New Jen's Horde

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I've been busy here, dealing with lungs that the kids are spewing out left and right. Don't come over, we've got the plague!

Anyway, in between coughing fits, I have been doing a little crafting (it keeps me sane!) I started with a tea towel, some anatomic sketches of skulls from the internet, and some neat ideas from, and created this:

Sugar Skull Cross Stitch

If I get a chance today I'm going to try to make another one, larger this time. Hopefully I will be able to get a better photo then, too.

We're skipping our homeschool group's party today, which is just heartbreaking all the way around. So, I'm going to go play some games with the kids, and try to determine if they can go trick or treating if they feel well enough, or if that would just be evil?

I hope you're having a fabulous day! I love Halloween!

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Since it's only 1 month, 3 weeks and 6 days until Christmas...

From now on you can refer to me as:

Christmas Elf Name

My Christmas Elf Name is
Get your Christmas Elf Name at


Friday, October 26, 2007

Ha Ha...Chuck!

Does anyone else have this kind of problem? Tiernan climbed into bed with us (after we'd kicked the dog out, I'm glad she's feeling more at home but DANG she spreads out!) and started telling me Knock Knock jokes. He cracked himself up SO MUCH that he threw up all over the blankets. 8-0

I've laughed awfully hard in my day, but I've never come close to barfing. I'll admit it, I've even laughed so hard that I peed...but I've NEVER thrown up. All of my kids do that! Any powerful emotion or vigorous action can cause an upload.

As far as laughing until you pee, if it's never happened to you I respectfully submit that you go carry twins to full term, deliver vaginally, and THEN come back and talk to me about it. I love them to pieces, but they ruined me! Good thing we like them :-*

I've been doing some embroidery lately, and that's been fun. Not the cross-stitching, that was just too much like work! When I get a few things together, I'll take some pictures and show you. It's pretty neat, it's like doodling, only with fabric and floss instead of pen and paper.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I knew I was out of shape,

but I didn't realize it was this bad!

We all walked down to the park, and some of the kids took bikes. I took Kaywinnet on the trail around the park a couple of times, then we walked home. I'm sure it was no more than a mile, if that. Now I feel like I need a nap! Obviously I've been letting myself go! Well, I should add that we went to the pet store for fish filters, too, I'm sure that added at least 2 or 3 miles, since I couldn't find the right size right away (rolls eyes.) I'm a mess.

So, now I'm working on lazy lazy stuff. Have you done your Myers-Briggs test? Go take the test and see what it says about you. According to this, I'm an ENFJ, which seems to be about right.

According to this list I am most like Deanna Troi, which is sort of hilarious considering how much I ragged her that year at Captain Picard's Christmas Party.

I'm off to work on some tea towels. I'm trying to get the kids to draw some neat pictures for me to transfer and work... Wish me luck!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Two birthdays this week!

Not only did we get a new dog, but we've had two birthdays in the last week. Anya is now 12, and Tiernan is 6. My *BABY* is 6! How did that happen? When I started this blog I was wondering if we'd ever get him potty trained.

Check it out! This is a cross stitch kit I completed for a friend. It's a wolf with a Native American theme:
Wolf Cross Stitch

I'm glad it's done. I'm going to tell you all right now that if you want to be my friend, you can NOT have a favorite animal that's gray. This project was so difficult, because it was like 20 shades of boring old gray. There was white, dark white, cream, light gray, light blue gray, medium blue gray, medium purple blue gray, gray, dark gray, light black, and MORE! I will need to all to fill out applications, and if you like jungle frogs, you're in. Or toucans, or parrots or something. I'm sorry, but I have to draw the line somewhere. My sanity is precarious as it is...

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Meet Kaywinnet!

We got a dog! She came from our local shelter, and she's 4 years old. They said that she's a Shetland Sheepdog mix, but there must be a WHOLE LOT of "mix" in her, because she doesn't look like their pictures, and she doesn't have a similar temperament.

She's very sweet, quiet and patient. She even let me give her a bath. Her first day home, can you believe it?

Here she is, still a little wet from the tub:

Anyway, she seems pretty perfect for us, mellow and easygoing, quiet and small enough to easily take camping. I'm so excited!

We seem to be mostly done with all the tummy stuff, so I'm glad about that, too!

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Coolest. Craft. Ever.

Can you believe this? I wish I'd thought of it! I absolutely adore this piece!

We're still pretty icky here, so I'm keeping us and our germs home. Thanks for your well-wishes!

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Can't Blog

Kids puking.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Renee needs help! ie Jen's Desperation Cleaning Method

Renee has a long-term guest coming, and she needs some help getting her house organized because she'll need to move some furniture, etc. You can read about her plight here. She and her husband have a daughter, Darly, and they will have her medical-needs mom come to stay for the holidays.

Even though I'm pretty disorganized in general, I'm pretty good at de-cluttering in short spurts when things need to be done! For instance, we went through the house and moved rooms and furniture, and cleaned out the whole garage in a short period of time this summer to make room for Mara to move in and for the camper. I bet we got rid of at least a ton of stuff, no lie. It was bad.

The first thing I would do is call someplace like ARC, and set a pick up date. It helps me to have a goal to go through all the stuff.

Then go buy a bunch of big black lawn and leaf bags, and white kitchen bags and have at it. I use one bag for garbage (you'll be shocked at how much crap kids squirrel away everywhere!) and the other for donations, just to keep things simple. I don't know that I've ever donated a bag of garbage (I sure hope not!) but I've definitely thrown away bags of donations on accident. Also, snag a laundry basket, and use it for stuff that you intend to keep, but that needs to be delivered to another room.

So, at this point, you'll have 4 ways any item can go. It can 1. stay right where it is, 2. stay, but it belongs elsewhere in the house, 3. get donated or 4. get thrown away. (You can save stuff for a garage sale if you like, but that's never worked for me. That's why I don't do it. If you'll actually get the stuff out, tag it and sell it, more power to you.)

Then you just start somewhere. If you're like me, you'll freeze up trying to decide the best place to start, so I just start randomly or I won't ever get going!

Say you're starting with a bookshelf. I take everything off of the shelf and put it in big messy piles all over. (To me, that makes it more likely that I'll finish it up before I move on, because the big piles will annoy me.) I dust off the shelves, and start putting stuff back. With each item I ask myself some questions: Do I really need this? Do I use this? If I donate it, will it get more use from someone else? Do I love this item? etc. The hardest part of this is choosing what to get rid of, so be brutal! When in doubt, get rid of the item. I'm an awful pack rat, and in all the times I've purged something out of my house, there's only been once that I wish I could get something back.

I read somewhere that Americans in general tend to regularly use only 10% of the stuff they have in their house. That means that 90% of anyone's stuff is just taking up space! I'm not saying that 90% of your stuff is clutter, but I bet a lot more of it is than you suspect. This is why people benefit from those Clean Sweep folks, it can be very difficult to recognize what to get rid of at times. I think they're a little too mean about it, but they do get the job done. With a little self-discipline, you can manage your own clutter pretty well.

As you start filling bags, stack any donation bags and items in the garage as you fill them, and drag them out the day of the pick up. Put any trash where you normally put trash. You won't believe how much stuff you can get rid of!

If you think there's going to be a lot of stuff to throw away, you may consider getting a dumpster. But, that's pretty extreme, in all of my major purges I've only had to do that one time, and that was mostly because of a build up of broken-down furniture that I couldn't put out with the regular trash.

If possible, I'd go through Darly's stuff on a day she isn't there. What I've done in the past is to explain to the kids what needs to be done, and give each of them a good-sized box and I tell them that I won't touch anything in the box. No matter what it is. They fill the box with the "treasures" they can't bear to lose, and then I go through everything else while they're gone, and sort it out into the four piles like I mentioned above. I really try hard not to get rid of anything they still play with, but there's still a ton of stuff that can go.

They're usually pretty receptive to the idea that some other kid out there would love to play with the stuff they don't use any more. It helps that we shop at the ARC sometimes, and that they've bought toys and clothes there, so they see how the cycle works.

Another thing I do with the kids' stuff, is that I stack their stuff in the garage for about a week. I tell them that anything they want back that they can ask me for specifically, I will dig out for them. It's never happened. If they could SEE all the stuff, they'd totally want it ALL back, but I figure if they don't even know what's gone, how can they miss it?

So, anyway, that's my method for trying to get a handle on the stuff in the house! As far as the rearranging of furniture, etc, only you guys can decide what will work for you, but once you've cleared out the clutter, you'll have a lot more freedom to decide what can go where. Then you'll know exactly what you still need to buy.

Let me know if you need any hands-on help!

I feel I should mention that there are a ton of plans out there for keeping your house clean and clutter-free on a regular basis, so that you don't need to do these massive pogroms. I have never gotten any of them to work for me for any length of time, so I'll let someone else comment on those. I understand them in theory, but apaprently I'm not set up to do things like that.

One last piece of advice. If you don't get everything done on time, you can always put stuff in boxes and pile them in the garage until after your mom goes home. I'm not proud, but I've done that in the past, too. The good thing about that is that you forget what's out there, and it makes it easier to get rid of on the next big clean out!

Best of luck!

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Sunday, October 14, 2007


I was thinking of making some embroidered tea towels for Christmas gifts this year. I found an awesome site (Sublime Stitching) with some really neat, and inexpensive patterns. They iron on, just like the ones Grandma taught you to do (or at least, my Grandma Perry did....), only cooler!

I for sure need these:
Tiki Freak
Gothic Grandeur
Day of the Dead
and, of course,
Camp Out!

Man, I want to get started RIGHT NOW!

We're not at church today because the kids are extruding foul substances from both ends. Can you see now why I'm excited about dish towels? They don't call me The Queen of Denial for nothing!

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Big plans this weekend?

We don't have anything major going on, a birthday party and church on Sunday. It will be nice to be at church, we weren't able to attend during our trip.

Anya and Tiernan have birthday parties coming up, too. At least they will have them coming up when I get them planned!

We're going to meet friends at McD tonight. If you see us, say howdy! Yeah, we're pretty fancy around here.

I read an interesting book. It was about the cholera outbreak in London in the 1850s and it's effects on how we handle public health issues and how cities are planned. I know that sounds dry, but it was really kind of a page turner! If you'd like to read it, it was called, The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World.

Have you read anything worth recommending lately?

Sorry this is kind of blah, I'm having a fibro day. I played volleyball with some folks at church last night, and I haven't done that in probably 20 years. So, I'm in extra pain on top of the usual stuff. I had a lot of fun, though! I had forgotten how cool it is when you see the ball coming, and you just know you're going to get it, and you smack it right back over the net. Not that I was doing that a lot! I'm not a real sport-o by any means. I think I'll go back, though, I'm sure to do better than I did last night.

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Thursday Thirteen (one day early!)


Thirteen Pictures from Our Road Trip

In case you don't normally follow my blog, you need to know that we just went on a road trip. We travelled all the way from Denver to Eastern Pennsylvania to visit family, and hit Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Kansas! We visited a ton of family, and went on field trips and ate way too much fast food.

So, here are some photos from our trip, there's a lot more but I'll spare you!

1. This is Tiernan (on the left) and his cousin Liam, being silly.
Iowa-Tiernan and Liam being silly

2. This is my Grandma, and I just thought this was a neat picture of her. She's such a cool lady, and I'm glad I caught her laughing :-)
Iowa-Great Grandma Wanda

3. This is the horde in front of the Joseph and Hyrum Smith memorial in Nauvoo Iowa.
Iowa-Nauvoo-TAMS at Joseph and Hyrum Smith Memorial

4. My sister Julie, and my mom. I don't think either of them would like this photo, but it's how they look when they're happy and I was glad to see how this turned out.
Iowa-Julie and Mom, happy

5. In Ohio, we got this photo of Davin with his Dad, Bill and Step-Mom, Lou and the kids.
Ohio-Davin, Bill, Lou, SAMT

6. The kids relaxing in Bill and Lou's hot tub. We didn't have a lot of down time on the trip, so this was really nice!
Ohio-Maya, Sage, Anya and Tiernan in hot tub

7. We were so bored on the road that Maya filled her Croc with colored pencils.
On the Road-Maya Bored in the Car

8. I knitted a scarf for my dad's 60th birthday while we were travelling. You can see me explaining it to him here. You don't normally have to explain a scarf, but I'd made this one with a stripe pattern based on the Fibonacci Sequence. Yeah, we're all nerds in my family.
PA-Jen and Dad with Scarf

9. Anthracite coal, isn't it shiny?
PA-Anthracite Coal

10. This is where the latch blew off of our pop up camper, causing it to begin to open while we were driving. Darn Kansas wind!
On the Road-Camper Latch Gone

And, because you've been so good, I'll show you a series of self-portraits with me and my family members...

11. Me and my niece Amelia (Liam's sister). She took this one! Sometimes I think she's more like me than she is like her mom.
Iowa-Jen and Amelia, self-portrait

12. Me and my little (ha!) brother, Mark.
PA-Mark and Jen, self-Portrait

13. Me and my Dad.
PA-Dad and Jen, Self Portrait

And, you get a bonus! Here's a picture of four generations of my family. It's the kids, me, my dad and my Grandma. I love pictures like this, and I treasure them. They're so hard to get!
PA-Four Generations

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Monday, October 08, 2007

We're HOME!!!!

Yesterday was a bit dicey, I resorted to offering the children money for various good behaviors (ie "bribing" them). It worked, and I only ended up paying out $5. Three kids got a dollar each for "not hitting anyone the rest of the way home," and two got a dollar for "falling asleep." Does that make me a bad person?

Anyway, we're digging out from the trip laundry and the mail, and we're going to do some grocery shopping and hopefully get a little more back to normal today. Well, normal for the horde...

Super special thanks to everyone who commented on my blog while I was gone (many of them more than once!) It was so nice to hear from you :-)

Jean-Luc Picard

You guys ROCK!

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Now I Get It!

Now I know why The Wizard of Oz was set in Kansas. Oh my goodness gracious but it's windy here! We're kind of afraid to leave the camper...we might be the only thing holding it down! We're about 300 miles from Denver, so we should be able to get home with no trouble tomorrow.

Hopefully the camper will still be in one piece. Today we suffered a near catastrophic failure. One of the latches that holds the pop up down while you're driving just completely tore off and blew away (sorry if we hit you, we didn't notice when it happened or we would have stopped to render aid.) The other latch gave up, and the camper started opening in the dastardly cross wind. Did I mention the wind?

Do you live in Kansas? If so, is it always like this?

Hmmm, to catch you up, since I posted last, we went on a tour of Steamtown National Historic Site in PA. This dovetailed nicely with our trip to the coal mine, since the anthracite coal mined there was a big part of the growth of the railway system. BTW-we now know the difference between anthracite and bituminous coal, do you?

We left PA, and in one day made it all the way to Richmond, IN (through most of PA and all of Ohio). We stayed at a cute little RV park there (Grandpa's Farm).

The next day, we drove through Indiana, Illinois and a lot of Missouri, stopping in Columbia. We visited their Bass Pro Shops, which was neat but much smaller than the one in Denver (yay Denver!) I believe that Missouri must be some Native American word meaning "Dang it's hot and humid here!" We were grossly unprepared for the 80+ degree heat (at 120% humidity, at least). People must have A/C there, or else they come from stronger stock than I do. I briefly considered dying, it must be cooler 6 feet underground, right?

Today we were only planning on making it as far as Salina, but we decided to press on to get to Hays. There was a campground listed there in our directory that sounded reasonable. Well, it wasn't. It was a parking lot in the bad part of town. I'm glad we still had plenty of time, we just turned around and headed back to the highway. Well, we stopped at a smellydirtybad gas station on the way. I'm sure there are better parts of Hays, KS, but they're not where we were.

Oh, and we almost went to Historic Fort Leavenworth. I got it into my head that we really needed to stop and see if they had a tour or something, and we jumped off the highway. Then we drove and drove and drove and drove, and finally stopped at (another) nasty gas station to ask directions. It turned out that we were still pretty far from the base, and that we'd have to present ID and fill out paperwork explaining what we were doing there before they'd let us in to see the museum. At that point it just didn't seem like a good idea anymore, and we turned back. Well, I don't think it EVER seemed like a good idea to Davin, but he was very kind about it.

There it is. If we don't get home tomorrow, it's because we blew away. The wind appears to be headed north, so you should start looking for us in Nebraska somewhere...

Miss you all, hopefully I will be able to post soon when we're home!

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Workin' in a Coal Mine...

Or, at least we visited one! We all went up yesterday to tour the Lackawanna Coal Mine. After having visited the Argo Gold Mine up in Idaho Springs, CO, it was interesting to see how they were similar. But, they were really quite different, too, and not necessarily in ways I'd expected.. At the coal mine, our tour guide, Harold, had actually worked the mine in the pre-OSHA days. He was a teen then, and so he had a pretty unique viewpoint on the whole operation. So, if you're out in Lackawanna County, PA, I'd highly recommend stopping by!

We'll be in PA for another day, then we're going to start heading home. We haven't figured out the route yet, because we're kind ofliving in denial about the big drive ahead. We don't have any time left to visit people, so it will be 1700+ miles of driving, camping and getting up and driving some more. If you're praying people, please keep us in mind?

When I get home, I will post some of the pictures we've been taking. Next time, I'm going to bring the cord and post them as we go!

Thanks to all of you who've been stopping by, I'm so happy to see your comments!

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