Archive for February, 2011

  • Communication

    Date: 2011.02.24 | Category: faith, teeth | Response: 2

    I love my job.  I’ve always joked that as a dental hygienist I’m a cross between a nurse and a hairdresser.  I love working in health care- helping people have better health and teaching preventative care.  I love helping people look and feel better about themselves, and I love building relationships with my patients and getting to know them and their family.  It can be tricky though; holding a two way conversation with someone who has a pair of hands in their mouth has it’s challenges.  At the end of an hour there are some people whom I feel I have spent quality time with, there are others with whom I haven’t even gotten past the pleasantries. Sometimes it’s me- I’m tired, have a lot on my mind, I’m running behind schedule.  Sometimes it’s them- they’re not feeling chatty, they have a lot on their mind, they hate being at the dentist.  In any case, I try to pray throughout the day that God would use me to be a light to my patients.  Sometimes I find opportunities to share the gospel or invite a patient to church, but more often I try to share by example and by being positive and encouraging to them.

    The other day I had a patient in my chair whom I’ve seen 5 or 6 times during the past few years.  He’s a 50 something man with three children- one of them is adopted and two have special needs.  He always strikes me as someone who is making the best of a difficult life.  He’s polite and friendly, but always seems tired and somewhat beaten down.  I decided to ask him a little bit about his adoption experience and told him about how I long to start pursuing adoption for our family.  We then segued into a conversation about marriage and the challenges of finding time to date our spouses and putting marriage first.  I shared how Chris and I decided to do some marriage counseling as a gift to ourselves this year.  How we plan on being married to each other for a really long time and want it to be the best it can be.  I encouraged him to invest in his wife and to find ways to reconnect with her.  And then he said “What about sex?”

    Cue the long awkward pause.

    Ummmmm, what?  Yes it’s true I’ve been speaking about personal topics with you for the past 30 minutes, but I wasn’t really planning on going THERE!

    I must have given him a funny look.  And the increasingly long pause in the conversation was probably a clue.

    “I mean the gender.  Of a child.  If you adopt!”  He clarified.

    Ahhhh.  Now that’s something I’m happy to talk about with you!


  • Small Victory

    Date: 2011.02.22 | Category: parenting | Response: 3

    Today was Kate’s 12 month well child check.

    We’ve spent the past 5 weeks encouraging her to eat as much as possible.  We’ve switched to yogurt with 15 g of fat per serving and I add heavy cream and peanut butter to it.  I butter her sandwich before I add the peanut butter and jelly.  I scramble her egg in butter with full fat cheese, flax seed and heavy cream.  I mean seriously.

    Although I can tell that she’s gained weight this past month and I can see that her clothes have gotten tighter I was a little nervous about what the doctor would have to say about Kate’s weight.  Would you believe that Kate went from 16 pounds 2 oz a month ago to 17 pounds 8 ounces today?  Hooray!  She’s up to 4%!  And that’s with the stomach flu and a full week of eating next to nothing.  Literally- next to nothing.  Her height has popped up too in the past month.  She went from 5% to 7% in length!

    I’m so proud of my little girl.


  • Silly Songs with Mama

    Date: 2011.02.22 | Category: parenting | Response: 0

    Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this.  I’m a compulsive song writer.  I make up songs for everything.

    3 small nephews in tow?  “Everybody hold a hand.  Everybody hold a hand.  Everybody hold a hand.  Everybody hold a hand.”  Although the boys did always like to say “Everybody do NOT hold a hand!” it still did the job.  This song has been going strong for about 13 years!  I just sang it on Sunday as I crossed the parking lot with 4 children under 5!

    Falling in love with my future husband?  “Oh honey my honey.  Oh honey my honey.  Oh honey my honey!  Oh honey my love!”  What is that?  The ride of the Valkyries?  I had to look that up.

    Driving past the pumpkin patch?  “Pumpkin time, pumpkin time, everybody’s gotta go to pumpkin time!”  This turned out to be a great multi-purpose song- you can sing it almost any time, and I do!  Napping time, Christmas time, eating time, you get the picture.

    Realize that my son who always goes by his initials won’t recognize his own full name?  “Jacob Timothy Benschoter!  Jacob Timothy Benschoter!”

    Or another favorite- “Baby JT, baby JT, mama loves her baby JT- ba boom boom.  Baby JT, baby JT, ooooooh I love my baby JT!”  (we’ve recently had to modify this to say “Big boy JT”)

    Of course Kate needs her own song too.  “Baby Kate, baby Kate does whatever a baby Kate does.  Katherine Mae.  Katie Mae.  That’s her name, they’re all the same!  Look out!  Here comes a baby Kate!”  (yes this one is to the Spiderman theme song)

    I’ve recently added another instant hit to the tune of I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.  “I’ve been tickling my JT, all the live a long day!  I’ve been tickling my JT just to pass the time away.  Can’t you feel the tickles coming?  Tickling so early in the morn?  Can’t you hear the mama tickling?  Mama tickle your boy!  Oh, tickling JT, tickling JT, tickling my JT boy.  Tickling JT, tickling JT, tickling my JT boy!  Oh, mama has been tickling JT.  Mama has been tickling her boy.  Mama has been tickling JT!  Tickling her JT boy.  And she’s singing; tickle my JT boy.  Tickle my JT boy.  Tickle my JT boy!  Tickling my JT boy.”  As you can imagine there are lots of tickles and giggles that accompany this one!  I’m currently working on another version that goes to the tune of She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain.

    I always love to substitute the kids names into songs.  You are my sunshine has been sung “you are my JT” and “you are my Katie” more times than I can count.  Sometimes I even sing “you are my Mollie” by special request.

    The old camp song Deep and Wide?  It’s become “David and Drew.  JT and Kate.  They’re the four kids we’re playing with today.  David and Drew.  JT and Kate. We all have so much fun when we play!”  My nephew David particularly likes this one.

    Even better though is substituting the wrong names into the wrong places.  Nothing cracks a two year old up like mixing up names!  I love to tell JT- “You are my very favorite JT in the whole wide world!”  Man does he think it’s funny when I say “you are my very favorite daddy in the whole wide world!”  “No!” he’ll say.  “I’m JT!”  So then I’ll correct it and say “You are JT’s very favorite daddy in the whole wide world!”  This can go on for numerous rounds with no decrease in delight.

    I hope that someday when my kids are parents they’ll remember the joy of singing together.  I may not remember any specific songs that I learned from my parents, but I’m pretty sure that this tradition was handed down from them.


  • the post in which I alienate most of my readers

    Date: 2011.02.22 | Category: faith, parenting | Response: 6

    I’m not big on t.v.  That doesn’t come as a surprise to those of you who know me in real life, but for those of you who don’t know me, there it is.  I’d much rather read a book or work on something crafty or play with my kids than watch a movie or t.v. show.  So it’s no surprise that I haven’t allowed my kids to watch much t.v. either.  Sure, my two year old can navigate my iPhone, has his own list of favorites both on youtube and on netflix, and can tell me the title of which episode of Blue’s Clues he’d like to watch, but really, he doesn’t see much t.v. either.

    As a special treat the other day we headed “down basement” to watch a few shows on netflix.  JT requested Dora- a show that apparently he’s watched with daddy (who does not share my distaste for t.v.!) and I obliged.  After 10 minutes I texted Chris- “This Dora is painful.  Literally hurting me.” and “Boots is whiny and Dora is bossy.  I hate this show.”  Not even to mention Swiper whose only role on the show is to steal things and hide them, as far as I could tell.  Needless to say, when the episode ended I switched us back to our friends Steve and Blue.  When Chris got home from work that afternoon he said to me “So, no more Dora for JT, huh?  It’s been kicked off the approved list?”  Now to tell the truth, I hadn’t really thought about it, other than I didn’t want to have to watch it.  But as I paused I realized something.  Why in the world would I allow my two year old watch a show whose main characters display behaviors that I don’t want him to emulate?  So yes, it got kicked off the approved list.

    This got me thinking about a conversation that happened years ago when my sister’s boys were young.  My boss at the time mentioned a movie that he let his very young children watch and commented about how my nephews (who were several years older) must also like it.  I replied that they had never seen it.  He was shocked!  How could my sister deprive her kids of this popular form of entertainment?  I told him how very little t.v. her boys watch and that it would be too scary for them.  I could have been speaking a foreign language from the look he gave me.  Too scary?  What in the world?  It also reminds me of countless times during the Super Bowl or other televised sporting events when my nephews would literally look away and distract themselves during all of the commercial breaks.  My sister allowed them to watch the sport, but trained them to turn away from the images of alcohol use, violent movies, and scantily clad women.  Not a perfect system, but one that worked!  In any case, the majority of their t.v. viewing was with video tapes- pre-approved by mom and with no surprises.

    Now here’s where I’m sure I’m going to alienate 90% of you.  I won’t let my kids watch Disney movies.  Not now and probably not for a very long time.  Every single Disney movie that I can think of has a major component of good versus evil.  A mean/bad/scary/evil/cruel character.  Usually there are several lesser mean/bad/scary/evil/cruel characters too.  Now it’s true- good does tend to triumph over evil in the world of Walt Disney (notice I said good and not God).  And some day- perhaps when my kids are in college- I’ll let them watch all the Disney movies they want.  In the meantime, why in the world would I introduce such concepts to my toddler as a form of entertainment?  Isn’t there plenty of time for him to learn about cruel bullies and mocking laughter?  Wouldn’t he be happier not knowing about wicked witches and evil step mothers?  How about if I put off telling him about people who kill dogs for their fur coats for a few years?

    I know that I can’t shelter him forever.  And I don’t plan to, actually.  We already read stories about David and Goliath, Noah and the flood, Queen Esther who saved her people from death.  The point isn’t that I’m pretending evil doesn’t exist.  The point is that I want to teach him first about God’s perfect power.  That God ALWAYS triumphs over evil.  That God’s people are under God’s protection and need not fear the evil one.  This is about choosing to fill his growing mind with the Good News, hope and love rather than crass humor, that morality is subjective, and that the means justify the end.

    Will my kid be one of the few at school who has never seen Sponge Bob Squarepants?  Who doesn’t know the Cinderella from Belle?  Probably.  Will he be one of the kids at school who knows the power of Jesus and the Way the Truth and the Life?  I hope so.


  • Spreading the Love

    Date: 2011.02.14 | Category: crafts, giveaway!, marriage, parenting, saving money | Response: 0

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    I am so excited to announce the winner of my first giveaway!  Susan, you’re a winner!  I’ll be emailing you today with the information on how to redeem your $20 voucher from Dayspring.  Don’t forget that they have many of their items on sale right now and you can use code LOVE25 for an extra 25% off of your order.

    I admit- I got a little geeky into Valentine’s Day this year.  Maybe it’s because I have a preschooler.  Or it could be because I extra appreciate my husband as I have a dear friend who was recently widowed.  Or possibly because I hadn’t done any crafting in a while and I just couldn’t hold back any longer.  In any case, I really enjoyed celebrating the love with my family and friends this year.  Here are a few of the (very) simple ideas I put into practice-

    I bought a package of Dr Seuss Valentines at the dollar store and handed them out at church

    I made three of those felt rosette heart wreaths– one for our house and two to give away

    I gave an entire case (60!) of Lindt Lindor White Chocolate Truffles to my Valentine (scored a great deal on Amazon!)

    I made heart shaped peanut butter chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast yesterday

    I cut JT’s pb&j with a heart shaped cookie cutter and stuck a sheet of conversation heart stickers in his lunch box

    I made JT and Chris’ lunches last night (this is usually my hubby’s job)

    Last night after the kids went to bed my hubby and I enjoyed a candlelit steak dinner and played some card games

    I made an effort to ask Chris big questions as we lay (laid?) in bed last night  (you know- what are you thinking about your career, what is your favorite thing about JT, about Kate, about me, where would you like our next vacation to be… those questions)

    I dressed the kids and myself in festive (red or pink- with hearts too!) attire

    I texted my husband throughout the day with conversation heart sayings

    We gave each of the kids small (think dollar store items) gifts

    I gave lots of extra hugs, kisses and cuddles throughout the day- the kids got in on the love too!

    I made red heart shaped jello jigglers to go with dinner

    I invited my sister in law and nephews over for dinner tonight since my brother is out of town

    As you can see, most of these ideas were free or almost free- just a little effort was all it took to spread the love.  How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day?


  • God’s Heart For Me- and my first giveaway!

    Date: 2011.02.11 | Category: giveaway! | Response: 17

    *This giveaway is now closed- the winner will be drawn when JT gets home from preschool this afternoon!*

    Several months ago I discovered (in)courage– a website/blog hybrid designed to encourage and embrace women.  It quickly became one of my favorite blogs to check in with every day or so.  Created by several women at Dayspring (the Christian subsidiary of Hallmark) it was intended to be a home for the hearts of women.  With over 30 different contributing writers writing daily articles there is something for anyone- no matter where you are in your life.  (In)courage also provides community forums, shopping at Dayspring and a book club.

    Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to request one item for free to review from Dayspring!  I received a “God’s Heart For You” necklace.  It’s a beautiful piece- unique in it’s design and engraved with the words created, cherished, celebrated and chosen.  The little tag dangling from the clasp is stamped with Psalm 19:14.

    Sorry for the lousy photo, but isn’t it cute?  It even comes with a card with scripture for each of the words- Psalm 139:14 for the word Created.  Deuteronomy 14:2 for Chosen.  Zephaniah 3:17 for Celebrated.  Jeremiah 31:3 for Cherished.

    This is definitely going to be a regular addition to my wardrobe!

    Do you want one too?

    The fabulous people over at (in)courage and Dayspring have also provided me with a $20 voucher for one lucky reader!  If you win, you can head over to the Dayspring store and pick up a necklace like mine, or any of the other encouraging items that they offer!

    The rules of this giveaway are simple.  Just post a comment under this post by midnight on February 13.  I’ll put all of your names into a hat on the 14th and let my two year old draw the winner!  Now wouldn’t that be a nice Valentines surprise?

    Even if you don’t win, it’s still a good time to head over to Dayspring since they have them on sale for the month of February and you can get 25% off of your order with code LOVE25.   What a great gift idea for someone who needs a reminder of who they are in God’s eyes!  And don’t forget to check out (in)courage too- you just might be encouraged!

    Legal disclaimerese- I was given this product to review by (in)courage by Dayspring at no cost to me.  The opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own!


  • Getting Crafty

    Date: 2011.02.10 | Category: crafts | Response: 3

    Growing up we ALWAYS made homemade Valentines.  It was a fun and thoughtful tradition in our house.

    Well, I haven’t made any homemade Valentines this year, but while out and about in blogland the other day I came across this awesome wreath which lead me to THIS even more awesome wreath and I had an idea for one of my own.  A $4 trip to JoAnn’s, two evenings of cutting out spirals and one evening with the hot glue gun later, I made this!

    You know I am IN LOVE with the current trend right now for flowers and frills and ruffles, so this project made me so happy!  I really like how it turned out and still have plenty of supplies left to make two smaller versions.

    Today I stumbled across a tutorial for a glass bead mosaic and knew I had all of the supplies I needed to make this for free!

    My favorite thing about this glass bead heart is that these are beads Chris used for a bowl of floating candles when he proposed to me on February 13, 2004.  Kind of sweet to use them in a Valentines decoration!

    Since I’m showing off my crafty self today I’ll give you one more.  I made these ponytail holders back at Christmas.

    I attached some to bags of cookies for a cookie exchange and the rest went into stockings.  They only cost $2 for 10 hairbands and I turned them all out in less than an hour!  I found the bunch of flowers and package of ponytail holders at the dollar store.  I pulled all of the petals off of the stems, then using a needle and thread I came up through several layers of petals and a flower base (this helped them keep their flower shape).  I attached a bead on top to add a little bling and keep it all together, came back down with the thread and wrapped it around the ponytail holder several times.  At first I thought that the thread would be enough to keep it all together, but as soon as I tried to use mine I realized it needed hot glue to keep the petals fanned out and to keep everything tight together.  It’s so much easier to use now and looks great!

    All of these are easy projects that anyone could make- so what are you waiting for?  Bust out your hot glue gun!


  • These are the Days of Our Lives

    Date: 2011.02.10 | Category: parenting | Response: 2

    Yesterday was my work day.  Like usual I got up at 5 (the middle of the night for me!) to get ready.  I showered, made breakfast for everyone, made my lunch and gathered all of our stuff for the day.  About 6:45 I went in and fed Kate since she’s still breast feeding.  Chris woke JT up at 7.  Usually both kids are cheerful in the morning, but on this particular day JT wasn’t so much thrilled to have been woken up.  As we were trying to get his jacket on and load up the car he threw a fit in the laundry room- laying on the floor and crying that he was tired and didn’t want to get in the car.  After fighting him into his jacket, stuffing Kate into hers and layering them both with blankets (it was about 0° outside) we were off.  As I pulled up to Auntie’s house and parked in a snowbank at the curb I heard a retching sound.  I looked in the rearview mirror just in time to see Kate vomit out the entire contents of her stomach- all over the blankets, her clothes and her car seat.  Then she let out that ear piercing shriek that babies make when they have no idea what just happened to them, but they know they didn’t like it!  I threw the car into park and jumped out into the snow and ran around the car to her side (through the snow- in my work shoes), pulling off my gloves while I went.  She was covered in vomit so I grabbed a spit cloth to dab her face.  Then I grabbed our three bags (my purse, my lunch, their bag for the day) and her infant carrier and trotted back around to my side of the car to let JT out of his seat.  By this point my fingers were totally numb, so it took 5 times as long as usual to release his buckles and he started getting ancy and trying to “help” which of course only makes things harder.  I finally pulled him out and as I was gathering everything up again (this time adding JT’s water and his blankie to my load) JT ran over to a huge pile of snow and said he wanted to climb it.  I felt like Willy Wonka as I said “no, stop, don’t” while watching him face plant right into the huge pile- he had been expecting a hard, firm, packed hill- but what he got was a big huge pile of soft snow that he immediately sank into.  I retrieved him from his face down position in the snow and set him on his feet.  This recent snow was the wet, soft, sticky kind- so now he looked a bit like a snow man-  totally covered in a fine dusting of snow from head to toe.  Leaving him to fend for himself, I struggled up the front path carrying three bags, a blankie and the infant carrier while JT slowly ambled along behind me.  I set Kate and our bags inside the front door and then went out to help JT get most of the snow off his body- I patted him down and picked him up so he could shake the snow off of his shoes and into the house we went.

    Auntie was feeding both of her kids breakfast.  She came over to help me pull Kate from her seat and start stripping her of her soaked blankets and clothes.  JT announced that he wanted breakfast and climbed up into his seat- even though he still had a good bit of snow on him and was still wearing his jacket.  He sat in his seat hollering that he needed a waffle over and over and over while Auntie and I continued to deal with poor Kate.  I finally threw a banana at JT and told Auntie that I’m so sorry, but I REALLY had to go.  I grabbed my purse, lunch and keys and headed toward the door, still talking to Auntie as I went.  Right about that time my phone rang- Chris wanted to let me know that I had missed a call at the house.  “Thanks honey.  Here’s what just happened here…”  Phone to my ear I headed out the door and got on my way.  After I hung up with him I checked my call log (at a stop light!).  I had a message from my office- my first patient wasn’t coming.  I could take my time and come in when I want.  At that point I was halfway there and had a decision to make.  Turn around and help Auntie with the vomit and breakfast chaos or continue on to work where I would have plenty of time to grab a hot chai tea and relax for a few minutes?  I chose to go to work.  Can you blame me?

    9 hours later.

    I arrived back at Auntie’s house to find Kate back in her original outfit which had been washed and dried.  Her replacement outfit for the day had been washed and was in the dryer due to an accident on the other end.  The pool of vomit had been washed out of the carseat and blankets.  Kate was happy and cheerful.  JT was playing hide and seek with his cousin and mama had to go “find them” in the closet where they were giggling with delight at their game.  Thank God for Auntie.  (What other childcare provider will take your child who just vomited?  And wash her clothes and carseat?  I thank God for her- truly.)  We all bundled back up into our coats and hats and gloves and headed back out to the car.  On our way JT said “it’s the big pile of snow!” and created perfect symmetry to my day by doing his second face plant of the day right into it.

    Yes, these are the days of our lives.  And I wouldn’t trade them for anything.


  • Amish Yumazuti

    Date: 2011.02.08 | Category: recipes | Response: 6

    1 pound ground beef
    1/2 onion- diced
    2 stalks celery- diced
    1 TBS garlic- minced
    2 cups shredded cheese
    1 can petite diced tomatoes with liquid
    1 can diced mushrooms- drained
    2 cans cream of chicken soup
    basil, parsley and oregano to taste
    1 12 oz box of whole grain rotini or penne pasta
    extra pureed or diced veggies as you prefer- I get all Jessica Seinfeld with this recipe and throw in frozen pureed veggie cubes, chopped spinach, and ground flax seed!

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
    Cook pasta according to package directions
    Brown beef with onions, celery and garlic- throw in frozen veggie cubes to melt
    Reserve 1/2 cup of cheese.  Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 9×13 baking dish sprayed with PAM.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.


  • the Charlatan’s Boy

    Date: 2011.02.05 | Category: book review | Response: 3

    I’ve sold out.

    Ok, that may be over stating it.

    I recently discovered that Waterbrook/Multnomah has a program called blogging for books.  I sign up and select a book, they mail it to me for FREE!, I review it on my blog and then I can do it again!  I love to read so I thought this program would be right up my alley.  Hooray!

    My first book review is on The Charlatan’s Boy, by Jonathan Rogers.  It’s a story about a young boy named Grady who is raised by a traveling huckster.  The boy is unsure of who he is or his relationship to the charlatan- he spends most of the book searching for answers about where he came from and who he will become.  Together the charlatan and Grady travel from town to town making their living by pretending that Grady is a “Feechie” or wild man from the swamp.  People pay to see and hear about the Feechies- and Grady has been playing the part for so long he believes he truly is one.

    The charlatan is just that.  He’s a liar and a fraud, he’s volatile and undependable.  He’s the closest thing to a father Grady has ever known, but that’s not saying much.  Despite his lack of moral upbringing, Grady has a surprising sense of guilt over the hoaxes that they play on the gullible.  Throughout the course of the book I kept expecting someone (anyone!) to teach Grady about Truth or to bring a level or morality to Grady’s life.  This just never happened.  Although at the end of the story Grady does find his true family and acceptance of who he is there is never any resolution to his questions about right and wrong or any glimpse of God or Truth.

    In the end, I thought this book was entertaining.  It was really a collection of tall tales and hoodwinks.  I was greatly disappointed that the author missed the opportunity to point the characters and the readers to God and His ultimate Truth.


    My only compensation for this book review was the free book from the publisher.  My opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by the publisher.

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