Category Archives: Life

Why Can’t My Family Be Like the Duggars?


We’ve all seen the show.  You know what I mean.  You see the mom and the dad with big grins on their faces, all their kids have smiles, and their all dressed.  Heck, they even all do chores and are happy to do it.

The holidays and winter are upon us which means my children will be forced to spend time together.  I have to tell you I secretly wish for year round school because all three of my kids together equals the action of a three-ring circus and not in a good way.

Just the other day, there was a huge argument over who gets to eat the last bowl of Frosted Flakes.  It was so loud and went on for so long that I have now banned sugar cereal from the house forever.  We shouldn’t be eating that stuff anyway.

This morning the tween had an early morning tryout for the math team so he was up with the queen.  Could we do one morning with two kids and no arguing?  Of course not.  The tween had to find out why the queen was taking so long to get dressed.  Does it matter how long it takes the queen to get dressed?  Nope, he was just stirring the pot.

Last night we had some takeout rather than a home cooked meal.  Can we all eat at the table, talk about our day, and have a nice evening?  Nope, we have to argue about who took food from someone else and who’s job it will be to put away the ketchup.

Every car ride causes squabbles about who is sitting where, who is allowed to sing, and how loud everyone is allowed to breathe.  Does this ever happen with the Duggars?  Not according to their show.  Assigned sitting in the car is a wonderful idea…something we had not too long ago.  Thinking it may be time to bring it back.

All I want for Christmas is a drama free, happy kids, and smiling parents for a full 24 hours.  How great would that be?  It would be so great that TLC would be knocking on my door wanting to film the perfect family.

I love my family and can’t imagine life without them but sometimes I need a break from the chaos.  After I’ve gone through the house and turned off fifty million lights during the holiday season, you’ll find me wearing a parka (it’s cold in Northeast Ohio),  sitting in my car that is parked in the garage, sipping my Diet Coke, and dreaming of being a Duggar family.  Someday we will be just like them…less the dresses of course!


Trash Bags are Not Created Equal


How do I know trash bags are not created equal?  Just ask my son the teen.  He happens to be 15 but back when he was 7 he could point out the merits of most any plastic waste bag.

You’re probably saying, “Come on, Amy, at seven?  Really?”  You betcha.

When the teen took over the taking out of the trash, Glad had just come out with a new and improved bag.  They advertised this special flexible reinforced bag that could even hold a smashed baby grand.  When you are seven, that is the bomb of all bags.  We just had to have them he said.  Like any other mom, I bought them figuring since he was so excited about his trash job this would just make things better.  Oh how wrong we both were.  Those bags were lucky to hold even a Matchbox car without tearing.

Those special reinforced bags made their way to the back of the cupboard and we happily left them behind when we moved to a different house a few years later.  Hope whomever lives in that house isn’t reading this and now discovering why we left a full box of trash bags.

A few years back we moved again to Rhode Island and lived in a condo type community.  All the trash went to a huge dumpster that was a short walk from our house.  If you’ve ever moved cross-country, you know the last thing you unpack is the stuff you really need…like Hefty trash bags.  We couldn’t find our bags so I picked up whatever at the market and then the trash drama started.  Of course, the teen (who was really a tween then) started out with the trash and it dumped out all over the drive.  The developer just happened to be there and started freaking out about trash being all over the place.  Don’t think he was prepared for the tirade the teen had to share about the bags not being Hefty and so on and so on.  It must have gone on for a while because I finally heard the developer saying something about helping pick it up and let’s just get this mess over with.  After that, I made a mad dash to Target to stop anymore trash issues.

We recently had a family meeting and reworked our family chore obligations.  The teen’s activity schedule is messing with the frequency of trash going out and we thought the tween might like to give it a try.  The tween doesn’t have to worry about the bags.  He seems pretty happy with Hefty but breaking down boxes is a sticking point with him.  Who knew the quiet one would get so freaked out about people not breaking down the boxes?  Look out world we have another lover of trash organization.

To whom do my lovely boys owe the honor of being trash perfectionists?  That would be my dad.  My dad, who has an OCD issue with trash.  He goes so far as to have clean trash (boxes, newspapers, and empty McD’s cups) go in this out in the garage.  The dirty trash is in the kitchen (for food waste and other nastiness that comes from having sometimes five grandchildren visiting at a time).  Of course we all like to chide my dad over the trash situation.  However it really does make good sense and since he is the one who removes it from the house we should probably just follow the plan.

Through it all, we could have bigger problems but I’ll be happy with happy trash taker outers.

All That Sparkles


If you are living with a young girl, you have experienced the thrill of shopping at Justice or buying all that sparkly clothing at another local retailer.  The queen recently received some really cool sparkly stuff for Christmas.  She has some high top boots, shirts, and this out of control dress–that is both sparkly and swirly.

Here’s what happens when you wash said sparkles:  they attach to all the other clothes that are in the washer or dryer.  I spent at least thirty minutes the other day dejazzling my husband’s work clothes and the teen’s stylish socks.  Did you know that they make cloth with adhesive sparkles?  Neither did I but four of us are now paying the consequences for my slow learning curve.

Here are some conversations that have followed now that we all glitter when we spin:

Husband:  Um, thought you should know, I raised my arm up at work last night.

Me:  Yeah

Husband:  It was like a mini disco.  There were all these little shiny stickers all over the outside of my shirt, under my arm.  Plus, there must be a million on the inside of my shirt.  I didn’t think to check the inside of the clothing or the under arm section.


Teen:  Have you seen my socks?

Me:  Yep, they are on top of the washer waiting for you to put them away.

Teen:  I know where they are.  What I’m asking is, have you seen the condition of them?

Me:  Yep, they look like really expensive socks.

Teen:  I could do without all the glitter stickers.  Seriously, I’m in high school.  Glitter is so not cool.  And, they are even on the inside of the socks!


Tween:  Hey, Mom!  Did you notice anything about the laundry this week?

Me:  Yep, it’s kind of sparkly

Tween:  I’m just saying in middle school it is not okay to go to school with a sparkly behind, especially if you are a boy.  I’m a boy.  Sparkle free is good.

Me:  Thanks for letting me know.

Tween:  How you going to fix this problem?

Me:  Cue cricket music


Queen:  Mom, I need the dress to these sparkly pants

Me:  The dress isn’t clean.

Queen:  But I put them in the laundry room at the same time.  At least she is learning how the laundry system works!

Me;  Yep, I noticed that.

Queen:  How come my dress isn’t clean too?

Me:  Because the rest of the family wants to be glitter free for the week.

Queen:  Oh man, I was really hoping to wear that dress again soon.


The dress is going in a pillow case on its next washing.  I’m going to spend the next decade scrapping glitter stickers off the inside of my dryer.  I will also be vacuuming them up because they have migrated to my pillow, on the central staircase of the house, and just about anywhere else that has had something that made contact with the laundry room.  No sparkles have been washed for over a week and they are still coming up on the dryer vent and the little rubber gasket of the washing machine.  I have a GE nightmare on my hands.  Pretty sure the manual has nothing about glitter exposure.  Actually I know it doesn’t because I’ve read it at least three times.

If you run into the teen, the tween, or the wannabe queen and notice a little extra glimmer, it isn’t just their charming personalities, it’s a little extra love coming from the laundry room.

Hey Mom, What’s for Dinner?!!


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


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.


Happy New Year!

The Queen’s Throne


I’m probably going to be the next mom on Dr Phil being questioned for humiliating my daughter publicly but she is seven, doesn’t have access to my blog, and everything I say is true.  Plus, I told her I was posting a picture of her crazy room on my blog and she didn’t seem to mind and was actually quite excited.

The other night the queen was heading to bed.  I asked my husband if he would kindly tuck her in.  He agreed and the following conversation took place.

The Husband:  Oh, Queen, you are going to have to do something with this room!  The door almost won’t close!  One day you will be really sad that you didn’t get that Olympic medal for track.  You won’t get to run in a big race because you will have hurt yourself trying to get to bed.  You’ll be stuck working at Kmart for the rest of your life.

The Queen:  Why Kmart?

The Husband:  Ok, Wal-mart.

The Queen:  Why does it have to be Kmart or Wal-mart?  Why can’t it be Target?  Working at Target is probably pretty cool.  Notice she avoided the whole let me get right on the cleaning part!

Well, the room is still a mess and the door almost doesn’t close.  Guess I’m going to have to load up on Diet Coke, grab a shovel and get to work.


Dear readers, please share your tips and strategies for clean rooms.  I’m all ears.  I’m hoping this post will bring a visit from my mom who works wonders with little kid clutter–just ask the teen and tween.

Laundry Fairy?


Wouldn’t it be nice if every house had a laundry fairy?  I feel like I spend most of my time washing, or re-washing (I know I’m not the only one that accidentally forgets to swap the wash).  Recently, I started doing a little substitute teaching in our local schools.  I’m only working a few days a week but it has had a huge impact on the amount of time I have to spend on the little things…like laundry.

Two weeks ago I received a text:

The husband:  Hey, my clothes smell funny.

Me:  You mean like they have been on a fresh mountain spring morning trip?

The husband:  Um, more like they hung out in the washer a little too long.

Me:  Hmmm…let me talk to the person responsible for the laundry.

The husband:  You do that.

Some time later I send another text…she says she might do a better job if she had some chocolate.

Many hours pass and my husband comes home.  He eats dinner, says hi to the kids, helps with 2nd grade homework, and watches some TV.  I head to our bathroom to find a bag of chocolates in the sink, and then some under my pillow and another in my pajamas.  I thank him for the chocolate and don’t think much more about it.

Fast forward to the next morning

The teen and tween have gone to school and the queen is in the midst of her usual 45 minute dressing drama.  I’m brushing my teeth and can hear her in the laundry room…Mom, hey Mom, do you heared me Mom?  You need to see this right away.  I pretend to not hear her because I’m sure whatever she has found might not be something I want anything to do with.  Then there is the patter of little feet that only a parent can love and she is stage whispering that she has found a huge bag of Snickers in the dryer and I really should come see it right now.  It happens to be the husband’s day off and that just blew any chance of him sleeping in a little.

I go down to the laundry room with the queen to discover that yes indeed there happens to be a huge bag of Snickers in the dryer.  Of course the queen wants to know where those Snickers came from…off the top of my head I come up with the laundry fairy leaving them there for me.  She is super pumped that there might really be something like a laundry fairy.

She is finally dressed and the husband appears in the kitchen…doesn’t take long for him to get the report of discovered Snickers in the dryer (not that he couldn’t hear any of the previous conversations).  He asks if anyone had opened the washer yet.  You don’t have to ask the queen twice…she was off in record time to discover a bag of Reese’s Cups.

We are ready to head to the big yellow bus when the queen wants to know…can she help do laundry?  She seems to think it would be great to get her own visit from the laundry fairy.

My husband thinks we should hide a miniature candy bar in her room and then tell her the clean room fairy had come to visit.  Sounds like a good idea to me.