I WAS Gonna Blog More This Summer, But…

Posted in blogging, church on June 6th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I am enjoying some of the freedom that the summer affords me: no youth group on Wednesday nights, no teaching Sunday school, no having to drop the kids off or pick them up at school – well, the kids will be out of school in 2 days, so I haven’t had a taste of that yet, but I’m looking forward to trying for my afternoon nap without time constraints – if only Terrible-Two-Dude will stop yelling my name during these nap attempts.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all of these activities, but there is something liberating about not being tied down to them for an entire summer.  As much as I absolutely loved teaching 1st graders on Sunday mornings, it was really great last Sunday to not have to get up at 8am and get 4 crabby kids ready for what amounted to a double church service for them  – one while Mom and Dad teach and one while Mom and Dad go to worship.  Our family rolled out of bed by 10, got ready, and left the house around 10:40, getting to church in time to relax with friends before the service with plenty of time to spare.  I enjoyed Wednesday nights with my 6th grade girls, but there was a lot of emotionally exhausting drama there at the end, and I so needed a break.  Besides, it’s nice to have Wednesdays free.  But wait, I don’t have Wednesdays free!  Hubby and I signed up to organize and facilitate a class at church called Changing Hearts, Changing Lives – a personal ministry class that utilizes a DVD series by Paul Tripp and small group discussion to lead Christians to be able to effectively counsel others in a God-loving and caring way.  We’ve had two weeks of this class so far, and it’s going great!  So I can’t really say that I miss my free Wednesday nights.  I  never got a taste of a free Wednesday night anyway; what’s that like?

I also signed up for a women’s Bible study series (Beth Moore for those of you that know her work) that meets on Monday mornings.  I hesitated with this one because it meets ALL summer – beginning today before school is out and going right through to August after the kids go back to school.  But there is child care there, so if my 4 kids haven’t killed each other by the time Mondays roll around, this will get us out of the house once a week.  Also, my oldest daughter gets to help with the child care with other ‘big kids’ her age,  so that will be good for her too.  I enjoyed my first class today, but I have to note the intensity of this class – 5 nights of homework per week!  Pre-Christian Taylhis 1.0  would have panicked and said ‘I don’t have time for this!!’, but Taylhis 2.0 feels pretty good about it.  I’m excited to immerse myself more fully in God’s word, and the structure of the class will have me getting to know better other women at my church.  I can find time for my homework; after all, isn’t more butt-time for the pregnant lady just what the doctor ordered?  I’m not sure about that, but it’s definitely on MY want-list because these days my feet (legs, thighs, etc) are killing me, and I have a lot more growing to do!!  Problem is, I’m going to spend that butt-time in front of my Bible and my class workbook rather than my blog, so there goes my plan of blogging more…  oh well, who said blogging more was a good plan for me anyway?

My Favorite Camping Memory

Posted in Travel on June 4th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you’ve been reading my blog as of late, you know about my family’s impromptu camping trip – my husband and I, in a fit of outlandish spontaneity (read: his idea), decided to take our 4 children – ages 9, 5, 2, and almost 1 year – on a surprise, last-minute, week-long camping trip.  Despite our family being very inexperienced and mostly camping-inept, it’s been going pretty well!  My husband was shipped off to camp for entire summers when he was a kid, and it’s fun to see this side of him – the skills that he learned in the campgrounds of his youth since we’ve never been camping together…  well, not like this anyway, with 4 kids and 2 dogs to look after.  As for me, the camping experiences of my youth consist of a few over-nighters for Girl Scouts, and one week-long venture at Girl Scout camp that I did not like one bit – it was cold, we had to get up early, I had to be away from my beloved family dog, which made me incredibly homesick.  To top off my week of misery, the counselors at the camp wanted us to do a mandatory (believe me, I did ask about the mandatory part!) art project that involved catching frogs, dipping them in paint, and letting them hop across a piece of paper.  Call it art, if you will, but there was no way I was going to be anywhere near that art project due to my intense fear of frogs and toads which I am still conquering as we speak (guess what my 5-year-old’s favorite camping activity has been this week?).  Luckily for the kid-version of me, it rained at Girl Scout camp, meaning I did not have to participate in the frog-filled art project.  But it took 3 days for that project to get canceled, and I was panicked about it the entire time.  Plus, when we got up in the morning, it was very cold outside, and first things first – we had our swimming lessons first thing in the morning.  Anyone who was too cold to participate in the morning lessons lost their privilege to partake in free swim after lunch when the sun was scorching.  But as miserable as I thought I was at camp, I did have a favorite camping thing that we did – something that just isn’t the same without a campfire: we made pie-iron pizzas.

A pie-iron is a camping cooking utensil that consists of two small, shallow metal square pans with long handles.  You can build sandwiches and desserts and all kind of culinary creations between the squares, then you latch them together and hold them over the campfire to cook the filling.  My long-term memory continues to serve me well – even as an adult, pie-iron pizzas are delicious!  After a trying day yesterday with my girls being tired and throwing tantrums all day, making pie-iron pizzas was a great way to close the day – they honestly cheered everyone up, including me!  Not only are they yummy, but to make them is actually a fun project that is easy for kids and can easily burn a good 30 minutes of off kid boredom time!  The kids might need help cooking their pie-iron pizzas over the campfire for safety reasons, but any age kid can enjoy preparing her pizza for cooking.  There is something about kids helping to prepare their own food that makes them eat better than ever, too – works every time for my kids.

So yeah – the $10.99 pie-iron turned out to be a great investment.  Not only was it a fun family experience (I built the sandwiches with the girls while Dad helped cook them over the fire) which also accomplished the task of feeding the family, but the activity accomplished the near-impossible task of cheering up a tired family!  I am excited about the many experiments I plan on conducting with the pie-iron – you can make mini-casseroles, desserts, pita pockets, stir fry…  so many possibilities!

As I cheesily began to sing the other night, “Pizza…  Roasting on an open fire…”

Saturday Slobber

Posted in Kids, Travel on August 17th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well, school starts on Tuesday, so for one last summery hurrah, we ventured over to the coastal cities in Ohio on Lake Erie for some fun.  First stop was the African Safari Park in Port Clinton, which is really more of a drive-thru zoo than anything having to do with Africa.  They do have zebras, giraffes, and camels, but most of their animals hail from North America.  It’s always an extremely fun experience, and we try to go every year.  Since this summer was very busy with the new baby and all, it didn’t occur to me that we hadn’t gone yet until I struck up a conversation with a really nice elderly couple at a restaurant the other day.  When I asked where they were from, they replied, “west of Cleveland”, so that got me thinking about the Safari Park in Port Clinton.  On the way home from the restaurant that night, I said to my husband, you know, we haven’t been to the safari park this year…  An idea was hatched, and there we were on Saturday with 6 of our closest friends.

Saturday morning was almost like a one-act play with all of us standing there on our front porch, trying to figure out who was going to ride with whom; we were trying to find the best way to do things to be as economically (and environmentally) friendly as possible…  We ended up taking just 2 cars for the 12 of us, and then once we got to Port Clinton, it was like musical chairs (cars) once again while we tried to figure out how to position everyone to get the most bang for our buck, so to speak, since the safari place charges by carload and by individual…

So anyway, after a stop at Cheese Haven In Port Clinton – and now I have to go off on yet another tangent because Cheese Haven is SOOO good and totally worth a stop if you’re in the area.  And what I mean by “in the area” is anywhere up to 100 or even 1000 miles, depending on how much you like cheese.  They have so many varieties, along with fresh jerkies and beef sticks and other yummy treats.  We stopped there to get our lunch of corned beef sandwiches – and they have the best corned beef sandwiches, yum.  Unfortunatlely, I was not wlling to take 4 kids into the cheese store to run around, so I was stuck in the car with the kids, but my oh-so-thoughtful hubby talked the worker into making me a sample bag (which they’re not supposed to do, you only get the free samples if you go into the store, but hey, I was stuck in the car), AND he made my sandwich for me – how sweet 🙂

Ok, tangent aside…  now we’ve arrived at the Safari Park, and it is SO crowded…  Makes me think twice about going there again next summer unless it’s near their last weekend of operation like it was when we went last year…  I mean, I just can’t stand waiting in line to go to the bathroom, of all things…  Waiting in line is not much fun at all, but when you’re waiting in line to do something as necessary and as unrewarding as going to the bathroom, it’s really annoying.  So, because it was so crowded, it took us forever to get through the drive-through zoo part; although not as long as it took the other vehicle in our caravan because they were stuck behind an obscenely slow white van the whole time…  So while we got out of the drive-through section, they had barely just begun…  But the whole park is a really cool place; even more so if you don’t care about the vanity nor cleanliness of your car since there are some rather huge creatures (including deer, elk, elands, buffalo, zebras, giraffe and longhorns) who drool, head-butt, lick, slobber, and basically invade your car as your drive through their habitat.  I think you must truly be an animal lover to appreciate the place since you come out filthy…  This was the first time we had been there in our new car, but I’m happy to report no major damage, that I know about, at least; but what’s this about driving our car through a pond, jamiahsh?!?

We’ll get to the bottom of that later…  when you come out of the drive-through part, it’s time for the walk-through zoo section, and there they have monkeys, macaws (military, not green-winged as the sign said), ocelots, warthogs, alpacas, and tortoises; not to mention rides for the kiddees: ponies and camels.  I noticed that they had 2 camels for riding; one was resting while the other gave the rides.  But interestingly, one was a Dromedary and the other a Bactrian camel, the difference between the two species being mainly in how many humps they had…  My daughters rode the Dromedary (1 hump), and they really seemed to enjoy themselves – I wonder if riding the Bactrian (2 humps) would have been any different?  I was envious because I’m no where near the 125 lb. weight limit, so I’ll probably never get to ride a camel…  After that, we got to check out an animal show, ironically titled “Laugh With the Animals”.  It was ironic because our host for the show was so dry – she had the audience doing everything but laughing…  It was a fun show, though, and something that we hadn’t yet done at the park in our previous visits.  Overall, an interesting day…  as it is anytime you have 12 people on an outing together!

If you liked reading my synopsis of the day, check out my fellow tangents.org blogger and get Jamiahsh’s take on the whole thing.  I’m going to take a lesson from him and blog this in 2 installments…  got to leave the readers craving more, so they say!  Check out my next post for a full summary of our visit to a year-round haunted house – Ghostly Manor in Sandusky, Ohio!  Until then…

BEST Reality Show EVER!!!

Posted in TV Shows on May 19th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My favorite shows are on tv Thursday nights, and last week’s episodes of both shows were really good.  The Lost episode and the Office were up to par for sure, if not even a little better than usual.  And some great news we got while watching ABC – it seems we won’t be entirely without tv this summer since they’re bringing back our favorite reality show, the best one ever in my opinion, The Mole!  This show revolves around 12 contestants who perform various tasks.  In past seasons the tasks have involved navigating around strange countries and scavenger hunt-type things.  The contestants work together to try to add money to the “pot”; except for the twist: one of the players is a saboteur, the Mole, who tries to work against the other players, trying NOT to get money added to the pot.  Obviously the Mole cannot be obvious about his or her identity because if he or she is the last one left, then the Mole wins the game.  Each week, the contestants take a quiz about the Mole, and the person with the fewest correct answers gets eliminated.  There has been 4 seasons of the Mole, the first 2 being hosted by Anderson Cooper, the CNN anchor, and the next 2 being celebrity editions hosted by Ahmad Rashad.  The show has not aired since 2004, and I have missed it!  It is very entertaining, and I am VERY excited it’s coming back to tv, especially since I will be going into Lost and especially Office withdrawl this summer!

Especially compounding the tv withdrawl this summer is that the episodes of my favorite shows were extra good last Thursday!  Lost actually answered more questions than it asked, they actually continuted some of the hanging plot lines instead of giving us new ones to ponder, and no new characters were introduced!  Part 2 of the season finale airs in 2 weeks, and last night’s episode really whet my appetite for this season’s cliffhanger!

The Office was back to being utterly hilarious this week.  The plot line with Toby’s replacement being under the impression that Kevin is “special” was my favorite.  I was also glad to see the return of Jan, though part of me was disappointed to discover it wasn’t Michael’s baby (according to Jan anyway – maybe a twist to look for next season?).  Michael’s new “love” for Holly was sweet and intense, but he actually might not be too far off this time – she seems like she might be a good match for him.  I loved the part where he breaks into a Yoda impression after she says yoga, she just stares at him like he’s bizarre, but then she breaks into a Yoda impression of her own.  This might be a match made in heaven!  But then again, Michael had to be an idiot and gloss over Holly’s invitation to get dessert…  typical Michael Scott behavior!  I can’t believe we’re back to waiting months for the show to come back on again!  At least The Mole will keep me busy with tv – I highly recommend it!

A Miracle for Every Season

Posted in Kids on March 3rd, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today when I was putting away laundry, it occurred to me that it’s almost that time of year when I need to pack away winter clothes and see if I have enough spring / summer clothes for the kids in the right sizes.  And, since I’m going to have another little bundle of joy, I started thinking about what I already have in the way of baby clothes…  Since this is my 4th girl, I have plenty of pinks and purples.  However, I really do need to check if any of these clothes are fitting for a July baby – I’ve never had a summer baby before!  Come to think of it, my girls were born in December (winter), May (spring), October (fall), and now, July (summer) – giving me miracles for every season!  We are so blessed!

Since #3 arrived not even 2 years ago, I still have ALL of her baby clothes, and my friends at the time were so nice to throw me a baby shower, even though she was #3…  I think it had something to do with my friend Sue insisting baby #3 (Disney) was going to be a boy, but it was very thoughtful of her at any rate.  This next part is weird, I’m warning you…  The problem is, all of my baby clothes are in the basement, and I have put myself on strike from going in the basement for awhile…  It’s a long story, but I probably won’t be ready to go down there until the end of summer or fall – it’s just not something I want to deal with these days…  maybe I’ll go into it in another post.  So, I guess I’m going to have to bribe my husband to dig around in the basement to find all of our newborn baby clothes in time for me to wash them and see if there’s any shopping to do before our new arrival.  The good news is, since it will be July, I shouldn’t need too many clothes off the bat…  some onesies and blankets will do it until fall, and maybe by then I will be basement-ready!