Thursday, June 30, 2011

Keeping kids occupied while out eating

Do you ever have trouble keeping your kids from going crazy when you're all out a restaurant? My kids have little patience. They can't seem to figure out how to sit in one place and behave while waiting for the waitress. For them waiting to order, waiting for food and waiting for the check is an losing battle.

I have come up with a few ways to keep them occupied if the wait isn't too long. Here's a couple games we play...

I spy: The person who's turn it is gives out clues. "I spy with my eye something (fill in the blank). Usually we start with a color then the clues may include shape, size, what item may be used for, etc. It can keep them occupied for a few rounds each.

20 questions: The way we play is, the person who is it comes up with something in the room. Everyone else takes a turn asking questions to figure out what it is. We usually start out by determining if "it" us a person, place or thing and whittle down what it could be from there. The person that guesses right goes next, unless (like mine sometimes) they argue over it. Then my rule is youngest to oldest or vice versa.

The alphabet game: This is a new game we started playing last week. First player status with the letter A. Looking around the room they find something (anything, I even include actions and feelings) that begins with their letter. They can choose to pass if they can't come up with something. Advanced version: Alphabet game but the player doesn't reveal what they're thinking for that letter and everyone has to guess. Kind of like 20 questions. It helpful if the player can write down their pick so there's no cheating involved.

We also play lots of tick- tac- toe and connect the dots to close off boxes. I find even at 7 and (almost) 9 it pays to keep them busy while waiting.

Today was a bit trying in that department. They tried to be patient but when it takes forever to be seated, 10 minutes to place order and another 20 for food it's rough. This is why I have a love/hate relationship with Friendly's In our area. We all survived though. Hooray!

Monday, June 27, 2011


***I thought I had scheduled this to post on Saturday.  Oops!  I took the weekend off of blogging and just noticed.***

For summer vacation I'm going to have my children journal about their day.  I'm hoping I can get them to write a few sentences each day just to keep them in the habit of writing.  This is an area of weakness for my son, so this can only help.  I think I'm going to have Goalieboy  (Gb) write his journal in an online blog.  I think it'll also help him with his poor typing skills.  Our goal is going to be to write  four to five journal entries a week.  At least one four sentence paragraph.

I decided I'm also going to journal here.  It won't necessarily be daily and on hectic weeks it may be more of a week in review journal post.  I'm going to lead by example.  Hopefully my son willingly follows.  I know my daughter will be excited.  I can't wait to see what they write.  Anything goes.  I want them to explore their writing.  I want it to be fun.  I plan on highlighting a few of their journal posts here.

I'll start today...

June 24, 2011

Today was Goalieboy and Little Bee's  last day of school.  Hallelujah!  It's been a long year with many ups and downs. It was a wonderful day.  I blogged about it here

I let the kids sleep in this morning since there would be none of the typical before school rush.  My son actually was up by 6:30 and came in to snuggle in bed with me.  It was so sweet because he doesn't do morning snuggles much anymore.  It was so precious.  My heart was melting.  We finally climbed out of bed at 7:45.  It was one of the best school mornings.

I loved not having to pry them out of bed.  It was great having an enjoyable and relaxing breakfast.  They had a chocolate chip muffin and berries (strawberries and blueberries).  Then they relaxed and watched Word World together.  A newly, rediscovered show they both enjoy.  It was wonderfully peaceful. 

I walked the kids to school, laden down with their teacher gifts.  They were so excited, even though it was a bit cool and damp out.  Usually the weather is in the mid-80's to low-90's this time of year.  It was surreal.  It made so that it didn't "feel" like the last day of school.  When we arrived at school I realized Little Bee had  forgotten the flowers for her teacher.  I kissed Goalieboy goodbye and then Little Bee and I headed quickly back home for her flowers.  Thank goodness we live close by.  We made it back home and made the quick drive back before school start.  Woohoo!

I spent the morning blogging and blog hopping.  Then I spoke to Gb's hearing impaired teacher and we were able to setup a time to meet in front of the school.  I had been trying to see her this whole week but both are schedules have been crazy.  It was so nice to see her!  I told her I appreciated everything she did for Gb this year.  He is finally getting some of the support he needs because of her.  She has also networked and connected us with someone who is getting him new aides.  We are so blessed to have her in our lives.  She is the embodiment of what teachers should be.  She goes the distance and beyond for her kids.  Gb was so happy to see her as he walked out of school.  He told her thank you, hugged her and gave her his gifts of flowers and chocolates.

Late morning was spent going through end of the year papers and art projects.  They also got their report cards.  Little Bee thrived this year.  She did awesome.  Her teacher is not one to give 4's and "O's" for outstanding.  She worked hard this whole quarter and was rewarded with two 4's and 3 O's.  I'm so proud of her. I try to speak to the kids separately about their report cards because Gb struggles with his grades.  I don't want him to ever feel compared to LB.  They are two separate kids with different learning abilities.  Gb's grades dropped again in many areas.  He received his first D.  This year's been so frustrating.  I'm hoping for better things next year.

We spent the afternoon out on a walk.  It was nice and peaceful since it was overcast and rain was threatening.  Then we spent an hour at the park enjoying all to ourselves before heading home for dinner.  It was the perfect afternoon.

As a treat we ended our meal with a hot fudge sundae.  The kids were in heaven. 

Overall it was a wonderful day that ended with us watching Toy Story and enjoying a HUGE bowlful of popcorn.  Perfect!

Friday, June 24, 2011

School's out for Summer

Woohoo!  School's out for Summer!  No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers DIRTY looks!  My mom use to always sing this after our last day of school.  Oh the memories!

I'm so happy third grade is over for my son.  It's been a year full of more downs than ups.  He was in a collaborative class this past year.  It's a setting with a regular ed and special ed teacher.  My son is hearing impaired but his grades were (for the most part) on level.  Unfortunately, the class was chaos with 26 kids in a small classroom.  Plus 2 teachers and 2 aides.  To make it worse, the special ed teacher was running the class rather than doing her job of supporting the IEP (special ed) kids.  Wonderful teacher when she did her job.  Frustrating more often than not.  It was brought to my attention LAST week that Goalieboy was seen rushing through his in class assignments.  When graded, he had answered most of the questions incorrectly, therefor failing.  Hello, it took this long to discover it?!  Am I wrong in being upset? Most of the papers  (especially this last quater) he was bringing home were in the 73-62 range.  He redid the worksheet he rushed though.  How do you think he did then?  One wrong!  *Sigh*  With 4 (count them...4!!) teachers in that class, someone couldn't have caught on months ago?  Especially when he's participating in class and is seemingly understand the lessons. I was baffled because when we would review the sheets (he brought home) he knew most of the correct answers.  I will be addressing this first thing next year with his new teachers.  It's upsetting.  While it is his fault for not taking the time to do the work properly, he is 8.  It's also documented that he has trouble focusing and is easily distracted.  Hoping next year will be better in this area.

We gave all the teacher's chocolates. 

All the teachers (and aides) received handwritten notes from the kids.  I wrote a personal one for Little Bee's teacher and Goalieboy's Hearing Impaired teacher.  They were both fantastic!

These are for Goalieboy's Hearing Impaired teacher.  She was wonderful!

Little Bee, on the other hand, had a fantastic year with an AWESOME teacher!  We are going to miss her greatly.  I'm so sad she will not be in our building next year.  My daughter asked for her email and home address so we can write to her.  It will keep them connected and she will benefit from the writing experience.

Little Bee's teacher also got flowers with her chocolates.  She is the type of teacher every child should have.  She inspires learning.

Now we are going to kick back, relax and enjoy our summer!

Let's BEE Friends

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How to request a teacher

I want to start by saying, I am not a teacher or a school administrator. Also, I know a lot of schools discourage or disallow parents to request a particular teacher for their child.  In our school, it is definitely discouraged but I've never been told my letter would not be taken or considered.  A lot of schools notify parents of their child's new teacher at the end of the school year.  Not our school.  We get an official letter from the school about 2 weeks before classes start.  I find this hard on the kids and some think about it all summer...who their teacher will be and who is in their class. It's better for everyone if it's presented at the end of the school year.  This way both teachers and students can prepare themselves for the start of the new year better.

Since my son's unfortunate experience with his first grade teacher, I have written the principal a letter asking her to consider certain teacher for my children.  The principal is the one that makes the decision in our district on where a child is placed.  Personally, I have a problem with this because I feel their current teachers (hopefully) know them best and can recommend the teacher that would be best for them.

Don't hesitate to write your school a letter concerning next year's teacher if there's a particular teacher you do (or don't) want for your child.  Always start out with a nice, warm greeting.  Mention positive things about the school year in general.  Not your child's class but the school.  Principals want to know that you feel they are doing a good job.  In my letter I wrote how my children enjoyed things such as: P.A.R.P, concerts, book sales and field day (the first one EVER!).  I spoke about my son's participation in Student Government and Ecology Club.  I think they like to hear of positive experiences with school clubs and activities.

After this you can ease into the main reason you are writing.  Speak to her/him about your child's learning.  Write about their learning style. Feel free to give examples.  Then, you can approach her with the idea of a particular teacher or teaching style.  I talk about my children's learning style and which teachers I feel match up well with them because of how they teach.  Our school is large, approximately 500 children.  I know that it is not possible for our principal to know each child on a personal level as far as their learning style.  I believe she knows each child by sight and hopefully (maybe) even by name, but I can't expect more.  I think if you're concerned about your child getting put into a class that is not appropriate you need to speak up.  Principals want their students to flourish.  It makes them look good, for one thing.  And many, love "their' kids and want them to thrive.

My letter spoke about my daughter.  I didn't write one for my son, as we've agreed he will be in a collaborative class next year.  We only have one collaborative class per grade.  So, it's a given who his teachers will be (though I have a dilemma there as be addressed later).  I wrote that she has flourished this year with her current teacher.  I explained that she is a student who is eager to learn, catches on quickly and thrives on new challenges.  She needs a teacher who will push her boundaries.  The teacher I felt that was best suited for her (and who my son had) won't be in our school next year.  I expressed my sadness over this.  Then I spoke of another teacher who's teaching style is similar to her's.  A bonus for us is that I heard her kindergarten teacher will be splitting the class with this teacher.  He is truly wonderful.  My daughter LOVES him!  He is great with all the kids.  His specialty is reading collaborative.  He often splits half day kindergarten and half day reading collaborative.  Next year he will be teaching second grade instead.  They have a strong learning bond with mutual respect and admiration.  I pointed all of this out.  I truly believe that putting a student with a teacher they thrived with in the past is perfect.  Why mess with something that has worked.

Never be pushy.  Do NOT tell her that you are demanding your child be put into a certain class.  Always, present another choice.  This will not get  you what you are looking for.  I did not get the first teacher I requested for my son two years ago. However, I did get my second choice.  This turned into a godsend.  The other teacher's class had a lot of distracting students that year.  My son, who is can't focus and is a distraction himself wouldn't have done as well. 

Also, if there is a teacher you don't want your child to have write about it diplomatically.  Hopefully you can present it in a way that you can avoid mentioning the actual teacher.  If Mrs. X is a yeller you can write that your child responds best to teachers who are soft spoken, etc.  If there's a student that is harassing/bullying your child you should bring it up in this letter and ask that they please not be placed together.  If occurrences have been documented, it will make your request almost a guaranteed.  I let my children fight their own battles for the most part.  However, I speak up and write the teacher a note or call the school when it's gone to far.  Thankfully I have only had to do this twice in 5 years.  I ask to be kept in the loop on how the situation was resolved.  If it becomes a continual problem I would ask that they not be placed in the same class the following year.

I hope this is helpful, especially to parents new to this situation.  I never thought I'd be one of "those" parents but I have no regrets.  First grade taught me to stand up for my child and fight (the right way) for their needs.  My son was lost in his first grade class.  Too many kids with the same issues (distractions, focusing, talkative,etc) were put into the class.  My son was lost but "just" got by.  He went from loving school to hating it that year.  His teacher had no control.  I ended up requesting that he be put by her desk so he would be forced to stay on task.  He did better after that, but by then the damage had been done.

I've learned...advocate for your kids.  Make sure they are in the right learning situation for them.  The brightest student will get by but not thrive in the wrong learning environment.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Stormy Morning

When we woke up today it was raining just a bit.  When we walked out the door for school it was drizzling just a little.  The kids begged to walk, so I figured, what's a little rain.
Umm, I was wrong.  This was the scene outside school as kids were walking in.

It's blurry because it was starting to pour out and I was using my phone's camera.  It's almost pitch black outside.  It looked like an early April morning at 5 a.m. or 8 p.m.  It freaked the kids out just a bit.

I took this on the walk back.  It was really eerie.  I got home just before all hell broke loose.  The wind whipped up, more thunder, lots of lightning and the flood gates poured open.

Taken from my front porch.  You can't see anything.  The rain was torrential and hitting my camera lens.

***Yes, I know this isn''t totally wordless, but I can't help but set up the story of the pictures and caption each. 

Monday, June 20, 2011


I have something to confess.  Come closer.  Closer.  Closer, so know one else will hear.
I have a problem and I keep it bottled up inside.  My secret, the last year or so, I've become a compulsive shopper.  No not clothes.  Not shoes.  Nothing so glamorous.  It's the grocery store.

See, a little over a year and a half ago I was injured at work.  I was told to go out on worker's compensation.  In December of last year the company I worked with for the last 7 years let me go.  I'm not physically back at full capacity but they wouldn't take me back at light duty.  It's been really tight money wise in our house.  I'm trying to find work but so far no luck.  My husband's had to take a second job.  My comp case is on hold while the doctors (mine and the insurance company) duke it out.  No money coming in from there, just a bit trickling in from unemployment.

My running out of food.  I know it sounds a bit crazy but I worry about it in the dark recesses in my brain.  I know it won't happen but the fear is real and it's lurking there.

I'll pursue the grocery store ads looking for deals.  I'm not a super savy shopper and I don't use coupons like I should.  It seems that the coupons in Sunday's paper are for things I don't normally purchase.  So, it seems like they're a waste.  I really need a serious couponer to sit down with me and help me set up a system that works for me and what I buy.

That being said, I'll look through the local ads for the best deals.  I'll stock up on things I know we'll use.  Problem is I'm worrying now that I'm spending more money "stocking up" than I should.  Should I put the money into savings?  Should I use it to take the kids to budget friendly things during the week so they can get away from the house during the summer?  I just don't know.

At this point I have 10 tubes of toothpaste, 6 boxes of waffles, 10 boxes of cereal, tons excess baking supplies (because I love to bake), boxed mixes for quick desserts, boxes of snacks for the kids, boxes of juices boxes.  It's not extrememe excess but still more than I think I should be purchasing on a limited shopping budget.  I have to tamper down the need I feel to buy more.  It's really becoming a problem.  It's skewering our budget and adding to my anxiety level.

I find myself compulsively going to the store to pick up "just a few things" 3 or 4 times a week.  Many times a $5 quick stop will turn into $25-$30.  That doesn't seem like much but I find that some weeks I'm spending $150 on my trips there.  I'm trying to limit myself to one trip and asking my husband to pick up fresh fruits and veggies as needed after he gets out of his second job (at the grocery store).  I'm battling it daily., tampering down my anxiety. I need to stop this compulsive behavior.  I don't think my husband realizes what I'm feeling.  I don't want to add to his stress level .  He has enough on his plate.

That's my confession for today.  Do you have any compulsive behaviors?  Feel free to share here.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

To my Dad on Father's Day

I'm dedicating this post to my father in honor of Father's Day. 

When I was little my dad wasn't around much.  He worked shift work at one of the local plants.  He picked up overtime whenever he could.  I have very few solid memories of him past him flitting in and out.  It was hard back then and I know I was resentful at times.  See, while my mom stayed home to care for us, she stopped driving when we were still little.  We rarely went anywhere.  It was tough to see all my friends involved in different activities while I was sitting home.  Thankfully we (my brothers and I) had great imaginations so we were rarely bored.  Knowing what I know now, I believe my mom is has fear of the outdoors.  She will go out but it's rare.  But that's another story.

Once I hit my teens things changed.  I think my dad felt more comfortable with us.  We were more independent and didn't need to be watched 24/7.  While my mom stayed home "to watch the house", my dad took us out on vacations.  Before then we didn't go anywhere.  I have some great memories.  Most of our trips were both fun and educational.

He took us to Gettysburg, PA several times.  We walked everywhere and learned so much history.  I became enamored with Abraham Lincoln and wanted to learn everything about him after my first trip.  I still have a book about women during the Civil War.  I find that time period fascinating.

We also went to Virginia Beach several times.  I remember walking the beautiful beach listening to the waves rolling in while the sun was rising.  We would go early in the morning and collect sea shells.  I remember going to my first seafood restaurant with a sunburned butt.  I was lobster red all over my bottom and thighs because I forgot to put sunblock on that area.  I learned a very important lesson that day.  I was in extreme pain but I didn't let that stop me from eating blue shell crab.  Delicious! 

My father also took me to my very first hockey game when I was in 8th grade.  Many times before that he would have it playing on the radio or TV but I couldn't stand listening to it.  I remember begging him to change the channel.  I went to my first game (Buffalo vs Detroit) and never looked back.  I have many wonderful memories surrounding my dad and hockey.  He was great about letting me hang out down by the glass and staying after the game to meet the players and get autographs.

Now he's a grandfather.  I still remember him telling me it gave him an opportunity to do the things with them that he missed with us.  It didn't make me sad or upset.  It made me happy that he wanted to create special memories with them. 

He definitely drives me nuts.  He's a stubborn no-it-all with a temper at times.  But he's great with my kids and I know he would do anything with him.  I appreciate all he does for them.  He might have not always been the best father early on but he wasn't ready.  He's like wine...he's gotten better with time.

Thank you dad for being a great dad and a wonderful grandfather (aka grandpa or grandpy).  I love you!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Easy peanut butter cup brownies

My son is celebrating his summer birthday in school today.  He wanted something different than the traditional birthday cupcake.  When I asked him what he might want instead he said brownies.  Originally we were going to do frosted brownies with sprinkles.  Then he mentioned he wanted peanut butter brownies.  So, while he was at school yesterday I started to brain storm.  I came up with peanut butter cup brownies.  I have never had them before but the idea sounded delicious.
They're super easy for the busy mom who doesn't have time to bake.  Originally I was going to go all out homemade but I know that kids love the box stuff just as much as the 100% homemade.  I'm making these again next week for end of the year teacher gifts and there's will be from scratch.  I know they'll appreciate the yumminess of it  I'm sitting here drooling just thinking about it.


  1. Box of your favorite brownie mix
  2. the ingredients listed on the back of the brownie box (typically)-2 eggs,1/4 cup water,1/2 cup oil
  3. 18 unwrapped miniature peanut butter cups

-Prepare brownie mix per directions on box

Line cupcake pan with foil liners.

Fill liners half full with brownie batter.

Then place a peanut butter cup in the center of each.

(oops...I forgot one!  I caught the slip as I was putting it into the oven)

Place pan in oven at 325 for approximately 20 minutes.

This is them baking...half way done.  Make sure to check them with a toothpick before taking them out to cool.  Toothpick should come out clean.

Finished peanut butter cup brownies.  They are a decadent treat for a special celebration or anytime!  My son has declared them the BEST brownies he's ever had!

Let me know what you think if you make them! They are pure ecstasy if you eat them while they are still warm.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Slip of the finger

So many things can happen with just the slip or swipe of a finger.  Some good and some not so good.

I like that with a swipe of a finger I can make letters appear on my computer screen.  String them together and they become words, sentences and eventually stories.
I love using my finger to swipe the last yummy traces of cake or brownie batter.  Simply devine and oh so good.
My son has used his mischievous middle finger in the past for a naughty thing that landed him in trouble at school and home;  When he was younger, as many I'm sure, he use to point with his middle finger.  He's had trouble, even at almost 9, breaking the habit fully.  It goes from an "oops" we've talked about to something funny around friends.;  It landed him in the assistant Principal's office for swinging it around during a class trip a few weeks ago.  Hopefully that finger won't be swiped up in that manner for many years to come.;
I always fear for my poor little fingers while I'm cooking.  I worry that I'm going to cut one off or at least open it up a bit.  I've done it before  Sigh.  I was about 18 or 19 and cut almost the whole tip off of one while slicing watermelon.  I didn't want to go to the hospital so I had my mom get me a large cup of water with lots of ice.  I stuck it in there and held the tip on tightly.  Once the bleeding slowed I disinfected it and wrapped it up tightly.  It worked.  I avoided stitches.  If I look really closely I can see the faded scar that is the outline of almost a whole circle.  Glad I was able to save it.
Yesterday I was prepping dinner to go into the slow cooker.  My old, once handy dandy, can opener has been acting up.  It doesn't cut through the metal tops like it use to.  I'm forever warning my kids about the sharp edges and telling them to be careful when helping me recycle.  I could have used the reminder yesterday, even though it was already running through my head.  The lid didn't come off properly so I was trying to get it just right so I could get the beans to come out without having to pry off the lid.  I have sliced fingers on them in the past and it's not pretty.  I knew better.  I truly did.  Yet, I still wiggled the damn thing back and forth to try to get the beans out.  SLICE!  Right down through the top of my index finger.  It wasn't a surface cut either.  Dang it all to heck!  I knew it.  I turned on the water nice and cold, stuck my finger under it and grabbed a paper towel.  I soaked that with cold water and applied it to the cut.  Keeping my finger wrapped tight and in the air I made my way upstairs to the medicine cabinet.  There I doused it with peroxide and wrapped it up tight with gauze and tape.  Thankfully the bleeding stopped.  A few hours later I unwrapped it, applied more peroxide and some antibiotic cream before re wrapping it.  It's long and deep but it's not bleeding and it looks like it will heal ok.
It's been 24 hours and I'm doing ok.  I find it hard to type and I can't do any kind of cleaning or lifting.  I don't want to get the bandage wet and it's too tender to use it to lift things. I reaped benefits last night.  My hubby didn't work in the evening so he washed all the dishes for me.  Considering we hand wash them it's truly a wonderful and considerate thing he did.  I wouldn't have been able to wash them for another day or two.  My son decided he wanted to vacuum his room so I wouldn't have to do it.  Hubby carried the vacuum up the stairs for him.  He proceeded to not only do his room but his sisters and ours.  Hallelujah!  It's a blessing and a miracle.  He now says he'll do it for me every week.  I offered payment for it if he does it and does it right.  Woohoo!  This may be a great start to summer vacation.
So...a slip or swipe of the finger can lead to good and bad.  And sometimes the bad ends up not being so bad.  Lesson learned.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fast Food....Never Again!

Let me start by saying, we ate Fast Food yesterday.  And oh my lord, it was awful!  It reminds me why we avoid it.  Ironic that Daddy and Goalie Boy had Micky D's on the way back from Poconos and Little Bee and I had Burger King here.  Mistakes on both our parts.
Little Bee and I went to BK because she had received a birthday certificate from school for a free kids hamburger meal.  Neither of us like BK but it she really wanted to go.  It was the perfect opportunity on our girls day.  The guys were hungry and wanted to catch a quick meal they could eat on the drive home.   Totally acceptable and understandable.
We've always limited eating it for health and cost reasons.  Let's be's full of fat, salt and preservatives.  It's extremely unhealthy.  Also, if you can make the time to cook a meal for your family you can spend the same amount of money (if not less) and eat better quality food.
A few years ago we ate it more often.  Not by choice per say but because my husband worked in the industry and we (him and I) were constantly on the go.  He would get his meals for free.  He avoided eating it as much as possible but it's hard when you're managing a restaurant and working there 12 hours a day.  I was working similar hours so it wasn't unheard of to pick up a quick bite going to work on the late shift or coming home from it.  Still, we tried to make the best choices since he worked there and I didn't have the time or money to sit down and eat better on the job.  We rarely took our kids out because we did not want them eating this type of food constantly. 
We have taken the time to explain the pitfalls of eating at fast food places.  We have also talked about weighing menu options and making the best choices.  We have a rule...if we eat out at one of these places they are not to order two fried items. chicken nuggets and french fries.  If they want fries then they need to choose a hamburger.  After watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution show my kids won't eat chicken nuggets anyways.  That made a good impression on them which I hope stays seared into their brains. 
I can tell you this, when my son gets his birthday certificate to Burger King I will be tossing it and offering him a different choice.  We rarely eat out as it is because it's too expensive.  I will be doing it this once because I can't go there again.
Usually, on the rare excursion into Fast Food Land I will order a salad.  I really like McDonald's Southwest Grilled Chicken salad and Wendy's Apple Pecan Salad.  They are fresh and tasty.  We never go to Burger King and I was not impressed with their salad choices.  To top it off, I really had to look for that part of the menu.  It was hidden over to the far left and buried in the middle of other things.  I got a grilled chicken sandwich and splurged with onion rings. I should have skipped the whole thing.  It was disgusting.  And I knew it was going to be.  Why did I do that?  Geesh!  The bun was dry.  The chicken looked over grilled and was like shoe leather.  The onion rings looked undercooked.  They weren't a nice golden color.  Just kind of pale and gross looking.  I was starving, so I ate it.  Never again.

My son and husband told me their McDonald's food was gross too.  Goalie Boy said his french fries were cold so he only had a few.  Too bad we paid the price.  Hubby said his stomach felt nasty, but he was able to sleep it off.  Goalie Boy in the bathroom at 11 pm getting sick.  The good news (if you can call it that) was his stomach was fine after that and he was back to sleep in no time.  This isn't the first time he's gotten sick after eating fast food coming home from Nascar.  He too, said Never again.  I wasn't quite so "lucky".  I felt nauseous from 8:30 on.  I didn't get sick until 2 a.m.  Nothing like laying in bed trying to sleep with a rocky stomach.  I took Pepto at 9 but obviously that didn't help.  It was beyond disgusting.  I finally fell asleep around 3.  My stomach still isn't 100%.  I'm sipping chamomile tea while I'm typing this.  I think I'll attempt some dry toast in a bit.  Wish me luck.
Swearing off fast food for a long time!  I'd say forever, but we no that's not realistic at times.  I hope it's forever though.
Unfortunately, whenever we eat fast food lately it has its consequences.  And boy did we pay.

By the daughter is the only one who had no stomach issues.  I'm so grateful.  She didn't eat everything.  About half a burger and not even half the fries.  She loves fries, so I know those had to be gross too.  I'm so glad that I make my own baked fries and the kids love them.  So much healthier and the kids don't crave the junk.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Moochers, beggars, pleaders

My kids are moochers.  Yep, you heard me right.  They will ask anyone for anything.  They have it down to a science.  A tilt of the head, sweet smile, innocent look and pleading eyes.  Guess what?  It works most of the time.  The exceptions are mommy and for the most part daddy.  I am made of steel and hard to manipulate.  Yes, moochers are manipulative little creatures.  Cute but dangerous.  I've learned so I'd adhere to the forewarned is forearmed method.  I've warned all my friends and family.  They still are victims. I won't say innocent because they have been warned.  I guess they can't get past the batting, pleading eyes.  Sometimes they'll add a cute little pout too.  SUCKERS! 
I've talked to my kids about mooching.  It's just not right.  They are old enough to know better but they keep doing it.  They also have a way of having their victims keep the secret.  Sigh...the world is working against me  here.  They need to learn that everything is not handed to them and they do need to work for somethings.  Make them work for it people!  Geesh!  Suckers!
My kids will mooch sweets, treats and all sorts of other food.  They will talk people into giving them things they weren't planning to give.  Like...I love that figurine.  She's so pretty.  The reply from unknown victim...Thank you honey.  Would you like to take her home? 
Stop right there!  No she does not want to take it home.  It's just going to be put in a tote under her bed where all the mooched stuff goes. It will be taken out and admired for awhile until it is eventually left there and forgotten about.  Then Mommy will have to sort through said mooched stuff and donate or toss it.  Please don't add to the clutter.  Please don't help the hoarding gene that my wonderful mom has.  I'm trying to kill it off before it sprouts branches and takes over.  I'm not a neat freak in any way, shape or form but please don't add to the clutter I'm already trying to keep organized and under control. If we can't use it in our daily lives I we don't want it.
They also have a way of taking control of whatever is going on.  They can always talk my mom into putting on their shows and making them popcorn or some other snack.  They will talk her into numerous games of Go Fish, even when she's done with playing.  My son will talk her into letting him use her computer.  No is not in their vocabulary outside my house.  They try really hard here but I've learned to be firm.  My child will not be spoiled by me giving in to their every want and whim.
Their favorite thing to do is involve their friends.  I am constantly dragged into....Mom can {friend's name} come over and play?  Can he/she stay the night?  They will ask their friends before asking me.  They will ask in front of their friends.  They will even ask in front of the friends parents.  They will invite themselves to play or spend the night at a friends house.  We've had numerous conversations about the fact that this is inappropriate. It's an uncomfortable position to put me and others in.  I hate saying no in front of their friends.  It makes me the bad guy.  Our rule is if you ask in front of someone the answer will automatically be no.  We have to discuss it first, before hand.  Not right at the moment the friend is there.  I need to talk to the child's parent before and plan it.   My kids both asked to have friends over last night during my daughter's girl scout bridging front of their friends and parents.  They seemed shocked that the answer was an immediate no.  I guess they forgot the rules.  We revisited them again once we got home.  To make matters worse, it was 8 o'clock at night and they knew they were going to Grandma's because I was going  out.  Short term, selective memories on those two.
Do your kids do these things?  Do they mooch, beg and plead?  I think my kids would win gold if it was an Olympic sport.  How come that doesn't make me proud?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Juggling, It's what I do

This has definitely been a full week of Juggling.  I'm in the middle of winding down the school year and winding up for summer.  It's always hectic here this time of year.  It's been even harder now that Hubby has a second job.  He's up by 3:30 a.m. and home at 10:15 p.m. three to four times a week.  It's been extra tough physically, mentally and emotionally.
Earlier this week he had me cracking up.  He asked me what was on this weeks agenda.  I told him how full it was and his response....well, it's not like your running them everywhere.  I just had to laugh out loud.  I almost got hysterical.  Seriously!  Yes, sometimes it's not about shuttling the kids back and forth across the county.  Sometimes it's about scheduling and making sure you don't forget anything or anyone.  Some days the scheduling/planning part of it overwhelms me more than the actual doing.  Does that make sense?  Am I the only one that feels this way? Still, I wouldn't trade it any day.
My daughter's birthday was this week so it threw even more into the mix.  Plus both kids have various school and after school activities going on.
I lost Sunday because we went to check out a rink an hour a way to see if we wanted to enroll the kids there for skating and hockey.  Yes, we had originally planned on going to another one, but we wanted to just check this one out.  Big (good) mistake because we LOVED it!  It's a bit further than the other one and the drive is not as easy, especially in the winter.  But, we're contemplating now and have to decide by September.  After that we did a dreaded Wal-mart run and dinner at Ruby Tuesdays. It was a wonderful family day but it pushed my Sunday to do list to Monday.
Monday-Shop for Little Bee's birthday gift.  Easier said than done as my parents had gotten her the one thing she had been asking for...a new scooter.  Hubby was a bit upset but who am I to tell them no after she had asked them too and they had bought. It took most of the day and several stores but I completed my birthday shopping mission.
Mission Birthday Gifts took up most of the day.  Then it was home to get Goalie Boy from school while Little Bee went to Daisy's.  We decided to celebrate her birthday that night (instead of Tuesday) because Daddy was home.  It was a wonderful and special time.

Daddy suggested getting her some "artsy/craftsy" things since she loves to create.  We're going to make jewelry on Sunday while they boys are out doing their own thing.  She colored the bad that night after opening it and carries it eveywhere.
The one thing she begged for (besides a scooter) was this puppy.  We hid it in the pantry closet until after dinner and sent her in their to get us something.  She was so happy!  She has named her Princess and walks her everywhere.  It's too cute.

Tuesday was a true labor of love that took ALL DAY!  I had bought my daughter a bunk bed set last summer.  It's been sitting in the box because we couldn't afford to buy another mattress.  Little Bee has been sleeping most nights in her sister's bed (since she's only over 2-4 nights a month) and in her toddler bed (she still fits because she's tiny) the other nights.  My parents decided to buy a new mattress for their guest bed so they gave us the old  one (it's only 3 yrs old and been used a handful of times).  I was so excited because this meant I could put Little Bee's bunk beds together.  My mom said she'd help.  I figured 4 hours tops.  I must have been high on something because it took FOREVER!  First we had to take apart both beds.  Then we had to put both bunk beds together.  Then we had to put them up and then I had to rearrange the furniture so I could put the beds on the opposite wall. We started at 11 a.m. When I went and got the kids at 3:15 we were done except putting on the ladder and tightening the screws on the slats.  My mom kept them busy at her house (next door) while I moved and rearranged everything.  I finished (for the most part) by 6:30.  We ate dinner and then I put on the bedding which took FOREVER again.  I hate top bunks!  I will be writing a post about the good and evils of bunk beds.  I have to say it was a HUGE hit and I am now a hero to my little girl.  It's like one great big toy.  It never stops giving. 

Physically, I don't think I'll ever recover (I had to haul the old beds up to the attic too).  But, it was worth it.  No regrets, even though I will curse it every time I change the bedding (maybe I will just leave it).
Wednesday was nasty hot.  I spent time in the garden.  I washed a ton of dishes.  I am the dishwasher.  I HATE dishes!  I did loads of (neverending) laundry.  I went grocery shopping.  Then I got the kids from school.  We got homework done and then it was water time.  Too hot for much else. 
Thursday was a scorcher!  I spent the day watering the garden, more laundry and dishes and baking/decorating cupcakes for Little Bee's class birthday celebration.  I also ran to the store for ice pops and brought them into the school for the kids.  It was blazing hot.  I almost took them out early.  Next time I think I will.  I just relaxed after we ran the second half of the way home in the torrential rain.  We made it just before the hail started.  No cooking for me.  We did sandwiches and salad and then just hung out.  Perfect evening.
Today (Friday) and tomorrow are my crazy days and hubby will only be home to sleep. More housework....laundry, dishes, sweeping, mopping and vacuuming.  I had to remind the kids that today was wear your favorite jersey/sports shirt to school day.  I emailed the rink to get more information on their hockey program. I'm dropping off cupcakes and ice pops in a bit.  This afternoon Goalie Boy has a pizza party after school to celebrate the end of the reading/math program.  I get him from the school at 4:45.  At 5 is Little Bee's Girl Scout celebration in the school's cafeteria.  I have to be back at 7 for their bridging ceremony.  I'm so excited.  I can't wait. I wish my husband could be there too.  I hate that he's missing these precious moments but I know he's working hard for us.  I feel bad and guilty. 
After the ceremony, I drop them at my parent's at 8 before heading to my friend's house.  We're throwing a small surprise party for another friend.  I'll be ready to relax, eat some cake and drink some wine.  I really need some mommy time.
Tomorrow I have the school yard sale and book fair and two birthday parties.  I can't wait for Sunday!  The boys are having a guys day out.  I'm glad my hubby will have a day to unwind and relax.  Little Bee and I are going to use her Burger King certificate (from school for her birthday) and do lunch.  Maybe we'll even take in a movie.  Money is tight but I think it'll be a nice treat.'s back to JUGGLING again!
Let's BEE Friends

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

My Birthday Girl...How time flies

This is the most important little girl in my life!  She is my world, my inspiration.  This is my daughter, Little Bee.
I can't believe she turned 7 today.  I remember being pregnant with her and giving birth like it was yesterday.   I remember she was a cute, tiny baby.  She had a lot of trouble gaining weight her first year.  She is still petite.  However, her personality is bigger than life and she won't let any think that tiny means weak.  I am dedicating this post to her...everything she is and everything she'll be.
 I am so proud of my daughter.  She has so many wonderful qualities and I hope she carries them through life. 
She is:
  • Loving
  • Kind
  • Generous
  • Empathetic
  • Driven
  • Smart
  • Sweet
These are just a few things that make her special.  She is a fighter.  She fights for what she wants and what she believes in.  She won't let others push anyone around.  She is stubborn.  She doesn't give an inch at times.  Some would believe these are negative qualities but I have to disagree.  Yes, she drives me to frustration some days because of them but I know they are going to be two of her stronger assets when she gets older.  I hope she never changes.  I hope she always uses her qualities for good and not bad. 
I'm proud of her. 
Here she is at a year old.  It's precious to see her actually sleeping. Truth be told she was colicky her first year and absolutely miserable.  She rarely slept.  I don't think that it helped that my mom would pick her up every time she cried.  My mom was living with us at the time.  Little Bee's favorite place to sleep was in someones arms.  Looking back it's sweet but I'm glad I don't have to relive all those sleepless nights when I was a zombie all day at work from lack of real sleep.  At 7 she is definitely a night owl.  She can stay up later than her brother or daddy.  She will sleep until 9 if there's no school or her brother doesn't wake her up.

Here she is now with her new friend, Princess.  She is confident and full of sass and life.  She is my "boogy boo."  I love my little girl and I hope all her birthdays are filled with family, friends, joy, happiness and laughter.
Mommy LOVES you Boogy Boo!!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Getting the phone call that Crushes Dreams

My husband has been working really hard the last several months, pursuing a dream job.  He's done several phone interviews.  Has driven to several more interviews within 90 minutes of where we live.  Two weeks ago he actually drove 4 hours for 2 days of interviews with the company's Director of Operations and Director of Human Resources.  We felt he had it in the bag.  Both people had positive things to say about him. All we had to do was wait for the green light from the CEO. That was 3 weeks ago.  A phone interview was set up with the CEO for the following Thursday and a background check was sent for him to complete.  My husband jumped through hoops to make it happen.  Thursday is when he's in meetings.  Then the day before he got an email that the time had been pushed back two  hours.  There's no way he could do it.  He had to call and ask to have it rescheduled.  He was told the same time, the following Thursday.  Another tough break, but he was determined to make it work.  The first thing the CEO asked him last Thursday was why he had to reschedule the interview.  My husband politely explained that he was available for the first time but unable to make the rescheduled time because he had a prior commitment at his current job that he couldn't get out of. 
You would think that it would be appreciated that he took the job he was paid to do very seriously, even while looking for another.
The CEO was like, you're telling me you weren't available up to 10 pm any other day than today.  My husband was baffled.  He had been told there were no other times available.  He would have much rather taken the call after work any day.  I truly believe this was held against him even though he explained that no other time was made available to him.
He finally was told today and that's only because he left the person in charge of recruiting a voice message.  He politely said he was checking up to see where things were.  He asked that if he was no longer being considered he would appreciate a call confirming it so he could move on.  The recruiter called him back instead of sending out a form letter because he said he respected my husband since this whole thing started months ago.  The claim is that he is not being hired because one of his past employers is in decline.  The CEO feels that it would not be a good idea hiring someone that worked for said company.  Ironic that when my husband's resume was reviewed that job was the one they were most focused on.  They said they had several people from that company now working for them in high positions.  Sounds to me like a brush off and a lot of BS.  Sucks that he is not getting his dream job all because of a scheduling conflict.  You know it's true. 
So onward and upward.  He's better off without them.  We were planning on uprooting our whole family and moving for them.  There were a lot of positives to the position and move.  Now we look for the next opportunity.  Thank goodness he has calls in from 2 more companies and all this in just the last week.
I'm looking on the bright side.  When my honey comes home from his second job I'm going to hug him tight and tell him how important he is to us.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Please come follow my new blog

I just wanted everyone to know that I started another blog, in addition to this one.  I have found I constantly have post ideas running around in my head that pertain specifically to my son and his life as a hearing impaired child.  I decided at this point I want to have a blog dedicated just to that.  I want to document his journey...his struggles and his triumphs. 
For those of you that have been following my blog and/or twitter for awhile you may know some of his back story.  I will blog about his past, present and our hopes, dreams and concerns for his future.  I hope you will follow along with us.
I want this to be a blog that will highlight everything in his life.  I hope it will educate and inspire others.  I hope to connect and learn from others out there...whether your child has a hearing impairment or not.  I think blogging is a great way to create a community that supports and helps one another.
Will you come join us on this journey?
The site is  Please follow along!  I look forward to seeing everyone there.

What do you do when it's just too hot?!

Answer:  Get out of the kitchen and out of the house!

The weather was crazy HOT and HUMID!  The thermostat read 90 and the heat index was pushing 100.   Crazy for the first day of June in NY.  I had actually considered keeping the kids home from school because there is no air conditioning in the building except for the office and nurse.  Ugh!  My  daughter's classroom is on the 3rd floor and she said they had 4 fans running and it was still burning hot.  The nurse called me at noon to say Little Bee came up from lunch with a tummy ache.  We both agree it was probably from the heat so I brought her home. We spent the afternoon watching videos in my air conditioned bedroom.  Hubby has yet to put the one in downstairs.  It's heavy and takes two able bodied adults to put it in.  He'll have to wait until Sunday when him and my dad are both available.  Too bad my dad has little patience and will become frustrated within minutes and cursing a blue streak.  I'll have to take the kids out back while they do it.
After we got Goalie boy from school I had them do their homework in the kitchen under the fan.  Then I had them play up in their air conditioned rooms. They both begged to go outside but the air was too hot and the humidity so high that it was hard to breath.  Too top it off our area was under a tornado watch from noon until 8 pm.  I hate even the treat of a possible tornado.  I'll take a snow storm any day.  We dealt with enough nasty ones of the past few years to be prepared and at least I'm fairly certain our house will be in one piece once it's over.
My honey came home from work at 5.   A record as of late. He didn't stay over and he didn't have to work at the second job he had to pick up.  He came home hot, sweaty and exhausted.  He immediately went up to our room to lay in bed and cool off.  15 minutes later he's like..."It's too damn hot and nasty in this house.  We're going out to eat."  As usual, my concern is finances.  "Honey, we can't afford to eat out."  So, we compromised and I went to hunt down which area restaurant was doing a "Kids Eat Free" deal.
Perkins was our winner.  It's within our measly budget, has breakfast, lunch and dinner choices, Kids Eat Free Monday thru Thursday and the kids get a cookie with their meal.  Definitely a win win.
We drove the 15 minutes to Perkins.  It was a busy night.  I guess everyone had the same idea as us.  However, there was no wait and we were seated promptly.  The hostess was nice and even made sure the kids got different color crayons so they could share.  A woman after my own heart!  The only downfall, for us adults, was that the clown was there.  The Perkins near us has a clown come in every Wednesday night from 4-10.  By the way, does anyone else think 10 pm is a little late for a clown to be there?  Plus I think Kids Eat Free is only 4-7 (I could be wrong), so 10 doesn't make much sense.  Any hubby HATES dislikes the clown with a passion.  He will avoid Perkins like the plague if he's there.  The clown annoys the crap out of him.  His words, not mine.  I think the only time we went there when the clown was there was 2 years ago and my husband was ready to walk out. 
Yes, the kids do like the clown.  However, the clown can be annoying and overstay his welcome.  Last time he hung around after our food was there and that really ticked my husband off.  I guess this time he's learned so it wasn't quite so bad.  He came over after we got our drinks before our food.  What I don't get is rather than pulling a chair up to our booth he smooshed into the booth with hubby and son.  Not cool.  My husband took it well there...all smooshed in the corner.  The fun part about it was my husband has a good sense of humor and is funny on his own.  He decided to fight fire with fire and out did the clown, if I do say so myself.   The barbs were sure flying!  He joked about my daughter's missing front tooth and the fact that she wouldn't talk.  It was all in good fun.  He made a white balloon laser gun for my son and a bird sitting in a ring for my daughter.  He was gone before our food came.  My husband patted himself on the back and said he learned to fight fire with fire.  The kids had fun and got balloons so it was worth it.
For dinner my daughter got the French Toast Tower which she devoured.  Goalieboy got the pizza with a side of applesauce and a baked potato.  They had a promo menu where they were doing meals that included a drink and dessert.  The cost of mine came out $2 less than hubby's drink and meal.  Definitely a win for me.  I had fiesta chicken over rice with a side of steamed broccoli.  Delish and not too heavy.  I took home a piece of divine Lemon Meringue pie which I ate with a cup of tea after the kiddies were in bed.
It was the perfect night out and didn't hit our wallet too hard.  It's easy to go over $50 for 2 adults and 2 kids even without dessert and drinks.  Our was under $30 including the tip.  Not bad. 
I'm happy to say our area did not get any storms, rain or otherwise.  Today it is 71 with a high of 72.  The wind is really brisk out.  We had to shield our eyes several times on the way to school because of all the debris it was whipping up.  Tonight the low will be 36!  Holy crap  Oh my, what a change from yesterday.  Mother Nature really is having her mood swings these days. I welcome it though.  I would love a perfect 65-75 degree spring day without rain or clouds every day of the year.   Heaven! The rest of this week will be markedly cooler in the low to mid 70's and I'm happy with that.  Too bad my little fish won't be doing much swimming until it gets back into the 80's again.
So, how's June treating you so far?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Since it's a hot, sweltering day for many I thought I'd share this refreshing dessert with you.  It's quick and easy which makes it a hit in our house.

1 (9 inch) prepared chocolate pie crust

1 (1.7 ounce) box of chocolate pudding

2 cups cold milk   
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 (8 ounce) container  frozen whipped topping

3 peanut butter cups cut in half

Prepare pudding according to (pudding, not pie) directions on box.
Stir in peanut butter until well blended. 
Fold in whipped topping, reserving some to spread on top. 
Pour mixture into pie shell. 
Smooth out and then top with remaining whipped topping. 
Place peanut butter cup halves around the edge. 
Drizzle with melted
Freeze until set
Thaw for 2 hours in fridge before serving.
If you want a single slice you can defrost it in the microwave for a few seconds.  I keep my leftovers (though there's rarely any) in the freezer so the pie holds it shape, but it can be stored in the fridge.
It's easy enough to adapt this to make a reduced sugar or low fat pie.  Just replace ingredients with the reduced sugar/fat options. 
My family loves this pie and requests it often.  I love it because not only is it yummy, it's budget friendly, quick and easy to make.  It's a win-win in my book!
Please let me know if you try it and what you think.  Enjoy!