Monday, May 31, 2010

No Clog Guarantee!

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My husband uses this stuff to iron his work shirts. (Yes, I am a horrible wife and, I HATE ironing.)

I also do not like heavy starch. It smells icky, leaves residue on my iron, and gets on my kitchen floor. What I do like is the "No Clog Guarantee."

Only I wish this guarantee was posted on each of my toilets, especially the ones my kids use. ;)

image credit

Friday, May 28, 2010

Not the Best Place to Fall Asleep

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Ew. Good thing the bathroom was pretty clean. But seriously, of all the places to fall asleep.
Where's the strangest place your kids have ever fallen asleep?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ben and Jerry's "Educational" Party

Pin It Now! Who says home school can't be fun and tasty? I think my kids tend to forget all of the fun things we do when they're in the midst of conjugating Latin verbs or multiplying those big 4-digit numbers.

When I saw that Ben and Jerry's ice-cream went way on sale at Fry's a month or so ago, I let all the kids pick out their very own tub. I think that's pretty generous. :)

Where does the school part come in? Well, while they were eating we watched a documentary about Ben and Jerry and how their company came to be what it is today. I thought it was pretty neat to learn that one of the reasons their ice-cream tastes so heavenly is b/c one of them had some sinus issues and needed a whole lot of flavoring to be able to taste it.

Mmmmm, so what flavors did my 3 ragamuffins pick?

Shiloh--Boston Cream Pie

Lincoln--Chocolate Fudge Brownie


I went with Mullin's choice, too, since they don't sell my favorites at the store. If only I could have Pistachio Pistachio and that Almond Joy one. Oh, now that would really hit the spot!!

Do ever treat yourself to Ben and Jerry's? What is your favorite flavor?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

WFMW: Candy Chores

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During my kids' summer break, I try to make doing extra chores fun by offering a candy incentive.

These extra chores do not include their regular-because-you-live-here-chores like: making beds, cleaning rooms, helping clean up after dinner, and picking up after themselves.

Also, these extra chores are usually chores they are asked to do throughout the year without a reward. With the summer candy incentive I don't ever have to ask, in fact I have to limit the amount of chores they can do. (Candy is expensive and bad for you!)

So, here's what I do:

  • I create a separate list for each child. (No fighting over who does what chore, etc.)

    • I hang them up on fridge or dry erase board.

      • I assign each child a colored pencil. They use this colored pencil to make an "X" next to each chore they've completed.

        • They can each do 3 Candy Chores per day.

          • They must complete all of the listed chores before they can repeat them. This way they are not doing the same chore over and over again. Some of the chores are more difficult and more time consuming than others.

            • I know it's hard to read from the picture, but some of the chores I have listed for my 8 and 10 year old boys are things like: sweep driveway, sweep out garage, straighten game closet, wash arcadia door, disinfect all doorknobs, vacuum living room, vacuum entire upstairs, hose down outside table and chairs . . . just to name a few.

              For my 4 yr. old daughter I have listed things like: wash fridge doors, wash cabinets, fold towels, empty bathroom trash cans, etc. (She uses lavender spray to clean so it's completely safe, and I don't have to worry if it gets on her skin.)

              I also include an "other" on each list. This can be used for any other extra chore they do not have on the list.

              As for the candy in the jar: Currently we have Nerds, Blow Pops, Starbursts, and gum. I had to try and pick things I wouldn't be tempted to eat!!!!

              I should also note that they don't always get to eat the candy right away. If they do a chore at 7 am, they can add a piece of candy to their collection and eat it after lunch. :)

              Candy Chores work for me. To see a list of things that work for others, visit We are THAT Family.

              Tuesday, May 25, 2010

              Baked Chicken with Spinach

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              A delicious chicken dish I have been cooking up for over a decade! Everyone loves it!

              Here's what you'll need:

              • 4 pkg. frozen, chopped spinach. (I use less--about 2 boxes)

              • 6 chicken breasts

              • melted butter (enough in which to dip the 6 chicken breasts)

              • flour (about a cup or so)

              • salt, pepper, garlic powder

              • 2 small cartons whipping cream

              • parmesan cheese (I use the shredded kind--taste is much better)

              • paprika

              **Thaw and drain spinach. Pat spinach in buttered 9x13 dish. Dip chicken in flour then butter and place on top of spinach. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Pour whipping over chicken and spinach. Sprinkle generously with parmesan cheese and paprika. Bake @ 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until done.

              I am linking up with Tasty Tuesday hosted by Balancing Beauty and BEDLAM.

              Monday, May 24, 2010

              Sun Tea Days are Back in Session

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              It's starting to get warm here in the desert. Not too warm yet. And when a breeze is blowing while I am sipping semi-sweet sun tea with a squirt of lime--ahhh, perfect!

              I am hoping this cheap, little whale pool will last throughout the REALLY HOT temps in the coming months. Cuz, the summers are looooooooong here!

              Sitting outside watching my sweet girl having a blast giggling and splashing was good for this mother's heart! It forced me to pull myself away from chores and the computer. It forced me to focus on her. It was good to just spend 45 minutes or so smiling at her and thinking about how crazy I am about her.

              Don't get me wrong, I spend A LOT of time with my kids, on my kids and around my kids. But sometimes it's just nice to be a spectator--to just sit back and watch without being part of the action. I love those moments and yesterday was one.

              Sunday, May 23, 2010

              Worth the Read

              Pin It Now! A tragic, yet beautiful story of grace and redemption.

              No arms, no legs and happy?

              Amazing photo of Atlantis and Space Station passing right in front of the sun!

              Wednesday, May 19, 2010

              WFMW: Old Applesauce Cups

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              I am not sure why I washed and saved these snack-sized applesauce cups, but they sure have come in handy around my house!

              * They make great paint cups because they don't spill as easily.

              * I also keep one in my kitchen cabinet and one in the kids' bathroom cabinet for storing ponytail holders. (I have to tie up my daughter's hair when she eats and when she brushes her teeth.)

              ** I am sure they could be used for a million other things like: dishes for your daughter's kithchen, bathtub toys--for filling up and dumping water, etc.

              Any suggestions?

              Take a moment and visit We are THAT Family for more super tips!

              Thursday, May 13, 2010

              The Joypain of Motherhood

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              (Original pic from

              Every Mother's Day I like to escape for a little bit, even if it's just for a couple of hours. It's a time of reflection for me. I think about my role as a mom. For my kids it's a time to secretly do a special chore or "help" Daddy prepare a fancy meal. Works out well for all of us.

              I thought it was so ironic, though, that my daughter began throwing up this particular Mother's Day evening, (which turned into an all night event) because during my time away, I'd been pondering the pain of mothering.

              As I changed my daughter's sheets, cleaned her face, and gathered stuffed animals and pillows that had been "hit," I thought to myself, "Yep, this is exactly what mothering is all about." (And just so you know, picking out steak chunks before throwing everything in the wash is NO fun!!!)

              I called it "joypain" for a reason. In mothering the two - pain and joy - just can't be separated. From the very start, there's joypain. Joy for the tiny miracle growing inside. . . and pain from the very same miracle. How many new mommies-to-be can relate to the pain of pregnancy? Extreme exhaustion, nausea and vomiting, backaches, and every other kind of ache?

              Then there's joy unspeakable when you first lay eyes on your precious newborn but only after hours of severe, excruciating labor. (At least it was horribly painful for me--I don't know what it is like to have an epidural or anything like that.) And during my first delivery, I almost didn't live to tell about it. Pain and joy.

              There is nothing more wonderful than having and caring for a newborn, but my first experience at this proved quite the ordeal. I was in a huge amount of pain from surgery, I wasn't sleeping well, and oh my word, I had NO idea how painful and difficult nursing was going to be!!! I think I cried just as much as my sweet, little baby boy did. Pain and joy.

              Toddlers are so amazingly special. First words, first steps . . . all those moments that bring unfathomable joy. But those toddler days can be especially draining! Again, I think I cried my share of stress tears during the "I-have-3-young-kids" days. The incessant whining, fits, and never ending chores just plain wore me out! Plus, my third didn't sleep through the night until she was almost 2. Needless to say I was bedraggled! Pain and joy.

              It's not just physical pain either. It's emotional. I never knew the anxiety I'd feel over protecting them from harm. I never knew that it would really hurt-me-more-than-it-would-hurt-them when I had to discipline. I never knew how much it would hurt to see them sad. I never knew how my heart would ache when they were too old for cuddles and goodnight songs. I am still struggling with the fact that as they get older, they no longer think I am the best thing ever. Pain and joy.

              Cutting apron strings truly hurts.

              How in the world can so much joy stand alongside so much pain?

              I think it might be love.

              I love my kids beyond words. Pain is a mere shadow in light of love. The pain's not going anywhere, so I might as well learn to live with it. Love and Joy will keep me from suffocating under the weight of pain.

              My three beautiful children who bring joy unspeakable. I love you, and I love being your mom through the joy and pain.

              (Took me a while to finish this post since I actually ending up spending an entire week changing sheets and washing endless amounts of towels and blankets. And after all that, I got sick. Whew! But like I said, that's what mothering is all about.)

              Us now. Six years later. Wow.

              Blessings on your own journey of motherhood and all the joys and pains it brings.

              Linked to Mommy Moments, Mommy Monday Blog Hop, Making Your Home Sing Monday, Teaching What is Good

              Been in a Funk Lately

              Pin It Now! A Cornelia Funke!

              I have devoured several of her books over the past few months. (She writes the kind I so adore--fantasy)

              Dragon Rider was my first taste of her style. Yes, dragon in the title is what drew me in, and I found the book meeting all of my deepest, dragonest expectations! It would make a great, family read-aloud or a summer read for kids ages 8 and up. (It's perfectly clean.)

              Next, I moved on to Inkheart and The Thief Lord simultaneously . . . Inkheart for me and The Thief Lord as our home school read-aloud.

              Glad I didn't turn The Thief Lord over to my oldest before reading it first, as there was some language (which I just skipped over while reading out loud), and some concepts, such as lying and stealing for instance. I just feel that the issues presented in the book are better discussed with a parent. GREAT story, though, with an unexpected turn towards the end. I had no idea it was made into a movie in 2005, so we are anxiously awaiting its arrival in the mail via Netflix.

              Inkheart was riveting, but I was disappointed with some of the language. Not a lot. And not at all the really offensive kind, but the "d" word was just used more than I cared to read. I just really don't like swearing. Unfortunately, I am sure my distaste for it comes from the fact that it was a weakness for me at one time. Now, most of the time those words just stay in my head, thank goodness! Sorry, but incessant cursing blesses no one.

              I sort of feel like a hypocrite here because I became so engrossed in the story that I did in fact read the sequels, Inkspell and Inkdeath. LOVED this series immensely! Great books and for the most part clean--just that darn "d" word appearing every now and then! Haven't seen the movie, Inkheart, yet. Hope it doesn't disappoint. It kinda looks cheesy.

              Shiloh liked Princess Pigsty by Cornelia Funke, and I just picked up Igraine the Brave. I don't know why, but for some reason I like to read all I can by one particular author at a time. Are you like that? Have you been in any sort of book funk?

              Wednesday, May 12, 2010

              WFMW: Out of Face Wash?

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              I usually run out of the facewash I use about 2 weeks before it comes in the mail again. A baking soda paste has made a great substitute. It's easy--just mix a little water with baking soda and gently scrub face. (I do remove excess makeup first with a a washcloth and warm water.)
              While searching for a baking soda image, I came across this article about making a baking soda face mask. I am definitely going to give this a try! You'll want to read it too if you struggle with any kind of breakouts.

              For more tips, visit We are THAT Family!

              Wednesday, May 05, 2010

              WFMW: Summer Activity Ideas and Blog Frog Question

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              For backwards edition, my question concerns Blog Frog. I just joined a few days ago and haven't had the time to really look into it any further. I've already started receiving emails that so-n-so is your new BF friend --people I have never even heard of. What is that all about? I would love to hear comments from those of you who've joined. What do you like about it and how has it enriched your life?

              **Oh, and my vacuum is about to suck its last breath --will you lovely ladies please tell me which vacuum moves you the most?!! (Unfortunately I can't afford a Dyson, either.)

              With summer just around the bend, I wanted to pass on a few ideas that might be fun for your kids. We've done all three already.
              #1 Do an ant experiment

              You will need a few paper plates, some jelly, and other products like toothpaste, dish soap, etc.
              Drop a large spoonful of jelly in the center of each plate. Let one plate have jelly only. The ants will have a party over this one for sure. Squirt a ring of toothpaste around the jelly on another plate, and squirt a ring of dish soap or another product of your choice around the jelly on the last plate. (Your kids can do as many plates as they like with all kinds of products, but we just did these 3.)

              Set plates outside preferable near an anthill. The purpose of this experiment is to see if ants will cross certain products to get to the jelly. It was really fun to watch. You can view our experiment here if you like.
              #2 Do a cricket experiment

              You will need a glass jar with a lid and a live cricket.
              Poke holes in the lid for air. Catch a cricket, which shouldn't be too hard to do in the summer, and place it in the jar. Screw on lid. Watch the cricket moving around for a minute, then put the jar with the cricket in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or until the cricket stops moving. Even though he may appear dead, he isn't. Take the jar out and set it on the table. Observe as the cricket slowly begins moving again.

              The purpose of this experiment, other than the fact that it's cool, is to show kids that crickets and other insects are cold-blooded. To view our experiment, you can go here.

              #3 Read a fun book out loud
              A few months ago, I read a short fiction novel, Rosie Fights the Twisted Wind by Tad Troilo, to my 3 children ages 4, 8, and 10. Afterward, we did a project and made "soil suds." It was yummy! To find out what soil suds are, you'll need to read the book!!

              Here is a photo of our version of "soil suds."

              For more tips and questions this week, visit We are THAT Family.

              Saturday, May 01, 2010

              Mother's Milk is Creepy

              Pin It Now! Breakfast conversations at 6 am can get kind of interesting, especially when they're with a 4 year old.

              Shiloh: "Mommy, did I drink milk from you?"

              Me: (Oh my gracious, what's brought this on?) "Yes," I answer.

              Shiloh: "That's kinda creepy. Did I drink it from your belly button?"

              What? Did my daughter just say, creepy? Are you kidding me?

              Me: "Um, no." (I totally tried to keep myself composed here as I explained without trying to laugh at her previous statement and question.)

              Seriously, the questions little ones can come up with simply bewilder me sometimes. :)

              She continued to ask a few more questions that I will keep to myself, thank you very much!

              WOW, is all I have to say ~ and I am thankful she asked at our kitchen table and not at Target or somewhere public like that!


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