Monday, April 30, 2007

Fun and Easy Way To Stay Caught Up On All Your Friends Blogs

Ok everyone, here's what I have found to be the easiest (not to mention really super cool) way to keep up with all my friend's latest blog entries. I just discovered how to do this and I couldn't wait to share it with all of you!

First of all, I use Google Reader. This constantly checks your favorite news sites and blogs for new content, and it's FREE! (I love that word).

All you have to do with Google Reader is sign up, then click on 'Add Subscription'. If it's a Blogger/Blogspot blog you're wanting to add then all you have to do is enter the blog address and click 'Add'. If it's a HSB blog you're adding, then see if they have 'My Blog's RSS' on their blog somewhere. If so, click on it, copy the address that comes up in the address bar, and paste it in at Google Reader and click 'Add'. It's as simple as that! You can even seperate the blogs you enter into different 'folders', like 'Five in a Row Friends' or 'Homestead Blogs' or just whatever you want! That makes it a lot easier to keep up with whose blogs you're reading.

Now, here's the really great thing!

I have always had FoxNews as my homepage but sometimes wanted to change it to different sites but never would because that's the only way I know what's going on in the world. But I just found a way to have everything I need in one place and have THAT as my homepage!

Here's how you do it...

Set up a Google account (which if you use Google Reader you should already have a Google account). Then go here... . This is where you can pick and choose from hundreds of things you want at your fingertips all in one place and set that as your Home Page.

For example, when I come to my computer and go to the internet my Home Page pops up and has all of the following in one spot: My Weather (for our town), the date and time, a calander that I can personalize and add events to, (their top 3 story headlines that I can click on and it takes me right to that page at, My Bookmarks so I can easily go to the places I visit the most, a To-Do List that I add to and check off as I get things done, along with a few other things that I haven't used yet like a Sticky Note pad and Google Notebook where I can keep notes I need (instead of having little pieces of paper laying all over my desk). There are literally hundreds of things you can pick and choose from to add, even games like Pac-Man! I'm seriously considering adding that, but afraid it will be too much of a temptation each time I sit down here.

You can even 'Choose a Theme' for the overall look of your Google Homepage. I chose 'Beach' and at the very top of my page is a beach scene all across the screen and the position of the sun in the picture changes to coordinate with the time of day it is here! How cool is that?!

But the COOLEST thing I have on there is a box with my Google Reader! It lists all the newest updates to those blogs I have added subscriptions to so I don't have to go searching each blog! And, it continually stays updated for you!

I'm telling you, you really should check this out. It has made my life SO much easier. It's simple and quick and I can still stay caught up on all my favorite blogs without taking up very much time and without clicking to tons of different web sites!

This is BY FAR the absolute COOLEST thing I have ever found on the internet! Now that's saying a lot.

(And no, I don't make any money from telling y'all about this . I just love it that much!)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Rules For Our Home

Have you ever heard of the Duggar family? What a family! They seem to be wonderfully sweet people. Below are rules their family goes by, and I'm thinking they're worthy of incorporating into our own home!


Always use soft words, even when you don't feel well.

Always display kind actions, even if you have been mistreated.

Show joyful attitudes, even when no one else is looking.

Have sincere motives with no thought of self-gain.

Always give a good report of others.

Never talebear unless physical harm will come to someone. (Use Matthew 18)

Never raise a hand to hit.

Never raise a foot to kick.

Never raise an object to throw.

Never raise a voice to yell.

Never raise an eye to scowl.

Use one toy/activity at a time.

Never let the sun go down on your wrath. (Don't go to bed angry or guilty)

J. O. Y. -- Make serving your family a priority -- put Jesus first, others second, yourself last.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Yummy New Lunch

As you may or may not know, I am on a quest to lose my extra weight as well as find healthy AND yummy meals and snacks for my family so we can all be healthier.

But we're a pretty picky bunch. If it doesn't taste good, it doesn't matter how healthy it is, we're not going to eat it! And if it's not something I can find at my local Wal-Mart or Kroger, or if it costs a fortune, it won't be finding it's way into our home.

So in my quest, any time I find a new recipe or idea that is both healthier AND tastes good, I'll share it here with you so you can glean from my searching and testing. Likewise, if you have any recipes that fit this bill, I would be so thankful if you would share them with me!

My first new find came from a desire to get some more vegetables in since I'm NOT a veggie lover, or even veggie LIKER. I do enjoy the occasional salad, but only if I can enjoy Ranch dressing with it. And no, I do NOT like reduced fat or fat-free ranch. Yuck!

I'm also trying to get more fiber in my daily diet, since I know that's really good for us. So, this is what I came up with, and much to my surprise, it's really, really good! I've had it for the past two days:

-The original carbdown Light Flatout Wraps (from Wal-Mart in the deli section; only 90 calories but has 9 grams of fiber per flatbread!)


-4-5 strips/pieces of Hormel Natural Choice 100% Natural (No preservatives) Grilled Chicken Strips (also from Wal-Mart)

-1 TBSP. good-ole regular creamy Ranch dressing!

Just lay down the lettuce and grilled chicken pieces on the flat wrap sideways (the shortest way on the wrap, not long-ways), and top with the Ranch dressing. Fold up one long side about an inch or two to keep the ingredients from falling out and then fold over one side, then the other. Enjoy!

This yummy lunch idea will provide you with 9 grams of fiber (you should be getting between 25-35 per day), 209 calories, and 9 grams of fat. For those of you who may be counting Points with Weight Watchers, this comes out to 4 Points.

Receive Updates on Maggi's Condition

The family is setting up a website for Maggi here:

You'll have to register (free and takes a few minutes) and then go to Care Page named : maggipiv

This site will even e-mail you when an update is posted.

(If you aren't familiar with Maggi's story, please see this entry.)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Please Say A Prayer For My Baby Girl

It seems like poison ivy just JUMPS out whenever Baby Girl is anywhere within 20 feet of it. All our other kids have been all the same places she has and none of them have ever had poison ivy, but Baby Girl gets it SO easily.

Here is her latest battle. This is, by FAR, the worst she's ever had it and it just doesn't seem to be going away. I took her to the doctor a few days ago and she is taking Prednisone for 10 days as well as an antibiotic (Cephalexin 500MG four times a day!) because the nurse practioner thought it might be setting up a secondary infection.

After 3 days of medicine and two oatmeal baths only her face looks better. She's just miserable! If you could say a little prayer for her I know she would be so thankful.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Stop The Snoring Tonight!

If you or your hubby (or anybody you know!) suffer from snoring take
my advice and RUN, don't walk, to your nearest Wal-Mart and buy some Breathe Right Snore Relief Throat Rinse! It works immediately and all you have to do is gargle 2 tsp. of the minty-tasting rinse before bed.

I'm not making any money from telling you this, and not many things get my Stamp-of-Approval, but when something does exactly what it's supposed to do and it's something I truly and honestly believe in and plan to continue to buy, I'm going to be sure and tell everyone I can about it.

This stuff is wonderful and we will be keeping it in our cabinet for years to come. If you pick some up, be sure to let me know what you think.

Please Pray for Maggie!


Please pray for Maggie, a fellow homeschool mom and a dear FIAR (Five In A Row) sister from Kansas.

She is an amazing lady. While pregnant with her 2nd son 10 years ago she was diagnosed with cancer. So she was home with a 1 year-old son, a newborn preemie baby and going through chemo. The doctor's said she'd never have any more children, but she's had 2 boys since. Praise God! Her boys are now 11, 9, 4, and 1.

Maggi was fine last Thursday (April 12) but woke up feeling like she had the flu Friday and stayed in bed all day. Her husband wound up taking her to the ER early Saturday morning.

Maggi has no spleen (removed due to the cancer) and it seems that is causing her body to not be able to fight whatever this might be. When her husband got her to the hospital she had respiratory failure, liver failure... he said every kind of failure you could think of.

The doctors originally thought she had some form of meningitis. She had all the indications, including swelling of the brain, but all the cultures have come back negative for that. She is currently in an induced coma and they are hoping no brain damage has occured. The last I heard, they will slowly be bringing her out of this so she should be more aware of what's going on.

There has also been limited function of her liver and kidneys. She has been on dialysis some to help with her kidneys.

Maggi is purple all over - like bruising - they are sure that this will all go away, but it will take a month or more and will possibly blister up as it does. Pray that this will go with as little damage as possible! Her skin in general would be good to pray for. She has some dark spots on the bottom of her feet that they say are gangreneous areas - as long as it doesn't spread there will be no amputation, just tissue removal - PRAY it doesn't spread!!!

As of the latest update, the newest prayer request is for Maggi's hands, fingers, legs, feet and toes. Her circulation is really poor and real damage could be done to these extremeties.

I will add any updates as I hear them.

UPDATE: Tuesday, April 24 (1:00 pm)

The doctor wants to make clear how deep in the woods Maggi still is. He put it this way - "Can she survive? Yes. Will she survive? We don't know."

A major concern right now is Maggi's legs. She has no circulation or pulse in them - the tissue is dying. It's not a sure thing that she will lose them, but with every hour that passes like this, it becomes more likely.

Maggi's mom is praying for her to be returned to us WHOLE! But, she also said that if Mag loses her legs, she'll handle it! She's an OT and will know just what to do! Her mom is very strong and full of faith!

Pray for those legs! And for Maggi's life!

UPDATE: Tuesday, April 24 (11:00 pm)

There's not much change. They are giving Maggi extra platelets with her dialysis. They are hoping that this will help with the circulation issues. I don't understand the ins and outs of it, but pray that this will work!

She's a little less "under" - she has responded to requests like "bite your tube if you hear me" and "blink if you hear me" - which seems like a positive, but now John worries that she'll be anxious now that she's more aware.

Finally, Mitch, Maggi's oldest boy, has told his dad that he's scared. This is huge because Mitch isn't what you'd call an "open sharer", if you know what I mean! He's got to be really scared to share that - and understandably so. Please pray for these boys! Tomorrow they'll be at their once a week homeschool support school - normalcy is good, but I'm sure they'll get lots of questions, etc. Lift them up when you think of them tomorrow.

Friday, April 20, 2007


I consider myself a stay-at-home mom........ with a job.

I quit working a couple months before our oldest (who just turned 11) was born and haven't had a job outside the home since. And let me just say I wouldn't have it any other way. I LOVE being a stay-home mom!

But a couple months ago an opportunity just dropped out of the clear blue sky when I wasn't even looking and now 3-4 days a week (3 days one week, 4 the next) I am an official 'baby photographer' at our local hospital. I take those irresistable newborn pictures no new mother can refuse! Well, most new moms anyway.

But I still consider myself a stay-home mom because HOW can you think of what I do as a JOB? I can't believe I even get PAID to do this! And for the amount of time I actually spend doing it, it's pretty decent pay. We're a small town and the hospital is only a 5-minute drive from our house. Some days there will only be one or two newborns so I'm only there about an hour. Other days there's more, some days there's none. The ONLY thing that's hard about what I do is actually putting the babies down when I'm done instead of holding and cuddling them.

Thankfully, I've gotten much faster than when I first started. One day early on I had 5 babies to photograph, along with meeting with the moms and collecting orders, and I was there for 6 hours! I knew that couldn't happen again. MY babies are more important than something that's going to take me away from them for that long. Now I can average about 2 babies per hour. That includes both visits I have to make with the moms and taking the pictures. Not too bad. I can go faster if the babies are a bit hungry because they're easy to wake up. But oh boy! Those little ones with full bellies are like trying to wake the dead. I've actually had a few that I've tried for 30 minutes or more trying to wake up and had to wind up just taking them while they were asleep.

Another 'problem' I have is that I'm a bit of a perfectionist. But in this case I think it's a good thing. I know that these pictures can never be re-done and they are the most precious ones for mom and dad so I want to make sure that they are the best they can be. If one turns out with puckery lips or even the slightest frown I delete it until I get three good ones to present to mom. Time-wise this sometimes turns into a bit of a longer day for me. But, when they're good I tend to sell more so it's worth it!

Tomorrow, I'll have SEVEN babies to photograph! For around here, that's a lot. More than I've ever had before. I'm praying for moms who have their baby's outfits and are ready for me, semi-hungry babies, and beautiful pictures so all the moms just can't resist ordering lots and lots of pictures!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

N.C. Teenager Kills Himself After Threatening Fellow High School Students at Gunpoint

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — A teenager shot and killed himself Wednesday shortly after pointing a handgun at two other students in a high school parking lot, police said.

Schools in Huntersville were locked down after the 16-year-old, whose name wasn't released, made threatening gestures in a parking lot at North Mecklenburg High School, police said.

The student, who attended the school, turned the gun on himself when police confronted him at a gas station, said Capt. Michael Kee of the Huntersville Police Department. He later died, said Tahira Stalbert, a spokeswoman for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Police alerted four schools after the student left the high school's campus, Kee said.

"We put every school in the area on immediate lockdown in light of everything that's gone on in the world lately," Kee said, referring to the fatal shootings of 33 people at Virginia Tech. "We erred on the side of caution."

The student, who was shot in the head, was taken to Carolinas Medical Center, Kee said.

School officials planned to have counselors available to North Mecklenburg students Thursday, Stalbert said. The school also will have a larger security presence, she said.

Families in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district were to receive automated phone messages about the situation, Stalbert said.

Story courtesty of

What Was Your 'Atta Girl' For Today?

"Atta girl!"

That's what my dear step-dad says as he pats you on the back of your shoulder when you've done something good. He's a very special person in my life, having helped raise me since I was 3 or 4 years old. I don't remember him ever NOT being in my life. He's 24 years older than my mom and they were married for 14 years, together for 19 total. Sadly, they have now been divorced for almost 8. But that's a story for another time, or maybe not.

Anyway, I am trying to make small, daily choices to help me lose the extra weight I've put on since having our last little one over 5 years ago. And yesterday I was tempted with McDonald's when I took two of my kidlets there after their doctor's appointment where one got a shot and the other had a 103.1 tempuature and was diagnosed with strep. Now, I know not everyone likes McDonald's, but this is one momma who does, and handling those cheeseburgers (to take off the pickles for the kids), seeing them, and smelling them was a huge temptation for me. There I stood at the counter with the girl asking me, "Is that all?" It would have been SO easy to say, "You know, let's add a #5 meal onto that order". Or maybe just an ice cream cone. They're not so bad for me. Or maybe a 7-Up.

But it's these 'little' daily choices that have gotten me to where I'm at today, a tight size 16 and little-to-no ability to play and keep up with my children. So it's time to make DIFFERENT daily choices.

You don't know what a major 'Atta Girl' it was for me to pass up McDonald's food. It wasn't the easiest thing to do, but you know what? I was so proud of myself afterwards that next time it shouldn't be as hard!

Being accountable to others is one of the best things we can do when we're trying to accomplish a goal like losing weight. Knowing that I would be able to come here and tell about my 'Atta Girl' was exciting to me! So now I am going to try to have a daily 'Atta Girl' to tell about and I would love it if others would join me! If we all support and encourage each other I know we can do this!

So what about you? Did you have an 'Atta Girl' moment today? Even if it didn't pertain to making healthier choices, I'd still love to hear about it.

What About Socialization? (from another angle)

Two women meet at a playground, where their children are swinging and
playing ball. The women are sitting on a bench watching.

Eventually, they begin to talk.

W1: Hi. My name is Maggie. My kids are the three in red shirts -- helps me keep track of them.

W2: (Smiles) I'm Terri. Mine are in the pink and yellow shirts. Do you come here a lot?

W1: Usually two or three times a week, after we go to the library.

W2: Wow. Where do you find the time?

W1: We home school, so we do it during the day most of the time.

W2: Some of my neighbours home school, but I send my kids to public school.

W1: How do you do it?

W2: It's not easy. I go to all the PTO meetings and work with the kids every day after school and stay real involved.

W1: But what about socialization? Aren't you worried about them being cooped up all day with kids their own ages, never getting the opportunity for
natural relationships?

W2: Well, yes. But I work hard to balance that. They have some friends who're home schooled, and we visit their grandparents almost every month.

W1: Sounds like you're a very dedicated mom. But don't you worry about all the opportunities they're missing out on? I mean they're so isolated from
real life -- how will they know what the world is like -- what people do to
make a living -- how to get along with all different kinds of people?

W2: Oh, we discussed that at PTO, and we started a fund to bring real people into the classrooms. Last month, we had a policeman and a doctor come in to talk to every class. And next month, we're having a woman from Japan and a
man from Kenya come to speak.

: Oh, we met a man from Japan in the grocery store the other week, and he
got to talking about his childhood in Tokyo. My kids were absolutely fascinated. We invited him to dinner and got to meet his wife and their three children.

W2: That's nice. Hmm. Maybe we should plan some Japanese food for the lunchroom on Multicultural Day.

W1: Maybe your Japanese guest could eat with the children.

W2: Oh, no. She's on a very tight schedule. She has two other schools to visit that day. It's a system-wide thing we're doing.

W1: Oh, I'm sorry. Well, maybe you'll meet someone interesting in the grocery store sometime and you'll end up having them over for dinner.

W2: I don't think so. I never talk to people in the store -- certainly not people who might not even speak my language. What if that Japanese man
hadn't spoken English?

W1: To tell you the truth, I never had time to think about it. Before I even saw him, my six-year-old had asked him what he was going to do with all the oranges he was buying.

W2: Your child talks to strangers?

W1: I was right there with him. He knows that as long as he's with me, he can talk to anyone he wishes.

W2: But you're developing dangerous habits in him. My children never talk to strangers.

W1: Not even when they're with you?

: They're never with me, except at home after school. So you see why it's
so important for them to understand that talking to strangers is a big no-no.

W1: Yes, I do. But if they were with you, they could get to meet interesting people and still be safe. They'd get a taste of the real world, in real
settings. They'd also get a real feel for how to tell when a situation is
dangerous or suspicious.

W2: They'll get that in the third and fifth grades in their health courses.

: Well, I can tell you're a very caring mom. Let me give you my number--if
you ever want to talk, give me call. It was good to meet you.

--Author unknown

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Oh, Give Me A Break

I had to take two of my children to the doctor today, one for a shot and one has strep.

Our regular doctor was out so they were seen by his nurse practitioner. She's nice enough I guess, but ever since the first time one of us had to see her there was just something that didn't exactly mesh with me. I'm sure it's just a difference in personalities, hers being a bit more bold than mine, but none of my kids have seemed to feel very comfortable with her either.

So she comes in and after looking over our 5-year-old daughter's records, this is how the conversation went:

(NP) "Will she be going to school?"

(Me) "No, we homeschool." (Probably didn't need to tell her that, but I never think anything about it. I really don't care what other people think of our decision. I don't mean that in a snotty, holier-than-thou way, I'm just being honest. What other people think about our decision to homeschool really doesn't concern me at all. The only one we have to answer to is the Lord, and what HE thinks is the only thing that matters).

(NP) "Oh, ok. Then she won't need any kind of physical or anything like that."

(Me) "No."

(NP) (turning her attention to dd) "Hey sweetie, can you sing your ABC's for me?"

(DD) Silence, with her head cocked and a shy look on her face.

(NP) "No? Ok, how about your numbers. Can you count to ten for me?"

(DD) Silence.

(Me, in dd's ear) "I'll let you have TWO ice creams if you'll just do it." (Daddy had already promised her one if she was a big, brave girl at the dr's).

(DD) Silence.

(Me) "I think she's a little worried about that shot coming up."

(NP) "Can you tell me what color mommy's pants are?"

(DD) "Blue."

(NP) "What about Pooh? What color is Pooh?"

(DD) "White. Oh, I mean yellow (giggle)."

(NP) "How about Pooh's jacket. What color is it?"

(DD) "Red."

(NP) "Can you come here and draw a man for me?"

(DD) Shrugs her shoulders and looks at me as if to say, 'What's up with this chick?' She takes the paper and draws a very good person, if I must say so myself!

(Me, after thinking, 'Enough already! Get on with it.') "She can tell you most of the states and capitals too if you'd like her to."

(NP) "Really?!"

(Me) "Yep!" (while thinking, "Oh come on, ask her, ask her!")

She didn't ask.

Oh well. Whatever. Didn't bother me in the least, especially when the student nurse-in-training that had come in with her turned to me and asked, "So with homeschooling, how do you do it? We have a 9-year-old boy who we'd like to homeschool because we're worried about the kind of influence he's around every day."

(Me) "Well, as long as you can handle him being drilled every time he comes to the doctor you should be fine!"

No, I didn't really say that.

Great Science Experiement Resource

We have been receiving these weekly science experiements for several years now and I just wanted to pass this wonderful resource on to all of you in case you haven't had the priviledge of hearing about it...

Robert Krampf's Experiment of the Week

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bringing Over Archived Posts

Over the next... however long it takes... I'm going to be transferring posts from my old blog over to this one, so if you see some you've read before, well... read 'em again! LOL! I'm sure there's a nugget or two in there somewhere.

Google Reader

One of the reasons I left my old blog and came here to Blogger is the frustration over not being able to keep up with my 'Friends' blogs anymore. If I don't have a one-button, easy way to do this, I simply can't keep up. I don't have the time to visit individual blogs, and I really was missing keeping up with all of my on-line friends.

So, a very sweet lady introduced me to Google Reader and so far I like it. It definitely makes it easy to keep up with all the different blogs I have bookmarked, even though I don't like it nearly as much as when I could just click on 'Friends' at my old blog. But for now, it's better than nothing.

I know several others have been frustrated over losing the 'Friends' option as well, so I just wanted to pass this on. If anyone knows of any other easy options for keeping up on other blogs, please let me know so I can check it out!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Getting Back To Business

One thing you should know about me is that I am the biggest homebody you may ever meet. I just like being home. Maybe it's because it's simply easier to stay home. With four children, 'running out' is not always an easy task. By the time everyone gets dressed, finds shoes and socks, uses the bathroom, pulls their hair back, oh wait... it's almost lunch time, we'd better eat first. Well, you get the point.

Anyway, ever since the first part of January our family has been everywhere BUT home. Our oldest daughter tried out for and got a part in her first community play, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. 80-some children and teens auditioned and only 30-some received parts, so we were all very proud of her... even if she was in the Witch's army! LOL!

Practices for the play were Monday-Thursday, 3:30-5:30 pm (or whenever they finished) from January until the end of March. They then performed the play, which lasted a bit over an hour, 10 times in less than a week!

While all these practices were going on, all four of our children were also involved in Upward Basketball and Cheerleading, which meant three practices and two games each week. Sometimes play practice and Upward practice overlapped each other. Needles to say, we had many late, quick-fix suppers those months.

Add in a few sicknesses here and there, two birthdays with parties and sleepovers the first two Fridays of April, out-of-town family who is looking to move here (so of course we had to show off all the 'cool' places our little town has), and well, we just haven't been very consistent with our school work lately. Learning has continued, because LIFE has continued. But Mr. Principal (a.k.a. Daddy) likes to see progress being made in certain areas.

Soooo... today it was back to the books. And you know what? It actually felt good. While we are an 'electic' kind of family when it comes to learning, using living books, games, movies, play, nature, life experiences, etc. for our 'real' learning, I guess I too like to see progress being made in things such as math and spelling.

With only one more month until the end of this school year, I'm thinking we'll just keep sailing right on through the summer months, making sure to take plenty of time for hikes, swimming, late-night star gazing, picnics, reading under the trees, and whatever else may strike our fancy... while still making some 'progress' in those other areas.

Ok, I Think I'm Here To Stay Now

After too many hours spent trying and re-trying different things, I think I have a basic understanding of how to tweak this new blog of mine, so I believe I may just stick around.

As my blogs always are, this is still a work in progress. But I am satisfied enough now that I believe I'll start blogging regularly again.

Thank you to everyone that helped me and helped me figure out what I'm doing!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Moving To Blogger!

Hello! My name is Christy and I am brand-spanking new here at Blogger. However, I'm not at all new to blogging. I've been at another blog-hoster since I first started blogging a couple of years ago, but after waiting patiently for months for some of their kinks to be worked out, I finally got tired of waiting and decided to pack my bags and move somewhere a bit user-friendly.

So, here I am! I'm looking very forward to getting to know my way around my new home and meeting my new neighbors!

Hopefully I'll be able to move my archives from my other blog here soon!