Category Archives: family

Junk Food Jamboree #TuesdayTen

Junk food: so bad for you and yet so tempting! Today just happens to be National Junk Food Day, and here are 10 foods I could live off of if calories and nutrition didn’t matter. (I actually think if I ate just these foods for one day, I’d be craving a big, green leafy salad!)

It seems like my favorite junk food comes from two food groups: Vegetable and Dairy. The “-itos food group,” of course, come from corn:

Cheetos vs carrots
The potato food group, I believe, also falls under the vegetable category:

  • French Fries
  • Jays Potato Chips
  • Tater Tots

The ice cream food group is not just for dessert! It’s dairy, of course!

  • Klondike bars
  • ice cream sandwiches
  • just a big ol’ bowl of vanilla

And the cheese food group is one of my favorites:

  • Cheetos
  • Cheese with crackers
  • Cheese with wine
  • Cheese with macaroni

Many years ago, I went on a shopping trip and bought all junk food; nothing healthy was put into my cart. I had decided that there was a need for comfort food. My family was hanging out in my grandparents’ apartment, and we were waiting, together.  Now, this isn’t meant to become a sad and serious post, but sometimes comfort food is just what is needed. We were waiting for my grandfather’s call to go up to heaven. He was 96 and ready to go. We hung out in the dining room, snacking on the chocolate and chips that covered the table. The most beautiful thing about all waiting together was that we were around his bedside when it was time for Grandpa to leave us. Remembering that table piled with junk food and the family being together on that day makes the memory joyful instead of sad, just like my joke-loving Grampa would want it to be!


The Golden Spoons

What’s your favorite junk food? Do you have a memory tied to eating junk food?


A Taste of Independence

I think the first time I felt independent was when I finally got my driver’s license. It took me a while to go to the DMV to actually get it because I was so afraid I would fail. When I finally did take my road test, the guy with the clipboard in the passenger seat did not help. He wanted me to pretend that I was parking going downward on a hill when we were actually heading up a hill. When I moved the wheels the wrong way, at least he didn’t mark it against me!

The first summer I had my driver’s license, my aunt let me borrow her silver Cadillac. My sister, cousin and I bounced into the car. We were going to the movies. As we drove, our arms loosely draped out of the open windows, we turned the radio up and sang along at the top of our voices.

Highway to the Danger Zone.

We were going to see the best summer movie EVER.

I feel the need…the need for speed!

That’s right. We were going to see Top Gun.

While the silver Cadillac didn’t accelerate using g-forces, that sense of freedom on a warm summer night was exhilarating. Sometimes being the oldest child in the family is awesome!

Sometimes, though, being the oldest child is also scary. I was the first to go away to college. I loved being away from home…and hated it. Those first few months were really hard. It was before cell phones and email, so I had to call my family collect. Will you accept the charges?

I don’t remember why, but I guess I thought I had to be independent and I held off calling my parents for 9 weeks. I was busy after all, hanging out with my new friends 24 hours a day, taking classes, doing homework, and going to the student union. We did send real letters to each other (you can read some of them here). When I finally heard my mom and dad’s voice on the phone, however, I remember feeling so happy and yet missed them so much that I burst into tears!

Independence; sometimes exhilarating, sometimes heartbreaking.

When do you remember feeling independent?

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Three Good Things

You know what I hate? Waking up in the morning with a deep pit in my stomach, dreading the day ahead. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen very often. After I was diagnosed with cancer, I had some dark days. One of the things that helped me get through them was staring a gratitude journal. Every night before I went to bed, I would write down 5 things I was grateful for that day. Ending the day in such a positive way helped me to sleep, and my mornings were better.

In a similar vein, my pastor has been encouraging us to write down 3 blessings before we go to bed at night. He calls them “God’s fingerprints” on our lives. I just love that.

This week, I’ve had so many wonderful blessings, but I’m going to pick just three to tell you.

Swim team

1. Both Lily and Emmy are in a swim team this year. This is Lily’s second summer on swim team, and she loves it! Emmy was very resistant to being on swim team, but she has reached the end of swim lessons and swims like a fish. Also, Mommy really needs some time to herself! On Wednesday they had a swim meet, and my little reluctant swimmer came in first place in her age group for the 25 yard freestyle! This really gave her a boost of confidence about her swimming!


2. Every Thursday during the summer, my church has been hosting a farmer’s market. I think I missed every single one last summer. It takes a little effort for me to go because our church is a 20 minute drive from our house. Today–I remembered to go! Lily and I have already devoured the peaches and grape tomatoes I bought.

3. Tonight, I took a shower. Maybe this little phrase will help you understand why this is a good thing: after the kids went to bed. There was no one barging into the bathroom demanding something to eat (like yesterday, even though they are perfectly capable of getting their own snacks) or yelling and arguing and shouting “MOMMY” (like what happened this morning when I was in the bathroom getting ready). Tonight, I took a peaceful and uninterrupted shower. Now that is a blessing!

What are three good things that happened to you this week? Link up your blog post here or tell us in the comments!

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A House Is More Than a Building, It’s Your Home

The kids are all tucked into bed, and as I sit down with my laptop tonight, I’ve also been looking at the weather radar. Several tornadoes have touched down in Northern Illinois this evening, which terrifies me. A small town in DeKalb County supposedly no long exists. It makes me feel extremely grateful for this house that Ed and I have built our family in.

As I was thinking about what to write for this prompt, I immediately felt like joking. We know our house is our home because of the messes we leave here! Our house definitely has that “lived in” feeling.

But what else makes our house a home? When I’m away on vacation for a week or two, the thing I look most forward to is my own bed. I can never sleep as well when I’m away from home, especially on the first night. When we were staying at the Pop Century Resort, I had a terrible first night! It didn’t help that our room was small and had only full size beds. I know it’s hard to believe, but Ed and I do not like sleeping that close to each other! Being able to sleep in our king size bed at home is always a wonderful thing to come home to.

One of my most prized possessions are the quilts that cover Lily and Emmy’s beds. My mom made them when they were babies. I am reminded of the love that went into making those quilts every time I see them!

Emmy's baby quilt
Emmy’s baby quilt

Another thing that I love about my house is my big kitchen. The cabinets are out of date, the appliances are not state of the art, and my countertops are crooked. But I love my kitchen window that looks out into my backyard and the breakfast nook where we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. The southern exposure makes my kitchen warm and bright, and I love cooking in my kitchen. During the hot, summer months I do a lot of grilling to help the house stay cool, and in the fall, I really enjoy when I’m able to cook in the kitchen again!

I made this chicken, broccoli and pasta dish the other night.

I would be simply devastated if I lost my house. I pray for those who have lost their homes tonight.

The most important things in my house, however, are my husband and two daughters. As long as I am with them, I’ll be happy.

What makes your house a home? Link your blog post here any day this week, and be sure to visit our other Spinners!

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Don’t Hate Me Because I Went to Disney World

It’s true; I just spent a whole week in the world of the Mouse, with warm, sunny days and cool, beautiful evenings.

Rapunzel's Tower 2
The girls outside of Rapunzel’s Tower.

I have never, ever, ever been to Disney World before, and I was looking forward to our trip as much as Lily and Emmy were. I was looking forward to warmer weather, while Lily and Emmy were looking forward to the rides! Before we could go to Disney, there was something else we had to do. We had to go meet…Rapunzel!

Emmy in her school musical, "Character Matters."
Emmy in her school musical, “Character Matters.”

Rapunzel was not locked up in her tower, however. She was on the Fairy Tale Advisory Board to help fairy tale characters solve their problems. As you all know, The Big Bad Wolf has some anger issues. Rapunzel gave him some excellent advice on how to manage that anger!

Two days later we boarded an airplane and late that afternoon we were at Epcot. It really does seem magical to be able to fly across the country in just a couple of hours; to be able to shed our winter coats and wear shorts and T-shirts in March. We had a late dinner, and as we came out of the restaurant, the colored lights were shining on Spaceship Earth.

Epcot at Night

I had been hoping to be able to book an earlier flight on our first day in Disney, but with the expense of airfare, it hadn’t worked out. Our first day at Disney was over already and we had hardly done anything! But our adventure was just beginning….









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