Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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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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Is 7 too young to be a drama queen?

Heaven help me. My beautiful baby girl was such a sweet and easy-going baby. People were amazed at her and how good she was. She was a joy to be around.  She was very solemn most of the time and would study people, as if deciding whether or not she would engage in any kind of communication with them. She didn’t cry very much, slept well and was just precious. I couldn’t believe my luck, to have two sweet and easy-going children. Well, ha ha! the universe said. When my girly was about 22 months old, it was as if someone flipped a switch and she went from a laid-back sweet heart, to a full-blown two-year-old and never looked back. She would throw a fit and I would look at her and say, ‘Who are you and what have you done with my baby girl?’

There is almost exactly 3 years between my youngest and oldest, the oldest being my son, who is still my sweetheart, my caring and funny boy. My girl, well, anything her brother does, she will do twice as much. He gets two tickets for good behavior in class, she’ll say she got 10!

She’s got quite the temper and sometimes can’t really control it, no matter how I try to calm her. So yesterday, we’re getting ready for school. I normally allow her to choose her own clothes, with my approval of course. Yesterday was a different story. She put on no less than three outfits! She’s in SECOND GRADE! I was so frustrated with it, I told her I would be choosing her clothes from now on because there’s no need for that kind of thing. It’s not like she’s preparing for the Oscars or prom. it shouldn’t be this hard to get dressed for elementary school!

Let me just say, I am not a dramatic person. I am not high maintenance and I’m pretty even-keeled, so where this is coming from, I’m not quite sure. I know I was a handful when I was in high school, but we’re not there yet.

Today, well, today was a rough one. I reminded my girly that I was going to be the fashion police today and pick out what she wore. You would have thought I told her  we were moving to Siberia. She went off on me and was very upset and said some really hurtful things, the kind of things that moms definitely don’t like to hear from their children. After she’d cooled down, I explained to her how what she had said hurt me and asked how she would feel if I had said them to her. Then she got it. She cried, apologized and snuggled in my lap. I told her that when she’s angry she can’t just say what pops into her mind because you may say something that you’ll regret later. I try to make everything  a teaching moment, I just hope she learns from it and doesn’t do it again. I know, I know, and there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I can dream, can’t I? Just let me have that for now!

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The first decade

Ten years, a decade. The blink of an eye for some, a life time for others, literally. For me, it’s the whole drop in a bucket thing, I can’t believe ten years have gone by. My son, well, that ten years have been his lifetime, and I think it seems to be dragging by for him.

I’ve been reminiscing about my life ten years ago. You see, my son, my first-born, will be turning 10 tomorrow and it’s made me reflect on the events of that summer.

I just have to say that I never expected how becoming a mother would change me. I feel like I”m more compassionate, I think of how my decisions will effect my children before I think about how they may effect me. I never thought I could love two people so much it hurt sometimes. I never cried over those stupid Hallmark commercials, or at most movies for that matter. I feel like I”m doing a really big job, like I’m part of something bigger than myself. Every night when I say my prayers, I just ask for guidance and patience (extra!) so that I can be the best mom for my children. It is such an honor and a privilege to be their mother and I want to do everything I can to guide them and help them find the right path for them in life.

Motherhood is one of those clubs that you really can’t understand until you’ve jumped in feet first, planned or not. Kind of like trying to describe a color to someone who was born blind, words can’t really describe it.

My husband and I had been married two years when we found out we were going to be parents. We were overjoyed and couldn’t wait for his arrival. Although, when I looked at the calendar, I have to say I was less than thrilled about being pregnant in 100+ temps. I made the mistake of expressing my displeasure to an elderly lady. She paused, looked at me very pointedly and said, ‘When I was pregnant in summer, we didn’t have air conditioning.’ Um, ok, I”ll shut up now! That comment made me re-evaluate my thoughts.

Being a natural health care practitioner, I had a very definite idea of how I wanted the birth to go, and it had nothing to do with a germy hospital, needles in my back, or invasive procedures. We were going to have a nice, calm, home birth with a doula and a very experienced midwife present. We had everything planned out.

Yeah, that’s where I figured out that I really don’t have the control over my life like I thought I did. At 38 weeks, dangerously close to the end of my roundness, we discovered my boy was breech. What? We visited an OB/GYN that the midwife worked with  for an ultrasound, that confirmed what she told us. Great. So doc says, here’s what we can do: n A. schedule a hospital room to try to turn the baby (why hospital vs his office? Because many times this procedure ends up triggering labor, or worse. yay.) or B. you can try to turn the baby at home. Well, you know which one we chose. I had heard nothing good about when doctors try to turn the babies. We turned on some Beatles down low by my pelvis, I lay down on a stack of cushions so my head was lower than my feet and my husband talked to the baby and massaged my belly to help him move. Guess what! IT WORKED! We were all surprised and I was afraid to lie down in bed to go to sleep that night for fear the little beggar would flip back around!

Nope, he stayed where he was supposed to stay and about two weeks later we thought we were getting a baby. I’ll cut this short, because it’s a very long story. The abridged version is labor started Friday evening, stopped and started back on Saturday afternoon in earnest. We thought we were getting a baby. Well, that’s what we get for thinking. At 7 or 8 Sunday night, yes, that’s right I said Sunday, we finally threw in the towel and went to the hospital. My plan went right out the window. The only part of my plan that worked out the way I’d wanted it to was  the beautiful healthy baby we got to take home.

I remember so vividly that feeling of falling head over heels in love with this little person. I couldnt’ stand to put him down. I would hold him, rub his soft little head and just stare at him for hours, in complete awe and amazement at the gift God had given us. His birth really brought home to us the fact that while we may have choices in life, we arent’ really as in control of things as we thought we were. Today I look at my boy and I am so proud of him, so proud and honored to be his mother. He’s very bright and sweet, and loves to make people laugh. He’s very caring and loves animals.  I’m excited to see him as he continues to grow and change.

Happy birthday honey, I love you! Here’s hoping the next decade is as good as the first!

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Time flies

Wow is all I can say. Today my children went back to school. On one hand, I’m sad to see summer go. We had a good summer, lots of fun and new friends for all of us.  And today marks the first day of my son’s last year in elementary school. Still can’t get my head around that part. My boy, my precious first child is nearly 10 and will be starting middle school next year! Love my kids.

I would like to wish all kids a wonderful school year with lots of new friends and experiences and learning new things. And to the parents out there, I wish you a good year as well. We want good teachers who will take care of our most precious gifts, guide them and help them move on to the next stage of their educations careers.

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Daddy’s Little Girl

This is a piece I wrote shortly before my dad died eleven years ago today.

Daddy’s Little Girl

When she was born she was the apple of his eye

His was the first face she saw in this world

Eyes filled with joy and love

Endless possibilities in store for this brand new perfect life

He promised he would be the best, teach her all she needed to know

Protect her from the boogeyman, hug away the fears

Bandage her owies, kiss away the tears

Walk her down the aisle

Hold her hand through all of life’s adventures

When he saw he had done all he could

To help put her on the right path in life

He knew the time had come

He kissed her on the forehead, let go of her hand

And went home to wait for her

Her course in life was gently guided by his love

Now it’s her turn to carry on what he started

To make sure everyone knows the affect a daddy had on this little girl

I love you dad

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For My Dad

Eleven years ago today, my world lurched,  tilted on its axis, and came to a screeching halt. It was the day my dad died and my life changed. I remember waking up the next day crying that I wanted my daddy back. As I got myself back together over the following days and attempted to pick up my normal routine, it just seemed so odd to me, and unfair that the world went on. People still went to work, the grocery, the mail was still delivered, the sun still rose and set, as if nothing had even happened. And here I was with a gaping hole in my chest feeling like everything was going to fall out at any second.

In 1981, my parents divorced and less than a month later, Dad was in a really serious car accident and nearly died. The accident was the result of a brain tumor that caused him to black out. I was 13 and my world was crashing around my very narrow shoulders. Talk about a basket case.

Dad went through surgery, chemo and radiation and was declared cancer free. We danced and thanked God. Dad also did his part to get healthy, he quit smoking and found some diets that would help rebuild his body and make him stronger.

My dad was an amazing man. He had a dry sense of humor and  loved bad jokes and pulling pranks on his friends. As far as I was concerned, he knew everything and could fix anything. Above all, he loved my brother and me. When doctors told him that his type of cancer had a low survival rate, he told that doctor it was not his job to tell him when he was going to die. he was that kind of person. He was very headstrong, but also very kind and loving. A bear of a man with the heart of a teddy bear.

Dad was the one who told me I could do anything I wanted to if I worked hard enough for it. He encouraged me to do things and try new things and always built me up, even if he thought I might not like something. When I was in 6th grade I think, I decided I wanted to play soccer. Even though he knew nothing about the sport, he volunteered to be one of the coaches. He showed me the value of hard work and acceptance. In a part of the country where prejudice and bigotry run rampant, he taught me to look at the person as a whole, the color of our skin does not define who we are and we’re all the same on the inside.

In the late 90’s, dad’s cancer returned and he began having increasingly regular blackouts, several of which lead to car accidents. One of those was extremely serious and landed him in the hospital for several days with multiple broken bones. he never really recovered from it and died 8 months later.

He lived long enough to see my brother and I grown and to walk me down the aisle at my wedding. he was even able to hand me my diploma when I graduated chiropractic college and followed in his footsteps. I miss him like mad and so wish he could’ve met his grandchildren. He would be so proud of them.

I love you dad.

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Never Wake A Sleeping Mom!

This is just too funny and pretty typical of life in our house. First I just have to say I love my two little yard apes more than I ever thought I could love two people who drive me to drink!

It’s 3AM and my son, who’s nearly 10, is suddenly at my side. In a half-whisper he says, ‘Mom, I turned on my radio, can you hear it?” 

When our kids have nightmares, we tell them to turn on their radios and go back to sleep, seems reasonable enough, right? So he’s actually doing what he’s been told to.

‘Um, no honey, I was asleep.’ yeah, that’s what I”m normally doing when it’s 3AM and I”m in my bed and my eyes are closed.

‘I used the bathroom, but I didn’t flush or wash my hands because I didn’t want to wake you.’

HUH? shaking my head. ‘what? ok honey, go do what you need to do, flush and go back to bed.’

‘ok mom, I love you.’

‘love you too honey.’

Now I am  awake. And I can’t go back to sleep! GRRR

The next day, my husband asks him why he did it. If he didn’t want to wake us with the flushing of the toilet and the washing of the hands, why did he come and talk to us.

‘Mom was already awake.’

“What? No, I’m pretty sure I was asleep. Why do you think I was awake?’

‘You were coughing.’

‘Helllllooooo. coughing and awake are two completely different things!’

See, it’s just a different version of , ‘mom, are you awake?’ poke, poke. ‘mom? mom? are you awake mom?” poke poke shake. “MOM? ARE YOU AWAKE MOM?”

‘I AM NOW!!!”

So if anyone is wondering why I have bags under my eyes, look like a zombie, and I’m mainlining my coffee today,  that’s why.

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The Top 10 Things I Learned from my Dad

I’ve written another post on Father’s Day, so I wanted to write something positive and different about my pop.

The Top 10 Things I learned from my dad in random order, because I’m too lazy to put them in order according to importance!

10. Treat everyone with respect and dignity because you never know when you’ll be on the other side

9. We are all the same on the inside, try to never judge people simply on their outward appearance (seriously, have you seen any pictures of Howard Hughes in his later years? He was crazy rich and looked like a homeless person!)

8. Never settle for less than what you want, or less than what you feel you deserve, or let anyone tellyou that you aren’t good enough for those things, or in his words, don’t let the bastards get you down  (that was one of his favorite sayings!)

7. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re in serious doody, ha ha, I just said ‘doody’

6. Work hard and you’ll be rewarded for it (too bad my husband’s employees haven’t heard this one!)

5. Never underestimate the power of the mind. Remember, some things are mind over matter, as in if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!

4. Family comes first, always.

3. A good fart joke every now and then is almost as  good for you as actually farting every now and then!

2. Anything is possible if you want it bad enough (as long as it’s not illegal, cause I’m not bailing your ass out of jail!)

1. Always, and I mean FREAKING ALWAYS tell the truth, no matter how hard it may be. You never know when it’s going to come back and bite you in the arse. (This I learned the hard way in high school and got grounded for a month getting busted lying. Did you know a month when you’re in high school is like a decade in normal years? Seriously! I nearly missed my Adam Ant concert!)

One more that I just have to add to this list, so i guess it’s 10+1 ! If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit! And that,my friends, is basically my pop in a nutshell. He was the best, he loved bad jokes, laughing at himself , photography and learning new things. I wish you could’ve met him, I know you would’ve liked him and I’m sure he would’ve liked you.

Happy Father’s Day dad!

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An unintentional domestic goddess

Ten years ago, I was a new mom and newly minted healthcare professional on a mission to save the world. The thought of being a domestic goddess, or *GASP* stay at home mom was about as foreign to me as someone talking to me in Chinese. I never would have even considered it. I spent too much blood, sweat, tears and money on my education.  I was very happy the way things were. I thought everything was the way it was supposed to be: harried, hectic, and wonderful. Dinners most nights were a whirlwind of something out of a box and a can and augmented by some fresh chicken or beef and a salad. And although it sounds tasty, it was, um, bland is a good word to use. I felt like I was turning into, *gasp* my mother! AAAAAAGGGHHH! She was a working mom and had a fairly limited number of recipes that made their weekly appearance on our dinner table, boring is the best way to describe them. The most colorful name of all her dishes was ‘Shit on a shingle’. MMMM Appetizing, no? ‘Mom, can I have more of that shit?’ funny, but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it as, ‘Mom, can I have another piece of the bacon wrapped chicken in the white wine cream sauce?’

Of course, we enjoyed eating out, seriously, who doesnt? At one point, my favorite thing to make was reservations. But, it gets expensive really quickly. And then, when you only frequent a small number of dining establishments because of time, as in it’s too late to go all the way to the north side, or wherever, because it’s too close to junior’s bedtime, it is no better than whipping up the shit on a shingle I was making on a regular basis!

What to do what to do? Life went on this way for a few years, something like this: I’m off @ 6, pick up my boy, zoom home, throw something together, eating dinner at 7:30, kid’s off to bed at 8, I’m off to bed at 9. sounds terribly exciting, doesn’t it??

Looking back at it now, I can’t believe it. Things are so different now and definitely for the better. When our precious girl came along a few years later, I had what I thought was a random, fleeting thought about life. It terrified me and I thought there was no way in hell my husband would go for it. Ha ha! Once again, the universe laughed at me! The first two times, well, it’s a long story for another post. So I sort of vomited this idea on his lap. I say vomit because, well, that’s really kind of what it felt like. I was nervous and frightened all at the same time. But I decided I wanted to be the one raising our children, not an underpaid daycare worker who was too overwhelmed with children to give them the attention that I would want them to have. (No offense to daycare workers, but you get my meaning) To my complete astonishment, he said yes! Go for it! He was actually happy that I wanted to do it.

Now life is not the harried, hectic place it used to be. Well, maybe not the same, harried and hectic yes at times, but better. We now have dinner at a respectable hour with time to play after eating. I have found a really insane love of trying new recipes. I jokingly call myself the friendly neighborhood Betty Crocker! I truly enjoy making things, and not just food. This blog is another. If we dont’ have at least two new recipes a week, I must be ill. Or solo. If my kids are gone, I don’t cook much. Although, they were gone earlier this week and I made a new dish, Italian sausage w/peppers and penne. OMG it was soooo good! Will I ever go back to work? I don’t know. All I can say is even though this may have been an unintentional route on my journey, it has been wonderful and I wouldn’t change it for all the rice-a-roni in the world!

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10 Things That Make Me Happy

One of my friends wrote a post on her blog and I thought I’d give it a shot. You can read hers here http://www.bridgetmcguiresfillingstation.blogspot.com/

I don’t know that I can put these in any specific order, I don’t want anyone to get their feeling hurt, so I’ll just write them as they come to me.

10. Cooking. it’s so funny, I have become what I call your friendly neighborhood Betty Crocker. Ten years ago, I was a newly minted chiropractor out to save the world and cooking was the last thing on my mind. In fact, I was very pregnant and looking forward to becoming a mother, not a chef. I have found a love of cooking and especially trying new recipes. dinner in my house is never boring, I can tell you that for certain. My kids, well, they will say otherwise. They don’t love everything I make. I dont’ love everything I make, but that’s how you learn.

9. Traveling. I have always enjoyed traveling to new places that we haven’t visited before and seeing the architecture and learning about the history and culture of the places we’re visiting. We have been some really interesting places, like Bermuda, Bahamas, Mexico, Napa, US Virgin Islands, Hawaii. I still have a rather long bucket list of places I want to see before I die. At the top of my bucket list is Italy. My friend, ‘Bridget McGuire’ just returned from 10 days in Italy and the pictures she’s shared are simply amazing!

8. My children. I have been blessed with two beautiful and amazing children who have changed me immeasurably. You know they say you will never truly understand what it is to be a parent until you are one, and it’s true. I am so proud of these little people. They are adorable, precious, and maddening all at the same time. They fight and bicker with one another, but I love them more than I can ever begin to express. They are so much fun to be around, they make me laugh, cry, and scream every single day! Watching them grow is such a joy and privilege. I just hope that I can do a good job helping them grow into productive, respectful, intelligent people. My son is so handsome and sweet. He’s a very caring child who wants to make people laugh. When he was younger, he never had baby talk, he was very articulate at a very early age. People were amazed at how well he spoke as a two year old. My daughter is a beautiful, blue-eyed girl. She was the sweetest, most laid-back baby ever. But when she hit 22 months, it was as if someone told her ‘you’re almost 2, you’d better act like it’ and since then all bets are off! She’s very strong-willed and knows what she wants. She’s a princess one minute, and a tomboy the next.  She loves to perform, dancing and singing are what she really enjoys.

7. Writing. Writing in some way, shape, or form has been a part of me since high school, maybe earlier. I remember keeping a journal when I was younger. In my 20’s, my journal was my best friend as I was going through a particularly hurtful breakup. It was my therapist and my catharsis. I still journal, just not as often as I used to, I blog instead! I’m also working on a novel about a 20 something young lady who moves from the midwest to LA. She’s been languishing on my hard drive for years, and I’m determined to finish her story, if for nothing else, for myself and the knowledge that I’ve completed it. That and I’ve got another story in mind that comes from my friend’s incredible life.

6. Learning. I feel like the perpetual student, but I really enjoy learning new things. I can’t say that I learn something new every day, but I do enjoy reading and studying and discovering things that I didn’t know. My son is going into the 5th grade and last year in helping him with some projects, I learned things that I had no clue about prior, and it was really fun. I like to exercise my brain through learning. I keep telling my children that they don’t know everything, and neither do I, but we can find it out. The internet is such a wonderful resource. I really wish it had been around when I was growing up, it would have made researching topics for projects so much easier!

5. The beach. My friend wrote that Notre Dame is her happy place. Mine is the beach, any beach as long as it’s on an ocean. Although at this specific point in time, I’m very sad to know that many of the beautiful Gulf beaches are being polluted by the oil spill and it’s a real tragedy and a travesty. Anyway, maybe it’s because I’m a cancer, the crab, a water sign, that I find the beach so soothing. To have my toes in the sand, smell the salty sea air, hear the waves crashing on the beach, to me, that is heaven right there. If I get my way, we’ll retire to a beach condo. That’s a while off still, but I’ve put in my order!

4. My friends. I have been blessed with some really good friends that I’ve met in some really interesting ways. My friend Bridget McGuire, we met while on a cruise 10 years ago and have kept in touch with. My BFF and I have been friends for over 10 years, my husband met her at a bank while he was opening an account. Another friend, well, this one is pretty wild, she was the girlfriend of a boyfriend of mine (LOOONG story). He was a POS and neither of us knew it, but the best revenge we could’ve gotten on him was becoming friends. Facebook has helped me reconnect with so many people from my past that I would not be in touch with otherwise.

3.  My love. My husband and I have been together for 14 years now and it feels like the blink of an eye. He is my best friend, he still makes me laugh and tells me he loves me every night before we go to sleep and in the morning as he’s leaving for work. He was my willing guinea pig while I was in chiropractic school and my taste tester for my new recipe concoctions. We started off as co-workers and friends at Bed Bath and Beyond. Musci trivia was how we really got to know each other. I tried to set him up with my friends. He was a really good guy and I was planning on moving out-of-state to go to college. None of them were interested and I don’t know why. One night, we were going to a movie, as friends, and I looked at him and thought, ‘Boy, he’s really cute, why am I trying to set him up with my friends?” And that was it. He gave me a good night kiss that night and we’ve been inseparable ever since! funny how things work out.

2. Trying new things. I’m always up for something new, be it food, activities, places.  To me, that’s what makes things interesting. Some things I like, Cabernet franc anyone? Others not so much, like Alice in Wonderland. I really enjoy going to a restaurant and trying a dish I’ve never had before. Once we were in Cozumel, I ordered ceviche. I’ve had ceviche before, but this had octopus in it! that was pretty wild. And yes, I did eat it. It completely grossed out my husband, but he tried it too!

1.  Introducing my children to new things. Every time we travel with our kids, I encourage them to do or eat things they never have before. On our vacation last year, my daughter tried Brussels sprouts (gag).  My son tried them on our Disney vacation this year. I have been very happy with them at least taking one bite of something new before deciding if they like it or not.  Taking them places they’ve never been and showing them fun new things, or to help them appreciate all that we have is really amazing. We went on a cruise last year and one of the stops was Grand Bahama Island. We rode a bus from the ship to a beach and to get to the beach, we passed some really sad and run-down neighborhoods. It was such a contrast, you have the gorgeous beaches and people living in poverty. it really made me appreciate what we have and I try to help our children understand that every chance I get as well.

Now I challenge some of my blogging friends to do the same!

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