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Our 7 Qtpies

March 29, 2009

Boys will be boys

Last night at chore time (as if we have a set time, LOL) I told Hope-Anne to give the kids a bath for her second chore and told the boys what needed to be done. Cody had cooked, so he had one more chore to do, and Devon had 2 to do. I said they could do the dishes, clean the kitchen table and floor and take out the trash.
Cody claimed the trash, and Devon said he was doing the trash because he called it first........ in his head.
Devon was on the computer so Cody went for the trash. That started a funny wrestling match for the trash chore. Cody's friend Brian and I were watching and laughing.
While we were all distracted Hope-Anne got up and took out the trash and the recycling and none of us noticed! LOL The trash can was even in the living room on the floor next to where they were wrestling and we didn't notice! We were cracking up!

So then I said that one of them needed to take over the bath time chore. They went bolting for the bathroom!
Brian was a little worried that they would drown the kids fighting over who was going to wash their hair, lol.

March 26, 2009

Ok, seriously, it even grosses me out!

Sam pooped on the floor. Not a big deal, if you read my blog, that happens a LOT. And it takes a lot to make me grossed out over poop.

It happened today.

I sat Sam on the potty chair and went to get some toilet paper to clean it up. When I came back I found the dog sniffing over there. Only he wasn't sniffing. There was only a tiny bit of poop still there.

I gagged and gagged. That dog is NOT coming near me today!

I have a stalker

Maybe stalker isn't the right word, but it is beginning to worry me. Not that I think I am going to be killed, but I can't get away, anywhere. Online, in public, whatever I do. Seriously frustrating, and I don't want to gossip or sound crazy, so I can't go around saying anything to anyone. Even my husband thought I was crazy for the longest time, lol. (he is coming around)

I have seen some really stupid lies, and I don't know why, what was the point? There was no point to them. (they weren't about me) There are some possible rumors going around that have come from that source, not sure where before that, that is the end of what I can find. And lots of weird stuff to me, personally. Tracking me down (by phone) at events for really weird questions, and more.

Even moving wouldn't make it all stop, lol. But let me say, I want to pull my hair out an just about a daily basis. Or move.

My mom says I am being worshipped and laughs. I am beyond thinking it is funny. I probably shouldn't even post this because someone is bound to think it is about them. How many people are going to say "Are you talking about me?" LOL

March 25, 2009

So Vlog worthy......

If I could find my camera cord to charge my camera, I would do my first video blog, vlog. This really needs to be seen and heard. But I can't, so I have to stick to blogging and your imagination.

Sam has had some issues with going pee for quite some time, and that is the main reason for his lack of a normal bedtime, long story, but he seemed to be "cured" after a catheter and dye test he had to endure. (I think they unclogged a blockage or something)

So this morning Sam wakes up crying and arching his back and was in obvious pain. I took his diaper off when I couldn't find his owie on his legs, which he was shoving in my face. He was peeing little dribbles, and stupid me thought he was holding it because I took the diaper off. I ran him to the potty and he didn't go.

Well, I decided to pull out the potty chair and let him go in undies today. No, of course he didn't use the potty today.

After a few hours and giving up on the undies Sam started limping around and crying. It looked like he had hurt his foot, but nothing. I gave him some kisses and he started to limp away, more screaming........ Then I realized it looked like he was constipated, so I put him on the big potty. He started dribbling a couple of drops of pee so I looked down and found his pee shooter was crooked! Seriously, it was crooked as in bent in half side-ways! And he could only get drops at a time out, no stream of pee!
I started yelling to Donnie, but he couldn't hear me in his dungeon home office.
After he got through it and seemed to be out of pain I took him up to Donnie. But things had straightened out by that point.
I burst into the office and (after making sure he wasn't on a conference call) I start freaking out "Donnie, Sam's pee shooter was crooked! Like stuck bent in half and he couldn't pee right and he was crying!"
Donnie said I need to give him more baths.
"No! He is clean, and he had a bath yesterday, I am bathing the kid! You don't seem to understand, his pee shooter was bent, like a C or something, like this!" and I show him my finger bent like I was describing.
Donnie doesn't react.
"Yeah, just give him more baths."
"What? He was crooked! Like stuck like that! Not squished in his hand, his pee shooter was hanging free willy style but crooked!"
"Lisa, it is a weird organ. I don't know what to tell you."
"Donnie, I have four boys and you, and I have never seen a crooked pee shooter!"
"You have all sorts of complicated organs, but nothing to compare to the weirdness of that organ. I've seen lots of things, in locker rooms, and stuff, and it is OK."

I grabbed my baby and left. "You might wanna check my blog later!"

Letter from the Boss

Letter From the Boss Today, 2:25 pm

As the CEO of this organization, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barack Obama is our President and that our taxes and government fees will increase in a BIG way. To compensate for these increases, our prices would have to increase by about 10%. But since we cannot increase our prices right now due to the dismal state of the economy, we will have to lay off six of our employees instead.

This has really been bothering me, since I believe we are family here and I didn't know how to choose who would have to go. So, this is what I did. I walked through our parking lot and found six Obama bumper stickers on our employees' cars and have decided these folks will be the ones to let go. I can't think of a more fair way to approach this problem. They voted for change; I gave it to them. I will see the rest of you at the annual company picnic.
--


No offense, people, we had to deal with being laid off for 4 months, and didn't vote for him.

I think I may need something drastic here

I probably need some time in the Word, people.

Last night I went to put the kids to bed. I had a rough, emotional day, and Donnie had been on the computer playing his game for hours and hours. When I got into bed with the kids, I smelled something bad. Really, really bad. OH, man, Sam had a poopy dipe.
"Donnie, Sam needs a diaper change!"
"Really?"
"Yes, really."
pause..................
"Are you going to change it?"
"Do I have to?"
Fine. It's always me. Doesn't matter that I am IN bed, or that I've had a bad day, or that I am putting them to bed while he spends more hours on his game, I'll do it.
"Would you go take care of the bed?" When I picked Sam up I noticed poo all the way down to the bottom of his feet.
Sure enough, after changing Sam, Donnie had not checked the bed. I told him fine, Sam was on your side of the bed anyway.

I didn't change the sheets.

OK, well, I wasn't totally that mean, I did remove the pillow case so he wouldn't lay his head in it, and I did put a child's sleeping bag down for him to lay on, but I did not check the blankets on his side of the bed. Honestly, I took the pillow case off because Trinity sleeps over there, too, and I didn't want her to roll in it and then come snuggle with me smelling like that.

Yep, I need some time in the Word.

March 24, 2009

DaBib's are DaBomb! Review and giveaway

You would think that after 7 kids, I would just have the perfect everything found already, right? The perfect highchair, the perfect sling, the perfect bib........ Not so much. I am getting closer though!

My favorite bibs have always been the kind with the stretchy necks that don't allow food and drinks to spill underneath, but those usually are pull-overs and the food ends up smeared over their heads getting them off, and they rarely have a waterproof backing.

My bib dream has been invented now! DaBib is amazing! The scrunch collar is perfect for absorbing liquids so they don't run under the bib and soak the clothing, and it wraps around and attaches with velcro, to eliminate the over-the-head problem I always have. The bib is a super absorbent front with a lightweight waterproof backing, with a pocket to catch food droppings! The pocket tucks away on the back of the bib, or folds out to the front for use. The embroidery on the tab is an adorable turtle.

I love the feel of the DaBib, and I adore the functionality. This is one of those babyshower gifts that mom will not forget who gave it to her! She will love it! It will work from those first months of spitting up, to those messy toddler years, easily.

The bibs come in several colors, the solid colors with striped trim, or striped bibs. All are very cute.

Check out this cute video!








Thanks so our sponsors, DaBib and Family Review Network, I am giving away one DaBib to a lucky reader!

To enter, visit the sponsor's site and comment on a feature that you like, or something that you learned on the site.

To earn extra entries you can blog about this giveaway, linking to the sponsor and this post, and by twittering this giveaway. Leave a separate comment for each entry because I pick a winner through random number generator.

Giveaway ends April 1st, 2009.

You can get 20% off your order by using the code MOM2009, plus free standard shipping with a purchase of 3 or more bibs.

I am so devastated!

I have been looking for an old friend of mine that I lost touch with. I'd like to make up (stupid fight) and reconnect. I finally found her husband on facebook and friended him. I found one of her sons, too. Neither of them have her as a friend, so I figured she didn't have a FB yet, she never did have time for computer stuff.
Well, her very conservative Christian husband has a new wife and children, and I do not know what happened! Is she dead? Did they divorce? So weird! They were not divorcing types, both solid Christians. It makes me afraid that she died.
Either way, I am so sad and shaken.

Darn Facebook! I was happy to think that she was alive and happily married with her two lovely boys somewhere, now my vision is shattered.

Update*
I am just so heartbroken. My friend had a mental health decline which led to substance abuse and a possible suicide attempt. They are divorced and she is now living an "alternate" lifestyle with permanant brain injuries from the substance abuse. My heart breaks for my friend. She loved Jesus, and how He must miss her.

Winners!

I am just so behind on these and I am sorry! But here are the winners!

The Pull-ups winner is Sarah.
The Rain-X winner is Anna W.
The Nature's Source winners is stampedwithgrace

Congratulations everyone! Thanks for entering!

Types of cloth diapers


Choosing a type of cloth diaper is a challenging task. The choices are overwhelming. You can choose based on price or on ease of use, and everything in between. Just as every diaper is different, every family is different, and what they choose will be based on their needs.

Here is a breakdown of the different styles of diapers:

Prefolds: a diaper that needs to be folded and has a padded middle. There are Chinese, Indian and Diaper Service Quality (dsq). There are also bleached and unbleached. Generally these diapers get softer as they are washed and make great burp rags or cleaning rags when baby is grown. This is the least expensive way to diaper, however, they need a cover to make them waterproof. Instead of pinning diapers the old fashioned way, parents can just lay the diaper in a cover or use a Snappi Fastener.

Fitted diapers: these diapers go on like a disposable, with elastic legs for leak protection and either velcro or snap closure, so no more pins, and much less leaks on the covers than prefolds. A more expensive option than prefolds, and still need a cover.

Diaper covers: covers are just that, a protective covering for cloth diapers. They have come a long way since rubber pants. The benefit of a cover is that you only need a few to get by because you just change the inside unless there is a mess that leaked through. Covers close like a disposable, with velcro or snaps, rather than the messy and inconvenient pull-on styles.




All in One (AIO): All in one diapers are just that, everything in one diaper. They are by far the most convenient. They work exactly like a disposable, just put it on and take it off, wash and go again. They are more expensive, and they take longer to dry. They do tend to be the most accepted diaper for day care centers.

Pocket Diapers: pocket diapers are made of a waterproof outer fabric and an inner fabric that allows for wetness to pass through but keeps the baby dry. A liner needs to be tucked into the "pocket" to absorb the pee. Parents can choose many different types of liners, from prefolds to organic hemp. The benefits with pockets are that parents can customize the amount of absorbency that is needed, adding more for nighttime and travel use, less for newborns, and that you can be sure of the cleanliness of the liner as it washes and dries separately. Pockets dry faster than AIOs. The drawback is having to stuff the pockets.

Inserts, Liners & Doublers: these go inside of a diaper, usually a pocket, and are the absorbent part of the diaper, or are a liner that layers the top to make waste disposal easy. They come in many styles and materials. Microfiber terry, organic hemp, disposable for solid waste and knit terry, to name a few.

One-Size: a diaper that fits babies from 5lbs to 35lbs. One-size diapers have snaps that fold the diaper down to smaller sizes so that the diaper lasts for a much longer period of time in the child's diapering years. This is a very economical way to buy diapers as you do not have to buy new sizes as your child grows.

After you pick your style, there are the brand choices to make. Do you want cute? Functional? Least expensive? I have had adorable embroidery put on the diapers I have ordered to make diapering more fun.

Getting your hands on the diapers is a great way to get a better understanding of what all the styles mean and what features you would like most. For local shopping, Peapods in St. Paul has a big selection to look at with knowledgeable staff to answer your questions. The internet has an even bigger selection and is worth doing some research. I recommend Cotton Babies, Jennifer's Cloth Diaper Boutique and Mudpie Babies to start.



This is my complete article from the Examiner. I would still love a visit over there, even though I published the whole article here. Thanks!

March 23, 2009

Youth Sunday performances

I found out that our lap top accepts the memory card from our camera, so no need for a cord. Duh!
This picture is of the youth worship team. Kaytlin is in the black shirt playing guitar.
Here is a video of the little kids getting to sing with the teens. Trinity is in the front next to the tall boy who keeps nearly poking her eye out, lol. (that would be the youth pastor's kid, you know those PK's, lol) Kaytlin is in the black, right above Sassyfrazz's head.


This video is of the kids' skit. It is just too cute! And again, you can see the heads of many blogger's and their family, lol. Right in front of us is Daisy Crazy's family, but not her, and in front of them are Sassyfrazz's family, you can even see the newest sassy baby up there! Not shown are I'm Losing It Along the Way and Make a Joyful Noise, who were in the next row over and Moving Forward who was sitting next to me. Yes, that is 6 other bloggers besides me in my church! (actually 7, my pastor blogs, too, but he wasn't there, Birding Pastor)

I luv my lips!

The last couple of days we've had conversations about who the kids get their lips from.
Weird, I know. But it happened.
The other day it was Devon. Donnie says the boys have his lips, but I say Devon has my lips, they are clearly thinner than Donnie's, but Donnie says they are not as thin as my "non-existent" lips. Fine. But I don't agree, he does not have Donnie's fat lips.

Today Hope-Anne and Donnie were talking about it somehow and I happened to over hear the end of the conversation.

"Well, your mom would say you have her lips since yours are not as fat as bratwursts."

Always something......

I can't find the cord to my camera! I brought it downstairs to put pics on the laptop, but the laptop totally ignores that the camera is plugged in. Doesn't even acknowledge it. But now the cord is missing so I can't even put the pics on the desk top computer, which likes my camera.

It was Youth Sunday yesterday, where the teens take over the service. Our 3 girls took part in the service! Kaytlin played guitar, Trinity sang, and Hope-Anne did a funny skit.

I would love to put up a vid of the singing. Kaytlin was playing, and she did great, but Trinity was a card! She would stop and get all flustered when she would look over and see that Donnie was video taping her, LOL. Not that she could move much at all, she was squished between some kids, one of which was our youth pastor's very exuberant son. He's a head taller than Trinity (but only 4 months older) and when he would do his (very enthusiastic) movements, he would almost hit Trinity it the eye, over and over and over, lol. He never did hit her, but it was freaking me out. I could just see her get a poke and try not to cry up there. Ironically, after the service she ran head first into a door and has a huge lump and bruise over that exact eye.

Hope-Anne's skit had us cracking up! I am going to get the vid up and post it asap because I just can't describe it well enough. You have to see it.

So, I am going to do some deep cleaning and see where Sam snuck off to with my cord, because I had it put up on the bookshelf, and it is gone. Little turd.

I guess I better not hold my breath

I could die from that.

Sam DID go to sleep at a decent hour last night. We worked hard at getting him enough outdoor time and exercise. Hope-Anne took him to a playground and then over to visit Grandma and Grandpa. When he got home, he was tired. Not happy about it, but tired. It was just a bit after 8 and I was writing an article, so I let him snuggle next to me to watch some TV while I finished it and then I was going to give him a bath and put him down. But he crashed. At 8:14 he was out cold.

I just let him sleep next to me. But he woke up at 10. We went to bed at 10:30 and he was not happy, but he eventually fell back to sleep. We are still ahead of the game, here, since he usually goes to sleep at midnight.

Now to make myself wake the little kids up and start the day so they can go to be earlier.................

I enjoy my quiet mornings!

March 22, 2009

Holding my breath

Last night I came home from a shopping trip with a friend and found Samuel asleep. It was only around 9, so I figured it was a nap and he'd be up past midnight now. But he didn't wake up until 10:45. He sat up and jibber-jabbered like he'd had an energy drink! Oh man, I thought we were in trouble. But within a couple of minutes, he was back asleep.
Sam slept all night. From 8:30pm to 6:45am.

I don't know if you get the significance of this. Sam doesn't go to sleep before midnight. Almost ever, for the last year or more. He had some weird problems at night that we couldn't get diagnosed, and he would wake up screaming around midnight for hours, unless we turned on the Justice League for him. He wouldn't sleep, but at least the screaming would stop. Eventually we quit trying to get him to sleep until after midnight and the screaming episode would be over. That seemed to get us to bed earlier, so we took it. Of course, that meant sleeping in, so we had to keep Trinity on our schedule, too, so she wouldn't be up without supervision.

Now that the screaming problems have come to an end, we have been stuck with the schedule. We can't get him past it. I guess we haven't tried overly hard, but we have tried.

Then last night, it changed. For no apparent reason. He has been getting up at 9am lately instead of 11-12. But his early bedtime was still shocking.

I am really hoping this is a start to a long and happy new routine. We got him down for a 1pm nap, which would be a perfect time for a normal schedule, and sent him to the park this afternoon, so we are hoping for a repeat performance tonight.

One thing that was so wonderful is that Sam has not been going to Sunday School because we have to wake him a bit early on Sunday's and he hasn't had enough sleep, so he doesn't want to be away from me. Today, he walked right into class, with a different teacher, and played and played, no problems even through church.

Ahhhhh.............. finally!

Cloth diapers are not just for crunchy parents

With the development of disposable diapers, the use of cloth became something crunchy, or hippie, parents did. But cloth diapers have undergone a design makeover to become easy, economical, environmentally friendly and adorable. Cloth diapers are now modern and trendy!

There are several reasons that parents are choosing to use cloth instead of disposable diapers now, however, there tend to be two reasons that top all others in making the switch to cloth.

1. Disposable are bad for the environment: 18 billion diapers are thrown away each year, taking up to 500 years a diaper to break down, and using 3.5 billion gallons of oil to produce. In addition, disposables use so many trees, tons of water and are made with chemicals that are carcinogenic.

2. Cloth diapers are less expensive: Disposable diapers can cost about 25 cents a diaper, multiplied by 3 years of diaper wearing. That is a lot of money. Cloth diapers are a bigger initial investment, but a frugal parent can buy cloth for one child for under $150 for the entire diapering years, and then use them for another child, or more, and then use them for rags. Going for ease of use, rather than completely frugal, a parent can still get cloth for under $500, and keep using it for several children, and even sell them when they are outgrown.

There are some drawbacks and fears that hold parents back from choosing cloth diapers, in spite of the monetary savings.

I am writing at the Examiner today, stop by to read more about Cloth Diapers; not just for crunchy parents.

March 20, 2009

TV viewing does not affect toddlers cognitive abilities

Researchers at the Children's Hospital in Boston reported on Monday that TV watching in the first two years of life did not help or harm the cognitive abilities of children. TV viewing is not harmful, but it is not helpful, either. This was the conclusion of researchers after taking into account many factors and administering two tests to a control group of children.

The bad news is that it does not end the debate of TV or no TV between parents, doctors, and media. The American Academy of Pediatrics has discouraged the use of TV for children under 2. The study did not dispute the findings of previous research showing a link to obesity from early TV watching.


I am writing at the Examiner today, please read the rest of TV viewing does not affect toddlers cognitive abilities over there.

22 years ago

Memory is a strange thing. There are so many things about my growing up years that I just can't remember, and then there are things that just stick in my mind.

Twenty-two years ago today Donnie asked me to go steady. OK, asked is not at all the word, he didn't ask at all. But it is the day we started going steady.

We were at Peppy's Pizza in Benson (which no longer exists) and we were eating pizza and deep fried dill pickles with my friend Linette, it was her birthday, and probably Donnie's friend Al. The pizza was probably shrimp pizza, Linette and I loved that.

Under the table Donnie pulled off my class ring, no big deal. But he replaced it with his ring and he kept mine. And there you have it. We were going steady.

I don't remember the date that Donnie and I got engaged, not the day he asked me or the date he gave me the ring. I remember vividly getting the ring, but not the date. Isn't that strange? It was probably the 18, 19 or 20th of December, though. That is the romantic story, but I remember the class ring exchange date.

March 19, 2009

Don't let me go!

Do you ever feel like your kids are growing up too fast? One minute they are wiggly, helpless little infants, and the next they are too-quick toddler, and on to almost grown teenagers in a blink.
We can't stop them from growing, or even slow the process, but we can form a bond with them that goes beyond just parent and child to mentors and life-long friends.

When I hears about the book Don't Let Me Go, by David W. Pierce, I knew I had to read it. (he is the husband of super funny comedian, Chonda Pierce!) The book is about a challenge his teenage daughter laid down for him that led his inexperienced outdoors man to come out and become experienced. I could totally relate to the first trip they took where he hadn't even found out that they should be climbing the mountain and could DIE. But he went for his daughter.

The book is great, and well worth the time to read it, as you will gain motivation to really bond with your children.


Summary:
The true story of how a father and his teen daughter connected through
an ice axe and well-worn running shoes.
One day after reading a book about a wilderness adventurer, David Pierce’s fifteen-year-old daughter Chera announced that she wanted to climb a mountain. What David heard behind that wish was a bold declaration: “I’m growing up, Dad—what are you going to do about it?” A few weeks later they bought matching backpacks.
Over a three-year period they climbed five mountains and ran in two marathons. Together they suffered sore muscles, bitter cold, sprung knees, shin splints, and broken spirits. But they also reveled in blazing sunsets, glissaded on a glacier, and celebrated numerous victories great and small. And in the process, they built an unshakable father-daughter bond that will stand the tests of time.

In Don’t Let Me Go, David Pierce—the husband of popular Christian comedienne Chonda Pierce—offers a down-to-earth, funny-yet-serious book for parents with the same universal appeal as Bob Carlisle’s heart-tugging song, “Butterfly Kisses,” only with well-worn running shoes and an ice axe.


You can purchase Don't Let Me Go: What My Daughter Taught Me About the Journey Every Parent Must Make at Amazon or Christianbook.com.

Starting month 6 on Sensa

I am now 19lbs down in a little over 5 months of using Sensa. Not bad, but I don't think I am going to hit the 30.5 lb average by the 9th of April. I might be able to hit 22-25 lbs down, though, and that is pretty good.

I am not just measuring my success by my scale though. I have recently been amazed at what is going on with my body! I look slimmer in the mirror now, and I am very happy with that. The other day I was shaving my legs and I recognized my calves, I hadn't seen those in some time, they've been hiding under some fat.

I am very happy with the results I am getting with Sensa, even though it hasn't been as big as average, and I am going to continue to use it. I am adding the water to my diet now, and working on adding some exercise. Walking with the kids and doing the Wii Fit, but I need to increase those. When I do participate in exercise, I have seen some additional weight loss. (duh!)

In my "professional" opinion, using Sensa alone will get you some results, but used with a healthy diet and exercise plan, it will aid you in your success even more. Using Sensa will make dieting a breeze by keeping you from feeling hunger, which is the downfall of dieting. And exercise is needed to get your body burning calories.

I have been using Sensa only, not dieting, not adding exercise, and not drinking the correct amount of water daily. I wanted to see it for what it is. Sensa works. I have managed to get 2/3 of the average weight loss (with little less than a month to go) off without diet or exercise.

If you would like to try Sensa, you can get a 15 % discount and free shipping with the code ROCKETXL HERE. It is good through June. (I am not selling or getting a commission from Sensa, I am just reviewing it)

March 18, 2009

Getting through the toddler tantrums

Parents know that their babies cry to get what they need, they are not being bad. Parents will try to meet those needs in order to create a happy child and happy environment.

As those babies turn into toddlers and those toddlers turn into preschoolers, parents tend to shift in their thinking about why their child is acting up. Taking a toddlers behavior as a personal insult or a bid for attention is not an accurate portrayal of what is going on inside.

Children do not throw tantrums to make you angry, they have a need. Often that need is to have less stimulation or to have boundaries enforced. They learn self-control through our help in establishing boundaries and teaching them how to deal with situations that are beyond their ability to handle. For example, if you take your child shopping to meet your need during a time when the child is tired, it is really about you disregarding your child's needs and not your child trying to get his way. If we remember that and focus on who they are and what they need rather than their behavior at the moment, we will be able to help establish a harmonious family life.

Why a child might by throwing a tantrum:
Tired
Hungry
Major change in the family, like divorce or a new sibling
Lack of verbal skills to communicate feelings, frustration
Needs attention
Over-stimulation
Need to be autonomous from parents


I am writing at the Examiner today, to find out ways to avoid a tantrum read Getting through the toddler tantrums.

Off to the playground!

Sam, Trinity and I are getting ourselves ready to head for the playground for the first time this year. There are still piles of snow hanging around, but the weather is nice and the playgrounds are accessible now.

Did you know that 60% of scrapes and 40% of cuts happen when you are away from home? I am bringing my Neo To Go® along with me so that I can disinfect and provide pain relief for the kids if they get hurt while we are gone. It is a great little spray bottle that I can easily fit in my purse.

Get this:
according to the National Program for Playground Safety, each year, over 200,000
children are injured on America's playgrounds -- one every 2 1/2 minutes. If not
cared for immediately, even minor wounds can become infected and take longer to
heal.


By this time of the year our Neosporin® and other medications in our medicine cabinet are old and out dated. It is a very good idea to have fresh first aid supplies stocked up with the weather getting nicer and kids are heading outdoors again. I love the Neosporin® not only helps keep infections at bay and helps wounds heal faster, I love that it provides pain relief instantly, too. I hate seeing my kids cry.

Do you have expired first aid supplies in your medicine cabinet?


This post was request by MomCentral and Johnson & Johnson.

Do you want to change your family?

I love my family and I love how my kids are turning out. But there are things in my vision of our "perfect" family life that are not happening. I envision a clean (not spotless or perfect) house as being something that would make us all more happy. I would even settle for the living areas, forget the bedrooms! Spending more time together playing games and talking instead of doing our own thing and being on computers would be great, too.

I don't know how to go about getting those changes. How do I get the kids to just do their chores every day without nagging, yelling and having them disobey? How do I get them to just pick up after themselves?

Yesterday I talked to a life coach who helps people get to their ideal family life. Her name is Tracy Liebmann and she runs Transforming Family. She helps families see things differently to get to a solution in a way that is mutually respectful and effective. She touches topics like mindful parenting, consensual living, family harmony, compassionate communication, homeschooling and simplifying family life on her website.

I asked Tracy a couple of questions and worked through a problem I have to see how she does things.

You say on your website that you do not give advice, that the answers are inside of us. How do you bring people to realize those things without giving advice? (sometimes I need a two by four across the head to "get it")


I am basically a good listener and I ask good questions, bringing clarity to the situation. It is easier to walk you through a problem to show you how it works than it is to explain it.


Cyber coaching seems like a great option for people who need to think things through before making a decision or coming up with a new question. It also seems like the best way to do things in this busy world. Does it seem less personal to be doing coaching through emails instead of phone calls, and does it affect how the results turn out?


Cyber coaching works well, but I get a better feel for a person and situation through personal contact.

So, if she gets a conversation in on the phone to get a feeling for a person things can go well through email coaching. Tracy is a very personal person, and so easy to talk to. Personally, we have some similar ideals that make it easy for me to work with her. We both have/do unschool, but have tried the formal schooling, and to me that means we are both much more laid back about how things flow in our family. Some people need schedules, but they just don't work for me, and Tracy gets that.

I took a sample issue that we have to see how Tracy could help me find the answer to my problem that she says is in me, rather than through her advice. That doesn't mean that she doesn't give suggestions, but that she drew out what was going on, what personalities we are working with, and other relevant issues and helps find a way to deal with things that leave everyone feeling respected.

We broke down my chore problem to just one child, just for the sake of time, and we picked Devon, because I think she was interested in the dynamics between the child I fight with most. (we are too alike, lol)

Tracy asked me lots of questions about Devon and the chore problems, and in my answers I revealed a lot more than asked by my answers. I think that is why doing it over the phone or in person would be easier.

The results were that I needed to sit down with Devon alone and discuss what I would like to see, and work with him on a solution that would work for him. In this case the answers that are inside of me are that Devon needs a schedule (which I hate) and probably set chores rather than pick what chore you want to do today. So, I will sit down with him and ask him if he would like to do chores right after supper, so that it is a trigger to him to get them done. I would also make sure that he has pretty much the same chores. Devon works better when he knows exactly what to expect and when it is expected.

Just going through this made me see some other things that I need to do, but have been avoiding or ignoring.

I think that this family coaching thing is a fantastic idea and well worth the expense to be able to find a solution that is going to bring harmony and peace to your home.

Thank you to Family Review Network and Tracy Liebmann for allowing me this opportunity!

March 17, 2009

Partners in crime?

Today I walked into the kitchen, apparently pretty quietly. I found the garbage can tipped over with half a dog sticking out of it. Next to the garbage can I found Sam squatting down with a package of hotdogs from the fridge.
I went for the dog first, as he was closest, and gave him a little kick in the rear. He backed out, looked at me and turned tail and booked it out the other side of the kitchen.
Sam looked up and saw the dog running and he saw me, dropped the wieners and high-tailed it after the dog.

Did he think I was gonna kick him, too? LOL

OK, fess up already!

Who stole my snickers bar? It was on top of the fridge last night, and this morning, gone.
One of you lovely children took it and ate it. I know it was one of you. But who?
And why won't you confess? It is JUST A STUPID CANDY BAR!

March 16, 2009

Advertising that gets me

Sometimes a commercial or advertisement actually gets me to buy something I normally wouldn't spend money on. I am pretty much a tight-wad, so if I can do without, I do, or if I can get it cheaper, I will.

But I have got to get some of this! But do I want the jojoba or the sweet almond essence?









Off to go hook my printer up to my computer again so I can print off my coupon and head to the store!

Breastfeeding top 10

In this day and age there are so many options for feeding your child. There must be 20 kinds of formula, many more types of bottles, different nipple styles, etc. Why would you choose to breastfeed when you could have freedom from all the responsibility and so many cute bottles to choose from?

1. It is safer to breastfeed. There are no BPA's to leech into babies food through plastic bottles or the lining in the formula cans. Your baby is not allergic to your milk, it is perfectly made for them, so no milk allergies, no soy allergies.


2. It is convenient. No matter where you are or how long you've been there, you won't run out of food. No extra bag to tote along. There is no preparation to it, either, making it very convenient.


3. Breast milk is nature's super food. It is perfectly made for humans. Just the right combination of fats and proteins and vitamins for your child. It digests easily. It helps develop the brain without having to add ingredients and pay more money for superior products. It is so perfect, in fact, that you can exclusively breast feed a child for 1 year with no added foods at all.


4. It is free and good for the environment! You do not have to pay for anything related to breastfeeding. Mom is already eating, so there is no additional food to buy. There is no equipment needed, and nothing to replace. In fact, you can save so much money in one year by breastfeeding rather than using formula, that you could buy a new washer or refrigerator. There is no waste to go in the land fills, either.



I am writing at the Examiner today, finish reading Ten reasons to breastfeed your baby over there.

March 14, 2009

Here are my articles

I started writing for the Examiner just about 2 weeks ago. I get paid by the traffic I bring in. doesn't seem like much yet, but it is a start, and it is residual. Plus it is fun in a different way than blogging, while still having control over what I write, within a boundary. I write about anything to do with children under school age. Especially focused on Minnesota.

Here are my articles so far, if you would like to go check them out. I appreciate it!

The lost art of babywearing
Remove those winter coats for car seat safety
Read Across America Week ~ reasons to read to your child
Fashion find Friday~ Polliwalks, trendy new shoe for tots!
Bedtime routines for toddlers
Attachment parenting: What is it?
Childproof electrical outlets
Happy Panda: the brand for bigger babies
Balance for children who are talented

March 13, 2009

Mmmm, delicious!

Sam was standing in front of me and I looked up at him and saw him lick the tips of both of his pointer fingers one at a time. Then he looked at me, smiled and gave an approving nod and patted his tummy before walking off.

I am pretty sure he was eating his boogers.

I might be a southern mom

I say those threats, even the living snot one, LOL!

Happy Panda: the brand for the bigger baby


It is Fashion Find Friday, where I bring you a cute, trendy or innovative product for your young children.

Babies are just so amazing that they draw out the wonder in everyone. Mom's are showered with gifts for their sweet, new baby by family and friends who just can't resist that cute outfit on the rack. That is a great treat to new parents, unless your child is big.

Pamela Kramer found that to be a problem. Her first child was very big, he was in a size 2T before he was a year old. The problem was that when people buy gifts for your 12 month old, they will buy a size 12 months, but that wouldn't fit her son. She needed a store for the Big and Tall baby.

For the rest of the story, read my article at the Examiner, Happy Panda: the brand for the bigger baby.

March 11, 2009

DreamBox Learning

I am going to be homeschooling Trinity and Sam, and I have been working with Trinity a little bit this year to get her ready for kindergarten next year.
I want my children to be smart, but I really want an easy to use curriculum. Good, but easy for me.
I have been trying DreamBox Learning math program for K-2, and I have got to tell you about it!
Trinity doesn't get the whole adding and counting thing. She knows how to count pretty far, but she doesn't count a set of objects correctly very often. She really needs to learn some grouping. Then we started the DreamBox curriculum. I am very impressed, and I will tell you why.

DreamBox does constant assessments on your child, not just did she get it right, but how long did it take, is she getting faster at this? How many hints did she need? And the program places her exactly where she needs to be, skipping lessons she has mastered, and repeating skills she is not getting. It is a completely individualized curriculum. There is a parents panel where I can track her progress, too.

Why would she want to sit and repeat these lessons? Because she has no idea that it is work! She wants to PLAY! But I can see that she is learning. She plays games to earn tokens or other prizes that she can collect or spend at the carnival playing games, games that are really lessons and skills, lol. She begs me to let her play it. I have to tell her it isn't a school day so that I can spend time on the computer.


The games are fun and the graphics are just so cute! Everything is spoken, so she doesn't have to know how to read words yet.

The carnival games are fun. Trinity's favorite is the coloring game. It is not so much a game as an art/sticker thing. She plays with coloring, placing objects, making them bigger and smaller in relation to the rest of the picture. She could do that for hours, but she has to earn coins in order to keep playing, it is timed.

I love that they teach concepts outside of flash cards. Trinity really needs to get the grouping concept. She is loving it, and slowly getting better at it.
I am going to be using DreamBox for my math curriculum this coming year.
It costs:
Monthly: $12.95
Introductory offer through March 31, 2009!
6 months: $64.95 $49.95 — $8.33/month
12 months: $124.95 $99.95 — $8.33/month
You can try it free for 14 days, why not give it a try? DreamBox Free Trial

˙puıɯ ʎɯ ʇsoן ǝʌɐɥ ʇɥƃıɯ ʇsnɾ ı

¡ǝɯ dןǝɥ ¡pɐǝɥ ʎɯ oʇ ƃuıɥsnɹ sı pooןq ǝɥʇ ˙uʍop ǝpısdn sı ƃuıɥʇʎɹǝʌǝ ˙uʍop ǝpısdn ɯɐ ı ʞuıɥʇ ı 'ʎןsnoıɹǝs

Childproof electrical outlets


Soon after new parents bring their baby home from the hospital they realize that there are dangers lurking every where that could harm their warm, cuddly little bundle of joy. The protection mode kicks in and hazards are hunted down to be defeated by the knight in shining armor, or Dad.



When your baby starts crawling around the house and investigating his world, everything at his eye-level becomes a potential point of interest. Electrical outlets can be a big source of curiosity, and danger.



Putting a plastic safety cap in the outlet is a common form of safety, but that only protects the child if the plug is not in use, and the safety cap actually fits snugly enough that the child can't remove it. When they are removed, the caps themselves can become a choking hazard. Just ask George DeCell, whose daughter Sage nearly died from choking on one. DeCell invented a larger cap, Safetycap, that conforms to pacifier regulations so that children could no longer choke on the caps. He recommends making sure the caps are not only too large to choke on, but that they are clear and have no writing or pictures on them to draw attention to them. DeCell also points out that safety caps are a training tool to aid you in teaching your child to stay away from outlets rather than a fool-proof safety measure.


I am at the Examiner today, head over there to read the rest of the article on outlet safety.

Verbal barf, sorry

I have a ton to say, and I am just gonna spew it out. There is no order to this post, lol.

Kaytlin's friend Peter is going on a choir trip out of state, so she had him over tonight, cause, you know, 5 days is like eternity. And a couple of girlfriends came over, too. They went out to pizza and then were going to go tubing, so they ran back here to get some hot chocolate.

I have a black insulate carafe that they could just fill and take to keep it warm. I don't normally use it, I think I used it once or twice. Well........... it blew up. Seriously. Blew up. The glass inside shattered and the bottom of the plastic even split open! Cody and Peter were standing in front of it when it blew, right into Peter's face. Kaytlin was so horrified! It did look like we'd killed him. He had chocolate dripping down the side of his face and all over the sleeve of his coat. I can't believe there were no shards of glass in his or Cody's face or eyes. God was watching out for them for sure, because there was glass all the way across the room.
(aren't these carafes meant to hold hot liquids and keep them hot? how could that have blown it up? crazy huh?)


Sam was messing around and put his booster seat on a chair, climbed in, strapped himself in, then promptly fell to the floor face first, as he hadn't strapped the seat to the chair. Split his lip open, so bloody. Then he was shortly afterwards the victim of the glass shards in his foot.



After a game of Quelf, the kids started heading home and we were cleaning up and munching on left-over pizza. Kaytlin and I were just chatting a bit and Sam begged me to pick him up. So I did, then leaned back against the counter. Behind him, in front of me, a toy caterpillar started making some music as it was shutting down. Sam turned around, looked down and said "Die!" Then turned back to me like nothing happened. I looked at Kaytlin, she looked and me. We started laughing, did he really just say that? Yes, he did.


So there you have my crazy night. But hey, my house is clean! I accomplished much today.

And it snowed a bunch again. Fun times.

March 10, 2009

What is attachment parenting?

Attachment Parenting (AP) is a confusing term to some people, but what it stands for is a way of parenting that is gentle and nurturing. There are as many different descriptions as there are parents who practice AP. However, there are a few philosophies that most AP families hold to in general.

What does "attached" mean?

Being attached to your child means that you have bonded in a special way. You have a connection that allows you to instinctively know what your baby is telling you and you have a need to help your baby rather than follow a set of parenting guidelines. That is responsive parenting.

What is attachment parenting?

To learn more you can read my complete article Attachment parenting: What is it? at the Examiner.

Dancing with the stars?

Last night Kaytlin was doing the hula hoop on the Wii Fit. It looks ridiculous watching someone hula hoop without the hula hoop, lol. But boy, does it give you a work out!
Sam escaped the bathtub and came out to the living room and saw her hula hooping and was staring at her. Then he started doing it too. Butt naked and dripping wet!

It was just too funny!

March 09, 2009

The dangers of co-sleeping?

I love co-sleeping with the little kids. But there are reported dangers to it. You might roll over on your baby, or your baby might fall, get trapped, suffocate. I don't buy into most of that stuff.

I know the real danger of c0-sleeping. And it isn't what you might expect.

There is a danger to you, the parent.

A fat lip. I have gotten one, two nights in a row.

And, no, not putting up pictures.

Bedtime routines

"It's time to get ready for bed!" says Mom in the cheeriest voice she can muster after a long day with preschoolers.

"No! No bedtime! I don't wanna go to bed!" says the screaming child as he runs to hide from Mom.

That is just the beginning. What comes next are battles to get them out of the tub, brush teeth, get into pajamas, how many books to read, and leaving the light on. Not to mention the 15 drinks of water and subsequent trips to the bathroom.


I'm writing at the Examiner today, click over to finish reading Bedtime Routines.

March 07, 2009

A strange new life

I'm sitting here on the couch cuddled up with Samuel. Sam didn't like laying in the bed with Donnie and Trinity, he had to come find me and go back to sleep after I got up. Only mom will do for a snuggle partner. That is just such a sweet time in mommy-hood.

I look at his sweet fat cheeks and his wispy eyelashes laying against his skin and just think what a lovely creation he is. And God saw fit to lend him to me.

My whole life used to be filled with that feeling. I had 5 young children who needed me all the time. There was always someone on my lap or clinging to my leg or snuggled up against me on the couch. There was never a night where someone didn't end up in our bed to snuggle. (there idea of snuggling wasn't always pleasant, a foot in the face doesn't feel so hot at 3AM)

But now my time with my children is growing shorter. I have two who will snuggle with me, one only sometimes. The other five are moving on with their lives. It is so strange how that transition took place with hardly a blink. I fought it. I didn't want to them to grow and become independent, but I had to allow it, even push for it.

So, I sit here and enjoy snuggling my baby as most of my older children hustle and bustle on with their own lives. Drew has moved out and is becoming a man across the country from me. Kaytlin and Devon are holding down jobs and are not around as much. Cody and Hope-Anne are off with friends. With in moments I am going to be down to two kids in the house.

With in moments I am going to only have two kids in the house. And then they will be gone, too.

I choose to snuggle.

March 06, 2009

Amazing new bathroom cleaner! + a giveaway!!

OK, so I got an opportunity to try out a new natural bathroom cleaner, and I thought, sure, why not? I hate the smell of the stuff I have, and those don't work, so why not try something that is at least safe to use on the tub? Besides, this is made by the makers of Scrubbing Bubbles, which is a great product. I soon received a bottle of Nature's Source bathroom cleaner and gave it a try.
I didn't take pictures because my tile was just getting so gross, and well, it was embarrassing. But now, I wish I had taken pictures because there is no other way to be sure that you understand exactly how well Nature's Source works! Oh my gosh, I am SOLD on this product!

First of all, the smell was a pleasant citrus smell. I enjoyed it and it there were no fumes. I cleaned with no plastic gloves and there was not stinging or even any damage to my skin at all. I didn't even feel the need to apply lotion!
I felt 100% confident that it would be safe to allow my kids to take a bath after using this product. Normally I won't let them soak in the tub until a shower or two has been taken after harsh cleaners have been used. This was safe and rinsed away easily.
But the best part was that I just sprayed it on and then started wiping with a damp sponge. I had to push the sponge into the grooves between tiles, just to get in there, but the discoloration came right off! It was so easy! I didn't scrub, I didn't soak it, I didn't put "elbow grease" into it.
In fact, I was so excited I drug my husband down to see the clean spot, and then kid after kid. (as if they cared)

This cleaner is made from plant sources, such as a cleaning agent from plants such as coconut or palm oils, and lactic acid, which is a natural sugar based cleaner that removes hard water stains, and purified water.

If it isn't obvious, I LOVE this cleaner! Love it! Lots of exclamation points! There are other cleaners in this line and I am excited to give them a try. The window cleaner is on my list.

Would you like to try this? Thanks to Nature's Source and the Family Review Network, I am able to give one bottle away! If you have little kids, skin allergies, a hard time breathing with other bathroom cleaners, you WANT this cleaner.

To enter:
Head over to Nature's Source and then leave a comment on which new product you want to try most. That's it!

For Additional Entries (please leave as an additional comment):
Tweet about this post
Blog about my contest
Subscribe to my blog

Must be a US resident. Giveaway ends March 20th, just in time for spring cleaning!

Did I mention that I LOVE Nature's Source bathroom cleaner? I did? Well, I do.

Friday fashion find~ Polliwalks innovative shoes for kids

It is Fashion Find Friday where I will bring you a new item for your child to wear that is cute, trendy or innovative.


This week I am introducing you to Polliwalks. Polliwalks are an innovative and hot new shoe company. Their shoes are not only adorable animals, but they are practically a toy, too. The bottoms of the shoes sport the footprint of the animal they represent, well, as much as possible, since fish do not have feet. As children walk in dirt, mud or snow, little trails of footprints are left behind, much to the delight of a curious toddler.

Fashion Find Friday is a weekly column topic on my Examiner column. The rest of this article is posted there. Please stop over and say "hi" to me on my newspaper column!

New teenage trend?

Yesterday, Kaytlin and I were leaving the eye doc and heading for the car. This is in a very rural town. You know, the kind of town where they have an old theater with one movie showing, but only a few days a week. There are old cafe's and no McDonald's or Burger King. The farm boys are big and burly, and apparently dumb.

I wouldn't normally call them dumb, but after what we saw, I think you will agree.

There was a group of guys standing in front of the food bank smoking cigarettes. (told ya) These boys were between 14 and 17, I'm guessing. Though they do make boys HUGE up there, so they could have been younger. (we've played them in football, and let me tell you, their 4th graders were bigger than our 6th graders) One of the guys had an adult sized pacifier in his mouth. Not even kidding. He'd take it out, take a drag of the cigarette and pop the paci back in his mouth. And not one of the other boys acted like it was abnormal. Not one.

Is this a new trend? And where do you get pacifiers so big? Well, I've heard of some kinky, sick people that like to pretend they are babies, but how would a teen boy get ahold of that?

Tell me this isn't going to be going on all over. I would take my boys out of public school and homeschool if I found out they were doing something so stupid.

(in the interest of full disclosure, I will admit to having had pacifiers as a fad when I was in Jr. High, we wore them as necklaces, but I think my mom should have homeschooled me at that point, lol, and the boys were NOT doing it)

March 05, 2009

Eyes wide open

Since our health, dental and vision benefits expire tomorrow, Kaytlin and I went in to get our eyes checked. We had just signed up for amazing covereage from VSP! I got an eye exam and up to $250 frames plus lenses, and my co-pay was $10!!!! Kaytlin got a contact exam, class and a year supply of contacts for........... $10!!!!

I will miss those benefits.

Today was the first time an optometrist has dilated my pupils. That is a very weird thing. I didn't mind the drops, not a big deal. But soon I couldn't read a magazine. I had no idea that you couldn't read things if your eyes were dilated. I read in the sun all the time. OK, not all the time, but the rare times I am in the sun and have a book.

I am so glad that I had Kaytlin with me. Today was a very overcast day. It was practically gray outside. No sight of the sun at all, the clouds completely covered the sky with gray. But when I walked outside I was blinded by the intense rays of the sun searing straight into my corneas! I had to ride all they way home with my eyes shut!

Kaytlin was freaked out by my pupils. She would barely help me pick out glasses. (I need help because I can't see what the glasses look like without having my glasses on.) Every time I looked at her she would say my eyes were gross, lol.

Oh, well, I'll have my cool new glasses next week sometime.

Wash Me! A review and Giveaway!

Has anyone ever written that on your car windows? Well, here in rural Minnesota, we see that a lot! Car windows get so dirty from the dirt roads, who can resist? Even now, with the 12 inches of snow, OK, so it is melting now, nasty, dirty snow does get on your windows and makes for a nasty mess to deal with.

You have got to get those windows clean. Visibility is very important, especially with our slippery road conditions. My husband is a big fan of Rain-X products. He loves cleaning the windows with it and watching the water just bead up and slide right down, you barely need wipers! But sometimes you really need to deep clean those windows.
Rain-X has a great new product to get renew windows called X-treme Clean. X-Treme Clean quickly removes bugs and dirt and road grime from the windshield and restores headlights and clear plastic by removing haze and discoloration. It is a fantastic product! Bugs are hard to remove. X-treme Clean is a great prep to use before you use the original Rain-X on your windows.

But even more exciting is the Rain-X Latitude windshield wipers! You would NOT believe how amazing these things work! (when you put them on the correct side of the card) The wipers just perfectly swipe and the window is so free of water it is like it isn't even raining. (amazingly, we actually had rain here this winter. Once.)
I am a fan and I will not buy any other wiper blades now that I have tried these. They are easy to install, just remember that the driver side has the bigger blade than the passenger side. Ahem, just saying.

Easy Installation
For use on either originally installed standard or curved style wiper blades
Pre-installed with small j-hook adapter and contains multi-adapter for side pin, large j-hook and bayonet wiper blade arms
Rain-X Latitude® Version -2 wiper blades fit I&L (Insert & Lock) and PTB (Pinch Tab Button) wiper blade arms
High Performance Wipe
Contoured design applies even pressure along the entire blade length
Specially blended graphite coated rubber blade delivers the ultimate smooth, clean, chatter-free wipe
Built-in aerodynamic spoiler significantly reduces drag, noise and wind lift


Ice Resistant Frame
Prevents ice and snow build-up through the elimination of exposed metal components
Durable, rubber-encased substructure increases wiper flexibility and adherence to the windshield in harsh conditions

Be sure to do safety checks on your vehicles: check the tires, the wipers, the brake lights and blinkers, etc.

My Blog Spark would like to give you the chance to win 1 Rain-X Car Care Kit . The kit contains: 1 set of Rain-X Latitude (for your make and model of car), a bottle of Rain-X X-treme Clean glass and plastic renewer, and a bottle of Rain-X Weatherbeater 2-in-1 Glass Cleaner + Rain Repellent.

To Enter

  • Visit RainX and find a useful tip and come back here and comment on what you learned.
  • Leave me an email so I have a way to contact you if you win
  • Winners are chosen at random via Random.org.

For Additional Entries (please leave as an additional comment):

Tweet about this post
Blog about my contest
Subscribe to my blog

Giveaway ends March 20, the first day of spring! US residents only.

Sweeter by nature

It is getting harder and harder to cook food with all the diet restrictions that are happening. Diabetes, hypoglycemia, obesity, gluten intolerance. When you substitute ingredients to make beloved recipes eatable by everyone, you lose taste. I can't stand baked goods made with artificial sweeteners.
My mother in law is a diabetic, and there are 2 hypoglycemics in my house. Sugar is not our friend. Not to our blood, and not to our waist.

I got the opportunity to try out an all natural product through Fuel My Blog that promises to be "sweeter by nature" and taste like sugar, guaranteed. I worry about taste, because why else would you eat it?
Steviva makes their products from the Stevia plant. The benefits of Stevia are that it is 100% natural, 200-300 times sweeter than sugar so you use less, calorie-free (woohoo!), prevents cavities (no way!), does not trigger a rise in blood sugar, increases energy and aides digestion by stimulating the pancreas, and it does not feed yeast in your body.
Wow, huh? But how does it taste? I tried the Fructevia packets in my coffee. I did not enjoy it at all. I always use sugar and this did not taste like sugar.

In cooking and baking the taste is different. It isn't noticeable that it isn't sugar. It is a bit different, but it isn't so different that you would know it was not sugar. Plus it is healthier, so it makes it even better.
I was very happy that I could make a guilt-free treat for me that I could still serve to my diabetic family, while not worrying about my children eating artificial sweeteners, or getting hyper from too much sugar.
You can order Steviva in larger bottles instead of packets. I think the price is a bit steep, however, you use so little that it will last FOREVER. I am not fond of it, but my mother in law didn't mind it, she always has to use artificial sweeteners anyway, and this was a step up.
Steviva only uses organic stevia leaves and clean, pure water for the extraction process. Their commitment to the environment is commendable. They have a mission to care for the world and give back to society.
If you need to cut back on the sugar, but do not want to poison your body with unnatural, artificial sweeteners, Steviva is a great option for you to look into. Check out their recipe pages for some great idea, too. How about Sugar Free - Low Carb- Chocolate Mousse?

First Place 4 Health

With the state of the economy lately, it has become difficult for people to lose weight and maintain it. Gym memberships have become unjustifiable when meeting mortgage payments are difficult. Who can afford pricey packaged foods? I have friends who have had to give up Weight Watchers because of money.
It is difficult to buy healthy food because junk food is cheaper and stretches farther. But eating hamburger helper and hotdogs takes a toll on the waistline.
Being fit and healthy doesn't have to be expensive. Members have achieved real, lasting change—all without spending a dime on pre-packaged foods or pricey workout programs—by bringing the four areas of life (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) into a healthy balance.
This program used to be called First Place, and I was part of a group that was doing the program. It was great! We met as a group to hold each other accountable to the program, to uplift each other, pray for each other and be encouraged.

There are scripture verses to learn each week, and a CD of the verses put to song that is so handy and fun.
You also write down everything you eat, trying to hit all the food groups and get your water intake to a good level. I love the accountability of writing it down. I learn to eat better and I realized that I was eating way more snacks than I thought.

You can look on the website to find a group near you, or start a group. I also recommend reading what they have to say about the four sided person, very helpful!

New for 2009, First Place 4 Health is also introducing a brand new fitness
kit that includes everything you need to customize your own exercise plan, at a
fraction of the cost of a gym membership. The contents of the kit include
the First Place 4 Health 30-Minute Fitness DVD, which combines cardio, strength,
and stretching exercises for all fitness levels from beginner to advanced and a
handy pedometer for keeping track of every step toward your fitness goal.
The reusable eight-ounce water bottle slashes the cost of bottled water and
makes proper hydration a snap. The kit also contains a flexible exercise
band that will maximize resistance for every movement in a workout and an
official First Place 4 Health towel to use when the work is done.


Check out First Place 4 Health or Regal Books for more information.

Bella Sara Treasure Hunt


Bella Sara is a trading card game, very similar to Pokemon cards, geared toward girls ages 5 to 12. The cards have pictures of horses on them. Girls can access the magical online land at Land of the North of North , where the horses live. Girls can feed, care for, train, and play with their horses and also play games and solve puzzles on the site.
Hope-Anne enjoys going and playing online. She has codes on the bottom of each trading card that she can enter online to get new characters, things to care for them, etc.
Bella Sara has launched some new items to enjoy! They have new Treasure trading cards and little collectible horse figures! The Treasure cards come with Treasures Fun Pack Horses, Stickers, Tattoos & More. The little collectible horses are darling and a fun way to collect the horses that you have online. (unfortunately for Hope-Anne, Sam LOVES the horses)
Bella Sara has a Treasure Hunt Contest running right now. The grand-prize winner in each age group will have his or her treasure featured on a winners’ page at BellaSara.com, receive a full set of Treasures cards, and win a Bella Sara treasure hunt with prizes for friends and family. Two runners-up in each age group will receive a Treasures Value Box, a Bella Sara novel, and Treasure Trot.
Treasure hunt includes: T-shirts, plush horses, Treasures value boxes, Bella Sara novels, Ultimate Party Packs, fun activities, and more!
I like that this game is more than collecting cards, and it is more than playing online. With cards, collectible figures, books and online story and games, it is a lot of fun for young girls.

March 04, 2009

Read Across America Week ~ reasons to read to your child


This week is Read Across America week, I would like to point out some great reasons to read to your young child, plus some local activities to bring your child to.

Why are early experiences with books so important?
Reading to your child from a very early age, even birth, sets up a foundation for a life-long love of reading and learning. The first 2 years of life are the most active years of brain development and a prime opportunity to start to teach a love for books. Reading to your infant and toddler not only helps form a bond between you, it also has a powerful impact on development.

Reading helps increase your child's vocabulary through repetition and rhyme. An exciting story will grip and hold your toddlers attention, giving them a better attention span. They will develop an active imagination and learn about exciting new things. Reading helps them develop concepts about how stories are organized and how print is actually words instead of weird lines. They learn that letters are pictures of sounds. They will learn about directions, reading from left to right and top to bottom.

Books can open a whole new world to your child! They will learn about the world in many different ways. They will learn about touch and sound and smell in some books, and the will learn about places and people. It is a great way to bring culture to your home.

Some other great reasons to read with your child are:


  • It is a great way to pass on your values.

  • Learning will be more satisfying for them.

  • While reading with you they are not making a mess!

  • Their teachers will appreciate it.


Taking your child to a library or bookstore for story time can be a fun and educational outing, and a great way to meet other moms. Most libraries have a story time, but some do ask for reservations.


To read more visit my full article at the Examiner.

Blond moment?

I think the blond highlights have seeped into my brain.

I have been sitting on the couch in the morning working on the laptop while the big kids get off to school and the little ones sleep in. It works great, I can be in the middle of things, while still getting work done.

But about 8:30 in the morning the sun streams in the kitchen window, hits the floor in the hallway and bounced directly into my eyes. It is blinding, migraine inducing bright.

I have tried shutting the door from the living room to the hallway. But the light shines right under the abnormally large space under the door and still hits me square in the eye. So then I have to shut the door from the hall to the kitchen. With both doors shut it mostly blocks out the sun, but sometimes I even have to throw a blanket at the base of the door.

But today, today, I just went in the kitchen and shut the blinds.

March 03, 2009

Remove those winter coats for car seat safety

After 18 years of parenting, I just last year learned that it is not safe to put your child in a car seat with a winter coat on. That information absolutely shocked me. I had no idea that I had been putting my children in danger for all those years.

Car seat safety can only be achieved if the harness straps need to be snugly against your child. A thick winter coat behind and in front of your child makes for a lot of extra space for your child, even though it seems as though the straps are snug. A coat will compress during a crash leaving enough space for your child to slip out of the straps and be thrown from the vehicle.

The National Highway Transportation Authority says "always remove bulky clothing or blankets before you place your child in the seat" and "never place anything thick under the baby, unless the item came with the car seat originally."

What can we do here in Minnesota? It is not safe to not have a coat on your child in the frigid winter temps, either. Is there a good alternative? How do you know if the coat you bought is too thick for the car seat?

This is an excerpt from my article, to read more please go to the Examiner.

Perfect Stranger ~ Book reviews

I got the chance to review this amazing pair of novellas through Random House called Dinner with a Perfect Stranger and a Day with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory. I wasn't really sure what I was expecting out of these books, but I was just blown away. They are amazing! I read both books in about 2 hours. They are fast and easy reads, but so worth reading! David Gregory did a fantastic job of getting the gospel out in these books in a way that hits home without being preachy. The first book is about Jesus talking to a man and his conversion, the second is about his wife after he turns into a "Jesus freak," and her conversation with Jesus and her conversion.

These are a must-read and a definate choice to have in your church and personal library.


Summary Dinner with a Perfect Stranger:
You are Invited to a Dinner with Jesus of Nazareth. The mysterious envelope arrives on Nick Cominsky’s desk amid a stack of credit card applications and business-related junk mail. Although his seventy-hour workweek has already eaten into his limited family time, Nick can’t pass up the opportunity to see what kind of plot his colleagues have hatched. The normally confident, cynical Nick soon finds himself thrown off-balance, drawn into an intriguing conversation with a baffling man who appears to be more than comfortable discussing everything from world religions to the existence of heaven and hell. And this man who calls himself Jesus also seems to know a disturbing amount about Nick’s personal life.………….."You’re bored, Nick. You were made for more than this. You’re worried about God stealing your fun, but you’ve got it backwards.… There’s no adventure like being joined to the Creator of the universe." He leaned back off the table. "And your first mission would be to let him guide you out of the mess you’re in at work."………….As the evening progresses, their conversation touches on life, God, meaning, pain, faith, and doubt–and it seems that having Dinner with a Perfect Stranger may change Nick’s life forever.

Summary Day with a Perfect Stranger:
What if a fascinating stranger knew you better than you know yourself? When her husband comes home with a far fetched story about eating dinner with someone he believes to be Jesus, Mattie Cominsky thinks this may signal the end of her shaky marriage. Convinced that Nick is, at best, turning into a religious nut, the self-described agnostic hopes that a quick business trip will give her time to think things through. On board the plane, Mattie strikes up a conversation with a fellow passenger. When she discovers their shared scorn for religion, she confides her frustration over her husband’s recent conversion. The stranger suggests that perhaps her husband isn’t seeking religion but true spiritual connection, an idea that prompts her to reflect on her own search for fulfillment. As their conversation turns to issues of spiritual longing and deeper questions about the nature of God, Mattie finds herself increasingly drawn to this insightful stranger. But when the discussion unexpectedly turns personal, touching on things she’s never told anyone, Mattie is startled and disturbed. Who is this man who seems to peer straight into her soul?


Author Bio:
David Gregory is the author of the best-selling books Dinner with a Perfect Stranger and A Day with a Perfect Stranger, and coauthor of two nonfiction books. After a ten-year business career, he returned to school to study religion and communications, earning graduate degrees from The University of North Texas and Dallas Theological Seminary. A native Texan, David now devotes himself to writing full time.