Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tired Me!

But it's a good tired.  I got SOOO much done today.  My house is {almost} clean!  Jacob is hilarious... He comes in and says, "Can I help you Momma?"  So I'm like, sure!  I hand him a wipe and asked him to do the front of the fridge. So he does....everything on the front of the fridge, including the pictures he's colored for me, the magnets, etc.  I HAD to laugh.

So I told him, "No honey, just like the handles, and any spots you see."

So he swiped at a spot by the handle a couple of times, and says, "Okay mom, is that good?  Did I help ya?  Can I get a green tag now?"

K.  So let me 'splain the green tags.  I remember my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Visser, handed out green and red tags just made from constuction paper.  Every month or so, she had a "classroom store" where we could "spend" our green tags.  So I decided to do the same thing with Jacob.  (I can't remember what the red tags meant...must have never gotten any!) HA!

So not only does Jacob get green tags for behaving during school, he gets them when he goes out of his way to be helpful, kind, or really obedient....

Only problem now is that he thinks he can get one for doing one little thing.  Hilarious.  The school store is stocked I just have to figure out "prices."  Oh, and the red tags for him are 10 minutes earlier to bed.  So he does NOT like red tags.  The red tags are only during school, or if we are doing something where he is required to be on task and following instructions.  He's only gotten ONE so far! : )

Anyway.  School is going's a little more work than I thought it would be, because I want to do it the way I would if I was in a classroom, just on a smaller scale.  We are studying ants right now.... Starting with the verse in Proverbs 6:6 "Go to the ant, you sluggard.  Consider her ways and be wise."

I made an ant out of cardstock, made a gabillion ants on construction paper, traced them with marker, cut them out of the paper, laminated them, then cut them out again.  That's what I would have done for a classroom.  So I did it for Jacob.  Yikes.

Then I remembered I had a bunch of cutouts from COLLEGE (yes, college, which was 18 years ago...) I literally have construction paper cutouts from 18 years ago.  A bunch of us in the teaching program went to this library that had a gigantic punch that you could make almost anything with: kites, turkeys, apples, trains, buses, etc.  So I laminated a boatload of that for later.

Anyway, this post is all over the place, like me.  Half way through writing this, I went out to drive the tractor and hay wagon so Doug could load up the last of the hay.  Oh what fun!  Also helped paint the outside of the mudroom so it's yellow now, like the house (it had been white siding so we got paint to match....perfectly!), did 3 loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen, stove (not oven) tea kettle, microwave, toaster, did the dishes, made pasta salad for supper tonight, vacuumed the whole bottom floor of the house, dusted the living room and dining room....

All so I can sleep tonight.  And I'm telling you. I am going to SLEEP!

I hurt from head to toe.  But it's a good hurt, because it's from working.  And it feels GREAT!  Painful, but great.  Yes, I know I'm weird.  But that's why ya love me!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Hands and Feet of Jesus

Gary- The "foreman" on the job

 This is Gary.  Gary is a rock star in the building world.  Well, to ME he is anyway. And to my family, and especially our dog Moose.  Moose wanted to adopt Gary, but Gary has his own home and family, so it was a no-go.  The day after Gary left, Moose sat in the window with his chin on the sill sad!

Gary is a volunteer for the SKILL Ministry through Love INC.  This is a quote from Sue Flowers, my liason (and friend) at Love INC, Hamilton.

"“SKILL” is an acronym for “Showing Kindness in Labors of Love.”  This is a home repair ministry which gives assistance to qualified individuals and families by enlisting the skill and labor of volunteers from our Church Network and communities.  Love INC has pursued SKILL Ministries because we believe in its Biblical stance and practical application for those in need.
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 
I John 3:17"

Jeff from JRB Properties Management
 This is another volunteer, who has his own business, JRB Properties Management LLC, who came over with two of his guys for a day and got LOADS of siding put up.  I am STILL completely overwhelmed at the generosity of time these men gave my family.

Jeff's crew

Doug, Gary (back) Bob (behind Gary) and Jeff's guys all working on my home
 There was another crew here, Scott's Siding out of Dorr, that also volunteer with the SKILL Ministry at Love INC.  They did not ask me to mention their names or businesses, but I sure would love it if you would seek out these businesses should you ever need services like this done.  I think it's amazing that these men took time out of their workweeks to volunteer their services to help my family.  So if you ever need siding or other contractor-type stuff done, please give these guys a call.  They deserve the business.

Moose was never far from Gary's side!
 I didn't get any great pictures of Bob, (the gentleman in the light blue shirt) who also worked an entire day on our home.  He was on the roof of the mudroom, going up and down ladders.... He volunteers for several ministries through Love INC, including a jail ministry, which most of you know is close to my heart.  

I'm just so, so thankful for all of these people, and for Sue Flowers, and Love INC in Hamilton.  They have been so wonderful to me and my family, making my house safer for me to live in. All I was really asking for was for some help for Doug (who would never ask himself!) to scrape and paint the house.  And this is what I got.  Reminds me of Ephesians 3:20-21: "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

If you would like to make a donation to this amazing ministry, please send it to:
Love INC of NW Allegan County 
P.O. Box 36 
Hamilton, MI 49419 

Please write “SKILL DKS” in the memo so that the funds go to this awesome group so they can keep helping people.


Isn't it gorgeous??  And get this...the name of the siding?  "Providence Yellow."  I LOVE IT!

Sigh.  I've always wanted a yellow house! 
Oh, you can donate financially to Love INC, but they are always looking for volunteers too! 
Call 1-269-751-2533 for more information.

 So to Love INC, Gary, Jeff, Bob, and all the other volunteers that put their time and energy into this project, thank you.  Thank you for making my home a safer place for me to live and breathe.  Thank you for making my house more beautiful than I could ever have imagined.  But MOST of all, thank you, THANK YOU for being the hands and feet of Jesus.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The House...Part Three

I know, I know, you just want to see the finished product. But what's the fun in that?  Isn't the journey the destination anyway?? HA! 
Yes, that's my darling up there, on the ladder, by himself, hanging and nailing on the house wrap because he's completely a wee bit impatient and can't wait on help.  I tell ya what, the noise of a hammer bang bang banging on your house all day long is enough to make you CRAZY.  However, it IS better than SIX hammers.....

Doug really made remarkable progress.... I would go out every so often and look....and go back in, because he always makes me nervous when he's on the ladder!

I know!  Looks like a present, huh?  Oh, and if you look carefully, you can see Jacob's elephant on the front porch, looking to get it.  Yes, he made that himself.  Daddy helped with a few nails, but he designed it and made most of it.

Here's a better look...found a picture of it!  The apple does not fall far from the tree, for sure!
So here is a tiny sneak peak....Tomorrow I will tell you about the AMAZING, wonderful, talented volunteers from Love INC's SKILL Ministry that came to help Doug side the house, and of course, I will have more pictures.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

House Repairs Part Two

As you can see, the boards under the house are all different shapes and sizes.  We also had a brick chimney column on the front of the house.  We had to move the satellite dish for the TV, and clean up the mess!
Jacob checking out the original siding.
You can see the chimney column here, and the awning over the front door.

Doug ripped off the awning, and built a frame around the chimney column, then he covered it with plywood so he could wrap it along with the rest of the house.  Up til this point, Doug was doing this by himself.  Made me crazy.  I told him we had help coming, he just had to be patient.  Yeah, right!

The awning is gone, and it won't be back up.  The chimney is covered.... Next wrap!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Why We Needed New Siding Part One

The beginning of "The Project."
Not the Consumer's meter, although.....

Not only did Doug uncover dry rot when he was stripping the siding off, but he also discovered this lovely gap in between our house and foundation.  Mmm-hm.

Not the Consumer's meter, although.....

That would be Doug's entire hand in there.  And the old boards underneath the old siding.  Our house is pre-1900, and not much about it is square.  As you can see...some has just settled over the last 150 years, but some, I think, was the way it was built back then.

So....stay tuned....the project is almost done, but there's WAY too much for one post! : )

Monday, September 17, 2012

Playing Ball With Daddy

Hey Batta, Batta... sa-wing batta.....
It's a goner!!!
And as you can see, whether it's a hit or a miss, we have an outfielder who gets the ball!
Yesterday Jacob was playing ball with Daddy, which means Daddy throw the ball and prays he doesn't get whacked!  He got hit once while I was watching, but at least it was above the belt!

Jacob writes right-handed, but bats left-handed.  Man, can he hit that thing.  In North Carolina we found out he is truly ambidextrous.  He drew a picture of  a fish and wrote his name on the right half of the paper with his right hand, then did a mirror image of the fish, and wrote his name just as neatly with his left hand on the left side of the paper.

Yup, that's my boy!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

This Should NEVER Happen

Well, it's the last day of National Invisible Illness Awareness Week.  I had a totally different post in mind, but something happened to a dear MG friend of mine that I just had to share, so that people are MADE AWARE.

I know about bullying.  I was a "victim" when I was little.  I'm not sure that's what they called it back then, and it sure wasn't handled well.  I've always been the fat kid.  Since kindergarten through high school, college, and into adulthood, I've always been overweight.  And especially in grades 1-9, I was mercilessly teased.  I remember one year I was terrified to leave my house.  I would just cry and cry.  Every day.

But that was school.  And I was a kid.  And it happens.  For the "usual" reasons.  It shouldn't, but it does.  But what I'm going to tell you now...this is THE most disgusting thing I've ever heard.

As I said, this happened to a dear MG friend of mine very recently.  She was at a gas station after picking up her children from school.  She is a single mom, and had been throwing up all that day or the previous one, I can't remember.  Regardless, it took everything she had to get her kids and stop to gas up her vehicle.

After sitting for 15 minutes waiting for an open gas pump, the second it was free a gigantic truck zoomed in and stole her spot.  My friend motioned that she had been there first, and the woman "challenged me to move her truck."  Seriously??  HOW old are we? So she moved on to the next pump.

Now as we all know, stress makes MG worse, and my friend was already near bottom.  She felt herself getting worse on the spot.  As she's pulling up to the next pump, a guy does the same thing! Zooms right up...She pulls her car right up on him, and Big Truck Chick comes over to tell her to move her car!  (The audacity of these people!!)  As Big Truck Chick comes over, my friend goes to get out of her car, and her legs gave out from under her. She fell to the ground.

Her sons were with her, and one of them had to get out to help her.  The other people at the station thought she was drunk, and were LAUGHING at her.  Her son yelled that she was disabled and asked why they were laughing.

This story both breaks my heart and infuriates me.  What kind of world do we live in?  I mean seriously?  The gas station p!ss!ng contest is one thing, but actually laughing at a single woman with children in the car who is in obvious distress?

SHAME ON YOU whoever you are, you heartless, insolent cretin.

Do NOT judge people.  And if you do, may the fleas of a thousand camels infest your nether-regions until you go mad.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Here a Code, There a Code!

And yes, I am ready for the funny farm.

It is National Invisible Illness Awareness Week, so this is perfect timing.  For all of you healthy people who never have to go to the doctor, or who don't ever meet your deductible, or don't even know what a co-pay is, this is for you.

Got a bill from my doctor for my annual exam saying my secondary insurance didn't cover it because it wasn't medically necessary. (The same exam that they harp on you until you get it....send emails, phone calls, rent billboards, whatever...)  So I call Priority to find out why they denied the claim.
Me: Hi, I have a question about a claim that was denied.
Pri:  Date of service? blah blah blah
Me: gave them info.  This was for my (I'll spare the details for the dudes).  Why was this deemed medically unnecessary?
Pri:  It wouldn't be.
Me { we go}: Um, I have a bill for $**.** and a notation saying Priority Health said "exam not covered Not Medical Necessity", yet on my Priority website it says I'm due for said exam.
Pri: Claim number?
Me: blah blah blah
Pri:  Oh, I see.  They didn't bill a procedure code.  We can't approve it without a procedure code.  We don't know what you had done without a procedure code.  Blah blah blah procedure code.
Me: What EXACTLY has to happen for you to approve this claim?
Pri:  They have to resubmit it.
Me:  Is there a specific fax number or something?
Pri: No, they do it electronically.
Me:  Gotcha.

So I call the local doctor's billing people.
Me:  Hi, I had a claim denied because there was no procedure code on it.
Them:  That's not possible.
Me {SERIOUSLY????}:  Um, I have the bill in front of me and it says, "Routine Phys Exam Not Cover Not Medical Necessity."  And I called Priority and they said they had no procedure code.
Them:  Well they're wrong.  We can't send it without a procedure code.
Me {hitting myself in the head with a hammer hoping to just pass out}:  Well, do you think you could resend it since they claim they don't have it?
Them:  Well, I can resend it, but they should have it.
Me:  Well obviously I can't tell you if that is true or not because I don't have the paperwork in front of me.
Them:  Well, like I said, I'll resend it.
Me {thinking, oh, how mighty kind and generous of you....I owe you my first born...} Thanks.

That was AFTER I was on the phone making SEVEN different appointments.

Ah, yes.  A day in the life.  By the time I make Jacob breakfast and lunch, try to remember to eat something myself (which usually happens in the afternoon when my blood sugar crashes), AND if I have a day like this when I have to straighten out some idiot's mistake, do all my medical crap (shake-alator, breathing treatments, clean trach, etc.) I'm not sure I have time to clean my house, fold laundry, take care of the dogs, get dressed, get Jacob dressed, homeschool, work on jewelry, and cook.

Just sayin'.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Book Review: Growing Great Kids by Kate Battistelli

In this wonderful book, Growing Great Kids, by Kate Batistelli, you will find so many practical tips for raising children not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.  Kate is the mom of Dove Award winning artist Francesca Battistelli (whom I personally adore).  Now, when I her Francesca Battistelli on the radio, I’m like, “I know her mom!”  That’s how I feel after reading this book.

There are so many great things about it, but the chapter that spoke most powerfully to me is chapter 2: The Power of a Parent’s Words.  Oh my goodness.  Having seen people absolutely shredded by words in the past, and having a close loved one verbally abused by their father…this chapter is CRUCIAL for anyone who HAS children, or who is thinking about having children.
The power of our words, especially as parents, carries more weight than we can imagine.  Parents are the number one influence in a child’s life.  What we say can literally bring them life, or death.  Kate showed a great example for parents as she continually spoke (out loud) “Franny’s” destiny and God’s great plans for her.  So it’s not only sparing the negative, but verbally acknowledging the positive.

There’s one other thing that I simply adored, and couldn’t possibly write this review without.  In chapter 10 “When Your Ceiling Becomes Their Floor,” Kate says, “We allowed the seed of our desires to die and go into the ground.  They laid dormant there for many years before bearing fruit in Francesa’s life.”  Wow.  First of all, to be obedient to God and lay down your OWN desires for your children and let HIS develop in them, and then to have to WAIT!  Right now I’m thrilled to bits that my son is only six!

And just the title…I have to think about when my ceiling becomes Jacob’s floor; when my ability to nurture, help and teach him stops, and whatever I have done in those precious years, then THAT becomes his floor, his foundation.  What a responsibility!

I would recommend this book to anyone with young children, or anyone who plans on having children.  While I didn’t agree with every single little detail in this book, the majority of it lines up with the way I want to raise my son.  

Growing Great Kids is AVAILABLE NATIONWIDE in bookstores and major retailers for $14.99.
Your readers can buy discounted and personally autographed copies here.
Or purchase online at: AmazonChristianbook.comBarnes&Noble or their favorite online retailer.

About the Author:

Kate Battistelli is a wife, author, speaker, former Broadway actress, and mom to one of Christian music’s most celebrated new recording artists—Grammy-nominated, Christian contemporary singer-songwriter Francesca Battistelli.

Kate currently volunteers at ESTHER Single Mothers Outreach and is thoroughly enjoying her newest role as grandmother to Francesca’s first child, Matthew Elijah.

She writes about parenting, food and faith regularly at
A Note From The Author:
"I want to share with you that I'm not a childrearing expert. But I am an expert in raising my child just as you're an expert in raising yours.

No one knows your child better than you do and no one will love them, pray for them and fight for their future like you will. I’m passionate about helping you believe God has a Big Purpose, a God-sized plan for your precious family.

I have no interest in greatness but I have a great interest in helping you raise great kids and encouraging you to partner with God to uncover their unique destiny. Our children are entrusted to us for such a short season and our job is to nurture, guide, train and help them become all God has called them to be!"


Learn more about Kate at:

Kate's website:

Kate on Facebook:

Kate on Twitter:!/katebattistelli

Youtube video of Kate's Interview with Today's Issues: 

Francesca's website:

 I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Crazy World

Oh my goodness.  I am WHOOPED.  We officially started school yesterday.  Well, we did really well, Jacob and I.  He behaved really well, and I stayed on task and we actually got a TON accomplished in about 2 hours.  More than he probably would have gotten accomplished in a classroom.  There are statistics ranging from 73-84 minutes of ACTUAL learning that takes place in a classroom.  Between shuffling papers, changing textbooks, disruptive students, recess, lunch, beginning and end-of-the-day routines, interruptions like announcements, fire drills, etc.... teachers TEACH very little.  And I'm not saying it's their fault.  It's not.  It's the way the system is set up.  I am NOT attacking teachers in any way.  I AM a teacher!

Regardless of where the fault may lie, students LEARN even less.  I know this to be true, because I went to college to be a teacher, and I did my student teaching, and I subbed for 3 school years.  Half the time it's more like crowd control than school.  

Nowadays, especially with younger children, a female teacher isn't just teacher, she's a mother figure, a counselor, psychologist, nurse, and more.  This is only ONE of dozens of reasons I am homeschooling my son.

That being said, it's TOUGH.  I also have a jewelry business (  and a household to run.  Oh, and then there's that pesky neuromuscular disease I have.  It's 7:30PM right now, and I have been working since about 8:30 this morning.  Haven't had dinner yet, haven't finished what I wanted to accomplish today...and I'm exhausted.

I started my day by laminating 36 sheets of school things.  Each page had at least 3 things in it.  I haven't cut them out yet.  Ug.  NOT looking forward to that with these hands.

So anyway...I will try to post more often, but if I'm not quite up to par, you will know why.  I'm drowning in base ten blocks, cuissinaire rods, plastic people and money and shapes and flashcards.

Calgon take me away........

WAIT..... What?!?!?

photo courtesy of losarciniegas Have you ever thought of how strange it is that you can have a conversation without really saying anyth...