Barnes and Noble Phobia

Okay, so you can look through other posts (I will try to come back later and link them) and see some of the issues I have encountered at Barnes and Noble. I don't want to think it is me. I show up, computer in hand, write like crazy and go home. However, it always seems that "those" people end up seated next to me.

As I am typing, I am sitting across from a couple who insists on talking loudly to each other about a magazine. The guy is reading all of the statistics aloud while the girl lets him know whether or not she thinks it is accurate. I guess it wouldn't be such a big deal if the magazine and the statistics were not about an inappropriate subject.

I am not a prude, however, I like to enjoy a drink and get a little work done. I came here to escape the distractions at home. And so, I walk out of that place and into another. It isn't that I mind the conversation. I think it is more about the volume and the opinions etc.

How do these people find me?

Everyday Greatness with commentary by Steven R. Covey

Everyday Greatness is a book that provides insight, inspiration and information on many topics that we deal with on a daily basis. Organized by character traits that you want to see in your own life, you can sit down and read from cover to cover or look up insight on the specific attribute you are trying to cultivate. It includes 63 stories from Reader’s Digest as well as quotes to enrich the reading.

I loved reading the stories in Everyday Greatness. They came from many different people and I think that is what caught my attention. Familiar names from society are sprinkled in with people that anyone can relate to, making the book an authentic look at what we can do to make a difference.

I enjoyed the fact that I could browse by category and that it had clear stopping points so I could put the book down and come back to it later. This book is the gift for the person who has everything or someone who needs a boost during a tough time.

Everyday Greatness will challenge you to be the person that you are meant to be through the choices that you make everyday.

Catching Up

Last time I blogged (about a month ago) I was trying to find balance.

Update: I have yet to find it.

I have started writing a lot lately and have even branched out to places other than In fact, I just started as Tucson's Frugal Family Examiner.

And so, I continue to add to the mix. Hang in there with me as I try to keep it all up to date.

If you are wondering where I have been spending my time, check out some of these articles:

3 ways to save money this school year
The value of a coupon
5 benefits of the reusable bag

Finding Balance

I haven't been blogging as much as I would like. It seems like I work on one thing for a while and get that straight, only to find something else left undone. I know there is always going to be something that needs to be done or taken care of , but there has to be a way to keep everything balanced, even if you have to put a little extra into one thing or another.

Any suggestions for how you keep balance in your life?

My Tuesday To-Do List

1. Find a sledgehammer. If I can't find this, find a large hammer. If I can't find that, get rolling pin from the kitchen drawer.

2. Place laptop on the concrete patio outside. Try to center it in the middle so that there is plenty of room on each side.

3. Bring rolling pin (or other object from #1) outside and close the patio door. (The kids are sleeping and I don't want to wake them up.)

4. Take a deep breath and try to think of a few choice words that I can't say in front of the kids. (FYI - stupid, hate, moron, etc. I was going to avoid the other words - you know, the bad ones.)

5. Begin using rolling pin to hit the laptop repeatedly.

6. When I get sick of hitting the top, roll laptop over and hit it repeatedly again.

7. When my arms get tired, start stomping on it.

8. All the while be shouting out those words I am not supposed to say in front of the kids.

I know this isn't going to happen, but sometimes it is just so nice to dream.

Back to Normal

We had a great time at the lake this weekend. It was nice to be away from it all. There is very limited cell phone service, no cable tv and no way to get on the internet. I think I needed the break. Part of vacation is escaping the everyday for something different.

After a much needed break, I am ready to get back to normal.

Vacation - here we come!

We haven't been on a vacation as a family in such a long time! We are taking off to the lake in a few short hours so I will be "out of the office" :) until Monday.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

Movie Mayhem

So I haven’t really whined and complained for a while. I know, I checked. It was a super bad Monday that you can read about here. So, I figure I’m due.

The good news is that it isn’t that big of a deal and I don’t plan on giving anyone a lecture on anything. I just thought that after an incident like this, it is very selfish of me to keep it to myself. Doesn’t everyone want to hear about this?

The kids and I went to the movies today. The local theater shows kids movies each day of the week at 10am; adult are $1 and the kids are free. Also, if you bring your refill cup, it only costs $1 to. . well . . refill it.

We are sitting in the theater and of course, it is a little noisy. That’s the nice part about movie programs like this. It’s geared for kids so when you go, you keep your kids fro running up and down the isle screaming outrageous things, but if someone asks for the popcorn a little too loudly or someone has to get up to go to the bathroom several times during the show, everyone expects it; no big deal.

There were two isle runners this morning, but they were grabbed up by a parent and taken back to sit down for the duration of the movie. There were a few other crying fits etc. But again, no big deal. You go to a movie for kids, you expect that kids are going to be there.

So, here we are at the middle of the movie and something starts happening in the seats behind us. I didn’t want to turn around and look because everyone knows that you already feel bad enough when your kid is being too rowdy, too loud etc.; you don’t need “the look” from other parents. However, things kept progressing until (and I am guessing here – based on the conversation and sounds I heard) two of the kids started arguing and somehow in the mix of things, a soda was dropped/spilled or something like that.

Can you guess where this is headed? Fate was not on my side. It spilled on me. I wasn’t drenched or anything, but enough to watch the rest of Flubber feeling like I may have some of it stuck on my arm. So I guess I am a little naïve because I assumed that someone – the kid, the parent – someone was going to apologize. Nope.

But wait, it gets better. After the soda spills, I guess one of the kids reached over the seat to see where it went. It just so happened that said child must have been eating some chocolate and forgot to wipe them clean before he reached over, accidentally put his hands on my shoulder, which happened to be covered by the WHITE t-shirt I was wearing. (I know, I deserve for something like that to happen because I was wearing a white t-shirt when I knew I would spent the morning surrounded by children.)

Again, I really thought someone was going to say something, even just a whispered apology. Not a word. So obviously, it isn’t that big of deal. I didn’t go hunting anyone down in the parking lot. I didn’t take it upon myself to insist on an apology. It did get me thinking. 1. Should I have said something? 2. What would I do if Son or Daughter had done the same thing to someone else?

I know, I know – why does all the weird stuff always happen to me?

This is an update to the Solutions to the Cutbacks post

How to Use Dry Nail Appliqués |

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TFE: Update

The Family Experiment has been going so well. We did got to the store to pick up some things for the party we attended this weekend, but I knew we would need to do that. The only problem I have run into involves our trip to the lake this weekend. I broke the rules and picked up a few things that we needed, but overall, I am still pleased with the results.

Here are some things I’ve learned so far:

1. I have saved a lot of time not going to the grocery store and not cutting coupons. (I don’t want to give up the couponing hobby, but all things in moderation right?)

2. I have saved a lot of money. There is/was so much in our house to eat! I realized that we didn’t need a lot of the things I was purchasing.

3. I have made a lot of different things from scratch instead of from a mix or pre-made package.

4. It was nice to stay home more and not be out and about all the time.

I went to the store yesterday and picked up a few things that we needed; bread, milk, eggs, and a ton of produce. That’s probably the best part of this experiment. We are complimenting so many of the things we are eating with fresh fruits and veggies – more so than we were before.

There were a few things for the trip that I picked up; chips, donuts, cookies (for Dad), butter (because I didn’t realize how much more I would use making things from scratch). I also purchased hot dog/hamburger buns which I guess fall under the bread category, but I wasn’t sure.

I still have a few days left of the experiment so we will see what happens.

Saving Money with the Entertainment Book

I just finished an e-book with some great ideas on how to get the most out of your Entertainment book (EB). I have to admit, I haven’t purchased an EB in years. I knew it offered coupons to save on eating out and things like that, but I had no idea how many ways there are to save with the EB! Julie, from HotCouponWorld, wrote a great Ebook entitled “Secrets of Entertainment” that has convinced me that I have to have the new Entertainment book. It was easy to read and offered so much information to help me get the most out of my EB.

Check out Secrets of Entertainment here and let me know what you think about it!

I had to write this one . . . :)

How to save money on groceries using |

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This totally fits with the Family Experiment . . .

How to save money on produce in Arizona |

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2009 All You Grocery Challenge

This goes along perfectly with the family experiment I have been doing.

Check out Stretching A Buck to see a special grocery challenge & giveaway from All You magazine!

I signed up and will start the challenge on July 13!!

TFE: The Grocery Store - Total for Tuesdays

It's Tuesday and I ventured into the grocery store for some approved items. Here's the list:

10 lbs potatoes
(2) pkg. blueberries
Organic celery
1.5 lbs Pink Lady apples
Several garlic cloves
1 pkg baby carrots
(2) cucumbers
2.6 lbs green cabbage (YUCK!)
green leaf lettuce
1.3 lbs tomatoes
2.89 lbs yellow onions
1.3 lbs peaches
2.3 lbs bananas
(4) gallon of milk

Total OOP: $21.33

Not bad . . .

A Family Experiment/Project: The Grocery Store


Can we go two weeks without buying any more groceries?


Couponing is a great hobby. It benefits our family immensely and I’ve met lots of great people. However, it can also be a challenge to regulate how many “amazing deals” one family and their pantry can hold. My friends and family predict that we can last a year. These are the same people who are waiting for some sort of national disaster to strike so they can come to our house and raid all the food, toothpaste and toilet paper.

My hypothesis:

Our family can last two weeks without going to the grocery store (See exclusions below)

This will save us time, money, gas and storage space (duh!)


These items can be purchased

o Milk
o Eggs
o Bread - look out Betty Crocker, I’m going to make some of it at home, (In a whisper voice so Betty can’t hear – I have a bread maker)
o Fresh fruits and veggies

The above items can only be purchased twice for the duration of the experiment

This DOES include our trip to the lake for 4th of July.

This DOES NOT include what we need to bring for a party next weekend.


I’m going to try and put a poll up so you can vote.

And so, tomorrow morning, it begins . . . .

So I had an interesting idea . .

One of the things I miss most about teaching is the opportunity to set a goal and see it accomplished. It’s a great feeling to see a group of seventh graders (who could not care less about the American Revolution) be inspired to create a classroom revolt against their peers because of being taxed (their M&Ms were taken away) and weren’t represented (they didn’t get to say who ate the M&Ms).

Don’t get me wrong, being a full time parent has it share of goals and accomplishments but many times you can’t see the fruits of your labor for a long time. For example, Son’s potty training – I thought it would be the death of me, but it was accomplished, eventually. P.S. Daughter was about 10 times easier!!

Sometimes I forget that just like the old job, I can still set goals and work to achieve them. Success is a great feeling. So, I am sure that you are expecting me to announce some earth shattering goal that will change our family and the way we view the world forever. A little over dramatic don’t you think?

Instead, I picked something that I thought would interest me (and maybe others), that would be easy to keep track of, and would have a set time limit so I can see success (or failure, I guess). I’m choosing to try out a family experiment/project that deals with several areas in our life: food, budgeting, couponing, and space in our home. Details to follow.

Guess what we did today . .

How to Let Your Kids Make Mud pies |

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For the Couponing Newbies . . Rebates

How to Submit for a Mail in Rebate |

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Check out some freebies

Check out DesertDealsDiva. Right now, she's showing some freebies! She always posts about great deals around town.

Also, for those of you that have been going to the Diamondbacks games (yes, I mean you MissMaggie!) check out this. That's right, I even want you to pick me up some coupons when you are enjoying a baseball game!

A Fabulous Makeover!

Okay, so what do you think? I read an awesome article at that explained step by step how to change the layout.

Now, I just want to change it once a week. (Like that will ever happen.)

Walgreens $5 off $25 coupon

Check out the new coupon. It is only good on Wednesday, June 10 and Thursday June 11.

It is good for shopping in the store and online.

Any great scenarios? Personally, I am waiting until the unveiling of the new customer program in July.

Walgreens 5/25

Emerald Nuts Commercial

Anyone seen this? There is a guy who I guess is the psychiatrist and a lady is talking to him about how she wants to burn the place down. He is so distracted that he tells her that she is making real progress, all the while it is obvious that he isn't paying attention to anything that she is saying.

Next scene, the place is on fire and he is just sitting there in the middle of it. Someone suggests that this would have never happened if he had and afternoon snack of Emerald nuts. Interesting.

However, what is even more interesting is the tiny print at the bottom of the screen. It says, "It is never okay to commit arson. Not even once."

Are you sure????

Bunco article

How to play Bunco with friends

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MacGyver Mommy and the Scorpion

So, the weekend before last, we had a little critter drama. Son was stung three times by a scorpion. It was nerve racking. At first, we weren't sure what was wrong. He was so upset and we couldn't get him to say what happened. Finally, he told us that something bit him.

We were house sitting at the time and so Husband went through the entire family room (where Son and Daughter were playing) and turned everything over. The couches were turned over, the toys were all out and all over the floor. Looking back, it was a pretty humorous sight, but at the time, we were frantic to find out what it was.

Needless to say, we had to call Poison Control. (More drama because all the numbers that the nurse's line gave us were disconnected and not numbers for Poison Control. Finally we reached someone about the same time that Son calmed down, walked into the family room and pointed out the scorpion and told us that's what had stung him. Husband disposed of the scorpion.

Long story short, he was fine. We watched for all the scary symptoms - the ones that you go to the hospital immediately if you see, and we were told that he would get pretty sick, but he didn't. We had to keep an eye on him for a while though. We took him to McDonald's for dinner and that seemed to make it all better.

So, fast forward to this past Tuesday. We are at the same house again, awaiting a repair man, and Son and Daughter and I are in the same family room, eating lunch together. Very casually Son says, "Hey Mom, remember that thing that stung me? Daddy said I should tell you if I see it again, and its right here in my lunch tray."

Seriously! I was pretty calm when he was stung on Saturday, but Tuesday I was freaking out. I hustled the kids into the bathroom (you know because scorpions can't get you if you are in the bathroom) and quickly picked up the tray and ran outside with it. But I couldn't just leave it there. It was down in one of the deep sides of the tray, but I wasn't sure if it could crawl out. They have three dogs, so I didn't want it getting out and stinging them either and so, I had to come up with a plan.

I ran into the kitchen and grabbed the plastic wrap and some clear tape. I wrapped the plastic wrap around the tray over and over until I could barely make out the scorpion. Then, to make sure he didn't get out, I covered the plastic wrap with clear tape.

While the scorpion didn't die (until the man of the house killed it later that night) at least he was out of the way and not able to harm anyone. If only I would have had a toothpick and a piece of gum, I am sure I would have been able do something amazing and eventful, but alas, I was limited in supplies, so I had to settle for the plastic wrap prison.

Twilight/New Moon Update

So, I was checking out some of the info out on the web for the movie "New Moon" and ran across the actual trailer.

I was wondering what they were going to do with Jacob Black and the wolf transformation. So cool!! You can check it out here.

A Cake Disaster!

On Wednesday, I completed my final project for the Wilton's Level Two cake decorating class. This thing was a PROJECT! It took the two previous classes just to learn how to make the royal icing and then to create a few flowers that would be added for the last class. I think it took about 45 minutes of the class to complete the basket weave around the outside.

I have to admit, I was pretty proud of it. I took a few pictures with the phone and loaded it up in the car. I was planning to take more pictures at home, but disaster struck. May I just say that I all of my cakes have made it home without a problem, until Wednesday night. I can't say for sure what happened, but by the time I pulled into the garage, one side of the basket weave had fallen down and the flowers came tumbling after.

The good news, I have pictures of the cake from the phone and it tasted fine. The bad news, the pictures aren't great and I would have failed the Food Network Challenge because the cake did not make it to its final destination in one piece.

FYI These pictures came from the phone and so when I uploaded them, they came out really big. I know, I know, it's a vanity thing. :) Round Two

My goal is to write an article a day. So far, it isn't going so well. I thought for sure that I would have so much to write about that I wouldn't have time to get it all down on the computer. Not the case. I have been sitting looking at a blank screen for quite some time now.

So I decided to go with something from the past life. You know, the teaching life. And so, here is: How to Finish a Book Report on Time .

So a couple of months ago, I read about on someone’s blog. The blogger claimed that by using instead of google, she was earning swagbucks that she could redeem for gift cards. I have to admit, I was skeptical.

So, I signed up and wanted to experiment to see how much of a hassle it was and if it really was worth it. I added to my bookmarks and began using it for my search engine of choice. It took a little while to figure out the system. You don’t get swagbucks every time you search. They are random. Sometimes I get nothing, sometimes I get 1, 3 or 5 swagbucks.

I have figured out that by making a small change to my search engine, I am able to earn gift cards. Just so you know, this will not make you rich overnight or make it so that you can quit you job. It’s a slow and steady process, but if you don’t mind just changing your search engine, its worth it.

So, far, I have enough points for a $5 gift card. I know, your heart probably just skipped a beat. A whole $5, but I am going to keep pressing on because you know me, I am saving up for the Starbucks gift card!

If you try it out, you can sign up here. Make sure you come back and leave comments and let me know what you think.

Here's where it gets interesting

So, for the next cake, we mixed some colors into the icing and practiced some of the flowers. I guess it was the coloring that got me. It seemed like a great idea to add a lot of color in the beginning so that I wouldn't be adding little amounts at a time. I know, I know, everyone knows you start out with a little and add more as needed.

Instead of a relaxing and peaceful garden cake, I made this. Please note the item in the middle is a bunch of grapes and the squigly lines are the vines. The odd looking purple flower is my first attempt at the "Wilton Rose." Believe it or not, I'm a little proud of the pink flowers.

My First Cake

Here's a picture from the first cake. We learned how to make the buttercream icing and how to icing the cake with a smooth top and sides. It isn't too bad. . . I mean how bad can it be, it's just white icing?

Cake Decorating 101

“My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of M&M's and a chocolate cake. I feel better already.” ~Dave Barry

During the month of April, I went on a course of exploration. I had to go no farther than the front door of
Michael's arts and craft store.
They offer different classes for all sorts of interests, but the cake decorating class was calling my name.

I mostly blame it on the Food Network. Ace of Cakes anyone? How about the Food Network Challenge? Every time they move the cake to the display table in front, I find that I am holding my breath. And so, I wanted to follow in their footsteps.

If you haven't taken the class before, it is a real eye opener into the depths of your soul. If you can survive packing icing into plastic decorating bags and squeezing with the utmost precision just to have the bag bust and fall all over the beautiful design you have been working on for about a hour . . . then this is the class for you.

I've been taking the class with my sister and we have had a great time laughing and testing out our new found skills. So far, in addition to the cakes we have made for class, we have made a cake for my Bunco group and my daughter's 2nd birthday cake.

On Wednesday, we will have completed the second course and by the end of the night, our final project should be complete. I hope you are awaiting pictures with bated breath!

So bated breath refers to a state in which you almost stop breathing as a result of some strong emotion, such as terror or awe.

(I have a feeling it may be a nice mix of terror and awe!)

My First Article on E-How

Okay, so I am trying something new. . . I miss writing and so I am trying to get back into it. Here's my first article published on E-How. Check it out and be sure to leave comments!!

How to Use the Pima County Libraries

Next stop, a full book!

Daughter and the Tights

Not to be outdone by Son, Daughter made life interesting yesterday morning. The monitor is in her room, so we heard her wake up and talk a little. This is her normal morning routine. Because she is doing so well with potty training, we usually rush right in so she can go to the bathroom first thing.

I'm not sure what was different yesterday. Husband and I listened to her talk and move around the room. So, I get ready for the shower and Husband goes to get her. A minute later, in walks Husband. As I ask him where Daughter is, in she walks.

She was wearing her favorite Dora pajamas (pants & top) but she had added a new accessory. She had pulled her pant legs up and tried to put on tights. Red tights. They had made it up to her knees and she was waddling along proudly proclaiming, "Tights! Tights!" It was too funny.

I decided to humor her and take of the pants and put on the tights. She hung around in those for a while and then, picked up her pants, put them on, on top of the tights, and went about her morning. I have no idea what the fascination with the tights was all about, but what a great way to start the morning; with a laugh.

Sleep Walking Son

The night before last, we had and interesting experience with Son. At about 9:45pm, we heard (through the monitor) his door swing wide open and hit the stopper on the wall. Husband and I sat up, wondering what the deal was. Sometimes he wakes up to go the the bathroom, but he is usually very quiet.

I opened the door to our bedroom carefully (he has scared me to death in the dark before when headed to our room). He met me mid way in the hall with his leopard in hand. Leopard was a Valentine's Day gift. He looked up at me and announced that he would no longer be able to take care of leopard. He put him in my hands, turned and walked away.

It was so strange that I just stood there for a minute waiting to see what he would do. Next thing I know, he is walking around in a circle around our kitchen island and around the playroom over and over. He was muttering something to himself about running out of milk. I thought maybe he would take a lap or two and head off to bed. Nope. He just kept waking.

I called Husband to come check this out. He couldn't believe it either. There was Son, late at night, walking around and muttering to himself. We could not stop laughing. It was the funniest thing.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous to stop him because I wasn't sure if it would scare him, so I gently reached for his hand and walked him back into his room. I tucked leopard in beside him and he rolled right over and closed his eyes.

I can't wait to tell him this one when he gets older.

Why I don't need a gym membership: Cooking

If I keep cooking like that last post, I will starve myself skinny.

Meal Plan Disaster

Last month, I planned out all of our dinner meal for the entire month of February. Either I’m a genius, or completely crazy. I like to think it is a little combination of the two. One of my goals consisted of making something I had never made before at least once a week. No big deal right?

I really needed something like this to change out current list of things we eat ALL THE TIME. It was also good because I had to use new spices and new combinations to make dinner. Before this, I was beginning to think everything I made had the same flavor. (I didn’t really notice this until Husband noted that the chili and the spaghetti sauce tasted a lot alike. He was right.)

And so, this month, I have done well with the goal. The first week, I tried a Sweet Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin It was awesome. It got rave reviews from everyone (the extended family got to try it too.) and I was feeling inspired, encouraged, ready to take on anything.

Until last night’s recipe, Sweet and Sour Meatballs. The recipe was so simple. I printed it out last month and added chile sauce to the grocery list. Every time I went to the store, I checked for chile sauce. I couldn’t find it. Seriously, what’s the deal. So last night came around and I had no chile sauce, however, I did have some Frank’s Red Hot Sauce in the pantry from a couple of weeks ago. It was free with coupon. What’s the difference right? So I added the hot sauce (the whole thing) and the grape jelly to the crockpot. And so, I went on with my afternoon.

After a while, I needed to add the meatballs. When I took the lid off the crockpot, the smell was so strong, my eyes were burning. That was my first sign of problems, but I justified it to myself. “Husband likes spicy foods.” “Husband wanted new flavors and this is truly a new flavor.” I quickly threw the meatballs in and closed the lid.

Obviously, the kids and I were not going to be able to eat these meatballs, so I started making some for us. I used teriyaki sauce and a little soy sauce. How can you mess that up? Easy when the teriyaki sauce is actually a marinade and you added the whole thing into the pan and let it cook on a really high heat and burn not only the meatballs, but the sauce. Again, I tried to salvage the meal. I turned it down, cooked some rice and stir fry veggies. This would all work out.

The smell of the two sets of meatballs mixed together was nauseating. I just kept cooking in hopes that they would taste great separately. Husband got home, walked through the door and the look on his face said it all. He tried to hard not to look disgusted because he new tonight was a new recipe night. He even offered to taste both, just to check them out. I can’t believe I let him. It was horrible. He didn’t spit them out or throw them up, but it was close. His eyes were watering he kept drinking a lot of soda.

In the end, “New Recipe Night” completely backfired. The point of preplanning meals and all of this effort was to keep us from eating out as much. Last night, Carl’s Jr. was glad to see us.

One of those days

(I wrote this on Monday, but I am just getting it on the blog.)

Ever have one of those days? It’s 11:00am, Monday. Let me know if you can top this day so far.

Husband woke up late; told me he didn’t have time to make coffee. As a consolation suggested that I sleep in this morning. Great idea! My day should have started out well, right? So I slept in, forgetting that the kids were going to GJ’s today. Oops. What is worse? The way I woke up for a second time. Husband was standing over me telling me that he had dropped his motorcycle on the way to work and was a little banged up. In a sense it was probably better that he told me while I was half asleep. Otherwise, I would have freaked out.

So I get out of bed and realize my throat hurts. Not again. It feels like the beginning of another sinus infection (my fourth in about 6 months). I am looking around the room, getting my bearings as I hear through the monitor, “Mama, pants off.” Not good. Daughter is in a bed now because while she was in the crib, she kept taking her pajamas and diaper off. The theory was that if she were in a bed, she would wake up, get out of bed and start her day as opposed to being stuck in the crib and having nothing better to do than quietly wake up, take off her clothes and play around with her diaper and what ever she found in it.

You know the saying, “With great freedom comes great responsibility? Let me modify that, “When your kids get great freedom, your responsibility increases greatly.” So true when you let a 19 month old loose in her room with no supervision.

Still, so far, not too bad. Manageable. Husband showers so as to rid himself of the gravel embedded in his skin, Son wakes up smiling and happy (as usual) and Daughter is standing in her room, sans pants, her poopy diaper on the floor, adamantly announcing, “Poop goes in the pot!”

I move on. Clean up Daughter. Put on a cartoon. Fix an incredibly healthy breakfast: Poptarts, and keep going. I make coffee (it comes out horrible), lay out the kids clothes and gobble down a Poptart. I get dressed.

We pile into the car. I am taking Husband to work because last night, we took his truck to my parents house to work on and it is now in pieces in their garage. Off we go to GJ’s. All is well there. Drop off the kids, head over to my parents to pick up Husband’s backpack that he left there last night. Try to sneak in so as not to wake up Pops. Apparently, woke up Pops because I see him peak out of his window as we are driving off. Great, add “give Pops a heart attack” to my list of accomplishments this morning.

Head to CVS and hope that my day will get better. We all know how I feel about CVS. It should be able to turn my day around. Not the case. I spend my ECB’s on stuff for Husband’s injuries and don’t get any ECB’s back. That’s right, I just spent them. It was tough to take. I bandage up Husband and drop him off at work. Head to HR at the old job to sign paperwork that they lost the first time we signed. Terrific.

I look at the clock. Most of my Mommy Morning Out is gone. I try to salvage it. Head to Barnes and Noble. Order a Chai. Realize I left my wallet in the car. In a moment of panic, tell the cashier that I left my wallet at home (even stupider than leaving it in the car. Walk out. Embarrassing!

Go right across the mall parking lot to the Starbucks. I walk in, wallet in hand and stand behind a family ordering. The problem? No one in the family speaks English. I know people who speak fluent English who struggle to order at Starbucks. You can just imaging how it works for people who don’t. It takes forever. The keep going over to the shelf and buying one more mug or one more bag of coffee as if they are on their last day at some type of tourist attraction and they just need one more souvenir. 40 dollars later, they are done. I step up to the counter; ready to give my super easy order when their first sets of drinks come out and they are incorrect. (Poor, poor barista!) After several minutes of discussion, she starts over.

Cashier apologizes. No big deal and I smile as I order. He asks for my name. I tell him. He writes “Angie” on the cup. For those of you who haven’t heard the speech: “I am Angela, AJ, Ang, hey you, kiddo, lady, whatever! JUST NOT ANGIE!” Angie is a hooker name. (No offense to all the Angie’s out there. I was in the seventh grade when I came to this conclusion. I am not even sure that I knew what a hooker was, and yet, the thought has stuck with me and I just can’t seem to get rid of it. So there it is in permanent marker on my cup – the one that I take home and reuse over and over again- “ANGIE.”

Can it get worse? Sure, you can try to put the straw in your drink and bust the lid and nearly spill Chai tea all over yourself. And so, here I am, writing this with a pen and a piece of paper because I left my laptop at home. One of the pens I was writing with ran out of ink and I had to dig through my purse to keep going.

On the bright side, I have not given up hope that this day will get better. In fact, when I get home, I will start by taking permanent marker and scratching out the name, “Angie” from my cup. Then, all will be well.

An Interesting Book Choice

So I am going through a classic literature phase. I have no idea what the deal is. I am rereading Les Miserables (one of my all time favorite books) and I have Bram Stoker’s Dracula on deck. I was supposed to read this book for a history class as a freshman, but I didn’t. No surprise there.

So, it is like I lead two lives. The grown up me is reading the classics. The mother me is reading “What to Expect When You Use the Potty” by Heidi Murkoff. I am sure you can just imagine how captivating this book is. Why are we reading this book? Daughter is in the potty training process and this book caught my eye in the library.

I sat down with the kids for the first reading of the book. Be impressed; I did a great job of not cracking up. In fact, I was completely serious as I read the chapter title, “Where do pee-pee and poop come from?” I took a deep breath. I was hoping the worst was over. I was wrong. The next chapter, “Why don’t pee-pee and poop look like food and drink?” That was a tough one. Next was, “What’s a potty?” Totally readable. “How do I know when to go to the potty?” (a conversation starter to be sure) I thought I was in the clear. I turned the page, “Will I wear diapers after I learn to use the potty?” Ah, I was on the home stretch. I can read the rest seriously. Wrong. “Why do I have to wipe after I go to the potty?”

It was there that I started laughing. I had been serious long enough. We had quite a moment; the three of us cracking up on the couch asking each other about wiping. It is never dull at our house.

When Good Parenting Turns Bad

Last week, Son was especially hyped up at preschool. I blame in on the fact that we been in vacation mode for the last few days because we had taken a trip up to The Lake. So, I picked Son up from school and was talking to a friend out in the courtyard, as we were getting ready to head out to the car.

When there is room outside to run, Son will run. He is full of energy (I envy this fact often) and loves to play with other kids. He was running around “like a wild man” and I asked him to stop. I would like to tell you that as soon as I speak, my kids immediately cease and desist, but that would be a lie. He kept running. I knew the correct thing to do would be to stop my conversation and take care of the problem. I didn’t. Apparently, I am not good at the old “cease and desist” routine either. Genetics, what can you do?

So, I talked for a while longer and then asked Son and Daughter to walk over to me so that we could head out to the car. And so, here comes Son, at full Lightening McQueen speed directly at me. The problem: there was another child standing near me and in the path of Son’s beeline.

It was ugly. In hindsight, I am pretty sure Son’s mouth made direct contact with Friend’s Son’s head. I know, bummer. Here’s where things took a turn for the worst. Husband and I have this idea that we don’t want to baby the kids. Okay, before you judge, let me explain. We want the kids to be able to fall down and get back up with out major drama. We give them space to play and run without us right beside them with a pillow ready to catch them in case something happens.

And so, here is where a great parenting idea can go wrong. Son is crying and is really upset. I can’t quite tell what he hit and so, I am telling him that he will be okay and not making a big deal out of it. Totally laid back mom, right. I bend down to give him a hug and tell him he is okay and it’s no big deal. And here’s where it gets even worse, I say, “If you would have followed Mommy’s directions and stopped running, this would not have happened.” That’s when Friend tells me that she thinks his mouth is bleeding. Sure enough, there is blood on the shoulder of my sweatshirt.

Look out folks, the Ridiculous Parenting Moment of the Year Award is all mine. Talk about feeling so bad! After rounding up Daughter, I take Son to the bathroom and discover that not only is his lip bleeding, but also it is beginning to swell. Terrific. But wait, it gets better. In the midst of the tears and me putting wet paper towels on his lip, Son looks up at me, still a little weepy and says, “I’m sorry I didn’t follow your directions Mommy.”

Pull the knife out of my heart. Needless to say, Son is fine, it is Mommy who is still struggling with this one.

Why I don’t need a gym membership: Interval Training

There are many different ways to get in shape. Some people run, others power walk, and then there are the gym members. We used to have a membership to the local YMCA, but I found myself not attending enough to pay the fees. And so, I decided to look at things a different way. Who needs a gym, you can workout like this?

Interval training is a fast burst of activity followed by slower, easier pace of activity. (Attention health nuts, I know this isn’t the perfect definition, but it will do.) We are potty training Daughter. And so, my day goes along with a nice easy pace, but when I hear the word, “Potty!” shouted out, it is time to kick it into high gear. I sprint, pick up the package and deliver her into the bathroom as fast as I can. False alarm? I go back to the pace of my day.

I really like to step up the intensity of the training by putting it all out on the line. I take Daughter out of the house sans diaper and with her “big girl panties” on. The game has changed. When you hear the code word, “Potty” you must now pick up the package (along with Son who is tagging along and getting a huge kick out of all of this) abandon your cart (if you are in a store – which I usually am) and run around frantically until you find a bathroom. You dodge other customers, slip through isles and jog in place while you ask the cashier (who has absolutely no pity for your situation) where the nearest restroom is. When you do find the bathroom, it is not the time to drop back to a lower pace. You push forward, helping daughter on the potty while keeping an eye on Son to ensure that he touches nothing.

At this point, I find myself with two options. If Daughter is successful, the “potty dance” takes place. This is a combination of jumping up and down while frantically clapping. Also, you can’t be out of breath for this one, because you have to be singing the praises of the potty child. If the attempt is unsuccessful, you get a small break to gather yourself and the little ones around you and head back out to find the cart. In this case, the workout has returned to its normal pace.

My Triumphant Return

Okay, seriously, that was a little over dramatic, but you get the point right. After a long hiatus involving relaxation and vacationing, (and also a few holidays and guests from out of town) I am finally back.

Let the blogging begin (again)!