Saturday, May 22, 2010

I'm So Excited

Back several months ago now, I was just blog surfing (is that even a term?) and I saw that a blog author was a member of The Old Schoolhouse magazine's Homeschool Crew and she had posted that they were taking applications for the upcoming year. I figured, why not apply, the worst that can happen is I'm not selected. Well, lo and behold, I was one of the people selected to be a part of the 2010-2011 Crew! I get to review homeschooling products and write about them. I am so excited as I love doing this sort of thing. And I get to hopefully play with some fun new products. I love this stuff more than the kids do I think :) I just drool over every homeschool supply and curriculum catalog I get. In fact, I had to throw one away recently. It was crinkled, stained, the covers were coming off and it was just nasty. So, I'm am really looking forward to trying new things and hopefully getting some of the things I have coveted. Which, I am not going into the sin of covetessness at the moment....

Today was a decent day. Got caught up on the dishes. Finally. Have half the laundry done, but the remaining load is reds and pinks and it isn't a full one. I'm surprised about that one though. With the Bugs, I normally have a rather large red load every week.

Hubbs is on his way home. I need to log off for the night.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

There Weren't any Jelly Beans

It is true when they say that time doesn't stand still. Being a mom of young children, I am reminded of that daily. However, I also remember when I was a child and time seemed to go so slowly. And how things never seemed to change.

As a kid, you have what is familiar to you. For me, every summer we would make the long drive from our home to that of my grandparents' in Erie, Pennsylvania. Frankly, as a kid, I always thought the drive rather boring, and I never had enough reading material in the car. But the drive was familiar. Through Indiana and on into Ohio where every barn is red, or so it seemed. Always stopping at the same McDonald's north of Columbus that was built next to a pond and the duck nesting area was built to look like the restaurant and feeding the ducks there French fries. We would finally cross the border of Ohio into Pennsylvania and the 24 or so miles always were the longest until our exit. When we finally got off the interstate, it seemed to take forever to meander through the roads until we finally arrived.

Every year it was the same, we'd pull in, pile out of the car and Grandad would come to the back door and shout his greetings and come out for hugs. Grandma wouldn't be too far after as she was normally checking on dinner when we pulled in. There was nothing like being greeted by my Grandaddy. He'd scoop us up and give us bear hugs and ask if we were hungry. He'd then inform us that it was Friday night, no matter what night it was, so it was chocolate milk night (growing up my mom made us drink milk every night at supper, and only on Friday nights were we allowed to have chocolate milk. Grandaddy decreed that at his house, every night was Friday night and he would make the best chocolate milk for us) and then we'd get our hugs from Grandma and we'd all troop into the house for what was sure to be a great supper, complete with chocolate milk.

Grandaddy was the coolest Grandad ever. He was full of stories and he made the best wooden toys. He always talked to us as if we were adults, not kids. He never made fun of us as kids, never talked down to us and genuinely cared for his grand-daughters. Next to his recliner he kept an amber colored glass candy dish (the one in the photo at the beginning of this post) that was always full of his favorite treat; jelly beans.

Grandaddy would pretend to not notice when my sister and I would sneak into the living room and eat our favorite colors out of his candy jar. We'd always be careful to not eat the black ones. We hated them, and thankfully they were his favorite ones. If he happened to see us, he'd remind us to leave him the black ones and then went back to whatever it was he was doing and just sort of would forget to tell our mom what we were up to (though, I'm sure she knew).

As a child, you never in your wildest dreams picture your favorite people not being there. You don't think of a future reality when those that we love are no longer with us. I was blessed to have all of my grandparents until I was an adult. On January 13, 2007 my Grandaddy was called home. He had had a heart attack the week before and was doing well. In fact, he was scheduled to be released from the hospital the following day. However, when his nurse came to help him take care of a few things, he stood up and was gone in the blink of an eye. That day was also the day of the worst ice storm in fifty years to hit our area. We were iced in without electricity for nearly a week. There was no way I could make it out for his funeral.

This past week I was blessed to finally be able to return to the home of my grandparents. It was the first time I had been able to go in eleven years. The drive was familiar, nearly achingly so. We pulled into the driveway and stopped and got out of the van (my sister and mom took me and the girls up) and my mom's brother came out the door to give us hugs. Things were horribly wrong, it wasn't my grandaddy. We trooped into the house, and my grandma was sitting in Grandaddy's recliner. She had had it moved to the back sun room after she and Grandaddy replaced the couch and it came with a matching recliner. After dinner, I go into the living room and see the candy jar, it was sitting on the coffee table with miniature candy bars in it. There were no jelly beans. Upon seeing the lack of jelly beans, I had to fight back tears. That, honestly was the worst thing about going back to the greatest place I ever went as a child. It truly said to me, your Grandaddy is no longer here. All the safety and security of my childhood was gone, never to return.

I'll always have the memories of the jelly beans, of Grandaddy, his stories and all the wonderful things he did with us (most probably not classified as safe anymore...). And everytime I eat a jelly bean, I think of him. But now, jelly beans are no longer a treat, they are a reminder that life goes on. People are born, they pass on into eternity, time doesn't stop for anyone and things change. Jelly beans remind me of that now. The memories will always be there, but the person who made them special is not. I will always miss my Grandaddy. And when I have jelly beans, I think of him and the joy he brought to my life.

Book Review for Book Sneeze 5.19.2010

I read God's Promises for Girls by Jack Countryman and Amy Parker. It is a cute little book that consists with verses for different issues little girls can face. Issues about being a good sister, obeying your parents, faith, and telling the truth among others. The verses were taken from the International Children's Version of the Bible and the Reader Friendly Edition, both of which were also published by Thomas Nelson.

This book was laid out in an easy to search format. The table of contents listed the subjects by category and was very logical to follow. Most of the verses were straight to the point that were selected for each topic, and each topic had about three verses to support it. The illustrations were bright and cheery, and went with each category very well. The font chosen for the verses was a little smaller than I would have liked for a book for children, but then, that's just me.

After reading through this book, I gave it to my three-year-old to look at and she loved it. She pretended to play with the girls in the illustrations (she does that with most books) and then she didn't want to give it up when we had to run an errand. I plan on using this as a guide towards Bible memorization in the coming months with her. I really like how this book was laid out and is so easy to use and read. If you are reading this and have only boys, I know that there is a boy's version and I hope it is just as good.

I was given and copy of God's Promises for Girls by Thomas Nelson as a part of their Book Sneeze program in exchange for reading it and posting a review on my blog and a consumer website. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. I received no other compensation other than a copy of the book.

I'm back

Well, after nearly being gone from home for two weeks, I'm back. Felt like I was gone a lot longer. The trip was hard in so many ways, but not so bad in others. I feel like the girls behaved themselves quite well on the trip as a whole. My sister took them shopping and they had a blast and made out like bandits. Then, she had to buy them souvenirs while in PA at the peninsula and every time we stopped at a Cracker Barrel. I plan on writing out a series of posts in the next few days about the whole trip. I need to do some processing and I do that best when writing actually. I will say it was rather strange to be back there for the first time in eleven years and not have my Grandaddy there. And my Grandma looked like she had aged 30 years since I saw her last going on 3 1/2 years ago. I've been blessed to have had her this long.

Well, while I was gone I got another book in from Book Sneeze that was a children's book, so I have to go and write that review up and get it posted. Then, hopefully I'll feel like writing a bit more tonight. However, we have yet another thunderstorm rolling in. If the rain doesn't let up in the near future, I'm going to have to go look up the dimensions for an ark.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Book Review for Book Sneeze 5.5.2010

I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby

I didn't know what I was totally expecting when I first started reading this book. I had never heard of the Hutterites, and I had thought myself fairly well-educated on the Anabaptists (Amish and Mennonites). I am glad I was able to learn something new about the Anabaptist's different "denominations," if you will.

Life on a Hutterite colony at first sounds very idealistic. Life is dictated by routine and everyone works for the common good. However, like in all other aspects of life with other humans, personal agendas and politics get in the way. This memoir is not just about how our personal history affects our entire lives, but it also addresses how sometimes we have to make bold moves for the best of our families and ourselves. This book showed that how through determination, perservance and a firm faith in God, we can survive anything.

This book is also about growing up. Of finding a faith that is your own, not riding the on the faith of your forebears. Of trying to be your own person, yet still being part of the group. I suggest that anyone who struggles with life, adapting to new circumstances read this book. You can succeed. Others have before you.

I was given a copy of I Am Hutterite by Thomas Nelson Publishing as a part of their Book Sneeze program in exchange for reading it and posting a copy of my review. I was not otherwise paid for my review, and all opinions are mine and mine alone.

I Should be Busy Right Now

Oy.

So, in less than 48 hours we are leaving to go to visit my family. And instead of packing or cleaning, I'm on the computer. I actually am in a good place right now in all the activities for packing to leave for an extended period so I guess I can do this a bit.

We haven't been out to my parents' home in nearly two years. We are heading out because on Saturday my sister is graduating with a degree in Funeral Science. Yes, my sister after having been a cosmetologist, machinist, CNA and subsequent starting of school for LPN decided to become a funeral director. It isn't a job I would want, but someone has to do it, and if this is what she wants to do, that's great. She graduates on Saturday, Sunday is Mother's Day and then on Monday she is having her gall bladder removed (so, if you think of it, pray for her that day). Tuesday, Hubbs is coming back home to be a bachelor for a week while my sister, mom, the girls and I go up and visit my grandma in PA. My sister offered to rent a mini van and take us last week. I posted before about my grandma and her lung cancer returning. At this time, she is too weak to continue radiation so they put her in hospice care. This is more than likely the last time I will get to see her. Bugs met her when she was three months old. Beans has never met her. I'm glad we get to go, and it is low cost. Hubbs and I had been praying for a way for at least me getting to see her before she's gone. And to have my agnostic sister be the one to answer that prayer is mind boggling. We'll be back somewhere around the 17th. It depends on Hubb's time off from work that week. He is going to meet my sister and me halfway to get us back. I so look forward to getting some precious time with my favorite grandma. I haven't seen her since the Bug's first Christmas. So, if there isn't any new posts for about two weeks, don't worry, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.

I need to go write a book review and post it yet. I managed to finish my latest book from Book Sneeze. I love to read, and I rarely get to read newer books, so I joined the program. I believe this is my fifth or sixth book. Free books to read as long as you review them on your blog and a consumer site. Not a bad deal. If you want more info, just click the button in my side bar.

Well, must go write my book review and continue on with the laundry and I should feed the girls lunch. They must be in another growth spurt. They have been begging for food since they woke up this morning.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Sayings of Children

So, we were leaving church this morning, and Bugs had a half colored picture from Bible Hour (held during the sermon at church). I asked her what they had talked about today, and she told me it was the story of the Good South American. I had to stop strapping her into the car to laugh after I finally figured out what she was saying. Turns out, today's Bible Hour was about the Good Samaritan. Yep, that's my kid. Hubbs laughed when Bugs took him the picture to show him over his lunch break (first Sunday he's worked in months, this time because he asked for time off for the week for my sister's graduation). He loved it.

Kids can say the silliest things sometimes. And she was convinced it was the South Americans.