Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Good Job

This way overused phrase has always been like nails on a chalkboard for me. I felt so vindicated when we recieved a letter from school indicating that this phrase be banished for a number of reasons. Especially when applying the phrase to children.

First off, it's way overused, and therefore rendered meaningless.

Secondly, being a kid, and doing everyday things, like playing soccer and coloring are NOT JOBS...they are part of the entire learning process called childhood...it's NOT WORK.

Thirdly, You'll create a child that is praise-hungry. You sap their own feelings of self-accomplishment, because they come to not value their own opinion of their work, only your opinion of it.

There are probably many more reasons, but in my clean-up-the-clutter moment yesterday, I threw the letter away. They're probably too deeply psycolgically based for me to explain with only 1/2 a cup of coffee in me today anyway.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Store Bought....You Can't Eat That.....

There are a few things that you just can't buy at a store...Jelly is one of them. Truly, Smuckers tag line of : "If it's Smuckers, It's got to be good", is a classic example of reverse psychology.

When we go on vacation, Someone has to bring the jelly. And, I make it seem like we use jelly on everything, but the truth is, it's mostly peanut butter and jelly's.

You just can't eat what you buy at the store. I just don't know what they do to it to make it so bad. Homemade jelly is so full of flavor. My family makes all kinds of jelly: grape (shown here), peach, strawberry, crabapple, and whatever else there is an abundance of. I think you can make jelly out of anything. I remember a very dust jar of tomato jelly at my Mom's when I was a kid.

The Oak Tree

I grew up on a farm that has been in the family since 1832. As I get older, I realize the significance of this. The world offers so many choices, and to commit yourself to this land has required many sacrifices by the people who have chosen to carry on the legacy.

This mighty oak has graces the top of the hill for as long as I can recall. I remember going out there to sort out my teenage problems, and was shocked to hear that my Dad had done the same thing when he was a teenager. This tree has survived storms and lightning, despite the fact that it sits on top of a hill in the wide open.

This oak somehow embodies the spirit of the place: It has survived for over a century, despite the odds, to grace the hill with it's strength, majesty and grace. It is a stubborn and tough old soul, just like the ancestors who settled here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pumpkin Shirts for the Whole Family

I saw these shirts in Family Fun Magazine. Somehow I thought this would be a fun family craft for family day at our house. I looked around last week for some white T-shirts...the boys all have undershirts with small stains, so they worked well. I ended up finding a few for the girls at Old Navy.
First we tye-dyed the shirts...some made giant circles that would later become pumpkins, some made a bunch of smaller circles, some made just one small circle in the lower corner of the shirt.

I cut up potatoes and made stamps. We came up with a few fun combos and then used black fabric paint to stamp them on. We also used some green for leaves and stems. It was a ton of fun. The kids really liked it! Very easy on the craftyness. I would definitely recommend you try it!

Monday, September 15, 2008

All or Nothing

Have you ever noticed how you can have weeks on end in the summer with no real plans, and all of a sudden, you get 2 invitations to seprate events on the same day at the same time? This happens especially with kids birthday parties. Nothing for a long dry stretch, and then a flurry of invites all for the same day and time.
I was picking peaches over the weekend in my parent's orchard. I was admiring the loaded trees, and I was thinking "It's All or Nothing". We wait for the blossoms in the spring, cringe when it frosts late, and hope that the trees didn't get it too bad. Then we watch the fruits develop, and hope the bugs don't get them. We tried the peaches last week, they looked good, but they were too hard. This week they were falling from the branches. Ripe and ready, in huge abundance.
So, the frantic race is on to "do something" with them. We canned 32 quarts. (Which hardly dented the supply.) My car was full of them and Dad was hinting (strongly) that he'd like a pie.

When I'm racing around my life trying to be/do all things, I think: "it's All or Nothing". I'm so wildly busy right now. I know someday I will search for things to do. I will try to drink in the "All" that I am in the midst of right now. I will try to capture special moments, like canning 32 quarts of peaches with my Mom.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Perpetual Girlfriend: Vicki Iovine

Vicki is my Girlfriend who writes the side-splitting Girlfriend's Guides. Vicki doesn't know me personally, but I list her as one of my girlfriends anyway. She would be my girlfriend if she lived anywhere near here. Vicki has 4 kids and an hectic/crazy house/lifestyle....let's just say that we can relate.

I laughed trough the Guide to Pregnancy, and the Guide to the First Year, and the Guide to Toddlers. I started reading : The Girlfriend's Guide to Getting Your Groove Back, but realized that I was still in the midst of diapers, naps and babyfood. It was just not relevant. I need to read that one next.

I picked up The Girlfriend's Guide to Parties and Playdates the other day. (It was published in 2003....Sorry Vicki, I've been busy over here and haven't had a chance to keep up with your latest.) There's lots of good stuff in here girls....some stuff you already know...like never invite 2 of your daughter's friends to play at the same time ( 3 is a bad playdate number). And some stuff that is very interesting like tips on how to organize your house so that the toys don't crowd you out but yet the kids still want to live there.

Friday, September 12, 2008

So Funny....

My friend over at Hope Studios ( www.hopestudios.blogspot.com ) told me about this web site www.yearbookyourself.com . She yearbooked herself at this web site which allows you to upload a picture of yourself, and then see how you would have looked over the years...enduring the latest "hair fashions".

Here's the trick: Don't yearbook yourself, yearbook your husband! Preferably with a picture of him with a goofy face anyway. The results are enormously funny. My sides hurt!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Charmed, I'm Sure

A friend of mine had recently been to a local wine festival, and was inspired by their wine glass charms. These little charms make your glass distinctive, and allows you to identify it among the others that are all on the kitchen counter in the middle of the dinner party.

We used handmade glass beads and paired them with matching seed beads. They look so great! These would make a great hostess gift paired with a delicious bottle of wine. It adds the little thoughtful "something" to your gift.

Monday, September 8, 2008

What's in These Cards?

I was cleaning out my wallet the other day and I realized that I have a serious problem.

Cards: 2 from Florida, 1 from the county that I live in, 1 from the school the kids go to, and a brand new one from a neighboring county.

So, my wallet inventory is as follows: $3, 2 credit cards, a folded-over beat up sheet of stamps, health insurance card, a picture of the kids, and 5 LIBRARY CARDS!!!

I just love libraries, what can I say? I am usually not the most well-liked library patron though. We usually take out at least 25 books at a time...sometimes we go over the limit, and I pull out one of the kids library cards so that we CAN get that Barney Christmas video that we really need! I have lost plenty of items, paid for them (I consider this my donation), then find the book the next week, and return it.

When we are on vacation, we have lots of free time, so we read lot. The library (OK, Libraries) also have a great selection of "family" movies that are appropriate for all of my gang, plus lots of movies that I wouldn't mind seeing after the kids are in bed.

So, I find them endlessly entertaining. There's so much in there that I want to know!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My Search for Happiness Today Included These BOOTS!

So, I was wandering through this cute town that I will be in lots this year because the kids go to school there. I came across one of my all time favorite stores, and found that they are going OUT OF BUSINESS! Don't you just hate that? EXCEPT that you LOVE the part where everything in the store is marked down substantially. I came across these Ariat boots. It was love at first sight. Even the tread is sweet...(see above).
So, I plan on wearing these with everything. (You can't even see the slight gold sheen). I'm thinking jeans and even skirts. If you are one of my friends, you'll just have to bite your tongue and live with it!

So This Will Get Easier? Right?

Overwhelmed. This is the nagging feeling in the back of my mind. The kids have all started school (yesterday), and today I'm wondering when buckets of free time are going to happen.

The truth is, I just made a copy of my "Family Calendar" (which always hangs in the kitchen so that all can refer to it) and jammed it into my purse. I've got 4 kids going in 4 different directions. Some with more than enough going on, and some with some big gaps in their schedules. If I'd ever like to see the little one do anything other than play Star Wars, I'd better find some library storytime or a sports class at the Y. Oh, and there is that promise that I made to myself about getting back to exercising.

I'm in a constant state of panic, thinking that I forgot something (lunches?) or someONE! I put myself to bed at night going over the next day's schedule. So, I'm day to day. I'm not sure I like that...I always thought of myself as the organized, month-at-a-glace type.

So, I'm sure that by next week, all of the pieces will start to fall into place and my schedule will just start to hum! RIGHT???