Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thank God for Library Day

Today George threw a bus at the back of Jacob's head. He promptly vomited all over the futon that's in the basement. I was concerned the concussion would be serious but he only threw up one time so we did not actually end up in the ER.

George also drew all over two walls in his room when he was supposed to be napping. He used the plastic stick that goes in the bottom of his brother's recorder. This doesn't come off the wall as easy as pen or pencil. I scrubbed it with Comet but it's still there. I'll have to repaint.

We did get peanut butter cookies made today. YUM!

Afterward, I was trying to play Nathan at a game of chess but my Mensa husband came in and "helped" Nathan. I got my butt kicked. I wasn't happy and I let him know.

As Kevin and George went out the door to the library, Kevin said "Mama's mad at me, George." George looked up at him and replied, "That's OK, she's mad at me too."

Later they tried to butter me up by bringing home 4 half gallons of Ruggles. We are all grateful God blessed me with an extremely short memory.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

5 years and counting...

December has way too many celebrations in our family. We have 6 birthdays of immediate family members, Christmas, New Year's Eve, AND our anniversary. If we had put a bit more thought into it we may have waited another month or two. It should be a very special day but it kind of gets lost in the hustle and bustle. I bet Jesus feels a bit like that too so we're in good company.

The 5 year traditional gift is wood. Kevin gave me a wooden basket he received in the Yankee Christmas at his sister's house on Saturday. I gave him a card. Pretty sad for such an accomplishment. 5 years as a blended family is nothing to sneeze at. Those of you who are in one know exactly what I'm talking about.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Busy Mom's Guide to Shopping Aldi's

As we all look for ways to stretch our grocery budgets, I thought this would be helpful to a lot of readers. I have shopped at Aldi's for over 4 years now. I can't get everything I need there but I do save tons of money with what I am able to purchase there.

A word for new Aldi's shoppers: Bring a quarter to get a cart unlocked from the cart corral. Also, bring reusable bags from home.

Dairy: I find their milk and cheese to be too bland. I would recommend purchasing these items elsewhere. Yogurt is another story....I have purchased yogurts in the past and they have not disappointed me. The eggs are fine too.

Fresh Produce: I have absolutely no complaints about the fresh produce. You will not find the wide variety you will get in the traditional grocery store, but you will be able to find most things you need. They also have bagged pre-washed lettuce that comes in very handy.

Baked Goods: Aldi's has a terrific Whole Wheat bread. However, the hamburger and hot dog buns are only available in white. Bread does have a lengthy shelf life.

Cereal: I have tried many of their varieties of cereal and they are all great. My daughter actually prefers their Cinnamon Toasters to the Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The oatmeal is almost exactly the same as Quaker too. George loves it. I would caution you when it comes to the toaster pastries. They can't hold a candle to the Kellogg's brand and most of them will end up in your trash can.

Single Serving Lunchbox Items: Aldi's is a great place for picking up snacks for school lunches. We buy their HoHo's, Chocolate Peanut Butter Wafers, Puddings, Juice pouches and Fruit Cups.

Pastas and Noodles: Caution on purchasing the "white" pasta. I have tried their egg noodles (gross) and rigatoni noodles. Both fell apart on cooking. Turned into a big mess. I have it on good authority that the whole wheat pasta sold under the "Fit and Active" brand is quite good. The Aldi's brand mac and cheese is a nice substitute but be sure to whisk the cheese flavoring into the milk and butter before adding the noodles. The cheese flavoring tends to cake up a bit.

Cookies: The imitation Oreo's will please even the pickiest eater. They are the only choice to be had in the cookie isle. They come in double stuffed, fudge stuffed, and original. The Belmont chocolate chips are greasy and heavy. I do not recommend purchasing them. The oatmeal cookies with frosting are ok but use them up quickly. They are dry to begin with and do not have a long shelf life.

Bagged Snacks: Pass on the chips. They are mostly crumbs in the bottom of the bag. The Fit and Active mini rice cakes are well worth your purchase. They come in cheddar cheese and caramel. The multigrain tortilla chips are also a good investment.

Staples: Flour, sugar, oil. Save $$ by purchasing all of these items here.

Canned Fruits and Vegetables: You can not go wrong with any of the canned fruits and veggies. The pears are especially nice and soft.

Frozen: Definite YES to the following: Bagged boneless skinless chicken, canisters of popcorn chicken in original and buffalo, chicken nuggets in a family size bag, single serving stuffed chicken, french toast sticks, round sausage patties in a bag. The waffles don't taste as good as Eggo but the kids don't mind.

Meats: The cubed stew meat is actually much more tender than any I've ever cooked. Also, be sure to grab a turkey ham. These come in about 3 lb mini ham shapes. They are great for a quick meal.

I will follow this up next week with a week's worth of dinner menus for a family of 4.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Welcome, Jesus!

May you all come to know the most precious gift ever given.

John 1:14
The Word
became flesh and
his dwelling among us.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Festival of Lights

My eldest daughter fancies herself a Messianic Jew so she is embracing Hanukkah this year. I am not giving her gifts but I did make latkes last night as Hanukkah began at sundown. Here is an interesting link with more information: Christmas would be impossible without Hanukkah

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pat's Ginger Cut Outs

I'm not sure why these are called ginger because there isn't any ginger in the recipe. At Christmastime my mom's friend's basement had lots of Charley Chip cans filled with these cookies. They were another favorite part of Christmas. The dough makes about 12 dozen cut outs.


Wet ingredients: Half pound butter, half pound lard, 1.5 pound brown sugar, 3 eggs, .75 cup water with 1 t baking soda mixed in.

Dry ingredients: 1 T. cloves, 1 T cinnamon, 1 T allspice, 9 cups flour (enough to make a stiff dough), .25 cup lemon, citron, orange peel (it's not clear if this is supposed to be .25 cup each or .25 cup total of a mix), .25 pound walnut meal, .25 pound almond meal.

Combine. Chill. Roll and cut. Dust with colored sugars and silver dragees. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.

Annual Hard Candy Making Episode

One tradition that my sister is bound and determined to recreate every year is making hard candy. My mom used to do this with her friend Betty each year. I remember them doing it late after we went to bed but my memory is sometimes flawed. They would make watermelon, cherry, lime, cinnamon and other flavors. The candy was perfectly shaped into pillows coated with powdered sugar. A great part of Christmas.

We have never had much luck at this but we do have fun. Last night we got together at my house to work on it. NOW, (that I am still walking on hard candy shards on my kitchen floor despite having swept thrice) I know why she wanted it to be at my house.

The first batch did caramelize a bit. That's a polite way of saying it tasted a little burnt. It was a light brown so we decided to flavor it cinnamon. I stirred in the flavoring and dumped it onto my counter. We let it cool and ended up what looked like an oval brown piece of glass FUSED to my counter top. Using knives, two screwdrivers, a hammer and lots of hot water we finally got it all off.

[Nathan got a rise out of Kevin when he passed on the news as they drove to foot skills later that night. "OUR kitchen counter???"]

The second batch didn't burn but the plastic spoon did melt into it. I was able to take out the larger plastic pieces and we flavored this one with strawberry. I graciously let my sister take this entire batch home. I don't think it quite reached 310 degrees because it was a bit stringy.

The third batch definitely caramelized. We just threw that batch down the drain. Probably not smart.

Dawn was finally prepared to throw in the towel at this point but I gave it another go. I measured all the ingredients perfectly. I didn't take my eyes off the thermometer except to have a quick phone conversation with Kevin about mixtures, boiling point and heat transfer. After it reached 310, I dumped in one teaspoon of flavoring, mixed it, and dumped it onto a greased broiling pan. I covered it with powdered sugar. After the edges cooled, I sliced into it with a pair of greased scissors.

This batch came out something like what I remember. I wonder if it was ever this hard for my mom. After googling "hard candy tips", I think I can give you the best of the information I found:

"Experience is the best teacher"

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Rachel!

Last night Rachel came by for about an hour while her mother was training at the hospital. We were under instructions not to feed her dinner. So we just had cake and ice cream. She also got to open her presents. A light up High School Musical Shirt and Squakers McCaw.

Squawkers has got to be the best birthday gift ever. I snagged him at Target at a Black Friday sale. He is regularly about $50 and I got him for only $25. You can teach Squawkers words and phrases. He is a very polite bird too and excuses himself each and every time he passes gas. The directions warn to be very responsible about teaching Squawkers new words. I am devious and already taught him..."Clean up this room!" and "Pick up your laundry!"

It will be interesting to watch what the kids do with him.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Christmas Slippers

At the beginning of the advent season, our pastor talked about the real meaning of Christmas; Love.

God is the source of all love and His love is made complete when we love like Christ. As Christians, we are to represent the love of Christ to the world. Or as he put it....re-PRESENT. The presents we give at Christmas should be a representation of the love of God poured out through Jesus Christ. No one I know is better at this than my husband. He does a phenomenal job at showing the love of God. It's one of the reasons I have such deep respect and admiration for him.

He is a great gift giver. He is very thoughtful and always picks something appropriate. The first Christmas we were married my husband gave me a beautiful gray robe and matching slippers from Victoria's Secret. As you can see in the pictures the slippers have seen their better days. But they were a L-O-V-E gift. Their sentimental value alone makes it very hard for me to think about parting with them. Now it's going to be impossible.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Kevin!

Tomorrow my dear hubby turns 41! We celebrated tonight with a dinner of mac and cheese, Encor riblets, latkes, homemade applesauce, and peaches. Dessert was yellow cupcakes baked by Brooke with chocolate icing. We really know how to do it up!

Gifts were a new winter jacket, a long sleeved bright orange "Cleveland Browns" running shirt, and what I thought were a pair of running tights. His late Aunt Gene sent him a gift too! (He liked that one much more.)

He spends his birthday tomorrow at both his jobs so we won't see him.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from the Family of 9!

1 Thessalonians 5:18

give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Thou shalt not steal" Exodus 20:15

To some extent, the rising incidence of theft in our community is expected. These are difficult times and people are getting desperate. What I don't understand and what pains me the most is being robbed by a "Christian". And I put that in quotes because these are just people professing to be Christian, only God knows their hearts and I'll leave that for him to decide.

Last month, on Wednesday night I was rushed leaving church and forgot to fetch my yoga mat from the school coat room. Sunday morning I stopped by to pick it up and was shocked to find it gone. First of all, why would you steal someone's exercise mat? With all their germs and sweat on it? But secondly, in a church? Despite my plea, it has yet to be returned.

More recently, a fellow child care provider I know from an online group, requested an item I had for sale on craigslist.com. She's a Baptist Sunday school teacher with a link to her church's website on her web page. She signs all her posts "Have a Blessed Day". I sent it media mail out to Columbus. She claims to have sent 2 separate money orders for the item, but I have neither.

Lesson (FINALLY) learned.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy World Toilet Day

George and I just happened to have scrubbed the toilet this morning before I heard but, November 19th was declared World Toilet Day in 2001.

I'm speechless...

Someone tell George the election's over...and his candidate lost.

Driving to the library this morning I heard a 3 syllable chant coming from the backseat. It took a few seconds, but then I realized what it was. "We will win, we will win, we will win."

He heard this at the Sarah Palin rally in Lakewood earlier this month. I haven't heard it from him since but it's obviously stored up in his brain somewhere.

Let's look to 2012 George!

Monday, November 17, 2008

That's our boy!

I had to take the car in for another tire repair this morning.
A woman in the waiting room almost fell off her chair after my two year old climbed up into a chair, opened a magazine, and announced to the room that he found a picture of Michael Phelps!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Skeleton Run - George's First Race

Back on October 25th, Luke, Brooke, Rachel, George, and I went to Amherst for the Skeleton Run. I'm not close to racing shape yet but the kids have run the 1-Mile Funny Bone Run for a few years and they also have a Silly Bone quarter mile for George.

Weather was crisp, a nice day for running. Rachel kept George company and he got a t-shirt and a ribbon for finishing a lap on the track.

Luke ran very well, starting 11th at the start and 5th at the next watching spot. He finished 3rd overall and was 2nd in his age group. He really runs an even race and finishes strong, a rare trait for a young runner. His final time was 6:31, just 22 seconds behind the winner. He was 10th overall last year in 7:20.

Brooke also did great, starting at the back of the race with Rachel, moving up from 39th at the start to 19th after just another block. I missed getting a video of her finish but she did get a medal for 3rd among girls 9-10. Her time was 7:54 and she was 19th overall. She was 18th overall last year in 8:24.

Rachel ran just over 10:00, an improvement of about a minute from laste year's 10:59. Here is a video of her finishing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My dad and his biker babe

My dad recently emailed me about how much he is enjoying spending our inheritance. He emailed me a picture of him and my mom on a rented Harley. I thought he would enjoy seeing this one I just found of the two of them before I was born.

Go Dad Go!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Toilet Troubles....it doesn't take a genius

to figure out this mystery with the facts.

I can not get the toilet completely unclogged. Every time it gets used it blocks up completely then I plunge it but it seems like something is in the way. I can't get a fast clear flush.

I just put my 2 year old in the bathtub. His favorite Sesame Street bath toy was missing the Elmo piece. I said "uh oh, where's Elmo?"

He looked at me with his gorgeous chubby face and said quite clearly..."Elmo's in the toilet."

Good thing we have 3 toilets! I'll let my husband handle this one.

Update: Kevin did get Elmo out but he went straight into the trash can. "My Hero!" (Kevin, not Elmo.)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

An apple a day...

It's Fall again in northern Ohio which means Apples!

George and I visited my Mother-in-Law a week ago last Monday and came home with lots of FREE, locally produced, ORGANIC, apples. They aren't perfect but the key word is FREE. AND the bonus is we get to visit Grandma and the cows on the family dairy farm. George got a kick out of watching them eat ground up corn cobs with molasses mixed in. Grandma's apple tree is weighted down with TONS of fruit so we planned to go back for more.

I made applesauce from most of the original apples and we planned to go back last Monday. Due to car trouble (really just some bad bulbs I was too clueless to figure out how to change...) we had to cancel. AND on top of the $100 we had to pay our mechanic to change our light bulbs, I was forced to pay green money for chemically treated apples at the store. "Sigh."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Phone Call That You Need to Make

By Christian Hill

The average American has at least one credit card and carries a balance of more than $1,700. Faced with mounting minimum payments on their cards and shrinking monthly budgets, what is a consumer to do? Answer: Call your credit card company and negotiate a lower interest rate.

Credit card delinquencies are mounting with the downturn in the economy. (Interestingly, the two states with the highest foreclosure rates, Nevada and Florida, also lead the nation in credit card delinquencies.) Through July, the annualized rate of credit card charge-offs rose 33 percent compared to last year, according to Moody's Investor Services. At the same time, the Payment Rate Index, which reflects borrowers' ability and willingness to repay credit card debt, dropped.

Faced with increasing delinquencies, credit card companies are more willing than ever to lower your interest rate to make sure you'll be able to keep current. The last thing they want is for you to fall behind on your payments and have another past-due account on their books.

[Ed. Note: Protecting your wealth is about more than investing. It means keeping your debt under control, too.

This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, an e-zine dedicated to making money, improving your health and quality of life. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.earlytorise.com.

Friday, October 3, 2008

"Today's Paper For A Quarter"

On my way to my day job today, as I was walking up to the Rapid Station, a guy was sitting on top of the newspaper box saying, "Today's Paper For A Quarter?"

He had obviously put in his 50 cents and pulled out a stack of newspapers and was attempting to resell them.

I don't know if he got any takers or not.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Jacob (self titled)

Funny, caring, smart, kind
Son of Paul
Lover of dogs, Pokemon cards, Star Wars
Who needs hugs, my dad, my dog
Who fears spiders
Who would like to see Hancock again
Resident of Elyria

My son did this poem about himself for a 4th grade writing assignment. I think it's awesome!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Angel Food July 2008 Menu Reviewed

Back by Popular Demand: Just picked up our Angel Food on the 26th. Check back often as I review food items.

40 oz. Marie Callender's � Family Crock Pot Dinner (Meat Included) I did get this in my packet. It is no longer in my freezer but I have no memory of cooking it so I must rate it "unmemorable". Not sure if that is good or bad?

1.5 lb. Boneless Pork Filet

5 lb. Breaded Chicken Chunks Get Real !@#$ There are maybe 5 "chunks" in the entire bag. The remainder of the 5 lbs. resembles what's left in the bottom of a Banquet Fried Chicken box after you take the parts out. Very tiny pieces of mostly breading. A speck of chicken here or there but this bag is mostly crumbs. At any rate, I cooked it in the oven for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Kids dipped them in ranch and bar-b-q sauce. No complaints. The breading is their favorite part. This did the job and satisfied their plebeian appetites. The bag states the contents as "diced chicken breast fritter".

1.5 lb. Meaty Beef Ribs My dad cooked these up at his cottage one weekend we were there. He is the best cook in the world. He could make a sneaker taste good so it wouldn't be fair to recommend these ribs based on his preparation.

28 oz. Meatloaf and Gravy

1 lb. Beef Fajita Meat Suprisingly delicious. Pan fried in canola oil. Seasonings were great. Wish I could buy a huge bag.

1 lb. Fully Cooked Meatballs Easily the best microwavable meatballs ever. From Home Market Foods. They carry these at Super Walmart but they are much more expensive than the Great Value brand.

1 lb. All Meat Hot Dogs Acceptable.

1 lb. Broccoli Fresh and delicious.

1 lb. Peas and Carrots High quality.

28 oz. Pasta Sauce

1 lb. Pasta

32 oz. Borden 2% Reduced Fat Shelf Stable Milk Came in handy when I ran out of milk but kids had a problem with the packaging. Wish I had thought to save the gallon jug to dump it into.

32 oz. Hawaiian Punch Name brand drink. I don't usually buy sugar drinks so this is sure to be a hit. However, there are only 4 8oz servings so the kids will have to duke it out.

12 ct. Corn Tortillas

7 oz. Blueberry Muffin Mix

1 dozen Eggs In medium

1 Dessert Item This was an off brand bag of Teddy Graham style cookies. They were buttery and flaky. Just the snack to bring along to an afternoon on the beach. They did have trace amounts (.05 g a serving) of trans fats.

Additional items I received that are not listed on the national menu. I went to a new church this time as the other one I had used has changed to the "Great Food for All" program.

6 Frozen Mini Ears of Corn on the Cob My 11 year old stepson would have been happy to eat the whole bag. Tasty.

Lean Cuisine Brick Oven Pizza


Sunday, July 20, 2008


Today we found a snake in the electrical connection box at the end of the driveway. Jacob wanted to catch it. He put on goalie gloves and got an egg out of the refrigerator. My dad found him standing by the box holding the egg. I'm not sure how he was supposed to catch a snake standing there like a scarecrow but he was convinced he could.

As of yet, no snake.

20 days to Atlantic City.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dilemma Solved

Well, after spending a short 2 days at my parent's cottage on the lake it became clear that George will do fine there without me for a week.

He took his animals, all 5 of them, and "Grandma's special quilt" to sleep with. At bedtime, he lay down on a cushion and was asleep in minutes.

There's a lot there to distract him. A very shallow sand beach, a playground, huge marina, bikes, fishing, and a large field for kicking balls around. His big sister is going along to keep him company while I get lucky in New Jersey.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Emma is driving!!!

She has been counting the days for what seems like years....at last, as she would tell you, her wallet is complete. She has a state issued temporary driving permit with her picture right on it.

Check out the videos HERE. (Give me a few hours and this link will actually work. I have a love hate relationship with my FlipVideo.)

4th of July

We will be spending our 4th as we usually have the past few years.

We watch the town's fireworks display. It's at one of the city parks. They traditionally put on a really outstanding show. Complete with live music, family games, and a local church giving away free Popsicles.

We attend a parade near my husband's childhood home. It's the only parade you can see twice, both coming and going. Without doubt, at least one of his nieces or nephews or cousins will actually be in the parade. Grandma always treats to homemade vanilla ice cream for all the grandkids in attendance. She must save all year in order to afford it!

After the parade, we'll all gather at the home of his nephew for a picnic. Everybody brings a dish. There will also be hamburgers and hot dogs. He has a huge homemade sandbox and playset for the little ones and bigger kids will organize around kickball, softball, or corn hole.

This year our Sunday school small group is planning an evening picnic. So we'll travel from one end of the county to the other and join them for dinner. The hosting home belongs to a neighborhood association that has a large built in pool. So if it's hot enough, the kids can swim.

Oldest daughter Emma has a youth group fund raiser both tonight and tomorrow so, unfortunately, she will be unable to join us. The youth are selling glow sticks and light up toys at two local fireworks displays.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Leaving George

I am in a huge quandary.

Every August, Kevin has a conference in Atlantic City. For the past 3 years, I have tagged along. It's a lot of fun and VERY nice to have some time away.

This year I am very reluctant to leave our 2 year old home. He came along when he was newborn. And then last year, my oldest came along with him to "babysit". He was only 17 months at that time. This year he is much more active and mobile. He will be very unhappy with a 10 hour car ride back and forth, not to mention being cooped up in the hotel all week. Atlantic City is not designed for kids.

Is he going to be scarred by 5 days away from home with relatives and no mom or dad in sight? Is it better for me to stay home and let Kevin go alone? I'm just not sure what's best for George.

BUSY Summer...is there any other kind??

I've been very busy with my home day care business.

I am in the process of county certification. I started in May with a 30 hour week training session. Then I took CPR and USDA Child and Adult Food Program training. Next to come is First Aid.

Our health and fire inspections have been passed. I have one more home visit from the agency assisting me before my paperwork is sent to the county. After they receive it, they will call and set up a visit to actually "certify" me.

Kevin is recovering nicely from hernia surgery. He can't work his second job again for a while so in the meantime I am waitressing at Pizza Hut to help out. You can read about that HERE.

Friday, May 16, 2008

AAA - Help on the Road and Beyond

But only 4 times a year!

We have been members of the AAA auto club for 4 years now. Wednesday night my dear husband locked his ONLY set of keys, wallet, and cell phone in his car when he stepped out to referee a soccer game. One of the coaches was kind enough to let him borrow a cell phone to call me for help.

I called the police first but they don't give that type of assistance in our city, so I called AAA. They have always come to my rescue so I was appalled to hear the woman on the phone offer to give me numbers to local garages who would COME AND TOW MY CAR for locksmith service. She then informed me that I would be totally responsible for all the fees as I had used up all of my service calls for the year already.

I was almost at a loss for words as I politely asked for information on purchasing a better plan that would cover all of our emergency automotive needs. The representative transferred me to member services where I was happily informed that we get 4 service calls EACH. So all Kevin needed to do was to call himself and they would assist him for free.

After dropping off the older kids at church, I stopped off at the field with my cell phone and AAA card. The tow truck came shortly after Kevin called and the driver successfully got into his car. He motored off to his soccer meeting in Oberlin none the worse for wear.

Only disappointment was that due to his delay, we missed out on the Quiznos Prime Rib Subs he usually picks up for us on these monthly meeting nights.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day...

is way too short lived, especially for a stepmother. I vote for Mother's Week!

As short lived as it was, it was a very nice day this year. After church I was pleasantly surprised by a gift from my oldest stepdaughter. It was a pen topped with a carnation flower and covered with floral tape. The pen was "planted" in a spongy foam base that was covered with white sand and shells. She only made one in Sunday school so I was touched that even though I'm "NOT HER MOTHER", she chose to gift it to me.

Her REAL mother gave her $20 to buy a Mother's Day gift for her. Kevin took her, along with her younger sister, over to our backyard Walmart where they chose a candle set.

From my husband, I got a labeler that I've wanted for a long time. I've only labeled the pantry so far but I have big plans for it.

After a lunch out at Ponderosa, Kevin and I escorted our two eldest boys to two separate soccer games that were about a 1.5 hour distance apart.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Our Van

Took delivery today of our "new" Mercury Villager from Sports Luxury Motors in North Ridgeville. The owner, Justin J. (Jay) is a stand up guy and I confidently refer all of you in the used car market to see what he has to offer. He has been in the used car business over 20 years. Sports Luxury Motors also offers a full service repair shop for all your automobile needs.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ode to the Man with the Perfect Lawn

Every neighborhood has at least one. It's the Man with the Perfect Lawn. He doesn't need to post "Keep Off the Grass" signs. Everyone just knows it. The Slave to his Grass, spending hours and hours each weekend to make sure there is not one stray weed or bare spot. Sending fear and trembling into the hearts of little children whose bike tire or ball dares to pass into his property line.

That is how we will remember you. "He had nice grass." How sad.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I "Buttered Up" the Kitchen

HOORAY!! Our kitchen has a nice new look. The Sherwin Williams Duration paint performed perfectly as usual. Only 1/2 gallon painted the whole kitchen after priming. Here are the pictures.

Crib for sale

Own your very own Family of Nine collectible memorabilia. Now that George is sleeping peacefully in his big boy bed, we are offering his crib and changing table for sale. For only $80 you can take home the crib, mattress, cream colored crib bumper, changing table and pad. Local pickup only. Crib is light oak Jenny Lind style by Cosco. Manufactured in 2000. Instruction booklet and hardware support no longer available from the company.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Garage Sale Wrap-Up

We had a great day on Thursday. We had 37 buyers, took in $173.20, well over half of which was ours. We did sell a riding toy for a friend for $25. Our biggest sales were a used toddler bed for $10 and a stack of pokemon cards for $8. My sister Chris sold about $16.75 worth of stuff so at least it paid for her gas to bring it up.

The most surprising customer was a redneck family who bought several blankets, a kid sleeping bag, a play tent and a doll head (for doing hair / makeup) for a total of $18.

Friday was rainy. We only had 8 buyers and collected only $22.75 for the entire day.

Saturday was rainy again and even worse. We only had 3 buyers. One bought 2 halloween costumes for $6. Another bought some clothes for $4. And one came to pick up a toybox we listed on craigslist for $25.

Grand total for the weekend was $230.95, $165 for us and the rest for a few friends.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Big Boy Bed

I'm finally ready to admit that George is ready to be out of the crib. He hasn't really complained much but at 26 months, I'm letting him move on.

His first night was great. He didn't get out like I had feared. And in the morning he called out rather than start wandering the house unsupervised.

He even took a nap great in it. Layed right down with Rainbow Bear and fell sound asleep.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Online Garage Sale

Come support our pre-Van Down Payment Garage Sale listings in cyberspace. You can check out our Ebay postings HERE.

If you live in the area, the fish stick lady's garage sale will be May 1-2-3 from 8:30-1pm.

We have TONS of kids stuff, over 50 pairs of gently used shoes, boots, flip flops. Most clothing only .25 a piece. Sizes 2T to 20. Mostly Boys. Some Girls. Limited amount of baby clothing. Brand Names $1-$5. Books. Coats. Like new backpacks. Car seats. Toys. Bikes. High Chair. Toddler Bed. Games. Star Wars Figures, Happy Days Board Game, 2 Toddler Bike seats (for adult bike), Barbie A Frame house. Linens, Household. Kid sized sleeping bags, fabric collapsible play structures, Halloween costumes, Polly Pocket cruise ship, My Little Pony Butterfly Island, inline skates, 2 Little Tykes Basketball hoops, baseball cards, movie posters, etc.

Come out and support our sale. All proceeds go to van down payment for family of 9. We still need $2000.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Microwave-Free Birthday

My step-son arrives Friday night if my calculations are correct. It's his birthday. And our microwave is broken. This is a problem because this kid has UBER specific qualifications for exactly what he will consume. One of the specifics is that if it is supposed to be consumed hot, it HAS to be hot before he will consume it. He was in a pizza eating contest once and despite being UBER competitive, he could not even take one bite of the pizza because it was room temperature.

I hope he can have a happy birthday anyway.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Family of Nine Garage Sale for Van Down Payment

Hallelujah we have found a van. AND the fish stick buyer did send us $80 after all. Sports Luxury Motors in North Ridgeville has graciously agreed to "hold" a Mercury Villager (with the fish stick $80 plus $20 of our own) until our tax incentive check comes May 2nd. We still need about $2000 so we are raising it the old fashioned way, hard work.

The picture is one almost identical to ours but at another dealer.

Come out and support our garage sale May 1-2-3 8:30-5pm.

online offerings are HERE.

Tons of kids clothing most .25 a piece. Sizes 3T to 10. Mostly Boys. Some Girls. Limited amount of baby clothing. Books. Coats. Like new backpacks. Baby Bjorn Carrier. Car seats. Kids Shoes. Toys. Bikes. High Chair. Toddler Bed. Happy Days Board Game, Toddler Bike seat (for adult bike), Barbie A Frame house, Winter boots. Linens, Household.

Donations Accepted. PM us for immediate pickup.

All proceeds go to van down payment for family of 9. PM us for directions.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Angel Food Ministries Food Review March 2008 Menu

This is a review of the menu items supplied in March of 2008 by Angel Food Ministries. This was the first month we purchased the plan. I would purchase again. Real "Foodies" will want to stay away from this plan but that isn't who it's intended for anyway. If you marinate and tenderize the meats, you can't go wrong for $30. I will participate in this again.

. 6 burgers were cooked to perfection on our George Foreman grill. I didn't expect much as they seemed from their appearance to have a lot of fillers and the fat pan almost filled up with the 6 burgers. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the first bite. JUICY and tender. I ate 2. Needless to say, there weren't any leftovers. Would definitely purchase again.

Frozen Mixed Veggies
. Came packaged in clear plastic. No labeling. Microwaved in Pampered Chef Batter Bowl. Good color and flavor. Uniform in size. Would purchase again.

Borden Shelf-Stable Milk.
To me, there is something inherently wrong about boxed milk. However, this came in very handy when we ran out of jugged milk. Baby did not complain. Drank greedily as always. Nice thing to have on hand in a pinch.

Macaroni and Cheese.
Boxed. Hospitality brand. Stove preparation. Similar in quality to Kraft. Would purchase again.

Pillsbury brand frozen. Toaster prepared. No complaints.

Dessert Item.
Mrs. Smith's Apple Pie. Delicious consumed at room temperature. This had sugar crystals sprinkled on the top. High quality. Would definitely purchase again.

Boneless Pork Fillet.
Second meat item I cooked that was tough and dry. These meats are obviously cheaper cuts and I see now the need to marinate and tenderize. We are making the rest of the steaks the end on the month so I'll see then if that works. Disappointed.

Breaded Chicken Breast Strips.
Southern Style. Directions called only for deep frying but I baked on Pampered Chef large bar pan. Very tasty and crunchy. Nice change from the usual nuggets.

Marie Callender Chicken and Dumpling Soup.
Opened can. Dumped in bowl. Heated in microwave. Nothing very special. Nice big soft chunks of celery. Edible.

Frying Chicken Leg Quarters. Baked in the Pampered Chef rectangular deep baking dish. Very large. I wasn't expecting a lot after my latest disappointments but these turned out to be quite good. And there was enough left over to make a Chicken Noodle Casserole the next day.

5 lb. Thick Cut Rib Eye Steaks. Initial 2 were cooked Medium on George Foreman Grill. Very disappointing. These were very dry and tough. Will tenderize and marinate the other 6 the end of the month and update this post.

**UPDATE**The remainder of the rib eyes were tenderized with a meat cleaver and soaked in a marinade for 12 hours. Cooked up on the George Foreman because we were out of propane for the outdoor grill. SURPRISE SURPRISE They went from a F to a B- in quality! I think the Angel Meats just need a lot of TLC.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Oprah.com on Stepmothering

This article was posted on my Cafemom Stepparenting group. My commentary is added in green.

(Oprah.com) -- As far as hard jobs go, it's up there with air-traffic controller and crane operator. Stepmothers preside over a minefield of hidden hurts, half-concealed traditions and occasional tugs-of-war. Want the job?

It's been said that parenting is the toughest job in the world. Wrong. It's the second toughest: Stepparenting wins hands down. Right now, approximately half of all Americans live in a stepfamily, which means that every day, millions of women are subject to the taunt -- sometimes mournful, often angry --"You're not my mother!"

I've been a stepmother three times. I know, from hard-won experience, that a great relationship with your stepkids is possible. And if you avoid certain trapdoors like the 12 verboten phrases here, you'll not only get along, but you'll never have to ask them to pick up their socks.

1. "Go ahead, call me Mom!"

You're not their mother, and you never will be. They're conflicted enough, and pushing them to use a mom-name will only confuse them more.

This is for Mike and Carol Brady. I don't know any blended families who do this. I think in our situation I could have made it clearer in the beginning that I wasn't taking the place of "mom" for my step kids here at their dad's house. I did things like pick them up from daycare early and take them to the doctor and help them in the bathroom. I think Biomom would have been a lot less defensive and hostile had I established greater boundaries with them. But I never told them to call me mom. I'm not their mom.

EDITED>>> Check out this AWESOME article on this subject. It is right on target.

Corollary: "We're going to be one big, happy family!"

You might eventually become the happiest of stepfamilies, but it won't happen overnight. Studies show the new family dynamic takes at least three years to fall into place, and the first year is the toughest.

One thing I do wonder about...when Kevin or I claim to have 7 children within hearing distance of the kids...I think they might really resent it. There ARE 7 children in our family, but neither one of us HAS 7 kids.

2. "Feel free! Do whatever you want."

Almost as much as they need love, children need boundaries and are adrift without rules. Learn to say (not scream, please) the phrase, "In this house, we ...," so that time together will not be bogged down with endless negotiations.

We've done well in this department. We have our house rules posted on the fridge. And, usually, we are very consistent about them. I for one, am not interested in negotiating with a 10 year old.

Corollary: "Let's get down!"

No matter how close in age you are to your stepchildren, you're still a parent figure; try to be an example of mature living and not "one of the gang." This is especially true if your stepkids belong to that group of psychotics euphemistically known as teenagers. Chances are they won't think you're cool for very long.

3. "I'll get it," "I'll drive," "I'll wash it," "Forget about me," etc.

Don't let your stepkids (or their father) turn you into the creature everyone in the world resents: a martyr. Martyrs make people feel creepy and guilty, and when kids feel that way, they generally act out. You're better off being wicked.

4. "Why the long face?"

Your stepchildren are allowed to be sad -- they're in mourning. Let them grieve if and when they feel like it. Sorry, but they probably will grieve more around you, since you're the evidence that their parents are never getting back together. Don't call attention to their sorrow; remove yourself, and get Dad to be a mom at this point. Their depression will pass --they're kids.

Agree with this wholeheartedly. Children LOVE attention. Giving them attention reinforces the negative behavior. Let them grieve, but they can do it in their room.

5. "Your dad and I always ... "

Don't allude to the great times you have with their father when they're not around. They already feel left out and probably imagine the two of you tossing your heads back laughing, spending wads of money, and throwing Ring Ding wrappers on the floor (not to mention the sexual fantasies going on in their fevered little brains). If you want to give them a positive image of a loving couple, just be a loving couple.

HA! My step kids have nothing to worry about. Dad is usually working when they are not here and even if he's not there isn't much money available for fun.

6. "Did your mother bring you up to do that?"

Never bad-mouth the ex -- and your husband (or partner) shouldn't either, even if the fur is still flying. Studies show that it's the ongoing conflict after divorce that hurts kids the most.

This one is REALLY REALLY hard for me. But the author is totally right.

Corollary: "How could you have married such an idiot?"

No comment.(Maybe you made a bad choice the first time around too.)

Don't stand next to him when he's on the phone with his ex, making faces and sticking your finger down your throat. Don't write her letters or e-mails, and if she's a crank caller, get caller ID. Fighting about the ex -- call it the 'ex hex' -- is the equivalent of having a stink bomb thrown into your marriage.

7. "Have you always done that?"

Families have traditions that are meaningful to them. So if your husband and his children insist on watching "Hogan's Heroes" reruns, putting mayo on hot dogs, collecting rubber bands, or anything else you find distasteful, just keep your mouth shut.

8. "Your room is a pigsty!"

Something's got to give, and neatness should be it. If the situation is desperate and the kids are growing subspecies in their space, get Dad to go in there and organize a cleanup. Life is messy, and it's even messier when you choose a man with children. But remember: It's better to have a man with kids than one without kids who flosses his cat's teeth.

The children in our household are expected to keep common areas clean. In order to have access to electronics, their rooms must be at least "tidy". Even children need to learn responsibility.

9. "Well, my kids and I ... "

If you have kids of your own who live with you and your husband, your stepkids may feel like they're getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop. Mentioning trips, restaurants and the fun stuff you did the weekend they were with their mom feeds the illusion that your children are getting more. Be clear that there are no favorites and everything is even between both sets of kids.

What's more of an issue in our house is the fun stuff that happens with the other parent. My son's dad bought him a coveted membership for a web based role playing game. My step kids mom treats them to movies and out to eat often. We work hard to do trips, restaurants and other fun stuff when we are all together.

10. Don't become a stepparent expecting gratitude. (Don't become a parent expecting it, either.) While you shouldn't tolerate rudeness, choose your battles carefully. Kids generally don't have the best manners; they get preoccupied and forego social niceties. Don't be petulant; you're the grown-up.

I really disagree with this point. It's our responsibility to raise them with social niceties. Kids today generally have too few expectations set for them. The children in my house will be respectful and have manners. Or they can have extra chores to help them remember to be.

11. "We're not made of money, you know."

Their father's primary motivation is guilt. (Come to think of it, that's his secondary one as well.) Dad is guilty, the ex is angry, the battle is on, and money is the weapon. Stay out of the fight, work out a family budget, and don't discuss finances in front of the children.

We don't discuss major financial issues in front of the children. But I do think it's important for them to know that it "doesn't grow on trees".

12. "It's them or me."

It will always have to be them. Your stepchildren are jealous of you. But admit it, you're jealous of them too. If you make it a battlefield, this is a battle you'll lose.

Heartbreaking but true.

Corollary: "Wake me when it's over."

Rather than enduring the time you spend with his kids, enjoy it. They're never really going to go away, even if you stay under the radar. Intimacy may be a long time coming, but, like so many other situations in life, you've just got to put in the time. Granted, it's a complicated dynamic, but the Beatles were right: "The love you make is equal to the love you take." Or is it the other way around?

By Rosemary Rogers from "O, The Oprah Magazine," May 2003 E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Subscribe to O, The Oprah Magazine for up to 75% off the newsstand price. That's like getting 18 issues FREE. Subscribe now!

TM & © 2007 Harpo Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sherwin Williams Review

The interior of our entire house was painted in Antique White and Navajo White when it was built 7.5 years ago. The paint used at that time was a scrubbable Sherwin Williams paint that is no longer being manufactured. It has held up great but with 7 kids in the house, the walls are really calling out for some color.

A few weeks ago I used the Color Consultant service provided by Sherwin Williams. You contact your local Sherwin Williams to schedule a designer to visit your home. Additionally, you may need to purchase a $75 gift card to Sherwin Williams to reassure them that you will actually purchase their paint and not just take advantage of their designer. An old college friend turned me on to this service.

Last night I painted the kitchen with the three recommended colors (Butter Up, Baize Green, and Papaya) from the Color to Go 31 fl. oz. sample containers(only $4.99 each). Baize Green was quickly vetoed by Kevin. My favorite for the kitchen is the cheerful Butter Up. Kevin feels this isn't enough color and would prefer the Papaya. I love the Papaya too but feels it's a better match for the family room although it does look REALLY nice next to the wood cabinets.

One thing we ALWAYS agree on is the EXCELLENCE and UNMATCHED COMPATIBILITY of the environmentally preferred Sherwin Williams Duration Home Interior Latex. More for it's great coverage, low odor and superior wash ability than it's Greensure label. Now if we could just decide which color to get it tinted...

Monday, March 31, 2008

Conflict Resolution in Blended Families

This is a follow up to Sunday's post on eating habits. If you weren't already familiar with this marriage saving concept, the following is from wikipedia: Agree to disagree or "agreeing to disagree" is a phrase in English referring to the resolution of a conflict (usually a debate or quarrel) whereby all parties tolerate but do not accept the opposing position(s). It generally occurs when all sides recognize that further conflict is unnecessary, ineffective or otherwise undesirable. They may also remain on amicable terms while continuing to disagree.
While this is a helpful method for resolving conflict in many areas of life, it is VITAL in a blended family environment.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Resurrection Eggs

Our Walmart had about 8 boxes of Resurrection Eggs in their 75% off Easter Clearance. This is a set of 12 eggs that help tell the amazing story of Easter to young children. Family Life, a division of Campus Crusade for Christ is the organization who markets these. I've wanted a set for a while and was happy to be able to pick them up for only $2.47. Check your local Walmart Easter clearance for your own set.

Dinner: A Logistical Nightmare

My husband has been a "selective" eater all of his life. So when it comes to feeding our group he feels they don't need to eat if they don't "like" it. As you can imagine, we never have healthy salads and some of our children rarely consume any veggie except corn, which I personally consider a starch not a veggie.

I serve chicken nuggets over 10 times each month. Other popular dishes are: hot dogs, hamburger, hamburger helper, and pizza(every Friday). This diet has led to among other things, a frequently clogged toilet in the children's bathroom.

This is one of those "agree to disagree" issues. I am a very adventurous eater who enjoys all different types of cuisines and lots of fresh veggies. We have come to the compromise that the children are allowed to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when they don't like what is for dinner. This has worked fine until Brooke recently converted to her own brand of vegetarianism, which for some reason does not include an intense appreciation for the vegetables at the root of it's name. Also, Emma came home from the church's youth group spring break trip to Myrtle Beach with the same conversion.  (I'm not sure that's the conversion the leaders were hoping for.)

Now in addition to having a houseful of selective eaters, I have to pander to two girls who won't eat the main dishes most often served at the "Family of 9" dinner table. Our own personal Golden Corral annexed to the back of our house is unfortunately out of the question.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Angel Food Ministries

I learned about this nationwide grocery ministry on my Cafemom group Dave Ramsey Fans. Angel Food Ministries began in 1994 in a rural Georgia community. Now it is in over 35 states. The best I can describe it is that it is a HUGE grocery co-op. Angel Food partners with churches and community organizations throughout the country to distribute reasonably priced food items.

We are giving this a trial run this month. Today was the once a month "pick-up" day. I walked in the door after my workout at Curves and was warmly welcomed by a gentleman who had been on the lookout for me all morning. He had seen my name on the order list and knew about the Good Friday Miracle Fishsticks. He called me a local celebrity.

Then I came home to find a message on the machine from an old friend in Florida. Seems we were a trivia question on a NPR radio show.

But Oprah hasn't called yet....

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mix 97.1 DSW Shoegasm Haul

I had a wonderful time shopping BY MYSELF with a $200 gift card courtesy of Mix 97.1 Columbus. I bought Kevin a much needed new pair of dressy work shoes so he looks sharp going out to make the big bucks. Unfortunately, I got them 2 sizes too big but can exchange them in North Olmsted. I wanted to purchase "Ugg" like boots for Brooke but they were completely sold out. I was able to replace my Adidas Adissage slip ons. My old ones belong in the toxic waste dump. Also, bought a pair of trendy Rocket Dog Corderback tennis shoes and navy BareTraps dressy slip on sandals. Topped it off with a new black leather purse with chunky silver buckles from Nine West. AND I still have over $20 left to get the "Ugg" like boots when they return in the fall.

Not bad for a bunch of minced fish.

The radio station now has pictures of this event on their website! I've included one here so you don't have to browse through all 12 to find the fishstick lady!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Mother's Helper

It's times like these, I wish I was Amish.

Today I had the great pleasure of having Catherine here to help us out. I have a home daycare so on days off school, in addition to our 6 youngest children, I have up to 5 additional daycare clients. After last summers big changes to my husband's visitation schedule, I realized that every other full week during the summer with up to 11 kids was going to quickly overwhelm me.

With Kevin's help I located the modern day equivalent of the old fashioned "mother's helper". An ultimate overachiever from the local senior class, Catherine is amazing. Today was a dry run for her. We took a field trip to the NASA Glenn Visitor's Center. If she wasn't scared off, she'll give me a hand entertaining the kids this summer. We decided on a rate of $7 an hour plus $.50 a mile.

I wish I could afford her everyday.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Life with a pint sized genius

My second youngest didn't do anything but grunt and sign until he was 3 so I'm daily in awe of little George.
Yesterday my 24 month old son asked to call "Poppy" on the phone. I dialed my father's phone number and my mom answered. She informed me Pop was in the shower and couldn't talk. When I relayed this bit of info to my son, he furrowed his brow for a moment in thought. He then informed me in a loud voice, "Poppy's NAKED."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Dinner

It was a quieter Easter for us. We had George but all the other kids were away at their other parent's. The Easter Bunny hasn't even stopped at our house yet, I think he's waiting for the day-after-Easter sales!

After church we drove out to my hometown to have dinner with my family at the Grange. I think there were 47 people in attendance.

We had a nice dinner. Someone in the family was thoughtful enough to even bring a pan of fish sticks. Lo and behold, some of them appeared to be cross-shaped too! This clever person even set up a "silent auction", which was won by Judas who bid "a small bag of coins". He didn't pay up either.

After dinner (and after waiting about 3 hours) I went on a long run with Keith.

On our way home, we stopped at WalMart and did some shopping for the week.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Fish Stick Frenzy!

Jesus fed thousands of people with a few fish and a few loaves of bread.

Our fish sticks aren't going to ever be that effective, but they have certainly lasted longer than we ever expected!

This morning we awoke to find yet another story in the local newspaper and another reference in a blog called elevating a generation. We still haven't heard a peep from the high bidder and I'm not sure if we will.

But we did get a message through eBay from Melissa. She was listening to Mix 97.1 in Columbus, Ohio and they were offering a prize to any listener that could get the "Fish Stick Lady" to call in. We called in and did a short radio interview and they gave us an invitation to the spring SHOEGASM which includes breakfast from Supper Thyme USA and a $200 gift certificate to DSW, at the Easton Town Center.

The Real Good Friday Miracle

Almost 2000 years ago, God used the death of His Son on a cross to work a miracle. Jesus’ death on those wooden beams was enough. It was enough to forgive our sins. ALL of them. It was enough to make a personal relationship with the God of the universe possible. For everyone.

God can do amazingly and exceedingly more than you can even imagine. He came so that we might have life and have it to the fullest. If you don’t have this relationship with Him yet, make Good Friday 2008 the most important day of your life. Make this the day you bow and confess Jesus as Lord. The Bible says in Romans 14 " 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' "

Do it today. It will be the best thing you ever did!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Blog Love

This one gets a post of it's own. We were the subject of David Crowder's blog yesterday.

Yes that David Crowder, a top Christian artist and one of the headlining acts at Alive!

We also got blogged by mamakit , elevated generation and get in the way but those aren't nearly as exciting.

Fish Stick Evangelism

Hi All, This is the Fish Stick Lady checking in. No Kidding.

In the last few days I've been called an Abomination, a Blasphemer, and received my first official death threat. And those were the only 2 terms fit to print.
I guess it's just very hard for some Christians to actually appreciate the antithesis of Bullhorn Guy.

By the time the auction closed our page was loaded over 7000 times. It would have been neat to be blessed with a new van, but the really cool thing is that a LOT of people got a chance to read God's plan for our salvation and see that not all of us want to beat them over the head with our Bibles.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fish Sticks In The News

Here are a few links to some of the publicity from the Good Friday Miracle Fish Sticks sale on eBay. The auction ended with over 500 watchers and nearly 7000 views.

Holy Fish Sticks - Elyria Chronicle-Telegram - this resourceful writer actually contacted us through eBay!

Cross Shaped Fish Sticks Get A Bite - the follow-up story from the Elyria Chronicle writer Lisa Roberson

Cross-shaped fish sticks go for $78.77 on eBay - (AP Story) - Dayton Daily News

Same AP Story - Ohio.com / Akron Beacon Journal

Same AP Story - Cleveland.com / Cleveland Plain Dealer

This AP story is all over the web now!


NewsNet5 - Cleveland TV

19 Action News - Cleveland TV - I think this one is hilarious!

MSNBC - print story from NewsNet 5

ArkLaTexHomepage.Com - repeat of the Channel 5 video

Channel3000 - another repeat of the Channel 5 video

MyFriendCleveland.com - under the heading "And The Number of Legally Insane People in Ohio Keeps Growing"

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Free Lunch - Thanks Paul!

I got a free lunch at my day job today. Our group had pizza from the Rascal House to celebrate Paul's 35 year anniversary with the company.

Paul started as a shipping clerk, 2 years later became a computer operator, and has been a programmer now for 31 years. He shared some amusing anecdotes about the early days of computing and things like punch cards.

In other news, Victoria has had a newspaper and 2 TV interviews in the past 2 days over the Good Friday Miracle Fish Sticks she has listed on eBay! All of them approached her. The newspaper reporter actually contacted her through eBay. The first TV reporter contacted her through the newspaper reporter and the 2nd one contacted her through our church. The church secretary laughingly forwarded the message.

Finally, if you are a college basketball fan, hop on over to my pizza blog and join the free NCAA basketball tournament pick 'em contest. You could win a free pizza!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fishing for a Miracle...

Check this out...
Good Friday Miracle Fish Sticks
This is my attempt to get my husband early retirement or at least a new van.

Up for auction just in time for the Holy Days, a COMPLETE set of Good Friday Miracle Fish Sticks.
It's not unusual to find a couple of fish sticks stuck together in each box. But imagine my shock when I poured out the contents of my Super Walmart brand fish sticks to feed my horde of "rhythm method" spaced offspring. I didn't find just one or two stuck together in any haphazard way. There were 3 sets of 2. And what was unusual was that they formed an almost perfect replication of the hill at Calvary on Good Friday.

It was all I could do to keep the Catholic schoolgirl in me from falling to my knees and making the sign of the cross.

I have been praying for a long time for a new van. Maybe that's why God sent me these fish sticks.

Winning bidder will receive the complete set of Good Friday Miracle Fish Sticks in their original packaging (minus the other fish sticks my hungry children consumed). I will pack in dry ice in a Styrofoam cooler and ship immediately according to BUYER's preferences. BUYER will pay ACTUAL shipping. I will ship UPS or FedEx. Free Local Pickup is available.

March Date

Since our previously scheduled March date got canceled due to the snow, Victoria and I went out to dinner last night. We had a nice dinner at Mr. D's at the local Holiday Inn. It was quiet and relaxing as we were the only diners in the place. There were several people at the bar.

I had a sirloin steak and Victoria had rosemary chicken. Mine was good and she said hers was also. Then we shared a piece of chocolate cheesecake.

Best of all was the price, we had a coupon for a free dinner so our bill came to only $22 and change!

On our way home, we stopped at Rack & Roll for a few games of pool, like we did a couple months ago. Much to our surprise, the bartender Heather remembered us from when we stopped in 2 months ago, and even what we were drinking, Smirnoff. Victoria got a Smirnoff Green Apple and I tried the Raspberry. Victoria tried a sip of mine and quickly switched to Raspberry for her 2nd round.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Big Snow

Nearby counties are under Level 2 and 3 Snow Emergencies (we don't live in a county that issues official snow emergencies). Northeast Ohio is being walloped with a ton of snow. But George had run out of diapers. And instead of our big monthly date night that I was HUGELY looking forward to, we are snowed in with all 7 of our combined offspring. So I had to drive around the corner to Walmart for a few things to get us through. Near the top of the neighborhood I applied the breaks and hit a patch of ice. I slid in our tiny white Chevy Prism into the snow bank on the opposite side of the road. A very treacherous spot to be stuck. Right in the path of incoming traffic.

God sent us an angel in the form of a Gerent-Doane employee. This company deals in poured walls, concrete, development and excavation. This man had no reason to stop to help some stranger who was buried 3 feet in a snow bank. He could have gone about his merry way, but he didn't. In this day and age this is rare. Me and my daughter would like to tip our hat off to him and his friend who used their bulldozer to drag our little car out.

Baby George is especially thankful because now he has a enough diapers and milk to get him through this blizzard.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Free Fries and Frostys at Wendy's

It usually costs a bundle to feed a family of 9 fast food. We eat it once a week after church on Sunday. This gives me a nice break from feeding this crew and also our church lets out about 12:30. By then, we are all very hungry and want something quick.
The local Rally's has a .69 menu we frequent a lot. Another great buy is found at Wendy's. At Wendy's for Halloween and Valentine's Day they offer a book of 6 coupons for one dollar. There are 3 coupons for free JR. fries and 3 coupons for free JR. Frostys. If nine people order one thing each off the dollar menu and use 2 coupons each (one fry and one Frosty.) You can feed a family of 9 a fast food meal for only twelve dollars. Not very nutritious but a great bargain (for fast food.)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

High School Basketball

We went to the local high school basketball game last night. George was excited about it all afternoon but in the end he got a little tired and restless in the 4th quarter.

He liked to climb up and down the bleachers. He fell and banged his head on Rachel, but he's ok.

My friend Catherine who is a pizza waitress is also a cheerleader and dancer, so we got to see her perform also. And when the cheerleaders threw out souvenirs to the crowd, she made sure we got something. Nathan came home with a new t-shirt and Rachel brought home a little blue basketball.

Emma was missing as she had a dinner activity with a group of friends from church.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

My Little Jock

Our 23 month old son has his sports all mixed up and blended together. He has been calling out "Hike!" before shooting the basketball into his Little Tikes hoop. And yesterday he threw a golf ball down a hole and cried "Slam-Dunk!"

He's adorable.

Trashpicking in Suburbia

I have a confession to make. Last night coming home from church in the dark I spied treasure in my neighbors trash. I snuck over and snatched it up. It is a fold up Disney Princess castle in pristine condition. The things people throw away.

I am also proud to have trashpicked the following: Duplo Lego table with storage underneath, White plastic Cosco high chair, BMX ramp and an Evenflo Exersaucer (all in excellent condition.) My husband's ex trashpicked me a solid wood accent telephone table with wrought iron legs before she became my archenemy.

Will you confess to trashpicking and what's the best thing you've ever found?

Monday, January 7, 2008


Check out this article about the birth of my great niece!

Ashland cop helps mom deliver baby girl in van

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T-G Staff Writer

If he could remember that far back, it would have been deja vu for Abraham Dvorak.

Abraham was born in a car 32 years ago in Valley City. His wife, Katie, recently gave birth to their daughter, Eliza, in the family mini van at Center and Main streets.

Katie, 28, went into labor at the couple's home in Nova in the early morning hours of Nov. 24.

Abraham and Katie jumped into their van and headed for Samaritan Hospital. They made it as far as Third and Orange streets, where Abraham flashed his lights at a police cruiser in an attempt to pick up an escort.

At first, Officer Brian Evans didn't think much of it. It was about 3:10 a.m. and he was used to seeing newspaper delivery people making their rounds at that hour.

"Sometimes they flash their lights at me," he said.

Abraham stopped, got out of the van and announced that his wife was having a baby.

Evans was dumbfounded.

"I just stared at him," he said.

Evans planned to escort them to the hospital, but Eliza couldn't wait.

"We came to Second Street and I turned my (overhead) lights on to go around," Evans said. "I got through the intersection at Center and Main and saw him stop and get out of the driver's door."

Evans radioed for a squad and approached Katie, who was sitting in the passenger seat.

Evans can be heard on a recording of the radio call telling the dispatcher, "She's having it."

Seconds later, he came on the radio again and said, "She had it."

"She was just sitting there pushing and sure enough, here comes the baby," Evans said. "I don't have kids, so I've never seen anything like it."

Within seconds, Eliza started crying.

Dispatcher Sue Kelley told Evans to get his cell phone and she would coach him on how to handle the baby from that point. But his phone was in the cruiser and he didn't want to leave Katie's side. He borrowed Abraham's cell phone, but he wasn't familiar with the keypad layout.

Kelley began to coach him on the air as the squad was arriving.

The EMTs decided to keep Katie and Eliza in the warm van and one of the squad men drove it to the hospital.

"I thought it was very nice to let us stay inside the van," Katie said.

Eliza is the Dvorak's fourth child. She joins siblings Oren, 6; Zane, 4; and Ava, 2.

"They keep getting faster and faster," Katie said. "It was kind of a scary situation, but luckily everything came out OK."

n Irv Oslin can be reached at 419-281-0581 ext. 240 or at ioslin@ times-gazette.com.