Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm right!

I don't like to use pictures of my kids' faces on my blog. I have one pic of BabyGirl in the pages a while back and that is it.

I get asked why fairly often, and the truth is that the Internet freaks me out a little bit. I just get worried about who is out there and what they know about my family and how they might use my kids' pictures.

I saw once on Oprah (how stereotypically housewifey is that!) how this guy managed to track down a little girl just from a pic her mom posted online. Now he was a professional safety guy taking the mom to task a little bit, so it wasn't just some random stalker. But just from that one pic he managed to figure out where she went to school. SCARY!

To back me up, I read this today and it verified my choice to not broadcast my kids' faces, even in my blog. It's not scary or gross, which is where my mind always goes, but it is a little creepy and certainly weird. It absolutely validates my choices.

So if you want to see my kids, you'll just have to imagine what they look like. Rest assured they are the cutest kids you can possibly imagine anyway.

Friday, May 29, 2009


My Curly has always known that her hair was her "thing." Since she was about one year old she's gotten at least one compliment on her hair per outing. It's her signature, her defining feature, the thing that gotten her called everything from "Shirley Temple" to "Felicity" to, well, "Curly."

When she was just 3 her Daddy combed her hair after putting on a leave in conditioner. She came downstairs to see me bawling into her towel, genuinely devastated over something I couldn't discern between the sobs. When she could catch her breath she wailed "Daddy combed my curls away!" Even that tiny she knew the importance of her beautiful hair.

She's had her hair trimmed a few times, but it's always been quite long. However, with summer on it's way, and swimming and heat making knots of epic size in her tresses, I gently broached the subject of a haircut.

"Okay!" she said, without hesitation.


"Yeah. How much are we going to cut?"

"Well that's up to you." I took a breath "Would you like to donate your hair?"

"What's donate?"

"Give your hair to people who will make wigs for people with no hair."

"How come they don't have any hair?"

"Well, they are sick and the medicine they need makes their hair fall out. So they get a wig to wear made out of hair that people donate."

"How short would it be?"

"Your hair?" I asked and when she nodded, I showed her, expecting her to say "NO WAY!"

Instead she smiled and said "Yeah!"

So today was the day. In honor of her Auntie who is fighting the fight against cancer and all the others who are fighting too, my Curly cut off more than 10 inches of hair.

It looks great and we have the ponytail bagged and ready to go to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths Program.

When I tucked her in tonight she asked me if her hair would help make someone better. It hurt a little to have to tell her it would not. But when I answered her honestly she said "But it will make them feel happy and that's good too."

Indeed it is, Sweet Girl. I could not be more proud. I'm pleased to know my baby's beautiful inside matches her beautiful outside.


...I have:

fed 4 kids
combed 3 heads
dressed 2 kids
shipped one kid off to school
changed 2 diapers
been barged in on while using the restroom (Yes, I locked the door. I forgot to lock the OTHER door)
showered with one of the kids I had previously diapered and dressed.
wiped someone else's tushie while I was in the shower (don't ask!)
redressed and rediapered previously diapered and dressed kid
played 4 games of WiiPlay tanks
broken up 3 arguments
found a deal of the day

And it's only 8:45 in the morning. Oy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

little things

My kids adore Mandarin Oranges. I buy them from Costco in a giant, cost effective pack of a billion cans. But my favorite thing about them is that Curly calls them "Candarin Oranges" because, well, they come from a can. Consequently, canned mushrooms are also called "Candarin Mushrooms."

This morning StinkyMan said that "When Curly loves me she squeezes me too tight!" in a way that lets me know that he is secretly thrilled when his big sister loves him enough to even touch him, much less hug him.

Peanut is currently in love with "Peanut Butter Jelly Time" and will dance like a fool whenever Husband's phone rings since that is his ring tone. Go to you tube if you have no clue what I am talking about. It's a dancing banana and a stupid song, but when you are two, anything goes, I guess.

And BabyGirl is super, super close to crawling. She's been doing the combat scooch for a couple of weeks, and last night she cried out several times in her sleep, up on all fours, rocking back and forth, getting ready to go.

I have to write these things down, or I forget. I always think I will remember and then a week later I think "Wait, how did he say that again?" or "Was that Tuesday or Wednesday?"

They are just getting so big. And I'm not at all biased when I say they get cuter by the day.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Look what I did!

I made soap! Not laundry soap, I always do that. Regular soap.

OK, so I cheated. I didn't make the soapy part of the soap. I took old soap and made new soap.

Let me explain.

You know Husband travels. And when he does I make him bring me these:

Hotel soaps are the key to this cheap and fun little project. You don't need all the same soaps or the same smells or the same colors. Hotel soaps tend to have pretty mild smells so it's OK to meld them all together and different colors look kind of cool. And if you don't have a frequent hotel visitor in your life, hit up your local freecycle group for some!

I used 12 soaps. Rather than grate them up into a powder, I kind of shaved them with a sharp knife, kind of peeling away the layers and chopping them into bits:

Then I threw in some quick oats for some bumpiness, since this batch is for some of my in laws, who are gardeners, and the oats should provide the texture to help remove dirt and whatnot from the gardeners' hands.

I oiled a muffin tin with some olive oil and put it aside.

I moistened the soap chips with some water. It's not a lot, just enough to really moisten the whole batch. Then I microwaved the whole thing for a minute. Then gave it a stir. It was still moist so I did not need to add more water. If it seemed dry I would have mixed in some more. I continued to microwave it in one minute increments until it was bubbling in my bowl.

Once it was good and bubbly, I took it and using a rubber spatula scooped the goop into the muffin tin:

The original instructions, which I got here, said that the soap should sit for a few days to let all the excess moisture dry up. For me, I found 24 hours to be good enough. When I took the soaps out of the tin they looked like this:

I plan to wrap them in little cellophane wrap with a raffia bow and a tag explaining what the heck it is. It's just a little gift for hard to shop for people.

But then I got to thinking about what a cute end of the year gift this could be. If I were going to do use this for teacher I would package together:

A small gardening shovel

A packet of Forget Me Not seeds (get it?)

A watering can

Some kind of home made garden stake saying something like Curly's Forget Me Nots

and this soap.

Seriously cute, relatively inexpensive, fun to do and meaningful.

If I didn't already have a plan for end of the year gifts I would do this. But I am going to file it away for next year. You can never have too many good, inexpensive ideas.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I am a habitual children's clothing shopper. I look at, and sometimes buy, clothes for my kids all the time. Even on the rare occasion that I am kidless at the mall I find myself in Gymboree, BabyGap, Naartjie, The Children's Place and the kid section of any and all department stores. My latest online love is Tea kids clothing, but like Mini Boden and Hanna Andersson, it HAS to be on sale to even consider it.

But me? I have a uniform. I would say more days than not you will find me in jeans and a black t-shirt. In the summer it might be a black t-shirt and capri pants. On a super crazy day I might wear *gasp* a brown t-shirt. To be fair, the t-shirt does vary. I have a few with round necks, a few with v-necks, one with cap sleeves, even one with some cute silver buttons on it. But they are all t-shirts.

In my defense, it's not that I don't want to dress outside of my uniform. The uniform is a result of necessity. I cannot wear light colored clothing. It's dirty before I even get downstairs for the day. I have four kids. 4 runny noses, 4 dirty faces, 8 grimy hands and about a million potential spills. If I wore white or light blue or light pink or lavender I'd look like a stain magnet in about 3 minutes.

And yes I could pick other kinds of shirts, even if I did choose black. But I need something easy, something that washes up well, something comfy and practical.

In all fairness I was a jeans girl before kids, so that's unlikely to change much.

But I'd give just about anything to be on "What Not to Wear." I'd leave my uniform behind for that in a hot minute.

Do you think they'd give me some money for kids' clothes?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I used to be smart.

Today I poured Honey Nut Cheerios into a sippy cup instead of milk and apparently I put StinkyMan's shorts on OVER his pajama shorts. I didn't catch that one until after he came home from school.

I think I'm getting ditsier by the day.

Update: I also just tried to wash my hair with conditioner. Sigh.

Monday, May 18, 2009


So Peanut dumped several spoonfuls of yogurt onto StinkyMan's head and then proceeded to scoop it off with that same spoon and eat it.

The questions what arise from this event are: Why would she do that? But moreover, why did he let her? He just kept right on eating, like he didn't even notice.

Crazy kids.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I have mentioned before a message board I frequent. It is there I "learned" about things I would never have even thought about before. Things like Carnival Christmases, the atrocity that is character clothing (unless it comes from a boutique) and the evil of light up shoes. Don't get me wrong, I have also received helpful tips from these women, but some of the things they consider to be big "no-no's" are things I do and have done without a second thought.

The latest no-no was that we should not, under any circumstances, give teachers homemade food. By extension, I was told, the homemade sugar scrub was also a bad idea. You see, the teacher doesn't know if we are clean people. She doesn't know if we wash our hands. She doesn't know if we sneezed while making homemade salsa. So purchased items are the only acceptable gifts.

Now, I actually take great offense that someone might think we are so gross they would not eat from our kitchen. She knows me, she know my kid. We are clean. But more than that I was offended that it would be MY problem that the teacher might have an issue with homemade goods. Her hang-up would be her problem, not mine. And whatever happened to "it's the thought that counts?" And I didn't even know if she had a hang-up about it, but the message board gals assured me that she would and that most likely my goodies would go straight into the garbage.

I steamed and stewed. I mean, while I could go out and purchase something small for every event, not everyone has that in their budget. And plus, aren't we supposed to teach kids that things made by hand and from the heart, with love, are the best, most special kinds of gifts?

In the end, we went ahead and made the salsa and the sugar scrub, as most of you know. I figured if she threw it out, I would never know and Curly had the joy of making something special and unique for her teacher.

Well, to be juvenile for just a minute, you can all suck it, Message Board Ladies, because the teacher called this weekend to tell me how much she loves the scrub and could she please have the recipe to make some for when Curly's ran out? And she also mentioned that she loved the salsa as well and would it be possible for me to write that down too? She said I was quite the creative and handy gal and that the gifts were so special to her as they had clearly taken a good bit of love and effort.

Vindication is a very, very, very good thing. So ha-ha-ha.

Tomorrow I will go back to being a grown-up. But for now I will just revel in being right.

Friday, May 15, 2009

So Proud

My husband did me proud tonight.

We were nearly out of toilet paper, so he offered to go to Target and pick some up. It's most likely he offered to go because his trips to Target take 20 minutes whereas mine take at least 45. I have a small Target addiction, but that's neither here nor there.

Proud moment number one: He asked if we had any coupons for the toilet paper. Awwww. Good job, Honey. Never pay full price. I told him Target was having a deal on Charmin. Buy 2 packs, get a $5 Target gift card AND I had 2 coupons for an extra 50 cents off. He nodded as he pocketed the coupons, before asking if we needed anything else.

I handed him another coupon, one that should yield free sunscreen.

"Anything else?"

I gave him one more coupon for some allergy stuff. I had no idea how much the stuff was so I said "If it's over $5 don't buy it."

Off we went and I sighed, not sure the coupons would be used as directed. They usually aren't, though he tries.

To my surprise, when he came home well within the 20 minute time frame, he had done not only as directed, but even better!

He purchased the Charmin and the sunscreen, with coupons and received his five dollar gift card. Then he did a separate purchase of the sinus stuff, with the coupon and the five dollar gift card bringing the total to under the instructed $5!


I'm so proud. He's learning well.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

When you are not a mom...

I was thinking about the things I do now that are ordinary things that I would never even have considered before I was a mom. Things I know lots of moms can identify with that make childless people shake their heads and think either "Why can she not control her kids better?" or "I can't even imagine". These are the things I was thinking about:

When you are not a mom...

you get to pee all by yourself!

you don't have to go looking for the nail clippers every time you want to use them. They are where you left them.

you don't have to fish packs of gum out of your messy car's tape deck or an upside down music CD out of the Wii.

you don't know the second verse to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

you don't wear shirts with holes in them. You just don't. And you don't spend any time thinking about which holes are less obvious in which shirt.

you don't ask the McDonald's people for a different toy because you already have the one the kids got when they went with Grammy last week.

you don't have whole milk in the refrigerator.

you don't make sure everyone in your house is breathing before you go to bed at night.

you don't think 7:30 is too late to start a movie night.

you don't write a blog so people can follow your life. When you have kids, no one cares about you anyway. They are reading about the kids.

you don't eat and talk about vomit and/or poop at the same time.

you do not think potty training should be an Olympic Endurance Sport.

There are so many more. Those were just my instant thoughts. On the flip side:

When you are not a mom:

you don't know the feeling that comes with random knee hugging

you don't understand the sense of accomplishment when your child triumphs. It's better than when you yourself triumph.

you don't get to spend time watching Sesame Street without having to find an excuse for watching it.

you don't get to go out and have random people compliment you they way they will compliment your children.

you don't get to watch your parents revel in being grandparents.

you don't get to know what it is like to have your heart walking around in a tiny person's body. It doesn't belong to you anymore.

And above all, you simply don't know the kind of love that comes from having kids and you don't know what it is like to be loved just for being Mommy.

There are many people in the world who would give anything to have children. I hope for every one of them that it happens. It is an experience like no other and an awesome privilege. I'm lucky 4 times over in the kid department and I strive every day not to screw it up.

So raise your juice boxes and toast your kids. They make life a daily adventure.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Poor, Spoiled Princess

I am not referring to any of my girls. I am referring to myself.

Today is the day I have to let my cleaning lady go.

I know, I know, cry you a river, right? Because how spoiled is it to be a stay home mom with a cleaning lady?

I first got one when StinkyMan was small. I watched my best friend's kids while she worked part time and since that was my mad money, I called in a cleaning lady.

Then we moved and got a house literally twice the size of where we had been and I was twice the size I normally was because I was hugely pregnant with Peanut. Knowing I couldn't do it all, I called in another cleaning lady.

And so I have been spoiled ever since. Twice a month she comes and does all the dirty work. I swipe at the counters in between her visits, run the Roomba and clean an occasional toilet, but that's about it.

But, we have the previously mentioned bills. And Husband took a pay cut a while back and that's not helping. And I can't very well ask everyone to make cuts and sacrifices if I won't give up the cleaning lady, now can I?

So today is the day. My final cleaning and I will tell her I can't have her back. I feel worse for her than I feel for me. I know in this economy she's undoubtedly feeling the pinch as well. And I'm about to pinch her too.

So, I will become reacquainted with my mop and bucket. *sigh* But I promise you this: like all great heroines, I will prevail....and when I do, I'll get my cleaning lady back ASAP. Because I really am a spoiled princess. Hey, at least I recognize it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The blame game

Yesterday, Peanut and I were sitting on the couch together and Husband was laying on the floor playing with BabyGirl. Suddenly, Peanut let out an enormously loud belch followed quickly by some very somberly spoken words:

"Daddy did that. Say 'scuse me, Daddy."

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I am 35 years old. I'm married. I have 4 kids. I have a mortgage. I have obligations and responsibilities that rival any other grown woman.

But I still need my mommy.

My mom is the best. She takes my kids to school for me. She babysits all the time. She picks up milk at the store for me and doesn't make me pay her back every time. She listens to me whine, but rarely tells me to stop complaining. She commiserates with me when I am bummed and celebrates with me when I am happy. She gladly jumps in the car to accompany me on whatever bargain I decide to run after. She reads my blog. She is the best Grammy I could ever want for my kids. She even rides to the rescue when I get sick.

I am 35 years old. I'm married. I have 4 kids. I have a mortgage and other grown up obligations.

And I have the best mom in the world.

Thanks Mom. Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Homemade Sugar Scrub

Today was the last day of Teacher Appreciation and we were to send in "free choice" items. It is almost the end of the school year and I'm a little bit over buying gifts for every holiday and occasion, both real and made up (I'm talking to YOU, Hallmark.) Originally I was going to buy a gift card. But that seemed lame and kind of boxed me into spending a certain amount of money so I wouldn't look cheap.

But then I read my friend Claudine's blog about homemade sugar scrub and that seemed like a mighty fine idea. And Claud, I love you, but I'm the kind of girl who needs EXACT measurements, so I went hunting for a more precise recipe than what she had.

The first batch was not so good. I went with half white sugar and half brown sugar and a chocolate smell. It just wasn't a pretty color to give to some one. "I appreciate you, Mrs. Teacher. Here's your jar of oily fat drippings" really wasn't the look I was going for. So we started over.

The second time came out much better. I did mess with the recipe some. This is what we did:

1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp of clear vanilla extract (remember I wanted a pretty color, so I went with clear. You can use essential oils, but they were upstairs and leaving a wiggly four year old and a bossy 6 year old sitting on the counter with a Costco sized vat of olive oil to go get the oils seemed like a recipe for disaster, hence the vanilla.)

I put it all together and liked the consistency and the smell of it so I doubled the batch and put it in an unlabeled baby food jar. I covered the top of the lid with a circle of cardstock that said "Relax" and a label on the jar that said "Pamper yourself with this homemade sugar scrub by Curly Girly." We tied a ribbon around the lid so the baby food origins couldn't be seen. Husband went to the store and picked up a candle and a loofah to match the scrub and we packaged it all in a cute basket along with some re-gifted body butter (shh!)

Voila! Sugar scrub and accessories are a great, cheap, er, uh, inexpensive gift. The scrub alone will run you a quick $14+ at the mall and it's all stuff from your kitchen! You can also use Baby Oil or almond oil and mint extract. I don't recommend using organic sugar as I read several places that that doesn't work well.

By the way, I am too cheap to throw the ugly sugar scrub away. It's next to my kitchen sink. It's very ugly, but it works great and smells divine. So divine, in fact, that Husband wondered if someone had baked a chocolate cake. The only problem is that I keep wanting to lick my super soft hands.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


It's Teacher Appreciation week this week and each day the kids have an assigned item to bring for the teachers. Monday was a note. Tuesday was flowers from the garden. Wednesday was supposed to be a baked good.

Now, I had to wonder, if Mrs. Teacher has 26 students, just how many dozens of cookies is she going to get? And how many treats can one woman eat?

So Good Mommy showed up last night. Regular Mommy put the other kids in bed (because Good Mommy is fun and doesn't put kids in bed, you know) and then Good Mommy let Curly stay up and make homemade salsa for Mrs. Teacher.

Now don't get too excited. It wasn't totally homemade. I bought canned tomatoes. I just didn't feel like trying to get it right totally from scratch. But this is what we did and it was pretty yummy:

1 can of tomatoes with green chilies
1 can of tomatoes with onion and garlic
6 green onions diced
1 handful of cilantro chopped (more if you like cilantro, less if you don't)
1 small lime
1 teaspoon of garlic salt
1 teaspoon of cumin

Depending on how chunky you want your salsa, you might want to chop your tomatoes up a little more. We did.
Add cans of tomatoes to to chopped onions and cilantro.
Add seasoning of garlic salt and cumin.
Squeeze the juice of one lime into the salsa.
Refrigerate for at least an hour.

It came out quite tasty and Curly was excited to have something she made to hand over. I thought Mrs. Teacher looked quite pleased when Curly handed her the jar this morning.

Good Mommy strikes again.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Just overheard Curly singing 'O Sole Mio:

"I sold the Mio"

I don't know what a Mio is, but she doesn't have one anymore!

Monday, May 4, 2009

It is so easy... forget we are a team. I'm talking about Husband and me.

See, we were slammed by some pretty heavy medical bills after Baby Girl was born. We have good insurance but the bills were still quite high. And every time I think we've gotten them all paid, up pops one I missed or one I haven't seen before. Or there is something new, like Peanut's head gluing, or our part of the big V.

The point is that we have exhausted our savings and we are still making payments (interest free, thankfully) for a few things. And so our funds are quite low and with the cuts Husband's job has made there will be no increase in income in the foreseeable future. One broken down car or broken fridge and we'd be borrowing money from somewhere.

My wheels had begun to spin. I can babysit and likely will. But I also wanted to cut down our retirement contributions. And I knew he would hate that.

So I agonized. And agonized. And agonized. I know it won't be forever...just until we have a nice savings for the next thing that takes us by surprise. But I also hate the idea of taking from our future and I just knew he'd hate it too. I expected him to say "No way" or "Let's just try to spend less."

But he didn't. He just said "OK. I bumped it up a little a while back. We can bump it down."

And that was it. No questions, no eye rolling, nothing. He took one for the team.

I love that man. It's so easy to underestimate our significant others. So easy to expect the worst reaction, to anticipate a "me versus you" type argument. It's so easy to forget we are a team.

I'm so glad he's on my team. I couldn't ask for anyone better.