A Little Bit of Everything

One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11 which says "'For I know the plans I have for you,' delcares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" But the line, "If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans," also rings true. I'm so glad God is in control of my life because it means I don't have to be. Join me as I laugh, cry, and play my way through the daily tasks of raising three boys and trying to maintain some sense of order when it comes to my home.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Although Friday is my normal shopping day, the fact that this Friday starts a new month occurred to me as I was getting ready for bed last night.  I hate shopping on the first Friday of the month because all the monthly shoppers head for Wal-Mart on the first Friday of the month and by 9:30, the shelves are emptied of virtually everything other than sardines and pickled eggs.  (Rodney and Micah would survive the week, the rest of us would starve). 

I decided to head out on this morning but then changed my mind figuring I would get something accomplished while Micah was in school and I'd go shopping with him when he got off the bus.  BIG MISTAKE!!!!!  He's been having daily meltdowns when he gets off the bus.  I know he's exhausted when this happens and it's a stage every kid goes through at this in-between point in their little lives so I figured if I stick him in the car, he can't argue with me about playing in the sandbox, riding his bike, or anything else.  I was right--well, partially.

We brought the remainder of his container of BreathSavers that I had been rationing since last Friday.  (I figured if I didn't keep an eye on how fast they were being consumed, I wasn't going to have to worry about an air-freshener in the bathroom.)  Since the lids on these little disks need all but a pry-bar to open, I spent the whole drive there with my arm in the backseat opening this fool thing for him. 

He wanted to walk.  Then he wanted to push the cart--without help.  Then he wanted to ride on top of all the groceries (eggs and bread included) but I had to put my foot down somewhere.  Then he lay on the floor in the middle of Wal-Mart and screamed at me about how tired his legs were.  At this point, we were about 20 feet away from the checkout aisle.

I'm not sure what I got done this morning.  In fact I'm pretty sure I got one load of laundry folded and that's about it.  I'm thinking it wasn't worth postponing a shopping trip to tag a four-year old along.  Lesson learned (for a few weeks at least).

Monday, March 28, 2011

April Fools' Day

As April Fools' Day approaches, I am reminded of some of our past pranks and jokes.  Some have been great, others have been colossal failures but all have been in good clean fun.

When I was a kid, my mom pinned the legs and arms of our pajamas.  That same year, she and Dad headed to bed to find not only a short-sheeted bed set but one filled with leaves.  For me, at 12 or 13, it was hysterical.  For them, not so much.  Then there was the perpetual switching of the salt and sugar.  And one year, I took one of Mom's frozen Thin Mints and served it to her with salt sprinkled on the top.  I claimed it must have been frost since it had been in the freezer.

Rodney's favorite joke has been to tell me my tire is flat.  The first year of this joke, I was getting ready to head out for a part-time job I had at the time.  I went ballistic.  He's told me every year since then.  It came back to bite him one year though because he told me first thing in the morning that I had a flat and later that evening we went out to dinner and when we returned to the car, we really did have a flat tire.  Although he almost never dresses up, that night he was in khaki's changing the tire in the nearly dark parking lot.  We broke the jack that was in the trunk and had to scavenge one from a friend.  Surprisingly, the joke has continued to resurface year after year.

My personal favorite was a prank I didn't actually pull but seriously considered.  I figured it wouldn't be well received so I told Rodney about it instead.  In 2006, I planned on having a pregnant friend supply me with a "positive" pregnancy test.  I was going to present it to him all wrapped up while he was getting ready for work that morning.  Since I didn't give him a heart attack by actually playing the prank, the description got a reasonable chuckle.  The surprise was on us both when a test 5 days later revealed we were going to have our 3rd child.  He didn't think I was serious.

I've been exploring some practical joke websites looking for just the right pranks to pull this year.  I've come across some good ones and passed over many others that just wouldn't get a laugh in my house.  I'd love some suggestions of pranks pulled in the past that don't result in anyone getting wet, hurt, angry, or otherwise disrupting the "peace" in our house.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fried brains with oil on top

Virtually every Friday morning, I do my weekly grocery shopping at WalMart.  Rodney's check has been deposited and it's a convenient time (as long as I get there first thing in the morning before it gets too busy).  So every Thursday evening, I pull my list together, decide what we are having for dinner for the week, go through my coupons, put away the remainders of last week's groceries so I can bring the reusable bags, etc.  Rodney didn't work this Thursday.  It felt like Friday.  It threw off my system.

So I woke up Friday morning without a list prepared.  Ugh!  Oh yeah, and I was expecting an oil delivery at some undetermined time of the day for which I would fork over our life savings.  Double Ugh!  While I got the boys ready for school, I scurried around trying to figure out what pieces of meals we already had and the fewest possible items I could buy to fill in the gaps for the week. 

Nevin got on the bus and I realized Micah and Russell were not anywhere near the process of getting ready for their bus.  Oh well, I checked my email.  The neighbor and I have tried to walk on a daily basis for the last couple of weeks but so far this week it hadn't worked out.  Thankfully, neither of us were going to be able to go so I didn't have to feel guilty about cancelling.  Shoot, Micah and Russell might need some breakfast before getting on the bus.  (Have I mentioned before I'm not that great at multi-tasking?)

Somehow, with help from above, both boys managed to get on the bus with breakfast in their bellies, shoes on their feet, and even a toothbrush having been wisked across their teeth (wisk was about all the teeth got but oh well.)

The oil delivery came shortly after the bus and since the gauge on our tank has a mind of it's own, we only ended up turning over half our life-savings.  Finally, an upturn to a rough start of a Friday morning.  I grabbed my reusable bags, checked to make sure my list was tucked away in my purse, turned off the dryer (since Rodney was leaving too), and headed out the door.

My mental checklist was flipping Rolodex-style through my mind. 
Twelve loads of laundry so Nevin could pack for his first Boy Scout campout
Find the pieces to my old mess kit for the campout
Go to the hardware store to replace the screw that was lost from the mess kit
Get cash from our bank
Make a deposit for soccer
Fill the gas tank
Dinner and baths for 3 kids
etc, etc, etc......

My car felt as though it was crawling and wanted to run but I was going the speed limit, and I've gotten a ticket along that stretch of Rt. 6 so I kept an eye on my speedometer.  I finally got there, loaded up my cart, got sidetracked for a little while, and headed to the checkout lane.  Toes tapping, the order of the woman in front of me somehow got messed up and the cashier had to hand type in the entire thing over again.  I guess it was a good thing because it gave me plenty of time to be prepared for my turn (or find out I was unprepared).

I reached into my purse to get my debit card and IT WASN"T THERE!  Surprise, surprise.  So while the cashier was still working on this order in front of me, I loaded everything back into my cart and brought it over to the courtesy desk so I could run home and get my card.  Apparently, store policy is to only hold a cart for 45 min. and then everything gets put away.  I have a 20 min. drive each direction so I let them know I was going to be cutting it really close.

I raced home and raced back.  Walking up to the courtesy area, I realized my cart wasn't there.  My puppy dog- oh no- didn't I tell you it was going to be right at the time limit- eyes- caught the attention of the woman behind the counter and she quickly assured me she stashed my cart in the refrigerator because of the cold stuff.  Thank heavens I didn't have to start all over.

So I came home, tackled my Rolodex length list, and finally got the kids in bed at 9:30.  I collapsed in the chair and picked up a crochet project. 

Friday, March 18, 2011


Today was a magnificent specimen of a day.  It was a window opening, lawn raking sort of day.  Today was a terrific teaser of a grilling kind of day. 

Several of my family members would claim that grilling is a year-round activity.  They dutifully pull out their grills in sub-zero weather, using the heat from the grills to melt 3 ft. snow pack.  But I am a grilling wimp.  The grilling season begins when the weather is warm enough to eat out on the patio table. 

Today was one of those kind of days.  Or at least it was when I fired up the charcoal.  Rodney took the big boys riding in the woods and Micah and I got the grill going, wrapped potatoes, washed down the patio table, brought out the cushions for the patio chairs, and loaded a tray with plates, salad dressing, salt and pepper, etc.  Steaks had been marinating for the previous 3 hours and Micah was looking forward to our picnic.

Two hours later, the big boys had not returned and the wind had picked up.  After a call to Rodney, we put the steaks on the grill in anticipation of their momentary arrival.  Needless to say, my very determined young man demanded dinner outside (we did grill after-all) and my fingers are still chilled through.

Sunday is the first official day of spring.  I know it probably won't feel as spring-like as today, but warmer days are ahead.  Days like today are a little glimpse into the promise of leaf filled canopies, fresh cut grass, fragrant flowers, and charcoal infused dinners.

Bring on the grill!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Parent [forgot to] pick-up

Micah asked me last night if he could be parent pick-up today.  I made a deal with him.  Get dressed in the morning with no problems and I'd write a parent pick-up note.  After several rounds of crazy, I tucked him in for the night and settled down to enjoy my new computer.

Too many hours and two crossed eyes later, I finally dragged myself off to bed and about the time my head hit the pillow, the thought occurred to me I should probably make sure Micah is covered or he'd wake up cold in the middle of the night.  So I tucked him in again and settled back into my own bed.  Not five minutes later, he was crying.  So much for making sure he was tucked in well for the night.

Micah: "I want my dollar! Give me my dollar!"
Me: "Shhhhhhh! Micah, you're dreaming, go back to sleep"
Micah: "I'm not dreaming, I need my dollar now."
Me: "We'll find the dollar in the morning."
Micah: "But you said you'd give me a dollar if I picked up all the rock and I did so I need my dollar.  You didn't give me my dollar." 
Side note-Micah had picked up all the rocks in one pile in the yard earlier with the promise of a dollar for his hard work.  Best Buy called about the computer just about the time he finished and I forgot all about his dollar.  By the time he remembered and decided to demand his dollar, it was 1:30 in the morning.  So to make the child happy and get him back to sleep, I got him his dollar.  He took it, tucked it in with him, and promptly went back to sleep.

We've now established my child has the memory of an elephant.  Unfortunately, I do not. 

This morning Micah reminded me about my promise to send him to school with a parent pick-up note which jogged my memory about him getting dressed with no problems.  One less thing to deal with.  He got dressed, I wrote his note, and got him on the bus in the pouring rain.

Deep breath, chapter in The Purpose Driven Life, three loads of laundry folded while listening to a Family Life podcast, dishes washed, hamburg for dinner fried, chocolate cookie dough mixed, baked, and bowl licked, and another load of laundry into the wash.  Then the phone rang.  Since I was in the basement switching the laundry, Rodney picked up the phone but all of a sudden, I remembered the note.  School lets out at 11:35 and it was already just about 12:00. 

If you didn't catch it, getting dressed was nowhere in the above list of morning accomplishments so there I was in my pj's with my hair in all kinds of disarray panicking because my four year-old was forgotten at school.  World's worst mother moment.  So I sent Rodney who had no idea what to do when the normal parent pick-up doors were locked.  He eventually figured it out but was none too happy when he got home.

Several more deep breaths and life goes on.  Micah forgave me and I'm already able to laugh at the incident but tomorrow is going to be an outside day for my boys.  They need the fresh air and I need the ability to focus.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Murphy's Law, Part II

Well, my computer problems are finally solved.  They started last summer when the power button failed to boot up the darn thing.  I was informed the capacitor on the motherboard was toast.  Of course, when Geek Squad took it to Kentucky for three weeks last July, they found nothing.  They sent it back to me without doing anything.

A week later, the problem happens again and I drive 45 minutes to Best Buy again where I was told the problem could be relieved by holding the power button while the computer was unplugged and the battery was removed.  Problem solved once, twice, again and again, over and over.  But after awhile, this absurd practice of removing all sources of power in order to plug it all in again so I could power up my computer failed to produce said results.  Back to Best Buy.

They ordered me a new battery.  Problem "solved" for 6 months or so.  Three weeks ago, the power thing starts acting up again so I drove AGAIN to Best Buy where they showed me the power button trick once again (after I tried it at home with no luck) and miraculously, it worked.  Just in case, they sent me home with a new power cord and ordered a new battery which would arrive via mail in a few days.  By the time I got home, the power button again rebelled.  Not able to return to the store twice in the same day, I set it aside for a few days and lo and behold, three days later, the computer randomly decided to respond to repeated pressing of the power button. 

Then, last Friday, no power.  I held the power button--no luck.  Over and over and over and over again.  Back in the car.  I fumed my way all the way to Manchester, plunked the computer on the counter and told the kid I don't want it back unless something gets fixed.

Oh, side note, I got a renewal notice in the mail for my service plan which is set to expire April 9.  Another two years of this bologna would only set me back $450.

So the kid at the counter visibly tucked his tail, "I understand ma'am."  They sent it out that day and I got a phone call this afternoon letting me know that Geek Squad had decided to replace my computer.  I skipped around for the next half hour waiting for the bus so I could load all three kids in the car.  So now, I'm sitting on my new computer, typing a new blog post, ecstatic because my laptop is not overheating and burning my legs (not to mention the fact that it turned on when I pushed the power button). 

So for anyone wondering where I have been in the last week or so, that is the story.  It's just too hard to type one letter at a time on the Wii.  It'll slide in a pinch for facebook but not in a million years for a blog post.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Murphy's Law

Need I say more?

So I woke up yesterday morning to another 90 minute delay.  With my youngest in half-day morning preschool, a 90 minute delay means I have an extra helper ALL day.  I had planned to get the floor done.  The one that had sticky stuff left from last weekend.  Didn't happen.  We were able to get a few things out of the way (laundry is his favorite chore and my least favorite) and then called the afternoon a draw and headed to the library.

This morning started out great.  Nevin got on the bus, Russell and Micah were ready for their bus half and hour early, and then the phone rang.  Nevin forgot his trombone and needed me to bring it to school for him.  I spent an hour bringing wood in, headed to school with the trombone, and then spent the rest of the morning cooking.  We had a couple of turkey carcasses in the freezer that I threw in a pot on the woodstove then picked apart this evening while watching Biggest Loser.  Turkey soup for lunch tomorrow.

And wouldn't you know it, Micah isn't going to school tomorrow either.  We have dentist appointments. 


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Creativity in the Corners of Life

During seasons such as these (snowy, cold, wet, and otherwise dreary), I'm extremely thankful we haven't been able to finish our basement.  The cement floor and lolly columns have provided endless sources of entertainment for my three monkeys over the last five years.

We built our house in 2005 and moved in during December.  Nevin was 5 at the time and Russell was 3 1/2.  As Rodney likes to say, Micah wasn't even a twinkle in his daddy's eye.  The first winter was spent with a virtually empty basement since we had just moved from a trailer and had very little stuff to fill up the space.  By empty, I mean it wasn't full of junk yet.  The oil tank, furnace, woodstove, washer and dryer, and stack of wood lined the room but the center was wide open for play.

Tricycles, Tonka trucks, t-ball, and an exercise trampoline were essential instruments to making the best use of the space.  Over the years, we added bicycles, basketball, air hockey, a futon, and boxes, bags, and racks of stuff.  Forts were built with stacks of boxes and old sheets, blankets, and pillows.  Tents were pitched, and derby cars were constructed. 

Now, we're back to square one.  The basketball hoop proved too large for the space, the futon became to worn and smelly from years of pet abuse, and the air hockey table fell apart.  The trampoline now has holes in it but still makes for a great fort wall so we've kept it.  The boxes and bags have grown and shrunk in numbers but shelves have been built to accomodate them. 

A rug that once graced our living room has been repurposed to protect little (and big) knees while playing Matchbox cars and Geo Trax.  It gets rolled up and stood in the corner to make room for the scooters and the one remaining tricycle.  Outdoor voices are almost always OK in our basement.  It's our little indoor playground. 

At one point I had hoped to finish the basement and make it a rec room for my busy little boys but slow seeping water each spring prevented that dream from becoming a reality.  In retrospect, it's been so much better this way.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Boy Scouts

Well, it's official.  We have a Boy Scout in the house.  Rodney and I spent a wonderful evening at the Cub Scout Blue and Gold where our oldest son, Nevin, crossed from Cub Scouts into Boy Scouts.  I couldn't be prouder. 

He's worked so hard for everything he earned as a Cub Scout.  The past year and a half, as a Webelos Scout has been especially busy with his entire den earning not only the Webelos badge but also the Arrow of Light and the Super Achiever Award (they earned all 20 achievement pins for that one).  He's had wonderful den leaders, one of which will be continuing on into Boy Scouting, and he's made some great friends over the last four years.

The next phase of craziness will commence on Thursday when I have to figure out how to get both Nevin and Russell to Scout meetings in separate locations across town.  But we'll cross that bridge on Thursday.  In the meantime, I'm so excited for my not-so-little man.

Treasure Hunting

For those of you who were wondering what I found under the furniture the other day, don't worry, I made a list.  I figured it was too good not to share.  (interruption 1, see below)  For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about (interruption 2) (interruption 3), I went on a treasure hunt in my living room this past week.

Here's how it started.  Rodney had a Daytona 500 party for his friends in man-town (the garage) but the kids were playing Wii and watching TV in the house.  Somehow, throughout the course of the day, several rounds of soda, juice, and snacks were spilled in various locations all over the main floor of the house.  We've all been there...just admit it.  So I got through Monday (Presidents Day-the kids had no school) sticking my way from one room to the next.  I've long since learned slippers, sneakers, and/or muck boots are a necessity in my house (thank goodness the whole place is tiled).

Tuesday finally rolls along and thankfully school vacation was cancelled due to all the snow days so off to school they go (interruption 4).  Now back to my treasure hunt.  The floor, as previously stated was horrendous but in order to vacuum and wash the floor, I had to find it first.  I picked up empty soda cans, clothing, (interruption 5) newspapers, etc. and hauled my shop vac up from the basement (there are no Swiffer level jobs in my house). 

When I lifted up the ottoman to clean underneath it, I was greeted with a surprisingly large collection of junk (considering the size of the ottoman). (Interruption 6)This list was posted on Facebook:  jar of peanut butter, a week-old newspaper, 2 Lego's, a couple of Valentines, and a pencil.  (Interruption 7) Deep breath....continue and see what could possibly be hiding under the chair.  It wasn't as bad as I thought:  the arm rest cover to the love seat, one deflated balloon, a grape stem, and one lone peanut (I think it might have been looking for the peanut butter jar when it got sidetracked at the grape stem...it happens a lot around here). 

I vacuumed the dust and proceeded to pull the love seat away from the wall.  Micah would have been ecstatic but he was at school.  One whole outfit was under there (don't tell Micah I'm airing his dirty laundry), the arm rest cover to the chair (I can't quite figure out how they switched places), 2 Tech Decks, a crayon, a pair of 3-D glasses, and the sheet of heart shaped stickers that went missing as soon as the box of Valentines was opened.  Oh yeah, and a bucket worth of dust, candy wrappers, popped balloon pieces, etc.

(Interruption 8)
Moving on....the couch was hiding one slipper, one sock, one glove, a moustache comb, a tire from one of the matchbox cars, the little red bear from Don't Break the Ice, one penny, a very squished and shriveled grape (it ran away from the grape stem when the peanut came between them), an enormous rock, and the picture frame that has taken up residence (it almost has squatters rights) in order to avoid getting broken.  Careful examination revealed a sticky substance of unknown origin which didn't respond to my vinegar treatment and seemed to be eating through the grout.  Perhaps it was caramel corn ground in by the process of dragging the couch across the living room?

Needless to say, after four hours of picking up and vacuuming the floor, it was time to make lunch (dinner) and get Micah off the bus.  (Interruption 9) The floor never did get washed that day.

Maybe this week.........

All interruptions occurred during the creation of this post.

1.  Must go open garage for Micah
2.  Micah screaming from garage.  He got what he needed now I can close the door.
3.  Phone ringing.  Brother-in-law looking for my husband's mechanical advice
4.  Russell comes in to ask what I am doing
5.  Go tell Nevin and Micah to leave the quad in the garage (which apparently the opened again)
6.  Have to get a fire going to get the kids warmed up from being outside (we heat with wood)
7.  Nevin, "Mom, look at this" (and this, and this, and this....)
8.  Micah needs an empty laundry basket so he can be helpful by doing a load of laundry
9.  Getting the detergent and fabric softener loaded into the machine for the new load of laundry.

Friday, February 25, 2011

What's in a Name

It's 8:25 and the boys are tucked in for the night.  For the first time in eight hours, I'm able to sit down and write uninterupted.  I have been working on pulling together the beginnings of this blog for the last six hours but buses, cookie dough, scooters in the basement, dinner, and even TV have been pulling my attention away every nanosecond or so.  This is a typical day. 

I wanted to share with you why I named my blog The Scatterbrained Homemaker.  My sister-in-law was commenting the other day on the method my brother uses for cleaning.  Having the same mother (teacher), my methods are very much the same. 

On that particular day, I sent my kids off to school on the bus and headed to the kitchen to wash the dishes.  I looked behind me into the living room where I saw nothing short of an explosion of clothing so I decided to collect it up and start a load of laundry.  The washing machine can be productive while I do the dishes after-all. 

I needed a basket to collect the dirty laundry and wouldn't you know it, both of my baskets were upstairs full of clean laundry.  I tiptoed into the bedroom (so as not to wake my second shift husband) to get the first of the laundry baskets.  Apparently I didn't tiptoe quietly enough because he rolled over and asked if we were still going out for breakfast. 

Laundry abandoned, I climbed into the shower and got ready to go out.  But on our way to breakfast, we would be driving past the bank.  I was going to need to go to the bank later anyway so I took a few minutes to get the checks ready and off we went.  We also stopped for gas and ran into the post office while we were out.

By the time we returned home, I still needed to clean up the living room as well as the dishes because I had a babysitter coming for the afternoon.  I headed back upstairs to get the laundry basket but it seemed pointless to carry an empty laundry basket downstairs so I collected up the dirty laundry from the bedrooms and the bathroom and lo' and behold, that basket was suddenly too full to fit any of the clothing from the living room.  I returned for the second laundry basket and emptied that one as well.

Finally back to square one (almost), I collected the laundry from the living room and discovered another layer of disaster that needed to be dealt with.  School papers, shoes, mittens, dishes, you name it, I found it.  At this point, I'm just trying to get my house navigable for the babysitter in two short hours.  Eventually, I made it to the basement to start that load of laundry and then back to the sink to work on the dishes. 

Now, with my husband being on second shift, our noon meal is "dinner" so he can enjoy a meal each day that doesn't require the microwave (unless, of course, I'm using the microwave on a particular day to cook dinner).  Despite the fact that we had just come back from breakfast, and I was trying to prepare for the sitter, I had to live up to my wifely duties and make the man some dinner.

While cooking dinner, I kept one eye out the window for the half-day bus that brings my youngest home.  In between stirs, I could dart out the door to escort him off the bus and later examine the contents of his backpack from my position in front of the stove. 

By 1:30, hubby was out the door on the way to work, and I was headed out for my afternoon activity.  This is a typical morning in the life of me.  It would be wonderful to hold a train of thought long enough to remember why I walked into a room but I have resolved to getting caught up on laundry and dishes in fourteen years (when my little guy is old enough for his own apartment).

As this blog develops, I hope to share a little of what makes me tick.  Join me to get a chuckle, find out what I'm reading, projects I'm working on, shows and movies I've enjoyed recently, ways I stay on budget, and anything else that stumbles it's way into my quest for sanity.  Maybe you can identify.  I'd love to hear from you.