Friday, May 29, 2009

Family Fun Friday - Baseball

Welcome to Family Fun Friday: THE place to share fun and frugal ideas for family activities. Please read the Guidelines and share with us!!

This week's topic: BASEBALL!!

I would LOVE to attend a Major League Baseball game (Red Sox, anyone?). After all, what's more "American" and "summer" than baseball?! But given the cost of tickets and the current ages of my kids, it just doesn't make sense for us to travel up to Boston for a game. (Though we would certainly make the effort if anyone wants to gift us with tickets!!)

Instead, we try to take in a couple of Minor League games each summer. It's a 20 minute drive from our home to McCoy Stadium, where we root for the Pawtucket Red Sox. And it only costs us $2 to park and $20 for tickets (adults $6, kids $4). I consider that a pretty good deal for several hours of entertainment!

Right now the games are still a novelty for my kids. They are more interested in the hot dogs and doughboys than they are the actual baseball. But one day I'm sure they will cheer like everyone else when the PawSoxs score a run.

If you are wondering what a Doughboy is, then watch this video of our trip to McCoy Stadium last month:

If you are interested in saving money, visit your team's website for a Kid's Club. Our team offers free tickets to Kid's Club members for 3 select games each season. Also, following every Sunday afternoon home game, children are allowed to run the bases! Talk about exciting!!
Have you attended a Minor League Baseball Game? What team do you root for?
Recommended Ages: Fun for ALL!
Equipment Needed: Baseball cap, T-shirt in team colors.
Cost: Adults $6, Children $4.
Where: Minor League Baseball Stadiums.
When: Spring and Summer.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

In Which I Brag Shamelessly About My Husband

I rarely discuss my husband's job on the blog. There are a number of reasons for that but mainly it's because this blog is to talk about family related stuff.

Well, this last week we've had a transition with Joel's job - and that's pretty family related. Not to mention, it's on my mind. So, I'm going to break my own rule a little.

Let me begin by saying thank you to everyone who emailed that they were praying for his job decision after reading my last post. We really appreciate your emails and prayers.

The short version of my story is that Joel is taking the job offer, which means the major changes are who signs his check and who he reports to.

Now, when have you known me to only give the short version? So here's the long version - and the bragging part.

Brief background: Joel was hired by Company A shortly after college graduation 12 years ago to work in Rhode Island as a part of their contract with Company C. About 5-6 years ago Company F bought out Company A. Nothing much changed for us. Just who was signing his check.

Now to the present: By the first part of this week, the other 5 members of Joel's team had signed and returned their acceptance letters for the positions with Co. C. Joel had not. Instead he asked some questions. The biggest sticking points were:
  1. We would no longer be reimbursed for our internet service (so he can work remote from home).
  2. He would no longer be provided a cell phone (we have 1 cell phone that I carry for emergencies).
  3. He would lose his 12 years of service with the company. Even though he technically worked for Co. A & F, the entire 12 years has been in Co. C facilities. This would mean he wouldn't be vested in Co. C retirement plans AND we would have 10 days less of paid time off.
Other members of the team asked about cell phones and other things and were told no. Joel asked, and the new Co. C manager went to bat for him and got us: carry-over years of service, a company issued cell phone, AND a raise to offset the cost of paying for our own internet service.


The other team members are also getting their years of service AND the raise. I've told Joel they all owe him lunch out or something!!

I am very proud of my husband for taking a risk and asking for more! I think he received what he asked for because of his integrity and work ethic AND because he is the senior member of his team.

Side note: the new Co. C manager was Joel's manager years ago when he first started at Co. A. The "new" manager invested in Joel all those years ago and continues to do so.

If you are still reading and are totally confused by this post let me recap for you:

My husband is changing employers but not jobs. He asked for and received some benefits that weren't offered in the beginning. I am very proud of him for taking a risk (given today's economy) and always maintaining a high standard of integrity and work ethic.

I love you, Sweet!! Happy (belated) 12th Anniversary!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

What a week! Can I get a little cheese with my whine?

Whew! What a week I've had!!

I started off this week with a plan. It was a very nice plan. It would have worked beautifully!!

Sadly, it did not.

Early in the week my new and pretty red Dell arrived! Yippee!! Did I mention Sally (my shiny gray laptop) died a couple of months ago? Graphics card gave up the ghost. So I've been back on Franky. Which is a big part of why my blogging has dropped off. Blogging on a 5+ year old laptop is so not fun!

Anyway. I've been trying to get Ruby (the new Dell) set up this week. The problem is she came loaded with Windows Vista. We are Windows XP people. Vista is a whole new ballgame.

When I wasn't trying to figure Ruby out I was cleaning my house (and basement) to get ready for Will's birthday party on Memorial Day. Side note: apparently I have an addiction to saving shipping and diaper boxes. I broke down about a dozen EMPTY boxes that I had put in the basement.

Then Thursday Joel was notified that his job is changing. Let me see if I can explain. Joel works for Company F. Company C contracts Co. F (and Joel) to do some of their computer programming. The two companies have been renegotiating their contract since January. As part of the new contract which was announced this week, Company C will now in-house Joel's entire team (all 6 people).

Thursday and Friday the team dealt with HR for both companies, went for fingerprinting, filed all manner of paperwork and tried to get our insurance benefits figured out.

Basically, effective June 1, Joel will work for Company C. Maybe. If we accept their "offer." If we don't accept the "offer" we have no job. No severance will be given. It's a take it or leave kind of deal.

Why am I whining about my week? Because I was all set to post a new Family Fun Friday article today about our trip to a minor league baseball game. I even have video! But Ruby won't import my video. Just the audio, which frankly means nothing without the video. And Franky is so old he won't let me edit the video. Argh!!!

So, hopefully Joel can look at Ruby tomorrow (after he mows the lawn and gets the grill ready for our party) and fix whatever the problem is. Then I will happily publish my Family Fun Friday post a day late. Sigh!

Does anyone else have any experience getting Windows Movie Maker to work in Vista? I'd love any tips you have!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ministry of Motherhood - Book Review

The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ's Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children by Sally Clarkson and published by WaterBrook Press is about developing and implementing a plan as we pass our faith onto our children.

Sally Clarkson uses the relationships between Jesus and his Disciples as a model for how we can share our faith with our children and encourage them to develop their own faith.

I love the idea of approaching motherhood as a ministry. Both motherhood and ministry take a lot of hard work, emotional investment and self-sacrifice. Not to mention time. Lots and lots of time.

Thinking of my daily mundane tasks as ministry helps me to have a long-term focus instead of just surviving today.

I loved the intro and first two sections of this book. You can follow the links to read my thoughts on those parts: Intro, 1st Section, 2nd Section.

To be honest I struggled to finish the rest of the book. I think there were four reasons:
  • I over-committed myself in several activities this spring;
  • I am a very practical action-oriented person and didn't find a lot of tips in this book;
  • My children (all under 6 years) are too young to really apply much of what is discussed in the later chapters;
  • I was extremely sleep-deprived when I read this book (from nursing an infant and the aforementioned over-commitments!).
Having said that, let me quickly add - I think this book is worth reading for any mom. Even if your children are young like mine, it is worth thinking ahead to how you will minister to them in the future. I plan to keep my copy and re-visit it in a few years for fresh ideas and approaches to mothering my children.

My take aways from this book include making God and Jesus a conscious part of our lives. To say "come see!" And to see my children as unique individuals with different personalities and needs rather than as a group.

Have you read The Ministry of Motherhood? What did you learn from the book?

Thank you to those who participated in the SMB Book Club. I apologize for dropping the ball! I over-committed myself in several areas this spring and, unfortunately, this was one of them. Thank you for your understanding!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Menu Plan with Whine List

This week's menu plan is based on 2 goals: keep it simple and eat from what we have in the pantry/ freezer.

Monday: Broiled Lemon Pepper Salmon, Steamed Carrots & Broccoli, Rice

Tuesday: Balsamic Chicken, Carrots, Broccoli, Onions, Rice

Wednesday: Seafood Chowder, Cheddar Bread

Thursday: BBQ Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Corn, Green Beans

Friday: Spaghetti, Green Beans, Corn, Cheddar Bread

Saturday: Unknown. :)

Sunday: (Lunch) Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, (Supper) Pancakes & Sausage

Monday: Burgers, Hot Dogs, Popcorn, Cake, Ice Cream

That's my meal plan for the week. Here's my whine list of reasons why I need simple meals this week:
  1. Joel will be in a training class at work each day this week - translation - I don't know what time he'll be home each night. Might be early. Might be late.
  2. Will has decided cowboys are out and baseball is in so I need to rethink (and buy supplies for!) his party. It's small with only us and 2 invited families so it's not a big deal to re-plan at the last minute.
  3. I need to CLEAN my house for the party. I also need to clean my basement playroom in case it rains and we need to move the party indoors.
  4. I have a home school group meeting Friday afternoon.
  5. I have a bridal shower to attend Sunday afternoon.
That's my plan for this week. What's YOUR plan?

PS. This week's Family Fun Friday will be about our recent visit to McCoy Stadium. Any guesses what they play there?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Family Fun Friday - Letterboxing

Welcome to Family Fun Friday: THE place to share fun and frugal ideas for family activities. Please read the Guidelines and share with us!!

On a warm sunny Saturday in April, my family packed peanut butter sandwiches for a picnic lunch and drove to Goddard State Park, where we enjoyed an afternoon of letterboxing.

What?! You've never heard of 'letterboxing'? We learned about it earlier this year from some friends. Basically it's a treasure hunt, except you don't keep the treasure.

Intrigued? Watch to learn more!

My boys (almost 6 years and 4 years) loved hunting for 'treasure!' We spent the afternoon exploring park trails, looking for a "tree with a hole you can see right through," and hunting for "the weathered bone behind a tree near slithering serpents."

We searched for 2 separate letterbox series in the same park. Each had a pirate theme for the stamps and clues which made the 'treasure hunt' even more fun for my boys. For one series the stamps were real pirate flags, which lead to researching the real pirates once we got home.

Letterboxing definitely has an educational component. (Remember we home school!) We needed to know what birch and oak trees were, follow simple directions, count to 50, read a compass and use our imaginations to interpret the clues. Who says educational can't mean fun?!

So, to recap letterboxing:
  1. Print a set of clues to a (series of) letterbox(s) from Atlas Quest or Letterboxing.
  2. Drive to the public location where the letterbox is hidden and follow the clues.
  3. Use your black inkpad and the stamp from the letterbox in your notebook or journal.
  4. Return the letterbox to it's hiding location.
  5. In the series' final letterbox use YOUR stamp in the journal in the letterbox.
Recommended Ages: Fun for ALL!
Equipment Needed: Compass, Notebook, Ink Pad, Stamp, Pen
Cost: Total = $0 - $25
Where: Parks and public areas all over the US
When: Year-Round but especially good for summer. Weekend. Vacation. Holidays.

Have you been letterboxing? Look here to see if any letterboxes are hidden near your home.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hearts at Home University

I discovered Hearts at Home and Jill Savage around the time I became a mom 6 years ago. I WISH I had found them sooner. If I had, I might could have attended one of their conferences.

Did you know they host conferences every year? Unfortunately for me, they are held in Michigan and Minnesota. I'm in Rhode Island. That's just too far away for this mom of four to travel for a conference - for now.

BUT. There's more than one way to skin a cat.

Last year my friend, Amy, and I were discussing how much we wanted to attend a Hearts at Home Conference and how long it would be before we could go (She was discussing. I was whining).

Then one of us had a brilliant idea. Why not purchase several tapes and CDs, rent a hotel room, buy a bunch of junk food and have our own conference (one without the long lines for the restrooms!)?!

And that is exactly what we did.

This year we each have a nursing infant so our chances of getting away overnight are slim to none. Which is why I am incredibly excited about something new Hearts at Home has started!!

The women at Hearts at Home understand not everyone can attend a conference, so they have created Hearts at Home University!
Hearts at Home University is a new resource designed to encourage and equip you in your journey as a parent! These live web casts, affordably priced at $15 each, allow you to tap into continuing education as a mom on a regular basis right from the comfort of your own computer.

The topics that will be covered over the Spring and Summer Semester include:

“Is There Really Sex after Kids” with Jill Savage
“She’s Gonna Blow” with Julie Barnhill
“Redefining Romance” with Mark and Jill Savage
“Keeping Your Ducks in a Relative Row” with Karen Ehman

For information on dates and times, or to register
go here.

Which seminar are you most interested in attending? Have you attended a Hearts at Home Conference?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Samantha Needs My Help and Yours.

This is Samantha. She turned 3 years old in December. She LOVES playing outside.

Her mama, Alicia, is one of my real life friends from college and blogs at Experiencing Each Moment. Alicia is an amazing woman! Her husband is currently deployed with the Navy, so Alicia has sole care for Sam's big brother (Timothy, almost 6) and Sam.

A big part of that care is providing Sam with daily medication and physical therapy to treat her Cystic Fibrosis.

According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation,

CF is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:

  • clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and
  • obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.
Right now, Sam is doing very well. She is healthy, growing and responding to her treatments. But, for now, this disease has no cure.

What it does have is a "predicted median age of survival ... of 37 years."

37 years.

That is way too young!!

So, what can we do to help Samantha and others like her find better treatments and ultimately a cure for Cystic Fibrosis?

First, pray.
  • Pray that a cure is found.
  • Pray that Sam continues to respond to treatments.
  • Pray that her Daddy, Dan, stays safe as he serves our families and our country at sea.
Second, give.
  • Give because Sam is a cute little girl.
  • Give because Alicia writes a wonderful blog.
  • Give because saying 'thank you' to Dan for his military service seems so inadequate!
Giving is super easy. You can go to Dan's GREAT STRIDES Home Page and follow the links.

Sam and her family currently need $380 to reach their goal for the CF GREAT STRIDES walk this month. I have about 30+ folks who read this blog every day. Let's each give $10 to help Samantha reach their goal AND possibly fund a cure for her disease.

Go here to give today.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Family Fun Friday

As a mom of four, I'm always on the look out for fun and frugal activities to do as a family.

The thought occurred to me recently that you are also looking for fun family activities. So why not share my ideas with you and invite you to share your ideas with me?!

So, Family Fun Friday was born!

Here are the guidelines:
  1. Publish a post describing an activity 2 or more people in your family have done or plan to do together.
  2. In your post include: pictures, videos, links to more information or the place you went, appropriate ages for children and how much money you spent on the activity.
  3. Leave the link to your post in the comments of the newest Family Fun Friday here at SMB (I hope to use a Mr. Linky soon). I will put up a new Family Fun post every Friday but it isn't necessary for you to post on Friday. Post throughout the week and leave your comment on my most recent Family Fun Friday post.
  4. Include a link in your post to a Family Fun Friday post here at SMB. Feel free to grab the button!
  5. Keep your activities FAMILY FRIENDLY!! I reserve the right to delete any comments/links that I believe are dangerous, unethical, illegal, immoral or above a PG rating. :)
Let Family Fun Friday begin!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Living as a Single Christian Woman - Guest Series

Last week our series, "Living as a Single Christian Woman," came to an end. I'm a little sad about that. Ann, Michelle, and Alicia did an amazing job writing on some very broad topics. I loved reading their wisdom every week and am encouraged that principles for living Godly lives are the same regardless of your marital status!

In case you missed the series or would like to go back through and read them again, here are the links to the individual posts:

Living as a Single Christian Woman:

Living as a Single Christian Woman by Ann
Falling in Love Takes Work by Michelle
A Life Defined by Contentment by Alicia

Life is Learning by Ann
6 Things Every Christian Woman Should Know by Michelle
Jesus on Learning by Alicia

Dive In! by Ann
Life in All Its Fullness by Michelle
LIVE it Up!! by Alicia

Thank you, Ann, Michelle, and Alicia for writing these insightful posts. I love that 3 women with different backgrounds, different lifestyles and in different States wrote articles that are so cohesive. Might be because they all share the same Lord - Jesus.

If you have been inspired, encouraged or convicted by these posts please leave a comment! Also, visit each lady's blog for more of her writing (and don't forget to leave a comment to encourage her!).
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...