THAT Family Tree Society-Issue 43

Picture of the Week:
The Week in Review: We are finishing up the last few days of school and we are so ready to run around barefoot, eat Popsicles and tan our bodies in the warm summer sun!
Introduction into The Society:Help me welcome ElCloud with several examples of THAT family moments! Take your pick.  We’ve had too many THAT family moments to count, to be honest.

when the poop bounced   

how to make a dramatic exit  

1.  Tell Us A Little About Your Blog:  My name is April, and “ElCloud Homeschool:  Busy Minds, Busy Hands, Busy Feet” is our family blog.  I blog about our life, our homeschool, our Christian faith, and raising 7 active, creative, energetic, loud, “bouncing off the walls” kids.  We have 7 children, ages 13 through 5 months.  4 girls, 3 boys.  They are busy, and they do keep us busy.  (Which is of course one of those things everyone says to THAT family … “They must keep you busy!”)   I started the blog as a way for our extended family who live across the nation to keep up with our family and what the kids are doing.  I also seek to encourage other homeschoolers, and recently have begun doing reviews, as well. 

2.  How Long Have You Been Blogging?  Since December 2005 

3.  How Would You Define That Family?  An imperfect family, full of quirks, chaos, and failures … just continuing to walk together, love each other, and encourage each other to keep trying.  In our case, THAT family means:
  • “you know THAT family with all the kids”
  • “you know, THAT family with the really active kids”
  • “THAT family who has a child in every single sunday school class except the high school group” (we’ll hit that one next year)
  • “THAT family who explode into the library, take over the whole area, and leave with the maximum amount of allowed books and videos, and a screaming toddler every single time.”

4.  When Did You Discover You Were Part Of That Family?  I think I grew up in THAT family, to some extent.  (You’d have to know my Dad.)  But I discovered I was raising THAT family years ago.   It might have been when my 2 yo firstborn poured an entire bottle of perfume on my bed, or when my 3rd daughter who was potty training dropped poop out of her training pants (which BOUNCED on the floor) in the middle of a puke fest from her siblings, or when I had to quit doing home daycare because my own kids were too needy, or when my 1 yo climbed the step ladder her Dad left out, or when I led 5 kids through Cabela’s with two on harnesses (they needed them!) and could feel everyone looking at me.  I knew we were THAT family when I realized that they had assigned my “energetic” preschool daughter her own adult at VBS, to keep track of her.  I knew we were THAT family when I finally gave up on children following me quietly through Wal-Mart in a neat line.  Mine wander and straggle behind, and dance in the aisles, and hop from black square to black square and try to walk on the black “bumpers” at the bottom of the freezers in the middle of the aisle.  But I’m so thankful to have them:  active, creative, loud, and enthusiastic about life.   We get counted when we go places, we get nervous glances when we enter a restaurant, and I think if I have to say “Shh” one more time, my mouth is going to stay puckered forever.  The fact that we are THAT family was driven home when we moved just over a year ago, and I have heard us described as “THAT family … ” by others in the community. 


5.  Where Can We Find Your Blog?    http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/ElCloud

When Blogging Turns Ugly

I like to hang out on Twitter.
It’s a nice place to get to know people more intimately in this huge blog world.
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of tweets about ugly blogging. Mom bloggers bad-mouthing other Mom bloggers.
I’m hardly in the know, but I think it has something to do with intertwining product reviews, PR pitches and free trips in with family stories instead of posting those items on a separate review blog of sorts.
Or maybe it’s about so-and-so having a bigger house and driving a nicer car. That’s what the moms on the school porch talk about.
And then again, it could be about you-know-who at recess taking my best friend from me. That’s what my 9 year old daughter complains about.
Frankly, I think it’s the age-old girl problem.
It probably won’t go away.
I’ve talked about being an extrovert on my blog and an introvert in real life. But sometimes in this blogworld, I feel disconnected. I feel like an island. 
I’m usually the last to learn of such matters. I like to stay out of blog conflict. I don’t know the details. I don’t know the names. And I don’t want to. It’s not that I don’t have an opinion either way. I do. I clearly welcome PR pitches (hello, Chick Fil A, we need to talk about unlimited sweet tea).  I’m extremely selective and you won’t see a lot of it here. 
Because that’s not why I blog. 
(But if that is why you blog, then wear those shoes proudly).
It’s important to me to maintain who I am. I can’t pretend to write about something I don’t care about. 
And that’s really the point I’m getting at, why do you blog? 
Define that for yourself.  I’m finding that even though I’m open to marketing that fits me, the amount of offers and enticements and distractions grow everyday. And that’s why it’s important for me to remember that if it’s just me and my keyboard (like it was a year and a half ago), I do this for me. I want to be proud of what I contribute to the blogworld.
So whatever you decide to be, be your best. And give other bloggers (and neighbors with bigger things and girls on the playground) a chance to be themselves. We are all unique. Every blog is different.
But please remember that every word you publish is making an impact. The good and the bad.
And the ugly.

Today, I Want to Talk about My Pantry

Moving title isn’t it?
My pantry isn’t exciting. It’s smallish and very plain.
And messy…funny I should leave that part out.
I have had no fondness for the place I store food. I shove it in there and balance the madness carefully and then shut the door quickly.
It’s my pantry.
But.
The pantry got a makeover.
Did you hear me?
THE PANTRY GOT A MAKEOVER.
This should be on Oprah. Because it’s that good.
The big reveal will come in tomorrow’s DIY project, but I wanted to give you a peek on the inside. (You won’t want to miss the outside of my pantry!!)

Before


After



Now, it’s a total basket-case! The amazing thing? The majority of these baskets came from Goodwill! I spray painted of few of them black to freshen them up.

Check out more Goodwill finds at Thrifty Decor Chick!

WFMW-Parenting Tip for Young Children

The other day, my hubby and I took the kids swimming.
We splashed and laughed and soaked up the Texas sun.
But we didn’t follow our most important rule while out with our kids.
And because of it, we paid the high price of a tantrum in public.
It was a humdinger.
My best parenting tip: Leave while you’re having fun.
I heard someone say years ago they avoided tantrums, over-tired, and just all-around cranky kids, if they left WHILE they were having fun. If you wait (like we did) until the 2 year old starts rubbing her eyes, yawning and whining, you’ve waited too long.
It’s so easy to get caught up in good family fun! But timing is everything, especially with kids under the age of 12.
Over Memorial Day weekend, we visited the Bass Pro Shop in a neighboring town and spied animals, tasted fried turkey, and watched fish in a huge aquarium. And this time, we followed our own advice! In the middle of having a fantastic time, we packed it up and headed home. Wise choice.
I love my kiddos. But I can tell you, too much of a good thing is, well, too much. Leaving while we’re having fun works for us, every time.
*Please mark your calendars-NEXT WEDNESDAY-is the “Mom, I’m Bored” Edition. Please share a tip for keeping your kids busy in the summer!

{Thank you for joining me for WFMW! You can read the guidelines here.}

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Works for Me Wednesday Participants

1. It Feels Like Chaos (just stop)
2. Erin @ Closing Time (fun lunch idea)
3. Green Baby Guide (Stop Wasting Food)
4. Kirsty@Momedy:EASY $$$ MANAGEMENT!
5. Kate @ Which Proverbs 14:1 Woman? (Print eBooks Without Using Reams of Paper)
6. Megret – Electronic list-making and note-taking
7. TrentTribe (tidy totes for bath toys)
8. Smockity Frocks (Family Game Night)
9. Chicagoland HSN (Keepers at Home Club)
10. Daiquiri (upside down tomatoes)
11. Hoosier Homemade(Summer Survival Kit)
12. Hannah –Traveling with Young kids
13. The Diaper Diaries (prevent choking)
14. Home School Dad (Turning Off The T.V. For The Summer)
15. exhale. return to center. (our mud pit)
16. Saving Money on Haircuts
17. A Simple Walk (rebel organizing)
18. ilovemy5kids (EASY RECIPE)
19. Kate @ Stolen Moments (versatile stir fry)
20. Inside The White Picket Fence (System to Memorize Scripture)
21. Amy @ Finer Things (washing windows)
22. Sunnymama (stick puppets)
23. Lisa (Summer Salads)
24. the Animator’s Wife (growing basil)
25. 5intow (kids’ chore habits)
26. Jordan @ MamaBlogga (one day potty training)
27. Abbi (cleaning hard water off with Vinegar)
28. Mother Hen (online car shopping)
29. Effortless Savings (Staying Cool)
30. Many Little Blessings {Easier Book Keeping for Small Businesses}
31. Homemaker Barbi (Patching Jeans)
32. MyFrugalAdventure: Tips for Cutting Spending
33. Weird Unsocialized HS’ers (organizing school stuff)
34. Sharon @ Because I Must (frugal summer fun)
35. Sara @ Learning the Frugal Life(storing spices)
36. Sandwiched (EASY Journaling)
37. A Heart for Home (Mess Proof Hand Towel)
38. ElizabethG (healthy taco soup)
39. Jen (toothbrushes & toilets)
40. Caroline (reward jars)
41. Mama Jenn (how to display blog awards on sidebar)
42. Meagan @ Homemaker In Progress (A Few Frugal Tips)
43. Carolina Mama (kitchen quick TIP)
44. That’s FAMtastic (reward jars)
45. Denise @Fullnest (cloth diapering without extra laundry)
46. Anita (How to read a book)
47. Donielle @ Raising Peanuts (Making dinner w/ a newborn)
48. Canned Laughter (Keep cooked mushrooms white)
49. Family Focused Fun (Diaper Tip)
50. Angie (getting kids to read Bible)
51. Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting (cooking with kids)
52. Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam(CVS video tutorial)
53. Joy @ Five J’s (Homeschooling Outside)
54. A Beach Cottage Head Clearing
55. Saving and Giving (The Cure for Brown Bananas)
56. Rachel (Meeting financial goals as a team)
57. Christy Klein {The Miracle Beauty Wand}
58. Garibay Soup (PICKY EATER ATE ASPARAGUS!!! COME READ HOW)
59. Stretch Mark Mama (Best. bibs. ever. I. promise.)
60. LEFTOVER SOUP RECIPE-EASY HOMEMADE POT PIE – Kelly the Kitchen Kop
61. Headless Mom(5things/5min.)
62. Renee (Frugal tip – Summer Fun Bags)
63. Beautiful Calling (FREE chore chart)
64. Zoe in England (Pre-Ordering)
65. Jenni (Dyeing STAINED CLOTHES in Front Loader)
66. Monica@DailyDwelling (entertaining kids while working in kitchen)
67. Steady Mom (let your child save face)
68. Alea @ Premeditated Leftovers (using dryer lint in the garden)
69. ParentWonder – TV and Children
70. Thrifty NW Mom (Using online calendars for organiza
tion)

71. Beverly (roasted Corn)
72. Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates (Dog Shedding Solution)
73. Maren – Big Lots
74. Raising Olives (homemade playsilks)
75. Tracey @ Girls to Grow (Packing Made Easy)
76. Jolanthe (Free Magazine – fun kid’s ideas)
77. BusyMom (gardening)
78. Girls in White Dresses (teaching resilience and persistence)
79. Cardamoms Pod (Quick Thaw)
80. Kim ( Noah Websters 1828 Dictionary)
81. Multi-Tasking Mommy (cleaning highchair trays)
82. HealthBeginsWithMom (Healthy Summer Treats for Kids)
83. Fruit of the Womb (freezing strawberries)
84. Shannon (beef fajitas w/ cumin vinaigrette)
85. Stephanie (*How I Make My Summer Schedule*)
86. Jen (Summer Tote)
87. Susan @ Practicing Thrift (pick your own berries)
88. Lori @ The Book Lady (Easily Pack Healthy Lunches for Work or School)
89. MC (Easy Lasagna)
90. Simply Practical (Dusting made easy and green)
91. Moneywise Moms (writing to customer service)
92. Brilliant Moms (favorite uses for vinegar)
93. KLee (big girl room)
94. Alicia (toy storage system)
95. Melissa @ Frugal Creativity (quick dinners and a craft giveaway)
96. Counting Sprinkles (Motivating kids)
97. Sandra (kids activity center at home)
98. Common Cents Mom (Using Social Media in Ways that Matter)
99. Marcy (book review- Boundaries w/ Kids)
100. Becky (haircuts)
101. Val@Team Hill (Being Kind)
102. Richella (Chalkboard eraser holder)
103. The Shabby Chic Cottage (kids reading nook)
104. Newlyweds (Garden Veggies)
105. Unfinished Mom (Teaching Kids to Pray)
106. Bake at 350 (disposable pastry/icing bags)
107. Suzanne@ Adventures in Teething (Removing Pen Marks)
108. LANA- Another Great Tiime Saver
109. Bailey’s Leaf (Adoption Process Tips)
110. Penny Raine
111. Everything Moms (Kids craft:garden rocks)
112. Kitchen Stewardship (Local Strawberries WFM)
113. Tara @ Feels like home (bread machine pizza dough)
114. The Happy Housewife ~ Balancing Life and Blogging
115. Angie @ Annies Home (replace your bugspray)
116. MominIN (DVD Storage)
117. Holly @ A Mommy’s Blessings(kitchen shears)
118. Vanessa @ Simple Bliss (Universal Wishlist)
119. Sandra (learning letters activities)
120. Heather (Great Hair product)
121. Liz @ Frugally Blonde (Eating Healthy on a Budget)
122. Sissy & Sassy (toys worth buying)
123. Jess (homeschool Art)
124. Jackie @ Blessings Overflowing (Cleaning with “holey” socks)
125. Laura @ Heavenly Homemakers (Homemade Corn Dog Muffins!)
126. Molly Green (frugal yarn organization)
127. Lynn’s Kit Adv (PB Baked Oatmeal)
128. MomsMagic – repurposed baby item
129. Lewis Land (Facebook for Babies)
130. CENTS TO GET DEBT FREE (CLEARANCED FRUIT)
131. Beth (Easy, Mini Cheeseburgers)
132. Fly Away Family (10 Tips To Stay Healthy & Trim)
133. songbirdtiff (thrift store decor)
134. Jessica (blueberries and milk)
135. Emily @ The Pilot’s WIfe (Teething Toy)
136. Holly@Homebody (DIY Swiffer Wetjet Refill)
137. Megan (family calendar)
138. Michelle (suggestions wanted)
139. Radkitten (WordPress Notes)
140. cool dad (Target vs Wal-Mart)
141. emily (make a baby splatmat)
142. Jen @ What’s Shakin’? {homemade taco seasoning}
143. Paula @ Organizing Tips (Making the most of Corner Cupboards)
144. kristen (twixits)
145. ET @ Titus2:3-5 (quick easy beauty tip)
146. Amy @ CouponPsycho (All You Mag)
147. pennypinchinmomma(summer reading programs)
148. K@In The Lord’s Path (Healthy afordable kids breakfast)
149. Superchikk (Cook Once, Eat Twice; With Recipe)
150. Beverlydru (Steam Cleaning)
151. se7en (science experiment ideas for kids)
152. Mommy’s Idea Book (Camping)
153. (peanut butter cupcakes)
154. Condo Blues (peanut butter cupcakes)
155. Julie From Inmates (TiVo)
156. Abigail’s Mommy (Powdered Laundry Detergent)
157. Mrs. Jones (Changing Trash Bag Faster)
158. Cheerios Underfoot (Preschool/Homeschool links)
159. Kat Keeping Mommy Friends
160. Stacey (avoiding the” I Wants”, sadness, and tantrums with an easy trick)
161. Tanya (summer notebook)
162. Emily@ A Place of My Own (Yummy summer corn recipe)
163. Arrowsprings (frugal cleaning)
164. Wanda (letting go)
165. The Messy Mom (flying with a baby)
166. MrsScotsman – Free Regal Movie Schedule
167. Amy @ muddy boots (paying off debt)
168. Pam at BeyondJustMom (uplifting book giveaway)
169. Lindsay @ Passionate Homemaking (natural laundry detergents: homemade and more)
170. Joanna @ Grace In The Home (Getting Kids To Floss)
171. Kisses of Sunshine: Low Maintenance Gardening Tip
172. BandSP (Inventory)
173. karen @ Mommy, I’m Home
174. Jennifer (a year’s worth)
175. Organizing Mommy (Organizing spaces!)
176. Christine @ becomingp31 (Making summer cleaning quick and effective!)
177. Maygan (encouring toddler to try new foods)
178. It’s Frugal Being Green (Defrosting and Using Meats)
179. href="http://redathome.blogspot.com/2009/05/works-for-me-wednesday-board-game.html" target="_blank">Missy@Simply Red(board game storage/organization)
180. Raise Them Up (Rose Care)
181. FamilyMakesCents (Buying Flowers- Annuals)
182. Tara@Not So Perfect(Diet Journal)
183. Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker (Window Cleaner)
184. TidyMom (Saving Change)
185. Jenna (Easy magazine article storage)
186. Sandra @ A Lot of Savings (How to get coupons)
187. The Gaines Gang (Frugal Kids Snack)
188. Perfectly Provident (Homemade Crayons)
189. Mama Said ($6/year Dedorant)
190. Cooking Up A Family-netflix for working out
191. Sarah Mae (Living Unbounded By Feminist Fear)
192. Teri Lynne @ Thoughts & Ponderings (kids rooms)
193. Kristin (Creating Extra Storage in Child’s Room)
194. petersonclan (too narrow shoes)
195. Jamie/penguinsandladybugs (alternative to soda pop)
196. Saving Money Ideas (refinancing)
197. Hip Mama’s Effective Discipline
198. Lori-Not So Superwoman (1st WFMW post: Beach/Park Day Tip)
199. Nichole @ A Call to Higher Places (Scrapbooking for Baby!)
200. Jenny @ Another Jennifer Speaks
201. FishMama @ LifeasMOM (coupon storage)
202. Kari (Keeping Up With Kids Information)
203. Planning a Free Picnic
204. Amy @ Tiny Blessings (good garden dirt)
205. Amanda (my bread machine story)
206. Amyswandering (Aoutomatic Shower Cleaner & coupon)
207. JM@princesswithahalfpricetiara(Budget Keeping)
208. Heather@Thoughts from Holland (teacher gifts)
209. Kristi_runwatch (early bedtimes!)
210. Diana @ Be home happy (grocery tips)
211. Pam – 30-Day Shred
212. Adventures in Mommydom (traveling with preschoolers)
213. Jodi ( Summertime Money Saver)
214. Jenny @ agreaterhand (reward sticks)
215. mombrud (parenting inspiration)
216. Jill @ MoneySavinDiva (cost breakdown to making pantry staples)
217. Lis (Pandora Online Music Station)
218. Mandy
219. Jess (Cock a Doodle Doo Decor and More
220. Judy @ Frugal at Home (Keep that trash can clean!)
221. Jan (be prepared)
222. Niki @ Free 2 Be Frugal (Cheap Movie Nights)
223. Harper @ Trial and Error Home Ec (diet mind games)
224. Kali (I’m New)
225. missy @ missysthrifty home made laundry detergent)
226. Grateful for Grace (cheap medical treatment)
227. Kali (Paint Storage)
228. Janis @ SneakPeek (ready to go diaper bag)
229. A Mom Learning More Everyday (2o min cleaning)
230. Andrea (Running with Perseverance) – calendars
231. angie ( cell phone madness)
232. Aunt Mommy (Vi
negar on the Wall!)

233. Bahama Shores Mama (no excuse exericse)
234. Simply Sweet Home (country fried steak recipe)
235. Alison Liley
236. Carolina Mama (Best of Carolina Giveaways)

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Mrs. Kravitz

My two year old has a thing for the neighbors.
On both sides of us. And the house behind us.
Okay, really the entire street.
She calls each family member by name. 
She asks me what they are having for dinner and if they are home from work yet.
She peeks thru the window and asks “What dey doing, Momma? What dey doing now?”
It’s like living with Mrs. Kravitz (except mine has tantrums and insists on everything being pink).
She’s not messing around. Spying on tip toes is for professionals only.
I think the resemblance is uncanny, really.