Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Once Upon a Time... Wedding Memories

Four years ago, I was sitting in this very room spending the night before my wedding with my dear bridesmaids.  There were so many reasons to be nervous, worried, scared... but that night I felt so at ease, so sure that my life was about to become this amazingly strong alliance between my God, my husband, and myself.  Planning our wedding was fun, and I loved making everything so personal, but my excitement came from knowing that I was about to be surrounded by those who had influenced my fiancee and I throughout our lives as we joined as one.  

There were so many moments that God created in our wedding day.  My husband's closest cousin and life long friend, Scott, had passed away; we displayed his picture beside the groomsmen's pew.  His little sister was one of our three candle lighters.  I'm not sure that she would have even noticed that we were missing Scott that day were it not for her happening to take the window sill candles.  She was so touched, and though she cried a little when she saw her brother's picture before her, I believe it was as much a gift for Miranda as it was a comfort for my husband that day.

We took so much care planning or Mass.  Both my sister's sang.  Our readings, prayers, and petitions praised our God and begged blessings for our life together.  We were so blessed to kneel before the altar together, surrounded by a church full of loved ones praying for us and surrounded by His mercy, grace, and love.  What better way could we have asked to begin our marriage...

I distinctly remember hanging on to that hand, in awe of the man that God had intended me to be one with, amazed at what He had led us both through to be ready for each other.  

And then I found myself married to this crazy, fantastic man!  I knew that, no matter what, he would always be able to make me smile, laugh, and be comforted knowing that he is as committed to me as I to him.

Our wedding part was extensive!  Six bridesmaids and groomsmen, three candle lighters, my daughter the miniature bride, four flower girls, two ushers, and one ring bearer.  Some people would find this excessive, but we truly wanted each person in our wedding to have a special role in our day.  My bridesmaids were my two sisters, two cousins, and two life long friends.  The groomsmen were fraternity brothers, my brother, and a high school friend.  My brothers-in-law served as our ushers, and our young cousins made up the rest of the party.

Our wedding cake was amazing, perfect really.  My aunt made it for us based on a picture I'd found.  She was so very nervous that the cake would topple at any moment.  This was before I took up cake decorating myself, so I didn't understand her concern.  Boy, do I now!  The cake held up beautifully!

The decor of our wedding was so personal!  We ordered roses wholesale from Ecuador so that we could afford the amount I wanted.  We collected wedding pictures from our married guests and displayed them at the bases of our centerpieces amidst quotes and verses about love and marriage.  I so enjoyed watching our guests wander around the tables laughing at wedding shots from the 1970's, smiling at the ones from the 1920's.  

We were so lucky to be surrounded by so many people who love and support us.  We are still lucky to be surrounded by such extensive, through-thick-and-thin family!

And then we were off to start our life together!  We had big plans... have children in a few years, conquer the world, move somewhere exciting... Life certainly hasn't been what we've expected in the last four years.  We thought we'd just  now be getting around to creating a bundle of joy, certainly not entertaining the idea of a third for us and fourth for our family.  We thought we'd be living in the suburbs, certainly not getting ready to settle into my grandparents' home for the next ten years of longer.  I, for one, never imagined to live through four years of marriage and have NO complaints or heartaches.  Don't get me wrong, we've had our issues to work though, but those were issues outside of ourselves. Those were personal dilemmas, issues with other individuals.  I never believed that marriage could be this... happy.  I've lived the best four years of my life in this too-small-for-us house with my crazy husband and our silly kids.  

PS- Happy Anniversary to you and yours, Mrs. Haid!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday: May 26th

Tackle It Tuesday Meme
The TUB. It can be such a relaxing, peaceful corner of the house. It holds the 
potential for repulsion. Thankfully, mine had not come to that, but the soap scum and rust from our drain plug were enough to make me crazy!

Before: Yuck- the soap scum and hard water that build up in my shower!

After: Squeaky clean and ready for candles and a good read!

The Simple Woman's Daybook: May 26th

For Today... May 26th, 2009 (Because it's my Monday today!)

Outside my window... renters at the summer cabins are enjoying coffee outside.  Sometimes I forget that my ordinary little cabin in the woods is seen as a fantastic vacation spot by others.

I am thinking... Yesterday was wildly successful!  Hubby and I divided and conquered- him the renovation, getting the rest of it ready to sheetrock, and me the house and yard, scrubbing floors, mowing the lawn, and working on laundry.I am thankful for... Summer Vacation!  As in, we have officially survived the school year, perhaps not with flying colors, but survived nonetheless!  

From the kitchen... a grocery list that demands a trip to the store TODAY!  But-- our freezer is STOCKED thanks to a DEAR friend who completely outdid herself!

I am wearing... fuzzy yoga length pants, a pink tank, glasses, and my wedding ring. 

I am reading... nothing to speak of except my trusty blog roll.

I am hoping... for a great first week home from school for my daughter and from Hawaii for my husband. 
I am creating... piles of items to pack for our South Carolina vacation.  Last time we did this I was packing for 2 adults and a 5 year old.  It's so very different with an 18 month old and a three year old in the mix!  The need to organize effectively is imperative if we are to fit everything we need in the minivan.

I am praying... that I have productive mornings, playful afternoons, delicious dinners, and quality evenings this week!

Around the house... Laundry- isn't that always my

 answer here?

One of my favorite things... are the outings I get to take with my friends and our kids.  I love that, once you have kids, you can justify spending way more time with your friends because, after all, it's for the kids.  A few plans for the rest of the week... Make final choice and order countertops, choose flooring and get it ordered, edit a photo session from last week, find someone to water animals while we're gone, beg hairdresser (mom) to cut my hair and my son's hair, pack for the beach, trip to caverns, catch up with a dear friend who's in the states to visit, celebrate my anniversary on Thursday, leave for SC!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you... 

Join the daybook group or see other daybooks here!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Spontaneity + Kids = Daddy's Home

On the spur of the moment, I packed up all three kids and headed to the airport to surprise Daddy at the gate.  I wasn't sure how smart it was to keep our welcome a secret.  I hoped his flight wouldn't be so early that he'd already be on his way back to the base when we arrived!  It'd been a long time since I'd done something spontaneous and sweet for him, so we took our chances.  Everything went so smoothly!  The flight arrived 20 minutes late but at the correct gate.  The kids and I watched hawaiian print shirts and leis passing by and finally saw him walking with a few other airmen.  My 8-year-old was the first to break away from me and tackle him.  His face was priceless- a mix of confusion and surprise, then recognition as our son ran up behind his sister, then simple happy relief to be home.  We traveled 4 hours for that moment, but making sure my husband knew he was missed has made for many more priceless moments in the last day that he's been home!    

I used to think that my children hindered my ability to be romantic and sweet with my husband, and in some ways they do.  But I'm learning that they only require me to be more creative in my efforts, and that a moment with kids in tow can be just as sweet and intimate as one with just the two of us!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Late Night Minnie Mouse Cake

Another cake under my belt...

I really appreciate the opportunity to be a tiny piece of the milestones of those around me. Last year, I made Miss Lydia's first birthday cake, and it's hard to believe I just finished one for her 2nd birthday! Sometimes it freaks me out that time seems to pass so quickly. I try to stop and figure out why it seems to go by so much faster than when I was younger. I digress...

This year's party theme was Minnie Mouse, so we decided to do a cake inspired by Minnie's polka dot dress and top it off with a Disney World style Minnie "hat." This was a fairly simple set up that used hidden pillars to give the illusion of the top layer floating on the base cake. Making black icing is getting easier for me. I've finally learned that black gets darker as it sets, so while I was icing the cake, it seemed as though my hat would be gray, but ten minutes later- black! The same rule applies to Red dye, at least with the Wilton brand that I use. Fondant ears and bow finished off the cake.

Meet Samantha

Yesterday my daughter made a new "friend." On a Christmas shopping trip to Chicago with a few girlfriends, I walked through the doors of the American Girl Store for the first time. My friends each bought their daughters a doll. I decided to wait because I really wanted to take her with me when she got her doll. I have to admit, I was a little bummed to leave the store empty handed!

On New Year's Eve, I ordered the Samantha Doll online as the poor dear was retiring and would not be available for purchase beginning in 2009 (Although I'm sure she'll come out of retirement for a reunion tour at some point). She was backordered until early May when she showed up on my doorstep, and then she was hiding in my closet waiting for the right time to be presented to her new owner.

In order to make the doll special, we got dolled up...

And had a little fun with the presentation!

I was a little worried that she would be growing out of doll play in spite of the fact that American Girl recommends their dolls for 8+, but I have had one very fascinated and very appreciative daughter!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dr. Laura Wisdom

Getting my daily dose of Dr. Laura this afternoon, I listened to a mother call about her daughter who was planning to have sex with her new and very casual boyfriend.  The mother wanted a new way to try to get through to her daughter.  Dr. Laura's ever direct advice included most of what I expected.  Then she added something I haven't heard her say before: 

Tell your daughter that when she orgasms, she should think to herself, 'This is all there is.'

I was never one to feel guilt-free about pushing physical boundaries with boyfriends; I was, if anything, the opposite.  I find it impossible to believe that there are more than a handful of young girls who truly value that 10 seconds of toe-curling pleasure enough to dismiss any need for commitment, namely marriage.  I mean, I'll take one any day, but would I put myself at risk for STD's or single motherhood for one?  Not a chance.  I think Dr. Laura's words just might have gotten through to me at 15, when I let myself be guilted into sex.  So many girls stupidly believe that there's more to sex with a boyfriend than sex with a boyfriend.  But it does not build intimacy, rather tears the seams of the relationship however child-like it may be.  It does not prove love, rather proves that no respect need be paid.  It does not build a level of comfort in a relationship, rather creates paranoia of unwanted pregnancy or disease.  Only when marital sex is experienced can a person truly comprehend God's purpose for creating it.

I pray that I will never have a daughter who values an orgasm more than her health, her emotions, her future, her God.  I pray also for the courage to speak with such bluntness to my daughters and son, to be a tell-it-like-it-is parent, always loving, always honest.  

Connecting with Kids

For some reason, I had this desire to celebrate the end of school with flying colors.  I considered bombarding my kid with silly string when she got in the car, heading straight to our local ice cream parlor, and finally decided to have "What Time Is It?" from the High School Musical 2 soundtrack (the song that plays when the kids start summer vacation) blaring from the minivan speakers in the pick up line.  A quick trip to my I-Tunes store conveniently located right in my living room, a silly pink hat and sunglasses for myself, and we were set.  

When my daughter climbed in the car, she'd been crying.  I'd been so focused on celebrating the end of my year of misery that I'd completely overlooked the fact that she had just spent her last day with the 24 kids she'd gone to school with for the past six year.  Oops.  

God was working this one, though.  It turned out that my upbeat victory cruise was delayed long enough for me to sympathize with the loss of friendships and to remind my daughter that she would see her friends any time we went to Mass there.  Then, I cranked the volume, rolled down the windows, and all three of my kids and I rocked out to HSM all the way home.  It was the perfect thing to bring her back to her cheerful energetic self!  

I love that I can let myself be a little crazy with my kids.  I certainly did not grow up with parents who let their hair down around me.  Or perhaps I did see them at their craziest...  Either way, it is an effort for me to be silly with my kids.  It's especially tough for me to force myself back into 8-year-old mode to interact with my daughter.  I think it's something that we all should make ourselves do.  If we force ourselves to let loose with our kids, interact with them kid-to-kid rather than parent-to-child, I think we would all find that there's as much benefit for ourselves as for our children.  Seeing the world from their perspective allows us to feel a deeper connection with our kids- even if that perspective is one that wants to read the same book 14 times in a row, that finds great joy in removing items from a box one by one and then replacing them, or that finds palm-sized plastic bobble head animals to be the best thing since Mac and Cheese!  If we can get excited about the same things as our kids, it's amazing what may come of them being able to share a part of their lives with us!  

* Disclaimer-- I do not plan to apply this theory if I find  my children excited by things beyond their maturity, immoral or illegal. :-)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Bittersweetness Called House Renovation

I haven't talked much about this part of my life via blog lately.  Mostly because the renovation has been a SLOW process.  Most of you know that about 9 months after my grandfather passed away, we were blessed to purchase the home where he and my grandma grew old together, the house that I've always known them to live in.  I've taken the care, ownership, and remodeling of the house very seriously, trying to find a way to make it work long term for my family and still keep the memories alive.  Lately, the house has really started to take off, and in the next couple weeks the dry wall will be mud and taped and we'll be ready to lay flooring, finish painting, install countertops and settle in.  

Tonight I visited the house to see what progress the carpenters had made, and for the first time in a long time, I was sad looking at the house.  I'm not sure if it is because there are such HUGE differences in the cosmetics between then and now or because there was such a MESS left by the carpentry work, but I was really missing my grandparents' home-- the one where all 6 kids would bring their crews in for Christmas, where heated political debates would be held around the table after dinner, where bubbles could always be found under the kitchen sink...  

My goal was to create a home that would welcome my relatives and allow them to remember the times they spent with Grandma and Grandpa.  Tonight, the fireplace and the soon-to-be sheetrocked  paneled walls were the only recognizable elements.  I truly believe that my grandmother would love that we're creating a warm home in which to raise her great-grandchildren.  My grandpa would probably say we shouldn't have bothered, but that it's looking good.  I think they would feel just as I do- bittersweet.

I'm anxious to put the house together again- so that the wide, old door trim and old dark wooden doors will bring back memories.  I'm anxious to revive the flower bed that was my grandma's pride.  I'm anxious to add the Irish Blessing that hung in their house around the top of my foyer walls

"May the road rise up to meet you,
may the wind be ever at your back. 
May the sun shine warm upon your face 
and the rain fall softly on your fields. 
And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand." 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Raising Healthy Eaters: Rachael Ray KID FOOD Giveaway WINNER!

A BIG THANK YOU to all who entered my very first giveaway!  And to those who are new followers- welcome aboard!  I'm looking forward to sharing my corner of the world with you and hearing more of those wonderful tips.  Speaking of tips, I decided to compile a summary of the advice I received on how to raise healthy eaters!

Tips from my participants:

* Consistently sit down and eat as a family
* GET YOUR KIDS IN THE KITCHEN WITH YOU!!! (This one was agreed upon by LOTS of you!)
* Puree veggies into sauces etc. (A GREAT tip that I'm excited to try!)
* Introduce a variety of foods and serve a variety regularly
* Plant a garden.  This was suggested for a couple reasons.  1) homegrown produce tastes better,       2) a way to involve kids in the cooking process
* When kids help in the kitchen, assign age appropriate tasks
* Rarely provide "junk" to eat
* Avoid serving a second meal for the kids
* Have the kids help plan the menu and require meals to be balanced.  
* Don't force a child to eat something
* Lead by example.  Try new things yourself!
* Think outside the box- be creative with meals!
* Take kids shopping for groceries and allow them to choose one healthy "pick of the day"
* Keep fresh fruits and veggies ON HAND
* Use food to reinforce lessons or literature.  (Anyone else make Stone Soup in school?)
* Praise good behavior
* Make artwork out of the foods on a plate- smiley faces, flowers, boats, etc.

My favorite comment was from Suzanne who said:

"I agree that a great way of getting kids to eat healthy is to have them participate regularly in cooking. They are much more likely to try something new when they have prepared it themselves.
I think it helps with dexterity and patience to carefully measure this and slowly pour that. It's fun too see them experiment with ingredients and flavorings - That vanilla extract smells wonderful but it sure doesn't taste very good, does it? "  

The contradiction between vanilla's smell and taste is something I haven't taught my kids yet, but I think I should keep a camera (or video camera) close by when I have them taste it! 

And the winner is... Comment #39, "ecky"!  

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday: May 19th

Tackle It Tuesday Meme
You all thought I was going to break my streak, didn't you? In all honesty, I was wondering if I'd get a chance to tackle today as well! But when I put my son into the tub tonight post-ice cream, I realized that some tackles can't be put off until tomorrow!

Before: Now, finding a way to fit five people's toiletries into this tiny bathroom AND keep it put away is next to impossible.  To cope with a one bathroom house with no linen closet to speak of, I've lived the last 4 years as a minimalist when it comes to beauty products.  I keep one bottle of nail polish at a time, share lotion with the babies, have only one towel per person under our roof... you get the picture!  The past few days have been a little crazy around here, and we've been on the go almost constantly.  All the running around has allowed me to miss the storm that was brewing behind the bathroom door!  

So while my son lost his coat of melted ice cream to the suds, I got to work!

After: Viola!  Not too bad- normally there would be a shelf full of folded towels above the toilet, but the laundry's lagging behind a bit... And THAT is a tackle for another day!

See more Tackles here!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook: May 18th

For Today... May 18th, 2009

Outside my window... There is so much green this morning! My laboring over the weekend turned our ankle length weeds into a dark, lush carpet of grass. The grass is met with the leaves from the oaks and dogwoods that block the blue morning sky almost completely. Only bits of the sky beyond peek through the spaces in the leaves.

I am thinking... that life never truly seems to slow down. It's probably my fault, definitely my fault. I see my schedule about to free up and view it as an opportunity to do something else I've been wanting to do. I think this is something I should change about myself.

I am thankful for... my son's good behavior. I've had only 2 near tantrums since Daddy left 10 days ago. Only 7 days until he's home again!

From the kitchen... A trip to Costco Friday means that the kitchen is teaming with produce. We're looking at salads topped with blueberries for lunch this week.

I am wearing... Jeans, pink Old Navy flip flops, a blue tunic length top, and a messy bun.

I am reading... I've been researching Ft. Sumter online in preparation for our South Carolina trip. We're leaving a day early so that we can experience Charleston before we relax on the beach. I'm reading the Addy American Girl series with my eldest daughter in the hopes of bringing the Civil War into an 8 year old's perspective before the trip.

I am hoping... To get everything finished this week. There is A LOT to do!

I am creating... Over the weekend, my mom and I spent an evening together sewing matching ocean print aprons for my kids. Each of the 7 families in our beach house will take a turn serving dinner for the rest of the crew, so this was step one of my attempt to make the experience fun for my family. What's cuter than an 18 month old toddling around in an apron just like the rest of us?!?

I am praying... So many of my family and friends are battling truly miserable situations and diseases right now. I'm praying for each of them, that God will renew their spirits and that they will find peace in Him. I'm also praying a prayer of thanksgiving for the lull in chaos that I seem to have at this moment in my life.

Around the house... Lots of clean laundry to put away today!

One of my favorite things... You'd think I was pregnant (I'm not!) with how often I've been craving lemon lately. Lemon poppyseed muffins, lemon cake, lemon cookie sandwiches, lemonade. (I've only indulged myself in lemon dessert once! Good for me!)There's something about summer being around the corner that makes citrus sound delicious!

A few plans for the rest of the week... Wrap up Home and School Association (PTA) duties, prepare for shower, hit the tanning beds for the first time in 7 years in an attempt to escape a sunburn at the beach.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you... Going to the beach that we've gone to since I was born feels like going home in a lot of ways. This is a picture from our last trip there- 4 years and 2 kids ago.

Join the daybook group or see other daybooks here!

Child-Proof Cake Decorating

Finally, a cake that can be made ahead of time with no fear of little fingers digging in for a taste!

Diaper Cake


A round board to set the cake on



LOTS OF DIAPERS (about 30-50 for each cake)

The first cake method uses less diapers (about 30) and much less time!  Begin by rolling two diapers around themselves creating a swirl or spiral:

Continue wrapping diapers around the outside edge of the spiral until the diameter reaches the desired width.  (This cake is approximately 9" wide.) If it becomes difficult to keep the diapers wound tightly, simply tie a piece of ribbon around the bundle and continue wrapping.

Repeat for the middle and top layer, decreasing the diameter for each layer.  Stack the layers according to size, and add decorations.  Consider adding baby gear such as rattles and pacifiers throughout the layers or keep it simple and opt with a single topper.

The second method requires considerably more diapers (about 50) but creates a cleaner design. To begin, roll each diaper and tie a piece of ribbon around it:

Arrange the base layer of diapers on the board by standing them on end.  Tie a ribbon securely around the group when it reaches the desired diameter. 

Repeat for middle and top tiers, decreasing the diameter for each.  Stack the layers and decorate!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Few Final Lessons

My husband being away is bad.  I always stay up way too late and my mind wanders...

Only 6 more days until the end of the school year.  Those of you who've been readers for a while know that this year has been... less than perfect.  My daughter has been confused, I've been confused, and I'm fairly sure that the teacher has been confused a lot of the time!  Just today, she was supposed to have 2 tests, neither of which were administered.  Do we know if they have been rescheduled?  Of course not.  This is peanuts compared to some of the craziness this year.  BUT... I read a comment on a blog this evening that made me think about my role with my children.  I truly believe that my children are a direct result of my parenting.  This year, I'd give myself my daughter's current grades:  a few A's, some B's, and a few C's.  Granted, there are several big assignments left to be graded that will raise her grades to A's, B's, and only 1 C, but my grades for the year will not jump at the end of the semester like hers.  

Lesson #1: OUR CHILDREN ARE NOT REPLICAS OF OURSELVES AT THEIR AGES!  I started this school year parenting like I would have needed in 3rd grade.  Big mistake that I took too long to correct!  

Lesson #2: DON'T TRY TO CHANGE DIFFICULT PEOPLE, WORK AROUND THEM! I've always heard that you'll encounter at least one teacher who's awful, burnt out, or just clashes with your personality.  This year I had the... privilege of working with a teacher whose philosophy of education differs vastly from mine.  Did she grate on my nerves?  Oh yeah.  Did she cross several lines that I found inappropriate?  Absolutely.  However, she believed with all her heart in her teaching methods, and it took me until Christmas to give up and consider this year an obstacle in life.  

Lesson #3: THE PRINCIPAL'S JOB IS TO BACK THE TEACHER IN FRONT OF THE PARENTS. When I was teaching high school English, my principal told me that he would always defend me to the parents of my students.  Of course, he warned, he would tell me what he really thought after the parents were gone.  Thank goodness I never needed one of those lectures!  However, in my attempt to remedy some situations where I felt too much personal information was being shared in my child's classroom, I met with the principal and shared my list of concerns.  The response?  Just what I should have expected.  I was brought in for a meeting with the teacher so that she could explain her way out of each and every concern of mine.  Ugh. On the other hand, we had NO more instances of that nature after the meetings, so perhaps I accomplished what I set out to after all.  

Lesson #4: TRUST YOURSELF TO KNOW YOUR CHILD. Bless my daughter's heart, she has yet to grasp the difference between immediate gratification and long term satisfaction. I know this, have known this for years.  This year, I would spend a few weeks checking her assignment notebook obsessively and nagging her about bringing homework home for me to go over with her.  Then I would try to wean her off my guidance.  I knew good and well that she wasn't ready, that were it not for my supervision her grades would have gone to crap due to a complete lack of work.  Her grades would start to fall, and I'd pick back up again.  I'm still researching ways to teach kids about long term rewards.

There is no doubt in my mind that I have learned more this year than my sweet and high spirited daughter.  What I'm learning NOW is that we are heading to a school community that is incredibly excited to welcome my kiddo.  It's so very nice after a year of feeling like my kid is seen as a burden.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rachael Ray KID FOOD Giveaway!

Oh, the never ending search for healthy, kid friendly meals... You're all nodding in agreement now, right?  Lately, I have been involving my son in the kitchen more because 1) he learns a lot, 2) we get to spend some time together doing something new, and 3) he's willing to try whatever we make!  To be fair, I choose my recipes wisely.  I have a vast array of cookbooks featuring ideas for kids.  A copy of Rachael Ray's KID FOOD has spent a lot of time open on my counter lately as the recipes are simple, healthy and leave my kids asking for a second helping.  

In my attempt to let my 3 year old help cook, I've found that handing him a full size spatula often ends in disaster.  To combat the extra mess (because let's face it- messiness is one reason we keep our kids OUT of the kitchen), these kid-sized utensils come in mighty handy!

I'm pairing a copy of this fabulous cookbook with this 

super-handy kids' utensil set for my first GIVEAWAY!  

To Enter: Leave a comment sharing a tip for getting kids to eat healthy or visit FOOD NETWORK'S FOR KIDS PAGE and leave a comment with a recipe you'd like to try.

Don't Stop There!  Take advantage of these opportunities for extra entries:

1 Entry: Follow my blog by adding yourself to the group on my right hand sidebar, and leave a comment letting me know that you follow me.

 Entry: Blog about this delicious giveaway, and leave a comment letting me know where to find your blog!

1 Entry:  Link to Mammalog from your blog, and (yep- you guessed it) don't forget to leave a comment and let me know!

** Please leave a valid email address for contact purposes!

Deadline for entries: Tuesday, May 19th 11:59 PM CST 

The winner will be chosen using and will be notified by email.  A response is required within 3 days or the prize will be awarded to another participant.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday: May 12th

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Last week, I moved all the kids toys into their room. No more toys with small pieces in the common areas of our home! However, I found that the mess that was already in the kids' room became a war zone with the added toys.

Before: My son's "room" was separated by the curtain from his sisters.  However, he's been freaking out lately about the monster that is hiding behind his wall.  He falls asleep by the door most nights.  

Before: And this is the other half of the insanity that comes with 3 kids sharing a room and trying to fit Mommy's clothes into the closet too.  Ugh.

And the tackling began...

After: The clothes are tamed, but the work books and coloring books are already about to get strung out again- oh, the life of a SAHM!

After: I decided to rearrange the room a bit in an effort to help my son stay in his bed at night. Hopefully being closer to the door will help him out.

After: And I created a play/toy area in the process!  I'm not sure how long it will look like this, but at least it will be clear where the toys belong!  Next on my to-do list will be to create or purchase a toy organization system of some kind.  Baby steps... 

Happy Tackling!  

See more Tackles here!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Starbuck's Surprise

Normally I'm expecting packages before they arrive on my doorstep, so when the postman drives down my driveway unexpectedly, my first reaction is to brace myself for whatever letter I might be signing for.  That's the life with a custody arrangement!  Today when the postman drove up and honked his horn (side note- since when do they honk and summon you out to their car door? Bizarre!), I was met with a big yellow DHL box.  My first thought: "Oh crap, what crazy online offer did I get myself into?"  Inside my house, I'm trying to examine the package to see if I need to "return to sender" it, and I find the return address label- Dusseldorf, Germany!

A couple weeks ago, my dear friend had asked for my address, I assumed to maybe send a card for my upcoming birthday or Mother's Day.  I should have known better than to expect the expected in this case.  That's one of the things I love about this friend!  

When I opened the package, there's no note, only a huge lump of brochures of some kind- in German of course... All I know is that there's a giraffe on the front and it doesn't appear to be from a zoo.  Hilarious replacement for bubble wrap and half the fun of the package!  THEN... I get to the center of the wrapping... 

YAY!  I'm so excited to not only have a Starbuck's city mug from Germany to add to my collection, but from the city where my friend now lives!  And it couldn't have come at a better time- a time where I needed a little simple pleasure!  

Thanks again, science fair partner!  I can't wait to catch up in a few weeks!