Thursday, December 25, 2008

(Had to take the puzzle down)
Sudoku supplied by Strictly Sudoku.

Actually, the best site of all is  or google Krazydad Sudoku.  He posts 8 sudoku you can print and a page of hints and a page of solutions. AWESOME! Any range from easy to hard.

Check it out! You can go there too. I am really enjoying these in the paper every day.

All I needed to know...

All I needed to know about life, I learned from Santa
> Encourage people to believe in you.
> Always remember who's naughty and who's nice.
> Don't pout.
> It's as much fun to give as it is to receive.
> Some days it's ok to feel a little chubby.
> Make your presents known.
> Always ask for a little bit more than what you really want.
> Bright red can make anyone look good.
> Wear a wide belt and no one will notice how
> many pounds you've gained.
> If you only show up once a year, everyone
> will think you're very important.
> Whenever you're at a loss for words, say:
> "HO, HO, HO!"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ok here is some shallow "get to know you" thing you can copy and internet to your friends. It's great to get to know people... but not sure what all you learn from this about what kind of person you are.... You tell me!!

A--Attached or Single: Very attached. Like glue. Like that silicone shoe goo. Like when a guy flirts with me I sneer.

B--Best friend: Greg. He is a total pain but really, still.... Good friends, now, I know the best people in the world and it would be tough to list them all!

C--Cake or Pie: Sue's Apple Pie or my chocolate cake with chocolate chips no frosting. On needy days, Dump Cake.

D--Day of Choice: Any day I get to sleep in. I usually have to wait for school vacation for that. If I had to pick a day of the week it would be Saturday.

E--Essential Item(s): A good computer, high-speed internet access, and a printer all working together in beautiful, high-tech harmony. I totally stole this from Whitni, but I really really understand this!! If I had to pick one single thing it would be a nice warm blankie. I also have trouble functioning without a working camera.

F--Favorite Color: Hot pink. I was told you should get a couch your favorite color and accessorize to match the rest of the house. Interior Decorators are insane.

G--Greatest Accomplishment: Keeping a sense of humor

H--Hometown: Seattle will always be home for me in the way that it's where I tell people I am from and that I love flying into Seatac and seeing the Space Needle. But Olympia really, every time I am home I drive past our old house there and look at where my school used to be. It's still a school and I recognize the trees, my old friends, but the building is so new and modern it makes me a little sad... And my babysitter's house that I loved, I keep wanting a set of plans to it.

I--Indulgences: Logic problems and sudoku and watching movies in bed with the kids. Goofing off on my blogs. Sushi. Swiss chocolate.

J--January or July: JULY is so my favorite month. I never need a sweater. My feet are warm on the driveway at 3am. It's my birthday!

K--Kids: Four unique and wonderful spirits. I love to photograph them!

L--Life is incomplete without: family

M--Marriage Date: January 8

N--Number of Siblings: half sister, half brother

O--Oranges or Apples: Oranges off my trees in Louisiana, Apples in Washington

P--Phobias or fears: crowded areas bother me somehow. Being without books.

Q--Quotes: Any movie I have ever seen is fertile ground for quotes at the right moment. Expecially: I don't know anyone who deserves to be fed to a hungry plant! (Said sarcastically after meeting up with a prime specimen!)

R--Reason to Smile: Money in the checkbook; helping out friends

S--Season: Summer, and here in LA I get 9 months of it. We are having fall right now. (Dec 24)

T--Tag 5 Friends: Whitni, Sue, Sasha, Keli, Rachel....

U--Unknown fact about me: I tell everything to anyone... what?

V--Very favorite store: My friend wrote Albertsons and if my checkbook has any say, that's how it would vote too.... Ive been collecting free plates there and having fun filling my new pantry. And it's useful.

W--Worst habit: Incurable laziness

X--X-ray or Ultra Sound: Ultrasound but whatever does the most good. No boob squishing. I really love MRIs. You can't do laundry in there, just lie still and think Disney songs to the pulsing noise.... I asked for another session :)

Y--Your favorite food: I love all food. It would be a lot easier to say I don't care for anchovies or pate.

Z--Zodiac: Leo. And for the Chinese calendar I'm a rabbit. I like rabit, with a nice sauce picante!

So many things not on the list!! Wishing you a happy time thinking about yourself and doing some self evaluations and getting ready for those New Year's Resolutions!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Your Christmas Traditions

I totally copied this from an email but thought it did give me something to think about. My answers are in Green. The poster (who shall remain nameless) wasn't the originator of the email, and her stuff is in pink. Maybe you would like to have someone you love take this so you know what's important to them at Christmas.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? paper both

2. Real tree or Artificial? artificial, with lights already in it. I hate hanging lights. Fake with my own lights!

3. When do you put up the tree? about 2 weeks before I guess Thanksgiving

4. When do you take the tree down? after the Epiphany when dh gets tired of it

5. Do you like eggnog? yes,especially if it's spiked Yech

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I don't know, probably Barbies Barbies definitely saved my childhood

7. Hardest person to buy for? my father I got it all down now! Prob my mom

8. Easiest person to buy for? my kids, because they want everything Little girls

9. Do you have a nativity scene? UH, I think so, a little one Yes but it’s tiny. I would like a big one with lots of pieces and a camel--not big in size but in movable pieces.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I don't do cards b/c I'm cheap and not everyone has a computer. (i.e. mom & dad. they don't even have a VCR.) Mail and Christmas Letter, would love to do a Christmas movie

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I'm drawing a blank here. Microscope. Only nonfun toy in the Sears catalog. But I ended up having some fun with it. It was my own fault , I was busily turning down pages of stuff I did want but before I had a chance to look the folks wanted to know what I wanted so I looked to find the most expensive thing in the catalag as a joke. They bought it for me instead of the Barbie Townhouse . Humor is a difficult concept.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Does the Wizard of Oz count? Its a Wonderful Life/Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? December, I'm always late. I never stop. I start with the stuff I forgot to give last year LOL

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? NO No but I have given away presents to someone who could appreciate them

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? ??? Homemade candy

16. Lights on the tree? Yep, and already on the tree. They're white, but I do own red ones that I love. And the house, yard, etc.

17. Favorite Christmas song? I don't know, I'm sort of a scrooge. Angels we have heard on high/Far far away on Judea’s plains

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? We travel a few miles but I would love love love one year to spend Christmas on the beach. HOME. Very definitely.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Uh let's see. Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, that right. Close, you forgot Rudolph

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I have a fiber optic angel.How hi tech. Star now

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Both One Eve, rest morning. Unless Dad loses patience then everything a few days early!

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? THE FINANCIAL STRAIN and selfish people, and the fact that most people don't even care about the meaning of Christmas but think it's all about presents. Credit card bills and wondering if the presents are "even"

23. Favorite ornament theme Or color? RED I like the homemade stuff

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? seafood gumbo turkey

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I want to spend a nice chaotic free Christmas in my new house waiting for my new baby. I want to read The Night Before Christmas to my girls on Christmas Eve and I want to spend Christmas morning relaxing with my cup of coffee watching the girls play with their things while Christmas music plays in the background and the smell of apple pie baking in the oven fills the air. No crying, no fighting, no screaming, no whining for more, just a day filled with warmth and comfort and gratitude...............(((sigh)))............... A girl can dream can't she?

Hmmmm House finished, cute tea kettle would be nice, new crystal glasses as my Italian ones are almost gone :( I do like the apple pie baking idea and if dh cooks the turkey on the bbq I might have oven room for it! And there will be no whining, fighting, screaming or crying. We are well behaved over here!

Have A Very Merry Christmas...God Bless You All And Be Safe

I would also add Christmas Traditions you enjoy? I like to only play Christmas music for the month of Dec. Taking pics after piano recital with the boys in their suits and red ties, and the girls in their fancy dresses

What goes in your stocking? Socks and Earrings

Caroling? Visiting Santa? Christmas Pictures? Yes if possible, Maybe, Absolutely

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Yearly Calendar

I finally found the perfect gift to give relatives. I give calendars with pictures of my kids. For the older folks it's nice to have a picture big enough to see and for the not so visually challenged it's a helpful organizational tool (added bonus I put the kids' birthdays on there!) The first year I did not have 12 pictures of all 4 kids so I did some months with just the girls, or just the boys, and my mom in law said she would like all 4 every month. So the next year I worked like the dickens to get the kids' pictures done. Now I do it every year. I was so obsessive about it this year I had over 50 shots to choose from of all 4 kids, all 4 looking at the camera... wow!! Here are some of the goofy ideas we used to make sure the calendar wasn't a pile of mugshots:
1. I put all 4 kids on the grass in the front yard with heads together. I love this shot.
2. Sitting on a bench
3. Sitting on a tree branch (hunt for a good tree, nice background)
4. By a fountain (fountains, water make good backgrounds)
5. In the pool with beach balls
6. Kids climbing on each other--big kids on bottom, little kids on top, pyramid if you can!
7. Swinging at the park
8. Looking like they are engaged in an activity (I am planning next year a shot at a theater with popcorn and all the kids looking like they are watching a movie--now if Hollywood will comply with a decent movie!!)
9. Sitting at a table at a cafe
10. Bridges make good backdrops
11. Don't forget props... Pumpkins for October, Beach balls for August, Mardi Gras beads for February (hey we are in Louisiana!!) Flags for July, Santa Hats for December. I haven't actually done the 4th Flags but next year....
12. Colorful clothes are nice. Matching are even nicer. We do the boys in suits with red ties for Piano Recital in December which is where we take our Dec picture for the next year's calendar.
13. Keep your eye out for good backgrounds. I liked the books at the library but ended up at Barnes and Noble for the book one... taller shelves. And we have a local bank that decorates for Christmas and encourages people to come in and take pics. Sometimes they even have a sleigh.
I have found that even though we love our family pets, it's like the book "Simple Pictures are Best" when it comes to non-smiling family. If they can't smile, they don't sit for the pic. Maybe I will make some exceptions.... I also thought about taking a pic of all my kids playing with a bunch of puppies... but that didn't work out!

What I like best about this is that no matter how hard it is to get the family together for pics, it's something I will have when they are gone that will be very precious to me, and to them.
I actually liked it so much I decided I would do yearbooks this year for the kids. They are cheaper than school yearbooks but full of memories of our family. Watch for specials and you can get them really reasonably from Snapfish, Kodak, etc. Keepsakes for everyone, and the idea is to pass them out and have an evening signing them. How cool is that?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mommy Burn Out

Mommies constantly have stress. We spend so much time with the day-to-day that it's hard for us to calm down and focus and regroup. We feel our lives-- the life we planned-- is slipping into the diaper pail... or the carpool, or the homework drain.... and what about our life, anyway? Is it so bad to want a little ... whatever, to ourselves? Time, money, break of some kind? I read about a lady saying we need to make ourselves a priority. It is about priorities, but sometimes priorities shift. For example, sometimes we are coping well, and at other times we start getting over our heads and do need to give ourselves permission to take care of our own well-being.

If I didn't spend $240.00 a month (plus books) on piano, I could do a whole lot... get my nails done, my hair, maybe a massage... but right now I would rather have four kids playing piano and having a talent that may serve them well in the future.

If I didn't have my teens in band and sacrifice $2000 a year for that, I could pay off some debt and buy some nice clothes, instead of getting the Family Dollar clearance shirts. But I think it's more important for my kids to have this experience and keep a talent that may be a huge part of "who they are" for their lives.

If I didn't spend time getting my kids to do homework, I could spend that time doing anything I wanted-- doing makeup, reading, sleeping, getting some cleaning up done, but I choose to try to be there for them to help them with their homework and priorities.

Yes it's a choice. My priority now is that I want my kids to grow up functional adults with clear ideas of how they are useful to society. It's worth sacrificing now to be able to say, no matter how they turn out or what they do with their lives, that I gave my best NOW so I have no regrets later.

I do remember those years of cabin fever when even going to the grocery store with little ones was excruciating. I remember going the the grocery store in North Carolina with two babies in diapers watching two men smoking in line ahead of me, thinking, Nothing is worth this! This filthy store, these filthy men, being a terrible example and aggrivating my breathing problems, these rediculous prices, the fact that, however frugal I have been buying the cheapest meat available, the specials, the stuff in season, when I finish paying for these groceries I will have NOTHING left until next payday and my husband is on maneuvers with the Army and I won't see him for 3 weeks and I have no friends in this cruddy town that will babysit (or that I know well enough to ask)... Oh yes I remember those days. The days when I made fabric covered boxes because a friend was going to a craft fair, and I hoped to make $15.00 which would pay for $5.00 in the glue sticks I bought to make them (I already had the cardboard and fabric) and maybe, just maybe, ten bucks just for me... I would spend it on pacifiers so I might not have to look so hard on the floor when the baby dropped one because holding a crying baby and looking for a paccy in the middle of the night is just a little too aerobic at 3am... So I worked making 15 of them.... then only sold one.... for $3.00.... crying because it had been a bad investment and I had lost 2 bucks of grocery money.... Oh yeah, I remember those days.

I would go to the book exchange and turn in old books just so I could look through the shelves of books and pick one out to keep. A new one. This was the highlight of my time in North Carolina.

So I found myself an outlet that fit the budget that made me feel indulged. I didn't get my hair done and trimmed my nails with kitchen shears (Yeah I still do too) and thanked God for a roof over my head and healthy kids (when they were healthy). And I knew this was just a short time in the timespan of my existance, a test of my mettle, to see what I am really made of. I was patient with my kids, made do, made my own toys and learning materials, and eventually got to move!! And get to know people I could trust to babysit.

Then I worked full time and was away from my kids. I hated spending money on lunch, but there wasn't anything at home but tomatoes and green beans and they don't pack well for lunch. My husband worked construction and we had no way to heat the house but woodstove. I chopped wood in the snow, yes indeed, but I had a really low power bill and my kids were taken care of until I could quit work and do it myself. I knew this was a test too.

Now that I have all 4 in school I have time to myself and I do indulge a bit appreciating this time in my life. I get up early and stay up late with the activities and homework and challenges and illnesses so I take naps when I want to when they are not here. I think a nap is the height of indulgence when I have floors to clean and clothes to wash and a closet that needs organizing. Nevertheless I do take some me time but I appreciate it all the more because I have been in worse spots.

No matter how selfless you are right now and feeling overwhelmed, find a way that fits your lifestyle, budget, and time to escape. Ready for a list?


Read a book

Go out to lunch

Have your nails done

Get a sitter or mother's day out or switch babysitting with a friend

Spend QUALITY time with Daddy when the kids are in bed. This is not watching TV together. Talk, play a game, do some project together.

Volunteer with your dh to help with a project large enough to provide some child care. Team teach a class at church, help out with Cub Scouts, Boy or Girl Scouts. Doing it together helps you remember why you married this dude and signed up for this life in the first place.

Help someone more in need than you. In high school I had a friend who volunteered to watch kids for a lady one day after school every week. I thought she was crazy. She was onto something... she gave this lady time to have a bubble bath, undisturbed, read a book, run a few errands, and be rested and cheerful when her husband came home. What a gift! (Now my friend has 7 kids of her own, homeschools, and makes it all look easy. Go Carol!)

If your kids are walking, take them to Chuck E CHeese just to play.

Go to the park. Enjoy the weather and nature. Look at the other kids and think how blessed you are.

Light a candle. A smelly one if you have it.

Next time you are grocery shopping, get something to treat yourself. I get sushi if I am in the mood or carmel rice cakes (!) or buy some new hair thing. Ok sometimes I get chicken salad and sometimes I get bread pudding at Adriens. Just stuff NOBODY in the house likes but ME!! It's amazing how self-indulged I feel. I put that sushi in my purse so on the off chance someone is there to help unload the groceries they won't see it. It's my secret!

Save your change. Spend it on your favorite hobby. I have a friend (Sandy!!) who would give a 10 dollar bill if her bill was $9.01 just so she could get the change for her scrapbook addiction. She managed about $40.00 a month this way (I can't sock away that much!) to blow on herself and she loved it. Besides, scrapbooking was a great outlet that contributed to her family. You have to do something with those pictures! Justify it.

Find an interest and spend a set amount of time researching it on the internet. Teach yourself all about it. That quality time is useful to destress.

Play a video game. I used to play dumb video games when stressed. It helped when I was nursing the baby too. Babies. Ok you end up nursing a lot on the side you don't drive your mouse with, so be careful... but anyway, a game is destressing. When I am playing Freecell or Spider Solitaire, my kids know it's too loud or too much going on and they are stressing me. Find a game that relaxes you. Not timed, those make you tense: this has to be something you can get up from in the middle and not ruin the game. You are a mom, emergencies happen. And the idea is LESS stress.

I hope those give someone some ideas to destress and spend time on YOU. In the meantime, I am thinking that blogging here is a great stress reliever too. I even have a blog just to spout off about school system issues. I feel great after I get it written down. I don't care if anyone reads it or not!

And always know you're not alone and there are probably 150 people in your town feeling just like you do.

One more thing (I know I am long, it's a problem!) is that making traditions for yourself is great too. Things to look forward to help us get through the day. I used to promise myself one piece of chocolate a day. If it was bedtime and I hadn't had it yet I would get all excited and eat it before I brushed my teeth! Five pages of a book. Lunch at noon and the crossword puzzle. Check the email and reply or write to 3 people. Something to look forward to. And remember the kids like something to look forward to too, don't forget the notes in the lunches, the notes in the folders, a new pencil in the booksack. And for DH who is working so hard, he needs to destress too, so make sure you plan something for that, a walk together, a snuggle when he first comes home, a special dessert... because men rarely plan nice things for themselves either.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Spring cleaning; Good any time of year!

Have you made your own fridge list (BORED) yet?
I had a friend who said when she's got a bored girl, they make brownies. I thought this was super. I like the whole list thing though. Here is my list of things my kids can do when they need to repent of something... if they are mean or late to school and need a ride... later they can make it up by apologizing and doing something in the Service jar. These are jobs we just don't get around to often but will help them when they get out on their own. Ha! If the job is not possible they have to put it back and draw again (clean the gutters when it's raining, come on I am not that mean!)
Clean the microwave
Clean out gutters
Hang/Take down Christmas lights
Take out everything in one pantry cupboard, wash, dry, put everything back
Sweep front , back, or side yard
Take down light bowls, empty them of dead bugs, return
Clean out the car (one piece of paper for each car, with the make listed)
wash a car
Read two short stories or one long one to a little sister of your choice
Achieve a goal in Boy Scouts for your Eagle
Organize camping gear better
Polish toaster
Write a letter to a close relative living far away
Plan your Eagle project
Scrub chairs at the table (especially feet get hairy)
organize a drawer
Tidy a shelf that needs it
Clean out fridge
Get out shopvac, clean room, front of fireplace, and track of sliding door
Vac ceiling fans
Start a database for our books and record info on 20 books, Title, Author, ISBN number, genre

This is all stuff my teens can do. I did not put in the two things we do when they are really trouble, which are move the woodpile and clean up the dog doo.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hope, Worry and Faith

This has been on my desk for a while, I think I may have to cross stitch it! Thought I would share it with you.

*Hope* is the anticipation that the outcome will be good.
*Worry* is the anticipation that the outcome will be bad.
*Faith* is the anticipation that, whatever the outcome, it will be for our good.

These are good to remember during times of stress and trials, hurricanes and challenges. We should prepare for problems as best we can, spiritually, physically, mentally, socially and emotionally. After that it's either hope, worry or faith.

It's good we get chances to see how we rate on the scale so we can reevaluate. If you worried all through the last hurricane or windstorm, you may want to evaluate what you can do to adjust your attitude so you have the peace of mind and faith to "weather" the storm as we should, in faith.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

List Queen

I got called the List Queen today. I am so proud!! :)

I can give you a list on what not to do when hiring a contractor. Dh is making me crazy. Not a new thing! :)

Friday, October 3, 2008

The babies are growing up... or My Parents Get Revenge

As moms, we worry. It starts when we get the blue bar on the pregnancy test. It never ends. I was thinking about this the other day when I realized I was missing all of the activities I used to enjoy because I am driving my children all over town for stuff and taking care of their activities. I thought when the kids got bigger I would have more freedom... I do, but it's different...

When the baby is new you don't want to leave them.
When the baby is fussy you want to leave them but can't without paying through the nose and worrying all the time.
WHen the baby gets older it's worth the money to get a break.
When the baby is in school you have to deal with separation anxiety (worry while they're gone) then tension (they are back with 4 hours of homework, what the heck did they do for 8 hours at school anyway?)
When the baby is in middle school you finally feel confident to leave them home alone. Burning the house down was never the issue but the questionable character of neighbors you don't know... their safety. This is a wonderful time and you should appreciate it more than you will LOL!!
THen the baby is a teenager and has a girlfriend/boyfriend. They need more supervision now than the last three to five years. Your sleeping through the night is over. You have traded it for worries that they will get in over their heads and you'll be a grandma. That you are being too strict and too lenient in the wrong ways. That your adherence to the rules that keep you sane will drive them out of the house too early. That your tolerance for their bad habits will make them never want to leave.

Go figure! Add to all that the emotions and PMS and hormone imbalances and our own lives, problems and responsibilities.... it's a wonder we don't crumble from the pressure. Just remember what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I am gonna armwrestle Arnold Schwartzeneger when this is over. I think I can take him!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Christmas list!

A new list!

Time to get ready for Christmas?
Oh yeah, wayyy late! Start stocking up on things that were hard to find last year. I started ordering Hello Kitty stuff on ebay months ago.

1. Get the kids to make a Christmas list.
2. Make your own list of things you would like them to have.
3. Talk to other people who give gifts to these people and give them ideas. Try to get them to settle on something they are happy with. For instance, my grandmother will not buy toys. Usually she sends money and I buy clothes for the kids. If you tell them what you are going to do with the money they send that is best.
4. Plan your sales! Look online. Look often to see what's going to be available. Check the Black Friday sales!
5. Check to see who price matches. This can save you a fortune at Christmas. Circuit City price matches + 10% so if Best Buy has it for 100 bucks, you can get it at Circuit City for $90.00. Sometimes even better. Last year we got Zunes for two kids that were a better price than you can buy them for NOW-- a less popular color, last two in stock... clearance!!
6. Check out Ebay. Ebay is attractive because your item comes... already wrapped! I thought about putting everything under the tree as is, and then reading out the sender's names for each kid, kind of a scavenger hunt too! It also is a great place to get good prices, especially on used games your kids haven't played yet. Check around, the earlier the better, as when it gets closer to Christmas people will pay anything (remember Jingle All The Way?") Conversely, selling things on Ebay is very profitable in November and December. Plan on a fast shipper.
7. If you ship overseas, plan waaayyy ahead. Beg friends for wrapping paper if you can not find it in stores. Remember the longer you wait the more spendy it will be. If you ship domestically, the same principle applies. Get it done asap and in the mail and out of your hair.
8. Gifts for the kids are usually easy, but what about grandma? She has everything! Except enough pictures of your kids. Next list will be some ideas for you there. Takes some planning ahead sometimes, but if you just take a pic of the family, blow it up big enough for her to see it (8x10) and a card, that's a terrific gift too (frame it!) You are supposed to be photographing this time of year anyway!
9. Do as much ahead as you can. When you have some spare time make desserts to freeze. When you're home alone, wrap presents. If you have something special in mind, you can order it now and have plenty of time.
10. Mail the cards out! This gets tougher to make time for every year... but if you are smart, technology can help. Type up your Christmas list (does it change often? Probably not) in a database or format that your labels will take (if you're not sure, buy the whole sheet labels and cut them up, don't spend hours trying to line them up!)
and print it. It is already done for next year (with updates when someone moves).
11. Plan relaxing evenings at home. So many Christmas parties and events (concerts, performances) are scheduled around this time that we sometimes don't get a chance to have marshmallows by the fire with hot cocoa. Your traditions are what your family remembers... make some that last (and take pictures!!)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Secret Hurricane Preparedness

Ok so there are a few other little things I like to do to make sure my electricity-free or electricity-lite environment is still pleasant.
1. Buy a cooked ham. Can sit out on the table for munching for long periods of time.
2. New things for the kids to do. I get stuff on clearance - kits, supplies, raw materials - and save it for summer and if we didn't use it for summer we have a hurricane box to raid. This time I got and oversized coloring book that had 3 even larger posters inside. Then new "eraseable" crayons. Fun!
3. Eating by candlelight is fun. Make it a treat.
4. Buy munchies you don't usually spring for. I got some Pepperidge Farm assorted cookies and some snack mixes that sure brighten up a dark day!
5. Crank flashlight/radio for music.

We also had the bonus of having friends over who brought a kitten. Instant entertainment in that!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Hurricanes are a fact of life in Louisiana. They are ruining my hot summer days right now and I need my summer picture! Sorry, other than that they are nasty. I am not a worrier though, I try to be prepared and keep informed and think straight.
So rule #1 is make sure you have your 72 hour kits handy. For us this means a backpack full of clothes and food to last three days. Also a few toys and such for the kids or paper and pens, you never know when they come in handy. In there we also put an emergency phone number of someone in another state in case we need to get in touch, we need someone with phone lines. The chances of us losing phone at the same time as Oregon are pretty unlikely.
Rule #2 is fill the water jugs. We have 11 five gallon jugs which means 55 gallons of H2O which is a nice cushion in case the water supply gets compromised. We also have lots of those little bottles of water in the 72 hour kits and a flat to put in the car in case we take off.
Rule #3 is check the generator and fill the gas cans. We have checked the gen but the gas cans are gonna have to wait until it gets a little closer, I hate having all that gas on my patio... When this one's over we'll put it in the cars and just be ready for next time.
Rule #4 is food. Snack food that doesn't take fridge use is essential. If you open that fridge with the power off it loses a lot of "cool" so the fewer times the better. I also borrowed a great book called "Appocalipse cooking" which made me think about things like conserving fuel in a no-electricity environment. We bbq but that does take a lot of gas, so the book got me thinking about things that cook quickly, like risotto (boil water, put it in, turn it off) and minute rice, among other things. Quinoa is something we tried because of this book too, it's amazing but the family still isn't crazy about it. It's a grain that cooks quickly too, great served with rice.
Rule #5OK so here is another must, fill up the cars and be ready to leave town.
Rule #6 (Optional) Lots of people get cash out but I know my bank is accessable in several states so I am ok. If you have credit cards they are very helpful too.
Things to think about - being prepared means not worrying, just staying ready!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Flower Pictures

Just thought I would add a little interest with a picture I took while my kids were dizzily riding the rides this summer.

Keeping Kids Busy

Many times I search for ideas to keep the kids from driving me crazy while I try to mop or balance the checkbook. This idea has worked for me for years and I hope you can adapt it to your family needs. It works like this:

Fridge List

Make a list of things to do that require little or no supervision from mom or dad and put it on the fridge. When Jr. starts whining about being b-o-r-e-d (A word that is banned in our house!) they can choose from the list. The trick is that once they are referred to the list, they HAVE to do something on the list before they bother mom or dad. The last item on the list should always be "Take a nap". Truly it's the most popular one. I have used this for years and sometimes kids just don't realize they are tired until they see this!

You can walk around your house for ideas, but here is one to get you started. I'll try to keep it from being too "girl" or too "boy"-- you can make different lists for each child if you wish.

1. Decorate the back patio with sidewalk chalk

2. Make a daisy chain

3. Take some blank paper and envelopes and decorate your own stationary

4. Get some magazines out of recycling and make a collage

5. Have a tea party with your friend or teddy

6. Paint the dog's toenails

7. Make a border for your room with continuous paper

8. Play with Barbies/Airplanes

9. Measure 10 things with a ruler

10. Get out your last year's school things and play school

11. Make a calendar

12. Decorate bookmarks, "laminate" with clear packing tape

13. Write a poem about something in the yard

14. Blow bubbles or take a bubble bath

15. Make a keytag to hang on your booksack - bead animal, letter beads with your name, or a scripture verse on construction paper then laminated with tape and a hole poked through

16. Make cookies (from a mix, with easy-bake oven, or from scratch)

17. Organize sock drawer

18. Write a play and produce it

19. Make a castle from toilet paper tubes and boxes in recycling

20. Write a letter to a cousin or grandma

21. Illustrate a story - write then color pictures to go with it

22. Find a scripture verse you like and type it on the computer/typewriter or write with fancy letters and color

23. Cut out hearts and hide them for loved ones to find around the house

24. Play with toy soldiers outside

25. Make a snack with fruit and vegetables

26. Take pictures with digital camera (with permission)

27. Call a friend

28. Look up your favorite animal in the encyclopedia or dictionary

29. Find your house on a map

30. Make a boredom kit for the car or for a friend. Include word searches, "mad libs", drawings to color, and supplies if you have them

31. Fluff up all the pillows in the house

32. Make a birthday card for a friend

33. Play with legos/duplos/building sets/lincoln logs/tinkertoys

34. Play a game (Chutes and Ladders, Checkers)

35. Make a list of movies/books you own. Put them in alphabetical order. Make a list of movies/books you would like to own.

36. Make a Christmas/Birthday list

37. Make animals out of pipe cleaners

38. Change your bed

39. Have a picnic

40. Read a book

41. Make something with Origami paper

42. Pick some flowers in the yard, put in vase

43. Do a secret good deed :)

44. Look in your Scout book and decide on something you can finish today/Work on your collection

45. Decorate old socks for a puppet show

46. Sing a song

47. Look through your old books, find 3 to donate; or find clothes you have outgrown to donate

48. Play a musical instrument in the house or outside.

49. look at old pictures or scrapbooks

50. Take a nap

Change out the list occasionally, adding and subtracting things that are suitable. If you have two lists, you don't usually have to worry all summer. :) Add things like Count your money... stack books as high as you can then put away...blow up balloons-- make moments that are easy photo bait. Take pictures of them doing cool stuff and the grandparents are sure to think you are the best mom ever!

Of course you can really make them happy by bringing home the occasional refridgerator or dryer box and letting them make it into a fort/house/hotel/store/rocketship/train/airplane/school/library!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Veggie Translator

Lists, as I have said, run my life, and I love to read and gather knowledge, you never know when you or someone else will need to know something. It is the joy of my life to know I have helped someone!!

Here is a funny list to start things off. It changes every now and then but here is our VeggieTranslator. It is designed so that when I ask my dh what vegetable he would like with dinner, I know what he is asking for.

Veggie Translator

I don't know = Corn
Whatever you want = Green beans
I don't care = cauliflower
You pick = peas
It doesn't matter = brussells sprouts
no answer = Broccoli

We keep it on side of the fridge and just glance around to figure out what it is. If I want to cook something else, I don't ask LOL!!

Lists and Ideas for People who Can't Think

Sometimes we are so close to the action it is hard to make plans and see the big picture. It is important for everyone to be able to have some time to reflect and plan for the future, to see the end result they are working for. However, in our busy lives it is sometimes difficult to carve out the "space" to do that. This is why we make lists. I make lists for what do do tomorrow (because in the morning I will totally forget!) and what my kids can do with their time and chores I need my hubby to do.
If I am in the middle of planning an event, I lose perspective sometimes... but it's easy for me to help other people with their ideas, whether decorating, food, curriculum.. whatever, because I am not immersed in the logistics of it all. So I thought maybe I would be able to share some lists, and ideas, with other people who are interested in playing nice, raising a family right, and having joy in their old age.