Thursday, September 29, 2011

BOGO Michael Literal Funny

Yesterday we went to the Parkside Coffeehouse at Cedar Ridge Church in Lenexa for some drinks before hitting the cool park with the lake. The coffee guy gave me a buy one get one free deal, and I took it!

Later Michael asked what deal I got. I said, "Buy one get one."

He says, "Don't you mean buy one, get one FREE? Because when you buy one, you most always GET one, right?"

Foiled again by Michael. That one keeps me on my toes for sure!

Have a great Thursday, and Happy Birthday to my sweet niece Gabrielle! We'll be at Bible Study then the local farmstead for some animal and history fun with our homeschool group. What are your plans for the day?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Why are Hershey's Kisses aerated? Like my yard?

Can someone please explain Hershey’s new aerated Kisses to me? Are we not just paying the same amount to have air whipped into our chocolate, saving money for Hershey’s? I expected them to be like 3 Musketeers inside, but there are just air pockets. It's like when my husband uses the aerator on our yard to keep the grass healthy. Do they have a mini aerator that they run over chocolate to make tiny holes in it?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

AMBER Alert for Unborn Children

There was a piece the other day in our local Catholic newspaper, The Leaven, by Ron Kelsey that really grabbed my attention. It was called, "AMBER Alert for Unborn Children." Mr. Kelsey thinks we shouldn't make a distinction between our born and unborn children. He contends that we (society) "rationalize the following evil acts:

  • killing our children by chemical and surgical abortion
  • manufacturing them via IVF or cloning
  • conducting research on them via embryonic stem-cell research
  • manipulating them via prenatal genetic screening to eliminate those who are considered undesirable"
Wow, that's a lot to think about.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dinosaur Guarding Granola Bars

This wooden puzzle was on clearance at Michael's for like, a dime. He is guarding some granola bars I made (recipe a couple of days ago in blog post format). You can see my formica breakfast table in the background. If I could, I would decorate my house like the year it was built: 1966. That's also the year my husband was born, so it was an excellent year.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Guest Post: Helping Your Kid Sleep!

Help Your Child Travel to Dreamsland Faster: Tips for Obtaining the Recommended Hours of Sleep

It's well known that sleep is extremely crucial in ensuring that your child performs well in school—experts suggest that sleep deprivation can heavily influence your child's concentration and retention levels, two abilities that are needed to take notes and past tests. Of course how many hours of sleep your child needs each night will vary upon his or her age. But for some ball park figures, the recommended hours of sleep for each age bracket goes as follows: 3 to 5 years old—11 to 13 hours; 5 to 12 years old— 9 to 11 hours; and adolescents—8.5 to 9 hours. But sometimes trying to get your child to get those recommended hours of sleep is a huge battle. That said, to learn some different ways you get your child to fall asleep faster and get the proper shut eye that he or she needs to function in school (no matter what age) read the tips listed below.

Make a "Sleep" Routine. First and foremost it's important that your child creates a sleep routine—something that he or she does to prepare to go to sleep each night. This can include anything from washing his or her face, hopping in the shower, brushing his or her teeth and then jumping in his or her pajamas 20 minutes before their typical scheduled bedtime for example. The trick is that they need to do everything in the same particular order every night. Eventually your body will become conditioned with the schedule and will send signals to the brain that it's "time for bed" once the routine is in action. This will in-turn will help your child fall asleep faster. * Extra tip: if a shower is included in the sleep routine, make sure that a cold/cool shower is omitted. Cold showers actually make our bodies go into a "cold shock." This agitates our central nervous system, which ultimately gives your child the results you don't want—a new found jolt of energy. Instead, suggest your child takes warm/hot showers. The steam will help relax your child's muscles enabling them to fall asleep more soundly.

Avoid Feeding Your Child Heavy Meals Near Bedtime. According to experts, heavy meals will only disrupt your child's digestive system and make them terribly uncomfortable and unable to fall asleep. A "light" snack that is high in tryptophan (a natural sleep inducing agent) may just so the trick though. Some of these types of snacks include a tall glass of milk, bananas and nuts.

No Stimulants an Hour Before Bed Time. This not only includes consuming caffeinated beverages such as tea and soda or avoiding mild form of exercise that can invigorate the body and mind, but it also includes watching television, playing video games, checking Facebook or even texting —studies show that doing these kind of activities, especially those that radiate bright lights (television and computer screens) will simply just reactive the brain and make it extremely hard to fall asleep. So make sure that your child doesn't do these things within 4 to 6 hours of the time he or she is supposed to fall asleep.

Make Sure Your Child is Dressed in Comfortable Sleepwear. Your child may have a hard time falling asleep simply because they are wearing the wrong type of attire to sleep. He or she shouldn't be wearing something that they've outgrown and is tight and constricting or something that it going to make him or her too warm or too cold throughout the night.

Avoid Naps. If your child is on the younger side then a nap may very well be necessary. However, if you have an adolescent or teen try not to let them nap after school. If he or she has to at least make sure he or she only takes a power nap (which is typically 30 minutes to an hour). It may not seem like a very long time but that’s all the body really needs for a temporary re-charge and this should also enable your child to get to bed at an appropriate time.

Encourage Your Child to Study. Last but not least, if your child still cannot fall asleep after following all of the tips listed above then turn to this last option—tell your child to study. Trust when we say that for most children, cracking open a boring textbook is the fastest way for him or her to visit Dreamsland. Your child's eyes should get heavy within a few pages—and if they don't at least they've managed to squeeze in some extra studying.

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online colleges about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @ gmail.com.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fort Building 101



Sometimes we love to just trash out our house and make forts. Lately everybody needs their own fort, then they go visit each other. The key to a good fort is a big, light blanket or dark sheet. Also, something to weight your cloth material down. Also, something high to hang it from. I'm sure my husband can give more good details in the comments section since he's the Master Fort Builder of the World.

When's the last time you built a fort?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Amazing Granola Bar Recipe




2 cups oats

¾ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup wheat germ

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup wheat flour

¾ teaspoon salt

½ cup honey

1 beaten egg

½ cup butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup mini chocolate chips

½ cup almonds


Mix it all together in any order you like because you know that’s how I roll. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Cut while still warm or they will be hard. Once they cool, store them in a Ziploc bag, but NOT IN THE FRIDGE unless you are trying to make hockey pucks.


Who knew wheat germ was so awesome? Only 2 tablespoons has 2 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein, as well as vitamin E, folate, iron, thiamine, phosphorus, zinc and magnesium. I’m going to start sneaking this into all sorts of foods my kids eat.



The downside of these is that now my kids won’t eat the store-bought granola bars because they taste like crap compared to these.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Aldi's Strawberry Banana Smoothie

If you don't have an Aldi in your town, I am so sorry. It is the best little discount grocery store in the land, friends! They have so many different things crammed into a small store, and you can get in and out quickly. They have name brand foods and their own brand of stuff, and most of it is lovely.

Today the heavens opened up and I saw 5 pounds dropping off my body in the coming weeks. I saw a strawberry banana smoothie, just like the ones Naked and Odwalla make and charge $2.50-$3.69 for .... that's for 12 or 16 ounces, friends.

My new best smoothie friend is 32 whopping ounces for $2.89. I bought two and am going back for more. One serving packs 100% of your Vitamin C for the day, but if you're on a diet I could see you drinking all 4 servings, which only ends up being near 500 healthy calories.

I was considering a Costco membership (splitting with a pal and we'd each pay $50) for the Nakeds and Odwallas alone, but forget that! For this price, I can share (a tiny bit, anyway) with the kids!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Stay-at-Home" Moms

I've been a "stay-at-home" mom for over 10 years, and I have to say I haven't been home much. I like to be on the go, and I drag the kids with me. The result is 4 out of my 5 kids like to be on the go also.

I've been enjoying the last week with no swimming pool to go to. I miss the warm weather and the pool, but it's nice to be homebodies for a change. I've gotten some things done that I've wanted to for a long time, like make common sense chore cards for my 3 oldest kids and work on a routine for me (like wake up, make coffee, eat something so I can take my vitamins, brush my teeth, shower). I'm also working on routines for the kids (wake up, make bed, eat, brush teeth, draw or hang out while Mommy reads to you, etc.).

I have to admit I sometimes would avoid the house and would come back from an activity even more stressed out ... I still do this! I feel guilty if I'm not taking my kids to a park or a nature center or on a playdate all the time. That is ridiculous, and it stresses me out! They don't need to be entertained every second of every day, and as homeschoolers they are socialized TOO MUCH!

Mostly I need to be working on all of us doing our chores so the house looks "decent" most of the time (this involves lots of purging!), so we can leave the house at a moment's notice if the mood strikes us or if an opportunity comes us.

I also need to be working more on my relationship with each of my kids because I want them to be good people (you know, hard-working, kind, trustworthy, not lazy, helpful to their spouse, and on and on!).

This fall well be on the go with Bible study every week (which involves a class for each of the kids), religious education class, altar server training for Joel, gymnastics, Upward Cheer for Callie, and maybe a little dance class for Eva if we can find the money. Oh, and don't forget Scouts! And weekly Mass. And playdates and grandparent visits and field trips alone and with groups.

A few lazy days spent at home will be so good for us each week. We've had time this week to play games, to read to each other, to go to the park with just us instead of with a group of other kids, hang out with Grandma Mac and more.

Staying at home more will be good for this mom ... and for her kids (and husband!!!).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Smoke Breaks ... Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

As if living on a busy corner didn't stink enough, now it turns out that the employees of the school across the street have a new place to take their smoke break:

On the sidewalk across from my freaking house.

Seriously?

I was wondering what this chick was doing getting into her car in the school parking lot and then walking over by some bushes by a fence of a house on the sidewalk of a busy street and standing there smoking every day. Then I saw a guy doing the same thing and heading back to the school.

REALLY?

I do so miss the 1960s ... take your dang smoke break in the dang breakroom like a dang normal person.

Oh, right. Then the second-hand smoke would kill all the kids. Not the asbestos or the BOREDOM. The smoke.

Don't get me wrong here. I feel for the smoker. My parents both smoked. Aron used to smoke. I have been known to smoke a few back in my younger days. If I didn't feel like a walking piece of crap after smoking a cig, I would probably be a smoker now, but I can feel my lungs blackening and I have no energy. I see smokers I know huffing through mowing the lawn and laying around all lazy while I jog after my kids with no problem and I know I am healthier.

Still ... we all have a crutch to cope with our stress. If your is a cig, go for it. I will probably go have a chat with the smokers as the year goes on. I'll ask them how they feel about having to go off school grounds to smoke. I mean, why can't they smoke outside the back door of school? Are they, like a bad influence if kids see them smoking? I mean, certainly, none of the PARENTS of the kids who go to school there would do something so heinous as SMOKE?! Or cuss (oops, that's me!)?!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You on 9/11?

I was 30 years old. I had my first child, Joel, in June of 2001. We were on a pattern of waking up around 8:30 or 9 and then he would fall back to sleep soon after nursing on me while I watched "Live With Regis and Kelly".

So on September 11 we got up, got some breakfast and turned on the TV and prepared for a relaxing day at home. Oh, man, where was my TV show? Why was there news and stuff on? Wait, what blew up? Is that New York City?

We had just been to WTC in October of 2000 for our "New England Vacation" and have a couple of pix taken right there. We wanted to take our children back someday.

But now one of them was on fire. Why would a plane be flying so close to it? Some drunk pilot or something probably. Then BAM, there goes another plane into the other building.

What the hell is going on? I'm holding my new baby and watching hell on television. How will people above the fire get out? I am nowhere near this scene and yet I am traumatized. I can't wrap my head around why it is happening and what will happen to all those people on all those floors. What if my husband was working there then and I had to wonder forever how exactly he died? It would haunt me forever.

I called Aron at work to see if he knew about it. They were watching it on a TV at work.

Then we heard about the Pentagon and the other plane going down. WHAT IS GOING ON? I went outside to look into the sky and saw smoke ... are we going to be bombed next? Is this the end of time? It feels horrible.

My mom came over soon after because it was her day off work. My garage door was open and she walked on into my family room and made a joke right away to lighten the mood. She says, "I could've been Osama bin Laden coming into your house." We still say it sometimes because sometimes all you have left is to try to laugh so you don't go crazy wondering why things are the way they are.

I think that night we went to my dad's for something we already planned. My grandparents were there, and we just watched the news coverage. I think I was given trouble about Joel not sleeping in his own crib yet and all I could think was, "Who freaking cares right now? I'm sure as hell going to keep my kids as close to me as possible after something like this because it's a free-for-all in this country."

We retell the story of September 11, and my boys don't like to hear about it anymore because it upsets them. We have shared the story too early or in an overly grown-up way. Why do we put that on them? We want them to share in our pain? We want them to be careful? I'm not sure why. It's therapy, I suppose. What do they say to kids in schools about 9/11?

Happy birthday to one of my best friends, Eva. You are a wonderful person and a terrific mother. I hope you have a great day. I love you. And since 9/11 I am no longer afraid to tell people what I think of them, good or bad, if I think someone can benefit from the telling.

Where were you on 9/11?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Kids in the Hall

Here's what it takes to get a great shot of my kids (plus Alex):

Someone has to steal our air compressor from our garage.

Then we have to call a cop so we can file a police report just in case other stuff is stolen in our neighborhood, since there's a pushy roofing company coming around and you just never know.

The cop is like 10 feet tall and super sweet and it's 10 p.m. and the kids all hover in the hall to stare at the cop, and that's how this shot was taken.

*Sorry for the lame-o post and the blatant cute shot of my kids, but what do you want from me? It's kinda like back-to-homeschool week for us, and I am focusing more on teaching my kids how to love to learn than to make them do textbooks and workbooks and let me just tell you this unschooling thing (don't tell my husband; oops, I forget he gets these posts by email) is a lot harder than buying a pre-packaged curriculum. I'll also be busy this week working on writing an articly-essay about thinking about unschooling and swimming in the unschooling pond.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Miss Me?

I'm posting less these days. So if you miss seeing me today, come on over to Homeschooling Mommybot, where I posted yesterday about our first days of homeschooling this week. We're having a great time, and it's why I'm not around the blogosphere as much. Miss you all!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Male Hairdressers

Anyone heard of Chaz Dean? Yeah, my son has potential to be him someday. He likes to do hair. Most especially he likes to CUT hair. His sisters' hair. But lately he can be counted on to be my go-to guy for something like putting a quick ponytail in Eva's hair before church. You can see his mastery of the pigtail on my own hair, above. And, below, he put Eva's hair in a braid and brushes Sam's hair after a bath.




One of my best haircuts was given by a guy. Sure, he was probably gay, as most male hairdressers are, right? Not that there's anything wrong with that. Not that my son will be gay. But if he is, by God, I will still love him just the same. Sorry to go all political and social and crazy on you there, but that is where I stand as a mother and as a human being.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Starbuck's VIA Iced

I don't know what took me until AUGUST to start drinking iced instead of hot coffees, but there ya go. Sometimes I'm slow to catch on, but when I do, I do it bigtime.

A friend brought me some Starbuck's VIA ready brew iced, and I'm sipping it through a straw as I write. Too much caffeine might certainly contribute to the crazy way I write sometimes. Anyway ... I have the caramel kind ... it's already sugared and I just add milk, ice and some chocolate syrup and it makes over 2 cups. I'm getting the calcium I desperately need, but I'm also packing on some poundage (my dad calls it tonage).

What was my point?

Oh, just that it's a good way to stay away from the Starbuck's drive-through and save a little money. And it's yummy. And Starbuck's rocks. Hard. And no, they don't give me stuff to write about them. That would only happen in a perfect world.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Happy Sunday of Labor Day Weekend

Hope you are all enjoying a nice weekend. Our plans got changed when all our local pools shut down due to a waterborne virus. If you are a homeschooler, or even if you just like extra educational information, products and funnies or just like to peer into the life of a homeschooler or are a homeschool wannabe, come on over to Homeschooling Mommybot sometime!

 I have a lot of great stuff coming up ... things I use in my homeschooling, field trip photos, etc. Posting will be less frequent everywhere for me soon, since our official homeschool year starts the day after Labor Day. Then we will be hitting the unit studies, Pokemon Club, playdates, park dates, field trips, fishing trips, campouts, cheerleading, gymnastics, Scouts, sleepovers, reading, etc.

Please pray for me as I try to start a routine ... AGAIN! I'm thinking of doing certain things on certain days of the week and making a chart for the kids so they know what to do each morning ... with pictures of things like a toothbrush so the little ones know to brush their teeth after breakfast.

Do you have any big plans in September?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Playing With Pokemon Cards

Sorry to put a shameless Amazon link on tons of posts lately, but when I write a blog post, the Amazon search box is right next to the posting window, so I like to search for fun stuff from time to time and share it with you.

This post is about a cool mom I met recently at a homeschool group meeting thing. My 10-year-old just discovered his Pokemon cards ... again. He now knows how to play. He was trading with the son of this cool mom I met, and her kid kept coming over to ask her if such-and-such was a good trade, and SHE KNEW HER STUFF! I was impressed.

I used to be that kind of mom. She has 5 kids like me and they are about the same ages as mine. She homeschools. I have no excuse not to learn how to play Pokemon with my son. I guess I gave up on playing games because when I try to play, say, Candyland with Callie, the little ones climb all over and eventually disrupt the board and I end up throwing the whole thing across the room.

I think I can play Pokemon cards while Sam sleeps on me for naps, though, like I used to play Old Maid with Callie while Sam slept on me. I'll have to put on a Dora episode for Eva to keep her occupied, but what's 1/2 an hour of educational TV in the grand scheme of playing with my older son and giving him some one-on-one time he deserves?

Update since I wrote this: The mom also has her own deck holder and SLEEVES for her cards. Dang! I played a short game with Joel and it was fun, but it was hard to keep Sam occupied while we did it. We played on the deck, and while outside Sam likes to pick our tomatoes ("ball!") and throw them.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Save Money: Try Natural Cures First!

Men, this post is NOT for you. In fact, my husband can just hit DELETE on his email right now because he subscribes that way and I just want him to know I will be talking about the female hoo-ha. Not that there is a male hoo-ha.

Is he gone?

Okay, ladies, let me just tell you that I got a yeast infection recently. Probably from too much swimming pool time sitting in a wet swimsuit. I'm sure you've all been there. Well, we were low on cash and I HATE spending all that money on Monistat. I mean, I spend like $10 at least and it's still the 7-day cure.

So I hit the Internet.

I found a great resource at Disabled World. Yes, I know it's funny, and there are so many jokes you can make about me being disabled mentally, yadda yadda. Let's move on.

I tried soaking in the vinegar bath, but what mom has time for that crap? Despite the warning, I dove in and applied the apple cider vinegar topically with a cotton ball several times a day for about a week and it WORKED. It didn't burn too bad, not like my wallet would have burned, ya catch my drift?

My point is that in trying to save money I am also using more natural stuff. Tomatoes from our garden for a sauce instead of running to the store. There are so many great natural things out there ... instead of send you on an Internet wild goose chase, I'm pointing all of us toward a book link on Amazon. I think every house needs a natural cures Bible!

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