Thursday, November 28, 2013

Black Friday Advice (RePost)

image from
(this article originally appeared in The Daily Review Atlas as a part of my weekly Practical Parenting series)

It's the time of year where the hunters and gatherers are mentally preparing, scouting their territory and checking their credit card balances. I'm not talking about deer hunting. I'm referring to Black Friday shoppers. Earlier and earlier every year the retail stores leak bargains that can only take place at predawn and electronic deals worthy of a stampede. Tis the season.

In anticipation of the shopping season I have some unsolicited advice I'd like to give.

First, leave your kids at home. Not alone. Just don't bring them with you. A). it is ill-advised to allow them to see your mind go numb with such toxic consumerism and B). they're just going to get in your way anyway. Then you'll be crabby and yell at them and really none of it is their fault. They should be home in bed anyway.

Secondly, don't use a cart unless you have to. It will only slow you down. And you could run over somebody's ankle which is painful. They might be carrying a weapon and really no gift is worth dying for (although I was super glad in the Christmas of '83 when my Dad knocked down an old lady for the last Cabbage Patch doll in the great St. Louis area). I don't know remember the doll's name or where she is now but it sure was worth it twenty three years ago!

It's also bad form to drink alcohol while shopping. It is after all, generally a bad idea to stand outside in the middle of the night in a dark parking lot but to do so with alcohol induced, sleep deprived stay at home moms is off the chart dangerous. And lest you think I'm making that up I'm not. I watched a gang of women outside a Wal-Mart one year share the same flask for over an hour.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


You can complain all you want about
  • Black Friday madness
  • Stores that are open on Thanksgiving
  • and prematurely lit Christmas Trees

but we've yet to stop Thanksgiving.
It's still here. It's a real holiday.
It's sole purpose is to generate feelings of thankfulness.

This Thanksgiving I feel an extra special dose of gratitude.

Recently I had some health issues. The stress and strain of appointments and symptoms and insurance coverage weighed me down this year. But today, I am recovering, anticipating a clean bill of health and am appreciating every savory bit of Thanksgiving food I am blessed to enjoy.

We sent out oldest to college. My first born left the nest this year and she is soaring! I can't be more thrilled for her. I'm pleased with how our family regrouped in her absence and having her home around our table again is a comfort to my heart.

College was a miracle. We were not able to afford college for our daughter and we told her as much. She responded by working hard on her grades and applying for scholarships and she was rewarded greatly. Through the generosity of others as well as her school, she was able to attend the school of her choice. She loves where she is. We love where she is. We had a financial miracle. For that I am so grateful.

I was asked to write a book. It's every writer's dream to be approached with a book idea. That happened to me this year. And while the status of the project is on hold, the validation I feel in my heart about my calling to write was a life highlight for me. I am so, so thankful for having been asked.

I could go on and on. I could tell you about the corner office I landed this year or list every one of awesome kids one by one. I could tell you about my husband who, in my opinion, is one of the bravest men I know. His tenacity and maturity and sacrifice are utterly amazing.

But I won't.
Any more details about my gratitude are reserved for the inner chambers of my heart where I breathe in, close my eyes and feel the tears well up.
I am so thankful.
I am so blessed.
I love Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Raise Them in the Way They Should Go

Most early childhood professionals believe that mothers and fathers parent their children in one of two ways; they either raise their kids the same way they themselves were raised or, completely opposite.

Lucky for my kids I'm not nearly as strict as my folks were. Although, they don't believe me.

Discipline is a touchy subject for a lot of parents, mostly because it means different things to different people. If I polled a room of parents and asked what discipline means to them, I would get a wide variety of answers including: yelling, spanking, time out and loss of privileges.

However, discipline is none of these things. Discipline actually comes from the word disciple, which means to teach. Discipline teaches our children right from wrong. Punishment, on the contrary, is what we do after our children have already misbehaved. In addition, punishment is hurtful and doesn't teach our children what we want them, or expect them, to do. Instead it more often causes pain and, if anything, teaches children that grownups can hurt. 

Which is fine if you want to be a bully.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mamma Wants This!!! (Updated)

The following blog was written October 2011.
Today is November 2013.
I wanted the iPhone4 2 YEARS AGO!
I waited for it.
I waited so long they don't even sell them anymore (do they?)
iPhones 5s is the latest and greatest. 

And you know who's my best friend? Siri.
God bless Siri.

Here's Throwback Thursday from October 2011:

I have never in my life lusted for an Apple product.
All the Apple device owners seemed kinda.... well, cultish
(and I mean that in the nicest of ways)
and I'm a bit of a, a-hem, contrarian.
I won't do something just because the masses are doing it.
I'm weird wired like that!

You see I'm in love with my Blackberry.
I'm very satisfied with my Zune.
You don't even know what a Zune is?
No surprise there as a quick Google search indicates Apple has sold 200 million devices versus Microsoft's 2 million music players.

But I just saw this:


Because it will listen to me.
Nobody listens to me.
My children talk over me.
My DH finishes my sentences for me
which sounds romantic except he's often mistakenly predicting
what I'll say!

But this...
this phone will listen to me
it won't interrupt me
it will follow my directions!
It's every mother's dream!

Oh my!
This is what I want!
iPhone4s COME TO MAMA!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Menu Monday

Nothing can be more tedious than feeding our Tribe: our schedules are harried, preferences vary & time is NOT on my side.

That's why I plan. Sometimes when there is extra time I enjoy hunting for new recipes. Other times I use my prepared month long menu ideas. Most of the time I rely on my themed days to help me determine what to cook. (Mexican Mondays, 'Talian Tuesdays, Whatever Mom Wants Wednesday, Chicken Thursday, Pizza Friday & Soup/Sandwich Saturday, Brunch & Cereal Sunday)

No matter how you look at it, I menu plan because it makes my day easier. Figuring out what I have in the pantry, how much time I have to cook & which of us will be home when for dinner is too taxing. Each Saturday I post a new menu on the fridge & that's just one thing that helps me get through the upcoming week!

At least it works for me!

Here's what we're having at our house this week!

Monday -  no one will be home for dinner with sports banquets, practices & class. If I need a quick meal I have leftovers. Taco meat can be a quick taco salad & pot roast can be stroganoff.

'Talian Tuesday - My famous noodles & white sauce. I'm making the sauce ahead of time, hubby can warm it up to feed the kids and prepare rotini or fettuccine.

Whatever Mom Wants Wednesday - a few weeks ago my grocery store had a great price on chicken legs. So even though they weren't on my menu plan for that week the deal was too good to pass up. Good thing too because having meat in the freezer helped with this week's budget. I oven fried those bad boys up & served them with mashed potatoes, steamed baby carrots & a side of biscuits.

Thursday - After chicken leg dinner hubby removed the meat from the bones and it became chicken noodle soup with grilled cheese (please, for the love of melty cheese everywhere try it this way). It was a cold night and it really hit the spot.

Pizza Friday - Using a premade crust I made a cheese, chicken Alfredo (yep! from leftovers) and sausage pizza.

In addition, I haven't had enough pumpkin goodness so I made a Pumpkin Pie Cake and Best Ever (probably because of the icing) Pumpkin Pecan Bread (which I made into muffins & ate for lunch, & breakfast, & a snack ....).

This is how we survive. A little planning makes for smoother evenings. And I need all the smoothness I can get!

For more awesome menu ideas check out orgjunkies link up for Menu Plan Monday.
Check out my Pinterest Board "Recipe Box" for all my tried it/liked it recipes. (Cuz everyone hates a Pinterest fail!)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Who Will Let the Dogs Out?

You know how sometimes your gut is right? A little voice of reason nags you from the back of your mind and despite common sense you disregard it and deeply regret it later?

Yeah, that's how I feel about our dog. There are two types of people in the world, animal and non-animal people. Don’t hate me dog lovers, I can’t help it. I am not an animal person. That’s why I didn’t want a dog but worse, I didn’t want to be the kind of mother who denied her children the opportunity to grow up with a dog. (The sacrifices we mother’s make are endless, I tell ya!).

My children were pleading and begging and promising if I said yes to the dog they’d take care of it. I knew better. My gut told me I would be the one stuck caring for the puppy but I told myself that I would stand strong and not be that mom that caves and end up doing all the work myself. In hindsight I can see now how we were all lying to ourselves.

Five years later it is still a battle to get someone to take out the dog. Every day my kids scatter so they’re not around when dog needs to go out. Every day they mysteriously remember that they forgot they have homework at precisely the time dog needs to potty. Or ironically, everyone is locked in a bathroom taking care of their own business when the dog needs to go out.

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