Monday, August 30, 2010

Other Uses for Dishwasher

Dishwashers are wonderful things, aren't they? Just think of how much time and effort they save us by washing our dishes for us, and let's not even mention how they keep our hands from being "dishpan-y." As a matter of fact, let's have a moment of silence in which we reflect on the wonder of these machines that we take for granted so often.

Okay, enough of that.

Recently, I have discovered a couple of other uses for my dishwasher. While cleaning my dishes is enough, there is more that it can do. And I plan to use it for all it's worth!
  • Hairbrushes. I remember one of my college friends told me one time that her mother told her there wasn't much point in washing your hair if you never washed your brush. For the life of me, I couldn't think of a good way to wash my brush...until recently. My hairbrush looked almost brand new (except for the teeth marks) when I pulled it out of the dishwasher. Now I just have to remember to bring it downstairs when I'm about to wash some dishes.
  • Baby toys. Rachel has a lot of rubber and plastic toys that she inherited from Sarah Beth and Daniel. Because of my lazy streak, I really don't want to spend (waste) the time washing them. Tada! The dishwasher does it for me. I just stick them in the top rack, and they come out looking new...again except for the teeth marks.
Do you use your dishwasher for anything other than washing dishes? Please share!

Friday, August 27, 2010

FO (Finished Object) Friday

I finished this baby blanket yesterday, and I thought I would show it to you since I asked your opinions about it earlier in the month. And I want to thank all of you who offered your opinion. I think it turned out well, and I really enjoyed using this yarn. It's a nylon/acrylic blend which works up very nicely for a baby blanket. I also enjoy the different variegations available in this yarn. It may just be my new favorite yarn for baby blankets! And to think that I found it on clearance at WalMart!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

And the Winner is...

I didn't do anything high-tech to choose a winner, like using some sophisticated computer program to pick a number at random. No, I just did it the old fashioned way: I wrote everybody's name down on a piece of paper, cut it up, folded the pieces up tight, and drew a name. And the winner of my first piece of filet crochet is Laura. Congratulations, Laura!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bookmark Giveaway

In order to commemorate my 600th post, I thought I would have a giveaway. It's not much, but I had fun trying filet crochet when I made this bookmark. Can you read it? If you are keeping track, my family and I were the recipients of the giveaway for my 500th post. And I don't care if I sound selfish, but I'm keeping that gift!!

Anyway, to enter this giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment. For a second entry, you can post about this giveaway on your blog; just be sure to leave another comment stating that you did so. For all you lurkers, this is a good time to reveal yourself!

This giveaway is open until Wednesday evening at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Good luck!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Book Review: Dead Men Don't Crochet


Dead Men Don't Crochet by Betty Hechtman is the second in the series about Molly Pink who starts her sleuthing in the first book when she is accused of murder. This time Molly is helping out a friend who is the prime suspect for a shopkeeper's murder. As you can tell from the title, crochet plays a part in the story. Molly Pink is a beginner crocheter in a group who makes things for charity, and one of the other members of the group is the one accused of murder.

While this book is not the best-written book I have read, I did enjoy it. It's "fluffy," if you know what I mean. And I enjoy finding terms like "slip stitch" and "double crochet" in a novel. I also appreciate the fact that the Molly has a real life: she is a widow with two grown sons and a boyfriend along with the entanglements they bring with them. Molly is certainly not Sherlock Holmes, either; she is an amateur detective who tends to stumble along finding clues. But I appreciate this fact because she is no smarter than I am.

I recommend this book if you are looking for some light reading, especially if crochet is one of your hobbies.

Friday, August 20, 2010

FO (Finished Object) Friday

When I saw this pattern, I just had to buy the book. I really like it! And it was fun to crochet. I planned to make it for our church's blanket ministry (we make blankets for the local Care Pregnancy Center and children in one of our hospital's burn center). When I crochet a blanket, Sarah Beth always asks me for whom I am making it. I tell her that I am crocheting it for a little girl (or boy) who doesn't have a blanket, and whose mommy doesn't know how to crochet. When she asked me about this blanket, I said that maybe I would keep it for Rachel (since I like it so much), being selfish. I was rebuked by my four year old; she said that I should give it to a little girl who doesn't have one. Now it is upstairs, waiting for collection time.

I guess I can make another one for Rachel.

For more Finished Objects, head over to Fresh from the Chari Tree.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque vs. Church


I know that I have already blogged once today, but when I heard about this story, I had to write about it in case you hadn't heard about it yet.

The St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was destroyed on September 11 when one of the Twin Towers collapsed. It has yet to be rebuilt, apparently because of all the red tape. On the other hand, officials appear to be streamlining the process to build (not rebuild) a mosque near Ground Zero. Does this appear ironic to you?

Crocheted Christmas in August


I have decided to give everyone in my family something that I have crocheted for Christmas this year...which means that I need to get started now (or maybe yesterday, if anyone has a time machine that I can borrow). And since I tend to forget my crocheted plans, I thought I would also add a side bar to my blog so that I can keep up with my progress (and you can keep me accountable).

Here are my planned gifts:
  • Sarah Beth is easy! I just need to crochet her a pair of socks. The problem is that there are no crochet patterns for children. There are plenty of patterns for folks who knit but not for us crocheters. I crocheted that sock above hoping it would be small enough, but it's not. So now I need to measure her foot so I know how big (or small!) to make her socks. (As a side note, Sarah Beth picked out this yarn last year, but crocheting exacerbated my morning sickness so badly that I was unable even to think about starting socks for her. Since I don't much care for the gray, I bought some new yarn for her socks.)
  • I found a great pattern for a blanket for Daniel. He will turn three after Christmas which means that soon he will moved into a big bed. He will need his own blanket, don't you think?
  • I'm not exactly sure what to make for John, but I thought these golf club covers would be nice.*
  • Poor Rachel! I actually don't plan to make her anything this year for Christmas. I don't think she will feel left out since she won't even be one yet. And I made her several blankets before she was born. We'll see, though. Maybe I'll find a cute sweater to make her.
  • I also plan to make a vest for myself, although I hope to have it done before Christmas. I just need to get started.
So please don't tell anyone my plans because you will ruin the surprise. Especially, I would like to keep Sarah Beth in the dark because I think (I hope!) she will love her socks.

Stay tuned because I am in the process of making something for you!

*I'm just kidding, Sweetie! I would never crochet golf club covers for you. I know that you would appreciate the effort and time put into them, but you would not appreciate the finished objects, and I don't blame you!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My New Favorite Cleaning Tool


This vacuum is my new favorite cleaning tool. With two children under five eating in our house, there's a good bit of food on the floor when the meal or snack is over. (Rachel doesn't count because the only mess she makes is from spitting up.) I like being able to get this vacuum out and sucking up the mess without having to get the broom and dust pan out. And it even comes apart for when I need a handheld vacuum. It's not cordless, and it is a little bit of a hassle to unwind and rewind the cord, but I think that might not be a bad thing. From what I've read, people (including me!) tend to leave things like this plugged in all the time, and it ruins the battery. Did you know that?

While this post sounds like a promotional advertisement, I honestly don't care if you go out and buy one or not. I just like mine, and I wanted to share with you. And the best part is that I had enough money leftover from our grocery budget one week to buy it!

What is your favorite cleaning tool, new or not?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Some Thoughts on This Tuesday

I have not been inspired the past couple of days in my blog posting. I do have a few thoughts to share with you, though, if you're interested.
  • This weekend at work wore me out. No, I guess that's not true. I was tired and my feet hurt (from 10 hours on them) when I got home Saturday night, but I wasn't exhausted. Sunday mornings before church are not restful for me, and this one was worse because I had to go to work. Add to that the fact that I was in the middle of a bad dream when my alarm went off, and it just put me in a funk all day long.
  • That funk continued yesterday and today, and I'm sure it wasn't helped by my getting up at 5:00 to go walk. Why didn't I sleep in? John gets up at 5:00 so he can exercise before work, and I can't get back to sleep. If I stay in bed, I keep thinking, "I need to get up; I'm wasting time. I need to get up; I'm being lazy."
  • Speaking of being lazy, I have a lazy-streak a mile wide. I wish there were a magic bullet to "fix" it. *Sigh*
  • I was still so tired this morning that I wanted to cancel going to the pool, but I had a friend meeting me, and I didn't want to disappoint her and her children. I'm so glad that we went. It was good for all four of us to get out of the house, and I feel so much better now which is surprising since the pool usually wears me out.
  • While we were at the pool, it rained pretty hard for a few minutes. I wanted to laugh when I saw Sarah Beth and Daniel under the porch out of the rain.
  • I ran out of yarn for the blanket I asked your opinion about last week. I need to post another picture because I'm actually pleased with the variegations now. I need to order more yarn today because I need to get it done before September 4.
  • I think it's time to start potty training Daniel, and I don't want to. Since it took almost a year for Sarah Beth, I'm not ready for another year of messes to clean up. Unfortunately, he keeps asking to sit on the potty. *Sigh*
  • This little girl could still use some prayers; actually, she could use all the prayers she could get. Her story breaks my heart.
  • I wish I had more time to read.
How is your Tuesday progressing?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Six and a Half Month Update


I was not planning to do an update this soon, but there are some new things with Rachel that I wanted to tell you about.
  • Rachel's first tooth is coming in. You certainly can't see it yet, but I can feel it with my finger. It doesn't seem to be bothering her which is so nice!
  • She is starting to sit up by herself. Yea! We're going to the beach soon, and I would love for her to be able to sit up on the sand while we're there instead of just lying there.
  • She is rolling over...again. She seems to do this in fits and starts. She'll roll over like a pro for a week, then she stops for a month. It's very aggravating. But lately, when I go in to get her up from a nap, occasionally she is on her tummy. She doesn't like being on her tummy, but apparently she's starting to appreciate sleeping there.
  • She needs a hair cut or at least a trim. You can kind of see the flyaways in her hair in the picture above.
Rachel is such an easy, content baby. How wonderful! If there is anything "wrong" with her, it is that she might be too content. I think that is why it is taking her longer to do things than it did for our first two children. What a bad thing! To be too content!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Opinions Wanted

Isn't this a great skein of yarn? I love the variegations of pink and white. I hadn't seen this yarn before, so I was excited about it and thought I might use it to make lots of blankets.

Then I started to crochet with it.


Do you see those big white spots in the blanket? I haven't done very many rows (four to be exact), but there are already four big white spots (two have run together). I hoped it was an anomaly in the yarn coloration, but I don't think it is anymore. *Sigh* What do you think? Do you think I should continue this blanket with all of those white spots in it? Or do you think I should give up and start again with a different skein of yarn? I have to admit that I don't like the "bald patches," but I may just be too hard on my own work. Please let me know what you think. Would you like this blanket if it were given to you? Or would you feel short-changed?

In case you're wondering, I found this skein on clearance at WalMart for $3, so it's not like I would lose a lot of money if I just threw it away...which I wouldn't. I'm sure I could find some other use for it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book Review: Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore



This book is a true story about the relationship between two men with very different backgrounds and lifestyles. Ron Hall is a white businessmen who deals in art worth millions of dollars. Denver Moore is a black man who was born into twentieth century slavery on a plantation in Louisiana. This book, however, is not about their differences, but how they came together to do great work for the Lord. More than that, this book is about Hall's wife who was the catalyst for their relationship, and it shows how one person can accomplish much.

When I ordered this book from Booksneeze, I have to admit that I wasn't sure I would enjoy it, but I did think I would learn some things from reading it. After I started reading it, I wanted to put it down because there are some hard things in it (Moore's past), but I persevered. I discovered that I was really enjoying this book after I had read about a quarter of it. And my enjoyment only grew as I read more and more. Seeing what one couple (the Halls) were able to accomplish has made me think about what I can do. How can I help those who are less fortunate than I am? As I said before, I really enjoyed this book, and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a way to minister to the lost, especially the homeless.

I want to thank Booksneeze for this book which they sent me in return for my impartial review.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Rachel's Baptism

We had Rachel baptized yesterday at our church. John's mother drove out with her husband from Louisiana to be here for the event. My whole family was also able to attend which made the day extra-special. I wish I had a close-up of the christening gown, but you can click on the picture to see it a little better. My mother made it for our children, so Sarah Beth and Daniel have both worn it. When she has children of her own, Sarah Beth will get the dress for her children. That is just one of the perks of being the first daughter.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

When I Grow Up


What did you want to be when you grew up? Why did you want to be that, and did you do it? Did you consistently plan to be whatever it was, or did you change your mind often? Did you do anything like volunteering or interning to give you a taste of your future occupation/role? Were you as happy/satisfied with what you became as you thought you would be? What surprised you? Would you choose it again? Do you still want to be something else - either in addition to or instead of?

When I saw this post on Flashback Friday, I just had to join in. I have blogged about this topic before, but I can't resist writing about it again since I love it so much!

When I was a child, I wanted to be a librarian when I grew up. I thought librarians had the best job ever because they got to play with books all day long. What could be better than that?!! My desire to become a librarian has never diminished though the years, even though I went to college in order to become a pharmacist. Even after I started working, I would joke that I wanted to be a librarian when I grew up. John would laugh and say that I almost have enough books to start my own library. Now that I am a mother and only "work" (work that I am paid for) one weekend a month, I know that I really do not want to work in a library because it would take me away from my real job: taking care of my husband and my children. (However, if the position should open up at my church as a volunteer librarian, don't think I wouldn't snatch it up!)

While I never volunteered or interned in a library as a child, I did organize my books alphabetically because I knew that is how it is done in a library. And I still organize my books that way with a special section for reference books and another for biographies. John knows that if he takes a book off the shelf, he should let me put it back. I guess, in a way, I am a librarian...of my own books!

In summary, while I never became a "real" librarian, I am glad that I ended up doing what I am doing. I love being a wife and a mother. And if I continue to collect books the way that I do, well, it won't be long before I have my own library.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

I was just thinking this morning of how I miss, truly miss, seeing my baby asleep. When I put Rachel down in her crib, she is wide awake. Then I shut the door so her brother and sister don't wake her up (and I can't see her).


Of course, I don't get Rachel up from her naps until she is awake. (Isn't there some truism about letting sleeping babies lie?)


This morning, however, poor Rachel had a doctor's appointment*, so I had to wake her up from her nap so I could feed her and get to the appointment on time.

She didn't wake up through all of these pictures until this last one. Sleeping babies sleep hard, don't they?

*In case you're wondering, Rachel is just over six months old, and she weighs 15 pounds, 13 ounces and measures 25 3/4 inches long. She is in the 50th percentile for both.

Shoeboxes


Do you make shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child? If so, now is a great time to buy the supplies for them through all the back-to-school sales. You can fill several shoeboxes very inexpensively this way. If you are wondering if these gifts are appreciated, read Oxana's testimony as to how much she enjoyed receiving one. As for me, I have not taken the time or expended the effort (little though it is) to write a personal note for the boxes I make. After reading Oxana's story, I will now.

Have you made shoeboxes before? What do you fill them with?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Little Things

I was hoping yesterday to meet one of my friends at the pool yesterday with our children so they could play in the pool while we talked (and played with them, of course). Due to several different things (like my emailing her at the last minute), my plans didn't happen. "Well," I thought, "I could use an extra morning at home anyway. I've got things I need to do."

When I woke up yesterday morning, it was gray and cloudy. Not a good day for the pool. Later on, it started to rain which is very unusual here in the summer. (There must be a tropical storm somewhere sending us this rain.) Now I thought, "What a nice coincidence." Then I realized that because I am a Christian, I know there are no such things as coincidences. Instead I thanked God.

Why does it surprise me that God cares about these little things? If it's going to rain (and we certainly need it), and I can't go to the pool anyway, why shouldn't He align things so that they occur at the same time? Don't I try to do little, nice things for my children?

When Sarah Beth asks for the pink plate at lunch, I usually have already gotten it down for her. I know that it makes her happy to use the pink plate and not the blue one. Why do I expect that my Father in heaven delights less in me than I do in her? "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:11) Just as Sarah Beth does not have to ask for the pink plate because I already know which one she wants, I don't have to ask God for these little things because He already knows. And sometimes He arranges things for me that I don't even know to ask for, like rain happening on a day we are staying home anyway.

Isn't God amazing? Has He arranged something "small" like this for you lately? Something that you didn't even know to ask for?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Unintended Consequences


Yesterday, I wrote about how much discipline it takes to raise children, children people want to be around, that is. When I finished, I realized that I hadn't told the whole story because there are unintended consequences when you consistently work with your children to do things. Of course, after I asked Sarah Beth to clear her place from the table enough times, she learned to do it without my asking...most of the time. I expected that. I did not expect this:

Daniel has been watching his sister clear her place for over a year now, and he has decided that he can do it, too. We have not asked it from him because that is a chore that our three year olds (and up) have to do. Honestly, sometimes I would rather he not clear his place because he has a tendency to spill or drop things. That's okay, though, because he is learning to help and to be a productive member of our family. And he is learning it by watching his big sister, not by my harping on him!

What unintended consequences have you seen for consistently asking your children to complete their chores? I'm sure there are more!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Discipline

I am amazed at how much discipline it takes to raise children, i.e. well-mannered children. (I don't imagine it takes much discipline to raise hooligans.) I'm not even talking about discipline-punishment, although that also takes a lot of discipline on my part. No, I'm just talking about the amount it takes to make children a productive part of the family.

For example, you cannot just tell your four year old daughter that she needs to start making her bed every morning and then expect her to do it. (Wouldn't that be nice?!) No, first you have to show her how to make her bed, and you'll probably have to do that more than once. Then you have to remind her to make it because she's four and won't remember on her own...at least for a while. Then you have to follow up and make sure that she actually made her bed. Then it starts all over again the next morning. *Sigh*

What I am learning is that in order for me to have disciplined children, my self-discipline must increase. I cannot expect my children to be more disciplined about their chores than I am. (If only!) This point hit me the other day, but it seems so obvious now that I know it. One day, if I keep at it, the discipline I teach my children will pay off. Sarah Beth now clears her place at the table without my having to remind her...most of the time, and I find that exciting. I'll take that little bit of encouragement and keep plugging away.

Do you find this to be true, also: that it takes a lot of discipline to raise disciplined children? Do you have any tips for becoming more disciplined? (I'm hoping that someone out there has a magic bullet!)