Tried and True Home Remedies I’ve Used

Try using vapor rub on kids with the croup. I like it on their chest and up the neck. My kids get croup a lot.

If your child has eczema, persevere through the whole “it might be your laundry soap” thing and have your doctor keep giving you different prescription until one works. Something will work.

A water pick works great to flush ears, yes the ones that you use to pressure wash between your teeth. Turn it all the way down to low and spray it in your ear (or whoever) till some wax bits come out.

Teething gel will work on an earache in a pinch.

Baby oil or olive oil work well on cradle cap. Rub it in and comb the crud off. Don’t worry about washing it out; just smooth it off with a washcloth and let the rest soak in.

Clear nail polish on ringworm. Paint it on an ring worm is gone, in a day or two which is pretty good.

Duct tape on a wart. Three days and that sucker is gone. Learned this before I had kids.


The Top 5 Easy Things I Don’t Do ‘Cause I Think They’re Hard

Yes, I know I could, and I know I should, but a lot of the time I don’t ‘cause I don’t want to bother, even though they aren’t actually that hard.

Shave my legs—I actually didn’t shave my legs my entire senior year in high school. Little known fact, or the yearbook might have named me “most likely to rule a jungle.” Non-conformist hippie heritage? Hmph. I still managed to snag a husband!

Dust the living room—Why does dusting bother me so much? Good thing my four girls don’t mind. I just wish they were taller. Maybe some of those drywall stilts.

Pack a lunch—Hubs and I were just talking about this. People pack lunches every day. It’s healthy, frugal and only takes a few minutes, well, a little longer if you gotta pack for my whole basketball team riding in the backseat, but still.

Polish my toes—I used to enjoy spending time with them, but I guess we’ve grown apart. (I laugh maniacally at this point. Then defensively declare, “Yes, I can still reach my toes!”)

Write in my kids’ journals— each of my younger kids has a little journal that I wrote in lieu of a baby book. I think I stopped writing because I don’t want to think about them growing up. Yeah, not that funny. Raising kids has its bittersweet moments, huh? Way to stick your head in the sand Mom. They age at the same rate no matter how much you do or don’t blab about it.

10 Websites That Have My Kids Coming Back

My children, intellectual pursuants that they are, spend a lot of time on the computer. We’re computer geeks, what can I say. So here is an inconclusive list of some websites that caught their attention and have them coming back for more.

Warning: these first couple site are not educational, but are just for fun. Learning sites come next, don’t worry.

Club Penguin—my kids love this one. They play arcade type games, buy pom-pom type pets called puffles, and solve mysteries and super-spies. A few weeks ago DS7 chose a Club Penguin book from Barnes and Noble. They’ve been going here since DS20 introduced it to the family back when he was DS13. The younger kids 9, 7, 5 all have login avatars. We don’t have a membership so there are certain things they can’t do, but I’m fine with that. Check them out at

Pokémon—DS9 loves Pokémon. It’s his older brother’s fault. On this site he can login and play games or they have, I think, every episode ever made. He watches his favorites, skips to the best part, then runs outside and reenacts the scene. Visit them here:

Poptropica—this one is the fault of DD15. I don’t know the back story on how she found it, but she’s been playing games there for more than four years and has gotten logins for DS9 and DD7. It’s here at

Now as promised here are the educational websites. Come on, you know I’m trying to squeeze a bit of learning in wherever I can.

Poisson Rouge—this is an innovative site. I heard about it online through another mom, and when I first went to investigate, I thought, “There’s no way they’re going to like this. I has no words.” But I showed it to them anyway, and what do you know, they love it. The first difference I noticed from the usual kid’s sites is that there is no saccharin excited voice telling them what to do on any given page. They just have to click around with the mouse and figure out what changes when they click where. The next thing you’ll start to notice is how an amazing amount of information is subtly woven into the vast number of pages on this site. It has vocabulary in multiple languages, music, science, art . . . Really just do yourself a favor and check it out.

Peep and the Big Wide World—this site is created around the same named science ed. Series. Peep is a chick who, with his friends, discovers new things about how the world works. The site has featured episodes, games and a lot more info if you want to pursue a specific lesson. It also cracks me up that it is narrated by Joan Cusack. Why does that crack me up? I’m not sure; she just does. Give Peep a peek here:

Boowa and Kwala—I stumbled across this site as I searched for preschool songs about three years ago. It is based on Boowa the blue dog and Kwala the black-bereted, yellow koala. There are a lot of preschool and early elementary aged games, songs, and stories. Find it here:

I have to put a couple honorable mentions here.   was the first favorite website of DS9. It is how he learned his letters and their sounds. We don’t use this sight much right now, because DD5 is resisting learning and this site doesn’t try to pretend it isn’t teaching you anything. Nice reading and phonics stuff here. Now that DS2 is 2, he’ll be ready to start enjoying it. Or at least his little cousin who we watch twice a week might, since he is talking a lot more than my son.

I also like a lot of the games on, and virtual Legos don’t get left on the floor. This is the site to which I bought a membership, the one and only. Is that enough said? A couple of pros are the lifetime membership option: who wants to pay monthly for the next ten years. And the preschool through 2nd grade software you may have seen inn stores come as free downloads with your membership.  My kids play quite a few games here. They especially like Martha Speaks and Dinosaur Train. I especially like Between the Lions.

What websites do you and  your child frequent?

How to Get a Few Extra Minutes Sleep When You Have Youngsters

I mentioned in a recent post that I didn’t get many full nights of sleep. There are a few simple tricks one can employ to gain a few precious minutes:

  1. Sleep when your baby sleeps—This is basic advice given to new mothers. And when you bring home your first newborn, it is pretty easy to follow. But it is still valid no matted the age of your children. If you are tired in the morning, go to sleep closer to your children’s bedtime. And if they nap, perhaps you should too.
  2. Develop a bedtime routine—Just like your kids, you will wind down when you have a routine that gets mind and body ready for sleep.
  3. Have a “no-no” list—There are, I’m sure, a list of things your children are not allowed to do after bedtime. There are things you should not do as well. For example, do not check your email our Facebook or any pet project you have that doesn’t have a clear stopping point. Anything that can suck up an hour without you realizing it should be on your list. Would your nighttime behavior be okay if you were your own child?
  4. Stretching out naptime—I have noticed with my kids that when they take a nap with me on my bed they sleep longer. When they begin to stir, I stay still and a lot of the time they’ll fall back to sleep. I know this particular trick isn’t going to be for everyone. But pay attention to what will work. Can they have “read, write, or draw time” on their beds? Will they respond well to lavender aroma therapy or a white noise machine?
    My older kids are pretty happy to let me take a nap with two youngest ones if it means they can do what they want for an hour without interruption from me or littles.
  5. Fake it—I was taught at my first job to smile before I answered the phone. When you have a smile on your face, you are more cheerful and polite. I actually helps even when the smile is fake. If you are sleepy and cranky in the morning, put on your phony-phone-smile, jump yes jump out of bed, and get going!

Following these tips can go a long way toward allowing us to achieve Benjamin’s Franklin’s adage: “Early to bed and early to rise, make a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Hey, it worked for him.

5 Things That Are Different Since I Have Kids

  1. I no longer unhook my bra as I come through the door and leave it draped over the back of a chair or hanging from the bathroom doorknob.
  2.  I used to pride myself on never ever getting up during the night. I went to bed, and stayed there. Now I’ve have roughly 12 uninterrupted nights’ sleep in the last ten years. That’s 3650 nights, divided by 12 that’s 3, and 12 into 50 is 4, carry the 2. No, no. That’s backward. Use the calculator: .33% sleep. No wonder I have to use the calculator.
  3.  I no longer hear scary prowler sounds at night, but instead think “which one’s that getting into the fridge?”
  4.  Everything is a big deal. A trip to the bathroom takes planning: “Is it naptime?”, “Who will cry if I don’t take them in with me?”, “Remember to check the bowl for mega blocks.” And would be small decisions take on life-altering repercussions. The baby sees me stepping out of the house-eek! Do I smile to reassure him, or will that make him think I’m giddy to be leaving? Should I go back and comfort him or should I run for it? How long do I have before he’s old enough to remember this in therapy?
  5. In my 20’s I’d go days and weeks without someone telling me they loved me. Now just today I’ve have at least 4 “I love you’s” and a “you’re the best mom I ever had.” Ahh, shucks!

“Mom & Me & Mom” Book review

I love me a good biography! I read quite a few books, but I like a certain type: nice stories with preferably happy endings. While I like fiction, I love biographies. There’s nothing better than a great story—that actually happened. Having a story be true makes all of its parts “ever-so-much-more-so”!

When I saw an autobiography by Maya Angelou on the “new books” table at the library, I had to read it immediately. I’d read two maybe fifteen years ago and they were captivating. I’ve also been on a bit of a biography kick, because I’ve found people doubting me when I share how much I enjoy them. But really, how can we rate fake over actually happened? I will not do it.

Maya Angelou did not disappoint. I read the book in two days and have been pondering and comparing Maya and Vivian’s relationship to me and my mom and me and my daughters.  I know the most important mothering legacy I want to leave is for each of my children to know I love them and that God loves them. Beyond that I start getting bogged down in details.  The best things Vivian Baxter did for her daughter was to live her life true to her own self worry over how actions would be perceived in the future or what effects might come of this or that action, but instead and to speak and act the love she had for her daughter.

Book rating: OK. I liked it, but there is a lot of violence and sex (nothing graphic) so I can’t recommend it without hesitation.