November

November is a busy month for us crammed with lots of events.

First off, we have our anniversary. The hubby and I took a little trip to Wine country and enjoyed a nice dinner out. It was one of the best Italian meals I’ve had in a while complete with dessert. The hubby had Crème Brule and I had Tiramisu.

photoNormally, we’d get something and share it, however their desserts looked too delicious not to each have our own.  The hubby also pointed out that apparently I am not very good about sharing dessert. As he so bluntly puts it; “Even when you say you’ll share dessert.”  Okay, maybe he’s right.

 

The middle of month is Teenager’s birthday. He’s 19 this year, so I guess it’s officially his last teenage year. That’s so hard to believe.

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He chose to have a gathering with all of his friends that entailed them bringing over their computers, one of them bringing his entire desktop set up, hooking them all up to a network and playing computer games. Yeah, I don’t understand it either. At first I thought he was kidding me. No, this is what he wanted to do, he told us. So we ordered pizza for them and a got a good photo of this geek fest before getting out of the way. It was like an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” right in our family room.

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Lastly, of course, is Thanksgiving and my parents were here to celebrate with us. It was nice to all get together and have a family holiday. Thanksgiving is always over too soon for me and as much as I love Christmas I wish I could just string out the Fall season with all the Fall décor a little longer before turning it over to Christmas. I’ve held onto my Fairytale pumpkins though, figuring they are more “Christmassy” than the standard orange ones that the hubby says have to go.

As is our family tradition, we head up the hill to cut our Christmas tree after Thanksgiving. DSC06650

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This year it was so sunny that I couldn’t get a good shot of us all; the looks on the kid’s faces because of the sun cracks me up!

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Now begins the whirlwind of Christmas decorating, parties, etc. In the middle of all the holiday chaos I am trying to focus on just enjoying my family and friends and being happy and content with life. Good things to do and remember this time of year and all year through. I have the perfect picture to end this post as it’s great symbolism for the simple, happy things in life.

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Another YouTube Sensation

When you have a kid like little guy, the entertainment pretty much never stops. We knew at a very young age he was musically inclined as he was very receptive to his music therapy.  We’ve recently discovered he can also bust out some impressive dance moves! We find it hilarious that he adds his own personal flair to his routines and his specialty move appears to be the “bum wiggle”. When you combine all that with wearing jammies, the incorporation of his brother’s skateboard and then put it all together with a popular song, it makes for one entertaining video.  So here you go.



Teenage Wit and Wisdom

Parents of teenagers are all too familiar with how difficult they are to get up in the morning. Especially boys who don’t have a lengthy “getting ready” routine to complete before leaving the house.

This morning, after several mornings in a row of not hearing Teenager’s alarm go off, I headed into his room and hollered at him that it was way past time to get up.

At breakfast I decided I needed to get to the bottom of why he hasn’t been getting up on time and using his alarm so I asked sarcastically if it wasn’t working. He responded that he has in fact been using his alarm and it works quite well. Every morning, he says, my “alarm” marches into my room and hollers at me that it’s time to get up. He then went on to state that he could either; A) set an alarm that may or may not go off in the morning or B) rely on one that always does.

Yes, he’ll have to learn to get up on his own one day, but wow, it’s hard to argue with that logic! I have no doubt that he’s going to do great things in life.

Home Made Fragrant Foaming Hand Soap

One of our favorite money saving strategies combined with our desire to use products that are as natural as possible is making our own foaming hand soap. My recipe for this has evolved over time as I’ve played around with it. I’ve now come up with what I think is a pretty awesome strategy that is very adaptable.

 Little guy walked by and insisted on being in the photo. So I had him do the "Vanna White" thing.

First, you simply need to have a foaming soap pump. I’ve collected several of these over the years and always aim for getting the nicest looking ones (since what’s inside doesn’t matter much when I’m going to be making my own).  I’ve found some great ones in colors and styles that I like and that go with our rooms and décor as well as some cute ones for kids. I avoid the “cheap-y” looking ones with the wrap around plastic label and aim for those with a color and a label I can remove. If you want a basic clear one, the Method brand is nice looking and a good shape.

I use a non-scented, pure castile soap from Dr. Bronner’s. This is the “baby mild” version as it has no scent. We buy a gallon of this stuff at a time for the best price and this is the same soap we’ve used as baby bath for the little guy over the years. I’ve also found an unscented version from Seattle Organics which I discovered at my local Grocery outlet for about 1/3 the regular price. Either of these work well.

The soap is easily and naturally scented by using essential oils. Although your initial investment in a few of these oils may seem like a lot, you’ll use them for a very long time and for various uses. When we started doing this, we already had a good sized collection of essential oils so we never had to actually buy any for this purpose. I’ve used lavender, grapefruit and peppermint the most. One of my favorite scents, which I generally have in the guest bathroom is Vanilla Mint, accomplished by using a few drops of peppermint and a few drops of vanilla extract. It smells wonderful!

You’ll need to play around a bit with the quantities as it will depend on the size of your soap container and strength of the liquid soap, but generally speaking you want to squirt about an inch or so of soap in the bottom of the container, then add a few drops or more of the essential oil and fill the rest with water. It’s as easy as that! You’ll know if you’ve not used enough soap because it will simply not feel very “soapy” and instead will feel too thin to clean, even though it's foamy. You’ll know if you used too much soap if it is difficult to pump out of the dispenser. 

As I was setting up the items to photograph the hubby came by and asked what I was doing. I said I was writing a blog post about how we make our own hand soap. His response; “We make our own hand soap?”

Let me know if you try this and how you like it. Happy soap making!

My Unique “Dear Photograph”


Little Guy has one of those motorized vehicles, a yellow Jeep, that he received several months ago and loves driving it around the back yard. Ironically, the Teenager, back when he was Little Guy’s age actually had the same Jeep in red. It occurred to me that I had a photo of Teenager driving his Jeep in the backyard circa 1998. I thought it would be a fun to take a photo of LG in his Jeep in a similar position as the old photo of a then young Teenager in his in the very same backyard. Not to mention the irony in the fact that back when Teenager rode around in his red Jeep he gave his Winnie the Pooh a ride; the very same Pooh that I kept and passed on to LG.

As I was forming this idea in my mind, I heard about the new website Dear Photograph where you take a picture of the present at the same time as holding a picture from the past. I thought my idea would be a unique take on this and pretty special considering my situation of having two sons, nearly fourteen years apart with one now in college and the other in Kindergarten. It makes it even more nostalgic when you add in the very same backyard and the same stuffed bear and the kid from the past in the present photo all grown up. Surprisingly, the folks at Dear Photograph have not yet posted my photo. I don’t know if they just haven’t gotten to it yet but they are clearly missing out on a great photo to post to their site. I don’t want my readers to miss it, so I’m going to share it here with all of you.
 
 

A little bit of trouble

So far, little guy has been doing quite well in school. He enjoys it, has never complained about going or had an issue with being left there. He’s learning, coming home singing cute songs and so far has avoided most trouble. We’ve only had a couple small incidences. The most recent incident involved his teacher pulling me aside and trying not to smirk too much as she proceeded to tell me that he’d gotten himself into a bit of trouble... for kissing girls. Oh dear. We’ve tried to explain to our very affectionate little boy that we just cannot do that in school and that while it’s okay to hug and/or kiss our family and perhaps close friends outside of school, at school it’s not okay. He was slow to comprehend this concept and we had to more emphatically state that’s it’s a rule, a school rule; “No kissing”. He looked at me quizzically and said; Okay Mommy, but…. where’s the ‘no’ sign?  It took me a moment to understand that he was talking about one of these;













Apparently he felt that if school was going to have a no kissing policy there should be clearly posted ‘no’ signs indicating this. Despite the fact that I had to impress upon my child that he could not do this and it wasn’t okay, as a parent the humor was certainly not lost on me. I have to admit he’s got an adorably amusing point.

Do 3 Things

It’s nearly Fall which readers know is my favorite season. I am so excited for cooler weather, crispy leaves and burning my Fall candles. I have been gathering together all my favorite Halloween and Harvest decorations and am looking forward to putting them up shortly. Before that happens I need to clean house. It has that “a bomb went off inside” look to it right about now. That would be due to our ridiculous list of projects we’ve got going on and my lack of staying on top of the day to day chores because I’ve become too involved in all the side projects. It’s time for a Fall spruce up around here so I need to get with it.

As stay at home moms know all too well, it’s difficult to stick to a routine of getting certain things done when you don’t have the forced structure of a work day. I’m trying to change that by implementing a new rule for myself. I’m currently typing this blog post on my self-allotted “lunch hour”. Yes, that’s right, I’m giving myself a lunch hour (and setting the timer!) I ate, read a few articles on-line, looked at when my last blog post was published (Yikes! Sorry about that!) and then decided to write this post for you people on my remaining time. See how thoughtful that is? I could be reading some more interesting articles on Yahoo but instead I am blogging/complaining about to my to-do list.

Speaking of to do lists, I’m implementing another rule for myself which I’m calling “Do 3 Things”. I plan to both whittle away at my to do list and do a better job at my daily stuff by requiring that I get three things done each day.  I’ll let you know how it goes after I work out the bugs. The first bug I see is how to number each “thing”, since at the moment I can see that while “picking up the house” might be thought of as one thing right now I think it qualifies as all three, if not more. The main point is this system will allow me to accomplish three things (either to-do projects or daily household tasks) on a daily basis. I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and finally decided that since I am a person who likes structure and has been a bit lost without it, I need to self impose structure back into my life so I can actually get things done. Beyond my normal, daily tasks I have some special projects I would like to tackle, but they are things I can’t feel comfortable doing when I have other more pressing things left undone.  I should also mention that some of the special projects are going to allow for some interesting upcoming blog posts. So, be sure to “stay tuned” because good stuff is coming up!

Well, my lunch hour is almost up and I’ve got a family room to pick up, some laundry to fold and find one other “thing” to do!