Follow by Email

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

An Answer to My Prayers

Jules here-

Often I have prayed for someone to get a job or recover from an illness, and those prayers seemingly go unanswered.  Most faith is tested when we are struggling to see God's will in our unanswered pleadings.  I do believe that we, as humans, are unable to comprehend the grand plan of God; however, sometimes we must focus on the seemingly insignificant blessings he bestows on us in answer to our small prayers.  Recently, the phrase "You ask and you shall receive" has resonated with me, as I have had some prayers and needs answered almost instantly.
  • At the first snowfall in the start of winter, my children eagerly scrambled to don their snow-gear; however, being the youngest of two older sisters, James was relegated to pink snow pants.
    New Hampshire Ready
    After sending the trio outside, my husband begged, "Really? Pink snow pants? Can't you buy a pair at the consignment store or something?"  I reluctantly agreed to check out the consignment (because quite frankly I don't really care if my son wears pink snow pants)....however, they did not have any snow pants in his size.  Upon arrival to my Mom's Group the next day, one of my friends walked in with a bag and said, "Hey, do you need snow pants for James? My son just out grew these."  A perfect pair of 2T blue snow pants.  My prayers were answered! 

  • A couple of weeks later, James watched the girls coloring their Strawberry Shortcake and Princess/Fairy pages and asked, "Mommy, can I color a soccer page? Where's my sports book?"  Um.... I don't have one....  Once again, being the younger brother to two older sisters has its disadvantages.   Later that day, my neighbor Lisa called asking, "I have a few old coloring books and preschool learning books that Austin has outgrown, do you want them?" I said, "Sure."  When she dropped them off, this was amongst them:

    A sports sesame street book. Perfect
    James was thrilled to find a Elmo soccer picture on the first page! Once again, my prayers were instantly answered!

  • Most families who do not have dual-incomes have to make lots of sacrifices to maintain their lifestyle, and around the holidays that lack of "extra" money becomes more noticeable.  I have neighbors down the road who have two older children (teenagers), and she called me in late November asking if I wanted some toy/book hand-me-downs. I eagerly agreed and I was blessed with such an abundance of gifts for my children. I spent $20 (including stocking-stuffers) on my kids this Christmas because of my neighbors generosity. 
    John Deere Tractor Set for James
  • During a stressful financial and family time, I was overwhelmed just trying to work, care for the children and homeschool them.  Without being asked, my friend Tanya just swung by with a meal for my family.  Having a night off from cooking allowed me to de-stress a bit and re-focus my organizing efforts!  Plus the meal was awesome:
    Pasta Fagioli

    Coincidences? I don't think so! I truly believe God works through my friends and neighbors to give me things I need.  Sometimes what we need is very different than what we want.  I also can look back and see times in my life in which God used me to answer someone else's needs:
  • Still love those Oreos....
    When I was a senior in college, I was speaking to an acquaintance of mine, Tony.  He then said, "Do you remember when we were freshmen in the Film as Lit class?" (I honestly barely remembered Tony being in that class with me... )"Well, the first day you offered me one of your oreo cookies. I'll never forget that. I was such a nervous freshmen guy and then you were so friendly!"  I was so surprised that my simple gesture (that I have no real memory of) had such a big impact on him.

    In my first job out of college, I worked at a hospital in downtown Lancaster, PA. I had a 32 year old woman who had just had brain surgery to remove a cancerous tumor.  With a complication from the procedure, she had had a mild stroke. She was very depressed the first session, so I took her to a private therapy room and started talking to her about her four young children. Soon, we found out that her husband had coincidentally been my husband's confirmation sponsor the year prior. She instantly burst into joyous tears saying, "I have prayed for a miracle today. I felt so sad and self-pitying, but God send me a good Catholic girl as my therapist to help me through!" 
             We spent the next few weeks practicing walking and holding a make-shift baby (out of a pillow/weights) so she could be discharged from the hospital.  She had a terminal diagnosis, but she was able to spend her last year with her family, at home. I worked with a dozen other OTs at that hospital, and the chances that I would be blessed to meet this amazing woman was slim--but by "chance" we became friends.

    Easy Rule #427730  Make sure you recognize the times in your life when your needs have been met-- was it just a coincidence?

    Easy Rule #53948- Never pass up an opportunity to be someone else's answered prayer.  Listen to that little voice inside!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Week in Review

Ems here:

This week, post Easter, has been so so busy! We had Ohio state testing for the older boys on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday--reading, math, and science, respectively.  They survived it, just a bit burnt out from all the writing involved. It's no joke nowadays, you even have to explain your answers in math. Boo, just boo. We had to run out the morning of the math test and buy protractors because ours disappeared; irony is that the boys said no questions required a protractor. Sure glad I stressed out about it.  Theo told a funny story about how one boy stood up before the test, twirling his protractor, and proclaiming, "I don't even know how to use this thing!" I'm glad his mother wasn't around to hear. I can only imagine the embarrassing things my children say when I'm absent....

Here are some other happenings this week:

1. Simona and I switched faces, courtesy of Aunt Bets and a wickedly funny app:

Who needs self-esteem anyway? Get this App!

2. My angel Gabriel (nearly 3) has been cracking me up lately. He has taken to complimenting me randomly throughout the day. Here's a classic example:

"Mom, you so pretty. You so nice. You so not a weirdo."  

Um thanks...I guess...

I heard Simi screaming in the other room and walked in to see Gabe forcefully hugging her, obviously against her will. "Gabe! Get off Simona! She doesn't want you to hug her!," I shout over the drama. To which he calmly declares, "It's true love."  Interesting interpretation there, pal.

3. Unattended baby discovers the joy of doughnuts. Because there weren't enough sweets in the house after Easter.

4. My friend Cassie and I have a mom and daughter play date, with cookies and cocoa. Guess which cookies I did NOT make... It was such a nice time!

5. The weekend was completely soccer filled! Weather was great, kids won their games, good times!

The perfect picture. Matt and Theo ready to juke defenders and score.....and if you look carefully, Coach Dad in the background!

6. While the older boys were in testing at the Hampton Inn, the little kids and I hung out behind the test site. You'd never guess we were 10 feet away from the Inn, would you? Sim was a little tired waiting for the boys to be done. I was a lot tired.

Off to sleep, courtesy of Nyquil, as I am currently in the throes of a nasty cold that is sneezing itself through the family. Please pray that it burns itself out quickly as I despise a stuffy nose.

Easy Rule #5221: The only thing worse is when the baby has a stuffy nose. Ah, I hear her now.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Working out with Kids

Jules here-

As a therapist who works with the elderly, I have always recognized the importance of being somewhat in shape.  My patients who walk regularly, eat healthfully, and lift weights usually have a greater success rate after surgery/injury.  Personally, I like the ability to fit in my clothes, chase after my children, and not get too winded walking up the stairs with a load of laundry. Is my goal to wear a bikini? Heck no! I'm a mom.  My goal is to stay healthy so I can be around for my kids as they grow.  How do I find time? How can I afford it? How do I stick to it?

  • Finding the Time:  First thing, write a brief description of your day in 15 minute increments.  Were there any extended internet/TV times? How about times when your kids watch a television show? Do you get up before your kids?  Many people use the excuse, "I don't have time to work out!" Well, if you are talking about driving to a gym, going to a fitness class, running 15 miles... well, not many moms have time for that.  I'm not talking extreme fitness, I'm talking about the recommended exercise level.  Only have ten minutes? If you do that 2x a day you burn more calories than someone who works out for 30 minutes straight!! Squeezing in exercise can be easier than you think.  While you watch TV, jog in place during the commercials or do crunches.  Do leg lifts while you load the dishwasher, do squats when you wait for the microwave to finish, and even dance like a maniac with your kids.

    Even when I baby-sit.... I make them all work-out with me...
  • Include Your Children.  Fitness can be a fun, family lifestyle as well. My children know all my work-outs and they join in too! We hike (A LOT) as a family, jump-rope, and play tag. Sometimes I try to fly a kite.... I swear I burn more calories in 10 minutes of a failed-kite-flying than during my cross-country practice in high school.   When my children were babies, I did baby-kiss push-ups and rolling crunches to work on their neck control and my abdominals.  Grace even likes to make up her own aerobics now and we have to take her "class".  My kids know how to do mountain-climbers, burpees, squats, lunges, jumping jacks.... etc.

  • Fitness is Free. I do not have the money or time to go to the gym. I am blessed with an elliptical in my basement which I use 2-3x/week.  But the other 3-4 days a week I use, DVDs from the library, and On Demand Fitness (through Comcast).  I even have a new kindle app for when I am traveling.  They have condensed cardio-exercises that get me sweating and heart pumping in less than 30 minutes.  My favorite right now is the Ballet Barre exercises and Cardio Tabata (or H.I.I.T high-intensity-interval training)

  •  Make it a Routine. The newest studies indicate it takes more than 30 days to form a new habit... yep... it takes a long, long time! Try and stay motivated! I have made exercise to be a part of my daily routine. It's not extreme so it's not that burdensome and it does not take me away from my kids.  Sometimes I put a TV show for them in one room, and use my laptop in the kitchen to do a twenty minute workout. Try not to have a work-out regime that relies only on being outside. Walking and running are fantastic---when the weather is perfect... but I live in New Hampshire.... Make sure you have exercises for every season.  Group sports are great--but they are seasonal too!  Focus on an attainable goal of 15-20 minutes a day of fitness.

  • Change Up Your Fitness.  For people who are plagued with injuries: running, biking, and aerobics are all fantastic, but your body needs variety to burn calories and all of your muscles need to work in order to prevent strains and pulls. Since I change up the type of exercise I do each day I rarely strain a muscle or obtain a repetitive-stress injury
    Enjoying the yummy ice cream!
  • Why Work Out? I love to eat. I like to eat candy with the kids and ice cream cones in the summer. I eat cupcakes at birthday parties and chow popcorn during movies-- I like to enjoy life (with a touch of moderation).  But I also want to maintain my BMI (Body Mass Index) so I can avoid health-related weight problems and I don't want to buy a new wardrobe when I put on some pounds. 

Easy Rule #817053- Exercise can be a fun part of your daily routine-- especially if your kids are part of the action.

Easy Rule #7891- It's spring! Start some new active habits!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On Easter and Stress

Ems here:

Sometimes the holiday joy can get a little lost in the stress of preparation. It's a trap that exists at every holiday, but I found it overtook me a bit this Easter. I had finished all the basket shopping at the dollar store and Ollie's (my fave bargain book store!) and Bri bought all the candy for stuffing the plastic eggs--I make him buy it because I can't stand to see how expensive the candy is nowadays.

The little kids decorated Jesus' crown with sparkly gems:

I was up till 11 that night decorating the table and filling the eggs for the next day's egg hunt. Here's the final table:

Here's where the stress started. Already overtired, I realized that the kids needed to look extra nice for Mass the next morning...early morning Mass at 9 am.  I don't know how moms get kids into suits and ties for Mass on a regular basis. The effort of getting five boys into matching, unwrinkled, properly fitting suits was mammoth and frankly, miserable.  Do they look cute? Yes! For five minutes. And then you spend the next hour tucking shirts in pants, repeatedly, ad nauseum.  In this instance, dressing a girl is SO much easier. Here she is:

The other girl was not so happy and refused to pose, at all. This is the best shot of the morning. Was mommy freaking out and screaming before Easter Mass? What do you think?

I was not in the best frame of mind heading to church that Easter Sunday. I kept reminding myself, "Easter is about Jesus, not about me! Not about kids scrambling to find socks! Not about picture fails! Not about my unbrushed hair!" But I was not a peaceful, happy mom, I admit. I was looking forward to Mass, however, convinced it would be a peaceful occasion since the huge crowds gravitate toward the previous evening's Vigil Mass or to the later 11 am Mass. God had another test for me.

10 minutes early netted us a parking space in the rear of the lot and seats in the back of the church hall. The building was PACKED!!!! Good old anti-social me was NOT a happy camper when I saw the mob scene at Mass. I tried to channel the joy of the resurrection via long-distance....I'm pretty sure there was a priest up there....

Post-church comes more holiday fun: cooking and cleaning (since we were having company...Terisa, our mom's helper, and her friend, Maddy).  The ham and fruit salad turned out well, courtesy of Pioneer Woman recipes:

There is a surprising orange-vanilla sugar syrup on the fruit that makes it special and extra yum..

Sunflower peep cake, from Taste of Home. Jo did all the chocolate chips! A perfect opportunity for little hands to help:

But all the while, I'm yelling at people to clean up and my back is aching and I'm kinda a grouch.  I needed to relax this Easter.

The kids had a fun egg hunt, run by my young female happy guests, and ate 50 lbs of sugar. So hopefully they had a good celebration of Easter, grumpy mom notwithstanding.

Easy Rule #43233:  Remember that Easter is a SEASON, not just a day. I have 38 more days to get happy and stop yelling at the naughty, bickering children who live with me. I'll start cheering up right after state academic testing ends Wednesday.

Easy Rule #5532: Chairs come and go, but laundry is forever:

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Celebrating 100 Posts!- Top Ten recap

Jules here-

It has happened-- this is our 100th Post!  So, as the tradition of most syndicated television shows, I will do the top-ten most popular (by view-count) posts!! We are almost up to 7,000 page views and we hope we are entertaining and enlightening some of our readers. If you haven't had a chance to read our most popular posts... here they are:

10. Top Ten Ohio-Style by Jules  (about VISITING Ems....)
A recap of our fantastic visit out to Ohio:

We are missing our cousins right now!!!

 9. Mini-Rant #2 Disposable Society by Jules
A discussion about the wastes of Americans, particularly appliances:

This washing machine is MUCH nicer than the one I ended up with....

8. The Dad Role by Ems
A refection on the important role of fathers in our families:

Any chance to re-post this precious pic of my niece!!

7. Going to Church even for the Not-so-Right Reasons by Jules
Hopefully inspiring people who don't have a strong faith, to go to church for the sake of their kids.

I wish all the modern Catholic churches looked like this....

6. Theo's Book Recommendations by Ems
Have a young reader? Theo is an avid reader and has a fantastic variety of tastes.

Usually what Theo looks like when not playing soccer....

5. The Little Blessings by Ems
Being grateful for the everyday blessings we often take for granted.

Mmm.... best part of baking.

4. Kiddie Tech Talk by Ems
Ems reported on the joys of technology and some fantastic resources for your kids.

Just a little online school lesson, with the WHOLE family.....

3. Grocery Store Parade by Ems
Have you ever wondered what going to the store with seven kids would be like?

The precious cargo!

2. Song-spiration for Girls by Ems
Simple tips on raising your girls into strong, loving women.

The precious princess and her prince.

 1.Top Ten Things I've Learned from Working with the Elderly- by Jules
My only post that I linked to Facebook because I knew my healthcare friends would appreciate my thoughts on the elderly.

Working with senior citizens isn't for everyone.... but I love it!

We hope you all continue to follow along on our blogging journey-- we welcome all of your comments and feedback.  Feel free to share us with any friends or family who may enjoy!!

Easy Rule #7002-  When you are struggling with motivation, it pays to look back and see all you've accomplished already!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Waxing Poetic

Jules here--

As I settled in to get cozy in my pajamas the other night, I was inspired to write a poem about the contents of my sweatshirt pockets.  Sounds silly, but that's what happened:

Photo of Grace, courtesy of Shawn Witt Photography

I hope you all have a blessed Good Friday and take a moment to recognize the true meaning of Easter! (and thank the LORD this is the last technology-free Friday!!)

Easy Rule #441131- When the moment strikes, write a poem.  It can express and simplify your emotions.

Easy Rule # 9 - You can't take it with you.  Children are more important than money. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tried and Failed. Repeatedly.

Ems here:

This is a post designed to make you all feel better about yourselves. Or conversely, make you feel worse when you realize that you've perhaps failed at these things too.

Here are some examples of great ideas that never to seem work for me, despite the hype of the world's success in these endeavors:

Couponing: This seems like such a good idea. In fact, I've tried it at least five times it seems so good. So why do I fail at it repeatedly? I buy a Sunday paper; I sign up for several online coupon websites; I read "how to coupon" blog posts. And then I proceed to WalMart and buy 3 things that I didn't particularly want for .35 cents off each one. Often I will leave the coupons at home. Or Bri will shop and spontaneously buy the exact thing that I have a coupon for but I didn't know he was going to buy it so I never gave him the coupon. As you can see, not working. Supposedly you can stock up and get free stuff, but college grad or not, I can't figure out how that works; and I wonder if I really do want 15 bottles of Suave shampoo and 12 cans of Hormel chili. I'm also not going to tell you how many times I've watched "how to coupon" videos for beginners...I just don't get it, ok?

Too late, blondie.

Making Baby Food:  So this is a cheap and healthful option for mom and what is wrong with me?? I've cooked a sweet potato, mashed it, stuck it in an ice cube tray, and frozen it for my baby; and it works and the baby has that one vegetable to eat all week. But the green veggies are harder, and "they" tell you not to home-prepare carrots for some reason. Several of my babies haven't even liked eating mashed food off a spoon and can't wait to just pick up regular table food. So it seems like too much work for too short a time, since I usually wait till 6 months to give jar food anyway.  Every baby, however, I try it again because it seems like the right thing to do. I just need to remember that some things aren't the right thing for me.

Thank you, Gerber! And your little jars are just adorable.

Cleaning Schedules:  What a perfectly lovely and organized thing to do! Every day of the week designate a different home chore and stay on top the cleaning by doing regular maintenance. I've printed off forms, joined, bought (free) Kindle books on organization: Epic Fail. Every time. After which I feel bad about myself for not being able to stick to Clean the Kitchen Floor Tuesday. Might as well add "Feel Guilty Every Evening" to my weekly schedule. I need to embrace the fact that at this time in my life, cleaning will happen when the perfect storm of Time + Energy + Motivation meet.

Working Out Regularly: Remember how I was working out for a while? Well, I stopped. It just gets so darn BORING. I miss team sports, I really do. Apparently looking skinny is not enough motivation for me. Also, I really think I believe this:

Recycling: I'm just kidding. I've never tried it.

Selling Things: I've tried CraigsList. I've tried a garage sale. I've tried email advertising. Then I give up and bring everything to GoodWill because I get tired of looking at it cluttering up the house. Some folks (like Jules) seem to have the ability to make money off of old stuff. I lose money and time by trying, and I just need to NOT try and save myself the hassle and disappointment.

If any of you have had success with any of the above items, please tell me your special secret. Perhaps I will attempt it! Unless the secret is "Willpower" or something unattainable like that.

Easy Rule #114489: If at first you don't succeed.......try 15 more times and then compose a bitter blog post about your many failures to share with the world.

Easy Rule #24456: Remember the successes! Look at that folded laundry! And the yummy baked goods!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Cooking Contest Part 3

Jules here-

The legendary New Hampshire cook off has once again resumed this weekend with a battle of epic Chicken proportions....  Luckily the weather was fantastic so the children could play outside while the chefs slaved in the kitchen to make two delicious chicken dinners on Saturday night.  After a vicious battle, one champion emerged: Don. Again. But that's o.k.-- my dish was also delicious and the judges initially split.

The winning recipe:

Crispy Ranch Dipping Sticks with Chipolte Dipping Sauce

2 Cups - Panko Break Crumbs
2  pkgs of Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
2 TBS Garlic Powder
2 pkgs of chicken tenders

Preheat oven to 375 degrees 

1. Dredge Chicken strips in flour
2. Toss chicken in 3 eggs- egg wash
3. Mix the following in a large bowl and toss chicken in the mix

Place chicken on baking sheets and bake for 25 minutes.

Chipotle Sauce1-1.5 Cups Plain Greek Yogurt
2 Chipotles (seeds removed) Keep seeds for more heat
1 Garlic clove

Mix in a blender.

 The second place recipe was also fantastic and I do plan on making this again--especially when fresh basil is growing in my garden!

Bruschetta chicken on left, Crispy Ranch tenders on right

 Balsamic Bruschetta Chicken Dinner

6 chicken breasts, pounded/tenderized
3/4 Cup balsamic vinegar (divided)
1/4 olive oil
Oregano, salt, pepper, basil
Egg wash, flour, breadcrumbs
5 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
Mozzarella Cheese
4 Roma tomatoes
 Fresh basil

1. Place chicken in dish/bag with 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 3 cloves garlic, 1/4 Cup olive oil, salt, pepper & oregano to taste.  Marinate at least 6 hours.
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Coat chicken breasts in flour, then egg wash, then Italian bread crumbs.
4. Place in baking dish, and bake for 20 minutes.
5. Remove chicken from oven, place mozzarella cheese on top, bake another 10 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, chop tomatoes and basil. Toss with remaining garlic and balsamic vinegar to taste. Add salt & pepper to taste as well.
7. Add Bruschetta topping to chicken, bake an additional 5 minutes.
8. Serve with sliced and toasted baguettes or pasta.

 For those of you keeping score, it's Don 2, Julia 1.... I shall tie it up with the BRUNCH category coming up next.... I'll keep you posted...

Easy Rule #24244- Get creative with your cooking-- simple meals can be made fantastic!

Easy Rule #9808- Try and be a gracious loser when you can, except with Monopoly. Nobody can be gracious with that game.
 Before and after Monopoly...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Zombie Apocalypse Dreams

Jules here-

Ever since I saw 28 Days Later, I have been a bit obsessed with the zombie apocalyptic genre of entertainment.  Granted, they terrify me, but I am so drawn to the concept that my subconscious often creates apocalyptic dreams for me....  With the success of The Walking Dead and Warm Bodies, I'm obviously in the majority with my undead entertainment tastes.  Why the fascination with the end of days? Why do I have the morbid curiosity to watch such a macabre subject?

 I think my passion originated when I read Stephen King's The Stand back in high school; I stayed up late watching the mini-series version for weeks (If you haven't seen it... I have it on VHS... it's still awesome). The basic message of the movie is good versus evil and even if you don't believe in God, "He believes in you."  Very powerful, very inspiring. After analyzing my own secret passion for the apocalypse, I have determined a few factors on why I find it so appealing:

  • Simplicity- My life seems complicated.  From activities to schooling, sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming.  If all the extraneous activities were forced to end and only the "kill or be killed" mentality survived-- it would simplify things!  As reliant as I am on technology (and yes, the Technology-Free Fridays are making me realize HOW reliant I am), I would rather have someone take it all from me so I have no choice. No more word games, Internet, pinterest....ahhhh! But there would be books, family, games, etc.  Forcing me back to quieter, simpler things.
Big Boggle is in my Zombie Survival Kit
  •  Pioneer life- I was a strange child (surprising, I know) who was obsessed with The Little House on the Prairie series.  My 3rd grade best friend and I played "prairie girls" every recess.  I think deep down I am meant to make bread all day and mend clothing (though I can't sew... I can picture me doing it).
  • Working for yourself- Money is so abstract nowadays. Direct deposit, automatic bill-pay, and credit cards make your paycheck seem nonexistent.  Unlike working the land as a farmer does or hunting for food, everything seems so distant. The ancient barter system appeals to me so I can see what I am working for.

  • Good and evil are pretty obvious. Now most zombie movies nowadays use an anti-hero mentality, but in my vision of the apocalypse, the undead are bad, and the living are good.  It's so much simpler than trying to figure out who's two-faced or unkind, etc.
  • Disconnecting. I know Facebook, the Internet, TV, and email links us to friends you never even knew you wanted and you get to hear about news from all over the word.... but maintaining these frivolous relationships and learning about the tragedies in other countries can get exhausting.  Living for you, your family, and God instead of hearing about news, friends' drama, and celebrity life could be quite relaxing.

  •  Getting to use unused skills. My husband is an avid fishermen (catch and release) and he often says as he goes fishing, "Remember, during the zombie apocalypse I will help the family survive by fishing. So this really just training."  Uh-huh.  But seriously, I have watched so many survival shows, I feel like I'd be pretty darn good at it!Funny Encouragement Ecard: You say working out. I say training for the zombie apocalypse.
  • No more financial worries.  I think that might be the #1 thing about my secret desire-- imagining no mortgage, job, bills....  Whatever work you did would be directly related to your survival: you have a garden: you get to eat vegetables; you raise chickens: you get eggs and meat, etc.  Just living for your own family's survival has such appeal.
Now, that being said, I have lived in New Hampshire for 9 years, and during that time I have had the privilege of experiencing not one but THREE week-long power-outages; so I know it would NOT be easy.  Living without electricity and heat is very, very difficult (especially when you go into labor and have to bring a newborn to a home without power).  We have become accustomed to such luxuries in our life that it's hard to imagine not being able to go to the grocery store to obtain provisions for our larder. 

I also know I am not the only one craving simplicity. I just read a news story yesterday about a woman who's "living" in the 1930s (besides the Internet...) and just search "homesteading" on the Internet or Pinterest.  I think Americans are overpowered by their iPhones, computers, big-mortgages, and "Keeping up with the Jones'"-- I think deep down we are just tired of it all: politics, finances, taxes, corporate lifestyles...etc.

Easy Rule #121213- Disconnecting even ONE day a week has made me quite the philosopher---imagine what I could do if there was no pinterest....

Easy Rule #4908- Be like a boy scout: Always Be Prepared. You never know what could happen. Aim for the head.

I'd save Herbie.