The Ice Cube Alarm Clock

September 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Tips and Tricks

One of my biggest concerns about Ethan starting Kindergarten was our morning schedule. I wasn’t worried about getting the kids up in time, I was concerned that my habit of hitting the snooze alarm… repeatedly… for as long as an hour… would make us all late. My solution was the Ice Cube Alarm clock. I told the boys that when they wake up they can get 1 ice cube and use it to get me out of bed. If you’re looking for an effective way to get both your kids and yourself up and moving in the morning, this is it.

On a  typical morning I now wake when I hear footstep hurrying down the stairs.  If that doesn’t bring me out of dreamland, the sound of the ice maker dispensing a cube certainly does.  I then pretend to sleep while I wait for the cube.  Luckily the boys haven’t caught on to the entertainment value of putting the cube down my shirt and usually go for an arm or a foot.  They’re so funny and cute when they do this that I really don’t mind at all and it sures makes them happy to get up.  The only problems we’ve had is that it is now a race to see who will get me first.  I think I will change the rules and tell them they EACH need to get a cube and wake me at the same time.

The only other rules we have is that they have to be quiet (which is easy since they prefer the sneak attack) and they are NOT allowed to do this to mom or their sister.  Their uncle, however,  is fair game whenever he sleeps over.

Chicken tree and now climbing tree!

September 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Chickens, Our Life

I don’t actually like this but Ethan has found a new tree to climb in our yard (its a big tree can you spot him?). Its the big blue spruce in our front yard that the chickens have made their second home. Ethan followed the chickens under it one day and discovered that he likes climbing it. I thought the branches were too thin and too prickery but he climbs close to the trunk and so far so good. Unfortunately he gets very high in the tree and I am worried he’ll fall. Ben is luckily not quite as brave and only made it about 10 feet up. The chickens climb it too but not nearly as high as Ethan! So the good mom that I am, I just went and got my camera.

Fall TV

September 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Misc

We’re getting adjusted to our new antenna setup and programming our favorite shows into the TiVo.  We miss a few things from the large satelite buffet, but it is so nice to be getting PBS again.  Here are the shows we’re watching this fall.

Chuck – our favorite new show from last season.  The pilot was released on Amazon a week early.
Samantha Who – starts in a few weeks
Fringe – a new one this fall by JJ Abrams.  Not sold on it yet, but giving it a chance
Survivor – always fun to watch and comment
Amazing Race – starts Sunday
My Name is Earl – wasn’t so great last season, but we’re giving it another chance.
Scrubs – now on ABC, but not sure when it starts
Kath & Kim – new show that looks funny.  Starts next week

Pushing Daisies – starts next week
Heather also has a few shows she watches without me that I can’t comment on:

Lipstick Jungle
Ugly Betty
Kitchen Nightmares – I really like Gordon Ramsy, but the US version doesn’t always do it for me.

We’re also watching Firefly for the first time.  Pretty good so far.  The funnest part of it has been remembering where we’ve seen the cast before.

What shows are you watching this fall?

Spore Quote

September 27, 2008 by  
Filed under Kid Conversations

Ben:  Push the love button! Push the love button!

They’re trying to get in!

September 26, 2008 by  
Filed under Chickens

We’re having a “stay home” day today. Ethan has had a mild stomach bug the last few days, its raining and I’m tired so I decided to keep Ben home from preschool today too so we could relax. The chickens must miss us, they didn’t get to greet us at the minivan today so they came to the front door! Actually they have been perching on the railing more and more lately and its funny how much more pet-like they are becoming. When we go outside they come running and its cute and makes me really glad we got them. When they start jumping into the open sliding door of the minivan I don’t have the same feeling though, the last thing I need is chicken poop in there or a stow away bird!

Joovy Ultralight Caboose Stroller

September 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Featured Review

I am VERY picky when it comes to strollers and I have yet to find the absolute perfect one that meets all of our families needs. I’m not sure such a stroller exists so we have a growing collection of strollers that we use for different types of outings. Our latest addition is the Joovy Ultralight Caboose Stroller, I was very interested in trying this stroller because its a stroller designed for a baby and a bigger sibling. The baby has a traditional seat (and there is an easy to use car seat adapter for newborn use) and the older sibling can either stand on the back or sit on a bench type seat. We have a standard Graco double stroller that we bought when our second child Ben was born but I have never been thrilled with it. The Graco is so long and heavy and hard to maneuver in stores. I used it a lot when we just had 2 kids but when we had Jamie I found I used it much less for some reason. We also have an InStep double jogging stroller and its great for going to playgrounds and anything else outdoors but its too big and wide for indoor use. Our other stroller is a single jogger that we can use both indoors and out fairly easily but then we can only put one child in it and we’ve had so many times where one of the boys gets tired and wants a ride too but can’t.

Back to the Joovy Caboose, this is a great idea for a stroller for so many reasons! Its not as big or heavy as the Graco double and so its nice for having a baby who needs to ride in it while having just enough room for an older sibling to hop on when they get tired. I feel confident that this is our new indoor stroller with the new baby in the front and Jamie mainly as the backseat driver (I’m sure there will be times the boys ride in back when Jamie isn’t in it)!

Here is what I love about it:

  • I love the ease of the older child being able to be more independent getting on and off the stroller as they choose.
  • I can still buckle in the older child if I want to discourage hopping off.
  • The size is great for indoor shopping with a double stroller.
  • The parent organizer is very different from most strollers and I think its great! You have a nice zippered area to put things like a wallet and cell phone. Its made out of neoprene so the TWO parent drink holders actually keep your drink cold and prevents them from falling out if hit a bump in the road!
  • The hood is designed very well and is adjustable to block sun or cover a sleeping baby.
  • The front baby seat has a great comfy pad that is reversible for different seasons and easily comes off for cleaning.
  • The basket underneath is great.
  • 2 year old Jamie can ride easily in the front or the back and she is excited about standing so that keeps her happy!
  • There is an easy to install attachment for use with a infant car seat (just snaps in place instead of the front snack tray).
  • It was VERY easy to put together, it took pregnant me 25 minutes with the 3 kids “helping”.
  • Unlike other strollers we have the child snack tray doesn’t just pop off or unbuckle easily (our daughter has a thing for flinging our single jogging stroller tray off). The child tray also has 2 cup holders.
  • A HUGE plus is that is folds up really nicely and compactly for a double, so much smaller folded than the Graco double or even our single jogger! When I first folded it I was amazed!

Here are the things I’d like to see improved with the stroller (yes I did say I was very picky about strollers so some of these are minor details but strollers are a big purchase and I don’t want to leave anything out!):

  • The only big thing is that I would love more all-terrain type of wheels, I just don’t think this stroller is ideal for going to the playground and navigating easily over grass or wood chips.
  • I’d like the rear seat to hold more weight. My kids are all pretty tall and at 4 Ben weighs exactly what his big brother Ethan weighs: 50lbs. Both front and back seats of the stroller are designed to hold up to 45lbs each. This means both boys are heavier than what the back seat is designed for. I’m letting the boys sit on it anyway though because at 4 and almost 6 they still get tired and need a seat sometimes!
  • It doesn’t stand on its own when folded. If you lock the wheels before you fold you can lean it against something though.
  • There is a latch that you need to push down after opening the stroller and then you need to lift it up before you fold it. Obviously this is a safety thing but I’ve never had a stroller with this feature and its something to get used to.
  • You need two hands to open or close this stroller, so there is no way to hold a baby at the same time.  With other strollers I am able to open/close them with one hand and I’ve done so holding one of the kids on several occasions. This isn’t a big thing for me though because when I get to the car I normally put the kids in before putting away the stroller.

So the bottom line: Everyone’s stroller needs are different but for me right now this is an ideal stroller for going anywhere indoors with all the kids and it will be great once I have the baby (it definitely replaces the Graco double for us). I love that when I have the new baby Jamie can still sit to ride or feel like a big girl and stand if she wants to. I will still use one of my joggers for going to the park and “off road” activities like apple picking but I have a minivan so I can fit two strollers in the trunk if I don’t know where the day will take us!

1 month to go!

September 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Our Life

I am not sure if its too long a wait or if its coming too soon but in one month I’ll be having our 4th baby! October 24th sounds like a nice birth date!

Over the weekend John’s brother brought us their infant car seat and other gear/clothes from their son (and all of the baby stuff we had lent them). Now our livingroom is filled with baby things and I think its making me feel more prepared but also a bit scared. Most people I run into think four kids are a lot, I think four kids are perfect but I know this will be an adjustment and a bit crazy initially. My house is a mess now and I don’t know how long it will take after I have the baby to get things together. My biggest fear is getting the boys to and from their preschool and kindergarten ON TIME 5 days a week with a 2 yr old and a newborn in tow. Maybe it won’t be as hard as I think but I just picture scenarios where I end up crying in front of all of the other “together” moms and their 2 perfect easy kids. With each baby I’ve had, something magical happens at the 3 month mark and I seem to find everything falls into place and things get drastically easier. BUT this will be the first time that I have a newborn and need to leave the house 5 days a week with everyone dressed, fed, somewhat clean and with their snacks/lunches ready by 8:20. Hopefully I’m just worrying too much like I did last month before Ethan started K and things will go better than I anticipate! Either way, John and I are excited to meet our new baby girl and experience all those wonderful new baby moments one last time!

Netflix Referral Bonus

September 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Netflix Coupons, Tips and Websites

I’ve had good success posting my Netflix referral links on the site whenever they offer the 1 month free trial.  People get the extra 2 weeks of free service and I get 5 bonus rentals.  Lately we’ve been getting so many people using my links that I max out my bonus rentals the first day.  To take advantage of the traffic we’re getting, I invite any other Netflix users to post their referral codes and/or links in the comments of my Netflix post.  If we get a lot of comments, I will add all the codes to the main post and mix them up occasionally to try and get bonus rentals for everyone.

If you received codes in the mail or a link in an email from Netflix, go to my post and add them in a comment.

Good luck!

Facebook Reunion

September 22, 2008 by  
Filed under Tips and Websites

At the start of the school year I became increasingly involved with Facebook. Going to Ethan’s open house before the start of kindergarten brought back a flood of memories from elementary school and I hit facebook where I found many of my former classmates. For the past 2 weeks we’ve been retelling stories from our days in school and I have uploaded scans of my class pictures from K-8th grade. We’ve been having a blast reconnecting and remembering our times together.

I have to admit that I actually joined facebook over a year ago, but I didn’t get it.  I connected with a few people, but didn’t see the point of all the silly features.  That has all changed now.  I have found it an amazingly useful tool for finding and staying in touch with old friends.  We’ve setup a group for the class of 91 at my school and other people are adding their own photos.  A lot of memories that I had forgotten are coming back to me and I am also hearing new stories for the first time.

At the same time, Ethan is coming home with his own stories from school and is so excited about his classmates and his teacher.  I had always remembered school being a lot of fun, but I’d forgotten the details and the individual stories until now.  It is also fascinating to hear a story from someone elses perspective now that we’re adults.

If you haven’t already, try joining Facebook and see if you can find some old friends.  It can be tough to find people by name so searching by school is often the best bet.  Once you find that first person you can usually find a lot more people who they are already linked to.  Once you’ve got the gang back together online, start scanning and uploading the old photos.  It’s worth it just for the hair and the outfits.  I’m in the backrow, 4th from the left wearing the yellow shirt and stylish plaid pants.

Netflix 1 Month Free Trial

September 21, 2008 by  
Filed under Past Contests

These codes have expired, but ContestCow.com is running a contest to win a 3 month Netflix Gift Certificate.

Netflix sent out referral codes again.  Here are 3 that expire October 31st, 2009.  Each is good for a 1 month free trial.

M466370020855
M476390020885
M416380020895

Go to netflix.com/tellafriend to redeem your code.

Or use this link to receive your 1 month free trial.

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