Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Well we have a sick Little Mermaid who's missing her school party today and is a question mark for trick-or-treating tonight... Thankfully her daddy ended up with the day off so he is home with her and will be around to help tonight as well. I'll be out at Abby's school party this afternoon for a while too.

I feel awful for Hannah - what a bad time to be sick! She threw up once last night and had a bout of 'other' stomach issues and has been running a fever since - she didn't even ask to go to school today so we knew she definitely wasn't feeling up to par.

I hope everyone has a great, fun and safe Halloween tonight! :)


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Works for me Wednesday #9 - Halloween candy

This week I'm going to share a tip that I'm hoping will work for us this year.

As our kids have started to get older and are out trick-or-treating longer and longer, they are starting to bring home way more candy every year. Not to mention the candy they get from Halloween parties at school, their bus drivers, daycare... The list goes on and the candy just keeps piling up! Last year we were literally still eating Halloween candy at Christmas and beyond and I think there's even still some that I need to dump out of their buckets that hasn't been touched in months. I know they've forgotten it's even in there.

Abby is definitely my 'Can I have a treat?' girl. She is constantly asking for a piece of candy whenever she knows she has some available. Every day, after every meal - she wants candy. The other two aren't as bad, but they definitely like their sweets as well. Up until now, we've shelled out the candy on a very limited basis - a piece here or there, never before meals or too close to bedtime. And going through the pile of treats (even with Ron and I 'helping') still takes forever.

So this year we're going to do it differently. I heard about this idea somewhere (can't remember where specifically) but I know it's going to help. We're going to pick a day soon after Halloween - probably this weekend since we'll be home. For that one day only, they can eat as much of their candy as they want. I know they'll be bouncing off the walls and going nuts from the sugar, but I think I can handle it for a day. Then, after that day is over, the candy is gone. I don't know what we'll do with what's left - probably take it into work to share or find someplace to donate it... I really don't care as long as it's out of my house!

I've heard (again, can't remember where - sorry!) that it's better for kids' teeth and in general to eat a lot of candy once or twice than to eat one or two pieces every day, and I agree with that. Besides the constant begging - it gets them into a bad habit of being used to and expecting treats every day. This way, they'll get the enjoyment of the candy, it'll be a big deal for them and then it'll be done - until next year.

It works for me! At least I'm hoping so! :)

Check out more Works For Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer!

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wordless Wednesday #16 - Butterfly, mermaid, clown(s) and a depressed puppy

Ok, so not quite 'wordless' here... Sorry!


Abby, aka Butterfly - Hannah, aka The Little Mermaid - Aaron, aka Clown (my friend Kristi's son)


(Aaron's daddy, Steve, aka Rainbow-Haired Guy)


(Becca, aka Depressed Puppy)


Check out more Wordless Wednesday here and here

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Tackle It Tuesday #14 - Getting my house party-ready

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This week I need to tackle pretty much my whole house. I did a very crazy generous thing and offered to help out my sister-in-law by hosting a Tastefully Simple party this Saturday. Which means that I have exactly how many days to get my house into any kind of shape for guests? Yeah, I thought so - fewer than I hoped for... :)

So in no particular order, I need to tackle the following:
  • Finish folding and putting away laundry that is still sitting in baskets in my living room.

  • Use the now-empty baskets to finish doing the rest of the laundry and then repeat #1 until everyone in the house has enough clean clothes to last more than a day or two and all piles/baskets of laundry are put where they're supposed to be.

  • Buckle down and actually invite people to this party. Normally I wouldn't have a problem with this, but I've been invited to a lot of this type of party lately that I haven't been able to go to and I hate inviting people when I haven't been able to reciprocate.

  • Figure out how to vacuum my entire house with a vacuum cleaner that is out of commission. Any ideas? Keep in mind that we have (what used to be) white carpeting in our living room and hallway...

  • Dust. Everything, everywhere. The amount of dust that's collected in my house is well, embarrassing.

  • Clean the bathroom (thoroughly). One of my least favorite jobs. Ok, the least favorite.

  • Finally get the piles and bins of summer clothing out of the girls' rooms. I think it's probably safe to pack them away. Finally. Right?

  • De-clutter. And repeat every day until (and including) Saturday.

  • Find time on Friday night or Saturday morning to mix up and make a whole bunch of Tastefully Simple recipes for the party - and hope that someone other than me and my sister-in-law will show up to eat them!
I think this list is going to take me the rest of the week, not just today, to finish. Especially since the girls have choir tonight and no housework will get done tomorrow night, of course. I do have to admit that this is a good opportunity to force encourage me to get my house in shape though!

What are you tackling this week? And check out other Tackle It Tuesday posts over at 5 Minutes for Mom!

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Heads or Tails #11 - Spooky, Scary, Halloween-ish


Halloween is one of my favorite holidays - of course, since it involves chocolate and fun decorations! And dressing up - although I prefer to dress the kids up nowadays instead of myself. :) I'm not as fond of the spooky, scary parts of it though - haunted houses and scary costumes are not my thing. But in honor of the theme for this week, here's a little something for you...




It's scary how cute they are, isn't it...

Gotcha! :)


Check out other Heads or Tails posts at Skittles' Place.

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My little pumpkins!

Just had to share... This was how the girls looked at church on Sunday:





Happy Halloween! :)

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A 'Little' giveaway!

SORRY, COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED - CHECK HERE TO SEE WHO WON!

It's Fall Y'all, and that means that it's finally here! The event you've all been waiting for - the Fall Y'all Bloggy Giveaway over at Shannon's Bloggy Giveaways site. I've seen (and entered) some great contests already today and at last count there were over 250 of them listed.

And make that one more!

I have 2 books to give away this week. I'm going to go ahead and do this as one giveaway though because I think that both of these are great books for anyone and well, it's easier... :)

The first book is one that I actually won from a giveaway myself this summer and really enjoyed reading - the Little Red Book of Wisdom by Mark Demoss. It's very gently used (having been read only once - I even left the cardboard sleeve on the back cover) and I found it to be a very inspiring book. I had to talk myself out of keeping it, but decided that I'd rather go ahead and share it with someone else and let them enjoy it as well.

The second book is one that I realized I have 2 copies of at home and so I'm giving away one (the one in much better shape, of course). It's The Little Hands Big Fun Craft Book (Creative Fun for 2-to-6 Year Olds!) by Judy Press and illustrated by Loretta Trezzo Braren. I've seen some great craft ideas in this book!


So here's how this will work. Just leave a comment on this post by noon (Eastern time) on Friday, November 2nd if you're interested in these books and I'll use a random number generator to choose a winner. You don't have to be a blogger to enter - just please make sure that you leave me a way to contact you if you win. Open to residents of the US only, please (sorry!). And don't forget to check out Bloggy Giveaways for links to many other great giveaways happening this week - good luck! :)


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Ooh, I'm not touching THAT!

Ok, get your minds out of the gutter or wherever else they're at... :)

We're talking pumpkin guts here, people!

Yes, my kids are wimps. Or wusses. Or whatever else you want to call it.

Is it because they're girls? I wouldn't think so since I loved playing in pumpkin guts and seeds when I was a kid...

We started the evening like this:





(You want me to put my hand where???)

And after a lot bit of cajoling, bribery, threats (hey, whatever it took, this is Halloween tradition here!) we did manage to get their hands into the pumpkins. Sort of.

Becca was intrigued:




Hannah was (in true Drama Queen fashion) very squeamish and loud about her desire to get nowhere near the pumpkin insides. She finally relented a little bit:


And then realized it wasn't quite SO bad:


And maybe even kind of fun:


Abby really didn't do too badly, she was very curious:



And both she and Hannah had fun helping Daddy carve the faces into their pumpkins (with a safety knife 'thingy', of course):




While Becca enjoyed ripping the newspaper off the table to shreds...



(Don't ask me why it's fun to put pieces of newspaper on your head...)

And eating raw pumpkin:




So here are the final, finished products!


(Abby's)


(Hannah's)


(Becca's)

And showing off their masterpieces:




Ewwww - run for your life, it's pumpkin guts!!!!!



Splat! :)

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

The next one of you with underwear on your head is getting a time-out!

These are words that my friend Kristi never thought she'd hear come out of her mouth.

Imagine, if you will, 5 children running around wearing little boys' briefs on their heads like hats, even after being repeatedly told to take said underwear off.

(Clean underwear of course)

We're not sure who exactly started this fashion show, and I'm not sure we really wanted to know.

The five children in question (my 3 girls, and Kristi's 2 boys), however, thought it was pretty fun.

We thought it was pretty funny.

Especially since after Kristi made the time-out threat, the only child who dared to attempt the underwear-on-head trick was Becca.

Whoops. Hard to enforce a time-out for a one-year-old.

We have no photos of this little escapade with which to blackmail our children in the future, mainly because running for the cameras would probably just have given the impression that we endorsed such a thing. Although I'm sure the laughter we didn't try too hard to hide probably defeated that anyway.

Oh well, it was probably one of those 'you had to be there' moments, but too priceless not to blog about! :)

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A Weekend in Your City

I've been tagged by ExPat Mom for the A Weekend in Your City meme, started by Kailani. This looks like fun! :)

Here’s how it works. Pretend that you have out of town guests visiting your city for the very first time and you’re the tour guide. Where would you take them? What would you do? Then tag 5 other people so they can proudly show-off their hometown, too! Remember, you can only mention one thing in each category.

I'm expanding this slightly since there's a lot just outside my city but still in the area you could do in a weekend that's completely worth seeing. So, here's West Michigan in a nutshell (or a weekend anyway)...

Best Place to Eat: I don't know if it's the best, but my favorite is called Brann's Steakhouse and Grille. They're a local Michigan chain with 9 restaurants (7 in our area). We eat here on birthdays mainly since it's a bit expensive (for us anyway) but I love their salads and their yeast rolls. Not to mention the sizzling steak, of course! The girls like the mini pizzas on the kids menu. I also like that they're very family friendly and with only a couple of exceptions, we've always had great service. And the couple of times that we've had issues with the service - they've gone out of their way to make it right.

Best Shopping Mall: There are a couple of great malls here in town, but my favorite is still really the one where we used to live, 30 minutes away. The Lakes Mall was built right after Abby was born and I was thrilled to actually have a mall in town. I loved being able to take her (and later Hannah too) to play and just get out of the house. Not to mention the shopping, of course! It's not a huge mall, but it's one of the best I've ever shopped at. Somehow it just has the right mix of stores, and a fun play area for the kids.


Famous Landmark: There's not one specific thing that comes to mind on this one - we don't have mountains or anything that necessarily stands out as a landmark. But, what we do have (nearby) is Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan is the only one of the great lakes that is located entirely within the US, and is the largest freshwater lake in the country. It's also a huge source of tourism in the area, offering awesome beaches, sand dunes, boating, fishing, hiking and gorgeous sunsets (see below). I love that we're only a half hour away although with gas prices lately, we don't get over there as often as I would like.

Best Tourist Attraction: This would probably have to be the Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. It's become an international tourist destination and has 125 acres of sculpture park, gardens, a children's garden, nature trails and features sculptures by many very well known artists. One of the more popular ones is the Leonardo DaVinci American Horse. And every spring you can see their wonderful butterfly exhibit - we've been a couple of times and it's amazing.

Entertaining the Kids: We love the Grand Rapids Children's Museum. It's got 2 floors of fun activities and exhibits for kids of all ages and parents can join right in. Whether you want to make giant soap bubbles, create works of art, see yourselves on television, or build with all kinds of different materials, every kid I know has a blast there. There are even lots of things for smaller kids and babies like a special 'crawlers only' area where you don't have to worry about your little one getting run over or trampled by the 'big kids'.

Breathtaking Views: This we definitely have. There's almost nothing like a gorgeous sunset from atop the Lake Michigan sand dunes. Or even just from the beach. Words can't really describe it, so here's a couple of photos that I found online - I can't access the ones I've taken right now but I have many of my own too (not as good though). In any season, the view of the lake can be breathtaking...

Popular Outdoor Activity: Well, normally I'd say the beach, but I think I have that one pretty well covered in a couple of the other categories. So I'll say that this one would probably be Michigan's Adventure. It's the largest amusement park in Michigan and is actually made up of two parks - the amusement park and a large outdoor water park. It's "two parks for the price of one" as the commercials say. And it's also home to Shivering Timbers, one of the best wooden roller coasters in the world. I haven't been to the park in several years, but I'd love to take the girls now that they're getting a bit older and may even be brave enough to go on a few rides now. Or maybe we'll wait until our daredevil Becca is old enough to show her big sisters how it's done...

So that's it! If you're interested in a longer stay, I did a T13 post on the top 13 reasons I love West Michigan a little while back, so check that out too! :)

I am going to tag the following five people because I'd love to see more about where they live (only if they want to do it though):

Jen
Holly
Donetta
Anna
Michelle


Disclaimer: All photos obtained from the Internet and don't appear to be copyrighted - click on each photo to be taken to the original web page.

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Contest round-up #8

Here is this week's contest round-up! Some of these are carryovers from the updated midweek edition from last week, but there are a few new ones as well.

Over at 5 Minutes For Mom, you could win a set of mattress covers for every member of your family from Protect-A-Bed. Enter by November 2nd for your chance to win! You also can still enter to win one of two great books at 5MFM - either The Dead Whisper On or The Little Black Book of Style. And if you have Wiggles fans in your house, you'll be interested in their giveaway for one of 5 copies of the new DVD, Getting Strong (enter by November 2nd).

Right now over at Bloggy Giveaways you could win custom photo cards from Photo Card Designs (enter by October 28th), a Bob unit (you've got to check this one out - I love the idea! Enter by October 29th), or a $26 gift certificate to Vienna's Treasures (enter by October 30th). And don't forget that next week is the Fall Y'all Bloggy Giveaway!

There's still time to enter to win a pink Dyson, so head over to The Domestic Diva and enter her contest by October 31st!

Shaktronics is giving away a Rocketfish Wireless Multimedia Bluetooth Keyboard and Laser Mouse Combo. Head on over to see how you can win! Enter this one by October 30th for your chance.

One of these days I still would like a baby sling. Preferably before Becca completely outgrows it... Maybe this contest will be my chance to win one - Mamanista is giving away one Rockin' Baby sling! You'll have until November 13th to enter. And Mamanista is also giving away a SIGG Kidz Safe Sippy Cup as well (enter by November 6th).

At My Lil Venture, you could win a set of Protect Your Sleep Bed Encasements (1 queen size mattress encasement and two pillow encasements) from CleanRest. These are wonderful for anyone with allergies or asthma so head on over and enter by October 30th!

Head over to Pediascribe and check out Karen's contest for Lunapads! You have until November 26th to enter.

Right now at Blessed Nest, they are holding three different giveaways in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. All of the products involved have been donated by The Spoon Sisters and include Pink Ribbon Awareness Rubber Duckie in Soap, Pink Ribbon Hankicards, Pink Ice Cream Spoons- Set of 4 and much more! You have until midnight on November 7th to enter.

At the Mom Blog, you could win a Comfy Easy PC for your toddler! Enter by November 3rd for your chance.

Here's a big one. One that I would so love to win. Click to enter for your chance to win a Walt Disney World® dream vacation for 8 from Sharpie®! The deadline to enter is December 31st.

You have the chance to win a Epson PictureMate Dash Photo Printer from emoms at home. Enter by November 1st.

Over at Crunchy Domestic Goddess you could win a t-shirt for your little one from Bitty Braille. Head on over before November 5th to check out how to enter.

It's almost Halloween and you know what that means... Halloween photo contest time! An Island Life is holding one until November 1st - enter before then and head back afterward to vote for your favorite! The winner in each category (best child costume, best adult costume, best pet costume) will win either $20 cash from PayPal or a $20 gift certificate to Amazon.com (their choice) plus a 2008 Hawaiian Pictorial Wall Calendar. Kailani is also holding a couple of other giveaways - you could win a t-shirt from Poopasnuffas (enter by October 29th) or a baby girl bracelet from Sher’s Wares (enter by October 31st).

And speaking of Halloween, check out From Under The Clutter on October 31st for Lynnae's Tip or Treat! Here's what she's doing - it sounds like a lot of fun!

"To participate, you may either post a “tip” (a blogging tip) or a “treat” (something nice about a fellow blogger). I hope if you are posting treats, you will pick bloggers that you don’t know very well. I want to encourage people to get to know each other better.

I also hope that as you read through the tips and treats, you will comment on each other’s blogs. Get to know your blogging neighbors! You never know what friendships will be formed!"


And for those of you who made it to the bottom of this post, click here to get a coupon for a free bag of Halloween candy from KMart - it's good through Halloween day.

As usual, if you know of a contest or giveaway that I missed, just e-mail me or leave a comment below and I'll add it in! Enjoy and good luck! :)

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Crazy Eight Maids-a-Milking?

Well I've been tagged 3 times for what I think is the same meme, just by two different names...

Let me explain. I was tagged by both Kellie and Jodi for the 'Crazy Eights' tag and also by Jennifer for the '8 Maids-a-Milking Meme'. When I compared them, they were asking pretty much the same questions, just in two slightly different ways. So I'm going to combine them and therefore bring you my version, dubbed the 'Crazy Eight Maids-a-Milking' meme tag. Ok? :)

8 Things I’m Passionate About:
* My family
* My friends
* Reading
* Blogging
* Music
* Computers
* Chocolate
* GIS

7 Things I Want To Do Before I Die:
* See my kids grow up and live happy lives.
* Move into a bigger house or add on to ours.
* Visit Great Britain and Hawaii.
* Take a cruise.
* Lose weight and live a healthier life.
* Get on a comfortable financial footing, preferably completely debt-free.
* Play with my grandchildren often.

6 Things That I Say Often:
* "I love you"
* "Please talk quietly!"
* "Just a minute"
* "You're goofy!"
* "Please finish eating/getting dressed/putting your shoes on/etc."
* "Settle down"

5 Songs I Can Listen To Over And Over:
* Anything from Tori Amos' "Under The Pink" album
* "Far Away" by Nickelback
* "Breathe" by Faith Hill
* "Hanging by a Moment" by Lifehouse
* "Wake Me Up When September Ends" by Green Day

4 Books I’ve Read Recently (Or Am Reading):
* Woman in Red by Eileen Goudge (just finished)
* A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon (have started about 6 times over the past year and although I love her books, I can't seem to bring myself to read this one yet)
* F is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton (have been re-reading the entire series but am stuck since our library doesn't carry G is for Gumshoe so I have to wait for it...)
* Does reading 'Dora's Counting Book' over and over 3,245 times count? :)

3 Things That Attract Me To My Friends:
* Kindness
* Honesty
* Support

2 Things That I Learned Last Year:
* That we can't get by without my full-time income, no matter how much I wish it were otherwise.
* That I can manage the house and kids in the evenings and on weekends by myself.

Now, 1 last thing, I want these people to also share (but only if they want to!):
MomOfThree and Three-Girl Circus

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An award and more randomness

I have one award to accept and pass on this week and several meme's that I've been tagged for. Instead of doing one huge post, I'll do them one or two at a time. :)


Anna from Beth & Cory's Mom has awarded me the Community Blogger award! Thank you so much, Anna - that means a lot to me. This award celebrates people who reach out and make the blogger community a better one. So I would like to pass it along to Lynnae at From Under the Clutter, and Megan at SortaCrunchy. Enjoy, ladies!

I've been tagged by both Jodi and Kellie for another '8 facts' meme. I've done this one a few times before, but figure that there probably have to be at least another 8 facts out there that I haven't shared before. So here goes.

These are the rules.

Link to your tagger and post these rules.
  1. List eight (8) random facts about yourself.
  2. Tag eight people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
  3. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving them a comment on their blogs.

Here are my 8 facts - and believe me, they're just about as random as you can get since they're what happened to pop into my head as I sat here:

  1. I hate spiders. I know I shouldn't and I'm not necessary 'afraid' of them, but thinking about them just gives me the creepy-crawlies. I made Ron take care of them if he's home and he thinks I'm a wuss. I probably am, but I don't care. :)

  2. I'm thankful to get along well with my in-laws. I know that's sometimes rare, but I really like my mother-in-law - she's one of the sweetest ladies I know.

  3. When I was pregnant with Becca, there was a period of several weeks where all I could eat without getting horrible stomachaches were plain bagels with plain cream cheese. For every meal. (And yes, I lost weight during that time) Afterward, I couldn't even look at a bagel for months.

  4. I am a 'recovering pack-rat'. My hoarding tendencies clash with my hatred for a cluttered house. So lately the de-clutterer in me has been winning, especially around garage-sale time. De-cluttering and making money - what can beat that!

  5. I've never been carded. Mainly because I've never purchased an alcoholic beverage in my life. Had a few sips here and there at weddings or parties, yes. But that's about it. I'm terrified of drinking (and can't stand the taste anyway) and hope to instill the same fear (or at least a lot of caution) in my kids because alcoholism runs in my family.

  6. I was never good at gymnastics or acrobatics as a kid because I've always been stiff and inflexible. My mom is the same way - she got a 'C' in gym class when she was a kid because she couldn't touch her toes. I can't even sit 'indian style' (or criss-cross applesauce as my kids call it) although I always wanted to be able to successfully do the 'yoga' position with crossed feet resting on the opposing thighs. My best friend growing up could sit that way and I was always extremely jealous. Don't ask me why...

  7. I can't draw at all, but I do think I have a good eye for layout and typesetting. Maybe not as good as my graphic designer-trained hubby, but definitely not bad. I also am fairly decent at lettering and always wanted to learn to do calligraphy.

  8. There are so many crafts I'd love to either get back into or learn how to do. Sewing, quilting, stamping, scrapbooking, crocheting, knitting, cross-stitching, just to name a few. Abby has asked to learn how to knit and sew, so I think that would be a great opportunity to learn and re-learn those and have some good one-on-one time with her.
So that's it - another random 8 facts... I'm leaving this one as an open tag, so feel free to play along!


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