Archive for June, 2012

Summer Goals

Do you have Summer Goals and/or a Summer To Do list?  My family usually breaks out the poster board and comes up with a wish list of summer activities for summer vacation.   And for the most part, we get the majority of them checked off too.  But we’ve never set up a summer goals list which is something I’ve always wanted to try.

I read about one such summer goals list idea on 71 Toes (my favorite blog – I’ve mentioned it before) put together by Shawni and her lovely family. She has each child make up a list of goals they’d like to accomplish for the summer in the categories of Mind, Body, Service, and Fun and a nifty way to help the kids keep track of their progress.

I’ve started to approach my own brood about the idea of a list of goals for the summer, trying it out on my middle daughter, Emily, who is the most accommodating and willing to try new things. 

She was doubtful at first, but tried her hand at making a list in the end.  If I could find the cord to my camera that would allow me to download pictures to my computer, I’d be able to show you her list, which was adorable, but alas, I have no flippin’ idea where it is, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.  (Memo to me:  go to Walmart or Target and try to find a replacement cord for camera.)

I’m slowly working on my other two who tend to resist any form of change by digging their heels in and rolling their eyes and telling me the idea (whichever idea I’m trying to put forth) is decidedly “stupid”.   Despite their anticipated resistance, I’m really liking the idea of working on goals that foster growth in mind (reading/math), body (some form of daily exercise), service (volunteering or helping out around the house) and fun (what ever activity they want). Which also goes back to the family motto I want to print out and hang prominently in the house (thank you 71 Toes – again)

Love this picture!

On a similar note, I was wandering around Marshall’s the other day, not buying – just looking (and wishing) when I saw this:

I snatched it up without a second thought (thankfully it was only $20) and brought it home.  I’m so glad I did.

Can’t wait to see what the kids come up with for their summer goals.  I’ll keep you posted.


June 27, 2012 at 8:55 am 4 comments

Means Moms – Unite!

I’m chugging along with my reading list quite nicely, just finished up “Simplify Your Space” , by Marcia Ramsland.

Picked up some really good ideas that I’m hoping to put into play before I forget them. 🙂  Middle aged brain you know.  While I was at the library returning the book I spied this little jewel and was immediately intrigued.

Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing the Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later” by Denise Schipani

I instantly felt a connection after reading the back cover.  Basically this book shockingly proposes that “mean moms”:

*  say No

*  are Consistent

*  Trust themselves

*  Don’t care what everyone else does

*  let their kids Fail once in a while

Of course I had to take it home.  After reading the first chapter, I’m smitten.  And the best part is, I do most of this stuff already!  I’m a Mean Mom!  Whoo hoo!  Finally, some validation for not giving my kids what they want just because everyone else has it. For instilling in them the notion that they have to Work for things, that there is a distinct difference between what is Needed and what is just Wanted.

Schipani’s parenting philosophy is decidedly old school; to prepare her children to become confident, independent adults with the ability to make a contribution to the world.  To “prepare them for the world, not the world for them”.  This thought process flies in the face of the prevailing practice of giving kids trophies just for competing.  The world is amazing and beautiful but it is also hard and unforgiving and it is our job to raise children with the skills they need to successfully navigate between the two.

I’m really looking forward to reading this one.  The author also has a website, which I’m going to check out as well.  What’s on your bookshelf? 

June 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm 1 comment

Friday Fun

Anyone who has read this blog knows my love for the Honey Badger and anything HB related. (What is the Honey Badger you may ask? click here for a refresher.) 

 I saw this on Yahoo! and thought it was very clever and wanted to share with you.


Scott Walker: Wisconsin’s Honey Badger



Happy Friday!

June 22, 2012 at 11:37 am Leave a comment

Tuesday’s Thoughts: A Potpourri of Spouts and Observations

I think I must have ADD.  That’s the only explanation I can come up with for all the randomness racing through my brain these days.  So much I have to do, so much I want to get done… get the picture.  When my son was younger he would ask questions incessantly, usually first thing in the morning when Mama is having a hard time focusing her brain enough to make her first  cup of tea of the day.

  Finally, after my third or fourth attempt to answer his many questions I  asked, “Brendan, why do you ask so many questions”? And without missing a beat he said,  “I don’t know, I guess I’ve got a lot of thinkin’  in my head.”

 So that’s it. I have a lot of thinking in my head.


That being the case, I thought I’d bring you up to speed on all the thinking in my head this morning.



1) Battle of the Bulge: updates from the front.  Things have been progressing slowly the past few days.  I have either lost a bit (i.e. oz. to 1 pound) or remained at the same weight.  This of course is entirely my own fault and not the 17 Day Diet program, which, if you follow it to the letter, you would see much better results.  I don’t play by the rules – bit of a rebel, and thus, my results aren’t as good as they could be.  Seriously, give up my Mommy juice for 17 days, what am I a nun?  Hells no. It’s not even the alcohol as I really only have a few on the weekend.  It is my inability to stop SNACKING. Ugh! The time between when I get home from work and get dinner ready is the absolute worst!  That’s my downfall right there, my Waterloo. My little sissy tells me I’m stronger than I think I am (see her sweet words of encouragement here) but I’m not so sure.  If you have any tricks to help, please let me know.

2) My Bookshelf:  I finished “Wicked Business” by Janet Evanovich, loved it. Light, funny and enjoyable without having to stretch the wrinkles out of your brain.  Nice fluff.   I’m still crawling my way through “Simplify Your Space” by Marcia Rumsland and getting some organization done along the way. My most recent success was to clear out two large bags of books and papers that were squatting in my bedroom. Yeah! I can see the floor!  I’m also reading

 “Suddenly Frugal” by Leah Ingram

  and  All In Good Time: When to Save, Stock Up, and Schedule Everything for Your Homeby  Tara Kuczykowski  I also picked up a second copy of my daughter’s summer reading assignment “A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving so I can help her  if necessary (parenting points for that if I do say so myself ).



  And in my car I’m listening to “Faithful Place” by Tara French, , a Dublin murder mystery with absolutely gorgeous Dublin accents. Loving the banter between the siblings.

 3) Decorating Projects and Ideas:

 Been trolling the web spotting lots and lots of great ideas that I wish I had the time/courage to take on myself.  Here are a few that caught my eye:

Family Motto from 71 Toes, one of my all time favorite blogs. Absolutely love it. I’m thinking of

 making one myself and hanging in my house.   I don’t think Shawni would mind if I plagiarized her motto.  Do you have a family motto in your house?  I’d love to hear about it.

 Finding a planner that works for me:  I’ve been through every planner/organization sheet/daily to do list I can find but nothing really worked for me.  I have an whiteboard type family calendar on my refrigerator that has been working out well for us, but I think I just found a system that might be perfect for me from my other all time favorite blog, Clover Lane.


 One side is a running to do list, the other is a weekly schedule.  Simple, straight forward, portable, doable.  I’m going to try it out, will keep you posted.




World map mat for boy’s room: How cool is that?   Saw this clever/frugal idea from Batchelor’s Way and knew it would be a great project for Brendan’s room makeover (when the makeover will happen is anyone’s guess, but I like to be prepared for when it does).  You should check out the Pirates room they did for their boys on the cheap.  Fantastic.  Simple how-to instructions here.

As you can see I do have a lot of thinking in my head.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg, I haven’t even gotten to summer plans, kids schedules, etc.  Maybe for another time. 

What’s got you thinking?



June 19, 2012 at 11:51 am 4 comments

The Continuing Battle of the Bulge

I have been waging a war for a very long time, my own private Waterloo.  I’ve been fighting my body’s tendency to expand laterally and spherically for years now, and it is getting old.

I have been on and off several different diet/lifestyle changes for years the latest campaign since January when a group of parents from my son’s hockey team decided to do a biggest loser challenge.  I didn’t win the challenge but I did drop some extra pounds, 11 lbs. to be exact.  Not bad.  But I need to lose more, a lot more. Like, at least 20lbs more.  I am not exaggerating either.

At the vertically challenged height of 5’4″, the amount of weight I’m currently carting around with me is not in proper proportion to the space I have available.  And frankly, I’m sick of lugging all of me all around town.

I’m currently on the “17 Day Diet” plan which is basically, eat a lot of fruits, veggies and lean meats for 17 days to kick-start your weight loss. 

After the first phase you gradually introduce some carbs.  It is pretty easy and straight forward except for the no alcohol part, which, let’s face it, is damn near impossible and just down right cruel.  By Friday, Momma needs to take the edge off.

In addition, by day 17 if I have to eat another flippin’ salad I’ll lose it completely.  Salads are boring.  And making real food, i.e. veggies, lean meats, no pasta, etc. is just too much work.  Like Sweet Brown says, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”.

It’s the cooking healthy meals part that kills me.  I am not a cook. 

Don’t get me wrong, I cook everyday for my family.  I just don’t enjoy doing it.  My meals are your basic American fare: pasta, rice, meat, some veggies topped with sauce or cheese.  Not the pinnacle of healthy but not horrible either. 

My younger sister does not share my abhorrence for the culinary arts.  She actually LOVES to cook.  She is currently embarked on the Paleo Lifestyle of eating like a caveman i.e. no processed foods at all.  Her love of cooking is helping her pull it off as she can concoct all sorts of yummy fresh meals for her and her little ones.  She is also undertaking a 21 day Sugar detox program in which she completely cut out sugar from her diet, including, are you sitting down?  No alcohol.  At all.  No wine, cosmos, nutthin’.

That is just wrong.

That is definitely not the program for me.  So instead I will continue on with my 17 day plan, actually I have to start over because of my epic fail yesterday – very bad food choices on my part.  You can always start over right?  Right.  I’m just hoping I can get past the first 17 days and start having some carbs again.  Love me some bread.

June 15, 2012 at 8:43 am 2 comments

First Prom

Last month was my eldest’s Junior Prom.  The first prom for our little family.  We couldn’t have asked for a better day; sunny, warm and clear skies. 



 Best of all, Fiona chose a beautiful traditional prom gown.  I was so proud of her.  I’m not a big fan of the long, slinky, revealing dresses that have become so popular lately.  I think they are more appropriate for older women, not 17-year-old girls.













Mandatory traditional prom pose:


 These kids are so darn cute. 

My favorite picture, I call it the ‘Royals on the balcony’ pose.

I’m amazed at how quickly the time has gone by.  Now we are knee-deep in college visits and planning and praying for financial aid.  She’ll be off before I know it.  It’s sad but exciting, I’m so proud of her.


June 13, 2012 at 8:34 am 1 comment

Pre-Summer Reading

What I’m currently reading:

Simplify Your Space: Create Order and Reduce Stress by Marcia Ramsland


I’m working my way through this one slowly and deliberately. If fact, I’m still on chapter one, kitchen and family room, but I’m making progress one drawer/cabinet at a time.  Just remember, less is more.  Ramsland has written several other simplfying and organizing books that I’ll look into after I’m done with this one.

Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich    


I’ve been reading Evanovich for years, starting with the Stephanie Plum series (19 books so far).  I stay clear of her romance novels, no interest there.  The Plum series, the Between the numbers series and this series are all very enjoyable.

And of course, I look at every decorating book/magazine I can get my hands on.  What are you reading?

June 12, 2012 at 11:35 am 1 comment

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