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

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

From our family to yours come wishes for a wonderful year. May 2008 be the best year of your life.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Contemporary Furniture

If you like contemporary furniture, you might enjoy browsing Modern Line They advertise their furniture as discount contemporary furniture. I don't look at furniture often enough to know whether or not they do have good prices, but they seem to have a wide selection of furniture. From sofas to chairs, bedroom sets to complete interior solutions, Modern Line Furniture offers it all.

Where have you found the best deals on furniture? (Most of ours has come from relatives or from garage sales.)


Still Busy

Whew! When will the craziness end?! With having to design headers for the After Christmas Giveaway which is in full swing at RS Designs, the last thing I needed was computer difficulties, yet that is exactly what I have been dealing with. Our monitor problems became so bad that Mr. Incredible decided it was time to bite the bullet and get a new computer. Oh, yes. Our computer was not wanting to start, either, which played a major role in Mr. Incredible's decision.

Last night, we packed up our Samsonite luggage and headed toward a larger town about 35 minutes from our home. (We didn't actually pack luggage for the trip, but sometimes it feels as though we should!) We hit Best Buy and Circuit City. Prior to our trip, we had done some research on the Internet and had an idea of what we wanted. We found an HP Pavilion that met our needs and purchased it and a 19" widescreen monitor.

I was nervous about making the switch from MS XP to MS Vista. So far, it is going alright. I have had to go online to download Vista-compatible drivers for many of our accessories, and I have not been thrilled about that, but otherwise the transition seems to be going smoothly.

My family's Christmas celebration was supposed to happen today, but about half of the family have caught a virus and are throwing up, so the rest of us decided to postpone the celebration. I wonder why we decided that! *laughing* Since we didn't go out of town, we set up our new computer and played with the girls today. We all had fun.

How is your weekend going?


Thursday, December 27, 2007

I Do NOT Resolve to...

If I were one to make resolutions, I can tell you one New Year's resolution I would not make this year. I would not resolve to lose weight. I am desperately in need of losing weight, but instead I must be content to gain weight for the next 6 months. I bet there are plenty of people who wish they could say that. *smile*

I do resolve to gain a sensible amount of weight throughout this pregnancy. When I carried my three girls, I never gained more than 23 pounds, and I was quite blessed that all of that weight was gone within seven days postpartum. (I'm not saying my normal weight hadn't been redistributed a bit. *laugh*) I'm hoping that I will be so blessed this time around, too!

After I have the baby, I certainly need to get serious about shedding some of the pounds I have accumulated since I married Mr. Incredible. Although going to a gym and using their exercise equipment (like elliptical trainers) would be great, I actually prefer to work out at home using my set of The Firm workout videos. When it comes time to begin my fitness regimen (ha!), I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Do any of you have exercise and/or workout recommendations?


Stereo Cabinet

Do you need or want a better way to organize and store your stereo equipment? Have you thought about purchasing a stereo cabinet? There are many different types and a wide variety of prices from which to choose when buying a cabinet. If your home is like mine, additional shelves dedicated to electronic equipment would definitely be a plus!


Layne Daniel Update

It has been quite a while since I posted an update on our former pastor's condition. After undergoing surgery and months of chemotherapy at UNC Chapel Hill, there were four spots that had doubled in size between MRIs. It was evident that the drug treatment course (chemotherapy) Layne was following was not working well.

As has been the case throughout the whole journey, the Lord provided direction for Layne and his family. They contacted Cancer Treatment Centers of America, an organization that specializes in treating patients with "advancing cancers." Layne and his family were flown to the Philadelphia center where his condition was evaluated and a course of action was proposed.

Layne received his first Cyberknife treatment on December 5 and also started a new chemo regimen. After his suffering another seizure, Layne and Sharon received good news from the latest MRI - before the Cyberknife treatment, the MRI showed reason for concern: a cloudy white area about 2cm large. Since the Cyberknife treatment, the area has nearly disappeared. Praise the Lord for His mercy!

Please continue to pray for this family. This is certainly a time of testing for them, but they are evidence that God is faithful no matter what circumstances come into our lives.


Hello Again!

Thank you to all who wished me and my family a merry Christmas. I hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas yourselves.

We had a great and busy time - three whole days of parties and presents! Last year, Pookie gave Jesus a starfish. This year, she gave Him two seashells. Her simple yet loving gifts are a great reminder to me that God not only accepts but also loves that which is given to Him out of love.

I am behind on answering comments and visiting all my blogging friends. Rest assured that I will be around to your blog again soon. I have missed all of you during my time away from the computer. (I went for three whole days without touching a computer!) I'm also behind on my paid blogging duties, so be prepared for an avalanche of posts with links. *sigh*

In addition to catching up on blogging, Linda and I are running an After Christmas giveaway over at RS Designs. From December 26 (yesterday) through January 1, we are both giving away one free header every day, for a total of 14 free headers. Two of the giveaways will be custom designs; the rest are pre-mades.

If you are interested in winning a free header, all you have to do is leave a comment no later than 8:00 a.m. EST on January 2, 2008, at the post with the header you would like to win. You may leave comments on as many giveaway posts as you would like, but if you win more than one header, you will be allowed to choose your favorite, and the one(s) you don't choose will be given to another contestant. Note: Linda and I decided to reward all contest participants with a $10 discount off their next RS Designs' order of $20 or more.

Have a wonderful day!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Too Much Stuff!

I've been working on getting the house in order for Christmas - just in case we have company. Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep the house clean with these three little girls running around?! While cleaning, I have found several things to declutter: my minimal fitness equipment (a case of free weights in sets of 1, 3, and 5 pounds - I'm certainly not starting an exercise regimen for at least the next 6 months), some of the girls' outgrown clothing, excess toys (where do all those toys come from?), unused Christmas decorations, and much more.

It seems that no matter how much "stuff" I remove from my house, more moves in the very next day. How do you keep from accumulating too much stuff?


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Space Saver

I love when companies come up with new space saving designs for everyday products. Take, for example, washers and dryers. Not every home or apartment has enough horizontal room for both appliances. The solution - a stackable washer dryer combination.

I've been blessed to have enough room in both of my homes to have a regular washer/dryer set, but my sister-in-law opted for the stackable washer dryer set when she lived in an apartment. I really liked the arrangement of the set and found it functional as well as compact. Who knows? I may even consider buying such a set when my washer and dryer finally give up the ghost - no time soon, I hope.

Do any of you have a stackable washer dryer set? What are the pros and cons of the combination?


Stoller Reviews

If you figure that having three older children means that I am pretty well set with baby supplies for this fourth baby, you figure right. Sure, I'll need new supplies of some items: diapers, baby shampoos, and the like. However, we still have our baby swing, exersaucer, high chair, baby bath tub, bassinet, infant car seat, and a few strollers. I saved all those items because I knew that I wanted more children, and I am so happy not to have to purchase those items again. (Actually, I never purchased any of those the first time around, either. They were all given to us.)

If I were in need of one of these items, a stroller, for example, I would certainly want to read several stroller reviews before making my purchase. I'd check out Consumer Reports before purchasing a vehicle or even a vacuum cleaner, and I certainly would not to be less informed about purchasing frequently used items for my baby.

There are many ways to find stroller reviews: type that phrase into the appropriate box of your favorite search engine, ask friends for their recommendations, or browse through parenting magazines. I love the way the Internet puts this kind of information right at your fingertips. Just remember to check more than one source. A consistent review across multiple sites should be an indication that a product is pretty good.

After using my strollers for all three girls, I found that I prefer slim, lightweight strollers. However, when my two younger daughters were, well, younger, they both needed to ride in the stroller. That is when we found a double stroller. One child sits in front of the other, and I highly recommend this setup versus the side-by-side arrangement. The side-by-side stroller is too wide to easily maneuver through department stores aisles. So there you have my tip: buy a front-back double stroller instead of a side-by-side.

Do you have any stroller reviews of your own to share?


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Our Christmas Program Went Well

clipart courtesy of Fotosearch

I'm happy to report that the Christmas program went quite well. My Junior Choir (ages 4-12) sang their songs like old pros. In fact, out of the whole program, my choir and the adult choir were the only elements about which I never worried.

Pookie Bear held up wonderfully during the program but fell asleep on the pew during the preaching afterward and woke up crying and complaining of hunger. I guess her rechargeable batteries were in need of some fresh fuel. *laugh* Mr. Incredible took us to Mickey D's and bought the girls a hamburger Happy Meal to celebrate Pookie's great job and the fact that the two younger girls behaved well in church.

I'm relieved the program is over, and I am looking forward to this two weeks' break that my choir is taking. We won't sing again until the first Sunday in January, and we'll start out with a song we've sung before that they absolutely love. My goals for the upcoming year are to begin teaching them music theory and having them sing two parts instead of unison. They are a good group of kids, and I believe that they will do well with both challenges.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend.


Friday, December 14, 2007

The Christmas Rush

If you guessed by my sporadic posting that we are becoming immersed in Christmas activities, you would be absolutely correct. Tonight, Mr. Incredible and I went to our church's Christmas Banquet (and had a wonderful time), tomorrow, Pookie and I have to attend the morning Christmas program rehearsal, and Sunday night is the Christmas program. The following Sunday will begin the extended family celebrations.

The girls and I have started preparing goodies for the various Christmas get-togethers as well as our Christmas Day celebration. [We actually get to be at our own home for Christmas this year. Hurray! Growing up, my family always made a big deal out of Christmas (even though we never gave gifts), and now I wouldn't trade spending Christmas Day at home with my family for a stay in the most expensive Vegas hotel.] So far, we have made Truffle Trove Pie and Candy Cane cookies. Our dessert plans include making Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Cheesecake, Rice Krispie Treats, and homemade ice cream for Christmas Day banana splits - Mr. Incredible's request. My Christmas Day menu includes BLT Breakfast Bake for breakfast, of course; a turkey roast (or two if we have Christmas Day guests), homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, Easy Cauliflower and Broccoli Au Gratin, creamed corn, spinach, and dessert for lunch; Easy Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip and tortilla chips for an afternoon snack; and leftovers for supper. Don't you want to come to my house for Christmas? *laugh*

Our last Christmas bash will be my family's celebration on December 29. We are all so busy on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that we have decided it is best to have our celebration after Christmas. It has worked out well for everyone and reduces the Christmas day stress. My mother is preparing the bulk of the meal, and we children are bringing a requested dish. My dish is my grandmother's delicious corn casserole. I'll have to post the recipe soon Here's the recipe; it's like no other corn casserole I've ever eaten.

What are your Christmas plans?


Contests Are Fun!

I thought I'd share links to a couple of great contests/giveaways going on right now.

Grab this buttonLittle Fun; Little Learning Christmas Giveaway
Over at Little Fun; Little Learning, Karen is randomly posting giveaways during the month of December. Check often to see what is new. In addition to her giveaway posts, she is saving one special prize, a Gold Design Package (a $100 value) from yours truly of RS Designs, for a lucky newsletter subscriber. To be have a chance to win the design package, simply become a Little Fun; Little Learning subscriber no later than December 31. The subscription box is in her sidebar. You can't miss it; it says Subscribe to Our Newsletter.

Jackie of Adventures of a Twenty Something Mother is celebrating her new blog design with a week-long Grand Re-opening. So far, she is giving away a pair of Baby Legs (here's the product website), a code for 15% off a purchase of $20 from Danajill Designs, and a copy of the Complete Tightwad's Gazette. She will be putting up one more giveaway post after 7 p.m. EST today. Entry deadline for her contests is 5pm EST on December 15, 2007.

What are you waiting for? Hurry ... don't miss your chance to enter these contests!


Monday, December 10, 2007

Dishwasher Reviews, Too

When I told you about the refrigerator reviews, I forgot to mention that also offers dishwasher reviews. Yes, I was surfing through those as well, but not for any particular reason. I was only looking that time. *smile* Although I saw some beautiful dishwashers, my dishwasher gives me no problems at all, and I really only use it when I get behind on dishes. I still wash most of my dishes by hand.

Why would I do such as thing? That's a very good question. I wash my dishes by hand for a couple of reasons:

  • this is the first dishwasher I have ever had, and I am simply used to washing dishes by hand.
  • we have a well, and I am more concerned about conserving electricity than water.
  • I am not positive, but I think that Mr. Incredible thinks that using the dishwasher is wasteful. (I know, I need to ask him if that is what he really thinks, especially since the dishwasher reviews I have seen show that many dishwashers are quite efficient.)
Do you have any dishwasher reviews of your own? Am I the only one who washes her dishes by hand even though I do own a dishwasher? What do you do, and why? (Karen, I know you use your dishwasher all the time. *smile* Maybe one day I will, too.)


Refrigerator Woes

I know I just said that discontent is not welcome in my heart. I must say that the comments you left for that post were thoughtful and remarkable. Frank made a great point about desire often being the impetus to bettering our lot in life, Lizzie thoughtfully pointed out that all too often our discontent can spring from taking our eyes off our Provider, Karen (and Frank) suggested thinking of alternative ways to create more space, and Sho commiserated with my feelings. *smile*

I must say that my refrigerator woes (here's hoping they are really minor woes) are not a symptom of discontent. I have no burning, covetous desire for a new refrigerator - despite glowing refrigerator reviews contributed by friends who have recently acquired and new refrigerator. *grin* Here's my situation: the girls have already managed to partially break the bar the holds the condiments in place on the shelf in the door panel. Now, our door has started creaking quite loudly whenever we open it. It honestly sounds to me like the door wants to come of its hinges! I'm praying and hoping that the door stays where it belongs and that we do not end up needing to repair or replace the fridge.

However, it never hurts to prepare for a possible happening, right? I've been casually surfing the refrigerator reviews at and other sites and am finding that refrigerators are not the cheapest appliance in the world, and I'm not even looking for anything fancy, not even an ice maker!

I know I need to try spraying some WD-40 on the hinges but have not thought of anything else to try. Do any of you have any suggestions regarding our refrigerator? (If you are in need a refrigerator yourself, check out the refrigerator reviews; I found them quite informative.)


Car Donations Help Others

Did you know that you can be of help to someone in need simply by donating rather than selling your car? Car donations to Car Angel (a non-profit company) mean that not only do you get to help someone less fortunate than yourself, but you also get to claim a tax deduction for the donation, and Car Angel will remove the hassle of selling your car. You even get to select one of the many charities that partner with Car Angel to be the beneficiary of the proceeds generated by the donation of your vehicle.

In addition to supporting multiple charities, Car Angel also uses donation proceeds and other contributions to create videos geared toward children and teens, promoting wholesome, traditional values. It is said that, to date, well over 2 million videos have been produced and distributed. Here is an example of the videos that are created with donated cars and funds.

If you have a car that you have considered selling, why not think about donating it to Car Angel instead? You could help someone in need, and you wouldn't have to deal with selling the vehicle.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Discontent Is Not Welcome in My Heart

It amazes me how quickly I can become discontented with what was once my pride and joy. Take, for example, our home.

Don't get me wrong, I still love my home. However, with the new baby on the way, I've started thinking how nice it would be to have larger bedrooms and more closet space, and I have to admit to having picked up a couple of real estate magazines, browsing to get a feel for our area's market and current pricing.

Based upon those perusals, even with the wonderful equity our home has built in just two years (at the time of our refinancing it was appraised at nearly 1.5 times what we paid for it), we still can't realistically afford much more house than what we currently own. There are plenty of mobile homes and condos for sale in our price range, but I'm not interested in that kind of a residence. I prefer a single-family dwelling that is sturdy enough to provide shelter during hurricanes, thank you very much. *smile*

After deciding that we couldn't afford a new home anyway, I thought about my spirit of envy, greed, and discontent. I should be thankful for the home the Lord provided for us: it was the only decent home in our price range, we are not in a flood plain, our neighbors are wonderful, and it fits our needs perfectly. I'm mightily ashamed of myself for minimizing the blessing the Lord has given us in our house, and I wish to publicly say that I am grateful for my home - for the ceramic tile floors that are so much easier to keep clean than are linoleum floors, for the smooth top range for which I never would have asked, for the toy room that has become the perfect school/toy room combination, for the piano/computer room that is all mine, for the 1.5 baths that mean that baths are no longer interrupted by little girls who need to use the toilet, for three bedrooms that provides room for guests (for a little while longer, anyway).

The list really could go on for quite some time if I keep thinking about what I like about my house. I am resolved that instead of allowing discontent to creep into my heart, I'm going to make a point of keeping my eyes and heart open to see the reasons I have to be thankful.


The Most Comfortable Shirt

photo courtesy of

I love when I get free things, particularly nice free things. Recently, offered me the chance to choose a free shirt for Mr. Incredible. He is rather picky when it comes to shirts, and I didn't see plain T-shirts, so I picked out the mock turtleneck in red instead.

I was very pleased with the turnaround time from when I placed my order to when we received the shirt. It was less than a week. Mr. Incredible didn't know anything about the shirt and was very surprised when it arrived.

He wasn't too sure about the mock turtleneck but went ahead and tried on the shirt anyway. After wearing the shirt, he still wasn't crazy about the neckline, but he said that it was one of the most comfortable shirts he had ever worn. Because of the comfort factor, he decided he would go ahead and keep the shirt. He has worn it several times since and has mentioned a few more times how comfortable it is. I'm glad he enjoys wearing it, and I certainly couldn't beat the price, either. *smile*