Monday, November 30, 2009


I am not one to get “obsessed” with technology. But I got a new phone this weekend, and have literally not stopped playing with it since I samsung momentbrought it home. Well, maybe “playing with it” is not the correct choice of words. Perhaps it’s more like, I don’t know, trying to figure out how to make a telephone call and send a simple text. And then moving on to the next step of trying to import my Outlook contacts into the phone, which I was ASSURED by SEVERAL salespeople that it was an extremely easy process to do. Lastly, putting my music and photos on.

So let’s start at the beginning: making a call. Okay, I exaggerated on this one. Yes, once I figured out how to bring up the dial pad, I was good there. Then texting. Nope, kept getting an error code. Well, I decided to skip that and move onto getting my contacts in there. Hmmm, didn’t see anything in the book on importing anything from Outlook. Okay, got my emails set up, but my contacts aren’t in my email accounts. Kept reading, but no, nothing there. So I decided to wait until morning and call them.

customer service I was on the phone with Sprint for (and I am NOT making this up NOR am I exaggerating on this one) OVER 2 hours. The end result? After going up FOUR levels of technical support, I finally got my texting fixed, and I found out (now get this) that there actually is NO WAY to import anything from Microsoft Outlook. Really! The only thing I can do is export my contacts to my newly set up Google account (which you must have for these new Android phones, because Google actually designed the software) and then Google’s address book will sync with my phone.

Now truly, this is a pretty easy process, but WHY did the salespeople tell me it could be done directly from Outlook and WHY did it take 4 technical support reps to come up with this solution? One of the reps actually even conferenced in Samsung, the maker of the phone! (Which, by the way, I thought was very service-oriented of him to try to find a possible solution for me. Who would have thought that the Samsung rep would know even less about the phone than the Sprint rep?)

Okay, so I get over that hurdle, and attempt my music. Coming from the iPod world, I’m a little worried, and sure enough, I can’t figure out how to manually transfer songs from iTunes to my phone. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that all my music was also in my Microsoft Media Player. No playlists, but at least it’s all there. I’ll work on playlists later.

Lastly, I try to put photos on, but find I’ve already angry babyrun out of memory. Crap! So now I have to get a larger SD card and pray that when I change cards, I don’t lose everything that’s on there already. Maybe I’ll call them to ask them to walk me through it. Any guesses on how long I’ll be on the phone?

Oh, and by the way, if you call or text me and I don’t answer, sorry. I haven’t learned my new ring tones yet!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I know this time of year we’re supposed to reflect upon all the things that we are thankful for, like our health, our families, etc, etc, etc. Not that I’m not thankful for these things, but I want to dig a little deeper and confess what I’m REALLY thankful for.

Here goes:

  1. Saturday Morning Cartoons. I know, you’re thinking that those cartoonshave been around forever. Well, not in my world, they haven’t. We weren’t allowed to watch cartoons in the mornings like everybody else in the world. Really! So to me, snuggling with my kids in bed on a Saturday morning, watching cartoons, is a real treat!
  2. On-Line Banking. I admit it – I’m REALLY bad at paying bills. So the fact that I can wait until the very last minute and send it off via the internet and know that it will get there on time is a HUGE relief!
  3. Drive Thru Pharmacies. I’ll admit this one, too – I’m really lazy! If I can accomplish an errand without actually leaving my car, I’m all for it.
  4. Social Media. WOW, what a great place to meet new friends, find old friends, and market my book. I am amazed at how many really good friends I have on sites like Twitter whom I have never met, and probably never will, but we’d probably do almost anything for each other. And I’m thrilled at finding some friends from years and years ago on Facebook. They were never forgotten, but I certainly never thought they’d be in my life again. So, so glad they are (you know who you are, especially my Central School buds!).
  5. Washable Markers and Paints. Need I say more?
  6. Roomba (Robotic Vacuum). I HATE to vacuum, but now I can roombado it every day without lifting a finger. How awesome is that? DH programmed it, and it runs every morning at 9:00 am. Every so often it escapes where it’s supposed to be and picks up something it shouldn’t, but to occasionally look for it under a couch is a small price to pay!
  7. Digital Cameras. Kids (and husbands) can take as many pictures as they want!
  8. Mindless Books. When I read, I don’t want to learn anything. I just want to be taken away into a mystery or a steamy romance or a comedy. (Yes, I’m a book slut!) The most I want to think about is Whodunit or Whosgonnadoit? And there are PLENTY of books that fit the bill on this one!
  9. Craig’s List. As long as you can avoid the scammers, it’s a great place to buy and sell. Especially those non-returnable impulse buys!
  10. But, of course, all kidding aside, I’m thankful for my awesome family (yes, that includes my sisters and my girlfriends who are like sisters to me!), our good fortune and our good health. I never, ever lose sight of how truly lucky we are.

Karen thank you banner

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday Tidbit- Uh, oh.

It is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I would like to be able to tell you that I have it all together. I would like to be able to tell you that I have all my grocery shopping done, that the house is nearly clean and I'm baking my pies ahead of time. I would like to be able to tell you that I have THE BEST recipe for turkey, but I can't because I lost it. No, I can't talk about it nicely yet.

What I will tell you is this. Here it is, my big, grand, great, fabulous, cure-all advice that will save the day for those gathering at my house for Thanksgiving. . . .

If Momma is in the kitchen with the apron AND the tiara on, don't go in. Even if she calls you. If she calls you a second time, you might peek around the corner, but only if you are wearing protective headgear. And a shield. Better yet, just wear full tactical gear until the meal is on the table. And afterwards offer to help clean up.

Seriously, now, it's not that bad. I'm a little overwhelmed with putting the house back together as DH insisted that the new carpet (which I, admittedly, absolutely Love! Love! Love!) installed the Monday before Thanksgiving. And I just tallied up an extra six guests for dinner (but since it IS my sister, it's perfectly wonderful). And I still have to find time to swing by the mall before my VS coupon for free underwear expires on Friday, and you know I am not going anywhere NEAR the mall on Friday. But having my apron and tiara on, well, just helps me put it all in perspective.

To all the women in charge of preparing the house and meal this coming Thursday, I say, do what you need to do to help yourself along. If that means it's a tiara and apron, go for it. If it entails buying the extra pie instead of baking it, I give you permission. If you need to let the phone ring off the hook and not answer it until this coming Saturday, by all means, please do. If you happen to be a man preparing and cleaning, the tiara and apron is not as advisable. . . but hey, I'm willing to have an open mind here.

Whatever you need to do, just remain thankful and all will be well.

Yours, wishing you the happiest Thanksgiving,


Monday, November 23, 2009


An amazing thing happened to me the other day. My sister and I were having lunch at Ghengis Grill, which is one of those places (in case you don’t have one where you live, because if you do have one and havestir fry never been there, you are CRAZY!) where you fill up your bowl with a protein and veggies and pick a sauce and a carb, and they stir fry it all up for you. (Mmmm, I think it’s time to go back already!)

We were taking a while in line because, of course, we were talking about everything except what we were putting in our bowls, when we realized that there was a gentleman being very patient in back of us by himself. So we offered to let him go ahead, but he said it wasn’t a big deal and stayed behind us. Now my sister and I can make conversation with just about anybody, so of course that’s what we did. We chatted with him for the 3 or 4 minutes we were in line, and that was that.

Or so we thought.

When we asked for the check, our waitress told us that our lunch had already been taken care of by somebody who wished to remain anonymous. We were floored. Frankly, we had already forgotten about the nice man in line, but we asked her if it was him. She wasn’t kindness supposed to tell us, but since we didn’t know him anyway, she confirmed that he was the one.


I mean, how wonderful to be a recipient of a random act of kindness. I absolutely must “pay it forward” and do the same for another, so hopefully I will recognize the opportunity when it presents itself to me.

So THANK YOU to the wonderful, anonymous man who showed us what true kindness looks like!

Karen (and her sister, Margee)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Funny-Thanksgiving Baking Gone Awry

In light of the Thanksgiving Holiday, I feel it is my duty to call to mind one of my absolute favorite kid stories. It's probably one of my favorites because unlike most of my stories, I was actually a spectator in this one. For me, it was PK (prekids). So, forgive me if I am repeating this story, but I laugh at it every single time.

My older sister and her husband came over to be with the family for a little while as my mother was baking her traditional pies for the Thanksgiving meal. After all, what would Thanksgiving be without chocolate pie, cheesecake pie, pumpkin pie pecan pie, and the family favorite, coconut cream pie. We were all gathered in the kitchen, talking and playing with their son, who was all of 2 1/2 while mom was baking her wonderfully flawless pies.

Now, my nephew, being their first child, was being schooled by his father in all things male. As I said, being their first child, it is easy to see how one would not think about the possible ramifications of schooling him in such a fashion. His current word that he had been taught (and I have no idea what lead up to this lesson, nor do I think I WANT to know) was "kahonies". /Kuh- HOHN- ays/ as in, yes, those male body parts. Apparently, there had been some issue earlier in the week and my DBL (Dear Brother-in-Law) felt that was an appropriate lesson to learn. Now that I am eight+ years down the parenting path, I can see why this might have been an option.

Back to the pies. In the interest of keeping my nephew entertained while all the pies were being baked, DBL began juggling a few oranges that had been sitting on the table. My mother had just filled and covered the chocolate and pumpkin pies. Mind you, they were beautiful and perfect. My nephew was watching with great intent, as my DBL, dressed in sweats and a long-sleeved t-shirt, was juggling those oranges. Now, who knows what goes through a little boys mind, and how they connect things, but as DBL was juggling those oranges, my sweet, precious nephew toddles up to him, reaches up his little hand, grabs onto DBL area and TWISTS, all the while saying "KaHONAYS!" as if having a true revelation as to what they really were.

Immediately, the oranges being juggled got a boost into the air as DBL's hands went to the area of pain and he doubled over. All three oranges landed, leaving permanent dents in mom's beautiful pies. All we could do was laugh at DBL as he recovered in a heap in the floor. My mother, in fact, laughed so hard that she fell off the swivel chair and broke it.

The moral of the story: Be very careful which words you teach your little boy. You just never know what the ramifications will be. (This includes me teaching him the word"Fathead", but that's another story for another day).

Yours, still giggling so many years later!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday Thoughts-Simplifying Thankfulness

Thankfulness is defined by Wikipedia as a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. Webster's dictionary defines it as conscious of benefit received. In today's society, it's so easy to be flippant or jaded and not recognize things for which we can truly be grateful.

Can you imagine living in the 1800's? Think about taking a full three months to travel across the States- by wagon nonetheless. How about living without air-conditioning? Central heat? Internet? Cell phones? How about knowing that if it really comes down to it, if you needed a meal, you could find a friend who would be more than willing to help out. At the absolute least, there are many government and charitable programs that are willing to feed those in need. (BTW, please see Karen's Monday post if you are interested in helping out a family with Thanksgiving dinner this year).

I know that we are in rough economic times. We can find plenty of things to complain about. But if you have a friend to your name, a family member that loves you, a place to lay your head, you have something to be thankful for. If you're reading this post, you are a literate, breathing human being, with at least an elementary education (which is more than a lot of African and Southeast Asian Cultures get) and you are breathing in and out. And that is something for which to be simply thankful.

Yours, getting down to the basics of thankfulness,


Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The other day, Melissa and I were working, checking out templates for our new, and hopefully improved, website. I started playing around on one of them (you know how when you run your arrow over a menu selection, it makes a funny noise and gets bigger or something?) and she looked at me (with love in her eyes!) and said “You’re such a child!”

I took that as a huge compliment, but I’m really pretty sure she didn’t mean it completely like that!

Let me share one very important fact with you: Melissa is still in that Thirty-something stage (youngster!), while I am deep into my Forty-something stage. I only mention that because here is one thing I have observed about how we age:

  • When we are in our teens, we think we know everything and weteens can’t wait to grow up.
  • When we are in our twenties, we realize we knew NOTHING while in our teens. We are feeling very grown up now because we have real jobs and our own apartments and pay our own taxes now. However, we actually feel we have some insight, perhaps because we work with older (ahem – in their thirties!) people who are much more tied down, so we realize that now is the time to have fun. And we do!
  • Suddenly, we are the ones in our thirties, and realize that we knew NOTHING in our twenties. We have families and mortgagesminivan and pets and mini-vans. We chide ourselves for wasting time by having had TOO much fun in our twenties, and try to compensate by being VERY grown up. Sometimes it seems that the word FUN is rarely in our vocabulary anymore. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but there are times that it seems as though we are so busy trying make something of ourselves, that we tend to have tunnel-vision.
  • Then we’re in our forties. Maybe our kids are older, maybe we waited to have families until we were older ourselves, maybe life just threw 120 us a curve ball or two. But by now our life experiences have taught us that we need to have more fun! We know that we don’t know everything, and we know that we never will. We’re learning (hopefully) how to prioritize the big things in life, and how not to “sweat the small stuff.”

As my brilliant (she made me say that!) sister said, “We are not childish, we are child-like.” And I think that’s a great way to be!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Tidbit-Holiday Baking Prep

It's here. At least, it's right around the corner. Can you feel it breathing down your neck? Like an lion on the hunt, here it comes. . . . Holiday Madness. For me, I like to try to have the crux of things together by Thanksgiving. And to my absolute horror, I find that Thanksgiving is here NEXT WEEK. How did THAT happen? I love Thanksgiving- a day to feast with family and friends and to simply reflect on the goodness of life. And while things may not be what they have been in years past, this Thanksgiving will still be a very good day, with so, so much for which to be thankful.

Now, it's the days following Thanksgiving that create an absolute frenzy. But in the spirit of SIMPLIFYING, I'm taking a few moments to streamline some shopping trips before all the craziness begins. I'm a holiday baker. I can't help myself. christmas cookiesThanksgiving and Christmas are a MAJOR reason to make 8 different kinds of cookies and breads and candies and pies and whatever other delicious recipe presents itself. So one of my  Thanksgiving habits is to shop for my Thanksgiving meal and all of my keepable baking supplies (butter-because it can be frozen-, flour, chocolate chips, sugar, chocolate chips, candies, spices, cream of tartar, chocolate chips . . . ) at the same time.
This helps me with three things:
  1. I get the supplies on sale. This is usually the best price on baked goods for the entire season.
  2. I now have the supplies and can bake at my leisure without having to make a separate baking supplies trip.
  3. I don’t know if they do this where you live, but in order to get your turkey for, I don't know, $.059 a pound, you have to spend $50. Otherwise, your turkey is $1.99 a pound. Since we cook a huge bird, I have no interest in paying that amount. And baking supplies add up quickly, so it easily helps me meet the $50 condition.

So, while you are planning for Thanksgiving, if you plan on doing any major holiday baking, make your list and take it with you. That way, you kill two birds, or turkeys, if you please, with one stone. I'm taking 15-20 minutes to make my list today!

Yours, relishing the thought of turkey and Nieman Marcus Cookies!!!!!


Monday, November 16, 2009


We have a charity here in West St. Louis County called Circle of Concern. Now, if you know anything about the St. Louis area, you’d be wondering why West County needs an organization like Circle ofcircleofconcern Concern, but believe me, they have their hands full, especially this year. Like any other area of the country, we also have families in need. Circle of Concern “feeds the hungry and provides long-term and emergency assistance to low-income families in western St. Louis County.” Additionally, they “create opportunities for needy families to re-establish themselves as productive members in our community.”

This holiday season, they need to collect 480 frozen turkeys so families in our area can have a proper Thanksgiving meal. For those of us not so badly hit by the recession, what’s a turkey? We take it for granted. But for those families where a parent has been laid off or an already low-income has been hurt even worse, a Thanksgiving turkey may be a symbol to their children that things will get better.

thanksgiving turkey Our family has decided to help the Circle of Concern collect their turkeys. We are sending out an email to all of our neighbors asking them to purchase a turkey, or to donate $15 to pay for one already ordered. We will then pick them all up and drive them over to the Circle of Concern. Because I know, as good as our intentions are, sometimes it’s just a hassle to buy the turkey, lug it home, figure out where the Circle of Concern is and then find the time to drive it over there. We’re busy – I get it, so I’m making it easier for my neighbors to help.

So my challenge to you is to find a charity near you and do the same thing. And look not only for the inner-city donation spots, but look deeper into areas of your counties and municipalities for charities you may not have know existed. Needy families are all around us. They may even be your neighbors. So in this time of distress, let’s all help one another.

Karen and family

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Fun- Time To Shake Whatchya Momma Gave Ya!

It's Friiiiiiiidaayyyy!!!!! Don't know about you, but it's been a long week. The week after a writing trip is always bumpy for me- catching up and coming back to reality. Nashville is hard, but when you are pursuing a dream, well, it makes it a lot of fun too. So, coming back to being a teacher, mommy, wife, author, it can be a huge smack of reality. But it's all good. All good.

When I was putting myself through school, I waited tables. Ten long years I was a waitress. Started in high school, and when I went to college, it seemed to be the easiest thing to fit around my school schedule and make somewhat decent money sometimes. If you've ever waited tables, you know that it is hard, hard work. Never afraid of hard work, I also had to make it fun. You know the motto,"If it's not fun, it doesn't get done!" So I had this thing that I did. Every time I got a great tip, I would stand at the end of the alley (the kitchen) and do my happy dance. It caught on. My fellow wait staff started doing the happy dance with me. It became the best tension breaker there was. We even came up with a song to sing with it as we would walk down the line and shake it, shake it, shake it. It's been a long, long week and I just need a little fun this morning. So sing it with me, peeps. . . "I'm doin' that happy dance/Every time I get the chance/ Starts with the right then left foot shake it like this!" And then you shake it, shake it, shake it!

Woo-hoo! That's it! I'm telling you, it cures a world of crankiness! So some time today, when you need it the most, find yourself a corner and bust a move. You'll be glad you did.

Yours, shakin' it to that Friday Groove,


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday Thoughts-Thankful Anyway

If you've been reading the blog lately, you'll know that I'm on a mission to make my life a little simpler. Thursdays are generally a day where I get to breathe a little. I was hoping to today, but the break seems long in coming. Before the day is over I will get the kids to school, do the book and breakfast count, meet with the PTO Pres about the Wrap Packs for next school year, grocery shop, look at website templates, reconstruct my company vision and make a batch of potato soup. That's all before noon. Then it's meeting with Karen, teaching a musical theater class and hopefully getting to see my family for a little bit this evening before I collapse in a heap on the couch. Good thing I brewed a huge pot of coffee this morning!

And while I have a ton of questions, thoughts, plans and what ifs swirling around in my head, and the desire, currently, to chuck it all, move to Nashville and pursue songwriting to my heart's content, I am thankful. Thankful I have a job (or three or four) that uses my skills. Thankful to make a contribution to the family budget. Thankful that I have potatos to make soup with. Thankful for a business partner who takes me as I am. Thankful for friends and family members who get me. Thankful for kids that love me even when I'm crabby. Even if life isn't exactly the way I would like it to be, there's still so much for which to be thankful. So while I'm making adjustments, eliminating stress factors, streamlining my schedule and trying to figure it all out, I'm looking at it all and just being thankful.

Yours, hoping that feeling will last in the middle of the stress of it all!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009



Just a short note of thanks to all our veterans out there, past and present. The freedom we enjoy today, and our children will continue to enjoy in the future, is due to your bravery and your loyalty to our wonderful country.

No matter what war you fought in, or if you fought at all, what branch you served in, or what your job was in that branch, you are all heroes to us. We’ve rejoiced with your families when you’ve returned home and we’ve cried with them when we’ve heard they’d never see your smiles again.

You are always in our hearts and we will always know, and always teach our children, that without you, our country would not be as glorious as it is today.



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday Tidbit-Back In the Groove

So it's been something around here the past few days. I was out of town last week, and came home with a cold that is knocking me for a loop. And even though I had everything taken care of before I left, it somehow all caught up with me before I returned. I hate it when that happens! How did the laundry that I already have washed, folded and put away multiply into a mountain in the space of four days? And all that food? GONE. But the one thing remains- my paper piles. Yes, there's no place like home. :-) So today, I'm back at it- going through my lists of things that have to be done, but with one word in mind. SIMPLIFY. Yes, I'm holding myself to it. I have to. There's simply no more room for anything else.

So, first things first. Coffee? Check. Paper pile? Check-check. New piece of paper, pen and the eternal hope that I will make sense of this mess? Yep. Right here. Happy Tuesday, friends. Here's hoping we get through our piles together today.



Monday, November 9, 2009


It’s an amazing thing, seeing something again, yet experiencing it, seemingly for the first time, through your children’s eyes. I took my boys to Arizona this past weekend to see mountains. (Nothing against my DH, but he doesn’t feel anything is a vacation unless it’s spent at a beach. So, of course, all my kids have seen are beaches!) I’ve been to Phoenix several times before, and I’ve been up to Mount Rushmore and to Colorado, but mountains never to cease to take my breath away. So I was really wondering how they would affect the boys.004

I was NOT disappointed! From the moment we could start seeing even the smaller mountains from the airplane, they were mesmerized! (And to take their eyes away from a movie or the PSP is HUGE!) They started snapping pictures immediately. And the bigger the mountains got, the wider their eyes got!

020 Saturday, we drove up to Sedona. The red mountains up there are just amazing! We hiked a bit, had some lunch, and drove around just to look. We had a truly great day!

On our last day, we hiked up Pinnacle Peak (not sure if I spelled it right, so feel free to correct me!) in Scottsdale. The views from the top were spectacular. And the hike up was not bad 056at all, probably because the boys kept stopping every few feet wanting a picture of this or that!

All in all, it was a FABULOUS vacation, even though we all missed DH and the dog! I just want to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to my friend Mindy and her family for putting us up (or should I say, putting up with us?) and taking us all over, and to my friend Brenda for taking us hiking. I’m so thankful for old friends! (Oops, not old as in OLD, but old as in LONG-TERM! Whew!)


Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Fun- Yeah, I'll let You Know When I Get There

I know on Fridays it's time to tell a funny story. Usually something about the kids, or DH, or some mess I've gotten myself into. Fortunately,  I have not locked myself in any bathrooms, set off illegal fireworks or exploded the garbage disposal, as I am prone to do on a regular basis. I would like to be funny today, but the truth is, my head feels like someone is trying to operate on it with a dull, dull spoon. I'm on Day Four Now, and I am seriously ready to let me head fall off my shoulders. I'm pretty stopped up as well. I sound funny when I talk- My normally high voice has dropped to the bass range and I have that funny "cohld in by dohse" sound to my speech. It's pretty ugly.

Yesterday, however, I did manage to explore something new. I think I took the wrong dosage of cold medicine. I have never been one to experiment with drugs- just not my style. But I imagine that if I knew what it felt like to be stoned, yesterday would have been it. Imagine sitting in a room about the size of a large walk-in closet with two other people, trying to write a song, all the while, feeling your hair grow. Yes. Feeling your hair grow.  It makes it a little distracting when you are trying to write. Or speak. Or play nice with other musicians. I'm on the fence about whether to take more meds today. It makes it hard to drive and that's just not good. I hope this post is making sense, because frankly, I'm still wondering if it has all worn off. 

Yours, off to finish another song, or maybe, simply OFF, :-)


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday Thoughts-Writing in Nash

Melissa here. I'm in the sunny city of Nashville, Tennessee. I'm here to write some songs and meet people and drink a lot of coffee. This city RUNS on coffee. Probably because all of the musicians who are waiting for their big break work at Starbucks. Seriously. Starbucks loves musicians and we love Starbucks.

I usually drive down the night before and have about three days of appointments. And my homesickness kicks in about the third day. But last night, my little bear, Z1 got on the phone and told me how much he loved and missed me. And in that moment, after my first full day of appointments, I was ready to turn around and come home, just to be with my babies. I love writing, but hearing them so far away puts a lot of things in perspective. I'm just grateful to have kids who get that Mommy needs to write to be a good, good Mommy.

Yours, making every moment count,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Remember when rewards and incentives for your kids used to be so easy? For a 3 or 4 year old, a star next to their name was the greatest thing ever! Then you progressed on to maybe stickers. Still pretty cool! Perhaps a trip to the dollar store was next. But whatever the path, I think all parents end up at the same reward: COLD HARD CASH!!!quarters

My boys are 8 years old now, and no matter how many toys they have, it’s never enough. (Boys never really grow out of this, do they? I mean, even as men!) So we have a few things going on right now to give them the opportunity to earn money.

The first thing we did was connect money with chores. They’ve had chores for quite a while now, but of course I always have to remind them what do to and when. So now, if they actually do a chore ON THEIR OWN without being reminded by either me or DH, they earn a quarter. Not a lot, I know, but they have the opportunity to earn a couple of bucks a day. This, of course, has never been accomplished, but I’m still holding out hope!

The boys started having a bit of trouble this school year with getting homework homework done in a timely manner, so I addressed that next. (You know, they would sit down to do it, but somehow end up wrestling on the floor.) So now, if they immediately start on their homework after they have a snack, and complete it in a reasonable amount of time (as determined by ME) with the least amount of distractions (also determined by ME) and with the proper amount of concentration and attentiveness (yep, you guessed it, according to ME), they get a quarter. You wouldn’t think that a mere 25 cents would incent them to stop playing and actually work on homework, but it really does!

So now, I have one more idea, which I worked out with one of the 3rd grade teachers. For every paper that they bring home with their best effort made, they will get a quarter. I told them that the grade isn’t ashomeworkstar important as whether or not they followed the instructions, answered the questions to the best of their knowledge, and went over their work before turning it in. I’m seeing too many answers marked wrong because they didn’t read instructions or accidently skipped over a question. With one of the boys, it will be easy to tell, because he’s usually not careless, but with the other one, his teacher is going to put a little star at the bottom of the paper if she feels he really did his best. So we’ll see how this one works out.

So what are your ideas for rewarding your kids for good behavior? I’m always open to new ones!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday Tidbit-The Christmas Presort

I know I'm really late today. So Karen, if you are reading this, you can wait to post Wednesday. :-) I know. You love me. And I'm grateful for it. I've been on the road all day today, so it made it a little hard to type. But here I am! Ready to roll at ten PM!

It's been a whirlwind weekend. Z2 was very sick on Sunday. The kind of sick that you don't want to leave her bedside. So I stayed in her room with her. And being the kind of person who cannot sit still when I am stressed, I clean. I can't help it. It's the one thing that I can control when things seem so out of control. And with it being the day after Halloween, my thoughts turn to Thanksgiving and then Christmas (or Chanuka or Kwanza) and the fact that more piles of plastic will be invading the house.

Time to sort out the piles of plastic that already exists in their rooms. I leave all the collections alone, but there is always a batch of toys that they really don't play with. Those toys that really don't go with anything. Those are the ones that need to go to make room. I advise that you do this when they are not at home, otherwise, you may not be getting rid of anything! So I make my little pile, put it in a box and put the box in a closet. If, within the space of four to six weeks, they have not asked for those toys, off they go. Where do they go? Since most of them are pretty small, they are cleaned and given away to either a Children's Home or I send them to the School Treasure Box. Sure, a few of them may come back home, but I've gotten the major haul out of the room. Just to make more room for the incoming odd toys that go with nothing.

Yours, happy to get rid of SOMETHING!


Monday, November 2, 2009


So Halloween is over, the decorations are put away, the costumes are put in the “dress-up” trunk, and all that’s left is about 25 pounds of candy, beckoning to your children, and worse, to you! What to do, what to do? You already gave your kids a free pass on Saturday night, and maybe even Sunday, to eat as much as they wanted (as long as it didn’t result in throwing it back up), but still, there’s 24.9 pounds left.candy

So should you let them have 1 or 2 pieces each day, making this haul last until Easter, when the next batch will take over? Or should you be the “good mom” and eat it for them, so they don’t get all that sugar in their bodies and in their teeth. (Because, after all, your body and teeth are already used to candy and sugar!) Or maybe it just slowly disappears into the trash can until it’s all gone, at which time, when the children ask you where all their candy is, you tell them that an After-Halloween Goblin must have come into your home and taken it all.

Fear not, for I have a couple of great suggestions on how to make everyone happy! We are going to divide all our candy into three piles:

  1. Icky candy that the kids don’t like and will never eat.
  2. So-so candy that they don’t love, but would eat if there wasn’t anything left that they really like.
  3. Yummy candy, and if you touch it, they will come after you.

Pile number 1 is going to school, where a wonderful family is collecting candy to send overseas to our troops. Isn’t that a fabulous idea? I’m a little ashamed that I didn’t think of it first!

Pile number 3 will be eaten, of course!

Pile number 2 will be sold. To me. For $ .10 each. Crazy, right? I know, but hopefully crazy enough to work. I’m banking (no pun intended) on the fact that they will want money more than they want the candy. They seem VERY excited about this, but we haven’t actually done the deed yet. So what will I do with this candy? I don’t know. I’ll either send it to work with DH or send it to school for the troops. It doesn’t matter. What really matters is that my kids won’t be eating it, but they won’t mind. In fact, they’ll (hopefully) be happy to get rid of it, and to gain a few bucks.

So that’s my plan. What’s yours?