ADD is not a family friendly homework assistant…

Some facts-

ADD is hereditary.

My dad has ADD.

ADD is hereditary.

I have ADD.

ADD is hereditary.

Both my kids have ADD.

I used to have a HORRIBLE time doing homework. I hated it. Dreaded it… I learned coping mechanisms to just be able to function in my daily life with ADD.

Everything is harder. You can’t explain why you talk louder or get more excited than everyone else seems to…why you can’t sleep when everyone’s exhausted and wants to be asleep but you’re up at 2 AM with thoughts racing through your mind…why you skip from subject to subject in a conversation with someone leaving their head spinning…why your teachers always write ” really smart, but doesn’t work up to potential.” on your report cards…why you’re more focused when you have 30 different irons in the fire…why you forget stuff a lot and are late all the time… why you can’t just look at something and see that it needs to be done much less how to start it the project…why you feel broken and aren’t sure what normal feels or looks like…why you leave the stove/oven/lights/water on and forget that you turned them on in the first place…

This was my life. It was/is completely frustrating, almost debilitating. It took 27 years for me to seek help. It took 27 years for me to get medicine for my frustration. It helps.

My husband doesn’t have this problem. He just sees how I was. He can tell when I’m not on my medicine.

If I hadn’t gotten help our marriage would have ended eventually. He was frustrated by my lack of concentration, my inability to remember things, my overly spontaneous nature, my need for lists and everything else that ADD affects in my life. He’s been incredibly patient with me and our kids.

ADD is hereditary…

I can already see in our elementary school age children the exact same symptoms that I had as a child and as an adult. Looking back I didn’t have a name for it when I was a kid. But I can call it out in my children in a heartbeat because I’ve lived it. I am living it.

I have ADD.

My children have ADD.

Homework time SUCKS at our house! It goes like this…

“Do your homework. Stop chopping at the paper and start cutting out the letters so you can glue them to the paper. Come back here and sit. Sit down and do your homework. Don’t touch the cat. Use a pencil please. Would you sit up please? Write your vocabulary words on the paper. You don’t need a drink, you need to do your homework. The living room is not a jungle gym, please get off your head and sit back down in your seat. Come back here and sit and do your work. I know you’re tired and cranky but you need to get this done. FINE! I’ll just tell your teacher that you didn’t want to do it and you can get a bad grade. I’m tired of arguing with you. You only have two more questions to do can we PLEASE get this done so you can go to bed?!?!”

Two children in the same grade taking nearly an hour to do ONE FREAKING PAGE OF VOCABULARY words! I don’t need to ask the words “What’s wrong with you?!?!” I know. I’ve been there. I got the t-shirt.

I just want to cry. Homework is exhausting. Bedtime is exhausting. A list of 3 simple tasks like- Apply pajamas to your body, brush your teeth and go to the bathroom before you get into bed gets ignored. Not because they don’t want to listen but because their brains cannot string the tasks together. They go upstairs and become the mouse in “If You Give A Mouse a Cookie.”

That book is about me. It’s about my kids. We are mice.

Going upstairs to find PJ’s reminds them that they wanted to play with the toy laying next to the pajamas on the floor right where they left them. Picking up the toy reminds them that they left toys in their book-bag. Going to get the toys from their book-bag gets them scolded at for coming downstairs where they are reminded to go back upstairs and brush their teeth, put on pajamas and get into bed for the thousandth time.

And this goes on for an hour or longer, until Mommy has snapped and is tired of the procrastination and starts yelling.  I know what they are going through so I really shouldn’t be angry with them. It’s just a never ending cycle on an amusement park ride that I desperately want to get off of. The kind that spins round and round and round until your face turns a sickening shade of green and you just can’t take it anymore and throw up.

It doesn’t help that second grade seems to have more homework than I was ever assigned in college level classes.

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30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself!

Things around the Tiny Yellow House have been insane as of late. Just when things start going the right way they take a detour into panic, chaos and disorder. Todd and I have paid for that dearly this summer. But not all is a loss. It helped us become a united front. Together we can move mountains. Wish I had read this blog post sooner. It’s hard when you think everything is crashing down to wallow in your own mistakes and stupid decisions and think about how things could have gone differently. If you find yourself in that position right now… STOP! And here are 30 other things to stop doing to yourself while you are at it…

Written by marcandangel

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

When you stop chasing the wrong things you give
the right things a chance to catch you.

As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Nothing could be closer to the truth. But before you can begin this process of transformation you have to stop doing the things that have been holding you back.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth. And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.
2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on. No, it won’t be easy. There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them. We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems. That’s not how we’re made. In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall. Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time. This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
3. Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself. Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves. Read The Road Less Traveled.
4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too. Yes, help others; but help yourself too. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.
5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you likeeveryone else. Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you. Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.
6. Stop trying to hold onto the past. – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
7. Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing. Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success. You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
8. Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us. We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future. Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
9. Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive. But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.
10. Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either. You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else. Read Stumbling on Happiness.
11. Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place. Evaluate situations and take decisive action. You cannot change what you refuse to confront. Making progress involves risk. Period! You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.
12. Stop thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises. Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.
13. Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. – Relationships must be chosen wisely. It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company. There’s no need to rush. If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.
14. Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you. But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.
15. Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you. Concentrate on beating your own records every day. Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.
16. Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. Ask yourself this: “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”
17. Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you. You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough. But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past. You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation. So smile! Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be.
18. Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart. You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate. Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.” It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.” Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself! And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too. If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.
19. Stop letting others bring you down to their level. – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.
20. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway. Just do what you know in your heart is right.
21. Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break. – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
22. Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things. The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.
23. Stop trying to make things perfect. – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done. Read Getting Things Done.
24. Stop following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile. Don’t take the easy way out. Do something extraordinary.
25. Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while. You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well. You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
26. Stop blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life. When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.
27. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out. But making one person smile CAN change the world. Maybe not the whole world, but their world. So narrow your focus.
28. Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy. One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time? Three years? Five years?” If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
29. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen. Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story. If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.
30. Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life. Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs. Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.

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Forced Relaxation…

A couple of days ago Miss Olivia begged me for at least 20 minutes to be allowed to give me a foot massage. I kept declining as I was trying to organize the black hole which is my sewing room. She was very persistent, even showing me how much she had been looking forward to it via a brief kazoo solo… I finally relented. The kazoo was highly convincing.

She applied copious amounts of lemon scented lotion to my feet with a plastic Samurai sword,


covered me in a towel, stuck my feet in a plastic drawer of hot water mixed with half a bottle of lemon lotion and mum petals…


and trotted out the door saying “Now you take a quick nap and let me know if you will be requiring any snacks or beverages.”

She then turned off the lights and closed the door leaving me sitting on an uncomfortable chair in the dark downstairs bathroom with my cell phone as my only companion…

Then she came back bearing a tall glass of boiling water complete with a sippy straw sticking out of it and a plastic container meant to hold cupcakes but containing instead a rather disappointing tea bag. A cupcake would have been better… 

She closed the door again.

Another 20 minutes passed.

She came back to the bathroom with the air dry equivalent of Play Doh…oh what fresh torture instrument is this small one?


She then applied this air dry clay to the space behind both of my ears a la Violet Beauregard and also to my facial areas…


45 minutes after the initial foot dunking my feet were stinging and I smelled so pretty I had a headache. For the record… although I did get a lovely smattering of nail polish applied to my pruneified tootsies…


I didn’t get the promised foot massage. Apparently we need lessons in FALSE ADVERTISING!!!

Oh my darling child… I hope this is helping you to foster customer service skills and has not set you up to work as a pushy sales person at a mall store kiosk full of over priced beauty supplies…

Love, Mommy

Copyright © Tiny Yellow House 2012

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Ikea Marriage Test

We’ve had the same ginormous couches for 5 years. They’re big, they’ve gone through some tough days. They were getting worn out. They have been buttered by small children… true story. Todd and I decided sometime back that in order to properly accommodate overnight visitors to our tiny yellow house we would need a guest room… or something that closely resembles a guest room.

Since my parents are coming for their annual three day visit in less than two weeks we figured we’d start looking. If you’ve ever window shopped for furniture you know how rough this is. So many styles and colors and patterns and sizes. I somehow talked the hubby into going to IKEA. We’ve been there twice this month already and it’s an hour an a half from our house. It’s a love/hate relationship.

The first trip was to buy the small children a bunk bed. They cleaned their room up really nicely over a three day period after Daddy promised them bunk beds. They got a bunk bed. Now they have a lot more room to do “activities” as we have made use of vertical space in their tiny room rather than taking up valuable floor space with two separate beds. Why didn’t we think of this before! Trip #1 was also used to look at the various configurations of furniture that IKEA is known for. They have an entire showroom set up with living rooms and kitchens and furniture in every style you can imagine even full houses. It’s really overwhelming the first time you go into that place. They hand you a map and a pencil and push you up the escalator with a quick “Good luck!”.

It’s nuts!

Trip #2- last night we pile into a borrowed cargo van and our family car and drive down to the IKEA. We eat in their weird cafeteria type area where a crabby pseudo-lunch lady gives my small children plates of mac and cheese and veggies. (Kids eat free on Tuesdays). We pick our way through the labyrinth and select a KIVIK Sofabed and a KIVIK Loveseat. With the options we chose they were nicely priced at $899 USD and $549 USD. There are several nice things about the sofabed. For one there are storage compartments in each of the arms. You can put pillows and blankets in there for overnight guests. Secondly, if we get tired of the color we can get a new cover for it and it will change the whole room.

Some drawbacks. They come in big boxes. Disassembled.

After making our way through two floors of nicely displayed products we hit the warehouse. It’s 8:55 PM. We haven’t loaded any of the boxes onto our little flat carts yet. Todd’s phone is dead and we have to transfer a LOT of money into the bank account to cover our purchases. He runs outside to the car to charge the phone and make the bank transfer. In the meantime I’m pacing the floor, slightly aggravated, the kids are surfing rather dangerously on the flat carts over a cement floor and the line is backing up. The store closes at 9 PM.

It’s 9:06 PM and I finally get a call from Todd that the money is in the account. We select our boxes for the loveseat from the bins. 2 boxes. 1 loveseat. 1 cover. Check.

We go through the checkout and the order for the sofa bed is sent to the appropriate employees in charge of the larger items. 14 mins later they give us a cart with the boxes. We then load two carts worth of enormous boxes into the cargo van.

We arrive home right around 10:45 PM. The small children are immediately sent to bed since they have school in the morning.

Here’s where the marriage test comes into play.

We go to remove these huge boxes from the car. The boxes have handles. Both of us grab the handles. They rip. Todd makes a comment to the effect of, “I hope the couches hold up better than their boxes.” I giggle, secretly hoping the same thing. Then in the next 10 feet the 70 lb box is dropped on my bare toes somewhere in the neighborhood of around 11 times. On the way through the door I manage to mutter a quick “Mother French Toast!” as the box lands directly on my now very sore piggies. We both laugh. My piggies cry.

IKEA furniture is sort of a DIY project in a box for crazy people. They give you everything needed to assemble the piece along with a tiny instruction booklet that has no words, only pictures of what you are supposed to do. And they expect you to figure it out. I have a degree. This isn’t rocket science. Let me at it.

Once the old furniture is removed from the living room we begin assembly.

Two boxes. One Loveseat. Two Adults. 20 minutes later. Easy! It goes together fast. We sit on it. It’s pretty comfy. It looks sleek and modern… slightly low to the ground but we can deal with it.

Now for the big sofabed.

Three boxes. One Sofabed. Two Adults. THREE HOURS LATER it’s finally put together. The KIVIK sofa bed has 23 illustrated seemingly easy, yet completely agonizing steps. If you want to test your marriage… buy one. Load it and unload it in to a cargo van together. Assemble it together. Try not to kill yourself or each other. FYI, I now hate hex wrenches… If you decide to take this marriage test all I have to say is Lycka till! Good luck!
Copyright © Tiny Yellow House 2012

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I miss home



Ok, you caught me… I’m not actually FROM New Orleans. But we lived there for a few years. The girls were born there. We loved it. The people are friendly, the food is amazing, the atmosphere is really laid back and don’t even get me started on the historical aspects of this city… you’ll be here all day!

The family was ready to stay, and we were looking at houses just before Katrina hit. But we moved back north after 3 months of living in a hotel in Texas. And I think we’ve come to the realization that we probably shouldn’t have left.

I miss it.

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Yummy in the Tummy

Being a multi-tasker allows me to do a little bit of a lot of things. I’ve been a mystery shopper, a youth leader at a church, a fitness supervisor, a bike salesperson, a cashier, a student, a mom, a writer, a singer, a reenactor, a seamstress, a cook and a bunch of other things that I can’t even begin to think about right now. It’s cool to get life experiences through learning how to do lots of different things.

One thing I really like about my life right now is that I get to try stuff and tell people what I think about it. A wise woman once told me “If it’s for free, it’s for me.” And I’ve sort of adopted it as my personal motto ever since. I signed up with a company years ago called BzzAgent. I’m a BzzAgent.

What is a BzzAgent?- A person who is given coupons and merchandise to try in exchange for their honest opinion on that product or service.

I recently received a box from Bzzagent with a bag of Private Selection Salt and Pepper chips to try, some great free coupons for myself for Private Selection ice cream, Private Selection Pie and Private Selection Angus Ground Beef. They are all available at Kroger, which happens to already be my favorite grocery store.

We tried the chips during lunch at work. I shared. I am not a huge fan of pepper so I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to like them. But I was surprised that they are sort of addictive and slightly sweet. You get a kick of pepper on the tail end of the chip. Really crisp and not greasy.

The Private Selection Angus Ground beef is always a staple in the freezer. There isn’t too much shrinkage and it’s not too fatty so it doesn’t make whatever you’re cooking coated in fat and grease.

The ice cream and pie are being tried tonight after dinner.

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Behind the Eight Ball

Halloween post coming at you in… May???

I could go on and on entertaining you with excuses. For instance… the dog ate my camera (didn’t actually happen as we no longer have a dog), or I’ve been busy (aren’t we all), or I really planned for this to happen…


I did…

Ok, I’m lying… I didn’t mean for this to happened. It just happened.

Wait a second… I’m not behind the eight ball… I’m ahead of the game! This is great!

On with the story.

         Rewind to Halloween 2009… we lived in the country and Hope and Olivia knew that Halloween was coming. October is a huge reenacting month for us. We have 2 back to back events starting the first weekend in October. This is then followed by family get-togethers nearly every weekend, culminating in Halloween and then daddy’s birthday the week after.

Mommy was once again distracted by massive piles of sewing for historical events and other happenings so we sort of made up this little…um…


For those of you who don’t watch VeggieTales… that’s a fib. When you keep adding to it to try and cover up your fib it becomes this…


Ugly isn’t he.

             Being the crazy person that I am, I have made the girls Halloween costumes, birthday cakes, clothes etc. For years. And sometimes despite my best intentions, I bite off more than I can chew. The first year they were Crawdads, an emergency costume picked up at the local Babies-R-Us as we had to evacuate for a big Hurricane… So we dressed them up like this…


 Followed a few years later by a set of mommy-made costumes that won mommy a fantastic $100.00 prize at for their Homemade Halloween Costume Contest as well as a coveted spot in the Chicken Album at www.coolest-homemade-costumes.comImage

My mom keeps the chicken photo by her cash register at work. Everyone thinks that it is the photograph that came with the frame. Customers are always surprised that the chickens are actually related to my mother. I can see how they could think that. She doesn’t have feathers.

2009, the year with no Halloween we told the girls that due to circumstances beyond our control, Halloween was cancelled. Across the board. All over the planet. Children were crying due to a lack of… candy? This was a pretty easy fib to take care of since our neighbors across the street were ultra-super-religious and didn’t celebrate Halloween anyway and we live in the country.

I don’t feel good about lying to my kids.

Don’t judge me.

Fast forward to 2011… We have moved into the Tiny Yellow House. The children are at a new school and need costumes. They come up with outrageous plans, drawings even blueprints  of costumes they would like to have. Something about horses and a tail that really flicks back and forth, I’m not sure. Mommy (me) does what she always does and talks them into something a little more reasonable.

“How about an angry bird and a princess?” I say…

I totally sold it!

We shopped around for different items but couldn’t find what we were looking for at the store. The angry bird costumes available were…well… flat and boring…(no offense


So I made Hope her costume.I used this amazing Instructable for my jumping off point. Using the pattern they suggested I enlarged it and made this:Image

Can you tell she’s thrilled?!?!

Olivia decided that she wanted a store bought costume after locating perfect item at the local “Barrel Cracker”. Afterward, she called my mother and had the following discussion:

Olivia- “Grandma, mommy got me my Halloween costume, it’s beautiful. I’m going to be a princess.”

Grandma-“You mean she didn’t make it this year.”

O- “No grandma, we bought it. And it wasn’t cheap either!”

Oh my darling girl. She’s such a hoot.


Also thrilled (and wearing her civil war hoop underneath for added poofiness)!

And here they are together! Two of the best dressed kids on the block. Minimal effort, maximum reward. And apparently the Angry Bird costume doubles as a great reading pillow. Multi-purpose! We love that at Tiny Yellow House!



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