Monday, December 19, 2011

Random Snippets

Today I am making my world famous chicken noodle soup!  (My family is my world, so yes, it really is world famous!)  I haven't made it all year and I am so excited for it!  I even make the broth from scratch.  It's one of maybe three things that I am excellent at making. 
Eric has an interview today at a warehouse.  Even though he really needs to find work, I don't think this would work out even if he did get it.  With no car it would take him almost 2 hours to get there on the bus.  It takes me an hour to get to work already, I just don't see how we'd be able to both get to work on time and have someone here with the kiddies while the other was en route.  Maybe it's time for daycare. 
I've been doing well at my job and I have a very good feeling that they will be asking me to stay in January.  My hours will probably be slashed down to 20 per week, but it will be something.  And I really do love working there.  I've never had a job where they treat their employees so well.  Maybe if I stay long enough, work hard enough, I can turn it into a career, get salary.  ::shrug:: I'm open to anything right now.
Christmas this year is going to be kind of sad.  My MIL got into a car accident about a week and a half ago (she's ok!) and probably won't have her car back until the middle of January.  Usually she lets us use it so we can go to my FIL's big Christmas Eve bash and then we just bring it back to her on Christmas day and spend the day there.  My SIL was going to drive us up on Christmas Eve and then on Christmas day bring her mom over to our house for a couple of hours, but she called crying the other night that it's not fair to her (no, it's really not.  I get it), and that she hasn't had any time to spend with her fiance and he wouldn't be able to come up if she took us because we all wouldn't fit in her car and so on and so forth.  I'm so tired from working and stressed from worrying about Eric finding a job that I really can't handle everyone else's problems.  So I told her if it was too much for her, don't do it.  Just say you can't do it instead of crying and complaining to me about what you "have to" do.  Then I hung up on her.  First time in 8 years.  So now, not only is she NOT bringing us up to the her dad's house, she's also not bringing her mom over to ours for Christmas.  Which is really unfair to her mom, who is going to be all alone on Christmas.  I guess it's my fault for pissing her off more, but I don't really have any pity for her right now.
I need to quit my ranting before I get mad.
So, yeah, chicken noodle soup!  It's starting to smell good already!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Something Smells Dusty

Oh, my blog, how I've missed you!  It's been a challenge working "part time" (almost 40 hours a week is NOT part time, but we need the money so I can't complain too much.) and coming home exhausted and switching back into Mommy mode.  I haven't been able to even look at the computer.  I'm not used to this anymore!  I'm off today though, and the laundry can wait so I'm taking this sweet opportunity to update a little bit and visit some of my favorite bloggers.  I've missed reading about you ladies!  My schedule has been packed but I'm hoping that I will be able to find some time for myself again when the kiddies are in bed, so I can keep up here.  My blogiversary is coming up in a little over a month, and I don't want it to pass with an out of date blog!

I don't want to go and post anything really long today and overwhelm myself so I'm just going to relax and go reading for now. 


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

RedBox Movie Night: Horrible Bosses


I'd been waiting for awhile to see this movie, and it didn't upset!  Jason Bateman is absolutely hilarious and Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston give A+ performances as well.

If you're not familiar with the story's premise, it goes something like this: three guys with bosses they hate and nowhere else to go.  What's the solution?  To have their bosses removed, of course!

What I love about this movie is that it's funny without going overboard.  It flows, the jokes fit (none of them seem forced), and the story line is only slightly far fetched.

Eric and I both enjoyed it immensely.  The only thing he said he didn't like about it was that he didn't think there was a lot of improv going on, and we love improv.  The only think I didn't like about it is that I mistook Jason Sudeikis for Ed Helms (the dentist from The Hangover) and lost a bet with Eric over it.  Watch the movie though, and there are parts where they could be identical!

Out of 10 stars, we'd give this movie an 8.5

Reserve it online at http://redbox.tellapal.com/a/clk/1yWZh  If you've never reserved online with them before, and you use that link, you'll get a free one night rental for reserving for the first time.  And so will I.






Monday, November 7, 2011

Back to School

With our current situation, which totally sucks, BTW, Eric has finally decided to take those important first steps in furthering his education.  He's planning on taking online courses in accounting, and starting in the beginning of the New Year.  Right now he's working on applying for as many scholarships as possible.  This one in particular is awarded by popular vote.
Please ladies, if you can find a couple of seconds of time to click this link and vote for him, it would be VERY appreciated!
Help me win a $5,000 college scholarship. Vote for my essay!




Sunday, November 6, 2011

How to Avoid Being Eaten


I've been getting a lot of criticism lately for Lucas' hair.  It hasn't been cut yet, and I can't tell you how many people tell me how cute "she" is.  Or the comments on Facebook about when we're going to cut it.  What do you think?  Time to snip those locks or what?  Personally, I think a pair of scissors are in order.  It's just something we haven't done yet.

And, again, I apologize for the sideways picture.  This time I DID try to fix it but even though I rotated it in Photobucket it keeps coming here in its original state.  Whatever.


This weekend Matthew had another project to work on.  Don't know if you remember or were here for the scarecrow he and Eric made for school.  This time it was a turkey.  A turkey who has to disguise himself to avoid being cooked into a delicious Thanksgiving meal.  Our Turkey decided to disguise himself as none other than Santa Clause!  Who would ever think of stuffing him into an oven (besides maybe an old witch who lives in a gingerbread house)?  I think this old Tom is safe this year.





Friday, November 4, 2011

Busy Busy Little Bee

I can't believe how busy I've been, and I know that I've missed a lot of great stuff online during these past few weeks.  I've really missed reading all of my favorite blogs!

Here's an update of what's been going on here:

October 18th was my first day working for Kohl's!  I was really surprised to learn I got the job.  They had over 300 applicants for about 50 positions and their were 10 people per interview, so I wasn't getting my hopes up.  I'm grateful to be working and having a lot of fun there!


We went to the Scarecrow Festival at the Easton Farmers' Market on Oct. 22nd and had a really great time!  Sorry for the sideways pictures: I'm just too lazy right now to fix them.  So at the Scarecrow festival there were a bunch of scarecrows, obviously.  They were all over the place.  Pumpkin bowling, a really LAME puppet show by a nerdy looking kid, lots of games mixed in with the usual farmers' market stuff, and.... the CORN PIT!  My kids had SO MUCH FUN in this thing!  I'd never seen anything like it before, and if you haven't either, it's basically a sand box filled with corn kernels instead of sand. 

Then I was just working working working!  And when I've been home I've been too tired to do anything buy lay on the couch!  And then of course I had work the day we had all that disgusting snow!  Bleck!  I didn't take any pictures of it.  I'm hoping to bury that memory into my subconscious.

School was cancelled on Halloween because there were still areas in Easton that didn't have power, but that was cool for me because I had to work and was originally going to miss Matthew's Halloween parade at school.  As it turned out I was able to go on Tuesday!  Halloween itself turned out to be kind of lame.  When I was growing up the little kids went trick or treating right out of school, and the older kids went after it started getting a little dark out.  Here, there are set hours and it's like from 6 to 8 is the designated time to go trick or treating.  So we went out for an hour, while EVERYONE else was also out and NOBODY was home!  Between the two of them they got less than one bucket of treats.  I mean, they don't really need it, but it's disappointing going trick or treating when you have to skip 6 houses before someone's home!  We're going to another neighborhood next year, maybe things will be different!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Confessions

I was NOT a happy momma when I found out I was pregnant with Lucas.
Some friends of ours were in their last stage of pregnancy when the mom to be gave me her baby name book.  I took it, not thinking I'd be needing it anytime soon.  When there son was born I got a BAD case of baby fever.  "Oh, babe, Matt is getting so big!  And Camren (our friends' son) is so cuuuuuute!" I cooed to Eric almost every day.  About two weeks after Camren was born I found out I was pregnant.  And my case of baby fever was instantly cured.  Not in a good way, like Oh, yay, I'm pregnant!  Cured as in I'm sorry!  I was only JOKING!  I didn't MEAN IT!

I don't want to gross you out with TMI about implantation bleeding, so let's just say that I had a sneaking suspicion that I successfully ignored until I was late.  The pregnancy was harder than my first.  I'm not old, but I was older.  I passed out on the couch everyday in those early weeks to wake up frantically calling for Matt, who was always playing like an angel in his room or watching a movie or napping on the other couch.

I had trouble sleeping.  My hips couldn't stand the pressure of lying on my side so I spent my nights in my last trimester waking up every two hours to slowly roll over.  Pshh, I actually got more sleep AFTER Lucas was born because he only woke up every three hours during the night.  I couldn't sit down, or stand up, or bend over.  I bought myself new shoes so I wouldn't have any laces to tie.  I ripped 3 pairs of jeans trying to fight the laws of volume and mass.  I couldn't pick up my FIRST baby, my buddy, my Matty Matt!

I HATED being pregnant again, and I was NOT convinced it was going to be worth it.  I wasn't excited at all.  It was PD.  Partum depression.  There were a few highlights.  I was lucky enough to have 3 ultrasounds.  Well, not lucky, because the reason for them was to watch a cyst on my ovary that needed to be removed and was giving me a lot of pain, but I got to see Lucas' face with the 3D ultrasound.  And he looked SO MUCH like his brother, even in-utero.  There were more low points than highlights though.  Even regarding the ultrasounds.  My eyes filled with tears when the tech pointed out his little boy parts.  I was hoping for a girl.  And my first reaction was a deep disappointment.  Now, my very next thought was along the lines of Matt would LOVE a little brother to chase him around! but still.  That first thought brought tears to my eyes, and the tech definitely noticed.

It took forever to name him.  We had both been focusing on little girl names.  We never came close to agreeing, but we hadn't even bothered talking about boy names those first 20 weeks.  I was 30 weeks pregnant when we finally settled on Lucas Adam.  And as much as I hate to admit it, I don't think either of us really like the name Lucas very much.  Still.  I sometimes wonder how people would react if I announced that we would start calling him Adam instead.

And my C section.  Ugh!  I was planning on a VBAC, but with the discovery of the cyst my OB and I decided it would be best to have a repeat C section so they could go in there and get that bad boy out (it ended up being 10cm big!  Glad to have it gone!).  Ok, fine, I could deal with a scheduled C section.  What pissed me off was that it didn't get scheduled until 6 days prior!  And my husband was store manager of a GNC that was WAAAY out of the way of all the other stores in his district.  And his part timers were useless.  And his superiors were useless.  And they said that if the store didn't open he would lose his job.  So... he took me to the hospital on the morning of, and had to leave for work, over an hour away.  And my mother in law was taking care of Matt, and my mom... would have LOVED to be there, but sometimes theses things are impossible when you live a thousand miles away from each other.  So, yes, I was alone, except for the anesthesiologist, who was awesome (and kind of cute).

I spent my entire pregnancy up to that point worrying about how much harder it would be to have twice as many kids.  I know two kids aren't a lot, but two IS twice as many as one.  I worried about having to take care of a newborn baby and missing out on spending time with Matt.  I worried that he would feel as if I had abandoned him.  I worried that I might not love Luke enough.  I worried that I might not love Matt as much anymore.  I worried that Matt would be horrible around the baby.  I worried that Luke's birthday would take away from Matt's birthday (Matt's bday is April 2nd, Luke was due April 1st.  Because of the C section, their bdays are 8 days apart.).  I worried that I would spend another 3 months of my life crying all night because the baby wouldn't sleep (like I did with Matt.).  I was worried about my relationship with Eric falling apart.  We had barely made it those first few months after Matt was born, and I KNEW that this time would be worse.  My whole life was about to shatter and fall to pieces at my feet. 

As they were wheeling me into the OR, I got STUPID excited.  All of a sudden I had a HUGE grin on my face.  The anesthesiologist actually asked if I was ok because of the stupid face I was making.  Whew, I had been waiting for those feelings for 9 months, and they finally arrived.  Better late than never, right?  When they laid him in my arms, I finally fell in love again. Just like that.

Everything I feared disintegrated.  Matt ADORED that tiny little baby.  Eric was ridiculously helpful and involved.  Lucas slept like a champ.  We settled into such a quick routine that we were confident and comfortable enough to have Matt's 4th birthday party and a meet & greet for Lucas the weekend after we got home from the hospital.

I love my boys.  Both of them.  To the moon and back.  It's quite a phenomenon, really.  I am fairly certain I don't want any more kids.  Eric is fairly certain he wants one more.  We have some time to decide yet.  Either way, I'm MORE that certain that if we did end up having another child, I am well equipped to handle it. 


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Personalized stuff

A few years ago I joined a company selling candles from home.  The company ended up being less than what they promised, and I ended up not spending too much time with them.  It was my first home business venture though, and I dove right in!  I was so excited to order my very own business cards!  That's when I found out about Vistaprint.  I ordered my first 250 business cards for free, all I paid was shipping.  I still have a bunch of those laying around somewhere.  They also offer free invitations and announcements, bumper stickers, pens, and even checks and more!  I dreamed about using all the other crazy cool products they had: magnets, key chains, postcards,
stickers, rubber stamps... you name it! 


Vistaprint is more than business cards and advertising products though.  I mentioned they did invitations, some for free, but they also do calendars, stationary, photo books, mouse pads, shirts, hoodies, tote bags and more!  All personalized.  And all for VERY reasonable rates.

One of my favorite things they offer is Mommy Cards!  You can hand them out on play dates, or when you meet another cool mom at the park.  It could say something like:
Nicole Hughes
Matthew and Lucas' Mom
555-555-5555

Or maybe:
Matthew
Mrs. B's class
ABC Elementary school
In Case of Emergency Call: 
 I just think that idea is really neat!  And also, with the holidays coming up, I think I'll be visiting Vistaprint for our photo cards.  On sale right now starting at $3.99 for 10, I could order two sets and have enough for everyone I need to send one to in our family.   I know probably everyone knows about Vistaprint already, but every time I visit their website I feel like a kid in a candy store!



Friday, October 14, 2011

Follow Up to our Latest Emergency

I just wanted to let everyone know that I took Lucas to his regular pediatrician today and they checked him out and he is A O K!

He does have a cough and runny nose, so they checked his lungs and throat again, and also his ears just to see if he had some sort of infection or swollen glands or anything, and everything was clear.

Thank you to all the visitors and commenters who showed us such support on The Worst Day of the Year.  Those little ones are QUICK!  We will definitely be more vigilant and less quick to assume what's out of his reach!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Worst Day of the Year

Yesterday was a busy day in a busy week. Busier than I was expecting in the worst way.

I had a job interview at Kohl's. I want a part time job. Short term goal: extra holiday money. Long term goal: go back to school. It was a group interview. They have 50 positions for the holidays and they're interviewing about 300 people. I know I did better at the interview than at least 3 people. We'll find out in a few weeks I guess if I get the job.

With Columbus Day and school being closed on Monday my week was all thrown off. I missed the PTA meeting last night. And there are only three general meetings per year, though the officers meet more often. So that sucked.


Eric spent the day painting a gnome. We had one of those college football garden gnomes and he painted it to look like a zombie. It came out really well, but it ended up causing a whole lot of problems. We have a fairly small apartment, so he'd been painting on the kitchen table. Ugh.

After dinner the boys had a bath and when they came out I was getting them ready for bed. Lucas was in his pajamas and Matt was just getting out of the tub and getting ready to get dressed when I hear him yell, "No Lucas!"

The paint brushes were sitting in a bottle of paint thinner/brush cleaner and Lucas, taller than we realize, grabbed one right out of the bottle and apparently was sucking on it. He immediately started choking and gagging.

I thought he had drank right out the bottle and I screamed at Matt, "DID HE DRINK IT?! DID HE DRINK IT?!"

Matt nodded and I flew over to Luke, carried him into the kitchen and whipped a bottle of water out of the fridge to try to get him to drink some. He couldn't even catch his breath, started gagging more and vomiting.

"CALL POISON CONTROL!"

"I DON'T KNOW THE NUMBER!"

I know the number to poison control, but my mind wouldn't send the numbers to my mouth. "CALL POISON CONTROL!" I screamed again, "CALL 911! CALL 911!"



Eric was already calling, heading out the door so we wouldn't lose cell service. All the while Lucas is choking and gagging and trying to vomit and I'm pretty much just dumping water on him hoping he can get a drink. I carried him outside so whatever instructions the 911 operator relayed to Eric he could tell me. An officer arrived immediately, and said NOT to try to get him to drink or induce vomiting. Within two minutes, 2 more officers and the EMTs arrived. By this time Eric was on the phone with Poison Control, reading the warnings on the bottle to them.

One of the EMTs told me to take of Lucas' shirt, that the fumes were making him choke. So we took off his shirt and he asked me to get another one for him. I ran in the house and I see Matt crying. "I'm crying because Lucas drank that stuff!"

"Don't worry, baby, he's going to be ok," I tell him as I'm ripping a shirt out of their closet. "Get dressed and you can come outside to make sure he'll be ok." Before I get back out the door, though, Eric came in.

"They're taking him to the hospital, get some diapers and wipes."

"They're going right now?"

"Yeah, hurry up!"

I grabbed a stack of diapers, a pack of wipes, stuffed them and the shirt into my bag, frantically searched for my flip flops for a second, and ran out the door. He was already loaded up into the ambulance when I climbed in. He was still crying and choking, but the vomiting stopped at least. The EMT hooked him up to the monitors and had me hold a hose of oxygen near his face, since he was way too worked up to get the nose thing on. The EMT gave directions to the hospital to the driver and told him to use the lights. A few minutes later though, he yelled, "Where the fuck are you going?! I told you to turn left here!" He apologized right away. He wasn't with his usual partner, didn't much care for this one, and it showed.

"Where are we going?" He told me the hospital we were going to, and I knew there were at least two, possible three closer. "Why aren't we going to Easton Hospital?" It would have been only minutes away.

"Easton Hospital isn't equipped as well for pediatric emergencies. If he hadn't been breathing or needed immediate life saving care, we would have gone there, but after he was stabilized we would have moved him anyway," he explained to me patiently.

The trip took about 20 minutes. I ended up having to lay on the gurney with Lucas on top of me to get him to calm down. He was almost asleep when we got to the hospital, but obviously he wasn't going to be able to sleep once we got there. The doctors and nurses got him situated in a bed and we took his pants off so they could stick more wires to him. I was barraged with questions: How old is she? Are her shots up to date? How much does she weigh?

Eighteen months, yes, about 27 pounds, and he's a BOY, we just never got his hair cut yet.

He got upset over all the fuss again while I was asked how much he drank. I couldn't say. I knew the bottle wasn't full, it didn't look like he drank any of it to me, but Matt said that he did, so I just told them I didn't know, but it couldn't have been more than a sip. They took the bottle away, to send it to toxicology I guess.

After awhile they came in to x ray his lungs. I thought they would pump his stomach or something, but they didn't. Apparently the damage to his lungs was the serious issue. When they came back with the results they said his lungs looked clear, but sometimes it took awhile for the damage to show so they were going to do another x ray at 2am, and if that came back clear then we could go home right away.

With this news I called Eric, who was at home frantic, learning all kinds of horrible facts about paint thinners and the number one killer of infants in the poison category. He threw all of his paints and model cars waiting to be painted in the trash. I could hear it in his voice that he blamed himself. Perhaps rightfully so, but accidents happen.

Lucas settled in pretty well. Someone gave him a little stuffed bear, made by a volunteer I'm guessing, out of Halloween themed fabric. He doesn't usually cling to stuffed animals, but he LOVED this bear last night. We turned on the TV, let him watch the Nick Jr. channel, and in a short time he was giggling and pressing buttons on the remote and throwing things off the bed for me to fetch. My mother in law came to the hospital to give me some company and to take us home after his second x ray, but around 11:30 or midnight Lucas threw up again. I called to the nurses at the the station right outside our room. They helped get him cleaned up, got us new linens and a clean gown for him and he settle right back down. Unfortunately, the doctor decided to keep him overnight instead of releasing us at two.

They moved out of the pediatric ER up to the pediatric unit and got us settled in AGAIN. Lucas didn't fall asleep until around 1am, only to be woken up by the x ray techs around 2:30. He fell asleep right away, though, so it wasn't so bad. Time doesn't pass the same way in the hospital. The room was dark and the hallway was bright, so I don't know what time it was when someone came in to check his vitals. I woke up as soon as the door squeaked open. "Do you know how his x ray was?" I asked the nurse. She didn't. Morning came, and I was still disoriented with lack of sleep and the lighting in our room. Lucas was still sleeping when the door squeaked again. His x rays had come back clear, and he could probably go home before lunch time I was told. I called home to share the news with Eric and talk to Matt. "Lucas had to get a x ray?" he asked me.

"Yup, the doctors are taking good care of him so we can come home later."

"Ok."

"Are you getting ready for school?"

"Yeah, I feeded the cat and made my bed."

"Did you brush your teeth yet?"

"Oh, I have to give Daddy the phone so I can brush my teeth!"

My mother in law came back, with the biggest balloon in the gift shop, a new toy, and a pair of pants and hoodie for Lucas. Breakfast was delivered.  They put him on a clear diet: chicken broth, orange jello, apple juice, and some orange ice. Lucas only ate the jello and drank the apple juice, but he kept it down. By 11am, we were finally on our way home.

We ate lunch and all took a nap. Lucas seemed to be running a fever, but I think he was just warm from sleeping. He's been fine all day, acting his same old self. On Friday we have to go to his pediatrician for a follow up.

SOOO, everything seems to be turning out fine. Just another adventure in motherhood, another few years off my life, a few more gray hairs on my head, and Eric is filled with guilt. Crazy how an instant can turn everything into chaos.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tall Tales


The first blog I ever came across was one of those with like 3million followers and sponsored ads in the side bars. This was last winter when I was first contemplating starting my own. Pretty intimidating! Her posts are always about her family life, and they are always pretty humorous. That's what drew me in initially. As I followed along with the half of the planet though, I liked it less and less. I couldn't put a finger on why.
Then it hit me. I don't believe her! I feel as if her posts are BASED ON her family, but spun to be funnier that what really happened. Maybe "this" did happen, but "this next thing" is completely fabricated to get a response.
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, really. And maybe her kids really are that crazy, who knows. I just feel that they aren't completely genuine, and it rubs me the wrong way. Have you ever read a blog that felt that way to you?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Demon Girl

Ok guys, I don't know yet if I want to do a weekly book review or what, but I read this one last weekend and wanted to share it with you all. I also figured it fit in well with Halloween being in October and everything.  :D  I found Demon Girl by Penelope Fletcher for free to download on my Kindle. If you've got one, you can download it by clicking here
I've always loved fairy tales and now I love all kinds of supernatural novels. Obviously Demon Girl is among them. Set in a post apocalyptic type world, humans live in small pockets of civilization while demons roam free.  Abandoned as a baby, Rae's lucky enough to have lived long enough to be chosen to be a Disciple.  She's training to be a Cleric, responsible for keeping the decimated human population safe from demons.  One morning, life as she knows it changes forever.  Suddenly finding herself out to be a demon in disguise (I'm not giving anything away here, it *is* called Demon Girl) and caught between not only a fairy and a vampire, but also a fairy civil war, Rae is not equipped to handle her new found abilities or the choices that are thrust upon her.  She certainly isn't the smartest heroine I've been introduced to, but she's honest and determined to save everyone from everything.  
Fletcher has created an intricate story, and characters with very different motivations.  She's written a story that moves along quickly, but not too quickly that you get lost trying to keep up.  As it's written from Rae's point of view you are thrust into a new world trying to figure things out just as she is.  There are some twists and turns that take Rae by surprise that sometimes seemed obvious to me, but she's dealing with lots of new emotions so I didn't have  too much trouble overlooking those.
All in all I found it to be a very good read, and definitely a good beginning of a trilogy.  I'm looking forward to reading the next installment: Demon Day, which is also now available on the Kindle. 

*I was not approached to do this review by anyone nor was I compensated in any way.  This is just my opinion.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

I started blogging less than a year ago, and to be honest my posts were few and far between.  When we got our new laptop I jumped right back into my blog, excited to be able to post more regularly and make it "pretty."    It's become a way for me to reach out and connect to people.  I have few mom friends in Pennsylvania, and it's nice to have an outlet.
Yesterday I got a message on MBS from Lacey over at Little Miss Nerd Girl.  She's presented me and 14 others with The Versatile Blogger Award!  I can't even say how excited I am!  Thank you so much Lacey!
Save this image so you can pass it on!
By accepting this award I have agreed to:
  • thank the blogger who presented it to me and link back to her page.  Please, take a moment to visit!
  • share 7 things about myself
  • pass this award to 15 newly discovered blogs
I'll start with 7 things about myself.
  1. My favorite TV series is the cartoon The Venture Bros.  I have almost all of the seasons on DVD and am impatiently waiting for season five.  It's a really inappropriate show which doesn't bother me in the least, and the writers are genius.
  2. I am a voracious reader.  I read my Kindle while I'm eating, a throwback from when I had to read the back of the cereal box during breakfast.  I also kept a flashlight next to my bed.
  3. I taught myself how to crochet, but I hardly ever finish my projects.  I made a lopsided blanket for Matthew and was going to make a gorgeous throw to match our curtains but I didn't use the right needle and it looks more like a rug.  
  4. I wanted to be an English teacher, but the more I think about it, the less suited I feel I would be for it.
  5. Since meeting Eric I've turned into a total gamer.  Some of my favorite video games are Oblivion, Little Big Planet, Tales of Symphonia, and Borderlands.  
  6. I'm sick to death of Lightning McQueen!  Nuff said!
  7. I have lived through hurricanes, nor'easters, blizzards, floods, a tornado, and more recently, an earthquake.
Now you know a little bit more about me.  I hope you'll visit the blogs I've chosen to pass this award to, to get to know a little bit about them!  I made sure to award this to blogs that *weren't* already on Lacey's list although I follow a bunch of those and love them too!
A Day in the Life
A Shot of Laughter
Boys, Toys, Chaos, & Joys
Brooklyn Active Mama
Lehigh Valley Momma
Life, Love and Food
Trials and Tribulations 
One Mom's Moxie
POV
Psychodynamom
Razing Mayhem
Southern Belle
The Marvels of Motherhood
What Mama Wants


Young Suburban Mom



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dirty Laundry


Ok, I just need to get some things off of my chest here.  This is family drama.
My cousin A and I are only 9 months apart.  Her mom and mine share a birthDAY although they are two years apart themselves.  Out of my mom and her 4 siblings, I think that she and A’s mom have the closest relationship.  We also have that close relationship.  A is like a sister to me.  In every way.  We love and fight equally.  In a lot of ways I feel like I’ve been competing with A my whole life.  She’s the pretty one, the athletic one, the popular one.  The one who got away with things I would be grounded for thinking about.  She learned how to tie her shoes before I did.  I think that started the whole thing.

I dropped out of college and had a baby.  She stayed in and eventually became a police officer.  We lived (for a time) in a shitty trailer and she had a nice apartment and car. She got her hands into all kinds of businesses: Avon, some website selling green cleaning products, and a whole mess of things I don’t remember.  When she worked at them, she did so with passion, and she usually made a profit.  I never had much luck with that kind of thing.  She went out and partied and had fun while I was home with my baby or working my butt off to keep a roof over our heads.   I often forgot what I had when I compared myself to her.

Her perfect life began unraveling when she found out she was pregnant.  She had been casually dating someone for a while, but I guess while he was away a friend of hers came over one night.  She wasn’t sure who the father was at first, but she thought it might have NOT been the one she was dating.  It wasn’t.  And that turned out to be a good thing for her, at first.  The guy she was dating wanted nothing to do with her or the pregnancy when he found out.  We were all supportive of her.  Whatever she wanted to do, we’d stand behind her.  She chose to have the baby.  Honestly, out of everyone in my family, she’d make the best single mom.

Turns out, she didn’t have to be a single mom.  Her guy friend was ready and willing to step up to the challenge and have a real relationship with her.  He has a daughter from a previous relationship, but A turned out to be a great step-mommy, too, despite all the baby mama drama (and there was much).  They were planning their wedding and everything was looking great.  Until…

With me being in PA and most of the rest of my family in FL I don’t know what’s going on all the time.  My mom casually mentioned the “trouble” A was having.  I thought it was the baby mama stuff but it was way worse than that.  Her husband to be was accused have having inappropriate relations with a student (he’s a math teacher).  During the investigation he was moved from the classroom to administration work, in a building with no students.  Over the summer though, he was arrested.  Although he’s admitted that this girl was in their home, A believes that “nothing happened” and is standing next to her man.  That is all well and good, but remember, she is an officer of the law.  And besides that, if my husband brought a young girl into my house, that would be it.  That’s not a position you put yourself or your family in, whether anything happened or not!  Of course, his arrest caused a media storm.  It doesn’t help that he used to play football for Notre Dame & had a brief stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  They were pretty much kicked out of their apartment because of all the media.  I saw a news video online that had a close up of their apartment door…  effectively giving everyone their address, as they had already mentioned the complex it was in.  She’s been told not to have any contact with him or she could lose her job.  Last I heard, she wasn’t listening very well.  

I hurt for her.  I wish she would see common sense though!  This man isn’t doing right by her.  She needs to let this all blow over and settle down before they should try to continue their relationship.  If that's even an option.  It wouldn't be for me, that's for damn sure.
 
I hurt for me too.  She’s STILL not mentioned any of this to me.  I’ve made huge mistakes in my life; she knows that.  She should know that I wouldn’t be one to judge her for what she thinks is doing the right thing (supporting her man, keeping her family together).  I just hope she comes clean with me soon, because I won’t be able to help confronting her. 


She won’t be reading this… we’ve spoken so few times that I never remembered to mention that I started blogging.  And with all the drama, she deleted her FB page (just before I got back on there).

Even still:
A, I love you.  If you need me, I will always be here for you.  You are my cousin, sister, friend.  I know you have enough people kicking you in the ass right now.  I won’t.  I’m good at just listening.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Things I Missed This Weekend

Although I consider myself a SAHM I do, in fact, work on Sundays buying gold at a kiosk in the mall. Hey, it pays for diapers! And instead of just Sunday, I worked Saturday as well this week. That is if you would call sitting around playing on my laptop for 11 hours straight (Saturday) or reading my Kindle for 7 hours (Sunday) work.

I didn’t see Matthew on Saturday at all. He was tuckered out from a full week at school and slept in and was already in bed by the time I got home. I would never want that to be my every day!
The boys had a great day without me. On Friday Matt brought home a scarecrow pattern to decorate. It’s due on Wednesday and I was really looking forward to making it with him. It was done when I got home on Saturday night. He and Daddy had a great time making it! It’s so cute, they cut up some of Lucas’s old clothes and glued some beads and made straw out of paper…I think it looks great
<-----    (even though the picture sucks so bad)!
I also came home to this: (picture to come... I realized it looks WAY better in the dark)
Another thing I was really looking forward to making! Family Fun Magazine had this as a craft this month; it’s called Spectral Eyes. In the magazine they painted their boxes with dark blue paint. We opted for the less messy version: we (they)wrapped them in black wrapping paper. The facial features are cut out of the boxes and tissue paper covers the holes. Family Fun used all yellow, but we (they) added some red and blue. See Batman in the middle? Totally Dad’s idea! The back of our boxes (bottom of Family Fun’s) are left open to tuck in a string of lights and voila! A cute/spooky window decoration! Such a simple and yet genius idea.  Click the link above for the "official" instructions.
Family Fun's


To be honest, I’m a little bit bummed that I missed out on doing these with the boys. I was really looking forward to them, especially the Spectral Eyes. If I had been here, you can bet there’d be WAY more boxes involved! I’ve been saving boxes all week, and only half of them got used. And I would have taken pictures during the process and posted them here for you guys. And it just seemed like it would be fun to do! As bummed as I am though, I am equally (possibly even more) thrilled that Eric was able to do this with our boys. Sometimes Dad gets left on the bench while we go do our thing. He never complains about it, but I know he wants to create memories with them just as much as I do. So really, it’s better he was home and I wasn’t. They all had a great day.
And when I got home… the house was spotless! I love my guy!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mom Blog Society


Since I've been becoming more serious about my blog I wanted to show off all my hard work to someone! I've been a member of Cafemom for years now, so of course I started there. I joined a few blogging groups, but they seemed to be more about self promotion than anything else. I was looking for more, but being so new to blogging I wasn't sure where to go. I did, however, get started with LinkReferral. This introduced me to some great blogs, and I got a few reviews from members. I was excited to see the increase in traffic, but I wanted quality over quantity. I wasn't really sure what my next step would be.

Then I got a comment from Mom Blog Society when I posted about the Farmers' Market. The comment said: "Oh how I love to go to a good farmers market. It looks like you had a GREAT time!. I would love for you to share you experience at the farmers market with our readers at http://momblogsociety.com I truly believe they will enjoy this read."

Well, I checked it out and let me tell you, I'm HOOKED!

Since Wednesday I've gained 6 followers (which for me at this point is almost double what I had!) to my blog and about 20 to Twitter. In 4 days! That's really exciting for a new blogger!

But aside from the traffic and new comments, I really feel like I've found a community to grow in. I'm a fan of groups so I joined a few, and it's nice to see familiar faces from one group to the next. There's a group for Twitter, a group for newbies, a group for comments, a group to get (and give) reviews, and so many more! I feel right at home there, asking questions and participating in button exchanges etc!

And I truly believe that some of the most helpful people on the planet are spending their time at MBS. I have learned how to make a button! I fixed the header that didn't want to sit in the middle of the page! I know that if I stick around I can bring my blog AND my blogging to the next level.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happy Meals & Hedgehogs

Last night was McFamily Night!  I guess there are two or three of them per year.  The PTA sponsors a dinner out at our local McDonald's.  Volunteers help out behind the counter, there are balloons everywhere, and 20% of the night's orders go to our PTA.  Last year they raised more than $800!

So since Matt has been doing his chores and being good at school (no more notes home from the teacher about keeping his hands to himself), we went.  It was raining but I just bought a new umbrella so Matt and I decided to walk and bring back dinner for everyone. 

We saw a bunch of PTA officers, but I didn't really talk to them since I haven't actually met any of them yet, despite being a card holding (yeah, got my paper PTA card lol!) member.  Apparently our school only has 3 general PTA meetings per year.  I have an issue with that.  But we also saw two of Matt's new friends from school: Samantha and Gage.  He was pretty amazed to see them there, outside of school. 

On the walk home we saw two deer crossing the street and bounding up a hill heading toward the river.  They ran right in front of us, it was pretty neat. 
I didn't have my camera with me, so these aren't the *actual* deer we saw.

And then, at a part of our walk where Matt usually climbs up on some rocks (but I wouldn't let him because they were slippery), he saw a little critter peeking its face out.  It was a hedgehog!  So cute!  Usualy I'm the one pointing stuff out, but I walked right past that little guy.  Matt spotted him, thought it was a groundhog.  I swear I see more animals with this kid that with anyone else! 
This guy isn't the one we saw either.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Box Top Contest

My son came home with a flyer from the PTA yesterday.  It said "We're Batty for Box Tops!!  Go batty in a race between classes!  The class that brings in the most Box Tops will win a Philly Pretzel Factory Party"  (Wow, I'm really stupid.  Reading this again I see that it's a party... and I've been telling everyone they win a trip to the Pretzel Factory... sheesh!)  This flyer came attached to a sheet that showed 10 bats hanging from a tree and a box beneath each to tape your box tops to.

Anyway...

I've been waiting for just such a thing!   We've been collecting since last year, plus my mom, mil, and sil have been collecting for us.  So I taped the first 10 to the sheet and sent it back to the teacher with a note:
Dear Mrs B.
Can I send the rest of our Box Tops in a plastic baggy, or do they need to be taped to the sheets.  If so, that's fine, please send Matthew home with 27.

Matt came home today with 27 of these "bat sheets" in his folder.  I used up an entire (brand new) roll of tape taping 270 Box Tops to bats.

Was that necessary???

His class better win!




Sunday, September 25, 2011

Best Day of the Month


It's funny to see how the magazines I order reflect my life.  I guess this is true of everyone, but I never put too much thought into it.  I got a new subscription, and I think it's a new favorite.  Anyway, it got me reminiscing.

My first ever subscription was to Highlights.  I pored over the pages reading the stories and poems.  At the end of every issue there was reader art, and I remember always looking to see if anyone from my hometown had submitted anything (once I saw a picture sent in from someone just a few towns over!).  My next subscription was to something completely devoted to dinosaurs.  I can't remember the name, or even find it on the internet, but I loved it.   Every issue came with a new set of bones.  At the end of the year I had built a glow in the dark model T-Rex with them.  Because of that magazine I had grand ideas of growing up to be a paleontologist.  Around this time I also loved looking at Smithsonian.  Obviously it was my parents' magazine, but they didn't mind sharing.  ;) 

The next stage in my life belonged to Teen Beat.  I didn't get them, but my best friend did and we drooled over posters of Jonathon Taylor Thomas, Devon Sawa, Hansen, and Leonardo DiCaprio (who is still drool worthy, if I may say so myself!).

When I turned 16 my grandmother gifted me a subscription to Seventeen.  Strangely, I don't remember anything about it.  What I remember of that magazine is definitely from more recently than 10 years ago; my sister in law gave me a stack of her old issues, and I enjoyed all the beauty and fashion tips.  But I don't think I used them at all when I was 16 lol!  Actually.... I wonder if my mom was intercepting them because she thought they were inappropriate.  I know she's done that with the laundry lol!  Hrmm, I should ask her.  Maybe my memory is just faulty.

When my hubby and I got our own place I ordered Cosmopolitan.  I wished I could be more like those chic 20somethings.  They finished school, they had careers.  They had nice apartments and full closets of edgy and sophisticated clothes.  I wasn't the target audience.  I was in the right age range (still am, really), but I was somewhere else in my life.  Not to say I didn't appreciate the advice, the articles, the horoscopes etc.  I just felt like half of the magazine didn't apply to me.  After my subscription ended, I faithfully bought the latest issue off the stands for months, even after I got pregnant and it applied to me even less.

Soon after (maybe even a little bit before) my first son was born I traded in Cosmo for American Baby, Parents, and Parenting.  I couldn't get enough!  It was a little bit of overkill, I'll admit it.  At least two of them always seemed to be featuring the same topic each month.  I didn't mind.  I got new advice, but maybe more importantly, I got reassurance that a lot of the things I was doing- but unsure of- were actually OK.  We all want to be great parents, and there's no one right way to do it.  That was probably the most important thing I learned (this was before I found Cafemom.com, where I would have learned that eventually anyway).

As my son got a little older I tried Family Fun.  Love it still.  It's just chock full of stuff to DO!  Things to MAKE.  Matthew loves looking through it to see what crafts he wants to try, recipes he wants to make.  I think our favorite has been rainbow cupcakes.  Such a simple idea!  A little bit of a pain in the ass to make, but they are so fun, and so worth it!  Every issue I find myself ripping out pages to keep.  EVERY issue.  When I got pregnant again I did American Baby and Parenting again.  They ran out and I didn't feel the need to renew them.  I'm a much more confident mother this time around.  I still could use Parents, now that I have more than one age group.  And with Matthew in kindergarten this year I've found myself in unfamiliar territory again.  So I'm planning on ordering that one soon.  Around this time, just so it wasn't all baby, all the time, I had a subscription to US Magazine.  All the Hollywood gossip!  I ate it up, but couldn't justify renewing it. 

A few days ago I got my first issue of REDBOOK.  Jillian Michaels is on the cover.  A sign I need to start using her 30 Day Shred DVD again?  Probably lol!  My first impression of the magazine, and I said it to Eric was, "It's like Cosmo for moms!"  It seems to have the perfect blend of love and marriage advice, (affordable) fashion and trends, and parenting and home life.  I think I picked a winner, and I'm really looking forward to more issues.  And guess what.  There was a question submitted from a reader only a few towns away from me!  ;) 

Just as important as my magazines are my other subscriptions... the blogs I love to read!  I love peeking in on someone else's life without feeling nosy about it.  I'm pretty new to the blogosphere, but already these ladies have me laughing and crying, cheering and jeering!  You can see a few of the blogs I follow on my sidebar.  Maybe one of them is yours!  If it is, thank you.  For the entertainment, for the advice, for inviting me into your routine, and of course, for being here to read my blog as well.
Have a great day ladies!

Farmers' Market & Other Adventures

I didn't get a chance to do all this Sunday.  I was meaning to, but...first I got busy and since then I’ve been having connectivity issues. 

Anyway, we had a pretty busy day on Saturday.  We hadn't been to the farmers' market in almost a month.  It had been either too hot or we were doing other things.  So since it was so cool, and since we had nothing else to do, the boys and I walked over to the Easton Farmers' Market.   I LOVE the EFM.  It's the longest running outdoor farmers' market in the country!  They always have live music, a kid tent where there is usually a free craft to do (although donations are very welcome and greatly appreciated), and of course, TONS of food!  They're also very dog friendly.  Most of the vendors have bowls of water on the ground for thirsty dogs, and one vendor specializes in just all natural puppy treats.    All in all, it's a really friendly and fun place to be. 
I was a little upset that we missed the tomato festival, which was last Saturday, but as it turned out, I think we ended up having more fun.  We watched students from a local music school perform their pieces, singing and playing piano.  Matthew made a pendant at the craft table.  Then we saw Tip, the Crayola Factory's mascot!  The Crayola Factory was hosting a free event for Constitution Day.  So we went over there to see what was going on.  There were coloring pages and free boxes of crayons for all the kids.  While we were there we got to meet the Mayor of Easton!  He talked about how kids could be good citizens and then went around talking to the kids.  Matthew showed him his muscle lol.  Lucas got tired of that pretty quickly so we couldn't stay long.  I strapped him back into the stroller and we went to find something else to do. 
Lucas & Tip

Something else turned out to be the Riverside Festival for the Arts.

We walked down there to check out all the local artists and their exhibits.  Mosaics, paintings, photography, wood carvings, and so much more were displayed and for sale.  The Crayola Factory had a tent there as well.  A "test lab" for their sidewalk chalk, stampers, and markers.  Basically just something fun to do for the kids.  The man in the tent next to them makes these really cool... garden ornaments, I guess you would call them, out of wire and glass balls.  Well, he also had cool stuff for the kids to do, involving pipe cleaners and beads.  He helped Matt make a dragon.
Pipe cleaner dragon

I think it turned out pretty well.  While Matt was working on that the Lafayette Leopard was making his rounds and stopped to give Lucas a high five.  The little one is popular with people in huge costumes... you should have seen him with the Easter Bunnies we saw last spring!
After we finished looking at all the great art we headed to the new playground they built along the river.  We stayed there until all of our bellies were growling before we started the walk home.  We squeezed all that fun into less than 2 hours!  So it was time to go home, eat, and in Lucas' case, take a NAP!  Matt ended up staying outside to play with his friends in the courtyard.  He was pretty beat by dinner time, and they both ended up going to bed early.  I wish I could keep that busy every day!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Photo Op

There's something about the beginning of the school year.  Fresh pencils, new clothes, and miles of blank paper in notebooks all symbolize the start of something new.  A blank canvas. 



My canvas has been pretty full.  My canvas being the memory card of my camera.  I had pictures on there from 2009, before I got pregnant with Lucas (my now 18 month old).  With Matthew starting school I realized there was a very real chance I would get caught at some school funtion with a FULL memory card and miss out on some great photo ops.  So last night my husband helped me whittle down 714 pictures.  We ended up with 503 that we absolutely had to keep.  And we burned them to a disc.  And I formatted the memory card.

How refreshing!  Now all I have to do is develop some of those 500 pictures. 

What I think I'm going to do, and maybe what you should do, too, if you've got a ton of pictures taking up space on your memory card and an empty photo album, is go to Snapfish and take advantage of the promotion they're running right now.  Up to 500 4x6 prints for only a penny each!  Use code PENNY094U at check out until 9/10/11.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Selling Your Silver & Gold

Here's something you may not know about me.  On Sundays I spend my day at a kiosk in the mall buying silver and gold.  Right now gold is WAY UP!  And it may be the time to cash in on whatever old or broken jewelry or old silver coins you've got sitting on your dresser.  Before you go, here are a few tips.
The first thing you're going to want to do is check the market price of gold and silver.  As I'm writing this, the current price for is $1,882.33 per ounce of 24k gold, and it's NEVER been higher!  Silver is currently sitting at $43.21 per ounce, and is also at an all time high.  You may decide to go right away, or you may decide to wait a month or two to see how prices fluctuate.  It's up to you.

Next you're going to want to sort through all your jewelry, silverware, etc. to try to separate what's real from what's fake.  There are several ways gold buyers test your precious metals.  The first thing they will do is something you can do right at home.  Gold and silver are NEVER magnetic!  Take a magnet to whatever you plan on bringing in and anything that sticks should stay home (unless you're going to, say, a pawn shop who will take costume jewelry and resell it).  If a clasp sticks to the magnet, but the rest of your chain doesn't, you're fine.  The spring inside the clasps aren't usually gold.

Now check carefully for any markings. 
Silver should be marked .925 (sterling silver) or .999 (fine silver)
Gold is usually marked simply with the karat, but not always:
10k or 417
14k or 585
18k or 750
22k or 917
24k or 999
Anything marked with one of the codes below is gold *plated or filled*  or just plain not gold at all.  Most places won't take it.
RPG
KGF
EGP
EGF
EPNS (usually on flatware)
14k PT
Gold plated (duh)
Anything with a fraction involved: 1/10, 1/20 etc
Rolled Gold
RGF
GEP
And some popular brand names:
Monet
Avon
Swank
Sarah Conventry
Lia Sophia

If you've got silver candlesticks they are weighted in the base with sand.  Don't expect to get paid for the full weight.

OK, so now you know what's real and what's not.  For the most part.  Some jewelry isn't marked at all and just because it's not magnetic doesn't mean it's gold.  And just because it's not marked gold doesn't mean it isn't.  So your gold will be tested further by the gold buyer.  Before you go though, if you can, weigh your gold.  Where I work the unit of measurement we use is the pennyweight, or dwt.  To put it in perspective, there are 20 dwt in an ounce.  Some places use grams, but I'm going to go ahead and continue with dwt because it's a unit of measurement I feel comfortable with.  If you can weight your gold at home you'll be able to give yourself your own estimate of what to expect when you sell.  Remember those gold codes?  10k or 417 etc?  Those numbers are important.  10k gold is 41.7% pure gold.  14k is 58.5% pure gold.  And so on.  So in order to figure out how much your gold is worth you will take the current gold price, multiply it by the percentage of pure gold in your particular karat, divide by 20 (to get the price per dwt), and multiply by how many dwt you have. 

Example:  Gold is at $1,882 and let's say I have a bracelet that's 10k gold and weighs 6dwt.
1882(price of 24k gold/oz) x .417 (amount of pure gold in 10k) = 785 (worth of 1oz of 10k gold)
785 (what 1oz of 10k gold is worth) / 20 (dwt in an oz) =  39.25 (how much 1dwt of 10k is worth)
39.25 x 6 (weight of my bracelet) = $235.50

Now... just because your bracelet is *worth* $235 you aren't going to get that price for it.  It still needs to be taken and melted down at a refinery and your gold buyer needs to make a profit.  This is where it gets tricky and you really need to shop around for the best price.  Look in your paper, look on craigslist.  Tell your potential buyers what you've been offered before.  Tell them how much YOU want and they can either afford it and accept it or they'll make you an offer they can afford.

Before you start talking prices, your gold will be tested.  Aside from the magnet test and checking for marks (which you've already done, right?) the gold buyer will take a residue from each piece.  This doesn't harm your pieces (unless it's really fake and spray painted on there), it just makes a mark on their stone so they can swipe some acid over it.  This will confirm the gold (or silver) is real, and also tell what karat the gold it if it hasn't been marked.  It should be separated by karat before it's weighed.  And ALL of this should be done in front of you (which also means you SHOULDN'T send your gold through the mail!!).  If it seems like they are going to take it away to a separate counter, speak up!  Ask questions.  "What karat was that?"  "How much did that weigh?"  And so on. 

Just a one more tip before I send you on your merry way.  If you've got gemstones in your pieces they can probably removed.  You are being paid for the weight of the gold, not the gems or craftsmanship of the peice.  If you think your jewelry is worth more than just the price of the gold, absolutely try to sell it elsewhere.  Craigslist is always my suggestion.  Happy selling!







Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tackling Mildew Stains

If you're like me, you hate cleaning the bathroom. I really hate cleaning my bathroom and I will admit I don't clean it as I should. Not to say that my bathroom is filthy. I wipe down the sink every day. I scrub the toilet bowl as needed between full cleanings. My weak point is the shower. I figure, Hey, it gets cleaned every day, multiple times. Unfortunately that's not really true, and I know it. So while the rest of my bathroom is passably clean, the tub area doesn't get cleaned thouroghly enough. The tub itself is easy. Even the tiles are easy. The hard part is the grout between the tiles where mildew grows! And that was becoming a problem in my shower. I had mildew stains in the corners where the tiles met the tub and there were some stains around the faucet and knobs. I use Fantastik in my bathroom and that does just fine for most of it, but it wasn't doing anything for the mildew, even with hard scrubbing. I needed something new.

I was clipping coupons from the paper one Sunday when I found $1 off X-14 Mildew Stain Remover. The ad claimed it would work without scrubbing. Well, this was just what I needed! I was going to buy some type of mildew remover or other bathroom cleaner anyway, so $1 off was incentive enough to buy this specific brand.

I decided to put it to the test after I had cleaned the bathroom in the usual way (including attacking the mildew with Fantastik and scrubbing as hard as I could). I read the instructions first and there were the usual precautionary statements: use gloves if you have sensitive skin or use for prolonged periods, use in a well ventilated area, avoid inhaling, avoid eye contact, may discolor clothing and other fabrics, et cetera. The instructions themselves are exceedingly clear: "TO REMOVE MILDEW STAINS: Spray, wait until stains disappear, and rinse." Can't get much easier than that!

I sprayed it on every mildew stain in my shower. I didn't know how much time it would take for the stains to disappear so I set my kitchen timer for 10 minutes. For you moms I took before and after pictures of a small corner.

before
after


Does it look like brand spanking new grout? No. Does it look remarkably better? Absolutely! In fact, when my husband came home from work and got out of the shower he said "Hey, the shower looks really good." The other thing he noticed right away, and my only complaint about the product, was the lingering smell. The fumes are pretty strong with this and I really wouldn't recommend actually sitting in the bathroom and waiting for the stains to fade unless you have an open window AND an exhaust fan. Other than that, I'm very happy with the way it worked! The bottle does say that heavy buildup may need two cleanings, and I do plan on trying it again the next time I clean the bathroom to see if we can take "remarkably better" to "like new." Until I do though, I'm satisfied that the mildew isn't an embarrasment to me anymore. 
Want to try it out for yourself? Click here to download your own $1 off coupon!


* I was not given this product to review, and I did not receive any compensation for this review.  This is strictly me, buying something myself, and sharing my opinions with readers.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Day of School

Today is the first day of school!  Matt got his haircut last night, as you can see.  While I was running around getting his backpack and everything ready last night I realized that his tag was lost.  The school had mailed a tag to be pinned to clothing or backpacks for the first week or so of school.  It had the child's name, teacher, room number, and (most importantly) bus information.  I HAD IT already pinned to his backpack, but Lucas must have ripped it off.  So this morning I called the school and left a message to get all the information.  I got a call back, got what I needed, and printed out a new tag for him.  Minor disaster averted!
Then we got a knock on the door from one of Matt's friends who lives upstairs from us.  Picture time!

Matt and Mehkai

I couldn't find Luke's shoes in the rush out the door so I had to hold him on my hip the whole time, which really messed up my picture taking intentions!  Half the time I had the camera on record mode without realizing.  I took 3 horrible videos instead of taking a bunch of great pictures :(  But I did get a few.
Chrissy, Ivan, my Matthew, and Mehkai


Have a great day, Baby!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Not the First Day of School

So, today was supposed to be the first day of school for my Matthew. Due to Hurricane Irene though, the school district thought it would be prudent to close school today, and sent out calls to all the parents telling them so on Friday. At first I was kind of bummed, and also felt sorry for Matt. I also kind of thought that I would get a call either yesterday evening or early this morning saying that the decision had been reversed and that school would be open after all. Nope.

Last night it really hit me. I thought I was ready to send Matty off to *full day* kindergarten. Even though he'd never been in daycare or preschool, our elementary school offered a kindergarten readiness program that he took the bus to 3 days a week for three hours a day during the month of July. He loved it! And I appreciated the time I had with Lucas (and the convenient nap Lucas took during that time when I got TONS of housework done!). After that rehearsal, I knew we would be fine. Matt would happily go to school and I wouldn't blubber at the bus stop. I wouldn't worry and wonder and look at the clock all day on his first day of school. Last night though, I said to myself Oh my God, Matt was supposed to go to school tomorrow! I'm not ready for this! I realized I was *grateful* to the school for closing today. Even now, I keep thinking there's still time, but school WILL start tomorrow. Even though he'll have half days tomorrow and Wednesday, and even though school is out Friday and Monday for Labor Day, he will be out of my care this week longer than he's ever been.

I'm so proud, and so worried. The anxiety just kind of snuck up on me and kicked my feet out. I keep telling myself that he will be fine, that I should embrace this opportunity to spend time with Luke, that there will be plenty to keep me busy. And all of those things are true. I just have to convince myself of that.

In the meantime, I DO have lots to do. I thought I was more prepared, but I still need to organize the kiddy desk in the boys' room into a homework ready surface. I need to sort out which crayons and markers to throw out, which to keep. I need to sort through Matt's clothes and decide what to save for Luke, donate, or toss. I need to inventory Luke's clothes and figure out what he still needs to get him through the fall. All that right there will take me the whole day probably, when you figure in the constant interruptions. And I still need to cut Matt's hair! <-- Evidence of my denial for sure! I would be embarrassed to send him to school with his helmet head hair! I should have taken care of that last week!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oh, the weather outside is frightful....

Now, let me first say, I have been through some weather!  I remember floods growing up on the coast of New Jersey that kept my dad stuck at work for days.  My baby (at the time) brother was only a few days old when we had to evacuate from one of those.  There were epic blizzards; I remember one in my senior year that kept us all out of school for a solid week!  Countless Nor'easters.  When my SO and I moved to Florida a tornado ripped through and dropped a tree straight through our second bedroom....  We'd been there about two weeks.  And plenty of hurricanes.
So a couple of days ago I added earthquake to my 'Natural Disasters Survived' list.  That was definitely the most bizarre experience I've ever had.  I had no idea what was going on!  I live in the "basement" of my apartment building, which means that half of my place is underground.  So when everything started shaking I knew rationally that it wasn't the kids going crazy shaking the house down, but it was my first thought nonetheless.  My second irrational thought was that the maintenance guy was taking out a tree (he'd been trimming branches at the time) and the roots were under the building.  With the size of our building, and especially our location in it, neither theory made sense.  I didn't learn until a few hours later that it was an earthquake, and, for the east coast quite a large one. 
Now they're saying this will be the worst hurricane to hit the east coast in decades!  My mother-in-law called asking if we've got enough water, batteries, eggs, etc.  There are so many other things I'd rather do with my weekend than spend it stuck in the house with no power.  I'm not sure how hyped up I should be over this storm.  We do live right at the intersection of the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers, so flooding could be a serious concern.  I guess we'll just have to weather it out, eh?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kindergarten Orientation

Tonight was kindergarten orientation for my baby boy!  I can't believe how big he's grown in such a short amount of time!  And on Monday he'll be getting on that bus and leaving Lucas and me home alone.  Thankfully the first two days of school are only half days.  Come Wednesday though, he'll be attending school full time.  Ours is the only elementary school in the district to offer full time kindergarten.  I think it will be a good thing. And Matthew is very excited.

It's been so long!

I haven't posted since Mothers' Day, am I a lazy, inconsistent woman or what?  Well...  I guess the best way to go is to just jump right into it, eh?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers' Day!

There are so many different mothers out there. There are so many choices we make. Thre's alot of pressure out there for us to do everything "right" and be supermoms. There are laid back moms and helicopter moms and moms in between. Breastfeeding vs. formula, vaccinations or no vaccinations...or vaxxing on a delayed schedule. To circ or not to circ, work or stay at home. The right daycare, the right preschool. These are some of the big decisions we make whe our kis are young and they are followed by MILLIONS more!
And you know what? By the time our kids are grown it won't matter who did what when our babies were still baies. Mothering does't support instant gratification... it is the end result that matters most. Are you giving your kids all the love you have? Are you doing your best? Then how could anyone accuse you of being a bad mom?
To all of the beautiful women in this world loving their children. To all of you who've given up their babies with a hope at a better life. To all of you who have adopted those babies. To all of you who may not have children yet, but are trying. To all of you who watch out for the little ones in your neighborhood. To all of you who offer kids a safe place to talk, comfort, an security. All of you with a mother's heart... Happy Mothers' Day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Score One for the Good Guys

Ding dong the witch is dead!!
Congratulations to our brave troops for finally finding and killing the man who orchestrated the worst attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor.
There will be repercussions, but for now we can take a collective sigh of satisfaction. Justice has been served. Thank our troop and remember the lost.
I don't know enough about politics to conjecture about he future, or even offer opinions on other peoples' conjectures so I won't bother and make myself look ignorant. I just couldn't NOT mention this today.

Friday, April 29, 2011

How I Know It's Really Spring

Yes, I've been waiting since January and it's finally here! Spring! How do I know it's really here, and not just making a cameo appearance? Not the date on the calandar. Not the tulips, daffodils, or hyacinths. Not the azaelas or forsythias buzzing with fat bumble bees. Not the pussy willows, dogwoods, or cherry blossoms exploding into flower. Not the birds singing in the morning. Not the sound of lawn mowers or the smell of freshly cut grass. Not even the 75 degree days or the thunderstorms.

So how DO I know it's spring?
There was a HUGE black spider in my tub this morning! That was it, the final kicker. The spider in the house.
Worst shower EVER. Of course when I saw it I ran the water, hoping it would drown, or at least be carried far away enough that it wouldn't climb back up through the drain. It disappeared down that dark hole and I felt a moment of relief. I turned on the showerhead and stepped in. As I was shaving my legs I noticed the water wasn't draining properly and was beginning to back up. Of course I immediately thought of the spider, not the fact that it did the same thing yesterday and it's probably clogged with my own hair. I looked at the drain warily. I still needed to wash my hair and then I could get he heck out of there. I washed my hair as quickly as I could and was rinsing it when I felt something brush against my foot. Oh yeah, I shrieked. Almost fell trying to jump out of the way of.... oh, my razor. It fell off the ledge into the ever rising water.
After I got out the water drained. Just a little more slowly than usual. And when hubby gets home guess what he gets to do. Yep, unclog that drain.
Happy Sprng!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rainbow Cupcakes

These are perfect fo St. Patrick's Day!
Make a box of white cake mix, following all of the instructions.
Separate the batter into 6 equal portions. I like to use plastic cups for this.
Dye each portion of batter one of the colors of the rainbow with food coloring as follows:
Red- 18 drops
Orange- 12 yellow and 4 red drops
Yellow- 12 drops
Green- 12 drops
Blue- 12 drops
Purple- 9 red and 6 blue drops
Evenly layer the batter in your lined cupcake pans, one color on top of another.
Bake as directed.
After cupcakes are completely cooled, frost with white icing or whipped cream (like a cloud).
For even more fun, stick a foil wrapped chocolate coin in top and serve to your little Leprechauns!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Laundry

I don't think I know anyone who enjoys doing laundry. It's something I especially hate, though.
We don't have our own washer or dryer hook-ups in our apartment. It's one of the ew things about our place I complain about. I would give up my dishwasher to be able to do our laundry here. Now, there are laundry facilities on site but I still have to go outside to use them. There are three washers and three dryers. One washer and one dryer don't work. Completely out of commission. One of the dryers that is in working order, though, can't do its job. If you put in anything bigger than your socks and underwear in it you will find a pile of hot but wet clothes in it after $1.25 and 45 minutes. And unlike most laundromats, you cannot add a quarter or two for another six or eight minutes each. You get 45 minutes or nothing. So on laundry day there's no point in using both washers to try to get done faster.
I usually have one load in the washer and one in the dryer. My day is lived in 45 minute increments. I actually set a timer because if someone else wants to do their laundry and your machine has stopped, they will not hesitate to take your clothes out to put theirs in. This goes for the dryers AND the washers. You can imagine how furious I was one afternoon to find a pile of my wet clothes on a table. Ugh! I would never do that to someone else, I feel it' extremely rude. And because I don't take it upon myself to move other people's property, washing on Saturdays is out of the question. I don't know who it is but someone leaves their clothes in the dryer all day! I made that mistake enough times to do my washing during the week.
But anyway, my timer is going off and I have to go get my clothes.
I wish I had my own washer and dryer!