Friday, November 30, 2007

I Did It!

Christmas Angel

I got a call yesterday from a friend who announced "I have a Christmas present for you!"

I tentatively answered "Okay?" as I'm scrambling in my brain thinking why she would be giving me a Christmas present. While I do consider her a friend, she's really more of an acquaintance -- we know each other from church, and a homeschool group, and from a few other shared experiences. I like her very much, but we just haven't gotten that deep.

She replied "I'm giving you my teenager for 3 hours. Whenever you want, so you can do whatever you want while she watches the kids."

"WOW! Okay!" "If you want to think about it and call us back . . . " "OH, NO! Let's get out the calendar and get it set right away!" ( I know her daughter; she's very sweet and kind and my boys know and like her as well.)

She's coming next Tuesday afternoon. I had thrown a random comment out a few weeks ago on an internet board that what I wanted for Christmas this year was time. She saw it, and she & her sweet daughter decided to gift me. A wonderfully fabulous gesture that I am so grateful for!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

sweet potatoes

We've had a great day so far. Tuesday had been very challenging . . . but everyone seems to have snapped out of it today!

C woke early and got started on his schooling immediately. He cheerfully completed the work he didn't finish on Tuesday, then did today's work and tomorrow's! N woke later, but was also cheerful about completing his assignments.

They played outside without fighting, and are now watching a Mickey Christmas dvd. They wanted to watch Rudolph, but our VCR is acting up.

L didn't nap . . . she naps beautifully when the boys aren't home on Wednesdays and I'm not sure what to do. She is a very light sleeper . . . although you'd think the 3rd should be able to sleep through anything!

L & I just finished a sweet potato that DH grilled on Thanksgiving. L & I are the only ones who like sweet potatoes, but DH cheerfully cooks them for me. I just warmed it back up, split it open and enjoyed! I love the taste of sweet potatoes.

L is cranky, so I'm going to snuggle her and hope I can get her to stay asleep for more than 5 minutes. Tomorrow I'll write about a Christmas angel who called me this morning ;)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mother Talk Review: The Daring Book for Girls

When I opened the package containing The Daring Book for Girls, I was immediately impressed. I was grateful that it wasn't pink for starters, but it was sparkly! I started flipping through the book and couldn't help but think of young women who would love this book as a gift.

My sister came over and started flipping through the book. Her first reaction was "How cool! I want this book!" (She's 28, and I may just give her a copy for Christmas this year!) I found something new every time I picked it up over the last few weeks.

I imagined what fun it would have been to receive this book for Christmas as a child and spending the next few weeks (months, years!) reading through it whenever I had a chance. As a child, this would have appealed to me immensely. I loved playing Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy, and this book would have fed into my play beautifully. It is chock full of interesting facts and things to do. There are sections on
  • Reading Tide Charts
  • Karate Moves
  • Every Girl's Toolbox
  • How to Put Your Hair Up with a Pencil
  • Rules of the Game for Softball, Basketball, Darts and more
  • Princesses Today
  • How to be a Spy
  • and tons (literally tons!) more
Even though The Daring Book for Girls is obviously geared for girls, there is plenty of interesting stuff in here for my two active boys. My oldest was fascinated by the sections on creating a clock that runs on lemons and bird watching. My middle child wanted my oldest to read the section on knots out loud a few times to help him learn to tie better knots. And they both looked through it for things to do with their baby sister as she grows.

One of the things I loved most was how nothing in the book required a computer. It encourages children to be active, playing, working, thinking, outdoors and indoors -- using their hands and minds to create.

Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz did an amazing job creating this book. The extensive research and the wide breadth of subjects is fantastic. I will be giving it as birthday gifts for many years to come as the young girls in our life grow older.

Check out the website for the book for more information, and some fun downloads!

I was able to review this book thanks to MotherTalk.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I think I'd be mortified to look back through this blog and see how many entries I wrote about laundry. It's something that everyone does, and I don't know why it's one of the hardest housekeeping tasks I perform!

I've started having the boys fold and put away their own laundry. They had been putting away their clothes for at least a year, but in the last couple months I've had them fold as well. You'd think I was asking them to fold EVERYONE'S laundry (like I have done for years . . . .) I am holding firm on this one, however, and will continue to wash and dry their clothes, but I'm not folding or putting them away.

Today I cleaned the washing machine. For something that is supposed to clean clothes, it's amazing how much gunk ends up in the fabric softener cup and around the edges. I clean it at least once a month, and I'm so glad I do as I caught sight of someone's recently who I don't think has ever cleaned it and it looked disgusting. (how about that for a run-on, ungrammatical sentence?)

I wrote out the laundry schedule yesterday. I've had a few over the years, and with L's appearance it's time for a new one.
  • Monday - adult whites & socks/unmentionables
  • Tuesday - boys clothes (usually 2 loads)
  • Wednesday - L's clothes (usually 1 load)
  • Thursday - adult darks (usually 2 loads, sometimes 3. I wash shirts separate from pants.)
  • Friday - towels (we go through a ridiculous amount of towels, but hopefully with the pool closed we'll do better. I'm seriously considering emptying the linen closet and donating about 1/2 the towels just to cut down on the amount of dirty towels that are possible.)
  • Saturday - sheets (everyone's, which means at least 2 loads. More when I'm also washing blankets, which I do at least once a month.)
When it's laid out like that, it doesn't seem like such a big deal. I know it works better when I get the loads started in the morning and have them completed (meaning put away!) by lunch, so that's what I'm trying to do. We're on track so far this week, which feels good.

I have said since L's birth that when I can get back on track with laundry I'd put her into cloth diapers. I know that's a place where I can save some money (granted, it's probably about $10/week, but every little bit helps.) I already have the diapers, only need a couple covers, and we're ready to go. The thought of the laundry, however, has kept me from it. It would mean about 3 extra loads a week.

Monday, November 26, 2007


My dear friend, Kelly, has some amazing children! They decided they wanted to donate "everything for a family with nothing" through the Food for the Poor organization. This means they have to raise more than $3500!! They are working hard towards their goal, and I want to help them get there.

They are hosting an online Usborne book show with 20% of all sales going right back to them for their donation. If you have kids to buy for this year, please consider giving books! Usborne has some of the best educational (and fun!) books out there. If you shop through this link, your books will be shipped right to your door within a few days.

For more information about their efforts, please visit the blog their mom set up to share their progress. If you have any questions about Usborne, please drop me a note (or comment). Thanks!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mom Central Review: Jump Start World 1st Grade

We have had a great time this week playing Jump Start World, 1st Grade. When I told C (my first grader) that we had the chance to review this software, he eagerly checked the mailbox each day. He had previously played it at his enrichment program, and had told me he liked it. He was excited we'd be getting a copy of our own to play at home.

We had a little trouble loading it (took a couple restarts of the machine to get it working), but once it was loaded, the boys were off! The software is set up like an adventure video game, with multiple characters to "be" and lots of different places to visit. C was a bit annoyed that the mouse didn't move his character, and that he had to use the arrow keys instead. Once he got used to it, however, it wasn't an issue any longer.

C quickly started earning "gems" by playing different games geared to helping him practice math, reading and other first grade skills. (The website talks about the curriculum standards here. I liked the fact that it clearly explained what each module was helping the kids learn.) N has also enjoyed playing (he's my kindergartener), since there is plenty of vocal help from characters within the game.

When I asked C what I should share about Jump Start, he told me "Tell them it is a lot of fun. You can be a different character every time you play! The games are fun and pretty easy to play."

The box and website refer to a Parent Center, but I was unable to locate it in the game. From the screen shot, it looks like a parent can see exactly how a child is progressing through the different units. I searched the game, and then the website and wasn't able to find the answer. In the FAQ section, I was told the information could be found in the Parent Center, but I couldn't find out where the Parent Center is located.

The game, as purchased, includes 2 adventure units, which provide 80 or so learning games. Additional units can be purchased via a monthly subscription, which can add 10 more units to the game. I'll be more likely to purchase the additional units if I can find the Parent Center so I have a clear picture of how the boys are doing on individual tasks.

I know the boys will continue playing this game. It will make a nice complement to our regular schooling activities, and reinforce the skills that they are learning. I would recommend it to other other families with first graders, if they were looking for an educational software game.

I was able to review this product thanks to Mom Central!

I have another week

Advent doesn't start until NEXT Sunday. I feel like a doofus. It usually starts the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but that would have meant there were 5 Sundays in Advent this year, when there are only 4.

Oh, well, that means I have another week to get done what I wanted before it started.

yesterday was a bust

Um, yea, all that stuff I thought I'd be doing yesterday?

Didn't do a lick of it.

Maybe today . . .

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Advent Preparation

Advent is the season of preparation, and today is my day to prepare for that season!

My sister and I sat down last night and decided what Christmas cookies we wanted to make this year and picked a weekend to make them. I will go through the list and check for ingredients we need to add to the shopping lists over the next couple weeks.

Today is a cleaning day. I'm almost caught up on laundry, so I will finish the laundry today and then re-create my laundry schedule. Years ago, I had a great schedule that had me doing laundry 5 days/week almost and I never had overflowing baskets. I need to add in L's laundry to the schedule, but I still hope to keep laundry to only 5 days a week.

The kitchen is clean, but today I'm going to wipe down the cupboards and the chandelier. The house will get vacuumed or swept as necessary. The boys room is clean, but I still have work to do on mine. The fish tanks need to be cleaned today. The house needs to be dusted.

The playroom is the worst room of the house (well, maybe the office is the worst . . . ) and I don't think I'm going to tackle those rooms today. They WILL get done before Christmas is here, however!

I found the box of Christmas/Advent/winter books, so I just need to put them in a basket and place them in the living room.

I'm trying to decide when to put up our tree, and I think we'll wait until the 16th. That gives us a couple weeks to enjoy it, but not too much. I imagine L will be crawling by then, which will be fun ;) DH will probably finish the outside lighting tomorrow after church.

Friday, November 23, 2007


My sister and I pored over the ads yesterday, and decided that there wasn't much to get us out early. Both of the deals we were interested in involved mail-in rebates to get the super-low price, and so weren't that good of a deal.

I called her when we were all up and dressed -- which ended up being around 9:30. I had been up at 5:30, and considered staying up, but fell back asleep with L.

Around 10:30 we headed out and found it easy to park everyplace we went! We visited 3 stores and did buy a few things -- but didn't spend very much. We took L with us, and the best part was just hanging around with my sister and the baby. We didn't get home until around 5, mainly because we wandered the stores we did visit quite a bit and stopped for lunch as well.

I was able to find a horse ornament for N, and new pj's for the boys. I also took advantage of a great sale at TRU and picked up a Lego kit and a K'Nex kit for the boys' Christmas. I bought a large griddle, since ours broke last week. We didn't have to wait in line at any of the stores we visited!

L was an angel. I nursed her a couple times while we were out, but she was content to hang out in the sling and even napped a couple times while out and about. She was great in the restaurant as well -- sitting and playing on the bench seat next to me while I enjoyed my lunch.

It was really nice being able to be out and not referee the boys, placate them, or argue with them. We didn't have to rush through any of the stores. It was a calm, enjoyable day.

When I came home, DH had a good start at putting up our Christmas lights, which brought a cheery glow to our street. Tomorrow I plan on doing some house cleaning in preparation of Advent.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

something new

I wanted to add something new to this year's Thanksgiving -- so I tried this crustless cranberry pie. It was DELICIOUS! It was easy to put together, and had wonderful flavor -- a little tart, but just right. I will definitely be making this again in the future.

We had a nice dinner. Just us, and my sister. She brought the green bean casserole, DH made the turkey (grilled outside with fresh rosemary under the skin and in the cavity -- scrumptious!), I made the mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, cranberry pie and whole wheat dinner rolls. My sister made the gravy, which we forgot to eat! I also forgot to put out the salad . . . oh, well! DH roasted a couple sweet potatoes for me to eat this week -- I'm the only one who likes them, so I'll share some with L.

L loved the mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie filling. C complained about something food-wise (as usual) and N ate a good meal. The boys wouldn't try the cranberry pie, which was okay, as it means more for me!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

sleep . . . glorious sleep . . .

I can't believe I'm posting this!

L and I went to sleep a little after midnight last night. She's finally big enough so that I don't worry as much about nursing her in bed, so I slept mostly until around 7. Got up and helped the boys get off to their enrichment program. Climbed back into bed to give her the morning feed and fell asleep.

Until the phone rang at noon!! DH couldn't believe I was asleep and very apologetic for waking me. She woke to nurse; I fell back asleep until around 1. Got up, she stayed sleeping! I was able to make myself some tea, egg and grits, throw in a load of laundry, clean the kitchen, fold a load of laundry, respond to a few emails, update my picture blog and read a few blogs.

She finally woke right around 2, so we both hopped in the shower and she's eating again now before we need to leave to get the boys in about 15 minutes.

I feel wonderful. That's an understatement.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

dangers of kids reading . . . LOL

We sent back a couple movies to N*tflix recently, and when I went to check our queue to see what would be arriving soon, I found that the first 15 or so movies were things like "Looney Tunes, Vol 5" and "The Pink Panther" and "Tom and Jerry." I called out "Hey! Who messed with my queue?" DH responds "Not me!" I start listing the movies and C says "Oh, that was me!"

I asked him "How did you get into the queue?" and he replied that he typed in "n* and got there. "How did you get them to the top?" "I read the information. The box said 'Move to top' so I clicked that button." Turns out he added about 50 movies to the queue overall.

I started laughing and also looking into setting up a separate profile for kids' movies. Unfortunately, you can't copy movies between queues, so he'll have to start from scratch. A good afternoon project for him, I think!

This is also the kid who explained to his grandfather about going to "The Google" to find Underdog videos on Y*uT*be. LOL!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mashed Potatoes (again . . . LOL)

You Are Mashed Potatoes

Oridnary, comforting, and more than a little predictable
You're the glue that holds everyone together.


The title represents L's way of saying "momma." She's been doing it for a few weeks now, and while I may have put it off as random sounds, others have noticed that it's a definite sound she makes when she sees me. My parents noticed it right away when they were here last week.

I have to admit that it's cute. I need to step up using sign language with her, as it was such a help with both boys. I started with C much sooner, but around now with N. C's first sign was "all done" and N's first sign was "more," which tells quite a bit about their eating habits even today!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Advent a week away!

Advent starts next Sunday!

My plan for the week is to:
  • Catch up on laundry (I really really really need to do this, and then STAY on top of it!)
  • Clean my bedroom
  • Write a plan about how we're celebrating Advent this year
  • Find the Advent/Christmas season books and put them in a basket in the living room next Sunday. Some years past I have wrapped them -- not sure if I'm going to make the effort this year.
  • Write out a baking plan, including cookies and other treats as well as WHEN they'll be baked.
  • Finalize our gift list.
  • Put stuff up on ebay to earn the money to purchase our gift list.
  • Shop for, and celebrate Thanksgiving
The boys & I cleaned their bedroom thoroughly last week. Since I'm going to tackle my room this week, I'll put off the playroom another week I think. Some major decluttering will have to happen in there, especially since that room needs to become L's room in the next few months and the playroom and the boys' room will need to be combined.

One of my plans for Advent is to hold Sunday as a day of rest. Too often, it becomes a day of errands and cleaning house after church. I want it to become a day of rest and enjoyable family time and I decided that Advent was as good a time as any to start implementing that.

Another thing I want to do is finally finish all the decluttering that I started during my pregnancy. Our office is the worst area at the moment. I would love for the house to be decluttered and painted (interior) by Christmas -- or the New Year at the latest. Careful planning (and help from DH & the boys) can make it happen!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

mommy guilt

C's allergies have been bothering him for a couple months or so. He was scheduled for a well-child visit last week, so I thought I'd talk to the doctor at that time. His well-visit appointment was rescheduled for December (his ped is pregnant and couldn't work full days any longer), but I decided he needed to be seen as his allergies were really bothering him.

Turns out that while he may have allergies, the major issue is that his asthma is flaring up. Since he wasn't wheezing, I didn't even consider that his asthma might be bothering him! I feel horrid that I didn't consider asthma. I was smug in thinking he had outgrown it, since it didn't seem that he had any problems in over a year!

I filled his prescriptions today, so we're on our way to getting it back under control. I feel guilt that I didn't realize and he's been suffering needlessly for months (at least!) DH doesn't think I should feel guilty about it, but I do :(

Friday, November 16, 2007

mashed potatoes

How do you make your mashed potatoes? I've always added cold milk and butter to cooked potatoes and mashed them together with salt, pepper and some paprika.

C received a new cookbook for his birthday (Kids Cook 1-2-3) and their recipe for mashed potatoes called for heating up the milk before adding to the cooked potatoes. I gave it a try, and I think it made them taste better! I love mashed potatoes, as do my kids. I didn't tell anyone about the change, and N said "These are the BEST mashed potatoes you ever made!" so I don't think it was just my imagination. I don't know why the heated milk made them better, but I'll be doing that from now on.

C can't wait to try their recipe for popcorn. We've always made microwave popcorn, but they have a recipe in there for stovetop popcorn. I agreed to buy some kernels and give it a shot. We have a large pot with a clear lid that'll be fun to watch the kernels through.

The cookbook isn't a typical kid's cookbook since it doesn't have any photographs and the recipes are a bit advanced (even though each only calls for 3 ingredients.) I like it, though, and look forward to making more recipes from it with him.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thanksgiving Menu

I just realized Thanksgiving is next week already! Which means Advent starts next Sunday, and before I know it, Christmas will be here! I've been vaguely planning for the holidays for a couple months, but it's time to get serious. I need to make lists, get started on homemade gifts, and decide what is most important this year.

First, though, I need to shop for Thanksgiving dinner. One of my favorite Thanksgivings was the year we moved out here. Since our family was so far away, we decided to drive to Rocky Point, Mexico and camp for the weekend. I had sea bass for dinner, and we camped in the back of our old minivan. It was completely stress-free and wonderful!

This year, it'll be another traditional holiday. Hopefully everyone will be well, since the last few years my sister has either been sick, or stayed away because one of the boys was sick.

Our (boring) menu for this year will be:

Turkey, cooked outside on the grill
Mashed Potatoes (made from scratch)
Gravy (made from scratch)
Green Bean Casserole (which I don't like and have been thinking of buying pre-made)
Rolls (still debating about store-bought and home-made)
Cranberry Relish (deciding between trying to make something fancy or just using store-bought)
Pumpkin Pie

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

7 Years Old?

The child who made me a mother turned 7 years old today!

It's hard to believe that 7 years ago I was in the hospital, wondering when we'd meet this little boy that turned our world upside down! We had wanted children for so long, only to be told it was pretty much impossible. 12 weeks prior (to the day!) I was told that I was pregnant -- and we found out that a very healthy, 28 week old baby was growing inside of me. Those 12 weeks were a whirlwind of activity, but it was a wonderful whirlwind!

Of my 3 children, C is most like me in temperament and personality. He is intense, emotional and loving. He takes his role as a big brother very seriously -- even when he would rather not. He is a very kind and friendly child. He talks a lot, and enjoys carrying on conversations.

He is a voracious reader and has no problem asking for help when he's not sure about something. He currently loves learning about dinosaurs, the stars, Pecos Bill, and knights. He loves listening to audiobooks at night when falling asleep. (He'll be thrilled to learn that we got him "Trumpet of the Swan" to add to his collection of audiobooks.)

He requested ham, mashed potatoes and green beans for dinner tonight. He also requested a vanilla cake with strawberry frosting. I bought a few fresh strawberries to put on top of the cake, but will use frozen for the frosting.

He is attending his enrichment program today, and I miss him. It'll be time to pick him up soon enough, though, and we can celebrate the rest of his birthday! He was born at 6:20 in the evening, so he isn't "officially" seven yet!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

errands & driving

With gas costing $2.93/gallon, I am trying to be even more careful about where and how often I drive places. Especially since DH drives all over the state for work, and we are 100% responsible for the gas purchases.

This morning, we dropped off netflix movies to the post office, visited the bank, got haircuts for the boys, stopped at the library and picked up McDonald's lunch on the way home. I thought ahead so my route wasn't all over the place, and I think I did a pretty good job of it.

At the library, I started teaching the boys how to use the catalog. A part of me really misses the card catalogs of my youth -- but I can see how much more efficient the computerized catalogs are. I do think it's important to learn the dewey decimal system, but I think the boys are too young for that! It is enough to teach them about searching the catalog, and then how to find the books they want using the numbers from their searches. We looked up books about Pecos Bill and Johnny Appleseed today.

While I love my house and the area we live in, I do regret that we aren't able to walk anywhere! The last house we lived in while in Milwaukee we could walk to a gorgeous park, at least 2 libraries, a dozen restaurants, 2 Catholic churches, the lake, numerous stores, and more! Here, I can walk by the 77 houses in our neighborhood. Nothing is closer than 2-3 miles away. It's something I regret, but I don't see a way to live any differently at this point.

Monday, November 12, 2007

me & my kids

We enjoyed a lovely day at the botanical gardens yesterday. DH snapped this shot of me & the kids. I don't look 40, do I? (Although, I guess since I AM 40, I do look 40 . . . )

My parents left this morning for the long drive back home. It was nice having them here for a visit, and I know they enjoyed having "fun" this time instead of doing projects which is what usually fills their stay here. Hopefully, the next trip I'll be able to spend more time with them.

Right after they left, I put L in the co-sleeper for a moment and when I came back she had pulled herself to standing! She has been sitting for longer periods of time, and now she's pulling up! I started to walk at 9 months; C at 10; I wonder when she'll start? (N didn't bother to walk until 13 months.) I get flak for carrying her "so much," but she's perfectly fine developmentally.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

reluctant napper

L has been a reluctant napper. I have struggled to find the right way to get her to nap. For a short while, the swing was the answer -- but then she learned to flip herself out of it, so we had to put it in the garage.

I'm almost afraid to write this out, but I think we've turned a corner. I finally found a pacifier that she is willing to take when she is asleep and would like to suckle on my nipple while sleeping. For a week or so now, I've been able to successfully transfer myself out of her mouth and the pacifier in -- and she's stayed asleep!

The next problem was moving her from my arms. I've learned to make a tight nest of pillows in the middle of my bed to lay her in. Then I cover her with a blanket. Put my hands on her belly. Breathe deeply. Slowly move away from the bed.

About 5 minutes later, she flips onto her belly. And I panic that she can't breathe, but I also don't want to lose the napping time. DH reminds me that her mother is also a belly sleeper, and also that she has no problem flipping from belly to back, so I relax a bit.

She sleeps. For at least an hour, sometimes more. It's more than I've ever gotten before so I'm grateful.

Hopefully this will last for at least a month before a new routine has to be found!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

My parents are in town to celebrate my 40th birthday with me! We're off to an afternoon symphony concert, then steaks on the grill when we get home.

I'm not sure how I feel about turning 40. Obviously, it's better than the alternative. But I'm doing some soul searching about what the future holds and what I need to do to be happy with it.

Friday, November 09, 2007

what works for our family

A common refrain that DH & I use is "it works best for our family." Stress on the word "our". It's something that comes up when our choices are questioned, or we're feeling put down, or comparing ourselves to others. Sometimes it's me reminding him, and other times it's him reminding me. I think the best times are when we look at each other and both feel confident and grateful for the choices we've made.

We do our best to make choices and decisions that will work for OUR family. We realize they may not be the best choices for other families to make, and we try not to be judgmental -- and hope to avoid judgment by others.

I admit, though, that I often hope that I am a good example, and that my choices are inspirational to others. Inspirational may be a rather lofty goal, but on days when I'm feeling down and it seems another way would be easier . . . it gives me a push to go on making those choices for our family.

It's not easy to be open to life, or for me to stay at home, or homeschool, or breastfeed, or a myriad of other choices we've made. I believe, wholeheartedly, though that they are the best choices for OUR family.

I try my best not to judge others, and be cheerful and open when questioned about our choices.
Sometimes I fail, but yet I continue to try.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

L's first tea party

The tea party yesterday was a great success. L was an angel -- even falling asleep for about 20 minutes during the middle of it. My mom bought her a sweet tiara with pink feathery fringe as a remembrance of the day. I do hope we make it an annual tradition, as I think it'd be a wonderful memory for L as she grows up.

It's definitely NOT someplace I'd like to go with the boys, however -- way too many breakables, since it is also a shop and the eating tables are scattered throughout all the merchandise. In fact, it'll be tricky with L during her toddler years, but keeping track of one is much easier than keeping track of 3.

C was feeling under the weather last night. I'm hoping he was just exhausted (he's had VERY late bedtimes this week), on top of allergies. He was asleep by 8PM last night, and is still sleeping now (after 9AM.) Today will be a laid back day, since my parents & sister are on an 8 hour jeep tour. We'll probably do some light schooling, but I'm going to give him plenty of opportunity to rest since tomorrow, Saturday & Sunday are all busy days.

I have a rare moment of silence right now that I'm savoring. All the kids are sleeping and DH is out of town. Whoops!! There's my middle boy walking into the kitchen! Time to start my day officially.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

girls' day out!

My mom is in town this week, and brought along one of her dear friends.

My sister and I decided it would be fun to have a girls' day out and visit a local tea shop. We chose this one and are looking forward to enjoying their "Ceremony of Loveliness" which includes tea, sandwiches and sweets. L will join us, of course, and I hope she is in a better mood than she has been the last few days.

We haven't been to this shop yet, and I hope it is as nice as the website makes it appear. I think this could become a lovely tradition to have when she comes to visit.

My dad was very brave and offered to watch the boys while we enjoy our day. DH is headed out of town today for calls, so he won't be around as backup. I think the boys are old enough to behave well for my dad, but I hope my expectations and his are similar. I've told them they need to be on their best behavior!

Do you have any traditions when family visits? One of ours seemed to be that my mom visits and does a lot of the cooking . . . but she decided that she wasn't cooking this trip. I think she'll enjoy going out to tea a bit more :)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

cleaning out email boxes

I have 2 main email accounts, and realized yesterday that I had about 15,000 emails between them! Argh!!

A great majority were sales/newsletter/special offer type emails that I would skim (or not), but not bother to delete in a very long time. I have to say that I like gmail even more these days (my main emails are with yahoo and gmail.) It was much easier to do a search in gmail and delete 100's of emails at a time. I also like being able to apply labels to incoming and existing mail. It makes for an extremely easy filing system -- and also an even easier way to find hundreds of emails to delete!

After about an hour of concerted searching, deleting and un-subscribing from newsletters, I'm down to about 3,000 emails. Another hour or so and I should only have those that deserve saving (emails from family, friends and the occasional business offer.) It feels great!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Entertainment Software Rating Board

My husband and boys have wanted a Wii since they came out. When my DH walked into Target on a recent Monday and found a short stack of Wii boxes sitting in the electronics department, he called and asked if he could get one for the boys' Christmas. I knew that my interest in video games was about to go up a few levels.

I was vaguely aware of the rating system for video games, but was amazed at the wealth of information found at the Entertainment Software Rating Board website. I knew of the letter ratings, but I didn't realize that the rating was expanded to include information about content that contributed to the rating -- including mature humor, violence, blood, and even tobacco references. Now I know to look at the back of video game boxes to find out what type of content will be found.

I was also a little surprised to learn that "E" refers to "Everyone" over the age of 6. Since N is 5 1/2, I'm not concerned about "E" games right now, but that was a good thing to know, especially with an infant who will grow up with a Wii in the house.

The website also includes information about setting parental controls on a number of different game systems. While I envision having direct control about the games the boys will be playing, I can see that they will likely share games in the future with their friends. By setting parental controls right away, I won't have to worry about them playing games on our machine that I would find inappropriate.

Another great feature of the website is the search feature. Right on the front page, as well as various pages throughout the site, you can search for games based on publisher, title, platform, rating and/or content. You can set multiple search criteria within each area as well. This is a quick way for me to search for games that we might want to purchase in the future. It's also a great tool to share with family & friends who might want to purchase games for our kids. After just a few seconds, I found that there are 106 games rated "E" for our Wii that have no descriptors.

I know that I'll be using the ESRB site quite a bit in the coming years. I have shared it with family & friends already who have kids and video games. The wealth of information and ease of use makes this site a great tool for parents!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

grocery lists

Do you shop with a list? Over the years, I've gone back and forth about shopping with lists -- and I have to admit that we save money and I have a better idea of what we'll be eating when I take the time to make a list. I *knew* I needed a few things yesterday so I went to the store with just a minimal list in mind, and no meals planned for the week. I spent $76.13 and didn't get enough to ensure we had meals for more than 2 days. Ugh!!

My sister was free (and it's much easier when I have all 3 kids if she comes along,) L had just been fed, and I didn't want to waste my window of opportunity -- so I headed off without the week's meals planned. And I picked up a bunch of stuff that didn't really translate into meals for my family. With our budget being so tight right now, I really can't afford to be unorganized.

My mom tends to plan meals 1-2 days out and then shops multiple times during the week. I prefer to get my shopping done in one trip per week. Which works best when things are planned (as I think I've mentioned!)

I'm going to hit publish, then plan out the rest of the week's meals. Are your meals planned for the week already? Do you plan out breakfasts, lunches and snacks as well as dinners? I started doing that and it helps immensely, plus the boys love being able to see what the planned snacks are for each day.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

weird doc questions

When I took L in for her 6 month checkup this week, the pediatrician asked me "So, is she starting to respond to tone in your voice? Like if you tell her 'no', she gets a little pouty face?"

I looked at her blankly. Why in the world would you have to say "no" to a 6 month old baby? What could she possibly do that I need to correct her for? She sleeps, eats and babbles. She's barely mobile (although she did manage to crawl out of her co-sleeper this morning onto our bed.)

I said "Ummm, no -- but she definitely lights up when she hears her dad or her brothers come into a room. Is that what you're looking for?" She marked something down in the chart, and we moved on.

Overall, I like our ped. But I thought that was a really weird question to pose about an infant.

Friday, November 02, 2007


I often think how lucky N is that we live in Arizona, where he can wear flip-flops year round (because he will ALWAYS choose to wear them instead of any other shoe.) And how funny it is that C absolutely refuses to wear them because they "feel funny." I wonder where L will fall in the flip-flop debate?

To-Do Lists

I have a to-do list a mile long today, but it's still in my head. I really need to write it out and prioritize, as I know there is no chance I'll get to everything.

My parents are on their way for a visit, and should be arriving sometime tomorrow. It's an absolute luxury that they were able to purchase the house next to mine -- but I still have to clean my house. They're bringing a friend with them this trip, too, which should be interesting. She's a very dear friend of my mom's and a nice woman, but it'll still be interesting.

L is lying on the floor at my feet, playing with her toes and babbling. The boys are in the backyard, making the most of their morning recess. As soon as I hit "publish", I'll:

throw in another load of laundry
sweep the kitchen floor
plan out next week's meals
write the grocery list

Hopefully those are the biggest priorities for the day!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

All Saints Day

When I learned that DH had late calls today, I said "Great! That means you can make mass with us this morning!" The church was pretty full, but we were the youngest ones there by about 30 years. I had hoped we might see some other homeschooling families, but I'm guessing they got up earlier and made it to the 8AM mass. We'd attend more daily masses if they'd have a regular 10AM mass instead of 8AM, but I guess it's easier for the priests to have it at 8AM. Unfortunately, being up and out of the house before 8AM doesn't happen very often around here.

As a child attending Catholic school we always had All Saints day off of school, and I remember thinking it was so cool to have the day after Halloween off every year!

After church, we went looking for golf clubs for the boys, but we had no interest in paying $100/set. I'll start checking craigslist and 2nd hand stores if it seems they might enjoy playing. They started lessons this week, and are currently borrowing clubs. I'd like to wait until they finish this set of lessons and then decide -- but I think know DH would like them to have their own set sooner.
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Design by Linda of Berries and Cream Blog Design