Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What do you do for an hour in the dark?

Did you celebrate earth hour? We did and it was great!

See - here is a picture of my house - with all of the lights out!

This gave me a chance to practice taking pictures by candlelight (with such a perfect model as well - ooh la la).

What DID we do?

I was set to watch TV, in the dark.

However, DH told Lulu and I to turn off the television. Party Pooper! Then he magically disappeared to go walk the dog - leaving me alone with an angry tween who was missing the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award show and was ranting and raving that she was mad at Nick for scheduling the show during earth hour. How could they?

Thank modern technology for the cell phone. I mean, what IS a modern-day tween supposed to do without electricity? "Can I even go to the bathroom?" she asked before charging upstairs???

Luckily our neighbors (Green family - with two very fun little girls) were celebrating earth hour as well and invited us over for some wine. Well, the wine was for the adults! We had such a fun time just talking and chatting about life, work, and parenthood, while the girls played upstairs in the dark - which they loved.

Green Plug

The Green family went so far as to turn off the circuit breaker to their house for earth hour. Thus, none of their appliances (refrigerator, for example) were sucking up energy for the hour (confession, it was more like 2 hours of drinking eco-friendly fun) which reduced their power consumption to absolute zero. How freakin' fabulous is that?

McFamily (that's us) Challenge

According to some studies, "the relative cost of running an appliance is higher in stand-by than when it is switched on, as it spends more time in stand-by mode."

I first learned about stand-by mode while proofing a document at work this year. What the heck is stand-by mode? Uh - your TV is either off or on, right, duh? WRONG. You TV is either on or standing-by sucking up electricity while waiting for you to decide to turn it on to watch it.

Apparently, over in Europe, they have discovered that the stand-by mode is a drain on energy consumption. They are recommending that you plug some appliances into power strips and turn the entire strip off when you are not using the appliance (which equals a $$$$ saving to you). We are seriuosly thinking about using power strips for our entertainment stations (TV, Wii, DVD, and so on).

What about you? What are you doing to be green? Would you consider plugging some of your entertainment appliances into a power strip and turning it off when not in use? Did you celebrate earth hour? If so, what did you do, in the dark, for an hour (please keep it PG-rated folks)?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Saving the World - One Day at a Time


I am taking the earth hour to earth day challenge.

Crazy? Maybe not.

Every day from now until Earth Day (April 22) I am going to try to do one thing to educate someone else on green changes that they can make in their life.

Day 1 (yesterday) - had a discussion with Lulu about different types of things that we could recycle (besides what we already recycle). Actually, she was educating me more than I was educating her.

Day 2 - wrote on my blog about taking the earth hour to earth day challenge.

Okay... and so now I have to think of 23 more things to do.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour - Choose Earth

Are you going to choose Earth tomorrow?


All we are asking is that you turn off your lights at 8:30 p.m. - for one hour. The goal is to have 1 billion people switch off their lights as a vote for Earth. In the past Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness for Earth hour. This year the Acropolis, Empire State Building, and Petronas Towers are joining in as well.

I will be participating and taking pictures of my dark house and neighborhood (might not be very interesting though). Please leave me a comment if you participate and blog about it - I want to see how your family spends one hour in the dark!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Box Girls

OK - lots to say here!

First, we have a box of dinner conversation cards which Lulu makes us we use to start conversation at dinner. Otherwise, Lulu has to listen to DH and I talk about the economy, real estate market, and dumb news stories.

Currently, we use the lime green Table Topic family cards. We have been through the box two times now because these cards are so fun. It is time to search for some new cards and so I was searching the internet for a new set of cards.

I came across these gems from the box girls. I don't think that you get as much bang for your buck with the box girl cards, but they are WAY cute!

Plus, they have some really cute sets for little girls. They have a camp set (which I could use for Girl Scout camp or summer camp - I can't decide) and a relatively harmless truth-or-dare set (which will also help to keep the girls occupied after lights out at summer camp). For those of you who have not been a camp counselor recently... lights out = stay up and giggle all night long = be grumpy and irritable the next day. Maybe I'll get the cute birthday set for Lulu for her birthday since she loves conversation cards so much!

In the meantime, I ordered the Food for Talk cards to replace our current set. They seem to be a family-centered set of cards and there are 200 cards in the pack (compared to 52 cards in the box girl sets).

I'll let you know what we think about our new cards when we get them.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Carolyn Hax had a great topic in The Washington Post: Comparing the Work of Child-rearing with Working at a Job. Whether or not you work at a regular job or work at home, we can all (moms and dads) certainly relate to her article. I thought that it was a nice perspective.

Does anyone know what section of The Washington Post advertises up-coming auditions? I usually scan various theatre websites for auditions. A few months ago, I ran across a whole audition section in the paper. Seeing all of the potential plays/parts in one place is very helpful. However, I have never come across this section again. I think that it is in a section that is only part of the paper on a certain day of the week. Any ideas?


Once upon a time, napmom was a little girl. True. And, napmom did a not so cool thing - as one reader will so clearly remember - she told everyone what they were getting for Christmas. Yep, she told all of her cousins and aunts and family friends what gifts they were getting for Christmas. As a result, she was forbidden to know what was in any of those packages for years to come. You see, napmom is not good at holding in surprises.

But I know something that someone else doesn’t know… and it’s driving me crazy!!!! I’ll be blogging about it soon. Until then, I’ll just have to remain silent.

How about you? Are you a good surprise keeper or do you always ‘let the cat out of the bag’?

p.s. Anyone interested in going to see the Cherry Blossoms this weekend? I'm not sure that I can drag Lulu out of the house but I'd sure like to try.

p.p.s. No - we aren't having a baby - it's not that kind of surprise.

Flickr photo from Crystl

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Funny story...

DH is a huge hockey fan and has been an avid Capitals fan since he could walk ice skate.

I have been contemplating buying Capitals tickets for DH for his birthday. I didn't know if I should get a ticket for Lulu too. My thoughts were:

Buy a ticket for Lulu: This would be a fun family event that we could do with DH instead of DH always tagging along on our girlie events. We don't want Lulu to feel left out (mind you, we are getting a sitter for Bro regardless). This would give us alone time with Lulu, which we haven't had since Bro was born. Plus, she would be heartbroken if we went without her because she likes to be included in on everything.

Don't buy a ticket for Lulu: She doesn't like hockey. She doesn't like sports in general. She spends the entire day at the Bay Sox game over at the kids park, playing on the merry-go-round ($$$) and getting her face painted ($$$) and eating ($$$). She spends the entire Orioles game asking if we can get up and go get... something... anything to eat ($$$) or buy ($$$). Why would I think that the hockey game would be any different? I don't really want to spend $40 on her ticket (and that's for the cheap seats) for her to sit and be miserable and wish that she was home watching Disney DX.

Solution: I asked Lulu if she wants to go with us and the conversation went something like this.

Mom: Lulu, if we went to the hockey game (and so on) would you want to go with us?

Lulu: (pause) Well (in a very baby voice)... (more pauses)... well... (looooooooooooooooong thinking pause)... well... could you get a t-shirt for me if I don't go? (Batting eye lashes.)

Mom: Yes, we would be glad to get a t-shirt for you.

Lulu: (in a very teen voice) Oh! Then, that's fine - I don't have to go.

At least she was honest.

Check here for some Hockey 101.
Check here for the Musings of a Hockey Mom.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


In a few weeks, the theme of the iheartfaces photo blog is going to be friends. Lulu has lots of friends, especially this one:

(I'm thinking about entering this picture in the contest.)
While I was looking for friend theme pics, I came across these gems that I just had to share.

Lulu and Gator (age 6ish) go to a party! They dressed the same, on purpose!
Lulu and Gator sell Girl Scout cookies.
Lulu and Gator make their annual Gingerbread houses.
Lulu and Gator on the boat.
Lulu and Gator go to the zoo!
Ahhhh... Lulu and Gator on top of a mountain - 1 mile above sea level. I sooooo wish that I had taken more pictures this day!

I;m thinking of editing this last mountain picture to include some kind of text... a short Bible verse perhaps??? See this picture as an example. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

It is almost midnight on Sunday night and I should surely be in bed. Nonetheless, I ran into so many good "green" pictures while I was looking for just the right picture for this week's photo contest. Here are some of my favorite green pictures from years past, mostly featuring my little Lulu (afterall, Bro was yesterday's featured pic).

Lulu's Kindergarten graduation picnic.

Lulu's first day of 1st grade.

Lulu goes to a corn maze. Admittedly, not so green, but these are some of my favorite pictures of her... ever!

Lulu plays soccer. Well actually, Lulu did cartwheels in the field all season long and got this trophy for her efforts!

Lulu goes to Girl Scout camp.

A very "camo" Christmas.

Bro learns to sit up on his own.

May the luck of the Irish be with you today!

Much love,
The McFamily

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Here is my green entry for my favorite photo blog

Boy Eats Grass

(with some PSE editing love - but I don't know how I did it - seriously)

Stay tuned tomorrow for some more green pics from years past.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Antibiotics for two

Lulu = strep throat
Bro = his first ear infection (in both ears, in fact)
DH = headache that won't go away
Napmom = a cold or something that has temporarily damaged my speaking mechanism (which is soooooooooooo terribly frustrating)

Will check back in with you soon!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How I spent My Sunday - by baby Bro

I am teething so I was grumpy Sunday morning.

Mom took me for a walk in my stroller.

We stopped to see the ducks, which I loved... but I wouldn't let mommy take a picture of me - I just cried every time she picked up the camera. Those ducks were really cool, though! tee hee hee!

We stopped to check the mail, a monthly event for us. The mail man must just LOVE cramming our mail into that tiny box everyday.

Luckily, the new Rachael Ray magazine came in.

Rachael Ray has lots of fun, easy, practical, delicious recipes. Grandmommy bought the subscription for us mommy. Thanks again Grandmommy!

Then, mommy let me push my mail cart around some more,

but she wouldn't let me push it into the street, which REALLY made me mad.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Creative Crop

After a receiving a gentle nudge, I did it. I created a creative crop for the photo contest on this blog

Here is the creative crop.

Here is the original.

I like that the crop creates a looooooong picture. I wish that his face was more in focus. It looks like the camera was focusing on the shells.

Yikes! I did it!

I still need your vote for your favorite green photo.

Photo Contest - opinion needed

One of my favorite bloggers found the cutest photo site (i ♥ Faces) and she has been blogging about it ever since. What I really like about i faces is (1) it is a place for beginner photographers, like me, to feel comfortable and (2) she has great tutorials on improving my photos and I don't have to have the whole photoshop package to be able to use the tips and tricks that she shares.

Additionally, i faces has a photo contest every week. I've been wanting to enter the contest, but have not for a variety of reasons:

(1.) I am creatively challenged, in my opinion, and I need to see what types of photos people are submitting before I just jump right out there and submit my photo in a contest;
(2.) I never seem to have enough time to submit my pictures between the time that the contest topic is announced and the deadline to submit the picture; and
(3.) even if I did have enough time to get a picture on her site, I certainly don't have enough time to stage a certain shot to go with the certain weekly theme - no, no time for THAT.

Problems solved.

re#1 - She announced a category for beginners, which isn't so intimidating for me.
re#2 & 3 - If I was a little more observant, I would have noticed that she identifies her themes ahead of time on her blog. Whoops!

This week's theme is creative crop. Uh....... {silence} what the heck kinda crop could I do to my picture that would be soooooo creative. I'm not entering this week's contest. I just don't get it - creative crop? Not me.

However, next week's theme is Green. I suppose that the theme is to go along with St. Patrick's Day. I wondered what picture I could take that fits the Green theme, until I remembered this day and these two pictures:

#1 Boy with Hat

#2 Boy Eats Grass

The question is... which photo should I enter in the Green theme contest? Photo #1 or photo #2? What do you think?

My thoughts...

#2 Boy Eats Grass - my gut was to go with #2 because this is a funny face and it has more green in it. However, maybe this is a face that "only a mother could love."

#1 Boy With Hat - a much cuter face, you must admit, but not that interesting overall.

Please leave a comment and tell me which photo you like best.

Monday, March 9, 2009

How I Spent My Saturday - by baby Bro

Went outside to push my mail cart around.

Mom joked to the neighbors that I was practicing my "lawn mowing" skills.

Then she told them that I could "vacuum" too!

Miss Jen took our picture! Thank you!

Ate some lunch.

Pushed my mail cart on the playground.

Practiced some walking - trying to impress the ladies!

Chased the girls around the park.

"Man I'm a stud muffin."

Played in the dirt.

The end.