Monday, June 30, 2008

So busy!

I can not believe how busy we have been lately.
Having two extra kids here hasn't been that bad honestly. Although, we've been out and about. We are visiting local farms, museums, parks, forest preserves, etc, etc. We've hardly been home! =)

Everyone has been enjoying all the traveling though. So that is definitely a good thing! But I am a bit worn out. And we've been using more gas than usual. It's worth it though.

Today we visited a working 1890's farm. Fabulous experience. All the kids (even my 2 year old) got to do laundry the old fashioned way. They rubbed the spots on the washboard, then put it into the wash tub (which would have normally been full of boiling water but obviously was not today LOL). Then into the rinse tub and then they got to crank it through the ringer and go hang it on the line. We also saw some animals. In the summer kitchen volunteers were canning cherries (I so wanted to jump in, watch them do it, help in an effort to learn from experts and then take some home! But I did not). Their garden was large and growing well. And the kids were able to pick some cherries as well. I know living in the 1890's was hard work - no heat, no air, wood burning stove, etc - but I have to admit, when I visit farms and I see it all, I feel a deep sense of I kind of wish we were more like that today! Crazy, I know. But maybe someday, I'll have my own homestead and can capture some of it - all with indoor plumbing though ;-)

The most interesting part of the day was that my 8 year old wants to become a volunteer there herself! So, we'll see. They run a "farm hands" camp and we told her she could do that next summer and then, after seeing what work she would have to help with, then we'll see what we can arrange. The down side is that if you are under 14 you have to have a parent who volunteers with you and I just don't know that dh or myself could make that commitment. Although, should it come down to it, I would gladly volunteer with her. I just think with the younger kids and the business of dh and I trying to work extra jobs here and there that it's not a possibility in our schedule. But who knows what next year will bring so I haven't told her any of that ;-)

Aside from that, I've been on a major baking kick. Thankfully things cooled down around here at the end of last week. More banana bread has come out of the oven and cupcakes and cookies! I am really loving it =) Next week I am going berry picking and hoping that I can come home with small mountains of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries! Oh my mouth is watering just thinking about it. And we recently unplugged the second freezer since we didn't need it, but I have a feeling when I get done, it will need to be plugged in again! But of course, I will be putting my canning set to good use too (which reminds me I need more jars!)

Not much else here. I truly think that we will be extremely busy through-out most of July! Crazy! So I will try to stop in and say hi, but I will probably be sparse around here.

I know this winter we will have to tone down the driving, scale back on outings, and that we will be in our house a whole lot more. So for the moment, I am trying to take advantage of the nice weather and the willingness of the kids to be out and about right now! =)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fun Contest!

Over at The Secret is in The Sauce (a new to me blog) they are hosting a give away for a pretty decent sized bounce house!
Now, I know. We are supposed to be getting rid of things, but seriously, how great would this be to have during parties or just on that one summer day when you are bored and have nothing else to do?
Anyway, want a chance to win it too - go here and leave a comment and post about the contest on your blog! And if you do win, I hope you'll let me borrow it sometime ROFL!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Getting serious ...

Okay, we are getting serious over here!!!
Operation Purge is a go in our house!
100_4616 100_4615

Right where the entire family will see it multiple times a day - on the door leading to the garage. Because I am serious about this now. I know, it does seem strange to count the number of things, but it seems more fun to get the kids to help get rid of 1000 things than to say get rid of lots of stuff. Because, what is "lots"?
Anyway, if you can see it, it stands at 150 right now (but the tick marks below the number are the things we've purged since making that sign earlier today!).
Anyway, we are all excited about the thought of getting rid of things, but I had to explain to the kids that getting rid of everyday garbage does not count for this! LOL!

Also, I made more jam tonight -
Some yummy strawberry-kiwi jam!! I can't wait to eat it - which I might add we have almost polished off one of the strawberry rhubarb jam jars! LOL I think the family likes it =)

And just to prove exactly how weird I am to you all - this was my dinner tonight:
Potatoes and meatloaf, both cooked inside my grill!! And you should know, the meatloaf was SOOOOO good!! And I love meatloaf, but I hardly ever make it in the summer because it heats up the house way too much. Ha!! Now I can have my meatloaf without heating up the house. This surprised my dh a bit because I have NEVER grilled before in my life. I figured today was a good day to learn though, and much to my relief, it worked! It's exciting to be trying and doing all these new things (well, new to me anyway!).

This summer in general just might go down as one of my most fun/memorable summers ever. The kids and I are exploring more places - mostly around town and close to home. I am getting out of the house and hanging out with other people. I am trying new things and just enjoying a lot of it. And to make it worth it all - the kids are saying how much fun they are having this summer as well. Which is music to this mama's ears!

Alive but busy!

So many things to say and things to share tonight! I'm alive, but I have been keeping busy for sure! So today will be a list of things!

- For father's day (and yes, I stole this from another blog but can't remember which one to link to right now) we did pictures of each child with a letter to spell dad. Here are the three he got:
abigail 100_3525 emma

- I made some very delicious banana bread

- I baked chocolate chip cookies. I was rewarded with my 8 year old telling me "Mom, you should quit your internet job and become a baker because these are so delicious!" Made me feel good, but there will be no baking job in my future LOL

- We ate from our garden for the first time yesterday (lettuce - 3 kinds that included buttercrunch and kale)

- I did my first hot water bath canning and made 7 jars of strawberry rhubarb jam. Up next I think I will try strawberry kiwi but I need more strawberries! Amazingly enough, all the lids were sealed properly which I wasn't expecting on this round!

- I finished one UFO up. What was supposed to be one oven mitt (that wouldn't have worked and would have only been decorative) but I turned it into two pot holders - no pictures yet, but maybe soon!

- lots of softball and my 8 year old pitched (first time this season) and actually wasn't bad at all! Last year she couldn't even get the ball over the plate, so the fact that she did this year and threw some strikes as well is just awesome =)

- I am decluttering the house. I am serious this time (yeah, yeah, I know I've said it before but I really mean it this time). My goal, which comes from a conversation over at The Motherhood, is to purge 1000 things by the time summer ends. So I started tonight and nerd that I am, I counted most of it and am at 65 things. Not off to a bad start I don't think! Of course, I am not counting the children's toys and the other day we purged those. I'm gonna guess we got rid of a couple hundred things then. We filled 4 45 gallon trash bags of toys and still have plenty left. For a few hours last week, my living room looked like this:
Boy, did that feel good!! I'm not sure about this whole 1000 things though. I really hope I can do it, but am nervous. My first thought was to do only 100, but that wouldn't be much of a challenge really. It will be good to do though. We simply have too many things and need to learn to do without and really toss the things we aren't using.

- My husband finished making my composter and we've already begun to put things into it. I am thinking we might fill it up faster than we originally planned - but that's okay =) I'm so excited to finally have it and be able to put things into it! Yeah!

Other things:
- I still hate my hair (I told you I'd talk about it a lot!!)
- I am working very limited hours on my weekend job now - which kind of stinks because smaller pay check, but it is nice to have more hours as a family
- I will babysit for 2 (very lovely) girls from this Wednesday to next Wednesday so I'm sure that will keep me busy!
- The kids are currently undergoing 3 separate reading challenges so there is a lot of reading going on at our house - but that's a good thing =)
- Saturday we are having the softball team over to our house for a little party
- Piano with the kids is going well. They still like it and are excited to practice!
- Met the new neighbor the other day. She seems so nice and I hope we can become friends!

I think that wraps it up for here for now. Hope everyone else is well ... I haven't been doing a good job of checking blogs lately but hopefully next week I can get a chance to peak in on everyone - right before we leave for vacation!! Woo-hoo!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A wish list ....

I had stumbled upon a little bit ago and then promptly forgot about it.
Today, being that I still am not feeling that great and had yet another bad day, I went back to the site and created a pretty decent wish list!
Anyway, if you are on the lookout for patterns or how-to's in the form of e-books, go visit the site and take a gander at my wish list because I think I have some pretty good items on it LOL!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I've had a very bad last couple of days. It seems all that can go wrong, has gone wrong. And I'm really just feeling in a very blah mood. To top it off, I feel like I'm getting sick right now.
My motivation to do anything at all has completely left me and so I'm probably going to be MIA for a few days. And I need to find that motivation because I need to work on projects that MUST be done, and done very soon!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Law of Attraction

Today's Oprah show is about the Law of Attraction ... which according to Wikipedia (which seemed as good of place as any to look it up) is:

That is, a person's thoughts (conscious and unconscious), emotions, and beliefs cause a change in the physical world that attracts positive or negative experiences that correspond to the aforementioned thoughts, with or without the person taking action to attain such experiences. This process has been described as "harmonious vibrations of the law of attraction"[1], or "you get what you think about; your thoughts determine your experience".[2]

So, I am not completely opposed to this concept. I mean, really, when not taken to extremes (as in not getting medical treatment because you think if you just think positively will just heal you) isn't necessarily a bad thing. Really, who among us probably couldn't stand to think more positively?!

The thing that bothers me the most is that I really and truly believe this concept can only exist in America (or in any other industrialized nation). They talk about making a vision board. They also mention that you have to let go of the want and not be like I really really really really really want it for this process to work.

Now, let's think about that for an instance. Think about the poorest of the poor in the world - areas of the world where there isn't enough food or water and there are lots of medical issues. Are you really going to sit there and tell that if there is a mother there and she creates a vision board and let's go of really really really really really wanting to feed her family - that food will start to appear? A) How in the world is she going to make this vision board? With what materials? and B) is that feeling something you can really let go of?

I just don't buy it. I don't buy the entire world can make their lives better and get what they need just by thinking positive thoughts.

That's not to say, I don't think positive thoughts in of themselves are bad. I just hate how they present it in a Field of Dreams kind of concept - if you wish it, it will come! But wait, you have to wish it just right. And you have to do it just the way they say to do it. Well, I hate to say it, but I think the "rules" around how to positively think are just ways to assure people who are being positive and still not getting basic necessities that really, it must be because they are doing it wrong.

I just want them to step up and say - being positive is worth it. It makes life a lot better to get through. Wanting better and wanting more gets us to move forward and to make lives better. But just because you want it, doesn't mean you will get it and I don't think you can apply the theory to all areas of the world.

Just my 2 cents!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

More Hair Talk ...

Because I will talk about it by far way too much for the next few weeks.
I woke up this morning and I hate it more than I did last night.
This is what I think ... the total length, I'm fine with. In fact, I kind of like the length it is actually. It feels cool and I think it's sort of cutish.
What I am HATING is the layers that were put in. The layers are MUCH MUCH too short.
I know why she gave me layers. My hair is incredibly thick. It really looks better with layers. Except I usually get long layers - which means that the layers aren't that much shorted than the length of my hair.
I really really really wish that is what would have been done last night. The shortest layers are what I hate the most. When the layers are pulled back - I really like my hair. Although, interestingly enough, my husband thinks it's worse LOL
I appreciate the nice comments about how it looks. But my husband and an (honest) friend both agree that the cut might not be the one for me.
The good news is that I think a couple of inches will make a difference, and since the average person's hair grows at 1/2 inch per month, that means in a few months I should be much happier with it. And if I'm not ... you will eventually see a post about hair extensions, because I am not opposed to them at all at this point.
And also, I am not too embarrassed to admit, I googled hair growth formulas and I just might try out one of the vitamins and see if it in fact does make a difference!

I know, I know - it's just hair right? But when you hate how it looks, it is in fact not just hair. It's the thing on top of your head that you cringe at everytime you glance in a mirror!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The New Haircut ...

Well, my daughters and I have been growing our hair out for Locks of Love for 18 months now. We all decided last week it was finally time to get it cut. So I booked the appointment, and tonight, all three of us (together) had our hair chopped off.

The before shot:

The during shot:

(I might add the stylists were all nice enough to make those cuts with us standing by each other so that my husband could take some shots of it. We kind of were the buzz of the salon because the three of us were getting the hair cut together for the purpose of donation!)

After (from the back):

After (from the front):

A little background here.
My (now) 8 year old is the one who suggested we do this. The (now) 6 year old was all over doing it too - not that she understood really what we were doing 100% but she knew she would have long hair, then short hair, and help another child out - which is enough knowledge I think! So, at that point I jumped in to say I would do it too.
I am glad I did it with girls. I think it made charity seem a lot better for them, because not only did I support them, but I did it with them - if that makes sense. I will proudly mail all our ponytail's in and it felt good to do this.

However, all of that said, I really hate my hair right now. Ugh. I just want to cry and not leave the house. I know right now it might be shock of getting so much chopped off talking. And the best news, it will grow back again - which is fabulous! But, as if me not liking it wasn't enough, my husband admitted he didn't like it either. Ugh. Here's praying it grows back quickly!

On the up side, I would be open to doing this again. But next time, I will grow my hair much longer so that when I get it cut, I have more length that stays on my head LOL!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kids Clean Up and Clean Out!

**This is a post originally from April 13, 2007. It used to be posted on another blog I had, but I wanted to move it over here so that it can be seen. And also, I need to do it again, so it's good motivation LOL!

This, my dear readers, is how my front room looked this afternoon.

Today, at my house, we did a toy sort. Now, this was completed today for a variety of reasons:
  1. We have more toys than this house can hold without looking messy and uncluttered.
  2. I feel extremely motivated to thin the toys because most of them will be housed in the basement and since I am organizing my basement for the 30 Day Organizational Challenge, this went a long way to help for that
  3. My dh has been requesting I take time to do this for, oh, a month now?
I know it looks scary. I promise, it's even scarier in person, however this is the most effective way I have found to clean house with the toys so to speak. Is to start by creating a large pile of junk somewhere in the house. Preferable a place with space and room to walk around and spread out. You get the toys in a pile and you get boxes to help with the sort. You also get a garbage bag and a box for donations.

Essentially after we create the pile I say:
Okay, go through and find all the books! And they do.
Then I say "Now look for all the Barbie things" And they do.
Common things we search for: stuffed animals, books, polly pockets, barbie dolls, Little Man's toys, kitchen things, things that should really be in their room, the blocks, the cars, etc ...

It works quite effectively actually because when they see how much they have of, oh say, barbies, we can decide to throw away all the mismatched shoes, half of the brushes, dolls that have been broken, clothes that have ripped. I found if we just do this randomly they argue to keep things more. This way it's all there, in front of them, easy for them to see that they do have 15 brushes might be a bit much and really they could live with about 5.

Trying to get them to part with things just here and there when I see it tends to cause them to say "No! You can't get rid of it! It's my favorite!" or I hear "It's the only one I have." or the ever-used "No! It's very special to me!" Now, I still hear that when we do it this way .. however I can say "No, it's not the only one you have. We just made a pile of 23." or I can say "Well, this other one was your favorite too. So look hard, which one is really your favorite?" or I can say "This, this is special to you? I haven't seen you play with it in months and it sat at the bottom of the box for a long time. Is it really special? If it is you can keep it, but maybe it's not as special as the ones you've already decided to keep" Usually that gets them to part with things with less whining.

And then when you are all done, you can step back and admire: The finished product! How nice does that look? We have have a few empty boxes, which is amazing as all boxes were over-flowing when we started and they brought down toys from their room that weren't in boxes. The only thing that is not shown or the books which were taken to the book case straight away.
[Although, I must admit, we are not fully done. The one box on the floor next to the blue finger puppet stage, actually has the last bits we need to sort through. However, they did such a good job and Little Man was starting to make it hard, that when I saw how little was left, we put it into a box and will sort through it tomorrow and hopefully with daddy home, Little Man can be taken to another room!]

The bins with their items

And here, is our donation pile. That's a lot of toys we decided to part with today. We also had one bag of garbage, broken toys, or toys that were not in any condition to be donated!

And there is my toy sort. And it feels good to get it done. I have found homes for about half of it so far. Dh and I will be looking at other furniture soon and hopefully will buy a nice home for the rest of it! Most of them came from the basement area I am working on, and doing this goes a long way to helping me get the basement organized!

9 years ...

Today marks the 9th anniversary of my marriage to my darling husband!


It's been an exciting 9 years honestly. 3 kids, one college graduation, 3 moves, 2 businesses started up, 2 businesses closed down, days where we barely had pennies to survive, vacations together, and so much more. We've been blessed and lucky in so many ways. We did have the most picture perfect start in our marriage. I was 20 weeks pregnant when we said I do, and we had to move in with my parents because we did not have enough money to survive on our own. But, we have loved each other the whole time. Yeah, we've had a few rough spots - but we weathered them.
And I can say I truly love my husband with all my heart - he is a wonderful man, a great husband, a fabulous father. I feel so lucky to be married to him! As I like to tell him all the time, he's just awesome! =)
So, to my dear husband - happy anniversary! =)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

My garden ...

My garden has suddenly sprung into action. Things are growing, and most of it VERY quickly. All seeds have now sprouted (we were worried about the carrots, but alas, they have popped up!).

My mouth waters as I look at it - hoping for a good yield of yummy vegetables as the summer continues on. No fruits for us this year. We do have strawberry plants, but chances are they won't grow anything until next year, or the year after. I wish things would start sprouting now, but I also know good things come to those who wait!

But, along with all the plants growing - the weeds are growing as well! I need to get in there and pull those suckers out! Except it rained a lot yesterday and so tomorrow, hopefully the ground will be a bit dryer and I can get out there and take care of those pesky little weeds. Surprisingly, I am looking forward to it.

This might be the first time I have ever been excited to weed - but something happened this year while I was planting the garden. I fell in love with the earth, with the plants, with the soil. And my garden feels like my baby. And I want to tend it and take care of it and keep it growing! And so tomorrow I will go out there (hopefully) and take care of my newest little baby. I will admire the plants growing and dream about all the wonderful items that will be on our table soon because of our hard work in the garden over the course of the summer!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

For Fun ...

I've seen this on a couple blogs, so I took the test: What's Your Mothering Style?

Your type is: intp —The “Love of Learning” Mother
“I keep the encyclopedia in the kitchen so we can look up things together while we eat.”

  • Intellectually curious and patient, the INTP mother relishes those times with a child when they are learning something interesting together. Whether they’re at the zoo or computer terminal, she sparks to answering his or her “whys” with in-depth responses or new knowledge.
  • The INTP mother is also objective and introspective. She listens to and discusses children’s ideas and questions as she would those of a peer, fostering self-esteem and confidence. Open and non-directive, she allows children the freedom to do for themselves and quietly encourages them to believe they can do it.
  • Independence, autonomy, intellectual development, and self-reliance are probably the INTP’s highest priorities for her children. An avid reader, she naturally imparts an appreciation and love of reading as well.
  • Drawn to all types of learning, the INTP may also value her mothering experience for all the new insights about life it provides her.
I think it's pretty close to being accurate (which I rarely feel when I read some of what these quizzes show).
If you take it, let me know what kind of mom you are! =)

So Sad ...

Last week a dear friend of mine moved away. It is unlikely we will be able to see each other for quite sometime. For the moment, we have only the internet and phone to keep in touch. And she is in the middle of getting set up and reconnected and so she is temporarily unavailable.
But this is the kind of friend that - at least for me - doesn't come along very often. Don't get me wrong, I have a LOT of great friends for sure that I love to hang out with and be around - but this was more than that for me. I could (and did) tell her anything and everything. I could tell her the good, the bad, the ugly - all of it - and she listened. And didn't judge. And in many ways understood in ways that most people can't - because she had been there or pretty close to there.
And frankly, it sucks completely! And I miss her.
But her husband is still looking for a job (the reason they had to leave because his stupid company laid him off) and I just pray that he can find work back in this area and before too long they will be back again. And she will be over at my house. And the kids can play and we can talk. And this will just feel like she went on a kind of long vacation!