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:

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!!

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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!).

video

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...

video

Part II: Korben turns into a knight...

video

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

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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.

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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!

video

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).

video

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!!!

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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).

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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.

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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.



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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!

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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!

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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.


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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!

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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.

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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!



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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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. video

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!

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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!

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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!
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