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Sunday, November 30

Did I Mention that I HATE Blinds? Oh, Yeah, Contest Too!

So today, I unplug the kids from the TV cause, even though we primarily watch educational programs like on PBS and Noggin, enough is enough.  Not always on the education, but mostly.  Mine probably - I know they do - get too much TV time and maybe - I know we do - we need to remain more unplugged.

Anyway, so today...we color, play alphabet / color / shape games, build a few castles, play kitchen, etc...

We eat lunch, clean up, start dish washer, a load of laundry and I decide to take a moment to check emails, catch up on some blog reading, etc...  Before long, all three of them are running through the house like a pack of wild animals.  I go to investigate and I find this...

What is the allure of thrashing blinds?

This is the best I could do to fix them.  Your bedroom, you'll have to live with it for now.

Blinds and kids just don't mix - doesn't matter how old they are.  I have step-tweens and this site is normal for them too.

Unplug the TV?  Mostly, until I can get re-acquainted with my creative side and keep 'em busy and out of trouble.  So until then, I'm so excited to hear about Heather over at 
Home Ec 101 giving away a copy of Lizzie Swan'saward winning group Swingset Mamas Swing, Dance and Sing!  It'll be a nice change of pace from the usual.

Besides, who doesn't love a contest to get free stuff?  Head on over, many ways to enter.  Must enter by 8 pm EST tonight, so don't delay!

Good luck!

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Wednesday, November 26

100 Blogs that Will Inspire You to be a Better Person

Hmmm...  This is why I love being part of the blogging community, even though I am really just a bystander in contrast to the popular names out there.  If you come across my blog, it was by accident, from a carnival that I'm participating in or are part of my friends 'n family circle and just want to know what's up with the babies.  I appreciate all visitors that stop by, even if just passing through.


"Everyone needs a little help sometimes in getting motivated, feeling happy or just getting those creative juices flowing. Luckily, the Internet is full of places to find inspiration. These blogs can help you get moving towards your goals, whether you want to give back more to the community, feel better about yourself, or just get in shape."

A few of the blogs that I follow are listed, I guess I need some inspiration.  Who doesn't?  :)  Stop by and check 'em out.  You'll be glad you did!

You can find them HERE.  Enjoy!

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Tuesday, November 25

Support Your Library

The 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge is being hosted over at J. Kaye's Book Blog and I'm so excited to join in!  Since I tend to over commit myself I am going to stick with twenty-five this time around.  And since we can include all books, I'll be including the ones I read with the babies.  We'll see how many we actually get to since we just signed up for our library card in September after a 10 year hiatus!  I thought it would be a good time to get my three little ones interested in going to the library.  We've been going almost every week since, so this challenge will be fun to keep track of what we've been reading.


Click on over for the complete run down of the guidelines.  And check back often for new books added to the list.
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Happy Reading!

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What's on my Nightstand - November

It's that time again!  5 Minutes for Books is hosting the monthly What's on Your Nightstand Carnival. Click on over and see what everyone else is reading or better yet, link up yourself and share with us what you are reading.


Here is my short list of books that I am enjoying this month.

Inkheart (Cornelia Funke).  Have you ever wondered what would happen if the words you read aloud from a book, came out of the book?  This story has been fascinating and keeps you wanting to read more.

The Geography of Bliss (Eric Weiner) The self-help seeker in me wanted to know where "One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World" led him.  The author travels with world in search of what makes people happy.  Each place that he visits in his quest is interesting and since I am not a world traveller, I still find myself immersed as if I am there.  I can't wait to finish as the last chapters are closer to home.

Conquest of Mind (Eknath Easwaran) This book is one that I've had on my nightstand since September.  I had abandoned it somewhere in October and am taking another stab at it.  It's not an easy read, at least not for me, there is much to be processed.  With that being said, however, this has proven to be a great little book.  I've been seeking a book that can walk me through meditation and help me understand why the negative broken record from my childhood won't just break and let me move on.  Have you tried meditating and you find that your life just won't quiet down enough for you to "get there"?  Conquest of Mind speaks to you in practical terms and can help you overcome those distractions.

Happy Reading!

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Monday, November 24

Menu Plan Monday...Late







I'm so late with this week's menu that I thought about not posting, but then I realized that if I didn't I may completely fall off the wagon!  So here goes...

Monday - Leftovers from last week
Tuesday - Butt Roast
Wednesday - Beef Stroganoff
Thursday - Turkey Day  (I'm in charge of desserts... Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie)
Friday - Leftovers

As I was preparing the Parmesan Pork Chops for the first time last week, I was getting concerned.  Not a real lover of Parmesan, I was getting nauseous from the smell of the cooking Parmesan and finished cooking the last three with just salt, pepper and seasoning just to be safe.  Much to my surprise, however, the Parmesan Chops were awesome!  It's a recipe that will be added to our family recipes.  Even my picky eater devoured 'em!!  Can't argue with that.

I'm not sure about your, but I've been finding that we haven't been able to complete a menu.  Each week something comes up or someone else decides to cook and then chooses something else to cook or whatever.  How do you and your family stick with your menu?  Thank you for sharing!

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Wednesday, November 19

Wordless Wednesday

Proudly participating in Wordless Wednesday here and here.  Join the fun!

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Tuesday, November 18

Breathe Easier

Sam,

As you know for quite some time, you've had an advocate (maybe more) trying to get you to quit smoking.  But to no avail, Nicotine has it's claws in you deep.  So deep that you don't see the affects that the Second Hand smoke, given off from the cigarettes that you smoke, is affecting those around you.  What's more devastating that you don't *really* know or see what it's doing to you First Hand.  On the outside your tough composure tells me that, "you gotta die from something..." and then blow me off by lighting up.  You've been telling yourself that for so long that you actually believe it.

I'm not a doctor, but what I can do as a daughter, sister, niece, wife, mother and friend is give you information and support to help you finally kick this habit to the curb.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and November 20th is the Great American Smoke Out Challenge.  I challenge you to take the challenge.

Just within the 24 hours of the challenge, here are some of the benefits your body will be experiencing while you are taking control back from your abuser - Nicotine.  You can click here for a more extensive list from the American Lung Association.

Just 20 Minutes after quiting:
     Blood pressure decreases
     Pulse rate drops
     Body temperature of hands and feet increases

8 Hours after quiting:
     Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal
     Oxygen level in blood increases to normal

24 Hours after quiting:
     Chance of a heart attack decreases

You CAN do this!  You are a fighter, always have been.  Fight this now while you are ahead, because when it comes time to fight Lung Cancer or Emphysema or CODP or any other nasty disease this abuser will unleash on you...  Quiting smoking, as hellish as it may be at times, will be like a walk in the park compared to the hell you will go through if you don't.

The CDC has a great list of resources available for you.  You can find it here.  And click here to visit the American Lung Association's free online smoking cessation program!

I'll be in touch on Thursday.  I hope you accept the challenge.

Take care,
Shanna

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Kids' Picks

It's Kids' Picks Day over at 5 Minutes for Books and can't believe that another month has gone by!  There is always an open invite to join in or follow along.  Either way it's a great way to see what other parents are reading to or with their children and what they have to say about the books and stories being read.  If you don't have children, but love to read... Click here to view the other book review themes that you can participate in or just follow along.  Avid readers must stop by.  :)


Thank you to Callista over at SMS Book Reviews for her suggestions to have a bit easier time with the children at the library.  I finally got hooked up with our library's online system and now I can easily place a hold on books that I want and get an email when they are ready to pick up.  Yeah!!

As for the books that our three thoroughly enjoyed over the past month, in no particular order...

This is a fun story, not about jumping on the bed, but rather baking a birthday cake for their mom.  How sweet!  From slipping on the oil and sneezing at the flour incident, my children squealed with glee when one or two of the monkeys would say, "Shhh, don't wake up mama".  Much to the little monkey's disappointment to find that mama's birthday isn't until tomorrow, the cake was still a success...  even after the firetrucks arrived!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin and illustrated by Eric Carle
My kids loved it, yes.  We even enjoyed it at the doctor's office while waiting for the appointment and Miss Isabelle recited the whole thing.  No, she can't read, yet, but some people in the waiting room were giving us some peculiar looks.  I just smiled.  What else could I do?

Tip the Mouse Can't Sleep by Carol Ottolenghi and illustrated by Marco Campanella
A cute story that goes through the motions of some typical bedtime routines and the same one that we try to stick with.  So if ever a "step" is skipped the book reminds us to remember tomorrow.

These are the few that I know they loved and there are others...  I have to learn to write down the title and a quick review before I take them back to the library.  :)

What books are your children into right now?  If you blog about it, make sure you link up here, let me know in comments and I'll be sure to stop by!

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Monday, November 17

Menu Plan Monday

Well, I've perused through the whole Tightwad Gazette - all 927 pages (not including the index) and as stated in my first Menu Plan post last week, not sure if I could stick with the planned menu all week.  We didn't.


We didn't get to the Venison (much to Frugal Finds' delight I'm sure ;)  )and the side dishes were hit or miss, but all in all, a very good experience.  Something I've never done, cause I loathe leftovers, is planned future meals with leftovers.  I usually prepare just enough for our meal that day just so I wouldn't have leftovers.  What a waste!  Now, I think I'll be planning to make extra just to have leftovers for future meals.  What a concept!  Yeah, I know...  Well Duh!!

Now with my experience with last week's Menu Plan...  I've frozen all of the left over chili and meatloaf.  Both of which will be used in upcoming Menus...and I'm excited about it!

I hope you enjoyed my side tour.  Here is our menu for this week.

Monday - Wagon Wheel Supper (using last weeks leftover meatloaf)
Wednesday - Beef Stroganoff
Thursday - Forgotten Chicken
Friday - Spaghetti

It's Toffee Bars to the sweet tooth rescue this week.

If you'd like to see more menu ideas, click on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie and see what it's all about!

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Wednesday, November 12

Wordless Wednesday

Looking out at the Atlantic Ocean on Jekyll Island.

This post proudly participates in Wordless Wednesday memes over at 5 Minutes for Mom and Wordless Wednesday.

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Tuesday, November 11

Childrens' Classics

The SECOND Tuesday of each month is Children's Classics over at 5 Minutes for Books.  In this carnival, I have the opportunity to share my thoughts on a favorite children's classic that me and the babies (yes, I still call them babies, even though they are 3, 2 and 2) read during the month. We are given a suggested topic for each month.


This month we were to select a Caldecott Medal Winner.  I've chosen the 2006 Caldecott Medal winner, The Hello, Goodbye Window illustrated by Chris Raschka and written by  Norton Juster.

My three were indifferent to this book.  They liked it enough not to cry and say, "No mommie", but they didn't like it so much as to get all excited and squealing as they do with Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See?  Which tells me that this book was just too old for them and they couldn't relate to what it was about.

This is a wonderful book and would be better enjoyed by school age children between 1st and 3rd grade.

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Monday, November 10

Menu Plan Monday

Oh my gosh!  I almost missed it again!  This my first post to Menu Planning Monday.  I've been a follower for sometime, but never thought:


a) I could do a menu for the week.  I'm a "it's 4 o'clock, what should we have for dinner?" and then whip up something from what we have on hand.  It can be stressful at times, but we are pretty boring when it comes to meals, cause my kids are so picky!

b) If I do manage to put together a menu, not sure if I can stick to it.

I've also been reading blogs and web links about Menu Planning vs. The Pantry Principle.  A blogger talked about this very concept and mentioned a book (that used to be a newsletter) called The Tightwad Gazette.  I have since purchased the book and love it.  So, with that, I'm trying Menu Planning with The Pantry Principle and see where it gets me.  Pretty much what I've done in the past, except now I'll know days before the dreaded "it's 4 o'clock, what should we have for dinner?".  Yeah!

So one with it...  Oh, and if my menu doesn't fit your fancy, go visit Laura over at I'm an Organizing Junkie and browse through literally hundreds of menu ideas.

Monday - Chili
Tuesday - Left over Pork Roast w/Sauerkraut, Mash Potatoes and a Veggie
Wednesday - Meatloaf w/Mac 'n Cheese and Broccoli
Thursday - Roasted Chicken w/Parsley Potatoes and Broccoli
Friday - Venison w/Caramelized Onions and still working on the rest

If you believe that I may be referencing your blog while mentioning The Pantry Principle and The Tightwad Gazette, please send me your link.  I'll take a look at your blog and make the appropriate updates to my links above.  I have a pretty good visual memory and I want to make sure to give credit where credit is due.

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It's Not Just Me

Over this past week, I've been trying to become an earlier riser.  I've known for myself that when I do get up earlier (very rare) I feel better about the day, throughout the day and it is more productive because of it.  Leo at Zen Habits and Steve Pavlina have both inspired me to make it happen, but it's not happening.  Both Zen Habit and Steve Pavlina are worth a stop over.


Excuse #1 - I've never been an early riser.
Excuse #2 - I have three toddlers that I haven't been able to get on their own  bedtime routing.  It works for a while, then I don't know what happens.
Excuse #3 - I like being a night owl.  There are less distractions and most of my ideas for work or family come to me at night.  I can be lying in bed and something will come to me and I'll end up getting up and be on a roll for hours.  I've tried having a notepad and pen at my bedside to write things down as they come to me before I fall asleep, but that just ends up with me writing tons a stuff down when I could be working on it the first time around.

Alarm clock?  Doesn't work.  I either sleep through it or just keep hitting snooze - even if it is on the other side of the room.

Am I lazy?  No!
Priorities out of wack?  Probably.
Deep rooted issues?  Yep.

So, what do I do?

Well, this week, I am going to be more purposeful about my day.  Plan things to be done early in the morning.  Commit myself to others - that's what worked while in Basic and Skills Training (Boot Camp) for the National Guard.  I was easy to get up early.  It was either that or get tormented by the Drill SGT.

We'll see.

This morning we were up at 6:30 am, but only because my son was up and he wanted breakfast.

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Friday, November 7

Poppell Farms

Last weekend, we went to Poppell Farms in Odum, GA to visit a pumpkin patch, pet farm animals, rope some steer and just have fun.  Here are some of the best photos for us to share.  Enjoy!


Welcome!
They each got measured by the Giant Carrot.

Tyson was loving the big tractor.

Isabelle wanted to load all of the little duckies before pumping the
 water to wash them down.

They got to ride with their own cows.  Isabelle was with Bessie, Tyson was with Petunia and Emma was with Lady.  I was worried at first that one of them might freak out cause it was a riding
 lawnmower that pulled the little cow train along, but they did great.

Out at the Pumpkin Patch.

Isabelle and Emma took turns riding the steer instead of trying to rope 'em.

Tyson on the other hand was doing a better job at ropin' than the lady in pink next to him. {:)

We had a great day and look forward to going again next year!

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All or Nothing

Did I mention that I am an "All or Nothing" kinda girl?  Not very productive, I know.


Yesterday morning, I didn't get up til 8:00.  If I stay in bed, so will my kids.  If I get up, so do they.  Today, I got up at 7:00 (YEA!), but so did my son.  Still, it does feel good to be up earlier.

Day 3 and Day 4

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Wednesday, November 5

Wordless Wednesday

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Now that Brings back a Memory!

Well as many moms, dads, caregivers know, that any time you plan something, your children manage to help you get creative.

Last night, my youngest decided that she wanted big girl panties.  (She is the last to be pottie trained.)  She took off her diaper, grabbed a pair of panties out of the drawer and started running through the house...  naked.  It was quite funny.

Now the best part would be even better if my digital wasn't charging because once I caught up to her and put on her panties, she wanted them to cover her lower tummy like her diaper did and pulled them up so far that all I could see was Urkel!  I was in tears cause it was so funny and also that I couldn't get my digital to snap a photo.

Now, when my children tell me they want panties, I run with it, even if that means it's bed time and there is a chance that they may wet the bed.  So, instead of going to bed to work on my Morning Person Experiment, I stay up until about 2:30 am.  I do this so I am up and can wake them to go pottie.  I worked beautifully with Emma and Tyson, so why wouldn't I with Isabelle?  Well, when I woke her and took her to go pottie.  She didn't.

We all got up this morning around 7:30, so I guess all in all, I am getting up a bit earlier, but so are they.  The whole point of my getting up earlier is so I can have some extra time to myself to plan out my day so it can be more productive for everyone.

There is always tomorrow.  :)

Day 2

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