Friday, September 7, 2007

From Under the Clutter has moved again!

I promise this is the last time! If you are coming here via my blogger profile, From Under the Clutter is now located at

Thursday, July 12, 2007

From Under the Clutter has moved!

I'm so excited about my blog's new home. I've been working hard on it's design all day. I wanted something that gave me a greater ability to customize my theme and links, and I found it at Typepad. So check out From Under the Clutter's new home, and don't forget to update your bookmarks!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Miniature Golfing

Today we went miniature golfing. It's part of a new weekly routine our family is starting.....Sports Saturday. In order to keep fit and spend some quality time together as a family, we are trying different sports and activities each week. I know this is only our first week, but so far it's a good experience. So often we get bogged down in the day to day routines of life, and we don't take time to really enjoy each other. Even Sam, who never really did get the hang of swinging the club, had a great time. And we discovered that Liz is pretty good at miniature golf. Next week I think we'll try bowling.

Saturday, June 30, 2007


Shannon and the kids brought home a Snickers candy bar for me today after an outing. Knowing full well that they had all had their treats while they were out, I began to eat my Snickers bar. Sam saw me, and asked if he could have a piece. I told him no, that he had already had his treat. Sam said "God says you have to share." He got a piece.

Posting Lite

That's the schedule I'm going to be on for the summer. After reading a great post by scribbit a few weeks ago, I've really been pondering my goals for this blog. I've discovered I enjoy blogging, but at this point, I really don't have a focus, and I don't know what direction to take my blog. I've also discovered that during the summer while the kids are home isn't a great time to get serious about blogging. With that in mind, I'm sure I'll post some over the summer, but I probably won't be posting regularly. Watch out though. I'll be back full force in the fall!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I've discovered podcasts!

For my birthday I got a little mp3 player. It doesn't have the name recognition of Ipod, but so far it's working just fine for me. I just use Windows Media Player to sync everything. I was looking for some music to listen to during my workouts, and I discovered podcasts! Since I'm more of a talk-radio listener than a music listener, poscasts have been great for me. So far I listen to Dave Ramsey, Kay Arthur, and Rowdy Racing News. I know, it's an eclectic group of podcasts, but then I tend to be a somewhat eclectic person. Perhaps my best find during my search for podcasts was OnePlace, a site where you can get lots of FREE Christian podcasts. Did I mention most of them are FREE? My earbuds are going to be permanently attached to my ears!

Monday, June 25, 2007

So I started my weight loss plan....sort of

I know I was planning to start on Saturday, but my plans got derailed Friday night. My dearest husband, who was out of town for my birthday, ordered a giant birthday cake from Yummycakes for a get-together our friends were having. Unfortunately one of the friends throwing the little party got sick, so only a few people showed up. I had to take half a sheet cake home. Who can resist temptation like that? After a rough, cake filled weekend, I started my weight loss plan this morning. I'm tracking my progress at SparkPeople. If you've never been to Sparkpeople, you should really check it out. The site is free to use, and it has handy tools for setting goals and tracking exercise and nutrition information. And did I mention it's free? So here's the good, the bad, and the ugly from today. The good: I worked out on the elliptical machine today and burned 350 calories. That's more than my goal of 187 calories! Woohoo! The bad: I missed my goal of eating between 1200-1550 calories in one day. I consumed 2062 calories today. The Dr. Pepper and coffee with cream and sugar (way too much cream and sugar) really did me in. The good news is there's only one more Dr. Pepper in the fridge. After that, the temptation is gone. The ugly: No wonder I've been gaining weight! I feel like today I've only eaten a fraction of what I normally eat, and I STILL went over my calorie goal. I shudder to think of how many calories I normally eat in a day. It really is eye-opening write everything down. Tomorrow is a new day. Since VBS is this week, I have 5 free mornings to workout at the YMCA. I think I'll hit the weight machines tomorrow.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I need to lose weight

I've known this for a while now. I'm not morbidly obese or anything, but my tummy and thighs have been growing bigger since Sam was born 4 years ago. I thought you were supposed to LOSE weight after having a baby! The clincher came tonight as I was outside talking to my neighbor. My neighbors are from a different country, and I know there are cultural differences as far as what questions are appropriate to ask. I was still flabbergasted, though, when my neighbor asked if I had gained weight! I know for sure it's time to get serious about losing the extra pounds! Now I need a specific plan. I have a membership to the YMCA, but I haven't been working out. I'm thinking about going after my husband gets home from work in the evenings, so I don't have to pay extra for childcare. Then there's my diet. It isn't horrendous, but I do need to make some changes. I think the Dr. Pepper has to go out the window, as does my coffee with extra cream and sugar. No more stops at Dutch Brothers while I'm out running errands, either. Beyond that, I have many options. Should I do the South Beach Diet? Weight Watchers? Just exercise more and count calories? (That's how my husband lost 50 lbs). Does anyone have any other thoughts? Helpful advice? Until Shannon gets back from his business trip, I guess I'll just pull out my old Walk Away the Pounds dvds.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Works-for-Me: Prayer List

Our Sunday school class has a prayer time every week. While it's great to pray for people while we're in class, sometimes it's nice to have a reminder of the prayer requests in the middle of the week. I volunteered to take down the prayer requests during the Sunday school hour, and then sometime in the middle of the week, I send the prayer requests out to the members of the class via email, including any updates people have given me.

I've gotten lots of great feedback about the email list. People who miss Sunday school class can still pray specifically for fellow class members. When needs come up during the week, people just email me a request to send out to everyone. I know this is really basic, but it works for me!

For more great tips visit Rocks in My Dryer!

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Monday, June 18, 2007

I stumbled upon this tonight

Geni is a site for making your family tree. I must have played around with it for an hour. I've always been interested in tracing my ancestry, and I really like the way this site is set up! I can't wait to tell my husband about it. He's much farther along in tracing his family tree than I am! I am just loving Stumbleupon! I have come across so many cool sites by just stumbling! Related Tags: , , ,

Have we really stooped so low?

Anchorwoman is a new Fox reality show, where a bikini model with no journalism experience works as a co-anchor for the 5 p.m. news. This is entertainment? First of all, I didn't know serious news was entertaining. What if the leading news story is a fatal auto accident? Is the model going to report on the war in Iraq? And we're supposed to laugh as she does it? Now this bikini model may surprise us all and be a good reporter, but I doubt it. That wouldn't make for entertaining television, right? Furthermore, the fact that this woman with no experience is being billed as a "bikini model" just irks me. The fact that women's bodies are used to sell everything from cars to the evening news these days just really makes me mad. I'm not a staunch feminist by any means, but I don't think women should be portrayed as sex objects with no brains. Perhaps I've been on the receiving end of too many blond jokes in my lifetime. I hope the Phil Hurley, the station president and general manager, considers the message he is sending and decides not to air the program. Related Tags: , ,

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Letter to My Husband

Dear Shannon, It’s hard to believe that our 12th anniversary is Sunday. Counting the year we dated, we have been a couple for 13 years. Has it really been 13 years since you first asked me out? They say time flies when you’re having fun. They’re right! In honor of our anniversary, I’d like to share the things I remember from each of our years together. 1. The night you proposed. December 16, 1994. I remember opening the door to my apartment and seeing the bouquet of red roses you were holding. I knew something big was going to happen that night. We went to Alex’s restaurant, and I remember that it was busy, but the voices of the other diners faded into the background as you captivated my attention. We left the restaurant and walked hand-in-hand through the streets of downtown, gazing at the Christmas lights and reflecting on the 6 months we had dated. We ended up at the park, where you proposed to me on the bridge where we had talked on our first date. I almost cried then, and I’m almost in tears now, as I remember. 2. After we got married, we moved. We didn’t know anyone, and we were trying to figure out what church to attend the next day. You wanted one church, and I wanted another. We had a big fight. Later you assured me that you would never make me go to a church that I didn’t like. You asked me to write down the things that mattered to me in a church, and I listed them off. The next day we went to the church that you chose, and one by one I had to mentally cross things off my list. The church you chose had every single quality that I was looking for. God taught me a little lesson on submission that day. We didn’t have to have that big fight. Hopefully you’ll agree I’ve gotten a little more submissive over the years. 3. On June 4, 1997 we found out we were expecting our first child. We had been trying for quite some time. I had been on fertility drugs for 6 months, and we were beginning to wonder if we would ever be able to have children. You and everyone else suspected that I might be pregnant. I was sure I wasn’t. You shouldn’t have cramps when you’re pregnant, right? That day after work, I stopped by Rite-Aid on a whim and bought a pregnancy test. I went home and took it. A plus. Pregnant. I couldn’t believe it. I looked at the clock and realized I had an hour before you came home from work. I rushed to the mall and bought a baby name book then rushed home to wrap it. When you came in the door, I gave you the present “just because”. You opened it and knew. We were expecting our first baby. 4. I still remember every detail of the day Liz was born. I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning. No change. I begged the doctor to induce. He said he would the next day. I called everyone that afternoon. My friends warned me that being induced wasn’t fun. They told me they’d pray I’d go into labor on my own. I didn’t care. I was going to have a baby. To celebrate, I made a nice lasagna dinner for our last night home alone together. As I took my last bite, I got hit with a pain that made me stand right up. And my water broke. I didn’t want to go to the hospital right away. You thought we should go. We went. There were no rooms immediately available at the hospital, so we sat for an hour in the doctor’s lounge. I remember it was terribly uncomfortable. When we finally moved to our room, things progressed quickly. I begged for drugs, but when the anesthesiologist got there, it was time to push. The doctor arrived just in time, and Liz was born as he was putting his gloves on. She had the loudest cry. I remember staying awake half the night, looking at her and then you asleep on the pull out sofa, marveling at the fact that we were the parents of this beautiful baby girl. 5. That following year my parents divorced. That shook my world like nothing ever had before. I like statistics, and statistics say that when two people from divorced families marry, the odds are their marriage won’t last. I pulled back. Through it all, you never gave up on me. I love you for that. 6. 1999-2000 brought many more months of dealing with the stresses of infertility. More doctors’ appointments, more fertility drugs, and the endless cycle of highs and lows that accompany the hope and disappointment each month brought. Again, you stood with me through all of this. I know we had our disagreements as to when to call it quits, but we always worked through it, with the hope that our family would someday grow. 7. The year 2001 is the year we will (hopefully) always refer to as the worst year of our lives. Your mom had quadruple bypass surgery, my dad had a heart attack, my mom got diagnosed with leukemia, and your step-mom went into the hospital and would pass away early in 2002. But perhaps the most devastating event was my miscarriage. After two years of trying to get pregnant, we were excited to find out we were expecting a baby. Our excitement turned to great sorrow, when we lost the baby at 10 weeks. The questions began again. Would we ever have more children? How much pain was too much? Did we somehow lose favor with God? It was a tough year for sure. I remember you weathered it well, though. And you asked me a question I would never forget. You asked me why we were any better than everyone else that we should be spared suffering. And the answer, of course, is that we are not better than anyone else. Since then I have come to see suffering in a whole new light. It is a part of life and something God uses to mature our faith. And boy did we both mature that year. 8. After my mom was diagnosed with leukemia, we decided to move closer to her. You got a job rather quickly, but the sale of our house took a while. For several months, you made the 90 minute commute almost daily, so you could see Liz and I every evening, if only for a short time. I appreciated your willingness to sacrifice so much for us, and I became aware of just how much I missed you when you weren’t around. Those were some lonely times for me. I was glad when we were finally able to move. 9. Finally, in the fall of 2002 we welcomed our son Sam into the world. The pain of three years of infertility evaporated as we held him for the first time. I still remember his first cries. They sounded like the bleating of a billy-goat. We quickly settled in to our roles as parents to a daughter and a son. And for the first time, our family seemed complete. 10. When Sam was little over a year old, you lost your job. I still remember the look on your face as you walked in the door early that winter afternoon. You looked defeated. I think after those first hours of shock, though, we learned to confidently rely on God to meet our needs. And that is exactly what He did. Right before our money ran out, you got another job. We always had everything we needed. And through another trial, we learned to trust God even more. 11. One of my favorite memories is your 40th birthday. It was a Sunday, and boy did I get you good! I convinced you that Sam was sick and needed to stay home from church that day. You were to take Liz to church and then to a party at the park for her friend. What you didn’t know is that the party was for you. After you left with Liz, Sam and I headed to the park to put together a barbeque birthday party for you. All of our friends managed to get there before you did, and I will never forget the look of surprise on your face, as it dawned on you what I had done. Priceless. 12. Our 12th year together was a fairly easy year. We enjoyed a rather large increase in our income, we were healthy, and everything was going well. It was nice to be able to take a break from our trials and just enjoy each other. It was also a good lesson that you should never get too comfortable in life, because… 13. The trials will always come. This last year of our marriage has been another challenging one. Your father died, which ushered us into a new phase of life. It’s hard to say goodbye, and I’m glad I could support you through that difficult time. You lost the good-paying-but-highly-stressful job you’d had for the last 3 years. And you’re embarking on a new adventure with a new job. The last 13 years have been one adventure after another. We’ve been to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. One thing I can say for sure is that there is nobody else with whom I would rather have shared these experiences. I’m looking forward to adding to this list of memories in the years to come. I hope that by the time it’s all said and done, and God calls one or both of us home, our list is a very long one. And I hope we can look back and see how much we have both grown as a couple. Happy Anniversary, honey! Love Always, Lynnae Related Tags:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Works-for-Me Wednesday: Organizing Digital Photographs

When I made the switch from a film camera to a digital camera about a year and a half ago, I had no idea how quickly the digital photos would take over my computer! When I didn’t have to worry about running out of film, I found myself taking 5 times the number of pictures I had taken with my film camera. In no time I had a huge mess of pictures, with no good way of finding the pictures I needed without weeding through the entire bunch. I found a couple of free programs that have helped me immensely in my quest to organize my photos: Irfanview and Picasa. When I transfer my pictures from my camera to the computer, I put them in a folder labeled “Uploaded”. Then I use Irfanview’s “Batch Rename/Conversion” feature to rename my pictures in yyyy-mm-dd-event-## format. I set up Irfanview to automatically move my pictures to the appropriate month/year folder on my computer after the pictures are renamed. I like to organize my photos by the year. Then in the individual year folders, I have sub-folders for each month. Once that is done, I load up Picasa. Picasa scans my pictures folder for any new pictures and automatically imports them. I make minor adjustments to the pictures and add keywords. The keywords I usually use are the names of the people in the picture and the event. With the keywords, I can search for pictures when I’m making a gift calendar or album. If I need a picture of Liz and Sam together, I search for “Liz Sam”, and all the pictures featuring both kids pop up. Very convenient. Once all the pictures are tweaked to my liking, I use Picasa to upload them to the photo-printing company of my choice. I use Shutterfly, but there are many great companies out there, and Picasa supports most of them. When Shutterfly offers a free-shipping promotion, I order the prints. I also use Picasa to burn CDs of my pictures every 3 months, so I have a backup. And always, always, always make sure you backup your pictures. Our computer crashed a few months ago, and we only lost a few pictures, because I had backed them all up a week before. I know I could buy a great program to edit and organize my pictures, but the free programs work for me! For more Works-for-Me tips, head over to Rocks in My Dryer! Related Tags: , ,

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mom, It's a Snake!

It may as well have been. It was the biggest slug I've ever seen!

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Friday, June 8, 2007

Special Day with Mom

I grew up as the oldest of 4 children. Life was always pretty hectic around our house, and my brothers and I often had to compete for our parents' attention. It was especially bad during the summer, when we were all home from school and often reciting that familiar mantra "Mom, I'm bored."

One summer my mom came up with a great idea. She scheduled a babysitter for 4 days out of the summer. Then she wrote each of our names on the calendar on one of those days. That was our special day with mom. There were very few guidelines concerning that day. We each had $10 to spend anyway we wanted. We could go anywhere we wanted, as long as it was legal and moral. That was it. Oh the planning we did. My brother, Brad, decided on a matinee. Justin wanted to go to the comic book store. Charles wanted to go to the toy store.

When my day arrived, I decided to go window shopping at the mall. My mom and I looked at clothes, toys, jewelry, and knickknacks. I think my mom was thrilled to do some "girl stuff". At the end of our day, we headed over to Coco's restaurant for hot fudge Sundays! Yum!

Every summer my mom continued this tradition. And every summer my mom and I would spend the day at the mall, followed by hot fudge Sundays at Coco's. Now that my mom is getting older and is not in the best of health, it's a memory I will treasure forever. And it's a tradition I'm going to start this summer with my own children. I wonder what they'll each decide to do with a free day and $10?

This post is my entry for Scribbit's Write-Away Contest for June. For more information on the contest, click here.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Less Mess, Neat Squeeze?

That's what the label says, anyway. Apparently it doesn't apply to my son. Related Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Works-for-Me Wednesday: Activity Sticks

I read about this idea last summer, though I can’t remember where. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m going to give it a whirl this year. Write a bunch of different activities on popsicle sticks (the kind you buy in craft stores). Some ideas are playing a board game, running in the sprinkler, going to the park, reading a book, etc. You can also include chores, just to make things interesting. Put the popsicle sticks in a cup or jar, and when your kids come to you, saying they’re bored, have them close their eyes and pick a stick. Then they have to do the activity on the stick. Another variation is to have two cups of sticks, one for activities that include you (going to the park, library, etc), and one for activities they can do on their own. That way, if you’re busy and can’t participate, you can have them pick from the solo activities. If you have a little free time, have them pick something that you can all do together. For more great tips on what to do when the kids are bored, head over to Rocks in My Dryer! And if anyone knows where I read about this idea, let me know, so I can give proper credit! Related Tags: , ,

He hates his hair this way

I think it's cute!

Monday, June 4, 2007

He's back at work!

Shannon went back to work today, after 3 weeks of unemployment. I loved the fact that he was home to spend time with Sam, and I loved that he helped me with the housework, but I have to tell you, it is nice to be back on a regular schedule again!

Friday, June 1, 2007

It was a hoax!

The Big Donor show, which I posted about here, turned out to be a big hoax. The "terminally ill woman" was actually a healthy actress. The "contestants" were real kidney patients, but were in on the hoax. Regardless, I still believe there are better ways to promote organ donation. I don't think the Big Donor Show succeeded in highlighting the need for more organ donors. Instead people will remember the controversy surrounding the show. Why not do a serious show where people awaiting transplants can share their stories? That would truly put the focus on the need for organ donors. Related Tags: , ,

Clothing Rant

My mission this morning: to find a cute, modest affordable swimsuit for Liz. She's 9 years old, and just beginning to develop. I wanted something modest that she won't be embarrassed to wear at her school's field day in a couple of weeks. I spent an hour walking the mall this morning. There were plenty of swimsuits out there. Unfortunately the modest ones were all $60 or so. The other swimsuits looked like they belonged on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine. That made me so angry. My daughter is 9. She wears a size 8! Why is it OK in our society for a 9 year old girl to wear a bikini with a little triangle top? I want my daughter to be a girl. I don't want her to be a wanna be woman at the age of 9. As she has graduated from size 6x clothing into the 7-16 sizes, it has become harder and harder to find clothes that don't sexualize her. Fortunately she's small for her age, and it will be a while before I have to tackle the junior sizes. Finally I stopped at JCPenney in a last ditch effort to find SOMETHING. They had a bunch of cute, modest suits that were on sale! I found a cute blue one-piece in Liz's size. It even had a little skirt to go over it, making it more modest. I'm beginning to think I need to learn how to sew, so I can make her clothes from now on! Related Tags: ,

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Another Contest

5 Minutes for Mom is running another contest. This time you can win a Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure dvd. They are giving 5 of them away, so head on over to 5 minutes for Mom, and post your comments here for your chance to win! Related Tags: , , ,

10 Unreasonable Expectations We Have of Our Children

A friend of mine posted this on a message board I frequent. It was so good, I thought I'd repost it here. 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 4-year-old to clean his room. In all of these situations, we are being unrealistic. We are setting ourselves up for disappointment and setting up the child for repeated failures to please us. Yet many parents ask their young children to do things that even an older child would find difficult. In short, we ask children to stop acting their age. 2. We become angry when a child fails to meet our needs. A child can only do what he can do. If a child cannot do something we ask, it is unfair and unrealistic to expect or demand more, and anger only makes things worse. A 2-year-old can only act like a 2-year-old, a 5-year-old cannot act like a 10-year-old, and a 10-year-old cannot act like an adult. To expect more is unrealistic and unhelpful. There are limits to what a child can manage, and if we don’t accept those limits, it can only result in frustration on both sides. 3. We mistrust the child’s motives. If a child cannot meet our needs, we assume that he is being defiant, instead of looking closely at the situation from the child’s point of view, so we can determine the truth of the matter. In reality, a "defiant" child may be ill, tired, hungry, in pain, responding to an emotional or physical hurt, or struggling with a hidden cause such as food allergy. Yet we seem to overlook these possibilities in favor of thinking the worst about the child’s "personality". 4. We don’t allow children to be children. We somehow forget what it was like to be a child ourselves, and expect the child to act like an adult instead of acting his age. A healthy child will be rambunctious, noisy, emotionally expressive, and will have a short attention span. All of these "problems" are not problems at all, but are in fact normal qualities of a normal child. Rather, it is our society and our society’s expectations of perfect behavior that are abnormal. 5. We get it backwards. We expect, and demand, that the child meet our needs - for quiet, for uninterrupted sleep, for obedience to our wishes, and so on. Instead of accepting our parental role to meet the child’s needs, we expect the child to care for ours. We can become so focussed on our own unmet needs and frustrations that we forget this is a child, who has needs of his own. 6. We blame and criticize when a child makes a mistake. Yet children have had very little experience in life, and they will inevitably make mistakes. Mistakes are a natural part of learning at any age. Instead of understanding and helping the child, we blame him, as though he should be able to learn everything perfectly the first time. To err is human; to err in childhood is human and unavoidable. Yet we react to each mistake, infraction of a rule, or misbehavior with surprise and disappointment. It makes no sense to understand that a child will make mistakes, and then to react as though we think the child should behave perfectly at all times. 7. We forget how deeply blame and criticism can hurt a child. Many parents are coming to understand that physically hurting a child is wrong and harmful, yet many of us forget how painful angry words, insults, and blame can be to a child who can only believe that he is at fault. 8. We forget how healing loving actions can be. We fall into vicious cycles of blame and misbehavior, instead of stopping to give the child love, reassurance, self-esteem, and security with hugs and kind words. 9. We forget that our behavior provides the most potent lessons to the child. It is truly "not what we say but what we do" that the child takes to heart. A parent who hits a child for hitting, telling him that hitting is wrong, is in fact teaching that hitting is right, at least for those in power. It is the parent who responds to problems with peaceful solutions who is teaching his child how to be a peaceful adult. So-called problems present our best opportunity for teaching values, because children learn best when they are learning about real things in real life. 10. We see only the outward behavior, not the love and good intentions inside the child. When a child’s behavior disappoints us, we should, more than anything else we do, "assume the best". We should assume that the child means well and is only behaving as well as possible considering all the circumstances (both obvious and hidden from us), together with his level of experience in life. If we always assume the best about our child, the child will be free to do his best. If we give only love, love is all we will receive. Related Tags: ,

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mmmmmmmm Good!

Are you kidding me?

A new reality show in the Netherlands will feature 3 people competing for the chance to receive a kidney from a terminally ill woman. Is nothing sacred these days? Now we have to exploit terminally ill people? There are better ways to promote organ donation. What do you think? Is this acceptable? Or not? Related Tags: , ,

Works-for-Me Wednesday: Toy Storage

When you have small children, you know how quickly their little toys can get out of hand. You also know how frustrating it is when your 4 year old NEEDS to find his small Thomas the Tank Engine RIGHT NOW, and you have NO idea where it is! Frustrated with the disorganization of my kids' rooms, I came up with a toy storage system that works for me. I bought a wooden shelving unit and some plastic containers. Most are shoe-box sized, but I do have a few bigger containers for my kids' larger collections. I labeled each container with the type of toy it was to hold: Polly Pocket, Littlest Pet Shop, Small Balls, Little People, Cars, etc. For my son, who is not yet reading, I got out the digital camera and made photo labels. Then I put matching labels on the shelves, so my kids would know where each bin belongs. Viola! Everything has a place! I'm not saying we never have toy messes anymore, but at least cleanup is a snap! For more great Works-for-Me tips, head over to Rocks in My Dryer! Related Tags: ,

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Summer Reading List for Tweens & Teens

Weary Parent is hosting a summer reading list project for teens and tweens. I thought this was a GREAT idea, because I always have problems finding books for my 9 year old daughter, Liz. These are some of my daughter's favorites. The Animal Ark series by Ben M. Baglio. This is a great series for young animal lovers. Ages 8+. The American Girls Collection. Historical fiction for girls. Ages 8+. Young Women of Faith: Lily Series by Nancy Rue. Christian fiction centered around a 6th grade girl named Lily. Ages 8+. For more great tween/teen reading suggestions, make sure you head over to Weary Parent. Related Tags: , , , , ,

Monday, May 28, 2007

Dear Children

Jordan, over at MamaBlogga is holding a group writing project with the theme "Dear Children". After much thinking, I decided to write to the young people of the United States. So without further ado, my letter: Dear Children, I am writing to you, because you are the future of the United States of America. We enjoy many freedoms in this country, freedoms we should never take for granted. Because I care about the future of my children and my future grandchildren, let me take a moment to offer some advice from someone who has been around a bit longer than you. When you pick a hero, pick someone with integrity, someone who stands for something. Paris Hilton and Britney Spears may seem cool to your generation, but what do they stand for? Do you really want to be like them? Idolize people who stand against adversity and succeed. Jim Abbott had no right hand, yet he became a Major League Baseball pitcher. Corrie ten Boom helped Jews escape the Nazis during the Holocaust. Liviu Librescu gave his life to help his students escape during the recent Virginia Tech Massacre. These are the types of people you should look up to. These are real heroes. Respect your elders. I know it’s hard to believe, but older people have gained a lot of wisdom from experience. If you have grandparents, get to know them well. Ask for their advice. Learn their stories. When I was in high school, I did a report on the Great Depression and interviewed all of my grandparents. I learned so much more than I ever could have, had I gotten all my information from a book. If you don’t have living grandparents, get to know other older people in your neighborhood or church. I’m sure they would appreciate your interest, and you will appreciate their knowledge. Think about what you wear. Like it or not, people remember first impressions. What do you want people to think when they meet you for the first time? Ladies, do you want people to think you are made of skin or substance? Men, do you want people to see you as a leader or as some young punk? How you present yourself is important, and often it will determine whether or not you are taken seriously. Treat people with respect. You don’t have to agree with people to treat them with respect. Just because someone doesn’t have the same background or values that you do, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be treated with civility. Look past color, religion, disability, social status, and political persuasion, and see the person. This country has often been too fragmented by different groups fighting against each other. Seek to work with people, not fight against them. Love, don’t hate. Vote. You live in a great country, where you have the privilege to make your opinion count. Don’t waste it. Learn about people running for office. Don’t just vote for someone because you like their commercials, the way they look, or that some Hollywood star endorses them. Find out what they stand for. Think about how their positions will impact your life. This is your vote. Make it count. Don’t turn your back on God. He created you, He loves you, and He wants the best for your life. If you don’t know Him, get to know him. If you’re skeptical, examine the evidence for God yourself. If you already have a relationship with God, seek to deepen it. People try to fill the voids in their lives with many different things…alcohol, drugs, pornography, sex….but none of them work in the long term. Stay away from those temporary fixes. Get to know the only One who can truly fulfill you. If you let Jesus guide your life, you won’t go wrong. I hope you take my suggestions to heart. Sincerely, One who has been there Related Tags: , , , ,

Take a moment to remember

Memorial Day was first observed after the Civil War to honor the fallen soldiers. After World War I, Memorial Day became a day to honor soldiers who had died in any war. Please take time today to remember our military men and women who have died in combat. They have sacrificed their lives to bring us the freedoms we enjoy.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

It's amazing how kids influence you....

I'm not a sports fan. Never have been. I'll watch the occasional football game, and I'll watch my kids' soccer games, of course. Other than that, I've never been into watching sports. Until this year. Sam received a Cars dvd for Christmas, and from the moment he first watched the movie, he was hooked on Nascar racing. He quickly learned the names of all the Nascar drivers, and instead of an allowance, he earns trips to Wal-mart to buy a little Nascar car every week. Over the weeks, as I've learned more about Nascar racing from my 4 year old, I've become more interested myself. And this afternoon, instead of reading a book or taking a nap like I normally do on Sunday afternoons, I've been spending the last 5 hours watching the Nascar Coca-Cola 600. Yes, 5 hours. Insane.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Last Day of School

Yesterday was Sam's last day of preschool for the year. As I reflect back on the year, I am amazed at how much he has changed. When the year started last September, Sam was behind in his speech, and at times I couldn't even understand what he was saying. Now he speaks clearly, and he's starting to read! I am so thankful that his first year at school was a good experience for him. It has set the foundation for a long-term love of school. His teachers had a lot to do with that. They were always positive and encouraging with him. I'd just like to thank teachers everywhere for the work they do. I know oftentime teachers are underpaid and overworked. Yet they continue to do their jobs with enthusiasm and love for their students. Teachers, next to parents, often have the biggest impact on our kids that any adult will have in our kids' school-age years. Teachers can make or break a child's love for learning, and my children's teachers have done a great job of fostering that love of learning. So thank you to all you teachers out there. And parents, don't forget to thank your children's teachers before the school year is over.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thoughts on Politics and the Church

I was listening to my favorite Christian radio station this morning, and an idea was posed that really got me thinking. The guest on the morning show submitted the idea that if Christians were to take half the energy they spend on politics and put it into fixing problems within the church, more people would come to know Christ. His point was that when we come out strong politically against homosexuality, abortion, and other hot moral topics, we become the enemy to the other side. If we’re the enemy, how are they ever going to come to know Jesus? And if they see us as hypocritical, how can we be expected to be taken seriously? I see his point. The best way for people to come to know Christ is through personal relationships with Christians. The guest on the radio likened it to introducing someone to a friend. It takes the middle person in the relationship to introduce the outside people. If someone sees Christians as so offensive that they don’t even want to be around them, who will introduce that person to Christ? I’m not saying that we as Christians go soft on social issues. I think voting and being involved in our political process is important. However, I do think we need to go back to Jesus’ basic instruction in Matthew 7:3-5, which is “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.” (NIV). It is hard for non-Christians, who are enslaved in some type of sin, to listen to Christians when they see us enslaved in the same types of sin. They see us as hypocrites. We need to look at ourselves first. We need to strengthen marriages within the church. We need to be known as people of integrity and people who freely love our fellow man. In loving our fellow man, however, we must remain true to God’s Word. We cannot compromise our faith. It sounds cliché, but we must hate the sin and love the sinner. We need to learn to separate people from behavior. People are not the enemy. Satan is the enemy. The Bible says that “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14, NIV). We need to constantly keep in mind that those who do not know Christ are not going to view the world the same way we do. They are not going to be won over by arguments and debates. I feel convicted on this point. I love a good debate, but sometimes I fear I come across as hateful toward the people I’m debating. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have a lot of compassion toward people, even if I don’t always agree with them. So what is the answer? For me it is to support my fellow Christians. Be involved with them, so when something starts to go wrong, we feel comfortable turning to each other, rather than putting on a happy-everything-is-fine face. We need to get real; be authentic. We need to not be afraid to admit to each other that we’re falling prey to sin. How often have we seen a couple divorce, and then afterward everyone is dumbfounded, because nobody knew anything was wrong? That needs to end. We need to be willing to admit our shortcomings, and then we need to have the courage to fix them. When our church is strengthened, I believe we will be set apart as different, and in a good way. We’ll be seen less as people who want to force our religion down other people’s throats, and more as people who genuinely care about the future of those around us. In the meanwhile, we need to treat non-Christians with respect, as people created by our Holy God. Even if we don’t agree with them, even if we think their political position is 200% wrong, we need to remember that God still loves them, and we need to show them love, even as we disagree with them. In summary, we always need to look to our own behavior first. And we need to be honest and authentic with each other. And as Jesus said, “'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV).

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Grab your tissues

This is powerful. But have your kleenex handy. You'll cry for sure.

Books I Can't Live Without

I love to read. From a young age I learned to appreciate a good book. Fiction, doesn't matter. I'm ALWAYS reading. I buy books at used bookstores, Ebay, Amazon, and When I'm finished with a book, often I will sell it on Ebay or and use the money to buy more books. Over the years, though, I've acquired some books that I just can't part with. I refer to these books over and over. These are the books that have become my references in parenting, marriage, finances, and personal growth. In no particular order, here are 13 favorite books in my personal library. 1. The Focus on the Family Complete Book of Baby and Child Care . Given to me at my baby shower, this has been my #1 child development reference over the years. 2. Debt-Proof Living by Mary Hunt. Hunt's approach to getting and staying out of debt makes a lot of sense to me. I have read this book many, many times and often recommend it to friends. 3. A Ready Defense by Josh McDowell. I first heard McDowell speak at a youth conference in high school, and I was hooked. His book Evidence That Demands a Verdict was instrumental in solidifying my Christian faith. A Ready Defense is a compilation of McDowell's work. It answers the tough questions skeptics ask about Christianity. 4. Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson is another baby shower gift I've treasured. You'll find lots of practical advice on how to raise a godly leader in this book. 5. 1-2-3 Magic by Dr. Thomas Phelan has to be my favorite book on discipline. When I was at my wit's end with my daughter, a friend recommended this book. I've used it ever since. 6. A Marriage Without Regrets by Kay Arthur is the best book on marriage I've read to date. Kay Arthur always sticks straight to biblical concepts. I try to read this one every couple of years to keep my marriage on track. 7. Intimate Issues by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus is a fantastic resource for spicing up your marriage. 8. Disciplines of a Godly Family by R. Kent Hughes and Barbara Hughes is a book I picked up on a whim in a bookstore. I'm glad I did! Through this book the Hughs have inspired me to become a more godly mother. 9. Tiptionary by Mary Hunt is a great collection of tips to save money in just about every aspect of life. 10. Houseworks by Cynthia Townley Ewer, CEO of, is the best reference I've found so far on keeping house. I wish this book would have been around when I was newly married. 11. Healing ADD by Dr. Daniel Amen was suggested to me by a family therapist when Liz was diagnosed with ADD. Dr. Amen offers many different ways to treat ADD, both with medication and without. 12. I read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren when our congregation went through it together a couple of years ago, and it changed my life. This book really made me think about my purpose on this earth. I want to read it again soon. 13. The Bible is the most important and most referred to book in my library. If I had to give away all my books, save for one, this is the one I would keep. It is the basis for my faith and my life.

Summer Road Trip Ideas

While stumbling through the World Wide Web today, I came across a fantastic resource for the summer road trip season. has a plethora of great ideas for traveling with kids. The site has detailed instructions for printable games, songs, string figures (like the kind we used to make in school), and even ideas for combating motion sickness. I’m definitely bookmarking this one for our family vacation!

Works-for-Me Wednesday: Laundry System

When my daughter was born 9 years ago, and my laundry quadrupled (why does that happen?), I found myself overwhelmed by the task of getting clothes washed, dried and put away. Over the years, I’ve come up with a system that works for me, and now I never get behind on laundry. I made a laundry schedule that looks like this: Monday: Adult clothes Tuesday: Kid sheets and all towels Wednesday: Kid clothes Thursday: Adult bed sheets Friday: All towels I start the first load before I bring the kids to school, and I always fold and put away the laundry before I go to bed at night, so the washing machine and dryer are ready to go the next morning. The best part about this schedule is that I rarely have to do laundry on weekends! Be sure to head over to Rocks in My Dryer for more Works-for-Me Wednesday tips!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Helicopter Parents?

I was watching The Today Show this morning, when they ran a segment on Helicopter Parents...parents who hover over their kids. At first I thought they would be talking about parents of preschoolers, but no, they were talking about parents of adult children! These parents are involved in everything, including their children's job search. They don't just give advice; they tour their child's workplace, and some even attend their children's job interviews! I think this trend is ridiculous! As parents, our job is to train up our children, giving them more responsibility and independence as they grow older. Then when they become adults they will be responsible enough to live their own lives. We can't coddle our kids and shield them from all mistakes. What does that teach them? Nothing! We learn some of our best lessons from mistakes and failures. If we prevent our children from failing, how will they ever learn perseverance? About a year ago, I found a great book at the library called Life Skills for Kids: Equipping Your Child for the Real World by Christine Field. In this book, Field discusses time management, household chores, spiritual habits, and many more aspects of life that children need to master before heading out into the adult world. She does a great job of providing ideas on how to teach these skills to kids when they're young, so they can thrive as adults. I really need to buy a copy for myself, so I can have it on hand as a reference. I think Field has the right idea. I want to teach my children to be responsible for their own lives. I want to teach them to learn and grow from mistakes. I can't parent from a perspective of fear. I can't be afraid that my child will make mistakes or feel pain. That is a necessary part of life. I trust that God is in complete control of the outcome of my child's life. My responsibility is bring up my children in the ways of the Lord to the best of my ability, and then let them go to live their own adult lives. Related Tags: , , , ,

Win a Year's Supply of Nexcare Bandages!

With two young children at home, I can always use more bandages around here! 5 minutes for mom is running a contest where you can win a year's supply (45 boxes)of Nexcare bandages! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here. Good luck!

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Joy of Being 4

I was walking past Sam's room tonight, when I heard him talking. Thinking he was talking to me, I popped my head in the door and asked, "What did you say, Sam?" He replied, "I talking to mysewf!" Ah, the joy of being 4, when it's still OK to admit you talk to yourself!

Things to do this summer

The school year is closing out, and ladies Bible study is coming to an end. In one more short month, I will have both kids at home full time. I love having my kids at home, but I've found that if I don't schedule some exciting activities, things go downhill in a hurry. Here's my top 10 list of fun (and inexpensive) things to do this summer. 1. Swim at the YMCA 2. Picnic at the local water park 3. Catch storytime at Barnes and Noble 4. Vacation Bible School 5. Plant a garden 6. Set up a tent in the yard. (makes a nice outdoor reading retreat) 7. Scavenger hunt (either in the yard or at the park) 8. Go camping 9. Go to the local Children's Museum 10. Make our own ice cream I'm sure we'll do more than that, but this is a good start. Related Tags: , , ,

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The BBQ Fiasco

It's BBQ season. I look forward to it every year. Shannon cooks out on the grill, while I relax in the house. For the opening day of BBQ season this year, I decided to get a little more creative than burgers and hotdogs. I'm a big fan of Menus4Moms. In her menu for the week of May 14-18, she posted a very delicious-sounding recipe for Honey Pecan Chicken. I thought we'd give it a whirl. So, last night Shannon fired up the BBQ. No propane for my man. He likes the old fashioned charcoal grill. I mixed up the basting sauce for the chicken, and brought the chicken and sauce outside for my man to grill. He put the chicken on the grill and slathered on the basting sauce. Then POOF! The flames shot up, and there was smoke everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE! The neighbors probably thought our house was burning down. Shannon looked embarassed, and I assured him that the flames were sure to die down, but everytime he removed the BBQ lid, the smoke poured out. Meanwhile I collapsed in the hall from laughter. When all was said and done, we had to toss the chicken that was charred black on the outside and raw on the inside. We had spinach salad and roasted asparagus for dinner. Thank goodness we didn't try to grill the asparagus! On a side note, the honey-pecan sauce made a good salad dressing. Related Tags: ,

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Quizzes, courtesy of Kandy

Kandy was bored today and posted some quizzes over at Kandy's Ramblings. It was fun to see her answers, and since I'm bored, I thought I'd take them, too. So here goes.

You Are Italian Food
Comforting yet overwhelming. People love you, but sometimes you're just too much.
Wow, I've never been accused of being too much before!
Your Attitude is Better than 65% of the Population
You have a good attitude. While a realist, you do see the positive side of most things. People love to be around you.
That seems pretty right on.
You Are a Believer
You definitely believe in God - and you're very unwavering in your religious beliefs. In fact, religion and spirituality are definitely big parts of your life. Religion shapes how you view right and wrong, as well as the decisions you make. It's hard for you to imagine how your life would be without your beliefs.
No surprise there.
You Are 48% Brutally Honest
Honesty is important to you, but generally, you try not to be brutal about it. You'll sugar coat the truth when you need to... and tell a white lie when necessary.
That's about right.
You Are 55% Normal
While some of your behavior is quite normal... Other things you do are downright strange You've got a little of your freak going on But you mostly keep your weirdness to yourself
Woohoo! I've got a little of my freak going on! LOL
You've Experienced 72% of Life
You have all of the life experience that most adults will ever get. And unless you're already in your 40s, you're probably wise beyond your years.
Wow, 72% of life, and I'm only 35!
Your Famous Movie Kiss is from Spiderman
"I have always been standing in your doorway. Isn't it about time somebody saved your life?"
And I haven't even seen the movie.
You Are 10% Redneck
I'll slap you so hard, your clothes will be outta style. You ain't no redneck - you're all Yankee!
That doesn't surprise me.
You Are Not Destined to Rule the World
You are destined for something else... Like inventing a new type of cupcake. You just don't have the stomach for brutality. But watch out - because many people do!
Also not surprising. I have no desire to rule the world.
You Are a Liberal Republican
When you tell people that you're Republican, they rarely believe you. That's because you're socially liberal - likely pro-choice and pro-gay rights. You're also not so afraid of big goverment, as long as it benefits people and not politicians. You are the most likely of any Republican type to swing over to the Democrat side sometimes.
Um, did they even pay attention to my answers???? I am PRO-LIFE, and I hate big government! I've never been accused of being a liberal anything! I'd consider myself very much a conservative. So that's it for today. My son is wanting to get out of the bath, and my husband wants to get on the computer to find out how redneck he is. Thanks for the fun, Kandy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Feeling Off

I am such a creature of habit. I thrive on routines. I hate change. I'm not dealing with my husband's unemployment well at all. Oh, Shannon has been great. He washes the dishes in the morning, takes the kids to soccer practice, runs errands, and basically anything else I ask him to do. The problem is that I have no schedule. I'm used to having the house to myself all day and running things on my timeline. No more. Now I actually have to *gasp* share the computer. I have to wait until Shannon gets out of the shower to start the laundry. I wish I could be the relaxed type of person that just goes with the flow. But I'm not. Yes, this time is going to be a stretch for me. Not because of financial pressures. Not because of the unknown direction our lives are taking. It's a stretch because I don't like to give up control of my house and my time. Yep. Something that trivial has me in a tizzy. I need to learn to relax.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


My husband got fired today. I can't say it was a huge surprise. There has been a lot of turmoil at his workplace in recent months, and we've known for a while that his future there was probably short. Still, we weren't expecting it to happen today. I'm not afraid that we'll end up on the streets. We have a small financial cushion, and my husband is very resourceful when it comes to finding employment. He's not too proud to work at a menial job if we need the income. I love that about him. But tonight as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, I found myself worrying about things like insurance. What if one of the kids gets sick or injured? Or Shannon's future job. Will it be enough to support us, or will I need to return to work to make ends meet? Can he find a job with a livable wage here, or will we have to relocate? I gave up on sleep and wandered into the living room. I saw my Bible laying on the desk, where I'd left it after Bible study this morning. I decided to work on next week's lesson, so I'm not scrambling around at the last minute trying to get it done. When I opened up the study, I realized that next week's lesson is on Hebrews 11. Heroes of the faith. As I began to read and answer the questions, my fears were taken away. By faith Noah built an ark, when it looked ridiculous to the rest of the world, and God took care of him. By faith, Abraham went to a strange land at God's direction. He offered his son as a sacrifice, trusting that God would somehow preserve his son's life. And God took care of him. By faith, people around the world have suffered and died. And by faith people around the world have witnessed the miracles of God. That thought comforts me. Yes, I will suffer. The Bible tells me that. Yet through it all, God will be walking alongside me, providing what I need, sometimes in ways that I can't begin to comprehend. And I will be blessed. Maybe not in material ways or in ways that the world would define as success. But I will be blessed, if only by an increase in my faith and a greater knowledge that God cares about me personally. Yes, God will take care of us. And when I truly let go and let my faith overcome my fear, it's kind of exciting to imagine what God has planned for us next. Time will tell. Related Tags: , ,

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

My Favorite Time of Day

I love mornings. Not when the alarm goes off. I hate that. And yes, I am one of those people that hits snooze 4 times before getting out of bed. I pity my neighbors on nights we leave the window open. Once I am out of bed, after I have washed my face, fixed my hair, gotten dressed, and made breakfast, I grab a hot cup of coffee, sit down at the computer to check my emails and watch the sun rise outside my family room window. It's so peaceful. The house is quiet, and I have a few moments to myself....probably the last moments to myself I will have for the rest of the day. Yes, I do cherish my early morning coffee time. Related Tags:

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Bike

My son recently got a new bike, his first two wheeler. He's 4 years old and very excited about it. My dad heard about Sam's new bike, and said he had a bike for me. I tried to talk him out of it. I haven't been on a bike in well over a decade. I thought he had forgotten about it. Wrong. This morning I was working at the computer, and I glanced out the window to see my dad walking up the walk, bike and helmet in hand. He gave me a big grin as I opened the door. I am now the proud owner of a purple 26" ladies auto shifting bike and a white helmet that is way too big for my head. Fast forward to after lunch. Sam says, "Mom, we need to take a walk on our bikes." Me: "You mean you ride your bike, and I walk behind you?" Sam: "No, you ride your bike too." Again, I have not been on a bike in decades. I'm quite certain I remember how to ride. Afterall, it's one of those things you're never supposed to forget, right? However, Sam is still a novice bike rider, and I am quite certain I am not skilled enough to maneuver a new-to-me bike AND keep my son from riding kamikaze down the middle of the road. In the end, I convinced Sam that I will ride my bike with him another day, and I walked (and sometimes ran) behind him as he rode. And together we took a half an hour to enjoy the first 80+ degree day of the spring. And due to popular demand, here is the picture of me on said bike. I about fell over trying to get on. Please try not to notice the messy hair and clothes. It's Monday....the day I clean the house. :) Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Related Tags: ,

From Under the Clutter

This is my 3rd attempt at blogging. Hopefully this time it will stick. The 3rd time is the charm, right? So why did I pick the name "From Under the Clutter"? There are a couple of reasons. On the most basic level, I'm trying to clean up the clutter in my house. It seems like it's a losing battle. There are so many things I'd rather be doing than decluttering my house....playing with the kids, playing on the computer, spending time with my husband...and the list goes on. So the physical clutter in this house is a never ending battle. On a more philosophic level, sometimes I feel like life is cluttered. We moms in America are so busy these days. There are school activities, sports activities, church activities, household responsibilities.....the list is endless. This blog is an attempt for me to look up from underneath the clutter in my life and stop to smell the roses, so to speak. I want to stop and notice things, both the good and the bad. Too often my days fly by with me trying to juggle my different responsibilities, and I never take the time to stop and just be. So here I am, stopping for a moment to take a breath. Refreshing.