Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Party Favors

I have this issue with party favors. My children go to birthday parties and come home with bags of stuff--most of which I would just love to throw away immediately but can't, until the obligatory time that my children forget about the stuff, usually about three days.

Since I was bugged by the bags of stuff, a few years ago, I decided to send home just one, nice party favor. I am always looking for super deals on-line (I love and send just one item home with the kids. Here is a list of some of the things that have been a success.

1. Beach towels: My daughter had a princess-themed party and I was able to find Disney beach towels that had three of the princesses on them for $5 each.

2. Backpacks: My son is having a camping-themed party and at a local outlet store I was able to find some backpacks for a steal of a deal.

3. Lightsabers: This was of course for a Starwars-themed party and I just purchased the basic plastic ones--not the kind that required batteries. Once I brought out the lightsabers, the boys spent the rest of the party playing with them.

4. Giant piece floor puzzles: A local arts and crafts store always has coupons for 40% off. I went in every few days a few weeks before the party and using the coupons and was able to buy Melissa and Doug floor puzzles for under $6.

I should mention that once my kids went to a party for a six year old girl who father was a radiologist. I expected this party to be an over the top affair and was very pleasantly surprised to find out they played musical chairs and red rover most to the time and each child came home with a box of crayons.

Monday, June 25, 2007

My Rant

This is a rant, so if you don't want to read my soapboxing, feel free to click on someone else's blog.

I have been going to the pool a lot lately. One to watch my kids take swimming lessons and two to take my kids back for open swim. While there, I have noticed two very disturbing things.

1. There are a lot of very image conscience mothers, wearing very skimpy swimming suits. A lot of them do have the bodies to get away with wearing what they are wearing but I am concerned about the message they are sending to the younger generation. I have watched my 5 year old daughter watch them. I am trying to teach modesty and having respect for one's body and these woman, some of them mothers of my children's friends are letting it all hang out there. At one point, I overheard a mother tell her daughter, who couldn't have been more than 13, that her bikini suit was so darling on her! She is so lucky to have a great figure to show off to everyone! I shop at a grocery store, where they cover up the Cosmo magazines and other such publications when the covers have girls in outfits that are too revealing but I take my kids to the pool and they see just as bad or worse and it is not by young girls who don't know any better. It is by the mothers. These mothers are raising daughters and sons and it bothers me to see this provocative behavior. It is great to be in shape and maintain yourself but what sort of immodest messages are they promoting? We can still see your amazing abs in a one piece bathing suit.

2. Speaking of being in shape, the amount of very large overweight young children at the pool is depressing. I am amazed to see young children with rolls and rolls of fat and then see the food they are eating at the pool. There is a snack bar and these children are buying one sugary/fat filled snack after the other. These poor children are not being monitored by their parents and I now understand why they are calling childhood obesity an epidemic. It is very, very sad. The health problems these poor children are being set up for is scary.

Ok, I'm off the soap box, you can come back now.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Poo in the Pool

This afternoon, I decided to take my kids swimming to our local pool. We became summer members and the pool is less than a 1/2 mile from my house. I figured out last year that we had to go at least 10 times make it worth the expense of the summer membership and this year, I think it is a little less since we get a discount when we play tennis there. Anyway, after being there an hour, I wanted to go home but my kids wanted to stay. Just as I was having this conversation with them, the whistle blew and they made everyone get out. There was a lot of confusion but it was finally revealed that someone had gone poo in the water and they had to close down the pool to clean it. Oddly enough, the poo was in the deep part, which means it wasn't a leaky swim diaper. It had to be a person old enough to swim in the 7 feet deep part. Anyway, never in my life have I been so happy to that someone had gone poo in the pool! No more arguing with my kids. We all agreed it was best to just pack up and leave.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Give Away at Love Boxes

Tiffany at Love Boxes is doing a Fourth of July give away. It is free to enter and I absolutely LOVE her stuff. Check out her Etsy store by clicking on Love Boxes under my Products I Love section. To enter her drawing, go here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Competitive Soccer--Welcome to a whole new world

I like sports. I love a good Bronco football game. I enjoy the BYU/U of U rivalry in any sport. (Go Cougars). On my mission, I enjoyed playing a lot of soccer on my P-day. I love watching my kids play them and want them to play them. I want them on teams and learn the lessons that team sports offer. However, I am not IN LOVE with sports and now begins my conflict.

Toothsome #1 has been playing soccer since he was 4. He is relatively good at it and scores goals, is good at defense, and has even had some great blocks when he has played goalie. Recently, the team he has been playing with since he was five decided to change leagues and go to a competitive league. My son was older than most of the boys on the team and we found out in this new league that he was too old to play with this team anymore. So, I just planned on having him in the existing league with a new group of boys. Not a great solution but it seemed to work.

Then, I got a call from the coach who said he thought toothsome #1 should tryout for the older team in this competitive league. After some consideration, my husband and I thought we should at least try-out. Well, we tryed-out and he made it. I have now attended crazy parent meetings where everyone has an opinion on the style of soccer shorts, how to fund-raise, how we all need to buy matching t-shirts to support our kids on the sidelines, attend soccer camps and tournaments. I am not a nutty soccer mom. I and my son have a life outside of soccer. I just want my son to have a good soccer experience. Now I am neck deep in soccer craziness. Add to this, the coach of this new team asked me to be the team treasurer and I was stupid enough to say yes. (I should say when 10 soccer-intense parents are staring at you, it is hard to say no.) So today, I spent about 4 hours setting up a non-profit bank account so I can gather money, write checks, pay dues, pay referee fees, etc. All I can say is, this better be a great experience for my son because I am worn out and he hasn't even had his first practice!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Cool Thing I Found

My oldest, toothsome #1, loves science. As I avoided science classes like the plague when I was in school, I have had to force myself to be interested in science thing for his sake. I want to be a good mom and so I am always looking for science things we can do together. We are learning all of this together and it has been a great bonding thing for us. Last week, I found this at, of all places Office Max. After finding this web-site it looks like we will be ordering from them more boxes of stuff. Anyway, today we did the first two experiments and had a ton of fun doing them. Tonight for Family Home Evening, we are going to do a few more.

Another great book we own and have done a lot of the experiments is "101 Great Science Experiments". You can buy it here but I got it at our schools book fair. The goal is to finish the book over the summer.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


INSTRUCTIONS: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so:
Random Thoughts
Melz World
Superpaige’s Pad
Next, select five people to tag:

I don't like to tell people what to do (except my children), so if you are reading this, and you want to do this, you are tagged.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was engaged to my husband, working as an editor and planning my December wedding.

What were you doing 1 year ago? Same as now, taking my kids to swimming lessons every morning and then staying for "open swim". Oh, I was pregnant and hot a lot.

Five Snacks You Enjoy:
chocolate chips
chocolate covered pretzels
mini Reese peanut butter cups
limeaid popsickles

Five Songs That You Know All The Lyrics To:
Fields of Gold (Sting)
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Forever Young (Alphaville)
Love Shack (B-52s)
Message In a Bottle (The Police)

Five Things You Would Do If You Were a Millionaire:
Buy my husband his dream car
Hire a cleaning lady
Take really cool vacations
Get weekly massages
Hire a cook

Five Bad Habits:
Letting the laundry pile up
Reading a book and ignoring housework
Diet Coke consumption
Interrupting people's sentences
Too many chocolate chips eaten late at night

Five Things You Like To Do: Read, walk, be with my husband, play with my kids, talk to friends

Five Things You Would Never Wear Again: I'm game to rewear anything. I'm not that vain.

Five Favorite Toys: The computer, my Roomba, my intercom system, my digital camera, my cultivater for my yard

100 degrees and I am planting

There is a spot on the East side of my house that has been bugging me. There is no flower bed there and I have been wanting to plant something to cover up the long expanse of stucco that is visible from the street. I finally decided on a Sensation Lilac bush. It has been on my "to do" list for over a month but other things have take priority and I just haven't gotten to it.
Well, today was "the day" regardless of the weather, so I am outside, digging up sod, digging a hole and then planting this lilac bush in 100 degree heat. Add to it that I am wearing long sleeves and long pants and a huge hat--it was a little ridiculous. Then toothsome #4 started to cry, so I had to stop digging up the rest of the bed. I will have to get that done on Monday, which will actually be a better day, since the temperatures are only supposed to be in the 80s.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Open Swim

Today was the first day we ventured forth to "open swim" at our local pool. We met two friends there who have kids about the same age as my kids. I was a little concerned how toothsome #4 would like it but she had a great time splashing away in the water. Toothsome #3 who refused to get in the water for his swim lessons had a great time at the pool. So, next year, hopefully, I can get him to participate in swimming lessons.

I have always been sun cautious but after my melanoma incident, I am really careful. As I joked with my friends, the sun has become my enemy. Fortunately, "rash guards" have become "cool" in recent years, so my kids are not the only ones in the pool wearing them. On the other hand, I was the only mother there completely covered up. I do have a very cute long-sleeved rash guard but the problem comes with my hat and shorts. It is very hard to look cute and fun in a water-safe 3-inch brimmed hat. As I sat in the pool and looked around, I was the MOST covered up person there. And, that included several mothers in their street clothes watching on the side. My beautiful friend with a gorgeous body sat next to me in her bikini swim suit and her bronze skin. My other friend with a bosom I covet, looked amazing in her chocolate brown suit. I, sat in the water fully covered from hat, to neck to knees and thought, "Well, maybe in 10 years, my skin will thank me, but currently, I look like such a dork." Oh well.

Monday, June 11, 2007

First Day of Summer "Vacation"

Today is the first true day of summer "vacation". Here is our schedule for today. As you can see , a ton of relaxing is going on.

9:00 (in about 8 minutes): Wake the kids up, get them dressed and fed and encourage them to get one page in their workbooks done as well as make beds.

10:00-11:00: Tennis lessons for toothsomes #1 and 2

11:10-12:00: Swimming lessons for toothsomes #1-3

12:00-1:00: Drop some important paperwork at dentist husbands office that I forgot to give him when he left for work this morning. Fit in lunch somewhere in here.

2:00: Take toothsome #1 to a scouting pool party. (BTW: He doesn't want to go but I am making him)

4:00: Pick up toothsome #1 from pool party and leave to go take toothsome #2 to a dance recital practice.

4:30-6:30: Dance recital practice.

6:45: Home, make dinner, have family home evening and hopefully have everyone in bed by 9:00pm.

Friday, June 8, 2007

My Love/Hate Relationship with Costco

I just got back from a trip to Costco. I mentioned in a previous post about my year long boycott of the store and what I felt I had learned from doing it. Many of my friends know about my conflicted feeling about shopping at Costco. Paige recently sent me a hilarious link to a blog about a woman trying to fit everything in her car after shopping there. I think I am saving money and they do carry great produce and special "only at Costco" items but I am still struggling.

Today, I had all four kids with me. My kids are well behaved in public and Costco has those neat two-seat carts, which keeps toothsomes 3 and 4 happy. So, I mention that only because with everyone with me, the whole trip is slower and every time I go to Costco, I have this dream of just getting in and out without a lot of fuss. It never happens.

Just seconds after walking in the front doors, I am hit with Costco frenzy. It is always SUPER busy and I am surrounded by other shoppers (many with young children like me) and we seem to constantly be bumping into each other as we grab and try not to throw our backs out as we lift the super-sized items we are purchasing into our carts. The carts (super-sized themselves) fill up quickly and I feel like one of those contestants on a cable channel trying to move a large, heavy, rock from point A to point B. As I pass other people's carts, I see things in them and think, "That looks great! Where did she find that? I could really use that in my house." It can be a case of Diet Coke, a water slide, Newman's Own "just for Costco" juice--it doesn't matter.

Then, there is the dilemma about refrigerator and freezer space at home. "Do I have room for the case of Bagel Bites that my kids just tasted as a sample and love in my freezer? If I buy, that, I will have to put back the Pot Stickers and those sound good to me." "When did I last purchase milk? Can I fit 6 more gallons in at home?"

Finally at check-out, as I write the HUGE amount on my check, I always question is this really saving me money? The whole drive home (Costco is about a 20 minute drive away from my house), I always have buyers remorse of something I purchased. "Yes, the artichoke heart/spinach spread is tasty but if I eat the whole thing, I am going to have a heart attack." And once home, I am exhausted and feel like I need to eat a super-sized bag of something I purchased. Anyone else have Costco issues?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

If anyone is interested--cute wrap dress

This just came in the mail today for me. It is very flattering. It is now cheaper than what I paid for it. At $38 it is a steal, I tell you, a STEAL!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Sun Protection Products I Like

With school being out tomorrow, that means my kids and I will be outside a lot more. Not only at the swimming pool but just outside playing, eating and recreating. As someone who has had melanoma, I have become well versed in how to deal with the sun and thought I would pass on some of my favorite sun protection items.

1. Sunscreen: Anything with zinc or titanium oxide is best. I was thrilled to discover that Mary Kay's Time Wise Face lotion (SPF 15) has zinc oxide in it. I use this year round. However, if I am going to be out in the sun for any extended period of time, I like to use Ocean Potion Face Potion. It is clear zinc and works wonderfully. I also love all of the Blue Lizard products for the rest of my body.
2. Clothing: I am rarely outside without a hat on. Of course, you can buy hats anywhere but I love my hat from Coolibar. For adequate sun protection, hats are supposed to have at least a 2 inch brim. I should say I love anything from Coolibar clothing wise but they are more expensive than some other places. REI carries a lot of clothes that have sun protection stuff in them. You don't have to always buy clothing with sun protection stuff in it or on it. A good rule of thumb for any clothes is if you hold it up to a light and can see sun through it, you will get some sun exposure, so the tighter the weave of the cloth, the better sun protection it has.

3. Rash Guards: These are great for the swimming pool. I love the ones I have purchased for my kids from Lands End but I know a lot of companies carry them. Old Navy, REI, Coolibar, etc. They have great sun protection and it means less having to slather your kids with sunscreen while at the pool. I have one that zips like a jacket (from Coolibar) and it is easy to put on, fits great and has great sun protection.

Big Happenings Around Here

Today, Dentist husband started working in his new office. He is excited. I am excited. It is a great new fun change but change can be stressful, so, I want the house to be in great condition when he gets home. I want dinner to be fun (grilled steak, green salad, mangos and bread swirls) and to make home a peaceful place for him to come home to. Now, I just have to convince toothsome #3 (age 3) to cooperate. He is our destroyer in our house--leaving a mess behind him wherever he goes. I often have to remind him that he is LUCKY he is so cute.

Today is the last full day of school. Tomorrow is just a 1/2 day where they find out who their teacher will be next year. They get to go see the classroom, meet the teacher and find out who else will be in their class. I am more then happy to welcome the lazy days of summer.

As we speak, the entertainment center I ordered is being set up. The delivery company told me that they would be here sometime between 8:00-12:00. They arrived at 8:10! I have never had that happen. It is so exciting to get rid of the old TV stand (no love lost about getting rid of that) and have a nice new entertainment center. Sofas are due to arrive in a few weeks.

So, as I wrote in the title, "Big Happenings around here."

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The One-Mile Exercise Plan

I hate exercising. I know it is good for me but I hate it. I go through great stages in my life where I am really good at doing some form of exercise for a while but it never lasts. I have been a member of a gym. I have jump roped. I have done exercise videos, water aerobics, swam laps, tried Yoga, etc. Each time, I think, this is going to be the exercise that sticks. This is the one that I am going to LOVE and think, "How can I go a day without doing this! This is so much fun! I can hardly stand the thought of not doing this." It has never happened with the exception of what I call the "One-Mile Exercise Plan."
In my current neighborhood, I can walk around the block twice and have walked one mile. I can do this alone or with my kids. It can be pretty much anytime of day and there is no special equipment needed with the exception of maybe a stroller if I have my kids with me. It has worked when I have been pregnant. I can do it when it is snowing, raining, sunny or cloudy. It is an easy thing to walk out my front door, walk around the block twice and know I have gone a mile. It is not much but it gets me moving, my heart rate up and some sort of exercise is accomplished. If I am so inclined, I go around more times but going around twice is always doable and it is something I can do and will do and stick to.

Friday, June 1, 2007

June 1st Thoughts

First, I just got an e-mail from Talbots reminding me of their June sale. Before I had kids, I never missed their December or June sales EVER. However, now that I have kids, a lot of their clothes are not as spit-up/throw-up/being on my hands and knees half the day with little ones compatible. I still LOVE their clothes and will return as a loyal shopper once my kids are a bit older. That said, I did find on-line some cute things at amazing prices that I have ordered and hope they will work in my current life.

2nd, now that we are half way through the year, I have had to re examine my first of the year goals. After looking at our budget, a major addition has been to eat out less often. We are doing way to much of that and I need to get back on track. I would like to blame my busy life, but in reality, it has been just laziness. Speaking of laziness, my exercising has been waning, so it is back to that.

3rd, it is time to switch Saturday chores for my kids. Toothsome #1 now has to vacuum the Great room in our house. Toothsome #2 has to gather all of the garbage and toothsome #3 has to put all of the kids books (with help from his older siblings) back in order in our bookshelves.

4th, Congratulations to sibling #4 for finishing her chemo today. She was diagnosed with melanoma a year ago and has had a crazy, trying year of chemo treatments. We are all dancing in the streets for you!
5th, Toothsome #2 has finally lost her two bottom teeth. They have been driving her crazy and we ALL are thrilled they finally came out.