In which I do not whine, even though it might sound like I do.

Some days I still feel like that tired young mother years ago:

First, I stayed up too late.  I was stalling because it looked like the dog was in labor.  She was pacing, and cramming her swollen body into every odd nook she could find.  She usually sleeps under the children’s bunkbeds but doesn’t seem to fit anymore.   Serves her right for letting her boyfriend dig an escape tunnel so she could get out of her out of her outdoor run while we were at church nearly 2 months ago.  Let’s just say Lady is no lady.

I fixed her a bed/birthing room in the corner of the living room, where she often naps during the day.  It’s a rather private little nook where two sofas meet, but evidently wasn’t private enough.  She kept trying to get into our bedrooms, desperate to try out the closets or see if she could still fit under the bed.  Not this time, Lady.

I checked to see that the bedroom doors were all shut so she couldn’t get in, and I finally crawled into bed.   It was well after midnight.  What was I thinking?  Bad idea, Kim.  Almost as bad as me sitting here at 1:30 AM composing this post.  If it’s disjointed and rambling, don’t blame me.  Blame the clock.  But I digress: it was well after midnight…

Then the baby woke up to eat.  She started sleeping through the night at 3 days of age, but something happened around 3 months and she’s been hit-or-miss ever since.    This time she woke earlier than usual, around 1:30.  I had been sleeping for less than an hour.  When she finished, I put her back in her bed and dozed off.

An hour later, I heard Becca calling me.  I ignored her, hoping she was dreaming and would quiet down, but alas it was not to be.  She kept calling, sounding neither groggy nor scared, but sad and persisent.  My hopes were dashed when she came to my door.  “Mom, I puked.  In my bed.  And my hair.”

After an undetermined amount of sanctification time, Becca was clean and settled into a comfy bed on the couch with a saucepan close at hand.  I glanced in the direction of my bedroom and right on cue, the dog decided that she really had to go out RIGHT NOW.  I’ve been pregnant enough times not to argue.  I know what it’s like to have one baby sitting on a full bladder; I can’t imagine 9 or 12.  I waited for far too long while she did whatever it is that dogs do.  I suspect her of tracking deer, but in her condition the deer must have been laughing.  She finally waddled back to the door, doing her best to look innocent.   Considering the fact that our pedigreed Golden Retriever is about to deliver an unplanned litter of mongrels, I wasn’t buying the innocent look.

Hmm.  My groggy brain is now wondering if there was a punchline to this story.  There was supposed to be humor in it, honest, and no whining.  Can you just laugh and pretend I made it sound funny?  Because it was funny in my head, and I wasn’t feeling whiny about it.  I was very grateful to have plenty of energy for the long, busy, exciting day ahead, and we lived happily ever after.  Honest.  And the dog didn’t have her pups yet.  Are you laughing yet?  Come on, just a little one?  It’s the holiday season; what better time to ho-ho at your friend’s lame jokes?

But I wasn’t going to end there:  I was going to tell you that the girls and I left the house at 1 to go help with orders at Vision Forum, and then I was going to tie it into the fact that my Hardworkin’ Man is on his 2nd day of double shifts.  Yesterday he worked from about 8 AM to after 1 AM, plus an hour commute on each end of the day.  Today, he started a bit later but plans to work til 3 AM.  Did you hear that, people?  Three.  A.  M.  All this without overtime pay or a hint of compaining – just a dedication to getting the job done on time.

If you placed a last-minute order with Vision Forum, you might say a little prayer of thanks for my man when your package arrives.

Christmas gifts for under $1

I would love to hear your ideas over at Frugal Hacks.
No ideas? Go see what others have said!

Pink is a girl color

Our boy may be the only one in the group, but having 8 sisters has certainly cemented certain concepts in his little noggin.  Mainly concepts relating to color.

This morning, I was looking for a cup to give him some cocoa.  His blue cup with the cars on it was dirty, so I reached for a tumbler and tried the lid for compatability.  It took some work, but it fit!  As I looked up in triumph, I caught him watching in consternation.  I looked down.  The cup in my hand was pink.

“Mom, that’s a girl cup.”

I nodded guiltily and found a blue one.

OK, maybe the nod  wasn’t a guilty one, but the story certainly sounds better that way, right? I was reminded of what one of hubby’s coworkers told me last week:

The boy went to work with his dad recently (a rare and exciting event!) and he was watching one of the guys cut down empty boxes with a faded red pocketknife.  Faded red looks a lot like pink, I guess.  As their eyes met, our boy voiced his opinion:

“Mr. Horn, you have a girl knife!”

Actually, it sounded more like, “Mistew Hone, you have a ghoul knife,” but Mr. Hone knew exactly what he meant.

He now knows several colors, with very little coaching on our part: Red, because he wears it a lot.  White, and I don’t know why.  Pink, because it’s a girl color.  We’ll be working on subtilty and tact someday, but for now I’m pleased that – unlike much of modern American society – he recognizes a clear difference between the genders.

Big family in a small house, part 4: Entertaining Guests

Did you miss the beginning? Start here:

family-table

Although we have chosen to live in a small house for a time, we do want to be able to entertain guests – lots of them!  As a child, my family was very large and we very rarely received invitations to the homes of others.   I have to assume that most were uncomfortable with the prospect of 10 or more guests at one time.

We did not want that to be the case for our house.  We decided to skimp on the bedrooms to maximize floor space in the living areas.  We also chose a very open layout, with the living room, dining room and kitchen all in one long open area.  We think the oblong layout lets our guests spread out while maintaining visual contact, so that people don’t feel either crowded or isolated.

The 2 sofas in our modest living room are against the walls.  It’s not the most stylish placement, but it does keep the walkways very open and the seating accessible.  It also allows us to set up another table at the end of our 8.5′ long dining table if we choose.

Even the island in the kitchen and the placement of the huge dining room table were planned to ease the flow of traffic: both are centered in their respective areas, to allow for traffic on both sides. The kitchen island is ideal for serving a crowd buffet style: traffic flows in one side of the kitchen and out the other, leaving room at the table for plenty of people, plates, cups, etc.  I try to ignore the fact that the traffic goes in an incorrect counter-clockwise direction.   It makes my eye twitch but I try not to let the world know.

We also were blessed to be able to build a rather large deck on the front of the house.  This greatly extends our available space for most of the year.  When we have 15-20 guests in addition to our own 11 – which usually happens several times/month – many of us often eat outside.

There are certain disadvantages to our layout:

  • Because the bedrooms are small and crowded at the expense of the living areas, they’re very difficult to keep neat.  This is an ongoing battle, and often a losing one.  I might mention something about this when January 1 rolls around.
  • We dispensed with hallways to save space, but this means that our bedroom doors are right off of the dining room/living room.  We usually keep the doors closed when we have company.
  • The lack of a hallway also means that the bathroom door is right off of the main living area.  Not ideal, but we think it was the best choice.
  • The noise and mess of the kitchen cannot be hidden.

All of these situations are less than ideal, but we think they are worthwhile sacrifices to make entertaining larger groups more practical.  Some  of these represent decisions that were made when we built the house; you might not find them useful unless you are moving to a new home soon.  Other decisions involve arranging furniture in ways that might look less like the inside of a home magazine but work better for entertaining sizeable crowds in a small area.

Take a look at your house; how can you rearrange what you already have to improve the usability of your space?  When it comes to entertaining company, this doesn’t always mean finding more storage space.  Sometimes it means keeping less stuff to make more room for people.  Though we certainly don’t do it perfectly, this is yet another way that we have found to be content in our smaller-than-average home with a larger-than-average family.

One more Vision Forum sale before Christmas

Well, we took a poll and most of you would want to know hypothetically speaking if Vision Forum were having a great hypothetical sale in which everything in the store is 20-50% off.  Especially if they were also offering FREE hypothetical SHIPPING.

Here’s a small sample of the very long list of 50-off favorites, presented in no particular order except that I picked all my favorites.  Don’t despair if you don’t see your own favorite.  Go look.

  • Thoughts for Young Men – The first time I read this I couldn’t wait to have a boy and start applying it!
  • All-American Pop Gun – These are too much fun!  The sounds echo all over the convention center at every homeschool conference we take them to!
  • Passionate Housewives Desperate for God – Quite possibly Vision Forum’s all time best-seller.
  • Toy Crossbow w/Darts – I wish I could have been a fly on the warehouse wall the day this first arrived.   Keep in mind the staff is heavily comprised of young men.  I hear it was a day that will go down in history.
  • Ten P’s in a Pod – The book that inspired us to form the habit of daily Bible reading.
  • True Story of Noah’s Ark – Don’t miss the last few pages: practical diagrams and numbers showing the simple plausibility of fitting all the animals into the ark.  We never doubted God’s Word, but it’s fun to see proven nonetheless.
  • Western Revolver Cap Gun – Every boy needs one, and this is a very nice one.
  • The Coral Island – My daughter tells me that this is the Ballantyne to start your collection!
  • So Much More – Another extremely popular title, and for good reason.  This is not just for single young ladies;  I learned many new things about the roots of modern feminism.
  • (CD) Curriculum Advice Volumes 1 & 2 – My friend Victoria Botkin has such a sweet and encouraging demeanor!  Don’t miss the chance to learn from her!
  • Juggling Balls – Every mom of many should learn to juggle.  How did you think I managed 3 young children in a busy parking lot before I had big children to help?
  • (CD) Sabers, Spears, and Catapults – Not directed at children, but ours were thoroughly engaged by Bill Potter’s enthusiasm for his subject.
  • The Book of Psalms For Singing – A fixture in our home for many years.  You need several, so get them at half price.
  • Rubik’s Cube – A blast from the past.  I used to solve it in under 2 minutes.  Now I just reminisce about the old days.
  • 1599 Geneva Bible – Did I just say the Rubik’s Cube was a blast from the past?  Try going back another 400 years!
  • Jonathan Park Hat (Blue) Child’s Size Adjustable – My boy is so cute in his JP hat that I’m convince every boy needs one.  Then he might look as cute as mine.  Not.  But I don’t blame you for trying.

My inside source in the warehouse tells me that Thursday is the last day for regular ground shipping before Christmas,  so if you’re waiting for the last-and-best sale, this is probably the time to buy.

Another riddle

OK here’s my longer harder riddle. I couldn’t wait till next week! But I will wait to Monday to post the answer. Please try to get the answer before you look at the comments, If anyone else finds and posts the answer before next Monday!

The answer is a single word, each clue gives you one letter.

For hint #1, see
what you can see in this
enigma I’m giving to ye.
The sea calls its name
But it’s not in the sea

Hint #2  is a fizzer it’s true,
But it’s in this Hear Clue,
four times 2. Look close
and closer if you want
to find wear the answer
to this enigma is fraught

You might be kind of thinking,
What’s it going to take?
but its just a piece of cake.
Do you know your ABCs?
A dozen loses one, is clue
Number three.

One, two, three
and here’s number four.
Do you know math?
it’s the square root of Y.

Answer ( High light to see ) :

Clue # 1 See & sea = C

Clue #2 The letter A is in this clue 2 times 4

Clue #3 12 -1=11 K is the 11th letter of the alphabet

Clue #4 y is the 25th letter of the alphabet E is the 5th letter of the alphabet 5 is the square root of 25

Complete answer: Cake

Vote for Matt!!

vote

Why? My friend Elijah said it best:

“You know that you have done something well when you have all the right kind of friends….You know you have done even better when you have the right kind of enemies. It is one thing to have so many people who love and respect the exceptional manly character that Matt Chancy exhibits, but you know you have reached a whole new level of significance when your enemies literally spend all of there time and energy fanatically obsessed about what you are doing all day. If feminists and effeminates are manically opposed to the manliness of Matt Chancy…I would say his manliness is the proper sort.”

You can read Elijah’s comment in context here.  You can read about and vote for my good friend Matthew L. Chancey here.

If you want to steal the above button and link/twit/facebook the contest I’d be mighty pleased :)

OK Here is more!

Wrote this for Facebook earlier tonight.

===

manliness-vote
My friend Matt Chancey has been nominated by his wife Jennie for the Old Spice “Art of Manliness Man of the Year,” an honor I think he is well deserving. As of this writing he is about 300 votes down and the poll closes on the 14th. Matt is a close personal friend and a true man’s man so I want to offer my friends on facebook my list of reasons to vote for Matt. If I am convincing, perhaps you will consider using your corner of the world wide web to “get the vote out” in these last 48 hours. So here without further ado, in no particular order, is Perry’s list of why you should vote for Matt Chancey for Old Spices “Art of Manliness – Man of the Year”

1.) He deserves it.
2.) His wife worked hard on the post nominating him.
3.) His wife adores him.
4.) My friend Elijah said it best: “If feminists and effeminates are manically opposed to the manliness of Matt Chancy…I would say his manliness is the proper sort.”
5.) Matt defends women and children.
6.) Matt faithfully disciples his family.
7.) He defends the authority if the Scripture.
6.) He knows the difference between good and bad cigars.
8.) He “stands in the gate” – he ran hard for public office on a small government platform.
9.) He is a great friend – always there for those who need him.
19.) He respects his elders.
11.) His mom is a true lady who raised a true gentleman.
12.) His grandfather a WWII vet is a Christian gentleman who Matt adores and…
13.) …teaches his sons to honor.
14.) In fact he teaches his sons and daughters to honor their elders.
15.) He looks great in a 3 piece suit…
16.) In fact he is so classy I’ve never seen him out of a waist coat
17.) He introduced me to this blog: http://aesthetictraditionalist.wordpress.com/
18.) Did I mention feminists hate him?
19.) And so do effeminate men.
20.) He risks his life for Christ’s church in war torn Sudan
(see http://inashoe.com/2008/08/30/fund-raisingfor-the-persecution-project/#comment-17875).
22.) His friends love him.
23.) His children are well behaved.
24.) His wife runs this site: http://www.ladiesagainstfeminism.com.
25.) Read this: http://persevero.blogspot.com/2008/12/come-stand-for-champion-of-lost-art-of.html
26.) and this http://www.ballantynethebrave.com/blog/a_return_to_the_days_of_manly_1/
27.) He looks great in a panama fedora.
28.) Watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6H-4aqZoBY&feature=channel_page
29.) and this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyjXGYifF5w&feature=channel_page
30.) He works for the PPP: http://persecutionproject.org/

If you know Matt please feel free to leave your reasons in the list below!

Poll: do we try to sell you too much, too often?

Tell the truth: do you get annoyed because we try to sell you stuff so often?

First, hear me out.  We don’t just try to sell you anything and everything.  Probably 90% of our sales pitches represent family endeavors.

  • Vision Forum: Hubby works there, and what’s good for his employer is good for our family.  The children are often there with him, and they look forward to their time with Dad.  We know and love the products and the people behind them.  Of course I’m also in the VF affiliate program.  :)
  • our For Sale Page: this is the children’s little entrepreneurial endeavor.  Hubby and I don’t usually make a dime on those sales; we occasionally lose money on them because of Paypal and shipping fees because we estimate and try to keep it conservative.
  • Geneva Bible Pages: This is our family business, an idea that hubby and I developed over the course of many years.  The kids help assemble the products on the kitchen counter, and we pay them out of the proceeds.
  • Princess Adelina: this book was another family project.  Hubby, I and the 2 oldest children actively contributed, while the others helped in less conspicuous ways.  I would love to employ the 7-12 year olds in shipping, etc. if we ever get a fair amount of sales through our website.  I’m not complaining, though, because it’s selling like hotcakes at Vision Forum and we get a small royalty from each sale.  Thank, y’all!

The other 10% are always for products we really like.  They’re never just me trying to make a quick buck off of my readers.  But I didn’t want to turn this post into yet another sales pitch; I really just wanted to demonstrate that each of these is really a part of our family life, which is (I presume) what you came here to read about.  Over the years, we have:

  • mowed lawns,
  • cleaned and repaired VCRs,
  • sold Melaleuca products and signed up others to do the same,
  • demonstrated Discovery Toys at home parties,
  • sold toys on Ebay,
  • owned and operated a virtual ISP,
  • invested in real estate, precious metals, and stocks,

and probably a few other things I’ve neglected to mention.  Most made us money, though none have made us rich – yet.  At least one was  a spectacularly bad idea, and we’re still paying for it with no end in sight.  But we’re an entrepreneurial bunch, and we’re always going to have an eye out for new opportunities.  Just be glad we’ve already learned our lesson about multi-level marketing schemes.  Cross my heart and hope to die, I’ll never try to sell you an Amway product.

What I really want to know is, do you see it that way?  Do you mind? Do you simply skim over the posts that don’t interest you and buy stuff when it does interest you, or do you heave a deep sigh and tell the person next to you, “Those money-grubbing people in the shoe are trying to sell me something again.

So here’s the poll promised in the title of this post.  What do you think?
[poll id="1"]

Oh, and by the way…that Vision Forum sale – the one advertised in the sidebar with instant rebates of up to $100?  The one that says it ends December 11?  It’s been extended for 2 more days.  There are tons of items on sale so you can stack deals to get discounts of 50% or more.  I’m just saying…

Are you done Christmas shopping yet?

Because today is the last day of the Vision Forum Instant Rebates – save up to 35% on your order.  Check the banner in the sidebar for details.

Also, the girls have more clearance merchandise to sell from the Vision Forum retail store.  As usual, shipping is $3/item  or free on orders of $50 or more.

  • English Adventurer’s Swords (2 available) – they are asking $25 for one w/o a hilt, and $30 for one w/the hilt.  Both are new, but the welding has come loose in one spot on the handguard of each sword.  It’s not structural (not the part you hold, but the bit that wraps up around your hand) so it’s hardly noticeable.  Shipping will be free if you order over $50, so check our Sale Page for more.
  • Princess Adelina – brand new, not clearance.  This book is our family project, published by Vision Forum.  We sell it at our website for $18, but let’s call this a sale: $12 each between now and Christmas if you request it here or through the contact form on our Sale Page.  Go ahead, make our day.  Order several!
  • Evangeline: No hair net. Wearing a pink checked dress.  $50 shipped.

Check the Sale Page for far more, and feel free to make an offer on multiple items.  I would love to have a little less stuff in my house, and my kidlets would love to have a bit of cold hard cash in their hot little hands.  To buy gifts for their beloved siblings, of course, the little dears.

PS. I almost forgot!  Check out Wee Maidens for lovely handmade historic costumes to fit these dolls!  Several outfits with special accessories are on clearance at half price!

A riddle

posted by Megan, 10yo

I just wrote this.  See if you can guess the answer.  It’s a single word.  It’s really easy, and I won’t be surprised if you guess in a couple of seconds.  Please don’t look at the comments until you have an answer.

With your eye take a look
On this page an enigma is hidden
Remember to search in every nook
Discover what you’re looking for
So you will know that I’m not kiddin’!

Update: The answer is given below this line in white text.  Highlight it to see the answer.

The first letter of each line spells the answer: WORDS