Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The wrong line

Why is it that no matter where I shop, I always get in the wrong checkout line? Just a couple of weeks ago I went to Sam's, which is notorious for long, slow lines. I of course was in a hurry, trying to cram all of my errands into the few hours I had without children. When I walked in, the lines were short so I figured I had plenty of time. I had my list and zipped quickly through the aisles. As I rounded the corner heading for the checkout, I found that the lines had tripled in length (no surprise really).

I got in what appeared to be the shortest line, just three people in front of me with carts only slightly full. The first guy gets checked out quickly. The cashier starts checking out the second person, picks up a huge container of popcorn oil and drops it on the floor. Needless to say that it was a gigantic mess (I may never eat popcorn again after looking at that gross stuff). Of course the cashier has to call maintenance to come and mop up the spill. Maintenance was apparently on break and didn't respond right away. The cashier continued to check out the customer at which point the Customer Service Manager "Betty Brains" walks over and says "You know there is some mess all over the floor right here? We need to get this cleaned up". Duh. I suppose she won't make it as a brain surgeon. Thankfully rather than making us get out of line, the cashier piled a huge amount of paper towels over the top of the mess and made us all walk around it. What should have been a quick trip into Sam's turned into a 45 minute ordeal.

This doesn't just happen to me at Sam's though. I will get into the ten items or less aisle and look ahead and some ding dong with 45 items is in the front of the line. Or I will get into a line and someone will have an issue with the price that rang up and when they call for a price check no one answers (because once again the are all on break). My favorite (or not so) is when they open a new lane and say they will take the next in line. I walk over, hand them my stuff only to have them realize that there is no cash till in the register and they have to move to another lane or they can't get the register to "sign them on".

I use to change lanes when the one I was in was moving slow. I don't do that anymore because ultimately the lane I change to stops moving for one of the reasons above. It really is a no win situation. So if you see me in line at the store, head the other way because I can guarantee that I will be in the slow line.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Now I lay me down to sleep

Harrison and I use to say his prayers together every night before bed. Sometime in the past year though, it became less frequent. I guess since school started it's been such a rush to get everyone's homework done, lunches packed, and clothes out that our bedtime routine has suffered some. The other night as I was tucking Harrison in, he asked me "Mom, do you remember when we use to say my prayer every night?" Talk about feeling bad. So of course we have started our prayer routine again.

Harrison has begin to enjoying praying. At supper he no longer sings "God our Father" when it's his time to bless the food. He chooses to say an actual prayer thanking God for whatever comes to mind. It's always surprising to hear what he feels blessed with. It's the same with the bedtime prayers. Just the other night he began his prayers in the usual way "Now I lay me down to sleep..." When he gets to the end, he always thanks God for something. This evening, his prayer went something like this "Thank you God for these wonderful moms and dads, thank you also for the wonderful kids in our house and please God watch out for the poor people so they don't die tonight. Amen."

Curious as to his last request, I asked him why he was afraid that the poor people might die. He responded by telling me that poor people didn't have food, warm clothes and houses to sleep in so they really needed God to look out for them.

I felt so proud of him for thinking about people less fortunate than him. Sometimes I think that my kids get so much that they have no real clue that there are people out there who struggle to make ends meet. And even worse people out there who have nothing. Harrison might not have total comprehension about what it means to be poor, but he does know in his own 6 year old mind, that being poor is hard and those people need some extra prayers. And that makes me proud.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines Goodies

Happy Valentines Day!

Here in the Woods household, the week before Valentine's is always kind of crazy for me. I like to make gifts for the kids to give to their teachers. And I also make the kids valentines for their classmates. This year I had extra gifts to make for my preschool class.

Every year I tell myself that I need to start two weeks before Valentine's Day and each year, I find myself working frantically to finish the day before they are to be given. I do think that the teacher's really appreciate all the effort. I am not so sure about the kids. I think they just go straight for the candy and don't give a second thought to the package that it comes in.
Here are the Valentine's lollipop holders I made for the boys classmates. I had to make a total of 45. These should have gone really quick but I had a couple of problems - 1) my long reach hole punch broke and 2) the slot punch I thought I had was no where to be found. In the end it all worked out and I think they turned out rather cute (although my slot punch is still no where to be found, imagine that).

I made the boxes for my preschool class and filled them with some candy kisses, hearts, stickers and a lollipop. It took me quite awhile to cut out each box (14 in all) but once that was done, they were easy to put together. The stamp set that I used for both the lollipop holders and the boxes was Happy Heart Day by Stampin' Up.

These bags were my favorites this Valentine's Day and they were so easy to make (here are the directions). These were for the teacher gifts and inside each is a bag of homemade chocolate almond truffles (see below).

Chocolate Almond Truffles (click here for the recipe).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The things kids say..........

I took Harrison and Holden to the barber shop today to get their hair cut. It's the same barbershop that their dad use to go to when he was a little boy. The kids love to go because they can watch television while they are getting their hair cut and as an added bonus, they get an ice cream after they are done.

Today Harrison was sitting up in the barber chair, mesmerized by the television. For some odd reason it was on the Weather Channel and they were showing Storm Stories. A Nutrisystem commercial came on and Harrison says loudly (because I was sitting on the other side of the room) "Hey mom, that's what you need." I seriously thought the Barber was going to fall over laughing. Yep, leave it to my child to humilate me in front of a barbershop full of people.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I have a confession to make. I detest exercising. I am not one of those people who jump out of bed every morning eager to take a run (you know who you are) nor am I one of those people who get psyched up as I head to the gym.

I can not think of a single period in my life when I actually liked exercise. And I don't have one athletic bone in my body. As a child, I was the kid who got picked last for the kickball team. I hated PE. And in my one feeble attempt to be athletic, playing softball, I failed miserably (what was I thinking?).

When I was in college, I certainly didn't think anything about exercise. Well, there was the one semester I thought about taking up running and tried it for about a week but decided it was much more fun to participate in other activities.

And as an adult, I have been fairly active -riding my bike, walking the dog, playing with the kids. All those things could technically equate to exercise even though that isn't why I did them. Off and on over the years I would start exercising but it didn't take much for me to stop. A change in routine, a sickness (mine or one of the children's) or even a change in season. I always had an excuse. And once I got out of the routine it was so hard to get back into one.

But now that I am 40ish I know that if I don't take control of my life, it will only become harder. Diets have never really worked for me because my life is so hectic with three kids, it is hard to count calories or track everything I eat. So I knew that in order to shed these extra pounds and feel better, I was going to have to do two things: the first is change the way I eat and the second was to exercise.

The first step was to start eating healthier. Eliminating fast food, processed food and foods high in sugar. I have read many books on the subject but the best so far have been Joy's Life Diet and Small Changes, Big Results. Both books contain some excellent information on nutrition. I might also mention that The Abs Diet for Women and Sugarbusters also have some good nutrition information.

And as much as I hated it, the second step was to start some sort of exercise routine. For Christmas my mother gave our family the Wii Fit. It makes exercise seem more like a game yet it can be quite challenging. Beginning at the first of the year, I started using the Wii Fit for 30-40 minutes, 5 days a week. Now I have started incorporating some additional exercise in with the Wii Fit. My favorite DVD these days is the Sexy in Six series from Tracy Mallett. Although there are some intense exercises, I figure I can do anything for six minutes. And some days six minutes feel like an eternity. On nice days I also like walking or riding my bike. Anything to mix up the routine a little so that it doesn't monotonous.

It is still hard for me to make myself exercise. The truth is there are so many other things I would rather use my time for. But I have discovered that it's all about balance. And when my jeans feel a little loser or someone says "You've lost some weight" I know the effort is worth it.

I still allow myself to have some of the less healthy foods I love but only once and only on the weekend. The more weight I lose, the easier it is for me to say no to anything that isn't healthy for me. I guess it feels like I am taking a step backward every time I "cheat". So now that I am on my way to changing my life, I am hoping to make a positive impact on my family. I look forward to the day when I serve roasted cauliflower or fresh steamed green beans and my family all says "yum" rather then "yuck".

Oh, and I am also looking forward to the day when I can fit in my size 6 jeans again.