Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Books, Again!

A girl after my own heart.
Bunny Twin loves Lucy.
My Yahoo Voices short piece on winter and snow books was published recently (regular readers got a preview from a recent blog post on the same topic) and now it's being featured on the "Books" page! I wondered why I suddenly spiked over 1,000 hits per day, and there it was.

This is the second time one of my pieces has been featured on the "Books" page. The first was my Laura Ingalls Wilder piece, which has been my lucky subject -- so lucky that when I scrolled down the "Books" featured content page last night, there is was, again! Two pieces on the "Books" page at once... I feel lucky!

So... I am still decluttering, and still inspired to declutter, which is keeping the momentum going. Today, I didn't have a lot of time, but I did tackle one drawer and organized it. Even if it's only for five minutes, I will try to devote some time daily to this issue.

On Monday, some of the toy insanity was tackled. I got rid of about two more garbage bags of stuff, and have a huge pile for consignment. And we still have too many toys... This will be an ongoing problem. But we are a bit lighter now, and we've started the process. I still have other toy areas to sort. Big Girl and I eliminated a few bins by putting the pieces and figures for Little People and the old Sweet Streets sets inside the buildings themselves. I am not sure if I will regret this or not: We have several Little People sets (house, farm, castle, garage) as well as numerous accessories. I had a giant bin of all the people, but it just got dumped all the time. My thought is that we take down one building and play with that building, then put the building back.

That said, Fisher-Price needs to redesign these things. The buildings are so full of openings that it's practically  impossible for the pieces to be self-contained inside; everything spills out! I long for the days when I was a kid and the Little People houses locked together and everything fit inside, and they had a HANDLE! A handle! It was great because you could close it up and carry it back to its place or somewhere else, and you didn't lose anything. I miss those days. Don't know why they've messed with the design so much.

Sweet Streets were also made by Fisher-Price, but they are not offered for sale anymore. Big Girl LOVED these little houses and buildings, which were similar to the Little People concept but with tinier figures and furniture. She played for hours with them. And they did close up (at least some of them) to store things inside. We must have a dozen of these buildings and they take up a whole shelf in the playroom. Big Girl loved them so much we ended up with nearly every set, I think. They were inexpensive and kept her busy. When we sifted through the bin the other day to put the accessories with each one, it was a walk down memory lane for her. She keep saying she was going to play with them again. And play with her sister with them. I hope she keeps that promise. I considered getting rid of a few, but after seeing her so happy to be playing with them I will postpone that decision for a while.

In other Big Girl news, she received another award! She was named a Golden Bucket Filler at her school. Her teacher chose her for inspiring her classmates, having good character and filling others' "buckets" by being kind and helpful. Here she is hugging her teacher when she found out:

I was a sneaky mom that day. I knew she was getting the award, but she did not. And I knew if she saw me at school during their "town meeting," she would guess something was up. Parents are only there if their child is getting a special accolade. So I hid. And then stood in the hallway outside so she wouldn't see me. And then shoved a camera in her face when she walked by -- ha ha! She was truly surprised that she was chosen for such a special honor and I'm glad I could witness it and not spoil it for her. Again and again we are so proud of her. So very, very proud! She has another special award coming to her in a few weeks, so I will brag about that at a later date!

In other updates, my "money diet" went haywire a bit last week right after I published that post. The twins were sick with colds and time was precious and I had to succumb to the local grocery and purchase very necessary items at prices I was not happy paying. But this is what happens in life! And it's a good lesson for planning out finances. A "safety net" is necessary at times.

This week I have been good about avoiding spending on extras, for the most part. I was at Target and avoided unnecessary purchases. I've been sticking to our menu plan, despite swapping a few meals to different days. But my mom also gifted me with some groceries, which was a blessing. And she is being my laundry fairy until we get a new washer. She also helped me bring the twins to their well visit yesterday. Having another adult for this year task is wonderful because I can concentrate on one child's exam and the other is occupied by my mother. The little ones did much better than expected, despite finger pricks and hearing tests and exams and long-overdue flu shots.

The evening before I was explaining to them what the doctor would do the next day. When I said that the doctor would check their ears, Buddy Twin said:
"To see if I'm an elf?"
Note to self: Elf on the Shelf and "Elf" the movie might have put us in elf overload last Christmas. The twins ask for syrup and candy canes a little TOO much.

In other news, potty training is eminent. Buddy Twin is completely good about this. Bunny Twin is not. At all.

Wish me luck.

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