Friday, January 30, 2009

Tip Swap

I love tips. I love crafty ideas for organization, discipline, cleaning, storage, entertainment...anything!

So today I would like us to swap mom tips! I have a few that make my life and/or my family's life much easier. You moms probably know or do most of these but then maybe some of it is new to you or you can put your own spin on it.

1) Port-0-potty. When Bella started wearing big girl panties, we began toting the potty with us when we traveled or went anywhere that a clean restroom wouldn't be available. Of course there are potties made specifically for travel, and that is awesome, but you can also just take your kids' potty, insert plastic bags and remove once used!

2) Cookie Cutters. These make everything taste better and crafts more fun. My kids will eat just about anything if it comes in a shape. And don't just go for stars and hearts...there are great cookie cutter sites that sell everything from fire hydrant to groundhog shapes. is great (Paypal friendly), as is

3) Pizza Wheel. These are perfect for trimming off the crusts of sandwiches, quartering quesadillas, cutting herbs (like messy cilantro) and brownies.

4) Vicks Vapor Rub. This works amazingly when you rub it on the bottom of your child's feet and cover with socks. The night time coughing will reduce greatly or stop altogether. Seriously!

My girls love to be independent...sometimes. I certainly like to encourage it...sometimes :) So...

5) Kid Pantry. My children eat all day long. They are snackers. So I have low shelves in my pantry with little baskets of food they can help themselves to. Organic fruit strips, little boxes of raisins or craisins, Goldfish crackers in little ziplock baggies, unsweetened applesauce or Ava's fave...mandarin oranges (I drain the sweet juice out before she inhales them).

6) Kid Fridge. Bella knows how to open the fridge door and would stand in it to reach whatever she wanted. Now she has a low shelf in the fridge with a cup of celery and baby carrots in water, apples, pears and string cheese.

7) Baby Wipes Containers. These are excellent for storage use. You can stuff them with plastic bags and keep in the car (you know you always need a plastic baggie when there isn't one available!). Or fill them with craft supplies like brushes and paints.

Your turn!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Perfect Self Portrait...Or Close Enough.

My husband always impressed me with his ability to take self-portraits with a camera. I usually ended up with just my forehead or half my face. Then I became a mommy. This means that I am also the picture taker. So I have very few pictures of me with my children.

Now I practice self-portraits. The key is to have long arms, it seems. And squish everyone together at the same height.

This one reminds me of Bella's favorite joke:

Do you know when it is time to see the Chinese dentist?

Wee one down, people! Wee one down!

Why does my daughter look so pained?

For the last time, Bella, I cannot see your face when you play Bashful.
*sigh* At least all our faces are in the picture?
It appears that I have one smile. One. I'm THAT expressive.
Or maybe I just like to keep things simple.
I did all this work to print pics for hubby before he went out of town and GUESS WHAT. The printer is totally out of ink. At least we had fun! :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

What I Learned Last Year

1) Honeycrisp apples are hands-down the very best snack apple. Fuji, Gala, Pink are dead to me.

2) Mom groups are a great concept but it is still like high school. The Snobs, the Misfits, the Nerds and me.

3) Weaning from long-term breastfeeding and then embracing the open medicine cabinet and wine without abandon has proven to be much more difficult than anticipated.

4) I know the words to more children's music than adult's now.

5) Four year olds like to discuss death. Alot. And they pretty much figure death is temporary as well as great fun.

6) Ruby is a pain in the arse. Max needs speech therapy.

7) America's Funniest Videos on Sunday nights is stressful for Isabella and a riot for Ava.

8) The Office still makes me laugh and uncomfortable.

9) Two year olds echo four year olds. It is as though we live in a canyon.

10) Daddys of little girls love convents and guns. Even if they never liked either before their daughters came along.

11) Laundry breeds. Not that it is new news, just still shocking.

12) I am a better mother to not always feel the need to control everything in my children's lives. Allowing them both to wean off their plastic or human lovies has been good for all of us in the end.

13) Kids are fantastic procrastinators. I expect this will last well into their 20's.

14) Reconnecting with friends and family from the past can be wonderful as well as really weird.

15) Facebook makes no sense to me but it is absolutely addictive.

16) Clothing is totally overrated. Just ask Ava The Nudist.

17) Fart = Funny in our home. Thanks, Honey.

18) Not all organic foods taste better but organic chicken DOES.

19) Creating an eBay store is nerve-wrecking, exciting and worthy of putting it off a few more months.

20) Sometimes being a good person means keeping your mouth shut and your heart open. Kinda tough when you are all that and a bag of chips, ya know.

So I kept the 2008 lessons learned pretty light and fluffy for ya. But isn't that how we should view the past for the most part? If we harp on the bad, it doesn't do much positive for us in the future.

Here's to the silly lessons of 2009. May you have many :)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Kidbits for the new year...

The other night Hubby was telling the girls a bedtime story. A wonderful tale about the friendship between a Pegasus, a bald eagle and Sammy the snake. As he was really getting into the plot of the story, a little hand shot up in the air.

Bella: "Daddy, can I tell MY story now?"

Hers was about a Pegasus, a ball eagle and Sammy the turtle.


Kids have a very interesting knack for being candid with their kid logic.

The other morning, Hubby told Bella to pick up her blocks at night so he wouldn't step on them in the wee hours of the morning. Slightly confused, Bella asked him why he doesn't just walk around the blocks.

Um, yeah, Daddy...


Ava hates baths lately. She loathes washing her hair. It is major drama every time we do it. When Bella went through this stage, I began washing her hair via Marge's Beauty Shop. This means setting up a washing station, getting the fancy strawberry shampoo and putting on my best over-the-top beauty shop persona.

We tried this with Ava last night. As I was scrubbing and "gossiping" with her, Ava grinned and said "See? Is not so bad!"



When presenting me with a piece of white paper that appeared to be blank, I asked Bella if she was going to draw a picture. Surprised, she said, "I did!"


I told her I couldn't really see it very well and again looking surprised, Bella said, "Well, I can!"

What is it they say? Art is in the eye of the beholder. Or the artist?


Ava speaks very well but gets her responses confused. If you ask her something that she doesn't know the answer to, she will shrug her tiny shoulders casually and reply "I don't sink so."

Correcting her is to no avail.

Her favorite thing to say is "I can DO IT MYSEFF!" Never any confusion on that one.


Bella insists that all the songs she sings are without err.

"Give up the morning glory" is correct. Apparently, "Give God your glory, glory" is not.


"Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. They are yellow, black and white."

We are bumblebees?


Ava will one day grow up to be a star on Broadway or a magician. She changes in and out of clothing no less than 15 times a day, sometimes so fast that you could barely see what she'd just put on before.

With a new interest in potty training, it is your guess as good as mine if she's going to pee in her diaper and immediately want a new one, pee in her potty and spray as she watches in awe, or go without a diaper at all and complain when her new change of clothing is suddenly wet.



The most baffling of all has to be Isabella's new desire for...wait a minute...

A diary.


She's 4 1/2!


Monday, January 05, 2009

Vacation? Really?

Christmas vacation. What does that MEAN?

It means no more school. You and your children get to spend every wonderful freaking moment together for 14 days.

It means baking and eating and eating and baking until you don't want to do either anymore. Then you wear your pj bottoms until you decide to pony up on your New Year's resolution.

It means realizing just how much you do around the house. And how much your husband must do at the office. He at least keeps his underwear, newspapers and fingernail clippings off the floor THERE, right?

It means checking your email throughout the day for the 36 emails about incredible sales you have no intention of looking into but you are delighted with all the attention.

It means having to listen to Rudoff the Red-Nosed Reindeah, Jingle Beyells and all the holiday songs learned for the Christmas progam...performed nearly a month ago. Are there Valentine's day songs we could be working on?

What is the beauty of Christmas vacation? Well...

We get loads of time with Hubby/Daddy. There's never enough of that.

We play games together, dance together, make up songs together, nap together.

The girls remember that they really are each other's best friend. Sharing one another with cousins and friends isn't nearly as fulfilling as an afternoon pretending in the playroom. Or the kitchen. Or under Mommy & Daddy's legs as they lounge on the couch and ottoman reading the morning paper. Or by the bathtub as Mommy gives up on any hope of a Calgon moment.

We see extended family that we haven't seen in months or even years. We swap photos and stories, laugh and even cry.

We cuddle up by the fire and make smore's. Then we have an 80 degree day and spend the afternoon at the park. Mom feels all good about those nature walks and vows to do it daily, then the temperature plummets to 40 degrees and she eats all her Lindt truffles instead.

We stay up late, we sleep late. All together at first, then each to our designated beds or sleeping spots only to squish next to each other on the couch in the morning to watch Charlie & Lola's Christmas for the umpteenth time. Fortunately, we all love those two.

Hubby and I watch our beautiful, healthy children in our wonderful home and feel so very blessed. To be their parents is an honor and a joy. You can never even come close to imagining what it will mean to your soul to have children until they are there. Husband and I hold hands, sneak kisses and try to whisper sweet nothings but that's pointless with screeching girls around so we've got love code. We are best friends and the loves of one another's life. It wasn't an easy or short road to get where we are but we certainly wouldn't change a thing.

'09 will be difficult for many...most, I'd even venture to say...but hopefully this year and it's Christmas vacations will still result in precious moments of pure love and joy with one another.

Bella's advice for your new year? Twirl in a teacup at least once.

Happy new year from our family to yours :)