Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Power of Persuasion

It is school carnival time, and my kids are selling tickets.  I asked who was going to do the talking and not surprisingly Miss E said she was.  So I had her role play with me what she was going to say and do.  Mr J stood wide eyed watching since this is his first year to sell them.  I deemed they were ready to descend upon our neighbors, and they headed out the door.  The first house they sold one, the next  2, then the 3rd Miss E turns to Mr J and says "Here," and gives him all the stuff, "your turn."  She still went with him to the door, but just made him do all the talking.  They sold 5 there.  As they were leaving that house Miss E turns to Mr J and says, "Here you just do all the rest.  You are smaller and cuter." 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What I go without

I was having lunch with some girlfriends the other day and one of them said, "Ya know Jen, I was talking about you with a friend.  I told her I actually knew someone without a cell phone--you."  Yes, I admit I do not own a cell phone-neither does my husband nor any of my kids.  How do we survive you ask?  Well I might want to add before you ask that question that we also do not have (nor have we ever had) an answering machine or caller ID, or (and this is the big one) TV.  Now we do have a television set and a DVD player, but no cable, netflix, or anything else.  When you turn our TV on--it is just a blank screen, and we have been like this for almost 13 years.  Can you believe it?   When my kids go over to my parents' house they have always been amazed that something comes on when they turn their TV on.  Why do I go without? 

Cell phone--my girlfriends in the big city always say, "Jen, you need a cell phone!" and I always say, no I don't.  Why would I want to talk on the phone in the grocery store?  I live in a small town, and I am either at one of 4 places during the day if I am not at home--at my kids' school, at Wal-Mart, at the college taking my class, or at the library, and when I am in one of those 4 places the last thing I want to be doing is talking on the phone!  If there is an emergency at school, the school knows if I am not at home they can call Ben at work.  He doesn't travel.  They always answer his work phone.  He is easy to get a hold of.  Now I admit when we have gone on vacation we have borrowed my mom's cell phone so we can call her, but other than that, I don't feel I need or what one.  And if I don't have one, my kids have no way of justifying that they need one, and why would they need one when everyone else has one?  I just tell them to call me on their friend's phone.  Saves me money :)  Now I realize some people have to have them, but we are luckily not those people. 
Never wanted an answering machine because that would mean I would have to call someone back--caller ID same thing.  I prefer to be ignorant until I actually talk to a real person on the phone.  I am happy with that.

TV--When my almost 13 year old what 6 months old  I sat down with her on the couch one night and turned the TV on.  It was 7 p.m. and we just had total basic TV because we were poor grad students, but what I saw on this basic TV channel at 7 p.m. made me blush, gasp, and quickly turn it off and glance at my daughter and think, "I am sure glad she isn't old enough to understand what she saw," and then I got to thinking what if she was a few years older and had turned that on, and I wasn't here?  It was totally unacceptable to me, so we got rid of TV and have never regretted or looked back since.  Ben has been super supportive and hasn't had a problem with this either, except when the Olympics come around every few years.  We solved that problem by having my mom record them each night, then we just watch them commercial free the next night.  It works pretty well, and we just try to avoid reading headlines to know what happened or who won the gold.  My philosophy is there are millions of good books out there waiting to be read, and why would I waste my time watching a show when I can be reading a book to my kids, or with my husband or by myself?  Please feel free to disagree.  I know there are lots of good quality TV programs out there, but there is also lots and lots of trash.   For me, I can't see wading through all that trash for a few good things.  So, we go without, and my family and I survive and thrive and live very normal and happy lives.   So now you too can say you actually know someone who doesn't have a cell phone, and I am okay with that label :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Mowing the Lawn

We have a fairly big yard--about 1 acre, and it takes Ben about 1 1/2 hours to mow (it takes me 2 hours because I am a little slower) on our riding lawn mower.  We have been in this house for almost 5 years, and the first time I moved the lawn was last year.  Ben didn't want me using his mower--wouldn't even let me touch it.  I offered several times, but he politely refused.  Finally the first time I got to mow it he was weed eating while I mowed, and when he was done he kept looking at me and motioning  "Get off"  and following me around and saying "My turn."  I just kept going and laughed.  I don't know what it is with guys and their lawn mowers.  This morning I was talking on the phone with him at work and said, "I am going to mow the lawn this afternoon."  "NO!" He says, "I will do it when I get home."  I said, 'When? We have this and this and this, there is no time." "No," he says, "I will do it."  I said, "What?  You don't like the way I mow the lawn?"  then he didn't really answer and I just laughed.  It must be a guy thing.  But I admit, I would be kind of leery of him using my Cricut, so I guess it goes both ways. :) But I'd better go, I have to get the lawn mowed before he gets home :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another week in pictures

I think the easiest way to tell what we have been up to this past week is to show you my pictures from each day.  Hope you enjoy!

I had 2 design projects due this morning.  One was to show flat space (no depth) and formal design.  I was working on that one here last week.  The other was to show deep space and informal design.  I got them critiqued this morning and got an A- on both. Yeah!  Thanks Dad :)
What do we do after school here?  Eat popcorn.  I always try to have a bowl of popcorn ready to go when the kids come in the door.  I buy it in bulk from Costco because we go through lots of popcorn at our house.  Our fave?  Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop 94% fat free butter. 

This made me laugh.  Mr J had to run errands with me one day after school.  We were taxing his sisters all over the place, and we have this lap harp thing.  It was actually mine and my siblings growing up (lucky me ended up with it--benefits of being the oldest and living by mom and dad).  Anyway, Mr J really likes to play it, so when I told him we had to go he asked if he could bring the lap harp in the car.  I said fine as long as it stayed in the car.  He just played and played song after song as we drove around.  I actually was driving while I took this picture.  I didn't look in the camera, I just sort of angled my camera back toward him and took several shots.  I got several of the floor and head rest, but luckily got one pretty good one of him.  I would not recommend this to others--please don't shoot and drive :)  And now my friends will be extra careful when they see me driving around town. . .

Evidence of a little boy. . .this is what I found at the bottom of my stairs one morning this week. 

Saturday we had a family reading festival in our town.  We had 16 different authors visiting.  It was an amazing thing.  I was on the planning committee, and believe me it took a lot of planning!  Here I am with one of the authors I got to introduce.  Laura Manivong.  She has written Escaping the Tiger

This was Sunday's picture.  The kids had a visiting storyteller come to school 2 weeks ago.  I visited with her at the library, and then I assumed she had gone home.  She is from back east, but then I saw her at the reading festival Saturday, and I said, "You are still here?"  Yes, she was spending 3 1/2 weeks at the local motel visiting all the schools in the area.  I said, please come and have a home cooked meal, so we had a wonderful dinner with her, and the kids had to show her everything--all their toys, rooms, books they are reading, and, of course, our chickens.  I am sure she will have some more good stories to tell after her dinner here.  It was a delight to have her.
Breakfast time, hurry, hurry!!  This was my picture from today.  I got a snapshot of all the kids at the breakfast table before school eating their cereal--I think it was cheerios and frosted shredded wheat this morning. Yum!

Fresh off the Bookshelf blog

I decided to start a book blog.  I read a lot of books.  They are an important part of my life, and I have been posting different ones I read here, but I kept debating whether or not I should, did they fit?  Anyway, I just decided I would have my own place to put the books I read.  I put my book blog "Fresh off the Bookshelf" on the left hand side below my family's and kids' picture, so you can see when I update it.  If you like to read, I hope you will go and visit.  I love to read and wanted a way to record and remember what I read.  Hope you enjoy Fresh off the Bookshelf!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


About a month and a half ago I got a call from my DeeDee (or my grandma, who doesn't like to be called Grandma because it makes her feel old, so we call her DeeDee). She lives 1150 miles away from me. I know because we have driven it many times, and so has she. She was calling to say they wanted to come out and surprise my mom by visiting. Now my grandparents are in their 80's, and in pretty good health, but I was kind of nervous about them driving 2 days to get here. They didn't want anyone else to know. I had to keep a secret. I prayed really hard the 2 days they were driving, and they arrived safely. I wish I would have taken a picture of my mom as she saw them walk into her library Thursday afternoon. I walked in (she was expecting me) and asked some question and as she is answering me she looks at the door and in walk her parents. Her mouth dropped open, her face went white, and she instantly started crying. I knew I got that trait from my mom :) It was a fun, tearful reunion. They were able to make it to one of Miss A's volleyball games which was super fun for her. She didn't know they were coming either. We just walked in and her mouth went wide open and said "What are you doing here?" as she ran to them to give them a hug. Fun stuff. My grandparents and my mom at the game.
They were only here from Thursday afternoon to Sunday morning. They don't stay long, but what fun we had. And they made it home safely driving back 1150 miles. Here are my kiddos with their great-grandparents--DeeDee and Grum. Grandparents are just the best. What a blessing!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Time management

You know I have thought for years that when all the kids are in school I am going to have tons and tons of time to get all these things done that I have wanted to do for years (get caught up on scrapbooking, make some quilts, organize everything :), and I am coming to a realization--there isn't that much time. Where does it all go? I get in bed at night and think "What did I do today? I was busy and running around the whole dang day, and I am exhausted, but what did I get done???" I think I got more done when all 4 of them where home :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

A week in pictures

I like to scrapbook. I am not a fancy, over-the-top scrapbooker that does totally ornate designs and page layouts. I think those are awesome and the people that do them amazing, but with 4 kids that just isn't feasible if I want to get their scrapbooks done before I turn 105, so I take a much more simple approach. About a year and a half ago I heard about Becky Higgins who is an amazingly talented scrapbooker, and she was coming out with a kit called 365. The idea was that you take one picture, just one, every day of the year. Thus at the end of the year you have an album with 365 pictures in it ready to go. It was a premade kit with page protectors designed to hold a week in each layout with cute journaling cards for each day. See above. I was lucky enough to get one and did 365 last year. Becky changed companies and came out with Project Life this year, which is basically the same idea. So I take one picture a day to represent my life, and then put them in the album. I love it. So easy, and my kids love looking through the album with the pictures of current things. So I wanted to share my pictures of the day for this last week.
This is today's. We are laboring hard on Playmobil toys today. We are huge playmobil fans at our house. Starting in the lower left and going clockwise we have the castle, the pink and purple princess fairytale set, garden, truck, seals at the zoo, the zoo, the pirates and their ship, and then a tree house. Today we decided we were going to get them all out and play Playmobil world and go through pieces and make sure the right pieces were in the right places because sometimes (often) they get mixed up. Does that ever happen at your house, things get mixed up and in the wrong place? Never, ever happens here either :)

Sunday: Mr J got his first official suit. All ready for church. During the service he kept moving around then straightening his suit and asking "Did I mess it up mom?" He went out the door saying "I look just like dad!" Love it!

Game on! Miss A had her first volleyball game. She was set and ready to go. In one game she served and made 10 points. Way to go girl!

People keep asking me what I am doing all day with the kids gone. I decided I was going to go through every drawer, closet, and room in the house and de-clutter. We have way too much junk! So this is what I was getting rid of this day. It is nice to do it during the day when everyone is gone so no one can say "Hey, that is mine, don't get rid of that." When I sneak it out they never even know it is gone :)
Miss O had some friends over this past week. They did each other's hair. Very creative and lovely :)

Jamming with dad. Miss O and Ben are getting pretty good at playing their guitars together.

For Christmas Miss O got one of those Knex roller coaster sets. We put it up at Christmas, but then it came down. She got it out again this past week and had races. These aren't real "exciting" things, but they are part of our lives, and I love being able to capture them and share. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fun treat

We love rice krispie treats at our house. They are a favorite. They don't last very long either--like 2 hours max if everyone is home. I am also a huge s'mores fan, so I was excited when I found these new marshmallows at the store. Have you seen them?
They are chocolate and vanilla swirled marshmallows. Yummy right out of the bag, great in rice krispie treats, and great on s'mores too, you know, chocolate makes anything better, why not a mashmallow? Yum!