THAT Family Tree Society-Issue 7

THAT family photo of the week:

The Week in Review: After his first day of school, in which my six year old proudly proclaimed he, “Only interrupted his teacher 5-6 times, my little man donned his Abe Lincoln hat and went swinging.  For a long time.  Who knew Abe was so carefree? My 3rd grade daughter has already deemed this the ‘best school year ever!’ And my toddler wandered the house looking for ‘Bubba and ‘Titter’ all week. She was pathetic!

Our newest featured member of this oh-so-very-important-and-trendy-club is Cheri.  She says this post pretty much sums up her life of running after her two kids and enduring a high maintenance chihuahua.


1.    Tell us a little about your blog (name/reason why you blog):  
My blog name is “What is it NOW?”  I’ve basically been somewhere between muttering or screaming that since the moment I became a mom to a very, very active boy.  And things didn’t really simmer down once his mellow sister came on the scene.  I blog because I love to write.  And I don’t have time to write anything of substance that might actually get published, and since any fool can blog . . . . well, I knew I’d found my home. 
2.    How long have you blogging? 
2 1/2 years 
3.    How would you define THAT family?  
Someone is always complaining about something.  Or crying.  Or yelling.  Or all of the above. 
4.    When did you discover you were a part of THAT family?  
When my naked 3 year old son (he rarely wore clothes as a toddler) let the dog out the front door, ran after her and watched her go #2 in the neighbor’s yard.  All the while screaming from the edge of the drivew ay, “Yeeeeeeeeee haw!  Go, Ginger, go!!  Yeeeeeeeee Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaw.”  My husband had just driven in the driveway from work and had a meltdown.  THAT was over 9 years ago and we’ve been a “THAT family” ever since. 
5.    Where can we find your blog?  

DIYP #14-This Is Why I’m Caught Up on Laundry

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you how I feel about laundry.

My hubby agreed that a happier laundry atmosphere might help me fall in love with doing laundry.
Okay. That is pushing it.  But it couldn’t hurt right?  I mean, look at this before photo:
Clothes would hang there until I ran out of room.  I wasn’t exactly inspired, ya know?
I saw this amazing idea at The Nesting Place of putting a counter on top of the washer and dryer. (My laundry room is small, so my hubby attached the ‘counter’ to the walls to make a faux box around my washer and dryer). And I’m so glad because I have an old drier, but a two year old washer (different brands) and they aren’t level, so my stacks of laundry fall over!
I used a tension shower curtain rod to hang my Walmart window panels ($15 for both!)  
Since I deemed this a no-sew project, I got out my handy glue gun and glued the tabs up like a hem, since I hung the curtain upside down.  I stuck the rod thru the hem pocket.

My hubby even installed a little light, so I could see the controls on my washer/dryer.  (My hubby built the counter about six inches above, so I could reach in and turn it on.  I don’t mind this little inconvenience because I love the look of it!)

I didn’t like the boring cabinet, but this was a makeover on a shoestring budget, so we took the doors off and added baskets.
I shopped the house for the decor and painted the tiny room a yummy coffee color (off the discount rack at Walmart for $6 bucks).
And this is my favorite part:  My mini-mudroom. I saw this here, but needed it smaller so my backdoor would open (plus it cost about a bazillion more dollars than I have).  Because I’m all about functioning.
Since my laundry room doubles as my mudroom and my kids enter thru the garage, I wanted a shelf and cubbies for them to drop their backpacks and lunch boxes off.  I keep their socks in the little baskets on top (thank you, Rocks In My Dryer’s Works for Me Wednesday).  My kids painted the chalkboard signs, so we can keep the baskets organized.

My hubby hired some helpers to build the little cubby from scratch:
Isn’t he it gorgeous?
I painted it white.  Look how organized I am, and just in time for the first week of school!
After:

Total Project Costs:
Wood for counter: $85
Wood for cubby $30
White Paint: $10
Room Paint: $6
Curtains & Rod: $25
Light: $10
Large jar for Soap: $15
Misc: hooks, nails, etc $25
Grand Total: $205.00
Effect on my current laundry mood?  Priceless.

Make sure you check out some other awesome Before and After projects over at Rhoda’s!

My Sizzlin’ Summer Vacation

Thanks for linking up everyone! I hope you had as much fun as I did!  The door prize winners can be viewed below…if you see your name, please email me your address (kristenwrites@yahoo.com).  Thank you also to the companies who donated something! And if you have a chance this weekend, please blog hop and read everyone’s awesome posts!  Happy Labor Day.

Welcome!  I’m so excited you’re here.  I’ve been looking forward to this Sizzlin’ Summer Vacation Spectacle for a long time.  I’m excited to read and see photos of your sizzlin’ or fizzlin’ trips.  

Don’t forget to link up your story at the end of this post.  I will be announcing door prize winners all day long, from 7 a.m until 10 p.m. Friday night (CST). Door prizes are only for Linky participants. (I am giving away 4 prizes for commenters on this post…keep reading).  You only need to link up your vacation post ONE TIME to be eligible to win one of the door prizes. And your post doesn’t have to be a current post, just one from this summer’s vacation (day trip), but I would appreciate a link back here.
Here is the list of 21 door prizes (not in a specific order) that total around $800.00!  I will update winners every couple of hours, so please check back as often as you can. Some of the prizes were donated locally and do not have links and these will be given away first, so Please take time to visit each donator that has a link. These business/blogs have been so kind to donate the following:
Prize #1. Travel Scrapbook ($25 value) Winner: Tonggu Momma
Prize #2. $25 Gift Certificate to Ultra Beauty-4-You Boutique
Prize #3. Two Beautiful Wooden Frames for your vacation snapshots ($25 value) Winner: Craft Junky Creations
Prize #4. Huggable Kid’s Digital Photo Frame ($30 value) 

Prize #5. Personalized Set of Cards from Creative Blessings by Stacey ($20 value)
Prize #6. A Kid’s Travel Activity Lot ($25 value) Winner: Forty b4 Forty

Prize #7. Shawn is offering a $15 Gift Certificate w/free shipping to Shawnsbidness Collectibles (ebay store) Winner:  Lisa@ Stop and Smell the Chocolates!
Prize #8. Travel Disney Scene It: To Go ($15 value) Winner: My 3 Wisemens 

s="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 102);">Prize #9.$25 Gift Certificate to Me Oh My Paper Boutique
Winner: Rohal Call
And three companies have offered grand prizes:
 Prize #10. Pine Cove Family Camp is donating a Prize Gift Box (over $50 value) consisting of: 3 Pine Cove T-Shirts (1 Adult, 2 Children’s), 2 Pine Cove Outback Car Decals, an Outback Boomerang and stuffed kangaroo and Pine Cove’s Newest Worship CD:  Second Life of Mattresses. Winner- Life at the Circus
Keylime Cove Logo

Prize #11. One free night plus 4 all-day waterpark admissions to the amazing Key Lime Cove Indoor Water Park and Resort  in Illinois!  Go check out this amazing place. (Value $150; in your comment please mention if you’d like to win this and would be able to use it, expires December 2009).
Lonely Planet Logo
Prizes #12-21 Lonely Planet is offering 10 Travel Guides (up to $30 value each). Winners have can pick the travel guide of their choice! You can view the choices here. !
Winner –Kelly’s Krazy Kids, (pick a book here!)

Winner- Frantically Simple (pick a book here!)

Winner- Sandra (pick a book here!)

Winner- AgSoccer Mom(pick a book here!)

Winner- PS He Loves You (pick a book here!)

Winner-Neurotically Yours (pick a book here!)

Winner-Carolina Mama (pick a book here!)

Winner-Rockin Mama (pick a book here!)

Winner-Little Toes & Cheerios (pick a book here!)

Winner-Demos (pick a book here!)

PLUS, these amazing guides (Florida, USA, (2)Blue List: Best in Travel in 2008) will go to 4 lucky commenters on this post (that’s a total of 14 Travel Guides from Lonely Planet. This is a total value of approximately $400!
Winner- World’s Greatest Mommy-Travel Guide- USA
Winner- Simple Things-Travel Guide-Florida

Before you link up, indulge me and check out my Sizzlin’ Summer Vacation.  We went to Pine Cove Family Camp in Tyler, Texas and had an incredible week.
It was simply amazing.   Here are some other highlights:
Redneck Hubby with a Gun, Shooting some Skeet.
One little boy conquering his fear and flying down a zip line for the first time.
A fearless girl who lived on the giant water slide and Blob!
Our first family boat trip was awesome.  

Oh. And the water balloon fight was pretty spectacular.

Watching my family fly off the Water Rocket was hilarious!
Falling into the water, upside down & backwards was  cool!
Swinging with Daddy was the best!
The Breakfast Trailride with my hubby was awesome!
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But most of all, the best part of our vacation was reconnecting with my hubby, my kids and God.  That was the greatest!

Sincerely ‘Fro Me to You-Bathing Beauty Part 3

Hi, Y’all!  Welcome to the 3rd and final week of Bathing Beauty’s.  This is week 3.  And to be honest, I have no idea why I’ve posted these photos.  But once you humiliate yourself, it only gets easier. 

That tip was free and it was sponsored by my pride that is no more.
You can read about this weekly gathering of people with un-scrappable photos here.
I’d completely forgotten we had a hot tub on our back patio until I saw this picture.  And yes, I am laying on top of it.  Because if anything, I’ve always been resourceful.
And I look exactly the same as I did in Part 1 and Part 2 because it was the same day.
It’s called a wardrobe change for a photo shoot.  And I know you are thankful I only had three swimsuits or this could go on until Christmas.
Anyway, our hot tub, which was for medical purposes only, was awesome.  
Sidenote:  Mom, I don’t think I ever thanked you for hurting your back, which in turn caused the insurance company to partially pay for our hot tub.  It really helped me out in the popularity area of my life. So, thank you.
And I’m also glad that this pose spares you a full view of me in a bikini.  
And before I slap up Mr. Linky, don’t forget that tomorrow (Friday) is the first annual Sizzling Summer Vacation Spectacle (I will be hitting the publish button at 10:00 p.m. tonight (Thursday).  *Hint, Hint*)

What’s in Your Bucket?-Giveaway

My kid’s elementary school has a theme this year.

They have deemed themselves a “Bucket-Filling School.”  
Basically, everyone has an invisible bucket.  Our buckets are filled with words and actions.
It makes people happy to have their bucket filled with good things, like compliments, happy thoughts and kindness.
But if you are unkind in your actions or words, you are a bucket-dipper.  Bucket dippers aren’t exactly celebrated.
Don’t you just love this?  The kids will be rewarded all year for filling buckets.
And every once in awhile from the playroom at home, I hear, “You just filled my bucket, thanks!” or “That hurt my feelings, you bucket-dipper!” 
I love this biblical concept. And, I love the way it’s impacted our home.
It’s a darling children’s book.
But let’s be honest, it’s not just for kids.  
Yes, there have been times I have been a bucket-dipper in the way I’ve spoken to my hubby or criticized my kids.  Or gossiped about a neighbor.
Ouch.
And, I’ve met some pretty nasty bucket dippers in my day.
Even in the blog world.  
Not you, though.  You are a bucket filler.  Yes, I’m talking to you.  My bucket is about to burst with all the sweet things you’ve said lately.
Be a bucket filler.  
Resist the urge to knit-pick your kids.  And talk about your friend’s friend.  Don’t belittle your family or refuse to tip the overworked waitress at dinner.  And use your blog to impact the world in a positive way.
Everyone has a bucket. What are you filling it with?
Leave a comment and tell me who has recently filled your bucket. The author is generously giving away 12 autographed copies to 12 of my readers!  I’ll choose some random winners tonight (Wednesday) by 10 pm (CST) I know you want a copy for you your kids! Value $10 each.
So, bucket-filling works for me, my family and my kid’s school!  Check out other tips at Works for Me Wednesday!
And please visit, The Bucket Fillers they hold amazing seminars and presentations!
If you are a teacher, a PTA member or just an involved parent, I think you mighte be interested in learning more.  Here is an excerpt from their website:
The Bucket Fillers travel across the U.S. to present at schools, churches, and parent, community and business groups. In two years, we have read and discussed our books in more than 700 presentations to encourage and empower more than 70,000 children to be daily bucketfillers. We have also inspired thousands of teachers to create bucketfilling classrooms and schools. Read more


Getting to Know The Persecuted Church Part 3

Once again, the blog community has surprised me. Blessed me. Left me feeling overwhelmed, but not alone.

Never alone.

I didn’t know I would meet a family of refugees (Part I) from The Persecuted Church at the local swimming pool. I never planned to eat dinner with them and listen to their amazing story of survival (Part 2). Part 4 is here.

Thank you. Thank you for your comments, your emails, your suggestions, your invitations to have this family come speak at your church and mostly, your prayers for them. They are not in vain.

A few days ago, Igor and Katerina called and invited us to their home. They wanted to serve us Russian food and fellowship more.

You cannot imagine my excitement as I put away the spaghetti noodles.

I told my kids what we were going to do and explained that they had to like the food, or at least pretend to like it. I knew this couple would give us their best and I wanted our response to be great.

Only one word describes the look on their faces as they greeted us at the door of their modest, rented home: pride.

“Look what God has given us. He has blessed us with this and this…” Igor said as he pointed out the sofa, dining table in their simple, beautiful home.

We arranged ourselves around the table and joined hands to pray. The food on the table was colorful and it smelled wonderful. Igor explained that the main dish, called Plov, was a meal only served for celebrations. Tradition states that only the men of Uzbekistan are allowed to prepare the delicious meal of rice and meat. (I knew Katerina had been cooking all day, but so had Igor. They were giving us their best and I felt very unworthy).
It was delicious and my kids ate every bite! There was also a cucumber-tomato salad that was incredible and it was accompanied by an eggplant appetizer. Just between us, I could have seriously devoured the whole eggplant dish, because yummy doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Katerina was kind enough to translate and share these recipes:

Appetizer:
1 eggplant
2-3 tomato
1-2 pieces of garlic
>2-3 tbl. spoon of mayonnaise
some green onion
loaf of french bread

Slice eggplant like a wheel. Sprinkle salt and fry in oil in frying pan. Lay eggplant out on paper towel.
Sauce:
In small bowl put mayonnaise, add pressed garlic, add some black pepper. Mix everything.
Put sauce on eggplant, then put tomatoes on top of eggplants. Sprinkle salt and green onion. And place on piece of bread.

Salad:

3 tomatoes
1 cucumber
green onion
green cilantro
<
span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(102, 51, 0);">olive oil
black pepper,salt
lotus flower (asian section of grocery store) I think this is the secret that makes it taste so good!

Cut tomatoes and cucumber in salad bowl. Then small chop green onion and cilantr o. Add olive oil, black pepper, salt and lotus flower. Mix all ingredients.

The Strawberry Shortcake I brought paled in comparison to the ‘Nest of Birds’ cookies Katerina brought to the table, served with Russian hot tea. And my kids, yeah, it was embarrassing how many cookies they ate. In her broken English, she explained how to make these incredible cookies, but she lost me after the 14th step which involved thinly rolling the dough. Ya’ll know cooking is not my gift. an>

After dinner, we sat around and talked. We learned more of their story and about their current ministry to the former Soviet Union and how they use the avenue of sports to reach people for Christ. If you can read Russian, you will enjoy their website, if not, you will think that it is pretty, like me.

I’m still very deep.

Before we left, my hubby asked if they had any immediate needs. I know this was hard for them to answer. They feel so blessed by what God has done for them. “We have everything we need,” they replied.

My hubby pressed further.
“Well. We could use another pair of shoes. We have only sports shoes,” Igor said as he pointed to his tennis shoes.

And Katerina, hesitated and said something to her husband in Russian, “Katerina, would love to have curtains some day, but it is not a priority,” he said has he pointed to the uncovered window.

I looked around at their modest dwelling. I couldn’t help but notice a 5 gallon bucket serving as their trash can and that they shared one English Bible between them. Their 4 and 2 year olds were happy with their small collection of toys and they considered one pair of shoes, enough.

And they felt rich, like kings.

And thinking of the hours I had spent decorating my own home and my closet full of shoes, I felt like a pauper.
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So, yes they have needs, but I don’t think they are huge priorities for them. They have raised 17% of their budget for next year. And while I would be freaking out with worry, Igor shook his head and said, “We don’t worry about that. We just do exactly what God wants us to do. Look at the miracles He has provided all ready.”

I asked Igor to prepare a list of needs that we as a blogging community could meet and I hope to share them with you soon.


In the meantime, I opened a Paypal account for them. If you would like to donate $1 or $100, please let God lead you. If you or your church would like to support this beautiful family every month, please email me directly and I will give you more information.

100% of the donations will go directly to this family!

I found out that today is Katerina’s birthday. I can’t wait to take her shopping for new curtains!
*Update* Thank you for the donations today: $117.00!  The amount you donated will appear to be ‘unclaimed’ until the account is verified which I’m told takes about a week.