Wednesday, March 31, 2010

WFMW - Not tweeting every detail of my life

Don't get me wrong; I like Twitter. I like reading what other people are up to and I like to put something out there myself on occasion. But after reading this article earlier in March, and learning about, I realized that I want to keep my tweets cautious. ( is no longer posting tweets that announce people leaving their homes, but now that the awareness is raised, it is raised for criminals and honest folk alike, so caution should still be exercised.)

So, I love to read what you all are up to and I hope you'll keep tweeting funny stuff and things worth pondering. But I also hope you'll be careful when tweeting from your phones that you are not home or that you are going out or on vacation.

Today I was reminded of the stress-relieving value of Twitter, though, when my very struggling-to-be-independent 4yo (C) decided to put pepper on every one's lunch and made it too spicy for anyone to eat. With only a couple slices of bread in the house, off we went to Aldi for bread for pb&j! Argh. That was just the beginning of C's antics for the day. Anyone want a 4yo? (Not really! Well, maybe. I'm hoping and praying that tomorrow will be a better day for both of us!) I didn't tweet it, but did consider it. It goes back to that old saying about shouting it from the mountain tops. With Twitter, save your voice.

Being careful what I tweet works for me. Please be careful what you tweet.

To read what works for many others, hop on over to WeAreTHATFamily.

If you'd like to follow my rare tweets on Twitter, you'll have to request being a follower.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Cowboy Named Buck

I received this in my inbox a few days ago and just had to forward it to a few key friends and family members. Now, after the signing of the new health care bill (like I need another bill! because it will cost most of us more, in some way), I decided to share it with all of you. Your welcome!

A cowboy named Buck was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in California when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, Will you give me a calf?"

Buck looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, Why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the
area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg , Germany.

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer, turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says Buck. He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then Buck says to the young man, "If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"

"You're a Congressman for the U.S. Government," says Buck.

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required." answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about how working people make a living - or about cows, for that matter.

This is a herd of sheep. .....

Now give me back my dog.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Self-checkout - Works For Me Wednesday

When I take my kids to the grocery store, we use the self-checkout. Why would I choose to check out and bag (sack, for you southern folk) our own groceries when I'm paying someone else to do it through the built-in cost of the groceries? Because it simplifies the checkout process. Really, it does. I have 3 young kids and there are tons of attractive magazines, gobs of candy and gumball machines, lottery ticket machines, coin counting machines, and front doors that go directly in to the parking lot right there by the check-out lanes. While I am unloading the cart, making sure everything rings up properly, paying for the groceries, and then re-loading the cart with bags, my kids have tons of distractions. And so do I - making sure they aren't adding things to the cart, running out the door, disappearing, or just begging for all the temptations. It's hard.

So, with the self-check out system, I can give all my kids a job. They can form a line and take turns ringing up and bagging or they can form an assembly like and one takes out the cart, one rings up, and one bags. Everyone is occupied. Everyone is happy. Everyone is busy. Plus they are contributing to a happy trip to the grocery store. As long as I can get them to not lean on the scale where we do the bagging, that is.

So, yes, even if my cart is overflowing with groceries, we do the self-checkout. In fact, especially if it's overflowing. It works for us.

If you have never used one of these before, I encourage you to read this hilarious, yet accurate, tutorial from Dawn.

Want to read about what works for others, visit Kristen at WeAreTHATFamily.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Can you imagine?

So, at yesterday's softball practice, when I walked over to the playground to check on B and C, I saw a person sitting on the bench reading. The person was wearing a blue shirt and blue jeans. Their face was out of sight because the just-past-shoulder-length hair was covering it while they were down looking at the book. But that hair looked so familiar I just knew it was a lady I've known for 10 years.

I scanned the ball field for her daughter wondering if she was on our team.
I didn't see her.
I scanned the playground for any of her 3 kids, but still didn't see any of them.

I was beginning to wonder what she was doing at the park, sitting on a bench reading a book, without any of her kids. I mean, surely there are more peaceful places to read a book when one doesn't have their children with them, right? Well, I was going to say "hi" anyway. Just as I got closer and was ready to greet her, this person raised their head up, swung their hair around a few times to get it back away from the face, and I saw it.

A mustache.

No mistaken, an honest to goodness real. manly. mustache. and a 5 o'clock shadow.

This was not my friend, I might add. Oops. I am so glad I didn't walk right up and say hi using my friend's name! Can you imagine?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sister love

B has issues. Issues with sensitivity - emotionally and physically. She's coming along nicely in learning how to express herself in a healthy manner and today I was reminded that we just aren't there yet.

After A's softball practice, the kids were all playing on the playground. A accidentally stepped on B's hand. with. cleats. ouch. B was mad. Probably hurt, too. But mostly mad. Instantly hearing her screams, I came running across the park from the ball field and intervened. In a situation like this, the only thing that will calm B is usually holding her in a bear hug until she settles down. That's not an easy task. She fights hard. So I held her as she's yelling at her sister, "Come closer so I can hit you!" I tried to talk her through some of the techniques she is learning for exactly this purpose. Yeah, she wasn't having any of it today. She did manage one strong swing at her sister, right in the chest. The fit didn't end so it was time to go.

After gathering equipment and sisters, I was headed to the van. B was still throwing a fit and refused to come along. Sometimes this backfires on me, but I still try it, so I said "OK, I hope you're still here next week when we come back for practice again." As we kept walking, C brought her hands up to her face and sadly said, "I will miss her so much!" Isn't that sweet?

(I did explain to C that B would follow along; I wouldn't really leave her there. And for those who may be wondering about the hitting and the fit, yes there were consequences. We just don't discuss those sorts of things here. There are too many methods of parenting and discipline for everyone to approve of everyone else's methods. We discipline in a Godly and loving manner. The point being that it was addressed and does not need to be discussed in a public forum.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dryer Safety - Works for Me Wednesday

This week, I am participating in Works For Me Wednesday (WFMW). Normally it is hosted by Kristen at WeAreTHATFamily, but she is in Kenya this week, blogging for Compassion. Which is truly amazing and inspiring and gut wrenching. Go take a look at what she’s been up to in Kenya. But back to Works For Me Wednesday – hosted by RocksInMyDryer this week.

Dryer Safety works for me. Since we just had a small dryer fire and are so very thankful that it remained small and contained in the dryer, I have realized by talking with friends that so many people are taking a very big risk with the way they are using their dryer. After all, we are all busy in our lives and we like to multi-task and get things done more efficiently without realizing we are compromising safety. Please read this and be sure to tell your family and friends. Fires claim lives every day and most are easily prevented. Although there are many, many fire hazards around most homes, I am only posting today about DRYER FIRES. The first four are risks that we were taking that I hadn’t realized. The rest are just additional helpful tips that I want to share because I love you all!

And what better time to go over all of this than now? With this weekend being when we set the clocks forward, please take the time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and test the detectors. If you are on a tight budget like me, perfectly good and reliable batteries are $1 at most dollar stores.
  1. Only run the dryer when you are awake. A lint or motor fire would likely grow beyond the containment of the dryer before your smoke detector(s) would wake you. Smoke is thick and dangerous. This is not campfire smoke we are talking about. It does not smell good. It is rancid and full of chemicals from everything that is burning. It burns your throat and lungs and you can die just from smoke inhalation. If you are sleeping, you are awake when a fire starts, you may even smell the smoke when the fire is still inside the dryer and be able to turn off the power to the dryer and evacuate the house without harm.

  2. Only run the dryer when you are home. If it were to have either a lint or motor fire, the fire would grow beyond the dryer before anyone outside would know and call the fire department. Your pets would die and your home would be ruined.

  3. Be sure to have a working smoke detector in the utility room or where ever your dryer is located. Because smoke rises, this will be the first smoke detector to be activated. If your dryer is in the basement, put a detector down there and also at the top of the stairs. Be sure to test these by having someone down there test it while you are in your bedroom. Will you hear these during the night? If not, add more along the various routes to your bedrooms. This is one of the few times when less is NOT more. More (smoke detectors) is better!

  4. If you suspect the dryer is on fire, do NOT open the door to shut it off. Unplug it or turn the knob to turn it off; opening the door can feed the fire with the increase of fresh air. Obviously if you see flames, don’t do any of this – just grab your kids and get out!

  5. Clean your lint filter every time you either load or unload the dryer. If you have helpers with your laundry, train them to empty the lint filter, too. Lint fires are even more common than motor fires. If the lint filter isn’t clean, then new lint doesn’t have anywhere to go and will build up in places that get hot. It doesn’t take fire to start fire, it takes heat to start fire.

  6. Check your dryer’s exhaust pipe. Where does it vent? Outside? You want your dryer vest to be as close to the outside wall as possible. You also want that exhaust tubing to be as flexible and as short as possible. The longer it is and position of corners rather than curves will provide more places for lint to collect. Keep these to a minimum. Vacuum from the outside to clear it out at least once a year. If you can’t clean it out thoroughly, then change that tubing once a year.

  7. If you can afford professional vent cleaning ($35-$100 depending on where you live.) If you cannot easily clean your exhaust/vent part of your dryer’s lint system, then hire a professional. They will vacuum it out and may even replace that exhaust tubing.

  8. Do not overfill your dryer. If your dryer is too full it will not dry efficiently and will put more wear and tear on the motor to completely dry your laundry.
If you find that your dryer is taking 2 or more cycles to completely dry your laundry, then you may want to have it serviced. It could just be that your setting is low, but it could be that the motor is wearing down. I usually dry all but towels, socks, and underwear on a low heat setting to avoid shrinkage, so I do usually put the load through 2 times for complete drying. However, I know that is normal for how I use my dryer. When I dry on high heat or on auto dry, I know that typical behavior for my dryer is 1 cycle for complete drying. If you notice that it is taking longer than usual, then have it looked into and be prepared to replace that dryer before a fire. Don’t wait for a reason to replace it, like I typically do.

And, finally, if you smell something burning but do not have smoke accumulation, then investigate quickly! If you have major appliances running, be sure to check those. If you see flames or have smoke accumulating, grab your kids and get out! Let the well-trained staff at the fire department handle the rest.

Being safe works for me. To see what works for others, be sure to check out RocksInMyDryer this week and then we're back to WeAreTHATFamily next week.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Things this Thursday

Once again, I am participating in Homeschool-dad’s Things this Thursday. Be sure to head on over there and see what he’s been up to.

Here are my Things this Thursday:

  1. Our new dryer was delivered bright and early Monday morning. Yeah! Woo-hoo! Mini-celebration! Oh, ahem, sorry. I'll stop my happy dance now. You're welcome. I am just about caught up on laundry and can tackle some other task for a few days before I have to start all over again.

  2. Due to all the excitement we’ve had lately in our house, I hadn’t mentioned that no, I didn’t feel the earthquake in Illinois a few weeks ago (although many people I know, including my dad, did), but I do feel like there is not enough time in the day. Really? The earthquake this week near Chile made the days shorter?

  3. I’m still loving this card!

  4. Is 40 degrees really warm enough for shorts if there are still several inches of snow on the ground? I mean, come on, that snow is cold. Someone really should tell the 9-10 year old boys down the street to wait another month. (I shivered just watching them!)

  5. I realized this week that we are getting closer to getting through our curriculum this year and only have 2-1/2 months left of “structured” schooling. Two more weeks in the six weeks more of winter that the groundhog left us and yesterday and today are SUNNY! Look out summer, we are getting ready for you! (But not pulling out the shorts just yet.)

  6. Child C (4) recently started spelling her last name and has finally gotten all 10 numbers of her phone number memorized. She’s still working on her address. My kids still have no idea that they have to dial a 1 before every phone number in the US from where we live. We’ll get to that eventually, I guess.

  7. Is there anything sweeter in life than having a precious 4-year old on your lap singing the ABCs with her nice, warm head against your cheek? That’s what I’m enjoying right now!

What have you been up to this week?