Category Archives: Parenting

Why Can’t My Family Be Like the Duggars?

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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!

Sparkles Too

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imageLast week, you may have remembered my post about glitter clothes attacking the rest of my every day laundry.

Imagine my surprise when I attended the queen’s poetry reading to discover the poem to the right.

Nothing like a little matematickle to crack up a mom who had nothing better to do than blog about sparkles in the laundry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageHere sits the queen in a glitter shirt with a beret (made by me) that she can’t stand.  Not only do I have time to blog about laundry but I can also whip up props that my children decide they don’t like.

It wasn’t until recently that I knew there were such things as mathematicals and cinquains.  Cinquain happened to be on the spelling list a few weeks ago.  Yeah, second grade is a little more advanced than it used to be.  It’s okay, I had to look it up too!

All That Sparkles

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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.

 

The Queen’s Throne

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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.

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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.

What the Books Don’t Tell You

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I’m an avid reader.  I read all the time…books, papers, magazines, blogs, cereal boxes, owners’ guides.  You get the idea.  I became extra motivated to read when we were preparing for the birth of our first child.  Really?!  Can you get enough information about delivery, the first year, lists of stuff to buy, and immunization schedules?  I read and shared so much information that my dad used to laugh and want to know what the books had to say about all sorts of weird problems.

Now that I have a teen, a tween, and a queen I’ve learned the books kind of fall short after those first few months and you are well on your way to disaster every step of the way.  My top —– of what I really needed to know

  1. I may never, never, ever (borrowing some Taylor Swift lyrics) get to use the bathroom alone ever again.  I’m just saying, there is someone in there with almost every time I’m in there.  I always thought it would end by the time they were five but no chance of that being the case at my house.  By the way, locks don’t work.  My kids can pick a lock faster than you can say knock, knock.
  2. There are days that are bad, bad for being a parent, bad for being the child.  You will share your parenting woes with of course your own parents.  Your dad will laugh so hard while you are telling him your current problem that he will have to hang up to catch his breath.  Seriously, this has happened to me on more than one occasion.
  3. Kids eat weird stuff.  They will try out the rocks on the playground, crayons, markers, Playdough, Barbie shoes, and even shampoo.  Just recently, the teen ate $30 of raw cookie dough.  To top it off, he left the empty boxes in the fridge…not sure if he thought that dough would miraculously reappear or no one would notice it was missing.
  4. Kids can turn on lights and electronic devices but never know  how or remember to turn them off.  There aren’t enough numbers  in the world to keep track of the lights I turn off every single day.  Sometimes I think I’ve become my dad over the whole light thing.  Turning the lights out hits reality when you get those family of five energy bills.
  5. Just as we had fads we wanted to be participants of, so will your children.  Whether it is the layered look for the queen.  Second grade has a current fashion statement of the 80s going on and it adds way more laundry to the pile than necessary.  Or, there is the Nike Elite socks that almost every teen is wearing these days.  These socks are $15 a pair but my teen happily spent his last year Christmas gift cards to purchase a few pairs.  On the upside, he will actively help with the laundry pile in order to have a constant rotation of those pricey clean socks.

To all my readers out there…Keep reading and enjoy those babies because all those babies grow up to be big people whether we are ready or not.