Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I dislike the mess of painting

Confession: I dislike the mess of painting so much that I feel the need to take pictures when we do it just to prove that I did say yes at least one time out of the 792 times that they asked.

Never mind the fact that it had been raining for days and there were absolutely no other choices for activities.

My mommy will be proud that I used "dislike" vs. "hate". She taught me well.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin Patch Fun

Daddy was home early.

The sun was shining for the first time in evidenced by our squinting.

The pumpkins beckoned.

It was too muddy for choo-choo rides and hay rides, so you'll be seeing very similar pictures in about a week when we return.

Consider yourself warned.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Random Dozen

1. I've always wondered why we were taught both printing and cursive. Do you prefer to print or write cursive? (Keyboard is not a choice.)

Cursive---it is so much faster!

2. Are you a dreamer or a realist?

I think I'm a realist, but my hubby would say I'm a dreamer.
3. Billy Joel or Elton John?

4. What is the scariest movie you've ever seen?

The Sixth Sense comes to mind, but I'm sure there are far worse ones.
5. Now what is the scariest real-life moment you've had?

When our pediatrician told us we needed to take 3 day old Jade back to the children's hospital to undergo testing. I have never cried tears like that before or since.
6. What word do you misspell without fail?

I pride myself on being a good speller...runner-up in the 5th grade spelling bee... ;) so if there is a word that trips me up I work on getting it right. All that being said, you'll know that I was absolutely mortified to realize that I had misspelled "pavilion" on all of Lily's Circus party invitations. Who knew it only had one "l", not two? Not me apparently.
7. Name something you like to do but are not really talented or good at?

Singing. Good thing my kids don't care!
8. Do you get your emotional/mental batteries recharged by being around people or by having alone time?

A little bit of both...but if I'm going to get recharged around people, they have to be adult people.
9. Have you ever been on TV?

Yes, twice that I can think of.
I was interviewed as a new teacher in Dallas and had a brief clip of me shown teaching on the local NBC 5 o'clock news.
And then the typical NYC trip...Jerry and I had a brief clip of us shown with Al Roker on the Today Show...the sign we were holding said, "The Big Apple has stolen our Lone Star hearts." So cheesy.
10. Apple or pumpkin pie?

Definitely apple...the only things I like related to pumpkins are roasted pumpkin seeds and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes.
11. How many magazine subscriptions do you have?

Zero. I subscribed to Cooking Light, Parents, and Cookie each for a couple of years...I'm back logged with so many unread issues that I'll never need to subscribe again. Its just the same stuff over and over again.
12. What lesson do you have to keep re-learning?

That I am a much nicer person when I go to bed before midnight. Didn't happen last night...grrr!
13. What is your biggest pet peeve?!? When Blogger messes up the spacing on my posts!!!

To see more Random Dozens, visit 2nd Cup of Coffee.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Free Redbox Rental Codes-WFMW

Between the rain and the flu, it has been movie time pretty much 24/7 around here for the past two weeks. Especially with Lily being sick and needing rest...movies are about the only way I can keep that child down. The doctor said bungee cords were not an option.

So, in an effort to not spend as much on movies as I did on Tamiflu ($50 for her, cough, $50 for Jade, cough cough), I have been all about the $.99 rentals at Blockbuster.

I mean seriously, you can't beat 90 minutes of restful entertainment for $.99.

Oh wait! You can beat that...with these FREE Redbox rental codes I came across.

Only at Walgreens: DVDATWAG

Anywhere: DVDONME

Ones I haven't tried yet, but are supposed to work anywhere: 9HB6MP22 and BREAKROOM.

I tried the top two over the weekend and they both worked. There is a button on the bottom lefthand corner of the screen to enter a promotional code even before you start selecting movies.

The trick is to bring several debit or credit cards with you...I brought both my debit card as well as my husbands because you can use each promo code once per card.

Visit to get even more free rental codes. You can have promotional codes texted to your cell phones and e-mailed to all of your e-mail accounts as well.

They of course have a map of Redbox locations at as well.

We are finally feeling healthy and the sun is even supposed to come out we'll pass the movie torch on to you...not that I'm wishing the piggy flu or rain on ya, but it seems like both are inevitable.

Free movies work for me! To see what's working for others, visit Works For Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.

Boston Market: Kids Eat Free-WFMW

It seems like nearly every restaurant is offering Kids Eat Free at some point during the week now. Mondays here...Wednesdays there, etc. It really isn't newsworthy.

Boston Market is doing their Kids Eat Free program a bit differently though. And if your kids love that place as much as mine do and you want an inexpensive healthy meal without lighting your best take notice.

What is different about it?

It is ALL day EVERY day for starters. Your kids do have to be present, but securely strapped in their carseats at the drive-thru window COUNTS! And TWO kids can eat free for every ONE adult that spends $6.

For larger families, they are offering 4 free kids meals with the purchase of a family meal.

Another Boston Market tip (can you tell we have one right down the street?), if your kids don't like the cornbread, they'll substitute it for another side item of their choice. My kids cannot get enough of their mac-n-cheese or sweet potato casserole.

It ends October 31st...which means I see about 18 more $6 meals in my family's future.

FREE food and not having to cook works for me! To see what is working for others this week, head over to Works For Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.

Rain Rain Go Away

Rain Rain Go Away
Jade and Lily want to play
Come again another day.

Rain Rain Go Away
Our yard is mush, more like a bay
Can't you please just stay away?

Rain Rain Go Away
Our moods have turned to yucky grey
We just don't like feeling this way.

Rain Rain Go Away
Our locks have gone all astray
Please send us just one good hair day.

Rain Rain Go Away
Our umbrellas have been out to stay,
but really just want to be put far away.

Rain Rain Go Away
We've got soccer games to play
We want to go and shout Hooray!


You know it has been raining too much when you open the front door and your 2 year old shouts, "Mama, its NOT raining!"

But then you have to tell her, "Well, that's because it just did" or "Just wait, it is going to in a bit!"

Pretty sure Lily's soccer game will be cancelled tonight...unless we can secure enough kayaks for all the players. That brings the total up to 3 games played and 3 rained out.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Piglet and Pink Princess Preview

Pink. That is one thing that my girls will agree on if there are two or fight over if there is only one.

Lily wanted to be a generic pink princess for Halloween. The costume she picked out was $40 in a magazine. Yeah right. I was so not going to spend that on something she'd wear once or twice.

Jade didn't have any idea what she wanted to be. Let's face it, Halloween 2007 she was a 4 month old obligatory pumpkin, and then on the actual day of Halloween 2008, she had her ear tube/adenoid she really doesn't have any good Halloween memories yet. Last year the color was yellow (Belle and a duck) , so the least I could do was let the girl be pink!

We strolled the aisles of Once Upon a Child and Lily found the costume from the magazine (not really, but she thought it was) and it was a whopping $6.50. Jade came across Piglet and nearly jumped out of her skin wanting to put it on. No nudging from us. The whole store heard and felt her excitement. Piglet cost us $8.50. I 've still got to find some accessories, but I figure since I've only spent $15 on the costumes that there is room in the budget for those.

They've been playing dress up in them alot lately, though they have to stay upstairs, away from the kittens' claws. I snapped this to give you a little preview of the pink princess and the piglet. Man I love these girls.

Now mommy and daddy have to figure out a costume idea for a couples dress up party that we are going to. Jerry and I have completely different thoughts on this sort of thing...completely different. He said something about dressing up as a current event. Huh? Blank stare. Eye roll.

Any ideas for us?

Comfort Food Takes on the Swine Flu

There is nothing like being trapped at home with a sick piggy coupled with a midnight run to Wal-mart for supplies to put you in the mood for some comfort food.

I just don't make healthy food decisions while dodging the stocker's pallets in the wee morning hours. But boy was my hubby's mouth watering as he helped me unload the groceries at one in the morning!

Tonight was chicken fried steak, corn on the cob and fried okra.

The pot on the back left was getting ready for some country gravy. If I had been smart I would have used my electric skillet for the steaks and used that burner for some mashed potatoes.

I figure the only way to conquer the swine flu is to threaten it with a heart attack.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Oink Oink.

The fever started last night. Lethargy followed. Thankfully cuddles did too.

I took Lily to one of the 5 or 6 "urgent" care centers that we have around town...this one chosen because we could check in ahead of time and they didn't have a long wait. "Come in at 8:30 and we'll be able to see her right away," they said. Then they called me at 8:15 letting me know they were actually ready for her then. Great, I thought...we'll be on Tamiflu in no time. Of course when we got there, we ended up waiting for over an hour in a room full of feverish coughing people. Ugh.

One very scary nose swab later, she was diagnosed with H1N1 Type A Flu. She and the rest of the town I'm pretty sure... 1/3 of her preschool class, along with the teacher, included.

They prescribed Tamiflu for her and Relenza for me, only after I paid an additional copay for myself...which seemed ridiculous. Nothing prescribed for Jerry and Jade. Guess they are just sitting ducks...or sitting pigs, rather.

I'm pretty sure one call to our pediatrician will have that rectified though.

Has the swine flu made you whine yet?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Random Dozen

I've seen lots of friends doing this meme today and decided to join up. Though I'm late, it seemed like a good excuse to put off the mess that is my house. As if I needed an excuse.

1. On an average, how often do you splurge and buy something for yourself?

Something little, like Starbucks, too often. Something big, whenever the hubby suggests it...which isn't often...not because he isn't generous and kind, but because our money tree really needs some Miracle Gro.

2. Are you more like Hall or Oates? Just kidding. Real question: What is the last creative project you began/finished? Feel free to post a pic of it.

I'm not really a crafter, or a baker for that matter, so I was pretty surprised when I pulled these off.

3. OK, Goldie Locks, do you consider your house too big, too little or juuuust right?

Just right. Although I would like to have all this space on just one level.

4. What is your favorite outdoor chore?

Pulling weeds! I love the instant gratification of knowing those little buggars are going down.

5. If you knew that cigarette smoking was not bad for your health but would be a weight loss tool, would you use it? Why or why not?

NO WAY. Disgusting.

6. On a road trip, would you rather drive or ride?

I'd like to do about half n half. But if my husband is the driver, the only shot I've got at the wheel is if he is deathly ill.

7. What do you consider a trivial pursuit?

Making beds daily.

8. This weekend, we downloaded the movie "Duplicity" with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. Within 5 minutes, I was bored and annoyed, but I kept watching 5-10 minutes at a time hoping it would get better between small chores. I finally gave up and Jorge watched it alone, and then regretted wasting that time because he disliked it intensely, too. So ... how long do you watch a movie or read a book before giving up on it?

I fall asleep even when I LIKE the movie...and reading...forget it, I wish I was a reader but there are too many books on my shelf with a bookmark a few chapters in.

9. Is there a song that you really love but are embarrassed to admit because it's not cool or it's racy or because it's by Hall and Oates?

Sure. I can jam to milli vanilli just like I did back in the day at their concert...obviously before they were found out.

10. On a scale of 1-10 (10 = extremely) how spontaneous are you?

On trying new foods/restaurants/fun places--a ten. On trying new hairstyles/makeup/clothing--a one.

11. Are you a food and/or beverage snob?

When is comes to Asian food, especially Thai and Japanese, YES! Anything else, nope.

12. Who/What are you trying to control in your life?

Pretty much everything within reach or earshot. Me and God are working on that.

Join up at 2nd Cup of Coffee...and let me know if you do, I'd love to stop by and read your Random Dozen.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Two Story House: Cleaning Woes

We're well over the three year mark of living in our first, and possibly last, two-story home. It still amazes me that 40 months later, I still consistently have to return upstairs, just after having come down, for something I have forgotten. You would think that considering how many times I have had to retrieve a hair bow, a hairbrush, a pair of shoes, socks, Jade's bay-bay, my cell phone, the dance bag, extra toilet paper, a library book, etc that my legs would be looking a lot leaner than they do.

Then there is the whole issue of laundry. As if anyone really enjoys laundry anyway, having to haul it up and down the stairs brings my loathe of laundry to a new level. Our master closet is right over our laundry room. We've toyed with the idea of putting in a laundry shoot, but Jerry is right, what we really need is a dumbwaiter.

In addition to those issues of having a two-story home, I also find it harder to keep things in the right place. Inevitably, things come down that need to go back up and vice-versa. My favorite is when various pieces of a toy or game get separated during the girls' travels. So fun.

Originally, our stairs became piled with everything that needed to go back up and there was always a little pile at the top of things that needed to come down. Seemed simple enough...when you pass by one of those piles, TAKE IT WITH YOU. But we all know that in a busy and often rushed life, that just doesn't always (ever!) happen.

When Kristen asked her readers to share their cleaning tips, my hubby's "bin plan" came to mind. He got smart and bought a large bin that we keep downstairs. As we pick up or find misplaced items that need to go upstairs, we just put them in that bin. When it gets full (or we get sick of digging through it), we haul it upstairs to our bedroom. In our bedroom we have 3 smaller bins. We then divide the contents of the large bin into the smaller for each of the girls' rooms and the playroom. Then each girl puts their stuff back in their room and we tackle the playroom together. If they are asleep, we just set the bin outside their door.

It works for us. Although admittedly, the downstairs bin is currently full and my stairs are piled with things. *sigh*

To see what is working for other people, visit WFMW (Works For Me Wednesday) at We Are THAT Family.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Uno, Dos, Tres

There has been some language confusion in our home.

Until last week, it wasn't something I gave much thought to...other than giving a gentle correction from time to time. Now I'm seeing raised eyebrows and fearing being accused of cultural insensitivity.

Lily must be learning how to count in Spanish at preschool. Now she is aware of language and the fact that there is more than just our own.

The problem is that she for the longest time kept thinking that we spoke Spanish and everyone else spoke English. Somehow in trying to correct that, all was lost.

Now any other language that is foreign to her is simply called "uno, dos, tres".

The other evening we went for dinner at a Japanese hibachi place and later followed it with a trip to the Dollar Tree...extremes, I know.

Our table chef was really good at interacting with Lily, but between the noise of the restaurant and his thick accent, she could not understand him. During one interaction she was left puzzled and unsure of what he had said. And then in the most accusatory manner, she asks him, "Are you speaking in Uno, Dos, Tres?" Thankfully he didn't hear her and no knives were accidentally tossed in our direction.

Later at the Dollar Tree, there was another language incident. There was a family behind us in line that was speaking neither Spanish nor Japanese. I didn't realize that Lily was listening intently to their conversation. When out of the blue I hear, "I CAN'T understand a word you are saying! Are you speaking UNO, DOS, TRES?!?", again in an accusatory manner.

Oh my. Thankfully, Jerry whisked her away quickly and our minivan became a cultural sensitivity classroom for the ride home.

She is one that speaks her mind...and my mom is always quick to remind me that I did the same thing at her age (and still do!), so I'm sure many more embarrassing payback moments are in store for me. At least I've already got the bald man situation under my belt.

If you want to read about other things kids have been saying this week, head over to Tiny Talk Tuesday at Not Before 7.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Circus Party

Well, between cupcake conundrums, feverish five year olds, and feral kittens, I haven't had a chance to post about Lily's 5 year old circus party.

I woke up the morning of the party in a stressed out state. Apologizing to my husband for getting out of control on yet another birthday party. Had I spent too much money? Invited too many people? Will the guests not feel special because they were one of many? Will parents think it was a gift ploy?

If they only knew Lily. Well, they do. So they should know that she is the social butterfly type and totally keeps up with all her pals...even by phone. Not kidding. Have you ever heard one side of a phone conversation between 4 year olds? Punctuated with occasional "I love yous"? It is just about the sweetest thing ever.

Anyway, my amazingly calm natured hubby squelched my 6AM, 11 hours to party time stress with one question. "Are the kids going to have fun?"


"Okay, then...the parents will too and it will be a great party."

I love that man. He was right. It was a blast...although having back to back parties at a rented pavilion can be a bit crazy when it only gives you 15 minutes to set up.

We were heading towards a ballerina theme, but after our box seat circus adventure, we decided on that...which was much more friendly toward all of her little boy friends.

We served grilled hot dogs, popcorn, cracker jacks and animal crackers. The kids had their faces painted (by a dear friend who stepped in when Lily's NeNe came down with the flu!), had balloons made, and played on an amazing wooden play structure.

Jerry didn't think we'd be able to get them off the park...but one call of "cupcakes!" and they all came running.
Even one girl who wasn't with our party joined the cupcake fun. Her mom later came to retrieve her. Too funny! (She's the one in yellow in the slide show pics)

I love my kids and love doing parties for them, but by the time this one was done (our seventh one!) I had decided we're going to tone them down in the future. I mentioned this to Lily and she was not going for it.

You'd think with 25 friends there, she'd be overwhelmed. Instead she was completely exhilarated. The next day she asked me by name why 3 particular little friends had not been at her party. I was could she have even noticed in all the chaos?!?

Friends, I think I've created a monster. Just in time for Halloween, too.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Raising Feral Kittens

I was totally incorrect in my thinking during my last post. The kittens were not crawling all over Jerry as he commuted home. He didn't answer his cell because he hadn't even left work yet.

So my *excited* girls got to wait yet another hour for their beloved kittens to arrive.

Let's pretend I was just extra ambitious and had them in their PJs early. *cough* We hadn't left the house all day. *cough*

Anyway, the kittens couldn't have been jumping out of the box as Jerry was driving because they were a wee bit more little than I had imagined or he had thought. He had guessed 8-10 weeks. But now we are realizing they are right at 4 weeks old.

That little realization changed everything. They were not ready for solid foods. They needed "formula" according to Google.

Here are just a few things I've learned over the past 24 hours:

They do indeed make kitten "milk replacement formula".

Said formula costs the same as Enfamil or Similac. $14 for the small cans and $22 for the large ones. (Not for consumption by tells you that on the label. I am so glad, because I almost headed to Petsmart the last time I needed infant formula.)

Kittens like to be fed every 3-4 hours.

Dropper feeding is for the birds.

So now I have these little 1 ounce bottles in my fridge. The feedings are going much better now.

Speaking of which, the next one is at 2AM.

Oh, one more noteworthy all my google reading about feral kittens I came across a tidbit about the mother cat licking the kittens' bottoms to stimulate them to go potty. It recommended taking a rough wet wash cloth to take care of that need.

Um, yeah. I pretty much just skimmed over that hoping to never think of it again.

Until I was speaking with my farm girl mama today and she said verbatim...have you taken a wet wash cloth around their little bottom to get them to go poop?

Me-Seriously? No. I read that online and totally chose to ignore it. Do I really need to do that?

My Mom-Well, yes. Unless you want constipated kittens!

Well, we can't be having constipated kittens around here. I decided it would be less rude if I just took care of that little issue during a full bath. So all four of them got bathed this afternoon and had their tooshies rubbed.

And sure enough, ALL four of them pooped tonight. 3 of them even made it into the litter box.

Now I've just got to figure out which one missed. Our plan is to keep two of them...and eenie meenie minie moe...that one is NOT it.

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