Thursday, June 28, 2007

TT # 5

This Thursday Thirteen was inspired by Busymom after reading her post over at Careerandkids.

Many Work Away from Home Moms work all year long. We do day dream about lazy summer days with our children but those are usually reserved for weekends only. Our week days are roughly the same no matter what the season. I did come up with a few things that do change for me when Summer comes along…

1. Clothes can be hung outside (hate it but better than standing at attention waiting for the dryer to yell at me “I’m Done!”)

2. No more notes home from school saying Snow White forgot her lunch money today (they break knee caps if you owe a $1.00 or more)

3. No more homework for me! Yes, the children have to do their homework but that means I have to do it too.

4. The school librarian has stopped our weekly phone calls (Her: Snow White has ____ book out and it is due today. Me: Large pocket of Hello Kitty Back Pack - played back via tape recorder.)

5. Summer time night light discovery on night stand. Aww Snow White collected lighting bugs for me how sweet. Closer look Where is the lid ~~runs scream out the door AAAHHH!

6. Winter: Mom where are my sneakers? Summer: Mom where are my sandals?

7. ManSon: Can I go to so and so’s house? Me: Winter - Is the snow shoveled? Summer: Is the lawn mowed?

8. Getting in to the car…Snow White: Winter - My car seat is too cold. Summer - My car seat is too hot

9. Me: Winter - Pup, it isn’t that cold out there go on. Summer - Pup, hurry up. Come inside. I have a treat. It’s time for Mommy to go to work.

10. Really fresh fruit for home made fruit smoothies and other deserts.

11. No need to use the hair dryer after a shower as my hair will be dry by the time I get to work. Love my natural curl. Pup loves this too as he is not blow dried during the summer. (I have a new couch which he makes a Bee line for after a bath)

12. More towels to wash due to pool and sprinklers during the summer

13. Better weather on walks with Pup.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Grocery Shopping

When our local grocery store installed the first two Self-check cash registers I was impressed. I thought how techno savvy the grocery store was getting. I could not wait to gather all my groceries and try out the new “toy”. Most items scanned very nicely but produce and anything in a bag. Well, the scanner had trouble picking up the bar codes. This was frustrating and I could only imagine the teenage cashiers were giggling to themselves “See, we are not the problem. You are having the same issue we have.” Not only was I having difficulty scanning but I had to be in front of the scanner and the end of the belt all at once to keep the “flow” of products moving. Yes, now you too can get frustrated with the scanner and bag your own groceries. If I have a large quantity of groceries I opt for the register with a real person, usually a teenager.

Due to past experiences with unruly bagging at manned registers I place my items on the small conveyor belt with deliberate purpose. First to go on the belt are all frozen foods then cold food, items that go in the upper cabinets of my kitchen then the items for the lower cabinets. Why so particular? When the items are all bagged they are replaced in my cart in this order(front to back of cart). This allows me to reverse the order (back to front of cart) when I reach my car and pack them in the trunk. When I am home the bags closest to me are frozen and cold foods which need to be placed in the freezer and refrigerator, thus need to come out first. The last bags to come out are those with the items which belong in the lower cabinets. While I place the items in the upper cabinets my children can easily put away the items that belong in the lower cabinet. This may sound a bit over the top to plan in such a way but it really works for us. When you are a single working mom every extra moment have to playing and just hanging out with my children is a blessing.

I miss the days of grocery shopping when the older man (30s-40s) would quickly punch in all the codes for each item and another carefully bagged each item for me with a warm friendly smile. Ah, the good old days.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Baby Crissy Doll

Tonight a rare treasure resurfaced to remind me of a wonderful childhood memory. My friends had all recently acquired the Tuesday Taylor and Crissy dolls. They were similar to Barbie but larger. With Tuesday you had the option of turning her doll "scalp" (I know, sounds eww) to make her either blonde or brunette. Crissy had the auburn hair and you could change the length of her hair from a short bob style cut to Cher's 70's knee length long hair with the press of a button or a few short twists.

There was a new doll in town or at least none of my friends had this one particular doll. I had seen it on one of the very few toy commercials that aired in the mid 70's. Hard to believe in today's world there was a time toy commercials were a rarity. Maybe the commercials were not such a rarity. I might have thought so due to the very limited amount of time I watched TV when I was little. At that time there were four dolls in the running for the top most wanted/advertised dolls...Baby Alive, Crissy, Tuesday Taylor and Baby Crissy. Barbie was always a given no matter what year. Baby Crissy and Crissy were the same with one big difference, Crissy was a 20 something like Barbie and Baby Crissy was well, a baby doll. Baby Crissy was not just any baby doll. She was the image of a 8 - 10 month old baby. Most little girls had the little bitty baby dolls the size of a new born and had a generic baby doll look. Baby-A-Live looked like a baby almost a year old but smaller. Baby-A-Live could move her lips when you pushed her feeding spoon in her mouth after mixing her baby food. She was the baby of the next Mommy generation.

The beginning of summer was marked by the school carnival. There were cake walks, balloon tosses, bean bag tosses, and all sorts of hands on games. There was also a yard sale. Everyone would clean out their closets and pitch in. The day before the carnival we brought in our donations and volunteered to make signs. Mom made cakes and other baked goods as well as volunteered to work any booths they needed assistance with. She knew with three children in the school plus one to start the next year in kindergarten she would be there all day. We made signs all that afternoon and when we went home Mom baked all night. Mom had never seen a cake mix in her life at this point. She made everything from scratch.

While at the school making the signs I saw something in the yard sale area that I wanted so badly. It was a Baby Crissy Doll ! I was so eager to show my Mom! At that moment I was that anxious child everyone wanted to just be quiet already! Over and over again I said "Look MOM!! It's a real Baby Crissy Doll! Do you think they will sell it tomorrow?! Can we get it?! Can we buy it now?! Can we?!! Can we?!" She quieted me down by reminding me we were here to help and make the signs. If all went well maybe I would get a reward but that did not mean the doll. After her talk I remember thinking how wonderful it would be to have a parachute soldier. The kind with the plastic soldier tied to a plastic parachute. I was thrilled at the idea and made my signs look like rainbows. Mom reminded me people would need to read the signs from the road and words with so many colors might be hard to read. I opted for one color for each letter in the sign rather than four different colors for each and ever letter.

The next day was the school carnival. How my Mother managed to bake so many things in one night and keep us away from her baked goodies all morning is beyond me. We drove to the school and played games all day long. My older brother and I even helped man a few games ourselves. We were having such a great time we almost forgot about the cake walk. My older brother and I took turns doing the cake walk because we wanted one of the cakes our Mother made. There were a few times we were tending a booth and one of our Mother's cakes would be gone when we returned to the cake walk. I remember being the one to finally win a cake but by that time all of our Mother's cakes were gone so I choose a bunt cake.

I returned to the yard sale area where Mom was working and explained our sorrow in not getting one of her's. She laughed! At first all I could think of was how hard we tried all day long to win one of her cakes and she laughed? Then she explained it was all for the better so we could try someone else's cake. After all, we could have one of her cakes any time since we were her children.

After playing games all day for penny and nickel prizes which made our day, real potato sack races, three legged races and the flex arm hang (I won again and again), manning the booths now and then and trying to fit in the cake walk where we could, it was time for the carnival to end. We were all sad to see the end of the day but we were worn out too. Before we could go home we had to clean up the fair. Our Mother saw to it that we helped and it made us feel a little extra special to hang out "after the party was over." The ladies of the PTA and every other organization were thanking us by offering baked goods, toys and such but really, we were having a great time helping pack up everything and telling our Mother all the things we did and had seen all day long while she was stuck in the same place all day.

After packing up everything my Mother told my older brother and I to pick up that last box. We picked up the box and all I could do was sigh. The Baby Crissy Doll was in that box and I had forgotten all about her. At that moment I wanted to cry out "MOM!! Crissy is still here!!!" instead I thought of the wonderful day we had. When my brother asked where we should move the box Mom said "That box goes in our car." I was so excited I dropped my end of the small box and scooped Crissy up in my arms! She was half the size of me but it did not matter. Could I be dreaming? It would be ok if I was dreaming.

Being a Mom now myself I can only imagine my Mom was watching us well before she told us the destination for the box. She must have smiled from ear to ear when she saw me scoop up Baby Crissy.

Baby Crissy and I went everywhere together. I had pretend food for her and she pretended to use the potty since she was such a big girl. My Mother also made us matching goonies or night gowns as I now know most call them. One of my most cherished and memorized photos of myself was taken at Red Wing Park in Virginia on the swing set with Crissy in my lap. There was a sun burst on the corner of the Polaroid photo, the likes I had only seen in the movies. My hair was wind blown and she had a make shift dress I made when my Mother was teaching me to sew. I remember the sun burst, the autumn colors of her dress and the warm loving smile on my face that reflected exactly the perfect temperature of the warmth the sun beamed down on my face at that very moment.

What started this post? Snow White was looking for something and found Crissy in Oldest Daughter's bedroom closet. Poor old Crissy had seen better days. At first all Snow White saw was a very old doll in need of too much care. After I held Crissy in my arms for a few moments and told Snow White how much Crissy was loved by me as a child I was soon relinquished of my beloved doll. Snow White came out of her room with an umbrella stroller. I said "Oh my, Crissy has never seen the likes of this sort of stroller." In deed the last time Crissy saw a stroller it was a pram. Snow White wheeled her around the house then proclaimed her as her own. She even put Crissy in Bitty Baby's cradle. Tomorrow she plans to brush out her hair and re-do her nails.

I have to admit it was refreshing to hold my Crissy again. I had forgotten her and now she has come back as the wonderful treasure she was so many years ago. This time she has a new playmate.

Pup Helps With Housework

Even our Pup helps with the housework. He is also a tattle tale. During the evenings he brings me any discarded socks left lying about the house. In doing this he helps make sure all dirty clothes are put in the hampers. Some people cannot get their teenagers to help with the laundry but at our house even the tiny Pup helps out.

Snow White has a tendency to toss off her shoes and peal off her socks as soon as she comes home. The problem is she does not take them off in her bathroom where her laundry hamper is. This is also a problem in the mornings when we search every room in the house looking for her shoes.

Since Pup arrived he finds the socks in various rooms and sometimes clothes left on bathroom floors after someone takes a shower or bath. He then brings them to me and I find the owner of said clothing to put them where they belong, their hamper.

Pup also helps keep the children's rooms cleaned. If he finds a toy or gizmo on the floor he sees it as fair game, up for grabs, any one's toy. This behavior has encouraged everyone to keep their beloved items off the floors.

Should I start giving him an allowance for helping so much with the housework? I wonder what he would spend it on. The only store he is allowed to physically enter is PetSmart. If he starts mowing the lawn and washing the dishes I just might get him an on line shopping account. Well, maybe not, I really do not want dog drool on my keyboard.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Get Your Strappy's On

Ok it's Summer Time! Pull out the tank tops, camis and all those cute thin strapped - strapless tops! If you are like me you wear a strapless bra with these shirts. I stopped wearing these cute shirts long ago due to uncomfortable strapless bra not holding their "cargo" very well. I received an email from Jane at about "Strappy's" I love this idea!! It will help hold me together and will look so cute with the thin strapped tops and give a new look to a strapless top. Not only can I pull out the cute tops, I am going to buy more!

They have many, many styles to choose from but here are a few of my favorites.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Snow White's Magic Blood

While at work one afternoon I received a phone call from Snow White's kindergarten teacher. "We had a little accident. Don't worry." Mothers every where immediately go into a slight sweat and panic mode when they hear these words from a teacher, school nurse or any faculty member from school. Why is there always a slight pause after they say this? Is the pause for dramatic affect? Is it to see if they "got you"? Shocked the life out of you? Then they say "Are you there?" If you answer with even a meek ahuh they seem to be either relieved or surprised you did not faint then tell you what happened. In our case so far (knocking on wood) it has always been something very minor but they wanted to make sure I knew what had happened.

On this particular day Snow White was playing during recess and tripped. The teacher explained it looked like Snow White had a terrible fall but to her surprise only emerged from the asphalt with a small cut on the tip of her index finger. Normally they would not have called me but due to the extreme scene that followed they thought it best. At first Snow White quickly sprung up from her sprawled out fallen position. Then another little girl screamed ~~BLOOD! OH MY GOSH SHE IS BAAALEEEEEDDDING!!!~~ Soon all the children on the playground were screaming. The teacher walked over to check out Snow White then instructed her to go to the nurse for a Band-Aid. That was when Snow White looked at her finger. As far as she could recall, she had never seen her own blood before. That small little drip of blood accompanied with the screams of her peers made her think something terribly wrong had just happened. The teacher called because Snow White was very distraught throughout the remainder of the day.

When I came home I asked to see her booboo. She was adamant that I not remove the Band-Aid. She was sure removing it would make the booboo worse. Many children all over the world seem to have this fear of Mommy, Daddy or anyone looking at their booboo would make it hurt more. How many of us have said "I only want to look at it" and have the child scream or cry saying "No! No! It will HURT!" I bribe her with a brand new Scooby Doo glow in the dark Band-Aid but first I need to take off the old one. She agrees and I carefully remove the school Band-Aid revealing a very tiny booboo which is no longer bleeding. When she sees the dried blood on the cotton portion of the old Band-Aid she starts screaming, giant tears race down her face as she makes garbled demands for me to quickly put the Scooby-Doo Band-Aid immediately!

Eventually she calms down and plays with her toys. She refused to use the hand with the booboo and every once in awhile when she seemed to remember the booboo she would hold that hand up straight in the air and give out a sad little sigh. While getting ready for her bath she refused to take off the Band-Aid. I assured her we had plenty more. She would have none of that so it staid on when she went into the tub. She gleefully played in the tub after I washed her up. When it was time to get out and I was drying her off she realized the Band-Aid had come off. More crying and shrieking shrills! I replaced it with a brand new Scooby-Doo Band-Aid. I calmed her down by turning off the bathroom light to see the glow-in-the-dark effect.

By bedtime she was exhausted due to the "big" ordeal that took place that day. As I tucked her in bed she held her arm straight up, pointing the bandaged finger toward the ceiling. I kissed her goodnight and turned off the lights so she could admire the glowing Band-Aid. A few minutes later I returned to her room due to the whimpering noises I heard. She was worn out and sobbing. When asked what was wrong she said "I just cannot hold this arm up any more. My arm is tired and I cannot do it any more. Mommy will you hold my arm up so I can sleep?" I asked her why and she said in her little sobbing voice.

Snow White: "Mommy if you don't the EMTs are going to get me."
Me: "What EMTs?"
Snow White: "I dunno. William said they would come and get me."
Me: "Tell me what all William said."
Snow White: "When he saw all the blood he yelled 'Someone call the EMTs! We are loosing her! She is going to die! She has lost a lot of blood!' "

With that I did what any mother would do. I faked a coughing fit to cover up my laughter! It sounded like William has watched too much TV. I explained that EMT are not some type of blood sucking monsters. That they help people all the time and they are good people. They help people who are really sick until they can get to the hospital. They are just like doctors and want to make you all better.

She was still crying and said "You have to hold my arm up so I can sleep. I am tooooo tired. If you don't I will bleed to death. I will die Mommy if you don't do it. You don't want me to die."

That was when I realized she had never seen her own blood before. Well, she had skinned her knees before and had other booboos but never really had seen one drip of her own blood.

I then explained to her..."Honey, you have magic blood. Your body is magic, it makes new blood if you get a booboo. Your body also repairs it's self. The blood dries and your body makes new skin to cover up the booboo."

Snow White: "Really? I am really Magical?"
Me: "Yes, Snow White, you are truly a Magical Little Girl."

She finally let her arm rest by her side and fell fast asleep.

In the morning she could not wait to take the Band-Aid off to see if her blood was really magical. She ran into my room proclaiming her excitement! Mommy! Mommy! My Magic Blood stopped the booboo!! It's not bleeding any more!!"

Monday, June 18, 2007

Toxic Tooth Paste

Months ago I was bored and spent time accidentally locked in a bathroom for a very brief period of time. During that time I absently decided to read a warning label on the back of a toothpaste tube. As expected many laughed at my post. I was a little surprised by the warning that said "Do Not Swallow". This was on the back of my daughter's toothpaste which was marketed for toddlers and children. To me it seemed impossible for a toddler to not swallow at least some of the toothpaste while brushing their teeth. I can recall many times when I did it as a child instead of spitting it out in the sink. I even recall swallowing toothpaste as an adult when unexpected guests arrived and I was all out of mints. I would place a small dab on my tongue, close my mouth and rub it all over my tongue and swallow. It never occurred to me until that silly day I was stuck in the bathroom randomly reading the back of a tube of toothpaste.

When I was freed from the hotel bathroom and returned safely home I decided to post it on my blog. Apparently the amount of toothpaste ingested has a lot to do with it and my friend the Curmudgeon pointed out it would take a sufficient amount of regular toothpaste. I was relieved.

Today when I went to read my email I came across this article by Aarthi Sivaraman....

Two residents of the New York City borough of Staten Island who said they had used the counterfeit toothpaste were hospitalized, the Staten Island Advance newspaper reported.

The FDA traced the counterfeit toothpaste to New Jersey distributor MS USA Trading Inc., Arbesfeld said.

On Thursday, Colgate reported finding phony "Colgate" toothpaste in discount stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

The counterfeit toothpaste may contain the toxic chemical diethylene glycol, or DEG, and is labeled as being manufactured in South Africa. It comes in a 5-ounce (100 ml) tube, a size Colgate does not make or sell in the United States, the company said.
The chemical is sometimes illegally used as an inexpensive sweetener and thickening agent. It is also found in solvents and antifreeze.

DEG-contaminated toothpaste has been seized in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Nicaragua. The sweet substance, sometimes used as a substitute for glycerin, was found in cough syrup in Panama that led to the deaths of at least 100 people last year.

MS USA is recalling all lots of 5-ounce Colgate toothpaste tubes it distributed to discount retail stores in the four states, according to a statement. MS USA could not be reached for additional comment.

Consumers can identify the counterfeit product by the size as well as the label tracing it to South Africa, Colgate said. In addition, there are misspellings on the package including "SOUTH AFRLCA" and "isclinically," Colgate said.
Two weeks ago the FDA warned consumers to avoid any toothpaste made in China after its inspectors found DEG in tubes sold at two stores. It also issued an import alert to prevent all toothpaste from three Chinese companies that make brands found to contain DEG from entering the United States.

More information about the toothpaste products in question can be found on the FDA's web site

Check your toothpaste. If I do not hear from you or see you writing a new entry in your blog I might feel the need to call the FDA. "Fake Colgate has attacked my friend! Send Help!!"

Feed the Animals for Free

Please take just one minute and go to Animal Rescue site. No one is asking you for money or to do anything extraordinary. All you have to do is click on the purple paw once a day and the sponsors donate funds, food and other things for the abandoned, neglected and stray animals. It does not cost you anything.

If you have a million things to do each or might have trouble remembering the web site address you can sign up for the free email reminder set at your desired frequency. If you are a New Member to the web site and you sign up for the email reminder this will provide an extra 3 bowls of food! All you did was use your mouse to click and sign up for the reminder and wa-la! You provided some poor animal in the shelter with food.

I signed up during a promotion last night which gives the person who signed up for the email reminder a free item. The site does have shops where you can purchase items for your pets, yourself or gift giving. I purchased a key ring to try out the shopping portion. If you purchase items through the web site you are also adding to the donation total without any additional cost to you.

Clicking a few buttons and ordering a key chain gave 14 bowls of food! No purchase is necessary for you to help provide food and needed items. A simple click on the purple paw once a day helps to build up the donation fund.

They also have adorable -Free- animal E-cards you can send to anyone you want.

Please check out AnimalRescueSite and tell your friends, family and maybe put a link in your blog too

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hats Off to Auntie D !!

This is a very Special Day.

For the past several years my little sister has been putting herself through college. She has endured life crippling events and still pushed forward with her dreams. The latest of such events was finding out Bear had cancer. This was devistating to say the least. Thankfully, he is alive and doing very well considering having had a portion of his lung removed in surgery earlier this year.

My sister and I talk on the phone atleast every other day and for an hour or so during each call. When she started her Masters Degree she was doing very well on her own. Then negative people starting 'putting a bug in her ear'. Her own friends and co-workers started saying "I don't know why you are waisting all your time, energy and money on a degree. You don't need a degree. You don't need all the degrees you have. We don't have degrees and we make good money." I was shocked to hear this and amazed her friends were so unsuportive. Education is very important. It is horrid to belittle someone's effort to further their education.

That is when the crying, angry and worn out calls started. I wanted to smack some sense into those who were constantly trying to bring her down. I know my sister may think I helped her a great deal with her thesis but she did all the work herself. I was basically acting as her sounding board and reminding her that she can accomplish anything. No matter if the phone call started out with tears, anger or words of frustration the call always ended with us laughing.

Before turning in her thesis she sent it to me for one final look over. I thought I was going to cry when I read her dedication page. I am getting misty eyed right now just thinking about it and at this moment I cannot even remember the words. Thank you Auntie D.

Early this morning she called my cell phone. I threw off the covers and started rushing around the house looking for where I might have left it. I finally find it and missed the call. Then my house phone starts ringing and I run back to my bedroom to pick up the phone. For some strange reason it was not working so I run to pick up in the dinning room. By that time the phone stopped ringing and no message was left. Pup saw that I was awake and made it clear it was time for him to go out in the back yard. I went into the bathroom and guessed it, the phone started ringing again. Thoughts of "why is she calling so many times?" went through my head and then I started to worry. What if something is wrong, an emergency! I quickly finish up and rush to the phone. I missed the call ...AGAIN ! This time she left me a message. "I GOT AN "A"!! A FREAKEN "A" CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!! I GOT AN "A"!!

I was so proud of her and very excited for her too!! She called one more time on my cell phone. This time I had my bluetooth on so I was not running around like a crazy person trying to answer a phone. We both screamed and squealed with exitement!! We hoped for at least a passing C and I secretly hoped for her to get high B. She got an A!!! Oh my goodness, this time around she will have the velvet, six sided tam! I am so happy for her! After we settled down from all the excitement we chatted happily for about an hour. Today is a good day!

My sister may not be a movie star or other famous celebrity many have a role models. Come on how many of them are really the type who have there lives together enough to truly be a role model we want for our children. I am not saying all movie actors or celebrities, just that there are so many I do not want as a role model for my children. I know every aspect of my sister's life, everything she has done and all that has happened in her life. No one can say she is not a great role model. She is the person I want as a role model for my children.


I cannot wait to see you in that tam!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Simple Mommy Daughter Fun

If you have a little girl who is a tomboy or frilly princess age five to tween I highly recommend American Girl. The majority of mothers I have met only know they have expensive dolls. The doll clothing, accessories and furniture and the dolls are all exquisitely made. If you think they only do the doll thing take another look... books, games, plays, clothes, etc are equally fantastic!

I first learned about the books at a school book fair with Oldest Daughter. She has been all Tomboy since age five. She enjoyed the books and I enjoyed reading them with her. We only had a few Josephine books but they made for great reading. When Snow White was five years old we rediscovered American Girl books at the first book fair for her Kindergarten class. We are still hooked on them! The Books teach life lessons, show how each girl deals with a situation and the outcome all in a positive way.

If you know about AG Books you know about the Historical Character books (Kirsten, Molly, Kit, Samantha, Addy, etc.) These books give an American history lesson in how life was in that decade through the eyes of a young girl. (I would give the AG books a G-PG rating)

Girl of The Year is all about a young girl's life now. We currently do not have any of these books but we are working our way there.

In the Self, Spirit and More section you will find such treasures as...

Ooops! The Manners Guide for Girls - This book is great and the girls loved reading it.

Real Fitness - " Girls don’t have to be athletes to be active! This great new book contains 101 fun ideas for staying fit."

Real Spirit - "... learning about fun ways to relax, and reenergizing with easy yoga poses, girls will feel more calm, confident, and ready to cope with any adventures life brings their way."

Real Beauty - "... comes from having a positive self-image; from feeling strong, confident, and healthy; and from finding what’s beautiful in others."

The Care and Keeping of You - "This “head-to-toe” guide answers all a girl's questions about her changing body, from hair care to healthy eating, bad breath to bras, periods to pimples, and everything in between." Also The Care and Keeping of Me Journal. "This journal is a sensitive, interactive companion to The Care & Keeping of You. It includes a period tracker and mood recorder, plus tips, quizzes, and checklists to help girls keep in touch with their changing bodies."

Hair Styling Tips and Tricks for Girls - "For girls, real beauty means taking care of themselves inside and out." A companion book to this is Skin & Nails Care Tips for Girls - "...explains the basics of skin and nail care for girls, including safety and hygiene tips, advice on battling bad habits, and more.

There are many, many books in this category so I ask that you at least take a peek at what they have on their website.

If you get the chance to visit one of the American Girl Shops you and your girls are in for a real treat. If you want to eat at the restaurant or go to the theater make sure to make restorations and/or purchase your tickets at least two month beforehand. In my opinion it is worth it!

This year in school Snow White had access to educational websites with the school librarian. Now she understands the World Wide Web a bit more and wants to take a turn every now and then. We discovered the games on American Girl dot com. At first I thought they would be fairly simple graphics and not very challenging. I was wrong. As I watched Snow White play Hula Hoopla I almost wanted to join in on the fun! It sounds silly, I know but so does playing Barbies in the bushes of the back yard. Opps! I meant the Jungle in the back yard.

Check out the games, books, etc. and enjoy some wonderful times with your little girl.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Suburban Turmoil wrote about SAHMs and WAHMs (Stay At Home Moms and Work Away from Home Moms). Yes, I got sucked in to it. Her first post regarding SAHMs brought my dander up a bit but I just let it go. Today she has a new post about WAHMs which lead me to today's post here. My comments were far to lengthy to post in her comments area. It is difficult to reply to such a topic in just a few words. My response here will not reflect all the respect I have for SAHM and WAHMs as no parent's whole experience can be put down to just a few pages. If you want to skip the Momma Drama come back tomorrow. I have a few posts in the works but felt the need to put together this response today.

In the comments portion of the first Suburban Turmoil post regarding SAHMs someone commented that having two teens in the house should make it a little easier on Suburban Turmoil. "...they are there and can be handed a baby for a minute while you go to the bathroom or make dinner." Verses having "4 children under the age of 6" to deal with day in and day out. Suburban Turmoil took great offence to the comment. Personally I did not seen anything insulting in the other woman's comment as she and I have both had wonderful experiences having teenagers assist in the every day routines. Suburban Turmoil listed all of her reasons for why her teens are not little helpers and add to her daily work as a SAHM. They do clean their rooms and the only "help" she receives from them is babysitting if she pays them. To me it is unbelievable that girls this age could not help out around the house. I wanted to get out the virtual Reality Book and make them sit down for a good reading! Of course none of us know everything that goes on in anyone else's house. After reading how things are in her household and her request "I'd love to hear from some more working moms" I decided to respond.

I really do not get the "Mommy Wars". I do not believe SAHM nor WAHM have anything easy. All Mothers who love their children work hard, be it at the home or elsewhere. Each of us have the same goal resulting in turning our little babies in to healthy and happy well rounded adults. As many have stated before, each of us are in different situations with children who are as unique as snow flakes. No two are the same. No plan, no fix will work for all families or all children.

My eldest two were very emotional when they were little. By the time they were tweens the moodiness went away. My youngest was practicing for PMS from the time she was 3 years old until recently. I think she has perfected her PMS techniques and moving out of this phase. My difficult times were when my children were little. The teen years for ME were a breeze (knocking on wood) compared to the constant attention for every little thing when they were little. Having now said that I am sure to have some sort of nervous breakdown episode following some horrendous teenage behavior in the very near future.

My teens DO help around the house. I have given them household chores since they were big enough to stand on a step stool and reach the dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. Now they mow the lawn (Saturday), take out the trash (two days a week), do the laundry (Sat), clean all floors (Fri or Sat), their bathrooms (Sat) and baby-sit for free. They are responsible for picking up after themselves and keeping their rooms clean. I make the meals 90% of the time. I take care of the dog and they take care of the cats. I run the taxi service about 50% of the time due to my older two now have drivers licenses. Taxi service is dependent on the number of vehicles available, who needs to be where and when.

I provide for our needs and wants. My children know the difference between need and want. They appreciate the fact we have everything we need and a most of what we want. We consider ourselves very lucky in that respect. We are a family and we keep house. I am not their personal slave nor are they mine. They are learning to be responsible and will need to do these things for themselves when they are out on their own. It is unbelievable the number of teenagers and college students who do not know how to operate a washer and dryer. Sad but true, really not a laughing matter. Okay, I have laughed once or twice when over hearing a co-worker explain in detail the steps to operating the washing machine.

This has to be said before someone gets their panties in a bunch. I am not a perfect person or a perfect mother. My children are not perfect either. We are human. There have been times when the garbage was not at the curb when the truck came. The grass grew tall in the back of the yard which resulted in bunnies. These are rare occurrences but hey, life happens and no one is perfect.

I have been a SWAHM (Single Work Away from Home Mom) off and on (mostly on) for 19 years. I have raised my children to be polite, helpful, grateful and many other things. They did not come out of the womb this way. It took years to help them become the people they are today. Suburban Turmoil wrote this in her post asking for more input from the WAHMs but said this about SAHMs “the fact that raising our kids ourselves”. If she or anyone else says this face to face to a WAHM who is providing for her family they should make sure to be out of arms reach. Working mothers have that phrase thrown in their faces many times. I hope she did not mean that working mothers do not raise their own children. Yes, children of WAHMs spend time at daycare if they are infants or toddlers and Mom is at the “office”. How is that so different from a SAHMs child who is in school full time and running off to so many activities. The children are spending most of their time with teachers, coaches and other instructors from the sound of it. You cannot think WAHM are not also raising their own children. SAHM and WAHM both raise their own children. Was that statement along with “the hard work has a much greater payoff than receiving a fat check” put in her post as an attempt to ruffle the feathers of the WAHMs?

Yes I have teens now but I did all the chauffeuring duties when they were younger. Trying to fit everyone’s activities into one overall schedule. It is amazing how much you have to cram into one evening - homework, dinner, baths, reading, etc. I started cooking our meals on the weekends and freezing them for week day dinners (still do). I have been lucky enough to find a position which now allows me a 5 minute one way commute. I am so happy to put the one way 2 hour commutes behind me!

I have great respect for SAHM. I have said it time and time again, in person and blog after blog that I admire SAHM. I work because I have to but there were times when my eldest two were toddlers and I did the SAHM gig. At first it was absolutely thrilling! The first few weeks I was Donna Reed, Betty Crocker and Super Nanny all in one! By week 4 I was dragging. I started counting the days until I would return to the office. I hardly spent 20 minutes a day in a full upright standing position. Most of my day was spent near the floor, playing with them, cleaning up mess after mess, separating them, cleaning up mess after mess, preparing meals, more clean up required after each meal. Yes we had some great times too but I found it to be more difficult than my office. It takes a lot of consistent energy to stay at home. I enjoy coming home to a clean house and leaving my work at the office. Having the physical separation of work place and home gives me more time enjoying the company of my children and being Mommy.

The down side of being a WAHM

Separation anxiety from your child is something most of us go through. (You do not need to be a WAHM for this to happen. The children of SAHMs go for visits with relatives or off to summer camps, etc.) I was very fortunate to have my mother as the person looking after each my children until they reached school age. At first I did not want my children in daycare but that soon changed when I became the sole bread winner. My real anxiety came when my son started school. Correction, it was not anxiety it was anger and jealousy that over took me. The thought of the teacher, who was a complete stranger to us, not someone I had the option of picking out personally, was able to spend hours and hours with my son…and I. had. to. work.

As a SWAHM I am on 24/7. I am the one who stays up all night with my children when they are sick. If they are not well enough for school I take a sick day from the office. I am the one and only one who makes sure the other children are taken to school and everything else flows like it should.If they feel “all better” and rested in the morning they are off to school. Tired, worn out Mommy is off to work with no chance at a nap later in the day. There were some mornings I arrived at work after a two hour commute and swore Scotty from Star Trek beamed me there. Having no recollection of the drive in to work. I was on auto pilot and amazed I arrived in one piece without incident.

I get the guilt of “you’re the only mommy who doesn't come” to the __________ school function. I do make it to ALL of the after work hours functions and to a few of the during work hours functions. I am happy to bake a bazillion cup cakes for any fundraiser. Teachers, other faculty and the SAHMs from my daughter’s new school are all amazed that I cannot just drop everything and rush over to the school for every single event. They are equally disgusted to hear me say I cannot take off work one day every week to volunteer in the classroom. I feel the need to wear a large sandwich board sign that says “I AM A SWAHM. I WORK FOR MONEY. I WORK TO PROVIDE FOR MY FAMILY” Even if I wore such a sign they would over look it and still give me those disapproving “looks” and little lectures. I gave up repeating the reason for my lack of attendance after only one month. Bring on the looks. It wont change a thing.

At previous companies I had issues with taking the day off due to a sick child or even when I had a really awful string of the flu. If I came in to the office sick everyone said "Why did you come in?! You are going to get the rest of us sick!" or "That child is going to make us all sick!" If I didn't come in they would say "We need you here! You cannot possibly be that ill" and "Why not leave the sick brat with the daycare, school or your next door neighbor?"

The worst of all was a woman supervisor who said she would only give me 2 weeks maternity leave. Being the bread winner of our little family at the time I tried to fight this with the help of an HR representative who just happened to be pregnant herself. There were 8 of us total who were all working at the company and pregnant. I received the call about a week prior to my due date from my OBGYN saying "Tell your boss today is your last day before your maternity leave. Results from your sonogram are in and we need to do a C-Section tomorrow." I called the HR department only to find out the pregnant woman who was working with me was FIRED! I returned to work 2 weeks after giving birth. I was fired 2 weeks later for being 2 minutes late (traffic) and not calling in. How would I have known I would be 2 mins late?. During my rushed "grab a box for your things" and lets talk about how quick you can get out of here, my single female, child hating boss (not the one I originally started out with) stated her disgust for my using a breast pump in the women's bathroom. In retrospect I am so grateful to be away from that woman and I found a more promising career.

My sick leave is now devoted mostly to sick days for my children and dyer sick days for myself. If I am able to drive I go to work. If anyone says why are you here when you are sick I will just let it roll off my back. In my line of work I am the best at what I do. My boss has a very difficult day if I am not there to answer questions or help him out in person. There seems to be an unspoken rule at this new place. If you are not at work you will not be bothered with any type of phone call from the office. Any sick leave I have left over at the end of the year rolls over to the next year and is added to vacation time...time I would like to spend with my children.

On the other side I have people who instantly feel sorry for me when they find out I am a Single Mom. Ouch! I have been doing this for a long time. I have the hang of it. We live in a nice house, a good neighborhood, I have a great job and we are doing just fine. Please do not give me those great big sad puppy dog eyes. Just because I am single does not mean it is the end of the world. I really do appreciate the neighbors who offer to do physical things I am not strong enough for such as making those darn lug nuts on the flat tire move or helping me with the couch I thought I could move all by myself and got it stuck in the front door. I did manage to get the couch off the roof of the car, over the porch railing and into the front door. he.he.he. I literally did a little happy "touch down style" dance on the front porch when I accomplished that much. However, I ruined the couch by attempting to do the rest all by myself. Okay not totally ruined, just one corner on the bottom front of the coach. Ugh. Maybe this last paragraph is sort of like what Suburban Turmoil meant when she said "Being a stay-at-home not that hard." Whether you are a SAHM or WAHM - If you have the routine down and are really in sync with all that needs to be done on a daily basis then maybe it isn't that hard for "you" and Me. Remember once you say it is all okay life has a funny way of throwing you a curve ball.

After Suburban Turmoil accepted the apology of the Mom who said it should be a little easier having teens around Suburban Turmoil took another hard stab at her. This other mom is a long time supporter and commenter on Suburban Turmoil. With all said and done by Suburban Turmoil maybe her teen step-daughters are really as awful as she says. Geesh, her harsh words make it sound like every teenager is bad. From Suburban Turmoil :

“...let me tell you, you have got a real treat in store for you in eight to ten years! When you find yourself reminiscing about the good old days when they were small, I promise I won't be snickering off in the distance somewhere.”

No, she wont be snickering. Suburban Turmoil admitted she will be dealing with the teenage years of her youngest daughter and her son "own children".

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Summer Break is Coming

Next week Snow White will graduate from her current grade. There is to be a ceremony and everything. It seems there is a graduation ceremony for every grade in the city. When my older two were going through the school system there were only two graduations, Kindergarten and High School. I hope to postpone an international meeting to the next day just so I can attend the graduation ceremony. My boss thinks it a tad crazy but come on. School will be closed for 3 months and I wont have to ask off to attend any school functions.

I remember the first day of summer when I was Snow White’s age. School was out! Mom made us a really big breakfast. After we ate she showed us around the kitchen as if we had never seen it before. This is what she said to all four of us…

This is the refrigerator. It is here to keep food and drinks cold. This is not an alternate air conditioner. Do not stand in front of it with the door hanging wide open. Think of what you want and then open the door. There will always be a full pitcher of Kool-Aid in here for you.(very diluted, barely any sugar)

This is the bread box. Open it up and wal-la there is bread. Take two slices of bread and put it on the counter. Over here is a cabinet. Open it up and there is peanut butter (we had flavored peanut butters - chocolate, banana, regular). In the refrigerator is a jar of jelly. Spread the peanut butter on one piece of bread and spread the jelly on the other piece of bread. Put them together like so and you have a snack. This can also be lunch. If you make a mess in the kitchen you clean it up. Put the peanut butter, jelly, and Kool-Aid back where it belongs. Rinse out your glass and put it on the counter before you leave the kitchen. You will use the same glass all day. I want you to have as much fun as possible during the summer, but do not want to make extra work for me.

It seemed every time I saw my mother during the summer she was washing clothes, sweeping floors, on her knees scrubbing floors, hanging clothes out to dry, cooking dinner, etc. The only times I remember her sitting was at her sewing machine making clothes for us, at the dinning room table going over the bills or sitting for a moment or two together during dinner. Year round she would pop up and down from the dinner table to get this or that. I don’t think my mother sat down for more than 5% of my whole childhood. Sheesh! I sure feel for all the SAHMs.

My summer gallivanting consisted of riding bikes all over the neighborhood with my brothers and friends. All four of us would play games with all the kids in the neighborhood. We had bike races, played Cowboys & Indians, freeze tag, hide & seek, raced flowers or clovers in a little stream. My friends and I played with our Barbies OUTSIDE. That’s right, we were allowed to play with them in the back yard, the grass, the dirt and on the driveway. We would run out of the house yelling “Mom! We’re going to Edna & Kelly’s!” and she would respond “Be back by dark!”

When we played at a friends house we played outside. Going inside during the summer meant we were thirsty, it was time to eat or the dreaded “Why do I have to come in now? It’s not really all that dark. Johnny doesn’t have to go in yet.” Everyone knows what followed that statement “I’m not Johnny’s Mother. I am your Mother.”

If by chance one sibling did not arrive home at dark Mom would walk the rest of us around the neighborhood looking at each yard for the missing siblings bike. Your bike in a neighbors yard was always the tell tale sign of your where abouts. We never left the house without our bikes during the summers. One way of getting all the children in doors was the "Mosquito Man”!

Every other evening around dusk the Mosquito Man would drive his truck up and down the streets of our neighborhood with bug spray shooting out the back. I recall many of us riding our bikes about a block away from home. Suddenly you could hear other kids screaming! We all stopped our bikes and listened intently. All of a sudden, the screaming...stopped. We would then hear a familiar but scary swooshing noise. Then.....RUN!! Oh No! It’s the...the.. MOSQUITO MAN!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! We would pedal as fast as our little legs would go! Trying not to breath! All the way home! Throw down our bikes in the middle of the yard and burst through the front door gasping for breath.

Thinking back on Mosquito Man and the fact this was in the mid 1970s, makes me wonder what was in that spray? How could they spray chemicals in the air around little children? If I seem a little “odd” from time to time I am going to blame it on the Mosquito Man. Yeah, um, that’s it.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


The Monday before Labor Day weekend I some how caught a metal splinter in my eye. I was rushed around to different doctors during the course of the day. I still do not understand how it was possible to walk through the shop to the bathroom with those huge safety goggles on and still catch a metal splinter in my eye. Anyway, the rains came and the lawn grew and grew. I could not mow the lawn. ManSon was off visiting friends and the Lawn Man was busy. Short story the grass in our back yard grew tall.

After the eye patch was off I decided the exercise would be good for me so I tackled the job of mowing the lawn myself. This was Friday evening. We had company coming...Snow White's Play Date and Grammy K. Yeah! The back yard would look so nice. Snow White, Gymnast and Pup were in the back yard a good deal of the time.

The next day, Sunday, we went to Gymnast's church. A bit different than we are use to, laying of hands, no one sings the Amen part of the hymn, and a few small things. It was really nice that Gymnast's Dad waited outside for us to arrive as we were late. I drove right past the church twice before actually making it into the drive way. It was nice that Snow White had a friend in the Sunday School class and in Jr. Church. I was so happy to meet Gymnast's little brother. He has MS or CP and looks just too adorable! Yes, he will be 7 soon but he looked so cute I just wanted to scoop him up in my lap and hold him. I resisted the temptation. He is almost 7 after all. I went up with him and the family for the laying of the hands and prayers for his recovery of strep throat.

Snow White was invited to say after church for the youth group pizza and a movie. I agreed due to the pleas from Snow White and Gymnast. It felt odd going home alone and even odder being at home alone. I could not stand the quiet. The hours passed by like centuries. I arrived about 15 minutes early and off we went home.

Memorial Day, while chatting with my sister on the phone I heard Pup barking up a storm in the back yard. I went out to investigate what I thought might be a large bee. One and a half inches from the top of the grass was the head...many tiny heads...little baby bunnies!!

So tiny

I took Pup up the stairs and sat him in the sunroom. I then went back to see if what I thought I saw was actually real. Yes, there was a very shallow burrow of baby bunnies. At first I thought I could cover them up with Snow White's wagon to keep them from Pup and still allow a little way in for Momma Bunny. I went inside and Pup went out in the back with Snow White. She was thrilled about the baby bunnies! Moments later there was a gut curdling scream! Snow White burst through the basement door crying and screaming incoherently. I ran out to the back yard, scooped up Pup and Snow White started shrieking "He killed it! He killed that baby bunny!"

What?! No Way! No! Not in front of Snow White! This couldn't be happening!

She pointed at the wagon and I slowly lifted it up. To my ever so grateful eyes all bunnies were fine. I showed Snow White and she explained Pup was trying to get the bunnies but she did not actually see a bunny in his mouth. Whew! Thank goodness!

The bunnies have me in a real spot. I cannot allow Pup free rein in the back yard until they are grown and out of here. (neighbors say it will be about 2 wks). If I let Pup have a free run in the back yard Snow White might actually witness a bunny killing. I cannot just scoop them up and move them because Momma Bunny wont have anything more to do with them if I touch them. My consciences tells me I cannot deprive them of their mother. That would be killing them. Snow White knows the rule "if you touch a wild animals baby such as a baby bird it's mother will not take care of it. It's ok if you think I am soft hearted or weak. I just cannot do it.

Eyes almost opened

Now Pup is restricted to doing his business during walks and puppy pads on the deck, the screened in porch and in the sunroom. Snow White refuses to go in to the back yard for fear of scaring off Momma Bunny unless she is out there to view the bunnies with me. Other than viewing the baby bunnies we have all staid out of the back yard. Here are a couple of pictures I took of them today...

They are so cute I wanted to pick them up and pet their baby soft fur. I resisted the temptation. I also reminded Snow White we are not to touch them no matter how cute. They are wild animals and must stay that way. New House Rule...Nothing new that can poop is allowed in the house. We have enough responsibilities with the 2 cats (separate litter boxes) and the Pup.

********* BUNNY UPDATE ***********

June 7, 2007 - It was a half day at school for Snow White today. I picked her up and took her home to ManSon during my lunch hour.

ManSon: "By the way, the bunnies are gone."
Me: "No way! They cannot possibly be old enough to leave."

I ran out to the back yard and sure enough the bunny burrow was empty. Completly, empty. At first a sad sinking feeling came over me. I was going to miss those little bunnies. On the other hand YEAH! I have my back yard back! I can let Pup romp around out there! Snow White was very sad at first. Then I said "How could they just up and leave without even saying goodbye? Especially after taking over our whole back yard and everything?!" Snow White laughted and said "Silly Mommy, you know bunnies cannot talk." She smiled and all was right in the world again.

Brighten Up Your Day With A New Purse!

Just in case you missed out on the last contest for a Donney & Bourke purse check this out. Pinks & Blues is giving everyone another chance! Tell her I said your name should be entered twice just because you are so special. Now get over there and put your name in the drawing!

Contest ends June 11th

Good Luck!!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Crafty Day

Monday, Memorial Day,

(will write about Sunday later…power outage lost file)

Since we are away from relatives, over coming my fears of actually having a car payment rather than paying cash and basically doing Memorial Day weekend on our own we dive into to crafts. ManSon and Oldest Daughter are off with friends. Snow White and I brave the shopping strips expecting them to be closed due to the holiday. To our surprise all stores are open! We rush into AC More and fill up our cart with much needed items to create a wonderful end of year thank you gift from Snow White to her teacher. A gift card to the local Olive Garden would have sufficed but a crafty gift from the heart seems more personal. I thought the projects would take up most of the day but turns out Snow White has become a wiz at crafts. Quick drying paint was also a culprit in her finishing so quickly.

First on Snow White’s agenda… the Box. She picked out a good sized hinged box. I picked out a clay flower pot. We made our way through the isles picking out things she liked such as stickers of puppies and flowers and other miscellaneous things from the scrap booking sections. Then we made our way to the paint area. I asked Snow White what she wanted to make of the box and flower pot. The flower pot would be for flowers on teacher’s desk and the box would be for whatnots she has no drawers for. Still the paint selections were a bit fuzzy to me at the time but I knew they would make a nice addition to our craft paint selection at home. One final item was a turtle she saw hanging on to a pottery planter.

After our little crafters extrusion we decided to go out for dinner. Snow White requested a restaurant we had seen on our way to the craft store, Cheese Burger in Paradise. We have a few rules for dining out. You should pick a restaurant you have not tried and a dish you never had before. Apparently she loves gumbo and Cheese Burger in Paradise. She could not stop saying the word paradise. This place looks like paradise, the food is like a tropical island of paradise, Madagascar movie Paradise was reveled when the lion liked sushi and it was under an umbrella just like this! Look at my fruit! Paradise fruit! This is paradise! Our table of the ocean and land is paradise.

When we were home we laid out all of our new supplies. I am very proud of her creativity. I have to say even as an adult there were moments I thought “Wait! Let Mommy help you!” but she had more confidence in herself than I had realized. I let her do her own thing and then waited on the side lines to fix it. I came to the realization, she knows what she wants to do and she can achieve it! She did let me pain the flower pot and put the flower stems in. That was all. One thing I really wanted to do was paint over the blue drip on the front of the box. Okay, maybe you have to look hard to see it…bottom corner of the box. She would not let me. They are her projects and I no choice but to let her do them as she likes. She is 8 years old after all.

Garden of Knowlege

Teacher's Box

Since Snow White was afraid her precious gifts would be distroyed on the school bus I brought them to her class during my lunch hour. The teacher was thrilled! After all the students had a chance to see them up close she put the flowers on her desk and took the box home to use as a jewelry box.