Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Funny- So THAT's What It's Called.

Anyone remember the old Art Linkletter Show, "Kids Say the Darndest Things?" No, I'm not old enough to have watched it. Just old enough to have been exposed to it by Bill Cosby. :-)

This morning I was in the kitchen making breakfast. As I'm pulling the milk out of the fridge, my son comes up along side me. Now, picture this. He's eight years old and a bean pole of a kid. He has honey blonde hair cut in a short "Sunday Do"- you know, parted on the side, a more current version of Ralphie from A Christmas Story- and some of it is sticking up in back. When he grins, he still has gaps between his teeth. He walks up beside me and he has his hand over his mouth and he's spittin' and boppin for all he's worth, which it quite a sight because, if you will allow me to say it plainly, the little boy is as white as it gets. I thought to myself,"Hmmm, I wonder where he learned to beat box?"

Nonchalantly I say,"Whatchya doin', honey?"

He replies,"I'm fart rapping."

Okay then.

Yours, hoping for a quiet weekend,


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday Thoughts- Isn't it Loooovveleeeeeeey. . .

Today's thoughts start out (again, in a completely random order, because isn't that what Thursday thoughts are about?) with thinking about our new design to our book. LOVE IT! Kudos to Karen for such a great job in executing the thoughts in my head. She's a woman of patience, for sure! Karen and I are very excited about the redesign, because we feel like we finally are making the organizer into what it really deserves to be. We can't wait to show you the final product.

Secondly, anyone watch the State of the Union address last night? You KNEW I couldn't blog today without bringing it up. :-) I'm still digesting it- all 71 minutes of it- and for now all I can say is,"We'll see, Mr. President. We'll see." Lot's of good talk and promises last night, but being a woman from the Show Me State, well, I'm waiting for the proof. Been waiting for a full year now, but that is beside the point.

Thirdly, if it's gonna snow, SNOW. If not, could the sun stay out please? The weather here can't make up its mind. Yesterday was HUGE (quarter-size, no exaggeration) snow flakes with slick spots but no real accumulation. So frustrating. Just felt like I needed to say that, because you know, I'm so in control of what the weather needs to do.

Now I'm off to another redesign meeting with Karen. Yay for us!

Yours, looking forward to our new line,


Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Every so often, I have to remind myself why Melissa and I started this blog. Oh yeah, it was to help us get the word out about our book! Well, obviously the blog has taken on a life of its own, and we don’t do a lot of book promoting here, but occasionally I need to get back to basics, so here I go!

In 2010, we are totally rebranding our book. This is a HUGE job. We are redoing our website (and eventually this blog also), renaming our book, redesigning our cover, and generally redefining who Karmel Publishing is and what our mission is.

No small job, right? Right! But necessary. And believe it or not, fun!

So far, we have renamed our book and redesigned our cover, and I wanted to share it with you, our faithful blog readers!

caregiver organizer cover child

So, what do you think? Pretty awesome, right?

Also, I’ve set up a Fan Page on Facebook and would love it if you’d join. You can get there at, or by simply clicking on the badge to the right. (I’m getting pretty tech-savvy, aren’t I?) This fan page will keep you updated on how our progress is going with our rebranding effort, and will let you know when we have sales, etc. It’s still a work in progress, so let me know if you have any suggestions!

Oh, and be on the lookout for new books to be rolled out soon, too!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Pinewood Derby at MY House

Silly me. I thought the Pinewood Derby was a bunch of boys getting together with homemade cars, racing them down the track.

HA!!!! Boy, did I get schooled this weekend. Seriously.

More thoughts to follow, for sure. With picture of the car my SON made. I'll know better next year.

Yours, thinking,"Oh. It's ON!",


Monday, January 25, 2010


My boys had their Pinewood Derby this past weekend. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is the premier cub scout event that the dads boys look forward to every year.

Basically, they start off with a kit consisting of a block of wood, 4 wheels and a couple of axles, and the dads the boys create a car out of it. Some of the dads boys go for speed, so that they can make it to the districts, then nationals. But the majority of the dads boys try to win one of the design categories.

My husband sons are in this group, as you can see by their cars over the years:

033 034

Uh, yes, I managed to get the trophies in the pictures also. Did you notice that?

Just in case you need a better look at this year’s cars that my husband they built, here it is:


Aren’t they amazing children? Yes, the guitar actually has strings on it, and the Star Wars Land Speeder actually has Luke driving it and C3PO and R2D2 riding in the back. They each won 1st place in their respective design categories. I’m so proud of my husband them! It just warms my heart to see them watching him work working together like this each year!

So for all you Cub Scout Moms out there, we know who the Pinewood Derby is REALLY for, don’t we?


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday Thoughts-So Random

I'd like to be able to say I have a focus today, but I don't. So I won't even pretend. You are way smarter than that, and I respect all you, our dear readers, so today will be, I promise, exceptionally random.

1.) I am raising my hair scare level to Level 3- Mufasa. St. Louis has been in heavy fog for at least five days now, and the curls in my hair just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger. I pretty much look like a lion trying to pull my mane back into a ponytail. It's not working so well. And no, I'm not going to post pictures.

2.) I have to go teach my musical theater class today. The thought just makes me cranky.

3.)I really don't like insurance companies very much. Especially when they lose our applications for better coverage. But I can't talk about it nicely yet. And if I tried to talk about it, well, I don't know how many readers we would have left.

4.) Karen just showed up and she brought me Pepsi. Ah. Something is right in the world.

Yours, ready for a nap but knowing I'm not going to get one,


Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Seriously, I need to have a bit of a mental break-down, but I really don’t have time for one! Not a big one, just a little one to get it all out and feel better after it’s over. But when can I do it?

There are certain requirements for the timing:

  1. I absolutely MUST be alone!stressed face
  2. It must be before I put any make-up on, so I don’t have to fix it.
  3. It has to be during down time so I’m not feeling guilty that I should be working on something else instead of having the melt-down, which would just totally ruin it all.
  4. I need to be having an otherwise good food day, so I can make myself feel better after the melt-down by eating some comfort food.

There, I think that’s it. It shouldn’t be too hard to find time for this, right? What really upsets me is that probably by the time I do find time to have my melt-down, I won’t need it anymore. But I really want one! I DESERVE ONE!!!

So wish me luck on giving my brain time to snap for a while!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit- Overwhelmed in the Best Way

We all know last Tuesday Haiti suffered a major earthquake, leveling the city of Port-Au-Prince. Many people lost everything they had. Everything. My mom used to say a phrase,"So poor they didn't have a pot to pee in." I get that now. Seeing all the news coverage and hearing that people are sleeping in the streets, it's hard to imagine what life is and will continue to be like for the Haitian people.
I haven't completely shielded my kids from the news reports. I don't let them see the most retching parts, but they are very aware of what has happened in Haiti. So much so that on Friday, Z1 brought me one of his blankets and said,"Mom, can I send this to a child in Haiti?" I didn't know what to say. How do you get your child's blanket to another child in Haiti? I looked at him and said,"Sure, honey. We certainly can," not having a clue as to how I would get it there. Five minutes later I logged on to my e-mail and received a message from a friend who was collecting supplies for a team of doctors going to Haiti this week. She included a list of needs. There, second from the top, was the word "blankets". I don't believe it was coincidence.
Knowing she was collecting supplies, and knowing the organization behind it, Hand of Hope, and knowing they were already in the country working with the orphans and poor, I thought maybe other friends would want to give. So I sent out my own e-mail.
E-mail is a powerful thing. One by one, friends sent it to their friends, and before I knew it, complete strangers were calling me, asking how they could donate. I finished collecting tonight. My dining room was FULL. Fifteen huge bags of blankets, shoes, camping gear, soap, toothpaste, and so on. I am overwhelmed with the goodness of people. We see someone hurt and our response is to want to give. We do what we can because deep down, we DO know how good we have it here, even when things seem really, really rough to us. And things are rough here, but knowing we have each other, community and people who care make all the difference. We can't always give to everything, but when it's right and it works and we get to be a part of something bigger, it's an incredible thing. Give when you can and where you can and however you feel led to give. It might not be Haiti. It might be Katrina. Goodwill. The soup kitchen down the way. Your neighbor across the street. The school in your neighborhood. You'll know when it's right. And there will be no greater feeling than the one you have when you give.

Yours, overwhelmed by the generosity of my neighbors,


Monday, January 18, 2010


I’m beginning to think that winter break really didn’t end yet. After all, the kids haven’t been back to school for a full week yet since they got off for the holidays.

First, of course, was winter break. Then, their first week back, they got off Thursday and Friday for snow days. (Really, Thursday was the snow calendarday, but Friday was just a COLD day. Can’t risk frost bite at the bus stop, I guess.) Then last week, the school had an Early Dismissal Day on Friday (to give everyone a jump on the 3 day weekend maybe?). So, in true Super Mommy form, I took our Cub Scout den to my gym for Rock Climbing! (So why is it that when a couple of the scouts are acting up, it turns out to be MY kids? Sigh.) Then, of course, today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so no school again.

Looking ahead, if all goes according to plan (HA!), they should be in school for the next two weeks solid, then a week with a half day, then we have President’s Day.

Seriously, what do parents do who have to work full time? How do they deal with all these days off school?

All I’m hoping for is to get back to some sort of a schedule that doesn’t get interrupted by little people all the time! As much as I love the little people in my life, they do tend to get in the way sometimes, right? :)


Friday, January 15, 2010

It's Friiiiiiiiiday!

It's Friday! Friiiidaaaaaaay! Here at Mac and Fingers it has been a long week. Along with redesigning our website and trying to blog, and Karen trying to pay bills on time, I started a new teaching term where I am teaching every single day. I love my teaching job (well, this particular job, anyway) but I have to tell you, I'm dealing with a situation that I'm not quite certain how to handle.

I am teaching a group of about 9 boys, ages 18-22. That in and of itself is not a big deal. They have pretty good manners. They are respectful. They sing when I tell them to sing and the atmosphere is relaxed and it is generally a pleasant 50 minutes. The problem is this:

They stink.

And I don't mean their singing, either

Not all of them, I'm sure. I'm not getting close enough to find out who does and who doesn't. No thank you. It's a small room with poor ventilation and some of these boys need to bathe! My 8 yr. old smells better than some of these guys!

So yesterday I am in class and after about ten minutes I say," Hey student P, could you open the window a bit?" Student P looks at the window and says,"Uhm, it's covered with plastic." (The building is an old, Tudor style, estate home and they STILL cover the windows with plastic every winter.

I do believe, in that very moment, the room got that. much. smaller. I seriously have considered just taking a knife and cutting the plastic off. I can see the headline now: Professor Crashes the Window in Desperate Attempt to Breathe.

I have 15 more weeks with these young ones. Any suggestions on how to handle it?

Yours, considering gas masks, Lysol, nose plugs and whatever else you might have,


Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I’ve already confessed to you that although I write books and articles on how to organize information for caregivers, I am a terribly disorganized person myself, right? Well, I have an even bigger confession to make: I cannot pay my bills on time.


In order to understand the full gravity of what I have just told you, let me explain a few things about myself that you may not know. First of all, I worked for 13 years in the credit bureau industry (please don’t hold that against me!), so I know what bad credit can do to one’s life. Also, paying bills I am the Treasurer for my sons’ cub scout pack. And lastly, I take care of the books for Karmel Publishing.

And I was/am very successful at all of these things. But when it comes to my personal finances, I am a disorganized mess. Now, I’m never late enough that it would show up on a credit report. I’m usually just a couple of days late, but enough so that I get a hefty late fee the next month on my statement. I never fight it, because I know it’s my own damn fault and I figure it’s my well-deserved punishment.bill organizer

I’ve tried various things. I have a bill organizer on my desk so the bills are sorted by their due date. But sometimes the bills are still in piles in the kitchen and don’t make it upstairs until after they are due. Or they make it upstairs, but stay in another pile and not into the organizer until, yep, you guessed it, after the due date.

I also have a monthly calendar taped above my desk, showing what bills are due on what date. But that doesn’t work at all, because if I see that a bill is due and it’s not in my organizer, I have no idea if it’s not there because I paid it already or if it never made it in. **sigh**

Seriously, somebody has GOT to give me some suggestions. What works for you?


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit- Streamlining the Input

New Years Resolution #3. . . I will hereby streamline my input.

What exactly does that mean?

It seems like everywhere I go, I am bombarded with information and advertising and so many useless things competing for my attention. I'm coming to be leery of any new form of technology because it seems to be one more time waster/something to keep up with. So beginning today, I am streamlining my input. I'm cleaning out my e-mail subscriptions by unsubscribing (unless it is junk mail- then hit the junk button. Otherwise, unsubscribing validates your e-address and creates MORE unwanted junk mail!) I'm also registering with the NO CALL list. The number of telemarketing calls is unbelievable around here lately. Even on my cell phone now! AARRRGGHHH!!!! I'm registering my number on the National Do Not Call List. And I'm using credit card applications as kindling for the fireplace. Hey, they're thick enough and free. Sure beats paying for those fire starting logs! I am also sending shorter e-mails (we hope- I'm a girl. I'm verbal. Sue me!) And I'm vowing to spend less time on facebook. That in and of itself should produce more writing time!

Yours, hoping to enjoy more of less,


Monday, January 11, 2010


During the holidays, my mother and my sister both came into town at the same time, as I mentioned in a previous post. One of the things we PICT0109did during their visit, was to go over a bunch of slides from our childhood that we recently obtained. These were, among various outings, family parties, graduations, confirmations and a family vacation with our grandparents to Israel.

We thought this would be a pretty boring exercise, looking through hundreds of slides, just to pick out the few we wanted to save and turn into pictures, but let me tell you…


Seeing family members who were not with PICT0067us anymore, especially my dad, was really great. But the most fun was looking at what we were wearing! (I know, such a “girl” thing to say, but so true!) We’d click on a new slide, and all four of us at the same time would yell, “I REMEMBER THAT OUTFIT!” The funny thing was, sometimes we’d all be yelling about the same outfit, and sometimes we’d all be yelling about the outfit each one of us was wearing!

Now, because were were all women, we would also yell together when a distant cousin would come up on the screen, wearing something hideous. “EWWWWWWWW!!!!!!”

PICT0080Then there was the confirmation where there were no pictures of me or my friend, Brenda. Why? Because we were bored, so we went upstairs in this house/banquet hall that my parents rented for the party, and played pool. But when we came down, it turned out everyone was already gone! Apparently, my mom thought my dad’s girlfriend (yes, they were already divorced!) was taking us home, and vice versa. This was years before cell phones were invented, and there was even a lock on the rotary (yes, rotary) phone, so we were really stranded! Finally, some guy in the kitchen took pity on us and found a phone for us to use so we could call home. Just one of the many stories that came up while we were perusing our childhoods!

So if you get the chance to clean out some old photos or slides or movies, grab your sisters or brothers or anyone who will make fun of each other with you, and have a great time!


Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Fun! Snow Day #2!

I can't believe we had another snow day today. No school for the kids. I'm thinking they just didn't want the expense of heating up the schools for one day in subzero weather. They may want to just keep us off the roads and keep the kids out of the cold. Well, my kids can hardly get enough of the sledding and snowball fights. They have, however taken sledding to an entirely new level at the B house. You see, if you are standing at the back windows of the house, you can look out over the back yard. Our house sits at the top of a hill. The yard has a flat place up top where the playset is, and then begins sloping downward. So I was looking out the window and this is what I saw:

Z1 was carrying his red toboggan sled up to the playset. He climbed into the fort with it and placed it at the top of the slide. Before I could even think about getting outside to him, he grabs the top bar that sits across the slide opening, flings all of his nearly sixty pounds into the sled and goes SAILING down the slide, catches about 2 seconds of air and sleds right down to the bottom of the hill.

Ingenious. This is one way to catch some serious speed to make it all the way down the hill! And it's one of those moments where I say,"Go ahead son. Mommy loves it." I spend so much time saying "No" and doing what is "good for them" that I couldn't bring myself to take this away. Let's just hope it does not result in a trip to the Urgent Care. Especially now that Z2 is following right behind.

Yours, watching in wonderment,


Thursday, January 7, 2010

More Resolutions- And a SNOW DAY!

Okay. I'll be honest. I cannot even begin to top Karen's post from yesterday. I'd love to make one of those resolutions and keep them. But what was that I was saying about setting realistic expectations for myself? Riiiiiiiiight. SO here I sit, thinking about resolution #2.

2.) I WILL lose that last ten pounds.

I'm not going to stress over it. I'm just going to get back to working out regularly. December- just once. December was so unkind to my waistline. Which means I'll need to lose that ten plus the five from December. And I'm not going to get all freaky and count every calorie . . I'm just going to be conscious of carb intake and up my veggie intake. And probably cut out. . . wait for it. . . major nemesis. . . Pepsi. Seriously. I mean, did you expect me to give up my skinny vanilla latte? I'm not THAT desperate. YET.

Of course, does any of this count when we have a snow day? Mmmmm. . . I dunno. At least I did NOT do any baking today. And I DID skip the hot chocolate when we came in. If I could just up my water intake, I might get on a roll, instead of eating every roll in sight (with butter, please), like I did in December.

Did I mention December was unkind to me?

Yours, dealing with December indulgences head-on,


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


We’ve all heard, and I’ve even written, about making New Year’s magicResolutions that are small changes, so we don’t give up after a week or a month. But what are the ones that we REALLY wish we could make? And KEEP? That will somehow, magically work? Here are mine:

  1. Lose my remaining 18 pounds by the end of the month. And still eat everything I want to eat. In abundance.
  2. Become the perfect mom, never yelling at my kids, which will turn the boys into the perfect children, always doing what I say the first time, so I don’t have to yell, and so on, and so on, and so on.
  3. I haven’t printed out any pictures since the first day of kindergarten, and the boys are now in 3rd grade. I’d like to get all those done by the end of this week.
  4. Have our new website up by tomorrow.
  5. Have my entire house cleaned and organized by the day after tomorrow.
  6. Keep it that way all year.
  7. Learn to salsa dance next weekend.
  8. Enter the 2010 Olympics as a figure skater. (Does it matter that I can’t stand up on ice skates?)
  9. Have Karmel Publishing make our first million by April. (After all, we’ll have our new website up by tomorrow, right?)
  10. Never lose my temper, ever, all year long. (BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!)

So, what do you think? Can I do it?


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It 's a Whole, New, Simplifying Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! Time to pony up those New Year Resolutions. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I dread it. This year, I am taking it all in stride. I always feel the urge "to get it together" at the beginning of the year. This can be good, and incredibly overwhelming. To combat this, I offer you my first New Year's Resolution:

1.) I will hereby set reasonable expectations for myself.

I don't know about you, but I tend to be harder on myself that anyone else. I always set the bar way, way, way high. Now there is nothing wrong with dreaming dreams and setting goals and expectations for myself. But let's face it- no matter how much weight I lose (BTW- WAY TO GO KAREN!!!!), how much I work out or what kind of clothes I buy, I am not going to look like Demi Moore. That, my dear readers, would be a very unreasonable expectation for myself. So maybe I will set an expectation of losing that ten pounds the doctor is on me to lose. Or conquering my fear of any body of water over four feet deep. Or getting my pictures from 2006-2009 printed. (I did, last week, print 2005. Yay for me! One resolution down!) But in trying to make things simpler, I'm going to have to let go of my unachievable standards and be okay with the fact that I will never look like Demi Moore. I will never be Martha Stewart (which I think I'm okay with) or probably have a closet like Hedi Klum (after all, who can afford all of those expensive clothes?) But I can lose the last ten pounds, I can organize a little at the time, and I can shop with fashionable ideas in mind. THOSE are reasonable expectations.

Yours, wondering what YOUR reasonable expectations are (feel free to post them!),


Monday, January 4, 2010


FINALLY! The kids are back in school and the husband is back at work and I can get back to my normal routine. I don’t know why Winter breaksledding seems so much longer than Summer break. I guess just because there are really no pressures during the summer. I know it’s going to be a long, lazy 3 months, and I prepare for it. I plan time to work and to exercise and to get everything done. But winter break is full of holidays and errands and family and eating and so on and so on! It seems like there’s not a minute to spare, yet nothing gets done! So after 2 weeks, I’m exhausted!

But, as I said in my last post, no worries! It’s all worth it, knowing my kids had a great Christmas and a great winter break.

So now, the catch-up begins. And so do the New Years Resolutions. I’m really not one to make these grand gestures to make drastic changes to my life, which will probably last one week, at the most. Rather, I think New Years Resolutions are about making small, yet significant changes, to make me a better person. (I tried explaining this to my 8 year olds. One said that he wants to become a better video game player and the other said he will remember to feed the dog more, which, by the way, hasn’t happened yet. We’ll work on this some more!)

healthy food So here they are: My first resolution is a continuation of last year’s. In 2009, I began working out and eating healthier, and so far I’ve lost 34 pounds. I plan on working harder at this (it’s the snacking that gets me!), and continuing to work towards my 50 pound goal. Also, as a side note, I’d like more of this to rub off on my husband! (The kids I can control to some degree, but not DH!)

My next resolution is to be more organized in my business and my life.writing a list (I know, I write books about organizing information. I should be more organized myself, but for some reason it’s just easier for me to tell others how to do it than to do it myself!) Again, nothing huge here, just small changes, one at a time. I’ve already started using Google Calendar, which syncs with my phone, so I always have my schedule with me. See, small changes!

That’s it! Just two New Year’s Resolutions for me! Wish me luck!


Friday, January 1, 2010


ALMOST time to relax. All we need to do now is take down the holiday decorations, then all reminders of this past month will be virtually erased. laundry

HA! Who am I kidding? As much as I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the holidays, I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE when they are over! Am I the only one? I feel like I have accomplished absolutely nothing of my REAL life over the past month. (I’m surprised I even got laundry done, but that was purely out of necessity and the constant nagging of naked children!)


messy-office-03Melissa and I had all those lofty goals to be finished by the end of the year. HA! I was going to clean out my office and have the kids clean out the basement while they were on winter break. HA! HA! I HAD PLANS, DARN IT!!!

Okay, I’m composed now… somewhat. I just need to remember that the kids had a great winter break, Christmas was awesome for them, we all had a wonderful visit with their Grandma and Aunt from out-of-town (okay, actually I did, as they are the kind of people who like adult time more than kid time!), we all stuffed ourselves silly (back on the healthy bandwagon for me!), and all in all…


fireworks1So who cares if they house got cleaned, or the bills got paid, or our new book got completed? December is all about family and friends and good times, and if everything else got pushed to the back burner, no worries. In 3 more days, life returns to normal, and things have a way of catching up and getting done in their own time.fireworks2