Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Balancing Work & Home

I often get frustrated by the fact that while I'm trying to work and build a successful business my home life is a distraction, yet at home my work life is a distraction.  It's the same old home with the kids you think of work and at work you think of the kids.  Raising a family and working is definitely a balancing act and one that frankly I feel at times I suck at!  I tend to get self-ish, at times I wish I had more time to devote to my business or more time to write but at the same time I want to cherish every moment with my children while they still want to hang out with me.  What I have learned is when there is something you want you can have it if you're willing to work hard for it, you just have to make yourself a schedule and stick to it!  I've carved out time every week for my business and for the most part I stick to it,  I have certain times that are 'family only' times and now I'll be carving out time to write and I'm going to HAVE to stick to it.  I don't need to waste time watching television every night and I should be getting up earlier in the morning than I do so I CAN do it.  I just really need a cheerleader (my conscience wearing a cheer leading uniform) standing next to me telling me I can do it and then when I get really tired and frustrated I can punch the b*tch. 

We all know we can achieve more it's just a matter of bucking up and doing it.  I guess I've looked at the last six years and realized that when I was 27 my goal was to have written a best selling novel by the time I was 35.  I'm going to be 34 in January and I haven't even started!!!!  I don't want to be 50 and look back and think why didn't I write that novel...I could've published several by now, traveled the world, researched all the subjects I wanted to research for my books and still be young enough to continue doing so.  Life is funny that way, we don't always realize what we want for ourselves until later in life and then we always wish we would've done it younger....well we are never too old to stop dreaming and we are never to old to stop achieving so I am challenging myself to write that book and to get it published by age 35 and if it doesn't become a best seller than at least I'll know I tried as hard as I could while keeping up with my family and day job....I'll just get less sleep but as mothers know, getting less sleep is worth it!! :)  We may complain and we may be grumpy at times but we wouldn't change a thing.  There are thousands of women who pray every night for God to bless them with a child and that child will no doubt rob them of countless hours of sleep but they will gladly give up that sleep for a precious baby.

Leap Fearlessly!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Please Stop Talking!

I will admit that I like to do my fair share of talking and sometimes I prefer someone just stop me before I say something really stupid but unfortunatley that rarely happens.  Do you ever feel that certain people bring out the worst in you and you say things you normally wouldn't say just to 'show them' but then afterwards you end up feeling really bad and even caddy.  I do have somewhat of a filter just not a very good one when it comes to certain people.  One thing about being a parent is that now I sit and listen to my kids talk all day long and I barely get a word in edge wise!!

Sometimes my kids talk so much and ask so many questions that I just start making up answers.  A friend told me once never to ignore your kids because then someday they'll just stop talking to you and she said it like it was a bad thing!  LOL!  I totally knew what she meant so instead of ignoring them I'd just start making stuff up.  If they are paying attention they of course catch on to what I'm doing and think it's funny.  But it is scary how sometimes they really aren't listening well to anything I say because one of my children will piece random conversations together then go tell people what he heard me and his dad talking about and it is NEVER right.  In fact it mostly makes us look bad and that's always real fun when your kids start telling other people what they "think" they heard you talking about.  My husband and I could say something about how we really like a friends new furniture and then change the subject about how we hate our old sofa and how we need to get it out of the house and the next thing we now our child is telling someone that we hate our friends house!  How embarrasing!

The other day I thought it would be fun to go for a jog while my 4 year old rode his bike beside me.  Seriously???  Was I smoking something that morning, I mean what was I thinking!  He almost tripped me twice by swerving in front of me and he TALKED the entire time and he requires me to answer back with words.  My usual "mmm" doesn't cut it with him.  He'll say, "Mom, don't do that, say words." He also begins every sentence with "Mom, mom, mom" and he won't continue to talk until he knows for sure I am listening.  Needless to say I was exhausted after my run and I think it was more mentally draining than physically.

But as a parent we sit and listen to our children talk no matter what.  Then we give our children the smile, the familiar smile that we realize our parents gave us when we were talking their ear off.  Sometimes I tune out and then the kids will say "What do you think, can I?"  then I have to say, "I'm sorry what was that again."  I should take the time to sit and listen more because in 14 years when they are all out of the house the dishes, laundry and cleaning will STILL be there!  Then I'll be begging for one of them to come over and talk my ear off! :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I'm bringing blogging back!

I'm back! I was on hiatus for the past few months due to a move.  My family moved from Iowa to Minnesota and moving a family and a business took a great deal of time and effort.  I really missed blogging but needed sleep more!  The kids have adjusted well to their new school which is a blessing!  I think I was more nervous than they were.  I moved a few times as a kid and that really helped me to know that kids are resilient and that they will be fine, and they were fine.  They've made friends already and are looking forward to field trips and lunch.  At their new school they get three different choices for their main course so that was pretty exiting for them.  Oh to be a kid again and have the biggest decision of the day be what to eat for lunch!

My four year old also loves his new preschool.  Unfortunately its only three short afternoons versus the four long afternoons he was used to.  One day he got up really excited for school and said, "Mom I go to school today right?"  and I said, "No you get to stay home with me" and he said, "Well that's a bummer!"  Also to be a kid again and to be that honest.  The most exciting thing for him though has been the fact that he's learned to ride his bike.  In fact the entire neighborhood knows he just learned to ride a bike because they often saw or heard him run into trees or the ditches.  Learning to brake was the last thing he learned.  He never got hurt but he'd lay there and say, "Help, somebody help me."   He's the third child so mostly we'd just look at him and think...he's okay, or we'd tell him to get up.  Funny how by the third kid we all act a little differently.

"Did you know your child is climbing up the side of the house?" and you reply, "Oh he'll be fine."  or "Um your kid just rode his bike into a tree." and you reply, "Oh he'll get back up. I'm sure the force knocked him out for only a second."  Or my favorite.  "Do you know were your kid is?"  and I reply, "Shoot, I haven't seen him around for awhile now.  I suppose I should probably go find him."  I'm teasing of course, sort of!

We should all be more like kids...they get knocked down and they always get right back up.  They take new challenges head on.  They meet new people and try new things and they enjoy the good things in life like PB & J and chocolate milk and eating ice cream in the sun as it melts down their hands, walking barefoot in the sand and collecting shells at the beach. 

Life is an adventure and to sort of quote Steve Martin from the movie The Big Year..."Most people spend their entire lives on the beaten path only to realize they didn't do all the things they wanted to in life."

On a side note the holidays are around the corner so if you live in the Panora/GC area and are looking for some sweet treats, from scratch by niki just added some beautiful Christmas platters to the website.  It all looks so tasty, I'm not positive but I may have even seen a Schweddy ball or two!  I'm teasing...she does make cake balls though (not in the platter) and I have yet to see one that's misshapen.  :)  Check out

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Secret Life of a 4 year old Boy: Part II

As soon as I picked my little man up from his daycare/preschool that we just call 'school' the other day the first thing he said after he buckled himself into the car was, "So where do I have to got to school to become a cop?"  I told him the police academy.  He said, "Hmm, okay so now where do I buy a tazer?"  My eleven year old started laughing.  She had the same thought I did....were these normal questions a four year old asks?  At the age of four he already has his education figured out and he knows that the police station he works for will in fact line up the purchase of a tazer, gun, handcuffs and badge for him.  He really wants to be an undercover cop because then he doesn't have to wear a uniform.  He just wants to be able to wear plain t-shirts!

He made another grand discover when he decided to change his Hunter Dan doll's clothes.  He took all the hunting clothes off and said, "Why doesn't this doll have a wiener?"  Sometimes I forget he's four and I said, "Well because they don't make dolls anatomically correct."  Which of course I got a blank stare so my husband says, "They don't put wieners on dolls."

I did the same thing with my nine year old.  He got a check for his birthday and he needed to sign the back of it so we could cash it.  I just handed him the check and asked him to sign the back of it.  He did in fact sign the back of it right in the very middle under the line that says 'don't write below this line'.  I had to laugh because what made me think he knew where to sign a check was beyond me!  I guess what is worse treating children like adults or treating adults like children??  I know when I was a new mom I think I did things like accidentally cut up my husbands meat for him or taste his food to make sure it wasn't too hot!  Sometimes being a mom and having to wear lots of hats can get confusing.  I guess that is also what makes it fun!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Secret Life of a Four Year Old Boy

I love action packed spy movies!  If it involves mystery, the FBI, CIA, rogue agents and several chase scenes then I'm going to watch it.  I've seen plenty to know that there is always a scene where the main character holes up in a motel somewhere and neatly organizes their artillery on the bed.

So yesterday I walked into my 4-year-old's room and there on his bed he had neatly displayed a line of 6 toy guns, 6 used cellphones, 3 police badges, a toy samaria sword, a pair of sunglasses, a pair of handcuffs, a toy cordless drill, a reusable grocery bag (that's my boy) and a camoflauged teddy bear.  It was so cute I really should've taken a picture but this mom's not that smart!!  I could just picture him in his room nealty arranging all of the supplies he feels are necessary to be an undercover cop.  That IS what he want's to be when he grows up.  But he doesn't want to be just ANY undercover cop, he wants to be a NFL football playing undercover cop!!!

He has his 'cop shirts' that he wears and he hides behind furniture and acts like he is following bad guys.  Oh to be a kid again and use your imagination to do fun stuff.  That's the great thing about being a parent though I guess.  I can sneak around the house with a toy gun and a police badge and act like I'm an undercover agent while playing with my son and no one will think that's weird.  But if I was pretending to be an undercover agent home alone while my kids were at school some people might find that strange! 

On a side note I'm struggling with the same child to get him to wipe his own butt. He is 4 and I have to force him to do it himself.  Last night he was trying to show me what a struggle it is for him to wipe and his hand slipped off the toilet paper into the poop and all over his butt and he said, "Nice, now my poops going to smell like butt!" Too funny.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Life's Not Fair

I recently read an article in a magazine about a mother who believes that children who don't try shouldn't get the same benefits as those who do.  I happen to agree with her.  I am noticing more and more parents who want equal treatment of children who are not equally putting forth the effort.  I've even told a coach before that if my child is not trying don't play them.  They aren't learning anything from putting forth no effort yet getting the same playing time as the children who are working their butts off.  When I was in sports if you half-assed it at practice or didn't do your job in a game you were benched.  Our coach didn't continue to allow you to play because he or she felt that all kids deserved equal playing time.  You don't go to a job and get a promotion because you showed up late to work every day, didn't practice good hygiene and sat on Face book all day just because your boss felt that all his employees deserved equal promotions.  That's not the real world and we are supposed to be grooming our children for the great stuff in life as well as the disappointments.

I see parents upset at games because their kids, who have terrible attitudes and don't have respect for the other players or the coaches, benched.  Again, I feel I'm entitled to my opinion because I am a parent of children who have not tried hard and who have had terrible attitudes and I've asked for them to be benched.  Other parents think I'm too harsh.  Too harsh?   I'm doing the best thing I can as a parent and teach them that if you truly want something in life then you have to work for it.  If you don't want to be out for a sport you have to finish because I don't believe in quitting something you've started, unless of course you've become a person who is now bringing the whole team down, but then you don't go out the next year.  I can see the kids that hate sports but their parents force them to go out.  Team sports are great for children to learn about respect, team work, hard work and dedication and I think every child should try something if they can, but if it's truly not something they enjoy or want to work at then don't be upset when they don't get to play. Talent is great but a person who has little talent but works hard can far exceed a person with a ton of talent who puts forth little effort.

We aren't just raising children we are raising adults so think about what kind of adult you want your child to be someday.  I for one would like my children to be functioning members of society, I'd like for them to work hard to achieve their dreams but realize that in life there are setbacks.  I want them to understand that if they fail it's okay because they can try and try again. 

Our children need to understand that we will love them no matter what but we do need to challenge them to excel.  In life we need to be able to handle criticism and handle setbacks and that's what we need to teach our children.  People who work hard to achieve, even if they fail at first, will be rewarded more than those who don't.  Practicing self-discipline, self-reliance and self-control will get them farther in life than being taught that unequal effort warrants equal reward.  The real world is full of competition and only the hungry survive.

"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will." Vincent T. Lombardi

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Vacation

Ahh summer vacation time, it's my favorite.  I will admit now that when my kids were younger vacations were not very fun for me.  As a mom of toddlers it's like you are dealing with the same old crap just in a different place.  It's not fun or relaxing to be away from home for a long period of time, the kids' schedules get out of whack and you end up stuck in doors with fussy kids while everyone else is having fun.  Now that my children are older, 11, 9 and 4, I really enjoy our family vacations.  We have so much fun that it's difficult to come back home.

I grew up going to the same cabin on the water one week each summer and I loved it.  My husband grew up staying in cabins near water in the summer as well and we both wanted that for our children.  We were fortunate enough to be able to go to my in-laws resort for three summers and my family's cabin on the water for several summers.  Now that both the resort and the cabin are no longer in the family my husband and I decided we needed to find a place that we could take our kids for many summers to come and boy did we find a great place!  We stay in a cabin on the water and the kids love to swim, fish, boat and play on the playground with other kids that stay at the same resort.  We go for evening boat rides, roast marshmallows over the campfire and just have fun.  The resort we stay in is about a 10 minute drive from a large town that offers many activities so we take in a ball game, race go-karts, play minigolf and check out some of the neat stores.  One of my favorite things to do is to go out on our dock in the early morning when my husband and son go fishing and just sit out there in the cool breeze and read.  It's my quiet time and I LOVE it!!

Family vacations don't have to be long or expensive but in my opinion they are important.  Any sort of  'vacation' you take with your kids will be memorable.  Family vacations don't always go as planned but usually those are the ones that produce the memories to provide laughs for years to come.

"It isn't how much time you spend somewhere that makes it memorable: it's how you spend the time."

Author: David Brenner

Thursday, June 30, 2011

We all need Friends!

Aren't girl friends the best!  They completely understand everything you are going through for the most part.  They understand your need to get away from your kids and they understand that sometimes you don't feel like acting like an upstanding citizen.  In fact a friend will get you out of jail but a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, "Damn that was fun."  My best friend gave me a plaque with that saying.  In fact yesterday I was sitting in my room looking at a shelf on the wall.  There were five different plaque type things with different sayings about friends on them.  All five were from the same person so I got to thinking.  How does she keep track of all the sayings she gets me?  Does she have them written in a book somewhere?  Is it just by pure luck that she's never gotten me the same one twice?  Why does she have the thoughtful gene and I do not?  I should probably get her a plaque sometime.  But she knows how much I appreciate her right?

I love the fact that I can tell my friends exactly what I'm thinking when it comes to motherhood and they don't think I'm insane!  We are all so different and have different fears and beliefs when it comes to motherhood but we all understand one another.  I support my friends and their decisions when it comes to motherhood because just as we are all different people we are all different mothers.  I do enjoy listening to my mom, aunts, grandma's and mother-in-law talk about times when they were raising kids.  The things that happened, the situations kids get into and the close encounters with bodily harm and injury. It's amazing any of us survived childhood! Out of my three children only one seems to have a cautious bone in her body, my boys on the other hand would probably walk up to a rabid bear and try to pet it if they had the chance.

I have been very blessed with the friends in my life.  I've always had someone who understood me and liked me no matter what, we'll at least they like me to my face!  Some of my friends I see often, some not so much..but the ones I see not so much once we see each other we are able to pick up right where we left off.  Life would be pretty lonely without friends, lonely and boring.

“Friends are like bras: close to your heart and there for support.”

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Socks with Sandals

My kids watch this show on Disney Channel called So Random.  It's sort of like Saturday Night Live but for kids.  They just do a bunch of skits and this one skit they've done just really made me laugh.  It was like a digital short and it was these two kids rapping to a song called, "Bringin Back Socks with Sandals."  I laughed my butt off to which my husband thought I was strange because I was getting a kick out of my children's tv shows.  I said to him "Don't even act like you don't remember Saved By The Bell."  Have you seen those reruns?  Wow, and we thought that was super good acting, however I still enjoying watching an episode now and then.  So these kids are wearing their baseball caps sideways, wife beaters, unzipped sweatshirts, chains, cargo shorts and socks with sandals.  It's hilarious.  My four year old totally wears socks with sandals.  He also wears clothes that don't match, he's always tucking in his shirt, he wears sweatbands on his wrists, he wears cowboy boots with shorts and he just doesn't care.  So then I thought why do we care.  If socks with sandals are comfortable then why shouldn't a person wear them?  Who cares as long as you are comfortable, right?  I mean as adults who are we trying to impress, we should be able to be ourselves.  I suppose in cities people really don't care but when you live in a small town and everyone knows you I think people tend to shy away from being themselves sometimes. 

Society likes to tell us things like 'normal people don't wear mullets' or 'upstanding citizens don't get tatoos' or 'only a crazy person would get an 80's perm'.  We should feel okay about expressing ourselves however we want.  I saw a five year old kid at the pool yesterday wearing two fake tatoos and I thought, Oh, I really want another tatoo.  Then I started thinking, am I too old for a tatoo, what will people think, will my kid's friend's parents think I'm a terrible role model?  Then I thought, who cares, I'm an adult and I should be able to get a tatoo without anyone's permission if I want.  I mean does a tatoo make me less of a person? 

I saw a woman at the mall a few weeks ago and she had dreads pulled up into a bun, she had those big holes in her ears, tatoos up one arm, a tatoo on her neck, a nose ring and she was there with her daughter and a mother's group that was put on by her church and she was the nicest lady.  Appearances can be decieving when we are bred to judge by them. It's really hard because I don't want my kids to be too trusting of strangers yet I don't want them to miss out on the opportunities to meet great people either.

"Judgements prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances." Wayne Dyer

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Mind of a Child

Once again my four year old son's brain is working overtime.  He walked into my bathroom this morning and announced he was going to start wearing 'oderant'.  He put some of his dad's 'oderant' on over his t-shirt.  Then while I was peeing he asked, "Mom why do you pee sitting down?"  I told him that all girls pee sitting down.  Then he asked, "Well does your friend Amy from Las Vegas pee sitting down?"  I told him that yes in fact she does.  As if we are the only two people on the planet that pee sitting down.

While on the way to town today he asked if rocket ships can fly to heaven. I told them they could not but they could fly to space which would be very interesting to see.  The questions continued on and on.  I've realized this summer I am already exhausted by the questions from all of my children yet I continue to try my best to answer every one of them.  Then I try to hide in my bathroom or outside so I can get some quiet.  Sometimes I just like to be alone with my own thoughts.

However, being alone with my own thoughts can be sort of exhausting too.  I started wondering why adults can't be more like children in the sense that we should always be eager to learn.  We should want to learn new things, learn about people, learn about our environment and our country.  We may be more understanding and more patient if we took the time to listen and learn.  That's what children do, they absorb everything we do and say and they want to continue to learn more.  I remember on the last day or so of sixth grade our elementary principal came into our room to give us a speech.  If I remember right the speech was about leaving elementary school and venturing off into the junior high/high school in the fall.  She said that we were like little Pac-men just gobbling up information.  I still think about that speech because the way she said it was funny and well, it made sense.  We should always want to be gobbling up information to better ourselves as people, parents, friends, employees etc.

As adults we should start asking the hard questions and looking for the answers.  I've also decided that when my kids ask me questions I do not know the answers too we'll look it up together.  For instance, my oldest son wanted a pet hawk and even though I did not want to let him get a pet hawk I told him we'd research it on the Internet.  Well we found out that it's actually illegal to own a pet hawk in the state of Iowa.  See we are learning new things every day!  :)

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.  ~Clay P. Bedford

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Calgon Take Me Away

This morning my kids did NOTHING but fight.  I went upstairs and my daughter was mad because her brother was teasing her.  My four year old was standing in the bathroom wearing only a t-shirt and squeezing a tube of toothpaste into the sink because.."it's fun."  They fought over a remote, they fought over who got to sit in a laundry basket, they fought over what they were eating for lunch.  I finally got them to play a game since the weather is a little crappy today and I couldn't just shoe them outside!

Soon the middle child will be off to basketball camp for the afternoon and my youngest should take a nap.  Ahh, maybe some peace and quiet.  It's fun to listen to other mother's tell stories about their children.  I can laugh because I know exactly what they are going through and they in turn can laugh at me.  I swear my three kids are as loud and obnoxious as twelve kids!  I really have a lot of admiration for people who decide to become parents in the first place and for those that just keep having them!

I think the key is organization.  I try to have menus planned, activities planned, chores for them to do and even when they all go into melt-down mode at least everything else around me is somewhat in a tidy order.  I've always been a 'glass is half-full' kind of person so I can usually find the good in things and when I can't well that's when I feel sorry for anyone who has to be around me! 

I do think that grandparents see their grandchildren as payback to their children and I'll be honest, that's how I'll look at it when my kids have kids.  Becoming a grandparent in the far, far future is all part of my evil plan to get back at my kids.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

As I watched my kids sleep the other night I couldn't help but think how precious and quiet they were.  They seem like such angels when they are sleeping.  I also couldn't help but think how they had their whole lives ahead of them and I wondered what they would be when they grew up.

Recently my husband and I watched a YouTube lecture called: Randy Pausch's Last Lecture; Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.  Randy was a 46 year old professor in virtual reality at Carnegie Mellon University and he was dying of pancreatic cancer.  His speech was absolutely amazing and inspirational.  My favorite part was how he kept referencing using 'head fakes' as a way of learning.  Basically 'head fakes' are a way of tricking someone into learning something they don't realize they are learning.  Make sense?  We do this to our kids all the time!  Anyway his whole speech ended up being a 'head fake' and I'd like for you to watch it to find out why.  Be prepared this speech is one hour and sixteen minutes long but this man is so inspirational that the time will fly especially if you can get it thru your Wii, X-box or blue ray on your TV so you can sit in the comfort of your living room.  Ah the wonders of technology!

His speech made me think about what my childhood dreams were.  I always wanted to work for Disney, not work at Disney, but work for them like in the public relations department or something.  I also wanted to be in the cast of Saturday Night Live and well unfortunately my memory isn't the greatest these days and that's all I can remember.

Now my adulthood dreams that I have not yet accomplished are to somehow get involved in intellectual property law possibly by tying it into the small business consulting firm I'd like to start.  I also want to become a bestselling author, host Saturday Night Live, become fluent in French, live in France for a couple of months each year and inspire everyone to achieve their dreams.  So as you can tell I have not grown up at all!

I just feel like we have one life and we should make the best of this life.  Find something that will inspire you daily to keep reaching for your goals in life!  One thing Randy Pausch did want us to remember was that there is something more important in life than achieving our dreams and that is family. Without your family living a dream isn't really a dream at all.

"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people."
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
"It's not about how to achieve your dreams, it's about how to lead your life, ... If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you."
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Practice What You Preach

I find it interesting now that I'm a mom I find myself with the double standard that my kids can be whatever they want to be but I can't.  Do you know what I mean?  I put limitations on myself because I'm a mom however I tell my kids that no matter what they can do whatever they set their minds to.  I guess that doesn't make me a very good role model does it.  I am going to try and change my ways.  My kids have always known that I love to write and that I'd love to put out a bestseller someday yet I feel like I've been very poor at managing my time lately.  I try to write posts for my blog two to four times a week, I run a company, I take care of my kids and the house and the bills etc. but I CAN find time to write if I REALLY wanted to and I should!!  I have a file of a bazillion ideas and I need to pick one and stick to it.  I need to take the time to polish my writing skills and increase my ability to paint a picture with words.  I lay awake at night thinking of different ideas and I tuck them away in a file on my computer.  Some of the more interesting ones I've actually starting writing but haven't finished them because I lack focus.  I always think of better ideas and will start a new book before I've finished the last one and that's not like me!  In every other aspect of my life I am organized, a logical thinker and like to finish projects before I start new ones but when it comes to my writing I guess my artsy fartsy right brain takes over.

In fact I'll share some ideas with you and you can feel free to comment on whether they are dumb or not.  Actually these ideas have already been sent as queries to an agent or two and I'm sure I'll be receiving my rejections shortly.  Also since there are only two people who read this blog, my mom and her cat, I'm not too worried about anyone stealing my ideas.  Actually my mom doesn't have a cat so only one, one person reads this blog.

1.  Shiloh Winter - An ex-CIA agent and her husband are on the run from the United States and Pakistani governments for allegedly stealing the 27 million dollar bounty for Osama Bin Laden's capture.

2.  SPC 101 - A 35 year old man decides to go back to community college to finish his business degree and enrolls in a two week condensed speech class that changes his life.  (This book would be humorous fiction and even though this will be fiction lets just say that I couldn't make most of this stuff up even if I tried!)

3. The Dawn of Darwin - A young doctor is burdened with the paranormal ability to save lives by taking them from others.

So now you've taken a peak into what goes on in my right brain.  It's a gift and a curse all in one.  Some people are more creative and others are more analytical and logical.  I would say that my left brain and right brain have been duking it out my entire life, in fact I took a test to determine which side of my brain I use more and my left brain won out 57% to 43%.  I guess I am more of a logical and analytical thinker even though I like to be creative as well.

"You can't process me with a normal brain." Charlie Sheen

Monday, June 6, 2011

The latest Craze... Cake Balls!

Before I begin my blog on cake balls I have to include a side note:  While driving in the car the other day my four year old announced that God lives in heaven and Satan lives in his sister's blood.  Nice!

Cake Balls and more at "from scratch, by niki"

My nine year old was upset when he found out that his sister and I would be making our own cake balls and not ordering them from my good friend's, Niki, baked goods business called 'from scratch, by niki'.  He said that it wasn't fair that Niki's kids got cake balls for free whenever they wanted.  I love to bake and try new things and for the most part my kids love my baking but I think they love Niki's baking more!  I told my son that we'd try to make our own cake balls but if they weren't good then I promised to buy some from Niki.  Well my cake balls tasted alright but they looked like deformed blobs!  If you love baked goods but don't have the time, patience or desire to bake or just want your baked items to not only taste great but look professional for a wedding, reunion, shower, graduation, family event, business meeting etc. I suggest you check out  These baked goods are so delicious!  How delicious are they you ask well they are so delicious that I was really upset with her when she threw away cake balls that had dropped on the floor.  I realize she runs a professional business and there are certain sanitary guidelines she must follow but I'm her best friend....I'd eat her baked goods off the floor because they are that good!

She not only makes cake balls, she bakes cookies, bars, cupcakes, desserts and snacks.  Her sweet & salty snack mix is one another friend of mine orders by the gallon to take on camping trips.  Niki has baked for years and for years everyone has gotten really excited around the holidays when she delivers her cookie and candy plates.  Now we are extremely excited that we can order her goods from her whenever we want!  So check out her website at I know you'll be impressed!

I love it when moms have a dream and they make that dream come true.  Failure is a scary thing in life but the only failure in life is the failure to try.  I failed at a few business ventures before I found my niche and I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way.  It only makes you more resilient.  I still remember a framed picture of Abraham Lincoln in a former employer's conference room that included a list of Abraham's failures before he was elected president.  It was amazing to think that this man never gave up and eventually became one of the greatest Presidents there ever was.  You'll never know your true potential if you don't ever try.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Do your kids ever do things and you think, Really?  Did you just do that?  This morning I was picking up the house and I saw a TV tray out with a hand towel nicely laid out on it.  I asked, "Why is this hand towel covering the TV tray?"  My oldest said, "Well the tray was sticky so I covered it."  I said, "Really?  You couldn't just grab a wash cloth and wash it off?"  Apparently that would've been too much work.

The other day I found an ice cream bar stick on the couch and I've found candy wrappers behind the couch and under my middle child's bed.  The garbage can is a few feet from the living room and my son has a garbage can in is room.  Really?  You can't just put your garbage in the trash?

I love it when one of the kids tells me that their chair is sticky or that there's a sticky spot on the floor and I have to say this, "Get up and walk over to this draw.  This draw contains square pieces of fabric I like to call wash clothes.  Then walk over to the sink and turn this knobby thing and water will come out.  Get your wash cloth wet and then use it to clean up the sticky mess."   Really?  Are we all that lazy that we just move to a new chair when one is sticky.  I have three kids so my kitchen seems to always be a sticky mess.

My four year old still says to me, "I have to go to the bathroom."  Okay well he hasn't worn a diaper in over two years and the toilet is in the same place it's always been.  Really?  He can just use the toilet, we don't make our kids ask for permission or charge a fee to use the toilet.

Most times adults are just as guilty as kids.  My husband throws his dirty laundry on the floor literally inches from the hamper.  I will put something on the stairs to the basement and walk by it five times down the stairs before I think to pick it up and put it away.  I wash the dishes and leave them in the sink even though it would take a few minutes to dry them and put them away.  I should be folding laundry while I watch TV but I let clean laundry sit unfolded in a laundry basket for days.  I also should do a better job at keeping my bathroom countertop clean.  I just leave all my crap out instead of putting it away in the cupboard.

I know we all have quirks but our own quirks don't annoy us, it's other peoples quirks that do.

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love." Author unknown.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Vacation Begins

We are off to a great start this morning.  It is the first day of summer vacation and the kids are following their schedule I laid out for them for the summer.  We'll see how long this lasts but I've found that having certain scheduled activities keeps them out of trouble.  My 4 year old will go to his day care center, which he calls "school" two days a week because since I work from home I HAVE to get some work done this summer!  My 4 year old can be quite a handful as you may have read in my past blogs so he is best at school a few days a week.

We did have a long busy weekend as I'm sure most of you did.  The kids were pretty well behaved which was great.  Friday night my 4 year old actually sat and watched most of his sister's softball game, then Saturday night he danced at a wedding reception.  Sunday we went to two different parties.  The first party we attended had a very inviting mud puddle that we were sure our youngest would end up in before we left for the night and sure enough he drove a non-motorized go kart into it.  Nice!  Since I had used his extra outfit that I keep in the car just a few night earlier because he saw yet another inviting mud puddle a friend graciously offered a pair of her sons pants for us to borrow.

One of the parties was with my group of college friends and their spouses and kids.  There were six couples and 14 kids!  The kids had fun catching frogs and playing in the sand.  They blew bubbles and rode tricycles.  I'm more paranoid about other people's kids than my own.  One of my kids were climbing a tree and it was no big deal to me, yet I sat strategically placed on a playground deck because I was afraid some of the other kids would fall off the side of it.  A friend of mine asked, "Aren't you nervous that your kid is climbing that tree?"  I said "No but if that was your kid I'd be begging them to get down."  Is that strange??

Yesterday we played outside and enjoyed the sun even though the wind was outrageous.  Our patio umbrella is now stuck in a tree.  I told my husband that all we'd need to do is put a latter up to the tree and I'm sure we could grab it. He thought that was a silly idea and said that the umbrella will be in that tree for a while.  Now it's a nice beautiful day and I'm inside working away.  I'd better get my work done because I want to be outside this summer!  Summer always goes by way too fast!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bath time Blunders

Besides bedtime bath time can be another struggle in the life of a mom.  My 4 year old still loves baths but he does get the occasional shower when we are crunched for time and I throw him in with someone else.  Last night he took a bath and I let him play with his toys and soak for just a little bit before I shampooed and soaped him up to get him out.  I put him in the tub and went to the next room for something and I heard bubbles.  Since we don't have a whirlpool jet tub I realized he must be passing gas.  I asked him from the other room if he was okay and he said yes.  Not moments later did I hear the sink running.  I ran into the bathroom and there he was naked and washing his hands with soap and water.  I asked him what he was doing and his reply was, "My hands smell like poop."  Why do your hands smell like poop was my questions.  "Because I pooped in the tub."

Nice! First of all he's 4!!!  He hasn't pooped in the tub for years!  Second of all if you've ever had a child poop in the tub it's as if the poop smell permeates into the water and then permeates into their skin.  No matter how clean I tried to get him I swear he still smelled like poop!  I even scrubbed out the tub, got a clean washcloth and towel and soaped him up again.  Then I washed his hands yet again after he got out.  He could not have been sitting in that poopy water for more than a few seconds.  Anyway I smelled him this morning and he didn't smell so that was a good thing.

Typically we've had problems with just keeping the water in the tub.  My kids always liked to splash around and they'd get water everywhere!  The other thing that both my boys did when they were really young is they'd wait for me to get the bath water run then they'd pee in it.  Oh I'd get upset.  I learned real fast to make them pee before entering the tub.  I hate draining the water and having to run it again!  It's so nice now that my older two kids are on their own for showers.  I just have to remember to make sure my 4 year old gets bathed on a regular basis now!  In the winter when he's not hot, sweaty and dirty all the time it's easy to forget to give him a bath at least every other night.  Now that it's spring the kid could bathe several times a day!  The other day when I put him in the tub his legs were so covered in dirt that after he took off his socks he looked like he had tan lines but I knew better.  I swear sometimes dirt stains.  He just never looks clean!

"Bath time is successful when your kids get wetter than you do." Dee Ann Stewart, author

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Book Unreview: Go the F**k to Sleep

Today I'm doing a book unreview.  What's a book unreview you ask, well its a review of a book that I have never read but only heard or read about.  So essentially it's an unreview I guess.

My book unreview for today is a bedtime book for parents called Go the F**k to Sleep.  This book is about all the profane and honest things that you think but don't say when you are trying to get your little one to sleep.  This is NOT a book that you read to your children!  For those of us who have been parents for a while you know that bedtime can be an absolute nightmare!  My kids were always whining..."I"m hungry, I'm thirsty, I have to go pee, I need my blanky, I need my teddy bear, will you read one more story" and I just wanted to start shouting profanities at them but I didn't.  I took my deep breath and smiled and thought...They won't want me tucking them in forever.

I for one would love to read this book because I've heard it's a pee your pants hilarious book.  I no longer struggle with bedtime for the most part and here's a little tidbit on what worked for my kids.  About an hour before bedtime I started a thing called Last Snack.  This is the time where the kids got their last drink and snack before bedtime and that way they were never hungry or thirsty at bedtime.  Then at bedtime I made them pee and brush their teeth and then I'd tuck them into bed with any blanket or stuffed toy they needed and they got one story.  Only one and it was a short one, no 50 pagers!  And I'll be honest I am totally guilty of skipping pages when I wasn't being watched closely to hurry the story along. 

My oldest two children no longer require a story or me tucking them in for that matter.  They are old enough that they just give us a hug and a kiss and go to bed.  My 4 year old however has resorted to me making up stories instead of reading them.  Lately it's been the same story every time about how he's playing in our creek with his brother and sister and they meet a turtle and the turtle is sad because he lost his friend Mr. Rabbit and so they all go on an adventure to find Mr. Rabbit.  Retelling a made up story is much quicker than reading one so I don't mind one bit.

My 4 year old has consistently slept through the night for several weeks now but I did have those kids that would still get up in the middle of the night until they were 4 or 5!!!  I'd be exhausted wondering when will I ever get sleep!  They'd crawl in our bed and I'd be too tired to take them back to their room so I'd suffer while they tossed and turned and moved and put their foot in my face.  Then I'd finally get to the point where I'd carry them back to their room.  So then we made a rule that if they got up they could not get in bed with us but they could lay on our floor.  So in the middle of the night you'd hear a small child dragging a pillow and blanket and laying on the floor.  After a while I said that if they got up in the middle of the night they could no longer come in our room but they could lay on the couch.  Anyway the further away I got them from our room they eventually just didn't even get out of bed anymore.  Thank goodness.  Now at ages 11, 9 and 4 I'm finally getting some sleep!

So anyway if you are having troubles getting your children to sleep or you just want to read a hilarious book I suggest you read Go the F**k to Sleep.  Just be sure to hide it from your children because I believe the book actually looks like a children's book and you really don't want your kids learning new words from that book...well that's if they haven't already learned the word from their dad.

"Any kid will run any errand for you, if you ask at bedtime." Red Skelton

Monday, May 23, 2011

Laid Back Mom vs. Crazy Psycho Mom

After I became a mom I think I started developing multiple personalities.  I'm typically a super laid back mom and as you may have read before I allow my children to climb trees, swim in ponds, play outside and get dirty, muddy and wet and I also allow them to eat food that they've dropped on the ground.  Now I don't let them eat other people's food that has been dropped on the ground, I mean come on people, I'm not crazy.  Or am I?  Just thinking about the fact that my older children are going to start driving in a few short years makes me crazy.  This is when I become overprotective, stick my child in a bubble mom!  I'm thinking of petitioning to the state for a few new driving laws concerning teenage drivers.

First of all I think all teenage drivers should be forced to wear a driving helmet.  Now they don't have to be dorky ones but they could be cool race car driving helmets.  Once I get that law passed that will be a cool business idea for someone...designing fashionable driving helmets for teenage drivers.  Since sun visors with fake hair in them seem to be popular be sure to include a line of driving helmets with wigs attached to them.  Preferably highlighted mullet wigs.

Secondly, I will petition to pass a law that requires teenage drivers to wear driving suits made out of bubble wrap.  They can be thinner in the arms and legs to allow for movement but thicker in the chestal region to prevent injury.  Again this may be a good use of someones time to create a line of fashionable bubble suits for teenage drivers.

And thirdly I would petition that teenage drivers be required to drive cars that have like 20 air bags in them as well as no radios, no cup holders, no cigarette lighters, no cellphone charging apparatuses or anything that could be considered distracting.  These new cars won't start unless the cellphone is placed in a certain holding device because you want your child to be able to have a cell phone with them we just don't want them talking on it or God forbid texting while they are driving.  The new car will have onstar and a tracking device so that you as the parent could keep tabs on the vehicle at all times.  The inside of the car will also be outfitted with a web camera so you can always check in on them from time to time too.

So with all of that I don't see how a child could possible get hurt or hurt anyone else while driving.  I suppose I should extend the driving helmets and bubble wrap suits to all teenage and younger passengers of a teenage driver as well.

So to all the moms who wash down grocery carts with antibacterial wipes, disinfect a pacifier every time it falls on the floor and makes your 10 year old continue to ride in a car seat, whose the crazy person now??

"I'd like to be the ideal mother, but I'm too busy raising my kids."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Queen of Multi-tasking

I would say that I to some degree suffer from a lack of focus.  My brain works overtime much of the day and I have so many things going on up there that it is exhausting.  I have several calendars, lists, sticky notes and all of these things help to keep me focused and moving forward so that I don't forget important things.  I"m also a multi-tasker.  Now I didn't say I was very good at it but I try.  The other day I emptied the dryer, opened the washing machine to fill the dryer and before I actually got the clothes out of the washer was asked if I watered the flowers. oops nope.  So I watered the flowers, then I noticed the recycling needed to be taken out, then my kids said they were hungry so while I fixed supper I did the dishes.  My daughter needed help studying for a science test and my 4 year old needed a bath.  I did all that and at 9 o'clock got everyone tucked into bed and as usual I was pooped and ready to watch t.v. for an hour.  Around 10:15 or so I went up to bed.  The next morning I got up and did our normal morning routine and when I walked into the laundry room guess what???  The dryer door was still open and the wet clothes from the day before were still in the washer.  I hate it when I do that!!  If the clothes smell in the slightest then I have to rewash them but on this morning the clothes didn't smell at all so I put in the dryer with an extra dryer sheet or two for good measure and dried them.

Once I left a car door open over night after unloading groceries and cleaning out the car.  I've forgotten to set the timer on the oven and burned supper.  I've left my curling iron on and left the house but fortunately it has an automatic shut off.  I guess you could say I'm easily distracted.  Even while typing this post I have stopped to check my Netflix online and to inquire about my Clinique foundation that is temporarily out of stock.  But like I tell my husband these are normal things that happen to everyday people.  I still manage to get quite a bit done in a day and do it well so I guess the stuff that I may forget at least isn't super important stuff like a kids ball game, a Dr. appt, paying the bills etc. I have to remind him that I do do some things right. Ha!  However I know people who have forgotten important stuff too...such is life.

Also on a random note to further my claim that I'm screwing up my kids when I picked up my 4 year old son from preschool yesterday he requested a song.  He thinks that the radio plays whatever he wants on demand and we've had to tell him multiple times that we have no control over the songs on the radio.  Anyway he says to me, "I want that panty snatcher song."  Nice!  My kids do love Pink!

In all honestly my kids really aren't turning out so bad.  It's nice to visit with other moms and read other moms stories and realize that all of our lives are a lot alike.  The grass is not greener on the other's brown and full of dandelions just like ours.  But it's our grass and we love it!

So in my typically fashion I went from talking about multi-tasking to grass.  Hmmm.  I think today is a good day for a Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy quote, "If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down?  We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Parents in Training

Do you ever feel like you are the worst parent in the world?  Trying to navigate the emotions of a child is the hardest thing ever. I'm never quite sure if what I'm doing is helping my children or hurting them.  And every kid is so different.  Sometimes I step back and put myself in my child's shoes...I"ll be like okay let's pretend I'm 11 years old and my mom did this or my dad did this or they said this to me how would I feel.  Wow!! I'm not sure I should do that anymore because I'm afraid I'm really messing my kids up!

It is amazing how three kids can come from the same two people and have such different personalities.  We have five very different personalities in my home and for the most part we mesh well together but there are times when I forget that I'm not them and they are not me.  I have to remember that when they are thirty three years old it's not going to matter if they did well in softball at age 11 or if they went out for basketball at age 9....or if they peed behind the outhouse and all up the side of it at age 4.  I guess I'm just as guilty as the next parent who wants the best for their child.  I want my kids to be happy and healthy and rich so they can buy all the stuff I like and then I can move in with them.

I have realized that at times it is pointless to figure out a child.  I try and try and realize I don't even know why I did some of things I did when I was growing up.  For instance in high school I was consistently late for curfew and my parents punished me and were disappointed with me every time, yet I continued to do it.  I don't know now and I didn't know then why I did that.  There is no explanation for some of the things we do, we just do them.  Now I'm a parent and have to realize that kids are funny, strange, awkward human beings.  They have funny quirks and make funny noises and ask really hard questions.  They look up to adults and their parents are their whole world but someday they'll grow up and realize that adults aren't as mature as they thought they were.  In fact I know some adults who are less mature than my kids!

My older two children have figured out that I am Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy blew her cover too after one too many times of forgetting to leave money for a lost tooth.  I was excited to at least have my 4 year old to still believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy, however he's big into Mascots and so he things Santa is a mascot.  Whenever he sees Santa he asks.  "Whose the guy in the costume?"

I guess we all have to give ourselves a break, we aren't perfect and our children aren't perfect.  As long as we are happy and healthy and have the, air, water, shelter (My 11 year old studied for her science test last night about the ecosystem).  I think we also need love and laughter.  So when my husband gets mad at me for something my reply is..."Well your head has a thick candy shell on it."

Paul Reiser was talking about children on The Talk and he said that you are in awe by the miracle of life and then it gets hard.  "This is how smart the powers are that be.  It's sort of like a movie that's great in the first ten minutes, the rest of the movie might not be great but it keeps you there because you think it's going to be great.  That's why the beginning, when you look at a kid you think, 'oh this is going to be great.' but then it's all up hill from there." Paul Reiser on why people have kids.  I think I need to read his book....Familyhood because he and his wife think they are the worst parents so it's gotta be a funny book.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Red Rover

I love to listen to the radio in the car and lately a particular station has been talking about all the games that we played as kids that are now looked at as dangerous for our own children.  The main one being Red Rover.  I grew up playing outside, riding my bike through town, swimming at the river, playing kick ball, freeze tag and hide-and-seek and I turned out okay.  We had what is called 'free play'.  Our lives weren't scheduled down to the second and using our imaginations and playing outside was encouraged.  I can see how kids can screw around while playing red rover and clothesline a few kids here or there but are there that many children in America that are becoming severely injured while playing red rover that it has become a game that is now banished on at the school yard?  Dodge ball is another frowned upon game.  I mean come on people!  What is so bad about drilling your classmate with a ball?  LOL!  Really I don't remember it being that bad.  You just have to hit the person with a rubber ball not inflict pain or cause welts, however, I know a few of us left gym class with a welt or two on dodge ball day.

I feel like the same people who jumped off of bridges into rivers and used to sled on top of car hoods attached by chains to pick-up trucks are the same people who want their kids to live in a bubble.  During a radio show this morning they asked people to call in and share the games they played as children that some may deem dangerous today.  One caller said she and her friends played a game called Spears.  They'd form two teams and go out into a field where they'd pull these six foot tall weeds straight out of the ground and throw them at the opposing team.  If you were hit by the weed or it's spear-like root you were out.  Another caller said she and her brother used to use garbage bags as parachutes and jump off of a shed to see who could jump the farthest.  I'm really glad right now that my kids do not know that this blog exists!!!

Besides jumping off of bridges into a river and sledding on car hoods my friends and I used to see how high we could climb a tree or we'd climb swing sets and then walk across the tops.  A lot of kids do a lot of stupid stuff and that's just what kids do.  I've seen my 9 year old outside walking across the top of the swing set and of course I yelled at him to get down.  He also likes to explore the timbers behind our house and he builds forts in brush piles.  The other day he had his friends put him in a garbage barrel and push him down a steep hill into a parking lot.  These are the things I'm seeing!!!  What he is doing when I'm not around!

He loves to climb trees and jump off of stuff and sled down steep hills and see how fast he can drive his 4-wheeler (wearing a helmet of course).  My daughter on the other hand is not much of a dare devil.  She does ride a 4-wheeler and she sleds but she's a lot more careful.  She doesn't climb trees or build forts in brush piles.  Now my 4 year old son has been a dare devil since he was born.  He rode a toy car down our basement steps once, he's hopped in a wagon and rode it down a hill, he's climbed higher than I'd like him to climb and he's climbed out of my vehicle through the window before...fortunately the vehicle was parked in my driveway and not flying down the interstate.

Some of us may think that what we did as children was dangerous but ask your parents some of the things they did.  You might be surprised! Well that's my ramblings for today.  I'm going to run through my house with scissors now.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mom Confessions

I love the show Modern Family and the Mother's Day episode last week was hilarious.  Claire is a such an honest down to earth mom and Gloria feels bad thinking or saying anything bad about her Manny.  The characters Claire and Gloria each remind me of so many moms I know.  We all know that motherhood is hard, it's really hard and just as in any job or relationship its okay to blow off steam now and then.  In fact it's better to blow of steam in a reasonable manner than to take out aggressions on people.

I was listening to the radio the other morning when a woman said it's better to put your screaming baby down in a safe place and walk away for a few moments than too stay in the moment and try to console a screaming baby.  We all know there are times when babies cry and to us for no apparent reason.  I completely agree with her, however, a man in the studio said that some view that as a form of leave a screaming child.  I wondered if the people who think that leaving a screaming child in a safe place for a few moments while you collect yourself has ever had a child??

We all do what we have to do to get through the day and if walking away for a moment to relax is the key then it's so be it.  If hiking to the top of a hill and screaming about your kids, like Claire and Gloria did, then do it.  We all need to relax somehow and the older the kids get the harder I'm finding parenting to be.  When they are babies and toddlers they are more physically exhausting.  My kids are 11, 9 and 4 and now they are more mentally and emotionally exhausting.  I'm living in a house with four other people, all of which now have their own personalities, likes and dislikes and little quirks.  All of my kids like to talk and talk and talk and talk.  I found it hilarious the other night when I was reading a magazine and found an article about a mom and her confessions.  She confessed that sometimes she nods and makes noises like she's listening to her kids when she's not!  I know I do that.  Then they'll ask me a question and I'll have to say, "I'm sorry what did you say again?"  and since they know me so we'll they'll say, "Mom!  You weren't even listening?"  They'll understand one day when they have kids.

As in life every person is different and every parent is different.  Some parents make their kids bath every single night.  I get to the point where I'll be like, "Nah, just bath tomorrow morning."

I am pretty good about making my kids finish their food and drink their milk unless we are at a social gathering.  I'm not the mom who sits there and makes her kid finish every bite of food before they can get up and play but I do make them eat most of their meal.

I do like to be near my kids but sometimes I just like to watch them play while I relax and read a magazine or something...especially in the summer.

I'll admit, sometimes I'm the one asking if we can watch television yet.

Sometimes the tooth fairy is unreliable and money ends up who knows where??  Mom's purse?

I try really hard to pay a regular allowance but get sidetracked easily.  I'm a "oh look a squirrel" kind of person.

I will admit that at times I've bribed, guilted, threatened and screamed at my kids to do things.

I do think that playgroups are really for the moms!!

“If I had my child to raise all over again, I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later. I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less. I would do less correcting and more connecting. I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes. I’d take more hikes and fly more kites. I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play. I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars. I’d do more hugging and less tugging." Diane Loomans

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Awe of Animals

I was reading a magazine last night while my husband and children were watching our beloved St. Louis Cardinals play baseball on TV.  My husband got up to do something and happen to look out the window to see a raccoon in our yard.  He turns and says, "Kids do you want to see a raccoon?  Come here quick."  So all three of my children bound off the couches and head over to the window.  Then my husband shuts the light off in the house...because you know the raccoon might see four people staring at him through a window.  So now I'm sitting in the dark trying to read a magazine as the rest of my family is ogling over a raccoon.

Okay we live in the timber in Iowa!  We see wildlife in our backyard daily and it still amazes me that my family treated the incident as if it was the first time they've seen a raccoon.  I mean is it just me, if you've seen one raccoon you've seen them all?  My husband is the same way with deer.  I'm trying to drive us somewhere and he'll be like, "Oh a deer. Stop, back up.  That was a nice one."  So I stop, back up, try to spot the deer again and after he's seen it we are one our way.  Apparently he also has the ability to tell deer apart.  He can tell you if that deer has been around these parts before or if it's a new deer.  He can also tell you if he's seen that particular deer before.  It really is amazing and comical at the same time.  It's as if the deer are friends.  It would be easier for me if he'd name them but then again, probably not a great idea to get the kids too attached to the deer that we may find dead on our roads.  Like I said, it's Iowa.

I love that my kids and husband love the wildlife and I love wildlife too. I guess I just don't need to stop the car for every deer I see or get off the couch for every raccoon that's in the yard.  Now if they see a bob cat or a mountain lion, a bear or a I'll stop the car or get off my butt to see that!!

"Is there anything more beautiful than a beautiful, beautiful flamingo, flying across in front of a beautiful sunset?  And he's carrying a beautiful rose in his beak, and also he's carrying a very beautiful painting with his feet.  And also, you're drunk."  Jack Handy

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Simmer Down Now

I think one of the hardest things for me to do now as a mom is to watch my kids play sports.  They are frustrated and learning and since I know all the rules I have this urge to go out and do it for them.  Wouldn't that be watch a mom go out to third base and relieve her son, or a mom decide she's going to pitch the rest of the game.  Now I know what my parents went through watching every sporting event I was in and now I really appreciate that!  They made it to every game and now my husband and I are doing the same for our kids.  I will be honest, watching super young kids in sports is a bit like watching a pond freeze over but they have to learn sometime.

The lack of agressiveness is what I see in a lot of the 3rd thru 6th graders that I watch.  I guess we teach them growing up to be calm and polite and then they get to sports and we teach them to be agressive and not polite and maybe they get confused.  The other day in my daughter's 5th and 6th grade game our team's base runner was standing on 2nd base when the opposing teams catcher overthrew to the pitcher.  Our base runner bent down and picked up the ball and handed it to the second baseman!  The coach yelled at her not to touch the ball!!  But she was being polite and thought she'd help the other team out.  My daughter was going to catch a pop fly when she saw her friend near by and thought her friend was going to get it so my daughter lowered her glove and the ball hit her smack dab on the face!  That was a lesson learned!

I wish I could get inside their heads to understand their thinking.  It seems at times that coaches are having to repeat themselves over and over again and the kids still don't get it.  I guess it's just like at home. I have one child that I have to ask EVERY morning if he combed his hair, brushed his teeth and put on his deoderant and almost EVERY morning he has not done these things.  You would think that after 365 days a person wouldn't have to be reminded to do something.  Oh crap!  That reminds me I have to go water the flowers.

Every year for Mother's Day my husband gets me flowers for my pots and every year I forget to water them.  Hmmm, I guess that is where my kids get it.  :) LOL!  I  guess I just have to remember to simmer down.  My kids are not me and I am not them and they have to make mistakes and learn from them and I will probably go crazy trying to teach them that!

"Success seems to be connected with action.  Successful people keep moving.  They make mistakes, but they don't quit."  Conrad Hilton

Monday, May 9, 2011

Growing Up

My youngest celebrated his 4th birthday this weekend and so now he is so proud of himself because even though he was a big boy before, now he's really a big boy.  When a friend of mine asked him what he was going to be doing for the weekend he said, "We're going to go visit my mom's parents." LOL!!  We did have a packed weekend!  I took him along with his sister, who is 11, to the March of Dimes walk in Des Moines and the Tulip Festival in Pella.  It was a long weekend but he was a trooper!  At the walk he saw the mascot for the Drake Bulldogs and said, "Hey mascot, I know you're fake.  I know that there is a person inside of you!"  Perhaps you can also tell that he has two older siblings??

He walked quite a bit at the walk and at the Tulip Festival.  Otherwise he did have the option of either a wagon or a stroller to sit in to rest.  It's just amazing how much they learn and remember at such a young age.  On the car ride to Des Moines Saturday morning he said, "I love the March of Dimes walk because of all the animals there."  He had just turned 3 years old for the last walk and it was at the zoo.  I had to tell him that they move the walk every year so this year it would not be at the zoo.  Then while we were in Pella he brought up the fact that the last time he was there they had a tornado warning and they had to go to the basement.  Again he was 3 years old!!  I really wish my memory was THAT good!  I'm lucky to remember at the end of the day what I ate for breakfast and whether or not I ate lunch.

He's really big into baseball right now so he was so excited to get a pair of baseball cleats, batting gloves and a bat bag for his birthday.  He taps his bat on the ground, takes a practice swing, spits and then is ready for me to 'throw balls at his bat' as he likes to call pitching.  He's also big into guns that shoot anything from water to balls to darts so he was excited that he got a huge water gun and a gun that shoots balls for his birthday too and he played with both of those all day yesterday!  It's refreshing to watch a child play without a care in the world.  The older I get the more I try to be that way.  Obviously I have certain responsibilities and obligations I have to up hold but for the day to day stuff I find myself saying..."You know what the dusting can wait, you want to go out and play ball, let's go out and play ball." Or "The dishes can wait, I'll read you a story right now."  The older I get the shorter life gets and my kids aren't going to remember if the house was super clean or semi-clean but they'll remember that mom always made time for them.   Below I've included my new favorite quote.  My mom came across it at Tulip Time and these are truly words to live by.

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
            If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
            If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.
           If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
            What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
            If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
            The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
         Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
         In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.
-this version is credited to Mother Teresa

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cardamom Cookies

I really should carry around a pen and paper with me so I can write down all the funny things my kids say.  We had a lot of fun this weekend playing outside in the beautiful weather!  The kids rode four-wheelers, went fishing, we hunted for mushrooms, we visited some friends at a nearby campground and we roasted marshmallows. 

I find it interesting how kids want to eat a s'more so fast that they purposely burn the marshmallow just so it gets done faster.  Heck, I guess I know adults who do the same!  I love to slowly roast mine until it's golden brown and super gooey in the middle.  How do you like to roast your marshmallows?

Yesterday my three year old wanted to play t-ball outside and so I told him to get dressed and I'd go out with him.  He comes out of his room wearing a tank top and shorts.  It was 50 degrees outside!  Anyway I told him he'd need a pair of pants over his shorts and a sweatshirt over his tank top and he'd be good to go.  He comes back out of his room with a pair of mesh pants and a sweatshirt.  I was going to help him put his pants on when he said, "Wait I have an idea.  Why don't I put my shorts over my pants."  He really wanted everyone to see he had shorts on and when you have kids especially multiple children you learn to pick your battles so of course I said, "Ok."  So he dressed himself and put his shorts over his mesh pants, put a hooded sweatshirt over his tank top and then put on cowboy boots.  I think he's going to start some sort of fashion trend here!

I baked again this past week and am a bit behind on blogging about it.  I made Cardamom Cookies and they are so delicious.  They are a melt in your mouth shortbread covered with confectioner's sugar and pretty tasty with a tall glass of milk.  Enjoy!

Cardamom Cookies


  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts


  • In a large bowl, cream butter and 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar until smooth. Beat in extract. Combine the flour, cardamom and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in walnuts.
  • Roll into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 15-17 minutes or until edges are golden.
  • Roll warm cookies in remaining confectioners' sugar. Cool on wire racks. Yield: 6 dozen.
"You know what would make a good story?  Something about a clown who makes people happy, but inside he's real sad.  Also, he has severe diarrhea."  Jack Handy

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Passion for Children's Charities

I love charities so I guess I decided to write about them in my blog today.  Being a mom I am especially drawn to charities that are helping children.  Save the Children, St. Jude's, Big Brother Big Sister and March of Dimes are my favorite charities that are helping children in our own country as well as abroad.

Save the Children not only helps children with struggles they face everyday like poverty, illness, hunger and illiteracy but they also aid in disaster relief.  They are the leading independent organization that creates a lasting change in the lives of children in need in the United States and around the world.  You can read more about them at

St. Jude's is a pediatric treatment and research facility that treats children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases.  The children's research hospital was founded in 1962 by entertainer Danny Thomas.  Some time in the 1940's the struggling actor had prayed to St. Jude Thaddeus that if he could show him his way in life he'd one day build a shrine to him.  After becoming an internationally known entertainer Danny remembered his pledge and St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital became the shrine he built for St. Jude.  You can learn more about St. Jude's at

Big Brother Big Sister is a mentoring program that provides children who face adversity with the tools and self confidence necessary to achieve success in life.  This program helps children in America to avoid risky behavior, achieve educational success and learn how to have healthy relationships.  The program started in 1904 with two separate entities; Big Brothers and Catholic Big Sisters.  The two groups joined in 1977 and became Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.  You can read more about this organization at

March of Dimes was originally created by FDR in order to research and fight polio.  Once their research funded the invention of the polio vaccine with ended epidemic polio in the United States their mission focused to preventing birth defects and infant mortality. The March of Dimes has led the way to discover the genetic causes of birth defects, to promote newborn screening, and to educate medical professionals and the public about best practices for healthy pregnancy. 
Since 2003, the March of Dimes' fight to save babies has been strongly characterized by their Prematurity Campaign. The rising incidence of premature birth has demanded action, and the March of Dimes has responded by initiating an intensive, multi-year campaign to raise awareness and find the causes of prematurity.
The March of Dimes is especially near and dear to my heart as I have two nephews who are also brothers who were born prematurely.  One was born 6 weeks early and three years later his brother was born 8 1/2 weeks early!  I've had multiple close friends loose babies after 20 weeks gestation and a friend whose baby, born at 24 weeks gestation, survived!  He is a walking talking miracle baby whose family, like mine, have become advocates for the March of Dimes.  If you'd like to learn more please visit  My family and friends will be marching in the annual March of Dimes walk again this year!

There are a few other children's charities that I am learning more about and will feature them in a separate blog.

"I absolutely believe in the power of tithing and giving back. My own experience about all the blessings I've had in my life is that the more I give away, the more that comes back. That is the way life works, and that is the way energy works."Ken Blanchard

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dad vs. Mom

It seems to me that I can scream until I'm blue in the face and all my husband has to do is say, "Sit down and shut up!" and the kids obey.  I typically have to ask my kids multiple times to do something and my husband only has to ask them once.  I feel like the kids are rotten when they are home alone with me but if I leave and my husband has them alone he tells me they are great.  I think they have more fun with him and I try to tell myself it's because he's around less but in my case that's not necessarily true.

I would consider myself the primary care giver, chauffeur, chef, maid, etc. but my husband is around a lot and helps out too.  I think I get frustrated and flustered easily and he tries to make a game out of everything.  He really is like a big kid and maybe that's why he seems to relate to them better.  When I drive the kids to school I visit with them or we listen to the radio but when my husband drives them they play games.  Their favorite game is where they all guess how many cars they will see on their way to town and then they sit and count each car they see.  Or since there are three ways to get to town from our house he lets them pick which way to town.  It sounds really simple I know but I guess my brain just doesn't think that way.

Now that I'm writing this I think he is the way he is because he is the 'less stressed' parent.  I'm in charge of remembering who goes where and when, and who needs a sack lunch for a field trip, and I pay the bills and send out the birthday cards and the kids' pictures and make the dr. appts and the dentist appts etc.  I think my brain just has way to much crammed in it for me to enjoy a ride to town with three children.

I jokingly told my husband last night that the reason I keep him around is the keep the kids under control and for him to remind me what I did yesterday!  I'm constantly one step a head so I don't forget anything that once the task is done or the day is gone I forget.  I guess some things I have to let go of so I create more room in my head for more information!  He told me I should start doing cross word puzzles or something because he's worried about how bad my memory loss may be in the future.  I have 'mom brain' alright!

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard.  Mother would come out and say, "You're tearing up the grass."  "We're not raising grass," Dad would reply.  "We're raising boys."  ~Harmon Killebrew
Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.  ~Ruth E. Renkel

A father carries pictures where his money used to be.  ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Random Thoughts about Commercials

Have you seen the commercial where they show a guy sitting in a minivan and he says to himself, 'this is a minivan?' and then he thinks, 'this almost makes you want to have kids' until he sees all of the kids running around?  I just think it's hilarious that they are trying to make that minivan appear so cool that even a single guy would want to buy it!  Now I have nothing against minivans, in fact I've owned two in my life and wouldn't mind a third.  It's just like trying to make a person think that a Baby Bjorn comfort carrier is so fashionable that you'd want to wear one even if you didn't have a baby to put in it!

Or what about the paper towel commercials that show a kid spilling milk all over the floor and the mom just smiles and grabs the paper towels and cleans up the mess.  Or the one where the dad and his son are horsing around with a bowl of salsa on the counter and they spill it and the mom walks in and smiles and grabs the paper towels.  I want to know what are those moms are on and where can I get some!!!  There is even one where the mom grabs the sprayer from sink and starts spraying her kid.  Yeah like that would happen at my house intentionally!  "Oh Billy you little turd, stand still while I spray you with water and soak my entire kitchen which I will then clean up with my brand new paper towels."

I love it that Spanx commercials show an one hundred pound woman wearing Spanx as they talk about how slimming they are.  Well they show them on women who DON'T need them.    I've tried something similar to them and since they smoosh everything together the extra skin and fat has to come out somewhere else and it was not attractive.

I love dramatizations on infomercials.  Only an infomercial can make mowing your lawn, chopping an onion, using a blanket or washing your feet look THAT difficult.  I love the one for Easy Feet.  They show a person in the shower holding a wash rag and trying to bend over to wash their feet.  Then they show how easy the East Feet is just by sliding your foot in and out of it as you squeeze an entire bottle of body wash on the Easy Feet.  It's a car wash for your feet.

Well I have been interrupted so many times today that a blog that normally takes me a few minutes to write and post has taken me about ten hours so I guess that's all for today.  Have a nice evening!

"Advertising is legalized lying."  H.G. Wells

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter & Lemon Bars

We always have so much fun at Easter with our family.  The kids look forward to our Easter plans every year.  On one side of the family we stay at a hotel with an indoor water park so the kids can swim with their cousins, we eat pizza and have an Easter egg hunt in our hotel rooms.  On the other side we eat Easter dinner, have an outdoor Easter egg hunt, the kids get to hit a Mexican pinata and we play a really fun game called Flickin Chickin.  Basically you stand a good distance away from a Styrofoam disk and you throw rubber chickens at the disk to see how long it takes you to hit it.  Most of us throw the rubber chickens one at a time but my sister-in-law throws them all at once.  Sometimes I wonder what the neighbors would think if they saw all of us throwing rubber chickens at the ground!

On the way to school Thursday I asked all of my kids what they thought the meaning of Easter was.  My 9 year old son said ,"I think it's the celebration of Jesus coming back to life."  My 11 year old daughter said, "That's what I was going to say." and my 3 year old son said, "I think it's about a bunny laying Easter eggs for me to hunt."  I told him the real meaning of Easter, similar to what his siblings said and I asked him again. "Now what do you think the meaning of Easter is?" and his reply, "Um I still think it's about an Easter bunny laying eggs for me to hunt."  Well all a parent can do is try but our children will think what they want to think!

For Easter last year my mom asked be to bring a dessert.  I decided to try this delicious lemon tart I had gotten out of a French cookbook.  I prepared everything so carefully and it turned out perfect.  I put it in a cake carrier and away we went.  After almost two hours in the car we got to my parents house and my tart had fallen apart!  I was disappointed but since it didn't look pretty didn't mean it wasn't going to taste good and boy did it taste good.  So this year she asked me to make a dessert again and I chose lemon bars this time.  The lemon bars turned out delicious and lemony.  They have a melt in your mouth crust and a burst of lemon in the filling.  The picture of the bars and recipe is below.  I will admit I may have gone overboard on my 'sprinkling' of powdered sugar!  Looking at the picture you would've thought the recipe read..pile each bar with confectioner's sugar. They are so delicious!

Luscious Lemon Bars

For crust:
1 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 stick butter, melted but not hot

For filling:
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. all purpose flour
6 Tbs juice from 2 lemons
2 tsps finely grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray 8 x 8 baking dish well with cooking spray. 
Mix flour, salt, and confectioner's sugar in a bowl, stir in butter to form dough.  Press dough into greased pan and bake until pale golden, about 20 minutes.
While pastry bakes whisk eggs, sugar, flour, lemon juice and zest in a bowl.
Remove pan from oven and add lemon mixture, continue to bake for about 20 minutes longer.  Let cool and then sprinkle with confectioner's sugar if you like.  Enjoy!