Sunday, November 29, 2009


Well, one of the questions I've heard the most is about organization. How do I find the time? As most of you know I am a mom of 2, I homeschool both, I'm a personal trainer, I teach kickboxing, I write articles, I teach Sign Language, make blankets for the Linus Project, and I run several online support groups (over 7500 members world-wide now!! Whoot!)...on top of normal cooking and cleaning... so I'm often asked how I fit it all in. I'm a total type A personality so I'm naturally a bit anal about organization. But I believe I developed some good tips & tricks while I was an engineer. So, to help out my non-type A friends, I'm developing a website dedicated to becoming a true Domestic Goddess - with tricks on organization, cleaning, cooking, shopping, scheduling, living within a budget, and not forgetting to dedicate some time each day on MOM! You'll be able to check it out at

M.A.D.G.E. stands for - Me? A Domestic Goddess? Eeck! (lol)

Let me know if there's anything you'd like to see me add. I'm calling in favors from all my super organized friends so it won't just be my advice!

Yule-Tide Greetings!

Ahh the Yule-Tide season. The time of family, friends and giving. We put up our Yule tree today (after 3 days of rearranging our Here's hoping everyone has a safe, happy and Healthy Yule-Tide!
(sorry for the stupid special effects on the pic, but DH had control of the

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I had a conversation today with a woman at the Wellness center where I teach Sign Language. She stated she always gave her kids food whenever they asked for it. So that her family were more grazers then sit down eaters. As a nutritionist, I have to say I partly agree with this sentiment.

HOWEVER, many in our society are boredom eaters, and I can often see it peaking out in my children. We have our main meals and our snacks scheduled. Breakfast at 7am, snack at 10, lunch at 1, snack at 4, dinner at 7. Eating every 3 hours is optimal to organ development and keeping blood sugar level, according to research. So, I don't always respond to "Mom, can I have a snack?" I'm also of the mindset that leaving something on your plate is better than licking it clean. I can't tell you the amount of times I heard about those starving kids in China when I was growing up - and I never could figure out how my being stuffed to the gills would aid them in any I see my hubby sometimes falling into this pattern as well, reprimanding the kids for not finishing all their dinner. I always say, that's fine but you get nothing else. This keeps the kids from not eating just because they prefer something else, and yet doesn't get in the way of the bodies signals that they are actually full.

That being said, kids often go through growth spurts that require many more calories. If I notice 2 days in a row of the kids asking for more, sometimes immediately upon swallowing the last bite, then of course they can have more - be it meal or snack. Of course I don't allow sugary or many processed snacks so it's ok to have more apples or

Much of the obesity in America is due to 3 things: 1) serving sizes are obscene in America today, and the whole cleaning the plate syndrome. 2) the amount of easily accessible processed foods, which slows metabolism and increases fat. 3) training our minds to forget it's cues. Many people no longer recognize hunger, thirst, nor fullness. They don't 'feel' hungry until they are starved, they don't understand the body is asking for water and often reach for a snack, and many people don't recognize their full until their stomach is stretched to bursting.

What a Wild Ride

Boy parenting is such a wild ride! It's amazing to me to look at these 2 young men I'm raising, and see their personalities emerge. How much is nurture versus nature? I always wonder. I mean they are raised in exactly the same environment, and yet they are such complete opposites. I'm so proud of who they are becoming. A part of me can't wait until they are grown men and I can watch them change the world, and yet a part of me mourns the loss of the bright eyed innocence of those chubby infants I held. Can't I have both?

Morning Blahs

Am I a bad mom for not being a morning person?

I think a part of the job requirement for being a mother is worrying about the dumbest things (and the important things too). I can't tell you how many thousands of women I've heard doubt themselves. Even as I always sigh and give a shoulder to lean on, I know I too am guilty of self-doubt.

I have a strong voice, and have no problem with raising it to curb bad behavior. I know I probably scare everyone in a ten mile radius (just joking), but I know my kids ignore me if I try to keep my voice level. I don't like spanking - reserving the corporal punishment for when one child puts another (or themselves) in physical danger. I know there are some days it seems I'm spending every other moment with my voice raised. I hate it too. I know that if my kids are acting out (fighting with each other, sneaking tv time in their room, etc) then I'm not keeping them stimulated enough...but as much as I blame myself for some of their behavior, I won't punish myself because they're choosing to break the rules...if that makes sense.

I had a tragic and horrible childhood. My dad is my rock, he became a single father of 4 kids when my brothers and I asked my mother to leave and never come back. I have very few good memories of my mother. I know she couldn't always control her actions (she is a very low functioning Bipolar). But that doesn't sooth the many hurts. But as I raise my voice in reprimand, I worry about what my children will remember of me someday. Will they only remember the loud voice? The boot camp exercises for repeated bad behavior? Will they remember the cuddles and the love? My mother insists there were many many times of happy existence, but I have none of those memories. My brothers and I are all missing large chunks of our memory and for a while we would meet to sit and try to fill in the blanks for each other. Then my younger brother and I decided to leave the past in the past. It's enough for me to know I have my dad and my brothers.

As I stated starting out, I'm not a morning person...and yet my children took after my hubby and are up at the crack of dawn raring to go. I just know that it would be perfect for them to get in some school work during that time, but there is no way. Even before they were born, when I was an engineer, I couldn't get up before 8 and wasn't really functional before 10. When my kids were just a bit younger they would try to sneak as much as possible before 8 am, as they know I wouldn't even remember yelling at them.

It's so strange. I can stay up all night fine. I have no problem at 2 am. But between 4 am and 8am I'm in a strange fugue. You can try to wake me, I'll talk to you, but I'm not really coherent. Weird. So I sometimes wonder what the kids are missing by having a night owl mom. This morning I'm early. Preparing to teach Sign Language at our local Health & Wellness center. The kids are listening to books on tape.

If I could write a letter to the adult men my boys become, I would want to say the following:

Every moment of every day I have loved you. I'm sure I've made mistakes - it's how we learn and evolve in this existence- but even when making errors my love for you consumed me. You have amazed me from the moment you came into this world. Brothers together from the start - and yet so inherently different. DJ with his sensitive soul. I look at how open and loving he is, and am jealous that I've been guarded since I was younger than him. Xman is so strong. So funny. I see myself stamped on every inch of his personality. Live life to the fullest my beautiful boys. Don't be afraid to love - even if it doesn't work out your soul will be the better for having tried.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ahhh We're Baaaaack!

Independance Hall (where the Constitution was signed)
Liberty Bell

We're now back on track after our vacation. The kids and I had a fantastic time. We first visited my BFF in Ohio (yup that's a 10 hour dive from my house to hers!), where we stayed for 4 days. Then we drove to Philadelphia for an afternoon of visiting the Liberty Bell and Independance Hall. The kids had a good time, and it was nice to get out of the car for a bit - but the drive is 1000 times worse having to drive up through NJ and NY.

So this week we're focusing on finishing our Liberty Lapbook - which covers Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell as well as touches on Thanksgiving. Fun Stuff!

DJ & The Liberty Bell

DJ & X-man looking on to the bell (Xman was nervous of the park ranger tour guide so refused to get his pic taken with the bell itself.)

Abraham Lincoln Stood Here!!! This was a great segway into learning about Thanksgiving, as it was shortly after Getteysburg that Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday - to help bring the country back together.

Playing on the grass at Independance Hall Visitors Center.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's an Emergency

A part of our anatomy & physiology lesson plan I decided to do a section on first aid, CPR and emergency preparation. I made a list of everything I could think of to put in a home emergency kit, a car emergency kit and a first aid kit...especially with winter coming on, and a 10 hour drive ahead of the kids and I next week I thought it important for the kids to have a clear understanding.

First Aid Kit:
  • medical tape
  • butterfly tape
  • scizzors
  • 4" guaze sterile pads
  • 3" guaze roll
  • Elastic bandages
  • cotton swabs & balls
  • towels
  • tweezers
  • eye patch
  • arm sling
  • popsicle sticks (tongue depressor or small splint)
  • 12" Rulers (good for splinting)
  • breakable ice packs
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • rubbing alcohol
  • bandaids
  • pain reliever
  • ipecac syrup
  • Skin creams: hydrocortozone cream / calamine lotion / antibiotic cream
  • Rehydration Fluids
  • Eye Wash

Home Emergency Kits:

  • 3 Gallons of Water & water treatment tabs
  • 3 day supply of non-parishable foods
  • Battery powered radio
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • First aid kit
  • dust masks
  • moist towelettes
  • garbage bags & ties
  • mini-tool kit & mini axe
  • can opener
  • 3 day supply of medicines
  • pet food
  • sleeping bags
  • copies of important documents
  • cash & change
  • extra socks, blankets
  • hats, mittens, jackets
  • chlorine bleach
  • fire extinguisher
  • water proof matches
  • candles
  • personal hygiene items
  • mess kids (plates, bowls, silverware, napkins)
  • paper & pencil
  • books, games, puzzles for the kids

Car Emergency Kits:

  • jumper cables
  • large fleece blanket
  • hats & mittens
  • large flashlight
  • batteries
  • 2 x 20 recovery tarp
  • folding shovel
  • canned goods or meal bars
  • bags of sand
  • bright cloth
  • candles & waterproof matches
  • metal coffee can (good for melting snow)
  • pocket knife
  • mini-tool kit
  • rope/tow chain
  • ice scrapper
  • flares
  • whistle
  • maps
  • phone charger
  • emergency water packets
  • emergency flat tire fixer

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!!

Boy did we have a great time last night! DJ has been slaving away with me for the last month or so on his costume..see, up till this year the whole family would dress up in a theme (last year we were pirates, the year before we were the 3 Musketeers and a Princess, etc), but this year DJ insisted he wanted to be a mummy and X-man wanted to be a Fire Chief. So Dan and I let go of the child withing (a little) and let the boys reign supreme. Let me just tell you what a pain in the rear making a mummy costume is! It took forever to glue strips of cloth to the sweat-suit. X-man's was much easier. He was given the rain coat as a hand-me-down about 2 years ago. So while roaming Walmart we found the hat. So I just made a dress shiry and dress pants with orange satin stripes down the legs. Easy peasy!