Saturday, January 31, 2009

Baby Food Crisis!

If you've read my profile, you've noticed that I have one child, Snugglebug. And if you have surmised correctly, I am a first-time mom, thus not a supermom as yet.

So, when we had our first baby food crisis, I was all in a quandary. Shortly, after New Years, Snugglebug decided to go on a food strike. He just wouldn't eat. He had been eating anything I put in front of him: veggies, fruit, mixes, cereals of any kind. But, now, nothing suited him. Even his favorites he pushed away after one bite.

I called my sister, a supermom and a mom of three, and asked what to do. "Have you tried finger foods?" she asked. Yes, we had been "trying" finger foods for months but they just ended up on the floor with Snugglebug leaning over the side of his high chair watching them bounce across the floor. Handfuls upon handfuls of Cheerios had been wasted in recent months in an effort to get him to eat finger foods. My almost 12 month old wasn't interested in eating with his fingers, and when I fed it to him, he choked on it.

But, my sis explained that despite all this he was in transition. Transition! That can't be good. "He's wanting food with chunks," she explained. Chunks...Hmmm. My next thought was how to do that when you are pureeing your own baby food. I'd like to say I found a formula online where x times y plus 2 to the nth power will tell you how chunky to make the baby food, but no such luck. I resorted to the old fashioned trial and error. I over pureed several batches which in turn were refused after one or two bites. I finally resorted to purchasing several jars of level 3 baby food just to see how chunky it was. I discovered that it wasn't that chunky and to my relief (oddly) he refused the store food as well.

I accidentally discovered that pureed chicken added to any vegetable or veggie mixture was the perfect amount of chunkiness for him. I used water to make my chicken puree and buzzed away on my food processor. In minutes, the chicken was mush! I mixed 1 ounce of meat in with 2 to 3 ounces of his favorite veggie and WALLAH!! Crisis averted or at least temporarily stalled till we reach another transition.

So for now, he is getting his protein and eating most foods again. And only yesterday, he discovered that he could eat with his fingers. And for the very first time a Cheerio entered his mouth, was chewed (baby style), and swallowed!! What a feat! I felt quite proud of my little boy! I was actually cheering for him!!

On a side note, I froze the remainder of the pureed chicken in ice trays, later storing them in Ziploc bags. I just add one cube of chicken to 3 or 4 cubes of veggies. For the pears, I puree one batch as usual and a smaller batch I only partially puree so that there are a few small chunks. I have only tried this with pears though because their chunks are easy to mush up in his mouth.

I've also started adding a few seasonings to his foods to enhance the flavor, such as cinnamon to his carrots. I am, however, staying away from salt and sugar though. Just the inexperienced mom speaking here, but I think it is still too early to be adding those two ingredients.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Soup, Soup, and More Soup!!

Last cold spell, I made Mama's Stew. This time I decided to go for the soups. I like hearty soups so up first on the menu is Squash and Yam Soup. This is one of my absolute favorite soups. One bowl will satisfy you, and it is easy and cheap. I think I spent $6, and got 5 or 6 servings out of it. It is hard to count since Snugglebug's doesn't count as a full serving. My intention was to freeze the extra but Snugglebug and I just couldn't get enough. We ate on it for four meals in a row!! Now that's eating on the cheap.

The second soup was classic Chicken Noodle. Not so classic was the use of my own recipe. I had never made Chicken Noodle from scratch and searched for a decent recipe. There are a lot out there but none that seemed appealing so I made my own. I roasted two chickens ($4 each) using Christine Ferrare's marinade ($5--for lemons, herbs, and mustard, but you could leave out the lemons and save some money). After deboning the chickens, I tossed the bones and carcasses into my crockpot, covered the bones with water, added a couple of bay leaves, some onions, and celery, and left it to simmer overnight. In the morning, my crockpot chicken stock was smelling wonderful. I strained it into a pitcher and placed it in the fridge to cool. Once cool, I skimmed off the fat, poured the remaining stock into a pot and added carrots and celery. Lots of carrots and celery--a 1 pound package of each ($4 total). I let the carrots and celery cook in the stock. Once the vegies were cooked, I added half the chicken from the roasted chickens.

Wait a minute, you say! No, I didn't forget the noodles. I am gluten intolerant so only rice noodles for me, and regular for my hubby. I cooked those separate so as not to contaminate the soup itself. All leftovers go into single serving freezer bags for those days when the cold or a cold really gets the cook down and out.

This cheap meal cost me less than $20 once you add in the cost of the noodles! It would also be great with rice! My hubbie's idea! I'll have to try that next!

The last soup wasn't really a soup, but came from the leftovers of the same two roasted chickens. It is Robin Miller's Penne with chicken, wild mushrooms, and peas. Mmmmm....

I have enough chicken for one more dish. I haven't decided yet, but maybe Chicken Pot Pie. That's not really a soup either but just as good if not better!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Operation Read Bible--Question of the Week #4

Do you prefer reading Bibles in paperback, hardback, or leather? Do you prefer red letter or black letter? Do you have a favorite translation of the Bible? Why? What is it that you love? Do you prefer reading text-only Bibles? Or do you prefer reading study Bibles? Do you have a favorite study Bible?
I don't really have a preference of type. My own Bible is a NIV leather bound, but I also read out of a study booklet. I do prefer red-letter editions. I feel this adds respect to Jesus' words. I am currently enjoying the NIV but have also read the King James a lot. I have both on my nightstand. My favorite Bible is the Notetakers Bible. It has wide margins so I can make notes from sermons or my own studies in the margins, between chapters, and paragraphs. This makes it easier when I go back and re-read a text to remember what I drew from it during my last study.
There are others answering these questions as well. Click on the picture, and it will take you to the listings. Want to join us in our challenge? You can do that at Operation Read Bible.

A deeper thought

Lately, it seems my thoughts are drifting more to the philosophical than anything else. So today I pose a philosophical question.

I am trekking through Genesis and am now up to Joseph. Later I will give all my thoughts about this fabulous book but for today just one.

From Adam to Isaac, God takes on an actual form and walks and talks with his people. He walks with Abraham and discusses Sodom and Gomorrah. He talks to Isaac about having children and being the father of a nation. But then we get to Jacob and Esau and God speaks to Jacob in dreams and visions. But still Jacob knows it is God.

My question is why the change. Was Jacob not able to hear or see God in any other way? We see others later on that had the same relationship with God that Abraham had, i.e. Moses. But what happened along the way? What happened today that so few have that same relationship? I have a friend that prays about everything and knew she was going to have another baby before she did because God had shared that with her. I asked myself now why I can't hear God's voice so clearly. I pray but never truly converse. Perhaps, it is a listening issue. Perhaps, I have a great deal to learn from Jacob.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reading to Babies

I wanted to take a moment to reply via post to Irene's comment on Book Review by Snugglebug. Irene wrote, "You are the first mom I have found who started to read to her child at just 2 months old."

Irene thank you for commenting! I am sure I am not the first mom to start reading so early. My mother read to us from an early age, and most of my favorite books are embedded in my memory with her voice. Reading to your little ones is so important. It is just as important to get into the habit of reading to your little one, which is basically all it is at 2 months of age. But when we parents get into the habit of settling down and reading those bedtime stories at night, it begins a lifetime tradition for our children. One that hopefully will be past down to the next generation.

"...I always read to my 3 sons when they were babies, and as they grew." And now you are reaping the rewards! We gain so much more than just good reading habits. We gain valuable memories and one-on-one time with our children that will build a relationship that will last a lifetime. Game nights are great! But, don't forget to curl-up with a good book and your child, too! Reading with Snugglebug before bed is one of my favorite activities. We curl up on the bed together, and he snuggles-in. He turns the pages, and I read!

Whole Foods--Reusable Shopping Bags

So, I have determined that I have become obsessed with finding the perfect reusable shopping bag. This is not atypical of me. When I find something unique that I like a lot, I become obsessed with finding the absolute best of that thing. (I shopped for years before purchasing my camera.) So, after a long hiatus from Whole Foods (it is a long drive for me), I make a visit to pick up a few health foods.
Of course, I had to check their bags and low and behold they have two different sizes. And these bags are the best yet. They are more of a plastic than a cloth. I couldn't tell you the material. All the bag says is that it is made of 80% recycled material. It is a slick plastic that will be easy to clean inside and out. This is a definate plus for meats. I picked up chicken this week and was a little worried about leakage in my bags.

As I mentioned, they had two sizes. The larger size was 99 cents and larger than the average store reusable bag. It is taller and slightly wider. The second is quite a bit smaller and would be fantastic for those short trips and for smaller purchases such as as a craft store. The smaller bag was 79 cents and made of the same material as the larger bag.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Book Review by Snugglebug

We are battling colds here. My hubby had it 2 weeks ago. I caught it on Friday and was sick till Monday and still have a sniffles. And wouldn't you know it, Snugglebug is sniffling and sneezing today just like I was a week ago. I had hoped we would avoid giving him this horrible cold, but no such luck.

But, before we came down with the sniffles, Snugglebug submitted a book review to Miss Becky's Young Reader's Blog. In case you are new to Snugglebug's reviews, he dictates them to me, and I send them in. Well, I suppose dictate isn't really the correct word either. I base the review on his reaction to the books when we read them. We read them several times before I send the review to Miss Becky. I also include my opinion as a mom.

We have been reading books since he was about 2 months old, so he is used to sitting and looking at the pages. And, he has definite likes and dislikes where the books are concerned. He even chooses his own books from time to time.

We are going to try sending reviews on a more regular basis. This month's review is about Jess Stockham's series titled Just Like You. To read more go to Young Readers.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Question of the Week #3

Which Bible character do you identify with most? Is there one that you can really relate to and understand? What is it about the story or character that gets to you?

I have to say I most identify with Martha. When I know I should be taking the time to sit at Jesus' feet, I am busy with household chores. My list grows by the day as does any mom's whether she be a stay-at-home mom or a working mom. The list never shortens. To stop long enough to spend time in the Bible, I have to remind myself that this is about Spiritual health just like sleep is for physical health.

I feel I am doing better about this, but then I have been at it for all of 22 days.

Isn't there a book about or titled being a Mary in a Martha World? I find this is the struggle on a daily basis...To pray, read God's word, and follow Jesus and still get my work done. I suppose it could be considered one of man's curses upon leaving the Garden of Eden. And it is easier said than done, but try, I shall.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Changing of the Guard

I am by no means a news junky. In fact, the weather is all I really need. But today, I had the TV on all day and in the afternoon, the radio. For today was Inauguration Day! And it wasn't just because today was an "historic" day because we inaugurated our first Black President. It was simply because it was an historic day no matter who was to be inaugurated.

The changing of the guard is so seamless and allows our democracy to keep going despite the incredible differences in the changes in the administrations, their attitudes, and morals. There are no military coups involved. There are no threats of violence. There is only the pomp and circumstance that is only associated with our inaugurations.

This was best demonstrated after the inauguration of Barack Obama whe he and Mrs. Obama walked now former President Bush and Mrs. Bush to the helicopter. Obama shook Bush's hand and Mrs. Obama gave Mrs. Bush a hug. A warm send-off for political oponents.

Inauguration is a celebration of the continuance of our democracy. When we no longer have such a celebration, we will no longer have democracy to celebrate.

In four years, we will have another inauguration. And whether it is Barack Obama or not, I will watch with great attentiveness as the entire country once again celebrates democracy and shows the world how it's done.

Monday, January 19, 2009

To Worry or Not to Worry

I've been reading Max Lucado's book Traveling Light. It is about the 23rd Psalm and has opened my eyes to the Psalm in such an incredible way. Last night I was reading the chapter on verse 2, "He leads me beside still waters."

Don't worry, Lucado says. God is leading us. Now I won't go as far as to say that I like to worry but I do it often enough that you would think that I like it. I let the anxiety and pressure build to the point that I have to see my chiropractor to get my neck moving again. I fret about things that don't need fretting about and worry about things that are so far in the future it is a waste of time to even think about those things let alone worry about them.

So, last night's reading was eye opening. Allow me to share a passage from Traveling Light.

The burlap bag of worry. Cumbersome. Chunky. Unattractive. Scratchy. Hard to get a handle on. Irritating to carry and impossible to give away. No one wants your worries.

The truth be told, you don't want them either....Worry divides the mind. The biblical word for worry (merimnao) is a compound of two Greek words, merizo ("to divide") and nous ("the mind"). Anxiety splits our energy between today's priorities and tomorrow's problems. Part of our mind is on the now; the rest is on the not yet. The result is half-minded living.

"He leads me beside still waters," David declares. And, in case we missed the point, he repeats the phrase in the next verse: "He leads me in the patch of righteousness."

He leads me. God isn't behind me yelling, "Go." He is ahead of me, bidding, "Come!" He is in front, clearing the path, cutting the brush, showing the way. Just before the curve, he says, "Turn here."

He leads us. He tells us what we need to know when we need to know it. As a New Testament writer would affirm: "We will find grace to help us when we need it. (Heb. 4:16 NLT)....Could it be that God will reveal answers to you when the time comes.

The key is this: Meet today's problems with today's strength. Don't start tackling tomorrow's problems until tomorrow. You do not have tomorrow's strength yet. You simply have enough for today.

Jesus said, "So don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matt. 6:34) Easy to say. Not always easy to do, right. We are so prone to worry....God is leading you. Leave tomorrow's problems until tomorrow. God isn't going to let you see the distant scene. So you might as well quit looking for it. He promises a lamp unto our feet, not a crystal ball into the future. We do not need to know what will happen tomorrow. We only need to know he leads us and "we will find grace to help us when we need it" (Heb 4:16 NLT).

Dr. Cury's book tells us to self-dialogue when the emotions of worry take over. My dialogue typically goes something like this, "If I don't worry, who will. If I don't worry now, I won't have time to worry later. If I don't worry, it won't take care of itself."

But with Lucado's reminder that "He leads me," I realize that God is taking care of it. God is doing the work for me. The future is not a worry because it is in God's hands and he will lead me. If only I will let me. I pray for grace on a daily basis, so now I will pray for God to lead me each day. Lead me and let me not worry. I set aside my past-time of worrying so God can "lead me beside still waters."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Stew Days!!!

It's cold outside!! In case you hadn't noticed, I thought I would let you know!! I think you have to go all the way to Brazil to find some warmth.

So, I was thinking I would share with you my favorite cold winter day recipe. My mother's stew has kept my syblings and I warm on many a cold day. She would make big pots of her stew and store it in gallon glass jars. If we were at the Fort Worth Stock Show, she would pack the stew, jar and all, in an ice chest and rewarm it one bowl at a time for us. If we were at home, she would return it to the pot to reheat.

These days, I like to make a big pot and freeze it in one serving packages. On days like today or days that I just don't want to cook, I drop a bag or two in a pot, and in ten minutes, dinner is served.

This stew can be slow cooked in the crockpot for 3-4 hours on high or 8 hours on low or you can cook it on the stovetop.

Mama's Stew

1-3 to 4 lb. Rump Roast
2 mediums onions, diced
1 lb. carrots, diced
3 lbs. potatoes, diced
1 tsp. salt
1 package frozen corn
Beef Fajita Seasoning
12 ounces tomato paste
3 Tbs Pace Picante Sauce

Cut roast into large chunks and place in pot. Add onions, potatoes, carrots and salt. cover all with water. Simmer 1 1/2 hours. When carrots and potatoes are cooked, add picante sauce, tomato paste, and frozen corn. Season with Fajita seasoning to taste. Cook another 30 minutes to an hour or until roast is cooked.

Variations: For a faster cooking stew, replace the roast with 1 lb. of ground round and 1 lb. of ground sausage. If you don't have frozen corn on hand, you can also add canned cream corn, but add it 10-15 minutes before serving.

Serve hot from the pot or crockpot or freeze in freezer safe bags to serve over the next 2-3 months.

My thanks to Mama for allowing me to share her recipe with the world!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Read Through the Bible: Question of the Week

So, thanks to computer problems, I wasn't able to post all week so I didn't answer Becky's Question of the Week. This week's question is:
Last week it was all about goals. This week is slightly related to that. It's about plans--Bible reading plans to be exact. Do you need a plan to stay on track? Do you find reading plans helpful? Or are they more of a hindrance to you? Do you have a plan B? In other words, do you have it worked out what you're going to do when you fall behind, forget, get frustrated, get bored, etc.? (There are a dozen excuses why it might happen.) Do you see this as an all or nothing proposition?
I do have a plan. I always have a plan, and if I get braver in my posts, I might share with you how incredibly awry my plans have gone in the past.
But, as for a reading plan it is this: I plan to read at least one book a month. If I get behind, then I'll just keep trekking on and not worry about it. I think it will take me at least three years to actually study all the books.
Will I get bored or frustrated? Of course, I've never actually made it through the Bible because of those reasons. And I think there are some books I've never actually read. What makes this time different? First of all, I want to set a good example for my son. If he doesn't see me reading the Bible, then he will not see the need when he is older. This is the example my parent's set for me, and the one I plan to set for him. Also, I have accountability. With Becky's monthly updates and questions of the week, I hope to feel prodded by those of you who are now reading and checking back ever so often. I have even considered starting a second blog to correspond with my study so I can share my own observations and epiphanies about the scriptures. We'll see.

Operation Actually Read the Bible--Update #1

What's a challenge without accountability!? Becky has asked her participants in the Read through the Bible challenge to post monthly updates on our progress. So this is update #1 or what will most likely be many, many updates.

First, I devised my plan as previously mentioned. At the rate I am going it will take at least 3 years to accomplish my goal and that doesn't count Psalms. I am counting the books I studied last year as well as thus far in 2009.

So, I have read: James, Ephesians, and Acts.
I am currently on Chapter 16 of Genesis and plan to finish it this month. Our Pastor is teaching through Nehemiah between now and Easter and as I mentioned before, I am reading along with him each week. We are on chapter two of Nehemiah.

My hope is that by Easter, I will have finished Genesis, Nehemiah, and most of Exodus.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reusable Shopping Bags

A bag isn't always just a bag! I discovered over the holidays that every store has their own reusable shopping bag--no this isn't the revelation. The revelation is that every bag is different in some way and it isn't always a good way.

Wal-Mart started carrying the bags a year ago. I bought two at the time. They quickly wore out. I was disappointed that I couldn't get more but that is no longer a problem. Today Wal-Mart carries the bags again. This time they are sturdier, wider, and hold quite a bit. I was told by a Wal-Mart cashier that they have a new blue bag that isn't as sturdy and won't hold as much. Their bag is 99 cents.

Albertson's has bags in bright colors: green, yellow, and red. And then their is pink--yes pink. Want to support breast cancer research, buy a pink bag for $2, and $1 goes to cancer research. All the bags are about as sturdy as the Wal-Mart bag, but I like them better simply because I prefer bright colors over black. It also makes them easier to locate should they slip under the car seat! Their bags are also 99 cents.

Tom Thumb has two different types of bags, both are a dark green. The second has become my absolute favorite. The first bag is like all the other but has reinforced sides as well as a rubber pad for the bottom, making it easier to clean. It seems to hold more than the aforementioned Wal-Mart and Albertson's bags. I filled it till I had to lift it with two hands. The second Tom Thumb bag is insulated for hot and cold items. Yes, I said insulated. The top zips up as well sealing in the cold or warmth. Now, I haven't taken my groceries on a long drive but from the store home (about 15 minutes), my groceries were still refrigerator cold. The best part is both bags were 99 cents. An insulated bag for 99 cents!!

Which brings me to Kroger, they too have two bags--one regular and one insulated. The regular is nothing to write home about. Like Wal-Mart's they are black and lack any reinforcement. But their second bag, also black, is insulated. The insulated bag doesn't differ in style from Tom Thumb's, except in price! Kroger's insulated bag costs $3. Their regular bag is the normal 99 cents.

Target and Home Depot also have bags, but I haven't purchased or used those bags, so they will be reviewed another day.

If you don't want a store logo plastered on your groceries or feel a bit embarrassed using a Wal-Mart bag in Tom Thumb, then you can order your own online. They cost a bit more but you can find them made of recycled materials as well as 100% cotton and everything in between. I simple typed reusable shopping bags into a search and over 4 million sites popped up.

This is my second week to shop with reusable bags. And I have to say other than remembering to take them into the store, they are a lot easier than all those plastic bags. The only downside is I now have to find another way to dispose of diapers and other sundry items, like cat poop.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Taking Positive Thinking to the Next Level

So, I finished Dr. Cury's book and am totally blown away with the concept of training your mind to think correctly. I have always thought it possible to train your mind but never really knew how. And then to think you can think correctly and be happier.

Dr. Cury's theory is that we must "think correctly" in order to live a happy and productive life. What does he mean? That was a bit difficult to decipher, but in the end, I came to the conclusion that it is not allowing ourselves to dwell on the negative aspects of our lives, to not allow our emotions to rule our tongues, and to not allow our minds to convince us that we cannot accomplish something.

He lists 12 principles that if incorporated will help you to think correctly. Those princples are:
1. Be the author of your own story.
2. Direct your thoughts
3. Manage your emotions
4. Protect your memory
5. Learn to listen and dialogue
6. Learn the art of self-dialogue
7. Contemplate beauty
8. Unleash creativity
9. Be restored in your sleep
10. Live an enterprising lifestyle
11. Think Existentially
12. Turn life into a celebration

In the introduction, Dr. Cury recommends taking a week per chapter and incorporating that principle into your thinking throughout the entire week. Each prinicple builds on the previous principle and must be performed in order (according to him.) I found that standing alone each has a certain value. Thus far, I can say that I see the beauty in each moment so much easier than before and am finding more joy in each day. I am finding it easier to forgive and yes, forget.

So, I am anxious to take his message of "thinking correctly" to the next level. I am going to spend the next 12 weeks learning each principle and incorporating them into my daily thinking.

In April, I will post my progess on learning how to "think correctly." If anyone else out there has read or is reading his book and would like to take up the same challenge, leave a comment.

Think and Make It Happen

Think and Make It Happen. Cury, Augusto. Thomas Nelson: 2008

Dr. Cury takes positive thinking to the next level. In his book, he not only persuades the reader to think positively but argues that it is possible to train your brain to do so. He lays out 12 principles for training your brain to think positively and to focus more on the present. Dr. Cury has a doctorate in psychology, but writes for the everyday person. I have read a lot of books authored by doctors and most are written on a much higher level than the average person can read. They are full of technical jargon that requires a dictionary to be close at hand. Dr. Cury's book is easy read with very little technical jargon.

Each principle is designed to help the reader to “think correctly.” By thinking correctly, Dr. Cury means focusing on the positive and the beautiful things in life and not allowing your mind to focus on the negative things that cause us to miss the truly wonderful moments that crowd each hour of each day.

I enjoyed Dr. Cury's principles, but found myself wishing he had explained each prinicple more fully. For example, in the second chapter, he talks about the D-C-D technique (Doubt-Criticize-Determine), but he doesn't give enough examples to fully explain the principle. He also gives an example of a patient who used that technique, but again stops short in explaining the mental processes the patient used. While I realize space is always a concern, I believe he could have left out the first page or two of each chapter as he spent the first pages persuading the reader that the principle is important. I was convinced that all 12 principles were important after reading the introduction. Further persuasion was not needed.

As a whole, I believe the book is well written and the principles well grounded. I have been using the DCD technique and found it works beautifully. I am working to incorporate all 12 principles into my thinking on a daily basis. I am anxious to see how they work altogether, but I have to say I can see a difference already. I am thinking more clearly, more positively, and seeing the beauty in the little things.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Operation Actually Read the Bible

Becky and I have been friends since our first or second year of college at Texas Woman's University. During that time, we have shared our faith with one another, discussed Bible studies, and talked about different Bible translations. Now, she is on a mission to actually read through the Bible. This had never been a goal of mine, but at her prodding and encouragement, I am taking up the mission as well. I am actually going to read through the entire Bible.

This is an ongoing challenge with many participants, so it should be a lot of fun along the way. I haven't set a deadline for myself but will say that rather than just reading the Bible I am actually studying it. This will take a lot longer, but I want to take it all in. I have read the stories hundreds of times, but I want to dig a lot deeper this time around.

I have been working through the Bible study series by Max Lucado titled Life Lessons. I highly reccomend this series. He adds excerpts from his books to each study that gives the study practicality to today's life. Thus far I have studied: Ephesians and James and am currently working on Genesis.

I am also including the books our pastor teaches because while he is teaching the series on Sunday, I will be endeavoring to read those chapters during the week. If I find that too encumbersome a task, then I will not count those books as read. I won't fudge my numbers in other words.

The next part of this adventure includes a weekly "Question of the Week" from our brave leader, Becky. Each week she will post a discussion question on her blog and at some point during the week, I will discuss it on my blog.

If you wish to participate in Becky's challenge, click the logo above, and it will take you to her site to sign up.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Arm & Hammer Carpet & Room Pet Fresh

I have no idea how long Arm & Hammer have been making their aerosol pet fresh cleaner but I just discovered it. The can advertises a "Pet Hair Release" so I had to give it a try on my sofa. We had been out of town for several days at Christmas and prior to that I hadn't had time to vacuum. So, needless to say, the cat hair from three cats had accumulated. I have spent the last week trying to clean it off the sofa. I have vacuumed and vacuumed but just couldn't get it all.

Today, I tried the Carpet & Room Pet Fresh spray. It sprays a foam cleaner over the entire area. As advertised it dries quickly, but I am not sure it was exactly 5 minutes but it was definitely less than 10. Once dry, I vacuumed again and all the remaining cat hair came up leaving the sofa looking like new (or as close as our old sofa can).

I was impressed that the pet hair release really did work. The static that was holding the hair was no longer there and neither was the hair.

The only downside is that being an aerosol it left a nasty chemical smell in the air. If you are chemical sensitive, this is one product to stay away from. Next time I clean the sofa, I will probably open the windows to air out the house afterward.

Friday, January 2, 2009


In the comments to my previous post, Becky wrote: "I don't make "new year" resolutions, but I do ever-so-often make goals for myself."

Becky is so right. We cannot go through life without goals. If we don't have goals, we have no purpose to fulfill. Once we reach a goal, we should always set new ones. Goals are different from resolutions. Yesterday, while writing about resolutions I actually looked up the definition to resolution. It is defined as "a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something." Goal is defined as "the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end; the terminal point in a race."

It is one thing to resolve to run a race; it is another to show up and actually run the race. A resolution is your decision to run the race, and the goal is actually running toward the finish line. When setting a goal, we set steps to take to reach that goal and with each step we get closer to that finish line.

Setting goals is something that I have not done since Snugglebug was born 10 1/2 months ago. But I am determined to return to my goal-setting mind-set. I am still working on my introspection for 2009, but have a few goals already for this year.

Goals for 2009:
1. Read more for myself and my son (I already signed up for one challenge at Young Readers)
2. Eat Healthy (I did before Snugglebug was born and fell off the wagon after)
3. Participate in Oprah's Clean-up Your Messy House and get my house clean again
4. Continue Becky's Actually Read Through the Bible Challenge

Thanks for the comment Becky!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

I don't really do resolutions. I feel they are meant to be forgotten. Instead, I look at the new year more as a time to refocus my energies, to redefine myself, and to reshape my future.

I believe we should stop ever so often and take a deep introspective look at ourselves. We shouldn't use that time to chastise or demean ourselves for being who we have become, but honestly take note of that being. If we don't take the time to look at ourselves honestly, we lose track of who we are. We become lost in the vast chasm of humanity. That is to say we don't know who we are anymore than we know a total stranger.

So, in January I focus on prayer, Bible study, and my heart and soul. I take a deep look and examine the person I have become over the last year. Is it someone I like? Would I be friends with the person I have become? Am I happy on the inside or do I feel lost? What makes me happiest? What makes me depressed?

The last two questions seem rather pointless, but are very telling. One year, I discovered that making other people happy made me happiest only to realize that I wasn't happy at all. I had spent so much time the previous year making other people happy that I was completely lost and depressed. I had lost myself in the crowd. I realized that being a "yes" person wasn't exactly the best way to live life.

Another year, after reading a book whose title I have since forgotten, I made a list of "danger zones." These were things that reminded me that I needed to stop, slow down, and take a moment to appreciate life. I had raced through the year without acknowledging the blooming roses, the falling leaves, or the beauty that had passed me by.

This year as I reflect, I am reading Traveling Light by Max Lucado, and Think and Make It Happen by Dr. Augusto Cury. I will share about both books when I am finished reading them. I am also completing a complete introspection. Asking those tough questions that I mentioned above. This has been a great year of change for me. I went from working to staying at home, from free to come and go to being a full-time mom. It has been quite a year and will be quite a year next year.