Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Still Waiting

A couple months ago, I wrote a post called "Waiting."  Well, I am still waiting.  My girls are still bickering, fighting, arguing, whining, and tattle-telling almost constantly.  I have tried taking away privileges.  I have tried yelling.  I have tried reasoning.  Nothing is working.

Last week and this week have been particularly stressful because my hubby has been out of town for work a lot.  We've also been extra busy will all the end-of-the-school-year stuff and softball games.  Maybe that's why it has seemed been even worse.  All I know is that I am seriously losing my patience!

Here are a couple examples of what I'm dealing with:

On Monday, after Rachel & Megan had already lost their privileges of TV, trampoline, bikes, AND computers, I finally just sent them to their rooms.  Separating them seems to be the only way to curb the fighting.  After leaving them in their rooms long enough to calm down - me, not them - I went to let them out of "jail."  Rachel had packed her suitcase.  Seriously.  She had it full of clothes.  She had also packed a bag of toiletries and pulled out some hanging clothes from her closet.  She planned to run away because, in her words, "It's the only way I can get away from Megan!"  Really.  It's that bad.  (Maybe this should be my next strategy, too. . . hmmmmm. . . .)

This morning, we were in the car on the way to the elementary school.  There's just something about being in the car that makes the fighting explode.  It gets 10 100 1000 1,000,000,000,000,000 times worse than usual.  They were dong their usual back and forth.  Rachel said to yelled at Megan, "You are so annoying!!!"  Megan's response was "Well, at least I'm not going to kill you!"  Honestly.  I can't make this stuff up, folks.  Her argument was that her "annoying-ness" was better than murder.

I'm thinking today, if when they start fighting, I might just lock them in a room together and let them slug it out.  Especially, now that I know they won't actually kill each other or anything!!  Sheesh!  And while they're in there NOT killing each other, I guess I will just keep waiting. . . . . .

(By the way, if you follow this blog, you now have 2 new options.  On the right hand side of my page you can sign up for emails when a new entry is posted OR you can like the Golden Spoons page on Facebook!  Check it out!!)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The End is Near

Some people believe the world will end soon - on May 21st to be exact.  Well, I don't believe in all that malarkey.  The "END" I am talking about is the end of school.  Around here, that happens on June 10 (if we make it past May 21st, of course!).  Right now, though, we are in the middle of the frenzy that always seems to surround the final weeks of the school year.  The kids are taking EOG's (End-of-grade tests).  The end-of-year parties are being organized.  Everyone is asking, "What are your plans for the summer?"
Many parents dread the summer months - day after day of trying to find ways to entertain your kids and new methods to keep them from killing each other or driving you any closer to the loony bin.  However, I am actually looking forward to the summer months even though we are not doing 101 camps or taking any big, adventurous vacations.  So what am I looking forward to???
First, I could definitely use a break from all the busyness.  From preschool to elementary school, from riding lessons to softball games, it seems I spend way too much time in my car  minivan.  It will be wonderful to sleep in (Does 7:30 count as sleeping in?) and not have anywhere we have to be at by a specific time.

I am also looking forward to spending some quality time with my girls.  It seems most of our time these days is spent getting somewhere - to school, to supper, to the game, to bed.  I can't wait to just sit by the pool and listen to them splash and giggle.

I am not delusional, though.  I know that not every day will be sunshine and Popsicles - we will have our moments (and lots of them, I'm sure!), but the giggles will override the tears (I think hope!) and we will make some fun memories.

So, here's to the end - the end of the school year; the end of the softball season; the end of "room mom" duties (x3, by the way); the end of Wednesday dinners and choir practices; and the end of carpool lines and homework.

Until this fall anyway!!!!!!! :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Taco Soup

I know it's spring and it would be reasonable to assume that any recipes I post right now would involve strawberries, fresh vegetables, or a grill.  The only problem with that is the fact that the past three days around here have been, well, soupy.  It has been cloudy, misty, foggy, and rainy - no sunshine or any of that other springtime weather.  So, this recipe does not involve strawberries, but let's face it - you just can't go wrong with an easy, budget friendly recipe that has the word "TACO" in the title.  (Well, actually you could, but this one doesn't!)

I found this recipe online a couple weeks ago when I had to prepare a pot of soup for the teacher appreciation luncheon at our church preschool.  It turned out great!!  In fact, I got several requests for the recipe.  Again, it is super easy and very budget friendly.  I will definitely be making it for my family in the future.  So here is my springtime (or any time) recipe for Taco Soup:

Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (16 oz) black beans
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans
1 can (11 oz) niblet corn
1 can (11 oz) Rotel tomatoes and chiles
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles (optional)
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet ranch dressing mix

In skillet, brown ground beef with onion.  Place all ingredients in the crock pot - DO NOT DRAIN THE CANS.  Stir together and cook on low 4 hours or high 2 hours.  Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and/or tortilla strips for garnish.

**You could certainly substitute some shredded chicken for the beef or leave the meat out completely if you have a vegetarian to feed. :)  You could also add some extra chiles or jalapenos if you like it really spicy.

That's it!!  So simple, so yummy!!!  Enjoy!

Monday, May 9, 2011


I had a great Mother's Day.  I woke up to find a kitchen counter full of cards, drawings, and a beautiful, very special bracelet.  Later, I spent a relaxing afternoon not doing much of anything and the children actually weren't fighting!!!

In between the morning gifts and the afternoon down-time, we went to church and I did something I would normally NEVER do - I sang.  I stood on the steps at the front of the sanctuary, in front of the whole congregation and sang.

Now there are two things you should know about me.  1) I love music.  2) I have not one ounce of musical talent.  I took piano lessons for years and it just never came naturally to me.  The only time I usually sing is when I am alone in the car (which is not very often!).

However, both my older girls are in the children's choir and the children's choir director at our church (who, by the way, is probably the most fabulous children's choir director on the planet!) actually composed a Mother's Day song and asked the moms of the choir children to sing with them.  Fortunately, all of us moms who would not normally sing were accompanied by the women from the adult choir and the song was BEAUTIFUL!  There were tears from many people in the pews.

For me, the song was a reminder of what Mother's Day is all about in a couple different ways.  Of course, the words of the song were elegant and poignant.  But, what really got me was all the moms who totally stepped out of their comfort zone to support their kids - the moms who, like me, don't sing.  On this day, though, they came to the front of the church and stood with the choirs and did just that - they sang.  That is what being a mom is all about - doing whatever it takes to be there for your kids.

When you are a mom, you do things you never thought you would do.  For example:

  • I never thought I would worry so much about everything.
  • I never thought I would get excited about someone else using the "potty."
  • I never thought I would be so happy to feel the excruciating pain of labor.
  • I never thought I would yell out loud at someone else's softball game.
  • I never thought I would care so much about another person's outfit, menu, hairstyle, or clean underwear.
  • I never thought I would dedicate an entire room of my house to toy storage.
  • I never thought I would be so thankful for Dora/Mickey Mouse/Imagination Movers/etc. "On Demand."
  • I never thought I would stay up all night to attend to another person's needs without any regard for my own well-being.
  • I never thought I wold drive across town at 8:30 on a Saturday night in the pouring rain to deliver a rescued baby bunny to a wildlife professional.
  • I never thought I would save cherish cut off locks of hair or fallen out baby teeth.
  • I never thought I would stand up and sing in front of an entire church congregation.
I have done all those things and then some in the past eight years, though, because that's what mothers do.  We give everything we have - and some things we didn't even know we had - to our kids.  And, when it is important to our kids, we sing!!!  We hope our sacrifices make them better people. We hope they are appreciative.  But, really, hugs and kisses are the only "thank you's" we need.  

Thanks to my mom for all the sacrifices you have made for me.  Thanks to my wonderful husband for giving me the opportunity to be a mother.  Most of all, thanks to my three beautiful girls for teaching me to "sing"!  

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Easter Dresses

I realize this post is a little late.  However, we were a little late for Easter this year.  The night before Easter, Emily had an upset stomach, so we actually didn't go to church on Easter Sunday.  Instead, we went and wore our "fancy" Easter clothes the next Sunday.

The past two years, I have used Easter as the one time during the year when I did the "cutesy" thing and dressed my girls alike.  I bought them the same dress, just in different colors and they looked adorable!

2009 - Doesn't Rachel just look thrilled?!?

This year, I decided not to do the "cutesy" thing.  This was primarily because Rachel can't stand for Megan to do anything like her and Megan can't stand for Emily to do anything like her and I can't stand to create any sort of additional reasons for my girls to fight - they do plenty of that on their own.  So, we went to pick out dresses, each choosing her own.   It was actually fun to see how the dresses they chose reflected their unique and individual personalities.

This is the dress Rachel chose.  It is her favorite color - turquoise.  It also has a little sparkle on the sash, which is an added bonus.  It is as skimpy as I will let her wear (she loves anything with spaghetti straps, etc.).  The bottom is pleated and "swishy," but not "poofy."  Like Rachel, it gets attention without being outlandish.  It is everything she would describe if you asked her to describe the perfect dress.  It was the perfect choice for her.

Megan chose this one.  Its color is just like Megan - indescribable!  It is not pink and not orange, but somewhere in between; kind of coral-ish, I guess.  No matter what you call the color, it is bright and beautiful.  The polka dots make if fun and whimsical.  Finally, it makes noise.  The bottom is poofy and makes a "swishy" sound anytime Megan moves (which is pretty much constantly!).  It represents Megan well - noisy, whimsical,bright, and beautiful!

This was Emily's dress.  It's hard to tell from this picture, but it is big; just like Emily's personality.  The bottom of this dress is quite poofy.  The color is also a bit deceptive (like Emily) because of the white, lacy overlay.  The poof; the lace; the flowers - this dress is over the top and, therefore, commands attention - just like Emily!

Here they are all together.  It was hard for me to let go of the "cutesy" this year, but I am glad I did.  Collectively these dresses are unique and beautiful - just like my girls.  

**I'm sure you have noticed that there are no pictures of the girls IN these dresses this year.  However, I do have some wonderful pictures of them in these dresses that were taken by David's cousin, a professional photographer.  Also, in my defense, I did try to take pictures the morning when the girls actually wore these dresses to church, but they were not "in the mood" for pictures and I was not "in the mood" to fight with them, so I just skipped it knowing that the professional photos were waaaaaay better than any of the ones I would have gotten anyway!    

Monday, May 2, 2011

Teacher Appreciation

This week, May 2-6, is National Teacher Appreciation Week.  This week is important to me because teaching runs in my family.  My parents were both high school teachers.  My mother-in-law was an elementary teacher.  I have a brother and a sister-in-law who currently teach high school.  I also have more friends than I can count who were or are teachers.  I, myself, was a preschool special needs teacher before I had my own kids.  I whole-heartedly believe that teaching is a highly underpaid and definitely un-glorified profession.  Without teachers, however, where would any of us be???  Who taught the doctors, lawyers, scientists, architects, etc.???  TEACHERS!  Even professional athletes were, at some point, coached by people who, like my dad and brother, were TEACHERS.

When I was a teacher, I gave my heart and soul to the kids in my classroom.  I spent countless hours "off the clock" preparing, planning, and praying for the kids I taught.  I took my responsibility to make a difference in their lives very seriously and sincerely hope that I did make a positive impact somehow.

A few months ago, the passage below circulated around Facebook.  I did not write it (I did insert some comments, though) and do not know the name of the original author.  I think it definitely puts teaching as a profession into perspective.  I hope you will read it.  When you are finished, go hug a teacher; tell them "thank you;" find a way to let him/her know that what they are doing is important and valuable.  Let them know that you appreciate them and the sacrifices they make for children every day.

To all the teachers in my life - THANK YOU for all the sweat and tears you have ever given to the children you have touched - The world is better because you were/are a teacher!!!!!

Are you sick of high paid teachers? Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do - baby sit! We can get that for less than minimum wage.

That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan — that equals 6 1/2 hours).  Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children.

Now how many do they teach in day…maybe 30?    So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day. However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.  LET’S SEE…. That’s $585 X 180= $105,300 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).  (In NC, the average elementary class size is about 20.  Remember, also, that middle and high school teachers usually have 3 or 4 classes a day.  At 20 students each, that's at least 60 students a day which would actually equal  $1,170 per day and $210,600 per year according to this math!)

What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.
Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here! There sure is!

The average teacher’s salary (nationwide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student–a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your

(Would you "baby-sit" a child for just $1.42 per hour????  Yet we expect our teachers to educate our children, academically and morally, while also ensuring their physical safety and emotional well-being.)

**This is not meant to be a political rant about raising teacher pay.  I just wanted to make a point about how incredibly undervalued our teachers are!!!**
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