Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Halloween List

1. Sometimes, the better pictures are taken on your cell phone.  The kids just happen to all look and smile at once.  This is just the luck of the draw. 

2. My oldest does a great Tim Tebow.  I think he's praying for Three Musketeers bars.

3.  "Old Guys" need canes, quirky personalities and funny faces to be effective.  LLG is the perfect "Mr. Jenkins."

Don't ask.
4.  I love nothing more than to stop my kids in the middle of something exciting and fun, such as the start of trick-or-treating, and ask them for a picture.  Only cool moms do this, because we carry our giant cameras everywhere.

5.  After about five houses, toddlers inevitably start to fall behind the big kids.  To put it lightly, this pissed Strawberry off.  

6.  Beer and candy go very well with trick-or-treating.

7.  Dad's drinking beer get the job of walking tired, pissed off toddlers up and down hills for candy.

8.  My two middle munchkins are still best friends.  There had to be twenty kids in our group and they still walked together, waited for eachother and decided when to call it a day.
9.  #8 makes me cry.  It also makes me wish I convinced my daughter to be an "Old Lady."  They would have been the perfect, gray haired pair.

10.  Every year, I give the munchkins a sandwich bag and tell them to fill it with their favorite candies.  They are allowed to keep this bag in their room, and have a piece or two whenever they wish.
The rest is either tossed, brought to work or baked into desserts.  This year we are donating the rest to a dentist who will be shipping the candy overseas to our troops.  Isn't that the most fabulous idea?
Hope you all had a stellar Halloween.  I know we did.  If you'll excuse me, I need to squeeze in a few more candies before November.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It's a Hurricane Halloween

Tomorrow is Halloween.  After the past few days, it's tough to believe it's trick-or-treat time already.  My kids have had no school since last Friday, and tomorrow will be another day off.

Kind of difficult to have school when there is no electricity.

Hurricane Sandy blew in Monday afternoon at about 4pm, with wind picking up and rain blowing sideways.  Our power went out at 4:30 pm, immediately after a large gust of tropical storm wind.  My Facebook post said something to the effect of, That's all she wrote...power out....because we were certain that once power went out, that was it.

For days.

With our generator running, we played an intense game of "Headbandz" with the kids.  I realized three things while playing Headbandz:

1.  It's an awesome game.

2.  I'm really, really bad at it. 

3.  My kids are smart enough to look at themselves in the window reflection and see what is on their Headband.  Little cheaters.

Here, is Moopa wearing her Headband.  When my middle two munchkins weren't cheating, Moopa was walking around telling us what was on our "headbandz."  It made for a very entertaining game.
After a few games of getting my butt kicked because I didn't realize I was playing with miniature cheaters, we cleaned up for a family movie.  I was just about to suffer through selecting a movie we all would enjoy when, with a flicker of light, our power returned.  It was just before 8pm.

We danced the jig and sprinted to shower before the power went back out.

It never did.

Tomorrow, I have costumes ready to roll and we will trick-or-treat as usual.  This year, instead of stepping over snow mounds we'll carry an umbrella and dodge tree limbs.  It's a fair trade.

Wishing everyone a Happy Halloween!  I hope everyone is fasting in preparation for your Halloween sugar highs. 

Save me the Mounds bars.

Cheers to all the men and women working on power lines, cable lines and everything else in need of repair.  Stay safe!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Pictures

Since I'm still online, and I'm just about OVER this storm that hasn't even hit yet since the hype started Friday, I figured I'd post some pictures. 

These are courtesy of my dad, who is hunkering down at our beach house at the Jersey Shore.  He cruised up to Ocean Avenue to sneak a peak at Mother Ocean, and we are most certainly hearing her call.

Any other Buffett fans out there?

This is Mack's Snacks, the snack stand we pass every time we walk to the beach.  My kids occasionally read the sign and beg for a milkshake, an ice cream or a hot dog.

I tell them I'm not paying for a $5.00 milkshake and we'll eat at the beach house.

Mack's will not be serving up any snacks today.
This is 13th Ave Beach, where we normally camp out right near the lifeguard chair.
Here is Matisse, an overpriced restaurant on the end of 13th Ave that I've eaten at once.  I'm not a seafood fan, and I don't remember what I ordered.   I'm sure it was something off the kid's menu since I prefer burgers and fries.  Or grilled cheese and fries.  Or anything with fries.
Lastly, here is one of our beach house neighbors.  This one is my favorite.
Wishing everyone in Sandy's path a safe few days.  My dad is now snug as a bug in the beach house, probably drinking wine and waiting for the ocean to knock on his door.

I'll be sure to share any pictures of the aftermath, here in NY state and in the center of the madness at the Jersey Shore.

Stay safe!  Eat Halloween candy!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sandy, Oh Sandy

I've got chills,
They're multiplying.
This storm's out of con-trol...
'Cause the power,
Hurricane Sandy's supply-ing....
It's lose-my-electricfy-ing!

Hurricane Sandy is on her way.  It's official.  Stores are packed to the hills with shoppers, lines are wrapping around the aisles and there is no bottled water anywhere.

Or generators.

I'm rather displeased since once again Halloween will most likely be a bust.  Two years in a row we will be hunkered down at home weathering out a storm.  This is my Moopa, on our deck, last Halloween weekend.
We did get trick-or-treating in, but it was rather uneventful since many neighborhoods had no power.  The kids collected what they could, from families in winter hats handing out candy from their porches.

This year may be the same story.

The upside to this storm is we were forced to clean out the garage to make room for our patio furniture and other items in the yard.  We were tempted to leave everything and watch it fly around, but we decided on alternate forms of entertainment.  And against having our windows shattered by flying patio chairs.

Our generator is now prepped and ready, and our fridge is full of the necessities.  I can safely say I will still be enjoying my ice cream.  Thank heavens.

To sum up, Sandy, you stink. 

If I'm not online for the next few'll know where I am.  Wishing everyone a safe week ahead! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Happy Place

This is me in my "Happy Place."

I love my Happy Place.  I try to remain here as much as humanly possible.

Unfortunately, there are some things that jolt me out of my happy place quicker than my kids open birthday presents.

That's pretty quick. While I'm interested in politics, there is something about this time of year that's do I say it? Annoying

Rather than rant, rave and debate, do something.  I don't mean run for office, I mean return a shopping cart. Pay for the drive thru behind you. Hold a door open, or let someone with three items skip you in the grocery line.

It's funny how election season has everyone debating on television, Facebook and at the dinner table.  Yes, it's important.  But it's still politics.  There are many players and its a very complicated, sometimes corrupt, game.

Political posts and clips remind me of Jehovah Witnesses.  I always wonder if anyone ever really invites them in to discuss corruption.  Does anyone really listen to an ad or read a post and change their vote?  Most of us arrive at our decision based on the journey we're on, we vote because of roads life has driven us down.

Not because of a bumper sticker.

Just last week a pair of Jehovahs were at my door.  Again.  The gentlemen looked at me with this huge smile and says,

"Good morning!  We're wondering if you might like to take time to discuss the corruption in the world today?"

Hmmmm.  Let me think about that.  It does sound like a pleasant way to spend a Tuesday morning...but NO.

Although my real answer was, No thank you.  I have a wonderful church and we're very happy there.  I grinned, beared it and tried to stay in my happy placeRegardless of my annoyance level, I was kind. 

When we strip away the nonsense, we're all more alike than we are different.  We may go about things in a different way, but most of us have good hearts.  Let's all stay in our happy place.  Be nice.  Be loving.  Be fair. 

And that will do more for this country than any president ever could.

To start my weekend, I'm going to think of my many "happy places"....

My Kids
My parents and siblings
Disney World
A Roulette Table
Watching a movie with Hubby
Watching a movie with Hubby and a bowl of ice cream
A Good Run
Sunshine on my face
And many, many more.....

Happy Friday...stay in your happy place! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Curse you, Moon Sand

I just settled in to write a quick post but all of my energies have been completely zapped due to an early morning battle over Moon Sand.

Curse you Treasure Kingdom Moon Sand.

Last night my daughter received two bags of hand-me-down clothes at gymnastics.  This mom told me there was a bunch of boots, sweaters and pants.  Oh, and a box of unopened Moon Sand her now fourteen year old daughter will not use.

When we were sifting through all the goodies, there it was in the very bottom of one of the bags.  The Moon Sand.

At 8:30pm, there was no question that we were NOT opening anything requiring sand to play.

Naturally, my kids thought 7:45am was a better time.  I caught my daughter right before she had the sand out and all over my kitchen table.  The same table I'm about to serve waffles on.  Serenity now. 

As you can imagine, I'm completely unreasonable because they WILL NOT make a mess. It will be clean. They promise. Oh yes, and pigs are flying outside my window and hell has officially frozen over. I'm off to make it a better Thursday, since I've already had a battle of the stink eyes. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


These past few weeks have been quite the whirlwind.  Emotions have been running high, and to say it's very complicated in our house right now would be an understatement. 

I'll go with mucho, uber complicated.

We're relocating.  It's a mixed emotion scenario that has some of us crying, some of us jumping for joy and some of us afraid of the uncertain.  My children, for the most part, have grown up here.  In this money pit of a house I've cursed many times.  This is the house my munchkins come home to after school, the house that Santa brings the presents Christmas Eve.  They don't know about bills, taxes or how much money is in the bank account.

They know this house.

Hubby has landed a job that will advance his career, a job that will benefit the family in the long run.  The short run will be difficult, but the long run will reap the rewards.  This opportunity was one he couldn't pass up, and the miracle of the whole scenario is that the job is where our dearest friends live.

What are the chances?

He found a new job, in this crap of a job market, right where we spend long weekends.  It's a town we've long loved and even considered moving to after we had our first baby.  These friends have been family; family we've chosen because we love them so much.  They'll be there to welcome us with open arms, and to lead the way through school registration, to the grocery store and through the cow pastures.

Sorry, I had to go there.

While the kids cry and digest the thought of new friends, new football teams and new gymnastics trainers, we look ahead.  We stay positive and keep strong.  We do all this with a heavy heart, sad for the town and friends that have sustained us through many shenanigans.  Our faces have been in our gymnastics gym and on the football field for years.  We've been a staple at school assemblies and orientations.  There have been 4th of July picnics, Halloween parties and playdates with wonderful friends.

I haven't even mentioned my parents.  My mother has been my rock these past few years, babysitting so I could work at night and Hubby could still coach football.  She's been at every football game and picked up my daughter from gymnastics many times.  She's come to school parades and basketball games.  To know we won't be able to see her as much as we like is pure heartache.

We'll miss this place very, very much.  I never realized how much I loved it until I knew we were leaving.  Money pit and all.  I know in a few months I'll be wiping tears from munchkin eyes as they fall asleep in their new beds. I'll be wiping them too. 

But Pennsylvania, here we come.  I hope you're ready, because Mommyhood is movin' in.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Aftermath

Today I woke up still full from yesterday.  And the day before yesterday.  It was a two day birthday extravaganza that included take out, cake, Starbucks, leftover cake, Mexican and another cake. 

If I don't eat again until tomorrow it may be too soon.  Although I did just eat more leftover cake for breakfast. 

Don't tell anyone.

As always, the highlight of my birthday was my munchkins, and their homemade cards.  LLG came home from school, grabbed a piece of printer paper and sat behind me at the table asking how to spell "birthday" "amazing" and "presents."

And then he asked how to spell my name.

I tried not to laugh as he worked steadily, right behind me, on my card.  When he finished he asked for an envelope and tape.

Last night Hubby informed me LLG went upstairs and took a dollar out of his wallet to put in my birthday card.  Hubby said the card was perfect, no dollar needed.

Aren't kids grand?  So giving, generous and full of love.
My oldest went with this...
And my Gymnast, she went this route...
And Moopa?  She just kept telling me, "Mom!  It's your birthday!"

I've always loved my birthday, because my parents always (and still always) make me feel special.  Now, I have my munchkins to make me feel special, and it's the best feeling in the world. 

Thanks to everyone who made me feel extra special yesterday.  Love to you all.  

And now, I'm signing off to digest all this leftover cake.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Birthday Song

I wrote this Birthday Song in honor of me.  I also created my own birthday picture of myself.
Don't I look happy?  I'm happy because my hat is glowing.  And because it's my birthday.

A Birthday Song

Happy Birthday to me
I love fountain drinks and sweets.
Today I'm going to Target
And playing the lottery.

Happy Birthday to me
Today I'm 33.
Wrinkles and laugh lines
When I drive at night I can't see.

Happy Birthday to me
I have tons and tons of laundry.
All day I clean and chase the Moopa
At night I watch TV.

Happy Birthday to me
I love gambling and Disney.
Magic Kingdom and Small World
And black seventeen.

Happy Birthday to me
I'm frugal as can be.
My munchkins are expensive
They spend all our money.

Happy Birthday to me
Thank heavens for friends and family.
I love my parents and siblings
My munchkins and my Hubby.

Happy Birthday to me
I'm cold even when it's ninety degrees.
But tonight I'll be cozy
Because my mom gave me a heated "blankie."

I hope you enjoyed my Birthday Song.

The End.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Raising Happy Kids

I'm not an expert on anything.  I just want to put that out there before I continue on with this post.

Although I'm not an expert on raising kids, I've seen my mother raise six and I'm on my journey raising four.  I have learned quite a bit over the years, and I'm still learning. 

I've yelled (still do), I've grabbed arms and I've thrown out toys that were left on my floor.

I've even spanked a bum.  Gasp.

Parenting is a tricky business, and it's the hardest job anyone could ever have.  You wear your heart outside your body, you worry about tiny people who don't even know how to worry about themselves.

You second guess youself.  About a zillion times.  In a day.

Until someone is a parent, they could never, ever understand what it takes to raise a child.  The job never ends and the mind never stops working.

I've gone to bed many nights telling myself,  I could have done better today.

Many nights.

But the next day, I get up and I do better.  Or at least I try to.  That's all any of us can ever do.

Here, in a nutshell, is what I've learned about raising happy kids.  I'm not talking about raising doctors, engineers or NFL football players.  I'm not talking about perfect kids, because no child is perfect, and no child should ever try to be. 

I'm just talkin' happy kids.

1.  Respond with love.

This seems easy, but I'm talking about loving them all the time.  Even when you want to grab their arm and pull it out of the socket for misbehaving in a store.  Even when they are screaming.  Even when they make you so mad your blood is ready to boil. 

When my oldest was a toddler, I spanked his bum.  He was screaming and flailing that he didn't want to take a nap.  In the moment, I was over the top frustrated and I spanked his little bum right through his pants.

And then he hit me back.

I never spanked him again.  I decided from that moment on, I would just love him.  If he was crying, screaming, tantrum-ing or throwing toys he still deserved my love.  I decided that if I loved him, I would teach him love.  If I'm always angry, all I teach is anger.

And so I loved him (and all my other babies) all the time.  I became their happy, safe place and I remind them constantly that no matter what my reaction may be to something, I'm a "place" they can always go.

2. Give them your time.

There are about a zillion things to do every day.  We all feel it, and time is a precious luxury many of us can't afford.  We're raising kids in a new era, an era of cell phones and the internet.  We have to navigate waters our parents never even dreamed of navigating.

A few years ago I read a magazine article about using time wisely.  It resonated with me.  The article made me think about how if my kids are home, they deserve my time.  Not Facebook.  Not my cell phone.  Not a computer game.

But my kids.

If there is one thing I learned over the last eleven years it's reevaluate my time.  I still Facebook, blog and Pinterest very (very) often.  I still chat with all my mommy friends.

Just not much between the hours of 3pm and 9pm.  

3.  Don't give them everything.

Truthfully, this lesson was learned by default.  I've never been able to buy my kids anything they wanted.  I've never been able to sign them up for everything they want to do or take them wherever they want whenever they want.  I have no nanny, no third arm and no bottomless bank account.

I have four kids.  I'm one person.  That's life.

Even with Hubby home, we're still outnumbered, we're still working in a zone defense.  

I've found my kids to be much more understanding of money and other people because they've had to be since they were born.  I trust that this lesson will be very helpful in life, because as The Rolling Stones so eloquently sang, "You can't always get what you want...."

4.  Sleep is essential.  Food is too.

Sleep is a must.  At least it is in my house.  I can't deal with overtired kids, and I'm very unhappy when I'm overtired.  If I ever wake up really annoyed and grumpy I try to fall asleep to wake up in a better mood.

True story.

My mother was the first person to stress the importance of naps, routine and bedtimes.  Turns out she knew what she was talking about (isn't that always the case?).  I need quiet time, I need rest and my kids do too.  We're all much more civilized when we're rested (and well fed).

(The well fed part is for my Hubby.  You don't want to run into him in a dark alley when he's waiting for dinner.)

5.  Teach them by example.

I do my best to teach my babies by example.  I say please and thank you.  I wait my turn.  I clean my mess and return my shopping carts (well, 99% of my shopping carts..).

I use the word "appropriate" a lot.  I also use the word "inappropriate" a lot.  Truthfully, I use a few other words a lot that I can't write in a mommy blog.  But hey, no one is perfect. 

Rather than tell my kids everything they shouldn't be doing, I try to show them what they should be doing.

So far, it's seemed to work well.

And now, having shared what works for me so far, I'll continue to learn and evolve and adapt.  My kids will continue to teach me more than I teach them, and I'll continue to stumble through this thing we call parenting, hoping not to screw up too much.

What have you learned about raising happy kids?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Some Things...Take Some Getting Used To

Since September, there have been quite a few developments in our house that take some getting used to.

One would obviously be my older daughter accepting that she has to wear a back brace until her growth plates set.  Considering she is only 9, I'm hoping she grows at least another foot.  At least.  While we wait the next several years for her growth plates, she'll work around this brace.  So far she sleeps in it, goes to school in it and even wears it to recess and P.E. without complaint.  The girl amazes me.

I've been getting used to remembering she needs help to get in and out of the brace.  She stood next to me in her gymnastic leotard, brace over top, for ten minutes yesterday telling me she has to use the bathroom.

Why are you telling me?  Go use the bathroom!


Ah. I guess that needs to come off.

Another development would be my younger daughter, the Moopa, perfectly navigating herself through the apps on my cell phone.  This week I've noticed she turns it on, unlocks the screen and likes to take pictures.  Here are two of her hundreds of pictures I've found on my phone...

Along with picture taking, it's been quite interesting shopping without a toddler in tow every Tuesday and Thursday morning after I drop her at preschool.  I usually have a mini panic attack every time I leave a parking lot, wondering where I left my baby.

Then I remember she's at school.  And I breath a sigh of relief until I leave the next parking lot.
Need I mention the middle school bus?  This bus will be the death of me.  Every morning, Monday through Friday, my alarm wakes me in the dark from a sound slumber.

Well, sound slumber as long as there are no munchkin feet in my back.

After the first few days of school, I assured myself I would get used to it.  I would start rising before the sun without so much as an alarm.  It would be second nature and I would enjoy the hour of peace and quiet after I get my baby, er, 11 yr old on the bus.

I'm still waiting to rise before the sun without that alarm.  I'm still waiting to feel semi awake as I fumble down the hall to wake my son, who is also still sleeping soundly.  We usually have a comical "half awake" discussion as I wake him.   

Time to get up buddy. 


Time to get up.

"Uhhhhhh....huh?  What time is it?"

Monday.  Er, I mean time for school....

Times are a changin' in this house.  The weather is getting colder, the kids are getting older, and I still hate the middle school bus.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Juvenile Idiopathic Scoliosis (and us)

A few months ago, I took my Gymnastics Queen for her 9 year well visit.  I never worry about much when it comes to her well checks, other than her small stature.  While she is all muscle, and fit as a fiddle, I can often be heard asking "Did she grow?  How's her height?"

I then breathe when I hear she grew a centimeter since last year.  And I thank the heavens she is a girl and not a boy who will forever wish he was over 5'0".

To finish up our last well check, our pediatrician took a look at my daughter's spine.  By this time, I was already checking my phone and packing up to leave.  

Until, the doctor told me she was "rather crooked."

Say what?

I was floored.   She's a gymnast.  She turns and flips and balances and swings from high bars that would make me pee my pants.  How could she be "crooked?"  I was even more floored when our doctor ordered x-rays.

Our pediatrician went on to explain that her age is a concern, because she hasn't really grown yet.  There is much more growing to do, which means there is a good chance her spine will continue to curve.  Scoliosis is more common in children going through growth spurts, not children who haven't had any yet.

In the next breath, she told me not to worry.


I went home stunned, and of course I spent the night Googling "Juvenile Idiopathic Scoliosis" and scaring myself half to death.

Over the next two weeks, while waiting for the x-ray results, I spoke to many parents.  I decided it was crazy to worry.  Scoliosis is common, and the chances my little girl will need a brace are very low.

Very low.

It's been an eventful few months since that well check.  After I received the news that my baby girl was in fact, in need of a Pediatric Orthopedic, I really started to worry.  I worried about her in school, I worried her gymnastics days would be limited.  I worried all because of a curve in the spine I had no idea was there. 

Naturally, I Googled and Googled until I found a Pediatric Orthopedic that was top notch.  I found a phenomenal doctor in New York City, and we visited his offices in Westchester.  During our first visit my fears were confirmed, he explained that she needs treatment.  I listened as best I could to this brilliant doctor, while handing Moopa fruit snacks and juice boxes to keep her quiet.  He spoke of back braces, and surgical options down the road, and "Scoli Scores" and many other things that I'd never thought I'd have to think about.

I decided to think about only what was necessary, and to let everything else fall into place.  I can't change what is to come, I can only work around it.  I can only teach my daughter that life is what you make it.  You need to play the hand life deals you, and rock on like the rock star you are.

Yesterday, I drove my baby to Westchester to pick up her back brace.  She needs to wear her brace a minimum of 18 hours/day.  It comes off only for gymnastics, necessary P.E. classes and showers.  I was afraid she would cry when she saw it, that the reality of the next five years would crush her like a million bricks falling from the sky.

But nothing crushed her.  She smiled.  She laughed.  She told us it felt fine, and she wore it all the way home without complaint.  As we drove she named the brace "Katie" and we decided to stop and buy a few shirts that hid "Katie" well.

Last night, she took off her brace for her three hour gymnastics practice, and she immediately put it back on for the ride home.  She slept in it, and she got up this morning and got right on that bus.

Kids are amazingly resilient.  They have a magic about them that is inspiring.  I keep telling my daughter she will have the best posture in the world by the time "Katie" comes off for good.  And until then, my baby is rocking that brace like the rock star she is.

Every challenge we overcome builds character, and this brace is hopefully the only challenge we'll have with her scoliosis.  I pray it prevents more curving, but we don't know what the future will bring.  Until then, we pray, and we play the hand life deals us.

*I asked my daughter if she minded me posting about her experience with scoliosis.  I asked her, "Do you mind?  Are you okay if many people know?"

She answered, "It's okay if they know, I want them to learn about it."  Kids.  They are the best teachers in the world.**

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Television (or my lack thereof)

photo courtesy of
When my older munchkins were toddlers, I had this insanely amazing schedule that had them sleeping at 7pm.  Dinner was 5:30, bath was 6:30 and bedtime was 7pm.  Once they were tucked in, I ran the laundry and washed the dishes.  I scurried from room to room picking up toys, and when all was fairly clean I switched my mom jeans out for pajamas.  I use the term "mom jeans" lightly.

I was in front of the television at 8pm, bowl of ice cream in hand.  I watched until 10pm, at which time I retired for the evening.

Unless I had another show to watch.

I craved that time alone, and I was regimented about the babies being in bed on time.  Aside from needing those few hours to myself, there was no Digital Video Recorder.  If you weren't in front of the tube when your show started, you missed it.

It was such a cruel world.

But as my babies grew, our schedule evolved.  My nights in front of the television were cut short by later bedtimes and more dishes, laundry and homework. 

Why didn't anyone accurately explain the laundry that accompanies every additional child?  Who am I kidding, I wouldn't have cared regardless.

These days, I'm still in my kitchen cleaning up well after 9pm.  I'm writing notes for school, setting lunchboxes aside and running one last load of underpants.  If the stars align, I'm in front of my idiot box by 10pm, and I have one solid hour of DVR watching before I pass out with my glasses still in place.

On any given evening, my DVR is usually waiting patiently with at least five or six episodes of each show I record burning up memory.  I don't even remember what days my shows air. 

Here, are my "I must sit and catch up on my DVR shows:"

1.  Private Practice
2.  Grey's Anatomy
3.  Modern Family
4.  Teen Mom (am I the only one who loves a hot mess?)
5.  16 and Pregnant (refer to above comment about a hot mess)

The good news is that as my children have grown, and our conversations have evolved past "Who just went pee pee?!"  I've needed less time alone.  I still need it, but not quite as much is required to keep me sane.  Or maybe I'm just too far gone to notice the difference.

Either way, it works out just fine.

What's your lineup??  Or is everything you watch also sitting on your DVR?

Monday, October 15, 2012

It's the Little Things...

Last week, I hopped on my Facebook page and saw that a "bloggie friend" was hosting a giveaway.  If you've never visited Samantha over at Goodnyou?, I highly recommend it.  She has the most breathtaking pictures, and her Etsy shop is ah-mazing.

Let me veer my thoughts back to the track they were originally on; Sam's giveaway last week.  I loved the product.  It was simple, understated, well made and sooooooo me.

It was an apron.

Naturally, I entered the giveaway and never thought about it again.  Until two days later, when Sam emailed me that I won.  Zippity-a-dee-doo-da!

Today, after a fairly eventful day involving appointments, shopping and cookie making because I never sent birthday treats into school last Friday (bad mommy!), I received a package in the mail.  It was my new apron.  What a fabulous treat for a mommy already in the process of cookie making.
I love to win things I would never buy myself.  This means I love to win anything.
Happy Monday to everyone.  Remember, it's the little things!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Due to recent family developments, which I will touch upon in a different post, I'm winding down my days as a waitress.  At least for now.  Last night was my 2nd to last shift at work, and as fate would have it, the good people were out in abundance.

Table after table was friendly, kind and enjoying themselves.  Even the tables that I couldn't get a good read on were generous with their tip and pleasant customers.  Nights like last night are the reason I love waitressing.  I love to be around good people who have a natural kindness about them.  Some people are content, loved and loving.  They make you happy.

Last night at about 7pm, a "four top" sat in my section.  All this translates to is that four adults sat where I was taking tables.  There was also a baby, but since he wasn't eating, he technically doesn't count.

Isn't waitress speak so confusing?

There was a couple with the baby, and her parents. They asked my name after I told them to make sure they had it right, and all night they spoke to me by name. They all ordered drinks.  Chivas Regal, chardonnay, martini and a Guinness.  They ordered appetizers, and then they ordered dinner and dessert. 

It was such a pleasure.

They asked where I take my kids pumpkin picking, and I asked where they are from.  "Grandpa" expressed several times what a pleasure I was, and I returned the sentiment.

When I dropped their bill, and ran grandpa's card, I wished them a "fabulous weekend."  They left a smile on my face, and made me think about how much I will miss serving great families like theirs.

And when I opened my billfold, I not only knew they were wonderful people, but generous as well.

People don't realize how far a good tip goes, and how much it is truly appreciated.  I wish I could tell them gymnastics money is due, or that I'm picking up my son's birthday cake today.  Their generosity will go a very long way in my wallet.

Every server I know is a parent, a student or someone trying to get on their feet.  Be a good customer, and remember to tip well.  It's always greatly appreciated.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Halloween Party Game: Witches Brew

*An oldie but a goodie, my munchkin's party THIS year is not until Saturday...* 
Yesterday my now six year old waited all day for his birthday party.  When you are just a munchkin 4:30pm seems like it will never arrive.

LLG asked what time it was almost as much as he asks "Are we there yet" on a three hour car ride.

We spent the day decorating for his party and selecting and re-selecting party costumes.  Before I knew it, 4:30 had arrived.

And the Halloween fun began.

This year while searching online I found a fabulous Halloween game for munchkins of all ages.  As I expected, it was a huge hit among the party-goers.  And a blast to watch as well.

Witches Brew

two different colored pieces construction paper
one or two Halloween bowls, buckets or pails

On each piece of construction paper, draw and cut 2" Halloween shapes.  I cut ghosts, witches hats and bats.  You will need to cut the same amount of shapes from each color, I cut 12 shapes in black and 12 shapes in orange.

For game, set out Halloween shapes on coffee table.  Place pile of straws behind them.  You will need to put the bucket/pail/bowl to make the "brew" in the middle of the table.  I used to separate pails, one for each team.

Separate kids into two teams, one for each color of construction paper.  Have each team sit several feet from table in a straight line.  

First child will run up to table, take a clean straw, place on Halloween shape and suck in like they are drinking from a cup. 

They will then blow the shape into the "brew", and turn to tag next player.

First team to get all their shapes into the Witches Brew wins.

We played more than once because the the game was such a hit.  

Happy Sunday everyone!  Next up this week, Halloween cupcakes.

Mommyhood Footnote:  I found a slightly different version of this game on Family Fun's website.  This is a wonderful site for all party and recipe needs!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Halloween Costumes

Halloween is just about here.  I say this because lately I blink my eyes and another week has gone by.  Which means in three blinks it will be Halloween.

Is it here yet?

My mother was the super-duper-est Halloween costume maker.  She had six kids, and we all sported these handmade costumes straight out of Make it Homemade Magazine.  While no such magazine exists, it should.  And every Halloween costume from 1974 on that my mother made should be featured.

To name a few, I was a jack-in-the-box, Minnie Mouse, Tinkerbell and Raggedy Ann.  My brothers were everything from Jason the Headchopper (Friday the 13th anyone?) to Popeye. 

I'm lucky enough to have my mother when we need Halloween costume help.  I have made attempts at costume development, and they turn out like this:

Snow White.  This, to me, looks more like Bride of Frankenstein.
With my mother's help, we have costumes that look more like this:

Captain Hook.
And my all time favorite, Max, from Where the Wild Things Are.  100% handmade by my mom.
Thank goodness for grandma.  I'll say it over and over again. 

By the way, looking for pictures for this post I found this,
And this,
What did I say about blinking again?  Because to me, this was yesterday.

Are you a costume maker, buyer, or a combination of both?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Blue Sweatsuit Battle

Our weekend was fairly eventful, with two football games and a dinner out Saturday night.  My fabulous mother graciously offered to watch our munchkins so me and Hubby could discuss some important matters over homemade chips and dip and french fries.

More on those important matters another day.

On Sunday, the family went from football game to football game in bitter, damp cold weather.  Moopa cried for about twenty minutes regarding the powder blue sweatsuit I insisted she wear, squirming on the floor and making a scene.  If the child would wear appropriate outerwear I may have let a dress and leggings slide, but she refuses to wear anything remotely warm and cozy.

Que screaming fit over blue sweatsuit.

After the first football game, we all packed into the car to drive to my older son's game.  At the field, the little kids were walking ahead of myself and my parents.  When I turned the corner to our side of the field, LLG and the Gymnastics Queen were standing there, strange looks on the their faces.  They told me Moopa fell in the mud.

"What mud?"

They pointed.

I looked in the direction they were pointing, and there was MUD.  It stretched for about twenty feet.  The kind of mud your shoes disappear into and your feet feel damp inside your shoes.  And there, in the mud, was Moopa.  She was still laying, kind of in shock, clinging to her fold up princess chair I purchased at Kohl's with my 30% off coupon.

I'm pretty sure my mother was laughing so hard her nostrils were flaring.  We tend to do that when anything out of our control takes us by surprise.  

Since Moopa was probably laying there for a solid 30 seconds, the mud had soaked her to the bones.  Literally.

We had no choice but to remove her powder blue sweatsuit, leaving her in a long sleeve white top, undies and faux Uggs.  We put her jacket on her, wrapped her in a blanket we brought, and sat her in her princess chair.

She was not to move for the entire game, because she was basically naked underneath.  And she didn't.

Luckily for her the Gymnastics Queen kept her great company.

The football game ended up being a tough loss, but I did get a great picture of my Sports Fanatic dropping back to pass.

Always look on the bright side.

Happy Monday everyone.  If you don't like the blue sweatsuit your mom dresses you in, be sure to fall in a field of mud.  Works every time.

If you're wondering what has come of that powder blue sweatsuit, it is currently in it's 2nd wash cycle in our machine.  I ran a quick rinse, a heavy wash, and another heavy wash.  Moopa can't get rid of the sweatsuit that easy.  She'll see it again one day soon.

The battle continues.


Friday, October 5, 2012

As of Late

This week was fairly eventful here at Mommyhood.  There is no Earth shattering news to report, just plenty of small tidbits that made for an entertaining week.

Monday night, as myself and Hubby were watching the end of Monday Night Football, we noticed a figure in the hallway.  Our son was wandering around in the dark.  We called for him to come in our room.  He walked in, and looked extremely disoriented.  He was squinting his eyes from the light coming off the television, and kept telling us "I had to...I had to...I had to come in here because..."

Hubby and I knew instantly he was up to his sleepwalking again.  Once we realized this, we were waiting on pins and needles for the big reveal.   He continued on with his "I had to come in here because..." and he started to walk towards our bathroom.

Why!?  Why did you need to come in here? Oh the suspense!

"I had to come in here because...I have to...I have to...clip my nails...."

Ah. of course.  I told Hubby to get him back to bed.  Poor little sleepwalker.

Buddy, your nails look great.  No clipping tonight.  Back to bed....

On Wednesday, before school, my two middle manics (who are BFF) started to unload about the un-pleasantries of the school bus.  The Gymnastics Queen began with "Mom! You have NO IDEA what our life is like on the bus!!!"

I kind of laughed, until her sidekick LLG chimed in, "Yea! Yea! You don't!!"

Okay...tell me please...why is the bus so awful?

"People lean over our seat to talk, and spit comes out!"

Yupper.  That is awful.  But you know what's even more awful?  $4.00/gallon.

Que confused faces.  They'll get it one day.  

On Tuesday and Thursday, Moopa gave me her fill of "I only want to wear dresses regardless of weather or event" behavior.  This behavior includes removing any clothing item she finds undesirable.  For school, I urged her to please wear leggings and a sweater along with her dress.  Please child, I beg you.

She refused.

Since I only fight necessary battles these days, I tossed on headwear and warm footwear for school.  It was, after all, raining and 63 degrees.
Let the people talk.

Cheers for a Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches

As of late my mother has been bringing baking supplies over every few visits.  At first I was simply grateful for the chocolate chip stockpile, but after the third delivery of goods I took the hint.  

She was wondering where the trans fats have been.

While I normally have a house that reeks of the Keebler Cookie Factory, my oven has been fairly out of commission since last Spring.  I just haven't gotten my groove back.  I've had back to school nights and doctor appointments.  I've been catching up on the cleaning that was so badly neglected over the summer.

But yesterday Hubby texted me that his customers were patiently waiting for dessert overflow from our kitchen.

I knew it was time to heat that oven to 350.  Well, 330 for this recipe.

And it felt fabulous.

The beauty of this recipe is you get to make jumbo sized cookies, and most of them disappear to the freezer.  This prevents "picking."  And you also can make a regular batch for Hubby to take to work, and a few for school lunches.

You don't have to make ice cream sandwiches out of all the cookies.  It's a two-for-one deal.  Cookies and ice cream sandwiches.

My kind of deal.

2 sticks butter, soft
1/2 c. coconut oil (or 1 stick margarine)
1 c. sugar
2 c. light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla

In separate bowl:
4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 bags chocolate chips

1 container chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream

Yields 24 Jumbo Cookies, or 12 ice cream sandwiches

Cream butter, oil and sugars well, about 3-5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beat well after each addition.  Add vanilla.  Turn mixer to SLOW (STIR) and slowly incorporate flour mixture.  Mix until just combined.  By hand, stir in 2 bags chocolate chips (I prefer 1 bag to be chocolate chunk).

CHILL batter in freezer while you preheat oven to 330.

Scoop chilled batter by heaping 1/4 cupfuls onto nonstick cookie sheet.

Bake on top rack, at 330, for 13-16 minutes.  Remove from oven when centers are a tad undone and let bake on pan 2-3 minutes longer to set centers.  Transfer to wire rack.
Look at those bad boys.

Once cookies are only slightly warm, scoop two scoops cookie dough ice cream and place in between two cookies.  Gently press cookies together.  This will work better when the cookies are a smidge warm.  If you cool your cookies completely, make sure ice cream sits out a few minutes before you make sandwiches.

I only made 6 sandwiches, and left 12 cookies for school lunch/at home enjoyment.  

Wrap sandwiches tightly in plastic wrap.  Store in freezer bag and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How to Get Started Selling on Ebay

Tis' the season.

Well, almost.

With four kids, and gymnastics bills to pay, money is not something this mama has laying around.  Over the years, I've learned to get creative when I need a little extra spending cash.  Along with vacations and birthdays, Christmas is a time of year extra money really comes in handy.

In case you haven't noticed, it's October already.  While the holidays are a little ways off, this is the time of year I prepare to spend extra money.  If you're wondering how one "prepares" to spend extra money, I'm about to share my Christmas funding secret.


A few years ago, one of my friends was selling stuff on Ebay.  Silly stuff.  It was nothing fancy or special.  I decided to try it, and I started with a "My Pet Monster" my son had gotten for his 2nd birthday.  It had been in the basement for a few years, was in great condition and no one was playing with this monster thing anyway.

So I listed it.

And I made $50.00.  True story.  That year, I unloaded dozens of items on Ebay.  I made about $1000.00, and it funded our Christmas.

For anyone who has never sold on Ebay, it can be overwhelming.  The very thought of figuring out how it all works is daunting.

But Ebay is NOT difficult to learn.  I promise.  Ebay is a fabulous place to sell old toys in great condition, brand name clothes, shoes, pocketbooks and hundreds of other items.  One man's trash is truly another man's treasure.  To help anyone who could use a little help getting started, I'm going to walk my lovely readers through my Ebay selling process.

*I will add a disclaimer now that I'm not a professional "Ebay-er." I don't have a "store" or sell all day long.  I wait until I have a few things I know will sell, and I get to work.  This is the most basic tutorial you will ever read.*

Before I begin, I will be describing selling clothes (my favorite).  Clothes are sometimes sold in "Lots." All this term means is a bunch of items clumped together for one price.  

For example: 13 pieces of 3T toddler clothes (shirts, pants, bows, etc) would be called a "13 piece lot."

Clothes with tags sell best, and Ebay language is "NWT" or "New with Tags." New clothes that have no tags? "NWOT" or "new without tags."

Ok, ready to begin?

1.  Find an item in your house you don't need or want that will most likely sell.  The best way to judge "selling value" is to go on Ebay, and right on the homepage, type in what you want to sell in the search box.

My favorite item to sell is name brand clothes.  After my kids have grown out of their clothes, I sort through what is clean and stain free.  This cuts the pile considerably.  Then I organize the clothes by size.  When I have a nice pile of clothes that are the same size, and worth selling (Gap, Gymboree, Old Navy, etc) I set the pile aside to "ebay."

To search what will sell, and navigate the results, here is an example:
Any item that has several people bidding is a great item to sell.  An item that just has a "buy it now" won't tell you much about value.  Professional "ebay-ers" sell hundreds of items, and some of their listing are just "buy it now."

Before I list anything on Ebay, I check what I plan on selling by doing what I outlined above.  How many bids?  How high is the selling price?

If the items similar to yours aren't selling, try to find something else worth selling.

2.  When you are ready to sell an item, take GOOD, CLEAR PICTURES.  They are most important. 
For every picture, I try to showcase the clothes in sets.  I want my buyer to see the outfits and the possibilities.  Clothes shouldn't be a mess.  I lay them out, and when I list (more on that below) I describe each item in every picture.

Yes, it takes time.  But if I make $25 on the "lot," then that hour I spent listing my item was worth it.

3.  Before you start listing, you'll need to open an Ebay account, and I recommend setting up a PayPal account.  THIS IS VERY EASY.  Link your PayPal account to your Ebay account, and you can accept all payments through PayPal.

4.  Start selling.  Under tab "Selling," go to "Sell an Item."
5.  Type in what you want to sell, and select a category for Ebay to "file" your listing under.
This is meant to be general, you will start your listing information on the next page.

6.  On next page, type in a good description under "Title."  Don't waste space on words no one will search for, such as "good toddler clothes."  Be descriptive.  Try, "Girl Toddler Clothes 3T 13 piece lot Gap, Old Navy, Children's Place" or something similar.  You will only have 80 characters, make them count.
If you need to, look at other listings that have bids.  How did they describe their item?

7.  Continue listing, adding pictures and a good written description  underneath.  Have the clothes hardly been worn?  Do they have tags (NWT)?  Are they perfect for back to school?  Summer vacation?  Indicate ANY imperfections clearly, you don't want to deal with unhappy customers.  Be honest.

Before you finish the listing, tell the buyer if you have no pets.  Or your home is smoke free.  They want to know the item won't come smelling of cigarettes and covered in Fito's hair.  If you have pets, just say "clean, smoke free home."

Include how soon you expect payment, such as "payment expected within a week of sale." Be clear, and the transaction will go smoothly.

8.  Pricing.  You are better off (in my experience) starting your auction low.  The bidders will run the price up by bidding against eachother.   The auction is half the fun.  Attract buyers with good pictures, a good product and a low starting price.

9.  Shipping.  I like to package everything up, and get on the scale.  Literally.  You'll need a general idea of what your package will weigh, or you can opt to ship for free.

Items that offer free shipping are very big sellers.

If you want to charge, go with a flat rate box, or weigh your item and enter the information.  You don't need to spend money on expensive packing supplies.  Save boxes from shipments, save shoeboxes.  I recommend good packing tape, and to package everything neat as possible.  Try not to add unnecessary bulk with boxes, purchase a few large bubble envelopes for smaller items.

10.  List your item.  Review the listing for accuracy.  Check your Ebay listing daily, since buyers may ask you questions.  When the auction ends, you can accept payment through PayPal.  Package your item(s) well and print the address off the PayPal information.

You can print your own shipping labels on Ebay, and this will save you a little on shipping,  If you want to pay postage online, make sure you have an accurate weight on your package.

ALWAYS invest in delivery confirmation.  Even if you like to ship parcel post (like me), add on delivery confirmation.  It's easy and it ensures your package arrived.

Ship as soon as possible, because buyers will rate you (leave feedback) on Ebay.  A good rating will make a big difference in future auctions.

As with everything, the hardest part of "Ebay-ing" is getting started.  Every item you list you will learn more, and before you know it everything will make sense.

I promise.

And then you will have that extra cash on hand for Christmas gifts.  Or vacations.  Or new clothes.

Spend as you wish.