To work or not to work, that is the question.

We have been thinking that my getting a job could be a help to our situation.  So on Friday, I had an “interview” for a temp-perm bookkeeping job that is part-time.  I am slated to start on Tuesday.


More income

18 hours a week, home when the kids are home from school

Only 4 miles from our house.

Still able to fit in at-home part-time job


More juggling when emergencies arise (ie, picking up a sick kid at school).

Child care issues when school is out for the day (you know, those staff in-services days)

Harder to keep up with things at home.

To complicate things further, after accepting this job, I received a call to interview for a full-time job that I think I would really enjoy.  Plus, though it is full-time, I might be able to negotiate some time flexibility because the company is not offering any benefits with the job.

Right now, I am planning to start the part-time job and interview for the other one on Wednesday.  But I am praying for wisdom.  There are lots of good reasons for me to be more available to my kids, so I might be leaning toward forgetting the full-time option.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see the future so we could know which choices are the best ones?

A Frustrated Former News Junky

My first real job out of college was working for a large Christian ministry as an editor/writer.  In that job, I was expected to keep up with the political news of the day at least enough to write and/or assign and edit somewhat thoughtful pieces for the ministry’s political newsletters.  I used to read more than one news magazine a week.  I watched all the news shows.  I read the newspaper every day.  Hey, it was part of my job.

After marrying and having children, I still wanted to keep up.  But it became harder.  I got most of my news from Fox News and NPR (now, there’s balance for you!).  Reading news became practically unheard of in my world of changing diapers and keeping everyone fed and in clean clothes.

Now that the children are older, I am starting to realize my excuses are gone.  So now, as most 21st Century Americans do, I read my news on the web.  Of course, NPR is still programmed at #1 on my van’s radio.  Admittedly, I don’t watch Fox News much anymore.

But even with the web and radio news, I still don’t feel confident that I have any right to comment on the events of the day.  There was something about the news being a part of my daily work that made me feel like I was worthy to share my perspectives on politics and what bills were being passed, etc.  Now that I am in the middle of a life that is really affected by what happens in Washington and Jefferson City, I don’t feel qualified to register my thoughts anywhere “important.”

With the Democratic Convention drawing to a close, I am thinking this fall is a great time to get back into the groove of political pontificating.  So you may have to bear with me as I start to get my political feet wet again and share some of my thoughts about today’s goings on.

BREAKING NEWS — I wrote this post yesterday, but now with the announcement of John McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, I know it is time to get excited about politics.  The addition of Palin has been called a “game changer.”  I don’t care what you call it and whether you like her or the republicans or not, it was really brilliant political strategy!  It’s about time we have something fun to watch in this campaign.

Gas Prices

This morning, Mark was staring at his computer screen and asking me where certain streets were in relation to our house.  Why was he doing this?  He was looking up the best prices on gas in our area before heading out to fill up the tank.  I told him I thought the station just down the block from us was as cheap as the places listed on the site.  So he went to get gas, and I headed out to a computer class I have been taking at the library this week.  I called him on my cell phone when I passed our neighborhood station to tell him the price there was a penny lower than those on the web site.

I went to my class.  An hour and a half later when I was on my way home, I drove past several gas stations.  The prices were the same at most, but then I saw one for $.26 cents more than it was earlier.  I drove further down the road and saw at one station the price raised, and at the station across the road, there was a line 10 cars long waiting to get gas at the morning’s lower price.  Thankfully, when I arrived at the intersection near our house, the price at our neighborhood station was still low.  I quickly pulled in and filled up.  Mark just left for an appointment about an hour ago.  He called to tell me the price at our station had just been raised by $.26

The news reporters have been forecasting a price increase because of Hurricane Gustav that is expected to hit the Gulf this weekend.  I thought the prices would be in a holding pattern until we saw where Gustav lands.  So I am guessing that this has to do with an expected demand increase as people get ready to travel for the holiday weekend.   I would really like to understand how gas prices really work.  I know supply and demand has a lot to do with it, but it seems there is more to it than that when it can increase so much in a short period of time.

Jennifer’s Mexicali Casserole

“Hey Mom, what are we having for dinner?” Nevin asked.

“Jennifer’s Mexicali casserole.”

“Oh.” (Eyes rolling.)

So, here’s last night’s dinner creation.  Despite the disappointment and eye rolling that came before it, everyone liked it.

Jennifer’s Mexicali Casserole

1 pound ground beef or turkey

1 t. cumin

1 t onion powder

6 – 8 10 inch tortillas cut into strips

2 cans diced tomatoes (use the ones with chillis in them if you like things hotter.)

1/2 cup salsa

1 12 oz can of refried beans

1/2 C sour cream

1 C shredded cheddar

Brown the ground meat, adding the onion powder and cumin as you are cooking (you could also use taco seasoning).

Drain meat and put aside.

Mix together tomatoes and salsa; put aside.

Mix together refried beans and sour cream.

Layer ingredients in a slightly greased 9 1/2 X 11 pan in the following order:

tomato mixture, tortilla strips, bean mixture, meat, 1/2 c. cheese – repeat.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  You may want to cover the pan with foil for the first 20 minutes and take it off for the last 10.  I was out of foil, so I just baked it without and it turned out fine.

Serve w/dollop of sour cream, tortilla chips and dip, and fruit.

Makesabout 12 servings.

The First Day of School – aka the day I locked my keys in my van

Today is the first day of school.  Charis, number 4 and our youngest, started Kindergarten this morning.  I felt a little bit of tears welling up as I left her room, but mostly I was excited for her.  She is very ready to go to school with the big kids.

After settling everyone in their various places around the school, I headed to the gym to sign up for volunteering for the year.  I talked with a few parents I know, and then headed out to leave.  Upon searching my purse, I couldn’t find my keys.  I looked in the van, and they were hanging from the ignition.  I guess all the excitement of getting all 4 kids and all their stuff out was too much for me to grab my keys before locking the door.  Guess what, after nearly 20 minutes on hold, I found out that I hadn’t signed up for roadside assistance with my cell phone provider. (I have, btw, now 🙂  So a few more minutes and $35 later with the help of the car repair place that we should own stock in, I was able to depart the school parking lot.

Now, on to some photos:

I didn’t say all my posts would be original

Our Senior Pastor posted a list of funny things kids said about marriage on his blog. Yeah, he’s got lots of great stuff about theology and wonderful pictures that he has taken with his fancy camera, but this was cute and typical internet fodder.

These two were my favorites:

You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids…
— Derrick, age 8

Both don’t want any more kids.
— Lori, age 8

Green Yogurt on the Ceiling

About two weeks ago, the boys asked to get yogurt tubes for a snack.  I was downstairs working at my computer, so I told them to just get them from the fridge.  A minute later, Nevin came running down saying he “spilled” yogurt.  I said, “Well, clean it up.”  I went upstairs a few moments later to inspect his work.  It was then that I saw yogurt not just on the floor, but also on the sofa, the wall, and the curtains.  I freaked out and started wiping and blotting and blotting and wiping, all the while fuming and ranting about how in the world did they do this.

It started with Calvin tapping Nevin on the head with his yogurt tube.  Then, not to be outdone, Nevin “tapped” Calvin harder, and his yogurt tube exploded everywhere.

About an hour after I was “finished” cleaning up the mess and the yelling had stopped and apologies and disciplines were passed out all around, I sat on the sofa and looked up.  That’s when I saw two splatters of green yogurt.  One was coming out from the old fashioned crystal chandalier.  The other was a short distance away from the first.   I called the boys.  The fuming commenced again.   A few more minutes passed; I took a deep breath; I calmed down.

I don’t plan to leave the splatters of green yogurt on the ceiling, but I am still contemplating the best way to get it off.

So I’ve Changed the Name of My Blog

My blog has been Jenn’s Blog since I started it nearly 7 years ago.  I have thought of changing it many times, but I could never come up with a good name.  I might not have come up with a good name now, either, but at least it’s different.

I hope to be a little more regular at writing entries now, too.  We’ll see.

Here’s to trying something new!

Before my Camera Broke

As promised, here are some more pics from the cruise:

View entering the LA Port

This is the view from the road as we entered the LA Port

Inside our stateroom on the ship.   Every night our stateroom attendant created a new towel character like Sebastian to welcome us to our room.

This was taken from our stateroom window near the coast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Inside Lumiere’s Restaurant, one of the 3 on board the Disney Magic.

Calvin in the Atrium on the Disney Magic

This is Calvin in the atrium area outside Lumiere’s.  Notice Mickey’s ears in the decor.  Notice how my son is wearing a tie.  Nice, huh?

This is on the night of “The Golden Mickeys.”  I include this picture mainly because I have very few photos with Nevin in them for some reason.

Evangeline with Mickey.  I have several of Evangeline with ______________.

The two who were left behind.  This was taken a week before the cruise on my birthday with some of my gifts on the dresser in the background.

Here’s one more of “the gang” on my birthday.

There are more pics from the cruise on my camera phone, but I haven’t figured out how to send them to my computer yet.  If I ever do, I’ll post them.

More later.