Monday, January 26, 2009

You like me, you REALLY like me...... sob, sniff

I would like to thank my mother, and my husband, oh and my kids and the academy.... oh wait, its not that type of award... but it is so very flattering. I would blog if no one was reading for my own sanity, but the fact that others read it, and really like it, is humbling and I couldn't be more grateful that you put up with me.

I am pretty proud of myself that I finally figured out how these work.... so here goes.....

Rainbowmummy honored me with this proximity award:

This award is given to a blog that invests and believes in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind of bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!


And now for the passing it on part.... I can't say it any better than rainbowmummy, who actually made me snort soda out my nose when I read her addendum... "as always feel free to ignore this if you don't want to play (I know the awards scream of chain mail-but it's not like I am saying a monkey will poo on your mums head unless you play in four days or anything), rules are meant to be broken and if you don't take it just know that you are loved and let me give your blog a recommendation."

In no certain order...

Carrie at The Story of My World
Terra at Mom of 3 boys
Melanie at The Wright Family
Clarissa at The Ridge Report
Rob at Horton Hollow

I love you all, I read you each time you post, you make my life a little lighter by reading about yours.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Fill in

1. Oh, I am so back on the sauce! And by sauce I mean coffee, cause I'm a bad girl like that. Right now my heart is pumping out a very loud, and frighteningly fast rhythm. Here's hoping it can keep it up all day!

2. I dislike changes, big and little. Much like a newborn, I crave sameness and schedule. Could some one hand me my binky please?

3. During the afternoons, I get nauseous. Yeah, I know, you are tired of hearing about it, and I am tired of feeling it... but it was the first thing that hopped into my brain.

4. "Are they all yours?"; are you kidding me??? This is the question people ask me that is the most likely to get a smart remark. For starters, we only have three kids, its not like I am driving a conversion van. Second, do I really look like the kind of person who is going to troll through subdivisions picking up random strangers children and dragging them to the supermarket "just to make it a little more fun". I have plenty of my own "fun" thank you very much.

5. Right now I'd like to be hmmm, I dunno, I am pretty happy with where I am, but that could be the caffeine talking.

6. my laptop is my favorite gadget.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to Having the hubs back and the niece over, tomorrow my plans include a mortgage refi.... oh you know you are jealous, its SOOO much fun and Sunday, I want to talk about books! Are you coming?!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thrifty Thursdays

We started about a year ago making small changes to try to "simplify" or "streamline" the way we live. We felt like we were living in excess, I talked about that some here. Over the past year I have come across some really neat ideas from other people and a few of my own, so I figured I would concentrate on that for Thursdays. For this year, we are wanting to do even more to simplify how we live and to make thoughtful choices when it comes to how we handle our money.

My newest find has been kids hair detangler. We have two little girls with a whole lotta hair, and we go through a TON of that Johnson's hair detangler. Plus, I don't think it works all that well, I have to soak the hair with it. Confessions of a Mommy Blogger had an excellent recipe for making your own detangler, just mix three parts water to one part hair conditioner. I am able to use "the good stuff" (my conditioner, not one for kids) and the end product is WAY more effective, and WAY less expensive.

Now if you don't want to read the million word "what I did with my budget last summer" essay, feel free to click off here. But for my own memory's sake, and maybe it will spark something for someone else... I am going to try to list the the things that I can remember we have done this year.

So here is what I can remember that we have done to date:

  • I stopped buying almost all convenience food: no more freezer meals (unless I make them myself) no more boxes, no more any of that. Most of the foods we buy are fruits, vegetables, meats, rice (not the mix), pasta (not the mix) and baking staples. Alot of this was just because of our allergies, but it has been helpful for our budget as well
  • We became very conscious of the money we spent eating out. Our goal is to do even less of it than we are now.
  • I make my own convenience foods using alot of the recipes from Hillbilly housewife she has all sorts of recipes for making your own rice a roni mixes, and freezer biscuits and they also have a feed your family for $45 menu that I have gotten ideas from.
  • We don't drink juice anymore than we drink soda pop. We would have either as a treat, but they just aren't staple items.
  • In order to avoid just buying repeat items, I have found that keeping my pantry and fridge organized has been key to saving us some $$$.
  • I found that I desperately need to spend enough time in my house doing chores every week to be able to keep up with the tidying and organization if I don't want to overspend.
  • Also, keeping the dishes done was huge as well. Its bad enough to brave the witching hour with the kids to fix dinner, but being faced with dirty dishes on top of it all led to many unnecessary nights of takeout.
  • Having a 2 week plan for menus and having the grocery lists that go with them has made it much easier to keep all of us happy, without anyone getting bored.
  • I do a load of laundry every morning and a load every evening. If I keep up with this, and keep it put away, folded, or ironed and hung up, we all have plenty of clothes for ourselves and a twin.
My Goals
  • someone once said that cleaning with small children is like shoveling the sidewalk while its still snowing. I love that person. We have control over the common areas, but I need to do something about that office/sitting area/black vortex of terror off our mater bedroom. I have been reluctant to, because it would require poaching on brian's territory... and he is usually armed.
  • We need a better system for the kids rooms. I have done stop-gap measures, but we need a more permanent solution. We have these open little tiny bins, and I suspect that going to possibly rubbermaid storage boxes for each "kind of toy" (ie ponies in one box) where you have to ask for, and then clean up what you got before you get more, might solve our problem..... but im not sure. Its my new project for this year. I also love ideas, ... hint, hint.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Mon.thly

I have hormone issues and I really should be keeping track of some kind of calendar, it would be helpful. A lot of the medication dosages I have to take vary according to what day of the cycle it is. So you would assume I am all over that calendar, but I haven't been. Then I found this nifty tool at I enter in a few dates, and anytime I want it will tell me what day of the cycle it is and it even emails me two days prior to ovulation and two days prior to the "big event". I think this program was initially designed with natural family planning and fertility in mind. But I have bent it to my will... muahahah...

On the topic of medication, gah, these side effects stink. Its sorta like having the tummy bug. I tried to eat dinner tonight, my appetite fled screaming from the house. The kids have been super awesome about it all, but we haven't been high activity lately. Its supposed to level off soon, it coudln't happen soon enough for me.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"sole" mates

We were supposed to go to Emma's scouting troop meeting today. But I was ill, wretchedly, violently ill. Its no virus, just a side effect of a medicine that messes about with my pancreas, YIKES! So, we had to do something to stop the wailing, so we did a craft. I got this craft from Just for Fun. I have gotten so many good ideas from there.

Belated Momversation Monday: Facebook

So the conversation on momversation was about facebook. The gist of the conversation was: Social networking sites like Facebook are a great way to communicate with friends old and new. But do they take us out of the "real world?" Or do they make stay-at-home moms feel less isolated? Are you on Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter? Do you find yourself on Facebook for too long? Or is it just a harmless diversion?

I do use Facebook, but I am not on it nearly as much as I would have to be to keep up with my friends. I do tend to spend more time on blogger than on Facebook. On the one hand, it has been awesome to catch up with old friends and I like getting the status messages, somehow its like it lets me peek into my friends lives and I feel a bit closer to them.

On the other hand, I think it could be bad for someone like me. I am a phonophobe, I hate talking on the phone. Well, that's inaccurate. I like talking to people, but with the kids and all the chaos, talking on the phone is impossible. It makes me feel a little schizoid, mid sentence I have to break off to keep the kids from doing something awful, then I lose my train of thought.... good times. So I tend to avoid the phone and do most of my "catching up" in person. This used to work fine, when we all had toddlers and everyone had alot of time on their hands. But now, I don't have much spare time at all, and neither do most of my friends, we are all busy jumping from activity to activity with the older kiddos.

I worry that for someone like me Facebook give a false sense of closeness. I don't make the extra effort to call my friends, or to send a personal email, because I have already "caught up" on Facebook. But its really not the same as having an actual conversation. I think its a bit of a problem for the hermit inside of me.

My other problem is I find that when I log into Facebook, and I plan on just "checking" it for a minute, a minute turns into an hour..... and I don't like that. I don't want my kids major memories of me to involve the computer, I would much rather they involved a book. Im not sure I have the time to support the facebook addiction and the blogger addiction. So many good techonological advances these days would like to drag me away from playing with my kids and necking with my husband. Im just not sure its always worth it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Simple Solution Saturday: Sore noses need chapstick

We have recently gone through an epic bout with colds, and along with the sniffling came the chapped noses. Now there is a very pricey product developed just for little kids chapped noses, but I used chapstick and rubbed it under their noses. It provided the exact same relief, for a fraction of the price. Now, I recommend in hindsight clearly labeling the chapstick used for noses, especially if you are a user of chapstick for lips. The other big discovery was eucalyptus oil. If you have ever used those sudafed shower soothers that are really quite expensive, you can get a big honking bottle of eucalyptus oil from the drug store for about 4 dollars. It will last you at least a year. Just throw a little on a washcloth, throw it on the floor of the shower and it will create an awesome steamer, like living inside an awesome vaporizer.

Edit: I forgot to mention, you can use this in the vaporizer in place of the more expensive vicks stuff.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Fill In

1. Enough with the side effects. I started a new medication and its KILLING ME. If it doesn't stop soon I am going to have to wear depends.

2. My "to do" list causes me to be conflicted.

3. I've been craving some down time with the hubby. He has been gone most of the week, and we miss him. I don't really want to go anywhere, I just want to hang out with him.

4. my kids makes me laugh....alot especially yesterday, the clowns.

5. I wish I could go to nowhere next week. This week was so crammed full of appointments, and chores, and things we had to do, some of which were fun things, but I just feel like we did too much. However, no matter much I would rather stay home, we can't. But I can try to make it less hectic than it was.

6. Ideas for school and imaginative play have been on my mind lately.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to just hanging out, tomorrow my plans include going to lunch with family and Sunday, I want to VEG (and maybe sew)!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Coppock's Cafe, what can I get ya?

I thought up a pretty nifty idea while I was in the middle of Sam's. My kids LOVE imaginative play, especially when they get to do it with a purpose. I purchased a big pack of these little memo books for us to play restaurant with. I think Emma and Chloe could really pull off the gum popping waitress with attitude. I was contemplating getting the actual order pads restaurants use, and then I contemplated the carbon paper and what that could do to my furniture. So I decided to stick with the memo books. Score one for mom! This evening I printed out the breakfast menus using clip art. I generally make or have available one of these four things, so they kids will be able to "order" their breakfast while one of them plays waitress.

Tomorrow I am going to let them help me design a lunch menu too. Dinner is the tricky one, because we don't eat the same thing every day, but I think maybe I will have to put "blue plate special" for dinner, but put all the customizable options on the menu.

After Sam's we snuck over to whatabuger, or "waterburger".

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Love Bug

We did this really cute craft today and thought we would share......

Start with some white construction paper or poster board.

Pick a color theme, we went with pink and purple finger paints and then cover the entire paper with paints.

Draw a love bug....

Cut out the love bug...

Take out your doilies or "wings"

Using double sided tape, attach your wings to your love bug.

Select eyeballs and glue them to the lovebug

Use crayons to "decorate" or address the lovebug

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dollar Store Treasure

I went for my well woman exam on Monday. I had to shave for real, not just the winter leg shave. Usually I just shave my calves during the winter cause I'm lazy and Brian doesn't care. But I had to do the whole freaking leg!! (and then throw away the poor, broken razor). I found out I am an old lady who needs to have a mammogram, and really there is only one thing to do with news like that, go shopping. But I'm cheap, so....

Afterwards, we went digging for buried treasures, ancient mayan treasure, at the Dollar Store. Brian would prefer it if I never ever stepped foot in a dollar store again, he can't fathom how I can go and spend twenty dollars there. It is mostly crap and while I see his point, he doesn't understand... The children have threatened to resort to guerrilla tactics if I cut them off, and that is not a civil war I want to fight.

John got these nifty silver bracers, real silver I'm sure. He explained to the cashier that he needed them to fight bad guys (notice the badge he is wearing). Silver is better at fighting bad guys apparently. I think he has been reading werewolf books behind my back. The cashier thought he was a RIOT and asked him to come home and defend her too. He said he was busy, "he has lot of girls, they are alot of work". From the mouths of babes.... I think his daddy would agree.

Emma got a full princess ensemble, including really, really garish metallic teal nails that stick on and are at least three inches long. I would only buy this at the dollar store. I am crossing my fingers and toes that this isn't a sign of things to come. It will take extra doses of Gamma Rays for my dear sweet Emma to hulk out and look natural with those. She also got a yo yo that broke halfway home.

Chloe always chooses the most interesting things. First she chose the pom poms when she went to the dollar store with my mom. But then she said "they weren't as fun as I thought they would be" so she choose an easter egg full of spinning tops.

Momversation Monday cont.: Which is harder, being a wife or a mother?

I have been thinking about this most of the day. When I have something on my mind, it usually tumbles around for a series of days. I think on it, and then put it away for a bit, think on it more, put it away for a bit. I thought about putting my thoughts into the comment of the original post, but I might be long winded. (Me? long winded? say it ain't so)

Something Clarissa commented on started me on this line of thinking, and then all the other comments started the hamster on the wheel running. She and I had a conversation a long time ago where I expressed the idea that we as women have been lied to. Somewhere in college I heard it, you hear through the media TV and commercials all the time. We were told we could have it all, a tastefully decorated and immaculately clean home, an home organization system a la Real Simple magazine, an efficient household machine with meals that would make Martha Stewart (I'm not knocking her, I like her and habitually rip off her crafts) jealous, a blissful marriage, a full and fulfilling career, an absolutely divine motherhood experience where each and every single one of your children get everything they need from you. And if you fall short of any of this, there must be something wrong with you. Its not really true. You can have some, and maybe even a lot if you are very lucky.... but you can't have it all.

There wasn't some government conspiracy to perpetuate this thought, in a way, women have. I am going to use myself as an example, just so it doesn't come off as "preachy" because that isn't what I intend. Every time I post on my blog about the awesome heights of family bliss we have reached, but don't post about the lows or the anxiety, I am not being real and I am perpetuating this myth that family is all rainbows and smiles. When I run to clean up the house so it can look showroom perfect to impress a friend, even though I KNOW this isn't how we actually live, and that I had to growl at my children like an angry doberman to achieve it, but of course I'm not going to tell you that... I'm perpetuating this myth.

I have a theory that if we would all live more transparently with each other, we would actually be doing a huge service to womankind as a whole, and our daughters. I used to suggest that we should all load up in cargo vans, and spontaneously do an unexpected "tour of homes". We could all grab out coffee, and go from house to house unexpectedly "dropping in", I also think Dr. Phil style cameras would work too. The dirty laundry, last nights dishes, bickering with husbands and arguing with children, moms in pajamas with no make up, children covered in drool.... it would all be there in every house. I stopped suggesting that when everyone looked at me in horror. But this would do so much to break this facade of perfect everyone always tries to project. It would do so much to break the myth.

So for my part, I have tried to be very even handed with the blogging showing the highs and the lows. But I am committed to being even more transparent in real life. I kicked that off this morning by not cleaning my house and wearing pjs for a playdate!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Momversation Monday: Which is harder, being a wife or a mother?

So the ladies over at Momversation asked the question: Which is harder, being a wife? or being a mom?

I found this question kinda tough to answer. Being married to Brian is very easy. We are low on the drama meter, and we are alot alike in all the right places. Having been in a bad relationship, I know this is a good one.

I love being both wife and mom and I have a feeling that if the only two roles I had to fill were wife and mother maybe it wouldn't be so bad. I have all the right instincts for both jobs. We have added teacher with homeschooling, and then with Brian gone so much I have alot of single mom problems, and with his schedule he relies on me more for his own mundane errands because he doesn't have time..... I think maybe if we had a housekeeper who did all the shopping, cooking and cleaning this would be a non- issue, but we don't, so its the main issue. I just realized... I want an Alice from the Brady Bunch.......

My problem is less with either role and more with the juggling act, trying to get everything done and done right, all at the same time. Its like I am always sacrificing something. Either I sacrifice the housecleaning and management, or the time with the kids, or the couple time, or me time, or school (which isn't even up for debate/sacrifice).

For example, if we have a full school day and then playtime with mom, well, that is an awesome day! But I didn't get the grocery shopping done, so we are going to have to grab something for dinner.... But that isn't what we want to do, we are trying to be more thoughtful with our money, so there is guilt there. Not to mention, Brian needed me to go to the insurance office to pick up paperwork, so I feel guilty about shirking that duty. The house needs attention too, so I feel like that's another craptacular thing I forgot, and I didn't get to the gym for my time... I feel often that I need to clone myself, soon.

I have a problem feeling like I am enough, like what I am doing is enough if it is less than ideal perfection. For some reason, I have a vision of perfection in my head, and when I don't live up to that, I feel guilty and like I am not doing enough. Brian has never made me feel that way, but I make me feel that way. I know its not truth, I know that what I do matters more that what I don't do. But I think that I know that in my head, but I need to believe it in my heart. So in that sense, I feel more guilt over the kids, because they can't do for themselves, whereas if it came down to it, Brian could...... so maybe the mother is the harder job for me just because of the "mommy guilt".

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Works for Me: Starbucks Cup

Before you trash your frappachino cup, you might wanna hold onto it. It makes an awesome, tidy paint cup for little hands. The chunky brushes from Lakeshore Learning Store fit PERFECTLY!
This is now my new excuse for visiting Starbucks.....

Friday, January 9, 2009

National Delurking Week

So this week is national de-lurking week. A time when those who read blogs, but haven't felt that there was an appropriate time to start commenting can safely take the plunge and leave a comment. Don't be shy, just say hi (wait, that rhymed...see what I mean about unintentional rhyming? Its like I can't stop).

I read many blogs, but I don't always have the time to comment. This week I am making the effort to comment more. I know it means alot to the people writing the blogs, though I know I read them, they don't unless I comment. So make a blogger happy and comment on your favorite blogs!