...because we all have our motley moments!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


We have a joke in our family. One day our cat was sleeping while the boys and I were petting her and I said, "Cameron is a lazybones!" Ethan got the giggles and now every time he wakes me up in the morning he says, "Mom, get up! You're bein' a lazybones!" It's cute, and he means nothing by it, but it kind of hits a nerve because sometimes I really feel like I'm a lazy person. However, lately I've been paying attention to my average day, and maybe I'm not so lazy. Usually my days go like this:
Todd gets me up (he's already been up with Micah for over an hour) so he can go work out. I eat breakfast, then Ethan gets up and I make him breakfast and prod him to get dressed. I get Micah dressed, make sure to get him to the potty before any accidents occur, then brush both boys' teeth. I also get myself dressed, then we head out the door to drop Ethan off at preschool. After the drop-off, Micah and I go to the Y where I work out. We go home and I "piddle" around the house - dishes, laundry, etc., stopping occasionally to take Micah to the potty and check my email and Facebook. Oh, and get him a snack and have a snack myself, if I remember. If I have time, I take a shower, then we're off to pick Ethan up. Once we get home, it's lunch insanity because I'm usually fixing 3 different meals (Micah is picky and I've encouraged it and I just don't have time today to discuss this issue). Micah then goes to bed and Ethan watches some TV or plays until I put him in front of a movie for his rest time.
This is the point in the day where I get lazy. Sometimes I move laundry along, but most days I catch up on shows on my DVR, play around on the computer, do some crossword puzzles, or fall asleep reading on the couch. There are so many things I could be doing. I could be organizing the thousands of pictures on my computer. I could be transferring old video camera tapes to my computer. I could be organizing the pile of crap that sits on our bookshelf. Sometimes I work out, if I didn't get a chance to that morning, but the truth is, I am quite selfish with this time. I don't want to do any of those things, except work out, but only because that's something I do for me, not for anyone else.
Once Micah's up from his nap, the afternoon is filled with playing, reading, going outside, breaking up fights, and cooking supper. After the boys eat an early supper we usually go to the Y for Youth Super Sports or tae kwon do or t-ball practice or Grandma's. When we get home, it's bedtime rodeo. And then I collapse on the couch again.
I don't know if it's our society or my parents or what that makes me think I have to be busy or doing something "productive" all the time. But I'm not going to feel that way anymore, dangit! I'm exhausted when bedtime comes around, and it's not because I take an hour each afternoon to rest on the couch. Today is Ethan's last day of preschool, which should give me even more time to be lazy, except that we have swimming lessons and VBS and, and, and, and...I don't think there's much time to be lazy if you're even an average mom. I also think it's okay to teach your kids to slow down and rest for a short time every day, even when you're a grown-up.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Financial Fun: Support local agriculture!

My son and I just had the most fun ten minutes we've had in a while, and it only cost us $5.50.

On a whim, I drove us down the road to a building I had seen but never visited, lured only by the gigantic "HONEY" sign on the front. Once I convinced him to get out of the car, we stepped into a little room no larger than a walk-in closet, and we were greeted by a wall of honey containers in several shapes and sizes. In the middle of the room was a large box with a hole in it that read, "Honor System, Since 1937." There were posters on the walls with pictures of bees and honey combs, and lots of information about how honey is made. I picked up a 12 oz. bear-shaped bottle of honey with a price sticker that read $4.00, but my son reached for a larger bear. I inspected the bottle--it was 24 oz. for $5.50. Sometimes my math is a little slow, but the value of the larger bottle was pretty obvious! We counted out dollar bills and coins, put them into the slot on the box, and drove home with my son cradling the bear in his car seat. We conversed the entire way home about the many things we could do with our Florida Orange Blossom honey. As soon as we opened the door to the kitchen, he ran to the refrigerator, pulled out some plain yogurt and started creating his lunch. Now he's waiting for Daddy to get home so he can share with him our new honey and the story of where we found it.

So, for $5.50 my son learned about the honey making process, learned to count money, found excitement in cooking, and will practice his story-telling skills a little later today. Also, that $5.50 went straight to a family that has owned the "HONEY" building for several decades and sets an example of trusting our fellow human beings. And we got a cute bear full of delicious honey as a parting gift. I think that is quite the value for my money!

Friday morning we will go to a local blueberry farm to pick blueberries for a final time this season, and we will make jam with those berries for Father's Day gifts. When we travel this summer, we will spend most of our adventure time finding local farms where we can visit animals and find delicious produce and other farm goods. All of this will be priced considerably lower than other forms of entertainment, and the benefits, well, are just too numerous to mention!

Your challenge for the day--seek out local agriculture, and pay your farmers a visit! If you need help, this website has a comprehensive list of U-Pick farms all over the country. You'll be saving yourself entertainment dollars and possibly grocery dollars, and you'll be helping the local economy. More than that, though, you'll be giving your little ones experiences they will treasure forever!

If you know of a local (to you!) farm that is great to visit, leave it in the comment section!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Make Your Own Water Table

I posted this on my Fireflies and Jellybeans blog , (that is why the water marks on on all the pics) But I thought it would work here too!
I am taking a break from the Love Budget this week because we are having fun playing outside! :)
It is getting HOT here! And that means more time outside playing with water! I would LOVE to have a water table but I do not want to spend the $30-$60 to get one... so I made my own for FREE! I had ALL of this stuff at my house and I bet you do too!

Here is what you will need to make a little water table!
One big storage tote ( This is a sweater tote 41 gallon... but use you what you have!)
Cookie sheet to act as a tray
Various water toys/cups:
Measuring cups
watering can
foam fish stickers
bath toys

I looked around my kitchen and bathroom for about 5 minutes and found lots of fun things

I placed my big storage tote on two outdoor foot stools (little tables or chairs would work too. Or you could just leave it on the ground!) I filled it up with water and put all the toys in to play. All done! It is all ready to play with!

You can scoop out some fish with the net (mini-strainer)

Or pour water out of the watering can

Or watch your little one have hours of fun with the water!

It was a great summer activity. My son had SOOOOO MUCH fun! He was soaking wet too, so next time I think I will put him in his swim suit!
The other great thing about this water table is that it is easy to store! Just put all of your stuff back and store some stuff in your tote and you are set!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Dreaded Virus

I live in mortal fear of a stomach virus. I'm sure this has deep-seeded psychological causes; in fact, I know it does, but I won't get into that. I break out in a cold sweat when I learn that someone I or my kids have been in contact with recently has come down with vomiting and/or diarrhea. And if one of my kids starts with tummy trouble, no matter how benign, I get really freaked out. I start rationalizing it, like last summer when Micah puked milk up all over the rug in his bedroom. "Well, he was just hot and had too much milk too fast." That time I was actually right. He slept fine and we went to the beach without incident the next day, just as we had planned. One time I threw up right after supper. I was training for one of my black belt testings, so I thought, "I'm just dehydrated." I threw up again. "Okay, well, maybe I ate something bad." No one else who had eaten anything I had was sick, though. I ended up in the emergency room with an IV after throwing up every 5 minutes for 4 hours and hallucinating. That was probably an ugly virus. At least with me, though, excepting that time Todd had to take me to the hospital, I can pretty much take care of myself and I don't create too much of a mess. Then there's the added bonus of weigh loss (the last virus lost me 6 pounds, which I have managed to keep off - woot!). With my kids, however, it's a much different story. I won't even get started on the mess. I panic because I'm afraid it's going to spread throughout our entire household, so I start manic rationalization. Yesterday Ethan pooped his pants 3 times. The first two times were barely anything, the third time I had to throw away the underwear. He was eating, though, and playing, so I thought, "It must've been something he ate." I took him over to his aunt's house like normal, where he pooped his pants two more times. Still no nausea, though, the only other symptom being a cough he's had for a few days. We recently had to start limiting his apple juice consumption because it's starting to affect his teeth, so I thought, "Well, maybe his body is just adjusting." I know, I know. It sounds stupid to me now, too. Why would lack of apple juice for almost 2 weeks give him diarrhea? He pooped some more before bed, then woke up with a Pull-Up full. He's had 3 more incidents this morning and I've finally resigned myself to it: Ethan is sick. He's home from school, he's off dairy, and he's wearing a Pull-Up so I don't have to toss out anymore undies. Seriously, though, it's not a bad virus, if that's what it is. And what's the big deal about throwing away 3 pairs of underwear and using several Clorox wipes? I don't know why I do this to myself. Part of taking care of kids is cleaning up gross stuff. That's just life. I am trying to start looking at it this way - That's my baby in there getting sick. His need for comfort is a lot more important than my gag reflex. Plus, he's kind of sweet when he's sick - he just crawls into my lap to be rocked. How's that for a "physical touch" love language? :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Love Budget- Part 4 - Touch

Physical touch is not about being sexual... it is about hugs, pats on the back and holding hands. My son is all about the physical touch. He is not comfortable in a new place unless he is touching me some how. When he is sick, hurt or sad, he wants to be held. When we are playing he wants to be sitting on my lap or close enough to touch me.

But everyone needs human contact. Every one needs a hug, a pat on the back, or kiss on the cheek. So, how do we "budget" our touches? It about having a goal that is measurable and attainable.

Assess your family's "touchy-ness" . Do you have family members who need a little more cuddles from you to get through the day. In my family my son is the most touchy, I am a very close second, and my hubby is third. So now you know where you need to focus your attention. But, just because some one does not like to be snuggled does not mean they need to be left off the list!

Now make a goal for yourself on how many times you want to hug, kiss, snuggle, pat on the back, hold hands... etc with your family members.

Here is mine: I am going to hug and kiss my hubby at least 3 times a day (When he leaves for work, when he comes home, and when we go to bed). I am going to give my hubby a back rub at least once a week (He may not be cuddly but he loves back rubs!). I am going to cuddle with my son at least 4 times a day (When he wakes up from bed, before and after each nap, and before bedtime) and hug, kiss, hold him when ever it is possible.

Most likely you are doing a lot of snuggling with your family already. It is about being deliberate about it. Enjoy the moment of it and being sure that they know that you love them!

Now we can't NOT talk about sex... I mean the whole time you have been wander if I was going to say something about it! (At least I know Karly was!!!)

Yes, sex is a very important part of marriage that can often get over looked with all the kid ciaos! Make time for Sex. This post from Karly is a great motivator! I am going to leave it up to you on how you want to "budget" you sex life! : )

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Financial Fun: A Healthy Budget

Not too long ago I started having some health issues that made me rethink the way I live-- especially the way I eat. In misguided attempts to save money, I was feeding myself and my family food that was sub-par as far as health goes. It has taken a while, but I have found that it is still possible to provide healthy meals in our household, even though we are on a strict budget. I have a budget of $300 a month ($350 a month when there are five shopping days).

  • I had to sacrifice junk to get the good food we need. We may not have "fun" foods like chips and soda, but we have a produce drawer full of colorful fruits and veggies, and a freezer full of lean meats. Our pantry is full of good stuff, too.
  • I have "magic numbers" when I shop. Teresa taught me this a while ago--she only buys produce when it is $1 a pound or less. This saves money, and most of the time the produce at that price is what is seasonally and locally available, which makes it even better. I will go a few cents over, but that's it. The same goes for meat. I know I can get fresh chicken tenderloins at Sam's Club for $2.17 a pound, and I won't pay more at the grocery store. If necessary, I buy lots at SC and freeze it so that we always have lean meat for meals. This week boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $1.99 a pound at Publix, so that is certainly an acceptable purchase.
  • I stock up on dry goods and other non-perishables only when they are on sale. I can buy whole grain pasta at two boxes for $1.39 about every six weeks. I buy it then and only then, and I buy enough to make it to the next sale.
  • I create a detailed shopping list before I go to the store so that I know exactly how much I'm spending ahead of time. If I'm over budget, I edit the list. I keep a running total on my calculator at the store to be sure I'm not surprised at the check out. I only spend the money budgeted for that trip. Period.
  • I weigh the produce before it goes into the cart. If I don't weigh it, I won't know how much it will cost.
  • I don't meal plan, but I do have a plan for what I buy so that I know it will be eaten. For example, not one person in my household eats carrots or celery regularly. I don't buy them anymore. I used to because they're "healthy," but that only served to enrich the compost pile. If I buy an ingredient we're not accustomed to having, I make a plan for it's use before it comes home.
  • Ready for the paradox? I buy the best. I never want a meal in this house to be a disappointment compared to an unhealthy meal. Spending a few bucks more on good food that will be eaten is much better than spending a few less bucks on food we will avoid until it needs to be thrown away. Like carrots and celery. :)
  • I ensure that what I buy will be eaten. More on budget friendly kitchen organization next week. :)
I'm sure you have some great advice on this subject, and I'm always learning, so let's hear it!

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Love Budget - Part 3- {Time}

Everyday is bank account, and time is our currency. So, no one's rich, no body's poor, we get the same 24 hours each. So, how are you going to spend it? Will you invest or squander. Try to get ahead or help some one whose under? --- Chris Rice - Life Means So Much

Time is ticking away. Tick, tick, ticking away! --- DC Talk.

Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them. ~Dion Boucicault

I am going to be the first person to say that I should be the LAST person to write an article about spending your time wisely. (It was hard for me to find time to write it!)

I waste my time doing so many things I should not: TV, Online, sleeping (ok- sleeping is not a waste of time now... but back when I used to sleep in until 11 or 12 noon it was a waste of time!) I don't spend enough time doing the things that I should: Praying, reading the bible, cleaning my house

Mmmmm, maybe I should be writing this post to get my act together!

A while back, my pastor talked about margins. You know, the white space on a piece of paper. He side that the important stuff is in the body of the page, and people like to add stuff to the margins. But if you add too much to the margins it takes away from the body of the work. He said we need to keep the margins of our life clean and uncluttered.

We need to schedule the BIG things. The things that are good for you and your family, and get ride of the little things. We need to learn to say "no." to things that are not good our families. Sometimes good things are not good for your family. It is all about keeping your margins clear.

So, How doe we budget our time? Here is what we (The Hubs and I) came up with:

Sit down and think about how you spend a normal week. Maybe you want to keep a journal one week. Recording all each day's activities.

Now, take a good look at where you are spending your time. Highlight the things that are useful and necessary {sleep, work, eating, etc} in one color, the things that are enjoyable and manageable {reading, dates with the hubby, hobbies etc} in another and the things that are wasting your time or are not a good fit for your family in a third color.

The next step is charting out how you want your week to look for now on. You want to keep your necessary and useful things, make time for your enjoyable things and get rid of the wastes. You can do this on a piece of paper, a calender, poster board, on outlook, or in your head! Try it out for a few weeks, and then take a look at it again to see if it is working or not. Readjust as you see fit.

I know that this is not revolutionary or anything. But it is like Karly's post last week. Sometimes it is the simplest things that help us get back on track!