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Pencils-writing utensil, inexpensive gift, or deadly weapon?

31 Mar

I recently went on a trip to Columbia State Park. It is a great place to go in Northern California. It is a living history park that takes you back to time of the the Gold Rush. We did out gold panning (more like iron pyrite panning), dipped candles, made a stop for some fudge at the Candy Kitchen, and then hit up the gift shop. While there I saw a twig pencil that was made into a slingshot. Pretty cool- my son would absolutely LOVE this. Give him a Y shaped stick and a rubber band and he will make his own slingshot. So I picked up three of them. Life has taught me if I am going to arm my son I need to equally arm my daughter… and one for me because it was cool.

Fast forward to being at the house. It is raining and the kids are slingshotting peanut M&M’s at each other trying to catch them with their mouths. It’s a good thing I was recently re-certified in First Aid. The palm hit my forehead as I said “What was I thinking, OF COURSE they were going to use them against each other!” Parenting fail!

Exhibit A:  The pencil in question

Exhibit A: The pencil in question

But then I remembered that four years ago my brother and sister-in-law brought my son a super long pencil back from one of their many trips. At first he used it like a walking stick, but within minutes he was wielding like a Jedi Knight. The pencil went on top of the fridge. Every once in a while it comes down, gets used for homework, is used to attack his sister, and then goes back up on the fridge or the top shelf in the closet.

Then I remembered a story my husband tells about why he doesn’t wear shorts. If you look closely he has a piece pencil lead in each thigh. Why, in one grade a kid sat next to him on his right side and one day stabbed him in the right leg with a pencil. The next year, the same kid sat on his left and stabbed the left leg. Tough school!

So a note to my future self… stop buying pencils as gifts.


Why my Kids are Like Pirates

4 Nov

A quick online search brings up the definition of a pirate as some who attacks and robs ships at sea, robs and plunders and many colorful synonyms.  After an exhausting week and coming home to a house that looked like it had been looted, I come to the conclusion… my kids are pirates.

  • They ransacked my closet to find the “right” shoes for a game of dress up.
  • They pillaged my bathroom drawer to use my good perfume like air freshener- yep, can you say $75 Lysol!
  • They hide their secret treasures- half eaten lollipops, underpants, Happy Meal toys- in the cushions of the couch.
  • The robbed me of my extra hour of sleep this morning by getting up 30 minutes before they would have typically gotten up.
  • They plundered my purse for my personal items and then hid them in their toy kitchen, then walk around the house gloating and saying things like “Can’t find your keys, can you?” or “Mommy lost her sunglasses AGAIN!” followed by an evil laugh.
  • Watch out because the little guy has started flicking booger bombs (according to him this is a better choice than eating them- I reminded him that tissues are the best choice).
  • They prefer to eat food that has been impaled on a stick of some kind- tooth pick, chopstick, Popsicle stick, etc.
  • You can’t understand half the things the little one says.
  • They stink.

Well, that’s it.  Time to try and dig the rest of the treasures out of the couch and find a new hiding spot for my perfume.  What thinks have your loved one’s done lately that make you question your sanity?

A note to afterschool staff

16 Oct

This week Light’s On Afterschool is being celebrated across the nation. This is a day to celebrate and advocate for before and afterschool services.  Over the past few years as a school age parent we have used a variety of afterschool services- from school age care, to specialized classes and even school sponsored clubs.  The one thing that we know we can count on is that afterschool programs will be available to them and that we are fortunate.  Light’s On Afterschool is also a day to advocate for programs and services to keep schools open and accessible to children and families after the school bell rings.   As a working mom, I want to take a moment and celebrate the amazing work of a great group of people.

Dear Staff,

Thank you for all that you do.  While I could rattle of a list of thank you’s for the obvious things like having a safe & supervised program, providing healthy snacks, helping them with their homework, and so on and  so forth.  What I am really thankful for is the little things that I don’t think are always recognized, so here goes my list of what I am thankful for.

  • Thank you for understanding that we have a non-traditional schedule and for being willing to work with us.
  • Thank you for always saying “yes” when I ask if I can drop them off in the morning because I have a last minute, early meeting even though that is not our typical schedule.
  • Thank you for having an open door so when emergencies come up the kids know they are always welcome at the program until one of us can come get them.  
  • Thank you for being a part of the school.  Seeing you at carnivals, back to school nights, etc reassures me that you are connected with the school. 
  • Thank you listening to me when I have a concern or a special request and following up, it shows me how much you care. 
  • Thank you for giving my son an extra snack to share with his sister on the days he is picked up before she is released.  While this may seem like nothing to you, it shows me you care about fostering kindness- even if it isn’t reimbursable.
  • Thank you for creating a cohesive group of kids.   I cannot count the number of times we have been out and about and a “big kid”  comes running up to my two and gives them a hug or shouts a loud  “Hi” across the grocery store .  When I ask them how they know each other, it comes back to you.
  • Thank you for hiring staff who make memories.  Every car ride home entails a detailed list of of what Mr. X said that was hilarious or the crafty project they made with Ms Y.  The staff don’t just make the program fun for my two, the staff are the program.

What I am trying to say is thank you for being you.  You make a difference and your small actions may a big difference!


A mom

If you too use a before and afterschool program for you children, why not take time this week to say thank you to the program staff.   They deserve every bit of gratitude and much, much more.

Take a Note From My Book

6 Oct

Our world was rocked in September. The Hubs came home to find our house had been broken into. They had used a crow bar to pry open the door and then kicked it in the rest of the way. A few years ago we added a swing bar lock to the door (to keep the hooligans in the house). We thought we were pretty secure. We always locked all the doors and windows, but it wasn’t enough.

It looks like they were targeting jewelry and pills. Ha, ha on them! Most of my jewelry is from Target and the strongest thing we have in the medicine cabinet is Tums and Tiger Balm. They trashed our bedroom looking for the stuff. Broke our dresser and took a small safe that had some personal documents in it.  They did take quite a few things that had sentimental value and not a lot of street value.  To think that someone is mistreating my great grandmother’s charm bracelets makes me sad and angry.

Thankfully our insurance company has been amazing to work with. They had someone out to secure our house within a few hours. They had a new door in place within a few days. This is pretty awesome considering we have a odd sized door. They have been efficient and friendly every time we interacted with them. I have always thought they were awesome but now in my book they are tops and irreplaceable.

We learned some valuable lessons. I thought I would take a moment to share them.

1. If they want in they will find a way in.  

2. They know the usual hiding spots. Our “secret” drawers that were in our dresser were not so secret. (Yes, all the undies went directly into the washer)

3. Take pictures of your valuables. Whether they are sentimental or high dollar, take a photo. It makes the insurance reporting easier. I spent a good week and a half trying to remember everything that was in the jewelry drawer.

How this relates back to being a Home Ec Reject

Things have been really busy on their own this month. The Hubs started back to school, the Hooligans have had their extra curriculars, work has been swamped and well our housekeeping has dropped a bit- like it really only gets picked up on the weekends. When the police came by they took one look at the living room and exclaimed “Whoa, they really trashed this place!” We were a tad bit embarrassed to let him know that the room was in that state when we left in that morning. The sad thing is it was a Wednesday, it could have looked worse if it was Friday.

I am sharing my tips based on my experience.  I am not a home security professional.  If you know of any other tips please post below and share with the community.

And the award for worst school lunch goes to…

17 Aug

School started for us this week.  We are back in the swing of homework, early wake ups and one of my least favorite things- packing lunches.  I really wish my kids would eat hot lunch.  My oldest hooligan only eats beige foods and the younger copies what the older does.

As much as I wish I could say I am one of those mothers who packs all organic snacks, hummus & veggies, and free range rotiseiere chicken sliced and wrapped in whole grain tortillas- I’m not.  I have to admit I send my kids to school with a sack of high fructose corn syurp, partially hydogenated soy bean oil, enriched flour, and let’s not forget about all the preservatives in the deli meat.

I have tried the healthy stuff.  It just comes back, all warm and squished.  So when the goal is to make sure calories go in the game plan changes and you get this.


Mmmm! How’s that for some processed foods!

The current lunch of choice is a meat and cheese sandwich (one likes white meat, or turkey to the rest of us, and the other likes dark meat, or roast beef), chips, a drink pouch, and some kind of treat.  This week they chose Zingers but then decided they didn’t like them.  Now, I am making them S’Mores out of grahams, Nutella, and  marshmallow creme.

What do you pack in your child’s lunch?

What Happened in May

31 May

No, I was not captured by zombies.  I was not buried beneath a pile of laundry.  I was working.  More than usual.  To a point of exhaustion.  That is what happened in May.

Right now you might be saying “Come on, Home Ec Reject!  You are a working mom isn’t that the case every day and what does this have to do with your blog?”.  Hold on for a minute and I will get to it.

I spent the past month training camp program staff on various enrichment topics, one of them being cooking.  I know, me facilitating trainings on how to cook with our youth.  I know, it sounds like someone was off their rocker the day that project was assigned.  I like to think of it like a cooking version of this Chris Farley skit.  “Kids, don’t end up like me and only knowing how to make spaghetti and quesadillas.  Start now!”.  I have actually been training on this topic for many years including how to do cooking projects with youth when you don’t have access to a kitchen and a child friendly version of Iron Chef.

I do have to give props to my co-worker and friend Shawna from Pretend, Party & Play.  She is a party planner by day, domestic diva by night and in her spare time helped me out.  She did the hard stuff and wrote the curriculum, I just facilitated the training.  I can say that I sure did learn a lot.  Who knew there were so many uses for herbs?  (Umm, everyone else but me).  If you have a chance, check out her blog.  She makes really cute mini appetizers that are heads and tails above my ability level.

Well, that was my month of May.  I hope your May treated you well.

My undying love for all things frozen

17 Apr

I love the frozen food section of the grocery store!

There, I said it.

I know it is not the healthiest place to shop and that it is full of food filled with salt water and other stuff but I love it.  I can think of about 3 reasons why.

  1.  My mom discovered Costco (known as Price Club back then) around the same time she went back to work full time and I decided to be a vegetarian.  My mom would cook steaks and other dishes for my meat loving family so I would microwave myself an Enchilada Suiza from Lean Cuisine before heading off to work.  Lesson Learned:  The freezer section accommodates my whims.
  2. When I left for college, my grandmother sent me off with an ice chest full of single servings of my favorite meals.  My cooking skills-or lack there of- were already famous infamous in our family and I think she was afraid I was going to starve.  I managed to make an ice chest of eggplant parmigiana, tetrazzini, cheese lasagna, and other dishes last the entire year. Lesson Learned: Love can be frozen, then reheated at a later date and be just as warm and cuddly.
  3. I can operate a microwave and toaster oven pretty proficiently.  Lesson Learned: stick with what you are good at!

So yes, I am that parent that feeds her family many frozen dishes.  The hooligans actually prefer Eggo brand waffles and pancakes over anything I make.  Chicken strips can always be found in our freezer along with a stash of old bananas just in case I ever decide to attempt making banana bread.

There are times when I wish I wasn’t as reliant on the freezer, that more of what I made was homemade.  Then the rest of my life happens and I realize that it if weren’t for the freezer we would be eating cereal for dinner.   Reminder to self: it is all about balance.  That includes balancing homemade meals with prepackaged frozen items.

So if you ever loose me in the grocery store, check the freezer section first.

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