Happy Monday

It started out as one of those mornings.  Busier than usual.  It was picture day for the two oldest kids so there was extra activity.

Mom, the hair stylist:  “Mom, will you help me with my hair?”  I expected this, as it is a common request.

Mom, the fashion police:  “What are you going to wear, son?”

“The clothes I wore to church yesterday.”

“You mean the ones wadded up in the dirty clothes?”

“Oh…I guess not…:

(Being somewhat fashionably challenged, although, he is getting better, I don’t mind helping pick out another shirt.)

Mom, the bill payer:  “Can someone bring me the laptop so I can pay for the school pictures online?”

Mom, the nurturer:  “Mommy, I can’t go to school.  I have the hiccups and it makes my throat hurt.”  (hug, hug, kiss, etc.)

Mom, the realist:  “You’ll be fine.  Just go drink a big glass of water.  If it still hurts, we can give you some Tylenol.”

Mom, the supporter:  “Mom, the choir fundraiser is due today and I only need to sell one more thing to meet my quota.”  (*sigh*…I was just thinking to myself how I really, really needed some overpriced cookie dough.)

Mom, the pet owner:  “Somebody, please let the dog out before he has an accident.”

Mom, the taxi driver:  “Load up!  Time to go!  We don’t want to be late!  Hurry up!”

And we were off.  Everyone was dropped of at school on time, with instructions to smile pretty for the camera and to have a great day.  The quietness of the empty van was broken by a big, long sigh.  As I drove home, I reflected on how blessed I am.  Sure, it was another busy, crazy morning (like happens in many houses) and I am thankful for those who make it so, but I was looking forward to just going home and collapsing for a bit and having a few moments of alone time before I started on the housework.

However. upon opening the door to the house, I was reminded of one more little blessing waiting for me, running in circles, wagging his little nubbin of a tail.  I still collapsed on the couch for a few moments, but I wasn’t alone.  Mr. K was soon crawling over me covering my face in doggy kisses.  Not how I anticipated spending this time, but I enjoyed it.  Until I got a dog tongue up my nose.

Now it’s time to get working.  What are your Monday plans?


Mom & Mr. K

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Life’s Lovely When You’re a Woman

Guess what I did today!  I’ll give you a clue:


Yes, that is a ceiling.  Not sure yet?  Here’s another clue:

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Yes, that is a paper gown selfie.  If you haven’t guessed, I was at the doctor.  Today was my annual wellness check complete with pap (hence the view of the ceiling).  Now, now…settle down…don’t be jealous.  You, too, can (and should) have a yearly exam.  If you are a she, that is.  (Guys, your exam is a bit different, but also important.)  If you haven’t had a check-up in a while, please make that appointment.  Even if you don’t suspect any problems, there might be something there that the doctor can detect that you can’t.  Annual checks also build up a good medical documentation so if something does need extra attention, your doctor can check your charts for your history.

Guess what I did a couple of days ago!  Here’s a hint:


Yes, that is the famous “breast cancer awareness” pink ribbon.  I got squished!  No, it’s not really fun, but it isn’t too bad, either.  Having annual mammograms is very important, too.  Again, having past images to compare is very helpful to the doctor.  I admit I am not a regular self-checker, but I do make sure I get my yearly mammo.  Remember that guys aren’t exempt from breast cancer.  While annual mammograms aren’t recommended for men, guys, be aware of your body and report any changes, lumps, bumps, or abnormalities to your doctor.

So there you have it.  I had my yearly girly exams this week.  Why am I telling you this?  I am telling you because I know so many people overlook this, forget about it, are too nervous or are just plain scared.  I want to remind you to schedule your exams if you haven’t already and I want to reassure you that although you might endure a bit of discomfort, it is temporary and worth it in the long run.  Don’t deny yourself the fun of donning a paper gown!  Pretend that being weighed in front of another person doesn’t bother you!  Pee in a cup (you can even practice at home if you’d like)!  You never know, you might just find yourself walking out of the doctor’s office with a new pink pen!

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This has been a public service announcement brought to you by karenthemommy.com.

And don’t forget to poop, too.







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“What’s Your Blog About?”

I was recently at a blogging conference and the most common question (naturally) was, “What’s your blog about?”  Sometimes I get confused about this blog and what it is supposed to be and what I want it to be.  Well, this definitely isn’t a business blog.  I don’t have an obvious niche, like travel, fitness, or fashion.  I don’t attempt to give out advice or counsel.  I guess I would be classified as a “Mommy Blogger” because, well, most of my posts are about my family and home.  Just a Mommy Blogger, not a Super Mommy Blogger.

I’m not one of those bloggers.  You know what I mean.  Super Mommy who does everything and does it well.  “I homeschool my 13 children, except for the 14-year old who is in college.  Last week I taught the 8 month old and the dog how to use the toilet.  My husband and I built our own home from the trees we cut down on our property and hand-planed.  I garden, can, dry food, bake bread, grind my own flour, and I am a master winemaker.  I make my own laundry detergent, dish soap, shampoo, household cleaner, furniture polish, furniture, soap, and toilet paper.  I am an extreme couponer and rebater.  Our meals are planned, prepared, and frozen six months in advance.  My hobbies include scrapbooking, quilting, archery, recycling, rope-making, back-packing through Europe, and rebuilding passenger airliners.  I also make scarves out of dryer lint.  I donate blood daily and send care packages to the troops overseas every week.  I am the Scoutmaster for 2 Cub Scout troops and lead a 4H club.  In my spare time, I help under-privileged animals by hand-making clothing for naked mole rats.  And I work full-time.”

Yeah…that’s not me.  I just talk about my plain, regular life.  My life.  Sometimes I might share a recipe or project, or inspire my readers in some way.  My blog may be humorous, poignant, or gross at times, but it is what it is.  It represents me.  Faith, family, home…I’m working on it!  Hopefully, you find it worth your time to read.


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The Kitchen Table

Something exciting happened at our house a few months ago.  We got a new kitchen table!  OK, so it isn’t lottery-winning-exciting, but to a 40-something stay-at-home-mom, this is super cool!  It was custom made for us by a local artisan.  Before we met with the maker to discuss our expectations for our new table, my husband and I had to evaluate our needs.

Size was a big factor in our decision.  Our most obvious need was a table long enough to fit our family of seven.  The old table only comfortably sat six.  Ever since our youngest was out of the high chair, the Dancer has (voluntarily) sat on a stool at the corner of the table.  We needed a table that we could all fit around. However, the physical space for a table in our kitchen was limiting.  Do we need an expandable table?  Drop leaf?  What about seating?  Should we keep our current chairs?  As my husband took measurements and the kids debated a new seating chart, I began thinking of how we use our table.

Our kitchen table is not merely a place to eat meals.  It is so much more.

The table provides extra kitchen workspace.
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It welcomes groceries as they are brought into the house.
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The homework hub.
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Game time.
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Home office.
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A magical hideaway for imaginative play.

A place of refuge for a little dog in a big world.
DSCF2707Not only is our kitchen table a place where we share meals and conversation ranging from deep theological discussions to episodes of SpongeBob, it is a special part of our family life.DSCF2180 (1024x768)

We need a table that is strong and sturdy to support all of these needs, yet beautiful to represent the love surrounding it.  And that’s just what we got.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I please present our beautiful, new, custom-made kitchen table.
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And bench with storage cubbies (we decided to also use the kitchen chairs we already had).
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Many thanks for Kathi Jackley at https://www.facebook.com/kathikountrykrafts for crafting the perfect table for our family! She and her husband do excellent work at a very reasonable price. This table fits our family perfectly! And it fits our many needs.









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Happy Belated Birthday, Curly Girlie!

“She looks just like her Mama!”
“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!”
“There’s no doubt who her mother is!”

These are just a few of the types of comments we hear when people meet my middle child. I don’t think of the Curly Girlie as my Mini-me, but out of all of my kids, she does resemble me the most. And frankly, I am flattered, because she is beautiful! Inside and out, a truly lovely person and she has a lot to offer this world!

At 11, she is in that tough spot, no longer a little kid, but just starting on the long journey to adulthood. I am in no hurry for her (or any of my kids) to grow up, and thankfully, neither is she. I’m not suggesting she’s baby-like, but rather, innocent. That quality is hard to find these days with all the crap the media exposes. She has a wonderful imagination and has taken an interest in writing. Maybe you will see her blogging one day.

Happy (belated) birthday to my Curly Girlie!

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Is School Done Yet?

I blew up this morning.  Yet, I am oddly proud that I didn’t make a bigger explosion, as I could have, should have, or probably have done in the past.

After repeated urgings and requests to the children to get dressed for school, at 7:51 AM, two of them were still unchanged.  They have to be at school at 8:15.  The Oldest was already in the van ready to go.  That’s when Mama blew it.  After approximately 175 days of school, you would think they would have this morning routine down by now.  Clean clothes are sparse right now so last night I made sure everyone had clothes for today so I had their clothes out for them, ready and waiting.  ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS PUT ON THEIR CLOTHES.

Sigh…only five more days of school.  I am so ready for this year to be over.  Apparently, so is everyone else.  From other blogs I have seen and Facebook comments I have read, everyone is DONE with school.  May is usually very busy and spring fever hits as we count down the last days of school, but for some reason, this year is worse.  I am just sick of it.  Probably even more so than the kids.

That is probably why I didn’t have a bigger blow-up this morning.  I am at the point where I just don’t care.  Let’s just get this over with.

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Happy Easter, Happy Dyngus Day

Excuse me for being quiet lately here in Blogland, but I tried to focus my last days of Lent and Holy Week on my faith journey.  The internet can be a big distraction to me as I tried to comprehend and contemplate the concepts of love, sacrifice, and forgiveness.  I will never truly understand, nor will any human on earth, the tremendous depth of love our God has for us.  I simply accept that I don’t understand it, and maybe wasn’t meant to understand it during this physical lifetime.  And that is fine with me.  I have faith and trust in God.  I don’t need to completely understand Him.

I hope everyone had a beautiful, wondrous Easter Sunday!  My family and I were blessed by an invitation to have Easter dinner at our friends’ house.  Lots of yummy food and fun and fellowship.  Of course, there was an Easter egg hunt, too!  As the kids (and some of us adults, too) were lining up at the edge of the yard, waiting for the signal to start egg-hunting, their big, teddy bear-of-a-dog decided to wander into the middle of the yard and took a dump.  Once that situation was …um…disposed of, the egg hunt commenced.  I picked up a few eggs.  (Hey, it’s free candy!  Don’t judge!)  Being the ornery person I am, I emptied the yummy contents of one of the plastic eggs into my pocket then filled it with landscaping rocks and put it back down for my daughter to find.  hee hee hee.  Oh, the things Easter memories are made of!

Later that evening, when we were home, we lit a fire in the back yard and roasted hot dogs.  Not the typical Easter meal, but we took advantage of the good weather to practice for the upcoming camping season.    Being a scout family, we are sure to have some camp outs in the near future.  The fire was a nice, relaxing way to spend the evening enjoying our family.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Dyngus Day!  Dyngus Day is a holiday celebrated on the Monday after Easter.  It is popular in Poland and other eastern European countries, as well as in certain American-Polish communities.  I am not sure how it is celebrated in Europe, but growing up in South Bend, IN, Dyngus Day was a celebration of the end of Lent and a day to partake in yummy Polish food such as sausage, noodles, chicken…mmm…the memories!  It is also a popular day for politicians to campaign in local bars and social clubs.  Now that I have moved from South Bend, I miss Dyngus Day.  Maybe I will put on some polka music and dance around the living room.  Nah…that would just scare the dog.

Happy Easter and Happy Dyngus Day!

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Party Time! Seven-Year Old Style

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If you frequent my blog, you probably read that Mr. Dude had a birthday earlier this month. Now. we’re not the type of family that throws each kids a huge, extravagant birthday party each year. We celebrate with a family party, cake and ice cream, and a meal out or at home chosen by the birthday kid (or adult). We often do another fun family activity, such as a movie, trip to the zoo, etc. However, this year, Mr. Dude had his first “friend” birthday party. Earlier this year, at a silent auction, I bid on and won a party package for a local indoor playground, the Village Play Center. This particular package included the cake, plates, napkins, utensils, piñata, decorations, and clean-up. AND CLEAN-UP!!! The perfect place for a birthday party!

My kids LOVE this place! (Think fast food play area without fear of your child running into half-eaten chicken nuggets while playing.) It’s not too fussy, but busy enough, and challenging enough that they don’t get bored. They can dive into the ball pit, push past the hanging punching bags, roll around with the big balls, slide down the curved slide, climb, jump, laugh, play and do the things kids are supposed to do. The owner, Char Lyn (the mom of one of Mr. Dude’s best buds) runs a tight ship to ensure that everyone has a good time. The number of kids allowed at the Village Play Center is limited, as well as the ages (2-8) so things don’t get out of control. I think we all know (and fear) that these types of play areas can be a hotbed for germs and viruses and other nasty stuff. Char Lyn does her best to combat that by scanning each child’s forehead with a (touch-free) thermometer to check for fevers (I LOVE this!), as well as posting notices that children who are or have been recently ill should probably come back to play another day. This play center is managed for the safety and well-being of the kids, and as a parent, that puts my mind at ease.

So you can see why I was excited to win this party package. It’s hard work to be a cool mom and pull off an awesome party.  I just had some help this time.  True to character, Char Lyn did a great job and I got to avoid a lot of the hassle and party-planning headaches.  Kids don’t always understand all that goes through a parent’s mind, but they do appreciate the outcome.


Birthday Kid: Oh, boy! PRESENTS!!!
Birthday Parent: Wait…slow down…who is that from…keep the card with the gift…WE NEED TO WRITE THANK YOU NOTES!!!!
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Birthday Kid: Oh, boy! Pinata!!!
Birthday Parent: Who ever came up with the idea of giving kids a stick tell them to whack something??? (I hope I get a turn.)

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Birthday Kid: Oh, boy! CAKE!!!
Birthday Parent: Oh, boy! CAKE!!!

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Birthday Kid: Oh, boy! PLAY TIME!!!
Birthday Parent: That’s right…you kids go on and play and burn off all of that sugar energy while I sit down and chat with the other parents.

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Thank you Char Lyn and the Village Play Center for everything.  According to Mr. Dude, it was an “awesome” party.  And I hardly had to do a thing. Except birth a baby seven years prior, but that’s a different story.

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It’s Time to Quit Being Lazy

This week has not been the greatest. I don’t exactly know why, but I have been in a mood. Grumpy, whiny, and lazy, with an emphasis on the lazy part. The exact factors putting me in this funk are unclear, so let’s just blame it on the weather. I mean, really, 65 degrees down to 10 degrees then back to the 50’s, all within 36 hours? God, someone is messing with your thermostat. Make them stop!

Anyway, I realized that I need to get unlazy when I just walked into the kitchen and found this:

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You might not be able to tell, but that is a serving bowl and a serving spoon. I immediately knew what happened. Someone wanted cereal for breakfast and there were no clean bowls and spoons of regular size so they used what was available.

Sure enough, I walked over to the sink, to find it full of dirty dishes:

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Yes, I have been slacking off on my domestic duties. The kids have been slacking off of their chores, too, because of illness, homework, a birthday party for Mr. Dude, etc.

But now is the time to turn it around! I think, I’m not absolutely certain, but I think I may have found a bit of motivation today, lurking in the corners of my mind. Just by making this blog post points to that. It is now time to harvest that motivation and put it to work…just after I check Pinterest one more time!

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Our First World Problem

We have two laptop computers, however, one is sick and at the computer doctor. You would think that this is not a big deal. We lived for years without laptops. Surely we could adjust and manage with only one while the other is getting fixed.

Oh. my. goodness. This is HARD! I am quickly becoming aware of how much we use our laptops. The one I am using now is “mine”, used primarily by me for blogging, bill paying, family business, etc., etc. The other one is shared by the kids, and that is the one being repaired. I am willing to share my computer during this difficult time, but I am getting impatient. I always thought of the kids’ computer usage as frivolous and time-wasting. However, I can see that is not always the case.

The Oldest needs the computer for a research project for school. My Curly Girlie also occasionally needs to get online for schoolwork. Playing games can be a waste of time, but when the Princess and Mr. Dude want to play educational games, I encourage it. The Dancer likes to get online and research information whatever American Heritage Girl badge she is working on.

All of those are good uses and I don’t mind sharing the computer for those things, but it puts a cramp in my style! My oh-so-important Pinterest browsing has been drastically cut! Twitter has nearly forgotten me! And without being able to spend hours on Facebook, how will I ever be able to have enough time to take important quizzes and find out which Barbie I am most like. How can I live without that knowledge????

I can’t wait for our other computer to return home. The wait has been nearly unbearable! Please, computer gods, have mercy on me and repair the laptop and get our home back to normal! Social media misses me!

Oh yeah. And I need to blog and pay bills, too.

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