outdoor lighting

Next time you walk out your door look up.  Look at your exterior light fixture.  Is it covered in a light gray dust? Is the inside is filled with dead bugs? Are there cobwebs around it?  Carefully take down the glass cover and pop it in the dishwasher!  And . . . you might as well change the light bulb while you are up there.  Even if it's not burnt out, change it anyway and use that light bulb for your next interior light that burns out. XO

neighbor . . .

Look straight, look to the right or left, maybe even look behind you.  Who's your neighbor?  Do you know them?  Are they the casual 'hello' neighbor?  Whatever direction you look, invite one of your neighbors for dinner.  Community is amazing, especially when you have a good one.  And a good community of neighbors is the best.  We chat with your neighbors whenever we see them.  We buy their girl scout cookies, our kids play in the street together, but we haven't ever had them to dinner.  Last Sunday, I invited them over for tacos.  It was a wonderful evening.

test, quiz, exam

Every Wednesday Harvey has a 20 word spelling test.  Each week I have him write out all 20 words and tape them in my calendar.  I always have my calendar with me.  If Harvey is with me we can squeeze a quick spelling word session in ANYWHERE.  This little trick is also teaching Harvey he can take a few minutes where ever he is and get a few things done if he NEEDS too.  

XO

homework

For the next 8 weeks Teddy has homework.  He is doing a little class offered to children who are moving to Upper Elementary at his school.  When he first started I noticed he was starring out the window for most of the time.  I would walk by and ask him how he was doing and he would say, 'Do you see that bird out there?'  I thought how could I get this kid on task so he can get this done and go play?!?  Two nights ago I asked him what he needed to do.  We made a list of each problem he was to finish.  After he completed each problem he needed to check it off.  The list kept him on task and motivated him too get everything done.  It worked like a charm.  Next step, to have him make his own list.  ;)

kids clothing

Take 20 minutes this weekend and go through you child's clothing with them.  Help them organize their drawers and closet.  If you have a budding fashionista, teach them how to put together a few new outfits out of what they already have.  Spray stains with stain master (I use OxiClean) and see if you can get them out.  Get rid of clothes that are trashed.  Donate, sell or pass down what isn't worn or doesn't fit.  And make a list of what they need and how many.  Hop on line, and buy it.  REMEMBER . . . OUR CHILDREN ARE NOT BORN KNOWING HOW TO DO OR WHEN TO DO things like organize their closet . . . WE TEACH IT TO THEM.

schedules NEED eyes

A few months ago I was reminding my kids everyday, all day of the stuff they needed to do or the activities they had going on.  It was too much for all of us.  So I made these handy two week calendars for each child.  At first I had them fill out the calendars.  But, when you have to write 'make your lunch' 10X and you are six years old, you are going to be pretty pissed off.  So after that, I filled out each calendar on the computer.  I post them up on the wall every two weeks.  Now, we talk about life rather than what they need to get done.  The image below is only one week.  Shoot me an email and I would be happy to send you the two week excel file. Screen Shot 2018-01-18 at 6.36.54 AM.png

Pet Peeve

My final post of all things regarding kids hygiene . . . dirty jackets, backpacks and lunch boxes.  It grosses me out so badly, that one time during the height of the flu season I typed up a note explaining to parents that they can and should wash their children's lunch boxes.  Of course it was anonymous because I was too much of a whimp to sign my name.  I guess the school didn't think it was appropriate so they took it down.  :D  I've never told anyone that, not even David!  Anyway, this weekend clean your child's jackets, backpacks and lunch boxes.  And mom's who wear make-up take a peak at the collar of your jackets, is it covered in make-up.  Wash it!  Grab some Oxiclean spray down the collar of jackets, the wrists, the pocket openings, the zipper and any other dirty spots let it sit for an hour and wash on cold.  DO NOT FORGET TO PUT DRYER BALLS IN THE DRYER WITH YOUR DOWN JACKETS!!!  As for lunch boxes, just throw them in the dishwasher.  Yes!  These need to be cleaned.  And backpacks, don't get me started . . . these are the most disgusting of the bunch.  Wash them! OK I'm done yelling at you.  Hugs and Love, Kysa

hair

I've said it a few times this week . . . WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN PERSONAL HYGIENE.  They are not born knowing how to manage this.  Our children all shower at night.  It's great with one exception, they all wake up with crazy hair.  I keep a small spray bottle with water in it and a brush in the kitchen.  They all (with the exception of Harvey who recently asked for a buzz cut) spray and brush out their 'sleep hair' every morning.  It's super simple and I think it's very important to teach our children how to take care in their appearance.

nails

Toe nails and finger nails.  I'm going to say the rude thing I ALWAYS think when I see long nails on children.  YUCK!  Having long finger nails requires a lot of extra attention.  I'm not a microbiologist, but I am comfortable saying that hand washing alone is not enough when you have long finger nails.  You should use a nail scrub brush for EVERY washing.  And I would guess germs, bugs, dirt, sickness all love to cuddle up under finger nails.  Soooooooo let's all join together and check our children's finger nails every 10 days.  Just set a reminder in your calendar. P.S. If you have every seen my children's finger nails long, I apologize.  :)

shower, bath

Scrub, scrub, scrub . . . . we have to teach our children cleanliness.  My children shower every night.  From time to time I pop my head in the shower and make sure they are scrubbing all their pieces and parts.  Recently, I had to re-teach Murphy how to wash her hair.  Her hair has gotten a lot longer and thicker so she really needed to be using more shampoo and conditioner.  Harvey takes a 42 second shower, so I wanted to see how he could possibly wash his body and brush his teeth in that window.  He couldn't!  So we talked about his process.  And if your child is over the age of four they can be doing all their scrubbing, teeth brushing etc them self.  Just teach them how and kick it next to the bathroom with a magazine in case they need any assistance.  You are welcome for taking one more thing of your TO DO list.  ;)

leftovers . . .

Leftovers do not generally fall in a gray area . . . you either eat them or you don't.  A few years ago I noticed I was throwing away a lot of our leftovers.  So I made a shift in my cooking.  If I'm cooking for nine (which is normally the case) I don't cook nine servings.  Sometimes, I only cook four servings of the main meal.  I will serve it with a huge portion of veggies, salad and fruit.  On occasion I will double the recipe if I think I can use it in another meal, or someone will eat the leftovers.  This has REALLY cut down on my food waste. On the other hand.  If I have planned a dinner that only serves four and sides round up the meal to serve nine and the kids ask to have friends over.  No problem.  I can 'beef' up any meal, with a side of toast, crackers, beans with Italian dressing on them, cheese, pickles . . . it's really no extra work.  :)

kids cooking

I am doing my best to teach my children to cook before they leave the nest.  I have found that measuring everything out before the actual cooking or baking begins keeps everything in order, organized and makes it easier for them to follow. I purchased 12 - 4 cup stainless steel bowls (I think they were around $2 each).  They are lite, dishwasher safe and stack easily in our cabinet.  I have the children measure everything out before they start cooking or baking.

Following the directions is so simple for them when they have already measured out all the ingredients.

 

X)

no time to cook dinner

Here are some simple meals for those times when you just RUN OUT OF TIME.

  • cheese, crackers w/ fruit or veggie slices
  • cereal
  • tortilla with shredded cheese, zapped in the microwave for 30 seconds
  • sandwich - ANY KIND
  • if you know you won't have time, have food delivered
  • call your friends and see if they will feed you (I HAVE DONE THIS)    :)

What other tricks do you have up your sleeve when you have NO TIME to make dinner?

meal plan

I started meal planning years ago.  It was very overwhelming in the beginning.  When I moved in with David I instantly had a household . . . One child, four dogs, a home and a fiance.  I was working so I needed to plan.  I started very simple.  One because I didn't really know how to cook and two because I wasn't sure when I was going to have have the time to actually cook the meal.  Here's how I did it way back when . . .

  1. I looked at our schedule.  Would Ian be with us?  If Ian wasn't with us then we were probably heading out to dinner.
  2. Would David be home for dinner?  If not, I was probably skipping dinner and going to bed.
  3. Would I actually have time to cook dinner?  If no, then I was preparing a slow cooker of food in the morning.  Normally I would just have to get up 30 minutes early to do this, or zip home on my lunch to do it.  Or I would make a cold pasta salad the day before, that could sit in the fridge for 24 hours and still taste fresh.
  4. The weather.  I always try and check the weather when I meal plan our dinners.  If the weather is terrible then a hot soup might taste good.  Or I will cook something in the oven to warm the house up.
  5. With all this information I grab one cookbook or one blog and cook from that all week.  Chef's tend to use a lot of the same ingredients.  For example I need Kale three times in a recipes I'm cooking this week.  So I bought a whole pound.  In addition to that you can really learn some great tips and tricks when you are reading the same cooking language all week.
  6. One last great tip is to meal plan right out of your pantry and freezer.  Take out all the food you want to use up.  If you have a box of stuffing left over from Thanksgiving, cook it with chicken breast and serve with a salad.  If there are cans and cans of beans, toss them all together, add some Italian dressing and fresh herbs if you have them.  If you have tons of cereal, then have cereal for dinner (YOUR CHILDREN WILL FREAK OUT!)  Yes, this 'use up everything' meal plan, throws the #5 out the window, but it's a great way to clean out your kitchen.

 

Give meal planning a try.  You may not like it in the beginning.  But, trust me in a few weeks you will love it.  Knowing what's going to be on your dinner table every night is one less thing you need to think about during the day.

BONUS: As you know I studied nutrition in college.  And yes, breakfast is important.  But sitting down for dinner as a family will blow the socks off your children's future more than ANY breakfast.

MLK Jr.

I know who Martin Luther King is, but I didn't know he was married or that he had four children.  I didn't know how he was killed or by who.  As you know we are all out playing today because of this man.  I wikipedia'd him so I could get more info.  Then I cut and pasted it for all of you.  Happy playing today, but remember why.

XO Kysa

 Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr..jpg

King in 1964
1st President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
In office 1957–1968
Preceded by Inaugural holder
Succeeded by Ralph Abernathy
Personal details
Born Michael King Jr. January 15, 1929 AtlantaGeorgia, U.S.
Died April 4, 1968 (aged 39) Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Cause of death Gunshot head wound
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Coretta Scott (m. 1953)
Children
Parents
Relatives
Alma mater
Occupation
Known for Civil rights movementPeace movement
Awards
Monuments Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Signature

Martin Luther King Jr. (born Michael King Jr., January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs and inspired by the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.

King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, serving as its first president. With the SCLC, he led an unsuccessful 1962 struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, and helped organize the 1963 nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama. He also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. In 1965, he helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches, and the following year he and SCLC took the movement north to Chicago to work on segregated housing. In the final years of his life, he expanded his focus to include opposition towards poverty and the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberalallies with a 1967 speech titled "Beyond Vietnam".

In 1968, King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., to be called the Poor People's Campaign, when he was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee. King's death was followed by riots in many U.S. cities. Ray, who fled the country, was arrested two months later at London Heathrow Airport. Ray was sentenced to 99 years in prison for King's murder, and died in 1998 from hepatitis while serving his sentence.

King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold MedalMartin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a holiday in numerous cities and states beginning in 1971, and as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986. Hundreds of streets in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor, and a county in Washington State was also rededicated for him. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was dedicated in 2011.

got something . . .

We all have that ONE THING we want to get done, but we keep putting it off.  Today is your day, this is it, this is the one.  Think . . . think . . . think.  OK you got that one thing you have wanted to get done for ages.  I do!  I need to go through my closet!  My shelves and hanging racks are stocked FULL.  I have clothes from when I was pregnant with the twins in there.  I'm not to my goal weight yet, but I am close.  So this is my thing, my 'must do' that I keep putting off.  I'm getting it done today.  I'm cleaning out my closet. What's on your list?  Make it happen.  Do it for yourself.  Do it today.  I promise it won't take as long as you think.  I promise.  And if you can't get it done today because it's Friday, do it tomorrow.

Silence . . .

I can't sleep.  It's the third night in a row I have woken up at 3AM exactly.  I tossed and turned for a while this AM and then decided to get up and get something done.  I have been sitting here for 20 minutes twisting and bending my mind, trying to figure out what to write today.  Blank.  My mind is blank. Then it came to me there are so many times to be silent.  For example, yesterday I went to Harvey's classroom to pick him up.  "Hi Harvey."  In a very mad tone, "What are you doing here?!?!  I'm going to after-school-care today!"  I smiled, remained silent, left him in his class and went to pick up Murphy and Teddy.  A few minutes later I went back to Harvey's classroom and started over, "Hi Harvey."  In a much sweeter tone, "Hi Mommy.  Am I going to after-school-care today?"

I had a party at my house a month or so ago.  A guest at my house told me I shouldn't ever grown my hair out long because it doesn't look good.  My response, silence and I held her eye contact a little longer than I should have.

I think there is a lot I don't know about using a silent moment in my communication.  There is much more for me to explore here.  Onward and upward . . . without words.

turn it up . . .

Today, turn EVERYTHING up.

  1. Turn up the volume on your stereo.
  2. Crank up the level on your exercise machine.
  3. Increase the hot sauce on your lunch.
  4. Turn up the love to your partner.
  5. Crank up the number of things you get done today.
  6. Increase the duration of your workout.
  7. Turn up the temperature on your shower.
  8. Crank up the heat in your home.
  9. Increase the pour on your evening cocktail.

Just turn it all up a little bit today and see where it leads you.