Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Intentional Marketing with Unintentional (?) Grief

Intentional Marketing with Unintentional Grief

I was attempting to look through my daughter’s agenda (a fancy word for a $97 spiral book that I also had to buy the binder for that my daughter draws “the type of day she had” with a green happy face, a yellow flat mouth face or the red sad face.) Before I could open the agenda my baby girl handed me a glossy tri-fold booklet that was given to her today at school. See, an organization, a highly reputable organization visited her school with some music and skits and information about their program that relies strictly on donations.  Baby Girl says to me “Mommy! If you sign this then I will get a pair of light up glasses and a CD!”

Uh-oh.  Upon reading I realized that this was a monthly gift, that at this time we truly can not afford, and therefore my baby girl was going to be very sad and disappointed.  Great. I can see it now. She will now know the definition of haves and have not’s.  She will now see that she can’t always get what she wants…which is not a bad thing, except for the way it was presented. “Hey kids…do you want these super duper ultra cool light up glasses?????”  Have your parents sign and return this form.  That’s it…and you get these awesome one of a kind fabulous glasses!  Why didn’t they explain that there was more to it than me signing a form? Why didn’t they explain that it would be a monthly gift of $35.  Why didn’t they explain that we are already rubbing pennies together to pay for this private education and we may not be able to take on this extra $35?  How do I explain this one without breaking her heart, or her spirit?

Will they be there to catch her tears when she has to sit in class while the other kids "whose parents only had to sign a form" go forth and grab their cool sunglasses?  Hmm?  Will they be there to help her stand strong when the other kids flash those expensive shades at her and ask where hers are?  Will be there to pick her up off of the floor when those same kids tell her how mean her parents are and that they must not love her enough?

Shame on them for the grief they have inflicted upon me….(and the embarrassment). 

And since I am on my high horse (is there any other way to travel?) let me talk to those makers of the  lip glosses and miniature Disney characters that are child eye level in the check out counter. Seriously????

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I should have taken stock in Kleenex

The Parent Drop-Off Line…wahhhhh!

I have always been a bit “stoic” when it comes to my Baby Girl. You see, growing up and even in my present day I have been told that I am just too emotional. Trying to keep that influence out of her life (hey….if it has passed on to her through genes, there is nothing I can do but say “Hey! It is in our genes!!!!) I sucked it up, dried it up, etc.  Well, that has all changed. August 2011 has become a milestone for me. A sloppy, wet, tear-soaked, ugly-cry milestone. 

Baby Girl has turned five and she has started Kindergarten. (Tito…get some tissues!) She is going to the same ‘school’ as she did last year for Preschool, however, things are different.  Up until a few weeks ago I would drive her to school, park and then walk her in to her classroom. She started socializing or clinging to her teacher’s leg, depending on how she was feeling.  The teachers and I would chat it up and then I would say a loving goodbye to my girl by kissing her hand and she would place it on her cheek just like in "The Kissing Hand.

Those days are over.

I would send her to school with lopsided ponytails and she would come home with the prettiest tightest braids. Sometimes one big braid, sometimes two, and sometimes she would have intricate patterns circling her little precious head. All thanks to the amazing ladies who cared for her.

Not anymore.

I had an investment in the teachers and the children she was surrounded with. Her lunch was brought to her (price included in the tuition) and she had delicious naps and serious playground time.

Finito. Nada. Done.


We now enter the Parent Drop-Off line of traffic.

I pull up and stop as directed and someone else opens her door, unbuckles her car seat and helps her out of the car. They assist her with her back pack and lunch box. Sometimes a conversation is started between Baby Girl and the Parent Patrol Person and I don’t get to send my loving, although possibly embarrassing, “love you” and “have an awesome day” and blow kisses. Sigh. Sniff. Errrrt. Sniff sniff sniff.

No longer do I get to walk her to her class, chat it up with the teacher, and get dozens of hugs from the other children. Her lunch is made the night before by me and no matter how many cute little ways I come up with to make her lunch FABULOUS, it comes back to me just like I sent it. The Goldfish Bread, the heart shaped fruit that I cut out for her, even the cute little notes I write on sandwich bags and napkins come back. Does anyone actually read them to her? Bahhh wahhh wahhhhhh! Her hair looks more frazzled when she comes home than what silly excuse for pigtails I sent her there in. “Tito…where are you and those tissues?????”

Monday, June 27, 2011

Steamed Artichokes lead to burnt pan.

I had this inspiration. Inspiration to steam an artichoke. See, I have been following a blog of a gal that I met at church. She and her family have since moved to California and are serving God in a wonderful way. Her blog, diJESStibles, is a fantastic place to visit....often!  Anyhoo I have been trying to get pumped to kick up the family meals a few notches during the week.  I get home about 5:45pm so I want to be able to love all over my family and eat a good dinner and be able to wind down all before 9:00pm.  So, I am planning on doing her Mac & Cheese but I need to hit the grocery store first. Tonight, I felt a bit inspired. See, I purchased a lovely artichoke at Trader Joes on Friday and it really needed to be cooked, so...I decided to steam it.

The instructions were simple. Cut the stem off and remove the hard outside leaves. Check. Strategically place pats of butter and garlic in the leaves. Check.

Boil water, just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and place the steamer in the pan. Check.

Allow to steam, cover and cook for 25 minutes....here's where we had a problem.

See, I followed the instructions perfectly, except for one thing. I allowed the burner to stay on medium-high (note the red circle there underneath the pan). 

We made it to 12 minutes and then the steam became burnt. Seriously burnt. The fire alarm went off. 

I would have taken a picture of the after mess but I was so discouraged that I just cleaned up the mess and threw away my artichoke.  Then I bagged up the trash and promptly removed it from the house, opened all of the windows, sprayed Febreeze on everything and turned all four Scentsy's on!

I will try again another time.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Eleven things.

Everyone has lists of 10. I thought I would shake things up a little bit, upset the balance of the earth on it's axis, get a little crazy. Eleven things.  So, my first list of eleven will be about...me.
1. I am a natural born ginger head.  At 40 years old I must now pay for my ginger. It's all good.
2. I am a reader. I will read the same book five plus times.  Especially Harry Potter and the Twilight Saga. I learned to read at age three according to my mom.  She was pregnant with my sister and when she needed a bit of rest she would turn on Sesame Street. My teacher had yellow feathers. My great-grandmother "Little Grandma" told me at age 5 that when I could spell the word 'encyclopedia' and tell her the definition that she would buy me a set of them. I did, she did, they were white with gold lettering on the cover. What I wouldn't give to have them still.
3. I really like coffee. A whole lot. Seriously.
4. I have been on about 37 diets. None of them worked. I like to think it was because I refused to give up the creamer in my coffee. See number 3 for more details.
5. I love music about this much more than I love coffee.  My first love:  Bay City Rollers.  My second love: Journey. My third and final true love: Duran Duran.  My third and final true love blossomed me into multiple affairs littered with musical notes...none as deep and gratifying as D2...but some serious romps none-the-less.
6.  I could get lost in parent-teacher stores. The 200 colors of Sharpie, cutie patootie post-it notes and stationery with cheesy sayings and quotes, index cards and highlighters and board games and puzzles and bulletin board stuffies...oh my! Did the room just get about 20 degrees hotter all of a sudden?
7.  I have a dream of serving women and children who are victims of domestic abuse. I have this passion sweltering in my soul. I haven't gotten the nerve to put a plan into action. But...I want to. I am working on this.
8.  I am a nappper. I am a professional. I will put everything I have into it. The atmosphere is always just right from the temperature (cool) to the lighting (non-existent) to the ambiance (spa like music) and the texture (cool sheet, fluffy blanket, heavy blanket), leverage (two pillows, one firm and one soft). 
9.  Massage Therapy will cure almost anything....at least for 30, 55 or 90 minutes.
10. Tea is good for the tongue and the soul. My current flavor is Earl Gray.  When I hit SB I go for the London Fog. Yum.  I also enjoy peppermint, oolong, and kava.
11. I love Jesus. There, I said it. I am a Jesus follower. I love Him, really, I do.  He is my Papa, my Savior, my Redeemer, my Healer, my God, my Sanctuary, my Deliverer, my Provider, my Friend, my King. I could go on and on and on and on.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Garden of Eatin'

Witness a child, who will not eat much of anything except for chicken nuggets, french fries, and various sweets, pick and eat the broccoli we have grown.

She picked it and....

...ate it! and then she ate the leaf!

 Dad got in on the action!

Our lettuces are ready.  I picked spinach...



and then I ate a big massive healthy salad. That my family and I grew. Nice.

Garden Part 1: Planning and Planting

John:  "I am ready to plant the garden."
Me:  "Let's do this thing!"
John:  "Who are you and what did you do with my wife?

Seriously. He is not kidding. We have only been discussing this garden since we moved into the house in 2001.  We can't even decide where to hang baby pictures of Olivia in the house. For. the. last. four. years.

We visited many places including Lowe's, Home Depot, and finally the Co-Op.  The Co-Op was Olivia's favorite. It had baby chicks for sale and a slide.

Get Ready....Get so.....GO!


We bought a raised bed as we don't know how to 'cultivate' the crappy soil we have.  It was fairly easy and even I stepped in to help build it. Again, John:  "Who are you and what did you do with my wife?"

"Seriously. Where is my wife?"

We built the bed and then planted our veggies, herbs and flowers.  There is Rosemary, Lavender, Onions, Shallots, Garlic, Brocolli, Bell Peppers, Romaine Lettuce, Iceburg Lettuce, Spinach, Cucumbers and Tomatoes.  Then we watered it. Then we prayed. Then we waited. Water, pray, wait. Water, pray, wait. 

 water, pray, wait


 water, pray, wait

 water, pray, wait

While we watered, prayed and waited, Olivia got in on the action and planted some flowers. What a joy to see her get her pretty litty hands dirty.  Pretty cool stuff.

 And, after lots of watering, praying and waiting...something sprouted. Lots of things sprouted.

brokkoli. cavolo broccoli. brassica oleracea var. italica. broccoli.

Pretty, isn't it?

Raw Cleanse...done!

Whew! I did it! I actually made the commitment and stuck to that commitment. For eight days I ate only fruits and vegetables. I drank plenty of water and herbal teas. I did not put one drop of dairy, sugar, high fructose syrup, chocolate, or diet cola into my body. My only deviation (and if you know me, this is an absolute line drawn in the sand) was my morning two cups of coffee with non-dairy creamer.  I am thrilled to say that I lost four pounds and a few inches. I gained energy and a new confidence that I really can do it if I set my mind to it.  I attended a birthday party, a special dinner banquet, McDonalds and Chick-fil-a and still stuck to my plan.  I have since decided to continue to eat this way with a few revisions. I am going to eat as little dairy as possible. I have discovered that it doesn't like me very much.  I will do my best to eat whole foods as much as possible.  And, I will try to eliminate as much processed foods as possible.  This is my plan for during the week.  On the weekends I will loosen the reins a bit. Not go crazy, just loosen up a bit.  I am borrowing this plan of attack from both Dr. Josh Axe (whole foods) and also from Chantel Hobbs (caloric and portion control along with fitness AKA 80-20 rule).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Raw Cleanse...eww.

I have finally made the committment to do a detox.  Over the last few months I have fought off the sluggish fatigue, headaches, nausea, low energy and more.  You see the words "cleanse" and "detox" so I don't need to list any more symptoms...kapish? 

I have been listening to Dr. Axe on SuperTalk 99.7 on Sundays and have heard enough testimonials to this particular cleanse. You can read more about it here:  http://www.draxe.com/the-best-way-to-detox/.

The Do's are simple
  • Eat plenty of organic, raw fruits and vegetables
  • Drink lots and lots of water
  • Work in garlic flax seed, legums, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, herbal and green teas
Plus....a seven day cleanse kit called "Raw Cleanse"  yum.

The Dont's are pretty simple too:
  • Avoid dairy, meat, processed foods, grains, sugar, alcohol and caffeine.
Not too difficult except:
I love dairy. Really, I do. I love real butter, cream, yogurt....ect.  But I will abstain for a week.  The other uh-oh for me is caffeine.  I have two cups of coffee faithfully every morning. And, I use CoffeeMate. Arrggghh! So, I will give up my dairy. I can follow all of the rules, but I will continue my coffee. I am curious how much of a monkey wrench that might throw into the mix. 

For breakfast I slowly ate 12 oz of blackberries. Yum!  For lunch I had a veggie burger, strawberries, oranges and watermelon and some cucumber.  Again, yum! 

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Does this clutter make my home look fat?

Ever tried to lose those last 10 pounds? Ugh. Right??!!  That is how I feel about my clutter. And I have realized that it is dragging me down and wearing me out. My piles of paper are so "in your face" that my poor family has no idea that I actually spent a few hours and blood drops on an area. How's that for confession? Anyhoo. Tonight, I am taking a teleclass "Your Home Matters" by Kimberly Medlock.  The announcement of the teleclass arrived in my inbox like a light of hope:

"You will never truly experience all of the benefits and satisfaction that can come from a successful direct sales business if you are constantly nagged by the feeling that your home life is being neglected as a result.  If your home is lacking order and organization then don't miss this special session by professional organizer Kimberly Medlock!
This session will give you specific systems and strategies for addressing the key areas of your home - closets, kitchen, papers and kids!  It is packed with must-know information if you truly want less clutter and chaos in your environment."


Southern Fried Chicken Pasta Salad

In my recent endeavors to rid my home of clutter, I found about four different file folders filled with recipes printed off from websites and clippings from magazines.  The funny thing is, I don't really cook...alot. I used to. Once upon a time, I was an independent consutlant with The Pampered Chef and gained quite a reputation for cooking well and cooking creatively. I used to preach it to the choir at my kitchen shows...."do you find yourself in a dinner rut? Does your family know what day of the week it is just by simply taking a look at the dinner table? You know...Taco Tuesday, Sloppy Joe Saturday, Whatever-is-in-the-pantry Wednesday, etc." Then, I would throw myself and my guests into an fun cooking demonstration of how to kick up their menu and shoot that dinner rut out of the sky.  And all for pennies and in very little time. Ahhh...well, I stopped listening to myself.  I fell into a rut and pulled my family down in with me.  Poor things!  I received a bit of inspiration recently. My neighbor was in a difficult and physically painful situtation that deserved some serious TLC from us.  I offered to bring some meals over.  In going through all of my recipes I found a little clipping about the size of a coupon for Southern Fried Chicken Pasta Salad. 

Simple and easy. Mayo, mustard, salt & pepper, bell pepper, hard-boiled eggs, minced garlic and cold fried chicken.  Confession:  I purchased popcorn chicken from the Wal-Mart deli.

Olivia and Chloe helped.  They loooved the Food Chopper.

It turned out pretty well. My hubby and little one were pleasantly surprised by my "shake-up" and enjoyed it too.  My neighbor said it was delish. I feel the need to place a gold star on a chart for myself!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Three days of being a slug created a monster in me!

I had a little itty bitty teensy weensy female surgery on Friday morning and took complete advantage of the fact that I had permission to rest. I rested on and off all of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I am a firm believer that you can truly never have enough naps...but three days of taking it easy (well, I rested between loads of laundry, throwing away four garbage bags full of stuff...can you say "hoarder"?) took a toll on me. Tonight, the monster came out! I attacked my pantry with gusto. Man...I wish I had taken a before picture. Not for your eyes, I would be far too embarrassed for that! I threw away more stuff and have a stack of Pampered Chef  cookbooks, a few pieces of stoneware, a mini micro cooker and a cutting board ready to sell or give away.  I felt so empowered that I peered around, quietly stalking my next victim. A hunter hunting her prey. I feel a bit like Bella in Breaking Dawn during her first hunt as a newborn vampire. Crouching slowly and deliberately I pounced on the cabinets under my sink.  It didn't even have a chance. I swiped it so skillfully that it didn't even see me coming. Hmph, I am that good.   I completely reworked that space into serious shape.  Here is the thing, after reading some more of It's All Too Much by my good pal PW (Pete Walsh...yes, we have moved on to initials, don't be jealous...it's all good) I realized that for some reason I have everything that I don't need or use right within my reach. The things I use daily or weekly are way up high.  Seriously? Seriously.  So I switched things around and although it sounds easy...it's not.  But rewarding? Ahhhhh!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"It's All Too Much!"

I am reading the book, "It's All Too Much" by Peter Walsh.  I think he rocks. Seriously.  Although I am a "Bag Lady" due to my Thirty-One business, I truly am a "bag lady" by nature. I don't completely understand the spell I am under and have been for as long as I can remember...to hold on to everything. For years...I have created piles and then moved those piles around from here to there. Frankly, I don't know what to do with them. I know the reasons I hung onto that darned stuff. Like, the cute knapkins that were at a Halloween party last year, I snagged a couple of fresh ones to put into Liv's scrapbook. The same scrapbook that I have not yet worked on and she is going on 5 years old. Yes.  Seriously. 

Or how about the ticket stubb to the Preds game?  Or the numerous cards from my sweet and precious Moo Moo (mommy).  And...programs, magazine articles, recipes, notes for my journal, pictures, and more, much much more. 

I took Pete's advice, yes, we are on a first name basis. Don't be jealous, you would not want the baggage it takes to be on a first name basis with him.

I attacked a corner of my bedroom. This particular corner has three levels of stuff.

  • On the bottom is a crate holding frames and pictures to be put into those frames to be put on the walls. I do believe there are baby pictures of Liv in there. 
  • On top of that is a clear plastic bin with shoes. Don't know why they are in the bin. Don't even know if they are mine.
  • Then on top of that layer sits two bins of school paperwork. Liv is still in Pre-school but I have managed to hang on to every single piece of paper that her precious little girl hands have touched.  Included in these papers are notes from the teacher, from the school, copies of signed field trip forms with copies of the checks I wrote to pay for those field trips.
Petey says to keep a couple of special pieces and the rest must go.  I have been fighting this one area of clutter for a few years now. What kind of mom would I be to throw away papers that her sweet little brain thought about before she put her crayons to it?  Well...let me tell you what kind of mom does that. The kind that hangs on to everything and then witnesses her own special girl doing the same thing. She actually got upset with me for throwing away the packaging that her Jesse doll came in. Mmmmhmmmm.  That flashed through my head and then I proceeded to attack the bins. And, viola, I am down to just a few pieces of each year (Grandma Joanies for a year, then Preschool #1 for a year and now Preschool #2)

Many corners still to go. But this one corner in my room looks good. A bit liberating actually.   Of course, I still have two layers to go for that corner, but one little step at a time. Thanks P.  Love, Me.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

An idea is looming...

I am so excited to show you my latest inspiration.  One of my issues is that I get inspired but don't do anything. This is where I need your help!  My dear sweet and dahhhhling gal pal, Jessica, gave me this precious apron!  My cell phone didn't do the coloring justice. There is a pale yellow, mint green and pale blue with brown accents.  I adore it! I actually want to find a neat way to hang it and show it off...like with maybe an antique style hook...
Here is where I need help. Prayers. Please.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Life happens.

This week, while window shopping for the perfect "T.V. furniture" I failed to remember that life happens. Like the hubby getting stopped by the police and ticketed for expired tags ($100+), then the truck failing emissions ($???) and writing out the first month's premium for life insurance that we waited until our forties to purchase ($).  T.V. furniture will have to wait a bit. Darn.  Double Darn.  @$%Q#!!! 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Must. Find. TV Furniture. Now.

My walls are bare.  My office is littered with piles. My scrapbooking is still in it's original packaging.  My pantry is filled with things 8 cans of chick peas. And I am overwhelmed.  We have lived in our house for 10 years and I have yet to put lovely things on the walls.  I am not even sure where to start. I think...my biggest focus right now is the living room. It is the place we spend most of our time and I want it to be comfy and functional.  We have a big mamajama flatscreen. My sweet hubby totally deserves it.  But...we have components that need a home. Preferably not stacked on a hand-me-down coffee table!  Therefore, my first challenge is to find a piece that will look good, hide the components and wires and allow me to put just a few pieces on top.  My second challenge is to frame pictures and hang them up in a stylish manner.  I need to kidnap my gal pal Jessica who is a dream in so many ways but especially with the decor. She could make a rail road car look like and feel like home...seriously.  Another one who can do that is Robin. I could live in her dining room. It is a beautiful pale blue with white furniture and the most darling curtains.  Speaking of which...I have none! Well, except for Liv's room. Her Grandma Joan made them.  Why do we live in a house that is filled with love but also junk, paper piles and bare walls? I am lazy. I am a procrastinator. You see...my name, Tina, is procratination's middle name. Really...look:  procrastination.  Uh-huh. 

OK...it is settled, I will find a "T.V. stand" that is stylish, functional, and cheap.  Ideas?

Here is one I found at Target...matte black, very nice, but $250.00

Here is another, natural...I believe $170.00, hubby's choice. Only problem is our floor is a different shade of natural and therefore...not gonna look good. Well, at least in my opinion.

OK...this one is tobacco and cheap.  Cheap. $129.00 cheap.  Hmmmm....

Choices. Choices. Choices. With two people who have different styles. Hmm...

One of my goals is to take on the mannerisms of the Proverbs 31 Woman. The woman of virtue. "She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her."  Proverbs 31:27-28