Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween '08

More pics to follow tomorrow...I'm too tired tonight!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Don't Forget!

...on Saturday before you go to bed!

Diary of a Pine Cone

Day 4:
It's much warmer today and the sun is shining. There's alot of hustle and bustle around here getting ready for Halloween. I hear that we will have several second graders here tomorrow night to go trick or treating. I don't really have any treats to offer, but I wonder if they will be impressed with my can see my progress in the pics!

I just have to share this story. This morning, the little one (remember, they call her Abby?) was eating breakfast with her Mommy. While eating, she said to her Mommy, "Can I hold er's hand?" (er's is your) Her Mommy said, "Sure" and they held hands while they ate breakfast. Then Abby told her Mommy, "I love you, Mommy", and I think I saw the Mommy's eyes water. It was almost enough to make me cry, too, but I'm working so hard to dry out and open my scales, I really didn't want to get wet again.

I did have to chuckle when Abby and her Mommy were leaving for their Kindermusik class and Abby was dressed in her scarecrow costume...she is a cutie, indeed!

Well, back to my trick...
Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

Day 4:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Diary of a Pine Cone

Day 3:
I'm beginning to dry out. I can fell my scales stretching a bit on one end. You wouldn't believe what I see outside from my view here in the dining's snowing! My family is very excited. They are also excited that it's not going to snow on Halloween, so their trick or treating plans and Halloween party won't be ruined.

Day One:

Day Two:

Day Three:

It's snowing!

Website Wednesday!

Do you need to know how to make a strait jacket or maybe a sabre-toothed Halloween costume? Have you wondered how to make ole fashioned caramel apples or that soda can hinge wallet chain you've always wanted but just weren't quite sure how to construct?

This week's website is This website has instructions for just about everything you would need or want to know how to do. There are definitely some silly and "out there" projects, but there are also very practical projects. The website is divided into categories to make your browsing easier and also has a search engine. 

From the website:
Instructables is a web-based documentation platform where passionate people share what they do and how they do it, and learn from and collaborate with others. The seeds of Instructables germinated at the MIT Media Lab as the future founders of Squid Labs built places to share their projects and help others.

Next time you're not quite sure how to do a specific task, check this website; I bet you will find exactly what you need!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Diary of a Pine Cone

Day Two:
Yesterday began with quite a rude awakening for me. I was held under the kitchen faucet as cold water ran over me and through my scales. So, now my scales are closed and will be until I begin to dry out.

My "family" came home last night talking about the slush and freezing rain. They were pretty amazed at how much ice was on the ground in a short amount of time. As I sat on the dining table, I enjoyed the warmth from the fire and giggled at the little one (they call her Abby) coloring on her sister's (they call her Emily) homework. Emily did not think it was as funny as I did, but I think in the end, everything was ok.

I did learn one thing today. This week is something called Halloween and the kids are very excited to dress up and trick or treat with their friends. I think I will stay in the warm house though and just listen to their stories when they return. Besides, it's hard work for a small pine cone like me to dry out and open my scales.
Day One:

Day Two:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Diary of a Pine Cone

Several years ago, when living in Texas, we had some pine trees in our front yard. I loved to collect them and put them in baskets for decoration. I noticed that some of them were closed and some were opened and just assumed that some fell off the tree before opening. However, I began to observe that when the pine cones were wet, they would close and then as they dried, would slowly open. Just for fun, the kids and I are doing an experiment with this pine cone. We ran it under the sink this morning and it closed up after about an hour. 

So, in keeping with the spirit of one of Ben's favorite books, "Diary of a Spider", I thought we would bring you "Diary of a Pine Cone"...

Day One:

What we're reading this week...

Here's what we're reading this week.

Happy Reading!
(Click on image to link to Amazon's website.)

Jason's reading...

My reading...
(Great book!)

Emily's reading...
(Great facts with silly illustrations.)

Ben's reading...
(A must have! We also like "Diary of a Worm")

Abby's reading...
(keeping with the Halloween spirit...)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Boo at the Zoo '08

Cleveland has an awesome zoo and we went to the annual Boo at the Zoo tonight. The kids had a great time. The highlight was probably spending some time with their friend, Gwenny (& her family, of course!) Here are some pics and a preview of the Halloween costumes...


That's one cool Koala...

And a patient one, too...

Loving the toad...
(Abby's not, however...notice she's not in the picture?)

Dancing the Monster Mash 
(sort of)...

One very brave scarecrow!
(who is afraid of clowns...)

Aren't they cute?

The "Spooky Train"
Was it really worth the 30 minute wait?
Depends on who you ask...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Website Wednesday!

  Uncle John's Bathroom Reader

This week's website is a little different, I guess. I figured with Christmas coming quickly (yikes!), this might be something a little out of the ordinary to give to that one person that is difficult to shop for. Is it just me, or is it kind of funny that we stock our bathrooms with some of our best reading? (In potty training our children, a book on the potty was a must.) So, several years ago, Jason received a book called "Uncle John's Bathroom Reader". It wasn't long, and we were both hooked. Over the years, we've collected several of these books and they aren't just read in the bathroom!

From the company's website:
It was 1987. Uncle John found himself stranded on the pot in the second worst way that you can be stranded on the pot—with nothing to read! He thought to himself: I have a book by my bed; I have a book on my coffee table; I even have books in my kitchen! How come there are no books especially made for the bathroom? And then a shaft of light appeared in Uncle John's privy, and angelic voices began to sing! And lo, Uncle John proclaimeth'd: "There is a whole world of forgotten readers out there. We must all unite as one and make our voices be heard! 'We read in the Bathroom and we're proud!'"

And with that, the Bathroom Readers’ Institute was born. Nearly two decades later, we're still going strong. Uncle John and his crack research staff work year-round to make each all-new 
Bathroom Reader a stand-alone, sit-down masterpiece! Since 1988 we've sold seven million books and have now reached a membership base that's over 35,000 loyal readers. 

With the need for great bathroom reading at an all-time high, we’ve got two groups of dedicated trivia nuts churning out these books:

THE BATHROOM READERS’ INSTITUTE works out of a little red house in Ashland, Oregon, bringing you the ClassicBathroom Readers, the For Kids Only series, and the occasional “Little John” (such as Tees Off On Golf and the Colossal Collection of Quotable Quotes). 
THE BATHROOM READERS' HYSTERICAL SOCIETY is based in San Diego and writes the Plunges Into... books. The BRHS also finds new titles for the Uncle John's Presents... series and puts together the highly popular Uncle John's Puzzle Book series. 

So worry not, faithful readers: As long as we keep finding stuff to write about—which isn't that difficult in this strange and silly world—then know that you'll never have to be stranded on the throne the way Uncle John was all those years ago. 


These books are stocked with things you really need to know and had no idea! Things like, "George Washington's shoe size was 13" or "Theater spotlights used to burn lime for light. That's where the term 'limelight' came from" or "Plants, like people, run a fever when they are sick" and much, much more!

If you haven't discovered these books, 
it's time to take the plunge 

Monday, October 20, 2008

What we're reading this week...

I want to take a break from the normal Monday post to tell you about some books that have become very important to our family. Several years ago, I attended a seminar at a local church where I heard a very inspiring message. The topic was how and when to talk to your kids about sex. I went to the session a bit reluctantly, thinking that those days would be in the distant future for me, but it wouldn't hurt to see what the lady had to say. I left the session with a very different outlook on the topic, feeling empowered and ready to tackle this subject in the best way possible for my children.

I am from the generation where the topic of sex was not really spoken about in the home until it was time for puberty to set in. Then, it seemed that just a few facts were given so that we as kids would understand what is happening to our bodies, but the topic of sex itself was pretty much taboo; not spoken about.

I admit, when my son was born, it was very difficult for me to use the proper name for his "part". I soon began to feel that was pretty ridiculous! I mean, God did design our bodies and His designs are perfect!

So, back to the seminar... I left feeling that it is my responsibility and my husband's responsibility as parents to our children to teach them about their bodies, how they were perfectly designed by God because He loves them and about sexuality, which was also designed by God to be a beautiful thing between a man and wife. 

These were the points that impacted me in such a way that Jason and I have become very proactive in teaching our children about their bodies and sexuality:

  1. Today's children are hearing about sex and sexual terms at a much younger age than when I was a child. It's important that our children hear about these things from us as parents first before they begin to hear things from their friends. Thus, it's important to begin very young in talking about our bodies.
  2. Beginning the dialogue in the younger years creates an open dialogue and prevents the subject from being uncomfortable or off limits. Children will learn to trust us as their parents to give them the facts and to tell them the truth. If we follow point #1 and begin this dialogue with them before they begin to hear from their peers, and in doing so, we are teaching them the truth about God's design for their bodies, they will feel comfortable coming to us and asking us about things they hear others saying. It's important to note, that mom and dad both sit down together with the kids to read these books. We want our children to be comfortable in talking to and trusting both of us in all aspects of their life!
  3. It is my responsibility to teach my children they are designed by God, made in His image, and a very special creation. God gives specific guidelines in the Bible in reference to how we are to use our bodies. My children are not going to learn these things in school!

I also left the session with a book series highly recommended by the speaker. We have read book one to Emily and Ben, which basically names their body parts and talks about how men and women are created differently. What I love most about the books are they are written in story format with the underlying theme that we are God's creation and God's creation is beautiful and special and created for specific reasons.

This topic can be uncomfortable to talk about with our kids, but using these books and considering the points listed above, we can really feel empowered to give our children a positive and loving approach to learning about their bodies and sexuality.

The books have suggested ages for reading. The speaker pointed out that only you know your child. These are just suggested guidelines for when to read each book. You know your child's maturity, interest level, etc. and can make the call from there.

Click on the images to link to Amazon's website.

The first book is called "The Story of Me" and is written for ages 3-5. I think we read it to Emily when she was 4 and to Ben when he was 3. We did read it to them separately on different occasions and we have a couple of times gone back and read it again. Each time we read it, Jason and I both read it with them.

The second book, "Before I Was Born" builds on the first book. This book is a little more specific in regards to the act of sex. Again, it is written in story form. The age suggestion for this book is 5-8. We are planning on reading this book to Emily soon.

The third book, "What's the Big Deal?" is suggested for ages 8-11. This book is still being read by the parents with the child.

The fourth book, "Facing the Facts" is written for ages 11-14. This book is actually to be read separately and after both you and your child have read it, spend some time talking about it and answering any questions your child may have.

It's important to remember that starting early is the key. However, if you haven't begun to talk about these things and your child is older than 3-5, it's not too late! You might read the first and second books within a shorter timeframe. It's never too late to begin talking to our children about anything. What may make us a little bit uncomfortable will give them so much more; knowledge, confidence, trust in us as parents, and a deeper relationship between parent and child.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Politics & Quiche

So, I have not really been one in the past to be very interested in politics. However, this year, I have been much more interested. Maybe I'm just more mature now, who knows? It seems that the race this year will be a close one. I will refrain from blogging my personal political views, but wanted to share this article with you. (Make sure you read the entire article and note the parallels). We'll see how it turns out in a few weeks. Will the trend continue or will this be the year with differing results? Hmm...

So, on to the next subject...quiche. Just had to share this recipe with you. I found it on one of my favorite websites, I knew it would be tasty with 860 people giving it 5 out of 5 stars in the reviews, however, it was even better than expected. And the best news of all...all five of us liked it! Enjoy!

Spinach Quiche
1/2 cup butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 (4.5 oz) can mushrooms, drained
1 (6 oz) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled
1 (8 oz) pcg shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 (9-inch) unbacked deep dish pie crust
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion in butter until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in spinach, mushrooms, feta and 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Soon mixture into pie crust.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into the pastry shell, allowing egg mixutre to thoroughly combine with spinach mixture.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with remaining Cheddar  cheese, and bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until set in center. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

Yum! Yum!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Website Wednesday!

This week's website is Jason and I have used this site on several occasions and found some amazing deals. The purpose of the site is to give you a daily list of sales, rebates and free offers that go above and beyond a regular sale. Last year, I kid you not, I got 8 pairs of pants from a clearance sale on a major retailer's website for $20. I found the sale through's daily list.

From the company's website:
Founded in 1999, is a free, user-driven deal sharing site with a mission to provide consumers an avenue to collaborate and share information in order to make the best shopping decisions. Slickdeals achieves this by providing its users a forum for communication and various shopping tools. prides itself on being user and community focused, never allowing paid placement for frontpage deal listings.

If you like to bargain shop and walk a little bit taller after finding amazing deals, this site is for you.

Warning: it might become addicting!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fun at the Farm...

The weather on Monday was unbelievable for mid-October. I think the day started off in the 60's and peaked at 81 degrees. We had the day off from school and took advantage of the awesome weather and spent some time at a local fruit farm. The kids had a blast from the wagon ride out to the apple orchards to the corn maze to the yummy fruit pie from the farm store. Notice the beautiful fall colors in the background...

The wagon ride...

Abby was a little nervous...

Enter at your own risk...

Which way now?


Watch out below!

Now that's a tire swing!

It's just my size!

Playing in the hay...

This is a great day!

Sweet Abby...
We don't get many poses as she's always on the move!

Can you believe the colors?

Tall, tall maple trees...

Short, short Curtises...

Our fam...