Cuter than duck face, that’s for sure

You know how when your little person is fussing, sometimes you carry them over to a mirror and show them the baby? I found out by laziness accident serendipity, that the front camera on your phone serves the same purpose. He stopped fussing, but then, he surprised me by making faces. Amused and taken aback, I used the camera for its actual purpose to capture the moment.

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Toddler happy. Mission accomplished.

What do you do when your kids are crabby? Obviously, I could use some fresh ideas.

Posted in Family Updates | 2 Comments

This is not in my personality description

So, when you’re painting cabinets, you have a lot of time to think. Sometimes I turn on a podcast, but other times people are sleeping. So I’ve been thinking a lot. And I’ve thought about how some people custom paint cabinets professionally. And after, I thought, “Why? They could have done anything, ANYTHING else.” Then I wondered, what kind of personality type are the people who paint cabinets? What does their Myers Briggs look like? I’m an INFJ. I’m pretty sure cabinet painters aren’t that, or else I probably need to turn in my card and get a new type, and I think that’s hard to do. Then I think, this is probably a result of too many fumes, you should get some air.

What’s your personality type?

Does it like to paint cabinets?

Posted in Random | 3 Comments

Kitchen color schemes

I’ve mentioned before that we’re remodeling our kitchen. Because Bryan and I have defined our style as cheap and bland, we’re going with some browns and beige colors primarily. But, as we’ve talked about it, I’ve verbally designed kitchen spaces for each of my children. I gave Emma a very traditional kitchen, Hannah a very colorful kitchen, and Micah a kitchen with easily accessible snack cupboards. After this, Hannah told me it would be awesome to paint her kitchen by putting some paint cans in the middle and then setting off some dynamite in the midst of the paint cans for a splatter effect. Because of this interesting insight, I gave each of the kids their own kitchen printout to color as they would design their own kitchen. Here are the results.

Emma

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Hannah

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Micah

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I think the pictures speak for themselves.

What’s your ideal kitchen color scheme?

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In defense of the selfie

Every so often, you see people complaining about “selfies”, aka pictures that you take of yourself, usually using your cell phone. But they never give actual reasons why the selfie should be “banned”.  Doing “rigorous” research like I normally do for this blog, I see one guy saying it should be banned because “my giant head completely obscured any cool nature scene” and “Self-portraits are at best uninteresting and at worst annoying”.

So let’s breakdown the complaint about his giant head obscuring anything.  The picture he shows is at a 4:3 ratio.  His Twitter feed reveals he’s an iPhone user.  The last iPhone with a 4:3 front camera resolution was the iPhone 4s.  So in January 2014, this guy who writes about tech was using a phone released in 2011.  Really? You didn’t bother to upgrade to the iPhone5 or iPhone 5s tech writer?  Also, it’s not your head that takes up that picture.  It’s your torso. There’s plenty of room for scenery.  JUST ADJUST THE ANGLE!  With my arm extended and choosing the right angle, I can get my head to take up about 1/6th of the frame (the right third of the bottom half). You know what you can also do? Take a second picture.  Seriously.  Even back in the old days when people developed film and paid for each picture, they’d take pictures of two different scenes.

So onto the next complaint: Self-portraits are at best uninteresting.  I guess if you’re not interested that your friend went on a trip, is a self-portrait or a professional portrait going to change that?  Nope.  You know what is uninteresting?  Pictures of extremely popular things without people in them.

“Oh, you took a picture of the White House?  Interesting.  I wonder what it looks likes.” – No one ever.

If I want to see a picture of the White House, I can just search Google for one.  And it’s probably going to be better quality that whatever someone else took.  If I don’t care about a friend’s trip, whether or not they’re in the picture probably won’t make a difference.  Also, take a look at your yearbook.  It’s pictures of people.  People in pictures make for better memories.

Before the selfie, someone else was taking picture.  It was probably mom or dad.  This means that you’d very rarely have the whole family in the picture.  If you did, it was done either with a self-timer or you had to rely on some stranger taking it for you.  But no one wants to hand a stranger their phone.  That contains a whole bunch of important stuff, it’s very expensive, and it has a high resale value on the black market.

Maybe selfies are one of those things that people want to make fun of because it makes them feel like they’re the Siskel and Ebert of culture.  They’ll mock selfies, Nickelback, tshirts that are actually comfortable, and more just so people think they’re knowledgeable.

Do you think there’s anything wrong with the selfie?

Posted in Family Updates | 3 Comments

Coke names

Have you noticed the Coke bottles with names on them?  They started appearing earlier this year.  They say “Share a Coke with …..” and then the name of someone.  To be honest, I have yet to purchase a Coke to share with a person with that name.  To be fair, the opportunity hasn’t arisen.  The closest I got was getting a bottle with the name of one of the guys I work with.  But he started working remote a few weeks before, so I’m off the hook.

If I found a bottle with one of my close friends’ name written on it, would I buy it for them? Sure.  But that situation hasn’t arisen yet.

Now, the true goal is to find your own name.  So how have we been doing here?  Well, according to http://www.shareacoke.com/#find (no longer works to search), the best our family can do is 60%.  “Amie”, not unexpectedly, is not available.  Neither is “Micah”.  But that’s fine because the sugar and caffeine would not be good for him. According to that page, “Bryan” is available.  I haven’t seen it yet, but it is a change from my younger childhood years. I’ve sometimes thought my middle name should be “With-a-y”.  But the spelling on that would be awkward.  Withuhwhy? Whithuwheye?

At work, it’s been busy, so I’ve been getting a soda more often.  I’ll walk and check the two machines to see if any have one that would be good to get.  Earlier in the summer, I got “Hannah”.  I was exhausted, so I drank “her” Coke, but she has the bottle and enjoys it.

I also check at the gas station.  I was able to snag an “Amy”, which is the closest she’ll get. But yesterday, I gassed up and saw it………

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We’ll call that a victory for the whole family.

My dad was able to get this:

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But it’s Diet Coke, so it doesn’t count.  But I saw this in the machine at work:

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And that was good enough for me, because I’m a problem solver:

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Did you find your name this summer?

Posted in Humor | 3 Comments

Candy Socialism

or Candy “Early Church” if you prefer

Tonight is the night when many households become enriched with a cornucopia of candy blessings (or curses if you worry about the health of your family). There are many different theories as to what is the best way to handle the candy, but I thought I’d share what our house does.

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Generally all the candy goes together in one big bowl. Then, everyone gets to have 1 or 2 pieces, depending on size, each day until the candy is gone or only gross stuff is left (or it’s close to Christmas). If candy is left and it’s getting close to Christmas, that candy gets thrown out or sent to Daddy’s work where someone inevitably eats it despite the fact that they are adults and can buy good candy whenever they want.

The great thing about Candy Socialism is that everyone shares. The girls will often swap parts of their snacks on their own to get greater variety (Emma traded 2 fruit snacks today for a Spree and a Bottlecap), and everyone encourages Mom to eat peanut butter cups because they know she likes them. There is no need for parent thievery or “trades” or bargaining. Nobody argues about fairness. Everyone gets to choose the candy that they like the best from what’s left until it’s all gone.

Understand that I truly believe in property rights. The girls do not have to give up American Girl dolls that they have bought themselves to one another. They get their own pencils and pens and scissors. They don’t have to share blankets, clothes, etc. They have cups that are their own. I encourage sharing, but I don’t require it unless it falls under one of our community property areas. We have categories of shared toys (we don’t keep everyone’s Lego sets separate). We share books. And, we share candy. If someone buys special candy for themselves, they do not need to share, but gifted candy is community candy.

This system probably wouldn’t work for many or even most houses, but it works for us. Now, the only problem we have left is whether or not to face the bitter cold tonight to let Hannah go trick or treating. It’s going to be below freezing out there. Brr!

Do you share candy?

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Depression-era Frugal

As I started cutting the watermelon off the rind that my husband had missed with the melon baller, I realized that I’m not really like other people. At least not in this generation.

Last week, I got grief for pouring two mostly empty ketchup bottles together because I spent some extra time ensuring none was wasted (minutes, not seconds).

Time forced me to give up my pursuit of the last droplets from the dish soap bottle, but if I had not been in a hurry, I would have swished some hot water in the bottle and added it to the dishwater.

I save celery stalks, carrot tops, and chicken carcasses for broth.

I’ll reuse Ziplocs if I can.

I sometimes save curtains, sheets, and other pieces of old fabric just in case it might be able to be recycled into a sewing project someday.

We eat our leftovers. If we won’t, I will sometimes plan a meal just to use it up. The leftover quinoa and oatmeal in my fridge? It’s going into a multigrain bread.

If we won’t use it for a while, I will freeze it for later.

Soup cans make great pencil holders.

I said that I would make Hannah’s wedding dress should she ever get married. She agreed as long as I wouldn’t use old sheets or whatever (see above) and would actually purchase the material new. Apparently, I’m Maria von Trapp at our house.

Sometimes I wrestle with the decision to throw things away even if I know I won’t use them. I still throw it away, though.

I used to save milk jugs to put my homemade cleaners, but it turns out milk jugs are now made of biodegradable plastic. They don’t make things like they used to.

Also, $5 seems to be a good pricepoint in my mind for how much a shirt should cost.

So you would think, then, that I would also coupon with the best of them, but you would be wrong.

Tried it once, but it cost too much to get a paper, I’m not comfortable asking others for inserts, it takes a lot of time to organize, and you end up with items you can’t use up. Criminal.

Bryan is not this frugal, but he has better earning potential.

How frugal are you?

Posted in Frugal, Random | 3 Comments

2014 Family Pics

So, if you’ve been keeping up, you’ve seen the losers. Here are the pics that I just love, though.

Of Emma

IMG_6868IMG_6889IMG_6878Of Hannah

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Of Micah

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Of Bryan

IMG_6910IMG_6912IMG_6911This is what I like of me

IMG_7000IMG_6919But the kids like this one better

IMG_7001Group shots

IMG_6984IMG_6942IMG_7037IMG_7006IMG_7022And some bonus baby pics because I can’t resist

IMG_6948IMG_6960IMG_6971So, there you go! Family photos 2014. Now if I could just get someone to spend 10 minutes each year positioning and taking the family photos, I’d really have something to write home about :) Do you take family photos each year? Is not coordinating clothing the most ridiculously stressful thing EVER?

 

 

Posted in Family Updates | 2 Comments

Family Photo Fails

I took everyone out to take our yearly picture. No artsy faded backgrounds or cool photo edits this year because my camera is not that good and my photo editing software is the free stuff, so you’re stuck with the raw (but still cute) footage.

In any case, some of our photos are not so cute. So, with the victim’s permission, here are some of our photo fails.

Photo sessions are generally pretty boring, so a lot of people were having trouble staying awake.

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At some point during every photo shoot, everyone gets the, “you’ve got to be kidding me” look on their face.

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Then, there are always those awkward, random shots that you have no idea where they came from.

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And the position/smile fails that come with group shots.

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Finally, sometimes, you just love it, but it doesn’t work for wall photos.

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There’s the fails. Stay tuned for the good stuff. And a new blog header. Contain your excitement people!

 

Posted in Fun | 4 Comments

Signs that you might be a homeschool dad

I saw this post from Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, and the title made me wonder. What if someone really was a homeschool dad and he didn’t know it? What if his wife had asked him while he was browsing on the internet, and he had just agreed without really hearing her? What if she stealthily handed him the Letter of Intent to homeschool for the school district in a stack of other papers to sign?

So, if you suspect that your wife may be homeschooling your children on the down low, here’s some clues that it could be true.

  • The books in your home are multiplying, but they still claim that a weekly trip to the library is necessary.
  • The picture you knock down while vacuuming or playing living room football seems to have a whiteboard on the other side of it.
  • Crayons, pencils, and scissors can suddenly be found EVERYWHERE throughout the house.
  • The Rainbow Resources catalog (along with about 50 other educational catalogs) mysteriously shows up at your house.
  • The Household or Education budget significantly increases.
  • People report seeing your children out during the day.
  • The kids all just happen to be on school break whenever you take a sick day.
  • Also, they don’t really seem all that excited when the public schools go on break.
  • Your wife starts texting you math problems at 10 a.m. “Honey, I’m thinking about our Christmas trip. If Train A is going 60 miles per hour . . . .”
  • She asks that you show your work.
  • Ancient Greece has become a dinner conversation topic for your wife and kids.
  • Herb gardens and butterfly terrariums start showing up in the dining room.
  • Despite all the kids being in school, your wife REALLY needs you to pick up takeout on a much more regular basis.
  • The house seems significantly messier each day when you come home.
  • The kids no longer have any homework after dinner.
  • You start getting regular book deliveries from Amazon, Rainbow Resources, Apologia, and more.
  • Your wife no longer cares if the kids are wearing matching clothes for the day.
  • Your kids talk about doing school instead of going to school.
  • Packing lunches suddenly seems to baffle your wife.
  • Backpacks start to contain less books and more rocks, sticks, leaves, and other random stuff.
  • Your children start a home business.
  • Notebooking is mentioned, as in “Did you do your notebooking for science today?”
  • When you ask the kids what they did at school today, and they reply “I don’t know”, your wife jumps in and starts detailing all the things that were covered in math, science, and history.
  • The children’s desks have migrated out to the living room or other spare room.
  • Your wife has considered getting backyard chickens or “homesteading”.
  • Your children start talking about some place called “co-op”.
  • All of your children are studying the same topic in History and Science.
  • Your wife calls a book “twaddle.”
  • Bookcases start appearing in the dining room along with maps and letter charts and white boards.

And, of course,

  • Your children complete all their schoolwork at home under the instruction of a parent (or two).

I hope this is a helpful post to those of you who didn’t know you were homeschooling.

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