Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted
according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or
slow to do the humble work.

- Mother Teresa

About Me

My photo
Sunny Florida, United States
I am the proud mom to 6 kids: Natasha, 24, Nikolai, 20, Reese, 20, Maylee, 14, Erik, 10 and Violet, 7. The kids come from Russia, Ukraine and China; I'm so proud of my family sometimes I think I'll burst and I needed an outlet for it - so I've created this weblog. :o)
If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
- Mother Teresa

Motivation for Moms

________________ Add this to your site
One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.
Mother Teresa

My Blog List

Sunday, September 25, 2011
I love shopping at Publix, Winn-Dixie, and the like, but obviously those grocery stores can be a bit pricey, unless you are getting a BOGO free sale and have a coupon. Therefore, I only shop at those places when I need a few things or one thing, or they have some great BOGO offers. For my "big shop", I have to admit I shop at Wal-Mart. No, I don't like Wal-Mart or what they are doing to the "little guy", but in this economy, for the good of my family, I have to shop there.

HOWEVER, lately, I've discovered quite the little grocery store gem: Aldi!! The first time I went in an Aldi, it was because I was curious and they advertised a gallon of milk for $1.99. I paid my $.25 deposit for the grocery cart (yes, I got it back), and was surprised by the lack of name brand grocery items. Check-out was lightning fast, because they don't bag your groceries - you do - and they simply swipe the item over the scanner and drop it back in your cart. Checkout can take seconds!! I bought my paper bags, bagged them, put them in the car and returned my cart (to get my precious quarter back). I'll admit, it was a bit weird.

Still, I kept going back for my cheap milk. And picked up some cheap yogurt too. And cheap juice. And cheap spices. And each time I went back, I liked Aldi more. I got used to their brand of food, and found it to be every bit as good as the "name brand" grocery stores. I stopped feeling sheepish shopping there, and started enjoying it. It was small and things were easy to find. And you simply can not beat their prices. When Publix had fresh pineapples for $3.49, Aldi had them for $1.49.

Now, we don't get *everything* there. We have our favorites. We get our dairy there, and sometimes we get fresh meats (they have really good bacon wrapped sirloin steaks). We also get lots of frozen veggies which are great, and juice that is comparable to V-8 F*sion. The frozen treats are also very good, and last week I got a frozen apple pie that could EASILY have passed for homemade!! (It was fantastic!!) We also get frozen berries, fish, pizza, chicken breasts, etc. The only thing that I shy away from is their breakfast cereal, a lot of their produce, and some of their canned veggies (though others have told me these are great). They also have fresh made pizzas (that you take home and bake) that is great.

This is sort of a commercial for Aldi, though I am not getting paid or was not asked to do this! I'm just passing along my really good experience with this store. I know that some of my friends have relied on the Angel Food Ministries that recently closed down and they are worried if they can afford groceries. To them, I say, TRY ALDI!!! It's waaaay cheaper, even than Wal-Mart, and while some of their stuff isn't the best, most of it is great. And they import their chocolate from Germany (or somewhere like that) and it is out of this world. I've looked on many of their labels, and can't remember ever one thing having a "Made in China" label like most of Wal-Mart has!! Most of their stuff, from what I can see, comes from Batavia, IL. Good enough for me!

Just a tip from one frugal mom to another! :o)
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Didn't sleep well last night, thinking about Mr. Pound Puppy! Up early this morning with my laptop and one eye open, looking at different dog sites. When we were looking into Newfoundlands, I found this site: K9 Carting and was really excited about getting a cart for the dog to pull Erik around. Great exercise for the dog, great fun for Erik, great bonding for both of them together! But when I thought about a lab pulling, I was sort of let down... Labs are waterdogs and retrievers, not working dogs... Can a lab pull a cart??

I e-mailed the manufacturer and asked.

In the meantime, I looked again at the photos, and sure enough, there were photos of labs pulling carts. Wouldn't that be COOL if it worked out?? What a fun thing! It would probably motivate me to get out there too and walk, as I'd have to walk the dog on lead while it pulled, as Erik would not be able to control it just yet - he wouldn't have a clue about that sort of thing for awhile. We could even put little Mary on the seat with him! What a riot!

If anyone has any knowledge of dog cart-pulling, would you please tell me your experience? Thanks!

(This is not a lab, obviously, but it's about the size of a lab, and the cart pictured is probably the model I'd want to get.)

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers
Saturday, September 17, 2011
For awhile now, I've been thinking that Erik really needed a dog that he could actually interact with. Mary and Daisy, our 12 and 18 pound dogs, are really too small for him. He is as gentle as he can be with them, but he is unpredictable, and they avoid him for the most part, except when he is eating, as he is a wonderful provider. Erik is a shy kid, and not really a do-er, and certainly not a risk taker. I believe he could really benefit from a friendship with a dog "brother" who could help him to gain confidence and self-assurance, as well as a lot of stimulation from the interaction. I did lots and lots of research and decided that a Newfoundland/Standard poodle mix would be the ideal dog, but YOU try and find a Newfypoo breeder!! It is impossible!!! I came close to deciding that a purebred Newfy would be excellent, but there was the issue of excessive drooling and shedding, and with a dog that huge, that would mean a MASSIVE amount of drool and hair all over the house.

So, I kind of dropped it.

I do some volunteering for our local SPCA, mostly dog walking, and I really love it. Our SPCA is a no-kill shelter and is a really nice one. The dogs are really well cared for there, and the staff are protective of the dogs, which is great. There is also a high-kill shelter in our town, the local "pound", or Brevard County Animal Services and Enforcement, and unfortunately, they do not have the cartel of volunteers that the SPCA does, and they sure don't get the donations they they do. Their kennels are indoor/outdoor, so they don't get the playtime that the SPCA dogs do, in large runs with toys, etc; and they desperately need paint and amenities to make their place more homelike (if ANY shelter can feel homelike...!). It's incredibly sad.

So, several days ago, I went in to see if they needed any volunteers (like they'd say no - duh!) and of course, I had to look at the dogs. 80% of the dogs there were pit bulls. What a sad fate that breed has now, with all of the fighting they've been used for, ruining their reputation. Doing homecare, I have met a great many pit bulls, and I've never met a mean one. They are all obedient, affectionate, silly, and wonderful. It broke my heart to see so many looking so rough in this place, where the day I visited, I'd learned that 5 dogs were euthanized. :'o(

As I wandered through, I noticed a small black dog lying in the kennel with his back to me, with a bit of one ear sticking out through the chain link. It was ignoring the deafening barking of the other dogs and I was surprised that it was so calm. I said something like "Hey, buddy" to it, but it didn't move (probably couldn't hear me). I bent down and touched its ear and it SPRANG to life, wiggling and wiggling and wiggling with the happiness that only a puppy knows! I put my hand in the crack of the chainlink by the door and he licked and slurped and rubbed his snout against my hand, while wiggling the back half of him so fast I could hardly see it! It was a PUPPY! A black lab puppy, purebred, from what I could tell. How adorable was he!! There was no intro sheet on his door, so I assumed he was on hold for someone.

The pup in side of his kennel, in one of his non-wiggling
moments (few and far between).

This picture breaks my heart. Could there BE sadder eyes, anywhere??

So I asked about him, of course!! He was found as a stray in Cocoa (2 towns over) and was on a "stray hold" until the 15th. This was the 12th, I think. I went home and told Mark about him, and we both went that night to see him again. Well, to make a long story short, he liked him, too, and we put an application on him. Yesterday I took Erik out there to visit and, while the pup was really hyper, of course!, he did great in the visiting room, and seemed very friendly and unafraid of anything, even the cats, with daggers in their eyes, from the cat perch things they were on in the visiting room. Erik did pretty well too, considering the pup was pretty overwhelming, jumping on everyone, panting, excited about being out of his kennel for the first time in a week (poor thing).

Today, Mark and I went back again, as the kennel-mistress (for lack of a better term) asked if I wanted to take him for a walk, and I couldn't do that with Erik, so today he and I went for a visit. It went great!
Here we are (don't look at my enormous butt, please) (You just looked.), after letting the poor baby outside for the first time.
Here he is with Mark (who would also tell you not to look at his ...well, I guess just his self). Mark had a black lab for many years who was an extremely good friend to him, so this dog was especially special to him.

Finally, I got to take him for a walk!! (You are looking at my butt again.) I was ASTONISHED at how well he walked on a leash!!! After only 2 or 3 mild corrections, he settled in right beside me and we were able to walk with a SLACK leash!! What a GREAT dog!!!!

Now, for the very BEST part!!! This dog is going to be evaluated on Monday to be a participant at our local county jail's "Paws and Stripes" program!! They will take him and several other shelter dogs (from this place and the SPCA) and for 8 weeks, will train the dogs!! The adoption fee remains at $50!! He would leave for the program on Sept 26th, I believe, and be there at the jail for the 8 weeks, then we'd take him home. Based on how well he did on that simple walk we took, this dog should do STELLAR in that program!! Oh, I hope he's accepted!

There is one decision that would have to be made first, though... He'd need a place to stay between Monday and the next Monday, as they need the room, and with him being a puppy, they don't really want him in a shelter, as it's not good for his development. So, we could foster him for that week, or we could have them foster him at another place for the week. This is something we have not considered. Also, if he does NOT get accepted into the program, we probably could not adopt him, as we could not handle an untrained 5 month old lab puppy with me working and being as busy as I am and with Mark not feeling so hot much of the time, etc. Anyone who knows anything about lab pups knows that they are NOT EASY PUPPIES and they chew and chew and chew and chew and chew!!! So to have him 2 1/2 months older, and trained, is really something we'd need for him to be. I'm just being honest.

Sooooo... What do you think??
Monday, September 12, 2011
Anyone else have a typical teenage boy? It's not that Reese didn't have a great time with his great-aunt and great-grandmother, it's just that he's a typical 16 year old boy, with other things on his mind. ;op (I think he rocks!)

After multiple weeks of nagging Reese to write thank-yous to his great-grandmother and great-aunt, I finally handed two blank cards to him and said, HERE!

“Oh, yeah, thanks! I’ll do this right away.”

A week later…

“Reese, I’m assuming you sent those thank you’s.”

“Oh! Uh, oh, yeah. Uh… well, not yet. But I’ll get on it right away.”

A week later,

“Have you written those thank you’s yet?”

“Huh?? Oh. Uh, no, but I will!”

3 days later…

“Reese, where are those thank yous??”

“Huh? Oh, yeah! I gotta do those.”

“How about now??”

“Uh, okay.”

The next day, I see them on the table, written, but no envelopes in sight.

“Hey, great, you finally wrote your thank-yous. Where are the envelopes?”

“Huh?? Oh. Uh, I don’t really know...” Starts looking around. I find them in the other room under the coffee table.

“Okay, thanks. Um, can you mail these now?”

“ME?! How old ARE you, son?? YOU address and mail them! You are 16 years old!!”

“Me?? *sighs* Okay…”

A week later, I find the cards and the loosely scattered, blank envelopes under a stack of papers on the dining room table.

“REESE!! You haven’t mailed these yet?!?!”

“I don’t know the addresses!! Can you give them to me?” I write out the addresses on a piece of paper and hand it to him.

3 days later…
“Are the thank you’s ready to mail yet?”

“Well, actually, I sealed them and don’t know whose is who’s…”

“Oh, Reese!!”

“Sorry.” He carefully opens them and identifies which one is which. Recloses them. That afternoon (heaven forbid he did it right then), he writes the address on the envelopes.

“These look like a First Grader did them.”

“Really? I thought they looked pretty good. Can you mail them now?”

“No, you still have to put our return address on them.”

“You mean, our address? Can you do it for me?”

“YES. And NO.” (Losing patience.) “Right here, in this corner.” I show him an example of a piece of mail addressed to us.




“Yes! Give them to me now.” He write our address in the right spot. “There, can you put stamps on these for me?”

“NOOOOO!! YOU will put stamps on them!! You know where to find them in my desk. You do know where to PUT the stamps, don’t you??”

“Yes, right here.” Points to the right spot.




“Yes, Ma’am!”

Several MORE days later,

“Reese. Son. Look at me. You have GOT to get some stamps and get them on these letters and get them mailed before your Gram Faye and Aunt Cathy forget you were even there because it has been such a long time ago!!!”

*sigh* “Okay. Where are the stamps, again?”

“You know exactly where they are. The Ronald Reagan stamps. Right there in my top drawer.”


I’m not kidding you, it was still another 2 or 3 days before,

“Reese, why have you not put stamps on these letters?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah, well, I just forgot.”

“Do it right NOW while I watch.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He puts the stamps on.

“Now, in the morning, before school, you will put those letters in your hand and walk down the driveway and put them in the mailbox. Do you know how to raise the little flag on the mailbox so they will be picked up?”

Smiling, cause he knows I’m teasing him,

“Yes, ma’am, I know how.”

Nikolai chimes in, “I can show him!!!”

“No, thank you, Nikolai, Reese needs to learn how to put a letter in the mailbox all by his big boy self.”

And sure enough, the very next morning, without a reminder, the boy actually took the letters to the mailbox and mailed them!!!!!

I love that kid. ;o)

Please donate

<div align="center"><a href="http://reecesrainbow.org/81148/sponsorvoigts" title=""><img width="100%" src="http://i1215.photobucket.com/albums/cc502/ReecesRainbow/fspvoigts.png" style="border:none;" /></a></div><div align="center"><a href="http://mylittlestarfishes.blogspot.com/" title="">Grab This!</a></div>

If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.
- Chinese proverb
It is not the will of your Father that any one of these little ones should perish. Matt. 18:14

Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. Matt. 18:5

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

My family

My family
Nikolai, Mark, Missy, Reese, and Erik

Nikolai, 19

Nikolai, 19

Reese, 19

Reese, 19

Erik, 9

Erik, 9





Friends that follow our blog


How many have visited us?

Who has visited lately?