Thursday, May 27, 2010

Saying Goodbye . . .

My grandfather has always been one constant in my ever changing life.
He was just always there.
Plowing in his field, planting his watermelons and cantaloupes and peanuts.
Sitting quietly on his couch reading the paper or the Reader's Digest, or one of his many mystery novels.
Sitting quietly at the end of the back pew, beside the aisle, next to my momma.
Never without his cowboy hat or his boots.

I was never close to him.  I guess in some ways I'm as responsible for that as anyone.  
We just didn't have that much in common.  

But he loved me as only a grandfather can love his granddaughter.
How do I know?
Because of the moments we spent together.
Him chuckling at me or, later, my children.
Sitting with him in the cab of the tractor as he circled the peanut field.
Sitting across his kitchen table from him listening to him talk about his childhood as I interviewed him for a history project.
Having him request a song or two when I was performing.
Having him ask me to sing at my grandmother's funeral, and the touch of his hand on my shoulder to comfort me that day.
And the last time I saw him, he held my hand the whole time and when I left he uttered 
"I love you, girl."
Yes, I know he did.

I will miss my grandfather.  My daughter will surly miss him, she was "great-grandpa's" girl.  And my son, only 2, will often ask "Where's Grandpa?" 

But I take great comfort in knowing that he will be safe and sound in Jesus' arms. 
I rejoice in the fact that he is in the place where he will never be sick, or in pain again.  
There will only be peace, serenity, joy, love, and the 
Glory of the Father.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summer is coming! Everybody hide!

The days are shorter and hotter
The sounds of screaming children fill the air
Everyone in my daughters class is ready for Friday (the last day of school)
Summer is upon us.
Be afraid.
Be very afraid.

This summer I plan on doing a lot of nothing.  
I am taking a break from school, don't plan on making any trips to the pool or the fun park, or the park.
Maybe the library.
I don't get outside much.
I'm Irish.
I burn. 

Maybe that is going to end up a mistake.  
I mean after all, I am 
 I should have a game plan, yes?  Well, 
I may not be planning the funnest of all fun summers.
No Disneyland trips for the DeMoss clan.
I do have a plan!

Picnics outside under the protection of the very large shade tree in the front yard (did I mention my Irish roots?)
Sitting on the couch with my baby girl playing Mario Kart and Mod Nation Racers.
Reading books.  Lots and lots of books.
Maybe a little blogging.
A whole LOT of cooking and recipe writing.
(maybe I'll finally finish that cookbook)

I even have a (flexible) schedule.
*yea me*

The next couple of days I get to enjoy a little more peace and quiet.
Then . . .

Monday, May 24, 2010

Make Your Home Sing Monday: What's for Dinner? Week at a glance plus bonus recipe!

Here's this weeks plan!

Meatless Monday
Stir-Fried mushrooms and scallions with ramen noodles
Terrific Tuesday
Bratwurst and Sauerkraut casserole with potatoes, corn
Wonderful Wednesday 
Crock Pot Lasagna
Thrilling Thursday
Manwich and Doritos
Fun Friday
French Bread Pizza, Ceasar salad
Super Saturday
White Chicken Chili
Spectacular Sunday
Smoked Chicken, Baked Beans, Corn on the Cob

*Bonus Recipe*
Brat, Kraut and Potato casserole
1 lb bratwurst, fully cooked and sliced into bite-sized rounds
1 10 oz can sauerkraut (we like Bavarian-style)
1 lb red potatoes, washed and cut into bite sized pieces

In a dutch oven, brown potatoes in 1 T oil.  Add brats and cook until heated through.  Add kraut and mix well to combine.  Put lid on dutch oven, and cook in 375 degree oven for 35 minutes.

Don't forget to visit Moms The Word today for Making Your Home Sing Monday!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday Musings

This week I managed to keep a sorta clean house.  
Well, until the children entered the living room with toys and books and food, and drink (anyone know how to get unidentified really sticky black tar-like goo [that was probably once a gummie snack] off a carpet?  The ice trick doesn't work, by the way.  Neither does peanut butter).  
BUT my kitchen has stayed wonderful.  

We were supposed to have a brooding teen invasion this weekend, 
but his mother decided to recount her previous decision and take him with them anyway.  
I can't say much.  
I probably would have given in too.  

Spent an amazing day today with my kids, my hubby, and my dad.  
My mom was out of town helping my brother and his wife move into their new home.  The good news, they're in TX instead of CA now, and only a few hours away rather than two days (YIKES).  
The bad news . . . they're still six hours away 
*sad face*.

Emily's behavior has improved by leaps and bounds at both school and home.  
She's only had one serious trouble day at school, and really, I couldn't punish her too badly for it because she was defending herself.  
The good news there is that she's not the only one in the class acting up, and the little boy bugging her got in worse trouble than she did.

Got to see two new movies this week that I was so excited about - The Princess and the Frog and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.  
They were both ADORABLE.  
So glad Disney is back into the actual animation (P&F was all HAND DRAWN and was AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL).  Here lately, it seems the artistry has gone all out of animation with all the computer programming.  
That being said, Cloudy actually had some of the best hair I've ever seen - it actually looked like REAL hair!  I think that counts as artistry, even if it is just a bunch of java commands.

Jake(2) has been making us crack up all week with his knock-knock jokes.  
The latest involves my mother and father-in-laws' cat, Pumpkin:
Knock Knock
Who's there?
Interrupting Pumpkin
Interrupting- . . . 
(cut off by angry kitty hiss here)

Well, that's it for my week, I hope everyone else's was just as blessed!

If you are a facebook junkie, you should check out this page : Mommy Bloggers.  It is an amazing networking site!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy Friday!

The weekend is upon us and as it comes up for me, I have one very serious issue to really sit back and think about.

Brooding teenagers.

I have one very unhappy teenage boy coming to spend the weekend with his father and I.  Why is he unhappy?  He doesn't get to go on the family trip with his sister, mom, and step dad.  
He doesn't get to go because he LIED for several weeks about some things going on at school.  
To further his unhappiness, he's grounded here as well for failing THREE of his classes. 
So . . . No family trip, no PS3, no PS2, no PSP, no Wii, no nintendo, 

What can he do?  
Play outside  
Build something impressive with the massive amount of Legos covering his bedroom floor at the moment  
Read a book  

Will he do any of these things?  
Probably not.  
If he does, he'll probably grump about them the entire time.


I have to repeat the mantra: 
I love my children I love my children I love my children 
over and over again this weekend.  But the fact is, I do love them.  
Even the broody, grumpy, angry-at-the-world teenager.

The plus side is, I don't have anything planned this weekend.  Nothing.  Nada.  I get to sleep in tomorrow.  

'Til 6:30

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thank You Very Much . . .

To my children for the constant whirlwind of toys that invade my living room 
(it reminds me how much they love being around me)
To the Fad Diet Creator who's Ning Network I recently left, for telling me that I (the most upbeat, positive person on the planet) was too negative . . . 
(you really opened my eyes to the meaning of negative thinking)
To my husbands company for once again finangling him out of his earned quality award . . . 
(he still hasn't spent the points he's earned - oh yeah, he's SAVING THEM UP)
To my step children and their mother for the constant drama . . . 
(My life was too dull anyway)
To the check-out girl at Wal Mart that insists on putting three small things in one bag and 8 large, heavy items in another
(Very creative bagging there)
Do you have someone you'd like to thank? Head over to KMAMA's blog, The Daily Dribbles and join in the therapeutic fun!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Making Your Home Sing Monday!

Making Your Home Sing Monday:
This is something new for me, but to learn more about it, go to MomsTheWord
I am a day late this week.

What better way to make your home sing then by SINGING!

The Bible tells us to "It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High" Psalm 92:1.  In fact, throughout the book of Psalms, David talks about praising God with music throughout.

God loves to hear us proclaim his name in song.  It doesn't matter weather or not you think you can sing, it is all pleasing to God.  

So as you go about your daily chores today, try singing a song that you love that reminds you of your relationship with God.  Remember everything we do we do in His name, even housework. He sees what we do every day for our families, and it makes him happy to see us diligently working to make our homes a better place.

Making your home sing Mondays

Friday, May 14, 2010

Supermom Product Plug - Lysol Duel Action Disinfecting Wipes

I am a clorox girl.  I have been for years.  But recently I decided to give Lysol's new product a try.  Now, those who have been following this blog know that it is rare that I do a product plug.  In fact, I'm not entirely sure I have ever done one here. But these deserve a plug.

One side has these little purple squiggly scrubbie things and the other side is completely smooth.  I tried it on my disgusting stove top, which hasn't been cleaned in a week - don't ask me why, I'm chocking it up to laziness and hormones.  Generally to do my stove I use a sponge and hot water.  It works after a while, but it usually takes me more than five minutes to wipe down my stove top.  With these new wipes, I was able to clean my stove top and the oven door in less than two!  One aspect that I really liked about them was the fact that you can feel where you're scrubbing, so to speak.  With a sponge, it doesn't really feel like you have the same kind of control.  I also like the fact that it's disinfecting, so you really get two jobs done in one.  The scent is pleasant, and not too overwhelming too.  Additionally, it's 50¢  cheaper than clorox wipes!

While I was at it, I also tried out their original wipes for my morning "swish and swipe" routine in the bathroom.  Typically it takes me two or three wipes to wipe down the mirror, sink, and toilet, because the wipe will start to fall apart.  I was able to do it with ONE of these!

Needless to say . . . I'm a convert!

Monday, May 10, 2010


We all have to do it at some time in another.

We look around that table, that desk, that box, that ROOM (for some of us, that HOUSE!!) and groan because we know that the dreaded act of purging is upon us for some reason or another.  Maybe you need to have dinner on that table.  Maybe you have a 150 page thesis to write at that desk.  Maybe you need to transform that room into a guest room.  Whatever your reason, you know the task is overwhelming.  Well, in my own journey to purge my own home, I have learned a few things.  Today I will share them with you all.

Before you purge:
Take a look around the room.  Give yourself a point of reference of where you want to stop and start for the day.  It could be a square footage, it could be a time limit, it could be a number of things.  Give your self a starting and stopping point.

Plan.  Break up the gigantic task into smaller ones.  Don't think you have to tackle it all at once.  Do a little today, then more tomorrow, and more the next day.  Little by little it will add up.

Be prepared.  Gather up anything you might need.  Most organizers and cleaning gurus suggest having three boxes/bags to use as you purge, labeling them : Keep, Toss, Sell/Donate.  I recommend adding one more to that, if it's a big job and you're in a hurry: The I Don't Know box.  That will keep you from spending 15 minutes trying to decide if you really want to keep Aunt Marge's ugly bud vase or not.

Ask for help.  If you aren't sure you can do it on your own, ask a close friend or family member (or two or three) to come help you.  Make a party out of it, serving lemonade and cookies and playing some fabulous music!

The Purging Process

As you purge, you're going to come across things that you really don't know about.  When this happens, it's good to have a list of criteria that an item has to meet in order to make it to the "keep" box.  My personal list is as follows:

1) Is the item torn or broken? If so, it immediately goes to the trash box.
2) Do I have a home for this item?
3) If not, have I used this item in the last six months?
4) If not, would I use this item if it was accessible? If not, it goes to sell/donate.
5) If so, can I MAKE a home for this item?  If not, it goes to sell/donate.

When the keep box is full, take some time to put all those items away in their homes. If you don't have a home for that item yet, commit to create a home for it within a time frame (I like a month).  Write this time on your calendar!  If you haven't found a home for it yet in your home, it's time to donate or sell it.

When the trash box is full, take it to the trash can or dumpster, empty it, and take it back to what you were doing.

When the sell/donate box is full, close it and tape it shut.  If you are donating it, put it in your car right then!  If you are selling, write down on your calender when you want your sale to be and commit to it!  If the sale doesn't happen by the date you commit to, put it in the back of your car and donate it.

When you are done for the day, take the  I Don't Know box to another room and go through it one item at a time.  If you have gone through the questions and you STILL want to keep it (even though it doesn't meet the requirements) ask yourself "Do I LOVE it?".  If not, then get rid of it!  There's no use in keeping something you don't love and will never use.

If you find that even after all this, you can't get rid of a significant amount of items (such as a whole room or houseful), or if you can't get rid of trash items such as aluminum cans, Styrofoam cups, etc., you might consider the possibility that you may be a chronic hoarder, and might consider looking into treatment options.

Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day.  It took time for the mess to occur, and it's going to take time to get rid of. But it will happen, little by little.

Now, go purge!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Behavior Charts - Do They Work?

After having a few months of troublesome behavior from my six year old, I decided it was time to make a change.  I found a few web sites, did a little research, and found out about using behavior charts.

So, what IS a behavior chart?

Well, it is a behavior-modification device that uses positive reinforcement to encourage the desired behavior.

At least, that's the professional definition.

I call it a God-send.

It took a while for us to get the hang of it, but with a little effort, practice, and consistancy, they are starting to make a real difference.

Here's how it works:

We have a list of behaviors that we want for Emily to do.  She gets stickers for every behavior she accomplishes for each day of the school week (4 behaviors x 5 days = 20 stickers).  We pick out the treat the week before, and display it all week - "This is what you're 'playing' for!"  Allowing for mess ups and redemption, she is required to get 15 stickers a week for a treat (under $5).  She also gets extra stickers for going above and beyond the call of duty.  For example, if we have a morning where she not only doesn't argue with me, but is absolutely wonderful, obedient, and helpful, she earns an extra sticker.  So far, we have only had one week in which she hasn't earned a treat.  This chart is working wonders for her behavior at home.

Now, school is a different story.  We are still working on that, however. I've come up with a few ideas to encourage her behavior to improve there as well.

Here are some great links to some fantastic sites that offer free behavior charts:

This one offers fill in charts with some of  kids' favorite cartoon characters (we've used Tinkerbell and SpongeBob.)
This one has a variety of charts for young and older children, and offers a newsletter to help parents learn how to use them consistantly and properly:
This offers a "customizer" in which you pick the behaviors you want to encourage, then children can create their own cat character to track their behavior.  BRILLIANT!
This site offers several different charts for all kinds of household needs, not just behavior (I use the calendars and several of the home charts)
I use this site for all sorts of things, from coloring pages, to craft ideas, to bible lesson plans to share with my kids.  It's wonderful!  Their charts are also customizable, but this time you can print them out (my preferred method).