Friday, May 20, 2016

Homemade Chore Chart and Toothbrushing Chart

*Originally posted April 2013 but I brought it out of the vault because we stopped doing this for some reason and we NEED TO START AGAIN!

I think I might FINALLY have something in place that will get all the little things done that need to be done around the house. And no, I did not have 5 children so they could be my minions. I am merely instilling responsibility in them now since when they grow up they will be doing chores around their own pad.

Who am I kidding? Odds are at least two of the five will turn out like me: MESSY and SLOBBY but can find anything in a pinch for about 20 years after leaving home and THEN the realization will hit them around 40 that keeping things kinda picked up and purged is a lot easier than cleaning for days at a time after it gets out of hand!

My sweet and crazy kids after church one night at Cure of Ars, where my husband and I got married in 1998 and where I was baptized, etc. in 1999.
So here's the link to my recently made combination Homemade Chore Chart and Toothbrushing Chart on Google Docs so you can check it out and then make your own in Excel however you like. Or you can just look at it and laugh or make fun of me or whatever crumbles your cookie.

We've tried many different chore charts over the years but my kids like how I set this one up. They love that I store it in a plastic page protector, keep it on the fridge, then they can use a dry erase marker to cross things off as they complete them. They LOVE using the dry erase marker!

Note: I had to add in pencil at the bottom that Joel feed the dog breakfast, Michael feeds him dinner and Callie is in charge of keeping water in the dog bowl. I got tired of catching the poor dog drinking from the toilet because he had no water in his bowl!

Wondering how I get them to clean the bathroom? Check out my Funny Bathroom Cleaning Instructions with a funny ecard here!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Babies Need a Bassinet, Some Bedding, Clothing, a Full Tummy & Love

Please enjoy this guest post today while I am busy packing up my house to put things in storage while we continue our house hunt and work on preparing our home to move! We are moving because our family grew so quickly and they are getting bigger and bigger, so today's post about what babies need is pretty fitting!

Babies need a bassinet, some baby bedding, clothes, a full tummy and love

There is a thing about newborn babies ... their parents think that they are going to have the most wonderful and unique child in the world. Most parents-to-be act as if they are going to welcome the king or the queen of the world.

So, as per this assumption, their prep always goes overboard. Because in their minds they are preparing for the king/queen so everything has to be top notch, there have to be at least two or three backup options, and everything in the market for the baby must be bought and brought to the nursery.
Not to be a downer or a spoiler ... your enthusiasm is absolutely right and your baby is actually the king/queen of the world in your eyes, but make sure your rational self is somewhere breathing in all this baby excitement and hype.

Your best guidance comes from the people around you who have been down the same road of parenting recently. So when they tell you there is no sleeping after the baby, they are absolutely right. Also, you should ask them about their baby equipment shopping experience. 

Too Many Baby Bedding Options

Here’s another funny story: new parents buy a bassinet, a crib and a co-sleeper for their newborn. Three beds for a tiny human being. Although it should be sensible since all babies do is sleep all day, three beds are too much.

Of course, three beds will translate into countless amounts of baby bedding. Even if you have bought the baby bedding online in Australia on discount from, your budget will be exceeded tremendously. One of the other places where you can have a look at baby bedding can be IZZZ, which also contains a good collection of online baby bedding in Australia.

Did you catch the cycle here? You bought three beds and the subsequent expenses increased. So by buying extra, you are increasing your future expenses too.

Too Many Gadgets

Browse any online store for newborn goods or go to any shop for baby stuff and you will be bombarded with plenty of gadgets that will be promising a different and new thing.

There will be bouncers, baby monitors, baby cry detectors, baby’s milk temperature checker, poop advisor, and what not. Everything related to your baby has turned into a marketing gig for many brands out there.

Interestingly, the thing about gadgets for baby is that they are very cute and welcoming; you simply want to buy them at first glance. However, when tempted, call your rational self and ask if your baby will truly need it and make a purchasing decision based on an honest answer.

Too Many Clothes

Your baby will grow quickly. So all the zero-size clothes you have bought for him or her will not be used. They will stay brand new. The simple rule is to buy enough clothes for one or two months and then go shopping again and buy new clothes as the baby grows. Don't forget you will also probably get many new clothes as gifts.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Kerrie Show Summer Reading List 2016 #SummerReadingList

I'm not gonna lie to you. Last year's summer reading list did not go well. Maybe because I chose all nonfiction and couldn't find any fiction to really dig into. Here were those. All worthy books, but I think I skimmed them and gave them all away. Dream Lovers was so depressing that I could not continue. The homeschool books didn't offer a lot of new info for me. Ask made me realize I want out of direct sales like YESTERDAY. We are thinking about moving STILL so I am trying to cut down on clutter and am using the library more for print books and free audiobooks and ebooks.

Here are the 8 I am tackling this summer and I'll check back in with a post about each one later on. Keep in mind audiobooks count as "reading" a book in my world ... you are still taking in the content into your brain. I have one of these books in print from the library and on loan as an audiobook from the library for free so I can switch back and forth when I'm going on a walk and need audio versus when I force myself to sit down and read a physical book.
  1. The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman. Yes, this has been around a long time and, no, we have never read it. Aron and I saw it when we had our overnight date back in March and wondered which love language we each were. We knew we were not the Receiving Gifts one for sure but hmmm ... So I got the book and so far we have only taken the quiz at the back. We are hoping to have lazy nights on the porch checking out more of this book but, honestly, since we are both an 11 on Physical Touch, I think we are probably just fine. My second one is Quality Time, also not rocket science, but his second one is Acts of Service, so we should at the very least read THAT chapter so I know more what he would like from me other than just the basics of doing laundry, dishes, cooking, etc. **Did you also know there is a book for Singles and for Children about the five love languages?! Aron and I have pretty much figured out that each of our kids is a different one of the five!!!!!
  2. Seven Desires: Looking Past What Separates Us to Learn What Connects Us by Mark & Debbie Laaser. When we saw The Five Love Languages at the bookstore, Aron brought up this book he had also heard good things about so I also bought it post-overnight-date. The seven desires are: to be heard and understood; to be affirmed; to be blessed; to be safe; to be touched; to be chosen; to be included. Hearing a few of those really resonated with me and made me think certain things not only about being in a marriage but also about being a kid. For instance, to be included can mean being included in a mom's night out with friends you are getting to know and it can also mean being asked to sit at the lunch table at school for a kid.
  3. The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic: How Engaging 1% of Catholics Could Change the World by Matthew Kelly. I saw this on a table in our church entryway and normally don't go for religious books but I had to pick this one up. The four signs are: prayer, study, generosity and evangelization. Anyone who knows me knows I prefer to evangelize with my life and not by going after people to get them to convert to my religion. But I could be misunderstanding the word evangelization, which freaks me out for some reason. I picture used car salesmen.
  4. A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life by Bethenny Frankel. This is an older book but I've always wanted to read it ever since I watched the author on The Real Housewives of New York City and there were episodes where she was talking about writing this book. I'm not sure I can get through this book since she's probably going to talk about the early days of wedded bliss and motherhood, when these days she is going through a horrid divorce. It just makes me kinda sad but I bet it's packed with fun advice.
  5. After Her by Joyce Maynard. I first heard about this author in the 1990s when she was writing raw stuff about her experience being pregnant and giving birth. While on our overnight date, Aron picked out a book pretty quickly but I had a lot of trouble. I checked out the new stuff and there was a Joyce Maynard book and I knew the name, but the new book was hardback and expensive. So I figured I would give Where Love Goes a shot, since it was the only one on the regular shelf I thought I might like. Loved it (heartbreaking story of divorced couple and what comes after, starting new relationships and what that looks like for the CHILDREN, which many parents SAY they are considering but really they are pretty much thinking with their LONELINESS and their sexy parts). Anyway, I was hooked on this author and happy to see she has written a lot more! This one is "a haunting novel of sisterhood, sacrifice, and suspense." Oh, and she wrote Labor Day, which became a movie that I saw and LOVED and it was NOT what I expected at all. So you get three links here and you're welcome!
  6. The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard. See #5 and this one is about "friendship, family secrets, and the strange twists of fate that shape our lives." Good enough for me.
  7. Trim Healthy Mama: the easy-does-it approach to vibrant health & a slim waistline by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison (I also have the cookbook). I used to get a little magazine called Above Rubies that was full of inspiring stories from real women raising a bunch of kids, some homeschooling, some homesteading, and so much more. It was great to read about the struggles and triumphs of moms like me and unlike me. These are super healthy sisters and I'll have what they're having (which is stuff like collagen for your skin, hair and nails and joints and also a lot of other cool things I had not heard of).
  8. Quality Lesson Plans for Secondary Physical Education by Zakrajsek, Carnes and Pettigrew. My friend at coop (and Joel's Confirmation sponsor!) gave me this one because she was the coop gym teacher this past year and I will be doing it this coming year and, boy, do I need help. I'm not sure if my parents have stopped laughing about this development, seeing as how I was not exactly the best at sports growing up (severe understatement).
And if this isn't enough, I also have a BONUS post of more books I want to read! I don't force myself to read something if I am hating it, so I like to have a few others on deck just in case, including a bunch on codependency!!!! I'll post that ASAP so come back or sign up for an email subscription because I am book-crazy and always reading and always writing more!

If you are a writer, parent or someone who EATS and are looking for something to add to your summer reading list, consider MY books, here, two of which are available as print books and all four in Kindle format ... AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO OWN A KINDLE TO GET THEM! You can "follow" me as an author on Amazon if you never want to miss an update or new book!

*Disclosure: I have put links to purchase books on this post and if you do purchase I might get a few pennies. Just wanted you to know!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Fully Loaded Tater Tot Casserole (FREE Tater Tot Cookbook Ebook April 25th!!)

It's the age-old question: what's for dinner? This question is followed by: what's for dessert?

Well, now you have lots of options because The Tater Tot Casserole Cookbook is in print version for just $6.49 (free shipping with Amazon Prime!)* so you can hold it in your hot little hands and keep it on your bookshelf. You can also give copies as gifts to friends and family and coworkers and neighbors and your kids' teachers and your mailman or mailwoman and your mechanic and anyone who cooks, which is like EVERYONE!

FREE for download on April 25, 2016!

In the process of making a print version, I made it BIGGER and BETTER for you! I added another tot recipe (Fully Loaded Tater Tot Casserole) for a total of 35 recipes. I asked friends and family and added some dessert recipes for a total of 13 wonderful desserts.

Each of the 48 recipes includes a personal note, and, of course, you still have the tips and funnies.

I've also added some information on meal planning basics since you can't have tater tot casserole every night of the week, right? Right?! Okay, maybe you can.

The Kindle version of the book is only $2.99, and if you are a subscriber of Kindle Unlimited, you can check out up to 10 ebooks per month that are part of the KU program. I always make my books available on the KU program!

I hope you enjoy it and spread the news ... I love reviews, good or bad! And every sale goes toward the "Moving to the Country" fund! Here is a recipe from the book called Fully Loaded and it's a bit different from the other recipes!

You’ll really dig this one! This is the new addition to the cookbook and has all kinds of decadent goodness! I added this one for my son Michael, who is not a fan of ground beef in general!

1 pound turkey deli lunch meat of your choice
2 pounds frozen tater tots
Jalapeno peppers, sliced
Black olives, sliced
1 cup sour cream
Green onions
½ pound of bacon, cooked crisp
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1.         Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray the bottom of a 9 x 13” pan with cooking spray.
2.       Cook bacon until crispy and transfer to paper towels to soak up any grease. Cut up bacon using scissors or chop on a cutting board.
3.       Chop the lunchmeat and place in the bottom of the sprayed 9 x 13” pan so the bottom of the pan is covered.
4.                      Dump out the bag of tater tots over the meat.
5.        Place remaining ingredients, including bacon, in the pan and stir it all up.
6.       Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for about 30 minutes.

7.         Take out of the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

*The print edition got too costly when I tried to put photos in it, so I hopefully successfully made it so if you buy the print book you can get the Kindle version free, which has some fun photos in it. I figured you would rather have a $6.49 print book with no photos than a $17 print book with color pictures. Your order might take longer than 2 days to receive only because it's a print on demand service.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

My Fourth Child's First Communion #CatholicHippieMom

The milestones are just flying by while I'm homeschooling, carpooling, going to track meets and soccer games and practices, going to co-op, running errands, making meals, doing dishes and laundry. FLYING BY! I'm trying to grab on to them and enjoy them as much as I can. Sunday was my fourth kid's First Communion ceremony and my last kid to wear a beautiful white dress and veil and shoes ... which of course then starts me thinking about my kids getting married and then I'm a blubbery mess. So let's get back to the photos of the big day!

Yeah, this one is the WORST for making me cry! Imagine this in 15ish years!

Heading into the church. Her dad and I stood right there in June 1998 watching some of our newly married friends come out of the same church before we were even married ourselves.

Waiting in the vestibule.

She made this at her retreat the day before.

Processing. Not prah-cessing, but PRO-cessing.

She also got to help take up the money!

Waiting for First Communion and a little nervous.

We love Father Saiki!

Grandma Mac!

Bridget, the Director of Religous Education and overall sweetheart.

Eva and Samuel, partners in grime.

Eva Gavin, my Eva's godmother and my friend for 14 years and one of the neatest people I know.

Yes, My Little Pony is on the cake!

Parental units in front of the house.


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