Thursday, April 24, 2008

Online Garage Sale

Come support our pre-Van Down Payment Garage Sale listings in cyberspace. You can check out our Ebay postings HERE.

If you live in the area, the fish stick lady's garage sale will be May 1-2-3 from 8:30-1pm.

We have TONS of kids stuff, over 50 pairs of gently used shoes, boots, flip flops. Most clothing only .25 a piece. Sizes 2T to 20. Mostly Boys. Some Girls. Limited amount of baby clothing. Brand Names $1-$5. Books. Coats. Like new backpacks. Car seats. Toys. Bikes. High Chair. Toddler Bed. Games. Star Wars Figures, Happy Days Board Game, 2 Toddler Bike seats (for adult bike), Barbie A Frame house. Linens, Household. Kid sized sleeping bags, fabric collapsible play structures, Halloween costumes, Polly Pocket cruise ship, My Little Pony Butterfly Island, inline skates, 2 Little Tykes Basketball hoops, baseball cards, movie posters, etc.

Come out and support our sale. All proceeds go to van down payment for family of 9. We still need $2000.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Microwave-Free Birthday

My step-son arrives Friday night if my calculations are correct. It's his birthday. And our microwave is broken. This is a problem because this kid has UBER specific qualifications for exactly what he will consume. One of the specifics is that if it is supposed to be consumed hot, it HAS to be hot before he will consume it. He was in a pizza eating contest once and despite being UBER competitive, he could not even take one bite of the pizza because it was room temperature.

I hope he can have a happy birthday anyway.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Family of Nine Garage Sale for Van Down Payment

Hallelujah we have found a van. AND the fish stick buyer did send us $80 after all. Sports Luxury Motors in North Ridgeville has graciously agreed to "hold" a Mercury Villager (with the fish stick $80 plus $20 of our own) until our tax incentive check comes May 2nd. We still need about $2000 so we are raising it the old fashioned way, hard work.

The picture is one almost identical to ours but at another dealer.

Come out and support our garage sale May 1-2-3 8:30-5pm.

online offerings are HERE.

Tons of kids clothing most .25 a piece. Sizes 3T to 10. Mostly Boys. Some Girls. Limited amount of baby clothing. Books. Coats. Like new backpacks. Baby Bjorn Carrier. Car seats. Kids Shoes. Toys. Bikes. High Chair. Toddler Bed. Happy Days Board Game, Toddler Bike seat (for adult bike), Barbie A Frame house, Winter boots. Linens, Household.

Donations Accepted. PM us for immediate pickup.

All proceeds go to van down payment for family of 9. PM us for directions.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Angel Food Ministries Food Review March 2008 Menu

This is a review of the menu items supplied in March of 2008 by Angel Food Ministries. This was the first month we purchased the plan. I would purchase again. Real "Foodies" will want to stay away from this plan but that isn't who it's intended for anyway. If you marinate and tenderize the meats, you can't go wrong for $30. I will participate in this again.

. 6 burgers were cooked to perfection on our George Foreman grill. I didn't expect much as they seemed from their appearance to have a lot of fillers and the fat pan almost filled up with the 6 burgers. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the first bite. JUICY and tender. I ate 2. Needless to say, there weren't any leftovers. Would definitely purchase again.

Frozen Mixed Veggies
. Came packaged in clear plastic. No labeling. Microwaved in Pampered Chef Batter Bowl. Good color and flavor. Uniform in size. Would purchase again.

Borden Shelf-Stable Milk.
To me, there is something inherently wrong about boxed milk. However, this came in very handy when we ran out of jugged milk. Baby did not complain. Drank greedily as always. Nice thing to have on hand in a pinch.

Macaroni and Cheese.
Boxed. Hospitality brand. Stove preparation. Similar in quality to Kraft. Would purchase again.

Pillsbury brand frozen. Toaster prepared. No complaints.

Dessert Item.
Mrs. Smith's Apple Pie. Delicious consumed at room temperature. This had sugar crystals sprinkled on the top. High quality. Would definitely purchase again.

Boneless Pork Fillet.
Second meat item I cooked that was tough and dry. These meats are obviously cheaper cuts and I see now the need to marinate and tenderize. We are making the rest of the steaks the end on the month so I'll see then if that works. Disappointed.

Breaded Chicken Breast Strips.
Southern Style. Directions called only for deep frying but I baked on Pampered Chef large bar pan. Very tasty and crunchy. Nice change from the usual nuggets.

Marie Callender Chicken and Dumpling Soup.
Opened can. Dumped in bowl. Heated in microwave. Nothing very special. Nice big soft chunks of celery. Edible.

Frying Chicken Leg Quarters. Baked in the Pampered Chef rectangular deep baking dish. Very large. I wasn't expecting a lot after my latest disappointments but these turned out to be quite good. And there was enough left over to make a Chicken Noodle Casserole the next day.

5 lb. Thick Cut Rib Eye Steaks. Initial 2 were cooked Medium on George Foreman Grill. Very disappointing. These were very dry and tough. Will tenderize and marinate the other 6 the end of the month and update this post.

**UPDATE**The remainder of the rib eyes were tenderized with a meat cleaver and soaked in a marinade for 12 hours. Cooked up on the George Foreman because we were out of propane for the outdoor grill. SURPRISE SURPRISE They went from a F to a B- in quality! I think the Angel Meats just need a lot of TLC.

Sunday, April 6, 2008 on Stepmothering

This article was posted on my Cafemom Stepparenting group. My commentary is added in green.

( -- As far as hard jobs go, it's up there with air-traffic controller and crane operator. Stepmothers preside over a minefield of hidden hurts, half-concealed traditions and occasional tugs-of-war. Want the job?

It's been said that parenting is the toughest job in the world. Wrong. It's the second toughest: Stepparenting wins hands down. Right now, approximately half of all Americans live in a stepfamily, which means that every day, millions of women are subject to the taunt -- sometimes mournful, often angry --"You're not my mother!"

I've been a stepmother three times. I know, from hard-won experience, that a great relationship with your stepkids is possible. And if you avoid certain trapdoors like the 12 verboten phrases here, you'll not only get along, but you'll never have to ask them to pick up their socks.

1. "Go ahead, call me Mom!"

You're not their mother, and you never will be. They're conflicted enough, and pushing them to use a mom-name will only confuse them more.

This is for Mike and Carol Brady. I don't know any blended families who do this. I think in our situation I could have made it clearer in the beginning that I wasn't taking the place of "mom" for my step kids here at their dad's house. I did things like pick them up from daycare early and take them to the doctor and help them in the bathroom. I think Biomom would have been a lot less defensive and hostile had I established greater boundaries with them. But I never told them to call me mom. I'm not their mom.

EDITED>>> Check out this AWESOME article on this subject. It is right on target.

Corollary: "We're going to be one big, happy family!"

You might eventually become the happiest of stepfamilies, but it won't happen overnight. Studies show the new family dynamic takes at least three years to fall into place, and the first year is the toughest.

One thing I do wonder about...when Kevin or I claim to have 7 children within hearing distance of the kids...I think they might really resent it. There ARE 7 children in our family, but neither one of us HAS 7 kids.

2. "Feel free! Do whatever you want."

Almost as much as they need love, children need boundaries and are adrift without rules. Learn to say (not scream, please) the phrase, "In this house, we ...," so that time together will not be bogged down with endless negotiations.

We've done well in this department. We have our house rules posted on the fridge. And, usually, we are very consistent about them. I for one, am not interested in negotiating with a 10 year old.

Corollary: "Let's get down!"

No matter how close in age you are to your stepchildren, you're still a parent figure; try to be an example of mature living and not "one of the gang." This is especially true if your stepkids belong to that group of psychotics euphemistically known as teenagers. Chances are they won't think you're cool for very long.

3. "I'll get it," "I'll drive," "I'll wash it," "Forget about me," etc.

Don't let your stepkids (or their father) turn you into the creature everyone in the world resents: a martyr. Martyrs make people feel creepy and guilty, and when kids feel that way, they generally act out. You're better off being wicked.

4. "Why the long face?"

Your stepchildren are allowed to be sad -- they're in mourning. Let them grieve if and when they feel like it. Sorry, but they probably will grieve more around you, since you're the evidence that their parents are never getting back together. Don't call attention to their sorrow; remove yourself, and get Dad to be a mom at this point. Their depression will pass --they're kids.

Agree with this wholeheartedly. Children LOVE attention. Giving them attention reinforces the negative behavior. Let them grieve, but they can do it in their room.

5. "Your dad and I always ... "

Don't allude to the great times you have with their father when they're not around. They already feel left out and probably imagine the two of you tossing your heads back laughing, spending wads of money, and throwing Ring Ding wrappers on the floor (not to mention the sexual fantasies going on in their fevered little brains). If you want to give them a positive image of a loving couple, just be a loving couple.

HA! My step kids have nothing to worry about. Dad is usually working when they are not here and even if he's not there isn't much money available for fun.

6. "Did your mother bring you up to do that?"

Never bad-mouth the ex -- and your husband (or partner) shouldn't either, even if the fur is still flying. Studies show that it's the ongoing conflict after divorce that hurts kids the most.

This one is REALLY REALLY hard for me. But the author is totally right.

Corollary: "How could you have married such an idiot?"

No comment.(Maybe you made a bad choice the first time around too.)

Don't stand next to him when he's on the phone with his ex, making faces and sticking your finger down your throat. Don't write her letters or e-mails, and if she's a crank caller, get caller ID. Fighting about the ex -- call it the 'ex hex' -- is the equivalent of having a stink bomb thrown into your marriage.

7. "Have you always done that?"

Families have traditions that are meaningful to them. So if your husband and his children insist on watching "Hogan's Heroes" reruns, putting mayo on hot dogs, collecting rubber bands, or anything else you find distasteful, just keep your mouth shut.

8. "Your room is a pigsty!"

Something's got to give, and neatness should be it. If the situation is desperate and the kids are growing subspecies in their space, get Dad to go in there and organize a cleanup. Life is messy, and it's even messier when you choose a man with children. But remember: It's better to have a man with kids than one without kids who flosses his cat's teeth.

The children in our household are expected to keep common areas clean. In order to have access to electronics, their rooms must be at least "tidy". Even children need to learn responsibility.

9. "Well, my kids and I ... "

If you have kids of your own who live with you and your husband, your stepkids may feel like they're getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop. Mentioning trips, restaurants and the fun stuff you did the weekend they were with their mom feeds the illusion that your children are getting more. Be clear that there are no favorites and everything is even between both sets of kids.

What's more of an issue in our house is the fun stuff that happens with the other parent. My son's dad bought him a coveted membership for a web based role playing game. My step kids mom treats them to movies and out to eat often. We work hard to do trips, restaurants and other fun stuff when we are all together.

10. Don't become a stepparent expecting gratitude. (Don't become a parent expecting it, either.) While you shouldn't tolerate rudeness, choose your battles carefully. Kids generally don't have the best manners; they get preoccupied and forego social niceties. Don't be petulant; you're the grown-up.

I really disagree with this point. It's our responsibility to raise them with social niceties. Kids today generally have too few expectations set for them. The children in my house will be respectful and have manners. Or they can have extra chores to help them remember to be.

11. "We're not made of money, you know."

Their father's primary motivation is guilt. (Come to think of it, that's his secondary one as well.) Dad is guilty, the ex is angry, the battle is on, and money is the weapon. Stay out of the fight, work out a family budget, and don't discuss finances in front of the children.

We don't discuss major financial issues in front of the children. But I do think it's important for them to know that it "doesn't grow on trees".

12. "It's them or me."

It will always have to be them. Your stepchildren are jealous of you. But admit it, you're jealous of them too. If you make it a battlefield, this is a battle you'll lose.

Heartbreaking but true.

Corollary: "Wake me when it's over."

Rather than enduring the time you spend with his kids, enjoy it. They're never really going to go away, even if you stay under the radar. Intimacy may be a long time coming, but, like so many other situations in life, you've just got to put in the time. Granted, it's a complicated dynamic, but the Beatles were right: "The love you make is equal to the love you take." Or is it the other way around?

By Rosemary Rogers from "O, The Oprah Magazine," May 2003 E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sherwin Williams Review

The interior of our entire house was painted in Antique White and Navajo White when it was built 7.5 years ago. The paint used at that time was a scrubbable Sherwin Williams paint that is no longer being manufactured. It has held up great but with 7 kids in the house, the walls are really calling out for some color.

A few weeks ago I used the Color Consultant service provided by Sherwin Williams. You contact your local Sherwin Williams to schedule a designer to visit your home. Additionally, you may need to purchase a $75 gift card to Sherwin Williams to reassure them that you will actually purchase their paint and not just take advantage of their designer. An old college friend turned me on to this service.

Last night I painted the kitchen with the three recommended colors (Butter Up, Baize Green, and Papaya) from the Color to Go 31 fl. oz. sample containers(only $4.99 each). Baize Green was quickly vetoed by Kevin. My favorite for the kitchen is the cheerful Butter Up. Kevin feels this isn't enough color and would prefer the Papaya. I love the Papaya too but feels it's a better match for the family room although it does look REALLY nice next to the wood cabinets.

One thing we ALWAYS agree on is the EXCELLENCE and UNMATCHED COMPATIBILITY of the environmentally preferred Sherwin Williams Duration Home Interior Latex. More for it's great coverage, low odor and superior wash ability than it's Greensure label. Now if we could just decide which color to get it tinted...