Monday, September 17, 2012


Since we are moving, our house has been in chaos. There are boxes, and totes, and objects strewn ALL over!

Last week, Hubs and I were reclining in the family room, after a long day of work/school/packing, when all of the sudden we heard the oldest call out:

"Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Come quick! Come quick!"

I really didn't think much of it when I heard this. I knew that she had been playing with Henry, the hamster, and was putting him back in his cage. He tends to get all freaked out and crazy when you are trying to put him away, and he has been known to practically jump to his death on occasion. He has NO fear!

Here he is, the dare-devil himself. Isn't he cute?! He is holding on to the bars, peeking out, oh so innocently. If he could talk, I'm sure he would be saying, "Let me out!"

I heard my middle daughter run in there, since it is her hamster, and figured  she would be able to take care of it.

Then, I heard her say:

"The oldest (replace this with her actual name) sliced her leg open!"

I told Hubs that something was going on, and he'd better go in and see what was wrong. I still didn't think it was going to be anything real serious.

We live in a house with three girls, and they tend to be....well....a little dramatic at times. I was sure that it was probably just a little cut, and we could just put a band-aid on it, and call it good.

I heard Hubs call my name, and I ran in there. He told me that we were going to have to go to the hospital......NOW. The oldest had sliced her leg open, and it was deep. It was so bad, that he needed me to go and grab some towels, and he was going to tie a tourniquet on her leg.

She looked at me, crying, and said, "Mom....I saw it! It's deep, it's SO deep!"

Hubs told me to hold her leg together with the towel, and apply pressure. I told him that I needed to go and sit down while I did it, or I was possibly going to faint. I don't do so well with blood! I hadn't even seen it, but I knew that if my usual laid-back-it-will-all-be-okay husband sounded a little panicky, then it had to be BAD!

We called our doctor, who is also a dear friend, and he told us to meet him at his office. Hubs carried her out, with me holding her leg the entire time.

I kept praying over her, telling her that it will all be okay. Her teeth were starting to chatter, and she kept saying how deep it was. She told me that I hadn't seen it, but SHE had.

This is my daughter who can't even stand to talk about blood! I told her not to think about it, that she was going to need stitches, but it would be fine.

When we got in there, I really thought that when we untied the towels that blood would start spurting out like a fountain. We had no idea if she had hit an artery. We had prepared for the worst, and tied her leg up nice and tight.

When they undid the towels, that was the first time I had allowed myself to look at her leg. It had bled, but not as bad as we thought. When I looked at the cut though, it made me go weak in the knees. I had NO idea that it looked like this.....


All right....if you are still looking.....consider yourselves warned.

Here is a far away shot, that shows where on her leg it is located.

Here is a close up

Now that I have posted these pictures, I am starting to feel sick, remembering that awful night all over again. I did not realize that skin would "split" open like this when it is cut. It's a good thing I'm sitting down!

During this time, I was up at her head, and she had her hands over her eyes, refusing to look. Hubs was the one taking the pictures. I told him that he had to be the one to take them, because I couldn't!

She had to have stitches on the inside first, because it was so deep.

After this picture was taken, Hubs' phone decided to die. I didn't have time to grab my purse, where my phone was, so I didn't have mine.  I barely even had time to put on my shoes!

While she was getting all stitched up, I was trying to distract her from what was going on. I am so proud of how brave she was! She didn't even cry. She was able to talk and even joke around. She said that the worst part of it all was the numbing shots she had to have before the stitching began. 

When the inside stitches were done, it looked very neat and tidy, and it was completely closed up. The doctor said that he could just leave it like that, because it was very solidly stitched up, but he was going to put stitches on the top also, so it would leave a smaller scar.

Altogether, she had about 25 stitches put in her leg. OUCH!

Here it is, after she was all stitched up.

She thought that it would really hurt the next day, but said that it just ached a little. Nothing that some extra strength Tylenol and Motrin couldn't handle.

Today, she went and got the outer stitches removed. The inner stitches will take around three months to dissolve. She is relieved that the stitches are finally out, but other than the absence of the blue wire, it still kind of LOOKS like the stitches are in!

This was our first experience with stitches, as none of us, including Hubs and myself, have ever had to have them. Well....I take that back. I have had them, but the stitches you get from having a baby are in a whole other category...

We are very blessed that we have a wonderful doctor who is exceptionally skilled at stitching, and that she did not cut her leg any worse than she did.

I am now being that over-protective, annoying mother who is trying to eradicate any and all sharp objects from our home (like that is even possible!), and over-using the phrase, "Be careful!"

But, HOW did she cut her leg open in the first place? And, on what?

She said she was standing up on a chair, putting the hamster back in his cage. She jumped off the chair, like she always does, and felt a scratch. She said that is all it felt like.....a scratch! She didn't know that it was worse than that until she looked down and saw the damage. What happened was that there just so happened to be an 8x10 piece of glass from a picture frame on the desk (left over from a fair project), and the point of it was hanging ever so slightly over the edge. When she jumped down, it cut her, just as if she had used a fillet knife to slice open her leg.

When we came back home, I expected to see blood all over the place in the bedroom where it happened. But, there wasn't. There wasn't even very much blood on the glass itself. And the strange part? The glass did not even fall off the desk!

It was still perched there, just waiting for it's next victim....

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Moving Sale

The time has come to face the reality that we just have way TOO MUCH STUFF! I had intended for several years now to have a garage sale, but it just never seemed to work out for one reason or another.

I'm going to let y'all in on a little secret.....garage sales are a lot of work!

Now, if you call your garage sale a "moving sale", then they are even MORE work! All of those neatly stacked totes sitting in your basement must be gone through, because you don't want to move, or store, anything that you don't want or need.

Hubs has been after me to get rid of my bread maker. He told me that the moving sale would be the perfect time to do so. He rationalized that since I never use it, I certainly was not going to miss it, and therefore, it should be sold.

While I may be rational in many ways, the way I feel about some of my things is NOT one of them.

Never is a strong word. While I have only made a few loaves of bread in it (in the....mumble mumble....years I have had it), I do have good intentions of making more! It's just that I forget I even own such a thing, as it is tucked away in the cupboard, and not out in plain view. Out of sight....out of mind.

I told him that I was willing to get rid of a lot of things, but the bread maker would NOT be one of them. End of story. The bread maker will be boxed up and moved along with some of my other irrational things I plan on saving....of which there are quite a few. Sigh.

So, the girls and I slaved and toiled for days, pondering over each and every item that we own. I had the girls go through all of their things, and unless there was a specific reason why they wanted to save it, they agreed to either sell it, give it away, or throw it away.

There they sat, remembering how they got such and such, and who gave it to them. As my oldest daughter hauled out all of her memories, she said it made her long for the time when all that mattered were Barbies and stuffed animals. Life was so much simpler back then.

We had fun reading over the stories my oldest used to write, and the music she composed when she played the violin.

We all said "Awe!" when we saw the pictures that contained my middle daughter's name, back when she couldn't make the letter "S", so she wrote it like a 2.

When we came across my youngest daughter's stuffed lamb that she always slept with as a baby, we stroked the still silky fur, and remembered when our special neighbors gave it to her as a present when she was born.

Memories are hard. We decided that if things did not have any memories attached to them, then into the sale they would go! But, if they did....

After several days of working almost non-stop, it was finally time to have the sale.

We priced things to sell, and then re-priced....and re-priced again. We did end up selling, and even giving away, a lot of our things. What is left is either going to go to Goodwill, or to a man who sends clothes, shoes, books, and stuffed animals to a missionary in Africa, who then passes them out to children there. It will be nice to know that our stuff is going to a good cause.

We had a lady that was smoking in our garage, while she was busy looking through things. I contemplated asking her NOT to smoke in MY garage, but since she was busy buying things, I didn't want to upset her. I am highly sensitive to smoke, but sometimes, you just have to deal with it, I suppose. If she wanted to smoke inside my house, or my car? That would have been a whole different story.

Can I give you a piece of advice, though? If you are a smoker, that is your right to do so. Smoke away!  But....could you please be considerate of those of us who don't smoke? In my case, I already do not have the best set of lungs, and smoke just exacerbates my breathing problems. Thank you :)

A guy walked off with one of our items without paying for it. His wife had purchased a few things, and he either forgot, or just didn't feel like, paying for it. One of my daughter's mentioned that he had NOT paid for it, but I wasn't about to run after him over a $3.00 item.

Garage sales are the perfect opportunity to teach your kids about money in many ways. They can add up the prices, keep track of the money, and give the customer the correct change. I made sure to tell my girls to NEVER place the money the customer gives you in the box before giving them their change. If you do this, the customer can cheat you out of money by saying they are owed more change than they actually are. It has happened to me in the past. It could have happened this time, except for we had the money that he had given us in plain sight, so we could prove that what we said he gave us....he actually did.

We had several people who came to our sale who did not speak very good English. That makes things a little more.... interesting, as it is very hard to communicate. With one man, I made the mistake of talking louder, wrongly assuming that by doing so, I would somehow be able to get him to understand me better. I'm sorry, random stranger. Please forgive me. I'm sure I looked foolish.

We met a sweet couple who shared with us the touching story of how they ended up getting married. The lady told us that after a disastrous first marriage, she vowed to never get married again. That is, until she became reacquainted with an old friend. They started talking, and just hanging out together, until they realized that they wanted to share their lives with each other. She said that she hesitated, because she is quite a bit older than he is, but then realized that age is just a number, and when she was with him, she was the happiest that she had ever been. They looked like two teenagers in love. It was so cute!

We had a lady spend quite a bit of time re-folding and organizing all of our clothes that were strewn all over the table. Perhaps she didn't have anything better to do? We sure appreciated it!

We had several neighbors come over and reminisce with us about our time that we have spent in our house. How they have enjoyed watching the girls grow up, and would miss having us in the neighborhood. The feeling is mutual, dear neighbors.

The feeling is mutual.....

Monday, August 13, 2012


Remember when I told you that we have our house on the market? We have had several showings since then, with crazy cleaning resulting each time.

My oldest daughter was feeling frustrated, and so she wrote this as her Facebook status:

Dear people who are looking at our house tomorrow, you better buy it. Because this whole cleaning our butts off thing, is getting kind of old. And our butts aren't liking it very much. Thanks :)

We all had a good laugh over that one, because that is exactly how we feel! For anyone who has ever had your house for sale, you know exactly what I mean.

She wrote that on Sunday. On Monday, Hubs went away for business. We had the showing that afternoon. On Monday night, Hubs called me and said that we had received an offer on our house.

We began the negotiating process, and came to an accepted offer. All within just a few days time!

I have been frantically calling all around, looking for a place for us to live while our new house is being built. We are supposed to be closing around the first week of September, and then, we only have 21 days to vacate the premises.

The same day we came to an accepted offer on our house, we found out that it definitely IS basal cell carcinoma by Hubs' eye. We had gone to the dermatologist, like I mentioned before, and they did another biopsy. It came back that it wasn't cancer. But, the doctor did not feel comfortable just letting it go since we had already had the first biopsy show possible cancer. So, he had a 2nd opinion done on the 1st biopsy, and it came back as cancer. This was not the news we were expecting to hear, as they told us that their biopsy did not show any cancer.Talk about confusing! They told us that the 2nd biopsy was probably just scar tissue. The cancer is deeper than the eye can see, and the biopsy probably just removed the top layer.

We are now being referred to a larger hospital where he will be having MOHS surgery with reconstruction. The doctor feels like it is too close to his tear duct for him to perform the surgery. He told us that when you have cancer this close to your eye, you want someone who does this EVERY day working on you. This is something that can be put off for a little while, but since Hubs has already waited so long in the first place, we don't have a lot of time before it starts to make things more complicated to fix. It is already starting to get worse.

Add this to the hecticness of selling our house, and trying to find a place to live, and this Mama has been feeling the stress!

Oh, did I forget to tell you, that school will be starting up for us soon, and there are decisions that still need to be made in that area also? I have purchased some books, but there are still things I need to research and buy. Thankfully, I am not on the school system's timeline, and I can do school how I want to, but most importantly, WHEN I want to!

So, you will have to forgive me if I am a little quiet on here. I promise to try to update you when I can. I am going to try to pull together that elusive garage sale I referred to in an earlier post. No time like moving time to get rid of stuff!

Now, if I can just get the children to part with some of their stuff.

Oh, who am I kidding. I'm just as bad as they are....

Friday, August 3, 2012

Teaching Textbooks Review

I HATE Math.

There. I said it.

Math to me, is like a foreign language. One I don't understand. Sort of like Chinese.

In my day to day life, I don't ever use any of the advanced Math that I was tortured with in school. I only ever took up to Algebra 2, and I barely passed that. Ahhh.....good nightmares.....I mean.....memories.

So, for a Math hating homeschool Mom, how in the world are you supposed to teach advanced Math classes to your kids?

Drum roll please.

Enter, Teaching Textbooks.

Have you ever heard of it? No? Oh, my dear, dear homeschooling friend. Allow me to enlighten you.

Here, is a photo of Teaching Textbooks, or TT as we shall call it from now on.

This, is Geometry, which my oldest daughter did this year.

TT starts at grade 3, and goes all the way through Pre-Calculus.

Here is the link where you can learn more about TT.

I did not learn of TT until my oldest daughter was in 8th grade, and we were about to do Pre-Algebra. We have always struggled with Math, and let me tell you, I was NOT looking forward to trying to teach her this.

We had started out with A Beka, which we struggled through from kindergarten until 3rd grade. For those of you who are not familiar with homeschooling curriculum, A Beka is one of the most commonly used curriculums out there.

However, it is advanced. Which is great, if you are working with an advanced student. My girls loved A Beka for Reading, Writing, Spelling, and Vocabulary. Things they were good at.

For Math however, it was just too much. So then, I tried Bob Jones (BJU). Yet another GREAT curriculum. I have often used this for Science and History, and have even used it for Spelling and Reading for my youngest.

While BJU was more tolerable than A Beka for Math, it was still not a good fit. There are many, many more Math curriculums out there, but those are the ones that I tried.

I can't remember exactly how I first heard of TT, but whoever told me about it, I now consider her an angel, sent straight from heaven, to help this poor Mama out!

I was reluctant to try it, because let's be honest, if you clicked on the link, you will notice that it IS pricey. It is much more expensive than most homeschoolers are willing to pay, or can even afford.

But, I figured, why not? We were at our wits' end as how to best teach this subject.

We purchased TT, and it was love at first sight. We have never used another Math curriculum since!

But, Amiee....what is SO special about TT, you may ask?

Well, for starters, it is all done on the computer. First, the child listens to a lecture from a teacher, and while the teacher is explaining that day's lesson, they are actually demonstrating how to do it. So, this works for auditory and visual learners alike.

You can listen to the lecture as many times as it takes for the child to grasp the information. While it is also possible for Mom to "replay" the info, her voice does tend to get raspy, and perhaps, there may even be a hint of irritation that tends to creep in, oh say around the third of fourth time she has to explain it. Not so with the computer teacher! He is extremely patient.

Then, the child is given some practice questions, to make sure they truly understand the lesson.

There is always the possibility of being "helped" and you can always view the answer once you get it wrong a set number of times (to be determined by the parent).

Once the child is ready, they can then begin to answer that day's questions about the lesson. There are usually around 20 questions, which seems to be an adequate amount. There is plenty of review from previous lessons included also.

My girls liked that, in the younger grades, they incorporate games for "bonus" rounds, and there are cute little creatures who will talk to you along the way.

There is also a parent side, where you can actually see the grade book, how many they got wrong, and be given the choice as to whether to make them do it over again or not.

What do I like best about it? That I don't have to do hardly anything! Unless one of my girls just isn't getting it, then, we go over the lesson together.

The lessons are self-grading, which is not only an awesome feature for Mom, but it also tells the child immediately if they got the answer right or wrong.

*Several of the advanced Math curriculums are still not self-grading, but they are working on changing that. They still come with an answer CD, and answer key. The lecture is listened to on the CD, but the child works out of a workbook. Hallelujah! Algebra 2 is now self-grading! Can you hear the excitement in my voice? Hmmm? Can you?!

TT is taught in a way that just makes it easier for a child to understand and be able to grasp information better. If you don't believe me, type the words, Teaching Textbooks review into your search engine, and read about other satisfied customers.

I must admit though, that the oldest is now at a point where I just cannot help her in Math anymore. That is now Hubs' job. We also did have a dear friend tutor her in Algebra for a little while, because she just wasn't getting it. So, there still could be some additional Math help needed, even though you are using excellent curriculum. That's just the way it is.

If your child is advanced in Math, this may not be the best curriculum for you, as it does tend to go at a slower pace, or, so I have read from people who have Math geniuses for children. For example, if your elementary school aged child is quoting algebraic equations in their sleep, it might be best to find a more challenging curriculum. Or, perhaps you should enroll them in college classes.

Yes, it is pricey. But, to me, it is worth every penny! Has it made my girls LOVE Math? I don't think there is a curriculum in the world that could do that! Each child has their own set of strengths and weaknesses, and Math is one of our weaknesses. Although my youngest daughter tends to have a more "mathematical" mind than my older two, she still doesn't love Math.

Another nice thing about TT is that you are allowed to sell the curriculum to others once you are done using it. That is not the case with every curriculum. So, this year, I sold my used TT on eBay for the first time, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much money I was able to get back from my investment! If you do an advanced eBay search on TT, you will see that they have an excellent resale value.

Since I have been using TT for such a long time, I now have quite a collection of them, and I no longer have to buy three different Math curriculums for three different grade levels. This year, I only have to buy Algebra 2. My wallet just did a sigh of relief, as my oldest is about to take a few college classes for dual enrollment, and we are required to pay for it out of our own pocket. But, that's a tale for another time.

If you are a fellow homeschool family, and you are in the same boat as we used to be, struggling through Math, day in......and day out.....why not give Teaching Textbooks a try? You'll be glad you did!

* I did not receive any compensation or free products for this positive review.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Riding The Crazy Train

You know what I think is one of the greatest things ever invented?


We certainly have our share of them at our house! Do you know why I love them so much? Because you can stash all of your junk in them, stack them on top of each other, and pretend you are all organized.

Hubs has this grand plan of having a garage sale sometime in August. Along with that, I am in the process of sorting through my 1,700 books that I have bought over the 10 years that I have been homeschooling. I am selling some of them on eBay, so I can afford some of the higher priced items that I plan to buy for the oldest who will be a...gulp.....junior this year.

In order to sort through stuff, you have to make one gigantic mess along the way! This means piles and piles and PILES of books stacked here and there and everywhere.

This eBaying stuff is a full time job, I tell you! First, each and every book must be found. In my case, this is often easier said, than done. When you have an entire set of something, it tends to sell better, and for more money.

Now, if you are one of those perfectly organized homeschool Moms, then you have dutifully stacked everything together at the end of the year, and all in grade order.

However, if you are like me, you sometimes don't even go through things, you just throw them all together into a tote, sometime before the beginning of the next school year. You may or may not remember to label what is in said tote. Along with the school books, which may or may not be together in the set they came in, may be a collection of other odds and ends you needed to find a place for along the way, such as old copies of bills, magazines, clothes a child has outgrown....hypothetically speaking.

So, when you have found what you think is the entire set of what you have, then you must go through each and every page in each and every book. Some of these books are 300-400 pages long!You are looking for highlighting, stray pencil marks (that you must erase), underlining, or random pictures that a bored child may have drawn. Not that any of MY children are ever bored in school. No siree, Bob. Each and every day here is filled with joy and happiness, and the girls are always eager and willing to learn. Ahem.

So far, my biggest money maker has been Teaching Textbooks for Math. I will be doing a review on this curriculum soon, so stay tuned!

In the midst of all of this mayhem, our realtor called and said that we had another showing. Which is like.....Yay! But, wow. LOTS of work to be done to get ready for it!

All of the many, many books had to be put back in the totes, although, this time, I tried to keep them separated so I would actually know what was in each one.

The stuff that I had gone through for the garage sale was just put who knows where. Will this garage sale actually happen? Only time will tell. All of the totes are now neatly stacked back together, and I am very hesitant to get them ALL back out to go through them again.

I was joking with Hubs, who does not find my disorganization funny by the way, that perhaps I should just label each tote "junk", because that would be an appropriate term for what is in at least half of them!

My girls cringe when I start "crazy cleaning" because they know that whatever I put away, there is a pretty good chance that they will never see it again. What can I say. Organization is NOT one of my strong points. Out of sight....out of mind.

My oldest daughter is away for several days, and I told her that, before she left, she needed to make sure her room and bathroom were clean for the showing. I told her that if she didn't clean them, that was okay.....I would just clean them for her!

Needless to say, before she left? They were both clean. Ha!

I always tell myself that I will deal with it another day. Why do something today, when you can put it off until tomorrow? Only....tomorrow never seems to come.

You think to yourself, "Self.....don't you own such and such? Yes, you do! But.....where did you put it?"

Then, on one of your crazy cleaning sprees, you find it, when it is no longer needed, or no longer fits the child you bought it for.

I am especially terrible when it comes to papers. They are never where I can find them. I make more work for myself that I really need to because of it.

Every year I tell myself that I WILL do better this year. This will be the year that I am super organized, have everything in it's proper place, and even perhaps remember where I put things.

Make me feel better. Tell me I'm not the only one who has no clue how to organize things! I have read all of the books, it's just like I am missing the organization gene or something!

I am seriously considering buying sock clips because I cannot keep the socks together after they get washed. We have totes that contain nothing but stray socks!

The totes they are in are not labeled, by the way.

So, if any of you super organized people out there have any tips that I can use to help organize my crazy life, feel free to leave me a helpful comment. It would be greatly appreciated!

Now, where did I put the girls' 4-H project papers? Perhaps they are in the tote with the stray socks....

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I'm Melting....

Notice the title of this post? It actually has a double meaning.

One is, it has been incredibly HOT around these parts. I am so thankful that we have air in our house! I'm sure I would be a whole lot less pleasant to be around if we did not. When we bought our house, it did not have central air. To make matters worse, we did not have any windows in our main living area that would fit an air conditioner! We had to put a window air conditioner all the way back in our bedroom, and place fans to try to strategically blow the air to our living spaces.

That did not work out so well. So, the first thing we bought when we had saved up enough money was central air. And, we have NEVER regretted it!

Not only has it been blistering hot, but we have not had very much rain. AT ALL. The grass is so crunchy and sharp, that when you walk on it in flip-flops, it actually feels like little needles are stinging your feet! I was surprised that they did not cancel fireworks this year. Instead, they had the fire department hose everything down around where they were lighting them off.

All around you see brown grass. However,  Hubs is adamant about having a GREEN lawn. Since we live in the "country" (and by that, I mean we live in a subdivision, right outside of town) and don't have to actually pay for our water (other than the electricity it takes to run the well) the sprinkler is going almost non stop. There are only several homes in our neighborhood who water their lawn, and the difference is striking. You can definitely tell who waters their lawn, and who does not.

Some people love when the grass gets brown, because then, they don't have to cut it! But, Hubs loves cutting the lawn, and making our yard look nice. We definitely have the curb appeal factor going on. Which is a good thing, since our house is for sale! Ha!

My other meaning for the "I'm Melting" title, is that my body is literally melting away! As of today, I have now lost a total of 17 lbs. I got some clothes out the other day that I haven't fit into in a while, and let me tell you, it was just like Christmas! I had even forgotten I had some of them!

I am trying to remind myself that nothing tastes as good as being a healthy weight feels. Most of the time, it works!

Some of the things that I have been doing are eating more fruit (which is easy to do since it IS summer), salad, and drinking more water. I allow myself to have ice cream occassionally, but just a 1/2 cup.

When I say that, what comes to your mind? It does seem like an awfully small portion, doesn't it?! But, if you eat it reallllllly s-l-o-w, it's enough to satisfy your craving.

I also make a mean orange smoothie in my Ninja. Here's my recipe, if you can even call it that. I crush ice to make "snow" (that's a Ninja term on their infomercial) add a few tablespoons of  orange juice concentrate, a few teaspoonfuls of vanilla yogurt, a splash of vanilla extract, a packet of Stevia, and blend away! It is yummy, sweet, and makes me not want ice cream so much. It's kind of like an orange creamsicle.

I try not to deprive myself though, because, who wants to live their whole life saying "I can't have that" every time? There are already SO many foods that are off limits to me as a Celiac, that I am not willing to tell myself that I can NEVER eat (you fill in the blank) again.

It's all about portion control, and moderation. And, if you slip up, you just forgive yourself, and start over again.

Inch by inch, pound by pound, it is slowly coming off.

17 lbs.....and counting......

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Big "C"

We found out this week that my husband has cancer.

He has basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer there is.

Not gonna lie, I'm a little freaked out about it all. I have heard though, from friends in the know, that this is not a big thing, although it sure feels like a big thing to me!  I guess though, that if you have to have cancer, basal cell is the kind to have.

Still....the big "C" word? Scary....

It started out as a little bump by his eye. He didn't think anything of it. Just thought it was a little blemish or something. It started to go away....but it didn't... and it hasn't.

This had been going on for like 8 or 9 months. Yes, you read that correctly. Now, it is more like a "hole" that just.won't.heal. I tried getting him to go and get it checked out. He refused. He said that it was healing on it's own, it was just taking time. Men...

Finally, after the girls and I begged and pleaded, he finally made an appointment to go and get it checked out. Our primary care physician said he thought it looked like basal cell skin cancer. He sent him to an eye doctor to get it taken care of.

When we were in the office, filling out the multiple forms, I couldn't help overhearing a conversation. There was a lady in a wheelchair, who was being attended by another elderly lady. She was also filling out the required forms. Apparently, the elderly lady in the wheelchair was very hard of hearing, and also had trouble with her eyes.

We will call the two ladies Ethel and Mildred to protect the innocent. Their conversation went something like this:

Mildred: Now, Ethel (lady in the wheelchair), I'm going to read you this list of things, and you need to tell me which ones you have, or have had in the past. Okay? Here we go.  Have you ever had the mumps?

Ethel: What? What did you say?


Ethel: No.

Mildred: Okay....are you anemic?

Ethel: AM I WHAT?



Mildred: It means that you have low iron levels in your blood.



And, so it continued. Through the entire list. Tuberculosis, measles, rubella.... could she possibly be pregnant? I think I could have answered that one for her, due to her advanced age.

This doctor also thought it was skin cancer, but Hubs still had to have a biopsy done, which was just all sorts of fun for him. Now, he is going to have to have it surgically removed.

This particular doctor could have removed it,  but it would have had to be done in the hospital. He also mentioned that he may have to do a possible skin graft from his eyelid to close it up if the skin wouldn't stretch enough.


We are going for a consultation with a dermatologist who specializes in Mohs surgery. We know someone who had it done, and she barely even has a scar. We are praying that Hubs' cancer is not very deep, and that it won't be very difficult to remove. He should have had it done a long time ago...

I asked the doctor how he could have gotten it by his eye, since it is normally covered with sunglasses. He said that it was most likely due to sun exposure he received as a child. Back when he and I were kids, sunscreen wasn't really used very much, if at all.

I can remember getting so brown every summer with nary a sunscreen bottle in sight. Hubs can remember getting several bad sunburns. Now, we know so much more about the sun, and the harm that it can cause, that I make sure my girls slather on that sunscreen! I have even been known to offer it to others at the beach if I see that they didn't bring any with them.

*If you happen to get it in your hair, you can read here about how to get it out. It is one of my most popular blog posts :)

So, now we wait, which to me, is just sheer torture! I just want it to be over and done with already.

Like yesterday.

Hubs does not seem overly concerned about it all, but I think that I am sufficiently concerned enough for the both of us! He tends to want to know  as little as possible, where as I feel the need to research everything to death.

I'm trying to remember this:

* ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10

* Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). Psalm 55:22

* Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  -Deuteronomy 31:6

And, one last one....

* You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
-Isaiah 26:3

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tie Dye, Tin Punch, and Chickens

It is once again time to work on projects for the annual 4-H fair. If you would like to read about last year's projects, you can go here. Once again, my daughters signed up for WAY more things than they will ever have time to do, but what can I say, we are overachievers.

We got together with our club to try to get some of the projects done together. Getting messy with tie dye is always more fun with a friend!

Last year, my youngest wanted to make a pink and black shirt, but she went a little crazy with the black, and while I thought the shirt turned out pretty, she refused to take it in to be judged. She tends to be a little bit of a perfectionist on the things that she does.

Not sure where she gets THAT from.

So, this year, the rule was simple: NO black dye was to be used. AT ALL!

Now, the tie dye kit comes in a box decorated with all the many different kinds of designs that you can make. The designs they feature on that box are nothing short of amazing!

And....provided you had nothing else to do in your spare time, you may be able to pull one of those fantastic designs off.

However, we are working with kids anywhere from ages 5 to 15. The containers are drippy, and the dye kind of "sloshes" out the second the bottle is tipped over.

Hence the reason we had the kids wear these attractive plastic bags over their clothes. These were affectionately titled, "Wedding Dresses", coming to the run way soon! Rompers ARE all the rage this year.

My youngest wanted to make her initial on her shirt, but quickly realized she was not going to be able to pull that off. So, she decided to make a diagonal rainbow. I think it looks fabulous!

Notice, NO black was used this year.

My oldest did a sausage roll with her shirt, which is what you need to do to make a bulls-eye design.

My middle daughter made hers into a circle, which will create a swirl design.

With these designs, you can't tell what the actual design will turn into until you are have finished the entire process. The suspense is killing us!

We finished off our project day by starting out on our tin punch designs.

The key to making tin punch look amazing, is to use different sizes of nails to give your picture some variation. It is also important to make the nail holes evenly spaced, and the same size, which is easier said, than done!

Our friends live on a semi-farm, and they raise chickens.

Can I tell you a little secret? I am a little afraid of chickens.

This one kept squawking, and bobbing it's head back and forth, and coming up to me like she wanted to peck me.

I asked to see the chicken coop, and the chicken followed me in there. She clearly wanted to be back in there with her fellow coopmates.

I asked where the chickens laid their eggs, and she showed me their nests. There was one hen in there, squawking to all the other hens that SHE had just laid an egg, and that they were NOT to come near her.

I cannot imagine having to put my hand in that nest, to retrieve her precious egg. I was reassured that they don't do that to people, just to the other hens.

Even though some of my girls would like to raise chickens of their own, I think we will just keep getting our eggs already pre-packaged in an egg carton.

When you do it that way, there is also the benefit of not having to clean out their coop!

Although, that would make a good punishment....err....I mean consequence.....for a mouthy tween, or teenage girl.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

If These Walls Could Speak

As I mentioned in last week's Hodgepodge, we have our house on the market. When you walk through our home, you will see some of the same things that are in everyone else's house....beds, couches, dining room table, kitchen, bathrooms, etc.

You may or may not like how we decorate. You may or may not think our house is the house for you.

But, will you see the stories that this house holds?

Will you know that this is the only house that our girls have ever known? We lived in a previous house when we had our oldest, but we moved here when she was only 11 months old. Our other two daughters have never lived anywhere else.

Will you know that these roses are the same ones that we had at our previous house, and I loved the way they grew there, so I made sure to get the exact same ones for my "new" house?

When you see this picture of Jesus (one of two) in our living room, will you know it's meaning? Will you know that this same picture (although in color) hung in my home as a little girl, and when I had the choice to choose between different ones, I chose this, because it always brought comfort to me as a child? Will you know that, while this may seem like just any ordinary Jesus picture, it is actually made from WORDS? If you look closely, you will be able to see the words clearly written.

When you see this sign that says "Love", will you know that we were given this at church, to remind us to love each other like Jesus loves? Will you know that this statue, the one with the bluebirds, was given to me by a dear friend? She didn't realize that I had always wanted one like this, because someone had placed this in my Gram's casket at her funeral, and now it reminds me of her.

When you look at our dining room table, will you just see a table, or will you see the many family dinners that have been served on it? Will you see the crafts that were made there? The hours of school work? The board games we have played?

Will you be able to imagine how much time and money have been spent on the school books that you will see on bookshelves all over the house?

When you look at our family room, will you know how long it took us to pick out just the right couch for that room? Or, how much we agonized over the color choices?

Will you know that Hubs and I sit here on most days, sipping our coffee, and talking about our plans for the day?

Will you be able to hear the music, as my two oldest girls practice their  lessons on the piano?

When you see my kitchen, will you know how thrilled I was to finally get a refrigerator with an ice/water dispenser? Will you be able to see the many, many meals that have been prepared in this kitchen over the almost 15 years that we have lived here? Will you know that my Dad and Hubs laid the tile themselves?

In the bathroom, will you be able to hear the giggles as my little girls took bubble baths, with the tub so full of toys and bubbles, you could barely see them?

In the girls' bedrooms, will you know how much work went into redecorating them, so that they would be just the way they wanted them?

Will you know that this dresser, in my oldest daughters room, was mine as a child, and has been redone to reflect her taste?

When you reach the master bedroom, and you see this on my dresser, will you know that Hubs and I bought this on our honeymoon at Disney World?

Will you know that these handcarved wooden elephants belonged to Hubs' grandfather, who is now gone?

Will you know how happy just seeing this striped umbrella makes me when I look at it?

Will you know how much love and laughter, joy and tears, pain and sorrow, this house has known through the years?

If these walls could speak, you would....

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summertime Hodgepodge

1. Summer officially rolls in with the Hodgepodge this week, for those of us in the Northern hemisphere anyway. What song says summer 2012 to you?
Keith Urban's, "Long Hot Summer".
Why did I choose that song? is only June 20th, and it was 95 degrees outside today. I have a feeling this is going to be a long, HOT summer! I am so very thankful that I live in an air conditioned house.
I also like this part of the song:
It's gonna be a long, hot summer, we should be together
With your feet up on the dashboard now
Singing along with the radio, it's such a beautiful sound
I will often put my feet up on the dashboard while Hubs is driving, and I am always singing along to the radio. I like to think it's such a beautiful sound, but I may be a little partial.
2. What's your favorite quintessential summer food?
Definitely watermelon! The only problem I have with it is, it is so hard to tell whether or not it is a good one, before you buy it. I recently bought one, and waited just a few days to cut it. I was really looking forward to tasting it's juicy goodness, but when I cut it open, it was extremely mushy and very unappetizing.

Does anyone out there have any tips on how to pick the best watermelon?  

3. I've spent a lot of time traipsing up and down the NJ Turnpike in recent weeks. Did you know the rest areas on the turnpike are named after people who lived or worked in NJ? Clara Barton, Walt Whitman, James Fenimore Cooper, Molly Pitcher, Joyce Kilmer, Thomas Edison, and Gover Clevland just to name a few. Of those I listed, who would you most like to have known and why?
I will choose Clara Barton, only because I did a report on her in the 5th grade. I remember that we made a sandwich board, and wore it around to some of the other classes and gave our presentations.
She was a teacher during a time when most teachers were men. She was a nurse in the Civil War, and she started the Red Cross. She was quite an inspiration for young women today! I would love to talk to her, and ask her what it was like for her back then, being a woman in a man's world. 

4. At what age did you move out of your parent's house and what prompted the move?
I was 18 years old, and I was going off to college.

5. What's more satisfying to you-saving time or saving money?
Saving money. I LOVE getting a good deal!

6. Name something you think brings out the good in people.
Christmas. It is a time where people will dig deep in their pockets to help out charities, buy gifts for children who otherwise would not receive any, or even buy food for local food pantries.
People also seem kinder and gentler at Christmas time. It's like the miracle of Christmas gets a hold of you, and you just can't help but be a little nicer to everyone you meet.

7. This last question comes to you courtesy of Kathy over at Reflections...will you be taking a vacation or a staycation this summer? If so where will you go? If a staycation is on the calendar have you made any special plans to fill the time?
We will be going to visit Hubs' family in Maine at the end of the summer. We are all looking forward to seeing them, but also, this year, we will be going to Bar Harbor. We have never taken the girls there, and they are eager to go. Hubs' brother lives there, and he has told the girls about all of the celebrities that vacation on the island, and eat at his restaurant. The oldest is also looking forward to all of the beautiful pictures she will be able to take while we are there.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
We currently have our house on the market, and we have a showing tomorrow. I am busy cleaning like a mad woman, trying to get rid of that "lived in" look. I am throwing things away right and left, and organizing drawers, cupboards, and closets. I know that when I look at houses, I always look in those places!
So tell you?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Funny Forms

One of my daughters was going to the chiropractor with me today, and since she is a new patient, she had to fill out the required new patient form. She was puzzled by some of the questions they asked, and so was I. Here is the (overly) sarcastic conversation we had while she was filling it out:

Me: You have to answer all the questions on this form about your health history.

Her: Uhhh....Mom? It is asking me, if in my entire life, I have ever had diarrhea. Really? Ever? Hasn't everyone, at one time or another in their life, had diarrhea?

Me: (laughing hysterically) I'm sure they have!

Her: (said with a Valley Girl accent) Liiiiiike, that one time...... I ate too much watermelon........does that count?

Me: (still laughing hysterically) I'm not sure, but I don't think that counts.

Her: Now, they are asking me if at ANY time in my ENTIRE life has my arm or hand been numb. It did get numb that one time I hit the ball too hard with the bat in softball.

Me: Yes, I imagine it did! I don't think that's what they meant.

Her: What about if I have ever had blurred vision? I always have blurred vision when I wake up in the morning!

Her: They also want to know if I have EVER had a chronic cough. Ever? Do they want to know about that time when I was six years old, and I was sick and coughing? What does that have to do with anything? Ever had a headache? Yes. Ever had an earache? Yes. Ever had...

Me: I think that they are just wanting to rule out serious illnesses. I'm sure that most people who fill out these forms can't really answer "no" to most of these questions!

Her: Do I have any problems with my prostate gland? I? (bats eyelashes)

Me: (can't speak I'm laughing so hard!)

And now you know what goes on in our house, behind closed doors....

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Secret To Success Hodgepodge

It's been awhile since I have participated in the Wednesday Hodgepodge, but I am linking up with Joyce once again :)
 1. What's something you miss about the 1980's? If you're too young to miss the 80's how about the 90's?

I miss being able to eat anything I wanted and not gain weight. I had such a hard time gaining weight as a child. The doctor told my Mom to let me eat anything I wanted, and to even give me shakes to help me gain weight. I once had a teacher come up to me, and ask me if I was anorexic! I ate like a horse, and still couldn't gain weight. I didn't know how good I had it back then. Sigh...

2. Do you have a library card? If so, how often do you visit?
Yes, I do. I don't use it as often now that I have a Nook. I love my Nook! So many free books, and not enough time to read them all.

Of course, now that I have already bought one, or rather, been given one for my birthday, they have come out with a Nook Simple Touch that has a glow light. See? They always improve upon things AFTER I get them. I have to use a book light to see MY Nook in the dark.

3. What's the secret to success?
There are many possible answers to this, but since I have a high school daughter who is thinking towards college, I will answer it like I am talking to her. Success in a career is doing something you love, and getting paid to do it!

4. This is National Backyard Games week...what's your favorite backyard game?

We love playing Ladder Ball. It is a game that kids and adults can play together. And.... if just adults are playing.....well then, you can have some friendly competition!

5. If I dropped by today what would I find on your coffee table?
School books! Even though my kids all have desks of their own, it seems like the coffee table is where they choose to keep them.

6. Do you own a bicycle? When was the last time you rode a bicycle? Is that something you enjoy?
I own one, but I don't ride it. It needs the brakes fixed.

7. What's your favorite cheese?
Colby Jack, hands down! I have even said (jokingly) that if I ever have a son, that is what I would name him :)

8. Insert your own random thought here.
We are all looking forward to seeing my oldest daughter dance in her recital this weekend. Last weekend, I attended my little four year old niece's dance recital. She looked so adorable in her little tutu, and it made me remember how my daughter looked in hers at that age. Now, she is in high school, and only has two more years until she graduates.

Time sure does fly by....

Monday, May 21, 2012

How I'm Doing

I have now been on Weight Watchers for 2 whole weeks.

I have lost a total of 4 pounds. I wish it was more, but I'll take it.

WW tells you to expect to lose 1/2 to 2 lbs. per week,  so I am right on track.

Here are some things I have learned:

1. Frozen grapes are GOOD! I tried them years ago, and was not overly impressed. However, now that I am no longer eating ice cream, I think they are delicious, and they really hit the spot when you are craving something cold.


2. Sometimes, when you think you are hungry, you are really just thirsty. I am terrible about drinking enough during the day. I have really started focusing on drinking lots of water during the day, and I think it really does help you not to be as hungry.

3. I discovered chicken sausage. Now, while I love chicken, when I am eating sausage, I want it to taste like.....sausage. Strange, I know. So, when I tried these, and they actually tasted sort of like sausage, only better, I was very pleased. These babies are only 3 points!

Meijer has their own brand of chicken sausage that I like even better. I tried the sundried tomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese, and OH MY WORD....they are amazing. Hubs liked them too, so SCORE!

4. I have started drinking Almond Milk in my cereal in the morning. It is only 2 points, versus 3, and it tastes pretty much like 2% milk. It also has more calcium in it, and who doesn't need more calcium in their diet?

5. I found gluten free buns that are pretty tasty when toasted. If you have to eat gluten free, you know how life changing this find is! A bun that actually tastes kinda sorta like an actual bun? Yes, please! They are worth 4 WW points, and with some low-fat deli meat, and lots of veggies, it makes for a healthy and satisfying lunch.

On the medical side of things, I found out that the MRI I had came back completely normal! Praise the Lord! I can't begin to tell you what a relief that is.

Next step for me was to go to the chiropractor. The chiropractor told me that I have almost no curvature in my neck, the discs in my neck are degenerating, and that my neck leans further to the right than it should. I got an adjustment, and I will go back frequently to help keep my neck in the right place.

Could this be my problem? The chiropractor seems to think so.

I guess we'll see....