Cleanup Hitters of the Fridge

Do you ever notice that moms are the cleanup hitters of the fridge?

Everyone else can open up the fridge, look at all its contents, and declare, “There’s nothing to eat.”

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But moms on the other hand, look at the same contents, and think, “There’s enough in here for 2 more meals. I’m not going to the store.”

I am always eating strange meals for Saturday and Sunday lunches.

A few tortilla chips, with some leftover guacamole, some grapes, and some broccoli reheated – sounds like a meal to me!

Some leftover pasta, a tomato, a piece of swiss cheese, and some Italian dressing – sounds like a meal to me!

My boys always look into the fridge on these days and promptly say, “Can we have mac n’cheese?”

What? Don’t you see all of the possibilities when you look in there? More importantly, don’t you see the fact that Mom doesn’t have to go to the grocery store and spend money when all of this is still available to you.

My husband is really on the boys side of things. I see him wander around the kitchen opening the fridge, opening the cabinets, searching up high for….the cooked lasagna I keep on the top pantry shelf? Who knows.

But last Sunday I couldn’t have been more proud of my husband. He opened up that fridge and promptly fixed himself a meal of leftover potatoes mixed with some leftover spaghetti sauce!

Sounds like a meal to me!

Posted in food, husbands, observations | 2 Comments

What Happened to Your…?

You know the rule about never asking a woman if she’s pregnant?

Even if she’s so round in the belly she looks as if she’s having triplets?

You. Just. Don’t. Say. Anything.

Well, I was asked something along those lines today.

After I swam for an hour with my team, I was drying off with a towel and just throwing a dress on over my suit to go home in. I put my shoes on and turned around to grab my bag all the while talking to another swimmer who was also drying off.

When I turned to grab my bag he yelled out, “Oh my God! What happened to your calf?”

I looked up to see him looking at my calf wide eyed and with his mouth gaping open.

I glanced down and saw all of my varicose and spider veins swirling around my right calf. Looking back at him I said, “Having kids, that’s what happened to my calf.”

Well, he was pretty mortified.

As he should be.

“I’m so sorry, I just didn’t know. It looks like you had a big accident.”

“It’s fine.”

I walked away. I got my kids from the waiting area where they had patiently eaten lunch and read books for the hour that I swam and we drove home.

Only to tell you the truth, before I got home I did shed some tears. Not big sloppy boohoo tears but those silent behind the sunglasses kind.

Yes, I look at my calf and think what a nightmare but there’s always that little part of you that thinks maybe people will not really notice as much as you think they do.

And then they notice and it just feels bad.

I sulked a little but I’ve figured out what I’m going to say the next time this happens.

“Oh my God! What happened to your calf?”

“Oh this, yeah it’s bad. But what happened to your head? It’s so shiny! Although on the positive side I guess you save a lot of time in the morning getting ready.” 

Posted in observations, parenting, swimming | 1 Comment

Simple Spring (& Summer) Mantle

We recently had company coming over and an empty mantle so I looked around the house for some materials to make something.

I had recently ordered several $5, 8 x 10 canvases for our house from an online company. The pictures were from my brother’s wedding last summer so I thought they would work on the mantle for now until I put them up on the wall at some point.

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I had an old sewing hoop which I covered in green fabric. I then glued on some yellow ric- rac around the edge. Finally I made some fabric flowers using some leftover fabric.

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Searching through my crafting supplies I found some felt and decided to make some small banners with it. I created 3 separate banners but hung them up together.

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I like the bright colors for spring / summer.

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*On a side note, Sherwin Williams is having a 40% off paint sale this weekend*

**My husband is absolutely delighted with this fact**

***OK, that last thing was a lie. He’s worried, oh so worried.***

 

Posted in art work, crafts, decorations, house projects, mantle, sewing | Comments Off on Simple Spring (& Summer) Mantle

Skiing for Spring Break

Since we are just 2 days away from being done with school this year I thought that now would naturally be a good time to share some spring break photos. For their Christmas present this year, my sister and her boyfriend gave our kids a ski trip to Blue Mountain in Ontario, Canada. The kids and I had never been on skies and my husband had only been on once decades ago. We were excited but a little nervous.

We flew up to Toronto and then took about a two hour drive to Blue Mountain. Our hotel sat right on this skating pond and had little shops all around.

Here are Caroline and Andrew wearing their “Dallas Winter Wear.” We had to borrow real ski clothes from Derek’s sister and all her generous friends who let us borrow clothes.

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And yes…we did go swimming on this snow covered day.

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We signed up the kids for ski school which was from 10:00 – 3:00 everyday (with a 1 hour break for lunch). Caroline had just turned 6 ten days earlier so she qualified to go to all day school with the boys. She was a little reluctant on the first day but went along since “her boys” were with her.

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She’s the littlest one on the right.

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It was amazing to see the kids in ski school. The instructors had the kids going up the magic carpet (ride that you stand on to get you up the hill) almost immediately and even more impressive is that they were coming down almost as fast. Our kids enjoyed their first day but I know Caroline definitely got tired of falling down.

Once the kids were situated in their lessons, all of the adults took a beginning lesson where I promptly fell down. Did I fall while moving? No. I fell while standing still listening to the instructor. Once the beginning lessons were over the instructors sent us over to practice on the same little hill the kids were already practicing on. My first attempt at getting on the moving magic carpet? I fell. They had to stop the whole dang thing for me to get up. Complete fail.

Once we had gone through the various stations and practiced what we were supposed to practice my sister and I asked the instructor what was the next station. The guy pointed up at this enormous mountain and said practice on that. What? That can’t be. There must be more stations. After practicing on the baby hill a few more times my sister and I worked up the courage to try Mount Everest. Trust me. It seemed enormous from the bottom.

When  my sister and I attempted the chair lift for the first time we got on with two other people. For some reason they never pulled down the bar which is supposed to go in front of you so to say that my sister and I were panicked for about 4 minutes is a complete understatement. We held on for dear life and were never so glad to be at the top of a mountain.

Until we looked down to the bottom and sheer panic took over.

Somehow we each manged to get down. I’m pretty sure toward the end I was racing down the mountain at 40 miles an hour. After that experience we promptly went back to the baby hill and told the instructors that we needed some serious help. With some help and a private lesson the next day we did get a little better but it’s a safe bet to put your money on Lindsay Vonn this world cup racing season and not one of us.

After ski school ended at 3:00 we picked the kids up and headed back to the hill/mountain until 4:30 everyday. For us it was like when we go to Disney – up at the crack of dawn and at the park until the fireworks at night – we were committed all day.

The kids at the top of the practice hill

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Aunt Kelly & Caroline

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Andrew & Uncle Duke

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Alex, Dad, and Caroline (in her tuck) coming down the hill

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20150308_154423(0)At the end of day one the boys were begging to go up “Big Baby,” also known as Mount Everest to me. I kept saying no but their dad and uncle won out (caved) and took them up. Once Andrew got off the ski lift and looked down the mountain he threw himself down on the snow and said, “I can’t do it. Get me down.” He was completely heartbroken to find out that he had to ski down. It took a loooooong time for him to come down the mountain with my husband. He’d ski a tiny bit and then fall. Ski a tiny bit and then fall. And so on. For a long time. But…he finally made it down and promptly announced that he was done for the day.

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After spending 6+ hours on a cold mountain what treat do you naturally turn to?

Ice cream of course!

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Day 2 – Andrew & Alex take snow board lessons, Caroline continues with ski lessons

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Lots of falling on your bum is apparently par for the course when learning to snow board.

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Alex ended up loving snow boarding so much that he took lessons again on his 3rd day. He impressed everyone by even going down some blue trails on the 3rd day.

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Dad and Caroline going up the magic carpet like pros

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Snow board victory!

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Aunt Kelly

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Finally a picture of me coming down Mount Everest / Big Baby.

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Ski Lift Fun – Andrew and classmate below

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Mom (me) & Caroline

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Caroline &  Dad

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IMG_2609Andrew & Alex

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Day 3 – Last run of the trip – from the top down – Andrew, Alex, Derek (Dad), Caroline, & Uncle Duke – not pictured, me: I was too slow and still making my way down Mount Everest / Big Baby.

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Blue Mountain Photo Spot documenting the miracle of no broken bones!

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And finally a family photo at the top of the mountain…could it be we already have our Christmas card photo in March?

20150310_154211(0)Great trip…wonderful memories…thank you Aunt Kelly and Uncle Duke!

Posted in activities, Alex, Andrew, caroline, family, observations, travel | 2 Comments

LEGO Birthday Banner

My daughter turned 6 awhile ago and for the first time ever we were able to have a family party. My siblings and parents as well as my husband’s sister and parents all live in different parts of the US and Canada so we rarely have family at parties.

When my sister gifted our family a sking trip to Canada over spring break I knew it was my opportunity to have family members at Caroline’s party.  We were lucky to have my sister, her boyfriend, my husband’s sister, her husband, and their two sons at the party. What? COUSINS at a party? Yippee!

Caroline wanted a LEGO party so that’s what we had in the hotel room.

Caroline and I worked to make this banner a few weeks before the party.

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We used felt we already had and cut out squares and circles that we then glued into LEGO pieces.

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I then made the girl lego head out of more felt.

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We glued the whole thing together and had a banner for the party – our only decorations.

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For the party we had LEGo bingo, a LEGO scavenger hunt, an awesome LEGO cake (made by her aunt and uncle), a race to build LEGO sets, and we  took a dip in the pool. It was about 25 degrees outside when we jumped into the heated pool – it was great….until we had to get out and run for the door absolutely freezing our tails off.

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Happy 6th Sweet Girl!

Posted in bargains, birthdays, caroline, decorations, Legos, party | 2 Comments

Jar of Teenage Love

I think everything a teenager says should be bottled up and then given back to them in 30 years.

Just open up that jar of love and say, “Enjoy!”

Am I talking about my own kids?

Nope. Not yet.

I’ve still got 2 weeks to go before I officially have a teenager.

Nope. I’m talking about the lovely young receptionist at the swim lesson place my daughter goes.

The other day was a lazy morning for my daughter and I since we didn’t have to be anywhere bright and early. Granted, I had eaten, was showered and dressed in jeans a t-shirt by 8:30 but it was still all done at a leisure pace.

We showed up at the swim lesson shop about 8:56 for her 9 AM lesson. I took her clothes from her, grabbed her progress card, and gave Caroline her goggles.

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After she was called into her class I walked over to the receptionist to schedule a make up class.

The young girl at the front desk told me there were two times available next week for a make up – a 9 AM lesson and a 10 AM lesson.

I hummed and hawed for a minute to myself, thinking about what I already had scheduled for that day.

I eventually said, “I’ll take the 10:00.”

To which she said, “Yay, that’s what I was thinking. You look like it was pretty rough for you to get here for 9.”

Just ponder that for a moment.

I looked at her and thought, “Did you really just say that to me?”

Oh yes she did.

I just walked away. It wasn’t worth it to get into it with her. After all, with those amazing people skills I’m not sure she’s going to be sitting at that receptionist desk too long. Just wait for some sleep deprived mom who’s hanging on by a string to come in their and get greeted with that.

Now if I could only figure out her last name, track her down in thirty years after she’s had a couple of kids, and open up that jar of love for her. Wouldn’t that be the best?

Posted in caroline, music, swimming | 2 Comments

April Fools’ Day Jokes for Your Kids

I’m always leery of playing practical jokes because I’m always afraid of what will then be done to me in retaliation.

I hate surprises so I don’t do well with surprise parties, things jumping out at me, or anything of that nature.

On the other hand my kids are kids and would love some April Fools’ jokes.

So I looked around and found some ideas here.

I thinking about:

#6 – Baked pan of “Brown E’s”

#8 – Toilet paper in their shoes

#15 – Broccoli lollipops – okay this one could cause tears from my youngest

and #21 – Surprise in the mailbox

Any jokes you are planning on playing today?

Posted in family, jokes | 1 Comment

My Potential According to a 4th Grader

I am working again this year as a part time tutor to elementary school kids.

Over the past 17 years I’ve been a special education teacher, a math support teacher, and finally a tutor.

I actually love the tutoring job because it’s so flexible – let’s me be at home and at work.

But I love it even more because of the kids.

I work with kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, and fifth graders and they all say the funniest things.

Edward, one of my regular 4th graders, and I were working on division together. One of the methods the kids are taught now is something called “Big 7.” It’s basically a way to regroup using groups of a certain number. Here’s an example I found of what it looks like:

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Anyway, I love to teach this to kids. It always looks like such a nightmare of numbers and they give up pretty quick since teachers always jump in too far too quick. Start by dividing by 8? Not yet I always want to scream. Start with the 5’s, those are easy numbers for kids.

The whole point of the strategy is that kids are using friendly numbers TO THEM. Not my friendly numbers but their friendly numbers.

x10, x100, x5, x2, x1 – that’s how we start

And let me clarify for all those parents who are about to yell at me that they didn’t learn it that way, or its dumb, or but I don’t understand, or but kids just need to learn the right way….they will eventually learn the traditional method. This is about understanding the concept of division.

So back to Edward and I.

We were working in his classroom working on Big 7 and he was getting it!

It’s at about this point that he turned to me and said, “Mrs. Mac, do you think when you grow up you are going to be a teacher? Because you are a really good helper.”

Made my day.

First, that he thinks I’m a good helper and second, that he thinks I look like I have several more years ahead of me in the job market.

To be honest, when the kindergarteners ask how old I am, I always have them guess. Their top answer choice is always…teenager. When I tell them to guess again they usually say 50. I’ve learned to stop asking them once they say teenager.

To Edward I said, “Thanks Edward. I think that might be a good idea. Maybe I’ll work on that. Now amaze me with your division skills on the next problem.”

Posted in observations | 2 Comments

Ruthless – Mom Observation

Inviting people over to dinner always seems like a good idea until you look around your house the day of the event….And once it’s under an hour before their expected arrival it’s amazing how unsentimental you can suddenly become toward your children’ school work which has sat on the countertop for the last two weeks.

Traced hands to make flowers…thrown out without another thought

a perfect 100 on a spelling test…straight to the recycle bin

Self portrait of daughter and her dad…saved thankfully by a moment of restraint

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Posted in caroline, family, observations | 2 Comments

Mermaid Shelf using a Pallet

Last time I shared my daughter’s bathroom with you and today I’m sharing the pallet shelving unit my husband made.

IMG_9028When we completed this project 3 years ago pallet projects were all the rage. At the time I was able to go to our local Habitat store and ask if I could have a pallet. They said sure and I got it for free. Nowadays they charge you for them.

I brought the pallet home and asked my husband to make a shelf for Caroline’s bathroom. After shaking his head and possibly rolling his eyes he got to work.

This was the only picture I could find of it in the building stages – a frame was built and then the wooden boards were attached onto it after being sanded.

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We then used scrap wood for the shelves and bought wooden brackets to place underneath the shelves to hold them up. After that I painted on a mermaid using pink paint.

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I then sanded the mermaid and pallets to add a little character to them.

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And voila, the world’s heaviest shelf is made!

Posted in art work, bathroom, budget, house projects, husbands | Comments Off on Mermaid Shelf using a Pallet