From The Mud Puddle

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Phone book deliveries started today. This will be our eighth season of delivering phone books. I remember that first day of doing phone books that November day in 1999, seven years ago. I remember looking at my car full of about 150 books, wondering how we were going to get rid of them all. It seemed like such a monumental task. I remember we started with a small apartment complex. Kids ran out to our car as if we were selling ice cream. One older gentleman even gave my seven year old son (at that time) a nickle as he handed him a phone book. I remember turning it all over to God, knowing that if God wanted us to do this, He would bless it. In our minds, we just wanted to make a little extra money to use during that week Jay would have off after Christmas. Simply put, God provided above and beyond our expectations and hopes. While the money was nice, what happened during that time of our deliveries was priceless. The memories the kids and I have built during phone book season are treasured thoughts and conversations between us. Often as we have delievered, we will say, "remember when..." and then finish the story with one of our phone book tales. For instance, one of our memories comes from that first day. It was getting dark. People were turning on their Christmas lights for the night. My son(yes him again LOL) was taking a phone book up to this person's house and tripped over the cord to one of these snowmen decoration things (no not the inflatable kind...the old fashion kind). He was fine, but he ended up unplugging the snowman and all went dark in that part of the yard. It's probably one of those "you had to be there" sort of things...but the story always makes us laugh. That first year also was the Christmas no less, that my kids ended up with chicken pox. (my son first...just two days before Christmas...and my daughter a week later...New Years Day, 2000) We didnt stop, we just adjusted our schedules and kept going as best as we could. Another memory involves doing books in another town. The kids were flipping through the phone book, reading the entries and came across one that said "frog dealers". I dont know why it tickled us all so, but it did. That there are actually people that "deal frogs" amazes me. We have laughed over that one for many years.
I always showed the kids the check, payment for the work we did....letting them hold it and look at it, as it was as much theirs as it was mine. Through this experience they also learned about taxes and what taxes are for-always a homeschooler ::grinz:: Later that year, or the next, the kids wanted to know if those same taxes we were paying out of our check also paid the policemen that stopped us, thinking we were scoping out a neighborhood. (LOL) Fortunately we had a good reason to be there, driving slow....and it was hard for the policeman to believe much else when there was a whole backseat full of phone books!
We learned to work together well as a family and how to overcome through Christ those grumpy moods that sometimes get to all of us from time to time, with humor and grace. We give thanks to our God in the good and bad because of who HE is. (and believe me-sometimes phone books have been bad) We are thankful that today was a good day and that we were safe and got a lot done. We know tomorrow may have troubles, or new lessons learned the hard way, but either way God is always God and still on His throne, worthy to be praised. We remembered today as we remembered that first year and all the years in between that we are really working for God and not man....and somehow-that makes all the difference in the world as we go about our days.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

As the adventurous day started to draw to a close today, my husband looked at me and asked, "Are you going to blog about it"? I said, "Yep"!

My last post mentioned that today was the day that we had to wait until to find out if the Christmas tree lot of choice was going to have any ball/live trees, you know, the ones with all the roots still attached. This afternoon, we set out to the farm that is near here. They didn't have any as they thought they would. They called over to the lot near the mall, and asked them if they took them all over there. Sure enough, they had. So off we went to the tree lot in Burlington. (no not the one with the big Santa...)

When we arrived we noticed that indeed they did have the trees, but they were all so BIG! We asked if they were going to get any smaller ones. They said no. We walked the lot of the cut trees and just didn't see anything that fit what we wanted in the same way as a live ball root tree. We decided to go ahead with one of the ones they had, even though it was huge. (top to the bottom of the roots it comes one foot shy of our ceiling)

We told the people working there and paid them for the tree. The men tried to load in in our trunk the way that we've done it the past several years we've had these kind of Christmas trees. The roots wouldn't fit. The tree was extremely heavy too. So, we drove home to get the van. Jay and Christopher returned to the tree lot to pick up the tree. The men tried to load it, but couldn't get it in. This one guy, Ray, told them to all step aside. He then heaved it into the van with one swift lift. Jay and Christopher returned home with the tree.

They knew it was going to be a chore to get it inside. It always is. They worked and worked, struggling to get it first out of the van...and the struggling more to get it up the four front steps we have. Finally they made it to the top and to the inside!

"Oh no"! We all said..."it wont fit into the wash tub"! Sighz...
At this point, dinner was ready to we ate dinner and thought about the problem. The tree was ours at this point and we had a few choices to make. We could have just taken it down the steps again, planted it , put lights on it and called it a day. We could have likewise put it in a storage container. I just couldn't wrap my mind around that one yet. It just seemed so ugly! So we went off to Wal-Mart to see if we could find at least a nice colored storage container, perhaps even something festive. As we pulled into the parking lot, we talked about checking at Tractor Supply for something first, just in case they had something. We went in and sure enough, they had these feed containers that were made out of this black heavy duty rubber stuff. It was a bit more than we wanted to put into something for the tree-but it would look a lot better than a storage container.

We walked down to Wal-Mart, talking about our options. It seemed that we really didn't have many. Wal-Mart didn't have anything appropriate (or better than what we had at home), so we returned to the Tractor Supply place and took another look at the feed containers. We decided to buy one of those.

We brought it home and Jay and Christopher got the tree set up in it. They worked on getting it even. They put a rock under it to even it up. It is HUGE. I am not kidding, this tree is massive. It is much bigger than any root tree we've ever had. Honestly, to me, it is just too much tree, but at this point what are we going to do?

Quickly we decorated it with lights and the ornaments we had ready. That part didn't take long, perhaps an hour. It looks really nice, albeit very big.

Problem now is....I think I am allergic to this tree. My eyes started feeling head hurts and well, I can tell.(especially since I can also tell in my lungs) I am hoping the smell dies down some...but right now it is strong...and I am suffering. I may be OK once we get going with phone books, but Jay also knows that there is that chance that we might just have to take it outside...put the lights on it out there and be done with it all unfortunately. I have never had problems with the trees like this...but this time...this time I can tell. I really hope we do not have to do this. It would be a shame to have to go ahead and replant it now....but if things stay like this with my eyes, lungs and head...we'll have to.
Pictures will come...later, God willing.

Merry Christmas, achoo achoo achoo!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving, Decked Halls and all that is in between.

Thanksgiving essentially is over, my husband has gone to Wal-Mart for his third shift weekend job and all is quiet about my house at this hour. You may recall this post where I talked about our plans for Thanksgiving. I am happy to report that all went fine. We didn't stay long, but it was very interesting in many ways. Let me just say, people can change by the power of Jesus Christ and that those that we often wonder about at times can be turned around completely when the Holy Spirit is allowed to work freely in their lives.

On another note, I was quiet surprised that my mother in law didn't pin us down trying to make plans for Christmas. Doesn't she know it is only a month away? LOL Time is ticking :::grinz::: Actually I was very glad she didn't as we really have no idea what our weeks will look like. My husband, Jay, doesn't quiet know what days he'll have off and I have no idea where we'll be with phone books at that time. (if anywhere at all) Anyway...just glad for the time with Jay and the kids this long weekend; time to play more scrabble, time for turkey, time to work on decorating for the holidays and most of all, taking time to praise God for who He is and all He has done.

Speaking of Scrabble, it has become a fun pastime/obsession of late. Ever since that week my husband was off at the first of November, we have played it as we have had time. It has become more challenging and fun for all of us as the kids finally have learned how to build better words with more points. They also have learned to use the double/triple letter/word spaces to their advantage. Who would have thought that the word monkey would have so many points if put on a triple word space?? LOL I dont know when it happened exactly, but I am no longer the household champion here. I have had to defend my crown a few times here the past few weeks. Their vocabulary has certainly grown and it is somewhat embarrassing when they use a word that they know that I am clueless about. (because I have to say, what does that mean LOL) We've played several games of scrabble this weekend in between all the Thanksgiving activities. Great family fun, and I am thankful for the challenge my kids are throwing at me now days as their vocabulary expands.

Decorating for Christmas has been interesting this weekend as well. Friday afternoon, we headed to the tree lot that we've bought our live trees from the past three or four years. They did not have the live ball trees yet. (that is what they called them) We drove to their local site that is in Gibsonville and the man at the farm (which is open to the public on the weekends) told me they didn't have any yet either, but to check back Sunday. We really hoped to put our tree up Friday night, but if we wanted a live ball tree (with the roots BTW) then we had to wait until Sunday to check with them again. So, we returned home and started hanging the wreaths outside and putting up the little rustic trees from last year that I described at that time in this post . We put off putting the lights up outside until today. I also knew that I needed to go into my extra closet in my bedroom to pull out some of the Christmas that I keep in there that I dont want to be in the attic. Today we tackled both of those chores and now all that is really left is to put the tree up tomorrow if they have them ready for us. At least they are a farm that is only 2 or 3 miles away. Everything is basically ready to go if they have one there. (and if it is in our price range)

A few pictures from around the house:

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Seen today on a Christmas Tree Lot in Burlington, North Carolina

This next video seen below was taken tonight at our local Kmart. These type inflatable decorations sort of freak us out as especially. We don't like the ones where part of it goes up and down like this one.

Part of the humor in this video is that the garden shop door just kept opening and closing in the background for no reason.
This is the third in my Christmas Video Series. (I am laughing that I am calling this my series)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Below is a video I took with my digital camera when in Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving afternoon. (on our way back from my mother in law's house) I cut all of the chickens on that were in this one box tray and they went wild. It was fun. This is the second in my holiday video series (apparently I have a series that there is more than one video LOL).

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Cute Penguin Site

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Life takes Visa Commercial

I saw this commercial today for Visa Check Cards when at my mother's house. I was amused. It is clever. It makes you think, not to mention it also has snappy film footage and song as well.

....But I like REAL money! I dont mean I am in love with it ...but I like to use it when I pay from time to time. I like to count it out and know exactly how much jingly change I'm going to get back. I like to count it exactly where I will have no change. I like to count it knowing that I've just given the clerk the right amount to get an even $5 or $10 back. You dont get these experiences using plastic money. You just get a boring receipt.

So if I hold you up in line like this guy did, please dont roll your eyes at me. Let me enjoy my few moments of paying with REAL cash rather than plastic money.

I have cut my heat on this evening. This is only the second time this season that I have cut it on. I do not like to cut it on as I usually prefer things a bit cooler than warmer and I do not like the dry heat drying out my hands. (not to mention the allergy implications of running the heat for me) Today, however, I am freezing! We went out early to take my daughter to the orthodontist and then returned where it was cooler, windy and rainy outside. The inside temperature was 52. It was time for some heat. I have learned if I cut it on and gradually increase the temperature, I dont get that musty dusty smell that comes from not having it on in a long while as much.

So I mentioned we had to take my daughter to the orthodontist. She has had braces for about 16 months I believe. The orthodontist keeps saying we are close.(and it's really early for them to be close-but she is) They continue to tweak things so that her teeth are right. Last time she was there, they removed what they call a "power chain". Instantly (within a day or two) her two front teeth started moving apart. We called, they said "Don't worry about it unless it becomes more visible". We continued to watch it. It became more visible. I called this morning and was glad they could see her this week. (next week life spins out of control if all goes well-phone books) They only added a partial power chain. I questioned them about it and the girl that was the one following the orthodontist instructions just kept saying "That's what she said to do". She never would give me a reason why. I just happened to see the orthodontist coming back our way, so I asked her. She did give me an explaination, but it didn't make much sense...but at least she gave an explaination. Hannah goes back to the orthodontist again in three weeks. They said that they would put another one back on then. We'll see how it goes.

Why I mention this is that I really do not think it is healthy or good for people to just blindly follow whatever their health care/dental care worker says to do without knowing WHY! We should not just take what they say at face value, but also get a reasonable and understandable explaination for what is happening with our care. If it makes sense to us, then we become part of the solution and will be more willing to follow the instructions laid out before us. Our family doctor is good to do this, but some other doctors and apparently in this orthodontist office they do not do this well. I almost wonder if it's an arrogance of sorts where it's too much trouble to explain to those that have not had the same schooling they have so they try to hem and haw over explaining things to the "commoners". Like I said, not all are like this...but we do run into them from time to time. I just like to take an active roll in what I am doing ...and I want to have the knowledge to back it all up in the meantime.

Because of the orthodontist appointment and a quick trip to my mom's house, we are a bit off in our day. This is where the flexibility of homeschooling is a blessing. The kids are finishing up with what school they didn't get done. Clothes are washing and dinner is cooking. The rain and wind continues to beat down on our house. The only plans it somewhat has changed is that I had hoped to make it to the grocery store today. For now, that is put off until tomorrow.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I do dog tricks

...thanks Maureen!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

This picture is from the Wal-Mart circular that arrived in our mail a few days ago. It makes me laugh because around our house, we've had several discussions about these blow up Christmas decorations. We started seeing them as we traveled around doing phone books a few years ago. I really had no opinion of them, but my daughter strongly says that she doesn't like them and in fact finds some of them downright scary! (to which I now must agree)

So then this advertisement arrived in our mail and I had to laugh. This girl is either shrieking in fear or delight. You can make your own assessment, but given our experiences here-I say she is scared out of her mind! ;)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was looking for new glasses. I picked them up two weeks ago. At first, they were strange. They were a tiny bit smaller than the ones that I was replacing and well....for those of you out here that might be reading along, new glasses with a new strength of prescription just is weird at first until you get used to it. Anyway-these are a pair of Guess frames I found at my doctor's office. (officially they are GU 1285 Brown 49 if interested) At first it also took a lot of time for them to adjust them to my head and ears where they felt just right. We left and then returned to the office a few minutes later for yet another adjustment. I am happy with the results.

It is sort of funny though. The only "extra" I added onto my glasses was the low level "thin lens". I didn't add anti glare or any other special effects. That first night, as I was walking through the house, the night light caught a reflection in my glasses and projected it in front of me . I started swatting at nothing, thinking there was something "out there" in the air. LOL This has happened a couple of times. Perhaps next time I will add the anti glare...or perhaps not. This could have some small entertainment value for me and my family as I become this strange lady swatting at nothing. :)

My husband was off the week of my birthday. During that week, twice, we had pizza hut pizza. I know to most folks, this isnt a big deal, but to me it was a slice of heaven ...(go ahead and groan at the pun as I laugh) I dont eat much pizza right now in my life as it really isnt on my "list" and doesn't fit into my 40 year old body's diet well (for several reasons)..But twice...I indulged.

Since that time, I have been thinking about it a lot. I want to go there again. I want to order just cheese pizza. Nothing else. Cheese is enough. I shouldn't...but it's on my mind. What more can I do but call them up again soon and tell them I am on my way for my pizza! LOL Oh-yeah..I can do what I'm doing now-I can blog about wanting Pizza Hut Pizza and hope that I dont drool on the keyboard ;)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A few weeks ago I posted some pictures of the mums outside of our house. The time has come to cut them as the frost seems to be effecting them somewhat. I had thought about drying some of them to preserve them a little longer. I never have dried flowers myself before. I looked around the Internet to see what I needed to do and found it would be easy enough it seemed. So, today I cut the mums from their base and tied ribbons around the bottoms of them to hang them upside down. Since we had rain the past two days, I thought it might be good to let them hang outside overnight to finish drying out a little that way before bringing them inside to hang. Here is one of the groupings outside-waiting to be brought inside..if they are not TOO fragrant. We also put a few in in some little bud vases around the house. I dont know how long that will last given some fragrances and flowers do bother me. We'll see.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I rarely read women's magazines aimed at helping a woman keep house. I find most of the articles fluff.

This past week, as my husband was off, we were at a used bookstore in Greensboro. As I usually do when there, I checked over the free shelf. I found a box of magazines there, most of which were decorating magazines. Tucked in between were a couple of Good Housekeeping issues. They were from within the past few months. I took them along with the other magazines as it is always nice to have some of these to take on temp jobs to flip through.

Yesterday as I was in the kitchen, I started reading the cover of one of the Good Housekeeping issues, the November 2006 issue to be exact. On the cover it promoted 59 smartcuts to a clean (enough) house...(yes that was the exact wording)

So, curiously, I flipped the magazine open to the article. Who among us cannot use another tip or two in cleaning house quicker? What I soon discovered was funny. Who exactly thought these ideas up? Who was their mother? I certainly never had a particularly finicky mother where cleaning was concerned, but our house was clean. I personally have a clean (enough) house...but even some of these suggestions are beneath my standards. Let me show you a few examples that stood out to me in the article. My comments are in red.

1. Cut cleaning in half. Wash just the bottom part of a window. Forget the top, which is usually covered by a shade or blind. (uh huh-it really says to do this)

2. Vacuum selectively. Think high traffic: Run your machine in front of chairs, around the sides of the bed, and on the bottom or top two steps of the staircase. (what exactly are they thinking...that the rest of the room doesn't get dirty because you dont walk on it? I know for quick vacuuming this is fine if you need a touch up...but it isnt really vacuuming unless you have moved furniture and really cleaned the WHOLE floor)

3. Try the paper-towel shuffle. Spritz spray cleaner on two paper towels, put them under your bare feet and slide around to spot clean a dirty area on your kitchen floor. ( they not sell mops anymore? Is it beneath you to get down on your hands and knees and REALLY wipe up the floor the regular way with a rag?)

4. Beat dusty blinds in an instant. All you have to do is close them in reverse-and no one will know. (I will know...enough said)

5. Dishes in the sink. Quickly move them to the dishwasher. Or if that's full and you're desperate, rinse them off and stash them in the oven. Just dont forget to take them out or the baked on food will be really hard to clean. (Or perhaps you can just throw them out the back door and get new ones....or just use paper plates and cups instead)

My mother taught me better than this. I've taught my two teenagers better than that. I'm thinking the writer's mother did too and they are just in denial.

These are not suggestions in cleaning house, but just ways to put off the cleaning. What has become of Good Housekeeping that they would publish such an article? I find it interesting that they do not tell you what to do with all those table cluttering magazines (such as GH) in all of these suggestions LOL

Monday, November 06, 2006

It came to my attention a few minutes ago from my friend Joel that comments could only be made on my blog by team members. That was an unintentional setting mistake. All I can figure is that as I set up email notification in my settings on blogger, I must have also scrolled my mouse wheel that also changed the settings on something else. Sorry about that, if you tried to comment in the past week or so. If the problem continues, please email me to let me know so I can check it again. It should be fixed, but you never know!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I am as old as Bounty Paper Towels

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Today is my 40th birthday.
I am very blessed by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
My husband is off this week, we had some cake.
What more could I ask for?