The Son is always shining, regardless of the weather

Happy Birthday, Whataburger…60 years!

"Orange" you glad to get free food?

What?…wear orange…get free Whataburger!

What do you know…we’ll be there!

In “Cow”g-nito: Our Third Annual Cow Day at Chick-fil-A

We were going to be out of town for “National Cow Apreesheashun Day” at Chick-fil-A. Anyone who knows us, knows that we are big fans of Chick-fil-A (See other blogs for more proof). On the second Friday in July, Chick-fil-A gives you a free full meal for dressing like a fool full cow, or a free half meal (like a sandwich) for dressing like half or part of a cow (like wearing a shirt with spots, hat, etc). So, this has become a new little holiday for our family. Thankfully, we were with a sweet family that mostly didn’t mind dressing up like cows and saving some moolah (and they had a local Chick-fil-A).

Oh...the girls had to paint their hooves!

Are cows white with black spots or black with white spots? Well, the girls were white cows with black spots. They donned angel costumes, and a few girls wore white tops and white skirts. Then, we added black felt spots (from last year) using duct tape to stick the spots on this time (instead of pins). Some outfits actually had black spots that were cut out from duct tape.

How will the spots stick?...duct tape to the rescue!

Oh...the places you'll go! Thanks guys!

Most of the herd

Cowabunga, dude!

The guys were black cows with white spots.  We had some black contractor bags for the guys to wear. We cut  a hole in the bottom for their head, and cut out some arms. We used black duct tape to tape down the top and sides…giving the cows a more updated (less 80s) look. They all had white spots cut out from white duct tape. I used a pattern that Chick-fil-A had on their website. Oh, and some tails were created from duct tape which was taped together, then cut into thin strips leaving an inch uncut at the top. Some had yarn tails, and some tails were made from a brown plastic tablecloth.

Tails are important! I added spots to a friend from another family that went with us to Chick-fil-A. Thankfully, I added a tail, because that was the deciding factor that allowed her to receive a free meal versus just the sandwich. So, as you heard from my tale, the bottom line is to have a bottom line!

The purse was created on the car trip. I’m not exactly sure what mooved me to make this udderly bovine purse. I think it had something to do with having time (and assorted duct tape) on my hands.  It is so chic! However, don’t worry this purse will only be used by this crazy chick annually:)

This year, we made our entry a little more dramatic (like twenty cows mooving into Chick-fil-A wasn’t dramatic enough). I was thinking along the lines of more bells and whistles. Earlier, I spied a big ol’ cowbell down at our friend’s farm. They use it to call the kids in for dinner. So, I used it to call all of the herd in for dinner (and for laughs).

Little did we know that after our arrival, a man from the local news would arrive and start videotaping. I thought…Let’s show some Chick-fil-A spirit, and I picked up the cowbell and started ringing it. The ladies I was sitting with were laughing, and some quickly mooved to try to conceal their identities (hoping that we weren’t on the news). I guess I wasn’t thinking about the possibility of being  moo-vie stars when we dressed up for the night out. So, we watched some of the local news at ten, and sure enough…some of us locos were on there, including the “cow-cophonous” cowbell:).

The world needs more cowbells!

The news at tenMVI_6703

All in all, we had a great time and our sweet friends thanked us for the fun memories. Even one of the anti-dressing-up-like-a-cow girls thanked me. So, mission accomplished. I think it is safe to say that we will be supporting Chick-fil-A on “Cow Apreesheashun Day” until…well..the cows come home!

Cowgirls and cowboys sure know how to have fun!

Oh No…The Big 40!

The summer provides me with more time to blog, as we only do school for half of a day. So, I thought I’d go back and blog about a few things that I missed in the busyness of the end of the school year.

Back in March, my sweet husband turned the big 40! We made a slide show for him using “Movie Maker” that day. It was a kind of …”this is your life” type of movie. We have a rule that if your birthday is on a day of the week, it’s a holiday. Yes, I  know…it’s one of the perks of homeschooling (remember we school through most of the summer). So, even though Daddy had to work, we enjoyed a day off thinking about him, and making him a video, and of course, a big cake!

I bought him a “40” balloon the night before, and when the kids opened the back door of our suburban to help unload the groceries…out it flew…into the nearby tree branch. Well, as I was jumping up to get the balloon, the wind blew it out of the tree; but alas, that young balloon was too fast for me. I don’t know what overcame me, but I just couldn’t “let it go…”. Maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t even given him the balloon yet, and those balloons aren’t cheap, or maybe I just really do love to run (yeah, right).

Whatever the reason, I found myself compelled to sprint across the field that we live next to (like half-way). My son Benjamin was right there with me, and we managed to tackle that old balloon down to the ground, while literally “rolling on the floor laughing” (ROFL)! Never mind that cars were driving by, and my nearby girls were laughing at us. We proudly (and somewhat out of air) presented our token of love (which was also somewhat out of air) to B. C. Thankfully, that wasn’t a trip to the E.R. (Can you even imagine telling people how the foot broke that time?)

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At the birthday restaurant dinner, Cousin Mike embarrassed him by giving him a hilarious, attention-getting vest to wear. Then, I took pictures of some of the people’s reaction to his vest, when he walked with our boys to the restroom. Too funny! BC’s mom brought some great old (young) pictures of BC that we enjoyed looking/laughing at.

So I married an older year, that is...:)

So I married an older year, that is...:)

It was a good day! Lots of candles and candies (jelly beans are his favorite)! I am so thankful to be married to BC. We have a plaque in our room that reads: “Grow old with me, the best is yet to be!” Ah…so true! I believe elderly people are not “over the hill”, but have great wisdom and experience to offer to each one of us…and life to be lived!

We just visited my grandmother (G.G.) and G.P. I will be turning thirty-nine in a few days, and I was so encouraged about growing older just by spending time with them. They are both so vibrant and energetic. I currently run 3.5 miles, usually three times a week. Well, my sweet grandma could out-walk me, seriously! She is truly amazing! We all took a long walk together. I am so glad that G.G. and G.P. are so capable. They are loving life and each other. They take their limitations in stride, and never seem to let it get them down. They thank God everyday for their health and each other, and rarely complain! I certainly want to be like them when I grow up—so content and so kind. They continue to encourage and bless the entire family!

How To Make A Duct Tape Wallet And Consequently…A Happy Husband

You can't just make one!

Using clear vinyl...a coin pocket was created

I mentioned in my last post how I would be making duct tape wallets with my boys. Well, my husband (my biggest boy) requested that I make him one, too! He went on and on about how nice it was…especially about how thin it is. Personally, I would think a fat wallet would be preferred over a thin one:). But…these size matters never really mattered to me-probably because I don’t carry a wallet in my back pocket:).

He asked me for a see-through flap for his driver’s license. So, I sent him on a “plastic hunt” through our house. He was successful! He brought me the packaging lid that stored our thin-sliced cheese. I was hoping the wallet wasn’t too cheesy-looking!

Here are some more pics…

Making the cool duct tape "fabric"!

Completion of the back pocket

With the pockets and i.d. holder

Out with the old, in with the new

Let's add some color

A card holder

Two inside side pockets were added on this one!

I think I got carried away with the wallet is my clear wallet!

I went on you tube and a very helpful boy showed us how to make these wallets…

The best thing about these wallets is that you will always have duct tape handy!

Duct Tape To The Rescue

Paige wrote about our first experience with the breaking of a fluorescent light bulb last night in her post Light Saber vs. Light Bulb. I remembered hearing about evacuating because of the mercury, but the cleaning up was somewhat involved. The following page was helpful in our cleanup battle. Duct tape was used to pick up the tiny pieces and dust on the carpet. I absolutely love duct tape, but I never thought about using it to clean up glass breaks on the carpet. It did a great job! However, this situation made me think about all the times duct tape has been so useful in my life. Okay, so maybe it’s not useful on air ducts, but household repairs- absolutely! We have fixed tables, chairs, brooms, dust pans, and dresser drawers to name a few!

I must admit that I really do love and use duct tape…for more than just household repairs. One time, it came in handy when Paige’s I.V. pump needed to stay in place during the night (or should I say wee hours of the morning). The tape that the doctor gave me ran out, but a little duct tape worked just fine. Our surprised oncologist laughed the next morning, as he just shook his head and said (in his educated-sounding British voice): “I must admit, I have never seen duct tape used in this manner before, but, it does…indeed, work!” He also gave me more tape:)

Another time it came in handy was with Bradley’s broken arm. My advice is that you save your child’s cast, even after it has been removed. At our follow-up appointment, the orthopedist wasn’t able to take x-rays with Bradley’s cast on, so he took the cast off to see if it had healed properly. He told me that Bradley’s arm had not quite healed, but to just keep him (the three-year-old) from running for one week or so. Hello? Keep a two-year-old from running, you say? That’s crazy talk.

So, there I was in a predicament. He took off my son’s cast, yet told him he couldn’t “take off” (run around like he does). Just before the orthopedist took off, I cast a disapproving grimace in his direction, and asked him if I could put duct tape on that old (thankfully waterproof) cast, and put it back on him. He said that would be fine, because he agreed that it still needed some more healing time! Bradley absolutely loved wearing the cast, and didn’t mind that it was duct-taped. Thankfully, it was cooler weather, so his long shirt covered up his cast! So, he wore it for one more week. That piece of duct tape gave me great peace of mind.

I was even able to repair my boys’ toy rifles and swords with a little duct tape. I even remember using duct tape on one of my boys diapers for a few weeks. I bought generic diapers, and half of them did not have Velcro to hold the diaper on (only on one side). So, being the frugal mom that I was, duct tape saved our hides! The duct tape went into the diaper bag, and stayed there for awhile.

Lately, I have heard of all sorts of “quacky” (okay, some of mine probably qualify too) things that you can do with “duck” or “duct tape”. There is even a scholarship contest if you come up with a prom dress made out of duct tape. So, I guess I’m not the only one! My grandfathers and fathers were very influential with their high praises, and creative uses, of duct tape. I guess their opinions really stuck…like duct tape. I still remember how cool I thought duct tape was because you didn’t need scissors to cut it—you could just tear it with your hands!

What are some ways you have used duct tape? I’d love to hear about it. Yes, and the classic nerd in me has used it to temporarily fix my glasses. But shhhh…don’t tell.

Well, I’m off to hopefully make some neat duct tape wallets with the boys!

Big Surprise on the Prairie/Meeting Melissa Gilbert

“If I had a remembrance book, I would surely write about the day we came to Plum Creek”(opening quote by Laura as Little House on the Prairie series began in 1974)

Thankfully, Laura Ingalls Wilder shared her life memories with the world through the “Little House” books. This blog has been sort of a “remembrance book” for me as well. Last weekend was certainly a memorably sweet one. It began the moment we walked into the home of two of the sweetest people on the prairie…Nonnie and G-pa Uh-Oh (my mom and dad). We were greeted by both of them offering us freshly baked chocolate chip cookies (or “cook-cooks” as Dad likes to refer to them). Ah…there really is no place like home sweet home. That six hour trip in the car is finally over, and now the fun begins! (Warning: This post is a bit long, as I wanted to write down all the details, but I promise it’s not six hours long:))

A little background…

We were planning a trip for our girls to come visit their grandparents in Ft. Worth for the week. Our boys had their fun week with them earlier this month. Meanwhile, my mom discovered that Little House on the Prairie:The Musical was playing at the Bass Hall in Fort Worth, and …Melissa Gilbert  (the actress who played Laura in the television series) was playing “Ma”. Exciting, huh? So, my parents had graciously included me. Dad/G-pa Uh-Oh suggested I take his ticket and the boys/men would go fishing. I did not hesitate to accept! So, you can imagine we were looking forward to the musical/fishing for two weeks!

On Tuesday (6-8-10), my mom called  to tell me that she had a surprise. My mom could hardly get the words out…so Dad, her helper in life, took over. They are such a great team!  Dad proceeded to mention that he had suggested to Nonnie that she write Melissa Gilbert a thank you letter for all she meant to our family through the years…esp. regarding her role as Laura on Little House on the Prairie. We had been reminiscing about her recently as we were anticipating seeing her in the show. So, my “Ma” sent this letter to “Ma”…

Dear Ms. Gilbert,

My daughter and four granddaughters have tickets to attend the Saturday matinee performance of Little House on the Prairie:The Musical, and we are all so excited.

When my oldest granddaughter was eight years old, she was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a very aggressive cancer in the muscle behind her eye. Throughout the year and a half of surgery, radiation, and chemo, your excellent work in Little House on the Prairie sustained all of us. It allowed us to escape into a different time and place, and we were all so grateful. We were especially thankful for the extremely talented young girl who grew up before our eyes. Your acting ability not only endeared Laura to us, but you also.

Make-a-Wish asked Paige (I changed her name in the letter to protect her privacy) what one place she wanted to go more than any other. Of course, her immediate answer was Laura’s homestead in De Smet, South Dakota! In the history of the Make-a-Wish organization, we were told that Paige was the first to ask for a trip to South Dakota. Again, Little House on the Prairie distracted all of us from the  difficult, painful realities of cancer.

Paige is sixteen years old now, and in many ways cancer was actually a blessing for her and for us. It taught us the value of the moment, and we do treasure time differently now. She not only survived cancer; she thrives in some ways because of it.

I simply want to thank you for your professional work as a child and now as an adult because you have enriched our lives. Your talent is amazing, and we appreciate your willingness to again become involved in Little House on the Prairie.

With best regards,

(my mom’s name)

My mom mentioned to me that she did not ask to meet Melissa, she just wanted to thank her. However, she said that she just received a call from Ms. Gilbert’s manager at Bass Hall. He relayed that Melissa was touched by reading the letter, and really wanted to meet Paige (and our group) after the show! Wow! I’m totally excited! The hardest part would be trying to keep this surprise from the girls. We all agreed that the surprise would be fun for them, and we have learned from our Little House friends, and our own lives/mistakes, that you “don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched”…ever. So, this mum kept “mum” on meeting that mum. I made it through by only telling two others (not related to us)! It was hard, but thankfully it was only four days (I know…how sad, right)!

When we arrived on Thursday night, the girls took off on beginning their new quilts. Each girl finished one block on their quilt. Yeah! Project “make four quilts in a week” was off to a great start! On Friday, the girls had a major fabric-sewing day. Mom and I had a major fabric-cutting day! By the end of the night, each of my beautiful daughters had assembled the front of their beautiful quilt (35 blocks…7 rows with 5 blocks per row). We were tired! We felt a bit like pioneers that day. That evening, my brother Jay came over for a shared b-day spaghetti dinner with my daughter Faith (they share a birthday). The girls and Nonnie baked a lovely three-layered yellow cake with homemade chocolate icing.

On Saturday morning, the funny, yet scary thing was that Mom was trying to find the tickets! The menfolk were out fishing on the boat. She had placed the tickets on the counter weeks ago, and they were not there! Some time passed. She called Uh-Oh to see if maybe he could help. Well, he did not seem to know where the Bass Hall tickets were, but evidently he did know where the bass fish were biting.

The Lord really blessed their time. The boys were catching a bunch of black bass, catfish, and sand bass. Bradley even caught an 8 lb. catfish! It sounded like they were having a lot of fun! Benjamin and Bradley (my boys) were the only ones catching anything for awhile there. My dad said he was a little worried about BC and Jay:). But they caught on, and soon everyone was catching everything. The fish were schooling. Dad said they had doubles and a triple (You would think that they were talking about baseball?). That meant two fish were on two rods at the same time. My dad had prayed that he might have an opportunity to fish with his grandsons when the fish were schooling…what an answered prayer!

Now…back to Nonnie fishing for the missing tickets…

I asked my mom  if I could help, even though I really didn’t exactly know where to look. I have been a frantic seeker before (keys, ins., etc.) and I have learned that a frantic “looker” is often an “overlooker”. A calm seeker usually will be a finder. So, I tried to stay calm, and prayed that the tickets would be found. Thankfully, the Lord directed me to discover the tickets in a small pile on the counter. Praise the Lord…another answered prayer!

So, quicker than  rabbits, we hustled out the door. We had a thirty minute drive to the Bass Hall. We parked and rapidly walked down the beautifully clean block in Fort Worth. We arrived at the door, and were greeted by an expecting attendant, who was asking us for the tickets. Boy, were we in for a surprise!

Nonnie searched her purse, and could not find the tickets. Incredible! Then I frantically searched Nonnie’s purse and…nothing. Nonnie had a look of disbelief on her face. “What do we do?” she uttered. The kind attendant asked us if there was anyone at home who could bring us the tickets, and if home was nearby. We both answered with double negatives (no, no).

Then, Nonnie remembered that she had purchased the tickets on credit card, and asked if they would have a record of the transaction on the computer. They directed her to the “will call” ticket desk. We followed close behind. I was whispering a prayer that they would honor her credit, and I was hoping to vouch for her credibility with my tears. Three minutes later, we had our tickets in hand, and we were headed up the elevator. Well, my pa and Laura’s pa have a lot to say in regards to the policy of “cash on the barrel”, but I was truly thankful that we had a paper trail, as those tickets were valuable. Like they say…”A ticket in the hand is worth six in the kitchen”:)

We were seated pretty high, but we still had great seats. The Bass Hall is so beautiful. (My dad watched this being built because his office was across the street.) When we arrived at our row, a smiling man greeted us and introduced himself as Eric. He asked which one was Paige. He said he wasn’t sure if she knew about it or not. My mom mentioned that we decided to surprise her. So, he said he would let Grandma tell the surprise and he would see us later.

Without further ado, Mom told Paige. She was so surprised…pleasantly surprised. All of the girls were giddy with excitement. The looks on their faces were like they were on Cloud Nine. Nonnie and I both asked Paige if it was okay that we surprised her. She replied, “This is a great surprise”. She had no idea. I managed to take a few pictures of the girls before the camera police reminded me (with a shake of the finger) that no pictures were to be taken inside Bass Hall. Oops!

Nonnie and I congratulated each other on keeping the secret from the girls. On the same row there were young girls with bonnets. Nonnie and I remembered our girls and their bonnet-wearing years (Sigh). As the lights went down, I was already trying to fight back the tears.

The girls sat next to each other, and I sat by Mom. As Melissa Gilbert entered the stage, more tears streamed down. I was trying to tell myself to pull it together. I had no idea how many experiences/emotions I would identify with during this musical. It was a flood of various memories. We cried. We laughed. We shared binoculars, and we were thoroughly captivated by the songs, the background, the characters, the lights, the memories. It was awesome. We only wish our other family members could have been there too!

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” was a great quote that many of the pioneers lived by. We have frequently used that quote at our house. We don’t want to waste time worrying over nothing! Hard times will visit everyone, yet great ones will too. One of the reasons I loved the “Little House” books and the t.v. series was the fact that I could identify with many of Laura’s life experiences…

  • moving into new places, and dealing with a few “Nellie Olesons”
  • being a tomboy
  • being a teacher
  • family growing closer as we faced adversity (the one I grew up in, and the one my children are growing up in)

We enjoyed the fact that most of the play took place around De Smet…a familiar place we know in our minds (through the books), and in our experiences (through our trip). We were thrilled that we could be transported to pioneer days, and be encouraged yet again by the faith, hard work, family togetherness, and community love that was shared by so many pioneers. We found it hard to complain when we would watch the “Little House” shows and hear about all of their trials. The loss of Mary’s vision was hard on the family. I remember watching those episodes and praying that if Paige went blind, like Mary, God would encourage us. However, we were mostly praying for her survival. Like the pioneers, we were praying for a better tomorrow. God’s Word encouraged us that there would be a better tomorrow, no matter the outcome, because of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.

As I was watching this play, reruns of memories filled my mind. Here are a few of them…

  • when Melissa Gilbert walked on stage, I cried just overwhelmed by her thoughtful desire to meet my daughter
  • how brave my baby girl and her sisters and brothers were when cancer visited our home. They kept us smiling through that storm, and with child-like faith helped us to keep looking to Jesus
  • how sweet all of my children, family, and friends had been when we were going through our pioneering/chemo days which had us facing a lot of unknowns . We were touched by so many kindnesses (homemade bread every week, meals, gifts, money, babysitting, the complete series of “Little House” DVDs, etc.)
  • When I was watching the scenes with the unruly kids at school, and at the Fourth of July celebration, it reminded me of our super trip to De Smet, South Dakota, where I had watched my Paige and Michelle act out these parts in their annual outdoor play. They were extras, and had a blast!
  • Michelle (in blue) and Paige (in yellow) signing autographs with "Laura" and "Nellie" in De Smet...2003

  • when “Ma” was talking about her daughter going blind, I cried
  • When Almonzo came for Laura, I cried…thinking of my dear beau (BC) who came for me…22 years ago
  • Then I cried when I thought of my children (almost three teenagers now) who are growing up before my very drenched eyes. My mom whispered to me, “These next few years will be very exciting.” I nodded, and fought back more tears thinking about how quickly time goes by

It was an emotional play for me, but I was thankful to be able to cry and to laugh. I sometimes shove these hard memories into a far away place in my brain. It was therapeutic to recall these.There was comic relief in the play, too. Nellie was a great antagonist, and Laura had some great lines too. Laura was dealing with growing up pretty fast, and “Ma” was dealing with letting go. Pa did a great job too! I’m sure Laura Ingalls Wilder and Michael Landon would have been very proud of the entire cast.

After the performance,we went out of the Bass Hall and straight through the crowd, who was eagerly awaiting autographs. We were so thankful to be able to zoom straight through the door. We waited in one area, and I reminded myself to ask Ms. Gilbert if I could take her picture before I took any (remembering my earlier warning about no pictures in Bass Hall).

Melissa Gilbert was very kind. She said she liked our plaid shirts, and mentioned how the play was more like the books, rather than the t.v. show. We knowingly agreed (having read the books and watched the shows). She mentioned that they added more stories (fictional) to the t.v. series because otherwise it would have only lasted nine episodes. This was true. I asked her if I could take a picture, and she said sure. I must add, it was cool to hear a familiar voice from t.v. land talking with us. She asked which one was Paige, and then gave her a hug. Then, she excitedly went over to her dressing room while saying that she had something for Paige.

She mentioned that the cast was in South Dakota last week and they all went into De Smet (the setting where most of the musical took place) for a day trip. She told Paige she was touched by her grandmother’s letter, and she thought Paige was so brave. I started tearing up, and said to Ms. Gilbert, “Okay, now you’ve made me cry for like the thousandth time.”. She talked about being a mom of three boys that were driving. We then met her son, Michael Boxleitner (age 14), also in the musical. He did a great job, too.

She told us that she was given a replica of Ma’s shepherdess doll when they started touring. She had brought it to each performance. If you remember from the books, this was a small, breakable china doll that Ma Ingalls had brought from her home. She used it in each of her homes, placing it on the mantle, to signify that their house was now a home. (I’m shocked it survived all of those rough roads, and hard times.) Well, Melissa Gilbert told Paige that she wanted Paige to have her “Ma’s” shepherdess doll. That was very sentimental for us. This was so special because when we went to De Smet, Paige was also given a shepherdess doll. However, her doll broke a few years back, and she was heart-broken. That had held some great memories for her. Well, I remember telling her back then that maybe we might return to De Smet sometime in the future, and try to get another one. Isn’t it wonderful how God provides even more than our needs? I asked if I could give Ms. Gilbert a hug, and we shared a hug.

She also gave her some books about Laura Ingalls Wilder, an Ingalls Homestead candle, some magnets, and a tin cup (was it a “half-pint”?) that she said she picked out for Paige while in De Smet. Then, Melissa gave Paige the letter that the mayor gave to her when they declared that day to be “Little House on the Prairie: The Musical Day” in De Smet, South Dakota. How thoughtful.

After that, she said she had something for the sisters. She had three bracelets that read, “Prairie Strong” (like Lance Armstrong…”Live Strong”) that she personally put on each of my daughter’s wrist. She shared about her charity, which is Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition. Not finding another bracelet, she gave Paige the one off of her own wrist—too sweet. I was touched that she would think of each one of them. Young Faith said she was never going to take her bracelet off! Melissa Gilbert is a mom, after all, but I quickly forget…I kept seeing her as the cute little girl with braids. Now, I see her as a Ma with a big heart, and I am extremely thankful that Paige could see her with her own two eyes…that we all could. Isn’t God good?Here is a link to Paige’s blog on the week’s events.

Puzzling Storage Problem…Solved

If you have looked at my daughter Faith’s blog, it’s probably not a puzzle to you that she really loves solving puzzles! However, lately I have been trying to solve the puzzle of exactly where to store all her (our) beloved, yet  boxy, puzzles! The answer came in a box…well, a big blue Rubbermaid one (one of many in my wonderful collection of plastic boxes).

Our New Puzzle Box

Faith and I took all of our puzzles out of their respective boxes and emptied them into a gallon baggie. We then cut out the cardboard picture from the puzzle box, and either put it inside of the baggie or we put it on the inner side of the box. We labeled the “puzzle baggie” by name, brief description, total pieces, and size. We also cut out a small picture from the side, just in case someone wanted to look at that for help in solving the puzzle, or in identifying exactly which puzzle it was. We were able to fit 29 puzzles in that box…ah…much more room. Hopefully, this will help lower the incidence of missing puzzle pieces, too!

Cool Science Site

Our sweet friends at Co-op introduced us to this cool website. We have been doing “cool labs” (labs which cause the students to say, “Cool!”) at Co-op, and we have seen and tried some of these experiments. Two of my favorites are the hot-air balloon, and the awesome gliders. Tonight, we tried acorn cap whistling…and yes, it really does work (best if performed outside)!


Happy B-day, Dad!

My dad is one of those men who isn’t afraid to try anything, and he isn’t afraid to share new wisdom that he gains along life’s way. I love those qualities about him. Recently, one of my dad’s life experiences  involved trying new things (like a roasted jalapeno…pronounced ha-la-pain-yo), and learning new things. (You are never too old to learn a new trick.) Now, this wasn’t the first time my dad tried a roasted jalapeno. However, he just discovered that about one out of a hundred jalapeno peppers are incredibly hot…one just never knows exactly which one!

So, there Dad sat in one of his favorite Mexican food restaurants (La Familia)…and his tongue was on fire! I’ve been there when they “fire up” people’s fajitas, but this fire was not a fire that water could put out. Three to four glasses of water later, he was still suffering. He recalled beads of sweat pouring down his forehead! A kind waiter proved to be of assistance. He shared a trick that helped when eating something hot. Okay, it was more like first-aid for victims of spicy food burn.

Desperate to try anything, Dad took his advice…with a grain of salt. The man’s instructions were for Dad to dab his thumb, or was it a finger, into some salt. Then, press the salty finger underneath his tongue. Thankfully , it worked, and Dad was quick to recover, and quick to share his new knowledge with us. Dad said, “It sounds silly, but it works!” So, in Dad’s honor, I thought this was something the jalapeno-eating world should know about.

Evidently, my kids also had heard (about a year ago) that if they experience a “brain freeze” when eating extremely cold foods, they should also push their thumb (preferably clean) onto the roof of their mouth. They have found this to help them with their “brain freezes” during ice-cream eating episodes.:) So dad, I hope you enjoy hot jalapenos or cold ice-cream on your birthday today, knowing that you have the remedy on hand (in the form of an extremity), for both extremes! I love you, Dad!

” And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity:…” James 3:6

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Thank you, Mom, for all the many ways you have loved each one of us, and you still continue to pour out your sweet love! You’re the best!

Thanks for your faithful prayers…Chris Rice-\”Mama Prays\”

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the special “other” mothers out there.

A favorite quote:

“A mother’s heart is the child’s classroom.” – Henry Ward Beecher