Friday, October 29, 2010

how do i talk my 4 year old out of

wanting me to sew him a transformer/vampire/skeleton costume at the last minute??

I pulled out the old costumes out of storage and it was easy.

One of the benefits to having an entourage of older brothers and sisters and a cheap frugal mother:

He can go as Darth Vader,

Buzz Lightyear,

Pokémon Trainer Ash Ketchum,

a lion,

a leopard ( hood not pictured),

or Sheriff Woody all from the comfort of his own home.
He decided on a lion at school, Pikachu at the mall, and Darth Vader in the neighborhood.

Now I don't need to learn how to sew a transformer/vampire/skeleton costume at the last minute.

And that makes me smile.

I hope the kids share more than just Mounds this year.  Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

academic m

Last night I had the honor of seeing my oldest daughter receive the most prestigious academic award our school district has to offer.  After 7 semesters of high school, she carries a 3.97 cumulative GPA and is ranked 11th in a class of almost 300 students.

Student who received the award had to pick  a teacher who has most influenced them.  Emma picked Señora Eastin who taught her Spanish II and Spanish III.  We had dinner together while waiting for the keynote speaker Bob Maxwell to begin.  I enjoyed being able to get to know her.

While learning Spanish, Emma has made up fantastic and colorful yarns about her own life for conversational projects and theme papers.  She expressed concern before hand that Sra. Eastin was going to see her made up fantasy life collide with reality.  So I found it incredibly funny when Sra. Eastin started talking about how she makes up outlandish tales (some which focus on her mother-in-law) to tell the class. I guess this keeps things interesting.   :)

Congratulations Emma and best wishes for a bright future!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

recreational soccer mom's primer

Today is the "Lorain County Fall Classic" (county tournament that has been renamed and de-competitivized) so I thought I would share a little of the knowledge I'm privy to from being married to a youth soccer coach/referee.  After listening to the parents at my step daughters last few soccer games, I think some parents could use a little more information about the rules of the game and the calls the referee may or may not be making. 

1. Subbing (non-injury)  I know it's frustrating.  The ref seems to be ignoring the subs your child's coach has waiting at mid field.   The other players are tired and you are hoping these subs can breathe life into the rest of the half.  Your child's coach can only put subs in when the game stops for his own throw in or his own goal kick or after a goal.  OR if the other team is subbing on their own throw in or goal kick.  As long as the other team is able to keep the play going without a score or sending the ball out of bounds, your subs will keep waiting.

2.  Injuries  If the injured player is not involved in the play the ref is not required to stop the game.  This only makes sense.   If your teams best player got a breakaway, one of the other teams players could just cry injured to stop the play and give his teammates more time to set up and stop the goal.   When the play does stop, the coach may send in one substitution for his injured player.

3.  Loose shoelaces  Ditto my last point.  Play will not be stopped to give somebody time to tie their shoes.  It's not the ref's responsibility to make sure your kid's shoes are tied.  Double knot them before they get out of your car.

4.  Goalie  SURPRISE!!!  The goalie is permitted to come out of the box.  Once the goalie is out of the box they are considered a regular player and may not use their hands in play.  She better be quick to get back though if she doesn't want to be running laps around the field after the game.

5.  Heckling  However the ref calls it, that's the way it is.  The ref is not going to change his call based on how mad or how loud you get.  No ref will see absolutely everything and make every call correctly.  You should know the referee is allowed to penalize your team based on too much heckling from parents.   This could  include banning the most vocal ones from the next game or the extreme of calling the game off.  If you think you can do that much better, take the class, buy the uniform, and have a go at it but give the ref a break.

6. Playing time  In most recreational leagues all players must have equal playing time.  The coach may not keep in his best players at the expense of playing time for the weaker ones.  My husband technique is to "hide" his weak players on offense.  Whatever your child's coach chooses to do, he has to give all players equal time. 


7.  Remember  Don't put too much emphasis on the win.  This is recreational youth soccer.  Yelling and negativity won't encourage the love of the game.  If your child shows a lot of talent maybe it's time to move on to a more competitive league.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Do-a-Dot Printables

George came home from school with a letter P stamped in circles.  He was very excited to tell me all about "do-a-dot".   It's an activity they do at school to help with fine motor skills.  Since his teacher told me that is the only area of concern she has with George, we picked up our own pack at Michael's Crafts this morning. 

This is a super activity that doesn't create any mess whatsoever.  There is a complete set of uppercase letters at Tot School.  Two places to find pictures to Do-a-Dot are Making Learning Fun and DLTK Kids.  Or google "do a dot printables" or "bingo dauber art" to find your own.

Happy Dotting!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

child care: the exit

I recently started a new 13 month old day care boy.  His mom is very young and has a difficult time with separation.  She has to arrive at my house 30 minutes early so she has time to say goodbye. 

At first I thought it was just because she didn't know me and was a little unsure about leaving her baby with a stranger.  But it's been about a month now and it shows no sign of stopping. 

It's sad because the little boy loves it here and is always excited to come in the door.  At first he is oblivious to her but after she stands around begging him again and again to come "give mama loving, I got to go to work", he starts to realize she's sad and uncomfortable leaving and begins to feel like he should be upset too.

Tearful goodbyes are fun for no one.  This post goes into more detail but if the goal is to foster a healthy separation between you and your child, please don't linger.  Just give one kiss, say "I'll be back soon" and LEAVE!  

Friday, October 15, 2010

melt: the event

Melt Bar & Grilled opened in Lakewood in 2006. We didn't get there until May of 2010.

It was a Saturday and we were celebrating Emma's 17th birthday dinner. We arrived around 3 in the afternoon for an early dinner. We didn't know much except that it was a place the specialized in grilled cheese.

We ended up waiting about 3 hours to be seated.

It was loud and dark and had a unisex bathroom. The food was yummy but not knock-your-socks-off spectacular.

So I didn't jump for joy when my girlfriends suggested it for our pre-Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure meal. I mentioned we should be prepared for a very extensive wait. They were incredulous. They thought I was lying. Why would anyone wait that long to eat grilled cheese?

We had Indians tickets for the night but I wisely passed them on to some family friends. We were meeting at 5 so I knew we would never be out in time for the game.

The wait and the service both seemed a lot shorter this time around but it could've been the Las Vegas Lavender Mojito and the Raspberry UFO Patricia and I tried from the bar. Then it dawned on me...after sitting around for hours drinking an adult beverage or two, anything would taste fabulous.  Even more fabulous is getting to spend time catching up with friends. This may have a lot to do with Melt's reputation.

While it's not really a place I'd recommend taking hungry children to, it's definitely an "event" you should experience.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Make sure your life insurance is paid up before you read it this book because it will blow your mind and break your heart at the same time. 

Referencing Mark 10:21, David Platt challenges us to take a look at our lives and to forsake everything for the Gospel.

Monday, October 11, 2010

if your van has to break down there is no better spot than our church parking lot

One of the pitfalls of a large church is that it can often take a long time to get connected. The regular attenders have no idea who is new unless they speak up. And even when they do, unfortunately it may always seem like someone else's job to make sure they continue to feel welcomed and accepted, and find a spot that is a good fit for them.

But the upsides are huge.

Like when you have car troubles in the parking lot.

Yesterday, due to Kevin's marathon and a slew of non-communication from my daycare moms, it was only George and I in the van. One block from the church I noticed a bunch of smoke coming out from underneath and an engine running so hot the needle was touching red. I turned the heat on high to cool it off but it was really smoking as I pulled into a parking spot.

I texted my neighbor (who was already at church) that George and I would most likely need a lift home.

After making sure it wasn't on fire, I dropped George off at Sunday school. Jeff, a member of my Life Group, was helping in the kindergarten room. When I mentioned the car issue, he said it was probably just a radiator gone dry and to fill it with water after it cooled off.

After the service I went out to do just that but there was a huge puddle of watery tan stuff which I knew was not good. Jeff came out and confirmed that it looked like transmission fluid and I should get a tow. He and his wife would take me home if my neighbor didn't see the text I sent.

While waiting for the tow truck (AAA to the rescue investment we make) a young mom I didn't know came over to offer assistance. She had a vanful of toddlers and was on her way out. She wanted to know what she could do to help. She offered me her mechanic husband's phone number and made sure I had a ride home.

When I stopped in to let George's teachers know what was going on, I was also offered a ride home if I could wait til after the second service. He just promoted to this class a couple of weeks ago so this woman didn't know me. I live in the complete opposite direction, at least a one hour detour for her after a full morning at church, yet she was still offering to help us out.

My neighbor eventually delivered George and I safely to our front porch. (Thanks Michelle for checking your phone!) And thankfully, all those growing boys (and girl) I left home unattended for the entire morning did not trash the house or eat all the food.

I was not surprised at the multitude of offers of help I got from people I am already acquainted with and those I call friends. And I don't think surprised is the right word to describe my happily confirmed suspicion that a stranger in obvious need would be offered assistance at our church.

It's the strangers not in OBVIOUS need I worry about.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

giant eagle deal of the week

I don't normally shop at Giant Eagle because it's so far away but Kevin won a $200 gift card for increased support of the United Way. Since step-families more than most families need to stretch their dollars, I thought I would pass this on here.

This week at Giant Eagle you can get Totino's Pizza Rolls for only $.50 a bag. Store price 10 for $10. Use the coupon from the paper on 9-12-10 (save your coupons!!!) and save $1 on 2 bags and it will bring your price to $.50 each. Makes a nice quick after school snack.

You can also pick up General Mills Cereal for $2.06 a box . The store has the cereal on sale for 4 for $10. Using the online coupons to save $1 off 3 and $.75 off 1 brings your price down to just $8.25. Just $2.06 a box.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

refrigerator shopping

Our new refrigerator arrived the end of last month and I really like it!! Our old one was almost 10 years old and dying a slow death. Not only was it struggling to maintain the CACFP mandated 40 degrees, the dispensers had not supplied ice or water for over a year, it had sagging baskets in the freezer section, a stolen ice storage compartment, a meat drawer you could not pull out all the way without it falling, and door storage bins that fell off at will. After yet another storage area was lost when the plastic shelf support pegs gave out, we decided it was time to go shopping.

My uber busy spouse had less than zero time to help so this task ended up in my lap. I shop for major purchases just the way my dad does. First you decide what you need and then you research your best options. All before setting foot in the store.

I married into our current model, a side by side. I never preferred this type but it came with a real prize of a husband, so I settled for it. This time around I knew I wanted to replace it with a freezer on the bottom style, the kind with the drawer on the bottom.

After picking out a couple of options based on the most recent reviews in Consumer Reports, I googled the models for individual reviews. The LG I preferred (only very slightly due to the alarm that went off when the door is left open too long) seemed to have some issues with the ice maker being too prolific. I also came across a few who had issues with the seal in between the fridge and the freezer. I decided to be happy with the very close second choice, a Whirlpool Gold.

George and I went around a few stores to price the fridge out. The local independent family owned appliance store was our first stop. The price was hundreds more than I had seen online, they gave no financing options and no discounts for cash. Also they charged to haul away your old one.

The big box home store was next. The salesman was knowledgeable but pushy. The prices were right and haul away was included. They also had financing 6 months same as cash.

Sears was the last stop. Their price was a little higher and you got to pick from 18 months financing OR delivery/haul away. I got bold and asked the unassuming saleswoman if they would match the big box deal. She did that and more with an additional 10% off price matching guarantee, free delivery/haul away and an extension on the financing from 6 months to the 18 months Sears was offering.

The only glitch came when the delivery guys pushed the fridge into the hole. I had measured at the edge and knew there was only 1/8 inch clearance at the top. I did not know the upper cabinet was bowed in the middle, just enough so that the fridge would not go under. The Sears guys left it there and Kevin stopped home between sports commitments to sand the cabinet down enough to slide the fridge under.

And now everyone is super happy to have automatic ice once again.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

oval sticker overload

I'm getting very tired of trying to figure out what all those ovals on the back of your cars stand for.

The earliest one I recall is OBX but according to Mike Rudeen, it all started at the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic in 1949.

This morning on the way to the orthodontist, an SUV in front of me had one for French Bulldogs and Bulldogs. Easy enough...he's a Bulldog guy. But then there was one with tiny colored Bulldogs lined up in rainbow order. Does that mean he is for gay Bulldogs too?

This is too much for me to think about in traffic.

Don't even get me started on all those stick figures on the rear window of your minivans....