Jim Davis / Garfield Preschool Art Project

This coming year in Cycle 3 of Classical Conversations we will be studying influential American artists. One artist is Jim Davis, who created Garfield! We decided to experiment with an art project… Caught in the Cookie Jar. It’s actually a combination of a few different art projects, but so far it’s been approved by our 4, 7, 9, and 11 year olds.

 

First you start with the black and white of Garfield.

(Here’s a pdf file to print at home)

Davis_Garfield

Color

 

Fold carefully! In theory you should be able to fold in half and then line it up on the line marked on the side, but each printer is different so just make sure that the lines match up around the lips/nose area.

Viola! You have a sneak Garfield Caught in the Cookie Jar, inspired by Jim Davis!

 

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Things I’ve Googled Lately

My brain works like hummingbird wings. How about yours?!

In light of my browser tab issues, I’ve been trying to close tabs to make my computer feel good about it’s processing capacity again. I’ve been reintrigued with soooo many topics!

 

Here are a few of the highlights of the Google adventures lately (and yes, this is literally how my brain works. I can’t be the only one with questions zipping like hummingbirds through my brain – can I?!):

 

yellowstone with family

folding cotsCamping with Families

how to make rabbit tea

benefits of rabbit manure

Is MeWe a viable alternative to Facebook

taco bell menu

Will Smith Graham Norton Carlton

make a Bagpipe out of a garbage bag

Mexican Hot Chocolate Slow Cooker Recipe

What is patchouli used for

what is the subjunctive mood

you’re fired bugs life gif

glass luncheon plates

bump underside chin

mission tortillas on sale near me

wisdom and righteousness lapbooks

name of feather duster in beauty and the beast

dvorak serenade for strings 4th movement

where is prague

fly predators

when did marco polo live

what happened to barrabas after he was released

magic 8 ball answers

where is the book of the acts of solomon

what is vaguebooking

how to make an origami bunny from a dollar

april the giraffe animal adventure park

 

What have you been searching for lately?

 

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Too Many Tabs


My computer has been having a break down. It starts exhibiting the rainbow wheel of death and then huffing and puffing at me with its fan and generally giving me the idea that I have royally ticked it off in some mystical manner.

 

I approached my resident computer expert, Lizard. Explained the situation. He happily walked over to my computer. Took a look. Reeled back from the computer as though it were a snake about to strike, and said, in a voice laden with accusation and incredulity, “Just how many tabs do you actually need open at one time?!”

 

I don’t have an answer for that because in this arena, need is a relative term. What I can say is that Pinterest was made for me when I believed it was a simple way to just keep track of interesting items or research topics. But now the super-cool folks have taken it over and when I visit Pinterest it’s always an attempt to learn how to do something in a way that’s way more creative than I can manage on my own or as a mental tool to confirm how woefully lacking I am as a mother/human being. Pinterest and I are really not friends.

 

So my next plan of attack is to right-click open all things. It works wonderfully! See a link you want to explore more later? Right click open a new tab. Researching for that road trip? Create a tab for each leg of the journey with a new tab. The possibilities are endless!

 

Then I began to notice a slight slowing of the loading speed of my web pages and thought, “Self, perhaps having 30+ tabs open in one browser window is confusing. You can’t really see the headings of the pages. This makes it difficult to navigate. Perhaps this is the reason the pages are loading slowly. Let us create a browser window for each topic of inquiry of the world wide webs.” And thus it was accomplished and for a time all things continued with purpose and speed.

 

Which leads me to my current issue. After Lizard acted so shocked, I decided to take stock of my computer habits. I currently have six browser windows up on my computer, and they have no less than five tabs open each (some… um…. significantly more…). It appears I’m going to have to channel my avenues of inquiry or face the disgruntled noises of my computer forever. Sigh.

 

How do you manage your computer tabs? Any hints for me?

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Soccer Resilience

It’s a late night over here as we just arrived home from a soccer tournament. During the drive home I literally began to envision the taillights of the cars in front of me as Minnie Mouse heads with red bows around the ears.

 

That’s the way my brain works.

 

Lizard has been coaching a club team for soccer this year, which means that once a month we travel to a tournament. His team has great kiddos on it, but, bless their hearts, they just aren’t that competitive. Like… hm… if the team attitude were to be a simile, the kids are like a dog that rolls over and offers easy access to the jugular upon meeting anyone new.

 

For Lizard, who tends to be significantly competitive, this has been a coaching challenge. He recognizes that he can’t play the game for them, and that he has to just keep casting the vision and look for the victories that occur with a great pass or strong defense and pretty much ignore the final score of the game. In all of their games this year, they have never won and mostly they have been trounced.

 

Until today.

 

The early game was a tie and then, my friends, the evening game was a win!

 

Everyone was super excited for the players but then afterward we learned that for some of these kids, it was their first win… ever. They all have been playing soccer for a number of years before they ended up on this club team. But they had never, ever won a game.

 

This knowledge puts a whole different spin on the idea of team soccer for me. To be honest, if I spent years attending practices, dragging my family to tournaments, etc. and we never, ever won, I would quit. I would say, “Enough is enough!” and make comments about discretion being the better part of valor and take my soccer shoes and shin guards home to hide in the dark recesses of my closet.

 

However, these kids have figured out life a little better than I have so far. Day in and day out they chose to live with the defeat but still show up the next day to practice, still make the commitment to appear and put in effort.

 

It puts a new facet on the word resilience for me. Yes, the kids are fairly non-competitive in personality, but my esteem for them has raised even higher today as I recognized how resilient they are to keep on keepin’ on. There’s such beauty in being willing to do something even if you’re not the best person who’s ever tried to do that thing.

 

Our team is resilient. That knowledge makes the good time even sweeter.

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The Dead Stuff is Disappearing

This has changed my life forever.

My heavens, friends… Let me share something that has changed my life.

 

Swiffer Dusters.

 

Really.

 

I’ve never been a fan of dusting. It seems like the whole purpose of dusting is just to suck joy out of your life one dust mote at a time. As a kid I remember dusting sporadically, and it caused me to sneeze, which wasn’t enjoyable because one thing I inherited from my dad was the ability to sneeze at volume similar to a sonic boom (and it’s literally thrown my back out before during allergy season).

 

To make matters worse, as an adult I learned that the majority of dust in your house is actually dead skin cells just floating through the air. Ewww! After learning that, dusting seemed like a way to have a close encounter with a dead essence and so I’ve felt pretty secure in my decision to avoid dusting until there’s enough built up to actually create mud when dampened. (Lets not even talk about the layer of nastiness that exists on the ceiling fans. I’m pretty sure crickets could use the dust babies on the fan blades as a snowboarding play area.)

 

However, it’s come to my attention that Grown Ups Dust Their Homes. (At least a little.) And though I’ve found that most things grown up seem to be not nearly so much fun as I thought they would be when I was a kid (except eating. I find that the best part of being a grown up is getting to choose what food I eat, when, and where…) I do attempt to act with maturity on occasion.

 

Which brings me to the dusting conundrum.

 

We have dust. Lots of it. And I want to live in a clean house. At least a little.

 

I did some research on the dusting problem and the Google took me to blogs that told me that dusting really doesn’t have to be a swishing of dirt from one locale to another accompanied with sneezes that could shake the rafters. They told me that Swiffer Dusters are statically treated and actually trap the dust on the cloth.

 

I didn’t believe them. This is crazy talk. But when I saw them at my local bulk warehouse I decided the initial financial investment was small enough to at least give it an attempt, even if it ended up a total failure.

 

Oh. My. Heavens. {I need a moment to compose myself before I go on. Don’t worry, give me a minute and I’ll just breath through the emotion.}

 

They work. These little suckers work. They trap the dust, keep it out of my nose and from falling to the floor. They work!

 

I’ve dusted the computer. The printer. Every picture frame, the window sills, the venetian blinds, the front of my cabinets in the little ridge that looks pretty from a distance but kind of gross from far away… I’ve dusted the light fixtures, the top of the mantle, and the wrought iron ivy leaf wall hanging that hasn’t been cleaned since it was hung. I dusted the potted plant leaves and then, feeling terribly courageous… I dusted the ceiling fans.

 

It worked!

 

This has literally changed my life. Now granted, the fluffing up of the swiffer deal and sticking it on the handle did make me feel a little like I was getting inappropriate with Babette from Beauty and the Beast, but I got over my inhibitions once I saw the glorious cleanliness emerging behind the fluffy wonderfulness.

 

It was so exciting I called my mother. She was suitably impressed that I was willingly dusting for the first time in my life and seems to feel like she might like visiting our house a little more, now that there aren’t floating dead skin cells all over the place.

 

So there you have it. My current obsession and victory. If you want to be like me, feel free to scoot on over, order this sucker, and try it for yourself.

Swiffer Dusters Handle and Refills Unscented, 24 Count

 

And that’s all I have to say about that.

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26 Responses to “Are You Pregnant?” When You’re Not Pregnant At All

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-NYYU6ksWB1I/Ulrm1LMQJFI/AAAAAAAAAE4/IkSg7kWavQg/s1600/Bloated+Belly.jpg
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-NYYU6ksWB1I/Ulrm1LMQJFI/AAAAAAAAAE4/IkSg7kWavQg/s1600/Bloated+Belly.jpg

I’d like to talk about something close to my heart — literally. The lard baby.

 

Last week Jennifer Garner – yes, that Jennifer Garner who is able to pull of a seriously crazy Thriller dance imitation in the movie 13 Going on 30 and is married to Ben Affleck – blatantly stated that she has a baby bump… without a baby inside.

 

Friends, Jennifer Garner has a lard baby, too! She told Ellen Degeneres all about it, summing it up with these words: “I am not pregnant, but I have had three kids and there is a bump,” she explained.

 

“From now on ladies, I will have a bump. And it will be my baby bump. And let’s just all settle in and get used to it. It’s not going anywhere. I have a bump. Its name is Violet, Sam, Sera.”

 

I’m not sure there is a way for me to like a person I’ve never met more, but if there is, Jennifer Garner has just paved the way.

 

I haven’t had to deal with magazine readers scrutinizing my midsection, or bold headlines discussing my fertility. But I have had strangers ask me when I’m due with my next child. The only thing is… I’m not pregnant and we’ve made it medically unlikely that I my uterus will ever again house a rapidly growing tenant.

 

Perhaps you, too, have experienced that awkward moment when people break the law of never asking a woman when she’s due without visibly seeing her stomach lurch, making it blatantly obvious there’s either an demon-possessed intestinal tract or a fetus fighting for space in that midriff. My lard baby has been celebrated while waiting in line at a Love’s rest stop, in a sporting goods store, at a homeschooling conference… at all of these lovely locations when you’re really not thinking about sucking your gut in.

 

No one really wants to be on the receiving end of the situation, but it still happens — and what are you supposed to say in response?

 

I typically try to take the high road and explain to people I had four tenants in my uterus in a space of six years, I love potato chips, and I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to the function of my own sweat glands. I try to smile and encourage them that I’m not upset and lately I’ve been telling myself that (now that I’m nudging 40-years-old with my tippee-toes) it’s a compliment these strangers think I’m young enough to be in the process of replication.

 

But, my friends, I also feel the need to prepare some creative come backs. If you have any, please leave them in the comments. In the meantime, here are twenty-six clever, tart, and/or hilarious responses to “When Are You Due?” when you aren’t due at all I’ve found (and embellished):

1. “I’m not pregnant, but I just ate a meal the size of an infant hippopotamus.”

2. “I’m actually not pregnant — perhaps that’s just one of the many things you can’t tell by looking at my body’s size and shape.”

3. “Oh no, that’s not a pregnant glow. I’m just super attractive. Thanks for noticing!”

4. “Don’t worry.  You’ll be the first to know when it happens because I always tell strangers before family.”

5. “Why?  Do I look fat?!”

6. “Actually, I just gave birth…but my body doesn’t realize that yet.”

7.  “I don’t have a baby in my tummy. It just looks like I do, thanks for encouraging me to support the Spanx brand.”

8. “I prefer not to talk about that. It’s bad luck.”

9. “My OB once said he never assumes a woman is pregnant until he sees a head coming out. Maybe you should do the same.”

10. “Nope, not pregnant yet, but we are having so much fun practicing! Would you like any tips?”

11. “YES, I am going to have five fat babies and name them all Dave! They shall be known as ‘The Daves’.”

12. “Wow, that’s awkward.”

13. “That’s a rather… personal question, isn’t it? What other personal questions would you like to ask me?”

14. “Oh, enough about me – let’s talk about you! When are going to >insert overly-personal life event here<?!”

15. “I hope not… it means my birth control isn’t working.”

16. “We’ve been trying for so long… (looks away) I think I might be barren.”

17. “Why do you ask?”

18. “Actually I’m infertile. Do you think you’d like to donate your eggs? I could pay you.”

19. “Oh, Heavens, no, I can’t *stand* children!”

20. “My insides are a rocky place where [husband’s] seed can find no purchase.”

21. “Not yet, but the night is still young!”

22. “Are you really that interested in what goes on in my bedroom? You don’t look like that type.”

23. “No baby, just fat!”

24. “I am not pregnant, but I will assume you are admiring my lovely glow.”

25. “I’m not pregnant, just wearing a tummy enhancing dress.”

26. “OH MY HEAVENS —  WHAT DO YOU KNOW THAT I DON’T?!!!”

 

Again — I’d love to hear your own comebacks in the comments. Jennifer Garner, the lard babies of the world, and I both thank you.

 

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What I Learned from my 20-year High School Reunion

hbobis / freeimages.com
hbobis / freeimages.com

I recently had the privilege of attending my 20-year high school class reunion. Considering the amount of angst I felt while considering my participation, it seems reasonable that a blog post is in order about what I learned from the event.

 

(I’m still in a state of shock that there’s a “zero” after that “two,” but that’s beside the point.)

 

I didn’t attend my 10-year reunion, as I was newly married and didn’t want my husband to realize he’d married one of the class nerds. The 20-year reunion was a little less threatening to me as I’m more comfortable with myself and who I’ve become. Even so, it was nerve-wracking to wonder if these people were going to be mean and petty or decent adults.

 

Here are my observations:

 

1. We’ve all gotten fat(ter). May I just say it’s unfair that Spanx has not yet gotten around to marketing their products to the masculine demographic because wearing a panty with the squeezing capability of turning a newborn calf into a squirrel was a large part of my willingness to appear in front of people who only remember me as a girl all elbows and knees and frizzy hair. The dudes just don’t have access to the same physical aids. Such is life.

 

Our diets and lack of physical activity have taken their toll on us all. I blame childrearing and an abiding adoration for potato chips. Perhaps others can only say their jobs keep them too busy to spend the hours working on their physique. Whatever the excuse, all of us (some a little more than others) are an inflated version of our 18-year-old selves. That’s alright. We’re all still in there and we’re all pretty forgiving of the occurrence because we’re all guilty.

 

But really. I wore Spanx and even though I almost gave myself a black eye trying to pull them up after a potty break, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

2. We’ve realized this getting older thing isn’t black and white. I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the members of my graduating class talking to one another. By the end of the night they traditional stereotypical groups did tend to separate out again, but it wasn’t in an exclusive way – it seemed to be a natural process of people catching up with those they spent the most time with in high school.

 

People shared pictures of their kids, mentioned divorces, talked about jobs won and lost… and were generally supportive of one another whether they were talking accomplishments or failures. There were many different life paths in one room for a select period of time — and I don’t think anyone there thought they “had it all figured out.”

 

3. I’ve moved past high school. I was pleasantly surprised that everyone I spoke with was genuinely friendly and cool but at some point through the evening I realized it doesn’t really matter what my high school comrades think of me and how my life turned out. I have nothing to prove to them.

 

I am absolutely accountable to my husband, family, and close community… but not to people I see once every twenty years. They are welcome to have whatever opinion they’d like of how my life is turning out but that opinion is not needed for me to continue with my own adventures and lifestyle. What liberation!

 

4. It’s worth going. If you’ve been hesitant about whether to attend, based on my own experience, I’d encourage you to do it. The reunion was most certainly a surreal experience in many ways but it was also enjoyable and I was genuinely happy to spend time with people I haven’t stayed in touch with over Facebook. Not everyone shares openly on social media, face-to-face conversations are quite helpful!

 

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5 Tips for How to Help A Grieving Friend

foobean01 / freeimages.com
foobean01 / freeimages.com

I wrote this five months ago, published it as a status update three months ago. This week a friend asked me to send it to her and I realized it has never made it to StealingFaith. Hope it’s useful to you – five months post-event it still rings true to me.

 

My father passed away four days ago.

 

His passing was in many ways a relief, as now he is free to be in heaven, away from the decline that kept him confined to bed and unable to care for himself. We miss him desperately but are also at peace with the reality that death is an unavoidable companion to life.

 

The post-death days, however, are a little different. I tend to believe that there are as many ways of grieving as there are people. I, myself, have cycled through sadness, anger, laughter, joy, and tears many times over each day!

 

I have always had a fear of what to say to people who are going through the loss of a loved one.

 

I don’t want to say nothing, because obviously it’s a big deal. Yet I feel uncertain because I don’t want my words to cause pain to the survivor, I want to honor the life of the person who died.

 

It’s scary to me!

 

Now that I’m on this side of the death experience, I have a few ideas of what might help.

 

1. Acknowledge it. Death is uncomfortable. I know it’s awkward to you and it’s hard for me to talk about it, but at least say something. A stumbling comment is more appreciated than silence.

 

2. Don’t require a response from me. So many people I run into will say, “How are you doing?” in the kindest way possible. I want to answer them. But our non-thinking cultural response is, “Fine,” and that’s an outright lie. I’m not fine. I’m broken-hearted. So I scramble to find an appropriate response, which is a little like popping the lid on a soda can that’s just been dropped – you might get more than you bargained for coming out!

 

Another way to greet me might be, “I’m sorry to hear about your dad. I’d love to talk about him with you when you’d like.” Give me the freedom to break down with you or walk away still smiling and worried about my grocery list (or whatever I was doing when I ran into you). I truly appreciate that you care, but the feelings are too raw to open up to every casual acquaintance.

 

3. Tell your stories. I’m in a season of coveting every memory possible. If you have any memory of the one who passed, share it! Simple statements about my dad like, “He always smiled like he was genuinely happy to see me,” is like a healing ointment to my soul. It doesn’t have to be long or detailed, it can be an observation of their character, a physical characteristic, or work they completed while alive. I do love the stories, but I’ll take anything you give me with joy.

 

4. Let me tell you stories. I realize that right now I’m a broken record and I’ve got one thing on my mind, my father. I want to preserve him in my memory, to make sure there are still elements alive of him through the skill of remembrance. I need to tell memories, even if I’m crying through them. Be my listening ear, don’t be afraid of my tears, just sit with me for a spell.

 

5. Remind me it won’t always be like this. There will come a time when I don’t sting all over with loss. Gently, softly allow me to wallow in my grief now and then gently, softly, remind me it won’t always feel like this. Invite me to do things. Don’t be offended if I say no. I can’t tell you what I’m ready to do from one hour to the next right now! So please, Just keep inviting and when I do come out – rejoice with me!

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Give me Pitchy Shivers

Yep. It's official. I love a capella.
Yep. It’s official. I love a capella.

In addition to the random things that give me shivers I’m going to add solid a capella.

 

Every time I acknowledge my love of a capella music I feel like I should be wearing an appliqued sweater and getting my hair set once a week. After all, a capella is the sole province of the Sweet Adeline’s and Barbershop Quartets, right?

 

Apparently, wrong.

 

A few months ago I dragged my dear, sweet husband to go see Pitch Perfect. There was only one other couple in the theater and once the show was over we chatted with them. They were enjoying their retirement years by directing their local Sweet Adeline’s group and eating their dinner at 4:00 p.m. so they’d be all tucked into bed by 5:30 p.m.

 

This gave me the impression my adoration of this film for the vocal stylings (not entirely for the content, although there were some laugh out loud moments) cemented my place on the AARP list of distinction.

 

Tonight I went on a search for a new Pandora station based upon Straight No Chaser, the Pitch Perfect soundtrack, and a group called Pentatonix. I followed a random link on Facebook to Pentatonix and listening gave me goosebumps and made my brain soar!

 

When our college student child wrangler came over for the evening I tried to tell her how excited I was to be listening to this new station. I bashfully admitted to liking Pitch Perfect and she said:

 

“Oh! I LOVE Pitch Perfect! All my friends do, too! It’s kind of the cult classic for my generation, right along with Mean Girls!”

 

And my heart did a happy dance of joy while also dying inside a little. Because Mean Girls… well, that’s one of the movies I made my husband watch with me when we were first married and he was ever so accommodating and if he finds out Mean Girls and Pitch Perfect are lumped together as a cult classic for the generations… well… he may not be able to forgive me.

 

So I’ll just try to keep that little tidbit from him for now.

 

All this long story can be summed up in a few things.

 

A) If you want to fall in love with vocals, check this out: Royals – Pentatonix

 

B) If you want to get into the holiday spirit with some a capella you need to check out Straight No Chaser – 12 Days of Christmas

 

C) If you’d like to see the song that literally makes me coo in happiness, check out Just the Way You Are & Just A Dream (mashup)

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

HSBA Voting has Begun!

Please, please, pretty please with a cherry and NO GLITTER on top – please go vote for Stealing Faith as the Funniest Blog!!! You can vote every day on EVERY DEVICE!

Just click the link below – repeatedly and with manic intent – and help us win!!!

HSBA VOTING BEGINS SOON

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