Monday, December 30, 2013

Duck Tape Office chair

I don't know if this would be considered making good use of my vacation time, but this project did keep me delightfully occupied for a couple hours. Don't let my poor lighting fool ya, this thing is a masterpiece in person. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Anniethology Gift Card Giveaway!!!


I have been blogging since before blogging was cool, then not cool, then cool again.  I've never given anything away except for the white-hot spotlight of my undying love and attention to my readers. So I am very pleased that Simon Malls is sponsoring this gift card giveaway!

What you see here are two $25 gift cards to a Simon Mall near you. Why two? So you can keep one and give one away or give both away or do the third, most desirable, but more selfish option of keeping them both for yourself!

Now you might ask, "Why, Annie, are you giving them away?" Well, because I love you and I want you to be happy.  And I'm a giver. I've always told you that, now I want you to believe it.

Incredulous still? Well, yes there is a little bit of a catch. I need you to do three things for me to be eligible to win the gift cards. Just three little things. It's no big deal when you think about how much I have done for you.

First Thing- "Like" Mesa Mall on Facebook (If you haven't already).

Second Thing- "Like" my Facebook page Moms Everyday Western Colorado (If you haven't already.)

Third Thing- Come back here to my blog and leave me a nice little comment to say that you did it. (To leave a comment you don't have to have a blog or Blogger account, just select Anonymous, but be sure you leave your name in your comment.)

***UPDATE*** I'm extending the drawing for one more day! Tell your friends!! See ya Sunday night!! *****

Saturday morning, I will put all your little names in a little cup and pull out a winner. I will have the winner e-mail me  their address at and I will mail the cards to you.

If you don't know if you have a Simon Mall near you, click the link above to visit their website to find out.

Thank you for being wonderful friends, readers, stalkers, you are all special me. Good luck and check back here on Saturday!!!!!

Taking advice on homeschooling

The decision is already made, so don't try to talk me out of it. Mini Me will begin online school in January. What I am looking for here is any advice on how to do it well, how to be organized, how to motivate, that sort of thing.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Music lessons for kids with Kindermusik at Kidplex Grand Junction

Monday, August 26, 2013

How to get your home ready for sale while still living in it

One of the most stressful mornings of my life was when a group of realtors from a big local office marched through my home like an army of ants inspecting the place for potential buyers. Having them peek into cupboards and closets as they made their way in and out through rooms of my home couldn’t have made more anymore anxious if I was standing there naked!
Every day for weeks I had to keep the place spotless for showings while my twin 5-year-old boys and 3-year-old daughter were right behind me messing it up! 

But, I lived to tell the tale and so can you. 

Here are a few of my tips for getting a home ready for sale while still trying to live your life inside of it:
 Cull your home with a friend

Too much stuff to move around and clean is your worst enemy. First, simplify your life by getting rid of stuff. A friend is necessary for this task, because a friend will have an unbiased eye when it comes to what should stay and what should go. Avoid the expense of a storage unit by being willing to part with your stuff either through donation or a moving sale.
Next, this is an excellent time to institute a cleaning schedule. If you didn’t have one before and you need a lot of motivation and instruction, I recommend the Flylady method. Flylady provides detailed lists and e-mail reminders that will help give you a good start and keep you motivated.
Your house gets dirty every day and that is not going to change in the new home, so it’s best to stay in the good habit of maintaining it every day. 

 Remove excess furniture and extraneous items off surfaces

Recruit your family with bribery or tears, or whatever will get them motivated to pick up and put away what they get out. Help them create good habits like wiping down sinks and counter tops after use, getting clothes into the dirty clothes hamper after they come off and hanging up back packs and jackets as they come in the door. Again these are habits that will stay with them in the new house.

Because I am so interested in homes and their upkeep, I often look through real estate websites to check out other people’s homes and I’m surprised with how much people leave out on their counter tops and tables. Stash the blender and toaster in a cupboard.  Cull your magazines. Remove the collection of beer bottles from above your kitchen cabinets (I can’t believe I’m saying this but, some of you need to hear it.) And again, have a friend use a critical eye on your home to help to pare down extraneous items and tchotchkes. 

 Send bottles to the recycling center

If it all seems so overwhelming, just think about how wonderful it will feel to start off in your new home with less stuff and with good habits for its upkeep established.  No junk, no ‘ants’, and no beer bottles.

Monday, August 19, 2013

15 Reasons to Clear out the Clutter

Did you know the average American spends one year of their life looking for lost or misplaced items? If you are like the average American, you are probably aware of how easy it is to accumulate a lot of stuff in life. Clutter can become a tremendous burden for anyone. The more things you collect the less space you have to store it. As a result, people often find themselves living in a home full of clutter. While you might find it difficult to part ways with things that have sentimental memories, home organization experts recommend getting rid of items you rarely use. 
SpareFoot, the largest online inventory of storage units, offers up some advice on why you should cut out the clutter at your home. Their infographic on clutter gives fifteen great reasons to keep a tidy house.  De-cluttering your home can save you money, relieve stress, improve friendships, and even lead to a better sex life. It’s incredible all the ways you can better your life with a little home organization. Check out the infographic for all the great benefits.

Clutter Infographic

Produced by SpareFoot. Copyright 2013.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Top 5 Things Moms Should Never Feel Guilty About

Top 5 Things Moms Should Never Feel Guilty About

I heard a saying once that goes, “Behind every great kid is a mother who’s pretty sure she’s screwing it up.” Motherhood and excessive guilt seem to go hand-in-hand. Here’s a list (in no particular order) of five things moms should never feel guilty about.

1.       Not sharing your ice cream, especially if it’s really good ice cream, you know the kind served by the pint. Now, the recommended serving for that really good,  pint-sized size ice cream is a half a cup (I laugh), but let’s be honest, what mother,  in her not-so-right mind (because that’s when we eat ice cream) stops at a half a cup? So technically, there are four servings. One, for you, one for hubs, and one to share with each of your two kids.  You could share, but why would you? This is really good, pint-sized ice cream and your kids would be just as happy with an orange Popsicle. Don’t waste the good stuff on them! Sharing your ice cream with hubs, on the other hand, is inherent in the marriage vows and must be done unless you enjoy eating your really good, pint-sized ice cream in your closet next to your shoes… and who wouldn’t?  

2.       Not pairing socks. I gave up on pairing socks about three years ago and the feeling of freedom lingers with me to this day. Pairing socks is for people who care about wearing matching socks. Your kids don’t care and they may not care until they are adults and maybe not even then. So why waste time pairing them? I pair my husband’s socks, but he pays the bills around here, he deserves matching socks, although he is color blind and wouldn’t be able to tell either way.  But, let’s say you are one of those moms who has to have everything matchy-matchy, (It’s okay, there’s no shame in that.) and you wouldn’t dream of sending your kids to school with mismatched socks. My question to you then would be; why would you do a task that your kid learned the necessary skill for probably as early as the age of three? Put that sock basket in front of them and let them match to your heart’s content!

3.       Not playing video games with your kids. I do everything for my children: I’ve fed them, burped them, cleaned up their vomit, coached their basketball team, sewed on their badges, tolerated their ornery friends, but I am not going to let them kick my can in Mario Cart! You may say, “But Annie, don’t you believe in playing with your kids?” Sure, I do! We hike together, bike together, play cards and kickball together, but I refuse to pick up a game controller for them, unless they want to play Tetris, then there may be some room to negotiate. 

4.       Not breastfeeding your baby. Now before you get all hysterical, let me explain. Do I believe that breastfeeding is better, more cost-effective, and important for bonding and good health? Yes, a thousand million times. I also know that sometimes it does not come naturally and try as you might to make that happen for you and your baby it just doesn’t.  I did not breastfeed my twin sons. That was my first test of motherhood and I felt like I had failed. After all the rigors of carrying 15.3 lbs. of baby and then the sleeplessness nights and the adjustment from just being responsible for me and now being responsible for these two new lives was overwhelming, and I’m sure it was the stress and malnutrition of not being able to properly care for myself contributed to not being able to produce enough milk for these not-so-tiny newborns.  I was able to relinquish some of the guilt of breastfeeding failure came when my baby daughter came into the world and latched on as if she’d read “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” in the womb.  I abandoned the rest of my guilt for not breastfeeding my twin sons on their first day of kindergarten when I looked around the room and thought to myself, “Can you tell which of these kids have been breastfed and who hasn’t?” Nope. 

Cancelling time with the extended family to be with just your immediate family. Living near grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins is the biggest blessing. Being able to get together frequently and having them close enough to share in the events of our lives brings even more joy to our celebrations. But, there are also those times when your immediate family needs to circle the wagons and pow-wow on their own.  Make time to have your very own traditions and your very own special moments to enhance bonding between you, your hubs, and your two kids, because, remember, there are only four servings in that really good, pint-sized ice cream

Monday, July 15, 2013

One thousand little trips for one big one

We've been planning a big family adventure to Costa Rica, Land of Pure Life, or as they say in Costa Rica, "La tierra de la Pura Vida." This is our first time to take the children out of the country. There's a lot to consider: passports, shots, safety, Spanish lessons, family-friendly accommodations and adventure gear for a family of five!

I've been taking a thousand little trips in preparation for our one big trip. Several of those have been to Mesa Mall. With the variety of activities we'll be doing in the Central American rainforest, preparation is key. We needed shoes and clothes to go from beach to trail to city streets, spelunking gear for cave touring, hydration packs for our hike up Volcan Arenal, motion sickness meds for mom:/ and heavy-duty bug spray to avoid illnesses contracted from insect bites.

I contracted dengue once before while living in Venezuela. It's like turning yourself inside out and rolling down a mountain of hammers. Dengue is definitely one of those revenge-type illnesses you wouldn't (or would;) want to wish on your worst enemy.  A recent report I read in an online Costa Rican newspaper said that cases of dengue were up this year. I shared my concern with the salesperson at Cabelas and she assured me that this repellent was highly effective and what she uses herself when she travels to tropical climes.

                                                                        (Unless you are my worst enemy.)

A couple shopping tips:

Be sure you check all the colors of the item you want to find the cheapest price. I saved more than half (no exaggeration needed) on my daughter's surf-to-trail sandals just because she was willing to go with blue and purple instead of gray and pink.

Sign up to receive texts from retailers and use coupon apps to score big discounts. I used my GeoQpons app to save a few extra $$.

Follow Mesa Mall on Facebook and Twitter to get the inside scoop on sales, last-minute bargains and activities for the kids with the Kidgits program

I don't know how many more little trips it will take to finally have all the things we'll need for our big trip, but at least I know I won't need a head lamp or bug spray to find it all at Mesa Mall. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Keeping kids on track during the summer

If you have ever asked questions like:
“Who cut their hair on the couch? Why does the dog have one blue paw? Where did all the kitchen chairs go?”

You may have bored kids.
My experience as a mother of three children, including twins has taught me that it is easy to entertain a child, but not so easy to keep them busy. Allow me to explain the difference.
It’s easy to put on a movie for your toddler or allow your tween all the computer time they want. On the other hand, it takes a lot more effort to give them opportunities to grow and develop into independent, well-rounded, active young people.
Here are a few of my tips for keeping your child actively engaged in things that will benefit them and the family over the summer.

My first tip is Early to bed, early to rise, even during summer break.
Allowing your kids to set their own sleeping schedule in the summer, doesn’t do anything for them in the long run. If anything it will teach them to be disappointed adults. Sleeping-in isn’t a regular part of any productive adult’s life.
Our regular wake-up call has only been pushed back by a half-an-hour and a decent bedtime is still enforced. Everyone still enjoys a full eight hours of sleep and nobody sleeps the day away.

My second tip is Fun first, then work. Really?
Adjust your chore schedule so the kids aren’t helping in the house during the cooler parts of the day. Save the indoor chores for when the temperature climbs, that way when the work is done, they don’t refuse to go outside because it’s too hot.
We eat breakfast and then play outside or exercise, while the temperature is still enjoyable. When it gets to hot outside, that’s when we get the chores done in the cooler, more comfortable house. It may sound like putting the cart before the horse, but it’s worked for us.

Finally, Let the kids know what is expected and what they can expect.
A willy-nilly, plan-less summer doesn’t benefit mom or kids. Make chore charts and plan your day. Kids are much happier when they know what they can expect. Avoid couch haircuts and boredom, by letting your kids in on the planning of their day.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How to Keep Kids Safe and Accountable on the Internet

Recently, I was asked how to monitor kids' computer time and teach them to use the Internet responsibly.
The first thing to teach your kids is that the Internet use is a privilege, not a right. Our family computer must have a code entered to be used. My husband and I are the only ones that know the code. Before my kids can use the computer the need to complete chores and homework, then I will type in the code for them.
Our three kids share the family computer. Each of them can take 30 minute turns. They are responsible to set their own timer, I don’t police the turns. We have a schedule and each day a new kid is “judge” over the fairness of the turns. If there is a dispute, the judge for the day decides what’s fair. The dispute can go to a “higher court” but, they don’t like the way I resolve the disputes, I just shut the computer down. All three kids are very motivated to settle disputes for themselves to avoid mom’s hard hammer of justice.
Our computer is located in the family room. The last thing kids need is privacy with their computer. The Internet is a public place just like any other. Certainly you wouldn’t let your 8-year-old wander around town alone, the Internet is no exception. Whether your child is seven or 17 move those computers out of the bedroom and back into the common areas of the house. Kids with unfettered access to the Internet run a great risk of being victims of identity theft, cyber-bulling, cyber stalkers, and pornography addiction.
Keep your kids off of social media, like Facebook and Twitter, for as long as possible. Facebook’s own recommendation is 13 and up. When you decide they are ready for their own social media account, talk to your kids about what they post on Facebook or Twitter. Remind them that what they say is public, and if it's harassing, humiliating, threatening, or disrespectful, consequences can result.
Finally, if your kids are going to be on social media, you should be to. I am surprised when I hear moms say that their kid has a Facebook account, but they don’t. Keep kids safe and accountable by being in-the-know when it comes to social media.
Now it’s your turn. How do you monitor and teach your kids to use the Internet responsibly? What’s worked for you and your family?

Friday, June 14, 2013

The best picture I've ever taken

I am so  in love with this picture. It was taken last night at a surprise birthday party we threw at my house for my friend's daughter's 16th birthday. I love all these kids, I love all their expressions, I love seeing them all in my house, and I love seeing the confetti fly! This just makes me so happy! 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Goodbye, Second Winter. Welcome, Spring Cleaning Projects!

 In Colorado, we have what we call "Second Winter." There is regular winter which starts about Mid-November and lasts until Mid-March. Then, we have a handful of really nice, mild, warm, Spring-like days, then WHAMO! Second Winter! Which last until about May 1st. The problem with Second Winter is that you just start feeling the motivation to accomplish some Spring cleaning and organizing projects and then the *welcome mat of motivation gets ripped from underneath you.

Now that the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and I'm back to shaving my legs and painting my toenails on a regular basis, the motivation to complete some organizing projects I've been putting off has come back. I took my *Simon Malls gift card to Mesa Mall to buy some things I needed to get me going!

 Target knows me. It's in my brain. Target always knows what I am going to want and what color I'm going to want it in. My first purchase was the *new welcome (shown above). It matches my front door! How do they do that?! These colorful totes and bins just made me smile. Any winter gloomies I had lingering just went out automated sliding doors.

 My next purchase was this *handy-dandy drawer organizer. Found in the kitchen section, they are meant for the family utility drawer, a.k.a., the junk drawer, but I used it to organize my jewelry drawer in my master bathroom.

 Next stop, *hangers! My sister is a wardrobe consultant who specializes in closet organization. One of her tips is to have matching hangers. A few years ago she came to help me cull wardrobe and fine-tune my style. She filled my closet with all matching hangers. Over time, my closet has been adulterated by other types of hangers:/ I thought it was time to get back to the single-hanger style once again. She recommends these clear hangers with swivel heads.

 What a difference matching hangers make?! Right?! A little arranging by color goes a long way for a more organized look, too.

She also recommends using totes for loose items like belts and scarves and using clear bins to house shoes. Especially if you spend the $$$, on shoes you will want to protect your investment by storing them nicely.

Spring has sprung! The air is clear! No more Second Winter for me, my dear!

*Thanks to Simon Malls for sponsoring this blog post and for jump-starting my Spring cleaning and organizing projects.

**Don't miss National Mom's Night Out, May 9th, starting at 5 p.m. They'll have special prizes, exclusive discounts, and even a chance to win Country Jam Tickets!

Friday, April 5, 2013

A post about original thoughts and Juan Valdez

I was thinking the other day about whether I have ever had an original thought. Have I ever come up with an idea or philosophy or clever quip that was truly my own, no one in history ever having said it before? I had to think long and hard. It was a challenge, indeed.

Then, I remembered 8th English with Mrs. Stites. She had us writing in journals every day. One day,
during free writing time,  I wrote in my journal,
 "The world is a coffee bean and I am Juan Valdez." 
I thought, and still think today, that it was a completely an original thought. I even Googled it and didn't find it. 

So, there ya go. Maybe original thought is possible. Does my quip about Juan Valdez have any value, deep meaning? Maybe, maybe not. 

What is your original thought? Are you sure you've had one? Have you had what you thought was a brilliant product idea and found out it's already been made?

P.S. Juancito Jr. es just as handsome as his padre. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

3 Easter Baskets for under $50? Yes, you can!!

Disclosure: I received a gift card from Mesa Mall to help with the cost of the purchases I made.  This post does not necessarily represent Simon Property Group’s positions, strategies, opinions, or Easter candy preferences.   The opinions and candy preferences in the following post are all my own.

There are a lot of 'no's associated with Easter:

Is there a better Easter candy than Cadbury Mini Eggs? No.

Can you dye Easter eggs without that handy-dandy little wire egg dipper? You could, but you shouldn't.

Can anyone be sexier than Yul Brynner as Rameses in the Easter season classic, "The 10 Commandments?" NO way!

BUT,  for all the 'no's there is one big 'YES'...

 Yes, you can buy 3 Easter baskets with all the fixins' for under $50! I know it, because I did it!

Armed with my *Simon Malls Gift Card I went to Target for all the Easter essentials.

I filled the **basket with three kinds of candy: a chocolate bunny (which no proper basket can be without), favie fruity candy (because good moms have to try to represent the food groups), and Peeps-on-a-Steek.  (Gross! But the kids like them, so whatever).

Bubbles for the fun factor! Yes, my kids are 14, 14, and 12, but you never grow out of blowing bubbles and if you have, I'm really sad for you :(

And new t-shirts!! Bring on the short sleeves, Baby, it's Spring!!

Finally, bunny ears! Again, my kids are 14, 14, and 12, but I'll never get tired of dressing them up in bunny ears for Easter, and if they are tired of it, that's just too bad for them!!

**Disclaimer: I went slightly over budget, by a measly $3.97.  I spent $9 on brand new wire baskets. Did we need them? No, we have other baskets at home. Did Target have less expensive baskets? Yes, but I wanted these baskets that could be reused in the kid's rooms for storage. Do I regret it? NO and no and no!

Is there anything wrong with spending more than $50 on Easter baskets? No, but you don't have to.

Could you spend a little less and still make the kids happy? Maybe, but it's a gamble. And I don't believe in gambling.

Does the Easter Bunny love you no matter what you do? YES, yes he does!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Easy fish kids will eat

My kids have always turned their nose up at fish and this was so easy I almost feel guilty. I didn't find this recipe on Pinterest, I did it the old-fashioned way. I ask a friend,

 "What are you making for dinner?" 

I told her my kids are picky eaters and would never eat it. I bought the Kroger tilapia anyway, knowing Secret Agent Man and I would eventually finish the family-sized bag of individually wrapped frozen fish. I borrowed the Tone's Citrus Grill seasoning from my friend. Seasoning, a little butter, a little olive oil on the pan to prevent sticking. Thawed fillets in the oven at 425degrees for 13 minutes or until flakely, splah a little lemon juice on cooked fish AND donesie!

The miracle of all miracles EVERYONE ATE IT  AND LIKED IT. 

Lord, take me now. I can't recreate this perfect dinner moment.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Too Sweet?

Recently, I was accused of being too sweet. It made me laugh. I bet my mom never thought that would happen. Is there such thing as being too sweet? 

These are words to which I aspire.

Click here for the full text of this quote.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Scrabble Wall Tiles

My brother-in-law made me this great Scrabble wall decoration for Christmas. He cut 5.5 6 inch wall tile from Douglas Fir. My sister helped with the vinyl lettering. Then covered with a coat of poly. My book club was here last night and the L.O.V.E.D it! 


The most depressing day of the year is almost here! 
Apparently, by January 24th bills from Christmas come due, people have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions and winter temperatures are at their coldest. So, if you were feeling inordinately crummy around the 24th, there is a bona fide, scientifically-proven reason for it.

You are not alone! Many people feel like hibernating during the winter months. Couple that instinct with economic woes and feeling lousy over another failed resolution, and you find yourself with only enough motivation to keep your couch company while your dog gives you a foot bath.
Click here  to read a few of my tips to get you and your household duties through, what I call, the Winter Gloomies, at my other blogging home