Friday, November 30, 2007

I've Found the Cure

I suffer from an affliction that is rarely cured. Actually I'm not sure if I actually suffer from it, but it does plague me. It's officially defined as "averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion; indolent." If you move more into the realm of the seven deadly sins, it is described as "habitual disinclination to exertion; indolence; laziness."

This week I have found a cure. It's called Work. I know that some of you out there cannot imagine whiling away hours reading, watching television, surfing the net or talking on the phone, but I also know that many of you fight the inertia of inactivity as much as I do.

Heather left a comment asking if I had shared about my very part-time job. I think that I might have, but I can elaborate. One day a week while Kyle is at preschool, I go to someone's home as her personal assistant. I inherited this job from my friend who moved, because I had come on when things were busy to help out last year around this time. I work about four hours on site, and then I bring home anywhere between one and four hours of work (placing orders, making phone calls, updating Christmas address lists). However, with it being Christmastime, my hours have doubled. I also spend at least a couple of hours a week on 5 Minutes for Mom tasks. Part of the problem with this work from home is that it looks to others, and feels to me, much like my normal lazy surfing.

This week has been busy. I don't generally like busy, because while I have gotten a lot done, it also leaves a lot undone, around the house in particular. However, an odd thing happened this week. Because I've been working so hard on different projects, I've also taken advantages of pockets of time to declutter an area here or there, run the vacuum upstairs, and put away the dishes.

Who would imagine that hard work could slay laziness?

This year in October when my schedule seemed to be filling up, I began to entertain the idea of quitting this job after Christmas. After all, we don't need the money. It's really just a fun diversion for me and an opportunity to contribute a bit to the household budget, specifically for extras. It does leave me less time to reach out to others and spend time with them, and leaves me less time for freelance writing which I'm trying to pursue. It would be easy for me to justify that choice. While not wrong in itself, I think that it's just the medicine I need to treat my chronic condition. Having one day set aside for work outside the home (and several hours throughout the week) causes me to make the most of the rest of the hours in my week and examine how I am using my time.

I certainly do not think that every woman must contribute financially to the home, but I do think that we should use our gifts and our time wisely to the betterment of ourselves and our families.

The Perfect Woman as described in Proverbs 31

13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Speaking of Laundry. . .

Were we speaking of laundry? Well, I've had laundry on the brain for the last couple of weeks anyway. I got it clean so that I could pack it for our trip, and it went and needed washing again! I think it's done, and it's mostly put away. Katrina's post yesterday about her Three-Basket Laundry System led to an unexpected confession in her comments regarding my own laundry system:

I have a three bed laundry system: clean laundry piled on my bed waiting to be folded, folded laundry piled in the chair at the end of Amanda's bed waiting to be put away, and either clean laundry, unfolded, or a load of dirty laundry that I sorted and didn't get washed yet parked on the guest room bed.

However, as I was spending a lot of time in front of the dryer, I was reminded of a bona fide laundry tip that might be helpful to someone.

I keep an empty tissue box on my dryer. It's perfect for filling with the lint from the lint trap. It doesn't make a mess, I don't have to find a trashcan, and it doesn't end up just sitting on top of the dryer because I was too lazy to take it to a trashcan.

Do you have any simple laundry tips?

What is your strategy for dealing with your nine-year-old's laundry? I used to put Amanda's away (if I was so inclined), but now I just park it in her room, and she doesn't put it away either.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tomorrow You'll Find Me Right Here

It's been a busy week. Wednesday I was doing the laundry, packing, trying to clean up, loading the car sort of stuff. Wednesday night we were doing the Thanksgiving Eve six-hour drive to Virginia to see all of my in-laws. Fortunately we really didn't encounter much traffic. We left late and got in after midnight, so we started off the weekend with a little bit of travel-lag. However my mother-in-law and father-in-law returned from a two week long trip to Italy on Tuesday, so there's really no comparison.

Thursday I ate.

Friday I shopped a bit and did what is now a tradition and has become a lovely way to turn my thoughts to the real Christmas, watching my father-in-law's choral group lead a sing along at a local outdoor shopping center, and singing along as well. I also played a little Guitar Hero at my sister-in-law's house, which I have to say is just as fun as I've heard it was.

Saturday I ate some more. We also watched Elf on TV, which we decided last year at Christmas should be an annual occurrence.

Sunday we worshiped with my brother-in-law and his new wife and met everyone else for lunch. We hit the road, and did encounter some more of that Sunday after Thanksgiving traveling joy. Our trip was probably an hour or so longer, but again--I have no real complaints. When I got home, I had to work on posting the millions of winners for 5 Minutes for Mom's Christmas Giveaway.

Monday I had a meeting for some training for a new position I've accepted within my BSF class. I drove over an hour to get there, met for a couple of hours, and drove back home. Then I had to be at BSF by 5:00pm for an early meeting before our evening class. It was a long day. Fruitful, informative and interesting--but long.

Today I went to my part-time job while Kyle was at school, and then worked a bit more from home on the computer. I have managed to get two loads of laundry done and our bags mostly unpacked.

Tomorrow you'll find me right here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


My dad sent this email out to friends and family this morning:

On this day, 100 years ago, Otis Roy W. was born into very humble beginnings. He worked very hard and with great resolve to educate himself (Masters degree in Education), reach high levels in his profession, serve his church in many capacities and accumulate a substantial net worth through cattle and land investments. Because of the Depression, he married later in life (28), but lived long enough to celebrate over 50 years with Opal Heaton W. He was a wonderful father and loved his children and grandchildren and was certainly loved by them.

We honor his memory.

Daddy, we still miss you today.

It's hard to believe that he's been gone almost twenty years. A few things had recently come back to my memory about Pappaw. He snored so loudly that it could be heard throughout the house. If I awoke late at night after others had gone to bed, he would often be up watching wrestling on TV, and he would let me sit up with him. I can still see him sitting in "his chair" in the living room. That chair was not for anyone else's use, but there was always room on his lap for one of his granddaughters.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm Not Sure I'm Ready for This

Last week the phone rang:

Caller: Hello this is Master X (to protect the innocent). May I speak to Amanda?

Me: Yes. Amanda it's Master X.

Amanda, looking sheepish: Hi. Oh, okay, you need the whole list? Taking the phone upstairs to her room as she grabs her homework folder.

Amanda, returning the phone to me a few minutes later, and shrugging:
He needed the spelling list.

Is it me, or isn't that one of the oldest tricks in the book? When I was fifteen, my friend and I desperately wanted to figure out a way to call Peter without seeming too obvious. I'm not sure the results were any less obvious than the spelling word maneuver:

Me: Hi, Peter? It's Jennifer. Did you happen to lose a gold chain at Mary's birthday party?

Peter: No, I didn't.

Me: Oh, okay. We're just calling around to see who might have lost it.

The operation may not have sounded too successful, but Peter did ask me out at some point thereafter, and took me on my first real non-dance date with the guy driving and everything. I later found out that he would have liked to ask me out again, but he didn't know if I liked him. He clearly was a very dense seventeen year old boy.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Louder than Words

We are all familiar with the true old adage, "Actions speak louder than words." There's no place that this is truer than in our homes. I can say that I'm going to clean the house, but alas, the action of inactivity will far outweigh that promise and the dust will speak for itself. I can say "I forgive you," but still slam doors and avoid direct eye contact, unless I'm rolling my eyes which clearly makes a point regarding the actual state of my forgiveness.

Speaking of making a point, Proverbs 27:15-16 reminds me what all of my reminders might sound like to my husband.

A quarrelsome wife is like
a constant dripping on a rainy day;

restraining her is like restraining the wind
or grasping oil with the hand.

A good friend and I regularly take the time to evaluate our lives in light of Christ's teaching, specifically our roles as wives, as mothers, as His children. Sometimes in addition to sharing about our dissatisfaction with a certain area of our lives, we vent a few complaints as well. I can feel free to share my dissatisfaction with my husband's actions, knowing that I have wise counsel and that she is unlikely to spur on my feelings of resentment or rebellion. I have always appreciated Proverbs 27:17, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another," but it wasn't until today that I noticed that verse immediately followed those about the quarrelsome wife.

Sometimes I am not able to fix the situation, certainly not by talking about it. What I can do is look at myself and my attitude to see if it might be somehow be contributing to the issue. Using my friend as a sharpening rod generally causes me to look inward, or even better--upward. I can let my actions speak louder than words by getting rid of those clutter piles that drive my husband crazy or greeting him with a smile at the end of a long day instead of a sigh or a rant. If I talk to God about my concerns after examining my own motives and am sure that it is an area that needs to be corrected, I can be assured that prayer speaks louder than words. In fact, my friend and I have seen this very strategy "work" so many times that we coined a phrase for it:

Shut up and pray.

The words themselves don't bring to mind a godly wife brimming with a gentle spirit, but the practice behind it certainly does. Where nagging creates tension (both in my husband and in the self-righteous attitude it creates in me), selfless acts and prayer change me while I'm waiting to see the change in my husband.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Just For Clicks

I recently downloaded a new online browser for kids. It's called Kidzui. It will be released early in 2008, but right now they are looking for 1500 families to try it out in Beta. If you'd like more info, or to download it (it only takes about 3MB), click here.

Have you checked out iMommies yet?? I recently completed a one-week online study for which I was paid $150, simply for filling out one entry a day. I would say that the whole thing took far less than two hours! I just found out that I was accepted into another online study. This one takes place over 6 weeks, during which I have to do a journal entry and questionnaire once a week. The complete time expended is estimated at two hours, and for this I will be paid $60. iMommies is a great resource!

Lastly, do you love to shop online as much as I do? Seriously, answer and let me know. I truly love it. I love the prices, the ability to shop and compare, read reviews, and do all of it without leaving the house (and most importantly without toting along an active three-year-old boy). Have you ever tried ebates? If you use ebates as a gateway for your purchases, you will earn between 3% and 12% of your purchase from stores such as, Toys R Us, Walmart,, Land's End and more. They usually have a $5 refer a friend a bonus, but right now it's $10, which means if you sign up through my link, after your first purchase you will receive $10 in your account. If you tell them that I referred you, I will also receive $10. You can then send personalized emails to your friends referring them and collect your own referral fees if they sign up. My ebates email is jenndon (at) yahoo [dot] com, so if you do enroll, please let them know I referred you. Every three months, you receive either a check or a paypal deposit of the referral fees from your sales.

Speaking of referrals, the amazon button on my sidebar (and found in many other sidebars across the blogosphere) is linked to their referral program, so if you are going to be making a purchase from amazon, I would love it if you originated it here. As long as you place a product in your shopping card after clicking through, I will receive a very small commission.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Fortunate Mistake

I might have mentioned a time or ten that I love What's not to love--great prices, free shipping, wonderfully interactive customer feedback and a mysterious system that allows interesting books to pop up on a page when I've been browsing that I inevitably end up wanting to buy.

I now have another reason to love them. I bought a book for Amanda and I to read together (I'm not ready for this, but I'm giving it a go, and this is a softball way to lead in to the knitty gritty). I was wondering why it hadn't arrived, so I had checked earlier in the day and saw that it indeed would arrive today. The brown delivery truck came just before Amanda's bus dropped her off, so she brought the package in. I opened it, and instead of finding the book I ordered, I found three TV series DVDs: the complete Adams Family series, the first season of I Dream of Jeanie, and the first season of the Munsters. Amanda has really enjoyed watching classic sit-coms on TVLand, so these discs were a special treat for her. She is not familiar with I Dream of Jeanie, but I think that she'll enjoy them.

Since I'm also a fan of TV on DVD, it was a rather fortunate mistake. Yes, I did call them and let them know of their error. My original order should arrive tomorrow, and because it was their error, they told me to keep the DVDs. I'm sure that Michael M. in California will be thrilled to open his $10 Care and Keeping of You book as opposed to the three DVD sets which he is expecting. They re-issued his order, too, and so he should receive his $100 worth of DVDs tomorrow as well. Unless he has a tween daughter at home with whom he's been waiting to discuss the physical changes that she's going to be experiencing, he might not be quite as happy as I am with the mistake.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Altar or the Door

Sometimes a song really grabs hold of me. It can be because I love the music or the words or oftentimes because it takes on meaning for me as I realize a desire of my heart or a sinful condition that needs to change. When I'm interacting with a song in this way, I often play it over and over, singing right along. There's a song on my ipod right now from Casting Crowns new CD, the title song from The Altar and the Door, that I cannot play without joining in--loudly. The combination of the catchy tune and the heartfelt lyrics get me every time.
Lord, this time I'll make it right, here at the altar I lay my life
Your kingdom come but my will was done, my heart is broken as I...

Cry-ai-y . . . . like so many times before
It is at this point that I tend to get a little carried away. Kyle has had to break in more than once--loudly--to be heard over my own singing and the music in my ears I'm jamming to, "Mommy stop singing that song!!!"

Mark Hall explains the genesis of this project on their official site: “When we’re at the altar, everything makes sense,. We know what we’re supposed to do. We know how we’re supposed to live. Everything’s black and white. But somewhere between the altar and the door, when we leave and go out into our lives, it all leaks out, and everything gets gray again. The Christian life is the journey between the altar and door, trying to get the things you’ve got in your head, into your hands, feet, into your life. The Altar and The Door is all about the journey--the realization on the journey, the struggles and the victory of seeing it as possible.”

Yesterday as I picked up Kyle from preschool, I had to listen to some feedback from his teacher concerning his journey. He is not listening to his teachers, not following directions, and not even striving to do so. It was a little bit discouraging, but a friend of mine wisely reminded me that there is probably nothing new under the sun for these women who have been running this preschool for ten years.

An hour later I had my fall conference scheduled with Amanda's teacher. Honestly, I wasn't quite sure how it was going to go. I had received her report card on Friday and was pleased with how she was doing. When I sat down her teacher asked me if there were any surprises there. I told her that it all seemed to be accurate. Amanda had joined us and her teacher asked her opinion about her marks for that period. Amanda said that she was surprised she didn't do worse in math. "In math?" her teacher asked. "What do you mean? You're brilliant, don't you know that?" Amanda hesitated and was a little embarrassed. She's always been good at math, but because of our failure to really commit those multiplication facts to memory, she's beginning to feel a disconnect in applying what she knows. So we're committed to get that right.

The second issue that has been ongoing in Amanda's school career is her (in)ability to control her talking. This manifests in social talking when she's supposed to be working (I don't know where she gets this problem), and it also emerges as an overly excited learning participant who shouts out answers and wants to interact with the teacher in what is supposed to be an instructive segment of class. The first week or two she struggled and her teacher asked her if she thought she needed have a behavior chart (as she has had to do at some point in each of the last three years in school). Amanda told her that she wanted to try to do it on her own. Her teacher told both of us that she has been pleased at Amanda's effort.

Just like me singing at the top of my lungs to somehow force the words of the song into my heart and life, hearing those words from her teacher was such an encouragement to Amanda that victory is possible. I'm proud that she's been able to take the desire of her heart--to be more self-controlled--and put it into practice.

Somehow we need to convince Kyle that he does have the desire to listen and obey and that it will be beneficial to do so.
So I'll be reminding him that he needs to listen, and if he doesn't bow at the altar of obedience, his teachers might be showing him the door.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Whole New Jesus

I haven't really been blogging my thoughts about my Matthew study as regularly as I had promised. However I have definitely been learning. In the first week of the study, we did a cursory survey of the entire book. In reading it, Jesus stood out. Not just the Jesus that we see in Sunday School pictures, or the one I thought I have come to know in the years since I gave Him authority over my life. He truly defies description or understanding. Even His disciples did not always know what He meant or why He acted in such a way.

Understanding that if I was willing that I could know Jesus Himself in a deeper more complete way by examining His life, words, and actions has allowed me to study this book with fresh eyes. I'm acquiring more knowledge, but most importantly, I am also being made aware of areas in my life that need attention and how following Jesus' teaching and example will result in positive change in these areas.

My prayer life has been profoundly affected. Knowing Jesus more fully always leads us into a better prayer life. You can read more of my thoughts in my Faithlifts devotional from last week, "When You Pray, Say. . . . ". I have instituted some of these practices in my life this week and hope to continue.

Did you ever meet a different Jesus than the one you thought you knew? How did it affect your faith?

Friday, November 09, 2007

What I'm Reading

Last week I mentioned how happy it made me to dig back into an old favorite. This week I experienced the equally thrilling prospect of reading a book which I didn't know much about at all. Tuesday evening I started to read the Dogs of Babel. I bought this book at my favorite little overstocks store for $3.00. I bought it because it seemed familiar. I am not even sure that I read the back of the book. I might have, but since I bought it at least six months ago, I didn't even remember that. I love to jump into a book knowing very little about it. That's one reason that I don't like to give detailed reviews about a book--because I don't like to read detailed reviews myself. Paul is a professor whose wife Lexy dies unexpectedly and somewhat mysteriously one day, with only their dog Lorelei as a witness. That tells you enough--that perhaps you might not want to read about such a topic, or that you you do. I was so captivated by this book that I read it all in two sittings. I read for at least three hours Tuesday night and another hour and half or so the next day. The writing is beautiful, the emotion is real (although I didn't find it overwhelmingly sad), and the human drama is suspenseful as Paul takes a trip down memory lane as he recalls their marriage and courtship as a means of processing the end of her life. I've heard several people say that if you read the Memory Keeper's Daughter, you should try to avoid knowing anything about it. That book is on my to-be-read list, and the amazon listing says, "Customers who bought this book also bought" the Memory Keeper's Daughter, along with Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, which I've also been hearing about a lot lately. So that is yet another incentive to check out those books. If you've read either of those, it is likely that you would like this one as well.

In my effort to revive our dinners, I just bought a new cookbook, and I actually tried a recipe last night--Oh Baby! Pasta with Shrimp, Grape Tomatoes, and Baby Arugula. It tasted fresh and original and I think that we all enjoyed it. Rachel Ray's latest cookbook is a bit different, because in addition to her signature 30-Minute Meals, it also contains 15-Minute Meals and 60-Minute Meals. I think it will be a keeper.

Melissa at Breath of Life asked me what Amanda was reading these days. She's actually enjoyed some of the review copies that have come my way, including third in the Ivy and Bean series from Chronicle books (she had already discovered the first two on her own) and two books in the Jack Russell Dog Detective series from Kane/Miller. Both of these books are probably more suited to earlier readers, but when a shorter chapter book delivers compelling stories and characters, they extend their readability, and are a great option for more reluctant older readers, or those like Amanda who will take advantage of any bound paper containing words and a story as long as it holds her interest.

She also really enjoyed Will it Blow: Become a Volcano Detective at Mount St. Helens. It has great photographs as well as sidebars and cartoon drawings explaining the ins and outs of volcanic eruptions.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Passport to Freedom

Terry and I are in the process of planning a weeklong getaway of bliss. Our fifteenth anniversary is in January, and in honor of that we are returning to the site of the most refreshing vacations we have ever taken. The first order of business was to secure babysitting--done (thanks Dad and Susan!). The second order of business was to renew my passport, so that I could get out of the country. With those two items taken care of, I'm free to make the reservation and begin dreaming.

Erma Bombeck titled one of her books, When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It's Time to Go Home. I see her point, but at this point in my life, I think that when you look like your passport photo, it's time to leave home. The young girl at Walgreen's is my no means a professional photographer, but I'm not very pleased with my photo:

In spite of trying to smile and look great for this photo that will identify me to foreign officials for the next ten years, I look unnatural. I look a bit frazzled. I probably was/am frazzled. But May is coming. It's six months away, but it's coming.

I do like my hair, and this is where I will ask for your help (as well as the help of everyone clicking over from Rocks in My Dryer backwards Works for Me Wednesday). I got it cut a few weeks ago. I like the cut. I asked for more layers, and I actually would like a few more. I don't want advice on the cut, but on color. I've never ever colored my hair, but now that I'm 29 37, I am beginning to see the need. The reasons that I've never colored or highlighted it is because I'm cheap and lazy, thus I didn't want to pay for something that would also need to be maintained on a regular basis. The other reason that is just as important is that I actually like my hair color. If do an all-over color, all the natural highlights will be squashed. I know that I can foil over the color, but again, that's more money and more upkeep. I asked my stylist if foil only would cover some of those undesirable natural highlights of the white variety, and she said that it would. So, I offer the passport photo for your consultation. I'm not sure that I have as many highlights as it appears under the florescent Walgreen's lighting, but my hair is a darker medium brown, and I have highlights that range from honey to lighter brown to copper. So what direction should I go with the hair? Is there anything I can do myself, or should I just say no to the home kits? I don't want to end up with an orange or a maroon tinge.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What I See

What do I see every day in my kitchen? The bane of my existence--my kitchen desk. I thought it was oh-so-handy when we first bought the house, but in truth, it's just another dumping ground.

I must be a glutton for punishment, because once again I am joining up in Laura's 30 Day Organizational Challenge (click the link for all the details). And guess what? It's the same space that I DIDN'T organize in her Spring Challenge (read my Spring post here). The problem is that I could not find the right containers to help me (even with the expert Org Junkie's help!). So when she posted her Fall Challenge I wasn't sure if I was up for participating, but then earlier this week I found some things that I think might help me, so I'll give it another go!

I see other things in my home as well.

Every Monday our sixteen year old neighbor watches Kyle for one hour after Amanda and I leave for BSF until Terry gets home from work. It works out so that Terry doesn't have to rush home every week. Terry doesn't want to overuse him, but from the looks of things, it seems that this particular sixteen-year-old boy is enjoying reliving his childhood. Every Monday evening I see the product of their fun--a great train configuration, geometric designs on the driveway in sidewalk chalk, or the last two weeks since Kyle brought out Amanda's old Lincoln Logs:

When I uploaded my pictures, I saw that a certain three-year-old who will remain nameless had apparently been taking some pictures. Some of them weren't too bad. Perhaps he was looking to submit them to House Beautiful?

Others look like you would expect a picture taken by a three year old to look.

For that matter, they both look a bit as I imagine his general perspective affords him--a blurry whirlwind of activity.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Delayed Gratifcation

I am one of those Mitford fans. I have read and reread the first eight books in the series. My collection is in trade paperback, which is my favorite way to read a book, so even though I awaited each new book in the series with anticipation, I always waited for it to come out in trade paperback to add it to my collection. When I found out that Jan Karon had written the final novel in the series, I just couldn't bear to read it. When I read it, it would be over!

Light From Heaven is the book that I bought when I went shopping a couple of weeks ago. I had been wanting to buy it, and I was in need of some comfort. Reading it was like receiving a hug from an old friend. The writing, the characters, and the plot all exude warmth, happiness, contentment and peace.

I have not finished, so please--no spoilers--but it's so good to be At Home in Mitford again. It was worth the wait.

This review is linked to Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books. Click over and add your own, or peruse the others.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Can You Dig It?

A while back on the same day I posted my other meme, Laura Williams tagged me for a Crazy Eights meme. So, here I am getting to it, almost a month later. This meme asked for 8 things that I'm passionate about, want to do before I die, I say often, books I've recently read, songs I could listen to over and over, and a few more. . . . I can't do all of those, but I've been wanting to post some new things that I'm really enjoying now, so I'm just sort of making my own thing up--and I'm only doing six because that's all I could come up with.

6 Products I'm Loving

1. Arnold Double Fiber 100% Whole Wheat Bread--My friend Lee turned me on to this. I love whole wheat bread. I like the taste of whole grains, I like a hearty texture, but my husband is a white bread man. Amanda has sort of followed after him in that way in recent years. We don't eat enough to use two separate loaves before they go bad, and I don't want to be buying the white bread. This stuff is great with the fiber and protein of a good whole wheat bread, and it's soft, and not too dark, so we can all eat it.

2. Hummus--I am all about the hummus lately. I eat it with fresh veggies, on a sandwich, or on pita chips. I crave it. I just tried out the Costco offering, and it's proving quite satisfactory, and giving me about twice as much for a similar price. Yum.

3. Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Shampoo--I have used this in the past, but I just recently bought some more. I have a dry scalp, and this stuff is really great.

4. Grape Tomatoes--I also buy these at Costco (one of those big 2 pound clamshells for $5!). I hadn't been buying them because we've had garden tomatoes, but honestly these are better! I will snack on them and Kyle eats them, so I really like to always have them around.

5. Fig Newton 100% Whole Grain--These are great, and with Amanda's huge sweet tooth, I like that she will eat these and get less sugar and a little bit of fiber.

6. My new vacuum cleaner. Still lovin' it.

So--what are some products that you can't live without these days?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Trick or Treat

It was a fun day here. Kyle had a party at his preschool, complete with a magician who sort of baffled me.

Then we went trick or treating as we did last year--on our town's Main Street. It's quite the festive event. This house always has about 60 carved pumpkins along their stone wall.

Amanda was a penguin, and I thought we did okay with our homemade costume, but Terry thought she looked more like Hester Prynne, especially when we walked along behind her.

Kyle was Thomas--again--which was okay with me.

Wow--I just peeked at the pictures from last year, and they are both growing up!