Archives for March 2008

Outback Steakhouse ‘freebies’

If you happen to enjoy eating at Outback, you may want to visit sometime between now and the end of April.  They currently have some special menu items, which, if ordered along with a Coke Zero, will score you:

— One of four Coca-Cola Zero NCAA commemorative glasses

–A gift certificate for a Bloomin’ Onion

–And the chance to win tickets to next year’s NCAA Men’s Final Four

 For more info. and sweepstakes rules visit here:

Some of our best moments this week

Watching a little one run on the beach.

Playing in the touch pool with a bigger one.

Laughing in amazement as half a dozen children all run in the surf at once, soaking themselves to varying degrees despite the cool wind.

Feeling ever-so thankful for the rental-house washing machine. And for Costco brownie mix. And for the fact that I picked up UNO Attack before we left.  Not every day on the coast is sunny, after all.  But rain or sun, every day this week has been much enjoyed.


Psalm 24:1-2

Making sure there’s time for what’s really important

I’ve been reading your comments about my camping dilemma with great interest. Thank you so much. Then this morning’s post from Holy Experience reminded me that the small important interactions are the first things that go by the wayside when I get too busy…


Dilemma: How much is too much?

I am having the worst time deciding what to do about something and I thought maybe y’all would be able to help me figure this out. Or at least, maybe writing about it will help me clarify it for myself.

One of the highlights of our summer is Family Camp, a 4 day weekend where people from our church rent a campground and spend a weekend together in the mountains. Our kids look forward to it almost as much as Christmas, and we do as well. Everyone at the camp takes turns helping with the dishes and cleaning. But for many years the lion’s share of the cooking has been done by a handful of hardworking ladies.

Last year those ladies stepped down. A friend and I agreed to help out, with the idea that if we could get more people involved, it would not be such an enormous burden on any one person. We wrote out menus, made flow charts for every step of preparation, figured out how much food we’d need, and shopped for a couple days before camp. We hauled the food up and divided it in the walk-in for the various meals. We also organized the volunteer list, assigning various people to help out with different meals, instead of the same 5 people doing all the cooking at every meal.

In general it worked well, though by the end of camp I was an utter wet noodle from the stress of it all. It was truly a huge undertaking. And even with lots of people helping, John still found me in that camp kitchen more often than not– which of course meant that he was responsible for the kids the majority of the time at camp.

So here it is, nearly a year later, and the thought of being in charge of the food again is pressing down on me, even with the able partnership of my good friend. On one hand, I think, well, we did it last year and it turned out OK. It should be easier this year, especially with the flow charts for each meal already being in existence. Certainly I am as capable of this job as anyone, and I am not the only one there with lots of young kids. And I truly do not help out in the ministries of our church in any other way (unless supplying a kid or three in every Sunday school class counts!).  I ought to just suck it up and do it again.

On the other hand, I wonder why on earth it has to be me to be in charge of this. Doing it one year doesn’t lock me into the job forever after all. Certainly there are other capable people, perhaps older people who are not actively parenting as many young children as I am. I would so much just like to enjoy camp with my kids, without fretting over whether I bought enough salad dressing or whether the lasagna will get done in time or if people will like this or that new twist to the menu.

One day I think one way and another day I lean the opposite direction and I just don’t know what is right to do…. anyone else been in this dilemma? How did you handle it? Did you feel good about what you chose?


Was just delighted to get an email from someone at telling me I’d been added to their Mom Blog list. There are all sorts of interesting blogs there, including some I hadn’t yet run across.   You might like to check it out.

Frugal Cookin Carnival coming….

….on Friday, April 25th.  Basic idea here….more details coming soon.  Get your thinking caps on.  I’m excited to read about your yummiest frugal meals!  And by all means, feel free to mention this on your blog so that others can share their ideas too!

Review: Let’s Start Smart multiplication

Not long ago I got a learning materials sample from Let’s Start Smart.   This one contained a DVD and a CD to help kids learn their multiplication.   In our homeschool, I consider it essential that kids get their multiplication down pat.   This program drills kids in a lively entertaining way with music.  I liked that you can listen to the CD in the car, since that would really maximize your drive time. The materials suggest that you might also try playing this at home any time kids are in the room, even if they’re doing something else.  They’ll learn it just by hearing it, without even consciously paying attention.  If your kids are struggling to learn their times tables you might just give this a shot.

Because He Lives

(Quite possibly my favorite hymn in the universe)


God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal, and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives.
But greater still the calm assurance,
This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

And then one day I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain.
And then as death gives way to victory,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone!
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives!

oh, I just have to share this….

When trying to think of something fun and different to put in our kids’ Easter baskets, I came across some colorful T-shirts at an outlet store.  At $2 each the price was certainly right.   But I wanted to add some personality to them.  I’ve always loved the neat shirts that Christian Book Distributors sells, but the price is far beyond my per-kid budget for Easter.  So I got some t-shirt transfer paper ($7 for 6 sheets) for my printer, and ironed sayings onto the kids’ shirts myself.   I printed 3 or 4 sayings onto each sheet of paper, which made the project even more affordable. I was just thrilled with how they turned out.  You can click on the picture to see a larger version.

The green one on top is for Eldest. The rust one is for our 17 year old. The red T with the 40 on is is for our 16 year old son, and is in reference to Isaiah 40. The yellow one is for our 13 year old son. The mint T is for our 12 year old daughter. The pink is for our 10 year old daughter. The blue one is for our 10 year old son. The 9 year old son gets the orange one. The blue 3:16 T is for our 5 year old. I am going to review John 3:16 with her so she can tell it to anyone who asks about her shirt– she is just the kid to enjoy answering any questions she might have. Then of course the littlest shirt is for our 3 year old, who is definitely very good at making a joyful noise! I can’t wait to give these to the kids!