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Monday, February 28, 2011

A Review of the Zippo Handwarmer

One of the things that my family looks forward to every year is the beginning of the spring the start of what we like to refer to as "fire season". This is the time of the year where we fire up the bonfire in the back garden, invite our friends over and have a great time chatting and theoretically solving all the worlds problems in one evening. Nearly every year, my husband and I do I trial run by ourselves, always entirely too early in the season and freeze our backsides off. We had this years trial bonfire on my birthday and although it had been unusually warm for February, it was still really cold outside.

I took the opportunity however to use and review a hand warmer that I had been provided by Zippo. The Zippo Hand Warmer is made in the same high quality metal that you would expect out of a Zippo lighter. It is very sturdy and does not feel like it would fall apart with multiple uses. There are several warnings in the instructions, such as to only use Zippo lighter fluid in the product and not to keep the hand warmer on one part of the body too long. At first, I must admit I found it a little disconcerting that I would have a flame in my hand. However, the flame is kept under control in a metal housing and then slipped into a nice fabric pouch to protect your hands.

In order to get the Zippo hand warmer to work properly, you must follow the instructions provided exactly or as I found out, it will not work. Once I went back and actually read all the instructions (I have a tendency to jump the gun sometimes), the hand warmer sprung to life. The fear of having a flame in my hands disappeared as the toasty warmth warmed my hands up quickly as I sat outside in the chilly weather.

The only complaint I have about the hand warmer is that the Zippo lighter fluid is not provided with the purchase of the warmer, it comes separately. I would however definitely recommend this product for those of my readers who are the outdoorsy type. If you enjoy camping, early spring gardening, or long walks in the chilly English weather I would definitely have this in my gear. It is a bit more expensive than the disposable hand warmers, but it is reusable and will last for years with proper maintenance.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dear So and So...It's A Jungle Out There

Dear Parents w/ Their Children in Public,

Is it really too much to ask that you make your children follow the rules? I took my children to two public "childrens attractions" this week and I saw kids breaking the rules set down by the parks right in front of their parents noses and nothing was even said to them. These rules are there for your child's safety and the safety of the children around them. It isn't like the parks are trying to ruin your child's fun by having some rules that EVERYONE should follow.You don't have to be harsh with your children, just remind them that rules are there for a reason. There isn't enough staff to make sure that the kids don't run up the slides and walk instead of running, so, hey, why don't you try to help the park out by doing a little parenting. Ya know, before you try to sue the park for negligence when your child hurts themselves.

Thanks. Kat

Dear Paradise Wildlife Park,

I had an amazing time at your park yesterday. The animals were all out and about so that we could actually see them (unlike some of the other zoos I have been to), the staff were all very friendly, and the animal demos were great and very educational. My kids were on cloud nine the entire day. It made my birthday fabulous.

Will Try to Visit Again, Kat


Dear Readers,

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. If you have a letter, please link up!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's My Birthday!

I'm 30! Holy moly! I can't believe it. I guess their are advantages to not being in my twenties anymore, not that I have felt like I have been in my twenties in a very long time. Also, I still have writers block, so I made yet another couple of lists.

Good Things About Getting Older

1. I worry less about trivial things.
2. I know who I am. I know what I am good at and what I can improve.
3. I love myself more than I did when I was in my teens/early 20s.
4. I don't feel peer pressure like I did when I was younger.
5. I usually make better choices.
6. I have better skin. Other than my laugh lines, but I do love laughing.
7. I can have a good laugh at my own expense.
8. I am more motivated.
9. More patience for important things.
10. Better Birthday presents.

Things That Stink About Getting Older

1. Things that were once north are slowly sliding south.
2. My feet seem to have grown. They were already huge.
3. My metabolism has taken a hike.
4. Relentless inner dialog.
5. Having to cross my legs when I sneeze or cough hard.
6. Forgetfulness. (OK, this isn't really from getting older, that is just part of my charm.) (Yes, we're gonna call it charm)
7. Caffeine all of a sudden has started making me stay awake, which never was a problem when I was younger, but now if I have a sip of caffeine after 9pm I won't sleep until 3am.
8. I am not longer the last person in my group of friends who is still in their 20s.
9. No patience for trivial stupid people.
10. Gas...yeah....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Things To Do When You Have Writers Block

Things To Do When You Have Writers Block

1. Make lists.
2. Watch really horrible reality TV. (as opposed to completely awesome reality TV. There is a difference)
3. Yell at TV when channel starts blinking out.
4. Have mini-birthday party with family. Squee loudly when receiving the BEST. BIRTHDAY. PRESENT. EVER. (iPad)
5. Download apps.
6. Do the dishes in the sink.
7. Complain.
8. Wander around house aimlessly.
9. Tweet about writers block.
10. Play with new iPad (The Most Awesome Birthday Present EVER)
11. Talk to friends on gchat.
12. Name iPad. Her name is Iris.
13. Remind self that nobody reads this drivel anyway.
14. Play with iPad some more.
15. Stare out the window wishing it weren't raining.
16. Read blogs.
17. Read books.
18. Go to post office and hope new book has arrived.
19. Throw silent tantrum.
20. Dance around kitchen because my hubby is awesome and got me an iPad!!!!!

Of course this list is purely hypothetical. (except I really did get an iPad for my birthday)(and do everything else on this list)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dear So and So...February Half Term

Helllllooooo Friday. I have missed you! Let's go!

Dear Weather,

Please, please, please, I know it is still the dead of winter technically, but can we try to at least warm up a little bit? I would like to do things with the girls outside over the next week while they are out of school and the cold weather is not helping my cause.

I'm Sorta Begging Here, Kat

Dear Kiddos,

You have the next week off of school. That does not mean that you get a free pass to wreck and destroy my house. I am going to try to get you out of the house as much as possible, but on the days we don't have something planned...yeah no pillaging that house.

Love, Mom

Dear People,

Anyone who brings me a cheesecake on my birthday (Feb 24th) will be in my good graces forever. Also, I might let you help me eat it.

Yum!, Kat

Dear Vodaphone,

I am finally getting rid of your crappy service today. Your coverage is crap. Your customer service is crap.

Good Riddance, Kat

Dear Ice Road Truckers,

Oh my goodness, I can barely watch this series with you driving the roads in India up and down the mountains. The thought of seeing one of you going over the edge of the side of a mountain makes my stomach go into knots. Don't even get me started with the camera angles that give me vertigo.

Watching Out of One Eye, Kat

Dear Readers,

If you have letters, don't forget to link up. Have a great weekend.

Love, Kat

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Short Confession

I was not one of those parents who felt guilty when both of my children started school. I didn't yearn for one of them to be home with me. I didn't feel the need to miss them. Hell, I practically did cartwheels to the car on the morning that KiKi got to stay at school for the first time for a full day. Does that make me sound mean? I don't know.

I love my kids. I really really love my kids. They are phenomenal. If you met them, you would agree. I am not just saying that because I am their mom. However, I really enjoy my time without them. I can get things done!! I can workout on a regular basis. I can go shopping without keeping myself on a schedule.

Tonight, my kids have movie night after school. They won't be home until 5:30pm. Can I admit that I am really excited?

The Man's Just Wanted to Say: This has nothing to do with the wife's post but....FINALLY THE ROCK HAS COME BACK TO WWE!!!!...I haven't been this excited in years. As an avid watcher of "wrasslin" I have been waiting for this moment for 7 years. Tuesday morning I went to work out at 5:30 am, and we I came back I ate breakfast and read the RAW results online. As soon as I read that The Rock has returned, I bee-lined it to my room to watch the recorded show....and I was in euphoria!! Rocky Rocky Rocky!!! So pencil me in to watch Wrestlemania!!! The "People's Champion" has returned!! IF YA SMELL..WHAT THE ROCK IS COOKIN!

(yes my husband watches "wrastlin'" and yes, he is as excited about The Rock coming back to WWE as I am about my kids staying at school til 5:30)

Monday, February 14, 2011

They Aren't Babysitters, They're Parents

More than a few times I have seen moms, new and old, commenting that they need to see if their husband's can "babysit" the children. Babysit? No, it is called parenting. It just annoys me to no end. Don't get me wrong, I do ask, out of consideration for my husband, if he has things planned before I make plans, but I don't ask him to babysit. It is a given if I am going out with my friends or doing things where kids would be a nuisance that he is going to be the parent in charge. In fact, he loves having alone time with our kids. They do fun things like go to the cinema, watch Spongebob marathons, or go rollerskating.

When I was a new mom I did have a hard time letting go though. What if he does it wrong? Well, guess what? He might not do things exactly like I would, but the kids are well cared for and he hasn't broken one yet. In fact, I have more problems with the way that he folds t-shirts than the way he takes care of the kids. I might come home to the girls dressed in VERY mismatched outfits, countless cereal bowls in the sink, and kids so sugar high that they are pinging off the walls, but it is completely worth it. I get my time. MY time.

I have heard some Stay at Home Moms comment that they are hesitant to leave their children with their partners because they feel like the children are their "job" and that their partners have a "real job". Guess what? Having small children at home is a real job. Nobody stays at their "real job" 24/7 except for stay at home parents (and yes, working mom's are also on call 24/7. Those telephone calls from school when a child is sick makes that abundantly clear). Sometimes, for a Mum's sanity they need to call in their relief pitcher. It isn't a sign of bad parenting, it is a sign of being human and needing a bit of time to yourself. Why would you ever feel guilty about that?

If your husband isn't comfortable with you leaving the children with him, maybe it is a good opportunity to find out why. Are they afraid they are going to do something wrong? Do they feel like it isn't their "job"? Do they think the child is gonna freak out the moment you leave the house? Do they feel like they don't get enough "me" time? Asking these questions and keeping the lines of communication open while parenting is so crucial. Letting your emotions bubble an fester, just accepting that they don't want to "babysit", feeling like you never get to do what you would like to do, can't be good for a relationship.

Do you call it babysitting? Does your husband/partner do their fair share? Do you feel comfortable leaving your kids for long stretches (even overnight)? I want to see what other mom's think. Am I being unreasonable thinking that calling the male parent a babysitter is a little wrong? Thoughts?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

On Your Birthday

Dear Cousin B,

I know I usually call you and wish you a happy birthday, but I thought that this year I would do something a bit different since you're turning 18. Did you know I was in 6th grade when you were born? I can still remember it. I was so excited to finally have a cousin on Mom's side of the family to play with when I was in Charleston. Now, you are a man. A very smart man, but don't get a big head; I am still smarter than you.

I thought that for your 18th birthday I would pass on a little sage advise. Here goes...

1. They say that your high school years are "the best years of your life," well, they are wrong. High school is merely the easiest years of your life. The best years will be when you are an adult. You may have more problems, but the rewards for your effort in life will be so much greater.

2. You will do some dumb crap in the next couple years. Believe me. REALLY DUMB. Dumber than the things you did in high school.

3. Be nice to your parents and sister. Friends come and go, family is forever.

4. Eat your veggies and exercise. When your metabolism goes, you need a backup plan.

5. Don't EVER drink and drive. EVER. EVER. EVER.

6. When you leave home, call your parents and granny at least once a week. They will probably call you more than that, but if you do it at least once a week they won't think you are dead. If you do forget they will call and call and call until they finally get you on the phone. I can guarantee this.

I am sure you probably won't listen to half of what I have just said, but eh, it is worth a shot. Take care. Love you. Have a happy happy birthday young padawan.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Dear So and So...Yeah Sorry Bout That

It's Friday! Guess what that means? I can sleep in tomorrow!!! It's the little things people. Let's get to it.

Dear Everyone Who These Letters Are About To Be Addressed To,

I am in a slightly very bad mood today. Mostly because I am a PMSing crazy person. Also, I am very slightly gassy thanks to the humongous amount of veggies that I have been eating. That makes for an explosive situation. Pun intended.

The Water Retaining Hormonal Crampy Harpy Writing These Letters

Dear New American Driver,

Yes, I did yell "SERIOUSLY?!?!" at you with exaggerated mouthing so that you could read my lips when you darted into the round about when it wasn't your turn. I realize that you are new, but meh, at that moment I really didn't care that you were so new that you still had Florida tags on your car. Actually, the fact that you are a Florida driver explains a lot.

Learn To Drive In The UK Before You Kill Someone,
That Crazy Woman In the Bright Orange Jeep

Dear Florida Drivers,

Sorry if the letter above you offends you. See first letter.


Dear LaLa,

When you start eating all your dinner, you can have more than one snack in the afternoon. That's just the way this is going. If you have any complaints, take a number.

That Mean Woman Who Won't Let You Eat Crap All Afternoon

Dear Big Man who walks the little Chihuahua,

I see you nearly every single morning while I drive my kids to school. I must admit that I giggle inside every time I see a big man with a little dog. It just doesn't seem right. Is it your wife's dog? Please tell me that one of you is named either Tiny or Brutus. That would just make my day.

Still Giggling on the Inside,

Dear Readers,

If you have letters please link up! Have a safe weekend and don't do anything I wouldn't do.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Proud Moments In Parenting History

For every lovely note you get home from your child's teacher expounding on their intellectual gift and the compliments you get paid by random strangers about how well your child is behaved, I guarantee that you will have at least twice as many moments when you have the urge to walk away from you child in public while whistling a tune and asking people "Have you seen this child's parents?" You won't do it of course. You will want to though.

I have had so many of these moments that has sort of become a running joke, or at least a joke that can be shared amongst friends. These incidents have nicknames such as The McDonalds incident. Well on Sunday, we had another "incident".

Nearly every Sunday my husband's dad calls us on Skype. It is nice to be able to see him and keep up with what is going on back home. After he had finished talking to The Man, he asked to talk to LaLa. I went back to my bedroom where she was watching TV, in her knickers of course, told her to put on a shirt and go talk to her grandfather. Well, she was having none of it. She complained the whole time I was making her put a shirt on and then when she got to the kitchen table to talk to her grandfather she was in rare form. At first, she was just sassy; giving short one word answers. The next thing I know, she is sitting there with her shirt above her head ala Mardi Gras.

Me- "LaLa, put your shirt down!!"

She puts her shirt down and starts making faces at the webcam.

Father in Law- "what are you? a nudist?"
LaLa- I'm a nudist! I'm a nudist!

She pulls her shirt back up!

Now at this point, I can just see my husband dying a bit inside, my mother in law is dying laughing and saying "you're gonna have your hands full with that one" and I am wanting to melt straight into the floor. My husband finally has had enough and tells La to go watch TV again, which is exactly what she was aiming for. Then we get back on Skype and apologize to his dad and step mom. When we ended the conversation my husband and I looked at each other and I gave him that look that says "Do you think the hospital has return policies?". He just shook his head no.

Moral of the story- If LaLa doesn't want to talk on Skype to her grandfather, don't force the issue. She will make you pay for it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dear So and So...It's A Mixed Bag Really

Oh Friday, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways*. Yep, it's that time again, minions errm I mean readers. It is time to let your inner nasty (sometimes nice) anonymous writer out of it's neat little box and let it have free reign to say exactly what it likes. No apologies necessary, well unless you want to and they are in letter form. Let's get started.

Dear Wind,

Can you cut it out so I can sleep tonight? You really didn't help my cause last night. Your ghostly howls were not amusing at all. I was not impress with you lifting the bin off the back porch and placing it in the middle of the garden. I was not impressed with you banging the gate of my fence. All. Night. Long. I would really appreciate it if you would just stop.

Exhausted, Kat

Dear WeightWatchers,

*high five* *fist bump* *hip bump* *secret handshake* 6.5 lbs off at weigh in! Wooooooohooooooooooooo!!!

Love, Kat

Dear Cheetos,

How dare you tempt me with your cheesy, corn based goodness!?! I shall overcome you with the might of...oh wait...I don't have to! I can just eat a few of you and be done with my craving! theory... let's just say thank goodness for cheat points.

*Strokes Bag of Cheetos*, Kat

Dear Everyone Who Has Wondered Where The Hell I Have Been Online All Week,

Book binge. My bad.

Ran Out of Books, Kat

Dear Readers,

You know what to do! If you have letters please link up!!

Love, Kat

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Talking to Children About Health and Weight

At LaLa's last doctors visit it was mentioned that she was below average in weight. KiKi is also slightly below average in weight. I am overweight and their dad according to Air Force standards is overweight (even though to normal people he is a healthy weight). LaLa's doctor mentioned to me that I need to pack on the calories in her diet. He recommended peanut butter, nutella, cheesy sauces, creamy sauces, basically anything that has a shed load of calories packed into not much food since she is a child and has a child sized appetite. I of course agreed with him while in my head I groaned because being a heavier person myself I have a hard time resisting things such as peanut butter, nutella, cheesy sauces and creamy sauces (and chips, and cakes, and chocolate, and bread, and french fries, and cheese burgers...).

LaLa the whole time was listening with intent and when we got back into the car had loads of questions for me.

La- Mom, what does it mean that I am under weight?
Me- It means that you are really thin.
La- What are calories?
Me- They are the energy in food that give your body what it needs to run. If you eat more calories than your activity burns off then you gain a bit of weight. That is what the doctor is asking me to do, give you more calories.
La- So I need to get fatter?
Me- I wouldn't say fatter, but you could stand to gain a few pounds in order to be more healthy.
La- Do veggies have calories?
Me- Yes.
La- Do I need to eat veggies? I don't like them.
Me- You need to try to eat more veggies.
La- *sigh* So, also because I exercise so much I need to eat more calories?
Me- Yep, because your body keeps burning all those calories that are in your food off.

About a week ago I started WeightWatchers. LaLa, being the ever observant seven year old that she is, noticed that I was paying a lot of attention to the food labels and plugging them into a special calculator before I would eat this week. She finally started asking questions a couple of days ago.

La- Mom, are you trying to eat a lot of calories?
Me- No, I don't need to gain weight like you do. For my age and height I am overweight and it is kind of like you being underweight. It isn't very healthy and I need to be healthy so that I can be able to play more with you and your sister.
La- So you are trying to eat less calories?
Me- Yep.
La- You need to exercise too!
Me- I certainly do.
La- OK. That sounds good.

It sure does little perceptive one, it sure does.

I don't think that children should be held in the dark about health and how weight can affect health. I do think that children should know that self worth should not be tied to weight. I think that children should know that maintaining a healthy weight is about health and not appearance. I also think that teaching children how their bodies work is good! This important knowledge that they can carry on into their adult lives. Maybe if us parents stop dancing around the issue and start teaching our children about healthy living and healthy eating we wouldn't have an epidemic of overweight children.