Tuesday, April 22, 2014

We've Always Done It This Way


I'm all for traditions like going to see Santa every year or weekly dates, but sometimes things need to change. If you've always done something a certain way, like eaten a certain way and you're overweight or if you work at a company that refuses to make changes and is going downhill, then that is dangerous!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Inspiration ... Start Where You Are

A friend posted this in a really cool group called One Small Step on Facebook.There are a lot of inspiring things on there and chances to check in each day or week with what you are doing to take care of yourself and your family or a situation.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

These are pictures from Saturday when Nana and Poppy came over with Easter clothes and candy! Later Callie and Eva filled eggs for our hunt with friends today.

Have a great Easter Sunday!

Patrick from Spongebob photobombs


Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday Thankfulness

Ah, I have arrived. I get to be married to my best friend, homeschool my 5 precious babies and work in a corner window office to boot. Life is good!


Just noticed Tigger has a snake tied around his neck. Nice.

Today we are enjoying the lovely weather. Well, not me so much. I am proofreading a ton so I can take Easter off. Aron was going to take Callie and Sam ice skating but now they don't really care since my friend Ambre dropped off some adorable clothes and now my girls want to play Prom.

This is good news for us since now we don't have to pay for ice skating or the gas to get them there, and Aron saves some time so he can work on his Scout things and putting up the new tent to air it out. I think I'll move my corner off to the deck with some ice water and sunglasses and watch the kids play while I proofread recipe books!

Oh, and my friend Angela is coming over so I can teach her how to do her Jamberry nails (see tabs above if you want to visit that fun blog!) ... I am afraid she is a fellow Jamberry addict!

I hope you have a terrific day!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Michael's 11th Birthday Party in Pictures

My mom could not make this party and my dad and stepmom had taken Michael out for a special lunch and present-shopping in lieu of the crazy party day, so here are some photos courtesy of Angeliina Lawson!



Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday's Chicken Theme: Cuddling vs. Eating

Today was another blast.:


  • Finished proofreading my friend Christine Shuck's kick-ass book War's End, Book One: The Storm because Book Two is done and being looked over once more by her so I can proof it soon! 
  • Watched her daughter for a while today. Her daughter says I am like her second mom, which made me cry!
  • Found out from the eye doc that Callie's broken glasses frames will need to be sent out, so there's a week for her without her glasses.
  • Delivered Jamberry nails to my peeps who ordered.
  • When Christine and Dave picked up their daughter they had bought chicks for egg-laying later on! They were snuggly and lovely! My mom is going to love this crap!








And here is dinner, not cooked yet (chicken dipped in milk/mustard then flour/cheddar cheese), recipe courtesy of my behind-me neighbor!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

HuluPlus Review

I have not had cable TV in a million years. Mr. Kerrie won't let us get it. He probably knows we would veg out in front of it too much. Or maybe we wouldn't. I don't know. The thing is, we would also need a DVR because we are on the go so much and I would want to record a few of my favorite shows. I don't have many. I don't have the time to watch a lot of TV. I just want to chill sometimes in the morning with The Real Housewives on in the background while I'm writing or doing some mindless thing online that counts as work while the kids sleep.

So my mom has been VIDEOTAPING shows for me since about 2001. For real. Yes, she is a freaking saint for doing so. Back when I had a nursling who would crash out on me, blissfully keeping me on the couch, I adored having tons of shows on tape to watch.

I would love for her to be able to stop taping stuff for me. I feel bad that she is still doing it so I can get my Housewives or Flipping Out or MadMen fixes.

So I signed up for my free two weeks on HuluPlus and if you sign up with me, we both get free weeks from here on out! Up to a full free year!

So far I've noticed that HuluPlus has the current season of The Real Housewives of New York City and also they have some great movies I have put in my queue for someday when I am not going insane with writer-y projects swimming in my brain! They are great with a lot of network shows, but I notice they are hit or miss with some of the cable shows ... like you can get season 2 of something but no other seasons ... nothing from season 1 and nothing from the current season 4 or whatever.

They do have a lot of great shows for kids, while I hear people who have Netflix get tired of not having a lot of streaming choices.

Here's the link to sign up using my referral code. If you sign up after the free trial, I get two weeks free and YOU GET TWO WEEKS FREE! Then you can be like me and start assaulting people with your own referral code!

I'd love to know what you think about this ... I had tried Netflix and it did not have all that we wanted. Nothing will, most likely.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Happy 11th Birthday to Michael!


This is my second-born punkin, Michael Aron. He is half in a hole that his dad dug for a fence he was moving. Michael is my zen kid ... happy to hang around the house and play Legos. Super honest. Super smart. Practical.

I about started crying in Hyvee the other night when I had to pick out candles ... two number ones to make 11. How can he be that old? I remember the day he was born like it was yesterday.

I love you, Michael! I hope you have a great day hanging with your friends and Tutu and Cathy and having Pizza Hut for lunch and Daddy's spaghetti and meatballs with Texas toast for dinner. And pies!

I know you had a blast yesterday with Poppy and Nana having Five Guys Burgers and Fries and then picking out a gift at the Lego store.

You are a joy to us!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014

5 Craft Supplies Every Classroom Should Have

Any classroom, no matter what age the students, adore art and craft time. This period of class allows students to be creative and does not require the same level of merit as other subjects. Art and Crafts is something that every child can be good at. It is designed not only to be a fun part of the day for children, but it also aids in various key developmental areas; cognitive, emotional, sensory and motor skills. Craft supplies vary from classroom to classroom, but there are some key supplies that should feature in every room.

Paper/Card

Be it regular white paper or some coloured card, there should be some material to suffice as a “canvas” for the children to create their masterpiece on. Once you have some sort of paper or card, the scope for activities range from drawing to painting to 3d art to collages and more. Paper or card is absolutely necessary for virtually any craft activity.

Colours

Depending on the age group, your colouring materials can vary from colouring pencils to markers to crayons. The general consensus is to start the youngest children off colouring with crayons as they are the easiest for them to hold and colour with. The next age group should be able to work with colouring pencils. These require a more significant grip and level of control and any mistakes can easily be corrected with an eraser too. Markers are best left for older kids.

Safety Scissors

Each classroom should have a couple of safety scissors to hand. They can be used to cut shapes, reduce the size of an art piece or cut some card to use for other purposes. Learning to safely and effectively use a scissors can greatly help to develop a child’s motor skills. They can learn to control the movement of their hands by cutting various patterns and shapes into a piece of paper or card. Once, they are more advanced, they can be given the task of cutting perfectly around a shape or drawing on the card.

Glue

Once a child has mastered the art of drawing, cutting and colouring, they are keen to create even more creative pieces. Glue is necessary for creating “special effects” in arts and crafts. With some glue, a child can really explore their creative side, a child can bring the sheep that they have drawn to life with some glue and cotton wool. They can use different strips of coloured card and stick them to their “canvas” to truly enhance their “masterpiece”. The use of glue adds a whole new range of activities and possibilities.

Paint

Be it oil paints, finger paints, glitter paints or water paints, children just love painting. This activity can teach children about the various colours and how to combine different coloured paints to develop new shades. It offers them a means of expressing their emotions and communicating. It also helps to build their hand-eye co-ordination. It is a good idea to choose the paints for a classroom according to the age range of the children that will be using them.

Robert Carass is the Managing Director of www.xpertofficesupplies.ie - Ireland's premier low cost office supplies company. He has been in the Office Supplies Industry for over 20 years and he is very passionate about his work. He has held various positions working in the industry.

Misc. Monday: My Son's Scout Promotion and a Garter Snake

Last Monday night my son Joel got promoted to Assistant Senior Patrol Leader in Scouts. Say it 3 times real fast. He looks thrilled, huh? Possibly sick of Mommy taking so many photos.

Me and Sam in the car heading to the Scout ceremony ... see my cool-a-ma-jig Mother's Pin I have with all the neat pins on it?

Last weekend Mr.Kerrie found a tiny snake in our yard. Yes, he is wearing a Jamberry nail wrap and it held up famously while he worked in the yard!

5 Tips for Planning a Fabulous Quinceañera

When it comes to planning a quinceañera, also known as a sweet 15, parents and their daughters can get frazzled and find it difficult to make all of the final plans before the big birthday celebration arrives. But if you adhere to the following tips, you can rest assured that your planning process will go smoothly and that you'll do everything you need to do in order to really make your party stand out as an unforgettable event everyone will enjoy.

Start Planning a Year in Advance

When it comes to putting together a fabulous quinceañera, you have to plan far enough in advance to get all of the details in place. Therefore, it's highly recommended that you start thinking about the party roughly a year beforehand. Though it may sound a little crazy to think about planning a birthday party a year ahead of time, you won't regret it, as time will certainly fly and the big day will arrive before you know it. Plus, you'll be able to set your budget and begin to save up money for the event.

Book Your Venue Early

It's especially important to book your venue far enough in advance if the birthday falls in the spring or summer, which is the peak of wedding season and graduation season, forcing you to compete with a lot of other party planners in your area who can snatch up your special day before you can get your venue to sign a contract to hold it for you. Planning this far in advance will also help you snag the best deals on the most reliable vendors while also ensuring they don't get booked up before you can get to them.

Pick a Bright, Colourful Dress

Whether you decide to go with a long gown or a short dress, choose a bright, colourful one that will really stand out and make you the centre of attention. Two-tone dresses can be really unique options as well, and the bigger the bottom of the dress is, the more like a princess you'll feel. Opt for a dress that will fit your body best, though, rather than trying to force yourself into a gown that doesn't work for you. This will ensure that you feel comfortable and confident all night long.

Get Your Hair and Makeup Done Professionally

Leaving your hair and makeup duties up to someone else will take the stress off of you and let you enjoy some much-needed pampering on the day of your big event. After all of the stress of planning, you should be able to unwind and let the pros take care of you on your birthday. To be certain that you'll love your look, pay for trials in advance.

Don't Forget to Accessorize

From your crown to make you feel like a princess, to jewellery like earrings with a little flare that can make you feel even more beautiful, don't forget to accessorize. Choose items that match your dress in either style of colour to bring your whole look together so that you're ready for your close-up.

About the author:

Hayley Fox is a freelance writer with a background in party planning. She has helped girls plan their sweet 15 parties and knows how much hard work goes into such an important celebration. That's why she recommends booking venues and vendors in advance. Then all the other details will fall into place.

Friday, April 4, 2014

My Jamberry Nail Wraps Consultant Kit Came!

Yesterday I went to Weight Watchers over lunch while Mr. Kerrie was home with the kiddles. When I got home there was a big gift wrapped in Christmas paper on the counter and the kids were so excited for me to open it. It was my Jamberry consultant kit!

The kids love anything that comes to the house in a box and loved looking at the samples and the catalogs and all the fun things! Here's me with my new kit! I won't inundate you here with Jamberry stuff, but you can go over to Kerrie Jamberry for that fun action.




Yes, Mr. Kerrie was like OH GREAT, one more thing my wife is doing. And I'm like, don't worry, one other business thing dropped off so this one is replacing it and it's just for fun ... I won't be spending millions on my own private stash of nail wraps so it's all good! I am like a Nail Prophet bringing the good news of nails that last 2 weeks instead of 2 hours!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

All the Girls in My House Have Glasses Now

Here's a post about this glasses-getting day.

And here are my gorgeous girls!



And come on over to my Jamberry nail wraps blog, where we can have a "jam session" about these things I am obsessed with lately. You can also get a free sample!

Crafty Presents for My Kids ... and Nanoblocks!

When Joel and I went on our date a few weeks ago I turned into some sort of shopping freak. I love shopping for my kids and for other people!

Michael got some nanoblocks, which he has wanted for a long time. They are like teeny Legos.


Got a 12-pack of paint.

And a letter for each kid to paint and decorate with wooden cutesies.
Callie got an American Girl Doll book about Isabella. Joel got a Catching Fire book.

Sam got a Cars book with playmat and 12 cars from Barnes and Noble for only $8 after the  homeschool discount. Eva got a My Little Pony one.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Recap of Dates with Joel, Callie and Eva

Okay, so we are down 3 dates with 2 more to go. I am doing a crap job of taking pictures because we are too busy having fun. I didn't take the camera on the date with Eva at all and took a photo of her at home later. Oops. So here are some photos and recaps before the next two happen! Keep in mind the kids choose what we do. (sorry about the sideways photos!)

JOEL, age 12
We went to BD's Mongolian BBQ for dinner, then Barnes and Noble to peruse and shop and mess around. Then ice cream cones at the mall and then Michael's craft store for some fun things.

My mother is going to give me crap about the way I look here. I wasn't feel well that day and went on the date anyway ... and this was taken at a funny angle (excuses!)

I was feeling rich this evening and we got presents for everyone, which we'll discuss in a future post

CALLIE, age 9
I wrote about this date here and here with some pictures. Here they are again in case you don't want to go look at those pages. Cheesecake Factory for dinner and dessert then roller skating. Very simple yet so memorable!



She wanted to smash her face into her cheesecake for some reason and really, who am I to stop her? I mean, what's the big deal?



EVA, age 6
Subway for sandwiches, then to Trader Joe's to stock up on chocolate-covered everything. Then to AMC Ward Parkway with the red leather, reclining seats to see Mr. Peabody and Sherman, armed with soda pop and sandwiches and treats. Then to Target to get a My Little Pony toy. Fro yo place was closed so we went to Houlihan's by Oak Park Mall, where Eva got chocolate mousse but mostly ate only whipped cream. Our server was a homeschool mom of 4 and a lovely free spirit like myself, so she got Eva more whipped cream.


So sad for each date to be over. I could do it all the time with the kids ... rotating through each kid then Mr. Kerrie and then taking a night off and doing again the next week!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

3 Ways to Come Up with a Good Baby Name



When a couple is expecting, one question that frequently comes up in conversation is that of baby names. Name books are thumbed through endlessly for names for girls and names for boys and, unless the couple has decided to learn the gender of their future son or daughter, at least two potential names must be decided on.

There are a variety of factors that go into making that final decision that will give a permanent name to the newest member of the family. Many people say that a child’s name can dramatically shape the life and future of that child. Whether or not this is inherently true, there are some easily discernable points that speak to its validity. Right off the bat, a certain type of name can lead to a child’s being treated a certain way by his peers at school. A silly or obviously outdated name can cause the child to be mistreated, bullied and picked on. There are some parents, although few in number, who feel that such a name would help build character in the child. Possibly, there are an even greater number of child psychologists who would beg to differ. On the other hand, a name that is perceived to be “cool” or “in” could help the child to receive positive attention from his or her peers. While the former point seems cut and dry, the latter is a little more difficult to prove. Obviously, the way in which a child learns to interact with his or her peers will have the greatest impact on how he or she is treated in the schoolyard. Still, giving a child a name that, for example, sounds like or rhymes with a well-known “naughty word,” is probably asking for trouble.

An entirely different factor that, in the last couple decades, has become more common in this age-old discussion is that of individuality and creativity. A lot of modern parents-to-be would prefer to give their child a name that is all their own. The motivation behind this varies from parent to parent but typically centers around giving the child a unique identity. Still, there are some parents who feel that the act of naming a child is an appropriate avenue for creative expression. Again, it’s possible that some child psychologists would disagree with that idea.

If you are an expecting parent, you have no doubt thought about the subject a great deal. Even for the most decisive of minds, deciding on a baby name has a weight to it that makes it rather difficult. So, what are some methods that would help you make a decision with confidence?

1. Keep it in the Family – One, almost, surefire way of picking a name that you will not regret is to name your child after a loved one. The act in itself can be seen as a sign of affection to a future grandparent or other family member, and gives the impression that you wish your son or daughter to be like the person. However, just because a name was given to a person that you love or respect, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a good name for your child. All the same factors should be considered, even with the name of a loved one.

2. How Does this Sound? – When choosing baby boy names or baby girl names, a time-tested method is to read through lists of popular names with your partner. While, at first glance, this method appears to rely solely on personal preference, it actually goes considerably deeper. By reading through the names and deciding together, you are not only tapping into the combined preference and taste of both partners but also on each name’s cultural relevance. Without realizing it, at a deeper subconscious level, you and your spouse will have a general idea of what names will fit better in the modern day. When a name sounds “cheesy” or outdated, this is the direct result of this process. This is a result of you and your spouse’s connectedness to the culture through media and entertainment.

3. What is Popular Today? – This method takes the idea of cultural relevance to the next level. When deciding on baby names, it can be tremendously helpful to look up statistics on commonly used names in the last few years. If your hope is to give the child a semi-unique name, this will also allow you to see which names have been overused. This way you can be certain that your child won’t be the fifth “Karen” or “Jacob” in his or her class.

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