Monday, June 30, 2008

Room sharing

My boys have always had their own bedrooms. But my older two have been having "sleepovers" in each other's rooms all summer so far, and have asked to share a bedroom. I find that odd, but they kept asking, so today my husband moved my my middle son's bed into the oldest's bedroom (the larger one). I knew my middle son would like this because he hates being alone, but my oldest is introverted and likes to have time to himself to read, etc. I figured the older he got, the less likely he'd want to share a room. But he seemed on board with it, too, so we did it. We'll see how it goes.

We plan to make the middle son's former bedroom into a second (tiny) living area or playroom. There's a futon in the baby's room we can put in there, and I think we'll leave my son's old dresser/changing table in there and use it to hold the TV/DVD player and old Nintendo system that are currently in our bedroom. I like the idea of another room we can all use, but I'm really not convinced this is going to last!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Another girl in the house

We finally have another female in the house besides me! Introducing Pepper.

So now I have someone else who likes to get between me and my computer...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Template help?!

How on earth do you change a template in Blogger?? I've downloaded several custom templates from sites around the Internet, but got Blogger errors anytime I tried to upload one. I just tried some template code from, which has a lot of Blogger layouts, but again, I only get errors if I try to use them for my blog. I've even tried reverting to the Classic template style instead of the newer version, and it didn't help.

At this point, I'd be happy if I could even change out the plain green background on the edges for a textured background (and I have a good .jpg that might work for that), but can't figure out where in the code the background image is being called from. Argh. I'd rather get a whole new template, anyway, but even though I see other templates in use all over Blogspot, I can't get any to work.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tooth or dare

To my surprise, these things have actually improved my kids' dental hygiene.

This probably wouldn't. (But you never know!)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my dad, my husband, & all the dads out there! My parents are visiting from out of town today, so my kids have been getting some quality time with their grandfather. :-)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I won popcorn!

I'm so excited...I won some Orville Redenbacher popcorn & a cool popcorn bowl from! This is perfect for me because popcorn really is my favorite snack. My first job was selling popcorn at a movie theater, but I never got tired of eating it. I just had some last night, and could really use that bowl! :-)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's always something!

I can't believe what just happened. My husband was going to take the baby out in the car. The baby was eager to leave, so I took him outside to wait for my husband to come out. My 7-year-old decided to come out and help the baby get in the car. He opened the door, and also got in himself and started climbing around in the car, even though he wasn't going anywhere. He accidentally bumped his head against the front windshield, and though he barely noticed the bump himself, the windshield cracked! There's a huge crack in the car windshield now, and we've only had this car 10 months. I can't believe that! I don't know if insurance will pay for it because we have a big deductible...sigh. And what happens to our windshield stickers (inspection sticker, registration sticker, toll road sticker)? I just didn't need this today. Our other car actually has a crack on the windshield, too, which we've never replaced because the car itself isn't worth the effort when we have no extra money. But this car is too good not to fix.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Baby's got class

My 16-month-old son started his first-ever class today. That is, a parent & child "gymnastics" class for kids aged 12 months to 3 years old. The class information said it was for "confident walkers and up," and my baby has been a confident walker for 6 or 7 months. So my husband took him to the class tonight, where we hoped he could run & jump on mats & play with balls, etc., and get used to being around children close to his age. Instead, my husband said it was pretty structured, and the instructors seemed to think our son would understand the directions they were giving him, and how to do things like somersaults and bear crawls, and how to sit still and listen. Uh...right. He was the youngest one there, though apparently there were a few girls not much bigger who followed along much better. We're going to give it another go since we signed up for a 6-week session, but this may not be the best class for him!

My 7-year-old is also starting gymnastics tomorrow. He's asked about taking gymnastics for a month or two, but I thought by his age, the only boys in gymnastics were those who were serious enough about it to be at a higher level than he could keep up with. I found out, though, that the YMCA has beginning boys' gymnastics for ages 6-9, so we're going to try it out. He can do a decent cartwheel already, so I think he'll do fine...I just hope other boys have signed up for the class!

We also signed up for the library's summer reading program today. To my shock, my older boys were both so excited about it, they each spent more than an hour reading when we got home! The 9-year-old loves to read anyway, but the 7-year-old says he doesn't like it, so for him to choose reading over computer time, video games, or other types of activities was a big deal! Even the baby is enrolled in the program, with minutes that we read to him being counted, but he's so incredibly active, he won't even sit still long enough to hear a whole board book. It's less like we read to him and more like we read at him while he wiggles or darts around!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mixin' it up

I mentioned a few posts ago that I like baking, but when I bake it's pretty low-tech. My best mixer is a $10 hand mixer from the grocery store. My second best mixer is a spoon! I invested in a whole tackle box full of cake-making supplies, as well as some pans and decorating tools, etc., but so far I haven't managed to shell out for a stand mixer. I'm sure if I had one, I'd bake a lot more often and enjoy it more, too, since my hands wouldn't get so tired.

Meanwhile, it seems like every woman I know either has or wants a KitchenAid stand mixer, and I am no exception! I remember my grandmother having an ancient one when I was growing up--so old the cord to plug it in was made of fabric rather than plastic. And so reliable she never had to replace it. Since then, I've seen them in countless friends' kitchens, and looked at them longingly in stores and online. KitchenAid is clearly the gold standard of mixers, and I've long told myself that someday I'll have a KitchenAid Mixer.

Now, I'm hoping that time has come, because Ribbon Rock Star is giving away a Kitchen Aid mixer in an Almond Cream color that will go great with my kitchen! Feel free to go enter, but remember that the prize is mine! (Ha ha.)

Tiny clean machine

We went to the park the other night, and my 16-month-old (Son 3) made a beeline for something white he saw on the ground, maybe 10 feet away. He picked it up and it was a napkin. So he looked around, spotted a large trashcan, and ran over there with the napkin, pointing until someone helped him put it in. We were surprised he recognized it as trash or knew what to do with trash in a new environment. I guess I've done something right!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

So You Think You Can't Cook

To kick off my blog, I'm entering a giveaway that Parent Bloggers Network is sponsoring to bring attention to the America's Worst Cook contest. The America's Worst Cook contest is being run by the American Egg Board, which is perfect because one of my worst cooking disasters involved eggs...or rather, the lack of them.

For some reason, I love cooking shows. I especially love cooking competition shows, & I'm hooked right now on Top Chef & The Next Food Network Star. I've also loved Iron Chef and The Next Iron Chef, and I watch other food-related shows like Throwdown with Bobby Flay and Dinner: Impossible.

The odd thing about all this is, I'm wretched at cooking myself. I could no more invent a dish on the spur of the moment from a random selection of ingredients than run a marathon with no training at all. In fact, every time I heat up a can of soup or canned veggies, I have to read the directions! I follow them exactly. My mother's recipes drive me crazy because she'll say things like "a little of this" or "some of that," without any measurements. Even with eggs, I look up instructions in cookbooks or online every single time I try to hard boil them! I've had too many gooey Easter egg hunt surprises....

So baking is more up my alley, because you have to use exact measurements when baking. And I like the creative design parts. I took a cake decorating class a few years ago, and although I surely can't do anything like they show on Ace of Cakes (another show I like watching), I've had fun making a few special cakes for my boys' birthdays.

BUT...the decorating is still easier for me than the cooking part. The proof of this is, I am even able to mess up a cake made from a mix! Check out the following treasure chest cake, which I made for my oldest son's birthday a few years ago:

Not so smooth, frosting-wise, but I do think it turned out pretty good. (That's my actual cake in the photo--I cropped out the clutter in the kitchen behind it!) But the baking process was something of a disaster.

First, I put it off until evening, the night before the party--bad idea. Then, I had to make 3 separate sheet cakes, 2 to form the bottom of the chest and one to use as the top. I used boxed marble cake mixes. Piece of cake, right? (Groan.) Well, no, because with one of the cakes, I left out the oil. I didn't realize it until I was making the next one and got to that step, only to realize I'd skipped it entirely with the previous cake. Ack! But you know what? It looked pretty good, still cakelike, so I decided to run with it and hope for the best. It was getting late and I still had to decorate the thing.

So I put the third cake in the oven. But this time, when I got it out, it did not look right at all. It was completely flat! It dawned on me, horribly...I'd forgotten the eggs! Yes, the cake only required 4 ingredients, including water, yet I managed to leave out an ingredient twice in a row. This time, I had no choice but to toss out the cake and send my husband to the store, late at night, to buy me another box of cake mix! All in all, I was baking and decorating until after 2 am.

It wasn't a terrible disaster because we were able to fix it, and the cake looked and tasted fine at the party (the layer without the oil may have been dry, but smushed up with the other layer and buried under frosting and candy, it tasted fine). But still, you're better off not signing me up for Top Chef, and as for Ace of Cakes...well, maybe I can be the Joker of Cakes!

This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a contest sponsored by the American Egg Board. So remember, never ever ever forget the eggs! You can have a cake without oil, and even a cake without frosting, but you can't have a cake without eggs!

Mama's got a brand new blog!

I've decided to create a blog to share some of the ups and downs of parenting 3 active boys, and also some of the great things I've found for kids around the Internet. Welcome!