Monday, October 29, 2012

I Suck at Halloween (Costumes)

Here’s our family's annual Halloween checklist:

  1. Get pumpkins at a fun pumpkin patch visit
  2. Trunk or treat at church
  3. Homeschool group party
  4. Other homeschool group party
  5. Do pumpkin crafts I got on sale after Halloween last year
  6. Boo at the zoo
  7. Watch Halloween animated stuff on TV
  8. Trick or treating in the scary neighborhood in the scary outdoors
Okay, so I rock Halloween in general but suck at costumes. My mom bought the first few for the kids when they were little at a used kid stuff store and we still have them. Otherwise, costumes consist of hand me downs from a friend. I am bad at being creative with costumes and have never sewn or made one.

I am not that mom.

From now on I will stop beating myself up for not being The Costume Mom and will be proud of myself for being the Halloween Activities Mom. We can't all be the same mom, after all because that would be Uber Boring.

This year for Trunk or Treat the kids foraged through the Halloween tub for costumes. Otherwise, Michael put a white trash bag over Eva and cut head and arm holes out, drew on it and made her a ghost. Joel tapes black spots on a shirt and was a leopard. They helped each other and they got creative and they were resourceful.

What more could a mom ask for? I have prepared them for life just because I suck at Halloween costumes. See, there is a reason for everything!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Aron the Laptop Physician

So ya'll know my laptop rolled into the lake via my stroller, right? It was so fitting since I called the laptop my 6th child since the day I got it. Then it was hanging out in the stroller and the stroller rolled into the lake and it got a little swim. My lovely husband, who I always gripe about because he's not 100% on board with my writing (he wants me to spend more time on it when the kids are older and he's not entirely wrong, but having the money from it now can be helpful ... at McDonald's), dug right in and did some surgery.

Check him out with the keyboard disassembled and he's pretending to type. He's such a jokester. He could make a living doing stand-up comedy fo sho. He fixed the dang thing right up. Then a few days later something else happened that had nothing to do with water or his fix and now I'm out of business again.

And he's bringing home his work laptop on weekends so I can write and blog and do giveaways and all that. He kinda rocks.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Flowers for My Mom

I took these pictures on our last trip to Lakeside Nature Center in Kansas City, Missouri in Swope Park. They are for my mom, who loves flowers and works at a florist. They are beautiful like she is!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kitchen Remodeling PROGRESS!

Okay, so we did this like 2 weeks ago, but it still counts for Tackle-It Tuesday cuz it's MY BLOG, kay? Sorry, I'm a little surly since my laptop broke AGAIN after hubs brought it back from the watered dead. Moving on ...

I did this wall! Spackled it all by my lonesome! Aron made a nice apple pie for Samuel since it was his birthday.
No, Dad and Mom, REALLY ... I was doing it! See!

Gratuitous pose: me with spackled wall. A classic.

HappyElfMom: this is very slow progress. Aron got it mostly sanded and some spots re-spackled. Then he took off to help his brother finish building his house. We could have paint on these walls within a couple of weeks, barring a too-full calendar or Aron having to work buttloads of overtime. Wish us luck!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Arrival of the Moshi Monster Stash

On a day in the not-so-distant past, Miss Kristin called to let us know the drop had been made, the eagle had landed. In Moshi terms, this means the had received a new shipment of Moshi Monster goods from wherever it is she gets them from. From her dealer, let's just say. I believe he lives in the UK, where dealers live. MM dealers, that is.
Here is the ceremonial  opening of the box. The kids get to help her and they in return receive something cool like a figure of their choice or a pack of cards. It is slave labor and it rocks.
Miss Kristin paws through the goods to make sure all is there.
Time to open all the figure packs and separate them into piles.

Time to get organized now. Miss Kristin has to know what to offer on her eBay site. Buy from her; she is one of the only dealers in the US of this rockin' stuff.
Yes, my son Sam has on sparkly pink flip flops. Wanna make somethin' of it?
Have a great week!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lose Weight by Planning Ahead

Some of you have asked how I am losing weight and am sticking with it after 5 weeks. Don't be fooled: I struggle just like you do. I have good days when it's easy to eat fruit and veggies all day long and stay within my 26 points. Then I have days when we buy a 5-pound bag of chocolate melts to make chocolate pumpkins for homeschool parties and I end up pigging in so many that I feel sick.

But when I plan ahead, it makes life a lot easier.

Like on Wednesdays we go to a church/gym/coffeehouse with a homeschool group. I love to eat and drink calorie-laden things in social settings and have had to reset my thinking with my group. So the other day I had just received these Rubbermaid Lunch Blox from a giveaway I won (yes, folks, I also enter giveaways and I win quite often so keep entering mine!). I filled the bottom big block with cut-up apples. The longer top piece I put in carrots, then in the tiny piece I put fat-free sour cream mixed with dry Ranch dressing. (the bottom in a piece you can put in the freezer to keep your lunch cold ... this is a cool product). Lunch Blox are like Legos for your lunch!

Before I went I picked up a Starbucks iced skinny mocha. I get the big size (venti) and it's skim milk and sugar-free syrup so I'm getting some dairy and it's about 3 points. It keeps me away from the 10-point-plus coffees I used to drink. I planned ahead to get that because it's my weekly treat. I think I had a SmartOnes for lunch just because it was quick and easy and I knew it was 7 points exactly. I also always take water everywhere with me.

And so the kids aren't pilfering my food all the time, I pack plenty. I overpack on apples and carrots because I WANT them to want my food, to eat healthy. I also pack their own stuff like juice pouches and granola bars.

When I know we have to be somewhere "early" (10 a.m. for us!!!), I make sure I have a 5-point double chocolate protein meal bar ready to roll and make myself a fried egg. I try to always have lots of fruit in the house that I like to eat (the kids will eat any fruit!) and fat-free yogurt and some Weight Watchers treats like my toasted coconut bars (2 points each).

As for those chocolate melts ... well, I put them out of sight and have not had a problem. Having to track everything that goes into my mouth also puts me off digging into them.

My ultimate goal is to be a Weight Watchers leader someday ... haha! I'll need something to do with my time when the kids are out of the house. Did you know that when you reach  your ultimate weight loss goal with WW that you can attend meetings for FREE for life as long as you stay within 5 pounds of your ideal weight goal?

Gotta go. I'm starting to sound like a freaking ad for Weight Watchers. However you lose weight or get healthy is wonderful!

Friday, October 19, 2012

PaperMate Inkjoy 700 RT 1.0 M Review

I have a new favorite pen. As we all know, I am a pen addict. In fact, one of my other favorite pens is also a PaperMate and that love affair post can be found here (it's also a post about my drugstore shopping addiction).

I love this pen. It's not too heavy and not too light. It's white, silver and gray, which is so cool. It's a click pen, which I dig. I can clip it to my shirt. It just ... flows, if you know what I mean.

The other day a homeschool kid named Indy who is 11 years old and an aspiring writer caught sight of these pens in my backpack side pouch. She thought they were so pretty and wanted to know if she could have one. I'm stingy with my pens and told her I was reviewing them. She asked if she could have one after I was done reviewing them. I said sure. At the time I figured the pens were expensive and I would have to save up to buy more. But I was wrong!

You can get these pens all over the place. I'll probably head to WalMart and pick up a box of 12 for $18.97. I have the version shown above, but they also come in a gorgeous black.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Weight Loss is Not a RACE!

Tonight Aron is out of town. Jordan couldn't watch the kids. I took them to Weight Watchers with me so I could weigh in. I hate missing the meeting because I pay for it and it's inspirational and about the only "me" time I get during the week, but you do what you gotta do. At least I made the weigh-in!

Last week I gained 1.8 pounds, part of which was due to the fact that I changed from shorts to jeans and from a barefoot weigh-in to tennis shoes and socks. I also didn't track my eating very well in my journal and when I do that I overeat every time! Instead of getting down in the dumps and berating myself, I vowed to keep going.
These homemade eggrolls are only about 2 points each (cole slaw mix, soy sauce, egg roll wrappers)

Let's make this clear: I do not "diet." Our leader is on our cases for "dieting" = eating less than the points we are given each day. I get it. If we undereat and lose a bunch of weight and feel great, that's fine ... until we find we need more food to keep up our energy and our body is used to eating so little that any extra bit makes us gain each week. I make sure to eat all my points per day and often also use some of my 49 extra per week that I get.

I'm getting used to the skinny mocha at Starbucks once a week and the cherry vanilla Diet Coke at Sonic sometimes. I also drink a lot of water. I'm getting used to measuring my portions and try my hardest to fit in 5 fruits/veggies per day. I've even started doing a TEENY bit of exercise in the morning ... like 2 minutes of arm lifts and squats!

Anyway, tonight I went in, took off my tennies and stepped on the scale. Somehow with healthy eating I lost 3.2 pounds. I realize that weight (especially for women due to menstruation and fertility) goes up and down. One week will be triumphant and the next I might work very hard and find that I gained.

That's the journey. It's not a RACE to lose weight. In fact, my ultimate goal is to reach a certain weight by next SUMMER. I am not trying to weigh 100 pounds by Christmas because that would be absolutely ridiculous. I make short-term goals. I am already thinking, however, about what I will eat at Christmas gatherings ... how I might fill up on a salad before I go or take my own veggies to a party and stay away from the carbo-loaded desserts.

I know this is not forever. When I can control myself around food, I will be able to sneak in a treat more often. I don't feel deprived. I make sure my kids know I CAN have any food there is; I just have to log it. It's like a checking account and I have 26 points per day (plus 49 per week) that I can "spend." If I go over that amount in a week, it shows on the scale and in how my clothes fit and in how much energy I have.

Next stop = 10% goal! Ultimate goal = health, physical fitness, energy, and more.

Pine Bros. Throat Drops Review

After 15 years, Pine Bros. Softish Throat Drops are back (they were a trusted brand since 1870), and they are DELICIOUS! I know this for sure because they sent me a BOX of their product to try and pass out. Included in the box was what the company calls a PUCK ... it's a hockey puck-shaped container to refill with your Pine Bros. throat drops ... and we have refilled a few times already! It's nice to have since (1) the drops aren't individually wrapped (waste of paper in our landfills) and (2) I don't have to carry an entire bag of these around with me in the diaper bag; instead, I can refill the puck when I'm running low and the puck is securely closed and won't get crushed or spilled!

The day these throat drops arrived, the kids dug right in ... it's allergy season in the Midwest, after all, you know, so throats are dealing with some drainage and other fun currently. We all really love the taste of the wild cherry drops, and the honey comes in second. My 3-year-old, Sam, took one of the pucks and hid it so only he can get into it and eat the drops. He is the youngest of 5 and must hide his soft and chewy throat drop stash.

More plusses: it's an American made product, baby. AND they are only 5 calories a drop, which fits in with my Weight Watchers program with no problem!

 I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My True Nature Product Review

Raise your hand if you use your baby's lotion. Yeah, me too. I was so excited to receive the samples of My True Naure's Bubble Bath, Lotion and Shampoo/Body Wash. We really go through this type of product in my house and I always love trying new things. My True Nature's products are animal cruelty-free, which me and Paul McCartney can appreciate. Here's my take on this stuff:

I love the smell of the bubble bath. Sam and Eva love taking baths together and love lots of bubbles. I love that the bubbles stick around for a long time.

I also love the citrusy smell of the baby wash/shampoo combo. The fact that it is in a pump is an added bonus ... no spills and one-handed dispensing make hair washing quick and easy.

The "Beary" Soft Lotion is my favorite product, though. It comes in a pump bottle that I keep in the kitchen right on the counter. I use it on myself after I do dishes and use it on the kids if I see they have dry spots. There is no fragrance, so it's not obnoxious or overpowering. And a little bit goes a long way.

You know I'm a little crunchy, so I appreciate that the bottles are made from recycled plastic and the products are free of all sorts of unnecessary chemicals and additives.

Here's some information from their site:

The Tubby Time Clean and Soft Set combines the Tubby Time greats (Dewey's bubbles and Daisy's shampoo/body wash) with Clio's lotion.

Dewey's and Daisy's cleansers are pure, natural formulas that combine plant-based cleansers and botanicals to create mountains of bubbles that are perfect for sensitive skin, cradle cap, or eczema and will leave your little ones soft as silk and smelling clean.

Clio's lotion is a truly unique formula that combines organic sunflower oil infused with a multitude of calming and healing organic herbs with shae butter, aloe and bees wax. It calms sunburns, rashes, eczema and other skin irritations the natural and organic way. Reuse the bottles made of 100% recycled plastic for a truly sustainable bath time experience.

Most of our ingredients are locally sourced from organic farms in California and the Pacific Northwest. Those ingredients that are not produced locally come from Germany.

Our bottles are made from 100% FDA-APPROVED RECYCLED PET plastic. Our pumps, caps and bottles are all BPA free and manufactured in the USA.

Here's how to follow them on Facebook!

Here's how to follow them on Twitter!

Shipping is free on orders over $50 AND it turns out that if you order these great products and enter my name (Kerrie McLoughlin) as your sales representative, I make a little cut on the whole deal, which means I can keep paying for my weekly Weight Watchers meetings :-)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sunburnt After Sun Gel Giveaway!

This post was originally published on 9/27/12, but then I found out that SunBurnt is sponsoring a giveaway on my little bloggy, so after you check out the review, please enter to win on the super cool, state-of-the-art, better-than-writing-names-on-a-piece-of-paper-and-picking-one-out-of-a-hat Rafflecopter!

I'm usually pretty on top of things sunscreen-wise. Nobody wants to say they were responsible for letting FIVE little kids get sunburned. Alas, sometimes it happens. Joel has these cute stick-out cheeks that always burn a little right under his eyes no matter how much sunscreen stick we use. And once in Wyoming we weren't used to the high altitude (closer to the sun) and were playing by the river for longer than we meant to sans sunscreen and the kids were uncomfortable the rest of the day ... they got a little burned.

To try to relieve their pain I rushed out and got some aloe vera gel. Big mistake. It made things worse. I know, because I was a little burned and the aloe vera gel STUNG, which I did not realize would happen!

So when this Sunburnt After Sun Gel came along, I was skeptical. Then I tried it.

First of all, it has no scent, so you know perfumey junk won't be getting on your already sensitive skin.

Also, it is not sticky!!!!!!

Finally, it is so gentle and does not sting!

How could something homeopathic work so well? I don't know, but it does.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

FUNNY Family Math Word Problems #4

Here are parts ONE, TWO and THREE. Enjoy!

  1. I have 5 children. The first 3 are 22 months apart. Then there is a gap of 34 months, then the next 2 are 22 months apart. What is the probability that I've only had sex 5 times in my life?
  2. The kids made $35 at our recent garage sale during two days of hard work. The adults made about $25. Why do I keep having garage sales?
  3. I spent $123 at Aldi, $132 at Price Chopper and $21 at HyVee on grocery shopping for two weeks of eatin'. How much faster did I get my shopping done without children?
  4. A stroller travels at a speed of 2 mph when it is empty. How fast does it travel when it is holding my 6th child (laptop Toshiba) and my backpack with my cell phone in it? With how much force did it hit the park lake last week? Why the hell did I not have the brake on the stroller? (don't worry; no kids were in the stroller!)
Hope you enjoyed this installment of Funny Math Problems. Have fun figuring out the answers and here is part FIVE!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Prescription Sunnies for My Blind Husband! (Just Eyewear Review and Giveaway!)

Today is all about my husband because it's our 14th wedding anniversary! If you had told me 14 years ago that today I would be going back to the animal shelter to get more stuff they forgot to send with us, to PetCo for dog supplies, homeschooling, squeezing in a shower, doing laundry, going to hang out with a group I created called Heathen Homeschoolers (the name is a joke), picking up take-out BBQ and heading to the park WHERE WE GOT ENGAGED and have never been back to (how romantic!) all with FIVE KIDS IN TOW, I would have told you ...

"AWESOME! I can't wait! Bring it on because that sounds like us! Sounds like fun! Sounds like a bustling, loving household of the good kind of crazy! I'll take a ticket to that roller coaster ride!"

Enough about our disgusting love. This is a review, dangit. And I am here to review the heck out of these awesome sunglasses Aron got from Just Eyewear. I think they are adorable on him and no more squinting for him in the sun, which we all know causes wrinkles. (sometimes I like to apply my wrinkle cream to his little eye area and he pretends like it hurts, but it is our little bonding thing and was that too much information?)

Their glasses start at just $17.95. I'm a little embarrassed to say that I trotted my butt into Lenscrafters last year and got myself a pair of RayBan prescription sunglasses as a treat to myself for my 40th birthday. I'd never had prescription sunnies and had always wanted them so I just did it. I spent ... um, well, a lot. Okay, fine, they were in the neighborhood of $300. (like my font change?!)

Aron got something he really wanted and the total was only around $88 (in all honesty, he got a $50 credit from Just Eyewear so we could do the review so he really only spent $38). He got a nice case and a tool to adjust the screws and a cleaning cloth. What a deal!

We were surprised they were so cheap, seeing as how back in the day he wore Coke bottle thick lenses and to make those nice and thin for sunnies takes some doing. By the way, I am also practically blind, so I am allowed to make fun of my hubs, but if you do it I'll scratch your eyes out!

Just Eyewear is sponsoring a giveaway here for a $50 credit for one winner (shipping is not included). From what I can see on their website, 50 bucks can get you a nice pair of sunnies or regular eyeglasses. Just enter on the Rafflecopter below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Halloween T-shirt Review and My 14th Anniversary!

Today is Aron and Kerrie's 14th wedding anniversary (and about 17 years of being together), so I had to post a couple of pictures of my cute husband!

I recently got this t-shirt in the mail to review from AM T-shirts, and we love it! We love funny around this house, and "333 Half Evil" is pretty cute. Above, Aron is giving one devil horn and a mean face. I think this is extra funny because Aron is an identical twin, so it's like he's half evil and his brother is half evil. Together they made quite the pair!

Technical stuff:
Aron says it fits very well and it didn't shrink like crazy when I washed and dried it. It's a comfy t-shirt! I might have to borrow it every now and then, like when I go to my Heathen Homeschoolers group Halloween party!

Too much information stuff:
I think he looks awesome in it. Like super hot. Smokin'!

If you're looking for a True Blood Tee because you're just a fan of that show or something (the books came first, people!), AM T-shirts can hook you up there, as well! Based on the entries in the last True Blood giveaway I was in, I have some fans of that show out there!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Newest McLoughlin Baby

Last Saturday we went to the Great Plains SPCA website to look for dogs and we found a super cute shih-tzu puppy named Snoopy Baby. By the time I got around to calling this morning about him, I was told he had an adoption pending and would be adopted tomorrow. We were bummed. Later I told Joel not to get too upset; that God would send us our doggie and we could always pray that the adoption would fall through.

Right after I said that the phone rang. Turns out the family who was going to adopt Snoopy Baby chose another dog, so they still had Snoopy at the shelter from his foster home. They weren't technically open today, but did we want to come in and look at him?

We got off the highway around 3 planning to check out our new dog and meet Aron to make sure he okayed it. We were met with this scene:

As I'm waiting to cross the train tracks to get past all the police action, which was right in front of where we needed to be, the train bar starts closing above me and a train is all of a sudden on its way toward us. I had no choice but to go forward since there was someone behind me. I asked the police if we could get through and park and walk to the shelter to get our dog and they said yes. By the way, it's never good when the paramedics put up a tent around a "situation" ... yes, a woman died today due to not wearing a seat belt.

So here we are trekking toward the shelter.

At first nobody knew what we were talking about and Mama Bear was thinking inside, "You'd better find that dang dog. We've been waiting for years to have a dog and we are all excited and have chosen carefully." Then somebody knew what we were talking about. They opened a wooden gate and here he was! By the way, it's so sad walking through the grounds of an animal shelter with all the dogs wanting to go home with you. Michael had to cover his ears because the sounds of all the barking was tough for him to take.

Here's Eva, already in love. YES, she is wearing undie pants!

After getting the okay from Daddy, we plunked down a hefty amount of cash for our 2-months-old-today puppy dog. Snoopy Baby is a half hound, half shih-tzu. I don't know on what planet those two dogs have sex, but apparently it happened.

Here ya go! I'm nervous for our first night with him. He's like having a baby all over again. Shots, food, treats, training, night waking and whining and making sure he doesn't get under the fence and into the road, collars and leashes and beds and toys and chewing things up and fleas and fur and don't-step-on-the-dog and ... I can't believe we finally have a doggie!

Updated 10/10/12. We are in love! What a sweet baby! He is well-loved in this house. He gets to sleep on random children, treats when he potties outside, went to PetCo today and to the park for the afternoon. We picked up his care bag from his foster mom and it had food, a blanket, toys, a chewie and newspaper in it, which were all perfect! I'm hoping to friend her on Facebook so I can make sure we are continuing to care for Snoopy Baby how she did ... paper training, etc. I'm so happy we got a dog from a shelter ... he is our little friend.

Tackle-It Tuesday: STILL Working on the Kitchen!

This is a picture from behind of my husband last Saturday. What the heck is he doing? (you ask) Well, he has just pulled the fridge out from the wall and is taking off the wallpaper since this was not something I could easily do while he was out of town.

We had a nice date of washing walls while the kids interrupted us every 36.2 seconds and I remembered why I had not done the washing and sanding myself over the summer (the kids get into all sorts of trouble when I'm doing so).

We used to go out for expensive dinners and to the movies and dancing at dance clubs (go, techno music!) on a Saturday night. Now we do this. And it's all good.

(This post was for Christine, who insists she wants updates on my kitchen stripping-3-layers-of-wallpaper-washing-sanding-spackling-sanding again-painting-getting new windows fun.)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pissy Post: Handle Those Halloween Hecklers

Below is an article I did a couple of years ago and it hasn't sold well to the regionals because it's so pissy and kooky. A New Jersey mag bought this last year and I was interviewed on a New York City radio station about it. Keep in mind this is a Pissy Post ... it's me ranting at nobody specific and just trying to get the message across that all parents are different and that doesn't make any of us bad necessarily (obviously unless you like, beat your kid or leave them home alone under the age of 7 or something!).

Oh, crap! What am I going to do on Halloween, what with my Weight Watchers status? I'll have to think that one out big-time because we have a church Trunk-or-Treat, a Boo at the Zoo, a Halloween homeschool party AND Halloween itself. EEK!

How to Handle Halloween Hecklers
By Kerrie McLoughlin

I know it’s not a holiday on par with the religious significance of Christmas or the historical importance of Memorial Day, but Halloween sure is a reason to celebrate in my house. This has a lot to do with the fact that I have a love affair with sugar, chocolate and any type of candy and have passed that on to my skinny kids. The sugar coupled with the opportunities for socialization for the kids and for me make this is the ultimate holiday. So why do Halloween hecklers want to spoil our fun? Over the years I’ve figured out how to handle all sorts of Halloween heckler tricks, and I’ll share these little knowledge treats with you …

The Costume Heckler
Guess what? If your child dresses up as a ghost it doesn’t mean he has suicidal tendencies as much as it means his mom simply used a sheet as a costume to save time, brainpower or money.

The Religious Heckler
Reassure religious naysayers that just because a kid dresses up as a skeleton or a devil (again with the costumes!) that he probably won’t grow up to be an undertaker or an atheist. I don’t know about YOUR kids, but mine are imps all year round; they don’t need Halloween as an excuse that some evil spirit is making them behave badly or will get into their head.

The Stranger Danger Heckler
To deal with these hecklers, you can share what Lenore Skenazy says in her book Free-Range Kids, “ … somehow, your nice, quiet neighbors – the ones you never got to know but somehow managed to live next to in peace and harmony the other 364 days of the year – have been waiting, like kids for Christmas, for this one day to murder local children.” Doubt it.

The Keep-Halloween-Out-of-Our-Schools Heckler
Can’t wait for the hate mail on this one, but my take is that if you don’t want your child to dress up or participate at school for any Halloween festivities, keep her home.

The Begging-Is-Rude Heckler
Oh, come on! My kids don’t BEG, they say, “Trick or Treat” and then politely thank their candy pushers. They also make the requisite small talk, if necessary. If people don’t want kids “begging” at their door, they either leave their house or turn out all the lights in it. The people with their porch light on leave it on because they WELCOME children at their door and WANT to hand out candy.

The Weather Heckler
These are the people who think your kid will catch cold and die, especially if she goes out trick-or-treating in the cold with … wet hair! Newsflash! Going to the mall doesn’t get you into the trenches of Halloween. You gotta experience the drizzle, the cold, the dark, the whole mood, even if you just go to one house!

The Sugar-is-Bad Heckler
Seriously? Last time I checked, I could eat 3,500 calories of pure sugar or 3,500 calories of organic sweet potato and it’s still … one entire pound of fat on my body if I don’t work it off. Listen up: sugar isn’t crack, and it isn’t akin to cigarettes or alcohol, either. Yes, some parents let their child pig in Halloween candy until it’s gone (guilty!), but some use common sense and dole it out a few pieces a day and then pitch the rest.

The Razor-Blades-In-Apples Heckler
Lenore Skenazy writes about a professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware named Joel Best, who studied Halloween crime reports from 1958 on and said, “The bottom line is that I cannot find any evidence that any child has ever been killed or seriously hurt by a contaminated treat picked up in the course or trick-or-treating.” Pitch the homemade treats if you must (does anyone still even make those?), and then just check over the wrapped candy for needle holes, you paranoid parent (guilty again!).

I’ve gone trick-or-treating in the pouring rain, in the freezing cold, while eight months pregnant, with a newborn baby, with a severe ear infection, you name it. Bring it on, hecklers! Nothing’s gonna keep me away from celebrating THIS sugar holiday with my brood. Now who’s with me?!

Kerrie McLoughlin is the semi-sweet mom of 5 sweet kids and blogs at

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday, Sam and NICU Reunion 2012

Samuel was born 3 years ago TODAY! Here's his birth story, and it has some humor to it even though it was a very sad week that he spent in the neonatal intensive care unit. We missed the first two NICU reunions that the hospital holds, mostly because Aron was working both years and I couldn't fathom taking all 5 little kids to a super busy place outdoors plus, let's face it, I was still sad about the whole situation. Of course I am grateful every single day that he lived because some kids who have meconium aspiration don't. It stumps me every day why he got to live and other kids don't. Then I wipe the tears away and move on, giving all my kids extra hugs.

So this year we finally went to the NICU reunion! Instead of being held at a park, it was held at our local children's museum called Wonderscope. A pass there goes for like $7 per person plus we got a free hot dog/chips/cookie/drink meal so we could not pass it up! And Sam even got a Rock Star t-shirt! Here are some pictures!

Sam had on his cool guy sunglasses and his Mischief Maker shirt.

Here we are with our free meal. When you have 5 kids you take all the free food you can get!

Me and Samuel. He recently potty trained all by himself and insists on doing things all by himself. I joke that NICU kids are tough.

They had all sorts of cool blow-up bouncy things!

Joel helps Sam get into the bouncy train! They also did a bounce house and I chatted with another NICU mom. It was interesting to be around a bunch of people who went through something so emotional and life-changing. I sailed through childbirth four times, then the 5th hit me like a ton of bricks. You can have PTSD from NICU experiences. I've written 2 articles about NICU life during and after to try to make sense of it all and help others.

Anyway, the other mom had one son. He was in the NICU 7 weeks. Before he was born she had had a daughter who was born early and died in the NICU. What strength that she went on and had another. I don't know that I am so strong. I looked the death of a child in the face and I don't want to go back there.

Sorry to be such a downer. It's Sam's birthday! I am happy he is with us! Above, he loved the golf ball room at the museum! He loves life and eats it up!

Here he is at the end of the night. We wore his butt out and he crashed on the couch! We thank God every day for all of our children and that they are all alive and well. We are grateful for every day we get to spend with them. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAMUEL!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Callie the Fashion Designer

These are paper dresses my 7-year-old daughter Callie cut up and taped together using scrapbook paper. She also made a ball gown and danced around the house with it attached to herself.

These are her top secret sketches!

What do your kids like to do in their free time? I like to give my kids plenty of time after homeschooling and chores and all our fun running around to BE BORED. That's how I discovered I like to write! Callie is great at this fashion design thing and dresses herself so cute all the time!

Friday, October 5, 2012

EXPIRED ...$100 American Express Gift Card Giveaway Ends 10/31

Sorry, ya'll, but this one expired in 2012. But it's not an accident that you are here! Check out some of my rockin' ebooks on Amazon! Like this one:

Here's how to get it!

Or, if you want to make REAL money and not just enter with the slim chance that you will win, check this out:

Here's how to get it!

With the holiday season fast approaching, I’m sure we can all use some extra spending money. That’s why I’m so excited to bring my readers a chance to win a $100 Amex gift card, sponsored by ABC Favors and Earn SEO and hosted by Happy Mothering and Green Moms Media! ABC Favors is has a great selection of party favors, decorations, games, invitations and other party supplies for events like baby showers, wedding showers, birthday parties, holiday gatherings, baptisms or any other special occasion. They offer everything you need to plan an unforgettable event at reasonable prices. They offer high quality invitation designs at prices to fit any budget. If you’re planning a baby shower for a friend or family member, you’ll also be able to pick up some great themed and DIY baby shower favors, fun activities and unique baby shower gifts at ABC Favors. The next time you’re planning a baby shower or other celebration, be sure to visit ABC Favors for all of your party needs! As a thank you for your time in learning about what ABC Favors has to offer, they are giving one of our readers a $100 Amex gift card! Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Good luck!

Kerrie says: Again, please enter this for me because you love me and sympathize with my laptop going into the drink (the lake at the park). I'll blog about it later!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  This contest will run through October 31, 2012 at 9:01 pm PST (November 1, 2012 at 12:01 am EST). The winner will be chosen the following day and announced on Happy Mothering and the participating blogs through Rafflecopter once winner has been confirmed. US entries only. Must be 18 years or older to win. While Green Moms Media was compensated to organize this giveaway, we only work with companies we believe our members and readers will enjoy. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Green Moms Media and not to Facebook. Please note that Happy Mothering, Green Moms Media, the $100 Amex Gift Card Giveaway Event and participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. We have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. We will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. I will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 4-6 weeks for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.


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