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Friday, May 30, 2008

Call for Help

This post is brought to you by Soccer Mom. I copied her post and placed it here to send out the call for help to as many people as we are able to reach. With the state of our economy here in the US and in other parts of the world, food is becoming more expensive every day. Families that were once able to make it, are now barely surviving or requiring assistance. If you can do even one small thing to help those in need, please do.

Here in the USA, our postal service will accept food for the local food banks. You can place even just one can or box of non-perishable food in your mailbox with the flag up and your postal worker will take that can to donate to the local food bank.

If you have time to donate to your local food bank, they will probably appreciate that, too. Most workers are volunteer workers. If you wish to volunteer, contact your local food bank to see what you can do.

Why are we so wiling to send millions of dollars to help those in need in other States, Provinces, Countries Yet we turn the other cheek when it comes to helping those in our own communities?

Normally I leave you to ponder with little detail as to why, but I felt the need this time to share why...Sadly the food bank here in Stoney Creek has put out a desperate call for food and money. Because of this urgent need they have had to scale back on the amount of food those in need can get and how often they can receive aid. I know I am only one person but one person can start to make a difference. With that in mind I went to the store and purchased 100.00 worth of items and took them in person to the food bank and I have placed a call to The girl's school and our church. I am asking the principle if we can do a food drive with a contest twist.

The twist is I appealed to Block Buster to give us the movie, so the class that brings in the greatest number of items gets a popcorn and movie afternoon. I am sure the kids would love this so close to the end of the school year.

I would ask you all please if you can help any way you can. I know I have a number of readers outside of Canada so if you want to help you can do one or both of the two following things; Send money ~ It doesn't have to be a great amount, every little bit helps (you can contact me via my email)


Please put a little something, something on your blog about this post/need and help me get the word out there.

And if you want to keep your help at home you need to promise me, that you will donate to your local food bank!

Please don't think someone else has helped so my help is not needed or appreciated, every little bit helps and is more appreciated then anyone can express.

Please and Thank You

Do you expect your child to use the words "please" and "thank you" when they want something?

Do you think your child should say "excuse me" when she is trying to get your attention or walk past somebody who is in her way?

Do you expect your child to address you as "Ma'am" or "Sir"?

Many parents do try to insist that their child use certain words to express good manners. Your child may ask you why he or she has to use these terms. You would probably tell them because it is respectful to do so. Of course, some parents will tell them they have to do it because the parent says so. I'm not a big fan of the "because I said so" mentality or explanations for anything. (I've been known to use it after attempts at explaining and reasoning failed to work, but I don't like it.)

There is one sure way of teaching you children these concepts, though. It does not require you to cajole, beg, plead, insist or even bribe your child into doing what you want her to do.

So what is this amazing miracle technique of which I speak? Are you sure you really want to know? After all, once I give you the secret to success, you'll no longer have any excuses for the behavior of a manner-less child. You'll be obligated to put this technique into play just to see if it really does work. Are you sure you still want me to tell you?

Okay, but you were warned. I do guarantee that this technique is by far the best for teaching your child proper manners. So once I tell you my technique, (for free, there's no money back guarantee here...) you need to implement this amazing technique and use it consistently for at least one month to begin seeing results. For optimal results, you will need to continue using this wonderful technique for an extended period of time.

Are you sure you are ready to commit to using this technique, possibly for the rest of your child's life, just to insure that your child grows up with proper manners and treats the people around her with the respect they deserve?

Okay. Now that you have committed to employing my guaranteed results technique, and you fully understand the type of commitment you are making, I will share my secret.

If you want your child to say "please" when she wants something, simply say "please" to her when you want something. - EXAMPLE: "Kira, would you put your toys in your room please."

If you want your child to say "thank you" when she gets what she wants, simply say "thank you" to her when you get what you want. - EXAMPLE: "Kira, thank you so much for putting your toys away."

If you want your child to say "you're welcome" when you thank her, then tell her she's welcome when she thanks you. - EXAMPLE: "Thank you mommy for my drink. --- You're welcome, Kira."

If you want your child to say "excuse me" when she passes by somebody or bumps into somebody, then say excuse me when you want to get past her or when you bump her accidentally.

If you want your child to tell people to have a nice day as she greets them, let her see you tell the cashier to have a nice day.

If you want your child to address you as "Ma'am", then learn to address her in the same fashion. (Kira has recently started saying "Yes Ma'am" when I ask her to do something. I realized that this was from me saying "Yes Ma'am" to her when she would ask for something. I didn't even try to teach her this, she just picked it up on her own.)

So, do you see how this works. Your child will learn best by observing and copying your actions. The more polite and courteous you are to your child, the more polite and courteous your child will be to you and all those people that she comes into contact with.

Teaching by example is, by far, the best technique that any parent could ever use to teach their child a lesson in proper behavior.

Now that I've told you what you need to do, please remember that you did commit to using my technique for at least one month in order to see how well it works. My assignment to you is this:

Go out into the world and be kind and polite to everybody you meet. Tell them "thank you" when they are kind to you. Say "please when you want something. Tell people to have a nice day. Most of all, when you ask your child to do something, use these amazing words to get what you want in a way that emphasizes how nicely it is to be addressed in this way.

If you expect these things of your child, you need to do these things yourself. If you do not use these words and phrases in your own interactions, your child will think that the only reason she has to do it is "because you said so."

Thank you for stopping by my page today and taking the time to read my thoughts.

I hope you have a really nice day filled with good mannered people

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What Have I Done

I don't usually do these things. However, I found this at Petula's page and thought my readers might enjoy learnin a bit more about me. It won't happen often that I post this kind of thing here, so enjoy it while it lasts. And if you happen to be annoyed --- well, it will be over soon. Tomorrow is, afterall, another day.

Highlight the ones you've done. --- I'm going to highlight the things I've done and perhaps even include a few side notes about when and where. I hope you enjoy reading about some of the things I have done.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink

02. Swam with wild dolphins - In 2003 when Randall and I got married. We were married while on a cruise and chose to swim with dolphins as one of our port trips. I can't remember which port. Gibson was with us and we all had a wonderful time.

03. Climbed a mountain

04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive

05. Been inside the Great Pyramid

06. Held a tarantula

07. Taken a candlelit bath - not very often anymore...

08. Said I love you and meant it

09. Hugged a tree

10. Bungee jumped

11. Visited Paris

12. Watched a lightning storm at sea - very cool to see...

13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise - not too many times

14. Seen the Northern Lights

15. Gone to a huge sports game - Braves

16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa

17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables - when I was a kid

18. Touched an iceberg

19. Slept under the stars

20. Changed a baby's diaper

21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon

22. Watched a meteor shower

23. Gotten drunk on champagne

24. Given more than you can afford to charity

25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope

26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

27. Had a food fight - and water fights in the house...

28. Bet on a winning horse

29. Asked out a stranger - His name was Jay. I met him at the Halloween costume store at Town
Center mall. We dated for about 3 months. He was about 2 years younger than me. He had the most beautiful sky blue eyes and dark black hair and a very sexy voice. I still can't believe I had the nerve to ask him out. Even more, I can't believe he actually said yes.

30. Had a snowball fight - every time we manage to get any little bit of snow around here...

31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can - OH YEAH....usually when the little ones are in the midst of a scream fest of their own. If I stand in the middle of the room and scream just like them it gets very quiet all of a sudden. Then they all burst into fits of giggles because Mommy is so silly.

32. Held a lamb

33. Seen a total eclipse

34. Ridden a roller coaster

35. Hit a home run

36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking

37. Adopted an accent for an entire day

38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment - several times a day when I think about how wonderful my husband and kids are

39. Had two hard drives for your computer

40. Visited all 50 states

41. Taken care of someone who was too drunk

42. Had amazing friends - one really amazing friend...not counting my husband

43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country

44. Watched wild whales

45. Stolen a sign

46. Backpacked in Europe

47. Taken a road-trip

48. Gone rock climbing

49. Midnight walk on the beach - Christmas of 1997 I decided to "check out" and fore go the entire family mess. I went on vacation to Florida all by myself. In the middle of the night I went to the hotel desk and borrowed a flashlight and went out on the beach alone to look for shells. The moon was full and it was such a wonderful night. Of course, I did make sure that the clerk knew I was down at the beach and that I would be returning the flashlight.

50. Gone sky diving

51. Visited Ireland

52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love

53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them - does a cruise ship restaurant count?

54. Visited Japan

55. Milked a cow

56. Alphabetized your CDs.

57. Pretended to be a superhero

58. Sung karaoke

59. Lounged around in bed all day - one of my FAVORITE activities that I rarely get to indulge these days.

60. Posed nude in front of strangers

61. Gone scuba diving

62. Kissed in the rain - My first kiss in the rain was Kenny. I was 14 and he was 13. We were out by the church bus after church and it was dark outside and raining. There have been other kisses in the rain, but none quite as special as that one.

63. Played in the mud

64. Played in the rain - every chance I get... I highly encourage rain play for my girls, too.

65. Gone to a drive-in theater - not in ages

66. Visited the Great Wall of China

67. Started a business

68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken

69. Toured ancient sites

70. Taken a martial arts class

71. Played a Computer game for more than 6 hours straight - does PlayStation 2 count?

72. Gotten married - twice

73. Been in a movie

74. Crashed a party

75. Gotten divorced - once, after two very long years of a very miserable marriage

76. Gone without food for 5 days

77. Made cookies from scratch

78. Won first prize in a costume contest

79. Ridden a gondola in Venice

80. Gotten a tattoo

81. Rafted the Snake River

82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"

83. Got flowers for no reason

84. Performed on stage

85. Been to Las Vegas

86. Recorded music

87. Eaten shark

88. Had a one-night stand - New Years Eve 1997. I can't even remember the guy's name. But his friend's name was Tom. I'm thinking I should've gone for the friend instead....but I wasn't really interested in any kind of relationship at the time.

89. Gone to Thailand

90. Bought a house

91. Been in a combat zone

92. Buried one/both of your parents

93. Been on a cruise ship - I've sailed Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian cruise lines. Royal Caribbean is my favorite. Randall and I were married in St. Thomas through Royal Caribbean's wedding services on August 4, 2003.

94. Spoken more than one language fluently --- Does toddler speak count?

95. Performed in Rocky Horror

96. Raised children

97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour

99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country

100. Picked up and moved to another city - yes, but still relatively close to where I grew up

101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge

102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking - even louder if the teenagers are in the car and it happens to be one of their friends who is looking...

103. Had plastic surgery

104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived - when I was 19 a drunk driver pulled out in front of me less than a car's length away. I was driving 55 to 60 and moved into the left lane (luckily no cars were coming), but I still hit the front end of that camaro really hard. I busted my mouth on the steering wheel and ended up having to have dental work done. I wasn't able to eat anything that required the use of my front teeth for several weeks.

105. Wrote articles for a large publication

106. Lost over 100 pounds

107. Held someone while they were having a flashback

108. Piloted an airplane

109. Petted a stingray - Yep, several times. This is such an amazing experience. I highly recommend this to everybody.

110. Broken some one's heart - Yes, more than one. The one that is most vivid in my mind, though, is when I broke Gibson's heart. When Kira was born, Gibson's grandmother brought him to the hospital to see me and meet her. It was very clear that he was devestated by this new invasion into his world. That was one of my most difficult parenting moments.

111. Helped an animal give birth

112. Won money on a T.V. game show

113. Broken a bone - my 5th and 7th rib in a bike accident when I was 10 years old. My little toe on my left foot about 2 months ago.

114. Gone on an African photo safari

115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced

116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol - do BB guns count?

117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild

118. Ridden a horse

119. Had major surgery - two CSections

120. Had a snake as a pet

121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon

122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours

123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states

124. Visited all 7 continents

125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days

126. Eaten kangaroo meat

127. Eaten sushi - EEL, it's cooked....

128. Had your picture in the newspaper

129. Changed some one's mind about something you care deeply about - yes, actually. I managed to change one person's mind about abortion being illegal. I explained to her that allowing this type of law to be made based on religion conviction would open the door to have other laws made based on religion. Because we can not always guarantee that our government leaders will hold our same religious convictions, it is best not to open that door. After I explained this to her, she began to see why some women may be pro-choice legally even though they are personally against abortion.

130. Gone back to school

131. Para sailed

132. Petted a cockroach

133. Eaten fried green tomatoes - YUM! if they are cooked right...

134. Read The Iliad

135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read

136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating - do fish count?

137. Skipped all your school reunions - I have never been to any of my reunions. I don't plan to attend any of them, either.

138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language

139. Been elected to public office

140. Written your own computer language

141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream

142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care

143. Built your own PC from parts

144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you

145. Had a booth at a street fair - I make small purses for girls 12 and under. I had a booth at a church last year and sold several. I'll be setting up this fall, too. It's been kind of on hold due to everything else.

146. Dyed your hair

147. Been a DJ

148. Shaved your head

149. Caused a car accident - yep...I rearended somebody when I was just 16. Totalled my very first car with that one.

150. Saved some one's life - While I did not physically save Angel from dying, I do believe that being here for her and providing her with a home and a few years of proper parenting may well have saved her from a life of self destruction. She may not have been drowning in a body of water, but she was definitely going under and slipping through the cracks.

Little Einsteins

Did you know it was possible to travel through the entire world in less than a half an hour?

Did you know that rockets can go fast or slow, depending on how fast or slow you pat your hands on your knees?

Did you know that classical music conducting uses italian words to describe certain actions within the music?

Well, neither did I. That is, UNTIL my world was invaded by Little Einsteins. I have recently been exposed to the proper language for music conducting through this ingenious show. My girls just love watching the missions and adventures of the Little Einsteins. Little do they realize that they are actually being exposed to culture.

The most impressive part of the program is the end. At the end of the episode, the Einsteins introduce the music of the day, the art of the day, and any other important bits of information. The girls are bein exposed to great works of art and music that many adults have never even heard of (including me).

At any rate, the Little Einsteins do entertain the little monsters. Ultimately, entertainment for the little monsters is my goal. If they happen to be entertained for a few minutes then I might just manage to get some work done around here. The educational value is just an added benefit. Now if I could only convince Disney to make some Little Einstein chocolate candy....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Feed the Worms

I've been reading a great book called Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof. The book is quite enjoyable. As the title suggests, the book really is about worms eating your garbage. The general idea is to set up a worm bin for the purpose of disposing of certain household garbage items in an Earth friendly manner.

Worm bins can be maintained indoors or out. If you provide the proper ingredients, there is no odor involved in the decomposition of your kitchen wastes. You can feed your worms as often or as little as you wish. Your worms will eat fruit and vegetable scraps, cooked pasta without sauces, eggshells, and other household garbage.

Well, while I have found the entire process to be fascinating to read about, I'm not quite ready to have worms living in my home. However, I have started a compost pile in my back yard thanks to The Green Cheapskate. I'm finding the process of composting to be a unique learning experience that has been quite a lot of fun for me. In an effort to increase my composting abilities, I added some worms to my compost pile. This is a happy compromise for me because the worms can live outside, and I can still feed them my garbage. Because the way my compost is set up, the temperature inside will not reach a very high number and the worms can live on top of the ground just below the massive pile of yard debris that I have accumulated.

Kira helped me free the new worms into the compost pile this weekend. She loved watching "her" worms crawl into their new bedding of shredded newspaper and piled up weeds and grass clippings. We even talked about all the stuff that is in that pile for the worms to eat. Then today while I was outside pulling more weeds out of our grass, she was very happy to help me out by taking all the newly pulled weeds over to the compost pile. She was making up batches of worm salad to feed her worms.

Now, I know that the worms won't really eat too much of the actual weeds and grass clippings until well after those things have begun to decay through the natural processes that occur in a compost pile, but Kira does not realize this. Far be it from me to inform her that all she is really doing is saving Mommy a bit of time and energy by taking all the yard waste to the compost for me.

If Kira wants to feed the weeds to the worms then I am all for letting her feed her worms, especially if it convinces her to help me out a little bit in the yard.

Now if I can just convince her that we really do not need to disturb the worms by digging in the compost (aka: garbage) to find them just so she can hug and pet them. Yes - my darling little girl just LOVES to hug and pet worms - and ladybugs - and rolly polly bugs - and just about any other bug that she can get her little paws on. **shudders from the Mom**

Monday, May 26, 2008

Thank You!

To all the men and women who have served:

To all the mothers and fathers who have waited or lost:

To all the husbands, wives and children who have waited or lost:

Thank you for your sacrifices.

This mom appreciates all you do to keep our country safe.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Recycle the crayons...

Every parent accumulates a set of broken, unused crayon stubs. It just seems to be a natural part of the process. Kids do not want to use the small bits of crayon. Instead, they prefer the knew box of crayons that sport perfectly straight, unbroken crayons with untarnished wrappers.

So what is a parent to do with all those small bits of crayons that seem to pile up?

Well, enlist your children to help you make new crayons. That is what you do. At first your kids will think you have lost your mind. WHY would you try to "make" crayons when you can go buy perfectly good crayons at the store?

You need to start by having your children get rid of whatever paper wrappers might be left on the crayons. Granted, there probably is very little of the wrapper on any of the crayons simply because it seems to be part of the process that young kids will remove the wrapper just for fun. However, it is a necessary step, so have the wee ones do this for you.

Then you need to be sure that the pieces are fairly small. This can be done with scissors or just by having the kids break the pieces as small as they can manage. Children love to be given permission to destroy things, so it should be pretty easy to get your kids to assist you with this step.

Then you need to preheat your oven. Yep - you are cooking the crayons. YUM! Set the oven to 150 degrees. You need to keep the heat low because if your crayons melt too quickly you will end up with a glob of wax on the top and the color on the bottom. The new crayons won't work properly. So you have to cook them slowly and try to keep them from melting too much. You want a thick consistency, not a thin liquid.

Pick your muffin tin for cooking your crayons. You can use a standard sized muffin tin or a miniature muffin tin. You can even use a shaped tin to create shaped crayons. I tend to prefer the miniature muffin tin because the new crayons are the perfect size for little hands.

Fill each muffin tin with about an inch thick layer of broken crayons. Here is where the real fun begins. You can use whatever combination of crayons that you choose. I let the kids do this part. I have been blessed to see various combinations created by my artistic children. They made a set that followed similar color patterns (greens with greens, reds with pinks, yellows with oranges, blues with blues). I have also seen the wild crayons that mix the colors together. It really is only limited by your or your kids' imagination. I think my personal favorite was when they took two or three different blues and added one or two pieces of white. The results were quite pretty.

Cook your crayons for a few minutes. The size of your tins will determine how long it takes. I recommend that you start by cooking them for 4 to 5 minutes and then check on them. Continue checking on them every couple of minutes until they are mostly melted. The crayons do not need to be completely melted for this to work. It is okay to have some bits of solid crayons down in the mix. Again, you do not want to melt them too much because they won't color well if you do.

After your crayons have reached the desired consistency, pull the tin out of the oven and let it sit. The crayons will cool and harden. This takes about 10 to 20 minutes or more depending on the size of your new crayons. I find it best to just let it be and then come back in an hour or so. If you want to make more crayons, it might be a good idea to have another muffin pan so you can keep going while the first set cools off.

The newly made crayons will just pop right out of your tin after they are cooled.

Now, you have all these really cool crayons. What to do with them? You can let your kids keep them or you can give them away. If you want to give your children a good lesson in community service, you can get some coloring books (or make some using print offs from the Internet) and make up some gift packs. Take the crayons and the coloring books to your local children's hospital and pass them out to the patients. Check with the hospital first, but most would gladly appreciate the time and effort of having your children come in and deliver a special gift to the kids that are stuck in the hospital for a long time. There are plenty of options for gifting your creations. Just explore your area to see what is needed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Good Morning

Do you want to have good mornings with your children?

In order to have good mornings, you need to be prepared. Plan ahead so that your mornings run more smoothly. Stressful mornings can cause everybody to be grumpy. Here are a few tips for making your mornings a little less stressed.

1) Plan ahead for breakfast. Decide the night before what will be served for breakfast. Make sure you have everything you need and set up as much as possible to avoid rushing.

2) Plan what you will wear. Teach your children to decide the night before what they will wear the next day. This can become part of your bedtime routine. Knowing what to put on in the morning will help alleviate the indecision that comes with the morning brain fog.

3) Get it together. Get all your stuff and all your kids' stuff together and ready to walk out the door. If you know where all your stuff is, then you won't have to rush around trying to find everything before you leave.

4) Start the day off with hugs and kisses. Everybody feels better when they receive a bit of extra love and affection first thing in the morning. Make sure you give each child plenty of hugs and kisses to start their day off right.

Oh - don't forget your sense of humor. Remember, too, that chocolate makes everything better. To that end, I have to say that chocolate chip muffins are a perfectly acceptable breakfast. Chocolate cereals are good, too. You can rarely go wrong with chocolate first thing in the morning.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pardon me.

This week has been a busy one. Today, I am having an all day party event, so the busy just keeps going.

We are celebrating today because I have now officially graduated from college. Yippee! It has taken 15 years for me to complete a single 4 year degree, thanks to the speed bumps of life that have marked my way.

In an extremely procrastinated effort to prepare the house for guests, I have enlisted my little helper to assist me in the cleaning process. Kira has been happily collecting toys and putting them in a basket for me. After she finishes her breakfast of chocolate striped cookies, she will begin helping me put the dirty clothes out of sight and picking up all her movies.

Randall has gone off to shop because I have not had the opportunity or the desire to do the party shopping. I convinced him that he needed to take Risa with him. Divide and conquer is a wonderful technique when there is work that needs to be done and little people that feel the need to be involved.

Perhaps as my little angels grow up, they will understand that working together is the best way to get the big jobs done. Or, more likely, they will have learned that bribery can make even the most distasteful jobs worth your effort.

Luckily, I have an entire pack of those chocolate striped cookies.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Backwoods Home Magazine

Randall directed me to this magazine today and, after checking it out, I feel it is worthy of my endorsement. The magazine include various articles about living a natural life. Many of these articles are available online, free of charge. However, the magazine can also be purchased in a print copy through the website, too.

If you have some time and want to explore a site that has practical survival tips for any emergency situation, this is a good place to go.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to deal...

Every parent has those days when they are worn out and stretched to the limit of their mental abilities. It is sometimes difficult to cope with the stress of parenting, particularly when you have a sick child or other issues that cause you to be overly stressed. It is important to consider how you will deal with those times when you are not at your best. Here are a few ideas for how to make it easier to cope with those days when dealing with a child is beyond your mental and emotional capabilities.

First, try to have a set of special toys and movies that are reserved for those days when you need your child to be distracted so you can rest. It is fairly easy to accumulate this special reserve if you frequent yard sales, thrift stores, or the dollar store. Crayons and coloring books are good. Small dolls or figurines to play with are also a good option.

Second, for those days when you need to take it easy, prepare a tray of goodies that your child can graze from throughout the day. This will make it easier for you to rest because you won't constantly need to run to the kitchen to appease the cries of a hungry child that seems to think she never gets fed even though you just fed her ten minutes ago. Good options for a grazer's tray is crackers, fruit, cheese, and sliced meats.

Third, if you can muster the energy to get an early start on dinner, this is the day that your crock pot will be most appreciated. Crock pots are wonderful because you can basicly throw all the ingredients in together and put the lid on. Turn the pot on and forget about dinner until it is time to eat.

Fourth, getting outside will make you and your child feel better. If at all possible, try to spend an hour or two out in the fresh air. This serves two purposes. First, fresh air is good for everybody and refreshes the weary soul. Second, outside play is often very tiring for little people and generally results in a good, long nap. If you are really lucky you will get to indulge in a nap, too, after being outside for a bit.

Oh - and never underestimate the power of chocolate. Chocolate can entertain even the most needy child. You may have a messy baby to clean up, but at least you'll have a moment or two of peace and quiet. Miniature chocolates, like Hershey's Miniatures, is a good option because they minimize the mess for little mouths. There is also the added benefit that you will probably find something you like in that mix, as well. Chocolate makes adults feel better, too, you know.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wypall - from Soccer Mom

Soccer Mom sent me this pack of Hand Wipes / Cleaner Wipes from Kimberly-Clark. I just got them from Fed Ex about ten minutes ago and ripped one out to see how they work out.

Let me preface this by telling you that the handrail on my stairs accumulates quite a lot of dirt and grime. Between the kids playing in the dirt, my brother working on trains and getting greasy, and other such gunk - the handrail stays pretty sticky and dirty.

So I pull out one of these wipes and start working on my handrail, having noticed that it was in desperate need of cleaning. It took me a few minutes, enough time to maneuver myself down the stairs while wiping the rail, and the rail was thoroughly and completely spotless without much effort at all. Usually it takes 20 minutes of hard scrubbing to get that thing clean.

I don't know anything about where to buy these things, or how much they are, but I'm sure Soccer Mom will post a comment to tell everybody when she reads this post.

These are amazing wipes. I've used the Lysol and Clorox wipes before and felt they were a waste of my money because they didn't work any better than a washcloth with the cleaner sprayed on them. I'm thinking this new wipe here is probably worth the money.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I just wanted to let everybody know that I hope you have a wonderful day.

Me, I'm going to try to get a bit of a nap this morning before we go to my mother-in-law's house.

Daddy is officially on baby duty today!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What a week.

Well, I'm still suffering through 2 year molars.

Last night, both the baby girls stayed at Grandma Janet's house in hopes that I would get some much needed sleep because I had not slept a full night since Sunday. I came home from delivering them only to find a miserable Randall with a fever of 101. His fever raged all night, even through the Tylenol and Motrin. He slept most of the night, but tossed and turned and wimpered. The only other symptoms were aches and pains of the flu like variety.

Guess who spent most of the night checking on him every time he tossed or turned or wimpered? I was pretty worried about him, though, because he rarely gets sick and this was the first time he's been this sick since we met ten years ago.

His fever broke around 6:00AM and he was okay most of the day until about 6:00PM when the fever returned. He's sleeping pretty peacefully now, so perhaps tonight will be better.

Anyways, I will resume posting on Monday. With tomorrow being Mother's Day, I don't plan to be on the computer very much.

I hope everybody is having a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What day is it?


I don't even know what day it is anymore. I have not slept a full night since Saturday night because Risa keeps waking up through the night. This is one of those times when even an expert mom can be pulled to the very edge of sanity.

I know how lucky I am because I have family that will help me. I also have a wonderful husband who would gladly sit up all night long with me if I asked him.

If I seem a bit scattered over the next few days, just remember that I am suffering through 2 year molars.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Marisa is cutting her 2 year molars. She feels the need to let everybody in the house (and outside of the house) know that she is not happy with this teething process. The past two nights have been quite difficult for her - and me - as she wakes up crying and inconsolable for no apparent reason. I finally concluded today that teeth were, indeed, making their appearance. Knowing the culprit for these scream fests does not really make it any easier, though.

Honestly, there is little that a mother can do when her child is cutting teeth. I provide Tylenol. I provide Popsicles. I provide plenty of hugs and kisses and cuddles. Other than that, I just have to sit back and wait this out. Oh, and get up a few times every night to assure Marisa that we all know she is unhappy and we all suffer with her.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Adult Children

Well, I got a big surprise this weekend. My Angel went and got married shortly after her 18th birthday. She didn't tell me because she was afraid I would be angry and lecture her. Gee, it isn't like she wasn't old enough to do this without my approval - RIGHT?

Well, it turns out that the place they were living is really not a healthy environment. So, being such an amazing mom / aunt - we are letting her and her husband move in here. We laid some ground rules and they both agreed to our rules. After we get all their belongings moved in, we will begin the job hunting for both of them and start helping them get themselves ready to be on their own.

I have a friend who was astounded that I would allow her to come back. We were both raised that when you leave the nest, you don't try to come back later. I think the way my parents raised me for the most part was wrong, so I refuse to adhere to their practices and ideas.

Welcome home, Angel (and her new baggage - ahem - husband).

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sibling Sunday

Today is Marisa's birthday party. Today she will get gifts and cake and tons of attention.

I have read many articles and tips about dealing with birthdays and the non-birthday sibling. Some people suggest buying a small gift for the non-birthday kid(s) in order to help them feel like they are not being left out. Others say that children need to learn that birthdays are special days for the birthday kid. I don't really know how I feel about birthdays and siblings.

Kira, of course, has been talking about her birthday. She'll turn 4 in September and since Marisa is busy having this birthday now, Kira wanted to talk about her next birthday. So that's what we do.

We did take Marisa out to the Disney Store and bought her a rocket. While we were there, Kira also got a puppy. It wasn't so much a birthday bribe, as an animal that Kira wanted. Today, Kira will get cake and ice cream, but no presents.

However you decide to deal with the birthday drama, be consistent. If you choose to buy gifts for the non-birthday kid, then on their birthday be sure to buy gifts for the other child. Don't do it like my grandmother did. On my older siblings birthdays, I got a present from my Grandmother. On my birthday, they did not get anything. Her reasoning for this was that I was several years younger than they were, so they were old enough to understand. Also, my brothers and sister all had their birthdays three days apart - October 24th and October 27th. Everybody was getting gifts except for me. The older kids resented that she never bought them presents on my birthday even though they were technically old enough to know better. So whatever method you use to address birthdays, use that method with all of your kids.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Little Known Secret

If you could go get a supply of paper that you could use in your art projects and have such an amazing selection that you could never possibly use it all, would you?

I have a secret to tell you.

I know how to get very pretty, decorative paper to use in art projects without paying a single penny. Do you want me to tell you?

Well, here is all you have to do. Go to your local wallpaper supplier and beg for their sample books. That's right. Those sample books have expiration dates on them. When they expire, the company no longer has any use for the books. They will gladly let you sort through the books for them (free labor) in order to dispose of the old, useless sample books. For your efforts, you get to take the sample books home free of charge. Did you hear that - completely free of charge.

I went to our local Lowe's store one night and asked the guy at the paint station what they do with their outdated sample books. This is how I learned this valuable secret. He informed me that they were up for grabs for any customer who asked and was willing to sort through the books to find the old ones. He also said that they eventually go through and throw them out. Well, guess who wasted no time jumping at this awesome freebie!

I just happened to have my two nieces and their friend with me, which was really lucky because I ended up needing their help. When the sorting was all finished, I walked out of Lowe's with more than 30 sample books of wallpaper and paid nothing for them except my time and effort. Honestly, though, I had so much fun going through and finding the outdated books that it was a very small price to pay. It took us three buggies to cart those books out to the car because these are not tiny little books. Many of the pieces are large enough to cover a small wooden side table. The possibilities are endless for what I can do with this paper.

And did I mention that it was free? Just be sure to ask someone in the wallpaper department before you try to walk out with all their sample books. Also, be prepared for the store employee to sort through your books to be sure you are only grabbing the outdated ones.

Greeting Cards

Did you know you can make your own greeting cards? More specifically, you can help your child maker her own greeting cards. The stores now sell card kits where you can print your own invitations and such on your computer at home. If you purchase a couple of these card kits, you can use the cards to make handmade greeting cards. I bought my sets at the local dollar store. (I just love that place.)

To make your cards, you need to have a variety of art supplies. Chip board items used for scrap booking is a good option, as is silk flowers and decorative stamps. Buttons, sequins, and other artistic additions can be used in your design, as well. Let your imagination, and your child's imagination, be your guide to this wonderful creation.

Your friends and family will definitely enjoy receiving their own handmade greeting cards. Making these cards can become a weekly tradition or just something to do once in a while. You can even make a collection of blank cards to give as gifts.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Pizza Night

Have you ever had one of those days when you just don't feel like cooking? You have hungry little faces begging for dinner, and no motivation to fix anything.

Every mom has her trusty set of numbers or menus that she can utilize for those days. Dinner is only a phone call away. Perhaps you want something a bit more nutritional than pizza, so you order from somewhere and go pick it up. Or, you feel super lazy and decide to call your favorite pizza joint for delivery. If you're really lucky, they will also deliver your favorite soda right along with your pizza so you don't even have to go out for drinks.

Tonight is my pizza night.

I'm tired. Randall is off with Gibson tonight. It is just me and the baby girls and The Friend. I'm hungry. I'm sure they are getting hungry, though they have been too busy to mention food so far. I'm also very lazy. I do not want to cook. I do not want to pile all the kids in the car to go out and get anything.

Tonight is my pizza night. In less than an hour I will be happily supplying my wonderful darlings with the most nutritious dinner available - PIZZA. I seriously doubt that they will complain over the lack of vegetables or other nutritious side dishes. They probably won't even notice....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Marisa

Today is Marisa's 2nd birthday. I am not really sure just how she managed to reach this new milestone. The year has gone so quickly that I find myself to be a bit surprised by her sudden new age.

We went shopping last night at The Disney Store. I had hoped to find some Little Einstein figurines for an Einstein birthday cake. I failed. The Disney Store does not carry them. I know they make them, because I found some on the Internet. So why doesn't The Disney Store have any? Well, the nice lady there could not really explain that.

My trip was not a complete failure, though. Kira found an adorable little Dalmatian puppy that she wanted. I bought it for her, seeing as how Marisa is about to be flooded with gifts.

After Kira had chosen her puppy, I sent her outside with Daddy and brought Marisa in to browse. I had thought that I might get her a puppy, too. She did not seem terribly interested in the puppies, so being the wonderful Mommy that I am, I led her over to the Little Einstein wall where they had plenty of Einstein toys (but no miniatures...).

Marisa immediately spotted the stuffed Rocket, as I suspected she would because the thing is just so darn cute and Marisa adores Rocket. She pointed and said "Rocket, Rocket" in her excited little 1 year old voice (not 2 yet, remember...). When I told her she could have Rocket, she was just thrilled. I let her reach up and pick which Rocket she wanted (Yes, I know they are all exactly the same, but that isn't the point.). She loved on Rocket for a bit and then started to put him back with a sad little face. She didn't quite comprehend at that point that I was actually going to let her keep Rocket. See, she loves on all the stuffed animals at the store and I can't really buy all the stuffed animals so she usually has to put them back.

We went to the register and paid for Rocket and the puppy. Then Marisa happily carried her Rocket out to show Daddy, saying "Rocket, Rocket" all the way.

On the way home, I kept trying to get Rocket and she just snuggled him closer and said "My Rocket."

She is so cute. She's hugging up on me as I type this and I'm trying hard to file these memories away in my heart so that my 2 year old Marisa doesn't grow up too fast. She just woke up so she's still a bit loopy. She is not a morning person.

Oh, and just so you know, Rocket is sitting by the computer with us, too. Rocket and his gang of Einsteins - Marisa's current obsession.

Now it is time for me to go fix a special birthday breakfast and put in some special movies for Marisa. After all, this is Marisa's special day.

(Somewhere in all the birthday treatment I have to find time to study for that last exam tonight. **SIGH**)