Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Gari-Ann - to answer your question about photos of the finished projects, well, I didn't take them yesterday! We had to jet out on an errand to the pharmacy, run back home to eat, then go to a scout meeting. So, I was rushed by the time we did finish carving.

So, that makes for a post for today. :D

R chose a mask type carving from our files for his pumpkin. It's rather strange, but looks kinda cool lit up with the candle inside. And D chose a spider.


The roasted pumpkin seeds turned out well. I should have put more salt on them instead of garlic salt. Hey, it's the first thing I grabbed when I opened the spice cabinet. ;)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Carving pumpkins


This afternoon, we set out to carve our pumpkins. Finally, my children are old enough to really want to do it and not just leave me to the entire process. Oh, yeah, I still did almost all of the work, but they were eager to help and didn't totally abandon me in the process. I think they knew better. LOL D chose a spider for his pumpkin and R chose some weird mask like thing. He has visions of painting it black on one side and white on the other and it being like TwoFace from Batman. Not quite sure we'll get to that, but the idea was a cool one. It was fun, we acted silly and snapped a few photos. D snapped these while we were working. He took over the camera after he was astounded by the fact I even picked it up with pumpkin guts all over my hands. lol He knows how serious and anal I am about cameras. *guilty*

R decided no way was he trying the "pumpkin poop" - look at his tongue hanging out as a sign of disgust! He's a funny boy!

We have the pumpkin seeds drying on paper towels so we can roast them tomorrow for a snack. Do you do this? I never did it as a child and only ever heard of roasting your own pumpkin seeds when I started student teaching. Hmmmm, novel idea. The boys think it's cool and I love the seeds, so we've made it our own tradition.

Side note: After almost two weeks of this crazy headache, I went to the doctor and got some meds. Hopefully now, the headache will go away officially! Thank you Dr. S for the meds! :) Maybe they'll help my ears to stop ringing after being outside today in the coolness and wind.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I shared this with some of you the other day on the boards, but thought I'd share again with others especially now that dh has sent me photos. :)

I am not sure who took the photos, so I can't give credit where credit is due. (sorry...)

So, the story. DH is so humble. He was telling me last week about the awards ceremony they had over there and telling me the basic award everyone was given. I asked him if he received the same and he said no. I was a bit puzzled, so I asked what he did get. He replied rather nonchalantly, "a Bronze Star" and then went on to something else. I backtracked and asked him what that meant (I'm not the best military wife ;) ) and he told me to look it up. I did through my trusty friend Google, I found Bronze Star Medal which basically just told me that he was awarded this medal for his Meritorious Achievement (i.e., doing one's combat job well over a period of time). :) I'm so proud of him! He really has done an amazing job in his position, but he would never say that. Did I mention how humble he is?

Anyway, the photos he shared: 1) the medals and 2) Col. pinning the medal on during the ceremony. Wish I could have been there in person, but as they say, photos are worth a thousands words, right?

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I've never been the biggest fan of the color yellow. When asked what my favorite color is, yellow never has entered my mind. But, then there are flowers and there are wild Kansas sunflowers that dot the sides of the highways in late August and September. Now, this kind of yellow, I can handle. I actually took this photo last year, but I was going through some old files and ran across it, then decided it needed some time in the spotlight of the blog. So, that's why you are seeing it now. :)


Now, if only the warmth of that flower would help with the temps outside. It's been cold and rainy for the last few days and I am reminded that I am NOT ready for winter. Can't we just have fall for another six months, then spring?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


We've lived in this house for two years. We've had this phone number for two years and a month because I got it hooked up before ever moving into the state. Yet, every week, we get numerous calls for Linda. Linda must have a lot of health issues, or insurance claims, or bills, or unpaid debts or SOMETHING because it's never any "personal" people that call her. Most of the people sound like they don't believe me when I tell them they have the wrong phone number. The other day, I got a little too excited when I informed the woman that Linda wasn't here, hasn't been here, apparently had this phone number before, but I've had it for two years and I don't even know Linda! There was a moment of silence on the other end and then a very earnest apology from the caller.

Tonight, when we got home, there was a message from Walmart pharmacy to Linda M---- Ahhhh.... now I have her last name. A quick switchboard.com search led me to two Linda Ms in this town and I think I may just call them tomorrow to see if one had previously had this number. Then I'll ever so politely tell her she needs to make sure she changes her point of contact information everywhere she's done business because I'm tired of averting her calls for her! How do you think she'd like that? Probably about as much as I like having to tell people several times a week that Linda is not here!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Interstate driving

You know that old saying that you're safer in a plane than you are in a car? Don't people use that to convince those afraid of flying that flying is safe? Well, after what I saw today, I'm not sure which if either is true or not.

First let me say that all sorts of weird things happened on our way to the hayride. We were supposed to meet my friend to follow her at 2:30, but I got delayed before I ever left town. I started to the recycling place and the road was closed to due some accident. We took a detour. Then, the lady in the car in front of me at the recycling place had locked her keys in her car and was obstructing the drive. We managed to squeeze between her and the recycle bins. Then, we were on our way to Walmart to pick up batteries for flashlights for exploring the caves during the hayride. I turned off my main interstate onto the one heading south to go to Walmart and was almost immediately stuck in bottle necked traffic. What the heck? So, obviously, there was an accident. I wasn't sure what type, but the traffic was still flowing, just slowly. Then we got to the accident sight and there was a PLANE sitting in the middle of the south bound lane of the interstate. I was on the phone with a friend and I think my exact words were, "Crap! There's a plane in the middle of the road!" And yes, she asked me to repeat myself. ROFL When I finally got to Megan's house 15 minutes late, she said she's heard all sorts of excuses for my tardiness before but the plane in the middle of the road pretty much wins the top spot.

Well, here's my proof - a photo taken from the news website. :)

It really makes me wonder if this weird day has anything to do with the deceased black cat that was in the street in front of my house this morning. We came home tonight and someone had lovingly taken it off the street and put it in the grass at the corned of my yard. *rolleyes*

I think I've had just about as much excitement as I can handle for one day. ;) Well, at least enough weirdness.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hayride or Hay Rack Ride

What do you call it?

We're going to a "Hay Rack Ride" tomorrow night. Growing up in the south, we never called a hayride a "hay rack ride", it was always a hayride. In fact, until we moved here, I had never even heard the term hay rack. But I "think" a hay rack is the flat bed trailer or maybe just one made specifically for hauling hay, huh? Hay isn't such a major crop in the south, so maybe that's why our "hayrides" have always been on the back of a "trailer". Anyway, it's just one more thing that I've learned about the differences in dialect and language here in the midwest. And now you know. ;)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I did so well in the month of August with exercise and eating habits. Then the first week of September came and so did my inlaws for a week. My exercise and good eating habits went out the window. The inlaws left, but my good habits didn't really return. :( Then the last week in September came and so did my parents. Still, good habits were nowhere to be found.

Today, I'm starting anew - even added a little gadget over on the right sidebar here to keep track. Maybe you can hold me accountable that way!

So, as of Oct. 14 at 9:15, I've walked two miles today and spent 25 minutes on the WiiFit board. Not bad for an early morning start, huh? ;) Watch for those numbers to change. If they don't, ask me why not, ok? MOTIVATE ME! I need to look better in a month and a half for a very important reason.

Monday, October 13, 2008

This better not be my future


When Devon turned eleven a few weeks ago, I had the surreal realization that in two years he'll be a teenager. :faint:

He's a pretty good kid. So, I'm not too worried about it, but the smart mouth that comes with being a teenager - well, that's what I'm worried about. That and eye rolling. Right now, he only rolls his eyes at me when I'm being completely ridiculous - like holding my camera to his face in Colorado and telling him to do something quirky. He knows when it is appropriate and when it's not. Hopefully, this line between when it's ok and when it's not ok to roll your eyes at your mother won't become increasingly more faint as he nears teenage years or once he crosses that threshold. Hopefully, that whole "he's a pretty good kid" will remain true. If not, I may have to whack him and watch what his eyes do then. (ONLY KIDDING!)

Anyway, it does make for a funny photo. Maybe this one can go in the senior slide show at church someday. ;)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Patriotism and life in America

Does anyone else feel really overwhelmed listening to the news and seeing all these political commercials that are so prevalent these days? Some of the things that have been in the news recently could cause you to lose a lot of faith in our society and really question where our country is going and just how far it will go in any given direction.

Sometimes, I fall into a rut and think, "Man, what are we, Americans, doing anyway? How did we get here?" And during those times, it's great to be slapped back into focus. America will be fine. We will be ok. Life will go on and we'll still be proud to live in one of the greatest countries on earth - no matter what.

I had one of those "slapped back into focus" moments today. The boys were participating in a ceremony down at the President's homeplace - a wreath laying ceremony commemorating his birthday that is next week. They had ridden down with Mr. John and I met them there a little later in time for the procession. I pulled into the parking lot and this is the first site I saw. At first, my heart skipped a beat. It was one of those moments like listening to the Star Spangled Banner and getting goosebumps all over. I was awed, humbled and reminded that America is a great place. We are a very patriotic people as we should be!



*The motorcycles belonged to various veterans who were there for the ceremony as part of their VFW or American Legion groups.*

Friday, October 10, 2008

C is for Cookie

and that's good enough for me. :)


The boys had been asking for "Your best chocolate chip cookie" after they bragged to someone about how their mom makes the best cookies ever. I will probably let them just grow up and maybe someday realize that my best cookies ever are the exact recipe off the Toll House chips. But for now, I'm the Cookie Queen in their book and that's alright with me.

So, we made these tonight but instead of my normal pecans with the recipe, I added chopped Macadamia nuts and Halloween sprinkles. They were an instant hit before they ever had time to cool on the racks! :) Cookie Queen and all that.

But, if I were to tell the truth, I'd have to admit that I have an inner battle going on about cookies and that sort of thing. I think about all the sugar in something and think about how I'm supposed to be eating "better" and being a "better example", but yet I can't resist the cookies when I make them for the boys. If it's not here, I can't eat it. Or if it's not here, they can't have too much sugar, etc. But, I can't resist the urge to make a memory for them by making "the best cookies ever" or at least being the mom that does that in their eyes. Someday, they won't remember the extra bulk around my waistline that results in a few extra nibbles from the cookie jar when they weren't looking. But surely, they will remember their mom making homemade cookies for them. So, though the inner battle of good health choices versus the love of a good cookie continues to rage, the boys are happy because there are fresh warm cookies in the house. :) (and I'm happy too ;) )

An award? For lil ole me?

Thanks GA for honoring me with an award. :)

The blog award rules:
1. List 6 things about yourself (maybe I can come up with 6 "good" things at nearly 1am when I should be in bed) and
2. Pass this award on to 6 other bloggers

Six things about Gwen:
1. I do not take compliments well. When someone compliments me, I always, always, always roll my eyes at them or phhbbtttt them or come up with some crazy remark that degrades myself. I really should work on accepting a compliment. It's not like they come around every day, so I should revel in them when they do come!
2. I'm a procrastinator - always have been. I am going to change and be better about that - someday - maybe I'll start tomorrow - or next week.
3. I'm a Christian though you already know that if you read the little about me blurb next to and under my photo. I hope and pray that I'm raising my children to the best of God's plan for them and me.
4. I'm conservative and am a bit of a goodie two shoes.
5. I've been to two countries aside from the US of A. One was Mexico - crossing the border from TX years ago. (Hey, that counts!) The other was South Korea. That definitely counts with the thirteen hour plane ride - just me and two kiddos under the age of 5.
6. I'm a dabbler. I guess you could compare me to the guy who's a jack of all trades, but a master of none. ;) I like to try new and different things and am always up for a challenge. Case in point today is my twisting and turning of yarn on a Nifty Nitter loom. Ha... $12 well spent I suppose because Reed and I have been having fun with it! I'll share pics later of what we've created. Two of them are still works in progress.

Now, I'll tag:
1. Jill
2. Carole
3. Shannon M
4. Teresa
5. Erin
6. Shannon L

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Spooky or Healthy


You decide. Would a pun be appropriate here? No bones about it, apples are healthy! (Ok, that was only mildly cheesy, right?)

I have been trying to get into some fall / holiday spirit and that includes decorating.

- The boys chose some large pumpkins from the grocery store today. They are ready to carve them, but I'll have to remind them of the need to wait. Pioneer Woman's roasted pumpkin seeds really have me wanting to delve into the pumpkins though. I'll wait. Impatiently.
- I have a thrift shop find tiered basket decorated as my table centerpiece. I will take a photo and share.
- There are more bones and skulls in the cookie jar sitting on my kitchen cabinet.
- I bought some fresh daisies or maybe they are mums??? and put them in a plastic pumpkin on another side of the kitchen.
- The fall wreath is on the front door. And my fall banner is on the back door.
- I keep meaning to buy some mums, but haven't yet. I don't want to plant them later and feel weird just buying them to throw away later. Do you plant yours or toss them at the end of the season?
- Oh and I pulled out my fake jack-o-lanterns which we've been lighting for a spooky glow.

I sometimes wish I had more Halloween / fall decorations because I think it's such a neat time of the year to decorate - almost as fun as Christmas! But, buying more will wait until we move back to our larger house.

What if anything have you done to decorate for the season?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Monday flew passed me. Heck, the entire month of September flew passed me if I'm going to be completely honest. I'm still dealing with those lovely apples. I decided today that I'm going to wash and core the rest of them, then throw them into freezer bags and call it done thus reclaiming my laundry room space. The room does smell nice though - all appley and such. ;)

I was going back through my CO pics and found my two favorites. I keep going back to these and just staring at them. Do you think that means I should actually print them out and do something with them? lol Maybe so...

This is along the Arkansas River headwaters. Very cool scenic highway!

And this was a random cactus on a trail we followed. Something drew me to it and I love the photo. There's just something about it that keeps drawing me back to look again.


We're in a cleaning mode this week. The boys' closets are top on my list. Ack... that is such a chore because I'm not always good at eyeing what they can still wear, so I have to convince them to do a fashion show (don't dare call it that though - they are boys for goodness sake!) and try everything on just in case.

The weather is good in my part of the world this week! Fall seems to have arrived! I got up this morning and opened all the windows letting the fresh air in the house before we are all shut up for winter. I am not really looking forward to winter. I really would be happy with year round 70 degree temps. :D

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Another night at the museum

I need a tshirt that says, "I survived the night at the museum!" LOL The boys and I went with their scout troop to the local museum for a visit to Southeast Asia. It was a lot of fun. We did the same thing last year studying Australia.

Last year, we took an air mattress and slept in the lobby of the museum which was ok. This year, I decided to be a true scout mom and pitch a tent outside. Our tent is small, so I borrowed a larger one from a friend and set out for my first night ever in a tent. (I prefer hotels with a/c or even our campers which had a/c, elecricity at the flip of a switch and more protection from "the elements". lol)

The zoo experience was fun. We watched a movie on the Autumn Sky informing us of the constellations we are able to see in the sky at this time of year. We went on to a flashlight tour of the museum displays. From there, we had craft and snack time. We painted dragon masks and ate moon pies. Then we took a late night/midnight stroll through the museum to see the nocturnal animals. We got back to museum at midnight and the employees had popcorn and a movie (Mulan) waiting for us. I informed the boys we were NOT staying to watch the entire movie - I wanted sleep. Well, we should have stayed to watch the movie because sleep was elusive last night. The Kansas wind was blowing like mad. I'm sure it was 15-20 MPH with gusts even stronger. The boys went right to sleep when we climbed in the tent at 1 am. I, on the other hand, could not sleep with that canvas flapping like mad and with thoughts of blowing north to Nebraska floating around in my head. I looked at my watch at 2 something, then again at 3 something and then I looked up and saw a figure leaning above me. Scared the hibbie jibbies out of me until I realized it was DS1 needing to go to the restroom. LOL Finally, after 4am I fell asleep, but was awoken at 7am by voices of other people up taking down their tents. I knew I had to get that done, so got up and got busy.

We went in for breakfast, then down to the petting zoo to feed the animals.

Then we left. A quick stop at a friend's house for a shower and change of clothes allowed us to make it to church by 9:30. I don't remember much that was said during the sermon - I just "might" have dozed off a few times. "Might".

From there, we went to Target to pick up a few things and then made our way home. I went straight to the recliner where I parked myself for a nice long three hour nap.

Last night was the first and quite possibly last night I have ever "slept" in a tent. I survived and that's all that matters! LOL

Friday, October 3, 2008

Did you miss me?

The boys and I took off for a few days with my parents for a whirlwind road trip to Colorado earlier this week. Whirlwind - driving mostly, but some sightseeing along the way. I look forward to going back to Colorado and seeing more of that beautiful state someday soon!

First stop was the Colorado Springs area. We saw Garden of the Gods on the first day, and then early Tuesday morning, we visited Seven Falls


You can go up the mountain elevator (blurry photo :( ) to a viewing point above. The boys thought it was very cool to go inside the mountain and up the elevator.

View from above.



Notice the steps along the side of the falls? Once you went back down, you could then complete a full aerobic workout for the day, or for the week, heck, for the entire MONTH! by walking up the stairs to the top of the falls. I don't want to see a stair stepper for quite some time after tackling those steps!


Dad was the smartest one of the bunch by staying at the bottom and opting out of stair climbing. DS2 kept wanting to go back, he got a little scared of the height, but he was a trooper and went on to the top. We had to catch up with his brother who completely left us!


The journey back down the steps was much easier on my heart. ;)

The next morning, when I woke in the hotel room, climbed out of bed and stood up, my calves SCREAMED at me. They are still screaming to a degree, but they are getting quieter as the days pass.

I took a lot more photos... waaaayyyy too many photos of the waterfalls, but I was having fun. I'll share some later on without overloading you with waterfalls pics all in one day. I'll also share more photos of other points of our trip later on too. It'll keep me blogging. ;)

Don't forget to leave a comment if you drop by! I love comments!