Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Wedding....and the Kids

The loveliest ladies there

Getting ready....

The anticipation grows....

Hey Miss Brittany...I like your crown! Can I have it?

Brittany, John, Luke, and Susanna

Luke took his job QUITE serious!

Note the expressions on everyone's face...
except for Tony who didn't realize his kids were passing by him!

Susanna remembered on the way OUT to put down petals!

Her day was made when a little girl came over because she wanted to
"see the princess"

Oh dear, what if I drop them???

Yesterday, we had the pleasure of attending one of my dear friend's wedding. We both moved to Park Rapids about the same time and were part of many of the same church activities. Britt has been like a kid sister to me, and one of her biggest dreams has been to marry the man of her dreams and have a bunch of kids. Part of that dream finally came true! It was also an honor to have our children as part of the wedding party. Those pictures are coming up next!
Congrats, John and Brittany! May God bless your new lives together!
woo-hoo! She KISSED him!

Mr. and Mrs. John Johnson

And she's officially married!

Don't blow out the candle, John!

Cutting the cake

Before the wedding....

Brittany and her dad

The cake...yes, those are black bears on the top!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Kids Say the, well....(part 2)

Today at breakfast, Susanna quite frankly told me, "Mama, would you like me to tell you how babies get in Mama tummies?" I was glad I didn't have anything in my mouth at the time...and quickly reminded myself "always ask....always ask....."

And so I did. And was greatly enlightened. And still haven't found out how she figured it out.

"Well, Mamas go to a doctor, a SPECIAL doctor, and he takes a very sharp knife (I started breathing a little easier) and cuts her tummy ALLLLLLL the way down. Then, he puts the baby inside and sews her all the way back up." (little shrug) "That's it."

Serious face. No laughing. "Wow, Susanna. That's, um, that's AMAZING!" Then Tony walked in. "Honey, tell Daddy now."

"Daddy, you wanna know how babies get into Mama tummies?" (I almost choked keeping back the laughter at the look on Tony's face!) Same story again. I asked her, "Susanna, do you ever want to have a baby?" "NO WAY!"

Whew. Although I suppose some day she's gonna have to find out it's just a little different than that!

And you should have seen the look on Cousin Clinton's face when she matter-of-factly filled HIM in on the facts of life at supper!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Kids Say the, well....

I had an appointment this morning, so Tony took the kids with him to the farm for a bit. When I returned home, long enough to collect the kids and head out to Jack Pine Java for the rest of the day, Tony commented in passing "Oh yeah. Susanna had diarrhea at the farm and took a bath." What???? I grabbed an extra change of clothing to take with us...just in case.

The afternoon was uneventful. A few good sales. The highlight was, of course, when Santa arrived (he comes in from 4-6 p.m. on Fridays). My kids know he isn't "real," but they still love to sit on his lap (maybe it's the "reindeer food," maybe it's because he listens as Susanna lists off all her grievances and boo-boos, maybe it's because he's Drew & Tasha's grandpa....). Well, as I was sitting writing out post cards, waiting for some action at my Watkins booth, I hear Luke bellowing out, 'NO! DON'T TELL SANTA ABOUT YOUR DIARRHEA!!! NO, SUSANNA!"

Okay, that is the wrong thing to say to Susanna. Ever. She was off and running. "Santa, Santa! I gotta tell you something!!!"

I hung my head lower and pretended I was some childless customer sitting and enjoying a coffee or hot cocoa while writing out my Christmas cards. Trouble was, I had no coffee or hot cocoa in front of me. And everyone in the coffee shop knew those two.....children....were mine.

NO!! SUSANNA! DON'T DO IT!!!!

Be quiet, Luke! I want to tell Santa something!

NO! DON'T TELL HIM!!!!

Santa, I gotta tell you something. Today, at the farm, I had diarrhea. And grandma had to give me a bath because I had white stuff all over me. I told her I had to take a LONG bath. I really like bath time.

SUSANNA! THAT IS SO EMBARRASSING!!!!!

Ignoring your children does not make them go away. Nor does it stop them from telling private things.

Hm. Maybe I'll tell this story to her first date.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Church Today


(Thanks for taking our picture, Uncle Mark!)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Things Are Happenin'!

Wow, I've got soooo many photos to post, and after Christmas, I'm gonna start doing that (maybe I'll have some time before then, too)....first day of school photos, more pumpkin party photos, summer activities, Thanksgiving feast, and there might be more hiding on my camera, too!

If you're in the area, this Saturday we are having a big Christmas Showcase (and there was debate about the name...but hey, this is CHRISTMAS and if you're one of the very few people who don't recognize Christmas...oh well) at St. Peter's Parish in downtown Park Rapids. Lots of home-based businesses -- Watkins, Mary Kay, Tastefully Simple, Pampered Chef, Party Lite, Heritage Makers, Shaklee, Norwex, Cookie Lee, Tupperware, Young Living, and more -- are gonna be there. All that shopping and seeing what's new without having to go to a bunch of different parties, woo-hoo! Doors are open from 10-3. Bring a food donation for the local food shelf....and come prepared to bid on some great silent auction items to raise funds for the local Women/Children's shelter and the local Pregnancy Resource Center! Santa will be there, and photos will be taken...you can just order prints from Snyders for $0.19 - $1.50, depending on the size (how affordable is THAT?)....and David Overly, our local theater star, will be doing dramatic story-telling for kids of all ages from 10-1. I wanna have him set up close to me so I can hear his stories as I'm working my booth!

I've also been working a booth at Jack Pine Java down town -- we're having a craft/bazaar Monday thru Saturday from now until December 23...gotta stop in and see all the great stuff (and buy some, too!). And I am SOO thankful for my great team that's helping out at my Watkins booth there! We've got a great big closet behind our booth, too, so on days when I'm in there for a long period of time (or in the afternoons), the kids come and play there, we do some school work, or they dance around in the middle of the floor and entertain everyone walking by (I've been trying to tell Susi that laying on the floor in a dress with her legs pulled over her head is NOT proper entertainment....she isn't convinced.).

And things are slooooowly getting caught up at home, too. Loads of laundry are done sporatically, and my wonderful husband has been helping to fold clothes while I'm teaching the kids how to match pairs (I love this home school stuff! Make everything a learning experience!) and making them fold all the socks, hehehe! They also fight over who gets to take the clothes from the dryer, then transfer the clothes from the washer to the dryer, then put more clothes in the washer. Hm....maybe I'm not the one doing the laundry....

Amongst all this, I'm tired of seeing the originally very white walls downstairs now such a dingy color. Long story, not going into it....but we're gonna paint them. I'm hoping a cream color with some bright color thrown in for shock, I mean contrast. I might have to do that color paint sometime when Tony's gonna be gone for several hours....

I'm also tired of all the JUNK laying around downstairs. ("junk" translates into all the toys and papers that the kids, mainly Luke, are accumulating...Luke cannot bear to throw anything away, so every once in awhile after he's asleep, I raid his corner....so far he hasn't noticed). But Tony is going to build a wonderful little shelf set, and EVERYTHING is going to be stored in boxes with lids. And they can play with the contents of one box at a time (or one box each), and if they DARE start playing with another box before the other stuff is picked up, it's gone. Trust me. It's gone. I've done it before. I'll do it again.

Christmas program practice has been going wonderful. My 40 or so kiddos are amazing! I am blown away at how well they are doing for the program. PLEASE, if you live in the area, come see our program Sunday, December 20, at 10:45...but come early, if you want a seat! And (proud parent grin), Luke is playing Joseph in the tiny tot nativity! He wants everyone to have a front-row seat to see him....

We had a wedding shower for my friend Brittany this past Tuesday. It was great just sitting around gabbing with a bunch of ladies, and someone commented that we don't do it enough. So... I took the idea and ran with it! Talked with several of them, told 'em Tony would kill me (not literally, don't worry) if I took on one more responsibility, but SOMEONE needs to head up putting together a ladies' night out each month -- we can meet at church, bring games, order pizza, and just have fun catching up with each other. I finally found a patsy...I mean volunteer to head it up....my wonderful SIL Beth (love ya, dearie!). Hopefully, it'll all work out :)

Brit is getting married in a few weeks....and asked my kiddos to be in the wedding ("because they're so stinkin' cute!). Susi is the flower girl, and Luke is the ring bearer. He's taking the job quite seriously and is worried that he might lose the rings, then what is gonna happen????

The kids are doing great in home school co-op, which in itself is wonderful since I've not had alot of sit-down time with them for book learning. However, Luke can now count to 100 by himself, and he's figuring out how to write the numbers by himself, too (maybe it's the reward of a big candy bar that was motivation!). He never can remember the word "hundred" though, and usually refers to it as one zero zero!

I'm finding more fun things to do with Susi, as she is a very hands-on learner....she doesn't retain something unless she makes it with her hands....which is SO not me! We practiced writing our A B Cs up to G and she just wasn't getting it....remembering what is what....until I handed her modeling clay, THEN she took off! It's a challenge figuring out different ways to have her make things to retain the different letters, but it's also fun figuring out what will work!

Out of the clear blue the other morning, after she crawled into bed with us at 6:30 in the morning (the one morning this week that I actually didn't have to get UP at 6:30!), she sat up and said, "We haven't watched Wipeout for a long time." Um...it isn't on tv right now. Then at supper last night, she asked if "Shark Tank" is really "in this world." Okay, we really don't watch much tv with the kids, but that stuff is really floating around in her brain!

And I love how my kids have figured out some things are in this world and others aren't. It really helps them realize that alot of stuff around isn't real. Santa isn't "in this world," but he is part of Christmas decorations. Scary parts in movies (like the talking Cheetos that are about to be eaten in The Pirates That Don't Do Anything" or the Grinch taking away Christmas) aren't in this world...so it isn't too scary.

But now...my rug rats are home. And I am home (I was at Jack Pine Java this morning...the kids were at the farm)...so I'm gonna go spend some fun time with them! And maybe get out the alphabet melty-bead mold and get some fun school work in!

Drop me a line...I don't have lots of time for posts right now, but I LOVE to hear from you!

Oh yeah! And I got all the Christmas presents wrapped last night, yippee!!! Now to start my Christmas baking......next week.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Wifely and Motherly Pride

The Bible says we shouldn't be proud, but I think there are times that are exceptions. I'm not proud of myself, but I AM proud of the men in my life.

Yesterday, we had home school co-op (which I just LOVE and am so blessed that we live in an area that offers so many great classes for home schoolers....). The first week of classes, there was a little girl who made quite a positive impression on me. She is cute as a button, but not in ways that one would immediately think. She fell down in gym class (or "phy ed" as it's called here in northern Minnesota) and got all teary, so I took her to find mom and some comfort. Poor Christy, one of several children, was told to "buck up" -- Mom told me in an aside that Christy tends to be dramatic...and I can relate with our own drama queetn at home. Christy did. She bit her lip, dried her eyes, and went back and joined the other kids. Christy has great big eyes, made even bigger by the great big glasses in front of them. She is usually wearing an adorable dress with a matching hat (which she calls her "thinking cap") and is about 5 years old. Luke has taken a shine to her, but more like in a protector way. Monday at co-op in phy ed, one of the other boys took the ball away from Christy when she had it, and Luke went after him, effectively blocking him and keeping him occupied so Christy could get the ball and play with it. In classes later that afternoon, she had to make sure she sat right by Luke because "he's my friend." During History/Science, she did guess that the circumfrence of a pumpkin was three inches (it was 25) and there were probably 100,000 seeds (there were 269), but then again, Christy wasn't wearing her thinking cap yesterday. I love how Luke always talks about Christy and how he is her "protector" and no kids are gonna pick on her again when he's around!

The other reason I'm so proud right now is my husband is currently downstairs making a start-from-scratch pumpkin pie -- baked the pumpkin, working on the crust, everything. He did come up to ask where the blender was as well as the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. What a guy! And this is after he made supper (wrapped tortillas), cleaned up the entire kitchen, including emptying and reloading the dish washer, and bathed the kids before putting them to bed, too. What a guy! (Of course, I choose to think this is all because he loves me and not because I'm tapped out and fighting pure exhaustion right now...it's off to bed for me once this is posted).

I'm also proud of my sweet pea, too. We've been struggling again with lots of disobedience and attitude problems, so there aren't a whole lot of things immediately coming to mind, but I sure did appreciate her coming over to rub my shoulders and back as I was laying on the couch after supper (even if she almost knocked me off the couch a few times in her enthusiasm).

On a completely unrelated note, I've never seen the need to make a start-from-scratch pumpkin pie before, although I've made some quick ones to sell during our pumpkin parties before. I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie, personally. I make squash occasionally for my husband, even though I don't like it, but I've never thought of making him a pumpkin pie before........

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's Been Awhile....

Wow, I thought I'd have more time after the market closed, but I've been....

*dealing with a daughter who had the flu (she was the worst although I think we all had some mild version)
*dealing with a son who has strep throat (and now we're all on meds)
*trying to catch up on the farm accounting
*trying to catch up on the house work (I moved the sofa today to dust and sweep behind it, ugh! Actually, we're trying to figure out where to put the Christmas tree this year!)
*avoiding -- I mean, trying to catch up on OUR accounting
*trying to get my expense and commission reports turned in to Greenstar (yay! Money!)
*trying to figure out staging for our Christmas program
*trying to keep up with email newsletters and catalog requests from Pioneer Woman (keep 'em coming!)
*slowly getting back into the home-school swing of things
*canning the rest of the apples into apple pie filling (and it's been yummy...but I still have a bushel!)
*figuring out when I can start canning chicken soup for the winter
*enjoying my husband
*enjoying my kids (usually, although under-the-weather kids are usually whiny kids)
*getting things finalized for our Christmas showcase

We also enjoyed having Tony's brother Paul and his wife Lori over for supper Saturday. Well, except when, as we were sitting down for supper, Susanna turned to Aunt Lori and said, "Aunt Lori, I have to tell you something. I pooped today." Luke then chimed in, "So did I! Right before supper! Can I have a banana now?" Please...join us for supper sometimes and some very, um, enlightening conversations!

We've also been dealing with our water going on and off. Tony is afraid the switch may be going. He did something to it, but it isn't quite fixed. How did people live before conveniences of indoor plumbing???

And then last Friday, I got a call from one of our local coffee shops. They buy Watkins extracts for their baking (which is why their goodies are so yummy!), and they are having a craft-type fair from Black Friday through December 23 and wanted to know if I'd like to have a booth there...Monday thru Saturday, during their open hours (no sense being there when they're closed!). I called a few of my team members, they all want to help out, so YAY! Ya gotta come check us out at Jack Pine Java on Main Avenue (for those of you who are local).

Next week we start our Thanksgiving crafts -- most of them are edible, so we can't do them yet. And then will start the Christmas cookie baking...ummm!!!!

It makes me laugh when people ask, "so, are you finding more time to do things now that the market is closed?"

But I am thankful that even with some mild illnesses, we haven't had anything pretty bad.

And I'm still hoping to get to MOA for Pioneer Woman's book signing this Saturday! Although Tony doesn't understand why I want to go.....ah, come on! LET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!! (I love you, honey...)

And we're still hoping to get away one night this week for a stay at a local B&B (we won it at a silent auction...but the B&B is closing its doors at the end of this month....and we can't find a babysitter! Anyone available Thursday night????).

And my kids remind me continually that they don't belong to me....they belong to GOD Who is only loaning them to us. Sure hope we're doing an okay job!

Okay, gotta go get some more stuff done....

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thanks, Pioneer Woman!!

Wow, have you ever had something really good happen that you weren't expecting? Okay, I've had lots of things like that happen....like two wonderful babies being born (yeah, I literally WAS expecting babies, but I didn't know they'd be so wonderful); a handsome, kind, hard-working, God-loving man propose marriage to me (I said yes...ten months before the first wonderful baby made an appearance -- and when you get to your mid-30s, you aren't really expecting too much! But God saved the best for me!); a warm, nice, completely paid-for house (yeah, paid for!); lots of kind, thoughtful friends that amaze and bless me when I'm least expecting it....and so many more things!

But something happened yesterday that made me (again) thank God....and a dear friend I've never met. Yet.

My readers (all 3? of you...okay, more than 3 -- there's someone in Denmark reading my blog now....how did that happen? That is SO cool!) know that I really like and admire Ree Drummond -- The Pioneer Woman. (check it out at www.thepioneerwoman.com) I've linked several of her recipes and made reference to her. Love her family stories (do you think her kids are going to be super thrilled about some of the things she's written about them when they get older? That's the beauty of being a parent.... you can write what you want...and hope they still love you later!). Smile at her courtship story.

Are you still following around with all these "rabbit trails" I'm taking?

ANYWAY! With all her cooking posts, I was surprised (honestly) that she wasn't using Watkins products. Watkins quality is so superior to anything else you'll find, although some may beg to think otherwise (but they'd be wrong). Thru a series of comical events, the box was overlooked for almost two months. Then I got an email from her telling me how excited she was to try everything....that it was Christmas in July....and that she wanted to do a give-away linked to my Watkins website (www.watkinsonline.com/lindasuecarter) ON HER BLOG!!!! She wanted time to review the products to see what she thought of them first.

Seriously, folks, I was so excited I couldn't sleep that night. And that was the middle of our county fair where I was working my Watkins booth for 13 hours a day. With no breaks. I was tired. But too excited to sleep (that ever happen to you?). See, when she does give-aways (which is at least once or twice a week) she often gets over 40,000 comments and entries. Wow! Hello!

Then life got busy again -- a few different magazines did features on her. She was on a few television shows. She won best blogger in the US again for the second (maybe third?) time in a row. She started her new home-school year (and as a home school mom, I know that takes ALOT of time!). She published her first cook book. She's now on a national book tour. And each of these things got even more readers to her blog(s). But still nothing.

Until Saturday. Ree posted a new recipe. One I'm going to try simply because my husband asked me to. I won't have any though (sorry, Ree, if by some chance you stumble on my blog and read it). It's carrot-and-squash curry soup. You can find the recipe here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/11/carrot-and-squash-curry-soup/. Well, she posted it on her main blog...which immediately posted it on her Facebook page and to all her fans and friends there...and also to her new recipe blog, The Tasty Kitchen (you've GOT to check out this blog if you like cooking! http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/ -- Mark, you'd like the recipes, you really would).

And I've been getting catalog requests. Orders placed. And am sooo thankful to the generosity of Ree for linking my Watkins site to her blog.

I think she likes the spices. I hope she liked the rest!

THANKS REE!!! (yeah, I'm still excited!)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Catching Up...at last!

Wow, it's been awhile! But...I've been BUSY! Okay, maybe not as busy this past week now that the market is closed, but I've not been motivated to do much but laze around this week. And having a daughter succomb to the flu kinda ruined those plans. Shoot. Oh well, gave her lots of snuggles, even more meds, even more prayers...and praise God, today's the second day with no fever or meds!

Right now, I should be doing our final payroll...but I HATE accounting! So I'm procrastinating (sorry employees!). But...tonight is our employee party, so they have to be done by then! Which reminds me, it was a year ago that my brother arrived from Vegas then rushed me to the ER an hour after he got here...I went home several days later missing a body part....which I really don't miss....

We closed the market for the season last Saturday with a tiny whimper. Weather wasn't too bad, but attendance was way down. Not a problem; God blessed us with an abundantly good year, so much so I'm still very much in awe. The Lord has been very good to us, and I pray we've been a small mirror of His love to our employees and customers.

I've done LOTS of canning this year, but no where near what I've done the past several years...not enough time! Still have to do apple pie filling and chicken soup...but I did over 50 quarts of spaghetti sauce, peaches, and green beans, not quite that much of peas (for Tony, yuck!), cherries, and salsa. Also froze lots of strawberries, raspberries, and cherries, strawberry jam, raspberry jam, and combos of strawberry/raspberry, raspberry/peach, and strawberry/raspberry/peach jam. We still have a good amount of pork left from the half pig we got earlier this year, but our beef is gone...for now. Tony is butchering again really soon. Can I wait another three weeks for a good roast beef? It's so hard..... Regardless, we're set for quite a bit of our winter food! Have some potatoes in cold storage as well. Oh, and I dried a bunch of honeycrisp apples this week, too (not that many of them are left....we've been eating them almost as fast as I've been dehydrating them!).

I've also been trying to gear up to start some serious home schooling with the kiddos...but haven't been too motivated as of yet. Maybe it goes back to that whole kid with the flu thing this week....or just needing to veg out and not do much of anything. But...we do have co-op on Mondays with LOTS of stuff the kids are learning, and Luke and I worked on writing yesterday and more on telling time today. He and Susanna are wrapped up in lots of coloring and art crafts each day. I've been telling myself it's helping them work on their fine motor skills (does that excuse fly right now?).

Tony has been busy taking things down from the Market, winterizing things at the farm, mulching strawberries, spreading manure, you name it. The weather this week has been fairly nice and unseasonably warm (okay, in the 40s), so he's been trying to get as much done as possible before the start of hunting season tomorrow morning. Supposedly, the deer population is down this year (but not according to anyone who actually lives in this area, pesky deer!), so the limit in our area is one deer for the season....and to be able to get a doe, you had to enter a lottery. Tony's name was drawn, but the first deer he gets, the season is done for him. We've been praying that he'll get a deer first thing tomorrow morning! Maybe be able to be home a bit more!

We've also spent lots of time laughing at the kids, as usual. For some reason, Luke has taken to calling Susanna 'missy' -- "okay, Missy?" "Whatcha doing, Missy?" "Want me to help you, "Missy?" You can also tell we spent a bit more time watching PBS kids this week than normal. He looked at me the other night, out of the blue, and said, "Mama, did you know that McDonald's is a proud sponsor of Sesame Street?" I started laughing and asked what that meant. "I don't know....but they are."

He continues to be a quick study in endearing himself to women and saying just the right thing. One day last week when I was feeling a bit out of it, I was sitting at the table downstairs at about 11:00 still in my pjs and glasses, hair flying out all over, hunched over my cup of tea, trying to wake up, when Luke looked at me and said, "Mama, you are so beautiful to me." "What? I'm beautiful? Looking like this????" "Yep, you are VERY beautiful to me!" "Susi, am I beautiful to you?" "Well, Mama, um, I like your shirt and you ring is VERY beautiful!" Yeah. She tells it like it is.

And like I mentioned earlier, she had the flu earlier this week for several days -- red, raw throat, aches and pains, fever, misery. I spent most of Monday just rocking her and snuggling, trying to get her to have any kind of fluids (she did eat grapes but wouldn't drink any kind of water, juice, soup, nothing...hurt too much on her throat). That night, as I was tucking her into bed, she took my face in her hands and said "Mama, you tried so hard all day to make me feel better, but I didn't. I still love you, though." Wow. Thanks, Sus!

I'm also realizing that as much as I love the time change in the fall, it is NOT enjoyable when little people are involved. Today was the first day they both slept until almost 7:00. Most of the week it was before 6:00 (okay, Susi was also up several times a few nights because of the flu). And usually, it was only one of them waking up before turning on their bedroom light around 5:30 and deliberately waking the other one up. So as I tucked them into bed last night, I reminded them "If you wake up first tomorrow and the other is still sleeping, do NOT wake them up. You stay in bed and don't talk." This is what I heard a few minutes before 7:00 today.

Luke, LUKE, LUUUUUKE! Wake up!
What, Susanna?
I had a tewible dweam about satan! Want me to tell you?
Okay. Oh wait, Susanna. Remember what Mama said last night?
What?
If you wake up and the other one is still sleeping, don't talk and don't wake them up. I'm still sleeping, so STOP TALKING!
Oh. Okay. But I just want to tell you my dweam.
Okay, you can.
We were dancing and satan was watching us from a twee!

We also had fun this week with dress up. We don't "do" Halloween, but since it is so hard to find dress-up play clothes, I usually hit the stores right after Halloween and buy costumes at deeply discounted prices. Found about 6 outfits for each of them Monday morning when I ran out quickly to get more meds for Susi. They've had so much fun being a bride, a princess, two different dancers, a gorilla, a race car driver, a clown, a fire man, Captain America, and GI Joe. It's also helped me be able to not do much of anything in my totally unmotivated state.

I mentioned a bit about our home-school co-op. One of the classes they are taking is US History and Science. In the short hour the teacher has, she also covers about 5-10 minutes of Bible, too. I'm amazed at how much she covers in such a short time. The kids have learned about the Vikings, Christopher Columbus, the Mayflower and Jamestown, the Revolutionary War, and we're now starting to learn about the 50 states (2 each week). They've also learned to do some general map reading, what direction is what way, and that's not counting all the science things that have been covered. Each week, we get about 10-20 "recommended reading" books on a list to check out of the library. I've been requesting the books, but most of them are mainly for review since I usually get them several weeks after we've studied each subject. But...the classes are sinking in, as are the books! A couple books in particular have made a big impact.

"The Courage of Sarah Noble" is a book we spent reading over several nights at bed time. It is about a young girl who goes with her father to build a new cabin. Mom and baby cannot come yet, so they go to get things ready for her. Then Dad goes back to get mom and baby while Sarah stays with a new neighbor. All along, through her fears, she remembers how her mother told her to keep her courage...and she does. This has REALLY helped with bed time fears, the darkness, and things in general. And yesterday, when I was pretending to be scared of Luke when he dressed in the gorilla outfit, Susanna looked at me and sternly said, "Where's your courage, Mama?"

"What Happened Next, Paul Revere?" is another great book. It is a little above their heads, but understandable enough for them. And I cannot believe what all I learned about Paul Revere! Did you know he was captured the night of his big ride? That he made dentures? That he had 11 children who lived and another 3 or 4 who died in infancy? That he was born on January 1? Well, at the end of each page there is a question along the lines of "And THEN what happened?" After about the third or fourth time, the kids were really into the book and started answering "We don't know! TELL US!!! WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?????" Luke now pretends that he is Paul Revere warning everyone that the Red Coats are coming...he also likes to pretend he is a Red Coat but is quick to assure me he is a GOOD Red Coat.

I've also been continuing to train my monkeys...I mean my kids....to do all my work around the house so I can sit and watch soaps and each chocolate (not really....soaps are stupid and chocolate doesn't sit well since my gall bladder was removed, sigh....). I do, however, try to get them to do quite a bit of things around the house. They honestly love emptying the trash cans and know how to knot the bags closed and put new bags in, hauling the garbage bags up to the front door for Daddy when he gets home. They also set the table, clean up their own messes before bed time (otherwise, their toys aren't there in the morning...which they've learned twice the hard way). And one of my favorites...they sort the clean laundry for me! All the clean clothes get dumped into a large pile with empty clothes baskets circling the pile. They then put Susanna's clothes in one basket, Luke's in another, socks in another, towels in another, Daddy & Mama's in another, and hanging up clothes on the couch. Since the vast majority of clothes are theirs, this GREATLY reduces what I have to fold. I've tried having them fold the towels and match the socks, but alas, to no avail. Yet. Towels are a bit too challenging still (not the folding, just the amount of them!). And neither of them like to wear the same two socks on their feet, so folding socks to them just consists of putting any two socks together. Which wouldn't bother me so much (after all, matched socks just get taken apart so they can be unmatched...or Barbie dresses...or gloves....), but when they start wearing my socks...and even Tony's, that's a bit too much!

Enough about the kids! My Watkins business is continuing to grow, too. Not just in sales for me, but with my team, too. There are now 50 people under me -- about a dozen of them are under other of my team members. And my volume has greatly shot up, too, as many of my associates are really growing their businesses. I love it! I've earned enough points for a trip to Hawaii in March and hope that Tony and I will be able to go to celebrate out seventh anniversary. My parents offered to come and stay with the kids, yippee!

I've also been getting things ready for our second annual Christmas Showcase. Last year we had ten different home-based businesses involved as well as two non-profits. This year, we have more than fifteen different groups -- Shaklee, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Discovery Toys, Tastefully Simple, Tupperware, Young America Essential Oils, Cookie Lee, and several others as well as a MOPS bake sale and Kinship will be doing something, too. One of our local grocery stores will be displaying holiday deli and bakery platters. We have some massage therapists who will be doing 15 minute chair massages for $10. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there for the kids, and David Overly who starred (and excelled!) in our local production of Fiddler on the Roof will be doing dramatic story-tellings of traditional Christmas favorites. We are also requesting people bring a food item for several local food shelves. It's gonna be a GRAND time...so if you live in the area, mark your calendars for Saturday, December 5, from 10-3!

And a brief update on my nephew Caleb...he and his family are in Washington DC right now at the first National Bible Bee. Caleb did an awesome job yesterday for semi-finals, but not quite enough to make it to today's finals. Ron told me what all was required, and WOW! I am sooo impressed with all those kids and especially Caleb! Thanks for all your prayers and support.

And if this wasn't enough to keep me busy, I still have to catch up with the farm accounting (and ours!). Which reminds me...gotta do pay roll! But we've also been asked to be the featured growers at our Minnesota Fruit & Vegetable convention in January. So I'll be working on that, too......

Keep in touch, and I'll try to post more often! Wash your hands, cover your coughs and sneezes, stay healthy...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Do You Know Why I'm Crying?? (part 2)

So tonight, as she was whining and crying because she wasn't getting her way (she didn't want to go to bed...and she was GOING to go to bed!), Susi pulled her usual "But do you KNOW why I'm crying???"

"Yes, Susanna. Because Jesus died and you miss Him."

"No! Because, wait, I mean yes! But also because I forget what He looks like........waaaahhhhhh!"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

You Want To Know Why I'm Crying???

Oh, we've been battling a few more self-control (or rather, lack of) problems lately with a certain little girl. Things have been going VERY well...but lately, well....I'll blame it on the changing of the seasons.

Regardless, the attitude comes out, the yelling and screaming and crying. First step is to firmly let her know that it is NOT acceptable (in a nice, calm, firm voice....unlike the voice in my head at the time....) and to change the attitude, take deep breaths, get control of herself....that usually just sparks a bigger outburst, so the next step is sending her to the "naughty step" until her heart and attitude change. That is followed by a slammed door and stomping feet and hysterical sobs. Until she realizes she isn't going to get her way. Then, one of two things will happen.

Louder sobs and screams. The threat of a spanking followed by her threat of "if you spank me, I'll just cry LOUDER!" which is followed by the reminder that if she gets louder and more out of control, she'll just get ANOTHER spanking. She knows it's true...it's happened before, so that usually puts an abrupt end to HER threats.

(By the way, Aunt Beth, did you REALLY tell my kids that spankings are when you beat your kids?????)

The other thing that will happen (if it isn't the louder sobs and screams...), is a little girl quickly falling in a heap, asking "but do you KNOW why I'm crying?" Somehow my answer of "because you aren't getting your way and you wish you were" does nothing to appease her....nor is it the answer she's looking for. "Because Jesus....Jesus....Jesus DIED!"

Sigh. The first time this happened, I melted. I reminded Susanna that Jesus ISN'T dead any more. He is waiting for us in Heaven. And He loves us very much. She continued to sob and tell me, "But I miss Him SOOO MUCH!!!" And that was my mistake.

Mistake, you say? Reminding a child that Jesus isn't dead? Yes, mistake. Now she pulls that all the time. However, my answer has changed. Slightly. I again reassure her that Jesus ISN'T dead...but if He didn't die, she'd be going to hell for her behavior. Okay, yeah, maybe that sounds a bit harsh to tell a four year old. But...that usually stops her in mid-sentence, although sometimes the sobs continue. For a few more minutes at least, especially as I walk away with the reminder, "when the attitude changes, you can come back in." Then....

A smiley tear-stained faced little girl comes in, gives me a big hug, climbs on my lap and says, "Mama, I love you SO MUCH! And I love, Jesus, too! Please forgive me for being disrespectful."

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Request for Help for Caleb....

Caleb is my nephew. He's a wonderful, sensitive, bright boy, 10 years old, the third in a family of 8 (soon to be 9) children. Caleb is usually pretty quiet, with his head in a book or his fingers on the piano. He isn't someone who is terribly outgoing, but he doesn't hesitate to make friends. From the time he was a little boy, Caleb has always had a heart for God. He asked Christ into his life at a very early age and followed that a few years later with baptism. I remember when he was about 3 or 4 years old, running around the house with his brothers, wielding a (toy) sword, and spouting off Bible verses that I didn't even realize were in the Bible...verses from I and II Chronicles, Judges, Proverbs, and more. My sister-in-law Tammy spends time each morning with the children, having Bible time and reading a daily chapter from the book of Proverbs as well as making sure her children understand what the passages mean. Their children are true examples of learning God's Word from a very young age and hiding (and applying) it in their hearts.

Last year, the Shelby Kennedy Foundation started working on the first annual National Bible Bee contest. The overall concept is similar to the National Spelling Bee with children from all over the United States going through a local contest and advancing to semi-finals in Washington D.C. on November 5 followed by Finals the following day. There are three age groups -- 7-10 years, 11-14 years, and 15-18 years. Upon registering for the Bible Bee, you were given a stack of information...hundreds of Bible verses to memorize, Bible passages, and of course the books of the Bible. Over 17,000 students enrolled in local competitions nationwide -- and at the end of the first round, scores were tallied and the top 100 children in each age group advanced to the semi-finals in Washington D.C.

Overall guidelines were stressed: While competing for rewards is fun, the greatest reward is drawing near to God. As the playing field narrows, cheer for the remaining finalists, even if you are not one of them. Compete in a biblical way -- give one's absolute best for God's glory and leave the results entirely in His hands.

Well, Caleb and his two older brothers entered the competition, along with their sister Hannah. Each gave their best, not knowing what the final results would be. Then, a few weeks ago, Caleb received an email:

"Congratulations! After reviewing your test scores, I am delighted to inform you that your qualification as a contestant in the 2009 Bible Bee National Contest has been confirmed!......"

Caleb is one of 100 children, ages 7-10, who advanced to the semi-finals to be held in Washington D.C.! Only three children in Ohio (not necessarily in his age group) achieved this recognition.

On November 5, Caleb will compete for one of seven, 7!, spots for the Final Challenge to be held on November 6.

Here is how you can help, if you are so led. Caleb needs to raise over $3,000 to cover hotel and food costs. Estimated costs given to the students state they should raise between $3500 and $4000. Due to friends living in the area, Ron and his family are able to drop these costs some but still have a large amount to raise (by the way, Ron is a school teacher; Tammy is a stay-at-home mom who home schools all the children -- and we all know that school teachers don't have a large salary....).

* PLEASE consider sending a donation to Caleb to help cover costs. Donations can be sent to the following address:
Ron and Tamara Toth
Carpe Diem Academy (their home school name)
2990 State Route 534
Newton Falls, Ohio 44444
330-872-3677

* PRAY for Caleb that he will have a good mind and teachable spirit and an ability to learn

* PRAY that God would be honored and glorified in all that Caleb thinks, says, and does

* PRAY that Caleb will be able to attain the knowledge and skill required, as well as have joy in the process

* PRAY that Caleb will be transformed by God's Word along with the rest of his family as they prepare together

* PRAY for good health for Caleb and for each member of his family

* PRAY for each of the other contestants in the National Bible Bee as well.

If you would like more information on the Bible Bee, you can find it here: http://www.biblebee.org

Thank you sooo much for prayerfully considering your support of Caleb. What an honor it is for him to achieve this recognition the first year of this competition!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Setting the Standard...

We've been super busy lately...which is why I've not been posting like usual. However, here's some catching up!

Pumpkin parties continue to go full blast, despite the yucky weather. Last Saturday (Liz's birthday), it was cold (in the 40s), rainy, and overcast the whole time. We still had an amazing turn out. Yesterday was cold (barely in the 30s), windy, and snowy....and I'm amazed at the amount of people who came! Of course, they would often take breaks and warm up in their cars....but what surprised me were the number of little children out there. Okay, mine were, too, but Luke is part of the skit, and Susanna kept coming to warm up....

Last night, I slept around the clock. Went to bed not feeling up to par and had a low fever today, so Tony took the kids to church while I continued to sleep....almost 12 hours! I'm still feeling kinda out of it, but temp is gone, praise God! Think maybe this has something to do with burning the candle at both ends?

We did take a bit of a family break last weekend and headed toward the Cities Sunday morning to visit several orchards and a pumpkin patch. Part for business (Greenstar contacts...whoo-hoo! At least one new customer for next year and a possible new one for this year!), part for pleasure.

But back to setting the standard....when I finally got out of bed this afternoon, I ventured downstairs to find my wonderful husband cleaning our very dirty kitchen. Hand washing dishes that didn't fit into the dishwasher, wiping counters, etc. What a guy! Not only that, when he was done and finally settled down in one corner of the couch, Susi plopped between us, put her head in my lap, feet in his lap and told him "rub my tummy....like THIS" (holds out clawed fingers...she like when he really rubs her tummy!). A few minutes later, "Okay, that's enough. You can rub my feet now." And he did. After a glance and chuckle towards me. And every time he slowed down, she reminded him "Keep rubbing!" And he'd continue. I just told him, "Remember, you are setting a standard. A very HIGH standard for what she will expect from a man in the future. This will help weed them out...." She then looked at me with a smile and said, "When I grow up, I think I'm going to be a princess!" That changed from last night when she hugged me and told me, "When I grow up, I want to be a Mama with two children! A boy and a girl." After listing off several nonsensical names, she settled on naming them.....Luke and Susanna.

And meanwhile, Luke continued to play with her doll house....

And Tony still has yet to rub MY tummy, feet, and back!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Susi's Prayer


Tony was running late for supper and told us not to wait for him to start tonight...so we didn't. I asked Susanna if she'd like to say grace, and she quickly agreed. Here's what her prayer was:

Deaw God, please make me some chopsticks so if my lips get dwy they can get betta and help my boogies to go away in my nose so when I whine and fwet they won't come out. Help Luke to be good and not peench my nose and me to be good, too. Kill satan and do whatevew you want wif him. Have a good twip with youwa special angels and deaw God, I love you. Amen! oh yeah, and for me and Daddy and Mama and Luke and Daddy and me. Amen!

I didn't know what to say, so I just dug into my pesto.....

(and yes, things are getting better...although we've been dealing with some stealing issues...although she's decided that she doesn't like when I take away her most favorite doll without asking...and she's not had any more peeing incidents, thank God! However, scissors are once again taboo as she now has a very short lock of hair on the top of her head....)

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Carter Clan

It's been awhile since I posted, and I don't have time to write much today, so here are a couple pictures of the "Carter Clan" for you to enjoy (as I go work at the Market today then get ready for our annual canoe trek down the twists and turns of the Straight River to Grandma LaMae's house and a wonderful picnic!)
At Smokey Hills Wilderness Retreat Chuckwagon Show
July 4, 2009
(the only two Carter family members missing from this shot are
Al Kehler who was still in Rome and
Jim Sleesman who is still serving our country in Iraq)

And earlier that same day, getting ready for the parade!

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Literal Kid and My Slave

Last Saturday, I stopped at a grocery store I usually don't shop at -- they have great brats, all beef hot dogs, and bacon that they do there at the store....so I stocked up for the freezer. When I got home, I asked Susanna to take the bacon out of the bag and put it in the freezer. Susi tends to get distracted often, so I didn't think much of it when it took over ten minutes to complete this simple little task.

Fast forward to Thursday morning. We're at breakfast, enjoying a slow starting morning -- I didn't have to be at the market or any where else; we were having "the cousins" over for supper; and the only thing I had to work on that day was a pretty long list of general house hold chores, some Watkins business things, and lots of laundry. Luke, being a typical boy, discovered that if he wets his lips, puts his mouth against the heels of his hands, and blows hard, it sounds like, well, a natural occurring bodily function. Much to his delight.

"hey mom! hear what this sounds like? A STINKY TOOT! Isn't that cool?"

Inside, I'm cracking up. I'm thinking back years ago to arm pit farts, burping contests, flipped up eyelids, and all other manner of inappropriate and hilarious childhood fun (or grown up fun, depending on the company you spend time with). Outside, I carefully maintained my mother face, asking "but Luke, do you think it's appropriate and polite behavior?" (This, as his sister is sticking her face in her plate and licking every last drop of syrup left over from the two pieces of French toast she devoured in a non-lady-like manner in less than five minutes.)

Eyes dart all over, except to my face. A grin surfaces. A quick glance at Mama then eyes zoom else where. Finally, the answer: 'Well, Mama, at this moment (yes, he actually said that), it, um, well, uh, hm. I don't know."

Boys.

I never did laugh in front of him, or crack a smile. I didn't want "those noises" made all day long!

So after breakfast, it was off to working down the chore list. I headed upstairs and stared with dismay at the kids' room....how did it get so messy and why did it smell so bad? Okay, I know why it smelled so bad, but anyway.....I set them to cleaning up while I headed into the upstairs living room. After they cleaned their room, we headed to the steps and foyer...where they continued to tidy things up along with me. Then downstairs...the biggest job area. As I cleaned the kitchen counters, I handed them each one of Watkins great new microfiber clothes (only $5.99...check it out! http://www.watkinsonline.com/productdetail.cfm?Product=27000&gCatalogLocale=USA&ECredit=367574) and had them start wiping down cupboard doors, kitchen drawers, and cabinets before sending them out to match socks in the sock basket.

Luke finally threw down his cloth in disgust and said, "you really hate us. You just make me slave around ALL DAY! My job is to PLAY, not work!" It startled him when I quickly agreed. "Yep, you're right. I hate you. I never cook for you, never make you treats, never give you cookies, never play with you, never let you have any fun, never let you play with the cousins. All I do is work you nonstop, every day." My son. He loves me. He quickly rose to my defense, this boy who had just accused me of being a slave-master, just like the Egyptians (yeah, he compared me to them!). "No, Mama, you really do love me! You're always doing that good stuff!" And he shut his face and finished wiping things down and matched all the socks he could find.

Meanwhile, I opened the freezer, I don't even remember why now. Much to my shock, there were two rashers of bacon, just sitting there, unwrapped, right on top of everything. "What is this bacon doing here, and why isn't it wrapped up???!!!!" and a tiny little voice piped up, "but Mama, you told me to take it out of the bag....."

Sigh. Maybe that's why she puts a little shimmy in her step when I tell them "let's get shaking!"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Husband, My Hero (and a follow up on Susi)

Last Thursday night, around 11:30, as I was painstakingly rolling out the 45 tins or so (seriously) of home made cinnamon rolls for our market, there was a rustle in the kitchen underneath the microwave stand. We live in the country. We had a small mouse infestation before. I started picturing the worst. And I screamed for my husband. My loving husband who had been asleep for at least two hours already. My hard-working husband who is usually up and out the door before the rest of us are even stirring in our sleep. Meanwhile, I stood guard in front of the microwave stand to make sure there were no critters escaping from the corner it was trapped in. And I yelled louder, keeping a close eye out so I could make a run for it if something else did, too (me in the opposite direction, of course!).

Tony stumbled in and I explained there was a mouse underneath the microwave stand and he HAD to get rid of it because I didn't want mice in the house again, especially since I usually have several 25 pound bags of flour stacked up for the cinnamon rolls along with 10 pound bags of white sugar and 7 pound bags of powdered (or confectioner's) sugar. Nightmare scenarios were flashing through my mind.

He went to it right away, moving the stand out of the way. Nothing stirred. Great. Was there a hidden nest somewhere???? I KNOW I saw something scurry under there and definitely heard it as well! In a few seconds, he started laughing. Or at least, he would have been laughing if his wife hadn't woken him from a very sound, much needed sleep. It wasn't a mouse. It was a frog. And he disposed of it.

Hey God? I'm not an Egyptian!!! And I really WOULD like to get away to the wilderness for awhile to worship You.....please don't send the plagues.....

And, for those of you would read, commented, offered advice, and laughed at my post last week about Susanna and her little (wet) problem -- please be assured that I have a strong willed daughter. I will keep an eye out to make sure there aren't medical problems associated with this, but let me tell you the follow up.

Saturday she reminded me that she hadn't peed anywhere but the toilet since I took Cinderella away. Not "since you spoke with me about it", not "since you made me clean it up," no, "since you took Cinderella away." She even started getting up in the middle of the night -- without coming in to get one of us - and going downstairs to go potty in the middle of the night. Yesterday afternoon, she hugged me tight and informed me of the number of times she went potty during the day, and "not even a tiny dribble went on the floor, Mama!"

She got her Cinderella back at bedtime...with a threat, I mean a warning, that next time she pees on her bed, in her pants, on the floor, anywhere not in the toilet (night time being the exception, although I didn't tell her that....we are still working on totally dry nights!), Cinderella was going away.....for good.

Now, anyone want to come help me shampoo the carpets, scrub the floors, and wash her mattress?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

HELP!!!!

Okay, all you seasoned moms out there....here's the problem.

I have a child who pees all over the place. We won't mention her name. She is a typical "boy" in that she gets involved in playing until it's often too late to make it to the bathroom. Or so I thought. It didn't happen too often, but it had been starting to happen about once a week, which IS too often. Then it started happening even more, sometimes once a day. I'd ask her often, "do you need to go to the bathroom?" And she'd assure me she didn't. And I'd just tell her to go...and if nothing comes out, that's fine.

Then one day last week I discovered the sheets on her bed were all wet. After she woke up. Dry. After she got dressed for the day. And the sheets were dry. "What happened????" "I had to go and couldn't make it." Grumbling, I made her help me change the sheets.

Then there were puddles in front of the toilet. Frequent ones. She was spoken to. She was given a time out. She was spanked. (you have to understand...this was happening almost daily now)

Still, in the back of my mind, I wondered if I was being too hard on her. Granted, she's 4 and she should know better, but maybe.....

Then.....Sunday, we were getting ready to go out to eat. She was wearing her favorite flouncy pink skirt...and a red shirt. She informed me that she didn't HAVE any white or pink shirts to wear, only red. I knew better, so I hauled, I mean, asked her to go upstairs with me to go thru her drawers....but when we got up there, her bed -- her DRY bed -- was soaking wet. So were the underwear in the middle of the room. "What happened?" I cried again (not literally....yet). She informed me she couldn't make it downstairs. Then a light flickered...."Um, Susi (oops, you didn't read that, I wasn't going to name names!), why isn't your skirt wet? Your favorite pink skirt that you've been wearing all day?" "Well, when I felt the pee pee coming, I took my skirt off before I sat on the bed and went potty."

WHAT??????

Okay, now the tears came. Literally. WHAT do I do to stop this behavior? A friend, a dear friend who loves my daughter very much, who leads our small group woman's Bible study (again, not mentioning names, you know who you are!) told me that God knew what He was doing when He gave her to me....she'd have killed her by this point (between this and other things you've read in the past week or so and even other things that have not been written). So please know, that isn't an option. I don't want to prove my dear friend wrong.

I'm fine with time outs. With spanking when necessary. With creative discipline (she's already not allowed to wear her princess dresses or twirly dresses for another month because she keeps writing all over herself and everything near her with pens and markers...even though she's not allowed to use them...and since they're all put up, I don't know where she's getting them!!! But it's working...she hasn't written on herself or anything else in two weeks, except for paper, with a pencil or crayon). But time outs aren't working. Spanking isn't working. Talking with her isn't working. Making her clean up the urine isn't working (yep, she's doing that, too, and having a genuine Cinderella attitude while scrubbing things up -- guess who is the evil stepsisters and stepmother all rolled in to one?). I've taken away her twirly dresses and princess dresses. I told her next time she pees in her clothes, she'll wear them wet and stinky all day long -- so now she just pulls her clothes off before peeing in unconventional areas.

I took away her Cinderella doll...her favorite (for today) toy as punishment. No, it doesn't fit the crime, but I don't know what else to do. I did tell her five days without peeing any where except where she is supposed to will get her Cinderella back...otherwise, one of the local cousins will get it...and keep it forever. And I mean it. She sobbed, thinking nothing in the world could be more terrible.

Will it work? I'll keep ya posted.

But in the mean time...give me suggestions!!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Catching Up.....

Yesterday morning, out of the blue, Luke looked at me and said, "Mama, I love you so much! I love you 28!" Now, I have no idea what that means other than he knows that's alot (well, to him). So I told him I love him 30. He upped it to 50. I topped him at 100. He increased it to 500 I went up to 1000. He impressed me by telling me he loves me a million. I told him I love him a trillion, and he responded with two trillion. I kinda stumped him though when I told him I love him to infinity and beyond. As much as we hear that line here, he didn't know what infinity was. He does now :)

Tonight on the way home from working at the market, I said something about being "Mama the Magnificent" to which Luke informed me that I'm not ALWAYS magnificent, only when I wear a dress. Susanna quickly piped up that she is magnificent, too. Luke, of course, had to burst her bubble and informed her that she isn't always magnificent either. "WHAT did you say? I'm not always magnificent? Luke Michael Cahtay! That is NOT proper behavior. You are huring my feelings. Hmph! Bad attitude, Luke. Of COURSE I'm always magnificent." Wow, was she playing it up with small grin on her face. His grin was bigger as he sought to reassure her that she is beautiful but not always magnificent.

As for Tony and I, we've been super busy with the farm and market and home. It seems the work is never done. Corn and tomatoes are going strong, as are beans, peas, spinach, zucchini, cucumbers, and beets. Muskmelons are slowly starting as are hot peppers. Hopefully, egg plant, green peppers, and watermelon aren't too far behind! Our market continues to flourish; God has really been blessing our business this year...this is my seventh summer here, and financially, this year is the best the market has been so far. I love that I know most of our regulars now, even our "summer only" and "one-week-a-year" visitors that make our market a daily stop! It's fun letting our customers know when we have something special I know they'll like (raw honey, new jams and jellies, certain produce, etc.).

It's also been a weird summer. I've seen news reports about droughts and heat waves around the country, but we've not seen that here this summer. Thankfully, we've had no shortage of rain. And we've only had a handful of days where the temps were above the mid 70s. Even through July and August, there were sometimes full weeks when the temperature would barely get into the low 70s! And then last week, we had one day in the upper 80s, another in the 90s, and I thought I was going to die! I guess when you get used to the cooler temperatures then they sky-rocket up without one getting used to it...well, it's horrible! But the day after the 90 degree temps...things were back to the low 70s. Tomorrow's high....67!

BTW, I've been trying more new recipes after a great new site was created this summer by Ree "The Pioneer Woman." You have GOT to check out this site! http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/?nr It is extremely user friendly -- it's free, you can build your own "recipe box" and add recipes to it, even from other blogs! You can post and share your own recipes, too. If you join, add me as your friend! I'm listed under my full name, LindaSue Carter.

For now...good night! Keep in touch, okay?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Smart Kid

Yesterday in church, Luke snuggled up to me, looked at me, and whispered "My daddy loves you!"

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I Tried Not to Laugh...

This has been another tough week with Susanna. You read about some of the more mild things that happened this week. Then there was yesterday. She went downstairs in the morning not even 10 minutes before me...and wiped out a tube of imported chocolates AND two giant cookies in that short time. Her discipline was no treat at the Market that day, regardless of what Luke got (and I planned to make his treat a REALLY good one). He decided he wanted shortbread. And who could blame him? Well, she saw his treat and informed me quite loudly in front of a market full of customers "Mama, I decided for my discipline I want a spanking. Then I can have a cookie." "Really? YOU want a SPANKING?" "Yes, Mama. I want a spanking." I told her to go outside and wait for me. She did, clutching both hands to her tush. A few minutes later, I followed her out the back door only to be informed, "I decided I'd rather not have the cookie."



Then, we got home in the evening and she was going to set the table. Once again, she grabbed all the plates, trying to balance them in one hand, but this time, before I could tell her not to, that she was going to drop the dishes (something she hears often)....she did. And broke one. Corell. Unbreakable. And it landed on a padded mat. Then I noticed her face. Covered in raspberries and strawberries. The raspberries and strawberries I brought home to make three pies for a family supper tonight at the farm. I brought home just enough, no extra to spare. I cried. Literally. I just wanted out for awhile. This may not sound like that big of a deal to you, but it's just been one struggle after another with her and getting more and more each day. Figure in working full time at the market, trying to keep up with things at home, etc.....well, it's overwhelming. Tony helped, but I don't know if he clearly understood what I've been dealing with.

Until today.

Saturdays our routine is usually a bit different. Today we had a babysitter here while I was at the Market. Friends of ours had a 25th anniversary celebration, and the kids went with the babysitter and her family. Tony was then going to take them to the Logging Days in town to watch the lumber jack competitions after dropping more sweet corn off at the Market. Ha!

About 2:45, I called Tony to see how soon we'd have more corn. He answered the phone a bit out of sorts. "I got home and the girl was running around naked. She got all wet some how and I think there's soap all over. We can't find any clothes, and I have no idea where the babysitter is. I haven't even picked corn yet." I couldn't help it. I tried not to laugh. But I did.

He hung up on me.

(I found out later, the babysitter was upstairs trying to find clothes for Susanna...and it isn't like she doesn't have drawers-full of them....)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Chocolate Band Aids

Before I go further, if you live in the immediate area (or where this wouldn't be too long of a drive for you), please do yourself a favor and go see the local production of "Fiddler On the Roof" this coming Friday, Saturday, and/or Sunday. We went to the show Sunday afternoon and it was fantastic! A friend, David Overly (hi Dave!) has the starring role of Tevya and does wonderful. Our niece Tessa is Hodel, the second daughter, and also does fantastic. The entire cast is outstanding...even our kids sat through it enthralled. No small feat for a 4 and 5 year old, sitting still for a 3.5 hour production (with a 15 minute intermission). You'll be glad you went!

Now, on to chocolate band aids! Yesterday, somehow, Susanna got a small carpet burn on her elbow. You'd think she was skinned alive with all the "ows" and moans and belly aches she's been doing. Don't feel sorry for her, it's all a ploy. See, on top of the fridge, I have a pack of chocolate band aids for the REALLY bad owies. And she wants one. Or three. I told her not last night (yeah, hype up a four year old before bed time, right!), but if it was still bad in the morning, I'd THINK about it.

Well, obviously, I took too long. Going into the kitchen this morning, I noticed the step stool in front of the fridge. I called her to me and asked why it was there with a quick reminder not to lie. "Well, uh,....." I told her I already knew why it was there and I wanted to know if she was going to tell me the truth. We had a situation with lying yesterday and she found it was much less painful NOT to lie, so she quickly told me she wanted to just see the chocolate band aids....and maybe eat them. Okay, I wasn't expecting that full confession, so I asked her how many she ate and she told me two. I banished her to the steps with her wailing, "Don't spank me!" while I cooled down.

I had no intention of spanking her. Really, I didn't. But she asked for it. Literally. I mean, she did! After a four minute time out, I walked out and told her once again she had stolen from us by taking something that wasn't hers to take (we have an issue with stealing things, too). Then I asked what her discipline should be. Honest. I was thinking maybe throw the rest away....making HER throw them away. Getting some money from her bank, something along those lines. Nope, she said "A spanking." So she got a quick swat, and we sat and cried together as I told her I didn't think I was being a good mama because my daughter keeps lying and stealing and having naughty behavior and I didn't know what to do.

She kept hugging me and assuring me I was the best mama and she wouldn't be bad any more (see, I TOLD you we have a problem with lying! about the bad part, not the best mama part!). She grabbed my hand and we headed back to the other room. As we were walking along she looked up and said,

"Can I still have a chocolate band aid?"

ARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I'm Tired of Being Susanna

So we're eating supper when out of the blue, Susi tells us, "I'm tired of being Susanna. I want a different name." Playing along, I said, "Okay, what shall we call you? I know! Ricky! We'll call you Ricky!" She looked a bit horrified as she replied, "no! I don't want to be Ricky! I want to be..." Interrupting, I told her, "No, you can only be Ricky or Susanna. I rather like Ricky, and that's what I'm going to call you now." "NO! I don't WANT to be Ricky! Just call me Susanna! I LIKE Susanna!"

At least we won't have to get a new birth certificate issued with the name change.....

Friday, July 31, 2009

Lemon Meringue Pie! (Part 2)

Yes, we had lemon meringue pie for breakfast yesterday, am I the coolest mom or what? Luke kept looking confused and saying, "but we've never HAD pie for breakfast before!" And, as I suspected, Susanna wanted the meringue but not the lemon or the pie....

Gotta tell you, when eating a lemon meringue pie made with Watkins Lemon Dessert mix, you keep wanted to look for a seed or pulp....it honestly tastes like you've used fresh squeezed lemons.

There's one piece left....and I want to get it before the kids do for breakfast, so....see ya later!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lemon Meringue Pie!

We're winding down strawberry season. We're in the midst of raspberry season. And yet, for the past three weeks, my daughter has been asking me, "when can we make a lemon meringue pie again?" Since I'm usually not working at our market on Tuesday, Monday night I whispered in her ear at bed time "tomorrow we'll make a lemon meringue pie."

You've gotta know Susi. When she gets excited about something, specifically some kind of food, she gets the funniest giggles going. And that's what she did Monday night.

I'm ashamed to say, we didn't make a lemon meringue pie yesterday. I canned cherries in the morning, then Tony stopped by and took the kids with him to the farm. They got home in time for supper, baths, and bed. And as I was tucking Susanna in for the night, she whispered in my ear "We didn't make a lemon meringue pie today." I whispered back, "but we will on Thursday" (my only other day not at the market).

However, we stopped at the grocery store today on the way to the market, and one of the things we picked up was a premade roll-out pie crust (yes, I cheat at pie crusts sometimes!). Tonight, after supper, we made lemon meringue pie (yes, from Watkins lemon dessert mix). And my daughter couldn't stop high-fiving me. And as I tucked her into bed tonight, she whispered in my ear, "Mama, we made a LEMON MERINGUE PIE tonight!" Of course, I think the joy was more in licking out the meringue from the mixing bowl....

I was tempted to have a midnight snack....but I think we'll have it for breakfast instead.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blog

I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog. I will update my blog.

Now that I wrote that 50 times (okay, copied and pasted), it won't be today, but I WILL update my blog soon (with something other than that).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Circus!

Yesterday afternoon, we took the kids to the circus. It was just a small, one-ring circus that comes through here about every two years, but it's perfect for kids. They were amazed when the tigers and lion came out...shoot, I was amazed! I've seen 'em before, but something about the sleekness and size of those jungle cats is incredible. Luke kept asking later, "were those REAL tigers? I've never SEEN a real tiger!"

Next came the lovely young lady on the trapeze. She pranced out in her fancy long robe and high heels, strutted to the center of the mat, and dropped her robe to show a rather revealing outfit, conveniently covering her body but in nude coloring with some "regular" cloth in there, too. Luke turned to me and said, "I didn't know she was going to get undressed!" Neither did I!

Susi was fascinated, never really having much reaction as she was taking it all in (other than her wide-eyes), but when I'd ask her if she liked whatever was going on, she'd assure me, "oh yes!"

Watching the tight rope artists, the trapeeze artist swinging around and also spinning around by her neck (with a kind of rope cradling her head), I repeatedly told the kids, "Don't you EVER try this EVER!" Susanna assured me, "oh no, Mama. I won't!" And I believe her. Luke's reply? "Mama, I won't! I can't even do tricks like those!" But...God willing....he won't even attempt!

It was a great time. This year they both took their own money to buy some things -- they both got peanuts, and Susanna got some cotton candy that she made the mistake of sharing with Luke.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Just the Thing I Need."

We've had one of those mornings....my strong-willed child threw tantrum after fit after whining complaint. The limit was finally pushed, the warning breeched, and we had a visit to the steps, wooden spoon in hand. Tears were shed, hug were shared, warnings were given that no more naughty behavior would be tolerated. Back to the lunch table with a few sniffs but much improved attitudes. Finally, my strong willed child looked at me and said, "Mama, sometimes a little spanking is just what I need."

Good thing, because they both just got another one. Sigh. But it is finally silent and rests are being taken before our big night at the circus tonight!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Watkins!

It's been awhile since I blogged about Watkins, other than an occasional reference to a product here and there...so....since I have some time on my hands (okay, not really), here's some more info!

First of all, if you haven't figured it out by now, I LOVE Watkins products. The question I hate most in regards to Watkins is "What's your favorite product?" I can't pick! I love the vanilla...double strength Madagascar vanilla beans, use half as much as the recipe calls for, doesn't lose flavor when heating or freezing. I also love the other extracts, and the maple and butter extracts are part of the secret to my cinnamon rolls! The baking powder is aluminum free (yeah, you read that right...did you know Calamut and other major brands have ALUMINUM in them...for leavening? Get real!) and my baked goods -- biscuits, scones, cakes, cinnamon rolls and more are lighter and fluffier that ever before. My husband's aunt could give you a great testimonial.... The soups and dips -- shoot, EVERYTHING -- is MSG-free. And when you use the soup bases for flavoring, you really are getting flavor, not a salty taste. The mushroom soup makes such a great sauce, I haven't used Campbell's for my casseroles (or hot dishes, here in MN!) for years...and it just tastes better (and doesn't have the MSG Campbell's does). The cooking spray -- wow. It actually sprays on what you're spraying, not the air around you. It doesn't bake that yellow gunk on, and it's equal to about 2.5 or more cans of Pam. Then there's the grapeseed oil, the dessert mixes, the dip mixes and more.....

Then there's the Petro Carbo salve that our family couldn't live without. It repairs dried, cracked skin overnight. It draws out splinters, zits, poison from insect and spider bites (another of Tony's relatives can give you a great testimonial on a spider bite that almost killed her grandson). It draws out and prevents infection. It gets rid of warts in about a week. It helps skin heal from just about anything...cuts, scrapes, infection, chicken pox, bed sores, whatever.

The supplements are awesome....check out a recent post from Brownie http://oneoldmama.blogspot.com/2009/07/energizer-red.html about how the supplements help her overly active four year old. The E+CoQ12 has really helped me get through each day with just enough energy, and not the jittery, fake kind either.
Then there are the cleaner and personal care line...all natural, plant-based, and they work better than anything you'll find in the store! Honestly, speaking as a farmer's wife and mom to two pre-schoolers, all this stuff is great and cleans so well! I can't do without the all purpose cleaner and the laundry detergent...the dish soap and hand soap....and the list goes on!

Watkins has been in business for over 140 year now and has never had a product recall. Not many companies can say that! Each batch of our products are rigorously tested before being sold to make sure they meet the high standards we and our customers expect. And Watkins is known for the high quality in all our products. And all of our products are 100% satisfaction guaranteed or your full money back.

While we have always pretty much been all natural in our products, over the past several years, Watkins has successfully made the attempt to "go green" in production. That means our packing peanuts are biodegradable and safe for the environment (which is great when a kid accidentally swallows one...it just safely dissolves!); processing is "gravity-fed" to conserve energy; our product packaging is lighter weight, saving thousands of pounds of plastic each year...when the packaging IS plastic. Several items are packaged in glass and in tin to better preserve freshness. Everything at our plant and offices is recycled in a strict paper, plastic, and aluminum recycling program. And even the ink in our labeling is soy based! Oh, and if paper doesn't have to be used (mail to associates, etc.), everything is paperless....even bonus checks to associates whch is direct deposited!

What I love about being part of Watkins, besides the great products, is that it is so easy to take advantage of wholesale prices or to earn a secondary income or to earn a full income. In the States, it is only $39.95, less than the price of a warehouse club, to join and get wholesale pricing on all products. If you're looking for something to help bring in extra money, working at your own schedule (stay-at-home parent, second job, etc.), this is it! If you sign up to do the parties, Watkins pays ALL the hostess rewards (10-30% of party sales), and you can easily make $125 or more for only 3 hours work...most parties are at least $500 in total sales. That gets the hostess 30% in products, $150 of her/his choice in Watkins. That earns you a minimum of $125 cash, not counting bonus commissions. Do the math...have two parties a week, four weeks a month, and you're talking a MINIMUM of $1,000 take home money, not counting bonus commissions (provided the parties are $500 or higher), for maybe 24 hours worth of work. How many other jobs can you get that from...legally?

Yeah, but so many direct sales companies make you do so many purchases or you don't get discounts. Yep, I did Mary Kay, too. I looked into Pampered Chef, Tupperware, and more. Here's the thing. With Watkins there are NEVER any minimums for ordering or frequency requirements. If you order once a week, it's the same discount as once a year. $5 or $5,000, same discount. What happens is once you have a certain amount of points each month, you start earning bonus income, anywhere from 10-40% of bonus values. That's a nice tidy profit for those who are interested in making Watkins a full or part time career...but great for those who just want to use it for personal use, since they'll always get the discount.

And the coolest thing about signing up right now, whether it's for personal use or to generate extra income? If you sign up with me in July, you'll receive a $10 Watkins gift certificate. Not only that, I have a great "welcome to my team" basket with approxiately $40-50 worth of products.

Interested in learning more about the products and or business opportunity? Please check out my website at www.watkinsonline.com/lindasuecarter or shoot me a comment or email here or on facebook or give me a call if you have my number....you can even click on this link for a great presentation http://www.watkinsonline.com/business_presentation/index.cfm?gCatalogLocale=# I'd love to pass this wonderful opportunity on to you!