Friday, August 31, 2007

It's the Little Things

Good stuff in a big way is great: getting a new car, moving to a new home, getting a new kitchen... But sometimes the little things are special, too (and great blog filler).

This week two Little Things brightened my life: graham crackers and a trash can.

Have you seen these little gems? They're just plain ol' graham crackers by Honey Maid. What makes them a really wonderful Little Thing is that they are exactly square and packaged like saltine crackers: in a long stack. Now I can seal them up with a twist-tie! No more fumbling with a half-consumed rectangular package with torn up cellophane, trying to stuff it back into the box. I looked on the Nabisco web site and saw "limited edition" in the description. I should go buy a case. (Another bonus: they cost the same as the cello-mess ones.)

The second Little Thing is our new trash can. It's a city-supplied outdoor behemoth with wheels and, brace yourself, an ATTACHED LID. Our neighborhood is changing to once-weekly trash pick-up and our city has supplied us these large cans in place of our own. It is brand-spankin' new. It's so cool I thought about putting Mickey and Alex in it for a ride before I contaminated it with our trash. I love it because it takes up less space in our garage and I can lift the lid with one finger...and did I tell you it is brand-spankin' new? Oh, and it has a thingy on the front that will be lifted by the truck. No grubby trashman hands will be touching it. Little did they realize how much this can would appeal to we germophobes in the city.

So there ya go. What Little Things have graced your life this week?

P.S. Lest you are thinking "wow, doesn't she have anything better to do..." take note of the fact that I did not take time to photograph these Little Things. I do have time to be lazy, thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The facts of fall

And so it begins...

Today Pete got the email below from his buddy, a die-hard college football fan. The friend's comment about the article, which was not written by him, was something like "this sums it all up for me..."

And Pete wholeheartedly agreed.

For all you soon-to-be football widows out there, it's time to face the inevitable. This week our husbands suddenly become glassy-eyed TV remote hogs who yell and whoop during televised games, thinking the players will somehow here their pleas and play better. Pete has had his poor-man's picture-in-picture set up for a week (that's two TV's downstairs: one solely for football, the other still for Barney. I think I will be in a corner somewhere rocking back and forth...).

Anyway, on to the very well-written synopsis of what this week must be like for my husband and millions of other American men:

I love this week.

The last few days leading up to the first game of a college football season are the closest I've found as an adult to those exciting, anxious days of my youth right before Christmas.

Now, as then, hope springs eternal. Optimism is the norm.

Would I get the ThunderCats action figures? I asked Santa and he seemed pretty positive. Will my beloved Buckeyes erase the sting of the final game of last season? I read the papers and everybody says they're using the doubts as motivation. It looks good.

Then again, it always looks good this week, doesn't it? Just as those unopened packages underneath the tree on December 22nd always contained the requested gift.

This week, the season is still perfect. This week, The Big Dream is possible. This week, none of those packages contain underwear and socks. Of course, for all but two teams, that dream eventually dies. For some it was unrealistic from the get go.
They never really had a shot except for this week. They were fooling themselves. (Did I really think Santa was going to bring me the cute girl from Facts of Life that one year?)

For other teams, legitimate visions of BCS glory bubbling forth between now and Friday are erased before the leaves have fallen from the trees. Others will stumble in the midst of the yet-to-be determined "Showdown Saturday." A select few will be allowed to hold onto August's anticipation until fall's final games are played.

Yet still it will end. By a flat effort against an inferior opponent. A lucky bounce. A trick play. A missed call.

But not today.

Today we all sit on the right knee of the mall College Football Santa, reading off our wish list for 2007. And I'll be damned if he doesn't listen. And give "that smile" that makes you believe it's all going to come your way. Which is good enough. Because right now, this week, it doesn't get any better.

Okay, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, I always say. Have fun, Pete and all your friends, and the guy who wrote this article. May the season bring your teams lots of W's, no injuries to the first-string quarterback, and, heck, maybe even a visit from Lisa Welchel.

WFMW: $10 Keepsake

Use free online photo editors to make simple changes to pictures. Use your craft store's 40% off coupon to buy an inexpensive frame and voila! Instant, custom keepsake for under $10.

Today's Works for Me Wednesday tip is simple! I photographed the boys one hot summer day in just their matching jean shorts:

Then I cropped the photo, uploaded it to Kodak Gallery, and applied the black-and-white and "soft-glow" effects. Took about 30 seconds. Cost: About $2.50 for a 5x7; includes shipping. Then off to Michael's I flew with coupon in hand, where I chose a frame with a rustic feel for around $7 with discount. Here's the result:

The artistic quality may be a bit lacking, but it is a true illustration of Alex and Mickey right now. Mickey's the protective big brother who attempts to hold Alex's hand, but must settle for his wrist since Alex is so reluctant most of the time. Someday, I suppose, Alex will realize the security of big brother's hand...

Inexpensive, meaningful keepsakes Work for Me!

For more great tips, visit the home of WFMW here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"Way to go, Mickey!"

I wish I had a poignant story to tell about our first day of Mother's Day Out today, and have you laughing and crying and awwwww-ing. Truth is, I got nothin'. Totally uneventful.

The boys did fine on their first day back (we took the summer off). Alex's class takes a nap, which was my biggest worry. He's one of the youngest in the class and still likes his crib at home very much. I wasn't sure how he'd do if he were faced with a napmat and a blanket and a roomful of other very experienced napmat-sleepers. His teacher said he was the last to fall asleep (big surprise) but there were no tears and he did sleep an hour.

Mickey didn't have much to say about his new teacher or room. ("Yes, I ate my lunch. Tatum had orange juice.") He seemed happy to see me go and happy to see me pick him up. In my book, a successful first day for him. I expect the stories to flow freely once he gets a little more acclimated to his new teachers.

I did have to peek inside Mickey's room from last year: Ms. M. She was hunched over one of her students, showing concern as she always had to my son, and had to smile to myself a bit. She was getting a whole new group of "recruits," some of whom she'd have the honor of helping to potty train. I thought of Mayo in Officer and a Gentleman, as he was riding off on his motorcycle to get Debra Winger (and scoop her up in possibly the best movie ending in the world) and seeing Lou Gossett badger the latest crop of wanna-be's:

"...there's only two things that come out of Midtown, Bobby. Babies and little boys. Well, which one are you!?"

(But she wasn't barking at this child at all...I'm sure she was using some perfect phrase to make that child feel at ease.)

So I continued past her room and out of the building to begin my five hours of free time. In case you're interested, I spent it lunching with Pete, shopping, and joining a gym. Three things I've needed to do for a long time...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Even scarier than the jam-packed wave pool...

Oh, my. Is this what they mean by "fell through the cracks" in school?

Personal: To my mom on her 75th birthday

Happy Birthday to my mom, who is 75 today. She's an amazing woman, I guess a lot of people think that about their moms. But mine really is the definition. And she's not shy about her age...she's proud of it. If she weren't 75, she'd have fewer family members and fewer memories. And she cherishes all of them.

We celebrated over the weekend with a family reunion of sorts. Lots of fun and visiting and oh, my...the places my boys can find to wander in a hotel are endless. But we got home safely with both exhausted boys.

So mom, live it up today. Or take a nap like me...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Taking another break...

Taking a bit of a break from bloggin' over the next few days. See you on Monday! (or maybe it'll be Tuesday. Hoping for Wednesday.)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Shut. UP. I had a "favorite find"?

I posted earlier about my tip for consigning kids' items in the Just Between Friends sale. The franchise owners where I take my stuff (in Tulsa) have put up a blog and asked shoppers to send a note and pics about their favorite finds at the sale.

Yep. Guess whose diaper bag was in the first submission!

Just so you know what an honor this woman has unknowingly bestowed upon me, there are thousands and thousands of items sold at this sale. I submitted 98 of them. The chances that my diaper bag would turn up on this blog are almost as slim as winning the lottery (which is currently up to $300 mil. Methinks I need to run an errand to Quik Trip tomorrow).

Anyway, I will make about $4 on that "favorite find." Which may not seem like a lot, except when you consider it was given to me by a friend. Who I hope does not read my blog.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Things I fear

Updated: Budget Travel's blog gets updated a bazillion times a day, so the video I wanted you to see is somewhere not on the blog. I devoted an adequate amount of time searching for it (15 seconds) and came up empty-handed. Sorry.

To describe the scene, which isn't nearly as much fun as seeing the video, it was a jam-packed wave pool at a water park in Japan. So many people were in the pool as its artificial waves began that you could not even see the water. Looked almost like those horrible tsunami videos. Only these people weren't screaming for their lives and clinging to debris.

Going off a bridge in my car.

An airplane crash.

Suffocation of any kind.

And this. Scroll down to the video of the wave pool.

Thanks, Budget Travel. I most assuredly will not sleep tonight.

Got my Babeebrite!

The other day I posted about winning a Babeebrite light through a drawing on I got this little dude in the mail the other day and I've already used it several times to put Alex's diaper back together after he falls asleep. It's great! To him, I think it's like one of those gigantic search lights, but I found I could aim it in the appropriate place pretty easily so it didn't disturb him too much.

So thanks, once again, to 5MFM for my loot!

Note: someone suggested putting Alex's diaper on backward at night to keep him from getting hold of the tabs. We tried it. Let's just say I'm up for any other suggestions if you've got 'em...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

WFMW: Just Between Friends consignment

UPDATED: I should note here that when you consign with JBF, you get 65-70% of your selling price. I've checked a couple of kids' consignment stores in my city and they pay less than that.

Today's tip: check out the Just Between Friends event in your city to consign kids' clothes, toys, equipment, etc.

I've recently started selling my boys' outgrown clothes and baby equipment at my local Just Between Friends sale. It is so nice to let someone else do the selling! I don't have to store all their outgrown items for a garage sale I'll never have, and I make a little money. Donating to a worthy cause is nice, but so is the check I get from JBF.

Warning: the requirements for selling and tagging are intimidating at first. Your first sale will seem like a lot of work. However, I got the hang of it quickly, and learned the following along the way:

-- Read all the instructions for selling and tagging before you get started. I didn't my first time, and ended up doing a lot of rework on the tags. These guys are picky about their tagging requirements.

-- Designate a spot in your kids' closets for JBF items. Tag as you go. Use the new online method for barcoding your tags if it's available in your area. Then you can "watch" your items online. You'll be able to see what items sold and at what price.

-- Be discriminating about what you put in the sale. JBF is trying to maintain they have higher quality items than a garage sale and they'll reject things they don't think are up to par.

-- Pricing: I'm still learning how to price things effectively. The upcoming JBF sale in my area will be my first with barcoding so I'll be able to see what sells at full price (items are discounted as the sale ages).

-- Designate something specific to do with your profits. Putting it into the general household fund isn't nearly as fun as telling a very frugal hubby: look what we got with our JBF dollars!

Selling at Just Between Friends works for me! For more great tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"Hot" just doesn't do it justice

In my little city in Oklahoma, right this minute, at 2:48 Central Time, it is hotter than Death Valley. You know, the place in California the weather guys always reference when it comes to hot temperatures. Like International Falls, Minnesota in winter: no one ever goes there and no one you know lives there, but by golly everyone's interested in how cold it is there.

Now, you might have already gone to and checked the temps in Death Valley. If not, I'll save you the frowning face. Read on for an explanation:

Temp in My City, Oklahoma: 105
"Heat Index": 107

Temp in Death Valley, Californai: 109
"Heat Index": 103

So technically it feels hotter out on my front porch than in Death Valley. For some reason think I should write this on my calendar.

Oh, and the current temp in International Falls? 74. And the weather guys up there have never heard of "heat index."

Monday, August 13, 2007

PGA Recap (and no "Tiger" puns!)

Pete and I were lucky enough to attend the PGA Championship held this weekend in Tulsa. If you have been living under a rock for the past week or so, it was the final Major of the season and a big deal for Tiger Woods. He did not disappoint (also news to you rock-dwellers).

We got to go on Wednesday and Saturday, the former being autographs-and-pictures day. The latter, well, if you got caught even WISHING you had your camera, you'd have been whisked away in shackles.

Below are some shots I got before my camera started to melt. I took tons more, but suffice it to say most of them look like pictures of kelly green carpet.

The tent area for corporate types who are too wimpy to endure the 100+ temperatures. Not really tents, more like gigantic cocoons. Air conditioned. And since mostly men frequented these tents, it was about 55 degrees inside. Ahhhhhh...

Number 12 green, supposedly Southern Hills' signature hole.

Number 18 fairway. Has to be the most photographed hole on the course. Breathtaking.

Padraig Harrington during the practice session, teeing off at Number 8. See the guy hunched over on the far right? See Padraig's ball at the tip of the guy's foot? See Padraig's head still in the "down" position? I know zilch about a golf swing, but I think that's a good thing.

Padraig posing just for my shot. Or glancing up and I got lucky. Really. Really. Lucky.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

If you really want to meet your neighbors...

...request a power outage from your local power company.

Our lights went out at 7:45 p.m. this evening. By 8:00, we knew the names of six neighbors I've never laid eyes upon before in my life. The minute the cool came to a stop in our neighborhood, the floodgates opened and out poured the people into the streets...recluses and all. You could, ahem, recognize the folks that don't seem to get out much.

So what else to do but to take a walk around our comfort zone and see if anyone knew why the power went off in the first place. Everyone had a theory, but most of them pointed to some mysterious downed lines behind a house a few streets over from ours. ("Will those LIONS get us?" Mickey wanted to know. "They should take them back to the zoo...") Anyway, we had many estimates of a lights-on time thrown at us, from a few minutes to a few hours (!!!).

Luckily, by the time we finished our walk and called several friends to see if we could descend upon their (efficiently cooling) homes, the power was back on and all was right with the world once again.

And all the neighbors retreated back to the safety of their homes until the next outage when they're forced to socialize once again. Nice to meet ya!

Friday, August 10, 2007

I won a Babee!

Ahhhh, suddenly the cold damp of my Inbox is all warm and fuzzy again...I am a WINNER. Soon I will be the proud owner of the Babeebrite hands-free mobile light source, made especially with moms in mind. The drawing is complements of Five Minutes for Mom...which is worth a lot more surf-time than five minutes. These ladies rock.

Yes, I know I do not have a newborn requiring middle-of-the-night diaper changes, but I do have Alex: king of the late-night I'm-going-to-attempt-to-remove-my-diaper-even-while-wearing-pajama-pants. Somehow he manages to get in there and dismantle the whole thing, so every night after he falls asleep I sneak in, turn over his thirty-some-odd pounds, and put everything back together.

So thanks 5MFM. I will wear my Babeebrite with pride.

(And if you haven't checked out 5MFM...get over there now!)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Knock, knock. Who's there? Nobody...

Folks, the well has run dry once again. I didn't realize when I started this blog that I'd have to come up with stuff every day. I know, I know...there are no rules in bloggityville. I don't have to post daily if I don't want to. But the thing is, you might visit knock on my door and if I don't answer then you're gonna walk away and never come back. The horror!

I've got some irons in the fire, though, and they are keeping me hopping. I'll blog about them at a future date when the dust has settled in a few weeks.

I've also begun the countdown to when Alex and Mickey start Mother's Day Out. Then I'll have some quality time to blog. Or sleep. Or do my nails. Or nothing. I love my boys more than I ever imagined...and I love them having organized play time with other kids. Twice a week for five hours.

So don't stop knockin'; I may answer with some real content someday.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

'Cause you just never know...

Over at Ashwin’s blog, you will find one crazy blog owner!! You can win $2500!! To enter just copy this text and paste it in your blog!! But hurry, this competition will not last long! So get posting! The deadline is August 20.

Overheard: My 3-year-old jokester

We were packing up at the indoor playground and Mickey was getting his shoes on. One of his instant friends there approached him:

Little Boy: Are you leaving?

Mickey: No! I'm Mickey!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"Hey, brother...let's shake things up a little..."

Alex and Mickey had the napping thing down. Same time, every day. It's one reason I took on this blog: I knew I'd at least have some naptime to write, and not have to stay up late catching up.

Somehow, though, the two of them have conspired against me lately. Alex (the little one) has decided he likes his naps earlier in the day, and Mickey has decided he is going to try everything in the book to avoid one altogether.

So that's one of several reasons I've been a little scarce here lately. Bear with me as I try to resist the mutiny...

Thank you, five readers!

Now I know there are at least five people out there reading my blog...and my mom, who kindly wrote me an email to tell me so.

So, to the five of you: thank you for visiting. When I become rich and famous for blogging I will remember that it was you who were charter Home Team supporters...

Now you can sleep tonight.