We Came, We Lost, We Left

We Came to wrestle  another high-school in our conference.

We Lost the tournament.

We Left and picked up the younger boys some McDonalds on the way home. I took lots of pictures, but really need to take a photography class so I can utilize all the bells and whistles on my new camera.

Tiger Woods

My thoughts on Tiger are limited, because I don’t give him much thought in the first place. But since I can’t make it through an hour-long news show without hearing about his situation, so I let my fingers crawl the keyboard, danging on the idea of it all.

I don’t like to hear of infidelities. I don’t think it is “no big deal” or a “big whoop” or anything other minor, skimable matter. It is a sad reminder of our slowly degrading society, a bar that is constantly being lowered for us grown women, and our daughters. Cheating is normal? I think not. I’m no fool, I know that people have been cheating for years. Doesn’t make it right or more appealing simply because it is becoming more standard.

Why it is such big news, I don’t know. But then when you consider that, in our country, people can make a living and be on the level of a societal diety for doing something that many people do in their leisure time… you kind of put yourself out there for critisism. Much like a senator, mayor, congressman. We pay your salary, we want to know what’s going on behind closed doors. Apparently, mean. I don’t speak on this from my own emotional base necessarily.

But sometimes when I think, like really ponder the craziness that is our world, it makes my head hurt. Tiger gets paid to play golf, and gets paid well. It’s a game. It’s sport – fun. Fun stuff. You don’t have people performing heart surgeries for “fun” or social work for “leisure play.” But you do find people playing golf/football/tennis, etc. for fun.

Play a sport for fun, become popular, make bank. Practice medicine on the side, read to kids, mission work… we call that volunteer work and what a nice person you are for doing it.

Taking Up Space In Your World

Target. Afternoon. Hopes of a quiet store, reality; chaos.

In our town we have a “West” side and an “East” side. Traditionally the West was the home of the upper class, while the East was more working class. It is a bit more blended now, but if you visit the East side Walmart, you will notice obvious differences in the patrons in comparison to the West one. Just… trust me.

Target, being an even “classier” department store Walmart, is often sardined with clickity-clack, spike-heeled cougars, mothers-with-money and plastic people. One the West side. Today was no exception.

As I stood in the isle happily alone, contemplating the iPods and accessories, clickity-clack rounded the corner talking in her Outdoor Voice, tailed by an overly excited Target employee acting as her personal concierge to the store. Her loud voice shattered my concentration and I did as I customarily do, politely excusing myself, smiling and moving my cart (yes, I do do this). Undeserving of eye contact, being a mere casualty of a populated planet, clickity-clack did not condescend to look me in the eye, turn her head in my direction or pardon herself, but continued to yak as she passed by, stopping to view the items on the shelf, carrying on with her Outdoor Voice as I drew blood from biting my lip.

“Don’t mind me, I’m just taking up space in your world honey.”

Holidailies 2010

I’m participating in Holidailies again. And I’m really gonna try and update daily. Really.

Holidailies 2009

Look at that, though. I titled this post “Holidailies 2010.” Already. Funny how seasons are pushed (Christmas fare up during Halloween) and the year is pushed as well, as we schedule appointments and project the workload into the upcoming year. 2010 seems to fit better than 2009. That ain’t right.

Shopping Cart Disinfectant Wipes

Last year around this time, they were scarce. This year, they are all over, at least in my area. The germaphobic hypochondriac in me has grown semi-dependant on using them and I don’t have children who sit in the cart anymore, which is maybe what they are intended for. I never liked touching the cart handles in the first place, having put my hand in someone’s leftover goo on more than one occasion. Last month I grabbed a cart and as I recoiled my hand to see find the culprit of my discomfort, I saw (and smelled) a sweet, sticky substance covering the handle, the sides, and the back of the seat. Surely it was leftover from a mother trying to satiate an impatient child as she pushed him down the isles.

I was repulsed. As much as I love kids (and I really do enjoy the little buggers), I’ll tell ya, one thing that grouses me out – even more than a dirty diaper – is a sticky-faced little kid. Sticky with candy or sugared treat gives me the feeling of being dressed in all white and having a muddy dog bounding towards me. I can’t explain it. Worse yet, though is a coughing, snotty-nosed toddler. I literally feel like ripping my shirt and running around screaming, “THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING!!!” when there’s a wee one with a snot-crusted nose, coughing and touching things. So, as glad as I was for the sweet candy smell (rather than grabbing a cart laced with snot), it was just the lesser of two evils.

Clearly, I traded that cart in for a new one, as that job was bigger than any disinfecting cart wipe in the world. But for the most part, for everyday shopping, I love me some cart wipes. I don’t just use them because they might kill some germs, I use them because I don’t always have my gloves with me. Yes, I do generally have cart gloves that I use. What of it?

Listening to My Parents

Today I overheard a couple of boys, about 11 years old, trying to peer-pressure another set of boys to disregard some rules that were posted. As the pressuring boys performed a stunt, directly ignoring the rules, they heckled the other pair, telling them to join in.

One of the rule-minding pair said, what I would coin as my favorite phrase of the day:

“I’m not a pansy if I’m listening to my parents.”

The pressuring boys continued in their mischief, still calling out, taunting and teasing. I took pleasure out of the fact that they rule-minders did not bend, but continued eating ice cream, continuing to establish that he was holding his ground.

Back to School

My 5th graders went back to school today. I can’t quite believe it. FIFTH grade?! How did that happen so fast? Praise God, my son that was hit by the car is able to go, walking fine, no crutches, cast, splint – nothing. Last week he was given the go-ahead to be free. He has 1 month to still lay low, and then he can do as he pleases. I still can’t believe it.

The last time I saw him with a backpack on was five months ago, when the ambulance crew was contemplating if they should cut it off of him. I was frustrated, listening to such a trivial decision being made. It’s been quite a long haul, and though we’re not quite at the end of it, I can see a clearing in the woods for him. Today is a small triumph. He was nervous but excited, and maybe a bit sad, since he still can’t do gym or play soccer at recess. But he can go to school, he can walk the stairs.

This week will be a challenge. I’m back to work 100% now, for the first time since the accident. I never really stopped working, but did go down to 10 hours a week, then bumped up to 20 with “flexible days” and now will start back regular hours, regular times. With all the struggles of the last year, this too, feels like a challenge in itself. Just as I gain time with the kids going back to school, I lose time by getting back to work. Go figure. Heh.

Using Scissors to Save Money Around the House

Save money using something you already have — a pair of scissors!!

What?! You say?

Yes. Below are five simple household items you can take a scissors to to help you save money.

1.) Sponges. Take your regular sponge or green scrubbie at the kitchen sink and chop it in half, turning your 3-pack into a 6-pack, doubling your money. Half a sponge lasts and cleans just as well as a whole one. Really.

2.) Hair. OK. That’s an easy. But, if you have four boys like I do, you can save yourself $75  each time you’d visit the barber by cutting their hair at home by yourself. I did this for years. Now my husband shaves his head, and half the time the boys get a cut once a year, letting it grow out the rest of the time. That’ll save ya money, too.

3.) Old towels. Out with the old, in with the new – well don’tcha dare throw away those old bath towels until you’ve ragged them up. You heard me. Rag’em up!! You can get a good 12 rags out of 1 bath towel. Store these under your sink (or wherever you keep your cleaning supplies).

My biggie is cleaning the toilet. Between cutting up towels or junked clothes, I’m usually stocked with throw-away rags. If I’m out of rags, I use paper towels. I just can’t get down with using something that is not disposable, because toilets are plain grodie – you feel me? It doesn’t seem clean to me unless I throw out whatever I used to clean the stinky critter.


4.) Dryer sheets. If you really want to save money on those sheets, cut them in half. This is hard for some people, because some of ya’ll actually use TWO sheets per load. So I understand cutting down to a half of one might not be your thing. But if you’re not a dryer sheet lover, then you really CAN go down to half a sheet. Try it.

5.) Your yard. Yuppers. You heard me right – cut your grass with scissors. Better yet, get the kids to do it, if you have them. Believe me, an entire day of hands-and-knees grass cutting will wear your kids OUT. Free, non-polluting and so easy a child can do it. Can’t ask for more.

I’m KIDDING. Pick your jaw up off the floor. OK. Here’s number five for serious.

5.) Houseplants. Yes, houseplants. They’re called “stem cuttings.” You can fill your entire home with houseplants by employing a little patience and a few generous friends (or a mom, in my case) who won’t care if you take a scissors to their plants.

Basically you cut a few 6-inch stems off of the established potted plant, take off the lower leaves and plunk the cuttings into an bottle/jar of water for a while until the roots grow, then plant them in a pot. It isn’t rocket science. For a black thumb like me, it also isn’t a huge comittment. If it works out, great – if not, not a biggie. HGTV has some easy but more expanded instructions on reproducing houseplants from stem cuttings, if you are so inclined.

There you have it. Five super easy ways to save money around the home using a pair of scissors (and I didn’t use “coupons” as one of the examples). Do you have anything you use scissors on to save money? Let me know, I’d love to hear it.

Taco Salad

I’m always up for some easy summertime (or anytime) recipes. Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family recently did a “Summer Recipe Edition.” Econobusters posted this recipe for One Bowl Taco Salad. It looked like an easy lunch idea, motivating me to try it, like, NOW.

The picture I took is not that great, but the recipe turned out well and it was very tasty. Not to mention, more economical than picking one up at the drive-thru.

Since I have “issues” with recipes, finding it hard to follow them, I basically poured a bag of salad into a bowl, cut it up some more with scissors, turning the bowl over and over  to get smaller pieces. I threw some cheese on top of that, cut up two small tomatoes, threw them on top. Took a thick slice of onion, diced it up; added it. Crushed about 7 handfuls of taco chips; sprinkled them on top. Squirted an eyeballed amount of Catalina and tossed away.

I loaded up a plate for each of the boys (the 3 younger ones) and myself, added about 1/4 cup of leftover ground turkey taco filling leftover from last nights’ meal, and voila. Lunch.

We added a dollop of sour cream to our salads. The kids thought it was a pretty yummy, fancy lunch. I thought it was easy, tasty and just as good as take-out.

Homemaker or Working Woman?

Today’s lunch is brought to you by Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie.

Though I’m not big into pre-packaged or frozen meals, in the past few years I’ve broken down and have added more of them to my shopping cart. The summer days, with the four boys home, always leads to a significant increase in our grocery spending and food consumption. I know that I often break down and will do take-out because I am short on time. But it isn’t like take-out is any more “healthy organic” than frozen.

I wish I had the time and discipline to be a better homemaker, meal-planning, gardening, cooking, cleaning. But with me working, now (out of the home and at home), my time for those things has lessened. And frankly, I didn’t feel I was doing all that well as a homemaker before I started working outside the home (which is why I figured I might as well get a job since I was wasting my time on my butt at home).

I wish I weren’t so confused.