Monday, June 30, 2008

purging continues

It felt great to tackle the linen closet last week!

This morning, I dumped out DH's sock drawer and discarded about 1/2 of his socks! Then, I actually matched the remaining socks! (I stopped matching his socks years and years ago -- I wash them and put them in the drawer and he finds matches in the morning. I may actually go back to matching socks, though, as it IS much neater.)

Since I was on a roll, I decided to go through the boys' underwear and sock bins. Poor N had undies that were size 2T/3T and he wears a size 6 these days! I got rid of any that were too small, or if the elastic was stretched out. I matched up their socks and realized they desperately need socks. I don't know what they do with them, because I bought a dozen pair not too long ago!

Then, I went through their shirt bins. I filled an entire garbage bag with shirts that no longer fit or were just unnecessary (they really don't need to keep t-ball uniform shirts, old camp shirts, etc.) Finally, I went through their shorts and pants and discarded as needed.

Tomorrow is their laundry day, so I will go through their laundry this time and make sure all is in good shape and still fits. Usually, they are responsible for putting away their laundry by themselves.

I have a much better idea of what they have now, and what they'll need in the fall. They do need a few more pairs of shorts to get through the summer, but they have plenty of shirts.

Next is sorting out the clothes that L has outgrown and maybe I'll even tackle my dresser this week!

14 months

L turned 14 months yesterday. She has spent the last month learning to walk, and really caught on in the last week. She toddles around unsteadily, and reaches out for anyone's hand to help steady her walk. She is an excellent climber, however, and has no problem climbing up onto her brother's beds or the couch.

She is still an amazingly happy baby. She is friendly, and will flirt, smile and wave at just about anybody. She is always amazed at seeing another baby/toddler and gets very excited when we pass one in the library or elsewhere.

She has a healthy, hearty appetite and is adventurous enough to try most foods. She eats a solid 3 meals a day, plus snacks, and still nurses 3-4 times a day. She is definitely growing!

She clearly says "UP" and "HI!" Other words are obvious only to family. She can clearly sign "EAT", which is added to "FINISHED". She continues to nod and shake her head adamantly to express "YES" and "NO." She babbles quite a bit and carries on conversations with herself in the mirror regularly.

She likes to empty containers and fill them up again. She absolutely adores music! She will bop her head and dance to pretty much any music that is playing. She loves it when N sings to her and will often prompt him by saying "baa baa baa?" so he will sing "Baa Baa Black Sheep" to her.

She is funny and likes to be the center of attention. She will call loudly and wave her arms if she thinks nobody is paying attention to her. She likes to go places, but doesn't like getting into her carseat this month.

No new teeth again this month, but with 8 she has plenty. I'm expecting her to make some language leaps in the next few months now that she has started walking.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

unexpected blessings

The angel to the left is at a Marian shrine near Milwaukee, WI. I took the picture on our last visit to Wisconsin. This shrine is just a small park in an urban setting, but it was a place of comfort to me during the years we lived close to it.

I miss having a place like that to pray in, as I've never really found anything like it here. That doesn't mean that I've stopped praying, or that my prayers aren't still answered.

Last week, I opened a piece of mail and literally burst into tears. Enclosed in a card with a beautiful image of Our Blessed Mother was a check that would meet the deductible payment that we didn't know where we'd find. It was a gift from a dear couple - completely unexpected and out of the blue. It was the answer to a prayer and will ease our family through a rough spot. I don't think I can clearly express what that meant to me & DH, but I hope they know how completely appreciative we are of their generous gift.

There are angels everywhere, and sometimes they bless us in the most unexpected and wonderful ways. Thank you, sweet benefactors! We are so grateful!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Safety Summer Tips by MommyDocs

Have you visited Mommy Docs yet? It's a website run by 2 pediatrician moms in the Maryland area. They share health advice and information on their site, plus they do a regular podcast! I just learned about this site last week, but I've already subscribed to their podcasts.

They, along with MomCentral and Clorox, want to share a set of safety summer tips as the summer gets in full swing! I thought they were good reminders for all parents, especially the tips about sun protection (so important here in Arizona!)
  • Have a Sun Protection Strategy: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sunscreen with a minimum Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15. Look for products that provide "broad spectrum" coverage to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Use this sunscreen routine with your child--daily application 30 minutes before going outside and reapplication every 2 hours (or sooner if swimming, toweling off, or sweating). Creating a routine will establish good habits for the future. In addition, don't forget a wide brim hat, sunglasses with 99-100% UVA/UVB protection, and sun protective clothing.
  • Keep Pests off Your Little One: In the summer, many insects can bite or sting your child. For pesky mosquitoes and ticks, consider a DEET containing insect repellant. Apply sparingly to exposed skin (avoid backs of hands and around the eyes and mouth) and/or to clothing once a day. As the percentage of DEET goes up, the duration of action increases. To prevent unnecessary exposure, always use the lowest percentage that will last for the planned length of time spent outdoors. Never go above 30% or use on children under 2 months old.
  • Keep the Pool Cool and Clean: Small yard pools provide a great way for kids to have fun and cool down when the temperature rises, but they can also harbor germs, such as bacteria. To keep the pool free from unwanted "swimmers," after each use disinfect it with bleach by cleaning with a solution of ¾ cup regular bleach to one gallon of water, then rinse well and dry thoroughly. Safety must: Always supervise children regardless of age when they are around any water; whether it's a bucket, a small backyard plastic pool, or the local community pool.
  • High Heat Means Hydrate: Excessive heat exposure may cause your child to experience a heat-related illness such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or even heat stroke. How to prevent this: take breaks in the shade, avoid playing outside during peak sun exposure hours, and drink, drink, drink! Make sure your child is taking in plenty of fluids before he become thirsty.
  • Rid Rashes and Relieve Itchies: Running through the yard in bare feet, taking a nature walk on a trail, and picnicing in the park are some of the joys of warmer weather. But all of this outdoor activity can expose your child to a host of plants including those which cause poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac. If an allergic reaction occurs, ask the pediatrician about an oral antihistamine and/or a topical skin care product such as a steroid cream or calamine. If the rash is extensive, looks infected, or is not getting better, call your doctor right away.
For more summer safety tips, or pediatric health information, visit MommyDocs! I hope everyone has a safe, fun summer!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

linen closet

Hmmm, how many towels does YOUR family need?

I had the boys empty the linen closet onto the living room floor and I ruthlessly culled towels that were faded or frayed. I folded the remaining and replaced them in the linen closet and it looks very nice! I still think I have too many hand towels . . . and I probably have too many bath towels as well since I haven't done towel laundry this week.

I'm trying to decide how many towels a family of five needs. We do re-use towels when we've been out in the pool and after baths. I think I should have a few extra for people who visit and swim in our pool. I like to do towel laundry once a week.

I know we had too many towels, but I'm not sure how many is appropriate for our family. I keep hand towels, washcloths, bath towels, swim towels and the boys' sheets in our linen closet. We only have one linen closet, and it's pretty small. I'm thinking three bath towels per person, per week should be plenty. That's 15 bath towels! I kept 12 hand towels, but I'm thinking I only need four, maybe six.

There are 9 bath/swim towels in the linen closet right now, and once I do the towel laundry tomorrow I'll know how many we have. I may keep a few extra, but place them under the sink as extras for pool guests.

How many towels do YOU have? Do you know? Are they matched? We have a few matching sets, but there's no overall theme.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Review: Wii Fit

Yes, we caved to the hype. I decided that Wii Fit cost less than one month's family membership to the gym, so we should try it out. We have had it for a month now, and I have to tell you -- it is fun!

Everyone in the family plays it -- including my sister (who whoops my butt on everything except yoga) and my father (who liked it so much that my mom purchased a Wii and Wii Fit for him for Father's Day.)

It's fun, it's varied and the competition between us all is hilarious. The boys prefer the balance games because they are games. I like the aerobics and yoga portions because I am using it as an exercise tool. I think DH does the strength portion, but I have only done a few exercises in that portion (mainly because I'm a wimp!)

As you play more, additional games are unlocked. Boxing is fun, and can help release some aggression. I try to balance my activity between actual exercise and the fun games. The step program in the aerobic section cracks me up because it looks like you're doing a step routine on a stage in front of an audience!

I like how the balance board tracks your center. I lean to my right quite a bit due to an old ankle injury and I like seeing that I'm actually working towards maintaining a balance between left and right.

The gym is boring where the strength and yoga exercises are led by a trainer. I think they could have livened up the rooms and made it more visually appealing. The graphics in other sections are better, but nothing like a realistic PSP or XBox game.

The tracking portion isn't quite as handy as I thought it would be. When you weigh yourself, it tells you what your BMI is, and the boys are upset that I'm not "normal." Yea, me too boys! I really don't need to hear the chirpy voice tell me I'm obese every time I start up.

I also wish I could speed things along and not have to listen to the same thing or wait through the same graphics to get back to actual movement. It makes it impossible to flow through a yoga routine, for instance, because of the long pauses between each move. I wish I could choose 5 moves to go through and create my own routine. I wish this was possible in more places as well -- kinda like you can create a circuit in the Olympics game.

All that being said, I do think it was worth the $90 we spent on it, just for the fun of competition between us all.

saw our truck

DH & I were able to take a look at our truck yesterday at the collision shop. It was emptied of all the contents (well, except for a set of old jumper cables, LOL) and there was about $5,000 worth of damage done to it. Apparently, Dodge Rams are pretty easy to break into! The adjuster showed us the small dent by the door handle where they jimmy something there to pop the lock.

It could have been worse, and we're grateful that it can be repaired and that we have insurance. The boys are upset about the loss and are angry that someone would take our things that DH has worked so hard for. We're upset as well, but maybe we're just more resigned about the situation.

We rented a Toyota Prius and that's been a good experience! It's too small to become our family car, but it's been great for DH to drive for work until the truck is repaired. I was worried that it wouldn't drive well on the freeway, but it drives just fine! If we had the extra money, we'd consider getting one for his work vehicle. Gas mileage is about 45 mpg! The trunk is a good size and it's comfortable to ride in. They say it's a 5 passenger vehicle, but I can't imagine the kids would be very comfortable in the back seat - especially with L's car seat.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


We have an order of Poor Clare nuns in the area who have a neat website and a blog to boot! They recently revised their site to include vocation stories, which I found very interesting.

Kelly? Is your oldest still sometimes thinking of a vocation as a nun? I thought of you/her when I was reading their recent blog entries.

Friday, June 20, 2008

July Projects

Oh, my! Someone doing a search linked to this post and I just re-read my to-do list of projects for last July. I am embarrassed to realize that I barely made a dent in that list during the last YEAR and I thought I'd get to all of them in the month of July! LOLOLOLOLOL

The boys' bedrooms, living room, kitchen and front door DID get painted. The hallway and 2nd bath have not been painted yet.

We still have the same area rug in the living room. It was steam cleaned, though.

The homeschooling cabinets are too high for me to use comfortably and they still haven't been moved since we haven't painted the hallway. The desk in the hallway was cleared off, but it's a pile of stuff again.

The kitchen cabinets still need to be de-cluttered. I did a couple cabinets and a couple drawers, but more can be done in there.

I haven't touched my CD project since I was pregnant.

TODAY I threw a bunch of towels into a box. More needs to be removed from the linen closet. For some reason I have enough towels for a football team. I'm going to pare it down so that we have 2 towels per person. Maybe 3. We really don't need more!

I do have plants in both planters by my front door. A rosemary bush, and an oregano plant that needs watering.

The children's books have multiplied and still aren't organized. UGH.

I haven't touched my home management binder since last summer. The recent theft has me regretting that, but hopefully I'll find the desire to work on that project again.

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but maybe it'll motivate me to get on the ball! There are more things that need to be added, like:

Cull clothes that no longer fit the boys or L and find NEW HOMES for them. I'm not saving any more children's clothes! I found 4 big bins of clothes the boys wore in their toddler years and about 6 pieces that will be appropriate for L to wear.

Clean out our office so it can become a bedroom for L. This is a huge project and I think I will just start filling garbage bags and hope I don't throw out anything of too much importance.

That's enough or I'll just depress myself!

yummy banana bread

This chocolate banana bread from Cooking Light is yummy!! I have made it many times, given it as gifts and everyone always enjoys it!

I don't have many leftover bananas these days because L loves to eat them, but I recently put a couple aside just so I could make a loaf!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

truck recovered

The police found our truck near the Mexican border, on a reservation. Damage appears to be minimal (it wasn't torched!) It'll be a couple days before it makes it's way back to our area and then we'll know better what the actual damage will be.

From what we know, everything was taken from inside the truck, but thankfully we do have coverage through our homeowner's insurance policy.

Between both policies, our deductibles are $1500.

Time will tell how the process goes, but we're hoping that it goes smoothly.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

stolen truck

My husband walked out of his sales appointment around 9PM tonight to discover that his truck was stolen, leaving him stranded in a rather dicey neighborhood far from home. Thankfully, the homeowners were kind people who allowed him to wait for the police, and then gave him a ride 1/2 way to our home.

The police told him that the chances of finding our truck are almost zero. Unless some kids took it to joyride, it's either already being chopped up for parts, or on the way over the border. While the loss of the vehicle (the vehicle with a big loan still outstanding) is difficult, worse for DH is all the cool stuff he had in his truck. Things like his PSP, his Ipod, 2 different GPS units, a digital camera . . . and more, much more. Things that are covered up to $250 under our insurance. Things that will cost over $4000 to replace. Some were luxuries (the PSP, the Ipod), others are necessary things for his job (the GPS, the digital camera). All were owned by us -- and even though many are necessary for his employment -- his employer will not help us replace any of it.

Insurance will pay current market value in our area for the vehicle. Did you know that pickup trucks have very low value right now because of gas prices? Chances are pretty good that we're upside down in the loan, which means we'll have to continue paying on a truck that we don't even have the use of. We can only hope that it isn't TOO many months.

Since DH drives all over the state for his job, every day, his vehicle was like a 2nd home to him. He did have a lot in the vehicle, to make his days go by easier. We do have another vehicle, but it doesn't have air conditioning (necessary when the temperature is over 100) and the brakes are mushy. Obviously, it needs to be repaired. Maybe I'll find a box of money under the bed later tonight.

I'm grateful my husband is okay and that the only thing lost is things. Things can be replaced. It hurts, and we'll struggle even more, but he's okay.

assume good intention

Sometimes, (too often), when I'm asked a question I find myself assuming the asker's intent and also assuming they are judging my harshly. In turn, I become defensive in my answer and attitude -- which only leads to more negative energy.

I have been making a concerted effort lately to assume that everyone has good intentions and are only curious. Too bad it's taken me 40 years to figure this out, but it has made such a difference in my interactions with people lately. It really struck me during conversations recently about homeschooling -- in the past I would assume I was being harshly judged, but I decided to consciously let that go (with much effort, I might add!) It has allowed me to listen to questions, and answer them with openness and genuine excitement (when warranted.) So, even if someone may have had a negative intention in asking, my honest answer helps bring about a change in their attitude as well. And, even if it doesn't bring about a change in their thoughts/attitude, I feel better about the entire interaction and it makes my life a bit easier.

This may seem like a simple thing for most of you, but it has really helped improve my outlook lately. Too often I would try to read "into" the comments and questions of others instead of just taking them at face value. I decided that even if they turned around and talked nastily about me and my decisions, what difference did that make to ME? Better that I respond cheerfully and positively and let them be the "Negative Nelly!"

A dear friend has a friend who constantly reports back to her about the things people say. It has driven me crazy for years -- because it's not the positive things she reports back with -- it's the gossipy, mean, obnoxious things that people say behind people's backs. And, sometimes I think she embellishes to make herself look better in front of my friend. My friend thrives on knowing what others think, so their relationship works for them -- but I often wonder WHY she wants to know? Does it improve her life? Does it help her become a better person? NOPE! It usually hurts her feelings, and makes her have negative feelings towards others. I'm not talking about serious things, either -- I'm talking about things like "Oh, did you know she buys all her food from Costco and doesn't make anything from scratch?" or "Gosh, do you think she could have chosen a better color for the living room?" I would rather just assume the people invited to my home have good intentions and like us. I really don't care about the catty things they may say.

I could spend time thinking about WHY I had such a hard time assuming good intentions in others, but you know what? Who cares? The fact that I've recognized it and am trying to change is all that really matters. As an adult, I'm responsible for my choices, and it's up to me to make the best ones I can.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Peas with mint dressing

Lori asked for my recipe for peas with mint dressing. I confess it's ridiculously simple.

I chop fresh mint leaves -- probably a dozen or so? -- very fine. I mix them with about 2T of olive oil, a tsp of sugar, a tsp or so of salt, and a 1/2 tsp or so of black pepper. I let the mint mixture sit out for 30 minutes (or longer), then toss with the hot peas in the serving dish. It's very subtle, but I like the little extra zing it gives the peas.

When I was making it, my mom said "Your father doesn't like mint, so just don't tell him." He ate them and commented how delicious they were! LOL!

ETA: I added these peas cold, to a serving of cold couscous and had it for lunch today. I could taste more of the mint today - either because it's been sitting longer, or because it was cold, or maybe a little of both? YUMMY! And, did you know that peas are actually a legume and are high in protein?

weird things I've learned from the internet

A few months ago, a popular meme was the "8 Random Weird Things" meme. I read a couple that stated the writer shaved their legs every day. I thought "WHO has time to shave their legs every day??" I was lucky to shave my legs once a month!

Then, I read someone who elaborated a bit -- she shaved her legs every day, so it didn't matter if she did a great job or not. If she missed a spot, she'd get it the next day. Suddenly, it started making more sense to me.

I've been shaving my legs daily now for 2 months. I have to admit -- I love it! My legs are always smooth and it really only takes an extra minute or 2 in the shower each morning. I'm not embarrassed to wear skirts or shorts (or my swimsuit!) because it's been too long between shaves.

I originally committed to shaving from ankle to knee, but quickly learned that shaving from ankle to thigh really didn't take much longer. I have missed a day here and there, but it's easy and quick to hop back on the bandwagon!

It's just another of those strange, quirky things I've learned from reading blogs that have made my life a little simpler!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

what's for dinner?

Dinner is for 10 these days in our house -- which is a big number for us! It's funny in that we make up 1/2 that number, but absorbing 5 additional adults into the mix has proved a little challenging.

We've found that our outside table is the biggest, so we eat outside and the boys eat at a small picnic table. I don't think we've quite got the amounts of food down, however, as we haven't had any leftovers, and I usually end up with one thing on my plate to make sure there's enough of everything else to go around. Nobody really notices, since I'm so busy making sure the kids get fed, etc . . . and I don't mind eating a pb&j sandwich after the kitchen is cleaned up!

Tonight my DH is cooking steaks over a wood fire and potatoes baked on the grill. I'll throw together peas with a mint dressing and I'm hoping to make this yummy cranberry pie if I can get the walnuts in the next little while. My mom has rolls to add to the meal, and I think salad as well. It's been fun having all of the family in town at once, and we'll be sad to see them go next weekend.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

marry a doctor?

I was nursing L in our bed earlier today, while DH & I were discussing whether we could pay the mortgage AND buy groceries for the rest of this month. I stroked L's head and jokingly said "Ok, little girl, you need to grow up and marry a doctor . . . maybe a dermatologist!"

DH looked at me and said "Why can't she be a dermatologist? Why does she have to marry one?" I replied "Well, she could -- but what about when she has kids?" His response? "Maybe she'll be a mom that puts her kids in daycare while she pursues her career." I just glared at him and he didn't understand at all why I was upset.

I felt like he punched me in the gut. It seemed like MY choice to stay home with our children (which I thought was OUR choice) wasn't important or valued. He went on to say that it wasn't fair if I expected her to make the same decisions I did, blah blah blah. To be honest, I stopped listening to him because I was hurt, angry and defensive. I felt attacked, even though I don't think he entirely intended it to be an attack.

I have been searching the job ads for months now, and applying for various positions. I have been offered a couple even -- but the pay doesn't come close to covering my child care costs and taxes. I am willing to give up homeschooling and put my youngest in child care to help the family financially -- but these past years of unemployment have put me back at the bottom of the heap employment-wise. I can't find jobs that pay me as much as I was making 14 years ago when I met DH! We made a choice together 7+ years ago, and it's hurting us now. I don't know how to turn it around, except to start again at the bottom, and hope I can work my way up to a decent wage by the time L starts kindergarten. And, I worry that the cost to my children would be too great.

I know my DH feels the pressure. His income has decreased dramatically the last couple years. I know part of him remembers the woman he met that was independent, educated and held a good-paying job -- and he wishes that I still had that good-paying job to pull us through this lean time.

I need to think and act outside of the box to help my family weather these tough times. I need to let go of insecurities and doubts and just forge ahead. I need to stretch beyond where I am in order to find more opportunities. As the Nike ad goes . . . I need to just DO IT! (Too bad it's easier to think and write about it instead of acting upon my intentions!)

ETA: This post doesn't imply that I think L *should* grow up and be a SAHM. I do believe she should do whatever she wants to do and I would fully support her decision to maintain a career and utilize child care for her kids (if she decides to have them.) I kinda hope she could afford a personal nanny if she goes that way -- but that's just me. DH's comments hurt me because I felt that he was attacking my decision to stay home and not bring in any income -- especially right now when we're STILL stressed about money. I wanted to make that clear in case someone didn't understand that this post is all about *me* and my feelings. It wasn't at all about our hopes & aspirations for my daughter.

busy busy days

It's been a busy few weeks around here. My dad finally was able to have gallbladder surgery after it was canceled twice due to blood sugar concerns. The surgery went well with no complications, and no additional concerns found.

Last week, I went over to his house (just next door) to take him for his surgery and found him still asleep. As I tried to rouse him, and he was pretty much incoherent, I realized there was a problem. His blood sugar had plummeted and he was on the verge of a diabetic coma. It was extremely scary . . . 911 was called . . . long distance calls to my mom were made . . . but it all worked out in the end and we got his blood sugar somewhat under control. His surgeon admitted him the night before surgery so they could monitor him, and then kept him an extra night as well. The surgery is usually an outpatient event, but I felt much better knowing his sugar was being monitored in the hospital surrounding the event.

I've been doing my best to prepare his dinner and ensure he eats properly for breakfast and lunch. Thankfully, he's in pretty good health (other than his diabetes and this recent gallbladder surgery), so it's not difficult. It's been a bit of a stretch adding another person to take care of, however, but I am glad that I'm able to do it.

My mom returns on Friday, along with my brother and his wife. They stay a week, and then my dad plans to stay another month before driving back to Wisconsin.

The boys have had Zoo Camp this week and are loving it! This is C's 3rd year and N's 2nd year attending. On Tuesday they got to ride a camel and it was funny to hear what they thought. N absolutely LOVED it and was very excited. C told me that he did NOT like it and he was sure he was going to fall off! He really didn't like the bumpiness of the ride. N said "Really? That was my FAVORITE part!!" It was funny, and another example of how different their personalities are.

I've also started tutoring a neighbor to help her be ready for the 4th grade this fall. She attends a school that appears to use for curriculum. They don't use any textbooks or workbooks -- just information from that site. I use the website in our homeschool for additional activities, but I wouldn't base my curriculum around it. She's a sweet girl and I've tutored her in the past, so I know it'll be a fun summer with her. Yesterday I took her to the library and helped her learn how to use the library catalog and sign up for the reading program. I'll be working with her twice a week for about 90 minutes a day for the next couple months. I've thought about putting an ad on Craigslist to see if I could pick up a couple more students in the elementary age range, but haven't gotten past thinking about it. Scheduling is difficult, as well as care for my children, when dealing with a family that I don't have a relationship established previously.

Well, it's time to get my day started! The boys are off at the zoo, I need to get L and I washed and dressed, then check on my dad.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

gasoline, again

On April 28, I paid $3.35/gallon for gasoline and was shocked and upset. Today I bought gas at a Shell station and the station cut my credit card off at $75.00. My tank was NOT full yet. Gas was $4.099 . . . which is really $4.10.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, June 10, 2008

Outside My Window... lots of lush green plants that thrive in the desert. I don't understand people who insist the Arizona desert is brown and ugly -- if you look carefully, there's an abundance of color!

I am thinking... I need to throw in at least 2 loads of laundry this morning

I am thankful for... compassionate, dedicated medical personnel

From the kitchen... a big bowl of Kashi cereal topped with fresh blueberries

I am wearing... a blue cotton nightgown with pink embroidered flowers

I am creating... a crocheted dishcloth. I haven't crocheted in YEARS, but I'm trying to learn again.

I am going... to the hospital in a few hours to be with my father before he heads into surgery.

I am reading... Talking with My Mouth Full, a wonderful collection of essays about food (including recipes!) from NPR.

I am hoping... that there are no complications with my dad's surgery

I am hearing... many birds chirping and nothing else as the baby is sleeping and the boys are off at Zoo Camp.

Around the house... clutter. Too Much Clutter.

One of my favorite things... my sweet baby's nose

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: caring for my dad, helping N sew a stuffed elephant, taking care of some overdue paperwork, welcoming my mom, brother & SIL at the end of the week.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... my flirty, precious, music-loving baby girl

Please visit The Simple Woman's blog for more information and more "daybook" entries! New entries are posted and linked each Monday.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Lily on the Fly?

Has anybody used the meal planning resource from Lily on the Fly? From the website, it looks interesting, but there aren't any pictures of the actual cards that are big enough for me to fully understand what's there. Are the blanks areas where you write in your own breakfast/lunch plans? Are you able to plan a true week's menus (which to me, means breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks)

I'm always struggling with meal planning, and love things that might make it easier . . . but I can't tell from the website if this would help or not?

I use a chart that I made in MSWord now with boxes for each meal and each day that I just write in. I usually write a grocery list on the back of the meal plan for things that I don't have in the kitchen for preparation. This probably works as good as anything else, except that I still have to come up with every meal.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Review: Nintendo DS GoPets Vacation Island

My boys are used to me receiving various things in the mail for review, and are often interested in the products. A couple weeks ago, I received a box that held a new Nintendo DS game and they were very excited about being asked to review it!

My boys love to play Nintendo DS. The games are kept in a game library (fancy way to say "paper cup in the kitchen cupboard") so I can keep track of what they're playing and how often they play. They were eager to add a new game to their collection.

I thought it would be fun to interview them for this review. As a reminder, C is 7yo and N is 6yo.

Tell me about the game.

N: You adopt a pet with it. You play fun games, like at the carnival. Everything has to be done with your DS pen.

C: You can choose how you want your pet to look -- he can even have polka dots or stripes. You earn money by playing games and you can also get food for your pet by playing games. The money is actually shells and you use it to buy toys and clothes for your pet. The clothes are from around the world, and from different centuries -- like pirates or kings and queens. You also have Wi-Fi airport where you can go around the world.

What was your favorite part?

C: The part when you throw needles at the balloons and also when you can make your own food with a recipe that it gives you. I also like the card game, Memory. You can unlock different parts by making friends.

N: When you get to move your pet around and put him wherever you want to. You can put your pet in a boat!

Would you recommend this game to others?

C: Yes!

N: Yea!

What didn't you like about the game?

C: We didn't like that only one pet could be created. We like games that we can share by setting up different profiles, but we need to buy a 2nd game for a 2nd pet. If you only have one kid, though, then it'd be fine.

N: Nothing

Any last things you'd like to share with the internet?

C: When you play it, you don't even think you're at home! You feel like you're in the game. I hope this game gets on the best seller list. I knew it was going to be fun when I read that a mom created it, because moms know what is fun for kids.

N: You can unlock Pirate's Island and it looks like a really cool place. It was SUPER fun to play!

Thank you very much for your help, boys!

C: Ok, can we go back to watching Tom & Jerry now?


Read more about the GoPets Vacation Island at the official GoPets website. The game is rated "E" for Everyone, which is a requirement for games in our home.

Thanks to MomCentral for sending the game for review! The boys have stated that they love helping review food items, but are definitely up for doing more game reviews! Contest

Check out Lisa's blog post from today for a new contest! She's giving away a beautiful necklace designed by On This Day Designs!

If you win, come back and let me know! :)
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