Fa La La La La La La La La

I have been scurrying around here the last few days. Friday evening, I was able to finish most of my shopping. Alone. In. A. Store. I mean there were other people there, but no one that I was related to or that I had to try to keep in a cart. :) It was truly a Christmas miracle!

Saturday morning, we headed out in the snow storm to finish the remaining shopping I needed to do and to go Home Depot to purchase the flooring for my kitchen. Rumor has it our contractor may install it while we are traveling. Fingers crossed! I managed to get most of the gifts wrapped and under the tree. And for the most part, The Little Man left them alone. Amazing.

Sunday we went to church, DH worked out in the mudroom, hanging the last of the drywall. I frantically put the final touches on the gifts and worked on cleaning up around here. Because in light of all the frantic Christmas related scurrying, the house was closing in with the piles and heaps. And the piles.

Sunday evening, we had a very traditional holiday meal of Chinese take out and opened our gifts. Since we always travel over Christmas, DH and I have always opened our gifts the Sunday prior to Christmas. And I guess it is now becoming our family tradition. It was such a sweet time for our family. The Little Man was nearly oblivious to the activity around him. Princess Pigtails was honing her gift opening skills and it pleased her that she was able to open her brother's gifts as well. Apparently, by opening his gifts as well, she felt she could claim his toys as hers. Hmm. This could come in handy...hmm.

I pray that you all have a fantastic and meaningful Christmas. May Christ be in all your celebrations and grant you a sense of Peace. We will be traveling over the holidays. So excited to see our family and catch up. Princess Pigtails will be exhausted from the cousin extravaganza! It will be so fun. I will try to check in sometime next week. Blessings!
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told."

Luke 2:8-16, NIV


A Little Progress

I am so done already with the cold. It was -24 yesterday morning. That is just wrong. However, I will say, it's weather like this that reminds me of how blessed we are to be able to provide a warm house for our family. And thankful for the remote starter on my truck.

Remember this? We have progress! The contractors were here yesterday. There is no longer a giant, gaping hole in my kitchen ceiling. Merry Christmas to me! The Taper will be here today and maybe, fingers crossed, he will be done with the whole thing tomorrow.

Did you check out some of the great home tours going on right now? Some pretty remarkable homes. I spent some time the other night clicking through some tours. Thank you to those that stopped by here are looked around. But good grief. After looking through some of those homes, I came to three conclusions:
1. My house looks like a Charlie Brown tree in comparison to most of those homes.
2. My kids must be more "ornery" (to use my Grandma's favorite expression) than others, because there is no way 75% of those decorations would survive here. And The Little Man is only 9 months. I fear the destruction that will occur in coming years!
3. Decorating to that extent would require loads and loads of trips to the attic and back with totes. I despise that part of decking the halls. And I am lazy.

There is one tour that I keep thinking about however. One entry way that caused my mouth to drop and my mind to fixate on it. I can. not. get over this entry way. Oh. MY. Word. I seriously spent like 10 minutes just staring at that garland, trying to take in every last detail.

Take a moment or two to relax today. Give yourself a time out from the preparations to enjoy the season. And really, you should swing through a few of the over 600 homes on BooMama's tour of homes for some inspiration and distraction.

Blessings to you all!


The Halls Are Somewhat Decked

Christmas is right around the corner and I thought it might be fun to participate in BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes. ***Edited to add that I realized Julia at Hooked on Houses and Rhoda at Southern Hospitality are also hosting Tours.
Welcome! Let me introduce you to your hostess for the tour, Princess Pigtails:
Mama says the best place to start is with our tree:This is the big tree in our living room. Mama says maybe some day we'll be able to put ornaments on the bottom part of the tree! But not anytime soon since my brother is in to everything!

Here is the built in hutch in our dining room:
Mama made one of Nester's "Ragamuffin" garlands to hang our Christmas cards from:
Mama said that it might be hard to see in the picture and she's not sure she likes it there. It's hanging on our front door that opens up onto the front porch. I think it is fun to be able to see all the cards while I am coming down the stairs.

So here is the wreath Mama hung on the stairs landing:
It is right beside my favorite window in the whole house. I like to stand at the window and watch what is going on outside! Especially when Daddy is plowing snow or when our friend, Farmer Wayne is loading or unloading his grain wagons! Or to await the arrival of visitors!

And here is my room:
This year Mama surprised me and put a tree in my room while I was at school! I make sure that my mama plugs it in right away when I wake up in the morning and she lets me go to sleep with it on! The ornaments are my very own. Mama says that most of them are from my Godparents (they give me a ornament every year) and my first Christmas.

Oh! Did you hear that? Mama says she has some cookies ready for us:Let's grab a cookie. And maybe if we ask nicely Mama will make us some hot chocolate!

Thank you for stopping by! Have a very Merry Christmas! And make sure you go back to BooMama's blog, Julia's and Rhoda's to tour some more houses!


She Gets It, She Really Gets It

My sweet friend Jill and I were talking the other day about "growing up" church and having parents that set the excellent example of living out faith in community. I suppose that it could be argued that it was expected of my dad. But my mom has always been involved and engaged in the congregations that my father has served and likewise, the presence of my brother and I was not optional in our family. When you are a teenager, either you embrace it or rebel. I chose to embrace it.
As an adult, and particularly as a parent, I have found it be important to be involved in a faith community for so many reasons. When we moved out here the first thing we did was begin to search for a church home. We are nurturing faith in our children and doing our best to live our faith authentically.
As Princess Pigtails is getting older, we have begun teaching her about giving of our resources--primarily our financial resources. One of the main principles that we have been working with her on is all that we have belongs to God. I know that may seem lofty and to be more than a three year old can reasonably internalize. However she gets it. In fact she just took up an offering in our living room.
PP: Okay, Mama, put this money in the basket when I hand it you. (Hands me a plate from her tea set.)
Me: Alright.
PP: Mama, it's not our money. It's God's money. Put God's money right here in the basket.
Me: Why do we put God's money in the basket?
PP: So that we put God's money in the basket because God's money needs to have enough money to help people who don't have enough. (Really the only editing I did was to eliminate a couple of "ands" and a few more "becauses".)

On a side note, we went to get our tree on Saturday and to see Santa. As frequently happens on a car trip, Princess Pigtails was serenading us from the backseat. The songs are some times known to us and often times nonsensical tunes or a combination of two or ten songs. Thus her rendition of "Zaccheus" on Saturday. Does anyone else remember this song from Sunday School?
Zaccheus was a wee little man
And a wee little man was he.
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see.
And as the Savior passed that way
He looked up in the tree.
And he said, "Zaccheus you come down.
For I'm going to your house today."

Princess Pigtails version:
Santa was a wee little man
And a wee little man was he.
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see.
And as the Savior passed that way,
He looked up in the tree.
And he said, "Santa! You come down.
For I'm going to your house today."

Ah, my girl. Love that Little Bug.


Works for Me Wednesday--Activity Bag

Last winter as preparations were made for the arrival of The Little Man, I was naturally concerned about Princess Pigtails. One of my main concerns was how to entertain a 2 1/2 year old during the sweet times that I would be feeding the baby. My friend Sheri, suggested that I put together an activity bag for her. Brilliant. Why didn't I think of that??
The activity bag consisted of several new books, Magic Pen coloring books, a couple of easy puzzles from the dollar bins, a magnet board, etc. The one rule was that the bag and items contained there in, could only be out when I was feeding the baby. Once done, the bag had to be put away until the next time. She loved it. It kept her occupied and entertained without the television involved. It was fabulous. And it Work(ed) for Me.

For more great tips, head on over to Rocks in My Dryer.


A Christmas Meme

I am having trouble focusing these days, so I thought I would try a little Christmas meme that I ran across to focus some of my energy. Feel free to play along!

Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Occasionally gift bags. But especially for Christmas--wrapping paper and lots of ribbon. I actually love to wrap gifts and love to indulge in real ribbon but the last couple of years I have been so scattered and in a hurry that I simply haven't taken the time with the wrapping...

Real or Artificial tree?
Both. I have a couple of the smaller artificial trees and we always have a real tree in the living room.

When do you put up the tree?
The real tree usually goes up the first weekend of December. Ideally the other trees and decorations go up right after Thanksgiving, but now with kids the process is slower.

Favorite Christmas gift received as a child?
Probably my roller skates or the purple "boom box".

Hardest person to buy for? My hubby.

Easiest person to buy for? The kids.

Do you have a nativity scene? Of course. Two, actually and the Fisher Price Little People one for the kiddos. Too cute.

Mail or email Christmas cards? For sure...MAILED! I love getting cards and pictures and especially the goofy little letters that brag up the family. I love Christmas mail!

Worst Christmas gift you ever received? GI Joe Walkie Talkies. Actually, that year I got a CD player, which was a great gift, but my mom in all her efforts to keep things secretive, didn't put the tags on the "big" gifts for my brother and I.

Favorite Christmas Movie? I really love all the Christmas movies and specials but if I have to pick a few as favorites they would be: White Christmas, Christmas Vacation, Charlie Brown's Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually some time mid November.

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I plead the 5th.

Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My mom's sugar cookies.

Lights on the tree? Are they optional?

Favorite Christmas song? "Oh, Holy Night" or "Mary, Did You Know?"

Travel at Christmas or stay home? Always travel. Our family is all elsewhere.

Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? YaSureYaBetchaYa.

Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel

Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning after some coffee and the reading of the Christmas story.

Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The preoccupation with details that are inconsequential and short tempers that detract from the Real Reason of the season.

Favorite ornament theme or color? Red and snow flakes.

Favorite for Christmas dinner? Growing up we always had cheese burgers on Christmas Eve. Since my father's a pastor, the meal always had to be something quick that could be put together after or between Christmas Eve services.

How about you? What are your favorite Christmas traditions?


Turkey, Stars and Garlands

Another Thanksgiving is in the books. We had a fabulous weekend. We hosted. We used the good dishes for the first time in eight years. It was awesome. Don't know what kind of occasion I've been waiting for, but this was a good one. Thanksgiving and the celebration of my parents' 37th anniversary.
Now, I'm in the midst of dragging out the totes of Christmas. I love having a well decorated home for the holidays. But am I the only one that hates the multiple trips to the attic to haul boxes? We will get our tree next weekend and I would like to have the rest of the house ready so that the tree is the final touch. So, I must push on. Ugh.
I have holiday crafts to finish. Here's a little glimpse of what I've been working on:
Item #1:Item #2:Item #3:

These stars are my favorite of the things I've been working on. I got the idea from Sherry over at Creations from My Heart. (Thanks, Sherry.) I had so much fun making the two I have done, that I bought supplies to do another two. Can't wait to get started.

Finally, (and I don't have a picture of the two I have done) I've been making some of Nester's ragamuffin garlands with a holiday theme. Here's a sample picture from Nester's website:
I just think her garlands are absolutely adorable. I made a couple this fall as valances for Princess Pigtails' windows. I had so much fun I decided that the garlands would make a great touch for the holiday decor. I'm thinking you could add ring hooks and display Christmas cards?

My brain is just swimming with ideas and to-do's. How about you?

Happy decorating!


Gobble, Gobble

Enjoy your day. Relax. Eat too much. Watch some football. Break out some board games or a deck of cards. Whatever you do, how ever you celebrate, take a moment to reflect on the many ways that you have been blessed. Meditate on those blessings as you begin to prepare your heart for the coming holidays. Focus on all that you have been entrusted, not what you are lacking.
Have a fantastic holiday.
Happy Thanksgiving.



I give you The Cheerleader:

And the Boo Boo Chicken:

Down on the Farm

Finally. Here's some pictures of our trip to A Maze N Farmyard back in October.

Couldn't get them both to look at me at the same time for anything. Oh, well.
What a great day!

I Bet They Wished There was a Tool for That

When I picked up Princess Pigtails and JK from preschool today, I glanced at the parent note and saw that they had talked about the Pilgrims today. The note usually contains some questions to ask in hopes of getting the kids to tell you more about their time at school. I generally use the time in the truck with the girls to go over these questions. As we drove away from preschool this morning, I began asking the girls what they had talked about today. After some discussion and prompting, they informed me, "Pilgrims". The next question on the note was "What did the Pilgrim children do?" The answer from the back seat? "They worked to earn money for their families. And they picked berries and scooped up goat poop."

So, there you have it folks. Your lesson for the day.


A Cheerleader, A BooBoo Chicken, and Other Random Details

Oh,Internets, I've missed you. Really, I have. It has been ridiculous around here and I am feeling a need to explain my absence. Here's the scoop since I last posted:

Halloween: Princess Pigtails was a cheerleader and was completely bummed that she left her pom-poms in the truck during trick or treating. Said disappointment was quickly overshadowed by the sheer JOY of going from house to house with her sweet friend, Addy. The girls were equally amazed that someone would give them candy for their buckets simply for saying "Trick or Treat!". It was hilarious. The Little Man was a chicken--frequently referred to as BooBoo Chicken, as he was not so impressed with the costume. But goodness it was cute. He and Addy's baby sister, Reese, enjoyed the trick or treating scenery from the luxury ride of Reese and Addy's wagon. The Little Man also thought it was entertaining to attempt removal of Reese's ladybug attenae during the course of trick or treating. Good times, good times.

The Little Man: Pretty efficient with the Army crawl now. Really it's more of a dragging of his body, as he only uses one arm and one leg to accomplish forward motion. It's the funniest thing to watch, but it works for him. He has also managed the whole moving himself into a sitting position from the back/stomach. The edge of his third tooth came through over the weekend and we are in the midst of transition from baby food to table food.

DH: After a couple days off, he is into WEEK 2 of the new job. So far, so good. (Thank you for the prayers!) Loved having him home for a couple of days, but it totally through off our routine! Still having an on-going dental saga continues. We are on month 4 of this drama. I should check if the dentist has some kind of frequent customer punch card or something. Hopefully we have rounded the corner on this now.

House: Still have a hole in my kitchen ceiling. Waiting on our contractor to get to us. Which is totally fine. Really. Because did I tell you? We have now demo'ed our back entry/mudroom/main door that everyone uses. Why now? Guess we didn't have enough chaos in our lives. And we are hosting Thanksgiving. But DH has been really working hard out there. The three new windows are in and he worked on framing in my new pantry yesterday. Yeah! So excited! Let me say, however, that it is amazing to me how significantly having the mudroom under construction has impacted the rest of the house. Crazy.

Me: I have been totally engrossed in a slew of crafts that I am working on for Christmas gifts. It has been so much fun. And the best part? I am like 75% done with Christmas gifts! Woo-hoo! However, I feel like I am getting further behind with each new day. Agh.
There are a couple of things weighing heavy on me right now:
My grandma had surgery 10 days ago to replace her defibrillator. The surgery appears to have gone well but she is experiencing quite a few struggles in her recovery. She was admitted back in to the hospital today after she apparently began to bleed through her shirt while on the elevator on the way up to see the doctor. It has been a difficult couple of weeks for her and my grandpa who has been the primary care giver.
My uncle who has been in treatment for cancer the last year begins a new consultation and program in Houston this week. If you would please join me in covering my dear Grandma and Uncle Dennis in prayer, I would be so grateful.


It's a Souptacular and Crockpotalooza

In case you haven't heard...Sophie over at Boo Mama is hosting a Souptacular/Crockpotalooza today! I may or may not have mentioned one or fifteen times that I am always looking for yummy recipes. I am going to rerun the recipes that I offered up for a Souptacular Works for me Wednesday back in January for those that missed it! I'll be over at Boo Mama's if you need me! Stop by and check out some fabulous recipes!

Country Cheddar Soup

2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 C. chopped carrot
1/2 C. chopped onion
1/2 C. chopped celery
5 Tbsp. flour
4 C. chicken broth
3 C. shredded cheddar cheese
12 oz. can of evaporated milk
Freshly ground pepper

In large saucepan melt butter. Add carrot, onion and celery. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until the veggies are tender. Sprinkle the veggies with flour, adding it 1 Tbsp. at a time, stirring until the flour is blended in. Add chicken broth to the saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat, add the shredded cheese, stirring with a large whisk until the cheeses is melted. Slowly add evaporated milk, stirring until the mixture is well blended and heated through. Add freshly ground pepper to taste. I also garnish with crumbled bacon--cause I can! :) Makes 6-8 servings.

Creamy Potato Soup

This is a soup recipe that I grew up with. One of my favorites...
Peeled, sliced potatoes (I usually figure 1 large potato per person that I am serving)
1/2 C. diced onion
1/2 C. diced carrot

1/2 C. diced celery

1/2 tsp. salt

Cook potatoes in just enough water to cover. Once potatoes have cooked, do not drain--add 1 can of cream of chicken soup. Stir to combine and cook on medium-heat until heated through. Serve. I garnish with crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and fresh ground black pepper. You could also garnish with sour cream and chive or green onions. (I have on occasion frozen the left overs and then reheated them in the crock pot later and it worked very well.)


Ahem, Is This Thing On?

Hey all. Remember me? I'm Maria. I used to blog around here. It has been a crazy last 10 days. I've got a lot of catching up to do. Here's what's been going around here:

My mom came up last Thursday night. Friday morning she and I left for St. Paul to attend Women of Faith. I've lost track how many of these weekends I've been to, maybe 8 or 10? Always fantastic! Loved the time with my mom and few girlfriends!

DH did his first solo over night with the kiddos. Everyone did pretty well--even my Little Man, who happens to be quite the mama's boy. I was nervous for all of them. Mostly because I know how miserable it can be listen to a screaming baby for hours on end. But thankfully (Praise God) my concerns were unwarranted. Thanks, DH for making it possible for me to be gone!

Tuesday evening, the women's organization at our church hosted the Fall Gathering for our conference. Which probably means nothing to you. Basically, we were responsible for helping plan an evening for 150 women, including dinner, leadership training and worship. I am currently serving as President of our local unit and many of the details fell to me. And those details consumed much of my time over the last couple of weeks. It was a great evening and I am SO GLAD that it is over. SO GLAD. Again, my DH came to the rescue and ran the projection at church for the worship service. I don't know what I do without him!

My house is reflective of my time being spent ironing out details for that event and being gone to Women of Faith. There is a tour of homes going on today over at one of my favorite sites. I would love to participate, but good grief the amount of work that needs to be done prior to taking pictures is overwhelming. We'll see...but if you love to look at homes, you really should head over and see Julia. I could spend hours on her site. Oh, wait. I do spend hours on her site. Maybe that is contributing to the condition of my house?

We are going to be doing some work in our back entry. It is in desperate need of attention and has been on "The List" since we moved in six years ago. But you know how that goes, always something else going on! Last night, DH pulled trim off a couple of the windows to measure for replacements. So, the wheels are now in motion and I am going to be battling with my tendency to make the project bigger than originally planned. Any one with me?

DH is in the process of changing jobs. He put in his notice this week and has begun the transition process. Please keep him in your prayers as he makes this move.

Have a fantastic weekend! I've missed you all. Maybe I'll be back later with pictures. Speaking of, I still owe you all pictures from A Maze N Farmyard a couple of weeks ago!


Nursery Rhymes Princess Pigtails Style

As I was cleaning up the kitchen after lunch today, I could hear Princess Pigtails in the hallway "reading" to her stuffed animals:
"Mary, Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?
With silver bells and TACO shells and pretty maids all in a row."


Weekend Misc and Hubs

Happy Saturday! What a beautiful morning.
  • While my kids didn't necessarily sleep in, they slept until a reasonable hour. (I'm wondering when 6a became a reasonable hour. I am so OLD.)
  • We baked the other pan of cinnamon rolls that I had in the fridge.
  • We are heading to Amaze N Farmyard today. They are having their Fall Festival--pumpkin patch, petting zoo, etc. We've never been and I am so excited to see Princess Pigtail's reaction. Stay tuned for pictures.
  • Tomorrow evening is Marriage Care at church. I've got to figure out what to make for the potluck. Any suggestions?
  • Jill posted this on Friday. I thought that it looked kind of fun and since I am at loss, I thought that I would play along. I will leave you with this...
Here's a little bit about my DH (Love you, Honey!):

1. He's sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen? Well, he's a little of a TV addict, his TiVo list includes: The Unit, Chuck, Tougher in Alaska, and Good Eats. So, it's probably one of those unless he has gotten suckered by Princess Pigtails, then it is most likely Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He also could be good with constant streaming of the History channel.

2. You're out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad? Bleu Cheese

3. What's one food he doesn't like? Tomatoes--although he tries to eat one slice per summer(when they are the BEST) just to check if he still dislikes them! He is also not a fan of the green pepper.

4. You go out. What does he order to drink? Depends. Either an Arnie Palmer, Dr. Pepper no ice or a beer (usually Blue Moon or a Bud Light).

5. Where did he go to high school? Champaign Centennial and Marshalltown.

6. What size shoe does he wear? 10 1/2.

7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be? Guns and power tools.

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich? A great Ruben or cheeseburger.

9. What would he eat every day if he could? Pizza or burgers.

10. What is his favorite cereal? Coco Pebbles or Peanut Butter Crunch.

11. What would he never wear? Anything with the University of Iowa Hawkeyes logo.

12. What is his favorite sports team? The Iowa State Cyclones.

13. Who will he vote for? He can share in the comments if he wants you to know.

14. Who is his best friend? Me. :) hehehe I suppose this is referring to "guy" friends. Hmm. I can say when he has a good joke to share he will usually call: Scott, Aaron (his brother) and Bill.

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do? Spend time perusing real estate listings and then randomly emailing him the listing "just because".

16. How many states has he lived in? 4--Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota

17. What is his heritage? German

18. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what would it be? He would like German Chocolate or Red Velvet.

19. Did he play sports in high school? Yep. Soccer, football and wrestling.

20. What could he spend hours doing? Looking at/playing with/talking about guns or watching TV.

21. Does he belong to any men's organizations? He was a Theta Xi at ISU.


What I am Learning From Evie

My Bible study group has just started Liz Curtis Higg's Bad Girls of the Bible. We met this week to discuss the first chapter, a lesson on Eve or "Evie" as the author refers to her. What a chapter. I think that each of us had mistakenly assumed that having heard the story of The Fall hundreds of times since childhood, that we were pretty familiar with the story. And while that is probably true, I can tell you that in all my life I have never thought on Eve as much as I have in the last week. It was a fresh Word.

I do not want to turn this into a political or "dire economic situation" post. I do want to share that as I have mulled this over in my brain this week, God has actually been using this week's lesson to speak to me about our Nation's current "mess". The economy. The election time mudslinging. The fraud and lack of integrity in nearly every news story. It keeps bringing me back to God's Word and The Garden. The serpent was there with two promises: "your eyes will be opened" Gen. 3:5 and "you will be like God" Gen. 3:5.

To be like God and know it all. I shudder to think of the times even this week that I have tried to "be like God". I have allowed myself to be deceived. I have blamed others for the sin that I have committed (it's not my fault, I was the victim). There have been hundreds of times that I have allowed myself to become distracted and focused on something (or someone) other than God. This world is full of beautiful, shiny objects that clamor for my attention, my money, my thoughts. The longer that I look, the more my focus shifts. The more I want, desire, yearn. And Satan sits back and breathes a sigh of relief and chuckles.

I am drawn back to Liz Curtis Higg's words:
"The tree that had been in the middle of everything yet obediently avoided--for how long we don't know--suddenly, that tree was it. The all-consuming, gotta-have-it thing. Like a child of Christmas past who put only one item on her wish list--Cabbage Patch Doll, Tickle-Me-Elmo, Beanie Baby--Eve had a fixation about that tree.
She stopped looking to God for the truth....
She stopped looking at the good, wholesome fruit already available to her."
Liz Curtis Higgs, Bad Girls of the Bible, pg. 30.

"She stopped looking to God for the truth." Friends, we can not let the events of the world distract us. Satan is having an absolute hay day right now. We have found ourselves consumed by the "gotta have it" mentality--knowledge, control, objects or what we "can't have" because of the value of the "market". Many are paralyzed, looking to the network news for the truth rather than God. We are not enjoying all that we currently have been given, all that is currently available. We are not focused on God and his goodness. We expect fellow humans to be our "saviors".

At the end of each chapter of my Bible study book is a section of personal application--a "what can we learn from_____". Here are three of the lessons that Ms. Curtis Higg's points out that we can learn from Eve:
(Excerpts from pgs. 39 & 40)
  • Don't get into a debate with Satan. "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. " James 4:7
  • Know God's Word so you won't be fooled. "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:11
  • Let's avoid the blame game. "Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:24-2
It is easy to get discouraged, to be fearful and hopeless. Every where you turn, the flow of information is slapping us in the face. I can easily be counted as one of those at times. Our God is still on the throne! I have been reminded multiple times this week that He is bigger than ANY mess that I have made. I have been consciously trying to focus on God and get into his Word deliberately. I have found it hard with kids to be consistent. I have been examining my thoughts and actions and confessing more--trying to avoid the "blame game". I have been trying to enjoy what I have and not be distracted by those things that I don't. It is hard but I am praying for strength to press on.


Works For Me Wednesday-Stain Removal

It's another Works For Me Wednesday. To be perfectly honest, I almost posted a "Works For Me Friday" last week because I was so excited to share my new tip for stain removal. I know I am a sad and pitiful woman!
This summer, we had the pleasure of being the recipients of some very delicious and very, very cute "baby" peaches from my grandfather's farm. "Baby" because they were quite possibly the tiniest peaches I have ever seen--think Clementine size. Anywhoo, I am getting off track. So, Princess Pigtails thought they were the best ever--one because Grandpa Great had grown them and two because they were "just her size". She ate nearly every one of them herself. Enter the problem. Peach juice on more shirts and jammy shirt than I care to admit. Not a little juice, mind you. Lots of juice, which equals lots of stains. I tried everything, pre-treating, bleach water, soaking in OxiClean. No luck.
Last week, my mom told me to try soaking the shirts in dissolved dishwasher crystals. No kidding. About a tablespoon or so of the dishwasher soap in some warm water and soak the shirts at least overnight--I left them about 36 hours. The stains are gone in their entirety. Which is amazing, because the one pajama shirt, for sure, had been treated, washed and dried probably half a dozen or more times since the initial staining! Lame thing to get excited about, but I just could not believe it! I'm excited to tackle a few of those baby food stained bibs and shirt!

For more Works for Me Wednesday tips head on over and see Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer. If you need me, I'll be in the laundry room...


Things I Love Thursday-The Pumpkin Dessert

Fall is upon us. It sounds so profound, right? Like I'm going to dispense some serious wisdom. Ah, but my faithful readers, all two of you, you know me better than to expect that! I will however share a new recipe with you. It's easy and the perfect dessert for fall. I would highly recommend it with a cup of coffee--which may or may not end up being my breakfast this morning.

The Pumpkin Dessert
Beat 6 eggs and add 1 1/2 cups sugar
Stir in 3 cups of pumpkin (basically 2 12 oz. cans of solid pack pumpkin)
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (I just use my own mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves)
1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
Mix well and pour into an ungreased 9 x 13 baking dish

In a separate bowl, cut 1 stick of butter into 1 Jiffy yellow cake mix to make a crumb mixture. Sprinkle over pumpkin in dish. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream.

There you have it. It might be a stretch to say I LOVE it, but it is something that I really enjoy! Take a moment and cruise over to Diaper Diaries and check out more things that you couldn't or shouldn't live with out!

Works for Me Wednesday--Kitchen Organization

It's a themed Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks In My Dryer. This week, the theme is Kitchen Organization. Yikes. If only you could see my kitchen, you would wonder why on earth I was even bothering blogging on such a topic when I am clearly not an expert in this area. But I will press on and pass along a few tips that help me maintain a small amount of sanity in my kitchen.
Here's what I've got for you:
1. When freezing items, label them (simply what is it and when was it prepared or the date you are tossing it in the freezer). I just keep a roll of masking tape in the drawer right beside my fridge. Makes it easy to slap a label on the container...
2. Meal planning. I wrote about it here. Seriously, people. This has been key for me to keep things organized. I don't know why I drug my feet (and kicked and screamed) about this for so long. I only plan the evening meals--lunches are nearly always sandwiches of some sort or leftovers. I could go on and on about planning the meals but here's the bottom line for us: less chaos in the kitchen, less stress for me and less waste and spoilage of food.

So, that's what Works For Me. For more inspiring and brilliant tips to kitchen organization, head over and see Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.



I had hoped to get this post done before now. But I finally had a few minutes this evening to pull the pictures over to the computer. So, here it is--a review of three!

Three is a great number!

Heading out to school on her birthday!
Finally, she gets to open a few packages!

A birthday treat at DQ!
The awesome cake Auntie Joyce made for the party!
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Another Week in the Books

A week already! I keep promising myself that I am going to get better about keeping this updated. So, here's the scoop since I last posted. Princess Pigtails had a great birthday and enjoyed her party at Grandma and Grandpa's on Saturday. DH's mom and brother and his family came up. My brother and his family as well as my mom's sister and two of my cousins. My cousin Shawna's husband came with her and they brought their little guy, Cason who is almost exactly two months younger than The Little Man. There were seven kids 3 1/2 and younger. It was crazy and so much fun! Huge thanks to my parents for offering to host the madhouse--I mean party! I'm not sure their house will ever be the same!

DH and I went to the wake of a friend's mother last night. We never had the opportunity to meet her, but went in support of our friends. DH and I agree how important it is to just be there for your friends during such times. I asked our neighbors to watch the kiddos for the time that we needed to be gone, which was so helpful and allowed us the few moments to speak with our friends with out trying to corral Princess Pigtails and console The Little Man. Mike and Kris seem to be doing well given the circumstances. Mike's mom was 85 years old and, bless her heart, had been married to Mike's dad for 67 years.

As we stood in line to speak with Mike's dad, it was a perfect time to reflect as well as people watch. I find that weddings and funerals always bring out some interesting behavior and/or choices in wardrobes. I do not mean this to come across as flippant or snobbish, as I sometimes have difficulty determining how dressy or casual to be for an event such as this. But seriously. While we were in line, I noticed a gentleman several people ahead of us, was wearing a blaze orange cut off shirt. To a wake. As the line moved I was able to get a better view of the lovely choice of attire. The shirt had a bikini clad woman and a motorcycle on the back of it. Nice. To a Wake. Really? Does fringe dress something up or down? Hmm.

Today is picture day at Preschool. So, I best keep moving and go figure out what the darling is going to wear today. Something that doesn't require ironing hopefully. I suppose I should see if I can find that payment envelope. I'm sure it's upstairs in one of the piles on our desk.


Princess Pigtails Year 3

Dear Princess Pigtails,
Happy Birthday, sweet baby girl. I can hardly believe that it has already been three years that you have been bringing joy and laughter into our lives. Sweet pea, your smile warms my heart. Your tender heart and caring spirit is the essence of your being. God has truly blessed us with a precious gift.

This fall has been a whirlwind of big experiences for you--dance, preschool, Sunday school and you have gone into each one with enthusiasm and confidence. I pray that you will continue to carry that zest for life.

You have been so excited about your birthday instructing me and Daddy that there will be party hats and balloons for your party. Yesterday afternoon, while we were out running errands you told me that you would like your cake to be chocolate and that I should "cut it in half and put part of it in Tupperware". When I asked you why, you replied "so we can eat it later". Alright then.

You have adjusted very well to having a baby brother. Thank you for being so kind and gentle with The Little Man (most of the time). Thank you for loving on him even though your hugs look (and probably feel) more like "headlocks". Thank you for sitting on the floor and dragging out toy after toy after toy to "show" your brother. I love that you call him "smiley boy" or "buddy boy". He is blessed to have you for a sister.

You love pink and purple. You love wearing dresses and "fancy dancy" shoes. You are typically happy and energetic straight out of the gate in the morning. You have a lot to say. I frequently over hear you "playing" (in your imagination) with your cousins, Doodlebug and Mogey. You love to sing (both songs Mama knows and ones you make up yourself). You love to read books. You love to "cook" and to be a helper. You are obsessed with schedules, agendas and what is going happen next.

My lovebug, you have such a sweet spirit. I am beyond thankful for you and the opportunity to be your mama.

Happy Birthday!


Things I Love Thursday--Easy-on Shoes for Kids

One item of business first--Happy Birthday to my dear friend Jill!

Here's the deal. With now having one more person to get ready before we can walk out the door I need all the help that I can get. Finding shoes that Princess Pigtails can easily put on and off herself are key. And I'm really not all that interested in shelling out $40 for a pair of shoes for a three year old! I can be convinced to spend a little more than $15 or so if I perceive more value. In the past, I have bought something from Target or Payless...Late last summer I bought a pair that were the whole velcro closure assuming they would be a cinch for her to put on. Umm, no. I don't really know what the issue was, but they were obviously a waste of money. DH and I could hardly get them on her! Arg...so she wore her Crocs into the fall as her "outside play shoes". Which are super easy, but not terribly practical in sloppy weather or as it starts to cool off.

This spring I went on a hunt for something easy, washable and that didn't have little holes all over! Here's what I found:
The Croc's Pelican style has been PERFECT. More of a "tennis" shoe style, yet easy on-easy off and durable canvas. I order directly from Crocs--the best pricing I have found for any of their products. And because of the sizing, they have lasted through the whole summer and she still has some room to grow!

On a side note, I also love Bobux for the little ones! (Thanks to my friend Jill for telling me about them when K and Princess Pigtails were infants! They really stay put and keep the socks on--which is huge as it starts to get cold. Princess Pigtails wore Bobux when she was an infant and they proved their durability. The Little Man is sporting these...

So, that's something that I love. Shoes that do their thing, do it well and don't cost a fortune! For more things that folks love, head over to Diaper Diaries!


Works For Me Wednesdsay--Quick Breakfast

Among the millions of things that I learned from my mom, are the easy things you can do to provide a great breakfast for your family and a quick alternative to toast or cereal (again).
I know lots of people buy either frozen pancakes or frozen waffles. This can get expensive and here is where my tip comes in...Anytime that I make waffles or pancakes (breakfast or breakfast for dinner), I freeze what is leftover. Right now there is a bag of pancakes and a bag of waffles in my freezer. Reheating the pancakes is super quick, pop them in the microwave for 30 second-1 minute. It could be just as easy to reheat the waffles, but I like to microwave them for 30 seconds or so and then drop them in my toaster to crisp them up. (Which is still quicker and with less mess than whipping them up fresh!)
For more great ideas and tips, head over to Rocks in My Dryer!


All by Myself

"I can do it all by myself."

As the mom of a preschooler these are words (or some variation of) that I hear over and over. Princess Pigtails is becoming more and more independent with each passing day. She is learning quickly and gaining much confidence with each new experience. As her mama, I know that she still needs me. I know that she can't do everything alone. And yet, I know for her to learn and grow, I need to set aside my perfectionist tendencies. Save the scolding and step aside and allow her the opportunity to try. I suppose through those experiences she will learn that there are times she needs me. What she can do and can not do on her own is so obvious to me. To her, it is not.

How much am I as an adult like an over confident three year old? I insist that "I can do it all by myself". I stubbornly forge ahead and fail to turn to God, to rely on Him and seek His ways. Thankfully, I have a Father that is full of mercy and grace. He is there waiting on me with out a scolding or an "I told you so".

"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." Ephesians 2:4 & 5 (emphasis mine)

The Potluck Cake

Here's the recipe for the before mentioned cake I made for the potluck:

Cherry Jello Cake
1 (18.25 oz.) white cake mix
1 (3 oz.) pkg of cherry flavored gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling
1 (16 oz.) container Cool-Whip

Prepare and bake cake mix according to pkg. directions for 9 x 13 cake. Remove cake from oven. Poke holes at once down through cake with fork at one inch intervals.
While cake cools, combine water and jello. Stir and pour mixture over cake. Top with the cherry pie filling. Cover with Cool-Whip. Refrigerate cake at least one hour before serving.


And We're Off to School

Princess Pigtail's First Day of Preschool

Her breakfast of choice--waffles and a plum.
Already for school!
Do you think I could get this one to look at the camera once we got to school? Absolutely not! Too much going on, I guess!

A Week of Firsts

So, I am coming off a short self imposed bloggy break. It's been a busy few days and this week will be filled with milestones. Princess Pigtails is heading off to her first day of preschool today, tomorrow she begins dance class and Sunday School starts on Sunday. She is fired up about all three and her mama? Well, I'm not sure I'm ready for this. I'll check in later with pictures.

Remember my insistence on trying new recipes to take to potlucks? We had another potluck thing at church yesterday and I made a new cake. Way easy and you'll want to try it. I'll post it later.

I'll be back soon. Off to take Princess Pigtails to school.


Things I Love Thursday--New Recipes

So, I'm slow getting going with this today. This week was our women's ministry salad luncheon at our church. It is an annual fundraiser that benefits a number of ministry and missions that our ministry organization supports. One of my favorite parts of donating food for something like our salad luncheon is that I can make some old standbys that are easy and I always try at least one new recipe. (We also serve hotdish (translation--casseroles for those of you that live some place other than Minnesota), bars/cookies and sweetbreads.) I especially love when a new recipe goes over well!

Anyway, the new one that I made this year was for Salted Peanut Chews. Think salted nut rolls. Must've been a hit because the moment I stepped into our fellowship hall, I was nearly tackled by one of our ladies asking for the recipe and where I had gotten it. I told her, of course, it came out of a church cookbook--where all the best recipes come from!

I thought I would share with you as well. It's very easy--I promise!

Salted Peanut Chews
1 1/2 c. flour
2/3 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. soda
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2 egg yolks
3 c. mini marshmallows

2/3 c. corn syrup
1/4 butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. peanut butter chips
2 c. Rice Krispies
2 c. salted peanuts

Heat oven to 350. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup. In a large bowl, combine all crust ingredients except marshmallows until crumb mixture forms. Press in bottom of ungreased 9 x 13 cake pan.
Bake 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Immediately sprinkle with marshmallows. Return to over for 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows just begin to puff. Cool.
In a large saucepan, heat corn syrup, butter, vanilla and PB chips just until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in cereal and nuts. Immediately spoon warm topping over marshmallows and spread to cover. Chill; cut into bars.

**I heated the PB chips and corn syrup mixture in the microwave.

For more great things that people love, head on over to The Diaper Diaries.


Works For Me Wednesday--Cheap, Improvised Dust Ruffle

One of my DH's hobbies is wood working. It's a lot like my scrapbooking, he doesn't get much time to work on it. But when he finds time, he turns out beautiful items, like our bed frame and night stands, the crib and changing table, Princess Pigtail's bed...
I love the bed he built us, it has side rails that stretch between the head board and foot board. There are support boards that run under the box springs and rest on the side rail. When you put a dust ruffle on the box springs it gets all hung up on the support boards. I don't like how it looks with out the dust ruffle. So, I came up with a solution--use a fitted sheet. Perfect. It's really a great compromise. It hides and protects the box spring, looks nice and I was able to just use one of the sheets I had in the drawer. Which really? Can you beat free? That definitely works for me. For more ideas that work, head back over to Rocks In My Dryer!


Rose's Lasagna

Here's the recipe for the lasagna I made the other night. It is a recipe that I found in a church cookbook. It is attributed to a woman that I know was an absolutely phenomenal cook, which is why I decided to try it. It takes a little time, but OH. MY. WORD. Totally worth it.

Rose's Lasagna

1 pound box lasagna noodles
Sliced or grated mozzarella cheese

Meat Sauce:
2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, chopped
29 oz can of tomatoes
12 oz can of tomato paste
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt & pepper

Cheese Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups milk

Cook and drain noodles. Cut mozzarella into strips.
Meat sauce: Brown beef & onion. Place in sauce pan with remaining sauce ingredients. Cook for 45 minutes.
Cheese sauce: Put in microwaveable bowl, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt & onion. Gradually add milk. Cook until slightly thickened, remove. Add cheese & cook until thick. (This is better to make ahead and refrigerate.)
Grease 9x13 baking dish. Alternate noodles, meat sauce & cheese sauce twice. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

**I did not make one 9x13. I made two smaller pans (I think that they are 4x8s). One to eat that night and one to put in the freezer for later. Consequently, I did not need as many noodles. I could have just cooked 3/4 of the box and been totally fine.

I served with garlic bread and green beans out of our garden.


Five Things

My dear friend Jill did this meme earlier in the week and I thought I would play along! Sit, back and relax, it's going to be a healthy dose of random!

10 years ago--I had just graduated from college, started dating DH, was finishing up my internship and looking for a full time job.

5 years ago--DH and I had already moved out to the farm and were commuting together to The Cities.

5 things on my list for today
1. Finish the laundry that I started yesterday--including folding and putting away.
2. Run to the church and pick up some info that some folks dropped off for me.
3. Get the groceries that I forgot earlier in the week.
4. Start the meal planning process for the next few weeks.
5. Mail Princess Pigtail's birthday party invitations.

5 things most people don't know about me
1. I am terrified of chickens. Yes, the farm animals.
2. Sadly, I have seen both Lee Greenwood and Ronnie Milsap in concert.
3. I once met Fred Grandy. You know, Gopher from The Love Boat.
4. I still keep in touch with my 4th grade teacher, Miss Duffy.
5. I participate in a fantasy football league. My team is the Rockford Peaches. :)

5 bad habits
1. Not being in the Word daily.
2. Not keeping in touch with friends as much as I would like.
3. Spending too much time on the computer.
4. Folding the laundry but not putting it away.
5. Watching too much TV. TiVo makes it so easy.

5 places that I have lived (in no particular order)
1. Edina, MN
2. Tabor, IA
3. Fairbank, IA
4. Indianola, IA
5. Eagan, MN

Have an awesome weekend. If I get back to it, I'll post the new recipe for lasagna that we tried last night. Yum.


Things I Love Thursday--Yummy Snacks

I'm a little late to this whole "organic" craze. We live in a relatively rural area and our grocery stores have very small natural/organic sections. My choices of products are some what limited. But I have been venturing into that section a little more frequently and something that I routinely pick up are Cheetos Natural White Cheddar. Cheetos Natural are part of a line from Frito-Lay that contain no preservatives, no added colors or artificial flavors. And they are certified organic. Of course, they are now a favorite around here. Big surprise. But most importantly--they are very, very YUMMY.

Before you run off to the store to peruse the snacks in your organic section, head on over to The Diaper Diaries and check out what other things you can't or shouldn't live without!


Works For Me Wednesday--Bananas

It's another Works for Me Wednesday and while Shannon is on the final day of her bloggy break, I am still going to post a tip. Next Wednesday, head on over to Rocks in My Dryer for an all new Works for Me!

I've mentioned before that I really despise throwing away food. I am always looking for ways to make it stretch--without sacrificing quality or taste. One of the ways that I do that is by freezing bananas. I know it sounds odd--but really, it works. If your household is anything like mine, bananas are bought, a couple eaten within the first day or so of buying them and then the rest sit there. By the end of the week I am faced with tossing them or making banana bread, cake, muffins, etc. I don't always have the time to make it right away, but I peel the bananas and put them in a freezer safe container. Label and date it and then when I am ready, pull it out and defrost real quick to toss in your batter. It works like a charm and is an old trick that I learned from my mom. I will say that it does look a little odd and DH was mildly grossed out the first time he saw me do it. But you seriously can not tell in the end product! I swear. Here's my stand by recipe--you can make it now and freeze the loaf for later too! And that works for me. Enjoy!

Banana Bread
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup bananas (approximately 2-3 bananas, mushed)
Cream together shortening and sugar; add eggs and beat well. Sift together dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture. Add banana. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes.


The Tale of a Fateful Drip

When I last blogged, I was off to work on laundry and figure out dinner. Well, I did both--pulled the last bit of laundry off the line just as it was starting to rain and we had meatloaf for supper. While I was getting dinner ready, I noticed that a crack in the plaster of the kitchen ceiling seemed like it was bigger than I had remembered. Granted I don't spend a lot of time staring at the ceiling, but it did seem like it was different from before. Our home was built in 1919, so small cracks and some shifting are not unusual. So I made a mental note to tell DH. I got busy with dinner prep and forgot.

When Princess Pigtails was finishing up her dinner, she got off her chair and went to the kitchen. DH was cleaning up and sent her back to her chair to wait for her third serving of blueberries. He had washed the blueberries and carried the second serving in his hand to her bowl in the dining room. So when Princess Pigtails came out of the kitchen saying that her foot was wet, I really didn't think much about it. I figured that there were some water drips on the floor from the transport of the blueberries.

When she was done eating, I went in the kitchen. Then I saw the amount of water on the floor. It was a relatively small amount, I guess. Like a glass of water had been splashed. I commented to DH that the ceiling was leaking. DH ran upstairs. Checked the bathroom directly above. Nothing on the floor. Came back down. I asked if he had checked the sink or bathtub. Back upstairs. Opened the access panel. Hmm. Slow drip from a connection in the copper of the bathtub faucet. Hmm. Flipped the shut off on the water line. Okay, drip stopped.

Back downstairs, we put a towel on the floor to sop up the water. It was of course, bath time while all this was going on. Alternate bath plan enacted and accomplished. Princess Pigtails and The Little Man in bed. I said to DH as we are shutting off the lights in the kitchen to head to bed ourselves "What do you think about this ceiling? Is it going to crash down in the middle of the night?" DH assured me, that he thought it would be fine. It would need to dry out and then we'd have to repair it, but it'd be fine.

I suppose you can see where this is going...11:30, we are awaken to a huge crashing sound. We ran down the stairs and this is what we found in our kitchen:

Good times, good times. Anybody know a good plumber?


I'll Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

It's Monday and I'm just taking a break from the laundry to check in. My parents were here this weekend and we had a wonderful time with them. It's all Princess Pigtails can talk about--how much fun we had with Grandma and Grandpa. On a completely unrelated note--Does anyone else think the Burger King commercials are disturbing? They seriously creep me out.

I need a little help with a couple of things:
  • I'm in a meal planning rut. Anyone got a couple of old stand-bys they would be willing share? If so, please post in the comments!
  • Anyone have any parenting wisdom for handling the meltdowns of an almost three year old?
Better get back to it. I've got laundry to get off the line and a dinner plan to figure out...


Things I Love Thursday--Awesome Sleep

I must confess. I am a little of a sound spa addict. I guess it must've started back in college when we had fans and/or AC running non stop in the sleeping dorm of my sorority. The constant noise and energy consumption was necessary to maintain the appropriate air temp for a number reasons it also created the perfect sleeping environment. It was cold so three or four blankets were critical and it was quiet in a white noise sort of way. Whatever. I'm sure that doesn't make any sense but it is true. And to this day, I must have some sort of white noise by which to sleep.

Enter the sound spa. I am on my second one now. Both have been Homedics. The first one I had was small and designed to be a travel alarm. It worked really well but there were two features that I did not like. First, the sound was on a timer of an hour and I would find myself waking up when the sound shut off. I suppose it was because of whatever level of sleep I was in at the time. Secondly, the clock/alarm was hard to set. Not an issue if you don't care what time it is or what time you need to get up. If that's your life--awesome. Unfortunately, not mine. Nor was it even before kids. But I digress.

So, DH gave me a new one for Christmas. The best part of it and the KEY feature to me is that you can choose to have the sound run all night long. Perfect for me. It has six different "sounds" and an am/fm radio. It also, of course, has an alarm. Which I rarely use. It has the projection feature as well--so you can have the time up on the ceiling or the wall. This brings me to the one thing that I dislike about it. The light for the clock is ridiculously bright on dim. You could read by the glow of "bright". Seriously, I considered tanning goggles a serious option the first couple of nights. I also would ask you to use caution if you live near an airport. Pilots might be distracted. But I sleep awesome with it running. It goes with me on weekend trips and vacations. I would forgo a pair of shoes to make room for it in my luggage. We are talking serious addiction. I may need an intervention. Possibly.

For more things you really shouldn't live without, head on over and see Jill at Diaper Diaries.