Thursday, January 29, 2009

Things I LOVE Thursday....Murphy's Oil Soap

I have found ANOTHER daily theme that I just LOVE....this is one of my favorite things about blogging. I really enjoy writing these types of things. Not only does it help me get my thoughts together, but it is FUN!!!

So here goes my very first Things I Love Thursday....(I found this one looking through the links from yesterday's Works for Me Wednesday.)
Many years ago, I had wood floors & lots & lots of woodwork in my house. So, of course, I bought Murphy's Oil Soap to clean it. I fell in LOVE with the scent and I discovered that while it is advertised for cleaning wood, it is very useful in cleaning all sorts of other things around the house. I no longer have wood floors, but I still use it almost daily. It will remove crayon from walls, grape juice from carpet & marker from the microfiber couch cushions. It also removes normal dirt & grime. And all the while it smells WONDERFUL.

I now buy it in a gallon size bottle at Home Depot. There are directions on the bottle for making a spray with it. I use the spray for cleaning painted walls, actual wood & the already mentioned couch. I also use a bit in a bucket of water to mop the linoleum. A little bit goes a LONG way. I use it a LOT & have had my current gallon bottle since early last Summer. It can also be used right out of the original bottle on a sponge or cloth, just remember it only takes a very small amount.
Drop by The Diaper Diaries blog to see the links to more Things I Love Thursday.

Potty Training....update

Baby Daughter will be 2 May 14th. In the last week and a half, she has pooped in the toilet almost exclusively...she did have an off day on Monday because of a stomache bug, but she really seems to have figured out WHEN she needs to poop & decided that she wants to do it in the potty. I'm very excited about this development. She has decided that she wants to wear underwear. I'm not ready to be cleaning up puddles everywhere & so we've come to a compromise. I put a cloth diaper on her and then she can wear the underwear over it, so far this is making her very happy. She does not seem to have figured out yet when she needs to pee, so she is wet frequently. She is however dry at night, so I know she has the muscle control to hold it, now it is a matter of waiting for her to recognize that she has the ability when she is awake. I'm expecting that to take a few more months. Two of her brothers & one of her sisters were fully potty trained before they turned two, so I'm thinking she may follow that pattern as well. While I'm enjoying using cloth diapers, I'm also really looking forward to the no more diaper stage AGAIN.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sick kids (Works for Me Wednesday)

I've got 6 kids...the 4 youngest are sick. Last night I went to Walmart at midnight to buy a new thermometer because the digital one I bought last year has a dead battery that does not appear to be replaceable & it was a pain to try to get the kids to hold it under their tongues long enough to actually record a temp anyway.

I found a very cool new thermometer & it was very reasonably priced ($20), so I wanted to share!!! The coolest thing about it is that it takes their temperature at the temple! No sticking it in the mouth of an uncooperative toddler and hoping to get an accurate reading. No waking them up to check & see what their temp is every few hours. No dumb disposable plastic covers to buy & keep track of. It's small enough not to be scary, but big enough that it shouldn't get lost too easily. I've personally wanted an EAR thermometer ever since Dr office's first started using them, but have been told that if the child has an ear infection you won't get an accurate they are expensive & my kids don't like having things stuck in their ears. The final selling point for me (besides price) was that it takes actual AAA batteries...those I actually keep in the house, unlike the weird little round watch battery kind that most thermometers seem to have, I can REPLACE them when they die!!!

Fortunately my kids fevers are lower than I feared, but of course I'll still be obsessively checking them every few hours when they go to sleep for the next couple nights. Be sure to stop by Rocks in my Dryer to see all the other MFMW tips for the week.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I WON!!!!

As I'm sure I've said many many times, I NEVER win anything. But my luck has changed!!! This week I won the Fluff Friday giveaway on the Cloth Diaper Whisperer blog!!! It is one of my favorite blogs....something NEW just about every day!!!

We made the conversion to cloth diapers over 6 months ago, but I've still been buying disposable wipes...I'm addicted to them & use them for EVERYTHING. Now that I've won this wonderful package, I'm going to give up that addiction. My main excuses that have kept me from making the switch to cloth wipes were not wanting to spend money to buy cloth wipes & not having the time to make my own.

In addition to the wipes I've won, I get to pick a cloth diaper pattern!!! My Mom & I made a bunch of diapers for Baby Daughter without a pattern & while they work great, they aren't fancy. This pattern will help me make professional looking one size is very versatile & I think will work well for making our own training pants too. I was really hoping to win the Blueberry training pants last week, but now that they are in stock at Kelly's Closet I'm going to have to find some room in the budget to buy at least one. Have I told you how much Baby Daughter & I LOVE minky?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


We don't get snow very often. On Saturday, the forecast said we would be getting it on Sunday, Monday & Tuesday!!! Sunday came & went without any snow, we were very disappointed. The sun came up on Monday & still no snow, but the weatherman said it should be starting by 10 am. The kids were off school for Martin Luther King Day, so they sat by the window waiting. At around 9:30, Hubby called from work to tell us that it was really coming down there.....the flurries started just then at our house. The flurries soon turned into HUGE flakes. The grass, trees & cars were quickly covered. The kids got into their snow clothes & were out the door in a flash to play in it. Of course, I couldn't find the camera so there aren't any pictures. We built a little snowman & had a blast. Almost as soon as it stopped, it all melted. Then about an hour later it started coming down heavy again and by the time we got home from picking up Hubby the yard was covered.

The temp was in the low 20's, so the melted snow turned into ice on the road and driveway. The snow just kept falling & soon there was more than we have ever seen at our own house least an inch, maybe TWO!!! School had been canceled Friday because of the extreme cold. They didn't want to cancel for Tuesday, so they waited until after 11 pm to announce that the buses would not be running & just a little after that they announced the schools would be closed!!! We've been here a little over 4 years & this is our first actual "snow day" with snow on the ground.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Finally a sock solution...that Works for Me (Wednesday)

I want to start out by saying that I did not come up with this solution. I actually read about it on a message board and was soooo stunned and amazed that I had to try it myself. This is such an amazing, but simple thing that I immediately shared it with Hubby too & even he was amazed and thought it was the absolute best idea he had ever heard.

Socks have never been my favorite thing, but when we only had boys, my solution was to buy one brand of all the same white socks, that way if one got lost it was never missed and when the sock supply was dwindling I would simply buy a new package to add to the population. Then, we had a girl. Our life has never been the same since adding girls to our family. Girl socks are just soooo CUTE. I can not imagine putting the same exact white socks on my girls everyday, I just had to do the cute prints & the lace & all the frills. However, along with that cuteness came the keeping them matched up & not loosing the mates dilemma.

A few months ago, the sock discussion came up on a message board I frequent. One mom had this fabulous idea, she bought each of her girls (she has 8) their own net lingerie bag. The bag was hung on a hook in the kids rooms and each time they take off a pair of socks or tights they go directly in the bag!!! When it's wash day, the bag goes into the dirty cloths hamper and the socks are washed & dried inside the bag, no more lost socks, no more sorting each girls socks & it's easy to match them all up to put away because you've only got 6 or 8 pairs each at most.
This bag works GREAT for my 8 yr old, we hung it on a hook that is too high for her little sisters to reach. All her socks & tights for a week fit nicely into it with plenty of room to move around while washing and drying. It works so well, I'm considering getting her another one for her undies and camisoles. The little girls share the same size socks and tights, so they also share one bag. Their bag is a standard mesh bag with a zipper closure, I keep it in my room because that is where I store all of their clothes. This has worked so well I'm planning to buy my 10 yr old son a bag too.

That is what Works for Me...go here to see all the cool things people are sharing in this week's WFMW at Rocks in my dryer.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Church update

Last week I was whining about Baby Daughter's church behavior. It was nice to hear that I am not the only one who struggles with this.

Last Thursday, I got a call from the young families priest from our church, Father Rob, he wanted to discuss the incident from the previous Sunday. He was under the impression that we did not plan to use the nursery anymore until she was no longer biting or scratching other kids, I explained to him that the nursery director and I had discussed only having her in the nursery during the Sunday school hour, when she has not had a problem. He feels that for her to be in the nursery at all she needs one on one supervision and since the nursery staff are not capable of providing that we will need to have someone from our family in the nursery to supervise her. To do this, my 8 & 10 yr olds will take turns skipping their Sunday school class to supervise her and they will bring her to the class I assist in about 10 minutes before it is over so that they can get into their choir robes for the main church service. They were both enthusiastic about the idea, the 8 yr old did it this week and had no difficulty. I left the 3 yr old in the nursery and took Baby Daughter into church with me. She was quiet and cooperative until about half way through the sermon. I had planned to try to go back in for communion, but she was so tired and cranky that we ended up sitting in the office lobby until church let out.

I also brought up the lack of a cry room or nursing area to Father Rob...he was preparing to leave on a vacation for two weeks, but he had several ideas. Our church has a visitors parlor that is equipped with speakers to be able to hear the service and he thinks there may also be a video link into that room. It is far enough away from the actual sanctuary that nobody would be able to hear a crying baby & it would offer some privacy if the baby needed to be fed. I looked at the room on Sunday, but since he is away, no arrangement had been made to be able to hear the service from there. The room itself has fancy livingroom type furniture & lacy drapes, not overly kid friendly & definitely not baby proofed, but if being there will allow me to at least hear what is going on in the church service I think I can make it work.

I'm optimistic that we will have a workable solution soon.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Potty Training.....again

It seems like I just did this. But Baby Daughter has started staying dry most nights and for us that is the first sign that it's time to start getting serious about teaching her to use the potty. Since we are using cloth diapers, I'm thinking potty training will be a little different this time. With our now 3 yr old, we spent about a year using pull-ups before we switched to regular undies. This time, we are skipping pull-ups. At the moment she is mostly wearing fitted diapers that snap....some of them are cotton & others are bamboo, she immediately knows if she is wet or stinky & asks to change. If we don't change her fast enough, she will take off her own diaper. My favorite cloth diaper store has a blog and every week they give something away. This week they are focusing on potty training!!! The trainers they are giving away look pretty cool, they are a bit pricey, but considering that they will be washed & worn over & over again they are actually much more economical than a years worth of pull-ups. I'm hoping that Baby Daughter won't take a year to get the hang of the potty, but if she needs that long, we are willing to work with her til she gets it down.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thank you Missy!

Yesterday, I read about my friend Missy's close call with the police. Today, I had to go with Hubby to the foot Dr. This Dr's office is right next to a Krispy Kreme. Normally, I would grit my teeth & not look twice, but thanks to Missy, I've been craving Krispy Kreme donuts...not the kind you can buy at the grocery store, the HOT fresh melt in your mouth kind that you can only get at the actual chain store. I bought a dozen of them & also a dozen assorted. On the receipt there is a coupon to get the 2nd dozen for free on your next visit, if I go back before January 31st....hmmm, I guess we could stop there after church as a treat one Sunday this month. THANK YOU Missy!!!!

Because you don't know enough about me yet

Jenni over at One Thing posted this and I had to give it a try. If you like it, please feel free to copy it at your own place and let me know so I can come and compare my own life with yours!

Just boldface the items that you HAVE done, and leave the rest normal….

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29 Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33 Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41 Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45 Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (do home movies count?)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60 Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64 Donated blood, platelets, or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66 Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67 Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79 Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Epiphany is the celebration of the 12th night of Christmas. According to what I was able to hear on Sunday, it is the day when the Wise Men visited Jesus and worshipped him. For me it has always been the formal END to the Christmas season. I can usually tell if the year is off to a decent start by how long after Epiphany it takes me to get my Christmas decorations down and put away. This year is starting off well. The tree is DOWN, in it's box and back in it's storage place. Most of the decorations are packed away. There will of course be stragglers, for the next few months, ornaments will show up here & there, but almost everything is now put away.

The first few years we were married, Hubby & I belonged to a Renaissance group and attended 12th Night celebrations every year complete with mid-evil was fun and I miss doing those kinds of things, but as our children grew and multiplied it got too difficult to stay involved. I've considered starting an Epiphany tradition of a special family dinner and gifts to celebrate the final day of Christmas, but just affording Christmas has been hard the last few years, so it hasn't worked out. Maybe someday I will find the perfect way to commemorate the day.

Monday, January 5, 2009

More on my Dream home fantasy

I've got a post up on the Lots of Kids 4 or More blog detailing some of the things I would change about the Dream Home to make it work for my family. Please come over and check it out, here. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Troubles at Church

I'll start out by saying I LOVE going to church on Sunday. I am involved in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program for 3 to 6 yr olds. It is very rewarding seeing the kids "get" our religion at such a young age.

It took me a long time to find a new church home, but I thought that I had finally found the perfect "home" for our whole family. My 18 yr old is currently not interested in going to church & we are giving him his space, hoping that he will come back to his faith on his own. Our 21 yr old comes to some events, but doesn't attend services on a regular basis. The 10 yr old and the 8 yr old go every week. They are in the children's choir and they are very involved in all aspects of church life. The 3 yr old is in the Catechesis class that I assist in and doing very well.

The 1 yr old is the current problem child. She is too young for any of the programs offered and she is too aggressive in the nursery. In December the nursery director and I agreed that we would keep her out of the nursery for the month in hopes of giving her some time to get past her biting phase. One week I took her to Cathechesis with me and the other weeks there wasn't any Sunday school hour because of other events on the church schedule. I had to leave the church service a couple times because she was too rambunctious, but I was able to return in time for communion and she didn't seem to be bothering anyone around us.

Today was her first day back in the nursery. She did fine during Sunday school and seemed to enjoy being back with her "friends". I asked her if she wanted to go into church with me, but she insisted she wanted to stay & play. Just after the second reading in church the nursery pager went off and I had to go pick her up. She had scratched the face of one of the other kids. The nursery director and I decided that she definitely seemed tired and that next week it would probably be best if she only stay during Sunday school. Taking her into church proved to be a disaster. She was tired and hungry and only wanted to cry. Unfortunately, this church has no mother's room or cry room. I started getting glares from old ladies and had to leave. Even in the foyer, she would not be quiet for me to listen to the service. I ended up taking her into a whole different section of the building and when it became obvious that she wasn't going to settle down we went to the car to wait for the 8 yr old & 10 yr old to come out.

Now, I'm left feeling that until she outgrows this phase I won't be able to attend church services. Hubby & I had planned to attend the Epiphany service tonight, but decided to stay home, since she already had such a bad morning it wasn't wise to take her back so soon. I'm tempted to see if the cathedral downtown has a cry room & go there for church after attending Sunday school at our current's only about 5 minutes away. Going to the cathedral would mean leaving my 8 yr old and 10 yr old, then going back for them after church, I'm not sure I'm comfortable doing that. The whole thing has left me feeling very sad and alone. Church is currently my only outside activity and it seems I will have to give it up. Hubby works every Sunday and the older boys are not available, they also usually work on Sundays.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I took the kids to Dollywood on Friday

We bought season passes to Dollywood last spring & we've taken the kids a couple times. Most things close down in the winter here & Dollywood is no different. It's last day was January 3rd. On Friday (the 2nd), Hubby & I decided it would be a good idea for me to take the kids to the Smokey Mountain Christmas Festival at Dollywood. We had been hoping that Hubby would be able to go too, but he wasn't able to take the time off work. It would have been nice to go before Christmas, but we just couldn't find a way to fit it in our schedule.

I don't like to tell the kids where we are going ahead of time because it always seems to get them too excited, so we packed the car up on the premise of seeing if there was any snow in Gatlinburg (about 30 minutes past Dollywood). Since the weather was pretty brisk, I figured snow suits on the little ones would come in handy anyway. We grabbed some lunch from the dollar menu at McDonald's and stopped at the store for drinks and snacks. When we got to the area, everything was pretty wet from the rain earlier in the day, so we decided that it was unlikely there would be any snow & since we were in Pigeon Forge anyway we might as well go check out Dollywood's Christmas Festival.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that all the midway type rides were open. The last time we went, we spent most of our time at the shows. This time, I decided we would skip the shows and just enjoy the rides.

They all LOVE the carousel. Baby Daughter was a bit scared the first time, but after she went on a bunch of other kiddie rides she couldn't wait to get back on the horsies.

After it got dark, the trees and buildings were all lit up. I think it is probably the best Christmas light display I've ever seen. Here are a few of my favorites.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Dream Home Entry starts today!

I have now looked through all the virtual tours and pictures on the website & I'm sooooo psyched!!! Of course this house leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to bedrooms for kids, but I see ways that I could definitely make it work for our family!!! I know we don't have any real chance of winning, but it will definitely be my top fantasy from now until March 15th when the actual winner is announced.

Click on their cool widget to take the tour, let me know what you think of house....would it work for your family?

Twenty Two Years ago Today.....

Hubby & I were married in the recreation room of our apartment complex. The minister who married us was the father of a friend from high school & a member of our Army Reserve unit. My Dad flew out from New Jersey to give me away. A family friend made us a beautiful cake. My Mom & I made appetizer trays for the reception. I bought my dress at JC Penney a few days before, it was a tea length cream colored party dress. I returned it the day after our wedding because we were strapped for cash & I knew I wouldn't ever wear it again. Hubby wore his dress Army uniform. Unfortunately my father was the only one who took any pictures & those didn't turn out well. For many years I didn't even have them, but he gave them to me on one of his rare visits a few years ago. I've misplaced the box they are in & the computer that holds all my scanned pictures is having power issues (it doesn't turn on at all).

The 22 yrs since have been eventful. There have been some very rough times, but also many many very happy times. I look forward to many more years with this man who I still love as much today as I did on that day 22 years ago.

Happy New Year!

Wow, 2008 was a really hard year. I'm hoping that 2009 will be soooo much better. The 18 yr old is working, the 8 yr old is sleeping & the 10, 3 & 1 yr olds are still excitedly talking about the new ball they just saw dropped in Time Square on the TV. Hubby barely made it to midnight, I guess we really are getting old.