Monday, August 29, 2011

Poke Sticks and Poke Chops: Important Conversations

Here is a deep conversation between 3-year-old Eva and me. I wish I could just freeze the kids at the ages they are now!

Eva: "Look, Mommy, I got a poke stick."

Me:"Cool! Is that like a poke chop?"

Eva, thinking: "Yes, it's just like a poke chop."

Folks, "school" will be starting at my house again soon ... the day after Labor Day to be exact. So you'll be seeing me around here half as much, and I may just be posting quickie things and using some guest bloggers I think you'll enjoy. Most likely it will be a lot of homeschooling and household stuff, since I'm deep in that world right now. Any writing stuff I'm dealing with (ebook cookbook, Boobie Trapped Mommy memoir, etc.) will be over at http://getpublishedparentingmags.com.

Have a great weekend, and thanks for coming by!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Aunt Cathy!

When is her bday? Find a picture to post!

You are a consistently kind and thoughtful person, and funny to boot! I'll never forget hanging around listening to you and my mom talking for hours on end when I was a kid. You scared the hell out of me when you told my mom your childbirth story, and it's a wonder I have any kids of my own!!!! You covered my eyes during the nudie parts of Caddyshack (FYI: I have my own boobies, ya know. Well, I guess I didn't back then!). You are one of the best cooks I know and always have food on hand, which makes me love you all the more. You didn't bat an eye when one of my toddler kids (who was it again?) dropped a dump on your pool deck, and you never freaked out when they had tantrums. I could go on and on about you.

When you and my uncle got divorced, I was devastated and thought I would not see you anymore. And in fact I didn't see you for a long time, in large part because I went my own stupid way for a few years in my late teens and early 20s. Then one day in 1995, God brought us back together. I was at a restaurant downtown where I had never been and haven't been back to since. I had a fight with a girlfriend there and I told her to just leave me there. I was walking around the front of the restaurant trying to figure out who to call in the middle of the day to come and get me when YOU popped out of the office! YOU drove me home, and after that we stayed in touch and you and my mom got back in touch. I am thrilled to have you (and your amazing sons) in my life.

Thank you for the generous gift for my birthday so I could buy a laptop and pursue my writing dream. Now you go out and do the same because I know you have a book in you!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kim Kardashian's $2 Million Ring

Wow, Kim Kardashian's man must REEEEEEAAAALLLLLY love her to give her a $2 million ring! The picture above is my hand next to a picture of hers. Like Kim, I have been married before. Let's see if Kim can make her second marriage last as long as mine has (almost 13 years; 16 years together).

 I'm not trying to be a jerk, but WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING wearing something like that around? I would be afraid some random person would cut my finger off to get that ring. So I ask you (and I think I already know the answer): does a bigger, better ring equal a bigger, longer, better marriage?

I think not. I love my ring. I took forever to find it. I think it's interesting that it has 5 stones and I have 5 kids. I wonder if that means something! My ring cost under $2 million. In fact, it cost under $2,000. I didn't want something that was obnoxiously big or too expensive for my man. I wanted something pretty that nobody would hopefully steal that was COMFORTABLE.

Dang, I wish you could upload a picture on the Comments section of the blog. Maybe put your wedding ring on your own blog or Facebook pic me ... I'd love to see your wedding ring and hear the story behind it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

CouponChief.com

I know many of you who read my blog are trying to save money like I am. The economy is doing strange things, and we are all cutting corners where we can. That's what I love about CouponChief.com, a really cool site that you have to check out. Do a search by company or by category and you are bound to find something you're looking for to help you save money on online purchases of products and services.

I have actually used CouponChief.com before and just didn't realize it. I searched for coupons for nursing bras at Bravado Designs and found one on CouponChief.com for 20% off. When you're talking about a $50 bra, 20% is nice to save.

They also have a "Pays-2-Share" program where you upload coupons to your own site, and every time someone uses a coupon you've uploaded, you get 2% of the sales, which is not a lot, but it is better than a poke in the eye with a stick and I'm sure it adds up. I plan to sign up and try it, so watch for coupons and codes in some of my blog posts that I feel are relevant to you.

Their web site is easy to navigate, and I can't wait to do some Christmas shopping using coupons from CouponChief.com! Head over there and check out their stores ... there are thousands! See you there :-)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

McDonald's Playland Sock Policy (Overland Park, Kansas)

I think I’ll call posts like the following (Mommy)Kerrie Behaving Badly. Something happened to me when I became a mom: I turned into a fierce Mama Bear. I used to be the meek only child who was bullied on the way home from school. Then I married an abusive guy (NOT my current husband!!!). Now it’s like I’m on a campaign to eradicate bunches of b.s. in the world where kids are concerned. Simply put: a lot of adults annoy me. So here’s my latest story in a long line of stories:

So I took 5 kids plus Jordan to McDonald’s Playland the end of June so I could try to load Microsoft Office 2010 onto my sweet new laptop. Since I didn’t have Internet access at home, I had to go to the good ole Mickey D’s. Jordan and I dropped some serious cash on food to keep the kids happy and off they went to play.

Soon a snotty little girl started telling Michael that he had to leave because he had no socks on. She was quoting her mom and pointing to the sign that said you had to wear socks to play in the PlayLand. I didn’t think much about it since half the kids in there had no socks on. If it’s not life-threatening (i.e., blood or fire), an issue often falls off my radar screen. Such is the life of a mom of many.

After a few more minutes a female employee came in to tell me the kids need to wear socks. I asked her specifically why, since it’s June and it’s hot and who really carries socks around for 5 little kids in the middle of summer anyway except for those anal, uptight, Type A moms we don’t want to know? She said it’s a Health Department issue and they could be shut down. I told her that’s not true. What is it about kid feet that is any grosser than kid hands? And have you taken a look at the nasty McD’s floor lately? Any socks worn there would have to be burned afterward.

I told her I wanted to see the Health Department decree she was talking about so she went to get … a manager. He was a treat and reminded me of Dwight from Atlanta Housewives. He said we could buy socks and I said I was not going to buy his socks when I just spend a small fortune on their food. Let’s just say I put up a fight because that’s what I do. I didn’t want to buy socks and I didn’t want to make the kids stop playing. I was stuck, and so I was mad and acted like a jerk mother and might have cussed at the guy a little and might have said some not nice things to the guy in front of my kids after he followed tiny Sam around and said in his face, "Would you like some socks, little boy?"

Look, I get that a policy is a policy. I’m just saying it’s stupid. I’m also saying that a lot of policies are stupid and should be challenged. No breastfeeding in certain restaurants, anyone?!

If I had any sort of attention span, I’d have to consider law school because I’ll throw down verbally with just about anyone these days.

SOOOO ... I was a little ashamed of myself and hadn't posted this yet, but Friday my friend called me to tell me that our McDonald's in Overland Park, KS (87th and Farley) pulled this on some moms again. An employeed named Sarah got after all the moms in the Playland about the socks. Then she got a manager (haven't verified if it was the same manager treat I got). The moms did not leave (they were having a Foot-In), so the MANAGER CALLED THE POLICE. The police came and KICKED OUT THE MOMS AND KIDS!!!

So I ask of you, people, do your kids wear socks in McDonald's Playlands? Do you carry them just in case (I sure do, even in summer now)? Or do you wait for somebody to hop your case and then either leave or buy them for $1 at McD's? Orrrrr ... are you all compliant about wearing the socks and make sure to teach your kids to obey all policies? I am really dying to debate this one!

Anti-Television People; TV is BAD!!!

I was reading this book by a homeschooling mom of 9. The book has a lot of good tips and I'll "review" it later, but one thing that annoyed me is that she sets this standard of hardly any TV watching in her house. My husband would gladly give our TV away in a second (although what, my love, would you watch the Netflix movies on besids my laptop?).

Anyway, the mom said something about unwinding OTHER ways, like by reading or playing a game or ... I don't remember what else. I want to defend television by saying that sometimes it is the BEST way to unwind for some people. Think about it. There is no interaction or thinking usually. You just watch something mindless and you get to RELAX YOUR BRAIN.

Lady, I don't WANT my brain "on" all the time. If I'm sick or overwhelmed or find myself suddenly alone in my house (rare!), I like to have the TV on to just chill.

Do we watch too much TV at my house? Sure. But I have to say a good half of it is PBS educational stuff that's on while Sam is nursing and sleeping on me. It's our "quiet time." What's the difference between them watching that and other homeschoolers sticking their kid in front of a Bob Jones University DVD for hours while they "do school"?????

When the TV is on, they are occupied and quiet. A cousin of Aron's once called it the TV-sitter. I admire you if you have no television, but I can't do it. We only have one TV and are certainly not fanatics, but it is nice every once in a while to zone out, no?

Friday, August 19, 2011

How to Grow Pumpkins in Your Backyard

When Aron and I were first dating and he was traveling, he got me a sweet children's book called "The Pumpkin Blanket."


Last year Joel tossed some pumpkin seeds and gunk into our garden as composting, then this year Aron located what looked like some pumpkin vines. He transplanted them to the end of the garden so they wouldn't kill our tomatoes, beans, carrots and beets, and they are TAKING OVER the garden, climbing OUT OF the garden and resting on our air conditioner.


I can't wait to see how many actual good pumpkins we get out of this "crop." I wonder if my kids will cover them with blankets if they get cold come October. Anyone for pumpkin pie? I'll mail you a piece!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

You Bow, Girl!

If you have a little girl (or a little girl to shop for, at least), you are going to love this Etsy shop run by my friend Carrie Horton. She's one of those friends who adds so much to your life that you don't know how she can put up with you. She has 7 kids (ranging from new baby to 16), writes articles, runs this amazing bow business AND loaned me "The Outlander" ... trashy/classy historic noveling at its finest!

When I went into her basement and saw her physical shop (as opposed to her online shop!), I was floored. My girls don't wear a lot of bows, though. Doesn't matter. She has these tiny knit hats that are all jazzed up, and I think I felt my ovaries sigh in anticipation of another baby girl sometime down the line (maybe when I'm 45).



And I love these necklaces she has ... they are so simple but so great. It's a metal washer on a ribbon that you can attach different bottle cap magnets to.  Of course the bottle cap magnets are JAZZED UP ... with rhinestones, initials, etc.

Here's my favorite bow, only because it matches a dress I wore when I was first dating Aron. It's too short for me now, so I've saved it for my girls to wear someday (like they'll even want to!).

If you know Carrie, order from her Etsy shop and use coupon code FRIENDSSHIP for free shipping so you can just grab your order from her locally.

Monday, August 15, 2011

School Supply List Stupidity, A Shout Out to All Teachers, BACK TO SCHOOL TODAY

Okay, so I know someone who is putting her kid in school this year who would rather homeschool, but her man is anti. So she was discussing a couple of issues with me, and after talking to her about these things I realize that the school system in general is better off WITHOUT me as a school mom because I am so argumentative and logical about stuff that the SYSTEM would drive me insane. My skin is too thin on issues of general waste and stupidity! Here are a couple of her issues. Add your own to the Comments section!

  1. Her son's class needs like 16 plastic folders because "they get beaten up each quarter" and they want to have a fresh set each quarter. This is kindergarten, folks. We are starting them out learning that plastic folders can just be tossed like it's no big deal. Office Depot has a sale right now that has PAPER pocket folders for ONE PENNY each. There is a limit of 10, but who says you can't send each member of your family in separately to buy them? When they get beaten up, you RECYCLE THEM. Novel idea for a school, I suppose.
  2. Hand sanitizer is on all the school supply lists these days, as well. My friend says she isn't buying that because she doesn't want her kids using it. When do they use it, I wonder? After using the bathroom, you wash your hands. I get needing baby wipes for easy cleanup, but are we going to Purell the kids upon entering class every day and when returning from recess or what? Haven't these educators read about how we are killing too much bacteria with these sanitizers and are getting sicker in the process? We are bringing upon the opposite effect of what we want to happen.
  3. I am sympathetic to teachers, believe me. I understand that they are often at the mercy of the principal, or the school board or other administrators who are so out of touch and clueless that is laughable. So teachers, I love ya, and I feel for ya. You are doing what you are told. You don't always want to teach this way. This isn't what you had in mind when you were in college. You might even want a less anal-retentive and repetitive way of running your classroom, but you are stuck. You need this job and you love teaching kids. And let's not forget how hard it is to teach 25 kids of roughly the same age who all learn in a different manner and at a different pace. It's a wonder any of us get out knowing anything.
  4. School starts TODAY in my 'hood. With THREE WEEKS LEFT at the pools. Why can't we let the kids have like 2 extra weeks of summer? Why can't summer be a full June, July and August anymore? The first few months of school are mostly review anyway! Can't we find a way to combine the pool and learning, like paint ABCs and math facts on the bottom of the pool? Those who don't go swimming could do a few worksheets to refresh their memory before school started again in SEPTEMBER.
I'm just saying!


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hermit Crabs are the Perfect Pet!

Our daughtersitter Jordan got Joel 2 hermit crabs for his birthday in June, and they are such a cool homeschool pet! One is Herman and the other is Ashley. They can be lazy or quite active. They don't really pinch, but crawl around on you. They can be fast! They can also cost a lot of cabbage (money, for those of you who don't watch Rescue Me).

You need a fiberglass cage with a top, a special lamp, dishes, stuff for them to climb on, bigger shells for them to grow into, guages and water bottle with sprayer and special saltwater and special food and special sand and special mulchy stuff.


Sorry this looks cloudy ... Joel had just sprayed the inside to make it tropical-ish.

The bulbs for the lamp break if you bump them into anything. The thing is, they get very hot and you have to take the top off the cage often to water them to keep the humidity levels up. So my kids were busting a $7 bulb like once a week until my husband said, "Let's just use 75-watt bulbs from the hardware store." He's a financial genius because those are like $1.50 for 4 bulbs and they work like a charm. Likewise, you can make your own saltwater for the little guys. Check on Freecycle.org for a free cage, also.

For basic crab care, I love this site because the writer calls the crab home a CRABITAT. Love it!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mom's Life Video

Aron just sent me the companion for the Dad's Life video I posted recently. It rocks! Check it out!

Friday, August 12, 2011

First Aid Sprays for Kids: Dermoplast is the Winner!!!

I just assumed all first aid sprays were good for kids. I mean, why would it sting and not help a cut to feel better instantly. It started when I was using Bactine on cuts. I could've just rinsed the cut or scrape off, but I sprayed it with Bactine, thinking it would feel better. But the kids said, "It stings!" I'm like, "It can't sting, it's Bactine ... it makes it feel better!"

Then I fell on my face at the pool and used the Bactine on myself and OUCHIE WA WA! So forget that. We'll be using that only on the adults who can handle the pain a little better.

A while back I got this CVS brand first aid spray, which is a knock-off of some other major brand. It was wicked expensive, but cheaper than Dermoplast, so I got it. I used it on the kids a few times and they screamed their heads off when I did. I'm like, "But it's supposed to clean the cut AND be a pain reliever. WTH?"



Then I tried it on myself. FREAKING OUCH! Forget that.

THEN I got smart. I whipped out my 2-year-old can of Dermoplast. It's what I've always been given after I've had a baby for my hoo-ha area, and it has NEVER stung a bit. So I tried it on my pool cut and it DID NOT STING!



You can tell something has pain reliever in it if you accidentally get some on your finger and your finger goes in your mouth and your tongue goes numb. I like to provide a service to my readers, as you know. You're welcome for that little tidbit.

The moral of the story is: spend the extra money on the Dermoplast if it's for your kids or for your hoo-ha. Or if you have a poor toddler who wasn't circumcized properly (as two of mine were not), and he gets a red, infected-ish penis every few months. Thankfully they learn how to clean their own and grow out of THAT problem, poor guys.

Flat Stanley Curriculum

Check out this link for a cool Flat Stanley curriculum lesson plan. If you homeschool or your kid didn't get to experience Flat Stanley around 2nd grade, check it out. It's something you can do even if you don't homeschool ... you get to make a Stanley and then mail him to someone, who will mail him somewhere else or back to you, will take him places and take pictures of him to email to you or print out for you. You can make a scrapbook or a blog about Flat Stanley. It's a neat unit study! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Legos in the Shape of a Teardrop: Can It Be Done?!

Yep, it can be done! Check out this link for other cool shapes you can make with LEGOs. By the way, don't you love when your kids snap a picture that's great except for that you look like an all-out goober in the background? Ah, the sacrifices we make for our kids!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Legos in the Shape of a Circle: Can It Be Done?!

Check out this link on how to make round shapes with square bricks. It was fun winding the boys up and letting them run all over the house to find the 1x2 bricks. When they had enough, they went to work. It was a neat challenge!

If you have a Lego Lover in your house, this is a fun project that your kid can do while you make dinner or eat your bon bons.
Let's recap, folks: just because this is posting in the middle of the night does not mean I am AWAKE in the middle of the night. It means I utilize auto-post in Blogger so technology does the work for me. I set auto-post, then it posts, then it bounces to Twitter, then to Facebook and LinkedIn and Yahoo. It kills a ton of birds with one keystroke! Try it if you blog!

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Lemonade Stand Learning" ... get the kids outside!

Check out my article "Lemonade Stand Learning" in the July/August issue of On the Coast Magazine in Florida. Just scroll down and click on the magazine to view the digital edition. My article might make you want to send the kids outside for an end-of-summer, before back-to-school lemonade stand! Maybe the kids can make money for their own school supplies! Nah, that would be akin to child abuse these days, so you didn't hear it from me!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Idiot-Sized Sour Cream

This post goes out to my cousin Kyle. Once we were on a family vacation, and we were having tacos. It was someone's job to bring sour cream. That person brought a huge container, because we were feeding like 25 people. My cousin Kyle, just a teenager at the time, goes, "Who brought the idiot-sized sour cream?!?!" Well, folks, you guessed right if you said that the people who brought the sour cream were .... (drum roll, please) ... OUR GRANDPARENTS. We have never stopped giving him crap over that one!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Field Trip: Kemper Outdoor Education Museum and Poppy/Nana's

So this is what it looks like when I bring all my little charges to my dad and stepmom's on any given day during the summer. They are fed wonderful things like hot dogs and sodie pop.

Today we were celebrating my dad's birthday, and I think he peed his pants when he got his Sonic gift card from us. He loves to hit the Sonic like it's a crack pipe.

After those festivities, we headed to Fleming Park (?) in Blue Springs to feed the elk. Nana bought them each their own full bag of carrots on the way.

This is Nana and Poppy outside our next stop, the Kemper Outdoor Education Center.

Look at the top of this photo to see my dad's creation called the Samburger, just for Mr. Sam, for dinner. We had a great day with the grandparents and look forward to many more to come.

Friday, August 5, 2011

QuikTrip Squart

Do you remember the QuikTrip Squart? And it's baby counterpart (I do so love a baby counterpart), the Squat? Yes, the Squart and Squat were what SOME kids brought their Jack-n-Coke to high school in. Not me, of course. Oh, no. Never. Anyway (picture me whistling and looking up), oh, how I loved those things in high school, back in 1988. I lost track of my own over the years, but have always pined for them.

So I'm in my dad's garage last week and what do I see just ROTTING in a box on a shelf? Oh, the horror. I see THIS (I had to take a picture of it because I could not find an image of one anywhere on the internet):


So of course I had to mention how much I miss my own Squart, and later my dad surprised me by bestowing his 1988 vintage, classic, antique Squart upon me. I love it well and drink from it daily.

Okay, so ONE TIME did I bring a naughty beverage to school in my Squat. One time.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Name is Kerrie, and I am a Mascara Addict

This begins the first meeting of MLA ... Mascara Lovers Anonymous. While it is true we just want to be beautiful and bat our long eyelashes at our men (well, I only have ONE man, for the record), we have come to know that our mascara stash has become unmanageable. This is a photo of my stash.

Please let me explain and give you the brands so you know what to rush out and buy, fellow mascara addicts. I got Sexy Curves by Rimmell at the advice of Jordan. It is a good base, but doesn't add volume. Lacura is Aldi's brand. It was cheap, so I wanted to try it. Colossal by Maybelline is OK paired with others. Lash Blast Fusion is just OK and it's by Cover Girl. Voluminous is my very very favorite, and it's by L'Oreal. I've used it forever, and it gives magnificent volume, like Kardashian lashes, like you're wearing fakes. I think I have 3 waterproofs (for summer) and 2 regulars currently in my makeup bag, which is just wrong.
Please share with me your very favorites so I can start acquiring the money to go buy them!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Callie's First Dance Recital


Can it be true that my first-born girl is already in her first dance recital? She's been asking to take dance lessons since she could speak, and we finally signed her up in January. She loves it and never gripes about going. Her first recital was in June, and it was really cool. The class younger than her gave us a good laugh: a bunch of 4-and 5-year-olds trying to get dance steps right while watching EACH OTHER for the right moves (blond leading the blond, anyone?). The bottom picture is of Eva and Callie together. I got them both roses. While I'm no stage mom and was a little freaked out by all the estrogen in the changing room that night, I will do anything for my kids. When we can get the cash together, I'm signing up Eva because she's been begging to go also. Four kids in activities gets costly and time-consuming, no? Thankfully we get lots of kicking-around time during the day. What activities do your kids love?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"The Dad Life" Video

You have to see this video. Whether it's you, your husband, your dad, your uncle, your neighbor or whatever, we all know a guy like this who lives The Dad Life. For me it's my husband, and he loves this video and sings it to me all the time, especially the part about "dozens of dollars ... it goes straight to my daughters and my wife." Turn it up and enjoy!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Field Trip: Crown Center Rainforest Adventure

This was not my favorite exhibit Crown Center has ever done because it was mostly tailored to older kids (ya know, learning and all that versus climbing and doing). There were some things to climb and crawl on for the little ones, but it didn't hold the interest of too many that I could see. Finally we just settled down at the coloring table for a while.
The kids posed for a picture in the gorilla nest!

We end every warm-day trip to Crown Center with a tromp through the fountains (right after our stop at Sheridan's Frozen Custard)! Aron and Sam loved getting wet on such a hot day. Too much slipping and falling and kissing boo-boos for me, though. It can be funny, and sure I laugh, but I don't like it when kids fall on their butts on wet concrete.

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