Thursday, January 31, 2008

Laundry Lunacy

So, I was doing some laundry last night and my daughter had put her favorite sweatshirt in the hamper to be washed. Now, this isn't some regular ole' ho hum sweatshirt, it's a Calvin Klein with a fur lined hood! Check it out:

Isn't that cute? Darlin' just adores wearing this sweatshirt, so I 'm sure it took a lot of strength for her to part with it temporarily. Knowing how much she loves this garment, I knew that I had to take great care not to destroy it in the laundry process. I was mostly concerned with the fur in the hood, as fur never seems to look as good as it does beforehand. So, I thought I'd check the tag for cleaning instructions.


Nothing on the tag but more authentication that it is indeed a Calvin Klein product. Which I might add was quite obvious with the name emblazoned across the front and the $68.00 price tag dangling from the sleeve! Now, hopefully you are asking the same question I did (otherwise I may be concerned for your sanity) "Who in their right mind even considers paying $68.00 for a kid's sweatshirt?!" Fortunately, I know that this "Aunt" never pays full price, but I can't believe she managed to get this for anything under 30 bucks! So it was quite a generous gift along with the adorable purse and jeans to go with it - one of Darlin's favorite ensembles now. But I digress. Back to my frustration with clothing labels. . .

After being bitterly disappointed with the label on the back - it didn't even tell me to "see side for care" - I began my all to usual search for cleaning instructions. Why is there more than one tag anyhow? I just need one! Eventually, I found this:


Being an American who can read, I found this quite confusing. First of all, I am no friend of the metric system, so Celsius just eludes me (those of you in Europe, go ahead and take a minute to have a good laugh on me). Is 30 C considered cold, warm or hot??????!!!!! After consulting hubby, who can answer all things scientific and into which category I place the Celsius scale, I decided to wash it in warm.

OK, moving on. Can anyone shed any light on what the other symbols are supposed to mean? Some vague triangle with lines, reminiscent of cuneiform markings from the city of Ur . . . not helpful. (See, I may have skipped science and math, but I did take archeology!)

The remaining heirogliphics resemble a camera and an opened padlock (at least that's what hubby thought!) I did inform him that it was an iron and I'm assuming that the previous one is a dryer. I just never paid attention to these laundry symbols before, I always read the instructions that usually accompanied them!

Here is my plea: To anyone out there in the clothing industry, please keep English on the tag somewhere, because, yes, I'll admit it, I'm a stupid American. I speak one language, I don't grasp the metric system, and I prefer one clothing label that I do not have to decrypt!

Well, for the 2 of you who may still be reading this sorry saga, I did successfully wash her hoodie as you can see in the picture at the top. Washed warm, tumble dried low for 10 minutes to fluff the fur and then line dried. Maybe I should write that on the tag . . . .

***Check out my bloggy giveaway. It ends Friday night, Feb. 1st.***

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"That's A Daddy Question"

Last night, my son asked me how flashlights work. He is quite aware that you stick batteries in and turn it on, so I knew that he wanted the specifics - exactly how the batteries make the light bulb illuminate. He's a little engineer in the making.

Knowing this, my first response was, "You're asking the wrong person. That's a Daddy question." (A frequent comment of mine!) He replied, "I know, but I want to know how you think it works." How sweet. He didn't like my answer, "Magic!"

Yup, that's about how I understand it. You put the batteries in and the flashlight magically turns on. . .pretty much all I need to know. It's magical to me! (Can you tell that I'm easily amused?)

About the only scientific fact I remember is one from Jr. High. "Evaporation is a cooling process." That's about the sum of the vast scientific wisdom that I have passed on to my cubs (good thing hubby's here, eh?). Even last week, at the dinner table, they were discussing something about water turning into steam. So naturally wanting to put in my two cents, I began my quote, "Evaporation. . ." Both cubs jumped in to complete my sentence and Buddy then proceeded to discuss with Dad the fine nuances of steam vs evaporation. Whew! Sure glad hubby loves science!

I am convinced that at some point in their lives all Dads must take a class so that they can answer such questions as these. "Why is the sky blue? How does the phone work? What's a radio wave? How are we able to see things on TV? How do my ears work? How do airplanes stay up in the sky?" Hubby's so good at answering any type of question that the kids throw at him. My Daddy could always answer these kinds of questions too. I find that truly amazing!

I must confess, I've asked hubby all of the above questions. Knowing how I tend not to grasp all things scientific he usually responds to me with, "Do you really want to know? Cuz' I'll tell you." Nope, I'm good with "magic" thanks! I guess I just prefer to remain amazed!

***Check out my bloggy giveaway. It ends Friday night, Feb 1st.***

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pamper Me!

As I've mentioned before, I'm an extrovert, so I'm on cloud nine from the day I had yesterday . . . and it keeps getting better! One would think that 4 hours of cleaning, 2 hours of grocery shopping, 1 hour of neck & back shots (ouch!) and 2 hours of icing from said shots yesterday, would negate any potential extroverted benefits from 3 hours at my Pampered Chef party and 2 hours on my blog . . . but NOT SO (I was never good at math!)

I'm still reeling with delight from the fun I had with my Pampered Chef Mexican Fiesta. We had Touch Down Taco dip and Chicken Enchiladas . . . muy bien! To go along with the Mexican theme, strawberry margaritas were also served, and being the good reformed Presbyterians that we are, we enjoyed 'em! Come to think of it, those margaritas could have been what is enabling me to order so much free stuff! (Mmmmmmm. . .would have made more if I was aware of that kind of math. . .inhibitions down = sales up!) Now before you think we're a bunch of lushes, those who imbibed only had one - once again proving that I'm no good at math.

Anyhoo, it was a blast and, considering I usually only have about 2 people show up to my home parties, this was the best one ever with more than could fit around my table! Friends, fun and food. . . what could be better than that?! My first bloggy giveaway!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to all who have entered my giveaway so far! It's amazing what 122 comments in 24 hours will do to a girl's ego! I feel a Sally Field comin' on, "You like me! You really, really like me!" OK, so I know ya'll just want the free tea, but it still feels great to read all your comments . . . keep 'em comin'! Check back over the next few months as I'm hoping to stock up on the tea and do another giveaway. So if you don't win this time, never fear, just try again later!

To continue in the spirit of generosity, I will be posting the yummy recipes from my fiesta in the next couple of days - just in time for all those Super Bowl parties! Also, if any of you want to take advantage of the 20% discount off the stoneware in January, you can place an order online.
If you know me personally, you can enter my first and last name if you order before Friday, otherwise I don't benefit at all if you order from my consultant. I would just love to help support her goal.

Her husband teaches at the Christian school that we hope to send our cubs to someday. Their goal is to increase her business to the point where he can donate his entire salary to a scholarship that would enable more kids to attend the school. Awesome! It'd be nice to benefit from such a scholarship in another few years!

Thanks for reading my enormously hyper blog today! C'mon have you ever seen so many exclamation points in one post! 26! That math I can do!

***Check out my bloggy giveaway. It ends Friday night Jan. 31st.***

Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday Morning Memory Verse

Yesterday our sermon and small group study was on 1Timothy 6:11-16 again. This time the focus was on verse 12 where Paul instructs Timothy "to take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession."

As our two cubs begin their communicant member class at our church, it is a reminder to me of the importance of being a member in "good standing." That's what our Pastor says every time he administers the sacrament of communion - all are invited to partake as long as they are members in good standing at an evangelical, Bible believing church.

Why? Because that is what Scripture tells us to do. Not only are we to believe in our heart, but we are to act on that belief by making our "good confession in the presence of many witnesses (v.12)." By being a member of a church, we are publicly acknowledging our belief in Christ and our membership in the body of believers. By being a member in good standing, we are actually attending church more than the obligatory Christmas and Easter appearances. Also, we are participating in the ministries of the church by using the gifts and talents God has given each one of us. This may be as simple as sending cards of encouragement to shut-ins or more involved like teaching Sunday school.

The important thing to remember is to be involved in the life of the covenant community. As we are reminded in our memory verse this week:

Hebrews 10: 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

***Check out my bloggy giveaway. I'll keep a link to it in all my new posts for the week.***

My First Bloggy Giveaway!

* * * * * * U P D A T E D * * * * * * (see below)

Today starts a huge giveaway carnival over at rocksinmydryer. I am very excited to be participating in the first "bloggy giveaway" of my blogging career!

Ladies (and Gentlemen) it's tea time! I will be giving away 2 cannisters of Solebury Home Teas to one winner. The first tin contains 15 silken tea bags of English Breakfast Tea with a hearty robust flavor. The second, and my personal favorite, is the Earl Grey Tea. This tin contains 15 silken tea bags of Earl Grey with rose petals. The feel of the silky bags, the smell of the rose petals and the unique flavor make this the perfect choice for tea time... it is simply splendid!

PhotobucketTo enter, just leave a comment on this post before midnight, EST, Friday night, Feb. 1st. Then head over to the bloggy giveaways carnival to find more great freebies. I'll pick a random number to select a winner this Saturday, Feb. 2nd. Unfortunately, I can only mail to a U.S. address. You do NOT have to have a blog to participate, just a valid email address so I can contact you if you win!

Thank you dcrmom for letting me know about the carnival!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And the winner is ....

Friday, January 25, 2008

Fibro Fun

Yes, that would be sarcasm you sense in the title of my post! Dealing with fibromyalgia for the past 15 years has been anything but fun. However, God is good and has blessed me with a very fun filled life despite the pain!

Last night our local news did a report on fibromyalgia and provided a list of resources. I found that Arthritis Today provided the most helpful information including a list of Fibro Fixes.

I thought I would pass along some things that have worked, and not worked, for me in dealing with my fibro.

MEDICATION: Traditional RX - not really helpful for me. I've tried a slew of things over the years and found that the side effects were more difficult to deal with than any benefit gained. That said, you need to work with your doctor to find what does work for you.

My D.O. actually ended up prescribing Nature Throid, even though mainstream docs would not have done so. In his experience, patients with fibromyalgia do best with an absolutely perfect thyroid. He was right! Mine was in normal range, but not perfect. After months of monitoring to get the numbers perfect, the fatigue began to improve tremendously. No more needing to pull over because I was too tired to drive the 20 min. home (or worse, slapping my face to stay awake!)

I also find that 4 regular old ibuprofen work wonders for me on those days when I just can't take the pain. Since I have started incorporating more of the suggestions below, I find that I only end up taking the pain meds maybe once a week and not several times a day! (yikes!)

WEATHER: Ah, the change in barometric pressure is my nemesis! As soon as all the joints in my fingers ache I can tell you that a storm's a comin'. Yes, between that and my curly hair, I'm a walking barometer!

Understanding that there is a connection with the weather has helped mentally. Somehow, knowing that the hurricane in Florida hundreds of miles away is causing my pain, makes it easier to put up with it. It's temporary and will subside when the weather calms.

CHIROPRACTIC CARE: This is my favorite treatment! If physical therapy is covered that is a great way to go or massage therapy for the "rich & famous," and for the rest of us. . .they're called husbands. Fortunately, our insurance covers chiropractic care, so that is what I like to do. I notice a huge increase in pain when I cut back to once a week. However, I used to go 3 times a week and now feel much better if I can keep it at 2. Someday I'll be even more improved and will be able to cut back more!

EXERCISE: I don't care for this one at all, but it is vital. I remember hearing a study where they deprived a bunch of people of sleep for days. The only 2 people who did not develop fibromyalgia symptoms were marathon runners! Now, you don't have to be training for a marathon to receive the benefits of exercise. Do what you can do - just make sure you do something!

Getting motivated to exercise is the hardest, because for those of us with fibro it causes a lot of pain. Doing things little by little and building up, will help. Icing after exercising helps keep my pain minimal. And of course don't forget to stretch. I stretch before I get out of bed, in the shower, throughout the day, before, during and after exercising! This, along with deep breathing, brings oxygen to those muscles and keeps them from getting too tight.

DIET: I don't like this one either. It ain't easy, but it works! Many of us with fibro suffer from food allergies and intestinal issues. Knowing what foods bother you is very important. I find that my pain increases if I eat too much wheat, dairy and sugar over a few days. Wheat causes inflammation, which therefore can cause pain and digestive stress.

Typically the foods you can't live with out, (ya know that which you crave!) are most likely the foods that are causing problems. Eliminate the culprits for a few weeks and, after the flu like symptoms of deprivation subside, slowly add them back in and see how you react. I've found that rotating wheat, sugar, dairy and coffee every 4 days has been the most beneficial in reducing the intestinal issues that go along with fibro.

PRAYER: Taking time to pray and read the Bible helps keep me from being overwhelmed and give in to the pain. Talking with hubby, playing with my kids, going to Bible study, being involved in our church and ministering to others, takes my focus off myself. . .and that's always a good thing!

I hope that if any of you suffer from fibro, or know someone who does, that these tips might help in dealing with the pain.

Now, I've been sitting at the computer way too long. . .it's time to stretch!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Nerd Herd Returns!

YAHOO! I can hardly contain my excitement! CHUCK returns tonight! The show will air on NBC at 8 p.m. & 10 p.m. with two new episodes for people like me who have missed CHUCK so much over the past two months that one hour just wouldn't be enough!

I know you must think I'm crazy. What can be so interesting about a couple of geeks working at a Best Buy wannabe? I don't know. Maybe the fact that they fumble through their day, including nonsensical attempts to save the world in each episode that are somehow reminiscent of Get Smart and Alias all at once!

As I've stated before, I married a computer geek (Tech Talk), so "geek" is a term of endearment for me and I think the actors who portray Chuck and Morgan do a funny job at defining a nerd in the first half of this clip. (Be warned: the second half of the clip at the convention is a bit questionable. I just couldn't figure out how to only show the first part. . .sorry.)

Come home early Hon, we've got a date at eight!

View episodes online at
Or download episodes from Amazon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Knight's Gone

Yesterday I was shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death of actor Heath Ledger. The last time I remember feeling that way regarding the passing of a Hollywood star, was when Phil Hartman was murdered by his wife. Both circumstances were tragic.

To quote my husband, "Why am I so bummed about this?" It is not as if I knew Heath Ledger personally or even had much of a glimpse into his life aside from snapshots and write-ups in People magazine. I just really appreciated his talent as an actor.

His breakout role in The Patriot, with Mel Gibson was impressive. Though he has been acclaimed for much more recent roles (some of which I have no desire to see him portray), it is his first starring role that I love the most: William Thatcher in A Knight's Tale.

If you have not seen the film it is a good one for date night. It is an odd mix of medieval meets modern and, if you like quirky, you would probably enjoy it quite a bit. I'll probably watch it this weekend as my little tribute to Heath.

It is a story of redemption. Only by being called by the Prince can we too, be saved from the punishment we deserve, given a new name and stand forgiven with a new title, like a knight in shining armor!

I believe it is this underlying desire for redemption that rocks us to the core when we hear of the death of someone so young. Every cell in our body groans because death is not natural. Deep down we feel how wrong and tragic it truly is. Whether we acknowledge the truth or not, we were created to live forever in harmony with our Creator. As a result of the Fall, (ya know - Adam & Eve), we now must suffer the curse of death. But there is hope for us in Christ who was promised back in the garden (Genesis 3:15) to redeem us.

He is the ultimate Prince who can redeem us from the pit and do more than knight us, but declare us children of God!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What's Behind The Name?

A fellow flamingo fancier, marathonbird explained the meaning behind her blog name. That led me to find a bunch of other bloggers showing the creativity behind their particular names at amuse-bouche.
So for those of you who haven't been with me since the beginning (way back on Jan. 3rd!), I thought I'd post a link to my original post, It's all in the name!,in which I too describe the meaning behind my blog name, Denitra's Den.

Above are my little lions: Swiffer, Shadow & Peanut!

Tea Time

On a day when the house is chaotic and I just can't wait for some peace and quiet to properly wake up, there is nothing like a cup of tea (OK, coffee would be better, but sadly it is not coffee day!)

A friend of mine bought me some Solebury Home Earl Grey Tea with rose petals in silken tea bags. It smells glorious and tastes wonderful (not at all like the barnacles on a bottom of a boat as my Dad claims - come to think of it, how would he know what that tastes like anyway?!)

I almost feel like a Queen whilst sipping from my huge Winnie the Pooh mug. More so if I could extend the pinkie, but you need a firm grip on such a huge drinking vessel. Besides, being different from the English is the American way, isn't it?!

Now that my tea is almost done, I feel like I may be able to tackle the day. There's lots to do in catching up from a brief increase of vertigo this long weekend. The never ending piles of laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping, and the dreaded litter boxes are just a few of the items hubby reminded me of on his way out the door. So I better get to my "honey do" list and hopefully I'll meet you back here later with another cup of tea!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Life is Sweet

Life is sweet. Yesterday, as our church joined many others in celebrating Sanctity of Life Sunday, I was reminded of how sweet it truly is.

As we discussed the devastating facts of abortion in our small group last night (approximately 3,700 babies aborted daily in the US alone; 126,000 worldwide!), many of us mentioned the reaction of our own children when they hear about mothers having their unborn babies killed. My cubs just look at me in astonishment and ask, "Why would anybody want to kill their baby?" I continue to answer, "I have no idea." It is truly alarming to me that our society has come to this.

In my effort to memorize Proverbs 31 this year, I thought that I would pull this week's memory verse from that pericope. It is a passage that came to mind quite often yesterday as I considered the precious gift of life that we in America so easily dismiss and how as a Christian mother I am called to take a stand.

Proverbs 31: 8-9 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Pizzer fah Dinnah

Yup, that's right folks, it's pizza night! Just about every Friday night you can hear the familiar phrase "pizzer fah dinnah" being heralded throughout our happy home. In case your wondering, that would be a New England accent. Having lived in New England for a time, hubby and I can attest to that personally. It is almost out of reverent homage to the place where we met, that we cannot resist repeating the phrase whenever we have pizza . . . without exception!

Tonight was to have been no different. Hubby was needing to work late so I intended on doing the cheap version of pizza - homemade. All was going along just fine, til I realized nearly everything I had in stock was "fake". Wheat-free pizza crust mix and vegi "mozzarella cheese". I did find some real cheddar cheese and pizza sauce, so I thought I would make do.

When I called the cubs in for . . ."pizza", my Darlin' asked worriedly, "Did you just say that in quotation marks?" With the hesitation in my voice I had given away the impostor waiting at the table. After a few bites we called to have Daddy pick up pizza on his way home. There's just no substitute for the real thing!

"Pizzer fah dinneh!" We can hardly wait!

Symptom Free With Vitamin C!

It's that time of year - to get sick! After hearing about my friend being under the weather, I thought I would pass along what has worked in our household: Vitamin C!

Since my husband read Doctor Yourself by Andrew Saul (info here), he as become known as "The Vitamin C Pusher." As soon as anyone in our family starts sniffling, hubby is there with his precious C, pushing it on you until you give in!

At first, I found this quite annoying. Then, when hubby bought me "jewelry" (a hot pink MP3 player I can hang around my neck!), for our 15th anniversary and one of the few things he'd loaded on it was the Doctor Yourself audio book, I must admit that I found that mildly amusing and . . . annoying.

After a few weeks of "encouragement" from hubby, I decided that it would be best for me (in my efforts to become a Proverbs 31 wife!) to actually listen to the book. Before I finished the first chapter I was hooked!

Since my C conversion, I have noticed a dramatic change in the length of sickness in our household. Rather than the typical 5-10 days of sore throats, coughs, fevers, and runny noses that somehow stretch out for about a month as the nasty bug works its way through each member of the family, our illnesses have lasted, at most, only a few days.

Now, let me preface all this by reminding you that I am not a doctor (I just wish I played one on TV!) You should always check with your doctor before starting any kind of Vitamin C therapy, especially if you're pregnant or suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I actually have IBS, spastic colon and microscopic colitis, so I do react to taking C more quickly than my husband. As soon as the gurgley stomach starts, that is when you know you've had too much and it is time to back off. It's important to take C throughout the day or in time-release form since it is water soluble leaves the blood stream almost as quickly as it enters. If you purchase the buffered C in powder form it is much easier on the tummy and the kids don't mind taking that in juice. I make them what we lovingly refer to as "vita-juice" each day at dinner, so that they get their daily dose of C and other vitamins. All of the natural remedies we take in our family is under the care of our family physician, who has encouraged us to keep it up.

Forgive me for this rather long post as I recall some of our personal Vitamin C victories:

In June, hubby was actually quite sick with the flu right before our anniversary. Now, being the hopeless romantic he is not, he surprised me by re-proposing, arranging for us to renew our vows and celebrating with a reception to follow. He couldn't afford to be sick at such an important time! He ended up taking 1,000 mg of C every 45 min. the day before and by the time we completed the festivities he was only a bit tired!

In the fall, I came down with an annoying cough. I faithfully took 1,000 mg of C several times throughout the day. After a week I had had enough, so I went to the doctor. They told me that I had had bronchitis! Now, I've had bronchitis before and those coughs really hurt - but not these. I'm convinced that the C enabled my body to fight it much better and kept the symptoms reduced.

Winter arrived and Buddy Bear came down with a persistent fever. (One would think that all the C we take would keep the bugs away entirely, but it just seems to get rid of them quicker!) We kept pumping him full of C, but couldn't get the fever to go away after a week. To the doctor we went. They declared that he may have been suffering from Mono! As soon as we left the office I called hubby and congratulated him on successfully treating our flus, bronchitis and perhaps a bout of mono. . .unbelievable!

Just last week, my Darlin' was getting sick with only a week to go before her big birthday bash. We gave her 500 mg of C every few of hours, (with no tummy troubles I might add) and within 2 days she was feeling better. I on the other hand, had picked up her nasty little bug and by Thursday morning was starting to panic about the upcoming festivities. Within the course of 24 hours I took 13,000 mg of C and knocked that nasty head cold out of the park! Mind you, I did suffer from some tummy troubles on Friday morning, but I chose to put up with that rather than the alternative head cold which made me feel much worse. By Friday evening I had been able to clean the house, bake and decorate the cake, prepare for the party, host a sleep over and only suffer from lack of sleep due to giggling girls by Saturday morning!

Needless to say, I'm a true believer now! Gotta cold? "Take Vitamin C til your symptom free!"

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Nativity Set

(The following short story was written by my daughter as a gift for Daddy when she was 10 years old!)

One holiday season, the Miller family was very busy with decorating. It was December 12th and all of the Miller children were writing their Christmas lists. Chelsea, Andrew, and Jessica wrote their letters to Santa while Baby Scott sat on his mother's lap as she typed up the Christmas cards. Their father, Ralph Miller, hung the stockings on the fireplace and decorated the living room. There was so much to be done and everyone enjoyed this time of the year.

When Andrew and Chelsea, the eight year old twins, finished their letters and put them by the door, they ran into the other room. "Daddy!" Chelsea cried. "May we help you decorate?" "Of course!" their father answered with a chuckle. When five year old Jessica finished her list of toys that she wanted, she skipped into the living room. "Daddy, I want to put the nativity set on the mantle," she declared. Carol Miller and her children sat on the sofa and watched Ralph pick up their little girl and help her carefully put the set on top of the fireplace. "Now that she did that can we continue?" Andrew asked. So they did.

The next day the Millers went Christmas shopping after school. Carol got very tired from the long hours at the mall since her kids were complaining the whole trip. When they got home, the Miller kids ran up to do their homework while their mom laid down on the couch. She sighed and stared at the pretty fireplace with the family's stockings and tinsel. Her husband came in, lit the fireplace, turned on the Christmas music and sat down in the recliner to read. Then, Carol saw the pretty little nativity set sitting on the mantle.

She noticed the wise men looking like they just saw the King of kings and Lord of lords, for the first time. "Well that's who He is," she thought. The first of the magi looked proud as he set down the gold on the ground and bowed. Carol could just imagine him saying, "For the Lord of lords and King of kings!" The next wise man was holding frankincense in front of Jesus their Savior. The third king, crying while he handed the myrrh to Joseph, thought of the day when their Christ would be sacrificed. Carol sat up, took her Bible and read about the wise men who followed the star and traveled a long distance to visit the humble king in a manger. Then Carol felt less stressed and went to help her kids with their homework.

A couple of days later, the family went out to cut down a Christmas tree. It was cold, but they still had fun. Ralph tied it on to the van and they went back home to decorate it and bake Christmas cookies. While Andrew helped his dad put up the tree, the girls helped their mom bake. When the cookies were in the oven, they all went in the living room and decorated the tree with lights, beads, tinsel, and ornaments. Baby Scott slept next to the tree and he seemed to be smiling. They munched on cookies and had some hot chocolate while the children put the presents under the tree. The fire was blazing in the fireplace and the Christmas music was on and they were having a wonderful time.

Afterward, Ralph put the kids to bed and his wife rested on the couch with some coffee and music. She felt like she had caught a cold while they were out chopping down the tree. At that moment she saw her nativity set on the mantle. What she spotted first that day were the shepherds. Angels told them to go to Bethlehem to see the new baby boy who would rule over all people. So they obeyed and saw the "little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay." They didn't give him gold or silver but they gave Him their hearts and were the very first humans to preach the amazing news of Christ's birth. She wanted to be sure of her thoughts so she read everything she could find about the shepherds in her Bible. Now she felt happy, instead of tired, so she went to spend some time with her husband.

On the 19th, the family took out their Christmas books. "Mom, can we read some of the Christmas books together?" asked Chelsea. "Sure, while you do that I'll heat up some of those Christmas cookies we made the other day." So the twins sat down on the recliner and Jessica sat on Andrew's lap. Carol gave Chelsea Baby Scott, and the twins took turns reading their favorite Christmas stories. Carol sneezed twice while bringing in the cookies and cocoa. Ralph took a picture of the kids finally getting along and the couple listened to them read.

When Carol started sneezing like crazy, she took her temperature. She had a fever, so she told her kids when they finished that book, they had to go upstairs and get ready for bed. They finished The Christmas Carol and Ralph put the children to bed, while Carol curled up in a blanket and lay on the couch. Again she noticed her little nativity set above the fireplace. The angel was watching over God's Holy child. He looked down at the baby like a guard who would never let a single person harm Him. "Wasn't the angel's name Gabriel?" she asked herself. She wasn't sure, so she read the Bible to see when the angel first appeared. After that she fell asleep on the couch.

On the 22nd, the Miller children had off from school, so they plotted a Christmas party for Christmas Eve. When they told their mother, she shook her head. "Oh, I would love to do that, but I'm really feeling a little sick and it's too late to invite people over." "We'll clean up like crazy!" Andrew pleaded. "We can call people instead of sending invitations," Jessica added. Carol sighed, "Well, I suppose if you clean a lot today and then after dinner we can make some phone calls. We have to clean up for Grandma and Grandpa anyway." Somehow, it ended up that Carol did most of the cleaning and the kids did most of the complaining. "If you kids don't stop complaining, we aren't going to have a party!" she yelled. Her children moved a little quicker after that and before dinner the house was almost clean. While the kids played upstairs, Carol laid down on the couch again.

She saw Joseph, His earthly father, watching over baby Jesus. He was afraid when he found out that Mary was pregnant. An angel came to him and told him not to be scared because the baby she would have was from the Holy Spirit. So he took her to Bethlehem, his hometown, and searched for a place for his wife to stay since she was going into labor. All the inns were full, but one innkeeper offered them his stable. Joseph was a good man who would give of himself first before anyone else. "I'm glad I have a husband as good him." She thought as she sneezed. Then she took her Bible and read about Joseph. Ralph was asleep on his recliner, so Carol got up, kissed him and went up to their room and fell asleep right away.

The next morning, the family cleaned up like crazy. Their Grandparents were coming later on that day and they would have some guests the next day too. Carol tried to work her hardest while she was sick, but she probably took the most breaks out of the family. There were plenty of complaints, "Mommy! This is Scott's. Why can't he pick it up?" "He's just a baby, Jessica. Would you do me a favor and take care of it for me?" Carol answered. When the whole house was clean, the doorbell rang. Chelsea answered it. "Grandma! Grandpa!" "Hello!" Carol sniffled. "Oh, Carol! You don't look good! You lay down while we take care of the kids," Grandma answered. "Thanks, Mom!" Carol yawned, heading toward the couch. "Make yourself comfortable" she added as she collapsed on the couch and looked at her comforting nativity set.

There she saw Mary, the chosen mother of Jesus. She was looking lovingly down at her baby boy. Carol could imagine Mary playing with Jesus just as she played with her own children. "She gave her life to God when she agreed to have Jesus. Do I totally let God have control over my life?" she wondered. She didn't feel sure. She prayed and let God take over her whole life. Then she read all about Mary. "God, I want to be like Mary. I want to fully trust in you and live a life for you and not for men," Carol prayed.

On Christmas Eve, the whole family was getting ready for their guests to arrive for dinner. "What are we going to do at the party?" Jessica asked. "Well, when everyone comes, we'll eat. Then we'll talk and play games. Later, we'll go to the twilight Christmas Eve service." Jessica nodded and the kids went upstairs to tidy up their rooms. Party time arrived and everyone started piling in to the house. All the children went up into the kid's rooms. Carol felt a little sick, but she welcomed the guests with a smile. All of Carol's friends were in the living room and they offered for her to lie down on the couch. They talked, but Carol wasn't really with them. She was looking at Jesus.

Baby Jesus looked like any other baby, but He was much more than that. Jesus was the most humble king anyone ever saw. He was in a manger instead of a cradle. "The first Christmas gift ever! The most wonderful one, too! Thank you, God for sending Him for me!" she thought to herself. Ralph called to her, "Come on, Carol! Everyone is in here. Do you want to say something?" Carol looked at her husband. "Yeah, one second." She scribbled down what she learned about the nativity set and what God had showed her through it.

"Hi everyone," Carol said with a smile. "Before we leave for the twilight service, I'd like to say something about this year's preparation for Christmas. It was stressing, exciting, and fun, but I realized that out of everything we did, most of it had nothing to do with what Christmas is all about. It's not bad or anything to decorate the tree and go shopping, but it is bad if we forget that Jesus is the reason for the season. I have a nativity set on the mantle and I looked at it whenever I got stressed or tired. I noticed different figures each time and I thought about them and then read about them in the Bible. I learned to be like Mary and learned to give my life to God. I'm sick, but God is still in control. Now let's go to the Christmas Eve service, and remember that Jesus is the reason for the season!" Everyone clapped and headed to their cars.

"This is a Christmas to remember!" Jessica cried as she ran through the snow. Carol smiled at that and she and her family hopped into the car and headed over to church. "You did great, Hon!" Ralph whispered in his wife's ear. "Thanks," Carol answered. In her heart she agreed with Jessica. It would be a Christmas to remember.

(This post has been submitted to Proverbs 31 Ministries for A Chance For You To Get Published)

A Tribute To My Aunt

(In the final weeks before her death, my Aunt was living proof of the hope we have in Christ. Following is the tribute I gave at her funeral. She went to be with the Lord on December 18, 2007.)

1 Peter 1: 3-9 (NIV):

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

When I first learned of my Aunt Madeline’s death and told our children, one of their first responses was, “At least she’ll get to spend Christmas with Jesus.” That comment immediately brought to mind a song that’s played quite often during the holidays on the radio called “The Christmas Shoes”. It’s about a little boy who wants to get his dying mother a pair of shoes for Christmas. Part of the chorus goes like this:

Sir I wanna buy these shoes, for my Momma please…
You see, she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes will make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful,
If Momma meets Jesus tonight.

Every time I hear that song now, I think of my Aunt Madeline – meeting Jesus and spending Christmas with her Lord and Savior. In the last weeks of her life she enjoyed listening to praise and worship music and it seemed that it was in anticipation of heaven. Just like the verses above, she believed in Him and was filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, because she was looking forward to receiving the goal of her faith, the salvation of her soul. Amidst her horrific suffering and pain, she radiated a joy that could not be squelched by her failing body and sorrowful circumstances. I was amazed at her ability to praise God and not show any bitterness, regret or anger. This is not to say that she wasn’t sad or scared or heartbroken or wracked with pain – as any of us would be – but it was her faith in Christ that sustained her. It was a peace that surpassed understanding, a peace that can only come from a personal relationship with Jesus. Again, just as in 1 Peter, while she was suffering, her faith was proved genuine as it resulted in praise, glory and honor.

Visiting with Aunt Madeline, not only assured me of her salvation, but it also re-assured me of mine. The testimony of her faithfulness and courage was a reminder to me of how powerful the Holy Spirit can be in our lives. It was the Holy Spirit who had enabled her to undergo such an ordeal with a smile on her face. I know that Aunt Madeline suffered a great deal and we, who love her, suffer still. But this suffering is only temporary and in comparison to eternity is like a blink of the eye. If we trust in Christ for our salvation then instead of an eternity of suffering, we can look forward to everlasting life free of pain and tears and full of joy and praise!

As we approach Christmas in a couple of days, I hope that you will think about Aunt Madeline spending Christmas with Jesus. And isn’t that what Christmas is about – meeting Jesus?

To loosely quote another Christmas song:
Hark now hear the angels sing, a new King born today
And man will live forever more because of Christmas Day
Trumpets sound and angels sing, listen to what they say
That Madeline will live forever more because of Christmas Day!

(This post has been submitted to Proverbs 31 Ministries for A Chance For You To Get Published)

Coffee Day!

Ahh, Coffee Day! What could be better? It's snowing too! How can ya beat that? With the following question from my son.

"Hey! Can we put all the air conditioners in, turn them on and open up the doors to make the air outside colder so the snow will stick?!"

Uh, no.

My Morning Rush

58 Minutes Start to Finish

  • wake up late
  • hurry to wake Darlin'
  • take lightning quick shower
  • dress
  • grab make-up to put on later
  • try not to trip on kitties scurrying underfoot, waiting to be fed
  • throw breakfast on table (Oat Day is quick & easy - Cheerios for Bud & oatmeal for Darlin')
  • pack some semblance of a lunch for the cubs
  • remind Bud that he should run upstairs & brush his teeth before leaving for school, even if it does make us late
  • hurry everyone to the van, jump out exasperatedly to shut the no-longer-working power door that "accidentally" opened
  • remind cubs about their tone of voice for much of the ride to school
  • make it just under the bell!
  • arrive at church (15 minutes from school)
  • put make-up on in car
  • take a minute to write this blog
  • go to Bible Study!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hiding These Things In My Heart

Every Wednesday evening I secretly look forward to driving my cubs 20 minutes so that they can attend AWANAs at a "local" church. Now if your kids are anything like mine, then you are probably wondering why I wouldn't avoid being caged in with them for 20 minutes in the car at night. Typically, as soon as the van door opens, the battle and bickering begins . . . but not on Wednesday nights!

I don't know what it is about the AWANA's program, but these people got a good thing going! Not only does it provide the kids with sound, Biblically based doctrine, but it makes them excited to learn and study Scripture. Throughout the week we will catch them working on their AWANA booklet without any prompting, encouragement or . . . threats! Just today, Darlin' declared that she wanted to be able to sleep in on Saturday morning, because she's been getting to bed late. What's she been up to? Reading her Bible! If you've got elementary aged children, get them to the nearest AWANA program ASAP and you'll be amazed too!

For some truly miraculous reason, Darlin' and Bud become the best of friends as they gather their AWANA's material and situate themselves for the ride each Wednesday night. The entire way to the church this evening they were quizzing themselves and each other on various Bible memory verses. Being the quite creative children that they are (objectively speaking, of course) they use various memorization tools to aid them in their quest. Namely, singing.

They will put their verses to known tunes or even make up their own and then proceed to entertain each other by performing said verses in differing styles of music: rap, country, opera, etc. You get the picture!

This does make for a rather noisy ride! And yet, I just can't bring myself to tell them to settle down as they continue to sing aloud from God's Word. As they are hiding His Word in their hearts, I continue to drive through the dark with a smile on my face as I hide these memories in my heart!

My Good Intentions

Whoohoo! Nearly 2 hours at the gym and I feel good! "Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah! Like I knew I would! Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah!" (OK, you can pull the ear plugs out now, my James Brown impersonation is over!)

So, after an exhilarating workout of strength training, pt, vestibular therapy and a bit o' cardio, I'm feeling inspired to finally write down my New Year's goals.

You're probably wondering to yourself, "Why the delay? Are you nuts? It's been 2008 for 2 weeks now?" Yeah, yeah, I know, but I've been busy! Due to all the birthday bashes and extroverted insanity in our family, I really don't get a breather til after Jan. 13th! (Mall Mania & Introvert or Extrovert?)

Now that I've had a chance to breath, I thought it was the perfect time to cement my New Year's Resolutions, no . . . goals . . . no . . . intentions . . . yes, that's it . . . Intentions! You may be thinking to yourself, "Wait a minute . . . aren't 'good intentions' what pave the road to H - E - double hockey stick?" Good point. But as I've been saved by the blood of Christ, I'm feeling pretty safe with declaring a few good intentions!

Following are my good intentions for 2008. I hereby intend:

  1. To memorize Proverbs 31. In addition, I would like to finish the book and study guide, Beautiful in God's Eyes: The Treasures of the Proverbs 31 Woman by Elizabeth George. As soon as I can find it!
  2. To regularly do my Bible Study homework. We are studying Romans through Precept Upon Precept. Ooh - better get going on that for tomorrow morning!
  3. To continue going to the gym on a regular basis.
  4. To get on and stay on a rotation diet that works for our family. We deal with a multitude of moderate food allergies, so I need to get organized and stick to it!
  5. To eat salads for lunch. Okay, this is going to be much harder than its sounds, because I really don't like salad all that much!
  6. To log in, at least weekly, to to keep track of my healthy habits progress.
  7. To attempt to play the piano pieces that my cubs are learning. Considering that they are being trained in the Suzuki method and have already surpassed my playing ability. . .this may indeed prove only to be a good intention at most!
  8. To figure out how to use Greatest Secrets of the Coupon Mom from to help reduce our grocery bills and embark on my endeavor to become a strategic shopper.
  9. To rid my home of C.H.A.O.S. (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) by taking baby steps with flylady.
  10. To keep on blogging!

That's enough for me! What are your intentions?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Boredom Busters

So I've been officially tagged to give you my ideas of boredom busters for that elusive snow day (c'mon I'm waiting. . .and waiting. . .and waiting!) I know you must think I'm crazy, but I love snow. If I had my druthers we'd be hit with a blizzard around Thanksgiving and the snow would stay pristinely covering the grass until the end of February! (Move to New England you say?! Done that and loved it!)

Instead, here in PA, we've been teased with some snowfalls before Thanksgiving, but since then it has just been dreary rain. Yesterday, we were supposed to be snowed in, but it was a cruel joke and only rained. Today, it is finally flurrying, and I can only hope that one of these days it will stick so I can wake to a world of white and look forward to playing with the kids!

Here are my ideas to bust the boredom of a snow day!

1. Brave the cold! Head outside and build a snowman or go sledding or make snow angels. Anything! Just get outside and let your cheeks get nice and rosy before you go back inside. Not only is it invigorating, but it allows you to better enjoy the rest of my ideas!

2. Cocoa! After playing in snow, nothing is better than a hot cup of cocoa. Now, I'm not talking packets of Nestle, but the REAL thing. Put some milk on the stove and make it from scratch! The easy way is with cocoa mix or chocolate syrup, but you can also do a bit of cocoa, sugar and vanilla to make a tasty treat. Don't forget the yummy options too: mini marshmallows, candy cane stirrers, cinnamon sticks, or whipped cream topped with shaved Hershey Kisses (this is Darlin's favorite thing to make with her very own mini-grater!)

3. Cozy Fire! Next, light a fire in the fireplace. If you don't have a fireplace, light some fragrant candles and get cozy. Grab the softest blankets you have and cuddle on the couch to read a good story, while sipping your delicious hot cocoa! Naturally, we enjoy the Chronicles of Narnia for this boredom buster!

4. Movie Time! Pick a fun family favorite to enjoy. I highly recommend the Disney Pixar movies (Cars, Incredibles, Bugs Life, Toy Story, etc.) as they are always entertaining for kids and grown-ups alike.

5. Have a Game Plan! Let each person pick out their favorite family game and start playing. We loooooove games at our house and I will start reviewing games on a regular basis. Some of our family favorites are: Whoonu, Disney Scene It, Disney Pixar Monopoly, Skip-Bo, Apples to Apples & Clue Mysteries.

Those are the things we love to do on a snowy day. How about you? I'm sure there are many more crafty ideas out there, but I went for the comfy cozy. Now I think I may have to go make some cocoa!

I will be tagging:
The Hand Clan, The Knotthaus, Allison, God's Grace In Practice, and Marathonbird

The Blahs

I am here, in case anyone out there in cyberspace was wondering. It just seems that I've caught the blahs too and am having a quite unproductive day myself (My Thoroughly Unproductive Day) .

Now that I've cuddled with my kitty and had a snap-to-it-already-and-get-something-done-kick-start shower, I actually need to go get something accomplished. If for nothing else, so that when hubby comes home, he can see some improvement around here. Currently, the place is reminiscent of the movie Animal House! All except Darlin' Gal's room. Somehow she inherited the neat gene from my Mom and someday I hope it will rub off on me!

I shall return to post my first "meme", as I've just been tagged. However, I have to figure out exactly what that means. . .I'm such a newbie!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday Morning Memory Verse

Each week my intention is to post a Monday Morning Memory Verse. You will see that all week at the top right column under Weekly Memory Verse. I will attempt to do this Sunday evening, so you early birds can actually see the post on Monday morning. Otherwise, it should be called the Monday Mid-Day or Much Later Memory Verse!

Yesterday, our pastor preached on 1 Timothy 6: 11-16, as part of a continuing series through the book of 1 Timothy. In the evening, hubby led one of the adult small groups, where we dig deeper into the passage from that morning's sermon.

Now that I'm an official blogger (all of 11 days!), I naturally thought that pulling my memory verses for Denitra's Den from our sermon and small group study would be an awesome thing to do!

So, the verses that struck me most yesterday were 1 Timothy 6:11 & 12.

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Fight the good fight! Run the race of the Christian life with the goal of the finish line in heaven. A good reminder as we enter this new year and are still resolving to do new things, break old habits and begin afresh.

Junk Mail

The other day Buddy Bear was checking his email. He sat bolt upright and declared excitedly, "Hey, I got junk mail! I'm a grown up!"

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mall Mania

Today, my Darlin' Gal turned 12! Where does the time go?! It seems as if she was born only a few years ago, not more than an entire decade! This year we seem to have crossed the bridge from toys to tween items. She received more "girl stuff" (clothes, polish, jewelry, bath & body items!) than I think she'll ever be able to use.

We celebrated her birthday at the mall this year, it was quite an event. I decorated her cake to look like a purse - I was pretty pleased with my attempt, so I thought I'd share a picture of the cake with you. We also gave out little bags of lip glosses for party favors!

Birthdays seem to be a national event in our household. I'd like to place the blame elsewhere, but - being the extrovert - it is entirely my fault! Instead of inviting a few girls to a simple party, we had a weekend entirely devoted to Darlin'!

To begin with, she brought in her favorite cookies to school to share (Cocoa Kiss Cookies), followed by a sleep over with 3 friends. That's enough you say (well, that's what my Mom said!) Nope, apparently not enough for me & my Darlin'!

To top that off, we planned a Mall Mania party. 15 girls arrived eagerly anticipating the scavenger hunt. We had 3 groups of girls scouring the mall to find certain things at various stores. Some things were easy, like counting the puppies in the pet store. Others were a bit harder, like "Where is Winter's End?" (Can you guess? Check the bottom of this post for the answer!)

The girls (and Moms) all seemed to have a blast scurrying through the mall for an hour trying to find all the answers, as well as the best deals for under one dollar. We gave each girl $1.00 with the mission of finding something they thought Darlin' would like best. The winner got a $5 gift certificate to Claire's (typical girly store) and the rest got to keep their finds. It was a great way of giving all the girls a little something extra as a party favor, too! Look at all the cute stuff they found at the mall for under $1.00. Awesome sales!

Today, being her actual birthday, we took her out to a yummy lunch after church at the Olive Garden. She also got to bring in a treat of munchkins to celebrate with the Jr. High Youth Group in the evening. The party never ends and it sure makes life memorable!


In case you were wondering, the Winter's End sale can be found at Land's End in Sears!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Through the Wardrobe

Just a brief note to draw your attention to the new Narnia feature in the lower right column. Scroll down and you'll find a count down to the new Chronicles of Narnia movie, Prince Caspian, as well as, an additional link to various articles on the Narnia movie series. How cool is that?!

If you check out It's All In The Name you will soon gather that our pride really enjoys the Narnia series. We're talking, books, movies, games, anything we can find! So keep an eye out for more posts to come on Narnia!

Cocoa Kiss Cookies

Last night I was up late making one of our family's favorite cookies - Cocoa Kiss Cookies. (Recipe below.) They are as good as they sound. The batter is sooo scrumptious you can eat it by the spoonful (just make sure you leave enough to bake a few cookies with!)

So naturally, last night, hubby caught me "multi-tasking" - licking the whisk, while I walked to the sink! A chunk of batter fell on the kitchen floor while I was walking. Hubby said, "Are you gonna pick that up or just lick it off the floor?" I laughed so hard, because he's a pretty funny guy and because the comment reminded me of my friend's chocolate story (here) and if the floor had just been cleaned . . . I would have considered it!

Cocoa Kiss Cookies

1 c. (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. Hershey's Cocoa
1 bag (9 oz) Hershey's Kisses
Powdered sugar

In large bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Stir together flour and cocoa; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Refrigerate dough about 1 hour or until firm enough to handle. Heat oven to 375 F. Remove wrappers from kisses. Mold scant tablespoon of dough around each chocolate piece, covering completely. Shape into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet or baking stone. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. Cool slightly and remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely and roll in powdered sugar.

* option 1 - my kids don't like the powdered sugar, so I make them plain and they are just as yummy!

* option 2 - the original recipe calls for 1 c. finely chopped pecans to be mixed in the dough. I prefer my chocolate unadulterated!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tech Talk

F.Y.I. - I married a geek. Not any type of geek, but a computer geek. And I'm proud of it! As I tell my little cubs, "'Geek' is not a derogatory word in this household, rather it is a term of endearment!" Just think of all the inventions that enable me to write at this moment and who can we thank? Geeks. Cell phones? Geeks. MP3 Players? Geeks. Pretty much all the cool stuff? Geeks again. Face it geeks rule the world! (ok - a bit overstated)

Now, hubby may be a computer geek, but I am NOT. Band geek, perhaps (does twirling a rifle count?), smart geek (no), computer geek (definitely no!) Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a dumb broad either. I've got a few degrees under my belt, but ya know what? There was no MATH involved! Or science or computer programing for that matter. To me a computer is basically a glorified type writer!

Hopefully, you can see how I might get a bit frustrated at trying to figure out some of the computery things in the cyber world, as I am a blogging newbie. The other day I was on the phone with my hubby trying to understand html, links, and other computer stuff. The next day he tells me that was the best day of his life. . .talking tech with his wife!


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My Balancing Act

First a little background for those of you who don't know me personally: I'm a dizzy dame (and I do mean that literally!) The balancing system (vestibular system) in my head is, well, off kilter. It started about a year and a half ago from a mean old virus. For months I was out of commission, but now I am pretty much back to normal - except for the daily feeling of walking on a boat.

In order to train my brain to get used to the sensation of being dizzy, so I will no longer feel dizzy, I have to make myself dizzier (Got that?) So naturally I went to a class to learn how to get used to being dizzy.

The Fallproof Program is an excellent program for the elderly or people like myself who suffer from a balance disorder. I highly recommend it if you have elderly parents at risk of falling.

I was the youngest in the class by almost 40 years, so the instructors had some fun making me do lots of crazy stunts. By the courses end, right before Christmas, I was able to walk toe to heal with my eyes closed on a path of 4 inch high foam without losing my balance! (Most of you can probably do that, but it is quite an accomplishment for me - it's the little things that count!)

Yesterday, I was able to attend an additional class. Everything was going along, pretty smoothly - just a few wobbles, until the tandem exercise I mentioned above. I couldn't do it. I could barely gain my balance with my eyes open!

This fact amazed me. It had only been 3 weeks and already I was starting to loose what I had gained with the vestibular therapy. What an eye opener.

All this is just to preface the fact that I realized I need to get to the "gym." In actuality, I go to my physical therapists office and can utilize all their equipment. Now I am feeling a strong urge to incorporate more of my vestibular training when I work out. So I'm off now, no matter how silly I may look trying to walk a straight line with my eyes closed - at least it's not an episode of COPS!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Last night we gathered 'round to listen to Papa Bear read from the
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy. Afterward we read from a family guide to Narnia titled, Roar! One of the questions in the guide was to name the Dwarf brothers from the particular chapter we read. Buddy Bear pipes up, "Pricklebutt!" Laughter ensued. Close, bud, real close. The answer is Bricklethumb.

Coffee Chaos

So, I'm on my way to the computer this morning, coffee in hand in my new MOM mug from one of my little cubs, looking forward to sipping contentedly and blogging a bit. Drip, drip, trickle, whooosh! I look down and my wonderfully comfy chair is covered in coffee (and not just any coffee, MOCHA!) So sad. Now I sit in a hard wooden chair wishing that I had realized beforehand that the coffee lid twisted on instead of clicked on. Perhaps my friend is rubbing off on me after all these years! (See A Writers Journey: A False Sense of Security)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Personality Poll

After posting Introvert or Extrovert? I thought it would be fun to do a little poll to see how many of you viewed yourselves as introverts or extroverts and to what degree? Have fun!

Introvert or Extrovert?

Party time! Your party threshold is a great measurement of your inclination toward being an introvert or an extrovert. Take my wedding reception as the perfect example. Big party thrown in honor of me . . . and my husband (he was fully aware that he was considered an accessory for the day and he was perfectly OK with that!) At the end of the party it was time to leave. As we got in the car to the cheers of the wedding guests I exclaimed to my new husband, "I don't want to leave!" (I was on cloud nine from all the attention.) I turned to look at him, his face was pale and with a sigh of exhaustion (and not eager anticipation as one would expect!) he replied, "I can't wait to get out of here." As an extrovert, I had become energized from the day. On the other hand, my husband, as an introvert, had become completely drained.

And thus it began. . .our continual tug of war between opposites attracting! Well, a honeymoon and 15 + years later, we have grown to understand each other's need to be alone or in a crowd and have learned to compromise. Here's how it works for us: most of the year we lay low, come November . . . I'm let loose!

Sooo, I thought I would recap my fun filled, extroverted holiday season and recall all the festivities I attended or threw!
11/20-11/25: Hosted hubby's family for Thanksgiving. My brother-in-law's girlfriend joined us from VA with her famous baked goodies!
11/29: Attended our "Women in the Church" annual Christmas tea. Fun time exchanging picture frames and entertaining karaoke!
12/6: Attended a "Chocolate Bliss" Pampered Chef party . . . yum!
12/9: Attended our church small group Christmas party. Loved the fellowship and fondue!
12/22: Hosted a Christmas Open House on my birthday. Enjoyed all the goodies everyone brought and Christmas caroling in the neighborhood!
12/23: Attended Wigilia - my family's traditional Polish Christmas Eve Celebration!
12/21-27: Hosted hubby's family again for Christmas!
12/30: Attended a small group dinner party with our church!
1/1: Attended New Year's Day party with old friends!
1/3: Hosted our church college gang for dessert and games!
1/5: Hosted a few couples to celebrate hubby's birthday!
1/6: Hosted our Pastor's family for an afternoon of food & games!

WHEW! Even I am a bit exhausted looking back at all we've done this past holiday season. Just the other night hubby asked if we were done with all the parties yet. My answer? Nope! Our darling daughter turns 12 on Jan. 13th and I've got to plan her Mall Mania birthday party for Saturday. After that there is a brief reprieve before hosting a Pampered Chef party on Jan. 28th. Come February 1st I settle back into my comfy little den energized from my winter frenzy of festivities!

Friday, January 4, 2008


Naps. I love 'em! I feel refreshed and ready to go. How about you?

A Favorite Christmas Gift

Ahhh, there's nothing like sparkling new appliances! I'm sitting here now enjoying my celebratory cup of homemade mocha that I just cooked on my new glass top oven range. A nice moment to relax and enjoy the lights on the Christmas tree (yes, mine is still standing!), the scent of the cinnamon bun candle, the taste of the cocoa and the thought of yummy things to bake in my new oven. Whoever said appliances were terrible presents never experienced this! What would be your celebratory treat if you had a new oven? Let us all know.

It's been a perfect way to recover from the mayhem of the delivery this morning. Arrival time was to be between 8 am -10 am, naturally they showed up at 7:40 am. This made for a bit of chaos as we chased kids and cats around until the delivery guys left at 8:15 am! Now my little den is quiet and calm and I look forward to a bit of a catnap with one of my kitties. What could be better than that? I know - the new dishwasher that gets installed tomorrow! Thank you Mom & Dad!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

It's All In The Name

On New Year's Day I was inspired by two friends to join the cyber community with my very own blog! So here I sit. . . waiting for further inspiration. I've checked their blogs - top two under "Friends" if you're interested. Wait for it. . .wait for it. . .there it is! To start, I think I'll give you a little background on the name I chose for my blog - Denitra's Den. In essence, it encompasses who I have been, who I am, and who I hope to be - like the title of this entry, it's all in the name!

Denitra is a fun nickname given to me by the girl's in my church youth group several years ago. I've worked with senior high youth for about 14 years, the past 10 of which were at our current church and part of that as Director of Senior High Youth Ministries. It's who I've been for a very long time and frankly . . . I miss it. Due to health reasons, I had to give up my dream job last year, but it will always be a part of me. In fact, I need to get to cleaning up to welcome the college gang this evening!

Denitra's "Den" because it conjured up in my mind so many other pictures of who I am and who I hope to be. The first thought was about my family - Mama Bear, Papa Bear and our not so little cubs! My days are pretty much centered around taking care of our family and our home (or at least trying to!) Each day I hope to be more like the Proverbs 31 woman - she amazes me.

The next image is of a lion. Too often I seem to resemble one, especially in the morning with my frizzed curly auburn mane and the "I'm not a morning person" growl lying just beneath the surface until I've managed to steal that forbidden cup of coffee! Also, my one lion of a cat and two adorable kitties round out the rest of my pride. (And I do mean round out when referring to my 20+ pound of a cat named Peanut - only in color, not size! I have sometimes mistaken him for a basketball out of the corner of my eye!)

The third and most significant lion imagery is The Lion of Judah - that is Jesus Christ. It is He who heads my heart and my home. As it states in Joshua 24:15, "But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." That is something that each of us in our family try to do on a daily basis - some moments succeeding and others failing miserably. Fortunately, Paul reminds us in Philippians 1:6 to be confident, "that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." So, I'm a work in progress. Kind of like a fine wine . . . getting better with age!

Dens also make me think of books - a library with a comfy chair, a roaring fire, a cat in my lap and a cup of hot cocoa! Mmm, mmm, mmm! This too, gives a picture of what I enjoy - education, a good story, chocolate and cats. One of our family's favorite stories is C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series. The Lion, Aslan, is an allegorical Christ figure and is by far our favorite character. At any given time we are reading through one of the books together (and yes, it usually does involve chocolate, cuddly kitties and sometimes even a roaring fire!) Currently, we are enjoying listening to Papa Bear read The Horse and His Boy and we hope to move on to Prince Caspian before the new movie hits the silver screen. I hope to expand my enjoyment of stories to more book reading in the future. Typically, movies and TV satisfy my addiction to a good story. I suppose that's the modern day version of a den - the home theater (oooh! let me dream about that a moment).

Like I noted above, it really is all in the name! Denitra's Den - that's a little glimpse of my life. Regarding the tag line - Short, sweet and to the point! - at 5'2' I really can't contest short! Sweet is something to strive for everyday and as far as the last quip - I've been known to be a bit blunt, frank, opinionated, well - you get the point!