A Mother Knows She Has Boys When…

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity, The All Sports Mom · Comments Off on A Mother Knows She Has Boys When… 

By Paula Schmitt, The All Sports Mom

As a mom there is life B.B. (before boys) and then there is life A.B. (after boys). I question any mother’s sanity should she decide to continue onward for that junior basketball team of five. I know all too well what it is like to raise boys. I have four and quickly stopped there as I pondered the consequences of my future. Not a pretty picture.

A mother knows she has boys when…

The walls and accessories in each of the rooms of the house are shades of blue;

She gets a shower of gold upon every diaper change;

She finds that her home and the surrounding yard of said home are decorated with every sports ball imaginable;

She begins to imitate the sounds of toys to family and friends daily, i.e, toot-toot and vroom- vroom;

The television set only knows Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine;

Frogs and lizards become indoor pets, naturally;

The walls in the house have dirty handprints throughout (so artistic);

She enjoys the karate chop of her favorite action figure come playtime;

During holiday season shopping her cart is filled with Hot Wheels, G.I. Joes and Nerf balls;

Doing laundry she discovers pockets filled with rocks and dirt;

Everyday when her children come home from school and when asking them what was the highlight of their day they respond, GYM;

There is a constant stale odor lingering in the air (you know, farts are funny);

The permanent position of all toilet seats throughout the house is UP;

She can no longer see the blue paint of her children’s bedroom walls since sports posters have covered every square inch of wall space;

She grocery shops every week and the food magically disappears within a couple of days;

All her children’s clothing features the word NIKE;

She is off at a sports event 365 days of the year;

She’s on a first name basis with the staff at the emergency room;

The teenage girls are swarming the house like bees on honey;

She thanks God for those boys every night.

Bedroom Magic in Four Simple Steps

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity · Comments Off on Bedroom Magic in Four Simple Steps 

It’s one hour before your company is due to arrive. If you’re like me, you’re rushing around to get the last minute things ready. You realize that you don’t have time to clean up your bedroom so you close the door. Right? Sure some people close their bedroom doors because they want them to remain private, but when I see a closed bedroom door I think, “Oh, they ran out of time to clean it up.” And I always wonder just how bad it is. Closed doors bring out the snoop in me.

When I have company I always clean up my bedroom because invariably somebody says, “Oh this is such a cute house. Do you mind if I see the rest?” or “I need to put my feet up for a little while. This pregnancy is wreaking havoc on my feet and ankles, but my kids will shoot me if we have to leave early,” or “Your toilet appears to be stopped up. Do you have another bathroom?”

When company comes, it’s best to expect the unexpected. No matter what kind of shape your bedroom is in, you can be ready for company in 30 minutes if you periodically follow the four simple steps described here. I like to do this once a season.

How Much Magic Do You Need In Order to Get Your Bedroom in Shape?

Is your bedroom bulging at the seams with shoes piled up in the closet, clothes on the floor or on chairs because there’s no more room in the closet? Do you have to shove a pile of stuff off your bed before there’s room for you and yours? Is it scary under your bed?

Are you somebody who LIVES in your bedroom? Is it a place where you eat, exercise, watch TV, and work on your computer? The more you do in your bedroom, the more difficult it may be to declutter because each activity has its own “toys.” You may need a 12-Step program if you have more than 5 dirty dishes under your bed.

Or do you just have an ordinary messy bedroom because you’re usually in a hurry dashing in and out, dropping clothes on the floor and bed as you rush off to work, to a party, or to get dinner ready.

Regardless of whether your bedroom is a total disaster or if it just needs tweaking, you’ll follow these same four steps.

Step 1: Start by taking EVERYTHING out of the bedroom that doesn’t belong there. For many of you, that step alone will get you half way to a clean and tidy room.

If you have a lot of things that belong in other places, you might get sidetracked if you take them there now. Solution: Have a box or laundry basket (dump truck?) to put everything in that is out of place. Fill it up and set it aside to empty as soon as you’ve finished the other steps.

Step 2: Open the closets and drawers and scan your room to see if you have too much stuff and need to get rid of some it. Here are some things we usually have too much of- shoes, nick knacks, clothes, jewelry, socks and underwear with holes in them.

Tips to Help You Let Go of Excess Stuff

Create a visual of clothes you don’t wear. Here’s a handy tip to let you know what clothes you are actually wearing and which ones you aren’t. Turn all of the hangers around so that the point of the hook faces you, instead of facing away.

When you wear something, hang the hanger up as usual with the hook facing away from you. At the end of the season, consider letting go of anything you haven’t worn – which will be obvious by the clothes on hangers with the hooks facing you. This is a cool visual reminder. You may be surprised how many things you haven’t worn.

Team up with a friend. If you have difficulty getting rid of things, have a friend join you. Just their presence may help you see that the worn down heels on your shoes are not appealing, and you’ll put them in the give-away or trash pile. When you hold up an old piece of clothing that you never wear, it will LOOK unattractive when your friend is sitting there with you. I’ve done this with my friend, Brenda. A couple of times she said, “dated” or “not your color” and that was all it took to school me in the art of letting go. Now she just sits and folds as I rifle through my clothes and shoes. It’s fun and it’s quick.

If you get bogged down now and then, ask yourself if you would wear it on a date, to a special event, or out to dinner. If the answer is no, hand it to your friend to put in the give-away pile.

Set a percentage goal. If your closets are packed and it’s unpleasant to hang things up, set a percentage goal of how much you’d like to clean out. Twenty-five to fifty percent is not unreasonable if you haven’t purged in a while. With a little breathing space in your closet, you’ll be more inclined to hang things up and to wear things that you didn’t remember you had because they were smashed and hidden between things you never wear. This step may reduce the amount of ironing you need to do too. Use this strategy with your drawers as well.

Get Real. Realistically assess the shape your stuff is in. Getting rid of excess shoes can be a challenge for some of us. They become like old, comfortable friends. Try seeing your shoes through someone else’s eyes. Are the heels worn? Are they scuffed and dirty? Are they covered with dust, cobwebs and dead flies? Would these shoes make your outfit look great and be a nice accessory, or would you be better off going barefoot? Do the shoes hurt your feet? Chuck them! Maybe they won’t hurt somebody else’s feet. Do you have so many shoes that you NEVER wear some of them? Get rid of them and give the shoes you love some breathing space.

Step 3: Clean off all horizontal surfaces (floor, bed, chairs, bedside table)

  • Hang up any clothes on the floor. If your closet has open, inviting places, you’ll be more likely to hang up your clothes rather than drop them on the floor. Right? Hanging things up only takes a few seconds and it dramatically simplifies last minute cleanup.
  • Put dirty clothes in the hamper as soon as you take them off. Do you have a hamper or laundry basket in your closet? That would really help you keep things picked up. I have one laundry basket for colored clothes and one for whites. I toss the clothes in the right basket right away so I never have to sort clothes before washing them. Yes, it’s great. Do this in your kids’ rooms too.
  • Look at your bedside table (if you have one), and see if you actually USE everything on it. Bedside tables tend to get stacked with all kinds of things–books and magazines, plates and cups, snacks, nose spray, antacids, reading glasses, earrings, change, etc. Clear away any items that you don’t need to have on that table.
  • Avoid piling shoes in a corner or in the closet. Easier said than done because most of us have way too many shoes, including me. There isn’t enough room in my closet for them, so I bought a squat plastic tub that fits nicely under my bed. It holds favorite shoes that I’m wearing that season. Every night I pull the tub out and put away the shoes I wore that day and select shoes I will wear the next day. I love that simple system.

Step 4: Create Systems and Routines That Suit Your Life and Your Lifestyle (and help you stay clutter-free and organized)

Here’s an example of a home organization idea that works for me – my evening routine. I’m a night owl and hate to get up. That’s why it’s been a lifesaver for me to select everything I’m going to wear the night before – everything. I put my underwear, socks and earrings on my dresser, my shoes go by the closet, and the clothes I’m going to wear hang on a fancy hook on the outside of the closet door as if I had a handmaiden laying out my clothes.

I pack my tote bag and lunch the night before too! I can be out the door in minutes if I have to. Sure the weather may throw me a curve, but it usually doesn’t. And I can easily grab a slightly warmer or cooler jacket to wear if need be.

With a Clean and Tidy Bedroom, Let the Magic Begin

It will feel great to be able to see what you have in your closet and give your favorite outfits breathing room. The less you have to take care of (dust, polish, wash, sort, store, step over, root through), the more time and less stress you will have in life. And you’ll have one more room that is ready for company in 30 minutes or less.

10 Ways to Summerize Your Home

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity · Comments Off on 10 Ways to Summerize Your Home 

When we winterize, we prepare for the cold winter months by blocking out anything that might make us feel cold. We plug holes, caulk windows, and turn up the heat. Our home decorations reflect this desire to be warm and cozy. We surround ourselves with things that say “warmth” like candles, throws, festive arrangements, and an abundance of pillows on our beds and couches that invite us to sink into the warmth. Now that it’s summer, I get hot just thinking about this.

If your energy is a little low and you feel hot, how about summerizing your home to reflect the changes that have taken place in nature? You might just get an energy boost.

Think light and cool. As the temperature rises, we seek a feeling of lightness and coolness in the way we dress, the foods we eat, and the decorations in our homes. Off come the heavy clothes, the layers, and the preference for warm colors. We begin to eat more salads and lightly cooked foods.

Summer is a perfect time to take a look at your home with new eyes. What makes it feel hot and heavy? What simple changes can you make that will improve the way your it feels?

Here are several tips to help you summerize your home and shed some of the “heat”:

1.Eliminate excess. Pack away many of your nicknacks. Clear away anything that feels cluttered or “hot.” Favor simplicity and lightness. Consider taking down some of your pictures for the season. It will be fun putting them back up for the winter months.

2.Remove dark colored pillows from the bed and sofa and pack them away for now. Or if you prefer, replace them with cool colors or cover them with slipcovers.

3.Take the “fire” out of your house. Pack away the candles for use next season. Consider putting away everything on the hearth for an open, light feeling.

4.Roll up any area rugs or throw rugs that you can live without to open up and lighten the room.

5.Pack away your winter comforters and replace them with lighter weight comforters in cooler colors.

6.If you have an excessive number of plants, take them outside for the season to open up your spaces and cool them off. You don’t want your house to feel like a tropical jungle.

7.Take a look at your curtains and drapes. Do they feel too warm and heavy? Consider taking them down and leaving the windows bare. If that’s too shocking for you, put up some lace curtains, sheers, or other lighter material.

8.Wash your windows or have them washed. Bye bye grime and grit, hello sunshine. There’s something quite pleasing about clean windows on a sunny day.

9.Consider giving your house a face lift with new interior paint. Paint is inexpensive and can dramatically improve the look of a room. Home decorating trends favor using color instead of the conventional off-white.

10.Determine where you will store the off-season items you have taken down. You can store them in containers under beds, in available cabinets and closets, or in an off-season storage area in your basement. Large trunk-style plastic containers with lids work well. Label them with the contents (e.g., Winter accessories). If you use clear containers, you can even see what’s inside.

This uncluttered summer look will be easier to keep clean. I think you’ll find that summerizing will put a bounce in your step. And when the winter rolls around again, you’ll enjoy warming up your home with the accessories you packed away for the summer.

Take Action – Nothing Changes Without Action

Set aside time this month to give your home a summer face lift by getting rid of things you don’t love or use. Decluttering lightens the energy instantly.

Have fun. You don’t have to worry about doing this perfectly. Just get started.

If you are not yet a member of this club, join now so that you can get these handy monthly tips too. Or use the sign-up box at the top of this page or go here: Join the Packrats, Paper Hounds & Procrastinators’ Club..

Please forward this newsletter to a friend who may enjoy it. I can use your help getting the word out about this free club

© 2005 cherylmillerville.com  All rights reserved.

How About Some Great Bathroom Time?

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity · Comments Off on How About Some Great Bathroom Time? 

Families often fight over bathroom time . . . especially if they have teenager girls. When you finally get a chance to get in there to get ready for work or bed, you may not have as much time as you’d like. Solution? Make sure the bathroom is streamlined for quick morning and evening routines.

Before you read any further, stop for 2 minutes and take a quick look at your bathroom. Do it quick right now.

What Shape is Your Bathroom in?

If you had unexpected company right now, would you be embarrassed if they asked to use your bathroom? If you had a date, would you be able to get ready lickity split because your bathroom is really organized? Or, if you wanted some quiet bathroom time with a hot bath, a book, and a candle, would you have an attractive spa-like experience? Or would you think “icky pooh.”

Do You Have Any of These Major Bathroom Problems?

  1. Too much stuff. How many bottles of shampoo and creme rinse do you really need (and use)? And how many different kinds of lotion tooth paste, and lipstick do you have? Do you use all of the makeup you have?
  2. Too little storage space. If there’s very little storage space in the bathroom, most people will not put things away. Of course, there are a few people who ALWAYS put things away. But they’re rare.  And if everything you have in the bathroom is left out, there is even less space for the things you really need to use to get ready for work. That means the morning routine becomes a big hassle, and who needs that extra stress?
  3. No clear organizational system that works for all family members. If people don’t know where to put things, they tend to set them down on the closest horizontal surface. The bathroom counter becomes loaded with nail clippers, lotion, makeup, curlers, shaving creme, a curling iron, blower dryer, nail polish, aspirin, cold medicine, drinking glasses, reading glasses, and 20 other things. If you’re giggling, then I’ve probably described your counter top.

Why live with the hassle of an inefficient bathroom? Wouldn’t you love to have a less stressful morning and evening routine in a bathroom that is clean and organized? Decluttering and organizing your bathroom will make a big difference. And if you have unexpected company, having a clean bathroom will be a nice bonus.

Three Simple Solutions

1. Do a quick assessment to see how much of the stuff in your bathroom you actually use and use regularly.

We have all purchased shampoo that we don’t really like. But because we spent good money on it, we don’t want to throw it out and be wasteful. Instead we save the many bottles and jars of things nobody in the family uses with the unconscious hope that we’ll like them better another day or will use them when we run out of our favorites.

But five years later the bottle of shampoo that makes your hair sticky and flat is still collecting dust and taking up valuable bathroom real estate.

It’s time to get tough and get rid of everything you don’t use. Why not donate it to a local shelter or advertise it as a freebee on your local freecycle.org group.
2. Store excess “off site.” If you have a very small bathroom, consider storing the excess in another location like a hall closet or back room. If you have 10 bath towels and wash cloths but only use two, why not keep the other 8 in another place until your house guests arrive and need towels?

And if you have a year’s supply of Kleenex and toilet paper, store that somewhere else in your home. When you stock up on your favorite shampoo with the buy-two-get-one-free sale, store it in your “off site” location too.

Then when you need something, you can go “shopping” in your hall closet or back room.

3. Have a place for everything and get buy-in from the rest of the family to keep it organized. It will be a lot easier to create an organized bathroom once you’ve gotten rid of all of the excess, so do that step first.

Then assess what your biggest storage and organizational problems are. This step will guide you to solutions. For example, if you have more towels than storage space, consider rolling them up like logs and putting them in a cool wicker basket on the floor.

Why not hang your blow dryer from a hook and your water mug too? Is there open space above the door and window where a little shelf might work well?

Use dividers and baskets in your drawers and cabinets to group like things. I put all my make-up in a little basket so it’s easy to take out of the cabinet and put back – just one motion. That’s much easier than putting each item away.

I also group lotions, and dental stuff, and over-the-counter medicine. In fact, I group everything because if I don’t, I won’t put things away either. I’m as lazy as the next person.
My bathroom is the neatest room in my house because I have a great system for organizing it. If you’ve got a great system too, email me at cheryl@cherylmillerville.com. I love to hear success stories.

A Mom Knows She’s A Sports Mom When…

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity, The All Sports Mom · Comments Off on A Mom Knows She’s A Sports Mom When… 

By Paula Schmitt

As a mom there is life B.S. (before sports) and then there is life A.S. (after sports). To be quite honest, I have forgotten what it’s like to be a B.S. Mom as I’ve been a dedicated A.S. Mom for the past fourteen years. I know all too well what it’s like to be a SPORTS MOM.

A mom knows she’s a Sports Mom when…

She finds that her home and the surrounding yard of said home are decorated with every sports ball imaginable;

All of her clothing features the NIKE or REEBOK symbol;

She is off at a sports event 365 days of the year;

She’s on a first name basis with the staff at CHAMPS;

She understands and can explain to others the infield fly rule;

She considers the yearly school sports banquet a good night out;

She does all her holiday gift shopping at DICKS Sporting Goods Shop;

Her kids soccer coach asks her to tone it down a little (PLEASE);

She considers it a treat to have a “sit down meal” at Pizza Hut instead of the drive through at McDonalds;

She understands, can explain and demonstrate to others a reverse, behind the back lay-up;

She walks into her kids’ rooms and she is greeted by life-size posters of the entire L.A. Lakers basketball squad;

Her graduating senior refuses a full scholarship to Harvard because “Mom, their basketball team stinks”;

The high school basketball referees recognize her by voice alone;

She’s on a first name basis with the staff at the emergency room;

She thanks God for her Sports Mom status everyday.

Keeping the Varmints Out of Your Kitchen

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity · Comments Off on Keeping the Varmints Out of Your Kitchen 

by Cheryl Miller

No, I’m not talking about your spouse and kids. I’m talking about mice. Eeeek! One ran under my feet the other day and I felt like I was in a cartoon. I didn’t jump on a chair, but I did have to catch my breath and put on my battle gear.

Because I live in an old house, I’ve been plagued by mice for many years. Each fall when I see the signs, I think ugh, here we go again. This newsletter is going to make it sound like I’m really interested in mice. I’m not. I’m just interested in living without mice. Working in the kitchen is a drag when there are signs of mice everywhere.

I’ve decided to get smarter this year about how I deal with mice. And because mice are a universal problem and can cause potential health risks, I thought you might be interested too.

How to Tell if You have Mice

  • Your cat stares into the corner for hours.
  • You see black “rice” on the countertops, in cabinets, and just about everywhere.
  • There is one pinto bean on the floor which apparently fell from heaven.
  • You find a hole chewed in your Cheerios cereal box.
  • You think you see something running behind the stove out of the corner of your eye, but you dismiss it as just “seeing things”
  • You pick up your bag of rice to make dinner, and the contents pour onto the floor through the little mouse holes
  • You hear a high pitched squeak but dismiss it as just “hearing things.”
  • You see little piles of grains on your counters and shelves and more black “rice” everywhere you look.

We like to look the other way when we see these signs. At least I do because acknowledging them means baiting and setting messy, fussy, yucky traps. And then if I’m lucky, after a moment of silence it means putting the dead mouse in a little baggie and walking it straight out to the trash so it doesn’t stink up the indoor trash. Sometimes it means throwing the whole mousetrap away because it’s just too gross to handle or the mouse won’t “let go.” Is anybody else out there cringing and making a face besides me?

Why Wage War on Mice?

Besides the fact that mice are pests, there are other more serious reasons why we want to keep them outside:

  • They can carry disease and parasites.
  • They can damage your home and property.
  • They contaminate food.
  • They’re dirty. In a year, one mouse produces up to 18,000 droppings. And it will deposit hundreds of micro-droplets of urine every day as it marks its trails. For me that’s reason enough to make war on the cute little varmints.

Out of Denial and into Action

To help us get out of denial and act quickly, it’s helpful to read about the habits of mice and how fast they can get out of hand. For example, by the time you see signs of them, they’ve already gotten married, set up housekeeping and have found all of the sources of food they need.

Did you know that mice can breed 35 days after they’re born? No wonder they take over so fast. Although they usually live only about a year, if all their offspring lived and reproduced at a similar rate, one pair of house mice could produce a population of more than 500 mice in one year. This is a good reason to act quickly at the first signs of them.

Job #1 – Prevent Mice from Entering Your House

The best way to control mice is to prevent their entry. They can enter through very small openings (1/4 inch in diameter or larger). Popular entry points include foundations, around garage doors, utility pipes and wires passing into the house, and basement windows that do not seal correctly.

I’ve heard that they won’t chew through steel wool, so I’m going to stock up on that and caulk this weekend. Any other tips for plugging mouse holes in and around the house?

More Prevention Tips

http://www.victorpest.com/mouseratclean.htm


Tips on Successfully Eliminating Mice

  • Because mice have poor eye site, they run along walls. So put your traps perpendicular to the wall for better action.
  • Mice are curious and will notice when new things enter their environment. They will also ignore things that have been there a long time. So if you aren’t catching mice, move the traps around.U
  • Use more than one method – e.g., prevention, traps, sound devices.
  • Start early before they’ve had a chance to multiply.
  • Plug the mouse holes in and around your house.
  • Don’t over-bate the traps. The less bait you use, the harder the mouse has to work, and the more likely they are to trip the trigger. Suggested bait: cheese, bread and butter, small nuts, cherry pits, oatmeal, sunflower or similar seeds. Mixed peanut butter and oatmeal, gumdrops.

A Better Mouse Trap

I did a Google search on this term “building a better mousetrap” and 168,000 results came up. Popular subject. Yes?

In my local discount store, I talked with a couple of other customers and the salesperson about which products work best. I don’t use poison because the mouse can die between the walls and stink everything up and because one of my cats was poisoned by a neighbor’s poison stored in his garage. So I am interested in other products that work well.

I found a cool new trap by Victor that is much easier to set and bait than the old types I used to use. Here’s a picture of it:

http://www.victorpest.com/store/product.asp?dept%5Fid=
51&pf%5Fid=M130&mscssid=16NN8RVR5P5H8NJX7
QVRPMXDSDV32G08

You just squeeze one end to set or release it without having to handle the messy parts or snap your fingers off. I love that. I got a better deal at the discount store than the price listed here.

Here are various kinds of traps and how to bait them:

http://www.victorpest.com/mouse_instructions.htm


Nontoxic Prevention

At the discount store, I also discovered a variety of electronic devices that drive out pets by disturbing their nervous systems. Shaped somewhat like a night light, they plug in near food or potential nesting material and emit a continuous high frequency — unnoticeable to humans or pets — that sends rodents packing. I bought two for about $18. They seem to work, but I did see one mouse the other day. After I wrote this piece, I heard that the mice get used to them and the traps stop working. Tonight I saw signs that this is true. Do any of you have experience with these devices?

Comments Please

If you have any bits of wisdom to share about controlling or eliminating mice, please email me and I’ll share the tips with the rest of the group.

I’ve read or heard about using mothballs, sheets of bounce, Coke, or cakes of soap cut into slices and cubes. Do these work?

Summer Road Trip

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity, The All Sports Mom · Comments Off on Summer Road Trip 

By Paula Schmitt

Ah, summertime. It’s that time of year once again to pack up the family and head out in the car on a road trip. So delightful! I just can’t wait! Every year I plan this road trip – whether it’s two or six hours cooped up together, nice and close, in the car; WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A GOOD TIME, DARNIT!

The car is ready and packed (and I do mean PACKED). We head out for a week’s vacation to the lake and the sun is as bright as my mood. However, by the time we reach the expressway (a total of fifteen minutes), the clouds begin to form as I hear a whining from the rear of the vehicle.

“I NEED TO GO POOPIE!”

“NO you don’t.” I singsong with a nice big smile.

“Oh yes I doooooo.”

OH. MY. GOD. It’s starting already, only a quarter of an hour into our trip. (Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts.) Knowing there is no negotiating with the sphincter of a child, we pull to the nearest rest area.

Twenty minutes later, back on the open road, “Are we there yet? I’m getting tired of sitting in this car!”

Where are my earplugs? I swear I packed my earplugs.

Ten minutes later, “Are we almost, almost there yet now?”

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

We manage to travel halfway through our journey before making another pit stop for potty and snacks. Tanks on full, we pile back into the car, totally refreshed and ready to get on the road again.

“Mommy, Nick doesn’t have his seat belt on!”

Uh-Oh. Another cloud forms over my sunny disposition. Nick has violated the SEAT BELT RULE. This is, without a doubt, the biggest way to both get in trouble and really push Mommy’s button. Storm clouds in full formation over my mood, I turn around and thunder.

“Get that seatbelt on right now or else, mister!!!!”

I then pull out our list of rules for traveling and read them aloud (for the fifth time today). I swear I can literally see them going in one ear and right out the other.

When I am done reading our rules for road trips I turn on some nice, relaxing music, lean my chair back and close my eyes.

“Mooooooommy, Tony is sticking his tongue out at us!!”

THAT’S IT! I holler the words from the Holy Grail of parenting, “Do you boys want Daddy to pull this car over and for me to come back there right this minute?”

I have turned into a crazy woman, panting heavily and foaming at the mouth. I then glance over at my husband, who is conveniently relieved of all parenting duties by virtue of the steering wheel. He smiles, asks for a drink and reminds me that we only have ONE HOUR until we are there.

Funny Guy.

Over the next hour there are spills (Here’s your drink dear. Oops!), fart wars (I hang my head out the window like a slobbering canine), more potty breaks (You people never pee this often at home!), and a spitting-on-each-other fight (Stop it now, or walk the rest of the way!).

I try to keep thinking positive … we are almost there, we are almost there. I repeat it like a mantra and envision myself relaxing with a book, down by the lake. So peaceful. We are almost there. We are almost there.

I am yanked from my trance by Daddy’s announcement, “Here we are everyone! At the lake!”

There is no response. It is quiet. We slowly turn around and see four sleeping little angels off in la-la land.

Of course.

I look at my husband with a sneaky little smile, roll down the windows, and we run to the lake hand in hand.

Ah, summertime.

Mommy Mediator by Paula Schmitt

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity, The All Sports Mom · Comments Off on Mommy Mediator by Paula Schmitt 

I am a brave woman. Let’s not forget strong, too. Not only have I carried and delivered four boys, but over the years, I have lived in the same house with these four boys. Yes, I am their mother and most days I am proud to announce this to the world. Then there are the days I would like to get into my car (ALONE), wave bye-bye and not look back.

What kind of a mother am I?

One would think that after living together under the same roof, sleeping together, eating together, watching videos together, together, together, together, that these guys would realize that they are stuck with one another and there’s no way out. Could it be that simple? Not in my house.

It’s 7 a.m. and I am awakened by an alarming sound. No, it is not the pounding of a jackhammer and not even the sound of a 747 jet flying overhead. It is two of my darling boys having a yelling match in their room across the hall. Such a pleasant way to start the day.

I enter the boxing ring.

“Ahem. Good morning boys. How is everything going in here?” I ask sweetly, with an all teeth showing smile on my face.

My nine year old, Joseph, quickly drops the towel he is about to whip at his brother and says, “Oh, hi Mom. I’m about to get in the shower.”

His 12 year old brother, Phillip, strongly disagrees.

“Yeah, right you moron! I was going to get in the shower and you tried to stop me so you could get in first. Tell Mom the truth!”

The truth would be nice. My eyes turn to Joseph.

“Moooooooom, I’m supposed to shower first today! He showered first yesterday!” Joseph wails.

“Who cares? I was up first and ready to get in the shower before you, then you come in, swinging your towel at me like a mad man saying you’re getting in the shower first.” Phillip says, pointing his finger in his brother’s face.

This is not going well. I believe it is time for some motherly mediation to get the day rolling.

15 minutes later…

“What? No way! I’m having the rest of the Captain Crunch cereal this morning, not you.” Tony, my oldest, yells at his brother, Nick.

Here we go again. I exit the laundry room and enter the boxing ring for the second time this morning.

“Ahem. Is there a problem here in the kitchen guys?” I ask once again, putting on my big cheese smile.

“Yes, there is a big problem. Tony thinks this box of Captain Crunch cereal has his name written on it and it only belongs to him. There’s only enough for one more bowl and I’m having it!” Nick yells as he grabs the box out of Tony’s hand.

Then to make matters worse, Tony goes into the drawer, gets out a pen, takes the box from Nick and starts to write his name on the box. This is getting ugly.

Mommy Mediator to the rescue.

Seven hours later…

Ah, peace and quiet, the boys have been at school all day. I notice it is time for them to return. I hear their bus and see them walking up the drive. I have missed them.

Like always, I go outside to the end of the driveway, happy to greet my boys. Then I hear a terrible sound. A heated conversation between not two, but all four of them as they are approaching me.

I should go back in the house, lock the door and throw away the key right now.

“Hi guys! How was your day?” I ask as perky as possible.

They don’t even notice me but instead pick up the basketball and start shooting hoops.

“What are you talking about, jerk? I can slam dunk better than you and jump higher!”

I truly dislike the name calling. Let’s try this again.

“AHEM! Hi guys, how was your day?” I say, this time a bit louder and not so perky.

They all chime in, “OK.”

End of conversation with mom and back to the arguing about who is better at basketball.

I think I will leave them to battle this one out alone. Mommy Mediator is taking a break.

Before I go back into the house I turn to the boys and call out, “Hey guys, any of you want to challenge your mom to a free throw contest?”

Silence. That shut them all up in a hurry as they know their good old mom could win that contest hands down.

Canning Your Tube by Paula Schmitt

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity, The All Sports Mom · Comments Off on Canning Your Tube by Paula Schmitt 

Ever consider canning your tube? You know that square or rectangle magnet-like box that sits in the corner of your family room. The one that sucks you in and turns you into a couch potato zombie. Yes, that would be the one, with all its misleading shows and commercials, and there’s never a shortage of those annoying commercials.

I remember quite vividly the days of our family life with television. The morning routine of getting everyone up and ready for school, only to find that instead of brushing their teeth or making their bed, the kids are stuck like glue to the TV set begging for just a few more minutes of The Power Rangers or Ninja Turtles…Ugh.

Let’s not forget the after school shows. I would be so happy to see that yellow bus pull up in front of our house, the kids smiling faces, to hear about their day, only, wait a minute, where’d everybody go? They blew right past me and headed to something “more interesting”…Hello.

How about some good, fun family time together after dinner and before bed time; anyone up for a game of Parcheesi? Oh, I forgot. MTV’s on. So much for Parcheesi…Hmmm.

The time had come. Time to say farewell to that blasted brain cell destroyer. Could we survive? You bet. The transition was shocking to the kids at first, to say the least, but before long, we started to actually communicate with each other and it felt so good. Sure they missed their shows and sure they didn’t know all the latest catchy ads. But you know what? It didn’t hurt.

The morning routine now kind of goes something like this. Everyone up and ready for school. Few extra minutes, great, let’s get some homework accomplished or how about reading the newspaper…now there’s an idea.

Here comes that yellow bus. Hurray, they notice me! This is a good time for some outdoor activities and I’m even invited to play. They actually have time to tell me what went on in school today…even look forward to it, I think.

How about that close family time together after dinner and before bed. Step aside MTV, it’s time for a game of cards and sometimes even Parcheesi…imagine that.

On a more serious note, research shows that children age 2 to 17 watch an average of 3 to 4 hours of TV per day, or approximately 28 hours each week. By the time children complete elementary school, the average child will witness more than 100,000 acts of violence on TV, including 8,000 murders. These numbers double to 200,000 acts of violence and 16,000 murders by the time they graduate from high school. Children who watch a lot of TV have a greater risk of obesity, increased alcohol and drug use, and earlier involvement in sexual activity.

Overall, children who watch 3 to 4 hours of TV per day spend less time on school work, have poorer reading skills, play less well with friends, and have fewer hobbies. These statistics are quite shocking.

With the hustle and bustle of life these days, and we all know how that goes, the importance of family time tends to take a backseat, unfortunately. Quality time together is so important; you’ll find that if you stop and listen to one another, you just may learn something you didn’t know before, like your sons science project came in first place at school, or your daughter aced her last math test. You’ll also find that you have more time to accomplish things in life for yourself and for your family instead of caving in and becoming that couch potato zombie.

Whatever you choose, regarding your tube, even if it’s just for a weekend, or every now and then, simply unplug it. Take a break. You just may learn something new about your kids and who knows…you may even like it.

Team Training Emails

January 14, 2009 · Filed Under Training Your Team · Comments Off on Team Training Emails 

How can I save time and make more money with my email efforts?

Where do I begin to organize my team training materials?


How can I more efficiently follow-up with all my clients?


And, what IS an auto responder?

Question:

How can I organize my training and emails to my team and customers? I’m spending too much time emailing and am not getting the results I need. Plus, I can’t keep up with who’s gotten what information. HELP!

Response from Nicole … You may not know it, but your life is about to get a lot easier. How would you like to have emails and training automatically going out to your team members as soon as they sign up — set up so you do nothing? Sound hard? 😉 It’s super easy!

You can get automated follow up AND a mailing list combined in an Auto-Responder. I can’t believe how painless it is to set up training courses for my teams with an autoresponder program. Just add a bunch of emails starting with your “Hi ((firstname))! Welcome to (comany’s name)”. The autoresponder will fill in the person’s name and automatically send the series of messages in order on the dates you request (every 4 days, every week, however you want). So, your brand new consultant will be getting message #1 while your consultants from last month may be receiving message #5.

When you get a new recruit or customer, you simply enter their information into the autoresponder and your recruit will receive the first message and automatically get the entire series in order without your having to do anything! And, a good auto-responder will check the messages to see if they’ll be blocked by spam filters and give you suggestions of terms to change to avoid the dreaded filters.

The best thing about a good autoresponder program is that it will support multiple lists, so you can also set up a list for your customers. After your client’s first order, enter them into your autoresponder. Set it up so they receive a message a week or so later to ask how the product is working for them. Then, they are in your list and will receive all the specials you promote, forever.

No more juggling email lists. Never be accused of S P A M.

I’ll be moving my newsletter list over to auto-responder since it’s made everything else in my life so much easier. I already have 5 mailing lists set up in my one autoresponder account and intend to move much more over there. You’ll see what I have in store… 😉

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