Archive for the ‘Stuff about my kids’ Category

New Routine = New Found Free Time

Monday, August 29, 2011 @ 08:08 AM
posted by mrscaz

Super Dude has been back at school for a week now, but Bug just started today. Pre-K better watch out, they may have met their match!

Now that they are both back in school, a new routine has emerged. They both have new bed times, new times to wake up, and new times to get out the door. We wake up and have breakfast, get lunches ready and backpacks packed. After that, we all load up in the car and head out to school. Ok, maybe it’s not quite that smooth, yet, but we are working on it.

There were a few tears this morning as I dropped off Bug, just from me though. She is glad to be back in school. I will miss her. I won’t miss her telling me every 5 minutes that she’s hungry though.

The one thing I am noticing so far today is that once I dropped them both off, an amazing thing happened… SILENCE! Yes, that blessed sound (or lack there of) that comes from being alone and do you know what that means? Less distractions which in turn means a more productive day! Hallelujah! Let the new found free time prevail!

Free time? Yeah right! The kids belts world is a busy one and yes, this new routine of dropping the kids off is a huge time freer upper, but that new free time is quickly filled with projects and deadlines. I wouldn’t change it for the world though. Having a business that I have built from the ground up and one that is growing by leaps and bounds daily is an amazing accomplishment that is worth every minute I have invested into it.

So I guess I should have changed the title of this post to New Routine = New Found Sanity… Hmmm… that’s probably not right either. Stupid deadlines…

Hope your Monday is being awesome to you!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


New Digs

Monday, August 22, 2011 @ 08:08 AM
posted by mrscaz

For Rent - better than where you are living now!

That’s right, I am happy to report that we are moving to a home that I LOVE! Why?? Because I didn’t quite feel as though I had enough on my plate what with the whole new fall catalog, the ABC expo, new product release, new patterns, school starting, and so on.

The house is in a great neighborhood and just minutes from the elementary school. This home is definitely an upgrade from where we are now, the place I refer to as the “slum”. I refuse to invite anyone over because this place is horrible. The cupboards are all warped from water damage. The tile is chipped in several places from previous tenants. A couple doors won’t open/shut properly because the pot-smoking maintenance guy stripped the screws when changing out the locks. Speaking of the moron…He cleaned out the drier vent with 6 coat hangers connected together. He installed carpet and didn’t pound down the carpet tacs so they kept stabbing us in the feet. The carpet in the kids room has a ripple in it that’s just getting worse and there is nothing we can do about it. Nests of carpenter ants live in the walls and it’s a constant battle to keep them out of the house. If we leave the master bedroom door closed, the room starts to reek of stale cigarette smoke. I could go on, the list is very long, but I would rather think about how much I’m going to love the new house.

This is probably the best thing to happen to me since inventing my super adorable Dapper Snapper kids belts… oh, wait… I meant the birth of my children and the day I got married!

This is a place that we can not only call home, but will actually BE a home! It’s been a while (since just after we moved here) that we have felt at home and I am so thrilled to be able to feel that again.

It’s going to be amazing to have no carpets to worry about, have a (meager) screened lanai, a little fenced in yard for Sammy to play in (previous renters put plexiglass windows in the fence for their dog), kids have their own rooms (important now that Super Dude is starting to be very aware of private parts and doesn’t want Bug to see him), and most importantly; I won’t be embarrassed to invite people over for dinner. I am already planning out the housewarming in my head…. (not that I am having a housewarming in my head, but a housewarming for the house. ;) It will be grand and fabulous and all of you will want to be there (but, the house isn’t quite that big, so I will include you in spirit)!

The other nice thing about the house is the proximity to Super Dude’s school, although it’s not as close to the shop as where we are currently. But I won’t grumble about it being 5 minutes away as opposed to 3 blocks.

Overall, it’s seeming pretty perfect for our little family. I don’t know if I have expressed it accurately or not, but I am just a little excited. The only and I mean ONLY bad thing is that we have to wait until after the 1st to move in… boo! So who wants to help us move?


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


School Days, School Days, Dear Old Golden Rule Days…

Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 08:08 AM
posted by mrscaz

back to school crayons

In case you haven’t seen all of the “Back to School” TV ads, print ads, radio ads, posters, mailers, the meet the teacher flyers, school supply lists and so on and so forth, let me be the first to tell you, “It’s time for the kids to go back to school!” YAY!! Oh, wait, I probably shouldn’t be so excited, but I am.

Super Dude goes back to school on Monday and he couldn’t be more excited (Although I’m not as physically fit as I once was, I am definitely doing cartwheels in my head). He’s going onto first grade this year and I can’t believe it. We have gone through this twice now (pre-k and kindergarten) but doesn’t seem to get any easier. When did he get so big? And where was I when it happened?

We have bought into the hype and purchased all of his “back to school” supplies. He picked out a Transformers “Bumblebee” lunch box and a very cool camo backpack. Don’t get me wrong, I want my son to be “supplied” but it seems like the list gets larger and larger each year. I kind of feel like we are supplying for the whole class! Seems like retailers and the school board are getting together to single handedly improve the economy.

We got to meet his teacher today and I am very pleased. He seemed to really like her, as well. I think this year will be a great year and Super Dude is such a little sponge, he will do amazing.

Bug gets one more week of freedom, but after being stuck with us at the kids belts factory all summer, I think she’s chomping at the bit for some new scenery! I can’t say that I blame her. I mean, I love being here so much I hardly leave long enough to go to sleep (ha ha…), but for a 4 year old, it gets awfully monotonous.

She seems eager to start her pre-k adventure. We will see if that holds up once the day actually gets here. I gave her the option of a princess backpack or a monkey backpack, surprisingly she picked the monkeys! It even came with a super cute, matching lunch box. She’s already had plenty of experience with her new teacher from staying for “Lunch Bunch” after school most of last year.

I am thrilled that they are going back because they need a break and the social interaction (as well as the education) that comes with school, but it’s always a sad day in our household. Seriously…Didn’t they just learn to crawl?


Don’t Get Greedy!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 @ 03:08 PM
posted by mrscaz

Is greed good? Not for business it's not!

Alas, poor Netflix, you served me well…But your split plans? Um…no…

My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed hours of unlimited streaming (I think that’s the only thing that has kept Bug from being bored out of her mind here at the office while we schlep kids belts) and the DVD’s have been great, but I have to say that a 60% price increase seems a bit excessive. I’m not sure what school of business you attended that said such a drastic increase all at one time is a smart one.

It seems as though the rapid (seemingly overnight) popularity of Netflix all but hastened the demise of Blockbuster, Movie Gallery (in case you don’t remember those, click here) and the like. I mean, really, we saw those stores going by the wayside eventually thanks to cable companies offering “On Demand” programming and more and more Redbox vending machines popping up all over the place and the endless places that you can stream movies online, but I’m pretty sure that Netflix was the straw that broke the camels back.

While all of these new options are convenient, there is something to be said about walking into a video store, picking up a VHS tape (yes, that dates me, I know) reading the description on the back of the box and moving on to the next. Call me nostalgic, but it was exciting to see the “New Releases” and all of the fancy cover art. Ok, so I’m a geek, but I’m ok with that.

Then, there were all of those glorious late fees. By the time we actually returned the movie and paid the late fees, we probably could have just bought the movie, but all those tapes just took up too much room.

Ah… Squirrel!

Back to Netflix, I think it was a major mistake to raise your prices so drastically and no matter how much I love you, it’s now the principle of it… I will not pay a 60% price increase, for no additional return. I guess our life will consist on trips to the nearest Redbox vending machines. Maybe we will now just have to check out Epix for our online streaming. It’s free for the time being, anyway. And if we stick with you? Well, I will be saving $2/month by only getting streaming. Thanks for saving me money.

The lesson: Don’t mess with a good thing by getting greedy. It’s bad for business.


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor

Long Time, Busy Me!

Friday, August 12, 2011 @ 12:08 PM
posted by mrscaz

My desk. Okay, not really...

August? Already!?!

Where has the time gone? More importantly, what has been consuming my time? Everything… or so it seems. Catalog design, babysitting, puppy training, preparing for the ABC Kids Expo, and some other exciting things that will be revealed in later blog posts. Needless to say, the world of Dapper Snappers has been a busy one!

The most important thing that I have been working on is the catalog for our fall line of kids belts. Earlier this week I had the opportunity to photograph some mighty cute little ones (and not so little ones), a super photogenic “mama to be” and one very persistent squirrel.

Photo shoot for Dapper Snapper Kids belts

Trying to do a “fall” photo shoot in the middle of August, in Florida, where it’s 94° at 9:00am was interesting. Those kiddos were troopers, to say the least, in their jeans and long sleeve shirts. All I have to say is thank goodness I am good at photoshop! After retouching some sweaty foreheads and toning down the green grass, they turned out really good! I am also excited about a few new items we are adding (hint: something for the bigger kids).

On another note, I have discovered in the last month that it’s harder to train a 4 year old how to handle a puppy, than it is to actually train the puppy (thank you reruns of Dog Whisperer). I am happy to report that the puppy is much closer to being potty trained, but slightly unhappy to report that it has been at the cost of my own sanity (what little I had left). It has been very neat to put the Dog Whisperer’s tips into practice and to see them work. Sammy is quickly learning what her area is and we are gaining a little bit of freedom with knowing that she’s not going to run out in the shop and get under everyone’s feet. Now, if I could just teach Bug that Sammy is not a baby doll… I might be getting somewhere.

PS. I will be writing more often, I promise!


Of Love and Loss and Grieving…

Sunday, May 29, 2011 @ 02:05 PM
posted by mrscaz

When I was young, all of 3 weeks past my 13th birthday, my mother died. The family that took me in and later adopted me were ill-equipped to help me grieve my loss. I spent many hours up in my room feeling lost, depressed, and emotionally neglected. While I don’t blame my new “parents” for handling the situation poorly, I do think that huge mistakes were made. I don’t intend to let that be the case with my children. Of course I didn’t know I felt so strongly about it until late yesterday morning.

Meowzer helps me with some tweeting

Meowzer helps me with some tweeting

Meowzer has been my friend since I got him at the pound 10 years ago. He and his brother (an actual littermate) were the perfect fit for our home. Weighing in at just 1 lb each they fit perfectly, one in each hand (pot belly, big paws, and all). Meowzer’s brother was the mouser. He would chase anything on the ground. Meowzer on the other hand was a birder (is that the correct term?). If it were up in the air, he would jump up and get it. Other than the personality differences, and the slight difference in how they carried themselves (Meowzer upright and his brother crouched), it was hard for people to tell them apart.

After Super Dude was born, the family dynamic changed a bit. The cats lost their special status as this new baby took over everything. Meowzer’s brother was always tolerant, but never cuddly with the baby. Meowzer, already having proven he liked the “rough stuff”, found a new playmate in Super Dude. He’d put up with tail grabbing and when Super Dude was old enough, full on tackling. Meowzer loved the attention.

Super Dude resting on Meowzer

Super Dude "resting" on Meowzer

When the Bug came along, Meowzer’s brother had had enough. He had escaped and fled under the deck for 3 days. He wasn’t the same after I coaxed him out. Something in him broke. Within a few weeks, he could no longer walk straight, showing signs of a stroke or some other neurological incapacitation. While it was sad to let him go, we knew there was no fixing him. Super Dude wasn’t old enough to understand. I was not as moved by it as I felt I should have been. The hormones after having a baby make it strange to deal with anything outside of this new little being taking over your world. I just didn’t have it in me to cry over him.

By the time Super Dude was 3, he started letting Meowzer outside. As much as we tried to prevent our indoor kitty from getting out, our toddler just kept opening the doors for him. Meowzer was a tremendously happy cat after we decided to let him be an indoor/outdoor cat. There wasn’t much to fear where we lived in Oregon anyway. We didn’t have snakes or poisonous critters about. Meowzer was big enough the other neighborhood cats would stay away. He brought us a couple birds to show his appreciation. And since it rains 9 months out of the year, he was indoors a lot. When we moved to Florida, things changed. We realized that we could no longer let him go outside because there are ticks that attack in droves. Every night he would come home with at least one attached to him. We couldn’t keep them away, so Meowzer became an indoor kitty again. He didn’t like that much.

Take me with you!

Take me with you!!!

Bug was always rough with Meowzer. She would hit him, kick him, pull him around by the tail… And yet he would come back for more. In the past few months, she had been getting better, even making sure he had food every day all the while claiming that she was the “Kitty Mama”. That was fine with us; anything to get her to be compassionate. Meowzer would purr when Bug would come find him. He let her pick him up by his top half and drag him around the room “human” style. He let her put things on his head like blankets and ribbons and Barbie crowns. He was so good to her.

Meowzer sat patiently as he was "crowned" by Bug

Meowzer sat patiently as he was "crowned" by Bug

About a month ago, I decided to let Meowzer be an indoor/outdoor kitty again. He was plain ‘ol miserable being stuck in the house all the time. He let us know by getting into the garbage nightly and by meowing at the door at all hours of the night. So I got all his shots up to date plus extras. I made sure he had the best flea and tick deterrent on. He was so happy to be able to go outside again. He would follow me to the garden and sniff all my plants, not knowing that I planted som catnip just for him that wouldn’t be ready until now. He would just go out to sit on the back patio and soak up some sun or wander through the bushes behind our house. Every once in a while, he would yell at other cats in the neighborhood that crossed into his territory. There were probably a couple fights but he never came home noticeably injured.

But, Meowzer, and Super Dude share a blanket.

Bug, Meowzer, and Super Dude share a blanket.

One morning, a little less than 2 weeks ago, he started acting strangely. He was hiding under my bed, in the closet, anywhere he thought he could get away from everyone. When I pulled him out of the closet, he couldn’t walk on his left front leg. There was a lump and signs of an injury, so I took him to the vet. They determined Meowzer had a puncture wound, probably caused by another cat. With an antibiotic injection, subcutaneous fluids, and pain medication, Meowzer was sent back home to recover. The next day he looked much better. But by the following day, he wasn’t recovering as well as we had hoped. A second trip to the vet showed lost weight, dehydration, loss of apetite, and vomiting that earned him another look-see and more subcutaneous fluids. He was doing much better the next day. Still limping, but better. More vomiting. Nothing would stay down for more than 4 hours, even with anti-nausea meds.

After talking with a good friend of mine (also a veterinarian) in detail about Meowzer’s issues, I was given a lot of good advice, including to check for other lumps. I discovered a second lump just behind his elbow (or whatever they call that in cats). A third trip to the vet revealed more weight lost, and upon xray, another puncture wound. Meowzer received more subcutaneous fluids as well as a prescription for different antibiotics. I tried to force feed him, but it only resulted in more vomiting a few hours later. He wasn’t getting better, but I still held out hope. I told the kids Meowzer was sick, but I since I was sure he would recover, I didn’t make a big deal out of it.

Yesterday morning Meowzer wasn’t looking good at all. I force-fed him some food and his antibiotic. The vet’s office said that even though there was no doctor in house that could see him, we could get more subcutaneous fluids so he would feel better. Hubby was working, so I had both kids with me. It was just to get the cat more fluids after all. Meowzer’s temperature was low, he had lost more weight, and they couldn’t readily find a pulse. It just so happened that Meowzer’s regular doctor was there for some other appointment. She came in and listened intently to his chest. She had asked if he was breathing like this at before. I thought he was just breathing like that at home because he was trying to purr. She said that she was having trouble hearing his heart because it was muffled by probable fluid in/on his lungs. She believed it was possible he got bit by a snake.

To tell the truth, things started getting blurry. She told me his body was shutting down and that it was just a matter of time before he passed away. What?!?! This was it?!?! She left the room so I could have a few moments while I waited for Hubby to come. I told the kids what was happening and what was going to happen. Bug cried because I was crying. Super Dude was confused and in disbelief. I thought it was important to let them say goodbye to Meowzer before he went up to “Kitty Heaven”.

I let my MIL know what was going on. She said that it was important that I deal with the loss in a way that was good for the kids; to be a good example. That’s when it struck me. I needed to teach them how to grieve in a healthy way. Of all the things I wanted to teach my kids, this was not one of them. But I want to teach them now. Teaching them to deal with their emotions in a healthy way will keep them from turning to alcoholism and drugs. They will also be able to help their kids the right way. I’m all about breaking bad cycles and replacing them with good ones.

I ugly cried all the way home. I acknowledged my own hurt and anger and disappointment. I talked to the kids. I told them it was okay to cry, that their hearts would hurt for a while. I held my son while he and I cried together until he fell asleep on my chest. Later I took the lock off the cabinet under the sink that was used to keep Meowzer out of the garbage. I couldn’t bare to do much more than get rid of a few things out of the kitchen. There was so much more to do, but Hubby had to do it for me. It hurt too much.

It was all I could do to answer the myriad of questions lobbed at me by Super Dude and Bug. “Where is he now that he’s dead?” In Kitty Heaven. “Is there a Kitty God?” I think there is only one God. “Does God have pets?” He just might. Maybe Casper is his pet now. “When will we get a new pet?” Not any time soon. We still need to let our hearts feel better. In the meantime, it’s okay to cry and talk about him. I will hug you and hold you and help you through this. And I miss him too. I miss him so much. “Mama, I’m sorry he died.” Me too son. Me too…

Super Dude drew a picture of Meowzer shortly after we left the vet.

Super Dude drew a picture of Meowzer shortly after we left the vet.

My heart aches because I lost my friend. My heart aches because my children’s hearts ache. But in this pain is an incredible opportunity to learn and to teach. As much as I don’t want to, it’s the hard stuff that helps us grow. I’ve been working on helping the kids remember the good things about Meowzer. “He was a good guy.” Yes he was son. He was a wonderful part of our family and he will be greatly missed.

Meowzer; Friend, Companion, Family 2001-2011

Meowzer; Friend, Companion, Family 2001-2011


Common Cents Mama - Queen of Kids Belts

A Coupon Code to Celebrate!

Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 05:02 PM
posted by mrscaz

Celebrate Cake and Kids Belts!

Hey Dapper Snapper Lovers!

So I have much to celebrate this week!!

  • Of course there was Presidents Day and really who doesn’t love an extended weekend?
  • My baby boy, my Super Dude, turned 6 on Tuesday.
  • The last shuttle launch is today. We are going as a family to watch it from the Port Orange bridge.

So because of all this wonderfulness, I’m giving a coupon code for 30% off at our store; 10% for each great thing! Use code 30offCelebration to get 30% off your purchase at through February 26th, 2011. This code is not valid on fundraising Dapper Snappers or Gift Certificates. But you know what you can buy??? Kids Belts, Toddler Belts, Belts for Adults, Pregnancy Belts, Mitten Clips, and Add-on Clips for pants/skirts that don’t have belt loops!

Have a Dapper Snapperiffic day!!!


Common Cents Mama - Queen of Kids Belts

Shampoo with a Hotdog on it!

Thursday, January 20, 2011 @ 12:01 PM
posted by mrscaz

not my kid

A typical joke told by my 5 year old son:

Super Dude: Knock Knock!

Me: Who’s there?

Super Dude: Shapoo

Me: Shampoo who?

Super Dude: Shampoo with a hotdog on it! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaa! Dat’s funny huh mama!


Oh Super Dude. Someday you’ll get it. I mean, you have an incredible sense of humor, when you’re not trying. For now I get to regale my family, friends, and FaceBook/Twitter buddies with all the funny things you and your sister say. Like at Christmas when you were excitedly opening presents and when your sister asked what present you were opening you exclaimed, “I don’t know but I’ve always wanted it!”  Or your version of Gloria…Real version: Gloria in excelsis deo. Kiddos version: Oh-oh-ohohohohohohohoh-ohia Jesus Christ in stereo. And then the time when the Bug declared that “Jesus Price is Born!”


My kids are funny, smart, and the joy of my life (not to mention my inspiration for inventing those genius Kids Belts). But they do say the darnedest things, don’t they? Well, thanks to someone who contacted me through my blog, I got turned onto a website dedicated to sharing those darnedest things. My Kid is Gifted allows you to share the funny things your kid does and says in a safe environment. I mean, not everyone wants to know every thing your kid does. And you probably don’t want everyone, especially creepy, stalker-types, to know all about your kids. Here you can share with people who want to know the funny things your kids are saying. And you can gauge your own anonymity.

My Kid is Gifted

This site is great. You can submit your kid’s “gifted” moments. You can read about all the other “gifted” kids. You can even help moderate the site by giving a thumbs up or down on stories that have been submitted. This site definitely qualifies as a Squirrel moment! Go check it out now!


Common Cents Mama - Queen of Kids Belts



Monday, January 17, 2011 @ 03:01 PM
posted by mrscaz

Cluttered mess

If something doesn’t have a where to be, it could be anywhere.

I am the most disorganized person I know. The pile of papers on our counter is an amazing, mountainous amalgamation bills, junk mail, coupons, preschool drawings/crafts, and cords to unknown electronics that are probably long gone. But about a year ago, while visiting my bestest friend, I noticed something they did that was so simple that I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t think of it. Every time they came into the house, they would remove their shoes and put them in a basket. This basket, filled with various pairs of shoes, was nothing extraordinary. It was just the simple answer to a problem I’ve been battling for years. Where are my shoes??? I’m proud to say that for the past year the answer to that question has been, “In the shoe-bucket!”

The Shoe Bucket

But it wasn’t until a couple days ago that I realized that that simple organization concept could be applied to anything. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It doesn’t have to have a bunch of compartments or labels or color-coded tabs. Keep it simple. I want my kids to get organized as well, so I took the Bug to the Dollar Tree and bought these little totes for her to store her art stuff in. Crayons in one bin, markers in another, etc. She is too much like me, in that whatever it is, it won’t get put away unless there’s a place it’s supposed to go.

The Bug's art supplies in bins

Getting organized doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal. Getting just one thing organized can save lots of time, frustration, and sanity.  Your stuff could be socks, kids belts, or emails. That is why I put Hubby to work on creating a program for me to help me stay organized in a very important part of my business. I can’t afford to spend so much time flipping back and forth between websites and emails trying to keep tabs on situations when it could all be in one place. Hubby is building me a virtual shoe bucket. I need a where for all my stuff to be to feel organized.

Do you have a where for your stuff? What’s your one thing?


Common Cents Mama - Queen of Kids Belts