Thursday, December 17, 2009


Here's what I've been up to lately:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bleeding Hearts, but Tight Fists

I found this article to be extremely interesting. I'd love to know what people thought about it. I especially enjoyed this phrase: "...It is one of the bitterest ironies of liberal politics today that political opinions are apparently taking the place of help for others." One of the core tenets of Republican philosophy is that assistance to the needy is to be provided through private organizations. It is encouraging to know that, at least in this area, Republicans are actually practicing what they preach.

On a related note, what are some of your favorite charities? We give to the United Way every year (100% of local donations go directly to programs; operating costs are covered by corporate sponsors), and I really am impressed by Heifer International. Also, how do you teach your children to give generously?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Coat Closet Mysteries

So I've made a goal to organize one thing and prepare one thing for our trip each day before we leave next Friday. So today's organizing task was the coat closet. I'm truly appalled at how much stuff we crammed in there. Just for me, the running total is one leather coat with faux fur (totally gorgeous, but sooooo warm it's almost impossible to wear), one leather jacket (from Italy, but so worn it's looking very shabby), a cream trench coat, a coral trench coat (just scored that one for less than $20 and I love it!), THREE long wool coats, one everyday coat, one corduroy jacket, one squall jacket, one light jacket, three sweaters, and a pair of ski bibs. This is not including hats, gloves, or scarves.

What on earth....????? We live in ALBUQUERQUE. It snows about five times a year here, and calling some of those weather-related episodes "snows" is being extremely generous. Do I really need 14 coats? Really? But they're all so nice I hate to give them away (with the exception of the leather, but that is so nostalgic I don't think I can part with it). I think I need an intervention.

And if someone could explain why I have three boxes and five cans of food storage in the COAT closet, I'd appreciate it. Or why the play tent is in there. It's a complete mystery.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Tree Part I

The biggest problem with putting up the Christmas tree is rearranging the furniture. I don't know how people find room for these massive trees while keeping everything else the same. I was able to get that done this afternoon while the kids were sleeping. I had these great plans to have a family evening decorating the tree, but then I forgot that Aaron had Scouts. Not his fault. He's only been going to Scouts every Wednesday for the last year. I don't know why I can't get it into my head. It's also on the calendar. But for some reason I'm blind to that particular entry. Things like this happen every Wednesday. Fortunately, I had other helpers:

I wanted to get it decorated tonight, but then a strand went out. I don't know why I was surprised. A strand ALWAYS goes out. So that took about 45 minutes to figure out, and by that time I was done. So stay tuned for pictures of the completed tree...

The Value of a Nickel

After being sicker than dogs over the Thanksgiving weekend (trust me, you don't want to hear about it), we're finally back to normal. It's nice to be out of the house (I hadn't left the house since Friday) and doing everyday things. I have so much to catch up on. Poor Katie's completely out of underwear and it's been a while since any vacuuming has occurred. And it's time to start getting our Christmas decorations out, since we weren't able to do that after Thanksgiving.

We were going through a phase when our kids were having accidents EVERY DAY, which was driving me up the wall. I think they just got to a point where they wanted to see just how long they could go without going to the bathroom. I was sick of cleaning up messes that shouldn't have happened and I was sick of punishing kids for accidents.
"Well, no dessert tonight!" (Great, that means I actually have to have a dessert!)

So we began giving the kids a nickel (or any coin, it doesn't matter) every time they go to the bathroom. Then, at the end of the day, anyone who is accident-free all day gets two extra nickels. After they have accumulated 20 nickels, they get to go to the dollar store and pick out anything they want, with no interference from Mom.

This has worked well for many reasons:
1. It incentivises going to the bathroom. ***Is incentivise a real word? We used it all the time at work, but I'm doubting it's veracity.***
2. It teaches responsibility. They're responsible for reminding us to give them nickels and for keeping them in a safe place. Any nickels found by parents are forfeit.
3. It's a non-food reward for being dry.
4. It helps with counting. We count our nickels A LOT. Twenty is a nice number because it means they have to make it through the teens, which is always tricky.
4. It teaches about money. They have to hand over the nickels to Mom before they can get their reward. I'd have them give it straight to the cashier, but taxes complicate the lesson. They also learn that the value of money lies in its purchasing power, not in the money itself.
5. They learn about opportunity costs. They can only choose ONE item. If they decide they want a puzzle more than the foam sword, they have to put the sword back.

Today's excursion demonstrated their two personalities perfectly. Katie spent about half an hour browsing the store and finally settled on a pair of fairy wings that match her tutu. Paul grabbed the first item he saw (a candy cane filled with M&Ms) and didn't change his mind the entire time. The M&Ms were gone by the time we got home.

Of course, Katie had to try out her fairy wings as soon as we got home. They immediatly ran to their dress-up clothes. Fortunately, Paul chose the cowboy this time. More often than not he's a very handsome Belle or Snow White.