Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It’s Just a Shovel

*the pictures really have nothing to do with this post, but Jack was so cute shoveling the other day, so I thought I’d throw them in.

The other day, the city school had a snow day.  That’s rare with such a big public school, so it was a treat for the kids in our neighborhood to have the day off. 

Have I mentioned I don’t like my neighborhood?  It’s a little ‘inner city’.  It’s a little too inner city for us.  We’d like to have lots of land away from the city.  Maybe this year will be the year we put our house on the market.  We’ve only said that every year for 4 years now. DSC06950

Back to the snow day -

When we have snow covered driveways in our area, the neighborhood kids like to shovel everyone’s driveways for some cash.  I don’t mind them asking if they can shovel our driveway, but we don’t want to spend money on something we Rick can do just as easily for free, so we’ve always said, “no thanks.”

Well, this Friday, while the kids were roaming the streets in the middle of the day, trying to find something to do with their free time, they decided to do something illegal.  They stole my shovel!!


I was sitting on my couch, sitting with Jack after he’d just gotten up from a nap, when a tall kid in a brown coat and red hat came slowly up to my doorstep.  I don’t usually answer the door during the day, so I let him ring the bell before I got up.  But he didn’t ring the bell, he ran off with my shovel!

Before you chide me for leaving my shovel out on the front step, I have to say that it’s so common around here to leave out your shovel, that I think the odd-house-out  is the one without a shovel sitting out front. DSC06980

The moment I saw The Boy in the Brown Coat and Red Hat sprint off my front step, I ran to the door, threw it open and yelled


He didn’t.

Since I was a middle school teacher, and I think I have ‘a way with the kids,’ I decided to go out and see if I could get my shovel back.  I threw some slippers on Jack’s feet, coats and hats on us, and boots on my feet and got us buckled up in the van. 

There is an adjacent neighborhood behind our house, so I drove out of our development and into the next one over.  I figured that if The Boy in the Brown Coat and Red Hat is dumb enough to steal a shovel off of someone’s front step, then he was dumb enough to be walking around with my shovel asking people if he could shovel their driveway for cash.   DSC06983

I was right.  It took no time at all to find the three boys with shovels.  I parked my van and walked up to The Boy in the Brown Coat and Red Hat.  I asked him “did you just steal my shovel?” Evidently he can’t hear very well, so I had to repeat my question.

“You in the red hat, did you just steal my shovel?”

“Ummmm, yea.”

“I’d like it back, please.” (I gave my best teacher look and voice)

“Okay.” And he handed me the shovel.  Odd, but I was on a roll and couldn’t stop.

“You’re out here making money by shoveling, go buy yourself a shovel!”

That’ll teach ‘im! 

I drove home, proud of myself for getting my shovel back from the idiot Boy in the Brown Coat and Red Hat who thought stealing it was a good idea.  Then I looked at the shovel.


It’s not my shovel.  It’s a rusty, old piece of junk that belongs to some other poor soul who had their shovel stolen.  The shovel I lost was a beautiful ergonomic shovel with a good sturdy handle.  This shovel was an old, rusty piece of junk.DSC06991

After a half an hour of trying to locate The Boy in the Brown Coat and Red Hat and his lackeys again who had evidently gone into hiding – from strange women coming up and stealing their shovels – I called it quits.DSC07018

I went home, put the shovel out on the front step, and went back in my home softly chanting “it’s just  a shovel, it’s just a shovel, it’s just a shovel.”


Tuesday, January 25, 2011


My son is very articulate.  When the doctor asked me how his language was coming, I said “he’s talking in paragraphs.”  That’s not entirely true of course, but it’s darn close.  He says things that I don’t think most 2 year olds say, and he’s been saying them for a few months now. 

For example:

“Das is not a fire engine, das is a ambulance.”

“I tickled myself!”

“I’ll be right back. See you soon, Mama!”

“Hi Yellow Truck, I’m Jack.  Nice to meet you.”

“Come wis me, Mama.  Let’s go see Daddy!”

“Daddy, you’re home!  I’ve been waiting for you!”

“I don’t want to get in my crib. I wanna sit on da floor. Yea, Mommy, you sit in da rocking chair and I sit on da floor. I don’t wanna be in my crib”

“Mommy yelled, ‘I want my shovel back!!!!’” (there’s a story behind this one I’ll post soon")

And twice now, he’s tried to get my attention or get me to give him what he wants by finally yelling:

“MANDA!!  Get me my water!”

The doctor said he’s going to be hard to potty train.  “The intelligent ones are the most stubborn ones to train.”  Great.



Monday, January 24, 2011

I found this Singles Blog Thingy…

I’m not single.  Duh.  I’m happily married now for 5 and a half years.  FUN!  But my friend, Beth is not happily married yet.  She wants to be.  She’s awesome. 

I stumbled upon a blog that’s doing an online singles thing, and I thought I’d throw my friend Beth under the bus and do one for her. JUST KIDDING! I totally asked her and she said ‘go for it’. This post is linked up with Show Us Your Life - Show us Your Singles!!! at Kelly’s Korner.  I hope I’m not too late with this!

(So, if you’re a regular reader, or you’re my mother, you can disregard this post, since it’s really for anyone interested in meeting Beth.  Don’t you love that?)

I’ve posted about my friend before stating how much her friendship has meant to me, but let me tell you about more than just our childhood antics and our annual pumpkin carving experiences.  There really is a lot more to Beth than that! (But PLEASE go back and read that post if you want to know more about Beth – it’s pretty funny and probably embarrassing for her)


This is Beth. 

This is my all-time favorite picture of Beth.  It shows her personality perfectly.  She used it as her Facebook Profile picture for so long that when she changed it, I yelled at her to change it back. She did too!  For a while at least.

Here are her ‘stats’:

Raised and lives near Columbus, Ohio, never been married, been in love once, 34 years old, Christian, non-smoker, works for a major league sports franchise in an accounting-type position (maybe payable/receivable/something with money), has a toy poodle named Sushi, loves kids, and can crochet, sew, and keep African Violets alive.


She has a bright personality, just like her kitchen…it’s bright yellow and hot pink.  She will do anything for anyone and think nothing of it.  She has a very giving spirit. I’m pretty sure her Love Language is quality time with some words of affirmation thrown in for good measure. 


She loves kids and is as goofy as they are sometimes.  My son adores her and talks to her on his toy phone all the time.  He loves spending time with her! She used to be a preschool teacher (that’s what her Associate’s degree is) and I have to say she was a darn good one!  I’ve never seen a more crafty teacher, who is willing to get all dirty just to give her students a super learning experience.


She’s adventurous.  When we do something crazy, it’s her fault idea. She has been to China three times to teach English (and do other projects) at a youth camp.  She loves it, and though she hasn’t been back in two years, I’m still worried I’m going to loose my best friend to China! She tried every food, and did every activity she could while she was there–she’s just that way.  She loves adventures.  


I love Beth.  If you’re interested in learning more about her, please comment here.  She’d be happy to deny everything I just said. Of course, after she sees the last 2 pictures I posted, I may not be alive to receive your comments.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my super best friend, Beth!

Date Night #1!

This Christmas, I gave my hubby a thoughtful gift.  Time with me!!  I gave him 12 handmade cards, each with a “redeemable for one date night” note on them. 

We are to use one each month to guarantee at least 12 dates this year.  The entire year of 2010 held only a handful of date nights for us.  Probably a whopping 3 nights total.  Now, we did make up some time by taking a weekend away on our anniversary in August (Thanks, Aunt Beth for watching Jack that whole weekend!).  But this year I really wanted to invest more time in our marriage.  With a thriving 2 year old begging for our attention, Rick’s job and hobbies pulling at him, and my love for all things on the internet taking up my time, making time for each other isn’t something we end up doing a lot of.   I plan to change that by making  him offering him a chance to go on a date with me once a month.


This month we chose to go to a new restaurant just down the street from us. It’s a small Italian place that some friends of mine recommended. While we enjoyed being out –alone- together, and the atmosphere was pretty quaint -though we do prefer booths to tables- we didn’t exactly love  the food.  It was good, but as we were walking out, we said,

“That was pretty good.”

“Yeah, I’d come back here again'.”

“But I wouldn’t order that dish again.”

“Me either.” 

So, did we like it?  I’m not really sure!

After dinner, we decided to drive across the intersection to a tried and true restaurant for dessert.  Bob Evans.  Nothing fancy, but it was YUMMY!  We never get to eat dessert there, because we’re always too full from our meals.  It was the highlight of our date night, for sure! Just look at these:

image image

They were as good as they look.  We might have to make all of our date nights end at Bob Evans.

Since we’re trying to get all our carbs eaten in just one hour (thank Dr. Atkins), we had a lot of time left to spare, so we drove to the local mall and walked and talked for the last hour or so of our date.  I drug Rick through the kitchen gadget stores and he drug me through the sports stores to look at guns and ammo.  When we arrived home, our babysitter (first ever that wasn’t a family member or close friend) said Jack did great.  He cried a little when we left and again when he had to go to bed, but other than that, the night was successful for him too!

We’re encouraged for our next 11 dates.  We don’t want to spend this much every month, so we’ll try to use family and friends who would like to spend time with Jack for an evening or afternoon, and we’ll probably change up what we do when we go out.  We’re thinking next month we may sit at the library and work on stuff we’ve been ‘meaning to get to.’ 

What ideas do you have for creative dates?  We don’t want to get in a rut, so what else could we do?  Any recommendations? 

Friday, January 14, 2011

She’s Coming!!!

Have I ever mentioned a little-known blogger called The Pioneer Woman


Hmmm?  I have?  I may have been excited to open her cookbook as my Christmas gift last year. 

Christmas Gift

She did a book tour for that book last year, and I’m pretty sure she didn’t come anywhere close to where I live.   That’s not a big deal.  She’s famous.  I’m me.  I will never  meet the woman, so I will just sit here, cook her food, read her blog, and go on living my life as normal.

WELL….things are about to get exciting around here!

SHE’S COMING TO COLUMBUS, OHIO!  That’s my town.  That’s where I live.  I live where she is coming!  Okay.  I need a second to stop and breath.  *giddy*

My BFF emailed me with two words: We’re going! 

Yes we are!

Her newest book tour is for her newest book Black Heels to Tractor Wheels.  When I first found her website about two years ago, I actually sat and read all of her Black Heels posts.  I had a lot of free time while I was breastfeeding.  Not having read the book yet (it comes out February 1), I would still recommend picking up a copy or reading her blog posts.  She’s a witty writer and so much fun to read. 

Maybe one day I’ll have a post with blurry pictures of me standing next to her with my  mouth smiling my obnoxious smile, sweaty and with sore feet from having waited in a long line to see THE PIONEER WOMAN!  A girl can hope.

2 Years Old

Jack turns 2 today.  My how time flies.

We love him more than we ever thought it was possible to love another human being. 

Happy Birthday, Jack!

DSC04570 3 days

Wallace - April 09 (28) 3 months

DSC_7289 6 months

b-IMG_46399 months

DSC01232 1 year

IMG_0026(PS1)18 months

DSC06906 2 years

We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you, little man.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


While I was sitting on the couch folding my laundry today, I was thinking, “What does a person blog about when they blog every day?”  I was drawing a complete blank on any future blog posts.  I recently had a blog explosion (5 whole posts in two weeks), and now I’m at a loss for anything else to write about.

Then, it hits me.  Actually, all I had to do was look down at what I was doing.  There was my inspiration.  Blue laundry. 


Exciting, huh?

I washed our comfy flannel sheets with my son’s comfy flannel sheets today.  Seems like a good idea, huh?  Well, it would be if all the flannel was even remotely close to the same color.  One is a dark navy blue set and the other a pale yellow.  Not a good match!


When I pulled everything out of the dryer, I had blue everything.  Actually I had blue and dingy green everything.  The crib sheet was a dingy green color, the green pillow cases were a dingy green color, and the blue sheets were as blue as ever.

The Color Catcher was a beautiful dark blue as well.  Maybe I should have put a few more sheets in.  You live, you do laundry, you learn.

P.S. A big sorry goes out to my sister who handed down those two pale yellow flannel sheets to me.  Somehow she managed to keep them yellow the entire time she had them for her sons.  12 years later, I ruined one of them in one wash.  I completely understand if she never hands anything else down to me again (though, I think she has given me everything she possibly could give me already!)  Thanks, Sis!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cornstarch – The Wonder Ingredient!

Corn starch: a good source of calcium!

*I stole this picture from the internet…I’ve never seen this brand before.

Back when I dropped off the face of the blog-world, we went to visit my sister-in-law’s family in their new home.  They have 5 kids, and they’re one of the most amazing families ever.  I feel like I won the family lottery when I married Rick! 

Anyway, when we were there, Jack had a pretty bad diaper rash.  The only time he ever gets a rash is when he’s eaten something acidic, is teething, or some other foods I haven’t figured out yet.  Basically, it’s always because of what he puts into his belly, not from the diapers themselves.  With cloth diapers, you can’t use creams to sooth the burn.  You can’t use petroleum jelly or anything that will leave a residue on the diaper after it’s washed.  So what do you do? 

You use cornstarch!!  Now, how did I come to gain that wealth of information?  From my sister-in-law of course!  She learned it from her mother when her kids were little.  I can’t explain why it works, but after just one or two diaper changes all traces of ‘red bottom’ are gone!  Every time!  It is the most amazing thing to me.  Here I was trying coconut oil and tea tree oil to help coat and sooth his bottom – both are okay to use with cloth and have healing properties – but it was taking a day or two for the burn to go away. 

I can’t get over how amazing this wonder ingredient is.  It’s one of those things that I want to shout from the mountain tops : “Hey!! I found a CHEAP and FAST way to heal your baby’s burning bottom!!!!”   Maybe I’ll just stick to shouting it from my blog.

I hope this helps at least one baby’s bottom out there!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Rainbow in a Jar


This morning, we saw a Sid the Science Kid episode on PBS about rainbows.  Later that morning, I got it in my head to do something with the rainbow theme.  Some moms have it in them to choose themes and do all sorts of craft projects with their kiddos. Boy do I admire those women!!  I’m too chicken to get art supplies out, so I tend to let it slide by the wayside or do easy paper-only crafts.


I looked in my paper drawer and found (basically) all the colors of the rainbow.  I then got a cheap food storage container out to collect small bits of paper.






Jack and I sat on the floor and ripped paper for what seemed like hours.  Really, it was probably more like 10 minutes.  Jack can’t rip paper yet unless it’s already started, so I had to put a small rip in the paper, then hold on while he ripped off a small-ish piece of paper. 


He loved putting the pieces of paper into the container.  When I would close it to shake down the paper, he would say “MORES!” (he’s the most articulate 23 month old I know, but he can’t say more correctly – go figure)  We named each color as we were ripping the paper.  I even used indigo and violet instead of blue and purple.  He’s very good at his colors already, so I hope I didn’t just ruin him!DSC06799

After we had all the paper in the container, I showed him how he had a rainbow in a jar and that he could shake it up and look at all the colors.  HA!  That lasted all of –3 seconds (he interrupted me while I was explaining my brilliant idea) before he said “play crane!!” He wanted to pick up the pieces of paper with his ‘crane hand’ and dump them on the floor. 








So that’s what we did!  I got out two big bowls for him to scoop, dig, and transfer the paper pieces.  He played for quite a while with this.

So there ya go.  Something arts-n-craftsy (with no mess!) from my home to yours. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

More Aprons!

Remember the apron I learned how to make?  I made these aprons for my friends shortly after learning how to do them.  It’s my ‘impressive’ sewing talent these days.

For Christmas I decided that all the women in my family needed to have an apron.   I spent many nights up past midnight working up to the last minute getting 7 aprons done by Christmas for my family.  It took an entire season of Project Runway (for inspiration) streaming through Hulu, a Rachel Ray talk show, and and episode of Modern Family (both watched while I was ironing  50+ strips of fabric). 


I was so happy at how they turned out. Each of the colors matched their personalities or kitchen or was their favorite color.   They all seemed to like them very much.  We may even plan a cooking day this spring or summer to get all the ladies together and put our aprons to good use. 

I  learned a lot after finishing 7 aprons. 

1. Don’t put off till later what you can do in small batches now!  It really did take an entire season of Project Runway to finish these.  I bet I could have done one a night on 7 different nights if I had started earlier than the week before Christmas.  As it was, I made them all in about 3 days.

2. Use the top of the pant leg as the top of the apron.  The thigh is wider on most pants than the ankle.  I think some of them ended up too skinny on the top.

3.  Use bigger sized jeans than what you think the apron wearer wears.  It’s nicer to have a bigger apron covering your clothes, so I’ll go with bigger sizes next time.  Because all of my nieces are super skinny, it worked out okay this time.

4.  Use a smaller neck strap than I think I should use.  Every single one of them had to tie a knot in the back of their neck strap to make the apron fit right. 

5. I still don’t know how to make corners neat.  I’m getting better, but I still don’t know how to polish everything up yet.

If you’re new to sewing and want to try something really fun, start out with this project.  It’s so fun and practical.  I use my apron all the time. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Cloth Diaper Fix

I’ve mentioned before that I use cloth diapers, right?


I love using cloth diapers.  We bought one brand, lots of them, and never looked back.  I love how easy they are to use and how cost saving they are.  Most of all I love how there are never poop leaks.  I can remember two or three poop leaks he’s had in 2 years.  Seriously!  I love them.

There are two things though, that I don’t love about them. 

1.  The brand I chose only came in solid colors.  No cute prints.  I love seeing all the cute prints available in cloth diapers on my message boards.  They’re amazing!  So many cute designs!!  I could go broke getting all the ones I love. 

2.  The Velcro on these diapers is starting to go bad.  I’ve caught a diaper falling off more than once in the past month, and the closures catch on his pants all the time.  I’m getting kind of annoyed with my choice of Velcro over snaps.  (Hindsight is 20/20) 

Here is what my Velcro tabs look like after two years of use and no maintenance -

DSC06499  DSC06503

They’re full of lint, strings, and fuzz.  They just don’t work anymore.  I was thinking about buying some new diapers with snaps and building up a new set.  BUT…that costs money, and if I can help it, I don’t want to spend any.  So, I figured out that I could probably clean out the tabs and they might work like new again. 

Here’s what I did.  One afternoon, after a load of diapers came out of the dryer, I sat and pulled out every last string, fuzz and lint from each tab.  My fingers HURT at the end of that afternoon!  I accumulated quite a lot of lint.


After I cleaned out the tabs, they worked like new!!!!!  Go figure!  Anyone else would probably already be cleaning out the Velcro tabs after every few washes, but not me!  I like don’t think of things like that.  Here’s a look at the same tabs from above after I cleaned them out.



Much better, eh?  I love it!  I have to clean them out every so often, but it surely beats buying new diapers! 

My advice to anyone considering cloth diapers -

Go with snaps.  I thought it was going to be hard to get a good ‘seal’, and that the baby would be too wiggly to do snaps, but I see in the end that they probably would last longer than Velcro tabs and I’ve been told they fit just as well as Velcro diapers.

Or clean out your Velcro tabs more often than I do.  Whatever.




Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Picture Test

I was going to add a picture to my last post, but I couldn’t seem to figure out how to get it to work.  I used to know, but it seems that something has changed.  Not sure what or why. 

After hours of searching tonight, I think I’ve figured out how to make Flickr my photo saver-place of choice now and should be able to get photos from my computer, to the internet, to this blog.  It was actually a very long process for me to figure out.  I still have to figure out how to get my watermark back. 

So, here is a look at how much my son has grown since I last blogged.  It was only about 5 months ago, but there’s been a lot of change in him.  He’s almost two!!!  He turns two this month.  My, how time flies!

12 Dec 2010

Tap Tap Tap…is this thing on?

This isn’t the most exciting way to re-enter the blogosphere, but here I am.  Hopefully I’ll be staying a while.  Maybe even longer than last time.  I wouldn’t count on it, but anything can happen! 

I quit blogging because my son kept growing.  And even though I’d love to show off all of his Growth Chart Moments, I just can’t seem to make the time.  It’s not because I’m busy.  It’s because I’m lazy.  I will sit on the computer and scroll through Facebook, but never take the time to write a post.  I blame it on the pictures.  They take time to load. Not long.  But long enough.

Well, one of my unspoken New Year Resolutions (I never say them out loud, so I don’t feel bad when I break them) is to be more active on my blog.  I really loved blogging.  I loved reading other’s blogs as well.  That may be where my time-sucking pattern started.  I could sit for hours and read blogs.  That came to an end around the time my blog writing came to an end.  As of now, I have just under 1000 blog posts to read.  “Not gonna happen!”  I’m going to go clear out my reader and start fresh.  If you’re a blogger and you’re actually reading this, I may have missed the last *cough* couple *cough* of posts you’ve done.  Sorry ‘bout that.

So, I’m back.  For a while at least.  I loved having blog friends, so if you are here because I popped up on your reader and you forgot who I was, WELCOME BACK!  Leave me a comment.  I love to hear from you.  If you’re my mother.  Hi, Mom.  Thanks for being my number one supporter.

I was going to post a picture of Jack here, but I guess I can’t get that to work right now.  And he just woke up from his nap.  Maybe next time! (oh, and I didn’t proofread.  Hope nothing was too bad!)


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