Friday, March 14, 2008

How Are Your Abs?

I ran across an offer I couldn't refuse yesterday. A free Ab workout download. Just go here and download your own copy. You'll need to put it in your cart and enter "FREE ABS" as your code. There will be no charge with this code. After I downloaded it, I watched it once then did the workout. This is 20 minutes totally devoted to your abs. I was quite surprised that I was able to make it through the whole thing. And, I will say, I do feel it today. Hope you enjoy it! I'll let you know if I find one for other body parts...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Well, the rules are going well! I don't mean to sound surprised but I must admit I am...a little, maybe more. I haven't had to confiscate anything this week AND I've given out NO additional demerits! I'm thrilled with the results so far.
It has been a busy week with Orchestra Rehearsals, Soccer Practice and Student Council for Jonathan, pre-planning for the upcoming Swim Team season for both boys. Somehow, Joe and I got on the Board and with the season starting in just 2 months, there's already stuff to do. Last night I actually got out! I got together with some girlfriends, most of whom I hadn't seen in about a year. We all have kids born in the year 2000 and we used to have a playgroup when the kids were younger. It's amazing how comfortable the evening was even though we all have different stuff going on in our lives now. It was a good time, even if I did miss American Idol. But I must say, coming home so close to mid-night was a mistake! Thankfully Millie doesn't have school on Wednesdays because I'm still not dressed! Another thing I did yesterday was clean up my computer. It took ALL DAY! I ran all sorts of stuff to compress this, clean that and scan everything else and amazingly enough, things are running much smoother! Now, if I can just get my boys to stop downloading so much junk we'll be fine for a while. Needless to say, I have a lot of catching up to do on FREE stuff and other blogs. This is going to be a busy day!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Mom's Rules

For some time I have felt overwhelmed by the condition of my house. The amount of kids stuff has multiplied to excessive. And, it never finds it's way to an appropriate place. My kids used to understand that we kept toys upstairs. Now, I find dolls and their accessories, air soft guns and those darn BBs, plastic food, and many stickers, pens and notebooks everywhere I look. They're in the living room; they're in the dining room; they're in the kitchen; they're even in the bathroom! I was driving myself crazy picking it all up only to find them strewn about again in a matter of minutes. Yesterday, I decided I'd had enough. I made a contract for each of the kids to sign. It's very simple, there are only 5 rules.

RULE 1: All dirty clothes must be put inside the dirty clothes hamper, not beside, on top or behind. Clothes not inside the hamper will not be washed. If you don't have clean clothes, you will wear them dirty. I must admit, I got this one from a friend. When she first told me about it, I was shocked! Basically that she would do something so harsh. I think she's a great mom and this seemed contradictory to the Mom Pledge we take... the part about providing clean clothes for our kids. However, a quick clean-up in the boys' room yesterday changed my mind. There were more dirty clothes on the floor, dresser top and closet floor than in the hamper. And there's no excuse. The boys are 8 and 12. The hamper is right next to the bed. It even has a swing top so they don't have to work hard to get the clothes in there. So the rule is set.
RULE 2: No toys are allowed downstairs. This is our living area, not our play area. We have a playroom upstairs and there is tons of space to play outside. Any toy that is found downstairs without its owner will be confiscated for 1 week. I know this one seems harsh to most people. After all, parents should expect toys to be around. But, like I said, we have a playroom for that. Not to mention, I'm 40 years old and I feel it's OK for me to have a grownup house with the appearance of calm and tidy. It makes me feel more clam myself when I don't have to fight Baby Chou Chou for a seat on the couch.
RULE 3: The basket in the kitchen must be emptied each night. Any item left in it overnight will be confiscated for 1 week. This includes toys, extra shoes, clothing, socks, etc. (Remember Mom puts stuff in there during the day that you may not know is there. You must check the basket each night to make sure your stuff is out!) First, let me explain the basket. I have a box-style basket next to the stairs in our kitchen. The kids can put their shoes in it when they come home. There should only be one pair of shoes per child in the basket at any time as they also have shoe cubbies in their closets. During the day, if I find random items downstairs belonging to the kids, I put them in the basket for them to take to the appropriate place themselves. Problems I've had with this system have been too many shoes end up in the basket, socks congregate in here and never leave...until Maisy the Weimaraner eats them, and the kids just don't check the basket for their things so it get crammed full of all sorts of stuff. I'm hoping my new rule will make the system more efficient.
RULE 4: All toilets are to be flushed after use. Not doing so makes the house stink. We don't want a stinky house. If you don't flush, you will clean the bathroom and spray the house with air freshener. (If someone is showering when you need to flush, you may wait but don't forget, go back and flush!) I know this sounds like a no brainer but alas, it is not. I've even had to put a sign on the toilet lid that reads "Flush Me Please." I think the worst offender is Jonathan. You'd think a 12 year old would be experienced enough in bathroom etiquette that he'd know to flush. But morning after morning I enter the kids' bathroom to find the toilet full of yellow water. And, don't worry. I know he's the culprit as he is the only one to use that bathroom in the mornings. Hopefully having to clean the bathroom (my least favorite chore) will teach him.
RULE 5: Declining to help when asked is not an option. You stop what you're doing and do as you are asked. If you choose to complain or not do as asked when you are asked, you will receive a demerit. 5 demerits in one week = no allowance! So far we have one child with one demerit and this has only been in play since yesterday afternoon! Obviously this is a problem for our family. The other day, I had one of them decide not to play with the dog because the money he'd have deducted from his allowance by not doing this chore would not be as much as the extra money he'd just made babysitting his sister. Logical? Yes, in a sinister sort of way. An option? No. Although this happened prior to the rule's inception, this infraction is the reason for the rule. Now, to find a good tally system for all those demerits.

So these are our new rules. Nothing too difficult. It should be noted that this contract has nothing to do with their regular weekly chores. Each child signed the contract and so far has entered into it enthusiastically. Lets see how long that lasts.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Found It!

Well, when I put my mind to something, I deliver! I promised to find a new drink and boy did I. Last weekend I purchased a bottle of Firefly vodka. I was out of vodka and had wanted to try this brand. It's made by some locals who I've become acquainted with recently. The vodka is a muscadine wine vodka which is different but good. Not knowing what the muscadine flavor would do to my typical vodka cocktails, I visited their website last night to check out some of their recipes. It took some time to find one that I actually had all the ingredients for. I settled on the Honeysuckle. Yummy! Here's the recipe...


1 ½ oz Firefly
1 TBS honey
¼ oz fresh lemon juice
3 oz Sprite or 7up
Stir Firefly, honey and lemon juice together in a tin shaker until honey is dissolved. Pour mixture into a rocks glass of ice and top with Sprite or 7up.

And now that you've got a cocktail to sip, here's the delicious dinner we had last night which I found in the March issue of my favorite magazine Everyday Food...

Shrimp and Cabbage Lo Mein

8 oz. linguini
1T vegetable oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 c soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1 head green cabbage halved, cored and thinly sliced
2t grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4c fresh cilantro (optional)
1/2t sugar
1/2t red-pepper flakes

1. Cook linguini in large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, return to pot, and set aside. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, sugar and red-pepper flakes; set mixture aside.
2. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in large skillet over medium. Add shrimp and half of garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until shrimp are opaque throughout, 2-3 min. Transfer to a plate. (Reserve skillet)
3. Place cabbage, remaining garlic, and 1/2 cup of water in skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage in crisp-tender, 6-7 min. To pot with linguini, add cabbage, soy-sauce mixture, and shrimp; toss to combine. Serve garnished with cilantro, if desired.

I served this with some egg rolls. My family loved it! The above serves 4 although 3 of my family of 5 went back for seconds and two of us ate it for lunch today.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My New Passtime(s)

I had no idea it had been so long since I last posted! Yikes! Wish I had some new drinks to add but I've been enjoying my old standbys. I'll get to work on investigating new ones the remainder of this week and fill you in.

So, no posting and no new drinks. How have I been spending my time? I've been becoming frugal. I've been reading lots of blogs on stretching my dollars and getting stuff for free. I've been so surprised by what I've read. Did you know it's possible to feed your family for $45 a week?! Haven't tried this yet. But you can read about it as well as other money saving ideas here, here, and here. Everyone who knows me knows I love to get a bargain; I rarely pay full price for anything; and, I can tell you just what I spent and where for any item you ask about. Although, with my mind succumbing to it's 40th year, that last ones a bit in question. Another thing that's got me floored is the amount of stuff you can get for free on the internet. I have filled out more free requests in the past week than I can remember (it's the 40 year old brain again). Although I haven't received anything yet, I'm awaiting hair products, books for the kids, a calculator, a magazine subscription, coffee, different food products, pet treats, cleaners and much more! I cannot wait for it to start rolling in. Oh put your hands down! Here's some links for you to get your own stuff...Brioni's Coffee, and Crypton Cleaning Kit.

Finally, to help me with my 40 year old brain, I've discovered Lumosity. Here, you can test your brain and awaken it, bringing it back to how it used to be. The good news is the games are quick so it only takes a moment.