The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


I know I've been talking about a lot of websites lately, but I like to share my "finds" with you guys. Well, actually, this one is just for the girls.

Last week, I received an interesting e-mail. In it, Mr. Taylor informed me of the launch of a new website, Christa, dedicated to providing modest yet trendy clothing in junior and misses sizes. He told me that this is a family owned and operated business and that their commitment is to contribute "at least 30% of [their] profits to extending the gospel and social justice around the world." (That information immediately caught my attention.) He asked that I take a look at their site and consider adding it to my blog roll as a resource. I clicked onto their site, and I was pleased with what I found.

Christa's offerings include collections of modest skirts, dresses, tops, accessories, and swimwear. Although a new site, they already offer a good variety of styles. In fact, their collections are targeted to "Miss Sporty," "Miss Trendy," and "Miss Posh." Prices are comparable to those of departments stores.

Some of my favorite pieces are the CT Classic Swimsuit ($72 but extremely modest), Cream Pleated Skirt ($35), Long Paneled Denim Skirt ($29), and Kenziegirl Dress ($49; available in white and lead).

Go ahead and take a look. You just might find that article of clothing you have been wanting.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Memory for your computer

Is your computer like mine - slow to start and sluggish at all times? The remedy for your problem may lie in a computer memory upgrade.

You could get lucky like my friend, Karen, who found unused computer memory (256 MB) at a yard sale for $15, but if you don't find such a good deal, offers just about any kind of memory upgrade you could want. They sell all the major manufacturers, including Apple, Epson, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM memory. If you cannot figure out what you need to purchase, you can even ask a sales person for help via the telephone, e-mail, or live chat.

(End of paid advertisement. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging, already in progress. *wink*)


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It's in the details

Have you noticed that when something goes wrong, the solution to the problem will often be found not in the big things but in the tiny details? Yes, big problems often stem from tiny incidents.

I remember being in college and going to the computer lab to print a term paper. After viewing the preview, I sent the document to the printer, but nothing happened. I examined settings, restarted the computer, and checked every possibility of which I could think. I finally had to go ask the lab tech for help. In the end, the problem was identified as a loose connection between the computer and one of the many network cables. A small problem caused a lot of trouble!

So it is in my life. The "big" problems are easily seen and corrected. Say, for instance, that I inadvertently step on a person's toe. That is a problem that is immediately obvious and is easily corrected. Consider, however, if I am one who desires the praise of man. That is not such an obvious problem, but it has the potential for much greater destruction than would be caused by my stepping on a toe.

I tend to overlook details, for I often do not see them as important, but I need to correct that attitude. As a song says, "... Great things are done by doing little things every day. ... Little things make tall things, and small things make all things." I am determined to be more aware of the "little things" in my life and not let small problems build into great big mountains.


I'm just weird

Mary Anne of Moonbeams in a Jar tagged me to share 7 weird things about myself. I'm sorry it has taken me so long, Mary Anne. I just had a hard time coming up with seven things - I'm so normal, after all. *grin*

  1. Broccoli is my favorite vegetable, and it doesn't even have to have cheese sauce on it to taste good.
  2. It really annoys me when people leave drawers or cupboard doors open. Close it when you are done!
  3. I have actually eaten (and liked) a peanut butter and cheese sandwich. I know that sounds gross, but just think of those cheese crackers with peanut butter in the middle.
  4. When I was growing up, I seriously wanted 12 children. (I have since cut that number in half.)
  5. Mosquitos love me. (I don't love them.) Once, a mosquito bite swelled up to 3 inches long by 1 inch wide.
  6. I like a bit of milk in my hot tea.
  7. I love Popeye the Sailor Man.
Well, there you have it: indubitable proof that I am weird. I now tag Lynlee, Holly, Jen, Rindy, Linda, Davida, and Tracy. As always, you don't have to participate. :)


Memorial Day - never forgotten

I didn't post yesterday but didn't want to miss out on mentioning the reason we have Memorial Day.

To all the brave men and women who wear, have worn, or will wear our country's uniform: thank you form the bottom of my heart. You are the reason America is still a free nation. When you go into combat, you fight not just for the man next to you but for the preservation of family, faith, and freedom. Without your protection, our nation would have fallen to outside forces long ago. God bless you all; I salute you and will never forget your sacrifice for your country!


Thursday, May 24, 2007

CD Baby

Thanks to Frank's tag, Raymmmondo (that's how he spelled it) stopped by and left a comment on the February '07 edition of the Healthy and Fit Family Carnival. His comment linked to his web site. (As a side note, that's a great way to get people to visit your site. In Blogger, you just post your comment as Other and fill in the Name and Website blanks with the appropriate information.) Out of curiosity, I followed the link, and I am so glad I did.

Whether you are a musician or a music-lover, CD Baby is a fabulous place to visit. Established in 1998, CD Baby markets and sells music by independent musicians. Music lovers will be pleased with the large selection of artists and genres available, while artists will be pleased with the ease and low cost required to market their music through CD Baby.

This is not a record label; therefore, musicians do not have to sign their life away to sell their music through CD Baby. Setup is only $35 per CD, and the fee is there for a very good reason. (If you need a UPC Barcode, CD Baby can also furnish that for a modest $20 fee per CD title - each barcode can be used for multiple copies of a single title.) Selling CDs through CD Baby is as easy as filling out the submission form and sending them 5 copies of your CD (you can either send the $35 setup fee with your CDs or make the payment online at CD Baby).

CD Baby is the answer to the prayers of many new musicians and even offers wonderful free advice. If you love music or are an aspiring artist, you won't be disappointed in CD Baby.

(P.S. This is not a paid post!)


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Batteries - caring for and disposing of

When we upgraded our home phones, I had no idea what to do with our old phones. To this day, they float around our house, sporadically furnishing make-believe fun for my girls. My biggest concern was how to properly dispose of the cordless phone battery. Now I know what to do, and I'm going to share the links that furnished my new knowledge. (Aren't I kind? *smile*)

Over at's article, "How to Care for Your Batteries," I learned that, contrary to popular belief, storing batteries in the freezer will not extend their life. In addition to the other tips, I saw their link to, where you can search for a recycling center near you.

At the State of Connecticut's Department of Environmental Protection page, I found instructions for the proper method to recycle batteries, including rechargeable cordless phone batteries. I was amazed to find out that recycling these batteries is as easy as taking them to the nearest participating retail collection point - usually Wal-Mart or Radio Shack.

Now that I know how to properly care for and dispose of these items, I'm sure it will be easy to follow these new found directions.



(This started out as a paid post for a water bottle filter, but it turned into something quite different.)

Gasping for breath, fingers groping for a hold, my hot body roasting in the scorching sun - everything seemed surreal. There was no way this could be happening to me! I should be headed home to my father. Instead, here I was in this miserably hot hole, desperately trying to find a way out of the pit into which I had been thrust. Why I was in this predicament I was still not sure. Nonetheless, here I was, and I had better figure out how I was going to go about getting out of here.

As my hand brushed against something, I strained to reach just a little farther above my head. Finally! I had found a small bush. Wrapping one hand around it, I slowly maneuvered my other hand to grasp the plant. Hoping that the bush would hold my weight, I tentatively searched for a toe hold. Nothing. I wasn't willing to give up, but voices overhead forced me to reluctantly and momentarily abandon my escape attempt.

As the voices neared, I became aware that strangers had joined the company. Who were they, and why were they coming this way? A familiar voice caught my attention, and I strained to hear what was being said. I caught references to a sales' price. It sure wasn't much!

To my astonishment, a rope descended, accompanied by gruff instructions to climb out of the pit. I obeyed with alacrity, thankful for the release from my imprisonment. Once on the surface, however, my feeling of relief turned to one of alarm as strangers roughly grabbed me. They tied my hands behind my back and forced me to march away with them. I struggled violently until one of my captors viciously lashed me with his whip.

Marching off, I looked back, my eyes filling with tears as I unwillingly left behind all that I had known. I was more confused than ever. Why would they do this to me? They were my brothers! Could they really hate me that much? What about Father? How would they explain my absence to him?

The caravan of which I was now a part traveled at a relentless pace for several hours. Weary and spent, I finally fell to my knees, unable to trudge any further. My masters, for such I had determined them to be, attempted to force me to continue the journey, but I was simply unable to walk any longer. Finally, one man offered me a drink. I greedily gulped the tepid water, not caring that it tasted unpleasantly of dirt, so unlike the water at home.

After drinking the water, I summoned enough strength to once again rise to my feet and wearily continue my journey toward Egypt. I knew not what new trials awaited me there, though I would surely be auctioned as a slave. My only comfort lay in the fact that I knew that Jehovah was with me and would take care of me, no matter my final destination.

Note: I hope you enjoyed my fictional account of Joseph's experiences in the pit and on his journey to Egypt. I'd like to know what you think about this story and if it made you consider Joseph's story in a new light.

clip art courtesy of


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What's in a name - I was tagged

Thanks, Frank, for tagging me. You only tagged your friends, right? (smiling)

This meme comes with the following requirements:

Give the meaning of your kids' names, and write about what or how or why you gave the name to your kids. Tag five people to play along and leave a comment at their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Alright. I'm not actually going to tell you my girls' names (Mr. Incredible would not be happy with me if I did), but I will give explanations for our choosing that name.

1. Pookie Bear - Mr. Incredible had her first name picked out when he was in high school. From Behind the Name comes this meaning:

From the hereditary title of the queens of Ethiopia, as mentioned in Acts in the New Testament. It is apparently derived from a Nubian word meaning "queen mother".
Her middle name is the English version of Revka and means "a snare. " As for her nickname, that is the one I have most often called her since birth. It reminds me of Garfield's teddy bear.

2. Miss Muffet - Her real name is Scotch/Irish, and we just liked it. It is one of those names that has migrated in usage over time: it started out as a surname, became a masculine name, and is now commonly used as a feminine name. Here's what Behind the Name had to say about it:
From the Gaelic surname Mac Coinnich, which means "son of Coinneach". Coinneach is an Irish name meaning "handsome".
Her middle name was harder to choose. I want our children's full names to have a particular flow and cadence. She ended up with a feminine form of a Greek name that means "helper or defender." Her nickname comes from the nursery rhyme and stuck to her because I think both the original Miss Muffet and my girl were rather mischievous. I know the rhyme doesn't actually say that, but that's the image I have in my mind.

3. Baby Bear - Her first name and Miss Muffet's middle name are quite similar. They are both feminine forms of Greek names with similar meanings. The masculine form of Baby Bear's name means "defending men." She also shares her name with a famous city. Her middle name is a Latinate form of an English name which refers to a woman found in the New testament, particularly the Gospels. Her name is used in both English and Polish, and we pronounce it the Polish way. It was the only middle name I liked with her first name. Her nickname came about simply because she is my baby.

We would like to have 2 or 3 more children and do have two more first names picked out. The boy name we have chosen is that of an Old Testament king of Judah whose name means "YAHWEH supports." The last girl name we have chosen is the Russian pet name for their version of the same Greek name from which Baby Bear's first name is derived so it is possible that three of our girls' names will be derivatives of the same name! (Was that sentence convoluted enough for you?) This name, too, means "defending men." Mr. Incredible and I joke that we have quite the international flavor in our household - each child's name represents at least one country.

Now to tag people. I choose Alan, Shoshannah, Mary Anne (I'm still working on your meme, Mary Anne), Karen (I know you might not be allowed to participate), and Michelle (see, I remember you *grin*). Don't worry; my feelings won't be hurt if you guys don't want to play along.


Monday, May 21, 2007

If you noticed my missing comments...

you're more observant than I! I hadn't noticed the problem until Linda kindly e-mailed me to inquire whether or not I was aware that my comments were not on. Since I had not made any changes, I was quite perturbed by this information. I immediately checked all my settings - everything was correct. I then accessed Blogger's Help Group, and, wouldn't you know, this is a hot topic right now.

Apparently, the implementation of Blogger's new automatic save feature created some sort of bug. Only the three posts I had written since the new feature was introduced were affected. After reading several comments under the initial problem post (at Blogger's Help site), I found the answer to my problem. I had to go into each individual post and reset the Post Options to allow both comments and trackback. No one seems to know why Blogger is doing this; I'm just glad to have the issue resolved. I hope this helps you if you have been having that problem.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

It's going well.

Thanks for asking.

Oh, you don't know about what I am talking? I'm referring to the contest over at Mama's Coffee Corner and RS Designs. Market research indicates that people are actually interested in our prizes; so far we have eight participants. I don't think I've ever been so eager for people to take something from me. *grin* I really hope to gain more exposure for my business. I know it takes time and hard work to make yourself known, but I'm eager to get to the point where I have to tell people that they will have to wait a few days because I am backed up with work.

Do any of you have any suggestions for attracting more traffic for my business?


I've been gone

...on a Hawaiian vacation - not! I actually was cleaning my house in preparation for Miss Muffet's birthday party today. Her birthday always falls close to Labor Day weekend, making it difficult for those invitees who would like to go out of town for the holiday. This year I decided to have her party early. It went well, despite the fact that only two of the five families we invited were able to come. The girls all had fun playing with their cousins, and everybody played well together.

As much fun as these birthday parties are, when I am cleaning the house in preparation for the festivities, I sometimes wish that I actually were cleaning my house in preparation for travel to a luxurious Kauai vacation rental or some other equally exotic destination. God made so many beautiful places in this world, including the Hawaiian islands. If I ever get a chance to see the islands, I'm jumping at it.

photo courtesy of Hawaiian Beach


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Just thought I'd clue you in

One of my best "blog friends" is Linda. She is a Swede who lives in Brazil, which I think is rather cool. I first met her at Making a Happy Life, but she is a prolific blogger with several other blogs as well. Her newest blog is Mama's Coffee Corner, which she had me customize by creating and installing a custom header, footer image, and sidebar images.

Linda had the bright idea for us to hold a joint kickoff contest for Mama's Coffee Corner and RS Designs. The contest will be held for one week, beginning today. (May 17-24) Winners will be announced May 25.

  • Linda is offering your choice of either a $20 gift certificate from or a Brazilian Goody Box to be sent to your door.
  • I am offering a free custom header from RS Designs.

How to enter:
  • Write a post about the contest and link to both Mama's Coffee Corner and RS Designs.
  • Sign the Mr. Linky at the blog offering the prize you would like to win. If you would like a chance to win both prizes, sign up at both blogs.
That's all there is to it. I wish you all the best.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

No longer a consistent loser

Do you remember when I alerted you to the Recipe Challenge going on at Mom's Niche? I entered our favorite Chicken Parmesan. Would you believe that my recipe won the entree category?! I was so excited when Tracy e-mailed me to ask for my address so that she could send me my prize pack.

I received the package yesterday, and let me tell you, Tracy did a wonderful job putting this prize together! The pack consisted of a cute green fitted T-shirt sporting the Mom's Niche logo, a mustard yellow ball cap with her logo, a sterling silver "Dream" affirmation necklace on a 20" black nylon cord, three strawberry chocolate bath salt/oil cakes, a huge ball of mixed berry bath salt/oil, a bottle of cool mint foot lotion, and 4 fonsacks (fon is pronounced like phone) that I presume are for my cell phone. I loved every single item!

I was wearing my new apparel when Mr. Incredible came home, and he approved of the new look. His actual words were, "You look hot!" I liked that reaction. *grin* For what better stamp of approval could you ask?


Thoughtful Tuesday

It sure has been a long time since I put up a Thoughtful Tuesday post! For those who have not seen these posts, my first Thoughtful Tuesday was published on October 24, 2006. You can read all of these posts by either searching for Thoughtful Tuesday or by choosing the "Quotes" category.

In honor of Mother's Day, I'll share a poem from the back of our Bulletin this past Sunday.

Love in the Home
If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, but have not love,
I am a housekeeper - not a homemaker.
If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements, but have not love,
My children learn cleanliness - not godliness.

Loves leaves the dust in search of a child's laugh.
Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.
Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.
Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.

Love is present through trials.
Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive.
Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child, then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.
Love is the key that opens salvation's message to a child's heart.

Before I became a mother, I took glory in my house of perfection.
Now I glory in God's perfection of my child.
As a mother, there is much I must teach my child,
but the greatest of all is love.

-author unknown


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Layne Daniel's blog - update

His comments are now on. Pastor was hesitant about turning them on because he probably won't have the time to respond to any comments, but I, for one, am glad he decided to go ahead and turn them on anyway! Now you nice folks can leave an encouraging message for him. (grin)

His posts will encourage you with their demonstration of an unfailing faith in our all-powerful God. So check our


You write the ending

"Ewww! Gross!" Pookie squealed, pointing at the object of her fascination.

I was engrossed in another task, but her revolted tone immediately captured my attention, prompting me to investigate the cause of her disgust. Upon reaching my child, my first reaction was to recoil in horrified revulsion. Fighting back the urge to vomit, I almost ran to my bathroom where I reached for my stash of emergency supplies.

"Come on! I know you're in here!" I muttered as my hasty fingers fumbled with the contents of the basket. As always happened in moments of sudden stress, adrenaline surged through me, causing my body to shake and further hindering my search. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally found the necessary items and dashed back to Pookie.

"It's okay, Baby. Mommy will take care of everything." I was amazed that my voice sounded reassuring, almost normal even.

I consciously forced myself to breathe steadily as I reached for...

You finish the story: what had Pookie found?


Happy Mother's Day

To all my friends and readers who are mothers, I wish you a very happy Mother's Day. To those mothers who have pioneered a trail for me to follow, thank you, and I salute you. To those whose path parallels mine, I wish you well and pray God's blessing on you. To those who will come after, I pray that you will find, as I have found, shining examples to inspire and encourage you through the rough times that will come.

As I traverse my own motherhood trail, I realize more fully what my mother went goes through with me and my siblings. A child is a special blessing which profoundly impacts and changes your life. Until you have your own child, you cannot fully comprehend the saying, "Having a child changes everything." Before I had Pookie Bear, I thought I understood what that meant. Then my girl was born, and my world was flipped upside down, never again to be fully righted. Now I wouldn't live anywhere other than in my crazy, tip-tilted world.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Going to the Carribean?

If you are lucky enough to take a Caribbean vacation, consider sailing on your selection of crewed yacht charters instead of taking a cruise. With crewed charters, you get the chance to explore lesser known locations rather than having to stick to the beaten path as you would when taking a cruise. Instead of someone else determining your course and menu, you pick both the destination and the food. Additionally, prices appear comparable to cruise fares so this sounds like a winning situation to me.


Bed and breakfast

I've run out of inspiration for my two remaining assignments. It's probably because I ended up waiting until the last minute (again!) to post them and am having to do them all at once. What can I say? I've been busy working on customizing a blog (not one of mine), and when I work on custom jobs, it seems as though whole days slip by without my even noticing their passing until I emerge from my tunnel to find that deadlines are looming yet again. I'm going to be more conscious of time from now on. I hate waiting until the last minute to complete my work!

If you travel to New York, why don't you make reservations at a New York bed and breakfast? Bed and breakfasts offer a standard of personal service that is simply unparalleled. The home is spotless and attractive, the food is delicious, and the attention to detail ensures your satisfaction.

Do you have a story to share about a bed and breakfast?


Look to the future

If you have a family, whether just a spouse or a spouse and children, planning for the inevitable future is essential. One day, you will no longer be able to work. One day, you will no longer be there for your family. How will they be affected by the loss of your income or your life? Savings, retirements funds, college funds, life insurance, a will: all are basic ways to provide for your family.

If you have been putting off creating your will or buying life insurance, please don't do so any longer. While it may take some time, creating a will ensures that your desires for your family are made known and can be upheld in a court of law. If lack of time or an aversion to needles is holding you back from buying a life insurance policy, look at no exam life insurance. This type of insurance is perfect for those who are pressed for time, have health issues, have been rejected for other life insurance policies, or simply don't want to bother with an exam.

Whatever your situation in life, please do make the choice to prepare for your family's future.


Why the dilemma?

I get so disgusted with myself sometimes. It seems as though when a situation should be a no-brainer, I struggle with choosing the right course. Here are some classic examples from my life:

  • Office supplies: "Oh, I love how this pen writes! I'd love to take it home with me." Unfortunately, the wonderfully-writing pen belonged to my boss. I did the right thing that time and left it at work.
  • Music and software: "You have that [movie/CD/program]? Oh, I've been dying to get that!" My friend generously offered to burn a copy for me. Sad to say, I accepted the offer a couple of times. A few times, I followed my conscience.
  • Attitude: "I get so tired of having to pick up the whole house by myself? Why can't anyone else help me?" Instead of being thankful for the people whose belongings I retrieve, I focus on the "inconvenience" and assume a martyr's attitude. It really stinks, and no one, including myself, is happy when I do that.
  • Christianity: "I know a Christian shouldn't [whatever], but I really like that!" Too often, I succumb to my lack of discipline and selfishness, intentionally choosing to commit the act that my conscience tells me is wrong.
Though I may succumb to my old nature here, ultimate victory has already been achieved through Jesus' shed blood. I'm so glad that Jesus has conquered sin so that when we get to Heaven we will no longer struggle with our sin nature.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Straight from the horse's, nope, PASTOR'S mouth

I was checking stats tonight and found that someone had visited my site because of searching for Layne Daniel. I followed their search and was astounded and thrilled to find that Pastor Daniel has his own blog now. This has been a recent development; the first post is dated April 30, the day after we last saw him. If you want to read his perspective on his illness and its impact or just get first-hand updates, visit Layne Daniel's Wordpress blog.


I'll stick with my reality

You already know that I want to travel Europe, including Italy. I've been doing some virtual traveling, enjoying the different countries via the Internet. It's not quite as good as going there in person, but it's better than nothing.

I am constantly amazed by how varied architecture can be. No one would mistake a Grecian temple for a Scottish castle, and Spanish buildings have their own unique design as well. I've looked at several villas in Italy that are simply gorgeous.

Frankly, I can see myself visiting for a while, but I just can't picture myself actually living in such a place. I guess that's why so many of them are rented out now. Other than nobility and Hollywood actors, who can afford to live in such grandeur? Fairy tales make good dreams, but I don't think they would make very good realities.


More money means more work

As I do more work through RS Designs, I am finding that bookkeeping for this business is different from my other ventures.

My piano lessons are fairly easy to handle; I have no expenses for the lessons themselves. They are pure profit. My only expenses are purchasing music for students (I am always reimbursed by them) and the rare music purchase for the studio.

It is also easy to keep track of my income from Payu2blog. My only expenses there are the fees PayPal deducts from their payments. (That really aggravates me, but I guess PayPal has to make money from their service, too.) I'll receive a 1099 from payu2blog at the end of year so I just need to keep track of my income as a precautionary measure.

Not so with RS Designs. I have to log free headers as advertising expenses, note all PayPal fees, record credits purchased for image downloads, track my income (of course), and save customer contact information. I know there would be a lot more to track if I were a larger business, but, after my simple ventures, this is feeling a tad more complex. I'm almost tempted to invest in some reporting software, but in reality my business is small enough for me to create my own forms and reports without too much trouble.

If you own or run a business, how do you handle finance reporting?


At least they aren't promising the moon

Well, I've finally be assigned to write about a diet pill that actually states that best results are obtained when it is used in conjunction with a dietary and exercise program. I feel better about Ionamin than I do about many other diet supplements because this product does not appear to promise the moon in return for minimal effort but rather emphasizes the importance of establishing a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

Have any of you used this supplement? I'd be very interested in hearing your results.


Vacation update

Thanks for all the vacation suggestions, guys. You've given us some great ideas.

We're still in limbo as far as any real plans go, partially due to indecision and partially due to uncertainty about our financial capabilities this year. We are fortunate to live within a reasonable distance of many fantastic vacation spots: the ocean, the mountains, theme parks, state parks, whitewater rafting, shopping, entertainment - all are feasible destinations for us. I think it would be a lot of fun to retrace our honeymoon trip through the Blue Ridge Mountains, ending with a Pigeon Forge cabin rental and a trip to Dollywood.

As it stands, we still have time in which to make our decision. I just wanted to let you guys know how things are going and express my appreciation for your thoughtfulness in making vacation recommendations.


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Girls' photos (updated 5/6/2007)

I had put up Pookie's photo but neglected to post the other girls'. Here they are.

On the left is Miss Muffet. Looking at this photo, you would never guess that she had been crying because she didn't want to have her picture taken!

To the right is Baby Bear. She wouldn't stay still so we ended up popping peanuts into her mouth every time she moved. It was the only way we could take her picture.

Here are all three of the girls.

Update: now you can see how much they have changed since last year's photo.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Working at home

I thought you might like a glimpse into how I manage to work at home.

Where do I work? My piano and our computer are in the enclosed carport which is fondly known as "the piano room." This room is on the extreme right side of our home and is "my" room. Since this is not a separate office, it is furnished with home furniture rather than office furniture. My piano lessons obviously center around the piano. My paid assignments and custom header designs are executed at the computer, which is placed near the sole window in the room.

When do I work? I am experimenting with having set working hours. I had been trying to work from 8-10 a.m. and/or from 2-4 p.m., but I have changed my morning hours to 9-11 a.m. I am still trying to find that delicate balance necessary to successfully accomplish all my duties.

How long can I work? With three small children, I have found that I can only work in two hour blocks of time - maximum. Sometimes, having my attention so long focused on something other than my children is asking for trouble. Working for more than two hours guarantees trouble.

What do my children do while I work? Next to the piano room is the living room, known as "Daddy's room." In our living room reside the the TV, PlayStation 2, home theatre system, DVDs, VHS tapes, CDs, video games, and Mr. Incredible's NASCAR collectibles. While I work, my children most often stay in the living room, watching a video or playing with toys. They are currently having a tea party under a tent constructed from Pookie Bear's comforter which is stretched across their little rocking chair and over the arm of the couch, secured by a stack of books.

As you can see, it is possible for a mother to work productively from home, but I am finding that possible and easy are not interchangeable terms! If you have any questions that I have not answered, let me know.


Unsubscribe me

It's bad enough when I get unsolicited junk mail, but when I sign up for something that turns out to be junk, I get really disgusted at myself.

When I purchased our Celtic Woman tickets through an online site, I was asked if I would like to receive notification of upcoming events. I mentally shrugged my shoulders as I thought, "Sure, why not?" and checked the appropriate box. Big mistake! Since that time I have been reminded to purchase Elmo, Dave Matthews Band, and Jimmy Buffett tickets, to name a few. Not one of the reminders has been for an event that would interest me. I think it's time to unsubscribe from this service!

Have you ever subscribed to something for which you later ended up regretting your subscription?

clip art courtesy of


Same as ever

Growing up, I was a tomboy who never gave much thought to clothing or appearance. Since we were forbidden to use makeup, my face always sported the "natural look," even when in the grip of teenage acne. That was fine with me, though occasionally I did feel self-conscious about the blemishes that covered my face. I assumed the attitude I always used to deal with unpleasant situations: this too shall pass.

I grew to adulthood expecting to have a beautiful complexion once I had passed my teenage years. Unfortunately, our expectations do not always become reality. I hereby publicly admit that I still have my bouts with acne. (I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of other adults do as well.) Due to my ingrained reluctance to use cosmetics, I rarely wear makeup, even to cover my outbreaks. I am about ready to try something stronger than plain old soap and water and am considering turning to skinceuticals for help.

Before I rush out to buy any new products, I thought I would see if there is any particular product that you swear by. What helps you most and how?


Family fun

In all the hurry of life, it seems like making time to relax and have fun with my family often becomes the last item on my to-do list. While everything else may seem more pressing and important, in reality, spending time with my family is much more important than my endless to-do list. My husband and my girls need to know that they mean enough for me to give them my time.

Mr. Incredible and I have done a few fun activities with the girls: we've taken them to the circus, the park, the beach, the aquarium, the marina, the zoo, the Museum of Natural History, and several other places. We have not yet taken all of them to a baseball game.

At our former home, we were only a few miles from a minor league baseball team's stadium. In fact, we were close enough to stand on our stoop and see the stadium lights and any post-game fireworks. Mr. Incredible and I went to one game together and took baby Pookie Bear to another. Then we never again took advantage of our close proximity to the ballpark.

When we moved, I was pleased to discover that another minor league farm team has its home nearby; their ball park is about 35 minutes from us. I think we need to purchase some baseball tickets this summer and take all of the girls to see the game.

How do you spend your time together as a family?

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

What to give?

After a five year engagement, two very dear friends are finally getting married. Mr. Incredible is going to be in their wedding (hence the need for shoes). Mr. Incredible and the groom have been friends since childhood, and they remain close to this day.

Herein lies my dilemma: I want to give them a meaningful wedding present - something other than the usual cookware or towels. However, I am the world's worst gift giver. Mr. Incredible, though he may deny it, is actually better at giving recipient-appropriate gifts than am I. Our friends have registered at different stores, but, honestly, nothing seems quite right. What special gift would you recommend?


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

So much fun

We had a wonderful time this past weekend. We had a family reunion (yes, another one *smile*) to attend on Sunday, but Mr. Incredible also needed some new shoes before his friend's wedding in a couple of weeks. We knew that, since my children's choir rehearsal begins at 5:00 p.m., we would not have time to go shopping after the reunion. Instead, we decided to travel up on Saturday and spend the night at Mr. Incredible's parents' home.

Saturday afternoon, we arrived at "Grandma and Grandpa's house" where we unloaded our van and then traveled with my in-laws to a nearby strawberry farm. We all picked strawberries; I think the girls enjoyed the strawberries almost as much as they liked being with Grandma and Grandpa! Thank goodness I had the foresight to dress the girls in old, stained clothing!

After we picked strawberries, we went to Mr. Incredible's grandparent's home where grilled hot dogs awaited. After eating, Mr. Incredible and I left the girls fishing in the pond (we were later told that Pookie caught a fairly large bass and Miss Muffet caught several bream) while we sneaked away to the nearby outlet mall. It was so nice to be by ourselves for a change! We spent about 3 1/2 hours wandering around the mall. We did find shoes for Mr. Incredible and, because of a sale, were able to buy both his shoes and a pair for me for less than the clearance price of his shoes alone.

Mr. Incredible not only looked for shoes but also indulged my literary weakness and let me go into a new bookstore that had opened in place of one that had gone out of business. While I was browsing, he drew my attention toward a pile of hardbound classics (navy blue padded vinyl covering with gold lettering and decoration). The sign said 3 for $5. No way! We asked the clerk about them, and she informed us that those books had been discontinued and this company just wanted to get rid of them. Mr. Incredible let me buy them for my Mother's Day gift. I ended up with A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll, Emma and Persuasion - Jane Austen, The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame, Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoevski, Tess of the D'Ubervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy, and The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins. Can you tell that I love the classics? One of my dreams is to have a nicely bound, complete collection of Charles Dickens' works. Mr. Incredible also kindly let me buy three paperbacks by Louisa May Alcott - Rose in Bloom, An Old-Fashioned Girl, and Little Men. So I'm in literary heaven at the moment.

On Sunday morning, we attended our old church and finally got to see Pastor Daniel. I knew that he had had brain surgery, but the cosmetic results of that surgery never occurred to me. I was unprepared to see him completely bald with a large scar running from the center of the crown of his head down almost to his ear. Honestly, I did not recognize him at first. I am so glad that externals do not make us who we are; Layne was just the same as ever and even joked a bit about his appearance. He preached the morning service, and his circumstances have added an urgency to his preaching that was missing before. Don't get me wrong; he has always been passionate about preaching and serving the Lord, but knowing that your days are nearly gone is bound to sharpen any one's focus. It was so good to be "home" and see him and his family again. I know we'll see them again in a couple of weeks when he performs our friends' wedding.

The family reunion went well. We enjoyed visiting with some of our favorite relatives (Hi, y'all!), and we got to see baby Jordan, my husband's nephew, again. Would you believe that neither one of us has gotten to hold him yet? I hope we get to visit with them again soon and actually get to hold Jordan!

We made it back to our house with only ten minutes to put up the perishables that we had brought home from the farm. We made it to choir practice on time, and the rest of the evening flew by uneventfully.

How was your weekend?