Monday, November 30, 2009

In 30 seconds, my 2 little people can destroy a clean house.

I don't want to brag but my little munchkins are super talented. Some might even go further and say they are prodigies. Honestly, they take their craft very seriously. I have never timed them but I am pretty sure they can absolutely destroy a clean house in approximately 30 seconds.

And, they prefer to take on a clean house. I mean, what fun is it to take out every single toy in a messy house. Then you can't really sit back and take in all of your hard work afterward.

Let me put it to you this way, my kids love to play and they love their toys. Both of those things I should not complain about but I am going to just a bit and then I will tell you why I love it so much.

We learned very early on that having kids means having lots of extra stuff and lots of mess. My husband said to me after our daughter was born that we should hire someone to follow us around all day and pick up our shit. I thought that idea was brilliant. Not realistic but brilliant.

I, like every other mom out there, feel like I spend all day picking up the same toys. Literally, I will put one train or doll away and find it out on the floor a minute later. I do so many forward folds that I am all set in the yoga dept for the next 20 years. But this is just a phase in my life.

The phase includes such precious moments as well. I get to watch my kids really having fun together. Chasing each other around the house, laughing like I did in Old School and smiling as wide as ever. I love the sound of all of that. There is no better medicine than hearing your kids laugh. I let them play as much as I can and then I deal with the aftermath when they are sleeping.

There will be a point very soon when I can ask them to REALLY help me clean up their toys and mess. And then soon after that, I will require them to clean up their toys and mess themselves. At least that is my plan. Until then, I will remember their beautiful smiles and awesome laughs while I am cleaning up those damn Polly Pockets!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Teaching my son to cook is a priority!

I love when guys can cook. You know, really cook. When you walk into your house and the dinner is already made for you and your family, that is a dream. I used to feel a lot of anxiety from cooking. Wondering what I was going to make for dinner or if I had enough to scrounge together a decent meal. Now, I feel pretty confident.

My dad has come a long way as well. My mom and he divorced when I was 7 years old. Before the divorce the only thing my dad could make was a bowl of cereal. Seriously, he had no clue in the kitchen, nor did he have any desire to learn. That all changed when he had to cook, not only for himself but for his two growing children.(our custody arrangement was 6 months with him and 6 months with my mom)

I remember his first meal. He made us eggs and hotdogs. I am pretty sure my mom was mortified but we actually thought it was pretty awesome. He quickly learned about the freezer section and the various pre-made meals from Stouffers and other companies. We soon began to list off some favorites like his goulash.

A few years later...ok, maybe about 10 years later, he started to really get the hang of it. He threw together a killer stir fry, Italian chicken and steak Diane. But for me, my favorite is his spaghetti. It is super tasty and always leaves me beyond full. Coming home from swim practice at 7 pm, I remember devouring several plates in my day.

Well, my dad and his girlfriend, Cathy came out to visit for the Thanksgiving weekend. On his last day here, he offered to make dinner. I quickly suggested spaghetti and away we went. It was such a pleasure to not only have a favorite meal made for me, but I realized how much I love "having a meal made for me", period! It was truly a gift to sit back and watch some football while my dad made dinner. It doesn't happen that often, not because my hubby doesn't know how to cook but because my hubby is too busy.

Realizing how much I love this feeling made me understand how important it is for us moms to teach our kids to cook. With special emphasis on our sons. Our fellas need the basics so they can take their skills out into the world and make other girls happy. We need to spread the love that is felt when you have a meal made for you. It is our duty! Who knows, maybe they will make a meal for us someday!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Write a postcard and send a lot more than words.

I keep them around for awhile. They sit on my desk until I get the next one. The most recent one is from St. Croix. It shows a white sandy beach with beautiful blue-green water and a sailboat. And of course, on the top it reads, "Wish you were here." Yes, we wish we were there, Alex.

My friend, Alex, is the author of all of these wonderful postcards. He is very dedicated and I am completely indebted. I tell him all the time how much I love receiving them. I feel like I live vicariously through him and his postcards.

Most of them arrive from exotic destinations like Hawaii or Figi but sometimes I will receive one from Tokyo or Russia. I feel like I am kept in the loop with his life and his adventures and with that am a part of his incredible schedule.

See, he works in the movie business (as if that isn't cool enough) and he is always traveling for some press junket or movie premiere. Yeah, poor Alex...always on the go! Believe me, one of these days I am going to ask to sneak into his suitcase. And on top of the movie munbojumbo, he is an open water swimmer, so he is constantly competing in Hawaii and various other fabulously sunny locations. Yes, rough life!

I love so much about the postcards that I get from Alex. Obviously, they add so much to my pile of mail but more than anything else, they are the epitome of thoughtful. The fact that in his busy life, he takes the time to send me postcards and always asks about my kids and sends his hugs is truly wonderful. I am going to pledge to be a better postcard writer for the year 2010. Sure it is easy to write an email or text. Or maybe even take a picture and send it, but writing a postcard is a lost art that I would love to bring back in full force! Thank you Alex...and thank you for your travels!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Oh how I love the Holidays!!

Remember how I wrote in one of my previous blogs that I was in charge of Thanksgiving dinner?? Well, it was FANTASTIC! Or, as I said to my friend, we will know for sure if we are in the clear in about 4 hours. I always worry about the turkey and whether or not it was actually done...but I think we are good.

So, here was our menu...22 lb turkey, mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans, corn, Brussels sprouts, stuffing, gravy, 2 kinds of cranberries, rolls, apple pie, berry pie, pumpkin pie and persimmon cake. The turkey took a little longer than expected. But, thankfully, we were well stocked in the wine department. Everyone seemed to go with the flow and that made for one very happy and thankful host.

I love the holidays. I love having friends and family over for a festive day of eating, playing and watching football! Honestly, just thinking about it makes me smile. And there is something super special about Thanksgiving. I actually got a little teary eyed tonight cause I took it all in and really watched my kids, my family, my hubby and my friends. I watched them hanging out in my house and I was very touched. I am truly lucky and I know it. I am thankful everyday day for days like today!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I am swelling with pride!

Today was a big day. I am not sure if my daughter feels it by her dad and I sure do. It is so much fun watching your kids grow and develop into people. Do you know what I mean? Like you can see a glimpse at 3 what they are going to be like when they are 10. That is what I felt today and it was fun.

Let me start by saying the I was as shy as a kid could be. I clung to my mom's leg everywhere we went. Until one day when we were on the plane to go to my grandma's house in Nebraska. There was bad weather so the plane was waiting at the gate. The flight attendant asked if any kids wanted to sing Christmas carols. Before my mom could blink, I was half-way up the aisle. She was in shock. This was very out of character. I grabbed the intercom and sang "White Christmas". Hilarious, huh?! Why couldn't I have chosen "Rudolph" or "Here Comes Santa Claus". Anyway, that was my big "break out of the shell" moment. My daughter's came today.

See, my daughter is a lot like me when I was her age. In fact, when we got to her preschool today for the Thanksgiving Feast, she was clinging to my leg and didn't want to parade out with her class...crying cause she didn't want to. Well, after about 30 minutes, a plate of turkey, a cookie and a brownie, that shy girl disappeared.

What I didn't know about today's feast was that the kids were going to sing on stage with their class. Once I heard this I asked Skye if she was ready and excited. She didn't answer my question but went right into her own..."Where is the stage?" "Is the stage dark?" "How big is the stage, mom?" I tried to answer her very funny and thoughtful questions and I guess it was sufficient cause she became "off the charts" excited.

The classes performed one by one. Skye is in classroom 3 of 3. So, we had to wait and wait. It didn't take long but she was bouncing in her chair. I was truly amazed at all of this. I watched her closely as the head teacher announced classroom 3. She jumped out of her seat and thread her way to the stage so she could be right in front. She was all smiles from that moment on. She sang the words of the songs, often times really over enunciating. It was fabulous.

I just watched her and smiled. I was half in shock and half completely amazed. My shy little daughter had turned into a stage hog! It was hilarious and fabulous all at once. Most importantly, I was really proud of her. This was a big deal and I wanted her to know that I understood that. She was all smiles after the big moment and quickly announced that she would like to do another concert for the family on Thanksgiving. I am sure I won't have to twist anyone's arm. Especially mine.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Oh my...what a performance!

I am often calling my son the Oscar Winner. Sometimes I feel like I should have named him Oscar instead of Charles Robert. My son is just now starting to understand his FULL power. And by "full power" I mean his ability to really throw a tantrum. You know the full body kind. He falls to his knees with such drama, then throws is head and hands down and forward then falls flat and rolls around...all this while holding a steady cry. It is truly amazing how he can keep it all together. Rolling and crying...rolling and crying.

There are many times when I have to turn my head so he doesn't see me cracking up. He puts on quite the show, if I let him. But what I choose to do in these situations is tell him that I am not going to watch until he is done. I then proceed to ignore him until he has decided that the "show" is over. Lately, this only takes a couple of minutes. Of course, this all depends on hunger level and tired level. If those levels are elevated than the tantrum could last longer and might need a little interference.

As of late, most of his tantrums are the cause of not getting what he my cell phone. The cell phone is not 100% off limits because he somehow connected to 911 when I had locked my phone. All I heard was this loud "HELLO", "Hello". I immediately grabbed the phone and said, "HI." She said, "This is 911." I quickly told her my son had made the call and that I was sorry. Her reply was quick and rightfully harsh, "Ma am, take the phone away from your son." I felt like I had just gotten busted by my 5th grade teacher.

Anyway, the phone causes these tantrums. When it happened today my husband asked if he thought we should put him in time-out and I told him that I think he is gunning for attention...any kind of attention. Therefore, if we give him time-out attention, then he has succeeded and will do it more, but if we completely ignore it maybe he will eventually find it boring and move onto other things.

We seem to like the plan so far. For now we will continue to monitor the skills of our budding actor and try our best not to laugh...ok, maybe just a little...out of love, course.

Why I love Auqaphor...for everything!

If you are a mom, then you probably know the name "Aquaphor". You find it in the baby section of any grocery or drug store. I was given the heads up about it from my friend Beth while I was pregnant with my first kid. I never forgot the name or what she said. "I use Aquaphor for everything from chapped lips to a baby's diaper rash." She was right!

It could possibly be my favorite cure all. It has been used for so many things in our house. From dry skin to, yes, bootie is my go to skin repair ointment. It is odorless and simple and it works.

As the winter is approaching, I seem to be using it more than my kids. I massage it into my cuticles at night. I also rub it into my elbows and other dry parts of my person. Sometimes I get an irritated section on my, at night, I put a dab of aquaphor on it.

My kids know it by name. They know that if they have anything wrong with them, they can put Aquaphor on it and it will be all better. My daughter even puts some on her baby dolls. It is pretty funny. I think I might be turning into the father from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". You know, the one that thinks Windex is the cure all. But I truly believe in it. My son had REALLY dry skin when he was born and I would slather him in it after a went away. I also use it for diaper rash and they know it won't hurt. Chapped wintertime repairs without a fuss. You name it, Aquaphor will fix it. Ok, maybe not everything but darn close.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My take on TV and my kids.

Let's be honest here. I love TV. I have all of my fav TV shows DVRed and ready to watch as soon as the kids go to sleep. So, how could I ever be one of those parents who denies their kids the joy of TV. I want to, however, make it perfectly clear that I am not writing this to be judgmental. I believe that every parents decision is a good one when it comes to TV. I am writing what I feel about me and my parenting decisions.

So, if I watch TV, I can't keep my kids from it. Similar to the fact that I love sweets so I can't keep them from sweets. I can teach moderation and only give them choices that I think are appropriate and from there, they can make the decision.

When it comes to TV my husband and I have several programs that we think are appropriate. Several are from PBS. "Sesame Street", "Sid the Science Kid" and "Curious George" to name a few. We try to set our DVR so that we always have fresh ones to turn on in a time of need. We also dig "Handy Manny", "Blue's Clues" and "Little Einsteins".

The cool thing about these programs is there aren't any commercials and they teach kids something. They are all so different with their subject matter and their teaching and entertaining models. I actually feel like my kids take away so much from these programs.

In the end, I do think it is okay to use the TV as a babysitter. I like to put on a program if they are rowdy before dinner or when they first wake up. We will snuggle up to a movie if the weather is awful and everyone is tired in the afternoon. It really comes down to those 2 major things I said earlier. How often and what programs? We make sure to keep TV watching to an hour or an hour-and-a-half a day. And we try to make sure the programs are educational. A lot more than I can say for myself...unless you would consider "Weeds" and "Grey's Anatomy" educational. Might be a strech!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The things I should have given away years ago.

I will never forget the day I wore my favorite holiday pants. It was my first Christmas party post divorce and I was feeling free and happy. I threw a small little get together with about 20 people or so. I hadn't put too much thought into my whole outfit but I bought these pants especially for this big night. They were red velvet. Yes, they were red velvet, tight and I thought I was sexy. That must be why I have kept them all these years.

My red velvet pants are just one example of the many items in my closet that need to exit but have somehow made it through every other cut. I feel like they were at a football training camp...they were the "walk-ons" and somehow, they just kept sneakin by until, UT finally saw um.

Today I did it. I made my final cuts. At least for 2009. And I went deep. I went for the nice stuff, the black tie stuff that I swore would last forever. You know, when you are struggling with the price at the store you tell yourself, "But this dress is timeless. It will always be in style." I have really only found that to be true for a great coat and the perfect black suit. Other than those two items, I don't know if I believe the statement anymore.

I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to get rid of and in turn, give away a ton of this stuff. Because although I haven't worn it in awhile, I know someone else will LOVE it. So take a second, as the holidays approach and go through everything in your closet. Even those timeless things might need to take a hike from your life. You never know, it might open the door for a new item to fill that hanger in your closet.
Oh yeah, and as for my red velvet pants, they are now in my costume box...some things are just too good to give away.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Running with my girlfriends is better than therapy!

I started running the moment I retired from swimming in 1993. I have loved it from that first moment until now, for so many reasons. Obviously, I love the way it works my bod and I love the feeling of really sweating but it goes way beyond the physical.

At Stanford, there is a really easy, fun and fairly quick run called "the campus loop". It is about 4-5 miles, it is completely flat and it circles the Stanford campus(one of the most beautiful campuses on earth). I used to run this all the time with my bff Heidi. Thinking about those runs makes me smile as I am typing this. We would discuss EVERYTHING during our, guys, parties, gossip, basically just life! When we were finished, we loved the fact that we got a great workout but we felt REALLY good cause we had just had a serious "clearing of the head" session. Like therapy.

There is one thing I know for sure about me and running. I think more while I run. My mind works in overdrive. Sometimes, while I am by myself, I will stop and write myself an email so I don't forget all the things I had come up with on my run. I don't think I am alone in this. Many of my friends, beyond Heidi, love to chat and that order.

Heidi is now living in LA and I don't get to run with her as often as needed. She will still call me every now and then while she is walking and we will have an awesome hour long conversation. But with 4 kids between the 2 of us, that doesn't happen often enough. I have some girlfriends in Park City who I run with that are great listeners and awesome chatters. I went out today with one of them and she let me go on and on about life and several things that are happening in my world. She was such a wonderful sounding board. Honestly, isn't that really what therapy is??

I love my running therapy sessions. They don't happen during every run but when they do, it is such a relief. Thank goodness for girlfriends. Thank goodness for my runs. Thank goodness for chatty girlfriends who like to run. If only therapists would read my blog...they might consider putting a treadmill in their office. Now there is an idea!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Giving up to give to others

The holiday season is right around the corner. Something happens every year...i think the calendar is shorten from November to the end of December as it jams on by. That is why I thought I would talk about giving and gifts now.

In my family, we would often buy gifts for a family in need. We would find out their sizes and needs and have a great family outing of shopping and giving. It is something I will never forget and it has stuck with to this day. I make sure to continue my dad's lesson even now in my life. I pull names off the little tree at the grocery store or at Macy's. I love the idea that I just might make a kid really happy during the holidays.

It actually doesn't take a lot. You don't need to spend a ton of money to accomplish this act of giving. What I generally do is give up one of my gifts to give to someone else. I also try to do this with the kids so that they understand the whole idea around the holidays. (and believe me, they get too many gifts anyway.) This is kinda why I am bringing this up. How many gifts do we really need? If we have a want, isn't it usually just one thing... you know, one thing you are just dying for. So, if you took everything else off your list and gave those gifts or the money that would have gone towards those gifts and bought for someone else, imagine what you could do!

I will talk about these charities more as we get even closer to the holidays but here are a few of my favorites to take a look at...
The Heifer Foundation
Right To Play

All three of these organizations are absolutely awesome in their own right. They each provide a different means of giving and are super established and trustworthy. I guess my point to you 12 people following my blog is that people need us this holiday season. Give them the gift of a gift...maybe one of your own.

Monday, November 16, 2009 vaccinate or not...that is the question.

This is the beginning of a long and arduous debate. I know what I am going to do with regards to my kids but I am still torn as to how the information is presented to parents these days. It is REALLY difficult for a parent to make a fully educated decision on the subject since every practitioner out there has a legal obligation to tell their patient to vaccinate. Or am I making it too simple?

But you get what I am saying, right? A doctor can't tell you not to get the vaccine for fear that your child will come down with swine flu and become extremely sick. So, to cover their butts, they advice everyone to get it...why not?! Well, I don't know about all of these vaccines. What about the mercury levels in this particular vaccine. Shouldn't parents be worried about that?

I want my kids to be safe and I know that I chose to put them in their car seats for that reason, but comparing the H1N1 vaccine to a seat belt seems kinda absurd. That is what a doctor did, he said that giving my kid the vaccine is like putting their seat belt on. The choice of safety. Hmm...I don't think there are any side effects to seat belts. And, I think seat belts are pretty darn proven. There is a lot of research to prove it. As far as these vaccine's go, I think a bit more research is warranted.

I vaccinate my kids. I do believe in many vaccines. But I also don't want to go overboard. I mean, when you think about it, were the chicken pox that bad? I got to stay home from school when my brother had them just so I would get them myself. When are we protecting too much? I let my son and daughter ride their trike and fall so that they know how to recover the next time. When is that the case with their health? I don't know the answers but I think a discussion on this topic is a healthy one.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Life without my blackberry...does it exist?

Seriously, I am tired of it. But in the same breath, I have no choice. I am at the mercy of my blackberry. It has all my numbers and all my contacts. Honestly, I don't think I can go to the bathroom without checking with my blackberry first. It controls my every move. I only know about 10 numbers by heart. And those are of the people who NEVER change their number! Like my dad, who has had the same number for 30 years.

The other day, just as my hubby and I had boarded the plane with our two toddlers, I had a panic attack. UT OH...where was my phone. We had just sat down in our seats and they had immediately closed the doors. There was no turning back and I must admit, I was freaking out a bit. I searched and searched but didn't find it. I even asked my husband to break the rules and call it. No sound of the ring. What was I going to do?

See, I had already lost it once this year. In January, I stepped out for a quick trip to IKEA (does quick and IKEA work in the same sentence?) Somewhere from checkout to my car my cell phone went missing. I knew it while I was driving but I got myself locked into the 405 and that was the end of it. It mysteriously vanished, never to be found again. So could I really take losing it again or was I done with cell phones for good? Then, it hit me. I checked the kids diaper bag and there it was. 15 minutes of panic and the little bugger was back in my hands.

The crazy thing is that I have these little panic attacks about 3 times a week. The frantic search through the purse, while driving nonetheless. You know what I am talking about...unless you live in NYC. But still, how many times have you left it on a counter at the store or post office. It is an awful feeling. I always say to myself, "why don't I back up my information?"

Let's go back to the question as it is a good one...can I survive with out my blackberry? Would I be able to pull out my address book or wear a watch again. How would I be able to wake up on time or add things on the spot? The good thing is that I guess I will wait until the next time I lose it to find out.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Compromise in the bedroom

This is not the blog you think it is. This is not about sex. This is about sleep. Everyone has a certain optimal sleep environment. You know, either super quiet or with some white noise to soothe you off to your slumber. I am the one who can fall fast asleep in any condition.

When I say anywhere, I mean anywhere. I once fell asleep at the front of a water skiing boat. I have fallen asleep while sitting in the make-up chair and while getting my hair done. Basically, what I am saying is that if I am tired enough, I can fall asleep standing up.

When my hubby and I first started dating, we both didn't seem to mind sleeping with noise or without. That is until I brought my dog to stay with us. I have a Beagle named Smalls and he likes to lick. Actually he LOVES to know, "because he can." The only problem is that he licks and licks and licks all night long. Oh yeah, and he snores like a drunken sailor! My hubby just couldn't take it.

One day he came home with a humidifier and he immediately fell in love with the white noise. In fact, he became dependent upon it. I didn't mind it until we had kids. Once we had kids, then I became super sound dependent. I needed to be able to hear the kids. The funny thing was that when the humidifier was on, my mind would play tricks on me and I would hear the kids crying when they were not.

We finally had a sit down. After several little battles, we came up with a wonderful compromise. He would turn on the humidifier to medium only and then turn it off if he left the room early. It was almost perfect. And then the humidifier broke. Ut-oh. I was secretly stoked but the hubby was pretty bummed. Smalls was still at it and it was driving him crazy.

We are now all set up with a brand new air purifier that makes a very smooth sound. I can hear the kids and he can't hear the licking! Now if we could only get more than 6 hours of sleep...maybe when we retire.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Let your kids be dangerous!

Today was a great day. We were outside, kicking the ball, running through leaves and climbing rocks. The sun was shining and it was unseasonable warm. Nothing but love, fun and danger all around us. See, my son loves to be dangerous. I know this cause he told me so, today.

We were standing at the foot of a huge rock. We were watching some grown-ups rock climbing. You know, with the professional shoes and hand chalk. My son said that he wanted to do that..."I DO THAT" were his exact words. I explained while smiling that he might have to wait for a few years (he is only 22 months). I said to him, "Are you dangerous?" And he quickly replied, "Yes. I dangerous." I wasn't the only one who heard this or the only one who laughed. It was adorable and he said it with such a serious face. So I took him to a part of the rock that I felt he could tackle.

We started on a nice incline and then he had to go to all fours. It didn't take him very long but he did it...all by himself. He reminded me of the "all by myself" part about every other step as he was swatting my helping hand away. When we got to the top, he was beyond proud of himself. I was pretty nervous most of the way up the rock but when I saw how much he needed to challenge himself and be dangerous, I knew the only thing I could do was support him.

My job, as the mom of a danger boy, according to my pediatrician, is to let him explore and be there to protect his head. We have to let our children be dangerous within reason. We have to let them fall and learn from their mistakes. We can still hold our breath when we get nervous, we can still beg them to be careful but we can't keep them from running, climbing and jumping for danger joy!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

We finally got rid of our lemon!

Can I tell you how good it feels to get rid of a car that has really only brought you trouble? It is an amazing weight off our shoulders. Don't get me wrong, I loved the car when we first got it, but we had only owned it for 48 hours when we had our first problem with it.

The car was our Audi All-Road. They are wonderful cars and are excellent in snow. We live in a ski town so I was super set on getting one. Ours came from a used car lot...and honestly, I don't blame the dealer, I blame bad luck. I do feel like a car is either a lemon or a good one. We unfortunately scored the big old lemon.

Our first problem was the tire alignment. No big deal except on an Audi. There are these little marbles that are in the wheel and apparently one of them fell out. WHAT?! Anyway, we fixed it and it actually never felt fixed but we kept on. One thing after another fell apart, the front suspension, the back suspension, the brakes, the locks, the front window and countless other fixes over the 3 years we owned it. The real bummer was the fact that we couldn't get most of these things fixed anywhere except at the dealer. We live 40 minutes from the dealer. WHAT?!

I think it took us about 2 years to come to terms with the fact that we got a good car in need of a lot of repairs. Two weeks ago we made the tough decision to sell it to a dealer for a third of what we paid for it originally. It is amazing how quickly cars depreciate. In the end we felt like the constant annoyance from tons of little repairs was something we didn't want to deal with the loss was worth it.

At some point you just have to cut your losses and move on. Start fresh and keep your fingers crossed for one of the good ones.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Traveling with slippers.

I travel often. Not as much as I used to but when I leave home, I miss it more now than ever before. So, when I do leave home, I try to pack a few things that make me feel closer to the ones I love. I pack plenty of pictures, a warm cozy wrap and my slippers.

Don't get me wrong, if I am gone for a day, I don't do this but if I am gone for 4 days or more, this is a no brainer. There is something about my slippers that instantly make me feel like I am chilling at home. In the winter time, I immediately put them on before heading downstairs for my morning coffee. They are warm and cozy but are also durable enough to handle a few trips outside. There are days, when I am lucky enough to wear them around for hours. But mostly, they get me through my morning and that is it.

The strange thing is that most people consider slippers a luxury. You know, if you have enough time to put your slippers on, you must have plenty of free time. And when you are on the road, you rarely have free time. But I am suggesting you pack them, even if for a the possibility of snuggling up for a second to remember home.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cleaning beyond the surface

Before I had kids, I never really understood the need for carpet cleaning. We moved into our current house a little over 2 years ago and the carpets were cleaned right when we moved in. They still looked a bit dirty but I wasn't very concerned.

It wasn't until a year later that I realized you can get a good carpet cleaning and a FABULOUS carpet cleaning. Stains that were even worse after the first cleaning were absolutely gone after the second cleaning. It was eye opening to say the least. And, it grossed me out a bit too.

I now have a new appreciation for the world of carpet cleaning. I am committed to getting them cleaned every year or so. I can actually see where we walk the most in the house. It is like there is a race track down the middle of the hallway. And, we take our shoes off when we enter the house. Imagine what it would be like if we didn't.

We spend a lot of time and energy dusting and disinfecting. Now it is time we get down to the nitty gritty and really clean our houses.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Colgate Wisps

I am in love with a new product and I need to share it with you. Let me start with a many times do you wish you could brush your teeth on the spot? You know, in the car, on the plane, before a meeting. I am right there with you. Fresh breath and clean feeling teeth can do wonders for your confidence.

Colgate has these new little toothbrushes. My friend was using them one night and honestly, they looked pretty fun. I kept looking at her brushing her teeth and was so intrigued. The next day, she handed me a pack full. They are called Colgate Wisps. They are little toothbrushes with a little dollop of toothpaste. On the other end is a little plastic pointy piece to get things out of your teeth. How convenient and thoughtful!

I know I have written about oral hygiene before but this is actually bordering on FUN oral hygiene. They are so cute and have such a great purpose that it goes beyond healthy gums.
Here's to fresh breath.

Monday, November 2, 2009

How long with the Halloween candy!

Oh my, we are in candy overload! It is truly amazing how much candy kids get on Halloween. I guess I did as well, back in the 70's, but it never seemed enough when I was 7! Now, as a parent, I am trying to slyly stash away the excess so that I don't have to battle the constant requests longer than I have to. (and I might steal a few as well) But what kind of rules should be established. Here is what I have laid down.

We don't hide the Halloween baskets, we keep them out on the counter. The kids ask me often if they can have a special treat from their basket. The answer is always the same. They get a treat after they eat all their lunch or dinner. I also use the candy as a way to keep them in line. This might be an overuse of candy power but it is extremely effective.

For instance, tonight, Skye was whining, crying and throwing a tantrum. I said to her that if she didn't pull it together and start listening to me, I would throw all her Halloween candy away. And, you know what, I meant it. She straightened up and had a great last 20 minutes before bed. I usually keep the candy around for a few weeks and then it gets tossed without their knowledge. They don't seem to mind.

I will never keep my kids from eating candy but I will do my best to teach them the art of moderation. Everything in moderation has always been my philosophy.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thanksgiving dinner.

I have offered to make Thanksgiving dinner this year. GULP!! I have taken on this task 3 times in my life, so far. All of them have been mostly successful. By "mostly" I mean, the turkey was decent and the desert was fantastic.

I do take a deep breath when thinking about delivering a mighty meal for everyone. I know that the most important part of Thanksgiving is family, but dinner is a close second. There are many people who skip breakfast and lunch so they can chow down come dinner time. So, if the dinner sucks, there is no way for them to hide their disappointment.

A few things I have learned about preparing Thanksgiving dinner are order a much bigger bird than needed (notice I said ORDER...yes, you do need to order), stick to normal mashed potatoes, keep the veggies simple, delegate dishes to other people and if you have time, make a homemade pie(it just tastes better). I know that is a lot to take in. I will expand on this. The bird needs to continue to deliver up to 2 days post Thanksgiving for sandwiches and such. Mashed potatoes with milk, butter and salt are so yummy, why change them. After all the fattening foods, it is good to know that you are taking in some good-for-you veggies. When it comes to dishes that you don't have specific recipes for, ask someone else to make them and bring them. For instance, sweet potatoes, cranberries or creamed corn. When it comes to pie, I am that person who saves up for the dessert. Therefore, I want to deliver the best. There is a great feeling of satisfaction when you can actually make your own pie crust!

Try your best not to stress, but when you do, trust that I will be stressing as well. Enjoy the cooking ride and make sure to savor your lovely meal. Smile when you are done as someone else will be in charge of dishes! Happy Turkey Day!