Sunday, December 30, 2007

Creative Cards & Invitations

I was putting away some of the Christmas cards today, and I realized just how many more people are taking the time to make their own. This is something I've done for a number years. I've done birth announcements, birthday cards, first communion invitations, and Christmas cards. It's just something that I love to do--and I was happy to see so many other people finding the fun in being creative. Sadly this year, I was out of time, and had to just buy a stock card and add a picture of the kids. I hope nobody minded,they all got the same thing. I'm hoping this next year, there will be more time to really get creative again!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Wine Of The Month Club

This has been a post a long time in coming! I was so happy several weeks ago to be selected to receive a complimentary trial of a wine of the month club. It came beautifully packaged along with a newsletter and a really nice gift card.

It's a rarity that I get to try something new, so I was excited to read up on this wine before we broke it out for the holidays. It really made it fun as I asked people around the table what they thought of the wine. Many really liked the "oak" flavor that comes from being aged in Oak. Others really liked the dryness in the flavor--while others preferred more of a 'fruity' flavor. But all in all, it went over really well, and was excited to be able to share this with my family members. We do have a bit left over for New Years--but I may actually have to order some of my own!

As soon as I figure out how to download the pictures from my new digital camera, I will post a picture of these beautiful bottles.

Welcome 2008

I was tremendously blessed this Christmas. Not just with the renewed gift of health for all of our family members, but with the temporal needs to care for our family's needs, and to be able to provide a beautiful home for them, and a pretty darn nice Christmas. With the new year comes the close of many the home redo projects. From the Hansgrohe faucets to the new countertops. This next year I don't plan to look at a paint brush for my own home all year long! Helping my sister is another story--but for this house, we are done! Merry Christmas to me!

He's Home!!

How was your Christmas? Ours was busy! Really it was stressed out crazy! My father in law had gone into the hospital for a quick (yeah right) angiogram and ended up being admitted for many days in order to get him stable. It was a close call for quite awhile, but I'm happy to report that he is finally home and resting comfortably. We had Christmas really, really late on Christmas day. My poor kids were such troopers. Most of us were just really worried about grandpa--so we are all thrilled that he's feeling better!

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's Coming Quick

How is your Christmas shopping coming? My sister is done already! Over a week early, I'm so jealous. In fact, she isn't just done shopping, she's got everything but the Santa gifts wrapped and under the tree. She even found several cool things for her husband which is honestly the hardest part of Christmas shopping.

I am getting into the Christmas mood. I haven't been blogging as much recently due to the fact that the kids have been busy with different holiday productions, and I've been trying to bake to get my neighbor gifts out. It's so nice not being the new ones in the neighborhood anymore. We actually have friends to talk to rather than that awkward meet and greet phase!

Oh well, back to my shopping list writing!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Not Again

It's snowing, again! I barely got the shoveling done yesterday and now there are four more inches. Why oh why didn't I head out and buy that snow blower yesterday?

My oldest started to help me out yesterday, which was really sweet of him. But then before he was finished he was pulled away to his best friends house to build snow forts. Now I'm all for the fun of childhood, but sadly he took the only snow shovel we have and he left it there. So tonight when my husband got home and needed to shovel, we had to wake him up, bundle him up in his coat and boots and send him outside to find the snow shovel. He was not happy, but neither was dad, so it all balanced out!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Snow Blower Wanted

I killed myself today! I finished all of my Christmas shopping for all but one child--and he's pretty easy. But when I got home from shopping, it was time to shovel the walks. OH MY ACHING BACK! I definitely want a Snow Blower for Christmas now...this was MURDER! The bottom of the driveway is total ice, and I will have to go tomorrow to purchase the ice melter before I actually head out to take a hack at it! As for now, I'm heading up to bed with my hot water bottle!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The School Just Called

I have to pick Daniel up. I just got a call from the school that he is not feeling well. Poor thing! Out of all of my kids, he handles being sick--the WORST! I'm glad it's this week though, instead of next week. It's bad enough Rob has to drive the two oldest boys to school a half hour away everyday and then pick them up after school. But to have to stick a daytime trip in when one isn't feeling well is just asking too much!

Apparently he has a fever and is complaining of a sore throat--so I believe we will be at the doctors office later making sure it isn't Strep Throat--with three kids to keep healthy, strep would be bad right about now!

Christmas Portraits

I'm taking the kids in later this week to have their Christmas portraits done. This is always an exasperating time because there are four of them. It's never easy to get four kids (including a 2 year old) to look good at the same time. Rob is pretty smart. She just takes individual pictures of her kids and then puts them together in a grid for her card. Every child looks amazing, and the sitting isn't nearly as exhausting.

However, I love the look of a family portrait-or at least a portrait of all four faces in one. So I brave the Kiddie Kandids year after year, hoping for the best! I'll let you know what we come up with!

Yard Work

We spent the afternoon and early evening doing the yard work. Whipped it in to shape, so to speak! We have 6 yard bags full of leaves--and that is more than I've ever had. When I was a kid we lived in a house with so much scrub oak. Every fall we would have to load the leaves into bags and take them down to the bottom of the yard and dump them out. My dad would then go through with his tiller and mulch them all. After many years of this we got smart. We got bed sheets for a king size bed--and we would rake all of the leaves onto the bed sheet and pull it down the path to the bottom of the yard. It saved HOURS of work! Oh how I missed the bed sheets yesterday!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Do You See What I See?

Wow---the night before Thanksgiving--and we are getting SNOW! How fun is that! If it wasn't so dark, and so cold, I would send the kids out to frolic in their first snow fall of the season!

Hopefully it will still be on the ground when they wake up in the morning. The first snow is such a treat!! I can't wait to get out there and enjoy it with them!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


We purchased this movie when it came out--and I have yet to watch it. My kids and my husband watched it last night--and they all thought it was a wonderful movie. One of the best animated ones yet. My sister's family loved it as well-possibly because her husband is a Chef-so this is right up his alley!

I guess it is up to me to join the fun, and watch it this weekend!

Friday, November 16, 2007

PR Milestones

You never know how much you love a Page Rank, until it's taken away! Mind you...I've never had much to brag about--but it was something! Now apparently, links and traffic mean nothing--as I have a ZERO page rank!

It bothers me only in the sense that PR was something that I would always try to reach for--I started out with a one, then a two and I finally got a three. That was exciting! It was like setting and reaching unseen milestones. No one but me knew they were there.

Now that PR seems to be gone--I still get to work and strive--but that immediate (ok, every 90 days or so) gratification is gone-and I'm going to have to find something else to strive for!


Tao--Las Vegas

This is the view from the deck at the Venetian. Isn't it amazing! I sat and looked at this all night long. I didn't feel well, and the noise and lack of light inside the night club only worked to exacerbate the problem--so I clung to the exterior portion of the club. Honestly, as cool as the club is on the inside--the patio is just as awesome! A view of the strip as well as the gondola ride below. That is one thing I didn't get to do that I wanted to---but when you are sick to your stomach--a ride on a boat--isn't a wise move!

I can't wait to go back when I'm feeling better!

I Almost Missed It All

I made it all the way to Vegas--but then I was knocked out! I was supposed to sleep for a little while
and then head over to the convention center just a little late. I didn't make it before lunch! Too bad!

My sister and aunt did come pick me up and we made it back to the convention just a little late after lunch. I'm really glad I made it for the last portion of the day. I got to hear the advertisers as well as some of the shining stars in the blog world.

I didn't feel great--but I managed to make it to the big party at Tao that evening--and here is a photo of our Fearless Leader--Ted. This was the first chance I'd had to meet him, and he was very nice--just what Rob had always said. That made the evening--and even the hellish day, all worth it!

So Sick

I think all of this "World Travel" has left my body drained! We all got sick after the last trip--then last weekend in Vegas, I was bamboozled!! Flat in bed--so sick to my stomach, I was dying!! I missed most of the convention, stuck my head in for the last couple of classes, and of course the Argus Roll Out--boy was that sweet! I made it to the Tao after party--which was amazing and so nice to have little appetizers. That way I could add one to my tummy, see how it handled it, and then add another one! It was not the first time I was happy that I don't drink however! I'm afraid that would have been the last straw and poor Tao would have had a big mess on their pretty red carpet!!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Yo Gabba Gabba

There is one thing to be said about spending your days in bed. You get to catch up on ALL of the good, the bad and the ugly on TV. Have you heard of this horrible new kids show called Yo Gabba Gabba? It's HORRID! My two little ones hung out on my bed with me because I couldn't chase them around the house and we watched this:

I'm sorry, but this is just terrible! People mocked Barney and the Teletubbies--I know, I was one of them. But this one takes the cake. I can't imagine anyone acting in this, making it or paying for it to be on the air. It's just unfathomnable!

I Missed It All

Why is it when you spend a couple of weeks away from your kids--and then you come back and you catch everything going around the elementary school? We got home last week from our trip and everything seemed fine--until Monday! I have been so sick since then, I'm honestly wondering if there is an internal organ that still desires to be a part of my body! I have thrown up, coughed up everything I've tried to eat since then. I missed Trunk R Treat, I missed Halloween parties at school, and I missed Halloween.

I know to most people that isn't a big deal, but to me--it's my favorite time of the year. I thought I would just push and get there--but there was just no way possible. If I was upright I was sweating and faint and vomiting. If I was sitting up, I was sweating and faint and coughing--either way--they wouldn't have let me anywhere near the school!

Maybe next year!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Tomorrow

I know most people don't have Halloween until Wednesday, but our church has a yearly Trunk R Treat. That is tomorrow night, from 7 until 8 at the church. The kids go into the gym at church for crafts and games--and then outside to "trick r treat" around to the trunks of each car. It's also nice because it isn't just candy on top of candy on top of candy! There are the toothbrushes, and pencils, personalized pens and novelty teeth. Although my kids favorite is really easy...they love the stickers!

So here we are, one day away from our first Halloween event--and my youngest doesn't even have a costume! Can you guess what we will be doing this afternoon and evening??

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Vegas Baby

There is a Super Big convention coming up in Las Vegas in early November. It's the Blog World convention and I can't wait! I'm heading out with my husband, my sister and her husband and meeting our Aunt there. We have rooms at Paris Las Vegas, and I can't wait to get there. Seeing how it was just last week we really were in Paris--it will be fun to "see the sites" all over again! I am getting really tired of the whole airplane thing--but hey--to finally get to meet friends that I've chatted with for a year--it will be worth every minute!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stores Online

I was just over at a new website I found. It's, and it's really amazing! It is a site building website with not only a ton of valuable information, but the ability to get you a website that is easy to manage and accessible anywhere in the world. First up--they help you create an eye pleasing website. They can work with you on your company logo--help you find banners and professional looking photography for your site. Once your site is up and running, you have the tools you need to not only run your online business, but everything you need to make it a success! You do have to put some work in too! What is that old saying, "Nothing worth having is Free"--OK, it's something like that, but you get the picture! Stores Online can get you a great website--but you still have to bring the product--with both in place--you'll do just fine!

Big Ben & Parliament

I have to apologize! My digital camera doesn't connect to the laptop I have, so for all of the following pictures-- until we get home, I have to use pictures from the internet! I'm hoping once we are home I can swap out my pictures for the 'borrowed' ones!

Our hotel is right on Trafalgar Square. A block from Charing Cross station, and pretty much the same from Piccadilly Circus. We were up early--and then again late--jet lag--staying up all night--we finally had lunch in the hotel restaurant and headed out on foot.

Oh my heavens, the atmosphere is electric! I thought strolling down Michigan Avenue in Chicago was electric, but I was so wrong! We did a little shopping--and will do a little more! I do want a Harrod's handbag. Extravagant yes, but oh so wanted!!

We saw most of the city by night last night, and that was amazing! But today we did see Big Ben and Parliament--what a huge and amazing building that is!! I just wish we had more than just three days here! We are in now for a little nap before supper. We are hitting a local Pub--I'm so excited!! Life among the natives!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Boston Tables

There are some amazing areas in the lobby and in our room to sit. Just comfy, sit back and relax recliners that make you melt right into them. They seem a lot like the chairs that our neighbors have in their basement. So comfy when you sit to watch a movie. I've never really looked at home theater seating, but I'm thinking it may just be something to save up for when we get home. The basement is finished, we just have to figure out what we want to put down there. There is a side room that is seeming like it will be just perfect for a home theater.

This home theater furniture is from Boston Table, and when I get home, they will be the first stop I make! Doesn't it just look like you can become one with the chair? Our TV would be a bit farther from the chairs than in this picture--but all in all the same concept!

We're Here

That last flight was a bit choppy--and the fact that you are over the ocean hold no comfort at all! I kept asking my husband to remind me why we were doing this. I did get to sleep most of the way--but it was a lot shorter flight than my brain thought it would be. Just a little more than the flight we took to Cancun from Salt Lake when I was younger.

We took a taxi from the airport to our hotel so that I could check in and get things settled while he ran and "collected our rental" as the front desk person called it. Very cool! The hotel seems to be really nice--mind you I've seen the lobby, the elevators and our room. Mind you there is WiFi throughout--so I'm sittin' pretty!

This is our hotel, it's The Grand at Trafalgar Square--and I have to tell you--it's like two blocks from Charing Cross station. Yes, I'm a Harry Potter fan--it makes traveling a little more fun! Anyway--I'm going to be on a few more minutes until the car is back--and then we are going to dinner and off to see the city at night! Pictures to come!!

New China Pattern

I have Christmas Dinner at my house this year. We switch every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and this year it's mine. I'm realizing that I'm tremendously unprepared this year because when we redid the house last spring, I got rid of all of my old fashioned china that I chose when we got married. Word to the wise--chose something classic--after 10 years of marriage, you are going to want it!

Something like this is what I'm leaning toward. It's elegant, but so perfect with whatever color scheme you choose for your table. Whether it's fall colors for Thanksgiving or the Green, Red and Gold for Christmas. You never have to change your beautiful china. This pattern is Villeroy & Boch's Cellini pattern, and like I said--I'm dreaming of it!

My old pattern was very colorful with greens and peach--colors I never use anywhere, anytime. So I sold it--and have been holding off purchasing a new set until I found one that I love. And this is it. Plus, it comes with everything you need for your holiday meals, there is even a soup tureen and a darling gravy boat. There is even a matching Tea Service, which even though I don't drink tea, I love the look of a Tea Service!

Right now through October 31st, you can purchase any serveware with a discount of 20%. Since these pieces can get pricey, this is a wonderful, unexpected bonus!

They're Fine!!

I just called home to get an update on the kids. It's never easy feeling like you can leave your child overnight with someone. I never want to be an imposition--but I have FOUR kids!! And the thought of leaving all four with someone is a scary thought. Especially when you consider I'm leaving them with my sister who has 4 kids of her own. The next 10 days-she has 8 kids! That is just craziness!

I will be making it up to her in the future, I hope. She and her husband don't travel too much, although they are going to Vegas in a couple of weeks. Sadly--I'm going with them, so I can't return the favor then.

The kids are all doing well, and getting along pretty good. Mind you-it's still the honeymoon stage. I'm expecting major trouble in 4 or 5 days!

ORIKI Cosmeceuticals

I was not born with good skin. I think it must run in the family because, honestly--mine isn't even the worst. I have combination skin, with a somewhat ruddy complexion--and as bad as that is, it's pretty easily managed and hidden.

There are some skin types like my husbands family. They have olive toned skin, and when their skin gets inflamed or when breakouts occur, they actually get darker patches of skin on their face. Many ethnicities also face this problem, and although they are can have problematic skin--their coloring is really enviable.

ORIKI Cosmeceuticals has worked to develop the right skin care formulation, with the proper ingredients to properly nourish and care for this sensitive skin. There are over 8,000 skin care products released annually--and many of these contain the very ingredients that cause problems for the Olive skin toned people. The ORIKI line was developed by American Board Certified Dermatologist and Biochemist, and it incorporates the pigmentation factor into the formulation of its skincare line.

Because my daughter has a bit of her fathers coloring, I will be starting early to train her how to properly care for her skin. I found this great skin whitening kit that comes with a Whitening Serum, a Rejuvenating Cream, a Facial Cleanser and a Toner. Mind you--my daughter is only 5, so I will need to wait a few years to introduce this type of wonderful product. I'm just happy it's out there!

Atlanta Layover

Well, we made it to Atlanta! We are here for a total of two hours before catching our connecting flight out. The flight from Chicago wasn't too bad-- turbulent wise, but it's always nice to be back on solid ground.

I was happy to find that I can sit here for the layover and blog--This laptop borrowing thing may need to come to an end--I want one of these!

Monday, October 15, 2007

I Need To Pack!

I don't know why I'm sitting here on the computer! I should be packing--actually, that would require me to go home--and I'm having too much fun chillin' at Rob's house! The kids are upstairs getting settled in for the week, and I'm just finding it to be too hard to leave them! I figure I'll stay up most of the night, and sleep all 15 hours on the airplane! I hate airplanes--not really the flying aspect, but the whole pressure on the head, and cooped up feeling. So a nice LONG nap will be very nice! Sleeping pills will be packed first!

Are You Serious

I was watching tv last night, and streaming through the channels on the satelite. I have to say I was mortified when there was a 30 minute show--prime time--called Deconstructing Britney. There was a panel--more than one person--lawyers, family law attorneys, counselors you name it--these people literally took their 15 minutes of fame to sit in a panel and discuss what was going wrong in Britney's life. THEN...not only that, but they literally talked about what she could possibly be doing that was more important than her first missed court appearance.

WHAT???? WHO CARES?? Honestly--a half an hour? Prime Time news show?? It was simply unreal! I thought they were joking!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Maybe A Cabin

We own quite a lot of mountainous land in Utah. It's on the western mountains in the Salt Lake Valley, and all of the ski resorts are in the eastern mountains. The one thing that is in the Western range, Kennecott Copper Mine. Pretty bit, pretty cool tourist spot-but it was just announced in the Salt Lake City newspaper that Kennecott is planning to build ski resorts in the western range. That is right where our property is.

Now, I don't know if they are going to want to purchase our land for millions of dollars (how nice would that be??) or if we are just close enough to be able to use the land. My husband has dreams of his own with the property. They include this:

Currently there are no "services" near our land. We would need to dig wells and roads in order to get to the land, but with house plans like this, who isn't going to want to try!

These plans are from The House Plan Shop, and they have set up a collection of the "Best of the Best" in designs created by the top architects in the country. We would be lucky to own such a beautiful cabin, located in a serene and beautiful area in the summer-and right off the slopes in the winter!

Don't You Just Love?

Antibiotics! It's amazing how you can feel so terrible one day, and just a mere 24 hours later you feel so much better. No I'm not doing cartwheels through the corn fields, but I no longer feel as though death is approaching!

They put me on the Zithro pak-mainly because it's strong and I have four kids, and I'm leaving town at the end of the week! I may not be 100% by dooms day--but I will be at least feeling better enough to get the things done that have to be done. House cleaning can wait, but laundry and packing kinda have a rush on them!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Free Makeover

Why? Oh Why, do I insist on never having my picture taken!! Today would have been the best chance to do something for myself--and sadly--I don't have a picture of myself to play with! I'm speaking, of course, to the new virtual makeover site I found. I've always wanted to do this. You know, take your picture and change your hairstyle, or hair color. Change your eyeshadow, lipstick. Really just a fun way to make some changes without spending the money on cosmetics that end up looking trashy or spending a fortune and a lot of time at the hairdressers with tragic results!

So instead of getting to play on myself-I chose a model, and played with her instead. It was still fun, and so interesting to see the change that just a little "style" can make. Especially using eye make up correctly. She goes from a beautiful girl, to a more defined beautiful girl. Here's what I mean:
She's such a cute girl anyway--but all dolled up she's very cute! This is why I wanted to do it to my own photo. I mean--it's FREE, you aren't out any money to play with how you look.

I may just have to bite the bullet and take a snapshot, I want to look good!

Summer Shipp

I was reading over at Venomous Kate's blog about a woman she knew 19 years ago. She went missing in December of 2004. Her daughter has been searching for her, and even made an appearance on the Montel Williams show. Her mom was working as a door to door market researcher when she disappeared.

Sadly, this week they found remains that have been positively identified as hers. What a tragic end. I never knew this woman, and here in Chicago, I had never even heard she was missing--but this story was captivating to me, and I felt so bad for everyone involved.

May Summer Shipp Rest In Peace!

It's Strep

I've been sick! How bad does that stink! I brought Daniel home from school thinking it was was strep! Luckily, we should all run through it before I have to fly out of town for 10 days! It's just a really bad time to get it now for me, because I have bags to pack, not only for me but for every child, and I'm sure as the time draws closer--I'll be packing for the man as well!

We fly out on Sunday morning--so I'm hoping that I will have the strength before then to get everything done--then I can just relax and sleep the entire flight into London! One can pray anyway!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

BP Solar Decathlon

There is a wonderful event going on this weekend on the National Mall in Washington DC. It's the BP Solar Decathlon and honestly--of all of the events that go on in this country--this is one most of us can get behind.

In this event that there are 20 university teams from around the world competing to design, build and operate livable, every-efficient, and completely solar-powered houses. BP has been involved in the Solar Decathlon since it's first competition back in 2002, and this year they are one of the main corporate sponsors--and only sponsor representing an Energy company. They are sponsoring this event as part of their commitment to discovering cost effective, clean energy solutions for our everyday living. This is remarkable because it's unheard of among other energy companies--who look to the dwindling future of our natural resources as an inevitable windfall to their bottom line!

Imagine, a big energy company working to save us money in the future! Like I said--unheard of!

There is a fun side to this wonderful event! BP has created a blog in which all of the teams can write posts throughout the competition. There is even an on site reporter giving us the behind the scenes 4-1-1! You can find this fun blog over at You can also read up on the teams. Quite impressive--there are teams from MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell and even international teams representing Madrid, Puerto Rico and Montreal--just to name a few!

I do have to give a shout out to our own team from here---Knock their socks off University of Illinois!!

A Day At The Park

What a fabulous chilly day it was here in Chicago! The kids were in school, but the two little ones and I decided to take a break from the packing and head to the park. It was a PERFECT day for that one.

The park near us has baby swings right next to the big kid swings. Which makes it nice to stand between both Kate and Brett and swing them both at the same time. At other parks I can only push one at a time--and try telling a 2 and 3 year old that they have to take turns!

The 'sippy side' as my kids call it is normally pretty hot during the summer months--and I was happy today that it wasn't. Really--just a perfect day to be at the park--or at least outside! I'll pack tomorrow!

High School Friends

I got a phone call the other day from a friend of mine from High School. I was surprised to hear from her on so many levels--we graduated from high school over 16 years ago--and I only kept up with her sporadically over the coming few years--and nothing recently. Plus, we live out of state--across the country actually. But she found me--and it was really nice talking to her.

She still lives in the old neighborhood. I love saying that--it makes us sound like we are from somewhere more Brooklyn or the Bronx. But no, small town heaven in Utah! She is married with three kids--and doing the mom thing. I asked about her family--and really, not much has changed. Her dad is sick-but at 70 years old--that wasn't too surprising. He has maliganant mesothelioma which is something I haven't heard much about. I've heard advertisements on the radio, Lawyers looking for clients suffering from this, but nothing about what exactly it is--or what causes it. So we talked a lot about that. Turns out--there is even a website for it--I will definitely want to look at it as well.

It was fun to hear from her, and as always we left with promises to keep in touch--and not let ten years go by without talking. It was a good call!

Columbus Day

Our neighbors spent the day yesterday getting their "Fall" started. They raked leaves most of the day--trimmed up their flowerbeds and mowed the lawn. Then brought out all of their Halloween decorations-and let me tell you-they spared NOTHING! There are lights--and hay bales--and ghosts and tombstones and people hanging from the trees--all rather ghoulish in my book!

After their hard day of decorating they were up until all hours of the night drinking around their backyard fire table and getting really loud and ruckus! It happens every year--so I shouldn't be too surprised--they just usually do it on the Sunday before Columbus Day--and it isn't a school night. Last night was--and I was ready to call the Police to come shut them up. But I didn't want to think of the possible retaliation that could come from it--especially when the house will be empty for 10 days! Yikes!

The Mobile Web--The Next Frontier

I was reading a couple of different articles earlier discussing the "mobile web". Both of these articles were very interesting--for one--I never really realized that the normal web was different than the mobile one. I've been on the mobile web only once before--I hit the wrong button on my husbands cell phone--and when I saw where it was taking me--I panicked and turned the phone off to disconnect from the web. It wouldn't have been a big deal I'm sure--I just know we would have been charged an arm, a leg and a spleen to be on the mobile web!

So I know you can get to the web via your mobile devices--I just never knew a mobile website would be different! According to one of the articles, US mobile device users are second only to the UK when it comes to browsing the mobile web. Imagine the tremendous open market for mobile advertising--businesses need to get a wap site up and looking good! I'm sure this is one of those times when "If you build it...they will come!" is really true!!

The Countdown Begins

We leave one week from today! I'm still amazed over it! I've started planning what I'm going to pack--very careful not to say I'm packing--because that would give all the impression of organization--which I have none of at this moment!

The kids all need to be packed too--they are spending the week at my sisters house. She does have it a little easier--if I forget something that the kids need--she can always just bring them home to pick it up. Mind you--there isn't a car big enough to fit 8 kids in it--so I really better make sure they have everything they need!

I have located the passports--so for that, we should be just fine! So I'm off to start some laundry!!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Finding A GOOD Vacuum

I've been online the last few days looking at, of all things, vacuum cleaners. I don't know what I want as far as bag or bagless--I just really want something that works longer than the 6 or 7 months we've gotten out of all of our vacuums over the past 5 years! Honestly, I don't know anyone who goes through vacuum cleaners as often as we do. But with two long haired dogs and 4 kids-I guess it really is put through a workout.

My husband would like a bagless vac-you know, cut down on some of the maintenance costs. I would like something like this Miele vacuum. It has a real "retro" look to it. I especially like the yellow one!

At this rate I should actually possess a new vacuum in 2 or 3 months!

Family Heirlooms

When my husbands grandfather died, each grandson was given an item of jewelry that the grandfather had owned. The eldest grandson got a gold and diamond watch. The middle son received his gold and diamond cufflinks and my husband was given a beautiful emerald and diamond ring. I don't know what the other brothers have done with their treasure--but I was surprised that my husband put the ring away. I figured it was handsome enough for him to wear-but he chose not to. I finally got around to asking him about it a few days ago--and it was nice to hear that since it was a gift passed on from a loving grandfather--he would like to have it to pass on to his sons and grandsons when they are older. He really wants to make it into a family heirloom, and I thought that was really sweet!

Becoming A Realtor

Our nephew just finished up his classes to become a real estate agent. He did really good and took it very seriously. He doesn't quite know where he wants to go from here--but being the good salesman that he is, I'm sure he'll do just fine.

I marvel at how much work goes into being a Realtor. Not only the knowledge of all things real estate, but they were with us for every appointment we had at the house before we closed. The appraisal, home inspection, final walk through--all of them. And none of these appointments were quick--the home inspection took nearly 4 hours--and he was there the entire time. I was just amazed! Here in Illinois everything at closing is handled by a Real Estate Attorney--but even at closing--our Realtor was right by our sides!

The Pumpkin Farm!!

What a fun day! We headed to the pumpkin farm nearby--and it was a blast! The kids rode a couple of the rides--one that looked really scary. It did create some "scared little girl" screams from the 10 year old--but so fun to watch! Kate loved the slide. It wasn't a hard rolling slide like you see at so many carnivals. This was a blow up one that literally bounced you from the top to the bottom. She couldn't get enough of that one. There were bumper cars and tilt a'whirls--so fun! The kids each chose a pumpkin. Daniel's was the biggest weighing in at 27 lbs, with Brett's being the smallest--about the size of a softball. They wanted cotton candy--but we decided that we would come home and make our own. Still--it was relatively inexpensive--and we had such fun!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Financial Advisor Wanted

I really need to get our finances in order. We've done a really good job at getting and staying out of debt, and we are able to chunk away quite a bit of savings. Which is ever so helpful! But what else should we be doing? Is there a way to invest smartly without quite as much risk to our future? Mind you, we are in the safe zone. We could afford to be a bit more risky because we are far enough from retirement to earn it back. Still--the idea of losing money at any amount is just not acceptable to me. I need to find a newcastle financial adviser to help us figure out where to go from just getting by with a little extra! I've got four kids to put through college--weddings to pay for--and a luxury retirement of my dreams! I need to start now!

A Defining Lawsuit

Did you hear about this woman? Her name is Jammie Thomas and she is a 30 year old single mom. She was ordered to pay six record companies that sued her $9,250 for each of 24 songs they focused on in the case. They had alleged she shared 1,702 songs in all.

She is claiming it wasn't her, and her attorney believes that no one proved that it was actually this woman online sharing these songs. That is a big deal to me--I do have kids, and if it were to come down to something online--would I be charged with things that they do? Of course! I would go to jail if my kids skip school in some states. In others I have to take out an addition $15,000 insurance policy just so my child can get a drivers license. Finally--Parents are being required to "PARENT"! If you don't want the penalty--watch what your kids are doing!

Bed & Breakfast Wishes

We leave for Europe in just over a week! I can't wait! I've never been there before--and I think our itinerary is just perfect! The right amount of time in each locale so that we can soak up as much of the area as possible. I really wanted to find bed and breakfasts in the areas we were going to be, but the kent bed and breakfast I found, was just too far away to be feasible. It was a disappointment! I just really thing a trip to England should be lived to the fullest--and that does NOT include a stint at a fancy hotel!

Friday Night

It's Friday night! I think it is so amazing how fast the weeks go by when school starts. It seems like it's Monday and the next day is Friday. What happens to all of the days in between. Tonight we are having the cousins over for a sleep over. Kind of something for me to do before I dump my four kids off on my sister for a week.

I think we will order in pizza, and set up shop in the family room for the boys. Movies, popcorn--fun! The girls we'll set up some dress up upstairs in Kate's room. I think they will love that--and we will have the tea party instead of the pizza party. Of course, tonights "Tea" will consist of pizza squares and crazy bread chunks--I'm not creating two different menus. I'm just not that good!

I Wanna Slow Down

I don't have much of a schedule of my own! I have chores, I have dinner to cook, and then it's the kids schedule. Baseball practice, dance practice, study needs, homework time-you name--it's now mine--even though it isn't! My husband is the scheduled man--and if there is anyone with a "Mad Gringo" inside threatening to break out--it's him! Mr. Suit and Tie wearing, over-scheduled business manager! Poor guy!

I couldn't even picture him in a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops! That is just not him. hawaiian shirts are even more foreign than just a t-shirt. The man is never home--the man is never relaxed!

I would love to get him this "Froggy Notion" shirt. Not only is it awesome looking, but doesn't it look extremely comfortable. Heck, you could wear this shirt with khakis and dress shoes, and he could go to work in it!

The whole Mad Gringo notion is to "Slow Down" and although I know that that is relatively impossible with my husband, I think it would be a great idea to get him to take a break and relax in maybe an article of clothing or two!

Student Council

Daniel is doing really well in school which is remarkably nice. He's actually been chosen to be the class president. Really it's just a position that means he gets to represent his class on the student council. He gets to go to all of the meetings and take notes to bring back to his class. He's only in the second grade--the last school that they went to only allowed student council in grades 4-6. Knowing that--he feels completely grown up and is taking this new responsibility very seriously! It's so cute!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Viagra Availability

I find life trends so amazing. You read in the bible about men aging and having kids when they are 700 years old! Yet only a decade ago, men would lose the ability to sire offspring at a much younger age. The sex drive that is so rampant when they are younger is still there--maybe not as rampant--but in existence. But the ability to act upon the desire was not there. Until the creation of the little blue pill! Can you imagine how that has changed the life of millions of aging men everywhere?

I think it's funny to think of an old man such as Hugh Hefner with his three bimbo girlfriends and he's admitted to using the pill. Honestly, there is nothing to be embarrassed about--it's age people! I'm just glad there is a cheap viagra out there so that men from all walks of life can find that same fulfillment in their old age! If you are looking for an online pharmaceutical option for purchasing your pills--you will definitely want to check out, they have a comprehensive list of reputable online pharmacies to make your online purchases more convenient and safe.

I've Missed Them All

I have always looked forward to the fall season for all of the new schedules to come out on TV. I have my favorite shows that I've been waiting for. But during their hiatus' I've seemed to lose track of them. I haven't watched one new season premiere or even series premiere at all. I did want to catch the one with Kelsey Grammar and Patricia Heaton--but apparently that one was on last night--and I missed it to!

I really have been out of the loop lately! I'm never in my bedroom long enough to set up the Tivo--let alone watch anything I would have had recorded! I'm hoping life slows down really soon!

Tequila Time

Do you enjoy a good drink? Is your taste a little more refined than that of a beer chugging, tequila shooting frat boy? Is so, then you are definitely going to want to check out The Tequila Guy! This is a website for the connoisseurs of all things Tequila. There are restaurants restaurants and even featured recipes. My husband makes a killer Tequila Lime Shrimp. He sautees garlic and shallots with lime juice and some tequila. Throws in his shrimp--tosses it--flames it and then serves it over Spanish rice. Let me tell you--it's TO DIE FOR!!

Although Blue Agave is the best tequila (if you ask him) his personal favorite is/was Porfidio. It's been awhile since he's had it and apparently there was a problem (?) in the village where it was made--and all of the Agave plants were cut down, so he's not sure they still make it! You know--I should look around The Tequila Guy's website--I'm sure there has got to be something about this somewhere in it's headlines section!

The Kids

Tonight my husband got off early and decided it would be fun to just take the older kids out for some one on one "Dad Time". So he took the older three bowling. I was left home with 2 year old Brett--and honestly, I don't mind that. Like everyone says, he's a different kid when he's an only child! He and I took the dog for a walk and stopped at the park nearby. He loves the "sippy side", and has mastered the ladder getting up to it. We collected leaves on our way home, and then used some scotch tape as he proudly taped his treasures to the front window.

The older kids had a blast as well. I think Daniel ended up with the highest score--and Kate could only talk about the amazing pink ball she had. They all had fun and stopped for Ice Cream on the way home. I think it's funny how such little things can really just make a child's day!

I Missed On The Lights

Just after Christmas last year we started a little redo. I call it little--I called it little then and I still call it little--however, it encompassed the entire house! Most of the rooms "redo" only involved the carpet or floor coverings--but many rooms including the kitchen and all of the bathrooms had extensive work done. Out of the entire project the hardest thing to decided on (next to the kitchen tile) was the bathroom lighting. I didn't think it would be that hard-but oh my heavens. Not only because there are so many really nice choices--but every room is different. In fact, even now--we wish we had realized how dark the corner is by the shower, because now we are looking at either cutting a window back there ($$$$$) or having another light put in.

I found this really helpful lighting guide online, but sadly not in time for our redo. It would have saved me so much time--and even the problem that we are facing now.

If you are doing any type of bathroom remodel--you are going to want to check out that guide--it's amazing! From the styles of lighting available to lighting tips--it will save you so much hassle in the long run. Wish I had found it sooner!

My New Little Piece!!

I have a new blog going currently on my own domain. You can find it at Katerbug Blue and I love it! I'm using that little spot on the World Wide Web to just cover some fun outings and tourist spots that are available in the Chicago area. Honestly--It is more fun than I ever dreamed. What makes it really nice--it's keeping me on my toes to find fun events to take the kids to so that I can blog about them! I try to include pictures and links in every post--I hope you'll hop on over--and check it out! Especially if you live in the area or are visiting soon! I would love any and all fun ideas-Northern Illinois-wide--I'm game for just about anything!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

It's All About The Boobs

I think it is so funny how everyone is obsessed with 'boob jobs' these days. Honestly--there was quite a stir as too whether or not Tyra Banks was completely 'natural' or not. Every new starlet that comes out gets the same speculation--and when it turns out that they had gotten Beverly Hills Breast Implants, it makes the front page of all of the gossip magazines! What is up with that! What happened to having just a little decorum!

That said--I do have to admit that although I have no need for that kind of surgery for my chest--I'm a little in the BIG department--it is nice to know that there is a good California cosmetic surgeon, because I do have a lot of other work I would like to have done! A little liposuction, some sculpting here and there, neck work--and heck--you might as well do a face lift while you are at it! I'm a whole package kind of girl! Just leave my boobs and booty alone! Oh, and my nose--nothing is more painful in my mind than the nose!

When it comes to Los Angeles plastic surgey you can bet you are getting the best. Not only is California number one in the country for plastic surgery procedures, they also take great pride in keeping their clinics not only clean, but beautiful! Truly--have you ever seen a waiting room that is more fitting to Beverly Hills than this one?

It looks cleaner than my house--and they are doing surgery in there! If I ever do get a chance to make some improvements--this is where you will find me! Maybe there will even be a reality show that follows me from beginning to end! Well, wait--I'm not dropping my drawers and baring my bosom for just anyone!! My husband would kill me!

Daniel's Weekend

What a day! The kids were really good! They usually are, but there are times when life and kids just choose to get hectic at the same time!

I had Daniel into the Emergency Room this weekend. He had a fever of 103.7, and was complaining of a really bad sore throat. My first thought was immediately Strep-and with 3 other kids in the house, we weren't taking any chances.

Turns out--his strep test was negative and they just classified it as Tonsillitis. So all is well and good--and he's been back to school both days this week, and he's feeling fine!

Playstation--To Play Or Not To Play??

My kids will be spending a week with their aunt and their cousins while we are in Europe. It's kind of funny--you'd think they would be excited most about having time with their cousins--but nope--it's the excitement of being able to play Playstation! We don't have one in our house-we used to until it broke and we never replaced it. I was looking online at this PS2, but haven't decided whether or not to purchase it. So it's a BIG deal to have for a whole week.

I guess I shouldn't tell them that the kids only get to play it on Saturdays, and only after their chores are done. Talk about a let down for my kids. Can you imagine being so excited to play something all day everyday for a week, only to find out that there is really only 12 hours with it--to divide amongst 6 kids? Poor kids--this will drive them crazy!

Fun New Contest

Are you creative? Do you like having the possibility of winning wonderful prizes? If so, I have a contest for you! Of course, you'll be up against the likes of my sister--and I have to tell you, she's amazing when it comes to talent and creativity--so you will definitely have to bring your "A Game". Of course, besides her--you have to create a logo that is even better than the current logo--and I have to sneak in my own humble opinion--the current one is awesome!!

What a great opportunity, not just to create, but to get your name on something really amazing if you win!

The contest is of course for the Ford Blue Oval Scholars. This is a wonderful scholarship program sponsoredby the Ford Motor Company Fund-so it's logo needs to be just as wonderful.

The prizes are great too. They are:

  • 1. First Place - Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design
    Premium = Retail $1,700
  • 2. Second Place - $300 for design software of choice
  • 3. Third Place - $150 for design software of choice
  • 4. Fourth Place - $50 Music Download Card
  • 5. Fifth Place - $50 Music Download Card
  • 6. Sixth Place - $50 Music Download Card
  • 7. Seventh Place - $50 Music Download Card
  • 8. Eight Place - $50 Music Download Card
  • 9. Ninth Place - $50 Music Download Card
  • 10. Tenth Place - $50 Music Download Card

If you are interested in participating in the logo design contest, you will want to visit their website for a full list of rules and regulations, but for starters you can enter up to three different logo ideas per week and all entries will be judged and selected by a panel of Ford Motor Company Fund employees and design experts. They will be basing their judgement on the representation of the Ford Scholars program, longevity and adaptability for use in different media, and positive visual impact.

It sounds like such a great contest, for a really great scholarship program--I can't wait to see the top ten!

Barrett's Early Birthday

We are heading over to my sisters house tonight for her son's Pre-3rd birthday bash. Not really--he's getting his gift tonight--and they will sing Happy Birthday-but his actual day isn't until the 26th and his party is on the 28th. They got him one of those ride on toys simply because of his fascination with cars. Lucky for me Brett doesn't share the same addiction! They are hopping to quell his interest in their cars with his own. He will love it--and I'm sure my boy will be green with envy until we get him one to match for Christmas! I can't wait to see his excitement tonight--we'll definitely have to take pictures!

Kitchenaid At Coupon Chief

Last night I was watching one of the shows on the cooking network. They were making pie crust--the one thing I try and fail miserably at consistently. As I watched them dumping all of the ingredients in (rather messy--and without the careful care I give my ingredients) I was surprised to see just how perfect their pie crust came out. I am much more careful and I get mush! As I watched I noticed they were using a dough hook. Now I have only ever seen a dough hook on a Kitchenaid stand mixer, and although I've always wanted one--now I REALLY WANT ONE!

So, I did what I always do! I headed online to see if I had any online coupons for a quality Kitchenaid mixer. I found just what I was looking for at Linens N Things. Kitchenaid was also available at CHEFS so it really came down to choice in color. I know--I'm incredibly picky about the color of my appliances--and will even pay a little more to get the color I want. I didn't need to in this case--I have a Stainless Steel Kitchenaid on order! How very cool!

I love! It's one of those sites that you hear about use from then on. My sister found the site first, and couldn't wait to tell me all about it. There are hundreds of merchants listed with thousands of online coupon codes. You shop directly from the site, but when checking out--throw in your little Coupon Chief code-and you save 10% or more and even get free shipping at times. Christmas is coming--and it will be one site that I will use for all of my shopping needs!

European Vacation

I love that movie! My husband and I are in fact planning a little trip to Europe. Well, honestly--as with any trip to Europe--it isn't little by any stretch of the imagination or budget. We are going to be staying in London, Paris and Madrid-but I'm hoping to see so much more than just those three places. I've always wanted to go, but have waited 30 years to finally make it. It's just 3 short weeks away--and I can't wait.

Rob is going to take the kids, which is a huge life saver. She has four of her own, and I can't imagine taking on four more for 10 days--but she insists that she wants to and that it will be fun. mmmm hmmmmm, I'm sure!! Anyway, I will take a ton of pictures--and share them when I get home!

eLife Insurance

I love that you can pretty much purchase anything online these days. Heavens, my sister shopped for and found her house that way. Even my dad has turned into a web savvy shopper and he's 75 years old. He's bought bigger purchases than I have. He's bought a scooter and his biggest purchase yet...a huge, beautiful 5th wheel--from the internet. Yeah, he's got us squashed with that one-well, except for Robyn's house that is, her purchase was bigger. I generally shop for Christmas gifts, sports collectibles and insurance policies.

Speaking of insurance, it's been years since I've actually talked to an agent in order to get an insurance policy. In fact, in most cases I will move on to company number two rather than having to speak to an agent. Luckily, you can now buy every type of insurance online, even Life Insurance. That one was always the tricky one because they wanted a doctors visit. But now, you can get an eLifePolicy right from the privacy of your living room! No doctors appointment needed, and no agent to talk too. If you qualify for a policy, you can print your documents in minutes!

I love the ease technology brings to our lives! I'm just amazed we ever lived without this kind of stuff!

Fund Raising

Do you have kids in school with tons of different fund raising 'things' coming home? Yesterday my son came home selling Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Now I know, this is nothing new--but oh so lucky for me--I will actually buy these, and either make up neighbor gifts with them for Christmas--or eat them myself! It doesn't matter how many boxes he sells--but his dad took the sign up form to work today--I'm sure he'll beat his quota by the end of the day! Honestly, who can resist their melt in your mouth goodness?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Jingle Bells-Already

I can't believe it is already October! That just means that Christmas and the need for fabulous christmas gift ideas are right around the corner. Lucky for me, I have my gifts to my in laws and to my parents all planned out! The kids have each sent me a picture of each of their kids. We are getting them made into a group photo and then having that photo put on canvas by Canvas On Demand, and then having it beautifully framed! What a treasure to have all of your grandchildren on a piece of art! I think they will LOVE it!

The Elk

Here is the promised picture! None of mine turned out-we were shooting into the sun-so I guess it would make sense that my crappy camera would fail at that moment. All of the pictures are way too washed out. Luckily, I was able to steal one from Rob's.

The cool thing about the Elk--they are always right there. Ok, well only two of the 20 were close today-but some days you can literally walk up and see 20 Elk standing by the fence.

I Want This Clock

I have been doing some shopping recently! Window shopping until now! We have hit upon a little bit extra in our savings account. Now mind you, we have a pretty good savings account-so I'm thinking a little "splurge" won't be that bad! I'm not talking like buying a new car or boat or anything--just a small (medium) piece of home decor.

I have always loved grandfather clocks, but they have always seemed just a little too old fashioned or too big--or the color didn't match my furniture--or heck, the style has rarely matched my furniture. Until I found this one. It's wood is a perfect match to the rest of my living room furniture, and the style is highly complimentary!

I have heard amazing things about Howard Miller clocks. Mainly about their quality and durability. I'm most impressed by the price. This beautiful--PERFECT clock is currently selling online for $2100! That is jaw dropping--less than we paid for our piano--and honestly--I will get more use out of the clock than the piano. I'm so excited--I can't wait to get it into my entry way--I think I will be playing with it for weeks to come!

California Law

I've decided that if I ever want to get in trouble with the law and get away with it, I just have to wait until I'm rich and famous, and then head to California to begin my crime spree! I mean really! Did you hear Phil Spector had a mis-trial? Mind you--just because you look like the creepiest man in the history of the world--it doesn't make you a murderer--but COME ON!!! First OJ--dead to rights guilty! Then Robert Blake--dead to rights guilty! And now Phil Spector--mistrial!

I do have to say--it isn't that the prosecution is failing in any way shape or form. I think ordinary people are so star struck that they can't get past the persona of the man in order to come to the correct verdict. Hence--I have to be famous--actually--according to my own logic--I guess I have to be a man! Darn it! Foiled again!

I found a Los Angeles Criminal Attorney Blog | California Criminal Defense Lawyers Forum that discusses all things "Law" in California. I found it very enlightening--from Paris and Lindsay--to Britney and Kiefer-the dynamics are just amazing. The blog is authored by none other than Dmitry Gorin, is a Professor at UCLA and Pepperdine Law School. You may recognize him, as he provides frequent commentary on Court TV--pretty cool!

I Wanna A Free Raleigh, NC Getaway

My husband has family all over the United States. That makes seeing this wonderful country of ours a little easier than most. We've had the opportunity to spend time in New England, Southern California, Arizona, Washington and Florida. We haven't made it to visit his Aunt in North Carolina, although I found out today that there is a great contest we can register for to win a Free Raleigh Getaway.
That is so exciting--whenever I think of the South I think of the history that comes along with it. The beautiful colonial architecture, the plantations, the hospitality; Everything you can picture when you watch old movies about the South. Mind you, it's definitely a modern city as well--it just happens to be Modern wrapped in History!

The contest prize is amazing! Hotel, tickets to museums and other cultural events like the Mysteries of the Lost Colony, a gift certificate for two for dinner. You name it-everything you need for an amazing Fall Getaway!

I think this sounds perfect! There is so much to see in this beautiful, historic city--I would want to spend more than one night--so maybe we'll use our hotel night (if we win) and then spend the rest of our getaway with his family! Sans kids-what could be more perfect??

Elections Again

I'm so amazed that there so much "campaigning" going on right now. We are still just over a year from the elections, and yet they are all that seem to be dominating the evening news. Both parties have now had debates, and several are scrambling to gloss over comments that their wives had made. I don't pay too much attention at this point-but I guess when it gets closer I'll have to start listening.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Finding Drug Help!!

Great news!! I often blog about my poor nephew, stuck in the California justice system. He is a good kid--made some stupid mistakes--had a hard life--whatever excuses I could offer--He did the crime, and he's doing his time! Well, he has been in drug treatment and has just been waiting for a bed to open up in a halfway house nearby. As soon as that happened he would be able to transfer out of the rehab facility. If it didn't happen by tomorrow--he would be sent back to jail! Amazingly enough--we got the call this morning that he's on his way to the halfway house!

California jails are no where I want anybody I know--so that is just great news. The treatment center he was in was amazing and has been working really hard with him. Hopefully this third time is a charm!

It's A Boy

Our niece had her baby. Just over a week ago. A little boy. She named him Dashawn Anthony. I haven't seen the baby, other than a quick snap shot of him--and what's sad, I'm not sure I'll ever get to see the baby. At least as a newborn. There have been so many problems with this family that we all just tend to keep our distance. What makes me the most sad is the change in this girl! She was doing great, good grades big plans for the future--then suddenly in her Jr. year of high school, she dropped out--then moved out--then moved back in--got pregnant--and then moved out with her family. She turned 18 last January and got about $25K from a trust that was set up after she was mauled by a dog. That money was going to put her through Message Therapy school--or at least pay for some of it. Now all of the money is gone--she's bought a car, new bedroom set and baby "stuff". Not quite the kick off into life we were hoping for! It's all just very sad--I miss the old days!

Sunday, September 23, 2007


My husband is a work a holic and I have to say--I hate it. I really do--we need him home--ok, I need him home to help out with four kids. But really--when you look at the number of hours he puts in compared to the salary he makes, he literally makes $8 an hour! And he's the top manager!! Now, part of it is his inability to delegate, but also--until they have a system in place where there is pay for performance, other team members will simply skate by and let everyone else do their job for them. They make the same amount of money whether they earn it or not--so who cares if they work their tails off.

Now something like performance based pay would be perfect. Not only would we be raking it in, but then everyone could see just who it was doing all of the work. That might just lead to a juicy little raise!!

Ahhhh, The Quiet

Tomorrow is Sunday. I'm supposed to be going to church--but really, am not feeling up to it in the slightest! Mind you, I should have been in bed hours ago to make it at such an early hour--but my kids just barely fell asleep-and I'm relishing in the quiet. If I go to bed now--when I wake up it will be noisy again!

This is the last weekend it's supposed to be warm--so we will be heading to my sisters in laws house so the kids can have one finally afternoon in the swimming pool. Then it will be closed up for the winter. It's kind of sad-it doesn't seem at all like it's been open all that long! But it's definitely getting cooler here-which is a welcome relief to me!

Vacations For Christmas

Speaking of seeing this great world around's getting close to Christmas time, and I need to start planning and saving for our summer vacation next year! I know, it seems too early for that, but you have to realize--their plane tickets and destination passes are all part of their Christmas presents! We've taken a ton of Orlando vacations over the past couple of years that I'm trying to decide whether we stick with 'Old Faithful' or try something new!! If you have any fun vacation ideas that can bring education into the experience-I would love to hear about it!

My New Baby

I have a new domain! Well, not really new--it's getting rather "aged" if you know what I mean!! I spent the day yesterday getting the theme just how I want it--and I have to say--I love it! My daughter's nickname is Katerbug Blue and that is the name of the domain. and I have to say--it is pink and girly--and all things that she is! I don't really want it to revolve strictly around us here at home--as that's what this blog has always been. I would like to keep it centered upon more of our 'adventures'. Things that we see and discover away from home as a family.

I had the whole thing up to date through this weekend, but then my pictures went haywire, so I've pulled all of the recent ones back into draft status until I can figure out what is going on with them! But the early summer adventure's are up and running!

I would like to spend more time seeing this great world around us--and living in Chicago--that makes the exploration that much more fun (and costly!!)! I can't wait to keep it going!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Life Coach Clay Nelson

I love getting gifts and packages in the mail. Really-there is nothing more that brightens my day then getting something fun. Today was no different. I opened the mailbox and found a cute little package. I couldn't wait to open it, but unfortunately with 4 kids wandering around--I rarely get to open my own package. It was still exciting though, and I was thrilled to find life coach Clay Nelson's new CD! I've been waiting for awhile to receive this little package, and was really happy to shoo the kids away for quiet time. I put it in the CD player on my computer, and threw my earphones on. The problem is--I'm not completely able to concentrate this way--because I sit here wanting to talk about it!!

I was reading the press release on his website. Did you know he has a radio show and a tele-seminar on top of these CD's? What a busy man. The radio show is something that I would be the most interested in--but seeing how I don't live in Santa Barbara, California--I was happy to find that the radio show is also available via the internet. So next Wednesday, I will be waiting right here with head phones in hand!!

Staples, We Have Staples

Today Brett fell down the last three stairs of our basement staircase. This little trip landed him a "trip" to the Emergency Room. He is fine--he has staples in his scalp. I could hardly look at the blood soaked towel (why is it that head wounds bleed so badly??) let alone watch the doctors as they bring out the MOTHER of all staplers and attempt to apply it to my baby's head. Waves of nauseousness rolled over me and I had to sit down with my back to everything going on--still holding Brett's hand but huffing and puffing with my head between my legs--it wasn't a pretty site! When I was younger I got stitches. I don't remember much about it-but it seems far easier than staples. I could be wrong!

Halloween Is Coming

It's the most wonderful time of the year!! I love when the holidays kick into gear--and I mean all of the Fall and Winter holidays--Halloween included. I've always loved Halloween! I don't like masks though--I think a kid costume is much cuter without a mask they can put on-I'm more of a "add a little make up to the face" rather than cover it with a mask.

My favorite costume is one that my sister created for her son Jake. He wanted to be Jak from the PS2 games Jak and Daxter--and he looked amazing! In case you can't tell--those things on the side of his head are Jak's ears--and they look just like them--what a great costume! What made it amazing--she made it all--well--organized it all. Sweatshirt and pants are the foundation--then she just layered on top of that. So creative!

There is an Online Halloween Costume Contest, and I would love to join! I do need to find a good costume for me this year. I've never really dressed up myself--just my kids--but it might be kind of fun to see if there is a great adult costume over at Star Costumes. I know my sister is going to dress up in a blow up Chef outfit since she's married to a Chef--unfortunately for me, there isn't a fun costume for a Hotel Manager! Sorry, dear!


Later today we are heading over to my sisters new house. She's nearly completely moved in--so this will just be a social visit. Those are the best kind anyway. I do have to wait until I pick the boys up from school--then we'll just head straight there. It's so unfair, her boys ride the bus--and the bus stop is the corner in front of her house--she just sits in the front door--and watches them get safely home after school. I'm a bit jealous of that one!

The Rookie Challenge

I have been interested in the stock market and other financial areas forever--honestly--what budget abiding person isn't at least slightly intrigued by the possible fortunes to be found. But I don't even understand where to begin. So imagine my excitement to learn that there is a "rookie challenge" going on right now, where I can 'virtually' begin creating my own portfolio. There are gains and losses and even transaction fees--you know, gotta keep it as real as possible! What's nice is even though the contest is open to anyone--if you do have some real experience in the financial markets--you have to disclose if your holdings in the game correspond to your real holdings. Plus, you are also required to hold your shares for at least 1 hour - this is another way of balancing the playing field for all of us. The Rookie with the highest gain over the week will be the winner.

What a great way to get your feet wet without having to risk the farm! Registration is free--you even get a free hat--but even better than that, is the $1000 weekly prize! So let's recap--free sign up, free participation, a virtual $100K to play with, valuable-real time financial lessons--and a possible $1000 at the end of each week! Is there anyone out there dumb enough not to head straight over to the rookie challenge to participate? Yeah, I didn't think so! See you there!

Homeschool Preschool

I have decided to take Preschool matters into my own hands for Katie! We will be "homeschooling" her. I know--it's only PreK and it isn't even a requirement-but I would like her to have the same advantages as the other kids when she enters Kindergarten in the fall. So we have gotten some workbooks, and we will have some fun playtime activities and even some field trips--it should work out pretty good--and I'm excited to spend the time with her everyday!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Birthday Gifts

We are entering into the fall season. With it comes 3 out of my 4 kids birthdays. Brett's is up first-he will be turning 3 and that is always a really fun age to shop for! This year, I am moving away from the "character" toys and of course, any toy made in China-I'm thinking a nice gift that gives him some "Daddy" time would be the most fun. Like RC helicopters!! I can just see both of their faces light up when Brett opens that one up! Luckily they are a lot easier to fly than the RC airplanes-and need far less room. With winter moving in on us-this will turn into a fun "Basement" experience!


Is there a household appliance that you want? I've never really thought about it-but we had dinner over at Rob's house and she has this on the counter veggie steamer. I LOVED it! I have a tupperware one that goes in the microwave, but hers is awesome. It will steam anything and it has a cute little timer for all of the different things--I'm green! I don't think it cost more than $40 at the local Meier--so I think I need to head over there and pick me up one as well. I hate not having all of the cool cooking gadgets that she has!

I Need A Break

After all of the stress of helping my sister move, babysitting all 8 kids (alone) and now having been sick for a month--I'm ready to start looking for a vacation home rental. Just for me!! I know, you say the word vacation and the word "family" invariably finds it's spot in front of that word--but not this time! I'm ready to just take a break, sit on my rental porch feet up, book positioned in front of me drinking in some ME time! I don't do well with heat--so I don't even mind if I head to an "Autumnal" spot stateside--I just want to do it alone!! Well, I could take the man-but the kids have got to stay at home.

2 Year Old Boys

We were able to have my sisters kids over for the evening the other night so that they could go to a wedding. My kids love having their closest cousins over but the volume level can get really high!

She brought the PS2 over so that the older boys would stay occupied and out of my hair, which was nice because it seemed to occupy my two oldest boys as well. The girls stayed up stairs and played dress up and I was left to CHASE two 2 year old boys. Mind you, they are quick, but the worst part was the fact that they would race each other to a toy and the one that got their first would grab the toy, turn around to face the loser of the foot race clutching the prize to his chest and then yell out his victorious threats! Then a tug of war would ensue with tears coming at the end. I would then throw out an idea for a different toy for the loser of the foot race. He would cheer up, jump up to start his run--and the foot race was on. This cycle continued for HOURS with each boy winning some and losing some. I do think I was more exhausted by the time they finally fell asleep than they were!

The 411

I have to admit it! I'm a C.W. fan. All of my favorite shows are on The CW, and my very favorite show ever, Gilmore Girls, just finished it's run on the CW. But this season, taking the Lorelai's place would be Gossip Girl on The CW! I've watched a ton of "teen" shows set in California, but this one is set in trendy New York. It premieres tonight and even though I plan to be watching every sumptuous moment of it, I do believe it will be Tivo'd as well. Got to keep up with my girl talk!

I love gossip! I love to hear it! Read it! Spread it! You name it, if it's catty and gossipy, I'm all over it! And now to have a show with people just like me (only younger, hipper, and far more beautiful) I can't wait! And even better, Kristen Bell is the "character" Gossip Girl, and spills all on her blog. Maybe that's what I'm so excited about. Someone else's life paralleling my own. How many shows out there involve blogging?? Yep, I'm a fan already!

I think we are going to get the old Gilmore gang together and start up the "Gossip Girl Viewing Party" every week-that really was so much fun. All of us girls getting together to watch and spill all of the juicy info from around town. I can't wait!

September 19th at 9 pm Eastern, 8 pm Central--on The CW...Don't miss it!


I just found out that Mr. O.J. Simpson is back in hot water. Funny, Pariah's are never far from the hot water. How dumb must you be to go into a hotel room with a yourself? Hello, isn't that what you are paying your entourage to do? If I was paying four guys to protect me, they would be the ones up in the room with the gun. They are far less recognizable later on than my "double-murder"-mug shot blaring face. But I guess he must have that immortal feeling after getting off scot-free on his double murder charge. Only 10 Felonies have been charged currently, but I hope they nail him to the wall!

I'm Sick

I have now been sick for 1 month. It's official. I know my sister gets sick a lot and for long periods of time, but this is my first endeavor and I'm not all too thrilled with it. I don't know how she does it with her four kids, house, job and husband. I can't even get out of bed, and am very close to making my husband stay home for the day. That way he can take care of the kids and I can sleep, sleep, sleep.

I do have a doctors appointment tomorrow. He will probably put me on heavier doses of antibiotics, so this really should be clearing up soon, but with the weather starting to turn cold, it may take just a bit more time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Drippy Faucets

We spent last weekend at a hotel. You know, just some couple time away from the cries for 4 little ones. They spent the night with their cousins in their new home--so we headed off for a little R&R! It was so nice! Everything we could possibly need right there at our fingertips, and room service was awesome! The one thing this hotel was missing? Water pressure!! Isn't that the worst, when you settle in for a wonderful, hot shower, and the shower faucets are old or have that mucky build up? I managed a long, hot shower--but only because the pressure was so poor that it took me three times as long to rinse the shampoo and conditioner from my hair! The first thing we did when we got home was to get the kids to bed--and then I headed straight for my fabulous, full power shower!!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Living Room Lights

Do you love lighting? I am a big fan, and actually very picky about lighting in my own house. Sadly, when we were house hunting I failed to look past the excitement of the moment to notice that there were no over head lights in the living room. The family living there were using lamps--and it never occurred to me--until we moved in! I rushed to the store to pick up anything that would bring light to my room. Now, after 2 years--I'm actually shopping for lighting that I actually like. Currently I'm shopping Murray Feiss! I'm amazed at the beautiful works of art that the lamps are--but also the amazing price. I think this will prove to be a match made in lighting heaven!!

Paying The Piper

Have you ever taken out a payday loan? I find it so funny how people who are so desperate when they need one that they will sign the papers without really realizing that they will indeed have to cover the check they just wrote! Then when it comes time to pay the piper all they do is complain about how high the fees are. Do they not remember the happy dance they did last week? Our neighbors have been dying for cash flow the past few weeks, and were truly relieved to find this opportunity to get the cash they needed and not have to pay immediately. However, today--when the payment came due--it was nothing but non-stop pessimistic blather! Be happy someone was there to save your butt last week--and try harder to budget a little better next time! SHEESH!!

Helping With The Move

We have spent the last week helping my sister get settled into her new house. Well, settled isn't exactly the word for it because she isn't completely in yet. But as much as we could help with is now done, and I think I need to head in for a headache treatment! Moving is nothing but non-stop stress, and it really is exhausting whether it's your own move or if you are just helping someone else. I would love to hit a botox treatment for my headaches, nothing else seems to work right now, but I've heard amazing success stories with that. I think I should look up the pricing!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Straw Poll!!

I just took a Conservative Straw Poll. I was happy to see my first choice doing really well--not first--but not fifth either!! I thought it would be fun to post it, just because it's specifically directed toward bloggers--and since all of you blog--or read them--it's perfect for you!!

Leave me a comment and let me know who got your vote!! I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours!!

I have a new domain all my own! I know--these days, who doesn't? But I have to tell you-I never thought I would. My sister has had one for nearly 9 months and has loved it. I'm a little more reserved on the technical aspect of the world, but we did it. Rather she did it-but it's up and I can start posting on it! I chose my nickname,, and now I'm just working with my sister to get the theme of my dreams up and running! So check back soon--and see what you think!

First Day Of School

You can't tell--but at this moment I'm doing a little "Happy Dance"! I know--I shouldn't be so happy--but it's the kids first day of school--and I have to tell you----------------It's AWESOME!!
Yes I do understand that the first day of school can drive some mothers to tears. Thoughts of the past summer spent with their children in some idyllic setting day after day, only to lose their cherubs to the harsh ordinariness of school. They are better moms than me! No really, I'm happy to admit it. I adore my children! I love spending time with my children! The problem is--they have no desire to 'hang out with mom' so I just generally end up cleaning up the messes that my kids make in their funnel cloud from the kitchen to the back door! If I have to bleach my counter top one more time to get the cherry popsicle drips off--I think I'll scream!

So yes, it was sad---even more expensive--but they are at school until 2:40--and my kitchen is CLEAN!!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Eye Of The Dolphin Was Great

You know how you eagerly anticipate something and it never lives up to what you think it will be? I can think of several books and movies that are just like that--but what was new--I have been waiting for Eye of the Dolphin to come out forever!! From the first time I heard about it--I've been waiting. Yes, I'm a huge fan of all things Oceanic and the Bahamian Island theme was just an added bonus.

This was a great movie! Everything you have heard about it---is true. Rarely do I come away from a movie with the thought that I can't wait to see it again, but that was how it was with this. The message was so beautifully portrayed, that you literally cared about these people, and it's almost haunting when you leave the theater and find yourself throughout the day thinking of these people and places as if they were in existence today!

If you are looking for a truly inspirational film--this is it! Take the family--and sit back for a wonderful ride.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

My Own .Com

I've been working all morning on doing the one thing I vowed I would never do! I'm so illiterate in all things technical, that I'm amazed this blog has been up and running as long as it has. My sister got her own domain back in February, and I've been dragging my feet. In March we found a site that would let us register our domain names for free, so I thought what the heck, I'll take it for free. But then we realized that it required hosting with the company that gave it to us, which was fine since that was free too. The problem came when we realized that we couldn't put a blog on the website. So we needed to cancel our domains, and wait for them to come available again. I chose my nickname as my .com back then, and here we are 4 weeks later and my name still hasn't been released for re-purchase yet. I'm bummed, but I will either come up with a name kind of like the .com I want and then get the one I want when it opens up-or just sit and wait until it does. As of right now, I think I'm better off waiting just because I'm clearly not proficient enough to do this myself!

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Chocolate Factory

I just found out that there is a chocolate factory near here--and they offer free tours and samples. It's in Long Grove, Illinois--and it sounds like something my kids would really enjoy. Ok, so I'm pawning it off on my kids--but really--we drove all the way to Wisconsin to see the Jelly Belly Factory--and this is an hour closer! We are going to Wisconsin next Thursday--so I'm thinking we'll try to make an appointment for a tour on Monday or Tuesday.

If any of you in the Chicago area are interested, it's Long Grove Confectionary Company and tours are available Monday through Thursday from 9 am until 1 pm.

I can't wait!

Wisconsin Dells!!

Next weekend is the final weekend before school starts, so we thought we take the kids and get-away. We are heading up to Wisconsin Dells. We have never been there-but it is apparently--THE place to go. There are a lot of really fun things to do--I'm mostly looking forward to the indoor water park. I do not enjoy being out in the sun--my eyes just really don't enjoy the squint--and the wrinkles around my eyes are already far too progressed for someone my age! Plus, with the indoor water park--there is no need for sunscreen! I can't think of anything better! Well, except maybe room service's breakfast in bed!!