In All My Free Time….

The stuff I do, when I have free time…

Back to school tips…. July 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — boogerwiper @ 2:37 pm

I am by no means an expert…this is my 4th “back-to-school” since Jackson is going into 3rd grade this year.  But there are a few things I’ve learned and I wish someone had told me.  (Plus a few items that I really love and want to promote.  For the record, any company I mention, I just love…they havent given me anything or paid me to speak highly of their products or company).

(1) Backpacks – everyone needs one!  They have important things to shuffle to and from school.  I totally think it’s a ton of fun to buy those character backpacks, HOWEVER, I didn’t do it for either of the boys.  Instead we invested in an L.L. Bean Original Bookpack and had it monogrammed.  Why?  Well….they hold up…they are guaranteed for life.  And have you met my boys?  Other than the occasional wash because they were dirty…they havent needed anything extra and still look great.  This time of year is about the time when you can find awesome coupon codes and or sales on them…sign up for their newsletter, spend a little time with google.  My only suggestion…if you have multiple kids…make them get different colors…otherwise, you will spend one morning shuffling the right backpacks to and fro if your kids arent in the same school!  (Ask me how I know!) Other suggestions for backpacks: Lands End, Thirty-One has 2 new big kid backpacks coming out, and the tried and true Jansport backpacks which have always been known for their good quality (available tons of places).  But I would HIGHLY suggest getting it monogrammed somewhere if possible! 

(2) Lunch boxes – Again you can get a character lunchbox but I have personally found that they DO NOT hold up against my kids (your mileage may vary if you have kids who are careful with their things).  You can buy lunch boxes at any of the places I linked above and I would say that any of those (LL Bean, Lands End, and Thirty-One) all have high quality lunch bags.  The boys lunch bags this year will be the thermal totes from Thirty-One with their initials on it.

(3) Label EVERYTHING – (see my above mention about monogramming important things like backpacks and lunch boxes–I would suggest monogrammed instead of their actual names because of “stranger danger”…initials can be anything, however names on backpacks and lunch boxes increase the odds that a stranger could make your child feel like they are OK to talk to…of course continue to talk to your kids about stranger danger) You can buy awesome waterproof labels from many different companies such as Inch Bug, Bright Star Kids, and Mabel’s Labels to name a few.  Put a label on your kids water bottle, lunch containers, and anything else reusable they take to and from school on a daily basis.  For winter coats and jackets…iron on labels with their names are a great thing to have! Have more than one kid that you intend to pass those items down to?  Just do the last name!  As soon as I get my kids teacher name and room #, I will be getting 2 bag tags for each of them (one for their lunch box and one for their backpacks) from Swanky Press with their name on the front and teacher name and room number on the bag to affix inside their bags.  This way if their lunchbox gets lost in the lunch room, it will be easily identifiable where it should go!  (The kids already have bag tags from Swanky Press with their names and an “if found” w/ my cell phone # on it as well….I think I could write an entire post on how much I love the Swanky Press bag tags and the CS from Elizabeth is fab-tastic).

(4) School Supplies – When the back to school sales are going, if you can swing it…buy extra.  That way you can easily and cheaply replenish all of the consumables (crayons, erasers, glue sticks, and pencils) your kids go through.  My kids’ school asks that we label EVERYTHING (with the exception of individual crayons).  You can buy labels from a lot of the above mentioned places or if you have a label maker you can take care of that easily.  If you don’t have one….it has been totally worth the investment!

(5) Lunch Box Stuff/Guts – I thought I’d touch on this just briefly since I mentioned above the reusable items.  When packing your kids lunch.  You don’t have to choose to go with prepackaged lunch items.  They ARE convenient but they can get pricey if you are constantly purchase prepackaged items to go in lunch boxes.  Our go-gurt and capri sun habit is expensive enough–and something I intend to curb this year!  I am by no means a lunch packing expert (like this lady from Another Lunch).  But I feel like when I pack their lunch, I include things I KNOW they will eat because I have sat at the lunch tables…and I see what these kids are eating off their trays.  I once watched a child in J’s 2nd grade class eat only pudding, a cookie, and chocolate milk until I urged him to eat his pb&j.  You really can’t blame the teachers, there are often 2 or 3 adults policing what 90-100 kids are eating…thats hard work!  It’s up to our kids to eat so that they have enough fuel for the day.  My boys have been taught to leave whatever they don’t eat (with the exception of things that wont leak) in their lunch boxes so I know what they ate or didn’t eat for lunch.  9 times out of 10, Jackson will come home with an empty lunch box (Quinten is more like 3 out of every 5).  The blog I linked to above has a TON of great information on lunchbox systems, but a few of MY personal favorites are:

  • Easy Lunchboxes – I could SING their praises!  See previous statement about kids being hard on them.  I have had a set of 4 for 2 years that are still in EXCELLENT condition…with the exception of the one lid that I stepped on.  (oops)  But they make making lunch a breeze (especially when I have to go out-of-town and other people are packing lunches!) because the spots that are there make it pretty obvious that it needs filled.  Getting another set of these is on my to-do list before school starts!
  • Lunchbots – I love these for the baby in particular because they are petite and I can put just the right amount of food in there for her.  A duo is big enough for a whole lunch for the baby.  However for the boys, I would use an uno for their sandwich and a duo for their sides. 
  • Wrap n Mat & reusable bags – I dont even know where to begin on these actually so I only linked you to wrap n mat because it was a jumping off point.  If you can sew….you can make your own.  If you can’t, I highly suggest you go and support an artist over on etsy!

It’s only a start, but I wanted to get it all out there since I keep meaning to or someone says “that’s a great idea” and I forget to write it down or to share.  Do you have more back-to-school tips?  Please share!


Batten down the hatches folks…. June 22, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — boogerwiper @ 12:44 am

Well, its that time in my life.  The time where everyone starts asking me if I’m “ok” with the “big birthday” I have coming up.  Yep, you heard it.  THIRTY.  THREE followed by a ZERO.  I am going to be 30 in a little less than 24 hours (though I believe my dad would argue I wont REALLY be 30 til 5:17 pm–and I FULLY expect a phone call from him at 5:17 pm that day wishing me happy birthday for probably at least the 2nd time). 

They always say you should never ask a woman her age..its rude.  And I get why its rude, but also…do you understand why I dont personally mind sharing.  (Rude would be saying, oh…I thought you were much older/younger. )  Here’s the thing, I couldnt have the kids I have if I hadnt gone through the life I did.  I love my kids….so yep, I’m okay with it.  Granted I will give you, that had I not had them…had I lived a different life…I wouldnt have known any better.  But…I did and have.  Yes I have a pile of laundry the size of Rhode Island sitting across from me and I when I finally finish folding it and FINALLY lay my head down the baby will magically realize I’m trying to sleep so that I can go get her and wake up with her finger up my nose and her knee in my ribs.  But hey…I cant imagine her and my life without her (and the 2 little boys that will be arguing over who has the most amount of blanket and which episode of silly show to watch).   But gosh…this is my life and I’m just going to live it and not worry about the math behind the day I was born.

What are my big plans?  Nothing.  Maybe grocery shopping or the park.  Hopefully my mom will come over so I can clean out the van in peace.  And hopefully some awesome takeout for dinner.  No big party or shebang.  No drunken escapades to find their way to the facebook scene that I will eventually be totally embarassed by and will eventually regret.  I get why you could be worried about leaving your 20’s….but I spent my 20’s doing exactly what I needed to do…making and raising babies and I plan to spend my 30’s raising some awesome kids.  I have fantastic family and friends and I’m not sure what more I could ask for!


The Original Mud Run – The Good, The Bad, and The Muddy June 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — boogerwiper @ 4:16 pm

Back in January, when I was at the Babywearing School Robyn and I got to talking about things that would be good for BabyHawk and we came up with a plan called Team BabyHawk.  Robyn has been working for a long time at getting fit and healthy and her whole family gets involved.  Robyn and Casey (her husband) ran their first triathalon this year and have done many other races.  So we thought…lets extend that, lets get other moms (and dads) to be active…and hopefully THEIR families will follow suit.  One catch to this…I couldnt just do nothing…I had to get involved.  So we looked all over for a race that was close to me and afforded me enough time to train but wasnt too far away.  What we found was The Original Mud Run in Columbus, OH.

I figured…okay, go big or go home.  10 k for a first race?  Sure…why not. Robyn and I signed up, shortly after that, my friends Jill and Rachel signed up and with Rachel came her husband Scott…and eventually Robyn’s friend Angie. 

I’ve always been pretty open about my “non-athletic” status so I needed to do a lot of work to be ready. Literally in January, I would have never run…not even when chased unless it was to get my kid out of the road.  So I started slow.  Run as far as I can and go home.  I think one day it was like 1/2 mile…shameful really.  But with continued training…it got better.  Honestly, I’ve only run about 3 miles continuously…but it felt great. 

So, we trained and ran and did some strength stuff (not enough).  And a couple plane rides and a car ride with 2 toddlers later….we were there!

 Here’s the thing though…we had no idea what we were in for!  In my head (and at least Jills too-which our husbands might say we share the same brain anyway) the run was going to be out in a big open field and it was going to be like run a little, do an obstacle, run a little, do an obstacle.  This was SO NOT what it was! 

It was like going on a bear hunt. Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, can’t go around it…..might as well go through it AND over the river and through the woods all wrapped up into one crazy 6 mile adventure. 

They told us that it would be 22-30 obstacles over the 6 mile course…all in all…we actually did SEVENTY-NINE obstacles.  SEVENTY-NINE.  Rope swing, under the ropes, through the spiders web, over the 16 foot wall, over/unders, leap of faith.  You name it…we DID it!

All in all…I wasnt “in it to win it” I was “in it to finish it”.  And finish it I did.  I didnt finish first…but I also didnt finish last…but I FINISHED.  And we had a heck of a time doing it! So much fun….we decided to do it another!  This time we are going to do the Warrior Dash in Crawfordsville, IN.  This one is ONLY 5k….so we should be good…plus now we have 2 months to train smarter and to train harder.

Want to join us?  COME ON!  We are doing the 10 am wave!  Want to challenge us?  BRING IT ON.


For my pixies… December 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — boogerwiper @ 11:19 pm

Sorry girls, there are WAY too many pics to share!

Oooooh a box!


Pretty card!


Sweet message!

Ooooh a Lexie Barnes mini!  In one of my favorite patterns! 


Some fun new lotion!

Ooooooooh!  Truffles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Lip butter!

Some seriously awesome knitted fingerless mitts!

And did you notice…they have opposite colors….seriously awesome!


And the face I got when I wouldnt share!

Thank you so much to my pixie and to the pixie helpers.  You seriously made my month!  I do have a major problem with my gift though…when you eat the truffles, they dont magically replenish themselves!


Its not about being… December 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — boogerwiper @ 11:38 pm

I realized this weekend after I was talking about what we “do” at Christmas.  I thought I’d write it down in case I get amnesia one day and cant remember how to run Christmas.  And yes, I said run Christmas.  As a kid you dont think about all the careful planning your parents do.  Getting everyone from one place to another.  Balancing the needs and wants from your list and then distributing it amongst the family members.  If you have more than one child you have to make sure its “even”…although when they are small they may not notice…but as time goes on they WILL notice.  You know you did it as a kid.

So now as a mom I had to find a balance between family, traditions, the gift giving portion of Christmas, and the meaning behind it.  I want my kids to think back on Christmas and think about all the fun they had with the family and remember that we were together, not that they got every last thing on their wish list.  I remember Christmas mornings at my grandparent’s house and I remember eating breakfast and the excitement….but not really any of the presents.  Speaking of wishlists, I just want to say that I appreciate my mother’s humor.  One year I asked for peace on earth and a million dollars.  I got a globe with the word “peace” taped on it and a million dollars in fake money.  Gotta love it.  I also want our kids to focus on the religous reasons behind it as well, the “reason for the season” if you will.  This post isnt about to argue with what your beliefs are…we have ours, you have yours…and I’m good with that.  No I’m writing this so that I can have it somewhere easy and accessible if it comes up again, I can just link the people instead of explaining it!

So what works for us?  A couple years ago I found a little poem on a forum that just made it so simple and easy….and we follow it.  And it works.

Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.

Yes, its that simple.  So how do I maintain it?  My crazy color coded spreadsheet.  I have a spreadsheet and I have each kid’s name in column and then down the rows the categories and when I find the thing to fill it I stick it in there.  I have all the stocking stuffers cataloged and I know what I’ve bought, ordered, what needs to be bought or made.  I know that seems like it might be over the top, but it make it all easier.  The other thing that I’ve noticed is I’m focusing more on quality as opposed to quantity. 

Its not about being thrify, “crunchy”, cheap, grinchy…or any of that…its about being with our family.  Watching our kids grow and love the time they are spending with eachother making memories.  I totally get people who do the over the top Christmas too…they are making the right memories for THEIR family.  I’m so happy that we can live in a place where we can all co-exist and make the memories that will live beyond the hotwheels and baby dolls.  So as the season is in full-on snowball gaining momentum down a hill mode, enjoy your holidays and enjoy making memores with your families!  Happy Holidays folks!


Fried Chicken and other things to be thankful for… November 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — boogerwiper @ 5:04 pm

Instead of me rambling on something silly today, I thought I would just ask the boys what they were thankful for.  (Lets face it, Calia is far too young to ask).  And we all know what I’m thankful for (if you dont know, see picture). 

Jackson’s (7 years old) response:

I’m thankful for my family and for not living like the pilgrims because they had nothing and I have a lot.

Quinten’s (5 years old) response:

I’m thankful for my mom and my dad and my brother and my sister and my dog and not being sick.

(I feel like I should explain the title, earlier today when I picked Q up for school I asked him what they talked about and he said what they were thankful for and he told me he was thankful for fried chicken…it made me laugh…I needed to share!)

I cant add much beyond what my wonderful kids said, so I will leave it there.

US folks, Happy Turkey Day!  Everyone else…Happy Thursday!


Why I Love Temper Tantrums September 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — boogerwiper @ 10:11 pm

So Little Miss I’ll-be-15-months-old-next-week has developed the awesome ability to throw temper tantrums.  At this age, I cant help but giggle and take pictures.  Because I know in 15 seconds she will likely be off chasing her brother and she just really can’t tell me what she wants. 

And yes, I do absolutely LOVE this picture of her.  This is the picture that everyone will giggle at when it conviently shows up in her wedding slideshow.  I can’t look at this picture without thinking that I can only imagine that I looked eerily similar to this picture about 28 years ago.  My mom loves to tell the story of how I used to throw temper tantrums with purpose, which included relocating myself to the kitchen where I could kick and bang my head against the floor. 

When do the temper tantrums stop being cute?

At this age! (He’s 5 for the record)

And absolutely at this age (7). 

Its been suggested to me before that when the above (way to old to be throwing temper tantrum) absolutely adorable children are throwing temper tantrums that I go ahead and throw one myself. 

So I did.  And they stopped what they are doing and laughed and whatever they were crying about was a thing of the past.  But can I just say, OH MY GOSH, I had the best time throwing my temper tantrum.  So even though I dont normally agree with the “do whatever negative thing to the kid that they did” (i.e. biting a child who just bit someone else), this one was a ton of fun and it actaully did work. 

But nothing beats the tiny toddler temper tantrum…except maybe a sweet smile and kisses when its all over.