Monday, November 21, 2011

Why I Love It

People often ask me why I would want to sell Pampered Chef.  They say that they would never like to sell it, nor buy anything from the catalog nor host a show.  They say they 'can't cook' or that they 'hate to cook'.

And I say

You're missing the whole point!

The whole point, at least in my mind, to Pampered Chef is not just to give people who love to cook access to great quality reasonably priced cooking tools, but rather to get those of you who can't or don't like to cook into the kitchen and having fun!

Let me explain.

My husband, Jimmy, grew up in El Salvador.  His main diet was chicken and rice and tortillas and chicken with rice and tortillas.  Oh, and some eggs in there, too.

And when he and I started together, there was not much that he could really cook, or rather that he wanted to cook.  Me either, for that matter.  I mean I cooked, but it was boring stuff and the same stuff over and over again because I had no inspiration, and the tools I was trying to use were pretty ridiculous.

But then, when I got into Pampered Chef, I realized that if I stocked my kitchen with the right tools, it made it that much easier to cook, clean up and be inspired in the kitchen.

Jimmy, too.

So now, although our diet does consist of a lot of chicken and rice and beans and eggs, Jimmy has been known to just decide that he wants a treat and he will just get up and go to the kitchen, look through a cookbook and make what he wants.

(Which can be interesting actually.  He wants to do it all by himself, but let's just say that while I earned the decorated spoon in Home Ec in high school...well, he didn't.  But he doesn't ever want to show me the recipe that he wants to make.  He will just read out the ingredients

Butter?  yes
Eggs?  yes. But it says 3 and we only have 2.  That should work...
Flour? yes
Baking soda?  We don't have any.
Well, that's ok.  It only says to use a little.  I don't think I'll need it.

And it goes on like this until I am absolutely petrified to try the resulting product.)

But sometimes, actually most times, what he makes is a success and we all can't wait to try some!

Tonight was one of those times!

 Now, I must say that I usually don't want to be in the kitchen when things are happening because they can get a little scary...
Yes, that is a pencil that he is using to make the designs and cut outs on the cookies...

And things usually don't turn out the way that I would have made them...

Yes, that one on the top is Sponge Bob, and the one in the top left corner and the bottom right corner are 'angry birds' made for the benefit of Jo...

But the results were delicious and didn't last long! 

And so, Pampered Chef, my hat is off to you who gets my husband and daughter into the kitchen to produce wonderful tasting goodies!

In addition, of course to helping out with our every day recipes!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Our family has quite a few pretty big life changes coming up here soon and as much as I am usually a very upbeat and positive person, every once in a while, something will happen that will slip me into a little bit of a funk.

This was one of those things on one of those days.

It started out great, but then something happened, and my little smiley-head light that runs constantly in my head got switched off for a moment.

The drapes in my brain dropped down blocking all light and not allowing me to see the glow of my faith in things to come.  I knew at that moment, that nothing was going to work out as it should and that I should really just give up right then, change all plans back into something that none of us wanted but that seemed inevitable and just keep plodding down the bleak course where I seemed to be heading.

When out of the blue, the phone rings and it is a woman on the other end of the line.  This is a woman who I have only met once in my life and who I had called a few times to see if she wanted to order anything from Pampered Chef because she had first said that she did, only to be told that no, she found something better elsewhere and she would not be ordering from me.  Which is fine, but why was she calling me?

She told me that she was calling me to place an order with me because her mother had reminded her that she did want something particular but not just because of that...

She was calling me because she had liked my attitude and my respectful persistence in calling her in order to farther my business.  She, as a business owner herself, said that my attitude made her rethink what she was doing in her own business and made her realize that not many people followed through on what they said that they would do.  She said that she hoped and expected that my business would go far.

I was surprised and pleased at this.  And, instead of just taking the order and hanging up the phone, I thanked her specifically.  Her words of encouragement came at just the right time.  I told her that I had been feeling a little down and that her kind words were a blessing to me, and I know that made her feel good as well.  

After hanging up with her, I thought about the whole encouragement thing.  How many times do we actually stop and say, 'You're doing a good job' or 'I appreciate you'?  Do we say it enough to our husbands?  Our wives?  Our friends? 

Our children?

But why don't we do it more often?  Giving encouragement to someone helps not only them, but ourselves, too.  How can you feel negative when you are honestly seeing and praising a good quality in someone else? 

So, I am making this a challenge for myself...

Tomorrow is Sunday, the beginning of the week.  I am challenging myself to purposefully and sincerely say something encouraging or write and send an encouraging note to at least one person every day this week. 

And by blessing other people, I know that I, too, will feel as equally blessed.

Anyone want to join me?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Grow

Today is Friday, which means I'm linking up to Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday.

The rules?  Write for 5 minutes without stopping to correct or edit.

Today's topic?  GROW!

Ready?  Set?  GROW!

It starts with a cry and waving fist, uncontrolled and unsure.  Angry or hungry or tired or wet and the fist opens and grabs a finger, unknowingly clamping around something that's just its size.

Then there are the damp finger prints left on pants right around your knees where they run to hug your legs.

But in not too long, there is the pat on your belly and the hug right around your waist with hands clasped behind your back determined not to let go.

Then you bend so that they can hug your neck and you can bury your face in their hair that smells of outside and sweat and play.

But before you know it, there you are...looking eye to eye and putting your arm around their shoulders without having to stoop.

And you did this happen?  Where did the time go?  How long ago was it really that you cradled your bulging belly in your arms awaiting their arrival?

But you look into their eyes and see wisdom and strength and you know that even as you miss their little hands and sticky fingers, you have done your job and they have done theirs...

Because in the end, they all must



Come join us!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Homeschool Trepidation

I have been reading every book on home schooling that I can manage to get my hands on, and by now, I am realizing that all of them pretty much say the same things.  You can homeschool, there are many reasons as to why people homeschool, different states have different laws...all that kind of stuff.

Now, then, while all that is great to know, what I am coming up against is curriculum.  There seems to be so many out there to choose from!  I am not so worried about Jo, since she is just starting kindergarten, but what about Elizabeth? 

What happens if we try it with her and it doesn't work out and we want/need to put her back into school?  How will we be sure that she will have taken the right classes to be on level with her peers?  I am not so much worried that she will not learn as much as that if she doesn't take the classes in the right order, if she does end up going back to public school, she may need a class that most of the other kids have already taken in previous years, meaning that she would be in a class of students much younger than she would be.

I guess all I really need to do is to find out what the curriculum is of the public school and pretty much follow that path of learning, but even then, there seems to be so many choices of what books to use and what methods to use.  I am feeling a little overwhelmed, and I have barely even scratched the surface!

But in all reality, that is not really my main issue.

You see, next week is Thanksgiving.

What THAT means is that our family will get together with my family.  Meaning that Jimmy and I will load the can up with all the kids and take them to my parents' house where my sister and her husband and my brother and his girlfriend will be and then we are all supposed to sit down and eat a happy meal together without whining or crying that we don't like the food and without flicking sweet potatoes in our grandfather's hair (or lack thereof).  You see, I am the only one in the family who has kids, so of course that means that everyone ELSE in the family knows much better ways to raise and train children that Jimmy and I do, because of course if THEY had kids, THEIR kids would NEVER be allowed to                   (fill in the blank as you see fit). 

But even THAT is not the main problem that I am facing here, and the main fear that I have is telling my family that our family has decided to homeschool both Jo and Elizabeth. 

You see, that will not go over well. 

I do not really think that anyone will really care about Jo, because, like I said, she is 'only' going into kindergarten.  But Elizabeth is a different story. 

Looking at it from a purely academic viewpoint, there is really absolutely no reason for her not to continue in the public school system.  She is in very advanced classes and she gets straight A's.  All the time.  Every time.  And so, even though there are holes in her education, the public school does not see them, and since they teach to the test, even to the SAT's and ACT's, I am sure that Elizabeth will ace all the tests with flying colors and go on to graduate very high in her class.

But for Jimmy and me, that is not the only side that we are looking at.  We also feel the pull to keep her closer to home for other reasons, such as, as I have mentioned before, to patch up the holes in her education, to help her develop a better relationship with her siblings, to offer her opportunities that go along with her long term goals that are not available in the public schools, and to be able to take these last four years with her to continue to train her up and give her a firm foundation in God's Word and His desires for her life.

But the thing is, no matter how you slice it, they are still my parents, and I still respect and listen to them, and they still have the power to make me feel like I am doing it all wrong and that everything that I am doing is purely for my own selfish reasons.  So, even thought it is not necessary for us to tell them now, over Thanksgiving dinner, I really don't talk to them any other time, so it's kind of now or over the Christmas roast beast, so I'm kinda thinking along the lines of 'now'.

Elizabeth is not really helping too much, either.  She vacillates between wanting to stay home and wanting to go to school, with a leaning right now of continuing school, just not where she is.  She wants to go to ANOTHER school.  Which she would be, anyway, but in reality, it is really just a lot of the same.

Like today with the whole lunch table issue and who sits where and who is offended and who got dumped by their boyfriend and why and who is going to steal whose seat tomorrow at the lunch table so who's going to go off and sit alone...

REALLY?!?!?!  And they are supposed to be able to concentrate on learning with all this drama going on?  Now Elizabeth is stressed by this whole issue, and yet she still has to concentrate on her studies and her tests. 

When I think of those things, I feel firm and secure in our decision, but while looking at my dad across the turkey plate, I'm not so sure I am going to be able to hold with my resolve.  Especially when they ask Elizabeth what she wants and she will say that she wants to go to a different public school...or she will say, in a canned sort of way...I know that this decision is the best for me and my family.  I want to do what is best.  Ummmm....right.  Grandma wasn't born yesterday, and she was the principal of a middle school for years, and Aunt Cassie AND her husband both teach middle schoolers. 

So, yeah, not looking forward to it.

BUT...on a lighter note...

We in our family are always on the lookout for a good way to save some money.  Since the colder weather is coming on quickly, some people would begin to think of pulling out the old wipes warmer for their little babies' tushies...

not us!  No siree!

We have something much better and totally FREE!
Our own personal DIAPER WARMER!

Yes, folks, that's right.  He really DOES serve a purpose...after all those years of kitty kibbles, we have found a good use for Little Boy.  Warm those diapers, buddy!  You gotta earn your keep around here!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Unexpected

Today is Friday and *gasp* I am here to participate in Gypsy Mama's Five Minute Friday!

The rules?  Write for 5 minutes without stopping to edit or correct.

Today's topic?  Unexpected

Ready?  Set?  GO!

It really wasn't unexpected.  I mean, I KNEW it would happen even though I don't think that Jimmy really believed me.  I TOLD him it would happen, but I don't think that he thought that I really knew. 

But it did...

and here I am, 6.5 months later with a baby due in February.  A baby boy, none-the-less.

(I TOLD him...not the boy part but the baby part...he didn't believe me.  Maybe he will now...)

Anyway, like I said, THAT part, at least for me, was not unexpected.

What WAS unexpected was the rolling snowball of events that began happening and decisions that were made AFTER it happened.  As in, after Jimmy actually believe that I knew what I was talking about and realized that yes, honey, we ARE going to have another child.   Yes, honey this WILL be # 4, and yes, honey, I TOLD you...

The first decision that was made was that I would stop working at my present company after the baby is born.  That is a first for me because I have worked basically full time since I was 14 and a lot of babysitting and housecleaning before that and not stopped...ever...for anything...ever...never.  It will be hard and interesting to see how I 'handle' it.

Then the next decision was that I would bump up my Pampered Chef business because I really like it, and we will need SOME kind of extra income.  So that means that I am pretty busy most evenings and weekends, and days and nights and afternoons and well, you get the point...because I am still working full time with the other 3 kids to chase after all the while trying to build a business up from the ground...or perhaps you could even call it a hole since I had a pretty good start last year but totally let everyone slide away after my brother-in-law passed away and Jimmy and I had to tend to that and be sure that his mother could go to El Salvador to be with her family there.

THEN...we decided that since we are not happy with the public school where Jo will  be going next year for kindergarten, we will keep her home and home school her there since I will be home anyway...which is an idea Jimmy and I had been toying with anyway.

THEN...Elizabeth was having some issues in school (granted, this was while everyone was super stressed becauase my mother-in-law was in the hospital so Liz had to come home every day right after school to watch the kids while my father-in-law went to the hospital and then she get dinner ready and then she had homework and soccer and choir and everything else that a teenager can get involved with.)  So, we started discussing home schooling with her and she seemed to take to it a little and so Jimmy and Liz and I started investigating and praying about it and now we are pretty sure that it is the route we are going take. mother-and-father-in-law realized that if I am at home that they would not be 'needed' (are you kidding me!?!??!) so they have decided that they may leave to go back to El Salvador...NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!  So, she and I, well and Jimmy, too, are trying to figure out how they can stay with us at least for a while longer while making enough money since we won't be able to pay them for childcare anymore since I won't be 'working'.

So, the snowball gets bigger and bigger...

all be cause of the 'unexpected' tiny little unborn baby. I think that was more than 5 minutes.  I mean I was typing fast, but...

anyway, that's what I have to say about THAT little word!

Come join us!  Link on up right here!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Remember

Today is Sunday, so I figured it would be a great time to link up to Gypsy Mama's Five Minute Friday.

The rules?  Write for five minutes without stopping to correct or edit. 

The topic?  Remember

Ready? Set?  GO!

I remember back when I was little and I had blind faith.  I just thought that it would all work out and that I would be safe, and sound and protected.

I remember when I used to walk in front of the strip mall with my dad and he would put his hand on top of my head and I would close my eyes and he, with his hand on my head, would lead me around the poles and trash cans and people. 

Until one time he forgot that I had my eyes closed.

And I ran into a pole.

And it hurt.  It hurt my head, and my pride.

Things are different, now though.  I still wish for that hand on my head, and I still wish for that gentle but firm guiding from my dad, but it's not like that anymore. I know that no one can do that for me.  No one can be constantly vigilant and watch my every step.

And so, for the longest time,  I tried to put my own hand on my head and close my eyes and lead myself.

But you can guess the outcome of that!

So I have now turned to look at another Father.

I know that my father still loves and cares for me, but he is not here, right here, right now. 

And my blindness leading my own self just wasn't working.

And besides, when I hit that pole, and it hurt, and I fell, this hand on my  head couldn't hold me up, because I was the one who holding the hand up on the top of my head.

But now, I have a Father who puts His hand under and around me and not only guides me, but holds me up and watches not only where my head goes, but where my feet go, also.

STOP!  Wow that was a fast 5 minutes!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Relevant

So, it's not Friday anymore, but oh, well.  Here's my Five Minute Friday, linked to Gypsy Mama

The topic?


Ready?  GO!


It is relevant that I have complete writer's block recently and can think of nothing to say on here that anyone would want to read? 

Is it relevant that it is Tuesday and I am just now writing Five Minute Friday? 

Or is it just enough to be on here and to let my mind and my fingers loosen up to get the juices flowing?

Things are happening, time is flying...

My mother in law is home from the hospital and my Pampered Chef business is doing well.  I am very happy with both things, but are they really relevant?

Elizabeth is going back and forth between wanting to home school and wanting to go to eh public high school.  But is THAT relevant?

Does it really matter what she thinks or wants if Jimmy and I truly feel that God is pulling us in the direction of finishing off her years of education before college here at home?

Is it relevant that my parents will not like the idea?

Or is it only relevant that we point ourselves upward and outward, in that order, so that we can help our children fulfill their God-given life's work?

Of course, the answer would be that only what is good, right and holy is what is relevant, but that is so hard to see and accept when there is so much opposition.

But then maybe the opposition is more in my head.

Urgh.  I told you.  Nothing much coming from these tired fingers and this worn mind today.  Maybe tomorrow. 

I hope you'll find me more relevant then.

But I did see a home video today of a little girl playing with her daddy who had folded his tall frame to the floor to take her in completely and wholly.

THAT was relevant to me

Because it made me smile.