October 31

Last week, as I was beating the pants off the daughter in a game of Hands and Feet, I peered out the back door, and this is what I saw.

Stunning!

So I yelled politely called to the boy to bring me my camera.

He went and got it, and begged politely asked if he could take the pictures. “No, I wanna take the picture.” “You sure can take the pictures”, I told him.

So, out he went. Snapping away.

He did a wonderful job.

Then he calls out, “Mom, you just gotta see the rest of this sunset.” At this point, I am smokin’ her in this game, and I could care less about the sunset. I said, “I can see it just fine from where I am sitting.”

“No, mom, you just gotta come see this.”

So, I got up and went out.

Only to find my son right there, (right there where that arrow is). Right there! My heart stopped for a second. Could that be any more dangerous? So he is 17 ½, he could still fall, he could break his neck, he could snap his arm into 45 pieces, he could flatten his nose, and get a coconut shell in his eye, (I tossed coconut shells off the deck the other week, interestingly, they are still there) or he could just wobble a bit and give me a mini-stroke, which is exactly what he did.

When I finally turned around to make sure I didn’t see his demise if he should, in fact fall, I saw this…

and this…

He was right. It was to good to miss.

What do your kids do/have done that cause/d you to stroke out?

October 30

In 2 more days it will be November. November?!? Good gravy! Where did the year go?

I remember when I was 10ish after Christmas there was nothing to look forward too, and let me just say that Easter seemed an eternity away, and next Christmas…well, I figured I had quite a long time to be naughty because next Christmas was just never. going. to. come.

Wasn’t Christmas just 3 weeks ago?, and it is upon me again. Again! I haven’t even begun shopping, peoples. I haven’t even thought about it. Didn’t we just celebrate Christmas 3 weeks ago? What happened to my good intentions of getting all my shopping done in January? or even February when all the sales are going on? What happened to me sneaking in a gifty here and there?

Time happened and I have to be honest here, time my friends, is no longer my friend. Time has turned against me. I don’t even remember when it turned traitor, but it did, and now I am left to pick up the sad, lonely pieces. Now I am left scrambling to make a list of what I want to give to those I love. Now I am left begging for Christmas lists and scraping the back of my brain to remember what the chips have said that they want….sigh.

Time. You have been squandered and wasted…I have not been a good steward. I am sorry.

Have you begun Christmas shopping?

October 29

In the effort to keep this blog as real as possible, I just have a few comments.

  • My laundry is breeding like rabbits
  • It is cold here in the armpit of Ohio
  • I don’t like being cold.
  • I need to bake bread
  • I just want to curl up on the couch and go back to sleep.
  • I am afraid to knit mittens.
  • I suck the icing out of my tips and couplers.

And, now, onto pictures of the creations that the boy and I made on the last day of course 2, of cake decorating class. Next course we are doing fondant and wedding cakes. Let me just say for the record that fondant looks lovely, but it also tastes like paste. I am not quite sure that I will enjoy this class as much as the others as, well, there is no icing to lick, slurp or suck out of couplers and tips…just gross fondant. Blech!

Here is the boy’s cake. He did a superb job. I am so proud of him.

Here is the other side.

Front of my cake.

And the back. I thought that I wasn’t going to have enough flowers, but I ended up having almost to many. That is a good thing, because some of the little ones ended up in…..uh…..my mouth.

Would you take a cake decorating class if you could?

October 28

Yesterday was a full day for me.

I got up early as the boy took his ACT yesterday. I wanted to make sure that he started the day off with a hearty breakfast. I even made the supreme sacrifice, like mothers are wont to do, and gave him my very last Dove Dark for break time for brain food, because we all know that chocolate is brain food!!! I love my boy!

After the boy left, the girl and I went for our weekly Saturday hang out type thingie. We went into this gift shop that had all sorts of knick-knacks, and crystal goblets, and Oneida silver, and China place settings. It was great girly fun, and we picked out which crystal champaign goblet we would choose, and for some reason, the girl is extremely attracted to martini glasses.

After the boy finished his testing, he really wanted to go up to Amish to Walnut Creek Cheese. We love going there. The store is just wonderful. I purchase as much as I can in bulk ~~’cause I’m FRUGAL~~ and then we sample all the wonderful samples that they have, oogle all the kitchen ware items, and the girl and I oooh and aaaah over the tea pots, tea cups, tea spoons, and everything else that comes with tea.

They have added on, expanded, and re-arranged the store, and the boy wanted to see the changes. It would have been all well and good, but there were 653 people in that building, and to maneuver around was a horror to behold. We are not crowd people. The hustle and the bustle don’t do one blessed thing for us, but give us a headache, a stomach ache, and a wish to run outside in the calm serene air. To make matters worse, all 676 people had gobbled up all the samples, and we didn’t get a one. It was a tragic, tragic, tragic. We just didn’t even enjoy the experience. I did snap this photo when we went out.

So calm, so serene is this single maple tree. It was a welcome sight after having to deal with 774 people eating all the samples.

Leaving there, the boy wanted to take us out for supper, so we went on in to Sugarcreek to eat at Dutch Valley and for once, just this once, I was ever so glad that we didn’t have samples at Walnut Creek Cheese. It was delicious.

Since my parents are only 15 minutes from where we were, we popped in to see them. Hi mom! Hi dad!

We got home a bit later than what I had hoped. See, we still needed to make our icing flowers for our cake decorating class today. The boy and I are totally into a 100% edible cake, and not only 100% edible, but the icing MUST taste good. We were supposed to do our pre-made flowers with Royal Icing. This stuff drys rock hard, looks gorgeous, and tastes like paste. We don’t want people to eat paste, so we, the rebels that we are, made our icing out of regular old butter cream, but we made it extra stiff. We didn’t get started till 8:30, then we figured out that ….OH NO! we didn’t have any yellow food coloring, so Superman ( as the husband will henceforth be known on this blog) flew to Stuffmart to get us some. We didn’t get to bed till 11, which totally goes against my ‘early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’ mantra.

I woke up early because I was worried concerned that our rebellion would not have turned out, and that the icing would have stuck to the papers that we dried them on. I came downstairs to see that indeed, we were right. We can have our cake and eat it too.

So! Which picture do you think are my flowers and which one is the boy’s? I will let you know later on.

October 27

Ree gave a Photoshop tutorial the other day, and I was absolutely ecstatic that it was one that I could do on my Photoshop Editor 5.0, which is just a wanna be of the real Photoshop ~~that I would really like to have, but don’t because, as my father says, I’m cheap.

Anyway, I wanted to show off what I did.

Here is my SOOC (straight out of camera) shot. Not bad for my el cheapo camera. I took this picture just so I could practice.

Isn’t she cute? You wouldn’t know from that smile that she had just eaten her fourtyeleventh can of tuna since August.

Then I cropped, and lopped and lightened and brightened and unsharped and enhanced and resized, and I made her eyes sparkle. Thanks Ree!!!

Voila. Much more better!

Now if I can just get rid of that nasty wall paper.

Do you have Photoshop or Editor or another photo editing program? Do you like it?

October 26

It is getting cooler here in Chicville, and with that, for us, comes a change in what we eat. More soups, stews, more comfort food, and plenty of hot chocolate!!!

We also like to grill our year long, but with the menu change, it is difficult to decide what to have with said grilled items.

So, today’s burning question(s). Do you grill our year long? If so, how does your menu change in the cooler months? Do you still serve picnic type sides, or do you change that too? Do you make sweet potato fries?  Do you serve noodles?  How about brussel sprouts and spinach?   Green beans?  Corn?  What is it that you serve?

October 25

Mothering, of late, has been about as fun as toenail fungus. I hate to screw up, I hate to do wrong, I hate to disappoint, and I have been hitting all 3 out of the ballpark, daily it seems.

I read this over the past week. I adapted it for me and thought I’d share.

What remains???

If I spend my days teaching my children and creating relationships with other mom’s online, but have not love, I am only a buzzing in the ears.

If I have the gift of knowing which child plugged up the bath tub and which one didn’t scoop the litter box, and if I have faith that somehow we’ll survive life’s emergences but have not love, I am nothing.

If I sell popcorn for Boy Scouts and give to the local food bank, and if I surrender my body to stretch marks, dark circles and chin whiskers, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient when someone is struggling with a math concept. It is kind when my husband has a hard day. It doesn’t envy my neighbor’s new room addition I can’t afford.

It is not rude, snapping at my husband or kiddos when things don’t go my way. It isn’t easily angered at perceived or real injustices.

It always protects the smallest, sweetest family confidences; always trusts God to provide for our needs; always hopes in the newness of tomorrow and the future of our family; always perseveres in the middle of doubt.

Where there are sleepless nights, they will l end. (Amen) Where there are ballet, Boy Scouts, and science experiments, they will cease. Where there is knowledge of baby-care trends, discipline strategies and teen problems, it will pass away.

Now these three remain: faith, lived out in my daily circumstances and instilled in my children; hope, of one day rejoicing with my family in heaven; and love, which covers over a multitude of less-than-perfect moments (of which I have many).

But the greatest of these is love. It is what remains…..long after I am gone.

May it be so. Amen and Amen!

October 24

I live in a turn of the century small…read 1200 sq. ft. small…Victorian house. I love it. I love its crookedy walls, I love its creaking floors, I adore the floor length windows and what is left of the original woodwork. I love to imagine the people who first lived in it, and the people who built it. If I could go back in time though, I’d wring their scrawny. little. necks. Not only did they use inferior foundational materials, whoever made the blueprints of this living area was smokin’ something. And they had to have been smoking it for a loooong time!!

The boy and I rearranged the part of the living area of the house Friday.

It was so necessary that I canceled school for the day. I needed the boy’s brawn. Why?

Because I had to move my computer desk.

What in the world would possess me to move this massive hunk of particle board?

Why would I spend 2 long and sweaty hours clearing EVERY piece of junk off my desk, strewing it all over creation, heaving that thing around the room, and putting all that much needed junk back on???

I’ll show you.

That7 x 12 inch piece of metal is the only heating vent on this side of the living area. There are only 2 others in a room that is 25 x 12, and it was being covered up by the massive desk. I am sure that 3 small vents in a room this size was just fine when this house had a coal furnace. I am sure that this living room was one toasty place to be, but now the house is in possession of a fuel efficient, energy saving furnace and I need every vent available. Hence the moving of the monster desk.

Do you have a huge computer desk?

October 23

While at the Apple Butter Festival, I thought that it would be a perfect time to get pictures of the chips that was some place other than inside my house. Get some pictures of their personality.

My son, being the cooperative boy that he is,

refused to look at me

the entire time we were there. I am beginning to really love his profile!

The girl, on the other hand, seems to really love to have her picture taken.

She is very willing to sit,

and and smile on command.

Turn and be cute, even when the jewelry is beckoning her.

See this gorgeous hair? Life just doesn’t seem to be fair all of a sudden.

Tamara~recognize that shirt and jacket???

I think I will just stick to taking surprise pictures at home.

Please forgive the quality on this picture…it was a surprise!

It is raining today.   So dreary.   The weather is changing and letting me know that winter is fast approaching.   Winter and I, well, lets just say we aren’t the best of friends.

Is it raining at your house today?

October 22

This past weekend was the last festival in Roscoe Village for the year. The Apple Butter Festival. It is the biggest one. Why? I don’t know, I just live here!

It could be because they make apple butter outside in a copper kettle, over a wood fire, stirring it with a wood stick. He looks happy to be there, don’t ya think?

It could be because they have lots of pottery for sale.

It could be for the entertainment. These guys were playing old folksy music.

These guys were playing young country music on the opposite end of the road. I called it the dueling entertainment.

I, however, was a bit more interested in the jelly samples,

and the apple butter samples,

and the dip samples,

and dipping oil, and wine jelly samples.

How about some cheese?

Barbecue? Bruchetta? Pirogies? Spaghetti sauce?

I was inexplicably drawn to this particular sampling tent. It sucked me in like some sort of invisible vacuum cleaner, and spit me out right in front of this table. See that plate in the middle? Tiny bits of Buckeyes. I had 2. I was going to sample each and every one, but I was afraid the hubbie would drag me out of there kicking and screaming, and I am just not into making  a scene.

I didn’t purchase any because I can make any of this sinfully delicious stuff at home for a fraction of the cost, but why would I want to do that, when I can have the hubbie purchase me Hershey’s any time I want.

So there you have it. A small taste ~~I crack myself up~~of the Apple Butter Festival.

If you were there tasting, which item would you have wanted to taste the most?

October 21

My mother is a decorator. On holidays and special occasions, she has all sorts of decorations to put up. They all are lovely. They are always tasteful.

I love seeing her house decorated so perfectly on every occasion. It gives me a sense of peace, of enjoyment, of happiness. Unfortunately, the decorating gene skipped this generation, and I know that my daughter is so disappointed in me. She loves to decorate too. To me, it is just way to much work, to much storage, and to much getting out and putting away.

I shocked my family this year, though. I decorated for fall. It is a first here in the Chocolatechic household. I wouldn’t have done it either, except I got a fall themed kitchen towel for my birthday, so it is hanging on my stove. Yep! That is the extent, the entirety, and the sum total of my decorating for autumn. I am so proud of myself.

Just about every blog that I have read in the last week or so have pumpkin/fall pictures. I refuse to be left out, so here you have it, my pumpkin/fall offering.

I don’t have any trees in my yard, so I had to go elsewhere to get this picture.

If your into fall decorations, this could be in your yard. It’s not in my yard because I don’t have any mums, or hay, or gourds or pumpkins or cute little pieces of metal to stick into them. I have grass, and that is fall enough for me.

Can someone please tell me why hay and pumpkins go together?

Or why it is necessary to have an odd number of pumpkins when you are decorating?

This is all of the fall I have to offer you. This is all you get! I will not give anymore. I am a Scrooge. Ask anyone.

They are lucky to have the towel.

Do you like to decorate for the different seasons?

October 20

Because you all mean so much to me, and because I just know that you will want to sympathize, I am sharing with you how I was horribly tortured the other evening by the boy.

The smell alone was pure agony!

Do you see those puddles of icing. It was almost to much to bear.

But when he handed me the plate and forced me to eat 2 of them, my mouth began to salivate, my toes began to curl, and my eyes almost rolled into the back of my head.

Yes, folks, it was that bad! Y’all know where to send sympathy cards. I’ll be checking my mail daily!

October 19

Readers, I have been so busy with all sorts of things to say, that I forgot about Friday’s burning question. It would have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I can’t even remember what day it is, or my children’s names or where I parked my car. Nope! Nothing at all!

If you have been reading my blog, this past week you would have seen the inside of my oven. It needs cleaned. How do you clean your oven? How often do you clean it? How often do you use it, and finally, would you come over and clean mine?

I clean mine, I am ashamed to say, about once a year.  In the winter when it is desperately cold.  I turn on my self cleaning oven and get warm all at once, because I am big on killing 2 birds with one stone, or 2 snakes with one shovel, or 2 spiders with one swipe, or 2 hamsters with one shot.

October 18

I am not addicted. I am not, I tell you!!!

I am not addicted to chocolate. I am not addicted to pink, and I am NOT addicted to WoodWick candles.

I refuse to be addicted to Pumpkin Butter, Caramel, or Biscotti, or even Vanilla Latte~~which I don’t have yet, but Christmas is coming. I am not addicted to the fact that the smell is so intense that you can smell it all through the house and even outside…even when the house is all closed up, but most of all, I am not addicted to the soothing sound the wick makes. No, I do not sit at my desk with my eyes closed and listen to my candle. It just doesn’t happen here!

Nope! I am not addicted, and you can’t make me!!!

So there!

October 17

As I mentioned yesterday, my parents stopped by briefly so that I could see my Aunt Sandy and her daughter Alyssia.

They had the fortunate experience to smell what I was cooking and my aunt asked if I would please blog about this deliciousness. So, here I am blogging about this for my aunt who graciously, wonderfully, and lovingly bestowed a Schulers donut on me yesterday.

What did she smell that enticed her so? Melt in your mouth baby back ribs!

First, go to your freezer. You must dig deep for a pack of baby-back ribs that you purchased for your sons birthday and then didn’t use. Feel slightly guilty, shrug your shoulders and be happy that you are having them now. Thaw.

This really is all about method and not necessarily about ingredients.

After your rack of ribs are thawed, rinse and pat dry. Then lovingly rub in whatever kind of spices you prefer. I used salt, pepper, minced garlic, onion powder, and about a third cup of brown sugar. It really doesn’t matter as long as YOU like it. Get your broiler pan out. You know, the gray pan in the drawer under your stove. The one with holes in it…the one you have never used before. Grab that. Wash it first, cause if it is anything like mine, it will be very grimy!

Fill the bottom part of the pan with about an inch of water. Plop your rubbed ribs on the grate part and cover tightly with foil, making sure you crimp the edges.

Place in a 250º oven for 3-3½ hours.

Do not, under any circumstances look at how gross the inside of my stove is. Don’t. You will have nightmares. Don’t do it!! You have been warned!!!

I use 2 tongs to take them off the rack, but as you can see, even with that precaution, they are already falling off the bone. I then cut them into 3-4 bone sections. It makes for easier grilling and less bone falling.

Then you make ask your son to fire up the grill and do your job for you. Of course, he willingly complies, as testosterone + fire = happy male! Grab whatever barbecue sauce you have in your fridge. Shove it and a basting brush at the boy as he goes outside. Your job is finished, unless they want something else to go with it, then you must trudge back down to the dungeon, find an old dusty can of baked beans and grab a bag of egg noodles.

I have personally found that it is much easier to schmear sauce on the meat before placing it on the grill. Less drippage, more sauce on the meatage. See that little bite of meat. I bet he had a tastie. I would have!

Place meaty side down, because…well, it is the best side, and we want it to get happy first. Remember that warning about the inside of my stove, it applies here as well!

Sauce the underside because you must have it totally drenched in sauce to make sure that when you are eating said deliciousness your fingers get all gooey and sloppy and when the phone rings you can’t answer it because you are up to your elbows in sauce.

Flip and add just a smackeral more sauce. See all that caramelized goodness. I am getting hungry again!

Let me just say that when ribs are cooked in this manner, the meat will literally melt in your mouth.

So very, very, very good. Go digging in your freezer. Find some ribs. Make someone’s mouth happy tonight!

What is your favorite rub and barbecue sauce?

October 16

So, ma wanted cupcakes to go with the diaper cake. I have been wanting to try this Italian Buttercream Icing for almost 2 months. Doesn’t Italian Buttercream just sound dreamy? I thought so, and couldn’t wait to make this icing. First you must make sure that you have a mixer than can stand being on for over ½ an hour, sometimes running on high. Don’t have one? Go get one. This icing deserves to be made. It must be made. All peoples need to know what they are missing.

To make Italian Buttercream Icing, you first must make a simple syrup.

Take ½ cup of water and pour it in your heavy sauce pan.

To that water, add 2 ¼ cups sugar. Swirl it to make all the sugar wet.

Have your dozen of eggs, and 1 ½ pounds of unsalted butter already room temperature. Yes, that is 1 whole dozen eggs, and 6 sticks of butter.

Separate your egg whites.

Unwrap your obscene amount of butter. It is important to have your mixer~~or the mixer that you borrowed from your boy because you were to lazy to move your own lovely mixer to a different counter~~ right beside your stove. I’ll explain why later.

Start your sugar to boiling, and when it gets about to this stage,

start your whites to whipping. The key here is to have your syrup to temperature at the same time your whites are at stiff peak.

When your egg whites look like this, add a teaspoon of cream of tartar to stabilize the whites. Don’t forget to check your syrup.

Oh, look, sugar water is boiling.

Back to the egg whites…are they stiff yet? Nope…….not even close!

Back to the syrup. This is why you want your mixer next to the stove. You are back and forth and back and forth. Are the whites done yet?

Once the syrup reaches about 150º, your whites should be at stiff peak. If you timed it right.

If your whites come to a stiff peak before the syrup reaches temperature, leave your mixer on the lowest speed to keep your whites moving.

Pour the syrup into the egg whites and beat.

Can you see the steam? You need to beat this about 10 minutes. The sweetened whites need to come to room temperature so that it won’t melt the butter when you add it, so sometimes it might be necessary to cool it down.

My hand froze stiff. I’m not sure how much it helped the icing.

After the bowl is cool to the touch, you begin to add your butter a few hunks at a time. This takes about forever and a half!

After I had added about 1 stick of butter, it began to get soupy. I also got to wondering how quickly the butter was incorporating in the whites, so I stuck the blue food coloring on a piece of butter to see just how fast it was. Totally cool!

After about 3 sticks, it begins to look all curdled, separated and gross. Don’t despair like I did. Don’t cry, weep and moan, don’t stomp your foot and declare that you will never make this again. It will come together. I promise!

Here all the butter is in, and it is just loosing that gross curdled look. Add 1 tsp. vanilla, and whip it for another 2 minutes or so and it will become so smooth and creamy.

See how creamy dreamy it is?

Nothing says baby shower like naked plastic baby’s and baby bottles.

Now for the recipe.

Italian Buttercream Icing.

  • ½ c. water
  • 2 ¼ c. sugar
  • 12 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 ½ pounds unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

 

  1. Separate egg whites from yolks. Whip egg whites until stiff.
  2. Bring sugar and water to a boil. Occasionally use a pastry brush and cold water to brush down any crystals that form on the side of the pan. Boil till it reaches about 150º.
  3. Pour sugar mixture slowly into egg whites. Beat until bowl is cool to the touch – ten minutes or so. (You might want to place this bowl in another bowl with a little cold water in it to speed the cooling process a bit.).
  4. Cut butter into 1″ pieces, and add them slowly to the sugar/egg white mixture. The mixture gets more “soupy” as you add the butter, but this is OK.
  5. Add vanilla when butter is mixed in well.
  6. Beat until light and fluffy. It may look a little curdled, but keep beating, and it will become smooth.
  7. This icing can be refrigerated for weeks, or even frozen for months. To get it back to be nice and creamy after being in the fridge or freezer, just mix it again, and it will return to its’ creamy texture.

This icing isn’t near as sweet as a normal buttercream, but it is great! This icing also smooths like glass on a wedding cake. Now, the next time you need to make some icing, make this one. You will not be disappointed. You will be ecstatic, elated and you will put on 3.5 pounds from licking the bowl and beaters and well…..you know.

Speaking of icing and all things sweet…my parents stopped by briefly last night so that I could see my Aunt Sandy and cousin. It was wonderful. What is even more better is that they gave my son and I a Schulers cream filled donut. In all my 38 years, I have never, EVER had donuts as good as Schulers. They are only found in Springfield, Ohio. I was so blessed to be the recipient of one of those beloved donuts. I almost licked the box. Had the chips not been in the room, I would have!

Do you have a favorite donut?

October 15

A few weeks ago, my mother asked me to make the cakes for my cousin’s baby shower that took place yesterday. I said that I would love to, and we discussed at length the kind of cake that she wanted. She finally decided that she wanted a diaper cake. The first thing that popped into my mind is that she wanted a cake shaped like a diaper, and I was furiously trying to figure out how in the world I was going to shape a cake like a diaper.

So, what does a diaper cake look like?

Pretty cute if you ask me.

When mom and dad came to pick it up, they brought my birthday present. I love presents. Presents are like…the greatest thing!!! It doesn’t even have to be nice. You could purchase me a bag of nuts and I would be totally thrilled. I am easy, I know. Please don’t tell anyone, or from now on, all my gifts will be bags of nuts, and I am not that easy! I much prefer bags of chocolate thankyouverymuch!

2 weeks ago, I got a box from a friend in Florida filled with what she said was her junk. It was yarn. I was soooooo excited. Thrilled. Estatic. Pleased beyond all pleasing. Happy and dancing for joy!

Then about a week later, I got a box from Alaska. Inside was this.

A lovely crocheted wrap. I let my daughter wrap up in it once over the weekend. Why? oh why? do I do things like that? Knowing that since she has gotten her grubby little hands on it once, mom surely won’t mind letting me use it for the rest of the winter….sigh. I do mind, and I have been wearing it as much as possible ever since to let her know that she needs to have a grubby little hands off feeling about my wrap!

This is what I got for my birthday from my parents.

Isn’t it lovely? I am so blessed. Truly blessed.

I can never ever take it off. If I do, some sweet girl will swoop in~~I think she has a radar of some sort~~try it on, and ask me if she can wear it. I will say “no way, Hosé, mine, mine, mine!” Childish, yes, but ever so effective!

Did you ever borrow jewelry from your mom?

Tomorrow I will tell you all about cupcakes and Italian Buttercream Icing.

October 13

Yesterday I did something awful. Something that I rarely do, and it caused much sadness to me later in the day. I set my purse on my computer chair. That is the awful thing.

Yes, my dears…it was bad. Why? because you see, my purse had my camera in it, and because I rarely set my purse in my chair, later when I came back to check my email/blog/blog stats, I sat on my purse…and therefore my camera. Yes, much sadness, much crying and tears, much weeping and groaning.

I have broken my screen. I can not preview any pictures, nor can I change any settings or even see if I am deleting pictures after I have uploaded them. At least it is still taking pictures.  So, sooner rather than later, I am truly in the market for a new digital camera, and I am coming to you for ideas. I need a good, but inexpensive~~please read under $100~~digital camera.

Any ideas…before I cry…again?

October 12

It all began with Legos.

About 8 years or so ago, I became rather fed up with stepping on Legos in my bare feet, picking up dolls, Barbie cars, Barbie shoes, Hot Wheels, shoes, socks, and other various assortment of things off the floor after the chips went to bed, so I began to implement a new tactic. The confiscation box. It started out that whatever toy or thing~~I confiscate shoes too~~I picked up was mine till they could “buy” it back. Each toy cost .05. That didn’t last long as the chips were penniless, and soon thereafter they were toy less. Toy less children = bored children which in turn = mom pulling out her hair, and I like my hair thankyouverymuch.

Since they didn’t have any funds, and I hate to dust, light bulbs began bursting above my head. They can purchase their toys back with chores. Perfect! I’d have them dust, or sweep the bathroom. Something small, but something they hated to do. The object was for them to remember not to leave anything out. Secretly I would hope that one of them would leave something out at least once a week, so I wouldn’t ever have to dust again. Sadly for me, they learned their lesson, and my house returned to it’s normal dusty state.

As they got older and their attitudes began to get more…snarky, I instituted “Cheerful Heart Chores”. If they couldn’t do whatever was asked of them with a cheerful heart, they would have the privilege of choosing a chore from the Cheerful Heart jar. These chores were more detailed than just dusting. The jobs are more disgusting for them, but oh,how my heart rejoices when they choose one. I think I have mentioned before that I am lazy.

In this jar there are 18 glorious chores like, scrubbing toilets inside and out, mopping the kitchen floor on your hands and knees, litter duty for a month, laundry duty for a month, washing out all kitchen cabinets and putting everything back neatly, and my favorite…wash all windows inside and out.

As they got older, they began to realize that getting stuff confiscated was not a good thing for them, and they would make sure that all their stuff was picked up before going to bed. Good for them, back to work for me.

This week, however has been a good week for me. I have confiscated the girls purse and sun glasses, the boys cell phone, wallet, car keys and pocket knife. I haven’t had to dust, mop the floor, clean the trim or the banisters, and best of all…dusting the entire house, top to bottom.

Last night before he went to bed, the boy made the circuit of the living room twice to make sure that he remembered to pick everything up. I am so glad that they are learning, but in about a month or so, I will need them to forget again.

How do you get your kiddos to pick up?