Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Want to Bee Number One!

You know those little buttons I have over there ---->

The ones for the Blogger's Choice Awards? Well, I've been in first place for Best Humor Blog and Best Parenting Blog for months. Now, they're just showing that I'm in the top 3, but they're not showing the actual number of votes I have. What if I'm not in first place anymore? My inner Monica is coming out and I want to WIN! I don't know if there's an actual awards ceremony or if I just get a virtual certificate that says, "Congratulations! More people than just your mom read your blog!" Either way, I wanna winnnnnnn! (I have a little competition problem, it seems.)

So, here's my demand request: Please go over to the Blogger's Choice Awards and vote for me! I've been nominated for 4 categories, but would sure appreciate votes in the humor and parenting categories. Please, please, pleeeease? (I'm not above begging.) Thank you so much!

*****edited to add: Oooo! I just noticed that I'm in the top 3 for Hottest Mommy Blogger too! Woo Hoo!*****

So, I went to the allergist for venom testing this afternoon. They started by putting tiny amounts of very diluted honeybee, yellow jacket, white wasp, yellow wasp, and hornet venom on little scratches on my forearm. A couple minutes after they put the venom on, I felt dizzy and crappy and not well at all. They quickly took my blood pressure and it had spiked. If I'd been having a severe allergic reaction, it would have dropped. This basically means, I just freaked myself out for some reason. I felt like such a dork. Here I was freaking out and hyperventilating, feeling dizzy and there was nothing wrong.

They kept asking me if I was afraid of needles. Are you kidding? No! I used to donate platelets every month. I had to give myself twice daily injections in my abdomen when I was pregnant. Needles don't bother me. I didn't feel nervous or scared or anything. I don't think I felt scared at least. Maybe somehow I was frightened since the last time I was stung, I felt awful and dizzy for 24 hours. Anyway, after I stopped freaking out and my blood pressure returned to normal, they noticed that I had a reaction to the honeybee venom. The doctor came in and said, "The fact that you reacted to the very first, least concentrated, scratch test shows that you're highly allergic to honeybee venom. Don't get stung by a honeybee."

"Oh ok. I'll have a little talk with the bees and make sure they understand not to sting me."

So, they continued the testing by administering a more concentrated dose via an injection under the skin. They injected every one except honeybee. They waited another 20 minutes. No reactions.

Round three. A little more concentrated injection of the 4 different venoms were injected again. Another 20 minutes. No reaction. Meanwhile, the guy who was being tested at the same time I was, reacted to everything BUT the honeybee. The guy sitting next to me who had the lowest blood pressure ever. "I exercise! That's why I have low blood pressure. Exercise is wonderful! It releases endorphins and helps your heart and blah blah blah....." At this point, I slapped him.

Round four. Again, I got a little more concentrated dose of the 4 different venoms. This time I had a reaction to yellow jackets.

So, I have an Epi-Pen that I have to carry with me during the summer and fall. I'm a little nervous about camping (especially this time of year because bees are really bad in the fall here). I tend to get stung when we camp. I think I'd better send Joe and the kids on any future camping trips while I stay home being lazy, drinking beer, and playing on my computer to protect myself from killer bees. I'd hate to fall over dead from something as lame as a bee sting.

So have any of you guys gone through desensitizing shots for bee stings? Is it worth getting shots for FIVE YEARS?

Monday, September 29, 2008

I Do It Myself!

You want some spaghetti with that cheese, Brooklyn?

No, you don't need to clean it up, Mom. I'll just lick it up like this.

For those of you following my fashion crisis, you can check out the latest installment HERE. Just be warned - there are graphic images. Not for the weak of stomach. And check out the t-shirt giveaway HERE.

Kodak Moments Part 2

Here are a few more Kodak moments to cherish. This is a continuation of THIS POST. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go back and read the first one. We'll wait.

I think this was supposed to be a photography lesson in choosing interesting backgrounds. Or maybe in how to draw attention to especially big hairstyles.

Ahh yes, it never gets old taking a picture of someone taking a picture. And is it just the angle or is my vision warped or is that guy's legs really small in comparison to the rest of his body. Maybe it's the slimming stripes on his snazzy pants.

There's nothing like sitting around on a carpet made from the family sheep dog for the nightly sing-a-long. "Come on kids! All together now! Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down..."
I'm not sure what's more disturbing - how Mom's pants blend into the chair cushion or the strange Ewok looking thing wearing a hoodie and standing next to the boy.

Oh crap. My hair's on fire again. I knew I shouldn't have tried to recreate that Police video.

Speaking of hair.... gotta love the 70s!

OK, it's a little hard to see, so I'll explain what's going on in this picture. A cowboy has hijacked this horse and wagon and is looking on, his shotgun cocked and ready in case junior tries any funny business. Grandpa (he's the one who looks like he belongs in a wax museum) is telling junior take the reigns so he can make a break for it and jump off the moving wagon.

Oh please tell me this guy is wearing something, anything under that stylish shirt.

Ahhh yes, the annual picture of crazy Uncle Lou at the family Christmas party.
Why you shouldn't use a flash when photographing pets. It will freak. them. out.

Who do you think you're fooling, buddy? 6 candles? Come on. People think you're her dad.

OK, yes this woman appears to be looking at a cow's butt. I'm not sure why. But honestly I'm more intrigued by the circle with the line through it on the barn door. No what? What's being banned here? I don't get it. There's nothing in the circle.

The actual words under this picture read, "Get down to the animal's level and move in close for the most dramatic pictures." They left off this part - "Make sure the animal's rabies shots are up-to-date and be prepared to have your jugular slashed open by Fluffy's fangs.
Check out my REVIEW BLOG here for my "B > THAN" t-shirt giveaway!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Sound Out

I love cute purses, bags, totes, diaper bags, you name it. Love them! Obsessed with them. However, I'm cheap and usually won't spend more than $20 on a purse. Anyone else with me on this? How would you like to get a free purse while helping victims of domestic violence? Have you guys heard about the Tell a Gal P.A.L. program? This program encourages people to donate their nearly new purses to Dress for Success. It helps domestic violence survivors get back on their feet with confidence. You can click the link to find an Allstate agency in your area that will accept the donations. And Ugly Betty actress, Ana Ortiz is donating her Onna Ehrlich purse to one lucky winner for telling her gal pals about domestic violence. To enter, click HERE. Hurry on over because it ends October 31st.

...how close are you children? I have a 9 month old & just found out I'm pregnant again. They'll be 17 months apart... Since you've managed to survive your 6 pack, I hope you can tell me I'll survive 2 under 2.
Umm sure you'll survive 2 under 2. You may not sleep for a year. You probably won't sit down for a good year. And I guarantee you won't eat any hot food for at least a year. But, on the bright side, your kids will likely have a close bond. They'll be doing roughly the same things at the same time (as opposed to one kid taking driver's ed. and the other one potty training, you know?) And IT GETS EASIER. My first 2 are 18 months apart. Thankfully Savannah was a very easy-going baby because Austin demanded a lot of attention. Those days when I had 2, 3, even 4 little ones were hard. Now that they're getting older, ir's much easier.

I'm sorry to bring this up but I think I've missed a VERY important post here - your son has cancer?Noooo, no my sons are fine. I was talking about Coleman Larson.

Dawn, could you please post a link to Coleman's care pages please
I would love to, but there isn't a direct link to it. You have to go to Carepages.com and scroll down to the bottom left where it says "become a member" and sign up. Then you can log in and read Coleman's updates (or anyone else's too) or you can have alerts emailed to you every time the page is updated.

OK, sorry this is kind of unrelated to your post today, but I wondered if you ever posted a review for that sunless tanner you got from some conference you went on a while ago. I seem to remember you said you don't like the smell of these kinds of tanners, and I wondered if this was was better?
She's talking about a Neutragena sunless tanner that I tried back in April. I stopped using it after 2 days because I couldn't stand the way it smelled. I hate that sunless tanner smell. So, I'm not sure if it would work really well or not.

what is up with the guy with the cross chest hair? Is he supposed to be Adam??? :)

Clearly, he's used one of those popular Shave Your Chest Hair Stencils to achieve this creepy as all get-out interesting visual design.

I just read your "Breakfast for Dinner" post, and I have a question for you, since you get the yucky job of frying enough greasy bacon to feed all six kids. Have you not heard about doing bacon in the microwave?
Honestly, I usually just tell the kids something like, "We're out of bacon", or "Wouldn't you prefer something easier healthier like a glass of water?" Know what's even better than doing bacon in the microwave or the oven though? Doing it outside when you're camping. No stinky fried smell in the house.

I knew what he was going to do before he did it because that was my trick too. LOL. Dawn-do you ever TT? I bet you could come up with hilarious lists!
You have no idea how long I tried to figure out what TT stands for. I give up. Help?

I'm sure this is a stupid question, but can you eat the WHOLE cake? Not you personally, although I could, but it the whole thing made of food products? Did you use rolled fondant?
No, I couldn't eat the whole cake because I don't much like cake. Now if it was made from cookie dough.....
Technically, the whole cake is edible, but I wouldn't recommend eating the tools. I used pastillage to make the tools and I don't think it would taste that great. Plus, it dries super hard so you might chip a tooth. I haven't worked with pastillage for like 12 years and I forgot just how quickly it dries out. Up close, the tools were wrinkled, cracked and dried out looking. The pieces that made up the tray on top, the drawer and the handle cracked a million times. They were glued together with royal icing many times over. I used spray food color for some parts and an edible silver dust for the tools. I didn't use any fondant on this cake.

Uh...you're disappointed with the cake? Uh. Yeah. My kids are lucky to get birthday CUPCAKES...from the store. =D
I showed the picture to my son. He didn't even notice it was a cake at first. THAT'S how good it was.
Perfectionist much? =)

hanging my head in shame Yes, I really am. Austin is too. It makes me nuts with him.

Anyway, it's astonishing you got all that done while you were doing everything else that you do. What the hey? Do you ever sleep? =)
Let's see... it's almost 2:00 AM now and I still have a couple loads of laundry to do, a lunch to make, 40 more emails to respond to, another post to write, and I'm busy watching a What Not to Wear marathon trying, hoping to have some tips sink in so I don't look like a total dorkus. In other words, nope, I don't sleep.

So that's what Joe looks like! He has intelligent eyes. For some reason, I didn't expect him to look very smart!
SNORT! ROFL!!! Oooo this just made me crack up!

WOOHOO Dawn! I just got a notice from Amazon.com telling me they had a shipping date for your book - Estimated arrival date: 10/24/2008 - 11/13/2008. Is that really happening? I thought your book wasn't being released until next year.
Sorry to disappoint. The book won't be out until April 1, 2009. I'm not sure why Amazon sent out that notice, but my publisher is checking on it.

A few years ago my son swallowed a quarter. He just couldn't pick a dime or penny that would pass through. That stupid quarter cost me a gazillion dollars in x-rays over several days to make sure he was ok.
Oh yeah, I'm familiar with that too. STOMACH STAPLING

I'm sorry this is off subject, but there is a new "follow" feature on blogger. Whenever I try to follow your blog it tells me that it can not detect a feed from this URL. Do you have any idea why, or do you know if anybody else has had this problem? I hate not being able to figure things out, lol.
You're asking me? Seriously? I just learned what a feeder or reader or whatever was 2 weeks ago! I'm clueless. But I know my readers are very intelligent and I'm sure someone out there can help you.

what is your least fave thing your kids have done? what has made you the most mad you think you will ever get? and witch kids did it? just wondering
I don't know, but I'm sure they'll top it tomorrow.

What did YOU want to be when you were growing up?
Hmmm, I don't remember wanting to be anything specific. Mom? Dad? Remember anything? I've always loved acting and writing, but I don't recall ever thinking that I wanted to grow up to be an actor or a writer.

I am wondering- does your counter have any way to count those posts read on readers? Because if not, I am sure your hit number is much higher- I read your blog in google reader and rarely click through to the page, mostly only if I want to comment. So if those aren't counted, there are many more readers out there than you think!
Oooo, I don't know. Good question!

Could you explain the situation on your book? My Mom said she preordered it in August for my birthday and I was beginning to wonder if that was just her way of covering up that she FORGOT my birthday (yes, my OWN mother!). Thanks for a clarification...
Always listen to your mother! Always! She didn't forget your birthday. It was originally scheduled to be out in August. For different reasons, it was pushed back until April.

(In regards to the mud pie) What an interesting looking dessert idea... What would happen IF you took one of those plates, froze it(so it wouldn't fall apart) and then in a day or two..bring it out..saying Tonight we have Child X or Child Y to thank for making this wonderful treat..Dig In! My question is: Would this be perceived as a really funny JOKE.or..would it precipitate a CRISIS solveable ONLY by a hasty trip to Dairy Queen,or that SONIC place you mentioned a few weeks back.
I'm pretty sure it would just confirm my kids' suspicions that I'm off my rocker.

I enjoyed reading about your car adventures. So, where was Austin this whole time?
He was at a cross country meet while we were at the orthodontist.

Uh, what did the Ortho want?
More money. Just kidding. Actually, I just needed to schedule Savannah's next appointment.

how many kids did you plan on having when you married Joe? (Im guessing it was not always 6!)
18. We're a third of the way there.

Have you ever watched Phineas and Ferb? it's a cartoon on the Disney show. Your kids remind me of those boys.
There's 104 days of summer vacation and school comes along just to end it, so the annual problem for our generation is finding a good way to spend it. Like maybe building a rocket...
Nope, never seen it.

That's pretty cool (golf course). Did Austin build that all by himself?
Yes, what a wonderful use of time, no?
Actually, Joe did the sawing.

is Lexi playing in roller blades?

How else would you play miniature golf?

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Last night, Austin came to the conclusion we needed a miniature golf course at our house because, you know, doesn't everyone have 18 holes in their garage?

Savannah helping Clayton putt with a baseball bat. What can I say, they're resourceful.

Clay yells, "Woo Hoo! I hit it!" while the girls wait for their turn.

The 4 hole golf course

Austin putting up the hill

You have to get it through the mouth here.

The ball drops into a bucket on this last hole.
Think they could build an addition on my house?

Oh yeah, if you have any kind of fashion sense at all, please, please, PLEASE check out my other blog because I really need some help! Click HERE.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another Fun Diet Plan

Although I can't seem to stick to any kind of healthy eating plan for more than a week at a time, I'm nothing if not dedicated to helping my readers lose weight.

My cupboards were pretty bare one night when Austin was looking for a snack of some sort. He ended up with this. No, it's not a placenta. It's a can of cranberry sauce. He had a couple bites and decided he wasn't that hungry after all.

Something that spewed from Linda Blair's mouth? Nope. It's the homemade split pea soup I made the other night. It tasted much better than it looked.

Here's another tasty way to lose weight. Just munch on a pool noodle. Low calories and extremely filling.

Or instead of eating your fries, drop them on the floor of my car.

Then make a mud pie on the picnic table that Joe just cleaned with bleach water.

You know it's probably not a good idea to smear mud all over the table, so take Mom's Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and clean up your mess with it.

Wash it all down with a cool refreshing glass of water and sand.

Then, instead of eating your turkey, make a creative Halloween mask out of it.

The Amazing Lunchmeat Man! Da-da-da!

Follow my handy diet tips and you'll be thin and svelte in no time. Of course, you'll probably be extremely sick too, but being thin comes with a price.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Kids Are All Nuts (and that includes my husband)

At Savannah's orthodontist appointment today, I stayed out in the car with the little kids because they were all off-the-wall insane. I parked the car and let Savannah go inside by herself to get her braces checked. While I sat there, Clay and Lexi unbuckled from their car seats and started jumping around like super balls. Brooklyn and Clayton screeched and laughed and snapped their blankets around, hitting one another. Lexi repeatedly blew up the balloon she'd gotten at school, then she let all the air out in a giant spitty breeze. Again and again and again.

And again.

I got up and buckled Clay back in, threatened to superglue him to his seat, and told Lexi to sit her butt back down now. Then I scrounged around, looking for something to keep the kids more busy and less, you know, insane. I found a couple fries under my seat that had probably been there since we went to Sonic. I considered feeding them to the kids for a minute promptly threw them out. What's this? Goody bags? Yahoo! I found 3 goody bags that were leftover extras from Jackson's birthday party! I looked through the bags and pulled out some candy and pretzels (Yeah, yeah, I put some pretzels in with the toys and candy. My kids have already made fun of me for this so you don't have to.)

So the pretzels kept the kids occupied for a good 2.4 seconds. And then they started to go into orbit so I did what any other normal, well-adjusted, sane mother would do. I turned the radio full blast to drown out the cacophony from the backseats. Unfortunately, like most normal, well-adjusted, sane kids, they were not about to be outdone by the radio so they just raised their own voices a few hundred decibels.

Then, the most wonderful thing happened. A train came by! A train came by about 3 yards from our car! The kids were silent! They stared out the window at the train you could practically touch from our van. I mean, it was almost as close to us as the train that came by every half hour, all weekend long, when we were camping. Why is it that every campground we go to is situated mere feet away from a busy railroad track anyway??? Sorry, I digress.

So this train held their attention and kept them mesmerized as it rattled by so close it shook the car. And then finally Savannah came out and told me they wanted to talk to me. We switched places and I went in. Her orthodontist is one of those funny guys who doesn't have to think of something humorous to say; it just comes out. Everything out of his mouth elicits a laugh. Well, maybe not everything out of his mouth. I mean, if he were to, say, throw up, that wouldn't make me laugh, but you catch my drift. He asked where Savannah had disappeared to and I replied, "She's in the car watching the little kids who are off their rockers."

"Are you still feeding them?" he inquired.

"Oh, is that what I'm doing wrong?"

"Yeah, you gotta stop feeding them. Eventually they slow down that way. Either that or harness them to a stake in the yard and just let them run around in circles. Hook them up to a generator and let them power your house."

I love this guy! He's a wealth of helpful information and ideas! I think I'm going to try that last suggestion. Talk about going green! Kid power! Who needs electricity? If we could harness the energy of your average toddler, I'm certain it could power a city block. Think of the possibilities! And say goodbye to gas for $4.00+ a gallon! Just equip cars with hamster wheels and let the kids go!

What? At least I think of good ideas! Unlike Joe and the kids. I'm not sure how it started, but at dinner tonight, they brainstormed different uses for the pitching machine.
"You could put rocks in it and shoot them at the neighbor's house."
"Oooo! Oooo! I know! How about paint balls?"
"We could shoot knives out at the garage and see if they stick!"
"Oh! How about ketchup?"
"No! I've got it! Waterballoons!"
The kids and Joe all laughed uproariously and almost fell off their chairs while I sat there rolling my eyes at the sheer stupidity of the conversation. Yep, that's my family.

*****Check out my review blog HERE for the latest giveaways*****

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lunch Box Winner

Thank you to everyone who took the time to leave me some of your favorite lunch ideas! I've already used a couple ideas this week! They were really helpful to me and hopefully others who read the comments.

The winner of the Lands' End lunchbox is Mandi R. who left the 222 comment. Congratulations Mandi! Email me with your shipping address.

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:222
Timestamp: 2008-09-25 01:21:07 UTC

Mandi R said...
My 2 yr old loves the mini mandarin oranges and muffins for breakfast instead of the regular cereal. Another favorite that I found is cup o veggies, my daughter likes to eat them both cold & warm.PS I love your tortilla sandwich idea, i will borrow that. Some times I feel that the lunched get boring, I can wait to get some new ideas! Thanks!

Ahhh- Chooo!

I'm sick. The kids have had colds on and off for a couple weeks and they've shared their germs with me. Maybe it has something to do with the time Brooklyn sprayed my face with her sneeze juice. Anyway, I'm sick now. Actually I've had this stupid cold all week. It's just a stuffy head, snot nose cold, but it's kicking my butt. I want to take a nap. Wait; scratch that. Joe just showed me a whole, yet cracked, uncooked egg that was found next to my bed. I have no idea how it got there, but it reminds me of why taking a nap would be a very bad idea.

Just a couple things here before I fall asleep sitting up watch a movie with the kids.

The third segment of my interview with 5 Minutes For Mom is up HERE. Go watch it and check out the rest of their site while you're there! Just don't look at my total fatness (especially in contrast to these twins who are a size negative 2). Concentrate on my shiny hair instead. It's nice when someone does your hair for you. Which brings me to my second thing...

I was sent a buttload of Suave products to try out. Score! The kids love the coconut shampoo and Lexi is happy we got detangler because that girl has the tangliest hair ever! I used the vibrant shine shampoo and conditioner and I love the way it lathers up and cleans my hair. The conditioner is nice and thick and leaves my hair soft and shiny. I didn't love the fragrance, but that's probably just because I'm insane about stuff like that. I'm picky about the way things smell and I've oftentimes bought a shampoo or lotion solely based on the fragrance. I know, I know, I admit that I'm a little, ah, neurotic. Anyway, what does smell really good is the lavender vanilla body wash and lotion. Mmmm, soft and yummy and calming.

And better than all these goodies is the fact that I'll be going to Beverly Hills to see the Glamour Reel Moments premier presented by Suave! You'll be able to read more details in the future on my review blog HERE. All I know is a few fashion and beauty bloggers are going, sweet Liz from This Full House is going, and then there's frumpy old me. I think I need a trip to the mall to see what the mannequins are wearing this season.

A few people have emailed me, letting me know that they've received an email from Amazon stating that my book will be shipping in a couple weeks. I'm not sure why you've gotten those emails, but nope, the book won't be out until April 1st. Hmmm, April Fool's Day? Yeah, that's not a bad sign.

And woohoo! I got to 4,000,000 hits today! Thanks for letting me know, Sandy!

OK, sorry, but that's it for tonight. Sooo tired. But I'll leave you with this picture of the dessert the kids made....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

OK, so my oldest child is in 8th grade this year. Eighth grade. I learned tonight that he pretty much needs to decide what he wants to do for a living now. In eighth grade. To put it in perspective, I just found out what I wanted to do with my life this past year. At age 37.

Austin and I went to an orientation type event at the high school today. We went from class to class and listened to the importance of forming a 4 year plan; a 4 year plan that needs to be decided on now. They stressed over and over the importance of choosing classes wisely and always working toward your long term goal of college and after. I just sat there thinking, "But my son is only in 8th grade! I swear just yesterday he was learning how to walk. What happened? When did he grow up? When did he go from the little kid who was obsessed with animals and Hot wheels and Pokemon to the young man sitting next to me who was being instructed to start thinking about his career path? I had to bite my lip to keep from tearing up.

I'm glad we went to this curriculum introduction because man, oh man, have things changed since I was in high school. Did you know that a lot of high schools offer courses that count toward college credit? Our school offers classes that, when you do well on the final tests, can count toward a semester of college. On the one hand - yay for the parents because who wouldn't want their kid to essentially get a semester of college for free? On the other hand - HE'S ONLY IN EIGHTH GRADE AND YOU'RE ALREADY TALKING ABOUT HIS SECOND YEAR IN COLLEGE! I started hyperventilating and my son looked at me as if to say, "See, I told you school was evil."

Austin will have to take a very long, very important test in November which will determine his placement next year in high school. Come January, he'll have to choose the classes he'd like to take. You know, keeping in mind his college plans and what he'd like to do with his life. That's a lot of pressure! How is a 13 year old supposed to know what he wants to do with his life? I know a lot of people who didn't decide what they wanted to do until after college. Some switched majors fifteen times before graduating. Most ended up doing something completely unrelated to their majors.

Austin and I talked a little bit about his future career. "So what do you want me to do, Mom?"
"I want you to do something that makes you happy."
"Like what?"
"Well, you're a smart kid. I'd hate to see you settle for a job that doesn't use your full potential. You could really do anything you wanted to."
Did I just say that? Did I say that out loud to him? Flashbacks of my parents and my guidance counselor looking disappointed while admonishing me, "If only you'd work up to your potential.... If only you'd apply yourself, you could do anything you wanted to...." whirred through my head.
Jackson piped up and said, "I know what I want to do!"
"That's great," I think. At least one of my kids is driven and knows what he wants to do with his life! "What do you want to do, Jackson?"
"I'm going to work at the bakery so I get free cookies," he proudly announced.
That's my boy!

***** See my review blog HERE for the latest giveaways*****

Monday, September 22, 2008

It Smells Like Peppermint

Do you like the scent of peppermint? You know those large sized peppermint Tic Tacs? They smell really good, don't they? I mean, you could probably just sit there and smell those all day long, couldn't you? No? Well, apparently Brooklyn could because she shoved one up her nose today when I was dropping Clay off to preschool.

"Ouch! Mom, it's stuck!"

"What's stuck?" I asked as Brooklyn rubbed her nose.

"She put the mint up her nose," Clay told me, matter-of-factly.

"Whaaaat?" I tilted Brooklyn's head and looked up her nose. Sure enough, just barely visible, was a slice of white mint peeking out.

Ever on my toes, poised for action, I plugged the non-minty nostril and told her to blow. Did I grab a tissue first? Oh no. That wouldn't be nearly disgusting enough. I just held my bare hand out in front of her nose and waited for her to blow the mint into my outstretched hand. Here's the thing though - Brooklyn's two. Two year olds don't always get the concept of "blow". Instead of blowing through her nose, she kinda spit into my hand.

"Well, that's um, nice." By this time, the kids have all taken their seats and the teachers are trying to start class. I'm still standing there, alternating looking up Brooklyn's nose and telling her to blow. Evidently, a mom attempting to get a toddler to blow her nose into her hand is distracting to preschoolers. Who knew?

So I grabbed a couple tissues, picked up Brooklyn, who has minty-fresh snot running down her face by this time, and headed to the car. Once at the car, I held the tissues up and told her to blow her nose one more time. She did it and the mint, which was starting to melt, came flying out in a sticky trail of goo.

This was followed by my newly created lecture that goes a little like this: You never, ever put mints up your nose. You don't put them in your ears or eyes either. They go in your mouth ONLY!

At least it wasn't a Mento.

I've got another review and giveaway up on my review blog HERE. I'm giving away 10 packs of Safety Tats this week! Check it out!

You can still post a comment on my lunch post HERE to win a free Lands' End lunch container. I'll pick a winner on Wednesday, September 24th.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's Not a Party Til Someone Barfs

Oh my gosh! I totally forgot the most awesome thing that happened at the party! Clay came up to me toward the end of the party and asked, "Why does my stomach hurt?"

I told him, "Because you've eaten too much cake, candy and cookies and you've been running around like a maniac all night."

A little later, he came up to me and complained that his tummy was still hurting. I told him to sit down and rest for a bit.

A little later still, I was cleaning up stuff after the party. As I took a load out to my car, Clay, already outside by Joe, said, "I feel like throwing up."
Being the awesome, concerned mom I am, I said, "Well do it outside!"

About 60 seconds later - BBBBAAAARRRRFFFFFFFF! Splat all over the sidewalk. I ran back inside. Seriously, you've never seen a fat lady move so fast. Joe cleaned up Clay (and the sidewalk). Happy birthday, hon!

Thankfully, after losing all his dinner cake and cookies and crap, Clay felt 100% better and has been fine since.


I had a surprise 40th birthday party for Joe on Saturday. His actual birthday isn't until the end of October so he totally wasn't expecting a birthday party last night (a month ahead of time). I've been working on this like crazy for the past few weeks. I actually started planning it way back in April. I rented the clubhouse at my aunt's townhouse complex and told Joe that my cousin was in town from Montana and my aunt was having a get-together for him at her clubhouse. He believed that because my aunt actually did have a get-together for her son, Dimitri a few years ago when he was in town.

I'd been making stuff and stashing it in our camper for weeks and I needed a way to get everything out of the camper and into my car so I could take it over to the clubhouse. I had a plan though. A couple days ago, I asked Joe if he had any plans for Saturday and would he mind if I met my friend, Jen to go shopping. Then I asked him if he'd take my car to get the oil changed on Saturday while I was shopping. He agreed so I thought I had everything under control. Joe would load up the kids and take my car in and then I'd load all my party supplies into his truck and drive it over to the clubhouse while he thought I was meeting Jen to go shopping. While Joe thought I was shopping all day, I'd really be decorating the clubhouse, finishing the cake, picking up balloons, and going to the grocery store for some last minute items.

That was the plan.

After staying up until 2:00 AM to finish making a video for Joe, I was out cold when Joe took my car to get the oil changed at 7:30 in the morning. Savannah woke me up about 8:00 and said, "Dad already left!" Whaaat? That can't be! He's supposed to take my car in later! He's supposed to take the kids with him! Now what am I going to do? Think fast! I sprang out of bed, threw on the clothes I'd worn yesterday, and Savannah and I ran out to the camper and started loading up Joe's truck. No shower. No make-up. I didn't comb my hair or brush my teeth. I was on a mission to get as much stuff over to the clubhouse as I could. And quickly! I ran out the door and realized I didn't have on any shoes. Oops. I ran back, grabbed shoes and car keys and hightailed it to the clubhouse. We left instructions with Austin to watch the little ones who were still asleep, and to tell Joe that we'd run to the bank should he get home and ask.

So Savannah and I dropped off the supplies we'd loaded up and headed back home as quickly as we could before Joe got home from getting my oil changed. Whew! We beat him back home.

After showering and getting dressed, it was time to leave so I could "meet Jen at the mall" (Or, you know, go back over to the clubhouse to set up everything for the party). But since I'd rushed to get to the clubhouse earlier in the morning, I forgot a few things I needed to take over there. Joe had already gotten my oil changed and come back, I had no way to sneak the rest of the supplies out to my car. If Joe saw me taking my huge tackle box of cake decorating supplies and containers of icing and party favors, he'd know something was up. You know, since I don't generally take containers of icing and party favors with me when I go shopping.

Anyway, I got out of that by asking Joe to take the kids to the library. As soon as he left, I packed my car and when he got back home, I took off for the mall, er, clubhouse. My aunt and my good friend Jen stayed and helped me out all day.

Fast forward to the party. When we arrived, everyone was already there and their cars were hidden down the street so Joe didn't suspect a thing. We walked in, everyone shouted, "surprise" and Joe stood there with a confused look on his face. Finally he asked, "Where's Dimitri?" LOL

I made a really cool slideshow for the party. It contained tons of pictures of Joe through the years. Austin and Savannah narrated it and I accompanied it with a bunch of music. My sister-in-law was able to borrow a projector from work so we played the video for everyone after dinner. Unfortunately the narration was really quiet and I don't think most people were able to hear it. Other than that, it turned out really cool. I was proud of that.

I had grand visions of how the cake should turn out. The execution didn't match my visions this time around. I was really disappointed in the cake, but other than that, the food was good, the company was great, and the look on Joe's face, was priceless!

The old man himself.

Favor box of mints (I printed out old pictures of Joe on sticker paper.)

Brooklyn being a brat because I dared to fix a dinner plate for her. Duh, I should have remembered that she'd already eaten the day before.

The cake that was supposed to look like a toolbox.

Stupid warped cake with stupid warped tools

I guess the wrenches turned out ok.

Clay and my friends' daughter Emma. Yes, Clay's shirt is on backwards. Why, you ask? In Clay's words, "I put it on backwards so I could be a dog." Understand now? Of course, this is the same kid who asked me, "Can I have a balloon?" the other day.
"Why do you want a balloon?" I inquired.
"To tie on my bike so I can have a flying bike."
"Do you think that will work? Will your bike fly if you tie a balloon on it?"
"Yes!" he answered emphatically.
"Have you ever seen a flying bike?" I asked.
He thought long and hard before answering. "No. Maybe I need a lot of balloons. Maybe fourteen."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Let's Do Lunch!

I've really been getting into preparing lunches for my kids this year. (Well, for Jackson anyway. The other kids have been mostly buying lunch at school.) What motivated me was meeting Biggie from Lunch in a Box at the BlogHer conference this summer. She's got a great site about all things bento. She has terrific pictures and instructions and ideas of healthy lunches packed in environmentally friendly containers. (Speaking of environmentally friendly containers, the lunch boxes from Lands' End are awesome for just this purpose! And I have one lunch container to give away to one lucky reader courtesy of Lands' End! Details at the bottom of this post.)

Well, I wasn't about to go to all the trouble Biggie does. I mean, I'd hate to lose my status as a total slacker. But I did want to make the kids' lunches a little more interesting than your basic pb&j sandwich and chips.

Here are a couple of my very simple ideas.

I made a quadruple batch of pumpkin muffins and froze a few dozen of them. Now I can just pull out a muffin and put it in a container in my child's lunchbox. It keeps their lunch nice and cold and thaws so it's ready to eat by lunchtime. Plus, it's a sweet, yet healthy snack. They're also great for kiddos (a-hem, Savannah) who don't like to eat a big breakfast. Just pop one in the microwave for a few seconds on defrost and you're good to go!

I send snacks to school in reusable containers like this one I found at The Container Store. These are organic Snikiddy Snacks in mac-n-cheese flavor.

Instead of a plain ole sandwich, I sometimes put fillings (in this case, it's ham, cheese and Romaine lettuce) in a tortilla, roll it up, and then slice it into bite-sized pieces.

I sometimes send yogurt with granola or other cereal than can be sprinkled on it. It's fun, tasty and nutritious. In my container is Kashi Go Lean Crunch.

I usually buy large containers of Stonyfield Farms organic vanilla yogurt and scoop out a portion into a Tupperware snack cup. I send fresh fruit along with it and the kids can mix it in.

Here's another cool container I found at The Container Store. I fill it with fresh veggies and Marie's ranch dressing or fruit and yogurt mixed with cinnamon and sugar for dipping. The kids love these!

I got tired of the kids accidentally tossing or losing my silverware so I started sending them with plastic spoons and forks a couple years ago. This year, trying to be green, I got each of them a set of these stackable utensils for school lunches only. I've drilled in their heads that they are to bring them home under penalty of death. But if aliens swoop down and steal their utensils, at least it won't be breaking up my set of silverware at home. I have a few of these cute ice thingys in different shapes, to keep their lunches chilled too.

Instead of a sandwich, try giving your child some tuna, chicken or egg salad with crackers to spread it on.

I found these Crayons in the organic aisle at my grocery store. Jackson loves these and unlike most juices, these are pear based instead of apple based. For those who are sensitive to the salicylates in apples, these are an awesome find!

I found these cute little Rubbermaid juice boxes at The Container Store too. I can buy large containers of juice and just pour some into this container for lunchtime. It's much cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

Another way to make your sandwiches fun is by using a cookie cutter to make different shapes. You could even put a face on them with ketchup (too bad we're out of it thanks to Brooklyn), mustard, cream cheese, yogurt, olives, or other veggies. Cut out pumpkin shapes or leaves in the fall, snowmen or Christmas trees in the winter, hearts, shamrocks, or Easter bunnies for other holidays.

Here's an absolute favorite lunch of both Jackson & Lexi - Annie's Homegrown mac & cheese . I just cook it up in the morning and spoon it into these thermal containers from Lands' End. The kids tell me that the mac-n-cheese stays warm until lunchtime. This is a great way to send soup, pasta, or leftovers with your child for a delicious, hot alternative to sandwiches.

And one of my readers will get a Lands' End lunchbox of their choice for FREE! Choose from half a dozen styles in a whole rainbow of colors! <---- check them out here. And, of course, like everything else from Lands' End, they're well-made and durable as well as stylish and functional. You can't go wrong.
So, leave me a comment here with your favorite school lunch idea and I'll choose a random winner on Wednesday, September 23.

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