Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hair Of The Blog Part 2

So it's been one week since I stopped shaving my legs and the tops of my toes. And in 1 week I learned that I suck at hair growing and I'm apparently also bad at math. I know I only shave the tops of my toes twice yearly, so why did I think I would have measurable growth after 2 weeks? So with only barely stubbly legs I am giving up on the toes and hope that I'm not the only hairless freak in the contest.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about and are toatally grossed out think I've lost my mind, read last week's post and check out Rachel's Hair Of The Blog '09 Contest and vote for your favorite hairy parts.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pushing for Perfection

As parents we all think that our children are the brightest, most talented little creatures that ever lived and it's our job as parents to encourage and support our children. However, there is a line that occasionally gets crossed. We all know of those crazy soccer parents who are at every practice with a mug of coffee, a whistle and obnoxious commentary from the sidelines, or the parents that push their children into learning the violin at age 3. We all want our children to be the best and have happy healthy lives, but realistically they can't all be sports stars or masters of the violin, or in Binny and Mae's case award winning artists.

Hubby and I have encouraged art in our children's lives since the moment they were able to grasp a paintbrush or pencil. We see art as an expression of one's self and an outlet for their emotions. I can tell if Binny's having a good day or bad day based on a drawing and same for Mae. We never criticize their art and rarely ask "what is it?" because does it really matter what it is? Not to us. They are old enough now to draw things that are recognizable and they'll tell us what they drew, for example Binny drew a picture of me recently and came right out and said that it was a picture of me getting out of the shower. I couldn't have instructed her to draw such a thing; she thought of it on her own, drew it on her own, presented it to me on her own, and hung it on the fridge on her own. She feels a great sense of accomplishment when she can do something all by herself, why wouldn't she, she's 4.
At school, Binny's class has been learning about families for the past week. The children brought in photos of their families, practiced writing the names of all of their family members, and so on. Yesterday she brought home a handmade book with the title "My Family." On each page of the book was a drawing of each family member. One for mom, one for dad, one for Mae and one of herself. As I paged through the book I was quite pleased with her progress... until I got to the picture of her.
The picture she drew of herself reeks of adult "help." The hair, the eyes, the nose, the perfectly round face. That's just not Binny's style, and not the work I would expect out of the average 4 year old. I know she didn't draw this because I know my child and her drawings, and frankly I'm irritated that a teacher had the nerve to take a crayon from a child's hand and destroy the beautiful work she was creating. Her father and I know that she's still developing her drawing skills and we feel that she needs to learn this on her own or by example on A SEPARATE PIECE OF PAPER. I don't mind someone reinforcing that she needs to include all the features of a face, or instructing her to maybe use more than one color, but taking over and doing it for her, not my idea of constructive teaching.

To us, art is a very personal thing and judging someone by their artistic abilities just isn't fair. Either you have it or you don't. No different than the ability to sing (in a pleasing way- forget American Idol), dance, play an instrument, etc. If she were uninterested or had a short attention span I could maybe understand, but I know that's not the case and if so I would like to hear about it. Her report card came home yesterday, with all high marks and no concerns from the teacher. What gives?

These are two of Binny's recent drawings, both of herself.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sing Along

Last night while helping me prepare dinner, Binny was entertaining all of us with her version of the theme song to the cartoon Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse. Which to her is, "Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse" repeated over and over and over. To stop the madness I said "Binny, did you know that Grandma Dee had a brother named Marvin?" Binny says "Oh Yeah, what was his name?"

I give up.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Favorite Salad

It's been a long time since I posted a recipe, and since the space that usually contains my brain has been replaced with snot; I can't come up with anything better to write today. So here goes a no fail recipe.

I must have taken the photo before dousing the salad with the dressing, oops.

Spinach, strawberries, feta cheese and walnuts with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I have no idea how many calories are in this yummy concoction, but it is quite healthy. I love this salad for lunch or a slightly smaller portion to accompany an entree.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sudafed and Home Improvement

We're still not over this terrible head cold. How can that much snot can be coming out of our bodies? We have gone through 3 boxes of tissues this past week and all of us have raw noses and upper lips. Despite our illness, we spent all weekend working on the bathroom projects.

Yesterday I ran (actually I drove) to Menard's to get a few things to finish up our bathroom. $150 later and I still needed a toilet. I did manage to pick up a cute mirror, a new vanity top and a variety of plumbing supplies. After I loaded everything into the car and started driving home, hubby called to tell me he needs one more thing. So I figure fine, I'll just stop at Home Depot on the way home, get his stuff and pick up a toilet while I'm there. I get in the store, find hubby's junk and head for the pottys. I found a great deal on an all-in-one toilet set complete with the seat on sale for 80 bucks.

Ok, you got me, I really bought the toilet because it had a name only appropriate for a toilet.

The problem with the all-in-one is that everything is all in one extremely heavy and huge box. So, I find a tall orange-aproned employee to hoist my toilet onto my cart and off I go with another $100 worth of stuff.

I get out to my car, fold down the back seats and rearrange the trunk contents to accommodate my big commode. I pulled my car up to the front doors of the store where yet another employee (this would be the guy who retrieves the carts, wearing an orange safety vest and matching hat) was standing with my cart. I open the trunk and the guy just stands there and looks at the situation like he can't handle the task of lifting a toilet into the trunk of my car. My car has a huge trunk but a very small trunk hole, which seems to be a more important quality,if you ask me. So, he struggles to get it in the hole as I rearrange my other purchases one more time. After what seemed like forever out in the cold, a big guy with a beard and a cigarette hanging from his mouth comes over and says "here, let me do it." Without putting out his cigarette, he grabs my toilet and swiftly rotates it into the trunk of my car. I thank him and the cart pusher and head for home.

Later on while hooking up the plumbing on the sink, a plastic drain fitting broke and we didn't have a spare of that variety. So, back to the store for me. As I pulled into the parking lot my phone rings and it's hubby with a frustrated tone in his voice. "Yeah, you're going to need to get a new crescent wrench, and I might need stitches." I leave the house for 20 minutes and he slices 2 fingers wide open. I quickly found what I needed and take off for home. Hubby didn't end up going in for stitches, probably should have. I got home, helped him clean up and made dinner. After dinner we played a game in the living room with the girls and all of a sudden the power went out, AGAIN.

We set up a tent in the living room for Mae and Binny because the heat in the their rooms is electric and it was a whopping 4 degrees outside. We all brushed our teeth by candle light, went to bed and woke up this morning to a warm house. The power went back on around midnight; hubby got up and turned everything off because I was still in a sudafed induced coma, and was only awake long enough to blow my nose. What a fun Sunday!

We're not quite finished. We still need to hang all of the trim and some minor drywall and plaster patching. I also plan to hang some black and white photos.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hey, You're In My Spot

Our dog Rocko has a bum leg, sometimes both back legs from a dog vs. car experiment 2 years ago. He gets around ok on 3 legs, but doesn't like to lay on the floor unless it's well padded. So, we've recently started to look the other way when we catch him on the sofa. I just hope he doesn't tell Oliver about our new arrangement.
Who me?

Saturday, January 24, 2009


2 recent google searches that turned up my blog:

Lard on feet
Farm girl in the straw

I don't even want to know what these people were looking to find.
Any weird searches to your blog lately?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hair Of The Blog Part 1

Rachel at Reservation For Six came up with a ridiculous fun idea for a blog contest. If you've seen the photo on my sidebar then you probably can guess where this is going. Hair Of The Blog '09 Contest. That's right a hair growing contest, and since I recently wrote about shaving certain feminine body parts in celebration of the new president, and the removal of some dead wood, how could I say no?
Lets face it, women have a lot of upkeep especially after a few children. Luckily I'm not a super hairy person so I don't need to shave my legs everyday in the winter or even in the summer for that matter, but I try to keep them at least manageable, and I only shave the tops of my toes about twice a year. I never even thought about toes until a few years back when I heard something about it on the radio (before I made the switch to public radio of course). Some bubbly radio personality was talking about hairy toes and sandals. Apparently, that is a huge no-no! So from then on I started to consider toe hair removal seriously but only as a bi-annual event rather than an everyday thing. So that said, I have decided to let myself go for 2 weeks.

I will be growing my leg hair and toe hair(s). And if hubby does complain , he will be reminded that he grew a full beard during Christmas so he could sculpt his face into a white trash, Nascar fan with sideburn chops on New Year's Eve. I kissed his furry face for a whole month, and we have a no toe kissing policy, so I'm safe there. I'm not even sure that hubby would notice, so I' m not telling. I'll wait and see how long it takes for him to figure it out on his own, unless he's started reading my goofy blog.

Here's how it works if you want to join us:
Click on the link above or on the sidebar photo to get to the contest rules on Rachel's blog, and she's promised a prize for the winner. Enter, it will be fun. You do not need a blog to participate.

I will be posting next weekend with an update and photos. Rachel will have all of the entrants' photos up on her blog to vote on.

Good luck and happy hair growing!
Before Pics:

hairless toes

freshly shaved left leg complete with bumps... It's so dry here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Plumber's Crack

So, her butt crack isn't really showing, but cute anyway. Mae was helping Hubby move the toilet so we could put the washer into the new laundry room. The toilet, door and part of the wall had to be removed for this simple little five minute project.

***And Mom, before you call and chew me out for letting Mae touch the dirty underside of our toilet, I will have you know that she was promptly whisked into the shower and thoroughly disinfected after her helper duties were complete.***

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

3rd Illness Of The Year

We made it through the pink eye fun from last week with only 1 case of the nasty infection, but don't worry we've redeemed ourselves with one hell of a cold. Hubby was sick over the weekend, hacking up lung cheese and complaining. There's nothing worse than a man with a cold. You'd think the world was coming to an end. "Honey, I don't feel well, can you get me something to drink? Do I have a fever? I can't get off the sofa, I'm sick." Oh yeah lots of fun, and for extra credit I had the privilege of washing 37 hankies, because why use a Kleenex that can be discarded mucous, germs and all when we have perfectly good hankies to use, then shove back into our pockets and reuse until completely saturated with illness?
Surprise, surprise now the rest of us have this pesky cold. Mae was home sick yesterday and I kept Binny home today only because I don't think she would keep on top of her drippy nose at school. She isn't running a fever, but not up to snuff either. This morning I started to feel a roughness in my throat and that woozy head cold feeling, but I'm the mom and we all know that moms don't get sick days (I need a better contract). At least hubby is starting to feel better and I can now tend to the real children.

And now totally unrelated: This was the sunset here last night.

The summer sunsets are only better because I don't have to put on my boots to go outside and enjoy it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Snow Fun

Yesterday was still very cold, but we couldn't stay inside any longer. The snow was calling us. The girls played and I snapped photos until my battery got too cold and stopped working.


Skeleton training

I won't be receiving parent of the year with that bit of exposed leg.

she had to wade through the deep snow to get to the swing set, but it was worth it.

The dog that never gets cold.

He could stand at the top of the snow pile for hours watching the snowmobilers ride through the field... or until his little legs are numb.

Why We Love Uncles

My brother, Uncle Nommy comes over about once a week to hang out with the girls and fill his belly with whatever leftovers may be hiding in my fridge. It has become a ritual that he gets here about 10 minutes before the bus arrives to pick up Mae, so he's got time to chat with her and get an update on the latest illness running through our house before he scoops her up and hauls her outside to the bus.

My other brother, Uncle Skunkle called me the other night, which in itself is a special occasion. I usually only hear from him if he needs something. Things I think he should know like Mom's birthday, Grandma and Grandpa's phone number or at least write down and keep in... oh I don't know, maybe an address book. The other night he called for a recipe, if you call boiling a dozen eggs, a recipe. As I heard the gas stove click in the background, I asked myself, is this a good idea? The image of him exploding eggs in the microwave during a culinary experiment sometime in the early 90s ran through my head. Oh well, he's a grown man and for crying out loud wears a suit to work everyday.

And lastly, Uncle Goo-Goo, hubby's brother. Oh, too much to say about him. He emailed the other day from a part of the country that I know too well, and in the winter that's a bad thing. He sent along a photo of the thermometer in his truck to prove that indeed the Minnesota/ North Dakota border is the coldest place to be this time of year. Duh! Well, he can keep his -40 degree temperatures, and trust that in 6 months Minnesota will again look like this:

Uncles are a different breed of man. All 3 love their nieces to pieces! Gotta love that!
***after this great description, anyone looking for a man? All 3 are single.***

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I'm out $30

In this economic downturn (ridiculous term, but I use it anyway, WHY?) you would think that I would take advantage of every opportunity to make a buck. Well, I didn't. Apparently that raccoon I helped kill the other night was worth a hefty $30, after being skinned of course. The full time farm hand was very pleased to find the frozen raccoon in the morning. He picked up the frozen remains and placed it in the trunk of his car, let it thaw then skinned it for the pelt.

No thank you, I don't care how broke I am, you won't get me to skin a rabid animal.

Friday, January 16, 2009

House Arrest

For the second day in a row school has been cancelled due to extremely cold weather. So the last 2 days have been a mix of fun and fighting. I was hoping to take the kids to the library or the Art's center yesterday just to get out of the house, but after accompanying my dogs out for a pee break, I decided that we would stay home in our warm house. Hopefully swim practice will be on for tomorrow, as these kids need to move.

Stuck in the house activities:

Besides Binny's Great Spin, she has also developed a Great Move



You may notice that Mae is absent form these photos. After her less than wonderful behavior last night, she received as a reward, an earlier bedtime.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Last Night At The Farm...

Oooh, that just sounds like trouble. Before you read this, may I suggest that you make sure all of your doors are closed and there is no chance that wild animals can enter, bite you and give you rabies. Seriously, do it.

Last night I went to the farm for my twice weekly feed, milk and pitch shit session on a very cold and windy evening. This isn't a post complaining about the bitter cold, although school has been cancelled today due to extreme temps, but rather a post about how I am not a farm girl. Just because I live in an old farmhouse, out in the middle of a large farm field and work on a dairy farm, does not mean I was born with the farm instinct necessary to deal with what I witnessed last night.

I was ready to bed the heifers, so I ran up the barn hill and into the upstairs hay and straw storage area to drop down a bale of straw to spread in the pens. As I approached the straw bales, I saw what I thought was just a farm cat leaning up against the very bale I needed to disassemble and toss down through the hole in the floor. As I got closer I realized that this was no cat. No, the tail was too fluffy, and bigger, much bigger than the skinny farm cats, and the mask around it's face??? Then all of a sudden this ran through my brain:

Holy shit! It's a raccoon, probably has rabies, is totally gonna bite me, I'm not carrying a pitch fork and my raccoon eradicator friend, Bonnie is nowhere to be found!!! all of this runs through my head as I stand there motionless hoping that the dirty, miserable thing doesn't see me. I catch my breath, calmly walk back downstairs and announce to the farmer, Ms. D. that "There's a f*cking raccoon upstairs; and this is where I draw the line." She chuckles and says, "did you at least get your bale down?" "Um-no, there's a raccoon standing next to it!" Then she says so matter of factly "Take Peppy (the hyper farm dog) along... and here this too" as she hands me a pitchfork. Reluctantly, I coax the dog outside and up into the barn. We get up there and the dog doesn't notice the raccoon. As I'm pointing with my fork from a safe distance, the dog finally sees the thing and of course as I suspected, all hell breaks loose. Biting, snarling, screaming. The dog had no intentions of just chasing the raccoon out of the barn; that crazy dog was out for blood. After about 10 minutes of screaming and thrashing, equal parts me and the animals, Ms. D pulls open the hay chute and yells,
"did he git 'em out?"
me: "Um-no, they're still fighting, and AAAAHHH!"
Ms. D: "I'm comin' up"

She comes in the barn to cheer on the dog and assist by using the pitchfork to lift the thrashing raccoon with dog still attached out of the barn and into the snow, where the dog could finish him off.

I catch my breath, make sure that I haven't peed myself, then chuckle and admit that "I am no farm girl!" Ms. D agreed as I took the pitch fork from her hand, threw down my bale of straw and left the barn.

After chores, I went out to start my truck and noticed that the raccoon was still lying in the middle of the driveway, motionless and well on it's way to being a frozen raccoon-cicle.

I know this is a fact of life living in the country, but at home, my hubby takes care of these things. It's common to see mice or the occasional rat at the farm, and I have even stepped on a mouse and called the cats over for an afternoon treat, but this was over the top.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Freshly Showered

Binny handed this drawing to me and said "Mommy, it's you"

School Update

I heard back from the principal today. She listened to me, kind of. Our whole conversation lasted less than 3 minutes. I could tell she felt uncomfortable about the whole topic of religion in public school and quickly ended that by saying that when she started as principal this fall, she brought up the issue but was convinced to leave it alone because of strong community support.

If we ignore it, it will go away.

And the "Leroy the redneck reindeer" song. She asked "what didn't you like about it? I gave her the definition of redneck and said that I thought the use of it in an elementary school program was inappropriate and offensive. What may be acceptable in adult comedy routines may not be taken the same way when it comes from the mouths of children. She took no claim for any of the song choices and said she would pass my message on to the music teacher.

I still feel unheard and now singled out as the wimpy- can't take a joke, heathen. :(

I think I 'll just let it go until next year. Before the practice even begins, I will have a conversation with the music teacher and express my concerns. What other choice do I have?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Stink Eye. Scratch That, I Mean Pink Eye

After a whole week of healthy children (too good to be true in Jan.) Mae woke up yesterday without the ability to open her eyes. Ready, set, panic. "Mahhhhhmmeeeee!" Both eyes were so crusted over, I had to hold a warm washcloth over her face until the crust melted (I know TMI, but come on. Haven't we all been there?) I was convinced that she had yet another sinus infection gone wild, so I called the clinic, and by luck (obviously not mine) her doc. happened to have a 9:45 opening. No way, this never happens. I usually get, "how does tomorrow sound?" Then fight with the nurse to give me someone other than the always available, not so hot doc.

Her regular pediatrician walks in the room with those sympathetic mommy eyes and says "lets just hope that this is pink eye and not another sinus infection." Not necessarily comforting words, considering she won't be instilling 2 drops per eye three times daily, but I'll take the eye drops over the heavy duty antibiotic that we're used to. Doc was right as always, and off we went to the pharmacy. While waiting for the slowest pharmacist ever, my youngest, sweet Binny intentionally sticks her foot out in front of an elderly (I think she may have also been blind) woman who didn't speak any English, so when I apologized and simultaneously grabbed Binny by the arm to reprimand her, the woman just snarled and shuffled off. Sorry, old lady.

Today is Mae's turn to bring the snack for the entire class. So, if she's still crusty-eyed when she wakes up this morning, I know what we'll be eating for the next 4 days.

Yeah, that's right, blueberry muffins from scratch. Only because I have a shitload of blueberries in the freezer and not enough string cheese for the whole class.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mommy Belly

Blogger, Kelly from Heathen Family Revival bared her belly this morning on her own blog, and on a blog called The Belly Project. Very interesting, go check it out, unless bellies scare you. Definitely a worthwhile click. Bellies of all shapes and sizes.
So, after I insisted Kelly show hers, I promised to show mine.

Here I am 40 weeks pregnant with Binny (my second child)


and just for fun, here's Binny's after her umbilical hernia repair.


Yesterday we had dinner (the noon meal) at hubby's great Aunt and Uncle's house. It was a huge meal of pork roast, purple cabbage (new one for my kids, but they liked it), all sorts of other sides and pie, 3 kinds of pie and one cake. Half way through a very delicious piece of lemon meringue pie, I was informed that the reason the pie was so heavenly was the fact that the crust was made with lard. I guess I didn't think that lard was even used anymore. Then I got to hear about how there are very few places to even buy lard anymore. Uncle E had to travel 40 miles to a butcher shop that sells lard. All for a flaky delicious crust.

I found some info on lard and thought I would share.

Lard may not be as healthful as margarine, vegetable fats, or oils, but it remains in demand for cooks who want the flakiest pie crusts and most delicious biscuits. Because of its high smoke point, it is also a popular frying oil and flavoring behind traditional tamales.
Lard is made of rendered and clarified
pork fat, which means high cholesterol content, but no trans fatty acids.
The quality of lard varies depending on the part of the pig from which it was rendered. The lowest grade is from the intestine area, while the best is from around the kidneys (called “leaf” lard). Any yield from along the back is nearly as good.
In some regions, lard is available either unprocessed or processed (for a longer shelf life).
Buying Tips
In many countries, lard is readily available at any market. In the U.S. it may be more difficult to find. However, some grocery stores carry packaged pork fat, which can be rendered over heat and kept for several weeks in the refrigerator.
Storage Tips
Canned lard, once opened, can become rancid if not tightly sealed, kept cool, and stored away from sunlight.
Usage Tips
• Tough and dry meat cuts can be injected with strips of pork fat – called “lardons” - in a process called “larding.”
• Lard is sometimes stored in
salt to retain quality and blanching may be required. Bring lard and water to a boil then quickly remove and place under running water until cool.
• Add to
soups and stews or when boiling vegetables for rich flavor.
Substitution Tips
• Equal amounts of vegetable oil or
Butter (for better flavor), increased by one-quarter of required amount.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Back To Cute Kids And Remodel Update

Thank you to everyone who commented on yesterday's post. Whether you agree with me or not, I appreciate your thoughts on this very sensitive issue of children and religion. I left up my previous posts because I believe that this is a very valid conversation that cannot be ignored.

Also I want to welcome new blogger, Bonnie. She's not new to the blogging world but she's new to mine. Bonnie and her husband live near us and I'm so happy that they do. Bonnie came to my rescue this summer when Rocko (my dog, not a child) got in a fight with a raccoon. Binny and I were home alone, and I was hopped up on benadryl from a nasty case of poison ivy. Bonnie saved the day with her calm voice and a handful of firecrackers. Thank you Bonnie. Now go check out her blog.

Now back to cute kids and a remodel update:

Binny's best hat. I'll be sad when that one is too small.

installing the new tub

Hubby spent all day Saturday framing, plumbing and wiring. We're at the point where the kids can walk right through the studs, where eventually a wall will be. If you've ever built a house or remodled you know what I mean. Very fun for the little ones. "Look mom, I'm in the bathroom, now out, now in, now out, now in." You get the picture.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Friendly Discussion?

Apparently I irriatated one of my faithful readers this morning with this post.

Sam, a longtime friend decided that he needed to respond and doing so in my comment section wasn't enough so wrote a whole post about it. Here it is in case you don't feel like clicking through:

You want to know what I don’t get, NOW. The National Organization of Women, which supported Bill Clinton because he was a democrat, even though he slept around on Hillary. Think about it. An organization whose mission is to advance women’s rights and speak out in defense of women in need, support a philanderer.While it should be said, I lean right, and do support the W., it should be noted that I support the long-range vision that I feel he has on certain issues. But what that doesn’t mean is that I support him and 100% of his actions, policies and political actions JUST because he is a Republican.I am for an unbiased political and socio-economic discussion of Middle America in the lower-middle class, like I think my friend Ali has as an underlying motive in her blog, but today I think she went a little overboard.She wrote in I am a Hard Line Democrat What Would Jesus Do:My daughter's class sang "Jesus Christ is born" and the second grade sang "Mary did you know?" What the hell? This is a public school! I know this is a community with strong Christian beliefs, but come on, this is a government funded PUBLIC school for EVERYONE, regardless of religious affiliation. It seems that I 'm always fighting the issue of what kinds of religion my children are being taught behind my back. Am I just making too much of this? Does this happen in other public schools?To which I responded, which I am not posting, but you can go there if you feel the need to read the comment and the next comment by Ali.This is where I struggle as an American with our political system. While one candidate may be too far left, the other candidate may be too far right. The majority of people, or at least electors, picks a candidate, and then the majority of America spends the next 4-years complaining, and posting “Shave the Date – Get Rid of Your Bush” logos on their mommy blogs.Pat Buchanan, ran for the Office of the President in 2000, I believe, and prior to that, when he was bashing Clinton the way today’s democrats bash Bush, he sounded like a right-wing member of a certain socialist group that overtook most of Europe in the 1930’s… While Ali and her “woe is the religious fundamentals being taught my children,” sounds like a certain style of government that swept the majority of Asia, and a cigar making county in the Caribbean.So there you have it. You’re too far right, and you are a WWII German, and too far left, you are a Red Commie. But I am not trying to judge, or intentionally label (except maybe for Ali). Rather, I am trying to live the importance of patience, foresight, and a worldview.When Ali wrote, “I don't have a problem with Christmas, but I do have a problem with a public school telling my children that Jesus died for their sins,” the first thing I thought, ok, she’s an atheist. This is why she hates Christmas programs at her school, that force her kids to sing Christian songs about a man, who, lets be honest here, I believe did die for our sins. [Editors note: her kids got a crap load of presents for the religious holiday of Christmas. Will she return them, as the holiday is religious? She had her children pose with Jolly ol’ Saint Nick (Santa Claus). Will she burn those? Can she have it both ways?]For all you public school parents, will you consider complaining when The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is read aloud to your children, or they see the play? It’s about God you know? Or will you force your children instead to sit in a corner by themselves and read The Golden Compass? It’s about atheism!Sure I don’t have kids, but I was once a kid, and not too long ago. Granted, Ali lives in a town that is dominated by Dutch Reformers, but I grew up less than 5 miles away from where she now lives, so I think I have a basis to talk. I went to school, and with my agnostic (for lack of a better word) friend NRB, and talked about religion in open dialog at school between our friends and us. No one complained. No one got upset. Around Christmas, we sang religious songs at public school, read books with religious themes.It’s children singing – the most beautiful sound in the world. I think Ali missed the point, and let her surroundings tarnish the sight and memory of happy children; of her children happy.I think I have to say it… America was founded on Christian ideals. You like freedom? You like tolerance? You like the federal government share the wealth with people less fortunate (welfare programs, not necessarily welfare)? Lets face it. You like Christian fundamentals. Hell, it’s the same as Jewish fundamentals, and Muslim fundamentals, but that doesn’t sound good in a time of war where Gaza and Israel are fighting.I liked learning those fundamentals AT HOME. And I liked learning fundamentals of various other religions at school. I learned Existentialistic philosophy in Public School; lived it for a while, and to a point still do, but I believe what my parents taught me, what I learned in Bible school, and what was reinforced when I re-found religion in my late 20’s.Public school gave me knowledge. My parents gave me the tools to use that knowledge.So what’s Ali to do? I don’t know. Like most Americans, I am sure she is not 100% happy with the county in the first place, and now, with the economy the way that it is, I am sure some of those feelings are coming to the surface. Obama may correct the economy, but I know he isn’t going to take “Can You See What I See” out of holiday programs.In times of crisis, people seek the basics, and many seek religion and faith to get them through. If Ali believed Jesus did die for our sins, maybe she wouldn’t be as negative toward a side-bar to a good education that her children are receiving despite an economy in the crapper.

My response:

Well Sam,
Thank you for the very public lashing. I write what I feel, and I feel that kindergarten aged children are not able to make such huge life changing decisions like religion, in a public school. I was raised Unitarian (look it up) and believe that all kinds of religous views are valid and very much a personal choice. My kids have in no way been harmed by me expressing how I feel on MY blog.

I can shave my bush on inaguguration day if I want to and you can buy shotgun shells(not implying that you will but that's your right if you so choose.) That's my whole point, the choice.I don't think that singing a couple of Christmas songs will hurt anyone, and yes my kids did get presents on Christmas delivered by Santa himself. That doesn't mean that we can disregard church, state separation. Christmas for my family means something different than the standard. We celebrate the season, family togetherness, giving, and dare I say magic. Thank you for your opinion and what I hope will continue to be a civil discussion.

I didn't think my little mommy rant would cause such a stir. Maybe my language was a bit rough and I probably could have said it differently; but I still feel that a public school is no place to be endorsing a specific religion, whether in song or otherwise. There are plenty of Christmas/ holiday songs that could have been used. I want my children to see that other religions exist and I certainly don't see that happening here.

I respect Sam and his opinions and am thankful for this lively discussion. He also (from reading the same post ) doesn't like the "shave the date" button on my sidebar. Well Sam, this is my mommy blog and if that means talking about my religious decisions for my children or shaving my mommy parts (yes, that's where they come from) in celebration of the departure from office of the one of the worst presidents ever, then that's my choice.

Friday, January 9, 2009

What Would Jesus Do?

After being rescheduled twice, the elementary Christmas program went on yesterday. Mae had a great time singing and all of the children did a great job; it was the adults who stunk up the auditorium. The music teacher, with a month extra to practice, didn't have her shit together. The music cues were all wrong, microphones were constantly being adjusted and the song selections were absolutely awful. The program was "A Country Christmas" with several country songs mixed in with a few traditional. Who thought that Toby Keith was appropriate for 1st graders? Remember that's the "We'll stick a boot in your ass, it's the American way" guy. That's not the song they sung, but crappy none the less. Another great selection was a song called "Leroy the Redneck Reindeer" one line I can remember was "jingle bell and the rebel yell" very classy. Then much to my surprise, each grade (K-4) sang a religious song. Not just a mention of the birth of Jesus but full on gospel type songs. My daughter's class sang "Jesus Christ is born" and the second grade sang "Mary did you know?" What the hell? This is a public school! I know this is a community with strong Christian beliefs, but come on, this is a government funded PUBLIC school for EVERYONE, regardless of religious affiliation. It seems that I 'm always fighting the issue of what kinds of religion my children are being taught behind my back. Am I just making too much of this? Does this happen in other public schools?

I can't decide how I should handle this. Should I talk with the principal who obviously supported this program, complete in her overalls and bandanna? Will I get anywhere with a letter? I know Mae's teacher is the children's' choir director at her church, so that's a dead end. I can't seem to find an unbiased Christian to complain to. Maybe I need to go even further up the ladder, but at the same time I don't want to alienate my children as the ones who can't participate in holiday activities.

I feel that this type of religious content has no business taking up valuable school time. Perhaps time would be better spent on teaching the children about healthy eating habits and exercise. Is Jesus OK with childhood obesity? Just a thought after watching all 5 grades pile onto and off of the stage yesterday.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


"Mommy, do ya wanna see my great spin?"

At least twice a day Binny performs her great spin.

I drink it in, and take lots of pictures.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


We allow our kids to watch (a limited amount of) TV and up until now that has meant PBS kids. I love PBS for their great documentaries, craft and cooking shows, and my children love the kids shows. I never worry about the content from PBS because usually it's of the educational nature and the best part, no commercials. Saturday mornings are a little trickier. On the weekends the children's programming on PBS is spotty at best, so my kids scan the channels for any type of animation and usually end up watching cartoons with tons of commercials. "Mom, can we get that cereal, I want that dolly that cries, when can we go to Chuck-E-Cheeseseseseses?"

So about a month ago we bought one of those digital converter boxes because we have the old style analog TVs and no plan to upgrade our TVs or get a dish before the Feb. conversion. Got the coupon, installed the boxes which by the way are rediculously confusing if you want to use anything else in conjunction with the TV, like a DVD player, stereo, etc. Now we need 3 remotes to watch the stupid thing and the sound is way diminished, but the up side is that now we receive MORE channels, like a lot more. We now get about 4 PBS channels, 2 weather options, a traffic channel, jazz and classical music, a channel called ion life that hubby loves (mostly for the drag racing and the big chested outdoors-woman shows) and Qubo (cartoons) for the kiddies. At first glance I liked Qubo, the shows are for the most part educational, and on all the time, perfect for those late night sick kid puke fests that we enjoy on a way too regular basis.

Now here's my bitch- the infomercials. Between each show there is about a 2 minute gap usually reserved for regular commercials, but Qubo chooses to run one really long commercial (usually starring
Billy Mays) featuring some silly, can't live without household product. Mae watches these infomercials then runs over to try to get me to call the 800 number at the bottom of the screen.

"Mom we should get the craft cutter ba-cuz it's better than a
scissors and comes with a light."
"Mom, that vacuum is waaay better than ours."
"Mom, you should steam our curtains."

There are so many ridiculous products being advertised on that channel and they are all for adults, not the children who are watching. The handy steamer, sandwich makers, aqua globes, home improvement items, and my all time least favorite- The Bump-it. Seriously I had to see it to believe it myself. Bump its are a little plastic rounded framework that you tuck under you hair in the back to make it look like you have big Sarah Palin pageant hair. Seriously? Could you imagine walking around with a big hunk of plastic stuck to the back of your head just so you can have big hair? WTF?

Have you seen any bad infomercials lately?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cookbook Cabinet

Here's the cookbook cabinet hubby built for me.

I can't decide whether to put doors on it or just leave it open. This summer sometime we will pour a little concrete countertop for it to match the island in the kitchen.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to normal... or not?

Today hubby goes back to work and the kids go back to school. They all have been home since Christmas and honestly I'm looking forward to the peace and quiet this afternoon. Hubby decided to use up some vacation time over the holidays, since I don't think he'll be taking me anywhere tropical this winter like I wanted, but he did manage to work on some home improvement projects during his time off.

He built a cabinet for my cookbooks, rewired the basement and started on our new bathroom. We actually weren't planning on starting the bathroom projects (there will be 3 in this house when we're through) until next year because of our economic situation, but our current bathroom has had it, and we can't keep thinking that it will continue to accommodate our family of four. This house was built without plumbing or electricity, so one little 1950s bathroom with a bad layout is all we have. The door bangs into the toilet and cannot be opened all the way, the floor tiles are popping up, the fake plastic wall tiles are falling off and the plumbing is horrendous. The plan is to turn our laundry room/office/master closet into a master bath and master closet, move the office to the kitchen (hubby will build a desk to match our cabinets) and change the current bathroom into a half bath/ laundry room. The third bath will be upstairs for the girls, but that won't be until the other bath is ripped apart.

He started with the most important thing first, a place to pee.

That's right, the new toilet location is directly under my desk. Don't worry, I'm not blogging while on the potty. He has it all plumbed up in case something disastrous happens to our lone toilet. 3 women and no toilet, no man wants to deal with that.

He ripped out the old closet yesterday and that will be the new tub location. I was hoping for a shower stall to save space, but we helped remodel my in-laws bathroom last year and they gave us their barely old, very gently used bathtub, so I can't argue with free. We have most of the materials already, so this shouldn't be too expensive of a project, and of course we will be doing the work.

check out that wallpaper.

When hubby removed the trim from around the closet, we found this. The name of the builder who built the laundry room in 1970. Hubby says this kind of thing is common, and he sometimes signs his work in a place that may or may not be found again. Interesting to me.

plaster party

Little helper removing nails. And yes, she's had a recent tetanus shot.

Thankfully, home remodeling is our hubby's strength.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hard times

***OK, I wrote this a while back and didn't post it. And since I don't have anything better to post right now, and I feel bad leaving the trashy New Year's photos up any longer, here we go.

Finally our shoe ducking president has agreed with the rest of the world that indeed we are experiencing a recession and not just an economic downturn (what PR asshole came up with that one?) so now, life as our family has known it has changed. Not that we have ever lived beyond our means, but we certainly have taken advantages in the housing market, and when times are good for our wealthy friends, they buy new stuff and usually offer up any good junk to us before shit-canning it. I can imagine that the gravy train will be screeching to a halt very soon.

My hubby works construction and has been cut down to 32 hours a week, even with the reduced hours he's having a hard time keeping busy all day. There just isn't any work around. The construction industry is flooded with workers and nothing for them to build, repair. The housing crash has stopped construction in many areas around here. Land that should have been left farm fields, is now big piles of frozen dirt with one or two lone houses. I don't think that was the idea. Did nobody see this coming?

Not that we have any official real estate training or economic insight, but we knew when to get out and settle for a fixed rate mortgage. I know that a house and a mortgage isn't right for everyone, but since when is an interest only mortgage a good idea for a long term investment like a house? Maybe for developers and builders, but not for the average Jane and her family. I have heard countless stories (on NPR) of families who didn't understand the terms of their mortgage and lost it all.

Now the rest of us who responsibly took out mortgages might not be able to pay for them because the job market has taken a swan dive into the toilet. This really hit home with me because, no I don't work, but that was the plan for us. We can live on one income and prefer to, if that income is steady and continues to also include health insurance.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Eve

Last night hubby and I went to a "white trash" themed New Year's party and maybe had a little too much fun, if there even is such a thing. Pork rinds, cheap beer and Jerry Springer on tv.
Every year our friends B&T throw a great party. This year they had a costume contest and here are the winners:

T is pregnant, so right off the bat, that gave her the best costume, but I have to admit she really had me convinced that we were attending a shotgun wedding. Very Classy. And G, he's got guts to wear that outfit and agree to be photographed. T's prize, a box of wine.

The girls
The guys
Bride and Groom

Roller derby and a fake black eye (thanks for the suggestion, hubby)
Hubby and the finest orange flavored malt liquor

hubby and B. Nice clip-on.

having fun with a pooped-out party goer

and because she's such a faithful blog reader, here's a cute one of the Hooter's girl