Monthly Archives: January 2013

Picking Up and Dropping Off

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I don’t know about the rest of you but when I had that first little bundle of joy, I didn’t expect to later be picking him up and dropping him off at various activities six times a week.  Then came two more bundles of joy, which multiples those activities and shuffle time.

This past Friday the queen and I picked the tween up from a school dance.  We were listening to all the goings on of a middle school dance as we drove down the road.  I decided if the teen was going to have to be picked up much later, I was going to need a drive thru for some quick caffeine.  As we drove, I could hear the queen begging for some Skittles from the tween and the tween continuing to turn her down.  By the way, Skittles smell so goodEvery wish you could get some in only red?

Me:  Those Skittles sure do smell good.

Tween:  They sure do.  Would you like some?

Que the queen grumbling that she has been asking and not been granted a few.

Me:  No, thanks though.

Queen:  Oh, you’ll give some to Mom but won’t share with me?

Tween:  Of course, she gave me life.  You can’t ask for more than life.  What have you given me besides a hard time and a headache?

Queen:  Are you serious?  How can I give you life?  I’m the little sister.

Oh the joys of driving with kids in the car.  The sibling rivalry just doesn’t stop.  And neither do the filled up spaces on the family calendar.

 

 

Birthday Bash or Reality Bust

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There is nothing more exciting than being seven and getting an invitation to a birthday party.  What can make that invitation even more exciting is when it includes make-up, pizza, sparkles, and cupcakes.

The queen was recently invited to attend a party at a really great venue where for a price per girl there is lots of fun for two hours and the mom doesn’t have to clean and then re-clean.

A wonderful goodie bag came home with a price list and services provided list.  Of course the queen was on the throne explaining how her next birthday party had to be at the same place.

No problem, right?  Big problem.  The problem is it costs $22.95 per girl (before cupcake, juice box, food and lip gloss station).  Then there is the issue of number of girls in class, neighbors, and Girl Scout friends…that number can get pretty high.

We are a one income family of five with a teen headed to college in three years.  Are we completely strapped for cash?  No, but do have to pay attention to what we spend.  A trip to the grocery lately can easily set you back $150 and that is just for the everyday basics for four or five days.

The queen has come up with lots of ways to have this party:

  • invite but tell them they have to pay (NO),
  • invite, pay half, and they pay half (No),
  • not serve pizza (could help),
  • don’t serve anything to drink (probably not going to work)
  • give up allowance for two months (this will pay for almost one person)

Of course the queen wants to know how it is one family can afford this and others can’t.  Welcome to the world as the rest of us know it dear queen.  Your parents appreciate you are getting older but hey we want to retire someday too and preferably not to your living room sofa.

This week, the queen has decided it is time for me to go back to work.  I explained that my going back to work would keep me from volunteering regularly at her school and her Brownie troop would have to find a new leader.  She says it’s time…she’s in the second grade now and really what is it I do all day long while she is at school.  Something tells me she spoke to some kids at lunch and realized that some moms and dads both work.

There is nothing quite like a real life economics lesson slapped smack in the middle of parenthood.  That degree in business education comes in handy when dealing with these delicate issues.

My questions to all the readers out there…do you share with your children what the family can and can not afford or is willing to spend on activities?

Hey Mom, What’s for Dinner?!!

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I’m pretty sure I could disappear for 23 hours a day but come 3 p.m. I better be handy for the frequently asked question:  Hey mom, what’s for dinner.

Generally, it starts with the teen who begins with text messages:

Teen:  What’s for dinner?

Me:  Chicken Taco Soup!

Teen:  Really?

Me:  Yep, found new recipe.  It is going to rock.

Teen:  Yeah, I think there’s a team meal.  Will let you know soon.

Tween comes home at three this conversation follows:

Tween:  What’s for dinner?

Me:  Chicken Taco Soup!

Tween:  Does this involve tomatoes and corn?

Me:  You betcha!

Tween:  You know me and Dad have an agreement about corn and tomatoes?

Me:  Yep, and I’m not you or Dad.  Sometimes the rest of us like a good corn and tomato type dinner.

Tween:  Figures you’d say something like that.  Pretty sure I’m not hungry.

Queen comes home at 4:

Queen:  What’s for dinner:

Tween:  Mom’s making some kind of chicken taco soup.  It has corn and tomatoes in it.

Queen:  Did Mom forget you don’t care for corn and tomatoes?

Tween:  No, think she is taking a stand against me and my dietary desires.

Husband gets up at 4 to get ready for work and have a quick bite to eat.

Husband:  What’s for dinner?

Tween and Queen:  Chicken Taco Soup.  We haven’t had it before but Mom’s says it is going to be great.

Tween:  It includes corn and tomatoes so it probably isn’t.

Husband:  It is going to be terrific.  He always says this even when it is whole-wheat crepes that neither of us can choke down.

Dinner turned out great!  Hoping to make again soon!

Here’s the recipe.  It makes way more than my family of five and the neighbor who gets lots of my leftovers could eat.  We even had it another night with baked potatoes.

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

1 packet taco seasoning mix

2 medium green bell peppers, diced

2 (32-ounce) containers chicken broth

3 (10-ounce) cans mild tomatoes and green chiles

2 (16-ounce) can pinto beans rinsed and drained (I used one can black beans and one can kidney)

1 (7-ounce) can corn with green and red bell peppers

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Toppings:  shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped scallions, crushed tortilla strips

  1. In a stock pot, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat.  Add chicken and taco seasoning, tossing to coat.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until browned on all sides.  Stir in bell peppers, and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until peppers start to soften.
  2. Stir in broth and next 3 ingredients.  Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is done.  Remove from heat, and stir in cheese.  Serve with desired toppings.

——-Recipe Source:  Cooking With Paula Deen.  November/December 2012.

 

New Year Revolution

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Hey Readers

I hope you all enjoyed a great holiday season, saw lots of family and friends and are ready for a fresh start.

The queen asked me recently what my revolution for the year was.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and haven’t figured out entirely where I want my year to go.  However, these are things I know I want to stay the same:

  1. I am the mom and I will continue to answer why with because I’m a mom and I said so.
  2. Having family dinners every night will be our norm rather than a special occasion.  I love having my family at dinner every night.  Sometimes it isn’t all of us at one time and sometimes they really don’t like what I fix but there is so much joy in bringing people together through food.
  3. No matter where we live, community service will always be a facet of my weekly routine.
  4. I will be a parent first and a friend second to the teen, tween and queen.  Just in case you haven’t reached the teen years yet, it can be a rough and bumpy adventure with some fun days thrown about–think of the times your child was three but this time with a much bigger body and a larger vocabulary.
  5. Common sense questions will continue to be answered with my own mom’s response:  if you have to ask, you already know the answer.
  6. Continue to allow the queen to mess up words like revolution over resolution and barnacle pooper over bankruptcy.  The queen is the end of the children in our house…I’m going to enjoy her being little at least one more year.

There are a few things I would like to work on improving:

  1. Blogging on a more regular basis.
  2. Eating a more healthy diet.  Who doesn’t have this on the list every single year?
  3. Not explaining to the tween the reason we didn’t buy any Golden Oreos is because our country is headed for a fiscal cliff and so will our family’s financial situation.  The husband who is known for sarcasm looked at me like I had two heads when I said this.  As did the tween, who has no idea what the fiscal cliff is.  Not that I do either.
  4. Getting eight Girl Scout troops through cookie pick up every 15 minutes.  I’m a Girl Scout leader and a Cookie Co-Chair for our local unit.  It is colder than a well digger’s hiney in early February in NW IN and I want to spend as little time outside as possible.  I’m sure there will be more posts about cookies in the near future.

The queen’s revolution is to stop wearing mismatched clothes.  So far, she has worn socks that match each day this year.  On day two, she shared her struggle to wear matching clothes.  Below is a 2012 picture of her ready for softball.  She has some work to do to turn down a new path but meeting that challenge is what we all want in the end.

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Happy New Year!