Thursday, October 30, 2008

How do YOU choose your candidates?

I love to learn about how people think. This year with a HUGE presidential election (I've heard we had more early voters the first & second days than the entire election vote last time!), it's on everyone's minds. So, how do YOU decide which candidate you will choose? Do you vote straight party? Do you look mainly at financial issues? Moral issues? Healthcare? Education? Military? Schooling? Do you find voters' guides to see how candidates answer questions? Do you base decisions on the debates?

I expect to find people with polar opposite views on most issues to choose different candidates, but when those with very similar ways of life and beliefs choose different candidates, it intrigues me. What causes one to choose one candidate & the other to choose a different candidate?

Feel free to share your thoughts here!

Monday, October 27, 2008

To Infinity and BEYOND!!!

We took a trip last week. We didn't ACTUALLY go to infinity, or beyond. But it was a trip. It's a trip we take often, but we had different company.

Our Girl Scout Juniors took a trip to Austin, Lake LBJ, and the Fredericksburg/Johnson City areas. The girls & I went to my Mom-in-law's house on Wednesday. We shopped for food for the girls to cook Thursday night and Friday morning. They WAY overplanned the meals & I WAY overbought food, but that's another post for another day. On Thursday, we drove to Austin and met up with the others at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center ( It was a nice place for the girls to work on their blossoms & butterflies badge (I think that's the name). Then we caravanned up to Grandma Ruth's house. We were also working on a nighttime badge, so we took a nature walk at night, listened to a cd of night sounds, and did some crafts for both those badges. The girls cooked, working towards a special cooking badge, and ate WAY too much food. We got them into their beds. Then we got them BACK into their beds. Then I shushed them & got them BACK into their beds. Then another mom came in and had to shush them, FIND them, and get them BACK into their beds. Then, they got quiet. Until she left the room. I shushed them that time & I THINK that was the end. I put on my earplugs after that!

No one was ready to get up on Friday, but we managed to rise & cook breakfast. We drove to the Wildseed Farm near Fredericksburg ( The girls saw more wildflowers and got to go into a butterfly house! I'll share some photos when I get them uploaded. From there we drove to the LBJ State Park (about 10 minutes down the road) to visit the Sauer-Beckman Living History Farm ( What fun that was! It is a working farm with people dressed in the clothing of 1915. Our tour guide was GREAT. She talked to the girls at a level they could understand without "dumbing down" anything for them. We got to see how they lived, how they cooked, where they lived, and even saw the animals on the farm! There was a calf still nursing. That was so sweet to see. Then we saw a BIG PIG! She wasn't Wilbur, but she was SOME PIG!

We drove to the Visitor Center to check out the Gift Shop (the highlight of each stop we made). I had fun reading letters from citizens to then President Lyndon Johnson, while he was running for the next term. Most were letters of complaint over some of the funniest things! I think the favorite was from a person who got stuck in traffic in DC because a road was shut down for Ladybird Johnson to plant a tree! I wish I could have a copy of those letters. They were quite humorous.

From there, most the moms & girls went back home. My friend Kathy & her girls stayed Friday & Saturday nights and the girls had more fun than I think they could handle. When we got home Natalie said, "I want to go back to Grandma's!"

Apart from a flat tire that had to be replaced today, all else was well. Now a new week has begun & I think I am already behind. Good night!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The cutest Pregnancy Announcement!

NO! I am not pregnant! Phew, you can get back up off the floor now. My friend Stephanie is expecting her 4th baby. Bless her heart, this is her 6th pregnancy, but she lost 2 of them during pregnancy. So, it's always exciting to hear when she is pregnant and things are going well! I just wanted to share a link to her blog so you can see this clever announcement. She said she got it from another friend. I don't plan on using that type thing anytime soon. Unless I discover a great Gluten Free Bun recipe & get published. LOL!

Gone Phishing?

I'm not sure EXACTLY what phishing is, but I know it has to do with e-mail & website scams. I THINK that's what you call what happened to me last week. Someone was able to access my yahoo account and sent out a message to all my contacts saying I was stuck in England, had been robbed, had no cell phone, and needed money. The whole letter was so poorly composed that even if it had been about something remotely connected to my life the readers would have known it was not I who had written the letter. Yes, I did just say, "It was not I." And, yes, in real life I say, 'It wasn't me." But I figure in a sentence about proper composure I needed to say it correctly. LOL!

I could not get into my yahoo e-mail or groups. These clever souls changed my password. Today I finally found where I could change my password, which is far too easy, IMO, to do. Turns out there was an additional e-mail listed that is NOT one of mine. I deleted it, then changed my password AGAIN.

I'm still waiting to hear from Yahoo. I did have a generic e-mail in my yahoo e-mail telling me to change my password. I had given them my main e-mail address so they could e-mail me the info I needed. Obviously, the computer that "reads" the e-mail on yahoo's end didn't read my e-mail saying I couldn't get INTO my e-mail.

I am safe in the U.S., but wouldn't a trip to England be nice? If I go, I'll let you know!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The "D" word and the "E" word

When I went to the doctor the other day, she had my bloodwork results in. My bad cholesterol is high & my good cholesterol is low. To cure the bad one, I have to do the "D" word. And for the good one, the "E" word. Do you know these two words? Diet & Exercise! I REALLY need to exercise to stay healthy. I've never HAD to go on a weight loss diet in my life. The only times I've really had to be careful were when I was pregnant with Natalie & after she was born. Then with the Celiac diagnosis, I had to alter my diet drastically, but not for losing weight. In fact, I've gained 40 lbs. on this diet. I gained 30 of those in 7 months. Then I gained another 10 when I had to take some steroids for an allergy. I've gained & lost a few pounds over that, too. I have looked at low carb diets, but in reality, what helped me stop gaining so much with Natalie, and what is best for the cholesterol problem, as far as diet goes, is primarily watching my fat intake. Phil said, "No more ice cream" to which I replied, "Oh, they make sugar free fat free ice cream now!" He rolled his eyes. I snickered.

Meanwhile, I am supposed to get 2000 calories into Bethany per day. The doctor wants us to buy some protein drink, but it's $36. I want to see if they have samples. I don't want to pay $36 for a huge container of something she won't drink. She LOVES Carnation Instant Breakfast, so I'm buying it in the biggest container our grocer carries. I need to go to Sam's with someone and see if they carry it in bigger containers for a better price per serving. I'm trying to get her to drink whole milk. She prefers low fat. Go figure! Mixed with the Breakfast Mix, she'll drink it, so that's a start. I told her she can drink as much of that as she'd like.

I think we are now in the Sprat home. Do you know the Sprats? Jack and his wife?

Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean
And so between the two of them
They licked the platter clean!

I'm open to yummy gluten free low fat recipes!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Here is my first post from my new CRAFT blog! You can find my new blog at

I've decided to take the plunge & start a SECOND blog for my crafts. I've decided that we need additional income that can be done from home, in addition to my Pampered Chef business. With my unpredictable health and homeschooling two very active girls with special needs (my full-time job), My "alone time" when I can work is often at strange hours when I can't be calling my Pampered Chef customers or cooking for people. I am STILL a Pampered Chef consultant. That is my first part-time job and WAY more lucrative than selling crafts. Did you know you can make about $100 for 3-4 hours of work involving a bunch of friends laughing and eating and shopping----and it's LEGAL??? LOL! If you want to know more about THAT, I'm more than happy to fill you in.

My NEW 2nd part-time job is selling my crafts! In this blog, I'll share some of the pieces I am selling, and also just some that I'm making for fun or to encourage people. I have two main areas of items to show you: Papercrafts (primarily cards, though I WANT to scrapbook!) and Sewn items, starting with clothes for 18" dolls (such as American Girl, Life of Faith and Springfield, none of which I am affiliated with). The girls are old enough to help cut out patterns and are helping me design items and choose which ones to make first.

I'll post in my 2nd ever post the first doll outfit I've created!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Diagnosis De Jour

Yes, I have a NEW diagnosis for the day. My throat & top of my mouth have been sore & itchy for a week or more. I assumed it was from allergies. Well, they could be irritating this, but the cause is THRUSH! I had this one other time about 4 years ago. This time is way worse. I have open sores that are "ulcerated" according to the dr. She prescribed something & said the numerous antibiotics I've had along with steroids (inhaler for asthma) cause this. She said it's the same thing as diaper rash, so I told the girls I have diaper rash in my mouth! GROSS!

Just when I thought I was having all the fun I could take, I just got another dose of hilarity!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Another family loss

Yesterday one of our cousin's died. Maxine was the wife of my father-in-law's first cousin Jerry. Jerry and Bill were much more like brothers than cousins. Jerry's mother died shortly after Jerry was born, and Bill's mom took care of him. To see pictures of Bill and Jerry in their youth, it is nearly impossible to tell them apart. So, earlier this year Jerry lost his "brother."

Maxine was diagnosed with cancer not long after Bill. She went through chemo treatments, but her body was just too weak to survive this beast called cancer. She was in hospice care for a very short time before passing away.

About 7 or 8 years ago Jerry & Maxine's son Milton died of cancer. He was in his early 40's, about the age I am now. He lived with cancer for a few years and would appear to be getting well, go into remission, then get hit again.

This family has seen more than their share of cancer. Jerry's other son, Mike, along with his wife and daughter, and Milton's wife and children (grown now) are the surviving family members. It's a very difficult time & we ask for your prayers for the West family. Thank you.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gettin' Crafty

My computer has been acting crafty, in the true sense of the word. I had this post all typed up & then when I tried to edit & look for something, it all disappeared. Crafty, I tell ya'!

I just wanted to share yet another venture that I am going to try out. I've loved to do crafts as long as I can remember. I loved making paper chains and paper snowflakes when I was little. I was sewing by 5th grade (on a machine, I'd been using a toy machine before that). I crocheted in 4th grade (what was supposed to be a Granny Square turned into an oval shawl! LOL!). I sewed my own wedding dress and with the help of our moms & friends, we hand sewed all the lace and sequins to the dress. This is not a "passing fancy" thing with me, but a cheaper form of therapy than, well, therapy!

My mom would add that I am very good at STARTING crafts & not finishing them. I think the craft that I am mostly enjoying now is one that allows me to finish an actual project: Rubber Stamping! I mainly make cards, which are easy to complete. I'd like to do scrapbook pages, but I think I'm afraid I won't finish them, so I just don't start. Yes, I have been labeled as a "frustrated perfectionist."

When I first started really enjoying stamping, I would host Stampin' Up parties and get free stamps, ink, etc., like a Pampered Chef host would get. I also found ways to buy things 1/2 price at the craft stores or to trade something with someone else. Even in my crafting, I've learned to be a bargain hunter. It is rare for me to pay full price for anything, and when I do, I cringe! With my Pampered Chef business not doing as well as it had been, I decided I could not buy any stamping supplies until I sold some other ones. So I started selling on ebay, Splitcoaststampers, and I still have some sets on webstore at :

This week I was asked by someone who saw some cards I listed on ebay if I would make a set of 40 cards for her to buy! How cool is that! Getting to do something else I love & make money! I've been carefully studying what does & doesn't sell well on ebay so I don't list things that won't sell. I've been there, done that, too many times. I never imagined someone approaching me to make cards! So, I am now officially a cardmaker for profit!

I'm also WANTING to make doll clothes to fit 18" dolls like American Girl Dolls, Life of Faith Dolls, etc. I've not seen a big selection of those at affordable prices.

I am STILL doing Pampered Chef. I have several shows for November and I am so excited! Stones will be on sale & it should be a stellar month! That money for Christmas should come in handy!

If any of you happen to be in the market for cards or doll clothes, be sure to contact me! Actually, I can do other stamped crafts as well, like treat boxes. I'll share some samples of cards I've made so you know what I'm talking about. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Twin Dorklings in the works

I'm part of an online "community" for rubber stampers. Well, we aren't made of rubber, but are people who like to stamp with rubber stamps. Within that huge website there are small groups that have formed who have similarities & like to chat. I am part of a group called "The Traveling Dork Sisters." I do believe I am the ONLY one in the group who was TOLD to join the group rather than discovering it. That's pretty dorky when you are told you are a dork & you need to be in a dork group!

One of our "Dork Sisters" has 2 little girls. She & hubby had a huge house fire last year, found black mold in the attic THIS year with the new roof that was built as part of the problem, found out his dad has cancer (his parents live with them), and their older daughter has had recurring pneumonia this year. In the midst of this, they really wanted to add a new member to the family but it just wasn't happening. She had a lot of "issues" and was taking medicine to regulate everything so they could try again this fall. She just wasn't feeling well this week, and wanted to see what was going on with this new medicine & her body. Pregnancy tests were all negative so she was sure she wasn't pregnant. Plus, the new medicine made her not have "cycles," I think, so there was no reason to even suspect this. Well, she went to the doctor & the pregnancy test they did was a "weak positive" which could have been negative. Turns out she is VERY POSITIVELY pregnant with TWINS!!! And not just "barely pregnant" but a few months along! You can read all about it yourself on her blog and see the twin dorklings on the sonogram.

The coolest part of this: she found out on her birthday!

When they had the fire, they purchased baby furniture with the money in the hopes of having more babies. However, they purchased ONE of each piece! They can live in a crib together for a bit, but they'll eventually need a second one. Well, a second of EVERYTHING I guess! The dork sisters are quite excited to be "cyber aunts" again!

Gone Nuts!

I can't believe Nut Sales are almost over! We still have to ask more people! YIKES! Because I'll be asking some of you who read my blog, I wanted to post the picture of what all we have available here for you to see. I have to have orders by Friday the 10th. I'm the "nut mom" so I need to get the orders all in and entered into a database next week. Yes, you can pray for me not to get too nutty!

You should be able to click on the image to enlarge it. Call or e-mail us if you want to order nuts!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

That's it, I just can't die!

I guess THAT is a weird thing to say on a blog! Let me explain. I got a letter yesterday from a life insurance company. When Phil started this new job, we had the option to buy in life insurance for me, too. Having just lost his dad, and knowing that we aren't "spring chickens" anymore, we thought it would be wise to get some of this rather inexpensive insurance coverage. So, we filled out the gazillion forms & turned it in. Of course, we were doing this ASAP because we needed his medical insurance to kick in for the wreck he had the day BEFORE starting the job.

This letter came yesterday with some unexpected news. They cannot offer me life insurance because, according to my medical records, I have Celiac Disease, have been anemic, and have asthma. Yes, I do have all 3 of those, or have had. Celiac Disease is under control with diet. Follow-up endoscopy showed that I have healed villi in my intestines. Anemia, well, tons of iron followed by being on a gluten free diet, have proven to make me no longer positive for anemia. Finally, asthma. Well, I only breathe at 70% lung capacity. However, it has NEVER caused hospitilization, a nebulizer, or more than an occasional puff of albuterol. I will try to contact someone for more information on this.

This news makes me realize once again that I can NEVER be off of health insurance. This is an issue for us as Phil's company will no longer pay any part of the spouse's premiums. That's normal, but it is also going to cost us nearly $300 a month more, we THINK. God will provide this, I'm just not sure how!

The second thing I realized is that you should invest in life insurance while young & healthy & lock in a low cost. As the kids say, "My bad."

Finally, and most importantly, it led me to a very important conclusion. I simply cannot die until the girls are fully grown and independent (which may take a LONG time for Bethany; Natalie would be independent next week, I suppose, if she had to be) and can take care of their dad if I am gone. That's all there is to it. That's pretty much my goal anyway, but it is official now!

Guess this means we need to pray for my body to be healed of all these silly illnesses so I can "live long and prosper." Oh, wait, I'm not a Vulcan from Star Trek. My hubby has corrupted me! How about so I can live long & praise the Lord!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Solving the Gas Crisis

I think we should let my 9 year old daughter solve the gas crisis. You see, she seems to have a fascination with this topic. Oh, not the gas you put in your car. The other kind. You know, like the book, The Gas We Pass. There are other books, but this one has the nicest title. In a home with celiac disease and other gastric "issues" I guess she just is so used to this that she finds it quite humorous. Okay, I suppose most kids find it humorous. Truth be told, Bethany also finds it humorous, but she isn't as enamored by this topic as the younger child (also known as my "girly-girl tomboy).

Last week she got a container of putty from a friend. This was no ordinary putty. This putty is called "flarp." When you put it into the container, it makes, um, noises. Air gets trapped, then released. Use your imagination. She had great fun even blaming the friend's father for making these noises. This is the house where Natalie has her own toothbrush & bathing suit, so this is more like a "second dad" to her than anything, and he has been known to dish out a fair amount of teasing. She's loved accusing her daddy of this, though, honestly, it isn't like he needs any help.

Today the girls went to a place called, "Incredible Pizza Company." It's one of those kid friendly places where you play games & earn tickets to get free junk. You spend about $10 to get a 30 cent toy. It's that type place. Now, I've been there once before (as a guest, as the girls were today), and liked that it is a Christian owned & operated company and the cheap toys have "God loves you" and things on them. So, I fully expected the girls to come home with something along those lines. Natalie DID get a bracelet with "WWJD" on it. Then she got another item. She said, "Since you weren't here, and since you won't let me get one when you're with me, I got a whoopie cushion." Okay, first, why is it okay to get something I don't let her get when I'm not there? Second, I will wait & see what Daddy says. Third, she just called her Grandma Ruth to tell her about the parties & let her hear the cushion in action.

So, I'm thinking she is as much an expert on gas as anyone at this point. Anyone want to appoint Natalie to the position of Crisis Resolver?

Friday, October 3, 2008

When does fall arrive?

My calendar tells me it's October. My body isn't sure. It has been in the 90's all week. Tuesday was 94, but felt much hotter. I'm pretty sure fall started last week, but there are no signs of it here. Our air conditioner has run continuously, I think, for the entire week. We're still wearing shorts & sleeveless tops.

Wherever fall is, could someone please tell it to find San Antonio? I'd LOVE to feel it!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

As the Stomach Churns....

Does anyone remember Carol Burnett's "soap opera" on her show: As the Stomach Churns? Some people don't even remember Carol Burnett or her show, I guess. Boy, I am getting old! LOL!

While my stomach WAS churning last night, that has nothing to do with this post. I just thought I'd put something more exciting than, "This is what we've been doing lately" as the title.

Seems that life has been a whirlwind of activity, but nothing of huge significance. The girls & I had a Girl Scout sleepover on Sept. 19th (for Juniors, Natalie's group, but Bethany tagged along), then on Tuesday the 23rd, Bethany had a Cadette Sleepover while Natalie had a friend spend the night here, followed by spending the night with a friend on Friday night! They have been cranky, tired, irritable, and all that goes with lack of sleep & too much time away from a routine. It's taken several days to get things back to "normal."

I finally have started doing some Pampered Chef shows again. I had a fun show with a group of homeschool moms last week. These were moms from a different homeschool co-op than ours & it was delightful to meet more moms who understand this crazy life we lead! Actually, it turns out that one of the moms is a friend of the host, but not part of their co-op. When I saw her I told her she looked very familiar, she told me she was new to our co-op! Our co-op has grown so much that I don't know many of the new moms. Tonight our co-op is having a PC Mom's night out party. I'm looking forward to that!

Phil got the last part he needed to repair his bike (a new chain). So, he's repaired it and taken it out for a ride. He got to ride to work one day this week because he rode to Austin for the day with a co-worker to get a clinic ready to open. Well, they got the computers all set up, at least! He typically can't ride the bike to work because he has to carry equipment to the clinics, so needs the van.

We are into "Birthday Season" here. Fall is the busiest birthday time for us. It starts in September and goes through Natalie's birthday. This weekend, the girls will be celebrating with 2 parties in one day! Time for us to go bargain hunting for gifts.

One of my roles is about to change. I've been a Pampered Chef Director for a few years now. It's been fun to help people in their businesses and getting a bit of extra money was always nice. Unfortunately, I've really struggled to keep up the requirements in the last year with health & family issues to deal with. So, as of October 1st, unless I've misunderstood how things work, I will have "relinquished" my directorship. I have 3 mos. in which I could repromote and still keep the team that I have now. However, I really think the time it takes to do a good job as director just isn't something I can keep up. I LOVE Pampered Chef and will continue to be a consultant. Maybe when the girls are bigger & we figure out more about my health I can try again. Even though the girls are more independent now, they also are more active and have more away from home things, which require more time. Plus, their schooling needs more attention as they get older, so it really is important for me to be available here. I STILL believe that Pampered Chef is the best direct sales company if it something you enjoy. I love doing shows and I love teaching people. Plus, I can make $100 in one evening for a few hours of work. It's much better money than if I worked at a store bagging groceries or something, and I truly enjoy it.

There are a few ideas I'm toying with for some income. I need to put them into practice & see how it goes. I have decided I don't want to invest money to make money, but use up things I have here to make money. I've been selling things on ebay, which helps a little. I have quite a few patterns for doll clothes to fit the 18" dolls, like the Life of Faith or American Girl Dolls. I have a LOT of fabric. I want to teach the girls how to cut patterns. Natalie wants to learn to sew, and I think she could do some simple stitching, like straight seams. I mentioned this to a neighbor & she said she found American Girl clothes at a GARAGE SALE for $30.00! I told her I'd make them & sell them for $20! She was ready to buy some from me! It's something the girls & I could do together, and doesn't involve calling people. Also, since I make cards anyway, I'm going to see if I can sell some of them. I've actually sold some sets of cards on ebay already, but most were from "card fronts" (the front panel only) that I glued to a full card. It cost me nothing but the cost of the tape runner. I've seen cards go for as much as $90 a piece! That is ABSURD! However, if you are someone who wants to buy a card for $90, that is WONDERFUL and let me show you some samples! LOL!

Some of my other "pipe dreams" include having cooking classes in my home for kids/teens, but not in this house. It is really too small. Also, I'd love to teach Gluten Free cooking classes. I might check into community ed programs to see if that's feasible. Of course, I've always wanted to write books. I have no idea where to get started on that. The cost of everything has gone up so much, but salaries have not, so balancing the budget is getting tougher. Thus, I'm looking at a range of ideas for filling in the gap.

Now we need to go finish our school work & load up my bags for the show tonight.