Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Favorites

Happy Halloween!  In honor of this fabulously fun holiday, I'm sharing my favorite Halloween anythings.  Crafts, foods, costumes and traditions.  All of these favorites are tried and Mommyhood approved. 

Let's get some Halloween fun going...

New this year, which I loved?  The milk jug ghost.  So much cleaner than carving a pumpkin, and lined in the yard with string lights poked through the bottoms, a nifty decoration.
Easy Halloween Craft Project idea for the kids to make! 
Feeling gorged and in need of an outlet for ALL that candy?  Bake up some Candy Cookie Bars.  Share at work.  Bring to a party.  Eat them at home.  Whatever works. 


Need a great party game for all ages?  Try Witches Brew.  We played this at my son's Halloween Birthday Party and I've never been so pleased with a game in my life.

So much fun.

One of my all time favorite costumes?  When my mother made my son Max from Where the Wild Things Are.  He roared his terrible roar...

All you need is a one piece white pajama (this can be tricky, try Walmart), buttons, a crown, a wand, black pipe cleaners, a fuzzy tail, and some thick foam claws.  You'll also need someone who can sew. 

Looking for a fun thrill?  "BOO" somebody.  It's a hoot, I promise.


Wishing you a safe and healthy Halloween!  

What are some of your favorite Halloween things?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

We've Been "BOO-ed"

Last night, we were "BOO-ed" by a phantom ghost.  Our doorbell rang around 8:30pm, and there was no one there.  All that was left was a bag filled with Halloween goodies and a note saying we'd been BOO-ed.  This was troubling for Hubby because as fast as he opened the door, there was not a soul in sight.

Not a sound.

Not a car.

A friendly ghost had left us delicious treats, and it was now our job to "BOO" two neighbors.

This delighted the kids.  They were ecstatic.  Discussion began as to who BOO-ed us, and who we would "BOO."  We started planning our goodie bags.  One rule?  You have to "BOO" the next evening.

Another rule?  You can't "BOO" a family that has been BOO-ed before.  After a family has been BOO-ed they have to proudly display the ghost in their window.  And hopefully, these ghosts will be hanging in just about every window of every Halloween loving neighborhood around town by the time trick-or-treating commences.

I dare you to print out the ghost on and boo two neighbors tonight.  Trust me, it makes for many laughs and questions as to who your "ghost" really is!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Why We Shouldn't Teach our Boys to be "Studs"

Yesterday, my eight year old son's football team played a tough game.  We knew it would be tough, the opposing team hadn't been scored on in two years.  They had more nine and ten year olds than we did.  Whether or not they "stack" teams in the town is still out for debate, but regardless, we knew they were good.

Our team is good too.  We were undefeated.  I knew this game was going to be a doozy.

The difference between our team and their team is that this team of undefeated, un-scored upon boys was coached to be full of themselves.  The coach has the boys enter the field wearing fedoras.  Sometimes they even wear sunglasses.  They strut in, at the direction of this head coach, and let the other team know what "studs" (as he calls them on his Facebook page) they are.

Studs?  Aren't they eight, nine and ten years old?  How about we teach them to gentlemen?  With good sportsmanship and manners?

I can't say much about how the boys behave on the field or at school, but I do know the coaches son leaves little to be desired as far as sportsmanship.

I know this because my son was blocking him.  And after one particular block that maybe held this "stud" up, he asked my son if he wanted to fight.  His exact phrase?

"You wanna go?!?"

My son didn't respond, and if he did it would have been something along the lines of "go where?"

I guess you can't blame the boy, he's doing what he's been instructed to do.  As far as he knows, he's a "stud."  Unfortunately, he will learn one day that this means just about zero in life.

I'm wishing every parent who volunteers their time to coach could be a good, strong example.  Someone to teach kids how to hold their head high when they lose, and to reach out their hand when they win.  Because eventually, all of these kids will be on a winning team and a losing team if they stay in sports.

I've parented through undefeated seasons and through completely, utterly win-less seasons.  Both types of seasons can teach kids volumes about character and how to behave.

We all win and lose in life, and team sports can offer many lessons in how to handle it.

One lesson the boys on the opposing team will learn for sure is that being a "stud" is fleeting.  I hope our boys know that being a class act is forever.

Happy Monday y'all.

Oh, we lost the game, 18-0.  I'm sure our boys went into the game intimidated from all they'd heard over the past few weeks about this other team.  And the other team was good, strong and fast.  But our boys didn't wear fedoras, and not one kid on our team asked a kid on the other team to fight.

Winners all the way.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Halloween Spider Web Cupcakes

Tis' the season for junk food.  Last Thursday I made approximately 60 Halloween cupcakes.  Half went to the school snack sale and the other half to my son's classroom for his 6th birthday.

In my efforts to make the birthday cupcakes exciting I made spider webs.  I even added a spider ring.

Always the overachiever.

But I can say with confidence the munchkins loved them, and they looked pretty "Halloween fancy".  They also made my spider ring impulse buy at Target extremely worthwhile.

These are fabulous for Halloween parties, for the classroom or just for fun at home.

I would even recommend bringing them into the office.  You never outgrow cupcakes with plastic spider rings.

1 box cupcake mix
1 container vanilla frosting
1 container chocolate frosting
1 plastic sandwich bag
1 pack spider rings

Prepare and bake cupcakes as directed.  Let cool.

Once cool, frost cupcakes with vanilla frosting.  Fill plastic sandwich bag 1/2 full with chocolate frosting and with scissors snip off small corner. 

Using the sandwich bag, make two large circles with the chocolate frosting on each cupcake.  Make one circle inside the other.
With a knife, start at center of each cupcake and gently drag knife down to edge.  Repeat four to six times, depending on how you want your "web" to look. 
Add spider ring and admire.
**a repost**

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tips for Staying Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

Tammy Mahan, from Healthline, is guest posting today with an article every parent will find extremely useful!  Stay healthy and keep your kids healthy too!

The time of year when colds and flu are most common is one that most people dread because of the ability to simply treat the symptoms instead of curing the ailment. You have to be prepared for the season by going to your doctor and getting the flu shot in order to help keep colds and flu at bay. You should not get the shot if you have already become sick since it will make illnesses worse.

There are some things that can be done in order to remain healthy while avoiding colds and flu.

      Stay away from sugar because the immune system is weakened with it; fruit juices have high sugar concentrations.
      The immune system is aided by vitamin C, which is found in vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, asparagus, leafy greens and cauliflower. You should consume at least three to five servings each day.
      Drink eight to twelve cups of water daily to keep your system flushed out and get exercise regularly.
      You should make a kit of things such as vitamin C, grapefruit seed extract and lozenges in the event that you get sick.
      Wash your hands frequently and sanitize surfaces when you have encountered a sick person. Carry hand sanitizer for the times when there is not a sink readily available.

When it comes to keeping children healthy during cold and flu season, you should make sure to teach them not to share food or drinks with other people since this spreads germs. It is important to keep your distance from sick people when you have babies or small children in the house.

Getting enough rest is essential to remaining well since the immune system aids the body in healing itself better when the body is rested. Getting the flu shot will also help to prevent you from getting sick.

Healthy Diet for Avoiding Colds and Flu

Eating certain foods can help you to maintain your health. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the main food groups that will aid you in remaining healthy. This includes an adequate intake of vitamin C and vitamin D. Sources of these vitamins include:

      Citrus fruit such as oranges, tangerines and grapefruits
      Fish which can be taken as a supplement of fish oil
      Ginseng in combination with vitamin C helps to prevent colds.

You are often unprepared when colds strike since they come on suddenly. Keeping a few things such as pain relievers, chicken noodle soups and lozenges on hand to keep you from having to go out and exposing others to your germs when you become sick is a good idea. Determine if your physician can call in prescriptions to the pharmacy for you, and if the pharmacy will deliver to avoid having to leave home during a cold or the flu.

It is good to be prepared for the cold and flu season but it is better to practice prevention to avoid catching them. Keeping hand sanitizer with you will aid in killing germs while you are out; you should sneeze into your elbow and avoid congested areas to help keep germs from spreading.

Tammy Mahan has worked in the healthcare field for over 20 years. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Blogging Tips

I started blogging three years ago.  I sat in my pajamas at 10pm and started a blog.  My first post was just a heartfelt "my kids are getting older, another school year is here..."

The next morning I checked my"stats" and some of my friends on Facebook actually read it.  I was hooked.

Since that groggy night on my laptop, I've learned MANY things.  I'm still learning.  I don't know everything there is to know about blogging, but I have learned some valuable information.  I've started making money, reaching more people and in general I feel at peace with my blog.

It's my happy place.

If you're new to blogging or been at it a while and still haven't found your groove, here are my blogging tips to get ya going.

1.  Write what you know.  Stay true to yourself.  Monetization is awesome, but not if you're selling out or not staying true to what you love.  Readers want to hear from you and everything you love; keep your voice in all things.

If you are looking to make a few dollars, start small.  Add Google Adsense (not my favorite but people use them) to your sidebar, or try working with sites such as Social Spark.

2. Don't freak about statistics.  They go up, they go down.  There are good days and bad days.  If you are very new to blogging, focus more on developing a good clean blog (too much "design" isn't always a good thing) and teaching yourself how to navigate your host site.

I spent HOURS trying to get a blog signature under my posts.  If you want to be successful it will take time.

3.  Use Pinterest.  This is the number one traffic driver for my site.  If you are looking for more followers, write a solid "How To" on something you're fabulous at.  Maybe it's a recipe, maybe a craft.  Maybe you know how to redecorate on a budget or how to save money at the grocery store.

Always, always have at least one good clear picture with your post.

Use sites such as picmonkey to edit your picture, resize it (watch those huge files, they slow your site. Try for 900 pixels or less) and add text.  Be clear, be simple. 

Pin this fabulous post to Pinterest and watch your stats creep up.

This takes time, and you may have to write a few informative posts every so often.  The key is good content and clear pictures.  The readers will come.

4. Write regularly.  You might go through "blah" days.  Keep with it.  Re-post an oldie but a goodie, or just post a picture.  Tell the world you're blah.  Just post.

Readers need something to read.

And when you do write, put it out there.  Tweet, post it to Facebook or Pin it.   I'm not huge on Twitter, but I use it and I'm getting more followers.  Use tools such as AddThis to get those "follow" buttons on your sidebar.

People need to be able to find you!

5.  Network.  Cruise other blogs, and visit blogs like Kludgymom to get ideas on how to better your blog or add new fonts.  KevinandAmanda is another great site.  Read other blogs and comment.  Join blog hops or twitter parties.  My first year of blogging I participated in "5 Question Friday" over at Mama M's blog.  It was a great source for meeting other bloggers and getting content on my blog.

Do you have any other great blogging tips?  Share with us!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Thirty Four

Somehow, today I'm thirty four.  There was a time, not too long ago, I looked like this.

The girl with me in the picture shall remain nameless.  I love her too much to expose her identity.

I remember when I was in middle school and anything over twenty one was pretty ancient.  In high school if you showed up at a party and you were twenty you were old news.

Today, I'm thinking 65 is still young. 

This is one of the many differences between being a kid and being thirty four.  I still had so much to learn.  Today, the best gifts aren't in packages.  Years ago they were.  My daughter played "Happy Birthday" to me on her ipod keyboard this morning.

Best gift ever. 

In no particular order, here are thirty four things I've learned on the way to being thirty four.

Every one of them was learned by loving, living, making mistakes and moving on.  Cheers to that.

1.  Cherish family. These people don't have to be related to you.  I'm thankful mine are. 
2.  Good friends are hard to find.  Forever friends are few and far between.
3.  You won't be the same person after becoming a parent.  This is a good thing.
4.  Be kind.
5.  Even when someone is a total ass, be kind.  That's on them.
6. Don't judge a book by its cover.
7. You can live with a lot less than you think you can.
8. The only thing you can always count on is change.
9. Roll with the punches, or they'll knock you down.
10. Volunteers, whether they be coaches, class parents or working in a soup kitchen, deserve more respect.
11. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
12. The more I feel pressured to do something, the less I want to do it.
13. A body in motion stays in motion.
14. Don't tell your kids what NOT to do, remind them what TO do.  This is a hard lesson to remember.
15. Be thankful in everything, always.
16. The grass isn't always greener on the other side.
17. What you eat standing up DOES count.
18. Listen before you jump to conclusions. I'm still working on this one.
19. Respect yourself.
20.  Being kind doesn't mean being a doormat.
21. Save when you're young.  Time goes by very fast, and money doesn't go into the bank when you have kids.
22. Too much alcohol brings bad things.  Always.  Keep your wits about you.
23. There is no better therapy than time with my kids.
24. Time heals all wounds.  At the very least it lessens the pain.
25. When the sun is shining, get outside.
26.  It's important to be a part of something. If you're not, the wrong thing will find you every time.
27. Washing bedsheets and remaking beds stinks.
28. So does emptying a full dishwasher.
29. Believe in magic. Let your kids believe in magic. If you can't believe in Santa or a tooth fairy when you're seven than you never will.
30. Be patient with kids.  You were one too.
31.  Politics suck.
32. I will never tire of my mom's kitchen. Ever.
33. Finding a good man is hard; grab him when you find him.
34. Believe in God.  The world is a scary place without Him.
Life is journey, not a destination.  Let's remember to enjoy the ride. Cheers!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sibling Mixes

I've found in my family that certain mixes of kids work better than others.  My oldest and my youngest? 

Good mix.

My two boys?  Loud mix.

My two middle kids?  Harmonious mix.

My two youngest kids?  A mix of petty arguments.

Two daughters?  Mostly fire and sometimes not-so-nice-ice.

I noticed at dinner the other night that no matter where we go, this is the situation.  I have to think long and hard about who can sit where when we dine out.  Or ride in the car. 

Usually, as long as everyone's mood is light we're good.  There is happiness.  But if anyone is rambunctious, mad, pissy or hyperactive to all heck, we need to remember who can be where to keep peace.  Otherwise I'm batpoop crazy playing referee and trying to quiet the area down.

Growing up, it was my oldest brother on his own, myself and my brother who was 16 months older than me, and my two younger brothers.

Those were the splits.  Then my sister came along, and she was in her own little world.

As we grew older, the groups changed a few times and now we all happily hang and love each other.  There is nothing like siblings; for me they are my allies, my friends and my support.  I'm blessed to have them, and my kids are as well.

And in the long run, the sibling mixes in our family will change and evolve, and I pray for a large unit of close, well adjusted adults.  For kids who love eachother the same way they do now, forever.

What are the mixes in your house?  Who gets along with who? 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Magisto: My New Favorite App

Before this week, I'd never heard of Magisto.  Magisto is an online photo editing tool to make super cool movies from the videos and pictures you have on your phone, computer or ipad.

It's a hoot, and mommy-proof.  You choose the pictures and videos, select an editing style, add music and Magisto does the rest.  The first time I tried it I made two right in a row because I was so excited to see the results.

When your movie is complete, you can share it via Facebook, Twitter or email.   I made my movie, and easily embedded it right here on my blog.

So exciting.  Give Magisto a test run, it's a blast!

Magisto will be at BlogHer PRO '13 October 22-23. Visit their space at the conference to learn more. I made this video as part of a sponsored program for BlogHer and Magisto.

Weekend Fun: Haunted Halloween Houses

My mother, who raised six kids, has long made these houses with munchkins over the years.  My mom has taught me just about everything I know when it comes to fun for my munchkins.

And what she didn't teach me came from the genes.

These houses are perfect for Halloween parties, sleepovers or just for fun on a weekend with your munchkins.

empty, rinsed dry small milk or orange juice cartons
vanilla frosting
graham crackers
haunted house decor (gummy worms, gummy skulls and spiders, chocolate candies, cereals, etc)
paper plates
paper bowls
plastic knives (or wooden Popsicle sticks)

The trick with haunted house making is pre-assembly.  Have cartons dry and ready for graham cracker walls the night before you need the houses.

Assemble roof and walls with vanilla frosting and graham crackers.  Set each house on paper plate, securing with frosting.

Let set overnight.

Once munchkins are ready to make their haunted houses, set out a small bowl of assorted candies and cereals next to each munchkin.  This makes all the finger licking MUCH more tolerable.

I also give each haunted house assembler their own bowl of frosting and their own plastic knife.

This goes back to the licking thing again.

Some munchkins take their time and construct a masterpiece, some slop it all on there and eat the candy.  Either way, the activity is always a big hit.

Mommyhood Footnote:  Remember to supply exciting candies.  Play Halloween tunes.  Make a house with the kids.

As with everything in life, "Halloween House Making" is what you make it.  So make it totally awesome.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

(At Home) Birthday Party Ideas

Birthday parties at home are a dying breed.  It's a lot of work to host a dozen (or more) kids and entertain them for a few hours.  Even worse?  The prep and clean up.  It's a lot easier to book a birthday at a bowling alley or gymnastics studio and call it a day.

The trouble with parties outside the house is they are expensive.  You'll be hard pressed to find an exciting location that will run you less than $150 for ten kids.  Add in goodie bags and the cake? you're pushing $200.

This past weekend, we celebrated my son's 8th birthday.  I bit the bullet and hosted 12 kids at our house.  I'm happy to report it was a blast, and the entire party, (start to finish) cost under $100.00.

Goodie bags, prizes and party supplies - $35
Pizza - $40
Cake - $16.99

Here are my tips for a fun (affordable) at home birthday party.  I've included keep sane as well as moneysaving ideas.

1. Limit the guest list to 12.  Time frame? Two hours.  Go over these two numbers and you'll be trying your patience.

2.  Kids love games, and you'll need at least two organized activities to keep your party moving. 

This weekend we did an obstacle course (which we ran through twice) and the toilet paper Mummy Wrap.

Our obstacle course was fun for boys and girls.  We used things we had in the garage, such as Kan Jam cans and Ladderball, as well a footballs and buckets.  We made two equal teams, and the kids had to run through the course one at a time, tagging the next player as they finished.  As kids finished they went to the end of the line and sat down.  First team to have all players through, and seated, won.

The Mummy Wrap game needs six or more players.  Teams of three compete to wrap a "Mummy" in toilet paper (ankles to shoulders) and have their mummy jump across the finish line.  This game requires skill, because players need to be quick but not rip the toilet paper as they wrap.

Other great activities?  Bingo, scavenger hunts, crafts (more popular for girl parties), wiffleball tournaments and  old school games like hot potato.

3.  Along with games, kids love prizes.  Add these two loves together, and this weekend I decided to make a raffle table.

At the Dollar Store I bought  foam footballs, bouncy balls, giant boxes of candy, slime, and other goodies.  I made up cellophane bags with the help of my daughter and we set up a raffle table.  I had 12 prizes in all, and we made one brown paper bag for each prize to collect tickets.

Purchase or make raffle tickets, and have each guest start with the same amount of tickets.  As teams win games, they get extra tickets.  After all the games are finished, give the kids time to look at the raffle table and put their tickets in the bags they like best.

The trick here is to have a few small prize bags made up for the kids who don't win anything, since you don't want anyone to go home empty handed.  I also limited the winners.  Two bags was all you could win to keep the winners diverse.
4.  Make goodie bags for all the guests.  Having a party at home leaves a little spending room and kids love the parting gifts.  Think seasonal to add to the fun.  Bubbles, bouncy balls and chalk are great for Spring and Summer parties; football cards, flavored chapstick and Halloween stickers for Fall; and indoor fun for Winter such as crayons and small play dough containers.  Toss in some lollipops and candy. 

5.  Stay sane timeline:

First half hour: arrivals, casual games outside (weather permitting).
Second half hour: first party game, if kids have fun play two or three times.
One hour mark: pizza/food/raffle table time
One hour fifteen to thirty minute mark: second party game, raffle table time
Last half hour: Cake, raffles, open presents

*If you must host outside the home, try a craft store.  We rented a room in Michael's Craft Store one year for my daughter.  The rental was $50.00, and I managed to dream up a craft that was a few dollars per child.  Add in food and a cake and you're going to stay under $130.00.*

Happy planning, share your party tips below!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Surviving Tummy Troubles (and $100 Spafinder Giveaway!)

I'm twelve years into raising babies, and I've learned much about how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Over the years I've seen how lack of sleep, unhealthy foods and a general "on the go" lifestyle can take its toll.  While digestive health is important for everyone, for some reason digestive "troubles" only plague me and the girls.

Go figure.

One morning at school, I was talking with another mother of girls.  We were so tactfully discussing our household "tummy troubles," and I was sharing our latest and greatest digestive health issue.  Specifically, I shared how running all over and not eating well can make my stomach very upset. 

As parents it's comical how we can share bathroom stories like we're talking about the weather.  It reminds me of how dog owners discuss dog poop.  My grandmother used to do that, it drove my mother nuts.

"Jani, the dog pooped three times today..."

I can still see my mother rolling her eyes.

Anyhow, this mother told me about probiotics and swore to me they made a HUGE difference for her.  I'll admit I loosely tried them, meaning I bought them and took them every so often.  I'm not the best with remembering anything other than what is absolutely necessary. 

But a few months ago, after my youngest daughter kicked a rotovirus that wrecked havoc on her stomach's "healthy bacteria," probiotics for children became necessary.

Very necessary.

To put it lightly, my toddler's digestive system was a hot mess.  It was nearly impossible to take her anywhere, and I finally saw a specialist.  He explained about healthy bacteria and how imperative it is for digestive health.  Everything he said reminded me of my conversation with that mother outside the school.  He told me the best thing for my daughter was probiotics for kids; in supplement form and in yogurts.

We started my daughter on kids probiotics, and I'm completely sold on how wonderful they are for your digestive health.  I've seen it firsthand.

Since seeing how much healthier my daughter is, I tried probiotics as well.  While I don't eat the best (I doubt I'll ever kick my sugar habit) keeping active with running helps me tremendously.  My kids have found the same.  The more active everyone is, the better we feel and the healthier our digestive tracts seem to be.  For myself, I add in probiotics, such as Probiotic Pearls, and I don't have to worry about upset stomachs nearly as much as I used to.

Probiotic Pearls, like probiotic yogurt, offer probiotics to help support digestive health; however, Probiotic Pearls don’t require refrigeration and are convenient for on-the-go use.  Take them in the morning and you're good to go.  Easy as pie.

And now, for the fun stuff.  To be entered to WIN a $100 Spafinder giftcard, comment below and tell us:

What are some ways in which you create healthy digestive habits with your busy schedule?

Please remember to include a contact email with your comment!

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b:Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: "#SweepstakesEntry"; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c: Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d: For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 10/14/2013-11/15/2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

Halloween Craft: Pumpkin Bat

Carving is overrated.  It's messy and takes time.  This pumpkin bat is fun, easy and adorable.  We made him for a 2nd grade project, and I don't know if I'll ever go back to carving again.

Well, I probably will.  But for now, I'm loving the spray paint and glue gun.


Small to medium pie pumpkin
small can spray paint (black, I bought this for $3 at craft store)
googly eyes
black construction paper
white paper
glue gun

Line an area outside with newspaper.  You want to be in the mulch, or the grass.  Spray entire pumpkin with spray paint including stem.  Let dry for a few hours.

When pumpkin is dry, line another area of newspaper to rest him on indoors while you craft the pumpkin.  Using a glue gun (or rubber cement) glue on googly eyes.

Using a pencil, draw wings onto back construction paper.  These don't need to be perfect, just make sure you start with a half moon, and make them large enough (think 6" or more).  Make edges underneath and cut out carefully.

If you need help, use this:

Using glue gun, attach wings to either side of pumpkin.

Cut two small triangles out of white paper, glue next to eachother approximately 3" underneath eyes as fangs.   Cut two more small triangles from scrap black construction paper and glue on either side of pumpkin stem as ears.

Voila, an adorable pumpkin bat.  He looks great indoors or out (covered area of course). 
Happy weekend!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Why I Hate the StoryMobile

School libraries from all over the nation are probably hunting me down as I write this.  My kids have an awful habit of taking out books from the library and either losing them or never opening them at all.

The worst is when they lose them AND never open them at all. 

When we were about to move to Pennsylvania, I received a handwritten note from the school librarian (who was new to the district) that we owed them just over $14.00 for an unreturned book named "I Spy Golden Treasures."

What?!  $14.00?!  For a book with hardly any words and ripped pages?  A book that has been passed from student to student for the past decade?  I'll donate ten newer, more educational books I have cluttering up my house before I pay $14.00 for a book that wouldn't sell for 10 cents at a used book sale.

Obviously I was annoyed.  Semi-outraged.  I was clear to my kids after the last overdue book debacle that I didn't want them checking books out anymore.  NO MORE BOOKS.  Read them all you like in the library.  But please, do not check them out unless you plan on reading them AGAIN at home.  Which happens one out of every fifty times my kids bring home library books.

Naturally I hunted high and low for this "I Spy" book.  I never found it.  I also never paid the $14.00 because we moved and I totally, completely forgot.  I did, however, dump a bag of fabulous books for the librarian on our way out of New York.

I'm hoping it calmed her down.

Along with our old school library, our old local library is probably looking for me as well.  A few summers ago I decided to be mom of the year and get all my kids library cards.  I made this grand plan to visit the library twice a month, returning and checking out books.

We all checked out books that first visit.  I returned 90% of them.  We never went back.

Then a hurricane struck and flooded the town.  The library was condemned due to mold, and relocated a few weeks later to another facility.  Naturally, the 10% of the books I forgot to return never went back to the library.  I didn't even know where the new library was.

And then, a year later, we moved. 

Oh, and when we were unpacking?  I found a $70 Math textbook from our old school district.  It's embarrassing to even share all this, I feel like a felon. 

On the first day of preschool this year, the teachers excitedly shared that the Storymobile would be visiting twice a month.  I almost cried. 

Just what I need; more unread borrowed books and librarians hunting me down for something my kids never even look at. 

In case you're wondering how the Storymobile is going for us, this was in my daughter's backpack today.  Even worse?  The books were in the backpack, hidden under all the sweatshirts and other stuff that have collected inside.

Serenity now.  It's going to be a long year.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Stalker Moms

Please, I pray, never let me be a stalker mom.  I'm assuming we've all met them, and we've all dealt with them.  I really don't want to ever frighten another mother like these moms frighten me.

Have you ever met them?  The ones that have too much time and wait for you a little too long at preschool drop off?  Or at the ball fields?  And after the third day all you're thinking is, "oh my gooooosh why is she waiting for me I've been in my car five minutes...I'm still brushing my daughter's hair...I'm not going inside yet..."

I may or may not wait to brush my daughter's hair until we are actually in the school parking lot.

These moms are friendly, but too friendly.  Why are they waiting for you every day?  Don't they have a million errands too?  You start to wonder why they are so nice.  Like maybe they're crazy, or maybe they're really just that kind. 

I'm sure it's the latter, but I have a little too much Jersey in me to understand.

Either way, they scare me because I don't understand them.  I wait for my friends.  I do.  I'll walk over and call them out on brushing hair in the parking lot of school.  I'll bug them for playdates and I'll steal their kids if need be.

But stalker moms?  They're not really friends.  They're acquaintances.  I like them, I've liked every one of them I've ever met.  It's just that they make me feel trapped; I can't avoid them and they're always there.  I'm not sure if I'm the only mom who has these problems, but I'm assuming someone else has dealt with these issues?

Then I think I'm too nice, and I open myself up to these situations.  But I'm pretty sure most of the time along with my niceness I just do my thang.  I mind my beeswax.  I don't encourage attention from people I don't know well.

Or do I?

Either way, I hope I've never scared anyone and made them wonder about me.  Well, I'm sure people wonder about me.  But it's the stalker thing that I'm trying to avoid.  And for all the moms I know who are reading this, I'm not talking about you.  I promise.

I've only met a handful of stalker moms in my twelve years of mommy-ing.  They're a special breed.  I'm hoping someone else has met one too.  Because if not I'm going to think I'm crazy.

Crazier than I am, that is.

Happy Tuesday, watch out for those stalkers.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Sleepover Hangover

I have a bone to pick with sleepovers.  They're fun and exciting, and I never mind sending my munchkins off with good friends for a night of giggles.  I never mind hosting good friends for a night of giggles.  Sleepovers are all fun and games until the next afternoon.  The aftermath of a night of giggles is usually not pretty.

It's downright ugly.

What I mind about sleepovers, is something Hubby and me named the "PSM."  Or, "Post Sleepover Mood."

Two weekends ago Hubby picked up our daughter from a sleepover party.  I cringed while I waited for his car to return with my overtired daughter.  I texted him, "What's the PSM?"

Miraculously, that day, the "PSM" was fabulous.  Until evening anyhow.

My golly my kids can be little pains in the arse.  If they enjoy too many nights out, or too much time away from my iron fist, they get overtired.  And grumpy.  It's like they can't handle themselves away from the land of chores and bedtimes.  After sleepovers, I'm forced to toss them in bed ahead of schedule to ensure they return to normal function the next day.

Which isn't such a terrible thing.

My oldest son, last Monday was suffering from a sleepover hangover from Saturday night.  The boy barely made it through school, let alone football practice.  Monday night, he was in his pajamas by 6pm and in bed by 8:30pm.

Again, not such a bad thing.

Tonight, I'll be enforcing the early bedtimes because the munchkins all enjoyed friend Saturday night.  And bedtimes were a little later than I planned last night.

Which makes tonight Mom's night.  Early to bed for the beans and a little DVR for me.  Which makes me rethink the bone I'm picking with sleepovers.  Maybe they're not so bad, as long as I reign the kids in quick when they return home.

What do you think of the almighty sleepover?  Yay or nay?

Happy Monday y'all!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

What I (currently) Love

It dawned on me recently that I haven't, in a LONG time, posted about anything other than being a mom.

I'm very caught up in my babies.  I can't help myself.

In an effort to connect with my personal, womanly side, I'm about to share a few things that are currently making my heart happy.  As you'll see, I'm an easy woman to please.

1.  Sparkly eye shadow.  If I'm ever going out in the evenings, I love a little of this Bare Minerals eyeshadow on my eyelids.  Add mascara, I'm good to go.

2. My new soft serve ice cream maker.  I love soft serve, and this is like craft time for an ice cream addict.  The best part?  Red sticker-ed for clearance. 

3.  Sparkling ICE drinks.  I finally found something to curb my Diet Coke addiction.  Coconut Pineapple is my reigning favorite.  Just enough carbonation, plenty of flavor. 
4.  My new American Eagle hoop earrings.  Is there any better way to dress up jeans and a "Football Mom" tee-shirt?  I think not.
Tell me, what's on your must have list?  What's making your heart sing?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Adolescent Brain

Parents, I'm about to scare the poop out of you.  Today my pediatrician informed me that a child's brain doesn't resemble an adult brain until the child is 22-25 years old.

22?  I was married with a baby at age 22.  And 25?  I was married with two kids.  By age 26 I had three kids.  By my pediatrician's standards, I was a kid having kids.

And in many ways, I guess it's true. 

Our doctor clarified that while most of the brain is developed by the early 20's, the frontal lobe that controls decision making and impulse control is still under a little bit of construction. 

At that moment, reality punched me in the face.  I knew that my car ride to school this morning might very well be what my mornings look like for years to come.  My ten year old daughter left an assignment at home because she wasn't sure if she needed it.


So let me get this right, you left your assignment home because you weren't sure it was the right one?  What harm would come from bringing that paper with you to school?  Would the paper attack you?  

"MOMMMMM!  Stop!"

So if it was the right assignment, it's home.  And you get marked with a missed assignment. If it was the wrong assignment, and you brought it to school, it would have sat in your folder unharmed.  Just trying to understand your thinking process.

After talking with our pediatrician today, I realize that ten years old doesn't mean sound reasoning.  Twelve years old doesn't mean sound reasoning.  My babies are going to think like kids for a long time.  They will mature and get better with age, but it's my job to stay on them and help them make good decisions.

Decisions that actually make sense. 

This afternoon, after all this brain development talk at the doctor's office, I jumped on the computer and found this,

The research has turned up some surprises, among them the discovery of striking changes taking place during the teen years. These findings have altered long-held assumptions about the timing of brain maturation. In key ways, the brain doesn’t look like that of an adult until the early 20s.....The parts of the brain responsible for more "top-down" control, controlling impulses, and planning ahead—the hallmarks of adult behavior—are among the last to mature. -The National Institute of Mental Health

Lovely.  The area of the brain that controls acting like a responsible human being is the last to develop.  With my youngest munchkin being just four, I'm looking forward to approximately 20 more years of reminding my kids not to be idiots.

That's a lot of reminding.  Especially considering I've been at it for twelve years already.  Lord give me strength.  And patience.  And wisdom.

And please make sure I'm still sane when my babies are old enough to make rational, sound decisions.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Monster Headphones (plus giveaway!)

Last Christmas, I remember my oldest child mentioning expensive headphones as a possible Christmas gift.  This is when I knew we were entering "teen world."  Headphones?  Seriously?

I ignored the expensive headphone request and went on about my Christmas shopping as usual.  Hubby had a pair of clunky headphones he didn't use and our oldest son snatched them right up.  Problem solved, and money saved.

He can still be found on our couch, using his ipod, with those headphones on his head.

I don't get kids.

Recently, I was introduced to Monster N-Tune Headphones, and I knew immediately my kids would go batpoop crazy over them.  Durable, comfortable on the ears, excellent sound quality and my favorite; they are available in an assortment of colors.  While I don't understand the wear headphones in the house deal, I do appreciate the headphones in the car deal.  On just about every roadtrip I'm scouring the house and car for earbuds, ensuring each of my kids has a pair for the ride.  The kids can play what they like, or listen to what they like, and I don't have to hear it.

They're happy because they can concentrate on what they are doing and I'm happy because I can enjoy my mom radio.

It's a win-win.

The trouble with earbuds is they fall out, and they're not very comfortable.  For my kids, they don't get the job done.  They are a temporary crowd pleaser; within an hour of the car ride I have to help my kids get them back into their ears.

"Moooom...they keep falling out!"

"Mom, if I turn my head they pop out!"

Complete nightmare.

With the holidays creeping closer every day, these headphones are a fabulous gift idea.  Cool, useful, reliable and they stay on their head.  We all know how tough it is to find gifts for "tweens" and teens, and I'm glad I have a pair of these bad boys to wrap up for my son.

Monster N-Tune Headphones are available at Walmart, and they are available in green, blue, red, purple and orange.  They feature an in-line mic with controls for tablets and other devices, and they're designed for durability (can anyone say kid friendly?).

To win your very own pair of N-Tune headphones (valued at $150),  read all about the Monster headphones here and let me know in the comments of this post which color you prefer.

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  • Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post.
  • For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
BlogHer will pool entries from participating blogs and select a sweepstakes winner at random and will contact the winner with details about fulfilling the prize.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 10/2/13 – 11/1/13.