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

Monday, February 25, 2008

Treasures from Around the 'Net

I have found some really good websites, blogs, posts, and articles recently, and I want to share them with you.

Websites and Blogs

  • The Simple Dollar - this entire blog is a wonderful resource for those seeking better ways to manage their money. I'll be adding this one to my Favorite Haunts and stopping by often!
  • Hinds Feet on High Places - a mother of 10 children shares her reflections and her life
  • Inspired Spaces - since I enjoy Antique Mommy's thought-provoking posts filled with wit and humor, I was excited when I stumbled across her new blog. I was even more excited, however, to realize that this is a completely different kind of blog, one devoted to interior design, and let me tell you, it is great! Apparently, Antique Mommy worked as an interior designer until she had her son. She loves designing and plans to return to it some day. "Until Sean is older, this space here will be my Inspired Spaces, where I will talk about interior design – how to get that high-end look on a low-end budget, your design dilemmas, getting a house ready for market, managing your relationship with your builder or contractor, inspired new products on the market for your house and all things related to home design. If you have a design question, send it to and I’ll answer it here!"
  • Jan - apparently, Jan Brett is a children's author. (and illustrator?) I am not familiar with her books, but her website offers "4,138 pages of free activities, coloring pages, and projects." Wow! What a find! My friend Karen of Little Fun; Little Learning introduced me to by way of her post, "Jan Brett's Word Family Charts." I cannot believe these absolutely beautiful charts are free! I am printing all of them off for Pookie Bear and plan to explore the rest of the site.
  • Mamasource - this is a neat community devoted to moms. To join, you must live in the US, but if you are able to join, you will receive an area-specific daily digest containing questions from other moms in your area, updates on previously-answered situations, links to mom-owned businesses, and updates on new member perks being offered.
  • Sarah Jane Studios - oh, but Sarah Jane is talented! Her business description says, "Illustrating Childhood," and she accomplishes that goal perfectly. Her illustrations are tenderly drawn and colored and make me think of the original Winnie-the-Pooh illustrations or the Beatrix Potter illustrations. They are so deliciously childish in the best kind of way. I like Sarah Jane's blog, too, and enjoy reading about her everyday life in between getting sneak peeks at new projects.
  • Sheye Rosemeyer Photography - more than a gallery of absolutely beautiful photographs, Sheye's blog also chronicles her everyday life, including the tragic loss of her 3 year old daughter a year ago (Ava's memorial site is here) and her journey since then.
Posts and Articles


Good Stewardship

Environmentally-friendly and eco-conscious have become buzz words in the politically-driven "green" movement. (I say "politically-driven" not "scientifically-driven" because there is much evidence to that effect, including the articles at American Policy Center and The Heartland Institute.) While I think the many new eco products are great, I must say that I am very much bothered when the planet on which we live becomes more important than the people who live on it. One day, this planet will be destroyed, but a person's soul lives forever. Which do you think has more value?

As a Christian, I believe it is my duty to be a good steward of all the resources with which God has entrusted me. This includes the earth. As my friend Holly stated in her post "I wasn't trying to be green ... I was just trying to live out my faith,"

"We should conserve, because it pleases God, not because Sheryl Crow makes a music video guilting us into using 2 sheets of toilet paper."
I have the same reaction to celebrities' hard sell of their ecologically-friendly agenda - it makes me want to run screaming in the exact opposite direction. But God has entrusted the earth (and much more) to us with the expectation that we will take good care of what He has given, and as I become aware of ways that I could and should take better care of the gifts He has given me, I will implement those practices into my life - because I believe it is my responsibility as a Christian, not because some politician or celebrity laid a guilt trip on me.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Branson, Missouri Vacations

When I was able to go up and spend some time alone with Mr. Incredible (did I even tell you about that?) during his first week of school earlier this month, I think he realized how nice it is to be able to spend some time alone with me. I say that because he told me that we needed to get away together more often, even if only overnight. And he is absolutely right. We don't have date nights and rarely go anywhere alone. We do get to spend time together at night after the girls go to bed, and that is really nice. But now that he agrees that it would be nice to spend more "alone time" together (is that an oxymoron?), I keep thinking of places we could go and things we could do.

One such place is Branson, Missouri. I doubt we would actually take such a long trip without the girls, but I am sure they would enjoy going there with us. Branson offers many family-friendly attractions including a theme park (Silver Dollar City) and performing arts venues where you can enjoy live music, magic shows, acrobatics, comedy, drama, and more. According to my research, there are also several interesting museums in town, including The Titanic, Hollywood's Wax Museum, Ripley's Believe It or Not, and more.

One site I came across offers several different vacation packages, starting at $423 per couple. That package includes a 3 day, 2 night hotel stay, 2 adult tickets to the Grand Country Jubilee, a $30 Red Lobster/Olive Garden gift card, a coupon book with $1,500 worth in savings, and a $50 Tanger Outlet shopping certificate. Not only are there are 7 pre-made packages from which to choose, but you can also customize your own package to suit your needs. If you can't afford to pay for a vacation, you can enter to win a free getaway. (Drawings are help monthly.)

I'll definitely be keeping Branson in mind. Who knows what may happen in the future?


I Have No Watch

Do you find your watch indispensable? I did - until it quit working about a year ago. Since I bought it for $5 at Wal-Mart, I figured it wasn't worthwhile to replace its battery, but I never bought another watch, either. Sometimes I miss my watch; sometimes I really need my watch. For the most part, though, I haven't really missed wearing a watch.

If I were to purchase another watch, I would drool over but would ultimately bypass those feminine womens gold watches, simply because my lifestyle is not really formal enough for such a watch. I am hard on watches and find that a leather (or leather-imitation) band suits my style and works best for me.

Mr. Incredible prefers Casio's digital watches with the calculator. At least they look nicer now than they did nearly 10 years ago when I married him. *laugh*

What style of watch do you prefer? Are you one who simply cannot live without a watch? Do you even own a watch?

clip art courtesy of


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Do you remember when I jokingly said this?

I'm going to have to hire Pookie Bear to design headers for me pretty soon! She has discovered how to use the program I use to create the headers, and, being a child, she has no inhibitions about playing with it and figuring out how it works. She is always begging me to let her print "just one paper."
She was thrilled this morning when I installed the new design for The Daily Grind, my most recently completed project. Her excitement lies in the fact that the header includes one of Pookie's creations - our cat sunning herself on the lawn. (I decided to upload Pookie's picture here so you could see it better.) Steph was kind enough to mention Pookie in the post about her new design, and when I read that part of the post to Pookie, she got the biggest grin on her face. I'm pretty proud to see her work praised as well. :)


Goodbye, Grandma

I just received word that my grandmother died this morning. She had been in the hospital last week but had gotten out and was back in the nursing home. Apparently, she slipped and fell in the bathroom and was dead when the staff reached her. We'll have to wait for the coroner's report to know why she died, but we can only assume her heart simply gave out. She lived to be 92 years old.

Pray for my mom and her siblings. Although I loved my grandmother, I am not devastated by her death because we didn't have an extremely close relationship, simply because of distance. She lived up in Minnesota, and I lived in Texas (the very southern tip) until I went to college. I'll always think fondly of her and cherish the memories I do have of her.

Goodbye, Grandma. I love you, and I hope that your profession of faith was real so that I can see you in Heaven one day.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Financially Irresponsible?

Can I tell you something that really irks me? I get really annoyed when people think they have the right to dictate how Mr. Incredible and I should plan, run, or manage our household. One of my biggest pet peeves is when well-meaning but incredibly thoughtless people question our family size.

"Are all of those children yours?"

"Is this the family, then?" (asked by someone who had just learned we are expecting a son - as if we keep having children only because we want a son)

"I hope you have a large income to take care of all those kids!" (as if we are being financially irresponsible to even think of having what most people consider to be a large family)

"There's more to taking care of children than just clothing them. What about college?"

Like I said, these comments most often come from well-meaning, genuinely nice people who apparently believe that families should not have more than two children ... at most. They audibly worry about how we will take care of our family and pretty much question our sanity, more so with each new blessing that is added to our family.

Here is what I would like to say (I usually just keep my mouth shut while they run theirs):
  • You had your family, and I'm sure you would not have appreciated others trying to tell you what size family you should have. Please grant Mr. Incredible and me the courtesy of planning our family as we believe God has led us.
  • You may not understand this, but we believe and have repeatedly seen that as long as we are obedient to God's direction in our lives, we will not lack for anything we truly need. (Notice I didn't say want - that's an entirely different situation, and God only promised to provide that which we need.) As our associate pastor is fond of saying, "God never calls us to a task for which He will not provide."
  • No one can live their life simply by what looks good on paper. Obedience to God can make the plan that looks horrendous on paper turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you. The Lord has graciously provided for our needs and continues to do so as our family grows. We trust that He will continue to provide for us in the future as He has promised.
  • Don't worry about college. Frankly, I don't intend to give my children a free ride through college. I earned my way through college by going on contract and working 15 hours a week during the school year and 40 hours a week during summer and Christmas break. I left school with no debt; on the contrary, the school owed me about $6,000. I do want to assist my children, and I don't intend for them to have to take out a loan from Tuition Wise or any other student loan company, but they will definitely earn their degree in more than one way.
  • Children are a blessing, not a burden. I have three girls now and will have a son shortly. Which two do you wish had never been born? If you can't pick two now, why would you wish we had rejected them before they were born?
  • Yes, I'll have my hands full, but is that really so bad? A life that is poured into others is generally happier than one absorbed in self. I hope that my children will grow up to be strong Christians and productive citizens. What a legacy to leave - much better than mere riches!
Now, those are not all gracious responses, and as I said, I haven't actually said any of these things - only thought them. *smile* Please share how you handle this kind of situation. I'm sure some of you have dealt with this before me and can offer better replies than what I have written.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Shop Talk

RS Designs - custom designs at affordable pricesI love my business, but I must admit that it has been hard work to achieve the success it has seen this far, and it will take a lot more hard work to push, pull, and promote it to where I would like to see it end up. That's one of the drawbacks of starting a business from scratch - unlike buying into a franchise, you have no reputation on which to build and no clientèle to demand your services as soon as you "open shop."

I'm not at all sorry I started my own business, but I'm very glad I'm not in it alone. Linda is the best partner/co-worker I could want, and our weekly business meetings via instant message are both fun and productive. Many of the marketing strategies, pricing, and products offered at RS Designs are direct results of her suggestions.

If you are a fellow entrepreneur, what has been your most successful method for promoting your business and what do you wish you had done differently when your business was young?


Sell Your Used Computer System

We recently purchased a new computer and have yet to decide what to do with our old computer. I think I may have found a solution. Twin Cities Digital buys and sells new and used computers, including used Cisco, IBM, Compaq systems, and more. I'll definitely be checking to find out what my old computer is worth.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Family Vacation to Become a Reality?

If you have been reading here a while, you may remember my having mentioned that my family would like to get together a family vacation and rent a beach cottage for a week. I think we have been attempting to do such a thing for two years now and have yet to actually accomplish our goal. I really think this year might be different.

The good news is that we have plenty of coast from which to choose. We could even consider Hilton Head rentals if we really wanted to. Surely with so many miles of rentals from which to choose, we can find something affordable? I'll be researching prices and availability shortly, so I'll let you know how it goes.

I remember Jenn gave me a marvelous recommendation last year, and I still hope to vacation there one day. Do any of y'all have a favorite beach getaway you would recommend?


Moving to or from New York?

I'm passing on a link that will lead you to New York movers. I haven't even been to New York and have no use for the services of movers in NY, but I thought maybe one of my readers might be looking for something like that. I do not know this company or their track record. If you consider enlisting their services, please conduct some research before placing your trust in them. It's what I would do if I were in your shoes.


Last Day for the Valentine's Day Sale at RS Designs

RS Designs' Valentine's Day SaleI hope that I don't annoy y'all when I post announcements regarding my design business. I don't want to be like those popup ads that makes us profoundly thankful for the invention of the popup blocker. (You are welcome to leave me a comment letting me know what you think of my promoting my business here.)

If you are interested in customizing your blog, today is the last day for you to take advantage of RS Designs' Valentine's Day Sale. Any order of $40 or more placed and paid for today will receive a $20 discount. That means that you can get a great deal on nearly all of our products:

  • a pre-made template costs only $20 after the discount
  • the Silver Design Package (choose 3 options from a list of 8) is $40
  • the Gold Design Package (choose 5 options from a list of 8) is $80
  • the Platinum Package (includes anything you need done from setup to customization to putting in your content) is $180
  • the WAHM Advertising Package (2 banners and 1 button) is $20
  • order several different items from our A La Carte Menu and receive the $20 discount if your order totals $40 or more
Take a look. Linda and I take pride in offering high quality designs at affordable prices, and we would love to work with you.


How I'm Doing

I think one of the most common questions a pregnant woman hears is, "How are you feeling/doing?" The questioner is usually well-intentioned, but let me give everyone a hint: if the due date is near (or past), that could be the question the woman most hates to hear. Speaking from experience, at that point the woman feels terrible, just wants to have her baby, and can easily become annoyed if she repeatedly hears that question in a short time span.

I, however, am not yet at that point, and I don't mind people asking how I am feeling. *smile* I am finally to the point where I am feeling really good - as long as I don't have to move for any length of time. Seriously, just doing a ten minute pickup of our living room leaves me huffing and puffing and feeling as though I had just completed a thirty-minute workout on an elliptical machine!

I don't recall having this problem when I was carrying my girls, and I wonder if I'm just carrying this boy higher than the girls. Whatever the cause, I can only presume that this situation will only grow worse as my pregnancy progresses, and I am trying to prepare myself for that to be the case.

I had to laugh at Mr. Incredible the other day. He is not usually home to witness the effects of my little bouts of cleaning/picking up, but I was de-cluttering our room at bedtime one night last week and had to sit down for a five-minute breather once I was done. Mr. Incredible watched me gasping for breath and asked if I was okay. I assured him that I was, and he remarked, "That boy sure is taking it out of you!"

Yes, Dear, he is, but that's okay. I appreciate your concern (and any help you are willing to give!), but it's only temporary, and I don't mind these little inconveniences when they stem from such a wonderful reason. *smile*

clip art courtesy of


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'll Take the Basic Package

Bose home theater - what a luxury, right? We did some preliminary car shopping this past weekend, trying to find out what kind of vehicle would fit our needs and what kind of price we could expect to pay for it. During our browsing, we saw two fully loaded GMC Yukons that included Bose speakers. I bet the radio/CD player sounds great!

While that is a nice feature, however, I'm not interested in paying for it - even at in the used car price. All I ask is that our vehicle have AC, a CD player, and cruise control. Anything else is just the icing on the cake.

What extra features (for your car) do you not think you could live without?


Bunk Bed Update One Year Later

To be quite honest, I haven't visited many furniture stores. Most of my home's furnishings are hand-me-downs or yard sale finds (by someone else *smile*). I'm perfectly content with that. In fact, I find it hard to justify paying the price that new furniture often commands.

One exception was the girls' bunk bed, under bed drawers, and two chest of drawers we bought in December of 2006. We shopped around and got a good deal (as far as we could tell from our research), and one year later I am still happy with our purchase. It has provided much needed storage space, allowing us to put all three girls in one small-to-average sized room, which in turn allowed us to have a guest bedroom. (In a few months, that will become a guest room/baby boy's room. I wonder how guests will like that!)

What has been your best furniture purchase?


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Protecting Your Children

I've talked about life insurance several times. I've mentioned that I believe children's life insurance is just as much of a necessity as adult life insurance. I still believe that. However, I believe that it is not enough to purchase children's life insurance and hope for the best.

Common sense dictates that as parents we need to be proactive when it comes to protecting our children. Practicing good hygiene, providing nourishing meals, encouraging our children to be active rather than sedentary, making sure your children receive the necessary vaccines (I know some people disagree with this point, and that's your choice): these are all easy steps parents can take to protect their children.

Another easy way we can protect our children is to practice basic car safety. Car seats should be checked to make sure that they are properly installed and are being used correctly. Children under 12 months of age and under 20 pounds should be seated in a rear-facing car set. Car seats should be discarded after the expiration date stamped on the seat (usually on the back) or after it has been involved in a crash. Older children should be in a booster seat until they reach the weight and height recommendations. All children (and adults) should wear a seat belt every time they ride in a vehicle and should wear that belt as designed by the manufacturer.

Sometimes the best children's life insurance is to have parents who do their best to care for their children. What are some of the things you do to protect your children?


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Bit Disappointed

I had planned a nice surprise for Mr. Incredible - I was going to leave the girls with my mother and show up unannounced at his hotel room about the time he normally gets there after school. I was having so much fun picturing how surprised and pleased he would be ...

until I woke up around 4:00 this morning to the sound of Baby Bear throwing up. Great! I called my mom later and let her know that we would not be coming up after all. Baby Bear hasn't thrown up any more, but she is running a fever and is acting like she doesn't feel well at all. I feel sorry for her, but I'm still disappointed.

I must say that I have been and continue to be quite impressed with the company for which Mr. Incredible works. They "get" the concept of taking care of their workers. That is probably why so many people retire from that company after working 20 or 30 years there. (I'm sure the pension plan and other benefits don't hurt, either. *smile*)

As an example of how they take care of their workers, I have received phone calls from both Mr. Incredible's immediate supervisor and from the General Manager of this region. Both men called to check on me and the girls and to tell me to call them if I needed anything at all. That makes me feel good.

Another example of how this company cares for its employees is the provisions that are made for the men going to school. They are put up in a nice hotel room (not dreadfully expensive but by no means a dump) and are reimbursed for travel expenses and for meals not provided at the school. (Since there are various training sessions going on throughout the year, I have wondered if this company has some kind of fractional ownership in the hotels near the training location, but I doubt it.) I really appreciate what this company does for its employees.

Now I'm just waiting a few more days until I can see my husband again ... *smile*


Monday, February 04, 2008

Our Baby Is a ...

photo courtesy of Stock.xchang

What? Don't you want to venture a guess? The good news is the baby cooperated for that portion of the ultrasound.

Oh, and I should tell you that, unlike my reaction to my local OBGYN clinic, I absolutely love my new clinic! Everyone has been kind, interested, and helpful. The nurses and midwife have been shocked that I was 18 weeks along and had not been able to get any kind of pre-natal care. They did their best to move things along, and I have now had the bloodwork (ugh!), complete physical (double ugh!), and ultrasound done. I am scheduled to have another ultrasound done at my next visit because the technician could only see three out of the four heart chambers. She didn't sound concerned; she said the baby just wouldn't cooperate and turn the right way for her. I'll also get to meet the doctor at the next visit. In addition to the friendliness of the staff, I like the fact that there is only one doctor and one midwife there so I don't need to be worried about being shuffled from doctor to doctor during the course of my pregnancy.

Did I leave you hanging? I'm so sorry! *impish grin* Well, we are having a .... boy! Pookie Bear was absolutely right, and she and Mr. Incredible are quite excited. Of course the rest of us are, too, but they really wanted this baby to be a boy. Now to pick out a name ... suggestions, anyone?


Sunday, February 03, 2008

More Winnings!

Wow! I can't believe it! Not only have a I won the baby boy diaper bag, two books I forgot to mention, and the awesome prize pack, I have now won a beautiful calligraphy print of Bilbo's Bath Song Sing Hey! (thanks for the correction, Kim) from Lord of the Rings and a handmade Lord of the Rings bookmark. After entering a ton of giveaways during the Fall Y'all Bloggy Giveaway and not winning a single prize, I was thrilled to win this contest, doubly so because I absolutely love Lord of the Rings.

Kim of Hiraeth was offering these prizes as part of the Bloggy Giveaways carnival that just ended. She makes calligraphy prints and bookmarks that she sells at Bookworm Bookmarks. If you would like a "Sing Hey!" print of your own, she is generously offering the prints at half price until February 15, 2008. Contact her for details.