Saturday, July 30, 2011

If You Don't Ask, The Answer Is Always NO!

Cam and the "little" boys - yes, we still call Ryan and Dylan that - maybe when they hit 6' 5" I'll stop, but until then...
Anyway, they are in Montenegro on a missions trip - usually these trips are a family affair, but the trip coincides with a family wedding and "our" baby leaving to teach in D.R. So someone had to stay home to pack, plan and pin the bra strap to the dress - guess who was nominated??

Our dear friend Laureen is getting married this Friday night! Megan is the maid of honor and Laureen asked me to help with some of the details - don't worry, I am not going to give anything away - you will just have to attend to find out.

Laureen told me months ago that she had high hopes of "making" my blog and since she has been totally thrifty in the planning of her wedding - here it is!

I will give a more detailed run down after the wedding along with pictures, but I do have one story to share.

At her wedding she is having "lawn games". While pictures are being taken and before dinner, guests are invited to play outside and mingle. So we have been collecting games for this. While at the thrift shop last night Megan spotted a bean bag toss game - retail about $50.
We both squealed in delight - literally, we squealed, but then we were informed that someone else had set it there to buy - that is the problem with the thrift shop - you must be quick - there is no back room to pull from.
Anyway, I asked who was buying it and a lady announced it was her - that's when the appeal started. I asked if she really wanted it, since we were looking for games for an upcoming wedding, she assured me she did and I left it at that. But I kept my eye on her, in case she changed her mind. When she went up to pay for it, she noticed that on the tag it said that one bean bag was missing. Now you and I know how easy it would be to make another bean bag, but for her it was a deal breaker. I made sure I was standing within eye contact, ok, I was creeepin' hard and when she said she didn't want it, I jumped on it!


The point of the story is, if I hadn't asked, the answer would have been no. It always pays to be bold, ask for a better price, longer warranty, extra options. A friend of mine had a repair man come to her house. He charged her his full hourly rate but the job only took 30 minutes, when she inquired about a discount, he told her he had to charge the full amount, she then told him he could spend the extra half hour helping her fold her laundry since she would be paying him anyway - which he did! - see, if you don't ask, the answer is no - and that makes cents and sensibility!

Friday, July 29, 2011

One of Those People

Well, I am officially "one of those people" - you know the ones - not really handy, like their toilets to flush... you know - "those people".

I broke down yesterday and called the plumber to "look at" our toilet (who says some jobs don't come with perks)

This call came after about 4 months of hearing it "run", telling 75 people they couldn't use it during a party, manually filling the tank back up and 2 repair trips to Lowes.

I always envision myself as a "repair girl" you know the MacGirlver - get it? I could look at a problem and find a way to fix it. But when it comes to appliances, I am at a loss. Maybe it is the fear of electrocution or that I will take something apart and never be able to put it back together or worse, put it back together and have a pile of spare parts laying on the ground (I wonder if they are important?). One of these days, I am going to take a "home repair" class at Bucks just so I can be a little more handy around the house.

My Dad was the type of dad who could fix anything - broken water heater - fixed, snow blower - fixed and he only lived 10 minutes from me, so my brokenness, was his fixedness! Maybe I should have been paying closer attention to what he was doing. One of my favorite memories is of my dad putting in a ceiling fan and one of my kids coming up behind him with a screwdriver and poking him in the butt - we all learned some new words that day!!

You know how people say, you marry your father - not so much.
I think I specifically loved Cam because he had different traits, but in instances like the toilet, I secretly wish I had married a plumber - Don't get me wrong, Cam can fix 75% of the things that break in our house and that is 100% more than me but we both know when it is time to call in the professionals!

Since Cam is out of the country, I thought I would surprise him with a fixed toilet - not to mention washer too (last week our washer water pump broke)! I figured it is OK to be one of "those people" that calls on the professionals - sometimes it makes more cents and sensibility.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Follow Up

So many of you (ok, three of you) have asked how Creation went - especially the food!! No one was poisoned, sickened or constipated (actually our youth pastor has a contest every year where he puts the kids name on the white board and when they poop they are out of the contest - needless to say that is one contest I am happy to lose)
Everything went great. First of all the weather was fantastic with the last day (Saturday) being the only day that was unbearably hot and it eventually rained that night for about 20 minutes but it felt great. That is always an answer to prayer - the first year we went to creation it rained the whole time - people were mud sliding down the side of the hill - which is fun, but terribly messy!! And cooking in the rain is NEVER fun! So I am so happy for that.
I was especially happy how all the meals worked out and were super healthy. I got a card from one mom who is into healthy eating (no Anne, it isn't you) and she was happy for the good food and said "Man does not live by twinkie alone" haha.
The funny thing was, most of the kids gravitated to the fruit and veggies - I guess they wanted out of the contest too!
And Colin and Jorie drove up Friday nite to surprize the boys -the look on Ryan's face was priceless!

After heading out Sat. nite, we did a quick load of wash, rented an Expedition (we figured it's cheaper to rent a vehicle for a week than replace our worn out van which we don't need all that room on a daily basis) And head up to Vermont for a week of vacation - yes - honest to goodness family time! Friends of ours have a house on the side of the mountain and our sooooo gracious to let us use it! There is no TV, internet, phone service, it is heaven!!

We fish, hike, swim, read, jump off cliffs (not Jorie and I) visit the country store, roast marshmellows, watch fireworks, set off fireworks, visit Ben and Jerry's, shoot guns (not me) play volleyball, oh, did I say play volleyball and generally relax. It is one of my favorite vacation spots.

One thing we like to do is spend some time praying for each other. As we sat in our little circle and prayed for the person on our right I realized this would be our last time together for a while. I am so thankful for the fam. that God has given me and that each one seeking God in all they do - what more could a mom ask for!

So now we are in the midst of Vacation Bible School - and as I hold a little one in my lap I am reminded how quickly the time goes and to make the most of every moment - the good, the bad, the ugly.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blind men shouldn't rearrange furniture

I love to rearrange! Furniture is my favorite. Cam will often wake up and walk into a completly different layout - if he ever loses his eyesight, he may be in trouble!

This works because most of my rooms have complementary colors so they will work in any room - and because my house is "Primitive Country" which basically means whatever I can pick out of the trash, clean up and reuse -  works for me!

With summer here, we've been eating out back on our porch most nights. As we sat there we all were saying how nice it would be to have a ceiling fan out there. Well, two trips to Lowes and 3 hours later our dream became a reality!

Now the back porch is like another room, and a room needs to be decorated. I started by putting a table cloth on the nasty picnic table. Next I potted a flat of basil and marigolds I had bought from the school next store to ours (their students planted and grew them from seed and then stood outside and sold them! - love it!)

I brought out 2 tables from inside and set to "accessorizing" them. Like I said, I pulled from the house to make it work! I also decided it would be nice to have utensils and napkins outside so I put them inside a big jar I use for punch at parites, but sits in my closet all the other days of the year.

I finished with a few accessories, such as a ladder, rubber boots, an outdoor clock and an old rusty star.

Outdoor room complete and best of all - it cost me nothing but the cost of the fan (and installation - still waiting for Cam's bill to come!)

Making a usable outdoor space make Cents and Sensibility!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Nap Time

Just had my first nap of the day - after "babysitting" oopps I mean "teaching" 67 preschoolers! Our Vacation Bible School started today and I am exhausted!!
I came "late" to Bible School - since I didn't start coming to church until I was in 9th grade, I never experienced the thrill of signing in, wearing an itchy name tage, listening to the little old ladies teach about Jesus and eat my juice and cookie.
Instead when I was in high school I used to take a week of vacation from my job and volunteer to help that week. Usually I would help with 8 or 9 year olds.
When I eventually married the guy who would be in charge of Vacation Bible School I got pretty good at volunteering! I would usually teach whatever class my kids were in and as they "graduated" to 6th grade, they would help me.
A few years ago, we took over pre-school. Call it insanity, or poor memory, but every year I anticipate a meaningful interaction with each 4year old. NOT! With so many little ones and a tight rotation schedule, I'm lucky to make eye contact with each child. Being the head teacher means putting out fires, emergency bathroom breaks and calmling anxious parents - yes, parents - usually a screaming child will calm down within 5 minutes of mom leaving, but when Mom stands in the back of the room, right in her child's line of vision, the crying may never cease!
What I do love about doing this is watching the teenage helpers lead out! I have always known that given the chance, teens will rise to the occassion and outshine any adult when they care for kids - they remember what it is like and they have endless energy! So with so many preschoolers, I get to encourage my teen helpers to step up and soothe a crying child, sit with a nervous newcomer or talk to a child about Christ for the first time!
It is so exciting to see them grow up before my eyes and take the lead! Over the years, my own kids have worked with me and now they lead their own departments - one is in charge of teaching and the other is running games (and one is in school in Florida and the other is on vacation with his friend! - VBS isn't for everyone!!)
I always think of this as the reward of parenting - after all those reprimands, instruction, teachable moments, you get to sit back and watch them put it into practice. I encourage you to include your kids in your service, teaching them what it is to help others - by doing so, you are teaching them that the world is bigger than themselves and that sure does make sense to me.