Is There Really Life After Childbirth?

Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Who doesn’t love a cute kitten or schnitzel with noodles?  I don’t even know what a schnitzel is, but if it’s got noodles with it, it can’t be all bad.  While Mary Poppins can belt out a tune of her favorite things, I’m stuck with writing about mine on a blog.  Trust me; the world will thank me later.  My list of favorite things is always changing, but it features items every bit as diverse as Miss P’s and I’m thinking someone really talented could turn it into a big hit musical too.  Well, perhaps not.  But, you might want to try some of them and who knows, they could be your favorite things, too!

My current list of favorites seems to have a common thread involving money.  I was a big-time cheap skate before the current economy, so I’m already in the “Let’s see how much money we can save” mode.  In fact, one of them (theoretically) even makes money, so I figure the more I shop, the more I save make.  Let’s start with that, just to get in the mood.

BigCrumbs.com is a web site that gives you a rebate on a percentage of your shopping.  As long as you buy from an online store affiliated with them (and connect to the store through their web site), you are really getting paid to shop!  There’s a link on the right hand side of my blog that takes you there (and gives me credit if you sign up) that explains in much better detail than I can.  I have been using this for several months (I wanted to make sure it worked before I shared with my friends) and it gives you better rebates than ebates.com, a site I previously used.  Some of my favorite online stores are part of BigCrumbs, including eBay, Drugstore.com, Chadwicks, Target, etc.  I don’t think I’ve ever made it through the entire list, but trust me, I don’t buy anything online until I’ve checked BigCrumbs to see if they offer a refund percentage.  All you need is a PayPal account (those are free), a BigCrumbs ID (free again), and a love for online shopping (technically this is free, too).  You don’t even have to like saving money, it just does that for you automatically.  By the time I get free shipping and 6% cash back from Drugstore.com, the price is usually lower than WalMart prices and I don’t have to mingle with the….um….other people shopping there.  I’ve saved a ton, just not having to go to the doctor’s office after every trip.  So, really, I guess this covers a couple of favorites, BigCrumbs and Drugstore.com.  Really I don’t leave home without them!

Another favorite shopping site (alas, it’s not on BC), is myshape.com.  Signing up is a bit more challenging than most websites, but truly worth the effort.  IF you complete your profile, which includes entering all of your measurements and style preferences, you can get free shipping BOTH ways.  That’s like having the mall come to your house!  It took some time to get all my measurements in (don’t cheat or it doesn’t work), but once that was complete, it was all fun from there.  They tell you your body shape (one of these, M-Y-S-H-A-P-E, isn’t that cute?) and then give you your own store of styles that look good on you AND, get this, actually fit!  I was a bit doubtful on my first order (also got %15 off of it), but I figured free shipping would make it worth a trial.  I ordered jeans, a blouse, a skirt, and a jacket.  The jeans fit…I kid you not!  I actually get compliments when I wear them.  Ends up, I kept them all.  I did some checking and could not find the same items at a cheaper price anywhere else online.  Best investment of body measurement time I ever did.  Now, if I could get them to do shoes (they do purses and jewelry), I could spend all my time saving money 😀

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There’s nothing that wakes you up before your first morning cup of coffee quite like walking past a news stand on your way to work and seeing your son’s picture on the front page under the banner ‘STAYING IN TULSA JAIL’.  Luckily, he was wearing his uniform and sitting at his desk as the booking Sargent at the jail so I wasn’t too concerned.  I did get several emails from friends commenting on how nicely he had ‘turned out’.  Needless to say, it was one of those days that made motherhood worth its weight in Valium.

Which, of course, led me to reminising about my rules for raising children.  I’ve received many requests for those rules and thought it only fair to share them with the world.  So, without further ado, my top five rules for raising good kids.  P.S.  I can’t guarantee that these will work on girls, since I was blessed with boys  (see memoirs Chapter 1).

1. Tell them it is against the law for children under 16 to order filet mignon in a restaurant.  This may not actually assist in their “goodness”, but it will help with the financing of bribes for good behaviour, etc.

2. Tell them it is against the law to marry until they have graduated from college.   This allows them time to mature a bit before choosing their mate and actually helps them to find someone with a degree and a good chance of being able to support them after they graduate.  This leads to a sub-rule.

2.a.  If they pick a great girl, tell them that they have to stay married, because you will be keeping her if they ever split up.

3.  Make them pay for their own car insurance.  That ensures that they will have to pay when their rates go up because of tickets, accidents, etc.  

4. Tell them you don’t do bail money.  This, however, can backfire should you ever require bail assistance from them in the future.

5. Pray daily that God will help you do whatever it takes to raise them right and get through the day without having to kill any of them.  OK.  Looking back, this is probably the only rule that actually works.

After much deliberation (it has just been sitting here for days!), I was thinking that I might begin with a couple of projects that I have recently completed. There’s no learning experience quite like undergoing a major home project. I’ve always said that couples should do a couple of particularly anxiety ridden tasks together before they get married. Nothing brings out someones true colors like lost luggage, trying to pack two houses worth of stuff into one trailer, or a big home repair fiasco.
With our barrage of pets (check out the Crazy Critters category) it is next to impossible to keep carpet clean, so we decided to pull up the ancient carpet from our living room and replace it with a concrete overlay. Moving all the furniture out of the way went pretty smoothly. Ripping up the carpet wasn’t too bad either. Things went downhill from there pretty fast.
We had a guy come out to give us an estimate and to make sure that he would be able to do the stem wall that came up the side of 2 walls of the sunken living room before we ever started. He assured us that it would be no problem. (Learning experience #1 – get every little detail in writing!)
They did a fantastic job of patching a couple of cracks in the floor and were pretty quick with the underlying color, taping of grout marks, and making sure that the color was what we were expecting.



However, it was sometime during this period that we were informed that they would not be able to do the stem wall. They took some money off of the bill (they added money for patching the cracks…that wasn’t included in the estimate) and suggested that we use tile to finish the project. This sounded reasonable until we tried to find someone who would do the actual work. Not only was it going to cost as much as the entire floor had cost, it wasn’t going to look too great since there was a slight dip in the floor that would be accentuated by any linear design.
The next problem was with the epoxy gloss that we chose to put on top to help protect the floor. We were told that it would make the floor slightly darker. (Learning experience #2 – ask for specific examples of how much darker!)


Luckily, we could live with the darker floor. After the initial disappointment, we decided that it was not so bad and things proceeded. Finally, after 2 more days of drying time (a total of five days in exile), we were able to emerge from the 12 x 17 room where we had been living with 2 cats and 2 dogs. We moved the furniture back into place and began the adventure of finding someone to put 6″ of tile around the two walls, including 3 areas that step up into another room and would require a transition piece to finish it off.


After weeks of research, head scratching, and intense discussion (OK..arguing), our only option was to do the job ourselves. I found a place in Oklahoma City that sold a product (FossilCrete http://www.fossilcrete.com/ ) that sounded like it would work for us. Since the space was limited we weren’t going to be able to use a stamp, like they suggested, so I just tried to form shapes like the rocks in our fireplace.
The next step was coming up with a way to paint the shapes so that the colors not only matched the fireplace, but looked somewhat natural and not like painted concrete. We bought a base paint in a tan color and used a dark gray for the grout. I then used four different colors of translucent glaze in varying blends to come up with the different colors shown.
All in all, I’m pretty pleased with the results.