Couch to 1 Mile – Week 3

September 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Health & Safety

Week 3 of Working Towards Running 1 Mile!

Two weeks are down and I’m still standing!  No injured knees, no falling on my treadmill, just a lot of sweat and feeling good!

My goal is to run 1 mile and I’m taking the slow and steady route to do it.  I’m not in a rush, I’m not going to run in a race, but I have a goal: I want to run 1 mile!

I’m using the Couch to 5K plan as a guideline – but I’m modifying it greatly. This is just want is working for me. I’m not saying this is right for anyone else. You are more than likely more advanced than I am, in better cardio shape. But if you aren’t, please discuss with your Doctor – do not feel like my plan is sanctioned by anyone or recommenced by anyone with credentials to do so. I am just sharing with you what I am doing.

I do 3 workouts a week as they recommend in the Couch to 5K plan.

My Week 1

5 minute fast walk to warm up
30 Seconds run
90 Seconds Walk
For 20 Minutes

My Week 2

5 minutes fast walk to warm up
60 Seconds Run
90 Seconds Walk
For 1 mile (less than 20 min)

My Week 3

Repeating week 2
5 min fast walk
60 Seconds Run
90 Seconds Walk
For 1 Mile

Why am I not moving up for week 3? My hear rate is still too fast.  After my last run of my 3rd workout in week 2, my pulse was 200. Way too high! It worked it’s way up slowly.

Week 3 –  Workout 1

After my 5 minute walk – 120
After 1st 60 sec run – 140
After 2nd 60 sec run – 160
After 3rd 60 sec run – 180
After 4th 60 sec run – 200

At least I’m pretty consistent! lol  It was back down fast once I started walking again. I slowed to a slow walk after I hit that pulse of 200. After a minute it was back down to 140.

Once I finish my walk/run I do some exercises to cool down and stretch.

I have one of those big balls, and I do some squats with the ball behind the small of my back against the wall. I squat down so I’m in a sitting position and then roll the ball back up so I’m standing again.  I do 10 of those.

I so a variety of other floor exercises I’ve been taught.  But most of them are geared towards stretching.

I usually just do about 15 minutes of stretches/exercises after my walk/run.

Then if I’m able I come downstairs to get some water and cool down before my shower. That isn’t always possible because of my schedule. If I have to take my shower right away I take a cool shower to help my body cool down.

 Workout 2 this week

It was a little easier today.

My heart rate was always between 160-170 after my runs. Even though that is still high, it is better than 2 days ago. That seems odd to me that there could be a difference that fast. But I’ll take it!

Workout  3 this week 

Today was ok. My breathing was better, I actually felt like I could have run past the 60 seconds.
My hear rate was 170-180’s today.

I am planning to move up next week.  I’m not sure yet if I’m going to go for 75 second runs or up to 90 second runs. I will try for the 90 seconds with 90 seconds inbetween – guess you’ll have to wait until next week to find what I decided! lol



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Ford Explorer Review

The 2012 Ford Explorer

ford explorerDave and I got to take this Ford Explorer beauty on our trip to Corydon, Indiana.   We started off on a Friday late afternoon to drive the 5.5 hour drive to IN.  I wanted to drive (Dave did too.. but I won! lol) and Dave decided to set up the built in GPS.

The first thing we learned was that there is evidently a safety feature set on the GPS. You can not drive and set the GPS at the same time. We had to pull over to set it.  Dave wasn’t too happy about that, thinking that if there is a passenger in the passenger seat it should over ride  it.  But he did think it was easier to set up than the GPS we had on the Lincoln MKT we reviewed.

The ride was great, loved how it drove.  One of the things that I loved on this car was the cruise control.

It has the radar cruise – when you have your speed set, but you are coming up on a car that is going slower than you are.. the cruise automatically slows you down.  So you are not having to constantly manually speed up or slow down. It does it for you.  Love that!!

The interior was a two tone leather and looked sharp.  I think Dave took the kids for a drive in it before I got back from a trip and they all thought it was roomy, and liked it.

There were enough cup holders, and they were large enough for my larger bottle of water.

We had dual air conditioning and satellite radio. It is so nice to have radio that doesn’t come and go when you go out of towns.  Dave really liked listening to the comedy channel.

This is one feature that I REALLY miss in my present car.  I would love to see this be a requirement on all cars some days.  It gives you such a piece of mind to back up and know for sure nothing is behind you.

 We made it to Corydon, Indiana and had a very enjoyable weekend.  Driving a comfortable car made it that much nicer!!

Thank you to the MI Ford Fleet for the use of this Ford Explorer for the week.

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Transferring Clothes For The Season

September 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Closets, Family & Friends, How To Organize

Are You Ready For The Cold Weather?

The Changing of the Guards Clothes – Bring Out The Winter, Put Away the Summer!

This is not something I look forward to each season!  But it is something we need to do this week.  The kids have a couple days off school, so I thought it would be the perfect time to get it done.

The triplets are now old enough they can do most of it on their own, I just have to give instructions and follow up. (If I don’t, I will have one huge pile of clothes and they won’t know what they are keeping or getting rid of)

When we bring out the clothes from last year, there are some things that Alex can wear of Zach’s from last season. Even though they are triplets, Zach is about 5 inches taller than Alex and weights about 25 pounds more, so it does make it nice for handing down clothes.  The boys also have clothes that I have saved from Tim & Drew who are now 17 & 18.

8 Easy Steps to Transferring Clothes For The Season

1) Get your supplies ready. White (donate) and black (trash) trash bags, sharpie
marker, labels (sticky address labels work great, bins (clear are best).

2) Get out the winter clothes from storage.

3) Start in the kids rooms and pull out one drawer at a time. Determine with each
* Will it fit someone in the family in the future? (If not donate)
* Is it in any condition to save? (If not then throw away, don’t donate clothes
that are torn, stained or are better for rags)
* Will the next child wear it? Was it worn at all this season? (Do they like it?)

4) Make piles.
* Save for next year
* Donate (white bag) – Doesn’t fit, they don’t like & won’t wear.
* Trash (black bag) – torn, stained, not in good enough shape to donate.

5) Go through the new season clothes and do the same thing as you put them away in
the kids drawers. Make sure they will fit your child this year and it is
something they will wear.

6) I prefer you use clear bins. Get ones that fit your space to store and latch closed. They will go from season to season.

7) Take the bins you have for next year and be sure to label them.
Put boy/girl, season and size on each label. For instance, Boy – Summer  – Size 10

8) Donate can be taken to friends who can use them, sold at a garage sale or resale
shop or taken to a facility such as Good Will.

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Organizing Mission Monday Link Party – Week 41

Homecoming Weekend!

Homecoming weekend! The cooler air, high school football, bonfires (well at least we used to have a big bonfire each year.) We also had floats for our homecoming celebration each year.

The kids high school doesn’t do the floats, but they do have a homecoming court and on the Saturday night of that weekend they have their homecoming dance.

My son Tim’s girlfriend won homecoming queen this year! We are so proud of her… what an honor to have your fellow classmates vote for you. It isn’t all about looks, personality plays a big part in it. (But she is so cute too! lol)

Here are some shots of Tim (Tim graduated last year, but his girlfriend is a senior)  and his date and my stepson Drew and his date.


Update on Sadie my dog: Her vet saw her this last Saturday again. He is leaning more towards the thyroid cancer. The only real way to know which it is would be to get a biopsy. He said they are inoperable and he doesn’t advise it. I don’t want to put her though anything more than necessary either. She lost another 2 pounds this week.
Oh… he did say to take her off the Blue Buffalo food. He said it is good as a natural product, but it is too high in protein. He wants her to have more carbs. She has high kidney labs (not good…beginnings of kidney failure) and he wants to get her level down. Too much protein is harder on her kidney. He had me get Hills Science Diet Active Longevity food. So off to the store we went. I’ll work on mixing it with her other food for a smooth transition. It is still expensive food, but better than the Blue Buffalo…so that’s a good thing!

Link up to My Linky Party

What is happening in your life this week? But as always you can link up any organizing or cleaning or DIY post to my link party.

Organizing Mission Monday

You can find the link for my button and also my “Proud to Be Featured Button” on my top “Buttons” Tab.

1) Link to your specific post – not your blog
2) Please Link back to my blog with my button or link (link just above underneath my button)
3) I’d love if you’d follow me on google and/or FB. The google is new and I’m trying to build it
4) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning or DIY or decorating
5) No sales pitches or web sites.
6) If I feature you I will use one or more of your pictures with a link back to your blog.
7) Feel free to link up more than 1 post.

Looking for other link parties? I have a whole list of them. Thumbnail via day above and keep scrolling down to find a more extensive text lists by day on my link party list. If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple. If You Are On A Reader and Want to View All the Great Link Up’s on this post please Click Here.
This party will be open until October 2, 2011

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Couch to 1 Mile

September 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Health & Safety

Week 1 – My Couch to 1 Mile Running Plan

Me run?  I never have… I’ve wanted to for a long time.  My biggest problem?  Me!!

I have this total attitude that I can’t do it.  Why? Because almost  every time I have tried to do an exercise program, I have inflamed something and have had to stop.  Last year I was being so good in going to a kickboxing class.  I ended up injuring my shoulder and have been working through a frozen shoulder for the last year.

I have gained back all the weight I had lost in 2008.  I feel like crap… I look like crap. I need to so something!

I decided to try this – but with a bit of a change. My goal is 1 mile not a 5K. I am not in a race to get there. I want to go slow and steady and actually make it there. So I will be altering this plan, but using it as my guideline.

Here is week one on the Couch to 5K program.

couch to 5k week 1

My week one: 

Brisk walk for 5 minutes. 
Then alternate 30 seconds of jogging & 90 seconds of walking for total of 20 minutes.   

Once I can hit my 1 mile, then I’m hoping to go for 2 miles.

You aren’t supposed to do this everyday.  You are supposed to only work on this three times a week.  This was me this morning after my workout.  My face is red… I am sweating up a storm… but I feel great.

I have a treadmill in my bedroom and I use that.  I am far too embarrassed at this point to walk/run outside.

I used this Target Heart Rate Calculator from American Cancer Society to find my target heart rate. I just plugged in my age.

Mine should be 85-127

This target heart rate calculator from seems more accurate. It is a full formula you go through to get your lower -higher exercise rate.

Mine comes out to 126-158

I didn’t check my heart rate the first week of exercise (but I should have)

Here is the week two that I’m supposed to be doing.

My Week 2 Plan

Brisk 5 minute walk to warm up
Alternate 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking for total of 1 mile.

My heart rate was in the 180’s.

So I am going to stick with this same schedule next week. Like I said, I’m in no rush. Slow and steady wins the race right?

Here are some of my thoughts after my workouts this week.

Day 1 of Week 2.

I was all set today to do the 60 seconds of running then 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes.  It amazes me how out of shape I am. Well.. not really… I know how bad I am. But I didn’t do the full 20 minutes. I stopped at the 1 mile mark.  I did the 5 min. warm up, then 60 seconds run, 90 seconds walk throughout though.  It wasn’t so easy.

I don’t know if treadmills are all set the same. But this is what I’ve been doing.  I know those of you who really run/jog will laugh, but it is what it is.

I set my treadmill on 3.2 to start my walk. Before the end of the warm up I walk between 3.4 – 3.6.  For my jogging (slow jog for most of you) I was setting it at 5.0.  I decided last week it was almost too slow, some of the steps my feet seem to scuff on the tread. Falling isn’t an option for me. lol
So I tried 6.0 and that was too fast.  I have been doing 5.5 and that seems pretty good.   But my last 6o seconds today I went back to the 5.0.

My breathing is my big thing. I get out of breath.  My heart rate was about 160 after I was finished & doing my stretching exercises.  I need to find that formula to figure out what my top rate should be. I know when I was young (20’s) my high heart rate was supposed to be 160 and it was always higher when I worked out. I don’t know if it should be the same or lower now that I’m 51 years old.  ( I have since found the calculator… link above)

The other reason I stopped at 1 mile was because I was starting to feel dizzy.

Day 2 of Week 2 

Today wasn’t as bad as 2 days ago. I didn’t feel dizzy. I did decide to slow back down to the 5.0 on the treadmill speed. But I took my heart rate as I was running and it was in the  180’s. That isn’t good.

Day 3 will be tomorrow.

I plan on keeping with this same routine next week. Until I get to the point that my breathing is under better control and my heart rate comes down a little bit. Then I will keep progressing.


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Organizing School Papers

September 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Paper

Simple Steps to Organize Your Kids School Papers

school papers

School papers can be harder to deal with than if someone came in and dumped a garage truck full of trash in your driveway. Why? Because they are personal! Your children did them, worked on them and created them. That is why so many mom’s have trouble getting rid of them. They just love to see what their child has accomplished.
So can you keep everything all your kids do from the time the start school until they finish? Sure…if you want to live in a trash zone or store them in a storage unit so they can rot in there.
No..of course you can’t, and better yet, there is no reason you should.

Should you keep a few special papers each year so that you can enjoy them and they can see them when they grow up? Certainly! But only a few.

Here is a guideline to help you decide what papers to keep and what to get rid of.


How is that for simple? It gives you a limit, a guideline and a goal. Can you keep less than that….YES!!

But what if they have 1 really good picture that won a school coloring contest and then an A+ on their first big report, but they are in the same month? Ok…no problem, go back through the other months and decide on which one is not as important to keep as these.
So really it is 12 papers a year. Yes…you can use the summer months as a cushion.

  • Don’t keep all the worksheets that they do.  – They are worksheets..just to learn.
  • Look for the stories they wrote by themselves.
  • Look for the pictures they did not trace, but drew themselves.
  • Look for the reports they worked weeks on and were so proud of.

So what do you do with all the other pictures they drew, science fair projects with huge poster boards?

Take a picture!! Just like the above pictures. My triplets were thrilled to pose with their projects and loved that I liked them enough to take pictures of them. They don’t care if they don’t have that big poster shoved back in some cubby space in the basement anymore. They still have the memories..and that is all we need too.
You can scan them into your computer if small enough and you have the memory space on your computer.

You can create a photo book from some of these online places like Snapfish. Peter Walsh shared this idea on one of his Oprah shows. He said take pictures of their art work (you can put more than one of their pictures in the photo) and then at the end of each school year create one of these photobooks with their art work. There is room to write in the book accomplishments, teacher’s names, accomplishments for the year. This would be much nicer for them to have when they are older than a box full of papers.

You can have a bulletin board that you keep a special paper of the day or of the week on to showcase it if its a little special and they worked hard on it that week. This will make them feel proud. Then when you take it down, if its not that most special paper of the month…throw it away. (They do not need to see you physically throw it away, nor do you have to tell them – they will just be thrilled their new picture is up now.)

bulletin boardThis one is in our basement, in the kids zone.  Since we made a bedroom on the other side of these basement steps, we wanted to do something to block looking under the steps.  We placed three bulletin boards to block the opening… and also to provide a place the kids could display any artwork or school papers they wanted to.

If you keep everything….then nothing will seem special!!

Keeping big boxes of papers to give your children is a burden not a gift. They have to deal with getting rid of all the papers you felt to guilty getting rid of.
Being handed one box of things that goes from k-12 is not so bad, and photo books would be even better.

Remember, it is not like you are saying your child isn’t special or you don’t like the work they do by throwing it away. But keeping everything is not feasible if you want to have a home that is comfortable and not cluttered.


This post was adapted from a post I did in 2009.

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Organizing Mission Monday Link Party – Week 40

September 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Organizing & DYI Monday Link Party

Sadie might have Thyroid Cancer

Sadie is my 9 year old Lab/Shepherd/Husky mix that I got as a rescue pup. Her litter of seven pups had parvo and had been left to die (one did). But a vet took them in at the Annhurst Animal hospital and treated them.  He then adopted them out.  My neighbor at the time got Lexie, who looked like a Shepherd.  I decided to go look at the pups after she was telling us about how cute they were.

Sadie became my soul-mate dog from the first couple of days.  We connected.  She is a extremely smart, but she is also highly scared of loud noises, storms, gun shots and fireworks.

I found a lump on her neck and took her into the vet.  His first thought was that she had thyroid cancer.  But he drew blood work and after we said she wasn’t acting the least bit sick, he thought it might just be thyroiditis.  Her kidney & liver labs were showing she was in the beginning phases of kidney & liver failure.  He treated her with antibiotics, suggested we switch her food to get her away from the corn & wheat.

But I’ve been noticing some changes.  The lumps on her neck are worse.  She is snoring, has a runny nose a lot, has had a pale tongue several times, has lost 5 pounds, and even though winter is coming… she is shedding like crazy.

We took her back to the vet on Saturday. They did more blood work, the kidney & liver functions looked better (so I am a believer now in the high quality food) It was not our normal vet and she suggested we wait and talk to him on Tuesday to hear his plan of action, but she felt that if it had been the thyroiditis, the lumps would be gone.. not worse.  She said that if it was the cancer she might have 6 months to a year to live.

I did some reading on the net about it.  After reading several people who put their dog through the surgery and chemo and or radiation… I feel almost certain I would never put her through that.  But I’ll wait and talk to the vet and see what he suggests.

I can’t imagine losing her, although I know she is a dog and I’d be losing her in the next 5-6 years anyway. But I’ll admit that I will be a basket case when the time comes.

For now.. she still seems healthy, other than a few minor things that otherwise I might not have even noticed.  So if this is the case… I’ll be her doggie hospice… and will do my best to give her the best last several months that she can have.

Link up to My Linky Party

What is happening in your life this week? But as always you can link up any organizing or cleaning or DIY post to my link party.

Organizing Mission Monday

You can find the link for my button and also my “Proud to Be Featured Button” on my top “Buttons” Tab.

1) Link to your specific post – not your blog
2) Please Link back to my blog with my button or link (link just above underneath my button)
3) I’d love if you’d follow me on google and/or FB. The google is new and I’m trying to build it
4) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning or DIY or decorating
5) No sales pitches or web sites.
6) If I feature you I will use one or more of your pictures with a link back to your blog.
7) Feel free to link up more than 1 post.

Looking for other link parties? I have a whole list of them. Thumbnail via day above and keep scrolling down to find a more extensive text lists by day on my link party list. If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple. If You Are On A Reader and Want to View All the Great Link Up’s on this post please Click Here.
This party will be open until October 2, 2011

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Grocery Shopping with Kids

September 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends

How To Make It A Learning Experience

I am sure we have all been there…. cart is almost full and the tantrum of all times happens because you said no to a package of cookies.  You have a screaming kid in your cart, walking beside you on the floor or possibly by this time; laying on the floor kicking their feet!

grocery store

What’s a mom to do?  Do you just keep going while they are pitching their fit in the cart or do you ignore them and walk to the next aisle hoping they stop and get up to follow?  Do you spank them and have everyone think you are a child abuser and glare at you threatening to call child services?  Do you try to talk to them reasonably, hoping they can hear you over their screams? Or do you pick them up, grab your purse and leave you cart and go home?

Ok… next case scenario –  You are trying to shop and keep your kids near you as they are running up and down the aisles playing games with each other, making noise and not listening to you at all.

I’m sure there are very very few moms who have not had to deal with these dilemmas.  I’ve been there…. believe me!

There are a couple suggestions I can give you before things get to this point.  (Read at the bottom if you want to know how I would personally handle the above situations – but not everyone will agree)

My thoughts are that kids are bored, they want your attention and right now that grocery list, cart and mission of getting in and out of that store are main things on your mind; and they don’t have your full attention.   They want to be a part of the mission.

So – make them a part of it.

I started this with my kids and have carried it on more with the triplets.  I met Dave when the triplets were three and half years old.

Make a Shopping List for Them

Make them your grocery helpers.  Make a list for them and let them help you shop.  It can be done at most ages.

Toddles – Preschool

They can be young this young.  They don’t have to know how to read.  When they are that young, draw pictures after the word.  Write “Bananas” and then draw a banana.  Just put two or three things on their list.  Explain to them what they are looking for and they let them know they have to help you find them.   When you do find the item, let them get out of the cart to get the item off the shelf.  Help them put the item in the cart and explain they have to get back into the cart before you can go to look for the next item on the list.

Kindergarten – 2rd Grade 

Put 3-5 items on their list.  Print the words and the kids have to first sound out what the word is.  We usually did this in the car on the way to the store.  So now they are also learning how to read.  Let them carry their own list and a pencil so they can mark off the item on their list once they find it.  Again, let them pick out the item and place in their cart.  You can also start teaching them about finding the best deal.  Show them the prices and help explain how to read them. Help to show them which is more or less expensive and let them know why you are picking the item you are picking.

3rd – 4th Grade 

You can add a few more items on their list by now.  They should be doing more reading and sound be able to sound out and read the items themselves.  Continue to work on helping them understand the math involved in grocery shopping.  “Which is the better deal Alex? The gallon of milk that cost $4.00 or the half gallons that are on sale for $1.50 each?  You can also start teaching them about coupons and how they work.

5th-6th Grade 

You can easily give them up to about ten items on their lists now.  Let them write their lists as you rattle off what each of them will get. I normally have my full list written and then pull off items that I know are a little easier to find or items that I know won’t be too confusing for them.   You can give them a couple coupons to go with their items, and also tell them to look for the best deal.  They would come back to me and ask at times, telling me the store brand vs. name brand prices if they weren’t sure. We would figure out the math problem together and I would make them solve it.  LOL.. we were doing this one time this summer, over an item and the man beside us looked at the kids and said, “Schools already in session huh kids?”  They laughed, but they don’t look at it in a negative way. They think it is fun.
The triplets have been doing this since they were three (at least when they shop with me.  We have heard from people who work at our small town store that when they are with their mom, they don’t behave real well for her, and they are different kids when they are with their Dad and me. By the way – she does not do this with them at all.)  Since they know how to behave in the store (with us) I full trust them with their own carts and lists and they can go on their own.  They know if there is any messing around or running of any kind in the store they lose the privilege of getting to do this. (I have no issues.. they love helping)

The other day we went in and the triplets had their own carts (pics I took as we were walking into the store.) and I had my own cart and list.  We ended up spending almost $150 in groceries (we needed a lot, my boys were coming to visit) but we were in and out of that store in about 25 minutes! It was awesome!

Older + 

Just keep increasing responsibility and math skills, using coupons etc..

Can I tell you this will solve all your problems in the store. No…. but if you give it a chance and try it several times, you might find that it will help.  Oh… and especially when they are younger and you are making out their lists.  Try to find things spaced at beginning, middle & end of the store. If they have all three items in the first aisle.. you might be in for a bit of trouble again as they get bored.

I’d love to know how it goes if you try it. Remember it might take a few times before they will respond.

Ok.. now for my personal solutions for taking care of the tantrums in the stores.  

Let me first say that I hate to see parents bribe their kids to behave. “I’ll get you a treat when we get to check out if you behave.” What I SO often see (and I saw this all the time as a pediatric nurse) was the kids acted like hellians and mom still gives them the treat at the end because she is more afraid of the next tantrum that will ensure if she says “No”.

I would sometimes get my kids a treat at the bakery or register if they were good, but that decision came at the end, by me… not used at the beginning of the trip as “incentive” to make them behave.  But I certainly would never “reward” poor behavior.

I use a point system.  The kids will get a point for poor behavior. But they can then lose those points for good behavior as you go on with your store visit.  Each point can be whatever you choose it to be. When my four boys were young, it was spankings when we got home.  I’m sure many of you aren’t advocates of that… and that is fine. That is your choice.  This was mine.  (By the way, I don’t think any of my kids ever had to get more than one spanking by the time we got home, because they would be good and lose the points if they earned them) .

For the triplets, since they are my step children, I have never spanked them and never will.  Dave has only spanked them a couple times since I’ve known him and that was for very serious issues.  He only has to raise his voice and that is enough for them to behave. But I have sent them to their rooms for misbehavior. I don’t put up with it.

I also use the 1-2-3 method for discipline.  With my older boys if I said the number three… it meant a spanking.  With the triplets I haven’t used this as much, but it would mean time in their room.

It is funny, I was out to dinner this weekend with three of my four older boys (two in from out of town) and we were all cracking up. I forget what they were doing, but I asked them to stop and they kept up (joking around… nothing bad.. I was cracking up too). Then I said.. ok…  “One…. Two…  ”  and they immediately stopped and said…”On No.. Mom is counting!”  and of course we all cracked up again.





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Kids Activity – Make Your Own Cards

Kids Are So Proud When They Make Cards Themselves


Majority of the time we have the kids make their own cards.  It is cost effective ..yes, but more than that, they get such a sense of pride when they make their own cards.

Look at Alex’s face as John (his step brother) reads his card. I think the triplets were about 6 years old here.

homemade cards

He was so excited for John to read his joke.

Here is Zach while John is reading his.

I absolutely LOVE this picture of John and Zach hugging. Look at Zach’s face. Then look at John’s heartfelt face. There is just so much love and a feeling of pride for Zachy there.


Here are some cards they made for Dave. The kids were 8 years old.

This is a terrible picture of Dave since I got him with his eyes half shut… but look at Elise’s face. She is so excited he is comparing himself to the picture she drew of him.

Kids have so much creativity in them.  I think we need to encourage that anyway we can.  Why go out and pay $2-5 per card at the store?  Let the kids grab some of their construction paper, crayons or markers and go to being their creative selves.  There are pennies in the supplies and you don’t have so spend hours trying to find “Just the right card” for the different occasions.

They are going to get much more satisfaction out of making a card.

Dave and I would both rather have a home made card from the kids. You never know what they are going to come up with and they certainly are something that are going to be more cherished than if they sign their name to a card that Hallmark wrote.  They are just so excited to have you look at their cards.

But here is an important clue.  Give their cards as much or more attention to the store bought gift that may or may not go with it!


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Organizing Mission Link Party – Week 39

September 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Organizing & DYI Monday Link Party

Corydon Indiana

Dave and I were invited to go to Corydon Indiana in July.  It was a 5 1/2 hour drive there. We got in late on a Friday night.

We had an easy drive there and found the lovely Bed & Breakfast, the Kintner Inn without any problem.

We had a nice meal at Magdelena’s, saw all the historic aspects of this little town that was the states First Capital and saw a live play.   Saturday we found the winery (with a bit of difficulty and wrong turns – GPS wasn’t too fond of where it was I guess) that had goats as the mascots…. and a bit of a parking dilemma in the couple’s driveway – but with a really cute decor and young owners who were putting their heart and souls into this business venture.

Sunday we headed  another 1/2 hour south to visit Marengo Caves Park. We both enjoyed that and wished that had been our Saturday adventure so that we would have had more time to go on additional tours or venture around more.

You can see my full review on my Explore Ohio with Sandy blog.


Link up to My Linky Party

What is happening in your life this week? But as always you can link up any organizing or cleaning or DIY post to my link party.

Organizing Mission Monday

You can find the link for my button and also my “Proud to Be Featured Button” on my top “Buttons” Tab.

1) Link to your specific post – not your blog
2) Please Link back to my blog with my button or link (link just above underneath my button)
3) I’d love if you’d follow me on google and/or FB. The google is new and I’m trying to build it
4) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning or DIY or decorating
5) No sales pitches or web sites.
6) If I feature you I will use one or more of your pictures with a link back to your blog.
7) Feel free to link up more than 1 post.

Looking for other link parties? I have a whole list of them. Thumbnail via day above and keep scrolling down to find a more extensive text lists by day on my link party list. If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple. If You Are On A Reader and Want to View All the Great Link Up’s on this post please Click Here.
This party will be open until Sept. 18, 2011

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September 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Conference, Blogging and Social Media

cbSocially and Collective Bias

cbsocially 125x125

I’ve had several people ask me for some more specifics on what my new job is about, or what I actually do.

Collective Bias has a corporate office in Bentonville, AR and will soon have one in NYC. Here’s a description taken from to describe what they do.

Collective Bias facilitates the creation of real shopper media by connecting groups of social media influencers to the brands and retailers they use in their daily lives. Our Social Fabric™ community drives conversations on a wide variety of social media platforms in order to build consumer engagement and brand loyalty that ultimately lead to sales conversion.”   

The community of over 1,100 bloggers is called Social Fabric .  It is in Social Fabric that we maintain all of our communication with the bloggers.  Shops that are needed are posted, the blogger is able to pick and choose what shops or activities are applicable for them.  We don’t send products to the bloggers for review, which is very typically what you see in most communities. CB sends the bloggers out to shop for the actual products, so the entire purchasing process can be noted by the blogger.  Did they have trouble finding something? Was it on sale? Did they see something they preferred better etc..

So what do I do?  Well, CB has been growing so fast and doing so well that they brought in Ted Rubin as the Chief Social Marketing Officer.  Ted  and John Andrews founded what is now called cb.Socially which is a new division of CB.  cb.Socially is the engagement and outreach component that will use Twitter, Facebook and other venues to develop or amplify the Brands.

I am the Social Marketing Manager for cb.Socially.  I currently am running the 16 twitter accounts we have, cbSocially FB page and helping with CB’s FB page.

It may not sound like much, but I’ve been putting in an average of 12 hour days (6 days a week) to keep up. Working on growing the twitter accounts each day, collecting and modifying the tweets – running a group within Social Fabric with over 200 bloggers and a number of other duties that are required (won’t bore you with them all) is timely.

I’m loving it though!!!  Being able to watch the growth and knowing that what I am doing is helping the Brands, helping our bloggers (because we ask them for tweets on their blogs) and helping CB is awesome.  I’ve been wanting to work for CB for over 2 years and I’m thrilled to now be working my dream job!

Yes….I’m just like you!  I want to “do it all” but I have to realize that with many things in life – something has to give.   My blogs are going to be what is the “give” for me right now, so hang in there with me!

Life takes many paths and curves. Who would have thought I would have a full time social media job three years ago when I began blogging?  Isn’t it cool?

Here is a list of the twitter accounts I’m running. These twitter accounts have from 2,600 to over 14,000 followers on them. I’d love for you to follow them and chat with me!!


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Therapon Skin Health Review

September 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Reviews & Giveaways

Do You Have A Skin Regime you Love?


If not I can highly recommend Therapon.  I didn’t set out looking for this, even though I knew I needed something!

I’ve been so discouraged lately at the lines and wrinkles and age showing on my face. I tease that I get my own facelift by not wearing my glasses when I look in a mirror. (and that really does help! lol) When I do have my glasses on and see my reflection, my heart sinks.  My once fresh skin is now aging dramatically, the wrinkles are jumping ahead of one another to race to see who can multiply my face quicker – the area around my eyes, or the area around my mouth and chin.

There have been many a video that I did not use because they showed way too many details of my face deterioration.

I’ve gone the Mary Kay, Ogai and other over the counter routines.  Most of them call for different routines each day. You might do the scrubs once or twice a week, a night time regime that is different than the daytime one, etc.  To tell you the truth, I usually end up getting lazy and go back to my routine of  just using good old soap and water and which ever moisturizer I have on hand.

I went to Gleek Retreat in MI a few months back and met  Christina Stumbaugh, who was giving facials.  I didn’t want to get one done because I just had my skin graft done on my nose and still wearing a band-aide. But I did go in and talk to her, and we got a sample in our swag bag.

It was a four part system, and what was nice about it was that it was the same…. morning & night.. everyday of the week.  Easy Peezy!

I have been using these products for a couple months now.  I had a video I recorded for you, but I’m having big time technical problems with not only my flip software, but also my imovie clips since I had to clear off my computer last week.

Results I Noticed

1) Dramatic change in the softness of my skin  – my skin has always been dryer since I’ve aged and much dryer since I went through menopause two years ago.  I LOVE the feel of my face again!  It feels smooth again.

2)  My pores are smaller – the pores on my nose have always been larger. They have gotten much smaller since I’ve started this.

3) My fine lines have decreased.  I can’t say they are gone or I look 20 years younger, but I have noticed an improvement in the last couple months.

4) The scar from my skin graft is much less. I really think this regime has decreased the scaring on my nose. I’m thrilled with that.

5) I was diagnosed with rosacea shortly before I started on this. Since I’ve been using it, I’ve had no outbreaks of the rosacea. I can’t say they are related because I don’t actually know. But I really wonder if this is why I’ve not had more problems with it.

6) I don’t have problems with flakey dry skin at the junction of my eye brows and bridge of my nose. The lines there are still pretty deep (too much frowning!) but better – but I used to get all this flakey stuff at the edge of my eye brows and that crease.. I don’t have a problem with that anymore.

The products

I am using a four step process

1) Cleansing Wash – Mild, suds really nicely. The smell is mild and clean… not flowerly.

2) Fruit Acid Exfoliant – I expected this to be thick with those little rough pieces in it.. that you use once a week. Instead this is a clear, think liquid. You use their pads (but I thought were too rough and opted for my softer ones, before I read that the purpose of the roughness was to help the exfoliant action… duh!) and put it on twice a day.  It feels nice and you wonder how it is acting as an exfoliant.

3) OPC Reparative Gel – This is an amber clear but slightly thicker liquid than the exfoliant.  I use a little on my finger and put it all over my face.  The color always reminds me of betadine (the nurse in me). The smell isn’t bad, but there is a bit of a distintive odor to it. It does not give or leave any color on your skin. It soaks into your skin very nicely.

4) Enriched Facial Moisturizer – This is a thick rich white cream. It feels wonderful when it goes on. It does seem more like a night cream in thickness, but once it is on, it doesn’t feel heavy or sticky at all.  My makeup goes on very nicely over it.

I do this in the morning and evening.  I have also tried their Sun Screen product and love it too.  I have to be very careful of the sun exposure as I’ve already had a basal cell cancer and skin graft done on my nose and I’m at high risk for melanoma skin cancer.

I’m extremely pleased with the products and really hoping I can have some more to keep reviewing!   I have a dermatology appointment next month and plan to show my dermatologist what I’ve been using and ask her about it.  (These products were developed by  Dr. Beckman who is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon). I am also driving to VA to see my sister and brother in law at the end of September.  He is an Oral Maxillary  Surgeon and preforms reconstructive facial surgery on accident victims. He also does some cosmetic surgery and researches products that can help his clients achieve better skin health. I’m going to also talk to RW about these products.

Thanks Therapon, I’m a very pleased client.. oh.. and I LOVE the little containers for travel! Perfect size!!


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Kids Activities – Make Your Own Cake

September 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Activites for Kids, Blog, DIY, Family & Friends, Food

Making and Decorating a Cake Is a Fun Project

Why go out and buy a “store bought” decorated cake when the kids can create one for the occasion?


They were so proud of this cake they decorated for their Dad for his birthday a couple years ago.  You never know what kind of creation you may get.

We don’t have the kids decorate all the cakes. But it is a fun project for them to do occasionally.

When they were eight years old for their birthday, we told them they could either make their own cakes this year, or we would buy them – (like we usually do).  The triplets have always gotten their own birthday cake for their birthday. Yes… three cakes.  We also always sign Happy Birthday to each one of them individually. (Yes.. we sign it 3 times)  They all decided without even saying it twice that they wanted to make their own cakes.

We let each one of them pick out any cake mix and frosting they wanted at the store.   We got foil cake tins so that there was no problem with not having enough cake pans, and so there would be no problem with someone having a pan that was a different size than the other.


They each got turns making their own cake.


Then they went to the decorating

kids decorate cakes

I think we must have gotten some extra vanilla frosting for the middle of the cakes.  They all have vanilla inbetween layers. I can’t remember the exact reason for that now. lol

Think he is proud?

Here are their finished products

Elise’s strawberry creation

Alex’s chocolate frosting & cake

Zach’s vanilla with devil’s food cake

They had so much fun creating their cakes.  It of course is a great money saver, but they had a blast doing it… and still talk about that birthday and how cool it was. They also got surprised when we took them to Walmart to look at some things Daddy needed.  We walked by the bikes and Dave told them “Surprise… Happy Birthday.. Pick out a bike!!”  I think Dave and I were as excited as they were.

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Office System

September 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices

Plan a System so Your Office Will Flow Smoothly

Organizing any office, you have to consider the flow.  How will the office function the smoothest?  If you do not have any kind of plan, you will be wasting precious time and get frustrated. Why? Because you will be having to jump up to get things, or looking for things that should be right within hands reach. 

Let me show you a pictures from an  office that didn’t work.

cluttered officeHere is one that I was evaluated for a client.

cluttered office

Plan Office Zones

1) Plan your office in Zones
From where seated at your desk you should have zones.  The zones determine what you use daily, weekly and maybe monthly.

Zone A – The area right around your seat.  You use these things daily and should be within easy reach (scissors, stapler, pens/pencils, paper, file drawer that you access daily)

Zone B – Area just outside of Zone A.  Not too far away, maybe  along reach or turning your desk chair around to reach the copier or extra ream of paper.

Zone C – Items you don’t use nearly as frequently. Supplies, extra pencils, staples for stapler, files that you don’t access daily.

2) Clean out and sort your office

Decide what you use in the office. No kids games, no sewing projects, no basketballs (you get the picture)
Decide if you like it, use it and need it – if so.. keep it  If not decide if it should go into another room, be donated or thrown away.

3) Plan out what you are going to use in your office for storage and where it will go
I suggest planning it on graph paper. Measure and make sure things will fit the way you want them.

4) Put your office back together again after cleaning it well.

The After picture

Just a little bit of good planning can make an office very functional.

This was written as a guest post for Daze of Adventure last January.


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Organizing Mission Monday Link Party – Week 38

September 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Organizing & DYI Monday Link Party

Labor Day

Do you have the day off today?  Do you have family cookouts planned or did you take a long weekend and go somewhere?

I was thinking about Labor Day as I was going to write this and kind of wondered why the flag is associated with it.  I know it is about the Labor movement in the 30’s  and all the labor laws etc.  But kind of wondered why we think of the flag with it?

It isn’t like Memorial Day or 4th of July.  I never really put much thought into it before. I just know it is a nice three day weekend and I look forward to having time with my family.

We are planning to go up to our farm for the day – ride our four-wheelers and have a campfire.

Link up to My Linky Party

What is happening in your life this week? But as always you can link up any organizing or cleaning or DIY post to my link party.

Organizing Mission Monday

You can find the link for my button and also my “Proud to Be Featured Button” on my top “Buttons” Tab.

1) Link to your specific post – not your blog
2) Please Link back to my blog with my button or link (link just above underneath my button)
3) I’d love if you’d follow me on google and/or FB. The google is new and I’m trying to build it
4) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning or DIY or decorating
5) No sales pitches or web sites.
6) If I feature you I will use one or more of your pictures with a link back to your blog.
7) Feel free to link up more than 1 post.

Looking for other link parties? I have a whole list of them. Thumbnail via day above and keep scrolling down to find a more extensive text lists by day on my link party list. If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple. If You Are On A Reader and Want to View All the Great Link Up’s on this post please Click Here.
This party will be open until Sept. 18, 2011

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