Thursday, July 28, 2005

Dust Off – A Terrible Danger

If you have children or grandchildren, PLEASE read this officer's story carefully. You can also verify the story at Dust Off (or a variant of the product) is available everywhere there's a computer.

You’ve got to read this story. I received it from a friend of mine in my email yesterday. It’s totally amazing what kids will find to give them a high. I could hardly believe that a can of Dust Off could be so dangerous. Check out the link above at Snopes for the complete story. It will break your heart and inform you at the same time of a hidden danger.

I was wondering last night what I would blog about today. Then I read this story about a young 15 yr. old boy who died from inhaling Dust Off. You wonder how that could be a danger until you read the story. I wonder many times what makes people do stupid things like this? Are they bored? Is there something in their lives that they just can’t deal with? What makes people do things that will harm them? In this case the young man thought it would give him a “high”, it wasn’t dangerous drugs. Actually this is worse than drugs. It can kill you instantly. What a waste of life! I think about my new little granddaughter and pray that she will never do anything like this. I had tears rolling down my checks after reading this story and knowing the terrible hurt that family must feel. If you would like to read the complete email from this father, please let me know and I will forward it to you.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Her she is…Jocelyne Tracy

Jocelyne Tracy day one.

Isn’t she beautiful…. We are so glad that she is here and that she is well. Jennifer called me up Saturday evening to tell me that her water broke. I knew then that we would have a baby soon but would she come on Saturday night or some time Sunday? You see, Saturday was my 34th wedding anniversary and it would have been awesome for baby Jocelyne to be born on our anniversary, but instead she was born Sunday morning at 6:21am. which just happened to be her due date.

Jennifer went into the hospital sometime in the early evening and my husband and I went out to dinner for our anniversary. We were excited but knew that we were going to have our time and then go to the hospital afterward. We had a nice dinner, did a little shopping for some items we needed at Sam’s club and went home. TF’s back was hurting him really bad so he took a pain pill and a muscle relaxant and went to bed. Jennifer called and asked if I was going to come up to the hospital. She said that she still had not started her contractions and they would be putting her on a potassium drip to start her labor. I immediately get to work finishing off some dishes and some food prep for the next day. Bonnie got busy packing for her work assignment for next week and I kept my mind busy till I was ready to go to the hospital. Around midnight (sounds like a song) I pack up some snacks for Justin, a few bottles of water, and a blanket and head for the hospital, which was only about 12 minutes away. I find out that she is in labor room #4 and I venture in to find her hooked up to all the different monitors. She is having light contractions at this time. The baby is pressing on her back and making things a bit more painful. The nurse comes in at different intervals to check her out and ups the potassium drip. Jennifer is having a hard time holding on to her breathing because the baby is constantly pressing on her back. She starts getting agitated and she starts snapping at everyone in the room. The nurse tells her that when she dilates to a 4 that they will put in her epidural. Finally she gets there and we leave the room so they can “do their thing”. When we come back into the room, it is like Jennifer is a different person. She’s nice again and she apologizes for her behavior, at this point she is feeling no pain. She finds a stupid movie to watch on the TV and I am falling asleep in my chair.

As time goes by the nurses come in and check her out. Around 5:45am. Jennifer is ready to deliver, they call the doctor, and we wait for him to appear. The nurses get the room ready for the delivery and the doctor shows up around 6:05am. He preps himself and says “OK, let’s deliver this baby”. Justin’s mom and I are sitting in a corner back behind the doctor and we have a complete view of the delivery. I have never been on the receiving side of a delivery before and let me tell you it is a learning experience. The doctor tells Jennifer to push and before long this little head with lots of dark brown hair starts coming out. Within a couple of minutes her head is out, but the cord is wrapped around her neck and she is turning blue. The doctor whips that cord from around her neck and immediately starts suctioning her mouth. Jennifer asks, if everything is alright and the doctor says “everything is fine”. Nancy (Justin’s mom) and I look at each other in fear for that baby’s life. The doctor tells Jennifer that we have to get those shoulders out now, so push. Within a couple of minutes the baby is delivered. The doctor clamps the cord and cuts it quickly. To our relief the baby lets out a cry as soon as the cord is cut and the nurses wisk her to an awaiting table to finish suctioning out her fluids. They announce her birth time at 6:21am. Nancy and I are slightly stunned as we both sit there holding hands as tears of relief and joy are dripping down our cheeks. I can see the nurses working on the baby and Justin is trying to look at the baby and still hold Jennifer’s hand. At this time the doctor is trying to deliver the afterbirth and take care of Jennifer. A nurse comes in to put in a new IV in Jen’s hand because the other one came out during the birthing process. So much is happening at this time and I am still slightly worried about the baby. Within minutes the nurses finish suctioning the baby and her color is getting back to normal. I am so relieved and happy to see that she going to be alright. The nurse weighs her and she comes in at 7lbs. 12ozs. They put a little cap on her head and wrap her in a receiving blanket and hand her to her father. They finally get the IV into Jen’s hand and she gets her chance to hold the baby. What Joy! Nancy and I take our turns holding her and then the camera’s come out for several pictures. . I say a little prayer of thanks to my Father in heaven for the safe birth of this little miracle.

Around 7:45am., the nurse takes Jocelyne to the nursery for further evaluate and tests. We are allowed to follow her to the nursery. Justin gets to go in with the nurse and Nancy and I have to watch from the windows on the other side. The nurse pokes and prods the baby with needles and other sharp objects and poor baby Jocelyne cries her little heart out. They take measurements of her chest, abdomen, and hip areas. They measure her length which is 19 ½” long. Then after all the tests are done the nurse gives her a bath. She brushes her hair and puts a little red bow in it. They put a little diaper on her and wrap her up in a receiving blanket. We take a couple of pictures and it is time to go home. Justin, Nancy and I are exhausted but happy. We all walk out to the parking lot together and head for home. I drive over to the church, which is on the same street as the hospital and tell my husband the good news. I am not dressed for church so I leave and go straight home. I’m tired but awake at the same time. I put some chicken in the crock pot and head for bed. Two hours later I am up again to get Bonnie off to the airport for her next weeks job assignment. We stop off at the hospital so that Bonnie can see her new niece and then on to the airport. I go home but can’t go back to sleep. My husband and I go back to the hospital at 8:00pm. so that Grandpa can see his new baby girl. This time when I come home I am able to get to bed and get some much needed sleep. What a day! Once again, I pray a prayer of Thanksgiving for our new little granddaughter. Life is a miracle.

As a side note: Roxie and the pups are doing great. They still haven’t opened their eyes yet, but they are growing like weeds.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Power's out. Now what?

I read this article a couple of days ago and thought it would be a smart thing to know.

By Julie Bandy •
Recent storms have left thousands of homes without power for many days. Would a massive power outage throw your family into chaos? Or, do you have a plan?
Whether at home, work or at play, when an emergency strikes, families need to be prepared.
"We strongly encourage people to take a little bit of time before an emergency to do some basic preparedness activities," says Terry Sicilia, executive vice president of programs and services for the Red Cross.

"Under our Together We Prepare initiative, we encourage people to make a disaster plan, build a disaster kit, get trained in CPR and lifesaving skills, volunteer with a local chapter to help others and give lifesaving blood," says Sicilia.

The American Red Cross offers safety tips to help families prepare before and after a disaster.
Be proactive The time to prepare is before a disaster or emergency occurs. Everyone in the household should know where to go and what to do in the event of different situations. Once a plan is in place, make sure everyone in your family is informed and practices the plan together. The Red Cross recommends that each family identify one out-of-town person known by all family members to contact in case of an emergency. That person can act as a liaison should family become separated.

Build a disaster kitWhether you need to evacuate or can stay in your home, a well-packed disaster kit can save lives. Put your supplies in an easy-to-carry container such as a backpack, duffel bag or plastic bin. Be sure to include a flashlight, batteries, battery-operated radio, bottled water and a small supply of high nutrition nonperishable food. The Red Cross recommends one gallon of water per person (and pet) per day. Include medical supplies such as family medications and a first-aid kit. If you have infants, pack diapers and infant formula.
It's also wise to have a couple of plastic coolers available for food storage. Pack a digital thermometer. This will come in handy if you need to check the freshness of perishable foods once power is restored.

Your disaster kit should include some cash for emergencies. If possible, put away enough cash to provide for your family for a couple of days. If the power is out, many restaurants and stores cannot process your credit cards because their machines are electric-powered.
Blackout safety tipsIf power is lost, the American Red Cross suggests families use flashlights, not candles. A burning candle is a fire hazard.
Turn off all electrical equipment in use when the power went out. This includes air conditioning, computers, televisions, etc.

Run generators outside. Plug electrical appliances directly into the generator. Do not attempt to connect the generator to the family's electrical system.
Use your battery-operated radio to follow broadcasts for updated information.
Avoid using the telephone (cellular and land) if a large number of homes in your area have been affected. The emergency services agencies need to have access to the phone lines. Only use the phone in case of an emergency.

Children and pets need to be reassured that all is OK. If a parent remains calm and controlled, other family members are likely to follow the lead.

During and after a power outage, care must be taken with food to prolong freshness and prevent food poisoning. Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer. Food stored there will stay colder longer. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold enough for at least a couple of hours. A half-full freezer will hold up for 24 hours, a full freezer for 40 hours.

If the power outage will be longer than two to four hours, pack perishables such as milk, dairy products, butter, eggs, meat, fish and leftovers in an iced cooler. If the power will be off for an extended period, pack your freezer foods in an iced cooler as well.

As soon as the power returns, check the food. If the frozen food has ice crystals and is above 40 degrees Farenheit, you can refreeze. Perishable food from the refrigerator should not be above 40 degrees for more than two hours. It's best to dispose the items rather than chance food poisoning. For information on food freshness, read this chart.

Check your disaster supplies kit every six months to exchange items that will expire.For more tips on how to keep yourself and your family safe during all types of disasters (both man-made and natural) contact your local Red Cross chapter or log on to

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

House Arrest for Roxie

Roxie is under "house arrest" after she bit the sheet rock repairman.
Follow the link to read the "rap sheet"Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

It’s That Time of Year Again…

Do you have children that go to school? Do you own your own business? Are you a school teacher? Are you an accountant? Do you use a lot of paper goods during the year? Well, it’s that time of year again. The stores are full of “back to school” sales and it is the perfect time of year to get all the supplies you need for the entire year at bargain prices. My husband and I own our own business and up to a few years ago we had children in school. I would put aside money just for these sales. I make a list of what we will need for the whole year and then I start watching the sales. I use a lot of the duo tang pocket folders in my business. Last year I was able to buy them for 20/$1.00, that’s five cents each. I bought about 200. During the year they will cost me about 25 cents, or more, each. Why would I want to pay more? We use the 5 subject spiral college lined notebooks, so I buy them for about $ 1.00 each instead of $ 4.00 during the year. My daughter Bonnie uses glue sticks when she is doing her expense reports so I buy glue for ten cents a tube instead of 49cents later. Do you see where I am going with this? Watch your sale/ad sheets and buy the supplies you need during this “back to school” season.

It’s also a good time to purchase clothing. My husband is a locksmith and he goes through blue jeans like crazy. I will go buy him all the jeans he will need for the entire year. Most everyone has their jeans on sale during this time period. They are competing with each other for the best price and it is to your advantage to buy now. Like I said, it is a good idea to put a little money aside for these sales. It is well worth your while.

Another good thing to buy this time of year is office furniture. Office Depot and Office Max and other stores will advertise desks, chairs, lamps & etc. at discounted prices. If you need office furniture, this is a good time to buy.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Roxie with her 7 puppies on Day 3  Posted by Picasa

It’s going to be a wild ride.

Oh, gracious! This puppy thing is reminding me of my baby days. Since the puppies were born, I have been sleeping on the couch to make sure that the puppies are OK. It seems that Roxie has a bad habit of rolling over on one or two puppies. I don’t think she is intentionally trying to hurt them, she just moves around every so often, to change positions, and a puppy will end up under her or squished between the wall of the pen and Roxie. The poor little puppy will start to screech and you know immediately what is going on. I woke up this morning around 2:30am. to the sound of a distressed puppy. I jumped off the couch and ran into the nook to find the tiny little pup trying to get air. I reached in and rescued the squealing puppy. My mind is saying, “Am I going to have to do this every night?”

It’s funny how mothers have a built in radar when it comes to babies. I remember when I first became a mom how I could instantly hear my baby turn over in the bassinette. If something didn’t sound right, I could hear it a mile away. After my children were older, I could sleep through a hurricane. A burglar could come in the house and I probably wouldn’t hear him. Now, with these puppies, my radar is back on. It’s got to be something God put into mothers to help them do their job. It’s different with my husband. He looks into the puppy pen and counts bodies and says, “Yep, they are all there.” He goes to bed and is totally oblivious as to what is going on. He has no radar at all. MEN!

We took Roxie and the puppies to the vet the morning after the deliveries to have them checked out. That was an interesting event all in itself. TF and I put the puppies in a box and put the leash on Roxie. It was a miracle we got them there in one piece. Roxie sat in the back seat with TF while I drove. The puppies were up front with me and Roxie kept trying to get in the front seat with the puppies. We made it over to the vet’s office and got everyone inside to an examination room. The assistant weighed each puppy and checked them out to make sure they were all right. They weighed between 14 ½ to 16 ounces each. All the puppies were pronounced healthy. Dr. Marshall came in and checked out Roxie. She gave her two shots and sent us on our way home with all kinds of instructions on raising puppies. Like human babies, puppies eat and sleep – eat and sleep – eat and sleep. Roxie is a milk producing mamma. She drinks lots of water and has a good healthy appetite.

Just think, six weeks ago, who would have thought that we would have a mamma dog and seven puppies? My daughter, Jennifer, is due with her baby in 9 days. As my husband says, “It’s never dull in the Stern household.” I feel like I have a tiger by the tail and I am just holding on for dear life. Yes, life is interesting. Thank God for that.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A mess of puppies

A mess of puppies looking for a quick meal Posted by Picasa

She’s having her puppies, RIGHT NOW!

Roxie went into labor last night and we knew that the time was short. She was drooling and panting on a continuous basis. My husband went to bed and I sat up with Roxie for as long as I could and then fell asleep on the couch. Roxie wanted to go outside, so I let her go out to do her business. She came back in but she wanted to stay outside and have the puppies. The vet had already said that it would be best if Roxie delivered in the small swimming pool that we bought for her to deliver in. She wanted her to deliver inside, out of the heat. Well, about 45 minutes ago, Roxie got into the pool and immediately delivered her first puppy. I got some paper towels and disposed of the afterbirth, as per instructions from the vet. Roxie did not like me being part of the process. She picked up her puppy and headed for the back door. She was adamant that she was going to deliver the rest of her babies outside. The little puppy was squealing so, What could I do? I opened the door and off she went. She had already picked out a spot in the back part of the yard that is lush with a spreading kind of ivy. She put her puppy down and started digging her hole. I immediately called the vet and told her what had happened and she told me to just let Roxie deliver on her own. I am supposed to check on her from time to time and make sure she is alright. It’s hot outside (remember we are here in Houston, TX) the humidity is near 90%, and there are mesquites all over the place. I worry about her and her puppies out there, but what can I do? I will pray that everything goes alright and hope that the Lord protects Roxie and her puppies. I’ll keep you posted and I’ll take pictures when it’s all over. I feel like an expectant Grandmother, waiting for her grandchildren to be born. I’ll be going thru it for real in less than two weeks. Keep your fingers crossed everyone.

Update: 7:04 pm. Houston Time
We did get Roxie back in the house because she realized it was just too hot outside. No sooner did we get her back in the house the rain came. We now have 7 live puppies. I think there might be one more. There were 2 still born puppies. It was really sad. TF will be taking pictures shortly. More coming soon.

Update: 9:15 pm. One more still born. You just wonder what happened to those little still born puppies. So Sad!

Dishwasher Efficiency

I found this information on the Dollar Stretcher website and thought it was good information on keeping your dishwasher working longer. I have always been one to rinse my dishes off before I put them in the dishwasher. We have been in our house for 13 years now and the dishwasher is still working. You will save money in the long run if you take care of your appliances.

The next time you find yourself reaching for the telephone to call a dishwasher repairman because the dishes are coming out dirtier than they went in, stop. For sparkling clean dishes load after load, a dishwasher needs monthly cleaning.
First, dump a quart of white vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher and run it through a complete washing cycle without any dishes.
Next, clean the filter located on the floor of the dishwasher underneath the bottom rack. Some filters trap food residues on the outside surface so a simple wiping with a paper towel does the job. Other filters require unscrewing the cover to access trapped food residues. Consult your dishwasher owner's manual.
After every load, take a glance at the filter and in the bottom of the dishwasher, especially if you have children loading and running it. Picking up any food residues, labels, plastic wrap, stray silverware, lids, caps, straws, toys (you never know) will help the dishwasher clean more effectively.
Make sure the water going into the dishwasher is hot enough by running the kitchen faucet until the water is hot and using the water heating option on the dishwasher. In the short and long run, you save time and money by getting a full load of clean dishes the first time.
Fill the detergent cup half way. The dishes will still get just as clean, or cleaner, for half the cost.
by Audrey M. Smith

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Could This be It?......

OK folks, Could this be it? Roxie is acting funny this morning. She's following me around like crazy and I noticed she walking funny. I managed to get her into her "swimming pool", otherwise known as a welping pen. She seems to be in labor. I got her to lie down and as long as I stay with her, she will stay there. The minute I move she wants out. I'm supposed to leave town tomorrow for four days for a business trip. My husband is not thrilled about this and lets me know in the slightest of ways. He doesn't have the best "mothering" instincts around and I'm not sure how he will be able to handle Roxie and her new puppies by himself. If I hadn't already prepaid the convention fees and hotel, I might consider not going. Oh well, this will just be another new experience for us. Wish us luck and I'll keep you posted.

UPDATE: False labor. No puppies yet. I'm leaving for four days tomorrow morning and won't be back till Sunday afternoon. Please pray that those puppies wait till I get home to come. For that matter, pray that Jennifer doesn't have her baby while I'm gone.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A Great Fourth of July….

It’s late and I’m tired but I would be lax if I didn’t take time out right now to thank my Heavenly Father for this great country we live in. Sunday morning was a beautiful morning filled with clear blue skies and lots of heat. The morning church services were patriotic and very uplifting. Then last night TF, Elaine and I went up to the Woodlands (Cynthia Mitchell Pavilion ) to watch the Fourth of July Concert put on by the Houston Symphony. We left early so that we could get some good seats up on the hill. We parked and made our way up to a great spot, right in front, about 15 feet up on the hill. We spread our blanket and sat down on the ground to wait till show time. We watched people come in and we waved at a few friends as they made their way up the hill. Promptly at 8:00pm. the concert started. There was a good mix of music: The Washington Post march, Old Fashioned Summer tunes, Pops Hoedown, Home on the Range, (yea) Yellow Rose of Texas, march from Midway, This is My Country, From Sea to shining Sea, When Rock was Young, Service Man Medley, God Bless America, Stars and Stripes Forever and a newly composed piece called American Celebration. A man named Hayman Runyan played the Harmonica in a way you couldn’t believe. What a talented man. When they did the Service Man Medley, they played the tunes that went with each branch of the service. If you were a member of that service you were asked to stand up and everyone in the audience clapped and cheered. It was awesome. The concert lasted for two hours and it was great. I am so glad that we got to go. I love going to those kinds of concerts, especially on the Fourth of July.

This morning I was up early so that I could take Bonnie to the airport for a 9:00am. flight. We got out the door in plenty of time, but as we reached the airport Bonnie realized that she did not have her wallet. It had fallen out of her purse, in her car, the night before. She panicked realizing that her plane would leave in one hour. Would we have time to go back and get her wallet? Luckily we used our brains and called TF and had him drive it up to the airport for her. He got there within 30 minutes and she checked in and boarded her flight. Whoa! already a crazy morning. On the way home we stopped off at the church for the Fourth of July breakfast. We got there just in time to eat. We missed the flag ceremony, but there was plenty of food and fun for everyone. After that I headed to Krogers to pick up the day old bread for our Bishops Storehouse. (The Bishops Storehouse is like a food pantry for members of our church.) They had four baskets full of bread, cakes, pies, muffins, and Etc. I hauled it down to the storehouse and unloaded. By the time I got home it was already 11:00am. I had planned a big dinner for this evening and I needed to start cleaning up a little and get to work on the potato salad and cold slaw. By 3:00pm. the chicken and sausage were in the oven and by 6:00pm. friends and family showed up for the feast. Baked beans and French bread rounded out the meal. It was awesome. We all had a great time eating and conversing. All yes, pie for desert.
I cleaned up the kitchen and now here I am relaxing and telling you all about it. Jennifer’s baby is due in 20 days and she looks like she is going to pop already. Roxie is about to have her puppies any day now. Life is teaming!

Isn’t this what the Fourth of July is all about? Isn’t this one of the ways we pursue happiness? Aren’t the freedoms we have in our country wonderful? We really do have a wonderful country. I am so grateful for our Constitution and the freedoms it affords us. Are we working to preserve those freedoms? Do we write or call our Congressmen and women when we feel that our freedoms are being compromised? We need to do more to make sure that our freedoms will be preserved for generations to come. We don’t want them whittled away by “big” government. As we go about another year, let’s all study the words of the Constitution and gain a testimony of it’s importance to the survival of our land and our way of life.

I hope you all had a great Fourth.

Saturday, July 02, 2005


If any of you have ever been to a military funeral in which taps were played; this brings out a new meaning of it.Here is something Every American should know. Until I read this, I didn't know, but I checked it out and it's true:We in the United States have all heard the haunting song, "Taps". It's the song that gives us that lump in our throats and usually tears in our eyes.But, do you know the story behind the song? If not, I think you will be interested to find out about its humble beginnings.

Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison's Landing in Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land.During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment.When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead. The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.

The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial, despite his enemy status. His request was only partially granted.The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral.The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate.But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician.The Captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth's uniform.This wish was granted.The haunting melody, we now know as "Taps" ... used at military funerals was born.

The words are :
Day is done..
Gone the sun.
From the lakes.
From the hills.
From the sky.
All is well.
Safely rest.
God is nigh.

Fading light.
Dims the sight.
And a star.
Gems the sky.
Gleaming bright.
From afar.
Drawing nigh.
Falls the night.

Thanks and praise.
For our days.
Neath the sun.
Neath the stars.
Neath the sky.
As we go.
This we know.
God is nigh.

I too have felt the chills while listening to "Taps" but I have never seen all the words to the song until now. I didn't even know there was more than one verse. I also never knew the story behind the song and I didn't know if you had either so I thought I'd pass it along.I now have an even deeper respect for the song than I did before. On this Fourth of July weekend, let us Remember Those Lost and Harmed While Serving Their Country.And also those presently serving in the Armed Forces..