Friday, November 30, 2012


Y'all know what that stands for, right?

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

(Sorry, this isn't a post about kissin'.  :D  )

I have to remind myself of this every time Christmas season rolls around, because nothing is worse than feeling like you were too wrapped up in whatever event that you 'missed it'.

When my kids were little I would plan these cool birthday parties and these really creative cakes and take tons of pictures.

You know what I remember? Stressing out over the cake, the party and the pictures.  And truth be known, my kids would have had just as much fun if I had bought a cake from Publix, let all the kids do what ever they wanted, forgot the camera and was fully engaged.  Which I eventually did.  But those few birthdays I wasted over my own need to impress, well, those are days I will never get back.

Now I worry less about getting the perfect 'shot' and enjoy just BEING and ENJOYING.

Yup, nothing sucks the joy out of a birthday party or a holiday season quicker than stress.

So this year...simplify is my mantra.

A smaller tree is just as effective as a huge one...and much easier to decorate.

Dragging 5 boxes of ornaments out of the attic is never fun.  I donated most of what I had last year to Goodwill. 

It won't kill us to miss this event or that party.

A few gifts that are truly wanted mean more than having a bunch of 'filler' packages under the tree.

A visit to a local family that has a light display inspired by their son who is a cancer survivor is just as beautiful and more meaningful than driving 2 hours and spending over $100 at Callaway Gardens to see those light displays.

Our one big hurrah is a caroling party the Friday before Christmas.  Other than that, I don't forsee any other Christmas parties.

It's my family I want to remember this season..not the stress over time wasted and money spent.

How about you all?  Is a Simpler Season on your Christmas list?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mom Guilt

Took my 13 year old son to the allergist yesterday.

Now, for a little background info, I was raised as an Air Force Brat.  And despite the FREE medical care on the Base, we never, NEVER went to the doctor. Well, unless it were for vaccinations for school or a dire emergency (like the time I sliced open my hand climbing a chain link fence.  And even then my mom was all "I'm not sure she needs to go," to which my brother replied "I can see the inside of her hand Mom! Take her!"  But that is another story altogether.)

SO unless we were dying or there was a threat of jail time...we just toughed it out.

My son has always had allergy symptoms, along with everyone else in the state of Georgia.  Fall and Spring are times we stock up on Zyrtec and tissues.  But he has also had episodes in the past involving antibiotics, and cats, so I just bit the bullet and had him checked out.

The doctor looked in his nose and deemed it 'tired' looking...tired of being red and inflamed.  He looked in his throat and said it was 'cobblestoned' from all the drainage.  I guess all the drainage cut grooves into his throat.  Poor kid.

The doctor said to my son, "I can tell you are not a complainer, are you?"  No, he isn't.  My sweet son just toughs stuff out until it becomes 'too much'.  My daughter does all the complaining for the both of them.

A skin test was performed on his back.  The kind where they scratch the surface of the skin and apply a sample of an allergen.  Then they wait for the reaction.

My son's back looked like he had laid in a bed of nails.

Here's the results:

Allerigic to  birch, hickory, pecan, pine, cedar trees...about 5 different weeds....cats and dogs...molds...dust mites...cockroaches....and the worst one of all...grass.

The grass reaction was off the charts.  The reactions were scored on a scale of 1 to 4.  Everything he reacted to was a 4...grass was written down as '4 + '. 

I'm now in a whirlwind of scheduling twice weekly allergy shots, washing bedding in 130 degree F water once a week, zippered pillow covers and mattress covers. 

I'm NOT selling the dog. No way!

The doctor explained to me that a lot of his distractiblity issues could be due to allergies...when the body is producing histamine and fighting the environment, it is comparitive to running a race.  The body gets exhausted.

I feel so guilty though.  I should have taken him sooner...when he was younger.  Maybe he would be so much better by now.  I just thought allergies were something that everyone just has to suffer through. 

Now I know.  And the cleaning, scalding, injecting has begun.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Boundaries and the "Bug Man"

It's no secret that I live in the South. The DEEP South, Honey, with sweet tea and cornbread and "Bless Y'all's Hearts".   And calling anything 'salad' when we add mayonnaise and boiled eggs to it.

And bugs.  My lands the bugs.  Every good Southerner has a regular 'date' with the exterminator, or as we refer to him in this house, The Bug Man.

I have a wonderful exterminator, yes, but it's the dispatcher whom I truly enjoy.

She is as Southern as a butterbean and sweet as she can be.  When she calls to set up our bi-monthly service, it always winds up being a 10 minute phone conversation.

"Hey girl! It's time for your service! Oh now Honey, you don't have to wait til payday, you can just send that check right on in the mail to us.  Is 5:00 too late? I know you have kids, I would hate to mess up their supper time.  You have a good day now, hear?"

Or something like that. 

I have never met this lady, but I really do enjoy her.

So she calls yesterday and I can tell something is off.

"Hey! It's time for your service.  Did you have a good holiday? (I replied that I did and asked her if she did)...Well, it was bittersweet.  My Grandpa wanted us all to get together for Thanksgiving, the whole family, and we did-which was really great!  But my Grandpa died yesterday so it was his last Thanksgiving....but it was wonderful that he had just what he wanted."

Poor girl.  My heart just ached for her.  So I told her I was so sorry.  And we set up my Bug Man appointment for next Monday.

Here's my dilemma....I feel the need to send her a sympathy card, but I don't even know her. I don't even know her last name. And how weird would that be for her to get  a card from  a virtual stranger?  But yet I just really, really want to.

I need to know if that is overstepping my boundaries.

What say you?

Monday, November 26, 2012

South Beach Friendly Menu for the Week

Menus for the next several days include....

Asian marinated flat iron steak with stir-fry broccoli, water chestnuts and peppers and onions.

Baked chicken, roasted vegetables, salad

Chicken and quinoa salad with zuchini, onions and broccoli (using left over baked chicken) dressed in a lemony, garlicky, olive oil based dressing.

Broiled shrimp, vegetables and salad

We are big leftover fans.  I tend to cook a big batch of whatever and we have it for at least two days. 

So far the kids are game with the South Beach plan.  Of course, I will allow them a side of rice or potato or pasta.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Update From the 'Beach'

Man, I wish I *was* at the beach! 

Nope, I am referring to the South Beach Diet plan that I have been on. 

It's been about a week.....

and I have lost 6 pounds. <Crowd goes wild...>

The best part?  I haven't really craved sweets at all.  Since I am allowed to have sugar-free Jello, that has kept the Sugar Monster at bay.

Bread is another story...I'm a bread and pasta girl.

The other best part? I haven't even felt hungry, in fact, there are days I make myself eat a snack to keep my blood sugar levels even.

Some little things that I have found to be tasty are:

a slice of Swiss cheese and a slice of ham, rolled up with a little Dijon mustard.

Greek yogurt as a substitute for mayo in chicken salad.

Pepperoncini pepper juice and olive oil make a pretty good vinaigrette dressing when you run out of balsamic vinegar. If you like spicy stuff that is.

I'm still on the strictest part of the plan, Phase 1, which forbids any bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, crackers, corn, and sugar.  This should continue for another week, then onto Phase 2 where whole grains are introduced.

The one thing I am a little tired of is eggs.  I have had a variety of 'omlettes' every morning, but an egg is still an egg.  I've never been so excited about the prospect of high fiber cereal or oatmeal for breakfast!

I am so pleased with the results of this eating plan.  No hunger, no raging cravings, weight loss and just the overall healthier feeling I have experienced have made this a winner in my book!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tis The Season For Peer Pressure

My 10 year old daughter says she wants an ipad for Christmas.

I told her to quit smoking crack and.....NO.

(Okay, I didn't tell her to quit smoking crack.  But I did tell her no.)

She wanted to know "Whhhyyyyyy?"

My response:  "What does a 10 year old need with an ipad?  And do you realize how much they cost? NO."

So of course after she asked me three more times about getting an ipad I asked her why she wanted one so badly.

"When our Sunday school teacher asked what we wanted for Christmas, EVERYONE else said they wanted an ipad except me! I just wanted an American Girl doll and accessories.  Someone made fun of me."


My response?

"They are all just saying they want one because everyone else is saying they want one!"

Then I showed her a video on YouTube of lemmings jumping off a cliff.

It was my hip, high-tech way of asking her "If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?"'s a sad world we live in when a 10 year old little girl feels awkward for only wanting a doll for Christmas.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Doin' the "Beach"

Okay, I confess..I have always gave diets a bad rap.  Sure, if you follow a diet you will lose weight...and when you stop the diet you gain it back.  It has to become a 'lifestyle'.

A dear friend of mine has told me of her success on the South Beach Diet and I was a little jealous (7 pounds in one week!) and a lot curious, so I of course went and got the book cheap-cheap at the local used book store.

After reading, I am convinced that these people know their stuff.

South Beach is more of an eating plan than a diet. For the first two weeks you eliminate white flour, sugar, potatoes, rice, pasta and fruit from your diet, to detox from sugar and to bring your insulin levels back to normal.  (And they explain exactly WHAT insulin does and HOW it affects your body...) Then gradually you add back in whole wheat products, certain fruits, etc.

What I love:  No counting points or measuring portions! 

                      Basically you are eating in the first two weeks lots of lean proteins and nutrient packed
veggies, cheeses, eggs and nuts. 

You never feel hungry. I actually felt 'full' all day yesterday...but I will admit feeling a little 'blah'.

I love that this is a way you can eat the rest of your life.  It's more about making healthy choices and I am all down with that! I want my kids to see food as fuel for their bodies and to make wise decisions regarding what they eat.

The recipe and meal suggestions are EASY to prepare and easy to adapt to eating in a restaurant.  I won't have to fix my kids one thing and myself another.  In fact, many of the suggestions are things we eat regularly as a family anyway...grilled salmon, chicken, steak...just pass on the bread and potatoes and opt for more salads and veggies. Easy! Now, I will not deny my kids bread or pasta or fruit...but I will have to maintain will power around these things.

I love how the author explains the 'why' of how this plan works.  Everything he says makes perfect sense about insulin levels, blood chemistry, etc.

Okay, I've only been on this one day and I'm sure I am in for some days when all I want is a chocolate bar and buttered toast.  But I'm willing to try this just to see if it works!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

That 13 Letter Word

Do you ever have those moments when you feel God is trying to tell you something..and you kind of keep wanting to push it down because it is NOT what 'many people' would accept?  And so you go on tying yourself up in knots because, even though deep down in your heart, you know what God is telling you but the pressure...OH the pressure from all sides around you, just wants to tell you that little voice is wrong?

Next year my son will be in the 9th grade.  (Hold me.)

And of course instead of worrying about what we are doing THIS thoughts fly to next year and I just get overwhelmed.

And it's all because of one 13 letter word... ACCREDIDATION.

I've looked at online schools.  They are wonderful...but not feeling it.

I've looked at 'boxed' curriculum that is accredited...still not feeling it.

It's not what we love, what has 'worked' for us in the past. 

So of course I want to ignore that little voice that says "Follow your heart.  YOU know your children best."

Which is then followed by that voice that says "What if you screw up your kids?? What then?"


SO all the thoughts of just doing our 'thing' right on through high school are daunted.

Until I had a conversation with a fellow homeschooling mom who was homeschooled her self.

Guess what? When your homeschooled high schooler applies for college...they don't necessarily care about accredidation.  They care about grades, transcripts, entrance exams...and if your high schooler completes college courses while still in high school, it proves they are capable of doing college level work. What accredidation *is* useful for is getting the HOPE grant..which, if you do not have the accredited curriculum, you wind up getting the HOPE as a refund at the end of your college term anyway.

Accreditation is only important to those who stand to make money off of convincing us that we NEED to have it.

Can I tell you that conversation has been like lifting a weight off of my shoulders?

I know my point of view is not shared by many moms in the homeschooling community.  It's okay.  I'm doing what I know to be best for the education of MY kids.

Ahhh...the luxury of educational freedom.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Oh, The Guilt

We are down to one kitten, after getting rid of the other three. 

For the first week, she was really cute.

Now she is climbing on the bird cage, terrorizing the dog, digging in my plants and creating all sorts of havoc.

My daughter, who LOVES animals (her nickname is 'Ellie Mae') even said "I wish we could give her to someone else. She is annoying!"  My son echoed the sentiment.


I wish I could say I love her...

I don't.

Cleaning a litter box is just one poop related chore that I just don't want to have.

So I put an ad in the local credit union 'bulletin'.  I really don't want to have to take her to the pound.  She deserves a family who will love all her little, annoying kitty ways.

Until then, wish me luck.