Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Kitchen Timer

OK, so I use the digital kind...but you know what I'm talking about. It's the ol' kitchen timer. Most of us have one; if not free standing, then on our microwaves, or ovens, or even our watches. But, did you realize that it has so many, many uses? Sure....it's great for baking, cooking, its probable original purpose. In our house however, it goes far beyond the kitchen. We use it for time outs. We use it for the quick clean up-15 minutes to get the toys off the floor, or they belong to Mommy. We use it for regular cleaning- how much dusting can you get done in 20 minutes? We use it to practice for the FCAT- 1 minute to do 100 math questions. I use it when I'm doing chores or paying bills, etc- OK, guys, when the timer goes off, Mommy is all yours again. The list is just about never ending....I should carry one in my purse. I remember when ours broke not that long ago and I was so lost! When I went shopping...I picked up 2. Can't have that happen again. Ever!

But the biggie....the one that it really works well for is sharing. If I have a morning of constant bickering over every single toy that gets pulled out, the same crayon or marker or sheet of paper, I simply pull out the old timer and tell them that when the timer goes off, it is the next person's turn. Works every time. Not sure why. And I don't ask. I don't care. It just works and that is it. All my kids know this technique and I even see the older ones using it with the younger ones or I hear them tell another sibling, ok, let me just have it for 5 more minutes and I'll give it to you. You can even time me, they say....putting the control in the other's hands. And they are always fair about it. Wow....what a gadget this timer is. Forget the calculators, computer, the beepers of past, the cell phones, the ipods/mp3 players, this is the gadget to have....cheap, too. The good ol' trusty kitchen timer. You learn so darn much, being a mom!

Now, where's your kitchen timer?

Monday, September 5, 2011

In my purse??

What the??? I am not sure how my purse turned into a storage unit the size of a small room, but it did! I actually own "my grandma's purse". It's right here by my side. I remember when I was a little girl and I had to have a purse. It was small and empty. A lip gloss maybe, a change purse with a few coins in it. Sometimes I had erasers in there that I bought from the elementary school store. Then I graduated. Or so I thought, anyway! Graduated to the big time purse....now I had my car keys, even a check book in there, a real wallet with real money and sure some make up, too and OK, maybe a few odds and ends as well.

Then....I became a mother. Oh I fought it, I did, but much to my chagrin, my purse got bigger and bigger. Now I had medicine in there, markers, crayons, band aids, the like. Maybe a baby toy or whatever I needed for a trip where I might need to entertain the kids. Some things, I would inherit from the kids along the way.

Before long, I became a MOM (mom of many) and wouldn't ya know it.....it gets worse. Not only do I accumulate much stuff in there, I have a lot less time to go through it all and clean it out. Plus, it seems that I forget what I have in there and so then I throw stuff in there that I think I need, but it's actually already in there! Go figure....

Well, I am stuck at home today waiting for the refrigerator repair guy (not broken, just part of a recall) and amongst other things that have to get done; IE: laundry, bills, balancing check book, cleaning a bathroom, I decided it was also time to clean out the ol' purse. It was kinda scary! Kinda like that kid song, "Empty out my Pocket". I must confess, it's been a while, but here is a little taste of what I found: 3 batteries, 2 rocks, 1 shell, probably about 30 receipts, approximately 15 pens/pencils, gum (yes, chewed; no wrapper!), the gum wrapper (hmmm?), a water bill, after school enrichment form and brochure, a few stickers, a slew of coupons, address labels, stamps, 2 calculators, 1 very crumpled envelope, C's PT schedule, a few barrettes, 1 scrunci, 1 tube of polysporin, band-aids, paperclips, various business cards, my eyeglass script, a medicine dropper, various sticky notes (unused and in different sizes), a couple of sharpie pens (OK, so I always have at least one: lots of kids+sports+drinks+water bottles+other items that need to be labeled=sharpie pens all over the place!), and a few checks that need to be cashed. (woo hoo, at least that's one good thing!)

HUH???? How did this happen, exactly? I would definitely win at that game you play at showers "what's in your purse", because let me tell you, I have all the usual stuff in there, as well. You know, a wallet, cell phone, check book and of course as any self respecting busy MOM does, my camera, my ever important "tide to go", "after bite", germ x, and some pics of my kids! My purse weighs more than my 4 year old!

But, for now, it's all cleaned out....ready for another busy week of golf, volleyball, softball, baseball, physical therapy, CCD, a dentist appointment, playgroup, G's friend's birthday party, a trip to the grocery store and probably Target for that b-day party! Makes me wonder what will turn up in my purse next?

Mommy's Goody Bag

Would you happen to know what "Mommy's Goody Bag" is? Do you have a "goody bag"? It's not a big bag full of tasty goodies or anything. Nope, my goody bag is something different. You see, I have always been involved in something. The MOMS Club,, our church's moms group, MOPS, story times, playgroups, etc, etc, etc...Until one day, I had a child old enough to start sports. We started off with soccer. We were also in school now. A slight life changing event. No more off season trips to NY for 3 weeks for me and the kids, a new schedule evolved for sure and some of the spontaneous stuff went out the window.

Another baby in the house and one more in preschool and we were in full swing at the baseball fields by this point. Why we switched to baseball from soccer is still a bit unclear to me. I think we wanted to try something different and somehow it stuck. I'm really not sure. We've tried to get the kids into soccer more than a few times and no one was willing. But, I'm rambling now....
Move ahead a couple of more years, another baby and one more on the baseball field and now you're talking craziness. I think that I started to feel busy and overwhelmed and well always behind on certain things by the time I had #4, but well....#5 took me over the edge. And, we were ALWAYS out and about. Not in the sense of MOMS Club, St. Anne's or story times or things like that, but rather at the baseball (and softball field at this point), kids' school events, parties, and the like.

Fast forward to #6 being born. Life has gotten busier and crazier and more chaotic than ever. A baby doesn't really have too much affect on family life....they're so darn mobile when they're still infants. But...as they grow, they become their own person and they too become busy and involved in things. Now that he is 2 1/2, we have golf lessons (and for a while there, the after school theater program, which ran for about a month), another one in volleyball, softball and physical therapy twice a week, B in baseball and track and G in softball. Never mind all the parties, after school events, friends houses, play dates and school projects. Add doctor/dentist appointments, grocery shopping, household and event shopping into the picture and well, you get the picture.

Al and A get toted along everywhere! I mean everywhere!! All over town. We are constantly out and about and I seem to have to force special time in for them. Whether it be special play time at home, at a park or playground or whatever. Soooo.....since they are a very busy 2 1/2 year old and 4 year old, in comes the goody bag. No, not the diaper bag. The goody bag!

What's in the goody bag you ask? What's it purpose? Well, there are all kinds of things in there: things like coloring books and crayons, maybe a color wonder book with markers, a few books to read, some matchbox cars, dinosaurs, some small electronic games we got from McDonald's a few years back. All kinds of hidden treasures that are ONLY played with when Mommy breaks out her goody bag. The items get updated every once in a while, so ya never know what is going to come out of the bag. Not quite like Mary Poppins' bag, but pretty darn close, I'd say! This bag is Mommy's sanity saver....and is off limits at all times, until of course Mommy makes the executive decision that it is time for it to come out. Sometimes, Mommy even has 2, yes you read that right, two, goody bags. An extra one with some snacks and drinks in it! Ooooh, aaaahhhh, because guess what....those snacks and drinks might even be something special like a juice box or even a cookie or fruit snack. Double oooh, aaahhh!

So, when they get bored, antsy, and just a bit crazy from having to follow around 4 older siblings ALL. DAY. LONG!! I know it's time to break out the ol' goody bag and find something to entertain them with. OK, maybe it's not special playtime at home or a fun playground, but hey, it's still something special. Just because it's different. And, hey, anything called a goody bag has got to be "good"!

Notes from the Big White Van

I drive a big, white van. It seats 12. It is the only thing out there that will fit all of us, short of the Partridge Family's colorful school bus. I am not a construction worker, electrician, plumber or the local airport's shuttle bus. So, please....I beg you, stop acting (or looking at me) as if I am. I've never picked up a saw, know little if anything about electricity other than where you plug in an appliance and can barely plunge a toilet. I swear. I do not know what the traffic is like out by the airport, nor do I know the gas prices "over there". Don't look at me funny when I say this to you. Should you be another extra large family that does not fit into any "normal" sized vehicles...then by all means wave at me, smile, or when stopped to get gas, let's discuss where to find the cheapest gas prices. If you are not....please leave me alone. It's kinda creepy.

My van is big. I do not deny that. However, I DO take my time parking--choosing the spot, parking straight and making sure people can get in their vehicles next to me and can back out if parked behind me, as well. If you should park your puny, ancient, little Honda Civic in a parking spot very crooked and over the white line on the right side, please do not scream obscenities about MY parking job. It was the only one left (trust me, I looked. AND looked...no one else wanted to park by you either, apparently). Also, please do not call out names such as gas guzzler, work van and over population in front of my kids. If you cannot get into the passenger seat of said car....it is your fault and yours alone. Go back to driving school. Leave my kids out of it. Just sit down, shut up and drive off. Do the right thing. Otherwise, next time, I just might challenge you to parallel park an 18 wheeler and I think we both know who would win that one!

If you see me at Walmart with a bunch of kids and 2 grocery carts by my big white van, please do not ask me if I am feeding the homeless, having a party, or own a restaurant. Though I'd love to help the homeless, enjoy parties, and probably do kinda own a restaurant, I fail to see where any of this is your business. Can you not tell we are busy emptying carts, corralling kids and trying to get home before the milk sours and the Popsicles melt?

When I am parked next to you and you are returning to your vehicle in order to enter yours while we are exiting ours, please be kind and patient. We are not a "circus" bus, a basketball team, or a "herd". I am not a cow (though there might be days I'd bed to differ--that is for me to say, not you!) who is toting around her calves, nor am I a clown stuffing in little kids into our vehicle, and no, we are not a team of some sort....if you, however, should happen to be an agent, then please inform us of this promptly or else you just might catch me on the defensive. That should be taken as a warning.

And....last but not least, I do in fact drive the speed limit. And, yes, sometimes even a few miles over the speed limit. I realize that my big van might be blocking your view, but please do not zoom past me at 20 miles over the speed limit just to get in front of me and then slow down to 20 miles UNDER the speed limit. It is simply bad driving. Not courteous at all, not to mention unsafe. One day, I just might have to run you off the road.

Thank you for listening.....
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