I don't proofread my posts before I publish them... cause I keep my thoughts au naturale.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

To my sons in the future... a revenge letter.

Dear L, H, & A2,

H & A2

L & H
I love you guys.  You have so many wonderful traits and when we are in public I am so proud to call you  my sons because of all the compliments I get and how well-behaved you are.

BUT

I want you to be prepared for something.  It will happen after you graduate from high school and you sleep in my home.  Shortly after you fall asleep, I will creep into your room very quietly.  I will set the alarm on my phone with the most annoying sound I can think of.  Then, at random intervals throughout the night I will set the alarm off and laugh to myself as you grumble and attempt to ignore it.  I will get a kick out of the fact that you seem beyond annoyed and exhausted.  Then I will stroll back to my own bed.

Why, you ask?  Because you did it to me.  There was no rhyme or reason behind it.  You weren't teething, you weren't sick, you slept in a bed in the same room with me until you were a toddler.  You would just wake up screaming for no good reason.  I would pat you and put you back to sleep, then maybe get in another hour before you woke up again.  Sometimes you would end up sleeping in bed with me because I was just too exhausted with the whole up and down thing and refused to do it anymore.

I had to wait a good three years until you were able to comprehend, "go to your room and leave me the heck alone."  That's three years of my life that I won't ever get back (the younger two will have overlapped a bit, but L had the whole three years to ruin my sleep all by himself.  I was lucky enough that with my daughter, who is the oldest, she started sleeping 10-12 hours straight through the night when she was around 6 weeks old!

And if you eventually have children of your own, I will revel in your droopy eyes, the circles underneath them and your scraggly appearance.  Because I'm that kind of person.  And I'm okay with it.

Love always,
Mom

*And for those who are pointing out the sleep I will lose by tormenting my sons with my plan, the nice thing is that once my children are older I can sleep anytime I want.  I can get a good night's sleep, I can nap, I can doze off while driving.  I'm willing to sacrifice in order to get revenge. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My 24 hour #Facebook deactivation experiment

Now, this is not a tale of woe, but it may sound like I'm hosting a pity party and that you are invited.  This is more an eye-opening experiment that I conducted that I wanted to share the results.

How hard or easy would this be for you?
Yesterday was my birthday.  As you all know, Facebook reminds everyone daily of which of their friends is having a birthday that day.  Several months ago (maybe almost a year) I took a weed whacker to my friends list.  It wasn't because I was mad or felt slighted in any way, it was because I didn't even know 80% of the people I was "friends" with.  I was trying to build a large friend base in order to promote my social media presence for this blog.  But I started to get frustrated with the fact that I couldn't share personal details or information because I didn't want strangers to know as much of my business as I was willing to share with the people I actually know and would publicly recognize as "friends" (although we all know that not all of our Facebook "friends" are people we really want as friends.)

So, I weed whacked it from probably 1500 to 95ish.  I've since added maybe 20 and started a Facebook page for this blog so I could keep the more personal things to just my "friends."  Now, back to the birthdays.  I'll let you in on a not so secret secret that I'm "friends" with some people who I would say hi to and maybe have a short chit chat.  So I don't tell everyone happy birthday even though Facebook tells me it is their birthday.  I do tell the people who I actually like and would probably hang out with if they asked me to.

So as part of my experiment, I deactivated my account on Tuesday night and planned to reactivate it this morning.  I wanted to see how many people would remember my birthday without Facebook telling them.  Now, if someone is only really "friends" with me because of Facebook, I don't fault them for not knowing, because they wouldn't even have any way to tell me aside from Facebook.  But there are people who have my number or follow me/friend me on other social networking sites. 

And guess what... TWO PEOPLE.  Yes, TWO PEOPLE remembered my birthday (aside from the requisite cordial "happy birthday" from two of my siblings, but that doesn't count because we aren't even friends on Facebook- plus they have it easy in remembering because it's our mom's birthday too.)  So, a whole TWO PEOPLE that I consider friends remembered my birthday and texted me to tell me.  Sorry to one person who doesn't count because my husband pointed it out to her the day before and she didn't know.  I do appreciate it though because she offered to watch my kids so I could do something... but I didn't.  Instead I cried myself to sleep at 8pm and had frozen chicken nuggets for dinner.

The experiment taught me a lesson on friendship, but also taught me that although it was a task, I was able to go a day without Facebook.  The only thing I missed was during downtime when I was trying to get one of the kids to sleep or when I was waiting at an appointment, I would usually kill time seeing if anything interesting was going on with anyone or sharing memes.  Other than that, I didn't miss it at all!  I think I could easily do without my personal account, but it's a nice way to kill time.  I don't even really stalk anyone, so that is another reason it would be easy for me to do away with.

In case anyone wants to respond, here's a prompt: what do you use Facebook for the most?  How long do you think you could go without it?

Personalized Picture Book #Giveaway from @PutMeInTheStory #BookMagic

My little guys sharing a book.
Here I go again, gotta saddle up and jump on my soapbox: I'm a huge proponent of childhood literacy and I think that when a child learns to love reading when they are young, it will continue throughout their lives and they will continue to enjoy reading as adults.  There are so many positive things that come from a love of reading and so much knowledge to be gained from books.

It makes me so happy to see my kids reading and the fact that my infant and toddler love to sit down and look at books brings me so much joy because they became curious on their own, but they learn so much just from their curiosity and interest in what words match pictures and what the words mean.  It makes me sad to think that there are some kids out there who never get to experience the magical feeling of a good book.  I'd love to see it become more common to see a book in a child's hand than an electronic device... perhaps and unattainable dream.

With the love of reading and the magic of the experience in mind, Put Me In The Story personalized books allows parents to have some of their favorite book characters include them in their fun adventures by adding your child's name and image into the books themselves.  This will make reading all the more fun because they can use their imagination and see their name on the pages to pull themselves into the story.

Personalized books would make a great gift, and right now Put Me In The Story is hosting a giveaway to bring some #BookMagic to your family's holiday this year!

Prizes (Drawn December 6th):
  • ·         Grand prize: $500 shopping spree on Put Me In The Story
  • ·         50 winners will receive a free personalized book of their choice

  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How much do you know about Alzheimer's? Take action and help prevent! @alzregistry #endALZnow

Last Wednesday I attended a webinar about Alzheimer's that was put on by Banner Health.  What I knew about Alzheimer's could have fit in a thimble.  I think many of my fellow attendees felt the same, even though when polled, 100% of us said that we knew/had known someone personally that had been diagnosed with a form of Alzheimer's.  I was glad to have the opportunity to learn more about it and how far science has come in prevention research.

Graphic courtesy of alz.org.
Banner's Alzheimer's Institute is committed to developing a new standard of care for the many individuals who have been affected by Alzheimer's.  Through innovative and groundbreaking research, they are becoming better able to understand the environmental and genetic factors that can contribute to a person developing this disease.  An important thing to note that I was completely clueless about was the difference between Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia.  I could be wrong (it's happened once or twice), but I believe my paternal grandmother suffered from dementia at the end of her life.  From what I remember (I believe she passed in 2005) her quality of life became very sub-par and she was unable to take care of herself at all.  She was a resident in a long-term care facility with 24 hour nurses on staff.  Her memory was very bad at the end as well and she couldn't remember from one day to the next who or what she had talked about.  Her short term memory was very bad.

So I learned that dementia is actually an umbrella term for Alzheimer's Disease, Vascular Dementia, Parkinson's Disease and Lewy Body Dementia.  Each has its own specific symptoms and diagnoses.  Some people believe that Alzheimer's is just a normal part of aging, but it is not.  It is a disease, which like other diseases, has a science behind it with a mystery waiting to be unlocked.  The Banner Alzheimer's Institute is very much committed to prevention and treatment (and hopefully one day, a cure.)  They collaborate internationally as well, to learn from and teach other scientists around the world about new developments in the search for a cure and methods for prevention.

Advances in genomics have helped to further research and bring about new ideas about prevention.  But what I really want my readers to walk away with is the idea of how to help.  Researchers need to conduct trials, but they can not do so without the help from many, MANY volunteers who want to help further the cause.  There is an Alzheimer's Prevention Registry that is a growing online community of over 44,000 members who are passionate about combating the disease. The website allows you to sign up for information and ways that you can help, including alerting you to studies that might be going on in areas around you.

By signing up, you are not donating your body to science, you are not committing to rigorous testing, probing questions or lifelong harassment.  It's all voluntary, you offer what help you want or none at all.  The idea behind it is that by finding out more about those related to someone who was diagnosed by Alzheimer's Disease, scientists may be able to find a common genetic characteristic that can predetermine those at risk and eventually prevent it from occurring at all.

So, have you had someone in your life that was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease?  I'm curious what percentage of my readers have.  How much do you actually know about the disease?  I haven't even touched the surface with information about ALZ.  If you know someone, feel free to take a look at the registry.  Looking doesn't hurt anything and maybe you will see that registering is a good thing and that the more research scientists are able to do, the closer they can come to a cure.

*I was provided an incentive for my time on this post.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

What happens when you're the only one in the room who knows what a #meme is?

I just had to share this...


Friday night I was sitting in my living room along with my friend and my husband while our hoodlum children played together.  Said friend had brought McDonald's for her kids and had some cheeseburger left.  My cat snagged the bun off the top and I jumped on the opportunity to say, "She haz cheeseburger!"  



They both just stared at me blankly...

I turned to my friend and said, "you know what a meme is, right?"  

She said, "no."

I looked at my husband and he said, "I know what a meme is, but I don't know what you're talking about."

I'm sorry, Social Media, I've failed at sharing your awesomeness.

Sol Republic Relays #Giveaway #HolidayGiftGuide2014

Look at these bad boys!
One of the greatest feelings in life is listening to music you love!  Whether you're trying to cure the monotony of homework, chilling outside on a beautiful day and soaking up some sun or exercising your way towards a local marathon, music makes everything better.

And with that in mind, pain and inconvenience do not go hand in hand with the joy of sound.  Sol Republic knows that and they want to share their innovation with you with Relays in-ear headphones.  They are great whether you're active and on-the-go or a big blob lying on the couch.  I like to use my gratis set to drown out the sound of my kids fighting or screaming for no reason.  Maybe someday I can use them to enjoy some peaceful downtime.

Sol Republic wants one of my lucky readers (or someone just stopping by to try and score free stuff) to win themselves a pair of Relays!  Win them for yourself or as a great gift for someone in your life (because you will look awesome for giving a quality gift, but you know you got it free.)  Giveaway ends at midnight on November 30.  Sorry, you can't pick the color- you takes what you gets.

The Carol Burnett Show: The Ultimate Collection #HolidayGiftGuide2014

Check out the snazzy collector's box and the cool swag!
Even though The Carol Burnett show debuted a couple decades before I did, I have been a huge Carol Burnett fan since a child!  I first learned who she was during my addiction to the movie version of "Annie," where she played Miss Hannigan.  I would catch reruns of The Carol Burnett Show in syndication, and then saw the movie "Noises Off."  I read a biography about her, and yep, I think that constitutes me as a lifelong fan as I still love her to this day!  She was a recent guest on both The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and The Colbert Report and both served for a great interview that showcased her phenomenal wit and fantastic sense of humor!

But now, I can alleviate my need for a Carol Burnett fix anytime I want because I received a gratis box set of The Carol Burnett Show: The Ultimate Collection.  And if you have anyone in  your life (or you want to reward yourself) that is an avid fan, this is THE PERFECT GIFT!!  They can take a DVD with them on trips to pass the time, keep some close by their DVD player for any night that they need a good laugh, or they could invite you over and have you watch EVERY SINGLE EPISODE with them, only allowing for 5 minute bathroom breaks every 10 episodes.  How fantastic does that sound!! 

Here's some info:

THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW, one of television's landmark variety shows, debuted on CBS in 1967 and ran for 11 years, receiving 25 Emmy® Awards and five Golden Globes, making it one of the most honored shows in television history. And, TIME Magazine named THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW one of the "100 Best Television Shows of all Time".  Now, thanks to StarVista Entertainment, THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION delivers to comedy lovers and TV DVD aficionados an unprecedented collection - simply the most definitive, extras laden version of the program ever released.

Housed in a collectible box, THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION contains 50 classic episodes hand-picked by Carol herself and more than twenty hours of new bonus features.  Along with a 18-page memory book, bonuses include three episodes from The Garry Moore Show where Carol got her start, including the "Supergirl" episode, where Carol did her Tarzan yell for the first time; rare sketches from the first five seasons of show, not seen anywhere in over 40 years with guest appearances by Lucille Ball, Jerry Lewis, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Betty White, Carl Reiner, Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, Joan Rivers, Bernadette Peters, Sammy Davis Jr., Dick Van Dyke, Shirley MacLaine, Rock Hudson, Vincent Price, Phil Silvers, Joel Grey, The Smothers Brothers, Stiller & Meara, Tony Randall and many others; and a raucous 3-part Cast Reunion with Carol, Vicki Lawrence, Tim Conway and Lyle Waggoner. Exclusive featurettes also include "I Want to Push That Button..."-The History of The Carol Burnett Show"; "Leading Lady--Carol as a Television Pioneer"; and, "Breaking Up Is Hard...Not to Do -- The Ensemble Chemistry and Famous "break-ups" on The Carol Burnett Show", a 90-minute, rarely-seen emotional and revealing interview with Harvey Korman and Conway at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in Los Angeles, and over 20 interviews with guests (including Betty White, Carl Reiner, Jerry Lewis), writers and current performers influenced by Carol (Ellen DeGeneres, Jane Lynch and Amy Poehler).

Overview of Nemours Reading BrightStart! @readbright #literacy

As someone who has taught remedial Reading at a local community college, I have seen the effects of young adults who have grown up without the necessary tools needed to be successful readers.  And as a parent and reading lover myself, I know how important it is to promote healthy reading habits and that in doing so, children who love to read become adults who love to read and benefit from so many good effects that reading has brought to them.

Some parents may find that as they watch their little ones progress developmentally, they might need a bit of help when it comes to the approach of literacy.  Enter Nemours BrightStart! 
Nemours BrightStart!’s mission is to promote reading success and prevent reading failure for all children, focusing on birth to age 8. Through innovative programs, research, advocacy and partnerships, we design and implement unique and highly effective tools and training that consistently yield life-changing results.
I was offered the opportunity to participate in a webinar presentation for BrightStarts!  Since I am a lifelong reader and want my children to mirror that trait, I jumped at the chance.  I was also compensated for participating, but that was just icing on the cake.  With so many children turning to video games and TV for entertainment, it worries me that parents might forget how pivotal literacy is and that children need to start looking at books from birth and reading should be an activity that parents should share with their children and help them on their journey to becoming good readers on their own.

BrightStarts! website is a great tool for parents (and educators) who would like additional assistance in what works for what age, what to look for when helping their child learn to read, what risk factors to look for, as well as many other helpful expert tips.  There is also an invaluable FREE READING SCREENER for children aged 3-5.  Also on their website are recommended reading lists based on age as well as helpful articles for parents, at-home activities and more.

Nemours Foundation realized the important link between children's health and reading and in 2005, they funded the Nemours BrightStarts! program.  Since then, the program has been used in over 1100  classrooms, 20 states and its tools have served over 70,000 children.  

If you have young children, work with young children or would like to become a literacy advocate, please take a look at their website and the information on it.  There are ways to connect with questions, but the website offers so much invaluable information, there are plenty of starting points to help children build a lifetime of success through knowledge and love of reading.
Try "ba-ba-ba-ba-ba" or other one syllable sounds that are simple for your baby to mimick.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Get up to $80 in name brand clothing FREE from Like Twice!!!

This is one of my favorite deals in awhile, so I had to share!

There is a website that is an online consignment shop that sells higher end name brand women's clothing and purses.  I don't know how long this deal lasts, so get to it ASAP.

Here's what you need to do to get the up to $80.

1) Create an account using this link.  You get $10 store credit for signing up.

2) Download the Twice app on up to three devices (using app store or google play) and get $10 per device. 

That puts you at $40 store credit.  Now if you use this link before going into your cart to check out, that will take 50% off your entire order!  

So, if you add $80 worth of clothing to your cart, your order is half off, so that puts you at $40.  If you have $40 store credit, you owe nothing!  Now, shipping is $4.95 for all orders under $49, so if your order uses up all your credit, you'll still have a shipping cost.  Mine totaled to leaving me with $3.88 left towards shipping and I got a dress and a purse.  I only used two devices, though, so I had $30 in store credit.

Don't pass this up... FREE... CLOTHES!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Reasons to Rescue: Angel

I'm a big advocate for animal adoption.  There are so many shelters and rescues out there with animals that need good homes, so I urge anyone considering getting a new pet to check one of these out first.  Even if the shelter is no-kill or the animal is living with a foster, that doesn't mean that they have a good life ahead of them.  Despite all that shelters do to try and keep the animals safe and happy, their space is VERY limited and no animal gets the amenities that they would have in a good home.  And even though a foster home provides a good environment, an animal waiting to be adopted is keeping that foster from taking in another rescue that could be on death row at a kill-shelter. 

There is my appeal to everyone who has room in their heart for a new pet.  Now here is my example:

I currently have four dogs, three of which came from my favorite rescue group.  One is a puppy mill survivor, one was found as a stray and placed in a (kill, I believe) shelter and the other is Angel.  The reason I am choosing to write about her over the other two is because of how drastically she has changed from the day I picked her up to now and it has only been a few months!  Although back stories with dogs can be akin to playing telephone, where the truth becomes warped into "based on a true story," I do think that the basic story can be somewhat the same.  Angel was at a no-kill facility that was getting ready to be closed down and PNC Midwest stepped in to find her a foster and put her up for adoption.  I agreed to foster her.  She was taken directly from the shelter by another volunteer to meet me and I took her home the same day.  According to the shelter, she came from a breeder that would leave his dogs in the house for days at a time while he would drive his truck driving routes.  The story was that he died on one of his routes and the dogs were left in the house for awhile and when they were "found," they were sent to various shelters that were willing to take them in.

When I received Angel, I was informed that she could not go outside as she would foam at the mouth and that she was paper trained to go inside.  She had a "hot spot" near her tail that bothered her and she had to be picked up a certain way.  That was about all I knew.  I had never heard of a dog that could not go outside, so I quickly filed this in the nonsense category.  She seemed to have a hard time walking as if she had some serious hip problems going on and she was very sensitive to being touched.

Upon taking her to the vet, it was discovered that the hip problems were due to extreme flea infestation that caused an allergic reaction in two spots on either side of her tail and it was causing her lots of discomfort.  She was spayed, had to have a couple teeth extracted and sent on her way.  Her age was estimated at 8 years. When I got her home, I bathed her, trimmed her up a bit and began my foster mommy job.

Fast forward to now: I decided to adopt Angel because once she learned what TLC was and that not all people are scary, she showed that she is an incredibly sweet and mild mannered pekingese!  The foaming at the mouth was a nervous thing that went away completely after a week.  She loves taking walks outside, but also has no problem being let out in the yard.  She is housebroken now although we do leave a puppy pad down for when some of the dogs just can't hold it in apparently. 

Angel is a snuggler, loves lying on the couch and will put her paws on your legs and go to sleep.  She has no issues with being bathed or shaved/clipped and enjoys napping with me on the bed.  She is a little timid with the kids, but who wouldn't be?  They scare me sometimes.  She is an absolutely fantastic addition to our family!  And the best part is knowing that I am able to give her the life she deserves.  She no longer has to be afraid of her surroundings, in pain due to lack of care or overweight from lack of exercise.  It is a good feeling knowing that I could do that for her.

And it is for reasons like this that I urge people to adopt animals, not shop for them.  And if this story inspired you enough to find a rescue group that needs fosters, don't hesitate to do so!  There are rescues all over the country for all different breeds and there is never an end to the animals that need to be saved and given good lives.  Just thinking about how you have the power to change a life for the better, that is one of the greatest feelings in the world.  That's how you can find YOUR "Angel."

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Anne Geddes Padded Board Books and 1st Year Baby Journal Review and #Giveaway


In high school I had the popular Anne Geddes poster of the baby lying in the roses.  Since then, I've
always loved her artwork.  I'm not even one who oohs and ahhs over babies either, but the creative ways she photographs them makes it hard not to love each one!  As I got older, I kind of lost track of the latest work Anne Geddes had released and what she was up to, but as luck would have it, I was offered these three books gratis for review!  The padded board books are "This Little Baby" and "Lullaby & Good Night."

Now I can share Geddes' beautiful pictures with my own babies and I just know my 8-year-old daughter will think they are adorable as well.  But I think one of the best things about this new set is that they would make PERFECT baby shower gifts!!  Each picture has a sweet description on the opposite page so that you can read to your baby as they look at the pictures with you.  (And if you've ever had a baby, you know that they are fascinated by other babies.)

Along with the two board books is a new first year baby journal that highlights all the significant events and firsts that parents will want to remember as their child gets older.  This should definitely be included in your baby shower gift!!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:  One lucky reader will be lucky enough to receive the two new padded board books AND My First Year baby journal!  Contest is open to US residents only and ends Nov. 1 at midnight.  Good luck!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book Review & #Giveaway: T-Rex Trying and Trying by Hugh Murphy

 I have been completely infatuated with the T-Rex meme craze since I saw my first one.  I loved it so much that I bought my husband a tee shirt that says "T-Rex hates push-ups."  Any meme that shows up on my feed about the many struggles of T-Rex, quickly gets shared!  Well, imagine my thrill to find out that someone took that idea and ran with it... in a book!  I missed out knowing that Hugh Murphy published T-Rex Trying, but was fortunate enough to receive a gratis copy of T-Rex Trying and Trying: The Unfortunate Trials of a Modern Prehistoric Family.  And it is absolutely adooooooorable!

Of course, one must feel sorry for poor T-Rex and his family, but it is hard not to let a giggle escape when we see pictures of T-Rex trying to do such simple tasks as trying to hula-hoop or even when poor T-Rex tries to spoon She-Rex in bed at night.

Poor T-Rex can't even Trick or Treat!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:  Hey, I don't have to hog all the laughs!  One of you lucky readers can win themselves a copy of this book too!  (Or if you can't keep your pants on, go buy yourself one!)  This would be great to hog all to yourself, or even be a great gift!  Heck, buy 50 and give one to everybody you know!  Anywho, enter below, but only if you live in the United States.  Sorry, rest of the world!





Sunday, October 12, 2014

#MoneySaving Post: Forget layaway for Christmas, use these ideas instead!

Why didn't I think of saving spare change??
I've tried using layaway twice in my life.  I didn't like it.  The last time was two years ago with Walmart.  I know Kmart does layaway also, but I'm not positive the other major retailers that do.  I found this list, but I don't know how current it is.  I know that all of these tips will apply to using layaway at Walmart, but some of them should work for the other place, if not all.

Why use layaway?  I guess the only good part in my mind is that you don't have to worry about hiding the gifts, cause the store is basically doing that for you.  The whole point of layaway is based on the (mostly accurate) assumption that people can't afford to pay for all their gifts at once.  So, layaway gives them the chance to make payments over a certain amount of time, with the final payment being when you pick up the merchandise. 

However... I think it's better to buy a couple to few things here and there as you have the money, which eliminates taking in the payments for your layaway.  This also gives you the chance to decide whether you can afford more or less than what you would have spent doing a bulk layaway.

Start with a list.  I like to start thinking ahead to holiday shopping towards the end of August in order to get a jump start.  What I like to do is start a list where I write down the name of everyone I have to buy gifts for and start listing ideas for them.  As the time goes by, your list will transform quite a bit with things being added, crossed off or purchased.

I actually like to keep a running cart on Amazon and Walmart so that it helps me keep track of the things I was thinking of getting and also helps me have the prices right there to compare when I'm ready to buy.

Organize your list.  I'm a proponent of fairness when it comes to gifting.  As kids are younger, they don't so much realize the value of things, but they can count.  So I like to do one "big" gift from Santa and then a set number of gifts from us.  I set the number of gifts and start to make purchases here and there to meet the "quota."  If I meet my quota and run across something here or there, I either add one more for everyone or save it for birthdays.  (Three of my kids have birthdays within 3 weeks of Christmas.)  As the kids get older and start to understand the cost of things, I intend to spend approximately the same on each, so no one feels like I'm playing favorites or that it isn't fair.  Cause, really it isn't.

Don't forget when making your lists to include the other people you might have to gift for such as nieces, nephews, parents, in-laws, etc.

Spend reasonably.  Let's be real.  Ghetto fabulousness is sooooooo disgusting.  If you are unfamiliar with the term, it's one that's been around for decades.  The theory is that people can't pay their bills, but will buy big screen TVs.  They can't feed their kids on their own, but they carry a Gucci handbag.  It happens with people more often than you'd think.  Just because it's a holiday, doesn't mean you need to drop a couple thousand on your kids when the month before you were getting shut off notices.  Kids don't need that much, and if your kids are the kind that will throw a fit if they don't get the $300 X-Box, you might want to rethink the values you are teaching them.  Just saying.

Comparing prices.  Okay, so you're ready to buy.  You've checked your list and you're ready to commit to some of the items that you had already intended to get.  Now to find the best price.  Here's the three websites that are always my go-to when it comes to finding the best prices:  eBay, Amazon, and Walmart.com.  Let me tell you some things I've found.  There are A LOT of things that are actually cheaper on Walmart.com than in the stores!  For instance, YESTERDAY I had to go to Walmart and I thought that since I was there I'd knock a couple things off my list.  I went to my shopping cart on my phone to compare prices and out of the three things I found in the store, ALL three were cheaper online!  So, I didn't buy them.  (Those dollars add up.)  I compared the prices in my cart between Amazon and Walmart and everything had the exact same price except one thing: a play kitchen.  It was $20 cheaper on Amazon!  And of course I check eBay for everything before committing to those prices.  Case in point, one of the best sellers expected for this year are LeapBands.  They are selling for $39.99 in stores and online, but I ended up getting two brand new ones on ebay for $30 each.  It's about persistence, people.  It pays off.

But what about shipping?  You may be thinking that if I am buying stuff online, I end up paying more with shipping.  But you would be wrong.  Walmart.com has free shipping for orders over $50 and most items are free shipping if you do site to store.  Amazon has free shipping for qualified items when your total is $30 or over.  Otherwise, if you haven't done it before, you can sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime.  Members get free 2 day shipping on all items, no matter how much the purchase is.  And of course, eBay items let you know the shipping when you bid.  The LeapBands I mentioned were $30 total.  That includes shipping.

Other ways to save.  I use Swagbucks.  It's a website that you earn points from searching, buying things, signing up for things, etc.  A lot of times you can just earn a few points here and there easily, without using your email and ending up with junk mail.  You can earn points from watching a 2 minute commercial, etc.  In the end, your points can add up to gift cards.  I usually have no problem earning $5 Amazon or Walmart gift cards on a regular basis.  I can apply those to any orders I make.  Also, when I make a purchase on Walmart.com, I go to the site via Swagbucks and I get 2 points for every dollar I spend, which then gets me closer to another gift card!

There are other ways, such as watching ads, online sales, Black Friday (which I loathe and never partake in) and don't forget Facebook or second hand stores!  I know there are a lot of people out there that don't believe in using second hand items for gifts, but again, many kids don't really care.  I frequent the buy/sell/trade pages on Facebook, as well as craigslist, and just recently I found a toy that I had in my online cart that was $30 and I got a like new one off Facebook for $5!  Yay! 

Anything to add?  Since I'm all about saving money, did I miss anything?  Sometimes Target has things that are out of stock online at Walmart for a comparable price.  So if you are having a hard time getting it elsewhere, check out Target.  I think they have a free shipping for $50 and over free as well.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Do you ever really get to retire (unless you're a hermit?)

Some people love their jobs.  I'm going out on a limb saying most people don't.  But at some point in life, if we are lucky, we are able to retire.  And what is the purpose of retirement?  The purpose is that at a certain age people should be able to enjoy the life they have left.  If they are lucky, that could be several more decades.  There's also perhaps the theory that as people get into their 60s, their bodies don't function as well as they did when they were younger.  Either way, there is a reason that we have systems in place in the United States that allow previously employed people to retire.

The question I have is, "why can't retirees every really retire?"  The answer is because friends and family won't let them.  I think that when people are retired, that is when they should never be EXPECTED to do anything.  They've earned that.  But I think that oftentimes friends and family take advantage of the fact that when someone is retired they have "nothing to do."  Whether they become homebodies, volunteers or active in their community or socializing, the point is that these retired persons should be able to CHOOSE what they do with their time.

But when you have the pressures of friends and family thinking that you have "all this extra time," they assume that you should have no problem doing what they want you to do.  Oh, you had plans to swim with your aquasize group?  That's not important, you should help me do a, b, or c.  I know you'd rather drink a gallon of paint than do X, but you're retired, so really there is no excuse for you to do X.  And hey, remember my point about the theory that as people get older, their bodies don't function as well as when they are younger?  But, I think other people forget that.  But they are retired, why can't they help me push a school bus up a hill?  It's not like they have anything better to do.

I have kids, I love my kids.  I have friends... probably won't have them all my life, but I might have some at the age of "retirement."  But, guess what.  If my friends or family are selfish enough to think that MY golden years are meant to be spent doing all these things I don't WANT to do, they can go F themselves.  And I think people should respect that.  Retired people don't need you to find ways for them to spend their time as if retirement means you sit on your front porch in your underwear watching traffic go by.  Retirement is meant to be the years where you get to do the things you've always wanted to do.

Keep that in mind when you decide how retired people should spend their time.

Monday, September 29, 2014

#Fashion Post: Can we bring back dresses over pants?

This is kind of the look I like.

I know I don't ever really post anything about fashion, but this fad had me filled with an opinion.

For the last several years, I've been anti-jeans and pants.  I maybe had one pair of capri slacks and two pairs of jeans.  I much prefer dresses and skirts.  But for some reason, I decided I was interested in jeans this fall and winter and bought a couple new pairs.  Then one day, I had to run to the store and my dress was a bit too short for public wear, so I thought, "I'm gonna throw a pair of jeans on under this."  I was watching an episode of Fashion Police (RIP Joan!) maybe four or five months ago and they were totally knocking the whole dress over jeans things because it was soooo early 2000s and they all claimed to hate hate hate it!

This is a much more sophisticated  look.
But I don't know... I'm thinking this should be the year to bring it back, but in a less bright pink spaghetti strap summer type dress and more a bit "dressier" dress over the jeans.  So, when I was doing a google image search for dress over pants, I hit upon a magical article that was recently posted on Stylehaus  (there are several pictures that give an example of the current look.)  It was in reference to the spring and pre/fall 2014 runway shows and how they--shock--brought back the dresses over pants!!

A big difference, though is that back in the early 00s, jeggings and skinny legs weren't a trend.  Most
of the time you saw the outfit with bootcut jeans or slacks, but also with capri leggings or capri pants.

I think the dress over jeans look is great because I have so many dresses anyway and I don't have to worry about tights or leggings, which I'm kinda over this year.  However, I'd like to do away with the spaghetti strap dress over pants- throw a shrug or bolero over those shoulders or wear a dress with sleeves (cap or otherwise.)

So what do you think, my fellow non-fashionistas?  Do you like this look?  Did you ever wear it back in the 00s when it was "hip?"  I'm going to wear it and start my own small-town trend.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Is there a medication that cures the "Toddler Crazies"?

Xanax.

I can't find any horns... yet.
It's not for me.  However, it seems very tempting.  Previously I have written about the terrible ones, twos and threes, but I had no idea that the twos would be giving me this much trouble this time around!  My first child was such an easy baby/toddler/preschooler/kindergartener.  My second child (who has earned his own post before as well) was difficult, but not in the same way as my current toddler, H.  This is WAAAAAY different!  I'm not sure if it is mostly attention-seeking due to having a baby brother to contend with or if it is something much more sinister that is causing his unruly behavior.

In a typical days, these are the things that H does to drive me nuts:
  • Steals our phones.
  • Moves furniture around so he can reach things he shouldn't.
  • Dumps out all the toys.
  • Throws all the diapers around the living room.
  • Pulls his brother's clothes out of his drawers.
  • Torments the cats.
  • Jumps on furniture.
  • Screams when you don't move right away when he wants something.
  • Screams when he doesn't like what's on TV.
  • Throws things at his older brother's head.
  • Pushes buttons on the TV/DVD player/Wii/Cable box.
  • Pulls the blankets of his and his brother's beds.
  • Cries for no reason when he wakes up from his nap.
  • Stands by me and screams when I'm trying to get his brother to go to sleep.
I'm sure I could think of more, but it is past my bedtime.  I know in comparison to some other evil toddlers, his antics don't seem that drastic-- and they're not when you sit back and think about it.  But I don't have time to sit back and think about it because I am constantly having to monitor his every move, put him in time out or tell him he's being ridiculous.  The boy has no off switch!  I remind myself constantly that he's two and that's why he is the way he is.  He can't communicate his thoughts and feelings, which makes it difficult for us to communicate in any way except for him to be ornery and me to be exasperated. 

But it's tough.  Some days by the time my husband gets home I don't even ask if it's okay to hide in the bedroom, I just do it.  My nerves are shot, my brain is exhausted and my patience has packed up and moved to Siberia.  I find myself at war with my conscience on a daily basis.  I want a break from him and contemplate often sending him to some type of daycare a couple times a week just so I can have some peace.  But then the conscience part of me worries that something bad could happen to him at daycare.  I have yet to have a positive daycare experience in a facility-run one, and finding an in-home provider is tough as well because it would just be part-time and I'm very picky.

My conscience has won up until this point.  I don't want to regret "sending him away," but at the same time I feel as though it isn't fair to my other children or my husband to be so stressed out that I have to hide out for hours until I can find some peace. 

I also occasionally try to figure out if I have done something differently with him than I did with the first two, but I don't think I have.  I often joke that he is the spawn of Satan, a demon child or the devil, but my husband gets annoyed when I say those things out loud (so shhhhh, don't tell him.)  And coincidentally, he was the only child I had to have a c-section with and it was because he was upside down.  Should that have been a sign?  Has anyone done research on breech babies and toddler miscreants?  If not, alert Harvard and have them get right on it.

The weekends are my salvation.  My husband always lets me sleep in (which I milk as long as possible) and then there's an unwritten rule that he is responsible for H and I will gladly be responsible for the other 3, the housework, anything and everything, as long as I get a break from H.  I worry I might resent him as he gets older just because of the hell he put me through as a toddler. 

BUT, he does have a cute personality, he's funny and he is SO SMART.  I truly believe (and I desperately want to believe) that there is hope that he won't become a juvenile delinquent and then go on to seek asylum in Russia when the federal government decides he is a threat to national security.  Only time will tell, but until then... is there a medication to keep me from going crazy?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Happy birthday, @Snuggle_Bear!! Snuggle is turning 30!!!

Hey, fellow 80s babies!  Remember this little guy?


How uncanny can you be?

I have three scenarios to present to you.  Now, if you are going to share a story that can one up me, feel free, but make sure it applies to YOU, not your uncle's cousin's grandma's sister's grandaughter's friend.  That would be cheating.

So I have three friends who I have known for varying amounts of times and met in different ways.  We each have coincidental commonalities amongst our children.  Which one do you think is the most uncanny?  And let me apologize to said friends because I guarantee I'm going to be off on some ages or birth months.

Friend A:  Her children are a step-son (I'm a horrible person for not knowing his age, but I wanna say he's in middle school), a 6 year old son, a 2 year old son and a 1 year old son.  Her 6 year old's middle is the same as MY 6 year old's middle name and it is not a common name.  Her 2 year old is a month or two younger than my 2 year old and her 1 year old is a few months older than my baby.  We both kept wanting girls and ended up getting boys.

Friend Sa:  Her children are a step-son (I think he's 9), a 6 year old son, a 2 year old son and an almost 1 year old son.  Her 6 year old was born 6 days after MY 6 year old.  Her 2 year old was born a month before mine and her almost 1 year old was born 3 months before my baby.  She also kept wanting a girl and ended up with all boys.  PLUS, she and I have birthdays the same month of the same year and our wedding anniversaries are a day apart.

Friend St:  Her children are a daughter that is in high school, a 9 year old girl, 7 year old boy and almost 2 year old girl.  Now, aside from the age similarities with three of them, what is really cool in my mind is that her youngest's birthday is the same as MY birthday (which also happens to be my mother's birthday) and my oldest's birthday is the same as HER birthday.  Also, her 9 year old daughter and my 8 year old daughter have the same middle name with the same unique spelling.

So, there you have it.  Which is the most uncanny?  Oh, and to those who are like, "you said you all wanted girls, what horrible human beings!  You should be lucky to have a child at all."  Go F yourselves, that's not the point of this post.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Oh, Baby! by Chad Geran Board Book Review & Giveaway!!!

My toddler LOVES looking at books.  He also loves tearing paper, so we have a shelf full of board books.  My 9 month old also likes board books.  What's nice for him is that if the illustrations are colorful and simple, it keeps him entertained for quite awhile.  (It also doesn't hurt if they taste good, lol.)

I'm always on the lookout for a good board book, especially when new ones come out!  So, when I was offered a gratis copy of Oh, Baby! I was more than willing to write up a review about it!  Even though it has no words, it is actually great with my toddler!  Each page has a different baby either in a different scenario or wearing a different, interesting outfit.  So, it's fun to look at with H and point to the pictures, ask him questions and point things out that teach him new words.  He is working on vocabulary building, so this is very stimulating to his mind.

And it also entertains Baby A.  When I first gave him the book he spent about 10 minutes touching and looking at the pages.  The colors are bright and the illustrations are simple, which makes them easy to decipher in terms of shapes and colors. 

This will definitely be a book that stays on the shelf until Baby A outgrows it.  And since it's such an adorable and useful book, POW Kids! Books and I would like to offer one lucky reader a free copy!  Contest is open until noon on Sept. 29 and is open to US residents only.  Thanks & good luck!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

That other four-letter "F" word

I couldn't even begin to create a list of all my pet peeves... most are trivial, some are grammar nazi issues, others revolve around people.  Today I'd like to address a pet peeve that has irked me the majority of my life-- that four letter word that starts with an F and ends with a T and is synonymous with passing gas.

It's a good word, look it up!
I think the word is crude.  I think discussing it when you are an adult is uncouth.  I don't like when people laugh about it... it's impolite and immature.  Of course those who disagree with me chalk it up to being a bodily function and "what's the big deal?"  Welllllll...

According to "Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior (Freshly Updated)"
by Judith Martin:
Unacceptable Noises. Miss Manners does not plan to mention them, chiefly because they are unmentionable, but you all know who you are. What they are. At any rate, there are noises that are acknowledged by neither the noisemaker nor the noise recipient, because socially they do not exist.
I was raised in a household where I think we were taught very proper etiquette when it came to normal mannerisms.  No one ever purposely passed gas and if someone did, it was unheard of to laugh about because it just seems "trashy."

I know, I know, I'm gonna catch a lot of flack (behind my back, of course) by people who were raised differently and feel highly insulted by this, but this is my blog, and I'm free to voice my opinion.  When I think about people making f**t jokes I picture immature college guys that will never grow up or two toothed hillbillies that shower in the river.

We raise our kids this way too.  Belching is also one of those things that people should not giggle about, but I think those are harder to make quiet.   Society is going down the toilet as it is, let's add a little class to it whenever we can.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Here a hair, there a hair, everywhere new facial hair!

I remember in grad school a certain friend of mine (who was a wee bit older than me) was telling me about how she was getting new facial hair and that happens as women get older.  In my head, I hoped she was wrong because I have always been paranoid about people thinking I have a mustache.  Sure, I shouldn't care what people think of my looks... but, seriously.

Anyway, I chalked it up to hoping she was wrong... but she wasn't.  As the years have progressed, I'm starting to notice weird hairy things happening to my face- and it's scary!  You always see the stereotypes of old men with hair growing out of their ears and nose and extremely bushy eyebrows.  Well, there's a reason it's a stereotype!  As people age (not ALL people), the hair on their face can get thicker and longer. 

I used to pride myself on the fact that I never had to touch my eyebrows.  Friends in high school would shave and tweeze their eyebrows.  The shavers were awful because if they didn't do it daily, the stubble was pretty obvious.  And the tweezers would make them way too thin!  But there I was, not doing anything to them.  In fact, I never had to tweeze or shave anywhere on my face!

Until now... I find myself nightly standing in front of the mirror with a pair of tweezers.  It has become an obsession.  I will feel panicked when I see a hair that I think was glaringly obvious and I'm sure when I was out in public, everyone could see it and stared and whispered, "oh my gosh, look at the bearded lady in aisle 9!"  My husband says I don't have facial hair and I'm being ridiculous.  And you now those light blonde fuzzies that are normal that people get?  I can't tell if they are light fuzzies or if I'm getting a full blown mustache!!!  I don't think any of my friends would tell me if they thought I had a mustache... but friends SHOULD tell each other!!

Okay, now I feel like I need to go get the tweezers because just typing this is making me paranoid.  Has anyone else noticed an increase in facial hair as you have gotten older?  Do you do anything about it or just go natural?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Review & Giveaway: SOL REPUBLIC Tracks headphones

This is one of my favorite reviews/giveaways to date!  Yes, I have a lot of kid-oriented stuff on my blog, but I'm a young hipster at heart who is very interested in social media, pop culture and technology.  So when I was offered a pair of gratis SOL REPUBLIC Tracks headphones, I was like, "uhhhhh, do frogs leave slimy trails on my windows???"  

So, as I sit hear typing this review, don't mind if I'm shouting, cause I can't hear anything but my iTunes tracks on my iPhone.  I was also especially stoked that I was able to pick my headphones from the collegiate options and chose my alma mater- Go Hawks!!

What is awesome about these headphones?  They are geared to work with iPhone, iPad and iPod, but can work with anything that has a headphone jack.  But if you use them with one of the i devices mentioned, there is a snazzy volume attachment on the cord.  Plus, you get way better sound quality than if you attach them to something else.  I used them on my computer first and it was fine, but then when I switched to my iPhone it was fantastic!  And the best part- I couldn't hear ANYTHING going on in the outside world!  That means when my son came in whining about being bored, I didn't have to hear what was going on and my husband had to deal with it.  I want to try these out mowing the lawn just to see how well they block out sound.

Am I sold on these... um, heck yeah!  And just think, if you're a college student, you can drown out your roommates horrible country music!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:  I am fortunate enough to have an extra pair (not collegiate) to give

away to one of my readers!  These are a $99 value, so it's quite the deal!  This giveaway is limited to US and Canada residents who have NOT won one of these on any other site in the past 6 months.  Giveaway ends at noon central on September 15, 2014.

To enter: As always, you MUST like/follow my Facebook page before you can enter.  After that, you can do any or all of the following, with repeats of tweets (once per day) and Facebook posts (once per day.)  Good luck!!!  Make sure to post a link in the comments for each thing to be entered.

1) Like SOL REPUBLIC on Facebook.
2) Follow SOL REPUBLIC on Twitter.
3) Tweet this giveaway.
4) Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook.
5) Pin this giveaway.



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Facebook rant

"When buying or selling kittens and puppies, although people often want to "get rid of them" sooner than later, please keep in mind that for both puppies and kittens, they should not be rehomed until 8 weeks at the soonest.  Small breeds it is recommended 10-12 and kittens are generally 8-10.  The weeks between 6-8 are the weeks that puppies and kittens develop socialization skills.  If they are rehomed sooner than that, it is much more stressful for them.  Also, kittens are more able to find the litter box and hold their bladders at 8 weeks vs. 6 weeks.  And another reason is that puppies and kittens have sensitive stomachs and between 6-8 weeks their stomachs are sensitive to new foods and even new WATER sources!  In many states, it is illegal to sell a puppy under 8 weeks without a vet's written consent.  I know most people will ignore this, but please have a conscience about the health and well-being of your young animals.  They are just as cute and cuddly (if not more) at 8 weeks of age!"

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Iceman Cometh... with a bucket of water.

I posted this on my Facebook page tonight:

I'm soooooo torn about this Ice Bucket Challenge thing. It's not that I can't or won't do it... I'm as big of a fan of nipping as the next guy, but I feel like it is becoming more of a thing that all the cool kids are doing. Do I think that donating money to charity is a bad thing? Noooooooo. But, I'd rather donate money to the ASPCA or another charity that is closer to my heart. Not that ALS isn't a worthy cause to support. Secondly, I already think that we, as Americans, look likes selfish, arrogant assholes to most of the world (thanks in large part to the Kardashians), but when you have people in foreign countries who have no clean water to drink, it seems a little douchey to waste water and post it for the whole world to see.

Anyway, these are the reasons why I won't do it on a public forum. If you nominated me and feel like coming to my house and dumping ice water on my head, go for it, but no videoing allowed! Plus, you have to bring the water, lol. And I am also not putting down those of my friends (and Dave Grohl) who have done it, I am not God, I am merely one person with a skewed opinion. It's fun, it's kitchy, it's for a good cause. But I will continue to help our four-legged friends in my altruistic endeavors, while waiting for this fifteen minute fad to pass and 99% of people who did it won't mention ALS again in their lifetime. I do hope this money helps find a cure or eases suffering caused by the horrible symptoms.

Okay, ranty soapbox finished. Thank you Trish & Jaida for nominating me today! It's awesome to know that you ladies wanna see me in a wet tee shirt. Feel free to come by my house sometime and throw ice water on me... just remember BYOW... and no flash photography!!

PS Save the manatees already!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

I'm sorry, Cows!

One month when I was 18, I was a vegetarian.  I love animals and don't think that that should just include the fuzzy domesticated kind.

How cute are they??
Cows are adorable.  I lived next to a farm growing up and the cows would come up to the fence along the outside of our property.  I would feed them grass, attempt to pet them, heck, sometimes I would talk to them.  It broke my heart seeing them out in the freezing rain and cold.  I've often thought that if I ever get back to living in the country, I'd like to have a pet cow.

I want to be a vegetarian... couldn't do the vegan thing because I love cheese too much and I don't think I'd be able to remember everything that I'm supposed to avoid. 

I've seen the pictures and heard stories of how poorly farm animals are treated and how they are tortured right before slaughter.  Some of them that are sick or dying are left to die in fields and ditches.  I even watched a show once about a woman who had a farm that people would rescue sick or dying animals and bring them to her and she would try to get them better.  Occasionally she would get a call about a cow that was left to die and she would organize a covert mission in the middle of the night to rescue the cow.  Sometimes all it took was antibiotics to nurse that cow back to life.

How delicious does this look??
I can avoid pork, chicken, fish, etc.  Those aren't foods that mean much to me.  But I can't shake the beef cravings.  I go through withdrawal.  I have low iron and don't care for the supplements and I think that is part of my need for beef.  One of my favorite foods is cheeseburgers.  I love eating meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I can't help it, I'm weak!!

So I wrestle with my moral dilemma.  I don't want to contribute to the cows suffering, but I don't think I could have a happy existence depriving myself of beef.  My conscience has no rest.

Friday, July 25, 2014

If you write, write right.

As someone with my MA in English, I can be a bit of a Grammar Nazi.  I try not to do it with anyone but my immediate family, because I don't want to lose any friends over it.  No, if you use to or too incorrectly or their, there, they're incorrectly, I will just silently judge you and shake my head.  One of my huge pet peeves is when someone writes, "would OF" instead of "would HAVE."  When someone writes would've, it does sound similar to would OF, but it is a contraction for would HAVE... but I digress.

Almost yearly, the MLA comes out with new standards in English writing.  Some make sense, others I refuse to embrace.  And I think in most regards that should be a writer's prerogative.  As the new standards become implemented, teachers would have to be hardcore devoted to memorizing those standards and passing them on, which for public school teachers is a lot to add to their plate that includes little pay and stupid standardized testing requirements.  So, it could take a decade for some of this stuff to even be taught in public classrooms.

At the grad school I attended, there were come teachers who were very anal about adhering to every new comma rule, splice sentence, etc.  And I can understand their logic, but as someone who enjoys writing, please don't make us hate the English language.  I got my only C in grad school from an older lady professor who graded my essays harshly because I didn't write the way she wanted me to.  It wasn't about grammar, it was about order and opinion, etc.  I took the lower grades because I think it should be more about what you're saying than how you say it.  (Except the things like to and too and their and they're... those change the whole meaning of a sentence.)

My point is that when it comes to writing, shouldn't it be more about what is being said.  In all honesty, as an English teacher myself, every teacher wants something different.  This isn't math, where 2 + 2 will always equal 4.  I've had teachers who told me I used too many commas, some who said I didn't use enough, yet growing up, they taught you that if you were talking and would pause, that's where a comma would go.  They don't say that anymore.  Who talks about clauses anymore?  These comma happy/comma lacky teachers are just confusing their students by making them obsess over the technical aspects, when it should be about what the CONTENT is.  Especially when 9 times out of 10, your professor's/teacher's comma rules are outdated.

I'm sorry to all the writers out there who have spent hours editing their writing because someone has marked their work in red because they used a preposition at the end of a sentence of used three exclamation points, because you're only really "allowed" to use one. 

If you can take a stand, do it.  If you have to take a C because you know your writing is good and that old lady professor wants you to do it exactly how she does, go for it.  No one should have to conform their writing style.  There's something to be said for uniqueness. 

So all of you that use to and too incorrectly or their, there and they're wrong, stop it.  It's not that hard to figure out... seriously.  But if you are like me and grew up with two spaces after every period, don't change because your English teacher told you to.  What's wrong with two spaces after a period?  Does it make things read differently?  NOPE.  And did  you catch that?  I said "nope" and used a period at the end... but it wasn't a complete sentence because I didn't have a subject and a predicate.  Ugh.  Who cares!  Not this Grammar Nazi.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Parenting Pet Peeves

Now, I'm not Dr. Spock, but really, what makes him an expert- just because you take a bunch of college classes, doesn't mean that you are the be all, end all gospel on a subject.

Anyway, I think I'm a pretty good parent- of course, time will tell how my kids turn out, but for now, based on observations of those around me and my hopes to make better kids for the world and society, here are some pet peeves of mine that I have seen other parents do that are big no-no's in my book.  Also, I've thrown a couple links to articles that I've read in the past that I have found to be a worthwhile read.

1) Spanking.  I started with this because it's the most cliche parenting debate that people seem to talk about.  I'm against spanking for many, many reasons.  I won't get into all of them, because they are all reasons that are out there, so why go into it?  This also includes variations of physical ABUSE, such as mouth popping, arm wrenching/dragging, swatting, etc.  I prefer the timeout method or grounding.  For younger kids, I ground for an hour at a time, based on the severity and usually the hour is lying in their bed, no TV or games.  That usually only gives them the opportunity to color or read books.  Timeouts are usually for small things that they have already been told not to do.

2) Picky eaters.  I know that not every kid will eat every food you offer them- do you?  I know that there are some things I refuse to try and a few things I just don't like.  But how will your child every grow to be a foodie as an adult if they were never "forced" to try anything?  I've seen too many people who fix their kids chicken nuggets or hot dogs every single meal because "that's all they will eat."  I call BS on that.  I've come to realize the things my kids will and won't eat and if I think it is in the realm of possibilities that based on their other likes that they might just like the new food... I make them take one bite.  A lot of times, since the older two don't want to be wrong, they will say they don't like it, but don't complain about finishing it. 

Then, there are things that we KNOW they don't like, so if David and I want to eat them, we will make an alternative for the kids.  For instance, neither of my kids like actual hamburgers.  My daughter doesn't like them from anywhere, but my son will eat the whatever kind of meat they are hamburgers from school or fast food.  So, if David and I want a burger, I will make the kids both something different.  Likewise, I know L doesn't like potatoes of any kind really.  So, I try to substitute some kind of carb as a replacement.  A doesn't like ground beef, so if I make something with ground beef, I find her a main dish replacement.  I know this isn't up to par with, "you eat what I make or you don't eat," but I think there's a happy medium between that and being a short order cook who makes a different meal for each kid every night.

3) Video games.  Back when I was knee high to a grasshopper and walked in 6 feet of snow uphill both ways to school, we played outdoors.  Hot, cold, raining, snowing, whatever, we played outdoors.  We liked it.  We played ball or make-believe or rode bikes, etc.  And then my brother Greg and I would play with action figures (or I'd bribe him to play Barbies) or Monopoly or Risk (somehow I never won.)  And I LOOOOOVED to read!  I'm pretty sure you could say my brothers and I were nerds as adolescents. 

So, when people let their kids play video games the majority of the time they are home, I feel sad for our future society.  What are kids learning by playing video games all the time, other than to be lazy and crush their creativity?  I've had kids come over for play dates that get bored after half an hour because we won't let them play our Wii.  Generally my kids play the Wii once a week and in order to play it they have to have gone outside that day.  And my daughter likes to play on the computer occasionally on Nickelodeon's website.  Lately, though, she has been having fun typing stories.  And in order to play the computer, she has to have helped do something.  Video games in our house are privileges, not babysitters.

4) Public diversions.  You take your kids out to eat and they say they are bored... they start to have a hissy fit because they want to leave, what do you do?  Give them your phone and let them play games?  I disagree.  How is that any different than you being on  your phone at dinner?  It's rude.  Plus, why can't you teach your kids that if they are going out in public with you and you are buying them dinner, they should be grateful and not embarrass you.  I don't recall being a problem like that for my parents, and I've never had this problem with my kids.  Granted, sometimes they make pyramids out of the creamer cups, but that's not really hurting anyone.

5) Spoiling.  It's okay to "spoil" in some instances.  But, if your kid is a demon spawn from hell who calls you names, yells at you, refuses to help, or never listens, why on earth would you reward them for that behavior?  If you kid is constantly doing these things and you continue to buy them everything they want or expensive clothes or games, etc., what are they learning from this?  They are learning that they never have to respect you because they get what they want anyway. 

6) Blink once for yes.  One thing I hate hate HATE to hear from a parent is, "do you understand me?"  Like, when they are lecturing.  I want to shriek, "yes, they understand you, they aren't deaf or dumb!" Or then there's the act of punishing a kid for crying, or threatening to.  Seriously?  Maybe their reason for crying is lame, but punishing someone for crying?  That's just mean.

Childhood is a pivotal time when kids are forming their future identities.  Yes, peers will come along to disrupt that identity, but the roots are there from when they were young.  You can't expect your kid to grow up and just snap out of all these negative things.  Now, feel free to hold all these opinions against me when one of my kids become a serial killer, but for now, I think I'm onto something.  The world is full of douchebags, so why not try to add some adults that are not.