Of many things....

I will end March on a random note. (But is there any other kind with me?)

1.I have decided that there should be a semi regular column here entitled:Normal? or NO? Because really, my life is endless fodder for such a column.
On this week's episode of Normal? or NO?
I will put the following to you.

1.Would you consider colour coding your planner to be indicative of rampant OCD or just something that makes good sense? A therapist (and not even mine) openly mocked and laughed at me when he saw mine, but I have other friends (and family members) who consider this no big thang. Which camp are you in gentle readers? Normal? Or NO? I must know!

2.If an knock off brand Sharpie type permanent marker is clearly and deliberately SCENTED (like maraschino cherries, incidentally, which I love. Yes I do. I will not apologize for my love of marachino cherries people! It is true and pure. And yes, yes,I know they are carcinogenic. Even so!)
ANYWAY: if a marker is scented to smell simply DELICIOUS, can one assume that sniffing it quickly, only now and again during a meeting (about Visiting Teaching and how pathetic you are at it), cannot be considered huffing?? Or that inviting the teenage girl sitting next to you to catch a quick whiff of its scented loveliness is not grounds for your incarceration? Or grounds for the other person sitting to your right to instruct you in a horrified manner to "put it away and act your age?" I am just asking. Purely hypothetical.

3.Do you need to wash your kitchen floor 3x a day and vacuum 10x a day and wipe down your counters/cabinets whenever you look at them, to keep your home from looking like it should be condemned by the health department? Have I mentioned how very very HIGH MAINTENANCE my home is??? Seriously, it could not be more work if it was designed to keep 6 OCD cleaners occupied on a full time basis. NO DIRT CAN HIDE IN THIS HOUSE!!! Nay, not even a speck. We're alllll about the full dirt disclosure here. Gah!!! And did I mention that this house is also very very small? Oy. Vey. Normal or NO?
It is a good thing that I rather enjoy cleaning. At least more then I enjoy cooking.

4. What do you think of the fact that during our Family Home Evening lesson on "Attitude" tonight, I told my children that earlier today, right after I washed the floor for the 12th time, I rewarded myself with a piece of cake. When the cake missed the plate and fell onto my freshly washed floor, I could have wept about the sullying of my immaculate floor but NO! With my super great attitude, instead, I rejoiced that my floor was indeed clean enough to eat off of. And so I did. Good message? No?

And finally, a PSA: If you saw a woman with a deranged looking smile running around your neighbourhood this evening, that would be me. Nobody escaped from anywhere, you have nothing to fear, even though it may have given you that distinct impression. I really did feel as though I was doing something deliciously illegal (akin to scented marker smelling perhaps,) by running OUTSIDE. Ahhhh brilliant weather today! Well there was not much sun, so perhaps not BRILLIANT but the temperature! There be hope!

Happy Birthday Aaron!

(This was taken before we went to see the Lion King in celebration last night. We left the one who smiles weird and does not match at home with a babysitter. If you did not know, our entire relationship has the Lion King at its foundation. It's quite sad really).

When we woke up this morning I informed Aaron that he was 35 and now middle-aged. (Don't you wish all your birthdays started with me?) Then I freaked out for a little bit until the middle aged one calmly told me that 35 wasn't middle aged, 50 was. (I was working on the assumption of 70 being a life expectancy because that is what it was when I was a kid, but now it really does seem quite youthful). So hooray for that. I am not married to a middle aged man after all!

Anyway, happy birthday to YOU dear sweet Aaron, Babbie, Pooh Face. The most loved and loving man I know. Have a wonderful year! xoxoxoxoxoxo

Ode to Duck (this is also for you Jen Lynn, and you too Julie. And I suppose Nathan as well)

Duck aka Luke my dear youngest sibling had a birthday on Easter Sunday. Just like Jen Lynn.

But alas! So beset was I with the task of transforming my family into something out of the The Stepford Wives, and diligently consuming all manner of sugar and fat, that I forgot about them both. Until my diligent oldest sibling reminded me of this fact at about 2am on Tuesday morning.
So in my exhaustion and sugar induced delusions, I managed to pen this brilliance before I descended into my diabetic coma. (The dedication to Julie and Nathan is due to the fact that I had vehemently decreed my distaste for poetry at our Easter gathering, much to their disgust and dismay). It is a shame I do not like poetry much,(although it was discovered that in fact, I do actually like it but anyway...) it's a shame that I think that I don't because clearly I am the next Emily Dickinson. Don't ya think? Shona (aforementioned oldest sibling said that it should be published in the Big Book of Random Poetry). Anyway again, so sorry Luke (and Jen) you are both oh so very fabulous.

Dear old Duck
I so suck
You have bad luck
Of being stuck
with someone who
would forget YOU
on your birthday

But wait
I did not
As it is still your birthday here
Well not technically
But because I have not yet gone to bed
It counts
Just like when
You only start the Sabbath
When you go to bed on Sat/Sun
But it ends at precisely midnight on Monday morn
So you can study for a test
Or go and get a burger
From Wendys
That you were craving
Because of all the sugar and crap you have been eating

You may have noticed
That I ceased to rhyme
Not because I am out of time
But because I was out of rhyme
Also all good poetry
Stops rhyming at some point
Or at least this is what I have always suspected
But never confirmed
Since I tend to shy away from
Good Poetry

I think it counts
As poetry
If you break up the sentence
in awkward spots
Like so

Duck duck duck
I so hope
Your birthday did not suck
In the manner of your
Who is lame
It is a shame
That you should have a sister
Who is lame

It just occurred
To me that you probably
Went out of town
For the long weekend
Thus I could have
Used the excuse
That I tried to phone
But no reply
Yet sadly,
That would be a lie

So in all truth
I must say
That in every way
You are a stud
Nothing good
Rhymes with stud

You are smart
And you are funny
Very sweet
And oh so punny
Handsome as the day is long
Never ever does anything wrong

Techno whore
Dearth of communication no more
We are so pleased
You are home
But it would be better
If you lived where it was wetter
For instance here
Or us there
But you are just one person
So it is more convenient
that you should be here
Until we
Can get there
Or perhaps
Somewhere near

Your niece and nephews
Really like you
they say
We like Luke
He is a kook
They don't really
but it barely
And that is what counts
At all times

They do say they like you
This is true
Luke Drew
And so do I
I will not lie

Happy birthday dear Luke
You do not make me puke
And that is always
A good thing

Your name
Has a certain ring
Which does bring
Gladness to my soul
And fills my bowl
Of happiness

Dude it would suck
If this got lost
Big time
The sucking that is
So I should send it
So you can lend it
other people
Who may forget
The birthday of
their brother named
Luke Drew
Please note the "to" way back there
rhymes with the Drew
Over here

By the way
Your name is cool
And you aint no fool

Lots and lots
of love
and hope for many blessings
showering down on you
from above

No sorry I just can't end like that
It is spiritual
But somewhat flat
So I'll say
Have a rocking year
And if you get married
I will buy you a beer

No I wont
So don't be in a hurry
To do that
Cos I most probably
Will not like
You decide to marry

Just so you know

sucky sister stin

Are we there yet?

Tonight we were talking to a very cool guy who knows a lot about the brain and how it works, and stuff like that. He has explained to us that there is a relatively new branch of psychology that seeks not to erase the unpleasant symptoms that most of us have of one sort or another at some time in our life which mess with our mental health. The idea is that thoughts and ideas cannot necessarily be controlled as they come in and out of our consciousness, but we can control the way we respond to what comes into our mind and this is best done within the context of whether our response to those thoughts is moving us closer towards becoming the person we want to be or further. I love it when science philosophy and religion all mesh. To me it is proof of the existence of God.

He talked to us as the person as a whole, to accept and appreciate ourselves and all that makes us who we are. When we look at a sunset, we appreciate it as a whole, we don't think, "well if only that cloud there could shift a bit or that pink was red instead.." we just see the beauty of the sunset in its entirety. Why can't we be more that way with ourselves and each other?

Anyway, so he had us take part in an exercise. It was Benj, Aaron and I. We were each given some time to think about how we would like to be described by others when we were about 90 or so. Benj said he would like to be known as someone who was kind to others.

Aaron said that he would like his family to remember him as someone who really loved them and just generally a nice person.

I said that I would like to be known as someone who lived with integrity and made people feel genuinely good about themselves by helping them to discover and work towards fulfilling their individual power and potential.

After Aaron and I said our piece, the wise man asked Benjamin what he thought about our goals. And Benj said, very simply and sincerely,

"I think they are already the people that they want to be".

I cried. Seriously, I don't think anyone could say anything that would mean more to me.

I know he is already the person he wants to be. And he's not even 10. That kid blows my mind.
He is especially special. Watch for him.

Who do you want to be? Are you there yet?

An Easter Allegory of Sorts

Aaron was asked to give a talk at church on Easter Sunday. When I read his talk on Saturday night I decided it needed a "hook" since I have the attention span of a small child and appreciate such things. Being the humble sort that he is, he graciously handed the computer over to me. His delivery of what I wrote was so good that some people have expressed interest in reading it again. So0000 here it is.

Once upon a time, in a palace in Bowling Green, lived three handsome young princes and a beautiful little golden haired princess. One day their wonderful parents decided that they would take their children on a splendid trip to the moving picture show of Horton Hears a Who. The little princes and princess were oh so excited. However there was one condition. The King and Queen decreed that there would be no grand adventure to the large and exciting Woodland Mall for anyone who had not been able to flush out the pigs which had somehow found their way into the palace and made a sty out of the formerly beautiful bedrooms of the princes and princess.

The princes and princess agreed to this condition happily. They had 3 days to get the pigs out and restore the rooms. On the first day, one of the little princes cleaned his bedroom from dawn until dusk while his brothers and sister played. On the second day the princess cleaned her bedroom from dawn until dusk while her brothers played. On the third day the second prince cleaned up his bedroom from dawn until dusk. Then came the day of the trip to the Woodland Mall. The little princes and princess woke up bright and early, ate their royal oatmeal, and ran around and around the palace. Soon the King and the Queen emerged from their chambers and announced that the time of departure had come, all that was left was to inspect the bedrooms of the princes and princess.

Three bedrooms looked shiny and beautiful. But oh dear, the third princes bedroom did not. The pigs were still in there as happy as can be in their comfy new sty.

The King and Queen were very saddened. Quietly they told the young prince that he would have to remain behind as the rest of the family went on their exciting outing. Oh how the young prince wailed and sobbed. He begged and pleaded and although the King and Queen very much wanted to let him accompany them, justice and good parenting required that they stick to their guns. Everyone was very sad. The other two princes and the young princess began to cry too. They did not want to leave their brother alone with the pigs. They wanted him to come with them. They too begged the King and Queen but the sad fact remained, one bedroom was still a sty and alas anyone who was still sleeping in a sty could not come on the trip and it was almost time to leave! Then the princess had a wonderful idea. She discussed it with her brothers who agreed that it was indeed a wonderful plan. They presented their plan to the King and Queen. "Mommy and Daddy", they pleaded, "how about if we go and help to clean up the pigsty quickly. If we all work together, we will have enough man and woman power or at least boy and girl power to get it done before it is time to go. Then no pig-stys would remain in the palace and everyone could go!” The King and Queen discussed this plan. Being merciful as well as just, it appealed to them.

While it was true that no-one who was living in a sty could go to the movies, if somehow the sty was to be cleaned up before it was time to go, everyone would be able to go. The brothers and sisters worked very hard together. In 5 minutes flat with the help of what they had learned from Clean Sweep and the Crocodile Hunter, the sty was miraculously clean and beautiful and pig free. The happy family departed, the young prince felt very very grateful to his kind brothers and sister and decided that he would do all he could do in the future to show his love and gratitude to them. And they all lived happily and eternally ever after.

While not everyone will always have a kind older sibling to clean up their bedroom, we all have a most wonderful older brother who has done so much more for us. Easter is the time to remember the things He has done for us and why they make it possible for us to live eternally with our families and our Heavenly Father one day.

Before we came to Earth Heavenly Father and Jesus knew that all of us would sin because we are not perfect. But the problem was that nobody who was not clean from sin could live with Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father very much wanted us to all come back to live with him but he knew that we could not because we would sin. However because He loved us so much he made a Plan. The Plan required that His only begotten son Jesus, his most special child would have to feel and suffer all of our sins and sadness and hurts and then die for us. This would be a terrible thing for Heavenly Father to watch, but because He and Jesus loved us so much, they were willing to do it. Because Jesus was perfect, He was able to suffer for our sins and pay for them so that we could be clean and pure and able to be in the presence of Heavenly Father as families one day.This special gift is what we call the Atonement. When we heard this plan we were so grateful to our older brother. Easter is a special time when we think about and celebrate what He agreed to do for us because of His love for us. And hopefully it will make us want to do more to show Him how much we love Him.

In my non-narrative voice now: I get overwhelmed trying to express myself regarding this topic because it is one that is so profoundly meaningful and sacred to me, and nothing I say can ever do it justice. I cannot imagine what my life would be without the gift of the Atonement or if I would even be here at all. I feel so much love and gratitude for the indescribably great and undeniable love and light and comfort I have experienced because of this gift. He knows me better then I know myself, cares for me exquisitely and has never failed me. I love him so much and I owe Him everything.


Sweet little eggies each with a fresh dollop of snow on top. Beautifully set against the bright blue Spring sky except on your monitor and mine, and maybe in real life the blue may read more...grey).

So I have another message for Mater Nature. And I thought I would put it to her in song.

What do you think? Too desperate?

TP: to hang over or to hang under. THAT is the real question

Just so you know, it is better to hang it coming from UNDER. It is! It is. It just IS.

Aaron and I have been happily married for coming up on 13 years now, and I just realized that I did not know his toilet paper hanging preference until last night! To my utter shock, he took a vehement stand against my method and said that it should, nay it MUST be hung with the first sheet coming over the top of the roll. Stunning developments! You think you know a person.

So now I am wondering, really searching myself, as to how I could have missed this all these years. I feel quite strongly about it coming from the bottom because I feel it rations the toilet paper and helps it to naturally break off at the appropriate length and also, it just seems like it keeps the new bit cleaner and less...out there. ANYWAY, so I am fairly certain that he has replaced the empty TP roll over the years, rather then waiting for me to do it like some neanderthals would, therefore, I am wondering if, for all this time, I have been unconsciously switching it whenever I found it incorrectly hung.

Which might point to some serious mental health issues.

Like, maybe I'm like that guy on A Beautiful Mind and I am just inventing Aaron and there are really no husband or children in my house at all, and I am the only one here, which is why the TP roll always seems to be hung the right way, even though Aaron claims to feel strongly about it being hung the other way, and I only invented this debate in the imaginary conversation I had with my imaginary husband last night!!! Now I am all freaked out!!! Does anyone else see him?

Also, Spring! That's today. But I'm fairly sure I made that up too because the old guy on the TV who looks increasingly bewildered each day, gestured vaguely toward the weather map and mumbled something about 4-7 inches of snow accumulation over the next few days. So maybe..there ARE NO SEASONS. Or at least no warm ones. Maybe I made those up too!! Does anyone else see Spring?? Or maybe you aren't really out there at all! Maybe I invented the internet!!!!

I See Dead Cold Seasons.

Anyway, if you really are out there, you may find this as mesmerizing as I do. And despite the is-this- a -joke- or- is -it -for- real ad, if I should ever come upon a large sum of money and should this really exist, it would be high on the list of luxury purchases. It may even replace the steam mop (but never the lamp) in my top 2 inanimate object affection category.

**Warning for those who prefer not to see such a thing: there are some bare tochuses at the beginning of the ad. But not in a sexy way.

He's soooo smooth....

So the other night I was lying on the couch watching TV and an ad for Ferrero Rocher chocolate came up.

It looked really good because it is chocolate and hazelnut, so obviously it would.

So I said to Aaron, "AARON! I wish I had Ferrero Rocher chocolate!! I wish I had it RIGHT NOW. If you loved me you would make sure that we always had Ferrero Rocher chocolate." (Because he finds it charming when I act like Veruca Salt.)

He looked up casually from the book he was reading and said, "Hmmmm...what??" To which I repeated my tirade. To which he said, "so.. which chocolate was that again?"


"Hmm, he said". Having shared my craving of the hour, I went back to what I was doing (because I never just watch the TV. I don't know how anyone can just watch TV without surfing the internet, or reading a book or folding laundry or sleeping or SOMETHING in addition to the watching) and I don't think I even noticed him sauntering out of the room. A moment or two later something large and heavy plopped onto my lap and Aaron without breaking stride, flopped back on the couch and proceeded to read his book.

Upon inspection I discovered a luscious box of these:

AND it was the deluxe version so it even had some of these
and these

When you were a kid did you ever imagine that one day you would be able to see stuff on TV and be able to reach in and take it? No? Well I did. This was even better then that because I did not have to get up off the couch. Dude it's like having a genie!


So I'm thinking green for obvious reasons (and for those who are not in America or Ireland and the reasons are not obvious, today is St. Patricks day whereupon everyone with the slightest drop of Irish blood in their lineage embraces their "Irish heritage" and goes out to get a celtic knot tattoo and drinks a bunch of green beer (as though beer was not gross enough in its amber form) and eats disgusting things such as corned beef and cabbage. Doesn't that just sound revolting? Yes it does. Also pretty much everyone wears green. Even me. But mostly because I enjoy wearing green so heck, why not?

Anyway so, green- really quite an emotive colour isn't it? Breaking it down, as I tend to do:

The Positive Connotations:
Spring, rebirth, nature, conservation, money
The Negative Connotations:
Feeling pukey or jealous or so jealous you could puke.
So here's what I have to say about each of these things:
Spring. I have a real appreciation for it now that I live in a place with such a long and trying winter. Spring brings true euphoria, people come out of their houses and start smiling again. You realise that you do indeed have neighbours. And the flowers! The flowers of spring are by far the most beautiful in my opinion. I love them all...(I am enjoying some daffodils on my mantle this week, although they have yet to grow in my flower beds)

but I particularly love tulips, they remind me of my wedding day. The week before we were to be married, we stopped by Temple Square (where the beauty and variety of tulips are legendary) and saw the gardeners starting to pull out the tulips that I had been dreaming of being in my wedding photos! They were still beautiful and very much alive, but they do not allow anything to look "on its way out" on Temple square, so they were being pre-emptively euthanized. I was distraught and beseeched the groundsmen to hold out for just one more week. And I'm sure that my request went all the way up to the First Presidency, because on my wedding day, there were plenty of tulips (although you can see the freshly cleared beds behind us)

Now I eagerly await my tulips each year and after they arrive I wait in great angst for news of an impending freeze, whereupon I obsess over whether to cut them all and bring them indoors to enjoy, or take my chances. In the past, I have gone the cutting route and then watched as my neighbour's tulips continued to grow happily, so this year, I am going to be bold and leave the poor little things out in the cold.

Photos of past rescue efforts:

Rebirth Spring and Easter obviously go together (if you are in the Northern hemisphere that is)which does seem appropriate. A time for joy,gratitude and new beginnings. It is a good time to be re-energized spiritually. I will be finished with my current reading of the Book of Mormon on May 10th and have found it to be a particularly wonderful experience this time around. It is just an amazing, amazing book.
Nature. I am so excited to be able to start running outdoors again. It is a totally different experience from the treadmill and really gives you a holistic workout. There is something extremely...cleansing? about running on the actual earth. It just gives you a feeling of connectedness to...well..everything. It's good. It's really good.
Conservation-Covered this quite a bit yesterday but something I am increasingly interested in so that my kids and grandkids can also enjoy running outside and have the out of body experience of being in a place where it at least feels like nobody has ever been before. It gives you a sense of perspective and awe like nothing else can. I have a long way to go, but I hope to improve in my conservation efforts all the time.
Money Not sure why I put this in the positive connotations as it is generally holds negative connotations for me. Money is a source of rather a lot of stress for me. I wish I had more, I wish I managed it better, although I often wonder how much would be too much. If I had a bunch more than I strictly needed, I imagine I would feel really guilty about that, and wonder who I should be giving it to, and then I would wonder how much was enough for me to keep before I should start giving it away. I mean really technically, one could live in a shack, buy just enough food to get by and give away all the rest for the survival of others. So I technically have much more then enough already. I say my house is too small, but really is it? Is it too small to house the 6 of us warmly and safely? No. Does it fulfill its functions? Yes. (And as aside, I have to say since getting rid of the forest worth of paper in here it feels a lot more accomodating. Even though the forest was somewhat neatly concealed in drawers and cabinets, it just feels bigger knowing that it is gone.) Anyway back to money. It would be nice to have enough not to have to worry or even think about it, although again, in the scheme of things, I am incredibly fortunate and want for nothing, so why is it that I am worrying about it again? Oh right, it is all those people whining to be paid all the time! Thaaat. Also I really would enjoy being able to give it away whenever I liked, that would be a huge high, and I find it hard to imagine why super rich people don't sell a few of their homes and do that all the time rather then just on TV. Cough Oprah. Cough.

Anyway, putting it in the positive category is a step in the right direction. Right? If you going to get new agey about it, this should attract more of it to me. Or something.

Feeling pukey- A sensation I dread above all other. Really is there anything worse? Give me pain anyday. This was always my greatest hang-up about pregnancy and childbirth. I would probably have more children if it weren't for nausea. So I guess it can serve its purpose.

Feeling jealous-An emotion I greatly fear. Is there anything uglier?Its torturous. It makes you feel bad about whomever you are jealous of, and even worse about yourself for feeling that way. It messes with your perspective and consumes you. It destroys relationships. It eats you from inside. It makes you supremely unattractive. It is just an ugly, ugly thing. It is a goal of mine to conquer that emotion completely. Another great aspect of aging is that it definitely seems to mellow out the green eyed monster.

So what are your thoughts on these green matters? Tell me what the green means to you.

Beware the Ides of March!!!!!....

(I once played the soothsayer in Julius Caesar and can never pass up an opportunity to re-live the glory days).
So, instead of warning you of betrayals soon to come, because I love to dispense unsolicited advice, I will give you a few of my hot tips for the day. They may not be hot or new to you but they are things that make me happy to know.

Hot tips part 1: There is always a cheaper way.
*****NEVER, NEVER buy anything if it is full price. It will ALWAYS go on sale. Wait 'til it is at least 40% off. Better yet wait for the 75% off days.

******Shop the children's section for your own clothing and save a ton. Now if you would like your jeans to be glitter free or you are not of midgetish proportions, this may not work for you, but I am 5'3 (although my sister Shona, vehemently contests this, it SAYS SO ON MY DRIVERS LICENSE), and I see no reason to pay twice the price for stuff like exercise clothing, (literally half the price for the same thing and actually fits better) and even bras and undies and PJ's. Also places like Target size their stuff HUGE so you if can't find anything in small that actually is small, check the kiddies dept.

******Shop consignment!!!!!!! I practically never buy anything to wear from a real store and I have some really nice clothing if I do say so myself. Almost all of it is labels I would never be able to afford to buy retail. We have a great Goodwill here and I save even more by checking out the kids dept for myself there. A for instance. Last week I ran into Goodwill (literally and within 2 minutes I had located a BRAND NEW pair of Anne Taylor Loft jeans in PETITE no less and a great pair of American Eagle jeans for 5 bucks a piece. I did not try either of them on (because trying on clothing is my most hated thing to do, but for 5 bucks you can take the chance). If you have a Platos Closet in your area, run don't walk there. Holy cow man! That place ROCKS. (It is an all designer consignment store, designed more for teenagers/young adults but it has lots of stuff for me that does not embarrass my kids ...sooo much fun). Also shop garage sales (especially if you live in a college town). Last year I got 2 little designer jackets, with their tags still on for $4 each.

*******If you like a longer t-shirt (just say no to crack) and camis, this is a great website. Their sales are particularly great and the quality is nice. A few cami's can double your wardrobe options. I really like the ones with the lace elastic at the bottom. (And the sizing is true to life).

*******If you are starting to get grey hair or like me, have been grey since you were like 9, or just like to colour your hair, but not every two weeks, This stuff is awesome between colouring. Saves time, money and stops your hair getting over-coloured and dull (you aren't supposed to re-colour more then the roots more often then every 6-8 weeks).

*****SHOP ALDI'S. Another Holy COW people! If you have one in your area and you do not go there you are throwing away your money. They do not have everything and they are for the most part, not organic (if you are fortunate enough to be able afford to go that way-grrr, another rant for another day) BUT if you are a large-ish young family on a single income, consider yourself blessed if you have an Aldi in your area. You will save SCADS on your regular grocery bill.

*****Speaking of shopping, read the labels. The stuff that they put in big print on the front of the packaging is ALL LIES. It makes me quite angry. It is not a "health food" if it is soaked in high fructose corn syrup and trans-fats. I mean, don't get me wrong, I eat plenty of that stuff but I want to be doing it voluntarily rather then being duped into believing I am eating something good for me. It's the deception that bothers me. (And by the way, the 0grams transfat claims on the front of the boxes, conveniently leave out the fact that there are still transfats in there. Also whole wheat bread is different from wheat. Do yourself a favour and get the WHOLE wheat.

*****CHECK OUT BIGLOTS. If you have one in your area, you are doing yourself a disservice if you are not checking it out pretty regularly. You will find some amazing bargains. I got a Surefit slipcover to match the one I paid a fortune for at Bed Bath and Beyond several years ago, for $15. The EXACT same one. A lot of my decor, is courtesy of Biglots.

*****For bedding/linens check out Overstock.com

******And finally, avoid shopping at Walmart. (just had to get that in somewhere, Tiff ;)

Hot tips part 2: Save the planet

*****I just ordered some Shaklee products for cleaning and I am thoroughly hooked. I bought them because I am trying to do my part to slow down the decimation of the earth (and I'm sure our family's footprint is rather large from the amount of paper I found to recycle during the Purge of '08....argh!!). HOWEVER, in happy addition to being non-poisonous to us and the planet, that stuff WORKS LIKE THE BOMB!!! It is WONDERFUL and extremely economical. And you can replace the gajillion different poisons under your sink for one bottle which will do everything! And do it much better then the other stinky stuff you have been using. Trust me people. I am a cleaning product connisseur (and no I do not sell the stuff.. although it really is the first thing I would ever consider distributing, but even if I never do, I will be buying it from now on (although one bottle lasts for like..ever). I have a friend who sells it, probably for cheaper then the website if you want me to check with her.

*****Use cloth/canvas bags at the grocery store. It is not just for the hippy freaks anymore people! They have been doing it in South Africa for several years now. There are currently enough plastic bags "out there" to surround the earth and encase it a couple of times to boot. GROSS man! Do not be contributing to this problem! Again, the happy by-product of being a more responsible steward of the earth, is that those bags hold SOOO much more, so much better and they stay standing upright when they have stuff in them. Which means less trips to and from the car and less mysterious stuff rolling around in the back after it fell out of the plastic bag.

****If you buy (as I used to, and happily recommended to others-eeks) those Dove/Olay face cloths to wash your face with (and then throw away!!) STOP! No! I'm sorry! I was wrong!! You will have better results buying some facial cleanser and a stack of white facecloths (aka wash cloths to the Yanks). They scrub/exfoliate Oh so MUCH better, and they feel much nicer and you can see if you got all the make up off just as well, and then you can re-wash and re-use them thus not killing planet and wasting a ton of money. When you are done each day, rinse it out and then use it to wipe down the counter tops before you toss it into the washing machine. 2 birds!

*****Don't go psycho with the raking in the Fall! Gather the leaves (after they have stopped being a pretty golden carpet on your lawn and your kids have finished playing with them and put them onto your flower beds instead. They are really nourishing and good for the soil. I was taught this by the "Lady of the house" (wonderful lady/gardener who lived here before us. Our soil really is magnificent. See the mutant impatiens?

Anyway, it really makes me sad every Fall, to see people out there with their rakes, waiting for the next leaf to fall, when they are so much more beautiful lying out there rather then stuffed in plastic bags.Well I am out of steam which reminds me that I need to go and spend some happy quality time with my second most prized possession (first being the YOU KNOW WHAT)
(That company really needs to start giving me kickbacks.) They all do!

That is all. Carry on and be sure to BEWARE!!!!!!


How do you tell someone when you think their weight loss endeavours have gone too far?
Somehow I feel responsible. It is so sad.

To recap. Frostina before. She really did not need to lose any.

Yesterday.. she was looking shapely although a little skinny

Today...I have no words.

It's a bad time to be a snow woman, (do I hear a whoohoooooo!!!!!! ? No? Just the wind? Oh that's right, I forgot we have almost officially entered into Schizophrenia (Spring's answer to Fall's "Chaos" ) whereupon the weather will mess with us until mid-May. It should be getting really warm any time now, so that all the beautiful bulbs can bloom and just as they do we will have a freeze so that they can all die. Not that I'm cynical or anything...

It did feel pretty darn good to wear a spring coat over short sleeves, and leave windows open and have the kids to play outside without getting hypothermia over the last couple of days. Tomorrow is supposed to be cold again. Mother N! Take your meds!!!

Maybe not enough time with the lamp today?

This was my convincing "organizing is so much fun" expression at the end of a long, long day of being in the scary, scary play room. The amount of paper alone sent to recycling from that room would probably account for a small rain forest :( Whhhhhhyyyyy must there be so much paper in the world? Whhyyyyy?
Here I am, sorting through crayons, and sharpening coloured pencils. Many many coloured pencils. Because you know my kids cannot do that themselves. Ok fine, it's just that they look so much prettier and more organized when they are sharp and that kind of instant gratification..it's hard to share.
I got a ton done today, as with the previous few days but I didn't feel quite as high about it as I have been. Maybe the study and the playroom in one week was too much, even when fueled by 10,000LUX. Anyway seriously, having conquered the snarling, drooling paper beast that had been lying, quietly growing beneath pretty much every surface in my home...well, there is now nothing I cannot do. NOTHING I say. Can't you just tell by my face?

An open letter to Mother Nature

We had some thoughts and suggestions that we think may be helpful with your approval ratings. Please contact us if you are interested in pursuing some fresh new ideas. (They involve green, which we hear is your favourite colour.) Thank you. The Management.

PS: Also, wanted to convey a message from Frostina who says
"Hey Ma, it's been real but everyone's thinking, maybe... enough already? I dunno. What do you think? Kisses..Frost"

Note to the cynics: Aha! Despite what it may seem...NO! The Lamp of Loveliness has not failed me. My evangelical zeal for it remains firm. I am still a mere impervious, casual observer of Winter rather then my former state of being (that of a sponge, soaking up every bit of Winter's endless miserable greyness deep down to my miserable core).

But happy (and possibly manic) as I am, I'm picking up a certain...I don't know...Fed-Uppishness? from the general public and being a good citizen who has a public forum at their disposal, I do what I can. Oh no, no, please hold your kudos. Being a giver is its own reward.

Organizing obession....

Recently I have become obsessed with organizational how-to blogs. Oh my word, you wouldn't believe how many of them there are. It was the first time I have ever entered a blog labyrinth, you know, when you start reading one and click on the in-text link sending you over to Suzie-Jean who discovered the cure for the Sock Bermuda Triangle, or some such thing, and soon you are enveloped in another nirvana of neatness. The only problem is that there are a couple of them I would love to go back to, but I have no idea how I got to them in the first place, and unlike in my real world, there is no trail of breadcrumbs.

Anyway, so over the last little while, I have managed to tear myself away from marveling at all the uber-organized domestic goddesses long enough to do something about my own home. Generally this big overhaul/reorganization/mass recycling event happens towards the end of Summer once I have soaked up enough solar power to tackle it and is all undone by the beginning of Fall when the lack of sunlight has me rocking and humming in a corner all day. This is what I'm saying about the Magical Lamp of Everything Good people! (I have become evangelical in my endorsement of that thing-I even make house visits with it to depressed friends), I am the modern-day Florence Nightingale!

When Aaron returned home today and witnessed the almost frightening organization of my kitchen he said, "Whoah...how long did you spend in front of the lamp today?" Seriously, that thing rocks. It's like legal speed. Without the pesky side effects.

I've also been a bit creepy in organizing the fam lately. We have colour coded schedules, charts and routines up the wazoo. It's a little disturbing, but really, it works and I feel so much less stressed and in control. I think my family does too.

I've always looked at preschools and loved how at the end of each day, within a few minutes of the bell being rung or the clean up song being warbled, (I know most of us wish Barney was just a bad purple dream, but we've got to hand it to him for the clean up song), everything is back in its place despite the fact that 20 or so small tornadoes have touched down there for a few hours.

Why? Because everything has its place, and everyone knows what they need to do and when. Deviation from the routine is unthinkable. I wonder why, all this time, I have thought my home should be magically serene and organized, with a bunch of little kids, not much space, lots going on, and a somewhat more vague approach to chore routines......all just because I wanted it to be.

Anyway it only took about 10 years (I'm a quick study) to make the leap and realise that I too, could run my home like a preschool. I decided that at any given moment, my kids should know what they should have achieved by then, and whether or not they were free to kick a shopping bag around the house while sharing a blow by blow account of their last soccer game, or whether they should in fact be making their bed instead. Not that I want a military school vibe happening, with everyone glancing at their laminated pocket schedule every few moments, (dude, we're all stocked up on OCD already thanks!) but by putting it all down on paper (and yes, I confess to laminating that paper), and accounting for the hours of their days, and what they need to fit into each day by when; when I walk into a messy room with languishing children lolling about, I have been able to say, " Hey guys! Who has done their morning/evening routines?" or "Hey has everyone done what they need to have done by now?".

Whereupon some look smug, and others look sheepish, and soon enough the room is the way it should be, and everyone is anxiously engaged in whatever it is they should be anxiously engaged in (and yes, sometimes that is just playing or chilling-I'm not Mussolini) . It is rather an improvement on the hysterical tirades that used to follow my discovery of a trashed room after which everyone (including me) ended up sitting in the middle of it completely overwhelmed and defeated and flummoxed as to where to start.

We're not at Von Trapp precision yet, but we're chugging along fairly efficiently. It just makes more sense.

Anyway, there was a point to all this but I have lost it because I am salivating over the idea of re-organizing my study now.

Til later (you are forewarned that it is entirely possible that I will post a picture of my freshly organized baking sprinkle shelf. Man, I have a lot of baking sprinkles).

PS: The trouble with those chocolate marshmallow easter eggs in the little egg crates is that you can tell that you did in fact personally inhale a dozen of them in the space of a few hours. I like my chocolate consumption to be less easily quantified.

Snow Day!

FANTASTIC. I just loved today. Once a year we have a snow day when even Aaron gets to stay home because of the roads (although my Canadian friends will and should laugh and mock about what we consider snow) and the sun shines brightly and we go sledding and it's just...perfect. Today was the best ever because it was really warm out there. So comfortable (and bright) it felt like being on a beach. No really. It did sort of feel that way. When I smelled Gracie's hat that she gave me when she got too hot,it smelled exactly like a beach towel. Fresh air and sunlight and little girl. Heavenly.

And..internet... HOW much do I love my new camera???! SO fingerclickingly MUCH. Dude, it is sooo paparazzi, I can take photos as fast as I can move my finger. (I had a bit of carpal tunnel later in fact). Aaron and I just watched the slide show of the sledding pictures and we just laughed like little kids. Watching it frame by frame was almost like doing it all over again, made it even more real then watching it on video for some reason. *Sings in Aaron Neville quaver...I dunno much (about it still) but I know I love( it)
In short my camera fulfills my insatiable need to document every single split second of whatever it is I am attempting to document.

Ok so I promised I wouldn't but until I figure out the slide show thingie here is a tiny taste of what I'm talking aboout. Unfortunately they are not translating very well at ALL into bloggydom but I will find a way to post them in their spectacular glory. (Click on the tiny pictures to make them huge and then scroll around the screen until you find Benj)

Ok let's see if this works. Also let me know if it makes the blog take forever to load.

Hi! Did you have any trouble finding the place?...

Come on in! I'll give you the tour.
Ok so over here we have the stuff I am going to type aka The Whining..and over there we'll have the list of friends' blogs I obsessively click on. Up there is supposed to be the snappy tag line however, this template doesn't approve of it so.. whatever. And down there I'll probably figure out a way to not have 5 million photos every time I post-ie a slideshow ! or something similar, in order to cut down on loading time and all the swearing and muttering you people have been doing whilst that was happening. For shame! Yeah you think I don't hear, but the walls are thin.

So! What do you think? And did you bring pizza?
Ok well, if not...thanks for coming but I have lots of boxes to unpack ...But hey! Come back tomorrow because by then I'll have hung the pictures, or at least have found the toaster, and it will be spectacular.

So we finally scraped off the Kerry/Edwards bumper-sticker.....

it's not that we are leave-the-Christmas-lights-up-all-year-round kinda folk, but we did leave our campaign sticker on after the fact (by a few years), just so that people would know that it wasn't our fault. Oh hush my non-believer friends. It's my blog remember?

It has been replaced with this sticker:


Along with this lawn sign for good measure:


Obama is a good kid. I like him more every time I listen to him.I really like Hillary too, but I feel that she is too divisive and were she to win the nomination, it would be McCain's race to lose. So that was the tie-breaker. Sorry Hill. That and Benj, who is the most politically astute amongst us, (waking up early every morning to check political developments online)says he is the one to vote for. And you could do a whole lot worse then to listen to Benj.