Friday, September 28, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DIY- Communication Center

Before Picture. The green dots could be written on with dry erase pens.

The center cabinet in our main room has become a communication center. All notes, memos, and Viking Kiddos' artwork and work are taped and thumb tacked to the cabinet. It was starting to look a little sad.
Time for an affordable make over.
As the Viking Family grows the need to keep organized  has become very important. We also developed a need to have some centralized communication center.
 I love the feel and look of chalkboard. I decided to paint the doors so they could be used as a chalkboard and the family could write messages.
The original plan was to paint the cabinet doors so that it could become a chalkboard. 
There are two forms of chalkboard paint. Since I was only painting the doors I chose the spray paint instead of the brushed on version. I also chose green instead of black. 

Then I found this primer! 
So, I got the brilliant idea of creating a magnetic chalkboard! 
Just add 3 layers of primer coat and paint over with color of choice. Voila!
So, said the instructions. 

To be honest. 
This primer is the nastiest, smelliest, oiliest, and messiest medium I have ever used. I kept praying as I put the required layers on that it would work. 

The finished cabinet!!

The entire family is pleased over my split second decision to pick green chalkboard paint over the black. The black would have been too heavy in this spot. I was also rather pleased that the other colors painted smoothly over the black primer. The purple and blue colors are left over paint from other projects. They are Pacific Rim and Jacquerad. 

Ready for chalk and magnets. 
All the doors have the magnet primer and can take small light weight magnets. The middle doors and top doors are green chalkboard. I was rather pleased and amazed how easy it is to wipe off the chalk.
The bottom doors are just magnetized. 

As you can see I am not afraid of color. 
Yes, that is my office desk. 
Since this picture was taken a blue filing cabinet, mint green book case and a white end table have been added. 


Why Not?

 Bless Bless!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Random Act of Kindness Tuesday- Teaching Kindness

How do you teach children kindness? It has been said that teaching kindness also teaches joy and happiness to a child. 

I saw this quote the other day. "A smile is a curve that can set anything straight."

This is a curriculum idea given to me by a fellow teacher. Please share and pass it along. 

At the beginning of the school year introduce rules. For the first rule have...  'Enter the room with a smile!'
Discuss how important it is to spread joy and it starts with them. Take pictures of  students smiling. Select different students weekly that are smiling and display them in an area of the hall. Donot tell them who will be selected as "Students of Joy!" for the week.  You may also have other students take pictures if you have a digital camera." (Source:  Nell Clark, Computer Teacher  at )

Prominently post this Poem...
Smiling is infectious; you catch it like the flu.
When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.
I passed around a corner and someone saw my grin.
When he smiled, I realized I had passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile and then I realized its worth.
A single smile, just like mine, could travel around the earth.
So if you feel a smile begin, don't leave it undetected.
Let's start an epidemic quick and get the world infected.
Author Unknown
1. Provide each child with a small paper cutout in the shape of a 
human-- or have students cut out their own paper figures.
2. Ask each student to write his or her name on the cutout.
3. Have students form a circle; have them pass the cutouts to the person on their right.
4. As the cutouts are passed around the circle, have each 
person make a small crumple or tear in the cutout and add a pencil mark. 5. When the cutouts have made their way around the entire circle, have students try to repair their own cutouts by flattening, erasing, and taping.
6. After cutouts are repaired, discuss the 
activity. Talk about the effects of unkind words and hurt feelings.
You might display the cutouts on a  bulletin board as a constant reminder of the effects of hurtful actions.
Source: educationworld

Monday, September 24, 2012

Manic Monday- No Coffee

It is a very dangerous move to start Viking Mom early on a Monday without a cup of coffee.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

DIY-Communication Center -Stay Tune!

What do you do with an old beat up kitchen cabinet that is used as for just about everything including keeping the family dishes inside?

Turn it into a Communication Center....

Stay tune for more pictures and How Tos.....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Office Disaster Prep!

Last year our office was asked and encouraged to develop a disaster preparation kit encase we have to bug in due to an emergency. Many school sites are also FEMA Evacuation Sites. The school site where my office is located is one of those designated sites. There is one huge multi-office "Emergency Box" somewhere in our complex. 

After last years San Diego Black Out I started looking into what I could keep at my desk encase of another emergency. I am limited on space and I share my humble little cubicle space with about 10 other busy co-workers. Leaving a huge Bug Out box isn't possible. Then I came up with this idea for a 1 person 1 day survival kit.

In one 32- oz BPA free Water Bottle
1. Water Purification Tablets for 25 quarts
2. 400 calorie food bar
3. 18 piece first aid kit
4. whistle
5. survival blanket
6. poncho
7. waterproof matches
8. 12- hour light stick
9. caribiner clip

All of this fits into the water bottle. 

The water bottle and the Coleman First Aid Kit fit neatly in the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet. 
I am thinking of adding more food bars and additional water. 

Now, I am even prepared in the office for an emergency.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Random Act of Kindness Tuesday- Pick up trash

Random Act of Kindness Tuesdays was originally inspired by a conversation a friend of mine and I had a couple of years ago. We were horrified by an incident we had witnessed. 
Children model their behaviors from the adults around them and the adults behavior and temperaments.

Modeling the habit of throwing your trash away and picking up lose trash will encourage your child to pick up trash. 

Why pick up trash?
Picking up trash helps keep your neighborhoods, schools, parks, beaches, playgrounds, etc. clean and healthy. You will show your child that you  appreciate your surroundings more which will lead in having your child showing that same appreciation.

Keep It Simple
Always keep an extra bag to act as a trash bag where ever you go. You can keep it in your car, backpack or purse. Use this bag not only for your own trash, but also for other trash you might see lying around!

Show Community Support
Every community has some kind of community clean up. The state of California has a "Adopt a Highway" clean up program. San Diego County has Beach Clean Up. 
Or organize a group of people to go out and keep a specific area clean. Help with a beach clean up, or be a part of a relief team working to clean up after a natural disaster. Once a month commit to going to a local park or picnic area and picking up after others who may have left trash behind. You can also do this on the side of a road, or even on your neighborhood streets. And don't stop at just picking up garbage! Separate out the trash that can be recycled.

Random Act of Kindness Challenge: Go out and pick up some trash in your community. Encourage your Viking Wee Ones to join you.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Manic Monday-- Have I told you I hate Mondays

Have I told you how much I hate Mondays. I would rather skip Monday and go right onto Tuesday.

Today is no exception... Add one more panic... getting Viking Dad off to the airport for a business trip.
Have you ever seen a Viking fly? They are far more comfortable in a Viking ship.

Personally, I think Viking Dad would rather fly.....
a dragon...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

No Fresh n Easy After All.

"I agree.  Patronize our businesses or lose them! Now we are left getting ripped off by Albertsons, which I heard has been sold to another chain store already. (Rumor has it Food for Less?)"

"Perhaps A---- were too slow in their support of the A----Creek Market???
Remember the store where you could actually find the items you were looking for – and had the best meat in town?  Patronize it or lose it!!!

That is the buzz going around our Humble Little Town. In this economy this could almost be heard in any small little town all over the United States. 

Back in April of this year I noticed this sign in one of our Humble Little Town's original grocery stores. I wrote about it here. There was some excitement when the community discovered that Fresh & Easy was moving into the old grocery store. We were told that the "Grand Opening" was to be June 2012. 

Well, it is now September. Where is the new Fresh & Easy that was herald to come to our Humble Little Town?

Hello! Fresh & Easy?? Are you coming or not?

The painful answer. "NO!" 

Now, we have an empty store front and no word on what the future may bring to this area. Apparently, Fresh & Easy became too big for it's britches and couldn't sustain their growth. Several of their impending stores will not open now, including the one in our Humble Little Community.

I teach Economics to my high school students. I teach the difference between a Free Market, Command Market and Combination Market. The United States of America built their economy on a free market economy. However, I do wish that sometimes these business would take in consideration the people within the community they are coming to. 

There are many suggestions on what should be placed in that store front. New library, new pool, another chain grocery store, Goodwill, and the list continues. 

The moral to this story.... respect, honor and cherish the small businesses in your community. Patronize them regularly and help keep them open. 

Otherwise... this is what could happen. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What is a Bug Out Box

"Viking Mom, Why do you have that huge box in the back of your car?"
"Um, Don't you pack light?"

These are questions we often hear when people see the Bug Out Box.

The Viking Homestead is in East San Diego County, which has historically had some major fires. In away you can add it as season out here. Louisiana and the Gulf has hurricane season. The Midwest has tornadoes. Berk has dragons. East County has fires.

"What do you put in a Bug Out Box?"

Each area is going to have unique items specific for that region. The Gulf region: rain boots. The Midwest: wind breakers. Berk: water buckets. East County: oven mitts.
I know I am being funny but this is a serious matter. Please consider being prepared for some basic emergency.

Here is my list and what goes into a Bug Out Box.

A Basic Emergency Check List

All of these items can be stored in a Rubber Maid container.

· Prescription medications and glasses

· Infant formula and diapers (keep some for sharing if you don’t need them)

· Pet food and extra water for your pet (Don’t forget a can opener.)

· Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container

· Cash and traveler’s checks and change. Don’t rely on ATM’s working.

· Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from

· Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.

· Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.

· Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper  When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.

· Fire Extinguisher (or two)

· Matches in a waterproof container

· Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items

o Don’t forget the toothbrushes and toothpaste.

o Toilet Paper  (great for trading too)

· Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels (A good camping set is ideal.)

· Paper and pencil Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.
Additional Items
· Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation. That is about three gallons.
· Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
o or Daily
o Don’t rely on the shelters for food. Especially, if you are on a restricted diet.
· Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
o Radio Shack
· Flashlight and extra batteries
· Several good solid pillar candles with matches
· First aid kit
o Check on specialized medication and make and make sure they are current.
· Whistle to signal for help
· Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
· Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
· Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
· Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
· Local maps
· Cell phone and chargers. Also, buy and keep safe the “Old School” plug in phones. These are the ones that plug directly into the phone jack. Cell phones may be unusable if towers are damaged. 
Now, here is a tough one, especially if you are in a place prone to sudden evacuation. Walk through your home and pick 5 things that are important to you and irreplaceable that are not on the list above In many occasions you will have less then 30 minutes to evacuate.
Now, list those five things so when the time comes you know where they are in the house.
All these items fit in a Rubber Maid sealable container and backpacks. They can be easily thrown into the trunk of a car.
Weapons??? That is a personal decision for each and individual family.

Now, to be honest I really don’t know if it necessary to stock up on gold and silver like some economic doomsayers claim is necessary. But, toilet paper, water and anti biotic creams can and are more immediately useable commodities to trade and barter. First aide items are also tradable items.  Chocolate is always a good item to share too.

Food Insurance
We all have auto, house and medical insurance. But, do you have food insurance? If you think about it, food and water are vital to our survival. A human being can only live for a few weeks without food and only a few days without water. In light of the tragic events in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, the power outage in Southern California that brought the southern part of the state to a standstill, and the constant threat of fires, earthquakes, tornadoes zombie evasion and other natural disasters across the country, it is important to make sure we always have the basic necessities of life with enough home food storage for your family to survive for at least two weeks.

Preparing for food storage can be done in several ways.
1. In the past food was preserved through canning, dehydration and pickling.This takes some time and creativity but it is easy and fun to do. The added bonus- You know what goes into the food and it will be food you and your family will enjoy.

2... Stock piling- This is possible if you have the space. Keep in mind you want food that can last several years and can be easily cooked. Beans, rice, noodles, canned meat, fruit and vegetables.

3. Food Insurance aka freeze dried food. There are several companies that now supply freeze dried food that tastes a whole lot better then the military Meals Ready to Eat aka MRE. is one company that provides affordable freeze dried food for emergencies or for stock piling.

4. Daily Bread Another resource for freeze dried food. 

Are you prepared?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

One Year Anniversary of the San Diego Blackout

One year ago San Diego county and half of Southern California and parts of Arizona experienced a catastrophic blackout. The jury is still out on exactly how it was started but for many of us who are "Preppers" it tested our resources.

I wrote about the Blackout in my blog post last year called "Time to Stop Laughing." You can review it here. The Blackout was a reminder for many of us on the unique situation we have in East San Diego County.

 Is your Bug Out Box Ready?

East San Diego County is a unique area to live in especially in the 21st Century. We have additional seasonal preparation we have to take in consideration.

Fire Season!!!

Since the Blackout additional services have been created by the county to help organize and prepare.
Emergency notification via NOAA approved radio has come in handy in the last couple of years.
One can check out resources here....

Remember during a catastrophic event like a fire, earthquake, hurricane, blackout, zombie evasion cell phones and cordless phones can and go down. In your Bug Out Box you will need an old school land line phone. We plugged in ours and we were the only one with phone services.

CBS Channel 7 New Report.... Check it out here.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Random Act of Kindness Tuesday- Hug a Hero

Eleven years ago the United States of America experienced a national catastrophe.

Todays Random Act of Kindness.....

1. Thank or Hug a firefighter, police officer, emergency response teams, and those like them because they run towards situations where most sane people flee from. 

2. Hug or Thank a solider, or a military family member. They and people like them have been fighting and sacrificing sometimes their own lives to ensure we do not have another September 11, 2001. 

3. Take a moment when you hear Taps, or a request for a moments of silence and stop what you are doing and remember the men, women and children who died on that awful day. 

Thanks Sis!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Keeping a Busy Mom Organized

All working Moms have one thing in common. We try to balance; work schedules, children's schedules, family schedules, cleaning, cooking, and any other miscellaneous schedule that is often overlooked in the gnat swarm called life. In the process of juggling all these schedules we also try to carve a bit of "Mommy Time."

When I Googled "Mommy Juggling Schedules" to find information or any suggestions on how to help this Type A, Choleric Hippy Dippy Mommy balance all these schedules I found there were over 13, 400,000 sites on this topic. Can we say overwhelmed!!!

About two years ago a friend of mine suggested a site called "Fly Lady." Now, in the two years I have been visiting her site she has really embraced the cyber community. Check her site here.

The Fly Lady helps busy Moms organize there homes and families with humor, love and encouragement. I found that many sites gave lists how to organize schedules but Fly Lady actually guides you with routines, sequences and habit forming projects. 
When looking at cleaning at house it can be overwhelming, especially to a tired Mom. I like the fact that Fly Lady breaks up the cleaning routines into Zones. Each Zone has a dedicated week or day to be cleaned and organized. Then through out the the week there are specific tasks that are to be completed. My favorite is the De-clutter the car and purse day. One does not realize how much stuff is collected and piled up during the week.
To be honest I am still trying to get into the routine with the Zones. I have been successful with keeping the Kitchen Sink cleaned and shiny and the Chaos to a minimum. But, I still have a long way to go. Fly Lady also doesn't have schedules and organization ideas for Viking Homesteads and farms. I have had to be a bit creative on how to allot time for the farm. 

When I started Fly Lady I was introduced to an amazing organizational tool, called Cozi. You can check it out here. The creators of Cozi heard our cries, pleas and suggestions. It is a calendar, meal planner, shopping list, To-Do list, and family communication center all wrapped into one site. I love the fact that I can tie all the family members together with our PDA's, computers and phones. An amazing tool is the shopping list. We now all have a shopping list connected to our phones. When one of us goes shopping we can use it and then either add or delete a purchased item off the list. It has cut down on a lot of confusion and expenses. 

Check out there You Tube Video....

I am still working out a lot of kinks in the plan. But, my goal is to use Cozi and Fly Lady to help reduce some of my stress this year.

Cozi and Fly Lady are for the mainstreamed families. However, more of us who are more organic and holistic have been adding articles and suggestions to both sites. Each contributor has been with open arms and positively. One step at a time.

Bless Bless

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Random Act of Kindness-School Donations

The new school year starts on Tuesday, September 4th. Many schools in California are once again struggling financially and to add to the stress waiting for the elusive state budget to be passed. In addition the Governor has asked that the residents of California to agree to tax increase to help fund the schools. UG!!!

As a result many teachers are cutting back on school supplies and asking parents to help with donations. All three of the Viking Children have already received "Wish Lists."

This weeks Random Act of Kindness

Donate school supplies to a classroom
Donate supplies for the teachers. Teachers also need supplies.
Ask the teacher if there is a special request for supplies.
 Two of the Viking Children are gluten free and require expensive alternatives to traditional school supplies. 

From this teacher it is always appreciated when parents donate items. 

Bless Bles