Monthly Archives: July 2012

Glutton for Punishment: aka Airplane Travel with Kids

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Planning an airplane trip anytime soon with your kids?  Well, if you are ever going to entertain the idea or have had the potentially not-so-pleasureable experience already – better skedaddle on over to ParentSociety.com where today I am sharing

10 Travel Items to Never Leave Home Without

My husband and I have always loved to travel. Therefore, since the time our kids were babies we have dragged them all over the USA and abroad. As with all things, doing any activity with kids involved is, to put it mildly, different. Throughout the years, I have developed a mental checklist of items I never leave home without.  Most All of these suggestions have been learned the hard way, through the rough road of experience (as in sometimes, there was not even a road, just a trail with big ruts).

Some or all of these items may just save you from a few more grey hairs! GREY HAIRS I SAID! What are you waiting for??!  Go Here! Quick!

Some of my early travel experiences When All Else Fails, Cry.

For more Sweet Spot Travels: Go Here!

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Today is a Good Day

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Today is a good day.

Today I get to board a plane to begin our annual end-of-summer-baseball-is-finally-finished-travel-blowout-bonanza!

There is nothing more exciting than boarding a plane  at the start of a travel adventure.

I apologize in advance for my possible lack of attention to Sweet Spot over the next  weeks while  searching for Sweet Spots around and abroad!

As a family we have come a long way since our first days of travel, but one thing I know for sure – some will be good, some will be bad, some will by hysterical, some will be amazing, and above all…

When all fails…cry.

For more Sweet Spot Travels: Go Here!

The Freezer Club

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Have you ever heard of  The Freezer Club?  Well, if your first thought runs to some strange club that meets in a deep freeze, or group of people who text while sitting in the refridgerator, you better hurry on over to ParentSociety.com.

My most recent article Why You Should Join the Freezer Club explains in detail about a little discovery I made last week while…

... away from home at a baseball field in over 100 degree heat, getting bitten by bugs, coated in dust and desiring to rip all my clothes off in order to stop them from sticking to me (although I worried such a display might throw off my kids batting).

Trust me – it is a good discovery and quite possibly the most innovative idea I have come across in a long time with regards to feeding a family in a way that is all at once healthy, economical and fun! Go here!

Why You Should Join the Freezer Club

My other forays into cooking:  Where’s the Beef?

Today’s Best Moment: Friday 7/20

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Being a baseball parent can be rough, let me tell you.

The endless season, the stress and worry, the out-of-hand sports parents, the small town tournaments, the bad hotels,the can-never-please parents attacking coach husband, the countless hours washing and washing and washing uniforms, the  multitude of practices, the driving, the hot sun, the heartbreaking losses, and the list goes on.

But every once in a while something happens.

A bright spot.

And I am not talking about wins or successes (although clearly, those are good, too).

No, this is an event infinitely more powerful.

When  least expected, I get to see my husband do something like  this:

And suddenly, in that moment, I know it is all worth it.

Confessions of a Shopaholic

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My most recent article on ParentSociety.com deals with something very near and dear to my heart, a favored activity if you will, something my son abhors but my Mom and I always adored …shopping.

I know, I know, not my usual literary contribution (’cause usually I write ‘high and mighty’ posts such as  Show Me Your Weenus), but I felt like sharing some of my favorite discount shopping sites this week with readers in  My Top 5 Discount Shopping Sites. (you can thank me or curse me later).

It starts out like this:

Hi, my name is Paula, I am a shopaholic.

Yes, it is true. But don’t plan an intervention just yet. For, you see, I am very content in my addiction. Happy, even.

So, if you are a shopaholic like me, shopping enthusiast, or just plain curious, go HERE to read the rest and find out 5 places to find a good deal.

My Top 5 Discount Shopping Sites

6 Reasons to Reconsider Being Man’s Best Friend

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Two years ago my son was granted permission to buy a dart board because, well, truthfully the reason completely alludes me now (more proof of too many brain cells destroyed prior to or as a result of motherhood).

No sooner had the dart board been placed on the wall when an argument commenced between my two boys bringing to mind a long ago fight between my then teen brothers involving the last frozen pizza and proof that a pizza cutter can stick in a wall when thrown with conviction.  But I digress.  Back to my boys, I arrived on the scene to find them  with smoke coming out of their ears (descriptively speaking, of course), darts clenched in hands and a shattered window with a suspiciously small hole the size of um, a dart.

Well, turning darts into weapons of mass destruction definitely called for an all-out ban on all dart board usage for an indeterminate amount of time.

However, finally the amount of time (2 years as it turned out) was determined when I arrived home to find the dart board placed on the wall (far from any windows this time) and darts actually being thrown at the dart board and not each other (shocking!).

Which brings me (finally, I know) to the point of my story.  You see, my boys and I commenced in a rousing game of round robin darts.  It very quickly came to my attention that our border collie had chosen a particular spot from which to observe the action.  No matter how hard we tried to get her to move, she would not be budged.

Why is this a problem, you ask?  I can offer not 1, not 2, but 6 excellent reasons my dog should reconsider:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you see, our proficiency in darts is, in a word, lacking.  So either our dog is devoid of all common sense and intelligence or is truly Man’s Best Friend with an unflagging amount of faith in us.  Honestly, I am torn.  My dog is an excellent watch dog and can take down a UPS man with the best of them, but she also eats cat poop.

In closing, allow me to add that our cat chose a spot just around the corner where she was positively safe from stray dart harm but still had an eagle eye view of dog…just in case?

Maybe, just maybe, the whole Man’s Best Friend gig just isn’t what it’s cracked up to be…but don’t tell my dog.

Ready, Set, Shop!

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Yesterday was epic.  Bigger than man walking on the moon, the first black president or even, yes,  the joining of chocolate and peanut butter.  Yesterday, my teenage son and I went shopping.  Mind you, not grocery shopping, or all-the-junk-I-don’t-need  Walmart shopping, but to the mall…clothes shopping…for him! Yeah, that just happened.

You see, both my boys hate to shop for clothes.  In fact, I would probably have better luck getting them to paint their nails pink and do a CanCan on the Vegas Strip.  (oh, that is unless there is a video game demo anywhere within a reachable radius).  This being the case, I normally opt for the, purchase what looks to be the right size-bring home for them to try on- return for size that fits, method (I know, I am more saintly than suspected!).

I made the mistake years ago telling my kids the story of how my older brothers would always steer Mom away from any and all clothing displays saying “don’t even look, Mom.”  Consequently, it has become routine whenever we ‘accidentally’ (hey, a girl can try) venture close to any women’s’ accoutrement each boy grabs me by an elbow and hustles me on like a criminal being escorted out of the store, repeating the mantra “don’t even look, Mom, just don’t even look.”

However, the current clothing situation for my growing teen had become dire.  It seemed like all of a sudden, virtually everything he turned up wearing looked like he had wrestled it from some poor, unsuspecting short person. I mean, boys don’t wear ‘daisy dukes’, right?  And with our current drought situation, those ‘floods’ were of no use to him whatsoever.  Therefore, one brave morning, I broached the subject with trepidation:

“I was thinking, maybe you and I should go shopping to get for you some clothes that actually fit?”

(Look of incredulity, like I just suggested we shave the cat or something)

“I promise I will make it quick”

(grunt)

“We will only go to a few places.”

(groan)

“I will only make you try on stuff when absolutely necessary.”

(eye roll)

“I will run you by the army surplus store when we are done?”

(ding ding ding, we had a winner!)

So yesterday, off we went.  I made good on all my promises and at the end of the day we arrived home with a bag full of clothes that actually fit him and, one army issue backpack & canteen.

For me, it was a great day.  I got to utter terms like “v-neck tee”, “contrast stitching” and “skinny or straight leg jean?” and experience on a small scale the Mom/kid shopping outings so long denied.

For him, well, he found a way to make it work.  I believe his exact words at the moment just prior to this photo being taken were

“Hey, like this, shopping isn’t so bad after all!”

Like I said, an epic day…

It’s All Spicoli’s Fault

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Did you know Spicoli from the movie Fast Times At Ridgemont High is responsible for increased Marijuana use in teens today?  Ok well, not exactly but it is amazing what one can accomplish with a little circular logic! Hey, it is the internet, I can make up anything I want, right?

Alright, alright, there might be a little scientific information thrown into my recent article just for good measure!

My most recent article on Parentsociety.com “Are You Ambivalent About Marijuana Use?” explores the possibility that, as parents of a certain age, our perception of the big M is contributing to the increased use by our teens.

Marijuana, or as my son likes to call it, “mar-i-ji-hwana,” is a drug parents of a certain age are well familiar with. We all had friends who smoked it, we laughed about “stoners,”and maybe we even partook of it ourselves a time or two …  I recently realized I tend to look on the little dried plant as a chihuahua among a brood of bulldogs where drugs are concerned.

Oh, and don’t miss the 8 little tips at the end.  They are gems, I tell you, gems!

Go Here!

“Are You Ambivalent About Marijuana Use?”

‘Til Death Do Us Part, Which May Be Sooner Than You Think

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Yesterday was my 16th wedding anniversary.  Yesterday, I wanted to strangle my husband. Ok, hold on, don’t send for “the Po Po” just yet (and for those of you who don’t speak 10 year old – “the Police”). Contrary to what you might be thinking, it is not because he had not gotten me a gift (which he hadn’t) or card (again, nope) but because he promised a favor.

You see, my husband is one of those good guys.  Therefore when our elderly neighbor asked my husband to drive her 2 hours to the airport to meet and pick up her adult son and then drive them the 2 hours back, he, of course, agreed.  However, at the moment of acquiescing, he did not realize two things.  One, the day in question was our anniversary and two, he would be called to one of those can’t-miss-on-penalty-of-death type meetings.

So, I guess you are thinking I was ready to commit husband strangulation because he forgot our anniversary.  But, the truth is, I forgot too.  No, what got my undies all in a bundle was the fact that now, in light of the meeting, his saintly gesture to our neighbor now fell to me to execute and well, I am just not that saintly.  Nonetheless, execute I did!

Really, I am not as big a twirp as I sound.  At the time agreed, I met my neighbor with a smile, assured her it was no big deal when she thanked me on the outset of our trip and declared me over-the-top neighborly (ha, if she only knew).

At first, we played telephone on the long drive to the airport,

“Did you have dinner?”

“Who did you say was thinner?”

“No, I asked, DID YOU HAVE DINNER?”

“Oh, I am not much of a singer.”

Then, we opted for silence.

We arrived right on schedule… 40 min before the flight arrived.

We parked and waited at the gate for arrival.

With my neighbors son in tow, we slowly walked to baggage claim, waited,  and then slowly back to the parked car.  I paused for them at the crosswalk while a pair of turtles hurried past (ok, she has an excuse – at 90 you are allowed to walk any speed you want and I guess he was just tired).

On the 2 hour eternity ride home, we played more telephone. But after my best sorority-girl conversation starters fell like a drunk man off a roof, we rode in awkward silence.  That is until out of nowhere, like we were about to be in a 10 car pile up, my elderly neighbor’s son shouted “THERE IT IS” pointing out our approaching exit (like I didn’t know that since I had been counting the mile markers for about the last 35 miles).

Finally, we arrived back.  I wished them a good visit and went home.

When I arrived at my house, I was ready to tell my husband all about my eventful “good deed” – the pain, the suffering, the agonizing silence, the rousing games of telephone. But, no one was home.  My husband still at his meeting, kids still at their assigned places.  Then, on the table, I saw this:

What is it they say, no good deed goes unpunished?  That may be true, but  it wasn’t all bad. Flowers, presents, and a happy elderly neighbor… yeah, I suppose I came out alright, possibly even ahead.

4 Things to Know About Raising Country Kids

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Yes, I seem to be running a theme of Country Living lately (Top 10 Clues You Are Not Cut Out For Country Life).  No rhyme or reason, just where my brain is roaming around on these hot summer days leading up to Fourth of July!

Today, my most recent article about raising country kids is running over at ParentSociety.com.

I grew up in the suburbs, lived in the city, and then moved to the country when my kids came along. I did not expect there to be any difference when it came to raising my kids in the country as opposed to the city/suburbs. Kids are kids, how different could it be? But I am here to tell you I was naive as a turkey on Thanksgiving…

Yes, I was naive – but my kids have educated me well.  I mean really, who needs shoes or a license to drive anyway?  Have I said to much?  Alright, already, just go read this quick little piece and find out the rest!  Whether you are planning on ever being a Country Parent or not, you just might be glad you did! Go Here!

4 Things to Know About Raising Country Kids