Tuesday, April 29, 2008

WFMW: Two Tips

I have two tips for you today, so hopefully there will be something for everyone!

This morning, I had a mess of broken glass to clean up. Seems that no matter how hard you try, when you sweep the shards into the dustpan there are always those annoying, fine pieces that just can't make it over the lip of the dustpan. What to do? Using a vacuum cleaner can scatter the pieces, and you may never find them all. Enter my secret weapon:

Just pinch off the amount you need, and press it over the mess until it's gone! I have also heard of using a slice of bread, but this works much better.

My second tip is for those of you attending an upcoming homeschool convention. Do you ever wish you had one of those really cool rolling carts that looks like a milk crate with a telescoping handle, but don't want to shell out $20-25 for it? In the garden section of Big Lots, they usually carry these carts for just 10 bucks! They are slightly smaller than some (mine measures 13"L x 14.5"W x 13"H
- about the size of a milk crate), but they work great. It collapses for easier storage. I've been really pleased with mine.

Here are my previous WFMW posts:

Chocolate Recipes

Tooth-Tugging Tip for Terrified Tots

Handy Earache Relief

Uses for Leftover Bread

Leaky Diaper/Pull-up Fix

Snack Mix Recipe (at the end of the post)

Awesome Stain Recipe
(at the end of the post)

"Fun"damentals of Family Life

Removing Wite-Out from Everything

When NOT to Save Money

Public Service Announcement

For more WFMW tips, stop by Shannon's blog!

Mess of the Day #7: Glass

Monday, April 28, 2008

What's the Big Deal?

By now, I'm sure you've heard about the flap regarding Miley Cyrus. For those who haven't, a provocative picture of her was taken for Vanity Fair in which she appears to be nude, the necessary parts being covered by a bedsheet. (If you follow the Vanity Fair link, the picture in question is on page 2 of the story.)

Blogging mamas (and other mamas) everywhere are outraged. I was compelled to leave a comment on a post by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer, and I ended up having so much to say that I decided to repost it here:

I SO understand the desire for clean television shows and movies for our children. Our family draws the line at movies which take the Lord’s name in vain, so out of all the so-called children’s movies that come out, we average seeing one a year. Television is completely out of the question.

That being said, I am disturbed by how dependent children (and their parents) are on these forms of entertainment. We are created to worship. Why are we worshipping the wrong god? Why is it so incredibly important to HAVE to be entertained?

Because our family watches so little TV, we have more time to do family things together. We read wholesome books. We play games. We explore His beautiful creation. Not filling our hearts and minds with false idols makes it easier to “Set [our] affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

I, for one, am a little sick of hearing about how “grounded” and “well adjusted” Miley Cyrus is. Articles gush about her “faith”and that she is a “committed Christian”. Although she may very well be a Christian, I have to question the commitment of a person who raves that “Sex and the City” is her favorite TV show. And let’s not forget the pics of her flashing her bra. (Those were not Photoshopped, because she later apologized for them.)

I am not saying this to lambast the poor girl. (Assuming she is a Christian, she’s a far better person than I was at 15.) My problem lies with the way she is practically worshipped. It’s almost like parents are so disgusted with the Britney Spearses, the Lindsay Lohans and the Olesons that when the first seemingly clean celebrity comes along, they let their guards down and fall all over her.

Again, why is entertainment so stinking important?

Yes, Hannah Montana seems to be a nice, clean show. However, one must remember, the bottom line at Tinseltown is $$$. Once the nice, clean show starts sagging in the ratings, and once Miley’s fan base starts aging out of tween- and teen-aged programs, they will reinvent her. They are already pushing her to “mature”; the Vanity Fair picture is a prime example.

Even more disturbing are the comments that some people have made:

“Honestly, I really don't see what the big deal is. It is extremely hard to be in Hollywood and still live like you have morals. Just cause you're on a Disney show that seems somewhat wholesome, doesn't mean the actors or their families are. Children should be taught to have real life role models, not movie stars and singers.”

What’s the big deal, she asks?

A fifteen year old - one who is idolized by children as young as three - appears to be naked in bed. Her tousled hair, sultry eyes and pouty, painted red lips seem to say, “Was it good for you?”

To me - as well as any other parent who doesn’t want their little girls to be sexualized - that’s a big deal.

The other part of that post which bothered me was the implication that because it’s too hard to live a moral life in Hollywood, children shouldn’t idolize stars. This smacks of the same reasoning that celebrities such as Madonna have used when they said, “I didn’t ask to be a role model, so I am not a role model.” As though it were that simple. Like it or not, anyone who is in the public eye IS a role model. Preachers. Football players. Mayors. Coaches. And yes, celebrities. Just because it’s harder to be a role model in Hollywood doesn’t mean TV and movie stars can get a free pass.

I do agree that children should be taught to have real life role models. Accomplishing this, however, requires taking an unpopular stance. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t tell our kids, “Okay, you can watch Hannah Montana, but I forbid you to want to be like her.” Everything a child is exposed to becomes a part of her. What do you want your child to be made of?

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Phillipians 4:8

Mess of the Day #6: Cereal

Found her hiding under the kitchen table.
Thank goodness the cereal box wasn't very full!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Old Schoolhouse Special Offer

I want to share a special offer from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. For new subscribers, they are offering a year's subscription + 25 gifts for only $25! If I could subscribe to only one homeschooling magazine, TOS would be it.

Here are some features about TOS that I enjoy:

- It is written from a Christian perspective;
- It's thicker than most homeschooling magazines and packed with great, well-written articles, including:
  • Reviews of the latest curriculum
  • Homeschooling tips
  • Articles highlighting homeschooling special-needs children
  • Suggestions for homeschooling gifted children
  • Interviews with renowned authors and educators, such as Karen Andreola
  • Fun contests in every issue
  • Product reviews
  • Lessons and activities for every subject area, from biology to art

The above link will show you the pictures of your free gifts plus give you all the details.

This is a fantastic deal! The 25 freebies are really great. I can't wait to try them all myself!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Strawberry Time

Hooray!!! It's strawberry time! And for once I didn't miss them!

And what goes better with strawberries but chocolate?

You are going to be so sorry you learned about this recipe. Sooooooooooooo sorry. Because not only is it the richest, creamiest, most luscious, most velvety chocolatey goodness that will ever cross your lips, it is extremely easy.

Better hit the back button.


You'd better not look at this.

Okay, if you insist. But don't say I didn't warn you. I am hereby not responsible for your Weight Watchers bills, gym fees, or new wardrobe from Lane Bryant.

This is actually called "ganache". Ganache is a French word meaning, "super-duper-fattening, heavenly, sinful, to-die-for chocolate." (Either that, or it refers to a combination of chocolate and cream. I forgot which.) Ganache may be used as a glaze, or as a filling for cakes and truffles. (Oh my word, you have got to try it on cheesecake! No, don't. Your hips will hate me forever.)

Be sure to always use real chocolate chips as opposed to chocolate-flavored chips. This recipe calls for semi-sweet chocolate chips, but it is SO yummy with other kinds of chips. (If using anything but semi-sweet, leave out the sugar.) Milk chocolate is soooo rich. I have tried mixing part semi-sweet chocolate with part white chocolate, and that is the best! I have also had good results with peanut butter, chocolate mint, and other flavored chips. Let your imagination go wild!

Chocolate Ganache

12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips*
1 C. heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, optional** (no substitutes)
2 tablespoons sugar, optional

Place chocolate in a glass or metal bowl; set aside. Heat heavy cream, butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring mixture to a boil. Pour boiling mixture over chocolate; cover with plastic wrap. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Serve at room temperature with fruit for dipping.

*Or, 12 oz. semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
**You can leave the butter out; it's just a little less creamy.

The next recipe is way less fattening, but is still really yummy.

Chocolate Dip

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 container (8 ounces) Cool Whip, thawed
1/2 teaspoon rum or vanilla extract (optional)

Place chocolate chips and half of the Cool Whip in small bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on high 1 minute or until chocolate is melted and smooth, stirring every 20 seconds. Fold in remaining Cool Whip and rum or vanilla extract, if desired; mix until smooth. Serve with fruit for dipping.

Here are my previous WFMW posts:

Tooth-Tugging Tip for Terrified Tots

Handy Earache Relief

Uses for Leftover Bread

Leaky Diaper/Pull-up Fix

Snack Mix Recipe (at the end of the post)

Awesome Stain Recipe
(at the end of the post)

"Fun"damentals of Family Life

Removing Wite-Out from Everything

When NOT to Save Money

Public Service Announcement

For more WFMW tips, stop by Shannon's blog.

Here are some pics of my little munchkins at the strawberry patch. Because we went during the school day (we're studying plants in science right now) we had the whole place to ourselves.

Drama Queen

Persnickety Pete


Screech was actually the picture of innocence for most of this outing. I expected to be run ragged trying to keep her out of the strawberries. She did great, carrying the pail for me and saying "Thank you, Mommy," every time I tossed in a berry.

Then - big mistake - she started to put a strawberry in her mouth, and I let her. She snarfed it down, then tried to grab more. She thought the whole pail was for her. Our happy little outing ended like this:

Poor, pitiful thing. Don't worry, at home she got to eat her fill of WASHED strawberries!

The Joys of Boys (part 2)

(This post will make a lot more sense if you have already read yesterday's post, The Joys of Boys.)

Poor Persnickety Pete. Getting blamed and blogged about for something he didn't do.

Sweet, innocent Pete. He didn't whiz in the laundry hamper.

He did it in a pair of boots.

And poured the smelly stuff into the laundry hamper.

Multiple times.

Big sigh.

What to do? Well, he's never done anything like this before.

That we know about.


And it's not like he broke our longstanding rule of No-Whizzing-in-Footwear-and-Pouring-It-into-Laundry-

To me, this fits squarely under the heading of childish irresponsibility. Still, I felt that there should be some consequences. All I did was have him take several audible whiffs of the boots (my, this seemed effective) and made him throw the boots away (which had to be done anyway).

Thankfully, the boots were his own. I don't think I could have ever forgiven him if they had been my $4500 Louis Vuitton ostrich boots.

(Yeah. Right.)

I've enjoyed hearing everyone else's stories of inappropriate eliminating by their boys. Most involve trash cans or carpet, but my favorite is the one about the air vent in the floor. It took 3 bath towels to sop it up.

I think I can live with throwing a pair of boots away and adding some extra Downy to the laundry.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Joys of Boys

Y'all know that I have serious laundry issues. So I definitely do not need any more.

As I was going through one of the hampers this evening, I noticed that the clothes were damp and a bit more, um, malodorous than usual.

My first thought was that our elderly cat was responsible. I quickly dismissed this idea because she is too obese, old and out of shape to jump that high. Besides, I've cleaned up enough cat and child messes to know the difference.

A mom's nose knows.

Knowing that Pete has a tendency to wait until the last minute, my next assumption was that he'd had a wet accident and tossed the odiferous undies in the hamper without telling me. As I searched for the smelly skivvies, I found more than wet underwear.

I found wet shirts. I found wet pants. I found wet socks. Many of these wet things belonged to Hubby and me.

(Putting on imaginary Sherlock Holmes cap.)

Hmmmmm . . . .

Hubby has not had any accidents this week.

have not had any accidents this week.

Which leaves only one possibility:

Dear friends, my son has been whizzing in the laundry hamper.

(Counting to ten.)



(Not helping.)

(Banging head against wall.)

Why, why, why???

Perhaps he is marking his territory.

Does this mean that he's going to do the laundry from now on?

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Secret Life as a Bunny (Part 2)

Yesterday I told you about my foray into the bunny business. In answer to your questions, I stuck (or shall I say, "stunk"?) it out for the whole school year.

My favorite part of being Cecil was the children. As school mascots go, bunnies are cuter than, say, vikings or gladiators, which gave me instant celebrity status among the kids at the games. One child whom I'll never forget hugged on me at every game. It was obvious that she was mentally challenged in some way and I always made a point of approaching her. She gave me a plastic stretchy heart bracelet that I still have to this day.

To further my career, I played the Easter Bunny at a local mall
for one season in college. (I'm quite sure that I was the only applicant with previous experience.) The mall provided several CLEAN costumes. They were nearly identical to the Cecil costume, minus the teenage boy sweat.

There were several of us playing the famed furry creature. Besides me, there were a couple of other college girls and a really cute, popular high school boy who just happened to be my height. (This detail will be important later in this post.)

We had a lengthy job description, which included things like "no talking" and "no hopping" (it looked "awkward"). That took a lot of the fun out of it. Oh, well. No one said anything about skipping, so skip I did!

For the most part, it wasn't that exciting. (I always worked the slow nights. If you want to avoid the lines, your best bet is a Tuesday.)

I was always so excited for a child to come. The one good thing about it being so slow is that I was able to spend as much time as I wanted with each one. They often sat on my lap for a long time, pouring out their little hearts. I remember one little boy shared how his team had just lost their soccer game. I nodded soberly and patted his shoulder, and he seemed to feel better.

Sometimes, I would get up and dance with the children to the mall Musak, and they just cracked up. I had as much fun as they did!

The most depressing moment was when someone brought the tiniest baby I ever saw for me to hold. I heard the mother say that they had come straight from the hospital. I was so angry and wanted to yell, "Lady, do you know how many kids have sneezed, picked their noses and butts, and rubbed their grubby hands all over my fur????" The young mother obviously didn't know any better. I'll never forget her standing there with her greasy, stringy hair and decaying teeth, smiling at her tiny baby and saying over and over, "She's so little." Meanwhile, I was trying as hard as I could to hold the baby securely while letting the least bit of fur touch her as possible. I remember praying the whole time, "Dear Lord, please don't let this precious baby get sick."

Another memorable moment was a large, gussied up, hoity toity family that came to have their portrait made with the Easter Bunny. I wish I could remember all the children's names. They sounded like surnames, and they all ended in -ton. The ones I do remember were Carrington, Wellington, Washington, and Remington (some were girls!) They weren't little kids, either. Most of them were teenagers. I think the thing that struck me the most was how seriously they took themselves, as if this were an expensive portrait studio. I remember thinking, c'mon, people. This is the MALL! You're getting a POLAROID!

My most interesting visitors were also teenagers. Remember the high school hottie I told you about earlier who also played the Easter Bunny? And remember that the Easter Bunny is not allowed to talk?

This is where it gets fun.

A group of giggling teenyboppers came bouncing over to see me. Well, not me. But apparently
they didn't know that.

These girls were poured into their jeans and wore heavy makeup. Imagine Bratz dolls coming to life. ~shudder~

They were rather, um, flirtatious.

I don't want to go into the way that they sat on (read: straddled) my knees.

~Throwing up. Violently.~

True to my job description, I didn't talk. I just sat there, doing my bunny duty while silently begging them to leave.

If only I could have been a fly on the wall at their school the next day! I could just imagine their conversation:

Giggling Girls: Batting eyes. Hiiiiiiiii, Jooooooooooooooooshhhhhhhhh!!!!
We enjoyed seeing you last night!!!!!

Josh: What are you talking about?

And now you know . . . the rest of the story!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My Secret Life as a Bunny (Part 1)

Yesterday's post brought several emails commenting on my job as mall Easter Bunny, so I thought I would share a little more.

My life as a bunny started in high school, where our school mascot was a "Briar Jumper." (I'm sure this was emasculating for our football team. Ooh! The Big, Bad Bunnies!)

At some point, I tried out to be "Cecil," the mascot who got to wear the plush costume and generally act the fool at all the games.

This is called, My Dream Job.

I had it all. I was bouncy. I was bubbly. I could do cartwheels. I was energetic. I had school spirit. There was only one thing standing in my way.

The cheerleaders were doing the judging. ~shudder~

This was not my ideal judging panel.

Now, I've got nothing against cheerleaders. (In fact, I desperately wanted to be one and get to wear a short skirt and have guys drool over me.)

It's just that, well . . . popular kids tend to eschew unpopular kids.

(This is a polite way of saying, "chew them up and spit them out".)

Now, I can just hear a bunch of you saying, "But Mammarino, it couldn't have been that bad."

Y'all. I was in the VIDEO CLUB, for cryin' out loud.

Not to mention the Art Club.

Heck, if I'd just joined the Chess Club I could have hit the nerd trifecta.

Back to the tryouts. My only real competition that I could see was Chuck. He was a shoo-in because he was already cute, popular and was the class clown. And, I have to admit, he was the perfect Cecil.

I wasn't too worried, though, because they had to pick two or three Cecils. Surely they would see how good I am and I could snag a spot.

Long story short, I was cast as an alternate. Better than nothing, right?

Still, I was dejected. A naughty part of me that I only talk about to God (and, apparently, to the hundreds of people that read this blog) secretly wanted Chuck or someone to get sick just once so I could fulfill my dream of being Cecil.

I got my chance. Good old Chuck and his comrades never even had to catch so much as a cold. It seems that because the task of playing Cecil was so exhausting, they had to schedule two Cecils per game, switching at halftime. However, there was a slight problem with this arrangement.

There was only one costume.

By halftime, that costume was dripping with sweat. You could have wrung it out, filled a 5 gallon pickle bucket, and wrung it out some more.

Just imagine putting on a heavy winter coat that was drenched in stagnant water. And hadn't been washed in, oh, about a year. (That was another thing; they only had it in the budget to have the suit dry cleaned once a month or so.)

Mmmm, boy. No better way to spend a Friday night then by bathing in a teenage boy's sweat.

The costume head, of course, couldn't be cleaned very efficiently, either. Yessirree, that was a treat for the old olfactory system.

Guess who got called on to sub? A lot? Like, almost every single game for the whole school year?

You got it. We geeks are good for something.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My First Time Being Tagged!

I've been tagged! This is my very first one. I feel so special! This is a shining moment in my bloggy life. I'd like to thank my English teachers, my bloggy friends, my . . .

Here's how this one works...

1. The rules are posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and ask them to read your blog.

What I was doing 10 years ago:

In 1998, I was teaching elementary music at a great school.
I was also working on my Master's in Elementary Education with a Reading Specialist endorsement. Hubby and I had been married a year and a half.

Five things on my to do list for today:

1. Go to Jazzercise
2. Go strawberry picking (YUM!)
3. Take a nap (stayed up too late!)
4. Clean bathrooms
5. Go to violin lessons and AWANA

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

Make sure my extended family is well taken care of; give to missionaries; donate to other charitable causes; replace our worn out, hand me down furniture; get liposuction and buy myself some real clothes!

Three of my bad habits:

1. Picking at my lips

2. Checking email obsessively
3. Staying up too late

Five places I have lived:

1. Louisville, KY

2. Tateville, KY
3. Somerset, KY
4. Shelbyville, KY (one summer)
5. Georgia

Five jobs I have had:

1. Dental Assistant
2. Easter Bunny (at a mall)
3. Waitress at Chi-Chi's
Assistant Band Director at a high school (1 year was enough!)
5. Elementary Music Teacher

Five People I Want to Know More About:

1. Mommy Octopus

2. Dana
3. Gayle
4. Muddy Boots
5. Mom2fur

Tooth-Tugging Tip for Terrified Tots

Drama Queen is a chicken when it comes to getting loose teeth pulled.

A yellow-bellied, lily-livered, gutless wonder.

This is a gross understatement.

A couple of weeks ago, she had a tooth that was so loose it flapped when she talked. It kind of reminded me of the door my cat uses to get to her litter box in the garage. Except upside-down. I kept expecting to hear it squeak when it flopped back and forth: eeh-ooh-eeh-ooh-eeh-ooh . . .

But, I digress.

She complained that it hurt when she ate, but the mere suggestion of pulling it (either by herself or me) sent her into a tizzy.

Another gross understatement.

We're talking screaming.


Shaking like a bowl of Jell-o during an earthquake.

Flinging her body from wall to wall.

(This is why her blog name is Drama Queen, y'all.)

You may think that I must have pressured her.

(sweet, sympathetic Mommy voice) "Honey, do you want Mommy to pull it for you, or do you want to pull it yourself?"

Sound like pressure to you?

Well, you say, maybe she had some traumatic incident with a previous tooth being pulled.

Nope. Unless you count the Tooth Fairy forgetting her. For two nights in a row. (I have a sneaking suspicion that the little winged pixie discovered blogging.)

After many meltdowns, Drama Queen came up with the fantastic idea of having me pull it while she was asleep. I thought this was brilliant, because the anticipation seemed to be the worst part.

She changed her mind before she put on her jammies.

Later, after Hubby tucked her in, he came down and said, "Drama Queen told me to tell you to PLEASE to pull her tooth."

All righty then.

A few hours later, I snuck into her room to do the deed. Drama Queen, still mostly asleep but vaguely aware of my presence, shook her head vigorously, her brown hair slapping the sides of her pillow.

I didn't pull the tooth.

(I am firmly against telling my child that I won't pull her tooth and then surprising her by suddenly doing it anyway. I figure I'm giving her enough reasons to need therapy as it is.)

The next night, we went through the same thing:

"Pleeeeeeease pull my tooth!"

"Mommy, I changed my mind. Please DON'T pull my tooth!"

"I really mean it this time. Pull my tooth!"

"Nooooooo!!!!! Don't pull it!!!!!!!"

On it went for two hours, ending with, "NO! Don't do it!!!!!!"

When I stole into her room that night to get the writing journal we share (I'll post about this another day), I read this note:

Okey dokey. I guess that settles it.

I grabbed a Kleenex and got a grip on the tooth. Drama Queen's eyes flew open and grew wide. (Imagine a startled owl being choked.) I tugged lightly (it was hanging by a thread, for Pete's sake) and the tooth popped right out.

There wasn't even a drop of blood.

Drama Queen remained dazed and silent for a full 3-4 seconds. Then, as what had just happened seemed to sink in, she started to whimper. I asked if it hurt, and she half-moaned a "yes". (I knew good and well that it didn't, but this is Drama Queen we're talking about here.) I left to get her some Orajel. When I returned seconds later she was fast asleep.

In the morning she had absolutely no recollection of anything.

After I recounted the whole story of how I pulled her tooth, she happily announced that she would like for me to ALWAYS pull her teeth this way.

Works for me!

(For more WFMW tips, visit Shannon's blog.)

Here are some of my previous
WFMW tips:

Handy Earache Relief

Uses for Leftover Bread

Leaky Diaper Fix

Snack Mix Recipe (at the end of the post)

Awesome Stain Recipe

"FUN"damentals of Family Life

Wite-Out Woes

Public Service Announcement

When NOT to Save Money


For the love of Pete, please help me. I can't get Captain Feathersword out of my head. He's in there half-singing, half-growling,





Can you believe his last job title was "Opera Singer"?

I love the Wiggles, y'all, but I would prefer to have a choice regarding when they can and can't enter my cerebral cortex.

I am going to lose my mind.

See y'all later.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Prayer Request

I have a prayer request. We just learned that Hubby's dad is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. Please pray for patience for Hubby's mom and for Hubby's dad to remain his sweet, loving self. (Sometimes with this disease the person's personality changes, making him belligerent and difficult.) We greatly appreciate your prayers and know that the Lord will be glorified no matter what happens.

2 Corinthians 12:9 "
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Winner of the LTDChix T-Shirt Contest is . . .

(Drumroll, please) . . . . . . . BundyMum! Here is her winning entry:

I am working mom as I try to do accounts from home
In between toys, drinks and snacks, craving thinking time alone

I am cooking mom, juggling toddlers, pans and phones
Having dinner done and kids all bathed before hubby gets home

I am fitness mom, trying to add muscle to bone
When I get the time that is, If ever the other jobs are done

But even though I'm all these things, when all is said and done
I don’t mind even a little bit cause I am their mom.

Congratulations bundymum, and thanks to all who entered and took the time to check out the LTDChix website!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Dress Is DONE!!!

The dress is DONE!!!!

Well, almost. I didn't get the lace on the neckline, and the bows weren't quite what I wanted because I hadn't bought enough ribbon. I finished it 15 minutes before the dance! I also didn't get to alter Drama Queen's too-large gloves or make her hat because I simply ran out of time. (Even after staying up until 3am for 3 nights in a row!!!) The trousers of Pete's store-bought costume had to be safety pinned because I didn't have time to deal with them, either.

Oh, well! Perfectionistic rantings aside, here is the finished product:

Drama Queen truly looked like a princess! She was so excited!

I have to say that this is absolutely the best sewing I have ever done. The seams were straight and even, and everything looked
just like it was supposed to. I was especially proud because instead of following the directions for just one view of the pattern, I combined three different views and even added something (the sash) that wasn't on the pattern at all. Not bad, considering I am mostly self-taught. I plan to add the lace and take some closeups to post for you to see. (After I shovel out my house. Let's just say that the housework has been, um, a bit neglected these past two weeks.)

I forgot to take pics of the ADORABLE shoes I got at Payless. Here's a pic from the website:

Aren't they adorable?

Pete looked pretty dapper in his Confederate officer uniform:

The Civil War dance was SO much fun. Master's Academy goes all the way through high school, and seeing the high schoolers dressed up made me feel like I was crashing a prom. (Except these kids were sober, well behaved and overall pleasant to be around!)

We got to see the younger kids (Drama Queen's group) perform dances like the Virginia Reel and other square dances. The older kids did waltzes and other dances from the romantic era.
I LOVED all the authentic dresses, especially the Scarlett-O'Hara-type ones! It was cool watching those humongous hoops sway and swish to the music. I should have taken more pictures.

They also had a daddy-daughter dance. My heart just melted watching Hubby dance with Drama Queen, looking into her eyes as though she is the only person in the room. (I might add that at the time he was suffering from terrible pain in his ears, with are both now infected. He had to go back to the doctor today.)

Pete also danced with Drama Queen. I would like to say it looked like this (the pic I had them pose for):

But in reality, it was more like this (the dance he agreed to after much threatening):

Fun was had by all (except Pete)!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Handy Earache Relief

Hubby, my pillar of strength and manly man, has had a horrible ear infection lately. (Yes, adults can get these, too! I have had several this year myself.) He never gets sick or gets even so much as a headache, so this has really thrown him for a loop. The pain has been nearly unbearable for him (the doctor said he'd caught it just in time; his eardrum was about to burst). He feels as though he had been hit in the side of his head with a baseball bat. The pain kept him awake at night, but one thing that brought a little relief was moist heat. I wet a washcloth, wrung it out and zapped it in the microwave for 20 seconds, and it was just right.

As well as this worked, by the time I performed all these steps I was wide awake. I came up with a solution to keep warm washcloths handy - the Crock Pot! Put the washcloths in with just enough water to saturate, then cover and put on the lowest setting. The "keep warm" setting is ideal, but be careful, as they will still be very hot! If your only choice is "low" or "high", put it on low and keep some tongs handy. You can get one out with the tongs and shake it until it is cool enough to handle. An empty bowl can be placed next to the bed for the used washcloths (or, if you're not a germ freak, you can just toss the washcloths back in the Crock Pot to reheat them).

I think it might be even more soothing to add some lavender essential oil to the washcloths, but I didn't try it.

P.S. If you didn't get a chance to check out LTDCHix.com for the t-shirt giveaway, there's still time! We've extended the contest to Friday, April 11th! Click here to see how to enter.

For more great tips, head over to Shannon's blog!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sewing Success (I Hope!)

Hooray! [happy dancing] I know what to do-oo, I know what to do-oo!

In case you're wondering what I'm blathering about, I got a 2nd call from Simplicity explaining how to sew the bodice on Drama Queen's civil war dance dress. I had missed their first call when I was dealing with yesterday's lice crisis, and the message they left on my answering machine was NOT helpful. I called and left another message today.

When 4:00 rolled around -
the helpline is only open from 9 until 4 on weekdays - I was despondent at the thought of getting no sewing done this weekend. At 4:20, I got a call. On the verge of tears, I babbled on and on about how I had been so sure that I was going to have to wait until Monday.

She replied, "Well, you sounded desperate."

I suppose that's because I am.

On to the pattern problem. I fully expected her to gush, "I'm so sorry, there is a huge mistake in the pattern. Please accept our deepest apologies and this gift certificate to our online store."

Instead, she patiently explained that it was a princess seam with reverse curves and then proceeded to give me CLEAR, step-by-step instructions on how to pin it, clip it, and then sew it.

Not wanting to look too ignorant (just a little bit is okay), I thanked her and then demanded, "Why didn't Simplicity put these steps in the directions to begin with?"

She replied, "Well, with a complicated pattern such as this one, they're assuming that anyone who would choose it would be an experienced sewer and would know how to do a princess seam."

Gulp. I've done, maybe, 5 projects in my life.

I have 6 days to finish this.

I might not be talking to y'all for awhile. Feel free to bring my soon-to-be-neglected family some food this week.

It's Going to Be a Better Day

What a precious daughter I have!
I am SO blessed!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Lousy Day

Today I had a bazillion things to do. Tops on my list was to call Simplicity regarding some erroneous directions on step 2 of the pattern for Drama Queen's dress for a Civil War dance (which is just a week away!)

(STEP 2. Not step 14. Not step 21. This really irked me. If they're gonna screw up the directions, why does it have to be at the very beginning? Couldn't they have picked a later step? I'm working on this late at night when the kids [read: Screech] are in bed. Since I can't go past STEP 2 I have to wait until 9:00am the the next day, call the helpline, leave a message, and then wait for them to call me back. I was steaming, thinking of all the sewing I could have been doing!)

Next on my agenda was to drop Drama Queen off at Master's Academy of Fine Arts, then pick up Cutie, a sweet, 10-year-old homeschooled girl in my neighborhood. She LOVES Screech and agreed to be a mother's helper for a couple of hours so I could get some sewing done. After lunch, I was going to take Cutie home, put Screech down for a nap, then sew some more. Then, I planned to pick up Drama Queen and have her entertain Screech while I sewed even more.

In my mind's eye I could just see that shapeless pile of ordinary fabric transforming into a billowy, pink masterpiece!

Because Simplicity had not called me back yet, when we got to Master's to drop off Drama Queen I showed my pattern to several people to see if they could help. While the other moms were taking turns telling me, "I have no idea" and "I don't sew," someone came to tell me that a nit was found in Drama Queen's hair.

This was not on my agenda.

My choices were to: a) take her home, or b) remove all the nits right then and there.

Did I mention that her thick, ropy hair goes almost all the way to her tushie?

New agenda:

- Throw fit. (Actually, I skipped this one. I'm quite proud of myself.)

- Cry. A lot. (Did I mention that I had been up until 3am for three nights in a row, trying to work on that dress?)

- Drive to a good friend's house. Pick up fancy schmancy $25 nit comb.
Cry some more.

- Drive home. On the way, tell Drama Queen and Pete that they are not allowed to speak to each other until further notice because their fighting is driving me looney. Cry some more.

- On the way, tell a shrieking Screech repeatedly that I'm sorry, but she may NOT play with a certain loud, obnoxious toy because it needs new batteries.

- Make mental note NOT to change said batteries. Ever.

- Fix lunch.

- Put Screech down for nap.

- Put self down for nap.

- Deal with nits later.

A sweet, helpful mom told me about a great article by Dr. Sears that dealt with how to get rid of lice. It was great because it gave clear, sensible information, even listing all the medicated shampoos in order from least toxic to most toxic. It also mentioned many homegrown remedies. Best yet, it saved me from the hours of research I usually log when I am facing a crisis.

I chose Nix because it kills lice AND their eggs (Rid only kills the lice), plus it keeps working for two weeks so it doesn't require retreatment.

I thought every one looked pretty cute in their disposable caps. Good thing about Screech, she's a real sport when it comes to things like this. She only screamed when it was time to take it off.

As I rubbed the Nix into the hair and scalp of each member of the family, the texture and slight odor reminded me disturbingly of a flea shampoo I had once used on my cat before Advantage flea treatments were available. Which made me wonder: Why can't I just open a little tube, squirt a little on each person's neck and be done with this mess? (There's a wide open business opportunity for all you enterprising moms out there!)

Speaking of messes, here's my new (not necessarily improved) agenda for tomorrow:

This doesn't even include the 4 loads I already did. (Sigh.) I don't think I'll be getting much sewing done tomorrow, either. Hubby suggested that I just take it all to the laundromat, but I don't have the time to sit there for hours and wait and fight people for the triple loaders. I might add that some of my most horrible childhood memories took place in laundromats. Oh, the agony! The torture! (And that was just from the cigarette smoke and country music!)

P.S. If you didn't get a chance to check out LTDCHix.com for the t-shirt giveaway, there's still time! We've extended the contest to Friday, April 11th! Click here to see how to enter.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

How (and how NOT!) to Handle a Kitchen Oil Fire

(No, this isn't deja vu. This is a Greatest Hits edition of WFMW. Back by popular demand . . . well, actually, I chose this one because so many of you didn't watch it the first time! You NEED to watch this. Now. I mean it! These short 34 seconds could save your life! Then scroll down for the GIVEAWAY!)

Quick! Your frying pan full of hot oil just caught fire! What do you do?

Think you know the right answer? Better be sure - watch this!!!!!

I have a whole bank of my cleverest ideas saved up for future Works for Me Wednesday posts. They were all put on the back burner when a friend forwarded this video (sorry, the pun was irresistible!). This is VERY short (only 34 seconds long)! It might save your life!

If the above video won't play, try watching it at this link:


Thanks to Bobby and EllaJo for forwarding this!

Now . . . on to the giveaway! I just discovered these GREAT t-shirts and notecards for moms at LTDChix.com. They’re a riot! The shirts depict an overwhelmed mom in various situations, smiling her way through daily life with the accompanying caption, “Living the Dream”.

Here are a few words adapted from the LTDChix website which sum up their slogan:

What had happened to that idyllic dream of being the perfect mom with the perfect kids and the perfect life? This is it! We are Living the Dream. Being a Mom really is tough sometimes, we’re faced fairly often with some pretty insane and chaotic situations, and WE LOVE IT! We wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Here's how to enter the giveaway:

1) Head over to LTDChix and check out all their great products, which include t-shirts, long sleeved tees, and notecards.

2) Leave a comment on this post, telling me which 3 moms you like and can relate to the most. Even better, be creative and explain why!

3) The winner will be announced Friday, April 11th. The best comment wins a t-shirt or tank (depending on stock) and will get to choose one of three selections that LTDChix provides.

My personal favorite is Laundry Mom (here's why):

I also love Minivan Mom, Referee Mom and Cooking Mom. The pictures are priceless! The child hanging off the arm of Cooking Mom must be my 2 year old, Screech! And I constantly have to act as a referee for Pete and Drama Queen!

Here are some links to previous WFMW posts and others of interest:

Uses for Leftover Bread

Leaky Diaper Fix

Snack Mix Recipe (at the end of the post)

Awesome Stain Recipe

"FUN"damentals of Family Life

Wite-Out Woes

Public Service Announcement

When NOT to Save Money

For more great tips, visit Shannon's blog!

Public Service Announcement

These look like Cheetos.

They do not, in fact,
TASTE like Cheetos.

This has been a public service announcement.
We now return to our regularly scheduled post.

Here is the latest example of Screech's handiwork:

I just might make good on my promise
to sell her on Ebay.

When NOT to Save Money!

As many previous bloggers have posted to Works for Me Wednesday, duct tape works GREAT for keeping curious toddlers from yanking off diapers!

Y'all, spend the extra 2 bucks and get REAL Duck Tape. Don't buy Mainstays, the Wal-Mart store brand. Here's why:

At least I caught her before she wet (or worse)!
(Don't worry, the diaper was completely dry!)