The start…

The start…

We all have to start somewhere, so this is my new endeavor.  I guess to get started you need to know who I am.  I’m a single mom to 7 year old triplets.  I teach high school English, and I’m just trying to survive like the rest of you.

This blog will be how I do what I do.  I don’t get much, if any, child support, and on a teacher’s salary, I’m always trying to find ways to do everything for less.  I’m money conscious.  I hope to pass along deals and savings.

I bought a fixer upper home and have done a bunch of the work myself.  I hope to share about that.

I do love to cook, and hope to share some of my family favorite recipes–you know the ones grandma taught mom and she handed down to me.

My kids are my world.  I will be sharing about them.

In a budget, money saving move, about 2 months ago, I started reviewing products for sellers on Amazon.  I’ll be sharing those reviews here as well.

And who knows what I’ll do…  I’ll just share what comes to mind.

I hope you enjoy this.


The scariest moment ever

The scariest moment ever

On Mondays all three kids have allergy shots after school. The girls drop to every other week at Christmas and my son continues for another couple of months on the weekly cycle. 

Today we were headed for shots. It’s been raining all day (and we desperately need the rain), but it had stopped for shots. We part across the drive from the office. I open the side doors while reminding the kids of expectations in the office. They hop out as I’m getting my purse and about to get out when I glance in the side mirror just at the right second to see d1 run past the end of our van. The thump of the SUV hitting her is ingrained in my head. 

Fortunately the driver had seen the other two kids stop at the end of the van and slowed down. D1 didn’t stop and ran straight in the path. 

I tore out of the van calling her name. She was getting up and crying. She was on her feet as fast as I could get to her. I grabbed her, trying not to panic, repeating, “Are you hurting?!  Are you hurt?!?!?”

She didn’t respond and instead started crying holding her arm out. I’m looking at it and it doesn’t appear broken. She says, “It hurts. It hurts.”

“What hurts?” 

“Here.”  She points to a tiny dot of road rash on her palm. 

I take a breath for the first time. If she’s worried about a tiny scrape, she will be ok. 

And so, I turn to the couple from the SUV. They are both visibly shaken. Once I’ve done my initial assessment, I give directions to son and D2, and tell the couple I’ll take D1 in and assess her in the restroom. They park. 

The assessment in the restroom revealed a potential bruise on her hip. And the hand scrape (with no blood) that she requested a bandaid for. 

After she was decreed by me to be initially ok, I went out to exchange information with the driver. He was so worried and upset. I felt so sorry for him. And we were both thankful D1 was ok. 

And that was the scariest thing I’ve been through. I’ve now tucked a starting-to-get-sore girl in the bed. I’ve worked through it. I’m still shaken and probably will be much more than D1. 

D2 told me at tuck in that she kept replaying the scene of D1 being hit in her head.  She said she was so worried that D1 would die. Now I get to focus on how to help D2 not internalize this.

Hopefully it will serve as a cautionary tale for many years to come. 

And if you pray, please pray forthe driver  as well as thank God that D1 is OK. 

The new schedule 

The new schedule 

I’ve always limited my kids to one activity at a time. This year, because my son really wanted to play basketball, and scouts is the other thing he does, I relented and said he could play ball and do scouts. 

That started it with my girls who have always wanted to cheer but are currently doing gymnastics. So, they are cheering for basketball. 

I chose the Upward Sports program. I like the principals of it and my kids are probably not going to be NBA players and cheerleaders. I’m ok with that. 

Because Upwards meets at a church, there are no Wednesday night practices. Whew. That’s gymnastics night. The registration allows us to tell one night a week we can’t practice. I chose Thursday since that’s scouts night. And I could put the girls on the same squad. Surely the fates would work in our favor and put the practices on the same night, right?  No. girls are Mondays and my son is Tuesday. That means we are now booked 4 nights a week. Ugh!  

And games on Saturdays. Yay!  So much for any free time. How long is it until February 18th and the end of the season? 

But the kids do seem to be loving it after the first nights of practice. So as mom does, we will persevere….

The bright side is the church has free wifi so the kids can take their kindles while the other one(s) has(ve) practice. I’m sure by February we will be done. 

The tree-letting it go

The tree-letting it go

I am trying to let go. I let my kids decorate the tree this year. They’ve clumped ornaments in ways that annoy me, but they did the work. I may have hung 10 ornaments. I let them do the rest. 

I gave them one rule: be sure you get them deep in the tree as well as on the outside. They actually did a good job.  

So far we have hung up the plastic ornaments that look like glass that I got when they were toddlers. We will be adding all the personal ones that are breakable and meaningful when we can dig that box out of storage. It was a two adult job so I’m waiting for my sister to be able to help me. 

Stay tuned–you’ll get to see the finished product. 

And a side note for those of you looking closely–to the left you can see the class fish. He’s recovering well and adjusting to his clean water quite nicely. He goes back to school Monday. 

Our family grew…

Our family grew…

If you read about the class fish, this may not surprise you, but we added an aquarium to our family. As it’s a 3.5 gallon, we now have 4 neon tetras. We are still keeping the class beta for the week, but we added in our own aquarium. 

I’ve always loved aquariums. In college I had one with guppies (they ate their own babies–no one warned me about that). 

As an adult, one school I worked at had a huge salt water aquarium. I was very hands on with it and loved it. 

My dream is a giant tropical fish aquarium, but they are a lot of work and a lot of expense. So, a year ago, I had the chance to take a new, unused aquarium off the hands of my friend. I thought Santa would bring it, but I couldn’t figure out how to make that work and didn’t want the fish ignored in the craziness of Christmas. Then life got in the way and I did nothing about it. 

The introduction of Blue Fin, the class Beta fish prompted me to mention the aquarium to the kids. They got excited, and so we made plans to set it up. 

The already existing aquarium became a $40 set up today at PetSmart. I needed water conditioner, food, rocks, plants, and fish. The kids wanted a sculpture of some type, but I said not right now. In my mind I’m considering letting Santa bring a little something for the fish (assuming they’re still alive). 

Here’s the new aquarium. If you look closely near the rocks, you can see the tiny fish. 

The Class Fish

The Class Fish

I got an urgent email Thursday. The room mom for my son’s class desperately needed someone to please get Blue Fin, the class fish on Friday for the holiday week. I somewhat foolishly agreed. It’s a single beta fish in a 1 gallon aquarium. How hard could this be?  My acceptance was greeted with a warning:  the water needs changing. 

Ok. I’ve had fish before. I’ve done some changing of water–you trade out some for some fresh. No biggie. Right?

Wrong.  I ran over during my planning period to grab the fish. The plan was just to bring him to my classroom until the end of the day and then take him home. 

The plan changed when I got to my son’s class. The aquarium was disgusting. You couldn’t even see the fish unless he happened to be against the edge. There seemed to be some type of turtle in there too, but the water was too brown to tell. 

The teacher said the kids had overfed the fish while she had been out due to illness the previous week. My son says it’s been getting worse since the first week of school. I don’t know. I just know I found a disgusting brown tank that may or may not have a fish and a turtle.

I put the aquarium on the floor of the van behind my seat. I got in. Within minutes I was nearly gagging from the smell. Instead of returning to my school, I ran the aquarium home. I couldn’t take it at school. I went ahead and filled a bowl of water to come to room temp beside the aquarium. 

I left to get back to work, while praying there was a Blue Fin in there. 

I regrouped quickly. I borrowed water conditioner from the biology teacher. As soon as we could leave, we came straight home and started the process of rescuing Blue Fin. 

With the “help” of 3 7 year olds, I started by pulling out the filter and the plastic plants. I filled a small bowl with some of the room temperature water I had fixed at lunch. I had no net and there was no way I was saving even a drop of this disgusting water. 

So I reached in and pulled out the turtle. That turned out to be a decoration. That left rocks and a fish. I grabbed the fish and dumped it into the small bowl of fresh water. 

I then washed every inch of the inside of that aquarium. I washed the plastic plants and the filter. I rinsed the rocks several times. The amount of gunk was disgusting. I rebuilt the aquarium scene, minus the goo and the fish. 

My son had a birthday party to go to, so we went, leaving a weak Blue Fin in a small bowl and an aquarium of clean water running through a nasty filter. 

The party was next to PetSmart, so I ran in to check on a replacement filter. $3 for 2. SOLD!  Blue Fin would have a clean filter and a spare!

As soon as we got home, my son was all about Blue Fin. We needed to get him in his home. I wanted to get the new filter in and working before we moved him home, so I changed that out and sent my son to get ready for bed. 

Since we had been gone over 2 hours, and home for nearly 30 minutes, I decreed the water set enough to take Blue Fin. 

We dumped him in.  He stayed perfectly still for a long time. Then he seemed to realize he was home again and could see!

So, we have a happy Blue Fin.  We didn’t feed him last night because his old tank was so filled with food. This morning my son put in 2 tiny granules which Blue Fin ignored. 

Tonight I added 3 more tiny granules. No movement from Blue Fin toward them. But he’s happily swimming around. 🙂 

I like to think we saved him. He’s got a happy home now. I’m also afraid I’ve done such a great job I’ll earn the “privilege” of having him here every break. 

Socks, socks, and more socks

Socks, socks, and more socks

I, like many moms, have a love/hate relationship with socks. I’ve given up on white socks ever being white. I used to bleach them weekly and still couldn’t get the funk out of them. I swear I have no idea what they do to them. But alas, the kids do not care what their socks look like. They don’t even match their socks. Seriously, my daughters do not care if their socks are even the same style, let alone the same color. They’re seven, and I’ve decided if they don’t care, I don’t care. It’s one less stress. 

But I refuse to let them go sockless. Their shoes already smell nasty enough. And they do running club before school each morning, during which their goal is to run a mile a day, which adds to their funk. And so we have to have socks. 

I have bought them each 12 pairs of socks since the start of school. Neither daughter could find any socks at all 2 weeks ago. Seriously?!?!  Now might be the time to mention under their beds is a disaster zone. So, no socks to be had.  I had enough. 

Rather than buying more socks, I starting pricing around on eBay and Amazon for zippered laundry bags. I decided on these zippered bags. Each child got one to keep next to their laundry hamper. All socks should go in. We dug out every sock we could find in every book and cranny. We found 3 bags full of socks. 

They have been thrilled this past week that they have plenty of socks. I’m not matching nor even pairing them. I literally dumped the bag of clean socks in their top drawer and there they are for them to pull out two at a time. 

This past week was awesome. Not one delay occurred getting ready for school because of no socks. When I washed clothes this weekend, 3 bags of socks went in; 3 bags of socks came out. Voila!  

I don’t know how long it will last, but for this week, there are socks!

Our new favorite hot cocoa

Our new favorite hot cocoa

Since the weather has cooled down at night, and I’ve had to turn on the heat for us Southerners, the kids have been asking for hot chocolate. So, today when we went to Sam’s Club, I bought the big tub of hot cocoa. I know to you chocolate connoisseurs, you are probably cringing, but to those of us on a budget, it’s a necessity. I don’t buy the kind with the dehydrated marshmallows. I like fluffy miniatures and a lot of them. 

I grew up on powdered hot cocoa and miniature marshmallows. Mom used to give us 5-6 marshmallows and think that was enough. No way!  When it comes to my hot cocoa, I’m a kid. Md that brings us to the making of tonight’s most awesome hot cocoa…

I started with my giant measuring/mixing bowl and filled it with 3 cups of water and 1 cup of whole milk. The I added 12 heaping tablespoonfuls of the mix and stirred until mixed. I heated the whole bowl in the microwave for 4 minutes, stirring after 2. That gave me time to put about 1/4 cup of marshmallows in the bottom of each of the 4 mugs. They were about 3 deep. When the moisture was heated, I stirred it well again and poured it over the marshmallows. I then topped it with the canned whipped cream. YUMMY!!! I wish I has taken pictures. 

My kids declared it the best hot cocoa ever. I may agree (aside from the real stuff I got in Paris). 

Slowing down and Sleeping in…

Slowing down and Sleeping in…

As adults always on the go, it’s hard to remember that kids need unscheduled time. I limit my kids’ participation in stuff, but still, it’s a crazy schedule. 

This past week went like this: 

Sunday: arrived home from their dad’s at 5:30. Immediately they hit their bikes (we have a limited area of the neighborhood they are allowed to ride in) and were gone until 6, time for dinner. Bedtime is 7:30 and they also wanted some Kindle time (they get 30 minutes to 1 hour of screen time a day). 

Monday we left my school at 4 and headed for allergy shots. We left there at 5 and headed to grab fast food on the way to tryouts for basketball and basketball cheerleading. My son has asked to play basketball again–he did 2 years ago, and since team sports have so many positives, he is again. I don’t see him as a future basketball star, but that’s ok. His sisters have begged to cheer and since they have basketball cheerleading, I’m letting them do that. The season is only 2 months. We decided to play through the Upward program. We finished our part at 7 Monday. We then rushed home to try for their 7:30 bedtime. 

Tuesday:  Election Day and student holiday. I had to work a teacher workday though, so they went with me for the morning and then my mom kept them after lunch.  When I went to get them, they were actively playing with their cousin with whom they get very little play time, so I stayed and got some much needed time with my mom. When we left there, it was already 6, so we grabbed dinner on the way home (another mom fail night) and were home by 7, scrambling to make bedtime. 

Wednesday: back to the grind of school and our usual routine. The girls have gymnastics at 5, so we ran home after school, got them ready and were headed there. My son and I hit BJs to restock on stuff while the girls were in class. We grabbed them, came home, I fixed a quick dinner, and rushed everyone to bed. 

Thursday may become my favorite day of the week. It’s Cub Scout night. What makes it awesome is my mom feeds us dinner and then keeps the girls while my son and I go to scouts. We don’t finish scouts until 7:45, so it’s always a late night. We came home and it was off to bed. 

Friday morning my daughter (d2) asked me if on Saturday she could please sleep in as late as she wanted. Fortunately I had NOTHING planned for Friday night through Saturday. The only 2 things I wanted to do was 1. Find and fix the leak on my grill so we can grill. 2. Go to their school’s performance of Annie Saturday night. 

I got the grill leak fixed yesterday. 

Annie is tonight. 

My kids slept in today. Well, if you count 7:30 as sleeping in. Compared to their usual wake time of 6, it is. I even slept until 6:30. 

They have moved downstairs to start the day. I’m wrapping up to spend a blissful day doing very little with the munchkins. Have a great Saturday!

Revamping the yard

Revamping the yard

Ok, so the house was in sad shape when I bought it. I hired the immediate needs of new floors and new paint for the main floor and bedrooms. Everything else has been on me to do. 

Last week, on Tuesday, personal business took me over to Loganville and I stopped in the  Growers Outlet and impulse purchases some plants for in front of my garage. 

The front of the house was severely overgrown and the sellers had just enough work done to sell it, but the plants they left were way too large. This bed had to be fixed. 

And so, I decided to attack it. The trusty chainsaw cut the hollys way back. Then we (I have a couple of teenage boys that are my handymen) started digging. We dug out the middle plants and the excessive monkey grass and lirope. 

We replaced the overgrown boxwoods with Indian hawthorns. They’re small but will grow. I replaced the mountain of miscellaneous overgrowth at the end of the bed next to the garage with a tea olive. 

12 bags of mulch and a ton of digging and planting and this is the finished product. It’s not glamorous but it’s coming along. 

$40 of plants. $40 mulch.  $120 labor for the teenagers.  A few sore muscles for me. And I have a bed I’m proud of. The holly will grow by next year. The Indian hawthorns will fill out and get larger. But all in all, it’s so much better than it was. It’s bringing real curb appeal to the house. 

More to come later. 

Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher Conferences

Warning:  This is purely a mommy brag.  

Today was parent teacher conferences for my kids. Even though they are triplets, they are in separate classes. So I got to meet with 3 teachers back to back. 

Meeting 1. Daughter 1.  Outcome: at my suggestion that we have her evaluated, we are starting the process for ADD/ADHD evaluation. She’s way too impulsive, off task, and hyper-focused. I’m seeing these things at home and so from my 24 years in education, I know what I’m seeing. The teacher was in full agreement. Academically she started strong, just as she ended last year. She isn’t making the progress we’d like, probably thanks to ADD. And when you look at family history:  sister, brother, half sister, father, aunt, uncle, 3 cousins all ADD. 

D2. Started year way behind and participated in early intervention for math and reading. Progress is AMAZING!  Has already finished ALL 2nd grade sight words. On math computer program for 2nd grade had completed all addition and subtraction and 88% of multiplication (which normally is 3rd grade). Primary reason (besides great teaching): started ADD meds the last month of 1st grade. 

Son: teacher’s helper. She said she couldn’t get everything done without his help. Academically strong. Above average in math and reading. He, along with D2 were EIP last year. Diagnosed with ADD in Feb. The week he started meds, his reading fluency jumped from 45 WPM to 78, without falling below 70 again. 

I’m amazed at my children. They have exceeded what I expected, both behaviorally and academically. Sure we are working on glitches, but the progress is huge. My village has certainly helped get these kids where they need to be. Kudos to all of you!

And to address the medicine naysayers: Before you criticize, please know it is not an easy decision, and yes I’ve read and researched. I’m doing what I believe to be best for my children. I’ve seen the confidence boost and personal growth in them, so no, I don’t regret my choice at all.