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I am a pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world. -Mother Teresa

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Extreme Multitasking!

A few days ago, I came across an offer for a free ebook on a blog that I had "liked" on facebook. It was called 100 Indoor Activities for Kids (TV not included) and was full of suggestions for things to do on those really wintery days when it's too cold for the kids to go outside. Now, we haven't had many of those cold days this year, but there was one suggestion that really caught my attention and caused me to not want to wait for a cold day. Activity number eighty was to pour "a little" water on the kitchen floor, add in some dish soap, and let the kids get in their swimsuits and I would find myself with "kids who not only think mom is cool, but a sparkling kitchen floor too!" It was simply too much to resist!

Those of you who know me, know that I am an all or nothing type person, so it probably won't surprise you that I didn't stop at "a little" water...or soap. I did have the forethought to put towels at the edge of the kitchen floor to protect the carpet, and the kids suggested adding towels around the bottom of the refridgerator, oven, and dishwasher. Thank God for kids. After moving the table and chairs into the livingroom, I told the kids to get their bathing suits on for the slip and slide. The looks on their faces were priceless as they watched me dump a small bucket of warm water on the floor and ask Grace to add a squirt of our lavendar dish soap. My husband made a few comments about it being dangerous and then put headphones on and didn't look our way again til it was over.Whenever the water got too cold, we'd just add another bucket of warm water and a few more squirts of soap. The kids were having a blast and looked like little penguins zooming across the floor in all directions. The sliding looked like so much fun, so I decided to try it. It didn't work in sweats and a t-shirt. That's all I'm gonna say, and I hope Megan doesn't post that video anywhere.

[I tried. I really did try, but the video wouldn't upload. I'll try putting it on Facebook because it's worth seeing. I have to settle for some pictures for now, though. -Megan]

So, I promtly put on my swimsuit and joined in the fun! I don't regret it--even with the reminders in the form of scabs on my elbows from the "rug burn" I got from sliding across the entire length of the kitchen floor on my tummy so much. I want to say, "you should've been there" but I'm really glad you weren't. I will suggest that if activity number 80 catches your attention as it did mine, go ahead and go all out. There are numerous reasons to do so. First, your children will think you are awesome...even if your husband thinks you're crazy. Second, you will get some good exercise without even realizing it (I was sore for days). Third, you will get to be a kid again for awhile and not be worried the whole time about making a mess, which brings me to my next reason. You will have a sparkling floor when it's all over! I couldn't believe it. Everytime I walked into my kitchen with my socked feet (once we had gathered up all the towels in the house and soaked up all the water), I exclaimed, "Wow! My floor has never been this clean-not even when it was brand new!" I could barely stand up because my socks just slid around unhindered by the usual sticky spots. That's four good reasons-I highly recommend this form of extreme multitasking! [She forgot to mention the 5th reason: It's a bath for all!]

If you do take my advice, I have several suggestions to offer:
1) Be sure to put plenty of towls around bottom of appliances.
2) Be extra sure to cover air conditioner vents with plenty of towels (and maybe plastic wrap first).
3) Be sure to sweep very well and alternate positions (sitting, on your knees, on your tummy, etc) to prevent "rug burn".
4) Wear swimsuits or other material that is conducive to slipping and sliding. Like I said, it doesn't work in sweats and a t-shirt. ;)


After the kids got tired of it, I joined Kristi & had a blast. I learned that sliding down from a standing position was not a great tactic; it was much better to sit & push off of the wall with your feet. I slid so fast, I slammed against the dishwasher. Several times. I am the only one who did not get "rug burn" as Kristi called it even though their was no rug. Then we even had fun scrubbing the walls & cabinets & baseboards. I don't think I'll ever clean mine another way. :)

In other news, I got my fingerprinting done, and now am just waiting for it to go through along with my substituting license. Then I'll be put on the list. I also just got back from a Made to Crave (There's a short video that gives a more details.) meeting which is hard to describe because "health program" & "Bible study" have so many different connotations that just don't fit with it. I went with Kristi, & the  lady gave me the book to read (3 chapters a week) as we go through the 6 weeks of meetings. Even though I don't struggle a lot with diet & exercise, the content still helps me channel my cravings (for anything wether it's comfort & peace or joy and significance) into loving God & learning about Him & spending time with Him. That's definitely something I struggle with...spiritual eating disorder. It's very encouraging & insightful. I've gone to some of the meetings when my sister led it, & I've watched some of the videos with my mom. It really makes you think of practical ways to make yourself a better person. So I'm very excited.

I've also begun a YOLO (You Only Live Once) journal of quotes that I love as I come across them. And now that I've got a new job, that means a new address just in time for all those Valentines & then birthday cards 2 weeks later. To assist you in preparing to bombard me with mail, I'm giving you my new address about 3 weeks early. :) You're welcome.

Megan Starbuck
Nature's Classroom
679 County Road 614
Mentone, AL 35984

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

London Still

I spent one day in the hostel taking a break from all the busyness. While my friends shopped, I showered, did some creative writing, & read Mansfield Park. When they got back, we did more grocery shopping which gave us food to make pasta & buffalo chicken dip. We also got some yogurt & fruit. Way cheaper than eating out!

Anyway, we went to Oxford the next day where we browsed an awesome used bookstore while waiting for The Eagle & Child Pub to open. I bought a book by Dickens & one by Hardy, but there are a few other books I wish I'd gotten. I was just trying not to spend all of my money in one place. Still, what better place to buy such classics than the country they were written in? Many of them were only $3, too!

Sarah ordering at the entrance of the Rabbit
Room, where Lewis & Tolkein discussed,
along with others, the works they were writing

We walked back to the pub just before they opened, & were the first ones in the place. Without even realizing it, we walked straight to a table in the Rabbit Room section of the pub and sat down. When I got up to order, I looked above the entryway and saw the sign.

Sarah & I order water, and we could tell the guy was thinking, "Who comes to a pub to drink water?" Haha, I loved it. The food was surprisingly good, though! Mine was better than anything I ordered at other places. And Sarah's mashed potatoes were delicious. :)
 Then we walked around Oxford and did a bus tour that wasn't really worth our money, haha. But what was worth the money was Addison's Walk, which I just learned was named after Joseph Addison. We saw two men walking out when we first entered the walk, but after that we saw no one. A lovely reprieve from London! It was raining, so we did some puddle jumping even though we weren't in our rainboots.

The next morning, Sarah & I went to a house that John Keats lived in at the end of his life. It was closed to visitors on the day we went, but we were able to roam the yard. :)
The lovely yard of John Keats' home

We met up with Candace & Dr. Miller to finish our last day in London with a visit to Westminster Abbey. Poets' Corner was, of course, my favorite. This is also the day we heard Big Ben.

All 4 of us in front of Big Ben outside of Westminster Abbey. A kind lady took this picture for us.

This was in the bathroom at our hostel,
& my roomies wanted me to take a picture
so we would remember all the details.
And so we said farewell to Clink78.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

London, England

Candace & I in our "BIG" room. Sarah was up against
the door taking our picture.

Since I can't describe a full week in London in just one post, I'll just post some of the highlights for me. I have details in my journals that I can hopefully share later. So many people have asked about my trip, so if you're one who really wants to know...

Our plane landed an hour earlier than schedule, which seemed odd but good. On that night flight which robbed me of sleep, I saw tons of shooting stars when Candace let me take her place at the window. It was as amazing/surprising as it sounds. I couldn't believe I kept seeing them. It was a magical way to start the trip.

Some of the magic was lost while dragging our 50 lb luggage around an airport, on & off a train, through crowds of business people rushing through London, and on & off the Tube until we reached our hostel. We still managed to walk to the grocery store, buy some canned soup, & figure out the foreign appliances to warm it (& some rolls!) for our supper.

We spent the next day at the National Portrait Gallery. This was one of my favorites simply because it took me by surprise and because I have memorized a section of one of his poems that I love. Sadly, they didn't have a postcard of his portrait, but that's when I was informed that all of the portraits are on the website. Although they are not nearly as impressive when they are only a picture on a computer screen, it's still a nice way to remember what I've seen.

I was also able to see a room full of Monets which were also more impressive than mere pictures of the paintings. We finished the evening by eating at the Sherlock Holmes pub.

On Jane Austen's 236th birthday, we visited her home in Chawton. Because it was her birthday, admission was free, & they served us tea and our first minced pies. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside here either sadly, but it was wonderful to see her small writing table, the bedroom she shared with her sister, and the quilt she made with her mother and sister.

Me at the front of the front door of the home Austen lived in while she was in Chawton.
It says "Letters" on it. :)

The tea shop across the street, Cassandra's Cup, was so cute & had the kindest people! It was great to chat with some local ladies.

Made in England by Very Nice People :)
Cassandra's Cup

Cheers to Jane Austen on her birthday!
 The next day, we visited the Jane Austen Center in Bath & were able to see the outside of the house where Austen lived there. I was disappointed that we were unable to fit Stourhead into this day since it was fairly nearby, but it was nice hearing more about Austen's life. I also bought a wax seal which I've been wanting anyway...what better place to buy one? And we saw an old $150 copy of poetry by Alfred, Lord Tennyson that I kinda really wanted to get. I could've afforded it as long as I didn't eat anything else for the next week & a half. Before heading back to London, we saw the Royal Crescent.

The Asian girl who took our picture was super cute & sweet. She waited a while for a big goofey-looking guy to pass so he wouldn't be in the background of our picture.

Picture I took of the Royal Crescent

I loved the lights hanging above us
as we walked down the streets.
Sorry I didn't stop long enough
 to get one that wasn't blurry.

Ok, so this is only half of our stay in London, but I'll have to do part 2 later. I'm ready to have one posted already! :) Plus, it's less for you to read at one time. In the meantime, I'd like for you to know that I'm accepting a job as an instructor for Nature's Classroom. Because it doesn't begin until Feb. 15, I'm hoping to do some substitute teaching until then. I just have to pay $50 to get fingerprinted & $30 to get my subbing license. It's gonna be worth it. It's gonna be worth it. It's gonna be worth it! :)