Friday, February 29, 2008

I've Been Tagged

My sis in the sticks, April, tagged me to answer some questions. I decided that I'm just going to answer the ones that I think would be the most telling about me.

Typical time of wake-up: Erin is the best alarm clock. She's usually got me up just before 7:00am.

On a good night when do your kids go to sleep: Erin goes down about 7:30pm, Carolyn and Melanie @ 8:00pm, the boys are supposed to go down at 9:00pm, but they keep learning new ways to weasle to stay up later. "Mom, can we work on this for scouts tomorrow? And this and this?" "Will you read this with us tomorrow Mom?" Things that get me interested, and not just the usual "Can I show you something REAL QUICK?" because I know read quick at bedtime means at least 30 minutes.

How long have you been a momma?: Almost 11 years. One of these days I'll figure out what I'm supposed to do.

How old were you when you became a mom? 21

Favorite chore: I like to vacuum. I hate it when the floors have stuff on them, and to me the whole house looks cleaner if it's vacuumed. Maybe that has something to with the fact that you have to clean up the floor to vacuum...

Least favorite chore: My cleaning attitude has changed immensely over the past year, so none of that seems too bad anymore. The thing I really dislike is deciding what's for dinner.

5 Things that make you smile about being a mom: snuggling in the morning, reading together, when the kids share their thoughts with me, playing with them (catch, swinging, board games, whatever), working together.

Favorite thing your husband does with your kids: When he spends one-on-one time with them, and when he reads with them (he's much funnier when he reads than I am).

If you could take your kids anywhere where would it be? The eastern states so we could see some of the historical places we've been learning about.

Favorite pasttime/activity with your kids: Definitely reading together. It's always fun to start a new story, even if we're not entirely sure about if we'll like it, because we are usually pleasantly surprised. Right now we're listening to "Witches" by Roald Dahl, which, as the case says, is "deliciously disgusting." For the first bit I wasn't too sure about it, but we are HOOKED.

Best advice for a new mom: Enjoy them. Think of the big picture, and focus on that. Most of "today's" problems won't be problems "tomorrow."

Scariest or most heartbreaking moment as a mom: I've had several moments when those of small vision can only see the problems and not the potential. I hate that.

Most joyful moment as a mom: Honestly, how can I choose???

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lazy on Decluttering and Working

I have been reading Lara's blog for quite a while, and was pleased to meet her at a homeschool roller skating day we went to last month (Carolyn is on the right in the cute cute picture, she chose the layering look). But I just found a post she wrote on decluttering the kids' rooms that goes along with mine two posts ago.

Here's another great post with links to different points on teaching your kids to work. And her most recent on the same topic, talking about the responsibilities her kids have.

Lara also posted on this great book that I really really want to read.

This is all fabulous information to share, but so you all know, my main reason in posting it here is so that I can easily find it all. :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How Many Subscribers?

I've wondered if there was a way to find out how many subscribers I've got, and thanks to Cindi's post on backlinks I decided it was time to find out. Didn't take too much.

Go to Google Reader, which if you don't already subscribe to your favorite blogs this is a super way to do it, and on the left side of the page in the green bar where you can subscribe, there is also a "Discover" link. Click on that. It will show lots of blogs Google recommends to you based on others you are subscribed to, but for what we're doing you don't need to look at those. Next to the "Recommendations" tab there is a "Browse" link. Click on that. Go to the "Search and Browse" box and type in the name of your blog (i.e. stillswinging for me). It might come up with some others, but your should be there with the number of subscribers next to it. Neat! Or depressing, however you may view it. :)

P.S. To read about more cool "goings on," check out Lazy Organizer's Talk about Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Now THAT'S Decluttering!

Late last night I was reading some information by Rachel DeMille about Thomas Jefferson Education, a homeschooling philosophy, and how she applies it in their home. I found this quote that totally sums up why I'm tossing.

"One of the biggest drains on my time and energy that otherwise would go to educating myself and mentoring my children is caring for the family's possessions."

YES! How many times have I been cleaning up after the mob, wishing I could be reading a book or playing a game with them instead?

She goes on, talking about how once a month they have a "systematic purge" to clear non-essentials - unused clothing, toys, and anything that doesn't have a "good place" or is hard for the children to take care of.

The once a month would definitely be an upgrade from the once every ... years it now happens (we're drastically improving!), but what REALLY amazed me is how she continues.

"I have a friend who simply made a list of "keepers" off the top of her head and left it for her husband's reference. She asked him to carry everything else away while she and the children were gone, so that neither she nor they could change their minds about anything. The kids now have a large shoebox full of toys. They have little difficulty caring for their things. Their imaginative play has not suffered with the lack of the things they used to have. And lap-time has improved in quality now that she doesn't feel guilty about the pickup she's not doing. The house doesn't need it anymore."

WOW. Don't know how happy the kids would be for that, but their rooms would feel a lot nicer. And to go further, applying that, even if not quite so drastically to every other area in the home.... This one is going to have me thinking for a while. I already recognize that it's harder to toss when you are looking at the items, so to stand outside a closet for example, write down what's important in there and let someone (or yourself if you've got the willpower) toss the rest? Hmmmm... It is an entirely different way to look at the job if you're thinking about what you should keep rather than what should go.

BTW, I saw this great post last week about tossing DVD cases. I bought a case for the DVDs but haven't entirely talked myself into it yet. Jamie? :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Be a Builder

A few days after the press conference announcing President Monson as the new President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, something surfaced that had been lingering in the back of my mind. I started to feel really bad for President Monson, since so many of the questions he got were things like (no direct quotes, just what I remember), "Are you going to continue the Perpetual Education Fund?" "Are you going to keep building temples?" "Are you going to travel like President Hinckley?" President Monson definitely has big shoes to fill, but does he need that barrage in his face as he starts out? Poor guy.

Then my thinking turned. I realized the lack of vision that many of those asking questions had. Vague recollections of the death of the Pope a few years back and the process of finding a new Pope started to surface. I remembered hearing mention of people wanting certain men selected for different reasons, hoping one would be chosen because he was more conservative, or another chosen because he wasn't. Since there wasn't all that discussion around a new prophet, I assume they were wondering if he was going to change the direction of the church.

What those questioning didn't understand is that we believe that Jesus Christ is the head of this church, and that every prophet we've had has been a builder for the church, because he has been the voice for Jesus Christ.

Charles W. Dahlquist II spoke on builders at the Fall 2005 Young Men's Open House. (You may be wondering why I would read those - he talks a lot about scouting and training. Plus they are EXCELLENT talks.)

"I love the last verse in section 35 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which reads: “Fear not, little flock, the kingdom is yours until I come. Behold, I come quickly. Even so. Amen.”

The kingdom, His kingdom, is indeed ours to grow and build, to nourish and strengthen, and to prepare for the day when He comes. It is obvious the Lord needs builders, not just caretakers. The success of our ministry will depend not solely upon whether the light we bear burns while we yet live, but whether that light will continue to burn in the hearts and souls of those we teach and lead long after we have been released or finished our missions here on earth."

I love that, "the Lord needs builders, not just caretakers." We can all question where we fit in that at church, at home, at work, anywhere, because there are opportunities to build in everything we do. The reward would then be to see our influence continue, though many times we probably won't even realize the places our "light" touched.

Yes, President Hinckley did great things. We love him, we miss him, and his influence will most definitely continue. But he was also building on the prophets before him and continuing the work they did to build the kingdom at their time.

Makes me excited for President Monson, and to see what is to come.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Why DI is Better Than eBay least when you're trying to get rid of things.

Express Lane Cookbook - took up residence in my kitchen cupboard, keeping my other cookbooks company. I sent several off to DI to find new homes, but as this had hardly been cracked I thought I would try my luck.

eBay Sale Price: $1.45

Not wanting to overcharge anyone too terribly on shipping I used eBay's calculated shipping option and entered the weight a bit above the true book weight to cover any extra costs.

Calculated Shipping: $3.17
Total Payment I Received: $4.62

Unfortunately, the options offered at the post office weren't the same as those I had chosen on eBay, and the dimensions were such that it couldn't be shipped like I expected. Media mail would have been fine, but they had paid with the intent of faster shipping than that.

Total Shipping I Paid: $4.60

My Earnings: $.02

Worth the trouble? No.

* UPDATE: It is now Feb. 13th and I was thinking this morning that I didn't even account eBay and PayPal fees into the calculation, so without checking the exact fees by far I was the loser. Then lo and behold, I got a surprise e-mail this afternoon from the buyer with $3.00 to help cover the shipping (how sweet is that?). I think I came out a little bit more on top.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Carry It With You

This was my Daily Literary Quote from Google for the day. It thought it was very nice, and reaffirms some of my decluttering goals.

Only own what you can always carry with you; know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.

Alexander Solzhhenitsyn
(Russian Writer)

I'm appreciating more and more the value of a good education, and being educated. I'm sure that will bring different ideas to everyone's minds, but to me it means being well-read and continually learning, delving into the great minds of the past and present and learning the lessons they have to share. There are plenty of intelligent people out there, but it's interesting to me that being "well-read" is always a very admired quality. Yet how many people take the time and make the true effort to be "well-read?" Maybe that's why it is so admired.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Learn, Write, Do

Far too many times I've been talking to someone and said, "I heard something great recently, can't remember where I heard it, but it was something like..." and then I do a fine job butchering whatever it was. I love to listen to uplifting podcasts and talks, then can't remember later why I loved it so much, and all the time while I'm reading I'll come across something that reakly touches me. A few months ago I bought a notebook where I started writing down great things that I hear or read, and while reading through some the other day I thought I should share here and there. Coincidentally, the first one I wanted to post goes right along with everything else I've written.

"Throughout the reminder of my life, I will seek to learn by what I hear, see, and feel. I will write down the important things I learn, and I will do them."

(Richard G. Scott, "To Learn and Teach More Effectively," 2007 BYU Education Week)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Two Recent Blog Posts That Make Me Want to Be a Better Mom

Take the time to read them. They are worth it. I promise.

One from Kerflop.

One from PortabelloPixie.

This Week's DI and Giveaways

I've decided to start keeping track of all that leaves the house. Well, most. I'm not taking pictures of the trash. :) I wish I had thought of this sooner!

Anyway, this is what went to DI:

And this is what is being given away:

Books We Have Read with the Kids

Just though I would start a list for fun. Not all the picture books of course, but the ones that take more time to get through. I'm sure I won't remember them all straight off, and I plan to add as we go, so this is definitely a work in progress. The dates are when we finished (if I remember). Some of these I read to them, some we listened to on tape or CD in the car. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them! I would recommend all we've read unless otherwise noted.

Books We Have Read with the Kids
The Great Turkey Walk (Feb. 2008)
The Hobbit (Feb. 2008)
Fablehaven (Aug? 2007)
The Candy Shop War (Oct. 2007)
Peter and the Starcatchers (Fall 2007)
Peter and the Shadow Thieves (Fall 2007)
Summer of the Monkeys (Summer 2006)
Harry Potter 1-4
My Father's Dragon (and the two sequels, delightful!)
Where the Red Fern Grows
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Dec 2006)
Chocolate Fever
Stone Fox
The Cay
The BFG (one of Sammy's all-time favorites, definitely read!)
My Side of the Mountain
The Sign of the Beaver
The Indian in the Cupboard
The Family Under the Bridge (good story, but little slow for the boys)
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Mouse and the Motorcycle Series

Plan to Read
Fablehaven 2
Little Britches
Five Little Peppers and How They Grow
Harry Potter 5-7
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Cheaper by the Dozen
Carry On Mr. Bowditch
Tom's Midnight Garden

I firmly believe in the importance of reading aloud to your children, no matter how old they are. The education benefits are immense, and if nothing else it's just nice to curl up together and read.

For more information on reading aloud and for a list of great read aloud ideas, check out The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.