Monday, April 30, 2007


Friday night, Hubby and I went to the first Rockapella concert I've been able to attend in over three years, and it was everything I hoped for and more! The evening got off to a perfect start when I ran into Scott Leonard (the high tenor - blonde guy in the middle above) outside the theater. He was running in to ask where he should park the rented Toyota Sienna, and I almost bumped into him. I said, "Scott!" And he said, "Hey, how are you?" or something like that. And he gave me a great big bear hug. So right away, I was flying high. We went to a little cafe next to theater for coffee before the theater doors opened, chatting happily the whole time about some of our favorite Rockapella memories. Finally, concert time arrived!

They did several songs up front that I had never heard before. I love it when they do new stuff because it means that a new album can't be too far in the future. It was only my second time seeing the group with bass singer George Baldi, and the first time I ever saw John Brown, their new baritone. I totally love their new sound. Scott, of course, continues to be the powerhouse of the group, with vocals that give me goosebumps. Kevin Wright, who has now been with the group ten years, is amazing as well, shining in his solos, and creating perfect background accompaniments the rest of the time. And of course, Jeff Thacher cements his position as the world's best vocal percussionist with every performance.
Some of the new covers they performed were "Under the Boardwalk," "My Girl," and "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." They were all brilliantly arranged and flawlessly performed. The new original "California Sad-Eyed Girl" was a beautiful ballad. My favorite new addition to the song lineup was "Ain't Too Proud To Beg," which replaced "Pretty Woman" as their pull-a-girl-out-of-the-audience song. This is one of my favorite songs of all time, and just happened to be #1 on my list of songs I hoped Rockapella would cover one day. I was practically jumping out of my seat I was so excited! And of course, they completely recreated the song into a new masterpiece.
There was lots of amusing banter between the guys onstage. George, with his deep bass voice, kept referring to the other guys as "the girls." At one point, Kevin yelled out, "Chambersburg's got it going on!" and there was very little response from the audience. So he said, "You're all looking at each other like, 'We do?'" Too funny.

After the show, I caught Scott on his way to the meet & greet and told him briefly about the weight loss challenge between Blest and me. I told him I lost 40 pounds so far, and he gave me another hug and said congratulations! I asked about his kids, and he asked about my oldest son by name. Then he said, "He's not your only child, is he?" I said, "No, I have four boys." You should have seen the look on his face. He looked over at me like I was kidding. Then he realized I wasn't. "Four boys? Really?" It was priceless!

So after he got done signing autographs, I went over to ask him for a picture. The first thing he said was, "Wow, 40 pounds!" And he looked me up and down. I don't know if he was impressed, or if he was thinking I must have really been a cow before, but whatever! He put his arm around me and Hubby snapped a picture. And then he asked how I lost the weight. What was my brilliant answer? "Um, I ate less food."

After the pics, he said to Hubby, "Four boys, huh?" Obviously, he was impressed by this. Either that, or frightened by the thought. Then he said, "So, it's been a long time since we've seen you." I said, "Three years," inwardly very pleased that he realized it's been a long time. "I've had a baby since then," I said. And then I said THE stupidest thing. I mean, any time I talk to these guys I end up saying something stupid, but this was like, really embarrassing. I said something to the effect of, "The last two kids I had, I had after seeing a Rockapella concert." Scott looked at me, looked at Hubby, and then he said to Hubby, "Stay back!" Then to me he said, "It's those smooth harmonies." I didn't mean I had kids BECAUSE of the concerts, but I guess that's the way it came out. So then I had a Jerry Maguire moment, you know, where you're not embarrassed now, but you sense tomorrow's embarrassment?
There's me with my mouth open, babbling, and Scott grinning patiently. Fortunately for me, Scott never remembers the stupid things I say. Plus he's one of the most gracious people I've ever met.

And, like every addict, I am now jonesing for my next Rockapella concert. They get better every time. Thanks, guys, and especially Scott, for an awesome evening!

Friday, April 27, 2007

SPF - Happy Second Birthday!

This week, in celebration of two years of SPF, Kristine is taking us back to the beginning. The very first SPF was the inside of the refrigerator. This week, we're to show our refrigerator, along with a self-portrait indicating the number 2.

So here I am in front of my refrigerator. I spend a lot less time here than I used to. I have now lost 40 pounds! Fifteen more and I will no longer be considered "overweight."

And of course, the number 2 when used in conjunction with the word refrigerators prompts me to use both of my refrigerators for this special birthday edition of SPF. This is my upstairs one.

So, did you play?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I think, therefore I blog

TKW has honored me with the Thinking Bloggers Award. Apparently, I make her think, "Thank God I don't have any boys." But I'll take it, and thank you! Now in turn, I must name five blogs that make me think. Think about anything, not necessarily something deep or important. So here we go.

1. Jody - She makes me think about how precious my family is. Her husband had a stroke a while back, and he's only a couple years older than my husband. He recovered, but the whole situation just brought a new love and joy for life into their family. And by sharing that on her blog, she's given a gift to a lot of other families as well.

2. Steve Camp - Besides being one of my all-time favorite singers, Steve writes an amazing blog. I never fail to gain from the in-depth theological discussions over there. Many times, he says exactly what I've been thinking about a particular topic, only in a much more articulate way. If anybody wants to know what I believe and why, go read Steve's blog and you'll get the idea.

3. Mrs. Darling - I've followed her journey with her daughter, who has thrived since being taken out of public school to be homeschooled. That thrills me. But I also love how she shares honestly about every aspect of her life, from cooking and cleaning to what it means to be a friend. She is a very special blogger who I know wouldn't hesitate to invite me in for coffee if I ever showed up on her doorstep.

4. Grizzly Mama - Another PA homeschooler, Grizzly Mama is also very politically active, and since I happen to agree with her politics, I'm always interested in what she has to say. Also, every Friday she's been in the habit of sharing an Aesop's Fable. Those always make me think.

5. Ellen - I found Ellen's blog a couple of years ago because she had linked to mine, and I loved her instantly. She has a terrific sense of humor, she shares my passion for LOST, and most importantly, she eloquently expresses the feelings in her heart. I was upset when she quit blogging in December, and thrilled when she recently picked it up again. Add her to your must-read list and you'll never be disappointed.

So, the rules are, if I tagged you above, do the same post on your blog, linking back to this post. I'll have the graphic up later if you want to snag it for your sidebar.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wild Card Wednesday

Today, for TKW's "show-me-a-picture; any-picture" game, I offer the following:
Rockapella, kings of a cappella music, will be performing a mere twenty minutes from my home this Friday night! Those of you "in the know" will notice that this is an old picture. (Elliott, the guy second from the right, has not been with the group for a long time now.) That's because this

is the last time I saw them in concert. Three years ago. Imagine going without something so vital for three years! And the best part? I will be going alone. No children climbing all over me. I will be free to enjoy the concert, and to hang around afterward for as long as I want.

If these guys ever come near your town, you MUST go see them. Though I warn you, they are addictive and extremely habit-forming.

And finally, thanks for the award, TKW! I will be doing my "thinking" post later. It's too early to think right now.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I'm going to brag

I don't often get a chance to brag on my kids about stuff like grades or awards or things, because of course, they don't get them. I mean, not the objective-third-party kind. When I was in school, I was always bringing home certificates for this and awards for that. Not to mention lots of A's. When you're homeschooling, giving your own child a certificate saying he's the best in his class is kind of meaningless.

Anyway, here in the stupid, annoying state of Pennsylvania, we are required to give our children a standardized test in 3rd, 5th and 8th grade. Now, I'm not sure how accurate these things are supposed to be. The fact that they don't even look at his score should tell you something. They just mark off whether he took the test or not. But I'm still going to brag.

My son, age 10, fifth grader, scored at a 12th grade level on the reading comprehension section of the test! In vocabulary, he scored "Post-High school!"

Okay, brag over.

Monday, April 23, 2007

When 2-year-olds attack

I had trouble falling asleep last night, which I always do when Hubby's out of town. I finally drifted off around two a.m. And what do I get this morning? My two-year-old climbs into my bed at 7:20 and starts yelling, "Mommy, wait bup!" (which is Mommy, wake up in his language).

Thinking that perhaps I could buy a few more minutes of sleep, I turned on a Thomas video for him. Great idea. Except that he positioned himself so that his feet were in my face. Then he started kicking. Finally, after an hour of this self-imposed torture, I decided to wait bup.

Lately, he seems to think he's in charge around here. I say no, he says yes. Now, some of you may be saying it's the age. Terrible twos and all that. Until this child, all of mine were the worst at three. Two was a cake walk. Which has me really scared for next year. But I digress.

His favorite thing to do is play with trains. And his favorite new game with trains is Telling Mommy What to Do. He gives me the remote, and then yells, "Dop!" or "Doe!" And I make the train stop or go. This can go on for hours. I don't even like trains.

If I leave the room for a moment, he screams, "Mommy!" as though I've just vanished off the face of the earth, and if I tell him I'm going somewhere and I'll be right back, he screams, "No!!" I don't do everything he wants me to do, but that doesn't keep him from expecting me to anyway. And that screechy sound he makes when I don't is enough to make my teeth hurt.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think there's a train with my name on it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wild Card Wednesday

If you want to play TKW's new game, just post a picture, any picture!

I have a 'W' for this week: weird. Because my camera is not "my" camera, there are often pictures on it which I did not take. Lately, my seven year old has been borrowing the camera. When I reviewed the photos, I found this one.
This is just one of several similar pictures. What in the world? I'm sure when he wakes up, he can explain it in detail. But that doesn't make it any less weird.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


My prayers are with all those who were affected by yesterday's events at Virginia Tech. I cannot even imagine.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday again

What's your week got in store? We have:
  • 2 chiropractor visits
  • 2 soccer practices
  • 1 co-op showcase
  • 1 Wed. night church
  • 5 days of school

Plus I need to get back to the dentist and get this filling filed down so I can bite properly again.

This is my burnout time of year. I get to this point in the school year, still have fifty or more days of school left to teach, and I just want it to be over. And it seems it never will be.

So here's what I have planned for the rest of the school year: um, nothing. I am SO bad at planning school it's not funny. I loved when we had a pre-planned curriculum and I could just turn on the computer and there it was. But the boys hated that. They love the way we've been doing it this year. I wish there were some happy medium (sigh).

Well, I need to get everyone moving. They should have been up forty minutes ago. Have a happy Monday, such as it is.

Friday, April 13, 2007

SPF - Stuff

Kristine wants us to gather a pile of stuff that speaks to who we are. I am clearly a mass of confusion, but here we go.
Okay, just the fact that I had to carefully arrange this stuff is very telling. Everything here is representative of many things. First we have my laptop. Obviously for blogging and email, but also for Bible study, writing, digital scrapping, and game playing. Then we have assorted DVDs. The one with the oval things that looks like an old record player is the Monkees Season 1. This represents all the tv I watched as a kid and teenager, not just the Monkees. Then we have The Little Mermaid: I love Disney animation. And of course Pirates and MIB sort of represent my current taste in movies. Oh, and the giant Star Wars across the top - this was taken under our Star Wars foosball table.

Then we have a picture of me with Hubby, representing my marriage of course, but also my kids because they wouldn't be here otherwise! There's a picture of me with Rockapella, because I didn't have any CD cases handy. In the back right is my makeup case. And then the books, just to show that my tastes run from Shakespeare to romance novels and everything in between. I am sure I left something important out, but you get the general idea.

So, did you play?

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Things that don't go together:
  • Kids with ear infections who can't hear, and parents with sore throats who can't talk
  • New short sleeved shirts I'm dying to wear, and 40 degree weather
  • Tight jeans, and playing on the floor with a 2-year-old
  • My teeth - where the dentist didn't file down the new filling
  • My desire for a clean house, and four boys
  • My desire for a clean house, and a dog with incontinence
  • All the books I've bought recently, and all the time I have to read them
  • The button on my size 12 jeans, and the buttonhole (but hopefully not for long!)

The two-year-old has mastered opposites. Some words he can't say yet, but he can say the opposite word. So, for example, if he wants to go down the steps, he points to them and says, "Not up." He's also mastered an essential skill in this house: the blame game. Last night, I found all the train tracks in their room torn apart and spread everywhere. I asked who did it, and he said, "Not me. I-tick." (which is what he calls the 5-yr-old).

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wild Card Wednesday #4

It's time for TKW's random new game, Wild Card Wednesday! It's also the day the dentist finally finishes my root canal. Yippee!

So, for today's WCW, I have a riddle. What has eight red ears, six pink eyes, and cost me $300 yesterday? Yeah, it's my kids. All four have double ear infections, and three of them have pink eye, but the doc just gave all four eyedrops because there's very little chance the fourth one won't get it. At least it's the once-a-day antibiotic instead of three or four times a day. That right there is $218 worth of medicine. After insurance. Plus the $20 per child copay at the doctor's office.
And I haven't even gotten the bill for my root canal yet.
So, did you play?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What does the PG in PG-13 mean?

This morning on a box of sugary kids' cereal, I noticed an ad for Spider-Man 3. It got me thinking: why do PG-13 movies get advertised to little kids? I mean, it's one thing to have ads on television, but when they put toys in Happy Meals or cereal, which you know no self-respecting 13 year old is going to admit to eating, they have to know who the target audience is.

And that got me thinking that they wouldn't waste money on advertising and promotion if they knew it wouldn't pay off. Which means that there are parents who let their six-to-twelve year olds go see these movies. And I just don't get that. My oldest son will be 11 in July, and even though I would love to share some of my favorite movies with him, I don't. Movies like the first Spider-Man, while fun, are also very scary, and have a fair amount of violence. Even my beloved Pirates is just too intense for him (though in its favor there is no bad language).

I know that a lot of the movies I watched as a child and teenager were rated PG, when today they'd probably be PG-13. But I was forbidden to see R movies, even on video. And that is as it should be. Why are people so anxious for their kids to grow up? I knew someone a few years ago who let her five-year-old watch the Indiana Jones movies and Harry Potter movies. My son still hasn't seen those.

Maybe I'm just over-protective. I won't argue that I'm not. But I think that the world could benefit from a lot more over-protectiveness and a lot less 8-year-olds watching people kill each other.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Good morning, um afternoon!

I am just now having my morning coffee. It's 2 p.m.

As you may remember, I had an unexpected root canal about a month ago. For whatever reason, it decided to start hurting yesterday. I tried various home remedies for toothaches. Some worked. Some didn't. But the pain kept getting worse. By bedtime, even extra strength pain relievers were doing nothing. I tried to sleep but I couldn't.

I spent most of the night, until around 4 a.m., awake and in agony. I was finally able to get a couple hours of sleep sitting on the living room sofa. Finally, at 9:20, the dentist was able to see me. He said I should be 100% better now, but he left the tooth open to allow any trapped gases to escape before he finishes the job on Wednesday.

So I got home around 10:30 and went to bed. I just got up at 1:30. The boys have been good, considering I wasn't around to get them snacks every three minutes. And hopefully I will be able to sleep the next two nights before getting this thing finished.

Friday, April 06, 2007

SPF - Holy...

Kristine's assignment this week is Holy. No, that didn't come out right. The assignment itself isn't holy, but we're supposed to find a picture to represent Holy. Does that make sense? Okay.

There are so many directions I could go with this, but here is what I chose.

This is my 42" television. It died. Now, fortunately we bought an extended warranty on it, so I just called up the warranty people. This was four weeks ago. First I had to go through the whole receipt and read all the numbers on it.

"And how much did you pay for the television?"
"Um, $250." It was on clearance. Somebody returned it because it had a problem. Apparently those people never heard of manufacturer's warranties.
"Really? $250?"

So they send somebody out. He says he needs to order a part. But since this is the same part that was bad when we first bought it, he thinks Samsung might replace the television for us. Cool!

Three weeks later, I find out that the part we need is not made anymore. The warranty people are going to have to replace the television. At this point, I'm thinking what if they only give us our $250 back? Or what if they give us a $250 television? So they called on Wednesday with the model number of the tv they are going to send us. It's a Sony, it's 50", and it's REALLY nice.

But then, the woman on the phone says, "Or we can send you a replacement check for $1895."

And that's where the "Holy...!!!" comes in, folks.

They are sending us a check for $1900 (she's rounding up for us). For a tv we paid $250 for. And we've already decided we're going to get a nice multimedia projector instead of a television, so we can have a giant 11' picture if we want to. Those are generally around $1000. What about the rest of the money, you ask? We're going to Disney World! I mean, we were already planning to, but this will help pay for it!

Life lesson - When buying open box or returned merchandise, always, always, ALWAYS buy the extended warranty!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

My top four

Over at Ellen's, she has come up with wonderful idea. Everyone has those three, four or five favorite recipes. You know, the ones you make over and over because your family likes them and they're easy to do. So, why not share those old faithful recipes with everyone, and maybe find some new favorites? If you have a few favorites, feel free to join in, and just let Ellen know. So, here are mine.

Spaghetti Sauce (this is great with almost any pasta)
1 lb ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning (or 1 Tbsp each of basil and oregano)
1 tsp crushed mint
Salt to taste

Brown and drain beef. Add the rest of the ingredients. If sauce is too thick, add water until you're happy with it. Pour over pasta of your choice and serve.

Mardi Gras - This is a casserole, but probably the best one ever!
1 1/3 cups Minute Rice (white or brown)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can (14 oz) white meat chicken, drained
1 cup water
1 Tbsp oregano
Dash of cayenne
Combine all ingredients in casserole dish, mixing thoroughly. Then,
1/2 stick butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour. Slowly add milk, stirring continually, until thickened. Add cheese, stirring until melted. Pour cheese mixture over contents of casserole dish. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. And my Dad would say, Serve with Ritz crackers!

Mexican Lasagna
1 lb ground beef
1 can refried beans
1 can tomato sauce
1 envelope taco seasoning
6 large tortillas
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Spray a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Layer three tortillas on the bottom of the dish. Then, brown and drain ground beef. Stir in beans, tomato sauce and seasoning. Spread half of beef mixture over tortillas. Sprinkle with half the cheese. Repeat tortilla layer, beef layer, and cheese layer. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Easy Lasagna - got this recipe recently and it instantly became a favorite!
1 lb ground beef
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
15 oz ricotta or cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 egg
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup water
12 lasagna noodles, uncooked
Brown beef and drain. Meanwhile, mix 1 1/4 cups mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and the ricotta cheese and the egg until well blended. Set aside. To the beef, add the spaghetti sauce. Fill the empty jar with water and shake well. Add the water to the skillet. (This is what will cook the noodles) Spread 1 cup of the meat sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish. Top with three noodles. Spread with 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Repeat layers two more times. Top with remaining 3 noodles and remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.

So, those are my top four! Let me and Ellen know if you're posting yours!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Wild Card Wednesday #3

If you read The Kept Woman's blog at all, you probably remember her recently discussing small-town newspapers and the types of things that make "news" in them. For example, someone signing up to be a Pampered Chef consultant becomes an item in the paper. So when I saw this picture, I knew it was perfect for her new game, Wild Card Wednesday. This picture not only appeared in my local paper, it appeared on the front page, right under the banner. What is the headline news from this past Friday? A child is enjoying the park on a spring day! Wow! Who'd have thought?

And as a bonus, this smiling child just happens to be my oldest son!

Monday, April 02, 2007

"Back" him up, please!

I have been going to a chiropractor for a couple of months now, and he has helped me tremendously. Now it's my turn to help him. On April 16th, he will begin a journey, running on a 10-person relay team from Boston, MA to West Palm Beach, FL. Yes, you read that right! They are RUNNING 1,639 miles!

You can read Dr. Larry's bio here. I think you'll be as impressed as I was. He will be running to raise money for the DMSE Foundation. The DMSE Children's Fitness Foundation is working with schools, communities and youth organizations to promote physical fitness and counter the epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes.

So if you feel led after reading about the relay, I know Dr. Larry would appreciate your support. He told me any amount, a dollar or a dime, would be greatly appreciated. To donate, go here.


EDIT: I also found this great resource for teaching your own kids about health and physical fitness as you follow the team's progress.