Friday, November 26, 2010

Small Business Saturday

The UPS delivery guy dropped off my camera the other day and mentioned that we'd probably be seeing a lot of each other in the coming weeks. I said, "Um, er, yeah, probably." and then I had Bill beat him up. Just kidding. In fact, I like our delivery guy and wish there was a way to thank him without it being weird and without Bill actually having to beat him up. :)

That being said, I hear it is going to be Small Business Saturday the day after Black Friday. (I know, Saturday following Friday!) I wanted to let you know about four of my favorite small businesses. None of them have asked me to do this, I just love their stuff. 

First off is Krissy's Confections. I first tried Krissy's caramels one night when I was giving her daughter a ride to church. She handed me one, saying her mom had made it. It was the most delicious caramel I had ever had in my whole entire life!!! Not too gooey, not too hard, but just right. And the flavor? Oh. Oh! OH! Haunting! Haunting, I tell you! I have never forgotten that one sweet morsel of delight. 
I have also had her pumpkin pie, which Bill declared was the best pumpkin pie he'd ever had and she made my piano recital cake, as well. 
Her baked goods are available for local folks and if you want the best pie ever and don't want to mess with crust and all that, give her a call. Her caramels, however, are available for shipping anywhere. And that, my friends, is very good news.

Second is Jenuinely Pure. The website is currently being re-done but if you go there still, you will contact information to still get her products. The products are all natural that are handmade and they are GOOD! I'm currently addicted to the body cream. And the lime lip balm. And the grapefruit scrub. And I like the eye make-up remover. And the cinnamon oatmeal soap. I could go on. I did go on! She's added more products that I haven't been able to try yet but both Audrey and I love everything we've used.
I'll do a little product review on two items you might not consider- and these are just from my point of view.
The household cleanser. I like it. Combined with baking soda as a scrubbing agent, it always gets the soapscum off my tubs and showers. I have bottles of it in all the bathrooms and I love the fact that the kids can help clean without fear of harsh chemicals. There is no  chemical smell when you are done either (I always get it clover scented). I don't use it on my mirrors and windows or on my wood floors, but that's my own personal preference.
The soap nuts. Weirdest thing ever. I bought a small bag, threw the recommended amount into the wash and sat there feeling like I had just been duped. No lie! It took me a while to get over feeling like I had to add more things to the wash. The truth is, you really don't. I'd recommend the soap nuts for everyday dirty wash. However, when the boys return from riding their mudbikes, I mean, motorcycles, I go for something stronger. You may find it clears all things out of your wash. Also, I like the fact that the girls can do their laundry with ease and there is no measuring, spilling, excess pouring. 

Third is Mom's Soy Candles. These candles smell great! And they are jarred in just the cutest jars. She doesn't have any pictures up on her site (she is one busy lady!), but the smallest jar is squarish with a round, silver metal lid, a bit of rustic thread and a small metal bugle bead wrapped around the neck of it. So stylish! But let's get to scents. I think last year my favorite was Amaretto Nog but there are plenty to choose from. Hazelnut Coffee or Caramel Pralines. (okay, now I'm hungry and thirsty) If you like candles, then you must try these. You can even have her fill your own jars instead of using her jars!

Last is a bit odd for small business promos but I can't help that I love bbq. And I can't help that now I'm broke because a bbq place opened up in town. Good brisket with two sides and a corn muffin? Yes, please!! Oh, the place... b fabulous bbq! Yep, they're in Huxley, in our little grocery store, in the back. This is the best food in town! It's all homemade and it is oh, so good. You can stop in for lunch, pick up supper or have them cater something for you. How to give bbq as a gift? I'm thinking gift cards, but I don't know if they do that yet. They are brand new and if they don't do that yet, I bet they'll be willing to work something out with you. I've already mentioned the brisket. I love brisket. I also love ribs. And their's are soo good! So is the coleslaw and I'm not a fan of coleslaw. I'm a fan of bbq baked beans and potato salad and corn muffins and probably everything else they offer ('cause I really haven't tried it all yet). 

Well, that's all I've got for now. Like I said, no one asked me to do this. I just really like all of these people and their products and I wanted to get the word out. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Bouquet

My little devotional I have has been touching on the subject of thankfulness this month. It has been good to remember to be thankful. Here is a little bit of one day's text.

As you go through this day, look for tiny treasures strategically placed along the way. I lovingly go before you and plant little pleasures to brighten your day. Look carefully for them, and pluck them one by one. When you reach the end of the day, you will have gathered a lovely bouquet. Offer it up to me with a grateful heart.

Now there are so many things that are obvious to be thankful for. But I often forget to be thankful for other things because I see them as distractions or nuisances. 

Nerf gun bullets (one of which just hit me in the head while I was typing this); cereal which is currently littering my floor because breakfast never makes it into their mouths; 3 year old toddlers who's own devised entertainment is dumping two 550 piece and one 1000 piece puzzles all together in one heap; shoes piled by the back door, front door, mud room door; laundry ('nough said); hot wheels, legos, train tracks that cause constant foot hazards; crumbs left on the counter and floor; mud and dust left from motorcycles and dirt roads getting to motorcycle rides; q-tips, cotton balls and kleenexes left from doing nails, eyes, lips, hair; toilet paper that always runneth out; dirty windows streaked with fingers; bikes, skateboards, scooters, helmets taking up an entire 2-car garage; balls stuck up in the gutter or over the neighbor's fence; bath towels left for days; left at home, can you please bring it to school homework, running shoes, instruments, lunch; what's to eat, I just ate an hour ago; thick books, picture books, paperback books piled everywhere; rocks, money, candy, pens, lipstick, jewelry in the wash; hi, honey, nice to talk to you (snore) 

Lord, here is my bouquet of thankfulness. It isn't quite as pretty as another bouquet I might pick. In fact, these are really just the dandelions and clover of life with tufts of grass stuffed in. I didn't have to look very far to gather them in my hands. But I offer them to you anyway. I know you'll find a nice little jelly jar to put it in and love it as only you can.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Know You've Seen This Before

I must first say that no, I will not post every single one of these youtube videos I come across.   But I just love these. It is so much fun to see the crowd's responses!! 
So here's one more. I like it because it seems a bit more natural, incorporated into the food court crowd.

Then let me say a few thoughts. 
One is that this is the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. It is one of the obvious favorites. Handel wrote the Messiah primarily from the book of Isaiah. Do you hear the part where the ladies sing "King of Kings, and Lord of Lords" and they continue to sing it higher and higher? That is a common composing element Handel used. This entire oratorio was what I studied for my 400 level theory class. Fascinating.
Second, pulling a "stunt" off like this would never work with any other kind of group. Vocalists disguised as shoppers and food court patrons fit in much more discreetly than say an orchestra. "Excuse me, do you think this tie bring out the kettle drum in my eyes?"
Thirdly, I want to be where this happens sometime! So... 
Dear Hallelujah Chorus Members, 
I will be shopping at the North Grand Mall and Jordan Creek Malls and from home on Amazon. I don't eat at the food court, but you may catch me at a Starbucks. It seems like UPS is delivering a lot of my Amazon orders, so there's an idea for you. If all else fails, check Target. 
P.S. If you do, I'll be sure to write about it on my blog!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Oh, You Do That?

That was the question asked to Ben and me by our Rosebud girl, V. I was handing Ben some food to take to school for the food drive and V noticed what we were doing. 
"Oh, you do that?" 
"Well we do what we can." Often I'm not prepared, as in I didn't got shopping extra for things, so I'm just pulling from our pantry. 
Then Ben said something along the lines of it's good to give because it helps you remember that you do have things even when you think you don't and that others really don't have things. 
Then a few moments later, V shared an insight into her life back home. I think she has seen both ends of the receiving but has never noticed them before. It was a short little moment and one could have easily missed it. I am SO glad I didn't.

I had decided earlier this month that our family wasn't going to participate in Operation Christmas Child through our church. There are always so many areas where you can give and Bill and I thought that well, for one, we have already kind of been giving (as in having V living with us) and two, we'd follow up with any Christmas giving to Rosebud and just call that good. But that instance, along with what I uncovered during my time in the Word that night, revealed something different. 

2 Chronicles 31- The temple of the Lord is being restored under King Hezekiah and the people of Israel and Judah started bringing their contributions to it's rebuilding and supporting the workers of the temple and the priests. Jump to 2 Chron. 29:31... and all whose hearts were willing brought... ALL WHOSE HEARTS WERE WILLING! These people who were under seige for three years, many had been already lead into captivity, all under oppression, had willing hearts. In fact, 31: 6,7 says "...they piled them in heaps. They began doing this in the third month and finished in the seventh month." So much it took 4 months to collect it all!

I could go on, but I'll save it for another time. Filling 4 shoe boxes wasn't exactly going to break our budget. The fact that I've been pining for a $$ camera but I can't muster enough for 4 children whose only gifts will be the ones tucked away in a plastic box didn't seem to settle well either. That's that, I decided.

I started pulling out little things that I had stashed along with the shopping I had done earlier and making a heap. (No, it didn't take 4 months or even 4 days to collect. ) As I was getting it all set up before supper, V noticed what I was doing. I told her about it a little and she immediately asked if she could do it too. I had totally planned for her to give one so it just made my heart so full to hear her eagerness. We watched the video from the Samaritan's Purse site (above link) during supper and then afterwards, the kids got to pack their shoe boxes. So easy, so fun. Crayons, notepads, little cars, hairbands, lip gloss, fun socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, stickers, whoopee cushions, pens that say Ward's Woodworking (from Bill's dad :)), balloons and candy. Lots of candy. Remember all that candy from Halloween? I told the kids if they felt like giving from their own candy stash they could. And they all did!

Here's a picture from last night. It is totally blurry because the lens was dirty (as in, I think someone may have licked it!) (and truthfully, I was thinking, "Bummer. Now we have to get a new camera!" *happy dance*) but you get the idea.

My kids sometimes get the idea that others are needy. V is having her eyes opened to things other than herself. And I hope that I never forget the question "Oh, you do that?" 
Yeah, we do that!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Not Your Normal Shopping Music

A friend and fellow music teacher forwarded this to me and it is pretty great.

The Opera Company of Philadelphia was instrumental in bringing it together to perform one of the Knight Foundation's "1000 Random Acts of Culture" which they'll be doing over the next three years across the country. Accompanied by the Wanamaker Organ - the world's largest pipe organ - the singers burst into song at exactly noon.
Anyone want to go shopping at Macy's now? :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Whatcha Doin' in a Couple of Weeks?

So, are you busy in the evening, say around December 7 or so? Got any big plans? 
You don't know? You haven't thought that far ahead? 
Well, start thinkin'! And start planning to attend Discovering David Dansville
It is this year's Christmas production at our church. 
It will be well worth your time. Well worth it! 

As a bonus, you will get to see Audrey make her debut on stage, too. Extras will include seeing costumes sewn, knitted and gathered by my sister, sister-in-law and mother. The sound will be extraordinary courtesy of my brother. And maybe some more family help.

But don't go to see that. Go to hear the story. Find out exactly who is David Dansville!

If you do want to go, let me know, so leave a comment.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Never Fade

There are times here at home, especially, when I wish I could somehow capture them on film.

Times like when I played football with the boys last Sunday when the weather was absolutely too gorgeous for November. The boys were having a great time trying to catch the ball and they would slide every single time in the grass when grabbing the ball. Their smiles were big!
Times like this afternoon when the buzz in the house consisted of two boys playing together, 1 girl playing the piano and another reading on the couch. 
Times like tonight when I return home from small group to find a note that details the score of marathon of card games between the girls.
Times like when Bill comes home and the kids rush to hug him. No picture would ever do justice.
Times when the girls laugh over the same thing. I savor every moment when this happens.
Times like in the morning when boys come crawling into my lap. I'll hold them as long as I can, for soon they will be much too big for me.

These are the pictures in my mind I never want to fade.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My High For the Day

Almost every night at supper we go around the table and share a "high" and "low" for the day. It's a chance for the kids to air some things and also helps the learn to listen to others and enter into their experiences. (I took the idea from my Bible study leader. Thanks, Carolyn!)

So here is my high that is almost every Wednesday this school year so far. A full supper table on Wednesday nights. Back when fall sports were still going on, the girls would be done with their practices around 5. In order for us to take all these kids to 180 (Wed. night church), we would need to leave no later than 5:45 to get everyone. Well, that just doesn't leave much time for getting home, cleaning up and eating. So I told the girls they all just had to come over here after practice and I would feed them supper then we'd go to church. So they do! Our table gets very full. During our meal, we go around and share highs and lows and even make the others do it. Three girls, at different times, have all said that being here was their high for the day!!! That makes my heart very full!

I snapped some pictures this week to show you. One of our usuals, Sara, wasn't there, but we had two stand-ins: Ariana and Chiara!

Here we see Kathryn (who loves broccoli usually except mine was a little too lemony for her this time but she's also learned to eat lots of different things at my house :)), Audrey (who appears to be either stabbing herself with her fork, on her way to feeding Chiara a bite of chicken, or snitching the pine nuts off of Chiara's plate), Chiara (who liked my chicken and could probably use a booster), and V (who always likes a full table).

Center is Bill (who had to drive a second vehicle because there weren't enough seats in the suburban for everyone!).

Next is Luke (who is mr. pokey puppy himself), Ariana (who's high for the day was going to play at a friend's the next day and who's low was that her sister hit her in the morning and that made her very sad :( ), and Ben (who'd rather his mom didn't take pictures of him).

Okay, there's me, too. 

In case you're wondering, supper that night was parmesan chicken strips and broccoli and bow-tie pasta salad (with pine nuts) and dessert was candy ('cause we're still trying to get rid of it all!)

Friday, November 5, 2010


After writing Emphasis, which is very closely related to Squirming, I got some great encouragement from my friend, Janel. She dropped by a little "for me" gift, which contained a book I would never pick up on my own, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. I took time that weekend to spend some time in the Word, reading that day's entry, following along in my Bible study, remembering the weekend's message from church and then praying. 
This is how it all coincided for me.

Jesus means "the Lord saves" (Matt 1:21)
Emmanuel means "God with us" (Matt 1:23)

"See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. Remain in the Son and in the Father. The anointing you received from him remains in you. Remain in him." (from 1 John 2: 24-27)

This was my prayer. I want to share it with you because I want you to be encouraged, not by me, but by Him.

I have set the Lord always before me- I will remain
Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken- I will remain
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will also rest secure- I will remain
Because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay- I will remain
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence- I will remain
With eternal pleasures at your right hand- I will remain
(Psalm 16: 8-11)

You see, though I feel alone, I am not. Though I feel like sometimes I am walking "through the valley of the shadow of death", I am not alone. "For you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me." I am not alone. I just have to remain.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Socks for Oil

I was going to entitle this post "Do you think this sock makes my butt look big?", but decided it was too long. And weird. I mean, weirder than normal, maybe.

Pressing on... I don't remember where I got this tip but it's a handy one.
I cut the toe off a stranded sock, depending on the size of the oil bottle and slide it over the bottle. It catches all the little drips that seep down the side after you get done pouring. 

I've done this to all my oil bottles and also my oil spray and it's kept my shelving much cleaner.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Trick or Treat

Here's our Halloween/Candy Fest weekend.

Beginning of the month(ish) I determine I will not wait until last minute to decide on costumes for the kids. Luke wants to be a dog, so that's decided. Ben doesn't care, so I search and find a lego block idea that is cheap and easy.

Middle of the month(ish) we visit Grandma and Grandpa and Grandpa wonders aloud if Ben will be a motorcyclist. Ben agrees that this is the best idea. I scrap Lego block idea (even though we had already cut out the cardboard box and found the other parts- whatever, I'm just the mom here)

Wednesday I head to Goodwill to find a pair of brown pants for Luke's doggy costume and run into my friend, Kate, who loans me the ears, tail and paws. I also search all other thrift stores  for any other costume accessories.

Thursday I dress Luke up for preschool in his doggy costume, complete with brown eyeliner drawn nose. Luke catches a glimpse of his nose in the mirror and refuses to have it on. By the end of the class picture session, it's all off: ears, paws, tail, nose.
After supper, we discuss Friday night plans. Audrey is baby-sitting. V is going to a party. Bill is at the shop. And they boys and I will head to Ames to trick-or-treat with Ariana and Chiara. We compare Halloween notes with V. We have a 2 hour time frame. Rosebud does not. The latest she's ever stayed out on Halloween was 3:30 am!!! Each party is in shock!  Also, not sharing and eating all of your candy, as much as you want is okay. The longest her candy has lasted has been two days. Again, each party is in shock. Not having any spending money leftover, but still expecting a $40 costume is normal. Only one party is in shock. :)

Friday afternoon I send Audrey and V down to the dress-up box to see what they can come up with for the party. This is what V pulled together along with a black graduation robe. It was very creative of her and she was immensely proud of it, more so than if she had an expensive costume. 

Friday night the boys and I head up to Ames. Luke is very nervous about trick-or-treating. He's never done it before. He says he doesn't know how and someone has to teach him. Ben tells him that all he needs are his feet and his mouth! We arrive at Aunt Beth's house and Luke refuses to wear the paws and let me draw a doggy nose on him. Oh well. Ariana is Tinker Bell and Chiara is a fairy. Ariana leads the procession, stopping at neighbors. Pretty soon Luke gets the idea and he's all for it!! After each house, he takes off down the sidewalk. Ariana, however, thinks he should stay with us and yells to Luke, "S-O-T-P!! Stop!!" Ben, in Ben fashion, turns to Ariana and says, "It's S-T-O-P." Meanwhile, little pink fairy, doesn't exactly have any magic in her wings to hurry her little fairy butt down the sidewalk. But she does have nice tennis shoes to make noise in as she clomps her way from house to house.
We're done finally. Pizza and playing at Aunt Beth's and then back home. Boys in bed. V comes home after party and is sad because some girls were mean to her (they were mean but she's okay). Audrey returns from sitting. Phew!

Sunday evening I plan a good meal, hoping to fill bellies before the deluge of sugar. Audrey is, um, something. Luke is the poky little puppy for certain and is the last one dressed. Bill takes Ben out for a while, then Ben heads off with a friend. Audrey and V were off like a shot once we opened the door. Luke would not wear the ears, tail or paws. He wore his brown pants and brown shirt and a North Shore ball cap. Fine. Bill takes him out to collect some candy. They are out forever. I get a text later from my friend, Angie, and she says Luke stopped by. He was currently a puppy race car and he told a joke, sang his preschool smile song and another song, then used her potty. Apparently, the reason they were out so long was because Luke was chatting it up with everyone he met! (That would be Luke, for you.) Then the stash begins pouring in, 4 kids, 4 piles of loot. 4 happy kids! 

Wow! We can not have Halloween again, at least for another year!

Here's some bests from the week.
*At a party earlier in the week, Chiara says her wings are cold. 
*Best costume: a Rubiks cube- square cardboard box with construction paper cubes
*Best joke: Why did the aliens find bones on the moon? Answer- Cow didn't make it.
*Luke's joke to Angie: Knock, Knock. Who's there? Sherwood. Sherwood who? Sherwood like it if you opened the door and gave me some candy!

He Has a Lisp Now (and it's very cute)

(Sister Sally sittin' on a thistle sounds perfect when he thays it!)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Amazon (again)

Here's a great deal for music that I want to share with you. Today (Monday) only, if you go to, you can get a $3 credit for a digital download with a code. 
I have found a Mozart opera for under $3, which means it is free with the code.

Here's the code: STUDENT3

Here is what one author has to say of Mozart's Don Giovanni. "The extraordinary detail Mozart brings to the opera's characters and situations, and the way his music balances the comic and the serious, transcending the limits of genre, combine to make Don Giovanni one of the greatest works of musical theater ever created." Ted Libbey, The NPR Listener's Encyclopedia of Classical Music

And now you can listen for free!