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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Welcome to the Terrible, Terrific Teens

We made it! Our twins are 13, and we made it! Being twins, they had a rough start. Let's be honest, childbirth is not easy for me, and having twins was a HUGE deal-in more ways than one. So the very fact that those 4 and 5 pound little girls are now brilliant, amazing, incredible young ladies feels like quite an accomplishment.

So how did we get this far? Good Luck, prayers, tears, mistakes, triumphs, bravery, trying, trying again, and hope are all part of parenting. We've used these tools plus a lot of joy, happiness, fun, fear, uncertainty and trust--and somehow it's worked out.

The things no one tells you before you become a parent are numerous. Children come home so little and cute, and dependent, and then as they grow they have opinions and attitude, mixed with sweetness and forgiveness--and that's just the toddler years.

So we are now parents of teens--mathematically impossible since I am waaaay too young for that. Somehow it happened. The greatest lesson I have learned being a parent is that LOVE makes all the difference. I know, much more cheesy than I normally am, but being a parent teaches you to love someone else in a whole new way.

Love your children for who they are. No matter what, you will butt heads and have conflict, because that's how we learn. Love them anyway. If they want to wear that hideous neon shirt with their holey jeans and rubber rain boots to school, so be it.

Love them because they are the very best parts of you. And when you see some not so nice things that may come out in their personalities--that's part of you too. Embrace all of it!

Love them because they have unlimited potential. They can do anything, and with the support of a loving parent(s), they can do everything!

Love them because sometimes they will feel like no one does. Remember how tumultuous life was as a teen? It's the same for way for them--maybe even more so in this ever-changing, complicated, technologically advanced world. Maybe you don't show you love them in public--cuz they need their street cred, but show them that you love them and tell them. Those words can mean everything to them--and yeah, they may not admit it, but they hear you, so do it anyway.

Love them because it's your job. You may not have been aware that this roller coaster called Parenthood would have so many ups and downs, but the best thing you can do is just be there to guide, listen, discipline, teach and trust them. That will make a bigger impact on them than the latest tech gadget, hottest pair of jeans, or greatest toy.

Love them because someone loved you at this age. There are many wonderful, amazing days ahead in this parenting gig--and there will be days when you will ask yourself, "What the H*!! was I thinking?" Don't panic, it's normal.  This is the same wheel parents have been spinning on for centuries. They survived, so will you.

Love them because someday Karma will repay them the favor when they have their own kids. Love them because no one can love your kids better than you. Love them because time is fleeting and someday they will be fully functional adults who, if you are lucky, will become your best friends. Love them because they need YOU--and you need THEM! Don't waste the opportunity to know your children. They are incredible people already.

I am going to take time to enjoy as much as I can on this ride. I am so proud of my twins (and all my kids) and so happy to celebrate this milestone with them. We gave our children life, let's teach them how to LIVE.

Happy Parenting!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Green Thumb

I did it! Check this out!

I started these babies from seed, and they grew. Yellow Squash for everyone! If you look in the far right corner of the picture, you'll see my Zucchini plant starting. I am so excited to put them in the ground, as soon as it stops freezing here, and see what happens.

Life is an experiment.
I love experiments that you can eat!

The seeds were .59 cents (IFA-all seeds on sale this week, no I'm not being compensated)
Each seed packet can start 4 "hills" of plants--so that's a lot of squash. In each "hill" are two of these pods, each containing one plant. 

Other stuff I bought: zucchini (obviously), lettuce, spinach, blue lake bush green beans, carrots, colored peppers, onions, peas, and radishes. All of this I am starting from seed (some like lettuce you just sow directly in the ground once the freezing weather is no longer a threat). I am pretty sure the garden will be spectacular in no time! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Growing Inside and Out

Isn't change fun? I mean really, who doesn't like the surprises that life throws our way? Sometimes it's fun, when we have a hand in the change. And so I have managed to create a new life chapter, and close an old one. I am moving on from my job at the House of Hope, and taking on a new chapter in my ever-changing, never boring life. I am choosing to create a new path, or destiny, or lifestyle, or possibly even a new mess.

I won't bore you with the details of why I left my job. I will say, it has a wonderful mission which serves a women who have a great need, and it was a pleasure to witness many of them grow and become the women and mothers they were intended to be. And to pass on my sincere thanks to my many friends and family who helped with Christmas, Welcome Bags, and other much needed donations every time I asked. You all ROCK!

So what's next? Well if I only had a crystal ball.....more change I suppose. In the meantime, I am sure my time will be consumed with many new opportunities, possibly local politics, for sure more family fun, and maybe in the future a job that makes me happy and complete, maybe.

Over the past six months I have learned I can do hard things. It's all about perspective. If you want a different life, you have to make different choices. Sometimes those choices means giving up something good, for what is best.

If I can do hard things, so can you. We are here to have experiences, whatever they may be, so whatever "it" is that you want to do, and are maybe feeling nervous or unsure about, just go do it! You won't know what you're missing out until you try!

Write your new chapter! I am writing mine (and thank goodness for white-out).

Friday, March 14, 2014

Perfect Rice

I keep printing this recipe off an losing it, along with my mind. I've tried this 100 times, and every time this recipe brings forth perfect brown rice.

Click HERE for the recipe from America's Test Kitchen and Our Best Bites.

Monday, March 10, 2014

St. Patty's Day Fun

I love St. Patrick's Day, and I'm not Irish. I love it because I can start thinking about Spring, and warm weather, and gardening, and fresh flowers....

And it's a great excuse to combine chocolate and mint, mint and lemonade, lemons and chocolate--whatever!

Here are a few fun ideas (an no, I am not being compensated) that I wanted to pass along to make your St. Patrick's day and Springtime more memorable.

Yummy treats anyone? Betty's brought forth a wonderful collection of delicious desserts-Lucky You! Click HERE for some delicious fun.

The ladies at Our Best Bites have some great meal ideas you'll want to try. Click HERE for the recipes.

Why not have a little craft making Candy Rainbow? Use colored Skittles, Trix or licorice ropes to create an edible masterpiece!

We used to make up stories about "Shawn O'Casey," a magical Leprechaun who would hide gold coins and candy around our house. He was very sneaky and avoided detection easily. This idea started from a very creative sixth grade teacher of mine. As sixth graders, we'd "adopt" a first grader and secretly deliver them notes and treats during the week of St. Patrick's. I was LUCKY enough to be my sister's "Shawn O'Casey." Eventually my secret was exposed, but it was fun while it lasted. This idea could easily be adapted into a fun Hide-and-Seek game to create a fun family memory. The trick is to be stealth and sneaky, and leave the treats in unexpected places (bathroom drawers, dishwasher, pantry shelves, etc.),

It's fun at any age to get a surprise treat. And I am pretty sure we could all use some excitement, surprises and fun after our long, cold, gray winter. Bring on the colors of Spring!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What's That Smell?

Ok, if you're a parent I am sure that you've asked this question a dozen times over. Let me just relate a bit of my crazy week....and yes, like many of you, every week I have is crazy.

I began starting garden seeds in my seed pods last week, and I was doing my project in the kitchen. One of the kids opened our new fridge and the smell that escaped was overwhelming. This doesn't usually happen at our house because there are rarely leftovers.

Of course said child "didn't notice anything" so I got to play detective. Lurking the the very back corner, behind a jar of mayonnaise, was a mystery container. I recognized the container as ours, but what was inside was anyone's guess. Upon pulling back the lid I was overcome with emotion--not the good kind. Apparently black beans ferment, or expand, or explode, or do something really bad when ignored for a week. It smelled worse than it looked, but gross none the less.

One box of baking soda and a few paper towels later, my fridge was pretty again. My poor husband volunteered to dispose of the accidental science experiment. His act was really a miracle. After living in Europe for a few years, he has severe "expired food anxiety" and normally won't touch anything that is passed it's "use by" date. Thank You sweetheart for expunging our house of the Killer Black Beans, and for washing the container too! (Bonus points to you, but you will only know that if you read this post!)

Onto the point...there are dates on products for many reasons--some are not always what you may think they are. I ran across this great website, Eat By Date, and it's very helpful. Sometimes it's hard to tell what those stamped dates, such as "Best By," mean. Great minds must think alike because today Melea at Freebies2Deals has THIS POST on her site. Read it for better understanding of what all these dates really mean.

Why worry about food expiring? Because this helps $AVE MONEY. If the food must be used by the date on the package, then use it by that date, and you won't waste money throwing it out. If the date is negotiable in its time frame (Best By Dates)--cereal, cake mix, etc--then you don't have to throw it out and you can "buy" yourself extra time.

The more you know, the more you $ave....or something like that.