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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bungee jumping!

I took the kids to Island Jumpers at the mall today to try out bungee jumping. They had a great time! It was pretty reasonable at $5 a child, and there was no wait-Bonus!

It was a fun, and inexpensive activity for the start of our Spring Break!




Sunday, March 28, 2010

What to do with all this stuff?

It seems like we are just too busy to have a yard sale these days. When you have the time to purge those closets you might be left with stacks of boxes and bags and have no clue what to do with them! Some donation centers will not take certain items, and that means you'll have to make multiple trips to get these previously loved items to those in need.

I cringe at the tought of dumping this stuff at the curb only to be carted off at the landfill. It;s wasteful, and there's only so much land dedictaed to trash, know what I mean?

I thought it would be a great list to have around! There are so many places you can donate your items to, or places you can post them for free, for sale, for trade, etc. A few of these locations may only be for residents in the Indianapolis, IN area, but thought I'd include them for my locals. :)


Share your fave places to donate to, and lets start the spring purge!


1. Goodwill. It's not my personal fave. I feel they overcharge people on some things, and I wish they had a higher percentage of funds going back into the community, but it is quick and easy to drop off stuff, close to home, and better than the stuff going to the land fill!

2. Salvation army: Similar to the Goodwill, you can drop off donations at most of their family store centers!

3. Disabled American Vetrans (DAV) - They have drop off boxes to drop small items off, and they also have pick up service where they can call you when they will have a truck in your area!

4. Julian Center Shelter: If you have an old cellphone they take these as donations. They give them to Women at risk for abuse. Many people do not know that even when your cell service is disconnected you can still dial 911 from that cell! So, if you let your kids play with an old cell, donate it or take out the battery!

The Julian Center also takes some household items, and clothing. Call them to find out what current needs they have!

5. FreeCycle-This is a website where you can offer almost any item for FREE. Whomever wants it contacts you via email to set up a pick up time. Be careful when meeting strangers! Have another adult with you, or leave it on the porch for them to pick up if the elements wont damage the item. Also meeting in a public place is another option. You have to sign up to use this free service.

6. Craigslist This is a website where you can sell items for free, or post items to give away. The recipient will pick the items up, and as I stated with FreeCycle-Be careful!

7. eBay This is a website where you can sell items for a fee. You have to ship the items, unless you only offer them for local pick up. The buyer pays for the shipping, and the seller does pay a fee for listing as well as a selling fee. View their website for more info on fees.

8. Your local schools-Many times schools are in need of supplies. From school supplies, to craft items, cleaning supplies, and even food for food drives. The school run lots of fundraising events & sales so check with your local school to find out if they may be able to make use of your donations!

There are tons more locations, but I have to head out, so post your suggestions and I will check in when I return!


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Blue Moms attend a burlesque show!

The Blue Moms group went to see a Burlesque show tonight. I couldn't take many photos because well...there was a lot of skin being shown on stage. It was my first experience with a show like this. It was funny, and refreshing to see real women on stage. All sizes, and body types were acting and I really enjoyed that.
Here's our fab group!
and here is my girl, Satch, called on stage for some improv!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Last 5th grade concert

It seems with the budget cuts this will be the last 5th grade music program, at least one that involves a band. We've been doing this concert every year for the past 3 years and have enjoyed it very much.

Here is Nadine. She's hard to spot in the other photos :)

Here is the 5th grade band that Nadine plays alto sax in.
This is the 5th grade orchestra
This is the 5th grade choir
This is Nadine singing with the choir
This is the 4th grade chorus
This is the 3rd grade percussion
This is the Rise Choir group

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Organize the household papers

I am always hunting down new ways to organize my home. As a family of 6 it seems like I tackle 3X as much paperwork as when we only had 2 kids. I found this article today, and I learned some new things...so I figured if this Organizationally obsessed Mom learned a new trick or two it may be worth sharing with you fine ladies!

How to Organize Your Household Papers

Chasing papers wastes time and energy. And when bills aren't paid or permission slips aren't turned in, the price for disorganization is paid in late fees and lost field trips. In this article, we'll examine some strategies for cutting through the clutter. So if your idea of organizing your papers is stacking them on the dining room table, try some of the following hints:

Designate one area of your home, even if it's only one drawer, for filing business papers, bills, letters, and clippings.

Set up a filing system for your important papers and receipts. This can be as simple as an accordion file or a file cabinet that can do double duty as an end table.

Use a "Miscellaneous" file for items that don't easily fit into a category, but be sure to go through this file when it fills up. You'll find that new categories will stand out, and unneeded items will be easily recognizable.

Keep your mail in one location in the house, and open up and file everything at least once a week. If you can't file papers on a regular basis, use a folder labeled "To File" to temporarily store items. Be sure to set aside time to file these items.

Hang a basket near the front door and keep your keys in it, so you'll always know where they are. Also use this basket for bills and letters that need to be mailed. When you grab your keys, you'll remember the mail.

For households with children, keep a special clipboard in a prominent place for all those permission slips and other school documents that are easily mislaid.

Instead of using an address book, try using index cards stored in a file box. Along with names, addresses, and phone numbers, you'll have room to keep track of birthdays, anniversaries, and even presents you've given in recent years. If someone moves, substitute an updated card.

Review your filing system periodically and toss out items you no longer need, such as last year's utility bills or warranties on discarded items.

Not all household papers need to be filed away. In the next section, we will learn about some household papers for everyday use.

Planning and Priorities

Birthdays and doctor's appointments can be difficult to remember because they do not fit into a structured, daily routine. Here are some simple strategies for keeping track of various commitments:

Use a large wall calendar to keep track of appointments, meetings, birthdays, and other events.

Make lists, both daily and weekly, to make sure you remember what needs to get done. Checking off the items will give you a sense of accomplishment as well as remind you of what you still need to do.

Create a weekly "Family Chore List" where family members can sign up for chores. This gives everyone some say in what they're going to do and also shares the responsibility of getting things done.

Use a yearly planner to set long-term goals, such as saving money or planning vacations.

Set realistic goals. Don't try to cram too much into one day or even one year. If you find yourself constantly behind schedule, keep a notepad with you and write down everything you do for a few days. Then look at the list objectively to determine whether you've attempted to do too much.
Finally, we will discuss which household papers are too valuable to be left at home and which are too necessary to be left in a safe-deposit box.

Guidelines for a Filing System

When organizing your household papers, it's hard to know which papers need to be kept on hand and which can be stored in a safe-deposit box. Here are some simple guidelines:

What to File at Home...

Banking--check registers, extra checks, passbooks, canceled checks

Car titles, insurance policies, maintenance records, payment stubs

List of all credit cards with numbers and telephone numbers; credit card statements

Guarantees and warranties, including instruction pamphlets
House records -- insurance policy and mortgage papers; list of home improvements and receipts; lease and renter's insurance policy, if renting

Investment records -- 401(k), mutual fund, and broker statements

Medical records -- immunizations, insurance forms, insurance payments, prescriptions

Life insurance policies

Tax records --c opies of tax records for previous years and receipts for deductible expenses you plan to claim in next year's return

Copy of will (keep another copy at your attorney's office)

What to Store in a Safe-Deposit Box...

Personal papers, including birth certificates, marriage license, passports, military service records, divorce decrees

House deed and title

Financial holdings, including savings bonds, bank certificates of deposit, stock certificates

List of valuables (include room-by-room videotape of home, if possible)

Once you have a system in place for organizing your papers, your household will run much more efficiently. In addition, you will be better prepared to deal with the inevitable emergencies that pop up.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Hamilton wedding

My cousin, Justin, married his fiance, Rachel today. It was a beautiful ceremony. The reception was long, but it was a beautiful wedding!
My cousins with our grandma
Grandma and her daughters
4 generations, Me, Nadine, Gma, & Mom
Cousins Cassie, myself, and Brooke
Me and my brother!
Nadine and her 2nd cousin, Maddy
Nadine & Dane. Andrew was at a Cross Country meet and sadly could not attend the wedding.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Twilight New Moon release

My daughter is a Twilight fan, and proclaims herself as Team Jacob. When I heard the stores were having a Midnight Twilight release party I decided this was a fun activity fr my daughter and I to enjoy together that wouldn't cost me any more than the movie I already knew we'd be buying.

We stopped by the bookstore, but their idea of a release party was a bit of a snooze fest. They did some quizzes about the movie and books and that was about the extent of it. 
We ran into a friend of Nadine's at the bookstore. The girls sat down and looked to be very bored until they saw the camera. Hams!
We decided to hop over to the toy store because they were giving away a New Moon jewelry box with the purchase of a DVD.
Aren't they such cute girls? 
When we got to the toy store there was just one girl in line, and the girls started lining up for the midnight opening. They were super excited!
The toy store let the kids inside to line up in the entry while they awaited the opening. 
The girls spotted some Twilight hats on clearance and they just had to have them. They got a free keychain for spending $10 on the hats. 
We headed to the check out at 12:15am and bought our New Moon loot. We headed home excited to watch the DVD, and Nadine fell asleep half way through :)

Fun times for mom & daughter.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Incredible Playdate!

I hosted out 1st Incredible Pizza playdate today, St. Patty's day! The ICP offers a Mommy & Me where you can eat bfast at 9am, play until 11am, and then have the lunch buffet for you and one child for just $ 9.99, plus you get a $5 game card. What a steal!

The toddler play area has lots of activities on the walls, like these drums...
They have little games for little people
Aiden loved this game!
Gabby was enjoying her drive on Rt 66!
Aiden took a horseride
Gabby on the mini carosel
Aiden likes to stand on it
Digital coloring book!
Floor pianaos are always fun!
It's race time!
Aiden on Route 66

They have a couple of climbers for tots
Aiden playing one of the free pc games for toddlers
Aiden won a Sonic doll in the crane game!

We had a great time, and it was a fun way to celebrate St. Patty's day with the little ones. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Declutter Daily!

Your home is filled with all kinds of clutter. This is why you cannot seem to keep it clean. You have accumulated too much STUFF. If you set a timer and spend 15 minutes a day decluttering you will catch up with it. That's it. Anyone can do anything for only 15 minutes, even if you have to break it down into 5 minutes segments. Below are some tools to help you declutter:

1. Pick up the trash

Do this task as fast as you can. The less thought you put into it the faster you will finish! Take a trash can/bag/bucket and walk through your home and pick up the debris from your families travels. Tissues, food wrappers, empty water bottles...boy do they leave a lot of trash laying around! Sometimes I hand the kids a plastic grocery sack and have them race to see who gets the most trash. Everyone gets a piece of candy, and the winner may get 2 pieces!

2. Spot clean

Pick a spot in any room that is getting out of hand. Maybe it's the coffee table, the desk, or even the dining room table! Pick the spot that looks the worst in your home, and spend 2 minutes clearing the spot.

Work a spot clean into your daily routine-it makes a big difference! Just focus on one at a time.

3. The 5 Minute tidy

If you spend just 5 minutes a day in your worst room you will be amazed at how much you can do. Within a month you'll have that space ready for company! Just focus on one spot or surface at a time, and you'll be done in no time. Don't be surprised to find once you see progress you'll be motivated to spend more than 5 mins at a time in there!

4. Zone Cleaning

I learned about Zone Cleaning from working at a restaurant bac in 1997. We had zones to clean each day to ensure the dining rooms were dust free, clean and tiday.

If you dedicate 15 minutes every day to a zone, changing zones every month, you'll develope a routine that will keep the odds and ends in order year round!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Darwin day!

The Center for Inquiry of Indiana hosted Darwin day for kids for the 1st time this year. Joe Oliver, leader of the CFI kids youth group, was head of this event.

The Center had pizza for the kids, games, and education stations for the kids to learn about magnets, evolution, and a variety of other subjects.

Here Fred is introducing the kids to Darwin day, and explaining how they will rotate between the various centers the volunteers had set up.

The kids had some pizza before the learning began.
Joe showed the kids some cool products used in gardening. 
Margaret showed the kids the evolution of birds.
The kids learned about the periodic table, and magnets with Fred.
We met Darwin and had our picture taken with him.
Of course, the kids were all blinking, looking away, and not smiling. Haha!