Sunday, May 31, 2009

Garage sales and 18 hours of sunlight

Okay, I'm addicted to garage sales. This was my third weekend in a row, but look at what I found for $4!

While I was taking pictures of the twins, I had to snap a few pictures of my beautiful pansies on the back deck. Can you believe how much they've grown in a few weeks?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Some Random Photos

This is our new friend. He comes to visit all day long, makes a mess, and eats all our food. But he sure is cute.

Why is it that the squirrel is less "squirrelly" than my kids, especially when I get the camera out? Perhaps it's because he doesn't realize I'm taking his picture.
Exhibit A: Nicky's action shot (I swear his legs have grown 6 inches overnight.)

Exhibit B: Catie thinks putting a car in her mouth is funny when Mommy tells her to smile (Notice her "pwincess" pj's; it's quite the trick getting her to change into clothes when she's got those on. My two year-old is starting to act more and more like a 3 year-old.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Banana Cream Pie

Here's a little video we thought you'd enjoy. :)

Untitled from Erica Herzog on Vimeo.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pearls Before Swine, part 2

You might recall The Pearl Incident. Don't go looking for it. I deleted it permanently. Because it was really embarrassing. Let's just say it involved my pearl ring and some murky water.

I actually lost the pearl again, not too long ago. I noticed that it was loose, and like an idiot didn't take the ring off. A day later, the pearl was gone, with no idea where it could be. Brad took it to the jeweler who made not only my wedding ring, but my in-laws' as well, to have the pearl replaced.

Fast-forward to last weekend at the garage sale. We were sitting around waiting for customers and I looked down at my hand--the pearl was gone! Argh! How would we ever find it among all the garage sale junk? Besides I couldn't remember the last time I had consciously looked at my hand. Who knew where it could be?

I must be the luckiest girl in the world, because what did I see when I looked down at the driveway Saturday morning while the kids rode around on their new trikes? My pearl!

By the way, I've decided that the pearl ring is not an everyday kind of ring. I'm now wearing the plain gold band that Brad gave me when I was pregnant on that finger, just in case you were wondering.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Garage Sale Finds

We had a neighborhood garage sale this Saturday. We gathered together some of the things we had in various piles around the house waiting to go to Goodwill, and set up a small sale. We also invited our friends, David and Kristine, to add their stuff too. We made (drumroll, please).... $128. If we hadn't had such a fun time we might have said it wasn't worth it. Everyone knows that shopping is way more fun than selling; look at the finds from our neighbors' sales!

This first find shows you the importance of getting out of the car, or walking up the sidewalk a little farther in our case, as this sale didn't look too promising, but they had a jogging stroller, so we thought they might have other kids' stuff. Well, we spotted this scrapbook bag right away because Kristine's been pining for one. When the woman said $5, we couldn't pay her fast enough.

Crop-In-Syle Navigator scrapbook bag: Retails $100, Our price $5

At the same sale, I found this brand new camp chair for Nicky.

Buzz Lightyear camp chair: Retail $29.99, Our price $3

At another sale, I spotted this for Bradley.

Craftsman nail and screw organizer: Retail $40, Our price $5

My next-door neighbor had a basket full of papercrafting supplies. I resisted buying the whole thing.
Cardmaking supplies: Retail $35, Our price $6

My personal favorite find:

Brand new Tonka steel dump truck: Retail $30, Our price $5

What a great way to spend a beautiful morning: get rid of some junk, make some money, spend time outdoors, enjoy our friends. Happy Garage Sale Season!

Making Work at Home Work

Book Summary: If you're struggling to balance your home business and your family, you're not alone. Mary Byers has been where you are and shows that it can be done! She will challenge you to face important questions, such as: How do I fit my business into my family life? How much income is enough? What are my priorities?

She'll also teach you how to:

~schedule your time effectively
~manage your business expenses
~know when and how to take a break
~avoid strain on your relationships
~arrange effective child care when needed
~plan for the future and retirement
~work smarter and make more

Whether you're a small business owner or work in direct sales, home business success is a reality! Keep your professional and personal lives in harmony with Making Work at Home Work.

About the Author: Mary M. Byers successfully juggles both a freelance corporate writing and speaking business and her responsibilities as a wife and mother of two school-aged children. She is the author of The Mother Load: How to Meet Your Own Needs While Caring for Your Family and How to Say No . . . And Live to Tell about It.

My Review: When I got this book, I thought it would have nothing to say to me. I was wrong.

Just thinking about women who spend their days at home with their children and working, convicted me about how much time I waste during the day. I was encouraged to think again about keeping the house and raising my kids as a job. I know it is my calling in this season of my life.

That being said, I found the book incredibly interesting and well-written. Working at home isn't as easy as it sounds, and this book provides lots of helpful, specific advice. If I were working at home, I'm sure that it would be an excellent resource and source of encouragement. If you know a work-at-home mom (at-home CEO, I mean) this book would be a wonderful gift. In fact, as soon as I finish this review, I'm passing my copy along to a mom I know who could use some encouragement.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Guess what time it is?

I took this picture right before I went to bed last night at 10:15 pm.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kids say the darndest things

Here are two stories that happened recently. I'm numbering them because I don't feel like writing transitions. :)

1. On Sunday, I made baked potatoes for dinner and gave the kids each half of one. I cut it, but not all the way through the skin because they usually pick the potato off the top with their forks. Nick was having some trouble with his, though, and he asked Daddy for help. So, Daddy cut his potato some more, all the way through the skin. When Nick saw what he had done, he said, "Oh, no. Oh, no. It's broken." (Thus the broken potato reference in the video from my last post.)

2. Catie cannot say chocolate. We think she saying "choco" but it sounds an awful lot like "taco." One night last week our conversation went something like this:

Mommy: "Say 'choc'."

Catie: "Choc."

Mommy: "Say 'let'."

Catie: "Let."

Mommy: "Choc-let."

Catie: "Choco!"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My mother's day present

Brad bought me a digital video camera for Mother's day. Yay! As soon as I got the battery charged up, I started taking videos of the kids.

A while ago I found this YouTube video where a guy sings songs about Star Wars to the tune of popular John Williams songs in four part harmony with himself. It gets stuck in your head, let me tell you, and Brad and I frequently find ourselves singing it. The kids especially love the wookie part, and will often randomly yell out "wookie!" Brad makes a wookie noise by covering his mouth with his hands and warbling, and the kids' impression of him is hilarious to us.

By the way, the camera scared Nick at first. That's what's happening in the first part of the video.

Wookie! from Erica Herzog on Vimeo.

A Passion Denied

Summary: Elizabeth O'Connor has been like the little sister John Brady always wanted, sharing his love of literature and his thirst for God. But in the throes of the Roaring Twenties, Lizzie has grown up. Suddenly she wants more from the man who has been her friend since she was a child. When this shy little bookworm blossoms into a beautiful young woman bent on loving John, she discovers that his past won't let him return that love. But Lizzie refuses to give up--until his shocking secrets push her away.

A note from the author: I’m Julie Lessman, an Inspirational Romance author with a passion for God and a passion for romance. Since the age of twelve, I’ve been in love with the idea of being “in love.” It happened the moment Scarlett seared Rhett with a look on the winding staircase of Twelve Oaks. Suddenly I was a goner, spellbound by the emotional ebb and flow of romantic relationships.
As an adult, I quickly learned that true romance is spiritual as well as physical and emotional. And one pass through the “Song of Solomon” in the Bible told me that God was the biggest romantic of them all, deeply passionate in His love for each of us. Through my love affair with Him, I have discovered that romance can transcend to another dimension where romantic passion and spiritual passion merge, creating a 3-D love story: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together. I hope you enjoy my stories ... and may they bring you closer to the Father’s heart.

My review: This is the third book in the series, which I thought would be a difficulty, but Lessman adds just enough of the back story to keep me from confusion without boring readers who have read the previous books. In fact, I think I could go back and read the first two books, even though I already know who the girls end up with. For readers who have read the other Daughters of Boston novels, this book would add satisfying details as to what happens to Faith and Charity after the close of their stories.

The front cover of this book announces, "This isn't your mother's inspirational fiction!" and that description doesn't disappoint. For the woman who finds guilty pleasure in romance novels, this book provides the romance without the guilt, featuring not only the story between Lizzie and Brady, but also her married sisters and parents.

Monday, May 11, 2009

An incredible honor

Click on this link; you won't believe the award I've won.

No literally, you won't believe it.

(Thanks, Lori. I totally stole this idea from you.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In the Garden (Well, outside our front door)

"Those are moose tracks," Brad casually says.

"What are?"

"Those tracks next to our house."

"You mean the tracks that I assumed belonged to our neighbor? The ones right next to our house?"

"Yes, those."


Hopefully, he wasn't coming to eat our brand new flowers.


Wax begonias
Marigolds are supposed to keep the deer away. Maybe they work on moose too?

Marigolds and Spearmint

Strawberries and more Marigolds

We put pansies and violas in a window box planter on our back porch.
I have a hard time looking at pansies without imagining little faces on them.

Look, it's a mommy and baby.

Mother's day brunch

About a month ago, I was sitting next to our MOPS coordinator at Bible study and she turned to me and said, "I heard that you were involved in MOPS before; would you be interested in helping with our MOPS program." After being a part of the women's ministry at our church in Doha, I knew that I wanted to do it again, so I said yes.

They happened to be having a meeting that afternoon, and Brad's mom was in town to watch the kids for me. During the course of the meeting, I mentioned that I was suprised that the church didn't have an Easter egg hunt, and then I mentioned a Mother's day brunch, and an idea was born.

We had 30 ladies there yesterday for a potluck brunch with games, music, and testimonies. Sharing the work with 5 or 6 other ladies made it easy, and everyone had a wonderful time.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Free books!

So, I wanted to warn you, my faithful readers (all 10 of you), that I'm going to be doing a little something extra with my blog, at least in the next couple weeks. I responded to a survey from MOPS, Intl., and as a result I was asked to review books on my blog. Since I love books, especially free ones, and all things school related (did someone say book report?) I immediately accepted. Right now, I have three books to read and review before mid-May, so you'll be seeing those soon. With any luck, it will be something that I can do regularly. I hope you all enjoy it too.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Enjoying Alaska

Anchorage has green belts snaking throughout the city to allow the animals a way to migrate without disturbing or being disturbed by people too much. Luckily for us, there's one right behind our house with a paved trail. It follows the winding Campbell Creek. (When I say winding, I mean winding; in the mile from our house to Taku Lake park, we cross over 4 or 5 bridges.) The weather has been gorgeous lately, with highs in the 60's and sunny, and we've been taking walks after dinner.

Last night while we were walking along the lake, we saw a group of people looking up at a tree. We speculated about what they could be looking at, but never would have guessed that it was a bald eagle. I so wished I had my camera, but settled with staring in awe and saying wow repeatedly. It looked small sitting up in the tree, but I knew that was just an optical illusion. What a majestic creature!

The move to Alaska has been funny. We've always talked about moving here, so I feel like it's my duty to like it and find a place here, feeling guilty on the days when I dream about being close to family. I know God has a reason for bringing us here, and when we're outside surrounded by the beauty of His handiwork, it almost feels like home.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

An announcement, an embarrassing photo, and an outing

The announcement: I am the mother of twin toddlers. I know, it's shocking. I'm having a little trouble getting around to thinking of blog topics. So, in the future, I will take as long as I want in between blog posts without feeling guilty and/or apologizing for how long it's been.

The embarrassing photo: Lately, Catie is very interested in dressing herself, and she takes her own sweet time doing it. I have to entice her by saying things like, "Catie, do you think you can put your own pants on? You're such a big girl." On this particular day I thought to myself, "Hey, while she's running around without pants, I might as well see if she'll go on the potty." She decided to give it a go, and then asked for a book. (Like father, like daughter.) I couldn't resist. This is so going on my list of photos to show her future boyfriends.
The outing: Today we had our first picnic of the season. Lots of friends came to celebrate Christine's birthday like they do every year at Bird Creek. We ate hot dogs and all that other good campfire food. The kids had a great time running around, and I was reminded how little opportunity they have to play in open spaces. Now that they're getting older, and the weather is warmer, we'll have to remedy that.

This is the only shot I took of the scenery, but isn't it beautiful? Sorry it isn't so clear, but on the other side of the trees is Turn-again arm and then a mountain range.
Catie and Nick had great fun picking up the pine cones.

Here's Nick relaxing by the campfire.

We did learn a lesson, however. No matter how much fun everyone is having, skipping nap time is not an option in this family right now.