Reality: Coming to Terms With That Sucky Dark Side of Life

The reality of it hit me today.  My son was going on and on and on about the different things he wanted to do when he grew up.  I nodded and gave a little feedback.  He was so excited about everything he was talking about.  And I was there still listening but the inner voice was pretty loud.  How can I encourage my children to be everything they want to be when I don’t believe in myself?

My son is a little odd.  Ok, he’s a lot odd.  He has a lot going on.  The Toddler years were rough.  Preschool started out rough but ended beautifully-he was in a situation where everything just clicked.  Then there was kindergarten.  It was hell, both for him and for me.  It was just like other children were not real to him.  Yes he would sometimes try to relate to them, but a lot of the time he was in trouble for hitting a friend or pushing a friend.  Sometimes it was an accident.  My son is ADD, and he flails his body around a lot.  But other times he said that the other child was “bothering” him.  Supposedly the child was just trying to talk to him.  He simply wanted nothing to do with the rules, would yell at the teacher, roll on the floor, be very disruptive.  It was awful.  He spend a good amount of time in the office that year in trouble.  I’m sure it didn’t help that I was working right across the hall in the other kindergarten room.  I witnessed a lot.  And I am not one of those parents who thinks their child can do no wrong.  There are many instances when he is at fault.

First grade has gone well.  At the end of his kindergarten year they put together an IEP for him.  He had different times of the day where he would meet with his special ed teacher to go over his schedule, etc.  His teacher was very no nonsense and just seemed to get him.  We’ve gotten all the way through first grade and we are now into summer.  I’m worried about 2nd grade because unlike first grade I don’t really know any of the teachers.  Summer has been rough.  I tried to put together a schedule for him every day.  So far it’s not gone very well.  We end up deviating from the original schedule on the refrigerator at lot and he can’t handle it.  He is so quick to anger when things don’t go his way!

The word Asperger’s came up frequently when we were trying to pin down what was going on with my son.  Very intelligent, curious, he speaks very formally, like a miniature adult.  He has great difficulty relating to other children who are around his age.  When other children are at the park playing, he’d rather find an adult and talk to them about some sports thing he had been reading.  Playing outside never happens for very long because he tires of it quickly.  At least we have convinced him to bring his books out.  At least he’ll be out instead of in.

He just doesn’t play.  Some of his little quirks remind me of me, but there is so much that is so different.  I played as a youngster.  MY mother says that I never really was bored because I would use my imagination and basically make things up.  Oh to be young again.  I just don’t see that in my son.  Even when he is given a character to pretend with, he has to find out what the story is and that exact story is what needs to be acted out.  He doesn’t like pretend all that much-he much prefers scientific and nonfiction stuff.

Today I approached him with the idea of having a notebook to turn into a “field guide”-he could write down all of his scientific hypotheses and theories as well as draw some of the critters outside.  He seemed to like that idea.  My husband I have talked about how the only way we are going to get this boy outdoors without the sprinkler being on is somehow making it science.

I am a mean mom.  I make my children go out.  We have a nice big fenced in back yard with a swing set and a tire swing.  We have bikes, riding tools, balls, tennis rackets, a batting tee.  You name it we have it.  BUt they don’t want to play.  I don’t turn the TV on and I have my reasons.  Get outside and experience nature!  Use your imagination!

I remember being around my son’s age and running around the yard in my swimsuit and my towel tied around me like a toga.  We were playing Gods and Goddesses.  Clash of the TItans was REALLY big that year!  And these were things we just thought up and did.  There were no rules.  We made it up as we went along.  We didn’t always GET along, but it was fun!

I don’t see my kids doing much of that.  My 4 year old does ok with some things.  She has parties for her ponies and takes care of the different characters in her room.  But she’s 4.  MY 7 year old really just needs to get out with a couple of boys his age and pretend and run around.  Somehow I don’t see that happening!

So here when he should be playing, my son comes and sits with me on the park bench while his sister is still running around on the climber.  He’s asking me all kinds of questions and then starts in about how he wants to be a firefighter, a professional football player, and a racecar driver when he grows up.,  I want to be supportive.  I also want to throw in the whole “You’ll still need to go to college” Schtick.  But I hesitated.  My kids have had the university here shoved down their throat since their dad went there.  And graduated.  And got a good job.  Now he has to pay the loans back.  Ouch.

Me?  I went to college and I think I’ve made it pretty clear how that’s worked out for me.  I went to school so that I didn’t have to have a job with a nametag.  Yet I just left a job that I had to wear a nametag for.  Sigh…

WHile I am sure that there is something out there that we are all meant to do, right now I think my thing is not there.  When they arranged the whole finding your way thing they didn’t put the answer for me.  Or something.  There are days when I feel like I need a shirt that says “I went to ____ college, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.  And debt,”

Today I was told (in an email of course) that no, there will be no more data entry after this week.  That I will officially be starting over in the unemployment department,  Saddening, and maddening.  Really-I think it’s the whole thing where a guy tells a girl he’ll call and doesn’t.  I’m sorry they were sad I would be leaving, but don’t tell me there’s a job possibility there!  The job where I could continue to do data entry from my home possibly 30 to 40 hours per week it sounded very promising.  It doesn’t exist.  It’s not there and not much I can do about it.

So I’m back in the job hunt.  I have very two cute things to take into consideration too.  My husband has been trying to put together some sort of budget for us now that we have a lot we have to pay out in loans.  Now he says that I HAVE to find something-we had discussed the possibility of me just staying home.  I thought we had agreed that full time wasn’t going to be something I was going to explore.  But the reality of it is that the areas I have looked in the past I would be working to basically pay the childcare that I have to arrange for my kids.  Doesn’t seem quite right.

And I’m not going to work at McDonalds.  There was a summer where I was trying to work just something for the summer so I could have flexibility with it when I had to go back to work at the school in the preschool.  That summer I applied for lots of jobs-Kum and Go, Caseys. Holubs, Lowes, etc. Noone called me or even tried to interview me.  Overqualified.

The thinking here is that I went to college so I wouldn’t have to have a job that I wear a nametag.  Yet I just left a job that I had to wear a nametag (because, I”m assuming, someone might try to be a Red Cross Imposter.  HA HA)

I’m skimming the jobs online after finishing my data entry-some interesting jobs out there.  Some are ones that I could do with no problem but pay nothing.  Some that are interesting but I don’t have the right qualifications for.  I just don’t even know where to start.  I owe it to myself to not go to work at McDonalds. After all I DID go to school. I DO have a bachelor’s degree.

None of this really registers with my husband.  He has been through several job losses with me, on each side, and he doesn’t really know what to do when I get so down on myself.  He feels a job is a job, and I get the impression that he feels that if I don’t find one quick there’s something wrong with me.  We are running headfirst into a money problem with his and my student loans eating up so much of our budget.  What do we do?  He’s set.  He has a fabulous job that he drives far away to every day.  He gets to go to a local gym for free-I just about cried when he told me that.  I just had to give up my membership and my body is paying the price.  I’m not jealous.  I just wish I could get some stuff to get going in the right direction for me.

But if you don’t know what you want to do it makes it difficult.  And SOMEONE has to be here for my kids.  I’m ok with working, but I can’t be in a town an hour away 8-5 every day. I passed on a job with the disorganization doing their scheduling.  Pretty sure you don’t even have to have a degree to do that job.  But too far away.  Am I selling myself short?

I feel like I have no skills to offer.  That makes it hard to present yourself to a potential employer.

Aren’t there still jobs out there that want you to have a 4 year degree but don’t really care what it’s in?  I wish the schools would do that with preschool.  I know that I WANT to teach preschool. I did it for many years at several different centers.  I was very good at it.  But having to go through the trainings to present that paper that says I am fit to teach those kids is pricey and ridiculous since childcare centers pay so low.  Going back to school for an early childhood degree probably isn’t the best idea.  More loans.  More student teaching.

I’ve finally managed to break away from the child care aspect and here I am not even sure what I want to do.  So I look at jobs and analyze them and then try to decide if I’m worthy of even applying for them.  And how am I going to work it if I get an interview?  Is someone going to watch my kids?

Now that I know that I am officially done I guess there are things for me to do.  1) Get unemployment called. Doubt I qualify, but might be able to get something.  2)  Call the student loan people.  Sorry, if I am not employed I don;t have $$ coming in!  3)  And this is the hard one-Call Iowa State, then go in and talk to somebody.  I can conceivably still go this fall if I can just figure it out.

Everyone deserves a chance to feel successful at something.  I don’t ask for much, I just want to be able to do something that makes me happy and brings in enough money to survive.  My lifestyle is not extravagant, and I shouldn’t be made to feel bad if I want to keep shopping for clothes at Goodwill .  I love my children, and I don’t want to be some career woman that never sees them, but I DO need to figure out what my next move is here.  A job, no job, school, a home business.  I don’t know.  Any suggestions are always welcome.

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Truths of My Household: Random Observations of a Tired Mom

I find the following in my life to be true at the moment:

If a woman gets up at the crack of dawn to do any sort of exercise without distraction, the preschooler in the house knows it and will get up too.

There is no surface in the state of Iowa that my seven year old has not licked.

The state of my house is rapidly deteriorating.  I think there is a mathematical formula in there about the age of your children being inversely proportional to the cleanliness of the house.

If I would take the time to clean out my car, there would no longer be any starving children in China.  I believe there is enough uneaten food in the backseat to solve that problem.

The more I sleep, the more tired I am.  The less I sleep, well…

My children watch too much TV.  My seven year old son can tell you all about any drug they are currently marketing.  He wanted me to know that the shingles virus was already inside me.

No matter how clean your floor is your cat will puke on it.

If I recycled all the pop cans in my house and reused the aluminum from them, I think I could build a small car.

My children’s rooms are like a roach motel for everything.  It goes in but it never leaves.

If you are trying to get out of your house in a rush that is the day you will lose your keys.

The laundry hamper is five feet from the shower.   Why is that so hard to understand?

Why is it that we go through so much toilet paper, yet no one in this house actually seems to use it??

The more laundry I have to do, the more I admire nudists.

If you put your winter clothes away, it will get cold.  Then as soon as you pull them back out, it will ninety degrees.

The more I am away from my house, the less time I have to clean it.  The more I am home, the less motivation I have to clean it.

If it’s supposedly good for you, wait awhile, they’ll prove that it’s not.

My life is an endless string of dirtiness.  Dirty is the new clean.

The Barbie house is the melting pot of our household.  She turns away nobody.  Everything from My Little Ponies to plastic bugs go there to hang out.

I Quit: One Womans Voyage Into the World of Unemployment

I quit my job this week.  I wish I could say that it was just like in the movies or on tv.  Nooooo.  That there were lots of tears and then they offered me a raise and all kinds of great stuff for staying on with them.  Nope.

There are organizations out there that should never be referred to as “organizations”.  There is nothing organized about them.  The particular one that I have been at for the past three years is a prime example.  The heart is in the right place-it just doesn’t necessarily hold all the other organs to where they should be.  On lung tells the spleen that this is the way we are doing things now and then the opposite kidney does, well, the opposite.  Poor spleen.  She never had a chance.

Yes I am the spleen.  I’ve been feeling pretty lowly for the past few weeks.  I’ve known this day was coming for over a month.  When one supervisor shares with me that she is excited that our instructors will be doing all of the cleaning and maintenance tasks that I have been doing for the past 9 months, I made my best attempt at not snorting and did not jump under a table.  I was, however, absolutely floored because it was quite apparent that this woman had no idea what I actually DO for my job.

In the months that followed I experienced disorganization that could drive any semi-organized person into a tizzy.  It’s getting bad when you begin keeping documentation of everything just in case they decide to throw you overboard.  I wasn’t thrown.  I was more eased up to the edge and left dangling.

The truth is that they decided to peel back the responsibilities of my position.  So much peeling that by the time they were done there was really nothing left.  They wanted me to be the peeled onion, on call.  Whenever they needed me, I  was supposed to hop up and run there.  I opted to resign.

Now before you utter “WHAAAAAT?  Leave a job in this economy?”  Let me be the first to say please don’t.  I’ve already heard it.  No I do not know what I am going to do.  I’ve already spent several nights on the internet looking at job websites sobbing the classic words of Rachel Green “I…am… trained for nothing…”, I’ve updated my profile on LinkedIn, I’ve sat and thought through every possible scenario. I have had the pity party too (I’m surprised I have any friends left on Facebook…).  But the truth is I really didn’t have any control over the situation-at least resigning made me feel better.  And we have made it this far on what we’ve been making, we can stretch it out more.

So now I’ve got that off my chest-I’ve got better things to blog about.

Stuff That I Did and Stuff That I Didn’t: Wins and Talked My Self Out Of Its

Bet you’re wondering what happened with the laundry soap, right?  Well I worried myself right out of making it.  Ever seen that commercial where someone asks someone else about something and they start spouting information from the internet.  Yeah that’s me.  I decided that I didn’t want my nice new HE washer to explode.  Yes, when you have anxiety that is your worse case scenario for everything-stuff exploding.  On the other hand, I found lots of other uses for the stuff I bought to make the laundry soap!

I did find some other nice cool stuff to make off the internet that did not to my knowledge cause explosions of any sort-I found a nice taco seasoning recipe that I have used a couple of times that makes me wonder why I ever bought the packaged stuff.  I was able to create a homemade hamburger helper of sorts off of a recipe that you can adapt to make almost any type of “helper” product.  The fact that my antipasta son (yes you read that right as in he HATES pasta) actually ate it speaks volumes.  Just yesterday I found and made a homemade fajita seasoning that despite the fact that I misread one of the ingredients turned out pretty darn yummy.

At work my husband calls these types of things “wins for the week”.  I guess I should too because I so desperately need something to feel good about right now.  Like I actually was able to coerce my daughter into taking a walk that was only cut in half instead of a quarter or more because she got “bored”.  That’s a win, right?

Ok… it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to insert here but it made ME laugh…

The negative part of this is not ready for prime time.  Ever have that email that you really really want to send but you hit delete instead? That is kind of what I am going through right now-I have one of those emails saved to my computer with the destination of work and the other is the part of the blog that I deleted here.  It’s the job-it’s not fair, but it doesn’t matter because it’s me.  The facebook status I wanted to put was this “Feeling disposable hurts.   I’m a person, not a tampon.”  But I didn’t.

More to come. If anyone is reading…

NOT Running With Scissors: The Day Mommy Cried

It was bound to happen sooner or later…

“Mommy, I’m really good at using scissors!” my recently turned four year old announced this afternoon. “Oh that’s nice.”  I respond.  I’m only half listening, trying my best to get done what I am actually here to accomplish so we can get home before dinner.

“I know I’m good at using scissors.  You know how I know?  I took my purple scissors upstairs and cut my doll’s hair!” she boasts, looking rather proud of herself.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… and once again I am reminded that when she is being quiet, it usually means that she is up to something not so good… A preschooler has used scissors inappropriately. I think we all have a story somewhere in our childhood of this happening.  My particular version of this happened when I was little and my younger sister lopped off one of her ponytails with Mom’s sewing scissors.  I thought we had already had our story this past year:   little sister gets a hold of scissors and cuts up big brother’s class picture.  Mom is angry-brother might have noticed something outside of the realm of video games and books.  Scissors privileges revoked and life goes on.

The thing is I knew exactly why she did it.  She didn’t even have to explain it to me.  I taught preschool for many years, and much of the time I know the ins and outs of what goes on in her little head.  She goes to a sitter occasionally that she thinks is just it-the best thing since sliced bread.  This sitter has a daughter who could very well be her own little mini me.  Both of them have dark hair and dark eyes, just like this little dolly.  Both have very cute little haircuts-not so much like the one that dolly HAD-more like the one my daughter gave to her dolly.  Unfortunately for me, this dolly used to be mine.  Surprisingly though, she didn’t do a half bad job.

I shed some tears.  She felt very very bad.  I have had a million hugs, kisses and lots of help this evening.  I dare say it may even work out in my favor, until the next time.

I had to post that, because honestly I was having a very bad day and it was one of those that someday I probably will look back on and laugh.  It was just the icing on the cake.  You see, I have figured out just how they get good jedi knights to cross over to the dark side:  they took their kids to work with them.

It’s summer vacation and I work a part-time job for a non profit organization that shall remain nameless.  I lost my job a year ago and this one just sort of popped up.  It was a way to make some grocery money while I collected unemployment and looked for a new job.  My husband was finishing up school and we were looking for any way to keep ourselves out of the cardboard box just a little bit longer.  It helped-and although the original job I was supposedly hired for really in no way shape or form really resembles the job I am currently doing-it brings in a little money so I can be available for my children without being tied down to something full-time.  My son is very, very bright-all references to Sheldon Cooper minus the germ phobia would be correct.  He also has some serious issues in school.  He has ADD and has been suspected of but never diagnosed with Asperger’s.  His kindergarten year he spent more time in the principal’s office due to kids “bothering” him (talking to him is considered bothering, apparently) during his kindergarten career than most kids do in their entire K-12 career.  Needless to say that has resulted in some serious limitations for me as far as any sort of full time work.  The very end of the kindergarten year we finally got him into an IEP, and this year has been much better, albeit far from perfect.  He is a neat kid who so wants someone to understand him-he relates fabulously to adults, but just doesn’t get kids anywhere around his age.

About the time the unemployment went the way of the dinosaur my husband graduated and got an internship an hour away.  Since it was so far away and nothing was guaranteed, I just kind of kept hanging around the job because interesting things kept happening.  Somehow each time I thought the hours were going to disappear, they found something else that I could do to keep me going.

So here I am this month, the last month of their fiscal year, sitting in an empty office doing much of what I have been doing for the last time because as of this weekend they are outsourcing my duties to other employees within the organization.  As I am trying to get information together so that everyone knows what they are to be doing, I have no idea what my job will consist of as of next Monday.  It’s a little distracting and it’s a lot bit anxiety provoking.  I know they say they still need me, but noone has yet to say how exactly or in what capacity.  Will I be working 4 hours, 15 hours, or no hours?  Do I go look for other employment?  Do I just resign myself to stick around and see what happens, and if I wind up with no work just try to make it work on my husband’s income?  And of course I can’t just spend a few minutes a day worrying about it.  I worry about it all the time.

Because my schedule is a bit, um, sparse, I started by cutting my daughter’s daycare down to one regular day a week, unless I taught a class.  I had been told it was ok to bring my kids with me, for what I did it didn’t matter.  So when summer started I realized that there was no way to justify paying that much daycare for the few hours a week I actually work.  So now I am down to no days of daycare, and one to two days per week of taking BOTH KIDS WITH ME.  The rest of the week I work from home doing data entry, partly during the day, often into the wee hours of the morning so that my kids can do their summer activities, or be home bored with me depending on the day.  The date entry ends in three weeks-which is the other unknown of my current job-what is coming next.

It is the third week of summer, and I am nuts.

I have two completely different children.  Both eerily smart, but polar opposites.  My son is much like me-anxious and routine driven, but has no idea how to occupy himself if there is not some sort of flickering screen or printed word to look at.  Going outside=sheer torture.  My daughter is the opposite-stubborn but imaginative and wants to play play play and go go go. She would go right outside all morning and stay outside until the cows came home-as long as Mommy is right there within arms reach (because she’ll miss me if she can’t see me.)  When I do manage to get them both outside there is arguing, screaming, crying, usually with the end result of someone getting hurt, usually because the older one didn’t like the younger one not following his “rules”.

I tried implementing a sort of schedule so my son wouldn’t spend the entire summer standing on his head, making what we call “Tauntaun noises” because he’s bored.  For some reason if I write it down, much like the newspaper, if it’s published it must be true.  Unfortunately, he takes the schedule so seriously that he can’t handle it if we deviate even in the slightest.  Snack must be at 10 am, we must engage in learning activities after lunch, etc,etc.  If we leave the house to go get groceries, it is miserable because he feels he has to find some way to manipulate the situation.  And we are together ALL THE TIME.  Sending them to their rooms is like I told them to go stab themselves repeatedly with a sharp object!  You’d think they had no toys.  Then you’d look at their rooms and think that no they have toys, they just don’t have a floor.

Working at home with them there is challenging. Bringing them to work is more challenging.  Thank goodness it’s just for a couple of hours.  Each bring a short video that they must fight over who watches which one first.  Each bring a bag full of activities that they tend to go through pretty quickly.  I spend a lot of time diffusing arguments and who started what and who had what first.

My husband doesn’t get what the fuss is.  I keep telling him to imagine doing HIS job with both kids there.  He got a taste of it-one day he was off and I had to do computer work.  Five minutes of data entry, two minutes to settle an argument, two minutes of data entry, eight minutes to deal with poopy pants, seven minutes of data entry, fifteen minutes of trying to talk to a client on the phone while dealing with two children who instantly become loud and have to be on top of anyone who is talking on a phone.  I get the work done, and I am very very honest when logging my hours.

And I am tired.  I love love love my children, but I wish there was a better way to make this work.  Not on our budget, unfortunately!  Add in laundry, dishes (our dishwasher quit working many moons ago), other housework, summer activities, etc, etc.  I feel like I work ALL the time.  My husband works all the time too-he leaves for work at 5:45 and often doesn’t come back until six.  He’s a nice piece of furniture in those couple of hours when he comes home and melts to the chair until he slinks upstairs to go to bed right after the kids to go to bed and start all over again in the morning.

Which reminds me, my husband has pants in the washer.  Somehow I think they’d frown upon him coming to work without pants.  And it’s 11:15 at night.  I get up at 4:30 and walk…

What was my point again.  Oh yes, that I am nuts…  Here’s my proof.  And yes, there is a grammatical error there but I’m going with it anyway.  I don’t mean my kids are dumbasses… oh never mind…

The Quest for the Natural Cleaners That Make Themselves

Let the natural goodness commence. Or let’s not and say we did.

In an effort that I hope will save us money and maybe be better for us, I bought all kinds of natural ingredients that I could make laundry soap, homemade fabric softener, cleansers, dish detergent, etc out of.  The nice thing is that I only had to purchase a few ingredients and it didn’t cost very much at all.  Now I actually have to MAKE the stuff.  Except for the fabric softener-I couldn’t find cheap hair conditioner that I wanted my clothes to smell like.

Every website I saw these recipes raved how it so cheap and everything was so clean and so great smelling.  And how nice it was to not have those chemicals in their houses.  I mean well but I certainly don’t know if I am up to par with these women.  I love the all natural stuff.  I subscribe to Natural Health.  I use all Method cleaning products.  I actually bought something at a Norwex party once.  I refill the Scentsy burners when I think about it.  So this all sounds nice and right up my alley and all, but it also means I need to get off my butt and do it.  Right after I take a nap-which sounds nice but mean my children actually need to maybe either do something quiet too or actually rest themselves.  Uh-huh-making this stuff might actually be more productive for me.

What did I buy?  The various recipes I found used some of these ingredients:  Borax, washing powder, Fels-Naptha, vinegar, essential oils.  The essential oils were a bit daunting-here I was standing at the organic grocery store smelling everything.  I chose lavender, though I was really partial to the rosemary.  I already use lavender cleaning spray around my house, and no one has complained thus far.  I brought home a brochure that supposedly helps you figure out all that aromatherapy stuff (it had a coupon for the oil, so you bet your bippy I was bringing it home.)  I think it would be VERY helpful if it was scratch and sniff though.

Like I said, IF I ever make this, I hope it works.  For my sake if nothing else.  Back when I could actually get my husband to help out with the dishes, I remember a snide comment about the all natural organic crap that I had bought for dishsoap.  I hate doing dishes-I caved and bought the Dawn power stuff.  Now that he’s done with school and a full time engineer-the dishes aren’t getting done-so I suppose it won’t harm anyone to go back to the other stuff.  By the way, I have a very expensive Bosch dishwasher that hasn’t worked for almost a year-I can’t afford to fix it so there it sits, probably laughing at the piles of dishes in the kitchen.

So maybe later today, between doing the dishes that are taking over my kitchen and the laundry I’ll get out my cauldron and whip up some cleaner.  Now, about that nap…

This is not me.  But I thought it would be funny…

Frugality: Trying to Save While Not Existing on Just Ramen Noodles

I have always tried to be a frugal person.  I admit, it isn’t easy.  I come from a military family-my dad was in the navy and was often out to sea for months at a time, not to mention we moved frequently.  My Mom was a stay at home mom-therefore we didn’t have a lot of money.  We always pinched pennies and it was a lifestyle that we just always knew.  My wonderful husband also hails from a family that never had a ton of dough, but alas, does not get the whole “frugal thing”.

So I bet you know where I’m going with this.  We have been through several job losses and then through my husband returning to school full-time during the last thirteen years.  He graduated at the end of last year, and accepted an internship which last week became a full time engineering position.  Yay!  Buuuuuuuuuut-we are also trying to get back on our feet after having been working either part-time and/or not at all the last couple of years.  And lately it has really gotten tight.  Not a ramen noodle every night type of thing (HAHAHA-what is THAT from.  *ahem*  I watch too much TV).  But I am being a lot more diligent about cracking down on our grocery spending.  We are not extravagant people.  But when I am standing in the grocery aisle I would MUCH rather purchase the frozen stir fry mix as opposed to making my own from scratch.  Did I mention I don’t exactly cook like Martha Stewart?  Or any good cook for that matter.  I do make a mean taco soup (if tacos are a secret ingredient and I ever get to compete on Iron Chef let me tell you I am SET!)  I also love diet pop and sugar free frozen treats like nothing else.

Giving up the pop is not going well, but we did set out this past week to make our own pudding pops.  For some reason I have accumulated many packages of sugar free pudding.  Maybe there was a sale.  Or maybe I just really wanted pudding.  Either way, I looked up recipes and decided that it was waaaaaaaaaaay cheaper to make my own.  So I did.  And they were pretty good.  I have some tupperware mickey mouse ear popsicle molds I bought at a rummage sale years ago.  This was back when I could still GO to rummage sales (that’s a story for another post).  I found a recipe that I found and modified a bit.  Now this is really complicated, you might want to get a pen with a lot of ink and then follow this recipe EXACTLY or you will screw it up:

Frugal Pudding Pops (not Bill Cosby Approved)

1 pkg pudding (we used chocolate)

1 cup milk

1 cup cool whip

Directions:  Mix together and put in molds.  Freeze.  Eat.

See what I did there? That was hard…  My son would not get that because he’s sarcasm impaired.

We decided that maybe we could make more than one kind since we really like frozen stuff and wanted variety, so when we went grocery shopping we looked for molds.  These were $1 at Wal-Mart.  There were ones at Target for $5, so I figured DAMN that’s a GREAT deal!  Then I realized that it may be hard to get the frozen stuff out of the mold. Was it?  I dont know because I have not been motivated to make more yet.  Hey, it’s been a busy week!

I’ve also been toying with the idea of making homemade laundry detergent and fabric softener.  The idea has become more and more appealing to me.  I actually put the ingredients on my shopping list, but we’ll see if it actually happens.  I see all of these things online-I WANT to be more natural and organic and all that jazz.  I must admit putting stuff like that when I see it on Pinterest sure gets me a lot of repins!

It’s My First Blog Post! Truths About Me, Scary or Otherwise

I am not a cat… but I like this picture…

Apparently, I amuse people.  I find this quite hard to believe, but at least in print I have been told I am somewhat entertaining.  Not just me, necessarily, but me and the combination my two children, who are as unique as they come.  Somehow the mix here just works.  Time and time again I keep being told I need to blog.  Things that are true about me:

1-I am a Mom.  I guess I just said that.  I have two children, a boy and a girl, ages 7 and 4.  I also have a husband who can be a child.

This is not my family.  But we are very strange.

2-I used to have a life.  Ok, not much of a life, but I used to frequent places that didn’t feature groceries and one stop shopping in them.

There are usually two children crying when I am at the store.  Yes they belong to me.

3-I used to be a teacher.  I even went to school to be one.  The kids were great, it was the grown-ups who sucked.  I think the teacher choice was correct, it was the field that I chose to teach.  Hence the name of the blog, The Sadder But Wiser Girl. A gold star for you if you know what movie had a song in it of the same name.  Currently I am a KOSAHM (not to be confused with KOSAMA)-A kind of stay at home mom.  I work some, my hours and where I work vary greatly from week to week.  I don’t make much therefore I must take my kids to work with me when I work outside the house and attempt to work while I am home with them.  As a start this blog my elementary aged child has been out of school for a week, and I am already nearly nuts.

No this wasn’t me when I was teaching.  I didn’t really have a desk…

4-I live in a very small town in the Midwest.  One of those towns where the streets literally had no name until recently.  One of those towns where every event is done on the same date, at the same time, at the same place.  I am not from this town, not even from anywhere around here.  Therefore, I do not know what is going on.  Ever.

These are all everyday images for me.

5-I would like to be one of those moms who bakes everything from scratch, sews and makes all her own clothes, grows all her own food, and uses only all natural and organic products.  You know, I’d open my windows and start singing and small animals and birds would gather and join in.  Guess what, I am NOT that person.  Instead I am an anxiety ridden, ADD mom who makes a lot of food from a box that people in this house don’t eat, loves the organic grocery store but can’t really afford to buy anything there, and has a garden planted by my husband that I know the location of but really can’t tell you where anything is in it.  I also spend a lot of time clipping coupons and looking at those blogs that the frugal thrifty people have that I never actually use much of the advice on there-mainly because I lose the coupons before I get to the store or the recipe before I make it.  But I try.  What were we talking about again?

This isn’t me by the way.  That isn’t either.  But I’d kill for that hair.

6-Which leads me to this-I’m looking for something.  Really I am.  Most of my time is spent looking for something.  Keys, my son’s glasses, the remote, the box of pasta I KNOW I bought last week.  I’m also REALLY looking for something.  Purpose.  What I want to be when I grow up.  Inner peace. A good nights sleep.

And with these truths I start my blog.  Remember when reading it some important advice-enjoy it if you like it, stop reading if you don’t, and if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all!