Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Call me Crazy

People call me crazy cause I have a bunch of kids, and would love to have more.  People call me crazy when I get excited my 2yr old colored on the desk with permanent marker because that meant I had pictures for my ehow article.  I might be called crazy when I am sitting at the table with the kids pealing elmers glue off my hands right along with them.  People think I'm nuts when my toilet is on the front porch upside down because my daughter flushed a couple toys down it, and I am laughing not crying.  And I down right insane when I run for the camera so I can take pictures of my sons handiwork instead of running to scold him.

But thats ok.  I would rather be crazy than lonely, and I would rather be nuts with laughter than stern and miserable.  I would rather rejoice with the trials of life than be buried by them.  I would rather be called crazy because I have a ton of kids than be crazy because I have a ton of cats.  You can call me crazy and it might very well be true, but I at least I am insane with happiness. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

Do you have 8 minutes to spare?

Here is a great homeschool project for you.  This is a video of a girl telling the story of what happened before, during and after WW2.  This video could make a great starting point to a unit study or its just fun to watch.  Its truly amazing this talent but also strikes me as a unique way to tell a story.

But don't give me the credit - I stole it from Mrs. Mecomber.

Monetary Monday - Buyer Beware

Caveat Emptor - Buyer Beware.  Know what you are buying before you buy it. Get a carfax before you buy a used car.  Know the return policy before you buy clothes without trying them on.  Pay attention to the prices and look for hidden increases.

Heres a little tip for all those companies out there feeling the pinch of the recession: Don't increase your prices at the same time you decrease the amount in a package. People will notice.  Especially when the product is diapers in a box.  We like those boxes.  We keep those boxes.  We store things in those boxes.  So you bet your life we are gonna notice when the box says 82 instead of 92 and we are paying more.  Not gonna make your customers very happy with that one.

Same goes for all your reusable packages and refills.  Make sure that the refill matches the amount on the container its for.  We will notice.

Of course all this can be avoided with use of cloth products.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gender Roles

Perhaps something conservative families more than any other type of family get criticized for is gender roles.  I don't know if people think gender rolls aren't prescribed in smaller families, or over exaggerated in larger ones.  Perhaps they think that because of the way we dress.  Or because we choose to work from home.  Whatever they think, I don't think its justified. 

Now I am not going around telling my girls not to wear dresses cause they might appear too girly or telling my boys they should wear pink so they appear more feminine.  But I do expect all my kids to learn basic life skills, no matter their gender.  I don't expect my girls to be deathly scared of insects just because they are female and I don't expect my boys to like violence just because they are male.  I do however expect them to treat with respect all persons no matter their gender.

My girls are right out there with the boys playing in the desert.  They have no issues with picking up insects or dog poo.  My oldest has no interest in fashion and my youngest girl doesn't see what so gross about changing diapers.  My boys on the other hand spend their time playing kitchen and serving up tasty dishes.  They help me do laundry and have definite tastes when it comes to choosing their clothes.  Its the boys job to clean the bathroom, a job they volunteered for.

However I wish they had some gender specific stereotypes.  My girls have hermit crabs, they are basically spiders in shells.  If looking at them wasn't gross enough I had to find out they molt.  Not only do they molt but they eat their molted skin.   And this is my girls pets! My sons on the other hand fight over the baby, they want to hold him and burp him and watch me give him a bath.  I guess maybe God gave me 2 girls who liked hermit crabs instead of 6 boys who do and 6 boys to help with chores rather than only 2 girls.  See, He knew what he was doing.

As a PS: I wrote this last night.  This am we went to some thrift stores and my 5 yr old son had to have a baby doll.  He came home and changed the diaper twice, "Cause he poopy."  and laid it on a blankey to roll around.  He'll make a good daddy some day.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Picture of the Day - How do they sleep like that?

2 of my boys  - this week, and 5 years ago.  I have no idea how they can sleep like this.  It must be genetic though.  Cause I don't think my now 7 year old taught my 2 yr old how to do that.  I don't even think my 7 yr old remembers doing this!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lazy ways to make dinner

Its 6 pm, whats for dinner?  Did you forget to thaw the meat?  Missing an ingredient for that meal you were planning?  Totally zoned it cause you were up half the night with a teething baby?  We have all had this happen.  So what do you do?  Most people have some tv dinners in the freezer or make sandwiches.  But if you want a truly home made dinner, you're lacking energy, how do you manage?  You can make one of these lazy dinners that we fall back on. Don't blame me if this spoils you to how quick dinners can be. We are having empanadas tonight. 


Pillsbury biscuits (not frozen kind, you can use store brand too)
1lb ground meat
tomato soup or taco seasoning
cheese optional

Brown ground meat, turkey works fine.  Add soup or follow directions for taco seasoning. On a floured surfaces roll out biscuits.  Place meat in center, add cheese if desired and close like a clam shell, pinching edges together.  Bake at the recommended time on biscuit container.  Usually 350 for 15 minutes.  I serve this will green beans and cole slaw. This is a really good time to use that frozen taco meat you have sitting in your freezer...or is that just us? Dh requests this every week, its a big hit.

Super Quick Pizzas

Tortillas, Matza or English Muffins (ewww)
Tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce

This is easy, take your bread product, put on sauce, sprinkle cheese, bake at 350 for like 4 minutes or until cheese is melted. Be careful not to burn, these cook quick. We like cheddar cheese here, but ya'll might find you like some other cheese.

Patty Melts

Left over burgers or frozen phily cheese steak meat
peppers (optional)
cheese of your choice
bread toasted

Cut and saute your onion (you can add peppers too). Take your left over burgers and mince them up in the griddle with the onions.  Throw some cheese on top and sprinkle some water and cover with a lid till cheese is melted.  Place on bread, added sauces like buffalo at your discretion.  If you do the meat first it will be cold by the time the onions are done.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Ah yes, the show about nothing.  Just daily life as seen through the eyes of 4 friends.  Of course it wasn't really about nothing, things happened, they didn't just sit there breathing.  Why are we talking about Seinfeld? When I explained to dh I had nothing to blog about today he suggested blogging about the fact I had nothing to blog about. I laughed; blog about nothing, how silly.  Very Seinfeld I thought.

But Its true, sometimes hilarious things don't happen.  Some days are boring, we go through our routine, no one sticks a screwdriver in a outlet, no one drinks a cup with a dead fly in it.  Profound life altering things don't occur everyday, even in our household. Our life just happens like everyone elses.  Like today.

Today we just lived our lives.  My 2 yr old asked to nurse while holding pizza in one hand and a toy in the other.  I told him he had to put the pizza down so he threw it on the floor.  Oh yes, and my darling 4 year old experimented with pooping standing up next to the toilet.  And while doing "fill in the missing verb" my 7 year old told me to stop saying "blank", as in "The dog _____ at the man."  I washed and nearly dried a whiffle ball in with the laundry, good thing I heard it clunking around in there.  That would have been neat to find melted on the clothes.  Yea, we just lived our lives.  Nothing exciting happened. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monetary Monday: Baby stuff

I am in desperate need of new car seats.  Besides being set to expire, having been passed down from boy to boy to boy really takes a toll on the fabric.  I think the one was blue when we bought it, its now an ugly shade of canal water. In my searches for the cheapest best car seat I saw one for my brother, the one who is expecting.  They don't have a lot of money they can spend on a car seat because she lost her job recently.  She has her heart set on a carrier stroller combo.  Unfortunately those are much more expensive and you then have to upgrade to a convertible car seat, meaning you pay twice.

As a mother I know what its like to have your heart set on something. You want the cutest, you want the best, you want the softest, the safest, the most trendy.  Oh I've been there.  I wanted new bedding for my 2nd when she was born.  Sure I had bedding.  Really cheap plain bedding, but it was perfectly fine in every way.  But darn it, I wanted cute girly, frilly, oh and ah at bedding.  So I bought some.  It was expensive and guess what?  I didn't last.  Not that it would have mattered because funny thing, I had 6 boys after her.  What a waste of money that was.  Usually I can be reasoned with and I get the cheap but good stuff rather than the cute and expensive.  Every once in a while I make a stupid mistake and go with my "I gotta have that" Momma greed. I would rather get the Eddie Bauer really cute car seat rather than the one I am getting.  But I know it best if I get the cheaper uglier one.  And looking at my canal water car seat, I am thinking uglier to start out with might be the best idea anyway. 

Most of the baby stuff we are told we need we really don't need. We are made to feel bad if we don't provide these things for our babies.  But babies, they don't really care if you have a bouncy seat that turns into a rocking chair or if their baby swing plays 45 different lullabies or if their monitor looks like a state of the art toaster.  They just want to be held and loved and fed and changed.  At least by not buying all those fancy things you don't feel bad when the baby never uses it. 

So I am buying 2 new car seats that I will hopefully not have to replace till they expire. Course it depends on how soon I get pregnant.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

40 Good Reasons to Have Kids

You didn't really think I could let this one pass could you?  If you haven't heard of the book No Kids: 40 Good Reasons not to have Children I suggest you hop on over to your favorite book retailer and read a review.  Everyone knows children are hard work.  If someone doesn't get that; the middle of the night wakings, the million and 1 diaper changes, the throwing up and diahrrea, the shrieking and tantrums; then that person has seriously been living under a rock.  Not everyone knows what a joy children are, what physical and emotional benefits you can reap.  The dirty little secret is not that raising kids is hard, its that children are amazing!  It would only figure since, everyone was once a child.  Look at the man you love, your awesome bbf who will do anything for you, that co-worker that you envy for having it altogether, they are just bigger versions of kids.

Now I am not saying you have to have kids to learn these things, enjoy these things, or be a better person. Mother Theresa was an amazing woman who never had any of her own.  But I am saying you have a greater probability of learning these things, enjoying these things and being a better person if you have kids. And no, they don't have to come from your uterus. 

40 Good Reasons to Have Kids:

1. You have someone to worry about you the rest of your life.

2. Breastfeeding protects against breast cancer and other life threatening aliments.

3. When you have another living thing to worry about life seems more meaningful.

4.  You are passing on a piece of you for the next generation.

5.  You are guaranteed a hug every day for at least 10 or so years,  many more if you do this parenting thing right.  

6.  You learn to love in ways you never thought possible.

7.  You realize there are more important things in life other than fitting into this seasons swim suit.

8.  Fun has a whole new meaning and is generally more rewarding than say, snow boarding or water skiing.

9.   Its the most exciting thing that will happen in your whole life hands down.

10.  You can live guilt free that you are doing your part to make sure your race, ethnicity, family line survives at least one more generation.

11. The moment a life is placed in your hands you develop an immense understanding on the frailty that is human life. 

12. Not everyone can find the cure for a disease or give charity to thousands.  For those of us who have boring everyday jobs, having children to support makes that work so much more worthwhile. 

13.  You never learned so much about life as you do when you are a parent.  Like how to remove permanent marker from your end table.

14.  Things that were once a total nuisance just don't seem to bother you that much any more.  Things like babies crying, children running and slobber.

15.  You get the privilege of being responsible for a life other than your own.

16. You get to experience an innocence you lost long ago.

17.  You realize your capacity to love has no limit. 

18.  Children teach you how to deal with people better and on more levels.  I am sure one could argue that some people never really grew up. 

19.  When all your furniture is ripped and stained you have a good excuse. 

20.  More reasons to shop for clothes for yourself! I need maternity clothes, and nursing clothes, and fat clothes, and some for every season.  

21. You get to feel like a hero for just being yourself.

22. Its like playing the lotto...oh this one might discover the cure for cancer, or this one might invent transporters.

23.  The more children you have, the longer you live.

24. You have something to get out of bed for.

25. Its a shining light when life is miserable and dark.

26. You look less crazy than when you were treating your dog like a baby.

27.  Having children can be healing both physically and emotionally.

28. You have an outlet for your desire to nurture. And don't deny we have it.  When we stop growing plants that don't produce food or flowers, when we stop owning pets and when we stop dating the bad boys that are projects than you can claim we don't have a desire to nurture.

29.  The beauty you seek in life can be found in your child. Better than multi million dollar painting or visiting fine museums, you will find great beauty in your childs face.

30. What better way to learn multi tasking, organizational skills and interpersonal communication? One trip with me to the grocery store is a better lesson than a whole semester at a top college.

31. You learn unselfishness not easily learned elsewhere.

32. Children are the antidote for laziness.

33. You are creating cousins for your nieces and nephews they wouldn't otherwise have (unless you have more than 1 brother or sister). In china where they have a 1 child policy people have no aunts or uncles, nieces or nephews, no cousins. My own children are very excited  to be anticipating the arrival of a cousin.

34. You appreciate the getaways, the vacations, and the quiet times more when you don't have access to them all the time.

35.  Birth control has side effects. 

36. You are humbled to realize you don't really have this thing called Life completely figured out. Good thing you figured that out before you opened your big mouth huh?

37. You measure your success no longer in real estate, capital or title, but rather patience, acceptance and love.

38. You discover who your real friends are. When your baby poops on someone and they don't freak out, they are a keeper! 

39. Opportunity to get to know some awesome people more intimately than you will get to know anyone else in your life.

40. When you are on your death bed and you look back on your life you won't remember your achievements and accolades but you will remember your children.  

Friday, September 18, 2009

Picture of the Day

There is a field near our home that has a  maze and haunted house during the fall.  I noticed the sign was out today, but somehow I think there might be a problem with it.

Its supposed to be Fear Farm.  Whats really ironic, the maze is made of corn.  

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Did you know...

Did you know that rubbing alcohol gets permanent marker off?  I did not know that, till my son colored on my end table with one.  See what my children have taught me?  I don't know if ever I would have to use that outside of parenting, but I am sure its good to know.  Here is the Proof:
And After, all better!

Did you know that if you freeze chewing gum it flakes off?  Peanut butter works too.  Yes, another wonderful tidbit my children have taught me.  All those people who accidentally sit in gum, which I am sure is a daily occurrence in everyones elses household, now have hope for their clothes.

Did you know toothpaste gets crayon off the walls?  Maybe my kids knew that and thats why there is tooth paste all over the bathroom.  They were only a few feet off from the crayon that is on wall in the hall way.  I didn't know but I have added it to my list of "natural" cleaning supplies for future reference. And I am sure there will be plenty of future references.

Did you know if you wash a cell phone you can salvage it by soaking it in rubbing alcohol.  Of course this does not work if you have also already dried your cell phone in the dryer.  We've tried, so I know.  Luckily, I discovered the dryer does not affect the sd card.  It worked just fine. Go figure.

Did you know that water is the universal solvent?  You can even get glued on paper off your dresser with it.  Not sure how we discovered this one, either a spilled water cup or the misplaced wet towel.  Either way, its come in handy.

Now you know too.  Hopefully you can avoid the panic that generally sets in with these types of situations.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sally sells Seashells...in the desert?

We found some wonderful treasures in the desert recently.  Where there is water, apparently there are bottom feeders. Or in this case, where there was water.  Since there is most definitely not any there now.  Next to some coyote tracks and cactus we found these beauties:
Apparently its not too uncommon, even though with all our hiking we have never come across them before. I am thinking if we find enough for a craft I might have the kids decorate a picture frame with them. Although its perfect for our oldest as she happens to collect sea shells.  Not too great for bringing home inside of pockets though.  Like my daughter said, "I don't like having sand in my shorts."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My social experiment

I was in the best mood yesterday.  I had a ton of energy even though I had gone to bed at 11 the night before and gotten up at 5 am.  The only thing that was different was I had to take my brother to work and my future sil to an office.  They don't have their own transportation.  It was an almost 90 min trip, with no getting out, with all 8 kids.  I had to do a lot of bribing with the kids and they still complained.  Yet, I was in a good mood; in a good mood and they didn't wear me out.  Had to be because I had a sense of accomplishment from helping my brother out.  I'm sure it helped that he was uber appreciative. 

My theory is that if I help someone out every morning I will have energy and happiness to last me through the day.  This might be difficult to accomplish though.  I think part of why it worked was that my brother was so appreciative.  If I help out my kids, I don't think they'd be as appreciative.  We've already tested that theory, oh about a million times over.  I could help out dh in some way.  Pour his coffee for him, make him breakfast? Maybe I will just drive my brother to work every morning, that might be easier. 

Maybe some one could be my test subjects.  Someone should try this for a week and report back.  Does it make your day better?  Have more energy?  Happier?  I'd have my kids do it but heavens knows they don't need any more energy. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monetary Monday - Groceries

Oh what fun it is to go grocery shopping.  Especially when you are plunking down $150 each time you go.  We do a huge once a week trip to the store, and usually one small one as well.  We go one to two times a mos to Costco.  And we take one to two trips a mos to another store for our Rice Dream and other organic foods we like.

Yes, we use coupons.  Coupons are like money.  We love coupons.  We are lucky enough to get bundles from fil.  He gets them from a mutual friend.  I don't ask questions, just glad to have them.  We don't play the coupon game, although I do know people who play it well.  We just don't have the time or gas to run around to all the different stores for their deals.  I only have 2 grocery stores near me.  So I stick to those 2.  But the one has a buy one get one free roast every once in a while.  So we will go every day and buy 2 roasts.  We freeze them and make them in to stews, spiedies or just eat them as a roast.

We make a menu and we try to stick to it.  We don't always do so well.  But we try.  Making a menu makes shopping easier since you won't realize you have run out of something when you sit down to make dinner at 4 pm.  Of course having a menu has its draw backs.  You get to hear the kids whine all week when they see something they don't like on the list.  Or if its something they like they repeatedly ask for it.

Right now the store down the street is having a sale. I got raspberries for $1.  They have boxes of mac n cheese for 29 cents.  I use 2 boxes for a meal; .60 cents for a meal ain't bad!  I wonder how often I can give it to the kids before they get sick of it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Homeschooling the preschooler

There isn't too much you can do with preschoolers.  Their attention span just can't take it.  Its the rare student that will sit there for any length of time to do pages of work.  So you need to get creative with teaching them their numbers and letters.  You can do flash cards.  There is any number of books for preschoolers you can buy or  you can print off pages for free on line.  But where is the fun in that?  You want to set the right tone early on for school, that it can be fun and rewarding.  You want to teach a child to learn for themselves.  But how do you do that?  You do it by letting a kid be a kid.  Teach them as they play.  Or When they color.

My 3 yr old was coloring me a rock monster, as seen here:

He was coloring the hair when he suddenly exclaimed: "I know how to write an M!" I took this opportunity to show him not only could he write an M, but also an N, a Z, an L, both B's, a W, Q, O and lower case D's.  Can you spot them all?  He was quite proud of himself and hes been writing them well ever since.  He already knew how to write I and A.  Pretty soon he will be able to write everything.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Femininity and me

I have 5 brothers, I might have mentioned it before.  I love my brothers, and we get along great.  I always figured the reason I did so well with my 6 sons is because I had 5 brothers.  I could relate.  I had been around boys my whole life, I knew what boys would do before they could even think of it. But until Monday I had never really realized how much having brothers has effected ME.

2 of my brothers, my future sil and I were all sitting around on Monday chatting.  My future sil is expecting, so the topic came up.  She mentioned the show "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant".  If you haven't watched it, its just like the title says: stories of women who didn't know they were pregnant when they gave birth.  I have watched the show several times, my girls especially like it.  There is one that my future sil and I both saw, a woman who gives birth while camping.  The baby is born in the bathroom and falls to a concrete floor.  Then this conversation ensued:

Brother 1: Well at least it had a tether.
Me: What you mean the umblical?
Brother 1: Yea, slowed the decent a little.
Me: Well they can snap you know, its not like a bungee.
Brother 2: Can you imagine if it were?
We all looked at each other and thought the same thing in that moment.
Brother 2: It would go out and boing...goes back in. 

Brother 1 and I cringe at the thought and bust out laughing.  Poor future sil is sitting there mortified.  And that is the defining moment of my life.  In that instant I knew why I am the way I am.  Its conversations like that my whole life that have made me the tom boy that sits before you today.  Its a miracle I have any femininity at all! Oh and future sil, shes getting married to Brother 2.  I don't think she knew what she was in for when they got together. 

This explains why I can't seem to dress myself and actually match.  This explains why, when my sons do things like get naked at grandmas, it doesn't phase me one bit.  This explains why I am more comfortable having conversations with men about computers than I am women about birth.  This is why I watch Malcolm in the Middle and feel like I am watching old home videos. And when I relate this conversation to my husband what does he say?  "Yup thats why you are a Tom Boy."  I guess hes always known it too.  I am guessing when we try to out do each others gross out stories it was a dead giveaway. 

Now I have 2 girls of my own and 6 boys.  Those boys will undoubtedly affect my daughters the same way being in a house of boys affected me.  I see it already.  The rush out to play in the desert together.  The girls have no problem catching bugs, picking up dog poo, or drawing pictures of mens hairy backs.  What am I gonna do?  At least they will be able to relate to the men they marry.  Unless they came from homes of all girls. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rules I never thought to tell them

Stolen from Life in a Shoe, who I think stole them from someone else. Kids do things all the time that leave you scratching your head and wondering what side of the family THAT came from.  I am pretty sure my kids aren't unique in some of these.  I would love to hear from you if your kids have done some of these, make me feel better.  Surely I am not the only one who has to deal with this! 

Here are the rules I never thought to tell them:

When playing in the desert do not stick body parts into animal holes. This includes your arms, legs, head and butt.  While we are at it no spitting in them, no peeing in them, and no throwing sticks and/or stones in them. 

We do not sit at the table and play with our penis.  You have to go to your room to do that. 

You are not allowed to stick your finger into the electric pencil sharpener.  Or your nose.  Or your tongue. 

You have to wash your hands for dinner, even if logically you are using utensils and not your hands to eat. 

You still have to wash your hands after you went pee even if you didn't use your hands.  Its a neat trick but there are still germs all over the bathroom. 

You are not allowed to jump off the table. Or the Sofa. Or the top bunk.

No, you can not use Glass bottles to play bowling with.  I don't care if they do make a neat noise when you knock them down. 

It might be worth a good laugh but you can not sit on a stool naked while you have your head stuck in the peanut butter jar.  Only crazy people do stuff like that. 

Before you say, "Look what I can do!" You might want to consider if it will gross me out, get you into trouble or cause yourself bodily harm.  If yes to any of those, don't bother saying, Look what I can do.  Just don't do it altogether. 

No, you can not break your hand so you can do the neat trick your friend can do with his fingers. 

Don't pee in a cup and offer it to your brother, or anyone else as lemonaid.  In fact don't pee in cups period.  I don't care how many times momma has had to do it, you are not pregnant. 

Crackers do not go in cracks, whether they are butts, walls or other.  They go in your mouth and thats it. 

Beads, screws, and ear rings do not go in your nose or ears or any other orifice.  And no we can't see the jar the dr has with all his ear and nose things.  Its gross, don't even ask. 

You are not allowed to pee outside.  Or in your play pots and pans.  Can't you use the toilet like everyone else?

Cars and blocks do not go in the VCR. And Money does not go in the cd player. 

Don't eat the food that fell on the van bench 3 days ago.  I am sure it will make you sick, even if it hasn't before. 

I am sure there are many others.  I think I am blocking them out, too traumatic to recall all these incidences at one time.  What have you had to tell your kids, that a parent just shouldn't have to tell their kids?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Someone please explain to me

Explain to me that on holidays you are supposed to relax because I don't think I've gotten the concept.  I woke up more tired today that I did on Friday and that was after a bout of mastitis.  Going to bed at midnight two nights in a row might have had something to do with it.  Or it could have been the heavy load of chores we did. 

We had to wash our comforter, again.  Its about the 6th time in 6 mos.  We have to do it at a laundromat because Mrs. Brilliant here had to buy one too big to fit in her washer.  Ok it fits but when its full of water it breaks my machine.  Its fun taking 8 kids to small sweaty room for 2 hours with nothing to do but eat candy and play video games. 

We also took a trip to the thrift store where I found a spelling book for ds for next year for $1! Of course what I was looking for was winter baby clothes but hey, I wasn't going to pass it up. 

We cleaned out and rearranged the benches in our van.  I think we might finally have found a workable pattern.  With 10 people, 4 car seats, and 2 broken seat belts its oft resembled a Sokoban game. 

I went through all the boys clothes to see what they needed for winter.  I only need a few pairs of pants for the oldest boys and some baby clothes.  Yay!  I think I might be able to get some hand me downs from my brothers so I am waiting to buy anything.  Having a big family is very economical.  You really get your moneys worth.  Of course I discovered 6 pairs of pants with holes, 2 of which could not be repaired, but the other 4 need to be made into shorts.  That can go on top of the sewing pile, of which I can't even see over anymore.  Thats my "I'll get to it eventually" pile.  

I cleaned out my pantry as well.  I figured it might be a good idea after I found some baking powder in there that expired 2 years before we moved in.  I'm not even sure where it came from, I have a family size can I bought about 2 mos ago when I ran out.  That also might be a sign I have too many spices on my lazy susans. 

I finished 3 diapers, 2 of which are for donation as well as some stock for my store.  Had a swimming party at my parents and wrote 2 articles.  Now that I think about I am surprised I had the energy to stay up till midnight two nights in a row! 

Someone should have told me it was Labor Day...oh wait, thats what I did.  I labored all day. I do that every day don't I?  Well someone should have told me it was a holiday!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monetary Monday - Gifts

Birthdays, Anniversaries, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, and Christmas. What do they all have in common?  Presents!  Between our 8 kids, dh and I, My parents, his parents, my brothers, now my sister in law and their soon to be 2 kids that means A LOT of presents.  And thats not including the various birthday parties the kids get invited to through out the year either. Since we aren't Santa and own our own Toy Shop, this requires strategic planning.

For Christmas I start shopping in July.  Its when the best sales are.  I discovered this when I was 16 and have done it that way ever since.  For instance I bought a Remote Control car for $5, normally $30.  That will be for one of my brothers for Christmas.  Not only do I save money, I miss all the crowds at Christmas time.  The day after Christmas is a great day to shop for birthdays.  One year I got a Fur Real Pet for my dds birthday at 80% off.

I sign up for newsletters and email lists to be alerted to special deals and coupons.  Kohls is a great one for this, I get a $10 off  $10 a couple times a year.  Bookcloseouts.com has a huge sale every month.  Right now Religious books are on sale, I will be getting some for both my mother and Mother in law. If you buy things repeatedly that have points, like coke products you can get free items from those points.

We budget and pay only cash.  We do enjoy shopping for charity too.  We will budget for that and let the kids do the shopping. Its really nice if you can find someone of the same age and gender for them to shop for.  They know what kids like!

We like to make gifts too, they are truly from the heart.  Some of my favorite gifts I have received have been ones that dh has made me.  Usually this way saves money but you have to be careful.  Fabric, craft items, food supplies can get expensive.  Some of the gifts I will be making for christmas this year is a fleece blanket for my youngest daughter and a dinosaur blanket for my oldest daughter. I got the one fabric as a gift and the other in a stack of fabric from the thrift store.  I am also giving some doll accessories to my brothers step daughter.  I used fabric left over from diapers to make those.  She will be getting a couple diapers, bibs and blankets and I'll buy her a doll to go with it.

Actually I kinda do feel like Santa.  All year making lists, making gifts, Filing up my closet with presents, threatening kids to be good or their presents go back to the store.  I'm thinking Santa just did all the heavy lifting, it was really Mrs. Claus behind the scenes making the whole operation run smoothly.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Measure of Patience

Patience as defined by Webster: bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint.

Patience as defined in our house:

  • When you arrive at the grocery store you notice your 7 yr old is wearing the same clothes he wore yesterday despite telling him to change, forgot to brush his hair and has peanut butter smeared across his face.  Before you can get a wipe out he uses his arm as a napkin.  You resist the urge to cry into the wipe.  This is patience.  
  • When you ask your 10 yr old daughter  to please clean up under the table and her response is, "But whhhyyyy do I have to do it?" Instead of throwing your head back in frustration and sending her to her room you mess around with her and make her laugh so she gladly cleans up.  This is patience.  
  • When your 5 yr old plays with the tooth brushes, gives them names then looses your daughters in the process, but your daughter does not yell, start a fight or storm off to her room.  Then she is exhibiting patience.   
  • When your 9 yr old is yelling at his younger brother for annoying him instead of yelling back you quietly think up new punishments like 10 push ups ..Then you are patient.   

I don't think I am necessarily more patient than others.  I just don't think I care anymore.  No, I do care.  Especially when we got out and they look like they were playing in a dumpster. But what could I do at that point?  By the time I got home made him change and got back to the store some other kid would have destroyed their outfit.  As it was by the time we left the store my 3 yr old had soaked his shirt by sucking on it, his pants were totally sideways from playing in the pockets so much, and he crawled across the floor so his legs were all dirty.  But did I have a fit?  Nope, hes washable. 

I've been noticing people seem very upset when children being children get into trouble, they expect the parent to immediately put a stop to it.  While I agree that parenting should always be taking place I think there leaves little room for patience.  Instead of allowing the children to get out the energy or frustration they have they make the situation worse by intervening when they shouldn't.  So what if my kid was sliding across the floor of the check out lane? He wasn't in anyones way and he is washable.  After a few minutes it was no longer fun, probably because it was cold, so he joined me by the cashier.  He just had a little energy he had to work out. 

Saturday, September 5, 2009

5 ways to Reuse & Recycle in your home or Learn how to be cheap like me!

If you are anything like me and need ways to save money I have a list just for you.  I have collected, for your viewing pleasure, the ultimate cheapskate RRR guide for your home.

1. Sock dividers. Organize your socks by type or color easily with reused tissue boxes. Simply cut out the tops and place them in your drawers. No need to buy fancy plastic or wooden ones. Whose gonna see them but you? And you will feel good you reused instead of purchased new. Now take the saving and buy some hankies!

2. Stuffing for a Rag Doll. Save all your lint - Yes Lint - till you have a nice big bag. If your family is the size of mine, this should be in about a month. Use the lint as stuffing for a rag doll, or pillow or whatever you need stuffing for.

3. Give Away containers. Don't recycle those margarine, cottage cheese or dip containers just yet. Reuse them. When you have guests over send them home with left overs in these containers. No worries about having to return them, no money lost if they don't find their way home and no pressure on your guests to remember to return it.

4. Free Fertilizer.  No, not THAT.  That would be gross.  Coffee Grinds and Egg shells. make great fertilizer. If you don't drink coffee you can hop on over to your nearest coffee store and ask for their trash.  My mother had a huge garden which required far more coffee than she was even able to drink.  The nearest Starbucks was glad to help her out.  She got BAGS of coffee grinds for free.

5. Making your own paper.  This is a great craft for kids and is a wonderful way to show recycling in action. Use the paper to make custom gift tags, labels for cocoa you are gifting, and greeting cards.  Be sure to save all your hole punchings, news papers, spiral bound leftovers.  There is so much trash paper all around us.  Put it to some good use!

We all utilize the tissue boxes.  We have taken it one step further and cut up boxes from cereal, crackers, anything that comes in a box.  I use a cracker jack box cut in half in my medicine cabinet for my emery boards and nail clippers.  My 5 yr old keeps one in his sock drawer for his money. Nothing goes to waste in this house.  After all "waste not, want not".

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fahrenheit 451

Have you noticed the changing societal landscape? Our world is increasingly technological.  You get fired if you say you hate your job on Facebook.  We need laws to tell us not to text while we drive.  People know more about their favorite actor than their president.  There are programs set up to help people recover from online addiction.  Parents have had their children removed because they were neglecting them in order to play a MMORPG.   Hulu lets us watch any show any time online.  We never have to leave our living rooms to connect with friends and family via  Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.  Where ever we go we can have our favorite tunes on our MP3 players blocking out all other sound and distractions.  We have problems for things that 15 years ago hadn't even been invented.  How fast society latches on and spirals down hill.  We have become Bradbury-esque.

Perhaps it was reading the news or the fact that my oldest dd hadn't noticed her fathers hair cut for a day and half since she was busy with her own MMORPG or maybe it was because I couldn't get Facebook to work, but whatever it was I had this sudden realization that we were living Fahrenheit 451.  Ok, its not THAT bad, but its bad.  We can still identify drugs by their name and we haven't taken to burning books yet, but I think the over all tone, the concept, we are pretty darn near close to that.

That realization sent me running...for the computer.  No, not to facebook, but to look up things for us to do outside the home.  I decided we need to leave the house more than once a week.  Suddenly I was all steam ahead for Soccer, Basketball, Hip Hop.  What?  Hip Hop, sure, whatever, if its outside the house and requires interaction with others.  Don't care.  Whatever I can get the kids involved in its a good thing.  Then it was grandma to the rescue.  She had heard from a friend there was a Lego event at the library.  Perfect!  There are some distinct advantages to having siblings the same age as your children. This is one of those times.  While there I asked my mother to pick up a schedule for city sports.  They have these great short term programs and they aren't expensive.  We're thinking keyboarding and basketball might be just what Bradbury ordered.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

When momma gets sick

I think I will take this opportunity to give you a glimpse inside our house, and show you what happens when momma gets sick. 

Yesterday morning I woke up with pain in my breast.  After a while it occurred to me I must have a clogged duct.  Sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake.  Like what else would it have been causing pain in 1 breast?  My 2 yr old spent most of the day screaming, I think they know when we are sick.  So I had to yell over him in order for him to hear me.  My head ached like it was run over by a steam roller.  Surely it was from all the yelling.  It wasn't until the ache had worked its way down to my legs did I realize, 'Oh yea the boob, the pain...Mastitis'. Great.  I had 3 loads of clothes yet to do, a pile of sewing, dinner to be made, dishes to be done, and oh yea 8 kids to take care of.  I told dh had to come home early.  

As soon as he got home I retreated to the bedroom and my castor oil packs. Apparently the kids took this opportunity to destroy the house.  When I got up there was toys everywhere. My 9 yr old knocked his curtains down, and there was a wet washcloth on the floor in the hallway that I stepped on.  The cushion was off the chair in the loft, the dishes didn't get started and the poor dog was out of water.  Dh assured me in the morning it would all be done. 

This morning it was worse than last night.  The kids were upset about every piece of school work they had to do.  The cushions for the sofas were on the floor, blocks were mixed it too. It looked like some sort of demented fruit salad.  Ds couldn't find his sippy cup and dh hung my clothes to dry across the crib.  Maybe he thinks thats what its for, since the baby isn't actually ever in it?  I went back to bed. 

I had to admit when I got up from my "nap" (not sure what you want to call since sleeping didn't actually occur) things were better.  The floor has been cleaned, the curtains fixed, the dishes done and everything is in its place.  Just in time for me to start feeling better. The house did not burn down, no one broke any limbs, all of our furniture is still in one piece and the kids finally finished their school work.  So in the end its all good.  Ok, my boob still hurts but other than that, its all good. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Day 3 of the 2009/2010 school year

I hope this first week is not an indication of what the whole year will be like.  Never have I heard so much whining about things like coloring.  Not sure what that was all about.  DD and I were very excited about the art we are doing this year and I thought the other kids would be too.  HA.  Never underestimate a child's desire to do absolutely nothing.  Seriously, coloring?  They didn't want to color?  This wasn't a choice however and dog gone it they were gonna color!  Yes, 2 of my kids aren't dressed.  Right now its not even 11am and its 100 out. And yes one of my kids is giving himself bunny ears and rolling his eyes.  You really didn't expect a perfect picture did you?

Actually we were learning about lines: Diaganol, Horizontal and Vertical.  First they drew the lines, then they made stuff out of those lines.  A whole new world opened up to them.  Wow!  So this is how art is made.  Ds said, "I guess if I want to be a game designer I should learn how to draw."  Light bulbs went off.  They had fun.  All the whining was now a distant memory.  They asked to do it again the next day.

DD also made her own paints.  Chalk, egg whites and water, which made some beautiful pictures.  They sure are talented.  I know they didn't get it from me.  I am lucky my clothes match every day and I usually need to ask dh, "Do I look ok?"  Hence the whole Jean Skirt episode.

I hope the whole year isn't the whine, complain, love cycle.  I only have so much patience.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I'm Greedy

I have 8 happy healthy smiling children, yet its not enough. I see my baby, hes learning how to go places, hes rolling over and pushing himself up.  He has beautiful blue eyes, a first for us.  He has the huge dimples in giant chipmunk cheeks.  When he smiles it looks as if hes about to burst.  But every once in a while I look at him and wonder about the baby I lost.  Was it a girl or boy?  What would they have been like?  Ds  has had so many firsts that even us experienced parents are surprised about.  What firsts would the other baby have had?  Would s/he had have fire red hair?  Or Green eyes?   I could never give up ds to find out what it would have been like.  No, I want them both.  And no, twins would not have solved the problem, then I would just want all 3.  No, I am greedy and I wanted both babies.  I will always miss that baby.  I will always wonder.  And I don't think a day will go by that I will not be greedy and want that baby.  To hold them, to kiss them, to see what they would be like.  I'm greedy and I know it.  I am a mom and that was my baby.  And I don't have that baby anymore and I wish oh I wish I had them back.  I'm greedy but I am also grateful.  So grateful for the children I do have.  I praise the Lord each day for them, so thankful I get the privilege of raising them.  But I am sorry Lord, I am greedy. 

Duggars are expecting again

Yes, #19 is on the way!  If you didn't already know, now you do! What a blessing!  Many congrats to the Duggar family.  The more they have the less I look like a freak.  They push the boundaries of acceptance.  Which is a very difficult thing to do especially while being in the public eye.  I could never do what they do.  Not only do they live their life well but they do it while being constantly followed by cameras.

They will have to change the name of their show AGAIN!  They should go with something that grows with them.  Like "Dozens of  Duggars"  or "Double Digit Duggars". 

I am guessing they will continue with the 'J' theme of naming.  I think if they have a boy they should go with Joaquin.  You know, spice things up a bit.  Or if they have a girl she should totally be Jasmine.  We didn't stick to a theme with our naming.  I guess it can be a blessing and a curse.  You are stuck with a certain letter, if you run out you have to start making names up.  But then again when you have no idea what to name your kid just pick a name from the baby name book in your letter. 

So congrats to the whole Duggar clan!  I wish Michelle a happy and healthy pregnancy. 

*Be careful what you read on line about the Duggars, it will not uplift you.