Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Jerusha!

Last weekend Jerusha turned 6! I had fun telling her about the day she was born. It was during white out, blizzard conditions, the worst we had that year. The midwife, who lived 10 minutes away, took about 45 minutes to get to our house, barely in time to deliver Jerusha. My labor with her, from start to finish was just a hair over 2 hours. Don't be fooled, it was an intense 2 hours, with nothing but back labor.

Her birthday this year, though plenty of snow on the ground was a sunny, pleasant day, and we had two extras here as we were watching two of our friend's kids for 10 days while they were out of town.

Jerusha wanted a "Fancy Nancy" theme to her party, so we browsed through her book and found a few things we could do. We informed all those participating to "dress up". Jerusha and I went over the Tea Party Etiquettes in the book and decided to make the butterfly place mats. The girls all pitched and they came out quite cute!

They were all different, but below is a sample:

Dale got into the spirit of things by donning a tie... with his polo shirt.

The decorators went all out for the big event!

Here is a sample of our place settings:

The Birthday Princess was properly adorned, thanks to Memere:

Jerusha chose cheeseburgers, french fries, cheese curls and corn for her birthday meal. For dessert, instead of the traditional cake, she asked for "design your own" cupcakes. I made pink, blue, yellow and white frosting, chocolate cupcakes, and put out little bowls of candies, had some sprinkles, and everyone took turns decorating their own. Jerusha also asked for mint chocolate chip ice cream. I can't imagine where she gets her love for that stuff come from.

I put a candle on Jerusha's cupcake before we all serenaded her.

This stack of presents were waiting for her after we stuffed ourselves silly.

This ensemble came from Memere. This gift had the extra bonus of driving me crazy because I keep finding those stinkin' little feathers from the boa all over the place.

I made this fleece cape for her, by her own special request. She picked out the fabric, and all I heard since then until her birthday party was "Is my present done yet?" I sweetly told her to mind her own business. :P

With the twins quickly growing up and out of their "little girl" styles, it is nice to still have one younger one who enjoys all the frills, lace, ruffles, and girly girl stuff in life.

Happy Birthday Jerusha!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

10 Easy Portion Control Tips

"Diet" is a word I don't like to use. What I mean if I do use the word "diet", I mean "healthy habits or lifestyle". Diets are dangerous. Most of them are fads. Most of them produce a yo-yo effect. Most of them don't address the deeper issues of overeating.

I believe as a society, for the most part, we need to change our eating habits and examine what we eat and WHY we eat it. Is that snack because you are hungry? Or is it a response to an emotional issue? Is comfort food really comforting in the long run?

The majority of the food that enters our mouths should be full of vitamins and nutrients, and low in fat and empty calories. For example, 3 tablespoons of sunflower seeds sprinkled over a salad is a healthy choice. They still have fat, but it is a healtheir fat than say, 3 tablespoons of bacon bits. It isn't all about calorie counting and watching fats. It is being aware of what the fats and calories are from.

Another pet peave of mine is portion control. Americans eat enough in one meal to feed most people three meals. Americans think that supersizing is normal, and don't care about the consequences. Over the last year, I have become amazed at how different and actual serving size is compared to what I perceive it to be. A serving size of my favorite Kashi cereal is 1 cup. That's it. One cup is 200 calories. If I fill my bowl, I'm pretty much doubling it, and that doesn't include the milk I add after. I could have 500 calories before I even think.

I found the following article very helpful. Remember, portion size is important! Equally important is being aware of what you are putting in your mouth. Oh, don't forget to drink water (it helps digestion) all day, and get in exercise most days.

I'm off to cook some lentils. :P

10 Easy Portion Control Tricks
Portion control is an important part of maintaining a healthy diet. Here are 10 easy ways to limit what you eat.
By Kristen Stewart
Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH
When most of us sit down to eat, the last thing we want to think about is portion control. But for anyone on a diet or just looking to maintain their current figure, that’s exactly what they should be doing.

Gone are the days of eating a bagel or muffin and feeling safe about its calories. In fact, researchers measured typical servings from takeout restaurants, fast food chains, and family-style eateries and found that bagels were 195 percent larger than the standard set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), muffins were 333 percent bigger and cooked pasta exceeded the standard by 480 percent. Scariest of all were cookies, which were a whopping seven times the USDA recommended serving size.

Portion Control and Diet: How It Works

The first step in successful portion control is learning the correct serving size — the amount of food recommended by government agencies, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans put out by the USDA and Department of Health and Human Services, and the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. The serving size can usually be found by reading nutritional labels. But the portion is the amount of food or drink a person chooses to consume. In many cases, the portion eaten is larger than the serving size simply because we don’t know any better.

“Portion control is limiting what you eat,” says Mary M. Flynn, RD, PhD, chief research dietitian and assistant professor of medicine at the Miriam Hospital and Brown University in Providence, R.I. “It is being aware of how much food you are actually eating and what calories are in that serving.”

Portion Control and Diet: 10 Easy Tips for Smaller Servings

The good news is that with a little practice, portion control is easy to do and can help people be successful in reaching and then maintaining a proper weight.

Here are 10 simple ways to keep your portions a healthy size:

1. Measure accurately. For foods and beverages, use gadgets like a measuring cup, tablespoon, teaspoon, or food scale.

2. Learn how to estimate serving sizes. “‘Ballpark’ food portion sizes by estimating serving sizes in comparison to known objects,” says Rose Clifford, RD, clinical dietitian in the department of pharmacy services at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. “For example, three ounces of cooked meat, fish, or poultry is about the size of a deck of cards.” Other easy measurements to eyeball include:

½ cup is the size of an ice cream scoop
1 cup is the size of a tennis ball
1 ounce of cheese is the size of a domino
3. Use portion control dishware. Pick out smaller plates, bowls, cups, and glassware in your kitchen and measure what they hold. You might find that a bowl you thought held 8 ounces of soup actually holds 16, meaning you’ve been eating twice what you planned.

4. Dish out your servings separately. Serve food from the stove onto plates rather than family-style at the table, which encourages seconds.

5. Make your own single-serving packs. “Re-portion bulk quantities of favorite foods such as pasta, rice, and cereal into individual portions in zipper bags so that when you’re in the mood for some food you’ll instantly see the number of portions you’re preparing,” says Jennifer Nasser, RD, PhD, assistant professor in the department of biology at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

6. Add the milk before the coffee. When possible, put your (fat-free) milk into the cup before adding the hot beverage to better gauge the amount used.

7. Measure oil carefully. This is especially important because oil (even the healthful kinds like olive and safflower) have so many calories; don’t pour it directly into your cooking pan or over food.

8. Control portions when eating out. Eat half or share the meal with a friend. If eating a salad, ask for dressing on the side. Dip your fork into the dressing and then into the salad.

9. Add vegetables. Eat a cup of low-calorie vegetable soup prior to eating a meal, or add vegetables to casseroles and sandwiches to add volume without a lot of calories.

10. Listen to your hunger cues. Eat when hungry and stop when satisfied or comfortably full. “Try to gauge when you are 80 percent full and stop there,” says Clifford. “There will be more food at the next meal or snack!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Vest for Isaac

I made this little vest to match Caleb's. Isaac was asleep when I was taking pics so maybe I can get a pic of him and Caleb this Sunday when they were their matching vests to church.

I had to make one minor alteration due to Isaac having his father's long waist. :)

Next up on my needles is my Seaweed Cardigan! I just got the yarn in the mail the other day and can't wait to get it swatched and started.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Peter's Pinwheels

Winter has definitely settled in here, and we are enjoying the cold weather. Well, I am enjoying it. It is perfect for quilting, and snuggling up in front of the wood stove with the kids and watching a movie, or knitting, or just hanging around.

People I know keep having babies and getting married, so my list of quilts to make suddenly became very packed. Ain't that a pitty?

My latest creation is "Peter's Pinwheels", overdue for my newest nephew, who was born back in November. I just have to do the label and get it in the mail, hopefully by this weekend. It was a simply pieced quilt, but I fiddled with the quilting a lot more than I usually do, and had fun playing around with some continuous line templates I have.



Close up...

Next up is Jerusha's fleece cape for her birthday, which I cut out today while she was napping, and quilting another nephew's quilt, the one that got married in December.

Have a wonderful evening!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY January 17th...

Outside my window... Baby it's cold outside! When I got up it was -7 out there. Winter has arrived!

I am thinking... Isaac has something against sleeping.

I am thankful for... Coffee. And lots of it.

From the learning rooms... Starting a new unit study on Amelia Earhart, and on the Iditarod/Alaska.

From the kitchen... Menu planning, and grocery list making. Hmmm... what to have for supper tonight?

I am wearing... courderoy skirt, turtleneck, leggings, and a thick, warm sweater.

I am creating... Two quilts (in the quilting state.. Yay!), a cape for the birthday girl this week, and a knitted vest for Isaac.

I am going... to take Benjamin to his Orthodontist appointment Thursday, and celebrating Jerusha's 6th birthday on Saturday.

I am reading... Just the Bible presently.

I am hoping... that everyone settles down into routine quickly today. We have "adopted" two more for 10 days while some friends are out of town.

I am hearing... soft chitter chatter from every quadrant of the house.

Around the house... Neverending Laundry, some general picking up, cleaning the bathrooms, and lots of stoking of the woodstove.

One of my favorite things... Curling up in the evening with a cup of tea and some knitting and Pumpkin curling up in my lap.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Lots of sewing and quilting, schooling, Jerusha's Birthday party, my mom coming (Hopefully!!!), orthodontist appointment, and trying to keep the peace and my sanity, though I may have to sacrifice one for the other.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

The Cat Ate My Homework

For the guidelines to the Simple Woman's Daybook go to:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sometimes A Girl Just Needs A Change

Have you ever noticed that nothing is ever as simple as you think it is going to be? A simple quick trip to JoAnn's this weekend turned into a three ring circus.

A certain birthday girl, whose birthday we are celebrating next weekend, specifically requested a fleece cape. The fleece was on sale this week at JoAnn's so I planned on taking her up to pick out what she wanted. So far, so good, right?

Then we realized that Benjamin needed new church shoes and has for a little while. Okay, so I figured I would take him to the mall after the fabric shopping, since they were close to each other. There was no way I was going to find a church shoe that fit him at Wallyworld, so my only other option was to throw myself at the mercy of the mall stores.

When the other kids heard I was getting fleece, they all started asking for bathrobes. I'm sure you can see where this is headed.

Next thing you know, we all piled into the van, and off we went. Since I had the benefit of my better half being with us for the shopping, I decided to get my hair done while were at the mall. I know, a thrifty person would have their husband trim their hair. Because of the layers, curls, and thickness of my hair, I have finally given in to the fact that I need a professional who knows what they are doing to tackle it. No offense to my husband, or certain other family members (I won't give out any names but their initials are M.O.M.) who have valiantly tried to do the job but ended up with something I had to have fixed by a professional, who, after taking a quick first glance said, and I kid you not, "Whoever did your hair last did a terrible job. I wouldn't go back if I were you."

I have had a longish layered look for a few years and am T.I.R.E.D. of it. I needed something fresh. So after a brief discussion with my hairdresser for the day, Diana, decided on a modern bob. And then I had her straighten it, just for fun. It came out shorter than I have had it in over 20 years! I have to say, I love it. It feels healthy, and it is easy to care for. I know first real washing the "boink" will come back, but for yesterday and today I get sleek, straight, chic hair.

Good thing I have easy care hair. I have a ton of sewing to do! Thankfully, the bathrobes for the May birthday kids can be for that event. Jerusha's cape is for her birthday, and Josiah's is just because I love him. LOL! Those, plus the quilts and a couple of surprises I need to get done before June, are promising to make my winter and spring busy, but constructive.

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Men Vs. Women... Too funny!

This was sent to me by Dale. I hooted and hollered over it. It explains a lot!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Vest For Caleb

I think this is my first official FO for 2011! I have been working on Caleb's vest since just before Christmas, and think I made pretty good time with it, given the busyness of the season and all. I used the Basic Vest Pattern for Children by Knitting Pure and Simple, with City Tweed in Jacquard from Knit Picks. The yarn is so soft, and gorgeous to work with.

Up next on my needles is a little matching vest for Isaac. I expect this to work up even faster. I am also in the midst of choosing some yarn for a KAL on the Seaweed Cardigan. It is a very easy lace pattern that works up quickly, if all the Ravelry posts can be trusted. :)

I have one quilt ready to quilt, and another that is close to it. I am waiting on some tracing paper for the one, as I have opted to do more fancy machine quilting on it than just stippling, and the other is a disappearing nine patch, so I will be doing a simple all over design for that, requiring no tracing. I also have plans for another throw quilt with some of the wonderful charm squares I got last fall. I've been mulling over what to do with them, and haven't decided yet.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Second Semester Has Begun!

After that arduously long post about the Heart Rate Monitor, I feel I owe my small group of reader a short and sweet post. :)

I spent all day Saturday (well, after sleeping in very late.. hey we were up partying late New Year's Eve! Partying... aka, having a major pajama party, eating goodies, playing games, and watching movies) and everyone just slept until very late in the morning.

After I got caffeinated I spent over 5 and a half hours organizing, prepping, printing up for our second semester, which started Monday.

After some major Techno-geek fiddling around, Dale got the out of date "xlr" file format converted to a "jpg" format. He explained it all to me, but I'm afraid I glazed over. I can say, it took several steps and lots of fiddling around.

Anyway, here is what our weekly plan looks like for the Second Semester, here at the BeeHive.

We implemented it with great success, but this morning, it is all out the window. On the second day. That has GOT to be a record of some sort.

In the interest of holding to my promise of keeping it short and sweet, let's just say I planned on getting a good night's sleep last night, but Isaac did not. That lead to oversleeping this morning. Oh well... that is beauty of home schooling. We can be flexible!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Holiday Afterglow... Warning: Long Post, Get Some Tea!

I hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday! I catch snippets from other blogs and they have lists out of what they are going to read in 2011, what projects they are going to do, what things they are going to blog about, etc. etc. I'm not that organized. You, like me, will just have to be surprised to see what trouble I get into, er, what I am up to, throughout the year.

During the week off we were busier than I had intended, and I feel like I need more time to do all the nothing I had planned on doing, but alas, school and work start up Monday, bright and early, so I'll have to save all my "nuthin'-doin'" for another time. Dale will probably be on a few weeks lay off around March, so maybe I can get some in then! Ha!

Right before we put up our tree I moved my sewing stuff down to the guest room. The tree goes where my sewing desk usually is, and in past years I have just moved the end table by the couch and crammed my creativity along with my sewing machine into the corner. Usable, but not as comfortable. This year I moved it down to the guest room. I was working on Isaac's quilt and needed to lay it out so I could work on it. The pattern was one where I had to pay attention to how things were getting sewn together. It was very handy to do it in my own little room without little hands touching and moving pieces at unexpected intervals. My mom, who usually comes out during Christmas break, was unable to come this year because of work, so I have gotten spoiled by having my own little sewing room. I love it! Our guests may have to start sleeping on the fold out couch. :P

Actually, for the time being I do prefer having my sewing area in the living room where I can keep tabs on everyone. It is a nice central location and I don't have to wonder what is going on with Isaac or the cat, or both. So, next week, we'll be rearranging the guest room back to it's former glory, and my sewing area will be reestablished in the main living area.

Monday we did a bit of running around, and of course it took all day. I call this whole mess the Saga of the Heart Rate Monitor. This all started because when I hit 30lbs lost I wanted to do something to motivate me to keep going. Well, looking at what I have left to lose should be motivation enough, but I realllllly wanted a heart rate monitor so I could get an accurate reading on calorie burns. Generally I use but I have read that their calorie burns may not be entirely accurate. Our chemistry is so different that what burns say 100 calories for me, might only burn 75 for someone else, or maybe it burns 125 for another person. As I have said before that losing weight is basic math. You have to burn more than you take in. Hard to keep track of that if you don't have somewhat accurate numbers.

Before Christmas I had to take my big-footed son (yeah... men's size 14 at 14 years old!) and Elizabeth up to the Mall (ick) to get boots. Elizabeth's were easy to find. She is about a woman's size 8 1/2. But Benjamin's... now that was fun. On the Saturday before Christmas, too. What was I thinking? Anyway, while were were there, I figured I would run into the sports store and scope out heart rate monitors. I had gotten a lot of good word of mouth on the Polar ones, so I looked at those. As soon as I started looking a very nice gal came up and asked if she could help me. So I started asking questions. She preferred the Polars too, and the FT4's were on sale. I asked specifically if they would give me a calorie burn, and she said yes. Then she said they were on sale. Great! So, she went to unlock it so we could get it off the rack, and....

the alarm went off.

And wouldn't stop.

The poor girl was trying to unlock it and shut off the alarm and it just wouldn't stop. She called the manager on her fancy ear thingie and he came over, trying to appear professional. By then, the alarm timed out, and stopped. She handed him the key, and he went up to unlock it and....

the alarm went off.


And wouldn't stop.

He fiddled and fiddled and finally the thing came undone. But the alarm just kept going. Over the shrill protesting of the alarm, the nice gal, Sharon, told me about the unit, and said that if the right price didn't ring up to tell them to call her. I made a point of confirming that I could return it if I needed to, and she said yes. I've never bought a heart rate monitor before and wasn't sure I would like the style, so I made sure my bases were covered.

We go up to the register and wait in a long queue. I mean L O N G. Even longer than this little tale is getting to be. I finally get up to the register and the nice lady there, also named Sharon, scanned it in.... and it pops up at the wrong price. I repeat what the other Sharon told me and the Register Sharon gets on her earpiece and asks Alarm Sharon to come to the back register for a price check. Alarm Sharon shows up with the proper bar code, and then everything is scanned in. Suddenly Register Sharon says... "Oh, did you want the warranty on it?" I ask how much it is and for how long. There is a long pause. Register Sharon starts pushing buttons and trying to find it but can't. I suggest she look in the literature she just put in with it, and she does, but to no avail. Finally she calls a floor manager over and after a brief explanation he hits a few buttons, cancels out the transaction, and we have to start over. At least this time she has the right bar code in front of her, so the price check with Alarm Sharon can be avoided. We go through the whole process again, this time adding in the warranty, and I breath a sigh of relief as we head out into the mall again.

Then the alarm goes off.


I step back into the store, and Register Sharon takes the thing all apart and examines it over. There isn't any shoplifter alarm on the heart rate monitor anywhere. She tells me to just go, and not to worry about it. I do, and as we walk out, the alarm goes off AGAIN. I look over at Register Sharon who waves us off, and as we walk out through the mall, I'm looking over the monitor again, just to be sure. I didn't find anything. However, I did find, on some leftover packaging a little tiny adhesive type safety disk. I tore it off and threw it away. Later, when we got home, Dale found another one that I never would have recognized. He said that they see them in the warehouse all the time. Thankfully none of them were on the unit itself, so there was no damage or self destruct, or whatever it is the devices do.

Fast forward a very busy week of school and preparation for Christmas. It's the first day of vacation, and I'm playing with the monitor. It works perfectly... but there is no calorie burn count. I read over the directions which are in English, Swedish, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Norwegian. Great... you have to multilingual just to figure the thing out.

No calorie burn count. AT all. No where. Okay, good thing I have the receipt and since we were going to be up that way anyway, Dale and I decide to go ahead and exchange it. After doing research I realize I need an upgraded model.

Dale takes everyone but Benjamin and Elizabeth with him to Best Buy to look at electronics and I take the remaining two with me, who are just coming along for the fun of it. I get in the store and find the correct model and realize I can't take it off the rack because it is locked. I get in line at the back register, and wait. And wait. Once in a blue moon an employee walks by muttering under their breath how they are short handed. It's like a subtle message to the waiting customers, and a not so subtle complaint about management that doesn't have the foresight to realize that the week after Christmas is a busy time for customer service with all the returns and exchanges.

We wait patiently in line. I'm starving, because we put off lunch until after this *quick* errand. I'm hot, because I'm all bundled up against the whipping wind and the snow outside, but inside, I'm cooking. Thankfully the littles are all with Dale and not having to endure a grueling wait.

When it is my turn at the register, I say: " I need to return this," and the guy barely looks at me and says, "You have to do that up front."


I go up to the front where the hidden customer service desk is, and see that there is only one lady in line. Yay! I get behind her. The gal behind the desk has a pile of clothes and is on the ear piece talking to someone about sending some fleece jackets to another store. She is fluttering about but really doing nothing. Finally after about 10 minutes of waiting, she asks her question about sending the jackets and apparently gets a negative response. She then asks the lady in front of me how she can help her, and the lady in front of me asks for a fishing license. I can see the Register Gal get a blank look on her face and I groan inwardly, while trying not to look tired, hot, cranky, and hungry. I just know my blood sugar is at zero by now.

Register Gal is back on her earpiece like some sort of Sporting Secret Service, and asking the manager about fishing licenses. I hear her say, "No, I can't use the register, it isn't unlocked." I'm thinking... You have got to be kidding. She's been here all this time and she isn't even cashed into the register? A co-worker shows up and gets Register Gal's register opened. Brilliant.

Fishing Lady looks a little annoyed, but seems to be handling the wait well. Benjamin and Elizabeth were browsing the store and show up at my elbow.

"How's it going, Mama?"

"Peachy." They know what that means.

Register Gal tells Fishing Lady, "It'll be just a couple minutes." Then she turns to me and says the magic words:

"May I help you?"


I had the manila envelope with the monitor and all the paperwork and receipt and explain that I need to return it.

"Oh, is it broken?"

"Um, no, it isn't the right model."

Uh oh. A deer-in-the-headlights looks comes over Register Gal's face. I groan again inwardly. It can't be that difficult, can it? She is back on her earpiece again asking for the manager to come to the desk. I'm beginning to wonder if using the earpieces is habit forming.

The manager comes along and asks what the problem is. I explain yet again I need to return or exchange the monitor.

"Is it broken?" he asks.

"No, it isn't the right model." I'm beginning to feel like a broken record. I hear Benjamin and Elizabeth snicker behind me. They are enjoying this way too much, in my opinion.

The manager takes a quick look at it and says with a tone that is quite final, "You can't return this."

There is a special look that runs in our family that is reserved for such times as this. When my brother got married, my mom rode with us on the 14 hour trip south to the wedding. My mom had had a run in with a bat in a hotel room, and though it didn't appear that it bit her, she was still going through the rabies shot treatment. She had a shot just a day prior to the trip so she wasn't feeling too well. I was in the first trimester, pregnant with twins, and I definitely wasn't feeling well. I spent the trip with a bucket in one hand, and hard candies in the other. After several confirmations before the trip, we were assured our hotel rooms were secure. Oh, did I mention my oldest was 18 months old and VERY ACTIVE? After the L O N G drive down, we got to the hotel, dead tired, sick, and needing a bed to collapse into only to find they didn't have our rooms reserved. And nothing apparently was available.

Dale had gone in to the lobby with my mom, and I stayed out in the car with Benjamin, who was finally asleep in his car seat. Dale told me later that it was "The Look" that mom gave that made the manager cough up two rooms in a hurry. I've seen "The Look" and heard "The Tone" only a handful of times growing up. That isn't to be confused with the Magic Hand, which was used on my brother and me when needed. The Magic Hand is nothing compared to The Look and The Tone.

Apparently the kids have heard the tale about that trip to Uncle Paul's wedding. As soon as the manager off handedly said "You can't return this," I employed "The Look and The Tone." My mother would have been proud.

Seriously, all I said was, "Excuse me?" in a nice somewhat louder tone than necessary. I think I heard the kids suck in their breath. I might have accidentally scared them. Oh well, I don't think they are psychologically traumatized. I noticed they weren't snickering anymore.

The manager was most certainly affected. I quickly explained, still using The Look and The Tone that I was told it would have a calorie count function, and it did not. I was also reassured before purchasing by Alarm Sharon that I could return it if I wanted to.

The manager took on a conciliatory tone and asked very nervously, "would you like money back or exchange?"

"I would like to exchange it. It won't be an even exchange though, so I'll have to pay for the difference."

"Just go get what you want and we'll take care of it here."

I rolled my eyes. This was getting old, FAST.

"I already tried that. The rack is locked."

The manager gets on his Secret Service device and told someone named Colby to meet me back at the proper aisle.

I got back to the heart rate monitors and Colby, if his name tag was right, was there waiting. I told him what I needed and he said, "Oh, I don't have the key for that."

"You're kidding." I wasn't really surprised, to tell the truth.

"Some kid lost it last week."

And this is my problem? I didn't say it, but I wondered why he didn't have it replaced yet. Colby gets on the ear piece and talks to someone who apparently had a key. They came, unlocked it, and I got back up to the Customer Service desk. They were kind enough to let me finish my transaction without waiting in the rather lengthy line that had formed while Fishing Lady was trying to get her license. She was still waiting, by the way.

Finally! I had my new heart rate monitor that does the calorie count, and Benjamin, Elizabeth and I left the store into the mall.

The alarm went off.

Seriously. I couldn't make this stuff up.

Here we go again, I thought.

I walked up to the back register and after he was done with the customer I interjected (also known as cut the line because there was no way I was waiting another 20 minutes in a long queue) and told Register Dude that I had just bought the heart rate monitor. He checked it over, punched a few buttons and said I should be fine now.

We walked out... and no alarm! One point for the home team.

We power walked over to Best Buy. I figured Dale was going to think I got lost or abducted by this point. We went sailing into Best buy.

And the alarm went off.

Oh for crying out loud. There was a couple registers right by the door and the Best Buy Guy looked at me and I held up the Dick's Sporting Good bag and said helplessly, "I just bought a heart rate monitor."

I was thinking I was going to need a blood pressure tester by now too.

The Best Buy Guy scanned it in his computer and voila! No more alarms.

That my dear readers is the abominabley long Heart Rate Monitor Saga. Let's pray that there aren't any continuations.

The rest of the vacation was much more pleasant. Even the rest of that day was much more pleasant. Lots of family time, and I got a two day quilting spree with a good friend which was so much fun and so refreshing. On New Year's Eve we had a pajama party with lots of grazing, games and movies. I almost made it to midnight. I was watching a movie with some of the kids down stairs, sprawled out on the couch, and my eyes just slammed shut. They woke me up later saying, "Mama! It's three minutes until midnight!"

I was going to post some pics of some of the goodies we made, but I'll save it for another time. This post is already way too long, and if it entertained you at all, then my job is done for now.

Happy New Year!