Monday, August 31, 2009

Grocery Shopping 101: Surviving the Aisles and Saving One's Sanity

Grocery shopping…it can be that one little thread that when pulled a bit too much unravels the tightly knitted pieces of one’s sanity.

Nothing can seem quite as stressful as loading into the car, driving to the local grocery mega-mart, attempting to locate the one cart in a sea of 57 that does not have a squeaky wheel, finding needed items, saying "No" approximately 2,251 times if shopping with children, purchasing groceries, racing home before the ice cream melts, and then realizing upon unloading all the goods that somehow three of the most desperately needed items were never purchased...(to read more, please go here)

Last Summer Jaunt of "09

Last week the children and I had one last summer vacation and went to visit my family. The husband joined us for the first part of the trip, but had to return home to work part of the week (only after partaking in his favorite pizza buffet of all times).

The children had great fun at Nanny and PopPop's house, enjoying new (to them) toys, new friends and cooler temperatures (we could actually play outside after 11am without fear of heat stroke. Yippee!).

A unique thing about my parents' particular part of their neighborhood is that no one has privacy fences around their backyards. My children come from an area where EVERYONE installs a fence and therefore backyards are merely kept to the family that owns them. This is not so in my parents' neighborhood. Children roam aimlessly from yard to yard, with spontaneous baseball games breaking out and bicycle gangs forming everyday after school.

Because my parents have a swingset and a fairly large yard (which happened by mistake...don't get my father started about their lot woes), children seem to descend mainly to their backyard. Words cannot even express how thrilling this is to our two little children. Not only do Nanny and PopPop have a swingset, AND cooler weather...they also appear to have instant playmates as well!

Isaac could barely sleep in anticipation of going outside to join the others on the swingset. Evelyn basked in the nurturing glow that only nine year old girls can give to a toddler whom they still deemed to be a baby. I only had to pull out my "mean mama" voice a few times when things got a bit out-of-control at times (the spare baseball that came within inches of hitting another small child).

It was good times and I think the children missed the fenceless yard this morning as they were enjoying their own backyard. I doubt the single lady who lives behind us would be too fond of me ripping down the fence that separates our yards and allowing the children to run free between the two spaces.

I took a few pictures during the course of our visit...

My mom rolled E.'s hair one day and it looked adorable. I think I snapped about 46 pictures of her in curlers.

Playing outside on the driveway...sister making brother pull her in the wagon. At home, she makes him push her in our Little Tikes cozy coupe. I hope her future husband is a patient, patient man....

We visited the park of my childhood one morning and "hiked" up to the public pool. The children were not very interested in me attempting to tell tales about all the hours I spent in that pool...they simply complained that it was closed at the time.

As discussed on another post, the family enjoyed a day on the lake in the family boat. I am not a huge fan of boating and was nervous about taking two small children out on the lake, but I survived. Everyone had a blast and both kids really loved their time on the "ocean".

Isaac was all about helping drive the boat, pull in the tubers and inspecting things on the dock when we fueled up with gas. Such a boy.

Both kids got on the intertube and had an excellent time. Miss E. jumped on without any hesitation, having fun with just Tobe and then with Tobe and myself. Isaac was a bit more hesitant, but finally decided to give it a try. Once he got on he exclaimed, "Wow, this IS fun." Silly kid.

Tobe and I realized that in all the years we have known each other and in our eight years of marriage, we have never gone to the lake together. We tubed together several times, which is a great marital bonding experience as we flew over the water together. The real test of our marriage vows was when Tobe thought it would be funny to let go and simply hold on to my waist while we were being pulled at top speed. Silly me thought his grip had slipped and that I was now having to hold onto the tube for both of us. We eventually fell off the tube, skidding across the water in fits of laughter. I believe all marital counseling should require couples to partake in such activities.

How are you wrapping up the summer?

Friday, August 28, 2009


When Isaac was a baby I remember thinking sometimes, "How will I fill my day today?" There were the obvious tasks of cleaning, of cooking, of giving bottles, of playing with the baby toys, and of putting down and getting the boy up from naps. All of those things are obviously "busy" type things, but some days I craved something a little more exciting and a little less "mommy-ish."

Then a few months later, I became pregnant with Evelyn and shortly after that (nine months to be exact) she arrived and the days have been filled ever since. It is typically good busyness, not always so "mommy-ish" and is entirely different from those early days of just being home with a sweet little baby.

Take today for example.

Today I have driven back (hopefully successfully and with little drama...I am actually typing this on Thursday evening and setting it to post on Friday afternoon.) to casa de phillips from my hometown. I have navigated six hours in the car with two small children. I have likely reminded myself that a dear friend has driven six hours in the car with three small children (one a nursing infant) and a dog, so therefore I can do it with just my little crew. I have also likely eaten my weight in teddy grahams.

Upon arriving home, my crew will be sent off for naps (my children appear to be unable to sleep in the car. Odd, huh? Even as babies they never slept in the car.) while I unpack the car. I will then turn around and repack the car with a variety of things I am selling in a local consignment sale.

In the late afternoon the husband will arrive home. I will greet him warmly considering we have been apart for three days. I will then set off to drop-off my items at said consignment sale and then work a four hour shift at said consignment sale.

I most likely will sleep a very deep sleep tonight.

On Saturday I will arise early to partake of the grocery shopping because the cupboards are beyond bare at casa de phillips. The husband will get his hair cut. Then we will pack a tasty lunch and set out for the local pool. It will be the last pool day of the summer of 2009 so we hope to enjoy it greatly.

After a few hours in the sun, we will head back home to put the children down for naps. I will change clothes quickly and leave for the consignment sale. There I will stake my claim in line and wait patiently for my turn to shop.

Many bargains will be found and I will return home to a family in need of supper and attention. Children will be fed, bathed, and put to bed and the husband will start the laundry. Perhaps I will unpack. Or put the groceries away. Or stare at the wall mumbling senseless phrases.

It is a good busy, a blessing to be able to partake in a variety of events in the next 72 hours.

But it is a whirlwind.

What kind of whirlwind is blowing through your life right now?


As I mentioned above, the children and I were out of town this whole past week. I didn't say much on the blog as to prevent thieves from attempting to steal our one lone television or my $7 clock radio (the laptop, ipods and jewelery are with us...sorry!). So, yes we have been out of town and are back home now.

I have been dying to share a few pictures from our week. Here are just a few from our family adventure on the lake. Details and stories to follow soon...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Tale of Survival and Smocked Dresses: One mother's attempt to navigate a consignment sale

Watches were repeatedly checked to see if the appropriate time had arrived. Eyes shifted about cautiously, assessing the competition. Legs and arms were stretched, ensuring that muscles were warm and limber.

Surveying this group of women (and one lone man) that had convened in the halls of the Plano Centre, one might think these mamas were getting ready to begin a 5k race or compete in a great physical feat of motherhood. No one would suspect these women were preparing to do some serious back-to-school shopping..(To read more, go here)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Last week I posted on Facebook, "Just purchased new planner. Giddy over filling it in." Well apparently said giddiness went to the extreme as I have been cramming a variety of activities, to-do lists, and events into said planner.

That being said, I have yet to complete my big back-to-school organization project that I mentioned a few weeks ago. Lucky for me, preschool does not begin until after Labor Day (thus postponing "Back to School" time for the phillips family for a few more weeks) so hopefully I can finish this project before sending the children off to school.

I started this particular project full of organizational steam, ready to jump in there and get it completed. However, in the early stages I hit a sort-of detail roadblock and have been stumbling ever since to get the project completed. Fortunately this project can be easily tucked out of sight so the husband is not subjected to looking at its lack of completion on a daily basis (Tobe has lived through many projects with me, including the year I attempted to hand sequin Christmas ornaments for our entire family and the various times scrapbook projects have overcome the kitchen table for weeks on end. Bless his heart.).

Also, there is that pesky thing called "Summer" that keeps distracting me from my task as well.

In the meantime, I have one more giveaway for my blog readers. I happen to have one more Household Management Binder in my possession and would love to give it away. To enter, just leave a comment and tell me about a project around your house that currently lies dormant and needs to be finished. This particular contest will close NEXT Monday, with winners be announced a week from today (I should look up the actual date of next Tuesday to be all official...but I am too lazy to reach over and pull my nifty new planner from my purse.)

Good Luck!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Is Elmo Clipping Coupons?

It is no secret that the United States is in the middle of a recession. Nightly news reports are covering how people can "Survive in '09" while various publications are covering tips for families to stretch their beloved dollars just a bit further. Such coverage of hard economic times is even dripping down into children's programming, all the way to 123 Sesame Place. On September 9th at 8:00pm, PBS will air a primetime special called, "Families Stand Together: Feeling Secure in Tough Times." (to read more, go here)

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Girl and Her Hair

When E. was just a tiny thing of two months old, the top portion of her hair fell out. Every morning when I would stumble bounce into her room, I would find more pieces of dark brown hair strewn all over her crib sheets.

For a mama who had visions of thick hair and large bows (and who happened to be just a tiny bit sleep deprived), such discoveries in the morning were a bit much.

Tobe and I contemplated shaving her sweet little head because she was starting to resemble a balding man with hair only growing on the sides. Fortunately we held off on that decision and were pleasantly surprised when hair began filling in on Miss E.'s crown once again.

Two years later and Miss E. is still attempting to grow that hair. Although her baldy days are far behind us, we are still waiting for patches of her hair to catch up with their fellow follicles.

Even in her toddler state, Miss E. has a bit of a love/hate relationship with her hair. She comes by it naturally as her mother has found herself in the same boat many a day. Upon waking, one of the first commands out of E.'s mouth are "Where's my bow?" as she uses a pudgy hand to push the stray hair from her eyes. Her bedhead is a sight to behold, with long strands of it masking her face while the back portion sticks straight up.

I can pretty much guarantee her that she will never be a "wash and go" type gal, with easily manageable hair that can simply be combed and look fabulous for the day (Her father just groaned over that sentiment, as it means one day he will be sitting around waiting on two people to fix their hair before anyone can leave the house).

Often times, I will grab E.'s hair into a bunch, slap a bow in it, and let her find her spot at the breakfast table. After the standard whole wheat waffle and yogurt have been consumed (yes, she has eaten the same breakfast every morning since the beginning of time. Yes, we keep Stonyfield Farms in business), she gets dressed and enters the bathroom to have the hair tamed.

The hair styling process is relatively simple. I ask E. if she would like one bow or two and occasionally let her choose the color. Then I hand her an empty medicine cup, turn the sink on low and get to work.

I begin the process by wetting the hair and then attempting to undo the bird's nest that she apparently works so hard on for eight hours a night to achieve on the back of her head. Then I pull out a little product (she likely is the only kid at preschool sporting name brand product in her hair...but it works, people) and the torture brush.

I then get to work attempting to coax surly hair strands into some sort of order while trying to convince E. that this is the MOST. Fun. Ever. I silently groan over the fact that the left side of her hair wants to flip out (just like her mama's) while the right side obediently goes the correct direction. After a brief session with the brush of torture, I fix the bows and send a bouncy little girl out the door.

Tuesday morning as we were nearing the end of this process, E. looked up and examined herself in the mirror. I watched her study her own reflection carefully, eyeing the girl that stared back. As I was putting the finishing touches on the requested hairstyle of pigtails that morning, I watched that studious expression turn positively gleeful as my little girl exclaimed, "Oh Mommy, I have long hair now!"

Welcome to the maddening world of hair, little girl. There will be days when it looks so radiant (such as Tuesday as it was held back in perky red bows) that it will cause you to smile every time you glimpse your reflection in a passing mirror. There will be other days when you will wonder why it is not straight or curly or long or short or blonder or darker. Then there will be those dark days when I most likely will convince you to take on some hairstyle, claiming it suites your face shape. Those will likely be very dark days, as you silently curse the hairstyle your mother forced upon you.

For now, simply enjoy those pigtails, baby girl. You wear them so well.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Time-out Woes

Time-out appears to be a simple concept. Child misbehaves. Parent becomes frustrated. Child is sent to the corner. Repeat. This scenario has been replayed countless time in movies, books and parenting magazines. Time-out seems simple enough, but often times winds-up being an ineffective form of discipline leaving both parent and child frustrated...(to read more, go here).

Monday, August 17, 2009

The perfect combo of blogging and cooking

It is no secret that I love to cook.

It also is not a secret that I love to blog (Hello, post #759!).

Therefore it should come as no surprise that I have been eagerly anticipating taking a break and heading to the movies to catch "Julie and Julia." Although familiar with Julie Powell's blog and book (from which the movie was partially based was also based on Julia Child's book "My Life in France"), I had yet to read either before going to the movies yesterday with that cute husband of mine.

The movie was delightful, simply delightful. It inspired me to come home and blog and cook and then blog some more.

The premise of the movie is based around the true story of a girl named Julie who decides to blog her way through Julia Child's cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in one year. The movie also tells the story of Julia Child's time spent in France and how she became a cooking phenomenon. Nora Ephron managed to combine these two stories into an excellent tale of two women discovering themselves through food and writing.

Did I mention the movie was just delightful?

Although Julie Powell's idea of cooking through a cookbook in 365 days and blogging about it is quite inventive, others have tested the "365 days" waters and blogged their stories as well. Below are some links to other blogs taking similar challenges.

The Uniform Project: 1 Dress, 365 Days (This is a new one and it is for a great cause!)


Julie Powell's blog entry about the death of Julia Child (warning...JP likes to throw out some colorful language at times)

What is something you would do (if you had the time, energy, patience, creative juices) for 365 days and blog about it?

Back to School Time!

As children prepare for going back to school in our area, I wanted to share some wise advice from a few teachers about what parents can do to make such a transition easier on their kids.

What Elementary school teachers want parents to know

What High School teachers want parents to know

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Address Book: Lisa

Meal Plan: Shelley

Household notebook: Tzel

Congratulations to the above winners! I wish I had enough to give to everyone...but I don't. However, I do have ONE more thing to give-away next week after I *hopefully* make a big reveal of one more organization project I have been working one.

For the winners above, please email me your address at and I will get your prize in the mail to you!

Thanks for everyone's participation!

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Day at the Park

Yesterday the children and I set sail for a local amusement park to enjoy some time with friends. We live in a rather large area with a semi-famous amusement park but did not seek out any adventure there. Instead we headed out for a small, cozy, and a bit antiquated park on the other side of town.

We enjoyed our time there (along with the other 12 people in attendance...not really a busy place) and even survived the summer heat. The children took a boat out for a spin

And raced their cars around the track (at quite a zippy little speed, I might add. My friend and I were laughing over just how fast this "kiddie" ride actually went).

We rode a train and a carousel as well. Can I just say that as a parent I really am not a fan of the carousel? My children are still at an age where they need an adult to ride standing next to them. The carousel yesterday had no safety straps, no ropes to hang onto, and no bars to grip. I suppose one was simply supposed to hold onto the plastic mane of their beloved horse and ride into the wind.

After finding two horses together that met with both children's standards, I placed them on their stallions and then attempted to hold on to both of them to prevent the three of us from becoming a story on the 6 o'clock news. E. was wearing a swimsuit and cover-up (therefore sliding everywhere on her plastic horse) and Isaac was not a fan of his mother holding onto him. All the while I was attempting to steady them while not becoming dizzy from the tight turns of the carousel. I was thankful when the 45 second ride came to an end and we could continue on with our amusement park journey.

After our ticket stash was depleted, our group set out for the pool. The kiddie pool is advertised as being three feet deep, yet it came to Isaac's chin. This did not phase the boy who waded out into the "deep" end. Fortunately there were only two other people in the massive pool (it is huge) so I was able to keep a close eye on the boy and his high water antics. Earlier this summer Isaac fell into a regular pool without wearing a life jacket. Fortunately I was right there in the pool and scooped him up, but the experience has made him a bit nervous in bigger pools. Yesterday was a great exercise in letting the boy be courageous while stifling my tendency to hover all the while attempting to keep everything on a safe level. I ask you, why was such a skill not taught in my child preparedness class?

Swimming was a success (even after my friend and I discovered a large section of the pool had stuff growing on the bottom. Hello, crypto virus!), we enjoyed a lunch picnic, and then swam some more before calling it a day.


As someone mentioned, I am the queen of give-aways this week. I have one more thing to giveaway, but I am going to hold off on that until next week. However, feel free to enter any and all of the give-aways I am hosting. Winners will be announced tomorrow (possibly in the morning...most likely in the afternoon. The phillips family likes to spend Saturday mornings by the pool.)

Good luck!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Give-Away: Address Book Edition

In the six years I was in college (four in undergrad, two in graduate school) and in the first two years of marriage, I moved a lot. My phone number changed multiple times, my address changed, and even my zip code was altered quite a bit during those years. After such moves, my poor mother would always pull out her address book, cross out the old phone number, and pencil in my new contact information. I think one of the reasons she was glad that I got married was that she could start updating my address and phone numbers on a new letter of the alphabet.

Fortunately I think her address book may have recovered considering the fact the husband and I have lived in the same place for seven years now.

Just in case one of you owns an address book filled with jumbled scribbles and tattered pages, I am giving away a new address book by Parents magazine. This feisty orange book is a great place to house all of one's important address and phone numbers. It is small enough to fit inside a bag or to store in the car (although I never advocate talking on the phone and driving. I am just saying.). The address book also comes with a one year subscription to Parents magazine.

For a chance to win this great address book, leave a comment and let me know how many moves you have made over the last ten years. Winners will be drawn randomly on Saturday morning. Again, feel free to enter as many as these give-aways as you want this week. Comments close Friday evening.

Good Luck!

What Elementary School Teachers want Parents to Know

School supply lists are popping up in all local retail stores as back-to-school time rapidly approaches. Parents are carefully checking off each item, ensuring that their child is prepared for the upcoming school year. Before sending children back to school this month... (to read more, go here).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Another Giveaway!

Yesterday as I was putting the finishing details on lunchboxes for the children to take to their summer program, I asked Isaac if he would like a sandwich or a hot dog placed in his box (TIP: Pack everything you can in a lunchbox the night before school. I attempt to pack everything except the perishable items such as fruit and sandwiches.). He opted for barbecue chicken. I am relatively sure he was the only child at his preschool yesterday munching on a container of homemade BBQ chicken.

Isaac did not know of his love for this type of chicken until a few months ago. He has spent most of dinnertime playing rather than eating that particular evening and then suddenly was struck with hunger once bedtime rolled around. I cannot bear to send a child to bed hungry when we have a pantry full of food but I also do not want them to think supper foods are an option that can easily be substituted for snack food at a later time. So, at casa de phillips if you do not eat your supper and are suddenly overcome with hunger pains later in the evening you are more than welcome to eat the leftovers from supper that are in the fridge.

That is what Isaac had to do one evening with some BBQ chicken and realized that he loved it....even if it is cold and served straight out of the fridge at bedtime.

An easy way to prepare BBQ chicken is to put about three plump chicken breasts in a crock-pot, lightly salt and pepper them, and then cover them with store-bought BBQ sauce. Sometimes I whip up my own sauce, but usually when I pull out the crock-pot it is because I am in a time-crunch and I need something quick and easy.

Turn the crock-pot on low and let that chicken cook for about 5-6 hours. Thirty minutes before supper time, shred the chicken with a fork and add a bit more sauce.

We use this type of chicken on hamburger buns, inside tortillas, and on top of baked potatoes. You can even use it to top a pizza or rest it on of a bed of rice. Yum, Yum!

What is an easy recipe your family loves that is great for hectic days? Share the details in the comments and you will have a chance at winning this adorable meal planner from Parents:
This meal-planner has some recipes tucked inside already and comes equipped with a tear-out shopping list, freezer labels, and sleeves for magazine clippings. It also comes with a free one year subscription to Parents magazine, one of my all-time favorites.

To enter just leave a comment sharing the details of a favorite recipe (or you can link to one on your blog). Everyone is welcome to participate, not just those who have a blog. Also, feel free to enter this contest even if you entered the one on Monday! Comments will close on Friday evening and the winner will be announced on Saturday!

Good Luck and hurry before you miss out!

psst...I have something else to give-away later in the week. Don't miss out!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The mommy blogging industry: friend or foe?

These days more mothers are sitting down behind a computer keyboard to ask their parenting questions, share their amusing child anecdotes, and chat with fellow moms rather than doing so over a cup of coffee at the kitchen table. Such communication is mainly being accomplished through the world of mommy blogs...(to read more, go here)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fear the craft cabinet no more!

Allow me to introduce you to the phillips family laundry room cabinets.

They appear to be the standard laundry room cabinet set-up.
However, when one decides to open said cabinets one likely fears for one's life. Take a look for yourself...

I have been victim to a stray glue bottle or a forgotten flashlight falling from these cabinets on more than one occasion. My favorite times are when something really loud, such as a large metal container, falls and crashes into the washing machine during a time when the children are sleeping just a few feet away. Lovely.

Today I decided this chaos in the laudry room had to go. I pulled out some trash bags and got to work. My motto is "When in doubt, throw it out." I tossed lots of old scrapbooking supplies and crafting odds and ends that were older than my children. I also set aside some crafting items not being used here at casa de phillips to donate to the children's preschool.

After awhile the laundry room cabinets finally had some order and were no longer posing a risk to our personal safety.

Apparently we fear a light bulb shortage here at casa de phillips because the whole left side of the second shelf is light bulbs. The crazy this is that we use halogen bulbs that are supposed to last for years so the stockpiling of lighting equipment really makes no sense at all.

Want to know what the children were doing while I was busy organizing?

Well, they were apparently on a quest to destroy the last place I recently organized...E's closet. At least they had fun playing (they did not have quite as much fun cleaning up this Little People metroplex they built).

What back to school projects are you trying to get done in these final weeks of summer? Leave a comment and let us know what is going on at your house as everyone prepares to head back to school. On Saturday I will randomly select a winner from the comments. The person chosen will receive a new household reference book made by Parents! This is a great prize for those desiring a household notebook but prefer not to make it themselves.

Good Luck! Comments will close on Friday evening for this contest.

Blog with Integrity

Lately I have been doing some research on Mommy blogging for an article I am writing. Seems this is a hot topic, some of it spurned by recent questionable activities by high-volume bloggers (I shudder to use the word "famous"). Mommy blogging is big business, especially for people generating heavy traffic on a daily basis (meaning 3,000+ hits a day....savethephillipsfamily is not close to generating such visitors). It is rumored that one of the top Mommy bloggers out there brings in $40,000 a month from her blog (I believe she said this on Oprah to be fact, but cannot find a link to verify this statement. I do know her husband quit his job to work on her blog.)

I am not against Mommy blogging (obviously) nor am I against all the advertising and give-aways done through such websites (I am hosting a few giveaways myself this week...Stay Tuned!). Because this is a relatively new advertising source, there have been no restrictions placed on blogs.

Until now.

Word is that change is coming to the blogworld. Some mommy bloggers have taken the initiative to demonstrate that their blogs are 100% genuine...that they are simply telling their story, conveying information, or providing a service to their readers. They may or may not accept ad revenue, they may or may not host giveaways, and they may or may not have sponsors. They may have 7,000 readers or only being writing for an audience of five. Regardless of how they are blogging, they want the world to understand that their blog is truthful and being presented with integrity.

If you happen to blog, consider signing the "Blog with Integrity" pledge and grabbing a button for your blog.

I am getting off my soapbox to resume the organization project I began this morning. I hope to have it finished by this afternoon, especially if the husband intends on getting into the house from the garage.

Giveaway information coming soon....

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Friday morning before darting out the door for Boot Camp I decided to finally update my August calender that hangs from the phillips family fridge. It had been staring blankly at me for days, just waiting for some important dates to be scrawled across its page. Despite the fact that I risked being late for class, I opted to write on my calendar for a few moments before leaving.

Doing so reminded me that summer is coming to a fast end over the next few weeks. Isaac is counting down the days until September and to when he can go back to school (what can I say..the boy loves him some school). There are a few projects I meant to accomplish around the house this summer that have yet to be completed. This week I am going to attempt to knock out a few of those.

I plan on blogging said projects and their finished result, hopefully posting a few pictures along the way. Also during the week I have a few things to GIVEAWAY! Yippee!

Be sure to check in this week to see what I am doing around the house and have a chance to win something great.


Thanks for all the hair suggestions. I still have not come to a conclusion as to when and how I will cut my hair...other than definitely deciding that I will not use one of my husband's friends as a hairstylist nor resort to purchasing the bob-in-a-box (thanks, anonymous for that tip. Unfortunately I cannot cut paper in a straight line.). By the way, doesn't everyone love how my mom always signs her comments "MOM". She always signed notes like that as well. So cute how such a handwriting trait has carried over to the Internet...

I'll let you know when a hair decision has been made. Today one child managed to get a Little People helicopter stuck in the hair while another moved a large section of it to lay down next to me. How does Crystal Gale cope?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Getting Sleep Schedules Back on Track

Summer is a time when most families can dodge the clock and enjoy countless hours of carefree fun. There are no more "school nights" , no more early mornings trying to rouse children from their beds, and minimal bedtime battles during the carefree summer months. As August is settling in, back to school time is around the corner and children's haphazard sleep schedules of summer are coming to an end....(to read more, go here)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

To Cut or Not to Cut

When Isaac was about five months old, I decided to begin growing my hair out. At the time it sat right above my shoulders and thinning drastically due to having just experienced a pregnancy.

3.5 years later, I am still growing it out.
The plan is to donate the hair to Locks of Love at some point. At first I was waiting to have hair long enough to donate (I want some hair to remain on my head...and I cannot go too short as I will look like an awkward teenage boy). Then I was waiting for the hair to get a bit longer. Now I am apparently waiting for a representative of Locks of Love to come to my house in the middle of the night and cut the hair in my sleep because I am a bit timid of actually cutting it myself (and by "myself" I mean driving to a salon and paying good money for someone to cut it for me).

Tobe suggested it might be time to cut the hair when the other night I temporarily lost two bobby pins in my massive locks (For the record, he likes the long hair. He did not think he would when I began this process ions ago.). I often have to ask the children not to sit, stand, pull, place play-doh in, or color on my hair. Because I have unusually thick hair and because we live in a place where summertime temperatures reach 128 degrees on a typical August day, my hair also sheds. A lot. This can be quite disconcerting to my family.
Basically, I think the family might be over my long hair.

Let me be clear in stating that I do want to donate the hair...eventually. I just cannot work up the courage at the moment to say good-bye to this mass of red. Here are my current excuses:

  1. The children may not recognize me with short hair. Despite the fact they are 4 and 2 and incredibly smart, they have only known me with long hair. What if they wonder who this strange, short-haired lady is roaming around the house bemoaning the fact she can no longer sport a ponytail? (By the way, do not dare refer to Isaac as being 3 years of age. I made the mistake at the pool yesterday as we were entering and he was not happy with me for placing him in such a baby age bracket. Sorry, dude.)

  2. My hairstylist refuses to cut my hair. Seriously. She knows I have been growing it out and knows I will eventually come in to have it all cut-off. She has clearly stated she will not and cannot be the one to cut it. (She will, however, cut it into a style once the length has been removed.)

  3. I do not have a good hairstyle in mind as a replacement style. Any suggestions? I need something that can be pulled out of my face for when I work-out, yet something just a bit sassy. Thoughts? Ideas?

I have included the random pictures of myself simply to illustrate how long the hair is at this point in time. Some of these shots are a few months old, so tack on about an inch and you can determine how long it is in real life.

Is it time for a cut? Should I just keep growing it for a few more months? Any hairstyles y'all are digging right now that would be a good option for me?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Farewell, Junk Drawer!

Almost as common in the typical suburban home as a television set or indoor plumbing, the kitchen junk drawer serves as a wasteland to forgotten paper, broken toys waiting repair,and abandoned office supplies. The junk drawer, although an American household staple, serves no real purpose other than holding clutter for the eternity of time...(to keep reading, go here)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Interview of a Four Year Old

To mark the entrance into his fourth year of life, I interviewed Isaac about his current likes in life. Below are his answers and answers that I observe to be true in daily life (those are in parathenses).

Food: Spaghetti (cooked carrots, baked beans, any type of bread product, apples, chocolate milk)

Snack: Peanut Butter Bars (pretzels, fruit snacks, fruit)

Toy: Deigo toys, Geotrax (any type of craft product, Leapster)

TV show: Go, Deigo, Go! (Deigo, Special Agent Oso, Berenstain Bears)

Movie: Toy Story 2

Friends: Avery, Morgan, Will, Natalie, Kaitlyn

Places to go: Chuck E. Cheese, Central Market, Library, School

Store: Toys R Us

Places to eat: Souper Salad (Souper Salad and Jason's Deli)

Books: Nate the Great, Berenstain Bears

Things to do: Play Mario Kart, read, color, sleep (I questioned this last answer considering the boy would get up at 5am if allowed)

Is Cookie Monster Promoting Childhood Obesity?

"C" may no longer be for cookie, but rather stand for such foods as "carrot", " cantaloupe", and "cashews." In the Spring of 2005 Sesame Workshop and PBS announced that Cookie Monster would be moving on from cookies to healthier foods. He would learn such lessons as "cookies are sometimes food"...(to read more, please go here)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Isaac's "First Fourth Birthday"

Around mid-May a children's birthday catalog arrived in the mail. Knowing that my former students used to love when I brought these into the classroom, I handed the catalog over to Isaac and E. The next seven days (until the catalog literally disintegrated due to the constant tug of little hands on it) those two poured over the glossy pages, dreaming of future birthday parties they could host. They each changed themes countless times a day.

When the next catalog arrived in the mail (I think we must get one a week during the summer), I quietly tucked it away until our next car trip where it will serve as a form of extreme entertainment for those two. No catalogs were needed anymore anyway, because I had decided upon a theme for Isaac's 4th birthday.

This year we celebrated turning "4" by transforming our living room into an art studio.

Let's allow some pictures to tell the story, shall we?

The 4 year old waits for his party to begin
(shirt found on Etsy, by the way)
We pushed all the furniture up against the living room walls, creating a large open space in the middle of the room. We then laid down plastic and a drop cloth, setting a big craft table on top. Paints, markers, crayons, and brushes were all laid out for children to use. I contemplated tossing in some paper strips and modge-podge but did not think the children were quite ready for such mixed-media art.

There were also smocks for the children to put on over their clothing and a bucket of various sizes of canvases to choose from. The children actually left the house for a few hours before the party so Tobe and I could get everything set up in peace. They were beyond thrilled to come home and discover a transformed living room.
On the lookout for party guests....

These blondies have been friends since the beginning. It is likely they will never be roommates at ACU like their mamas (can you say "controversy"?), however they are good buddies.

Invitations included a pack of crayons and instructions to color and bring the enclosed coloring sheets. We then hung everyone's art work along a clothesline in our living room. I had ribbons to pass out for the art, but forgot about them until hours after the party ended. Oops.

Isaac decorated his own cake this year, with a little help from me. The plan was for children to decorate cupcakes with icing and candy...but we opted to just decorate with candy at the last minute.
I do not even know what is going on in this picture.....

Isaac decorated his cupcake to look like himself. Genius, I tell you. Genius.
Isaac received his first real globe. If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know that Isaac loves him some United States of America (he could ID the states at age of 2). I do not know who was more excited about the globe...Isaac or Tobe.
Isaac also received his first big boy bike...or his "motorcycle" as he refers to it. This caused a lot of confusion today at a playdate when he informed a friend of mine that he had received a motorcycles for his birthday.
Examining his loot.

The party was lots of fun and our carpet and walls came away without one drop of paint on them. Success!
We have one more mini-party for Isaac this evening (which he is calling "my last fourth birthday" ) before winding down the celebrations.
Good times, my friend. Good times.