March 28, 2013

The Detention Explained

Last week my third grader comes home from school and says he has something to tell me and adds that the principal might be calling the house. Um, what?

He continues to tell a story about a boy in his class who has been using his hands to make a "chubby cheeks" face and other funny faces and sounds, mostly during lunch time. He's been doing this off and on for the past week or so. He even proudly told the lunch table that his grandmother used to call him "sumo cheeks" when he was a baby because he had chubby cheeks.

So, 8 and 9 year olds being 8 and 9 year olds join in on the fun because, after all, this boy was poking fun at himself, right? My son leans into his friend and says, "Well he does have chubby cheeks" and with that, someone tells a lunchaid who tells the school counselor my son and his friend were "bullying" this boy.

Excuse me?

During my phone call with the vice principal, it was explained to me basically like this:

1.  Was the victim made fun of? Yes.
2.  More than once? Yes.
3.  Did the victim express sad feelings about the incident? Yes.

So this = bullying.

Let's break this down. 

~ Was the victim mad fun of? Yes, what my son said wasn't nice but this boy lead the way. He was drawing attention to himself by repeatedly doing the "chubby cheeks" face with his hands.

~ And yes, it happened more than once because this boy was doing a lot!

~ The victim expressed sad feelings about the incident only after the school counselor asked him about the incident and how it made him feel.

Now, I realize the sensitivity of this topic in schools in 2013, but come on, this was not bullying. In the minds of 8 year olds, this was funny. And since the boy had been poking fun at himself, it appears my son and his friend (and others) began to make comments about his chubby cheeks. Comments may have happened more than once, but probably because this boy had been making the funny faces and sounds with his cheeks in the previous days/weeks. My son and his friend were not bullying this boy.

In my opinion, the term “bullying” has been blown out of proportion and now every petty little thing one child might say to another is being over analyzed.  Where is the middle ground? Why do we insist on swinging from one extreme to the other?  It seems to me that the day is coming when children will not be allowed to interact with each other at school for fear that one child might decide to be offended by something he was joking about from the start!
I am very disappointed in the manner in which the school  handled the situation and disagree with the punishment.  I think a simple sit-down with all the children involved would have sufficed in this situation. Instead, my son is being labeled a “bully.”



March 27, 2013

Mad Skills

Gunner can open baby gates .... I firmly believe this dog is a genius.


So until he can figure out how to undo velcro and/or chews through it, we win.

March 26, 2013

40 Schmorty

Yesterday was my 40th birthday. I can deny it all I want but I'm freaking forty years old. Life is (likely) half over. Dramatic, I know but probably true! As I look back on the last decade, some things have changed but many things remain the same. Ten years ago I was chasing around a toddler in an old house that was constantly under some sort of rennovation. Now I live in a newish house and yesterday I spent the day running errands ALONE, including picking up my youngest from school after he served his first after school detention at the ripe old age of 8. I think I prefer toddlers...

The day wasn't all bad. I bought myself a few new spring shirts and we ate dinner at The Olive Garden. We enjoyed ice cream cake at home after dinner and some TV time on the couch. It was a nice day, even though is snowed for much of it. Snow this late in March is a bit rare and since I only turn 40 once, I bought a lottery ticket.


I didn't win but I've got great kids and a loving husband. What more can a girl want!

March 22, 2013

That Annoying Mom

We've all seen one or know of one. It's that mom you see in the store that oozes superiority. The one you know you probably couldn't handle having a conversation with because her way is the right way.  She will make you feel as though your decisions, regarding family, food, and schooling are all wrong.

I saw Annoying Mom in the grocery store earlier this week. She was in the store with her daughter, probably about 2 years old. She was letting her walk freely in the store.  The little girl seemed to be pretty good about sticking with mom so no complaints there. As the mom shopped, she was very vocal with her child, explaining absolutely everything. Fine. It's good to talk to you child. A few minutes later we were both standing in front of some dairy products and in front of that, was a display for Entenmann's bakery products which were on sale.

She says "Oh, I promised you we'd get a treat this week. Let's see ... what am I in the mood for."  

(yes, she was verbalizing all of this)

"Oh, the chocolate chip cake is my favorite ... let me see..."

(she starts reading the ingredients)

"Oh we can't have this. It has high fructose corn syrup in it."

(as if her 2 year old has any clue what that is!)

I'm fully aware that there are products and ingredients out there that are not good for you. But honestly, I find all the conflicting information to be very overwhelming. One week eggs are good for you and the next they are toxic and you will die if you eat them.  My theory is everything in moderation.  If you choose to eat nothing but raw, organic food - go you.  That lifestyle just doesn't work for our family.  We try to make the best choices we can but sometimes you just need a little McDonald's. And that's okay!

My issue with this mom is the way she was verbalizing it so loudly. Why? Why do you need to verbalize your choices like that in a store? It makes no sense to me.

About 20 minutes later, I passed Annoying Mom again as she was on her way to checkout. And I knew this because she was loudly announcing that it was time to checkout. Guess what was in her cart? Thomas's English Muffins. Care to guess what one of the ingredient is?

YEP. High fructose corn syrup.

INGREDIENTS: Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour (Flours, Malted Barley Flour, Reduced Iron, Niacin, Thiamin Mononitrate  (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin  (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid), Water, Farina, Yeast, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Nonfat Milk, Soybean Oil, Preservatives (Calcium Propionate, Sorbic Acid), Soy Flour, grain, Vinegar, Monoglycerides, Whey, Soy Lecithin
 
Oh the irony!


March 21, 2013

Mini Birdhouse Decor

I got my crafting on this weekend, after spotting this cute and easy project in a local store.  How cute are these little guys? They are each about 5 inches tall and they were only a dollar a piece! I already had the craft paint at home so the only thing left to buy was the self-sticking sheet of moss, for which I applied a 40% off coupon.

I lightly sanded each birdhouse before painting. I put three coats of the paint on each house (maybe I should have primed them!)   Once they were dry, they were sprayed with a matte finish spray. When that dried, I cut the moss to the exact dimensions needed to cover each rooftop. I simply removed the backing from the moss and stuck it right on. No gluing necessary.

Two are now sitting on the mantle in my family room and the third is greeting visitors in my foyer. I love them!






March 19, 2013

Passports Issued

There is something oddly comforting about having the ability to legally leave the country whenever we want. The passport applying process was pretty easy. I had to have my birth certificate reissued because it didn't list my parent's names on it. I know, so odd.  When I got it reissued, I congratulated my parents on the birth of their daughter, some 39 years later.

Before you attempt to get your passport, I highly, highly recommend making sure you have the appropriate - and correct -  documents before you proceed. It will save you so much time and aggravation.  We applied for our passports at our local county office, which happened to be located in a mall. No appointment was necessary, you just show up.  

They were very thorough, checking over our applications to make sure everything was filled out correctly. For a $10 family fee, they will take the passport photos for you, ensuring it will be accepted by the passport issuing police.  I had heard quite a few stories of people's applications being rejected due to the photo so we didn't want to take a chance. Since there were four of us applying for passports for the first time, the entire process took about an hour.

We applied for our passports on February 23rd ... and they arrived yesterday via priority mail. Super fast!! We were originally told that our passports would arrive first, followed by our birth certificates arriving via a separate mailing (which I thought was odd at the time, but the woman assured us it's just how it's done.) But this was not the case.  Each passport arrived in its own priority mail envelope with our birth certificates included in the envelope. 

If you don't have a passport, I recommend getting one just to have it. With the way things are going in this world, you just never know when you might need it.

Bermuda, we're coming ... hope you're ready!

March 15, 2013

Cosi Love

Have you ever eaten at Cosi? It's one of the only places I will buy lunch from anymore, when I buy lunch. It's not feasible to buy lunch everyday for my wallet or my waist line. But when I do buy lunch, I like to buy good tasting, fresh food ... not something that's been sitting around waiting for someone to order it.

I typically don't buy a specialty drink either but a recent email alerted me to a new drink they were offering. It's called a "Green Apple Tea-ni" and it's really, really good! As you can see by the photo, I managed to suck down  over half of it before I took the picture.



My favorite sandwich is called the Turkey Light. I also *love* the thin crust Margherita Pizza with fresh mozzarella, basil, and tomato. Check out the website and give them a try sometime. I guarantee you won't regret it!

http://www.getcosi.com/

March 13, 2013

4th Birchbox

It feels like I just got the February Birchbox, which I guess is mostly true since it's delivery was delayed by a New England blizzard.  So the March box is here and I'm happy to report there are no colored hair ties in it! Woohoo!



Here's what's in the box:

1.  Madewell Emery board ... with a fancy floral pattern on it. Reminds me a spring!

2.  Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator ... and exfoliating cleanser. I used it last night and while it's a bit gritty, my skin felt really soft! Full-size is $34.  I need to use it a few more times before I'd consider spending the money.

3.  Serge Normant Meta Revive Dry Shampoo ... Since I already have a much cheaper dry shampoo that I like, I doubt I'd pay $25 for a full-size can of this. Nicely scented!

4.  Caudalie Premier Cru Eye Cream ... funny they sent this because I was just thinking I needed to change up my eye cream routine. I used this last night. Very smooth - a little goes a long way.  Full-size is $25.

5.  Stella Cadente Miss Me Parfum (in the pink pouch) ... the description reads, "a blend of peony, orange, and silkwood blossoms make this a bestselling European scent..."  When I tried it, it smelled like baby powder to me? It was a pleasant scent, but not sure if I want to smell like a baby's butt! Full-size is $35-$69.

The extra little card you see is just an advertisement for Madewell and a coupon code offer to shop at the Birchbox store. Coincidentally, I did make me first purchase about two weeks ago. I decided my hair needed the Keratase Nuritive Nectar Thermique included in the January box (it's a leave in cream to repair damamge from chemical processing and protect strands from heat styling.) I love how soft my hair felt when I use it and when I didn't use it, my hair felt dry so I decided it was worth the price tag. Plus, you only need a little bit so the full-size bottle for last for quite awhile.

All in all, I liked the box this month! Thanks Birchbox!


March 12, 2013

Dental Drama

I'm pretty strict about making sure my boys see the dentist every six months. It's not negiotable in my house. A necessary evil. They hate it, of course, but I don't care. Once you lose your baby teeth, you only get one set of teeth so you have to take care of them!

Brushing has always  been an issue in our house. For the longest time I used to help my oldest son with his brushing.  Son #2 was more stubborn and I gave in ... well, it appears I should not have given up my teethbrush-hovering ways. Both boys have cavities - 3 in all. 1 for the big one and 2 for the little one.

I'm so mad and disappointed at the same time. I realize in the scheme of things this isn't the end of the world but I do believe this was completely preventable. And because they suck at brushing their teeth properly, they now have cavities.

Knowing my boys the way I do, the cavity filling process is going to be traumatic to them - and me. But I warned them oh so many times and they protested oh so many times when I checked their teeth and sent them back into the bathroom to brush again...

: (

March 11, 2013

The Wait is Over

When we moved into this house about 4 and half years ago, we inherited the washer and dryer from the previous home owner. They were in "ok" shape but nothing spectacular. The machines did their job. About a year or so ago we bought a newish dryer off of friends who were moving and couldn't take their washer and dryer with them. At the time, we passed on taking the washer too, b/c they had just had an issue with it and I didn't want to replace a working washer with a newer washer that had a spotty performance record. At that point, we just decided to continue to use our old washer until it died.

That day has arrived.

On Saturday I put in a load of clothes and forgot about it. Several times during the day I remembered that I needed to switch it over to the dryer but it never happened. Sunday morning I finally got around to it and imagine my surprise when I opened the lid to the washing machine to find it still full of water! I look at the dials ... hmmm... it appears to have gone through the wash cycle since it was in the "off" position ... so I turned the dial in an attempt to get it start back up mid-cycle but it wouldn't work.  I was able to get it to spin out the water using the "agitate" cycle and then put it through the extra rinse and spin cycle so all was not lost.

Hoping maybe I was just crazy, I put in another load and got the same result. The washer was full of water at the end of the normal wash cycle. So again, I manipulated the cycles to spin, rinse and spin the load again. Annoying! Who has time to babysit their washing machine through a wash cycle? Not this girl!

I was at Home Depot by 11:30 am and back in my car at 11:55 am ... my new HE (top loading) washer will be delivered on Thurday. I don't mess around!


Maybe when the new washer arrives I'll enjoy doing laundry? hahaha  Cannot believe I just typed that. I'll settle for quicker wash & dry times!


March 8, 2013

A Party Filled Weekend

Tonight Son #1 is having a few friends over to celebrate his birthday. I feel like I've been celebrating his birthday for the past two weeks. First, with the family party on the 24th, then his actual birthday on the 28th, and then we went to Outback for dinner on the 1st.

This friend party isn't too big, as I cut him off from big parties last year with the arrival of his 10th birthday. So tonight we're ordering pizza, eating cupcakes and ice cream, and put together some Minute to Win It games. It should be fun! (Stay tuned for a future post about the games we selected!)

On Saturday we have dentist appointments. What? That isn't a party? I like clean teeth and force clean teeth onto my children twice a year. Hey, it's what good mothers do, despite the protests. They will thank me one day.

Saturday night Son #2 is attending his first sleepover. We know of the family but don't know them personally yet he has his heart set on going, probably because his friend J is going too. I'm about 60% sure I'll get a phone call to come pick him around midnight! But we'll see ... it's time to let him spread his wings just a little bit.

Sunday brings another nephew's birthday party but we have a scheduling conflict. We have an away soccer game at 3:30 while the party starts at 2pm ... so it looks like The Hubby and  #1 will attend the party while I accompany #2 to his soccer game. This is one reason why two children is perfect ... the one-on-one scenario!

Should I admit I'll probably be happy to come to work on Monday to rest?!


March 7, 2013

Ah-Mazing Frosting Dip!

Sometimes you just have to eat frosting with a spoon. Sometimes the only way to cure a chocolate craving is to open up a container of Betty Crocker fudge frosting and eat it with a spoon. Come on, fess up, you know you've done it too.

This Oreo Cookie Filling Dip, recently posted by the Cookies & Cups blog (link to the bottom left or see direct recipe link below), is so delicious. Just a little bit completely cures that after dinner sweet tooth I suffer from. This could also be easily frosted atop cupcakes or a cake too. It's essentially a "birthday cake" frosting but tastes suspiciously like the filling inside an oreo. It whips up fast too, and if you're a modest baker, you probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry.




I dipped Tastefully Simple's Chocolate Graham Cracker Pretzels into it ... absolutelyfreakingdelicious!

You can find the recipe here:

Oreo Cookie Filling Dip

March 6, 2013

Cranky

I like winter. I like to dress in warm fuzzy sweaters and cozy sweashirts. I rarely sit on the couch without a blanket on top of me ... but this weather ...  I'm over it.  This cold, raw, windy rain s-u-c-k-s.  Cold rain has been our winter this again year.

And I'm over it!

It doesn't help that the boy's spring sports have started so I've been freezing my buns off sitting at various practices and at the first game this past Sunday.

Maybe pushing  the clocks forward an hour this weekend will bring a weather turning point. I'm ready!



March 5, 2013

Chocolate Bunny Explosion

We have a great Amish Market near our home.  They sell a jarred all-natural corn salsa that I cannot get enough of ... it's so good!  My jar at home was empty so I took a quick trip there to buy some more.



Holy Easter candy! The place was overrun with Easter candy. It was everywhere! I have to keep reminding myself that Easter is very early this year.

If you're ever looking for a certain hard-to-find nut, snack mix, spice, flour, etc., you can be sure to find it at this place. My only complaint is the prices. Freshly made donuts, other baked goods, and prepared food, the prices are fair. But in the candy department, eh, unless you are looking for something special, you can do better elsewhere for the same or better quality.


March 4, 2013

Getting Smart

I found this space-saving organizing tip on Pinterest. It was one of those "why the blank didn't I think of that" moments. So on a recent trip to Target, I picked up the necessary supplies:  3M hooks.


It took me all of 5 minutes to figure out where to place the hooks and then sticking them on the insides of the cabinet.  This is a much better solution than just tossing them into the back of the cabinet or storing them in the mixing bowl.


March 1, 2013

Cookie Cake

My son loves chocolate chip cookies so I decided to make a cookie cake for his birthday this year.  I thought about going the easy way and just ordering one from the awesome bakery at my grocery store but they only made them in the small round size so that wasn't going to work. Then I thought about ordering one from BJ's but decided I love my family. And I could certainly feed them dessert without completely clogging their arteries. 

I ended up using a normal (not doubled) chocolate chip cookie batter recipe after searching the internets high and low for a recipe that mirrored a cookie cake from The Great American Cookie Company.  Every recipe I was finding had mixed reviews and I didn't want to take a chance since my prep time was limited. Most seemed to suggest adding corn syrup to the batter. That sounded stiff... and oily?  So I decided to stick with a tried and true recipe and spread it evenly in my 12x18 cake pan.

It came out pretty good, if I do say so myself!



I even stayed simple and used canned frosting. I know, the horror. But you know what? I have yet to find a chocolate frosting recipe that tastes as chocolately as the canned stuff.  The gaming remotes are fondant and were made by a talented lady on Etsy.

My sister-in-law thought I ordered the cookie cake so I'll take that as a compliment!