Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rewind Queen - The Sequel

For many years, I have dubbed myself the “Rewind Queen.” Back in “the day” (way back when we all listened to cassette tapes) I was known to play a song that I liked, rewind it, play it again, rewind, play – you see a pattern forming here, right? The most famous example of this, in my family, is the year that my best friend Christine came on vacation with my dad, my stepmother Bridgett and me. My dad has always had a sailboat (my entire life, anyway), and so when I was growing up our vacations were sailing on the boat around Lake Ontario. Kind of like camping, but on the water! Well, that one summer Chris and my “theme song” was Amy Grant’s “Stay for Awhile” (check it out on my playlist down on the right side of this blog). We LOVED this song! When Dad & Bridgett went to sleep one night, Chris and I stayed up for HOURS playing the song, rewinding, playing the song, rewinding, etc. Here’s the thing – we were on a 28ft boat, not in a palatial estate – that song and the sound of the tape player rewinding kept Dad & Bridgett up all night! And not only that, we were rafted to another boat – Dad & Bridgett’s friends Jeff & Chris – and those poor people could hear our song all night, too! Amazingly enough, none of them threw either our tape player or us overboard – they just tease us about it to this day!

Well, everything comes full circle I guess – I have been getting a taste of my own medicine this past week! My daughter’s 8th birthday was last week, and for her big present, we bought her an iPod Shuffle. She absolutely loves it and has been walking around the house with it clipped to her and with her “ear buds” in listening to her music. Currently she has 36 songs loaded on it. Out of the 36, for the better part of the past week she has listened to, ONE song. Over and over. Now, with this new technology, I am not subjected to the grinding sound of the tape player rewinding, but with the click of a button, she is able to “rewind” and start her song over. Again, and again. And she sings her song. My girl LOVES Taylor Swift’s song, “Love Story” (also on my playlist below – enjoy!) and by now she knows it by heart and belts it out at the top of her lungs! As I recall, at least Chris and I had the courtesy and good sense to let Amy Grant sing her song over and over again – she does it much better than we would have! But, it’s sweet to hear my girl singing her favorite song over and over (and over) and I am thrilled that it’s a nice song – nothing objectionable! I have to laugh though when she complains about her little sister singing the songs from “The Heffalump Movie” again and again – she doesn’t quite see the connection!

Anyway, as my dad would say, I guess “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!”

Monday, January 26, 2009

Handy Hiding Place for Those Pesky Cords!

This is a silly little tip, but I came up this idea a few months ago and I have found it to be such a great help in our house! I don’t know about you, but I am constantly looking for the cord to charge our video camera, the cord to charge my daughter’s Gameboy, the cords to charge our cell phones, the cord to charge my hands-free earpiece… Sound familiar? Ours were generally shoved into the obligatory junk drawer that we all have, but with so much other junk in there I either couldn’t find the cords I needed, or the cords were so bulky that I couldn’t open the drawer!

I finally decided that I could give up one of my four canisters on the counter (the big one!) and designate that strictly for cords! It is conveniently located next to an outlet, so I simply pull out the cord I need, and plug in whatever needs to be charged. When the item is all charged up, I unplug the cord and pop it back into the canister! It has been working fabulously for us – we always know where the cords are, and it makes charging things much more convenient, so we are less likely to be caught with an uncharged cell phone or video camera!

Now, this worked out great for me, because I have a four-piece canister set, and never really needed all four canisters. If you are using all of yours, or you don’t have canisters, you could get a canister with a lid or a cookie jar – check the dollar store, the local consignment shop, or garage sales to pick up something inexpensive!

Do you have a simple tip that has saved you some household headaches? I’d love to hear about it!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Birthday Party Frenzy!

We have been in a birthday frenzy at our house! In the past month, my girl has been to 3 birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese, Bounce-It-Out, and the Young Chef’s Academy. They were all a lot of fun, and we are now getting ready to go to Long Island for my nephew’s 5th birthday party, which will be held at Chuck E. Cheese. So this week is a flurry of getting ready for our trip, finishing up Christmas shopping (if you can imagine! – we still haven’t celebrated Christmas with half of our Long Island family), and birthday shopping.

We have also been getting ready for our girl’s 8th birthday that is coming up next week. Having had the opportunity to sample from a variety of different birthday party venues, my girl requested that we have her party at Bounce-It-Out. This is a great new place that opened up in our area this past November. In addition to her friend’s birthday party, we also went there the day after Christmas with our family that was visiting. The whole place is full of inflatable slides, bouncy houses, inflatable obstacle courses – you name it. We had a great time and we booked a date with them for her birthday party. They offer packages that include a party room, pizza & soda (I picked Hi-C), and of course play time for the kids. You can also print off invitations from their website, which is great, but I had this cute picture of my girl on one of the slides and I wanted to make a photo invitation. I started out on Kodak Gallery but this year I am trying to economize, and my cards originally looked like they would be $ .69 per card, and when I went to order they turned out to be $10.99 per set of 10 – and I needed 12! Before I gave up on the photo cards completely, I checked out Walmart.com – I got 12 adorable invitations, done in 1 hour, and picked up at the store by my husband for only $5.18!! That was a great buy – I’m going to have to remember that for my holiday cards this year!

We’ll have just a few days when we get home from our trip to finish birthday shopping for the birthday girl (I’ve picked a few things up here and there), and to put together the goody bags! Oh, and order a cake. Oh, and of course she also wants a cookie cake to bring in to school to share with class. And, I’ll have to find some time to WRAP her birthday presents. Anything else? Oh, right, I have to find some Webkinz figurines, because she wants a Webkinz cake and they don’t make those at the store, so she thoughtfully suggested that I buy Webkinz figurines to stick on top of the cake. Remember when she just wanted an inexpensive Webkinz-themed party at home this year? Apparently SHE doesn’t remember that!

Two weeks after my girl’s birthday is my husband’s – thankfully he’s nowhere near as particular about his birthday celebrations!! ;)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My, How Times Change!

Yesterday, I was talking to my mom and she mentioned that she is planning to sell her timeshare in St. Maarten’s that she’s had for (I’m guessing) close to 20 years. Talking about this with her yesterday, made me reminisce about my honeymoon, that my husband and I were fortunate enough to spend in St. Maarten’s, thanks to Mom! It was the second time that he and I had been there together, but our first trip there just the two of us. Aside from dealing with Hurricane Georges (hey, at least we have a memorable story to tell!), we had a wonderful time and would love to go back someday.

It’s funny to me to think back to our honeymoon, because I vividly remember us swimming at the beach, and talking about coming back again in the future. I believe it was I, who said, “And you know, even when we have kids in the future, we could always fly with them to NYC and leave them with your mom for a week while we come down here for a vacation!” Um, yeah. I was pretty na├»ve about how I would feel about my future children… I actually laugh about that conversation now, because our one daughter is almost 8, and we’ve never been away from her or her sister for more than an overnight weekend trip – that was within a 2-hour drive from our children… I somehow thought that I would drop my children off with Grandma (who would probably love that, actually) for a week and hubby and I would jaunt off on a plane to a tropical island for a week? I did not know me at all! :)

Perhaps we’ll just work on going out on a date a little more often, or going on an overnight once in a while, before we try to be jet-setters without the kids! And really, at this point, we would much rather take the kids with us – we’re planning a trip to Florida in May to visit Nana and Mickey Mouse!

I’d love to hear about any stories like this that you have to share – any thought processes that have changed since having kids?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A 2-Year-Old's Visit to the Library

Yesterday I took my older daughter to a birthday party (which I will talk more about in a future post -- her birthday is coming up, so it's party planning time again!), and I had find something to do to entertain my little 2-year-old for 90 minutes. Enter the library -- it was conveniently located near the birthday party, and I needed to pick up some books. My little one had never been there before, and this is a particularly nice library in the town next to ours. We were on a quest to find some of the "Nancy Drew Clue Crew" books for my soon-to-be 8-year-old, and my little one and I marched in on a mission. She was holding my hand and chanting, "Have to find Nancy Drew!" over and over -- until it came time to actually LOOK for the books -- at that point, she had lost interest. In this library, there is a cute little bridge to walk over to enter the children's section (of course you don't need to walk over the bridge, but we did). We walked over the bridge and started looking for the books, and while I was searching, my little girlie was pulling a few books off of the shelves -- so then I also had to try and restock the shelves!

We grabbed a few books -- as quickly as possible! -- and then made our way over to the "play area". We looked at a few board books that interested her, and then headed over to the big table with all of the building blocks. That held our attention for quite some time! We had a lot of fun building houses and barns and putting the wooden people, animals, and dinosaurs into our creations. Then it was time to check out and go back to the birthday party, but my girlie got sidetracked by a big easel with lots of magnetic letters on it. While she sang her "ABC's" (softly -- I tried to keep her volume down -- we were in a library, after all) she moved the letters around. Clearly, we need to work on her recognition of the letters -- as she sang, "X, Y and Z" she put up "O, O and O"...

She was not too happy about leaving the library, and while I tried to just hold her hand (and the books, and my purse, and her hat that she did not want to put on) and lead her over to the front desk to check out our books, she had something different in mind. She flopped herself down on the floor of the library in protest of leaving! I have to say though, even when she is having a temper tantrum, she is still the most polite kid I've ever seen -- while Mommy was bending over and trying to pick her up and telling her, "We have to go and get your sister from the party" she said, "NO, THANK YOU!!" I mean really, you can hardly be offended by that, right? I was finally able to bribe her (hey, you do what you have to do) or should I say, lure her, with the promise of her leftover french fries ("bum fries" is actually what she was calling them yesterday -- NO idea where that came from... or what it means...) from lunch that were still in the car. That did the trick, and we were able to check out our books and get back to the party in time to pick up my older daughter.

While we were at the library, my little girlie picked up a brochure for winter storytimes -- talk about a subtle suggestion! ('Course, it was bright pink and had a picture of Tigger, Pooh & Piglet on it!) But I'm glad she took it because we had so much fun (except for the leaving part) that we'll definitely go back again soon, and try going to the 2-year-old storytime!

We don't spend nearly enough time at the library these days, and after going yesterday, I realize what we've been missing out on! We get too busy with our other activities and getting things done around the house, but this was a fun activity for me and my little one (and I know her sister would have enjoyed it too!) and best of all -- it's free!

If you haven't been to your library in a while -- check it out!