Posted by: theprovidentwoman | July 29, 2009

Ain’t T-Ball Fun?

In the spring my daughter begged and begged to play T-Ball. Of course we said yes, it was way cheaper than the dance or gymnastics she wanted to take. I loved T-Ball and later softball as a kid. So I’m thinking “yes, my daughter will like something I liked. She is my spitting image as it is.”

She absolutely loved her first practice. There was a girl on her team that was in her Kindergarten class. So, yeah, she knew someone. Let the fun begin. They had three practices before the first game trying to teach them the concept of the game. You know, this is first base, this is the tee you hit the ball off of. Anya was doing great. None of the kids could catch or throw with any accuracy so she didn’t stand out at all. It was all just fun.

Then came the first game. Dun, Dun, Dun….  Here’s how it went.

So far so good, the helmet is on.

So far, so good. The helmet is on and I look cool.

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Oh man, I totally forgot what to do. Is that the ball?

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Yes, I hit the ball, here I go. Wait, why is everyone yelling at me to run the other way.

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Skip, Skip, Skip to my Lou, Skip to my Lou, my darlin’.

Now for playing in the field..

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Ewwww. Cool. It’s like a giant sand box.

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Look at the sand fly. Hey, quit throwing the ball at me. I’m only at  first base. Throw it at the runner.

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What, I’m out? But no one else the entire game has gotten out. Everyone else gets to eventually go all the way around. Maybe I should skip a little faster.

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Alright, good job everyone. Let’s shake their hands and say, “Way to go.” Hey, who brought the snacks?

After this game, Anya was informed she was supposed to pay attention and not just play in the dirt. So from then on she cried on the way to practices and games. She didn’t want to play anymore. It just wasn’t fun. We made her stick with it. We told her she was part of a team and they were counting on her. She seemed to understand that and put up with having to go. She also begged and begged, again, that we never, ever make her play again. DEAL!!! No more complaining, yessss!

She had her final game last night. Shew!!! It was finally over. There were only 8 games, but man it seemed like more. Especially when you’re having to entertain a 1 and 3 year old who have absolutely no interest in the game. You would have thought, after playing 8 games all of the kids would have learned a little something about the game. Nope, you’re wrong. They all still run for the ball in the field. And I mean ALL 10 of them run for the ball. Luckily they only allow the runner 1 base because of this.

We know she did learn something though. She no longer tries to run to third after hitting the ball. But she still preferred skipping over running. She got pretty fast at it to.

Now, I promised she would never have to play again so this fall starts dance. Is it bad that I dread the things? Yes, I want her to do them, but I hate being to the one to cart her around to activities. I’m afraid for the teen years. Is there a way to make them stop aging? Or to skip the dreaded teens?

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Posted by: theprovidentwoman | July 28, 2009

Cankles, what’s next?

I was watching the Today Show this morning, my normal routine. Before another commercial Matt Lauer gave a peak of a topic they would cover when they got back from commercial. It was over cankles, maybe it’s kankles (fat ankles) and how to get rid of them.

So now I have to worry about my ankles looking fat? What’s next, my toes, my ears? I already worry about my butt, thighs, love handles, back fat and the flabbiness of my arms. Now I have to worry whether my ankles look fat or not. AHHHHH! Will it never end.

I think I’ll go eat a chocolate bar. That’ll make me feel better and forget all about this craziness.

Posted by: theprovidentwoman | July 27, 2009

I Hate Carrying Around My Yogurt!

You know what I hate most about commercials talking about ways to lose weight? Those skinny size 0 6 foot tall ladies saying how eating this helped me lose weight. When we all know she only weighed a buck five to begin with. So, WOOOOWWW, she lost 1/2 a pound eating yogurt. I gain 2 pounds just looking at a yogurt. There is no way a tiny little yogurt is going to fill me up. Sure you’ll lose weight if you can get by on just one. But I would need 3-4 to feel full. I need substance, or solid chocolate to not feel hungry.

I was at work the other night and I had to step in and help the cashiers sell tickets when the line started going out of the building. I was selling tickets one at a time to a group of college-age guys. Have you ever seen King of Queens? Imagine Doug Heffernan, or if you haven’t seen the show but maybe Mall Cop, Kevin James. One of the guys reminded me of him. Same size, build, even hair cut. He orders his ticket to G-Force (yeah if that wasn’t weird enough), while I’m running his credit card he says “I hate carrying around my yogurt.” I’m thinking “What? I must have miss heard him.” I look up and in his other hand is a little yogurt with the spoon sticking out. Now what I should have said was, “There is no outside food or drink allowed,” but I was so shocked to see a guy carrying around a yogurt like it was a Gatorade. I mean come on. I can finish an entire thing of yogurt in like 4 maybe 5 bites. So then I started imagining this guy taking little petite bites of his yogurt to make it last.

I just don’t think I’ll ever understand. Out of all of the things people try to bring into movies. YOGURT, come on!

Posted by: theprovidentwoman | July 27, 2009

Beekeeper or Martian?

Anya learning the ropes of beekeeping.

This suit was our oldest girl’s 6th birthday present. She begged and begged to help daddy with the bees. So we buy her this suit and man it was huge. But isn’t she adorable. Her first, and so far only, time out she leaned forward into the veil and guess what. She got stung on the forehead. She vowed never, ever to help with the bees again. But my younger daughter really wants to help. We’ll see.

Posted by: theprovidentwoman | July 27, 2009

Our Fair Affair

This past week the fair came to town! We drove by on Tuesday and Wednesday with our children’s eyes wide with anticipation as the ferris wheel was erected and the rides and animals visibly enroute. So, naturally, we decided to go to the fair for the first day to eat an expensive dinner of corndogs and polish sausage to discover the show animals wouldn’t arrive until Friday! So we came back the next day ready to go full throttle.

The girls ready to go

The girls were excited to experience the fair and excitedly recounted stories of last years rides. We didn’t get far before the draw of animal banter whisked our family into the show barns where there were pigs, cattle, rabbits, goats, sheep, poultry and country bumpkins.

Our children were afraid to touch the cattle.

One of many cows

While observing all of the animals we came across a young woman feeding one of the calves. She kindly allowed the girls to become a part of that experience and help satisfy the cows thirst. How many girls does it take to feed a calf?

Feeding a calf

And of course, it has always been a wonder of mine how cattle judging is commenced. It only leads to reason that a cows butt is as important a criterion as any since it’s the only view we fair-goers are privy without muscling between each animal to look them in the eye. An entire show barn with paths and aisles which lead our family between rows of cattle behinds…I mean seriously! This is one of the finest years row of cow bottom in the area.

What is a fair without cattle?

We decide to take a moment between animal viewing and rides to drink some water.

Drinking at the fair

Finally, we made it to the rides.

Our WILD HOGS!

And our WILD HOGS were reborn!

Posted by: theprovidentwoman | July 26, 2009

Getting By In These Economic Times

Like many others we have been struggling through these icky economic times. Let me start off by sharing with you how our predicament started.

1.  We bought a house. WOOO HOOO! Home sweet home!!! (Good investment, but we were then paying more than 3 times what our previous rent was. Oh! And did I mention the 20 acres we were simultaneously paying for – long story…)

A view of our 20 acres

2.  Moving into the house the week of Christmas, Clint slipped carrying in a wooden file cabinet drawer full of stuff and crushed a finger. (Medical bills started flying)

3.  We had our beautiful baby boy in March (prematurely causing more medical bills to fly. Especially since our deductible started over the first of the year).

4.  I quit teaching. (Couldn’t afford daycare with three kids and driving 30 miles away to teach)

5.  I got meningitis right after starting new insurance through Clint’s work (you guessed it, new deductible.)

6.  Our beautiful boy was in for a short stay in the hospital Thanksgiving weekend.

So with all of these medical bills flying and being demanded to be paid in a timely fashion we were screwed (for lack of a better term). So we took steps to fix our problem without losing our home, our land, our cars, and anything else we are to selfish to sell or lose.

1.  After doing our tax return and seeing that we paid over $11,000 in one year in medical expenses I called the hospital, who was demanding hundreds of dollars a month, and asked if there was anything that could be done. I just couldn’t afford to pay so much. I sent them over my tax return, a copy of our check stubs and a copy of ALL of our monthly bills. A few days later I called them to see if they got it. They knew right away who I was and they referred to me as the “really thick envelope”. They said they would look at my papers and call me right back. Within an hour I get a call and they inform me that my hospital bills will be no more. So from owing them something like $10,000 We now owed them $0. I was so happy, I cried.

2.  With our tax return we paid off our car and a bank loan from school (2 debts down).

3.  We finished consolidating all of our student loans. Now, instead of 6 payments we have 2.

4.  We consolidated our debt (credit cards and medical bills). I know this is a scary concept, but now we are paying a set amount each month and the debts are guaranteed to be gone in 2-5 years.

5.  We cut up ALL credit cards. This is also a very scary concept, there is now no fall back. If we don’t have the money, too bad, we don’t buy it.

6.  I got an evening job. Yes, it stinks, but it gets me out of the house. It might be work, but I actually get me time and we all get free movies. You guest it. I work at the movie theatre. So now date night is free (except for the popcorn).

We even got more serious about selling our honey and honey products. I started making pies to sell with the honey at the Farmer’s Market. Slowly but surely we will get out from our debt and not want to cry every time we pay bills. And if we can do it anyone can. But hopefully you’re not in the same boat. Debt bad, savings good.

Posted by: theprovidentwoman | July 26, 2009

A Skirt, Really?

I had a sad, but funny experience quite recently. At work (one of my many jobs), I was in the office and another employee was in there with me and said she had something to ask me, but didn’t want me to take it the wrong way. I’m thinking “Oh, man, do I have a big booger smeared on my cheek or is there toilet paper stuck to my shoe” (yes, I imaging gross things, sorry). But she asked, “Are you pregnant?”

Of course I blurt out, “DO I LOOK PREGNANT?!”

As she pulled her shoe out of her mouth she informed me “No, you don’t, but a lot of people here think you are because you wore a skirt to work the other day.” A skirt, really, that means you have a bun in the oven. Weird, I guess I’m out of the How To Announce Your Pregnant fashions.

As I responded by exclaiming “No, I’m not pregnant! I just like to dress nice every now and again” she opened the office door and without hesitation shouted out to other employees sitting on chairs close by, “False alarm there is nothing baking.” She may have thought that this conversation was over, that it wouldn’t lead to more or stay on my mind, but she was wrong, way wrong. Guess what I tried, and I mean tried, doing a couple days later. RUN. Yep, I lost my mind. And I have realized that I am not a runner. I ran maybe 2 blocks and I was done. I walked a ways and ran maybe one more block and did this a few times. And yes, I wanted to throw up when I was done. Yes, I’m that out of shape and lazy.  How do people ever get into running? I don’t think I’ll ever understand.

Yep, I'm cooking! And I'm sure it wasn't healthy.

Yes, I was probably cooking something unhealthy.

Posted by: theprovidentwoman | July 26, 2009

Somethings Sweet Over Allergies?

This time of year is a welcome one for many as it invites our families outside into temperate weather and puts the beauty of nature on display. With the blossoming of pollen producing plants there are many who struggle with allergies. Each year I visit with family, friends, colleagues and customers at the farmers market who purchase honey for relief. Often taking a spoonful of local honey with tea, toast, cereal, or even straight from the spoon they come to me weekly campaigning the benefits of honey in pollen allergy relief. I often find customers coming to purchase honey products and convincing others of the health benefits of honey.

Last year while at the market a neighboring produce farmer purchased several containers of honey for their family. We had both summer and fall honey for sale at the time. Their daughter was suffering from disruptive allergies due to early fall pollen and the parents purchased her some honey to see if it would help relieve a portion of her discomfort. The following week they approached our stand again for more stating that after a few days the fall honey had begun to manage the girls allergies. I would venture boldly to say that if evidence for the health benefits of honey were proven by personal experiences, than in regards to the effect of honey on allergies, I have observed the testimony of many, many people who commit to purchasing local honey for the benefit of reducing allergy discomfort.

Local honey is created from the floral sources that also spread the pollens which many people are sensitive to. The honey becomes a natural medium from which our own bodies can begin to create tolerance to pollens that aggravate our allergies. However, while all honey is healthy, not all pure honey’s are made alike. Honey’s produced in Brazil, Europe, or Asia and consumed in Kansas is unlikely to provide an allergy defense of parallel to the local honey for people in any given region. For this reason, those who find themselves in the tangles of allergies this season may want to consider taking a little bit of honey each day.

Posted by: theprovidentwoman | July 26, 2009

I Just Don’t Go Through Honey That Fast

It is a common experience, you look through the cupboards to get a spice and slide aside a container of crystallized honey or lift up a smiling plastic bear full of that golden liquid to wash the counter beneath. That honey has been around for a while and although it attracted your attention at the store or market, the intrinsic appeal of that sweet liquid hasn’t translated into eating it. What do you do with honey, anyway? Honey has a great appeal to people and rightfully so, however, it seems to loose momentum beyond uses for biscuit toppings and teas. Nevertheless, honey has many uses and can even provide a healthy replacement to sugar in the kitchen.

Honey can be substituted for sugar in any recipe. Substitute honey for up to one half of the amountof sugar called for in a recipe. The liquid in the recipe should be reduced by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used.

Posted by: theprovidentwoman | July 26, 2009

You Want Me To Try What?

One persons sweetner is anothers medicine

Okay, so if you’re like us, then every year your household finds its medicine cabinet with a bag of cough drops and bottles of cough syrup. I was just looking for some vitamins a few days ago and out of the cabinet spilled several bottles of syrup and cough drops. You know the ones that melodically ring within your mind with their silly commercials and  catchy yodeling, such as with “Ricola!” These commercials always seem to play during Thanksgiving meal or any other time that the thought of lemon and cough medicine are unpalatable with turkey and ham.

I imagine that I’ve just set into motion a neverending replay of oddly familiar and over-played commercials, but it was necessary. Even those grape and cherry cough syrups which taste awful, seem to always be present in our house as we work with comforting our children’s painful coughing throughout the seasons. We try to find the medicines that taste good, but I’m pretty sure we’re looking in the wrong places. We have been looking for great options for a healthy and safe alternative to over-the-counter cough medicines. Okay, so we may have lost die-hard OTC cough medicine user’s, but if you stay with me you might be surprised about how honey may be the next best thing for you and your children the next time you hear that dreaded cough.

In 2006 a group of chest physicians began discouraging the use of over-the-counter cough medicines stating that doses of the drugs within are too low to be effective or even unproven to relieve coughs. This past January, the FDA affirmed that the use of over-the-counter treatments for children under 2 should never be used. Their warning as founded in the article FDA Officially Nixes Cough and Cold Meds for Babies and Toddlers on health.msn.com/kids-health re-iterated the FDA’s warning – “that these medications can have serious and potentially life-threatening side effects’ in babies and toddlers.” These medicines have been removed from the shelves of consumer stores, however, may still be found in Americans homes. With the safety of such medicines in question, Penn State College of Medicine began research to discover alternatives to help parents deal with the troublesome coughs which their children develop.

The study found that honey (specifically, buckwheat honey – a dark and flavorful honey) provides better cough relief to children between 2-18 years of age than medicines containing dextromethorphan (DM), a common cough suppressant in over-the-counter medicine. Honey is a safe, natural, and effective source of relief for troublesome coughing which can cause throat discomfort and sleep disruption. Our children love to eat honey and are often found in the efforts of convincing dad to let them have a spoonful before bed, so maybe next time they won’t have to parade around the room for some when they have a cough. For more information check out the article Honey proves a better option for childhood cough than OTCs at http://live.psu.edu/story/27584 and remember that honey should never be fed to children under 12 months.

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