Definition of…

I have been blessed with a daughter who likes to dust.  Yesterday we were all tidying up the house, and I asked Katie what she wanted to do.  She offered to dust, as I knew she would, and I told her that was a great idea.  I do not prefer to dust.

I have also been blessed with a daughter who likes to clean sinks.  Jenny enjoys swishing the water around.  I have sent her off to clean sinks many times before and not been overly impressed with her efforts.  She is only 7, and I haven’t been there showing her how.  By the time I check up on her work, she’s off and playing.  I keep forgetting that “next time” I need to supervise her.

Yesterday, again, I asked her to clean just the downstairs bathroom sink.  I had cleaned the upstairs bathroom during bath time the night before and had spot wiped the downstairs toilet.  The sink area, though, really needed attention.  I asked Jenny to do it, and she readily agreed because she likes this chore.

Just the sink?” she asked for clarification.

“Yes, honey, everything else is fine.  It’s just the sink that needs to be cleaned.”

I was busy elsewhere, and forgot to supervise her, again.  When I checked later, the sink looked like it hadn’t been done at all.  Yet I had seen her in there, running water and having a great time.  I stopped and looked closely.

The porcelain, the bowl of the sink, sparkled and shone like a jewel.  It was the counter area that looked deplorable.  But I hadn’t told her to clean the counters.  I told her to clean just the sink.  So she did.

Next time…

The Great White South

My children have been lamenting their horrid lot in life.  They’ve been feeling deprived…poor unfortunate souls.  Their cruel parents have forced them to live in a place where it does not snow.  How ever would they survive the winter? 

So, when it did snow yesterday, I had to take a picture to prove to them that, so far, not a winter has passed them by without some white stuff. 

Don’t you see it filling the sky?  No?  Look really closely.  You might see some white streaks…

 We even had some accumulation.  On the porch furniture.  See it?

 Here’s a close up.  It’s not sand…it’s snow.  I assure you.

As I went through the winter clothes bucket, I found these Lands End boots.  They are infant size 6, and Mary is a size 7.  It seems pointless to donate them to the local thrift store, don’t you think? 

I can’t think of any little girls who live in colder climes.  If you or anyone you know needs them, please email me.  They are free to a good home.


Grown up toys are way better than any kid toy.  And I got a toy for Christmas.

This is the first picture I took with my new camera.  I hadn’t figured out how to turn on the “live view” so I had no idea at what I was aiming.  Bill pointed out to me that there was a viewfinder – oh, duh.
My next shot was at the table to my left and I got this picture of a camel’s rear end and an overturned train car.  The clarity had me all giggly.
I spent my day reading the quick start guide – half of which made no sense to me (aperture size…shutter speed…), but I practiced all the point and shoot features.

Good looking faces.  They look good in real life.  I’ve never had a camera that did them justice.

Some of our ornaments.  I’m loving being able to focus on the one object among many others.

My dog did not like all the whirring and clicking.  I tried to get a better shot of her, but she hid under the porch swing. 

Did you have a white Christmas?  Obviously, we did not.  I rather enjoyed sitting outside playing with my camera.  We might get some sleet tomorrow, but then the temps go back up.  Yes, I am rubbing this in.  I’ll be back up in the cold before you know it.

This picture is my slippered foot.  I was practicing moving the point of focus to something off-center.
This is my favorite picture – the last one I took.  I had to concentrate the focus area to a smaller size to get past the rails of the deck and to the nails on the handrail by the steps. 
I never thought a camera would make me so happy.  I’m so glad to have a husband who spoils me because I never would have bought this camera myself.  In a month or so, expect lots of pictures of me as I practice the timer thing-y.  In order to replenish our savings account, I’ve decided to eliminate our grocery budget.  I should look rather svelte by spring.

Quitting Time

I have reached that point.

Gingerbread houses?  Yeee…NO.

This child’s favorite cookies?  No.

That new recipe that looks so good?  No.

This perfect gift?  No.

That box of decorations?  No.

The homemade red velvet vests I’ve been promising the boys for years?  Again, no.

My cards are here, and I will be sending them out.  I have wrapping to do.  And mailing.  And we always decorate the tree on Christmas Eve.

But my house will not be perfectly clean and tidy and decluttered.  We will have a variety of cookies, thanks to a cookie exchange but not my own baking.  And I’m not sure how elaborate Christmas Eve dinner will be.  Fish sticks are looking mighty good right now.

I learned long ago that the point at which the preparations are more stress than fun is the time to stop and call it quits.  What’s done is done.  Now it is time to enjoy the fruits of my labor. 

Little Star

Have you seen the many reviews for this book in the blogosphere?  I, too, received a copy from the author, Anthony DeStefano, in exchange for my opinion of it.

Little Star is a delightful story of the birth of Jesus, told within the story of an insignificant star which burned brightly to warm the newborn King.  Although this star’s effort expended him, he is remembered forever as the Star of Bethlehem and is honored by those who decorate their trees with stars.

In the weeks we’ve had our copy, the book has been read many times, often by the older children to the younger ones.  It would be a wonderful addition to anyone’s Christmas book library.  If you are looking for an inexpensive family gift for someone with young children, I think this would be an appreciated present.

Go here to see the lovely illustrations by Mark Elliot and to hear the story (narrated by Pat Boone).

Making me smile

“I see birthday cards, Mommy,” says Mary happily pointing to the mantle.

“Yes, Christmas cards, honey.”

“I see a snow one!” she exclaims, pointing to one with snowflakes, and then pointing to the ones with nativity scenes:  “And two God ones!”

Photo cards

Despite being a somewhat organized person, I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants this Advent season.  Things like, opening up my morning toothbrushing companion on December 8th to have it remind me that it’s a Holy Day of Obligation.  Or remembering at 4 pm on December 12th that the store didn’t have the Mexican dishes I planned to serve in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe when I went shopping three days earlier and I now needed to run out and get them.

Christmas cards are another thing that I just hadn’t gotten around to thinking about until last weekend when I realized that time was beginning to run short.  Fortunately, I found out that Shutterfly was offering 50 free cards to approved bloggers who wrote about them.  (I got approved!  Woohoo!!).

I know for certain that Shutterfly is easy to use and has super fast delivery.  Bill came home from Afghanistan on December 18th and I used that homecoming photo for our cards. 

OK, so maybe the cards were a teeny bit late…but that was the fault of the addresser of envelopes (me!), not Shutterfly, I assure you.

Besides being quick and easy, I love that Shutterfly’s Christmas cards have the exact message you want to send.  You can make it Christ-centered if you choose, or you can make it more generic if that isn’t your style (or your audience’s style).  Shutterfly will also stamp and mail your cards for you if you want.  Expensive, but convenient.

Besides photo cards, Shutterfly offers loads of photo gifts.  Since my kids’ biggest present this year is a trip (not an easy thing to wrap!), I decided to make a photo puzzle which will serve as a clue to where we’re going.  Four of my children will get a section of the puzzle (the other two are too little to participate and their pictures aren’t in the photo clue anyway).  I think that will be a fun way to tell them the surprise, plus it gives me something to wrap and put under the tree.

I don’t think I’ve ever linked so much to one place in one post before, but there you go.  My whole-hearted endorsement of Shutterfly for all your photo-personalized desires.

Now I just need to get haircuts for the boys, coordinate clothing and get 8 people to smile all at once.