Thursday, December 31, 2009

Big Plans Tonight?

I don't know what happened but sometime between the age of 32 and now, I lost my desire to go out on New Year's Eve.   This coming from someone who was sure to be the "party girl" forever.  Now, I'm just a plain 'ole homebody.

It could have a lot to do with the fact that I love to ring in the new year with my little people.  They stay up as late as they can and sip sparkling cider with us.  I think it makes them very happy to be with us and not a sitter.

I remember as a kid, my single mom would have to work almost every New Year's Eve.  She was in the restaurant business.   I would stay home with my brothers and watch movies.  My mom would call us at midnight and I could always hear the craziness in the background of the her call.   I missed being with her.    Even as I got older and left home, I would call my mom at Midnight.

Anyway, now it's usually my mom babysitting my kids if we do head out, so I am bound to see her at the end of the night.  

I do enjoy having friends over or going over to a friend's house because then I don't have to drive or drive very far.  I think the thought of drunk drivers scares me a little bit, too. 

We are heading out today to see the new Chipmunk movie and then back home to settle into our warm house with each other.   Sounds good to me!

How about you?  Any big plans tonight? 

So, my first thing to do in the new year is get a haircut - I think it has been about 5 months since I last got my locks chopped and it shows!   Well, after I get all these Christmas decorations down.   I love to get my house back in order after Christmas.  It makes me feel really good - organized, clean, ready to conquer the new year.

 I don't have any resolutions this year.  I do have a word for 2010, though.  I plan to post that Monday or Tuesday of next week.    I'd love it if you would join in with me.    Basically, I choose a word that I think will represent my new year.  I don't try to fool myself into thinking I will stick to a bunch of resolutions that sound really great this week and then seem to be too hard by the third week in January.  I prefer to choose a word that I think embodies an area I really need to grow in because I think life really is more a constant state of growth than a list of things we can check off.  Even a resolution I think I've conquered in the past seems to show itself in different ways years later.   

Last year my word was AWARE.    I think I did grow in that area of my life and that it is something I can still be working on in the new year.

So, start thinking of your word!  It will be fun to see what you come up with.

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Temperature Taking Made Easy

My kids don't get fevers that often.   They actually don't get sick that often.  It's not anything I do, I'm sure.  I mean, I try to feed them healthy and give them vitamins.  I try to make them wash their hands and all those good germ-watching things we do.   But so do most moms that I know.  So, I think it's got to be inherited good immune systems or just pure luck. 

When they do get sick, the first thing I want to do is take their temperature to see if they are running a fever.  Since it is the first question a nurse will ask me, I want to be prepared, right?   Plus, I know if there is fever then they are fighting some infection, whether or not to keep them home from school and if I should dispense medicine.

It sounds like an easy enough task.  IF you have an actual thermometer that works, that is!  I had 3 of those digital ones and they all three give me different readings - if I get an accurate reading at all.   So, taking my kids temp was actually pretty frustrating and my response to the nurse usually would go something like this, "Well, it seems to be between 99.5 and 104."    Yeah, that's a big difference. 

The last time we went to the doctor, they used the coolest touch thermometer.  They simply touched my daughter's head and almost instantly had her temperature.   That's what I needed!   Alas, the one the doctors have are pretty expensive and not something I was willing to spend money on. 

Then I received a box of goodies from MomSelect right before Christmas and one of the things I was most excited to see was the Mini TempleTouchThemometer.

I seriously love this thing!  It takes an accurate temperature in about 6 seconds!  Without any complaining of something stuck in my children's mouth or underarm.  I only wish I had this with the kids when they were babies.  Because taking temps with a baby is even worse.

Here is what the website says about it,
The Mini is economical, reliable, accurate and non-invasive. Another breakthrough in thermometers, its unique design & technical capabilities enables parents to receive quick and accurate temperature measurement by just touching the infant’s forehead. The temple area is a comfortable and easy measurement site, accessible when child or patient is awake or asleep.

I did receive mine without cost through MomSelect to review if I desired.   I really could not help but tell you about it just to make your life as a mom a little easier.   You can find one at Wal-Mart for under $10 with the brand name name ReliOn.   I'd say it's worth it!   

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Why Does the Entire World Seem Motivated to Clean Except Me?

Seriously, I just want to veg out and watch movies.  I keep praying for snow but nothing.  It is still 50 degrees and sunny.

I think the hustle and bustle of this holiday season just got to me. I am kinda over hustling and bustling.

So, I was thinking back to some funny memories from the holidays and thought I'd share a couple with you.

My husband and his brother decided that it would be very funny to give their father a entire box...a entire BIG box of golf balls for Christmas.  Not like a shoe box.   This box...

Apparently, their dad loses many golf balls on their golf outings and they give him quite a bit of grief about it.  Hubby's brother knew a guy that collects all the lost balls from a course every day and so they just thought it would be hysterical to put them in a box for my father in law.

Y'all.  Oh my goodness.

It was hysterical!

First they gave him the wrapped box which was extremely heavy.  They both carried it to him and put it in his lap.  He was oooohing and aaaahing over what it could be.  At one point he said,  "It feels like a box of rocks!" to which all the kids responded in laughter.  So, he opened it, to find a big pillow on top and then underneath that more golf balls than he could ever lose.  After his initial shock he just started laughing.  We were laughing. The kids were rolling on the floor.   And not just Hubby and his brother but the little kids, too!

Too fun. 

The second memorable event came when my brother and his family were visiting.

I set the tables for Christmas dinner - the dining table for the adults that were here.  My dining table only seats 6 people, I have only 6 full Christmas place settings and we had 6 adults, so it was perfect.  Then I set the kitchen table for the 5 kids, ages ranging from 5 to 17.

Wouldn't you know the 16 and 17 year old had something to say negative about sitting at the kid table?  At what age do you remember complaining about sitting at the kid table?  Why would any kid even want to sit at the adult table?

Anyway, my response was that you had to earn your way to the adult table but my brother who has a very quick wit reminded them that the only way you could move into the adult table was by way of the passing on of one of the adults who presently sits there.    My mom, being the oldest of all of us, did not think that was too funny.  But everyone else for some reason got a kick out of his very honest response to the teens.   People, my family is odd - I'm just sayin'.    Really, I'd give up my seat at the big table in a hot second if it meant my mom could sit at my dining room table until she is 105.

Anyway, do you have any funny memories you want to share?    

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Very Merry, Full of Surprises!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

It has been so crazy around here that I have barely missed blogging.


I did have to contain myself from not sitting right down and blogging once I opened this gift from my hubby.

It was a total surprise! I did not think that he would ever purchase something that would actually encourage me to spend more time at the computer but he said that he wanted me to be comfortable. What a sweetie.  It is a very soft leather comfy chair (and not nearly as red as it looks in that picture) and now I don't have to use one my dining room chairs.   He also surprised me with a new Kuerig coffee maker that I've been wanting for about 3 years.  He seriously spoke my language this Christmas - coffee and computer.

He also got himself the family me the Wii Fit. My brother was here and told my hubby that he was a brave man for giving his wife anything that inferred her needing to exercise.

The kids were delighted with Legos, books, DS games and plenty of goodies from Justice.  Seriously, I should own stock in that store.   Much of my Christmas budget went there this year for my daughter and niece. 


You can see the dog sticking his nose in on all the fun.  It was his first Christmas!  I have never seen a dog so excited about opening gifts.  When it was his turn, he actually mouthed the wrapping paper as I unwrapped it for him and then would VERY happily run off with his newest toy and swiftly destoy it.   In three days, he has managed to eat or tear apart all of his new toys and Buddy's toys.    

My hubby loved his gift of a golf GPS - you can see his not so surprised face here.

I did not do too well in the surprise department for him this year.  He pretty much got exactly what he wanted and he should - he works so hard for the rest of us.

I did manage to pull off one very big surprise for my mother, though.   My brother called a couple weeks ago to let me know that he would have a couple days off after Christmas.  This is no small feat considering he is a manager for Wal-Mart.  Since December 26 is the busiest return day of the year for retailers, he always has to work.  For the last 7 years, we have not been able to spend Christmas with him.   When he was single, it was really hard because he was often alone.   Anyway, I have not seen him since he got married a year and a half ago!   It's been a year since my mom has seen him and he wanted to surprise her on Christmas morning.    Have I ever told you how terrible I am at lying?  Keeping secrets is soooo hard for me!    I almost always give something away.   But I didn't give it away this time!  Or at least nobody had let on that I did. 

When he got off of work on Christmas Eve, he and his little family piled in their car and made the 6 hour drive from Atlanta to Raleigh.  They got here in the middle of the night and caught a few hours of sleep.  My mom loves to come over first thing on Christmas morning and watch the kids open their presents.  So, we had my brother stand in the kitchen with his wife and kids.   My mom came in and sat on our couch in the family room to watch my kids open gifts.  Then she looked over into the kitchen and for just a minute, I really thought she was having a heart attack.   I'm not kidding, she did not breathe for a full 10 seconds.  And then she realized that my brother was real and in fact standing in my kitchen!   Needless to say, she jumped up, ran to him, embraced him (my little brother - HA!) and cried for the next 5 minutes.   She said it was her best Christmas ever! 

The only thing that broke it all up was my patient little 5 year old son who said, "Can we get back to opening presents, please?!?!?"   

 After it was all over in 8.5 minutes, my ever sweet daughter looked over the pile of gifts and family everywhere and simply said - "We are very blessed, Mommy."

Indeed, we are.

How was your holiday?  Did you blog about it?  I'd love to read about your special memories! 

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

I just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas
May it be full of love and joy.

I am signing off the blog for a few more days - see you soon!

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Word - The Word Became Flesh

 The angel answered (Mary), "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

Luke 1:35 (NIV)

 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 NIV


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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Update on the Mina

I wanted to update you on the Mina project that we did last week.   Hubby, myself and my mom started with $30. We had our little gold party and the gold procurer paid us a percentage of the total sales in cash. We made $493!!! We were able to help a family pay a water bill, another one buy coats, shoes and clothes for, donate $100 gift card to a family that desperately needed money to purchase coats and help a couple other families with Christmas gifts for their kids.  I feel like it was a successful mina project and thoroughly enjoyed serving these families.  Go Here to read about the Mina Project if you don't know what I am talking about.

I can't wait to hear how our church did as a whole. I am hearing stories from my friends who multiplied their money by 10 or 15 times! Yay! It's awesome because of how many families in our community are in need this Christmas. Maybe just a few can feel some peace because of this project.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

7 Days Until Christmas!

Can you believe it?

Are you ready?

I am nearly ready. I always have last minute things to do - just the kinda girl I am. But for the most part, I'm ready. Well, I did have to order some additional Christmas cards last night because I finally realized that the additional ones I ordered last week were not coming. The website didn't even have record of my order. Oh well, it's all working out now

I wonder what Santa will bring me this year. I didn't even have a list for Hubby this year. I feel pretty satisfied with what I have. Well, I do want an iPhone but I doubt I'm getting that. I don't even know if they make those in the North Pole. Were you asking for something special this year?

Just a couple last minute gifts, school finishes up today, wrapping just a few ALL the gifts and I might finally start some baking! It's really a miracle I've survived this holiday shopping season without one single homemade sugar cookie. Really - not one. Something needs to be done about that this weekend!

We are expecting snow here in NC. I have to say that I am not too excited about that. I just hate the cold. For me snow is pretty to look at and that is all. I grew up in the Midwest - I've seen enough snow for a lifetime. Keep your skiing, give me the beach. Plus, I still have some errands to do and it's not fun when you have to be out running around in a wintery mix of rain and snow = ice. But my kids are beside themselves excited, so I will have to put on my big girl snow boots, a big mommy smile, go outside and make a NC snowman (much different than a Midwest snowman by about 4 feet). Come in to make the hot chocolate and dry all the wet clothes. All the while, listening to squeals of delight. Oh, I guess it isn't all the bad now that I think about it.

So, how 'bout you?
Are you finished shopping?
Snow - love it or hate it?

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Family Gifts

As a younger couple we spent a lot of time (and money) buying each individual member of our family a gift.    We got each of our brothers a gift.  When they added wives - a gift,  kids - each a gift.    As you can imagine, it got to be pretty expensive.    So, we got a little smarter and started to work out a new plan with each family.  Some we exchange names and others we purchase a family gift.

So, I thought I would share some of those ideas with you from over the years.

Family Movie Night: 
This can be a couple ways.

  • Give them a DVD of family movie that they haven't seen yet -  include some microwave popcorn or Jiffy Pop and candy in a basket and you've got Family Movie Night.
  • Purchase DVD sets of your favorite old shows like The Brady Bunch, Gilligan's Island and The Lone Ranger.  They can have several movie nights with so many shows.  

    • This year I actually purchased movie tickets to the theater in my brother and sister in law's town ahead of time.  After I received the tickets, I added boxes of movie candy for each member (4 in this case), wrapped it all up in a little cute basket and shipped it off with a note that said, "Enjoy a Family Movie Night Out on us!"  Movies are expensive so I think this is a nice treat.    I know I'd love to get it!
    • You can also do this with local skating rinks, bowling, concerts and sporting events.  

    Family Game Night:

    • Last year, I had so much fun with this one.   I bought a couple of our favorite games and just like the movie night included some goodies like popcorn, candy, homemade treats.  Wrapped it all up for Family Game Night!  I thought about this later but how fun would it have been to include a blanket in this basket or slippers for each family member?!? 

    Our favorite games are Apples to Apples (they even have versions for younger kids), Sequence (also has a younger version) and Clue.   I am sure you have a favorite or two you could put in a basket.   Obviously, you want to base this on their age.

    • Wii games are great family fun games.    We have a blast with the bowling and Guitar Hero.  If they don't have those games and have a Wii, these would be fun. 

    This is a bit pricey (because you have to buy 2) and not a gift I have actually done, but my in-laws happen to have the same webcam as we do and we recently thought about connecting with each other on them.  My friend recently told me how she gave them to her family members when they moved away.  Great idea!   I love my Logitech and you can get free shipping on orders over $75 right now.   What a great way to stay in touch with long distance relatives.

    Photo Album:
    How about a photo album full of photos your family with their family?  Find pictures from over the years and put together a special keepsake for them to show how much you enjoy your time with them.  

    How about you?  What family gift ideas do you have?  And yes, I am fresh out, so I will be borrowing them!  ;)

    Stuff I gotta tell you:  

    *I did receive a Logitech webcam a few months ago from Logitech via MomSelect.  I have not received any other compensation from Logitech or MomSelect  for talking about my experience with my webcam.  I'm just sharing my opinion and the offers that are posted on the Logitech website.   I have not received any compensation for mentioning the games above.  I just like them. 

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    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    O Christmas Tree

    Yesterday, I joined in the Christmas Tour of Homes but I thought it would be fun to dedicate a whole post to the tree.   Not that it is that awesome or anything but it does have a little story.

    I love the tradition of taking the family and picking out a live tree.  We usually head to our local Farmer's Market or christmas tree stand near our home and pick out a tall but fat tree.  I survey the lot, the kids run through the rows and finally we decide on the perfect one.  Hubby ties it to the top of the van and we pray all the way home it doesn't blow off! 

    It's a beautiful picture.  Except that my kids and hubby have allergies and the tree does bother them.    So, since that picture of sickness is not so beautiful we decided to go artificial.  I miss the smell so I did buy some candles and other pine smelly things for the house.

    Another big change this year is that I finally succumbed and let the kids add colored lights to the tre.  And it looks very good mixed with the white lights!   I was pleasantly surprised.

    I don't have more than one tree.  My house just is not conducive to that.    Also, I'm not really keen on the idea of cleaning up two trees.   So, we have one tree.  It's in our family room where Christmas morning happens.  It's theme?  Family.  Fun.  Love.    It's not the most beautiful around but it's ours and it suits us just fine!

    It's full of ornaments the kids have made over the years.  I know that will not last forever, so I cherish and display each one.   Macaroni Angel.  

    And ornaments from my husband's childhood.  I think this was actually on his Grandmother's tree.  She passed many of them along to us a few years ago.

    Big silver and gold balls that I stuff deep in the middle of the tree and these red sparkly things that give it some color.  Like it needs anymore color!


    Topped with a bow.  My kids would like a star and I just can't find the perfect one.

    Merry Christmas from us to you!

    Check out Thrifty Decor Chick's Christmas Tree Party - click the button above!   More beautiful trees!

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    Monday, December 14, 2009

    Christmas Tour of Homes 2009

    It is time for the Holiday Christmas Home Tour for 2009!  This year it's being hosted by a favorite blogger of mine and yours - The Nester!   You have to spend some time checking out her home and the many other beautiful homes linked up on the tour.  It's so fun to have a peek into everyone's homes and decorations!  Have fun and thanks for stopping by!

    Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

    I decided to try a little Smilebox slideshow this year since I had so many photos.  Oh and there is music with it so press mute if you have a sleeping baby in your arms! 

    Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Christmas Tour 2009
    Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
    Make a Smilebox slideshow

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    Sunday, December 13, 2009

    O Come, O Come Emmanuel

    Our Church had an awesome Christmas production this  past weekend. They always just exceed my expectations.    Our drama director and team is amazing, our worship director, band and vocalists are just inspiring and we had dancers from THE Carolina Ballet perform in the show. I was moved to tears through much of the show, laughed out loud at other times and then just rejoiced with everyone else in celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    Anyway, this was one of the songs they sang during the show and I love it so much.   It's been with me all weekend and thought I would share with you!   Merry Christmas!

    It was actually hard for me to pick a favorite rendition of this song on YouTube.  If you have a minute after you listen to this, I also really enjoyed the versions by Enya, Sixpence None The Richer, Casting Crowns (instrumental) and Sufjan Stevens.  All just amazing!  This one by Selah was the closet to what it sounded like this weekend, though.  

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    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    Happy Birthday, Sweet Pup

    I indicated I would be posting something about what gifts are good for the entire family but I'm saving that until Monday.  I think more people will be available to read it and we have a day full of parades and parties today!  'Tis the Season!

    Today is Elmo's birthday.  My kids are so into celebrating the dog's birthdays.  It's cute. 

    Last February, we decided to adopt another dog.  It's been exhausting, to be completely honest.   I don't want to sugar coat the amount of energy and work it takes to raise a new puppy because I don't think many people realize this until it's too late.    So, yes rescue those sweet dogs but make a long-term plan on the work to train them.  It will make a happy dog and you will be a happier dog owner. 

      For his birthday, we gave him a new bed so he won't sleep in mine and dog obedience training.    He is doing so great with his new training.   Well, we are having a little trouble with the sleeping in his new bed part, but we'll get it soon.   It's just a matter of me really being more firm with him.    

    We love him very much and consider this crazy sweet boy a part of our family.  We'll do what it takes to make sure he is confident and happy here in our little pack.  So, happy birthday Elmo! 

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    My New Favorite Lotion

    I posted on Chic Critique yesterday about my new favorite, paraben-free lotion.  And it's cheap! 
    Head on over to Chic Critique today to read about 365 Paraben-Free Lotion and shower gel.

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    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Gift Cards are a Gift

    I love gift cards.  Not only to give them but I LOVE to receive them.  Over the years, my poor hubby has come to the conclusion that I am a bit picky in the gift department.    Often, unless he knows of something specifically that I want, he will give me gift cards to the mall.

    He knows me.
    He speaks my language.
    Shopping is a gift for me.

    I used to do it too much and I've had to rein that in over the years.  So, when he gives me what seems like FREE money to spend however I choose, I promise you, I am childlike.

    I do know family members and even friends that seem to be down on the gift card as a gift.  They think they take less thought than finding a very personal gift to give someone.   I can see that point.  I am truly honored when someone thinks of giving me something that I would love but might not have bought for myself.   I feel valued when they listen to something I have expressed wanting, make a mental note and buy it for me for as a gift.

    But I also feel valued, honored and loved when I get a gift card to a favorite store or... Starbucks.

    Honestly, some people are very good at the buying people the perfect gifts.   Others just struggle.  It's difficult and stressful for them.   My mom hates to shop and often has me go buy my kids gifts just because she can't handle the stress of the stores.

    And what do you buy a teenager?  A shirt that won't fit or has the wrong color blue on it?  A CD they already have or won't use because they only know how to download music from iTunes?

      • You buy the teens in your Aeropostale, Old Navy, Hollister Co., GameStop or iTunes cards.  You will forever be their favorite relative.

      • Or the sister or friend who has everything?    Starbucks cards.   iTunes, photo-site gift cards, Hallmark gift cards.  A gift card to a bookstore is always a favorite gift of mine.  Even if the person you know isn't a big reader they usually have music, cookbooks, stationary and cards at bookstores also. 

      • Really, Starbucks and iTunes or Rhapsody gift cards are great for most people.  These are things people love but seem to cut back on when times are tight.  Like now.  

        • The brother and sister-in-law who just bought a house?  Home Depot gift cards - wrap it with a screwdriver or hammer if you want to include something they can hold on to.  I always need a hammer or a screwdriver.  Or one of those little bitty screwdrivers that you need to open every single toy in the world.   Those are awesome to have extra.

        • New baby in the family? Send the parents a Target gift card tucked in some little cute socks - diapers are a never-ending expense.

        So, if you receive a gift card, accept it with great joy - it is a gift after all.  And if you are struggling over what to get someone, think of where they might like to shop or eat during the week - a favorite restuarant, movies, etc. and buy them a gift card there.

        I would stick with big name stores when buying gift cards.  You never know when someone will go out of business and don't want your mother in law to be stuck with a gift card she can't spend.  

        So, how about you?  Are you a fan of gift cards or not?

        Tomorrow - Family Gifts.  I'll share with you gifts that work for an entire family.

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        The Chubby Dove

        Have you met my new friend at the Chubby Dove? She is an amazing artist that makes the cutest frames and gifts. She is multi-talented, making tables out of doors and decorating her house with ease. Anyway, I just wanted to send you her way to check out her blog and Etsy store.

        We met briefly a couple weeks ago at a blogger dinner. We communicated a little by email and found out that we live very close to each other. Then she visited my church one Sunday and I got to meet her family.

        So, last night we met for coffee (well, really gelati and smoothies!) and talked non-stop! We were sharing things with each other like we'd been friends for years. That is the kind of new friendship I love, one that just opens up right away.

        Anyway, thanks for meeting me last night, J!

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        Wednesday, December 9, 2009

        Electronic Hypnotism - Wordless Wednesday

        Once I found my photos from last Christmas, I stumbled on this one which was taken just a few hours after all the excitement of opening gifts died down.    Here are my kids and my niece with what appears to be their favorite gifts - electronics.   Apparently, things that beep are still king in the toy department.   Look how hypnotized each of them seem on their respective games and phone. 

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        Tuesday, December 8, 2009

        The Training Continues...

        Apparently, training your pet is an ongoing thing.  Kinda like raising kids.  So the dog trainer told me today after our visit.   He's coming back for the next four weeks to work with the person in the house that is most responsible for him but the least consistent in training him.  That would be me.

        I hate to even tell this story because this dog is so sweet, that I don't want you to think badly of him.  Like he will ever know, right  Anyway, he bit my Bubby.  In defense of the dog, my son was trying to take away a can that Elmo got out of the recycling bin, he was being chased by several kids who were also trying to get the can and it was over Thanksgiving when his home had been descended upon by 7 more people and another dog.   I think he was a bit stressed.

        As I was cleaning up my son and after I got over my anger toward the dog (because it's really hard not to be mad at your dog who just bit your child), I just got sad because I've heard that once a dog bites a child that he will do it again.  And we have tons of kids in our yard all the time.   I was really afraid that finding a new home might be necessary.  

        So, on a recent vet visit, she recommended the dog trainer and some encouragement that a young dog/puppy can be trained not to bite again.  Whew.  

        The diagnosis for our sweet Elmo is that he has fear-based aggression.  Both the vet and the trainer have said so and that we need to work with him to fill him up with confidence so he won't be fearful.   Think obstacle courses!  He already knows very basic commands so we just need to reinforce those.  Also, the trainer suggested we not give him bones and rawhide and thinks they actually can cause some aggression in dogs.  They look to the bone as prey, they hide it, they guard it - makes sense.  

        He actually has always been submissive and it hurts me to think that he might have been abused as a very small puppy but if I so much as raise my voice at him, he rolls over, lowers his ears and often runs and hides.   This dog is not aggressive by nature.  Why why why are people mean to animals? 

        Anyway, I haven't been consistent training him.   I've made all the mistakes.  For instance, the first question the trainer asked me is, "Where does he sleep at night?"

        Really?  I'm going to get the first question wrong? 

        Yes, we finally succumbed to letting this 38 pound dog sleep at the foot of our bed.  I knew it was not a good idea.  He just has the biggest brown eyes and I felt sad for him being the only one on the floor.  Because yes, our 11 year old, 6 pound Maltese also sleeps with us and that dog will never be sleeping on the floor.  'Cause you can't teach an old dog new tricks - for sure.   But 6 pounds vs. 38 pounds is a big difference in many ways.  A 6 pound untrained dog is easy to pick up and just ignore.  A 38 pound dog is not.   Oh, and by the way, he is 8 pounds overweight according to the vet.   sigh.  Could I just do one more thing wrong with this dog?

        Apparently, you cannot treat dogs like humans.  They are unique creatures who have their own habits and need to be trained according to those habits.   Again, I know this.  Really, I do.    Just like I know that if I allow my kids an inch, they will take a mile.  The dogs will too. 

        It's just easier sometimes to give in.  Easier at the moment.  Harder later when the dog starts to think he is equal to other people in the house and bite them.

        So, here I go - working with my dog some more to make him the most confident, obedient, sweetest dog ever.    The trainer is very confident that we can train him just the way we want with lots of practice.  I have homework each week.

        Anyway, I learned this week that teaching a dog is ongoing.  It's not something you can do the first 4 months and then forget about.  I have to be consistent and not take the easy way out for the moment. 

        For More Lessons Learned this week, head over to Musings of a Housewife.

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        Sunday, December 6, 2009

        Gold, Mina, Giving Back

        What do gold and the bible story of Mina have to do with each other?  Well, a lot more than just both being money.   Let me tell you all about it!    

        A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I went to Gold Party and sold some of my old junky gold. When I say junky, I'm talkin' broken, missing pieces, completely out of style gold jewelry that was sitting in a small snack-size baggie in a drawer.  I sold it for $341.00.   My sister in law recently sold hers for almost $500.00!  I immediately took my "earnings" and bought some Christmas presents with it.   I also mentioned in that post that I would be having a gold party myself.

        What I have not told you about is this year's Mina Project at my church.  Here is a little history of why we do it, what it is and how it's impacted our community.   I've talked about it in past years HERE and HERE

        What is the Mina Project?
        In simplest terms, it is Hope Community Church's radical gesture of generosity to our local community and beyond. It is built on the precept of Jesus’ parable of the minas (pronounced my-na), calling us to multiply and invest in God’s kingdom.

        How did it get its name?
        In ancient Greece and Asia, a mina was a varying weight or value of money. In Biblical times, five minas were worth about three months wages. We have named this annual undertaking the Mina Project based on Jesus’ parable of the minas as told in Luke 19:11-27, particularly verse 13 as the nobleman charges his servants, “…’Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.” The servants were given the money to invest and work with to see by how much they could increase the amount given to them. Since each was given a relatively small sum, the nobleman’s purpose was not to increase his own worth, but to see which of his servants would be worthy of greater responsibility in his kingdom when he returned. We, of course, understand that Jesus is the nobleman inferred by the parable and we are the servants to whom much has been entrusted on his behalf.  It is the work of God’s kingdom that we are to invest in.

        How does Hope’s 2009 Mina Project work?
        During the weekend services of October 31/November 1, each adult Hope attendee—at both the Raleigh and Holly Springs campuses--received an envelope bearing various amounts of cash ranging in increments of $10-$100. In total, $60,000 was distributed throughout all four services. With eight weeks leading up to Christmas, the congregation is encouraged to be as creative and innovative as possible and use the money to invest in a project or work to raise additional funds. This will allow them to multiply their “minas” to provide aid to someone in need. Then, before Christmas day, they are asked to take their profits and use them to help someone in the community less fortunate then themselves--a family, a single parent, a widow, a non-profit organization, etc.

        Mina Project 2008

        In August 2008, $50,000 was distributed throughout Hope’s congregation. They were also asked to increase the amount they had been given and then return the donations by October 26, 2008 to benefit a pre-selected list of charitable organizations. From the $50,000 given out, over $400,000 was returned by our congregation for disbursement among the following non-profit organizations: Wake InterFaith Hospitality Network, Raleigh Rescue Mission, Healing Place of Wake County, Alliance of AIDS Services (Carolina), House of Hope, With Love from Jesus, M25 Organization, Urban Hope, Ship of Zion, and the Hope4Haiti Foundation.

        Mina Project 2007
        2007 was the first year of Hope’s Mina Project. $35,000 was distributed and that year, congregants were simply asked to give the money away to someone in need. They were encouraged to find ways to multiply the money received before distributing it. Based on the stories and feedback we received, we are confident that over $200,000 was provided to local agencies, ministries, individuals and families in need.

        What does one have to do with the other?  
        I'm glad you asked.   I'm having a gold party and just like any in-home party, the hostess gets a certain percentage of the sales of that party.  At a gold party, that comes in the form of cash.  So, I am donating whatever my party makes to my Mina Project.   The best part of it is that the people coming to my gold party do not have to donate a penny of their earnings from their own gold.   Unless, of course, they want to.

        So, I invite everyone I know to a Christmas Open House, they sell their old gold and make cash to buy Christmas gifts, give to their own charities or mina projects and I raise money for my own mina project which will be given to a family in great need right here in my community.   In this city of abundance in which  I live, also live more than a few families that are without homes, food and bare necessities to just survive.  I hope to help one of those families with my Mina money.

        How Do You Get In On This? 
        If you are local the the Raleigh/Durham area and would like to come to my party - email me at and I will send you directions.  It is not at my home.  It is a very central location in Apex and I would love to for you to come, have some treats, make some money and help this very important cause.

        By the way, if you want to have your own gold party, my very good friend is the procurer and helps you host these parties.  I'd love to pass her name along to you.  

        Hope to see you there! 
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