Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WILTW: Christmas Decorating

 Have I mentioned already how excited I am for this holiday season?
I was thrilled to actually start on Thanksgiving morning, working with my son to build a colored paper garland for our tree.
Making decorations with a three-year-old is GREAT fun, really it is, and I had to refrain from wanting to all our decoration making activities over the weekend.

Well, Friday we got right on some more Christmas events, like putting up the tree (that photo was from Friday) and making a gingerbread house.

Here are some things I learned along the way:
1. It says on the box that the icing should sit after assembling the gingerbread house for 15 minutes. Next year I will wait longer than that. See #3.
2. I guess you can eat the gingerbread as you make it? I've heard people saying since that they eat their gingerbread houses. When? Right after you make it? On Christmas when it is hard and nasty? I just figured you made it to look at it?
3. Back to #1. Important to let it sit long enough to harden. Or, have Mommy not work so hard on spreading the icing on the roof while the roof is on.
4.  Just because your son looks cute wanting to open the Christmas decorations that you think aren't breakable doesn't mean they aren't. Christmas ornament + tile = broken mess.
5. Dogs are fun to decorate too and will put up with a lot to please their owners.
For more, see Julie's blog on suggestions on making Christmas time easier.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

3 Things About Me

I've been tagged, so I'm requesting that you write a blog post with the Threes of YOU, then tag as many others as you can think of. I'm tagging the following people:
1. Chelsea
2. Becca
3. Beth (she's my original tagger)
and any of the rest of you if you read this:
Gianna, Kendra, Julie S., Maria, Jerris, Stephanie (Day by Day), Julie from Inmates, Amy L (you can do on Facebook), Eileen, Lainie, Kathy W, Marisa, and the list goes on...

Three names I go by
1. Suzanne
2. Suz
3. Suzie (long ago)

Three Jobs I have had in my life
1. Teacher
2. Waitress
3. Patternmaker

Three Places I have lived
1. North Hollywood, CA
2. Long Beach, CA
3. Prescott, AZ

Three Favorite drinks
1. Diet Pepsi or Coke
2. Coffee
3. Water

Three TV Shows that I watch
1. Amazing Race
2. Parenthood
3. Survivor

Three places I have been
1. Tuva, Fiji
2. Germany - many places
3. Maui, Hawaii

Three favorite foods
1. Mexican!
2. chocolate
3. pasta
 (Beth, I agree with you on all three of yours!)

Three friends I think will respond
1. Chelsea
2. Becca
3. Kendra?

Three Things I am looking forward to
1. dinner out with another couple tonight (and our son too)
2. seeing Due Date, the movie, with my hubby tomorrow
3. wrapping Christmas gifts

Three Things that are by my side
1.my organizer
2. oddly, a new container of salt, and shortening, something I never have, to make a persimmon cookie recipe!
3. the kitchen knives

What is your list of 3 Things?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

I don't know about you, but I am really looking forward to some down time with my family, and starting to think about Christmas.

This is the first year that I truly, truly feel the excitement I once had as a child through the holidays. I think having a child has brought that back for me, and it is a WONDERFUL feeling!

I look forward to doing some holiday projects with our son, make cookies, and build our first gingerbread house together. I have never even made one myself!

Wishing you all the joy you once felt as a child too. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

WILTW: Artichokes Grow WHAT Way?

Some weeks it is really hard to reflect on what I've learned, but this week, when I saw it, I just KNEW it would have to be in my What I Learned This Week post!

1. Here it is, and do you know what it is?
Brussel sprouts. Yeah. That's how they grow! I was at a local organic food store, picking up other items and saw them there. It is kind of like when I saw pineapple growing at a farm in Hawaii. I had no idea!

2. Another thing I learned this week is that my son is at THE perfect age to want to be with me in the bathroom every morning, observing me do all sorts of things. I won't go into detail on this one too much, but one morning, after I'd used the restroom, he remarked, "Mommy, you have a ribbon!", pointing, well...down there. "Yes...I do," was all I could say, while holding back huge laughter.

3. Lastly, I've learned that Halloween through Christmas flies by when you have children. I haven't even put away all the Halloween stuff yet (stacked up in my room), and I'm hauling _____ to try to get my Christmas cards ready to get printed. Like Julie from Inmates, I love to do my holiday cards this coming weekend (well, she likes to be done by then), and I'm not sure I'm going to make it!

What have you learned this week?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

WFMW: Breaking up a Task

So, as a mom, I struggle, like many of you, to actually accomplish some bigger tasks. I say, "Oh, I'll do that on my day off in a month..." and then, the day arrives, and I have too many other  things on my plate.

While I can't claim I've done this for a long time, and it truly works for me yet, I am hopeful, but I have a new strategy.

Here's my scenario: I have two cute aprons that I am making and a photo collage replicating something my father-in-law already has and loves (it will involve scrapbooking too) for relatives for Christmas, and all of this also needs to be shipped in time.

Well, you could tell me, with a little one at home, perhaps I should just buy gifts instead, but I really want to make them. The problem is the time (or rather, time when my little one is asleep and can't feel the desire to want to use my sewing machine or cut pieces of my scrapping paper).

What I am trying, instead of doing it all in one sitting, is to do about an hours worth of work on the project after my son has gone to bed, and work on it night-by-night, or every other night until it is accomplished. Sure, I have to get things out and put them away each night, but, I guess that is just part of being a responsible parent. I think starting mid-November will work too, because I have enough days before I need to ship them.

I'm actually almost finished with the aprons after just two sittings of an hour each: one at nap time Saturday and one last night. It is nice too, because it is not too overwhelming all at once and I can figure out how to best use my time (do all the ironing of pieces at once, or things of one color).

What works for you to get everything done for the holidays?
For more, see We're That Family.

What I Learned this Week

A week passes by like...a flash in the night. (Is that the correct metaphor? I always get them mixed up. It is a trademark of mine.)

The week passed by like a firefly in flight? Ooo...rhyming now...

Anyway, to the point. I have to really think about what I really learned last week. It went by super fast, but was definitely eventful.

I did learn:

1) A little boy can fall in love with a pair of mud boots and have to wear them day in and day out, even with his jammies.
2) Three-year-olds can be just as challenging (and lovable) as two-year-olds. I thought maybe a magic button could be pressed on the actual birthday, to stop the strange and unusual behaviors, but...his button must need new batteries. Still though....lovable.

3) Bountiful Baskets (I made no money for this reference) has amazing produce! I just did my first order last weekend, splitting it with a friend, and am doing it again this weekend. Everything was sooo delicious!

4) The voters in the area where I work (I live outside of our district) let us down on a proposition for educational funding for specials (art, music, and pe). It makes me angry, sad, and wondering what I'll do for our son when he gets to kindergarten. I love public education, but is it going to be right for him, minus all the specials? Will the funding be available for them by then? Will we, as parents, need to pay to help provide those opportunities? Will I, as a believer in all the specials have to be creative and develop some homeschooling opportunities for him?

5) I need to work on getting my son to hold my hand in parking lots and such. He has always been fiesty about this, but it is going to have to become a "have-to". He has random bouts of wanting to run off and it is terrifying me.

What have you learned this week? Check out Julie's blog to see more!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Question of the Day: Company and your Children

I need some advice. If you have children, what do you do to help keep them entertained when you have company over for a visit and are making dinner too?

Typically when I cook dinner, my son gets to watch television, but I felt yesterday, when my parents came over for a visit and dinner (we were grilling burgers and making other things), I felt it would be rude to allow him to watch television, when they are here to see all of us.

I also don't want to just plug him in front of the TV, though honestly sometimes it feels like the safest things altogether, because he can't get into harm and he's also happy while people are here. Last year holiday dinners were hard that way because he doesn't have anyone else to play with. I though of buying him a special DVD to watch after Thanksgiving dinner so the rest of us can still sit back and enjoy ourselves and he has something fun too.

Just a few minutes after they arrived, and we started chatting a little, my son didn't know what to do with himself, and he will just start to act out, doing things like hitting people, or whining and clinging to me. It is really kind of shocking, because he NEVER acts like that, and of course, a bit embarrassing in front of my parents when he will suddenly hit them. I know deep down, that my son is just missing our attention, and wanting some of his own, but I don't know how to prepare him for that.

I could sure use some ideas. One time, when a friend was visiting we hadn't seen in a long time, I got my son a new toy, to occupy him for some visiting time. It somewhat worked. I also tried to prep a lot of the food during naptime and just have a meal in the oven. Perhaps those are some solutions too?

It is amazing as a mom how much you need to prepare/premeditate situations and try to be prepared for them. That, I am definitely learning.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Morning Routine

My friend Chelsea did this hysterical post on her morning routine. You've GOT to go read it. I felt the challenge to write about my own. It may not be as funny as hers, but it is what it is...

Here you go:

I wake up and glance at the clock. It is typically somewhere around 4:36 AM or 4:40 AM. Of course, because my alarm doesn't go off until 5:05 AM. (Might I interject for a moment that pre-child, I used to get up at 5:30, shower, and relax on the sofa with a good book, some coffee and a bagel or something until 6:30 AM. Yeah, I was sick like that, but LOVED that alone time.)

So then I lay there, checking the alarm every few minutes in case it is almost 5:05 so my alarm doesn't actually go off and wake my husband. Not that he minds, I just figure if I'm already awake, it is a courteous thing. Some mornings I may be interrupted by hearing something like, "Mommy, I scared of that bird on my gate." That was today. My son awake at 4:45 AM, so I tucked him back in and asked him to go back asleep. He didn't. He just laid there too, until I came to get him.

5:02 AM: Get up, put in my contacts, put on my makeup, and do my hair. I learned to stay in my pjs until after breakfast from when my son was still drinking bottles and would occasionally burp and lose the formula on my clothes. TMI? Probably...

5:22 ish: Go to my son's room and take him to the potty. He's usually awake, hanging out or playing. Seriously, and yes, he goes to be at 7:45/8:00 already. I'm not going later. Then I'll have NO time to myself.

We go into the kitchen and I make breakfast for both of us, usually cereal, but could be eggs. I usually read some email and check a few blogs then.

6:00 Clean up, pack lunch, get son dressed, sunblocked (he's fair, and I've had skin cancer, so I'm paranoid), and tooth brushed. The timing on that depends upon how cooperative my son is and how picky he is about the clothes he wants to wear.

6:10 On goes Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or something to entertain him while I get my things packed and myself dressed, as well as get his shoes on. That depends upon how cooperative my son is. Two days ago, it took some frustration, overt maneuvers on part part, and some aggression in my voice.

6:30-6:40 ish: Out to the car, which could take 5 minutes, even in a garage, depending upon how cooperative my son is.

On to daycare dropoff, which could also take some time, and I usually arrive at work around 7:15, depending upon...well, you know.

What does your morning routine look like?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Beautiful Woman

I'm at work and can't concentrate. You see, just about 2 1/2 weeks ago, a coworker went into the hospital to have gall bladder surgery. She's just a few years older than I am, with three children and a great husband. She'd been in a lot of pain, and we all just thought, "Whew, she'll feel better soon."

During surgery, they found she had liver cancer....and later, lung cancer...then blood clots in her leg, and lung.... Last week she had her first chemo and got to go home for a few hours.

They found she had a blood clot in her arm. She had to go back to the hospital and they had to put in filters in her legs and arms to stop the blood clots from traveling to her heart.

Today, we were told she has pneumonia and they went to test the levels of fluid in her lungs and found she's internally bleeding and is being placed in ICU. Some of us are very fearful.

This is the woman you always see smiling, is so healthy, so happy, so loving to everyone who crosses her path. Her family always looks so happy and so loving too.

Why her? Why anyone for that matter? What can we do to protect our loved ones and ourselves?

I know there are no answers, and this isn't about me, isn't about me at all. It is about a beautiful woman and her family, but she affects us all because we love and care about her so much. It helps to write, and that's all right now.

I'm on the list to make dinner for the family and take it in to be delivered Friday. It is all I can do and it doesn't feel like enough.

WFMW: Steer Crazee

I was a winner! Yes, a winner!

A friend of mine, Becca, was offering a giveaway for a Steer Crazee steering wheel cover, and, did I mention, I WON?

This giveaway really works for me too, being someone who lived in a hot environment about 8 months of the year.

Kimberly, the owner and designer, donates $1 of each of the steering wheel covers she sells to the Phoenix Children's Hospital, to buy toys for the kids. That is admirable, and besides, these steering wheel covers are really cute, and great in the heat. They are insulated.

See mine. She has such fun prints to choose from, and they are only $19.99. Go check out her site here and see which one you like, find one as a great gift for a friend for the holidays, or as an upcoming gift in the spring.

Thanks Becca and Kimberly!

For more of what works for others, see We're That Family.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What I Learned this Week

This was a very big week for learning, and here are just a few of the things I learned:

1. The biggest? A two-year-old can be thrown out of daycare for attacking a parent. No, not my child, another one who had been constantly biting my son. Yes, he attacked me, trying to scratch me, spit on me, and kick me, then threw things at me. Well, this wasn't the first incident, that that doesn't count at THE only thing he got thrown out for, but wow...that was a shocker. I learned crazy two-year-olds can take you by surprise.

2. Red is a difficult color to make with food coloring. At least my son didn't really realize his cupcakes were more pink than red for his birthday at school. I heard red is hard. Any suggestions?
3. A 6' 6" man can throw his back out and become quite unmovable. But I also learned he can heal a lot faster than expected. That's been a big plus.

4. When asking your newly three-year-old son what he'd like to be when he grows up, he can answer, "A flower." I hope that isn't the case, for numerous reasons. I hope he doesn't hate me later in life, for putting that on my blog too!

5. Three can be more challenging than two. The age that is. I've been told by three people anyway. I might be in for a rough year.

6. When you realize you've hit 55:00 on your microwave timerfor your lasagna, realize at 53:00 that you've actually turned ON the microwave, not the timer, and go to reset it. Be cautious you are paying close attention, because you might actually, in also turning on the microwave light, get a little crazy and turn off your oven that was once cooking your lasagna, and be terribly disappointed, once the timer does go off, that the oven is not as hot as you expected, and your lasagna, which you were anticipating for dinner, now STILL has to be cooked, and you have to now make something else, while it cooks.

7. It IS possible to successfully take a three-year-old grocery shopping and actually have a good time. It just takes some prep work.

8. You can warn your child all you want, that he better get wherever he's supposed to be by the countdown of 5-4-3-2-1, then be prepared to follow through with the consequence you threatened, as he WILL test you, you WILL have to follow-through, and he WILL pitch a hissy fit.

9. It can feel like your house will truly never be clean, or picked up, or that you'll have the time (or energy) to do so.

10. Fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, even if it is at 9:15 PM.

For more, see Julie's blog.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Great Things about Friends

My favorite things about friends are (by the way, this is me with my great friend Amy this last weekend at her daughter's 3rd b-day party):

1. They are so great to laugh with.
2. They are so wonderful to confide in.
3. They are there to listen to your concerns and share stories that are similar, to make you feel so not alone.
4. Back to #1, sometimes you laugh so hard you almost pee your pants. That's the best (not the pee part, but laughing so hard).
5. They are wonderful to just hang out and spend time with (so hard to find that as moms now).

The list goes on, but today, I'm just thinking of my wonderful friends I see every day (K and M), those I saw this weekend (E, L, A, and P), one I'll see Thursday (M), those who think of my son on his b-day (so many), and just, all my friends.

Thank you! I love and cherish you all!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thank You (Seeking Advice)

Thanks all of you who posted suggestions for me! You see, not having grown up around smaller children or having had experience with little ones, even at my wise old age :), I just don't have many answers when it comes to children. All of you suggestions were great!

I took my son grocery shopping this morning, on a big shopping trip, EARLY. I figured that way we were bound to get a car cart. Sure enough, he got to choose between red and blue. I also let him bring some fun toys, and snuck some fruit snacks in my purse for later also. As well, one of you mentioned having a separate list for him. Great idea! I had him hold it, and as I collected those items, along with some others, he held them down in his car until checkout time.

Funny thing, as we started out by dairy, there was a rack of bananas and he turned to me to say, "Mommy I'm hungry. Want a banana!" So that kept him occupied for some time (just have to remember to pay for that extra banana at checkout. I forgot once and paid two weeks later!), and I saved the fruit snacks for the produce section, which has always been tempting to him.

It is a big start, and something I really want to keep up, so we have that quality time (if you can really call it that) together and it is no big deal to him too.

Thanks again!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Seeking Advice

All you moms out there. I need some advice on a number of things I need to get better at:

1) How can you successfully go grocery shopping with a three-year-old (I've been avoiding it, but want to start doing it so he does a good job and has fun too)?

2) Can you only paint your nails during naptime or when your child is in bed?

3) How can you distract your child (or entertain) in the kitchen when you do some extensive cooking?
 (I don't want to promote too much TV watching.)

4) Can you get bills paid and do paperwork when your child is awake? What is a good activity for them to do while you do this?

In other words, I am in a transition, where I don't want to try to shove so much into time when he's sleeping or I need to go off on my own to do it. I want to involve him and/or plan activities for him to have fun doing while I'm doing my tasks too. I'm getting too tired trying to do it all in limited time and want to branch out on my thinking.

Thank you for any suggestions you have!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

WFMW: Doing it all at once

Been eating Activia or Yoplait lately? See their pink lids? My husband and I have been saving up our lids, dragging them home from work (after a good lick, of course), and keeping them in a ziploc bag to enter online (the Activia ones) all at once and send the Yoplait ones in as well.

As I write this - actually, I took a little break to write this - I am putting all my codes in at the Activia site, all at once. It is a great task when you're at home from work with your husband who threw out his back. Isn't that awful? Well, maybe that's why I have the time to do it on a normal busy day, really.

I think that's the trick with things that add up. Keep them and then do it all at once. Works with laundry too, you ask? Well, maybe not so well as it takes much longer, but for other things it can:

*dishes from the day (note I mentioned day, not week)
*sending short email responses
*Christmas cards
*you name it

What do you save up and do all at once?

For more ideas of what works for others, see We're That Family.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What I Learned this Week: Colored Frosting

I had a BIG "Ah ha!" this week that some of you may laugh at. You see, a few weeks ago, I made some Halloween cookies with my son. I kept wondering where you were supposed to find colored frosting. I only saw white, sprinkled and chocolate in the store. With it Halloween season, where was the orange frosting?

Some of you are thinking, "Duh...." Right?

Well, I decided for my son's birthday party last weekend, that I wanted to make him this cake. After my 40th b-day cake that I made, and I swore I'd never make another, this was quite a feat to undertake, but I was ready.

Part of the ingredients were for food coloring for the frosting. So THAT's how it is done! For being as old as I am and never having done anything with food coloring, that was a BIG thing to learn! It was fun to try to make the exact color I wanted, and I'm even more eager now to decorate more sugar cookies with frosting in the future. :)

I made sure to give myself plenty of time, when my son was sleeping, to decorate. I didn't have any special tools and mainly used a small butter knife to get in those tiny places. I learned it might be nice to have some accessories, and also make the frosting thicker. One thing I left off were the windows. I wasn't sure how to even tackle them.

I think it turned out okay though, do you?

Here's the final product the night before, with candles, and during our celebration.

He immediately knew it was Mickey's Clubhouse and that thrilled me. The tough part was cutting it all up into pieces!

It has actually made me feel adventurous and want to try more things related to cake/cookie making, so we'll see what lies in my future!

What did you learn this week? To see what Julie learned, go here.