Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Merry Christmas to all….

I have been a bit MIA of late, and I do apologize. It will be one of my New Year’s Promises to post everything that I’ve been wanting to post. Life has sent me running in circles, chasing my tail of late. I’m hoping that will change after the New Year.

I just wanted to wish you all the merriest of Christmases ever. I hope you are all healthy and well and stay safe during the travel season. Enjoy time with your family and friends. Try not to over indulge too much! or stress out about the ‘perfect gift’. The perfect gift is your presence, kindness and caring toward others. And know that you are all in my prayers.

Merry Christmas and God bless us, every one.

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Brown nosing?

Ok, I have  a question for my friends/readers who have school-age children. Do you take a gift for your child’s teacher on the first day of school? Be honest! I have always taken a little goodie for them to start the year, just to show that we appreciate them. I love to bake, it’s usually grandma’s recipe banana bread. Then during the year, I’ll make them other things, like pumpkin bread around Thanksgiving, or cookies at Christmas, normally in a cute and reusable container-a gift in a gift.

Or, if you are, or were a teacher, when children bring you little gifts like that, did you feel like they were trying to get on your good side, or did you just appreciate the gesture?

My mom taught school for 30+ years and it’s a really important and difficult job. Many times, they don’t hear the positive reinforcement, they hear from the parents when they’re upset about homework, or behavior/discipline issues. They take work home with them on a regular basis, they spend their own money on supplies and extras, and in our state, they work for a lot less than what they could make in neighboring states because they love what they do. To me, making them some yummy goodies is the least I can do to show them that we really do appreciate the job that they are doing.

The reason for this post was a comment that was made to a friend of mine. She told me that on the ‘meet the teacher’ night, she and her daughter took some brownies to the teacher. Her daughter is the same age as mine, 7, and she loves to bake with her mom and it was her idea to make these treats. Another mom saw my friend with the gift bag and said to her face, ‘Brown noser.’ Really? I was floored. My thought is you can think anything you want, but you don’t have to say everything that pops into your tiny little pea brain. Was she upset that someone else thought of it and she didn’t? Or did she really think my friend was sucking up? I don’t know, I just think that was incredibly rude to say, especially when there are young children near by.

So my question for you is do you do anything like this for your child/children’s teacher? Or do you think it’s ‘sucking up’? And if you do feel like it’s someone trying to make ‘brownie points’ with the teacher, why do you feel that way? I’m just trying to learn what would move someone to say something like that, and I understand I may never know. Oh well, I will continue doing what I do, because I know they enjoy it and they deserve to be spoiled, even just a little bit. The job they do is incredibly important. If you are a teacher reading this, know that we love and appreciate you and the job you do!

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Merry Christmas!

And what a day it is! We had 6 to 8″ of snow yesterday on top of about 1″ of sleet and the FIRST ever blizzard warning for our state! It is definitely one that we will be talking about for a long time to come.

I am very thankful that we don’t have work and school to worry about missing today. We are able to just spend time together playing and hanging out. Enjoying each other for a bit. Later, when the windchill isn’t in the single digits, we’ll go out and build snowmen and have some fun outside and then come in for hot cocoa with loads of marshmellows!

My living room is strewn with the remains of at least an hour or two’s worth of wrapping, clothes, toys, random and miscellaneous stuff and a few lonely presents still under the tree waiting for the snow to clear so we can venture out and deliver them to their intended recipients. It essentially looks like a department store threw up, yeah, I think that’s a pretty good description, just because of the sheer variety of things lying about. Shoes, Lego’s, candy, Nerf guns, books, video games, board games. Wow! What a haul. I even really tried to scale back this year. Honestly, I think I was able to scale back a bit, but it still looks like my kids made out like bandits!

Me, my gift was spending time with them and seeing the pure joy on their faces and thinking about the families of the children I purchased for from the Angel Tree.  How the kids’ faces must have lit up seeing the presents under the tree, if they had one, and the joy on the parents’ faces knowing someone cared enough to help them in a time of need.

Now if we could just keep the feeling of love and caring going all year long, how wonderful that would be.

I hope this finds your heart full of love and your home full of friends and family sharing this wonderful day. I wish you the Merriest of Christmases and a blessed New Year!

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Like parents, like children

I have written about doing for others, especially this time of year.  Yesterday I showed my children what I was doing and brought them into the circle. I want them to understand that not everyone is as fortunate as we are. I took them to shop for toys for five children who are their ages, explaining to them that a lot of people aren’t working right now, or are not making enough to be able to pay bills and buy gifts.  I very firmly explained to them that we were not buying, or looking, for ourselves last night.  We were on a mission to find gifts for these children.  I asked if they wanted to know the names of the ‘angels’ they answered with a very excited ‘YES!’. I told them the names of the kids, I’d already told them how old they were. I told them about selling my old jewelry and their jaws dropped and I asked how many people they thought we could help with that money.  ‘Alot!’ was the answer, and yes, we will help as many as we can.

I must say, my children did very well.  They play right into the hands of the advertisers and loudly proclaim they want everything they see on tv. Last night we went to our local Big Lots and found some real bargains on toys. For instance, we found a multipack of Littlest Pet shop toys for only $10, and then shortly after we went to Wal-Mart and found the exact same thing for $20. I love it when that happens.  At BigLots, they did really well, the toy section is much smaller than Wal-Mart. When we got to Wal-Mart, it was much more difficult for my daughter, who is 6. I gently reminded her that we were not looking or buying for ourselves, but for the girls.

I am so proud of my children for doing what I asked them to do and really taking an interest in these kids.  My son, bless his little heart, wanted to give one of the boys his Gameboy. The angels can put on their tags one gift they would like.  He wanted a ‘handheld video game’.  Well, the only handheld video games around these days are in the $100 range and that was way above the budget I had for them. Besides, if I won’t buy one for my son, I really couldn’t justify it for another child. It was just so sweet for him to offer it and I made sure he understood how much that meant to me that he would give his Gameboy away, but that the toys needed to be new. What a kid!

I will take the gifts back to the tree today and tally up how much money I have left to decide how many toys I can buy for the Toys for Tots program. So…like Nike says, JUST DO IT! If you are reading this, you have a computer and internet access and you can do something for someone who needs it.  You can make a difference in the life of a child, or even children, by doing something as small as putting loose change in that red kettle, or buying an extra can of peas at the grocery.  Food banks are running low, especially right now.  The demand is so high, but the contributions are very low. I’ll be going to the grocery today and putting some things in the box there for our local food bank.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

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Merry Christmas, now listen to NIKE and do it!

I know you’ve passed by those Angel trees, bell ringers, and collection boxes and thought, ‘I wish I had the time/money/canned goods to give, but I”m just too busy/broke/distracted right now.’  Well guess what? You are not too broke to toss a couple of coins in the kettle or buy an extra can of corn or a little toy for someone in need. What are you waiting for?  Do what Nike has been telling you to do for years! DO IT! and btw, DO IT NOW!!!!

I think I posted about adopting angels from our local Salvation Army angel tree. I did it and I went back two more times for more names.  There were just so many still there, I couldn’t bear the thought of children not having a gift on Christmas.  Or the stress of the parent worrying about it.

I wanted to do more for more people.  I knew I could do better.  I had some old tangled up, mismatched, ugly old jewelry that I’d been meaning to take to a gold buyer here in town and today, I was on a mission.  I was there before they opened the doors and walked out with a lot more money than I thought. It allowed me to take 4 more angels from the tree. I also read in the news today that our Toys for Tots program is 11000 toys short this year.

I made my plan and I went for it. I bought warm hats and gloves for all of my angels. It’s really cold here right now, it won’t stay this way all winter (I hope) but it’s always good to have the things you need when you need them. I bought them warm fleece pull-overs and shirts and some toys. I am taking my children today when they get home from school to pick out toys for the older children, the ones their ages. I want them to understand that not everyone is as fortunate as we are. They are young, but not too young to understand helping people in need. I sent with them to school today, 15 pairs of gloves for the hat/scarf/mitten tree for children in our school district.

I had a surprising response when I took the gifts for the last 4 angels I got today. I had a big green net bag slung over my shoulder, feeling rather like Santa, minus the red suit, beard, big belly and other things 😉 and stood for a moment watching the girls unpack the gifts and sort them into piles. It really struck me how something like that will affect so many other people.  The children, of course, but the rest of their family as well. They will see that people care about them and want them to have a good Christmas. As I watched the girls doing their magic, it really brought tears to my eyes seeing what I had done for these kids and made my heart expand, kind of like on the ‘Grinch’ at the end when his heart grows. I dont’ think I’ve ever been the Grinch, but we just get so wrapped up in ourselves that it’s hard to see beyond our own lives and how our actions can help others. Almost like the forest and the trees. We are so focused on our ‘trees’ that we fail to see the ‘forest’ beyond that maybe suffering.

I am just so full of hope and love right now, I can’t explain it.  It may sound corny, but it’s true. I wish everyone could have a roof over their heads, food in the pantry and good clothes to wear. If I could do anything about it, I would. I will continue to do what I can every chance I get.

If I can motivate only one other person to do something for someone in need, my job is done.  I’m encouraging you to put a toy in the box, put some coins in the red kettle, take a name from the angel tree, put some groceries in the collection box at the store.  Do something, even in some small way, to make our world a better place. It’s really pretty ugly right now, with our economy still being pretty rough an unemployment numbers in double digits, there are more people than ever in need. If you are reading this, that means you have a computer and you can do something. Even if it’s digging under the couch cushions for loose change, that 37 cents may not do much for you, but put it in the kettle with the other money that people have put in and it can do great things.  Just DO SOMETHING. You’ll feel  better for it, I promise.  You’ll feel lighter, happier even, knowing that you have made a difference, no matter how small, in the life of another person.

Merry Christmas

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Something to make you think

In the past, we’ve adopted an angel for Christmas from the Salvation Army Angel Tree.  It’s been a while since we’ve done it, so I thought it would be a good thing to do again, especially considering the climate we live in these days: increasing numbers of jobless, influenza epidemic, recession.

I went today to our mall and chose two angels, the same ages and genders as my children. I want them to help pick out some things for them, to see that not everyone is as fortunate as we are.  The lady working there told me there are seniors on there as well. I chose a 65-year-old gentleman.  I probably should have chosen someone my dad’s age, but this man for whatever reason, caught my attention.  The only thing this dear older man wants is clothes, so nice warm clothes he shall receive.

What really breaks my heart is the number of angels that remain on the tree.  There were so many on the tree, and even more on a table in a little divider separated by gender and age.  They had tags for entire families as well.  Thinking about it now, I should’ve picked  a family so that everyone would get something. I will feel really bad if the children I chose get something and their siblings don’t.

Being the mom that I am, I picked out some warm clothing, hats, gloves, fleece pullovers. I can’t bear the thought of children being cold in winter. I will have my children help pick out toys for them. Who knows, I may even go back and adopt a family. It just makes my heart hurt to see so many people in need, real, true, desperate need. If it was allowed, I’d send some groceries with the gifts, but maybe instead I’ll just send some little candies.

Seeing something like this tree always makes me realize exactly how fortunate I am and makes me want to do more for the people who are in need.

I’m asking you now, if you are reading this post, go to your local mall, or wherever the angel tree is, choose an angel and make someone’s Christmas a little bit better. Drop some coins in that red kettle, put a toy or some groceries in the collection box.  Something that may be really small to you can be something really great to someone in need.

Can you imagine what it would be like to wake up on Christmas to find nothing under the tree, if you even have a tree that is. Or worse yet, have nothing in the pantry to eat. If you are able, please go pick an angel, child or adult, and do what you can to help. Even a little bit is better than nothing.

Merry Christmas

***Update***

I am on my way to return some of the useless, extraneous gifts I bought for my family and use the money to help more people.  They have a tree at my children’s school for hats/gloves/scarves for children within our school district who are in need.  I am also seriously considering adopting a family from the angel tree and getting each of them something and including a gift card from one of our local grocery stores.  They’ll get food from the Salvation Army for Christmas, but what happens after Christmas? That is my mission right now, to help as many people in and around my community as I can. I want everyone to know the spirit of Christmas and that even people who don’t know them care about them.

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