J is for Jollification

jol路li路fi路ca路tion [jol-uh-fi-key-shuhn]
jolly merrymaking; jolly festivity.

Since I ended up working on freelance stuff Wednesday night, I took my evening of rest on Thursday, and man, did I need it. We officially launched the teens site on Thursday morning, and it was announced to the GotQuestions networks later in the afternoon. The traffic started pouring in, with tons of new likes on Facebook, Twitter followers, and comments coming through the system. It was incredibly exciting but also quite draining to feel all those emotions at once.

That evening, we stayed home and just chilled. The kids played outside until they got hungry and tried. I had them eat leftovers for dinner as I was in no mood to have my cooking snubbed. They actually were fine with the leftovers, which was entirely shocking but nothing I will complain about. That in itself was enough to celebrate! I watched an anime with Midget online, and actually ended up going to bed somewhat earlier than I had planned.

Friday, I met Beth at Panera in the morning to work. The big Got Questions weekly email went out, advertising the teen site with a link. I was amazed at the traffic! We are already getting questions coming into the Q&A system. SUPER exciting. I am beside myself with happiness at getting to be a part of encouraging teens in this way. God has absolutely placed me in the right place, and it is so clear how He has been equipping me throughout my life to do this. Can you tell that I’m elated? 馃榾

Early Friday evening, I took the kids with me to the annual event where I am an art judge for a homeschool group projects fair. The kids usually don’t go with me, but since Heath was out of town, they had to. They actually did really well and made friends with some of the other judges’ kids that were there. It seemed like I was running into everybody there–lots of Inkaholics kids’ parents, friends, and almost all of Legolas’ family. It was a fun evening!

I got the kids to bed pretty easily that night, and barely 10 minutes later, my Muse girls began to arrive. We ended up chatting the entire time, talking about various, wide-ranging subjects. It was going to be a work night, but as it turned out, everybody needed to talk. That’s okay though–that is what Friday nights are for!

I is for Iteration

it路er路a路tion [it-uh-rey-shuhn]
1. the act of repeating; a repetition.

Today did not start out well. Days when you accidentally turn off your alarm clock never do. I flew from bed, woke the kids, threw on clothes, hurriedly made a lunch (Julie made her own), and jumped into the car because we had long since missed the bus.

“Oh, no, my violin!” Off she went to go get it. On the road now. “You shouldn’t have your backpack on with your seat belt!” “Slide it off at the next stoplight!” “Finish your muffin and choke down some water.” Still, we managed to be late, and I had to drop off one cranky kid and another on the verge of tears. By time I got home, the only thought left in my head was, “It’s going to take no small amount of coffee to get me through today.”

The workday went by in almost instant, it seemed. I was incredibly close to finishing the teen site I’ve been working on for months, so my focus was quite sharpened to it. After meeting Everest at the bus stop, we ran an errand, then went home to relax until it was time to go get the Jewel from her art club.

The afternoon is somewhat of a blur because I spent a lot of time watching the clock so we would be able to get to AWANA on time. My mind was on the work I would have to do afterward and hoping that the night went well at the church.

As it turned out, things were OK except for the kids all being unusually keyed up. Maybe it’s because they had a snow day yesterday; they were all hyperactive! Also, I was asked at the last minute to do the opening activities for the big group time because the AWANA director had called in sick. It was my second time filling in, and it went just fine thankfully.

We ended on time, and the kids and I were home at a good time. We had our story time, which we are all enjoying quite a lot! Sadly though, after reading, behaviors descended into a repeat of Monday night’s escapades. It went on for an hour, on and off, but they both finally settled long enough to fall asleep. One step forward, two steps back… Oh well. That’s what tomorrow is for, eh?

I finished up the teen site after I had the rest of the evening open–hooray! Then sent out all the announcements I could. The big influx will come when GotQuestions announces it officially on Thursday. Can’t wait!

There was enough time to do a couple more freelance things before 1:00 a.m., but that also meant that I did not get to rest how I had planned. Maybe I can rest tomorrow after I finish the couple little things I need to do for clients. That would surely be nice! Just no repetition of the bad bedtimes, please.

H is for Headstrong

headstrong [hed-strawng, -strong]
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: stubborn

So yeah. Yesterday was pretty awful, but today was much better. I stuck by my guns and followed through on every consequence I threatened–headstrong momma that I was determined to be. Strangely enough, it was uttered at least twice by my kids, “Today is the best day ever!” Hmm…funny how that works.

I’m sure it had nothing to do with today being a snow day. *whistle*

There had been quite a lot of talk about a snowstorm and blizzard conditions for Tuesday. In fact, the warning was so severe that even though there was NO SNOW anywhere in sight at 7:00 a.m., schools everywhere were cancelling for the day. Um. Okay. At least I didn’t have to wake the kids at 6:50 a.m. Of course, they woke up on their own at 7:30 anyway. *rolleyes*

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That’s what it looked like when I opened the blinds to check and see if any snow had come in with all the howling wind last night. Nope. Not a thing. I was going to post a comparison shot, but it would look practically the same. Granted, the wind was bitingly cold all day (wind chill factor at below zero) and strong as all get out. But snow? Nothing more than a dusting blowing around to cut into bare hands and cheeks. Oh well.

We started out the morning by running errands through the relatively deserted streets. I guess everybody was afraid to venture out. Thank goodness we now drive a tank, but even then, the wind whistled through every crevice it could find near the windows. We needed to swing by the bank and go all the way to my office to get my laptop so that I could actually accomplish some work today. We went by our favorite coffee place on the way home–just to make it extra worth it.

The kids had a fun time watching the snow and listening to music in the car. That in itself was kind of weird to me. Usually they’re bellachers about running errands. When we got home, we settled a bit, then M & A came over for a playdate. Now, one might assume that it would be a bad idea to have four children in the house when one has to get work done, and…well, one would usually be right. Actually, in this case, M & A do a great job of keeping Jewel and Everest totally occupied while I’m doing whatever it is I need to do.

Of course, today was an exception because Everest was feeling extra ornery for some reason. But he was the only one who needed any additional attention for the most part, so that was good. Once he was wrangled, everything went a bit smoother, and I was able to put one of the final puzzle pieces together for the teen site. I think we may actually officially launch tomorrow–SO EXCITING!

One of the things I had to stick to today was that I told the kids on Monday night that if they didn’t eat their dinner, they would be having it the next day. Sure enough, I set it out, and you know what? Nobody acted surprised. Nobody was incensed that they had to eat this horrible dinner. Everest completely finished his meal and even got dessert. Jewel almost finished, but it was sufficient enough of a try that I won’t make her eat the rest on Wednesday. I was very happy at this result and will endeavor to continue this practice so that I might possibly win out over their sporadically fickle ways.

Even though the kids requested to play iPad games at bedtime, I insisted that we continue to read our book. Thankfully, I was met with little to no opposition. Yet another win! After that, I made it clear that there would be no messing around or noise after I turned out the light or else it we would have a repeat of Monday night’s consequences. Once again, strangely enough, I heard nary a peep from their beds. Hmm…guess they realized that I meant it. This following through thing is hard at the beginning, but it apparently gets better!

I spent the rest of the night cleaning up around the house (though the kids did a good job of picking up their own things), writing up a recipe, and working on some freelance stuff. Another productive day and night in the books!

We’ve got AWANA tomorrow night, so it’s my usual evening off of doing anything. So a new blog post is fairly unlikely unless I’m feeling inspired to write up a recipe or something. I think I am well overdue for a night of turning into a zombie in front of the TV. It’s been literally weeks since I’ve turned it on.

Emergency Fudge

I found and altered a recipe for a no-bake treat called “PMS Cookies”, changing it into something of a bar and calling it “Emergency Fudge”, for one never knows when one will be in need of a chocolate fix to fix a wearied emotional state. This delicious little trifle has come to the aid of those in this household many times.

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2-3 C. chocolate chips
1 small bag peanut butter chips
1-2 C. dry roasted peanuts
Crushed potato chips
Crushed popped popcorn
Kosher salt

A Quick Note About Quantities
You may notice that a few of the listed items have rather imprecise quantities (or none at all). I’m a firm believer in simply using up what you have. So don’t feel like you’re required to have everything in prefect measurements in order to make this.

As with most recipes, you CAN switch things up a bit, and the result will just be slightly different. So long as you’re not picky about consistency, then you’ll be a happy camper. I’ve substituted peanut butter for the peanut butter chips, and it turned out fine, though the squares never fully set. This is great for using up those last bits of broken chips at the bottom of the bag, but just throw in whatever amount you have available. Alternate or substitutions can include anything you like from crushed pretzels bits to chow mien noodles.

A Few Small Steps Toward Sanity
Melt chocolate and peanut butter chips in a microwave safe bowl. Start with 1 minute on high, stir, then heat by 20-30 second increments, stirring in between until it’s all melted. (It shouldn’t take more than 1-2 more heat cycles.) Keep in mind that sometimes candy chips keep their shape even if they are at the melting point, so vigorous stirring is better than eyeballing for this.

Throw remaining ingredients (except salt) to a giant bowl, then pour the melted deliciousness over top of it. Mix together thoroughly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Pour out into an oil-sprayed casserole dish and press down. Sprinkle with some kosher salt if you’d like. It brings out the flavors and gives a slight salty aftertaste. Refrigerate (or freeze if you’re impatient) until set.

Run some hot water on the bottom of the dish briefly to loosen it up, then turn out the whole thing onto a large cutting board. (TIP: If you put the cutting board on top of the dish like a lid, then flip over both simultaneously, then you can somewhat avoid breakage. Also works with cooling racks on muffins/cupcakes and cake rounds!)

Using a big warm knife, cut the fudge into bite-sized pieces or whatever size you might want to clandestinely shove into your mouth while small children are screaming in the other room. Store in a container or baggie in the fridge.

G is for Gambit

gam路bit [gam-bit]
Part of speech: noun
1. Chess. an opening in which a player seeks to obtain some advantage by sacrificing a pawn or piece.
2. any maneuver by which one seeks to gain an advantage.

Just when I thought things were going so swimmingly, there had to come something. As I reflected on the afternoon and early evening tonight, I realized that this cloud over me was very much a spiritual attack. It was the enemy trying to throw off the good start and good attitudes we had over the weekend. The last thing I needed was something to go “wrong” at the beginning of a week of single parenting, but as I drove home to meet Everest at the bus stop, I went through a school zone and unwittingly ended up 10 miles over the speed limit. That’s where it started.

Of course, my timeline schedule was tight and the police officer (who I realize was only doing his duty) was taking what seemed like forever. I was in tears by time I got a hold of Corrie to see if she could meet Everest for me. She wasn’t at home though and had to turn her car around from where she was going. Thankfully, by time I got home, Corrie was there, and Everest was safe and sound. It turned out that he actually walked home with one of the neighbor girls who walks with Jewel to the bus stop almost every morning. I owe her a big thank you!

Meanwhile, I profusely thanked Corrie for allowing her day to be interrupted, and she was most gracious. She even offered to pick up Jewel from her afterschool meeting because M & A needed to be picked up there at the same time. I talked to Everest about what the plan should be if I am ever not there, and he seemed completely fine with it. Of course, HE wasn’t worried in the least.

Everything turned out all right in the end (except of course my having earned a speeding ticket). I baked some chocolate lava cakes for Corrie’s family as an additional thank you. Still, try as might, it became quite obvious that my forlorn mood was unalterable. In those cases, when I can’t stand to be around anyone and I feel that I absolutely must DO something or completely go insane, I send the kids outside and cook something more elaborate than necessary. The kids played outside for a long time as I figured out dinner and got it made. When they came back in though, they had been wrestling (read:hitting/kicking each other for “fun”) and were getting chilly and were therefore just as cranky as I was.

Dinner did not go well. Let’s just leave it that. I might add that nobody got to eat dinner except for me. That should give you an idea of how the evening went down. Jewel took a shower while I got Everest in his bed. I had them sit quietly for a few minutes while I did the dishes and decided what to do.

I couldn’t allow us to end on such a terrible note; that wouldn’t do at all. So we went for having our 20-minute reading time and continued our book we started yesterday. The kids are surprisingly riveted by the story even though there are a lot of words they probably aren’t totally familiar with.

The reading gave bedtime a more positive spin, and I was beginning to feel better about how the night was ending. Then it happened again. I really don’t care to go into details, but suffice it to say, I had to exact consequences for behavior and many tears were shed. In the end, everyone fell asleep where they were supposed to be, and I took about 30 minutes to gather my sanity together before even attempting to start freelance work.

Tomorrow is definitely going to be better though. Stress is so much easier to deal with when you know that it’s merely an attack from a spiritual enemy. Somehow just knowing that it is an external force trying to derail me makes me more determined not to let him win. I made some progress on a web project for a client and answered a few important emails. It’s been productive. Monday was definitely a struggle, but tomorrow is a new day.

Mini Faux Calzones

Sometimes nothing sounds good but you have no hot dogs or chicken noodle soup to fall back on. In those instances, what’s a girl to do but grab what’s available and make something out of it? That’s what I did one night after I had decided to make croissant-wrapped hot dogs but actually had no hot dogs. The kids have been fans of salami lately, and we had a little spaghetti sauce leftover, so these little fake calzones were assembled for dinner.

Refrigerated croissant dough
Spaghetti or marinara sauce
Any sort of pizza toppings you like and/or have on hand
Mozzarella cheese

Press the triangles of dough together to form rectangles, then cover with a spoonful of sauce and the toppings of your choice. Don’t go too overboard with filling though or the things won’t close. Only cover about half of the rectangle. I used salami slices, diced green bell peppers, a chopped up string cheese stick, and some sliced olives.

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Fold the empty half over the topped half and pinch to seal the edges. If you want to get all fancy, you can use a fork to press down the edges like a pie crust. Optionally top with a little more cheese. I just cut out shapes from our sandwich-sliced cheese and placed them on top before baking.

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Put your fake calzones on a sprayed baking sheet and bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes or until Golden Brown & Delicious. Eat them with a fork or just pick it up and eat it like a sandwich. I’d imagine it would be yummy to have some warmed up sauce for dipping on hand in any case.

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F is for Fecund

fecund [fee-kuhnd, -kuhnd, fek-uhnd, -uhnd]
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: productive

We had a weekend of excitement, I really must say. Saturday, the kids and I spent the whole morning deep cleaning the house, working on unfinished projects, and generally making the place more livable. They earned buttons for doing chores and more buttons for doing them without complaining. Julie even earned buttons for finishing her science fair project display board. In the end, they turned in their buttons for quarters, which equaled dollars that they could add to their banks. They were incredibly good and surprisingly helpful. Things were all going along so swimmingly, I was waiting for the ball to drop, but it never did.

2013-04-06 11.30.08

We worked hard all morning, stopping only for lunch and for the kids to take a break to run around outside for awhile. I unscrewed the fan blades in the kitchen, and Jewel scrubbed them in the sink until they looked new. (I am horrified to report that Everest, just last week, referred to the fan as “that hairy thing”. Yeah. It was pretty bad.) Everest did quite an impressive job cleaning the bottom shelves of the fridge with a magic eraser sponge. All the laundry got done AND folded AND put away. The back porch got totally swept out, and the pile of papers for recycling is gone. The bathrooms were sparkling, soaps were refilled, supplies were stocked. I finally WD-40ed the sliding glass door so no one would get a hernia trying to open it. We put together a low stool I’d bought for the kitchen table, and Everest and I finally planted his watermelon seeds. It was an incredibly productive day!

And incredibly productive days in which kids were actually helpful AND happy absolutely must be rewarded. So the three of us went to see Wreck-It Ralph at the dollar theater, then had dinner at Boston Market. Bedtime went pretty well too. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day.

My Friday night Muse girls came over Saturday evening. We had moved it due to Friday being Heath’s last day before his trip, but I didn’t want to miss seeing the girls. Angel arrived first, and we made some very delicious fudge which consists of chocolate, peanut butter, peanuts, plus crushed potato chips and popcorn. Oh yeah. NOM NOM. Legolas came by later, and after chatting awhile, we settled down to watch Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which I still hadn’t seen yet. Very fun geeky gamer movie!

Angel spent the night, and we made it to church in the morning. We grabbed some coffee afterward, then it was time to drop her off at home. It was very nice to have someone in the house again as, I admit, it has felt somewhat emptier since Elraen left. I always enjoy hanging out with Angel though, and we have some very good conversations that usually end up coming around to Star Trek or zombies somehow or another.

After taking Angel home, we went directly to my parents’ house where the kids gave my mom several handmade cards for her birthday, which was today. We went out to lunch with them and overdosed on fantastic food. Let’s just say I’m glad I got the gardenburger and a salad. There was a lot of goodness to share on that table before and after the meal. Whew!

We ran some errands with them, then went back to the house. The kids helped my dad put together an outside water/sand table that they can play with with their cousins in a couple weeks. I rested and got a chance to talk to my mom awhile, which is something we just don’t have time for much these days. Then for some reason, she decided to start cleaning out her cupboards, and we somehow acquired quite a few bagfuls of groceries to take home! (If anyone needs some Chinese curry mix, I have about a dozen of them now. ;-)) I am grateful though, because it is all stuff we can and will use.

Back at home, the kids had a light dinner (lunch was still with all of us!), then something utterly unthinkable yet wonderful happened: I realized I’d left my iPad at my parents’ house. Now this may seem trivial or pathetic or what have you, but honestly, it was just what I needed to wake me back up to reading at bedtime. I confess that I have been slacking in this department for quite some time.

The kids and I have done our bedtime snuggles together while playing games on my iPad. While this is okay every once in awhile, it certainly should never have become a regular habit. I came to realize in recent days that we don’t get a very quality snuggle time together when we’re playing games. Everybody is focused on the device, not each other. Well, we had no choice tonight, for which I found myself surprisingly grateful. I pulled a book off the shelf that has been sitting there for a couple years–a thank-you gift sent to me by one of my young CleanPlace friends who lives in Texas.

2013-04-07 20.25.07

I set the timer for 20 minutes and prefaced our reading time with, “We are going to read for 20 minutes. If any time is taken up by messing around or interrupting or jumping and wrestling, then the time gets taken up. But I’m closing the book in 20 minutes.” I started reading, and another amazing thing happened: no one interrupted me. *gasp!* Okay, that’s not entirely true. Julie was about to interrupt me, but then she said, “No, I’ll wait to ask until the end of the 20 minutes.” O.O

My children were apparently replaced by Martians this weekend.

Tonight has still been productive as I got the dishes done, folded the last vestiges from the dryer, and have now written two blog posts. I feel rather accomplished for the whole weekend, and it’s only 20 minutes after midnight. I think I can safely call it a night.

E is for Eggs

Eggs have become a serious staple in our household. The kids have eggs every morning before school because the protein is a good way for them to start off the day. (Brainfood and all that.) We love making scrambled eggs when we do breakfast for dinner, and eggs-in-a-basket is a fun weekend treat. Then of course, there is the necessity to have eggs on hand for baked goodies! I’ve learned a few things about eggs that are perhaps well-known among most, but I thought I would write them down for my letter of the day blog: E is for Eggs.

2013-04-05 10.07.48

Okay, I’m not going to snub my nose at anyone who likes their eggs over-easy or over-hard, but… Over-easy eggs have too much potential for slimy, uncooked whites, and over-hard eggs are dry and not easily spreadable on toast! In order to make lovely over-medium eggs, crack them in a sprayed, warmed up pan, then sprinkle with kosher salt and a bit of cracked pepper. Cook until the whites have become rather opaque. Gently flip over, count to ten, then remove from heat. Your eggs should be practically perfect in every way. 馃槈

I’m not sure what it is about kosher salt that I love, but I think it is that I feel I can get a saltier taste with less salt. Maybe it’s all in my head. Maybe I like it because Alton Brown has brainwashed me from too many viewings of “Good Eats” on Food Network. Whatever. Still! Always use kosher salt to salt your eggs, and fresh cracked pepper is best because then you have more control over the spread of spices.

I found a fantastic tip on The Burlap Bag blog about making “hard-boiled” eggs in the oven. Yes, it ends up taking more time, but the hassle is reduced by about 150%. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees, line your eggs up in a muffin tin, then bake for 30 minutes. That is IT. Once they’re out, plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking, and that’s about as complicated as it gets.

I’ve found that the eggs are much easier to peel, which results in less waste of eggy goodness, and the reduction of pot-water-watching stress makes those eggs even better tasting.

I was probably the last person to figure this out, but did you know that you can make an omelette-style egg (I grew up calling this a “flat egg”) quite easily by just scrambling it in your pan with your spatula? YES. This discovery came about because 1. I hate doing dishes, so making fewer dirty ones is always a plus; and 2. If I am going to make eggs for my kids every morning, it had better be stinkin’ easy.

Crack the egg(s) into a small, cold pan, then turn up to medium-high. Salt and pepper the eggs and add a splash of milk if you wish. Using the end of your spatula, break the yolks and scramble the eggs right in the pan. (I know, a bit obvious…?) It doesn’t have to be perfectly combined. You’re probably not cooking for the Queen of England. Just get everything reasonably mixed together, then leave it for a few minutes while you go make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fix your coffee, or whatever you do in the morning.

Once things have begun to firm up a bit, use the spatula to lift up the sides, curling it in on itself so that there is a nice raised edge. Once you can easily slide your spatula underneath the eggs, flip the disc over and allow to cook on the other side. I usually use two eggs and cook it all as one disc, then simply cut it in half with my spatula before plating for two kids.

Again, it is unlikely I invented this, but sliced hard-boiled (or hard-baked!) eggs on buttered toast is divine! Salt and pepper a bit before serving. Oh-so delicious!

2013-04-05 10.16.18

Ever had a recipe that needed only egg whites or only yolks? What do you do with the remainder? Don’t throw it out for goodness’ sake. You can use that for the next recipe that only needs half an egg’s goodness. Put the whites or yolks in a plastic zipper bag or container, making sure to label it with the quantity within. The trick is defrosting because if you do it too fast, the eggs will cook.

Probably the best thing to do is to let it defrost in the fridge overnight. If you’re like me, however, who doesn’t have a lot of foresight because I am a compulsive baker most of the time and rarely plan to bake, you won’t have time to do that.

Your first thought will be the microwave, but I caution you against it! You CAN defrost them safely in the microwave, but it must be done at very low power over a long period of time.

The next best thing, then, is to put the bag in a bowl of warm water and just practice patience, grasshopper. Your patience will be rewarded. With raw eggs. Hmm…well, at least it’s better than cooked eggs when you need it for baking.

I’m sure there are a lot of other things I could say about eggs, but those are the tricks that I often pull out of my hat several times a week. Hope you learned something new!

D is for Denouement

denouement [dey-noo-mahn]
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: the end result

Here we are the end of the week, and what we have as a result of the busyness is a very sleepy family. This weekend is going to be a much-needed respite for me and the kids as we really don’t have anything too daunting planned. Heath worked four days of double shifts, teaching day AND night classes. It’s been a long week, and I am glad that we will have some downtime for a couple days.

After Heath put the kids to bed, I laid down for “a few minutes”. That is a terribly dangerous activity for me. I ended up snoozing for an hour, only to wake up and find that Heath had also fallen asleep in Everest’s bed–at 7:00 p.m.! I’m not surprised though, what with all the hours he has had to work. We’ve barely seen him at all because he had meetings or other things he had to do between shifts.

I got myself stirred, then woke him around 8:15 p.m. He came into the bedroom and laid down again for nearly an hour. I hated to keep waking him, but he really needed to get started on his packing. He had already said it would take him several hours.

So he is presently downstairs packing like a madman because he’s about to leave for a week to hike/camp Slot Canyon in Utah and do some rock climbing in Arizona. (He’ll be going to pick up his friend to meet at the other friend’s house at 5:00 a.m.) It’s a trip that has been in the planning for months now, and the time has finally come. He anticipates being up all night packing. I anticipate going to bed no later than 1:00 a.m.

Today was rather productive. We are SUPER close to having the teen site ready for an official launch next week. There are just a few more finishing touches I would like to add, then we make it public to the GotQuestions network of people, and the site will, hopefully, get flooded with visitors.

I am super excited about the imminent launch! This is one of the reasons why they hired me in the first place. I LOVE the way the site looks, and the content is amazing. Most of the articles were written by teens or college-age people, and some of the blogs are the product of my harvesting from CleanPlace writers’ Facebook statuses (with permission of course!).

After school, the kids had playdates with M and A. I took the girls (who spent the entire time outside “sledding” on the dead grass), and Corrie took the boys. It was a great way to get the kids worn out. Heath suggested Chick-fil-A for dinner, so I took off to pick it up while he got the kids all showered.

This evening, I’ve almost finished up a project for a client. She had a bunch of web pages to have redone/updated with a spiffier image viewer. All the pages are done now, leaving only a few tweaks to be made to the Flash menu–if I can ever get it figured out. Anyway, that is very satisfying to get that done.

I’m thinking that a shower is in my near future as well, then I may reward myself with a little editing of one of the Inkaholics books I have on the table to finish. Yes, yes. That sounds like it will do quite nicely…

C is for Cessation

ces路sa路tion [se-sey-shuhn]
a temporary or complete stopping; discontinuance.

I realize that this A to Z blogging challenge supposes that you will take Sundays off, but the fact is that I don’t need that blogging break on Sundays. I need it on Wednesdays–at least during AWANA season. Our church does AWANA clubs for kids on Wednesday nights, and it doesn’t end until 7:45 p.m. Kind of late for a school night if you ask me, and considering my kids go to bed at 7:00 on a normal day when they have to get up early.

(My soapbox: Yes, my children need that much sleep or they go more batty than usual. Some have told me how surprised they are that I “make” my kids go to bed so early. Well, the truth is that they need at least 10-12 hours of sleep a night–and that’s a clinical fact for their age range. I wish I could go to bed at 7:00 p.m. sometimes. :-/)

But we made the choice to sacrifice sleep for spiritual formation this year. (Not a choice we have always made.) I’m really glad that we did though because both kids are really loving AWANA. They’ve made friends, and they love memorizing Scripture. Definitely worth the time out of our week and the bleary eyes on Thursday mornings.

Anyway, about my cessation. I decided several months ago that Wednesday nights needed to be my night “off” for the week. We have AWANA, which makes things crazy enough in the evening, but then add to it the fact that I do have evening engagements with people every once in awhile and I run a freelance business to boot. That means on any given night of the week, I may be with someone or working on freelance design, writing, editing, etc. Usually the weekends are packed with various meetings and family time.

Thus, there is a real need for me to just relax and do nothing more pressing than a little housework on Wednesday nights. It usually goes very well and is much appreciated by my state of mental health. Last night, however, was not so restful.

I was feeling incredibly sick by time we finished AWANA. During the drive home, it got worse, and by time the kids were down for bed, I was ready to just curl up and die. It was a combination of stomach cramps, headache, and nausea. Oh yeah. Quite fun that. Or not.

The night was spent tossing and turning and generally not being happy. I had to wake up early to take Jewel to school extra early because they had a super enormous field trip today. All that went fine though. At least she was excited enough that she just got up and took care of all her morning routines on her own.

I ended up leaving work a bit early so I could rest some before Everest came home on the bus. (Jewel wouldn’t be back from her field trip for another 1-1/2 hours.) Laying down for about 40 minutes really helped my spirits and my ability to stand up straight. Everest and I played together a little while, then it was time to go pick up the Jewel.

We had dinner at my mom’s restaurant because I just didn’t have the energy to cook or even look at food. My mom made some of her noodle soup which always helps my uneasy stomach. The kids ate well and got to talk and chill for the evening.

Of course, we ended up staying later than I had planned, but that was okay. We got home, got the kids showered, and everybody went to bed pretty easily. Such a nice change! I’m guessing Jewel was pretty worn out from the long field trip, and Everest always goes to bed easier directly after a shower.

I spent the evening trying to decide if I wanted to go to bed or get some work done. Before I knew it, it was near midnight, and starting anything that would require brainpower (not like a blog entry) would not be a good idea. This means I have extra to do tomorrow, but ah well. Perhaps I needed that extra evening of rest.