Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I never thought I would be a texter. My mom always gave me a hard time about not having that on my phone, "Come on Sonja, sometimes it is just easier." How could typing out a message be easier than just picking up the phone and calling someone? No need to type back and forth, quicker answers to your questions, and how impersonal is a typed message? That ranks right up there with the e-card for your grandma's birthday, in my book.
I have to say, I have converted.... No, I am still not sending e-cards, and I don't like to text to just chat, unless my girlfriend can't get reception from where she is in Missouri, but there is a time and place for something as handy as a quick note. My favorite use for it now, grocery lists. I hate calling my husband at work, his job is stressful enough without him getting a call for diapers or butter. My solution, a text! If he is not busy, he can call me back, but if he is, he knows to just ignore the buzzing phone in his pocket. It also eliminates the forgotten item because he has a written list of what I need. If I am texting my grocery list now, I wonder what my kids will do when they are married.... Texting, works for me!

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's Spring!

It's' Spring! Sort of... Outside it looks dreary and gray, and inside it looks like a tornado hit. As the season makes us think of new things and cleaning, I thought that a new book on cleaning would be appropriate, and helpful. Laura is hosting a Springtime Giveaway Carnival at her site. Please visit there and read some of the wonderful blogs that people have posted through her site. As for my Giveaway, it is meant to help and inspire those of us who need to dig ourselves out after a long winter. The snow is gone, but the drifts in my house still remain. I can hardly walk through my office, and the tables in my craft room are groaning under the weight. It is time to get out the proverbial "shovel" and dig myself out of the mess I have created while stuck in the house for the winter. All too soon I will spend most of my time outside in my garden and the last thing I want to do is be stuck inside finishing projects and attempting to clean around the mess.

Normally I would link you to Flylady and tell you this was the best system for me. I would tell you about how I have been a Flybaby for three years now and that my housekeeping skills have drastically improved. This is all true, but as you can see, I have fallen back into some old habits and I need to retrain myself to the system. As you know, sometimes you need a bit of inspiration to get yourself going.... so while I was in our local bookstore browsing for summer activities for my kids, I came across this book.

Ya, I know, this would have been no where near the homeschool isle, but I was enjoying being out with only one of my four and took advantage of being able to even visit a bookstore...
Back to the book. Organize Now! is a wonderful guide to have that somewhat follows the Flylady system of breaking your house down into areas and tackling things at a manageable pace. Jennifer Ford Berry takes an entire year of cleaning and organizing on by breaking it down into a week by week system. She also includes checklists at the end of each week that you can incorporate into your calender (because as parents, we tend to live by the calender, I know I do, color coded and everything). She helps you eliminate the clutter you are aware of and some that may have snuck up on you, like the medicine cabinet. I am planning to go out and purchase a copy for myself after the giveaway, I have enjoyed flipping through this one so much.

So, how to win? Easy. Just post a comment on my site about anything at all, making sure I can link back to you. If you are posting as anonymous, be sure to include your email address. That's it. Simple... Oh, and be sure to visit Laura and her site to see other fabtabulous things from other extraordinary women as well!

The winner of my Spring Giveaway (thanks to is Diva! at Divagirls Chatter!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

101 things to do in 1001 days

Please visit Day Zero Project for help in planning your own list of goals. It took me a while to think of things that I really wanted to accomplish in this amount of time, and what is feasible too. At the end of the challenge (and it lands on Friday the 13th!) I plan to assess what I have left and make a new list. Goals! It works for me!
  1. Organize my closet
  2. Bake an angel food cake from scratch
  3. Teach someone to garden (In progress)
  4. Take 3 Spanish classes (0/3)
  5. Go back to Mexico 2/11/11
  6. Read the Old Testament
  7. Lose that last 8 pounds Done! 10/23/09 Undone 10/26/10
  8. Go out on a date with hubby once a month (23/33)
  9. Try a climbing wall with #1
  10. Eliminate all debt but the last school loan (3/6)
  11. Read 15 of these (3/15)
  12. Cook a crown rib roast
  13. Grow cucumbers Done 9/15/09
  14. Make it through one summer of homeschooling the kids
  15. Go to Ireland
  16. Memorize the beatitudes
  17. Cut my body fat down to 19% 11/09-25.9%
  18. Learn the rules of football, no more crazy questions during the game
  19. Go on a spa day with #2
  20. Increase our savings to 3 times what it is (0/3)
  21. Hang the kid's' pictures up, again 3/12/10
  22. Make pretty and edible bagel Done- 05/17/09
  23. Grow popcorn ( 10/18/09)
  24. Read 15 of the classics with my oldest son (1/15)-Tom Sawyer
  25. Visit my grandmas (2/6)
  26. Attend mass as a family at least three time a month (41/99)
  27. Visit with a personal trainer Done 9-27-09
  28. Cook good meals to lower hubby's cholesterol 10 points, beans! Done (once a week)
  29. Go swimming alone with #3
  30. Learn to do our taxes
  31. Paint and decorate my laundry room
  32. Learn to make pie crust Done 11-15-09
  33. Double the size of my garden and donate 10% of what comes out to food pantry
  34. Read 30 new books recomended by #1 (12/30)
  35. Go on a girl's weekend away Done 8-10-09
  36. Serve some way at church Done 9-29-09 (am a cantor)
  37. Train to be a spin teacher
  38. Celebrate our 15 year anniversary somewhere special 07/15/10
  39. Take a gym class with #4
  40. Make out my will
  41. Build a patio
  42. Learn to make pasta
  43. Plant 4 new trees in my yard (3/4)
  44. Learn needle punch
  45. Travel to Washington DC
  46. Find a new way to be a better help meet for my husband
  47. Renew my CPR certification Done 05/13/09
  48. Surprise hubby by detailing his truck after a hunting trip, myself
  49. Take hunter safety with #1
  50. Take a financial planning course
  51. Paint #2's room
  52. Learn to make a perfect pizza crust Done 12/28/09
  53. Learn to compost
  54. Shoot a pistol, and get within 1" of the center 10 times (0/10)
  55. Go camping with everyone.
  56. Pray for the unborn children every morning for one month (16/31)
  57. Walk the "Americahood" (our neighborhood mile) 10 times a month (4/330)
  58. Pray for hubby every morning as he leaves for work
  59. Go to a Mastokids event with #2
  60. Balance my checkbook every day for a month (0/31)
  61. Create a family room downstairs
  62. Make homemade marshmallows
  63. Grow a totally organic garden
  64. Go hunting with my husband
  65. Take #1 and #2 to Disney in Florida
  66. Learn the entire rosary (In progress 11-10-09)
  67. Enroll in one yoga session
  68. Encourage hubby to clean out his closet
  69. Teach #3 to ride his bike Done 7-15-09
  70. Organize my workroom
  71. Make divinity
  72. Learn to soil block, no more peat pots!
  73. Learn to golf (In progress 5/10)
  74. Travel to one new state.
  75. Practice hospitality one day a month (17/33)
  76. Create a guest room- Done 5/18/09
  77. Learn to snowboard
  78. Set our grocery budget to $550 a month while trying to eat sustainably and organically
  79. Potty train #4 Done! (10/9/09)
  80. Make crunchy dill pickles (09/10)
  81. Build a greenhouse
  82. Sew two more quilts and show them (0/2)
  83. Travel to my in-laws and not dread the long drive with all the kids- Done! 06/12/09
  84. Learn one new bible verse a month with my kids (0/33)
  85. Fence in my yard (started 5/8/09, nearly done 7/5/09) Done 9-2-09
  86. Learn to make meringue
  87. Play Wii with my kids one time a week (10/143)
  88. Somehow remind my husband that I appreciate him Done 12/31/-9 and still going
  89. Learn to apply make-up (never, having too many problems with reactions)
  90. Go fishing with the kids
  91. Create a long range landscaping plan for the yard
  92. Win an award at a quilt show
  93. Help my sister move up here Done (5/30/09)
  94. Increase our tithing each year by a percent (2/3)
  95. Do five chin-ups
  96. Start planning an amazing 40th birthday surprise for my hubby
  97. Take my kids to the Omaha Zoo (Done 06/27/10)
  98. Sew a quilt for the family room wall
  99. Eat vegetarian for one week.
  100. Go on a balloon ride
  101. Get up at 5:30 for one month Done 10/31/09

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Green Thumb

I love Wisconsin weather, you never know what your going to wake up to. I had an idea though since I spent most of yesterday watching it switch back and forth from slop to snow. Outside my kitchen window it looks like an early October snowstorm since there is a hint of green grass under the white. It's ok though, my dad left me a gift that makes it worth the wait for spring. When we were little, we spent hours outside and part of that time was in the ginormous gardens we had. So many years later, I miss him, but treasure the gift that he gave me of a green thumb. These are just my tomatoes (you can just see the snow out the window) and they are huge! What you can't see are the three other racks of plants and whole other greenhouse next to it. I can't wait to be out in the garden again, but in the meantime, I will just putter in my dining room.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Menu Monday April 19-25

I can't believe how much I miss my dh when he is gone. When he walked through the door and for the rest of the night, I just wanted to be close enough to see him. He must have felt the same way, since I had to keep moving him around as I cooked. The kids were the same way with him. I loved it, but our kitchen really isn't big enough for six people, let alone and open oven or refrigerator door. Needless to say, we are all glad he is home after his week with the guys. Many trees were planted, rocks were moved and one turkey shot. Of course with all those hungry men, it didn't exactly make it home. Ah well...

Baked Oatmeal
Eggs, hash browns and toast
Strussel muffins and bananas
French toast sticks
Kids choice
Made to order omelet and toast

This it typically leftovers, or a sandwich since it is just me and the two little ones

Tortellini with white clam sauce, garlic green beans
Steak, cornbread with honey butter, fried cabbage or salad
Emeril chicken on grill, rice, beets
Meatloaf Cups, roasted root veg, fruit
Dad cooks night
Chicken pot pie, salad
Beef and noodles, broccoli

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I did not just do that...

You know when you are so angry.... I mean really angry, that you can't do anything but cry...Usually I would just let it go and not worry. Ya, well, hard to do when you are sitting in front of a bunch of teachers, advisors and the superintendent of schools! Our last four years at our current school have been progressively worse and worse. Year after year we have to hear, "We've never had a kid like #1. He reads all the time, he doesn't listen in class. Sometimes we find him with a book behind his textbook."
I know, very few parents can complain about that. I thank God that he was born with the brain he has. Sometimes though, I feel like I have a special needs child that no one quite knows what to do with. Every year since we changed schools for the move, we have had to fight for his education to be what he needs. Every year we were told, "He'll be serviced in the classroom. We will challenge him. He will get what he needs." Well guess what, HE HASN"T! And then I find out yesterday that he may have qualified for advance placement at the middle school for reading if I was willing to drive him in. I lost it! When they asked if there were any questions.... I couldn't stop myself, and everyone got a taste of my frustration. Year after year of starting over, year after year of curriculum battles, and year after year of only the GT teacher and us knowing what he was capable of, but powerless in the short time to change anything. I told everyone, "I just want someone to know him. I want someone who understands him and works with us, and I feel now that we are moving on to middle school and loosing the one GT teacher that was our help, we were starting all over again!" Enter tears....I knew how powerful my love for my children was, the day they were born. I am amazed still at the strength God gives us to not fear embarrassment, and to fight for what we know they need.
The fight continues, but I know after yesterday, I can face anything.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Menu Monday April 12-18

Busy week, crazy menu with hubby gone hunting all week. I am omitting lunches just because it is either left-overs from the night before, or sandwiches. Not creative I know, but works for us.

Easter Sunday (make Cinnibon)
Breakfast- Loaded pancakes, eggs, sausage and toast
Supper-Grilled deer loin, sweet potatoes, corn off the cob, salad

Monday (soak oatmeal)
Breakfast-Homemade Cinnibon, green smoothies
Supper-Egg rolls, rice, green beans

Breakfast-Oatmeal, fruit
Supper-Sloppy joes, ff

Breakfast- Eggs and toast
Supper-Spaghetti and salad

Breakfast-Frozen waffles
Super-Grilled chicken legs, cornbread and fruit

Breakfast-Green smoothies, h.b. eggs
Supper-Frozen pizza! (missed this during Lent)

Breakfast-Kids choice
Lunch-Grilled cheese and fruit smoothies
Supper-Tortilla soup and crescent rolls

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Two boys, no dressers.

I have climbers. They are on the couch arms, flying through the air, jumping on the pillows and up and down the bunk ladder more times in a day than I want to think about. All those chances for something to break and fortunately, not a cast in the house. We wanted them to have room to play in their room, but where to put two beds, toys, clothes and the multitude of books? Not to mention not wanting to add another piece of furniture for them to use as a launching pad when they were being (insert superhero here). The closet was the answer. Before we had a single rod and shelf, nothing could be reached, they couldn't choose what they wanted to wear, and things were not getting worn before they were outgrown because they were out of sight in bins in the basement. Enter Rubbermaid closet organizer extraordinare! We loved the results so much that we bought another one while it was on sale for #2 room. YAY! Works for us!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Man Behind Us In Mass

You know when you leave church, how you are supposed to feel refreshed and at peace? I don't have that right now. I keep telling myself it is just the season that I am in. Some seasons of life are quiet, and some.... well, let's just say that if I was not already familiar with the Gospel this week, I would have no knowledge of what happened when Jesus met with Caesar. We got there late and had to sit in two different pews a bit apart from each other. This means dividing the kids up according to who was closest to you when you got to where you were sitting. To top it off, it was Palm Sunday... and each child got their very own personal wacking palm for the service. I got my oldest, his friend that was staying with us, and the youngest. Dad had the two middle ones. None of us had any peace...#4 didn't want to sit with mom, he wanted Dad. #3 didn't want dad, he wanted mom. #2 was mad because she couldn't hug Dad because he was holding #3 so he didn't run away, and the two older boys were trying to help with #4 while still attempting to be good. By the time we stood for the last hymn, #4 was crying from the swat on the butt, #3 was pouting because he had lost his computer time, #2 was crying because she had gotten kicked in the nose, the palms were on the floor and Mom and Dad were a wreak. As I mentally questioned, "Why even bother?" the gentleman behind me tapped me on the shoulder. "I sure loved this time in my kid's life, I miss having young ones with me in the pew. You have a wonderful family." Surely he couldn't have missed the circus that went on the entire mass just two feet ahead of him? Then I had a moment of clarity. I had a wonderful family. I am lucky enough to have a husband and children who we spend one hour each Sunday with, praising God and being what we are commanded to be. I am not the widow alone at the end of the pew, I am not the newlywed, sitting quietly across church, no noses to wipe or hands to hold, I am not the divorcee looking for peace or the single parent trying to do it alone. I am with my loving husband and precious children. I should have thanked him for the reminder.

Menu Monday April 5-11

Got myself organized with much help this weekend. It only took me half the morning and afternoon with many suggestions from the kids to get the menu planned for the month of April. This morning, the two youngest spent time with mom at the local hardware store getting wheat, and at W to get everything else for the month aside from milk and fresh fruit. I love being organized!

Sunday 4-5 (precook burger for tomorrow, get milk)
Breakfast-Pancakes and bacon
Lunch-PB&J, bananas (dad was sleeping)
Supper-Ground beef stroganoff and peas

Monday 4-6 (soak oatmeal)
Breakfast-Cini muffins and oat bran
Lunch-Hot ham and cheese, french fries
Supper-Lasagna, caesar salad, beet pickles

Tuesday 4-7 (make tortillas)
Breakfast-Oatmeal with fruit or meusli
Lunch-Egg rolls and applesauce
Supper- Turkey cutlets, bacon cranberry sprouts, beets

Wednesday 4-8 (soak waffles, and cornbread)
Breakfast-Eggs and toast
Lunch-PB&J, carrots
Supper-Steak, fried potatoes and onions, broccoli

Thursday 4-9(boil eggs)
Breakfast-Waffles and applesauce
Lunch- Cheese sandwich and bananas
Supper-Beef and cheese enchiladas and cornbread, plums

Friday 4-10 (Holy day)
Breakfast- Baked doughnuts and hard boiled eggs
Lunch-Bagels and cream cheese, apples
Supper- Jenny shrimp, rice and salad

Saturday 4-11
Breakfast-Sausage and biscuits
Lunch-Ate in town
Supper- Swiss steak and pierogies, apple sauce