Monday, December 15, 2008

What to do with all those picture Christmas Cards??

I got the following idea from my friend, Cheri, and it's brilliant!

Ever wonder what to do with all those photo Christmas cards you receive this time of year? Well, my friend started saving them by hole-punching one of the top corners of the cards and attaching them to a binder ring. She then creates a title card with the year to be placed at the top of the collection. The cards are kept in a Christmas basket for festive display. I think it's a great way to save the cards and reminisce throughout the years. It's going to be a new tradition for me this year...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thanksgiving Visit

I had an amazing visit with my daughter and husband over the Thanksgiving holiday break. It had been just shy of a month since I'd seen them.
We spent Thanksgiving in Times Square, New York and attended the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

We enjoyed an incredible Cuban Thanksgiving feast at Havana's Restaurant.

The best part was getting to spend Thanksgiving evening at Rosie O'Grady's with my sister and her family who also happened to be spending Thanksgiving in New York (completely by coincidence)!

Then, we went back to Cape May, New Jersey for a more subdoed holiday. Since my daughter and husband will be remaining in Cape May until Christmas break, we did some holiday activities while we were all together.
We had lunch with Mrs. Claus (Santa must have been busy).

We looked at the festive Christmas decor and lights in the town square.

Plus, we bought a small Christmas tree to decorate at the condo and baked Christmas cookies.

We did a lot in a little amount of time and it was all wonderful.
We knew it might be hard for our daughter once her brother and I returned back home to Texas. She still wanted to stay with her dad while he finishes the movie, but having me there made things different.
I told my daughter we'd see her at Christmas and after the holiday break she would be returning to her school in Texas. I asked if she would write a note to her teacher and classmates to tell them all about Cape May and her new school. She wrote the note with much enthusiasm.
On Monday, we took our daughter to school. I walked her to class, hugged and kissed her, and told her I'd see her for Christmas. She seemed content to stay.

Apparently the next morning, she had a melt-down. She had thought she had asked her dad to buy a plane ticket to fly home with mommy. He didn't know what to do and called me. We talked about our options. It was a big decision for our daughter to stay in Cape May and attend a different school. And at anytime she wanted to leave, we had it figured out. But, after an hour or so, she had calmed down and went to school. At this point in time, it really is best if she stays and finishes out the school year in Cape May. Christmas is just around the corner! We will continue to talk on the phone every night and will set up the webcams. This bonding time with her dad is priceless. I can see how close they've become. And her confindence in herself has grown too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

All My Favs

this is simply a website of links to many, many useful sites...

there is a great link for KIDS too!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A week ago, I took my daughter to visit her dad in Cape May, New Jersey. He's there shooting a movie. She really enjoyed being on the set and followed her daddy around like a lil' puppy dog. It was adorable.

The day before my daughter and I were to return home, the casting director asked if our daughter could stay to be in the movie for some big Christmas scene. My husband and I didn't see how it would be possible because of school, but weighed the options. Additionally, my husband so loved having our daughter there with him and hoped for more bonding time. We asked our daughter if she wanted to stay (temporaryily) in New Jersey with her daddy. She did want to stay.
Our daughter seemed to truly understand her choice. She told me who she would miss; that she knew she would make new friends and go to a new school with a new teacher.
With just a day to figure out all the details and arrangements for tranferring our daughter to a new school-we had a LOT to do in a little amount of time. My husband spoke with a couple he's working with that have their daughter enrolled in the local school in Cape May. They explained the paperwork we would need. They also gave us the names of nannies and babysitters in the area. My husband made many phone calls to arrange for a nanny for the weekends he'd be shooting and any late nights he may have on set. He phoned the local school to determine what the process was for enrollment. I called her current school to find out how to get our daughter's paperwork transferred.
I unpacked her clothes and put them away. She only had enough for 4 days and 3 nights. I recently shipped her more clothes (especially for the cold weather there) and her backpack and supplies for school.

It all happened so fast, it almost didn't seem real. Flying back on the plane home was the weird though- I felt like I was missing something, (someone). The next day, I had to un-enroll my daughter from the school here and that's when it really hit me like a foot to the stomach.
But, I can't be selfish and think of me. It's only temporary and we'll see each other soon for the holidays. I speak with my daughter everyday and she sounds so happy. I know she and her daddy are enjoying their time together. It gives them a real chance to bond. It's an amazing opportunity for our daughter to experience another town, new people, new school, the set of a movie, and eventually snow! And my husband was able to be there for our daughter's second lost tooth!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I received the following text messages from my daughter after she had her first iphone texting lesson from her daddy using his phone:

I like my mom.
Sent from my iPhone

I. Will take care. Of. My. Mommy.
Sent from my iPhone

now these are some text messages worth saving!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Oh, and by the way, you're the Daisy Troop Leader...

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! It was my first Halloween scare.

I found out that I'm my daughter's Daisy Troop Leader!?

I had no idea. I simply emailed to find out when the meetings would be and I was informed, "as soon as you get trained." Confused, I picked up the phone and called...

"As soon as I get trained for what?" I asked.

"To be the troop leader." I was told.

The woman explained that my daughter's troop was made up of 6 girls and if I didn't become the leader the troop would be disbanded. How could I disappoint my daughter whom has spoken constantly about grooming horses and camping since I signed her up? And what about the other 5 girls?

So was my name thrown in a hat and I was randomly picked? Was I the only one to fill out a volunteer form and therefore chosen to volunteer as leader? Or was I bullied into this?

I felt completely blindsided and overwhelmed. I then phoned my sister. She's a co-leader for her daughters' Brownie Troop. My sister insisted that I could handle the responsibilities of being a troop leader and she would share her project ideas with me. She said that being the leader would be as easy or difficult as I made it.

Still feeling overwhelmed, I found a last-minute babysitter and made a basic leadership training that same night. The training was informative and helped me understand the expectations and time involved. Though the excitement has not yet set in-maybe that will come during the first Daisy Troop meeting. This means so much to my daughter so I'm going to try my best. I know how much I enjoyed being a Brownie and Girl Scout.

In the mean time, I have a lot of reading to do...I was given several booklets at the training session.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tale of the Drunken Tooth Fairy

My daughter lost her first tooth this past weekend. It was quite exciting. We carefully wrapped her tooth in gauze and placed it in a small box.
That same night, I hosted my famous Halloween party. It was a long, fun night. For convenience and peace of mind, the kids slept in my bed.

Around 3am, I cleaned up some of the party mess and put the leftovers away. It was at this time that the tooth fairy arrived. She looked under the pillow on my daughter's empty bed and found nothing. NOTHING. Not a box. Not a different box. Not a tooth! The tooth fairy was very confused. She searched the bed again. Pulling off all the covers and pillows and stumbling in the process. The tooth fairy now had a good view of the underneath of the bed-still no tooth. She picked herself up and wondered what a little girl would do with her first tooth. A little girl who had been told earlier by her cruel great uncle, that a first tooth warrants a $40 payoff! Surely, the little girl was hoping for forty dollars and put her tooth under her pillow like every other boy and girl??? RIGHT?? The tooth fairy continued hunting the ever elusive tooth. She almost dozed off at one point while rifling through a pile of stuffed animals. The tooth fairy was tired and about to give up. She was going to leave a note for the little girl. When she picked herself up from the pile of stuffed animals, she finally found the box. She quickly opened it, saw the gauze and placed the box in her pocket. Relieved, the tooth fairy left the money under the pile of stuffed animals.

About 7am the next morning, my daughter woke up, ran downstairs to her room and yelled that the tooth fairy left her tooth! She ran back upstairs to show me. I slowly opened my swollen eyes to see the tooth in my daughter's small, cupped hand. My daughter told me that the tooth fairy didn't know she was home because she was sleeping in my bed instead of her own. I made a mental note that the tooth fairy should take the money in the stuffed animal pile and use it again. Apparently, my daughter had taken the tooth out of the box and placed the lone tooth under her pillow. The tooth fairy was looking for a bright ORANGE James Avery box and could not see a pale white tooth on pale pink sheets-nor did she feel it when she desperately ran her hands back and forth over the mattress.
I explained to my daughter that the tooth fairy didn't forget about her, but that she probably couldn't find the tooth since it wasn't in it's box. By the time I actually got out of bed, I had forgotten about the money the tooth fairy left in the pile of stuffed animals. Later in the afternoon, my daughter discovered the money and shrieked with excitement, "the tooth fairy left me money! and she took the box!"
My daughter was happy and the tooth fairy had done her job-to some extent anyway. My daughter got paid for her first lost tooth and the tooth fairy got a box of gauze.
My daughter thought the tooth fairy might come back once she realized the tooth wasn't in the box-so my daughter wanted to put the box under her pillow again. Unfortunately, when my daughter brought the tooth upstairs to show me the tooth fairy forgot it-the tooth was lost. It's yet to be found. Though I have a feeling one night the tooth fairy is going to stumble upon it-literally.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


My daughter's school was hit hard by Hurricane Ike. The cafeteria is still out of commission due to flooding. The school has set up a make-shift cafeteria in the gym. Other schools in the district also suffered damage. ALL students have been offered free hot breakfasts and lunches for the next two weeks. The school district is even offering free or reduced meals to those families whose economic status has changed or those who have been displaced.

There are many students attending our elementary school that no longer have homes. I can only imagine how much free hot meals mean to those families. It's one less expense they have to worry about.

My family is lucky to have a home and finally electricity. But, I am grateful for the free meals as well. We've had three weeks of unexpected expenses and though our fridge now has power and has been bleached clean-it is still in need of groceries.

Thanks to the CCISD school board and everyone who has helped the schools, the students and their families.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

9 Ways to Prevent a Meltdown -- Your Kid's and Yours, Too

I know I don't always make the right choices when my kids misbehave and it's especially true right now due to all the stress I'm faced with since Hurrican Ike. My family is trying to make the best of it- still living without electricity. But, with school still closed and the kids' lack of 'normal' routine, they're not the best listeners right now. These tips help me get back on track and make better choices in dealing with my kids-and I've been taking a lot of deep breathes here lately...

By Melody Warnick from

Soothing Solution: Take a Time-Out

Why it works for your kid: By placing your child in a brief time-out (one minute per year of his age) in a separate room, you'll eliminate a major reason for why he's flipping out in the first place: to get a rise out of you. "The vast majority of the time, a child has a temper tantrum to get attention and control," says Carl Arinoldo, PhD, a child psychologist and coauthor of Essentials of Smart Parenting. "An actor doesn't get onstage and play to an empty house." Plus, time by himself halts the downward emotional spiral, allowing him to regroup more quickly.
Why it works for you: Hiding out behind a closed door for a few minutes gives you space to chill out. You can even say it's the punishment for losing your temper. "I tell my kids, 'I'm sorry I yelled at you. I'm going to my room to take a time-out until I can calm down,'" explains Katie Baird, a mother of three from Flower Mound, Texas. "Sometimes they pound the door and try to get in, but more often than not they think it's really funny that Mommy has to go to time-out." Whether you're reading, meditating, or surfing the Web, five minutes alone helps you regain perspective and control.

Soothing Solution: Have a Tickle-Fest
Why it works for your kid: Giggling not only lightens the mood, it provides a physical release for all that tension -- one that doesn't involve kicking and hitting. When Robin Alexander-Keenan's 3-year-old daughter Megan was starting to lose it on an 11-hour transatlantic flight, her mom lifted Megan's arms above her head and then counted her ribs. "By the time we made it to five she was hysterical and so was I," says Alexander-Keenan, of Haswell, England. "Now when I get really cross she does the same with me."
Why it works for you: Laughter isn't called the best medicine for nothing; it's long been known for its ability to reduce stress. In fact, one recent study showed that even thinking about laughing releases beta-endorphins, a natural analgesic, into your bloodstream. If playing Tickle Monster with your little one doesn't crack you up, break out the knock-knock jokes, or dive into a book by humorist David Sedaris while your toddler's down for her nap.

Soothing Solution: Breathe Deeply
Why it works for your kid: Even little kids can be taught to recognize how their body feels when they're getting worked up -- hot, itchy, stiff, jerky -- and can learn to counteract those feelings by taking a few deep breaths. In a calm moment, show your child how to pretend he's blowing out the candle on a birthday cupcake; then, the next time you see him start to get upset, you can use a simple code word like "candle" to remind him to take a breathing break.
Why it works for you: Dealing with your child's tantrum throws your nervous system into crisis mode, but slow, deep breathing shuts off those emergency signals. "If instead of yelling you stop and take a breath, you begin to calm your body's arousal system," says Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, author of Raising Your Spirited Child. "Then you can tell yourself, 'He's not out to get me. He's upset, but I don't have to be too.'"

Soothing Solution: Use Words
Why it works for your kid: For a 1-year-old, an inability to string the right words together exacerbates his frustration, which is why he'll resort to biting his big sister instead. But if you offer him words to describe his feelings, along with a bit of empathy, he'll feel better. "When I say, 'I know you are upset that it's time to leave' or 'I know you wanted that toy and you're very angry that Mommy didn't buy it,' I always see relief wash over my children's faces," says Sachia Logan, a mother of three from Independence, Missouri. "It's like they're saying, 'Yes, that's exactly what I was thinking!'"
Why it works for you: Simply saying out loud, "I'm really angry right now," validates your feelings and clarifies that you need to stop engaging with your kids for the moment. Plus, if you say it only on occasion, it can stop your child in his tracks. "It can be valuable to let our kids know how we feel, and how their behaviors are affecting us," Hal Runkel says.

Soothing Solution: Tap into Your Creative Side
Why it works for your kid: When your child is getting upset, hand her some crayons and paper so she can draw a picture of how she feels. Even making just a few angry black scribbles is a healthy way for her to express her emotions, and it lets her know that you're paying attention to how she feels.
Why it works for you: Getting creative by drawing, writing, or playing an instrument is the perfect way to vent, and it can channel the day's frustrations into a more fruitful outlet. Knowing that she'll spend the evening blogging about her kids' annoying behavior tones down Stephanie Elliott's irritation about it for the moment. "Sometimes I even say it out loud: 'That's a blogger!' And it's almost like I have to get to the computer immediately to get it out of my system," says the mother of three from Woodridge, Illinois. Blog bonus: Readers offer helpful comments and dispense sympathy when you're struggling.

Soothing Solution: Offer a Reward
Why it works for your kid: When children are learning to control their behavior, an extra incentive doesn't hurt. Throw a marble in a jar when they manage to head off a tantrum at the pass, with the promise that 10 marbles earn them a trip to the bowling alley or a movie night at home. It might make them think twice before they blow their top.
Why it works for you: Everyone loves to be rewarded for good behavior, so if you have your own marble jar, it'll give you a tangible way to track and recognize improved patience. "If you know you've got a problem blowing up around your kids, and you've started doing deep breathing or drinking a glass of water to calm down, why not take yourself to the spa as a reward?" says Linda Pearson, a family nurse practitioner in Lakewood, Colorado, and author of The Discipline Miracle.

Soothing Solution: Count to 10
Why it works for your kid: Counting warns your child that his behavior is unacceptable without requiring you to launch into a lecture. Plus, it gives him a set amount of time to transition from one activity to another, such as from hogging the toy truck to sharing it or from roughhousing the dog to petting her gently.
Why it works for you: The mantra-like focus you need to slowly count to 10 in the midst of a battle with your kid enables you to ratchet down your anger a few notches. And it buys you time. "When your kid's driving you crazy, if you can just pause before you respond, that's when you can make a great choice about how to react," Runkel says.

Soothing Solution: Lighten Up
Why it works for your kid: Singing a silly sing, talking in a wacky accent, or pretending you're Cinderella's wicked stepmother is the parental equivalent of cracking a joke in a tense meeting at work: It reminds everyone that the situation isn't nearly as dire as it seems. "Doing something like singing shifts the area of your child's brain that's functioning, and that can actually calm her," Mary Sheedy Kurcinka says. "It breaks the tension."
Why it works for you:
Getting a little silly forces you to ditch your angry face. "One way I interrupt meltdowns is by turning on some goofy kid songs, like John Lithgow's Singin' in the Bathtub CD, and dancing a silly dance," says Vicci Radake, of Fenton, Missouri, the mother of an 11-month-old. She has also tried the technique with her daycare kids. "It gives me a burst of energy and gets the kids to forget what they were even crying about."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

We survived Ike...

We are truly lucky. We live in Kemah on the East side-which is known as the Lighthouse District or the Entertainment District. We're about 8 blocks South of the Kemah Boardwalk and 2 blocks from Galveston Bay.

We are surrounded by destruction-but somehow our house made it. We had very minimal damage. It's still hard to believe.

We returned to our house on Sunday to assess the damage. We came prepared with generator, gasoline, water, food and ice. We are still without power and have been living by generator for a week. We're used to camping out so it hasn't been bad. And we can't complain, because we still have a secure roof over our heads. The kids think we're on some sort of vacation. They have been playing outside, riding bikes, finger-painting, helping pick up tree debris in the yard, playing dress up, etc.

They have done a good job of keeping themselves occupied without the use of the electricity. We've been very sparing with running the generator since gas is so expensive and had been hard to come by (many more stations are open now). We only run the generator at night for a few hours of TV, a fan and a lamp. We also have a portable AC unit we borrowed from my in-laws. It will be a savior this week as the weather has warmed up. Last week was cool after the storm and we just opened up all the windows to let in a nice breeze.

However, the nostalgia did wear off so we took a break and spent this weekend in Central Texas. It's given us a chance to cool off in real AC, take a hot shower and finally get access to the Internet!

We will return home tomorrow to try and return to a normal routine. It will be different though as my daughter's school will not be reopening until Sept. 29th.
(Pictured below in the background is our Elementary School)Plus, because our neighborhood has been all over the news and tourists as well as locals have become looky-lous and the area is a hotspot for looters. The City is still under curfew from 7pm to 7am and there are only two entrances into the neighborhood. The local police and the National Guard are strictly enforcing the curfew and ingress/egress of the citizens. Military vehicles patrol the streets at night with spot lights to look for looters and curfew-breakers. There is a constant flow of news, private, military and coast guard helicopters surveying the coastline. It does make us feel safe from looters, etc., but it's weird.

We took advantage of a local FEMA Point of Distribution (POD) location because many of the stores did not have ice either because they didn't have power or they were out. We also received a case of water and MRE's. Our thoughts go out to all those affected by Ike from Haiti to Ohio. It was a massive storm. We've been helping where we can and even donated blood as the blood banks in the Gulf Coast area of Texas are in critical need. If you can donate to the Red Cross, donate blood, volunteer at a POD location, or lend out a generator-I'm sure there are many people who would be grateful.


UPDATE: We have electricity after two weeks!!
Link to more
pictures of the Kemah area

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hurricane Headed Your Way? Be Prepared!

My hubby and I started boarding up our house today. The City we live in has requested that we evacuate. We actually had Kemah Police officers with bullhorns tell us to "evacuate immediately." We have a plan and had previously put all our important papers, photo albums, etc. together. We also explained in basic terms what a hurricane is to our kids. My daughter put all of her stuffed animals up high in case of flooding, but mostly, the kids are just excited to go see Mimi and Papa. As I was packing items up, I realized the kids might have something "special" they wouldn't want destroyed. I told them to take their favorite items with them. We'll now be travelling with a pink poodle webkin, a purple stuffed bunny, a toy truck and a plastic yellow sword that no longer lights up.

The kids and cats as we "evacuate" to my in-laws' house

Something to think about when packing up-During Hurricane Rita, friends of our family living in Mississippi thought putting items up on their second floor would keep them from getting damaged in case flood waters entered their home. The couple left behind many irreplaceable items. When they returned to their home--everything was gone. It's difficult to imagine. It's even harder to precisely predict a hurricane. Be prepared, be safe, and if there are items you just can't bare to lose--take them with you.

The Red Cross website is a good resource for preparing in the event of a hurricane:
Prepare a Personal Evacuation Plan
-Identify ahead of time where you could go if you are told to evacuate. Choose several places--a friend's home in another town, a motel, or a shelter.
-Keep handy the telephone numbers of these places as well as a road map of your locality. You may need to take alternative or unfamiliar routes if major roads are closed or clogged.
-Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for evacuation instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
Take these items with you when evacuating:
-Prescription medications and medical supplies;
-Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows
-Bottled water, battery-operated radio and extra batteries, first aid kit, flashlight
-Car keys and maps
-Documents, including driver’s license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, immunization records, etc.
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Including the Following Items:
-First aid kit and essential medications.
-Canned food and can opener.
-At least three gallons of water per person.
-Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
-Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
-Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.
-Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on.)
Prepare for High Winds
-Install hurricane shutters or purchase precut 1/2" outdoor plywood boards for each window of your home. --Install anchors for the plywood and predrill holes in the plywood so that you can put it up quickly.
-Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through.
Know What to Do When a Hurricane WATCH Is Issued
-Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for up-to-date storm information.
-Prepare to bring inside any lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants, and anything else that can be picked up by the wind.
-Prepare to cover all windows of your home. If shutters have not been installed, use precut plywood as described above. Note: Tape does not prevent windows from breaking, so taping windows is not recommended.
-Fill your car's gas tank.
-Recheck manufactured home tie-downs.
-Check batteries and stock up on canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water, and medications.
Know What to Do When a Hurricane WARNING Is Issued
-Listen to the advice of local officials, and leave if they tell you to do so.
-Complete preparation activities.
-If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors, away from windows.
-Be aware that the calm "eye" is deceptive; the storm is not over. The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Trees, shrubs, buildings, and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds.
-Be alert for tornadoes. Tornadoes can happen during a hurricane and after it passes over. Remain indoors, in the center of your home, in a closet or bathroom without windows.
-Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car and climb to higher ground.
Know What to Do After a Hurricane Is Over
-Keep listening to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for instructions.
-If you evacuated, return home when local officials tell you it is safe to do so.
-Inspect your home for damage.
-Use flashlights in the dark; do not use candles.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Care (Pee) Free!

Last week, I was confronted by my son's day care teacher that there was an "incident" on the playground. My first thought was that another kid had pushed my son or vise versa.

I was not prepared for the following question...
"Well, um, does your son usually pee in the grass?"

By all outside appearances, I was mortified-though I was laughing hysterically on the inside.
And I wanted to strangle my husband. How I wished he could have been the one to explain exactly why it is his son believes it is perfectly OK to pee in the bushes along the perimeter of the day care playground.

My answer to the teacher...
"You can blame his daddy for that, but we're working on it."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rebel without a "do"

My lil' First Grader...

(didn't want her hair done even for the first day of school-at least she lets me comb out the tangles!)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I've gone from diaper-changer to poop-scooper...

I wrote recently about how wonderful it is my son is finally potty-trained.
Well, he's definitely got the whole not peeing and pooping in his pants down, but he's dropping trou' in the back yard, the front yard, the side yard...
And pooping!

It's not a good habit to start and it's even harder to kick. I'm trying to explain to my son that he really should pee/poo in the potty- indoors. It's difficult to be convincing though-because his daddy marks his territory in the back yard and even the neighbor boys pee in the grass on occasion. My son is only copying what he sees. Or maybe my 3-year-old is Earth-conscience and is trying to conserve water...which ever the case, I'll be careful of where I step until this is resolved.

Friday, August 15, 2008


If you haven't finished back-to-school shopping...this is the weekend to do it...

Clothing Sales Tax Holiday
August 15-17, 2008

Texas shoppers get a break from state and local sales taxes on August 15, 16 and 17 - the state’s annual tax holiday. Lay-away plans can be used again this year to take advantage of the sales tax holiday.
The law exempts most clothing and footwear priced under $100 from sales and use taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend. Backpacks under $100 and used by elementary and secondary students are also exempt. A backpack is a pack with straps one wears on the back. The exemption during the sales tax holiday includes backpacks with wheels, provided they can also be worn on the back like a traditional backpack, and messenger bags. The exemption does not include items that are reasonably defined as luggage, briefcases, athletic/duffle/gym bags, computer bags, purses or framed backpacks. Ten or fewer backpacks can be purchased tax-free at one time without providing an exemption certificate to the seller.

List of Items and Their Exemption Status
Baby clothes
Backpacks for use by elementary and secondary students
Belts with attached buckles
Boots - cowboy, hiking
Caps/hats - baseball, fishing, golf, knitted
Coats and wraps
Diapers - adult and baby
Gloves (generally)
Gym suits and uniforms
Hooded shirts and hooded sweatshirts
Jerseys - baseball and football
Jogging apparel
Neckwear and ties
Pants and trousers
Raincoats and ponchos
Shoes - sandals, slippers, sneakers, tennis, walking
Socks (including athletic)
Suits, slacks, and jackets
Sweat suits
Work clothes and uniforms

Thursday, August 14, 2008 - has great outing and activity ideas...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The "Head" Cheerleader has done it again...


Ah, what could be more joyous...other than not having to buy diapers anymore!!

I can't tell you any secret trick to how the potty training was accomplished. I used many different tips, methods and various advise of friends and family. I can share that

-I was diligent in taking my son to the potty every hour though.

-I never pressured him.

-If he had an accident, I took him straight to the bathroom and told him that was where he needed to potty.

-I didn't yell or belittle him for having an accident.

-I rewarded him for going to the potty with M&M's or Welch's fruit snacks (he still wants a treat every time he goes though-so be warned)

-I even put cheerios in the toilet for my son to "aim" at (I'd read about that somewhere)

If your in the midst of potty-training, don't get down on yourself if it's taking a while. I started with introducing my son to the training potty last Fall. But, once my son was ready-that's when he was started learning and then in no time he was trained. He's 3 1/2 now so that's fairly "normal" timing for a boy to learn to potty on his own. Girls usually learn potty-training much faster. My daughter was 18 months. You can read her potty training story here.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Day!


Today, August 7, participating Dairy Queen® and DQ Grill & Chill® locations will celebrate the third-annual Miracle Treat Day ( and donate proceeds from every Blizzard sold that day to Children's Miracle Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for children's hospitals.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

BIG Thank you!

This past week I went out-of-town for a work conference. My mother-in-law was kind enough to come stay with the kids. Like a good Mimi, she spoiled the kids and took them to Chuck E. Cheese and the Johnson Space Center. She said the kids were well-behaved and she enjoyed the visit.
Unfortunately, the visit also included vomit and diarrhea. Her role was expanded to washing bedding and scrubbing beige Berber carpet. Mimi is a good sport and I really appreciate her babysitting for me.

I tried to make it a bit easier for Mimi:
-I made sure to stock up on groceries so she wouldn't have to go to the store. (Next time I'll make sure to have some Gingerale or Sprite).
-I even made a list of suggestions the kids like for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
-I put out clothes for my son to wear for the week.
-In case it rained or it was too hot outside, I set out art supplies/projects to keep the kids occupied.
-I wrote instructions on how to operate the TV's and the satellite (I know I have trouble figuring out other people's remotes)

-Also, I left an extra health insurance card in case of a medical emergency and I left a signed letter giving her permission to treat my kids.

Friday, July 25, 2008

That school bell will be ringing soon...

...are you and the kids ready? Are you hitting all the early bird "back to school" sales for clothes and supplies?

I thought I'd share the list of things I need to do before the start of school (my list is hanging on my fridge as a constant reminder):

-clean out all drawers and closets (Get closets ready for Fall wardrobe-get rid of junk, clutter, broken or old toys & go through grown out or worn out clothes)
*this helps you figure out what clothes may be needed for the next school year
-get school bus schedule
-make dry erase board with morning and nighttime routines for the kids
-get the kids back on the "school" routine 2 to 3 weeks prior to school starting
-stock up on school items and snacks
-sign up for day care and after school care
-Check ups (make sure vaccinations are up-to-date)
-hair cuts

I had previously purchased a school supply kit from the PTA at my daughter's school - so I didn't have to add buy school classroom supplies to my list.

School starts August 25th for us and it's going to be here before we know it! Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A memorable brick...

A brick in time...saves your name-permanently!

I found this to be an amazing way to celebrate a first home (really any home) an anniversary, a birthday, thanking or remembering a family member or friend-truly there are countless reasons to memorialize someone, something or some family or group by purchasing a brick or tile along a public walkway or park.
I've seen bricks just like these all over the country. In my case, the Kemah Historical Society was needing a bricked area outside of their Old School House Museum. They used inscribed bricks and tiles to help fund a portion of the project. At $60 bucks a brick, I thought the cost of seeing that brick there for the course of my life and years after was well worth it! My kids get a kick out of seeing there names in the brick every time we walk by the old school house.
Check out your local schools, theatres, parks, museums or historical society for bricks or tiles to inscribe with your name.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


My daughter recently turned 6-years-old. We're having a party for her this weekend. She had originally wanted a tea party and then decided on Chuck E. Cheese. Luckily, I was able to talk her out of the latter-she's actually had a birthday with Chuck already. My daughter returned to her original idea of a tea party, but she was very insistant that boys would want to come too. I assured her that we could throw a tea party even boys would enjoy.
I brainstormed tea party ideas that would be different and not too "girly." Instantly, the Mad Hatter tea party from Alice in Wonderland popped in my head. I thought about tumblers instead of tea cups, everything mis-matched and silly, strands of paper lanterns, a croquet game, a card game, crafty hat-making, finger sandwiches and cups cakes inside tea cups. The party was all coming together in my head. I quickly looked up "mad hatter tea party" on line and discovered my ideas were not original, but still good. There are numerous websites (such as this one) that detail many ideas for throwing a Mad Hatter Tea Party.

My daughter's party will actually be a Mad Hatter's Ice Tea Party since it's summertime-especially here in Texas.

As usual, I raided the Dollar store for party necessities:
-Party supplies (plates, napkins, plastic wear)
-Decorations (colorful fake flowers, cards, balloons)
-Party favors and prizes (decks of cards, bug cather kits)
-Reusable water bottles to use as the tea cups (they're round, colorfully-striped with a cap and straw)
-Cake Mix, frosting and cup cake holders
-Hat making supplies (foam visers, foam cut-outs, pompoms, googly-eyes, pipe cleaners, stickers)

I'll prepare chicken salad, tuna salad and PB&J finger sandwiches, veggie and fruit trays, snacks, and of course TEA! I'll have plain, peach and rasberry teas to choose from.

I'll set up a party tent or canopy adorned with paper lanterns and a large table with plenty of chairs. The table will be covered with bright tablecloths and colorful doilies. An array of hats, mis-matched tea pots and cups all full of colorful fake flowers and playing cards will be the center piece of the table.

Upon arrival at the party, the guests will find all sorts of hat-making crafts and supplies on a separate table and will be able to make their own silly hat (in this case a visor again-since it's July in Texas!)

My mom purchased a lovely croquet set for my daughter's birthday- so it will be used for one of the party games. I'll have each kid have a go at hitting the ball through the wire hoop for a prize.

A second game will be called the Queen of Hearts. I'll place the same amount of cards in a hat as there are guests-making sure one of the cards is the Queen of Hearts. Whom ever draws the Queen will win a prize.

Birthday cup cakes will be served in mis-matched tea cups.

(We even had a rabbit hole)

Friday, July 04, 2008

HAPPY 4th of July 2008

Kemah, the small city that we live in, hosted their yearly 4th of July parade. Residents and local businesses were encouraged to join in the fun and participate in the parade. My kids love being in a parade and waving at all the people watching. The City invited all the kids to decorate their bikes, wagons or scooters and start the parade. Local police, fire trucks, other emergency vehicles, residents in decorated golf carts, and local business floats finsihed out the small-scale parade. It was a wonderful way to feel a part of the community and get to know the people that live and work here. Plus, the kids received a great goody bag and plenty of candy!

The boardwalk in Kemah shoots off fireworks every Friday in June and July-so tonight's fireworks are sure to be spectacular and we don't even have to leave the front yard to see them!