Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Slacker

I know. I know. I KNOW!! I’m a slacker! But I have a good reason for being one, it’s called summer! We’ve been very busy and there’s been lots of stuff going on around here. And I mean ALOT. I’ve got several posts in the queue, but I have to upload the photos.  See, I’m told you like to see photos w/my posts, so I can’t very well publish without them, can I? Or can I? Hmmm, you know that is a thought….Nah. I know you want to see the pictures of my Slow Melt Mix and Match Pudding Pops. Or my super easy Pesto. See what I mean? Or my visit to St Louis and Marine week. Marines are good.

But, until then, I have family coming in from out of town, a child in day camp 20 min away, a husband working his tail off and a daughter who seems to need all of my attention in between times. So, from the bottom of my heart, I ask that you forgive my temporary lapses in sanity and posting and I promise I’ll try to do better next week!

In the meantime, I wish you a Happy 4th of July! Be safe, enjoy your holiday, eat way too much, watch other people’s money go up in flames and come back to visit me next week! God bless America!

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Dad, Daddy, Father, Papa, Pop, Pere, Padre, Papi……

So many names, so many languages (I didn’t even try any of the Asian characters) to me they all mean the same thing: Love. Strength. Hero. Mentor. Friend.

Yes, this is a day late, just like my dad was. Not that that’s a bad thing, my dad was known to be late on occasion.

It’s Father’s day and I find myself remembering my dad and all the things he taught me growing up. I wish I could spend the day with him, but we lost him nearly 12 years ago to brain cancer. I miss him still. I’m sure I always will. He had an easy laugh, a really dry sense of humor, and gave great hugs. Dad was also very generous, honest to a fault, and compassionate.

God bless him, my dad didn’t have an athletic bone in his body. I think the only sport he ever participated in (if you can call it that) was bicycling, but even that was only for pleasure not competition. Dear old Dad. When I was in 5th grade I think, I decided I wanted to play soccer. The drawback was there was no one to coach our team, so dad, wanting me to have the opportunity to try out a new sport, volunteered even though all he knew about soccer was that it was kick ball. He tried his very best to coach us. The poor guy was put on the spot at the first coaches meeting when they asked what our team name was going to be. Dad and the assistant coach, or co-coach, came up with a really terrifying team name: The Knee Kickers. And yes, I am serious. Can you imagine the fear we instilled in the hearts of our opponents? Yeah, I know, laughter, snickers, and even glee on their faces was closer to the truth. Dad tried his hardest, but we were so terrible, we only scored 1 goal all season. No, that’s not a typo, we scored ONE SINGLE GOAL for that entire season. Knee Kickers indeed. That was apparently all we were kicking then!

Dad was diagnosed with brain cancer when I was 13. Being 13 was traumatic enough, but my parents were divorcing, then came the blow of dad’s cancer. It was hard for me, but being a parent and just a bit older now than he was when he was diagnosed, I know the determination he had to beat the odds and stick around to help mold my brother and me.

Even though as a teenager, I adamantly refused to believe that my parents were not completely mental, I did learn a lot from my dad that has served me well in my adult life.

Professionalism is key, even when you’re just a teenager working in your dad’s office.
Treat people with respect, kindness and compassion, because some day, you may need that from someone else.
Never take anyone for granted, or take advantage of someone.
Honesty is always best, even when it’s painful, it’s easier to remember later than trying to remember what story you told to whom.
Family always comes first.
Find something you love to do and do it.
Don’t be afraid to show and share your emotions.
You can do whatever you want in life if you work hard enough.

If you can’t laugh at yourself, something’s wrong.

Dad had one quality in abundance: determination. Some may have called it stubbornness. I call it determination. He was determined to overcome the cancer and stick around to watch us grow up.

Unfortunately, 12 yrs ago, we got the bad news that the cancer was back and untreatable. He had done his job, we were grown, he was able to walk me down the aisle and present my diploma to me when I graduated chiropractic college and followed him into his profession. I’m sad he never got to meet my children, but i tell them stories about him all the time and show them pictures so they know who he was, even though he didn’t get the opportunity to spoil grandkids like he’s always wanted to.

Dad, never being one who liked being told what to do, decided when it was going to be his time to go, not when someone else decided it was going to happen.

I see a lot of the qualities my dad had, in  my husband. He’s a jokester. He likes to laugh. He’s laid back and easy going and doesn’t lose his temper easily, but when he does, you’d better look out! He works hard to take care of us, and wants our children to have better lives.

This is for all of the dads out there who love their children unconditionally, teach them the things they need to succeed in life, and for the ones who never had the opportunity. You are more influential than you can ever imagine.

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Observations from the public swimming pool 2011

Today we made our first visit to our local swimming hole, I mean pool. It’s a really nice pool, compared to the one when i was growing up. The public pool available when i was growing up was an indoor pool that was also used for the high school swim team. It was filled with noisy obnoxious kids who had no place else to go in the sweltering heat. Today, the public pool has a beach entry, two diving boards, a kiddie pool, a splash pad, and two, count’em TWO water slides! it’s amazing!

Today’s version of people watching was not as interesting as the past, it wasn’t crowded. Which is a good thing, it was a perfect pool day: not too hot, not too crowded, and the water was still refreshing. Sometimes later in the summer, after too many days of 100+ to count, the water begins to feel like bath water. Call me crazy, but I’m not in for the public baths.

I realized today that if I did choose to wear a bikini again, I probably wouldn’t look as bad in it as I thought I would! I think the key is confidence and not caring what anyone thinks!

Anytime a guy just a bit older than me calls me ‘ma’am’ and asks me for the time, I need to get my hair done!

For all of those kids there, I don’t remember seeing many of them using the restroom, which makes me thankful for chlorine

Tattoos, the arm band type, don’t make a young guy look tough. I’m not even sure they make him look cool.

Like last time, there were tattoos on many people. There was a woman who looked like she could kick my husband’s ass, who had many in various locations, including on her neck (shudder). And then there was one that made me kind of giggle. You see name tattoos in essentially any spot, arm, neck, chest. The woman sitting on the chair next to me had “Wayne’ tattooed on herself. It was the location she chose that made me laugh. I think it was the ‘I love you, but not THAT much’ it was on her foot, close to where the toes bend.

I’ve heard it said that tan fat looks better than pale, white fat. While that may be true, I think some people should look in a mirror before leaving their house for the pool. There are some things in this world we are just not meant to see!

If your very small child of maybe 3 or 4 yrs, cannot swim, he will not, and I repeat NOT learn to swim by making him jump off the diving board in 12ft of water and encouraging him to swim to you. Nor will he learn to swim while trying to catch you in the shallows as you walk away from him watching the water slowly cover his head, and telling him to keep coming toward you. That makes you look like a total jerk and will only serve to traumatize said child.

When playing catch with a wadded up t-shirt, you’d better have good aim, because if you hit me again, I’m going to hold you under the water til you cry for your mama!

Every time we arrive after opening, the only chairs left are the wonky ones missing straps so my butt falls thru. You’d think I’d learn better!

Here’s hoping that next year, we have a pool of our own to enjoy. And if my children dare to even think of using the bathroom in it, they will be banished!

How do you spend your hot summer days?

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Not your average lemonade stand!

Yes, it is summer and time for the neighborhood lemonade stands to start popping up. I love seeing the kids entrepreneurial spirits in action. And since my precious daughter is 7 going on 8, she’s beginning to realize that those toys she begs for and the candy she’s craving don’t come free. Can you imagine??

One day on the playground, she and some friends decided a lemonade stand would be a great idea to make some money. Sure, why not? when she proposed this to me, I gave one tiny little suggestion: How about we use it for good, rather than just fattening our piggy banks?

One of my daughter’s friends who is in the lemonade crew has a younger brother who at the very tender age of 4 was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, just a year ago. He currently has to wear an insulin pump. His mother does an incredible job of making sure he lives as normal a life as possible, but it would be wonderful if there was a world without diabetes in it. So the girls decided to give the proceeds of their lemonade stand to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to help find a cure. How awesome is that? It went from two girls and a driveway lemonade stand, to 3 girls, matching shirts, signs, a ‘kick off’party, and posting on a website! .It’s taken on a life of its own!

It will be today and we’ll be selling leaded and unleaded lemonade and cookies to benefit JDRF. we’ve invited all of our friends and family, so here’s hoping that our efforts are successful!

My next question is, what are you doing for others this summer? How are you making a positive impact in your community?

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Get the Funk out!

Hey friends. Just wanted to drop a shorty short note and let you know that I haven’t forgotten about you! I forgot my phone number, my address and my kid’s birthday, but not about you! Ha ha! just kidding, mostly.

We are just winding up our school year and it’s crazy how it seems to go faster the closer we get to the end. I don’t get it, it never seemed to work that way when I was a kid!

I’m also dealing with some feelings of nostalgia. A funk, really. My son, my oldest, my most precious first-born is finishing elementary school today. I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. They have been wonderful years and they’re coming to an end. Next year he’s in middle school. And on top of that, we’re putting him in a private middle school, which is um, less than appealing to him. The public school in our district is a very good school, my problem with it is the fact that 14 elementary schools come together in one building for a class of approximately 1100 kids, PER GRADE. In one building. Yeah, can you say ginormous? We don’t want him to fall thru the cracks or feel like he’s not worthy or good enough. The school we’re putting him in has 35 kids in the 5th grade right now, in two classes. It goes thru 8th grade and then feeds to one of three private high schools. It has been a very difficult decision to come to and it’s a serious commitment for the next 7 years and beyond. I think the part of it that’s the hardest for me, besides the end of elementary school, is seeing him unhappy. He so does not want to go. One of his classmates will be going to this school, and he knows a few other kids there (it’s connected to our church in the way that Catholic schools are part of a parish I guess) so it won’t be a sea of unfamiliar faces. I think the reality’s setting in and it’s a major change. Even though I’ve told him it will be a major change either way. Agh, it’s tough being a parent sometimes.

And of course, in the midst of all of these mixed emotions, some numbnuts computer genius managed to get his stupid malware virus on my laptop, so it’s at the IT guy’s right now getting a thorough cleaning. Grr. If those ppl would use their brains for good, think about what a world we’d live in!

So, please forgive me for not posting any new recipes for a bit. I’ll be back next week with some delicious offerings. Think about roasted Vidalia onions, tomatillo salsa verde, and Tuscan chicken to name a few. Come back next week and see what’s new!

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Aaaaafternoon delight?

Ok, if you’ve been with me for any time at all, you know my brain sort of takes off on its own sometimes and I’m powerless to stop it! Almost like Alice and the Rabbit Hole. Or was it rabbit trail? Anyway, today I remembered a funny story that’s worth sharing.

NOTE: This is a true story. The names have been omitted to protect the innocent. (and it wasn’t me!)

We have friends who are married and have two children. The wife and I had been chatting on a Saturday afternoon about maybe getting together. Something came up, can’t remember if it was a call or someone at the door, but we agreed to get back in touch in about 30 minutes.

It was not 30 minutes later when I called her and that may have been the problem. You see, our friends have a son who tries to be very helpful. When I phoned, the daughter answered and said that mom and dad were having a ‘nap’. Huh, I thought. Ok. That’s different, but ok. She’s one of those unlucky people who gets incredibly bad migraines at any time, maybe she’s having one of those. They do tend to really strike out of the blue sometimes.

Then in the background I hear the brother saying something and other noises and then I hear the mom in the background saying something and the daughter comes back on the line and says ‘My mom will call you back.’  Ohhhhh kkkkkkkk.

Huh. I thought. That was odd. Oh well, whatever. No big deal. I know with kids around, there’s no telling what will happen!

Needless to say, when she called me back 20 or 30 minutes later, I found out there was way more to it than I could’ve imagined! She told me this because she thought I’d heard everything, but we all got a good laugh out of it.

It’s a Saturday afternoon. Mom’s home, Dad’s home. Someone is feeling a bit, um, amorous shall we say? So they told the kids they were going to have a ‘nap’ and did what any parent would do in that situation, they locked the bedroom door. And then I had to go and ruin everything! The son, thinking he’s being ever so helpful, got a screwdriver and jimmied the lock! The brother and sister go barging in and catch mom and dad in a somewhat compromising position!

The son is holding the phone up at arm’s length, ‘Mom, you’ve got a phone call.’

And the daughter says, ‘Mom! Dad! WHY ARE YOU NAKED??”

That is what I didn’t hear exactly! Oh.my.goodness. The things our  kids put us through! So when my friend called me and filled me in, we had a good laugh. I mean really, can you imagine, not only both of your children catch you in the midst of a moment of passion, but they’re holding the phone up to God knows who! I’m laughing about it right now.  And, I’m so glad it wasn’t me! Although, I did my share of that when I was growing up! I remember barging in on my mom and stepdad once. That image was seared onto my retinas for all times! EEEK!

So, in the end, i think my friends put a deadbolt on their bedroom door!

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Poor Harry. I nearly wet my pants….

**WARNING: do not read this if you have a delicate constitution. It could very well offend your sensibilities if you don’t care for bathroom humor.

Do you remember that time in your life, when every word that could possibly have a double-meaning made you snicker? Beavis, anyone? I apparently have not outgrown that stage. What do you expect? I have a 10 yo son who’s favorite thing is bathroom humor and a husband who’s really a 10 yo in a 44 yo body! 

 *snicker* ‘you just said ‘but'”.* snicker snicker.

‘Yes, as in,’I wanted to have creamer in my coffee, but, we are all out.’

It’s not that bad, yet, but you see what I”m dealing with here. So, now that you know these things about my life (aren’t you so glad??), the rest of this story shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

Poor Harry. There was a mayor of a city in Indiana, I think it was. He was the longest serving mayor ever in that city. He did amazing things for the citizens there. He must have, otherwise they would’ve booted him out, right? Well, they have received a grant to build a new federal building of some sort there and are debating whose name will go on the building. Poor Harry. They have decided not to honor this man who gave so much of his life to the people of this city. Why? Well, in a word, his name. Not Harry. His last name: Baals. I can’t remember if that is German, Polish, Swedish, but whatever it is the, ‘aa’ in a word is pronounced ‘ah’, like wall. So, here is Mr. Longest-serving-mayor-in-city-history, whose last name is pronounced ‘balls’. Poor Harry  Baals. What a travesty, truly, an injustice.

So, why the heck am I telling you about something that’s happening in a city I’ve never been to and why do I care? I told my son, my 10 yo son, about poor Harry. You see he noticed me shaking my head as I was reading this article, and asked why I was shaking my head. (that’s the other part of this age, he needs to know everything that I’m doing) So I shared the injustice with him. Do I have to tell you that he laughed too?

Tonite we were all at the kitchen table playing a game, when somehow, poor Harry came up again. We were all agreeing it was so unfair that he was getting the short end of the stick, really getting shafted (puns totally intended). When my boy pipes up and says, ‘Yeah, if his name was Harry Johnson, it wouldn’t have been a problem.’  Totally innocent and not knowing what he’d just said. My husband and I were literally doubled over, crying with laughter, trying to catch our breath. I was just happy I didn’t pee my pants! My boy didn’t know that slang term, so he and his sister, who’s 7, were both looking at my husband and I as if we’d just gone completely crackers, wide-eyed and asking ‘Who’s Harry Johnson?” over and over. It seemed like the more they asked, the more we laughed! My husband finally took our boy aside and let him in on the joke, with the explicit instructions that he did not share that with his buddies, and especially not his sister. I so do not want to get phone calls from the moms wanting to know why my boy knows what a ‘johnson’ is!

Once I was able to breathe again and I’d wiped the tears from my eyes, I thanked him for giving me a good laugh! I obviously needed it!

Out of the mouths of babes, huh?

Here’s hoping you have had a good laugh today!

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Fire extinguisher, anyone?

Whew! That is, me, I’ll be needing the fire extinguisher now! Sorry I’ve been MIA, once again. Life has been crazy busy. I’ve done two big volunteering projects at my children’s school.  And between soccer, being ill for a couple of weeks, and the every approaching holidays, I feel like I’m that proverbial duck. You know what I mean. You see it sitting calmly on the water, just gliding about, not getting anywhere very quickly. While under the water, those little feet are paddling like mad! that has been me. The house went straight to weed and it’s difficult to catch up. But I am nearly there! Thankfully, since next week is Thanksgiving, and we’re having it here! No worries though. It’s all family and they know I’m not the world’s best housekeeper!

I will say that I’ve got several recipes lined up in the queue to get posted. No time now, today is parents/grandparents day at school and I”m having lunch with my most precious son.

Oh, one more bit of exciting news. We are getting our kitchen done by the end of the month and I can’t wait! I wanted it finished before thanksgiving, but it didn’t work out. That’s fine, I’ll have it all finished by Christmas! And new windows, but that’s not nearly as glamorous as a kitchen reno. It will just keep us warmer, since the ones we have now are extremely drafty. BRRR

I promise I’ll get the recipes up this weekend! And most of them have pictures!

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Responsibility is hard on a 10 year old

My husband and I have always tried to teach our children responsibility. To be responsible for their things, their actions, just your basic overall life skills.  My sweet boy got a hard lesson in it yesterday.

Last year toward the end of the school year, my son’s class was learning about 3 different animals: fiddler crabs, millipedes and some kind of frog. At the end of the lesson, the children were allowed to keep a creature of their choice, with parental permission of course! My boy wanted a millipede. they are unobtrusive little critters that would be kept in a closed habitat, so why not? I’ll let him learn about caring for a pet. Not only did he get one, but he got two and he was thrilled! I got him a container that was big enough for them and told him that they were his. He was responsible for their care and feeding, not me. I have enough to do with the care and feeding of the humans in our family!

He did really well with them this summer. They are low maintenance bugs and only need to be fed about once a week. At the beginning of the school year I would remind him about once a week to feed them and he did it. A few weeks ago,I told him that he should write himself a reminder on his calendar because I felt he’s old enough that I shouldn’t have to tell him every time.

I knew he hadn’t fed them and asked him last week if he had. No he told me. Last night I asked him if he had fed them. No, again. So now it’s been two weeks since these creatures have been fed. That’s a long time for an insect to go without food or water. At bed time when he decided he needed to feed them, he found one of them had died. He was very upset and distraught. It was so hard to see him that way. We tried to remind him that we didn’t know how old they were, but that also, this is the thing that happens when we forget to take care of our pets. I told him that we could bury it in a flower bed today and it will become part of our flowers and that helped a little.

 It’s so hard to step back and allow your kids to fail, but that is what we need to do as they grow. That is the only way they will learn responsibility, is by actually experiencing it, it’s not something that’s easily taught. He will learn that his actions, or lack of, affect others and in a potentially negative way. If I were to take over and feed his pets, he would think that I would always do that and he didn’t need to worry about it because mom will always take up the slack.  I’m sorry if I sound like a hard-nose mom, I’m definitely not. I’m trying to help my children learn the skills they will need when they move on in their lives and I”m not there to pick up the pieces.  I love that child more than anything and to see him that way was heart wrenching, but I really feel like he’s going to learn one of those lessons that we all have to get the hard way. I’m just glad that the stakes werent’ higher. I’d rather him learn it thru losing a millipede than doing something completely irresponsible and ending up in jail, or wrecking a car, or something else much more devastating.

Now, it’s time for me to go and hug him and tell him how much I love him.

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I’m still here!

Hey all! I hope everyone is doing well. I just wanted to drop a quickie and say I’m still among the living! There have been no life altering events, just the normal craziness of a life with two busy children and a husband that is constantly on the go. Oh and loads of volunteering at school. Remind me the next time someone asks ‘Do you have time to…….?’ I should probably say no!

 I have several recipes I”m going to share next week when I get a chance to take a breath. And guess what Debs! I took pictures of most of them! Yay me!

In the meantime, you guys have a great weekend!

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