Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rearranging A Few Things: Who Knew It Could Be Fun.

Yesterday, we moved the furniture in our family room around just for fun. We tried to figure out different configurations of the couch, chairs, and tables. Not all of the furniture, like the 900 pound entertainment center, moves so we had to use our imaginations a little bit, too.

We were trying to figure out where to put the new television, and what side of the room the TV would look the best. Considering there is a huge fireplace and bookcase on one side of the room and the Kitchen and eating area on the other, we are somewhat landlocked or limited in our choices.

However, this did not stop us from having many different ideas. C was so bold as to say that he learned in his Tech & Living Class that all furniture must not go against a "wall." It can "float." What are they teaching kids these days?

My suggestion, of course, requires painting of the walls including the kitchen and maybe looking at the room from a whole new "view" while my husband at first was stuck in his ways and thought we should 1) remove old TV and old Entertainment Unit and 2) put new TV and new Entertainment unit in the same spot. In other words, not change it all.

However, as I kept pushing and moving the furniture around, he started to see things differently (read my way!) and we're ready to make some big changes in the room. Or big things on a very limited budget (new TV and new Entertainment Unit are the only new pieces of furniture for now) which basically means moving the furniture and planning to paint this spring!

After 10 years in our house, it's exciting to think we might be changing it up a little bit around here. It was fun to move the "old" furniture around and see it in different light. Everything old is new again when you look at things in a new way.

Now, I'm the first to admit I'm no Nester. I don't have a flare for decorating. I love my house, but it's not my first love or probably in the top five of things I desire to spend my time or energy on at this time in my life. It's a wonderful home, and while I try to keep it up and looking presentable, it's far from hip or perfect. However, it works for us. It's a haven to come home to and probably the place the rest of my family loves to spend most of its time. Until recently, I loved spending most of my time "out" doing something rather than hanging out at home. I'm now beginning to love being at home as well!

With our "new" family room taking shape this winter, I'm even more excited to spend some time with the family watching movies, having popcorn, and just hanging out!! I'll keep you posted on the changes.

PS: The funniest thing happened as we moved the furniture around yesterday. Miss M, who had been at a sleepover, came home and saw our "mess" with our furniture facing the blank wall and our chairs in front of the current TV. Her comment: "I think I like it. Do you think we should turn those chairs around when we want to watch TV now or have we decided not to have TV in the family room anymore!"

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Buying a New Flat Screen TV: Need Your Help!!

We are looking into replacing our 10 year old television and getting a flat screen TV. A television that actually has "plug in's" in the front rather than the back of the set and that does not weigh 400 pounds. Oh, that's an exaggeration, it probably weighs only 200 pounds and the huge entertainment weighs like 900 pounds. I hope it doesn't weigh that much, we need to be able to carry it downstairs to the new kid's playroom!!

When we first purchased the entertainment center, we were looking for a way to hide our TV. We wanted doors that we could close so we would not have to look at it all the time. While we watch TV, we are don't have it on constantly and really monitor what we are watching so it only seemed right to put the TV behind closed doors.

In the past few years, we've burned through 3 DVR's because we insisted on "covering up" our box behind doors and it got too hot! Guess it needs air and sunshine just like kids.

Now, televisions are like works of art or at least priced like them. You want them displayed prominently and the bigger the better. You can even mount them on the wall like a deer head! They become the centerpiece of your family room. What happened to the good old days of fireplace chats when that was the "screen" everyone looked at. Of course, I realize that now that we are trying to enter the 21st century in our family so we need to get our electronics up to date, too.

Seriously though, the whole researching, reading about and looking at electronics confuses me. I've checked out CNET, talked with the geek squad at the blue and yellow store, and looked on line for any and all information about the difference between plasma and LCD, 1040 vs 620, computer calibrations of the pixels and what size looks best on a new entertainment center without doors.

So, here's my question to you my family of readers: Do you have any suggestions on picking a flat screen TV that does not cost as much as my college education and that will not take over a whole wall in my family room? Anything we need to look for? Avoid? Do we need experts to come in and set it up for us or can we carry it away ourselves from the store and get it set up? Finally, what did you did with your new TV, is it on the wall, on a unit, or just sitting on the floor?

Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner and electronic stores are going crazy with sales so we hope to have something new in time for Game Day. Plus, I have a donation truck coming on February 8th to take our lovely Hooker Brand Red Cherry Entertainment Center with Big Doors away.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In Which I Learn Not to Play Monopoly with a 5 Year Old

Miss A and I got a few things done today! It was sunny outside so we opened the drapes and got to work on our chore list. OK, so really I opened the drapes and Miss A sat around in her pj's all morning ordering me around while she played on the computer and I dusted, baked, and got dinner going.

Ah, with a cleaner house this afternoon and fresh chocolate chip oatmeal cookies in the cookie jar, nothing could be finer. Except the fact that Enchiladas are ready to pulled out of the oven once the dancing girl and her father get home and we have set the table. There are even clean clothes in all the rooms and not a stitch of laundry in the hampers or laundry room. Yeah for mom!!!!!!!

Somehow, I decided in the midst of all the fun that we should play the Wii. I challenged Miss A to a game of tennis. Promising her that I know how to play tennis, she seemed unconvinced. Problem one; I don't know how to play the Wii. I plugged it in, no noise or picture. I read the instructions and the same problem. Guess you could same I'm "tech challenged." She comforted me with the words that maybe I could call dad at work or brother at school as they "know these things." She might have even handed me the cheat sheet instructions my husband and left for me. No luck. Problem number two: no one had clarified that it's red,white,yellow left to right, not right to left. What are in China, now!!

Finally, I gave in and out comes the Monopoly Junior Princess Edition. Can it really get any better? She was thrilled and no sweating was involved. However, she took me down. She bought every piece of property and put her little purples castles on them. Those she didn't buy, she got through "chance card" and, meanwhile, poor mom kept getting the "go to lunch" card and the skip go and go to John Smith's Place. Of course, she owned John Smith.

Seriously, the look on her face was priceless. She thought it was too cool to be beating mom. She watched the board like a hawk and made sure I paid up every time I landed on her precious little purple castle's home. Cha Ching!! Occasionally though, a little bit of guilt would surface and she'd slip me a $5.00 bill to keep me solvent. Of course, on my next turn, I'd be back at John Smith's place. Cha Ching!!

Miss A even wanted to keep the board out for her brother and sister to see her winnings and her purple castles. I, of course, conveniently forgot and said I needed to vacuum before they came home. Oops!

Next time, I'm challenging her to scrabble. I might not be the world's best speller, but I can beat a 5 year old who can barely read!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Funny Things I've Head This Week

It's been 8 days since we've seen the Sun around these parts, but the laughter and the funny things my kids say and do on a hourly basis continue to roll.

Miss M and Miss A take piano lessons from a dear friend. Miss A loves it. She practices without prompting and will often remind her sister that it's time to practice. Miss M just doesn't sit still long enough to see "piano practice" as something to do on a daily basis.

We had our lessons last week and Miss M has been practicing her one song for a months now and has gotten really good. Her tempo, notes, and tone are perfect. You can even sing along with her playing.

This week Miss M got some new music. It follows some of the songs that she's practicing at school for the spring musical performance. A performance in which she will sing with her class and dance with a select group of girls and boys. They are dancing to the music of the original "Fame," you know, the one with leg warmers and lots of hair flowing over dancing bodies. M's piano teacher assigned her the song "Out Here On My Own." It's a fun song, but still needs some work.

On Thursday night, M was practicing while A and I looked at books and Dad was on the computer. After playing the one song over and over again my husband commented on what a nice job she's doing with it. M said thank you, "it was Grammy's favorite song, remember Papa had them sing it at her funeral."
Miss A said, "Grammy liked Fame!"
After we all rolled on the ground and A looked at us like we were crazy, my husband calmly said, "No that was 'What A Friend We Have in Jesus.' That's was a little more Grammy's speed."

Finally, we are loving winter Saturday's around here. No basketball this year, no dance competitions and soccer, softball and baseball are still weeks/months away so we are enjoying being lazy. This morning was an early one, however, because C's friend who spent the night last night had an early BB game. So, after breakfast and clean up and goodbyes, all three kids were ready for something fun to do.

Out came the Play Doh Box. The kids, even the oldest were having fun making birthday cakes, Oreo cookies, and playing with the Dentist kit in the box.

At one point, C was the Dentist, M was the ex ray tech and A was the Hygienist. They were looking for cavities and had a diagram of which teeth needed to be pulled. I heard a scream and C said, "Uh-Oh." M said that's not you want to hear from a dentist.

C and A were about to pull the "wrong tooth"

Speaking from experience having just had four teeth pulled, Miss M said with all sincerity, "I don't think this is a good idea, we don't want to hurt the poor child."

Now from my perspective, the "child" in question was a plastic head with empty spots were the teeth should go filled with white play doh!

These kids keep me laughing!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Friendship Struggles Start Early

Today, on the way to Preschool, Miss A told me that she is no longer friends with her former best friend "T." She then went into some long story about an indoor jumper, the art center and the fact that "T" no longer will look at her or talk to her. I'm not sure I understood the whole explanation, which of course exasperated the speaker, but I got the gist.

Friendship is hard. Even in the preschool years, girls can be mean. Our feelings get hurt.

Miss A and I talked about forgetting the past, walking up to "T," and just saying "hey lets play in the kitchen center" and see what happened. Of course, A told me not to be the boss of her in her friendships and I just laughed and thought, "Oh honey, it's going to be a long journey through the teens years with you."

Miss M as a fourth grader has already encountered a few "mean girls," girls who thought they ran the school, the dance floor, or the soccer field and all girls who got in their ways should be trampled. She's felt pressure to wear the right clothes, have the right hair style, and act a certain way to fit in with the other girls. There have been tears and heavy hearts about things girls have said or done.

Taking the Beth Moore Bible Study: Esther: It's Tough Being a Women last year was eye opening to me about some of the inherent struggles women have with each other and themselves. Struggles that God does not desire for us and that break His heart, but are sometimes even more rampant in the Christian culture than any other place. Sadly, we Christians are not exempt and unfortunately, I see it in my own church. It must pain God to watch that in what should be a safe, welcoming environment. I've seen friendships among women in " churches" that are as mean and unforgiving as an junior high locker room. I know women who have been so hurt from Christian Women that they refuse to go to Bible Studies, or stay away from Worship because they are too worried about being gossiped about, or looked down upon.

I know that I cried many a tear in junior high and high school over the comments of other girls. Thankfully, God has given me the ability to forget and most of those horrible memories don't exist anymore. However, like a momma bear protecting her young, my memory is long when it comes to my own "girls" and I don't have much patience or forgiveness for mean little girls.

I think deep down a lot of these little "tryst" can be explained away by misunderstanding, fear or insecurity. Miss T is a very nice girl. She's not mean at all, but Miss A can be a little nervous, she can get a little shy and I think like all girls she can be a little afraid to broach "girls" who she think are mad at her or ignore her in some way. It's true for preschoolers and adults alike, once we get our feelings hurt a little bit, we get gun shy and won't be as likely to reach out.

Boys are so much easier when it comes to friendships. They can fight one time and the next be buddies. One afternoon they will be arguing about who is the better player or better team and then the next day be playing Wii Boxing and laughing like crazy with each other. Arguments don't hurt them, they just brush it off.

Not so with girls.

Lately , I'm trying to be more focused on praying for my girls and girls they come into contact with. Praying that my girls will be kind, that they will be compassionate and friendly, that they will be open to friendships, and welcoming to all girls. I've been praying that as Miss M starts to enter the 'preteen' years that God will guard her heart. I pray that she'll enter into friendships with kind girls, girls with similar morals and values, and hearts that are filled with God's love. I'm praying that she'll find one really good friend that she can share the deep parts of her heart and soul with . That her friend will treat her "secret" information gently and loving and not betray that trust.

Friendships with women even as an adult I've found can be challenging. While I have some close friends that I've had for decades that I trust completely, I too have been burned by friends. I've been teased and felt the sting of words that crush. My personality is such that once that happens I want nothing more than to crawl into a hole and hide. I want to steer clear of "mean girls" and just hunker down with the trusted few and my family.

However, I realize that this example is not what I want to give my girls. I want them to see women's friendship as a gift from God. Something that we have to help us on the journey of life, to share our joys and sorrows, and to build each other up not tear each other down.

Plus, I know that my husband, while he's my best friend, can only handle so much girl talk. At the end of the day, he can only listen to so many of my words and, with a long winter Girlfriend, I have lots of words stored up some days!

That's why I'm grateful for the friendships I do have. That's why I'm willing to risk "it" with new friends. That's why I told Miss A today that her Friday goal is to makeup with Miss "T." Who cares who is wrong. They are a riot together and Miss A needs friends like that this year to laugh and giggle with, to play American Girl Dolls, and to Dress Up in Dance Costumes, and dance like Cinderella together.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WFMW: Kindergarten Roundup the Redshirt Year

Miss A picked out her outfit for the event: her new Justice Shirt, a cool purple scarf and of course those fabulous sparkly shoes. Don't think other girls didn't notice the "sparkle." She said that the first thing her Kindergarten Buddy said to her was "I love the sparkly."
Miss A's "redshirt" year is half way over. It's hard to believe that next year at this time the house will be silent and empty in the afternoons. We've been having lots of fun this fall and have some big ideas of things to do this spring. We just need the weather man to help us out a little bit!

Last week, our elementary school held it's Kindergarten Round Up. Now don't ask me why they felt the need to do this in the middle of January when the 2010-2011 school year is 8 months away, but they did!! Of course, all this week Miss A has been asking when does Kindergarten start again.

Since this is my third time through Round Up, I was prepared. I had my little birth certificate in hand, a camera in my purse, and a set of pens ready to fill out all the forms. If pressed into service, I could give the "Welcome to our school speech" the Principal gave without notes. But I loved looking around at the "newbies" who are getting ready to send child number one out into the world. The parents looked almost as nervous as the children.

Miss A was all confident and ready. She walked right out with her "class" or practice class as she called it to see the Kindergarten classroom, do a craft, and have a snack. She loved it. However, she'd like to make it clear that this is not the teacher she's going to have in the fall. Remember that mom!! I guess she's under the impression she gets to pick and that she'll get to pick a few of her "friends" to be in her class, too!

Going through roundup once again and seeing the other kids, the look of confidence on Miss A's face reaffirmed our decision to hold her back a year and wait to start Kindergarten. She seems much more confident, excited, and ready now than she was last spring or summer. Sure she's a little taller than some of the kids in the class, but she also showed some real leadership holding another little girl's hand as they walked away from the cafeteria.

When we got back in the car to head home that morning, the first thing A said was; "well that's over now, let's go home I'm exhausted." Guess it's tough being a pretend Kindergartner for a morning. It reminded me to enjoy these last few months of freedom that we will have together to soak up our time together and play games, read books and go out to lunch with the ladies. Miss A was so excited to get her own Dry Erase Board and Pen and has been copying down "words" ever since.

Gotta go now, Little House in the Big Woods is calling my and Miss A's name.

Kindergarten Roundup during our Redshirt Year Works for Me; for more WFMW check out We Are THAT Family.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Little House on the Prairie the Musical: You've Gotta See It!!

The "Girls"and I along with M's Best Friend went to see the Little House on the Prairie Musical with Melissa Gilbert playing the role of "Ma" Ingalls. It was fabulous!! We giggled and cheered and clapped. We got all dressed up and sat in fancy seats with Playbills in hand and pretended to be ladies.
Now, I will admit I am a huge Little House fan. I grew up watching Melissa play Laura in the TV show and read all the books cover to cover. In fact, considering I live in the middle of the Prairie, I'm thinking that we should take a Girls Weekend and go to see De Smet, South Dakota where Ma and Pa and Mary, Laura and Carrie lived.
The musical was a great mix of the old with the new. The musical score and songs were all new to me, but I loved them and thought they fit perfectly with the play. Favorite TV Characters like Nellie Olsen were perfectly cast in the play and were just as I remember. Miss A quickly figured out she was the "mean girl." Having Melissa Gilbert in the role of Ma was fabulous. She just made the whole thing that much more "memorable."
I loved the sister interaction of Mary, Laura, and Carrie. I even got all nervous when Mary started showing signs of losing her sight. Hello, I knew she went blind, but I still got shivers in my stomach for how scary it must have been.
What I loved the most about taking the girls to Little House was their own reactions. M wants to read all the LH books now. She and A found out that the show is on the Hallmark Channel every day and have already set the DVR for a few episodes. They loved it. They commented on Laura and how kind she was to her sisters, how hard she worked so that Mary could go to school, and how funny and spunky she was even as an adult.
Little House on the Prairie has so much to offer my girls. I'm excited to open this world to them.
I'd forgotten how wholesome and family affirming the books and television show were and how valuable lessons on hard work, determination, overcoming obstacles and family love and faith are contained within the pages.
Tomorrow, Miss A and I are starting the Little House in the Big Woods book. I can't wait.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lovin' Normal

This has been a week of "normal." No new snow, no sub zero temps, Preschool and School have been back in session (finally) and life has gotten back to routine.

I love normal.

I love routine.

I even love boring. It's how I roll. Give me a week with a blank calendar and just my normal appointments, activities and errands and I'm one happy momma. I love the fact that my new Beth Moore Bible Study has started and a I have a blank workbook to complete. I love that it's January and my calendar is crisp and clean.

I'm grateful for the blessings of normal.

I realize however for the people of Haiti there is no normal anymore. Their world has been "rocked" in more ways than I can count.

As I've gone through the last couple of days, I've been praying and thinking about mothers in the midst of the earthquake and felt deep sorrow for them. Sorrow that it will be a long time before they get back to "normal."

Our family is blessed to sponsor a little boy through World Vision. He is a young man in Ghana who goes to school, helps his parents, and loves soccer. A child whose life has been changed because of a small gift we send each month. Really not that much, not a great sacrifice, but enough to make a difference and help him and his family have a better "normal." In his Christmas Letter to us, he was so excited to have a "family" in America. He is so proud of his community and his parents who work hard as farmers. He drew us a beautiful picture of his family's house.

World Vision has children in Haiti, too. They are children who are sponsored by families around the globe and get warm meals, education and support. I'm praying for those little children just like I'm praying for our child Shakum in Ghana. Praying that the wonderful ministry that World Vision has been doing in Haiti for years will be an even bigger blessing now as they move forward with rebuilding the country.

It's a blessing to wake up and Praise God for the "normal" and to Plead with God for that blessing for others around the world too!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Family Friendly Movies Friday: The First of the 2010 Reviews

Baby it's cold outside how about a few Family Friendly Movies to snuggle up with and enjoy?

Paradise Texas: A washed up Hollywood Actor takes his family "on location" to his hometown for a low budget movie hoping to recapture his marriage and children along the way. Mack Cameron left this small town years ago in search of fame and fortune, but lost himself in the process. This movie is also about a small town boy whose talent for acting and dancing disappoints his father who thinks it's not macho enough. When he gets a role alongside Mack, he thinks his future is set and all will go his way now. This film has many a tale inside it' some sad and broken, some hopeful and family building. It tells the story of a family struggling and a father trying to get it all together before he loses it all. This is a story of redemption and hope along with a message that judging others and typecasting can get you in a heap of trouble. A great family night movie.

Frank: This is a fun movie about a "city family" that spends its summer on an idyllic island with all sorts of charm. The only problem is a rumor about a wild animal on the loose. When six year old Patrick discovers that the animal on the loose is really a lovable Frank, a slobbering and lovable pug with tons of charm. We laughed, we cried and we cheered through this touching tale of fun. I think all three kids begged for a dog too, but I'm not giving in! Mark my words.

The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin: I'll admit I love the Disney Classics. This 1967 movie is downright slapstick humor. It's lovable and goofy all at the same time. Set during the California Gold Rush, it's as hilarious tale about an "East Coast" elite child and his butler who go out "West" to rebuild the family's wealth, and their adventures along the way. There are "good guys" and "bad guys" a love story and a moral lesson all wrapped up in this cute story. All three kids and even dad were cheering and jeering the good and bad. We cracked up over the "special effects"and how bad they really were. Let's just say it's not Disney's best but it provides enough laughs to make it worth the time. These days we've got lots of time inside to kill, and this made for a fun afternoon.

Dunston Checks In: Is there anything funnier than an Orangutan's shenanigans? Not according to my kids' laughter as they watched this movie and nearly rolled on the floor time and time again. While a hotel manager and his tow mischievous children attempt to impress their elite guests, a Jewel Thief checks in with Dustin the Orangutan who knows how to scale walls, unlock windows and find hidden jewels among the unmentionables. The plot is thin, but the laughs and antics are big and often. I mean really how often do you get to meet an orangutan up-close?

The Ultimate Gift: This is the lone "deep and meaningful" movie among today's selections. This is a story about a young man whose wealthy grandfather dies. Thinking that he'll be getting a big inheritance, he is surprised instead by the life lessons his grandfather has planned for him. A trust fund child who has never held a real job, or made a difference in someones life, Jason's experiences impact him in big ways. Wrapped up in this movie is a strong message of giving back, staying the course, and learning to trust and love. Both C and Ma loved this movie and we were able to have some great discussions about the message behind the movie. This is a classic feel good film that leaves you wanting to go impact your world. Only thing missing from this film is a stronger message about the "ultimate gift" Jesus!

Family Friendly Movie Friday is a Monthly Feature on this blog: Next in the series some excellent movies on Hallmark Channel and the Gospel Music Channel.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Gratefulness in the Midst of The "Storm"

I'm choosing to be grateful today. The windchill outside is -25, the kids are home "again" for another snow day, and we are all going a little stir crazy. However, I've decided to be grateful. I'm choosing to give thanks and see the joy and happiness in the situation.

Here's Why Today, in the Midst of Winter Storm #3, I'm Grateful

1. We have a warm house to stay in, plenty of food to eat, and a clean place to lay our head tonight.

2. The windows and doors are keeping out the wind. While it whips up my "huge piles of snow" and makes my back deck look like an ice skating rink, I'm bundled up inside.
3. We finished part of our basement this year and the kids now have a place to go run around, watch TV, and play. Miss A has already moved her kitchen, baby dolls and Dora Tent into the area and made herself a little play zone. C has big dreams for a game table, but for now is happy to have room to practice his putting while Miss M has dreams of a chalkboard on the wall and a place to "hang out." What a blessing this is for the kids and mom too!
4. Tonight, the University of Texas plays in the Championship BCS Game and we plan to have a whopping good time. We've got Cowboy Calzones on the menu from Pioneer Women's Cookbook and some Queso and Chips for later. There will be hooping and hollering from the Dad in the house and the rest of us will be praying the Horns win.
5. I went to my favorite knitting shop this past week and I have a new project so, even though it's cold outside, my hands are staying busy and warm. It's a secret or I would share the details.
6. We are making some memories. Who would think that shoveling the neighbors driveways yesterday would be great times for the kids, but they loved it. It was warmer then and the snow was fluffy and white. It looked beautiful and. The fact that the neighbors thanked C and M with Baker's Chocolate Meltaways and a $5 bill was just an added bonus. It felt nice to do something to help someone else.
7. Someday sooner than I can imagine, "Snow Days" will have no meaning around here. The kids will all be gone and the winter hats and gloves that fill our laundry room will have found a place somewhere else like college, office buildings and homes across the country. I won't hear loud cheers when our school district calls and says they will be closed due to dangerous weather conditions. It will just be me and my husband. I'm going to remind myself about this grateful thought tonight when the phone rings again and we are off tomorrow, too!!
8. Finally, the spring thaw will finally come. March will be here before we know it and the 4.5 foot drift of snow on my yard will only be a memory. (Please God let this be true!) This is just a "season" a fleeting moment in time.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Winter Winter Go Away

We are not wearing our PJ's inside out tonight. There will be no flushing of toilets at 9 p.m. We are not going to be watching the news hoping to school our district has cancelled school tomorrow.

I'm just like the little boy in the Seuss Classic "I'm Not Going to Get Up Today." I'm not going to take another snow day!!

We just started back to school today after two weeks of Christmas Break. Well, actually, Miss A's preschool started yesterday and since she goes MWF she went, but the big kids went today for the first time in two weeks and 1 day (Monday was a Teacher Work Day!! Yeah that's what I was asking, too!)

However if you watch the news it looks like this might be a one day week as far as school goes....

Evidence That Winter Needs to Take A Hike

1. My car's temperature reading started at 23 degrees today at 8:45- by the time we got to school about 1 mile away it was 4 degrees.

2. When my husband and son waited in hubby's car for the bus this morning at 7 a.m, the temperature was -16 degrees.

3. They are forecasting 4 to 7 more inches of snow tomorrow and we are running out of room to put the stuff. Miss M suggested that we start an assembly line and move the snow to the middle of our front yard or better yet Mr. C thinks maybe we should shotput it over the house to the backyard. Our driveway can't fit anymore. Soon, we won't be able to see our next door neighbors.

4. Most of the side streets in our fine city has been turned into one ways- they are too narrow for two cars. Today alone I had to back up once to let a car through, and waited in many a opening in front of driveway to let the other car pass me.

5. My daughter's teacher sent home some Reading homework that is not due until the 12th-thinking she might not see the kids again until Monday!!

6. Today, at Target, we restocked our pantry and fridge because I refuse to go outside my home when the temperature is -30 plus like they say it will be on Friday. I actually thought about buying powdered milk to keep "just in case," but wasn't willing to go that far.

7. We checked out movies today at Family Video and the gentleman said not to worry because they weren't due back until Sunday. "You should be able to get out by then!"

8. Finally, I'm at the point that I can't stand the smell of Hot Chocolate anymore. I've made so many pints/gallons of the stuff this winter for kids coming inside from the "shoveling, sledding and freezing" that I'm just sick of it. Today, I bought Apple Cider for a change of pace.

So, Old Man Winter take a hike. Usher in some sunshine, temps above freezing, and some snow melt and I'll be happy once again to talk about how it's not to bad to live in the Midwest. Our winters are mild and our summers are delightful.

What was Mr. Gore saying about Global Warming. Right about now, we could use a little right over my "neck of the woods."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Getting Out of Town: Top 10 Reasons A Winter Get Away Works

Miss A in her New Outfit....she was getting so excited for our friends to arrive on New Year's Eve and could hardly sit still.. I think I have 14 pictures of her jumping up and down!

We just got back yesterday after a few days at our family Lake House. Realizing that we live in the middle of the country and the temps have been below zero with frigid windchills for days, you might wonder why it was worth it to pack up half the house and head to a frozen lake.

Granted Miss A wanted to take her swimsuit along just in case we decided to go swimming and Mr. C was convinced he could fish a little off the dock with his new bobbers, there weren't any "lake activities" involved in this little trip.

For two and a half days, we got to spend time with our "lake friends." They are a family we enjoy so much in the summer and now realize that, in winter, they are fun to hang out with, too. It was weird not to have dinner down by the dock or go on a boat ride to the Marina, but trekking between the snow in the sand made for some new "memories."
A change of scenery does wonders for your spirit. A little bit of shake up of the "routine" makes for some fun family times. Plus, with about 15 inches of snow on the ground and temps so cold, we were starting to get "cabin fever" at our own house so why not go to the cabin to see some different walls and furniture!
Miss M vegging with PW's Cookbook
Here's my top 10 reasons we enjoyed our little winter getaway....
1. Having a friendly neighbor snow plow our two driveways so that when we arrived we didn't have to push around 3 to 4 foot drifts in the driveway. In fact, there was a little path he'd made between our two houses that made me smile.

2. Cracking up on the way to the Lake when C asked us to have another "staycation" this summer at the lake and M said "yeah, I like to go on vacation I just don't like the going there" and Miss A in all seriousness said "M, why do you have to be so complicated" Really, what 5 year old talks like that!!

3. Hanging out and sharing meals, game time, and New Years Eve with another family and not feel the pressure to make fancy hor d' oeuvres or get all dressed up and have the house spotless. It's the cabin after all, it's all casual.
Waiting for the New Year....
4. The kids loved playing Taboo and Apples to Apples and competing as "families." Miss M gets really into the clue giving at Taboo! The kids played card games and Operation, learned Tripoly and Spoons and came home wanting to learn more and turn off the TV and gaming systems and just "play games"!
Miss A and her friend "playing" a card game. These two crack me up
5. The meals were no stress Pioneer Women's Cinnamon Rolls, Hoagies with all the fixings, and Pizza Night! Easy making, easy cleanup, and plenty of mouths to eat the food so no huge leftovers.
6. Seeing the snow covering the deck out back and the fact that I could walk right onto the deck's benches from the sun room is a "picture " I'll carry this summer when it's hot and the deck is filled with sand shoes and wet towels.
Check out that snow - I walked right out onto the benches.

7. Celebrating New Years' Eve on New York Time so we can all go home and get in our jammie's before midnight. It was even fun to watch the "Red Bull Jump" although their idea of "any minute" is a little different than mine. (Let's just say they made it sound like the jump would happen imminently when in actuality it was hours off)
Happy 2010!!! Happy New Year

8. Waking up on New Year's Day to a snow covered back yard and seeing the frozen lake silent and still.

9. Watching my brave but chilly husband escort all the children out on the frozen lake. They loved walking across the "cove" and sliding around. I think he was just thrilled C did not have use his "water rescue" Boy Scout skills to rescue anyone who fell thru the ice!! Guess the fact that the ice was 8 inches deep and then had a layer of 3 inches of snow on top helped, too.
Running across the lake to the house across the cove; Look at all that snow. No boats or wake in sight. No need for sunscreen either!

10. Sleeping in Saturday morning and then sharing our last breakfast together before cleaning up and heading back into town. We brought the chocolate chip muffins and they shared their blueberry muffins.

Bonus: Coming home Saturday at lunchtime, we stopped at Panda Express and all three kids cheered for the treat and the fact that it made for a great end to our "mini vacation" Getting away for just a few days with some great friends and a fun family. Priceless.