Friday, December 14, 2007

Screech Gets a New Nickname

Her new name is "Miss Manners". I have made several posts telling about the naughty things that Screech has done, so I thought it fitting to post about something good for a change! She is a month shy of being two, but she has the sweetest little manners I have ever seen. Just now she burped and with no prompting said, "Scuse ee!" She is great at saying "pease" and "sank you" without being reminded, but my favorite thing she does is to say, "No sank you!" when Drama Queen or Pete are bothering her! She also says, "No sank you," if I offer her food she doesn't like. What a sweetie!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Screech Fashion

Okay, I'm breaking my self-imposed rule about posting during the school day, but I just had to show you how Screech dressed herself just now. (At least they're from the CLEAN laundry basket!) Moments later, she did the same thing with my underwear (conveniently, I didn't get a pic of that!) She seems to have a fetish for underclothing (see "Brassiere Gear," October 5!)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Cookie Fun!

Last year, I started a tradition of Christmas baking with the kids. I should have done this long ago. My mom always did a ton of baking and made the nicest plates of goodies to give away. I am using several of her recipes and have added several of my own. We will give almost all the cookies away, just like my mom did.

I am really particular about my Christmas cookies (or any cookies, for that matter). You won't find shortbread (blech) or Mexican wedding cookies (double blech) in my house. In my world, cookies must be chewy. Non-chewy cookies are only acceptable if they are loaded with flavor. And nuts do not belong in cookies. Ever. This year I am making: Raspberry Meringues (my sister-in-law's recipe; everyone fights over them at her house!), Minty Chocolate Crackles (YUM! Chewy, chocolatey, the BEST!), Gingerbread Men, Lemony Cutouts, Cookie Dough Truffles, Peanut Brittle, Caramels, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Fudge.

I am so blessed to be able to homeschool and have so much more time to do special things with the kids!
They just love to cook with me. It takes twice as long this way and it's ten times as messy, but they couldn't be happier! Their favorite part is icing and decorating the cutouts and gingerbread men. I have as much fun as they do! I just had to share some of my favorite pics:

Screech got to help mix the cookies. She thought she was big stuff! She kept saying, "I cook!"

For obvious reasons, we decorated while Screech was napping.

(Really, I DO have Drama Queen brush her hair most days!)

Persnickety Pete getting his icing just right.

Here are my favorite gingerbread people:

(Check out Santa in his boxers on the upper left! We also did one just like it with him holding a remote control!)

Cute clowns

(It doesn't feel much like winter in Georgia right now! Tomorrow's high will be 79!)

I like my little retired guy. To make him complete, I need a car to go with him with its turn signal left on. Carla, are you seeing a lot of people like this in your new town?

Okay, this next pic has nothing to do with Christmas cookies, but I just had to show you Screech's new haircut. Before the haircut her hair looked really cute with her bangs swept to the side with a hairbow, but it's just too much trouble to keep up with bows and keep them in her hair.



She looks like such a big girl now! (Sniff!) What happened to my baby? (I can't believe she'll be two next month!)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

My Own Potty Stories

This time I thought I'd share some gems from when Drama Queen was 3:

Seeing a poor woman with many teeth missing, D.Q. pointed to each remaining tooth, saying, "You have one, two, free, and four teef!"

In the middle of Arby's, she asked (loudly), "Mommy, how come mans don't have big, floppy nipples like ladies do?"

In the bathroom of an upscale restaurant, D.Q. said - very loudly, of course! - "Mommy, why do grownup girls have black, fluffy fur on their bottoms?"

Have a great week!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas List

I have not had much time to update lately because I have been a bit behind on things. To give you an idea, I spent the afternoon cleaning out the van from our Thanksgiving trip (we returned nearly a week ago). Since my life lately is consumed with lists - shopping lists, to do lists, wish lists, etc. - I thought that it would be appropriate for today's entry to also be a list:

Number of times I told the kids today to stop honking on the decorative horn that is supposed to hang on the wall: 1,362
Number of times they listened: 0
Broken snowglobes I've cleaned up today: 2
Total number of Christmas decorations broken today: 7
Number of Christmas trees we're putting up this year (see above for explanation): 0

On a happier note:
Number of days I have gone to Jazzercise this week: Every day!
Pounds lost since starting Jazzercise 3 weeks ago: 3 (It's a start; would've been more if it hadn't been for Thanksgiving!)

We're enjoying the Christmas season in Georgia so far.
The mild weather is so nice, although we will miss the little bit of snow we used to get in KY. There is so much to do here. After this weekend we will have attended 3 Christmas parades!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, November 2, 2007

My Day in Court

Well, I finally had my day in court for my speeding ticket. It wasn't as scary as I had thought it would be. It was more weird than anything. The courtroom was packed and the judge spent several minutes explaining our rights, the procedures, etc. She then said that the majority of us would merely be paying fines, then the rest were actual court cases. Starting with the people who only had to pay fines, she had a stack of citations 8-10 inches high and called out a person's name for each one. My heart sank when she didn't call my name! My name was in the next group of hardened criminals. There was even an official manila folder for my case, which made me feel even more like an outlaw! We were sent out to wait in line to speak to a clerk and tell her how we were going to plead. So, I waited my turn, told her that I pled "guilty", paid my fine, and that was it. I never had to officially face the judge. I tried to plead nolo contendere (no contest), but that was not an option because of how fast I had been going. I'm sure you're wondering by now: the grand total (for speeding and expired registration) was $325. Yikes!

I had been so angry with myself for getting a ticket when I was not even in a hurry. But then I think of all the other times I WAS running late and deliberately broke the speed limit and just didn't get caught. When I look at it that way, I sure got off easy! The law is working, though; my speeding days are over. I drive like a grandma these days and watch my speed carefully. I am also more aware of road signs. I used to zone out and not pay much attention.

This all reminds me of a story I read in Guideposts about a woman who was wrongly jailed for shoplifting. She had bought a garment at Store A, then in a dressing room of a Store B she tried it on again to compare it to an item from Store B. Someone watching the security cameras (creepy thought!) saw her put the first garment into her shopping bag and mistakenly thought she was stealing something from Store B. She was handcuffed and hauled off to jail. As she sat there feeling sorry for herself, she got to thinking about little things she'd pilfered before. I don't remember the specifics, but I recall one item being a spoon from a restaurant, so they were pretty small things. Then she thought about how in God's eyes, stealing is sin, no matter what the cost of the item. Looking at it this way, by the time she had spent an hour in jail and was cleared and sent home, she felt that even though she hadn't done anything wrong, in a different way she was paying for past sins. That's kind of how I felt when I had to pay the speeding ticket. (Although, to truly pay for my past sins, I should have paid a LOT more!)

Speaking of sins, I have to share something my oldest said. This happened many months ago, but it still makes me smile. My dear hubby (who I have yet to assign a blog nickname; I'll get back to you on that!) was having a nightly Bible study with the kids. The topic was sin, and Pete commented, "Grownups never sin." Hubby corrected him, saying, "Oh, but grownups DO sin. Sometimes they get angry, and they yell, and -" At that point Drama Queen interrupted, saying, "Mommy sins a lot!" Sigh. Gotta work on that one. (Really, I'm getting a lot better!)

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I wanted to add some recent pics of the kids for those who haven't seen them for awhile. I welcome comments, but please note that I am trying to keep the blog anonymous, so I am not using their real names.

Because we love nicknames, it was fun getting to choose some that fit just as well as their "real" names, if not even better! Here they are:

Drama Queen

Persnickety Pete


Despite the tongue-in-cheek names, I am truly blessed and am thankful for the unique personalities of my children! It's funny; most of the traits that earned them their names are those they got from me.

Drama Queen is passionate and enthusiastic about EVERYTHING. (She, too, enjoys enhancing her writing with bold fonts, all caps and LOTS of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!)

In Persnickety Pete's world, everything must be just a certain way or he's bent out of shape.

Screech has her mama's temper! I'm also quite sure she is the child that my mother-in-law wished upon my husband; see yesterday's post,
For the "Someday I'll Look Back and Laugh" File.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

For the "Someday I'll Look Back and Laugh" File

The Joy of Toddlers
a play in one naughty act
by The (Almost) Amazing Mammarino

Cast of Characters

- A hardworking homeschooler who is sick, on medicine that makes her feel worse, and is generally having "one of those days"

Drama Queen
- Mom's oldest child, a girl, age 7

Persnickety Pete
- Mom's second child, a 5 year old boy

- Mom's youngest child, a high maintenance girl, age 21 months

Setting: A disheveled home with puzzle pieces dumped on the floor, papers strewn everywhere, and math manipulatives scattered in each room. Mom, half asleep, is in the kitchen slapping together some sandwiches for lunch. Drama Queen, Persnickety Pete, and Screech are not less than 6 feet away in the homeschool room, doing who knows what.

Mom: Drama Queen, what is Screech doing?

Drama Queen:
Disinterested. I dunno.

Persnickety Pete, what is Screech doing?

Persnickety Pete: She's just playing with something.

Mom: Suspicious. Playing with

Persnickety Pete
: Ummmm . . .

The mayo-encrusted knife clatters to the counter as Mom rushes to investigate.

Screech, wearing a brand new blouse and her best jumper, is surrounded by half-empty containers of Halloween makeup. Mom cries.

Not "The End"

(There's never an end when you have a toddler!!!!!)

Not wishing this blog entry to be entirely negative, I thought I'd give you a sneak peek into my prayer life today . . .

Father, thank you . . .

. . . that there were fresh batteries in my camera,
. . . that no makeup found its way onto our (very) white carpet,
. . . that I didn't say any naughty words,
. . . that the makeup came off easily with soap and water, and
. . . for my funny, sweet girl, who is a limitless source of blog material!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Brassiere Gear

My 21 month old loves to carry purses around. She will carry around anything that has a handle (or strip of material resembling a handle) and announce, "Go bye-bye!" Previous pseudo-purses have included bibs, hats, and articles of clothing. Her purse of choice today was one of my bras which she pilfered from the laundry basket. What disturbed me was that considering the size and depth of the cups, it actually could pass for a two-compartment carryall, albeit a peculiar one.

I used to dress up like a funny old country lady and read aloud the children's book, Possum Come a-Knockin' by Nancy Van Laan. It started out as a stunt for a Gong Show-style fundraiser for a Christian teen outreach ministry, then I later did it for schools, reading conferences, and even my sick sister in the hospital. The costume was hysterical. I found a garish floral blouse and wraparound skirt to clash at Goodwill, then added rolled-down knee high stockings (think Mama's Family) and workboots. I topped it all off with dangly, baubly jewelry, Halloween eyeglasses (the ones with pictures of eyes on the lenses), a battered baseball cap and my favorite, the Billy Bob teeth. What really completed the look, though, was the bra. I had bought the biggest one I could find at Wal-Mart and stuffed it with two large water balloons. Being 8 months pregnant with my first child at the time, you can imagine how outrageously funny this looked.

What depressed me, though, is that after I had my baby and started nursing, that bra fit perfectly! Sigh . . . and to think that once upon a time I got busted for stuffing my tiny training bra with Kleenex. Yep, those were the good ole days!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Climbing Mount Washmore

It's easy to get behind on laundry when you're homeschooling, but y'all, this is really bad. I am finally going through my mountain of special needs laundry: sweaters, frou-frou church dresses, and the worst - the dreaded stain pile. I don't mind doing laundry, but I DESPISE stain treating. (It doesn't help that I'm a perfectionist and will wash an item 67 times to get out a speck of mustard a millimeter in diameter.) Because of this, I conveniently get all the laundry done except the stained clothes. The pile kept growing and growing until it threatened to topple over and smother us all. Seeing that we enjoy breathing so much, I decided to chip away at the pile tonight. I've made some startling discoveries:

- I'm further behind than I had thought;

- There are several boy's outfits in the stain pile sized 24 months and smaller (my son currently wears a size 6); and

- I've discovered quite a few hand-me-downs that will fit my 21 month old little girl (my older daughter is in second grade).

Whoooooo boy. I just started a hearty washerful of "laundry soup" with some of the more salvageable clothing, two cups of Tide and 3 packets of Oxy Clean. I'm going to let it soak for awhile. (Maybe a month.)

The really bad stuff needs more drastic treatment. Enter the famous stain recipe (thanks to The Tightwad Gazette). When I had just one easy infant (and made my own baby food and baby wipes, stayed current on her scrapbook, and had this whole mommy thing down pat), I had a batch of this stuff going 24/7. Blowout? No prob. Just rinse, throw the vile garment in for a few days, stir every once in awhile, then wash as usual. POOF! No stain! Here it is:

Stain Recipe

1 cup Clorox II (no substitutions)
1 cup Cascade (no substitutions)
5 gallons of the hottest water to come from the faucet

Mix together in a large pail with tight-fitting lid (to keep out curious toddlers). Add colorfast items (learned this the hard way) and soak for as long as needed, stirring every day, then wash as usual. I usually soak until the stain is almost gone, spray with Shout or Spray & Wash, then wash as usual.

True story: On a trip to California when my firstborn was 6 months old, we traveled on a lonely stretch of highway for hours without finding any source for warm water to make a bottle. (She was one of those that HAD to have it at just the right temperature or she refused it.) The only other things I had to feed her were several jars of strained carrots. What a mess! The terry cloth bib she had been wearing got stuffed into her diaper bag and forgotten - for over 3 months. When I discovered the wretched thing, it could have passed for a Halloween accessory. The furry black mildew complimented the carrots just perfectly. Never one to throw anything away, I shrugged my shoulders and tossed it into the stain bucket. I left it in there for about four months, so it went through several changes of solution. By the time I washed it, it was as good as new - no trace of mildew or carrots! (Stubbornness CAN pay off sometimes!)

Monday, September 24, 2007

She's Pretty Chatty

The idea of blogging has lured me for quite some time. I just love to talk!

When I was in the delivery room about to have baby #2, I had been having a rough time with the contractions. After the beloved epidural, I must have been giddy with relief. My husband was on his way in as the nurse was leaving my room. "How is she?" he asked. The nurse raised her eyebrows. "She's pretty chatty!" she declared.

Medical procedures seem to bring this out in me. Another time, I'd had some kind of IV anesthesia when I had wisdom teeth removed. Hubby came to pick me up afterward and later told me that I had been talking a blue streak. I have absolutely no memory of this. Hopefully I didn't blab about my ATM pin, bra size, or Grandmother's chocolate pie recipe.

Being a homeschool mom, I am often desperate for adult conversation. Since going to the doctor is expensive and not much fun anyway, I figured a healthier way to way to share my dreams, hopes, and fears would be to start a blog. Here goes!

Life in the Fast Lane?

I got a well-deserved speeding ticket today. Sorry - no exciting story about how I was cruising the freeway in a candy apple red convertible with the top down and my bleached blond mane whipping about my face. Nope. And no, I wasn't making a mad dash to the hospital to save my dying child's life. Uh-uh. I wasn't even running late. No, I was bebopping along in my little minivan on my way to my 7-year-old's violin lesson, singing "Get on Board, Little Children" at the top of my lungs. Seems that the tempo on the Wee Sing CD got faster and faster and, well, I got caught up in the spirit of it all.

Not only was I going 69 in a 45 mph school zone, I had never quite gotten around to acquiring new tags when we moved to Georgia 3 months ago. Oops.

As he handed me an invitation to breakfast with an esteemed public official (okay, okay - it just sounded better than "speeding ticket" or "court summons"), the police officer spied my kids' Auto Safety Bingo cards lying in the seat next to me. He couldn't get past the irony.

Because I was going 24 miles over the speed limit I HAVE to go to court. Well, maybe that's not so bad. I'll have to get a sitter for the kiddies, so I may as well make a day of it . . . an uninterrupted afternoon at Starbucks would be nice . . .

Then again, if I dragged them along, maybe the judge would see all of them and feel sorry for me and let me off easy . . .

Nah! I desperately NEED a Starbucks day if my primary source of entertainment is a kiddie CD from the 80's!