Friday, August 31, 2012

Free Friday: Apple Cider Vinegar

It works!

Recently, we had an influx of drain flies. They're annoying, little flies that tend to show up in bathrooms and kitchen. Apparently, they're some type of moth that reproduces at a ridiculous rate! I've read that they lay eggs in the "organic slime" that lives inside of our drains. The eggs hatch within 48 hours and they live for about 2-3 weeks (which rapidly mulitplies into nastiness!).

Well, several internet people recommend "killing" the organic slime, others said to pour bleach down the drain...I decided to go with soap and apple cider vinegar. I'm still not certain why you put the soap in...maybe it traps their bodies deeper down? It's heavier than the vinegar and sinks to the bottom. Day one, we had a ton of flies in there! Day two, not as many...but then, there weren't as many to catch. I think I'm going to go one more day to hopefully catch all the fellows that are hatching. This is a picture of day two. The black flecks are the flies. Yesterday (day 1), there was a pretty nasty black flecky ring around the outside.

I should warn you: it stinks! Our entire apartment (granted, it's a little apartment) smells funny. But it's been very effective. It's a keeper that I will be using again!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Apostraphe's in Contractions

Okay, here comes the grammar police! :)

Good grammar is important, even though many people like to think it's outdated. My husband and I frequently argue over this. And when it comes to verbal communication, I tend to agree with most of my husband's arguments. Good grammar isn't as important when verbally communicating because there are so many other cues used to clear up misconceptions.

However, written grammar is extremely important because those cues have been removed! The reader can ask for clarification if it's a blog format or a chat window, but response times vary between quickly and never. So here's a quick mini-lesson on the use of the apostraphe as a contraction.

It's really very easy. You take two words that are near each other in a sentence, remove some letters, and put the contraction in place. Common examples:
can not = can't
do not = don't
will not = won't
I have = I've
You have = You've
I am = I'm
She would = She'd
It is = It's
Here is = Here's
See a pattern there?  Generally, the first word retains it's original form and everything except for the last letter or two is removed from the second letter (except for Will Not...I don't know why it contracts the way it does).

There you have it! Go ahead and play around with it. But remember, the odder you get, the less likely people are to understand you. ;)

Work Sheet will be coming!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

24 Hours in Palma de Majorca

“This is my version of a perfect 24 hours on a Spanish Island. This post was written as an entry for 24 hours on The Balearics contest sponsored by The prize is £500 in Amazon Vouchers and the contest runs until August 31, 2012. Please visit to learn more about the contest and how you can also enter.”

I have not traveled to Spain or any of its outlying islands...this doesn't mean that I don't want to someday! It was so much fun researching everything that I just have to write about it as if I had been there. This should read like an excerpt from my imaginary travel journal (we all need one to keep our dreams in). I will be changing names of family members, though. It makes my husband uncomfortable to have his name on floating around the internet.

"We were finally able to fit in a trip, my husband, three kids and I. I was so excited! We traveled to Palma de Majorca. At first, John and I thought we'd be able to use Spanish, our second language. Turned out, we didn't need it! It's a tourist country with plenty of diversity in language, though I've read about Germans joking that it should be part of their country with how many visit each year.

"Our plane arrived at 11 am in Palma de Majorca. Feeling adventurous, we used the public transportation to get from the airport to our hotel, "Cala Major." What a beautiful place! If we had a week, it wouldn't be enough time! Unfortunately, we only have until 11 am the next day. We wouldn't be spending much time here, though. Not immediately, at least. We had a tour to make!

"After dropping off our luggage, we found a map of the city with the concierge and used the buses to make our way to the Caves of Genova. They were absolutely incredible! We descended with the rest of our group into the pit, only to enter an entirely new world. The stalactites and stalagmites were amazing! The kids couldn't believe that all of this was just under our feet...of course, Henry is a little nervous now and thinks that everywhere has caves like this under us.

"When the tour ended, we ate lunch at the Jardin (we had made reservations before leaving the U.S.). It was quite the restaurant! They had a great variety of traditional, local foods. We each made sure to order something different so that we could sample the different tastes of the island. The kids really wanted to say that they've been in the Mediterranen, so after we finished eating we went back to the hotel and played on the beach. It helped that I wanted to soak up some sun and freshen up before we headed to dinner: Pirates Adventure show.

"And what a show! Their acrobatics were incredible and the story was fun to watch! The kids really enjoyed watching it and I'm glad I took them. I was thinking about using the hotel baby-sitting services and having a date-night with John. This was incredible for all of us, though! We headed to bed happily exhausted that night, ready to get up early the next morning.

"The next morning, we got up early and headed to Cathedral "Le Seu" here in Palma. I had heard that you should see the morning sun coming in through the stained glass. What an incredible structure! We were able to walk around, but touring hours didn't start until later. Ooops! Oh well, now that we had a taste, we would see if we could come back for a longer stay. This has been an incredible adventure. We had breakfast on the street Passeig de Born, like several people recommended...and of course ended up spending more money than we should in the shops there! That's why they call it a vacation!

We went to Marineland after checking our bags at the airport. It was similar to Sea World, but more exciting because it wasn't closer to home, but in a foreign country! The smaller size of the park allowed us to see more in a short period of time before we headed back to the airport. We were exhausted, but when you only have 24 hours, you squeeze in what you can!"

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Okay, I'm switching things up! I was going to have a page reserved for education, but I figure that this will work just as well. There's SO MUCH to learn! Like research. You have NO IDEA how much you use research. A few things I've researched lately: medical conditions, travel plans, gas prices, growth rates, tv times, Christmas presents...Imagine if I didn't generalize like that! A few tips to think about:

1.) As you research, what you're looking for should narrow itself down. Otherwise, you don't really have an interest in finding something out.
2.) When you find an answer, validate it through several different locations. This is especially important when doing internet research. Yes, people who publish in books can lie also, but it takes a lot more money to do it so they're less likely.
3.) Compare, compare, compare! What may seem like a good price in one place may be better somewhere else. Don't be afraid to shop around.
4.) Make a list. If you're like me, you just don't have time to sit down and get it all done at once. This is really important for me when I'm looking at travel ideas. I begin broad (location), find a few items of interest, then later figure out if they're possible or close to each other.

Good luck with your own researching! There's lots to find in the wide world around us. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Writing Triangle

So I was laying in bed considering the writer's triangle. How could I have forgotten? There are three elements to the writer's triangle (okay, there are several "triangles" I'm using the more modern version). You have "Writer" -> "Purpose" -> "Audience." All of those things create your message. I realized that I have not chosen an audience. It has definitely created sub-par writing.

Now I have a struggle. Who is my audience? I could say "you," except that I don't know you. Are you a you that enjoys philosophy? Education? Art? Literature? Partying? Who are you? I think it will help when I discover this. For now, I'm going to have to give you a name: Unknown. I know, not very creative, but it helps me to focus my writing.

So, when you're writing, remember that you need all three to create a message to someone. The writer: That's you. The Purpose: Why you're writing. And The Audience: That's You. All three combined will create the message...and be warned! The message you write may not be the message you intended the audience to receive. ;)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Today was a stressful day...we had a Norwex party! However, it was a lot of fun. I find myself intrigued by the product. The fiber is 1/200th the size of a human hair and there's silver imbedded in the fabric. Apparently, the silver kills the bacteria and what-not while the microfiber picks everything up. That means all you need is a cloth and some water for cleaning. Clearly, I'm not getting paid for this. But I still think it's worth checking out!

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Week of Kids Meals

5 meals kids enjoy eating (and mom can stand them, too!). You can combine these however you want or separate them and have just part of it as a meal. I didn’t count calories for any of the meals (I’m not a counter). Fruits and vegetables can be switched out for any other fruit or veggie you have on hand. The kids LOVE to have fruit with their meals, though! The veggies are a bit more difficult for them to enjoy, but I'll bet if I would have added a dip for them, they'd do better.

1: Chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, pears, ketchup. Chicken nuggets with apple sauce is another the kids really like eating. I just wanted meat with their mac and cheese.

 2: Peanut butter and honey with Clementines (the cutie tangerines). I like the tangerines because they're SO EASY for the kids to peel. They love having that little bit of independence. You could use oranges, if you wanted. We didn’t have any jam on hand, so it’s the honey we ended up with. Jam would be an easy substitute.
3: Chicken salad sandwich with lettuce, carrots, cucumber, strawberries, blueberries. You could do tuna fish as well. Love the colors on this plate!...and I think I need to have these again!
4: Beef and cheese quesadilla, salsa, strawberries, blueberries. I used leftover roast for the beef. Sandwich meat, chicken, etc. would work for the meat.
5: Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, crackers, glass of milk. Sometimes (more for me), I’ll do grilled tuna fish sandwiches. You can add a slice of cheese and some lettuce to the grilled tuna. My husband likes cream of mushroom soup instead. The kids love it when I add an ice cube to their soup. At first the kids didn’t want to eat the soup, then we started calling it “hot lava” soup and now they can’t get enough! J

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Trigger Finger (or Thumb)

So, here's something I feel everyone should know about, just because I had no idea about it until we took our daughter to the doc. Several months ago, she came in telling us that her finger hurt (it was really her thumb). Looking at it, it appeared that she had dislocated her thumb somehow. Pulling VERY gently on her thumb, we also discovered that we could straighten her thumb out. Naturally, we took her to the doctor.

After a few x-rays, we discovered that nothing was technically wrong with her hand. That's when the PA said, "I think she has trigger thumb and would like to refer you to a specialist." Huh? We had never heard of it! Apparently, there's a "pulley" in the base of her thumb that controls the tendon extending and bending her thumb. In trigger finger (or thumb), the tendon gets caught on the pulley when the digit is bent and doesn't straighten back out. The theory is that eventually the digit will no longer be able to extend.

At the specialist, he said that most kids have trigger thumb (or finger) until about 2 years of age. They generally grow out of it, but she didn't. The specialist was able to force her thumb straight. There was a loud POP and it went straight. She wasn't hurt by it, but it was startling!There aren't any conclusive studies on whether or not it affects their motor development, but he said most parents aren't willing to take the chance that it will. We went ahead with the surgery. It was VERY quick. We got there at 7:15 am and were on the way home by 10:30 am. She's all unbandaged now and healed up.

If you know someone who decided to wait, I would love to hear whether or not if affected their development. We have noticed that she seems to be doing things differently with her hand, so I personally think it was causing her to adjust to compensate for her thumb.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Maybe this seems silly to you, but I've learned something more from kid cartoons than how to speak a different language or count or recognize shapes. I learned a great story layout for little kids. Here it is:

1. A goal.
2. An obstacle.
3. An obstacle.
4. Reach their goal.

I tried this method with  my 2 1/2 year old last night and she wanted another story quickly. My hubby did "_____ the Astronaut" with my son, and I told a story about "Princess _______" (insert child's name into blank). My daughter's eyes would light up every time I'd say her name. Go for it! Make it up on the spot and watch your kids happiness grow. :)