Sunday’s Food for the Soul: Gossiping

This week’s topic is one that I know many of us struggle with, myself included. Gossip!

Have you ever found yourself with a group of girlfriends and suddenly the gossip gets underway? Someone chimes in expressing, “I wouldn’t have done that if I were her. What was she thinking?” Then without skipping a beat everyone throws in their two cents worth. “If I were her I would…..” and before you know it the entire group is focusing all their attention on some else’s shortcomings. Why? Why focus all attention on someone who isn’t even present? It deters any attention on those in attendance. It is far too personal and hard to share our own shortcomings.  And sometimes tearing someone else down is a way that others feel artificially built up. Why artificially? Because there is no spiritual growth when we tear others down, in fact, that “feel good” feeling is quite temporary and once it wears off the gossiper often falls lower than the person they were gossiping about.

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Steps to Stop Gossiping…..

  1. Shut it down. If someone comes up to you and says, “did you hear what happened to so-and-so?” simply reply, “No, I should really give them a call and catch up. Thanks for reminding me to get in touch with them”.
  2. Fill the silence with truth not gossip. Gossip seems to always spill during those moments of silence. Instead of talking about others bring up something going on in your life, a television show, book you are reading or want to read, hobby you enjoy, etc. there is so many more worthy discussions to be had.
  3. Be cautious with the company you keep. If they are willing to gossip freely about so-and-so when she is not present chances are they have no problem gossiping about you too. Maybe it is time to make a new group of girlfriends?
  4. What about those people who gossip about you? Forgive them. Chances are they either do not have much going on in their lives, they are dealing with jealousy or hurting immensely and in order to make themselves feel temporary better they need to tear you down. This is a hard one but it can be mastered in time.
  5. Take the high road. Focus on the positive. Image if that same group of girls who were doing all that gossiping used their time more wisely and came up with a great way to help out the community with a fundraiser, drive, etc.

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Have you ever gossiped about someone? Did you feel bad afterward? Perhaps you have a friend who gossips, how do you redirect the conversation? Please share any experiences or advice as it pertains to this week’s topic.

Minnie Mouse Party & Get up in my Business

I know I have been MIA for the past week. I have been busy with the usual, driving kiddos around, homework, mediating sibling quarrels, repeatedly cleaning up the same messes (if I had a quarter for every piece of dog food that doesn’t make it into our dog’s mouth I would be halfway to a millionaire!), etc. And in my free time (I just made myself lol! Free time, what is that!?), let’s be honest, it is more like on my in-between drop-offs and pickups I run into stores that are on my route (I totally sound like a bus drive, ha-ha!) for party supplies! Because someone turned 3 a month and a half ago, thank goodness we were blessed with a patient 3 year old.

After one year and one and a half months later today was finally her birthday party! The theme she selected was Minnie Mouse, she is a HUGE fan.

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And as is standard operating procedure for motherhood, I have decided to kill two birds with one stone. See not only do I want to share my daughter’s long awaited birthday party with you but I also would like to share some exciting news with you….A dear friend and I are launching Kater 2 Kidz Parties & Designs!!

How it works is pretty simple and ingenious if I do say so myself, and I do! Since moms are really busy with their daily routines finding time to plan a party (any party…baby shower, birthday, end of school, Halloween, Christmas, you name it and we will Kater to your Kidz), let alone go shopping for all the essentials is practically impossible and exhausting. Thus, what if someone else did all the leg work for you, went shopping for every last single detail? What if all you had to do was say what the theme was for the party and then 24 hours before the party everything required magically arrived at your doorstep? EVERYTHING! Right down to tape, scissors, and removable hooks. We are talking, food, goody bags, decorations, napkins, and all those cutesy little things that really make a party pop delivered to your doorstep. Everything you see here (see images below).

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As you can see our parties are not the run of the mill Party City inspired gathering. We are providing a higher caliber party, more like a classic DIY worthy to be Pinned a dozen times over on Pinterest Party. Details are important like labels and all the frills.

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Each of the party packages comes with 2 activities, one being a craft that each party attendee can take home. For this party the craft was decorating the goody bag. The Lazy Susan in the center has a variety of items that the kiddos used to decorate their goody bags.

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For the activities the kiddos chased after bubbles and danced and played musical instruments (the attendees ranged in age from 1-4 so the activities were age appropriate). During the activities each child received bubbles and maraca to add to their goody bags.

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After burning all that energy it was time for the piece de la resistance, cake!

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And then gifts! How adorable is that hat! Now our little lady can continue to wear her Minnie ears into the winter months while still keeping her ears warm.

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Get up in my Business…

Now it is time for you to please get up in my business and share your thoughts on Kater 2 Kidz. Please be honest. I admire, appreciate, and respect your opinions (and your advice always rocks). So, what do you think of the concept of Kater 2 Kidz? Do you like the idea of all the party essentials literally being dropped off at your doorstep? Would you be interested in booking a party with Kater 2 Kidz? Are there any components that you do not agree with?

Sunday’s Food for the Soul: Be Present

You can only begin to fully live once you leave your worries behind. This is not to say that you should not be concerned and plan accordingly for the future, simply don’t dwell. If you dwell and worry your life will pass you by.

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This week’s assignment:

Live in the present! Oh how simple it sounds but as parents this can be extremely tricky. We always have to be 3 steps ahead of our children’s schedules. Take ten minutes every evening and mentally go through the next day’s schedule. Don’t be tempted to go through the entire week, only the next day. And only for 10 minutes! If there are materials or equipment that will be required the next day place it where it needs to be. Then go about your evening/night. The next day focus on one task at a time, just that one task; give it your undivided attention. Don’t be tempted to multitask; all that does is decrease the quality of your work.

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Instead of giving 65% to 5 tasks give 100% to one. Being attentive and giving your undivided attention to one task truly allows you to be in the present, especially when the task involve activities with your children. Put down the phone. Put it on silence and give your child your undivided attention. Remember, you will reap what you sow. You give your children your undivided time in the present and the future they will do the same for you…so turn off the gadgets and focus on what is real, now, the present.

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Have you found yourself caught up in the past? How did you snap out of it? Or maybe you are dwelling on the future? Have an experience, advice, or question? Please share.

Healthy Families, Healthy Kids Campaign FLASH GIVEAWAY!

 

It is that time of year again, time to say goodbye to the pool days and hello to school days! Which means it is time to get back into a routine. No more dinners at 9pm. Gone are the mornings for sleeping in (and wouldn’t ya know I just got my kiddos accustomed to the idea, only took practically all summer break, ha-ha). And time to start the school year off right, on a healthy note! Nutrition is important at home and in the classroom. Which is why I am excited to share that Produce for Kids is teaming up with Meijer stores for the second annual Healthy Families, Helping Kids campaign to raise money for local health and nutrition-based classroom projects through DonorsChoose.org. Last year, the campaign raised more than $169,000 and supported 652 classroom projects throughout the country.

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Beginning Sept. 2 to Sept. 28, the joint campaign will help raise money for classroom projects that encourage healthy relationships with food.  The more produce Meijer shoppers add to their shopping lists, the more hope they can give to local children. All participating fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers at Meijer stores will make a consumption-based donation DonorsChoose.org.

Parents, be on the lookout for Produce for Kids signage, featuring characters from the popular Sprout® television show, The Chica Show, in the produce section of your local Meijer store. There, you will find Ideal Meals recipes, tips and solutions to help you keep your family healthy for back-to-school and year-round.

I have to warn you, all the recipes are amazing! I let each of my kiddos pick out two to make with mom during our kids in the kitchen sessions together.  Having your children help select the produce from the store, clean it, and prepare a meal really fosters the learning process.

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3 out of 3 of my kiddos gave these recipe 5 stars (or moons, said the 3-year-old, lol!) thus; it only seems appropriate to share…..

Blueberry Banana Pancakes

 

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

 2 Tbsp. sugar

 ½ tsp. cinnamon

 ½ tsp. salt

 1 cup fat free milk

 3 Tbsp. canola oil

 1 egg

 1 banana, sliced

 ½ cup blueberries

 2 tsp. caramel dip (optional)

 1 Tbsp. pecans, finely chopped (optional)

 

 

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Directions:

1.Sift flours, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Add milk, oil and egg, and mix until moistened.

2.Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat; spray with cooking spray. Spoon ¼ cup pancake mixture onto skillet. Add sliced bananas and blueberries, and cook 2-3 minutes, or until pancakes begin to bubble. Flip and cook 1-2 minutes, or until done.

3.Top with pecans and drizzle with caramel dip. (optional)

For more great recipes like this one be sure to check out Produce for Kids website…also has great after school snack ideas!

 

Disclosure…

Produce for Kids put together a goody bag filled with great ways for me to further extend the message. My kiddos have taken the lunch bag and sandwich bag to school which had a few children inquiring about Produce for Kids. And I have been sporting the travel cup all over town. But I felt a little bummed that I couldn’t send one to my loyal readers. So I am doing what I constantly tell my children to do…

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I simply have to share! But the campaign only goes till the 28th so this will be a flash giveaway! I am giving away one $25 Meijer’s gift card!!

To enter simply complete the following….

  1. Like Mom on the go in Holy Toledo Facebook page
  2. Follow @mamaof3onthego on twitter
  3. Like Produce for Kids Facebook page
  4. Follow @produceforkids on twitter
  5. Post a comment expressing you have completed the steps above and state what is your favorite fruit or vegetable.

Winner will be randomly selected Sept. 23rd @ 11:59pm

Being a Mean Mom isn’t Easy

 

If any of you happened to see my Facebook status on Monday you know that I faced a motherhood dilemma.

Scenario; I had asked our kindergartener ½ a dozen times if he placed his lunch in his backpack and to which he replied, yes, each time. So, I drop the kiddos off at school. I get home and go to the fridge to get our 3-year-old a snack and guess what I see in the fridge? His lunch!! Mind you, I asked him like ½ dozen times if he had his lunch, and he said yes. So my dilemma was, should I take it to him or allow the situation to be a learning experience? If I took it to him would he think he could just forget it whenever he wants and mom will bring it to him? But he is only in kindergarten, am I a bad mom if I don’t drop it off? But the experience would be a great way to encourage responsibility? I was torn and starting to lean toward one direction but felt I needed confirmation that my decision was indeed correct.  So I decided to ask for some help from my mommy friends on Facebook and called my hubby. The response was unanimous, take it to him. Mind you the overall suggestion was to first let him wait it out a little and sweat, then drop it off. Which makes sense, he will experience the anxiety of not knowing what to do and then mom will swoop in and save the day! Who doesn’t want to be the hero, right!? But, the thing is, that wasn’t the solution I was initially leaning towards.

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I was leaning towards not dropping off his lunch. Chances are he would get food from the cafeteria (Darn village!! Why must they make it so difficult to parent sometimes?) The school will not let a child go without a lunch (which I totally understand, especially when there are kiddos whose households are going through difficult times and school breakfast and lunch might be all they get for the day). But here is the thing, if my son went without a lunch for one day that would be huge and he would definitely remember it the next day! But, since the school cannot allow children to go without a lunch they will provide the child lunch and then have them repay the money the next day. And the rule in our home is that each child may buy lunch twice a month. Thus, if he had already purchased his two lunches for that month I would have had him repay the school lunch with his own money. The question I have been pondering since Monday is, am I a mean mom? If you are a mean mom by other’s standards does that mean that you can’t be a good mom? Or maybe being a mean mom when the situation calls for it makes you a good mom? (I clearly do way too much thinking, lol!).

So I did what any woman would do and further analyzed myself in an effort to compartmentalized my mothering style (why do we do this?).

Another parenting milestone that might make me come across as a mean mom is potty training? For all 3 of our children I did the 5 days of hell, and if you have done it I am sure you can agree, it is no picnic! It entails, first and foremost, removing all diapers from the premises (see, it isn’t the toddlers that cave, it’s the parents, and if there is a diaper or pull-up anywhere in the house it is just too tempting) and going straight to underwear/panties, and a no turning back mentality. I clear my schedule, purchase 30 pairs of underwear/panties, treats for #1 and #2, and prepare for a very long week of accidents, whining, tears (for the child sometimes too), and lots of patience. By the end of that week my kiddos are potty trained and I am exhausted. What I have found is that the weeks that follow potty training week often include moments when the newly potty trained child simply does not want to be interrupted during play to go potty. You can remind them until you are blue in the face.  Or you can pick them up while they kick, yell, and scream and carry them to the toilet and place them on it, often to only wait minutes for nothing, then return to the activity and have them have an accident. 

My solution, is to let the child know that they need to go potty. If they refuse, which they often did, I explained that they would be cleaning up the accident. Let me tell you, it only takes one time of them having to stop playing, clean up the pee that is all over the floor and possibly on toys (mind you, I went back and gave it a thorough cleaning), go get clean underwear/panties, and clean pants. They quickly learn that it is much easier to just go potty when mommy says so and then return to play.

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Other ways I might come across as a mean mommy……

  • When the children decide to throw their dirty clothes on the floor instead of placing them down the conveniently located laundry chute upstairs they then are required to walk the dirty clothes all the way down to the basement.
  • Our 6 & 7-year-old make their lunches for school.
  • If the children do not like the dinner I prepared they have the option to eat it or not to eat it. Breakfast is the next meal. I am not a short order cook.
  • If you make the mess you clean it up.
  • The children make their own beds.
  • Why, just this morning I left my 3-year-old at preschool while she was crying.

These are all things that might make me come across as being a mean mom, but let me tell you, they are the hardest things for me to do!!  Do you think my heart wasn’t aching as I walked down the hall hearing my little one cry? It was the worst feeling in the world!! Would I have loved to run back, give her a great big kiss and hug, and say mommy will stay? Darn straight! Is it easier and much much faster for me to make all the beds and take care of all the dirty laundry? You bet! Am I much more efficient and less messy when it comes to making lunches? Let’s just say if PB & J sandwich making was an Olympic sport I would be bringing home the gold!  And what mom doesn’t want to be the hero who swoops in and drops off the lunch or homework their child forgot? This one!

Allowing children to have consequences is the hardest thing to do as a parent. Especially when you know how easy it would be for you to fix the situation for them, or simply do it for them.  And the worst part is, while you are enduring all the pain and heartache that comes with watching your children have consequences in order for them to one day be responsible, self-sufficient, confident, contributor to society, they will more than likely be mad at you.

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So the next time you see that parent not making their child’s bed, or have a parent request  that  you not clean-up a spill made by their child but rather the child clean it, or you catch wind of a parent not rushing in to complete their child’s responsibilities maybe you should thank them? Thank them for all the sacrifices they are making now so that the future generation will flourish.

So, are you a mean mom? Know of a mean mom? What are your thoughts? Please share.

Sunday’s Food for the Soul: Are you a friend or a flatterer?

The chief difference between a friend and a flatterer is this; the flatterer speaks to please, the friend will not leave out even what is disagreeable….At all events any one would rather see his friend angry with him than anyone else flattering him.” -Saint Basil the Great-

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Flattery will get you everywhere, except true friendship!?

Have you come across that person in your life who always greets you with compliments? Even when you know you are wearing your glad rags and sporting the worst hair day ever! But despite it all she will stand there and compliment you till she’s blue in the face.  Or maybe you are that person? Do you feel as though those compliments will show the other person that you are indeed a good person, a friend? Or are you saving face? Do you plan on gossiping about the flattery later? Or, do you wish to have that person do something for you? Are you manipulating?

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The problem is if you are a constant flatterer your words will eventually begin to lose meaning and validity. You might even find people questioning your true purpose. Why? Flattery and manipulation are often one in the same. Flattery is just served up with a smile and cherry on top.

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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Though true, this statement only harms the person doing the flattering.  When we see others in their true bliss, living their true passion, we can’t help but want to have what they have. But the problem is everyone has their own passion that needs to be found. You simply cannot take what another person is passionate about and make it your passion. Just as you cannot assume that because someone looks great with a certain hair color/cut that you will look similar.  We each have different facial features, body types, and passions that are what makes us so marvelously unique.

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Now, it is important to not confuse flattery with encouragement. A true friend will encourage you as long as they see that it will not harm you in any way. The question then is how do you know if you are a flatterer?

How to tell if you’re a flatterer (Source: Counting My Blessings)

1. Are you nicer to someone when you want something from them?

2. Are you kind to strangers, servers, sales-people, etc. – someone you may never meet again?

3. Are you patient with other drivers no matter what kind of car they drive?

4. Are you more attentive to your “rich uncle” than you are to the one on a fixed income?

5. Are you as pleasant around your family as you are around your friends?

Or

1. Do you look to see how many fans or followers a blog has before you leave a comment?

2. Do you swoon over celebrities while avoiding eye-contact with those in need or homeless?

3. Do you encourage your children to become friends with the attractive, popular kids at school?

4. Do you talk to people the same way you talk about them – your neighbor, boss, coworker, etc.?

5. Do you treat the person asking you for something the way you would want them to treat you if situations were reversed?

 

This week’s Homework Assignment:

When you feel the urge to start complementing someone on something first ask yourself…

Am I doing this to manipulate them…do I want something from them?

Am I doing this to make myself for better about gossiping about them?

Or do I genuinely like that necklace, their hair, blog post, etc.?

You might be surprised with your answer. I know I was.

I know I have been guilty of being a flatterer; I am a work in progress, how about you? I have to be honest; I think it will be difficult to break this flattery cycle. I feel like women in particular practically include flattery as a form of introduction, (i.e. “I would like to induce you to Jennifer, who is sporting an awesome necklace today”….or “Hi Cindy it is nice to meet you, I simply adore those shoes”) do you agree? Disagree? Please share.

Pet vs. Pest (Insect Education Kit Giveaway)

If I were to say our 7 year old daughter likes insects that would be an understatement. Obsessed might be a better description of her interest.

Why, just the other day I was searching for a Pyrex dish to place leftovers in and came up empty-handed. Why? Well, apparently they make the perfect bug bungalow, who knew? She had those dishes piled 3 high with various bugs; pill bugs, worms, spider, crazy legs, etc.  Please note, I do not share the same interest and have no idea what the actual names of these “bugs” are called. But since her interest doesn’t seem to be fading perhaps I should learn? (Image below is of her holding a stick bug)

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Her interest in insects began at a young age. I can recall one incident in particular. She and I were in the bathroom, she must have been around 3, and we were brushing our teeth and out of nowhere “crazy legs” (again, I have no idea what they are actually called but they are big and they have WAY too many legs…all those legs, they creep me out!) went bolting across the floor. I let out a yelp and began my search for an object to kill the pest. But not my little princess, she clearly did not share my same detest for the “crazy legs”.  Her eyes widened and her facial express said it all, she displayed awe and inspiration.  She said, “awe mommy look he is so cute…a new pet”.  No. No. NO! How was I supposed to put my fear to rest if this thing was still lurking in my house….but how do I break my little girl’s heart and kill her pet? Oh the quandaries of motherhood.  On the plus side maybe they didn’t live long!?

Take the Pest Test today….Click on the image and see how well you know your pest (you can find out how long cockroaches and bed bugs live…the answers may really surprise you, they did me!).

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Her interest has only intensified with age. Whenever we walk to the park her focus is more on the insects along the way as opposed to the destination. And when she arrives at her Nana’s house which has a big wooded backyard, she requests a Ziploc bag and heads right out the backdoor in search of insects. We even currently have a Mason jar specifically for Locus shells. And the cherry on this bug infestation fascination, her teacher this year once had a cockroach for 8 years.  I know what most of you are thinking, eww right?! But I was so excited for my little entomologist. Since she is my love and I want to take an interest in what my loves love I am slowly appreciating the role insects play in our lives, slowly.

GIVEAWAY

So when I came across this awesome Orkin Education Kit plus Flashlight I knew I had to share. For all you parents out there who are raising little entomologist and even for those who aren’t this is a great way to educate yourself and kiddos….

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The Orkin Home Education Kit includes:

• 2 Orkin Factoids 11×17 Posters

      – Poster #1 – The Pollinators

      – Poster #2 – The Recyclers

• 1 Orkin bug-finding flashlight

• 20 Rubber Toy Creepy Crawly Bugs

To enter complete each of the following:

Like Mom on the go in Holy Toledo Facebook page

Like The Orkin Ecologist Facebook page

Follow @mamaof3onthego on twitter

Reply to this post expressing what answer from the Pest Test shocked you most.

Winner will be randomly selected Sept. 20th @11:59pm