Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spontaneous Thought Explosion - Making ends meet

How are we going to get ourselves out of this mess? I've been watching the news, reading the news, listening to the news, but I'm sure I don't even know half of the story regarding the economy. It's just so horrific to think that intelligent Americans in high ranking positions have made such appallingly greedy and plainly stupid decisions. AIG for instance. What about the automotive industry? And of course there are all of the banks! I'm neither an advocate or an opponent of President Obama, but I don't feel confident about his stimulus and bailout packages. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to be in his shoes.
Where does a trillion dollars come from anyway? I can't wrap my mind around that number, A Trillion!

Anyway, here's how my family is dealing with the recession. First of all, we're a one income family and it's a very modest income at that. My husband and I have both had bouts of credit overload before we were married. We vowed to never abuse our credit again. Right now, besides our relatively small mortgage ,we only have 2 other open lines of credit. We never use our credit unless absolutely necessary and only when we can pay it off. We have learned to be patient and save for things we would like to have. Often that means we just don't spend!

I wish I could say that I'm a savvy coupon shopper, but I'm not. I use them when it's convenient, but my main goal recently has been to cut back on waste. I hate to throw food out. If necessary I will put a list on the refrigerator door reminding my family what needs to be eaten. If I don't regulate that, then food ends up going bad before it is eaten. It can be tricky feeding a family of 6. We go through 3 or 4 gallons of milk in a week! Grocery lists are crucial and I'm getting a little better at meal planning.

I always try to consolidate my errands to save gas. I shop at thrift stores and on craigslist. I've sold boxes of baby clothes on ebay. I've trained my kids in these lessons also. We do buy a lot of our clothes new too, but almost strictly from the sale racks at places like JC Penney, Sears and Target. I love showing off my $10 shoes or a $50 outfit complete with accessories. It's a thrill. Many of my youngest son's clothes come from a great little boutique...above my living room. Yep, my attic. He doesn't mind the hand me downs one bit...yet.

One of our biggest frugalities has been not taking any vacations. We haven't taken a real vacation in over 4 years. Summers have come and gone and we've stayed homebound. This is actually a big downer! I recommend that everyone go on a get-away at least once or twice a year. There are so many ways to do that on a budget. Time and scheduling have been our enemies. There is good news on the horizon for our family though. We will be going on an epic vacation this July. My father-in-law is taking the entire extended family to ...drum roll...Maui! (I'll give more details later) Although travel arrangements are being covered, there will be many expenses that we will have to cover ourselves. And I'm happy to say that not one cent will be placed on a credit card. If it were, we wouldn't be going.

As it is, my family, at this moment, is not feeling the recession's pinch. My husband has a good job. We have cell phones, cable tv, internet access and other comforts, but my fears are mounting. Job loss, a serious illness or natural disaster can take everything away in a blink of an eye. Is God telling us something in this recession? Is this a reminder? I think maybe it is. A reminder to start living within our means! God blesses honest work. God commands our tithes. God blesses generosity. And God also blesses our wise spending.

Now that you've read my post and written your own, place my link (or use the button from the sidebar) into your post annoucing your Spontaneous Thought Explosion, sign Mister Linky with a direct link to your relevant post and then leave a little chirp. Please follow these directions carefully to avoid being removed from Mister Linky.

I Heart Faces - Pout

Yes, that's Glynis again. Hair straghtened and a couple of pig tails. She was obviously not happy with the fashion statement that her mother forced upon her.

Check out the other pouty kid faces at www.iheartfaces.blogspot.com/

Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Monday

Just wanted to wish all my friends a Happy Monday. I look at the newspaper today and see the turmoil all across our country and beyond. Chances are, if you're reading this today, than you are not in flooded Fargo, North Dakota. My prayers go out to that area and all those families who are facing a life altering event. I was just telling my son yesterday that we are so blessed to have not had to live through a horrible natural disaster of any sort. The worst hurricane to hit my area was the weekend that my husband and I married in 2003. My neighbors may have had a tree on their roof, but our house was spared of any damage. Sure, we lost electricity for days, but our blessings have been numerous ever since.
I'm working on my next Spontaneous Thought Explosion. I've chosen to write about the economy this time. Please pick any of my topics and link up with my post this week. Can't wait to hear what you have to say.
Still praying for dear Stellan. His mother, MckMama, normally hosts the Not Me Monday blog carnival. Her son is very sick. This sweet little 5 month old angel has been on a rocky road. Pray for his heart.

Now for your viewing enjoyment. My mother just sent me this 2 minute video from youtube. What?! It's crazy. It's amazing. It's weird. It's worth a look. :P

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Success, Recently

I've been feeling like a failure the last week or two. Chores not getting completed, kids not following directions, marriage not being tended to. So I've decided to pick myself up and think about where I have seen some success. Here goes...

Success is:

Getting the wash into the dryer before mildew sets in.

Getting through half a day without putting any junk food in my mouth.

Getting to bed by 10:30pm on a week night.

Getting a shower by 9am in the morning.

Not throwing away any fruit because it has gone bad.

Not having to toss left-overs that didn't get eaten.

Buying only what was on my list!

Between the needs of 4 kids, finding time to look into my husband's eyes and say "I love you."

Spending any time at all in prayer or reading my Bible.

Realizing that I'm not the only one who's kids aren't perfect.

Knowing (or at least thinking) that your teenager is still a virgin.

Seeing my children smile.

Knowing that God loves me enough to give me a break once in a while.

Thank you.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Photo Story Friday -Fruity

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Add a little sugar. Strawberries
are absolutely divine!

Who cares if you washed them. I'll do anything for a Blueberry! I'm pretty sneaky.

But you wanna know what really floats my boat?
Make that a Banana Boat!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spontaneous Thought Explosion - Growing older and wiser

Turning 40 soon - When does the wisdom kick in?

After reading the numerous comments left for me on my first Spontaneous Thought Explosion post, I’ve decided to delve into the “funness” of getting older and the wisdom I have gained or not. Writing is good therapy!

Yep, I’ll be 40 this summer. I’m not quite sure what it should feel like. I’m noticing all the physical changes. The grey roots that I try to cover. The wrinkles between my eyebrows that are starting to give me a permanent angry look. The weight gain that doesn’t come off as easily as it use to. And especially how much younger the 20 year old women look!
I guess this is all par for the course. But what about this wisdom I hear of? Am I suppose to turn wise automatically when I turn 40? I use to think that!

I remember when I was in my 20’s, a young mother, I joined a group called MOPS (Mother’s of Preschoolers.) MOPS is a Christian based group that meets in churches all around the world. It was, to me, a wonderful support, full of mothers of all ages. I was one of the younger ones and I remember so vividly looking up to the moms who seemed so mature when actually they were just a few years ahead of me. Our group also included an older woman (grandmother type) from the hosting church. She was our mentor. She looked at us with caring and knowing eyes. Ready to teach us all she knew. Whether it was how to bake a pineapple casserole or work through a rough spot in our marriage. I can see back then that I was being taught, but soon it will be my turn to lead the way. She is what I strive to become. A Titus 2 Woman.

Titus 2:3-5
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

So when does this wisdom kick in?! I’m trying to figure it all out. My childhood memories, the hurts I’ve endured, the ramifications from decisions I’ve made throughout my life. I’ve always felt the need to use these past experiences to clarify why I am who I am. Well... all of this, plus the influences in my life, makes up “ME.” It is for those happy or hard times that I realize I have gained immeasurable wisdom and I’m becoming the mature, albeit wacky, woman I‘m suppose to be. I have much more to learn as life comes at me, but maybe as I go, I will also touch the heart of a younger woman and be an encouragement to her life.

Here's a quick list, off the top of my mind, of some women in my life and wisdom that they shared and I pass on to you:

My Mother and my Grandma Rachel both taught me that I am a daughter of the King. That foremost, I am loved by God.

My Grandma Peggy taught me to sing, to whistle while I work, and to take pride in appearance.

My high school buddies, taught me about true friendship and standing up for someone that I care about.

The close friends I've made over the last 10 years or more, have taught me about keeping confidences, being supportive and non-judgemental.

(My daughter, at one year old, is re-teaching me how to slow down. To enjoy the sunshine, flowers and hugs. )

Now it's your turn. Do you have something to add about this topic or are you raring to go on one of the other topics I've mentioned? Once you've written your post, either grab my button on the sidebar or just place a SillyLittleSparrow link into your post reminding your readers that they can find more stories here. Then, sign Mister Linky using either your post title, your name or whatever you'd like and add the direct link to your relevant post. Don't forget to leave your little chirp too. Before long, we'll have everyone exploding with spontaneous thoughts!

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Heart Faces - Green

"The Incredible Sulk"

This is my lame entry to the weekly I Heart Faces photo contest. The theme this week is "green." Something in the picture has to be green and special props go out to St. Patrick's Day themed photos. Since I wasn't feeling very creative today and Glynis wouldn't cooperate, I just made the whole picture green. :)

Wednesday I'm posting a Spontaneous Thought Explosion. So start thinking, write something and come back to link up!

Not Me Monday - The rain

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I did not have the laziest weekend ever just because it was raining.

I did not jump for joy when I got the call that all soccer activities were cancelled due to the rain.

I did not skip Sunday school just because I was lazy and it was raining. Although a few of us from my household did go to service, but only because there was a meeting we couldn't miss directly afterward.

I did not allow my toddler to stay in the same outfit all weekend just because I was being lasy because it was raining.

I myself, did not stay in the same clothes all weekend also, just because I was being lazy because it was raining. I should mention that I did briefly wear some nice pants and shirt to church, but immediatly change when I came home.

I did not make my family eat roast beef all weekend because I had made a huge crockpot full and I didn't want to cook anything else because I was being lazy because it was raining.

I did not ignore laundry piled to the ceiling just because it was a rainy weekend.

I did not just start this Not Me Monday list today at 10:50am. I ususally have this done in advance, but well....it's raining!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A non-writer's writer's block

My brain has been in overtime recently, yet I sit here at my blog and go blank. Throughout my busy days, I come across topics that totally drive my mind to spontaneous explosions of questions and impulses to debate, but then I sit here with my shiny new laptop and don't know where to start. I can't even call this writer's block, because, well, I'm not really "a writer." Just a woman who shares this world with you.

Today, I'll just write down some topic headlines and over the next few weeks I will really zone in on some of them. Your comments will be really helpful here! Give me somewhere to start. You'll see that my list doesn't make for typical "Silly Little Sparrow" posts. No babies, kittens or uneventful ramblings, but don't worry, I won't leave that stuff out, you can be sure!
So in no particular order, here are the things on my mind...

1. The economy - Who doesn't have their opinions? their worries?
2. Stem cell research - I have questions, don't you?
3. Violence around the world - A pastor gunned down, A family wiped out, Another high school shooting
4. Closer to home - How to parent a teenager, How to parent an adolescent, How to parent a toddler
5. When does the wisdom kick in? - I'm turning 40 this summer
6. Saving money and saving the Earth - Recycling, reusing, conserving
7. Christianity - Why are there fewer Christians these days?

We'll start with these 7. If you've already written a post about one of these topics or would like to write along with me, We'll call this the Spontaneous Thought Explosion! Sign the Mister Linky below with a direct link to your relevant post and remember to post a link back to me also. You can use my button on the left side bar. I can't wait to hear what we all have to say!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Not Me Monday - Me on the small screen

I'm starting my Not Me post Friday night, in hopes that by Monday I will have finished it. You know that MckMama girl who started all this fun, right? Shoot over to her site if you're interest in reading more Not Me's. Life is so busy, you know. Especially when you've just gotten a brand new laptop! Yeah Me! I can't stop playing with it! I think I had already written about my trouble trying to buy a refurbished laptop from the Dell Outlet online. Dell is a great company and even though there were troubles with my order, they ended up making my trouble worth it with an upgrade. I paid for a Studio 1536 (a Toyota), but now have a XPS 1530 (a Lexus.) Go Dell!

So now to my Not Me's...

I did not totally let my blogging buddies down and forget to tell you all about the airing of the news story that my family participated in. See my original post to refresh your memory.
It actually aired on The 700 Club this past Thursday. I wonder how many of you are actually familiar with The 700 Club. It's a live t.v. show starring christian Pat Robertson who heads up CBN, Christian Broadcasting Network. Dr. Robertson is a great man, although somewhat controversial at times. He is a respected business man, philanthropist and he lives just up the street from me. I mean, his headquarters and home are nearby.

So, even though you missed seeing me on t.v., you can still see the story on the Internet! I'm not able to post the video directly on my site :(
Here's the link - "Getting Through to Generation Text" I think you'll enjoy the content of the story just as well as seeing my cute little self. It's about technology and our kids.

And here's the rest of my Not Me's (pertaining to the news story)

I did not look and sound like a total dweeb when I said "I love technology" in the interview! You would have thought that I was the silly teenager they were interviewing. Except that I look like I'm 40 years old!

I don't ever want to be on t.v. again. It's such a drag having to get in front of that camera and be all famous for a few minutes.

And seeing my teenage son be so handsome and charming doesn't make me the least bit proud. I'm not one of those bragging mothers, otherwise I would be pointing out how cute my other 2 boys were as they sat at the computer.

And I did not almost cry when at the end of the segment, Arlo, Glynis and her Daddy were shown playing on the computer. It's just about the cutest thing I could have imagined.
So go see....Here's the link again :)

Stay tuned to more of me on video...My new computer has a little webcam and I think it'd be kind of fun to experiment with some video posts. What do you think? Leave me a comment.

UPDATE: I found the embedding code so I've post the news story at the bottom of my page. Scroll on down and take a look.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Close to Home

Look at this.
Here's how the Close to Home creator, John McPherson,
sees us a million years ago.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I Heart Faces - Messy

Here's goes my second post to the I Heart Faces Photography Contest. This week's theme is "Messy" so since it was bath night, I let Glynis eat Spaghettios with her hands. That was easy except that although I scrubbed and scrubbed her face, she still has a little orange glow on her cheeks.
The cool thing about this weeks submission is that the I Heart Faces Site is hosting a beginners contest for us "click and shoot" people. I like to think that I'm not a complete idiot when it comes to taking pictures, but actually I have no idea what apeture means nor do I know what most of the settings on my camera are for. I do have a photo editing program on my computer, but I mostly just use it for red eye and cropping. So tell me what you think of this photo. The winner of this contest will be awarded an online photo editing program. I'd love to win it, but I'd be equally happy just to learn a little something about picture taking.

Playing Tag

Today I got tagged! It's a little like playing the child's game, tag. I don't always play along like a good friend, but sometimes these are great. Especially when you're too busy to think up your own post topics.
So, now that I've got this started, I'm suppose to write 6 weird things about myself and then tag a few of my other friends. And who is this person that tagged me?
It's Nikki, that cool chick over at Life As We Know It. I've already read her weird post and I'll have to admit, she's pretty weird. (sorry Nikki, I mean that in the most respectful way.)
So are we ready? I hope that you'll still be my friend once you find out how weird I am.

1. & 2. Inadvertently, I make a couple of very strange sounds with my mouth. First of all, my jaw clicks sometimes. It's kind of annoying when I'm kissing my husband. It doesn't seem to bother him. I guess it's louder in my head and it always makes me giggle. Also, when I eat something especially sweet or juicy, my mouth squeaks. It's almost like a whistling sound. Maybe someday I'll make a video for you to hear for yourselves. Quite strange. Again, it's probably louder in my head than it is to the people around me. I know...weird!

3. When I do slightly strenuous household chores, I make little grunting sounds. My squeaking doesn't seem to bother anyone, but my husband always teases me when I'm, say... cleaning the bath tub, or pulling weeds in the garden. I don't even realize I'm doing it.

4. I like to rearrange my furniture. It really gives me rush. When I'm feeling down, it lifts my spirits.

5. I use to be able to raise one eyebrow and give my children "the look." When I had surgery to remove skin cancer from my forehead 2 years ago, that ability was taken away. Now, only the skin above my eyebrow moves. It's a little weird.

6. I really want to get my nose pierced, but I probably won't do it because people will think I'm weird.

Here's who I've decided to tag. Let's see who'll play along.

Gill @ Me Him & Them

Ali @ Alidotes

Joan @ More God = less me

Cathy @ The Semi-Happy Homemaker

Jen @ Cheaper Than Therapy

Ashley @ Life in our Three Ring Circus

Monday, March 2, 2009

Not Me Monday - Boot to the head and reboot

It's another Monday. Here's my Not Me list plus the weekly link to MckMama's Site where the Not Me fun began.

1. I did not have to perform surgery on my new laptop. Although I'm somewhat computer savvy, I know absolutely nothing about the insides of a computer. I bought a refurbished Dell and even though I'd still recommend the Dell Outlet to everyone, I had several problems with this particular order. The first computer had some flaws so they sent me another. The second one was worse than the first! My computer whiz brother talked me through the surgery that we thought might solve my problems, (but did not.) Fortunately for me, because I was inconvenienced, Dell is sending me an upgraded system. Yipee!

2. I did not sustain yet another injury! Why is everyone after my face?!Remember, just a few weeks ago, my middle son tried to break my nose and gave me a fat lip. This week, my cat pounced on my face (my nose, to be more specific) while I was sleeping. Now my husband calls me Scarface.

4. I did not lie in bed lazily and ignore that same da*n cat yesterday morning while he scratched and meowed for me to open the door to my bedroom. I knew that he had been closed in my room all night and would probably need to get to his litter box. I heard him, but just didn't want to get out from under my warm cozy blanket. So it's no surprise that he left me a little doody on my closet floor.

8. I am not writing anymore Not Me's today because quite frankly, I think all these knocks to the head have given me a bit of memory loss and mental impairment. At least that's the excuse I'm going to use the rest of this week when I do something flaky.

Hope you all have a great Monday and I hope you smile today.