Monday, September 28, 2009

When tiny choices contradict...

Recently, I have been all about making small choices to just be better...some things for ecominic reasons, some things for environmental reasons, some things, just because.  One of my new favorit sites is Tiny Choices. It inspires me to just take baby steps. 

But, my latest quandry is that sometimes those tiny choices contradict. So, I am having a little personal dilemna...  An example...

About a year ago, I starting using resusable shopping bags.  At first I bought those black or green ones from the the local grocery store, but now, I have been replacing them with all those cute prints that you can find just about any where.  So, good for not using plastic or even paper.  But, I seem to have found a way to make it work for the shopper fashionista deep inside me.  Not sure if that is in spirit with the whole "less waste" for the environment lifestyle I am trying to embrace.  And another...

This school year, I started sending cloth napkins to in the girls school lunches - yay, me!  Less waste, right?

But, last night, I sat up and put pretzel goldfish and smores goldfish that I bought in family-sized packaging into little plastic snack-sized zip-lock baggies to keep in my car for our daily commutes.  (If you have never traveled with a 3 and a 5 year old for more than 30 minutes at a time, let me alert you to the fact that they ALWAYS get hungry sometimes during your 50 minute commute.  Snacks on hand are a must!)  So, I am doing good by saving money and no buying those little individual-sized packages of snacks, but I am still producing waster - and plastic waste at that!!  Oh, little snack-sized zip-lock baggies, how I love thee!!!  You are like that bad boy that I knew my parents wouldn't like, but I couldn't seem to stay away from.  You have a sweet, sensitive side that the rest of the world just doesn't see...

I am not sure if I am reducing our carbon footprint, but I am trying really hard to at least not make it any bigger.  Maybe the best I can hope for is to break even...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Things I learned as a Mama #2

From the time a baby is born, you look forward to that day when you reach the holy grail and they are "potty trained."  Little do you know that you then enter the ultra glamorous period known as "Maaaamaaa, I POOPED!!!  Come and wipe my bottom!!!!" 

Reminds me of that scene in Coming to America where Eddie Murphey's character has a body servant to do just that...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Things I learned as a mama #1

You really can have great sex in 5 minutes flat with a child calling your name from the other room...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What the girls ate for lunch #5 w/e 9-18-09 and #6 w/e 9-25-09

Okay, this is a 2 week lunch post.  With the yard sale over the weekend and a work trip to NYC that I left for on Sunday (more about that in another post :-) ), both weeks were short on lunches and I am just now able to sit down and post them.  So, anyways, I have three lunches from last week and 2 lunchess from this week.  We got off of our Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday routine - I was busy with prepping for the yard sale last Thursday, so didn't do a Friday lunch and this week - with me being gone - Dan was on Mister Mom duty and so the girls ate from the cafeteria menu the first part of the week.  But I made lunches for today and tomorrow and the girls seemed excited to have thier lunch boxes with them when they left this morning.

Monday - grilled chicken brest strips, pretzel sticks, red bell pepper strips and sliced strawberries.

Tuesday - hot dog slices, cheese ravioli with pesto and fresh parmasan, red bell pepper strips and sliced strawberries.

Thursday - Pepperoni slices, pretzel chips, carrot spears, and grapes and sliced strawberries.

Thursday (the 24th) - wheat thins, sliced strawberries and peeled and sliced cucumbers for both; tomato and provoline sandwhich spirals for Tara and a sliced hot dog for Savannah.

Friday - sliced, roasted chicken, orange bell pepper slices, sliced strawberries and a chocolate chip granola bar.

If any of you are packing lunches for your kiddos - I would love to see and hear about them!  I am always looking for new ideas!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Let's make a deal...

Even though in spite of all the fancy-schanmcy degrees that I have hanging on my wall at work, deep down inside, I am a garage sale junkie. Not the “going to” type, but the “having one” type. I love it!!!

This past weekend was the annual Country Wood neighborhood yard sale – even though I don’t actually live in Country Wood, I still manage to have a sale there every year. I have a great friend who lives there who graciously lets me use her yard for the sale! I love love love the idea of having someone pay money for my junk!

So, every year I pull all the stuff I have been accumulating over the past year into our front room (which is really our formal living room, but is in reality the girls’ toy room. So, I pull it all together and take the third Friday in September off every year to do my yard sale.

This year, we had an unexpected kink – well, 2 actually – but the main one is that my friend had a fire at her house! She called me on Tuesday night very upset and I could hardly make out what had happened. Anyway, the gist of what I got from her that night was that there was a fire – they were all okay, but there was no power in their house and she did not think that a yard sale that weekend was a good idea.

(Okay, so here is where I admit (shamefully) that a tiny little part of me wanted to go – hey – what about me?!?! What about MY yard sale?!?! But don’t worry – I squashed that itty bitty voice, told it that it should be ashamed and sincerely told my friend not to worry about me, to focus on her family and just let me know if I can help in any way. I won’t get into her situation here, but don’t worry, she and her family are all fine and their house was only damaged on one side and is repairable.)

So, on Wednesday, I get an email from another woman I know talking about her yard sale in Country Wood!!! The skies broke open and the sun shone through!!! I called her and she was more than willing to let me come to her house to yard sale!!!

So, what about the other kink, you ask? Ummm, let’s just say that it has been VERY wet this month! I swear, we have had nothing but rain for the last 3 weeks! But, the annual yard sale is sort of like that ball field that Kevin Costner built in Field of Dreams – if you have it, they will come! And come they did! Sure enough, it rained off and on all day on Friday, but I still managed to have a really good day. It was really funny to see everyone running around in the rain from house to house. I managed to stay mostly dry thanks to the 2 tents we had set up.

Saturday, which is the most important day, stayed overcast most of the day, but it never rained so that was great!!! People came and went all day! I sold a ton of stuff! It is funny (and not always in a good way) how much effort some people go to on order to get a better deal than the listed price of an item. I several pairs of shoes that the girls had outgrown and I priced them all $1.00 each. They were in used condition, but definitely still had plenty of life in them. I had several pairs of Keds and one woman asked me “Hey, these shoes are $1.00?” I told her yes and she said, “Will you take 50 cents since they have been worn?” WTF?!?! They are marked $1 because they have been worn, you crazy lady!!!

So lots of stuff like that all day, but I keep a good attitude about stuff like that – it really doesn’t bother me as long as they are polite. I expect people to “deal” and mostly I am like, sure, whatever – a sale is a sale. But it was just that her reason “because they have been worn” was so odd – hey, lady, in case you weren’t aware…pretty much EVERYTHING at a yard sale has been worn!!!

At the end of the day, I had the greatest thing happen that can possibly happen to you at the end of a yard sale day. A woman who had a resale shop came by and offered a flat price for the children’s clothes that I had left. By that time, all of the good stuff had mostly been picked over and I had already decided to donate the rest to goodwill or whatever. So, when she offered – I took it!

All in all, it was my most successful yard sale to date!!! Probably won’t do it again until next September, but honestly, I love this stuff too much!!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Key holder...

Jus in case you are wondering - It is entirely possible for a 3-year-old who begged to be the "key holder" to lose your keys in the 30 seconds it takes her to walk the 20 feet to the front door...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Do as I say, not as I do...

Things I hope my daughters get from me:

1.  My love of reading
2.  My "book smarts"
3.  My sense of humor

Things I hope they don't get from me...

1.  My ability to follow directions...or not, as the case may be...

On Thursday, Savannah's teachers sent home a permission slip for her (FIRST EVER!) field trip.  I signed the permission slip and sent it back in her school folder the next day. 

On Friday, the permission slip was in her bag again, with the part highlighted that said, "Please send $12." 

So, I wrote a check for $12 and sent it in her school folder today.

This afternoon (Monday), the permission slip was once again in her bag with the words,

Please do not send a check.  Cash only.



My husband says things like this are a result of all that smart stuff I have stuffed up in my head. 

Yeah, I like that...  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What the girls ate for lunch #4 - w/e 9/11/09

Short lunch week this week becaue of Labor Day.  The girls only had 3 days of school.  I called Tuesday my Double Monday because it was our first day back to work/school and it was also Dance Night - well, gymnastics for Savannah and ballet/tap for Tara.  Now THAT was a long day!!!
We are experiencing a (hopefully temporary) setback in the "waste-free" credo.  Those fancy-shmancy Thermoses that I bought the girls - well apparently during transport from home to school to cafeteria, the contents gets pressurized - giving the girls a lovely shower when they pop the spout open to drink.  Not a good thing!!!  So, I went back to the rubbermaid "juice box" containers and, well, unless they are kept completely upright, they always end up leaking...ugh!  So, for now, we are back to pre-packages drinks - but I am not giving up hope of finding a good beverage container option for pre-school set that will fit easily in a lunchbox and be easy to use and not leak or spray!!! 
So, onto the lunches...
Tuesday - slice of pepperoni pizza left over frum supper the night before and for Savannah - red and yellow bell pepper strips, strawberries and a cereal bar cut into chucks.  For Tara, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, strawberries and blueberries and an applesauce.  Not a good lunch day for Savannh - my fault mostly - she came home and announced that she does not like the yellow bell pepper strips and also that the cereal bar got all mushy and crumbled all over everything.  I didn't think about the fact that being in the same container with the fruits and veggies might cause it to get mushy.  It probably would have been okay if I had put it into a separate container, but all in the same tray like that with no divider was not a good move...
Thursday - For Savannah, a string cheese, wheat thins, red bell pepper strips and sliced strawberries.  She ate every bite.  For Tara, a little blends yogurt, blueberries, wheat thins, baby carrots and sugar snaps.  Another home run!
Friday - Savannah - pepperonis, mozzerella cheese cubes, pretzel sticks, baby carrots with ranch dip, grapes and for a treat, a fruit strip.  Tara - tomato and provoline sandwich spirals, grapes, baby carrots and broccoli, applesauce and for a treat, a fruit strip.
I find myself making them similar but different lunches for them.  I really thought I would be doing to identical lunches, but Savannah is more picky this year than she has been in the past, and I try to include things that each of them likes.  Still, most days at least some components of thier lunches are the same. 
As a side note, I am actually finding that in spite of the quite a few cute little bento boxes that we have and the laptop lunchboxes, my favorite lunch container for them is the regular Gladware sandwhich-sized container using the silicone muffin cups as dividers.  They seem to hold just the right amount and put all the food on display in a cute way.  Same concept as the laptop lunches, but a little smaller and more compact.  Anyway, just think it is funny that the gladware I got for less than $1.00 is my lunch-packing fave!!!  What lunch containers do you prefer?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Okay then...

So, I have been wondering how parents determine what is appropriate for thier children to read, if they do not read it themselves.

Last week while I was waiting for the girls to get out of dance and gymnastics class, I was reading a book and talking with several other mothers who were also waiting.  The conversation turned to good books for tween-aged children - say between the ages of 9-12.  We talked about oldies - Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children, Lois Lenski books and new ones - Goosebumps, Harry Potter, etc.  I brought up The Golden Compass series. 

...uhhhh, hello???

The room went dead silent...I kid you not.  From the looks on the faces of the women around me, you would have though I suggested The Anarchist Cookbook or Helter Skelter.  I literally had women pressing thier lips together and shaking thier heads in disapproval. 

I thought that only happened to Opie in epidodes of Andy Griffith. 

Now, I know there is controvery surrounding The Golden Compass books, but I have read them all - I think they are beautifully written - and in my opinion (as a former preacher's kid and a present born-again Methodist) I think the hype overshadows the beauty of these books.  They are a fantasy story - nothing more, nothing less.

I would have understood the outrage perhaps if these same women opposed Harry Potter and similar books - I know plenty of people who have this opinion and while I don't agree, I do understand thier position at least.

But, no....apparently, boy wizards and demonic beings who literally suck the life of people is okay but alternate universes where a god only exists in the form of a mortal angel is not.

I think it is sad really because I think the overall moral of The Golden Compass - that no one is all good or all bad and that we become who we are by the choices we make is a beautiful message. 

If more people believed that and lived thier lives accordingly, I think the world would be a better place.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What the girls ate for lunch #3 - w/e 9/04/09

Another week down - another week of lunches.  Here we go:

Monday:  Identical lunches today - smiley potatos with ketchup in the little condiment container, cheddar cheese cubes, strawberries and pineapples and sugar snaps.

Tuesday:  Almost identical - sandwich pinwheels with cheese and provolone (freezer section of the grocery), red bell pepper strips, pretzel sticks, grapes and a fruit strip, with some blueberries for Tara (Savannah does not like blueberries).  Savannah was not impressed with the pinwheels - Tara ate every bite.

Wednesday was cafeteria day.

Thursday:  Okay, today was a bit of indulgence - I made "fairy sandwhiches" for the girls - a butter sandwich (hey, not judging) with pink "fairy" (ummmm...sugar) sprinkles.  Savannah's is the heart shape, Tara had the dinasour (a little sad looking).  Along with that, they had string cheese chunks, red bell pepper strips and berries (strawberries for both and blueberries added for Tara).

Friday:  Last day of the week!  Wheat thins, cheese cubes and sugar snaps, strawberries for Savannah and grapes and blueberries for Tara.

I know I have like 5 whole regular readers, but I hope my lunch recaps insprire you to be creative with your own kid's lunches.  I spend about 15 minutes or less putting together thier lunches.  I really enjoy looking back and knowing what I made them.  I am proud of the fact that thier lunches are about 50 percent fruir and veggies!!!  Hopefully, they continue to love thier fruits and veggies as they grow!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Where to start...

...I don't even know. I have a trillion and one things to do and what am I sitting her doing? Writing in my blog, checking out facebook, hanging around the etsy site (Gawd, I LOVE that site - you can find ANYTHING there!!!). Oh and watching last nights episode of Top Chef! And Project Runway comes on tonight (TIVO'ing it now), so that means I will be getting my bath late and going to bed later than I should!

And, in the midst of all this - just about 10 feet away from where I am sitting is a huge pile of...well, stuff!!! See, my annual foray into the yard sale business is just three weeks away and as usual, I am way behind on getting ready for it. Oh, I am very good at the drag-it-all-down-the-stairs-and-pile-it-in-the-front-room part of prepping - it is the organizing, cleaning, folding, hanging and tagging that I can't ever seem to get around too!

And I am a total yard sale nerd! I love it! I love setting all my stuff out - seeing everyone paw through it and (Yay!) handing over money to me for stuff I wasn't using anyway!

Oh, well - we are heading into a three-day weekend, so hopefully, I will get some motivation going and get some organization!!!
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