Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book Review: "Heaven is for Real for Kids" by Todd & Sonja Burpo

I sat down with my children to read this book. It was on the computer, which is very different for our normal reading routine, so I feel like we missed out on some of the actual reading experience, but that is just a preference thing. I prefer to hold a book in my hands and to turn pages. But that's just a side note.

We read through this book in a very short time frame. My children loved the pictures and my daughter especially loved the picture of Jesus' horse, with the multi-color mane.

My children have not experienced the death of someone in their life yet, but when they do, I am sure to load this book back up and let them read through it again (or read it to them again). I think this book serves two distinct purposes. The first purpose that this book serves is as a source of comfort to children who is experiencing the death of another person as a reassurance that Heaven is a great and wonderful place.

The second purpose that this book could serve as is one of a more evangelistic purpose. I could imagine a child who doesn't believe in God or who is having doubts about his faith reading this book and being reassured that there is indeed a wonderful life after this one and that there is a God who knows them and loves them.

I really like this book for kids. It is short, colorful and thought-provoking for the child who is reading it or being read to. I would recommend this book to others.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Book Review: "A Conversation With God" by Alton Gansky

It's been awhile since I have been here. I have been extremely busy with things around here, what with school and activities and work and all that. But I came across this book the other day while unpacking (yes, still unpacking) a box of books and realized that I had never posted my review of this book. It is time to remedy that!

This book is easy to read. It is done in conversational context. The author poses questions that are common among believers at some point during their walk. And then he replies, based on scripture, from the viewpoint of God.

It is a well-written piece but it was not really my preferred way to read about God's answers to believer's questions. I guess I might be more of a Bible study kind of girl. I don't know. But I just do not really like the format for this book.

I'm sure that the conversational approach appeals to some, but I am not in that group. I would much prefer direct quotations from scripture with commentary from the author, but to have it written as if it were God writing it? It just makes it seem a bit "off".

Overall, I'd have to say this is a good resource if you have questions, but as I would recommend with any book written about the Bible, always be sure to double check references and make your own inferences from the Bible directly.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hubby Got Hurt (and other news)

Hubby has a new job and already is having to miss work. He hurt his arm a little over a week ago and has seen someone about it three times now. The last time was earlier tonight. The doctor who saw him tonight said he is not to work for the next five days and is to see a specialist or a surgeon as soon as possible (like Monday) to be further evaluated. He will need a cortisone shot, surgery or both on his arm to make his arm, wrist and hand functional again. Just what we needed. Sigh.

My baby brother, Bub, who is not really a baby, but an 18 year old young man, found out on his 18th birthday (last Monday) that he has a brain tumor. I don't even know what to think yet. I'm angry and sad and hurt, but more than anything, I am scared. This kid does not need that. He already has a tough enough life as it is.

But at the same time, the kids are doing well. They went on a bike ride with my MIL today. Even little Boo rode his tricycle to the park from MIL's house. She rode next to him REALLY slowly and the older three rode on ahead and then would wait, then ride ahead and wait, so on and so forth the whole way to the park and the whole way back. Round trip, it is a two-mile ride. But it was Boo's first "real" ride and it was on a tricycle. I cannot even imagine. LOL! Nor do I want to. But I have to admit, I am truly grateful for my MIL. As often as we don't get along and everything, I am truly blessed to have her in my life.

Monday, September 5, 2011

We are now fully in the swing of the school year. I have been swamped at work and therefore, have had limited online time. Basically, at work I have taken on a managerial position and I am now in charge of communications, documentation, scheduling and also have a key role in hiring and firing people. For the first time this week, I had to fire someone. It's hard to do. Well, sort of. The situation that the employee created made it a very easy thing to do, but even still, it took a few minutes to pump myself up to do it.

Hubby got a new job at Applebee's. I haven't quite yet decided if this is good or bad. I mean, it's good obviously because it is steady income (or at least steadier income than previously) but the food is so good and he gets a discount that ranges from free (during his shift) to 50% off (an hour before or after his shift) to 25% off (all the time).

We like to go to Applebees on Wednesday nights when I get off of work because they have their 2 for $20 (two entrees and an appetizer for $20) plus they also have 99 cent kids' meals (limit of four meals per adult entree) so we often get the 2 for $20 plus 8 kids' meals (two for each of our kids - they eat one right away and then save the other one for dinner for the following night). All together, our meal ends up around $28.00-$30.00 before tax and tip. But now, with Hubby's discount, it will end up being $22.00 before tax and tip. Our Wednesday/Thursday dinner will only run around $30.00 total. Which is still quite a bit, but overall, totally do-able on our budget. And that's TWO nights of meals for everyone. (Hubby and I almost always have leftovers as well) $15.00 per night divided by 6 people equals just a little over $2.00 per person. Not too shabby, in my opinion. And that is based on the lowest discount available to Hubby.

We got the older boys enrolled in Cub Scouts this past week. We now have a Webelo and a Wolf. And then Punky is now enrolled in Girl Scouts as well - she is a Daisy. And I am enrolled in Girl Scouts as well. I'm a Daisy Leader. Woot! I have no clue yet. LOL! Still have to go through my training and all that yet. Hopefully, I will get it all figured out soon though!

Natty is enjoying fifth grade and is actually being very responsible about his homework. I finally found a system that works well for him. Money. He is given 10 points each day for homework. Five points are allotted to his planner. He has space for five subjects. He has to have SOMETHING written in each subject to receive his points for the day. The other five points are allotted to getting the work actually done. Since we implemented this system, he has only missed one day of not having his planner filled out. Oh - and each point is worth a penny. Just my price. It does add up (along with some other things that he is expected to do each day for his chores) but I don't mind paying him to be responsible. That's what happens at our jobs as adults, isn't it?

JoNo has also had homework each night. Spelling and Math mostly. He loves it! It's quite surprising, really. He is in a special reading group because he is not on grade level for reading and last year, his spelling was HORRIBLE! But this past week, he only missed 2 words out of 16 on his pre-test. If he missed one or gets them all correct on his pre-test, then he gets the challenge list for the week instead. My poor reader is a good speller? Somewhere that doesn't make sense. But maybe that just means that the reading is about to jump up to grade level?

Punky is thoroughly enjoying her full day of school every day of the week. She is such a big girl now. I don't know what it is, but suddenly instead of being my little girl, she's jumped up to my big girl. *sniffle* It's okay, I'll be fine.

Boo is attending school everyday as well, although he only attends half days. He gets to ride the bus to and from school each day, which he LOVES! And he is actually talking about school quite a bit here and there. His communication skills have really improved over the summer and even since school has started. He still has some very strong and noticeable characteristics of his developmental delay but he is adjusting to a new school, a new routine, new teachers and new friends very well.

Boo might actually even start going to a babysitter a few days a week, when Hubby and I overlap with our work schedules. That will be a new experience for sure! I'm actually hoping that I will be able to start being at work half an hour later than I currently have to be there. That would be great for me, because then I could be the one to drop the older kids off at school and then drop Boo off with the sitter instead of needing to have all four stay the night with my inlaws and have them bring the kids up to school. It's funny the difference 30 measly minutes can make in a routine!

We have been working hard here at the new place to get it all adjusted and organized and comfortable. I have it mostly there right now. The hard part has been with my work schedule lately. It has since calmed down (beginning this week). It is really hard to maintain a house when you aren't IN the house. I seriously was working 2 7 hour shifts, 3 12 hour shifts and 1 4 hour shift each week. It was CRAZY! Plus, most nights I brought work home with me. That's just the way it had to be for a while there. I actually have work that I brought home on Friday that I had planned to have done by now, but the way I see it, I don't have to work again til Wednesday so I have a little bit of time yet. And worse case scenario, I do that work on Wednesday while I'm at work. No biggie. But I'd really like to be caught up at work before I start my work week on Wednesday. Ya know, just for once.

In the meantime, I have plenty to keep me busy here at home. I have laundry to do, menus to make, shopping to do, meals to make, kids to feed and bathe and supervise and entertain. Scheduling to do and keep. Eye appointments to go to, rooms to clean, chores to oversee, homework to supervise, allowance to give, kids to hold and hug and love on. Because you know, the last part is the best part of being a parent.

♥   NattyNu   ♥   JoNo   ♥   PunkyPie   ♥   Boo   ♥

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Another Long Break (and now some hodgepodge thoughts)

...from blogging that is. We closed on our house on July 15th and worked like crazy people a few weeks prior and definitely the two weeks following that to get everything packed up, moved (either to the new place or to the storage unit that Hubby has talked me into renting for TWO months) and then unpacked and put away. Well, we are still somewhat in the unpacking and putting away part, but we are well on our way to being completely settled!

We have gotten all 4 kids registered for their new school and even received our classroom assignments this past week. That is exciting stuff! What is really exciting to me is that all 4 of the kids will be in the same school for the first and only year ever in their lives!

My three older children returned home tonight from an impromptu lake camp out with their grandparents. I believe that they left on Thursday morning and they came back late this evening (Saturday) sunburned and tired. I got them bathed and they brushed their teeth and now most of them are sleeping peacefully in their beds. The only one still up is Boo, but his sleep schedule has been off the past few days as he and I weren't feeling well and spent much of our days (AND nights) sleeping while the big kids were gone.

Hubby, Boo and I went out for dinner the other night to an Applebee's restaurant near our place and Hubby was pretty much offered a job on the spot. He hasn't applied for it, but the kitchen manager really wants him to come work for him and to basically be his replacement for when he is not there. Hubby thought about it and still has to go through the red tape of applying and being interviewed and such, but the manager was really excited about the possibility of having Hubby work for him. I'm thrilled about it. We'll see what happens though. The manager might get an applicant with loads of experience in running a kitchen, who knows? But until I know otherwise, I will remain hopeful.

Work has been great lately. A little bit tiring because I have been training new people like crazy and dealing with HR type issues (even though there really isn't HR in private duty home health) and scheduling challenges. I think that is why I ended up sick this past week. Between working TONS of hours and training and dealing with all sorts of stuff at work with other employees and scheduling and all that, plus the move and all that goes with that, plus the housework, the kids and Hubby and all the other things that take up my time, I was burning my candle at both ends and it just caught up to me. That and/or the fact that I was in the hospital the other night waiting on someone who was being seen in the Emergency Room and could have been exposed to any number of things there. But I'm on the mend and that's what is important now and I don't need to be at work until Wednesday now either! Yay for a small break!

This past Tuesday, the inlaws, Hubby and I took the kids out boating. Miss Punky Pie is my water baby through and through! She loved it! Boo actually didn't scream the whole entire time we were out there either! He covered his ears when we would start out with the boat, but once he got used to the sound of the prop, he was fine. Little Miss Punky even went in the tube being pulled behind the boat all by herself (of course, she was wearing a life jacket and we pulled the rope in a considerable amount so that she was closer to the boat and my mother-in-law gave her a gentle ride) but I was so proud of her! She learned the hand signals and used them! We could not get Boo into the tube for anything though! The only thing he wanted to do was stay on the boat or jump in the lake like his big brothers were doing off the side of the boat (when we were stopped of course!) It was a great time had by all! Love it!!!

And next Monday or Tuesday, we may even be going to Worlds of Fun. It will be Hubby, me, Natty, JoNo and father-in-law. Mother-in-law will stay in town with Punky and Boo and maybe take them to the Childrens' Zoo. Hopefully this time, no one will get hurt and require glue to put them back together while we are out of state. (Last time it was Punky - who split her eyebrow open and required dermabond to glue it back together)

And then Thursday, we get to meet the kids' teachers at Open House and then the following Tuesday, all three older kids go back to school. Boo doesn't start until Monday the 22nd. I can't wait! I love back to school time. So many fun things to do and new friends for the kids and new school supplies (okay, really, that is one part that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE!)

But I need to end this post now, so that I can try to get my Boo to go to sleep. Goodnight all!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New House Updates

Well, I have LOTS and LOTS of updates for you all! Where to start? Hmm, maybe with my mom. She is living in her new place full-time and is loving it there. We still have a gazillion projects to do over there yet, but that will come this fall.

Our new place? Well, after a lot of meetings with loan officers and my inlaws and the sellers and such, an earnest deposit has finally been paid on it. I was originally hoping to have a closing date of mid-June, but at this point, it is mid-July. That doesn't leave us much time to get everything done at the current house and cleaned and repaired and such, but it will work - because it has to.

We took my mother-in-law and two of our closest friends to see the new place a few days ago. That was when the deposit was paid as well. I am so excited! And, some of the rooms are bigger than what I had remembered them being (such as the dining room) and there is a built-in storage cabinet that I hadn't noticed last time in the bathroom. And we found out that one of the garden sheds will be staying there after all. There were two of them and they were going to leave one and take the other one apart and move it with them, but have decided it would be more work than what it is worth and so will most likely be leaving it. So yay! I will definitely not turn down additional storage room when we are in the mode of downsizing!

And now, today, I am working on cleaning and packing our living room. I am being very ruthless when it comes to getting rid of things. I don't want to move a bunch of stuff with us. Plus, our financial situation will be much better once we move (to the point of having a few hundred dollars left over every month as opposed to not even being able to make ends meet where we currently live) and we will be able to afford to replace a few items here and there as time goes on. Not to mention the fact that we have enough of well, everything, to set up at least two full, separate households. It's ridiculous. The thrift stores around here are going to LOVE me by the time we are moved to our new place. Either that or they will HATE me, but I think I'll go with the love option instead. I like that one better.

Today's tackle is to get through the living room. So far, I have done one entire wall in here. I have sorted all the stuff that is on our front wall, cleaned off and cleaned out the chairs, flipped them over, cleaned out under them, cleared off my end table, put away paperwork that needed to be filed into the file box I keep under the table. I have a bag of toys that need to go up to the kids' rooms, I have a box of books that I need to sort through. I have a pile of clothes ready for consignment and I have a bag of dirty laundry (Really? In the living room? No idea.) and I have a bag of trash. Oh and a pile of dishes to go into the kitchen. And yep, I'm only 1/3 of the way done with the main part of the living room. It shouldn't take too long though.

The list for the rest of this room:
Fold clothing in totes next to my chair
Put clothing away or pack it
Clear off cedar chest
Pack items on cedar chest
Clear off entertainment center
Pack items on entertainment center
Sort through books on bookshelf
Pack books from bookshelf
Clear off couch
Flip couch over and clean under couch
Clear off Hubby's endtable
Pack items from endtables
Clear off Hubby's desk
Pack items from Hubby's desk
Clear out front closet
Pack items from front closet
Sort through shoes and outerwear
Make pile for consignment store
Carpet clean
Take out trash

That will be my tackle for today. I had planned on doing it yesterday, but other things came up yesterday. I plan to enlist the help from my children and Hubby as well. If we just plug away at it, I think we could have the entire room sorted, packed and cleaned in a matter of just a few hours. Yeah!!!!

(Then on to the basement to deal with the laundry monster. UGH!)

This post is linked up to the following blogs:

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Hey there everyone! It has been long-awaited, but now it is here! It is giveaway time! But before I tell you about the product that I am giving away, I am going to tell you about the product.

Look at this fit! I love this shot! Taken with Hubby's cell phone b/c my camera is MIA AGAIN!
I had contacted Izzy of Bum-Ware Cloth Diapers about doing a review and giveaway. She sent over two diapers. One for my little Boo and one for one of YOU! We have been using cloth part-time with our kiddos for the last 6 1/2 years. First for JoNo, then Punky and currently for Boo. I say part-time because it depends on who is doing the changing. If Hubby or Mother-in-Law or my mom are the changers, the child almost definitely will go into a sposie, If I'm the one changing, I'm more apt to put the child in cloth because I love cloth!

So, anyhow, we have had this diaper for Boo and have used it quite a bit over the last month and a half. The diaper itself is wonderfully sewn. The stitching and elastic has held up well. The materials that Izzy uses are quality. The diapers are made with hidden elastic around the legs, which works so well for my little guy. If it is serged, then he will sometimes get marks from it rubbing against him, but not with the hidden elastic.

The inner is made of suedecloth, which is one of my favorite materials to use with my kiddos. It really helps to keep their little tush dry. And a dry tush is a non-rashy tush. The outer is made of strong, waterproof PUL, while the inner (hidden) soaker is super-absorbent microfiber. This is even absorbent enough for Boo, who is potty-learning right now and holds his urine until he is ready to just let go.

Sorry for the blur. The boy was jumping up and down to show off his diaper.
It has hook and loop tabs for the closure with laundry tabs sewn in as well. I love this! Not all of our diapers have laundry tabs. If you have ever washed a bunch of a diapers without laundry tabs, you will definitely know the benefit of having these tabs. For one thing, they prevent the diaper chain (one diaper attached to another, to another, to another, so on and so forth). Two, it protects your fabrics as well. That way, the rough part of hook and loop (not sure if that is the hook or the loop) but hopefully you understand what I mean - doesn't tear into the fabric and make it all messy looking either. It also helps to keep the hook and loop free from those little fibers that can get in there and interfere with closing the diaper.

Some additional features that are also available (but which I didn't request) are the ability to add on a doubler for more absorbency. These doublers can be fleece-topped flannel or hemp. And she is also able to do embroidery on the diaper back for extra added cuteness! She has quite a large selection of embroidery options as well.

In all, I grade diapers on the following criteria - fit, craftsmanship, absorbency, cuteness, customer service. Okay, the customer service aspect isn't a direct diaper grade, but in my opinion, the customer service has to be there for me to be a repeat customer. And Izzy is the BEST! I give this diaper a full 5 stars! You did great, Izzy!

And now, one of you lucky readers gets to win one for your little one! The diaper for the giveaway is a BWX AIO. A Bum-Ware eXtreme All-In-One. It is a size Medium (recommended for 10-23 pounds) with Forest Green PUL outer and white microsuede inner. It also includes the fold-back laundry tabs for the hook and loop closure.

To enter to win, you have some options:

Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect (1 entry) - MUST do this first
Visit Bum-Ware and look around. Leave a comment here with what you would choose if you could pick anything from the site (1 entry)
Like Bum-Ware on Facebook (1 entry)
Like this blog on Facebook (1 entry)
Mention this giveaway on your blog with a link back (1 entry)

Additional entries that can be done daily:
Vote for this blog on Top Mommy Blogs (1 per day) (You can click on the button on the right)
Vote for this blog on Picket Fence Blogs (1 per day) (You can click on the button on the right)
Tweet about this giveaway (1 per day)
Mention this giveaway on your facebook page with a link here (1 per day)

This giveaway will remain open from today, Sunday June 5th until Sunday June 19th at 11:59pm Central Time. Lots of time for mulitple entries! And it is very easy to do!

I will ask that you please leave a new comment for each entry and include the link to the post or to your facebook page to make it easier to verify. But be sure to leave a new comment for each qualifying entry.

I wish that each one of you who enters would be able to win one of these diapers, but I only have one to give away. For the rest of you, I highly encourage you to place an order with Izzy today!