Friday, October 23, 2009

Trick or Treat!

I can't believe it's already time to begin contemplating TRICK OR TREAT costumes! At our kids' school, that's sort of a big deal, as they dress up & do a costume parade through all the classrooms.

Thankfully, Holly is content to wear last year's hippy costume; Natalie is wearing a ballet tu-tu w/ fairy wings; and Evan is going to be -- brace yourself -- Hannah Montana! He's at that age where he wanted to wear a scary costume.... so we compromised and went with a FUNNY one! So, he's the proud new owner of a long blonde wig, and his sisters are going to serve as his stylists, pulling together a Hannah Montana worthy outfit from their closets.

I wanted to share this costume idea with you, which I thought was clever & funny. The "balloon boy" costume:

So, what are YOUR kids' costumes going to be this year?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Job Lead

While browsing Craigslist (which I LOVE), I saw this classified ad, which I'm thinking I'm a shoo-in for:

We are in need of a young lady for a photo shoot that has a striking resemblance to actress Megan Fox. If you think this is you, please email your contact info and two photos ( one head shot, one full body - No Nude!). Pay is negotiable, if you have the right look we will work out pay. Please respond as quickly as possible, we are wanting to complete this project as soon as possible. Thanks!

What do you think? =)

Saturday, September 19, 2009


My sis-in-love (hee hee), Laurie, sent me this, which I thought was hilarious:

If you read this without laughing out loud, there is something wrong with you. This is dedicated to everyone who ever attempted to get into a regular workout routine.

Dear Diary,

For my birthday this year, my daughter (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me.

Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.

I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Pam, who identified herself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear.

My daughter seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.


Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Pam waiting for me. She is something of a Greek goddess - with beautiful bouncy brown hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!! Pam gave me a tour and showed me the machines. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which she conducted her aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring!

Pam was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time she was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!


I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door.

Pam made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then she put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. Pam's rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT!! It's a whole new life for me.


The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot.

Pam was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. Her voice is a little too perky for early in the morning and when she scolds, she gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying. My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Pam put me on the stair monster. Why the heck would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Pam told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. She said some other crap too.


Pam was waiting for me with her vampire-like teeth exposed as her thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late, it took me that long to tie my shoes.

Pam took me to work out with dumbbells. When she was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. She sent another skinny witch to find me.

Then, as punishment, she put me on the rowing machine -- which I sank.


I hate that witch Pam more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic little cheerleader. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat her with it.

Pam wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher.

Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?


Pam left a message on my answering machine in her grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing her made me want to smash the machine with my planner. However, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.

I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my daughter (the little &*%) will choose a gift for me that is fun -- like a root canal or a hysterectomy. I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sticks and Stones .... and Bikes!

We love living in a quiet cul-de-sac. In fact, I believe once you've experienced the carefree life of cul-de-sac living, you'll never go back! The kids can play without mommy stressing over speeding cars. All the kids' playmates are always out front, playing basketball, riding bikes, scooters, a neighborhood baseball game -- you name it. It's like a slice of Americana that Rockwell would have done well to capture on canvas.

Well.....almost. The other night, a neighbor had guests drop by. While they chatted on their front porch, the guests' 3-year-old boy took off running towards the cul-de-sac, aka the hub of activity. Wouldn't you know ..... that little guy dashed right in the path of my daughter's 10-speed bike. According to Holly's official witness statement, "He appeared out of nowhere, and I tried to avoid him!"

Oh dear.

She ended up running over his leg! We all felt terrible about it, but knew it was an honest accident. Well guess what? HIS LEG ENDED UP BEING BROKEN ABOVE HIS KNEE CAP! So for the next six weeks, he'll be sporting a full leg cast, and his mom will undoubtedly be cursing the 10-speed that mowed him down like an ant.

We'll be staying indoors for a while and avoiding the dangerous cul-de-sac.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Little Sample

Have you heard the saying, "Find something you love to do, and then figure out a way to make money doing it"?

I just love playing around with florals. And I actually get paid to do just that! I've been helping a local interior decorator with her business, and am now in charge of all her custom florals. This is just a little sampling of what I've been up to!

And by the way, these are PUNY compared to some custom arrangements I did last week!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Easily Amused

When browsing through pictures stored on my camera the other day, I happened upon these shots...... Looks as though lots of fun was had while I was away at work. I can't even quite make out what they were into -- maybe toothpaste, and a chocolate spoon from cake batter?! It doesn't take much around here to have a great time!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

At Least It's Not Christmas Break Yet....

OK, I'll admit that the first day of school was, well ..... more than a few days ago! As they say, better late than ever. Here are pics. of our 2nd grader, 4th grader, 5th grader and 8th grader.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pickins are Slim

It would be just dandy with me if I didn't have to read another Help Wanted ad for another 15 years or so! I've become borderline obsessive about searching those ads .... scouring for that one new listing which might be a good fit for Greg or me. And believe me, there are a LOT of employment websites out there! Unless you're a mystery shopper, an RN or a social worker, the pickins are indeed slim.

I thought I had found just the job listing meant for ME -- to work in a florist shop. Oh, as I perused the job description, hope started to rise up within me .... UNTIL I read this line, "Forklift driving experience is required."

SERIOUSLY?! So for ALL you forklift-driving florists out there, you're in luck! Somewhere out in the world, a person typed in "forklift, floral" in the search box and got a hit.

Please pray for us -- that God would open doors as He sees fit, and that we would trust in Him alone as our sole provider.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

As Desi Would Say.....

I've got a lot of 'splainin' to do"!

My sister occasionally reminds me, "You haven't blogged in a while". Two words: I KNOW. You may have also wondered why I haven't been posting much lately.

Here's why...... I try to keep my blog light hearted and amusing. If I don't have something witty or fun to share, then I tend to not want to post anything. Life's circumstances have bogged me down lately. Now hear me: I know God is in control and that it's all gonna work out .... I'm simply in the middle of the storm at the moment, squinting my eyes & looking for the rainbow.

A little background: The nation has been going through a recession, as we all are painfully aware. Well, lucky us -- Our family got a head start, and has been in a recession for the last four years. My husband has tried his very best to provide for us on a commission based profession, and financial pressures have been common place.

Greg has learned that his insurance agency will close at the end of this month, and unless God opens doors quickly -- he will join the ranks of the unemployed. As a result, he and I have both been actively pursuing employment opportunities. At this time, we have received little to no reply to those inquiries. (cue the crickets....)

Praise the Lord that our family unit remains strong. I realize daily & consciously remind myself that IT COULD BE WORSE. We're in this together. Our kids are healthy & happy. That, in and of itself, is a HUGE praise.

Have you ever noticed that through our most difficult times, in hindsight, we can see how much we grew spiritually through that chapter? Please pray that our lives would point others to HIM, and that He would be glorified, would guide us and provide.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Happy Ending

My poor husband is having a hard week at work. As an insurance agent, following a local hail storm ..... it's a tough gig, with all the claims and upset homeowners.

This afternoon, I called my husband at work to ask a simple question. While chatting, he shared with me that a client had just called and verbally raked him over the coals over something that was totally out of his control. This really bothered him, as he tries incredibly hard to provide excellent customer service -- and this person was simply being unreasonable.

Our kids overheard my end of the conversation and were concerned. When I hung up, they asked "What's going on?!" I responding by saying that daddy was having a hard day at work.

Well, that's all I needed to say -- Natalie immediately began making the "SORRY" banner to greet daddy when he came home, Allison started thawing out a steak for his dinner, and Holly whipped up one of his favorites -- brownies (which we all knows soothes any sore spot!)

I'm sure Evan would have offered an empathetic gesture, such as letting daddy win at basketball, had he been home at the time. This was so encouraging to me as a parent, and it meant the world to my hubby! Thank the good Lord that tomorrow's a new day.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

And the Silver Dollar City Blogathon Continues...

Here's Evan, preparing to swish three shots in a row to win a basketball of his choice.

Meanwhile, the next booth over, little sister Natalie was getting ready to throw darts at balloons.

And here are the proud WINNERS displaying their prizes! SCORE!

Friday, July 17, 2009

One of our Favorite Attractions

Introducing Jeerk, a group featured at Silver Dollar City this summer -- all the way from Sweden. People, they are talented!

They are a rhythmic group that dances, sings & makes music with everything under the sun. You see a cheese grater, they see a musical instrument.

Our whole family enjoyed their show, although the kids did cringe when I asked the band members for an autograph after the show ...... on my navel.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Conquering Silver Dollar City

Refreshment of choice: Dip'N Dots and Cotton Candy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Open the Park!

Our kids were at the perfect age to fully enjoy Silver Dollar City, opening the park & closing the park down on both days.

We had a bit of a photo shoot while anxiously awaiting the park's opening .....

Natalie: 7, Evan: 9, Holly: 10, and Allison: 13.
I love their expressions in the Jail picture --"We're innocent"!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Price of FUN

In order to fund our summertime getaway in Branson, we first held a massive yard sale. The whole family pitched in & did their part. Whew! Yard sales are a lot of work -- and in 100 degree weather, to boot.

As a sidenote, I'm amazed at the new-found affection my children have for neglected, forgotten toys and such that I suggest putting a price tag on!

I'm happy to report that the sale was a huge success. It is, however, reminiscent of child birth .... in that I'm happy with the result but wouldn't want to do it again anytime soon!

And unlike child birth, I don't get 6 weeks off from work to recuperate, and nobody's delivering a casserole to help out with meals! Tomorrow I'll post pictures of our trip to Branson.

Friday, July 3, 2009

This One's for YOU, Sissy

My little sister is antsy for another post -- never mind the fact that she talks to me pretty much every day and knows more about my life than my spouse.

So here goes, Amy!

We just got back from a 5-day vacation in Branson and had a FABULOUS time! The hotel we stayed in was nice, with plenty of space and a pool right outside the door, AND only about 1/2 mile from the entrance to (drumroll please.........) Silver Dollar City!!

We definitely got our money's worth on our 2-day pass to that park -- waiting with white knuckles wrapped around the gates at opening time and closing the joint down each night! The kids had an absolute blast.

It's funny -- out of our 4 kids, we have 2 who only want to ride the tame rides. (I've been informed to NOT call them "kiddie rides", thankyouverymuch) And we have 2 (our middle 2) who are stinkin' daredevils. Their motto is "FASTER & HIGHER"!! Since SDC wasn't very crowded, all the kids got their fill of their rides of choice.

I don't know what it is ..... but the older I get, the less I can hack the "round & round" rides. I can handle the roller coasters just fine -- but spin me round & round a couple dozen times, and I'm about to lose my lunch. Anyone with me on that? You say "teacups", I say "hurl".

We told the kids they could pick any one souvenir from the park that made their heart sing, which was a major source of excitement. Holly & Alli chose airbrushed personalized t-shirts; Evan sank a couple baskets & won a souvenir basketball; and Natalie exercised her newly discovered dart-throwing skills & won a huge blue monkey with Silver Dollar City sewn on its tummy. In fact, one of her darts actually took out three balloons at once. True! You say, "but HOW can that be?"! The dart burst 2 balloons, then fell downward & took out one more during its fall. That's SOME skill, huh? Look for her to compete at the 2012 Olympics in carnival dart-throwing.

I'll post some pics. soon, but hope this might be enough to pacify my information-starved sibling. LOVE LOVE

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

It seems I've become the wife of the church crooner.

For the 3rd year in a row, Greg sang special music on Father's Day during worship service! Two years ago, it was "Somewhere in the World", last year was "Cinderella", and today was "I Want to be Just Like You". Throw in "Butterfly Kisses", and we'd have all the sentimental bases covered! (next year.....) I'm so grateful that he's the father of my children. How could I ask for more?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Warning: Warped Humor

Thanks, Lisa, for these funnies!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Suffice it to say, I'm NOT a fan of snakes

This week has been super busy & fun. Our church held its Vacation Bible School, which was Hawaiian themed.

At the big VBS finale last night, all the kids had a blast playing on inflatables, anticipating the next time the volcano would erupt & spit out candy, gliding down a zip line, etc.

To add to the fun, a portable reptile zoo of sorts was brought in. Because nothing says "let's celebrate VBS" like a Komodo dragon crawling across your foot while you're not paying attention. Thank goodness I keep an extra pair of underwear in my glove compartment.

Anyway, I was shocked & amazed to see my Holly (on the right) draping a snake around her neck as if it were a feather boa.

That girl was channeling Britney Spears at the MTV awards show, friends. And I'm worried.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An Ounce of Creativity .... Lots of Money Saved!

One thing I've noticed is that birthday parties are a BIG deal around here. Oftentimes, the entire school class is invited to celebrate.

When you have FOUR kids in school, that really starts to add up. So we've tried to find frugal ways to put together gifts, with the birthday girl / guy in mind.

Alli decorated the pillows (above) to give her friend, knowing that Ryann had a black & white room and that she loves the fleur de lis design. Not bad, huh? She did this completely on her own!

On the left, I simply embellished a simple denim jacket I bought at Goodwill for $1.99 for Natalie's friend, Alexis, who was having a princess themed party.
What about you? Any thrifty or creative gift ideas you'd like to share?

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Inception of Road Rage

I thought this was so cute:

Grandma's letter
She is eighty-eight years old and still drives her own car. She writes:
Dear Grand-daughter,
The other day I went up to our local Christian book store and saw a "Honk if you love Jesus" bumper sticker. I was feeling particularly sassy that day because I had just come from a thrilling choir performance, followed by a thunderous prayer meeting. So, I bought the sticker and put it on my bumper. Boy, am I glad I did! What an uplifting experience that followed.
I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, just lost in thought about the Lord and how good He is, and I didn't notice that the light had changed. It is a good thing someone else loves Jesus because if he hadn't honked, I'd never have noticed. I found that lots of people love Jesus!
While I was sitting there, the guy behind started honking like crazy, and then he leaned out of his window and screamed, 'For the love of God! Go! Go! Go! Jesus Christ, GO!' What an exuberant cheerleader he was for Jesus! Everyone started honking! I just leaned out my window and started waving and smiling at all those loving people. I even honked my horn a few times to share in the love!
There must have been a man from Florida back there because I heard him yelling something about a sunny beach. I saw another guy waving in a funny way with only his middle finger stuck up in the air. I asked my young teenage grandson in the back seat what that meant. He said it was probably a Hawaiian good luck sign or something. Well, I have never met anyone from Hawaii , so I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign right back. My grandson burst out laughing. Why, even he was enjoying this religious experience!
A couple of the people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started walking towards me. I bet they wanted to pray or ask what church I attended, but this is when I noticed the light had changed. So, I waved at all my brothers and sisters grinning, and drove on through the intersection. I noticed that I was the only car that got through the intersection before the light changed again and felt kind of sad that I had to leave them after all the love we had shared.
So I slowed the car down, leaned out the window and gave them all the Hawaiian good luck sign one last time as I drove away. Praise the Lord for such wonderful folks! Will write again soon,

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Here we are, in Kitchen Stadium

Every year during summer vacation, my kids complain about being bored. I'll agree that sometimes the days seem very l-o-n-g.

So, in an attempt to entertain the troops a bit last week, I suggested that they play "IRON CHEF". Evan & Allison jumped at that opportunity, and I declared that the secret ingredient was ...... PEANUT BUTTER!

Here they are as the competition kicked off, giving their best war cry:
Both competitors were fierce and down to business as they planned and executed their masterpiece dishes for the judges' consideration.
Chef Allison made a delectable batch of no-bake cookies, in addition to a crowd favorite --"Puppy Chow". Both dishes showed off the secret ingredient of peanut butter and wowed the judges.
Chef Evan went with a more simplistic approach, opting for Wheat Thins a la peanut butter, together with an unexpected twist of peanut butter on granola bars, topped off his signature dish: peanut butter & Cinnamon Toast Crunch sandwiches.

The judges were deadlocked ..... but after a lengthy conference, ultimately awarded the victory to Chef Allison.
But most importantly, we passed a couple hours of our l-o-n-g summer day in a positive way!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Camping (sort of.....)

This picture depicts the "tent" my children made in our basement. It's primarily a love seat, covered by an air mattress roof. Since school has been out for summer, 2 campers at a time have taken turns sleeping under the "tent" together.

This is an instance where I have to put aside my thoughts of "what a mess!" and just let them enjoy making these summertime memories together..... right? Last night when I went to bed at 11:00, I could still hear them in the basement giggling.

I savored that moment, knowing that they'd likely be clobbering each other come sunrise. They're siblings, after all.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

In Training for the Bridal Show

The girls & I were hanging out recently, watching a program which we enjoy:

I love that show! When I was younger, I dreamed of opening a bridal shop & calling it The Blushing Bride. To me, there was no greater honor or more fulfilling way to make a living than to help brides bring their romantic notions to life on their very special day.
But then I learned about the term "Bridezilla", and also realized that my bridal shop dream would involve working evenings & weekends. Those dreams were accordingly swiftly scrapped.

While watching the brides choose their gowns on "Say Yes to the Dress", I shared a story with the kids about my wedding dress. My little sis (and best friend), Amy, had gotten engaged shortly before me, so we were both in wedding-planning-overdrive. We were up to our eyeballs in all the details, and envisioning our ideal wedding gown ....

During a visit to Amy's, I told her that I had found the gown I wanted. She responded, "me too"! In perfect sync, we both proceeded to flip through our prospective wedding magazines and simultaneously showed each other the very same page, featuring the very same gown!

Since we were getting married within 6 months of each other, we decided to purchase and share the gown. After drafting a joint custody agreement, it was all settled. Amy would wear the dress first (in Nashville), and I would get to keep the dress following my Columbus, Ohio nuptials.
As a side note, on even numbered years, our elegant gown spends the holiday season and President's Day with Amy.
My kids were amused at this story and asked me to go get the dress our of our storage area. What followed was an impromptu fashion show, which was captured on film:

It goes without saying that the man cub's bridal portrait below will be displayed at his wedding reception someday.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Swimsuit shopping is on the agenda this morning. THANKFULLY, it's for my 10-year-old & not me. Otherwise, I'd be breaking out in hives just at the mere thought!

Our big plans for the day include setting up our backyard pool this afternoon, then grill out for dinner ..... And don't count me out for a little round of badminton. Ahhh, I'm anticipating a nice, relaxing day. A little slice of Americana.

Of course, this picturesque scene in my mind will likely be shattered the moment my kids are actually out of bed.

As I contemplate our family's day off together, I'm forced to stop & realize WHY we have this day off and WHO we are celebrating.
This is a powerful photo of Alicia's son, bidding farewell to his daddy as he departs on a Navy tour of duty.

For ALL the families who sacrifice to protect our country, to preserve the values we hold dear, THANK YOU. Our soldiers, both past & present, AND their families, are our heroes. We honor YOU today.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

2 Hours of my Life I'll Never Get Back

Ding Dong. "He's here!"

Enter stage left one decidedly geeky vacuum salesman whose life is devoted to educating our family on its surprisingly filthy inhabitance.

He wasted no time in launching right into all of the cutting edge, space-age attributes of this remarkable vacuum system -- which incidentally was approximately the size of our Honda.

Friends, I've never in my life heard a human being speak SO quickly! He would make an auctioneer pale in comparison. It was all I could do to refrain from giggling and mimicking him .... all the while thinking "Are we being Punk'd? Ashton, come on out!"

He painstakingly demonstrated every wand, attachment and feature with the fervor and conviction of a presidential candidate. "YES, WE CAN!" From the caster wheels made of the same material as bowling balls to the steel drum which would collect our enormous amounts of dead skin .... known as dust to the layperson. Apparently, our existence with merely the aid of our God-forsaken Dust Devil has predestined us to a life in a cesspool of lung-clogging, allergy inducing, life-shortening dirty carpet.

At one point, he theatrically gazed with absolute horror & disgust at a small pile of dust that his sweeper had sucked up from our rug. It was truly comical to see his face. In fact, I jokingly told him, "If you're gonna puke, the restroom is that way"!
Although we were promised that this demonstration would last no longer than 30 minutes, he was still charming our socks off almost 2 hours later. What a treat.
Finally, he lowered the boom and presented the cost. A mere $3,000. Roughly the same price as a Disney vacation. But good news, there were several different payment options: one labeled something like the All-American; one dubbed the Blue Collar; and my personal favorite: the White Trash plan.

We decided to pass. Between you & me, we were only in it for the free $500 gift certificate! But of course, it ended up being practically worthless. When I visited the correlating website to redeem our certificate and peruse our options, I discovered that they charge you a ridiculous amount of money for "shipping and handling". For example, to use the certificate on a necklace, you are charged $80 out of pocket for shipping & handling. Can you say lud-i-crous?

Moral of the story? There's no such thing as a free lunch OR a free $500 gift certificate. Paging PigPen: Wanna move in? Word has it you'd be right at home!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Snickering in Seattle

Funny thing....

My neighbors have been commenting lots lately about my "comedy-career-on-the-side". Apparently, my kids have been keeping them all posted on my goings-on. Sort of like live-in papparazzi.

In casual conversation one neighbor said to me, "Wow! Your kids say you're hitting the road in a few weeks for a comedy gig!" Sheepishly, I responded, "Yeah, I'm looking really forward to it!" Because, after all, I'm nothing if not humble!

Later in that conversation, the neighbor asked, "So when do you fly out?" Confused, I responded, "Oh, we'll drive there. It's not too far". Come to find out, my kids told all the neighbors that I was headed to Seattle. Um, I think the town they meant to say was Salina, as in 90 miles up the road, you know -- in Kansas!

Oh well, today Salina -- tomorrow Seattle!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Star in the Making

Gwen Stefani, eat your heart out. Our little Natalie is rockin' her garage sale sunglasses which we nabbed for 10 cents!
I hope she doesn't want to dye her hair platinum blonde next!