Thursday, September 26, 2013

Time For Fall Cleaning

I get the cleaning bug several times a year.  I mean the big cleaning bug.  The one where you're panting trying to move furniture, ready to the throw the fridge and cleaning half-eaten hot dogs that you find from behind the sofa.  I suppose it comes with the seasons.  So this week( and probably next ) I'm at it again, constantly cleaning, organizing, and reorganizing things.  Trash days are often filled with joy as I sort through the house trying to get every single piece of anything that could be considered trash out of the house.  I've already dumped three large garbage bags, taken one giant bag to the Goodwill, and currently have a massive bag of outgrown fall and winter clothing that I'll be sending to the consignment shop for sale.  I usually apply money from anything I sell to debt reduction.  

I've finally been getting rid of the baby items.  There will be no more little feet running through the house.  Maybe.  The changing table and the high chair have been taken to our church nursery.  I took the drawers out of the other one for a diy under bed storage project and got rid of the frame.  I still have a playpen and a second stroller I looking for someone to give to.  The house is looking a lot better as baby items can completely take over a house especially our little one.

Outgrown toys have also been snatched.  I'm thinking about donating some of the really small toys (happy meal) to the elementary classrooms for treasure box items.  I have to hide them or get rid of them quick or the kids are going to be like "Oh, there is my thingamajig" that they haven't seen in two years and now all of sudden want to throw a fit about.   Honesty, we've had some of the toys since AJ was little and I just passed them down or kept them for my own classroom.  Everything is a teaching resource when you're broke.

I've currently gathered every loose, out place, stacked in a pile high, thrown in basket, or a bag piece of paper in the house and have piled it on the kitchen table.  We haven't eaten at the table all week.  It's for a greater good. lol.  I've started sorting through it all and am labeling, filing, and shredding.  Paper has always been the biggest problem in our house.  With three kids, myself being a secretary twice over, and the hubs starting a company, our house is usually filled with too many art projects, files, bills, and about two billion receipts.  Sometimes I just have to pray about this one.  Lord please give me the wisdom to keep all this stuff organized.  Getting organized is easy.  Staying that way takes discipline.

A few of the things on my list include:

- clean out my closet and dresser
-figure out what to do with all our college books/notebooks (They've been sitting in a stand for years.  I would get rid of them if I didn't think I'd use them again.)
-Reorganize teaching supplies
-move all furniture and clean behind it
-clean carpets
-Organize paper
-flip, spray and clean mattresses
-wipe down walls
-clean windows and doors

I'm sure I'm going to be even more exhausted but there's nothing better than having a clean house.  Well, at least until we all get out of bed.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Toddler + Church = Survival Mode

Going to church with a toddler in tow is sometimes a test of my faith and patience.  I'm sitting in church trying to receive some type of word while silently praying that my little minion won't shout Hallelujah at the top of his lungs and proceed to do a praise dance complete with front flips down the center of the church.  If you are fortunate enough to have children's church AND to have your toddler happily (and quietly) allow himself to be escorted to his classroom then you are one lucky duck.  I, on the other hand, am usually trying to pry loose from a death grip of a tot to be able to walk to my office and /or back to the sanctuary and get something accomplished without having a melt down myself.  This little boy is not having it.  He is right behind me, foot to foot. 

I was wondering just what he was thinking about in church.  What did he really think about the whole  service.  I'm a Baptist so we get pretty "krunk" in church. lol  I imagine that is pretty exciting for a little person who gets kind of cranked up himself.  So from a toddler's take, I tried to think about what the service was like to him from our usual service layout.

Praise and Worship - The perfect time to yell, shout, and cut a rug without going to time out.

Choir Selections - The perfect time to showcase his vocal range.  (I thought my child was going to out sing the guest choir one Sunday)

Scripture - My Book! I need to showcase my knowledge of "Super Why"

Prayer - The perfect time to throw a fit about something

Tithes and Offering - He needs to write his own name on his envelope and gets throw it in basket.  Good job!

The Word - Please, please, stay in your room.

Communion - Snack time.  (Literally snatched the cracker out of my hand and stuffed if into his mouth.  Then said, "Hmm.  Tastes good.  Next, proceeded to fight me for the cup.

And don't forget this one

Church Nursery - What am I going in there for?  This is where the party's at.

There are many times that I just thought it would be easier to stay home than to take one or more of my children to church. (while they're little)  So here are a few tips to get those little suckers to sit still and be quiet.  Hopefully.

1.  Pack a snack.  Church runs into snack time and nap time, so sometimes we have a cranky tot on our hands.  If your church has a no eating policy (as most do) and you can't sneak and stuff a goldfish in that mouth (guilty), just quietly leave out and let them have a quick snack.  We like to bring bananas or some other less messy fruit, cheese, and crackers.

2.  Pack a bag.  We pack Caleb's backpack with small cars (launched across the church seats once a upon a time) and toys, books, paper and crayons, smarties and suckers. (bribes)  It's a lot better than the eye liner to draw masterpieces on the back of my light bill, the eyelash curler being used as a martial arts weapon, or trying to find some app on the phone he can silently play.

3.  Let them participate.  Of course kids want to do everything you're doing.  Let them.  We give him that offering envelope and let him scribble his name and put his own money in without help.  We give him a Bible and let him "find" the scriptures.  Whatever works.

 Hopefully, we'll make it out alive without being completely embarrassed by the end of the service.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

It's Fall Yall!

I absolutely love Fall!   It is my favorite season out of the year.  Everything about Fall just gets me all excited, not to mention it just seems like automatic snuggle time!

Nature is just soooo gorgeous this time of year.

I would like to think it's the kids too because we do a lot more being that it's not so hot.

The weather is just perfect and I swear we could stay outside all day.  I can feel the temperatures falling.

Of course, the leaves are just gorgeous and it's just so much fun to play in them.

And then there's Halloween!  Zorro, a princess and a little dragon that refused to wear a costume
 Caleb's first Halloween as a turtle and Miss Super girl


We get to run wild and free without sweating.

The love bugs




Fall Festivals!

I love it!  I've already pulled out all of my Fall decorations and am planning things to do with the kids. 
Are you excited about Fall?


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Do You Need An Upgrade?

If you look around, almost everything created has an upgraded version.  Televisions, game systems, computers, programs and software, and cell phones all have some upgraded version.  The purpose of the newer version is that it is supposed to be better, likely run faster, smoother, or be easier to operate or maintain. 

The definition of upgrade is to raise to a higher standard, in particular by adding or replacing components to the existing version.  My question is, "Do we need an upgrade?"  Are there some things that we need to remove and/or replace in ourselves so we can raise ourselves to a higher standard?  Maybe we need an upgrade in our attitude. Are we walking around always negative, expecting bad things to happen all the time? If so, we might need an upgrade. What about in our relationships with others? Are we in relationships that are healthy, positive, and fruitful? It may be time to remove yourself from some of these relationships and work on an improvement or rather add something to it to make it better. Sometimes our visions need to be upgraded. We can't always see past what's in front of us.  Enlarge your vision in spite of your circumstances.  Due to different circumstances in our lives, we might need to add or change parts of our vision.  Not that it won't come to pass, it might just take you a little longer to get there.  What about an upgrade in our praise and in our faith? What can I add or remove to make my faith and praise a higher quality, to raise it to a higher standard. To show up and show out for God. You may need to add more prayer and praise and remove the doubt and the fear.

God made us in a version but sometimes we need an upgrade so we can fully function and operate to the best of our ability. We need to raise the standard in our lives.  Maybe we need to let go and remove some things in our lives and maybe we need to add a few things that were missing.  It may come at a cost- friendships, family, pride or ego but maybe we'll find that the upgrade was worth it in the end.

Consult with God to see if there are some things in you that need to be upgraded.  Pray about it and then there's nothing left but to do it.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Update: 3 Months of Natural Hair

Warning:  This post is loaded with pictures.

I have to be honest these three little months of natural hair has been almost a breeze.  I know it's because my hair is so short and I probably better enjoy it while it lasts.  There are days when I feel like I don't know what to do with it just because I think I should be doing more to it.  I pretty much just get up and go which shouldn't give me any reason at all to be late for anything.  Wrong.  I just spend more time complaining about not having anything to wear.

My hair does have some sort of curl pattern.  I've heard some natural hair folks say that your actual pattern doesn't come in until about two or three months after chopping.  I think at this point, it is what it is.  I don't know my hair type.  The hair charts are confusing to me.  One texture looks very similar to the next texture and then people say they have more than one texture of hair in their head


The above pictures are accidental close ups of my hair as I was trying to take a picture of the spot that is different. 

I have this one patch in my head that feels different from the rest.  I don't know if it's a different texture, dry hair, scab hair or whatever.  I'm notorious for picking at it and isolating it because it just feels different and I can't stop bothering it. 

I tried to put a rubber band on it to see it better.  It doesn't look much different in this picture but it feels different.

These are most of the products I use on my hair.  I don't buy a whole lot of stuff especially at the price of some of it.  I'm like who can afford that.  I usually have just one conditioner at a time but I ended up having to buy one at my mom's once.  So we alternate between the conditioners. 

I was using castor oil but ran out and never bought anymore.

The spray bottle is filled with water and hair conditioner.  I use the same spray bottle to mix vinegar and water in.

I wash my hair mostly around once a week now and I even went two weeks once out of laziness.  I do a vinegar rinse about once a month but I am going to start adding baking soda to it.  I co-wash, finger detangle, and comb in the shower.  

These pictures are right after washing.  Except for that glob of conditioner in the front that I missed, nothing is on my hair.  This is one time I leaned over and washed my hair in the sink simply because I didn't want to clean the hair out of shower.

It reminds me of a jheri curl.  I hear several people say that the s curl spray works very well for moisture retention.  We haven't tried it, though. 

Then I apply the As I am leave in.  I'm currently out of coconut oil so I've just been using the olive oil and then the shea moisture.  (LOC method- liquid, oil, cream)  I really don't do anything else to it after that.  Sometimes I may spritz it with a water and conditioner mix during the day but I've really been taking advantage of it being short. 

Detangling hair is a pain.  I don't have that many tangles as I will try to detangle it before I wash it

I'm not sure if this is a good or bad amount of hair from a detangling section.

But there are times when it seems like I have one/some and NOTHING will get that thing out.  I'm trying to do like they say and apply a lot of water and a lot of conditioner for slip and oil to help ease it out.  However, after about 5 minutes and that knot is still in there, I'll snatch that thing right out of my hair.  ( no sense in lying )  I have to work on my patience with that.  I'll take my time and try to get the kids' hair untangled without damaging it ( most of the time ) but by the time I get to my hair...well...

Setting Hair for bed

That twisting hair every night for bed is for the birds.  That is so not for me.  I knew from the start that I would not be doing that and I have not proven myself wrong.  Maybe if it was longer and didn't take as long, I would.  I might spritz my hair and put some oil or cream on it and put a cap on.  I usually look like this.

Length check

The first time I twisted my hair, it took me 1 1/2 hours.  I was tired, aggravated, thinking about taking it down, and I was usually twisted in some weird yoga type arm stretch position trying to reach around to the back of my head.  So I've twisted my hair about 5 times total.  My twist out looks different each time. 


In the second picture here, my hair wasn't dry all the way.  I pulled it back with the panty hose band.

Sometimes we get bored.  Imagine that. lol

I am still loving my hair though.  I haven't really done any styles other than the twist out.  I did attempt the curly girl method on the 13th.  Now, I won't say I followed it in it's entirety because it looked like way too much to read and too many people had slightly different versions.  So what I got from it ( correct me if I'm wrong ) was that you basically wash your hair and leave a load of conditioner in your hair, scrunch it with a tshirt to avoid frizz, and shake to separate curls.  I actually think it's two methods that sound kind of similar but I can't think of the other one right now.  I really liked the result of it although it took like all day to dry.  I washed my hair at 6 in the morning.


This is 6 in the evening and my roots are still kind of wet.  I have a few "fly-aways."  I'm not sure if I did that or not. (hands)  I haven't gotten a trim or anything yet.  At first, I said I would get one every month but I thought that seemed excessive.  So now I'm thinking maybe every 6 months.  With everyone "into" natural hair, I think I'm afraid I'll go to the wrong person and they'll butcher me.  It's not like I would really know if it was necessary.  I'm "playing this thing by ear."

These pictures are about 6 days after the curly girl method.


This is what my hair looks like right now, tonight.

It hasn't been washed since the 13th.  I thought it was a week and a half.  It's close.  I have pulled, picked, twirled, curled, scratched, tugged and played in my hair all day and all week. I just fussed at Cate about this. ( I need to practice what I preach. )  She came home looking like "The Color Purple."  She's been wearing her hair out for these past two days.  I was going to wash it tonight but of course, I'm not.  Maybe I'll wash it in the morning.

Fitness Friday - Kettlebell Workout with Weights

There's been no Zumba but I have been on the weight lifting wagon.  I'm not sure if I think it takes less effort to not have to get Zumba set up or it's just my particular mood.  I've been adapting some kettlebell workouts and using regular dumbbells and the ones that you have to put the weights on with a clamp for grip.  Some of these exercises were done in the 30 Day Shred and just used with weights, too.  These are two YouTube videos that I've been taking from.

The Russian twist is a pain.  I don't have good balance at all. The one where they swing the bell between their legs is a move that I tried to explain months ago in a fitness post not knowing it was a kettlebell move.
I think it's time to get rid of some clothes.  There are some sizes that I'm almost certain I don't want to be back in.  I'm pretty happy with my size and don't really want to go any smaller. (or bigger)  I wasn't happy smaller and I thought I looked very anorexic.  So did my mom, although she never told me until I finally was able to gain a few pounds.  I think that season is officially over.   Moving on.
I'm considering a detox or cleanse soon.  I have some Arbonne detox tea that I haven't tried yet (primarily because I hate tea) and a digestion powder.  I may try those.  If I do, I'll write a review on them and let you know how they go.  (I don't get paid for any reviews.  I wish I did.)
This weekend is the first day of Fall.  Enjoy all the nice weather we've been having without necessarily sweating to death!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Tale Of The Lost Keys

Now there are things that I lose all the time: my phone, my mind, and my keys. Today's story is about the time I lost my keys two weeks ago.  Caleb and I were on the way to the school to pick up Caitlyn. She came bouncing out as usual chewing on her book bag strap.  As she hopped into the car, she told me she had left her jacket on the playground. So I pulled into the school parking lot and we proceeded to get out. I zipped up my purse, threw it under the backseat, and locked the doors. We made our way to the playground and I stood at the door and waited. We chatted a bit to the teachers and principal and were about to make our way upstairs. Then, Caitlyn decided she needed to make sure she didn't leave anything in her classroom which was right down the hall. Reluctantly, I agreed. Kids always forget everything. Turns out she didn't leave anything, but rummaged through her desk to get her reward tickets. We strolled out stopping once again, this time to chat with Cate's teacher. We made two more stops to the water fountain and the bathroom. This is where it went wrong.

If you have a toddler, you know the bathroom to a toddler can be an amusement park or a terror chamber. Unfortunately, this was a terror chamber. Too many things operated by themselves and made to many loud noises. The toilet alone requires skill and quick thinking. Maybe this is what threw me off. Unknowingly, I had placed my keys on the door hook on the back of the bathroom door. I don't even remember doing it. Anyway we proceeded to "No, don't touch that. Stand here.  Uh-uh. Don't put your hands on that.  Don't you touch that toilet!  Wait a minute.  Don't unlock the door.  Leave that alone. and Just Pee!"  Clearly winded and out of breath and 3 yoga poses later, I waltzed right out the stall with Caleb so he could get soap to wash his hands and had to demonstrate and have a pep talk to get him to put his hands under the automatic dryer. It was not nearly as loud as others but we were still on the verge of a panic attack. We made it out the door. The second my foot hit the threshold, I noticed I didn't have my keys. I told Cate to go in and get the keys off the toilet paper dispenser - where I thought I had left them. As a matter of fact, I "knew" I had left them there. Where else would I put them? She came back and said she didn't see them. Of course, I'm like she probably half looked, unlike me who would do a thorough search of the "premises." Besides, I used to want to be a cop. I used to be Harriet the Spy. Surely, I would go in and walk right out with them. Wrong.

Now, I stood there outside that bathroom door trying to figure out just how crazy I really was. I mean come on, I'm crazy but not that crazy. Am I? We walked back to the classroom, looked up and down the hall, and checked the door by the playground. No keys. It's 3:07. AJ will be out of school soon. I asked three janitors on the way upstairs and no one had seen any keys. I'm sure my keys were laughing at me, hanging on the back of that door and I didn't even have a clue. We asked the secretary if anyone had turned in keys because I was sure I walked into the school with them. But did I? Maybe I didn't. I kept replaying the events in my head. Where we went. What we did? Surely alzheimer's doesn't set in this early. Why couldn't I remember? I decided to check and see if I had left them in the car.

As we walked outside we were greeted by the 90 degree heat and had to refrain from passing out. When we reached the car, I peered through the window. No keys in the seat. No keys in the ignition. I wasn't sure if they were in there or not. Then, I remember the purse in the back seat.  Maybe because this is how I am,  maybe I took the keys out of the ignition and absentmindedly threw them in my purse before throwing it into the back seat.  Yes, that must be where they are.  I started searching for an unlocked or not all the way rolled up door or window.  I always lock all the car doors and windows when I get out of the car even for a little while.  So I found none.  We stood outside in that scorching heat for a minute trying to think who to call.  And because I have a ragedy phone, I stand outside and fumble with the idiotic thing that refuses to call who I press to call.  Won't call at all.  Hangs up before I make the call and overall makes me want to slam it into the ground...  And they call these thing smart phones.  I finally got the thing to work and called my mother in law to ask if she could pick up AJ because we clearly were not going to make it.  Next I called Andre who could do nothing for me being he was all the way in Pennsylvania. 

"Well, it looks like you're going to have to call the police department or a lock smith."  I could do the police department but the lock smith meant I was probably going to pay a fee.  He said the locksmith would likely cost around 75.00.  If you're cheap like me, the first thing you say is 75.00! Oh, I don't want to pay that.  The second thing you say is,  Uh-uh, I'm not paying that. I had no idea what I was going to do but I know I didn't want to pay someone to break into the car.  I walked pitifully back into the school office and called the police department who informed me that they only open doors if a child or pet is locked inside.  Uhhhh!  I asked for a phone book and got ready to call the locksmith.  I tried to call the first one.  Phone starts acting up.  Get it together phone.  Ok it's calling.  No answer.  Oh, how I hate having to pay someone to this.  I had rather bought something else I didn't need like the dress calling me from the boutique store..  I called a second one.  Disconnected.  I'm on my third one.  Please Lord. It rings once, twice, and I get an answer.  I asked if they would unlock car doors and she said that they did.  My next question was how much did they charge.  $40.  Oh, not bad but still nearly the price of a dress I've been eyeing.  Okay.  I started telling her what kind of car I had and was just about to tell her where I was when the school office door opened.  Standing there was the secretary and two girls holding a SET OF KEYS!  My keys!  I happily told the woman on the phone that I would not be needing their services and couldn't stop thanking the little girls that found my keys.  Of course I had to ask them where they were, because I didn't have a clue. 

Think of that.  I would have called that locksmith to come and break into my car to get my keys which would have ended up not even being in there.  I would have been out 40 bucks and still out of the car.  So to thank the little girls for saving the day, I decided I needed to do something for them.  I got their names from the office and sent these to school the next day.

These little supergirl cups stuffed with treats, decorative lip chap, and nail polish with a message that said "Thanks for saving the day" because they really did.  That was a blessing.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Toddlertivities- Randoms

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Sorting letters made with construction paper.

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Sorting colors can be done with anything. The cups are saved from Italian ice cups.

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Tip: Use a frisbee as a large paint dish. It holds the mess better.

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Shape collages

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Matching crayons colors to flashcard colors. Can be done with any item.

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Cutting station! Nothing can go wrong here, right?

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Chalk shapes. Race to get to the right one or, on occasion,use a poor Elmo stuffie to toss into the right shape.

I love doing activities and educational things with Caleb especially when I can come up with things that are FREE or CHEAP. However, there are many days where I just don't care to do anything (the past two weeks for example), so we do stuff like this...