Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Little Throwback Thursday

I've been looking at a lot of baby pictures of my kids lately.  I guess just as a way to remind myself of the cuteness that is to come in a few months.  This was taken at Disney a little over 4 years ago.   My big girl B is helping Bubby dance to some live show.   She always has been his little caretaker.  I can't wait to see her with the new baby. 

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hanging My Kids Art - Works For Me!

After my post yesterday, I decided to share what I do with all of my kids artwork.

I love to display my kids art.  What mom doesn't?  I save way too much of it and would love to leave their masterpieces up for months.  I remember the day my daughter drew me her first picture in preschool.  I called my sister in law who has 3 kids older than mine and squealed with delight.

My need to display my kids art and my need to keep my tiny kitchen tidy did not mesh.   So, I decided that I really needed a way to proudly show off their hard work. 

So, I did this.  I think I saw it in a parenting magazine.  I really can't remember because it's been years since I did it.  But I can tell you that now you can buy a similar system in Pottery Barn Kids for $39.


If you feel crafty and don't want to spend that much money, here is what I did.

You will need:
  • 2 decorative drawer pulls
  • Screws with pointy ends on one end and flat on the other (you will be discarding the flat head screws that come with the drawer pulls).  I did have to ask for help at the hardware store to find these.
  • 1-3 feet of picture wire ( length will depend on your space)
  • Some type of clips to hang the artwork.  Clothes pins work fine, big office clips work great, too. I found the ones pictured below at the dollar store - 3 in a package.  I also used some that I found in a random place at the hardware store - you can see those in some of the pictures.   Use whatever you can find and fits your budget. 

Step 1:  Remove flat head screw from the drawer pull.  Replace with pointy end screw - flat side into the pull and pointy side out so you can screw that into the wall.
( you can also keep the flat head screw and place an anchor of some sort into the wall and then place the screw into the anchor.  I didn't see the need for that since there is never that much weight on it.)

Step 2:  Find a large area of blank wall that you will display the art.

Step 3:  Just screw the drawer pull right into the wall and leave a little space between the wall and the back of the draw pull so that you can wrap the picture wire around it.

Like this:

Step 4:  Line up where you want your other pull to go at the end of the wall and screw that one in.

Step 5:  Wrap the picture wire around the pull.  Stretch to other drawer pull and do the same.   Leave some slack but not too much.

Step 6.  Hang art and Enjoy!  Like this!

Now it serves as decor for the play room, it stays up for a very long time and we all get to enjoy it...out of the kitchen.  

I also frame very special works of art for the playroom.  It's a perfect way to decorate a room like that.

I don't remember how much I spent on it but depending on how much you spend on the drawer pulls and clips it can be pretty inexpensive.  The picture wire comes in a package for a few bucks.   

For more great Works For Me ideas head on over to We are THAT Family for Works For Me Wednesday.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Organizing the Kitchen/Homework Area/Family Central

I've said before that it's not that I'm not an organized person as much as I am a huge procrastinator.   That is an understatement really.  Why do today what you can do in a rush tomorrow? 

But that's why this happens.   
That is my kitchen table covered in about a week's worth of life. 

I actually like being organized.  I even have systems set up for organizing.  But I learned recently that because of my personality type they often do not work.

I need to see the things I need to do.   If I don't see them, I forget to do them.  

Often when people organize, they put things away.   That makes sense - part of the beauty of organizing is to cut down on clutter.  So you organize the clutter away.

Which is just not good for a person like me.  Out of sight out of mind.  It can be frustrating.

So, I decided this year that I had to figure out some systems that worked for me.  Because things are starting to get busy around here and I don't expect them to slow down with another child coming this Summer.  

A couple things have helped me so far.

Google Calendar - I update it weekly and print off the month. I color code it, highlighting things that are new to the week like doctor appointments and such, and magnet it to the fridge.  Daily reminders on my computer help me to remember what's going on.   On busy days, I can even print off an agenda.  I can also check my calendar and add items from my phone via texting - without internet connection on my phone.  Love it!  Now, if I could only find away to get this new Palm Pre I could have it with me all the time.  Hubby?

This homework station for my kids helps A LOT!  Everything is neat, organized and still cute but also practical and in plain sight for them. 

 Colored Pencils, markers, crayons, pens and pencils are all handy.


Hubby finished this bench to match our kitchen table and I can stash games and other miscellanous things the kids need out of sight.  And I can seat a bunch 'o kids at this table if needed. 

A calendar, school lunch menu, neighbors phone numbers on the inside of this cabinet door where phone books, medicines, vitamins and such are also stored.    There are my pens, Sharpies, scissors, hand lotion on the charging station for our phones. 

This is the side of my fridge with a memo board, paper to make lists, photos, and file holder with cute file folders for all of the kids paperwork.  The little Ritz envelope actually has coupons I can just grab on my way out the door.    The kids track out calendar is there, extra keys, nails, tacks and all kinds of stuff in those little magnetic tins. 

   That is how I made my table look like THIS!  Ta-Dah!!


Oh, and as a little sidenote here:  this table used to have SIX placemats.  One day my son spilled his milk on his and I set it aside to take it to the laundry.  Elmo found it and it looks like this now. 
What this dog will eat never ceases to amaze me. 

The last thing that helps me not to forget things is the garage door.  It is metal and for things that I absolutely cannot file away and need to have right in my face for a short time - I place them there with a magnet.  I don't have a picture, though.   It's stuff that you might put on the front of your fridge.  I personally like the front of my fridge uncluttered so the door works for me. 

Check out more tackles at Tackle It Tuesday at 5 Minutes For Mom

Also, great weekly lessons learned at What I Learned This Week at Musings of a Housewife.  

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Your Love is a Song

I'm loving Switchfoot's new album, Hello Hurricane.    I've always been a big fan and I'm personally also a big fan of Christian bands crossing over to mainstream music which is what is happening to this band now.   I introduced them to my niece a year or so ago and she wouldn't listen to them.  Now that they are on the radio she will.   Go figure.
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Friday, February 19, 2010

The $130.88 Pack of Bubble Gum

Yesterday evening after Tea Kwon Do and a very long day, I headed to the grocery store with my kids to pick up something quick for dinner.  I have no idea what happened to the dinner I planned out earlier that day and had waiting in a slow cooker...oh yeah... that was a dream.

Anyway, we were checking out and there was all this gum on sale for 88 cents.  So, I let each kid pick up a pack.  We went home, made and ate dinner, watched some Olympics and then headed up to bed.

Which is when I found the remnants of the outside cardboard box of one of the packs.  Extra Classic Bubble Gum - Sugar Free.  Not a piece of gum in site.   Not even a wrapper.  This stealthy dog of mine somehow managed to get the pack of gum off of my son's desk and eat the ENTIRE thing.  

Now, you may or may not know that there is a sugar alcohol in most sugarless gum and candy called Xylitol.  And it is toxic to dogs.  Even after only one or two pieces in a 50 pound dog.  Imagine what 18 pieces will do to a 38 pound dog.

No Hubby home.  8:30 at night.   Poison in my dog. 

I call the emergency vet and they instructed me to induce vomiting by giving my dog a TBSP of Hydrogen Peroxide. 

Did they know I just got new carpet?
And kinda have an aversion to dog vomit?

Yeah, if we don't start vomiting he could go into hypoglycemic shock.  Really?
Really - it is true.

So, while I wait for him to start ridding his body of this toxin (on the wood floors) I start a search on the ingredients.  Luckily, Extra does not have Xylitol in it but another type of sugar alcohol which is not toxic to dogs.  Whew.    (Orbit and Trident both have Xylitol in them, just fyi)

But I still needed to bring him in.  Really?

Yeah, the gum could obstruct his intestines.   Especially 18 pieces with the wrappers. 

It is good to have your mom living 5 minutes away.   Thanks Mom, for rushing over. 

So, $130 and two hours later the emergency vet was able to rid Elmo of his bubble gum party and we were back home resting safely.

Knucklehead Dog.  

In other fantastic news, you might remember my B having surgery a couple months ago.  Well, yesterday was her follow-up appointment to make sure the surgery was successful.  It was!!!  Yay, no more surgeries for her.  That was truly a relief for all of us.  So, we headed to the mall to celebrate over a sandwich and markdowns at Justice.

Have a great weekend everyone!!!
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Snow Hats


I loved this second round of snow we got so much better than the one a few weeks ago.  This one was "lighter".  The flakes just seemed to sit on the branches outlining each and every one. 


  Last week when I was sick, I remember waking from nap one day and looking out my window at the bare trees.   I like the trees to be green - they seem lonely without their leaves.  It made me feel very melancholy for Spring.


So, when I woke this past Saturday morning and looked out my window, I rejoiced to see each and every branched lightly covered in snow and these little gumballs with what I thought looked like winter hats. 
Lonely no more. 

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine Dinner Re-visited

Hubby and I do not go out for dinner on Valentine's Day.  We learned a few years ago that we find it too stressful to try to fight the crowds and the food is generally overpriced.  So, we usually try to make it out another night and have dinner at home on Valentine's Day.    This year, since Hubby was sick (yes, he caught what I had last week) I made dinner. 

And yes, he cooks.   I'm keeping him.  

The kids also have so much fun setting the table all fancy and enjoying this Love Feast as a family.   

I made Chicken Piccata and a Mixed Greens Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts.  The chicken has a lot of butter but it's yummy and the salad balances it all out! 


Here are the recipes.   The Chicken Piccata is an old standby of mine.  Hubby loves it with veal. Add two kids to the mix and chicken works just fine, thank you!  ;)

Chicken Piccata
  • 3 large Chicken Breasts - pounded out thin to make them very tender
  • 1 shallot - minced
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • Lots of butter
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Flour - I used whole wheat pastry - enough to coat chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper - to taste
  • 2 tbsp Capers
  • 1 container of fresh mushrooms -cleaned and sliced
  • Juice of 2 Lemons
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • 1 cup Chicken stock
  • 1 package angel hair pasta

Pound out the chicken with a kitchen mallet and cut in half to make pieces smaller.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and dredge in flour.  

In a large skillet heat on medium-high the olive oil and about 1/4 cup of butter - enough to fully cover the bottom of the pan.  Saute shallots and garlic.  Add. chicken and brown on each side.  You may need to turn down the heat here.  Especially if your garlic starts to burn.   Remove chicken from the pan when browned and set aside.

Squeeze lemon juice, wine and chicken broth in pan.  Add mushrooms and capers. Turn heat back up until the sauce is simmering and let it simmer until mushrooms are cooked and the sauce reduces to about half.  Add chicken broth if you find it reduces too much and you need more broth. 

Add chicken back to sauce to warm up.  I usually turn down the heat here and cover the pan for a few minutes while I cook my angel hair pasta.

Cook angel hair pasta for 4-5 minutes.  

Drain pasta and place on places.  Use a slotted spatula or spoon to distribute chicken and mushroom/capers evenly on top of each pasta.   

Turn  heat off on the sauce and add about 1/4 cup of butter to the sauce until melted.   Evenly distribute sauce over chicken and mushrooms and serve. 

Mixed Greens with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts 
Okay, so I totally eyeballed this recipe and did not measure a bit.  But for you, I tried to put it into a recipe.
  • 4-5 cups of mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar (or less depending on how tart you like)
  • 2 TBSP Honey (more if you want it sweeter)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (sometimes I toast these in the oven)
  • 1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
  • Blue Cheese (optional)to taste.  I can't use this right now, so I didn't put it in mine.  
 Mix your dressing - I usually do this in a jar with a lid and shake shake shake. Toss with rest of ingredients.  Chill or serve immediately.  

There you go - gourmet dinner right in your home!

This post is linked to What I Learned This Week  (even though she is talking about boycotting my favorite tv show LOL) and Tasty Tuesday

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Monday, February 15, 2010


I can spend a lot of time just watching him.

Maybe it's that he is teetering at the place somewhere between baby and boy.

Maybe I just am fascinated by his boy antics.

Maybe it's just because he's mine.

Whatever the reason, I'll just keep watchin'.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ordinary Miracle

Well, it seems that I am finally feeling better today. I've missed you all very much but since I had to reserve any energy I had to take care of my kids, I didn't blog at all this week. Yesterday, after my kids left for school, I ended up sleeping pretty much the entire day. I guess after 4 days of antibiotics and a full day of sleep, my body won and I am back in the land of the living!

I heard this song last night on the Olympics Opening Ceremony and remembered how much I love it. Then I woke up to the most beautiful snow covered world. It's a good day to celebrate the ordinary miracles.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Sickness Has Landed

So yes, sickness has landed at the Dandelion Dayz home.  

Well, a different sickness than I have been whining about for the last few weeks.  THAT sickness is going past my usual 14 week mark and I am growing very tired of it.    I'm not afraid to ask for prayer from you my friends.  It REALLY is bumming me out.  

This additional sickness is the one that comes with a hacking cough, head and body aches.   The ones my kids have but doesn't seem to slow them down in any way.   The one they passed along to their preggars mama with a low immune system.

I am hopeful vitamins and rest will cure what ails us.  Extra hopeful it is not strep and definitely not the flu.   I heard it's making it's rounds again. 

I want to tell you about my weekend, when I wasn't sick and attended an awesome conference at my church.  Not Blissdom.   Hopefully, I can do that later this week. 

Have a fantastic week everyone!

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Clean Houses are Overrated, Right?

So, my kids went back to school today! We were all ready for a break in our routine of the last 5 days: play in the snow, mom clean all the clothes, make hot cocoa, make food, clean that up, watch TV, play video games, repeat.

I thought I would spend the day cleaning and organizing. Oh, the plans we make.

A friend emailed to invite me for coffee (roasted by her hubby) and homemade scones (with white chocolate in them). Hmmm. Clean house or spend time with awesome women eating scones (with white chocolate in them)?

Yeah, exactly.  I went for the girlfriend time and scones.  Did I mention they had white chocolate in them?

So, here I sit with almost 30 minutes until my kids arrive on the bus.  I've done a little around the house but not as much as I could have had I stayed put this morning.   

Worth it, though?


Thanks Stef!!!

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Two Snow Days are fun. But Five?

A friend of mine left a comment on my blog last night that alerted me to a third day off of school this week.   I confirmed it on the school's website.  No school - day 3. 

My.Kids.Need.To go.Back to school.  I need them to go back to school.   My house cannot take it.  Is it just me or do you find it hard to keep your house clean when your entire family is home day after day?   I think today we just might clean some kids bedrooms before we head out. 

The worst part about being in year-round school and having snow days are that we have to make them up on Saturdays.  Who wants to go to school on a Saturday?  But we do and nobody is the worse for wear. 

Anyway, so that we assure everyone is still living until we do go back to school tomorrow, we are headed out to meet other moms and kids suffering from cabin fever.  We will prevail.

Okay, this post is starting to sound like me complaining and we just talked about that yesterday!  So on to finding the silver lining...

Actually, to be completely honest, I did venture out yesterday to drive my mom to work, have lunch with Hubby and take Bubby to the doctor to find out he has pink eye.  Then to the pharmacy and back.  Oh, and we did take B to dance class.  Come to think of it, I ran around like a crazy woman yesterday!   It felt good to be out. 

I have to admit the roads were okay but I do feel better about the buses not being on them.  There were some icy patches for sure.    Besides, who can complain about another day to sleep in?  Not me!

In news other than the snow, did anyone watch American Idol last night?  Bikini Boy?  Wow, what these people will do to get their five minutes of fame.  I normally don't watch this early but my kids have been so into it this year that I've gone along.  

Okay, have a great Wednesday! 

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Complaining -What I Learned This Week

I wrote a bit bout complaining this past Sunday. There I talked about a reminder in James of how complaining can be dangerous and destructive.  

Boy howdy, can it ever.

The question is can complaining ever be productive?   Something happened last week that had me pondering this question.  So, I thought I'd share my thoughts and where I finally ended up. 

Over the years, I've had the honor of leading different groups at my church like MOPS, our Ladies Morning bible study and coaching small group leaders. Often my role is as the liaison between the staff at my church and those I've been entrusted to lead.   I find myself in an interesting position as I often listen to the concerns of those in my groups and try to address them by sharing the vision of the church, acting as a buffer of sorts.  

Anyway, whether you lead in your church, your school, your work or your neighborhood you will find that the people you are working with will share concerns about one thing or another.  I'm just going to call it like it is, though - most of the time you will be listening to people complain.  And as a leader, you will most likely have a few complaints of your own. 

Not that it matters much but I'm going to share a list of synonyms for complain from
  • The slang Jewish word for complaining it is kvetch.   I've heard that word used among girlfriends a lot.
  • There's bemoan, oppose, take exception to or disagree
  •  Getting it out.  Venting your feelings.    and many many more...
 Honestly, I don't think I ever thought of any of those words or ideas as complaining.    

We do it innocently really.  Maybe something just doesn't feel right to us or it goes against what we know.  Often we are doing it to just to bounce an issue off of another friend.   I know that for me, I find myself complaining when I want to be assured I'm right or when I feel an injustice about something.   While I normally embrace change pretty well, I sometimes find myself complaining when I am caught off guard by the change.

That's what happened last week - a big change in something I'm involved in.  I was not prepared for it and before I stopped to listen to the vision behind the change, I had a whole list of complaints.  Thank heavens, I finally ended up surrendering those complaints before I voiced them.  

It was a good reminder to me, though.

Okay, so what I have I learned about complaining?

Well, sometimes complaining is good.  But not just to complain for the sake of being heard.

First, I refer back to the questions that I spoke of on Sunday.
  •  Is what I'm about to say helpful?
  • Will it build up or tear down? 
  • Will it benefit anyone? 
  • Am I talking to the right person?

  • To disagree constructively and in the right environment is healthy.  Having an opposing view can actually help others think about another way and maybe move to quicker resolution.  Sometimes one person becomes very convicted about something in their own life that another may not have considered.    The experience of one can influence another. 

  • To bemoan to a trusted friend about something that is really bothering you can help you actually heal and move past it.  But not to just anyone.   I have a couple friends in my life that I call my "Lightning Rods."  A lightning rod what people put on their roofs to take the strike of lightning before it destroys a house.  
Again, I refer to  

lightning rod

1. a rodlike conductor installed to divert lightning away from a structure by providing a direct path to the ground.
2. a person or thing that attracts and absorbs powerful and esp. negative or hostile feelings, opinions, etc., thereby diverting such feelings from other targets
This person should be strong.  Someone who is not easily influenced by the opinions or emotions of other people.  This person should love you but maybe not too much.  A spouse is not always the best choice for this because they are too emotionally involved in your life.     This person should also be very trusted to take in what you have to say and lock it up.   I have one person like this and she is my saving grace sometimes.  Actually, we agreed to do this for each other and it works great for both of us.   It seems like sometimes when I vent to her that once the words are released from my head, they don't seem to be that big of a deal anymore. 

    • Another leader once told me that if you are going to complain to "complain up."  Meaning, if you want to complain for change - go to the person who can change it.   Do not complain laterally - to the people in your same position.  It will just bring them down and make them mistrustful of the leadership you are under and believe it or not - you too.   Definitely, do not complain to those you are entrusted to lead.    They are looking to you for strength and reassurance.  Even if they are complaining to you...and they not complain back. Just love them and try to assure them you understand and hear them.
    • Most importantly, I've found that if I go to God with my complaint first that most of the time my heart is changed.  If I find the issue is still gnawing at me it's only then that I know it might be something I need to talk to someone about.   
    • Finally, I have to say that most of the time complaining will not get you far.  I find that when I interact with a person that complains a lot, I tend to tune them out.  The best answer is serving others and helping to find a solution.  Listen first (always a good reminder to me).  Asking questions and seeking to understand usually works best for me. 
    I'd love to hear your thoughts on complaining.  Or not complaining.

    For more lessons learned this week, head on over to Musings of a Housewife.   

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      Cute Little Valentine Boxes

      Oh, these are sooooo cute!  Little Valentine boxes that my friend at The Chubby Dove made. 
        She only has 4!!!      Wouldn't they be so cute to stuff with treats for the little valentines in your life?

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