Friday, November 30, 2007

I'm happy God Made Us

Just a quick story to tell you about what my 7 year old said to us today:

Son - "Aren't you happy God made us?"

Me - "Yes, I'm happy."

Son - "I'm happy, too."

Then we started talking about where would we be if God didn't make us. Son said we wouldn't even know we weren't here! We wouldn't be anywhere!

So sweet. I guess he was having a good day, and not, "the worst day of my life!"

My mom always said it's not quality time that's important, it's quantity! I wouldn't have had that moment if I wasn't around him enough (we were just cleaning up from dinner). Also, I think, any time with your kids is quality time. Just riding in the car, eating dinner, helping kids with their homework, putting them to bed, EVERYTHING can be quality time.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fear of the Dentist

Reclining in the chair, listening to the easy rock music, opening my mouth so wide that I get lockjaw, scraping my sensitive teeth, shots of Novocain, dry lips, drilling my teeth, numbness in my mouth, finally, having to pay for this torture!

I've always hated going to the dentist. That's why it's so easy to say I'm just too busy to go. Before I got married, I had a great dentist. For being my least favorite thing in the world to do, he was at least very nice and very fast. After I got married, I decided to see my husband's dentist. OMG! He was actually mean! He was rude. He said I had a cavity on the back on my wisdom tooth, so I should just make an appointment to have all my wisdom teeth removed. What? Yah right! I went back to dentist #1. He looked at that cavity and told me no problem, it would just take a minute to fill. Thank You!

A few years went by. I still didn't see the dentist. With our new insurance plan, dentist #1 wasn't listed as a dentist I could see. Also new dentist #1 was more expensive. I decided to see a dentist from the plan. Terrible again. I was about 35 at the time, and this was the first time in my life that they made my gums bleed. I even took better care of my teeth. When they told me to spit, pure blood! So gross. I could taste it. I asked them why that happened, and they said most people's gums bleed at the dentist. OK, by!

A few years went by again. This time I chipped my front tooth. I actually got a headache thinking about just going back. What would they do? Is it going to hurt? Will it look bad? I didn't care about money this time. I had to see dentist #1. (Actually he did accept our insurance. We just had to pay whatever the insurance wouldn't cover.) He fixed my tooth super fast and was so positive! No problem. I love him!

I just went to dentist #1 today for a cleaning and two fillings. I still hate going. I get tense while they're working on me. When I was leaving, I was actually freezing and shaking from the stress! The one thing good that came out of this? My front tooth cracking forced me to go and made me realize that I'll never see another dentist again. I wouldn't care what it cost. I love my dentist! Please don't retire! He IS starting to get a little old. I don't know if I could ever go to the dentist again!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Laundry, the Neverending Job

There are some jobs that I do around the house that I really hate to do. Some of these are - cleaning up the kitchen, picking up endless toys, cleaning my bathroom (it takes too long), and weeding the garden (I don't like getting dirt in my nails). One job that I don't mind doing is laundry.

I have a pretty good system going for having a large family. First, I do laundry six days a week. Each of the kids room has their own hamper and they are responsible for putting their own dirty laundry in it. Every morning after I get the kids off to school, I collect all their laundry and throw it down the laundry chute to the laundry room in the basement. By doing it every morning, I can quickly sort it, throw in a load or two, and fold what's left in the dryer from yesterday.

For me, it's a satisfying job. I love the feeling of accomplishment of folding the clean clothes and putting it in our closets. I wash everything a certain way - white clothes in hot with a scoop of oxyclean, soaking for 15 minutes, and a double rinse - darks in cold on a gentle and shorter cycle - my shirts in warm and hand dry. That's part of the reason I like to do it myself. No one knows exactly how I like it done.

The part I DO hate is when there is an endless amount of laundry to do that I have to do it all day long. This I why I have laundry rules:

1. Only throw DIRTY clothes in the hamper. If your jeans look clean, wear them again!

2. Don't throw towels in the hamper. Hang them back up in the bathroom and I will collect them when I think they need to be washed. (Otherwise the kids would throw them in the hamper every day because it's easier than hanging it back up.)

3. Hang your pajamas up on a hook every morning. I decide when to wash those too. (Once again, it's easier for the kids to just throw them in the hamper. They would never be able to keep track of how many days they wore them anyway.)

4. Don't throw your socks in the hamper inside out. It's a disgusting job to have to flip everyone's smelly dirty socks the right way before they go in the wash. Yuck.

If the kids do it right, I collect the laundry out of their hamper and wash it. (I even put it away for them if it's not too much.) But if they throw down clean clothes, for example, they have to help me fold it all and put ALL the laundry away. If I find socks that are inside out, the person of the first inside out sock that I find has to flip all the socks the right way. They love doing this.

These rules work out really well, most of the time. Imagine how I felt this morning when saw what was waiting for me in the laundry room:

Now who threw down all these clothes! (I thought I was all caught up yesterday?)

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Kids Are Fighting! (again)

Today was the last day off of school for my kids from their Thanksgiving break. I actually love it when they're home. They talk to me all day. They want me to play games and watch movies with them. I truly enjoy being with all 4 of them.

Today was not as fun as I usually like it to be. I had a ton of things to do (go to the library, the bank, piles of laundry, make some phone calls, etc). This is when the problems started. I gave each of them a job to do. 13 year old - clean up the kitchen, 11 year old - pick up his room and basement, 7 year old - pick up his room and the basement, also, and 3 year old - help clean up the basement. Then I went to go on some errands. My phone rings, "Mom, everyone's fighting and no one's cleaning up!" "OK", I try to say as quietly as I can in the library, "Tell (11 year old) to finish cleaning up and you play a game with (3 year old)". "OK. Can we make brownies?" "YES!" I figured it would give them something to do that wouldn't involve fighting.

I got home, not too bad. Everything was pretty clean, but, evertime I went to do another job of mine, FIGHTING! 3 year old is screaming in the basement. 7 year old is teasing her.

I decided to take a breath and play with 3 year old. It's amazing how good they are when you give them your complete attention and play with them. But, how do you get anything done? OK, everything is calmed down now, back to making dinner. More fighting! Do you ever have a day that you can't wait until all the kids are in bed asleep and the house is quiet? I couldn't wait today. This was suppose to be our fun day!

I hate to call 7 year old difficult. It sounds so negative. I prefer spirited. It's a prettier word. It seems like the fighting matches always happen to be in the room that he is in! TIME FOR BED!

At the end of the night, husband grabs the 3 year old and heads off to bed. I got the 7 year old. Hurry up. Don't do that. It's late. Get in bed. We finally are actually getting the kids IN their beds. I take a deep breath, "OK, do you want to read to me tonight? I'll find a book for you." The spirited child replies, "No mom. I want you to read me a Bible story." My frustration is gone. The kid who was driving me crazy all day wants me to read his favorite Bible stories to him! "Yes, I can read two." Gotta love him! This is when I sit back and think about what went wrong today, and make sure tomorrow will be better.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

At Home Date Night

My husband and I love to go out to eat and see movies. The problem is it's expensive and we have to find a babysitter. That's why we only go out once in a great while.

Instead of going out a lot, my husband and I have a date night at home every Saturday night. First we make dinner for the kids, usually something simple that they enjoy (sloppy joes, hot dogs, hamburgers, ham, etc). Then when the kids are done eating and go off to play or watch TV, my husband makes some cocktails and we cook a nice meal together.

I still try to make something simple, but I make it a little more special than our weekday meals. Last night we made grilled pork tenderloin, butternut squash, and salad with honey mustard dressing. It was so good. This is a great meal that doesn't cost too much and is simple to cook! We get everything ready, put the youngest to bed, then grill and eat in peace.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

1 pork tenderloin
olive oil
garlic powder
crushed red pepper flakes

Just rub as much of the spices as you like on the tenderloin and grill until pink in the center!

Butternut Squash

1 butternut squash
maple syrup

Cut the squash in half and scoop out seeds. Lay skin side down in baking pan with a little water on the bottom. Put butter, a little maple syrup, salt, and pepper on top. Cover with tin foil and bake 350' until soft (about 1-1/2 hour). Scoop the flesh of the squash out into a bowl to serve.

Honey Mustard Dressing

1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Whisk ingredients together and pour on salad when serving.

For the salad I used Boston bibb lettuce, a little red onion, 1 tomato, sweet red pepper, crispy bacon, and shredded cheddar cheese. I pour lots of honey mustard dressing on it so I have plenty to dip my pork into. So simple. So delicious!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Crazy Black Friday

It's the day after Thanksgiving, aka Black Friday. Did any of you dare to go out? I can't believe I did, and I'm not sure I will again next year! I didn't go out at 5:00 AM. I waited until 8:00 AM. I don't know if it was any better. I took the back roads there. Not much traffic. I pulled in Target. Found a parking spot right away. Walked in the store and an employee handed me a cart. "Not bad", I thought. I did notice the lines were a little long. As I headed to the back of the store I wondered why all these people were standing around back here. Then I realized, these were the lines! Every line stretched to the back of the store and down the aisle! How long would it take me to even stand in the line IF I even found what I was looking for?

I decided I may as well look to see if they had any of the digital cameras left that were on sale. I headed to electronics. What are these people standing for in the middle of the store? They were in line at the pharmacy! I found electronics. More long lines. I could barely even get around the people to find where the cameras were. I searched the shelves for the camera and couldn't figure out which one it was! I couldn't find it! Then I noticed one camera on the bottom of the shelf. It didn't seem to have a place it fit, so I didn't know the price. I hoped it was the one and got in the long line.

When I got up to the register (about 1/2 hour later), I asked the clerk if this was the camera that was on sale. He rang it up. "Yep, it's the one. You found one?" He thought they were sold out. I guess another customer changed their mind and just left it on the bottom of the shelves, FOR ME!

I got out of Target, no problem. Next, the mall. I figured luck was on my side today and I had to try Bon Ton to use my $10 gift cards. I got the only parking spot around (lucky again). Then I headed to The Bon. I searched around for the best deals. I got two sweaters, a pair of boots, and a shirt. Then I waited in another long line. When I got up to the counter the clerk informed me my gift cards were not good on any of my purchases. "You've got to be kidding! After I stood in this line!" Everyone around me was saying the same thing. The coupons were not good on: door busters, clearance sales, certain name brand items, basically everything that would have been a good deal. They would be better off listing the items the coupons were good for. Anyone else have this problem today?

So, here's what I learned about how to have a stress free Black Friday.

1. Plan on going to only one store for the items you really want, and get there early enough before they sell out.

2. Take a friend with you. One person gets in the line as soon as you get inside while the other picks up the items.

3. Take a deep breath and realize that even though it's a very long line, at least you'll only be standing in one line if you listen to me and only go to one store.

4. While in line, start up a conversation with the people in line in front of you and behind you. It makes the time go by faster and it's interesting to hear the other shoppers experience. It was funny. We all felt like we were friends! We discussed other stores we were at, what deals we were getting. A few people were even offering their extra coupons to the other people in line.

5. If you're not looking for the doorbuster sales, shop at 6:00 PM. It's amazing how the traffic dies down when the tummies start to rumble.

6. Last, but not least, don't shop at Bon Ton. The sales are not as good as they seem!

Was anyone else brave enough to go out today? If you did, what was your experience like?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! I just got back from a quick jog. It's cold and snowing here in PA! It sure was hard getting motivated to go out, but once I got going I was so glad I did. Now I can eat! I love Thanksgiving. It's a relaxing day for me (mainly because it's at grandma's house) filled with great food and family. I think my favorite things to do are eat and talk!

How was everyone's Thanksgiving? What is your favorite part of the holiday? How is the weather like where you live?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

You're Invited...

Today we are handing out invitations for my teen's birthday party next weekend. She'll be 14. I don't want to have a big party, so she's just inviting some friends over for pizza, cake, and a movie. I can't imagine how a bunch of 14 year olds in one room are actually going to sit down and watch a movie at a party. Oh well. I think I'm prepared. Husband said he doesn't care how many kids are here as long as we don't have to take them anywhere and they're in the basement. Are you sure you mean that? At least my basement, aka playroom, gets cleaned with this deal!

So what do you buy a teen anyway? Since my daughter's birthday is December 1, I shop for her birthday presents and Christmas presents at the same time. Here is a list of some ideas that my daughter likes:

1. Money!

2. Gift certificates (of course) - to the mall, Hollister, Claires, McDonalds, movie theaters, Bath
and Body Works, Barnes and Noble

3. Digital camera

4. Cell Phone or new cell phone cover if she already has one

5. Make up, lipgloss, perfume

6. DVD's - Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, Seventh Heaven, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, National
Treasure, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

7. Art supplies - paints and canvas, drawing pencils

8. Teen magazines - Tiger Beat, Bop

9. Lap desk

10. MP3 (I almost forgot!)

11. Cute, soft, pajama pants

12. Video games - Harvest Moon, Mario Party, DDR

13. Electric scooter (My daughter may get this if I win a chance to buy one on Amazon for $29!)

14. Games - Scene It games, Are Smarter Than a Fifth Grader DVD game

I will buy some of these for my daughter like the camera, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, and Gilmore Girls. I save some of these ideas for when relatives ask what to get her. I try not to spend too much on the kids and it seems like they still get mountains of presents on Christmas. What are some other ideas that you have for kids of this age? Also, how do you know how much you're going to buy for your kids? Do you buy a certain number of presents for each kid? Do you stick to a budget? I don't count the number of presents or how much I spend. I try not to spend too much, and I try to make the size of the piles look half way equal for each kid.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Bill From My Husband?

Yesterday I opened the dishwasher to unload it and found the bottom of it filled with water. I immediately assumed I didn't run the disposer again so the water wouldn't drain. I ran the disposer, then tried to drain the dishwasher. I opened the dishwasher and the water was still there. I called hubby at work, "Can you put Drano in the dishwasher?". It said safe for all systems, but do not use on toilets. I tried it. It STILL didn't work. Waited another 1/2 hour, tried it, still didn't work.

I have 4 kids! The dishwasher is the 2nd most important appliance in our house (next to the washing machine, of course). It can't be broken! We just put ourselves on a budget and a broken dishwasher was not in it! I have Christmas shopping to do!

Daughter came home from school. "You have to rinse off the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher! Now the dishwasher is clogged and we have to get it fixed!" "Oops! Sorry mom."

Husband said to wait for him to come home, he'll look at it. He worked on it for 4 hours. After a minor flooding in our kitchen, he fixed the dishwasher! The drain to the disposer was all clogged. Husband asked if I dumped something greasy down the drain lately. "Oh, you mean like bacon grease?" (Oops, on myself.) So it wasn't daughter. Maybe I'll tell her that later. Well, at least I don't have to worry about this happening again. Bacon's not in the budget. Hubby said he's sending me a bill. Ok, I guess.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dick and Jane

Seven year old son hates school. He's in 1st grade and already hates it. He always did. I tried to send him to preschool when he was three, and he ran screaming out of the classroom, down the hallway, and out the door! I didn't send him back to preschool until he was 5 (a different one). He has a summer birthday and most of the school districts around us have moved back the age you have to be to go to kindergarten (age 5 by May 1st) , so it wasn't a hard decision to hold him back. He did fine and made lots of friends, but his reading skills were lacking a little. He didn't want anything to do with sitting down and working with me on his reading, but I decided I should do something over the summer before he entered 1st grade.

I went to the library and looked for easy readers that were very basic. There were almost none. Most of the easy readers were for children who were already reading, not just starting to learn to read. Then I discovered Dick and Jane. There are new publications of all the old Dick and Jane books. Our library has books from 1-12. Most people know how the first book starts, "Look."They are so simple and gradually add new words to the story and are repeated over and over. Each word then becomes a new sight word (which is how you read when you're older). Each book builds from the last. You can practically do all 12 books in one night and learn to read! After only the first book he was so proud of himself. He showed everyone how he could read. Now our nightly ritual is first he reads to me, then I read a book to him. He loves it! On the nights that I can't read to him, I hear him in his room reading to himself. I'm so proud of him.

When I went to parent teacher conferences this year his teacher told me he's right where he should be for 1st grade. She has no idea how much he learned from those Dick and Jane books over the summer. I even recommended them to a friend of mine who said her son isn't reading very well. I don't know why they don't use them in schools anymore. They're great! My son still hates school, all the rules, no talking, sit still, homework, but at least he doesn't hate it anymore because he's struggling at reading!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cute Sweatshirt Idea for Teen

Here's a cute idea for a sweatshirt for a teenager. This was my 13 year old's idea. We bought a black sweatshirt (we got ours from the men's department in Old Navy). She picked out her favorite patches in Walmart and Spencers. Then we just ironed on the patches where she wanted them to be. It made a really cute personalized sweatshirt. It's now her favorite. Her friends loved it too and a lot of them asked her if she'd make them one too! There are tons of choices in patches. My daughter liked the "Vote for Pedro" and "Napoleon Dynamite" ones the best. She wants all her friends to have one, but with their own different patches on them, so they look like a group. This is perfect for a girl around 13.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

So Cute

These are the toes of my little girl I was upset with. So cute. No bunions, no cracked heals, no bent toes. Just perfectly soft and sweet. I think this is why God makes little ones so cute. After you're mad at them and you look at their little toes, or watch them sleeping, or hear their sweet little voice you forget all about whatever happened.

I decided to take of picture of her toes to always remember them. We have pictures of her at every holiday and every event, but we don't have any pictures of her toes! I tell my oldest that I can barely remember the little toes she had. I think I'll get a picture of her sleeping tonight!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

You're too young for that!

My perfect little sweetie, isn't being so sweetie lately. She'll be 4 in January and suddenly, for the last couple of weeks, she's into everything! She especially loves big sister's room. One morning she got up with pink and blue nail polish on. At night, when she was suppose to be going to sleep, she went in her big sister's room and decided to paint her toenails. She used the whole bottle. She got it all over her pajamas, her blanket, and her rug. Let me tell you, nail polish remover does not work on taking polish off rugs. I had to cut it off.

Yesterday she decided to use a ball point pen to play her brother's Nintendo DS. I had to send it in to Nintendo to have the screen replaced. It cost me $54. Brother was not happy.

Today she walked in the room:

"Hi Mommy!"

"Hi. What are you up to?"


"What did you do?"


"Are you sure?"

"Yes. I was just sitting there watching tv."

"OK then. Come give mommy a hug and a kiss."

(She gave me a hug and a kiss.)

Sniff, sniff.

"You pooped your pants. That what you did!"


"Let's go upstairs and change your pants."

(We went upstairs. I pulled down her pants. Guess what I found in her underwear? A maxi pad!)

"What's this?" (as I try to hide my smile)

"I got it in here!" (showing big sister where she robbed her stash)

"Well, don't take those anymore. You're too young for that."

(Now big sister and I are both trying to hide our laughter. I don't think it worked, though. When dad got home she proudly showed him what she used from the cupboard.)

Oh, I almost forgot. Right after this happened, I told her to go get her pants on and I went to call my mom to tell her the story. After we finished laughing our heads off, I went to see if her pants were on yet. They were, but so was big sister's perfume. It was all through her hair. It wasn't pretty. Big sister wasn't laughing this time. She was mad at first. Then she was relieved to find out it wasn't her Hollister perfume. I don't know what happened to her! I guess I'll just have to watch her every second until this stage passes. I hope it's soon!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sorry Son

Son did not make the bball team. I feel so bad for him. Everyone wants their kids to do well in everything they do, and you hate to see them so sad. I told him it's probably for the best. He requires a lot of sleep (about 10-11 hours a day). He's trying hard to do well in school. He also doesn't like to be too busy. His school is being renovated this year so he now is bussed to a different school. His grade, grade 6, has the longest school hours because they are sharing the buses. He goes to school earlier, and gets home later. By Friday he is whooped. He goes strait to his room, climbs in bed, and watches tv by himself. I'm sure it's for the best that he didn't make it. Sorry son.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Busy Schedules

Our 13 and 11 year olds just finished their season of cross country. Meets were Thursdays and Saturdays. Practices for daughter were Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Practices for son were Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was fun, but I was glad to have some of my time back again. Just as I was counting the money I'd be saving in gas, 11 year old calls from school:
"Mom? Did you remember me telling you today is basketball tryouts?"


"Well I did. Can you pick me up at 5:30?"


It's nice to watch your kid play a sport, but it's not too fun for the 7 and 3 year olds. I'm also not one to over schedule my kids. I don't feel like they HAVE to play a sport. I want them to have time to just play outside with their friends. I guess when you have 4 kids, if they just play 1 sport at a time, it's a full schedule for me. I told my son it's not the end of the world if he doesn't make the team. He said he didn't care if he got cut, but he really wants to make the team! My 7 year old does boy scouts and intramural basketball. My 11 year old already plays intramural basketball. How do you NOT have a busy schedule?

Son made it through the first cut today. Tomorrow he finds out if he makes the team. Wish him luck! (AND ME!)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Well I'm happy to say NO BED WETTING last night! It worked for at least 1 night. Hopefully I won't have to be waking up my daughter for too long before I won't need to wake her at all. I think I'll give her a few weeks before I try that. I usually like to try it the night before I plan on changing her sheets anyway. She was so happy to wake up dry today. Me too!

It's late now. Time to go wake her up. Good night.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bed wetting

My 3 year old (almost 4) is still wearing pull ups to bed! I think it's time I get busy. They're too expensive to buy and I hate having to wash her up and change her every morning. I think my son was 4 when I decided enough was enough and I started the routine. I let him wear underwear to bed, but I limited his drinks after dinner. I made sure he used the bathroom before he went to sleep. I even got him up at night to go. I must admit it was not fun carrying a big 4 year old to the bathroom every night, but I think it worked! He started waking up dry. I know getting him up doesn't teach him to wake himself up, but I think maybe it taught him the urge to only go when he was on the potty. Starting tonight I'm trying this on my daughter. We'll see if it works! Does anyone else have any ideas on kicking the bed wetting habit?