Thursday, October 16, 2008

And the Winner is...

After seeing all of the hilarious carpet stain stories that came pouring in to my in-box, I can definitely say that I'm not alone in my constant battle against soiled carpet. I heard stories of everything from paint to poop! It's amazing that all of us busy moms can even enjoy carpet in the first place. Fortunately, though, Bissell makes it easy on us with their brand new ProDry carpet cleaner. Carpet is treated, cleaned, and dried in UNDER 30 minutes. That works for me!

Thank you so much for all of the wonderful stories you sent in. I wish so much that I could give each and every one of you a big, fat hug for writing in and sharing your experiences. I am certainly in great company!! Hezra from Durant, Oklahoma was chosen by the team over here as the winner of the Bissell ProDry. Her entry is included at the end of this post. One thing we love about the story is her great attitude. That's what makes it all worthwhile!

Thanks Hezra and thanks to all of you! You're beautiful (even if your carpet doesn't always stay that way)!

Hezra's story:
"My funniest story would have to be when I was trying to re-paint our boys' room. We were doing a "calming" shade of pale blue. I had 5 kids. The boys were 1, 5, and 7. The
girls were 3 and 6 mos. So I am painting away with kids everywhere, baby in a swing in another room away from fumes.

My youngest boy was fresh out of the bath with a clean white onesie(standard issue pjs for babies in summer here), he comes hopping up on his bed(they were all pulled away from walls.) Just as I am saying, Isaiah, don't jump and be careful. . . he hops straight down and lands IN the paint pan. I was frozen in shock. He was not. He
hopped out and took off! Calming blue circle on his sweet white onesie as he RAN. I threw down the paint pad andran after. . . but of course he sat down on
the brown living room carpet. He became a human stamper of "calming" blue.
(HE was the reason we chose calming blue!)

It was not as funny at the moment. Really hard to catch the little guy before he made too many spots. Looking back though it is just so ironic, so funny and SO my every day life with that boy. It has become instead one of my favorite memories. ~ Hezra,
mom of five in OK"

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Shake It Up, Baby!!


I confess, it's hard to keep up with everything that's cool and trendy with my kids. The other day, when my three boys were talking about Wario, I asked them, "Are you talking about Mario?" They just looked at me as if I were totally the most lame-o mom on earth.

"Mom!" They shouted. "It's Wario!"

Okay, okay! I give!

Recently, however, I have graduated from lame-o to coolio once again. I redeemed myself by supplying them with the video game, "Wario Land: Shake It!" It features the character, Wario--yes, WARIO--traveling through side scrolling stages. By shaking the Wii remote, you can shake down your enemies, free coins from treasure bags, and even cause earthquakes (as if we don't already have enough of those around here). It's the ultimate adventure--puzzles, hazards, secrets, treasures, and multiple missions to keep you coming back again and again.

Now I have another confession to make--this game is addictive! I even find myself shaking that remote like nobody's business!!

Good, clean fun...you can't shake that!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ferry Fun!

This weekend we decided to be adventurous and try out the ferry that crosses from Surry to Jamestown, VA. It was so much fun! Kenna fell in love with it and didn't want to get off. As a matter of fact, when I sang her lullaby that night, she wanted me to put the word, "boat" in it. Here's how it went:

Boat is my sunshine, my only sunshine.
Boat makes me happy when skies are gray.
You'll never know, Boat, how much I love you.
Please don't take my boat away.

Needless to say, it was an adventure that she will remember for a long time.
Check out the video:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

WHERE'S MY CHEESE PIZZA?!

We were all cleaning the kitchen and someone had obviously cleared off Klara's plate before she was finished eating. She was demanding, "where's my cheese pizza?" while we were all dancing and singing. It's a typical evening here at the Keeley home...take a look. It's hilarious!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What's Your Carpet Stain Story?

Once I had planned a fun activity to do with the kids. I bought a white sheet at the thrift store and laid out plates of different colored paint. My idea was for the kids to dip their feet in the paint and then run all over the sheet--decorating it with their cute little multi-colored footprints. Sounds cute, right? Well, I guess I didn't explain it fully to the little ones because as soon as my little girl stepped into the blue paint...she took off running across the sheet...and into the living room, which was carpeted in a nice, pale shade of beige. There they were--little blue footprints all over the carpet. It took everything in me not to react, but to respond with kindness. "Oops! We were supposed to just run on the sheet!" Inside, I was thinking, 'how in the world am I ever going to get those footprints out of that carpet?'

If only the Bissell ProDry carpet cleaner had been around at the time. But, now I've got one and am SO GLAD that I do. I don't need to fret the spills, stains, and messes. I just whip it out and clean my carpet. And it really works with a busy household, too. Fortunately, the carpet takes only 30 minutes to dry so we can get back to real life. I love it! And I've got a special surprise for you. Tell me your funniest carpet stain story. The winner gets a brand new Bissell Pro Dry carpet cleaner. I've already got it packed up and ready to ship out. So give me your stories! Just post them here. But make sure you e-mail them to me as well. I want to make sure I know who to contact when we have a winner: info@totalmom.com. This give-away is open until 10/10/08. I can't wait to hear from you!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Playground Mania

We went to the playground the other day for a picnic. As usual, my kids drew attention to themselves by hamming it up. Fortunately, I had my camera with me so I got to catch them in the act.

Check out Korben and Karis turn a fight into a dance-off! That is, until Kyler broke it up (quite literally!).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Karis's Invention

I love teaching my kids! Today, I took a three-minute break to answer the phone and both Karis and Korben abandoned their school work and changed a cardboard box that they found in the trash into a "mind machine." They even made a remote control for the thing! Forget the spelling list---these kids were getting a true education in the art of creativity. I love it! Their mind machine could make someone smart, stupid, or turn them into a knight (I'm not too sure where that last option came from. I just report the facts). Check out this three-part video series titled, "Karis's Mind Machine."

Part I:The prototype was evidently still in the development phase...



Part II: Korben turns into a knight...



Part III: "E equals M..C..What?"

The Forgotten Art of Play

Do you ever feel like we live in isolation? Especially if we have little kids! Moms have a tendency to stay in their own worlds with their little ones while there is a big, beautiful world to play in. And sometimes just a trip to the park isn't enough to do the trick.

Play is important! Don't forget it! I talked with a wonderful man not too long ago who understands this completely. As a matter of fact, he has made it his career. He and his family had such a wonderful experience with their child's play group that he decided to start a website to help other people in the local area find their own perfect play group. Well, this little hobby grew and grew and grew. Evidently, he wasn't the only one who appreciated a good day of play! Now he runs a cool website called playgroupsusa (www.playgroupsusa.com). You've got to check this out if you have little ones. Through this website, you can find a local playgroup and jump in. Remember, kids aren't the only ones who benefit from some good old-fashioned play. Moms have a blast as well.

What are you waiting on? Let's PLAY!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Survived the First Full Week of School

What did I say? Survive?? I mean THRIVE! Yes, it was tough, crazy, and bumper-to-bumper demands, but isn't that what keeps us going in the first place? Kelsey and Katie are now enrolled in a "homeschool" college prep school in Richmond where they go three days a week. Kyler is doing 7th grade online at Morningstar Academy (so far I love it, and he does to). Now I'm teaching Karis (5th), Korben (2nd), and Klara (Kindergarten). Of course, Kenna is doing her fair share of puzzles and workbooks, too. It's been a blast!

The one area I struggle with, like most moms, is keeping the momentum going. Sometimes around week 23 we just kind of want to coast along and scrape by. This year, I've decided to plan my school schedule ahead 12 weeks at a time. I'll let you know if it's working. But one thing I do know is that failing to plan is planning to fail. I want to encourage you this year to PLAN AHEAD!

* Have a spot in your home to put everything that needs to go to school, and put it here before you go to bed.
* Use a checklist to make sure all courses are covered.
* Reward the kids for keeping up with their assignments (I'm still a die-hard dollar store freak).
* And probably the best tip of all--Make sure they do their homework BEFORE the computer, the telephone, or the video games get used.

Hope this helps! Remember, we're in this together and I've got your back!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What the? Man eats 23,000 Big Macs in 36 years?

Let's see...one of the top stories today was that a man ate his 23,000th Big Mac. This is news? Reading the article, I found out that this Big Mac habit is fueled by his obsessive compulsive disorder. In the past 36 years, there were a few days in which he wasn't able to eat a Big Mac. So now, he stores some in the freezer just in case he gets snowed in or something.

Go ahead, you can laugh.

But the reality is that we all have a little O.C. in us somewhere (that's obsessive compulsive, not Orange County). There are habits that we hold on to that are just as unhealthy.

How many times do we whip out that credit card when we know that we are already on the brink of broke?

How many times do we let anger take over and rob us of our right to joy?

How many times do we procrastinate over the housework, knowing full well that it's not going anywhere?

How many times do we nag someone thinking that this time, maybe this time, it will actually change the behavior?

Just like eating a mountain of Big Macs, these habits are damaging to us. We know this but we let them persist. Step back and take a deep look. Turn on the bright lights and really scrutinize your behaviors. Take these behaviors and start changing them today. Take measures to become better, fuller, richer, more abundant. Your life can be everything you dream it can be. But just like that Big Mac, we have to take it one bite at a time!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Back-to-School Campfire

We do it every single year--our back-to-school campfire. It's been a tradition for nine years now. The evening before the kids go back to school we all gather around the campfire and roast marshmallows. Of course, nine years ago I didn't have so many kids. Marshmallows were a lot easier to roast. But, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Check out this clever way I discovered to roast marshmallows for a crowd.

Super Sluggers


OMG! This game is awesome! My son, Kyler, got this game to try out and was hooked! instead of just throwing pitches and running bases, pretty much anything goes in this game. We quickly decided to turn this Wii game into a family championship so that everyone could get on board. It finally narrowed down to me versus Kyler. Kyler played the character of Diddy Kong and I was Donkey Kong. It was the bottom of the ninth, I threw a big barrel (yes, you can pitch barrels...) at him, but he slammed it out of the park and ran a home run to win the game.

Super Sluggers totally rocks. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Korben's Joke Hour

I think every boy goes through a phase of telling jokes straight out of those books that he checks out of the library. Korben is in that phase right now. Today he came in the office to tell me some more one liners and I managed to catch them on video....well, that and a lot more!

Friday, August 29, 2008

She's got the ham gene!

My parents always told me growing up that I inherited a "ham gene" from somewhere up the family tree. I always hammed it up in front of people. If I wasn't the center of attention, then I wasn't happy!!

Well, Klara has inherited it, too! She tells me everyday that she is going to be a singer and she is going to be on stage. One day she told me that she when she grew up she was going to make people laugh so hard that they peed in their pants (lovely image, I know!). She is going through a stage now where she dances and sings to songs that she makes up on the fly. She also gets Kenna involved as back up. I caught one of them on video today. I believe the chorus goes something like this:

I don't want to be like you.
I don't want to be like you.
I don't want to be like my family.
I just want to be like you.

I thought that was pretty funny, maybe not as illogical as some of the lyrics on the radio today...

Check out the video of them performing in my bedroom (I was in the middle of folding laundry).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Daniel X-Citing!


Okay, okay, that blog title was a bit cheesey, but I can't help getting excited about a book that totally engages my 12-year-old boy. It was as good as the time he discovered Captain Underpants when he was eight!! For some reason, as most moms can tell you, when boys get into middle school they don't exactly become avid readers. As a matter of fact, books usually place second to, umm, let's see...brussels sprouts?

I had to coax my son to pick up the copy of Daniel X that I bought for him. But as soon as he began reading, he was hooked! I knew I had stumbled onto a good thing when I came in his room last night to turn out the lights and he had his reading light on next to his bed, poring over his copy of Daniel X. Hooray! Thank the book gods for Daniel X! He finished it a few days ago and came up to me and said, "When is the next Daniel X book coming out?".

Ahh, music to my ears!

If you have a middle school son, you have got to check out this winner!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Boy and His Bike

Korben got his first "big boy" bike yesterday and took it out for a spin. I didn't even know he was outside because I was in the kitchen putting away the groceries. I looked out the front door and noticed he and his bike were gone and walked up to the cul-de-sac to see what was going on. What I saw there melted my heart. His big brother had hauled his bike all the way up our steep gravel driveway so that he could give him his first lesson.

Kyler was teaching him, Karis was trotting (and dancing, as you'll see in the video) beside him, and Korben was pedaling his heart out and learning how to use the brakes. I love this whole motherhood thing so much!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Noodle me this!

Finally! A game that teaches kids manners! We tried out a brand new game called Noodleboro Picnic Basket and it is beyond cute. It's non-competitive, which is always a good idea with preschoolers, and it's so much fun that my six and ten-year-old boys joined us for a round.

The point is to gather up all of the supplies you need for a picnic, but in order to do so you need to say, "please" and "thank you." You even get to reach into the picnic basket and get your tokens, but if you pull out an ant then he just gets plopped down on the "blanket" (game board).

It really is adorable. Check it out!

Here's the link to look at the game:

http://www.hasbro.com/games/preschool-games/noodleboro/default.cfm?page=manners

FYI!! When I checked out the website I noticed that they were having a contest to win a Disney cruise (can't beat that). Here's the link:

http://www.hasbro.com/playskool/noodleboro/

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My girls met the Jonas Brothers!


I totally shocked my two oldest girls the other day (Kelsey, 15, and Katie, 13). I took them to Virginia Beach on Tuesday (for one last girls day fling before school started). And they were under the impression that we were just going to enjoy the beach. Secretly, I had secured tickets to the Jonas Brothers concert and even finagled some meet and greet passes for them.

They were SHOCKED when I surprised them with tickets; and when I told them they were going to the meet and greet, they almost went into cardiac arrest. It was AWESOME! All I have to say about the Jo Bros is that they are total gentlemen. They made Kelsey and Katie feel completely special. Here are three boys who have the teen world at their feet, but they are completely humble and down-to-earth. Evidently, their mama must be doing something right.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

happy piggies!

Kenna crawled up in my lap yesterday, and like I do with all of my babies (while they're still babies), I doodled little happy faces on her piggies. This takes just seconds, and kids always get a kick out of it. There's nothing like a chorus line of happy piggies to bring on the giggles. Go ahead! Get that skinny sharpie marker and color some happy faces on your baby's piggies (or even your own).

Friday, August 8, 2008

Kyler is Indy-Obsessed

No..I'm not talking about Indy music. Kyler went to see Indiana Jones with his dad, and has since donned a fedora and taken up archeology. Even in this sweltering Virginia summer heat, he wears that brown fedora EVERYWHERE! I actually had to take it off his head when I went in last night to tuck him in bed (so cute!).

He also got a leather whip for his birthday and is quickly becoming quite the cracker! Here is a video of him showing off his skills when we went to visit my family.

PC games go ECO

As an environmentally conscious mom, I'm always trying to drive an earth-friendly message home to my kids. How cool is it when a video game does it for me? A company called Fluid entertainment has just launched a PC game called, "Emerald Island." But, forget about earning points by beating up the other guy or finding your way through a maze.

In Emerald Island, kids ages 6-12 engage in a story and team up with Tamino, the game's hero, to prevent the destruction of the Island's landscape. Emerald Island is threatened by the ravaging Pirats. The game hinges on an ecological theme, which inspires the kids to become champions and trusted eco-heroes.

To navigate through the game, kids create a highly personalized character with loads of possible combinations, plant and cultivate 150 species of plants, trade with friends, participate in challenging quests and play engaging mini games. Kids immediately enter an expansive world of exploration and imagination that will leave them with a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Is that groovy or what?!

The game is still in development, but you can get a sneak peek by playing it before it's even released! Here are the download instructions:



Visit the website
• Go to www.emeraldisland.com/momc and click “Play”
• Enter Access Code: green617

Download the game
• Read the rules and license agreement, check the box to agree

• Click the green button to download the game
• Select “Run” and follow the installation wizard
• Click “Finish” when it is complete

Sign up
• Select “Let’s Go Play”
• Follow instructions to create a username and password
• Confirm world choice "Aspen," when prompted


Play!
• Enter Emerald Island and have fun!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Starting school has never been so chic!

I was lucky enough to get some AWESOME office supplies the other day (and I don't use all caps with pure abandonment--these cute notepads, folders, sticky notes, and binders were absolutely adorable). They are called Simply Chic Eye Candy and you can pick them up at any Wal-Mart. Forget the old solid blue, yellow, green notebooks and folders with pictures of kittens and puppies. These are things you definitely want to show off, whether you're updating your home office or sending your kids off to school.

And speaking of updating your home office, they are having a contest right now to win a complete collection to glam up the office (or the locker, as the case may be). My kids have gone so crazy over these office supplies, that they are actually trying to make up excuses to buy more of them (NO! You do not need five binders and six folders for one History class...).

Check them out and make sure you visit the website for more details on the contest--www.carolinapad.com.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

You're Invited to the Block Party

After listening to the same Dooblebops CD over and over in the car, I finally convinced Kenna to venture out and try something new. We got Disney's Block Party CD and LOVE it (yes, even the older ones. They just won't admit it). It has our fave, Dooblebops, on it, as well as some new artists. Wayne Brady sings "The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room" (you may know him from one of my favorite television shows, "Whose Line is It?" It also has a group on there called Imagination Movers, which is quickly soaring up the Keeley charts. They are four guys who wear blue coveralls and they are AWESOME! I am totally in love with them and their music (anyone who feels comfortable grinding an ax on stage in blue coveralls and a cowboy hat has already won my deepest respect).

They are also taking this block party on tour, so if it comes to a town near you DO NOT miss it. You'll be kicking your cute little fanny if you do.

If you want to listen to samples of the music:
http://disneymusic.disney.go.com/albums/disneymusicblockparty.html

If you want to find out about the tour:
http://www.disneymusicblockpartytour.com/

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Family Parade

Today Kyler, my 12-year-old, was running out the door when he yelled to me, "Mom, I'm going to my friend's house to pick up a book." I noticed that Oscar, our yorkie, was anxiously standing by the door so I handed him the leash and said, "Here, take Oscar with you."

Karis, my 10-year-old son overheard and remarked, "Oh! You're taking Oscar for a walk? I want to come along."

Korben overheard Karis, "I'm coming!"

Kenna came running, "Me go! Me go!"

I started to get Kenna to keep her with me but Kelsey walked in at that moment. "Hey, I'll take Kenna. I need some fresh air anyway."

Kyler just looked at me and pleaded, "Mom! Please! I'm just running down the street to borrow a book. Does it really have to be a Keeley family parade?"

Well,....yes.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pets ARE allowed!

No! You are not getting a kitten. No! You can't have an iguana. No! You can't put a collar and leash on your little sister! Why? Because who ends up caring for the pets...the MOM, that's who! Nintendo DS has just made saying “yes” to a pet a little easier. With GoPets Vacation Island kids can adopt a pet, care for it, make friends with other pets, and play games – all in a virtual world!

The pets in the game, either a dog or a cat, can be chosen randomly or matched to your child based on their interests. The pet’s name and appearance, however, is completely up to your kid. As your child makes their way around the island, caring for their pets and meeting friends, they can trade purple shells they earn for different toys and pet supplies. Your kid can also interact with other characters, and compete in mini games. Kids can also befriend new islanders, exchange gifts, and even unlock new places to visit, all while increasing their ranking and with the goal of acquiring the title of Big Kahuna, the most influential resident of Vacation Island.

GoPets even lets kids connect with other players from around the world by throwing a Wi-Fi party, allowing your child to chat with Nintendo Friend Code buddies. Through the Nintendo DS system, kids can only talk with players that they’ve given their Friend Code to, so you can rest assured that they are only chatting with approved buddies.

So, if you're sick of saying "NO!" to all of the pet requests, then motherhood just got a whole lot easier.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I'm not sleepy!!

Kenna is at that awkward stage where she is growing out of a daily nap. When she does take a nap, she is up until 10pm. When she goes without one, she is totally exhausted and can barely make it until 8pm. I rock her to sleep every night, so this quandary either makes my rocking take ten minutes...or hours!

She had a nap today and tonight was one of those nights when she wasn't sleepy. She had no problem telling me about it either. She was so funny!!! She insisted that she wasn't sleepy and well, I guess she was right because it's after 11pm, and I just laid her down in her bed...fast asleep.



Monday, July 14, 2008

Brush Your Teeth On THIS!

Doesn't it feel good to be a part of something special? Whether it's making cupcakes for a bake sale or brushing your teeth to save the planet, it just makes you feel good all over. I was so excited to find out about Preserve toothbrushes (I picked up a bunch of them and even the little ones use them). These toothbrushes are made out of recycled yogurt containers. Is that cool or WHAT?

So, every time you chow on some yogurt and toss the container in the recycling your bin...you are making your smile that much brighter. And saving the planet is definitely something worth smiling about.

Check out this cool video of how these toothbrushes are made:

http://www.recycline.com/sundance.html

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Lame fireworks in the 'burbs

We never go to firework displays because it always seems that we have a little one who is bothered by the loud noises. So we always end up lighting fireworks at home in our cul de sac. That's how it is with big families, you always have to round off to the lowest common denominator. It works fine most of the time, but you always have those kids who want a little more bang for their buck. Check out Klara and her opinion of the fireworks. You've got to admire her honesty.

btw--I found my Flip. It was in Kelsey's (my 15-yr-old) overnight bag!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Don't Shop on Pay Day!!

Wowsers! The kids and I went to Wal-Mart today to pick up some groceries and comforters for the boys' room. It was crazy busy! I couldn't get over the crowd. Trying to maneuver through the store with two buggies and seven kids was practically impossible.

Finally, exasperated, I was in the produce department and exclaimed out loud, "This is insane! I've never seen this place so busy!" One of the employees stocking the shelves overheard me and remarked, "It's always like this at the beginning of the month."

What a wake up call! I had never even thought of that! People get their paychecks and then run to spend it. There's a better way. I promise. It's called living within a budget and purchasing with a plan in mind. I'm so excited about the show that we are producing because one thing I will be helping moms with is achieving financial peace. Getting some money and then running out to spend it is no way to live!

Now I know better--avoid Wal-Mart on the first of the month!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Get Naked!

My boys were in desperate need of new bunk beds, so I did what any average mom who's trying to stay within a budget would do. I searched for used furniture on Craigslist.com. I needed two matching sets because I have three boys that bunk together and enough stuffed animals to comprise an entire bed. After realizing I would never find two matching USED pieces, I begrudgingly ordered two overpriced sets of bunk beds online. I was so disappointed when I got them because they were missing several pieces, so I sent them back.

I then (begrudgingly, again) ordered two more sets, slightly higher priced. When I received them, three pieces were broken! I wanted to cry! I had already sold their old furniture. My boys were sleeping on the floor. And here I was out MORE money with broken furniture. So I sent them back. If furniture can't stand up to shipping, how in the heck are they going to stand up to three rowdy boys?!

My friend was over when I opened these boxes and witnessed my breakdown. She's the awesome kind of friend who doesn't let you bellyache. She just comes up with a solution. So, she handed me my purse and sent me down the street to the naked furniture store (you know, unfinished solid wood furniture. I just like saying, "naked.").

In less than twenty minutes, I walked in the store, found two matching bunk beds that had actually been finished, and bought them for LESS than what one set had cost me online. It is solid wood and I'm supporting my local community. I feel good and the boys are, finally, off the floor.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Pouty Dance

Kenna, like most two-year-olds, has become quite a strong-willed child. Whenever something doesn't go her way, she has started doing what we have coined, "the pouty dance." I would put a video up, but my kids were using my Flip camera and I have no idea where it is (and, surprisingly, they don't know either). Hopefully, I can uncover it and post a video soon. I have a strange feeling that when the older girls get all the junk off their floor, a Flip will emerge.

Anyway, the pouty dance is one heck of a foot stomper. She starts crying and her feet stomp back and forth so it looks like she's dancing. Maybe we'll see a video soon.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

R. U. Funkey?

I had no idea what U.B. Funkeys were until they showed up in the mail on Monday. It was my son's birthday (Kyler) and I think he was more excited about the U.B. Funkeys that showed up than he was about his own birthday presents. They are so cool! They are little characters that you buy and a starter kit that you hook up to your PC. In just seconds you are having fun with your Funkeys. Just log on and there is a whole internet world that they can explore. You can travel around, decorate your room, play games, buy stuff, and much more.

I never knew just how FUNKEY my boys were. Kyler even used his Target gift card that he got for his birthday to buy yet another U.B. Funkey. Wow! They are addictive. And the coolest thing about it is that my kids are entertained on the computer in a safe, fun, and funkey environment.

So, now I have a question for YOU!
R. U. Funkey?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kyler turns TWELVE!

I can't believe it. Kyler is already twelve! We had a birthday party here, and he got a real Indiana Jones hat and a leather whip to accessorize. The boy is officially Indiana Jones crazy! He's been out cracking the whip all morning (literally!).

During the party, I realized that I was short one candle. How could I do that? It wasn't enough that he had to suffer with used pink and purple Barbie birthday candles (yes, I recycle them), but now he only had eleven of them! So, I did some fast thinking and stuck a french fry in there and lit it--it actually burned!! Can you believe it?

So I guess Kyler turned eleven and a fry...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday Morning Motivators--where have they gone?

Okay, I know, I know. I'm so sorry that I haven't been able to put out a weekly "Monday Morning Motivator" lately. It has been a bit crazy here because we are gearing up for production of our brand new PBS show, "Hannah, Help Me!" It's very exciting because I'm going to be doing a two-day makeover on a mom in a few weeks. But it's not your typical makeover. It's an "inside out" makeover where we roll up our sleeves and leave no stone unturned--home, family, health, money, everything! It's going to be awesome!

But, please forgive me and my lack of newsletters. I'll get right on it!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Camp Rock!

As most of you know, my oldest girls are Jonas Brothers fans (Obsessive Jonas Disorder to the extreme). So, of course, tonight we were all tuned in to the Disney channel to watch the premiere of "Camp Rock." We even bought the party pack and made a cake for the occasion--complete with a guitar painted out of red icing!

So, we'll just put it this way. Some sing, some act, some do one or the other. Some--and Disney found a way to scope them out--can't do either one.

But, that's just a mom talking. The kids loved the movie and they licked the cake pan clean! Overall, it was a success! I guess I'm going to be listening to that soundtrack for a very looooong time...

What do you think?

Nine Unarguable Truths? What do you think!

I came across this list through an e-mail, and LOVE it! It really makes you stop and think about how important you really are. People love you, people trust you--let's give them our very best. I would love to hear your thoughts on it:

Nine Unarguable Truths

1) There are at least 2 people in this world that you would die for.

2) At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

3) The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.

4) A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don’t like you.

5) Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

6) You mean the world to at least 3 other people.

7) Someone that you don’t even know exists, trusts you.

8) When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.

9) When you think the world has turned its back on you, take another look because what you see may surprise you.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Polly Rocks!

My daughters have always been big fans of Polly Pocket. Secretly, I've been a closet fan myself. Klara never has to twist my arm to play with her and her Pollies. We got the Polly pool the other day and my son had a blast putting it together for Klara and Kenna. He even had a great time playing with it, too. He took it to the pool under the guise of bringing it along for Klara and Kenna, but he was hanging out near the edge of the pool playing with the girls. If a 10-year-old boy can enjoy playing with Polly Pockets, then you KNOW it's addictive!

Polly also has a cool birthday contest going on. If your daughter (or SON) sends Polly a birthday party invitation Polly will send her (or him) a personalized birthday card on their birthday, and she (or he) will automatically be entered to win the ENTIRE line of 2008 Polly Pocket toys. One girl (...or boy?) will be selected each month from now till the end of the year. I just wanted to pass this info along to my fellow Polly lovers.

Here's Polly's address (given her small size, I can see how she lives in a box)


Polly Pocket
P.O. Box 877
New York, NY 10108

Friday, June 13, 2008

splashing at the pool

I was filming the kids at the pool and Katie--with her mile-long hair--came out of the water and threw her hair to the back. Korben was coming up behind her to get her with his water gun, but unbeknownst to Katie, she got him first!

refreshing energy!

When summer's heat is bearing down, the last thing I want is to make a cup of coffee in the middle of the day. But, sometimes I just need that quick pick-me-up (especially when it's time to read to the kids which will immediately put me in sleep mode if I am the least bit tired).

Yesterday, I grabbed a Cranenergy drink (by Oceanspray) and it was the perfect solution! It didn't have a bunch of calories, was refreshingly delicious, and had just enough green tea and B vitamins to help me keep going through the day.

It looks like my coffee maker may just have the summer off.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Snap! Crackle! Pop!

I had forgotten how much fun cereal could be. The other day, my kids were begging me for some Rice Crispie treats, so I bought a box. Since I had some left over, I let my youngest child, Kenna, have a bowl of Rice Crispies for breakfast the next day.

When I poured the milk in, she bent her ear over the bowl and said, "What's that?" It was so cute! The memories flooded back of sitting at the breakfast table when I was a little girl, listening to the snap! crackle! and pop! Ahh...music to my ears!

Who knew breakfast could be so much fun?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Book Burning

Summer is officially here! Karis asked if he could burn his math book (his most despised subject in school), so we had a campfire tonight. And, yes, I let him burn his book. Of course, I had to deliver a message about how books are to be treasured, but it didn't matter much as he stood there by the fire with an evil glint in his fourth grade--oops--fifth grade eye.


Girls Night In!

Every now and then, I have a "girls night in" with my two teenage daughters, Kelsey and Katie. Last night, we all snuggled into our pajamas, headed down to the basement, and watched "27 Dresses." It was such a great time! By the way, we all had on our Hatley pajamas (www.hatleystore.com). They are, hands down, the most comfortable PJs I have ever put on my body (and the girls agree)! We love them. As a matter of fact, I would probably live in them all summer if I could. Come to think about it--I think I will!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Broken Coin Rides

We went out to eat yesterday and there were some coin-operated rides outside the restaurant. Well, of course, the little ones pitched a holy fit to ride them so I put them on the merry-go-round, stuck three quarters in the slot and the darn thing wouldn't start! Instead of disappointing the kids with a cheap-o broken ride, I told the bigger kids to push it around and sing songs.

Yes, they did it. Those are some wonderful big sisters!

The funniest part of it all were the odd looks we kept getting from the people passing by. It was hysterical. Check out the video.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Goggle Issues

Yipee! Can you hear me screaming for joy all the way from Virginia? I just wrapped up the school year with the kiddos and it's off to the pool for the summer! I love the summer because everything slows down, warms up, and lets loose. We probably spend at least five days a week at the pool and it never gets old. The coolest thing about it is that our community is relatively small and the pool is never crowded. As a matter of fact, most days we have it all to ourselves.

This was a video I took of our first day there. I went by Target and picked up goggles for everyone (and TONS of sunblock). Even though she is two, Kenna didn't want to be left out, so she got some goggles, too. Here she is trying to put them on. She was definitely having some issues!



Saturday, May 24, 2008

Computer Protection

Like most of you, I basically live off of my computer. I keep up with my bank accounts, I store priceless photos, and also archive all of my video footage. When my computer got a virus two years ago and totally crashed, I was devastated! All of the poems that I write, six months of photos, gone!

That's one reason I was so stoked to see software that protects my computer. Norton 360 Version 2.0 makes it easy to keep a watch on our computers. It uses updated antivirus, firewall, antispyware, and intrusion protections. Also, the new version includes antiphishing security, which protects from identity theft. And, as an added plus for us computer challenged, it is even more user friendly. Now I can enjoy my computer--feeling safe and secure because good ole Norton has got my back! You've got to check this out!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Your Kid is NOT on American Idol

What is wrong with dance moms? I don't get it. My daughter, Klara, had her very first dance recital this evening and I was completely flabbergasted (that word is not used nearly enough) at the high-strung, freaked-out moms that were there. I walked in to a room that was clouded with hairspray, with tiny little mini-women running around (four-year-olds with lipstick and mascara! And don't even try to convince me that it shows up better on stage)

And the moms? Glory be! (that phrase is not used nearly enough as well) Some were very calm and kind, but then there were some that were totally over the top. One was hollering at her daughter to quit playing with the other girls because her curls would fall out! Another was yelling at her daughter for messing up her makeup! And then there was that mom in the corner with her daughter crying uncontrollably who was threatening her by saying, "Shut up or I'll take your butt home."

What is the deal?

First of all, these are little girls who are dancing. Remember what dance is? It's an artistic expression! Hello?! Expression! Not perfection!

Second of all, this is NOT American Idol. It's a local dance recital. Simon is not waiting in the audience to critique your little cutie. And she is cute. She is precious and beautiful--no matter if she has curls in her hair or not. So CHILL!

Thank you so much for letting me vent.

More Barbie Haircuts!

Klara has passed along her affinity for cutting Barbie hair to her little sister (as if Kenna wasn't dangerous enough with a pair of scissors in her hand). They were both sitting outside today cutting MORE Barbie hair. All of our Barbies now look like they tried to save money by getting free haircuts at the local beauty school--SCARY!

Hair Dos (and Don'ts)

I caught Klara trying to style Kenna's hair yesterday. This video is so funny for two reason--first, you can still see the spot where Kenna tried her hand at trimming her own bangs. And second, she didn't want to sit still long enough to get her hair done.

Ahh, sisters. You gotta love it!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Napping with Oscar

We have a Yorkie named Oscar that thinks he is one of the kids. Whenever the kids are sleeping, he is right there with them. He is definitely part of the pack. I came through the living room the other day, and Kenna was sleeping on the sofa. And who was curled up right at her bottom? Oscar. Check out the vid.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Kenna and her Scissors!

If you read my latest Monday Morning Motivator, you will know about the recent love affair that Kenna has with scissors (cutting receipts, schoolwork, the poor cat's hair...). I took a video of her at the table tonight using her scissors and you can get a good shot of the chunk she took out of her bangs...SO BEAUTIFUL!..and so funny!

By the way, if you haven't signed up to get my Monday Morning Motivators, then what's stopping you? It's free, fun, and all of us can use a little motivation on Monday mornings. Just go to my website, www.totalmom.com, and subscribe.

Wild Animal Crunch

I was sent a box of Wild Animal Crunch to sample, and I have to admit--my kids loved it. It was pretty yummy and had a bunch of cool animal information all over the box (my kids' favorite part). I guess that's what you get when Kellogg's and Animal Planet put their heads together. The only thing I didn't like about it was that sugar was the second ingredient. I wouldn't serve it to my children for breakfast, but it does make a great snack when you need to grab something and go. As a matter of fact, I got the package about thirty minutes before I had to leave the house and take the kids to soccer practice. I took the cereal with me and it was all gone before we left the field.

A Hummus Party

I made a big batch of hummus today (as I usually do on the weekends) and my two little girls, Klara and Kenna, had their own little "hummus party." It was so cute! They wanted some hummus on bread, but Klara wanted to make it herself. So I put some hummus in two ramekins and gave them plastic knives and bread. I never knew it would be so much fun for them to spread it on and enjoy the final product, but they had a great time. They felt so grown up! Check it out!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Keeley Campfire

We have lots of campfires around here. As a matter of fact, I think a certain percentage of my children's diet is comprised of marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. On this particular evening, my son, Kyler, did the campfire all by himself! I think it was a rite of passage for him. I handed down the official poker to my eldest son. May he carry the torch with pride!

Bar Soap and a Trampoline--Woo Hoo!

It was warm and sunny today, so my older girls and a friend decided to soak the trampoline and cover it in bar soap! (I would say, "where do they get these crazy ideas...but I think I know!!). It was so funny because they were sliding all over the place. I love that no matter how old they get, there is always fun for fun's sake. I hope enough of us are getting our daily dose of it.

Also, thanks for your patience. My blog was not working correctly for a while, but I think we got the bugs figured out. Stick around because I will be loading new vids over the week.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Just a Swingin'

I love what children teach us--just to let go and love life!

The other day I was pushing Kenna in her swing and Klara was in front of her making her laugh by grabbing her feet whenever she would swing near her face. The infectious laughter of Kenna made me stop and think that, really, that's all we need to do.

If we can learn to be barefoot more often, swing as high as the sky, play with others, and laugh, then that's pretty much a success!

Klara's Very Confused Dance Class

As many of you already know, Klara is the typical girly-girl. If it's pink, frilly, or has little ballerina on it, then her vote is "yes!" She pressured me for dance lessons and I finally gave in several months ago. They have been practicing for their recital, which will be in a month or so, and last week the moms got to go in and see them run through their performance.

It was hysterical!

First of all, Klara takes this VERY seriously. She was chosen as the line leader because she does not mess around! (she's the one all the way to the left of the screen). Just seeing all of those little tiny girls together trying to make some order out of what could only be translated as mass confusion was so precious and so funny all at the same time.

Fortunately I had my video camera in my bag. Check it out!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Silly Sisters

Yesterday I stuck Kenna in the kitchen sink to take a bath after she was covered in dirt from gardening (if you missed yesterday's post, you've got to check it out. She started falling asleep on a bag of mulch!). She was playing in the stream of water coming from the faucet and started squirting her sister, Klara. It was so funny! Check out the video.

Hey, it's just water, and I needed to mop anyway!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dozing off on a bag of mulch!!

It was a beautiful day here in Virginia, so of course I had to get outside and do some spring gardening. As a firm believer in giving kids plenty of fresh air and sunshine, I had them outside with me working away. They were raking, picking up sticks, spreading mulch, you name it. Even Kenna, my little two-year-old was getting in to the action. However, her idea of helping out was to grab big handfuls of mulch and throw it in the yard!

In the middle of working away on the garden I looked over and Kenna had curled up on a bag of mulch! It was absolutely adorable! Fortunately, I had my video camera close by and caught her dozing off on the mulch. I guess it was her own way of "connecting to the earth." She was so filthy and so beautiful. I'm sure you moms out there know what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Very Strange Nephews

Two of my nephews (I have a slew of them) were outside playing after we had our traditional Easter egg hunt. By the way, there are so many cousins that we had to divide them all into four different age groups! No kidding! Anyway, they started riding on each other shoulders which quickly turned into the idea of grabbing Grandma's nightgown to make it look like they were one big person. Sound strange? It is. Take a look.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Gi-normous Family

I just returned from Easter vacation. We went to see my family--my huge family. We are southern to the core. We like to laugh, we like to eat, and we love to be together! There were so many kids dying Easter eggs that they had to go in shifts. Girls went first, of course! I reached for my video camera when things were beginning to settle down a little bit in the kitchen. Believe it or not, this is when things were calm. I just thought it would be neat to catch a video of my family doing what they do best--hanging out. I love coming home to visit. We all just fall right back in step together. There is nothing in this world better than family!



Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kelsey's Driving Lesson

I thought I would never see the day when I would be teaching my children how to drive--but the day has come. With great fear and trepidation, we took to the streets yesterday. It was hilarious!

When she finally learned the difference between the brake pedal and the gas pedal, I knew we were well on the road to success. She is doing a great job, really. But it's so funny how it reminded me of my own driving lesson. My mom let me get behind the wheel of our old Volkswagon bug, and it was a stick shift! Watching my mom lurch back and forth in the passenger seat was almost too much to take. I was dying laughing. I could hardly see the road for the tears in my eyes!

Ah, the memories...they're all coming back to me.

Licking the Bowl

Kenna, Klara and I made a batch of chocolate chip bars--awesome recipe and so easy. I'll make sure it gets on the website next week. As usual, they enjoyed licking the bowl after I put the batter in the pan...Okay, okay, we ALL enjoyed licking the bowl.

I'm so glad I haven't grown out of good old cookie dough. After all, I'm pretty sure that's the best part of baking cookies.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Korben's Wild Wagon Ride

My two youngest boys got in my purse today and pulled out the little video camera that I carry around with me. I was holding my baby inside when I heard a shriek, followed by peals of laughter from both boys.

'This could be either very bad or very good,' I thought.

They came running in with my camera and said, "Check it out, Mama!" They could hardly talk because of laughing so hard. Korben, my little daredevil, was taking a wild ride in the wagon and Karis was there to capture it all on video.

You have GOT to check this out!


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Jonas Brothers Concert

I took Kelsey, Katie, and a friend to the Jonas Brothers concert and it was absolutely crazy! Imagine 8000 screaming maniacal girls in one place. I still don't understand what the insane attraction is, but I'm there with him all the way. We even arrived two hours early to stand outside and shiver in the cold. My oldest wouldn't even put on her sweatshirt because it would hide her Jo Bros T-shirt!

Here's how I know I'm old:
They screamed when Jo Jonas slid across the floor.
I wondered how his skin-tight pants didn't rip.
They screamed when Nick Jonas tore his sleeves off.
I wondered if his mama sewed velcro on the seams.
They screamed when Kevin Jonas spun around with his guitar.
I wondered if he ever got nauseas.

After the concert, we descended from the nosebleed section and wandered the halls, sneaking in and out of doorways hoping to catch a peek of the action. We ran into Valora, the band that opened for the Jonas Brothers and they were so nice! It really put the cherry on top.

No, I'll probably never understand the fascination but I understand my daughters. I'll be there to ride the wave with them. They definitely have a serious case of OJD (Obsessive Jonas Disorder)!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hubby's Wrinkles

I was bemoaning my wrinkles yesterday and my husband and I started playing around in the kitchen, pretending to de-wrinkle our faces. This is what happens when you have seven kids and you don't have any money for actual entertainment like movies and date nights. Instead, you smush your faces around, have your kids video tape it, and call it fun.

Here's me de-wrinkling my husband's face. Who needs botox?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Kenna finds my $$$$ lotion

I'm not usually one for the pricey stuff. If Wal-mart or Target doesn't sell it, then you can forget it. I was in New York last week and indulged in a tiny little 1/4 oz bottle of nice, thick, indulgent lotion to carry in my purse.

I guess I should have known better.

It wasn't four hours after I got home that Kenna got in my purse and pulled out the lotion. And, subsequently rubbed it all over her face and hands (and hair, and dress, and feet...).

Back to my old philosophy. If you don't want it messed with then it doesn't belong in your home. Ahhh, the family home. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Rockefeller Center

I flew up to New York the other day to be on the Today show. It was a lot of fun. I got to discuss "Momnesia," the incidence when a new mother feels totally forgetful and scatterbrained (which is me, 87% of the time). I actually called my husband after talking with one of the producers and asked him, "Honey, can you help me remember a time when I was forgetful?" He just laughed. What kind of question is THAT?

I had some time before getting picked up to go to the airport and I thought I would check out the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center (that's where NBC studio is). There were a few people skating on the rink, but one man in particular caught my eye. He was an older man, and walked very slowly to the rink, as if age had definitely taken a toll on him. He seemed to struggle with his skates a bit and the entire time I'm thinking, 'I'm going to have to run out there and drag that poor old man off the ice!'

But when his feet touched the ice it was as if something magical happened. He didn't just skate, he skated beautifully. He was truly in his element and it was hypnotic to watch him on the ice.

I feel like that at home. When I'm off in New York I feel like a fish out of water, gasping for breath. I was invited to go to the Caribbean with some friends but the thought of leaving home felt like I was going to prison. Doing laundry, cooking meals, bathing kids, some would say it was drudgery. But I have found my element. It's called home.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Baby Einstein Rocks!

There are a few names a mom just knows and loves. "Baby Einstein" is one of them. At a time when everyone and their brother jumps on the kid-friendly production wagon, churning out videos upon videos for kids and preying off of every mom's fear that she is not doing enough for her child, it's nice to know there is a name you can trust.

I recently had the pleasure of trying out a Baby Einstein video. Although I would normally never recommend television viewing for a baby, sometimes it's just nice for new moms to take a breather every now and then. Baby Einstein is just perfect for that. It doesn't just occupy a baby's time, but it engages them and sets the stage for some great learning. It's something I can feel good about. And leave it up to Baby Einstein to give me something I can trust in.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I love you, you love me...

Now all seven of my children have officially gone through a "Barney" phase. My youngest, Kenna, just discovered Barney and is in love. Her favorite song is "I love you, you love me." As a matter of fact, when she wants to watch it, she says, "More I love me?" It's so cute!

I got an adorable video of her singing with me so check it out.

Oh, by the way, the reason more videos weren't loaded this week is because my camera was broken. Or at least I thought it was broken. My husband put in new batteries and, what do you know, it works!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Baby Einstein Rocks!

There are a few names a mom just knows and loves. "Baby Einstein" is one of them. At a time when everyone and their brother jumps on the kid-friendly production wagon, churning out videos upon videos for kids and preying off of every mom's fear that she is not doing enough for her child, it's nice to know there is a name you can trust.

I recently had the pleasure of trying out a Baby Einstein video. Although I would normally never recommend television viewing for a baby, sometimes it's just nice for new moms to take a breather every now and then. Baby Einstein is just perfect for that. It doesn't just occupy a baby's time, but it engages them and sets the stage for some great learning. It's something I can feel good about. And leave it up to Baby Einstein to give me something I can trust in.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Barbie Gets a Haircut


I remember when as a little girl, I always wanted to cut my dolls' hair (and did so on several occasions). One time in particular stands out in my mind. I was outside with my mama's good scissors, hacking away at my Barbie doll's hair. What started out as long, cascading waves soon became a hairdo that resembled Sergeant Carter on "Gomer Pyle USMC." I was terrified that I was going to get chastised by my mama, so I stuck the doll's head in my dog's mouth to cover it with a nice layer of dog spit and then proceeded to explain to my mom that Doodie (yes, that was the name of our dog) chewed up my Barbie doll's head. I was a great actor, even going to the extreme of faking tears.

Today I walked outside on the back porch and found Klara giving her doll a new 'do. I laughed to myself and complemented on her talent. I then ran to get my camera. The haircuts, the coloring on the wall, the spills, messes, and stains--it's just all part of this beautiful thing called life. The greatest gift we can give our kids is not how to keep out of trouble, but how to take chances and make mistakes...kind of like this Barbie's haircut! Check out the video:



Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hubby Does the Laundry

I was away in New York City yesterday, and my husband, Blair, was kind enough to do four loads of laundry as a surprise for me. When you've been married as long as I have and have as many kids as we do, that's about as big of a surprise as you could ask for. But let me clarify what Blair considers "doing laundry." It goes a little like this:

wash clothes
dry clothes
dump clothes

I came home to find four loads of clean laundry dumped on the floor at the foot of our bed (waiting for me that mysterious someone to come and fold them; aka, me). I was way too tired to fold last night and just crashed in the bed. This morning, after I got out of the shower, I heard Klara and Kenna playing in my bedroom. I caught them making "clothes angels"--(imagine snow angels, minus the snow, add the laundry). It was hilarious! Fortunately, I caught them on video.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

There's Something About Boys

My boys are so strange. But, in talking with other moms, I hear it's pretty normal for boys to communicate with punching, wrestling, and strange grunting noises. They were playing around in the kitchen tonight and I just happened to have my camera within reach. The funniest part of the entire video is that Kyler, my oldest, was eating a bowl of cereal. He doesn't even stop eating at the end of the video when Karis was wailing on him from behind. Hilarious!

Kenna Takes to the Stairs

The baby gates have all been taken down. My logic is that if she can figure out how to scale the outside of the staircase and slip herself through the rails to climb up, then she is ready to officially go up and down the staircase. This is the most difficult part of motherhood, whether our kids are two or twenty, it's letting them venture out and take risks, letting them try their wings.

We pour our lives into our children and then comes the time when we just have to let go. Seeing my little baby walk up and down the stairs by herself makes me cringe, just dropping off my son to go rock climbing with the youth group at church. It doesn't matter what it is, just the fact that I'm not there holding on. I'm the one that's not ready for the challenge, not my kids. I just have to let go and pray. God is good isn't He?

But back to Kenna. She is so excited about climbing up and down the stairs that she does it constantly. She has also begun a cute little thing (nerve wracking for me) of stopping halfway up and down and singing a little song. I guess she is singing the praises of her newfound independence.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Anyone for FREE Fruit Roll-Ups?

I usually go au naturale when it comes to snacks for my kids, but we live in the real world and they can't live in a bubble. I try to live in moderation, and I have found some pretty cool solutions for the usual sugar-filled events, like parties and celebrations.

My son was signed up to bring snacks for his basketball game next Saturday, and I quickly found out that organic raisins and water bottles do not go over too well. But I have to draw the line at sugar and salt overload. I got the opportunity to try out some free "personalized" fruit roll-ups, so I figured it would be a great snack for the basketball game. I got on the website and found I actually enjoyed the whole experience. First you get to pick out a design (or make your own) and then personalize it with a message (even down to the font and letter size). My son picked out a basketball player and then wrote the message, "GREG'S TEAM RULES!" (Greg is his coach). He is so excited about receiving it in the mail. I'm definitely going to be at the game to catch the team's reaction when they open up their fruit roll-ups.

So, anyway, back to the whole FREE thing. Here's the deal. These personalized roll-ups are great ideas for party favors, so I want to hear some clever party ideas. Think creatively! Anything that saves money is a great starter. Send me your clever party ideas and I'm going to post the three best ideas on my website and I'm also giving those three people a FREE order of personalized fruit roll-ups (a $30 dollar value). Don't worry. You get to personalize them, not me... Isn't that cool?! So send me those ideas!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bathtime in the Kitchen Sink

It was a warm day today, so Kenna not only enjoyed a kitchen sink bath but she enjoyed it with a nice breeze blowing in the window. I had to stick her in the sink because she was covered with bread dough (she likes to help me knead whenever I make bread). Her big sister was outside on the back porch and she was enjoying chatting with her. It was soooo cute!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

My Strange Son, Kyler

I just had to post this video for everyone to enjoy. My daughter, Klara, loves Strawberry Shortcake, and this is her favorite song. However, this is Kyler performing it...
Very strange indeed. But, hey, it's my family.

The Froose is Loose

I received some Froose juice drink (it comes in those little aseptic boxes) for my kids to try out. First off, I thought, "so what, another packaged juice for the kids...big whoop!" Personally, my kids don't drink juice that much. I figure, it doesn't have any enzymes, no fiber, why not just have water? However, I took a closer look at the box and was surprised when it promoted the fiber of whole grains. Now, that's something I can totally get into.

I let the kids try out the Froose, and was surprised at how much they enjoyed it. I felt like a bartender, cutting them off after a couple of boxes. I found out later that the inventor of Froose was a mom like me, very disgruntled at the food industry and how they market to kids and parents. She decided to invent a juice that contained fiber, so it wouldn't be just empty calories.

Way to go, Mama! I like your style! Check out their website for more information.
www.froose.com

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Go Fly a Kite!

Totally was soooo windy. I told the kids to put away their schoolbooks, and we went to the park to fly kites. Of course, we needed kites so that meant a trip to Target to pick up kites. Target officially wins the "piece o' poop" kite award! About thirty minutes in and Bionicle's string has been tied and retied about seven times and Barbie was a rumpled mass of string and plastic flapping behind my son (yes, he had the Barbie kite. His rational was that he was helping his sister. I think he just liked to see a hot blonde beating the wind). It was so funny! The kids were laughing as hard as I was. All in all, it was a perfect day, a true accomplishment. Who says all learning has to take place in school? Life is an education.

And I learned something: Don't buy kites at Target.

Check out the video. Oh, and if you're wondering why Kenna has a pink moustache, it's because she got into my lip stain...again!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mardi Gras!!

Today is Mardi Gras, and we definitely did the Fat Tuesday thing here in the Keeley home. We ate veggie muffalettas and red beans and rice with a king cake for dessert. I always hide the baby in the cake for one of the kids to find, and this year the lucky recipient was Kenna Keeley. However, she wasn't too sure why a plastic baby was stuck inside her cake.

We also listened to some awesome music straight out of New Orleans. One of the songs was too cool. I decided that the title of it has got to be my new philosophy. It was called, "Funkify Your Life." So, if you're not getting funky, it's never too late to do so.

Check out the video of Kenna and her king cake:

Sunday, February 3, 2008

More JONAPHOBIA!!

My two oldest girls (13 and 14) are insane over the Jonas Brothers. It's gotten to a dangerous level of obsession! Personally, I know way more random trivia about the Jonas Brothers than I feel comfortable admitting...

Am I alone in this or are there other moms with obsessed daughters? Nick, Joe, and Kevin are becoming a part of the family and I haven't even met their mom yet. Hmmm, weird.

The other day they were making a youtube video of them dancing to a Jo Bros song (wow, how original!), and I popped in to it just to embarrass them. It didn't work--they still posted it Check it out:

Friday, February 1, 2008

Hannah Montana and the Jo Bros!

I took the girls and their friends to see the Hannah Montana/Jonas Brothers concert movies in 3-D tonight. Holy Smokes!! I've never seen so many screaming girls packed in one movie theater. The girls ended up hoarse from screaming so much, and I lost my voice because I laughed my rear end off!! It was hilarious to see such an example of puberty overload. I think I'm beginning to get a case of Jonaphobia.
Anyone else out there in the same sitch?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to Kenna

I'm sure you are guessing by now, but this family has a LOT of birthdays in January: three to be exact. We celebrated the last of the January birthdays today. Kenna turned TWO! It was an awesome day. Katie made a huge chocolate brownie cake for her. She doubled her favorite brownie recipe and stuck peppermint patties between the two layers--delicious!! Kenna's favorite thing in the whole world is candy, which she calls "num num." She knew she would get some on her birthday, so whenever someone would ask her how old she was, she would answer, "num num." Some people get old, some people eat candy. I guess that's just the way it is. She was playing with lipstick this morning, and decided to leave us a surprise birthday message. Check out the video.



Out of all of the presents she received, her favorite one of all was a battery-operated bubble blower that I got at Target for $1.99. Isn't that always the way it is? She only wanted Daddy to blow the bubbles at first, but eventually she got the hang of it and was playing with it forever (until we finally convinced her to get in the bath and play with her new plastic boat). All in all, the day was a blast. I love birthdays...it's just the getting older part that I can't stand. Here's a video of her playing with her new bubble blower.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Old Navy Coats On Sale

I stopped by Old Navy the other day and saw that their winter coats were marked down. I mean, really marked down. The $68 coats were $9.99. As any smart mom would do, I loaded up! I bought six coats for us to use next winter and the rest of this winter. Four of them for my oldest daughters. They were very excited to see them, but Kelsey, not wanting to share, put on three of the coats at one time and decided to try to escape with them. I found her in the kitchen dancing with all three coats on and zipped up. I caught her before she had a heat stroke.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

White Boys Can't Rap!

At the dinner table tonight, my two oldest boys thought they were fly enough to rap...It was pretty scary. T-Pain would cringe!! Check it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Katie is a Teenager!

Today is Katie's birthday, and she turned thirteen! It seems like last week she was wandering around the house in her plastic high heels, Barbie underwear, with one of my old handbags thrown over her shoulder, stuffed full of her very necessary toys and pretend makeup. Thirteen has always been a very special birthday around here, and I've been planning her gift for a long time. She got a yorkie puppy--something she has always wanted, but never voiced because she knew the rule of "no indoor pets" was iron clad.

Okay, so I bent the rules a little bit.

It's not everyday a special little lady becomes a teenager. Now instead of pretend makeup in her bag, she can carry around her yorkie!!

Check out the video of when she got her gift:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Snow Baseball!

I can't believe it...it actually snowed here. Okay, so it only lasted for 20 minutes, but it still snowed! The kids immediately ran outside (so much for homeschooling), and decided to start up a game of snow baseball. Check it out.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Wigglin' and Jigglin"

Every family has one--a crazy kid that will do absolutely everything, push every button, drive you crazy, and make you laugh your rear end off the entire time. Mine is Korben (we call him Kubby). He turned six last week--check out the blog video of him blowing out his trick candles. Today, he was clowning around in the kitchen and my husband had the video camera out. He then threw together a clip that is absolutely hysterical! Watch it. It's sooo funny.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Kenna Playing a Tune

My oldest daughters have taken years of piano, and they play often. Today, Kenna decided to try her hand at playing. I was working in the office (typing up an article on Carbon Monoxide--make sure you check it out on the website!), and she came in and started playing a song and singing along. Of course, I had my Flip video camera close by me, so I got to catch most of it. Check it out!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy Birthday to Korben!

Korben turned six today. I can't believe it! When one of the kids has a birthday, I always let them choose where they want to go out to eat. So, of course, we all headed out to Chuck E. Cheese today (or as we call it, The Chucksters). By the way, if you haven't been there in a while, Chuck is looking mighty fine as always. He's a little stiff in the joints, but I think it's because age is creeping up on him. Helen Henny was also looking fine in her cheerleading outfit (I have a sneaky suspicion that she and Pasqualey have something going on. He is one chef that definitely has a thing for chicken, if you know what I mean). I am a bit concerned about Munch--the big, fat, purple thing that plays the keyboard. He kept one eye shut during all of the performances. He either has a really bad eye infection or was just flirting with me. I'm not sure which. Jasper Jowls still only knows how to play one chord on his guitar. How did he ever make it in show business? I guess he and Ashley Simpson have the same agent. But anyway, enough about Chuck E. Cheese. Now, for Korben!!

Korben had a fantastic time. He was deliriously happy and ran like a wild man from game to game. All of the kids contributed their tickets at the end of our adventure and bought gifts for him. Never has a boy been so happy about a glow-in-the-dark lizard and a flimsy coloring book!! He was definitely living high on the hog!

As a surprise, my mother-in-law bought trick candles that keep burning after you blow them out. It was so funny watching him keep blowing and blowing! He had a blast. We all did! It's funny, really. Kids don't need a lot to make them happy. He had his family. Some cake. a few presents. And, of course, the Chucksters. What more could a six-year-old boy want? Check out the video of Korben blowing out his candles. It's so funny!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Spinach Lasagna!

Yummy! I love lasagna. It's also a great way to sneak veggies into your kids' diet. You can easily grate carrots, zukes, and eggplant and stick them in between layers. They will never know that they are actually eating a healthy food! Last night, I made lasagna and put spinach in between the layers. However, instead of using chopped, cooked spinach like I usually do, I just layered leaves of fresh spinach. It didn't go over too well with the youngest--Kenna. This was Kenna when she began eating her dinner. She loved it!



Here is Kenna when she took a closer look and found huge leaves of dark green soggy spinach in her bowl.




Oh, well. You win some. You lose some.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

It was a beautiful day here in Virginia. I managed to find some t-shirts and shorts buried deep in the kids' drawers and we all headed outside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine (after we finished the schoolwork, of course).

We played on the swing set, tossed the football, and jumped on the trampoline. I heard Karis, my 9-year-old, teaching Kenna how to sing, "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes." It was so cute that I thought I would share it with my friends.



I hope you are lucky enough to have a nice, warm day strike unexpectedly. If you do, make sure you get out and enjoy it! I'll end this blog with one of my very favorite poems:

I Meant To Do My Work Today

by Richard LeGallienne

I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.
And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand,
So what could I do but laugh and go?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Beating the Post-Christmas Blues

My husband considers January 1st as the worst day in the calendar. That's because he loves Christmas and he hates saying "goodbye" to his favorite holiday. It's truly pathetic, seeing his sad face as he wraps up the Christmas ornaments and kisses them goodbye for an entire year.

This year, in an attempt to chase away the post-holiday blues, I decided to take the family ice skating. They were falling all over the place! But, finally, they got the hang of it (if you can consider taking tiny little baby steps as "getting the hang of it"). Klara, my four-year-old girl, and Korben, my five-year-old boy, loved skating together. There was one time that Korben took off and left Klara. She wasn't too fond of that little maneuver. Fortunately, I was there watching the whole thing and brought along my Flip camera to record it all. Check it out!



I hope all of you are finding some great ways to chase away the post-holiday blues. I'd love to hear them! Also, just to let you in on one of my resolutions. I've decided to become a much better blogger (posting at least three times a week). Please, friends, hold me to it. If I start to lag, let me know. We're all in this together!