Basted and Tied

Today I was on a mission to fix a problem. We have two cheap chaise lounges for our backyard pool and they've taken a beating from the weather, so last year I bought some blue striped cushions to hide their ugliness. The cushion tie was one long tie at the head of the cushion. The cushions spent most of last year's storms flying around hanging by a string.

This year, I wanted to make sure they are tied down on four corners. I cut the cushion string off both and cut them each into four pieces. My sewing machine is on the fritz and I'm not that good at sewing anyway, so my dear husband made noises last weekend about hand-stitching them onto the four corners. That didn't last long and he realized how much work he'd gotten himself into.

My brilliant fix was eight safety pins. Searching the aisles at Target yielded no safety pins. No one who works at Target could help me find them either. So, a trip to Walmart led me to meet a young girl who waved her ink pen at me and said, "Safety pen? Like this pen?" How can someone NOT know what a safety pin is??? I wandered away, laughing that I must be really old, and maybe they don't make them anymore. The sewing section caught my eye, and I found a package of safety pins.....called Basting Pins???

So now, my chaise lounge cushions have been basted and tied for the summer.


A Racing Win for Me - A Trip Win for YOU?

As a weekly winner in the Go Moses contest, I received this awesome racing cap today, which my husband has already claimed as his (which means he had to put up with me taking a picture of him). Moses Smith is the #16 driver in the NASCAR K & N Pro Series West.


PAAS Egg Dye Kit - Review

I cannot say enough wonderful things about the PAAS Egg Dye Kit. I've used it as long as I can remember and never even bothered trying another brand. The children love to drop the color dye tablets into vinegar, squealing with delight as the tablets sizzle and dissolve. We add water, hard boiled eggs, and have lots of paper towels nearby. Yes, it's messy, but messy is fun, and if kids aren't coming home from daycare messy and dirty, they probably aren't having much fun!

The PAAS Egg Dye Kit comes with an assortment of stickers and deco-bands and even a wax crayon, but for the preschooler group, the dye is all we really need. The colors are always bright and beautiful, and I can depend on PAAS product's performance year after year. The PAAS website has activities and ideas for you to use with your children. Look at the fun we had today! Egg hunt coming up after naptime!

Signs of Spring


Lowe's is giving everyone a FREE TREE!

Visit Lowe's on Earth Day 4/23/2011 to get your FREE TREE!

The Versatile Blogger Award

My First Blog Award!

Thank you to Cindy at Purple Froggy Clay Stuff for bestowing this award on me!

The Rules After Accepting This Award:

  • Thank the person who awarded you.
  • Divulge 7 things about yourself.
  • Award 15 discovered bloggers.
7 Things About Me...
  • I could live on pizza.
  • I prefer jeans and a t-shirt any day.
  • I still love Disney movies.
  • I would love to retire in Hawaii someday.
  • My hobby is scrapbooking but there's never enough time.
  • I wish I could be a professional photographer.
  • I've published two children's books and plan on more!
My 15 Discovered Bloggers Are:
  1. Cariboo Butterfly
  2. Be Joyful Always
  3. The Yotes Diva
  4. Big K, little a
  5. My Silly Life
  6. Homemaker by Choice
  7. Keeping You in Stitches
  8. twingle mommy
  9. The Old Block House
  10. Tots and Me
  11. The Mom Adventures
  12. Shih's Cooking
  13. Blonde at Heart
  14. My Happily Ever After
  15. Family Volley
Congratulations to all of you!!!!!

    Possum in the Pool

    Yesterday morning was muggy and hot here in Texas. It was probably close to 80 degrees even before lunchtime. I'm so blessed to have a backyard pool and even though it's not quite time for us to enjoy it, I found this tiny baby possum in the pool clinging for life on the vacuum hose. He was no bigger than my hand. I rescued him with the skimmer scooper and set the shivering little guy by the fence to dry off. Possums are not friendly creatures for the most part, so I left him there to dry in the warm sun, hoping he'd live. I checked a few hours later and he was gone. I much prefer finding possums in the pool, instead of the baby rattlesnake we found swimming around last spring!

    What Defines Your Generation?

    Recently I’ve seen posts by friends who are reminiscing about the “good old days” and it makes me smile. One friend commented, “I didn’t have a personal computer when I was growing up and I turned out fine.” I also recently heard, “Personal cell phone? We had one telephone, for a family of six, stuck to the kitchen wall.” Each generation has their own gadgets that help to define it. My parents’ generation was marked with the invention of the television, opening up a whole new world to them. My generation is probably most defined by the computer and internet, and the accessibility of information that comes along with that. My own children, who are in their teens and early twenties, are the mobile information generation, with handheld communication devices and laptop entertainment/work products.

    In today’s world, it seems so many people are always going someplace and their technological tools/toys tend to go with them. Just as popular as the laptops and mobile phones, are all the wonderful little accessories that personalize them and protect them. I instantly liked these laptop sleeves for MacBooks and Ipads that I came across at Rickshaw. Take a look at this awesome midnight color with just a touch of bright pink (my favorite) for the MacBook Air  11” Sleeve. I also really liked the fluorescent orange color for this MacBook Air 13” Sleeve. Not only are the colors striking, but the protection they offer is important whether you are shopping at the grocery store, digital scrapbooking while you wait to get the kids from school, or blogging your way across the nation. Which one will you choose?

    Paid post.


    God's Sense of Humor

    Late Sunday morning, I was in the car coming home from church with my husband and son. My son was telling us about some sale on games at the video game store. My husband cautioned him not to get too caught up in the marketing that companies use to entice people to buy their products; that there is always another sale. I reminded my son that he had already spent his last paycheck on a brand new handheld game system and that he had only a few dollars left in his bank account. 

    I even teased him a bit and asked him if he had given his tithe to the church yet as thanks for the part time job God provided for him. Then I launched into one of those motherly lectures that make teenagers roll their eyes, reminding him that God provides all our needs, and that most of the stuff we have is just wants. Then, throwing in a bit of humor, I said, “Except for my dishwasher, of course. That’s a need. My life is just so complete with a dishwasher and I could not possibly do without it.” We all had a bit of a laugh at that.

    I’m reminded that we are made in God’s image. He too has a wonderful sense of humor. I’m not talking about the strangely long neck of the giraffe, or the little bandit mask on a raccoon that lives by stealing food from garbage cans. I’m talking about the fact that I’m typing this with dishpan hands because God thought it would be funny to show me I absolutely do not NEED a dishwasher. It’s been broken since last night.

    And then God, after appropriately humbling me, miraculously fixed the dishwasher so I can once again appreciate ALL the wonderful things He provides me, both needs and wants.


    Giveaway - $25 Target Gift Card

    Target is one of my favorite stores and I'm excited to offer you an opportunity to win a $25 Target Gift Card. I love their selection of children's toys and games, as well as their outdoor living products. They also offer awesome coupon savings and spectacular clearance racks of clothing!

    Here's the rules!

    YOUR FIRST ENTRY (mandatory or other entries will not count) - Please publicly follow my blog via Google Friend Connect. Leave a comment below that you are following.

    One random winner will win a $25.00 Target Gift Card, purchased by myself. This contest ends at midnight (CST time) on April 30, 2011. Want some bonus entries? Keep reading!

    BONUS ENTRIES (after you complete entry above) - For each completed task below, please leave a separate comment as a bonus entry into this giveaway.
    a. Follow my blog via RSS. (one bonus comment entry)
    b. Subscribe to my free daily emails. (one bonus comment entry).
    c. Vote for me by clicking the On The Fence button (one bonus comment entry per day).
    d. Enter my Autographed Children's Books giveaway. (one bonus comment entry).

    A random winner will be selected by May 3, 2011. The winner will be emailed. Winner must respond within five days or prize will be forfeited. At that point another winner will be randomly selected and emailed, same rules apply. Click the Legal Stuff tab for disclosure and privacy policy. Prize shipped at sponsor's expense. Open to US and Canada only. Must be at least 18 years old. MSRP $25.00.  Make sure you leave appropriate contact information in your comment so I can let you know if you win!

    Giving Back

    Today my daycare had the pleasure of hosting a young lady who is working on her CDA (child development associate). She needed a place to come interact with the children and be observed by an experienced early childhood teacher. She brought with her piles of paperwork to be completed by me and a fresh sense of excitement and joy that only comes from new teachers. The children loved her, as did I. It's always such a nice break for them to have someone else come in for a while; I'm sure I can be boring to them sometimes. She let them climb all over her, play with her earrings, and chased them all over the backyard. She's going to do well. She has that "teacher voice" that carries well and commands attention. But she's also receptive to the children and reads them well. I have no doubt her program will be successful. It was also nice for me, to have another grown-up to talk to for a couple of hours.

    Oftentimes I have new teachers come into my home daycare for training and observation. I'm often asked if I make extra money doing this, but I do it to give back. My mom always taught me to give back in some way, whether it's through time, talent, or financial means. Since I have a well-established childcare home and have earned several awards for my work with children, I like to give back by making others a part of the program even if for just a little while. I'm often told by those who come in that they learn so much just by watching my interactions with the children. Each child has a special place in my heart and I treat them with respect and love.

    This morning, she asked why I chose to do this from my home rather than in a facility. I told her my initial reason was to be home for my own kids when they were young and still be able to provide an income to the household. My children are now in high school and college, but I still work at home. I've learned to love my home and I love being in my home. I've turned two rooms of my home into a classroom, so these children have the best of both worlds....high quality education and loving home style relationship with a caregiver. Most of the kids are here for three to four years, then head off to kindergarten. I guess the children I watched in the very beginning are probably reaching the age where I could be watching their children now.

    Although my own kids are teenagers now, I still believe it's important to be here when they get home from school. They will graduate in two years and although I haven't made plans for retirement, I sometimes think about a nice quiet office job......until a cute little preschooler throws their arms around my neck and says "I love you Miss Lisa!" Then I know I'm right where I belong.


    An Extended Tax Deadline

    For those of you who love to put things off to the very last minute, tax deadline is tomorrow. April 15 is usually the deadline but an extension gave filers three extra days to complete the dreaded task this year. I've used TurboTax for years and swear by it. I highly recommend it to everyone. I have very complicated taxes and even though I like to procrastinate, I can generally finish fairly quickly once I've motivated myself to get started. I've done my own taxes every year since I was sixteen years old (thank you Dad). I learned long ago not to trust my money to anyone else. This year was especially challenging because my hard drive crashed halfway through the year and I didn't have a backup (GASP). Yes, I learned my lesson and make regular backups now. My business receipts were fairly easy to recreate since my daycare tuition is constant across all the age groups and I just needed to figure out which kids attended each month. I had hard copies of all my expense receipts so I had to take some time and re-enter those, but luckily I am pretty consistent with keeping good records. Our taxes took me about six hours to finish this year, and we even got a two dollar refund!