works for Me Wednesday

Welcome to the round up where I share what I read (and you should read) this week. It’s an eclectic group of resources and tidbit this week focusing on parenting mostly.

Hmmm, only 4 this week, I think it was due to my added responsibilities causing me to fly through my feed reader and not tag enough of the good stuff.  Here’s a rerun from last week for those Dad’s out there who haven’t gotten their kids set up with presents for their wives yet.


Having just had our first Chuck E. Cheese birthday party, here’s a few thought on how to make the day go a little smoother.

  • Reserve early to get the best time (who wants a pizza party at 10:00 am or 3:00 pm?)
  • Reserve on-line to hold a spot without any deposit (but show up otherwise they’ll charge your credit card)
  • Your party planner is your new best friend. You’re paying big bucks to have your party there, so use him/her for advice and to take your food order. Also, make sure you know his/her name so that you can call across the room to ask for forks.
  • Plan the times you open presents and play around Chuck’s arrival (ask the party planner when he’s coming out for your group)
  • Invite the parents to stay (and feed them) there’s no way to keep track of 5 kids (who aren’t your own) in that place.
  • They take coupons for the adults’ food, so save up before the party.
  • Know your kid’s friends’ names. It’s very helpful when a kid comes running into the party and tries to usher all the other kids into the play area just minutes before Chuck is going to come out (ask me how I know).
  • Unless your kid has been to a lot of parties at Chuck E. Cheese, I’d suggest 5 is the minimum age for kids to really enjoy the party aspect of it. We went to a 4 year-old party and the entire table started crying when Mr. Cheese came out, but the 5 year-olds at the next table had a blast.

Birthdays that don’t require cleaning up, works for me (if you don’t like Chuck’s place, go check out this week’s birthday theme for other good ideas).

Ever type a comment in a blog and know that you’ve misspelled a word (because you’re smart, or like me, because you’re using Firefox’s in-line spell checker)?  The problem is their spell checker sucks (or more to the point, I can’t get close enough for it to figure it out the correct suggestion).  But you don’t want to fire up MS Word just to figure out the correct spelling.  Enter Google to the rescue.  Just type the misspelling into Google, and it will likely suggest the correct spelling.  The only problem comes when it’s a misspelled word that everyone uses, because then it gets enough results that it doesn’t give you a suggestion.  In that case, I just leave it because I figure I’ve got good company.

Google as a spell checker works for me.

We came home last week to find that we didn’t have any water available from any of the taps. Susan spotted a water district truck in font of our house and found out that there was a water main break down the street and they wouldn’t have the water on until the next morning. At first we freaked out because 4 potty trained people and one bathroom is hard enough when you can actually flush the toilets. But then we remembered all that water I’ve been storing for the big earthquake. Problem averted (assuming the water came back on, which it did).

water storage in juice containtersHere’s my setup. After a juice container is finished I wash it out really well and let it dry (microorganisms generally can’t survive on dry surfaces). Then I fill it with water and store it in this cabinet above the refrigerator. It’s insanely deep, so the back part is useless except for stuff you never want to use. I’ve heard that behind your coach is also a good spot but ours isn’t against the wall.

The only trick is to remember to change out the water every so often. I have been marking mine with a number 1-12 corresponding to the month I filled it, but of course, I forget every other month to dump/refill them. I think I’m going to switch to all summer months since the garden needs more water then and it will give me less times I need to remember to do it.

Storing water for a (potty) emergency works for me.

refrigerator coilsIf you’ve been putting it off, here’s your friendly reminder to clean your refrigerator/freezer coils. You can save about 6% of your refrigerator energy use by doing this simple (be it slightly hard on the knees) task. I found a shopvac with the corner attachment seemed to work the best. Also being excited about it may cause a child or two to be interested enough to come and help although YMMV. You’re supposed to clean them once or twice a year but I think I (yes, the picture is of ours) waited a little too long since we have 4 four-legged hairballs walking around our house.

Using less energy (which means saving money and the environment) works for me.

white and green asparagusWhite asparagus can give a vegetable that looks a little funny a new sense of style. Mix it with the green kind and you’ve got a lovely dish that’s more interesting to look at (and therefore more likely to be eaten).

I haven’t priced it, but apparently the white asparagus is more expensive than the green variety. Did you know that it’s the same stuff? You can make your own (assuming you’ve got an asparagus patch) by simply putting a box over the growing asparagus. No sunlight=no photosynthesis=no green. But because the stem grows from a root that contains all the nutrients, the lack of light doesn’t really affect its growth that much.

No asparagus patch? Why don’t you plant one this spring? Buy two year old crowns (vs seeds) and you can have a small crop this year. And a larger crop for the next 10-15 years. Just remember to let the last few stems grow out completely at the end of the season to store nutrients in the roots for next year.

Interesting looking vegetable melodies Works for me. Go check out Shannon for more healthy living tips.

I’ve told you why you should switch to firefox already: Because it’s faster, prettier, and more powerful. So I’m sure you’ve already switched. Here’s the latest trick I’ve just found.

You can search any search box on the web from inside your address bar. My 2 most helpful ones are “map XXXXXX” which automatically searches google maps and “dict XXXXX” which searches But you can set up your browser to search any search box on any webpage. Maybe you’re constantly searching Mary’s site for how to clean up vomit? You could add “OH XXXXXXX” search function. Or maybe, you just need to know how much that present would cost at Amazon? Rather than going to the site, finding the search bar and typing in your search, just type “amazon *product name*” into the address bar. This website shows you how to add new search functions and even includes a download for a bunch of common searches to get you started.

Yep, that Works for me.

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