Saturday, October 10, 2009

Things I've learned not to tell my kid.

Through the years, we've learned different ways that K- copes with things. If she knows something is coming up like a doctor's appointment, she'll get very anxious and obnoxious. That is why though we signed K- up for speech therapy (to ditch the cute "bamily" thing among other mispronunciations), we chose not to tell her. Why do I tell you this? Because my mom did the same thing to me when I was in the 7th grade and I was so mad! Here I was in the same situation as my mom. That same situation that I was mad at her for so long for. As for me, I was put into a remedial math class. Oh, I could spell the pants off anyone. I just couldn't do the math on the way there. I was going into 7th grade though. I'd had enough time with kids making fun of me. I'm sure mom made the choice regarding the math class for the same reason we did with K-'s speech therapy. She knew that I wouldn't want to go to school.

So, the speech therapy came up. We had been talking with the pediatrician about it, and had a long discussion about it at her last well check. The pediatrician stated that she could see where K-'s speech was improving and she suggested that we wait for speech therapy in school. She said that way, she could continue to improve on her own and she didn't see it as bad enough to need supplemental speech therapy. The paper came home, as we expected, I signed it and got the call from the speech therapist. She said that she'd be taking K- once a week for a type of group therapy. She asked if I had any questions. The one I could think of was, "I just don't want her to feel like she is missing out on anything." She explained that she takes the kids out when it is the least impacting time.

So K- got in the car yesterday and showed me her new folder from Mrs. D-. "So K-, what does Mrs. D- do with you?" "Mommy, she helps me with my sounds." "Is this the first day that you've gone to see Mrs. D-?" "No. I've seen her three times now! Last week, we played BINGO!" Now mind you, I had been asking her in a not specific way about whether she had gone or not. We didn't want to stress her out if she hadn't, because then she wouldn't want to go to school. m0m0m0m0m0 (K- has been typing for me a minute.) At any rate, yes, she goes, she likes it and all is well. She didn't see it as a big enough change to mention. That's a good thing. We have more homework now, though. I'm not complaining, but add more time onto the already 45 minutes worth. It's good. We're getting a rhythm.

So, another thing that I've learned not to tell my kid is about upcoming events. My sister taught me this. I learned a big lesson this summer when I made a stupid assumption that we were being invited to something. It was a family thing for K- and she was very sad. So I learned this time not to mention family birthdays to K- anymore. Turns out that it was a good move. There is another birthday coming up. In discussing things a few months ago, K- was asking about a family birthday. Her question? "Mommy, do you think that I'll be invited this time?" All I could say was, "Baby, I don't know." It puts us in a weird place. K-'s family is not a typical family structure. When the kids were younger, we could get together more often. Now we can rely on K-'s Birthday/Family Christmas celebration in December and our annual "Bamily" Easter egg hunt in the spring. Kids are growing up. Finances are tanked. My kid doesn't understand this, though. All she knows is that she wants to love on her siblings. It doesn't matter whether it is rolling around in the mud, or taking a hike through the woods. For this, I'm exceedingly sad for her. She doesn't need to walk away being a part of a themed party. She'd just enjoy kicking back and playing with Ninja Turtles and Barbies. (Probably all in the same play house, knowing K-.) I feel bad for her, but I remain silent. She needn't know. All she'd do is cry for days. Argh.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It all started with a planned trip to my favorite vegetable market.

So I thank Rachael for giving me the, what-do-you-mean-that-isn't-far, kick in the butt regarding my Tuesday grocery quandary post.

So Mom calls this morning asking what I was doing. (Because remember that people think Thursday and Friday are my bon-bon eating days.) I told her that I was planning a trip to the vegetable market, K-'s. "Since you are out in S-, do you want to stop by and pick up your brother?" I told her that I wasn't certain that he would really want me to pick him up, since he hadn't pulled himself around to really actually talking to me in any type of length yet. She said that she'd phone him. He phoned me. Needless to say, my vegetable market shopping was put on a slight hold. I scooped him up and took him to Bruegger's for a bagel and coffee. He hugged me so tight that he lifted me off the ground.

It could have made me bawl right then and there.

As I was driving down the road, he hugged me again. Thankfully, I didn't drive off the road.

My brother? He's back. He's officially called me 4 times in the last five minutes to help him fill out an application to Lowe's.

Y'all, that is B I G.

Oh, I'm not saying that my brother is perfect. He will continually fight demons. He has removed himself from people that were of bad influence. He has removed himself from the hood. He said that the town that he is living in now is so nice. He told me about how excited he is to not be surrounded by "thugs."

Dare I say, he has a spring in his step.

It makes a heart happy. Happier than I can even say. We spent hours trotting around to different stores. We did hit the vegetable market. We cruised through the thrift store to pick some pants up for him. We went on to Marc's right next door to the thrift and we scooped up some grocery items. I had him choose the birthday gift for me to give to my nephew and the ice cream that we would be having for Noggin's birthday. Dumb things, but he was so thrilled to be doing it. After the shopping, spending much time together and hearing his true confessions, I dropped him off at my sister's house. There, my sister and I had a "Silly Sandwich" and love just oozed.

The kid needed it. So did we.

Smiles in my day:
- My brother.
- My niece loaning K- 6 of her Junie B. Jones books.
- Going to the vegetable market!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

WFMW: Heavy duty winter mats all year long

My cleaning tip for this week's themed WFMW? I keep the heavy duty slogger mats (what I call them) in my car all year long. We have them over top of the traditional car mats. We do have nasty winters here which involve much snow and even more salt (almost way too much at some retail establishments). We also have a gravel driveway, so the deep grooves in the rubber catch tons of limestone along with the salt and muck from the boots. Why do I care about this? Well, generally all you have to do is to yank the mat out, give it a good shake or hosing (depending upon the season that we've just recently experienced) and they are good to go. Carpet saved and there is so much less sweeping to be done.

Things caught in slogger mats:
1. My father-in-law dumped an entire cup of coffee and the mat caught it all. (It had cream in it, too. Imagine how the curdled smell would have been in the heat. Ewwww!)
2. Limestone
3. Salt
4. Massive wetness to keep the carpet dry so the car doesn't smell like something is rotting in there.
5. Crayons that have dropped. The mat kept the crayon(s) from rolling all over and under the seats.
6. A variety of crumbs, chunks and discarded foodstuffs from the backseat.

A bonus? They don't slide or jam up under the pedals.

I know that we have spent about $20-25.00 per set of mats. The ones in Hubs' car are from the trashed out RAV. The new ones in the new RAV came from Sam's.

They save us a lot of time in cleaning the cars. That works for us!

Smiles in my day:
- Having gone to the Russian Festival with my co-worker and she treated me to dinner. I had Chicken Kiev, halushki, green beans, applesauce and a roll prepared by some lovely Russian women. To that I say, "YUM!" It was so crowded that we decided to sit out in the back of the RAV to eat, with the back door open, enjoy the breeze and just talk. I'm thankful the back of my car was clean! :)
- I got home a bit after 8 PM, knowing that I had to do homework with K-. Hubs not only had her homework done, but he had read to her and had her snuggled into bed. What a guy!
- Helping to hand out 500 books in the RIF/PTA free book handout today. Aside from some discontentment among a few students regarding the lack of Junie B., a scuttle over Hot Wheels books and a bit of a dinosaur upheaval, it was all good. I was able to get a free book for working the handout, so I chose a Junie B. for K-. She was so excited, especially since we had run out of Junie B. by that point. It banked me some cool mommy points!
- I will be doing a hands-on-demo the Sunday of Holiday Open House Weekend. It will be on crafting with things from nature/decorating your tree with natural elements. Yes, I am an artist and the tree decorator, but I'm not a huge crafter. I just shook my head and told my boss that I will be working on gathering research this weekend. Any contemporary decorating suggestions you have incorporating natural elements into holiday decor, feel free to e-mail me. Just click the button on the sidebar.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tales from the Trenches: The displaced grocery shopper

Within two miles of our home (or less, I haven't clocked it), we have three groceries. 5 blocks up, we have the locally owned chain. 2 miles up, we have the plaza that has Giant Eagle on one end and the NE Ohio discounter, Marc's, on the other end.

I love our local store. It is very close, I like supporting a local chain that does give back locally, but they are in the midst of a store redo. They are doing the remodel the best that they can while still open to serve the neighborhoods. The last time that they remodeled was 10 years ago when we moved in. I hated the store then because it was old, yucky and smelled like fish. When they had the remodel 10 years ago, I started shopping there and really liked it. The store is all turned around, though. They are kind enough to have signs posting where the things have been permanently or temporarily moved to. Coworkers roam the aisles to ask if you need help tracking anything down. Still, it is taking me forever and a day to get through. Tonight I was there for over an hour and I spent $28.00. Part of that was that I was dead tired from helping to escort 90 Kindergartners to the farm today and the other part was that I ran into a long lost long-distant relative. At any rate, I find that I keep walking in circles. Last week I was a few minutes late to work because I couldn't find the cookies. (Lame excuse, but it's true.)

Giant Eagle isn't a big Giant Eagle. It is kind of like an eaglet. They try. The are better at having more offerings, but their store set-up had to be done by a single man that doesn't shop. They recently reconfigured their store (not a remodel, but a let's play switcheroo with the aisles!) I can't find a blasted thing. At least our local store kept the same aisle partners together, they just moved the aisle worth of merchandise across the store. I use Giant Eagle as a pharmacy, but generally don't shop there unless they have a completely rockin' ad.

Marc's is a NE Ohio discounter that begins like a park. It drops you into the "gift shop." Really, they are closeout aisles that I have found many, many great bargains in. Once you've navigated through the we-know-we-can-get-you-for-10-extra-bucks aisles, then you are off to see what they have. They have some good prices on many things, but their offerings are limited. Often, they run out of things or have some off brands that are sometimes not so good. They do have great prices on potatoes and the double fiber Brownberry Bread that we buy. I've tried to do my regular grocery shopping in there and find that much of it is the instant stuff and I just want to do more fresh.

We have a Super Walmart about 5 or 6 miles away. I've tried grocery shopping there. The week that I did, I ended up having to supplementally shop at our local store and spent twice as much. Super Wal has advantages, like the marinated turkey tenderloin that I can get for $7.00. The pharmacy aisles serve us well and is the only 24 hour pharmacy open near us, so it's all we have when that 4 AM illness with K- kicks in. (To note, that is the only middle of the night run we've ever had to make in 5 1/2 years. I'm sorry, but I just generally don't keep children's suppositories in stock and for the sake of saying, we didn't use them anyhow!) Again, their offerings aren't everything that we're used to, so I feel limited.

When K- was in Little Gym, we used to go the long loop around to stop by the vegetable market. It is open all year long with great fruits and vegetables. They have great aisles of organic meal prep items, homeopathic items, hummus to die for (we used to buy hummus and chips and eat it on the way home!), oh, just so much. It was like a farmer's market all year! Their decor is unapologetic. Crates, concrete floor, not big and commercial. It's homey. Sadly, it is 20 minutes away. I miss it, but I can't defend the 40 minute round trip to go there.

Another 20 minutes or so in the opposite direction is another Whole Foods-ish market. (Boy do I wish we had a Whole Foods close by!) They have beautiful produce, aisles and aisles of organic and not-so-bad for you grocery offerings. Their prices are outta sight, though! Geeze Louise! I'm not wanting them to be like Marc's or anything, but they are way steep.

Finally, I have an Amish market, much along the same type of line of the vegetable market that I miss. They are about 10-15 minutes out, which I would be willing to do. I need to revisit them, as their offerings seemed limited, they were much, much smaller than my beloved vegetable market, but maybe they have improved since I've been there last.

Folks, I'm having grocery issues. So, having hashed everything out in words, I'll keep with my local grocery 5 blocks up. The remodel will hopefully be wrapping up soon and I'll learn to find my grocery picks again. Never mind that the freezers are in the beer section and the beer is where the cards and the ice cream used to be. The bread is slightly homeless, as it is on bakery rolling racks. The cereal is in a (hopefully temporary) claustrophobically close and tall aisle. Whereas the cleaners are now where I used to find the chips. I'll be a big girl and figure it out, again.

Smiles in my day:
- I survived helping to escort 90 + kindergartners to the farm. The kids were really good. The programs were well organized. Our neighbors ended up being on the hay wagon that lost a wheel pin, so they had to cross a big field to get to the pumpkin patch. On the way home, there was a most horrific crash (thankfully we didn't witness it) and it turned all of us around the opposite direction. Since it is Hubs' stomping grounds for work, I called him and he talked us back to where I could navigate on my own. Poor guy! I had my phone on silent, so he worried that we didn't find our way! He called my cell at least 6 times! It's good to be loved!
- K- reading a book to us in the evening. She likes this little book that my friend, Laurie, passed on. It is called It Is Fun To Choose. It's a little book that her daughter received from church back in 1990. It is filled with sight words, some she knows and some she is working on. She feels good to have a book where she can read consecutive words to us. There is much high-fiving going on.
- The neighbor gave us our flu shot this evening. It is nice that he is able to do that for us. I can tell you now that the arm is getting a little sore. This one is going to hurt a bit. That's okay. A little hurt is better than much sickness.

Well, thank you for allowing me to waste much of your reading time on listing out my grocery options. Where do you shop? Are you happy with your choices? Do you go to several stores to get what you need? What would your ideal grocery be like?

Monday, October 5, 2009

5 1/2 hours of Jesus, an odd addiction to admit to and other miscellaneous information that you could care less about.

Folks, this is the first Sunday of the month during Festival Choir season. What does that mean? It means church in the AM from 9 - 11:30 AM. (Pastor was a little long-winded this morning.) Back to church for Festival Choir practice from 4:30 - 6 PM, then on to the monthly Leadership meeting from 6 - 7 PM. (That meeting ran over until 7:20 PM.) Y'all, Jesus is my man but yowza on the hours clocked at church today.

In tidying the counter from whatever it is that decides to eat it on a regular basis, (meaning, the Hubs "trying" to put dishes away, bailing and just leaving them in growing piles for me to handle), I found that in reconfiguring cupboard space, I would move my cookie sprinkles. (In PA, you call them jimmies, I think.) At any rate, I have 18 different containers of sprinkles. Since I buy them at the bulk food store in Amish Country, the little clear plastic containers are only about 60 - 80 cents. I have school buses, butterflies, shamrocks, leaves, fish, dolphins (they are mammals, you remember,) dinosaurs, cows (K- and Hubs picked them the last time,) chicks/tulips/bunnies & flowers, non-pareils in mixed all season and holiday colors, bears, snowflakes, little cinnamon balls, large granule mixed color, purple, pink and red sanding sugars, and one other that frankly, I can't recall. Y'all, I think that I need a support group. My sister says that she suffers the same issue.

I'm bailing on Menu Plan Monday, because last week worked out to be a festival of wastefulness. It is sad. I made a pot of ham and bean soup that grew exponentially. Seriously, the entire neighborhood could have come over, had some and there would have been leftovers. We also had stuffed rigatoni one night that I used some Alfredo sauce on. I still had some Alfredo sauce left on the next evening, so I made some corkscrew pasta to stir it into. A hunk of that went to waste. Another wasteful thing was the sloppy joes that I made. I ate those for 2-3 days in a row. (I can't remember.) I made them open face with the cheese on top, just like we had in grade school. They were good, but K- wasn't interested. (Made me think of Lily, Rachael!) I know that I'll be going to the Russian Festival with friends either Tuesday or Wednesday evening. I'll get my pierogies on then. For Monday's dinner, we'll have leftovers of the baked ravioli that we had this evening. Outside of that, it is all a crapshoot.

Sadly, I received an update on Tiana and Michael's bid to adopt Bahati from Tanzania. The Tanzanian government placed Bahati with a Tanzanian family for adoption. Tiana and Michael were given a continual run-around regarding the adoption. Frankly, it sounded as if the country didn't want to be losing one of its own and I'm not surprised by their decision. Still, this is one more family that I know of that has tried to internationally adopt a specific child that they have chosen, only to have it fall through. My friend, Heather and her husband Ryan, tried to adopt from Haiti 6 years ago. They flew in, picked out a beautiful child named W-. They told her that she would be coming to live with them in the United States. Political unrest prevented them from being able to bring her to the states. The paperwork couldn't even be safely transferred to the capitol, as the director of the orphanage feared for his life. W- still remains at the Haitian orphanage today. So very sad.

Speaking of Heather, she is stressed out at the possibility of her family moving to Ontario, Canada in as soon as the next few months to the spring/early summer. Her husband expressed an interest in taking an 18 month position with his company and being moved around a bit. Problem is that they have 3 boys in tow. Moving around every 18 months isn't as easy as what it sounds. They have an adopted son that has some attachment issues. As soon as he'll get grounded and comfortable, they'll have to move again. E- is in the 1st grade and C- just started preschool. They all love where they are going. They have a great church where they are very active. I'm good friends with Heather and will miss her terribly. Sometimes, we have those mommy AAAAAAAHHHHHH! chats in the AM before I leave for work. She's the one I had to rescue one night over a mouse. We've shared some goofy things over the years. We still will, no matter where they live. We'll just have to get girlfriend using e-mail. No Facebook for me. Ack.

K-'s Farm Field Trip was postponed the other day due to torrential rains. It was rescheduled for Monday. I had to take the day off, as I had already promised to be a driver. I also committed myself to RIF day at school, so I work 1/2 day on Tuesday. I should have a fine, fine paycheck coming up. That's okay. I need to help with the book passing and I would rather be there on the field trip to corral kids and whatnot. We don't have busing to take the kids, so we are going by parental transportation. The neighbors are going with us, but other parents are taking the rest of the kids. They scheduled it for Monday, so as to get the field trip in before the new booster law comes into effect.

Here's more information than you want to know. Remember how I'm kind of Edward Scissorhands with the nail clippers? Well, I got a little over-zealous with the toenail trimming and left myself close to bleeding. Yikes. Didn't mean to do that. So, I have sore toes! Now I know how K- feels.

Oh, here's something else! Has anyone else noticed the prices at Sam's Club going up each and everytime you enter the store? I had a whole list of items to purchase today. We only purchased about 1/4 of what we put on the list. Laundry soap has gone up a couple of bucks/box. Purell has gone up at least a dollar. Zantac went up a few dollars. A case of chicken broth went up to the point that as long as I watch for it to go on sale at the store, I can get it much, much cheaper. Their whole chickens were 85 cents a pound, which is a great price, but there was only one package left and I was afraid that it was a walk around and dump, so I didn't take it. Microwave popcorn went up 3.00 from the last time I bought it. Goldfish crackers went up several dollars, too. The same with dish soap. I'm better off watching for it to go on sale. The good news? Boca Burgers went down to $8.15/box of 16. That is a great deal.

More miscellaneous drivel. My mother-in-law picked up a few cute outfits for K- at Walmart. I was surprised to see the tag that said "95 % organic cotton." Hooray! I went to put one of the outfits on her this AM and found a size discrepancy. It was a two piece set with a 6 as a shirt and a 7 for pants. K- is a perfect 7 and the 6 wasn't going to cut it. I was glad that MIL passed the receipt on so that we could exchange it. I did find the same outfit (different color), so we were able to switch without a problem. The lady at the service counter was surprised by the sizing, though. I couldn't have been the first person to ever have a sizing issue.

I hit the motherload at Target in their dollar aisles for treatie doodles for Miss K-'s 6th birthday Star Wars celebration. Completely by accident, but totally thrilled about it. I was able to get push up crayons, magnets, stickers, a dry erase board for K- (she loves them) and a flicky front journal for her to write in. (Have I mentioned that she is walking around drawing and writing all. the. time?) Also, I was able to find plates and napkins! Those are kind of hard to come by, so I was thrilled. I stock piled some 4th o' July sale paper products that I found, so the blue will go nicely with the branded Star Wars stuff. Hubs found Star Wars water bottles for all of the kids at a local discount store (for 49 cents each), so I do believe that the party needs are basically done. I found some Star Wars scrapbook paper at a local craft store, so all I need to do is to download a Star Wars font (I found a few!) and get working on the invite. (Her birthday isn't until December 20, but we are tacky and send the invite in with the Christmas card that goes out the day after Thanksgiving. Saves on postage. Besides, I work holiday retail and have no want to re-enter that world when I get off work. I'd rather be at home baking cookies. So, all party prep is handled and done by the end of October. It is a crazy Virgo thing, but it works for me.)

I'm all over the place tonight. Can you tell I had an Excedrin Migraine earlier? I had a hazy front headache and I had 3 hours of church this evening. I had to do something to keep up!

Smiles in my day:
- K- reading a book with me tonight. It was filled with sight words, so I decided to give a stab at seeing how many she knew. She surprised me!
- K- picking up after herself and putting things away in the right creature home. Goodness sakes alive. She finally got sick of losing the things that she didn't tidy. Oh, and we got sick of confiscating the items and keeping them in our bedroom. The fix that came to me last night? I put everything away where it belonged and labeled the items with a post-it that said, NO. She knows the word NO and I told her that if it said NO, she needed to earn that back. I told Hubs that her having to look at what she lost will help to encourage her to pick up after herself, and will remind her that mommy and daddy aren't joking when they take the stuff away.
- K- was angelic this evening when I was at church. Hubs worked out and K- was on the next concrete pad over playing with Play Doh, drawing, writing in her journal, playing with dress up, Little People (still!), Hot Wheels, Barbies and babies. He said that she was good at picking everything up without being asked.
- The laundry basket is empty. Everything is laundered and hanging to dry. I have a basket of our clothes (Hubs and me) that needs to be put away, but K-'s clothes and the towels are put away. I'll deal with our clothes tomorrow after the field trip.
- Hubs cleaned out the refrigerator, did all the dishes AND! put them away! :)!!!
- Getting back to Festival Choir practice. I missed two weeks in a row (I normally don't miss at all, since I sing by listening and not so much by reading music.) Several people asked where I was and a few of them said about how I was very missed. It is good to be missed! I didn't think people cared so much! We're singing "Forever Gloria!" It's a nice change. Dale always does a great job. He asked us how the seconds (soprano) were coming along. I told him that we were limping along nicely. He said that you are never supposed to tell the choir director that you are limping. I told him that I was in church and I couldn't lie! :)

I think that I've exposed all of you to enough babbling for this evening. Have a wonderful start to your week!