Pre-printed love notes from Mom?

A few days ago I was in a bookstore with my husband and I saw this.

What is this, you say?

Well as far as I could tell, it was a booklet of pre-printed tear out notes of love, encouragement, etc. “from Mom”.

Complete with suggestions to stick them in in your children’s lunch boxes, backpacks, etc.

I recall first seeing a booklet of these a couple of years ago and being kind of shocked at the time.

But this week I noticed that there were more of these types of booklets, and in various styles, etc.  So does that mean these things have caught on and are actually selling?

Have we really became a society so detached from our children that we need pre-printed, perforated love notes from Mom?

If you want to leave your child a note, does it really take too much time to write that short sentence in your own handwriting, and I dunno… actually sign it?


Cell Phones: Disruptive or Learning Tool ?

There are several reasons I get a kick out of following the local news website.  Usually it’s the fact that they make so many typos and grammatical errors that it makes me feel better about myself.  😉

But …  today there was this:

Interesting story placement don’t you think?

Cell phones are disruptive and must be removed!

…. or perhaps…..

They are a learning tool, let’s find some sponsors to get our kids some!

Apparently the local public schools cannot decide.  LOL!

The List of Things I Like and Don’t Like

Leave it to my kids to find a way to make me smile, even on a crummy day.

Or in this case, almost make me choke with laughter.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let me set the scene.

My son is sitting at the kitchen table, and I am doing some things in the kitchen and he is rambling 100 mph and I’m catching bits and pieces of what he is saying.  When suddenly I realize that what I just heard didn’t make any sense.

I knew he was telling me about a list that he had came up with, but the things I was hearing seemed unrelated.  So I was confused.  I said, “This is a list of what?”   He said, “A list of things I like and don’t like.”  I said, “Oh”, still a little confused by the concept.   So I asked him to repeat it.

This is what he said:

The List of Things I Like and Don’t Like

(as said by my 7 year old son)

1. Star Wars

2.  Dinosaurs

3.  Indiana Jones

4.  Science

5.  Hello Kitty -” And that’s where things start to go bad,” he said in a menacing tone.

6.  Princesses

7.  Fairies

8.  The Devil.

At this point my husband is listening as well and he says, “The devil, eh?”
And in a tone that says duh you should know this Dad, our son replies, “Well then it goes to the Devil because the devil is bad too you know.”
My husband says, “Yes, the devil is bad.”
Our son says “Well, there’s lots of bad things, but the devil is the baddest.”

“After Fairies and Princesses?”  my husband says.

“Of course.”  replies our son.

“But right after fairies and princesses, there’s nothing in-between fairies and the devil?”  my husband asks.

“Well of course DAD, but it’s not a list of everything in the world.  Duh.”

LOL   🙂


A truly simple Halloween craft to do with kids.

Most of the Halloween crafts you see articles about, involve a level of complexity that looks like something Martha Stewart would do.  Or requires the purchase of 500 items that you don’t have, while calling them “items you have around the house”.  Well, maybe at Martha’s house, but not mine.  😉

Not that there is anything wrong with Martha.  Or her super impressive crafting skills.  But I don’t have the time, health, allergy tolerance, or energy to do 95% of those things anymore.  So….  I was on the search for something truly simple.  Not simple for Martha types.  Simple enough for me.  Physically and financially.

I scoured the internet and came up with next to nothing.  If it didn’t require the purchase of a ton of items, it required too much work, or something that sends me into asthma attacks.  So…. I came up with my own.

Now consider yourself forewarned, this is not fancy.  It isn’t meant to be.  But for my 6 year old daughter and 7 year old son, we had quite a bit of fun with it.  And maybe you will too.  So I thought I’d share.

I decided I wanted to make some cut outs, of things that we could make and then hang up in the house.  I wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of hand drawing cut outs.  So I went on the search for something online that I could print out to use as a template.  I looked all over and wasn’t happy with anything I found.  Until I found this one PDF that I really liked.  I thought I saved the link to the site it was on, but apparently (as I found out when I went to write this post) I did not.

So, I looked at the PDF again because I recalled it had a website on it.  I THOUGHT this was the site I had found it on.  WRONG.  Apparently I found it on a site that took credit for this person’s work, because that is not the site I originally got it from.  Not cool.  Anyway….  I visited the website, and found the article with the PDF so that I could link to it here for you.  What is really funny is that her idea is to use the cut outs the way that I wanted to before I ever went online to find them.  (The site I got it from was using them in other ways.)  Her blog looks interesting and I am anxious to check out her blog in more detail.  But for now… here is the link for the PDF.  And her article that she posted it in.

As you can see you get 3 cute, well done little templates.  A bat, a ghost, and a pumpkin.  Which is exactly what I was looking for, so thank you Family Entertaining blog for providing a free PDF of exactly what I was searching for!

These are the items I used (you can easily substitute other things):

  • a tape measurer
  • a hole punch
  • scissors
  • string (We used black and orange yarn, because that is what I had here already.)
  • construction paper (We used Wausau Paper’s Astrobrights construction paper in white, black, and orange.)

Two things I must get out of the way here before I go any further.  1.  I am sorry for the poor photo quality.  We did this little project at night and our home has very poor lighting so…. even with my flash, night time photos are crap.  So… sorry about that.    And 2.  I simply must tell you how much I like Wausau Paper’s Astrobright’s construction paper.

I love the quality of this construction paper.  It doesn’t even feel like a construction paper for the most part.  It is much smoother, the colors are so much better.  I just really like it a lot.  Also it doesn’t stink as bad as most construction papers.  Which matters if you have severely reactive asthma like me.  It does have a mild odor, but nothing like most construction paper.  I found it by random happenstance one year when I found a pack of various Wausau Paper’s at Target, in a school supply clearance bin.  I found out how good it was and went back and got a couple more packs.  I don’t know what the typical price for it is, but generally Wausau Papers are not cheap. So it was a great find.

Ok now, back to the project.

I printed off the page from Family Entertaining’s PDF, and then cut out the 3 designs to use for templates.  Then we traced the ghost pattern on to the white paper, the bat onto the black, and the pumpkin onto the orange.  Then we cut them out.  On this paper, with those patterns I think we got 5 pumpkins per sheet, 4 ghosts per sheet, and 3 bats per sheet, if my memory serves me correctly.  😉

My kids asked if they could draw faces on their ghosts, so I said, “Sure!”

These are some of my 7 yr old son’s ghosts:

And here are some of my 6 yr old daughter’s ghosts:

Now you could use tape, and avoid poking holes in your little creations.  But I am severely allergic to latex, to the point where even minor amounts in adhesives cause me problems.  So I try to avoid tape whenever possible.  So we used a hole punch to make holes to attach them to the string.

The kids wanted ghosts and pumpkins in their rooms, so we did the ghosts and pumpkins on black yarn and we did the bats on orange yarn.  The only thing that we measured was the window, to get a rough idea of how long to cut the yard string.   But I let the kids do the measuring and cutting.

Below are some of their finished products.

Here is their ghost and pumpkin string on their window:

and a close up:


And the bats we placed in random locations throughout the house.  Like this one:

As I said from the beginning, it was a very simple little activity.  But it was one that the kids and I had fun doing together and that is all that matters!


Happy Halloween Everyone!


Dorky Deb… Grandma?

So I haven’t been posting very frequently here in recent weeks.  I started several posts I didn’t finish (LOL) but I’ve had a lot going on.  Amongst other things, it is currently ragweed season (i.e. Misery Season for me).  My breathing issues are much more complex this time of year.  And I just generally feel like crud.  I have breathing issues year round, but this time of year is the hardest on me.

That combined with the other stuff I deal with, just makes for a rough time of year.  So I kind of struggle to manage what I have to manage, much less worry about blogging.  So it’s not that I walked away from here, it’s just that I don’t feel very inspired to write anything when I am struggling to just put one foot in front of the other. No trying to be whiny, just trying to explain.

In other news while I’ve been not posting so much…

I had my 33rd birthday.  I still don’t think I’m that old in my head.  It’s so weird.

To pile on the weirdness in my life, I am now a Grandmother.  Got that… “Dorky Deb” is a GRANDMA.  At 33.

Not biologically, but in name.  My oldest step-daughter, who is 21, gave birth this past week to our first grandchild. He is so cute!  He was supposed to be a girl.  So I sent her tons and tons of baby girl stuff.  Loads of pink.  (Pink is my step-daughter’s favorite color as well.)  But it’s ok.  Toward the end of her pregnancy we were getting word that more recent ultrasounds were predicting the initial call may have been incorrect.  But they weren’t getting a good enough look to be sure.  So it wasn’t a total shock when he was born.  Personally I’m happy either way.  I just wanted him to be healthy.

Thankfully all of the big stuff we sent (papasan swing, bassinet, etc.) was all gender neutral.  So no pink there.  LOL And some of the outfits were gender neutral as well.

So my kids (ages 1, 6 and 7) are now aunts and an uncle.

baby Conner - newborn pic

Conner 4 days old

He’s a little early and is 4 lbs 1.5 ozs.  But he is doing great.  Breathing on his own and all that jazz.  I think my husband is going to need some time to get used to the term “Grandpa”.  He keeps whining…  “But I’m only 43.  I’m not old enough to be a Grandpa.”    Ummm….. yeah, hon you are.   😉

The term Grandma isn’t bothering me a bit since I’m not old enough to be her mother anyway. LOL!  He says it doesn’t help him when I say that.  😉

I plan on having fun with it.  There seems to be a certain percentage of the population that mistakes me for a teenager.  I have no clue where they get this (I think they need glasses).  But it happens, rather frequently.  And ever since I hit 30 it just makes my day.  LOL!   But I just can’t wait for the next time someone mistakes me for a teenager. I’m going to say, “Teenager, No I’m a GRANDMA!”

LOL!   🙂

Things Kids Say

If you’ve been reading here for very long, you know that I often share some of the odd ball things that my kids say. Usually when they come up with random things, I find them amusing.  But sometimes…. not so much.

One of those “sometimes” occurred this week while I was at the optometrist with my six-year-old daughter. While we were looking over the choices of frames for her new glasses, some typical (and not so typical) conversation occurred. It started off with the typical, how old is she, where does she go to school, etc.  Which led to our answer that we home school.  No biggie.  My daughter was apparently in a chatty mood and she was enjoying speaking to the other people in the room. But not 10 minutes after telling the woman assisting us that she was homeschooled, she says, “I don’t know my alphabet.”

WHAT?!?!?!  Where did that come from? She knows her alphabet.  She’s known her alphabet for years!

I still don’t know why she said that.  It was so bizarre. It’s not like her to lie, so I’m not sure what she was thinking that made her say that.

So I replied, “What?  Yes you do know your alphabet.”  And she said, “No I don’t.”  Again I am totally baffled. Where is this coming from? And the nice lady is sitting there very politely but I can’t help but wonder if she is thinking all sorts of nasty things about homeschoolers and wondering if my 6-year-old actually doesn’t know her ABCs.

So I say to my daughter, “If you don’t know your alphabet, then how did you just read that chart of letters up there with no mistakes?”

She replies, “That doesn’t count.”

I say, “Why not?”

She says in her most formal voice, “Because it does not have all of the letters of the alphabet.  For instance, where is Z?  ….. There is no Z on that chart.”

I looked at the chart, and sure enough, No Z.

I say to her, “If you don’t know your alphabet then how did you know there was a Z missing?”

She pauses.

Then she replies, “Well, I suppose you have a point.”


Ask Me Anything

So awhile back I posted an invite to ask me anything, and I thought today I’d get around to answering one of the questions I received.  So here it goes….

Dorky Deb,

What is one of the things you find most challenging about being a parent?

I think there are many things that I find challenging (yet worthwhile) as a parent.  I think being a mother is the hardest job I have ever had, yet by far the most rewarding.  But this one thing in particular was really on my mind yesterday, so I will mention it.  One of the things that I find most challenging is the feeling of always being behind.  There is only so much time in a day, and for me only so much ability to do things, and if I spend a chunk of time doing one thing it feels like 5 other things get behind.  You have to really prioritize because for every one thing you choose to do, you are basically choosing to not do five others.  I think that is the experience of many mothers, not just those with health issues.  But one of the things that I really enjoyed before children and before my accident was the feeling of a long hard days work (at my job and around my home) and being “done” for the day.

I never really feel “done” for the day anymore.  And that’s mostly my fault for perceiving it that way, I suppose.  I am in many ways the stereotypical type A personality and when that personality is in a body that does less than what they want it to do, it’s pretty easy to end up frustrated.  But I do find great satisfaction in “good” days health wise, and whatever I can get accomplished.

For example yesterday I had some energy so I thought I would tackle cleaning out the kid’s closets of shirts & dresses that didn’t fit anymore.  I just did this in the spring.  But there was a rather large number of shirts that just didn’t fit anymore, for both my son and my daughter.  So I tackled that tonight.  I was so satisfied during the process.  I was at the end of my rope physically by the end.  But thrilled to have it done and to make space for their new larger shirts we purchased this week. But as I was finishing that old familiar feeling of gloom set in.  The – Darn it! I am out of steam and have this, this, this, this, this and this I still want/need to do – feeling.  I hate that feeling.  It takes a very conscious effort to remind myself that I need to be thankful for the ability to have done what I have, and tackle the rest as I can.

So that’s my answer – Never feeling like I’m finished for the day.  Always wishing I had more time, more energy, and more accomplished for/with my children.

But they are worth every moment.  Every frustration.  It pales in comparison to the overwhelming love and joy they bring to my life every single day.

At this exact moment, as I type this, my 6-year-old daughter is in the bathtub happily singing “Home on the Range” at the top of her lungs.  And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


If you’d like to share, leave me a comment and let me know one of the things you find challenging as a parent.

~ And if you have a question you’d like for me to consider in a future “Ask Me Anything”?
Send it to