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What a bag of crap

It came!  For two years I’ve been trying to get a Bag of Crap.*  You’d think I’d have enough crap living with a husband, three kids, and two cats, but no, I wanted more.  One friend has gotten a bag of crap at least five times, which is a lot.  I’ve been SO jealous of all her crap!  But this time it was my turn.  

Some of you are still confused.  Understandable.  Most people don’t do a blog post about the joy of a bag of crap.  Well, as you know I am not most people.  I should qualify, this is not just any crap, this is the creme de la creme of crap.  (For which I paid three dollars plus five dollars shipping.)  When I purchased it I knew it might be crap.  Or it might be…something amazing. The mystery is part of the fun.  

And today the mystery was solved. 

I had seen the tracking info, so I knew it’d arrive today.  Of course the mailman came while the kids were napping, so I had to wait to go get it.  When S got home from school he offered to get the mail.  He loves to get the mail.  There are two perks in getting the mail: a.) he can see if there is anything for him.  b.) he can get a cookie from the office (they usually have cookies and the mail room is attached to the office building.)

So S set off to bring me my bag of crap.

And here it is!:

It’s a really nice drum set.  We have seen it on Woot twice before and debated whether or not to buy it for S.  It’s worth quite a bit more than eight dollars!  

There’s only one glitch.

No, you’re not looking at mirror images.

We purchased the exact same item for S a couple months ago.  For his birthday.  Which is in two days.  The original drum set came in a brown box.  The “crap” drum set did not.

Did I mention S went to get the mail?

Did I mention his birthday is in TWO days?

Should I mention how excited he was to see this item?

Should I mention how upset I was to find out our great present for him was ruined???
(Maybe ruined is a bit strong of a word, but the fun surprise was definitely blown.  TWO days before his birthday.  Grrr.)

So S got to have his very cool present without opening it two days before his birthday.  He was excited about it and happy he got it early.  I can imagine how thrilled he would have been if it truly had been the surprise it was supposed to be in two days.  So it’s okay, but still a bummer.  Grrrrr.  (Seriously, I think I would have preferred crap this time.  Deep breaths, Chel.  Yes, I’ll be fine.  grr.)

We now have two drum sets.  (“Crap” cannot be returned.  It is our ‘crap’ to keep and deal with it as we may.  Those are the terms at purchase.)  The ‘crap’ item would have been AWESOME if we hadn’t purchased the first set for more money a couple months ago.  Do we sell it?  Share with K and J?  Share the love with another friend or relative?  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

Will I try to get another bag of crap?  Definitely!!  But maybe not right before a birthday!

This is a great site Jen G. got me hooked on a couple years ago.  They sell one item per day.  That’s it.  The next day they sell another item.  Sometimes it’s not interesting, sometimes it’s a great deal.  And sometimes they have a Woot-Off.  This is where they sell a bunch of items (one at a time) for a day or so. Once during every woot off they sell a bag of crap.  People work REALLY hard to get this, because it is often something good.  It’s very hard to get one, because the servers often lock up and the bags of crap sell out QUICKLY.  
Now you know.  But don’t get in the way of my bag of crap.

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I have a thing for preschoolers.  I like them.  A lot.  Although their unrelenting energy and questions are exhausting, they are an absolutely fabulous group of people.  When Dad and S and I became a family S was four and completely adorable.  I fell in love quickly. (With S; Dad took a little longer.)  Now I officially have another preschool aged child and I love it.  Well, except for the unrelenting energy and questions.  But the rest of it.  Little kids learn so stinking fast, it blows your mind.  I think it blows theirs occasionally too, as they’re trying to take in new info and assimilate it all.  One of the best side effects of this is their language.  It is so fun to listen to them try to use a new word or phrase.  Since most of you aren’t able to see my kids very often, I thought I’d include a few of K’s classics:

Softerly – this appears to be a combination of softer and quietly.  She’s already phasing this one out of her vocab, which is sad, because I think it’s better than the ‘original’ words.

Warmer – this actually means cooler.  She wants it not hot, but warmer.  So when you’re running water for her and she asks for it to be ‘warmer,’ turn on the cold.  However, there is approximately a two degree window which is the ‘correct’ temperature for her (where it is warmer rather than too hot or cold), so good luck with that.

Fark – Fart.  Not that anyone in my household does that.  We’ve just heard about others.

Got For – my absolute favorite.  I’ll be so sad when she figures this one out.  It means “forgot” as in “You got for your bag.”  Or sometimes she’ll add an extra ‘got’ for good measure: “You got for got your bag.”

Tay-kle – Tickle, as in “That TAY-KLES!”

oooOOOOOoooo, that’s your meaning!”  This is another fun one when she understands something you’re trying to tell her.

“I want to jungle!”  Can you guess?  No, you can’t.  I’ll give you a hint: it doesn’t involve trees, vines, or jumping.  Still don’t know?  Here’s another clue: she started using it the first night we played Go Fish.

Up Close

As most of you know, record breaking storms passed through the South 2 1/2 weeks ago.  It seems like much longer, but it’s been less than 3 weeks.  The Oberlins’ lives have returned to normal and at our house you’d hardly know there was a storm.  Barely any damage was done to the apartments where we live, none of it severe.  All of the Oberlins were home and safe through the storms, no injuries.  Our family is far from us, so no loss of relatives.  For us, the storms are essentially over.  However, for thousands in the South, they began a whole new journey, one that is far from over.  

On Saturday my hubby, the kids, and I took some time to drive through one of the areas hit hard by the storms.  We had never seen damage from a disaster up close.  It is extremely sobering.  We drove to an area approximately 30 minutes from our home.  I’m not sure of the air miles, but they’d be much less than that.  As one lady described it, when you first drive into Pleasant Grove and you see houses intact, looking quite fine actually.  Some have shingles off their roof, others had trees down, but nothing major.  Then you turn a corner.  And you see this.

 Sticks were houses and trees used to be.

This was on the edge of where the tornado went through.  Several houses are still partially standing.

We were there 2 1/2 weeks after the storms.  A LOT of cleanup has already been done.  Here is a site where they are working hard to clean up and rebuild (you may notice the work area on the right side.)  Can you imagine what this place looked like two weeks ago?  

 A box springs.  It breaks my heart.

 Can you see the baby toys?  If you’re like me, you’d prefer not to. 

I’m definitely not a construction expert, but I do believe roofs are supposed to go on top of the buildings.

Any tree that still had branches had stuff in them.  Stuff that was in someone’s home three weeks ago.

I wish you could experience what we did.  These pictures do not come close to doing it justice. It is sobering and you quickly realize how blessed you are.  Thank you again to those of you who prayed for us.  We were safe.  We are so very grateful.  The death toll in this small neighborhood was 10 people, ranging in ages from 26 to 81 years.  This community will be cleaning, rebuilding for years.  This location was small compared to other areas in Alabama ravaged by the storms.  So many lost so much.  And then we think of Japan, where the impact was so many times worse.  Oh, we have so much for which to be thankful!

While we were driving through S said he wished we hadn’t brought him there.  It was so hard to see.  I think we all would have preferred not to see it.  Sadly, not seeing it wouldn’t change reality.  I told Matt I think we need to put the pictures on our fridge, so when we start complaining about little stuff we can be reminded of how grateful we should be!

In the next couple weeks our family is going to have a few ‘beans and rice’ meals.  You probably can guess the menu, but we’ll be having beans (from dry) and rice for dinner.  We would love for you to join us.  Either with us or at your own house.  We want to eat very simply and then donate the money we would have spent on that meal to the recovery effort.  Would you please consider doing that as well? These communities need our help.  Not everyone can go and clean up the rubble.  But each of us can help.  If we all did something as simple as giving up a nice meal, we’d A.) still be eating better than much of the world (but that’s another post) and B.) making a huge difference for the lives of many affected by the storms.  If you do decide to join us, please let us know.  I’d love to do it ‘together.’  Also, would you please continue to pray for the storm victims?  They have a long road ahead of them.  

only 363 more to go

It may have been in the night when I was up for the umpteenth time with J, or it might have been this morning when both little ones were crying and Momma was on the verge of losing it herself.  It even might have been this afternoon when I was listening to a child whine about his homework.  Or possibly it was tonight when I stepped on some unknown ‘object’ in the dark, only to be greatly relieved it was only a partly chewed cheerio.  However, somewhere I realized “Mother’s Day” is over.  Only 363 more days to go….

Some things are worse than Poop

It’s true.  This morning I was reminded of perspective.  We have two cats.  Lovely creatures.  Cute, fuzzy, fun for the kids to torture, etc.  However, occasionally they don’t get all the poop in the litter box.  I tell them to use toilet paper and wipe their butts, but they don’t listen.  So occasionally a bit of poop sticks to their butt and falls off somewhere else.  Definitely not one of the perks of pet ownership.  However, pets are a like children in that they’re messy but cute, cuddly, and darn amusing.  So they’re worth the mess most days.

Anyways, this morning I got out of bed and noticed a chunk of poop on the floor.  Not exactly how I want to start the day.  But alas, I got get a piece of toilet paper and reach to pick it up and it moves.  I am not a poop expert, but I’m pretty darn sure poop is not supposed to move by itself.  It turns out it’s not poop, it’s one of those gigantic wood roaches.  Ewwwwwwwwww.  I respond like any brave woman…I shriek and call for my hubby. 

Next time I see a little piece of poop on the floor, I guess I’ll be thankful it’s just poop!

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I love babies.  Big ones, little ones, bald ones, and furry ones.  This year we’re blessed enough to see many babies.  Not only do we have an adorable one living with us, we have a bunch in the neighborhood.  They are so fun to watch!  These babies were near our apartment today.

Momma keeps a watchful eye on us.  Two reasons: 1. make sure no ones threatens her babies and 2. see if we’re offering any food!
I love this pic.
The grown ups are NOT very good looking to me (though these parents are better looking than the others around), but they start out SO cute!
And they’re off!  See you soon!

Red Lentils & Meatless Mondays

If you told me I would be purchasing and eating Red Lentils 10 years ago I would politely said, “Really?  What are red lentils?”  Okay, probably not.  More likely I would have made some sarcastic remark.  Times have certainly changed (though the sarcasm has not) and I’ve learned what lentils are.  Not only that, but I like them.  And not only that last weekend I finally found and purchased red lentils.  We’ve been eating brown lentils for a couple years.  I have a great recipes for lentil tacos and a lentil soup.  Brown lentils are much easier to find.  But I wanted red lentils.  Red.  

I’ve been making a bunch of baby food for J, which is easy and kind of fun to do.  K never would eat baby food so I never tried to make any before.  But J is a good eater (this probably surprises you, but it’s true) and I’ve been looking for new foods to introduce to him.  It turns out red lentils are a great option.  They cook up soft and have tons of nutritional value…perfect.  Even better, I found them in bulk at Whole Foods!

Finding ‘red’ lentils last weekend worked out well, because I’ve been trying to do “Meatless Mondays.”  My family doesn’t know this.  Or didn’t until my hubby reads this post.  (Actually, ever since he started the CarbLovers diet he is a lot more open to eating a few vegetarian meals.)  Both he and I grew in ‘meat and potatoes’ homes.  Lots of meat and lots of starch.  There were exceptions to this, of course, but neither of us grew up with a super varied pallet.  The older I get the more interested I am in other foods.  I’m having fun experimenting with other nationalities’ cuisines.  I can’t say I’m still all that varied, but I’m trying!

So back to the lentils.  Yesterday I got to cook red ones.  Although they really look orange.  I made some for J, however, the jury is still out on how much he likes them.  I made Lebanese Style Red Lentil soup for us. It turned out pretty well, though I think it tastes better the second day.  Yummy leftovers are a bonus! 

Well, what do you know, take a girl who doesn’t cook, give her three kids and a passion for the environment and it turns out she’s alright in the kitchen..  Apparently having many mouths to feed and wanting them to be healthy means creativity in cooking!

So how about you?  What are your favorite meatless meals?   

BTW, tonight we are having sausage gravy and biscuits.  We can’t completely ignore the tradition of meat and starch!  

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