Monday, April 30, 2012

Going to Wyoming ...

Well, after a lot of flip-flopping back on forth on deciding, we decided to go to Wyoming after all. Aron sounds really down out there and needs our kind of craziness in person for sure. You can't work 14-hour days every single day of the week for weeks on end without the lovin' of your family, the hugs of your kids, the adoring glances from your wife, a home-cooked meal every now and then ... and we all know I'm a mediocre cook, so if Aron is missing that, he is really missing US in general.

So here's that blog post from a few weeks ago when Aron sent pictures of the kids' stuffed animal travels. It looks gorgeous where we are going. I have a lot to do before we leave, a road trip to plan with 7 people crammed into the mommyvan. I have lodging rates to negotiate even further down because we don't have a lot of money to work with from the company. By the way, always negotiate on rates during the off season! A place could get ZERO or they could get half their normal rate. Half still means they make money.

Anyway, just wanted to let ya'll know I don't know how much I'll be around here this week. Stop by just in case, or just sign up for the email subscription or get the blog on your feed reader. If you're my Facebook pal, you know knew posts pop up automatically on there for your viewing pleasure.

I'm looking forward to quite an adventure, and can't wait to share pictures with you here!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Vintage Rerun Sunday: No TV Week, Day 2

Originally posted 9/3/08

Holy crap, my kids talk a lot. They have each gone over their word quota for the day, which usually is about 10 million words. I never realized how much I rely on taped cable TV shows from Mom to decompress. Joel is asking about watching Darkwing Duck quite a bit. And they are bugging me nonstop while I try to type, which TV would certainly cure. But I am determined. And brave, according to Tresa! And out of my mind!

The book "Dumbing Us Down" said something about the average kid taking in 55 hours of screen time (TV, video games, Internet) per WEEK. We probably do half that, which still seems like a lot of brain rot.

Today the kids played an actual board game with my mom while Aron and I went to the doctor with the baby. It was cool to act like we only had one kid instead of cramming our family of 6 into a 3' by 3' exam room like we usually do. I'd missed Eva's 6-month visit, and now she's closer to 9 months, so I enjoy confounding the nurse and doc when they try to plot weight and height and such on a graph based on age.

Mom brought over 2 new videotapes. My beloved Madmen and Project Runway will have to wait until Saturday night ... or maybe 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning!

Other fun stuff done in lieu of TV: read about different religions to Joel, read him Harry Potter without him falling asleep, Aron and the kids slept in the tent, the kids microwaved and re-froze ice, went to 2 different swimming pools, played at Daddy's work.

Please send all calm and patient thoughts my way. Thank ya. Reminder: I am doing this drug-free and am out of sweet and sour.

April 2012 ... now we try to just watch TV after 7 p.m. at night, but with the sun going down later, they mostly play outside then, too. We also usually try to catch Wild Kratts on PBS in the afternoon, and sometimes I let Eva watch Caillou on PBS also, just so I can get a straight 1/2 hour homeschooling the older kids. And that's why it's called the "TV-sitter" (like babysitter).

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fritz's Restaurant With 5 Great Kids

After the SeaLife Aquarium last week, I was feeling brave and took the kids to Fritz's. They have amazing burgers that are brought to your table by a train on  a track on the wall.
 While I'm trying to find time to work on the new "How I Met Your Father" series about the early years with Aron starting waaaaay back in 1995, I'll dazzle you with some pictures to keep you occupied. These are from when we went to Fritz's at Crown Center in Kansas City. I love these days out with my kids! Have a great weekend!
Sam goes gangsta with his Fritz's conductor hat.

Not how THREE of my kids are doing their new Lego project, courtesy of the SeaLife and LegoLand gift shop. The other two kids got something, too, just not Legos. Daddy and Mommy got Lego keychains that fit together.

You gotta ride the train at the end for 50 cents!!!

And another 50 for the first female conductor.
Just because you're 7 doesn't mean you don't like to have fun!

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Life of a Travel Widow

You've heard of a football widow, right? Those women who are neglected because their man is watching football all season. The woman could stand buck naked in front of the TV, and the guy would move her out of the way. Well, being a travel widow isn't like that because it isn't exactly by choice. But you're still a widow of sorts because you're like a single parent ... only with that all-important paycheck coming in still so you can saunter around the house as a stay-at-home mom, if you choose. Here are some observations about the life of a travel widow:
We do fun stuff to take our minds off Daddy. Then we blog about it so he can see pictures!
  1. I love my husband. He loves me. I'm sure there are men who love love love to travel for work because their home life sucks. Their kids are brats, their wife is a nag, and being in the office is boring. When they travel they get to be selfish and do cool stuff like fly on a plane and eat steak every night and watch whatever they want on TV whenever they want. My husband has ALWAYS made it clear he does not like to be away from us. He's either a really good liar or it's true because I've seen him get very sad and upset about leaving us. We hate when he has to leave.
  2. Our schedule without him is unpredictable. I am ashamed to admit any sort of schedule goes out the window when he leaves. We eat more sugar, we do more things to keep busy ... play, go places, meet up with friends, stay up later watching TV and reading. Some of this is just to keep me sane, as well, since I'm the only parent.
  3. Reintegrating him into our lives isn't always easy. It's easier if he has a nice Monday-Friday travel schedule and we know what's going to happen. But when his schedule is screwy, like now, and we have no clue when he's leaving and coming home, sometimes we look up and he's there and we're like, "Oh, we were headed to so-and-so's house ... did you want to come or stay home for some down time?"
  4. The disruption when he get a client who is not clear about the schedule or expectations. You should see my wall calendar ... events scribbled out, rewritten, wite-outed, new plans made with or without the Man of the House.
  5. I have to fight myself really hard to not turn into a jaded hardass who tries to run every single aspect of the show all the time, even after he comes home. Many years ago I met women at Aron's company who were HAPPY when their man traveled. THEY got to be selfish and spend the paycheck. I didn't want to be like that. A few of them are divorced now. Travel is hard on a marriage, but ...
  6. It might be good for our marriage to be away from each other sometimes.
  7. Don't get me started on how travel messes with us using Natural Family Planning! It is frustrating to know that after a long period of abstinence WHEN HE WAS AT HOME, he is leaving town on the day you now have the green light to visit the Boom Boom Room. And he's going to be gone a long time. Grrr.
  8. The traveling guy sometimes has to miss things that are important to his family. I try not to kick him when he's down ... he's already missing an important event; he doesn't need me to hop his case about it. So I TRY not to.
  9. A travel widow needs extra love ... invite her over for dinner, ask if she needs any sanity time, a coffee, a hug.
  10. Don't forget about the military widows! As I gripe about how hard my life is and how much I miss my husband, I think of my friends who have husbands who are gone for a year at a time. That much stink really bad. Is it easier to say goodbye to Daddy and then not have to do that again for a year or to say goodbye to Daddy over and over and over?
  11. Don't forget about single parents or real widows! Sometimes I find myself griping about Aron being gone to a woman who has a husband who is a real tool and isn't around anymore. I feel like a jerk and have to apologize!
Don't forget to enter the book giveaway WAY down at the bottom of the blog, or at the bottom of yesterday's post ... it's fickle and moves around!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

BOOK GIVEAWAY! "Londyn LaRae Says Okay" by Nicholeen Peck


Woo hoo! It's time for a book giveaway! You have one week to enter (you can enter daily by tweeting out the message and links) to win this great book that I recently reviewed called "Londyn LaRae Says Okay" by Nicholeen Peck.

You can rack up extra entries by tweeting, liking Facebook pages and leaving a comment about chores you have/had your kids do.

Good luck! I'm trying out this Rafflecopter thing for giveaways so you can get extra entries and so I don't have to write your names on pieces of paper then pull them out of a hat!!!!

P.S. Let's not forget I'm a bit of a technotard and so you have to scroll ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM of the blog to enter. Sorry about that. And thanks for watching The Kerrie Show ... haha!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"We Are All Broken" Says My Husband

*If you are sick of the homeschool group drama posts, just move on with your day. I'm working through this in my own way and trying to come to solutions so I can get on with my life, which is easier said than done! It's like going through grieving stages ... in a weird order. I was sad at first and groveled to the leader about the whole thing. Then I just got mad. I own that I am acting like a 10-year-old and am okay with that right now.


This morning I had a comment from the leader of the homeschool group I wrote about. I'm in the process of addressing her stuff since I don't censor, but for now I wanted to go back to my old messages and post some interesting things. My original comment was this and was what started all the whispering behind my back and the ultimate booting of my buns:


" I'm starting to feel suffocated by all the scripture references that are being put out there ... just like some kids need to be deschooled, maybe some of us need to be de-Bibled and just listen to God for a while and maybe even NOT read His word for a little while and then head back to it with a clear head."


Later I said this:
" i apologize if anyone thought i was being mean and i didn't mean de-church at all. i just meant that those who struggle with their faith many times already know everything the Bible says and yet struggle anyway. that's all."


I think some of the ladies had some great points (and they didn't get kicked out!) that I would like to share:


"Just for the record, I haven't been offended by a comment yet. But just a guess - the Bible isn't what's offensive in some comments, but the way it's thrown at people, as if quoting a verse out of context without any commentary makes a point. No one knows what your point is if all you do is throw down a verse. You'll have to tell us why you think that verse is relevant if you want us to know what you're trying to contribute to the conversation. .... XXX didn't start this discussion because she doesn't believe the Bible. She started it because she wants to try to find out what the Bible means, what it teaches. Telling her she's just not reading it, or just not accepting it is, to say the least, unhelpful."


Another member wrote this:
" Like XXX, I struggle with my faith too, as is perfectly NORMAL. We are intelligent humans and it's natural to question the things we believe/don't believe to try and find out the why's. I have done the same, and I'm sure most of us have too. (And here is where I make people mad...) However, throwing down bible scripture, stating those of us who have these questions or struggles are doomed to hell until we pull our heads out of our behinds doesn't do us any good. This is one of the things that truly turns me off about some christians! Do I think scripture should be used to find the truth? You bet. Do I think posting it on a FB thread, stating we're all going to burn in hell is appropriate? No. I know it's cliche, but what would Jesus do? Would he throw The Book at XXX? No, he would calmly sit by her side and talk with her, referencing the Word in a way that would be respectful and helpful to her, leading her to the truth. So, if we want to throw scripture at each other - Matthew 7 1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged."


My husband put it simply when I told him about all this once. He said, "We are all broken." How do men put up with us? How is it that women aren't the ones starting wars, we are so passionate?!


By the way, I love my faith, loving going to church, love reading Bible stories and praying. I'm not a witch, I promise. I just had an opinion when I saw someone I liked being kinda jumped on. I like to defend people. I knew when I hit the POST button I was sealing my own coffin because I've always had a big mouth, but I would do it again. At least I was being my REAL SELF. I am a person, a wife, a mother. Not just a Facebook profile.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Stuff (aka CRAP)

I don’t remember George Carlin’s homage to stuff (although he used a different word) very well, but I did see the bit when I was a little kid. It must’ve stuck with me because I don’t give a crap about STUFF.

I can't blame it on my only-childness; my mom says even if I was the baby of 10 kids, I probably wouldn’t care about STUFF.

It’s (life) not about the stuff that’s in the room while they make memories or the dish they ate your famous meals off of. I personally think it’s about PEOPLE. Call me crazy. Obviously I’m in the minority because look at the fights over STUFF when people die and look at all the STUFF in storage that overflows from houses and apartments.

My mom had some old quilts stored for many years, waiting for ????? To give to her grandchildren, who would probably trash them within a week? Finally one day she realized they were wasting away when the people who sewed them meant for them to be USEFUL. So she drug them out and started doling them out to people who would care for them and snuggle up with them. With the provision that they NOT hang them on a wall or put them in a cedar chest, but USE THEM to keep warm.

I think we are too damn sentimental. It’s hard to detach from our stuff. It’s a process. Just ask Candy Spelling, who has a something-thousand-foot attic storing STUFF from many years with her family. Every Halloween costume, for God’s sake. Geez, auction those off and give the money to a homeless shelter. Better yet, don’t sell your mansion and make IT a spectacular homeless shelter!!!!

Who’s with me because I think I hear crickets out here alone in the wilderness?

(I had this post laying around for like 2 years and feel just scrappy enough today to post it. I have to say there's a downside to not caring about stuff = not taking CARE of the stuff and so it seems like you don't care about the person who gave you the stuff. What do you think?)

Also, do you think CRAP is a cuss word because I don't.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Homeschool Art: Making Paper Pokemon

Last year Michael started making paper replicas of  Pokemon characters. Then Joel got into the act. Then they got their friends into it. Some are teeny weeny and some are huge. Some are flat and some are 3-dimensional. They store them in Ziploc baggies so they can be protected from their naughty little siblings. Then I just pin the baggies to a bulletin board and -- voila! -- they are kept away from the littles. Then the boys get them out and play around together with their paper Pokemon. Michael would like to point out that usually he prefers to play with his Pokemon characters alone :-)
Lapras

Wailmer
Excavalier (sp?) ... no idea why it's going sideways; I didn't take the picture that wayy!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

VINTAGE RERUN: Kids and Sports and Sunday (Early) Games

WARNING: INFLAMMATORY BLOG POST (originally posted 6/30/09 when I had passionate pregnant brain)

Today is VINTAGE RERUN SUNDAY! I'm kicking back today with my family so I have dug up an old episode of The (Mommy)Kerrie Show for your reading pleasure. Enjoy, and see you next week!

WHY would you have a soccer game at 6 a.m. on a Sunday? My friend with 7 kids has to get up and schlep all her kids ALONE to a 6 a.m. soccer game on a SUNDAY. She is a flippin’ saint in my book.

Here on The Kerrie Show, we’ve only gotten about HALF our total sleep intake by 6 a.m. (not really, but we certainly wake after the kids across the street at the school are all seated for their first class). If a coach told me my kid had a 6 a.m. game, I would honestly laugh out loud in his or her face. If the game was important to my kid, I guess I would have to show up or else send my poor husband since Eva wakes up whenever I leave the darn bed still. But if I had to show up that early, I would have to make it clear that it’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard of. (Darn my mother for passing on her mouthy nature to me).

Kids are overworked enough as it is (school, too much homework, music lessons, dance lessons, soccer, baseball, tutoring, Cub Scouts, CCD class, 4-H, etc.) … can’t they catch a little sleep on the weekend? [Edited to add: Same for their parents!]

First of all, Aron is adamant about the kids not playing any sports on Sunday. I’m on the fence. I mean, once they get older and have a game to play, I think they should be able to make the choice. But then I also wonder what would happen to the American family if we were all forced to hang out on Sundays and not be running our butts off to sports and activities.

What if we just had to BE with each other and (novel idea coming up here) TALK to each other and PLAY in the backyard or go to the park or the FREE nature trail, packing a lunch for the hike?

I kind of would like to watch that soccer game, though. I wonder how fast the kids are moving down the field and how many of those 10-year-olds downed a pot of coffee pre-game!

Speaking of soccer, my dad recently told me about his step-grandkid in Michigan, who is TWO YEARS OLD. She plays soccer. I begged him to videotape it and put it on YouTube. Wouldn’t that be entertaining?! [Edited to add: Now of course since I made fun of it I have myself a 2-year-old Sam who is a wiz at every freaking sport under the sun and you might even catch me at a Sunday game, but that remains to be seen.]

Use your nice words in the comments section, please. I know some of you are quite attached you your kids playing sports, and I realize this could be me someday (go, baseball … my Joel (DiMaggio) can hit and throw like a crazy man!).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mama Bear Goes on Two Road Trips

Aron left for a fishing trip yesterday with his twin brother, Michael, Joel and two of his brother's kids. Sometimes in the afternoon, I noticed they hadn't taken any blankets and that my niece's sleeping bag was still here. I normally would not worry about something like that, except the weather forecast said it was going to be around 38 degrees overnight. My first thought?

MY POOR BABIES (and, by extension, my poor chilly niece and nephew)!

I had to call my brother-in-law because Aron's TRACPHONE is crapping out AGAIN (not a recommended buy), and of course the two of them are all like men get: "It'll be alright. We'll be fine. The tent will be warm enough. We'll cram two kids in one sleeping bag." And so on.

So what do you think my overprotective butt did?

I'm headed down today with my other 3 kiddles, but of course you know me and I HAD to make the drive last night, as well. I can't stand the thought of shivering children. And Michael forgot his flip flops, and it should be warmer by Sunday, so I took them also.

It took longer than we expected to get down there ... about 2 hours each way. I called it "Practice for Wyoming" ... except times 4!!! We got down just as it was getting dark, and it was beautiful there. I love camping out and haven't gotten to for so long (babies + camping = not always such a great outcome). They are camping right by the lake! We had some hot dogs roasted over a campfire, then we had to leave about 9.

My 3 little peeps eventually crashed on the way home, and I was left to admire the stars and sing 70s classic songs loudly and play my leg guitar like my dad used to do.

Sometimes I'm a Planner and sometimes I just Jump. Life is an adventure! Looking forward to what today brings out in nature!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Need Your Advice: Microwaved Food

I need your help, readers! I have a dilemma about where to stay if we get to travel with my husband. He's been going to Wyoming for work a lot and we miss him! If he's not physically there, he's here in town working until midnight, which pretty much sucks. So we are hoping to convince his boss that it's a great idea for his family to be with him for 3 weeks. You know, for moral support and all that. Because he's getting burnt out, people.

So here's where you come in. The "ranches" out there are too expensive, but they have kitchens. There's a cabin for $225/night that will barely sleep all of us and has NO TV or WIFI! I love the homey feel and can live without TV, but come on!

Then there's the Holiday Inn Express ... with a pool, so that would kill some time. And a nice deluxe suite for only $125/night. The catch is that it only has a microwave and a mini fridge for food.

I'm thinking hot dogs, PB&J, Ramen noodles, shopping often since I only have a teeny fridge. I'll have to bring my own bowls and Tupperware and utensils.

I'm looking for more creative ideas for eating microwaved and refrigerated foods. Please help!

Hiding Babies in Pantries

Step One: Find a great hiding place for said toddler, like in the pantry. Hide him behind boxes of cereal.

Have him stay quiet so his siblings won't find him. He jumps out and scares the crap out of said siblings. He wins!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

SeaLife Aquarium Kansas City Field Trip

Dang, this post contains just about all the categories I have for my blog posts. It's about EVERYTHING. That's what happens when you spend over 5 hours at Kansas City's Crown Center with 5 children (division problem; the answer is one hour per kid)!

Okay, FOCUS, Kerrie. I have to focus JUST on the SeaLife Aquarium for you today. Get ready for lots of pictures (no flash allowed, so they aren't all fabulous, but you'll get the idea).

We went on a field trip with other homeschoolers on a Monday and were supposed to get in at 11:00. I had Googled the place before we went so I could get a little map and find out what to expect. Tickets are normally $19/adults and $15/kids if you just walk in the door, cheaper with a pass (only like $200 for a family of four ... holy crap!). With our homeschool group we paid less than $7 per person. I got me and my peeps in for $38.50 to be exact.

I would suggest buying the pass when the frenzy dies down, though, and perhaps don't go near the place in the summer when all the kids are out of school because this place was CRAWLING with people on a Monday, and school was in, folks. It was field trip craziness and kids just kept coming out the door. We waited in line for an hour before we got in! No small feat with a bunch of little kids, you know! But I travel prepared with all-natural Aldi fruit snacks (not because we eat well but so I can hand them out to other moms who might need something to make their kids happy) and juice pouches. And Valium. Just kidding!

The first thing you see when you get in the building (after the fish tank with blowfish in it) is ... YOURSELF! You have to keep waiting in line so you can watch people get their photo taken and then get yours taken. The kids are just dying to get in and you have to take a freaking picture! I took the ticket but probably lost it. You can view and buy photos online if you want them.
And now our tour begins ... I'm sure I didn't capture the full effect of coolness of the place, but EXCUSE ME, I was trying to keep 5 people in my sight in a dark place!!!! After that, going on The Amazing Race would be no problem!








Can you spot my extra kid?!

TIP: Take socks if you go, even in the dead of summer when your kids are wearing flip-flops. My kids did not get to play on the indoor play equipment because a bouncer (no joke!) was booting kids with no socks. It was a sad time, but it taught me a lesson for sure. The promise of Fritz's for lunch and a visit to the gift shop to drop a bunch of money got my kids outta the play area fast, though :-) (bribery/reward is my parenting style; don't judge).

Tip for SeaLife folks: You need to hand parents a cocktail as they leave the place.

It took us about an hour to get through the place, but if it wasn't crowded we could have easily doubled that time learning and watching.

The kids said it was the best day of their lives except for Daddy not being with us. It was the best day of my life because I got to hang with my kids AND a woman asked what's my secret because my kids are so friendly and happy and well-behaved!!! I was like, "Um, they aren't like this all the time!"

Any questions from the audience?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Nasty Carpet

Sometimes I have to use this blog for good and not evil and give props to good companies in my area. One of those places is The Carpet Guy, Inc., a Kansas City carpet cleaner! Mark is the guy who runs it and you can grab his info at his Facebook site here. The price is right, he's fast and the carpet doesn't take days to dry. You know my carpet is looking like crap most of the time with all these kids (and their pals) running around, so if I think someone rocks, they certainly do. Here are some before and after shots of my lovely carpet for your exciting viewing pleasure:






Who Needs College When You Have Talent?

Or money. Or are a genius. Or have an outstanding idea to turn into reality and sell. Or amazing business acumen.

Okay, I'm kinda just kidding here. I think college is fine. I have nothing against it. I just think it's overrated (unless you need it to be something you really want to be, like a doctor or lawyer or engineer or architect or some other profession where you must have that degree). Please read on.

I was going to do a big rant about how everyone thinks college is mandatory these days and that parents think they have to pay for it and how even if I had the cash of Trump I would not pay for my kids' college 100% (don't worry, Aron's with me on this one). I'm not going to bore you with the dropout stats and rates or the soaring cost of something your kid might not complete anyway and might not even enjoy.

Disclaimer: if your kid loves writing and drama, for instance, and you can swing paying for it, by all means send your kid to the appropriate college ... you won't see me tsk-ing you. But if your kid is 18 and CLUELESS about a career path and might even just want to get away from you and PARTAY til the break of dawn, you might want to think carefully before funding that action.

Because, AGAIN, I won't bore you with the stats, but a college education does not guarantee that your kid will graduate from a 4-year or even 6-year college stint and be able to get a job (1) in their field or (2) that will pay enough to pay back their student loans.

Disclaimer #2: My man went to school for engineering when he was in his late 20s and took out loans and worked a J.O.B. while he went and lived on his own even. He got an okay job, then a rockin' job he's had since 1999 and together we paid back his loans no problem. I realize not everyone has a sugar mama like me, though (hahahaha!)

Disclaimer #3: I don't know everything and the older I get realize I know less than I thought I knew (thank God for Google!). So before you get all mad at me, read on.

Disclaimer #4: I have an amazing example of someone who is successful who did not finish college: my own dad. He was too ornery for college, for sure. But he worked hard at the post office and was able to go on nice vacations and support his family and then retire at the ripe old age of ... 55. You know he and his wife are doing okay if they can buy Christmas and birthday presents for 8 grandchildren!

Our plan for our kiddos is to see if they can't go to junior college up the street for 2 years while living at home to save a ton of money. They should have enough saved in their savings accounts we started at birth for that. Also, they will be saving money from babysitting and mowing lawns and selling lemonade or whatever while they are teens. After that depends on the individual child and their needs and wants. Like if I have a kid going to MIT, well, let's see about grants and scholarships, then I suppose we'll discuss paying half and the other half will have to be on student loans. MIT kid should be able to pay those back within the first WEEK of working a job out of college :-) If I have a kid who wants to start a business and has a great idea, we'll talk. A kid who wants to wander through life a little ("all who wander are not lost") will be told "go for it, as long as you have a job!" So we support going to college and support not going. So we are not those parents who push college, and we are not those parents who say, "We can't afford it, don't go."

Just for fun, though, check out this link to the bio of an inventor of a very popular toy: Legos! And College Dropouts Hall of Fame. And 10 Famous People Who Didn't Go to College.

Now, hit the Comment section and let's fight because I think I have it all figured out right now, but God is laughing at me while I write this post!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Injustice of Payday Loan Places

I had to pop on here really fast because I'm listening to something that makes me feel really smart. I'm listening to talk radio and a woman is talking on and on and on about the "injustice" of payday loan places and how we need to regulate them in Missouri. And how they "target" the consumer. And this chick is organizing churches to be against payday loan places and the scandalous interest rates they charge.

And me and the talk show hosts are like, "Everyone has a choice and can get a payday loan or not. And they know the crazy interest rate when they sign up and if they need to float the loan longer, that's their problem!" 

YES, I have gotten a payday loan, way back in the day, like the 90s. We paid like $60 to borrow $50 for a week. I thought it was stoopid even then, but I was married to someone who liked to have stuff but not work very much. I've never gotten one since. 

What do you think about thousands of people wasting their time (I know, it's THEIR time to waste) on trying to regulate these places? Just leave 'em alone. I'm thinking this chick could have spent her time better starting a CHARITY for people who are in dire straits and need to go to these places as a last resort.

This is going on the ballot in Missouri in November. How will you vote?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Beecology.com Buzzes

I'm tired of saying something "rocks" or "kicks butt" and so now will coin a new cool phrase to mean something is awesome: BUZZ. You buzz, man. In the play last night, she buzzed ... hard. (and don't think I don't know what some of you are thinking right now. and stop it. because this is a family company so pull your head out of the gutter and be the klassy TKS readers I know you can be right now).

I think Beecology BUZZES.

They sent me some buzzin' products in the mail to try and I want to tell you about the little Ker Package they sent me. Let's go on a tour:
  1. Buzz Balm. It's peppermint, it's all natural (my friend Andrea would call that "legit"), made with beeswax and all sorts of other cool ingredients. Some lip balms bug my lips, but this one just feels good and tingles a little with that peppermint. They sent me a few, and I shared them, and everyone agrees with me that they totally BUZZ.
  2. Original Honey Hand and Body Cream "with propolis extract and other really good stuff" according to Beecology! This stuff stays on throughout the day, is just thick enough and just feels good. And there's honey in it, so watch out for bears.
  3. Three different soaps. I'm turning into a fancy soap girl lately. This stuff feels like silk when you wash your hands or your bod. I have a bar in our master shower and a bar in the tub where the littles take a bath. Last night I was soaping them up and it felt like no soap I've ever felt, like there's lotion in it. And it smells good! And my skin doesn't need tons of lotion on it after I use it.
What are you waiting for? They offer free ground shipping on orders over $40 and a great coupon pops up when you visit the site!

PTSD After the NICU

Here's something I posted recently at mothering.com after reading a post about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after having a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). I've put some links to my own blog posts from our experience below in my reply:


"I had no idea this could even happen. I'm doing research for a follow up to my article about 12 ways to support a friend with a nicu baby. A parent wanted an article about AFTER, coming home, dealing with family and friends and all that. I came across these posts about PTSD and am crying! My Sam was in the NICU only 7 days in October 2009 after having meconium aspiration and a super fast birth. It was hard to balance the needs of our other 4 kids and I always felt guilty not being at the hospital when he could have easily died at any time. I still get panicky when I think about it and savor this kid like you would not believe. It's also made me afraid to have another child because I had endometriitis (maybe, or maybe not ... my doctor seemed not too sure but antibiotics fixed it), and can't imagine doing the NICU stint again. If I feel this way after only a week dealing with it, how must those who have a baby (or more than one) in the NICU for months feel? My heart goes out to them. We need to be a little gentler with NICU parents, both while they are in the hospital and when they come home."


Here's a great piece my husband pointed me to recently, as well. And a piece in The New York Times.


I remember those days as being very difficult. I only slept because I was sick, and when I was awake I was worried. I pasted on a smile and kept my sense of humor, but remembering that time makes my chest feel tight.


Lately I've tried to take a funny slant on life on this blog, but sometimes I run across something that's informative and pretty serious. NICU stays are pretty common. I just wanted parents to know they can come here and have a discussion with me and a safe place to vent. And I wanted friends and family of NICU parents/babies to be extra sensitive. If a new mom asks you to wash your hands after you're visiting her tiny preemie for the first time, please don't call her a worrywart! These parents need just as much help after the NICU as during.


I want to take this opportunity to thank my family and friends and neighbors who were there for us when Sam was born. It means everything to us, and there's a special place for you in our hearts. We were drowning in homemade chicken noodle soup and help and love, and it was fabulous!



Sunday, April 15, 2012

Taking Kids to Church ... Yes or No?

Today is Sunday. Aron is out of town. I am in charge of six people aged 10 and under. Do you think I will be attending Mass? No. Here's why:

  1. Sam and Eva can't make it through an entire Mass anyway, so I end up in the vestibule (that's entryway to you non-fish-eaters; Catholics have cool words for normal things and that's why I signed up) or down in the nursery.
That's about it. I don't wanna leave the other 4 kids alone in church ... you know they will act like fools without my adult guiding presence!

I checked out a friend's blog yesterday and she wrote that her 3-year-old didn't make it through the 3-hour Easter Vigil very well last weekend. I'm like (1) it's at night, the Witching Time and (2) THREE HOURS???????? This is a very brave woman. She would have to be to be pals with me, no?

Every Christmas somebody will ask us if we go to Midnight Mass with our kids. I have to be careful how I answer because my mother-in-law took 5 kids EVERY YEAR (including twins, people). Sit on that one for a moment. Five kids. Every year. Midnight. Church.

So I come up with some diplomatic answer that is not usually, "Are you freaking crazy? Midnight? Five kids? Church? They'd be sleeping all over the floor of the joint, and I might have to join them."

Might not see all my church peeps the next TWO weekends, actually, due to Fishing Trip Mania. Why take the only two kids who don't sit through Mass TO Mass? I know God loves that you just show up. I also know God loves a sane and loving mother to take care of the kids that have been entrusted to her care.

Catholic pals, slam me in the comments about what a heathen I am. I can take it.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mama Bear Throws Down

The Universe kicked my butt today a little bit in the form of Michael's no-kids-came birthday party. I'm tough and can handle stuff like that, but I felt badly for Michael. Here's the thing:

I appreciate the dad who came by with a gift and said his kid had stayed up too late, got up too early and was just a whipped mess. That was cool of him to come by and give a gift and explain. That is a stand-up person.

I appreciate the person who has a long drive and called to say she was having a hard time getting all her kids together.

I appreciate my mom, who called early in the day to say she didn't feel well. We have a pollen issue right now in Kansas that is messing with people.

I appreciate my dad and stepmom, who came. And my mother-in-law, who came. And my cousin Zee, who came. And our daughtersitter, Jordan, who came.


I appreciate my friend who came later.

I appreciate our ex-neighbor, who came later. And my friend who has kids in soccer and is always a maybe. And our other friends who were a maybe.

Otherwise, there were no little kids who came to Michael's actual birthday party. Michael isn't exactly a social kid, but he gets stuff.

I don't appreciate people who decide at the last minute that they just don't want to bring their kid and don't want to call to let anyone know. They are setting a rude example for their children, I think. Being late is one thing. Not showing and not calling after you've said you were coming is another.

I don't appreciate people who have their heads so far up their own butts that they don't care about a simple thing their kid might want to do. They don't write it down anywhere. They totally blow it off so they can sit around and watch TV or go shopping or go out to lunch.

I love my peeps and the peeps of my kids, but be warned: when Joel's birthday party rolls around, I'll be making reminder calls the day before and the morning of, just to be annoying. I was always OCD about this sort of rude behavior; it's worse since I've had kids :-)

*This doesn't include any of my neighbors, by the way, if they are thinking I'm talking about them! I know they told me they had other plans!!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Normal Moms ...

... don't let their baby sleep on them for naps. Think of all the things I could be getting done around the house rather than hanging out writing and homeschooling and sometimes even watching TV. Today my friend was like, "So Sam slept for 3 hours, how come you didn't make the birthday cakes then? Why are you behind all the time?" And I was like, "He sleeps ON me ... I'm his gatekeeper to sleep. I've done it with all my kids for going on 11 years. I dig it. There's plenty of time to get my stuff done later. And for someone who 'loses' hours a day with her baby sleeping on her, my house looks better and better (= keeping my man happy) and I still get the homeschooling goin' on and still get my writing worked on a little here and there."

... drink a margarita or a beer at the end of a trying day as a travel widow. They don't get uber-excited about the new International Foods iced mocha coffee they just got at the grocery store. Think of the money saved schlepping to Dunkin' Donuts ... gas money, $2.29 per iced coffee, time.

... don't get all depressed when they can't find the Crystal Lite peach bellini and pomtini they saw on a taped episode of Celebrity Apprentice.

... don't go grocery shopping at 10 p.m. on a Friday night (I saw a dad there, too, and a mom with a baby, so I suppose I'm not totally insane) with kids who are all hyped up and acting crazy.

... don't say out loud at the grocery store, "Well, nobody is going to be havin' boom-boom tonight after watching you guys run like banshee heathens all over the store. Sometimes crazy kids are like birth control for other people."

... don't use the show Worst Cooks in America as part of their homeschool curriculum (Joel likes cooking and I'm not great at it, so let's give him some TV Home Ec class!).

... don't get choked up when they think about their sweet little crazy peeps growing up and moving out. I try to stay busy and not think too much about it, and I savor every diaper change and every hug and kiss and "hi, mommy" and "good morning, mommy" and every homeschooling victory and every outing, even if I'm griping sometimes. Normal moms look forward to time to themselves in the future, but I don't usually mind having my entourage with me and know "me time" and "couple time" will come all too soon.

Gotta go ... making cupcakes for Michael's birthday party on Saturday and I have to get a national query (gotta love that word, like a gay magazine submission) out or my new mentor friend will crawl my butt!

Welcome to McStarbuck's, How Can I Help You?

This is my pal. She came over one night with some stuff for me (she's my personal Costco shopper since I don't have a membership because Aron is afraid I will buy out the entire store the first time I go). She needed to tally up how much I owed her. I couldn't find the calculator, which is SUCH A SHOCK in my house. It's not like I have little kids stealing my crap all the time or anything like that. It's a wonder I can find my butt in the mornings but it's so big it's hard for them to steal and hide :-)

I had to think fast, as a mom does sometimes. I ran quick as I could to grab the McDonald's cash register, which has a real live working calculator, folks! An educational toy from the makers of the nastiest food on earth! I had to get a pic of her because it was like she works at Mickey D's but she had this pound of shi shi, high-class Starbuck's next to her.

By the way, this is a GREAT FRIEND. Not only does she shop for me, but she also helped me scrape wallpaper. And is encouraging and uplifting and helps me see things in a different way.

UPDATE: the one wall is washed and is ready for spackling, but I need my man to show me the perfect way he wants it done and he keeps working late. Perhaps I will just Google it and go to town myself. This oughta be good.

Have a great Friday the 13th and don't get too freaked out, you superstitious freaks.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Your Butt is Grass and I'm Gonna Mow It


The question for today is: How young is too young to have your kid mow the grass? And do you pay for it?

Joel started mowing our yard a few weeks ago. I was freaked out at first, but we gave him the safety talk, and I'm always outside to watch him while he's doing it in case there is any problem. He likes to do it before Daddy gets home to surprise him. It's AWESOME because ...


  1. Aron has more free time to fix stuff, play with the kids, kiss me and maybe even relax a little bit.
  2. Aron can be less stressed when activities and other stuff comes up because his yardwork has been done for him.
  3. When Aron is out of town I don't have to pay someone $20 to mow our grass.
  4. When Aron is out of town I don't have to try to keep the kids safe while I mow the grass myself to save money. I used to mow with my youngest in a sling but Sam is too big for that now, so I couldn't watch him in the front yard and mow at the same time these days.
  5. Joel gets to make some money. He gets $5 for the front and $5 for the back. So he's making HUGE money and we are SAVING money. We are essentially SPAVING money (saving while spending).
How old is too young? I know someone who had their son mowing at age 8. I wasn't cool with it until now, and he's almost 11. I guess it depends on the kid. Joel's a little small for his age, and a neighbor walking by was looking at us funny.

And do you pay or is this just part of being in a family? I didn't think Aron would pay him, so when he offered him $10 to do both front and back, I was surprised and glad. When he starts mowing in the neighborhood we'll make him save half for his savings account.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Guest Post: Erica Voll at The Reading Kingdom

Originally posted July 5, 2011 before I had tried the product. Now I'm a few days into it with my daughter Callie and she loves it. The lessons are short enough that she doesn't get frustrated, it's colorful, and she's gaining confidence in reading. What they say below is true that phonics isn't always the answer. It worked for Michael and Joel but Callie just did not want to learn to read. Now she's on board and learning fast, and I'm going to get Eva going on it since she shows interest in learning to read also (they all do it at a different age). There is no shame in heading to a computer program for help, especially if it's the way your kids like to learn! I'm paying $15 per month for the program and can stop anytime. Cheaper than private school! So please check out this guest post from last summer about a product that is great for homeschoolers and for kids in school alike (a lot of kids who are in school like trying out our homeschool computer programs) ...

Homeschoolers: are you looking for a fun way to teach your child to read this summer?

The Reading Kingdom is an online reading program for children ages 4 to 10 that can teach your children to read in as little as 10 minutes a day. The program promotes independent learning with online reading games and modules designed to customize itself for each child.

Phonics Is Not Always the Answer
What makes the Reading Kingdom different from other reading programs is that is integrates 6 skills necessary for learning to read. They are:

Sequencing
Motor skills
Sounds (phonics)
Meaning
Grammar
Comprehension

In fact, the Reading Kingdom is the only reading program that uses all 6 points of learning, and can easily be integrated into your child’s existing reading education program.

A lot of children who use the program think it’s fun – and a lot of parents love their children look forward to time spent learning.

About the Reading Kingdom
The Reading Kingdom was created by literacy and education expert, Dr. Marion Blank, who has spent more than 40 years studying how children learn to read. Dr. Blank is recognized by her peers as one of the world's top experts in literacy, and is devoted to helping children learn to read.

The Reading Kingdom is so passionate about teaching children to read, it supports School on Wheels, an education program for homeless children in Los Angeles designed to keep them in school – and reading.

And, moms are talking about the Reading Kingdom. Many moms, bloggers and homeschooling parents have reviewed the Reading Kingdom and love it!

Experience the Reading Kingdom
If you are interested in the Reading Kingdom online reading program for your child, or would like to integrate the Reading Kingdom into your homeschooling curriculum, you can let your child learn to read with a free 30-day trial of the Reading Kingdom program.

Connect with the Reading Kingdom
Dr. Marion Blank is always answering your questions about literacy, reading and education. Just “like” the Reading Kingdom on Facebook, and leave a comment so we can help you get the answers you and your child need.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Peach Banana Bread Recipe

This is a terrific recipe to bake with the kids!

Peach Banana Bread
½ cup peach applesauce (easy to find at Aldi)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
¼ t. salt
2 cups flour (½ wheat, ½ white)
¼ cup wheat germ
2 ripe bananas

Mix applesauce and sugar, add eggs and vanilla and stir. Add baking soda, salt, flours and wheat germ and mix. Add bananas, mashing them up in the mixture so they are chunky still. Pour into greased bread pan and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. I like to use my Pampered Chef bread pan that makes 4 small loaves so they cook faster and are easier to share J Stand back because the kids will devour this one.

"Londyn LaRae Says Okay" Book Review

"Londyn LaRae Says Okay" by Nicholeen Peck is too cute. And too perfect for my kids right now. Here's how it starts:

"Londyn LaRae can't say okay, but does everything else just fine.
Even when Londyn turned six years old, she still refused and whined.
The morning of Londyn's birthday Mom said, "Make your bed."
But Londyn didn't want to; she chose to play instead."



This is a story about something you probably don't struggle with AT ALL: a kid who won't obey and likes to play instead. Yep, I know ... isn't that EVERY kid? The story shows Londyn disobeying to go off and have her own fun and do what she wants and then it shows consequences (like she was supposed to cover picnic food and blew it off and birds ate all their food so they did not get to eat).

After several such situations, Londyn then goes to her friend's house and watches as her friend obeys her parents' request immediately and then is free to play (after receiving adoration from her dad). If we learn from others' mistakes, we certainly also learn from what they do right, and that is exactly what Londyn does in this book.

Her friend teaches her a 5-step process for "following instructions and saying okay", which Londyn then puts into practice. Afterwards we get to see how proud her family is of her and how good it makes her feel to get her task done right away and then be free to do what she wants.

The illustrations are cute and colorful and vibrant and fitting. The story is perfectly written. There's a note at the end from the author, Nicholeen Peck, about how to put it all into practice.

You can purchase this great book here (I'm an affiliate so I got the book free to review and I also get a little kickback, just to let you know).

Monday, April 9, 2012

My Husband: THE IMPREGNATOR

 Maybe you don't have a sick sense of humor like I do. Or maybe you DO, in which case WELCOME TO THE KERRIE SHOW ... you will be entertained.

Anyway, Aron was working on putting our shower pan back in and trying to make something stick to something else and finally got this stuff. When he showed it to me, I laughed until I cried then made him pose. This is a real product, folks.

My husband, The Impregnator, uses a product with the same name. Perfect. Who named this product, anyway? It is fitting, if you think about it, though. This stuff is like the superest SuperGlue ... if you use this your tile is stuck together forever. And if you get someone pregnant, you are stuck together forever. Hmmm.

AND ... happy birthday to Michael, who is 9 today. In case you don't know, Michael was Aron the Impregnator's second impregnation. I can feel my dad cringing from 40 miles away.

While Dad's cringing, I'm going to add this little tidbit: Ladies, you'd have 5 kids, too, if your man was this hot. Just sayin'.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Million Bucks Don't Buy Much

You gotta love Facebook. Where else can you have debates with people in real time that all your other friends and acquaintances and colleagues and pretty much anyone else can see and comment on?

So recently I posted something about being not ashamed that I went to JuCo but that my education there wasn't really necessary for me to be a homeschooling mom or writer. I might have made the inflammatory statement that it was a waste of money. I'm not saying education is a waste ... I guess I was saying you never know with education if you'll need it or not and it costs so dang much and why do we push our kids to go to college at age 18 when they can barely wipe their butts let alone know what they want to do for the rest of their lives ... that's actually another blog post.

Someone weighed in that if their mom hadn't had a college education when their dad died, they would've been screwed. I countered with WHAT ABOUT LIFE INSURANCE?

Then someone told me I'm smoking crack if I think a million dollars in life insurance is going to take care of my kids and myself if Aron dies.

Now I'm not the best at math, folks, but I'm thinking if Aron dies, I won't have his cell phone bill, his truck payment (because I'll sell it if I have to), his truck insurance, his truck tags, his truck gas (it's a beast!), his grocery bill, his Clothes Horse bill (ha! ... he and I are not exactly fashionistas!), etc. And to replace his handyman skills around the house, I will have to call on my dad, his dad and his brothers.

Okay, so a million dollars put into a savings account I'm thinking would last til all 5 of my kids turn 18. I keep up the monthly house payment, utilities, insurance, groceries, expenses. I keep taking hand-me-down clothing, I shop cheap at garage sales and thrift stores and consignment stores. I don't need fancy crap. My mom gets us a membership to the zoo at Christmas every year, so there's our entertainment.

There's also the 401(k) and the IRAs, but who's counting? I suppose I'm blessed that I could keep up a writing career and bring in around $10,000 per year for whatever else we needed.

I'm really trying to figure out how a million dollars (or even half of that) would not be able to support us. I mean, a "normal" woman with no education and her kids in school would just work during the day, right? Maybe she'd only be making $25,000 per year, but on top of life insurance, wouldn't that take care of an awful lot of living expenses if she spent it wisely? We're talking about a woman who doesn't need designer clothes and purses and shoes and vacations. A woman who lives in a 1,500-square-foot house with a low house payment. A woman with a paid-off car. A woman who has kids who don't go to private school. You know, a woman who is SUFFERING (ha!).

So once again I realize my argument isn't the best (I write these posts with kids hanging on me, what do you want ... real journalism?). I'm curious to see where you stand. Do you know someone who had no life insurance but made it anyway?

Someone who had life insurance and struggled?

Someone with no education who made it big? (Steve Jobs, anyone?)

Now I'm getting all sad thinking about living without Aron, so I'm going to go love on him.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Racism & The Hunger Games (Call Me Swedish-American, Dammit)

I checked this out just for fun. I have to say I don't understand why people would take the time to get outraged about something so stupid (check out this). So some of the characters in the movie The Hunger Games were BLACK* ... so what? I don't remember the book ever saying what color anyone was, but maybe I missed that part. You'd think BLACK people would be glad that other BLACK people were included in the movie and were given parts and jobs, but nobody can just be freaking happy anymore.

Newsflash: in the future (where The Hunger Games is set), I bet there are BLACK people. What if the whole movie had been made with, say, Chinese people? Think of the outrage! I mean, you read a book and picture stuff a certain way and then they go and make some of the characters black! And if you read the book and thought all the characters were WHITE (like I did), maybe you are a racist (like I am not).

*I'm almost over figuring out how to be politically correct, folks. My black friends can call me WHITE (or honkey or cracker if they like) and I can call them BLACK and I can call my gay friends GAY yet I don't call my Latino friends BROWN or my Asian pals YELLOW so I'm at a loss. And if I have to call BLACK people African American, since apparently ALL black people originated there, then they'd better take the time to find out where I am originally from and call me SWEDISH-AMERICAN or something like that.

Taking Good Friday off so this is it til the weekend, peeps. Have at it.

The Pope Told Me to Have 5 Kids So I Obeyed

Subtitle: Natural Family Planning Fun at Age Forty

I realize some of you may be new to the blog and haven't quite found the time yet to check out my entire blog for the last 4 years (shame on you, and I'll wait while you print the whole thing out ...), so here is a post about something we are currently dealing with in our marital life. Thank the good Lord above my husband is a patient (long suffering) man and so won't mind me talking about our sex life. Dad, if you are here, you need to see yourself out please. This is not for your eyes.

Okay, I'm only writing this because most people I say "NFP" to do not have a clue what I'm talking about. And then when I say Natural Family Planning, they say, "Oh, like the Rhythm Method!" And I say NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

NFP is a scientific method based on all sorts of cool stuff I'm not going to go into right now unless you beg me to in the comments section. Basically you use a chart based on a regular 28-day cycle ... like the first 7 days are reserved for a woman's period. The next 7 are often fertile. Then next 14 are hopefully "dry" and therefore you can get busy wit yo spouse.

Currently we use the don't-touch-me-at-all-until-I'm-on-Day-20-of-my-chart-thanks-hon method of NFP since we are trying to NOT get pregnant. Disclaimer: if it happens, we will be thrilled but we are trying to NOT make it happen right now.

It's funny when I talk to other moms my age in Catholic settings. This woman I went to high school with is my age and pregnant with her 7th. She said this one is a "Day 8 baby". I nodded and pointed at Samuel and said, "Day 9 baby." This means that you generally have a teeny infertile window between your period and your fertile time and if you have sex then you just might get pregnant. We NFP users know the odds and are happy with the result no matter what. It's not the Rhythm Method, like I said, but it's a bit of a crapshoot if you aren't checking your womanly signs during that time. Oh, and if you're taking medicines that dry up your nasal mucus for a cold or something OR antibiotics, that will mess with your signals.

As for title of this blog, the other day some dude made a crack about that and I was like, "Um, no, dude, the Pope does not tell me how many kids to have. We WANT a bunch of kids and always did and we enjoy using NFP because it's free and natural and doesn't mess with my body and all that."

So for those of you who think the Pope tells all us Catholics how many kids to have, let me tell you that the majority of Catholics DO use artificial birth control or have been sterilized. (check this out) We are the freaky minority Catholics who use NFP, and NOT because some guy in Italy told us to. How ridiculous!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Atheist/Agnostic Easter Egg Hunt

Last Saturday we got to go to an Easter Egg Hunt put on by a couple of atheist/agnostic pals for their daughter's preschool/daycare pals and for my 5 kids and my friend's 5 kids. I know Easter Egg Hunts are not religious or anything, but I just thought it ironic (?) that these kinda anti-religion people were putting on a hunt for Easter eggs, specifically. I was in charge of these 3 little ones while the other big ones were in the big-kid area!

It's sorda like when you see me and my little homeschooled kids (some people read that I am anti-school) traipsing to the school across the street for the Ice Cream Social (we haven't missed one in years!) or the School Carnival or the Halloween Fright Night. Or when we hit Field Day at the private school or have lunch and do recess there with Jordan. It's like you wouldn't think they mix, but they do.

So the hunt rocked. This chick who put it on thought of everything. Some eggs had prize tickets in them so at the end each kid got to pick a small or big prize based on the number of their ticket. So Big Prize #1 got to choose first and there were some serious prizes, folks.

Later, there was pizza and organic juice pouches and playing at the playground at the park where the hunt was held. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. These are some good people, even if they aren't Catholic. Wait, my parents aren't Catholic, either. Nor is most of my family. And I love them all fiercely (and even let my aunt call me a fish-eater ... tee hee!). Huh, guess religion doesn't matter after all when you enjoy each other's company.

My dad said something goofy like "What Would Jesus Hunt?"or "How Many Easter Eggs Would Jesus Get?" ... I know I messed it up ... but he made a funny about Jesus and Easter egg hunts and Easter baskets and all that stuff that has nothing to do with the religious meaning of Easter.

Who says homeschoolers ALL shelter their kids? I think we had a great day of Diversity Training last Saturday! I'm really branching out since getting kicked out of that "Christian-led" homeschool group, huh (had to add the word "led" because I'm not unhappy with the ENTIRE group, just with the management and a few of her minions)?

If you care, I'll be blowing that story apart on my Homeschooling Mommybot blog within the next week. I just can't let it die until I've warned everyone about the crazy.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New Commenting System on My Blog

Please bear with me as I try out a new commenting system on the blog. It should totally rock ... you should be able to sign up ONCE and then be remembered. I'm sick of Blogger's pain in the butt commenting system. Also, when you leave a comment, be sure to check below your comment because there's a place to subscribe to follow-up comments. You're going to want to do that since lately I'm replying to commenters. ALSO, it's supposed to make it so if you have a blog, your most current post will show up along with your name as commenter, so if you are super witty, my readers will come to YOUR site :-) We'll see how it goes.

Scary Mommy's New Book: Confessions of a Scary Mommy

I have a guilty pleasure, and her name is Scary Mommy. I love her blog because of its honesty and humor. Parenting is funny and often bittersweet and maddening and sad, and then the next day it's wonderful and cute and awesome! Here's her blog (warning: lots of cussing and reality). Her book comes out today and you can get it all sorts of places. I kinda wonder sometimes how she would have handled this situation!

So here is some info about her book from Amazon.com (you can order the book here for a reasonable price, considering the laughs:money ratio you're getting), followed by a short, 5-question email interview Scary Mommy (aka Jill Smokler) was kind enough to do with me:

"Sometimes I just let my children fall asleep in front of the TV. In a culture that idealizes motherhood, it’s scary to confess that, in your house, being a mother is beautiful and dirty and joyful and frustrating all at once. Admitting that it’s not easy doesn’t make you a bad mom; at least, it shouldn’t.
If I can’t survive my daughter as a toddler, how the hell am I going to get through the teenage years?
When Jill Smokler was first home with her small children, she thought her blog would be something to keep friends and family updated. To her surprise, she hit a chord in the hearts of mothers everywhere.
I end up doing my son’s homework. It’s wrong, but so much easier.
Total strangers were contributing their views on that strange reality called motherhood. As other women shared their stories, Jill realized she wasn’t alone in her feelings of exhaustion and imperfection.
My eighteen month old still can’t say “Mommy” but used the word “shit” in perfect context.
But she sensed her readers were still holding back, so decided to start an anonymous confessional, a place where real moms could leave their most honest thoughts without fearing condemnation.
I pretend to be happy but I cry every night in the shower.
The reactions were amazing: some sad, some pee-in-your-pants funny, some brutally honest. But they were real, not a commercial glamorization.
I clock out of motherhood at 8 P.M. and hide in the basement with my laptop and a beer.
If you’re already a fan, lock the bathroom door on your whining kids, run a bubble bath, and settle in. If you’ve not encountered Scary Mommy before, break out a glass of champagne as well, because you’ll be toasting your initiation into a select club.
I know why some animals eat their young.
In chapters that cover husbands (The Biggest Baby of Them All) to homework (Didn’t I Already Graduate?), Confessions of a Scary Mommy combines all-new essays from Jill with the best of the anonymous confessions.
Sometimes I wish my son was still little—then I hear kids screaming at the store.
As Jill says, “We like to paint motherhood as picture perfect. A newborn peacefully resting on his mother’s chest. A toddler taking tentative first steps into his mother’s loving arms. A mother fluffing her daughter’s prom dress. These moments are indeed miraculous and joyful; they can also be few and far between.” Of course you adore your kids. Of course you would lay down your life for them. But be honest now: Have you ever wondered what possessed you to sign up for the job of motherhood?
STOP! DO NOT OPEN THIS BOOK UNTIL YOU RECITE THESE VOWS!
I shall remember that no mother is perfect and my children will thrive because, and sometimes even in spite, of me.
I shall not preach to a fellow mother who has not asked my opinion. It’s none of my damn business.
I shall maintain a sense of humor about all things motherhood."




Interview with Kerrie and Jill Smokler (Scary Mommy):
Kerrie: How do you decide what's off limits to write about (blog and book)? Or do you just let it all hang out?  
Jill: Where I am concerned, I let it all hang out, for good or bad. The kids, however, are a different story. The older they get, the more I find myself biting my tongue and really reflecting on how they would feel about having a particular story or experience shared. I am very aware that their lives aren't really mine to share with the world and really do think about what I put out there.

Kerrie: How have people in your life (friends, family, the parents at your kids' school) changed since you started blogging the truth about life? (respect or fear?!)  
Jill: It's funny; other than my husband and mother, the people close to me in real life don't really follow the blog. Friends and acquaintances often preface things with, "don't write about this but..." so there is definitely an awareness, but for the most part my real life and online life remain separate. 

Kerrie: Do many haters (June Cleavers) leave comments? Do you delete them or leave them on because they are entertaining?  
Jill: When they do, I leave them up because they are definitely more entertaining than anything else. I don't get all that many comments like that on my own site, though, it's when I post elsewhere that the haters come out. People can be crazy.

Kerrie: Is your family fully supportive of your blogging and writing, or is it kinda like having a stripper in the family?  
Jill: They are completely supportive. My husband is a major trooper for putting up with it all and everyone else gets a kick out of it. At least, they do now that I'm not writing about any of them anymore. 

Kerrie: How do you find time to write? (while they sleep, are at school, have your man "babysit", hide out in the garage?)
Jill: The kids are all in school, so that's definitely a productive time period, but it also helps that I don't sleep. I average around 4 hours a night which is great for my productivity, but not so much for my sanity. Sane bloggers are boring, though... right?

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