The (Rare) Cleaning and Organizing Post

Since it’s already been a week since Labor Day and I’ve already shared with you the Labor-Less part of my Labor Day weekend, I thought I’d better prove to you that I made good on the “Labor” part of the holiday as well. Before, you know, it’s Halloween.

I was determined to get some things accomplished over the long weekend instead of doing my usual—saying I’m going to get some things accomplished and then cozying up to the DVR instead. So I started a painting project because I knew I would HAVE to finish. As a result, the boys’ bathroom finally got some fresh paint, as well as a new shower curtain and towels. I went with a light bluish gray color because I wanted to give it a peaceful, spa-like feel. And it didn’t turn out too bad.

Instead of buying a new soap dish and toothbrush holder (because the primary-colored fish themed holder I had didn’t quite look so good anymore), I shopped around in my house and found a dark gray dish I had picked up at a thrift shop to hold soap, and a vintage glass jar that was Husband’s grandma’s to hold toothbrushes.

When Boy #2 walked into the bathroom after I’d finished cleaning up, he said, “Whoa, this is too fancy for me to use!” Pretty sad what my kids constitute as being “fancy”! But perhaps the most embarrassing moment was when Boy #3 opened the lid of the toilet and said, “Look! The toilet is white! WOW! That’s so cool! Thanks, Mom!” And no, the 6-year-old wasn’t even being sarcastic.

So once I started organizing and redoing the bathroom, I got more motivated to tackle other rooms in the house. I managed to get our bedroom, and two of the boys’ bedrooms completely cleaned out. You’ll notice that I do not have any “before” photos to show you. That’s because I don’t think I really need to provide any evidence for DHS to use against me someday. Nor do I want Oprah to get ahold of it and drag me onto her show to do some kind of cleaning intervention. Just trust me. It wasn’t pretty.

But here’s the “after” result of our bedroom.

It’s amazing how much bigger the room feels when you can walk on the carpet without stepping on dirty clothes, clean clothes, Pokemon cards, books and a smuggled birthday cake.

I literally spent three hours untangling necklaces from my jewelry basket. My back was near-broken and I’m pretty sure I lost some of my eyesight, but I got all of those chains apart. (Thanks to the obsessive part of my personality.) Then I decided to find some other means of organizing my jewelry so I didn’t have to go through that torture again. So once again, I went shopping in my basement. And I love how this turned out!

This scale was Husband’s great-grandfather’s, which he used in his veterinarian clinic. We’ve had it for several years, but I didn’t really know what to do with it. Finally, I found the perfect use. I put my bracelets on one side, and my rings and earrings on the other.

I found another “treasure” I’d picked up at Goodwill at one time, a little brass stand that kind of looks like a mini umbrella stand, and I hung my necklaces on that.

I’m sure this will not win any design awards, but it totally fits my style, and I am excited about how it turned out.

If you can’t tell already, I have a thing for old crap vintage goodies. And I literally get chills up my spine when I figure out how to repurpose something I already have. Suitcases are one of my little addictions…

Aren’t they cute? They were just looking for a loving home!

I used this cute little dish I’d picked up at Goodwill to hold soap in our bathroom. It reminds me of a birds’ nest. It makes me happy when I’m washing my germy hands.

Whew. I feel better now. After always posting the horror stories (and photos) of my house, I’m glad to be able to show you that sometimes I actually try to make things look halfway nice (and clean).

Maybe someday we’ll actually be able to keep it this way for more than a few days…

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Reducing and Reusing—Recycling’s Less Popular Stepsisters

Recently Boy #2 (the second-grader) has been throwing around some “green” lingo, most likely spurred by a discussion at school about Earth Day and the importance of taking care of our environment. While I don’t disagree that we need to turn off lights when we’re not using them, and I agree that only having one car would be eco-friendly (albeit uber inconvenient), I can’t help but wish that environmental education focused less on recycling and more on reusing, or *gasp* not buying crap we don’t need in the first place.

This, my friends, is where the problem lies in our house. Not only having too much stuff, but also taking care of the stuff we DO have so that it doesn’t either 1) go to waste or 2) have to be replaced. And this is where my kids will feel it. Not that they don’t already whine when they’re asked to carry empty cereal boxes and milk jugs to the recycling bin outside; they think that’s some extreme manual labor. But when told we need to cut down on what we have (which uses energy and resources to produce, sell, and transport) AND that they need to respect and protect the things they own (which means don’t leave your Bakugan balls lying in the yard for 4 days or throw a Pokemon card in the toilet just to see what happens) — and being “environmental” is really going to mean something to them. They’re gonna feel it.

If you haven’t already figured it out, I’m not a jump-on-the-bandwagon environmental freak. I don’t think Al Gore has all the answers. I don’t buy into the global warming pandemic.  And I’m not planning on going dumpster diving so I can live with the Freegans in “zero waste-land.” However, I do think we should take care of our planet and our resources because that is the responsible thing to do — and because I believe that everything we have belongs to God and should be treated accordingly.

I try to reuse whenever I can. It’s not only better for the planet, but it’s also better for my checkbook. Plus, I have no desire to have the same clothing or home decor as everyone else. I like being a little different. Having all boys has been an advantage for me because I can hand down clothing, shoes, and toys. Thanks to my mother-in-law and a weekend spent in hand-me-down hell (otherwise known as my basement), I have also realized that it’s not necessary to save everything, especially if you can donate items to a family or a thrift store so that they can be used now as opposed to 10 years down the road when Boy #3 can finally fit into those size 16 jeans. And when I do need to buy clothing or shoes for the boys, I always check Goodwill first, or garage sales if we’re not in the dead of winter. Last weekend I stopped at a garage sale while in Rochester visiting family and scored a pair of men’s adidas golf shoes for Boy #1 that look like they’ve never been worn. The price? $10. Fortunately, the boys have gotten used to my secondhand shopping and don’t grimace when I tell them their “new” clothes aren’t exactly new. Even Husband has, I think, secretly appreciated my finds for him after realizing that I do have standards and won’t bring him home a patterned sweater from the 80s or a polyester leisure suit that smells like a mixture of Old Spice and mothballs and expect him to wear it to school. Nearly all of my clothes are secondhand. I love it when I get a compliment on my outfit and someone asks, “Where’d you get it?”

So I think, in honor of Earth Day, I’m going to make an effort to “reduce” and “reuse” this year, especially when it comes to the boys. And if it helps me keep my house picked up in the process, I’ll consider that an added bonus.

How do you approach “being green” with your family?

Image from eduardtrag

Sweet Shot Tuesday—”Under the Hood”

I’m not a photographer, but I play one on TV my blog.

I even have a decent camera, a Sony Super SteadyShot with 5.1 mega pixels and a 12x zoom. Despite the “steady” part of its name, my unblurry-to-blurry ratio is about 1/10. I’ve tried to read the manual, but I still have no idea what most of the settings do. (Did I mention that I’ve had this for about 5 years?) I just pick an icon that looks intriguing, turn the little knob, take a picture—and then see how it turns out. Which is usually either too dark, too blurred from movement, or focused on something other than what I was intending to shoot.

But in spite of my complete lack of talent, I love taking photos. And although I’m a word girl by nature, there are times that I just can’t find the right syllables to put together to express what I feel, or what I see. And sometimes—if the stars are all aligned, the sun is shining at the precisely perfect angle overhead, the blinking from the red-eye feature hasn’t forced my subject into convulsions, and the caffeine has not yet made its way through my veins to give my hands the jitters—I can say it all with one magical click.

So I usually don’t showcase my photos. But when I read about Sweet Shot Tuesday, launched by my friend and fellow DesMoinesian boy-mom Darcy from My Life with 3 Boybarians, I knew this was something in which I could participate. I heard Darcy speak at iBlog last fall, and she totally inspired me because she said that you don’t have to have a fancy camera or a lot of photographic gizmos to take beautiful photos—and she shared some amazing tips. (She and her husband also have a successful photography business, as well as Graphically Designing, an amazing design business.)

So here’s my first entry in Sweet Shot Tuesday. There are no big themes or rules to enter, but Darcy encourages participants to choose a shot that was taken in the past week. Just like writing, the key to getting better at taking photos is to just do it—as often as you can!

Here’s the story behind my photo this week: My father-in-law is amazing. Seriously, I don’t know what we would do without him. He has worked as a mechanic for the National Guard both as a member and a civilian nearly his entire life. The man knows everything there is to know about anything under the hood of any type of vehicle. His current project (off-duty) is our van. He’s like a scientist, gathering evidence, formulating a hypothesis, testing that hypothesis, and finally reaching a reasonable conclusion about source of problem, cause, and suggested course of action. (And he never charges for labor!) My husband, however, did not inherit his father’s mechanical genes. He can’t even change his own oil. (It’s okay, honey, you have many other talents.) So we’re banking on Boy #1 to learn all he can from his grandpa to ensure that someone can take over after Papa’s no longer able to wield a wrench.

See more Sweet Shot Tuesday entries at Life with My 3 Boybarians!

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National Pi Day—It’s Not Just for Geeks Anymore

As geeky as we are in the Boogers&Burps house, you shouldn’t be surprised that I’m writing a post about National Pi Day. To be honest, we haven’t really celebrated it yet because there was church this morning and frankly it’s the first warmish day in a loooong time, so I didn’t want to drag the boys inside when they’re finally able to play outside. But I have a few simple ideas for things we can do this evening with the boys. If nothing else, we’ll talk about Pi and why it’s important (not to mention cool). And maybe if I get to the store before supper, we’ll have some pie as well.

Did you know that this is now an “official” holiday? Me neither! But apparently last year Congress passed a resolution declaring March 14 National Pi Day in an effort to encourage and support math and science education. Get it? March 14—3.14? Oh, and it just so happens to also be the birthday of Albert Einstein. Coincidence? I’m not so sure…

So what’s so special about Pi? Since I’m entirely unqualified to answer this question, I thought I’d ask someone who is qualified: Brian Reece (AKA Husband). Brian has his Master’s in School Mathematics and teaches AP classes at a magnet high school as well as online college courses at a community college. (In other words, he’s a certified math geek.) Here’s what he had to say when I posed the question to him (while he was careful to also keep one eye on the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, of course).

Pi is the ratio of a circle circumference to its diameter. It’s mentioned as far back as the Bible, when people tried to figure out what the ratio (Pi) was. It’s an irrational number, which means it can’t be written as a ratio of two integers (a fraction). In other words, it continues to infinity without repeating.

One way to help your kids comprehend just how long (infinitely long) Pi is, is to show them the Pi Day.org Web site, where they can view the first million digits of the number. After they scroll, and scroll, and scroll and see just how many digits are there, tell them that there are waaaay more digits in Pi. The digits never come to an end. (Pretty much mind-blowing if you ask me, which I know you didn’t.)

Another easy activity is to have your kids make a paper chain, writing one digit on each link. Have them see how many links they can attach to it!

Want a great book to share with your kids to help them understand Pi? Pick up Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi. We have this book, along with the other books in this series, and it’s very well-written and keeps kids’ attention while teaching them about rather complicated math concepts. Here’s the link to Amazon (Disclosure: I make a small percentage of any sales):

Want to really celebrate the magic of Pi? Take a peek at some of my favorite finds:

Pi in the Sky Bag by Buffalo Nerd Project on Etsy: Carry Pi with you wherever you go!


Pi Coffee Cozy and Pi Pencil Pouch by NausicaaDistribution on Etsy—Husband and I are HUGE fans of this shop! We’ve made several purchases of the adorable statistical plushies for his classroom, and we’ll continue to go back for more! I’ll be featuring this great shop soon!

Pi Guy by KimPayne on Etsy—Meet Pi Guy. He can keep your kids company while they do their homework or just snuggle at bedtime. He’s so cute!

Pi by Numbers T-shirt for Kids at ThinkGeek—Husband has this T-shirt (in big people size), and I think it’s adorable for kids. Start your kiddo on the road to “mathlete” early! ThinkGeek has some other really fun products, including a Pi shower curtain and Pi ice cube tray. I love this store and find some awesome gifts there.

So what about you? Do you celebrate National Pi Day?

Love that “I love apple pi” decal on the home page? You can find it at the Lil Decal Shoppe on Etsy! I’m pretty sure I need it!
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Let’s Go to the Movies

We rarely go to movies as a family, so you can imagine how unusual it was for us to see not one but TWO movies this past weekend.

First up: Percy Jackson and the Olympians—The Lightning Thief. Boy #1 and I read all of the Percy Jackson books, so we were pumped to see the first of what I’m assuming will be several movies.

We decided to make it a family night out, complete with a sit-down dinner.

Well, if you count Burger King as a sit-down dinner, that is. (We DID sit down to eat. Except Boy #3, I guess, who kicked off his shoes and squatted on the bench.)

Father and son argued bonded over mistaken Steakhouse Burger identity. Husband took two bites of Boy #1’s sandwich before realizing that it wasn’t his. Never missing an opportunity to declare something “unfair,” Boy #1 kept making comments the rest of the meal about those two missing bites that he would never get back.

Boy #2 did his part to cause a scene with his belching trick, where he obviously makes himself burp and then immediately does the “What?! I couldn’t help it!” act, trying, unsuccessfully, to hold in a smirk. Needless to say, Husband and I were not amused.

After leaving Burger King with the only casualties of our invasion being Boy #3’s clothes, which are now splattered from knee to sleeve in ketchup, we made the five-minute trek to the movie theater. Where we proceeded to sit in the parking lot threatening to drive home if the boys didn’t CALM. THEMSELVES. DOWN. (I swear, we didn’t let them drink Mt. Dew at Burger King, but they were WIRED!)

Then after promises of “being good” (yeah, right), we headed into the theater, where we plunked down $39 for tickets and another $22 for concessions. (This being the reason we rarely go to movies. Who can afford it?)

After finding a place to sit down, Boy #2, never able to sit still, was bopping up and down in his fold-up chair when I warned him, “You’re going to spill your popcorn if you don’t sit down.”

I’ll give you one guess what happened.

There sat Boy #2, with 3/4 of his popcorn now on the cement below his chair. Angry at me because I wouldn’t trot right back out and spend another $4.oo on popcorn for him, he decided he’d “show me” by stomping on the popcorn under his feet.

And oh, how that hurt me.

Although it actually did hurt my stomach a little bit when I caught him, 10 minutes later, scooping up and eating that same popcorn he had his dirty shoes all over.

Whatever. “At least we don’t have to hear him whine about it anymore,” Husband reasoned.

It was at this time we also noticed the horde of middle school kids who had invaded the theater, doing typical middle school things—giggling, pretending to be busy texting someone, moving from one seat to another to another. And the irony in this? Boy #1’s response: “They’re so annoying.” Pot, I’d like you to meet Kettle.

And finally the movie started. It was a little scarier in parts than I’d anticipated. (Which, when I later said this to Husband, he came back with, “Yeah, I wouldn’t have thought a movie that had scenes in HELL would be scary either!” Sarcasm noted.) But overall, it was a good movie and kept the interest of three different-aged boys. Of course, not as good as the book, but that’s usually the case. If you haven’t already read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, I highly recommend it. Great suspense and character development, as well as humor and a ton of info about Greek mythology. It’s really piqued Boy #1’s interest in his current Social Studies unit on Ancient Greece!

So after Friday night’s flick, I thought that would be it for us for a while. But then my mother-in-law called on Saturday and asked if we wanted to meet them to see Avatar in 3-D on Sunday afternoon. The boys were excited to not only see the movie, but to see Grandma and Papa as well. (And Grandma offered to pay for our tickets so we only had to buy our treats; you can’t pass that up!)

I wasn’t sure how Boy #3 was going to do sitting for 2 hours and 45 minutes, especially after the movie started and I realized that it was probably a bit over his head. But he stayed awake the whole time (on Papa’s lap for most of it), huge 3-D glasses still on, and didn’t miss a swear word. (Whoops! Guess it WAS PG-13 for a reason.) After the movie ended, however, he turned to Papa and asked, “So when is Avatar going to start?”

Apparently he thought it was going to be like Avatar, the cartoon. He thought he’d been watching a preview that whole time!

Poor Mother-in-Law, though, felt bad about the swear words (really they weren’t that bad) and the violence (Unfortunately, my boys have watched worse). She swore that she would never again suggest a movie now that she’d taken her grandsons to a “violent” movie and taken her 87-year-old mother to watch “The Hangover” with her and my father-in-law! (She didn’t realize it was going to be as nasty as it was in parts.) We didn’t see The Hangover until after Christmas, and I couldn’t watch it without picturing Granny watching it with me. What a hoot!

But back to Avatar…I really enjoyed the movie, and the kids did as well. I thought it had a good message and was amazing from a cinematic standpoint. The performances were incredible too, and I didn’t feel like I had been sitting for three hours when it was over. I could’ve watched more! Boy #3 said he didn’t think it was scary (although he was still confused about what exactly he had been watching).

Now that we’ve seen two movies in one weekend, I’ve got the urge to keep the trend going! And there are some movies coming out soon that are going to be great “boy” flicks.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid — If you haven’t read a of these books, you really should. Especially if you have boys at home. Perfect boy books. Funny, even disgusting in parts. Written from a total middle school boy point of view. Can’t wait to see Fregley and his secret mole (“It’s got a hair on it!”).

How to Train Your Dragon — If this movie is half as good as the trailer, it’s going to be a hit. Vikings, dragons, and a strong girl character. Just the ingredients to appeal to boys and girls alike. Can’t wait to see this in 3-D.

The Last Airbender — Okay, this is the “real Avatar” that Boy #3 was talking about. Apparently wanting to capitalize on the whole “Avatar movie theme,” the producers probably couldn’t have come out with this at a better time. It looks suspenseful with a strong storyline. If you don’t know anything about Avatar (the animated series), check out a few episodes on Nickelodeon. Since it’s not just a silly cartoon and has some real meat to its story, it’s one that adults can really get into as well. Plus, it’s an M. Night Shyamalan movie. What more is there to say?

What good movies have you seen lately?

Popcorn image copyright shannahsin
Avatar image copyright Nickelodeon
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How Hallmark’s Making Being a Kid a Bit Easier

I’m so glad I’m not a kid today.

Really.

When I went to kindergarten, I was one of the few kids who could read and got to lay in the “reading nook” and read during naptime. Today if kids can’t read by the time they start school, they’re treated as if they’re at a disadvantage. I’m pretty sure if I would’ve taken a peek at Mrs. Crees’s kindergarten curriculum in 1977, it would’ve said things like, “Don’t eat paste.” Today kindergartners not only learn to read, they also begin adding, subtracting, learning fractions, and I’m pretty sure splitting atoms is squeezed in there somewhere.

And don’t even get me started on 6th grade. The toughest day of 6th grade for me was when I was told the cool and popular “Brian R.” wanted to “go with me,” and then I found out it was just a joke when Brian himself came to my classroom and broke the news. In his defense, he was trying to be a gentleman by not leading me on, but I was still humiliated. Never mind that I took my Cabbage Patch Kid to school on more than one occasion, which today would be cause for ostracism. I later forgave  Brian though. (Then a few years later, I married him.)

But I digress. Sixth grade today is a whole different ball of wax. Not only is it now “middle school” instead of elementary like it was when I was in school, but 12-year-olds are expected to act a whole lot more grown-up than they used to be. This year has been pretty brutal for Boy #1 in many ways. Academically, he’s struggling because he’s not used to being “on his own” in all of his classes. He has to be organized, and he has to ask questions if he doesn’t get something—and he’s not very good yet at either one of those things. We’re trying not to stress out over the D’s and occasional F; he’s a smart kid, and we want him to realize that we just want him to be responsible and do his best. It’s such a fine line for parents to walk.

Socially, I’m amazed at middle school. It’s like the high school of the ’80s. I don’t even want to know what high school’s going to be like! Boy #1 is sooo upset with us because he is “the only one” in the middle school without a phone. And to be honest, he’s probably not too far off on that. But really? Really? Do 12-year-olds have to text their boyfriends? We will probably get him a phone sometime within the next year, but as freaked out as I am about all of the new reports on “sexting” that have come out lately, we’ll definitely be applying the parental controls on the phone. And you know, kids are dating in 6th grade. Seriously. Boy #1 was disgusted at all of the boys and girls who were exchanging gifts on Valentine’s Day last week. Fortunately he’s not gaga over girls yet (or at least he’s doing a good job at pulling the wool over my eyes). But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that kids are dating considering when I drop off Boy #1 in the mornings, I am amazed at the number of 6th and 7th-grade students walking into the building with either facial hair (the boys, fortunately) or with a body I would’ve killed for in college. I really don’t think anyone had a mustache when I was in 6th grade. Except maybe Mr. Derrick. And I think he even shaved.

Where am I going with all this? Good question…

Oh yeah: I don’t envy my kids. It’s a man’s world out there, and our kids are forced to adapt.

So I try to give my boys all the encouragement I can at home. They have a lot of pressure on them to live up to society’s demands, and although it’s my job to prepare them as best I can, it’s also my job to let them know they’re safe and their family will always love them, no matter what happens out there in the “real world.”

That’s why I am in LOVE with Hallmark’s new Kids Collection of cards, books, and trinkets. They were created with TODAY’S kids in mind by writers and artists who GET IT. Who know that 8-year-olds aren’t digging Diego anymore, and 12-year-olds don’t all skateboard. Who know the issues, pressures, and demands of today’s kids, and who know what kind of encouragement will resonate with them.

I had the opportunity to listen to two Hallmark writers at BlissDom, and I was incredibly impressed by the extent they go to in order to create cards that are timely, appropriate, and appealing to kids of this generation. Sarah Mueller (@HallmarkSarah on Twitter) and Molly Wigand (@hmkmollyw) shared some techniques and insight in an Inspirational Writing workshop, and I was inspired just by being in the room with such creative people. As a writer, I appreciate their passion and craft, but as a mom, I appreciate their ability to articulate exactly what I want to say—but can’t find the words because I’m too close to the situation. I read their cards and say, “Yes! This is exactly what I want to tell Boy #1!” or “This totally describes how Boy #3 is feeling right now!”

I think that since there are so many uncertainties that kids face today, it’s important to give them little reminders of something that IS certain—our love for them and our belief in their goodness. And I will be the first to say that cards are not just “girl things.” My boys LOVE getting cards, especially if they’re unexpected.

One way I’ve learned that I can get through to my boys when the stress is heavy is with humor. Although all my boys have a good sense of humor, they are also all very quick to anger. Things can escalate in the blink of an eye (or the flick of a booger). For a while I carried a hideous pair of big 80s sunglasses in my purse. I had popped the lenses out so they looked like glasses. Sometimes when Boy #3 was getting a little mouthy or things were getting heated, I’d slip those babies on and just wait for him to notice. He’d act annoyed, but there was no way for him to hold in his smile. It was a good tension-breaker. Now I try to use little inside family jokes since, sadly, my lovely glasses broke. (At least until I find another equally embarrassing pair.)

Many of the cards in the new Hallmark Kids Collection are funny, and not just corny-knock-knock-joke funny, boy humor funny. We’re talking whoopie cushions. And boogers.

In today’s climate of virtual living, I love the idea of bolstering our support of the print industries. Cards, real-life tangible cards, are rare anymore, which makes them even more special. I think it’s commendable that companies like Hallmark, as well as some incredible small, independent printers, are continuing to produce relevant and high-quality cards and stationery to help us keep in touch and stay connected, even if we live under the same roof.

Boy #2 is dealing with medical issues that cause him to occasionally draw unwanted attention from kids at school or even get made fun of. It’s so frustrating for him, and because of that he often fights going to school in the morning. This morning was one of those times. I tried being calm, I tried yelling. Finally, I knew what would make him want to go to school: I found one of the Hallmark Kids Collection cards that I’d been saving. This one even comes with a cool yellow rubber bracelet that says “Believe” on it. I wrote on the card about how proud I am of him and how much I love him, and I stuck it in his Homework Folder. I told him that he couldn’t open it until he got to school and that there was a little surprise in it for him. I kid you not—it worked like a charm. Not one more word about not being able to go to school, not one more argument. And it makes me happy knowing that he will have that reminder that I’m here for him, even if things get tough at school.

I encourage you to give a kid a card next week, for no good reason. And to make it even easier—you can get one free! Hallmark is offering a free card from their Kids Collection through March 14. Find a participating Hallmark Gold Crown store here.

And make sure to visit Iowa Geek to see my friend Jody interviewing Sarah Mueller about encouraging kids!

Disclaimer: I received a few free cards from the Hallmark Kids Collection as a result of attending BlissDom and the Hallmark-sponsored writing workshop, but I was not asked or expected to provide a review; I did so because I truly love the product and am receiving no compensation for my recommendation.

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Family Dinnertime—When the Magic Happens

Everywhere we parents turn, experts are heralding the magic of the “dinner hour” to reinforce healthy eating habits, strengthen family bonds, and even prevent substance abuse. Our government even has a Web page dedicated to the benefits of family mealtimes.

In our family, we do try to sit down and eat together, without the TV blaring or Nintendo DS on, as much as possible. And Husband and I do find that we learn more about the boys’ days when we’re eating together and chatting. However, sometimes there seems to be a bit too much sharing going on in the Boogers and Burps house. Take this evening as an example…

As the family was gathered around the “kitchen table” (more about that later), attempting to eat supper like a normal family, what should come up approximately 23 times but the word—diarrhea.

Granted, the word first joined us at the supper table when Boy #1 was “sharing” about his day. Several more instances occurred when the question was asked (by Boy #3), “What is diarrhea?”

And that’s when all hell broke loose. The “d” word was flying as the family, eager to help enrich the youngest male’s vocabulary, introduced various other appetizing phrases, such as “runny poop” and “when your butt throws up.”

Oh, and where was Husband in all of this?

Right in the middle of it.

Martha, if you’re reading this, understandably impressed, and would like to feature our family on an upcoming special on the lost art of dinnertime etiquette . . . have your people call my people. We’ll talk.

Where Are My Dull Moments?!

Friends, I intended to have my post regaling my jury duty adventure published by now, and I’ve got it partway done, but frankly, I’m tired and I’ve got to go to bed.

Why?

Oh, because I have jury duty again TOMORROW. (Yeah, lucky me; I got called back for Wednesday’s trials.)

Oh, and because Boy #1 has H1N1.

Is there never a dull moment?

Apparently not.

So hopefully I’ll be able to get my post about Monday published before I start writing about my jury duty tales from Wednesday…