friends… with benefits?

Recently, I was a guest writer on and wrote a post about friends with benefits.  There are many good things about being single, and friendships are first and foremost.  I have married friends and single friends.  I have male friends and female friends.  Why do people always inquire about opposite-sex friends, in a dating-suggestive way?

Read the post and please post your comments on the Single Roots blog.  :)

unplugged toys

I was hoping to have more time to post some non-electronic toys from my childhood and compare them with what my kids will have this week.  I ran out of time, but here’s a few photos of some toys I had.  I’ll post what my kids played with when we return.

It’s Slinky!  It’s Slinky!  For fun it’s a wonderful toy!

I played with mine for hours, well, until the metal got all bent up from playing with it too much.  Then I woud see how far a friend and I could stretch it out.  Then I made a sculpture out of it.

Then I asked for a new one.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.


Yes children, that’s what a pool looks like when you don’t have one built-in in your backyard.  Yes, that might look like a chair, but clearly it’s a diving board.

Toys back in the day required imagination, of the non-digital kind.  Life was simpler back then.

Turning off the computer now.

Off to wake the kids and get in the car.  Pray for me.  This could be a riot!  No, I don’t mean the fun kind of riot either.



non-electronic toys: the new form child abuse

I sometimes say to my kids, “We’re having no electronics night.”  Inevitably, one of them will start down the ‘electricity’ path, saying, “Oh, so we can’t use lights?  How are you going to cook dinner without the stove?  Hmmm?”  This conversation usually carries on until bedtime as my kids try to twist this into something horrible.  According to them, this is the grandest injustice and abuse that you can impose on children.

Well guess what!  We’re going on vacation… WITHOUT ANY ELECTRONIC PACIFIERS!

Yes, I know we have a 7 hour drive.  Read a book.  Play I spy.  Do licence plate poker.  Count animals.  Look for abandoned houses, because we still have the camera and I’ll stop for those.  Fight with your brother.  Sing a song.  Yes, without your electric guitar.  Draw a picture.  Write in your journal.  Be creative!  Use your imagination!  (yes, that’s a Spongebob reference)

We’ll all come back well rested or really crabby and in need of therapy.  See you soon!


the ice cream sandwich experiment

Why wouldn’t anyone believe me when I said an ice cream sandwich, left at room temperature, would still look like an ice cream sandwich a day later?  

Well here it is.  Almost 24 hours later, a little puffy in the center, but still very much intact.  What is this made of?  Even if I knew, I know I wouldn’t be able to pronounce any of the ingredients.

I’m not a health food junkie or nutritionist, but I do really have to wonder about this.  Could my body, or anyone else’s body digest this easily?  If it’s preservatives that’s holding this together, wouldn’t it be holding our fat together as well?  That would clearly explain my thighs.

As I said, I have no expertise here.  Will I ever eat another ice cream sandwich?  Probably not.  But I will eat the same stuff in the form of a nutty buddy. . . until I leave one of those out overnight.

the little plastic faces are taunting me…

While grocery shopping a couple of nights ago, I found myself in a quandary.  I’m a frugal shopper, although I dislike calling myself anything with the word “shopper” in it.  I’m also a bit of an activist against plastic waste.  I’m not a radical activist who stands in front of stores with a picket sign, I’m the type that is trying to set an example by doing what I think is right.  I try desperately to avoid needless plastics, and really just trying to avoid anything unnecessary, in a society of disposable excess.

I love cake.  As a matter of fact, I’ve been craving cake since my birthday in May.  I usually buy one, but I just never got around to it.  As I was looking on the sale rack, I found a box of white cupcakes with white icing.  My fav!  Wait.  What’s that on top?  Plastic rings, clearly visible through the transparent plastic box.

Look. The cute little smiley faces are taunting me.  The red ones are visual oxymorons, tiny stop signs saying go.

The cupcakes are on sale.  50% off.  The smug little plastic faces are staring at me, saying, “Plastic waste is okay.  You can buy us with no worries.  Look around.  Everyone else buys us without a second thought.  We were designed for short-term party enjoyment, and we understand that the trash dump is our next destination.  Go ahead, put us in the cart.”  Continue reading

How far away is your mission field?

I don’t read a lot of magazines.  Not because I don’t like reading them, it’s more about buying a pricey publication that I’m supposed to throw away (recycle) once I’ve finished reading it.  I’m not sure if it’s my hoarder tendencies or my desire to not be wasteful that keeps me from discarding these disposable print pieces, but I find myself keeping them.  Recently, I received a free copy of Reject Apathy while attending a conference.

The cover stories quickly grabbed my attention.  I decided to make a little time to leaf through it, looking for anything that might interest me.  As it turns out, the whole magazine was intriguing. I couldn’t put it down.  These people know how to write articles for ADHD people!  I have the attention span of a gnat, but I was completely sucked into this publication.  One article in particular rocked my world: Post-Missions Cynicism by Curt Devine (read the full article).  He put into words everything I thought and felt after my first mission trip, but never myself tried to identify.

“The conflict between excess at home and scarcity abroad is a lot to handle. The temptation can be to hate America’s abundance, or forget the poverty overseas and go back to life the way it was before. The key is living within the tension.” — Curt Devine

The article is about living in the tension between the excess of our American culture and the scarcity experienced in our mission fields.  His abroad covers a good portion of the planet.  My abroad doesn’t span as far, but does it need to?  I feel the same way he does when I return from an orphanage in Mexico.  I also feel this way when I get home from volunteering at the homeless shelter that’s 15 miles away.

How can I come back from seeing a world in need and be okay with my big air-conditioned house filled mostly with things I don’t need?  How can I go to sleep at night lying on my safe, cozy bed, set with my perfect sleep number and not think about people that don’t even have a bed?  I heard Kay Warren speak several years ago about how she’s been ruined.  As Kay says, she used to be fun at parties, but now all she can talk about is the AIDS crisis.  She witnessed this horrible epidemic first hand, but upon going home, she couldn’t forget it.  I guess I’ve been ruined, but ruined by the epidemic of poverty and homelessness.  Continue reading

kill the plastic squirrels: retail entertainment

Rethink shopping.  I really am not a huge fan of shopping in most situations.  We practice the ‘no impulse buys’ philosophy.  If you see something you want, and you remember it 24 hours later, then you can go back and get it.  This saves us HUGE amounts of money!

We went to Garden Ridge to look for some planters for the yard, and only because we were in the area.  We found nothing of interest to buy, but we sure had fun playing in the store.  It’s amazing we didn’t get kicked out.

You might be asking why I would even go into a store since I have no intention of purchasing anything.  Sometimes I just need to get out of the house.  Other times I just like to see about all the current purchasing hype and expensive fashion trends.  We have enough self-control to go into a store and know we’re not going to buy anything, so we go to look around and have some fun.  There are so many phone-camera photo ops in retail stores.

Continue reading

is it politically correct to say, “no?”

Why didn’t I just say, “No thank you?”  It was nice that the doctor gave each of my kids a plastic sports bottle, but I knew as he was offering them that we’re not keeping these.  Why did I not speak up?  Would it have been rude to say no?  Do these advertisement bottles really work to get new clients in?

I went through all of the mental gymnastics and it all pointed to the fact that I won’t use these and neither will my kids.  Thoughts swimming around in my head…

  • I don’t need more stuff.  I have enough sports bottles.
  • I’m not a fan of advertising on my stuff.
  • How do I know these don’t have BPA in them?
  • Braces are expensive!  Give me a discount and keep the bottles.
  • If I take these and keep them, I have to get rid of 2 things.
  • They’re just not attractive.
  • Mental image: bottles in the recycling bin

Am I the only one who even considers not taking the plastic crap that comes to us in situations like this?

play plinko at the farmers market

I decided to go to the Frisco Farmers’ Market today.  As the words farmers’ market suggests, I expected to find lots of local produce vendors and maybe a few other food-type vendors.  Since the name starts with Frisco, maybe my expectations should have been a little different.

From Wikipedia:  A farmers’ market (also or farmers market) consists of individual vendors—mostly farmers—who set up booths, tables or stands, outdoors or indoors, to sell produce, meat products, fruits and sometimes prepared foods and beverages. Farmers markets add value to communities.

From the Frisco Farmers’ Market website:  Local growers offer juicy melons, peaches, vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh corn on the cob and lots more. Also offered are baked breads, meat from local ranchers, honey, arts and crafts, and various other products.  Something for everyone.

I was surprised that out of 30 vendors, only 9 of them sold produce or locally grown items.

I enjoyed my trip to the outdoor market, which may be better description of it.  In my opinion, if it’s a farmers’ market, it should be farmers selling their fruits and vegetables.  Now, as it is described on the website, it’s all that including arts, crafts and various other products.  If that’s the case, call it what it is.  An outdoor market or farmers’ market and more.   Continue reading