Monday, January 28, 2008

Since I've Been Gone....

Gee, that sounds like a Kelly Clarkson song, doesn't it????

ANYWAY, I have lots to tell you all about what has happened since I last posted anything here, but as usual, my list of stuff to get done is longer than the amount of time I have left in this day, so all that news is just going to have to wait...sigh.

Tonight I am going to answer a TAG I received from Do You Weary Like I Do?, a new Bloggy Friend! Here is what she received when she was tagged, and it is pretty much the gist of the tag...

I know that when I find a new blog that I want to visit again, I rarely have enough time to go back and read everything from the beginning (although sometimes I do!). I want to get to know that person, but it's hard to commit to reading all of the posts from the last 2 years!This meme is designed to make some of those old posts readily available to those who may be new to your blog, or even those who are regulars, just not from the start. Anyhoo, here are the rules:

Go back through your archives and post the links to your five favorite blog posts that you’ve written. But there is a catch:
Link 1 must be about family.
Link 2 must be about friends.
Link 3 must be about yourself.
Link 4 must be about something you love.
Link 5 can be anything you choose.

Post your five links and then tag five other people. At least TWO of the people you tag must be newer acquaintances so that you get to know each other better. Readers - don’t forget to read the archive posts and leave comments!

Okay, so here I go!

My favorite post about family is this one where I retell conversations I've had with my #2 son, Jonathan.

I really don't write too many posts about my friends, but I will post the link to this one, because in it, I get to brag on my friend Denise, and tease my other friend, Vanessa.

The post about myself is easy...My Forensic Bracelets is one of my favorite posts EVER because I found the comments to be absolutely hilarious!!!

A post about something I love....hmmm....I love lots of stuff, but in keeping with the idea that this meme is to help people get to know your blog without having to traipse through your archives, I'll post this one because it is a post from another meme where I tell 7 things about myself, AND it has pictures of several of my cakes, including the infamous "Coming Out Party" cake...if you don't know what I mean, you'll just have to go and read about it for yourself! (Jon, you may want to skip that one...or you may just get a kick out of it!)

And finally, a post of my choice...I had a hard time with this one because I had two that I was deciding between. I decided to go with humor rather than sentiment, so I chose this one as my final link.

As far as who I'm tagging for this particular meme...I'm too tired to pick right now, so I'm just going to say that if you haven't done this one yet and want to jump in...Just Do It! But be sure and let me know that you did so I can come by and check it out!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kelli Needs Our Help!

Hello everyone! I had a Wordless Wednesday in mind for today, and then I had a whole other post in my head to write, but this morning, I read that Kelli is moving back onto the kidney transplant list and she needs our help to find a donor.

Operation: Find a Kidney for Kelli

Kelli is one of my very favorite blogging friends, and we share a history of kidney troubles. Unfortunately, Kelli is on daily dialysis and is in need of a kidney transplant. She'd really like to have a living donor, and although she never thought she'd do it (and really didn't want to), she has come to us for help in finding one. I know that she was hoping to just live with the dialysis until a kidney became available, and she was willing to just wait her turn. Since she has come forward asking for help in finding a donor, I know that this means the dialysis is no longer working well enough, and things are probably getting a bit scary for her and her family. All that to say, we are trying to get the word out to find a living kidney donor for our sweet friend, Kelli! She needs someone with a blood type of "A" or "O". I'm an "O", but since I have kidney disease myself, I'm not an option. Her amazing husband isn't a match, and her children are too young to be donors. She has no other family options, so it is up to a stranger to help her.

So, if you have a blog, please go here and grab the button, and post it on your blog. We're hoping that someone will see this and be able to donate a kidney for Kelli. And when you're all done with that, head on over to Living In Grace and get to know Kelli for yourself if you don't already. She is an amazing woman and so FUNNY! Trust me, you will not be sorry. And if you have time to hunt through her archives, look for the story about being stopped by security in the's a classic!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What a Fabulous Day....

Ben and the top three kids are all out at the deer lease this weekend, so the little man and I have been home...alone...for two whole days! We've been potty training like nobody's business, and although I'm totally afraid to jinx it, WE'VE MADE PROGRESS PEOPLE!!! We've actually used the potty, FOUR WHOLE TIMES, and that last time, HE ACTUALLY ASKED TO GO!!! And his pants were dry, and he sat down and went. There was no 20 minute session of reading books and singing songs and endless bribing. He just sat down and went. (Cue the Hallelujah Chorus) Obviously, we are far from trained, but this is the first positive progress we've made in the past year! We even skipped out on church today, because I didn't want to interupt the progress by putting him in a pull-up and sending him to be completely distracted for two hours. I'm sure God understands...

Any way, having a quiet weekend with just my little snuggle-bug, and having some potty victories are only the beginning of this fabulous day. I could have made myself a giant "To Do List" and worked like a slave to get it all done while I have all this time, but I didn't. The new school/allowance schedule has been working really well, so except for the bedrooms (which are going to require more than two weeks to get into shape) the house has been clean and tidy, so I decided to just hang out in the clean areas and enjoy playing with the boy, catching up on some blog-reading, and just read a I finished "Doesn't She Look Natural?" by Angela Hunt this afternoon. I enjoyed it, and am looking forward to the sequel that will be coming out this summer.

It was a really different kind of book for me, and it's tough to know whether to recommend it or not, because it's hard to know what other people will like. I, did enjoy reading it, although the characters made me want to smack them on occasion. It is the first in a trilogy about a recently divorced mother of two who inherits an old funeral home in Florida. Now seriously, doesn't that peek your curiosity just a bit? Yeah, me too. I put it on my Christmas list, and my niece bought it for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed lounging around and reading it today!

And if having the house almost to myself, celebrating potty-training victories and finishing a good book, weren't enough...IT'S THE NFL PLAYOFFS!!! I just finished watching the Patriots take out the Chargers...I was really rooting for the Chargers mainly because my 3rd all-time favorite former Longhorn, Quentin Jammer, plays for them. Quentin had a good game, but alas those Patriots are just tough to beat. I am now watching the Packers/Giants game, and although I am cheering for the Packers because I heart Brett Favre and this could very well be his last chance to win the Super Bowl, I have always liked Eli Manning and would be thrilled to see him in the Super Bowl after all the flack he gets. It's tough to be the younger brother of Peyton Manning (whom I also heart greatly) and I want to see good things happen for Eli.

So, that is where I will leave you this evening...with my feet up, my coffee cup full (because it's 48 degrees here, and just watching these guys play in the freezing cold is making me even colder), watching Brett and Eli fight it out, and still catching up on my blog-reading on the commercials...pretty close to a perfect day for me...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

How Do They Do That???

I saw this at Barb's and was so intrigued by how they totally nailed her, that I had to try it. Check it out...

What Melody Means

You are confident, self assured, and capable. You are not easily intimidated.
You master any and all skills easily. You don't have to work hard for what you want.
You make your life out to be exactly how you want it. And you'll knock down anyone who gets in your way!

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.
You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.
At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.
You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.
Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

You are well rounded, with a complete perspective on life.
You are solid and dependable. You are loyal, and people can count on you.
At times, you can be a bit too serious. You tend to put too much pressure on yourself.

You are balanced, orderly, and organized. You like your ducks in a row.
You are powerful and competent, especially in the workplace.
People can see you as stubborn and headstrong. You definitely have a dominant personality.

You are a free spirit, and you resent anyone who tries to fence you in.
You are unpredictable, adventurous, and always a little surprising.
You may miss out by not settling down, but you're too busy having fun to care.

Now seriously, aside from the "unpredictable, not settling down, and too busy having fun" parts, this is pretty much me. How in the world could they figure out that I have sometimes been labeled "scatterbrained" or "flaky", but also responsible and dependable...often by the very same people???

So, I'm a little freaked out now...I'm going to go make some of these amazing cinnamon rolls, go run 15 miles to work them off, and catch up on all my favorite blogs that I have been neglecting lately! And if you try that name thing, leave me a comment so I can go and check it out!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Sometimes I feel bad that my almost 7 year old daughter has to share her room and her bed with her 2 year old brother...

...and sometimes, I don't.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Still Trying to Catch Up!

I have a pot of pasta boiling on the stove, and it's got about 4 more minutes, so I thought I'd sit down really quick and share with you what I did yesterday...besides my doctor visit.

I was going through some things in the pantry and discovered that I had a 5 pound bag of potatoes that needed to be! So, I peeled and cut up the entire bag and proceeded to make a small batch of potato salad, a small batch of mashed potatoes, and a large batch of lefse! (That sound you just heard was all of the misplaced Norwegians in the tri-county area, dropping what they were doing and trying to figure out how to find me and get some of that lefse! Or maybe it was just my mom and my sister...) Either way, lefse is rare down here and we usually only get some when my parents go for a visit up to Minnesota and bring it back with them. However, I had all of those potatoes...and someone from my husband's work gave us a Panini maker for Christmas, and it just occurred to me that perhaps it would make good lefse. Guess what? It does!!! Yum.Yum.Yum. (For all of you non-Norwegians out there, the easiest way I can describe lefse to you would be to say that it is like a thin tortilla but it's made with potatoes and you spread butter on it and sprinkle some sugar over the butter, roll it up and taste a little bit of heaven...we've also used cinnamon sugar when we eat it with our breakfast!)

Any way, aside from teaching the kids school and going to the doctor, that's about all I did yesterday. I did want to share with you one trick though that I learned from my sister-in-law, Grit, that is fabulous!
When you are boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes or potato salad, throw some onions in the water with the potatoes. Grit uses white onions and dices them tiny and they just melt into the potatoes when she mashes them. I, prefer purple onions but don't want little purple skins in my mashed potatoes, so I leave the onions in big chunks and remove them before I mash the potatoes. This way, your potatoes soak in all that yummy onion flavor and it really makes those mashed potatoes extra yummy! Thanks Grit!

Monday, January 14, 2008

An Update to Ease Your Little Minds....

....after my last post, I'm sure there are those of you out there who are terribly concerned about my allergies and my itchy, no eyeliner or mascara eyeballs....I know that because my mom reads this blog, and a mom will always be concerned. Especially if she's afraid you might call and ask her to keep four children while you sit at home and scratch your itchy eyeballs!

You will all be happy to know that after I woke up this morning and scraped the crust off of my eyeballs, I called my doctor and made an appointment! The fact that I haven't been there since 2003 had them all in a tither. The nurse seemed quite concerned that I had been neglecting my health. After I explained to her that I see a kidney specialist every six months and my once a year, and that I really only come to see my family practitioner when I'm actually sick, she just stared at me. I told her, I don't get regular sick very often, I prefer to stick to the chronic diseases myself. In fact the last time I was there was for a knee injury. I can't remember the last time I was actually sick. I just don't have time for colds and such...I'm too busy with the life-threatening, must have surgery, type of illnesses....

ANYWAY, Mr. Doctor-Man told me he could prescribe some allergy meds, nose-spray, and eye-drops that would make me feel better in a few days...OR....he could just give me a cortizone shot that should get me through the rest of the allergy season and would help me feel better like, TOMORROW...hmmm, decisions, decisions. I told him I'd do whichever he thought was best. He looked me in the eye and apparently agreed with me that eyeliner and mascara are NOT OPTIONAL, and gave me the shot. He was going to give me a sample of some eyedrops that he said would be very soothing, but they had given them all out already...sigh. So I headed on out to do my grocery shopping (I know, I'm very brave being seen in the HEB without eyeliner OR mascara, but when you need toilet paper, you need toilet paper!) Anyway, I picked up some Visine Allergy drops while I was there, and came home to find my neighbor had left a message for me telling me about some fab eyedrops to, if the Visine and the Cortisone don't do it, I'll be heading back out to the HEB tomorrow!

So, you can all relax and rest easy tonight, and hopefully I'll be back up to fighting form tomorrow so I can fill you in on the rest of my week...I've been a very busy Mama!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Playing Catch-Up on Old News

Man, how does the time get so far away from me? I believe that I mentioned before that since we homeschool, and set our own schedule, we school year-round, but take off between Thanksgiving and New Year's so we can relax and enjoy our holidays.

Well, we started back to school this week with a new daily schedule, a new allowance system, and the worst allergy attack known to mankind! I have never had too much trouble with allergies, but my goodness I've had trouble this week. Besides not being able to breathe, my eyes itch so badly I can't even put eyeliner on! As if not breathing weren't enough, I have to be ugly too? UGH!

Anyway, my scratchy eyes are blurring a bit as I type...even with the, I'll just try to catch you up really quickly on a couple of fun things that have happened around here. :)

First of all...if you've been reading this blog since, well, the beginning, you may remember that I got a dishwasher for Valentine's Day, and an oven for Christmas last year. So, I bet you are all wondering what I could have possibly gotten this year to follow up being completely spoiled last year...well your wait is over! This year, I got not one, but TWO gifts designed to not only make my life easier, but to make this house (which I hate) just a little bit nicer. The first was a new microwave that not only matches the new oven, but hangs above it, freeing up 2 feet worth of valuable countertop! Thank you Sweetie!

The second gift was a new front door! I don't have a picture for you because it is still in it's box in the back yard, but as soon as it is installed, I'll post one, because I know you are all quite disappointed that you can't see it for!

And yes, I know that I said I had a couple of things to tell you, but the truth is, I really have more than two, but my itchy, blurry eyes, are fighting me every step of the way, so I'm going to leave you with the lovely pictures of my appliances and try again another time!

Monday, January 7, 2008

I'm Afraid I've Dropped the Ball...

A few weeks ago, I posted a book review here and announced a giveaway for a copy of this amazing, wonderful, insightful, funny, and deeply touching book. And then, I forgot all about it and said no more, and posted no reminders etc....sigh.

However, Shannon is hosting another Bloggy Giveaways Carnival the week of January 27-February 2, and I've decided to put one or two copies of this book into the Carnival! So, for those of you who have already entered, don't worry, I'll keep you in the drawing, but for those of you who missed it the first time around, come back during the Carnival and enter for your chance to win a copy of this amazing book!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

You'll Never Guess What I Did.....



You were missing them, weren't you? I've really cut back on the cakes and cookies that I have been doing because of health and time restrictions, but when I was asked to do this one, I couldn't resist. This one was for a baby girl's first birthday. Her parents tried and tried for years to have a baby before they finally had this precious little girl, so I was so honored to be asked to bake her very first birthday cake! Apparently, they call her "Ladybug", so they wanted a Ladybug cake. I think she came out absolutely adorable...quite fitting for an adorable baby girl!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Just When I Thought....

...I didn't have to watch him every.single.second.

For the record, that is "CoverGirl Outlast" lipstick and it stayed like that for two days! (Good stuff that CoverGirl!) Kinda looked like lip fungus though, so we just kept him in the house until it wore off, 2 days and many, many baby-wipes later...sigh.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

I've never done Wordless Wednesday before, but I thought I'd just jump on in today with this picture of my Christmas Angel (this was right before she climbed up on the new dirt bike, and proceeded to fall off and not only tear up her tights, but her leg as well...sigh)

For more Wordless Wednesday, head on over to 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Whatever Happened to Y2K????

Can you believe that it has been EIGHT.WHOLE.YEARS since the world went crazy stockpiling peanut butter, water, canned beans, and portable generators? Last night, while partying at Denise's house, we were discussing how the big thing to do when we were in the 5th grade was to figure out how OLD we would be in the year 2000. Do you remember "2001: A Space Odyssey"? The "future" is now the past, and the computers haven't completely taken over the world (although my husband might argue that it has taken over my life...HA!), we aren't driving hovercrafts, and there are no houses on the moon...go figure!

Anyway, while reading through some of my favorite blogs this morning, I have noticed a trend toward posts reflecting back on 2007...I have no time for such a post, but I did write an inordinately long Christmas letter that went out with my Christmas Cards this year, and it pretty much sums up 2007 at our house, so I thought I'd just reprint it here for you all to enjoy...or not. I'll even include our Christmas Picture for your viewing pleasure. (Didn't realize until after the pictures were sent off that the girl was making a face...that little screen on the back of the digital camera isn't quite big enough to show those little details...even with bi-focals!)

For those of you reading this, who are also on my Christmas card list...well, don't you feel doubly special? For the rest of will probably be glad you aren't on the list... tomorrow, when you finally finish reading my "Christmas Update Letter"!

December 2007

Hello Everyone!

Last year, after I sent out the annual letter, I received a note from one of my friends from high school. In her note, she referred to my Christmas letter and said “It sounds like you got everything you ever wanted.” My first thought was a very elegant “PFFFT!!” My second thoughts were of the extra 25 pounds I was toting around with me; kidney disease that not only forces me to choke down 5 horse pills every day, but also prevents me from eating anything that actually, you know, tastes good; the house that is way too small to comfortably contain 4 kids, a school, and a part-time bakery, (emphasis on way too small); 3 kids that fight with each other, give me grief about doing schoolwork, and almost never clean their rooms; and 1 little blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy that is so smart and curious that if they wanted to make a new “Dennis the Menace” movie, they wouldn’t even need to write a script. All they would have to do is get a camera team to follow my boy around for one day! Ah yes, everything I ever wanted….

But, you know something? She was right! It may not look exactly like I pictured it as a kid, but all I ever wanted was to marry Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome, have 4 kids, be able to stay home with said kids and homeschool them, and to have some sort of creative hobby to maintain my sanity. The creative hobby has morphed over the years from Tole Painting, to scrapbooking/card making, to my current cake/cookie decorating, but nevertheless, I do, in fact, have everything I ever wanted. But it sure looks different from this side! (It’s a tad more cramped and chaotic than I pictured.)

Now, while the above is most certainly the truth about life here at our house, the following is also true…

This year, Benji had a great baseball season playing 2nd base and occasional shortstop, and while his team had a poor regular season record, they won every tournament they entered…apparently, they were only interested in winning when there was a prize to be had! Then, when football season came around, Benji was named as one of the team captains and the leader of the team. He played 1st team wide receiver and 2nd team cornerback.

Jonathan played soccer again this past spring, but decided to give football another try in the fall. So this was his first year of full tackle. His coaches at first put him in at linebacker because he was a monster during tackle drills. However, speed has never been Jonathan’s strong suit, and he wasn’t getting much chance to tackle anyone as they ran past him! So, although he was one of the smallest guys on the team, I convinced his coach that offensive/defensive line was the best place for him…they were skeptical. However, they wanted Jon to enjoy playing, so they moved him to lineman at the next game…he knocked bigger boys on their backsides, and those he couldn’t knock down, he pushed back several yards. The head coach came to me at the next practice and said, “Jon is officially on the line…I had to rewind the video tape 5 times to convince myself that it was really him knocking that kid on his behind!” Can you tell that I love football, and that I’m a wee bit proud of the little fella? So, so proud…

Madeleine, of course is still doing her ballet/tap, and she was a cheerleader for Jon’s football team this fall. The highlight of her year, for me though, was when she was asked to dance in the Christmas program at church. I cried at their very first rehearsal because it was just so beautiful! I kept thinking to myself, “Now this is what dance was made for!” It was so absolutely beautiful and worshipful, and she did it so elegantly, that I just couldn’t hold back the tears. I told Ben after that first rehearsal, “Just wait until the program, you are going to bawl!” The program was yesterday and, yes, he cried.

David is 2 years old. That’s probably about all I really need to say for you to get a pretty good picture of life around here, but I’ll elaborate…for your entertainment. David wakes up in the middle of the night. David wakes up and comes to my room and yells, “MOM! MILK!” After I put him back into the bed, he realizes that waking up Mom wasn’t the best idea, so he decides just to get on up himself and let me sleep. This way, you see, he can turn on all the lights, get out whatever paper he can find (like my mail for instance) and color to his heart’s content. And if he can’t find paper, well, there are all those wonderful blank walls in the house! (Just for the record, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers will remove marker from painted surfaces!) He has also discovered that the middle of the night is also a really good time to climb the shelves in the pantry and help himself to Mom’s baking chocolate, but be sure to drop it and run if you hear her coming! And while I could fill many, many more pages with the exploits of little Dave, I will just mention that I came home from my 5:30am run one morning to find him curled up on the front porch in his little jammies, waiting for me. Yes, he can unlock and open the front door all by himself! He apparently heard me leave and came out to look for me, and then couldn’t get back in when he discovered that I wasn’t out there…sigh. Well, that was the end of my early morning running! (Not sure if that’s really a bad thing or not, LOL!)

That said, David is a very sweet, very snuggly, and extremely smart little boy. I’m so grateful that God chose to give me this one last little boy to complete our family. He still loves “Signing Time” and knows well over 100 signs and can count to ten and knows the alphabet! He’s most definitely worth all the grief…and extra wall-scrubbing!

As far as Ben, he’s pretty much the same…he still works with his brother David building gorgeous homes, and occasionally he gets to go hunting. He helped coach Benji’s baseball team in the spring and will most likely do so again this year. He is currently spending his free time re-tiling the kids’ bathroom shower due to a leak waterfall in there.

I had a big year. I started a blog called “Kids, Cakes, Dishes, and Laundry…in that order” (‘cause I really have way too much time on my hands and needed something with which to fill my days!) and I joined The Biggest Loser Online Club and lost 18 of those 25 pounds I mentioned earlier. I ran in one 5 mile race and two 5K’s this year, and I’m training to run in the Capital 10,000 next spring. (And by “run” I hope you know that I mean “jog”…”slow-jog”.) My cake and cookie business increased again this year and I did two weddings! Next year, however, I will be cutting back on the number of cakes that I do. Teaching Benji 6th grade, Jonathan 4th grade, and Madeleine 1st grade, all while trying to keep David in the house and out of the chocolate, really monopolizes my time. I did have another kidney surgery this year to remove another blockage, and am hoping that this one will last me awhile, and I won’t have to have another one any time soon! Oh yeah, and I got glasses…bi-focals actually. You will notice that they are not in the picture….because I am vain. Other than that, it’s been pretty quiet around here!

So, while I normally just give the “good report” in my Christmas letter, I don’t want anyone to think that life is perfect all the time over here. Life happens here just like it does at your house, and while I do have all I ever dreamed of, sometimes it resembles more of a nightmare than a dream!

And although this is an extremely long and rambling Christmas update letter, I hope you feel all caught up now! If not, you are welcome to come and join me on the blog anytime and keep more up to date on the day to day life here where the inmates are most definitely running the asylum! You can find it here: And yes, you can leave a comment on the blog without signing up for a google account! Just type your comment and hit “anonymous”.

So that’s it, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous New Year and I hope to see you all on the blog!


(And no, I’m not signing everyone’s name to this letter, because you all know good and well that I am the one who wrote it!)

P.S. And for the record, Benji is 12, Jon will turn 10 and Maddie will turn 7 in January, and David will be 3 in May (thank you, Jesus!) Ben turned 40 this year, and I turned 40 too…just not this year, or last, but you really don’t need to know exactly when that was, now do you?!?