Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ok, that would be bad

I was enthusiastically reading about little Josie Duggar back home in Tonitown, AR, when I noticed this piece of information:
Originally Josie was going to be taken to the Duggars' Tonitown, Ark., home in April, but according to People, 12 of the infant's siblings got chicken pox, delaying her homecoming by several weeks.
And here I am worried about having all 8 of mine with it at once.  I don't know whats worse, dealing with a huge group of kids having an illness at once or dealing with it twice or more times but with smaller groups of kids.  I was upset that 5 of my kids had the stomach bug over the course of 2 weeks.  This is like when the Cheaper By the Dozen family, the Gilbreths, went on vacation to California and had 7 kids down with whooping cough while stuck on a train for 4 days.  I just don't know which sounds like more fun!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Anatomy of a Mess

If you walk into a room with 8 children and it happens to be a disaster, who made the mess?  You could play detective, I know you all want to be Poirot.  This one doesn't take much detective work though, you only need to think like a child.  See "THE MESS" no one made.  Not one of the kids went in there and threw blocks all over the floor and made crumbs from their toast or threw papers around.  The key word here being 'One'. 

What happened is that one child played with the blocks, and another got crumbs on the floor and yet another threw their papers on the floor, probably on accident but they didn't fix their accident.  The combined effect was a very messy living room.  And no one is gonna claim responsibility for the whole mess.  Oh sure its a great teaching opportunity about how taking responsibility for one's self can eliminate a mess.  If everyone had taken care of what they had there would be no mess.  With the grand overview being how society would be better off, blah blah blah.  You could turn it in to a math lesson, about how a whole mess can be made into 3 equally messy incidents.  Heck you could probably even teach art with the colors of the blocks and the texture of the crumbs.  But mostly we just want the room cleaned up.  And that is a whole nother problem. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sleep is an Elusive Enemy

You fight falling asleep when you should otherwise be awake and working.  Then when you actually are allowed to sleep everyone in the world keeps waking you up:  baby teething, 4 yr old has a nightmare, 3 yr old's arm falls asleep, dog wants to be let out, beds across the hall creek like its about to fall to the floor, neighbors coming and going at all hours, someones dog barking, planes flying overhead. 

Finally you get some sleep, in the 30 minutes that aren't interrupted by something, only to wake up with a stiff neck or sore hips or cranky because you didn't get enough sleep.  As awful as sleep is with its tumultuous waves we are constantly seeking it.  A nap, a weekend away just so we can sleep, drugs to help us fall asleep, drugs to help us stay asleep.  Then when we wake up we need caffeine to keep us up. 

I hate sleep.  Its not my friend.  No no no.  Its my enemy.  It lures me into bed each night just to torture me.  I try to catch a few z's and sleep eludes me at every turn.  If I could, I would fore go the bed every night and just stay up watching netflix or reading.  But my body does this thing when I don't get enough sleep.  Its called falling apart. I have no idea how babies do it.  They grow and progress and its not like they get much more sleep than I do since they are the main reason I am up.  Must be those afternoon naps. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chocolate Graham Crackers

Ever wanted a chocolatey treat but were out of the ingredients to make a cookie?  You could just let the kids eat the chocolate chips out of the bag....Or you could make a yummy treat.  I thought up this one all on my own and its become a huge hit here at the house.  Feel free to make it for your own crew and maybe even switch it up a bit. 

Chocolate Graham Crackers

Bakers Chocolate chips or squares
Graham Crackers
Nuts - optional
Peanut Butter - optional

1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
2. Once melted pour the chocolate over the graham crackers and place on a wax lined cookie tray.  You can also spread some peanut butter on the graham crackers before you put the chocolate on. 
3. Sprinkle on the crushed nuts if you fancy them.  I just take walnuts and cut them into tiny itty bitty pieces.  But you can use pecans or peanuts or whatever you like...if you like any at all.
Store the leftover in a ziplock baggie or plastic container or glass or whatever.  I know people don't like plastic, use whats you got!  This will save you from doing it everytime your kids want a treat.  Also good for brownies, sprinkling on top of cake...adding to peanut butter so you don't have to buy a special one just cause one person in your family likes the chunky kind...cough...dh...cough. 

4. Once done place in the fridge to let the chocolate harden back up.  Takes about an hour. 

I prefer the peanut butter ones myself.  I haven't tried it with any Jams or anything fancy like almond butter or soynut butter but feel free to experiment. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

If you have ever thought...

"I hope some fool tries to steal my van tonight." because one of your children threw up in the back seat...

Or when you think to yourself, "I should have let him throw up at the in laws house, maybe they wouldn't invite us back." because you know it was one or the other and you took the higher road...

Or when you think, "At least the kids can't make a mess." because one of your wonderful children locked you out of the house and you are standing on the front porch.

If you have ever thought those things in a single day than you probably had the kind of day I did.  A helpful hint, if your child throws up in your van baking soda soaks it up nicely.  Just let sit and vacuum up when its dry.  Bonus it also absorbs the smell.  Always keep plastic bags in the van!  I've mentioned this before but it is a huge help when accidents happen.  Remember the boy scout motto - always be prepared. 

At least we learned just how easy it is to break into our house...and breaking in would be overstating things.  We slid the window open.  Remember to lock your windows! 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monetary Monday - More Homeschool Freebies

My 7th grader is reading some classic literature for the coming year.  Books like The Invisible Man and Treasure Island.  I wanted to find her some worksheets to help her remember what she read and I was able to find some online for free.  Always look online for free stuff before you purchase something.  I can not get over the amount of information available at your finger tips.  Need to know how to fix a washing machine?  Google it.  Need free worksheets?  Google it.  Need recipes for killer food?  Google it.  There has never been information so readily available before, we really should use it as much as we can.

If you are interested in some worksheets, tests or quizzes for your own child check out abebooks.com. They have quizzes for Treasure Island The Hobbit, and more.  Just check out the links on side right hand side of the Treasure Island quiz.

Another awesome literature study guide is SparkNotes. Here you can find quizes, synopsis and overviews of hundreds of books organized alphabetically.  You can submit the quiz and it grades it for you.  Nothing to print out, nothing to grade.  And I got 23/25 on the Fellowship of the Ring Quiz. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers Day

An open letter to my husband,

I am forever grateful for all you do for our children. For waking with each nightmare, for spending more time in  store bathrooms than doing actual shopping, for unclogging toilets and sticking your hands in garbage disposals.  For fishing out toys inside walls and prying open windows so toddlers can call through and unlock the door.  For playing ghost hunter and doing upside down spins more often than poker.  For cutting more kids hair than an actual hair stylist.  For listening to Goofy Goober and Crazy Frog for hours upon hours.  For watching every episode of Wubbzy and Pucca.  For laughing when there was nothing else to do but laugh.  Thank-you.  You are a wonderful father. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Things that are difficult to explain to children

When we were up north we told the kids we would stop to see the stars.  Explaining that with the light pollution in Phoenix you can't see the Milky Way really well but up north you could.  So after driving for some time my 11 year old asked "Are we near the Milky Way yet?" I told her we were IN the Milky Way.  I think the concept was a bit too over her head.

Coming back to Phoenix my 9 yr old quipped that it was strange that it was cooler up in the mountains than here in the valley.  Seeing as how you would be closer to the sun and heat rises.  I told him the air was thinner up there. Still  he wondered why we burnt easier up there than back here in 100 degree heat.  Oh well, hopefully when he is older we won't live here for him to have to worry about it.

I was watching some music videos with my 4 and 6 yr olds.  I tried explaining the visuals and how the artists were making art not just with their music, but were trying to tie it all together with the video.  We got to Matisyahu's One Day and my 4 yr old asked me why he was singing on paper.  I tried to explain to him that they were posters and they were putting them up around the city but he didn't seem to get it..."Why is he singing on posters then?"  Maybe I need to take them downtown more.  

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Beware the Breakfast

Yesterday, while out shopping, I picked up some Spongebob Cream of Wheat.  It was on sale, I like cream of wheat and bonus - it had tattoos for the kids.    I didn't get home till late and had to take care of the baby when I did.  So I left the cream of wheat on the counter.  Rule #1 when you have kids, if you don't want them to have something don't leave it down where they can get it.

When I got up this morning I was greeted not by "Mommy!"  but rather by, "That oatmeal daddy bought for us is awful, tell him not to get it again."  It didn't take a genius to know what my daughter was talking about.  So I rolled my eyes and explained, "Daddy didn't buy it, I did.  It wasn't for you, it was for me.  That tattoos are for you.  And its not oatmeal, its cream of wheat." 

So my 12 year old says, "Yea well, its awful don't buy it again."  I figured she thought it was awful cause she was expecting oatmeal.  Like when you take a drink of something you expect to be one thing and its really something else.  It sort of has the taste of the thing you were expecting because your brain told it to but the flavor itself is still there as well.  I am sure it tastes just fine but the texture threw her for a loop. 

"Its awful because its cream of wheat, not oatmeal."  I hold up the box and show here where it says "CREAM OF WHEAT"  so she tells me.... "I thought it was another name for oatmeal."  Shes not even blonde.  Oat?  Wheat?  Really?  My 7 year old though, thought it was great and ate 2 bowls.  I hope they saved some for me. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

The story of 4 kids

Now that I have taught 2nd grade 4 times I have a few thoughts on the matter.  I will use spelling as an example. 

I spell poorly.  If you can believe it, its actually gotten better over the years.  If it weren't for the dh staying on my case about every single word I misspelled I would still spell like my 7 year old (that and the handy dandy little red underlines, too bad those don't happen off the computer as well!).  My oldest however, she spells like her daddy.  At 12 she has only gotten less than a 100% on a spelling test once in my memory.  One year I stopped her spelling  mid year because she had memorized the entire list of words in one day and would tell me what word was next during the test.  My 2nd daughter, well she spells like me.  She needs a lot of repetition and explanation on why words are spelled like that are. When she gets 100% on a test we celebrate.  Child #3, my oldest son, is like my oldest daughter.  I can't remember him getting less than 100% on a test.  He doesn't even do his spelling school work and still gets 100%.  And I don't get upset he doesn't do his spelling cause what is the point?  #4, my 2nd son, hes like my 2nd daughter and requires a lot of practice in spelling.  I witnessed a huge transformation in him from the beginning of 2nd grade to the end, especially in the area of spelling.  He still struggles but at least hes getting some words right now.  I am sure he would appreciate those protesters outside the spelling bee

Since I homeschool I can change the children's curriculum based on their individual needs.  My oldest daughter and son really need to be challenged, or just  to give up on the whole spelling lessons altogether since they seem to be able to pick up words as they read them.  But my 2nd girl and boy, they need more spelling.  They need lots of instruction and direction. 

Now imagine for a second if they were not homeschooled but rather in a school, public or private, and their choices were after school tutoring or more writing with their school work.  Now their school day went from 8 hours to 9 or 10 or more.  But what of my oldest girl and boy?  What about them?  Is there an advanced spelling class?  Not that I remember from going to school.  They would have to keep on doing that same boring school work every week in class, not because they need to but because they have to.  Everyone has to do the same school work.  Every student has to be the same as the next one.  There is very little individualization in classrooms.  There would be stigmas attached and upset parents that the kids were all doing something different (even if thats what each of the kids needed) and all those who think everyone should be equal regardless of ability would be up in arms. 

The short of the long of it is, kids aren't cut from cookie cutters.  They are different.  When one doesn't perform to a certain standard then change the standard.  My kids are gonna be bucking standards for a long time I think. I have still 4 more kids to go through 2nd grade.  Imagine what I learn from them!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

8 Kids for Rent

Attention Manufactures, Designers and Inventors!

Do you need to test your product for longevity and durability?  Do you need to make sure your product can withstand years of abuse and misuse?  Do you want to make sure  your product can take whatever your clientele can throw at it?  Then you need to rent my 8 kids.  

They have experience in testing exercise equipment

Household Items

And Electronics

Sure to find the loop holes you never even knew were there, your products will be destruction proof.  If you don't want your product to look like these, you want to rent my 8 kids to test it for you.  Call today!  1-800-Rent my Kids

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Being a parent is like being part of an experiment in the evolution or speech. 

First you get the babbling, where you are pretty sure your baby is a genius you just can't understand him yet.  Then comes the "Daddy, Daddy. Daddy, Daddy. DAAAADDDDYYYY." phase where you just wish they would learn another word, any word.  Only to be granted your wish when your 3 year old starts talking non stop, "There was a beetle bug in the bathroom!  Daddy stepped on it, but it had legs wiggling.  It was my beetle bug and daddy smooshed it.  I love my beetle bug, maybe its still alive..."  Pretty soon you are wondering exactly why you were wishing they could talk at all.  Pointing and grunting was working just fine. 

The non stop talking phase leads right into the whine phase.  The "I don't want to clean my room.  But maaaaaammaaaaaa....its too hard.  James made the mess too.  It was his idea. "  And you think, at least they aren't teenagers yet, cause that is supposedly the worst of all. 

And right before those teen years you get to have off the wall conversations like this one,

Daughter: "I am gonna draw a naked rooster now."

Me: "Aren't all roosters naked?"

Daughter: "No, I mean without feathers."

Me: "A featherless rooster?"

Daughter: "Yea, see?"  Holds up drawing of said featherless rooster.

Me: "It looks like a sea horse." 

Daughter: "Now I am gonna draw an overdressed rooster." 

Why not chickens? why roosters?  And why not a normal one?  You look at your daughter and realize the teenage years are not far behind. 

And when they come you get the eye rolling, head tilting, door slamming, body hunching, " I HATE YOU MOM!  You are the worst mom ever!" 

Me: "No computer for a week." 

Teen Daughter: "Whatever!"

But not to worry, after that ends they become an adult.  And you get to have conversations with them about things like marriage and babies and financial woes and job troubles.  But at least they don't whine, or talk about naked roosters. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Loving Life

He wants us to enjoy our lives.  He gave us built in holidays (Holy Days) to make sure we take a vacation, even to go camping! He made us a beautiful world to please our senses.  He gave us senses so that we might enjoy life around us.  He gave us emotions so we can love and be loved.  He wants us to have enjoyment, he wants us to be happy.  I have proof, just look at the world he made for us:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Perfect Mom

I think if we were perfect parents we would loose an element of fun.  We would have less to laugh over, our children would have nothing to live up to,  and we make more memories.  If we were perfect parents I would never hear: "I found Luc outside, one foot in the dirt one foot on the patio, eating my Beta food."  He knows how to open the sliders now.  And the Beta food was closed, he wasn;t actually eating the food.  Although I wouldn't put it past him.  He eats dirt.

If I was a perfect mom I wouldn't walk into a room to find 3 of my boys playing tea party on the floor with actual liquids.  Then I wouldn't get this picture, which has become one of my favorites. 

If I was a perfect mom, I wouldn't get to overhear things the kids say that they heard from me.  Like when my 10 year old says, "My mom says she has a loud mouth.  I must get that from her." 

Yes, if I was a perfect mom, I just wouldn't have as much fun as the mom I am today. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Full Circle

Life is a circle.  We start out as babes who need to be taken care up.  We wet ourselves and dribble our food and can't talk.  We are at the mercy of those who take care of us. We grow, we learn and we become independent.  As we age we turn back into those babes.  We loose our independence, we start wetting ourselves again, we dribble our food and sometimes we get to the point where we can't talk.  We are at the mercy of those who take care of us. 

Everyone who ages faces the same fate.  We are well aware of our limits and our mortality.  And so after we pass our children will also age, and once again become children.  It was the custom, that as our parents age, we take care of those who took care of us.  That we also face the circle, but in a different way.  We are taken care of, then we take care of our children,  we take care of our parents, till finally we are taken care of once again. 

Do I expect our children to take care of us?  Yes.  Do I want them to have to take care of us?  No.  I expect them to care of us because I know who my children are.  They are full of love and caring.  Some more than others but I am always amazed at their willingness to love.  I know they could not watch us be unable to care for ourselves and do nothing. 

I am sure you have seen the bumper sticker, "Be nice to your kids, they pick your nursing home."  How about we be nice to our kids so they will take care of us.  You can raise your children, give them a roof over their heads and food to eat.  You can make sure they are educated and then send them out into the world.  Your job is done.  Not well, but its done.  How much better would it be to love your children, even if you can't provide it all.  To care for them, even when its hard.  To show them mercy and unselfishness, so they will in turn show that to you and when you need cared for. 

You can have all the savings in the world, you can have a house paid for, everything at your disposal.  But that won't stop age.  We will get to the point where we will have to be taken care of by someone else.  Don't you want someone you love to take care of you?  Wouldn't you rather that your children take care of you because they want to rather than feel obligated to?

As I raise my children I will remember that some day they may have to take care of me.  And how I care for them will be reflected as they care for me.  Loving your children is gonna go a lot further than you think it will. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Coin Operated

$4.30 found in the back of my old dryer.  When we moved it down stairs I saw change fall out and I told the dh to shake it some more and see if more came out but he was not up for that. Well today he decided to take the back of the dryer off to see if it had the same type of  heating element and what do we find?  Money.  Lesson learned, never give anything away till you have taken it apart to see if it has money in it.  Oh and it did have the same heating element.  But it was also broken. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tips for Camping with Kids

If you have not gone camping with your kids and are planning to there are some things you should know before you actually go.  If you are looking for a checklist of things to bring this isn't going to be it.  This is more of a 'Lets make memories to last a lifetime' type list.

1. If you can, get a group site.  This is especially nice if you have lots of kids.  You can get sites next to each other, but a group site is usually set apart from the other sites.  It also has more amenities: several picnic tables, one huge bbq instead of 2 or 3 small ones, its one bathroom often times and usually its own parking area.  You will have more privacy and less chance your noisy kids will disturb someone else's vacation.

2. If you are able, get a hand-held video camera.  Lots of phones today have video capabilities as well.  You will need instant access and something that is easy to store.  You will take lots of videos, I know.  You will take video of your baby eating dirt, and videos of your kids splashing in a creek and video of finding snow in summer and video of skunks in your camp site.  You will have video you can keep forever.

3. Leave the electronics at home. Camping is about nature and bonding and learning and not about sticking your nose in your GBA.  You can't hear the birds singing if your ears are plugged with your mp3 player.  You can't see the squirrels that run up on your picnic table if you are busy playing bewjewled on your laptop.  You can't use your imagination to tell stories around the campfire if you have your portable dvd player on your lap.  I know its scary, but you can do it.

4. Be flexible.  Have plans but leave it open so if you can't go or don't want to its not such a big deal.  Find things to do outside the campground if your kids get bored but don't be disappointed if your kids just want to play on the campground.  Road closures happen, so have back up plans.  Camping gets rained out, kids get sick, emergencies happen.  So just remember if you have to change your plans its no big deal.

5. Be prepared. If you know you will need 3 days worth of clothes, take 6.  You need meals for 10 people?  Bring meals for 20.  Not planning on doing laundry?  Bring some quarters. If it can happen while you are camping its gonna happen.  You are camping with kids.  Kids.  You know the things that destroy your house and eat you out of house and home?  Yea them.  They will get muddy and dirty and eat everything because camping is hard work.  Bring more of everything.  Better to have what you might need that not have what you do need. I think that makes sense. 

6. Last but not least.  Start early.  I don't mean in the day, although that's helpful too.  No, start camping when your children are young.  Just like taking them to a restaurant, to a store or anywhere. If you expect them to do well you need to put them in the situation.  The early you do this the easier it will be.  Don't put it off till your youngest is older thinking it will be easier, all you are doing is depriving everyone of the enjoyment that is keeping.  Disclaimer -  I learned this one the hard way.  Probably the best advice, or only advice, my father in law ever gave me.  Should have listened. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Mystery Illness

I don't know if other parents do this but when my kids get sick I immediately start wracking my brain trying to figure out what caused it.  Mostly cause I want to make sure we don't have something like Carbon Monoxide poisoning or food poisoning and partly because I want to have hope all 8 kids aren't gonna get it.  The prospect of having 8 kids throwing up at once is scary.  Nightmare worthy.

Usually its nothing more than a stomach bug which slowly works its way through all the kids.  There are the few times though that it only hits one kid and they end up with something weird that requires a drs visit.  Like Scarlet Fever or Salmonella - different kids at different times thankfully.

This one has me really stumped.  My 4 yr old and my 12 yr old are both sick as is the dog.  The dog?  I thought it might be something they ate but my 4 yr old doesn't eat anything my 12 yr old would.  And unless they are eating dog treats I can't imagine why the dog would have it. 

My dog has been sick before.  Ever given a dog pizza crusts?  Thats really gross to clean up.  Turkey is another big no no, I can thank my mother in law for that one.  But this time we didn't give her anything. 

Now its wait and see time, see if the other kids get it.  If so then its just a stomach bug and the dog somehow got it.  Or maybe its just a coincidence to drive me batty.  And of course, we just cleaned the carpets on Sunday.