Monday, March 30, 2009

$100 worth of FREE Target Shopping, a Promo AND a GIVEAWAY!

The cliff notes of this post:

Swagbucks is legit.

If you sign up through Sit A Spell, you get MORE swagbucks than you would normally get signing up some other way.

If you or your friends sign up for swagbucks through Sit A Spell, you get a chance to win a $20 e-Target gift card.

Yep. Yep. Keep reading!




I just swagged $100 worth of e-gift cards from Target.

Yep. You heard right. Your ears "aint" dirty.

I will get to buy $100 worth of stuff from Target for FREE all because of swagbucks.

Don't know what Swagbucks is?

Well, it's a search engine (like google) that's actually powered by google. The only difference is...swagbucks pays you to search. Basically, they pay you for asking questions. Who knew being dumb could pay off?

When you register for swagbucks, you get a swag account that grows the more you search.

When I type in something like, "Quiddler" in my swagbar, and a dollar bill pops up and says I've won, I get so excited! Maybe it's not that big of a deal to some people, but when I'm searching and win, I leave my computer swag happy.

Once your account grows, you can buy all sorts of stuff at the swag store. Check out the gift card section!

Kirby has picked out three $50 Southwest Airlines vouchers AND a $50 Gap gift card with her swagbucks.

Still haven't jumped on the swag wagon?

WELL...

Last week, Swagbucks contacted me.

Really.

Swagbucks the company.

Now, if I was really cool, I'd just let that statement roll off my tongue and keep on going.

That's what cool people do.

But we all know...

I'm not cool.

I'm just a regular ol' gal who started a blog to keep her friends and family up to date on her life, and still can't get over that so many of you come here every day. I had no idea when I started this silly blog that God had bigger plans and purposes than I ever imagined.

I'm honored EVERY time I get an email from someone in Japan or the UK.

It's a privilege to me to hear the hearts of so many women who share with me what God is doing in their marriage and in their homes.

When I started blogging I had no idea that I would fall asleep at night praying for people I have never met. I had no idea I'd laugh so much, cry so much, and be inspired so deeply by the women who come and "Sit a Spell" sharing their souls, ideas and creativity.

I'm just a regular girl, with regular problems, with a regular family, with regular friends trying to learn how to love an anything but ordinary God.

So when I woke up and saw an email from swagbucks, I'd like to say I just calmly read it and replied. I'd like to say, I read the email with a "that's to be expected" sort of attitude. If I said that was my response, I would be lying. Are you kidding me? I was SHOCKED and thought it must be a joke.

So instead, I jumped up from my chair and went RUNNING through the house yelling for Aaron.

I was anything BUT cool as I hopped around with excitement saying, "Swagbucks...the people...the company...they emailed me. They did that for Money Saving Mom, and she's super famous and her blog is WAY more amazing than mine. Her blog has like...a point...and mine doesn't! She writes about saving people money. I write about my kids eating ants. This is INSANE, Aaron! Insane!"

There's no hope for me in the cool category...no hope.

Basically, swagbucks wants to offer my sweet readers a great deal...

I just said, "my readers." Again...weird. In my head, my readers are still my dad, my inlaws, my sister-in-law and my crazy girlfriends.

If you sign up for swagbucks, via this blog over the next four days, you get an extra 2 swagbucks (you also get 3 swagbucks just for signing up). Which means, you start your account off with 5 swagbucks.

To sign up and get your extra swagbucks through this promotion, go here


Search & Win


As you are signing up, next to "swag code," enter the word HENDRICK (type it just like that).

You get two extra bucks!

And here's the ultimate awesomeness...

I love swagbucks so much that I am going to give away one of those $20 e-Target gift cards I just swagged. A giveaway!

You can enter to win by either signing up for swagbucks right here on my blog (you have until some time on Friday, depending where you live) OR getting a friend to come sign up. Once you get your friend to sign up, you AND your friend can enter to win the gift card. For EVERY friend you get to sign up through Sit a Spell, you will get your name put into the drawing. As in...get three friends to sign up and your name goes in the drawing three times.

You enter by signing up and then commenting, OR by getting your friend to sign up and then commenting, letting me know you referred someone and they signed up. If your friend wants to enter the drawing, they leave a comment telling me who referred them, and that they signed up for swagbucks.

Confusing? Maybe this will help....

If you have never signed up for swagbucks before, and you do here, then just leave a comment that says, "My name is Minnie the Moocher and I just signed up for swagbucks."

If you have signed up for swagbucks already, then go grab a friend, send them this way, let them sign up and they can say, "My name is Mustang Sally and I just signed up for swagbucks because my friend, Minnie the Moocher told me to."

Then I'll enter BOTH your names in the drawing.

Got how it works?

On Monday of next week, we'll have a drawing (I'll video tape it), and the winner will receive a $20 e-gift card to Target. Fun times!

Thanks to swagbucks, by signing up through Sit a Spell you can start your account off nicely AND potentially win a $20 Target gift card.

Friday, I'll let you in on some secrets to growing YOUR swagbuck account.

Using swagbucks is DEFINITELY one of our favorite ways to be frugal. $100 worth of Target shopping for FREE? $150 off airline tickets for FREE? You can't be more frugal than that!

Happy Swagging!

Go! Please Go! I don't want to keep all the fun to myself!


Search & Win


Enter HENDRICK

Then use swagbucks as your search engine. I bet you'll get excited too every time you search and win a dollar!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

When The TV is Off

Yesterday, there was such a great response to the post below. Thanks, ladies! YOU make this blog so fun. It would not be the same here without you sharing your life and your creativity with us!

I started to add some ideas in the comment section but realized there were too many, and I wanted to include pictures. So What Would You Do Wednesday's post has turned into What Would You Do Thursday.

First let me say, we don't think TV is bad.

We do let our kids watch it sometimes.

We've just limited it, drastically over the years.

We love getting a movie, all piling on the couches in the living room together and watching a great story.

But, we want to be purposeful in what we're doing, so the guidelines I give myself when it comes to saying "yes" to TV time go something kind of like this...

Is there a purpose in the kids watching TV right now, or is there something more purposeful they could be doing?

Do they need some down time?

Do they need to veg for thirty minutes?

I often let the kids watch educational shows because there's a purpose! They are learning. When the kids ask if they can watch TV, I usually say, "Yes...a learning show."

For kids OVER TWO, here are some of our favorite learning shows: (for kids under two, girl...turn that tv off! Read here.)

The Magic School Bus. I DVR'ed a ton of these one year.

Between the Lions
.

Fetch with Ruff Ruffman. My older boys love this show, and I've never seen anything better for older kids on TV.

or...

The Letter Factory DVD's. Ashton was four years old and reading chapter books because of the Letter Factory DVDs. I can brag about his reading skills, because I can't take any credit for them. He really did learn to read from the Letter Factory.

How cute is my four year old reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid? I tried to make him read something easier, but he refuses! Thanks Letter Factory!



So not all TV is bad!

I'm going to separate the things we have done with our kids instead of TV into two sections...younger kids and older kids.

Of course, no matter their age, we've played outside, gone to parks, etc. But here are some things we have done in the house, particularly to keep them busy while I'm cooking dinner, or when they need something to do after school is over.

When I say younger kids, I really mean kids who are around 18 months-3. Younger than that, I never hardly tried to cook dinner when they were awake. I cooked dinner during nap time and learned how to make a bunch of crock pot recipes that I'd throw together during their morning nap. I also learned to take my bath/shower at night before bed, because trying to fit that in during the day was too chaotic. Those nap times were priceless to me. When my kids were napping, it was the only time to get the house picked up, laundry folded and dinner made. I hated using one nap to shower, so I started doing that in the evenings.

When your kids are younger than two, especially if they don't have siblings to play with...you're it, mommy! They need YOU and they need constant supervision.

YOUNGER KIDS

Several people in the comment section suggested that you have toys put away to only use at certain times...like when you're trying to cook dinner. We have found this to work so great in our home. Watch for sales on organizational containers, and then get prepared! I think that's the key...having fun toys put away, ready to grab when you need something for your child to do.

I think having a bunch of toys all over your house means no toys get played with. Kids get bored with the mess and the toys. I think it's a great idea to have lots of toys put away, and pulled down just for certain times.

My kids only played with playdough in the kitchen, at the table while I was cooking dinner. That was the only way I didn't mind the mess. Before dinner, I always wiped down the table anyway and after dinner I always swept around the table, so cleaning up the playdough wasn't that big of a deal at dinner time. I highly suggest buying playdough tools. They kept our kids so busy!
Here's the playdough recipe I used when my kids were little...I could make it in bulk, in all different colors, and store it in big yogurt containers.

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup water

1 Tbsp. oil

about 21 drops of food coloring

Mix in heavy saucepan, water, oil and coloring. Cook over medium heat while stirring. Add flour, salt and cream of tartar. Stir while it cooks. When it makes a ball around the spoon, remove from heat.

For younger kids, I have found that the highchair is the best place to play with playdough and color (with crayons or markers).

I kept Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head in a box for special occasions. Wow. My kids loved this toy! It was a great kitchen toy to play with while I cooked dinner.

I also kept a ziplock bag of all different kinds of magnets up on top of the refrigerator. They could only play with the ones in the ziplock bag while I cooked dinner. You can make such fun magnets for your kids by purchasing sticker books (from Barnes and Nobles) and magnetic sheeting (from Hobby Lobby).


They make animal sticker books, superhero ones, and even alphabet and learning sticker books. I liked buying the ones where the kids could sort of make scenes on the refrigerator. Another thing I have thought about doing is taking one of our sets of bathtub toys that are supposed to stick on the side of the tub, and making them into refrigerator magnets by sticking a piece of magnet on the back of them. I'm talking about these...


The key is, not leaving them out. The fun part for the kids is that they only get to play with them at certain times. Part of the fun for kids around 2 is taking each magnet out of the ziplock bag. Their little chubby hands are so cute taking them out one by one.

My kids also played with stamps when I was cooking dinner.


I have a huge jar of them. You can buy washable stamp pads.

And, never underestimate the power of dominoes.


I have a container of these, and little kids love to sit in the kitchen floor and line them up, then knock them over. They also love how they feel in a bowl when they put their hands inside the bowl and move the dominoes around.

Puzzles are great. Load up on those!

I buy these foam stickers every time they go on sale at Target:

They take the kids a lot of time to use because they have to peel paper off the back. They stick them on paper and make different scenes with them.

Books on tape are also great. You can buy these, check them out at the library...OR...do something like Aaron's mom did for the boys. She recorded herself reading books to the kids. They love these! I love them too, because they can be read to, without me!! We would keep the books on tape in a cabinet in the kitchen, and only use them while I was cooking.

Several people mentioned lacing beads. You can buy these in all sorts of varieties.

Or, you can just do this the old fashioned way and buy the large rigatoni noodles, give your child some string, and there ya go.

For younger kids, great things to do together are play games!

High Ho Cherry-O and Candy Land are super easy. In Candy Land, they don't even have to know their colors, they just have to find the square that matches what is in their hand. But, it's a great game to use to learn colors! In High Ho Cherry-O, all they have to do is know how to count to four maybe?

Shoots and Ladders is another game that's great for little ones.

Never underestimate the fun you can have with Hungry, Hungry Hippos either. Elefun is a great game as well. I've seen $5 off coupons for this game in several places recently.

A big rubbermaid filled with sand or beans is also very fun for kids who won't stick them in their mouths. Add measuring cups and funnels, and you're in business.

Another fun thing to do is to let kids play with water in the kitchen sink while you cook. Just put a little bit in one side, and give them some syringes, measuring cups and those tiny medicine cups to play with. Or, fill the sink up with soapy water and kids will play for a long time with the bubbly water.

This sounds so dumb, but my kids loved to do this...

I would put dots of glue all over a piece of paper. Then, I would give them a bowl of tiny rocks, beans and popcorn kernels. They would sit and stick those objects on the paper.

OLDER KIDS

I would say our favorite books in this house come from the line of books called The Dangerous Book for Boys. There is also a Daring book for girls book as well. Other favorites from these same people are...

Things to Do



Things to Know

You can visit the Dangerous Book for Boys website by clicking here.

We have ordered all these products from Amazon.


My kids will play with these for an hour! After they fill a shape up with beads, you iron them and they stay together.

Block Buddies is a great educational toy. They use the blocks to make the designs they see on the cards.

Books made by the Klutz company are some of our favs. My boys love this paper airplane book and the magic one the best. Klutz makes GREAT things for girls too. Swagbuck them to see all their great products.

Drawing books are also very fun! Ed Emberley's books are our favorites. They are so easy to follow along. Ashton was using these when he was three and drawing incredible pictures! You can check these out at the library too. I bought a couple just to have here all the time, but we check one out every time we go to the library. If you homeschool, don't forget to sign up for Barnes and Noble's 20% off educator's discount. We get a lot of books for very cheap with that discount!


This one would be great for younger kids too. I love Ed Emberley's fingerprint art books. You can stamp young kid's fingers and then the parent can help add eyes, etc. Little kids get such a kick out of these! Older kids have fun doing all of the art by themselves. These really are amazing and so fun.


Remember tracing? Kids love to trace pictures!!



And don't forget about Mad Libs for older kids. This is also fun to do while you're cooking dinner or in the car with older children.

When you cut out TV with older kids, I think one of the best things to replace it with are GAMES. We LOVE playing games with our kids! Our favorite game right now is one Lynsey bought us for Christmas...Quiddler. It's like scrabble with cards. This is not a kid game, but the kids can easily play and it builds such great spelling and vocabulary skills (and dictionary skills). Aaron and I have been known to stay up late, after kids are in bed playing this as well. Look...we've always been dorks, and we probably always will be.




Scrabble is a super game for kids as young as four. As a kindergartner, Hayden's words would only be three letters long, using only short vowel sounds, but so what! And, for Ashton, as long as his words are phonetically correct...he gets to use them!

We also love Birds, Bugs and Beans. This is a GREAT game if you have a broad age range in your home.

Don't forget to teach your kids to play slap jack. Our living room gets VERY crazy over this game!!


These marble run toys are so fun too! We got this for Christmas a few years ago, and it's one of those toys that takes hours to play with.

And look what the Dangerous Book for Boys people are making now...fun kits!




Thanks for sharing all your ideas in the post below.

What Do You Do Wednesday



Kirby and I went on a shopping trip a couple weeks ago.

I love spending time with her, learning her mad shopping skills and just hanging out with my sweet friend who I've watched go from single college girl, to married mommy of two.

In the car, one of the things that came up was the topic of TV.

I've been mentoring Kirby for years, and so it's easy for me to be completely honest with her about the areas in my life that I wish I could "do over."

I've shared this on this blog before, but one of those things I wish I could go back and change is the way I allowed my oldest child to watch TV when he was little.

It was easy to do.

Anson would sit in front of the television for hours and hours without moving.

He loved TV.

I loved TV too, because it was sort of like I had a baby, but could still do everything I used to do before I was a mother.

I was able to work 20 hours a week from home. I did publications for our church and wrote weekly scripts.

My house was spotless.

Dinner was always on the table on time.

I could work on projects.

I could have my friends over.

See why Anson and I loved the TV?

I felt like TV was a win-win situation in my home.

Later, I realized how deceived I was!

My son grew up, and the poor guy...had only been trained, during those early years, to be happy when the TV was going and blowing.

He did not know how to entertain himself apart from a television, or video games.

He did not have any hobbies.

Plain and simple...

If the TV wasn't on, or he wasn't playing a video game on the TV or computer, he was miserable.

I'm not exaggerating.

Miserable.

Fast forward a few years. Hayden and Ashton come along.

They are NOT allowed to watch TV hardly at all.

To this day, those two kids are the most content, easily entertained, creative kids I've ever met in my life.

They play all day long, making up the most amazing games.

They do not need anything to be happy.

They are never bored.

To this day, my heart breaks for Anson. We love our son so much, and constantly apologize for training him, as parents, to love tv and video games too much. That was our fault. We tell him we're sorry for not teaching him, during those early years, about so many other fun, creative, exciting things to enjoy in life.

Slowly, we're helping Anson learn to love things like reading and drawing. BUT...it's a battle...a constant battle.

I've cried many tears over how robbed Anson has been of so many other amazing, purposeful, life giving, life bringing things he could have learned to enjoy as a small kid.

The other day, Aaron mentioned to me that the real problem behind what we allowed in Anson's life early on is that we weren't training him to be a grown up.

I know it's hard to think right now that we're raising grown ups in our home, but we are!

One day, our children will leave our home, and they will take with them all the things we trained them to do.

The way we trained Anson early on was to think that sitting down and watching TV, or playing video games all day was an okay thing to do with his time.

We've had to work over time to remind him that the reason why he can't sit and watch TV or play video games with all his spare time is that there are SO MANY other things...so many other life giving, life bringing, important things to do every day.

We want to teach our kids that it's okay to enjoy down time every once in a while. Our bodies need that, but unless we're intentional about how we spend our time, we'll most likely waste it.

Instead of TV, how about writing an encouraging note to one of their teachers?

How about drawing a picture for a neighbor?

How about playing with a younger sibling, and building that relationship?

How about serving your family by doing some chores around the house?

How about emailing a grandparent and telling them what's going on in your life?

How about practicing (fill in the blank) because that's obviously a talent that's growing in your life.

So much good!

Kirby told me on our trip how much TV Asher watches. First, let me say it wasn't nearly as much as I let Anson watch as a young child...like nowhere NEAR the amount.

But, as her mentor, I told her..."I wouldn't let him do that if I were you."

I honestly wouldn't.

After Anson, our younger children's TV life looks NOTHING like Anson's did.

So, Kirby asked me...

"What are some things you would have them do INSTEAD of watch television?"

I gave her some ideas, and then she said, "You should have this topic be the next What Do you Do Wednesday" post.

So here you go.

The main idea is this...

We want to train our kids as if we're raising children who will leave this house one day.

The training they get from us, should be things they leave here thankful having learned.

Our goal is to teach them how to use their time during the day in productive ways. We don't want them wasting their lives. 

Letting Anson be a TV fiend and zombie was NOT teaching him to embrace life and truly live it.

Besides...experts are saying that kids under TWO should NEVER watch TV. Really! Go read this article.

Let me warn you...

When you cut out TV or reduce it drastically, kids get pretty ticked. It's like weening off a druggie. Seriously...it is. TV is a real addiction, like anything else. We won't let kids drink coffee or take drugs, but little ones can be as addicted to tv as any of those other things! Believe me! When we saw how much rehab Anson needed after the TV was taken away, we knew the true extent to which we had harmed our son. He was a junkie in the truest definition of the word. Tears!

Aaron and I had to be prepared to wage war in our home against our son's attitude about the televison. It took a great deal of patience and strength.

We also had to sit him down and explain to him, in detail, how we, as parents were failing him and had failed him when we were letting him watch too much tv.

We had to ask him to forgive us.

With the younger kids, holy cow, I had to learn how to actually parent without the television.

It's a lot more work!

I had to figure out how to make dinner without the tv babysitting my kids.

I had to figure out how to entertain them.

I had to go buy some stuff.

My house immediately got a lot more messy.

That was frustrating.

But...we've seen good results from this change.

__________________________________________________________________

So here's what Kirby wants to know...

What things do you do with your kids IN PLACE of television?

What are easy, fun activities for preschoolers?

What do you do with your kids instead of TV if you need to cook dinner, take a shower, or accomplish a task?

What about for older kids?

I'll offer some ideas in the comment section.

Join us there, and please share your answers as well!

________________________________________

Got a What Do You Do topic?

Email me...

hendrickcrew@gmail.com

We'll see if we can get other wives/moms/parents/people to put their heads together and share what they've learned.

________________________________________________

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Circus is Coming!!

Who can resist a circus?

Not me!

I love the circus.

All those sparkly clothes and elephants that mind people...woo-who! Let's go!

The Ringling Bros. Circus will be here, in our town April 9-11.

Here's the coolest part...

I went to the library with the kids today and you can get FREE kids tickets if you read five books to your kids (or in my case, they read five books to me).

So here's my plan:

We got our punch card today.

I also got the kids five books to read to me.

You can start reading to your kids (or they can start reading to you) TODAY, even before you get your punch card.

THIS THURSDAY (March 26) we are going to get our card stamped for all the books the boys read.

Then

THIS FRIDAY (March 27) I am going to go to Reed Arena to turn in the punch cards, get the free tickets and buy tickets for the grown ups.

We are going to go to the Thursday, April 9 performance because (a.) there is no school for public school peeps on Friday and (b.) the adult tickets for Thursday night are only $15 each, and on Friday night they are $25 each.

Here's where you come in...

If your kids know my kids, they would LOVE for you to sit with us! But that means we all have to go together to buy our tickets so we get seats together.

If you want to go with us on Thursday, April 9 at 7:00 p.m. to the circus, then meet me at Reed Arena at 4:00 p.m. THIS FRIDAY to buy your tickets. I want to do it ASAP. I called Reed Arena and they said right now there are still whole sections available on Thursday night. I don't know how long that will last though! I asked the girl if the free tickets were for the crappy seats and she told me where the free ticket seats are. I looked it up online, and it's the same level where we always sit when we go. That's super.

So go get your books, your punch card and let's go to the circus! How fun! Since we've had kids, I don't think the Hendricks have ever missed a Ringling Bros. Circus in this town. They really are incredible!

Remember...the next day (Friday, April 10) is the Dangerous Boys Event at Yonder Way Farm. What a fun weekend!

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm in Love



Liz Amy posted about this great company, Lime Ricki on her blog.

It's fabulous. These swimsuits are adorable AND cover you up! Who knew!

This website is so fabulous, I didn't want to tell you about it.

There aren't that many swim suits on the site, and I didn't want one of the 9,000 stay at home moms in my community who go to the pool together every day in the summer to buy the same suit I bought.

How selfish of me.

I got over myself (slightly) and decided to share this great find!

I say slightly, because I'm posting a picture of the suit I bought so that you don't buy it too if you're planning on living at the pool with me this summer.

That's the one I'm getting up there...so hands off.

I also got the cutest black skirt to wear over it...as in, I will never take it off in public.

Also...

I found this great coupon code you can type in when you order to get 10% off your purchase.

Type in this promo code...

onmyperch

Another GREAT place to buy modest swimsuits is Lands End.

They have a huge overstock section where the suits are so cheap!

You can browse around by clicking here.

I really can't wait to get my swimsuit in the mail.

No more driving all over town.

I can try it on at sundown in my bedroom.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day Three of Awesomeness

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Day three turned out to be so awesome all I wanted to do when I got home was watch David Letterman...NOT post pictures.

My arms were so sore I couldn't hold them in the typing position.

My legs are so sore I'm not really sitting...it's more like I'm landing on chairs and couches.

When you're this sore, you become incredibly aware of how many times you have to use the potty.

Is it wrong to limit your fluids so that you don't have to go as often?

I'm not sure.

Is anyone else sore?

Is anyone else now very aware why children are the only ones who play these games?

Hopefully my body will make it to day four of awesomeness.

I'm going to go easy on the awesome this evening.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Day Two of Awesomeness

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You know how you always think other people's lives are way cooler than yours?

Well...

When I imagine a California person's life, I always think they live like we live during Spring Break...every single day of their life.

If you live in California, then in my imagination, you don't have a job...you just play outside all the time.

This week, I feel like my imaginary California person.

Tonight was perfect.

BEAUTIFUL weather

(If you read this blog, and you're not from Texas...you saw RIGHT. Last night, we were bundled up around a fire wearing sweat shirts and hats. Tonight, our kids were wearing shorts and tank tops.)

Our team won.

A child fell into the nasty pond where we were fishing.

And Aaron made a little boy bleed.

See...

Spring Break perfection.

Aaron feels really bad. I'm going to count how many times he says, "I feel so bad for what I did to Grady."

Sweet husband.

Long live Spring Break Week O Awesomeness.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Day One of Awesomeness


Tonight we kicked off our week-o-fun.

The Spring Break-uh-puh-looza.

First, a herd of us headed to Jason's Deli.


Yum.


Then we bundled up and went to the park, started a fire, roasted marshmallows and made Smores.

I walked into Jason's Deli tonight, saw a bunch of familiar faces, and literally thought to myself...

"I love these precious people."

We're looking forward to spending a solid week with some of our favorite peeps on earth.

If you're in town this week and want to come play, email me and I'll send you the details! We're doing something fun every night.

Pictures from tonight....


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Friday, March 13, 2009

Oh Brother!

I've finally learned...

Whenever I hear the older boys laughing, and then that laughter is followed by....

"Mom, come look at Hudson," I should probably bring the camera.



Poor baby brother!

With three older brothers, Hudson's life
is going to be interesting!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

We Did It!

Warning:
The images you're about to see contain
actual earcandling procedures.
These photos are not for the faint of heart.
Proceed with caution, or maybe wait until after lunch.


How cool is that? I feel like I'm on Discovery Health.

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Here are some of the things that were heard in our school room as we lit sticks and put them in each other's ears...

Read these with a semi nervous, tense tone...

"Is the fire close to my hand? I can feel the fire near my hand."

"How close is the fire to my hair? Show me with your hand...how close is the fire to my hair?"

"Something stinks! Is my hair on fire? Is my shirt on fire? Is my face on fire?"

"Are hot ashes about to fall on my face?"

"Are hot ashes about to fall on my shirt? This is my favorite shirt. Are ashes about to get on me?"

"My ears are feeling soothed."

"I can't hear."

"It sounds like a tornado in my ear."

"What is that noise?"

"Is ear wax shooting out the top of the candle?"

"How fast is this burning?"

"Will someone go check on the kids?"

"Do we have smoke alarms?"

"My ears are definitely feeling relaxed."

"Get your fire away from me."

"Stop flinging your fire around."

"Be careful with your fire."

"You almost singed my eyebrows with your ear fire."

It was a great night.

I love my friends for doing this.

They were so brave.

They came to the house very against this idea.

"We're really doing this? Heather, I thought you were kidding."

I wasn't kidding!

Ear Hippies!

What sweet people!

When everyone left, I went to check my email.

And there it was...

A warning from Dr. Bacak's nurse-wife, Jenn saying that they were trying to call us, but we weren't answering the phone (we were too busy earcandling) BUT she wanted to tell us that Dr. Bacak labels earcandling "dangerous."

Awesome.

Sorry in advance friends, if we broke your ears.

Not only are we hippies.

We're hippies living on the EDGE.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Smoothie Queen


For a few months now, I have been drinking a smoothie every morning.

I started this tradition because I realized, I don't really eat very much fruit.

I like fruit.

I just don't eat it.

I know I don't eat fruit because I'm a lazy eater.

I didn't use to be a lazy eater, but add four kids to your life, and you quickly realize that feeding them all day takes a lot of work. Kids eat three meals, plus about three thousand snacks a day. I cook dinner every night. Food and feeding people can quickly consume a mom's life. So, my own personal food needs to be EASY and quick during the day.

Fruit takes work.

You have to wash it.

Peel it.

Cut it.

Maybe use a bowl.

You can't change your mind half way into it...once you commit to eating a piece of fruit, you have to be fully invested.

You probably have to wash your hands when you're done because fruit is sticky.

I get tired just thinking about eating fruit.

I'm also a multi-tasker.

RARELY am I ever just doing one thing.

I thrive on multi-tasking.

It's like a secret ongoing game I play.

I love quick foods you can eat while walking around.

This is why most fruit just doesn't work for me.

I'd rather grab a string cheese and be done with it.

So, the smoothie seemed like the perfect way to solve my fruit eating problem.

As a matter of fact, I love smoothies so much that I asked Aaron this question...

"Do you think it's wrong that I wish I could walk around drinking all my food out of a straw? I mean, these smoothies make other food seem so annoying."

He said it is wrong to drink all my food out of jars...that sometimes I need to eat food on a plate like normal people.

That's why I love Aaron. He knows what's normal. He's like a walking Family Feud. I can ask him a question, to see if that's how normal people think, and Aaron replies, "Survey Says...no, most people do not look at a crowd of people and then immediately sort them into color families based upon the shade of shirt they are wearing."

Just the thought of drinking a smoothie makes me feel so cool, healthy, hip and hippy-ish.

In the mornings, I pretend like I'm a quirky, vegetarian, organic lady who has a tattoo and does yoga.

By lunchtime, I'm back to my uncool, meat eating, non-tattoo, running self...but in my mind...in the mornings...I'm eclectic.

I wake up in the morning and drink a cup of coffee.

I'm not ready for my hippy drink until between 10-11.

That's because when I say I drink a cup of coffee, I mean I drink a bowl of coffee.

It's loaded with sugar and creamer.

I'm a slow coffee drinker. My one bowl of coffee sits with me as I read my Bible. It comes along as I get the boys started on school. It sits on the bathroom counter, watching me get ready for the day.

At around 10:30 every morning, I need a new beverage friend.

To make my smoothie, I put some ice in the blender (your blender has to have the ice crush option). Then, I add 1 and a half frozen bananas. My smoothies are always heavy on the banana because bananas are cheap. Other frozen fruit...not so much. Stores are really proud of their frozen fruit. I love that the fruit is frozen. I feel like I used to waste a lot of money on produce that went bad before we ate it. Now, I come home and immediately peel all the bananas and put them in a ziplock bag in the freezer. The kids LOVE to eat frozen bananas. They are like sweet, creamy Popsicles. All of our fruit gets used now, since it doesn't go bad. I love that.

I add a large handful of other frozen fruit. I love pineapple, raspberries, mango and strawberries.

2-3 large spoons of light yogurt (I buy it in the big containers)

Then I pour orange juice (with calcium) on top of all that yummy stuff.

Then, I add orange flavored, powdered fiber.

Yes...fiber.

That's because I have poo issues.

Well, I should say...I did have them.

Yes...I'm really telling you this.

For my whole life, I've had poo problems.

If you have them, you know...poo problems hardly warrant their own talk show, magazine article, celebrity spokesperson, charity fun run, or colorful ribbons, but poo issues are annoying. Who would want to wear a brown ribbon anyway?

I love my doctor, but I would never talk to him about this. No way.

And he's totally onto my hypotheticals.

Now, when I say to Dr. Bacak, "My friend has this problem..."

He says, "My friend? Are we talking about you?"

Crap.

Prior to morning smoothies, I was a poo camel.

Not anymore.

I'm completely, 100% fixed in that department.

AND...

The best news is, this monster mason jar of yum takes me a long time to finish.

Once I am finished, I am full.

I don't want to eat anything else until around one or two in the afternoon.

Then, I eat a light lunch, because it's almost dinner time.

Which means, this smoothie is not only delicious, poo-inducing, healthy and hippyish...it's also made me lose a few pounds.

Hooray for smoothies!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Mark Your Calendars!

DANGEROUS BOYS GO TO
THE FARM NEXT MONTH!

The next Dangerous Boy Event is going to be a blast!

Friday, April 10 (Good Friday) the men/boys/dads/guys will load up and head to Brenham.

My brother is hosting the next Dangerous Boy's Event at Yonder Way Farm.

The guys will learn some ins and outs about fishing.

They will get to ride on farm equipment.

And ... how funny is this....

The men/dads/guys will learn how to back up a truck with a trailer attached to it.

Good thing there's a lot of flat, empty land at Yonder Way Farm for the "backing up a trailer" part, huh?

Mark your calendars!

You won't want to miss this fun day.

All the men/boys/dads/guys will leave town around 9:30. They will stay at Yonder Way Farm from 10-2. They will need a sack lunch.

Let us know if you're planning to go....I want to give Aaron and Jason a good count.


SPRING BREAK
WEEK-O-AWESOMENESS




We are planning our Second Annual Spring Break Week-O-Awesomeness.

Last year was just too fun not to duplicate.

If you live here locally and want to play every evening of Spring Break, email me and let me know.

We'll communicate through email...not this blog.

If you know of any fun things happening around town during the day or evening of Spring Break, let me know! If you have any fun ideas, pass those along as well. I'm working on next week's itinerary of awesomeness.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Run, Walk, Crawl, or Write a Check for Compassion


A sanctified man will try to do good in the world, and to lessen the sorrow and increase the happiness of all around him. He will aim to be like his Master, full of kindness and love to every one; and this not in word only, by calling people "dear," but by deeds and actions and self-denying work, according as he has opportunity.
-- J.C. Ryle
(from his book, Holiness)

We have been given a great opportunity to imitate God's generous, merciful, loving heart.

Come run with us as we raise money for Compassion!

You can sign up here.

Registration is a must. You can come the day of the race without registering, but you probably won't get a t-shirt, and come on...that's one of the biggest perks...the t-shirt.

So go register!

We can do this!

Can't run?

Walk!

Can't walk?

Crawl.

Can't run, walk or crawl because you live too far away, or just can't be here that day?

Then maybe you can give us some money.

If you are a local business, artist, musician or own an online business, and you give to Compassion through this race, I will gladly advertise for you for FREE on Sit a Spell by writing up a post about your business.

We can ALL be a part of something MAGNIFICENT on April 18!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Art


Before we got out of the car to go into the Agape Art show, I did the usual mom routine.

Sometimes I think I should have a "Mom CD" made, so I can just click CD 3, speech 2 and let the kids listen before we get out of the car.

I only had Hayden and Hudson with me.

Hayden is my art child.

This was his first art show that he could remember.

"Hayden, when we're inside, even though there will be people you know, I want you to be calm. You can talk to them, but just be calm. You have to be on your very best behavior and remember...I want you to be calm."

He replies..."I'll try mom. And I won't get on the stage."

"There isn't a stage..."

"Well then," he says, "I won't get out of my chair or be loud when they are talking."

"I don't think this art show is what you're thinking it will be, Hayden. It won't be quiet there, or boring. You won't have to sit in a seat. You get to walk around."

I could tell he didn't know how to imagine it.

How could he?

When we walked in the door, the strangest thing happened to my crazy, "not calm" son.

He was calm.

The entire time.

He would hardly talk to the people there he knows.

That's weird.

Hayden is extremely social and thrives on those interactions.

It was like I got to watch the art soak in my son, pick him up, invite him in and speak sweet secrets to his soul.

Hayden was in a trance.

He walked around the room, looking...staring, examining all the pieces.

He'd climb up next to the paintings and stare.

He brought a notebook, so he could take notes.

"I want to write down ideas that they do, Mom, so when I get home, I can do them."

It was a beautiful evening for this mother as I beheld Hayden walking around that art gallery, completely overtaken by the power of creativity and expression through color, design and textures.

All that inspiration and energy...

I will never forget that night, watching my child manage to be alone with the art although the room was filled with people. In Hayden's head, nothing existed but himself and the things his little eyes beheld.

Art changed my son's personality.

Never once was he bouncy.

Never once did I have to give him "the look."

Never once did I have to whisper in his ear, "Please think about what you do before you do it."

Instead, I kept saying...when I could get him to focus on me..."Hayden, are you okay?"

He was.

It's just he would hardly talk to me...which is odd since normally, he hardly stops talking to me...or himself...or anyone standing near us.

He walked around the room several times.

Then he came right up to me and said, "Mom, I'm done. Can we go?"

"Are you okay?"

"Yes. I just want to go."

Okay...

I found out when we got home why he needed to leave.

He walked right in the door and went to paint.

For an hour and a half he worked and worked, using the notes from his notebook to create some art with multiple layers...cutting out a fence, and gluing it on his picture instead of just painting it on the paper.

He was inspired.

He was also moved...

As we were leaving the art show, on the way to the car I said, "You know...sometimes, when I see people using the gifts God has put inside of them...those special gifts God gives to certain people, and those people use them in a magnificent way...it makes me almost start to cry. Sometimes I even do cry."

My sweet boy looked at me and said...

"I know mom...when I was in there...I kept almost crying."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Come on! Swag It!


Search & Win


Please...sign up today! Pretty please...please...please....with a cherry on top?

It's legit.

I already have 116 Swagbucks.

Crystal and I sat down last night and searched random words on swagbucks until I won a dollar. It only took a few minutes...so they do pay!

I was wondering how it worked.

You will be searching, type something in and then it says you win!

It's hard not to clap.

A dollar comes up, you type in your email address and password, and then watch your swag account grow right in front of your eyes!

I'm also excited that there are MANY online stores where you get paid to shop. For every $5 you spend online at stores like Macy's or Wal-Mart, you get FIVE swagbucks. Incredible! They even tell you which online stores are having sales, or free shipping. Talk about nice.

Be a part of the swaggyness!

It's swagalicious.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Jumpin on the "S" Train

Swagbucks

Know what that is?

Neither do I, but Kirby swears she's bringing in the bling using this crazy Swagbucks stuff.

Swagbucks is a search engine.

So, when you would normally go to google.com, instead, you go to Swagbucks.com

The cool thing...

Swagbucks is powered by GOOGLE!

The difference between Swagbucks and google...you get MONEY for searching Swagbucks.

Kirby keeps getting $50 gift certificates in the mail from stores like GAP! Who is excited?

Here's what we do...

Go here, to sign up...just fill in the "Register Now" part. It's short and easy.


Search & Win



Just signing up, you get money.

Then, every time you search using Swagbucks, you get more money.

So, instead of going to google when I need to know stuff like...

"Why is my baby's black falling off" (I actually googled this one time)

or

"Swoopy Bangs"

or

"Butt Cancer"

or

"Where do you buy ear candles?"

I would just type that stuff into Swagbucks...and chu-ching...I'll be making money.

After you sign up, you can tell people on your blog to sign up and every time they search you get some money.

I know...it sounds like Amway.

It will probably get shut down one day.

But in the mean time, let's sign up, search Swagbucks and go shopping with our gift certificates!!

I'm only doing this, and recommending it to you because Kirby has lead the way in this Swagbucking deal, and has the gift certificates in her hand to PROVE it works!

I just called to confirm with her...

She's already gotten a $50 Gap gift certificate, and $50 Southwest Airline gift card, and she hasn't been a swagbucker for very long at all!

You can pick what gift certificates you want from various different choices.

Kirby is going to choose all airline money so they can take a trip.

I'm going to choose all clothing ones.

Yep.

I'm that ridiculous.

Really...please...for me...and for you...go here! Yes...this is begging.

Can you do me this one favor?


Search & Win


And then go search for something!

Don't search for, "Why is my baby's black falling off."

Weird things come up.

College peeps...please sign up, and start using swagbucks for your search engine. You can know you're loving the Hendricks (and you'll get stuff too) every time you search for something!

Swagbucks may be my new love language.

For my birthday, you can just send me an email that says, "I searched for 50 things using swagbucks" and I will feel so loved.

It's going to take some real re-training to remember to use Swagbucks instead of google, but it's money...so I'm going to work on it!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Stuck in San Antonio

Remember San Antonio?

Well...

We rolled into our driveway, after the longest day of our life, walked in the door and were blown away by what had gone on in our house while we were away.

You see, when we bought our house a month or so ago, the only thing I hated was this weird bar inside.

Yes...a bar.

A huge, fancy, swanky bar tending bar.

Why houses have this, I will never understand. So much of what happened in the 80's is probably like that...we look back and wonder, "What was I thinking?"

You have to SERIOUSLY love drinking AND be SERIOUSLY lazy to need a bar in your living room when the kitchen is three steps away.

When looking at this house, I walked in, took one look at that thing and said, "That atrocity will have to go."

Here are the before pictures...I took these before we owned this house.


The bar in all its swankyness


The bar's sink and shiny counter tops.

I wanted to tease up my hair and wear multi-colored socks just being near this thing.


While we were in San Antonio, we hired Lance Czajowski to put in an entertainment center where the bar was in our living room.

We Hendricks love Lance.

He has done work for us before.

He is incredibly gifted.

He arrives on time.

He gets the job done when he says he will.

He is a PERFECTIONIST.

We are always impressed and always LOVE the work he does for us.

This guy has skills I tell ya.

I know that hiring someone to do this kind of work for you can be stressful.

Will they do a good job?

What if they don't?

Is it going to be weird having them in my home while they are working?

I love never having to worry about those things with Lance.

You can trust him.

We left for three days and gave Lance our home, and never worried about anything.

He is precious and we love how we can trust him in every way...to do great work, to take care of our house...and he's super sweet and easy to be around.

My boys LOVE Mr. Lance...a little too much at times. When he's done work for us, I've had to remind them to leave Mr. Lance alone...I've been known to say, "No Hayden. Mr. Lance can't come jump on the trampoline with you. He's working."

But Lance probably would.

After Lance quoted Aaron the price for building the entertainment center (and he raised all the handrails on our staircase) I told Aaron, "He is too cheap. I'm going to tell Lance he needs to charge more. That price is ridiculous."

Aaron agreed but said, "Don't tell him that until after I pay him, okay?"

Here's the masterpiece Lance created in our living room while we were in San Antonio.

How CUTE is this thing?


It's BEAUTIFUL and PERFECT!

I can't stop staring at it.

I also can't believe an ugly bar used to be there.

It looks like Pottery Barn came to live with me!

And you haven't even seen the coolest
part of this entertainment center.

See the bookshelf on the right side?

It's a door!

A Scooby Doo Door!


The bookshelf rolls open, and we have a big closet behind it on the right, and a big storage area behind the entertainment center!

How exciting!

When the door/bookshelf is closed, you would NEVER know a huge closet is behind there!

Isn't Lance the man?

If you need ANY carpentry work done, we HIGHLY recommend Lance.

He helped us with our upstairs addition at our last house.

He has completely remodeled several of our friend's houses.

Look what he did in Kirby's kitchen!

He does amazing work.

Call him!

You will always be impressed with his work.

Here's his info...

Home Concepts
Lance Czajkowski
(sounds like Mike Wazowski but Lance has two eyes and isn't green)
777-8643
lancec34@verizon.net


__________________________________________________________________

So how did we get home from San Antonio?

After we gave the car salesman the run around of his life...

Imagine, picky me, walking up to a car that the salesman has deemed "incredible", looking at it two seconds and saying, "No. Sorry. It's dirty."

That poor man.

Once it got close to closing time, we decided we hated all the cars in the universe and just wanted to go home.

But how?

In what?

The answer...

In the most expensive ride of our life.

Enterprise said we could drive our rental to College Station.

How nice of them.

And then they told us that College Station's Enterprise is not affiliated with the San Antonio Enterprise, so we had to pay a millon dollars to take the car home.

Okay, not a million dollars.

Half a million.

Okay not half a million...but a lot of money.

Awesome.

Normally, we would have kept our money and said, "Whatever. We'll wait for a magic carpet."

But after being in a car all day long, with four kids, ready to be home in their own beds...

We caved.

We left our broken car in San Antonio and came home.

Thankfully, Aaron's parents were coming to our house that weekend, and drove through San Antonio and picked up our car for us.

The only perk for breaking down in San Antonio....

Coming home to my Scooby Doo, Way Cooler than I could have Imagined Entertainment Center.

Call Lance!

Only Lance and his awesomeness could have salvaged a day like that dreadful day in San Antonio.

One more time...so I can pretend I'm on HGTV...

BEFORE


AFTER


You know you want to call him!