Saturday, March 29, 2008


A little Jack Johnson playlist for you all today, reflecting my lazy day mood.

Not that there's an absence of stuff to do. It's just that nothing is grabbing me as especially urgent. I've looked at my remaining items on the To Do list that I started two days ago and none of them seem like they need to be done right now.

The kids are on spring break for the next week. I am looking forward to sleeping in every day.

Just in case you wanted to know, my butt muscles are mighty sore today, thanks to doing a Leslie Sansone walking video for the last two days. I have heard about these for awhile and finally decided to give one a try. It's really fun, easy to follow, etc. Between getting off my keister and watching what I'm eating, I've lost about 5 pounds in the last 2 weeks. Yay! I'm going to get some more of her stuff on Netflix and try to keep it going. She has a ton of videos, with workouts ranging from 1 to 5 miles. I don't really enjoy exercise, but have been hoping I could find something that I could like enough to look forward to getting it done. For this week, at least, this is the thing.

On today's Wish List of things to get done:

do the walking video at least once (did it!)

juice a bunch of the organic spinach and lettuces and make into a smoothie with banana, apple, and strawberries (did this too)

do some reading just for fun (if I can remember how) (yep)

take a shower (yep)

take a nap (doesn't look like it's happening)

Do you think I can manage that? I sure do need a low-key day and am looking forward to this. bye!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kroger Fun!

I sometimes see other bloggers talk about the amazing deals they get while shopping, usually using lots of coupons and a serious strategy while shopping at CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, and other places.

Well, I hate to shop and don't live close to many stores. When I do my "big shopping" which is usually for two weeks, I go to Walmart where I can get everything and the prices are low.

Yesterday, however, I had several errands to do and then had to stop by the store to get at least some essentials to get us through the rest of the week. I was near a Kroger and would have had to go several miles out of my way and farther from home in order to go to Walmart. So, Kroger it was.

I figured that I could get the essentials and avoid buying the stuff that is much more expensive than I usually pay for it at WM. Basically, sacrificing price for convenience and speed.

Well, was I in for a surprise!

In the produce department I wanted to get some salad stuff. I really wanted organic spinach and lettuce, but was not too excited about the price. Then I found big one pound containers of each (and organic!) that were marked down to $3.99 because they were close to the expiration date. They looked like they were still in good condition, so I bought those. Then I found broccoli slaw marked down to 99 cents. And cherry tomatoes marked down to $1.29. And celery. And a bunch of other stuff. Yes, I'll be eating a lot of salad in the next few days, but my weight loss efforts can use that motivation. (hey--I've lost three pounds recently!)

When I walked past the organic dairy I wondered how much the gallons of Horizon milk would be. My friend Sooz told me that she pays over $6 for this in the Cinci area. Well, the regular price here was $5.49 or something like that, but two gallons were marked down to $2.49--and you can't even get regular milk for that price any more! I got both gallons, planning to freeze the extra.

I used to only buy dry milk and use it in baking and cooking, because we haven't really been milk drinkers for over 9 years now. But recently the price of the dry milk jumped up to double what I had been paying, so I decided to see how it works for me to get regular milk again. So far, so good!

I found bags of marked down grapes for only 68 cents a pound. My kids eat grapes so fast that I figured that even if they were getting close to the end of their best-used-by stage, they would be ok. I was right. One bag was for a snack yesterday, and one is for today. There were probably less than 5 grapes total that were yukky and got thrown away.

Cheese was also on a good sale, so I took advantage of that as well.

I found organic yogurt marked down to cheaper than regular too.

Overall, I was very excited about my bargain finds, and am thinking that I will need to at least cruise the produce and dairy areas of Kroger whenever I get a chance. For the size of my family and the speed that we can eat stuff, there is a whole lot of stuff that we could enjoy buying at the marked down level.

On the way home I called my mom and told her about my bargain finds. We talked about how funny it is to get to the stage of life where good prices on milk and salad makes your day. :) It's some kind of glamorous, the life I live. Yessirree......

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dinner Plans

Too often lately I've not had a real dinner plan. Around 4 or 5 o'clock I start thinking that I better come up with something to feed these people....

Well, today I took a few minutes and put a simple soup into the crock pot that my kids love. Here's the recipe:

Crockpot Potato and Corn Chowder

6 potatoes-cubed
1 can of corn undrained, or the equivalent in frozen corn plus a little water
1 can creamed corn
1.5 cups milk
1 medium onion, chopped
some chopped up cooked ham or bacon (maybe a cup or two of this)
half teaspoon worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Throw it all in the crock pot and cook on low 6-8 hours.

My husband says this doesn't have enough flavor if you leave out the ham or bacon, but my kids like it either way. And THAT, my friends, is golden.

New Blog You Should Check Out

I can remember being maybe 10 years old when I got to read something that my mom had written. I guess it was a creative writing piece. At that point in my life I had no idea that my mom had other talents and abilities outside homemaking and mothering type things, and I remember being quite impressed at what a good writer she was. It gave me hope that maybe I could be a good writer someday too. :)

Well I am happy to say that my mom is now blogging. Her new blog, Ma Is Losing It, is her spot to talk about the journey that she is on with her own mother having Alzheimer's. I was just reading her first two posts and was reminded of my childhood appreciation of my mom's writing skills. She's still got it!

Alzheimer's may be one of the cruelest diseases. I remember years ago I used to give a ride to an elderly lady in my town every now and then. Her husband had died after a long illness with Alzheimer's. Her comment on the illness was "Some things are much worse than death."

My mom and grandmother are way down in North Carolina and I'm in central KY, so I don't get to witness much of the progression of the disease. However, the other day my grandmother sent a birthday card to my youngest son. It included a check, since she had traditionally sent money for all gift giving occasions. I've been shredding her checks for awhile now, because her financial situation is pretty terrible now that she requires special care all the time. But, she likes to send gifts, so she does, and we thank her, and never spend the money.

Well, I was about to take the check to the shredder when I took a look at it. She had gotten my name right, and her signature. The rest.....was a mess. The date was for May, with no year. In the $_____ space she wrote my town name. In the space where you are supposed to write out the amount of the check, she wrote my son's name, and part of our address, plus some other stuff I couldn't make out. My mom told me that it took Gram over an hour to write out that check.

Physical evidence like that really hits me differently. She's really struggling to hold on to the bits and pieces of information that make up a person's ability to "do life." It's a hard thing to see. And I know it's a huge, painful, difficult thing for my mom to live with every day. The pressure that caregivers are under is enormous.

Go visit my mom's blog, and spread the word if you can. She's a mighty funny woman once she gets going, and laughter sure does make the craziness of Alzheimer's a little easier to deal with.

Just 15 minutes

Flylady is all into the 15 minute thing. You know--spend just 15 minutes picking up an area or your room or whatever. Well, my bedroom has turned into a cyclone recently, so this morning I decided to spend *just 15 minutes* on it.! I'm always amazed at how much can be done in that amount of time. No, the room isn't perfect yet, but it looks a whole lot better than it did. And if I can manage to do 15 minutes on it two more times, I bet the whole thing will look perfect.

Here's a challenge for today: Pick the part of your home that is bothering you the most because of the mess or need for attention. Take 15 minutes and see what you can accomplish. I bet you'll be surprised!

Friday, March 21, 2008


Just got home from visiting my kindergartener and first grader during their Easter parties at school. I am always horrified at the amount of sugary junk that is given to the children during these parties. Unlike the first grade teacher that had a very sensible party that included vanilla ice cream and a few topping choices, the kindy class had frosted cupcakes (both large and mini sized), frosted cookies, peeps in various colors, SODA, doritos, cheese puffs, plus a ton of candy. Thanks to one generous and misled father, my kindergartener came home with ---no joke-- about 4 pounds of candy. This man and his wife and their little kindergarten-aged daughter are all obese. Apparently he doesn't know that candy might just help create that problem. yikes.

In fun stuff, I got to teach my daughter how to shave her legs today! Growing up around here, I tell ya.

And, the same daughter also won a local art contest, so she now has an entire basket filled with seasonal goodies as well. Thankfully, it's not all candy.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

We have a winner!

Tammy is the winner of the $20 gift certificate from the Ultimate Blog Party. Thanks to all of you that stopped by and joined in the fun. :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Homeschool Resource: Scott Foresman Grammar and Writing

Hey folks!

I found out about this nice resource online that is FREE! It's the Scott Foresman Grammar and Writing Workbooks for grades 1-6. Check it out here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Moments in Parenting When I Should Not Laugh, But Want To

Email send home from school today:

From: Gym Teacher
To: My 1st grade son's teacher
Subject: Gym

"Izzy Man wasn't listening so I sat him out intending for him to only sit out for a few minutes. He kept talking to people as he was sitting out and I told him not to speak and he stuck his tongue out at me so he sat out the whole gym time."

5 Years Ago Today

I woke up and hauled my largely pregnant self out of bed around 5am. Time to go to the bathroom....again!

I stood up and....sploosh! I felt a warm, wet sensation traveling down my legs.

Oh my goodness! My water broke! (I had never had my water break before being in active labor before.)

I high-tailed it into the bathroom, closed the door, and turned on the light. And then I looked down and saw that I was wrong. My water hadn't broken. I was bleeding. All over the place.

You know how disorienting things can be when you first wake up? That was me. Standing there looking at my bloody footprints that lead into the room, and the bloody puddle I was standing in, I was scared to death and just kind of frozen for a minute saying ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmyGOSH ohmygosh and then the crying started, while I decided to try to get cleaned up for a second.

Things started moving pretty fast at that point. I woke up my husband. (hissing into the darkness of our bedroom: "Dave. Wake UP. NOW." The tone was enough to tell him that NOW it had to be.

I knew we were headed to the hospital, no doubt. I called my midwife to tell her what was happening. I called my best friend to ask her to pray. (I didn't call my mom. Sorry, Mom! I thought it would be better to tell her what was happening when we had more answers than questions.) We called an ambulance because we had 5 children ages 10 and under in the house, and didn't know who we could get at 5am to come help us. (We have no family members in our area)

The scariest part of this whole thing was that my usually extremely active baby was not making a move. As I sat in a chair waiting for the ambulance, I gently prodded my belly, hoping to get some sort of reassuring poke or kick back. I got nothing. I didn't verbalize my fear because I knew I would start crying. So I just prayed, both asking God to save my baby, and asking for whatever kind of hope it is that mothers get when their babies are born dead. I had no idea what the ultimate result of that day would be, but I knew there was no getting around facing it.

Thankfully, the hospital we were headed to is only about 7 minutes away. Our kind family doctor who is also an OB was there. He's the kind of doctor that loves to help families and deliver babies, and isn't against home births. (which is what we had been planning) The best news he had for me was a quick ultrasound which showed my little buddy alive and well inside of me. After that, all the other decisions seemed less difficult.

(Somewhere during this time my husband arrived. Before I left in the ambulance I had suggested that he check and see if our neighbor was awake and willing to come help us. He walked across the street and saw their kitchen light on. Our neighbor and his teenage daughter that often babysat for us came to our rescue, while my best friend was packing up her own four kids to drive three hours to help us as well.)

We couldn't figure out why I was bleeding, but it wasn't stopping. He offered me a couple of options. I wasn't very dilated, but I could continue to labor while they monitored the bleeding, the baby, and me, and see if we could end up with a regular birth. Or, we could do a c-section while things were stable and there wasn't any big dramatic rush for it.

Considering how miserable it already was to try to labor in that bed all hooked up to stuff, I didn't think labor was going to be very quick. And knowing that at any minute during the misery of labor all hell might break loose and I would have to be rushed into the OR, and then who knows what kind of outcome we would have, we picked the c-section. I had already experienced a placental abruption with my 4th child and knew what the risks were of bleeding to death for both myself and the baby. We weren't interested in playing with fire for this birth. Yes, a c-section has a lot of risks. But, when a pregnant woman is bleeding like crazy and you can't figure out why, it's not exactly a scenario where you think that you're going to roll the dice and see if you can pretend that a normal, healthy birth is the likely outcome.

Because of the bleeding it was considered too risky for me to merely have an epidural for the surgery. I had to have general anesthesia. Thankfully, we negotiated for my husband to be in the OR with me.

Being put under was horrible. The stuff they pump through the gas mask made me feel like I couldn't breathe, and I was terrified.

During the operation I was having a dream. I was a water bed, and all of my kids were jumping on my stomach. I was telling them to stop and to be careful of the baby, but they kept going.

Outside of my subconscious, in the real world, my belly was a water bed, and two doctors pushed, pulled, and went all out trying to extract my big 10 pound 5 ounce baby from a 7 inch slit in my skin.

When I woke up in a grog my husband was standing where I could see him, with a chubby baby all wrapped up in a blanket. Here's our little boy! I held our little sweetie for a few seconds before slipping back out of consciousness. Good thing hubby was spotting me.

I don't know how many hours I was asleep before I was able to rejoin the world. I guess our new son and his daddy had some good bonding time without me. :)

While I was sleeping, my husband had done all the phone calls, letting everyone know that our son Levi had been born. All I had to do once I woke up was deal with the pain, and enjoy this plump bundle of love. :)

That night, as I held my baby in bed and just drank in his sweetness, it hit me that there had been a mix up about his name. Although we had Levi at the top of our list for boy names, we had also started to like the name Aidan. Up until this point we had four boys and one girl, and people seemed especially focused on us "getting another girl." When we were hunting for a middle name we came across Aidan, which means "warmth of the home" and we just loved that. We started considering using Aidan for the baby's name instead of Levi, but so far had just kind of left it that if we had a boy, we'd get to know him a little bit and see which name seemed to be a fit for him.

After the experiences we had had that day. After the scare of not knowing if I was even going to end up with a baby in my arms. After the unpleasantries of a surgical birth. It suddenly seemed fitting to me that our little boy have a name that conveyed our wholehearted welcome of him into our family, and the idea that he was very special to us---not "just another boy."

So the next day when my husband came in I mentioned this to him. I wasn't sure if he had started telling everyone that the baby's name was Levi because he really felt like it was a fit, or just by accident. He told me that in all of the stress and craziness of the day he had completely forgotten that we had considered another name. He agreed with me that Aidan was the right name for our little boy, so then we got to tell everybody about the change (including siblings, grandparents, coworkers, and everyone else). :)

Here is my favorite baby picture of him

and this photo from when he was three totally captures one of his most common facial expressions of age three. What. A. Hoot!

Now I am going to go make the Pioneer Woman's Best Sheet Cake Ever so that I can take it in to Aidan's class this morning for a little birthday party! :)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Oh, Happy Day!

I tackled the BIGGEE from my Plagues and Nuisances list!

What was it?


With my business growing about a zillion percent over the previous year, I was dreading trying to figure out all the tax information this year. Unlike many organized business people, I do not have Quickbooks or any other wonderful system for keeping track of all of my money. Instead, I have email files, and a large pile of receipts and printouts to sift through. It took me most of yesterday, and probably an hour and a half tonite, but now I am DONE! FREE! Oh glory, glory! I am so glad to have that behind me.

Now we will be able to get all of that turned into the accountant later this week, and hopefully then spend the next 3 weeks or so looking forward to a fat refund. (I hope, at least)

(Yes. Did you catch that? All of my hours and hours of misery and dread were only to get the numbers ready to go to the accountant. I wasn't even actually doing the tax paperwork myself. Lovely, eh?)

Next up on the P&N list:

-Hire a bookkeeper ASAP so that I don't have to go through this next year.

-Come up with a better plan for shopping and meals. I've totally fallen off the edge of the earth and things are not functioning very well in this area recently.

-Improve the current chore system here. A lot of stuff is falling through the cracks around here, and with six able-bodied children in the family, it really shouldn't be that way. The three older kids have regular jobs, but the three younger ones were never really assigned jobs, and they should have some. They do help, and have learned how to do a lot of things. I just haven't taken the time to really teach them how to do regular jobs, or enforce any of it. My hope is to get it all planned out in time for June when they will be out of school.

Current Pats on the Back that I'm giving myself:

-Despite my fears, I have really been enjoying homeschooling this year, and I am not stinking at it. We have had some challenges, but overall I am seeing many good things and feel like I've been able to make some really positive progress toward getting back to some of the things that I really wanted to be able to do with and for my children but wasn't able to for awhile. I am looking forward to our continuing adventures in homeschooling. :)

-Business is good and growing, and this is exciting.

That's all for tonite. I'm wiped. And morning will be comin' 'round an hour early... ugh.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Birthday Gift Crisis

Would you believe that my BABY is turning 5 in a few days?! Yeah, me neither. After all the years I spent with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers running around here, it's a whole 'nuther ballgame in this house when the baby is about to be kindergarten age.

Well, we have this little problem. Thanks to the fact that my kids don't watch TV or commercials, and we don't go to the mall or whatever, the child doesn't know what he wants for his birthday.

His only suggestion was a red power ranger. So, yes, I'll get him one. I had offered that to one of the grandparents that was asking for suggestions, but just found out that they decided not to buy that. So now I'll have to scramble around trying to get my hands on one of those by Wednesday.

But, really, I would like to get him something nice. And not just one power ranger. But I really have, like, no idea. And because I've been in the midst of this, that, and the other thing, now I'm too close to the birthday to order things online. So, Monday will find me trudging to the Big City in search of gifts for my favorite soon-to-be-five year old.

Any ideas of fabulous gifts for little boys that are five? Save me!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Got a Bargain!

This evening I went out to the store and stopped by Dollar General. They had a big box of knit winter hats and gloves marked down to 70% off! So I ended up buying a whole bunch of 30-cent hats and gloves to have on hand, since my kids are constantly unable to find their stuff. This should help us make it through the big snow we're supposed to get here in KY this weekend...and maybe we'll even have some of this stuff left for next winter!

If you have a Dollar General in your area you might want to check it out. I am always amazed when items that are still in-season are marked down for clearance, but it seems to happen a lot.

Ultimate Blog Party!

Ultimate Blog Party 2008
It's time for another blog party! Welcome to the fun!
I've been blogging here for years, and basically use this spot as my place for random ramblings about life as a mom to six kids, entrepreneur, books, movies, and whatever else pops into my head. :)

I'm going to give one lucky winner a $20 gift certificate to one of my businesses (see the sidebar for my other blogs and business sites). (The winner will get to choose which one.) All you have to do to to enter is just leave a comment here telling me which business you would like to use your gift certificate for!

I am also hosting a great sale on my two healthy eating books right now, with 50% of the proceeds going to Zoe Children's Homes, which is an organization that rescues children from the evils of human trafficking. You can read more about this here.

Enjoy the party!!

"I Knew It Was Coming!!!!!"

*famous quote uttered by my son, 25 minutes ago as he was hanging his head over the toilet bowl...

You know that blogging is a real lifeline for you when you've been awakened from your slumber by the sounds of splashing and splatting noises and calls from your child, only to discover the most nose-hair-burning-vomit spewing forth from your child onto the bathroom floor.....and between your gagging, and sticking your head outside the bathroom door to get somewhat-fresh gasps of air while cleaning it up, you're figuring that now that you're up you might as well turn the computer back on and blog about this magic moment.

(Now that you've listened, feel free to head back to bed. Personally, I'm feeling very, very queasy. I took one of my magic Ultra Immune pills and am hoping that nobody else here will try to top their brother's amazingly-ferocious-smelling-vomit-spewing tonite. Most especially I do not want it to be me....)

~Dollymama, 12:55am

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Book Group 2008

Yesterday I met with my book group and we planned out our schedule for the rest of the year. For the rest of you voracious readers out there, here's the list. Want to read along with me? We discuss each month's book on the first Wednesday.

April: Raney and Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton
May: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian (the two stories are related, so we are reading both so that the second book makes more sense to us)
June: Daddy's Girl by Lisa Scottoline
July: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
August: God's Politics by Jim Wallis
September: Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza
October: Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen
November: The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
December: Body Surfing by Anita Shreve

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Timely Words from Searching For God Knows What

I've been slowly working my way through Donald Miller's book Searching for God Knows What. He has so many good things to say.

In the midst of all the political stuff going on right now, I wanted to highlight a few things he says in the book:

"In my opinion,
if you hate somebody because they are different from you,
you'd best get on your knees and repent
until you can say you love them,
until you have gotten your soul right with Christ.

I can't say this clearly enough:
if we are preaching morality without Christ,
and using war rhetoric to communicate a battle mentality,
we are fighting on Satan's side.
This battle we are in is a battle against the principalities of darkness,
not against people who are different from us.
In war you shoot the enemy, not the hostage."

"The reason I bring this up is to plead with evangelicals
to return to the sort of call Christ has given us,
to obey Him
and experience intimacy with Him
through sharing our faith,
loving our enemies,
serving and feeding the poor and hungry directly,
and to stop showing off about how moral we are
and how that makes us better than other people.
I assure you, once we leave the fight over our country's future
and enter the spiritual battle for the hearts and souls of the lost,
the church will flourish,
and the kingdom of God will grow.
God is not in the business of brokering for power over a nation;
He is in the business of loving the unloved
and pulling sheep out of crags and bushes."

Free Homeschooling Ebook

I've never been able to slog my way through any books by Charlotte Mason, but every time I hear some snippet of information about her educational philosophy, I see that my ideas dovetail nicely with hers. I was excited today to get a link to this free ebook, Education Is An Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life. You can follow the link and get one for yourself. Also, lower on that page is a spot to sign up for their Charlotte Mason Education Newsletter. It has been forwarded to me several times, and I usually find the ideas in it really helpful, so I'm looking forward to getting that.

Organizing Book Freebie

Hey all--this week you can get a free ebook called Organizing 101 by going here. I know that a lot of us love organizing projects, or at least we love reading, planning, and making lists about organizing. ;) With this ebook, you won't even have the clutter of a physical book out on your table....

Monday, March 03, 2008

My Weekly Cry

I already cry at least once a week, thanks to watching Extreme Home Makeovers. Now, I've got something new. Oprah's Big Give show just started yesterday, and the first episode had me boo-hooing first thing this morning. (I watch it online)

Honestly, The Big Give seems like a scarier challenge to me than Survivor does. Having to face people with such big needs, and have to figure out how to help meet those needs in such a short period of time would be A LOT of pressure. Still, I love it, and love the idea of another way to inspire people to make a difference in the lives of others. Looks like it will definitely be worth watching.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Here's What's Going On At My House Tonite

That's right, baby. Connect Four. We are having lots of fun. My husband claims to be the King of Connect Four. We shall see.....