Friday, January 8, 2010

The power of pajamas and other interesting things I've learned

I skittered over ice and snow to the kindergarten sidewalk waiting area and hung out for K-. When she got out of school, she reported that Mrs. H- told all the children to wear their jammies inside out so that they would get a snow day the next day. K- seemed jazzed about inside out jammie wearing. She asked if it was okay and I told her it was perfectly fine.

Then it came time to put them on. I thought K- was all about them until she saw them on her bed.

"NO! Mom!"

"Did I misunderstand?!"

"I'll wear them tomorrow night that way."

"Well baby, you don't have school on Saturday."

"I know! I don't want to miss school!"

You've got to appreciate a child who dearly LOVES school. Remember when she had been diagnosed with pneumonia, she told me to "step on it" so that she could get back to school? She didn't want to miss science! No, she wasn't contagious and yes, she did return lickety-split.

We turned the jammies right side out and even set the clothes out for tomorrow to try to undo the classmate jammies that might be turned the other way. :S And I was looking forward to a snow day. We have craft kits. I bought supplies to make homemade valentines. They'll have to wait for another time. (We really need to tend to our thank you notes anyhow.)

Things I've learned today:

Thing 1:
So, while standing in the great outdoors awaiting K-'s release, I was talking to one of the parents that we go to church with. He was talking about the snow and the upcoming storm. I told him that we love it, we have snowshoes and bring it on. He said that he worked outside. I asked what he did. I forgot, he works for one of the regional airports. He drives the refueling truck. We were talking about a flight I took to Philly. I was telling him about the de-icing experience I had. "It was like they were spraying green jello all over the plane."

"That is the most expensive stuff. It is $13.00 per gallon."

"How many gallons would it take to de-ice the average sized airplane?"

"400 gallons, which is one of the reasons airline tickets are so expensive."

My trusty solar calculator just told me that is $5200.00. Yikes.

Thing 2:
Land's End is wonderful about returns. K- was given a couple of knit dresses as a Christmas gift. She wore one of them this past Sunday. I noticed that she had a string. I told her not to pull it. (She's not a puller. I've taught her well.) It kept getting longer and longer. Her cuff is now half unstitched. My MIL asked if I could just stitch it. Absolutely, but since all of their paperwork says "Guaranteed. Period." I'll take them up on it.

They apologized profusely and the new dress (either the pattern that my MIL chose or a second choice) will be in our possession by mid-week.

Hassle-free. Hooray!

Thing 3:
LL Bean is great about returns. I've done them with them in the past. A thing to know is that if you choose their Easy Return (or whatever it is called) which is the option of them forwarding the merchandise while your other merchandise is potentially in transit, you are agreeing to whatever the price happens to be that day. Say for instance, you purchased your item on the Daily Markdown like I did, since it is no longer a Daily Markdown, you would have to pay the difference in price. Argh. I told her that I would go ahead and just send it out and have them send the merchandise when they receive mine. Seems fair enough.

Thing 4:
So I called UPS to schedule a pick-up. LL Bean gives pre-printed UPS tags with each order, so all you have to do is to peel the label and stick it to your box. Off and away it goes. Since I use their credit card, I don't have to pay for return shipping.

I made the computer lady angry, so she flipped me to some real-live customer service rep. I talked to her about scheduling a pick-up and I found out that there is a charge for that.

"Even though they are up and down my street everyday?"

"Yes, but you can drop your box at one of our drop boxes if it fits, you could take it to one of our stores or pass it on to a driver on his route."

"You want me to stalk a driver?"

"You can pass the box on to him and he can accept it for you."

So there I am, on the drive to the grocery, I'm looking up and down the streets for the big brown truck. No dice.

On the way back, I took another route and looked for the big brown truck. No dice.

I picked K- up from school and on our way to our play date, we took the long way through the neighborhoods looking for the big brown truck.

Why is there no UPS guy when you need him?!

So, shame on you UPS! You charge enough and it isn't like I was asking you to drive miles and miles out of your way. You are up and down my tiny street on a daily basis, so it isn't like we aren't even on your route. Ugh!

Thing 5:
Target has some excellent crafting supplies in their dollar bins for making homemade valentines. Yes, I could buy a pre-fab box o' cards for cheaper, but we like to make them.

Thing 6:
As a result of budget cuts, our city stopped publishing the nice, big city yearly calendar. I've never had to purchase a calendar because the city always provided one, listing special trash pick-up days and whatnot. That sent me on a hunt for a calendar.

Should I add that I was determined regardless to the snowstorm that had started while we were out on our play date?

I went to the local Hallmark. They had a beautiful Lang Songbird 2010 calendar, but it was $15.99. It wasn't marked down yet. Ugh.

I went next door to the local grocery. They had nothing. I, however, had a very hungry and whiny kid in tow.

We stopped at the CVS pharmacy at the corner of the same plaza and they had just sold their last calendars. Ick.

So, part of the way back required the use of 4WD and as we turned the corner, I saw the Dollar General. Against K-'s better choice of going home, I stopped in. A mommy on a mission while in the midst of navigating with a 6 year old through a snowstorm, I came in the door and asked about calendars.

They had tons of them. They even had a beautiful one with different flower blossoms. I grabbed my dollar calendar up, a few $1.00 bags of peanut free Sixlets (K- has a peanut allergic child in her class) and some cheesey crackery packs and away we went. Both of us were happy. :)!

Thing 7:
When we arrived home, Hubs was preparing his dinner and to my surprise, the BBQ re-run NYDay Pork that I had in the crock-pot was on his plate. "I assume that this is the leftover pork from New Years, right?" "Yes."

Y'all, he ate it. He even told me that he was surprised at how good it was, since it had been frozen.

You see, my husband's digestive issues has kept him on a fairly limited diet. He's been doing some Sylvester Stallone workout that has busted a few myths he has followed for many years. One has been about food. Apparently, Sylvester Stallone told him to vary his diet. He listened to him, but for the record, I've been telling him that for years. Oh, well. At least he'll be eating what I make a little more often.

Thus far, school isn't canceled. I think that we run on a reverse call through the school district, so they call about flu shot clinics and I suspect that they'll phone about a snow day.

Smiles in my day:
- Having a play date with my friend and her boys. We celebrated 4 birthdays and Christmas. All the children loved their loot (Cordz activity set, Eeboo I Never Forget a Face, Noodleboro Listening Game, Pixar Digidraw and some levitating ball thing.) I knew if I kept with educational and family oriented fun, they may be able to move along with them. Sadly, they'll be moving out of state in a few months. :( The good news is that the gifts made the moving cut. Hooray!
- Heather buying K- two Barbies that have leotards painted onto their bodies so if her boys come over, not every single one of K-'s Barbies will be nude.
- Brownies. 'Nuff said.
- K- telling me that the one little boy informed her that her "boots are boy boots." I told her that there are some boots that are boy boots, some boots that are girl boots and some boots that are boy or girl boots. I told her that hers are the boy or girl boots. I told her that she could tell him that she wears girl tights and girl skirts and dresses, so the boots don't really matter. I wouldn't have raced out and bought her new "girly" boots, but we would have put some stickers on them or something. She's fine with it, though. They are tall and keep her feet dry. That's all we need.
- Getting back into the habit of hanging the laundry on the lines, regardless to the fact that the clothing is being guarded by the yard deer that are still hanging upside down from the posts that my lines are run from. (Hubs hangs them to dry before boxing them for storage.)
- I've almost gotten the dry erase marker stain off K-'s school shirt. Apparently, someone accidentally ran into her with their dry erase marker today. It's pretty light and passable, but I'm giving it another run with Shout and Dawn just for just.
- Clean sheets. I do the sheets every other week and I just love snuggling in between the fresh smell and warmth of the flannel. I only have one set, so I don't hang them to dry.
- My friend, Nora, came through gall bladder and appendix removal surgery wonderfully. They are in Milwaukee, so I wasn't able to hang out in the waiting area like I did when her husband had his appendix out.

My side of the bed appears to be nice and toasty. Have a great weekend. We'll wave to you from the snow banks!

Edited to add:
Mark it on the calendar folks, my daughter actually cried tears of unhappiness when she found out that they had a snow day today. They were to celebrate a classmate's birthday and she is so sad! :( I told her that we'll do jammie day. She told me that the snow day is because "all of those kids inside outing their jammies." Well, at least she loves school.

Hubs yelled out from the kitchen. When I arrived, he was holding our bulk sized box of Cascade, the bottom having let loose and a whole mountain of spot free shine was sitting in the middle of my floor. So now, our dishes will be cleaned with spot free goodness with just a touch of outdoorness for fun. I suppose it can't be any different than dealing with the gunk of dirty dishes. Don't worry, they are on my list of people to e-mail today. Obviously, the bottom of the box wasn't strong enough. Oh, and we've been riding on that box since July and it is half gone. If half gone is going to make the glue unadhere, who knows how many other people have been dealing with the same problem?

K- is a whiny pie this morning so as I type, she's in time-out. Heaven help me and my nerves. It's just not appropriate to yell at me, no matter how bummed you are that you don't have school.

The Windows Live One Care caught suspicious software this morning, so it has been scanning and cleaning my computer for this past hour. It has caught one other one in the past so let's hope that it is cleaning all of the funk out of the box that I type on. :fingers crossed:

It scanned for an hour and a half total and claims that it is clean. (I keep flashing over to Nemo, when he was put in the dental fish tank for the first time and the shrimp cleans him. I suppose whatever visual takes me where I need to go.)

We've got gingerbread cookies on a roll. When I stopped in at the grocery yesterday, the Pillsbury gingerbread cookie rolls were marked down to 99 cents. I figured that we would be home and knew the way to soften my sad child's heart would be to let her make cookies. "Mom, we need more cookie dough!"

Just like Super Nanny, "I'm on my way!"

Afternoon update:
It appears as though the weather folks, both local and the National Weather Service, predicted Armageddon and it never arrived. I seriously think that the kids could have gone to school today. We had some light flurries. The roads may have been gunky this AM, but they were very passable. Believe me, we kept waiting and waiting for it to arrive. "Lake effect snow to develop over the lake and to affect areas west of Cleveland not typically affected by lake effect snow." Mmm, hmmm.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Buy me!

Have you ever been suckered into one of those "seen on TV" things? The stuff sounds good, but then you get it and well, sometimes notsogood.

Our local newspaper will run trials on "seen on TV" items, but this article ran Thursday on Yahoo.

So what do I have that is a "seen on TV" thing? I do have the Ronco Food Dehydrator. I have to tell you that the sucker works. It is great! I haven't used it in quite some time, but I used to dehydrate fruit for Hubs all the time.

Mom decided to buy the Debbie Meyer Green Bags for everyone for Christmas. She apparently found them on a rockin' good deal. When we got ours (Christmas was delayed, remember!) Hubs had just bought far too many bananas. I was excited and decided to plunk our many pounds in the bags. The next night, Hubs called to me. The bananas? They looked worse than they did on the counter and they had begun to liquify. Sorry Debbie, but your green bags aren't so green. Actually, the findings from Yahoo were the same. They said that they did see green, as in mold.

I tell you, Billy Mays was quite a pitchman. I admit that he sold the repair stuff that is supposed to solidify and hold to just about anything. Wow. I still want to try that! Oh look! I found it!

We'd love to try the Worx GT.

We've kidded about this one for years. Hubs has laughed. I think he'd actually use it if we had it.

So what "seen on TV" item have you seen that you would like to try?

Smiles in my day:
- All the laundry is washed and hung to dry.
- We've rescheduled Christmas and birthday celebrations with my friend Heather tomorrow. I'll surprise her with brownies!

Have a great day!

For the record: Dear FTC, These are my own opinions and no one sent me anything to try. If I tried something, it was because I purchased it, longed for it or unfortunately received it as a part of a Christmas gift. The end.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Such inspiration!

Hubs has decided to watch the Biggest Loser with me. I've watched it off and on through the years. I find it absolutely inspiring to see these folks work so hard and lose so much weight. Hooray for them! Such an inspiration for the rest of us!

Smiles in my day:
- It must have been regular customer day. We had 3 ladies our counter today that all knew me from being at the gallery for over 8 years. One of them was a regular at the old gallery, so I've been helping her for 12 + years! There was another regular in prior to all of them. Why does this tickle me so? Folks remember that we are open all year and not just at Christmas!
- Beth, our just turned permanent staff co-worker, getting me moving this AM despite the hazy headache and lack of drive that I had. We got so much Christmas pulled down and basketed. It will make inventory next week so much easier. (I really dislike inventory.)
- Adding probably 15 - 20 more sight words to K-'s pile and she plowed through them. The -ot words and the -op words I worked through with her, but she really seems to have the hang of sounding words out. Now, if we can get her unrattled from the counting, to slow down, remember that she needs to think and process and I'm sure that counting to 100 will be a constant thing soon and not so much a questioning herself thing.
- The school work that came home today was great! K- had hit a bump in the road with her paper yesterday, but it was her first day back. She's back on track now.

I wasn't feeling so WFMW this week. Next week, perhaps.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tales from the Trenches: I'm too lazy.

I owe y'all some pictures and I promise that I'll get them posted. I have to size them down, save them as jpeg . . . all things I'm far too tired to do at this point. So, I'll pitch an idea I had to see what y'all might think.

I thought about doing a Seed Swap. I've been drooling over my Baker Creek Seed catalog and know that we don't have a huge area to plant. I'm non-GMO with my food seeds, but general flower seeds I roll with off the rack. One pack tends to be far too many seeds for me, though. I was wondering if anyone would be interested in sharing seeds. (Sorry for readers out of the US. We can't share with you. It's not that we don't want to. The customs people won't let us.)

So, what do you think? Should I put the work into doing a Seed Swap? My thought on basic rules would be:
1. No money is to change hands. It is a complete swap thing. The person offering seeds pays all shipping.
2. Request only what you will use. The idea here is to avoid waste, to share and to experiment with new plants.
3. If you offer something, carry through. Don't leave folks hanging.

So what is your feedback?

A mommy hmmm for the evening:
Is it really necessary to invite every single child in the class to a birthday party? This is the second invitation that K- has received for a class party. I told her that she won't be going to this one. This one is at the home of one of the room moms that "helped" at the Christmas party. Honestly, if it was a leave K- off thing, I never would. I don't know the people and the mother did not help at the party with any other child other than just her own. When clean-up time came, she turned her back and listened to the story as I did all the cleaning. (The other mom watched me.) Her own child is rather wild and doesn't listen. I fear that the children wouldn't be properly attended to. If I went with her, which is what I've always done, I'm worried that I would be stuck doing a lot of party whatnot. Besides, to invite every single child to a party seems present hungry to me. Your thoughts?

Smiles in my day:
- K- got up and had a super morning. She even wanted to walk, but I said no since it was 20 degrees with a pretty rockin' wind chill.
- K- was in bed by 8:15 PM and asleep by 8:30 PM. That was with the neighbor over and talking with Hubs in the living room. (Both have voices that carry.)
- Mike, our neighbor, brought Hubs a hand-me-down Blu-Ray player. Hubs is thrilled.
- My new set of pans arrived today! I had them washed and hanging when Mike arrived, so I was able to show him what he bought me.

Monday, January 4, 2010

And on the 8th day, God made cannoli.

"Cannoli filled fresh while you wait."

I admit that K- was the one that spotted them. Deliciously crisp shells with chocolate dipped ends wrapped around the most delightful filling and dipped in chocolate chips.

Angels sang Hallelujah!

God smiled. His work was good.

I admit that the only knowledge that K- and I about cannoli was that Curious George would do just about anything for Chef Piscetti's cannoli. In fact, there was an episode where Chef Piscetti was so upset about his damaged restaurant booths that he just couldn't bring himself to make cannoli. Curious George solved the mystery and the Chef rewarded him with cannoli.

Getting back to the real cannoli, my mother grew up in an Italian neighborhood and she said that the cannoli I bought from the West Side Market in Cleveland were the absolute best cannoli she had ever had.


And yes, the cannoli were that good that they deserved an entire post.

Smiles in my weekend:
- Taking my parents to A Christmas Story House, the West Side Market, The Avenue at Tower City Center, The Hard Rock Cafe (Cleveland), Public Square, a driving tour of the lake shore, past the Rock Hall, Cleveland Browns Stadium, Rockefeller Park, University Circle and the Cleveland Museum of Art. My parents are kind of bumpkins that don't travel north, so all these places were new to them. We took them to celebrate my father's upcoming leap year (no, it isn't a leap year) birthday. My dad is a mechanic, so I have a hard time thinking of gifts to give to him.
- Going with K- to play with a few of her siblings today. She had so much fun!
- Hubs dismantled Christmas today. While K- and I went to church, Hubs stayed home and freed the house from our Christmas lights in the 7 degree heat. While we were gone visiting with K-'s family, Hubs took the Christmas tree down, as well as all of the miscellaneous bits of Christmas we had everywhere. I love Christmas, but I admit that this year we were all ready to see it get stowed away.
- Hubs, K- and me working together on New Year's Day to organize Barbie paraphernalia into containers and so forth. We all worked together to reorganize the play area. Hubs was even able to run a refurb on the Barbie party bus (or whatever the thing is called) so now it doesn't just fall apart when you open it. (My advice, never buy it. Mattel cut major corners and it is just not a quality item.) He screwed the shower head in, velcro'd tables up, glued side mirrors on and put batteries in so that the party bus plays the Barbie party music.
- Ironing all of the clean uniform parts that I had for K-. All of the ironing is done for the week.
- Over break, K- and I reached the 300 mark on the 100 book challenge list and we are on our way to 350. I would like to reach 400 before the end of the grading period, which is January 15. Yes, I realize that I have a week and a half, but I have a goal of 200 book lines (15 minutes per line) per grading period. Though the school only requires 100 book lines per grading period, we love reading together and K- likes to earn the prizes offered. Not a bad kid goal to have!

I must shove off. 6:45 AM comes early and we've been slackers at getting up early. We've been sleeping in and I'm certain that the morning will be a bit of a tussle to get up and going.

Have a great week!