Sunday, January 31, 2010

Breathe, 1, 2, 3

This weekend was a challenging one for me personally. I'm at a crossroads in my life and that road is flooding with nervous and over-tired tears =)

I found this on Organizing Your Way .

Calm my Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow:

:: Never allow yourself to compain about anything — not even the weather.
:: Never picture yourself in any other circumstance or someplace else.
:: Never compare your lot with another’s.
:: Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
:: Never dwell on tomorrow — remember that tomorrow is God’s, not ours.

Those who know me best know that I'm not anywhere close to trusting anyone or being with my fate, but the words from this selection are a nice reminder of how I am still in control of the way I feel even if the circumstances causing those feelings are out of my control.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Free diapers!

Pampers is giving away some of their new Cruisers.
In between changes, check it out here.

Eat this one up...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Date Night Packs - a brilliant idea!

Tiffay at Simply Modern Mom had a guest blogger, Shauna Thompson who blogs at My Mix of Six. Here is Shauna's wonderful, pre-planned idea to make Date Nights more fun and more likely =)

Can you think of any other ideas that you'd like to share?

Each packet is sealed until the first of the month. Then Stephen opens up the surprise date and we plan on the calendar the date that we are going to go.

Many have asked what some of the dates are. I initially wrote down a list of our favorite dates, ideas from others, ideas from the internet and then dates that I have wanted to do. I put gift cards, pictures of the activity or directions to the date in the packets. Here is a list that might help get you started:

  • Theater tickets. You don’t have to pay the big money, colleges and high schools have amazing productions as well.
  • Free summer concerts in the park mixed with a Subway giftcard
  • Dinner and the movies
  • Temple trip. Just copy your recommend or put in a picture of the temple to show him where you’re going.
  • A favorite fancy restaurant
  • Morning hike followed by breakfast out
  • Frisbee golf at the park with a coupon for dessert
  • Country dancing or any other dancing for that matter
  • Stargazing by a campfire
  • Home spa with a massage and smoothies
  • Walk through an art museum
  • Bike ride with picnic
  • One of each of your favorites. Steve likes sushi – I like chick flicks, so a night of both.
  • Cards or a favorite game in the park
  • Tennis or racquet ball
  • Bowling
  • Laser tag
  • Night out at the library (Steve LOVES to read and I like magazines. It’s a quiet night BUT we are together.)
  • There obviously can be FREE dates. It’s the time spent together, rather than the money spent.

Wordless Wednesday - Ouch.

Let's hope he figures out the right way to play with his new car. Before he goes bald.

Wordful Wednesday at Seven Clown Circus
Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Mom

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Project 52: Date Night - Week 2

What kind of a date is simply sleeping together? No, dirtybirdie. I mean, literally, sleeping. This is a family-friendly blog people!

Mr. came home for the weekend (he works out of town) and, unfortunately, had to work in town all weekend too. He was with us for 48 hours total. We spent 1/3 of that sleeping. He spent the rest at work. So no time for an "awake" date this week.

What matters is that we saw each other, the kids got to hang on their daddy and he was reminded that we're here for him no matter how much time he can spare.

A mental date, perhaps? Either way, sleep was involved and for parents of 3 boys, that's a win-win situation =)

Til next weekend...

Makes me want to cook more!

How precious are these? I just KNOW I'll look as cute in this when I'm 9 months preggo as the model, right? I found these when reading another blog about a family of all women who make a traditional German birthday meal. They all looked so fabulous and the cooking so fun. Was it because of their fashion choices or their culinary talent? Who knows? Either way, I had to find out where the aprons came from.

The Hip Hostess was the spot!

I think I'm going to send this link to hubby for Valentine's Day or Mother's Day or my birthday. He's got 3 chances to start eating right by May =)

Tuesday's Letter of the Week

Today we started our adventure with the letter "P." "Playing with Pink Playdoh" was our song of the day. The fact that I put the cookie sheet on the Pampers box is just a coincidence =)
Curly had already gone to bed...
For tomorrow's lesson, we'll talk about printing. More specifically, thank you notes.

Here's a DIY I found on Skip to My Lou's wonderfully creative blog. A wonderful idea for those cold, rainy January days. I also use a font called "Dots and Dashes" that came in a teacher fonts cd.

DIY Thank Yous

from Skip to My Lou

I found this great font called Quicksand. It can be downloaded for free here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Create Your Own FREE Printable Valentine at Alpha Mom™ -

Alpha Mom™ - Baby, Pregnancy, Toddler, Motherhood, Baby Names, and Baby Product Reviews

Create Your Own FREE Printable Valentine

Published 01.22.2010 | Permanent Link | Comments (0)

holiday_valentine_invys_.png holiday_valentine_invys3.png

Now this is easy peasy!

The folks at Invys, an online design-it-yourself event invitation company, are providing a crafty tool for us all for FREE!

In a matter of seconds you can customize and personalize your very own valentine card and then they will email you the PDF to print out at home. I tested it out and it took 60 seconds from start to finish-- that's right, I timed myself.

Their Valentine Creation Tool uses WSIWYG (what you see is what you get) to change colors and add text. But, better yet, the original designs you can choose from are simple and refined. Thank you Invys!

Posted using ShareThis

Sunday's Simple Start - A simple, inspirational quote to get your week going

"When we adults think of children there is a simple truth which we ignore: childhood is not preparation for life; childhood is life. A child isn't getting ready to live; a child is living."

from Notes on an Unhurried Journey by John A. Taylor

We're not in the clear just yet!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...

This OLD (read 2006, which is practically ancient in parenting-time) article from BabyCenter came across my desk today. I read it and sheepishly remembered breakfast time this morning 3 1/2 year old climbed on the counter today to get his own cup.

My husband asked if this was permitted now and before I could respond with a standard "No!" I thought for more than 2 seconds and realized that, yes, I had let my guard down and was allowing him to climb up there under the agreement that he'd not lean over the silverware drawer and that he would yell "Head" each time he opened and closed a cabinet. He is 3 and I do have two other boys occupying my hands...what harm is it to let him do a little indoor exercise?

If you had told me 3 years ago that this would be occurring in my home, I would have argued with you until I was blue in the face. What kind of a mother would that make me?

So for all of us who are only's a gentle reminder. Eat it up. Of course, I'm the mother who puts the baby's swing on the dining room table while I'm folding clothes and lets the toddler walk around with a box on his head...

Childproofing around the house
Reviewed by the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board
Last updated: August 2006

Safe and sound

Parents worry endlessly about how to protect their children from stranger abduction and violence, but many overlook one of the biggest threats to their children's safety and well-being — their own home. Experts say that children between the ages of 1 and 4 are more likely to be killed by fire, burns, drowning, choking, poisoning, or falls than by a stranger's violence.

About 2.5 million children are injured or killed each year by dangers right in their own home, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). That's why it's so important to carefully childproof your home.

Because childproofing and other safety measures can seem overwhelming, we've created three checklists that let you see at a glance what to do before your baby arrives, before your baby crawls, and before your baby starts toddling and climbing. You'll also find safety tips in our articles about childproofing your nursery, kitchen, and bathroom.

Here are some additional recommendations — along with some revealing statistics — about what you need to do to keep your preschooler safe at home.

Gadgets galore

You'll find all kinds of gadgets for sale that can really help your home childproofing efforts. Or, if you can afford it, you can hire a professional childproofer to choose and install safety devices for you. But keep in mind: Gadgets are no substitute for your eyes and ears.

"The best device is still supervision. I'd rather not recommend a product than suggest one that gives parents a false sense of security," says Anne Altman, a childproofing consultant and contractor in Santa Rosa, California.

Scope out the territory

The most effective way to ensure your preschooler's safety is to take a child's-eye view of your home. Get down on your hands and knees and see how things look from down there.

What's within reach? What looks tempting? Where would you go if you could crawl, toddle, or walk? This will help you figure out which cupboards, drawers, and other spaces your child might get into. As he starts walking and climbing, you'll have to reevaluate again, looking higher each time.

Carefully lock up or stow away every potential poison or other hazard, including cleaning products, medicines, vitamins, and knives. Another option is to use gates to limit your child's access to areas of your home that might contain dangerous items.

Keep an eye out for any tiny objects that your preschooler could choke on. Pick up any coins, marbles, beads, paper clips, and other small objects that you find on low tables or the floor or in low drawers or cupboards.

Be watchful when you have visitors, too. No matter how carefully you've childproofed the house, Great-Aunt Jane probably hasn't applied your standards to her purse. Aspirin, lipstick, and other items that people typically carry with them are dangerous to small children.

Protect outlets

It's a good idea to protect electrical outlets with outlet covers. However, the removable little plug-in caps can easily end up in your child's mouth. Instead, replace the outlet cover itself — at least those that are accessible — with one that includes a sliding safety latch. If you're using any extension cords in your home, you should insulate the junction points with electrical tape.

You'll have to reevaluate these precautionary measures as your child grows. "Remember," says Altman, "childproofing is an ongoing process: The gate you put at the top of the stairs for your 1-year-old may become his favorite climbing structure when he's 2."

Use caution with furniture and fixtures

According to the CPSC, at least 5,000 children under the age of 10 go to the emergency room each year with injuries caused when television sets, bookcases, and other furniture and appliances have tipped over on them. About six people die from furniture tip-overs every year, most of them children under the age of 5.

Large or heavy bookcases, dressers, and appliances are real hazards: Bolt whatever you can to the wall. Push items like televisions back from the edge of the furniture they're on or move them out of reach, and then secure them, too. Always put heavier items on bottom shelves and in bottom drawers to make furniture less top-heavy.

Babies start pulling up on furniture shortly after they start crawling. And when they learn how to climb, watch out! Some kids scale counters, bookcases, and anything else they can grab hold of. Take care to place floor lamps behind other furniture so that their bases are out of your child's reach.

Be sure to keep dresser drawers closed when you're not using them — they make perfect ladders. And be particularly careful to fully close file cabinet drawers, since pulling out one drawer could cause the cabinet to fall over.

Furniture corners are another common hazard, especially those found on coffee tables. Cover all sharp corners and hearth edges with bumpers to soften the impact if your child falls.

Install gates

Most parents consider safety gates essential childproofing tools. They allow you to open outside doors for air while keeping your child indoors, they contain him within a designated room, and they block his access to dangerous stairways and forbidden rooms, such as the bathroom or kitchen.

Unfortunately, if out-of-date or used improperly, safety gates can themselves pose a hazard to children. In general, look for gates your child can't dislodge but that you can easily open and close. (Otherwise, you'll be too tempted to leave them open when you're in a hurry.) For the top of the stairs, install a gate that screws to the wall rather than one that stays put by using pressure — it's much more secure.

It's best to buy brand-new safety gates, making sure they display a seal from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). Choose a gate with a straight-slat design rather than an older accordion-style gate with V-shaped openings, says Altman. "They can pose an entrapment and strangulation hazard."

Check ties on blinds and curtains

According to the CPSC, the cords on window coverings are a frequent cause of strangulation of children under 5. The younger victims, usually between 10 and 15 months of age, are typically in cribs placed near windows with pull cords.

Window blinds pose a particular hazard because a baby's neck could become trapped in the cords that raise the blinds or run through the slats. A child can become entangled in a looped window cord and strangle in a matter of minutes.

If the crib must be near a window, either cut off the pull cords or use cord shorteners or wind-ups to keep them out of reach. You can also replace a cord loop with a safety tassle. Window blinds sold since November 2000 have attachments on the pull cords to prevent a loop from forming between the slats.

If you bought your blinds before November 2000, visit the Window Covering Safety Council's Web site or call (800) 506-4636 to order a free repair kit.

Secure your windows and doors

According to the CPSC, every year thousands of children in the United States die or are injured in falls from windows. Most of the children injured or killed are under the age of 5.

Always open double-hung windows from the top or fit them with locks to prevent small children from opening them. Low windows shouldn't open more than 4 inches. Window stops are available that can prevent windows from opening more than this. Some newer windows come with window stops already installed.

Window screens alone aren't strong enough to prevent falls. You might consider installing window guards, which screw into the side of a window frame, have bars no more than 4 inches apart, and can be adjusted to fit windows of many different sizes.

According to industry standards announced by the CPSC in June 2000, the guards must fit snugly but not so securely that an older child or adult cannot remove them in case of an emergency. (The CPSC considers non-removable window guards safe for windows on the seventh floor and above.) Keep furniture away from windows to prevent children from climbing up and reaching the windowsill.

Use door stops or door holders on doors and door hinges to prevent injuries to hands. Children are prone to getting their small fingers and hands pinched or crushed in closing doors.

Prevent poisoning

According to the CPSC, more than 1 million possible poisonings of children under age 5 are reported and an average of 30 children die from poisoning each year.

Be prepared. Keep the number for the national poison control center — (800) 222-1222 in the United States — and your local emergency numbers close to every phone.

Store poisonous products out of your child's reach. Put safety locks on all cabinets and drawers that hold bug sprays, cleaning products, medications, and other potential poisons. Remember that even some houseplants can be harmful if ingested.

Dispose of old or outdated medications. But don't flush them down the toilet or pour them down the drain, as they could contaminate the water supply. If you live in the United States, ask your local waste disposal agency whether there's a program in place for safely getting rid of them. You can also ask whether your pharmacy will take back expired medication. If these options aren't available, you'll have to throw the drugs away in the trash — but first be sure to secure them so your little one can't get to them.

Watch out for hidden poisons. Not all poisons are easy to spot. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas produced by malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, water heaters, ovens, stoves, gas dryers, and emergency generators. Although you can't see it, smell it, or taste it, carbon monoxide gas can be deadly.

To protect your family, install a carbon monoxide detector in every sleeping area in your home, including the nursery. Check the batteries every spring and fall when you change your clocks. If the alarm goes off, leave your home immediately and call 911 or the local emergency number.

Look out for lead. If you live in a building constructed before 1978, it may contain lead paint. Lead paint is especially dangerous to your child if it's flaking or peeling. Lead can also be found in tap water from older pipes that are lined or soldered with lead. Breathing lead dust or fumes or swallowing anything with lead in it can give a child lead poisoning, which can cause learning disabilities, kidney disease, brain damage, growth delay, and other problems.

If there's exposed or deteriorating lead paint in your home, have a licensed professional either remove it completely or cover it with an approved sealant. Until the lead can be removed, wash your child's hands and face, as well as his toys, often to reduce his exposure to lead-contaminated dust. For information on how to get a paint sample analyzed, visit the National Lead Information Center Web site or call (800) 424-5323.

Prevent drowning

According to the CPSC, about 115 children under age 5 drown each year — not in a pool, but in their own home.

Tubs, toilets, and even buckets of water are all potential dangers. That's why it's important to practice water safety at home.

Most in-home drowning deaths occur in bathtubs. Never leave your child unattended in the tub — even if he's in a ring or bath seat. In fact, supervise your child whenever he's in the bathroom, and install a safety latch on your toilet lid to prevent him from accidentally falling in. For more helpful hints, see childproofing your bathroom.

Infants and toddlers can drown in as little as an inch of water, according to the CPSC. This seemingly unlikely scenario happens because young children are top-heavy. If they lose their balance (as they often do) while peering into a toilet or bucket, they can fall in headfirst and get stuck.

Never leave a bucket of water or other liquid unattended. If you're using a bucket of water for mopping or cleaning, pour out the water as soon as you're finished.

Finally, take great care around pools and hot tubs. If you have a wading pool, drain it and store it upright after each use. If you have a permanent pool, enclose it with a fence that's at least 4 feet high, and lock the gate leading to the pool after each use. Always secure the cover on your spa or hot tub.

Prevent fires

Nearly 2,500 children were injured or killed in residential fires in 2002, and more than half of those children were under the age of 5, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Experts say that a working smoke alarm can cut in half the chances of dying in a fire. Install smoke alarms in every room of the house. Check them monthly to be sure they're working, and change the batteries every year. Consider installing smoke alarms that use long-life (10-year) batteries.

If you have a fireplace, keep a fire extinguisher nearby, and have it serviced or checked according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Start talking to your child about the dangers of fire. Make an evacuation plan and practice your fire escape route regularly.

Do you hate the feel of flame-retardant sleepwear? Softer, non-flame-retardant garments can be okay under certain conditions. See our article Childproofing Your Nursery for details.

Prepare for an emergency

Program emergency numbers into your home and cell phone. Keep a list of these numbers close to each phone in your home and give the list to all caregivers. Have on hand the local poison control number, or the number for the national poison control center, (800) 222-1222 in the United States, which will immediately put you in contact with the closest center.

Stock up on first-aid supplies. Make sure babysitters and other caregivers know where to find these supplies in your home and how to respond in an emergency.

Friday, January 22, 2010

We Are Family

I've been thinking a lot these past 21 days about what I want for my family this year. Things we should accomplish, things we could accomplish and the things that will hold us back from both.

One of my goals as I reevaluate our finances, our time commitments, our relationships, etc. is to make more from less. More memories and love from less obligation and pressure.

I came across Slow Family Living. The meeting of two women with child development and family life background combined with science.

We are offering a way of thinking about, seeing and implementing family life. We provide the science, the practicals and the lens for understanding, believing and appreciating the richness of building and maintaining lifelong family connections. We want people to see that family life can be the well where members can go to fill up and to have fun. We offer tools, support and inspiration that guide people in slowing down, connecting and enjoying life as individuals and within the family. -

It originated in Austin, no surprise. Can't you just see these Texan women with their red leather cowboy boots perched up on the porchrail enjoying a cup of sweet tea and slow-drawling about how easy it was to get their kids to fall asleep last night to the light of the big Texan moon? Eat that up.

Since I live on the West Coast, I'm not able to attend one of their interesting workshops, but they do have materials for purchase as well as some wonderful starters to get you on your way to a simpler, more quality - less quantity way of being a family unit.

From their website:

Why do a Family Mission Statement?

  • A mission will bring you to a clear understanding of how you want family life to unfold.
  • It will serve as a reminder of who you are as a family.
  • It allows you to live your family life with a vision of why you started a family in the first place and where you want it to go.
  • It lets your children know that you are completely committed to them and to family life.
  • It tells each member and the world, “This is how and why we exist as a family. We have a unique purpose for being together.”
  • It helps all the members of the family see the family as an entity and not just as separate individuals sharing a household and each going their own way. As your children grow and start gaining independence it will be even more grounding for them and for the family as a whole if everyone has a clear vision of the family’s mission.
  • It will give everyone the confidence to step out into the world with a strong sense of who they are and where they come from.
  • A family mission statement helps build a sustainable bond between family members that can help foster a lifelong connection.
  • It will serve as a reminder to each member of the family that you are all in the family — when you are together and when you are apart.

You’ll discover such things as…

How did we get here? What’s working? What’s not? Where did we come from? How do we see the future? How do we want family life to feel? Holiday rituals. Sibling relationships – both your own growing up and that of your children. What are the surprises of family life? Ways to celebrate being a family.


I think Mr. and I will start out with writing a "P* Family Mission Statement." Since the bugaboos are so young, they'll have little in the way of input, but my hope is that we can re-evaluate this every January and fine-tune it until it represents the steady path we'd like to take.

What are the values and beliefs that you want to incorporate into YOUR family's mission statement? Do you think your spouse would agree on most of them?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Snack Attack

In an attempt to make our days more spontaneous, I'm searching for ways to ease the departure ritual. I've always re-stocked the diaper bag before putting it away when we get home. That takes 5 minutes off our out-the-door time, but it still can take up to 45 minutes from start to finish to get everyone dressed, shoes on, teeth brushed, snacks and waters packed and loaded into the car.

Mr. waits until I start loading the kids into the car before he hops in the shower. Mostly because he knows it will always take twice as long as I think it will. So much for the last-minute meet-up at the park. I do keep jackets, hats and sunscreen in the car for application at the park but there's nothing worse than pulling up at the roundabout just in time to see the other mom and her kids loading up to head home. Hi....Bye. My friend, Louise, has just started giving me a 15 minute lead time before we meet anywhere. So embarrassing.

I asked my Mommy Book Club friends for some suggestions and the most obvious and easiest one seemed to be keeping a pre-filled snack bag in 1) the fridge and 2) the pantry for grab and go access. I'm working on what to keep in each with this week's grocery run. Suggestions?

But now the NY Times runs this article that reminds me that preping to be able to force food down my kids' throats isn't the best use of my pre-planning time. That's all fine and dandy and I see the point, but, as it says in the article, what SANE mother would willingly want to attempt a park visit without food? Only one who knows the ice cream truck is coming by and tossing out fresh peaches, maybe.

Either way, I appreciate the encouragement to pack healthier items. The idea that snacks must be processed and have a shelf-life of my teaching career is old school. What if in my pre-planning free time, I make my own fruit roll-ups and baked crackers?

Sure...and we'll meet you at the park say around dinnertime?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Project 52: Date Night, Week 1

One of my New Year's Resolutions every year is to be a better wife. We'll be celebrating 9 years in September (for those of you who don't keep track =) 2009 was a challenging year for the two of us and I don't want to repeat any mistakes we may have made. So in 2010 rather than expect Mr. to change, I'm going to focus on what I can do myself and the things I can re-evaluate or come at from a different angle. My word for 2010 is "intentional." I want everything I do and say to be purposeful and proactive - at least for someone =)

Finding time for "us" is challenging and the last thing on our to-do list each week. Even though we are together at night (on the weekends), it's almost just to sit on the couch and veg, but our communication needs to be strengthened to withstand the distance during the week. I remind myself often that the best thing we can give our kids is a mom and dad who love each other.

Earlier this month I came across
Project 52 from Tiffany at Simply Modern Mom. Participating in a weekly project to have a date night once a week for a year. I think it's a challenging and fun task to take on. Now, mind you, it can be anything from meeting over a cup of coffee to actually venturing beyond the living room, but there's no pressure to do anything fancy, just mentally agree to shut out the rest of the world for those 2 hours or so.

There's even a pledge that we've both signed. Another mom participant suggested taking a picture of each date. Great idea.

"This will be our time to get to know each other better, create memories, learn and
try new things, be creative and have some fun. We have set the following criteria for our date nights…
• Can't do the same thing twice in one month.
• We will rotate being in charge of date nights on a monthly basis.
• No children allowed, if applicable.
• Must create a date-like atmosphere. No frumpy clothes or pajamas (I may have to let this one slide =). Make it a special event. Mind the details. But most of all, keep it simple.

Our first date was this past weekend. Spontaneously and (I know...ironic) unintentionally, we sat on the couch together in the middle of the day enjoying an It's-It.

One of our first "disagreements" came when we'd both stood firm on our choice of favorite ice cream cookie sandwich. I grew up drooling over Kool-A-Koos at the 7th inning stretch of Dodger games. Mr. , a NorCal transplant, referred to them fondly as It's-Its. For my 23rd? birthday I organized a group of 25 for a Dodger game just to get my taste buds a fix. Sadly...Dodger Stadium had discontinued their contract with Kool-A-Koo and jumped ship to the It's-It side...Mr. still thinks he "won."

When shopping with the kids on Saturday, we discovered that you can buy It's-Its RIGHT HERE at little Vons! uh-oh....let the fun begin.

So during naptime, yes 3:30 in the afternoon...we enjoyed a San Francisco experience in the comfort of our own living room. He didn't finish his and gave it to me....ahhhh love.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Simplicity is in! Toss that bottle!

Life's too short to make too much of a mess. Keep things simple is what my beloved Grandma always says. Course, this woman has 14 grandkids and never forgets an occasion.

Have you seen the website "Simple?" Wonderful entertaining, SAHM moms who also find time for their passions outside of kids. Their reviews are honest and quick to read. Their giveaways are fun and I often find myself regretting having missed the chance. Simple

Here's one that I definitely didn't let lapse - a no bottle shampoo. EthicallyEngineered's NO BOTTLE" Vegan Shampoo and conditioner set. The link to the etsy shop is there as well as the details.

Drea says that the CON to the shampoo is the travel factor, but I've got a plastic soapdish that needs to re-enlist for duty in my travel toiletries bag.

I've been wanting to cut my hair short for awhile and if it will look as shiny after using the product then I'm all in. If it will help me avoid the rat's nests that I often get from using eco-friendly shampoos then anyone who goes out in public with me is all in too =)

Eat this one up!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chalk it up to fun!

Are you a listmaker? I am. I have a list of my lists. Every cupboard has a list on the inside of it to tell the random stranger in my house what's in that location. These aren't things that I need everyone to know, but it does help my mom when she's trying to find the instant coffee container that she keeps here or my sitter when she's looking for the "blue one with the yellow top" as the 3 1/2 year-old screams next to her.

Through one of the blogs I read, I came across this chalkboard paint, Hudson Paint and was really wowed by their selection of colors. As a teacher, I'm trained to think chalkboards are black and green, green and black. Oh, maybe "grey" when they're not cleaned enough.

It comes in 24 colors, takes only a day to dry and is easy to clean with a damp cloth, or sponge. Paint the walls of the playroom, inside a cleaning closet or under a chair rail in the kids rooms.
$25 a quart for this safe, fun product. Check out their "Ideas" page for some inspiration.

In my next (dream) house, I'm going to make my listmaking even more fluid and put chalkboard paint on the back of a pantry door, in the mudroom and a few playroom walls. I may even paint the wall next to our bed so that Mr. Pickett and I can leave each other love notes or reminders. Ones that can be easily erased when he tells me he's gotten a speeding ticket again.

Visit for colors and where to get.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Quick - call Doctor Hug!

I tried it once and Curly looked at me as if I was spitting fire...we'll wait until after his nap.

Simple As That: The Emergency Hug
from Simple Kids by Megan

As you may have guessed from the article I wrote earlier this year on how to be intentional with touch, one of the primary ways I give and receive love is through affection.
I wanted to share something with you today that my mother created when we were children. It’s so simple yet so effective when you need a time-out from the moment to reconnect with your child. My mother called it “an emergency hug.”
I can remember when we were kids, my mom would just call to one of the four of us and say, “I need an emergency hug!” We would stop whatever we were doing and run to my mother’s open arms. It is one of the sweetest memories of my childhood, and it’s something I’ve started doing with my own daughters.
I find myself asking for emergency hugs from my daughters when I’m a little stressed out and need to recenter on the essentials of life. Sometimes I request an emergency hug when I’m just overcome with joy and wonder with the blessings they are to me. Still other times, I’ll tell one of them “Hey! I need an emergency hug!” when I can see their disposition or mood spinning out into negativity.
Without any prompting or instruction, our almost five year old daughter has also begun asking for “emma-gancy” hugs, which makes my mama heart so happy.

A private art showing in the comfort of your own living room

Simply Modern Mom is a new read at the top of my list. I've loved everything coming from this site. My boys are still too young to create masterpieces, but I'm now bookmarking this wonderful site thanks to her current giveaway sponsored by My Kids Art on Canvas. See below.

And here's the link to Simply Modern Mom She's also the source of the 52 Date Nights that I shared with the Yahoo group last week.

My Kids Art On Canvas Giveaway

Posted: 13 Jan 2010 06:01 AM PST

This is a fun way for your children to display their artwork. Can never find enough ways to do so, huh? My Kaye loves to draw stuff and her masterpieces are everywhere in the house. She is so proud of her art. And if some of your children’s art have sedimental value, My Kids Art on Canvas is a cleaver solution to display their work in a sophisticated way. My Kids Art on Canvas take artwork and transfer it onto canvas. I am thinking this would be great for my own artwork.

It is a three simple step process to have your children’s artwork transferred onto canvas through My Kids Art on Canvas. Scan or mail in artwork. Upload and create an order online. Then enter billing and shipping information. Once they receive your order, it takes about five business days to process it. Simple. Done.

My Kids Art on Canvas is sponsoring this giveaway with $50 gift certificates to 2 winners. This giveaway is open to international readers. Giveaway closes Wednesday, Jan. 20, at 10 p.m. EST. The winners will be announced Friday, Jan. 22.

Show you're aware and stylish!

January 13th- 15th Allora Handmade is giving all proceeds to Autism Speaks in honor of her nephew's 10th birthday! For more details, visit her blog:

I'm going to get the
"pale yellow three musketeers - rosette" headband or the "you jane" leopard print headband to make preschool pick-up more exciting.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Penny for Your Thoughts

Curly and I have been talking about the letter "M" this week. We made muffins, tested magnets and talked about money in all its magnificent glory.

Here's his new bank that we made using an empty yogurt container and the coin labels I give to my first graders. He got to put in a nickel for helping me feed the dogs. (I accidentally typed "gods" at first. I hope he'd get more than a nickel for feeding the gods.)

As a teacher I always suggested to parents that they not forget to do the simple things like balancing their checkbook or paying for groceries with cash in front of their kids. All our little bankers see nowadays is how we flash this card-thingy and we get to take something home in return. They're not privy to the statements, the bills or the fretting about how to make ends meet.

When you go to the store with your child or when you're pumping gas, make them a part of the experience. Talk about the cost of items, debate whether the brand name is worth the difference, watch the numbers scroll as the tank fills up. Be sure to follow-up and let them see you paying your bills, either online or on paper. Don't assume that because they see money they know money.

Check out this link from BabyCenter that talks about ways to extend those teachable moments.