People Never Cease To Amaze Me!!


Its been an awfully long time since I have written anything on this site and it kind of makes me sad. Life has, as always, been hectic but even more so now that I am a full-time college student and single mother of two. Still, this site has been my outlet for so long that I don’t want to just forget about it and have it fade away… So I am here now, and I am going to try to be here somewhat regularly to post and vent and share all of my crazy thoughts and ideas. Which is probably a good idea since bottling them up makes me crazy and saying them out loud in public can sometimes get me into trouble…

So on to the thoughts I am having this moment that brought me here in the first place…

I haven’t been sleeping well lately.. Okay let’s be honest, I have not slept well since my daughter was born 4 years ago but lately it has been really bad. I wake up several times a night and for a while when it first started happening I would lay there trying to force myself back to sleep but all that did was make me frustrated and spin the psychotic scenario wheels inside my head. So, lately I have taken to getting up out of bed and actually doing things until I feel tired again… Some nights it works and I am back in bed in a couple of hours, other nights I am up for the day from 3 am on… Those days are super fun, let me tell you.. and they create this nap, awake late, can’t sleep, nap cycle that is even worse than not being able to sleep in the first place…

Anyway.. Not sleeping is not the topic I am aiming to talk about here so let me get back on track.

While I am awake in the wee hours of the morning/night I tend to browse Facebook and other online sites for funny, stupid, entertaining and overall interesting information. Sometimes it melts my brain into mush, sometimes I learn something amazing and sometimes I am touched by the kindness of humanity… but other times I am appalled..

Today was one of those days. 

I came across a post on Facebook and it was a picture that a mother has posted of her son it had caption that stated his name and age (I think he was 3 or 4) and went on to explain that he likes to wear dresses and play with dolls and that she was perfectly okay with that. She said she wanted her son to know that he could be whatever he wanted and basically that she didn’t want the superficial constraints of society to determine his gender norms. She simply wanted her son to be happy and to do what made him happy…

This is NOT what appalled me… 

What appalled me was the pathetic response from the public about how she should be raising her child, how what she is doing is abusive, how she is going to “turn him gay” and how he is doomed to be bullied…

Seriously???

I have the utmost respect for this woman and any parent that can embrace their child’s choices so openly. I am sure it is not an easy task to watch your son walk around in a floral sundress but accepting that it is his choice, his right if you will, is an amazing act of parenting if you ask me.

This mother is not going to “turn her son gay”, I guess the person that posted this comment missed the memo but BEING GAY IS NOT A CHOICE!

Nor is she is not setting him up or dooming him to a life of being bullied.. EVEN IF he is still wearing dresses when he goes to school this doesn’t mean he is going to be teased anymore than anyone else..

And besides, maybe the person that commented this should consider Support Transgendertalking to their kids about gender variance and bullying so that hopefully ‘the boy in the dress’ won’t be bullied…

Kids can be mean but they are bullies because they are not taught to accept differences, or they are lacking attention, or because of some other outside factor.. Kids are not naturally bullies; we are not born with the mindset to discriminate, it is created over time in various ways. In fact, much of the time it is the parents attitudes and opinions coming out of the children’s  mouths…

There were of course the expected comments about God Hating Gays and the Bible verses to go with them. I am not religious so I can not hurl verses back that I am sure exist saying “do not judge”, or “love is love in any form” or something of that nature.. But what I can say is that the Bible is pretty damn old and the world has changed a great deal since these “rules” were created.. Don’t you think that God, who apparently created the world, would probably adapt his rules and opinions to fit the ever-changing ways of humanity??? Or in the very least strike every gay person down with a bolt of lightning if he truly did hate them so much!!!

Just sayin’.

My point here, other than ranting and raving, is that every once in a while I come across a post or comments that truly make me sad. People live inside little boxes and refuse to consider anything that doesn’t fit perfectly inside. When we live like this the only person we are harming is ourselves and the only ones that suffer are the future generations who have been taught that everything has to fit perfectly inside their little box.

Until Next Time…

Be Yourself; Explore Yourself.
Ps. There is a great post on gender variance in MacLean’s Magazine for anyone that is interested in the topic. You can access it HERE

The Life and Death of June Cleaver


Being an ideal parent requires a level of energy not found at the bottom of a pot of coffee, or a case of red bull. No matter your daily caffeine consumption, or your history as a high-school cheerleader, chances are you’re running low on steam at some point throughout the day.. Lately, For me, that ‘point’ is one that is constant.

I never seem to have enough oomph in me to ‘get things done’. Hell, let’s be honest… I am lucky if I manage to get them started these days. I am not gonna lie. I am God Damn EXHAUSTED and that “mother of the year” award is well out of my reach.

I am no June Cleaver, that’s for sure, but is that really such a bad thing?

I look around at all the parents I know, and while there are a few that might ‘pretend’ to be perfect on Facebook, it is a rare sight to see one that actually is. The truth is, most of my Mommy friends don’t even try to pretend they have it all together anymore, and you know what… they are a lot happier because of it.

I had the inkling to Google ‘June Cleaver” syndrome, (this curiosity came to me while I probably should have been cleaning my kitchen)  and what I found was hilarious… I really was just joking around, but apparently I am not the only one that see this as an issue in life.  Here is what came up in my search…

The first result from Google was a site called Ungrind.com and the author has a post called ‘June Cleaver Syndrome” in which she writes this:

June Cleaver Syndrome develops when we’re busy imitating someone else’s expectations, rather than those that are a reasonable fit for our lifestyle. We have an idea of what a “perfect” mom should look like, but that image isn’t anything near to the woman we are.

I can not help but envy the woman who wrote this, and agree 100% with the words. Even in the world we live in today, where the shows we watch make being a less-than-perfect mother a little more common (and dare I say acceptable) but we are also faced with the other extreme and judgment that comes along with this reality should it fall too far out of reach.

Sure, nobody expects us to stay home and cook and clean all day, a mother’s sole purpose in life is not to raise the children and keep the house… Yet how much of those duties have really been passed on?? Yes, we go out and work, or we can get away with a less than spotless house, but how do we ‘feel’ about it? How do we think we look because of it? How many of us worry, or make excuses for it? How many feel ‘bad’? Well I say, GET OVER IT!!

I am far too exhausted to worry about whether there is dust on my shelves, whether my floors are a little too sticky, or there are dishes in my sink. I am not going to vacuum every single day, and I am fine with the fact that there are fingerprints on my windows…

I am done with trying to be a ‘great’ mom, trying to please everyone, or trying to impress guests.. The truth is, I’M TRIED, and if you don’t know how that feels as a mother then your obviously on drugs (in which case, I want to know what they are and where you got them) because the truth is that just like everyone else I’d love to have a spotless house, and spend quality time with my children whenever they desired, teaching them endlessly, cherishing each second and watching them blossom and grow… But I am just too damn tired to care, and I highly doubt that my mucky floors are going to ruin their childhood.

I do what I can, when I can, IF I want to.. and If you don’t understand that, then you may not want to come over for a cup of tea or that bottle of wine because I am not going to kill myself simply to impress other people!

NoJuneCleaver

This was just another random rant from a Mad Mama.

Until Next Time…

 

The Parent’s Quick Guide to Penny Pinching


I have learned many things being a parent, some of which I wish I hadn’t, and others that have been a blessing and helped me to get by. If there is one thing I have learned the most about it is being frugal. I have learned the hard way how to stretch a buck. I can cook a dinner for four for under $10, I can get clothes for the whole familyfor around $50. I can operate on less than anyone should ever have to and can get creative in order to make it through the month.

English: ceramic piggy bank

Image via Wikipedia

With the world the way it is today we all know what it is like to suffer. Often times, no matter what our income, our accounts never seem to hold enough funds. I figure everyone enjoys getting a great deal, or saving a dime (or ten) so I’m gonna share a few of my frugal ideas with you today i n the hopes that it helps another family that is struggling to get by.

Cooking

To save money on cooking and feeding your family there are a few tips I have always found helpful. First is to stock up on the basics. Items such as, bread, eggs, rice, potatoes, tomato sauce, ground beef (or any ground meat), and noodles are great to have on hand when you’re in a bind. Any of these basic items can be easily added to a small purchase to make a meal and save your self some cash. When I have the basics on hand I find that I can go to a grocery store and grab whatever is on sale to work with. I have bought pork chops on sale and cooked them in tomato sauce over rice, I have added stuffing mix to ground beef and egg for a tasty meatloaf meal. Having the staples is so important to frugal family cooking. Many of these items are cheap, can be frozen, or last for a long time in the pantry. When you see them on sale grab a few of each.

Lets be honest, meat is expensive and buying enough meat to feed a family of four or more can cost a pretty penny, to save yourself some money buy in bulk. Many grocery stores have family size packs, even if you don’t need that much, buy it, the price per pound usually works out to be a lot cheaper. Another tip is to stretch your sides, by filling your families plates with bigger side portions like extra potatoes, noodles and veggies you can get by with less meat overall. I some times make a few different sides when I am short on meat, that way my family is full, and the meal is still healthy. One more idea for stretching your meat is to mix it in. By cutting up bigger chunks of meat and mixing it into rice or noodles you can use less and make more. Stir-fry’s are a great way to feed a family when you haven’t got a lot to go around.

Clothing

The number one tip I have for parents trying to save money is to embrace thrift store shopping. If you take the time to look, you can save hundreds of dollars on name brand clothes for your family. To save even more watch for the ‘big sale’ days that many thrift stores have, stores like Value Village and Goodwill hold 50% off days once a month which will help you save even more money. You have to be persistent though, returning regularly to scour the shelves, thrift stores get in new items daily so keep an eye out for a great deal.

If thrift stores aren’t your thing than shop big box stores. Big department stores have an ample amount of inventory, duplicates of the same items mean a savings in price. Watch these stores for sale items as well, and don’t forget to shop off-season. Buying summer clothes in the fall and winter clothes in the summer can save you some serious cash.

Pass it on. Clothing swaps, hand-me-downs, and free-cycling are great ways to get the goods you need without spending a penny. Get a group of friends together for a swap or organize one in your community. Utilize sites like Freecycle or your local classifieds to find clothing items free or cheap, and remember to pass the favor along.

You could also learn to sew, if you are gifted with a needle and thread your clothing possibilities are endless. This talent will allow you to take any item of clothing and turn it into something new. Seriously, I can’t sew personally (no hand-eye co-ordination) but if I could I would twist and stitch every item I had to create new items of clothing as required. Note: Even if you can’t sew you can hem a pair of pants, the dollar store sells iron on/stick on hem tape that makes tailoring your thrift store finds a breeze.

Around the House

One of the biggest cash consumers is our home. We all want our house to look nice, but we don’t need to spend lavish to live lavish. To save your self some cash around the house I have a few tips.

When it comes to decorating the best advice I can give is to get creative. This is where thrift stores can come in handy yet again. Furniture, accessories and artwork can be found relatively cheap at your local thrift shop or flea market. Pick up a cheap print with a great frame and swap it out for one of your own family photos, or better yet a collage. You could even create your own water painting to frame if your feeling really creative. There are all sorts of tutorials online for creating custom artwork on a dime. The same goes for furniture, don’t be afraid to take that hand-me-down dresser and spruce it up. One of my favorite ideas for fixing up an old dresser is to wallpaper the drawer fronts and change the hardware. Again there are ample examples online of ways to make old furniture look new.

Embrace the power of paint. Paint is relatively inexpensive given the impact in can have on a room. If you want a change but don’t have the cash, grab yourself a can of paint and slap it on a wall or two. It is an instant change for a small amount of cash.

Most parents have that one cleaningcabinet that is full of products for every thing imaginable. There is the toilet scrubber, the shower wall cleaner, the Swiffer refills, the tilex, the kitchen cleaner, floor cleaner, mirror cleaner, and the all-purpose cleaner. All these different products add up to one thing… A lot of wasted cash. I learned long ago that the best thing you can do is find one or two products that work well and do-it-all. By using a good all-purpose cleaner instead of 12 different ones you will save a ton of cash over time. The same goes for that swiffe

, those wet pads you are paying a fortune for are sold at the dollar store, and the solution for the inside is a silly scam, pour your own product in there. In fact, for fast spot mopping attach a baby wipe to the bottom of the thing and get it done for under 1 cent.

Baby wipes are actually fantastic for so many different things around the house and I highly suggest you keep them on hand even if you down have little ones. They clean mirrors, tables, doors, walls and floors. They are cheap (no-name is fine) and simple to grab in a stitch.

Invest wisely, would be the other major around the house tip. It is fine to purchase something extravagant that you truly, really, completely want, but be sure it is a wise choice. A new sofa is a fine investment so long as you are not buying a pure white one when you have two toddlers loose around the house. Often times it is important to remember that just because you can afford something now, does not mean now is the time to buy it. Double think any big buys, and be sure to take the time to shop around. If your reading this then odds are it is not a one of a kind custom piece that can’t be found anywhere else, and can probably be found somewhere else at least marginally cheaper. (and when your being frugal, every penny counts.)

General Money Saving Tips

  • Learn your unit sizes. Some times a deal isn’t a deal at all, learn to break it down. For unit calculation advice click Here
  • Plan ahead. If you drive you know that the cost of gas can literally kill you, plan all your errands for the same outing when possible to save multiple trips and cut back on gas costs.
  • Think Frugally. Why pay for something when you can get it free? Make this your mantra and live it as much as you can. Don’t be ashamed to save money.
  • Check your coffee consumption. Even one $2 cup off coffee a day adds up to $60+ a month. Brew your own where you can and save that cash for something more important. The same goes for smoking, the costs of lighting up are enormous, cut back and quit today. It won’t only benefit your health, but it will help your wallet as well.
  • Calculate your daily costs and cut back where you can. Things like lunches, beverages, transit and other small daily details add up over time. Keep track of all these little things and find ways to save on them. Perhaps buying a monthly bus pass would work out cheaper than paying per fare, packing a lunch is always better than buying one, and cutting back on the number of coffee’s you purchase can save you are ton of cash.
  • Find Free Family Fun. Parks, picnics, or hikes are great FREE ways to have fun as a family. Find other exciting things to do for free Here and save your self some serious money on family entertainment.
  • Cut Coupons. With all the hype around the reality coupon shows why wouldn’t you want to cut coupons? You can save a major chunk of change on your grocery bills and even earn things for free. The same goes for free grocery club cards, gather those points and get yourself some great deals. What have you got to lose?

These are only a few simple ideas for saving money, the list could go on and on. The point is to save where you can, whenever you can, because every cent adds up as a parent. Your level of frugality is up to you, perhaps your simply want to cut some costs, or maybe you want to save a ton, either way there are endless ideas to help you cut costs and put cash back in your pocket. Look online for more ideas and share your own tips in the comments section below.

Until Next Time…

Live on a Dime.

Six Reasons Why Summer Sucks…


We are well in to the summer months now, and I don’t know how it is at your house, but here we have pretty much had enough. I am one of those parents that believes summer vacation is far to long for kids (for me), and I am seriously considering circulating a petition to cut it’s length at least in half.

The beginning of summer is always great, full of plans and excitement. The days seem to fly by fast and there are endless amounts of things to do to keep the kids busy, but some time after the 4th of July and into the start of August (the hottest month of course) things seem to fall apart. You slowly begin to hear cries of ‘I’m bored‘ that get louder and more repetitive as days go on. Boredom and chaos seem to take over and your house goes from a happy, relaxing place to a war zone complete with water-guns, and water works.

Yup, it’s true, Summer is not all games and giggles, especially for us parents.

Here are just a few reasons that summer sucks:

  • Summer means no school, which in turn means that there are children everywhere. A once peaceful trip to the grocery store means tears, screams and battles. If you are lucky enough to be able to complete this task without your own kids in tow, you are not necessarily safe from the insanity. There are still other people’s children, and they are often worse than your own. You have to dodge out-of-control toddlers as they run down the aisles and pull cookies off the shelves (this is why some smart mother invented those ‘toddler leash’ contraptions), there are the children screaming that they want a treat, and if your really lucky there are the ones that throw themselves on the ground and kick/scream/hold their breath until they get that said treat. The convenience of  shopping first thing in the morning no longer holds that same peaceful escape, instead you are faced with parents who are walking zombies, delirious from lack of sleep and children who are even more exhausted and hungry for their morning helping of breakfast (a.k.a bowl full of sugar.) Often seen stumbling around the aisles, their children 20 feet behind with a candy bar in their mouths and a scowl on their faces, these parents (and kids) are one of the reasons summer sucks.
  • Summer = extra laundry. Funny thing this is, but it is true for everyone. Although we wear far ‘less‘ clothing in the heat of the simmer months, there always seems to be more laundry to do. Swimming, outdoor adventures and frozen treats mean that hampers all over the world are filling faster. Rising temperatures mean more daily outfit changes and piles of not-actually-dirty-but-thrown-on-the-floor-anyway, clothes that need to be cleaned. Summer means hot weather, hot weather means more laundry, laundry means drying, and we all know how hot the dryer makes the house… Just another one of those reasons that summer sucks.
  • Summer means vacation, and for many families this means travel. Travelling with children, even a short distance, is like trying to round up a pack of wild monkeys. If you are dumb enough crazy enough to attempt to travel by plane with children, you had better be prepared. Long lines, security check-points, and inevitable wait times mean a need for constant entertainment. Travelling by car holds its own obstacles and is no easier than travelling by plane, except the fact that it is less public and you have the option of stepping out of the car, feet securely on the ground. Travel during summer vacation means constant questions of ‘Are we there yet?‘ endless games of eye spy, and sibling battles that have you reaching a arm over the seat to swipe at the nearest child within reach. Travel comes with the guarantee of you saying, at least once, “If you don’t stop that I am going to turn this car around” and will almost surely have you in tears at the realization that you have in fact turned in to your parents. Travel, in some form, is inevitable during the warm weather, and is yet another reason that summer sucks for parents.
  • There is an elevated cost to summer vacation that is unavoidable. Even the most savvy parent feels the strain of summer when it comes to finances. There is the cost of added daycare should you not be lucky enough to get a ‘summer vacation’ from your work, there is added costs of food to fill active children’s stomachs, the cost of clothing for dirty/wet summer play, the added costs of utilities as the sprinkler is constantly on high and the cost of you cooling off the outdoors with your central air as children storm in and out of the house. Summer gets expensive when you add in the travel and the entertainment needs, and it is one more reason that summer seriously sucks for parents. 
  • When the children are home from school and are settling in for the dog days of summer you may find that you have suddenly become a full-time Molly Maid. Water play, and fun outdoors mean dirty foot prints on the floor. Frozen treats, and daily snacks mean finger prints and sticky messes that need to be cleaned. Hand in hand with excess laundry, summer brings an added mess. During the warmer weather months you will find yourself wasting away beautiful days scrubbing the floors or cleaning up arts and crafts that were never completed. Having kids home all-day, everyday, can be very overwhelming and the mess they bring is another reason that summer sucks for parents. 
  • Finally there is the need for constant entertainment. Once the novelty of summer vacation wears off, you will begin to here things like; “I’m Bored”, and “There’s nothing to do” spewing from your children’s mouths. It is at this point that you should panic, pack a bag and call in reinforcements (a.k.a grandparents) because unless you are one of those ‘perky-all-the-time’ parents that I hate, you are in for some trouble. There is no amount off coffee in the world that will better equip you for dealing with a ‘summer bored’ child. Creativity, (and a good hiding place) are your only tools in this battle. You might want to consider stocking up on energy drinks (and ear plugs) if your children are younger, or even moving house so that you are closely connected to a park. (but it better be a good park, one that constantly changes and creates new ways to climb and play. In fact, it should be magical, and have exotic animals that the kids can ride.) Boredom and lack of entertainment are just more reasons that summer sucks for parents. 

These are just a few of the many reasons that Summer sucks for parents there are many more that are not listed here.

Feel free to share your own in the comments section below, and don’t forget all the reasons that summer sucks for kids too(There is the boredom, messed up routine, lack of sleep, lack of gossip, swimming pools filled with piss and lost brain cells. Don’t get me wrong, I love the summer weather, just sans the kids and I’d be great.) 

For another great list of reasons that Summer Sucks check out The Insane Domain. The list posted there is guaranteed to make you giggle, and will probably have you nodding your head at the computer screen like a loser… 

Cheers!

Lil’ C is Driving Me ‘Crazy’


It feels as if I am constantly complaining about Lil’ C and the things he is doing that drive me nuts. I feel almost guilty because lately it seems as if he is constantly in trouble. Perhaps it is just his age, he recently turned 8, and he is overly annoying lately… I don’t know… My friends 8 year old’s also seem to annoy me as well, but it could just be that I am a bitch??? Who knows… It just feels like every time I turn around I am having to remind Lil C of the most basic things, repeat myself constantly, or tell him to go away every few minutes….

Lil’ C is a good boy. He is gentle and caring, sensitive and loving, but he requires a LOT of attention. He is constantly trying to bud into adult conversations and seems to be stuck in some kind of ‘make believe’ world that us adults truly don’t want to hear about, but he feels he needs to share with us at any given moment… usually the most inappropriate ones at that!!

He is regularly reminded to tidy up, shut-up, or stop chewing with his mouth open and it is starting to drive me ‘CRAZY’ I am at my wit’s end with my little boy and I am about ready to ship him off to tim-buck-two…

I guess I am wondering if anyone else is feeling (or has felt) overwhelmed with their 8 year-old… I keep telling myself it is a phase and it will pass, but I am scared that it isn’t! I worry that he is going to be messed up because he is constantly getting disciplined for stupid little things that I should not have to remind him of daily… It is almost as if he is stuck on stupid… (sorry for the harsh example) but really it is like the lights are on and no one is home!!! You tell him something and it goes in one ear and out the other… like it has never been said before… I am about ready to give up….

Any advice???

10 Secrets of a Successful Summer and Sanity to Spare…


Kids are a joy, a blessing and a real pain-in-the-ass! Made even more the latter during the holiday’s… Yes, I am talking about “summer vacation”. You know those evil 2 months when even the teachers don’t want to be around your little demons, and you are constantly bombarded with various versions of ‘I’m bored‘ day-in-and-day-out non-stop, to the point that you just want to stop, grab the little jerks, shake them and scream at the top of your lungs….

BORED? YOUR BORED? Well MUST BE NICE!!! Perhaps you would like to do the laundry? Make lunch? Make dinner? Mop the floor for the fifteenth time this week? What’s that…? Oh you’re not BORED anymore… Hmmmm…”

or simply pack your bags and leave.

Whatever the case, there are some easy and effective ideas for keeping kids busy during the summer holidays that I want to share. These ideas will not only entertain the kids, but keep you relatively close to sanity as well… (Unless your teetering on the edge to start with, in which case I make no promises!)

The Secret of a  Successful Summer and Some Sanity to Spare:

  1. Summer Camp – Nothing breaks-up the holiday, or fights off insanity, like good old Summer Camp. A week or two of overnight camp for the kids is a great way to keep them entertained, help them lean, grow and experience the world, and enjoy some peace and quiet yourself. Most cities provide ample camp options for parents through over-night ‘away’ camps, or day camp options. If cost is an issue looking into your local resources, most cities have options for camp sponsorship so you can send your children away without much cost on you. Truly though, look at it as an investment and save ahead of time… Trust me it is worth the coin.
  2. Grandma and Grandpa – If camp is not an option consider creating your own escape with the help of family members. Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts and Uncles can be a great resource if available. Plan a mini-vacation for your kids by sending them to see relatives for a week, a month, or even a day. It doesn’t even matter if they life around the corner from you, or across the street, the main goal here is to get them out of the house, and get yourself some alone time. The change of environment, and noise level, will be good for everyone. Contact these people ahead of time… In fact, it is best to bring up such plans close to Christmas when it is hard for people to say no!
  3. Share the Joy – Get together with other parents and arrange ‘summer play dates’ where you each take turns hosting the kids at your house. You may have to put up with a day of extra noisy children, but it will be well worth it when it is another parents turn to host.
  4. Aim for Amusement – Amusement Parks are another great option for keeping kids happy during the long break from school. Check out your local listings for a park nearby and gather the kids up for an outing. Amusement Parks are guaranteed to keep the kids busy for at least one day, if your children are older, and the park is close to home, consider purchasing a seasons pass. Kids never get sick of roller coasters and you will have a few hours to yourself.
  5. Hit the Beach – The local beach, park, pond or river is a great way to get the kids out of your hair and give them something to do. Pack snacks, drinks, sunscreen and a blanket and head for the water. The kids can play and you can relax. Grab a friend or relative and take turns keeping an eye on them at the water so you each get the enjoyment of not having to worry and the kids stay safe.
  6. Lifelong Learning – Sign the kids up for some sort of lessons or sport over the summer. Not only will lessons help promote hobbies and education, they will give you an hour of peace each week. Karate, music lessons, dance, or sports are great options and many are available at low-cost options.
  7. Literally Lounge – The local library is a great resource for parents. Most libraries offer free or low-cost courses, groups and activities for children of all ages. Many of which are ‘parent free’ Check out your local library to see what they offer, in the very least you will have enough time to enjoy a good book and let your mind savor the silence.
  8. Trust Tradition – When we were young summer vacation was spent outdoors. We came in for a quick-lunch and got called in for dinner. Trust tradition and kick the kids outside for the day when you are feeling overwhelmed. Have them ride their bikes, set up a sprinkler, or build a tree-house. Children are often creative, provide them with a few items and let their imaginations run free.
  9. Stock Up – Be prepared for boredom but stocking up on entertaining items. Arts and crafts, movies and board games are great ways to beat boredom or waste away a rainy day. Keep a box, or closet, of useful items handy and point it out when you hear complaints.
  10. Last Resort – If all else fails look to someone else to do the hard work for you. Daycare centers and babysitters should not be forgotten during long summer days. Hire someone, or send the kids off for a few hours each week to help break up the routine. Summer is a great time to hire a sitter as there are many students willing to work for a little pocket-money and daycare centers often provide part-time or casual discounts to tired parents. Let someone else take over and take some time to yourself.

Don’t let the strain of summer stress you out, having children does not have to mean losing your mind. Look for creative ways to keep the kids busy and ask for help when you need it. Chances are your parents remember how hard summer vacation could be and will be more than willing to lend a hand. Most of all enjoy the time summer provides for families, before long your kids won’t want your advice, so plan ahead and make the best of the warm weather.

To Give or Not to Give? Best and Worst Gifts for Teachers


Today was the last day of school for many kids around the world, for some the year is ending tomorrow. Depending on where you live and which school board you deal with, this often means pizza parties and games, summer vacation and family fun, it also means good-bye and, gifts?To give the teacher a gift or not to? That is a question a lot of parents ponder. For many, a teachers gift on the last day is a small way of saying thank-you, showing appreciation, and saying good-bye. Ultimately the choice is yours, this has always been tradition in my household, if you do decide to give a gift to your child‘s teacher there are a few tips you should keep in mind.

The Best and Worst Gifts for Teachers:

Gifts to Avoid Teachers, like all of us love getting presents but after a few years of teaching 20 children per class there are a few things they ‘don’t’ want to be given. Mugs, best teacher ornaments, and framed photo’s of your child are gifts to avoid. Look in any teachers cabinet and I am sure you will find an abundance of mugs declaring that they are #1 Teacher, or Teacher of the Year, mugs are great but 100 mugs are useless and impersonal. If you choose to give a gift at least put in some thought. Homemade or personalized T-Shirts are another gift to avoid, remember there is a large chance that you will get the wrong size, and who actually wears those things anyway… I am willing to bet it will end up on the rack at Goodwill before the summer break is over! More top gifts to avoid; live animals, stuffed animals, candles and liquor… just don’t do it!

Gifts Worth GivingIf you are going to give a gift, be sure you put some thought into it. No one needs 1000 candles, scented soaps or notepad sets, avoid the obvious and be creative. Homemade gifts might seem like a great idea, but teaching a child is different from ‘loving’ a child, your daughters artwork is only precious to ‘you’. Some great gifts to give the teacher include;

  • A charitable donation: avoid re-gifting with the gift of giving Plan Canada has some excellent gift options available that help provide education for under-privileged children around the world. Plan Canada will provide classroom education for one child when you give a donation of $15.00, Library in a Box for $60.00 and many other gift options to help educate children in third-world countries. They give you a printable gift receipt, and the donation can be made in another person’s name. It is a great way to help others and show your child’s teacher that you appreciate what they do. Another great option is to purchase a book for the school library and dedicate it to the teacher you are gifting, this not only shows your appreciation but helps children in the years to come. The school librarian will probably be able to inform you of any books on the school wish list so you can purchase one that they really need.
  • Homemade Options (if you must go there): If you simply must do a homemade gift for financial or other personal reasons, than do it with care. Children’s art work and lopsided bowls should be avoided at all costs, but potted plants and baked goods (if you can actually bake well) are acceptable. If you are opting for a homemade gift keep in mind that you usually don’t know the decor of the person’s home, and they usually have an abundance of artwork from their students already. Keep it simple, yet unique. Baked goods and food work because they are actually usable and can be enjoyed.
  • Create Memories: A great group gift option is a school year scrapbook. Get together with the other parents and put together a scrapbook of the year for the teacher to help the teacher remember the wonderful time she had teaching the students. Get creative, it’s a great way to share memories of the year without the teacher having to always have it on display. Quilting or sewing a blanket full of memories is another great gift option if you have that talent.
  • School Supplies: Teachers are always in need of school supplies for the year ahead. Put together a gift basket full of supplies to get the teacher ahead in the year to come.
  • Gift Certificates: Gift certificates are a great way to show your appreciation when you don’t know the person on a personal level. Restaurant, bookstore and movie certificates will allow the user to purchase what they like most, or simply enjoy a night out over the holiday.
  • Say it with Words: Sometimes the best gift is the most simple words. A card or hand written note thanking the teacher for educating your child can touch a soul and say more than a gift. If you are tight on cash, but want to show you care pick up a card at your local dollar store, or create a hand-written letter telling them you appreciate their work. Teachers don’t ‘expect’ gifts, so any thought at all is going to be appreciated.

Your child’s teacher has worked hard to provide the best education they can throughout the year. Whether you decide to give a gift, or opt not to, a simple Thank-you is always a great way to show you care.

Do you send gifts to the teacher? If so, What kind of gifts do you give?

And You Thought ‘YOU’ Were a Bad Parent….


I had started out writing a list of Tips for a Successful Summer vacation with the kids when I stumbled across the following question posted on a website and I HAD to share it here. This is for all the parents who feel like they are not doing their best at times, all the mothers who question if they are ‘bad’ parents, and all the times that parents have wanted to, or actually did, lose their cool… You are ‘Parent of the Year‘ compared to this:

My wife and I adopted a child in a foreign country over 8 yrs ago. We have been experiencing a lot of problems with this child from her telling us she hates us, her cursing at us, bad behavior at school and at home. Can we give up our parental rights to her even if she is not a legal resident of the U.S.? My wife has serious health problems and I am currently having several emotional problems due to the problems caused by our child.

WTF??? Is this guy serious???

This is not a stray cat, or pet goldfish we are talking about!!!
This is a child!

A child that these people made a conscious choice to bring into their lives, probably after much Consideration. Never mind the fact that international adoption is a difficult procedure that usually requires various complex procedures, interviews, complicated paperwork and a whole lot of cash!!! You don’t just give a child away after “over 8 years” because they are acting out… This couple puts any other ‘bad mother’ (a.k.a Britney Spears, Kate plus 8, and Octa-mom) to shame!

The worst part of this is the fact that; not only was responding closed on this question, meaning I was unable to tell this couple exactly how low and pathetic I thought they were, but the responses that followed were people who were understanding and sympathetic…. WTF is WRONG with ppl???

If I announced the equivalent of this on my Facebook in regards to my child I am almost sure that not only would I have NO friends or contacts left, Child Services would most surely be knocking down my door with hours of my post!

I was horrified when I read this absolutely disgusting question, but I was even more horrified to discover that the issue they are inquiring about happens “all the time”. I learned through some simple research that many children who have been adopted from foreign countries get sent back days, weeks, and even years later!

I heard about one couple that actually put their adopted daughter on a plane back to Russia with a note attached to her jacket. The note simply read: “Here, we don’t want her anymore!”

Something is seriously wrong with people…. This is not Walmart, there is no refund and even Walmart wouldn’t do an exchange after 8 years!!!

I get upset enough when I see ads offering ‘beloved family dog needs a new home. Rufus is 14 years old (or 5, or 9)…’ it’s not right to give away a pet that has been part of your life that long, let alone a child with feelings and emotions.

What did these people think when they made the choice to adopt? Did they think that because the child was from a less prosperous country that she/he would hang on their every word and treat them like Gods??? This child has no idea that they were rescued from bad place, that they were given a chance at a better future. They have no idea that their parents are supposed to be their hero’s. Even if they did know all that, they are children. Children are jerks, they are rude, and bad and they get into trouble. Just like getting a puppy… you have to expect that it is going to piss on your floor a few times at least!

My son rolls his eyes at me, he talks back sometimes, and he just generally pisses me off, that doesn’t mean I am going to ship him back up the old birth canal, or package him up and send him back to the manufacturer… This is not some electronic you got at Best Buy that comes with a lifetime warranty… this is a human being with feelings, thoughts and life….

I don’t know what this couple decided to do. Honestly I hope they did find a way to ‘Get Rid of’ the child (as the post was so compassionately titled) because they don’t deserve to be parents, they don’t deserve much in my books… Sure our kids drive us crazy, and once in a while we all consider sending them off to Timbuktu, but children bring joy, love, honesty, and compassion to our lives. They teach us lessons we would never otherwise learn. They show us the beauty and gift of life, a gift this couple should never have received in the first place!!

Honestly I have NEVER been more disappointed in a parent before, and if this couple ever happens to stumble across this post I hope they read it and feel like the pieces of s**t that they are.

***END RANT***

The Argument Against Child Pageants… In My Opinion a Form of Abuse!


Low self-esteem is a serious issue in young girls, and a topic that I have addressed many times on my blogs, and in life. The effects of low self-esteem run deeper than most people imagine, and can cause irreparable harm to a woman’s emotional well-being years down the road. Beauty Pageants are a competition of ‘beauty‘, a judgment of looks and image that in essence decides who is beautiful and who is not. These competitions are a major cause of low self-esteem in girls today, and need to be addressed on a very serious level.

Is this what beauty means to you???

The popularity of beauty pageants has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade. Long gone are the days of the teenage “Georgia Peach” pageants, replaced with ‘Little Miss Perfect” and “Toddlers in Tiaras.” The fight for beauty has seeped into our young children and is creating countless issues that will be prominent in these children in the years to come.

Girls as young as 4 and 5 years-old are being ‘forced‘ to succumb to spray tans and hair bleaching in the name of beauty. They are being made to look like skanky young adults, and are being robbed of their childhood in the whole sickening process. I used the word “Forced” because I don’t believe that any 4 or 5 year-old child would choose to go through what these young pageant girls must go through each and every day. Though many of them probably view the whole charade as “Fun” I believe that it is more due to the fact that they are being told it’s fun, then the actual enjoyment of the situation.

Now, I have no issue with pageants themselves. Beauty Pageants can be great for building confidence and self-esteem. Young girls having a chance to show-off their talents and intelligence is a wonderful thing. What I have an issue with is what these pageants have become over time… No longer is a beauty pageant about being cute, being talented, or being intelligent. These pageants are about bleach blonde unnatural hair, fake tans, false teeth and a Barbie doll image that doesn’t exist. I ask these parents of pageant girls,

What are you teaching your children?

The image you are creating for your daughter is unattainable, and because of this falsity it is bound to have disastrous results. You can tell a little girl wining doesn’t matter until your blue in the face, but through turning her into something she is not you are speaking volumes in the opposite direction… and that is exactly what you are doing while you are spray tanning you child and bleaching her hair… you are telling her that the way she is, is not good enough… No matter what you try to say otherwise… that is the message you are sending, consciously or not!

I have been asked numerous times if I think these pageants should be banned, and my answer is always “Yes“. I think they have to be banned, for the time being at least. I don’t think that these parents have a clue the damage they are doing to their children and without the outside world stepping in to stop it, I don’t think they ever will. These mothers of pageant girls easily defend their actions no matter how much factual information they are faced with to show them the damage they are creating. Parents will defend their children by listing the benefits that pageants provide, benefits such as; Confidence, self-esteem, poise, and drive for success. But they fail to consider the consequences that surround the teaching of such false values and shallow views. Pageants now a days don’t teach girls about confidence, they teach girls that having a “Barbie Doll” image is the way of the world. They don’t teach self-esteem, they teach girls that who they are is not good enough for success, that beauty is skin deep and that without it they are nothing. They don’t teach poise, they teach children that being fake is society’s preference, and being who you are inside is going to get you no where. Is this the lesson we want our children to have??? Is this the reality we truly want them to live in?

I could rant and rave for hours on the effects of pageants, but as I said it is not the actual pageant itself, it is what these competitions have become….

My daughter is beautiful. She has light brown hair, a gap between her teeth and often a filthy face. She toddles around the house getting into trouble and making a great big mess. To me she is perfect just the way she is… I would never consider bleaching her hair, or spraying on a tan just to gain a trophy to place in her room.

Should my daughter ever suffer from low self-esteem I will reassure her of her beauty by placing her in front of a mirror and pointing out her good traits. I will remind her of how smart she is, and the talents she has, and the health she should be thankful for. I will help her feel secure by acknowledging that everyone looks and acts differently, and I  will be sure she knows that images in magazines are airbrushed fakes.

How can you deny your daughter the joy of who she truly is inside? That is the part of her that makes her unique.

Perhaps these parents are living vicariously through their children. I believe that each has security issues of their own that they are trying to appease by turning their children into their image of perfection… They need to open their eyes and realize that their children are wonderful just the way they are, and that they can not take back years of their own insecurity by creating a “Barbie Doll” that is not real!

Teaching your daughter that being beautiful is a sure road to fame and success is only enhancing the issues we have in the world today. It is true society values beauty, but shouldn’t we as parents be trying to change that view? We certainly shouldn’t be encouraging it, as this is only worsening the issue at hand.

Look now at your children, look deep into their eyes, Can you honestly tell me that they are not amazing JUST THE WAY THEY ARE?

So yes, I say ban the pageants. Stop this ‘abuse‘. Children should be taught to love themselves as they are, not forced to live a false image that does not exist. Teach your daughters to respect themselves, accept themselves and most importantly be themselves… or this issue is going to repeat itself as it has in you!

Here is a great link about the effects these pageants can have on our young girls, please check it out:  http://www.momlogic.com/2009/04/child_beauty_pageants.php

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Kids Busy… And Yourself Sane Sans Sunny Days!


Well It’s Cloudy In The Morning Gonna Be Raining In The Afternoon,
If You Don’t Like This Rainy Weather You Better Pack Your Bags And Move,
But If You’re Running From It Brother The Only Road That I Can See,
Is The Road That Leads To Nowhere And Nowhere Is A Fool Like Me…
Save Your Dimes And Nickels Save ’em For A Rainy Day
It Ain’t Gonna Keep The Rain From Coming,
But At Least You Know You’ve Paid Your Way
Rain, Rain, Rain Keep a Falling. – Willie Nelson


It is May 17th, by no mean is it summer yet, that I understand, but I think I was expecting better weather than this… It has been cold damp and rainy here for ‘days’, and I am simply fed up!

I have come to the simple conclusion that Mother Nature is a permanently PMSing BITCH! Just when you think you are safe to pack up the winter clothing she comes at you like a lion attacking its prey…

We have had a glimpse of warmer weather here and there over the recent weeks, and what a teaser that was… Just when I felt the joy of wearing flip-flops and tank tops, the skies turned grey and opened up upon us. For days now I have felt the dampness set into my bones, the cold wind cut at my skin, and the puddles soak through my soles. I hate cold, I hate rain, and I HATE mother nature.

I will admit, rain is much better than snow. If you have lived your life in Canada, (as I have for my entirety) you will gladly accept rain over snow any day… I know this might come as a shock to some, but way up here in the ‘North Country’ we don’t ALWAYS have snow… Nor do we live in igloos with pet penguins, and the impending fear of polar bear attacks lurking over our heads at all times. We don’t all say ‘eh’ and not all of us obsess about hockey…. But that’s another post for another time…

Anyway… This wet weather means that my kids are constantly indoors driving me crazy (well, crazier anyway) and so I decided to share with you my tips and tricks of

10 Things you should have on hand at all times to keep kids busy during bad weather:

  1. Arts and Crafts Supplies – Construction paper, glue, glitter, stickers, and scissors are must haves for any mothers cupboard. Children can entertain themselves for hours given the right tools of trade. Keep these items on hand an easily accessible for rainy days and let their creativity take over. These items can be purchased relatively cheap from your local dollar, or discount, store and kept organized in a large Tupperware bin or container. Check out this list to gather ideas of items to buy.
  2. Board Games – Trouble, Sorry, Monopoly and The Game of Life are all great ways to keep kids entertained indoors. Stock-up on good clean family fun when you see it on sale, and store them in a closet in-case of emergency. There are great games for any age group, and most can be found at your local department store or online for fair prices. If all else fails grab a deck of cards and teach them to play go-fish!
  3. A Few Good Movies – Nothing keeps kids quite on a rainy day like their favorite movie characters. Let them park in front of the television with their PJ’s and pillows and enjoy the piece and quiet it brings. You can purchase or rent DVDs at your local shopping center, or subscribe to Netflix for a small fee, allowing your kids unlimited t.v shows and movies from the comfort of your home, without the trip to the rental center.
  4. Simple Snacks – Be sure you always have simple to prepare snacks on hand. Children tend to eat more when they are bored so help them fill-up on nutritious foods by providing easy to eat snacks like fruit or nuts. Keeping these out on a table or in an easy to open jar will deter them from grabbing at the sugary snacks that are ready-made and generally available on hand.
  5. An Imagination Station – A tickle truck full of dress-up clothes can be a fun and entertaining project for curious children. Put together a box of old clothes in all different sizes and pull it out on a cold indoor day. Be sure you have a camera on hand to capture the cute and creative outfits they come up with.
  6. Books – Encourage reading by having a large selection of books on hand at all times. Select books of different levels and types, factual and fantasy. Having a wide selection will encourage children to read and learn no matter their mood.
  7. Video Games – Despite expert advice, I keep video games on hand for times when I require  peace and quiet. Video games can be a source of entertainment for older children, and an outlet of learning for younger ones. Not all video games are violent and not all of them lead to juvenile delinquency, there are a large assortment of video games available that will aid in your child’s learning and development ,so grab a few from Wal-Mart and let your kids have some fun.
  8. Writing Tools – Having paper and pens on hand for your child to follow in your ‘writing’ footsteps will encourage them to get creative. Children have wild imaginations, once they are old enough to read and write on their own sit them down with a pen and paper and have them write some stories. For younger children, take some time to write their stories out for them… You never know you could have the next best-selling author on your hands!
  9. Educational Toys – Every thing your children do can be a teaching opportunity, be sure you provide your children with toys that will not only entertain them but help to educate them as well. Technology has created ample amounts of educational toys that claim to aid in child development, do a little research and ask around before spending, but find a few that your child likes and allow them to learn and play at the same time.
  10. Other Children – I know what you’re thinking “who the hell wants to deal with more children on a rainy day?” but nothing keeps children entertained like other children. Get together with a girlfriend and make a plan for rainy day play dates, you get to enjoy quality time with grown-up while the kids keep each other amused.

Keeping children amused during this bad weather does not need to be difficult, a stock pile of entertaining items, as well as some creativity can keep children entertained for hours. Stock up your cupboards and curse Mother Nature, but don’t stress about your kids driving you nuts because with these helpful tips you’ve got it covered.

Do you have any tips for keeping kids amused on a rainy day?
Feel free to share them in the comments section, or email submission to:
chasek8@live.ca