Vintage. It's pretty much just a nice word saying old. The other day, a friend of mine's child was over playing with My Little Ponies. Sunshine's My Little Ponies used to be mine, the originals from 1983. This other child's mom wasn't even born yet in 1983. But I digress. The child made a comment about wanting ponies like Sunshine's. I decided to get on Ebay and look them up. Vintage. That's what they are labelled as. I did the same search with Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears and Pound Puppies. Vintage and Classic. Those were the words used to describe originals for the 1980's. Originals that I still have and have passed down to my children. I'd hate to see the word they use for my 1977 Clifford the Big Red Dog. The positive spin on this is that "vintage" has a large price tag. My kids got vintage for free.
Last year I decided to start the tradition of asking Monster what he wanted to be when he grows up at the beginning of the school year. Last year, it was scientist. This year, it changed just slightly. This year he wants to be a spy scientist, meaning a scientist who helps invent spy tools.
In my continual journey to try to organize my life, I came across an idea on Pinterest that sparked my idea for corkboard in my cupboards. Well, the Pinterest idea and a friend of mine. My friend has pictures hung up in her cabinets of friends and family. I have always thought this is an awesome concept, but never got around to doing anything like it. After seeing something similar on Pinterest, I remembered I had two cork pieces left from a project we did years ago. One afternoon, I finally got around to hanging them. They will eventually have more stuff, I'm sure. For right now though, only important info. All the emergency contact information is in snack cabinet for Monster or a babysitter. Medicine information is in the cabinet that contains the medicines (and, as a side note, did you know you shouldn't store medications in the bathroom because of the humidity from the shower? I just read that). My plan is to get at least two more squares for the pantry door as well.
Also in my search for organization, I'm always looking for something to make my van not a disaster zone. I don't even really keep much in the van anymore. I'm old school when it comes to kids in the car. I believe they should be able to drive to Target without watching a DVD. However, I remember when I was younger, I used to take coloring books and books to read. Those are things my kids have in the car. For Christmas, Nana got each of the kids this awesome Color Wonder travel set. LOVE it! It is completely perfect for the travel. Since my kids are readers, they also enjoy books in the van. I have tried a basket in the middle, I have a tried a basket for each of them. Those kept the van neat, but the biggest problems were the kids having to step over the baskets getting in and out and Sunshine not being able to reach anything. I have seen some awesome Pinterest ideas, but most involved sewing, which I just don't do, and the other involved baskets, which I just explained, don't work. While making the paper holders for the kids, I came up with this idea. I really wasn't sure it would work, but using all recycled materials, it really didn't matter.
This is attempt two at making yogurt drops for the kids. First attempt went smoothly until taking them to the downstairs freeze. The wind blew the door shut on me and the tray of drops fell on the floor. Attempt two was a success! The kids loved them, and frankly, so did I!
This week's failed recipe? Crockpot Italian Chicken. Honestly, I didn't think it was all that bad. Not great, but not bad. Husband and the kids, however, didn't like it at all. Sunshine chose to go to bed instead of eating it. One more food pin I can delete.
I have been working on several other projects this week, also. They are in the process of being finished, so stay tuned!
Today, I feel as though I have failed as a parent. I lost my temper. I lost it about something stupid. Monster forgot to bring home his homework. It's Day 5 of First Grade and he's already forgotten his homework. My feelings of failure are two fold. First, I feel as though Monster's lack of organization is my fault. I feel as though I somehow didn't teach him well enough to be organized and get everything into his backpack he needs. Second, I should not have lost my temper. I should have just reminded him that there are consequences for his actions. I should have calmly told him that his reading log would now not be signed and that was because he didn't bring it home, not because I forgot. Instead, I yelled and told him now he won't have a signature and it's not my responsibility to make sure he brings his stuff home.
I feel like I failed him.
Then, I read this, 'dear sweet mom who feels like she is failing'. I so wanted this to be true. I needed it to be true. I seriously love this woman's blog all the time, but today, I needed it as well.
So, I picked myself up and had a calm conversation with Monster about responsibility and consequences. I also used myself as an example of over reacting. I let him know this is not the end of the world. Tomorrow is a new day and we'll try again. Today, we breathe. Today, we celebrate a great day at school. Today, we prepare for an even better tomorrow.
Starting next week, for the first time in 6 years, I will have kid free time during the week. I have all these huge ideas of what I plan on accomplishing. I have these crazy plans of getting my house in much better order. Honestly, it's not bad now, but there are some things that just can't find homes. I plan on finding them homes. I plan on refinishing my hardwood floors. A couple of months ago, I tried this product called Restore-A-Floor on half of my downstairs hardwood flooring. It wasn't a miracle restorer, but it worked nicely. Gave the floor back it's shine. Due to children and lack of room to move furniture, I never finished the other half of the floors. So that's on the list. I plan on baking. I love to bake, but lack the time. I plan on exercising. I may not run since my race will be over in 3 more weeks, but I plan on doing yoga regularly now. I plan on finally painting my bathroom baseboards (that technically the contractor should have done 5 years ago). I plan on having more fun activities planned for the kids. Well, not planned, prepared is a better word. I'm constantly planning them, but we get into it and then I don't have one or two things we need. I completely plan on being better prepared for that! I plan on making some cute little homework/paperwork boxes for the kids, OK, really for Husband, to keep the kids' school work separate from all the other paperwork floating around the house. I plan on reading. I plan on finishing projects I've started but found I can't complete with the kids around. Sunshine's tutu is a great example. I started it 4 months ago, but every time I pull it out to work on, Sunshine plays with all the tulle and then I spend the next session of tutu making trying to reorganize it to cut. I plan on walking Puppy. Since the kids are learning how to ride bikes, Puppy hasn't gone for decent walk.
In reality, I'll probably get very little of this done. I'm pretty sure the first couple of weeks I'll be so excited to have "free" time, I'll sit and watch Glee. Then I have to factor in the every other week doctor appointments for my neck and the every other week volunteering in Monster's class. Let's not forget the weekly grocery shopping as well. Even though I tend to be a realist, I still like to dream big.
My search for good books for boys, other than Magic Tree House and Magic School Bus, has been successful. I have found a couple of good series that Monster really likes. These books are appropriate for children who are under age 8 (and over!). Please keep in mind, these books are also geared towards MY son's interests. There are some really good sport series books out there, but he's not that into those. He'd rather detective, mystery, spy, and factual books.
I really can't tell you how many inappropriate books I came across. I did all sorts of searches. I come across one search that recommended the book Strike Three Your Dead for 6-8 year olds (as side note, the description says ages 8 and up). Not my idea of appropriate material for that young of an audience. I actually found the best list of books completely by fate on Paperbackswap. I was looking for a particular Jigsaw Jones book for Monster. When I found it, the site asks if you would like to order more books from the same person. She had such great books. I wish I could have gotten them all for Monster.
As I was researching books, I came across many blogs that tear into at least one of the series I think are good. Like anything, it's all about personal preference. One blog I came across didn't want her child reading Jigsaw Jones because it used the word "Yeesh". She wanted "instill a love and respect for Shakespearean literature" in her children. If this is how you feel, then most of these books wouldn't be for your kids.
There are definitely books I wish my son wouldn't read, but I can't stop him at school. I can control what he reads at home. So far, he's not been "deprived" something because I can always find something else that interests him. His favorites by far are still Magic Tree House and Magic School Bus, but at least now, we have more options.
I'm not sure I'll ever make it through a first day of school without tears. I mean my tears. Monster started first grade. He was so excited! He loves school. I was a nervous wreck. First grade means he's gone all day. After 6 years of spending almost all day with my little man, suddenly, I only have a couple of hours a day with him. I look back and I think, "but I didn't do all things I wanted". Time is funny that way. You always think there will be more. Funny thing is, it's not even stuff he wanted to do. He's had a lot of great experiences. His life is full. Yet, with school starting all day, I feel like I've let him down. More, I've let me down. Chatting with my mom, I'm pretty sure that's just how all parents feel. Regardless, because of it, I don't think I'll ever be able to start a school year with dry eyes.
Then there was Sunshine. She was a mess without her brother. "It time to go get [Monster] now?", she kept asking. She also wouldn't nap without her brother home. If that's how it's going to be, it's going to be a LONG school year for her.
School ended up being fine. He likes his teachers (team teach). He knows his way around the school. He got to play with his best friend at recess since they are not in the same class this year. Best part of his day was that he got to use the school library and check out a book!
My Monster is growing up. I don't know where the time went. He will always be my baby.
I have really been slacking on this whole thing of one new dish a week thing. However, I have done a couple this week. So, here they are, along with my family's opinions.
First up, berry cobbler with cake mix and Sprite. Look at how simple this recipe it. And it was. Problem? It was so disgustingly sweet that you couldn't take more than two bites. Even the kids wouldn't eat it it was so sweet.
Next up, Tandori Chicken Burgers with Cucumber Sauce. Personally, I didn't find this horrible. I probably would use turkey and not chicken if I had to do it over. Husband actually made me order pizza just looking at these.
Southwestern steak and cornbread dressing didn't do too badly. Husband and I didn't hate it, but the kids down right refused to eat. After getting over the look of it, both decided it wasn't gag worthy. Monster picked out every last tomato and Sunshine only ate the meat, which is actually a win because she doesn't eat much meat.
I had planned on another new past meal, but after reading it, decided my kids wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole, and neither would Husband. The rest of this week and weekend is full of eating out with visiting family, so I get to start the process of new recipes again Monday. I am determined that my kids will eat new foods, even if they don't like them. Getting Husband to do this may be a bit more tricky.
1. The use of physical or mental energy to do something; exertion.
2. A difficult exertion of the strength or will: It was an effort to get up.
3. A usually earnest attempt: Make an effort to arrive promptly.
4. Something done or produced through exertion; an achievement: a play that was his finest effort.
5. Physics Force applied against inertia.
Everything we do takes effort, whether we realize it or not. Some things, like breathing, take very little effort. In fact, we don't think about a lot of things we do daily. Unfortunately, there are bigger things that require a great deal of effort that most people don't think about.
Relationships, for example, take effort. I'm not just talking relationships between husband and wife. I'm talking all relationships. I admit, there are relationships in which I put forth no effort. There are other relationships I am tired of putting forth effort with no return. Others, are worth my effort. I'm not ashamed that I don't put forth more effort into some relationships. Honestly the are just not worth my time and energy. With my busy life, I need to make decisions on where to put the majority of my energy.
Being a good person also takes effort. Sometimes we don't know we're doing while other times, we choose not to do a good deed. That doesn't make a us a bad person, that makes us human. Recently, a friend of mine had an incident with her autistic son that really hits home with making an effort to be a good person. She and her three children were out at place that is like an indoor playground. She hears yelling coming from her autistic son. There is a woman who has her hands on her son. Being the wonderful person my friend is, she did not punch this lady (because, honestly, I would have), she calmly explained her son was autistic. This lady didn't care. This lady also didn't back down. My friend calmly went and got a worker to help her. Even though my friend says she was not calm and she was yelling, I know her and her yelling is my calm. When she left, she wanted to go back and tell the woman she forgave her. She prayed for the woman because she believes that there had to be something else going on and this lady was going through person trials. My friend made the effort to forgive. She made the effort to be good, to be a better person. I would have been having to write this from jail for beating the crap out of her for touching my child. When I first heard my friend's story, I was so mad for her, I was in tears. Even now, with how calm my friend is and how forgiving she is, I know I would not forgive this lady. I actually don't. I feel sorry for her ignorance and intolerance, but I don't forgive her. Unless a child is causing another child physical harm, you don't lay your hands on other people's kids.
Forgiveness takes effort. This is an area that I am actually very good at when someone does something to me, but do something to someone I love, and then I have a more difficult time. I make an effort to forgive. I make an effort to see the good in people. I make an effort to accept that not all people will see things the same way, and that's' OK.
What you put into life is what you get from it. If you don't make the effort to be happy and good, then you're not going to get much.
Lately, I've been extremely annoyed with the amount of pins on Pinterest I've been seeing for Random Acts of Kindness. Yes, I incorporated acts of kindness into Advent last year, but we do good deeds all t's like this is a whole brand new concept. Do good. Be kind. Wait, I'm pretty sure that in my 12 years of Catholic school, I've heard that before someplace..... Oh, that's right, that would be "do unto others as you would have done unto you." So, you mean this thing where you do things for others and expect nothing in return isn't a new concept? No way! I've spent the past 30 odd years of life doing things for others because I believe it's right. Because it makes me feel good to make others happy. What is that you say? There's a BOOK out there all about that? Someone is making money off people to tell them that when you make others happy it makes you happy? Really? Has society become so egocentric that we need someone to tell us that? Well, crap! Why didn't I write that book? Oh, wait, it's because I didn't think society was that stupid. Guess I was wrong. I'm not saying these books aren't good. I'm not saying people shouldn't read them. Reminders to strive to be better are always good. I'm saying why are people so surprised at being a good person makes you feel good? Why is it a shock that doing good things is linked to happiness?
I am in a constant state of disappointment with the world today. I saddens me that it takes someone to write a book for people to say, "Huh, maybe I should try being a decent human being."