Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mommy Needs A Vacation

It's been a long day and an even longer week. And it's not even over yet. In fact, even when the weekend comes, although I'll be able to relax a little more and my hubby will be home, I'll still be working. Part of the "motherhood" package. As I sit here writing this, I can see a pile of dishes that still need to be done. I know that after that, I will have to get my husbands stuff ready for work tomorrow, clean up the living room, gather all the 8 billion crayons scattered on the table and floor, take care of the dogs for the night, put clothes away and shower. None of which I feel like doing. Except the shower part. I'd like to turn that into a bubble bath instead but know that I'll end up sitting in the water till I look like an albino prune and there will be no time for the rest of what needs to be done.

What I really feel like doing is going on a vacation all by myself. In the last 6 years, I've been away from the hubby and kids twice. The first was overnight a few hours away to see a girlfriend that had just moved back to the east coast. I don't think I was gone for even 24 hours. The second time was when my grandfather died and I had to go up to PA for his funeral. Not a vacation. Couldn't even really enjoy getting to be around family since my poor dad was stuck in a hospital, recovering from a pretty bad motorcycle accident just days before.

Vacations with the kids are... well, it's been so long since we've even done one of those that I can't remember. Sometime before the baby was born. But vacations with kids are still work. I want a vacation where I can sleep in, do whatever I want, where ever I want and not have to worry about a darn thing. I'd love to sink my toes in the sand with a good book, a pina colada and tanning oil. That way, I'd actually be able to read a sentence and move on the the next one without ending up re-reading the first one 15 times. Uninterrupted reading is something too many people take for granted. I'd love to be able to sit down at a restaurant and eat hot food without having to cut up some one elses and refill drinks and pick up silverware off the floor before I even got to smell my own. I'd love to go to the bathroom without some one banging on the door, or throwing it wide open so the rest of the house can see what I'm doing. I'd love to go shopping without having to yell, "Don't touch that mannequin! Leave it's arms alone!" or "Please don't squeeze that lotion!" or "Don't eat that gum! Leave it stuck under the counter."

While I desperately need a break, I know how it would really turn out if I went away for a couple days alone. I may spend the first day on the beach. But after an hour, I'd wish I had someone to play in the water with. Yup, I'd enjoy the bubble bath in the hotel room but I'd dry off and get dressed while watching whatever lame local channels were on. Then I'd go shopping and not have any one to consult about an outfit unless I wanted to text pictures to my husband... who would have his hands so full with the kids that he probably wouldn't get back to me in time to convince me to get it... so I'd walk out empty handed. Then I'd go to dinner. I'd eat a nice hot meal, but I'd be bored to tears with no one to talk to. I'd probably talk way too much to the waitress and then have to leave her an even bigger tip just for putting up with me. I'd head back to the hotel room, eventually get in bed and never be able to fall asleep. I hate sleeping alone now. Really. Even though my husband used to work away from home and would fly home on the weekends, sometimes not even being able to come home that often, I've never gotten used to sleeping without him. Ask my sister. When I went home for my grandfather's funeral, I had to share a bed with her. She said that I kept trying to snuggle up to her during the night. Hahaha, I'm glad that's all I did. Back to the point... I hate it and I wouldn't get good sleep. Waking up in the morning, I'd drink that funky coffee in the tiny pot that's in my room (because I'd have been too cheap in the first place to go to a nice hotel) and wish I was cooking breakfast in my own kitchen instead of eating the "complementary breakfast" in the lobby consisting of pop tarts and donuts that have been touched by all kinds of dirty hands already. Then, I probably wouldn't know what to do with myself. I'd be bored and lonely. Missing physical contact and conversations. I'd be thinking about my family non stop, probably even texting or calling often. Any time I'd hear a kid, I'd turn around in a flash thinking it was my own. I'd be jealous of all the couples I'd see, walking around holding hands and kissing. Then I'd realize that home is where I really want to be and I'd get in my car and go back.

I know myself well enough to know that that is exactly how it would happen. I need a break but my heart is here, where my husband and children are. So maybe, instead of doing the dishes and cleaning the crayons, I'll just get my hubby's work stuff ready and head upstairs with a book. Perhaps that is all the vacation time I need right now.

Thanks for listening. I think this post was more along the lines of therapy for me than anything else...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

You Might Be A Parent If:

I don't know about you, but Tuesdays are often tougher for me to get through than Mondays are. I really don't have a huge problem with Monday's. But Tuesdays... They're not the first day, not half way through the week, not close to the weekend... Anyway, I find myself needing a laugh more on Tuesdays than most others. So, I'm sharing a little something amusing about signs that prove you're well into parenthood.

You Might Be A Parent If:

- you've mastered walking down the hall to the kids' room during the night with your eyes closed.

- you know to check your seat at the table for anything sticky before you sit down.

- making a quick trip to the grocery store with the kids means packing bags, having an itinerary and an escape plan.

- you're thankful when you finally smell a poopy diaper after not changing one for almost 48 hours.

- you're a pro at eating, feeding, cleaning, and reading all at the same time.

- you organize so many different schedules, bills, appointments, meetings and the like that you could easily handle being the president's personal assistant.

- you know every character on every cartoon on every network... and find yourself singing the theme songs even when you're alone in the car.

- you're wound so tight after dealing with screaming kids all day that a grizzly wouldn't even consider messing with you.

- you've given your crockpot a pet name.

- the kids ask if it's time for you to clean again.

- when your spouse asks the kids how they'd feel about mommy getting a job, their response is, "She has one. She works for us here at home." (yes, mine actually said this recently)

- the only thing in the universe that scares you now is your kids when they're really sick.

- you can top your parents' "when I was a kid..." stories.

- staying up late means making it past 9:30.

- sleeping in means not getting out of bed (even though you've been laying there awake for 45 minutes) until 7:30. (which I honestly can't remember the last time I did)

- you actually use the phrase, "because I said so" when your kids question your authority.

- you know the quickest way to get in and out of every park, library, mall and grocery store.

- you finish watching the kids' movies even after they've gone to bed because you know that its better than any adult movie that's come out in the last 5 years or so.

- you find yourself looking at the clock every few minutes for the last hour before the kids go to bed, counting down the seconds to freedom.

- you're bummed when the kids go to bed because you had so much fun with them during the day.

- you enjoy planning family outings like the county fair or Christmas light hunting because you know that it's a good possibility that you'll have just as much fun, if not more, than the kids.

- you can't remember what life was like before the kids came along and you have no desire to.

Happy Tuesday! (Don't forget to encourage someone today!)


Monday, August 13, 2012

Encouragement: You Are Not Alone

   On Friday, while at SAM's Club eating lunch with my three kids, who were actually behaving very well, my heart broke for a mother at the nearby register. She had two kids in the cart but one was screaming louder than I'd ever heard any kid scream before. I think it was one of those cries where the kid was angry that he didn't get his way but that in the process of letting it be known, he had worn himself out and just couldn't come down from the "tantrum high". I felt bad for the mom because I've been there. Then she turned just enough for me to see her face and I wish so badly that I'd offered some help. Maybe I would have been more inclined to had I not had my own three with me. She didn't look angry or frustrated. She looked like she was about to cry. Cry from exhaustion, from embarrassment and quite possibly from just being flat out overwhelmed. I remember being extremely thankful that my own kids were controlling themselves so well.

   On Saturday, we went out as a family to the shops in the local "downtown" area. Normally, I'd have loved this. I mean, I enjoyed most of it. The cute knickknack antique shops. Being with my husband who I hadn't seen much of in the last two weeks. The great weather. My own son kept acting up though. By the end of the 2 hours or so, I was so worn out from trying to help my husband discipline him while keeping track of the other two kids. My mind went to the poor woman at the register. She is not alone. I am not alone.

   I say this because I do it also, it is so easy to get wrapped up in our own world and frustrations and duties as wives and mothers that we forget all the other women going through the same exact thing. I know full on how some women feel when, at the end of the day, they collapse into bed and shed a tear or a full sob. Being a wife and mother is tough. It's not easy. Never has been and never will be. I am NOT down playing the man's role in the family. "Heavy lies the crown." And I don't feel like wearing the crown. But while the husband is out providing for the family, the wife is at home taking care of the rest. Even as I write this, I'm pretty tuckered out. My body is tired, my mind is tired and more often than not, my spirit is tired. Sometimes, I'm either crying or screaming. Often, I don't have the energy for either. But I'm not the only one.

   When I was going through some serious emotional issues, some pretty intense depression, I found that meds didn't work, "therapy" didn't work, ignoring it didn't work... Other than prayer, the only thing that REALLY drew me out of my funk was focusing on helping others. I'm not saying that this will fix my weariness as a mother. But it will help lift the spirits. And usually, when the spirits are lifted, the body and mind feel better too. Encouraging other moms and letting them know that they're not alone in the journey of motherhood is going to be something I'd like to focus on from now on. Not making it my top priority, but up there. I think it's important, part of who we are as women, to help our friends. To build others up. To be a support system. Recently, another mom has been encouraging me. She probably doesn't even realize that she's been doing it but it has been so refreshing to me to know that she is going through some of the same things that I'm going through, feels the same way I do about certain things. It made me realize that I can do the same for other moms. Friends, family, strangers. Doesn't matter.

   I'd like to suggest that you, moms, start encouraging another mother. That you start pouring out your heart a little to let her know that a) you're there and care and b) that you're dealing with some of the same tough stuff. You can send an email. Make a phone call. Send funny little comics (or I think they're called memes or something like that? lol, what are they called?). Just do it. Leave your own pitty party long enough to lend a shoulder or hold out a hand or offer a little laugh. You need it just as much as they do.

   I love getting comments so if you have any suggestions or tips on how to encourage other mothers, or even something that you find encouraging... Shoot, if you need some one to pray for you as you deal with the ins and outs of motherhood, feel free to share and know that you'll be prayed for.

   Hope you have had a great Monday!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My $200 Monthly Grocery Budget

Recently, my husband and I sat down and had a conversation about our budget. It's something I recommend that every couple do, just so there's a real understanding on both ends what the expectations are, how much can be spent and what/why/how you're planning to save. That being said, I hate these conversations. For this very reason: I don't mix well with money. I mean, I can find a deal like no other. But it becomes addictive. To the point where I just wanna shop. When I'm bummed, I want to shop. It isn't called "retail therapy" for nothing. But during this recent financial conversation, my husband was re budgeting and asked me how much I would need a month for groceries (for 5 people), dog food (for three dogs) and diapers. Something stupid inside of me blurted, "$200!" He hesitated, looked me dead in the eye and said, "You sure about that?" To which I stupidly replied, "Yeah, Babe. I got this." I should have asked for more. I COULD have asked for more. But after I said it, I realized that the worst I could do was TRY to stick to that budget and fail. If I didn't try though, I'd never know.

To start, I'm going to tell you exactly what must be done in order to accomplish this. Because I actually did it. There's a few things you MUST do though in order to come even close to it.

1) Have a plan. I figured out what groceries we had. I researched meals online and I printed out a monthly calendar dedicated to my meal planning. It is taped up next to the fridge so I know each day what we're eating. A few days before my next "month" starts, I'll make up the meal plan calendar for September. It's really not as hard as it sounds. Best part is, I haven't had to make everything on the calendar so far since sometimes we've had leftovers. Seriously though, I planned a months worth of meals while sitting and watching TV with my hubby one night. It's not some huge, crazy project. And Pinterest has TONS of meal ideas!

2) Use cash. Like paper money. Not your debit card. I don't think I'd have thought of it on my own but my hubby went to the ATM, pulled out $200 and handed it to me. This way is so much better than using a card. It's hard to know exactly how much of the $200 has been spent if you're using the card. With cash, you know, "Alright, I just spend $63.89, I have $136.11 left in my hands." Just easier to keep track of.

3) Get over yourself and brand names. I picked up mac and cheese at Walmart, buying the Walmart brand, for $0.48 a box. I bought the Kroger brand hot dogs for $0.88 for a 10 pack. Kroger brand "spaghetti-o's" are 58 cents. Deals can be found (even better ones than with coupons) if you stick to the store brands. I remember one time, having a coupon for Helluva-Good Dip. The stuff really is amazing. But even with the coupon discount, it was still cheaper AND the quantity larger with the Kroger brand. Not saying it was AS good but it was still really yummy and I saved money.

Those are my biggest pieces of advice. Now, I'll go further to explain some other principles for bargain grocery shopping that I've learned.

1) I bought the dog food and diapers first. That way, I knew exactly how much I had left to spend on groceries. Also, I bought both at SAM's club. I get more diapers, cheaper, and they work just fine. They've worked for all three of my kids and I swear by them. Honestly, I liked them more than both Pampers and Huggies. The dog food is the SAM's brand but it's a 50 lb bag of dog food ( I have two boxers and a bulldog) for like $21. Not bad. I supplement their food at home though. They often get rice mixed in with their dog food (excellent filler! and it's cheap!), they have vitamins, get omega oils poured on their food AND get any and all egg shells. Making eggs for breakfast? Save the shells, crush them up as fine as you possibly can and mix them with the dog food. They're full of calcium. So what my dogs may not be getting from their cheaper dog food, we're making up for in other ways.

2) I bought certain items in bulk. Cheap items. At SAM's, bulk items that I use a lot, like garlic or rice or coffee, come WAY cheaper. I get my creamer, sugar and flour from SAM's as well. I buy my bacon there. $25 for enough bacon, when portioned to 9 slices per portion, gave me close to 40 portions. You do the math. Other items, like certain meats or eggs, I wont buy because I CAN find them elsewhere for much much cheaper. For example: We eat a lot of eggs. A LOT of eggs. I have three kids that I have to feed breakfast too every day (and I'm a HUGE believer that breakfast is THE most important meal, so it better be good). At Walmart, I get 5 dozen eggs for less than $6.

3) Compare prices. If I buy a small pack of cream cheese at Walmart, it's about $1.35. At Kroger, it's 99 cents. It may not seem like a huge deal but at the end, when you're saving that 36 cents on like 40 items, it adds up. You can buy more. I love Publix, but if I've gotta shop cheap, I can't go there. It's cheaper to shop at Kroger. I recently started researching prices at Aldi and will be going there next shopping session because I've found that some of their prices are even better than Krogers.

4) I know how the sales work. At Kroger, they have 10 for $10 deals on all kinds of stuff. Thankfully, you can mix and match. It took me a while to realize this though. So, if I know that I can save by buying 10 items that are under the 10 for $10, I'm going to make sure I do it.

5) I look for "Manager Specials". Every once in a while, we find outrageous deals at Kroger thanks to these. We found a peach sponge cake, normally like $7 for like $2.50 because it was the last one or it had to be sold immediately. Score! I found meat there this time around with a Manager's Special sticker on it. The date doesn't always have anything to do with it. Sometimes, it's just that their inventory is getting backed up so they need items sold. So they put it on sale. I bought a good bit of pork for super cheap. Which leads into my next point...

6) Portion your meals properly. SAM's club sells their own brand of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. These breasts are SO big! I know that I'd have leftovers for weeks if I cooked like 3 for our 5 people. So when I get home, I cut each breast in half, put it in freezer ziplocks and put them in the freezer. Half a breast is perfect for cooking up and putting in pasta, quesadillas, soups, or even, if you wanted to have something like chicken strips. Slice it right, use larger crumbs like Panko crumbs (also nice and cheap) to help give them more body and help fill you up. I've got three kids. But they're only 4, almost 3 and 1. My 4 year old eats like a bird, my son goes back and forth on what he likes and doesn't like and my 1 year old thinks its more fun to throw her food recently than actually eat it. Also, my husband is often working late and sometimes has to eat out for business purposes. So to avoid having leftovers, because I know that in my house, they often get pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten about for roughly a year and then get tossed, I make sure that I cook the right amount of food. Also helps to keep you from over eating. Healthier AND cheaper.

7) Now, this next part is going to seem a little... "granola" to some of you but I'm not a hippie and I've actually really come to enjoy this. Make as much from scratch as possible. I make my own pasta. Time consuming but not as difficult as you'd think. I make my own tomato sauce with tomatoes from my garden. I make my own mashed potatoes ( I will NEVER be able to wrap my head around boxed potatoes) and I like to make my deserts from scratch as well. Making pizzas and pretzels from scratch is fun! I really enjoy cooking though. I guess if you don't, this suggestion is going to seem overwhelming or just flat out lame. Whatever. I've saved a TON of money doing it this way.

I've had to be creative for meals. We're not eating fillet mignons and tuna steaks or quinoa (that stuff is good but SO not good for my budget). Tonight, we're having chilli dogs. That's it. I'll cut up some carrot sticks with ranch on the side just so the kids are getting their veggie dose. Jello is an excellent and cheap desert (super cheap at Kroger). Oh, that's another thing. I've found that it's cheaper to do things like celery and carrots for snacks than it is to actually buy snack snacks. Like fruit snacks in my house (bought in bulk from SAMs) last just about as long as a bag of carrots... but I'm paying at least $7 MORE for the fruit snacks than I am for the carrots. Craziness. So eating healthy is better in even more ways than just the obvious.

Now, I succeeded in meeting our budget for the month. In fact, I've got $16 leftover. Now, that money is going to be gone in the next couple days but if I work it right, I wont go over. And the only reason I'm even spending it is because my husband's 17 year old boy cousin is coming to stay with us for a week. I hear teenage boys eat like hard working grown men so I've gotta prep. It's always a good idea though, I think, to try to have a little left over money, just in case you need milk or something of that nature.

Grocery shopping on a tight budget isn't as hard as you think. Just cut out a lot of the expensive junk food that you eat (or buy the store brand... store brand tortilla chips at Kroger fall under the 10 for $10, or even the Walmart brand are only $1.25... regular Tostidos are like almost $5 a bag!!!!), plan properly (take inventory of what you DO have) and schedule your meals. That way, you know how much of what exactly you're going to need when you go shopping. Get creative too. Keep your eyes open for bargains. No biggie.

If you have specific questions about how I managed to keep this budget, please ask. Feel free to either comment below or to post on my facebook page. The facebook page would be an even better way to get more tips and money saving suggestions from other moms. Either way... Please ask away! Happy shopping!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mommy's Little Helper

 I read something recently, can't remember exactly what it was, that said that doctors used to prescribe women Valium for their "nerves" or to help them cope with the stress of being housewives. Um... really? I thought this was nuts for a whole slew of reasons. So I googled it. Sure enough, in the 60's, SAHM's were poppin pills left and right. So.... what in the world am I supposed to take for my nerves? Seriously. These women couldn't handle being housewives? What? Did they think it was a lot to deal with? Tough to do? Huh. Who'd have known?

Anyway, I've found another little helper. It's one that's not new and is all over the place and it even says on the box that it's got a whole bunch of different functions and purposes but I didn't discover any more than like two until recently.

Baking Soda. Yup. Boring as it may sound. And I know that I may have just lost some of you reading. Seriously though, if some one knew of something fantastic, I'd hope they'd share the news. Just like Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. If you've never tried them (and you can use the "off" brand and they work just as well), you're not living. Holy Clean Walls, Batman! Yeah. But back to the baking soda.

I think that I first started seeing things about it on Pinterest (another form of Mommy's Little Helper). So I decided to break out a box (or 4) and put it to use. In the last week, here's how I've used it and how it's helped rock my world:

1) Mosquito itch reliever. Mix a little with some water and just a touch of Windex (yeah, you read right). Enough to make it a thick paste. Then just put a little on the mosquito bite. My daughter got bit up really bad the other day. She had at least 15 bites on her arms and legs. And she seemed to think that telling me over and over how bad they itched, that I would be able to make it stop. We've tried benedryhl and hydrocortizone cream before but neither worked for her. But this did. And I'm not gonna lie, the peace and quite that followed, the lack of whining and complaining about how bad they itched, was music to my ears. Try it!

2) I have tiles on the floor in my bathroom. Somehow, I neglected them badly over time and the grout between the tiles had gotten really dirty. Scrubbing with other cleaners didn't help. I mixed some baking soda with water and hydrogen peroxide, grabbed a toothbrush, got on my hands and knees and went to town. 20 minutes later, the grout was white again and it looked like I had brand new floors.

3) Anti-boy-potty-training-smell-thing... I don't even know what to call it. All I know is that my almost 3 year old son is thrilled to be potty trained. And he's thrilled that he can "pee like a big boy"... meaning, he stands up to do it. Only problem is that if he stands on the stool, he overshoots but if he's standing on the floor, he's too short to get it in properly. So a lot of pee ends up on the floor, and the toilet, and in weirder places. The bathroom has been reeking of urine and it seemed like no matter how much I cleaned or what I used, I just couldn't get the smell to go away. Until today. A friend pinned a recipe for this very problem that worked like a charm. Mix the baking soda with water and lemon juice. So I did. And I got back down on my hands and knees with the toothbrush and scrubbed the floors. And the toilet. And the floor boards. And there's no more pee smell. I can not express how happy this made me. That bathroom has been stinking so bad that it's made me borderline insane. Who wants a room of their home smelling like a public restroom? I sure don't. And now I don't have to.

4) Hand softener. After using all this baking soda, I noticed that my hands felt much softer. So I decided to test it. I mixed enough of it with water to make a thick paste and then just grabbed a bit and gave myself a hand massage. I couldn't believe how much softer my hands were afterwards. I'm gonna try in on my feet later. I can't wait to have baby soft feet.

I also sprinkle it on my dog's beds and in their crates to help maintain the dog smell. I used to keep it in my freezer but I never really understood why. I know it's a great deodorizer but my freezers have never smelled weird in the first place so who knows... Also, Arm & Hammer, one of the most popular brands of baking soda, makes this amazing carpet deodorizer (we call it "carpet sprinkle" in our house). You can buy it in a whole bunch of different scents or you can buy it in what I'm assuming is basically a fancy packaged version of regular baking soda. Since I've been using it (when I vacuum), my carpets have smelled so good. You wouldn't know I have three dogs and three kids.

I know that baking soda has a billion more uses (cooking, cleaning, deodorizing and what not) but these are my most recent tried and true. I think that when I go shopping again in a few days, I'm going to get a whole bunch more and tackle some more projects with it. I hear you can polish silver, make home made tooth paste, remove coffee stains and even, with the help of boiling vinegar, unclog your drains.

Who needs Valium when you've got a box of baking soda? Well...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The "Uh-Oh" Moments

Alright, any mother (or father... or any attentive person taking care of a child, really) can tell you that there's certain things that a child will do or say that let you know you're in trouble, that you're in for some kind of unpleasant surprise. That your immediate world is about to get turned upside down for a moment. Drop all you're doing, put on the hazard suit, gird your loins, charge head first into battle. My inspiration for this post comes from my beautiful one year old daughter. Tonight, she said her first "word" other than "dada" or "mama". She said, "Uh-Oh". Initially, it was adorable. Then, when the other two children paused, looked at each other and then started giggling, I knew I was in trouble. Any kind of giggling only encourages the "uh-oh" moments. Boy am I in for it...

As a parent, you know you're in trouble when:

- a kid goes into the bathroom and is quiet for a really long time. Usually, this means you're going to walk in there and find poop in the strangest places and/or the kid will be completely naked, trying to bath them self in the sink.

- you hear... nothing. Whenever my kids are upstairs playing in their rooms and I'm downstairs doing something like cooking dinner, as soon as I realize that I haven't heard them for more than 2 minutes, they're up to something. It could be anything from finding that they've opened their closet and pulled most of the clothes off the hangers and mixed them in with all the dirty clothes or they've some how managed to disassemble the chairs and table that it took you 6 hours to put together in the first place.

- you hear one child screaming and crying and another laughing and yelling. Recently, I was downstairs cleaning and I heard my son wailing. Usually, he's picking on his sisters and they're the ones wailing. Then I heard the baby laughing. This alone freaked me out. What could she be doing that would upset him so badly. I ran upstairs to find him sitting on the toilet, freshly full of floaters, and her arms and hands covered in whatever was in the toilet. She had decided to toss his toy cars in the toilet as he was using it and then they both proceeded to fish the cars out themselves. Really gross. Really really gross.

- you hear the dog licking and chomping when you know you've not given him anything. The baby has a bad habit of giving the dogs food. Including chocolate, which they're so very grateful for. And she's just gotten tall enough to knock stuff, food, onto the floor off the table or counter. Sometimes even things you were planning on cooking for dinner, which she will so lovingly share with her four legged friends before you even realize what's going on.

- you hear one kid making fun of the other. A few nights ago, my husband and I could hear our daughters "conversing" so we tip toed up to the door to listen. We heard the baby very obviously fake crying but then we heard our oldest telling her to stop being a baby, to stop faking it and then she mocked her fake cry. My 4 year old is a bully. I will accept full responsibility for this one, as I was a bully when I was a kid, mostly trying to hide my insecurities. I must still do it with out realizing. It's a really bad trait that I'm going to have to make sure she never gets and in order to do that, I'm going to have to be extra careful what I say and do around the kids. I'm in BIG trouble with this one. Most of the time, I don't realize what I've said until after it comes flying out of my mouth.

- you ask your kids, who're in the next room what they're doing and the response you get is, "Anything!"

- you say something along the lines of, "Do you need a spanking, or what?" and the reply is, "Or what."

- your kid tells you that you need to do more yoga or that your boobs are too big.

- you've said something once in jest and the kid actually believes (and repeats) it. To pay my Dad back for some prank he pulled on me using my kids (lol, yeah, we're like that and I love it) when my parents came to visit near his and my daughter's birthday (they have the same birthday), I told my daughter that OGPOG was older than dirt. Now she says it all the time. She also thinks he wears diapers for some reason. In case you read this, Dad, I don't remember what that one's about, lol... I love you :)

I've got three kids. I'd have my work cut out for me even if I only had one. But I've got three. And they're all close enough in age as to where they'll all be partners in crime together. SO not looking forward to puberty hitting in my house. Gonna be a rough couple of years.

To all you knew parents out there, since it actually seems like quite a few people I know are having first time babies right now, prepare yourself. Get a sense of humor if you don't have one already, develop some kind of stonewall face (because some of the stuff kids do will shock you to the point that your jaw will literally drop open) so they can't see you falter and pray up. You're in for a wild ride.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Back To School

Just throwing this out there, but I did NOT miss the beeping of the school buses turning around in my culdesac, waking up my kids at 6:30. Moving on...

It's that time again. I thought that the school buses refrequenting our street were just practicing for the school year and I guess they are but many schools in the Atlanta Metro area (ooopppsss... I just let it slip where I live... don't know that I've done that before...) have already started. That's insane to me. I feel bad for the kids. I mean, I liked school and all but having summer vacation end in July is just crazy anarchy. Well, I'm not serious about that part, but really, I'd be bummed.

My kids are 4, almost 3 and 1. Back to school? At those ages? Yup. But I'm takin a different approach. We had considered getting our oldest into a Head Start program but quite frankly, I'm not ready to let her go just yet. On top of having two other little ones that I'd have to cart back and forth with me a couple times a day to pick my oldest up from school... Just not the right thing for our family right now. So I'm home schooling. "Home School". I'm going to "teach" them at home. I'm laughing and shaking my head just thinking about it. It's not full on home schooling, like I'm not part of a program or reporting to any one but through the help of some fellow moms and the wonderful Internet, I've found some great resources and an easy to use curriculum.

My curriculum, from Hubbard's Cupboard, seems to be one that's pretty easy to follow. It's all planned out by age, including resources, book suggestions, printables... the whole works. On top of which is the added bonus that it's a Christian curriculum. I like that the kid's will be learning about God and the Bible while learning the other basic need to know stuff.

Some other sites that I found that have great printables and tips are:

I decided to treat this homeschooling project like it's real school so that the kids can get into it. I've designated a spot in the kitchen for our schedules, their weekly key points, Bible verses and charts. An area on my office will be sectioned off where we will be doing the actual school work and learning. We already bought them school supplies and later this week, I'll be hitting up The Dollar Tree in their "teacher" section to buy more posters and bulletin board supplies. The next few nights will consist of me rearranging my office (again) and preparing their lesson plans. I'm even scheduling in field trips that pertain to certain things in the curriculum. I have to be so serious with it or I'll never be serious about it. And I'm pretty sure that education, no matter what the age, is extremely important. I mean, I'm not Tiger Mom but still...

Since I am TOTALLY knew to all of this, I would appreciate any and all tips and advice any one can give me. Seriously. Any kind of teaching methods or organizational suggestions are more than welcome. I'm really bad at sticking to things and being organized but I realize how important this is, especially preparing my oldest for Kindergarten next year.

This Wannabe Supermom may end up kicking herself in a few weeks but for now, I'm tacklin another project in this adventure called "motherhood".

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