Thursday, February 27, 2014

#AskAwayFriday with Sarah from Small Town Iowan

Hooray for Fridays!! Last week I was excited because I didn't have plans for the weekend and then I ended up getting plans. I still got some good work done around the house though. Maybe the key is to be busy, but not too busy. Didn't Benjamin Franklin say "If you want something done, ask a busy person." This weekend Frances is having a sleep over at a friend's house, and Ken and I have the boys to ourselves for Friday evening.

Today I am also pleased to swap #AskAwayFriday questions with Sarah from Small Town Iowan. Sarah is a wife and mom of two darling little girls. We met because of #AskAwayFriday, so I am happy to get to know her a bit better and swap questions this week.

 

Just to refresh your memory #AskAwayFriday is a great way to connect with other bloggers and learn more about them. Each week you find a partner and swap ten questions to answer on your blog. Then you can head over to the hosts' and link up your post. You can check out my answer's to Sarah's questions below and then you can head over and check out the other posts.

 


1. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years Frances will be 20 and likely in college. Henry will be 16 and learning to drive and finishing high school. Benjamin will be 13 and becoming a teenager. Ken and I will have been married for almost 23 years! Wow! That's tough to look at!! I hope that in ten years we will have moved to a bigger house. I don't want to go too far from our neighborhood, but at this point the kids will all be out of elementary school anyway. I wouldn't mind working where I am now because I really like it here. I guess I don't see a whole lot that will change.

2. Favorite room in your house? (Pics please ;))
I'm not sure if I have a favorite room. I spend a lot of time in my living room, because that's where everything goes on. I should probably show you my favorite corner of the couch. I joke that it has indentations shaped like my rear end because I sit there a lot!!

#AAF couch
See the dent?


3. What is one thing you can't leave home without?
My phone? I take it pretty much everywhere I go. I have a purse/carrying case for it and those two things usually go together. Lately, I've been working really hard to make sure I have earrings and a necklace as well. I enjoy wearing jewelry and it makes me feel pretty.

4. What is in your purse? (Again pics please ;))
I don't carry a big purse right now. I have a small purse that holds my phone, my ID and my credit cards, along with cash (if I have any!!) I do carry an over the shoulder bag to work every day that has my planner, iPad, and other assorted junk in it. That only goes to and from work though; and it's honestly more of a habit at this point.


5. If money wasn't an issue where would you take your dream vacation with your family?
I would love to go to New Zealand. It seems so far away that I can't help but imagine it as exotic. I'd love to go during the American winter, so I could just skip that season altogether! Summer, Fall, Winter in the US Summer in New Zealand, Spring. Sounds absolutely perfect to me! We'd go hiking and snorkeling; we'd have boat trips and lazy days on the beach.

6. You have two boys, what are some of your favorite things to do with them?
My boys are both good snugglers. Frances has mostly outgrown it. I like reading to them and being silly with them. Wednesday when I took Ben to daycare he was in a sad mood. I was trying to tease him out of it and I kept telling him to show his teacher his "butterfly gloves." Of course, his gloves have footballs on them, but he wouldn't crack a smile at all. When I asked him about it at pickup time, he called me weird and laughed at me.

7. You have one girl, what is one of your favorite things to do with her?
Frances is starting to really ask for girl time. To her girl time is anything that she and I can do together. She likes to go shopping. She likes to play board games or logic games. She's at the age where she's just fun to talk to. She has life experience (not a lot, but enough) and she's got a sense of humor. We also like doing crafts together. I keep meaning to teach her how to knit, but I haven't yet.

8. What does your typical day look like?
A typical day for me starts when the alarm goes off at 6:00. Ken gets up to turn it off and then we lie in bed for a little while and talk or try to go back to sleep. Around 6:20 or 6:30 we get up and shower and get dressed. The kids get up at 7 and then we have to start pushing them along. We try to be at the table by 7:15 with breakfast and prayer time, but we always seem to be running a bit behind. At 7:40 Benjamin and I get our stuff together and head out the door. (Ken puts the older two on the bus before he goes to work.) I drop Ben off at day care and then get to work as close to 8 as possible. I work 8-5 with an hour for lunch most days. I work in an office, so I do office-y things all day. I am fortunate that I live close enough to work that I can go home on my lunch hour and get some housework done. After work, I pick up the kids from day care and after-school and then head home. The kids do chores while I get dinner on the table. We eat and then clean up and get ready for bed. Some nights are bath nights and some nights we don't have enough time. The kids are supposed to be in bed by 7:30 so I can read to them, but again, we are usually running behind. Lights off at 8ish and then I sit in their room for a bit so they can go to sleep without bugging each other. After that I usually watch some TV and fold some laundry before I go to bed at 10.

9. If you could have a day to yourself what would you do?
I am lucky that I do get days to myself on a regular basis. It's always a toss up whether I'll catch up on housework or just read a book and watch TV all day. I think both are equally important for my sanity!!

10. What is your favorite outfit?
I wore it Wednesday and I forgot to take a picture! It's a lot of brown, but I think that's a good color on me. I have a brown skirt that's made out of this great swishy material that's got some good stretch to it. I usually wear it with brown tights and my brown "suede" boots. On top I have an orange/melon camisole and a brown sweater. The sweater is one of my favorites because it has some variegated rainbow threads woven through it and it has two buttons in front. It isn't meant to be fully closed, so it shows the cami for a pop of color. I have several different pieces of jewelry I wear with this outfit and I can't remember what I wore on Wednesday.

Thanks for sticking around or all my answers! Remember to check out Sarah's answers to my questions and then take a look at the rest of the linkup!

 

Easy Pork BBQ in the Crock Pot {Recipe}

Mondays are crock pot day at my house.  Typically that's a day that Ken works late and I have the kids by myself.  I try to get something ready on Sunday night so I can put it in the crock pot Monday morning and then come home to a dinner ready to go.  This week, the crock pot experiment was a total bust!  I put rice and chicken in there. I followed the recipe I found, but it did not end well. The rice was like a mushy glue and the chicken was dry.  We ate it.  It didn't taste bad. It just wasn't delicious or palate pleasing. I dumped the leftovers that night.

But the week before?  That was excellent! We had found a pork shoulder butt (hehehe!) on markdown at the grocery store for $12 something.  I took it home with the plan to toss it in the crock pot over the weekend and make some yummy barbecue.  It turned out really well and made enough food for at least five dinners, so it was quite a bargain!

You'll need:
 1 onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pork shoulder butt (hehehe!-Sorry, I'm immature!)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
Your favorite BBQ sauce, to taste (optional)

You also need a crock pot liner because one time I didn't use one (like my Mommy said I should) and I ended up soaking the crock for two days to clean it out afterwards! Lesson learned! Use a liner!


Put the liner in your crock and place onion slices along the bottom. Sprinkle with minced garlic.  Next take all your spices and mix them together and rub onto the meat.  (Now your hands will smell like cumin and garlic all day!)  Place the meat on top of the onions and garlic, and then carefully pour your liquid around the edges.  Pop the lid on and set it.  My crock pot has four settings and I always use the longest, since I'm gone for a 9-10 hour day.  You can use whichever setting works for your schedule.

After the meat has cooked, pull it out of the crock and put it into another bowl.  It should shred very easily, either with two forks pulling against each other, or your hands if it's had time to cool.  You can add some of the liquid from the crock if it seems too dry.

I divided this meat into five sections (four freezer bags and the frying pan).  The meat in the bags, I left alone. To the meat in the frying pan, I added some barbecue sauce we had on hand and heated it up. We had it for dinner on Saturday night. I meant to take a picture of the finished product, but we ate it all! Sorry!

The rest of the meat is in the freezer and ready to pull out for dinner in a snap!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Creating Word Clouds with Tagxedo

I love graphic design. I have no training in it, and my designs aren't all that great, but I enjoy playing with it and creating blog buttons, birthday invitations, Christmas cards, and flyers.  I have PhotoShop on my computer at work and I would love to learn more about it. For now, I try things out to see how they work.  I have used PicMonkey quite a few times to create blog buttons or graphics for my posts.  My friend Michelle wrote a great post on how to use Canva.com and I've tried it out a few times now. 

Shortly before Christmas I was looking around for gift ideas that wouldn't cost much and I stumbled across another great corner of the web!  Tagxedo.com is a place to create word clouds in any shape you could possibly want!  If you like word clouds, you'll want to check this out.
word cloud

Tagxedo is a site that allows you to control many different aspects of the word cloud creation process.  You can choose the shape of the cloud, the color scheme, the fonts, as well as what words are used. Let's get started!

First click "start now"
word cloud
This will take you to the main layout page where you can make your design changes.On the right you'll see their generic image, on the left you'll see the editing menu.  
word cloud

First you'll want to pick a shape using the "shape" menu under options.  There are a number of pre-loaded options already available, but if you don't see one you like, it is very easy to create your own. To create your own just head over to Google Images and run a search for the shape you want. Or, you can open Word and type in a letter, word or phrase and adjust the size and font until you get what you want. You will want an image with a low amount of detail to it for the best results. Save your image somewhere you can find it, and back at Tagxedo, click the "shape" menu and then "add image." That will allow you to find the image you saved and import it.

The image that loads will be a shadow of the image you uploaded.  You can click the bars underneath to adjust how thick or thin your lines are.  Keep in mind that very thin places will be unlikely to get filled with words.

Once you have your image the way you like it, click "accept" and your image will show up with the default words.  To change which words show up, click "load" at the top of the left hand menu, right under the Tagxedo logo. From here you can upload a file from your desktop, you can enter a url or you can copy and paste (or type) whatever text you want into the box and then click "submit."

You now have your chosen words filling out your image.  If you don't like the way it looks, you can change the shape or text at any point, but I recommend playing around with those before you move on to the next step.

On the left hand menu, you can adjust the color, color theme, fonts, orientation, and layout.  Click the "reload" arrow will make a random adjustment, you you can click the black arrows next to theme, font, and orientation to be more purposeful about your adjustments.
word cloud

When your image makes you happy, you can click "save|share" to...save or share it.  There are lots of different options here as well, depending on the quality of the output you are looking for.  I made a lot of these for friends for Christmas and printed them directly to the color printer and framed them.  They made thoughtful, personal gifts for basically the price of a frame.

The ones I made for my kids were in the shape of something that made me think of them (horse for Frances, puppy for Henry, and tiger for Benjamin). I input words for each kid that included their name, nicknames, and other words that came to mind. I honestly thought it was a dorky kind of gift and more for me than for them, but they have spent hours looking at all the words and shouting them out excitedly. It is especially sweet for Henry because he is just becoming a fluent reader, so big jumbles of letters where words jump out at him are exciting!

Have you tried Tagxedo or do you think you might give it a try now?  It's lots of fun with tons of options!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

#TuesdayTen: 10 Things that Happen on a Perfect Day

This Tuesday, we are venturing into fantasy land and pondering what would happen on a perfect day. It's fun to think about even if there is no such thing as a perfect day. Or perhaps I have a rich, well-connected admirer out there who has been waiting to make my {perfect} day and just needs a blueprint. In that case, here it is!!
Perfect Day

  1. To start my perfect day everyone in my house would wake up fully rested. That means no alarms clocks, no requests for TV or breakfast, no full bladders making me get out of bed before my body is completely done sleeping.
  2. In addition to being fully rested, we are not going to have a lot of required plans today, so it's going to be a Saturday that Ken doesn't work.
  3. After we wake up (fully rested) and get dressed, we'll have a nice breakfast. I actually like cooking, so I don't mind making breakfast, just as long as the "perfect day" scenario is in place and my kitchen is 50% bigger and 100% cleaner than normal.
  4. After all of my children have eaten their fill, we are going to go out for a hike, because of course, it's a sunny, warm day.
  5. We will get to the hike location and everyone will don their backpack for the hike. Of course, being a perfect hike we will see the most amazing wildlife and greenery. Each animal that we will see will turn to us in that classic "looking over the shoulder" pose that photographers love and I will capture each of them perfectly with my nice camera (that I actually know how to use).
  6. Midway through our hike, as we are starting to get a little tired and hungry (since everyone is walking and no one is demanding to be carried or whining about being thirsty) we will reach the top of the mountain. After we look out over the majestic views and bask in the splendor of God's creation, we will unpack the nicely prepared picnic lunch that we bought with us.
  7. We will leisurely eat our lunch while spread out on our picnic blanket. After lunch everyone will take a brief nap in the sunshine (which will, of course, not burn anyone's skin while they are sleeping). If anyone is not in the mood for a nap after all the wonderful sleep they got last night, they are welcome to read a book.
  8. When everyone is rejuvenated from their break, we will start the hike back down the mountain. We will take a sightly different route, which will bing us to a beautiful mountain lake. This lake is fed by clear hot springs from somewhere deep in the mountain, and since I thought ahead to pack our swim suits, we'll all take a dip in the wonderful 100ยบ water.
  9. After our refreshing swim, we'll finish our hike down the mountain and head home. We will arrive home to the smells of a wonderful dinner I prepared for the crockpot before we left. While we are waiting for dinner to finish cooking, we'll play a few board games as a family. Everyone will get a turn to win and we'll each congratulate the winner without whining or complaining about cheating or changing the rules.
  10. After dinner the kids will wash up and get ready for bed. They'll kiss us good night and get into bed for story time. After such a vigorous day, they'll each fall asleep on the last line of the chapter I am reading and be breathing softly as I leave the room to go watch a movie on the couch with Ken. Since this is my perfect day, we'll munch on popcorn together and both stay awake throughout the entire movie.
So there you go, oh rich and well-connected benefactor. I truly don't ask for much on my perfect day. And here's the blueprint you've been waiting for. You have some time to get everything set up, since it looks like this imaginary day takes place sometime in June. Thanks in advance! Can't wait for the day!!

How about you? Do you have a prefect day scenario? Link up yours and/or leave a comment about it below. And now back to reality...




Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:

TheLiebers

The Teacher Wife


We hope you have enjoyed our Tuesday Ten Lists!  If so, please link up one of your own and share using #TuesdayTen!
Rules:
1) Link up a post, old or new, pertaining to the Tuesday Ten topic for this week and add our Tuesday Ten button to the post or to your sidebar.
2) Please do not link up contests, product reviews, or sponsored posts.
3) Visit your hostesses and follow them on social media.
4) Visit as many other linked posts as you can and show those bloggers some love by commenting and/or sharing!

Come link up again next Tuesday, March 4th when the topic will be "Your Favorite Recipes" in honor of National Nutrition Month & Mardi Gras!
 Get your pinnable content ready to go!


Photobucket

Monday, February 24, 2014

BestSkinsEver iPhone Protection {Review}

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
BestSkinsEver
I got an iPhone 4 right around when the iPhone 5 was coming out. Obviously when there is a new product release, companies want to get "old" product off the shelves to make room for the new stuff. When I got the phone I already had a case that a friend had given me because it didn't work for her. I did get some screen protectors though. I've known me for a long time and I knew that phone needed all the protection it could get!!
The first screen protector was put on by the guy at the Verizon store and I replaced it once after that. There were always a few bubbles and loose corners in those screen protectors. The case I had actually cracked and I bought another one off a different friend. I have dropped my phone a few times, but it only has one little mark in the corner because I was stupidly carrying it without the case for some reason.
I am not easy on electronics. I honestly try to take good care of them and I teach my kids to do the same. Inevitably, I get careless though and things happen. I'm actually surprised at how well my phone has fared considering my track record and the amount of use it gets; from me and from the kids.
When I saw the opportunity to review something to protect my phone, I jumped at the chance. Anything extra I can do to keep my phone in good condition is awesome in my book. A case is nice to protect your device from being dropped (but obviously not a perfect solution), where a Skin is meant to give protection against scratches.
I was sent this Skin for my iPhone 4 from BestSkinsEver to review. This Skin is regularly priced at $8.99, which I think is very reasonable. As I mentioned earlier, I had a screen protector on my phone and that is honestly what I was expecting to get for this review. This product turned out to be much more than a screen protector and I was very impressed.
I'll be honest, the time between being accepted for the review and receiving the product was much longer than I have been accustomed to. However, communication was good and I am going to chalk it up to them making sure they sent me the exact product I needed. They did email me to be sure that they knew exactly which kind of phone I had because their skins are tailored specifically to each device. I have also contacted their customer service to ask a few questions and was responded to quickly and professionally.
BestSkinsEver
See all the pieces?
I received two skins, instructions and helpful tips. I read through the instructions to make sure I knew what I was doing and then I got started. I honestly meant to make a video of the whole installation, but the first part of it got deleted on accident and the second part is very long, so I'm kind of glad I don't have the whole thing.
The application is not terribly difficult but it can be a bit confusing because there are lots of different pieces to apply. I started with the back since that was the largest, least complicated piece. You spray your hands and the Skin with a solution of 1/4 tsp. dish soap and 1-1/4 cups water in a spray bottle. This solution keeps the Skin from sticking to your hands and prevents you from leaving fingerprints on it.
BestSkinsEver
This spray bottle usually holds "Monster Spray" AKA nothing
After you spray your hands and the Skin, you apply it to the correct place on your device. It does not adhere right away which gives you the chance to wiggle and smooth it into the correct location. The pieces are very precise, so it does take some careful attention to detail to get them in the right spots. The good news is that means your phone is very precisely protected!
After you have applied all the pieces and carefully squeegeed the water away from your phone, the directions say to let it cure for 24 hours. That's the hardest part of the whole application!! I did have to take my phone with me fairly soon after I finished applying the Skin, but I handled it as little as possible and none of the pieces shifted. Now, three days later, the Skin is fully adhered to my phone. Immediately after I finished there were a few tiny bubble in areas that would not affect my view, but now they have mostly gone away. I lifted a small corner to see what happened and it went back into place fine and does not seem to have lost any adhesiveness in that spot. I also ran my fingernail along the back of the phone with as much pressure as I could. It left a mark that was completely gone within three minutes.
I'm going to go ahead and post the video I made of the more complicated part of the installation. I'm sorry you have to stare at my chest in the background, but aren't you glad I wore a pretty necklace? I am posting this because as I said above, there are many small pieces and initially I had trouble figuring out where each one went. They are even so precise as to have a 5mm long piece that fits exactly between the volume buttons on the side of my phone!
BestSkinsEver
See that 5 mm piece between the volume buttons?

Overall I am very happy with the product I was sent for review. If I could give two suggestions they would be to include a diagram of which pieces go where on the phone since there are so many pieces. Also I would hope that the shipment delays I experienced were not typical of the company. I think this is a great product that will protect your phone from scratches on all visible surfaces. Please note: this Skin is not meant to protect you device from being dropped. I will still be using my vinyl case for that purpose, but now the screen is protected as well.
If you would like more information, I will gladly answer any questions that you have. Additionally you can contact BestSkinsEver directly through any of the following means:

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

#AskAwayFriday with Lanaya from Raising Reagan

I'm so glad it's Friday! February seems like the month that never ends, and this week made it seem even longer!  I've been yearning for Friday since about Monday morning at 10:00! I am happy to say that my only plans for the weekend involve hanging around the house and teaching Sunday school for Benjamin's class. I might try to fold a few loads of laundry, but I don't want to overdo anything!!

Since it's Friday I am excited to present another #AskAwayFriday! This week I am paired up with Lanaya from Raising Reagan.   Lanaya is a self-proclaimed gym rat and OCD perfectionist. She has a three and a half year old daughter, Reagan. Lanaya blogs about her adventures in raising her daughter, her recent return to the workforce and the educational children's toys that she sells at her site Reagan's Toy Chest.
http://www.rhocc.com/


Just to recap, #AskAwayFriday is a great way to connect with other bloggers and learn more about them.  Each week you find a partner and swap ten questions to answer  on your blog.  Then you can head over to the hosts' and link up your post. You can check out my answer's to Lanaya's questions below and then you can head over and check out the other posts.
 

1. One of the things that attracted me to your blog is your ability to draw a reader into your post. Have you ever, or would you ever, consider writing a book {outside of your Mother of All Meltdowns awesomeness?} 
Wow! I'm honored that you would even ask that!  I guess I do have a book or two in my head, but they aren't complete ideas and I've never written them down. One idea is geared towards adults and the other is for kids. I'd really like to write the children's book and have Ken illustrate it. He says his drawings are no good, but I like his pictures!

2. You are the contestant on Jeopardy. What categories would you like to see and dominate? 
My friend Deserae is going to crack up when she sees this question!  I haven't watched Jeopardy in a while, but I used to watch it with my parents all the time.  I don't do well with history type questions or anything to do with dates. I'm probably 50/50 on pop culture stuff.  My best categories are probably the language and vocabulary ones.  I like the ones that have to start with a specific letter or have a certain number of letters or syllables.

 3. All three of your children are unique in their own right. Knowing that and being able to see into the future, pick their future job. 
Frances will be mad at me if I don't say "vet" for her.  She's been aiming for that since she was about four and she swears she'll never change her mind.  Henry likes to ask lots of questions and figure out how things work, so I could see him as an inventor or scientist of some sort.  On the other hand, he's very persistent and pig-headed, so I often say he'll run his own company someday.  It's hard to tell with Benjamin because he's still young and still forming his personality. He does love to sing though, and he can remember the lyrics to songs he's only heard once or twice. Maybe he'll be a musician of some sort.

 4. I asked Stacey this last week and I loved reading her answer because I too have a recurring dream. Do you have one? 
The only recurring dream I have isn't even a full dream. I often dream that I am walking through a house. I see a door that I think is to a closet of something similarly small, but when I open it to go through it's another room.  In the dream I keep walking through doors into new rooms without every getting anywhere.  I wonder what that says about my life??

5. I was reading a post of yours from last Summer. You mentioned that you hadn’t seen some of the iconic movies from the “Brat Pack.” {The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles} Have you seen any of them a year later? 
You can see the post here. And for as mad as it seems to make people, I've still never seen those movies.  I've actually still not done any of those things on the original list.


6. You are a bit of a math geek {said with love!} What is it about math that calms you?
I do like math!  I like that math has an answer. You can work a problem and get to the end and know whether you are correct or not. Even if there are a ton of steps or it gets confusing. If you work hard, follow the instructions and do things the way you're supposed to, you'll get the right answer. Life doesn't work that way, unfortunately.

7. Do you have a least favorite flavor or smell? 
I have two smells that I cannot stand! I do not like vanilla or maple.  They both make me nauseous. I don't like the taste of coconut.

8. I’m going to roll 8-10 into one question: 
     a. Trade places with one blogger for the day .. who do you pick? 
      I'm going to trade places with you, Lanaya!  That way I can be somewhere warm and have a pool in my backyard!!

     b. Trade places with one blog for the day … which blog do you takeover? 
     I would take over The Dose of Reality's blog.  Then I would get to hang out with Lisa and Ashley and be in on their amazing sounding blog conversations they always have!
     c. Trade places with one celebrity for the day … who do you become? 
     I don't know that there's a celebrity that I would trade places with.  Their lives seem so busy and stressful.  I think I'd much rather stick with my mostly boring, uneventful existence!
     d. And finally … trade places with one historical figure for the day … who do you choose, what day {if applicable} and why? 
     My first thought would be to trade places with some really awful person from history and make them alter their actions, but I worry that I might not have that much control and I might have to watch them commit atrocities.  So I don't think I'm going to pick that.  I think I'd rather go back in time to listen to a famous speech. I could just be a spectator and hear Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, or maybe Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream Speech.

These were some awesome questions! I had such fun thinking of my answers! I hope you check out the questions I asked Lanaya and then head over to one of the hosts and check out the rest of the posts. As a side note, I'm scheduling March's partners, so whether you've played before or not, if you'd like to pair up with me for a Friday in March just let me know!

Old School Blogging: Valentine's Day Style!

For some reason this year Valentine's Day seems to be the holiday that never ends.  I guess it's mainly because of the weather we had.  We were completely snowed in on Thursday and Friday of last week.  The kids had to postpone their holiday parties at school.  Frances and Henry had theirs on Monday, but Ben's isn't until today.  On Tuesday, Lisa and I shared a ton of love with our #TuesdayTen linkup of our favorite blogs. Today I thought I'd try out some "Old School Blogging" with these Valentine's Day themed questions from Miss Elaine-ous and Tamara.

http://www.misselaineouslife.com/


How do you typically celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Valentine's Day at our house is more about the kids really.  They make their Valentine cards for their classmates and teachers.  They collect candy at school and make crafts for us.  Ken and I don't go all out for the holiday, which is perfectly fine with me. 

Do you like to get A)chocolates B) flowers  C) a sweet card or D) ALL OF THE ABOVE?
I would not say "no" to any of them, but handwritten cards mean the most.  Plus, those I get to keep forever, where flowers are gone after a few days and chocolates...those last a few hours.

Would you consider yourself a “cuddler”?  If not, would you at least cuddle on Valentine’s Day?  
I can be a cuddler sometimes.  My boys like sitting on my lap in the evenings, but that might such be because I always claim prime real estate on the couch.  Ken and I like to sit together to watch TV after the kids go to bed.  We sit together then, most of the time.  I honestly can't sleep with people touching me though.

What is your favorite movie about love or with a love story?  
I love The Princess Bride.  In some ways the story is silly, but overall I just love it!!
 

Do you believe in “love at first sight”?  Did it happen to you?  
I feel like an old fuddy duddy saying this, but I don't really believe in it.  I think you can like someone right away, and maybe you know that the person you just met is someone you want to spend a good deal of time with, but love is so much more than that.  I don't think it's instant. It takes work. Needless to say, Ken and I did not fall in love at first sight. We were friends for three or four years before we started dating and we dated for five years before we got married.

What is one of the main things you love about your S.O.(significant other)?   
I love Ken's sense of humor.  We like to laugh together. We have lots of inside jokes that get passed back and forth between us.  And it's great to see the kids picking up on his sense of humor.

Do you believe love can conquer all things?
I think that with love you can do a lot.


If you could have the perfect Valentine date what would you and your loved one do?
The perfect date for us would probably be a nice dinner and maybe a movie (if I can stay awake that long!) If it isn't February, I could go for a hike and a picnic.

Tell me about your first crush!  
His name was Blake.  He was in my Kindergarten class.  He had blond hair, blue eyes and dimples.  We kissed under the table at lunch one day.  

Do you have any embarrassing or horror dating stories? 
I don't know if it counts as a dating horror story, since I didn't actually know it was a date.  Or maybe that qualifies it!  Anyway, A guy friend of mine asked me out for lunch. We went to an Applebee's.  We were talking and laughing and I took a drink of my Dr. Pepper.  When I set it down, I missed the table and put the glass on the edge of my plate.  It tipped forward and spilled Dr. Pepper all over the table and some on him.  We laughed about it, but it was quite embarrassing!

Favorite flower?
I am partial to daisies, but honestly right now these are my favorites!


What’s the first type of chocolate you hope for when you reach into a box of chocolates?   
I like the caramels.  I don't like anything with a fruity filling or coconut.  I also don't care for plain chocolate without something else to break up the taste.

Favorite love song?
I'm not good with naming songs! I sing along to everything and never know the names to anything!!

What is the best breakup song? 
See above

Favorite celebrity couple? 
I'm not sure I can answer this, because they'll probably have broken up by the time I post this.  I don't follow celebrities enough to have a favorite, honestly!

Overall, are you pro- or anti- Valentine’s Day? 
I am anti-hype.  I hate the pressure that people feel to be with someone on this random day of the year. I hate the thought o getting a gift just because the calendar says so.  But I do love love.  I like the idea of kids exchanging sweet notes with each other and taking the time to tell people you care.  I guess I'm wishy-washy on the topic.

If someone did that “Say Anything” boombox thing outside your window, would you be into it, or call the police? 
I would probably have to call the police, because there is no way Ken would ever do something like that and I wouldn't want it done by anyone else but him.

First thing you notice about the objects of your affection? 
Smile?   I think that's the first thing I notice about most people.  Not whether you have a nice smile, but just whether you tend to smile at all.  I try not to spend time around grumpy people, so people who spontaneously smile are my kind of people!

What’s the best thing you’ve ever gotten for Valentine’s Day?
Hugs and kisses from my family!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

One of Those Days

Have you ever had "one of those days?"  The ones where it seems doomed from the start?  Do they typically turn around for you? Are you able to pull yourself out of a downward spiral?

Yesterday was "one of those days" for me.  It started out with a school delay that set me off right away because Henry had a dentist appointment at the same time that school was supposed to be starting.  I had to scramble around at 6 am to find someone who could get Frances to school for me. The original plan had been to take the kids to school, go to work and get started on a few things and then go back for Henry.  Unfortunately, I had to take both big kids to work with me to get my day started.  I had found a friend to drop Frances off with, but she wasn't ready when I left the house, so both kids came with me.

I got a few things started at work before it was time to head out. I got lost trying to get to Frances' friend's house and then got a stupid speeding ticket on the way to the dentist. I cried through the first half of Henry's appointment partly because I was mad about the ticket, but also party because I was mad that we were there in the first place.

Now is a good time to tell you that Henry had some pretty major dental work done less than two years ago. It was done as outpatient work in the hospital and Henry had to be put completely under.  He was only four at the time and we didn't think he would do well with just a local anesthetic.  He had a really hard time coming off the anesthetic; he screamed and clawed at me and went back to sleep a few times before he finally completely woke up.  It was terrifying for him and horrible for me to witness.

Fast forward almost two years and the work that dentist did is almost all falling apart.  Two of his fillings have completely fallen out, leaving holes in his teeth that expose the roots. I called the dentist who did the work and she refuses to stand behind her work.  Now we are going to have to have someone else fix her mistakes and pay for the procedures all over again.  That's the other reason I cried through most of the dental visit. 

After Henry's appointment, I took him out for lunch since he had missed his lunch period at school.  I was planning on paying with cash because I had a fifty in my pocket from watching the neighbor's cat while she was out of town. However, when I tried to pay I couldn't find it.  I searched through my pockets and my wallet to no avail.  I glanced at the guy behind me and he seemed a bit shifty.  I figured my money had fallen out of my pocket and he had taken it.  I seriously almost asked him in the middle of McDonald's, but I thought better of it and just let it go.  I paid with my debit card and enjoyed a nice lunch with my mid-kid.

After I dropped him off at school, I headed back to work so I could sit down for 30 minutes before heading out to a class.  I met up with a friend in my building and we headed out to her car.  On the way out, we passed a flower delivery guy.  When we were trying to leave the parking lot, we saw him getting into his van.  

In front of my building there is a bus lane where the buses typically park to wait.  Because of where one particular  bus was parked, the flower van couldn't back up and no one could get around him. We were stuck and so were three cars in front of us and three more behind us.  We grumbled and made silly, snide comments about the flower delivery guy and the person to whom he had delivered flowers.

When we were finally able to leave the lot we were already late for our class, and of course, there is never parking to be found in the part of campus we were heading to.  We laughed a bit because we ended up being fifteen minutes late for class, mostly because we couldn't get out of a parking lot, not because we couldn't get into on!

After class we headed back to our building and I also discovered that I had lost my earring.  When I got back to my office I was told there was a delivery for me in the front of the building (where I had just come from).  I went back up front only to discover that the flowers that had made me late for class were mine!!

My friend Julie had felt bad when I had texted her about my awful morning and sent them to me to brighten my day.  I had a very good, very long laugh about the whole situation.  And when I got into my van to head home after my mis-adventure of a day, I found my fifty bucks in the door of the van!

Have you ever had one of those days?  The kind that start out so wrong and end so hysterically funny?  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

#TuesdayTen: Blogs I Love {LinkUp}

Is it Tuesday already?  I have such a hard time getting back into the swing of things after snow days throw me off!  Frances' class just celebrated Valentine's day yesterday at school and Ben's class has postponed their shindig until this Thursday.  That's probably going to confuse me even more!
But I digress.

It's Tuesday and this week we are celebrating our favorite blogs! This sounded like an awesome way to keep the spirit of love from Valentine's Day alive. (And is now especially pertinent, since apparently we're still celebrating!) The problem is that when I sit down to think of 10 blogs I love, I get overwhelmed. There are so many that I love reading!! And I can't pick them all!!

But Lisa said I had to, so with a little bit of arm twisting...here are my Top 10 Favorite Blogs.  You should definitely check them out.  Tell them I sent you.  I'm not sure what that would do, but I've always wanted someone to tell someone else I sent them. Also, I've sorted them into three categories.  Some of them overlap, but I put them where they fit best for me.

Make You Laugh

  1. The Dose of Reality--Lisa and Ashley are the Dynamic Duo behind this blog. They are best friends who decided to share their insights and conversations with the online world.  Here you can see some hysterically funny Pinterest Nightmares and ponder some really great "Would You Rather" questions
  2. The Bloggess--Jenny is an irreverant, cat loving, antique finding, husband annoying joy of a woman. She blogs about adventures that have come her way in her own sarcastic way. If you've never read her blog before, you have to start with the story of Beyonce, the big metal chicken.
  3. The Science of Parenthood--Norine and Jessica have paired up to explain the enigmas of parenting through the use of quasi scientific and mathematical principles...and some awesome pictures. If you've ever tried to figure out why your kid always gets sick the night before you have a big presentation at work or why your kid knows all the words to the Caillou theme song but can't remember where his shoes are , this is the blog for you!

Make You Think

  1. Momastery--Glennon has dedicated her blog to the idea that small things can make big differences.  She talks about life and parenting in a real way and has put together some amazing "love flash mobs" to raise money for some incredible causes.
  2. Tamara Camera--Tamara is a super taster; of life and food.  She takes amazing pictures and then presents her thoughts and words to you in such a way that you can't help but want to go deeper in conversation with her about them. She's real, she's down to earth and she's brave!
  3. Surviving Our Blessings --Abbey is a friend of mine from church. She has three little ones and she blogs about life and Catholicism. Her posts always stir up something within me and help me to reflect on my own faith life.
  4. Mom Cafe--Chris has away of writing that brings holiness to motherhood and parenting.  I like to think that I am pretty good at recognizing God at work all around me, but Chris definitely has me beat.  Her posts are inspiring and good and true.

Help You Learn

  1. Another Jennifer--Want to learn about blogging, vlogging, philanthropy or left-handedness?  Jennifer is your go to gal!  Plus, her resolution this year is to be awesome every day and she's blowing that out of the water!
  2. A Dish of Daily Life--Almost any time I have had a question about social media, I have gone to Michelle and she has helped me out.  She's also got great tips for taking pictures, storing pictures and printing pictures!!
  3. The SITS girls--I probably would not have been able to make all the strides that I have made in the past 18 months without this blog.  The SITS girls are two women who have teamed up to take the blogging world by storm.  They have fantastic tutorials on everything to do with blogging, but the best part is really the relationship (or "tribe") building that they do.  
  4.  
What about your favorite blogs?  You can make a list of ten and linkup with us, or just add their links in the comments below.




Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:

TheLiebers

The Teacher Wife


We hope you have enjoyed our Tuesday Ten Lists!  If so, please link up one of your own and share using #TuesdayTen!
Rules:
1) Link up a post, old or new, pertaining to the Tuesday Ten topic for this week and add our Tuesday Ten button to the post or to your sidebar.
2) Please do not link up contests, product reviews, or sponsored posts.
3) Visit your hostesses and follow them on social media.
4) Visit as many other linked posts as you can and show those bloggers some love by commenting and/or sharing!

Come link up again next Tuesday, February 25, when the topic will be 10 Things That Happen on a Perfect Day!



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Monday, February 17, 2014

Fire Safety in the Snow


Many of us take fire safety within our homes very seriously.  We check the smoke detectors twice a year, keep extinguishers on hand, and act diligently to reduce fire hazards around the house, such as fixing loose electrical cords, keeping candles and matches away from flammable items and out of the reach of children, and observing safe cooking practices.

Our family has an escape plan that we have practiced and gone over enough that the neighbor isn't surprised anymore when we all show up breathlessly on her doorstep.  Henry and Ben don't need any practice crawling through the house, but we've done that anyway, as well.  We've even talked about what we take with us (nothing) and who the kids are responsible for looking for (no one) in the instance that we need to get out quickly.

Up until recently the only outside fire safety we've considered is making sure out address is visible from the street, so that rescue crews can locate us quickly if necessary.  This recent snow storm, however, brought up a piece of advice that I had not heard of before: digging out the fire hydrant. Seconds count in a fire emergency. If your home or a neighbor's home is on fire, you don't want to waste the time it takes for the fire fighters to locate and access the closest fire hydrant!
clear three feet on each side

Fire hydrants need to be cleared of snow three feet on each side and to the road.  This will allow emergency personnel easy access to the life-saving, property-saving water inside.  Adopting your nearest fire hydrant will help keep your home safe as well as the homes of those around you.  While you are digging out your sidewalk and driveway, please look around for the fire hydrant buried in the snow and take care of that too.

Saturday morning Frances, Henry, and I grabbed some shovels, a rake, and our ruler (from the fire department, of course) and headed across the street.  Frances got to work with a shovel, while Henry preferred the "dig like a dog" method.  I used our snow shovel to clear out the space in front of the hydrant towards the road.  That part was fairly easy compared to the effort it took to shovel the snow off of the grass.  I found that an up and down chopping motion was useful to loosen up the snow and then I could scoop it up and toss it aside. We stopped to measure a few times and kept working til we cleared the required 3 feet on all sides.
The kids were pretty proud of their hard work after we finished.  And we all feel good knowing that we've made our neighborhood a little bit safer.

Do you know where the closest fire hydrant to your house is?  Do you take care of it in the snow?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

#AskAwayFriday with Christy from Uplifting Families

The Real Housewife of Caroline County

It's Friday and time for another #AskAwayFriday! This week I am pairing up with Christy from Uplifting Families.  Christy is a mom of three and she blogs to help parents learn new things to help make parenting easier! She'd got some great resources, especially if you are a new mom or a soon-to-be-mom.  You should definitely check her out!

But first, check out these questions she asked me and see how I answered them!!

1. I noticed that you and your husband have been married for a long time. What advice would you share with someone who just got married? 
I don't know if I know any big secrets, but what works for us is to be on the same page. We don't always agree and we certainly have fights, but at the end of the day I love him and he loves me and we have a beautiful family together. Our goal is to be together, and so we work towards that goal. It's okay to get mad and yell or even dislike each other for a little while.  Just try not to say things that can't be taken back, and be willing to admit fault and make up when it's time.

2. If your husband took you on a surprise date, where would he take you? 
The fact that he planned something would be the surprise! LOL!!  But if we got a chance to go out, we'd probably do dinner and a movie.  It seems cliche, but we don't get to do it very often, so it would be exciting to us!

3. Are you and your husband planning on doing anything special for Valentine’s day? 
I just asked him this Wednesday morning and neither of us has any real ideas! He'll be off from work, so that will be special for us because he usually works on Friday nights.  We'll probably have a heart shaped pizza for dinner. Does that count??

4. This winter has been crazy, are you looking forward to warmer temperatures? 
Yes, YES, YES!!  I am so ready to be done with all this cold and snowy weather! I am a summer, sunshine girl and I cannot wait for 75 degree temps and sunshine!

5. What is your dream vehicle? 
Another super boring answer: I love my Honda Odyssey! There's plenty of room for the kids. I can get into the back seats easily if someone needs help getting buckled in.   And the space in the back is awesome for groceries, bikes, or luggage; whatever the case may be!

6. If you were given $500 dollars to spend on yourself, what would you spend it on? 
I'd love to replace some of my wardrobe, guilt-free. I hate spending money on myself, but if that was the requirement, I think I'd be okay.  I'd also make sure to get rid of all the stuff I never wear and that doesn't fit, so I could make room for my nice, new stuff!

7. As a mom, what are three baby products that you couldn’t live with other aside from clothes, diapers, wipes, bottles, blankets, and burp cloths? 
I was just telling a friend earlier in the week that I don't even remember the baby stuff that well anymore! I loved wearing my babies when I got the chance and I had a sling and borrowed a wrap for them when they were little.  My boys are a little less than three years apart, so a stroller was also an essential so that I could put on in the stroller and carry/wear the other one.  I also loved our Bumbo chair because it gave me the chance to put down a kid, but still let him/her in on the action.  My boys didn't like being where they could hear things going on but not see them, so they loved sitting up in the Bumbo and checking out their surroundings.

 8. My daughter is 17 years old and started dating last year. I am thankful that my daughter waited until she was a bit older but I have seen younger kids dating. Are you prepared for your daughter to start dating? 
LALALALALALALALALALA!! I can't hear you!! I'm sorry. What did you say!?!  In other words: No, I do not think I am ready for her to start dating.  The funny thing is that there are two boys in her class that have crushes on her, but she's just in that space yet so she doesn't see it.  I've been on field trips and seen them competing for her attention and she is completely to it. 

9. You have been blogging for a long time. Have you ever attended a blog conference? If so, which one? 
I have never been to a blog conference. I didn't even really know what they were until last year.  I'd be interested in going at some point, but for us now it is cost-prohibitive.  And honestly, I would be more interested in meeting some bloggy friends than going to the talks. 

10. What is your favorite scripture in the Bible? Easy one!  My favorite scripture is Psalm 118:24. It's on the license plate of my car and I have it written on various plaques, cards, and pictures around my house.  My mom sang it to me when I was born and throughout childhood. Ken and I used a different song version of it in our wedding and I have sung it to my kids repeatedly!! 

My First Vlog: On Why I Don't Vlog

This year seems to be the year that I am stepping outside my comfort zone and doing things I've never done before.  I've set up a meeting and pitched a large fundraising idea to someone I'd never met before.  I've volunteered to sit on a panel to discuss a topic near and dear to my heart. And today I am inviting all of you over for a peek at my house.  I've made a vlog!  Not to be confused with blogging, vlogging is a term that indicates a video web log.  Also, don't get it mixed up with clogging or flogging as autocorrect tends to do:

My friend Lydia vlogs.  She has this great music in her videos. It makes the kids come running.  Henry thinks it's hysterical and he always wants me to keep playing it.  Jennifer vlogs too.  She's got some great tips for vlogging here.  Those tips helped inspire me to try this out and see what happens.

So here it goes. Let me know what you think! But be gentle.  And no comments about the laundry...I'm looking at you MOM!
Please tell me I'm not the only one to decorate with clean laundry!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Do As I Say; Not As I Do

I remember my mom saying, "Do as I say, not as I do." a lot when I was a kid.  I don't remember what she was referring to.  I think most of the time it was silly stuff; but she did smoke when we were kids and we called her on it.  Thankfully both of my parents have quit smoking and I am really proud of them for it! 

I don't think I've really ever said those words to my kids.  Probably because they've never called me on my hypocrisy.  But I see it; and I comment to myself each time I do it.  I hope my kids don't learn all my bad habits!

I've recently posted about things I should say more often as well as things I should say less oftenThese are the things that I say to my kids that I should actually be saying to myself!

  1. "If you trip over it, maybe you should pick it up and put it away!"
  2. "You are tired! Go to bed!"
  3. "If you get something out, put it away!"
  4. "Pick out your clothes tonight, so you won't be rushed in the morning!"
  5. "When the alarm goes off that means it's time to get out of bed!"
  6. "I need you to pick what's most important and prioritize!"
  7. "Get out of the shower, you're using all the hot water!"
  8. "If you put your shoes in your shoe basket, you won't have to hunt for them every morning!"
  9. "Get off the iPad!" / "Turn off the TV!" "Your brain will leak out your ears if you watch that all day!"
  10. "Stop yelling!!"  (Yes, I see the complete irony!)
 I am completely guilty of getting after my kids for habits they probably learned from me.  Do you say things to your kids that you should be saying to yourself?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

#TuesdayTen: Things That Make Me Cry {LinkUp}

Before I became a mother for the first time, I don't remember crying all that much.  Sure I cried over a boyfriend or two in high school.  I cried when I got hurt. But I remember being able to read Hallmark cards and watch TV commercials with consistently dry eyes.

After motherhood?  That's a different story!  So many things make me cry!  Not full on messy faced sob session, but leaky eyes and a drippy nose kind of crying.  Well today, in honor of "Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk Day," I am sharing Ten Things that Make me Cry.
  1. Sappy commercials--Folgers Coffee has some holiday commercials I had to completely avoid back in December, and I don't even drink coffee! Proctor and Gamble has the "Thanks Mom" series that gets me every year!
  2. Seeing someone else cry is a surefire way to make me cry.  Especially if a man is crying.  I can't help it! I'm a sympathetic crier!! Unless it's my kids.  Them, I can ignore!
    That? That's just a tantrum. Doesn't slow me down!
  3. Being proud of someone seems to make me cry.  Not even just my own kids.  When the children's choir sings at Mass, I look at those kids and remember that I've known them since they were three years old and my eyes get watery.  Or when the teens I had in my youth program grow up and start to become adults.  That makes me cry too.
  4. Onions.  I almost didn't add this to the list, because for a long time they didn't bother me, but lately I have been a wet mess every time I've tried to chop them!!
  5. Getting Angry-This is not good for my cause when I get heated up.  There have been a few things that have made me really mad, but when I try to voice my opinion of defend my point, I just start to cry.  I can talk through it, but I feel like it cheapens my cause somehow.
  6. Being tired-Sometimes life gets overwhelming.  I'm trying to spin too many plates and they all come crashing down.  And then I'm tired. So I sit down and have a good, blubbery cry. And then, usually I feel better.
  7. Mass-This is not a regular occurrence because I am quite frequently distracted at Mass.  However, if the stars align and the kids are good and the homily hits the right nerve, I will lose it.  And once those requirements are met, I'm pretty much a goner for the rest of the Mass.  Just the power of the whole story; Jesus' love for me; the majesty of God's creation; the power of the Holy Spirit; the music, it all gets to me.
  8. Thinking about my babies growing up-As first Frances and then Henry and now Benjamin start doing things to prove they are growing up, I get a little sad.  Benjamin zipped his own coat last week.  He was shocked and proud of himself, and my eyes teared up.  He hasn't tried it since then, but I know he's gonna get there.  Listening to Henry read to himself (or to Ben) on the couch makes me cry.  Watching Frances dance or reading her stories makes me cry. 
  9. Leaving my mom and dad's house.  I love being able to visit my mom and dad.  I wish I could do it more often.  Whenever I leave, my mom and dad come out front and help me get the kids in the car (if the kids were with me).  Then my mom says, "drive safely" which used to annoy me as a teen, but I now recognize it as another way for her to say "I love you."  Then my parents stand on the sidewalk and wave and blow kisses and sign "I love you" and I cry until I get to the interstate.
  10. Facebook timeline video music (download instructions here).  I've seen so many of them popping up on facebook. And of course I watch most of them.  I'm sure they're not all sappy, but most of them are.  Now just the sound of that music makes me cry.
How about you? Are you a crier?  Link up below with your list of things that make you cry! Then go read some other posts. And bring some tissues!




Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:

TheLiebers

The Teacher Wife


We hope you have enjoyed our Tuesday Ten Lists!  If so, please link up one of your own and share using #TuesdayTen!
Rules:
1) Link up a post, old or new, pertaining to the Tuesday Ten topic for this week and add our Tuesday Ten button to the post or to your sidebar.
2) Please do not link up contests, product reviews, or sponsored posts.
3) Visit your hostesses and follow them on social media.
4) Visit as many other linked posts as you can and show those bloggers some love by commenting and/or sharing!

Come link up again next Tuesday, February 18th when the topic will be 10 Blogs You Love!

Make sure you grab the button to add it to your post:


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Monday, February 10, 2014

Putting Down Roots and Growing a Family

Last week, Frances tried to sneak her blankie "Pink" to school.  I will remind you that Frances is 10 years old and in the 4th grade.  She tried to sneak her blankie, the one she's slept with her whole life; the one she named "Pink." I only discovered it because when I started to hug her as I dropped her off before school, I noticed she looked puffier than normal.  She had stuffed the blanket in her coat and was trying to smuggle it on the bus.
Putting Down Roots and Growing a Family

I took it from her and finished saying goodbye before I took Benjamin over to his daycare classroom (located on the same church campus as the kids' before/after school program).  As I was leaving the daycare, with the blanket still in my hands, I saw Frances' 3rd grade teacher.  I waved and held up the blanket.  "She tried to sneak her blankie in to school today!" I shouted with an exasperated laugh.

"She wore it around her shoulders all day yesterday,"  she yelled back. BUSTED!!

When I saw Frances that night I told her, "My spies said you were more successful in your smuggling attempts yesterday."

First her eyes got really big, and then she looked down, ashamed of what she'd done.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't scold or punish her. It really wasn't that big of a deal.  I don't want the blanket going to school because my grandmother made it for me 36 years ago and it's getting a little ratty.  I also don't want her using it to be a distraction to her classmates.  But I wasn't mad.

After I explained that to her, she grinned and asked me who my spies were.  I told her there was no way on earth I was ever going to tell her who my spies were!  It's no good having spies if you tell people who they are, right?!

home, raising kids


Those spies are one reason I love living in this town.  I written about my town before.  It's a college town, which brings some unique challenges to the area, but that also brings unique culture.  I hear lots of people saying it's too small, but I think it's a perfect size.  Ken and I live within about a 5 mile radius of school, work, church, the grocery store and day care.  We can, and do on occasion, walk or bike to those places; with and without the kids.  I've been known to pull the kids in the wagon to the grocery store, use the wagon instead of a shopping cart, and let the kids walk back home while pulling our groceries. 

I've heard people complain about the school my kids go to.  I've said before it is a very impoverished school district.  Most of the families with any kind of money pay to send their kids to private school.  But I love the diversity my kids are growing up with.  I love that they hear different languages and see different cultures every day. And the teachers there love what they do!!

We've talked about moving and some of the kids' teachers and afterschool leaders were worried that we were going to leave.  I have been quick to reassure them that I hope to do everything in my power to find us a house in the same school district.  We've made so many friends and such great connections that I can't bear the thought of leaving.  I would lose half of my spies!

My family moved the summer before I started 4th grade.  Before we moved I had some very good friends.  I was very upset to be leaving them behind.  I have since found one on facebook, but I'm still looking for the other (so click here if you want to read my plea).  We moved to a very small town.  I started there in 4th grade, and I made good friends.  But I wasn't anyone's cousin and I hadn't been anyone's neighbor or best friend since Kindergarten.  When I graduated 8 years later, I still felt like "the new kid."

Maybe that's just my hangup.  I certainly don't want to pass hangups along to my kids.  But I like living in a place where the woman at the grocery store deli has watched my kids grown up.  I like living where we can walk to church and pass friends along the way.  I like the fact that one of the 4 year olds from my very first practicum placement when I was in college just turned 18 and is teaching my son's Sunday school class! (OK, that one makes me feel old, but I still appreciate it!)

I don't want my kids to feel stuck here in this town.  I will encourage them to go out and see the world as much as they want.  I'll probably be sad if they decide to move far away from me when they get older, but I wouldn't stop them.  Just, for now, I really enjoy living in a place where we can put down roots and grow a family.

How about you?  Do you enjoy the adventure of moving around? Or do you prefer to settle in one place and stay there?


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