Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Mint Dress for the Upcoming Wedding and Pictures at Funerals?

I went out last week looking for a swimsuit and had ZERO luck (see this post about bras and boobs). I kept passing by these super cute dresses and finally this one SPOKE TO ME and I had to just grab it and try it on along with all the swimsuit disasters I had. It's from JCPenney, it was about $40, and it's a size 12 in case you were curious. It makes me happy because it is comfortable.

I don't care if my arms are too big for a sleeveless dress or that I will have a pooch belly in it. It is gorgeous and it makes me feel gorgeous. I am wearing it to a family wedding with totally inappropriate shoes because we now don't have the money for new shoes for me;. Likely I will be barefoot much of the time anyway.

The point is, it makes me feel pretty and it reminds me of my Great Aunt Eva for some reason. It's washable and I can wear it all summer long.

What makes you feel pretty?

Mom, are you happy now that I posted this like I said I would? I love you.

Updated April 2017. So when I wore this dress to the wedding, it was the last time my grandfather recognized me and he died a few months later. I wore it also to see him in the nursing home and snapped a selfie of us which I won't share here because some of my family FREAKED OUT when I shared it on Facebook. How dare I capture one last memory of my Poppy and myself and share it? In a nursing home? Then I went on to have my friend take pictures at the FUNERAL as well. I treasure those pictures as well and am glad I don't think like "everyone else" ... I am more sensitive, that's for sure, and I love having pictures to look back on, even if they are sad.

Also, even though I felt like I was busting out of it, I wore this dress also to Easter Mass this year. I love this dress :-)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Butterfly Day at the McLoughlin Academy of Rock

This morning when Callie got up we hit the books right away. You see, we homeschool in the summer. We pretty much do light school all year so we can take breaks, explore other interests, travel, socialize, play and more. It just works for us.

Anyway, we learned about insects today, which led to coloring pictures of butterflies (just Google "butterly coloring pictures") and fairy butterflies and reading poems about butterflies and learning about the life cycle of the butterfly. We'll inspect our parsley plant daily for caterpillars so many we can make a butterfly jar like we did another time. Eva and Sam color pictures, some have a B on them. Callie is going to color a bookmark with butterflies on it.

I love when learning one thing leads to another. It's like I start the conversation by cracking open a book and they continue it themselves, taking me along for the ride.

Later, since we're heading into social insects like ants and bees, I'll put "Bee Movie" on hold at the library. I also have to remember to put The Secret Garden on hold!

Check out my piece over here with 6 Family Friendly Outdoor Projects, as well, if you're feeling outdoorsy!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review: Ride Along Dolly Doll Bike Seat

Okay, so this Ride Along Dolly Doll Bike Seat came in the mail so I could review it and stuff.

My girls were super excited, but only one has a "real bike" ... so Callie was chosen to try out the product. So after she put on the included decals and had so much fun doing that, it was time for Mr. Kerrie to assemble the seat.

Mr. Kerrie gives it a thumbs-up in the easy-to-assemble department

Callie would not get off her bike and rode up and down, up and down the sidewalk with her American Girl Doll-knockoff (how well do you think a $100+ doll would fare in my house, people? So we just don't even go there ... we get the $30 Our Generation Dolls from Target, thank you very much). Rather, SANTA does.

My little model loved this so much. The doll needs a ponytail, though, because her hair almost got caught in the spokes. And I noticed that the seat was saggin' a couple of weeks after it was installed. Mr. Kerrie said he fixed it but it sagged again. Just sayin'. If I was not honest you would not love me.
Hook up with them at Facebook and Pinterest!
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.

Monday, May 20, 2013 ... Play Games Online for Brain Power

I hate to admit this, but I'm pretty sure I'm not alone. When I was a working girl (not that kind of working girl, people), I used to play games on the computer during my downtime. I'd mostly play solitaire and other things that were pre-loaded onto the computer, but that was a long time ago.

These days there are so many options for the person at work on a lunchbreak or for the mom or dad who is a bit bored during the day when kids are in school. Online games are also great for those who can't sleep at night ... play some games, build up your brain power, make your mind sleepy and head to bed!

Remember how Hangman was the go-to game for anytime you were bored as a kid and especially for long car rides? Now you can pay it online, too!

This great site has all sorts of games! They have different versions of Hangman, as well as word puzzles like crossword puzzles, word searches, word scramble and bouncing letters. There are also retro games on this site like PacMan and Space Invaders. SCORE! I'm back in the early 1980s again!

Here are some Hangman Game Strategies from the website

"The most common used English letter is 'e' so you better start by using it. The 4 other vowels ('a', 'o', 'i', 'u') are next. The other most commonly used letters are 't', 'n', 's', 'h', 'r', 'd' and 'l'.
Using these letters can give you better odds for guessing the word, but they can also decrease the level of fun while playing and not necessarily will help you win, words that are less common like "rhythm" don't qualify for this strategy."

They also have other brain teaser games ...

"For those of you who want to play more brain teasers and puzzles there are tons of possibilities out there but only a few are also super fun. Try Tetris, Jigsaw puzzles or Sudoku. If you want to play arcade games you should pay a visit to our gaming portal Funzola. It has the most fun games we pick by hand and also a large collection or retro games such as Pacman, Super Mario Bros and Space Invaders. All games are kids friendly of-course."

Next time the kids say they are bored, send t hem to!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Glo-Stick Fun With Friends (Mom Swap)

Okay, rather than post the whole she-bang again, I'm going to annoyingly send you over here, where I originally wrote about this evening of fun. The pictures would not post over there, though, so you get to see them here! Let's just say I had a lot of fun at a friend's house. Her husband so kindly supervised my kids riding their bikes out in the street, and my oldest son/husband could not make it because they were at a Scout thing, unfortunately. Still, we are planning to do it again in June for Father's Day ... a dad's swap ... we have some naughty ideas, but that's another post.
Seriously, though, this is some cheap fun when you have kids, moms and dads all mixed together. Who says you can't have fun with kids around? I mean, that was my whole stinkin' childhood, people ... a bunch of 20-somethings having way too much fun while the kids messed around all over the place dancing to Sultans of Swing and Foreigner songs and the Beatles and anything else that rocked in the 70s.

Here are some pics!

I'm thinking in June we should make it super dark and put glo-sticks in the swimming pool. Or make our own glo-sticks using Mountain Dew. Wait, that's not true.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kids and Cell Phones

As parents, we want to keep our children safe, and cell phones seem to promise to do just that. But at what age does a child become responsible enough to be able to handle all that might go along with a cell phone, like texting, the Internet, minutes and charges, manners and more? And what guidelines do you need to have in place before handing over that phone?

Some parents are dead set on their pre-teen not having a cell phone. Jennifer McClure, mom of 3, makes the point, “I don’t think a pre-teen needs a cell phone. Until they or their classmates are old enough to drive, they shouldn’t be stranded anywhere, because some adult should be with them. So why would they need a cell phone?” It would seem that few elementary age children are responsible enough to be able to handle a cell phone. To combat some of the bigger problems, you can get a phone without Internet access or texting services, and it can also have set minutes and a tracking device.

Read the rest of this piece here and weigh in!

Monday, May 13, 2013

12 Ideas for Cheap Summer Fun

Too often summer goes so fast that before you know it the kids are back in school and schedules fill up with sports, lessons and other activities. If you’re looking for some cheap, fun activities to do with your kids during the summer, read on for a dozen ideas. Some can be done in the evening, all can be done on weekends, so whether you work full-time or have the summer off with your kids, pick and choose a few of your favorites from the list below and turn them into summer traditions!

1.      Plant a garden as soon as school is out and your family will see the fruits (or vegetables!) of your labors by the end of summer. If you don’t have a backyard or much space, many vegetables can be grown in pots on a deck railing or even inside. Head to to get started.

2.      Read all about it when you join a summer reading program, like one your local library system might offer (check Other organizations that offer rewards for reading over the summer are Chuck E. Cheese’s (, Scholastic ( and Barnes and Noble (

Sunday, May 12, 2013

How I Like to Spend Mother's Day ...

Subtitle: I Wasn't Sure I'd Get to be a Mom at All
Uh, yeah. I'm an ONLY child.

Here's more of a tease than you usually get on pieces I post at other places. Here's the tease, then the rest you can click on a link to get to. Enjoy your Mother's Day!

"Usually I try to be offline all day on Sundays, just to have one day off during the week so I can relax and get some things caught up on. Today being Mother's Day, the vibe is a little different, and I have more downtime than usual!

Some moms like to be gone for Mother's Day. They see it as a holiday for them and they work hard, so they need a break. Maybe they go out with friends, maybe to the spa, maybe even away for the weekend. That's fine for them. I am not jealous and wish them well.

For me, however, I like to be all up in my kids' business on Mother's Day.

I accept their homemade gifts and extra hugs. I revel in their love today. We went to church and each of my kids got me a rose afterward. I got to see my other mommy friends there (some of them, at least, as I don't just hang out with other Catholics!).

I got a quasi-nap and did not get annoyed at the whining and the kids ringing the doorbell and making noise while I tried to sleep on the couch. I enjoyed their kid noises.

You see, I am a mom. This is a title I always wanted to have, probably from the time I was born.

I was pregnant when I was 18 and something bad happened to that pregnancy ..."

Read the rest here!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mother's Day Dilemmas Solved!

1. Yes, I know I look high, but I am not; B. Aron and the kids got me a columbine plant which; 3. makes me think of my mom and Colorado!
Remember Mother’s Day before you were married? The day probably revolved around your own mom, stepmom or other mother figure. Then your mother-in-law came into the picture, and you had to really split your time every second Sunday in May. Once YOU became a mother you probably realized that juggling Mother’s Day visits (as well as your own “selfish” needs and wants) should be an Olympic event. While it’s true you can’t make everyone happy all of the time, I believe you CAN honor all the moms in your life — including yourself — every year. Here are some ideas:

Dilemma: So many moms, so little time.
Solution: Change it up. Who says Mother’s Day should only be celebrated on that specific Sunday in May? I like to have my stepmom over for dinner one night during the week leading up to Mother’s Day. Then maybe we take my mother-in-law out to dinner the night before. When Sunday rolls around, I have my mom over to hang out with us at our house for part of the day, and we make sure to serve her a special meal and shower her with cards and flowers. I get the best of both worlds on Mother’s Day: being with my own mom and being with the little ones who made ME a mom.

Click here to read the rest of this piece!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Product Review: Liquid Gold

It's always fun to have pictures of me cleaning so I can show my husband that it does indeed happen. So when I got a big can of Scott's Liquid Gold to try out, I knew he would be happy because it meant our wood would most likely be shiny and pretty. Check out these photos!

This is my gorgeous wood vanity that my parents bought for little ole me when I was but a wee teen girl, just a few short years ago.

It resides in my daughters' bedroom so it takes a bit of a beating. Check out the big scratch on the left side of the vanity.

Don't see it anymore, do you?

And check out how mottled this wood looks!

Liquid Gold took care of it and nourished the wood on this antique vanity the ways it deserves to be nourished and loved.

I was happy to know Scott's also makes these dust 'n go wax-free polishing cloths, which my kids will have fun using to polish wood around the house. I love that Liquid Gold is not greasy. Some products I've used on my treasured vanity are greasy and smelly. Scott's LG is not greasy and smells nice and mild.

I give them 5 out of 5 carrots (remember I'm trying to be healthier so my rating system must keep up!) 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.

Birthday Party Ridiculousness

It seems like kids’ birthday parties are getting out of hand these days, with parents trying to top each other for some non-existent “Most Elaborate Party” award! It can be difficult – if not impossible – to keep up with the intricate, expensive and often highly structured parties that are thrown by our child’s friends and classmates. Whether your child is in school, is homeschooled or is not yet even in preschool, the politics of birthday parties affect everyone. Save your sanity and stay out of the Poor House instead by considering some of the options and tips below.

1.      Realize that you don’t have to invite the whole world to an expensive gathering. One of my favorite parties growing up consisted of about five friends and an ice cream parlor. Every few years you could save up for something special and a little more costly like a moonwalk in the backyard or taking five friends to Paradise Park. If you’re having the party in your spacious backyard, by all means invite your child’s entire class. But …

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Proofreading Love Affair With

I have a new addiction, and it is making money doing something I love.
Sorry, this photo has nothing to do with this post but reflects my life lately and I think it's killer funny!

I also make money when you check out these teaser posts (which may annoy you, Mom and Husband, but the point is to get you interested and get you to click over to where I write more cool stuff). So if you love me, check it out! [What? You thought I only lived at The Kerrie Show? Nope. I am all over the place.]

And if you want to know more about my proofreading and writing gigs, in case you are a Grammar Nazi like me/myself, head to The Published Parent!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Homeschooling 101

Although it’s becoming quite a popular education choice, the decision to homeschool can lead to some overwhelming questions like: 

How do you get started? What does a typical day look like as you entertain and educate your kids all day long? How do you keep toddlers from emptying the cabinets on a daily basis while you teach your older kids? What about socialization?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

8 Tips for Saving on Birthday Gifts

I don’t know about you, but it seems like I’m always toting my kids to a birthday party. Buying all those gifts can be a real budget buster, and nobody wants to go into credit card debt trying to impress little kids (and their parents!) with lavish gifts. Below are 8 money-savings tips to save hundreds of dollars every year on birthday party presents.

Check your budget. This will be harder for some of you than for others, but I promise if you stop worrying about what other people think, you will automatically save some serious cash. Focus on your own finances, and spend only what you can afford.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

8 Birthday Traditions You'll Want to Try

Every year when I was a kid my parents would let me choose where I wanted to eat dinner out for my birthday. Another birthday tradition they kept going was to have a small party for me with family and friends, including a cookout since I have a June birthday. Kids love to feel special, and it can be a challenge to find the time to come up with ways to make a birthday a knockout. Never fear! Below are 8 ideas for birthday traditions to start with your own kids. Pick and choose a few of them each year … and stick with the ones you and your birthday kid love!

Read about all 8 traditions here!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Woolzies Wool Dryer Balls #Review

Okay, so everyone is going green(er) these days, right? I mean, going green is not new. We were kinda green in my family back in the 80s when my mom was big into recycling and could not stand to see someone throw an aluminum can in the trash. She rescued several poor cans during the 80s.

Mom (she reads this blog, go figure!) used Bounce as her fabric softener in the dryer always, and so did I. Then I learned about these wool dryer balls and wanted to give them a try.

The positives of Woolzies wool dryer balls are:

  1. They are good for the earth
  2. You buy them once and they are good for 1,000 loads, so you are saving money over buying sheet fabric softeners
  3. They are hypoallergenic, so nobody is going to get a runny nose or have a reaction after wearing clothes dried in a dryer with these
  4. They work: our clothes were static-free and soft!
  5. They are just fine for people with a sensitivity to wool
The one negative for my household personally (and it probably won't affect you) is that there are SIX of them to keep track of. I had a hard time sorting them out from my clothes and leaving them in the dryer. Some would always come up in the laundry basket with me, then when I would try to get them to walk themselves back down to the basement, invariably a kid or a dog would get ahold of one of them and it was time to PLAY BALL!

I still give them 5 protein bars out of 5 (I've moved away from the Dove chocolate system, sorry to disappoint)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Protecting Kids From the Internet

Do you ever wish you could “un-see” something? Maybe you’ve driven by a violent car accident and glanced over, catching a horrid vision that you now can’t get rid of. Sometimes you see it in your sleep, sometimes when you are awake. It has affected you.

We protect our kids from violent and racy movies when they are young for a reason: we know those visions will stick with them and sometimes even give them nightmares. (who wants to be up in the middle of the night soothing a freaked-out kid?!) So why do we think that letting our kids have unlimited access to the Internet, via personal computer, laptop, iPad, tablet or phones, is a good idea?

You might know that my husband finally agreed to let us get Internet access in our home. Of course, we are worried about things our kids might see when they are on normal sights like YouTube or when they do a Google image search of something as innocent as, say, “cats.” My laptop is the only computer with Internet access, and it has my own password on it. My kids have to ask to use it, and I try to only agree when I will be around them to check in.

But, having 5 kids and homeschooling, I often get busy and am taken to other parts of the house (to wipe butts or take my hourly bubble bath … ha!). I want to know that my young kids are not seeing violent images or naked ladies in precarious positions while I step away.

That’s where eHomeShield comes in. It’s a new Internet monitoring product that I personally know is HALF the cost of some other software out there. It analyzes content, blocks potentially naughty sites and is only a few bucks a month. (but of course if you deem something blocked as fine, you just type in your own little password and BAM, you are good to go, for that site anyway). And for you non-techies like me, it’s easy to set up AND it covers all devices with Internet in your home.

Check them out here at their helpful website for even more great reasons to get this product for your own home. They are now raising money in a campaign on a Crowdfunding site called Indiegogo, and they would appreciate your support there to help get their product out and to get the word out about what they offer.


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