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Friday, May 23, 2008


We went to an event for kids to check out various types of trucks and vehicles. They got to see and climb into a police car, police rescue vehicle (with a lookout hole on top), crane, digger, limo, Hummer, race car and its trailer, school bus, ambulance, and more! It's a fun, free event that the kids get a kick out of, and it's fun taking pictures of them in various vehicles. Here are a few from the day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Laundry Tips

Here are some tips I've been using to help with the sometimes overwhelming task of laundry! Please let me know if you have any more to share with me! I'm always looking for more ideas!

  • Start a load before breakfast each morning, set a timer so you don't forget about it, then throw it in the dryer after breakfast, and hopefully there will be 10 minutes sometime during the day to put it away (though I know that doesn't always happen--but at least it will be clean!)
  • To avoid ironing, throw those few shirts and slacks into the dryer for 10 minutes (set a timer so you don't forget them!) and then shake out and hang up.
  • Wrinkled clothes? Downy wrinkle-releaser spray works well and dries pretty quickly, or throw the clothes in the dryer with a damp towel for 10 minutes.
  • Cut dryer sheets in half to get twice the amount.
  • Have the kids help you sort and put away the laundry--the piles aren't as neat, but it goes a lot faster and helps them learn responsibility and where things go.

Monday, May 19, 2008

New Addition to the Family

No, baby hasn't arrived yet, but we bought a piano yesterday! H has been increasingly asking for piano lessons and we're thinking of starting lessons in the fall. We saw this one for sale and decided to go for it! We spent the afternoon explaining the rules of the new piano to the girls and trying it out. Hopefully it will be a welcome addition to the family! :-)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Undercover Nutrition

I have recently discovered "sneaking vegetables" into food I already make by adding 1/2 cup of veggie purees. You can easily add cauliflower to scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, and potato soup. Try adding sweet potatoes or butternut squash to your pancake mix. Or spinach to brownies and chocolate cake mixes! Pumpkin is yummy in yellow cake mix and pancakes as well. Macaroni and Cheese can be boosted with squash or sweet potatoes. Get the idea? Just grab a puree that closely matches the color of your food and you're off! By the way, I have tried all of the above and they are delicious! Just reduce the liquid in the recipe by the amount of puree you're adding (usually 1/2 cup). If you're worried your kids (or husband!) might notice, start with 1/4 cup and work your way up! Deceptively Delicious and Sneaky Chef are two books that have websites where you can check out some recipes to try.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ballroom Dancing

Ted and I went ballroom dancing last night. We had a great time and got some good exercise! We danced the Cha-Cha, Merengue, Samba, Rumba, Swing, Hustle, Tango, Fox Trot, and even a Polka! Now it must have been a sight to see, a woman who is 9 months pregnant doing the polka! Or any of the other dances, probably! :-) We really enjoyed ourselves, and hope to go more often than once a year in the future.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Baby Names

I know a lot of people are buzzing about what we will name the new baby. We have been talking about it, throwing names around, and asking the girls for their opinions. For over a month now, G has had a name all picked out! It is Marianna Lucia. When she says it, she even rolls the “r” correctly—very cute! While it's a beautiful name, we've been telling her we won't use it for our baby. Marianna is after a mermaid in a Dora movie, and Lucia is after a character in the Punchinello books by Max Lucado. Again, it's a beautiful name and does have a nice ring to it, but we can't name our baby after a fictional mermaid! :-) Honestly, we haven't decided and won't decide until probably the morning after she is born. It's a big decision, and not one I want to make after a day of labor when I'm exhausted!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pancakes in Narnia

Though we enjoy The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, our girls have had limited exposure to it so far. Ted had started to read the first book to H last year, and we've talked about it a little bit here and there. The new movie "Prince Caspian" comes out tomorrow, so they've heard about it a small bit on the radio, and we've read two children's books from the library. This is a series that really captures the imagination, however, and I shouldn't be surprised that G, who has a very vivid imagination, picked up on it. This morning she asked me, "What is that lion's name again?" (it's Aslan--what child wouldn't love a gentle, talking lion?) and then I overheard her calling, "Sisters! Help me! I can't get into Narnia!" Minutes later when I called her to breakfast, she said to her sisters, "I have to go to Narnia to eat my pancakes!"

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Baby Update

I had a doctor's appointment today. I'm two weeks before my scheduled induction. Everything is fine, and the doctor thinks baby is about 7 1/2 pounds already, and will probably be 8 pounds by birth. Unfortunately, baby has not moved down yet so nothing is happening. Grrr!!! I've been trying to stay active (planting flowers and vegetables, running lots of errands, etc.) but it really wipes me out! So, Ted and I are going to go ballroom dancing again this Friday to see if that helps. :-)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Survey Sites

Maybe you aren't interested in this, but one thing I like to do is online surveys. I like earning points by giving my opinions (and I do have a few!). Here are a few I belong to. Let me know if you'd like to join, and I will send you a referral (then we both get points) or information about joining.

  1. MyPoints--I've been a member for about 15 months, and have earned $70 in gift cards to Pizza Hut (our favorite pizza!). There are a LOT of things you can redeem for. You earn points by reading your email (5 points per email they send you--just click on it and close it), taking surveys (10 or more points), and shopping online (usually 2-10 points per dollar spent). So if you shop online frequently, this would be a great choice for you!
  2. MySurvey--I've been a member for about 2 years and have earned $200 in cash (mailed to me as a check in $10 increments). This is strictly a survey site. For each survey you take, you get a minimum of 10 points, and if you qualify for the bigger survey, you might earn 200 points or more. A good choice if you like surveys and want cash.
  3. Lightspeed--Member for 15 months, and have earned $25 in restaurant gift cards. This is a survey site. Drawback is you don't get points if you don't qualify for the bigger survey.
  4. ZoomPanel--Member for 1 year and have earned a $15 value reward (I got a Bob Books set). You earn at least 5 points per survey, even if you don't qualify. Lots of rewards to choose from, but not restaurant gift cards or cash, which are my preferences.
  5. Synovate--Member for 7 months and have earned $5 in cash (check mailed). A survey site, but they don't send out surveys very often, so it takes longer to earn.
  6. E-Rewards and eMiles--Take surveys to earn airline miles. I think you have to be invited by a program sponsor to participate, but I can look into it if you are interested.
  7. I am also a BzzAgent, which means when new products come out, they'll send me a sample kit to try out along with coupons to pass out to friends. Right now I'm bzzing about Ziploc Twist n Loc containers and Ziploc Big Bags, and I just finished an Oust campaign. I'm using the Big Bags to organize the girls' clothes that are out of season or too big yet. Better than just having piles everywhere! The Twist n Loc Containers are nice for a lot of things because they don't leak and the tops don't come loose. You earn points by submitting BzzReports, and though I've earned points, I haven't redeemed them for anything yet. However, for the free samples and coupons alone, I like being a BzzAgent. Plus I get to be cutting edge! ;-)

The rewards may not seem like much, but I figure every little bit helps! So if any of these things interest you, please let me know and I'll get you hooked up!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mom's Often Elusive Quiet Time

It seems to be quite a challenge for most people to be able to make the time for a personal quiet time with the Lord, but it seems to be a particular challenge for moms with young kids. I've been trying to improve in this area lately, getting myself into the habit again (which hopefully won't be dashed when baby arrives!). I've tried different things throughout the years and I know some things work better for people than others and in different seasons of life. At night doesn't work well for me because I fall asleep. During the day (even during naptime) doesn't always work well for me because of the long list of possible (and even probable) distractions. So lately I've been trying to get up before everyone else does, creep quietly down our creaky stairs, and have a little time before everyone wakes up. Sounds like a good plan, except that our kids are very early risers, and are very often up before 6am!

So I decided if I can't beat 'em, have 'em join me! I now put 2 children's Bibles into the little totebag that has my Bible and notebook in it. When my girls are awake, I tell them that it is quiet Bible time. They sit on the couch next to me, snuggled in a blanket in our jammies, and look at their own Bibles while I read mine. It has taken some training, as they of course were frequently interrupting me to ask me questions ("who is this?" "what is this story about?" "Mommy, will you read it to me?"). While precious, I explained to them that I was trying to read my Bible, that this was QUIET Bible time, and that we could talk about it in a few minutes. I told them if they didn't feel like reading quietly, they could choose to go back up in bed for a few minutes. They always choose to stay with me. While I'm sure it's not a perfect solution, I do like that they are seeing me read my Bible quietly, and I hope that this can be early training for them to develop their own quiet time.

So, moms out there, what ideas have worked or are working for you in this area? Please post your comments so we can share ideas!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms I know! I hope you have a wonderful day, whatever you decide to do. Here are some pictures of me with my mom and my mother-in-law. Thank you to both of you, for your love and support! It means a lot to me (and our family), and I really wish we lived closer to you! We love you so much!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Birthday Freebies and Freegrabber

Birthday and Welcome Freebies
Most of these you go to their website and sign up.
Hollywood video-Free movie rental from on your b-day (don't have to sign up online)
Caribou coffee - free drink
Cold Stone - free Love It size ice cream creation
Red Robin - free burger for your birthday; join eclub online
Culvers - buy one get one free sundae
Houlihan's - free entree
Biaggi's - free dessert
Maggiano's - free dessert
Timberlodge - $10 off your bill
Dairy Queen - buy one blizzard get one free
Baskin Robbins - free 2.5 oz scoop
Salsarita's (welcome: free chips and salsa; birthday: free burrito with purchase of a soda)
Famous Daves (birthday: free dessert, appetizer, or meal depending on the coupon code)
Fuddruckers (birthday: free shake with purchase)
Old Country Buffet / Hometown Buffet (welcome: 2-for-1 buffet; birthday: 2-for-1 buffet)
Krispy Kreme (welcome: buy dozen donuts get one dozen free)
Ben & Jerry's (welcome: buy a sundae get a sundae free)
Arby's (welcome: free French dip sub with purchase of french fries and drink; birthday: free regular roast beef sandwich with purchase of french fries and drink)

Other Freebies:
I like Posts free samples to sign up for almost every day! Bookmark it!

Friday, May 9, 2008


We recently had the girls pictures taken by Antiquities for a fundraiser for my MOPS group. I think they are beautiful, but I am a little partial!


I've been hearing that I should start a blog for quite awhile now (mostly from Ted!), so here we are, finally! I don't know if you will be interested in my ramblings, and I don't know how often I'll be able to keep this updated, but I decided I would give it a try. This blog will most likely have a little bit of everything...updates and pictures about our family, thoughts to share on various topics (we'll see where that leads!), posts about things I am involved in or passionate about or even wondering about, and postings about good deals I'd like to pass on. So if you are interested, buckle up and we'll see where this journey takes us!

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