Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year Resolutions

Do you have any New Years Resolutions? I typically make them and never stick to them.  I have resolved for the past 5 years to finish that quilt I am making.  Who ever thought it was a good idea to hand quilt a quilt when you have a bunch of kids was an idiot.  Oh that would be me.  One of these years I will actually finish the quilt.  I might be 70 and be doing it for my great granddaughter but I will finish it. 

Now my list, in all its glory - New Years Resolutions

1. Finish that dang quilt.
2. Make money.  I want to make money, so I can spend it on a vacation.  Dh has a little more than 2 weeks of vacation time before September 1st.  And dang it we are gonna use it.  I just need to fund it.
3. Read more.  I would like to read a book a month.  Which you would think wouldn't be that difficult.  I just don't get a moments peace. And no, reading book after book to kids does not count.
4. Hike more.  This one shouldn't be that difficult since the kids like to do this and beg us to go.  But its funny how easily life gets in the way and we don't go.  So I guess better planning might be in order.  Either that or quit sleeping in on Saturdays.
5. Smile more. When I was younger people would often comment that I smiled all the time, to the point where it made me self conscious.  I was thinking how if those people saw me today, would they think the same thing?  Probably not.  Life has gotten much more serious over the years.  That just means I need to work harder to enjoy the parts that aren't.

If you noticed my resolutions are all "To Do's" and not negative "Quit" or "Do less" ofs.  I figured I might stick to them if they are things to do rather not do. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I have been trying, not sure if too hard or not hard enough, to look like a perfect little family when we go out.  You know - no snotty noses, no nasty dirty clothes, no running around like animals.  I am well aware that people watch us.  And when they watch us I don't want them to walk away thinking the stereo types of a large family are true.  I might be in a no win situation.  Either I look like a religious freak whose children are mindless zombies incapable of misbehavior, or we are dirty, rabbit like, welfare recipients. Its not that I care what people think of me, I just don't want them making decisions for their own life based on their perception of me. 

I think I may have been looking at it all wrong.  I saw our imperfection as a problem, when perhaps its our greatest asset.  Our imperfections make us who we are; our quirks and our failings define us.  My family is comfortable and everyone can't wait to get home after they have been away at a friends house. Not because we have better stuff, or a cleaner house (yea right), or even to their own beds.  Its because they miss us, all of who we are, not just the good parts. 

My 5 year old got a hair cut this week.  He went from shoulder length hair to daddy length hair in about 30 minutes.  I miss messing up his hair.  I miss pulling it back into a pony tail so I can see his face.  All the things he and I complained about his hair, I miss.  It wasn't perfect but it was him.  And now its gonna take me a while to get used to the new him.  I need to find some new way to show affection since that was my thing, pulling back his hair so I can look into his eyes and kiss him all over.  Sure I can still look into his eyes and kiss him all over but it was the act of playing with his hair that defined it.  I can look into the eyes of all my children but it was only him who I had to draw back the hair on.  It was an imperfection we tried to make perfect and I lost that now.  I can only hope his hair grows fast.

My 11 year old has a mean sarcastic tone.  Most adults, I am sure, would find it rude and inappropriate.  I on the other hand appreciate it and find it very funny.  Its something we share in common.  We can be sarcastic together, we get each other.  Its a way to connect, to understand each other and its something only her and I share.  It might not be the perfect way to communicate but its our way. 

I have something like that with all my children.  My 10 year olds no holds bared honesty, my oldest sons dry emotionless wit, my 7 year olds ceaseless energy, my 4 year olds taunting and teasing, my 2 year olds tireless running and my babies unrestrained determination.  I am not perfect either (HA had you fooled didn't I?).  Where do you think my kids got all those traits from?  And when my husband tells me he loves me he always mentions my honesty and my self motivation (I think that's a nice way of saying I am stubborn).  Our imperfection might be worn on our sleeve for all the world to see, but its who we are.  Our loved ones don't love of inspite of our imperfections but by virtue of them. 

Perhaps we will get labeled regardless of how we act and dress; perhaps people will make assumptions when they see only our imperfections, but they are at least seeing some of the reasons that make us a family.  They are seeing why we love each other so much. 

Monday, December 28, 2009

Making Lemonaid

When life hands you lemons....

I bought 3 books online for the kids school work. 2 of them came with writing despite being listed as like new with no writing. The third one I thought was fine.  Then I discovered some missing pages.  Panic could set in or I could take this opportunity to make this work for me.  I have a ton of bookmarks for homeschool worksheets that I really have no reason to use.  Till this happened.  Now, I get to print out a weeks worth of worksheets for my 7 yr old that probably are a lot more fun than what he would have been doing anyway.  And I finally get to use those links.

In the winter it can be difficult to find homeschool activities out doors.  If its snowing traveling can be difficult.  You have to bundle up to go anywhere making the trip longer and difficult.  There aren't many reenactments in the winter months, sight seeing at a farm is near impossible, fish hatcheries are frozen so what is there left to do? How about examine snow flakes with a hand held microscope?  You know I never thought to do this.  And apparently neither did my parents or any of my teachers and I lived in New York for the first half of my life.  If you live where it snows, make some lemonaid.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hand Made Gifts Make the Holidays

Again, some of the kids favorite presents were my hand made ones.  My youngest daughter got a fleece blanket from me. Shes been wearing it around the house like that, and has thanked me several times!  I thought she would like her My Little Pony the best but shes hardly played with that!  The fleece was a gift to me which I in turn was able to gift.  Like the smoked turkey.  I guess when you gift something you become a blessing not just for the person receiving it. 

My 5 yr old is a little artist and now he can travel in style with his new crayon holder.  I got the idea from another WAHM. Who I was looking for so I could link here and give due credit to but did not find.  What I did find was uses for WD40 - one of which is removing crayon from walls.  Probably good to know if you plan on giving a crayon roll to someone.   Anyhow,  I made mine or rather my sons, so it can be used for crayons, pens, pencils, markers, chalk, whatever.  It folds in half for crayons to keep them from falling out. 

I already have more ideas for next year.  Thanks to Smockity Frocks.  I hope you too got some great ideas.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What a Wonderful Holiday

I simply can not get over how fast the last 3 days have gone.  Its true, time flies when you are having fun.  Christmas eve I spent the whole day baking.  Started the pies at 8 am and finished cookies at 6 pm.  That was after baking cookies on the 23rd as well.  So I spent 3 days cooking.  My legs hurt so bad! 

Then Christmas started off at 6:30am, I got about 6 hours of sleep. We opened gifts and was in awe at how well behaved my children were.  Each child took a turn opening a gift while the others looked on.  I got picture after picture of their siblings respecting them, being happy for them.  I got the inspiration from Flinging Debt.  I think its become our new tradition. 

I had to have the turkey out of the fridge at 8 am and in the oven at 10.  I was close.  The Turkey went in around 10:30.  We were gifted a smoked  turkey this year and it was a blessing.  To feed all of us we need 2 turkeys, and I was really balking at the price.  Being gifted that turkey saved us about $20.  And boy was it good.  Dh suggested buying a smoker! 

Then grandparents came over and we opened even more gifts.  Remember that new tradition?  Uncles and grandparents marveled at how well behaved the kids were, taking turns opening gifts.  The dh and I got a gift card for a restaurant, which came at a perfect time.  We don't eat out a lot as a family.  But this week my 4 yr old asked if we were ever gonna go to a restaurant again.  I don't know who was happier to get the GC, me or him! 

Oh yes, I also got my new toaster.  I broke mine, two in a row actually.  I am Michelle - Destroyer of Toasters.  I don't even need to touch them to break them apparently.  Because when I opened my new one, yup that was broken too.  God is up in heaven with his arms crossed saying, "NO TOASTERS FOR YOU!" I wonder if he has a German accent too. 

I had enough money to buy the Dh either a package of underwear he needs or a cd he wants.  I couldn't get him the underwear, that would just be sad.  So I got him the cd, as did my father!  Now I get to take the cd back and get him the underwear he needs! 

Dh wanted to buy me the new Star Trek movie that came out this year, but he didn't have the money.  Instead my brother got it for me!  I was so happy to see all the nooks and crannys in our life get filled in this holiday, and without consulting each other. 

The kids got everything under the sun.  Books, lot of books.  Some of them I want to read.  Mickey Mouse's How Things Work in the Country is too cute.  I can't wait to read that to them, I will have to wrestle it away from my 7 year old.  They got blocks, games, coloring and paints.  I have more crafts going on in my house right now.  I am being hard pressed to find a place to eat that doesn't have something with paint on it drying. Big families are great.  Now I just need to find a place for everything.

Tomorrow I take back the pair of pants my oldest got that came with the magnetic tag still attached.  I don't know whats funnier, the fact I made it out the store with it still attached or that I wrapped it and didn't notice it. 

Hope your holiday was as blessed as ours!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Picture of the Day - Learning to Bake

Finally, I have reached the point in my parenting where my children can cook for themselves!  Now when they complain they have nothing good to eat I can tell them to make it themselves.  And, the best part, I can sit here and be served cookies.  Does life get better than this? The proud girl and her achievement.

I won't say how many I ate.  But I will say she has made them 3 times since then.  

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Coping with sick wee ones

It happens to the best of us, our kids get sick.  2 responses typically come to mind when you notice your wee one is coming down with something: Run and lock yourself in the bedroom and hide under the bed till it passes or Rush them to the doctor.  I guess you could do either one of those things, or you can pull up your big girl panties and deal with it.

I was the "Run and lock yourself in the bedroom and hide under the bed till it passes" type.  I do not deal well with vomit. I hate snotty runny noses smeared all over me.  I don't enjoy not sleeping for days on end while I hold a coughing, wheezing baby.  Sickness, in my book, were the end of the world.  Finally I realized that colds come to an end, virus run their course, eventually the smell of vomit will be gone and life will return to normal.  And looking back I saw it was only a few days out of our lives.  Yes, I was exhausted and I spent endless hours walking my babies but looking back today I can barely remember those times. 

Perhaps you are the type of mommy who runs for the phone to call the dr at the first hint of a sore throat or fever.  And certainly  no one would fault you for being a caring mommy!  But ask yourself first, are you doing this to make your child feel better or you feel better? My first midwife warned me after I had my oldest that I would be tempted to run my daughter to the dr at every cough, sneeze or fever.  And its true, you do want to make sure there isn't something terribly wrong with your child.  A little common sense would make you realize though that the likelihood that what seems like a cold or stomach bug probably is just a cold or stomach bug.  Waiting 24 or 48 hours often makes a world of difference in a child and a mommy.  Of course there are the times you should race your child to the dr.  For instance when my son threw up the other day I knew, just knew, it was not a virus.  And I was right, he had swallowed a chemical.  Don't worry he was fine. 

Once you are passed fighting the urge to go cry or call the dr you should be prepared to make your child as comfortable as possible.  I let my kids lounge around on the sofa watching tv, listening to music and generally being the center of attention.  If they are throwing up I bring out "the bucket".  You know the one, you keep it hidden in the closet. But really, children are easy to take care of. Its our own nerves that need tending to.  Be sure to step outside and breath some fresh air.  While your child sleeps or relaxes on the sofa, try to get in a nap for yourself.  Grab some tea for yourself too and don't forget to eat!  You don't want to come down with the bug!  And just keep repeating, Its just a few days, its just a few days.  This too shall pass.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monetary Monday - Freeware

Why pay when you can get something for free? Like I've mentioned the Dh in is IT, and he uses all these (and then some).  Besides the fact that a Sys. Admin. would think the free ones are just as good as the pay ones, its FREE.  We really like free.  That's better than cheap and on sale any day of the week. 

Linux - An entire operating system, for free. Even if you don't need it today, store it away on a back shelf in your memory, some day you might need it.

Open Office -You got your writer, spreadsheet, draw, whatever you need. And if you really want to pay for something you can pay for support.  But even that's not necessary.

AVG anti virus - Please don't spend money on anti virus software.  This works well and keeps us viri free.  4 computers and counting and not one has been infected.

Spybot Search and Destroy - You need more than just anti virus software.  You need spyware software.  If you computer is running slow you might have spyware on your computer. ETA: I have been informed that new versions may come with Registry Booster which can cause problems with your computer.  It can be removed but you might want to play it safe and get the older version.

Free CD to MP3 convertor - Don't pay for downloads, turn your cds into MP3s.  This is really helpful for those older cds you have that you can't get downloads for.

Roxio dvd/cd creator - I use Roxio but there are other free DVD creators out there.  Unless you are a professional, this is all you are gonna need.  I have made some super cute dvds using this. 

Christmas Eve Crisis - Oh you know I had to list a game.  This one is so cute, graphics are great and its available for Linux as well. 

Now you are probably wondering where you can find freeware, thats not malicious of course.  There's lots of that around!  I usually trust Tucows and Kim Komandos site.  There is also the Best Freeware Blog which is updated constantly.  Now, go enjoy, your new toys.  Consider it a Christmas gift from me to you.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What I have in the...

Purse.  I figured everyone would want to know what an crazy experienced mommy takes out with her. I bet you are getting your note pad and pen out right now to write down all the necessities to make an outing less painful.  Oh you should know me by now, there is nothing in there any sane person would need.

My purse.

You have the basics like my wallet and coupon holder and my day timer that has everything a woman needs like a calculator, address book and receipt envelope. A brush (with a broken mirror), hand sanitizer, chap stick, a pad and a pen. Pretty much what every woman has in her purse.

Then I have a video camera.  You never know when you will come upon something that needs video documentation.  Hydrocortisone cream - for if my kids get into something itchy.  Actually we bought that for something and I can't remember what it is now.  A lottery ticket from September.  I don't think we won.  3 Receipts that should have been in my receipt envelope. Directions for nail fix it, I was wondering where that went to.  An expired coupon to Kohls, but there is always a coupon for Kohls in my purse.  Typically I print one out, go to put it in my purse, see the expired one, and replace it.  A coupon for Goodwill that I got when I donated some stuff.  And you know how many times I have been back to goodwill since then?  I will have to remember its in there so I can use it.  An advertisement for a museum I wanted to go to.  A survey from a shoe store and a ton of candy. We got the candy at a parade.  They were throwing it at us.  I kept it in there so the kids wouldn't get it and I figured it might be a good bribe tool when we are out.  And of course I keep my camera in there but I had to use it to take the picture.

You are also probably struck by whats not in there.  There is no make up, no toys, no loose change (hahaha like that would last long), no bandages, no tissues and no cell phone.  I couldn't keep that stuff in my purse for 2 seconds before a kid would get it out.  And make up is a no go here in the desert, unless you want it melted.  My phone goes in my pocket or bra, its too difficult to get to my phone when its hanging on my back.  Especially if I am slinging a baby.  Yes, I said bra.  Well not all of my clothes have pockets.  Where else am I supposed to put it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I went to Walmart with only 1 child last time.  It was a little odd.  I was much more aware of people staring than I normally am.  I know we as a family always get a lot of stares, I try to ignore them.  But out by myself I was sure to be ignored.  I guess when you are pushing 2 carts around, a pen hanging out of your mouth and murmuring beneath your breath people tend to notice. 

I also realized when it comes to shopping the dh is much more organized than I am.  If I don't have the list written down in the order in which I am going through the store,  I will miss half the things on the list.  Good thing I had my oldest with me, she ran around to all the things I had forgotten. 

What really struck me though, about shopping alone, is how peaceful it is.  Yes, pushing 2 shopping carts around for 90 minutes through a Walmart is peaceful.  I had to call the dh to ask about some products. All I wanted to do was finish grocery shopping.  Instead I get to listen to a baby crying in the back ground, dh explaining to our 2 yr old you have to wait for the previews to be done before you can start the movie,  the dishwasher going, the movie playing and the dog was barking.  I think I might have even heard the bird chirping, he was likely complaining about the noise level.  What should have been a 30 second phone call was 5 minutes long.  When I hung up, and listened to the relative silence around me,  I breathed a sigh of relief.  I am so going grocery shopping alone again!  That was AWESOME!  And remind me not to fear those sales calls.  One second of listening to that background noise and they will never call back. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Picture of the Day - Head Rides

Nothing says fun like not being able to see where you are going.

Good thing he took his glasses off first.  

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Heights of Grossness

I have come to the conclusion that the more kids you have the more ways they find to gross you out.  Sadly, they can not shock me anymore.  Tonight when my daughter was complaining the boys had their hands in their butts I didn't so much as get out of my chair to assess (ha funny word choice) the situation.  Why do I want to see my boys with their hands in their butts?  Why do they put them there in the first place?  Maybe they are cold.  Perhaps I should turn on the heater.  That might just make them smell more though.

We don't observe a 10 second rule here.  I tried to make sure they didn't eat anything off the floor even if it was just 1 second.  Then I realized they would never eat.  You would think they are animals. They take the food off the plate and put it on the floor, then eat it.  I don't think my dog does that.  Is there something offensive about my plates?  My father suggested a trough, I think its also called a bowl.  Somehow I don't think that would help.  What they need is bungee food.  You take it off the plate it springs right back on there.  That is of course if they decide to eat at all.  I was informed by 3 different people at the holiday party that my son was eating his hot dog off the floor.  He was eating it, I wasn't going to take it away.  I mean eating, chewing, swallowing.  That's a major achievement around here.

And the pinnacle of grossness...picking their nose and I can not believe I am going to type this...eating it.  Oh my goodness can you get grosser than that?  The only possible reason to do this is to gross out their mother. I refuse to believe it tastes good. I might faint, did I really just say there was a possibility snot tasted good? Heaven help me.  I have how many more years before they also think thats gross?   

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The path thus far

I was recently thinking about birth.  Cause when you have done it so many times you tend to think about it alot.  Usually as in,  "I really don't want to do that again.  Can't the stork bring the next one?"  No actually the question was "Is Birth the event that shapes our lives as mothers or just one day out of the big picture?"  I ran around the question a few times, recalling what older, more wiser mothers have told me.  I don't know how it shapes our individual lives but I know for a fact, its not just one day based on my own personal experiences. I realized I felt a bit biased by my training in natural birth to say it does shape our whole lives. However, as I consider life as a journey, and every day is just closer to our destination I saw I can't know yet how any event will shape our WHOLE lives. We can however see how events have shaped our lives up to that point and its shaping our lives right now.

Recently we went to a new park where they had a see saw.  First time my kids have ever been on one. Everyone was eager to try it out.  There was a problem for my oldest though, no one else was big enough to ride with her.  Her sister tried for a little while then ran off to play with other kids.  Then when some younger kids doubled up to play with her my daughter had a hard time even getting on the seat.  She couldn't sit on it while they were on because she couldn't lift her leg high enough for the seat to go down low enough for the younger kids to get on. Finally I told her she had to let someone else play as so much time had passed while she had tried to get on.  Then drama ensued.  She stormed off crying.  After letting her cool down I went to talk to her.  I gave her 2 options.  She could sit there and sulk and not enjoy everything else the park has to offer or she could come play on all the other equipment and miss out on only the see saw.  She thought for a moment and decided to come play.  A wise decision.  She could have let that one incident ruin her entire trip to the park.  Now in the future when she doesn't get her way I think she will remember the other fun to be had.

We learn from one incidents, from one moment, one action, one day all the time.  We grow, become more mature, round out the rough edges all the time.  But even as you can look back and see what you have learned from each different experience you can't fully know how it changes your life in another 20 years or 40 years or 60 years.

When I was expecting my 4th one of my great Aunts was diagnosed with cancer.  She failed quickly.  By the time my baby was born my aunt was no longer in her right mind.  My grandmother told me how she would catch my aunt pushing a chair around the house thinking it was a baby buggy with a baby inside.  My aunt would roll up a towel and carry it around the house like a baby.  And once was caught in bed moaning and groaning.  My grandmother was afraid she was in pain only to discover my Aunt reliving her births.  Watching my Aunt hold my baby in her arms, a real baby not a towel, changed me and how I thought of life and death.  My aunt was dying and what she was remembering in her life was her babies and her births.  I don't know how my births will shape me in 40 years but I saw how my aunts births shaped hers. 

I can see how my births have changed my life, how its shaped me as a mother.  But I have many more years of being a mother and I don't yet know all the lessons there are to learn. And I don't how the lessons I have learned will continue to shape me in the future.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Party Hard

Tis the season....for parties.  We had a choice tonight of 2 different parties to attend.  We could go to one as a family or I could hire a sitter and go to dh's company party.  We choose the family one. While the party was a lot of fun and very relaxing I wished I had listened to my instincts and brought more with me than I had been asked to bring. 

The kids got to play with other children their age, for the most part.  But we were at a home that does not, as a rule, have small children in it.  I should have brought more toys for the younger kids to play with.  This would have kept them from running out the front door, traipsing up the stairs and playing with their pool table (which was positioned right in front of a large screen tv).  I don't think anyone would have minded if I plopped the kids down at the table with some crayons and a piece of paper or some cars.  Actually they probably would have liked it more than watching a 2 year old come down a near vertical staircase. 

The food was good, really good.  I wished I could have had thirds.  But like I said, they aren't used to having a bunch of kids in the house.  They forgot to cook the kids dinner till after they had served the adults theirs.  I had a gut feeling that I should have brought more dinner stuff for all the kids.  Next time I am listening to myself and bringing more food.  Honestly, would anyone complain about more food? 

And I really really should have mapped it before going to a house I have never been to before.  If you drive down a street and say, "Hmm I wonder if this goes through."  you probably shouldn't be driving down it at all.  It was probably a good thing we were late though, the kids got in a nap that way. 

Overall we had a great time.  Would have had the best time if I had listened to my instincts though.  Next time will be the best, although it was a good thing my kids got in a nap.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monetary Monday - Work

You can't spend money unless you make money. For most of us that means working.  Dh is in IT during the day and part time works as a Pizza Delivery guy.  When you are a stay at home parent your options are more limited.  For more than 2 years I had a website where I made and sold household cloth products.  Sadly, I had to close that this week.  I just did not have the time to grow my business like I needed to make it profitable.  I know lots of people have had to close their business.  My husband did and I think he did it with more grace than I.  Everything is a learning experience right?  At the same time I really can't afford not to work so I have been looking very hard at getting money in anyway I can.  I have to work, somehow.

I do write; you might have noticed.  I have a done a couple of ehow articles but the pay is very slow.  I wrote my first one about 4 months ago and haven't reach my minimum payment amount yet.  Of course the more I write the faster I will get paid but I barely have time for this blog let alone to write a million articles.  So that is my next big challenge, figure out how to write more in the little bit of the day I have to write in.

But a funny thing happened because I was writing on ehow.  Someone asked me to rate their articles for them, one of them was how to make money online.  She had 36 different sites for making money online.  Again most of them writing, dang that time thing.  Can't wait till there are 25 hours in a day.  Actually what I need is to sleep less, yup thats the solution.  I need to be an insomniac...oh wait.  I already have that problem.  But there were a few sites she mentioned that didn't require writing.  Youdata I think is my favorite.  I get paid to surf the web.  I can deal with that, actually I like it alot.  Since its targeted to your preferences you get sites you will most likely shop at.  I have found the coolest sites!  Ok the money isn't great but for 30 seconds a day I get paid $2.  I will make $60 a month.  Ok, its not as rewarding as making diapers and bibs and napkins but its fun and easy.

I really don't like cashcrate.  If you want to make some money you can do this site, but get a disposable phone, an email address for spam and a po box thats not a po box because you will be over run with spam of all sorts.  Clixsense is cheesy.  You spend 30 seconds on each site, which is usually a get rich scheme site and you get paid a penny.

I am looking at a few easy work sites: Mturk which is an Amazon site,  cloudcrowd and mahalo.  You do small tasks and get paid a couple of cents each.  But I haven't done anything  more than look at them.  Then there are the actual work sites like craigslist and elance where you can pick up actual work.  If you are looking to do something worthwhile you can try trialjuries.  Mock trials for which you are a juror.  I like this one because you can provide important help to Lawyers and their clients. 

So I am feeling a little bit better about closing my store, knowing I can make a little bit of money here and there.  I am sure once I have money in my paypal account I will feel bunches better!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Review: Children: Blessing or Burden by Max Heine

I was looking for some up lifting books to read this year.  After hearing so many negative comments both by well meaning family members and complete strangers I needed something to keep me going.  One of the books was Children: Blessing or Burden Exploding the Myth of the Small Family by Max Heine.  I wasn't exactly looking to learn anything, I was just wanting someone to validate my views and opinions.  What I got was an eye opener and complete turn around in my thinking.  Yes, it validated everything I believe in and then some.  It took the Bible to a whole new level for me. 

At first I thought it was just going to be another preaching to the choir book with Bible verses and commentary.  And there is Biblical references throughout the book. But what really surprised me was the real world application of why following those verses was so important.

I am sad that this book has not been updated and revised.  There is so much that is out of date.  Even though there is still some information in the book that  is out of date, it is still relevant.  Especially because what Heine expected would happen, actually happened.  Which I think gave him even more credibility. 

Since this was so good I will be passing it on so someone else can enjoy it.  In the New Year, when I have a few bucks for Media mail shipping I will be offering the book during a give away. 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Words that don't belong together in the same sentence

Its time once again to play, "Words that don't belong together in the same sentence."  Can you spot the words that should never be said together in a coherent sentence? The fact that they are in a coherent sentence scares me. 

"Why did you put mud in your ears?"  Yup, in his ears.  Like ear plugs. And he was quite proud of himself

"We don't drink syrup out of the container!" In fact I am pretty sure we don't drink syrup at all. 

"I put my necklace inside the globe and then it broke off in there."  You expect that from a 2 year old, not so much from a 10 year old.

"I'll be right back.  I promised Ewan I would watch him poop upstairs."  Only if you have potty trained kids would this sentence make any sense to you.

"Ugh who put the army man in the disposal?"  Army men have been left in glasses, sucked up in vacuums, thrown away and stepped on.   We will always remember their sacrifices.

"I'm going into the closet to do school work."  It is quiet in there. Hey I don't care where he works, as long as it gets done. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An open letter to people everywhere

Dear People,

I know times are tough.  Jobs are hard to come by and the pay is terrible.  You are feeling the pinch and life is hard.  However this does not mean you get a pass from being polite, considerate and doing whats right.  Yea, I am calling you out. 

For instance, if you have to glance over your shoulder to make sure someone isn't watching you do something maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.  You are feeling guilty, its called your conscious, you might want to listen to it. 

And as a company if you are more concerned with your bottom dollar, than placing people in harms way, then you shouldn't be surprised if people stop frequenting your company.

As an employer if you treat your employees like dirt because everyone is afraid to loose their jobs let me be the first to tell you what goes around comes around.  In 2 years, when the job market is what it once was, you might find the only employees you have are the ones the decent companies don't want.   

Using the Economy as an excuse to be a scrooge only works if you weren't a scrooge before.  "Even children are known by their deeds."  You ain't fooling anyone.  Especially those who know you well. 

When times are hard you can either become a Bitter person or a Better person.  This is a challenge to everyone, become the better person.  Our children are watching.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Mystery Stain

When something magically appears on the walls, sofas, floor or counters I generally know who put it there and what it is. But this stain has me mystified.

A yellow stain on the curve of my bathroom counter.  I think it was my 2 yr old, just because no one else is acting guilty.  And I don't know what it is.  I am guessing its candy.  Though I wouldn't know where he would have gotten yellow candy.  All the markers are in their place and up high.  All the paint is secured in its place. I don't think its crayon because it appears to be in the shape of a palm.   I even smelled it, and it has no smell.  And no, I am not licking it.  I have scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed yet a remnant still remains.  Which makes me think if it is candy what is it doing to our insides?!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monetary Monday - Homeschool Curriculum

When shopping for a homeschool curriculum there are many things to consider.  Such as: content, time consumption, age appropriateness, indestructibility.  Many times you find that perfect curriculum only to realize, its well beyond your budget.  Yea, I've been there.  But sometimes not being able to afford your dream curriculum is a blessing in disguise.

My first year formally homeschooling my children I used  School of Tomorrows ACE Paces.  I had used it myself when I was in school.  So I was familiar with it.  I had no reason to think it wouldn't be a good choice.  I bought K, 1st and 2nd for my 3 oldest children. First I was rather annoyed with some of the content, but then nothing is perfect so I over looked it.  Then my Kindergartner discovered if he "lost" his pace he didn't have to do it.  My oldest got bored because the paces were so repetitive. Finally I was sick to death of copying paces.  I had bought them with the intent of copying them year after year.  I guess it would work if I had a newer copier.  But I had to stand there hour after hour feeding paper into this machine and pushing a button.  Wasn't the best idea I have ever had. 

After the first year I quit copying and just let them have the paces.  The 3rd year I started using whatever I could find at thrift stores and free online as I didn't have the money.  4th year I got a bit more organized to the point where I looked for specific books when I went to thrift store.  Now I am on my 5th year homeschooling. I can proudly say I don't spend hundreds of dollars on school books anymore.  Yes, I am proud of that.  For one reason, my children are learning just as much when I spend 50 cents on a book as when I spend $30 on a book.  You don't need to buy one whole curriculum to the tune of hundreds of dollars to be a good homeschooler. 

I know many parents who want to homeschool but don't because of finances.  They see the prices of curriculum and decide if they can't get the "good" stuff they won't do it at all.  Curriculum is only as good as the teacher, and you are already the best teacher they could ask for.  You have taught them how to: speak, walk,  mind, go on the potty,  play nicely...academics is a cake walk compared to all that. 

So far I've bought for next school year 3 books, all new not used for a grand total of $2.  What I don't use I sell online or local homeschool swap meets.  Ebay,, and Amazon are all good places for inexpensive curriculum and good places to sell if you've got extras.  HSLDA has a Curriculum Market, Diaperswappers and Ivilliage have a place to buy and sell and I have had good results there.  Thrift stores are always a treasure trove, but if you don't have those there is always craigslist and yahoo groups. And if you are still having a hard time finding inexpensive books, there is always free online worksheets. 

Friday, December 4, 2009

All I want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth

My 5 year old has lost both front teeth this week.  We couldn't resist singing that song to ALL morning.  "All I want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth."  I am really glad the second one fell out though, as he was looking a bit hill billyish.  When asked what he was going to buy with all that money he got this week for his teeth he told me "Ice Cream."  Its always ice cream.

Before and After:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Why I don't Blog everyday

I tried I really tried, but I can't blog everyday.  I try, but this little thing called Life tends to come around and start creating havoc.  Sometimes I sit down to write and just can't get a post finished. I'm not sure why but it might have something to do with the kids.  Could it be the 6 mos old chewing on my toes while I type?  Or the 11 year old asking me for help with her writing assignment?  Maybe its the 5 year old hiding behind me because the 2 yr old is gonna attack him.  Or it could be the 2 yr old trying to get around me to attack his brother because his brother put away the Nutella he was getting in to.  It could be the screaming I hear, "NUTELLA!  NUTELLA!" or the blaring music coming over the baby monitor.  It might be the 2 or 3 people who are non stop instant messaging me on 2 or 3 different instant messengers. 

Today it could be all those things.  Can't say about the other days.  I have blocked them out to retain what little sanity I have left. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sixth Sense Technology

No, this isn't technology to talk to the dead.  But it is to quote one of my favorite movies, "Totally Wicked!"  Extra points if you know what movie that came from.  And here I wanted an iphone.  This make that look like child's play.

Hook the lap top up to the tv and let your kids watch.

How to travel with Small children

There are some must-haves to making long road trips safe (no one jumps out of the moving van in a fit of craziness) and fun (no one decides to run away from home when the trip is over).  Besides the usuals like flash lights, jack, first aid kit, cell phone, flares and maps here is a list of things I take on the road with us.

1. Wipes.  You think you don't need them because you don't have anyone in diapers?  Then think again!  Especially handy if you have a bleeder:  someone who gets a bloody nose when you look at them wrong.  If you are planning any kind of altitude change you will want wipes - a bloody nose is just waiting to happen.  Also good for when you children decide to roll in the dirt or smear their lunch all over themselves.  And a good way to clean up after any "accidents" that driving long distances produces, if you catch my drift.  

2. Pen and paper.  Don't even look twice at the pencil.  You are just asking for trouble.  Unless you are packing a pencil sharpener with an enclosed shaver just stick to the pen.  Not only is this good for keeping kids occupied in the car its also good for say writing down directions.  Oh, you have GPS you say...take the pen and paper, trust me. 

3.  Plastic Bags.  I am miss eco friendly, toting my own cloth grocery bags and using cloth diapers etc etc, but this is a necessity on a road trip  Unless you want to be smelling that...whatever it is your smelling, stick it in a plastic bag and tie it up tight.  Your other option is to toss the clothes or shoes or whatever in the nearest trash can and call it a loss.  Suddenly that plastic bag is looking like a great option isn't it?  I don't care how well you plan for motion sickness, doubling up on the diapers or making sure everyone goes to the restroom before you hit the road.  Something will happen: a bird will do the deed on your favoritest sweat shirt or someone will step in "it". Just pack some up and hope you don't need it.

4. Snacks and water.  Lots of water.  I think its the living in the desert that has done it to me but I take water everywhere.  It started out that I just needed a small bottle.  Then a couple.  Then the bottles got bigger.  Now we are up to 2 gallons of water and everyone has their own bottle.  On a road trip you might want to plan your route around the Water Mill sights.  Snacks are for your peace of mind so you don't have to hear, "But I'm hungry!" Every 15 min starting at 4 pm.

5.  Toys everyone can play with.  By that I mean 1 thing that can be shared between all your children regardless of age. My last trip I decided to bring all our hand held games.  These aren't Game Boys or Segas. No, I mean games like hangman, cars, sesame street, monopoly you get the idea.  I guess it wouldn't have been a bad idea if all the games were the same game.  Or if all of them had working batteries.  But inevitably there were fights, "I want that game!" and "Make him share!"  I am thinking next time around I will go to the $1 store and get a whole bunch of those puzzles in a square.  Everyone has basically the same toy, there are no batteries and if you get bored with your you can take your siblings.   

You might have noticed I didn't say to bring portable DVD players or CDs or strollers.  I have noticed once you get out of your neck of the woods the windows become the kids favorite toy.  If they were watching tv they would miss everything on the outside of the car.  And if you are blaring music to top the kids then you are missing out on some of the funniest conversations.  Once you get there these kids have been sitting for a long time.  They need to run around, they need to be held. And besides you will need the space for a cooler or extra clothing.  

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Born to Breed

WeTv's show "Secret Lives of Women"did a piece called "Born to Breed", about the Quiverfull movement.  If you didn't catch the original on tv you can watch it in 6 parts on You Tube.

Every day, or there bouts, I get asked one question, "Are you Catholic or Mormon?" I figure they are asking because why else could I have so many kids?  So when I answer "Neither",  people are left scratching their heads.  I don't fit in a mold.  Neither do many other women who are like me.  So we carry the label of "Quiverfull".  If I said I was Catholic or LDS no one would think anything of me having 8 kids.  But since I'm not, there must be SOME religious group I belong to. No protestant denomination would ever encourage willful abandonment of contraception.   So there has to be something

Its easy to box someone in using a set of parameters.  "Oh they are quiverfull so they don't dance or cut their hair or (insert stereotype of your choice)."  Plain and Simple - we leave our family planning to God.  Sure some of us homeschool, some of us homebirth, some of us don't vaccinate, some of us wear long dresses, some of us dye our hair purple and some of us have more body piercings than kids.  So what?  That does not mean that you HAVE to do those things in order to be Quiverfull.  I guess they have to kick me out of the movement.  I'm not protestant evangelical, I cut my hair, and we dance to rock music. 

I wish WeTv had shown families that are like mine.  That truly would have been the Secret Life of Women because lets be honest; when a Mrs. Duggar look alike walks into a store with her kids do you really think anyone is shocked to find out shes quiverfull?  Now me?  I on regular occasion get to witness people nearly pass out from shock.

I enjoyed the Born to Breed episode, I always love seeing other large families.   I hope you have a few minutes to watch it.  Its about 45 minutes worth of viewing though.