Sunday, November 28, 2010

How's YOUR Swag(ger)?

Oh my goodness!  I just discovered a really fun way to earn money.  It's a search engine (like Google and others you know and love) that rewards you JUST FOR SURFING!  It's called Swagbucks.  You DO NOT have to use it exclusively for your only search engine either.  I don't plan to!

One of my wonderful followers, who also shares her incredible wealth of knowledge with other bloggers all of the time AND is one of my favorite bloggers to read has an extended post about how to use Swagbucks.  I'm a newbie, but I would encourage you to click on some of the ads at the right of my blog posts.  If you click on them and decide to join, I get a guessed it...more Swagbucks for me (and for you...just for joining!)

Here is her wonderful post.  She convinced me!

I'm already hooked!  The only thing that I am finding tough is my continuing to search for surveys I qualify for (and hence just one of the ways you can earn Swagbucks toward purchases, sweepstakes, gift cards, etc., etc.  Wow!).  Don't like to do surveys?  How about daily polls or checking out their special offers?

I love to do surveys (I guess I'm opinionated?), so I started with that.  They tell you how long the survey takes (not like other sites I've been to) how many Swagbucks you'll earn and the likelihood you'll qualify for a particular survey (40% chance, 60% chance).  Then, they ask you some basic questions and let you know if you will be able to participate or not.  Obviously, the longer the survey (I saw one for 8 minutes and one for 30 minutes, for example), the more Swagbucks you earn!

I wasn't eligible for any thus far, but I'm going to keep trying!!

I checked it out and joined.  What have you got to lose?

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Wednesday News, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

OK, it's official.  I am in the holiday spirit!  I have been avoiding the Christmas music on the radio until today, when my kids asked for it.  I thought they started playing it MUCH earlier this NOVEMBER 1st if not SOONER!  I just couldn't listen to it then, but now, I'm hooked!  OK, where's the SNOW?!?  I have to have snow!!

I've even done some Christmas shopping AND decorating!!  Those of you that know me know I'm a last-minute person, but since having my twins (6 years ago) thereby increasing the amount of family members by 50%, I realized that SOMETHING had to give.  You just physically cannot do everything at the last minute for a family our size (well, unless maybe I give up sleeping, eating, etc.).


I love that Dave has Thursday and Friday off for the Thanksgiving holiday.  It's so relaxing.  We can catch up on preparations for Christmas, but not with all of the last minute pressure (yet).  Often, his time off is extremely busy for our family but Thanksgiving is a nice chunk of time for low-stress family bonding.  I know he really enjoys this downtime too.


Lilly's gearing up for her birthday next week.  I can't believe she'll be 11 years old!  She has grown into (even more of) a wonderful, sweet, thoughtful, creative child who still makes friends wherever she goes and then offers loyalty and kindness once the relationship is established.

She has a long list of very expensive things that she would like.  As usual, we'll have to lower some expectations.  After all, after her birthday, we have to finance Christmas for the 6 of us (plus our extended family) and Andy's birthday is right around the corner in February!  Thankfully, there are some doable items on her list.  I really like the way we are teaching our children the true meaning of birthdays and Christmas, which we would do even if we had all of the money in the universe.

Her teacher has gone on maternity leave.  I know Lilly is going to miss her a lot.  She plans to come back in February.  In the meantime, I have been making an effort to spend extra one-on-one time with Lilly.  It's been really nice!  Her brothers are almost always still in the house, but we've been able to steal some moments to play a board game together (just us) and we even whipped up a no-bake pie before any boys could invade the kitchen!

She's still limping a little in spite of the doctor stating that her knee is perfectly fine.  Hopefully the extra attention will help take her mind off of the pain she says she feels.  She also loves Christmas (decorations, music, winter, gift-giving) so I believe this also steer her toward a happy path!


Andy's had his usual, go-with-the-flow, kind of week.  He's an even-keel guy and has been enjoying raking more leaves and helping the family go through the toys that they don't play with anymore.  Last weekend, the boys and Dave bought an old-school, used gaming system for next-to-nothing.  At first I was not happy as I'm not a fan of electronic toys, but we've been limiting it like we do TV and computer time.  So far, so good.

I had a great time voluteering in his classroom on Monday.  Every one of the 3rd grade classes at his school circulated through each classroom as a group, one at a time.  Andy's classroom was assigned a scientific project.  When a class would enter, the volunteer moms would help the kids cut a cranberry in half, draw it, label it and describe it.  I had a BLAST!  It's a fun age.


Harry's been a real sweetheart lately!  He's also been cuddly.  I'm loving it!  He's always had it in him, but he sometimes has a hard time staying positive with the demands of school, the limits on candy and other fun, noisy brothers and sharing the new game system.  I think this weekend just hanging out with the family will be good for him too.

Harry and Lilly are alike in a lot of ways.  His spirits too have been lifted by the Christmas music playing in our house and talking about Santa visiting very soon!  He also lost his second tooth yesterday!


Mal's looking forward to starting basketball next weekend.  It's the first time he's ever played.  He's always been a natural with balls and sports equipment.  (I guess that would mean that he and Andy are alike in this way!)  What an arm he's got!

One of my favorite memories of Malcolm as a toddler was him carrying a tennis ball around constantly as a lovey.  He was especially interested in textures at this age.  He'd often go up to his twin brother, reach out and feel his eyebrows, mouth, hair, etc.  Harry never minded, but Malcolm definitely did more tactile exploration than he did.  I loved when he would just come up and rub his hand back and forth on my arm to feel a sweater I was wearing.  Once in awhile, he still does something like this and that's when I miss how little the kids once were.

I guess the tennis ball was just fuzzy enough to cuddle with.  He'd carry it everywhere and rub it gently on his cheek.  It was adorable and too short-lived as these things often are with children.  He would also reprimand anyone who offered to play catch with him using his special ball.


As I said above, I am heading into Christmas full speed!  I also love this time of year and each holiday season, I vow to make it less stressful on myself.  So far to this end, I am planning ahead with ideas and lists, taking advantage of sales/free shipping online and grabbing things as I see them when I'm out shopping.

I'm very pleased that the kids and Dave are working hard on decluttering the old toys.  This way we can bless someone else while keeping our sanity around here!  My job is to keep processing and filing all of the papers and bills that tend to pile up (quickly).

We are very fortunate that my sister and her family has graciously offered to host Thanksgiving.  I will bring something, but it's nothing compared to the cleaning and cooking that she will be doing!  She makes the table look so beautiful too and brings out her wedding china.  We feel so specially treated as guests!

I hope everyone is also having a nice holiday season so far.  It can be a difficult time of year for many reasons too.  I will pray for all of you to see the good no matter what holiday(s) you celebrate and whatever circumstances you may find yourself in.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Malcolm Does the Piano

Malcolm was home sick today.  He did feel well enough to tickle the ivory, however.  Unfortunately, I videotaped him with my camera held upright.  Who knew that you could rotate the video while it was still in the camera, but then when you download the file, it goes back to being sideways! 

I'm working on fixing the problem, but in the meantime, you can enjoy the music!  I love how he plays it one way and if it doesn't sound good, he plays it another way.  He doesn't even take lessons!

This was after he dressed himself up in construction paper armor "to honor Colorful Man" in a book he read at school.

"I'm trying to sing some kind of vampire song.  (hums tune) Something like that.  I need the keyboard, but I can try to practice it on the piano."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What We've Been Up To


Harry (left, Snakeyes, the Ninja from GI Joe; Malcolm, Transformer's Bumblebee; Mom as What Would I Look Like with Long, Blond Hair...again and Lilly, the Evil Jester).  Andy, the vampire who refused the black wig AND the FAKE BLOOD (I can't believe it EITHER!!) refused to be immortalized in this photo, but will stay immortal as long as he's a vampire who dodges wooden stakes.

Below: Lilly again.  In other news, she bruised her kneecap in mid-October.  She was still milking using the crutches on Halloween night.  Maybe she was the "jester, on the sidelines, in a cast" from the song "American Pie"?  Except she didn't have a cast...just sayin'.

 Andy's last football game of the season, October 24
#17 seen here warming up and positioning his mouthguard.  Note the pink stripe on his helmet.  His whole team did that for Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October).


 Cub Scout Fishing Derby, October 3

Dad baits a hook.


Andy has some success!  Harry looks on.  Fish, like all others that day, returned to pond.

Here are some more things we've been up to this autumn:

Jumping in leaves...(Harry orange; Andy green; Malcolm blue; Tree bare)

...painting witches (Harry at a classmate's plaster birthday party)

...and each young boy had won some "fishes"! (Autumn festival carnival game...three boys, one try each, three fish).  Tank, light, filter, electricity, water, fake plants, glass gemstones, treasure chest, hollow log, gravel and food not included.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Trying Something New!


Hi All!  Yes, I'm still here!  I got severely derailed from writing by, well you know, life.  I am doing Follow Me Monday to get back into the swing of things!  Thank you to Nan at

Let's see, we've had illnesses, my husband traveling, Halloween, car trouble, more illnesses, Cub Scouts, more Cub Scouts, homework, leaves, a lot of attitude and hmmm, that might be about it!

I decided to jump back in where we are here in our lives.  Last Monday, I woke up with the nastiest case of pinkeye I had ever seen, heard about or read about.  For those who don't know what this is, it's another word for conjunctivitis. It involves itchy, burny eye(s) (it can be in one eye or both eyes) with nasty secretions and it is HIGHLY contagious.

Both my eyes were stuck shut when I woke up, puffy and MAROON red.  No joke.  In fact, when Harry noticed how red my eyes were, I then told him that I was not his mom, but actually a MONSTER!  GRRRR!!  The poor thing was NOT amused, in spite of his obsession for Halloween.  I apologized, but could not give him a hug because I was contagious.

I found some antibiotic eye ointment that Harry had used several weeks ago and started using it.  I know it's a no-no to use someone else's medicine, but I was desperate!  It was SO bad AND I didn't want to spread it to my family.

I didn't end up needing to go to the doctor because it cleared up in a few days.  I really think the culprit was some mascara I used last Saturday night for Dave and my "date night".  It was so severe, so sudden and it was in BOTH of my eyes.  I have since thrown out all of the makeup I used that night.  I had no idea that the "experts" who say to throw out your makeup every few months are RIGHT!  I thought they were paid by the makeup companies to say that!  The "eyes" had it, folks.

Andy is back to school today.  He was sent home last Wednesday with suspected pinkeye.  His was only in one eye and from what I read, I suspected it was viral pinkeye, not what I had.  This turned into a sore throat, the nastiest cough he's ever had and a low grade fever.  Thursday, he had Veteran's Day off from school and Friday he was still fevering so he finally returned today.  So far, no phone calls from school!  This illness knocked him on his keister.  Andy does NOT slow down for ANYTHING!  Last winter, when he had pneumonia, the doctor said he could do "activities to his tolerance".  Well, he shoveled our entire driveway, which is long, voluntarily, with a fever of 103!  Not this time.  We're talking lump on a log.

Lilly has been suffering too, from a lack of attention.  Well, her definition of not enough attention not ours, but it's still something she's feeling really deeply.  Since about the middle of last week, she has been giving us a hard time about going to school stating that she "doesn't feel well".  However, we cannot substantiate it with a fever or any other symptom so we've been sending her in telling her that she could go to the school nurse if she really felt terrible at school.

She decided that the nurse was mean and that she was going to stick it to us by staying at school and "not learning anything".  My husband and I are thinking, "OK, well, we've done OUR job by law in getting her there!"

This morning, she came to us with a thermometer reading of 100.4.  She explained that she had taken her temperature and it was first 100.1.  Now, after having a drink, it was up to 100.4.  She hadn't been downstairs yet to heat up any hot drinks using electricity via the stove or microwave.  Our hot water tank is NOT set that hot because we have kids, so drinking the tap water upstairs couldn't have done it.  How, according to the laws of physics, can a temperature go UP after taking a sip of water ANYWAY??!

The answer is, it cannot.  We retook her temperature and it was 99.4.  We took it once again for good measure, 99.2.  Off to school, young lady!  I think we fell for the "thermometer under the hot water tap" trick.  In that case, the tap water COULD increase her temperature!!

The moral of the story is, never trust a 10yo with a temperature taken by her own hand, especially when her brother has been sick and allowed to stay home from school.

Happy Monday, Everyone!  Make it a Good One!