Self torture…

Not sure why I do it, but I go through phases where I NEED to purge our house of miscellaneous crap that we have accumulated. I am currently in one of those phases. It all started when Chubbs broke the top bunk on her & Froggy’s bunk bed. Granted, it wasn’t that sturdy to begin with, but bouncing on the top bunk was not a good idea…I’m so thankful that Froggy wasn’t under there when it came crashing down…it could have been VERY bad. Because of this incident, we needed to purchase another bunk bed. I found one in the paper that was perfect, and came with a new dresser & loveseat type thing. We didn’t need any of those things, but whatever…it was that or nothing. While in the disassembling/assembling/rearranging process, I noticed ALOT of junk, outgrown/not-played-with toys, things not where they belong, etc. I began to purge Chubbs & Froggy’s room…2 days & 3 garbage sacks later, the end is in sight. The torture part of this venture is that for some unknown reason, I decided I needed to rearrange & purge Princess2T & Pickle’s room as well. I am taking a break…maybe for the rest of the day. I’ve filled 2 garbage bags, moved a very heavy bunkbed, and made a huge mess of their bookshelves. I am maybe half way through. I now have 2 messy rooms that I need to finish before they get home from school on Friday…all I want to do is take a nap & watch netflix.

Princess2t & Pickle's progress. Ugh.

Chubbs & Froggy's room...almost finished!

Blog vs. Life

I’ve been having this inner battle lately over my blog. I love to write & share my life with others, but it seems like life has taken over and has sucked up all my time. I was seriously contemplating terminating my blog, but the thought just hurts me. I’ve made so many friends because of blogging, and I like to think that I’m helping people in some way. So, I’ve decided that blogging is something I will stick with even if it’s not a daily thing. I am making the choice to make time to blog even if it’s something quick or silly. I’m no longer going to stress when I don’t blog, when I don’t have anything to say, or when no one comments on my posts. I started this blog as a way to document my life for my family who doesn’t live close by, a way to occasionally vent, and a way to help others. If people choose not to read it, whoopidy-do…I will continue to write.

Psycho Encounter

Well, today was a doozy. On our way home from the library, I decide to pick up a movie for the kids…one they’ve been asking to watch for a few weeks – Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules. I head to the Redbox a few minutes past our house, which happens to be at McDonalds. While putting my debit card away, I notice a coupon for a free strawberry lemonade that was to expire soon, so I decide to run through the drive thru…this is where it all begins to unravel. The kids are happy about the movie and are excitedly talking, laughing, etc. I put the truck in reverse, but there is a line for the drive thru that extends past me. I begin to wait for the line to move, when this seemingly nice lady waves me into the line in front of her. I smile, wave and move into the line. (Keep in mind there are about 3 other cars in front of me in the drive thru line.) This ‘lady’ then honks at me…not just honks…LAYS on the horn…for at least 20-30 seconds AT A TIME. The kids are laughing hysterically because this crazy lady is honking and flailing her arms at me. Others in the parking lot begin yelling at her to stop honking. She proceeds to roll her window down, and flip me off while SCREAMING the ‘F’ word at me and calling me very colorful names…that I can hear even though all my windows are up. The kids have stopped laughing and are asking what is wrong with this ‘lady’. I inch forward in line…I am now ready to order my free drink, which is now seeming totally not worth it. As I roll down my window, she begins screaming and cursing at the employee who is attempting to take my order. I quickly place my order, and pull forward. I am now trying to explain to my kids why this ‘lady’ was flipping out, and reassure them that it’s fine…no big deal. I grab my drink, thank the poor employee that is about to have to deal with the psycho behind me, and quickly head towards home. I thought I did an okay job of handling the situation. In hindsight, I could have totally avoided the situation, but I’m hoping that I was able to teach my kids a good lesson about how to react to other people’s overreactions. I mean, did I want to just sit there and ignore the crazy lady? No. Inside I wanted to scream back at her to shut her filthy mouth. But what kind of example would that have been for my kids? I believe that by ignoring her & keeping my cool that I handled a potentially bad situation to the best of my ability. What would you have done?

Chin People ~ Episode 1

Well, it’s summer and I’m one of those parents that want my kids to be doing something fun every second of the day.  I can’t remember when we first started doing this, but the kids absolutely love it and it is so much fun and easy to do.  Really all you need is a sheet to put over their bodies, washable markers or paint to make the faces (we like to use googly eyes, but they can be drawn on as well), yarn or string for hair, and a pair of shorts or a skirt  to cover their faces except for the chin & mouth.


I’m sure they will be coming up with more chin people ideas this summer, so stay tuned. ;)


Virtual Stars…who knew?

As a parent of 4 kids, I am always trying to make our time more efficient & run smoothly. We have a schedule that we attempt to follow…even during the summer. Of course, it’s not as rigid as the school schedule unless we have somewhere specific we must be. The last few weeks of school up to this week had been pretty rough. The kids were getting a bit of the summer fever and didn’t want to do their chores, were fighting, and getting quite sassy. No one was earning allowance, nothing was getting done…no one was happy.  We’ve tried chore tickets, charts, set allowance, per chore allowance, nothing seemed to really appeal to all 4 kids. I then discovered an iPhone app that has made a world of difference this week. It’s called iRewardChart.

It’s completely customizable with the child’s name, photo, tasks, and rewards. Once I set everything up and explained it, the kids went nuts. Chores are complete, attitudes have changed, and they are choosing their rewards. Here’s how it works.
Froggy gets a virtual star (a gold star I touch on my screen) for various tasks, such as Help Mom, Make Bed, Laundry, Get Dressed, Listening, Eat Veggies, No Fighting, No Whining, Bed On Time, etc. Once he has accumulated some stars, he can then cash them in for things he wants like, 30 Min. Electronics Time, Special Dessert, $1 CASH, Later Bed Time, 1 Pack of Gogo’s, etc. Each reward is worth a certain number of stars & he decides if he wants to save up for a bigger prize or spend it on smaller stuff.  This control being at the discretion of the child seems to be hugely appealing to all 4 kids.  There has been hardly any yelling on my part (which is huge since I’m a yeller), they have been doing their chores and being extra helpful mostly without complaint (they’re still kids, so there have been a few instances of whining), and we have had so much time for fun stuff this week…swimming, trips to the library, playing games, reading, mini-golf, making ‘chin people’ videos (there’s a blog post coming on that one…too funny!), etc.

Basically, if this continues…and I pray it does, we will get more done around here in a peaceful fashion, and have more fun.  It’s win-win!

FINALLY…the BIG Summer Giveaway!

Well, it’s officially the first day of summer even though it’s been stinking HOT here for a few weeks already. We’ve been staying cool by enjoying the pool & summertime snacks like popcicles (fruit juice mostly, of course!), frequent trips to the library, and just relaxing inside.

In my opinion, one of the best parts about this summer is that I get to be a blessing to one of you… This giveaway is for tickets to Romance Uncensored: Touch | Tone | Timing at the Hilton Branson Convention Center in Branson, MO September 16-17, 2011! This yearly event is life changing. Big Puppy and I have attended the past 4 years, and learn something new about eachother, our marriage, and about what God wants for our lives together every year.  Plus, who couldn’t use a little ‘alone time’…especially if you have kids!

Here is a little teaser video to give you an idea of what to expect…

Now on to the juicy details!

Giveaway includes:

Hotel Accommodations at the Hilton in Branson, MO – Sept. 16, 2011
Tickets for Romance Uncensored: Touch | Tone | Timing – Sept. 16-17, 2011
Additional surprise goodies…
Total value: over $300!

Entry period runs from 7:00am CST June 21, 2011 – 12:00 NOON CST August 15, 2011. Winner will be chosen randomly from all valid entries.  Winner will be notified via email (please be sure to leave your email in your comments so I can contact you if you win), and will have 48 hours to respond or I will draw another winner.

To enter:
1. Subscribe to my blog feed HERE and leave a comment on this post saying you’ve done so. (If you’re already a subscriber, then it’s a free entry!)

2. Follow me on Twitter @jessalexander and leave a comment on this post with your twitter user name. (If you already follow, then it’s a free entry!)

3. Tweet away! Post the following ’Enter Life@30ish’s Big Summer Giveaway valued at over $300! @jessalexander’ then leave a comment on this post with the link to the tweet. (daily entry!)

That’s it! Pretty easy, huh? Be sure to bookmark this post for easy daily entry!

Disclaimer: I am not being compensated for offering this giveaway. It is something I want to do to be a blessing to a couple & in someway improve their marriage. If winner is unable to attend, they can bless someone they know with it, but it is what it is…no substitutions (ie. cash, different hotel, etc.). Winner is responsible for travel and all expenses not listed above.

Blogging Hiatus

As you can see from the dates of my posts, I have been on somewhat of a blogging hiatus. This was not completely on purpose. With last week being the first week of summer break, I have been extremely busy entertaining kids. We managed to get everyone signed up for the classes they wanted at the library, Big Puppy decided to purchase a little pop up pool for the kids (total nightmare for me trying…still unsuccessfully, I might add…to get all the pH, chlorine, etc. levels right), and we’re still adapting to the new school-less schedule. This week should give me a little breathing room to get the house in order, and relax a little before the kids come back. They are crazy excited about their library classes. Princess2T chose a sign language class, Pickle signed up for quilting, Chubbs picked a jewelry making class, and Froggy is in the only class available for 4 year olds.

Aside from all that, Big Puppy and I constructed a platform bed (blog post in the works), rearranged the game room to make it an office/craft/game room (crafty post coming soon), and we purchased a new-to-us sectional (we absolutely LOVE it)! Our garage is going from looking like a black hole full of empty cardboard boxes & stuff we need to get rid of…to an abundance of extra furniture. We are hoping to sell some of it off & buy a new dining table & chairs. Ours is beautiful (black metal & slate tile), but totally NOT for children. Anything that gets spilled or crumbs get in between the tiles & it gets nasty in there…especially when kids don’t tell you they’ve spilt something…and don’t clean it up themselves. Ick. It is a monster of a job requiring several hours, toothpicks, and a scrub brush.

Okay, obviously I had too much coffee today and have turned a quickie ‘I’m back’ post into a rambling jumble of information. So, I’m signing off for now…time to make some no-bake cookies with Froggy! Hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend!

Menu Monday

Our schedule this week is totally insane, so if we stick to this it will be a miracle…I am so ready for school to be over!

Princess2T is finishing up tumbling for this year, there’s practices, photos, rehearsal, & recital in the next couple weeks.  She also has a few school activities in the evenings this week, so hopefully we can get everything squeezed in.  Pickle finished up her activities a couple weeks ago, so she’s just along for the ride.  Chubbs has a lunch thing this week, so Big Puppy may be able to surprise her with that…if his schedule allows.  Froggy has his rescheduled soccer awards this week…he is crazy excited about getting a trophy!  Big Puppy is having to miss his weekly tennis game with his friends because of all these activities…poor guy!  Is your schedule as crazy as ours?

Monday ~ Sweet & Spicy Meatballs w/ steamed broccoli

Tuesday ~ McDonald’s 1/2 price Happy Meals (I know we did this in May already, but we’ve got 3 different things going on Tuesday night…I cannot add cooking into the schedule.)

Wednesday ~ French Toast Casserole w/ strawberries

Thursday ~ BBQ Pork Sandwiches w/ coleslaw (I’m going to attempt to make my own hamburger buns to use for these…I’ll let you know how they turn out!

Friday ~ Sausage, Onions & Peppers

Saturday ~ Slow Cooked Beef Stroganoff w/ sweet peas

Sunday ~ Turkey Bake