Search This Blog

Thursday, October 27, 2016

About time!

I did it!!
I finished my Thanksgiving 'Gobble' craft!!!
What you see as quite normal as Thanksgiving is still a month away, I see as quite an achievement.
See...  I purchased the 'Christmas' craft set below last November!!
And here it still sits... 
So the fact that I received my 'Gobble' set as a gift in July and I already finished it is nothing short of a miracle.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

My Lunch Date

Some of my earliest memories of home life are the days after my brother and sister left for school.  I remember the days my mom making an extra large buckwheat pancake for us to split and how she would iron while watching a soap opera.  I remember being picked up from preschool (although I don't ever remember being dropped off).  And I remember my dad coming home for lunch every day.
  Sometimes he would have leftovers, other days a peanut butter and lettuce sandwich, or Mom would fry up a bologna sandwich with onions and mustard.  I don't recall what I ever ate but I just remember my dad being there and the smell of his pipe.  Those are the days I cherish.  Those are the days I long for with my kids, to give my kids.
  And today was one of those days. 
After preschool, there was nothing on the calendar.  Nothing.  Just come home, make lunch, and have a date with my little Holly.

And it felt good.

Big eyes.
Not so big eyes. 
Pretty much normal eyes. 
Best we got. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

My own Pdub

Lets set the scene:

We just got back from our last camping season of the year which means.... an astronomical amount of laundry - clothes, sheets, blankets.  Dishes weren't done before we left.  Emptied school bags and papers littered the tables and counters.  Holly and Jake created the biggest train track you ever did see all over my living room floor.  The house was in shambles, I had a headache I couldn't shake and on the way home Holly screamed the whole time that she was sick and promptly crashed as soon as she hit the couch.  It was definitely one of those 'adulting is hard' moments. 

Enter Bree.

"Mom, can I make dinner?"

Now you would think this was one of those 'the sky opened and the angels started singing' moments but instead it was like nails on the chalkboard.  One day, not too long ago, dear Bree wanted to make breakfast for hubby and I.  When completed, we headed out to the table to discover bowls of cold home canned tomatoes with an asinine amount of salt and a few sprinkles of cheese.  Having to stomach a similar dinner when I just wanted to check out as a parent, plunged my stomach to my feet.

However.  I was pleasantly surprise when she pulled out our beloved Pioneer Woman cookbooks and began scanning the pages.  She, on her own accord, decided that we were having meatloaf for dinner!  With little help,  deciding on the side dishes (curly fries instead of mashed potatoes, broccoli as the veggie, and cheesecake for dessert) the list was made, shopping was done, and my little pdub started on her task.

We feasted with minimal complaints from other family members...

... and lived to tell the tale.  But the most important lesson to be learned that day was - When you slave over making a meal for the entire family, you appreciate someone else cleaning it up.

And so the boys did. 

Pioneer Woman's Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

Thursday, October 6, 2016


Couponing is a slippery slope. 
There.  I said it.  As a former couponing fanatic, I will admit that couponing is not all its cracked up to be.  They trick you into spending money on products you normally wouldn't buy just because you can get it at a good price.  But ultimately, the generic tastes just as good as the name brand (the brand isn't better, you are just paying for the commercials, you know) and it's cheaper!  However, I do use coupons on two occasions.
1.  When it means I can get the name brand for cheaper than the generic or...
2.  If its for a product I already buy.
For example: Every. Single. Time. a Gain $2.00 off coupon is in the ads,  I clip it and buy it.  With three children and a construction working husband, I can never have too much laundry soap.
Recently there was a string of amazing coupons in the Sunday paper and I knew what I needed to do - pass the children off on the hubby and head to Walmart for some serious shopping.
Here's what I purchased:
2 boxes Puff tissues, 2 Suave body washes, 3 shave gels, 2 Herbel Essence shampoos, 2 Herbal Essence conditioners, 2 Tresemme Shampoos, 2 Tresemme Conditioners, 1 - 100 ounce Gain laundry soap, 2 - 75 ounce Tide, and large refill hand soap.
I had coupons for every single item here except the Equate brand hand soap but that's okay because I take hand washing very seriously and I needed it whether I had a coupon or not.  Before coupons the grand total for this purchase was....  $82.04!  OUCH!  But laundry soap is $10 a jug around here and I got three of them!
After coupons, the total dropped to.... $52.54.  And with the Walmart savings catcher app, I saved another $3.94 bringing it down to $48.60.
WOW! That's a 40% savings on items I needed (body wash, tissues, laundry soap) and stockpiled a little on items that run out quite quickly around here (I have GOT to talk to that 8 year old about how much shampoo and conditioner to use).  So maybe, just maybe couponing isn't all too bad.  When you know how to do it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

In the Beginning... Day one

Awwww.....  they really do love each other.... when they are asleep and not aware they are touching each other.... 
Our trip to Disney started at the ugly hour of 4:30am.  We headed to the airport, made it through all security checks with ease, and awaited our 7:05am flight.
Jake and Holly did amazing on their first time flying.  They weren't scared, no complaints about their ears, nothing.  Holly was so chill about flying that she managed to fall sleep during take-off on our second flight!  Pretty. Awesome.  4.5 hours after take off, we set foot on our resort.
As it does so often in Florida, it was raining when we arrived.  And not just the soft gentle rain that will quickly clear, but a heavy, soaking, down-pour type of rain.  So what do you do if you're going to be soaked anyways?  Put on your suit and dance in the rain.

(The view from our room is the pool and laundry area.  First floor rooms rock!)

Since we didn't have park passes for our first day, we spent our time touring our resort and meandering to nearby connecting resorts.  Then it was time to head to the Grand Floridian for dinner.
The Grand Floridian is a Victorian style resort with plush carpets, elegant seating areas, and a live serenading pianist that knows every Disney tune by heart.  It is also home to the 1900 Park Fare buffet style restaurant which, very suiting, hosts....

...character dining of the most royal Disney members.

Prince Charming


Lady Tremaine


The last bit of excitement, even for the kids too, was watching a live band play even more upbeat Disney songs.   We danced and danced and played name that tune.  

What a great ending to the day!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Its GO Time!

The house has been cleaned.  The dishes are done.  The fridge has been purged of all perishable items.  The kitty sitter has been given instructions.  The lawn has been mowed one last time.  And, most importantly, the bags have been packed.  That can only mean one thing....

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Loving This

In order to avoid doing things I really should be doing this evening, I planted myself upon the couch with a bowl of popcorn and one of the many, many books I want to read. (There is always time for cleaning later, right?)  The current book I'm reading is The Year without a Purchase by Scott Dannemiller.  And I'm. In. Love.

The premise of the story is Scott and his wife, Gabby, were unhappy in a life that is the American Dream - a house, two cars, successful jobs, vacations...  They wanted a change and God provided them one.  A mission trip that could last as little as a one month commitment but were moved enough to stay for a year.  After living, surviving, and, better yet, thriving on next to nothing, they came back to America only to have our fast paced, busy, buy-buy-buy culture chip away that new found fulfillment, leading them back to square one.  On every page I'm moved and inspired by their insight.  If I tried to type up everything that tugged at my heartstrings, I'd be in danger of plagiarizing the entire book! I did manage to narrow down one excerpt that I wanted to share with you, but to also remember for myself. 

Recently, our Sunday school class began studying the book Firstfruits Living by Lynn A. Miller.  In the book, Miller talks about how faithful people put God first in their lives by giving away the best of what they have.  Their firstfruits.

Yes, the man is crazy.

But reading this book, I notice that I am doing the exact opposite of what it suggests is the path to fulfillment.  I am essentially hoarding the best of what I have for myself and giving away the leftovers.  If a Boy Scout comes to the door collecting canned food for a fundraiser, I am the guy who reaches into the very back of the pantry, pushing the chicken noodle soup out of the way so that I can snag that three-year-old can of hominy.

Because poor people love hominy.

Its ridiculous.  And when I do give away something of real value, I don't part with it easily.  Instead, I give it with the stipulation that the person must thank me profusely for the gift, acknowledge my awesomeness, preferably in public, and then proceed to use the gift in the exact manner I intended.  Its an unspoken selfishness constantly lurking beneath the surface.

And I don't like it.

Been there.  Done that.  Felt those feelings.  I want to change, to be better, and can do so for a little while.  And then there comes the Boss telling us we need this and that to be successful, happy, complete.  Protect ourselves first and let everyone else struggle in the meantime - the 'they've probably done something and made poor choices to deserve it anyways' mindset.  And in the very next paragraph there is more wince worthy, hitting the nail on the head, painful truth:

One evening, Gabby and I are discussing our general dissatisfaction with getting further and further away from the joy and fulfillment we felt ten years ago.  Its one of those wonderful reflective conversations where you feel that you are really accomplishing something by examining the trajectory of your life with the added satisfaction of making no real commitment to change anything for the better.
Oh snap.  I have had those conversations.  Many times.  There is something about them that does make you feel very accomplished.  And yet that feeling wears off and you are back in the same rut with the same arguments all too soon.  Talk is good.  Action is better.
That is, until Gabby asks a hypothetical question.

"What if we didn't buy anything for a year?"
Shaken from the comfort of my own inaction, I respond as any good husband would.
"Wait.  Are you saying that I buy too much stuff?"  I bark at her, ready to challenge every frivolous purchase she has made in the past six months.  A new dress.  An art set for Audrey.  Incredibly soft toilet paper.
"No.  I'm just saying it would be interesting to see if we could do it.  If we could get back to a simpler lifestyle.  A life more connected to God.  And one another."
Challenge accepted.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Holly's Big Day

Wait a minute...
Holly is old enough to go to school?  How is this possible?!?  I'm not sure either but never the less - the time has come and off she goes!
Holly Jacquelynne
Preschool 2016-2017
3 year old class

Don't be fooled by that cute smile.  As she realized that I really was going to leave her there, the flood gates opened and I heard her crying all the way down the hallway as I headed off to work in the school library.

Her wonderful teacher stopped by my room to inform me it didn't take long for her to calm down and she was happily playing with the other kids.  A short time after that, her day was done.  She joined me in the library and kept me company until my day was done.

We moved books, prettied up the shelves, had a snack, and chatted while we worked.  She is definitely a Momma's little helper.  And with the older two siblings at school and no younger siblings coming up, I think its safe to say, and might as well admit it now, she is going to be spoiled with quality time... and probably more. 
Its good to be the youngest. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

What I'm reading this week

I think this post would be more aptly titled

'What I don't have time to read this week'

The stack on my nightstand gets taller and taller but the days keep getting fuller and fuller. 

Here is what I'm attempting to read:

This is the book that the movie 'Everest' is based on.  I saw the movie but, as we all know, way too many details tend to be left out of movies and I'd just like to know more.

This is the second book in the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series.  Although I wasn't very impressed with the first book (which has already been made into a motion picture and hits theatres at the end of September), I am pressing forward in the series and am pleasantly surprised how much I am enjoying this book than the first.

The concept of this book is simple:  "The difference between needs and wants had grown very fuzzy, and making that distinction clear again would require drastic action: no nonessential purchases for a whole year."  Well...  you've got my attention.  Lets read further. 
I'm not planning on reading both of these books.  The topic of both are on the 2010 Gulf oil blowout that is also coming to a theatre near you in September.  I would like to get a little back story, a little more knowledge before seeing the action, drama, thriller Deepwater Horizon
Again, I probably won't read both of these.  I'll probably just scan 'Junk' for interesting and useless facts.  'Unstuffed' though...  I think that one may help in the mental stress of this season of life that I am in. 
Truth be told, I'm not sure why I have this one.  Concept wise, it doesn't sound too bad, but to carve time out to read a so-so book when there are so many others out there calling my name?  I don't know.  Good thing is - I have it as an audio book too.  Here's to "reading" on the road.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Rachel's Big Day

Remember back in June I mentioned a new adventure I was on but didn't tell you what it was?
Today is the day.  The time has come to reveal.......
I have a new job!
I am now the librarian for St. John's Lutheran School. 
Don't worry - I still have my old job at the public library.  This school position popped up and presented itself with great challenges (and even greater rewards) and I seized the opportunity.  Its only a few hours a week and the school was so kind as to schedule library for the students on the same day I take Holly to preschool - at the same school!!  How could I pass this up??
This is the before picture of the library:

The first unit (far left) with the Charlotte's Web poster on it is NOT part of the library. That is teacher storage.  Overall, it is not very big but there is much work to be done.   The school is going to go through accreditation in a few years and having a current, up to date library is vital.  That's where the work comes in....

Ripped spines, out dated books, no classification system, and minimal budget are just a few of the hurdles in front of me.  The school also started an accelerated reader program last year that needs help getting on its feet.  These are some pretty major obstacles to overcome but I am excited and oh so ready to get started!!
But before tackling anything too big, today on my first day, I started with the basics.  
The ambiance.
  Down went the old school posters and up went Star Wars, Batman, and whimsical pictures about books. 

In came colorful, organizational baskets and chalkboard written quotes about reading. 

Out went the cassettes so very coated in dust and still in their wrappers....
Out went VHS tapes when the school doesn't even own a VHS player......
Up went any current series of books for the ease of students to find.

And finally, up went silly reminders to please return your library books in a timely manner.

There is so much more I would love to do and I will.  But today was only day one.  There is greatness yet to come and I'll be sure to tell you about it.