Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Do You Believe In Magic?

My youngest daughter is really into American Girl dolls. She started out with a Bitty Baby when she was around 4 years old.

The catalog listed the dolls in order of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, etc. She made sure to let us know that she wanted C. That is how she got her name, Baby CeeCee.

Bitty Baby has been very loved. Although my daughter has tried to take good care of her, she has been played with a little too rough at times, and accidentally bumped into things. As anyone whose daughter has one of these dolls knows, their little heads will show wear and tear rather quickly.

When the doll is bumped, white streaks or marks can appear on the paint on their head (their hair) or on their face and body. Over time, the doll can start to look old and tired. Kind of like the mother of the girl who owns the doll. Not that I would know anything about THAT though.

My daughter came to me and asked me to "fix" her. Now, you can send the doll to the American Girl "hospital" and get her professionally cleaned. For a small fee.

Knowing how very special this doll was to my daughter, I was a little leery about trying out any home remedies. But, as I try to be frugal with money, I thought I could at least try.

Google to the rescue!

Someone suggested using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, it is a great multi-purpose cleaning tool. It comes with two "erasers" in the box, and for the original one, it cost me $1.96 at Wal-Mart. Inside, was a coupon for 50 cents off my next purchase. What a bargain!

It is very simple to use. You just wet, and use. It can be used over and over again.

Now, I regularly use this for marks on the wall. I use it to erase black fingerprints on doors. It took off Sharpie marker on my tile floor. This thing is a miracle worker in many ways.

So...I tried it on a very small spot on the back of the doll's head, just in case it took the paint off.

With a slightly shaking hand, I started to clean it. Gulp.

At first, I thought it was removing the paint. It was looking lighter! Uh oh.

Then, I realized that it wasn't removing the paint, it was removing the years of dirt that had accumulated from years of love. It was starting to look semi-new again!

After I was sure that it wouldn't do any harm, I proceeded to clean the entire doll's head and face. All of the white marks were magically removed. The tiny pen (or marker?) smears remain, but they are hardly noticeable.

Did it do a perfect job? No. But, it is good enough, and since she will most likely just get white marks and scrapes again in the future, it is a great way to save money, and keep the doll looking relatively clean.

If only the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser could be used to "magically" erase these little lines and wrinkles that are somehow appearing on my own face. Sigh.

I handed Baby CeeCee back to my very excited daughter, who told me how thankful she was, and how now, she didn't always have to wear a hat on her to cover up all the scrapes.

Don't worry, American Girl. You will still be getting our money. Just in other ways. There are some items from your catalog that are on a certain little red-head's Christmas list...

* I was not provided with a free Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, nor did I receive any compensation for this positive review. I just discovered that it works, and thought I would pass this information along to all of you :) For more ways to use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and for other available products, go to www.mrclean.com

Monday, October 24, 2011

Up On My Soapbox

We are down to the last days of practice for my middle daughter's play. This means long practices that run well after the time they are supposed to. It is to be expected. Everything needs to be perfect, and that takes time.

So, as I am standing out in the cold, I started talking to a lady who was also waiting for her children.

We made small talk, just idle chit-chat really. Then...it came around to the fact that I homeschool my kids.

The lady began to inform me of all the reasons why she was against homeschooling. About how the children wouldn't learn anything, how the Moms used their time to shop, about how the children who are homeschooled were missing out on so much, and were probably not very socialized. Her list went on and on. She told me that she had never seen a homeschool family who took their childrens' education seriously. Granted, she did not know very many of them.

I was so glad that I had decided to do a blog series about homeschooling, because all of my (very polite) come-backs were already on the tip of my tongue :) This was definitely not the first time that I have had to defend our decision to homeschool. Nor, as sure as I am that the sun (God willing) will rise in the morning, will it be the last.

I explained to her the reasons why we choose to homeschool our girls, how many different things they are involved in, and how they were NOT lacking in the social department. I told her that my girls have been tested (although I am not required in my state to do so) and they are far above their grade level. I mentioned all of the many benefits of homeschooling, and why we loved doing it.

I told her how it allowed us to travel freely, and to do school on OUR time schedule.

By the end of our conversation, she actually seemed to re-think her position on homeschooling, and even admitted that she could see some benefits of it. She admitted that it would be nice not to have to worry so much about peer pressure and how it would be great for the kids not to have hours of homework to do every night.

I felt like I was an ambassador for homeschoolers everywhere. That maybe, just maybe, by giving her a small glimpse into what it is really like to homeschool, I may have helped her to see all homeschoolers in a whole new light.

Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Say Car-mle, You Say Car-a-mel Hodgepodge

It's time for HODGEPODGE!

1. How do you typically react in a sudden, extreme, pressure-filled crisis? Would we want you nearby in an emergency?

I tend to react the exact opposite as I think I should. I don't panic, but it seems like I just can't think of exactly the right thing to do at the time. It takes me a little while to think, like my brain has temporarily slowed down a bit. I do stay calm though, which is completely out of character for me. So, I guess I would be OK to have around in a crisis situation. The few times I have been in that type of situation, I have done all right.

2. Caramel apple-caramel sundae-caramel corn-caramel macchiato...of the four, which caramel treat would you choose?

They are all delicious, but if I had to choose, I would choose a caramel sundae. With nuts please.

And, just so you know, I pronounce it CAR-MLE. Not CAR-A-MEL. I'm probably wrong, but old habits die hard.

3. Is there such a thing as destiny? Explain.

I believe that we all have free will, but God knows ahead of time what we will choose. So, in a way, yes.

4. What's your favorite piece of furniture? I'm referring to something currently in your possession as opposed to something on your wish list.

I love my new couch. It is super soft, yet stylish, and I had to wait a long time to get it, which makes me appreciate it all the more! It also has several recliners, which makes sitting on it very relaxing.

5. Wednesday night marks the start of the 2011 Baseball World Series. Did you know? Do you care? Will you be watching? Ever been to a professional baseball game? If you're not an American do you find the title 'World Series' annoying or amusing?

It will be on, that's a given! "Our" team did not make it (Tigers), but we will watch it anyway. When I say "we", what I really mean is, Hubs. I will glance up occasionally, and try to follow along, but really, I don't care all that much. I usually root for the underdog, and I have no clue out of the two teams who Hubs wants to win. I will have to ask him later.

I went to a Cubs game when Hubs and I were first married. It was the most boring thing I have ever been to, and I have told Hubs that I have NO desire to ever go to a game again. There was a rain delay, and we sat around for hours, waiting for them to play. I can't tell you who they played, or what the final score was. I think I blocked most of that day out of my memory. Ha!

6. A sound that takes me back to my childhood is____________.

The sound of the mixer.

Since there wasn't frosting in a can back when I was a kid, my Mom would make frosting with the mixer, and we would fight over who got to lick the beaters. Since there were 3 kids, and 2 beaters, Mom would let one kid have the knife that she used to ice the cake.

My Mom was, and still is, an awesome cook, and she was always baking things! I mentioned here that kids in school would beg me to have one of my Mom's cookies that I would bring in my lunch. I even had a couple of kids that offered to buy my Mom all the ingredients, if she would only make them some too. I still call her if I have a "cooking question", and she always knows just what to do. Thanks, Mom :)

7. On average, once you've linked your hodgepodge post to mine how many other participant blogs do you visit? Do you ever come back to the Hodgepodge later in the day or even the day after to read posts?

I try to visit as many of them as I can! If I have time, I visit all of them. Sometimes, I come back on another day if I am just too busy. I am a pretty fast reader, so I can usually get through them pretty quickly. I also try to leave a comment on the ones I visit. I know how much I love to receive comments on MY posts, so I try to return the favor.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Hubs and I help out in the middle school youth group at our church. Our last discussion was on doing the unexpected, and this month's topic is on being a servant. So, last week, we took the teens, and unexpectedly raked an elderly lady's leaves out of her yard. She came out to talk with us, and was just so grateful. It really didn't take us that long, and it made a huge impact on this woman. She said her son usually helps her, but he has been sick, and hasn't been able to get around to doing it.

What can you do for someone that is unexpected, and shows them that you care? It can be something like raking leaves for someone who can't, baking cookies for a neighbor, offering to run an errand to help someone out, or even making your family's favorite meal without them knowing.

Sometimes it's the little things that can make a big difference....

Friday, October 14, 2011

5 Question Friday

Today, I'm linking up with Mama M. for 5 Question Friday!

1. Do you prefer your ice cream in a bowl or in a cone?

I always have my ice cream in a bowl. I prefer a cone, but since I can't have any gluten, I can't eat a cone. Maybe someday they will come out with a GF cone that actually tastes like a sugar cone. That would be a great day!

2. What three things do you love the smell of?

I love the smell of Baby Magic lotion.

Seriously, that was one of my favorite things about having a baby was the way they smelled after a bath, slathered in Baby Magic. I always made sure to put a tiny bit of Baby Magic on their little faces before visitors arrived. I wanted them to smell good! I hate "smelling" a baby, and they smell like spoiled milk and spit up.

I love the way the air smells after it rains. It just smells so fresh and clean.
My oldest daughter, the photographer, took this picture.

I love the smell of Hubs' cologne, Aspen.

Why does he wear that kind? Well...because, I make him. Ha! I tend to be a bit....controlling...when it comes to smells. I can only tolerate smelling certain kinds of cologne. Hubs doesn't mind wearing it, so why not? One of the things I remember from when I first met Hubs was how incredibly awesome the man smelled. And, he still does! There's nothing better than a great smelling man ;)

3. Gift cards or no? (In regards to gift giving...)

I think gift cards are a great idea, especially if you don't know what to get the person. The girls will often give iTunes gift cards to their friends for their birthdays.

We have also given gift cards to Dairy Queen, McDonald's, the movies, restaurants, or coffee shops.

I think it is more fun to open an actual gift, but if you give them a gift card (as long as it is to a place you know they will actually go to, or an item they will use) they can get what they want. It's just easier.

4. What sports did you play in high school if any and do you still play them?

* Zip

* Zero

* Zilch

* Nada

Sports are NOT my thing. Something like this could happen, and I am not a huge fan of pain. Also, I am not very coordinated, which helps one to excel in sports.

5. Were you in band in high school? What instrument did you play?

I was not in band in high school, but I was in junior high. I played the flute and I still have it. My breath control is horrible now though, and I doubt I could make it through an entire song without getting light headed!

Hope you all have a great weekend....

Friday, October 7, 2011

Animal House

Kelly, over at Kelly's Korner, is asking us to write about our beloved pets today.

If you are visiting me from Kelly's Korner, welcome! Feel free to stay awhile, and take a look around my blog :)

We love animals at this house. L-O-V-E. LOVE!

Up first, is our adorable little Yorkie dog named Benji.

I call him my little shadow. Where I go, he goes. If I get up, he gets up. He wants to be wherever I am!

He likes nothing better than to sit or lay on your lap. He can often be found like this.

Here he is, cuddled up with Hubs while he drinks his coffee.

Hubs got me Benji for my birthday almost 6 years ago.

He is the gift that keeps on giving. He loves sitting right next to me. In fact, as I am typing this post, he is glued to my leg. He is my little snuggle buddy, and he is ALWAYS happy to see me.

When we go to Florida, the other pets stay with family or friends. But, not my Benji boy. He comes with me! I could never leave him for that length of time. I think the feeling is mutual.

Here is what he looks like after a bath. All of his fluffiness goes away, and he looks like a skinny, scrawny chicken!

He sleeps in bed with Hubs and I. Thankfully, he doesn't shed.

I know, your pets should not sleep in bed with you.

But, how can you resist this cute little face?

Next, is our 11 year old cat named Bitty.

Her real name is Flower. Well, that is what my oldest daughter named her anyway. It never seemed to fit her, and since she was just a little thing when we got her, I started calling her "Bitty".

Bitty was a stray cat, who meowed her way into our hearts, and our home. I am not really a cat person, but I do love my Bitty.

Don't let this picture fool you. Bitty and Benji are NOT friends. Benji likes to torment Bitty whenever he can. But sometimes, they can be found together, like this. Kind of like a temporary truce.

Our newest pet is Howie the cockatiel.

When we were in Florida this winter, we visited a pet store, and I fell in love with the cockatiels they had there. I told Hubs I wanted one, so for my anniversary this year, I received Howie as a present. I guess you could say that I like presents that leave "presents". Ha!

He loves riding around on our shoulders. This is when we first got him, and he didn't have any tail feathers.

Howie doesn't talk, but he does whistle and sing. He knows "Shave and a Haircut", and we are working on "The Andy Griffith Song". He also has some rockin' tunes of his own that are pretty cool too.

It is very flattering to have him wolf-whistle at you when you walk by. It's like having a very polite construction worker in the house.

It has been so much fun having a bird!

I have always wanted a bird, but I never thought I would ever actually own one. People told me that birds are too messy, but we have a cage with a seed catcher on it, and it really does it's job. He can get a bit "dusty", but we give him regular baths, and I vacuum almost every day anyway, so it's not really a big deal.

He is quite the entertainment when we have people over. He thinks the bird in the mirror is his girlfriend, and he will whistle, sing, and flirt with "her".

We have a goldfish named Derby, that is a year old, and is the biggest year old goldfish I have ever seen! Everyone who comes over remarks over how big he is. My youngest got him at the fair last year, and I warned her that "fair" fish usually weren't very hardy, and he may not even make it through the night. Derby, however, is alive and thriving! We may have to get him a bigger tank (again) if he keeps on growing.

Sorry, no pictures of Derby. Goldfish in tanks are not easy to take pictures of!

Finally, on a sad note, just this Wednesday, my middle daughter's rabbit, Princess, passed away. She was a family favorite, and will be greatly missed.

She was 7 years old. We think she may have had a stroke, as she showed signs of one, but we aren't sure.

She died at home in my arms.

My daughter and I decorated a shoe box to put her in.

Here is the finished product.

We buried her out in the back yard, next to the fire pit where we have bonfires.

We like to imagine that she is happily hopping around Heaven, feasting on tender, sweet hay, and munching on all the carrots her little heart desires.

“You know, sometimes the world seems like a pretty mean place. That's why animals are so soft and huggy.”
― Bill Watterson

I couldn't have said it better myself...

Thursday, October 6, 2011


This week, a well-known man named Steve Jobs passed away.

Did you know he was adopted? I did not. You can read all about it in this article. Imagine if his mother had not chosen to give him life?

The man who wrote this article was also adopted. Here is his story.

Today, is a very special little girl's first birthday. This little girl's mother, who is my friend's daughter, became pregnant as a teenager. Instead of taking the easy road by choosing abortion, she chose to give her sweet baby life, and she was adopted by a loving family. Her birth mother gave her life, which was the most unselfish and loving thing she could have possibly done.

I have friends who have adopted children because they were unable to have children of their own, and I have friends who have adopted children, who already had children, and felt like they had more love to give.

"There are no unwanted children, just unfound families".
~ The National Adoption Center

Happy 1st Birthday, precious little one. I hope you know how much you are loved....

Monday, October 3, 2011

Road Trip

This weekend, we traveled to Ohio to visit my family, and to attend my cousin's baby shower.

We went to see my Grandpa. It was great to be able to spend time with him.

It is still strange to be in my grandparents house, and my Gram is not there. Not sure I'll ever get used to that.

We ate out quite a bit, and as my youngest told me, she was "full of fries".

We hardly ever eat out, so she is not used to having that many fries in one day. And I am NOT referring to "lamb fries". They were just good ole' American french fries.

I was reminded anew why we don't eat out very often. It is expensive! For us to eat out, it was $54, including tip. This was with all of just drinking water. It pays to eat at home. I could make a dinner-to-die-for with that same amount of money. It would even include dessert!

Granted, I am the one cooking it, and no one is serving it to me.

The restaurant we ate at, had TV's all around broadcasting the "big game", which totally made Hubs' day.

As Hubs was cheering for "his" team, I had to remind him that it probably wasn't a good idea to cheer for THAT team in THIS state. Since his team was considered the enemy. Just sayin'.

On Sunday, we attended my cousin's baby shower.

She is having a boy, and they did his room is dinosaurs. This was just one of the decorations on the tables.

This Hershey bar was at each place setting. Too cute!

It was great to see most of my Ohio family at the shower.

We played baby shower games, and won prizes. We were supposed to use play dough to make what we thought the baby would look like when he is born. Mine is the "baby" in green on the left. My youngest daughter made the pink one, and it was the winner at our table.

I told my cousin that, according to how my baby turned out, her baby boy would come out as a toddler.

He kind of looks like a green, anatomically correct, Elmo.

Yes, he is anatomically correct. I took this game literally. Babies are not born with a diaper or clothes on.

Well....at least mine weren't.

Here is my adorable niece standing in front of the present table.

On the way home, we found this, thanks to Gas Buddy.

Have you heard of Gas Buddy? It is an app that you can get for FREE, and it tells you the best places to buy cheap gas. Hubs does a whole lot of traveling for his job, so this can literally save us hundreds of dollars a year! If you don't have it, you need to get it. Period. Why pay more for gas than you need to?

Hubs put me in charge of the ticket, and one of my fears came true. I LOST THE TICKET. I thought I handed it to him along with the money, but as we approached the ticket booth, it was nowhere to be found.

I wish the tolls only cost this much. It's highway robbery how much they charge now!

Now, when we travel, the car is....ummm....a bit.....cluttered. Yeah, that is a nice way to put it.


So, there are things everywhere, and I am frantically trying to find the ticket. Soon, it is our turn, and still no ticket to be seen.

The lady was super nice and suggested that we step out, and see if perhaps the ticket had fallen between the seats? Or, were we sitting on it? Was it in the door? Perhaps it had fallen under the seat?

We both got out, and looked high and low, to no avail. It was like the car had eaten the ticket I had just possessed a few minutes ago.

In the meantime, cars were piling up behind us. I'm sure that not-so-nice words were being said about us as we searched.

I always wondered what would happen if you couldn't find your ticket when you got to the toll booth. Now I know.

Apparently, when one loses the ticket, one has to pay the highest fee that was ON the ticket. But, and here is the good news, if one should FIND the ticket, then one can get reimbursed through the mail.

In my spare time, I need to clean out the car, and hopefully, find that blasted ticket in the process.

After all, I did find the missing library book a year after I had paid for it. It was "hiding" in the closet. Right where I put it. For safe keeping.

Now, where did I put that ticket....