ~ Homemade cheese pizza and Homemade mushroom and onion pizza

Friday ~ Sandwiches and chips

Saturday ~ Chicken and noodles (using the rest of the left-over chicken from Sunday's Roasted chicken)

Sunday ~ Pancakes and turkey bacon

Have a yummy week and head over to The OrgJunkie for more menu ideas!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Christmas Cards on a Budget

Things are going to be a little tight around here for Christmas this year. We are paring down our gift giving, not buying any new Christmas decorations, etc.

If you're like me, I like to send and receive Christmas cards! But they can be so expensive, if you want them personalized. Personalized photo cards can cost between 33 cents (from sites like and the upwards of $1.25 if you order them from custom sites.

The past couple of years I have ordered our Christmas cards from Vistaprint. By watching specials I have been able to get 100 quality personalized cards with envelopes for about $35.00. (100? Yes, I told you I like to send Christmas cards. I don't actually mail that many though. Of course I mail out-of-town cards. But, I also utilize church "mailbox" options and donate money to missions instead.)

This year, though, I have been playing with I have figured out how to make birthday party invitations and other cards with it. And then it occurred to me ... I can make our own personalized Christmas cards on that site and have them printed for about 10 cents each!

How do I accomplish that? By designing my own page, save it on my computer as a .jpeg, download it for printing at when they are having a 10 cent special for 4x6 prints, and mail!

So, that's what I did this year. I just picked them up and they look great! Of course I can't show you the final product just yet. But, here are a couple of other things I have done recently:

I am currently designing birthday party invitations for Kyndal's "Friday the 13th" birthday party and Eli's "Mario Brothers" birthday party. I'll post those when they are done.

So, give it a try this year and save yourself some extra bucks.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

We Will, We Will, Walk You!!

The theme for my kiddos' walk-a-thon this year was SC Rocks! It had a double meaning. The school has a nature theme and we just think it rocks, like a rockstar!

I don't know if your school does this for a fundraiser, but it's such a hit here in our city.

The kids take donations, either per lap or lump sum (our school chose lump sum this year). Then they have a day where they walk for two hours outside, listening to LOUD music, eating pop ices and competing to see who can walk the most laps, both individually and as a class. The kids really love it! And there are great prizes donated by local businesses for the different competitions. Our local bank even throws in $500 to use toward prizes and donates t-shirts for all the kids and teachers. We look forward to the fun every year!

Yesterday, however, it was 51 degrees with a strong north wind. Brrrrr!!!!!

I headed up to the school with gloves, hats and travel cups of hot chocolate for Eli and Brynne. I was dreading it a little. And I knew they were not going to be crazy about the cold, windy weather conditions.

When I walked into the school to get my visitor's sticker, hallelujah!, they were walking inside the school!

We are so blessed to have this nice new school with wide halls. And, since only half of the kids walk at a time, the kids not walking were still able to concentrate on school work in their pods with the doors closed. That way the music could still blare! Our school is so cool!

The kids had such a fun time! And I had a fun time! We walked for two hours straight, with a couple of pop ice and water breaks.

It was so cute to listen to the kids singing, "We will, we will, rock you!" at the top of their lungs while walking. They held hands with their friends, and smiled and just had a blast!

Our school's goal was to raise $25,000. I know you're thinking, what?? But, you know what? That's completely doable in a school of 600 kids. If each student raised about $85, they'd reach their goal. Friends and and family are so much more willing to give cash donations to a cause than to buy all that junk schools sell, where the school only gets about 5% of the sales. I highly recommend you make a walk-a-thon suggestion to your school's PTO, if they don't already do one. If you'd like more specific information, let me know.

Yes, SC Rocks!