Friday, November 14, 2008

Making Your Home a Haven, Day 5

We did have fun last night! We played lots of Wii, but gave the fire a miss - Julian decided Mario Kart was more fun. I usually lose and he almost always wins, so you know he had a good time. LOL

Today's theme for the Making Your Home a Haven challenge is Inviting & Giving. I think I've got that covered for the day. Brian's mom is coming for the weekend, so she's invited. We've been working to get the house tidy for her visit, and the challenge this week has helped. I found out my ex may be getting divorced from his second wife - he's talking apartments, and I'm not sure their marriage can be saved. So I told him that if he should need a place to crash for a few days, he's welcome to sleep on our couch. (Yes, my ex and I get along well enough that we could do that, and my marriage is secure enough that Brian wouldn't blow his top over it.) That's two invitations. And I guess that by having a garage sale tomorrow, we're inviting lots of people to stop by and browse and chat! Who knows, maybe someone who stops by will see a little bit of God's love shining through among the trash and treasures. :-)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Making Your Home a Haven, Day 4

Yesterday's challenge: I didn't manage it until the end of the day, but I did manage to take care of myself a little! Success!

Today's theme for Making Your Home a Haven is Fun. I'm really going to have to think about this. Some days it's hard to make room for fun in my life. I know my son does lots of things he considers fun, like playing with the Wii, but sometimes there's not much fun in my day at all. And with me not getting home until after dark, outdoor fun is right out (unless we go outside again and watch Brian start a fire with flint and steel - Julian thinks that's dandy fun!). Hmm, maybe tonight would be a good night for a fire, and maybe I can talk Julian into a round or two of Mario Kart. And perhaps other inspiration will come to me during the day.

OK, gotta get dressed, and I've got to find something "professional" to wear - we're having an open house at work this afternoon for our business partners. Let's hope that after eight years of business casual, there's 1) something in my closet that even qualifies as professional attire, and 2) that it fits. All I know for sure is, this pregnant lady is not wearing heels! LOL

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Making Your Home a Haven, Day 3

Yesterday's Clean challenge was what I'd consider a success. We cleaned out a LOT of trash - I'm sure the garbage men wanted to go for an extra truck when they saw the pile on our curb this morning. LOL We've got a lot of good stuff ready for the garage sale on Saturday, and while the kitchen floor did not in fact get mopped and steam cleaned, the old table did get cleaned off and polished and moved outside, and we are now able to neatly organize things still left to go through in the empty space. So it was a good day!

Today's Making Your Home a Haven challenge is Cared For. While I've got lots of little extra things to tend to - shredding excess paper, going through Julian's old artwork and school papers and deciding which ones to keep as memories, steam cleaning a variety of things - one thing that gets shorted in the care department a lot of the time is me. And I know if I'm not feeling my best, and feeling put upon and run down, then I don't have a lot left to give to my family. So tonight, the thing I'll do to care for myself is a good soak and scrub for my feet (since a hot bath is right out), and a good moisturizing treatment. I feel so much better when my feet aren't sore and tired. When I feel good, I have a lot more energy and motivation to work toward making my home a haven for all who enter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Making Your Home a Haven, Day 2

The theme for today's Making Your Home a Haven challenge is Clean. Boy, is that easy. Today will be nothing BUT cleaning! We're trying to get the study cleaned out so that it can be transformed into the nursery for the baby, and we're trying to get as much out for our garage sale on Saturday as we can. I'm off work today, so we are cleaning up a storm. By the end of the day, we hope to have the old kitchen table dejunked and removed to the garage, and the floor of the breakfast nook freshly mopped. The tea cart is already gone, as we started as soon as Julian got off to school. We may have piles of junk to contend with after the day is done, but the breakfast nook will be clean and ready for a new table and chairs, and progress will be made on the nursery. And at least the front part of the house will smell of Pine-Sol. :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

A little good news!

Brian got a call from his supervisor today. First, he wanted to know if Brian minded if John (his boss) passed Brian's cell number along to their HR person. Brian said of course not (because this means they're checking with contacts internally to see if there's anything with the company that's in this area for Brian). Then John asked if Brian would mind moving from A shift to B shift, and Brian asked how that would affect the holidays. John told him to go in to work on Sunday this week instead of Wednesday, and do a shift and a half right now, and then he'll be off the week of Thanksgiving and the week of Christmas, and work the week after Christmas. So instead of losing a shift due to the holidays (we thought he'd have a three-week stretch with no work at all), he'll now be gaining half a week of overtime! Sucks that he'll be gone this time for a week and a half, but it will work out. And boy, will half a shift of overtime pay be appreciated right around the holidays.

Free Target Re-tote Offer!

I thought this was a pretty neat deal. Target will send you a coupon redeemable for one of their Re-tote reusable bags (made from recycled Target shopping bags!) if you send them your shopping bags! If you're like me, you've no doubt got plenty of Target bags taking up space in your pantry, so put them to good use and get yourself a nifty reusable shopping bag for the cost of a stamp!

Making Your Home a Haven

Monica is sponsoring a Making Your Home a Haven challenge at her blog. Her challenge looks like it's for this week only, and my projects are so big, I'm not sure they can be completed in a week! But this is something I'm working diligently on, so I'm playing along.

Today's challenge theme is Tidy. My house has a LOT of stuff that needs tidying, so I'll have to pick just one or two things to tackle this evening when I'm home from work. So this is my evening plan to make something tidy around my house:

~Make sure all the dinner dishes are washed and put away before bedtime - no dishes left in the sink!
~Put up clean laundry.

Between work and homework and just plain old being tired, I reckon those will be sufficient tidy accomplishments for one evening. I've got to start somewhere, right?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Get the Bean!

See that button on the side with a big coffee bean on it? Click it and go check out Get the Bean. They've got all kinds of yummy coffees and teas and delightful things, and if my blog generates the most traffic to their site in November, I win a prize! I absolutely love coffee, so y'all help a girl out - click the link, go find something good for yourself, and help me win some coffee. :-)

Still trying

TDCJ is looking for teachers for their prison unit in Venus, which is only about 10 miles from Midlothian. Brian said he'd be qualified, although it's kind of scary that he's considering teaching inmates. He's going to apply, and I told him I'm not wild about the idea, either, but at least working for the government, it would be stable employment, and decent salary and benefits. So we'll see what happens.

He applied online for Wal-Mart today. He said he had to take a psychological assessment, and if you passed, your application would be good for a year. If you didn't pass, it would only be good for 60 days and then you were "welcome to reapply". Apparently he doesn't think exactly like Wal-Mart wants its employees to think, because he didn't pass. I told him maybe that was a good thing. LOL So his application there is good until January.

We keep looking and paying things as we can, and things keep getting behind and piling up. I just hope we can scrape by until such time as we can catch up, without anything truly disastrous happening. It's been fifteen years since I graduated from law school - the money troubles started when I first got married in 1994, and it's just gone down and downhill ever since. When we have sufficient money for our needs (because I have to keep believing that one day, we will - if I start thinking that this is just how life is, forever and always, I will go screaming yellow bonkers), I really won't know what to do with myself, because it feels like this hand-to-mouth business is all I've ever known since I started working.

We're off to scope out the garage sales this morning and see if we can find any super deals!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

So which way will this thing go?

OK, this is unnerving. Brian said that, per higher-ups in their parent company, Lone Star will be transitioning into a community service-based camp now, supposedly to take effect in February. Not sure what that means exactly, as they're a wilderness program and not a residential program - it's not like the kids can be put on work release for the day to go do community service and then come back to their dorms to sleep. I don't know how the logistics will work out, or how this may affect his job, but it's just more on the pile of things to worry about. I hope he can find something close to home SOON.

On the plus side, this gave him a good chance to talk to his boss about his job search, and how he'd like to find something internal, if possible. John (boss) is going to get in touch with his internal contacts, see what openings there may be, and he also said his dad runs a company here in Dallas, and he'd pass Brian's resume along to his dad, too. Brian told him what he's doing in terms of looking, and also told him that if/when something came open, he'd give John as much notice as he could, but that it might not be much. He said John was pretty understanding about all that, and thankfully isn't one to throw an employee under the bus when he's looking for something else for valid reasons (and not just saying, "this job sucks, I want out").

On the down side again, Brian is working Thanksgiving. He'll be off Christmas, but he won't be working a double shift to make up for it - they have enough staff to basically divide into three groups for Christmas, A shift, B shift, and Christmas shift. So there will be a three-week stretch where Brian has no work at all. And thus, no paycheck. Which really, really stinks.

Back to life as we know it

So another election season comes to a close, and life goes on.

We're home today, as we were yesterday. Julian came home Monday complaining that his throat hurt, and he woke up crying with it yesterday, so we went to the doctor. Hooray, we've got strep! A couple of his friends came to school sick, and I'm sure they were just sharing the love. Anyway, the doc gave us a prescription for Omnicef and said this meant three days out of school, so we're home. Using vacation for this is no doubt blowing my Christmas travel plans to bits, but I've gotta take care of the boy, right? :) (Besides, it's not like I've minded the break from work. LOL) Brian will be in tonight, so he and Julian will be home tomorrow, and I'll be back at work.

We had our follow-up for his ADHD meds a week or so ago, and for now, we'll just keep on keepin' on. There's been a lot of improvement, although there's still room for progress, and his doctor did say that we may need to increase the dose at some point to see full improvement. But for now, we're good. The counselors at the after-school program have told me pretty much every day how well-behaved Julian has been, and he did a lot better on a second 20-minute evaluation by the school counselor - he was only off task 30% of the time, down from 65% in the original evaluation, and that after only six days on meds. I thought that was encouraging. His handwriting has gotten better, too, and he's gotten stickers for good days four days in a row! Woo! I don't think that had happened since the first week of school. So things are looking up in that department.

Brian's job search continues. We don't know what will happen with his current job. Enrollment apparently hasn't picked up, but we don't know if that will mean half shifts for everyone so that everyone can have some work (in which case it's not worth him driving out there), or if they'll find busy work/projects around camp for the staff not out in the field and have everyone keep working full shifts, or what. Brian said they made a big deal out of reassuring everyone that no, there would be no lay-offs, that jobs were safe. I don't know about you, but when people go out of their way to reassure me that, no, of course the worst case won't come to pass, I start to get worried. Anyway, he's looking here for any- and everything that might get him a foot in the door somewhere, bring home enough to pay the bills, what have you. It's just a shame that *this* is the school year that Dallas ISD way overbudgeted and overhired - they've just laid off 400 or so teachers, so any kind of education-related job is really at a premium right now.

On that happy note, I'm going to make cookies. I seldom do, because I'm usually at work, so today I'm going to do something that's a nice treat for all of us.

And a nation's wish has been granted

1 Samuel 8

Israel Asks for a King
1 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel.

The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba.

3 But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.

5 They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead [a] us, such as all the other nations have."

6 But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD.

7 And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.

8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.

9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do."

10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king.

11 He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.

12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.

13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.

14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants.

15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.

16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle [b] and donkeys he will take for his own use.

17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.

18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day."

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us.

20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles."

21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD.

The LORD answered, "Listen to them and give them a king."

Israel wanted a king, and they got one - King Saul, and anyone who's a Bible reader knows how well that turned out for them. Our country wanted Obama, and we got him. All I can say is, be careful what you wish for, and not all change is good. I hope I'm proven wrong in my concerns, that Obama turns out to be one of the best presidents we've ever had. But in my heart of hearts, I fear that that won't be the case. Only time will tell.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Winner of Bloggy Giveaway #2!

The giveaway for the $30.00 gift certificate to Creative Body Essentials is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who participated, and we now have a winner!

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2008-11-03 00:42:48 UTC

The person who was our 7th to comment was Heather! Heather, I'll be e-mailing you to get contact info, and I hope you enjoy your gift certificate!

Bloggy Giveaway #2!

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

My friend Donna is the brainchild behind Creative Body Essentials, a nifty site that sells bath goodies to delight your skin and refresh your senses. She and I got to talking, and I told her about this Bloggy Carnival thing, and she's kindly agreed to sponsor a giveaway!

This contest is open to U.S. customers only, and the prize is a $30.00 gift certificate good for anything on the Creative Body Essentials site. Winner will pay shipping.

To enter, just go over to Creative Body Essentials and take a look around. Then come back here and post a comment letting me know what one item from Donna's site most appeals to you (and y'all be nice, this is her first giveaway and we don't want to scare her off!). And that's it! The contest will be open until 5:00 PM Central time on Sunday, November 2. I'll then choose the winner using Be sure and leave a way for me to get in touch with you, be it through your Blogger profile or via a valid e-mail, because it would stink to win and not be able to find out about it.

Good luck, and if you don't win, buy something nice for yourself anyway - Donna's stuff is awesome!

And don't forget to check out the big ol' festival of goodies at the main Bloggy Carnival site!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Bright Blessings winner!

The giveaway is now over, and we have a winner!

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2008-11-01 13:44:31 UTC

Number 65 is Paige! Congratulations, Paige! I've sent you an e-mail.

And I was amazed by the number of entries - 524! Wow! Thanks so much to everyone who took part. I'll be doing this again in January, and with it being a new year and all, there's just no telling what I might give away then! :-)

Bloggy Carnival!!!

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

The giveaway is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Yes, it's that time again - time for the quarterly Bloggy Carnival! I had such fun with the last one, I thought I'd do another giveaway this time.

Up for grabs: a $50 gift certificate to Bright Blessings Candles. Fall scents are up right now, and I'm working on holiday surprises. Be one of the first to get a sneak preview of the holiday goodies that await!

The contest will run until 11:59 PM on Friday, October 31. Just leave a comment to enter, and a winner will be selected from all comments posted. You don't have to be a blogger to win, but if you aren't a blogger and I can't contact you that way, please leave a valid e-mail address. It would be a bummer to win but miss out because I don't have a way to let you know! I use a random number generator to select the winner, and I'll post the winner here by 8:00 PM on Sunday, November 2.

Good luck!