Monday, June 29, 2015

Runs/Walks in Kansas City: Rock the Crossroads 5K July 25, 2015

Before I was the homeschooling writer mom of 5, I used to love to walk all the time as a stress reliever and to stay in shape. Walking is something you can do as a parent anytime, but now that my youngest is 5 and my oldest is 14, it's a lot easier for me to fit in time for my own fitness. Over the winter I walked some at the gym on the treadmill and track. Now I can walk the neighborhood or the field at the school by my house. I'm not a jogger or a runner yet ... special equipment needed for my upper lady parts ... but might be someday! For now I walk in my OOFOS sandals because they are the most comfy thing I have ever worn and work perfectly for summertime.

Because I love walking so much, I'll be posting upcoming walk/runs in Kansas City as I find them. This does not mean I'll be participating in all of them, so don't show up expecting me to sign autographs or anything. I MIGHT or MIGHT NOT be there, depending on household funds at the time, Mr. Kerrie's travel situation, my sanity level, etc. Enjoy the race info, and go out and find some in your town!

What: Rock the Crossroads 5K

When: Saturday, July 25, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. (an evening walk/run, people, which is way more up my alley!)

Where: Race starts in front of Grinders at 417 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO with a concert immediately following

Fun facts: my uncle Kris used to coach track at a high school in Lee's Summit for many years.

Photo from Rock the Crossroads
Check the link (above after WHAT) for more info!

P.S. I get my info from the fabulous KC Running Company website.

On a personal note, here's my walking story for National Walking Day a couple of years ago with an update.

When you're all done, you'll be hungry! Grab a copy of my Tater Tot Casserole Cookbook and whip up a batch of happiness for dinner!

Sunday Family Fun at My House, June Edition When Daddy is in Town

Sunday mornings.

My kids gripe because it's going to be a boring day because we go to church and we pick up the house and we don't go anywhere to spend money, don't go to the pool, aren't allowed to get online or play games and yet by the end of the day ...

we have all had the BEST DAY EVER.

Callie and I walked home together from church and chatted. And yesterday I got a nap, people. A nap. Shocking. And while I did that Mr. Kerrie baked and cooked with various kids while others did iron-on (Perler) beads and played in the water with the neighbors.

Sam got funky and tried on Joel's old Scout shirt and ended up wearing it all day and sleeping in it. Here he is also sporting his new haircut given by Mommy!

I also scrapbooked while the kids did their iron-on beads and we chatted and joked and had fun.

And my amazing gourmet cook husband made Joel's belated birthday dinner and banana cream pie! This included a grilled appetizer of bacon-wrapped shrimp stuff with cream cheese and jalapenos!

We watched Men in Black II while having some pie!

And Mr. Kerrie is off work all week so pretty much all week is going to be like Sunday only WITH some Minecraft and SkyWars and WITH the swimming pool. Toss in a Scout meeting, a birthday party (click here to fast forward to this boy turning 16), a little homeschooling, feeding a friend's cat and a potential spend-the-night for one or more of the kids, and you have a fun week!

Here's hoping your week is just awesome!

Friday, June 26, 2015

10 Things I Didn't Consider When I Said I Wanted Five Kids

Since the second I could hold a baby doll I have wanted my own kids. I didn't have brothers or sisters so I would babysit every chance I could get. I would mother my friends, younger and older. I still mother anyone around me who will allow it. I always knew I wanted a ton of kids. Just had to find the right guy.

So when I met Mr. Kerrie and we agreed we both wanted more than one kid but less than 6, it was go time. We didn't live together before we were married, so we got engaged, got married, bought a house a year later and started a family a year after that. Five kids later we are 44 and 48 years of age and are most likely all done having kids. Here are some things I didn't think about when I said I wanted so many!
The public school carnival across the street. This year I got smart and gave each kid $10 for tickets instead of just buying unlimited tickets and passing them out left and right. It was hard to keep track of them all separately but saved me a lot of money!

  1. How much stuff they came with. I keep things to a minimum around my house lately since it's only about 1,500 square feet, but even two pair of shoes each comes to 20 shoes. Factor in sheets, towels, shirts, pants, socks, underwear, jackets, coats, snow boots, snow pants, gloves, hats, scarves and more, not to mention my own stuff and Mr. Kerrie's stuff, and you have some serious stuff on your hands!
  2. How much stuff they would collect. Rocks, shells, paper, bottlecaps, Nerf guns, you name it.
  3. How much stuff would be gifted to them. Holidays and birthdays, yep. I think we almost have this under control, though. I don't want them to NOT get gifts ... that's selfish of me. But I sure am happy when they get SMALL gifts like Matchbox cars versus huge ones we have to store like those ride-on Jeeps. Some people just give money, which rocks also. Then my kids can get what they want with some and put some in savings.
  4. How much stuff Pushover Me would get for them. Yes, I am a large part of the problem and am working on saying no more often to things because it adds up financially and junk-wise in the house!
  5. How different their personalities would be.
  6. That they would fight and get over it but it would take me longer to calm down about it.
  7. That they could love each other until their friends came around then they would ignore each other or treat each other badly.
  8. How much going places would cost in total.
  9. That the grocery bill for not even two weeks would be literally as tall as I am ... over 5 feet tall, and how every cent is worth it.
  10. The noise level and how much it would not bother me ... most of the time.
Are there things you didn't expect about having kids?

Friday, June 19, 2015

44 Is Fabulous! #44IsFabulous #BestYearYet

Today I am 44 years old. In Spanish, you would say the equivalent of I have 44 years. I like that better.

I'm not sure I thought much about what my 40s would be like when I was younger.

I'm pretty sure I looked at people in their 40s as old and boring. I probably thought married people in their 40s never had sex anymore, let alone still looked at their spouse with even more chemistry than in the first incredible year they had together after meeting.

My new progressive-lens glasses are super cool and purple with rhinestones and I am at a point where I don't give two craps what anybody thinks about my style, which has morphed into a kind of retro, vintage, mid-century mom who wears black nail polish while carrying her bag in the crook of her arm and has a bit of a potty mouth. I'm a mix of classy and sailor.

I am 44 with 5 young children who keep me on my toes and a husband who is my best friend ... and is still the only guy I want to be with after 20 years. I have wonderful parents and step-parents and parents-in-law. I have wonderful friends. I am living the life I always wanted to live, even though it is chaotic and scattered and busy.

I have wrinkles and sun damage and can be happy in no makeup or all made up ... whatever ... I'm getting more comfortable just being me.

Here's me on the eve of my 44th birthday. I am blessed beyond belief. I pray that you will be or were this happy at the age of 44.

no makeup and comfy
makeup and comfy with my nephew Roman

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Happy #FlagDay

Eva made this back in April when we were staying at Tutu's when the guys were fishing. M&Ms rock.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Hyland's Nerve Tonic for #CrazyMoms

*Originally written on Bubblews on September 22, 2014
I love my new neighbor so much. She is super sweet and seems so patient and everything, but today I showed her my Hyland's Nerve Tonic and told her I yell sometimes and she said she also does and she is surprised I can’t hear her with the windows open and I said, “Same!” She is REAL, much like my friend Jill … we can vent to each other about things, important things, and talk about our shortcomings as mothers and wives.
Mr. Kerrie left town last night and will essentially be gone through Sunday night. Getting on a REAL (virtual) homeschool schedule is kicking my butt. We got out this afternoon and are having a light day, but tomorrow will be tough and Wednesday someone comes to our house to do testing and I am freaking out a bit.

So I took all the crazies to Whole Foods looking for motherwort. They did not have any and instead I picked up some Hyland’s Nerve Tonic for stress relief. It was $10 for 100 pills and that comes to around $10ish per month and that is cheaper than a prescription for Xanax or Zoloft and a hell of a lot safer for my system.
I popped 2 under my tongue immediately upon leaving Whole Foods and I’ll let you know how it goes. I just need something to give my frazzled nerves a little massage, you know?
Look how sweet and innocent they look!

Next post: 
So I’m trying to take all 3 doses of my Hyland’s Nerve Tonic every day so I can give you an accurate picture of how it is working or if it is simply a placebo, as many think homeopathic remedies are. I know for a fact that the Hyland’s nighttime cough and cold works because my son can’t breathe, and then like half an hour after taking that he can. So bite it, naysayers.
Anyway, tonight the kids asked for one of my pills. They are melt-in-your-mouth, tasteless beauties and I checked the package. It says adults and kids 12 and older can take 1-2 three times per day and I’m taking 6 total in a day. However, homeopathic things are made so that you can’t overdose on them. Which I don’t understand. How can it work if a tiny bit works and also a large amount can’t kill you?
Digression: One of my kids took a whole bottle of Hyland’s bedwetting tablets and I called poison control and they said it was fine. I asked if maybe the kid wouldn’t pee for a week … haha!
Back to the point: kids 6-12 can take 3 tablets per day. I did not notice my kids getting any calmer, by the way.
UPDATED June 2015 ... yeah, I didn't notice a big enough difference to keep taking the stuff. I have since discovered Provincia de Pavia moscato and one glass after dinner maybe 3 times a week does wonders for my disposition. I think being a bit frazzled as a parent is normal, so there.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Oh Hot Damn, This is My Lazy (Strawberry) Jam (More Like Syrup)

Never in my life did I think I would be going to a hardware store to buy small canning jars and canning tongs, then skimming foam off of strawberry jam guts. Never. I was never interested in such things and then married a man who was a cook my profession when I met him. And he also loved to cook at home, so I was like SCORE!

Babies changed that dynamic a little bit and also the man I married ended up having to travel quite a bit so cooking became my thing. I have my staples like lasagna, spaghetti, tacos, meatloaf, chili and such. Things the kids will eat but that are not exactly gourmet. I leave that to the Mister.

I have also always left things like gardening and canning to him. But recently we went strawberry picking and I found myself with a surplus of berries and my man was out of town. What to do with them? My friend over here made some jam and I figured maybe I could give it a shot also. I don't have babies on my hip anymore so an undertaking like this should be easy, huh?

So here's the recipe I used from over here at this site. Immediately I was like, "Okay, so this chick doesn't have kids yet and has all the time in the world to spend 5 hours making jam and I don't have that luxury so I'm going to take some shortcuts." And it worked out just fine. So here is MY version. You decide which one to use!

  1. Boil 12 8-ounce canning jars and the flat lids all together. I didn't separate them.
  2. Cut the green tops off 13 cups of strawberries. I did not hull them because I didn't have an extra hour to spare. I hoped for the best and it turned out fine. Who cores a tiny little strawberry?
  3. Put all berries into a large pot and simmer over medium-low heat while mashing them up with a potato masher. 
  4. Add 6 cups of sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice. Here I should have used real lemons and the rind and taken the rind out later. I did not use pectin because I wasn't running all over Creation to find it and Stacey says it's full of junk anyway, so what's the point?
  5. Boil that pot of goodness, skimming the foam off. (yes, we did eat it later), stirring and watching the whole time.
  6. After half an hour it should be getting thick. Should be. Mine wasn't even 10 minutes later (do that trick where you put it on a plate and if it's runny you're not done). So I grabbed a box of strawberry Jello-O I just happened to have and put in 6 teaspoons. Shoulda put in the whole box because it thickened it a little bit but not enough.
  7. Remove the jars and fill with jam but leave 1/4 inch at the top. Put the lids on and the screw lids.
  8. Put jars in boiling water in a huge pot for 15 minutes a batch.
  9. Listen for that lovely POP that means they have sealed properly. One one of my 12 did not ... BAM! So we are eating that one immediately straight from the fridge. The rest go to friends or into the pantry.
I could see myself doing this with peaches and more strawberries and even blueberries and stocking up on jams for Christmas gifts. Twelve jars with lids and screw lids were only like $11 so those are about a buck a piece. Then count in the cost of your fruit, sugar and lemons and you have a cost-effective, healthy, yummy gift.

Like I said, mine did not get thick so I'm heading for the pectin next time. For now we are calling it canned strawberry syrup and putting it on waffles this morning!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

#WohletzFarmFresh Strawberry Picking

So here is where I did something revolutionary for me: I planned our week. We always have so many cool things we want to do in the summertime and we also have to take into consideration very light homeschooling and swimming and friends and other things. So I tried to make a PLAN. Huh. Cool thing, a plan. Doesn't always have to go perfectly but you can at least give it a shot.

This is a post in pictures of our Tuesday. This day was INSANE. We went to the pool, we went to the free LEGO monthly minibuild, then we trucked it to pick strawberries half an hour away. We ate sandwiches in the car. I almost filled my 12-passenger van with children. I am insane and we had a blast! Needless to say, the Tackle It Tuesday portion of the day was cancelled for the sake of my brain not exploding.

A friend was texting me as I was screenshotting my weight loss for the week in the Weight Watchers parking lot

The gang outside Oak Park Mall after the LEGO build

Sam and Eva were a berry-picking team. I'm not sure why little Sam looks pained :-(

Ciara and Callie = besties

All my little berry-picking slaves and slavelettes ... the best berries around! Nothing like you get in the grocery store ... you have to go and pick your own!

I got a little toasty at the pool earlier in the day

Almost a full van, which is exactly why I always wanted it!

Oops! Forgot about having to process these. Let the freezing begin and I will try making jam later this week.

Free Summer Lunch Programs ... What Do You Think?

Okay, so Monday I wrote about some plans I had for our week. This is the part where I write the blog posts about the week ... mostly because Mr. Kerrie is out of town and it's entertaining for him and also for my parents and also because it's my online scrapbook and also because you might enjoy hearing about what we do and do it yourself!

Today's post might be a little controversial. We just got back from doing the Free Summer Lunch that our local school district is funded for. I took my own 5 kids plus their friend Julia. The free hot lunch program is for kids ages 1-18, so I ate before we went and took my water and some strawberries. The kids had their choice of chicken strips or hamburger, then their other choices were peaches, applesauce, pineapple, salad, broccoli and also juice or milk. My kids are chocolate milk fiends so most of them chose that and were in heaven! There are two weekly menus and they rotate.

Some people disagree with this kind of program, funded by the US Department of Agriculture. The free school breakfast and lunch programs for underprivileged kids is a hot button among political people. I mean, I get that our country is broke. We have no money. But we are still giving handouts left and right and funding programs like this. So I do understand that side.

Monday, June 1, 2015

First Week of Summer Plan 2015!

In order to try to keep my ADD butt in order for the summer I'm going to post our weekly plans here! Then as we do cool things I'll post about them on the blog with photos so you know the awesome things to do in Kansas City and beyond! I love to fit learning in with fun!

Manic Monday:
Daddy leaves town for work (sad face)
Cornstarch science experiment

Swimsuit for Eva
Have a friend over for the kids
Swimming at inside pool because it's only in the 60s temperature-wise
Joel to Scouts

Tackle It Tuesday:
Weight Watchers weigh-in morning

Pick strawberries in Lawrence at a farm (blog post to come)
LEGO monthly minibuild
Tackle It Tuesday project: the huge toy ottoman

Wacky Wednesday:
Free school lunch at local school with the Hammonds
Parkside to play at park with homeschool and school friends, chat with adult friends, walk around the park
Swim at night

Throwback Thursday:
Zoo? Franklin Park? Pool?

Freaky Friday:
Lowry City with my mom to see my grandma
Pool or park later

Super Saturday:
Home Depot kid workshop because we used to do those with the bigger kids but have not in years and I know Eva and Samuel would love them!
Edibles outdoor class

Slow Down Sunday:
Zero plans except to go to Mass at 6:30 p.m.
Catch up on biz stuff while the kids play with the neighbors and go to the park

Have kids do Khan Academy daily and Callie does Reading Eggs while Littles do
Work on more articles for parenting magazines since the simultaneous relaxation/busyness of camping gave me several ideas
Work on Best Summer Ever with Kids ebook
Younique parties online
Jamberry parties online
Try to get together with Courtney
Play with neighbors and friends


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