Busy Mom’s Valentines

I have a bad habit of taking on projects for class parties/holidays/kids events that I have no business doing.  I think I have more time and work space than I do.  Plus after 7:30 in the evening I am done!

This year I went hard core simple, based on an idea that came to me in the shower! 

We are encouraged not to give candy or any food in our class treat bags…high five there. 

This holiday the teachers even asked that we don’t put each name on the bag, so they just can put things in the cubbies with ease.  Brilliant.

I present: “You Left A Mark On My Heart”.  Total cost per child is under $3.

  
I was able to order from Amazon.Com bulk washable markers.  I chose red and purple.  

  
Got little treat bags at Target in their under $3 section.  One bag of 8 bags was $2. They had a few different types.

   
I hunted online for a Valentine Coloring page that I could put into PrintShop so I could add a message.  I made them post card size so when cut they fit in the bag. I included the message “You Left A Mark On My Heart Happy Valentine’s Day Love,” with room for my daughter to write her name.

  
Stuff them in….fold the bag and you are done! 

My daughter was a little upset that she did not get to create more. So we cut some hearts and stuck them on the bags. 

We made some extra for her cousins and the hearts made great gift tags! So if you need to write the name of each student in the class that is an option.

This took 45 minutes and that includes cutting hearts.  Perfect for working parents or people who just are out of time, creativity, energy, enthusiasm…..so everyone with children under the age of 30.

I will let you know if some Mom shows up with an interactive Cupid.  

 Happy Valentine’s Day Burbia….

Gucci and Walgreens

So I frequent Walgreens.  It is literally within walking distance from my burbia house.  I am confident that I am not alone in this practice.  I go in for one thing, often a true necessity…and I leave spending $150.  Over the weekend I ran in for a birthday card for a party that we were actually on our way to.  So roaming up and down the aisles contemplating if my car med kit was well stocked enough could not be my tactic.  However there they were….Black Flannel Lined Leggings.

I am a 40 something women in Northern New Jersey Suburbia,  I have a drawer for black leggings.  In my collection of black leggings there is a range from Banana Republic outlet leggings to Prada leggings (sample sale!).  I did not own flannel lined leggings!!!! I was intrigued.  It was supposed to be in the single digits the next day…how would I survive my 3 stop grocery store trek if I was not in flannel lined leggings.  

They spoke me.

“we are $5″….”we are $5”.

For the cost of a People Magazine (also in my hand), I could have new pants.  Oh wait what is this they are saying to me now:

“we are one size fits most”.

So me and Tom Brady’s wife wear the same size Walgreens leggings.

Done.

So I wake up the next day and get dressed in my new leggings and I legit had to take a moment to admire them and myself in in the mirror.  Something I don’t do much of because the full length mirror in a room with poor light is worse than an actual scale.

These suckers were life changing.  They inspired me to even put some black booties on and an actual top that was not sold in an active section of TJ Maxx.

My husband questioned me as I walked out the door “are you dressed up for grocery shopping?”

So not only was I warm while sporting these leggings that I can share with Giselle, they kept their shape and the most important they stayed put. 

Naturally I stopped at Walgreens on my way home and bought two more pairs (and 3 different kinds of lip balm) 

So my husband offers to get the groceries from the car (or maybe that is what happened in my mind…and I actually had to ask him to remove himself from a football game).  

Well my cover was blown.  My dear old husband who has spent the last 15 years; watching me outfit myself in designer labels that he can’t pronounce, questioning the significance of red sole shoes, and wondering why there are stacks and stacks of Vouge magazines in our home, slowly took my prize possession leggings out of the bag.

“Your kidding me.” “You are strutting around with a Gucci purse and $5 legging”

All I can do is smile, because I know how incredibly shocking it is to him.

“I know I know…I am a bad ass like that”

So ladies. I don’t care where you like to buy your leggings or what labels you fancy.  These are a must have for Winter 2016.  Comfortable (check), they wash well (check), look good (check), keep you warm (check), and they hold their shape (check).   Plus, you can share them with super models. 

Run to Walgreens.  

    
 

So I frequent Walgreens.  It is literally within walking distance from my burbia house.  I am confident that I am not alone in this practice.  I go in for one thing, often a true necessity…and I leave spending $150.  Over the weekend I ran in for a birthday card for a party that we were actually on our way to.  So roaming up and down the aisles contemplating if my car med kit was well stocked enough could not be my tactic.  However there they were….Black Flannel Lined Leggings.

I am a 40 something women in Northern New Jersey Suburbia,  I have a drawer for black leggings.  In my collection of black leggings there is a range from Banana Republic outlet leggings to Prada leggings (sample sale!).  I did not own flannel lined leggings!!!! I was intrigued.  It was supposed to be in the single digits the next day…how would I survive my 3 stop grocery store trek if I was not in flannel lined leggings.  

They spoke me.

“we are $5″….”we are $5”.

For the cost of a People Magazine (also in my hand), I could have new pants.  Oh wait what is this they are saying to me now:

“we are one size fits most”.

So me and Tom Brady’s wife wear the same size Walgreens leggings.

Done.

So I wake up the next day and get dressed in my new leggings and I legit had to take a moment to admire them and myself in in the mirror.  Something I don’t do much of because the full length mirror in a room with poor light is worse than an actual scale.

These suckers were life changing.  They inspired me to even put some black booties on and an actual top that was not sold in an active section of TJ Maxx.

My husband questioned me as I walked out the door “are you dressed up for grocery shopping?”

So not only was I warm while sporting these leggings that I can share with Giselle, they kept their shape and the most important they stayed put. 

Naturally I stopped at Walgreens on my way home and bought two more pairs (and 3 different kinds of lip balm) 

So my husband offers to get the groceries from the car (or maybe that is what happened in my mind…and I actually had to ask him to remove himself from a football game).  

Well my cover was blown.  My dear old husband who has spent the last 15 years; watching me outfit myself in designer labels that he can’t pronounce, questioning the significance of red sole shoes, and wondering why there are stacks and stacks of Vouge magazines in our home, slowly took my prize possession leggings out of the bag.

“Your kidding me.” “You are strutting around with a Gucci purse and $5 legging”

All I can do is smile, because I know how incredibly shocking it is to him.

“I know I know…I am a bad ass like that”

So ladies. I don’t care where you like to buy your leggings or what labels you fancy.  These are a must have for Winter 2016.  Comfortable (check), they wash well (check), look good (check), keep you warm (check), and they hold their shape (check).   Plus, you can share them with super models. 

Run to Walgreens.  

    
 

Kid Broke

It has always been said that your children are a reflection of you.  The original purpose of this statement was to be a reminder that you should act how you would like your children to act.   Basically if you conduct yourself like an A-hole 80% of the day, odds are good that your kid is heading in that direction.

How many kids have come over your house and you can’t wait for them to leave, and then you meet one of the parents and the lightbulb goes off.   Happily it works both ways, kids model good behavior too.

However I have realized there is a new “trend” if you will.  Your child is a walking advertisement for your tax bracket…or really they tax bracket you may think you are in or want to be in.

My husband LOVES the term “house broke”.   When I question how “So and So” who does almost the same thing as my husband, and has twice as many kids as we do, and has a wife who has never worked outside the home is doubling the size of their already big house, he simply says they are probably “house broke”.

I think many of my “burbia peers” are “Kid Broke”.    Please I don’t mean broke from raising them,  I mean broke from HOW you are raising them.    This is not new, but it is certainly more common then ever.

Of course you want your kids to have a better life than you did (if your life was even that bad to begin with).   I get that it is VERY challenging to say no to your children, especially when their peers are living the “middle school dream”, but teaching them about reality is why we get paid the big bucks, no?  (which reminds me, I don’t remember the last time I got a check from my little humans.  Will call HR in the morning)

I know parents of 3 year olds that are giving their daughter ballet lessons (which I don’t take issue with at all), at “the” studio in the area.  These ballet lessons are exactly $250 more for the year than 4 of the studios in our area.   The expensive studio has the following of the Hedge Fund tax bracket.    That sticker on the back of your car means something.  NOW if it meant that your daughter is going to be on the express bus to Broadway because she trains there, sure  you do what you can to make it happen.   So I go back to how this paragraph started…the child is 3.

So you have the sticker on your minivan; ergo you and your family MUST being doing “well”.  Suburbia has decided this for two reasons: 1) you pay more for something you could get for less  2) the lot is mostly cars from our friends in Germany and that occasional Mom with her American made Suburban or Expedition (but the Limited edition).

All this and you don’t pay your class dues…and continue to complain that you should not need to pay $25 in class dues, because you pay taxes.

Then there is the 12 year old with the Louis Vuitton Never Fill Bag (with a monogram)….and before anyone jumps down my throat: 1) she did not buy it herself with her babysitting money and 2) don’t pretend it is OK to have a bag like that at 12, or 16.  If your 12 year old wants a bag like that…you need to do some re-evaluating.   Having your child walk around with a bag like that is 100% a status thing.   She wants to look cool…and so do you.    You have a Michael Kors bag that you got at Marshalls and your daughter is shopping at Justice with her friends at the mall on a Saturday with her LV bag.

Be serious even if you are the “Hedge Fund Family” there are other ways to give your kid something “nice”.   Sure girls more than boys are getting into fashion earlier now a days, and it never helps that the cast of “Dance Moms” is sporting $1,000 bags….but you can’t possibly think that this is wise.

Years ago I remember noting that people “judged” you if you put your baby in designer duds.  You were talked about if you bought your 16 year old a new BMW when they only had a learners permit.

Making sacrifices personally so your son or daughter can have a better education, be part of a travel team for they sport they love, or so they can have something that they actually need is no doubt socially acceptable and by all means encouraged.   Leading a life that is not your reality through your children is nothing more than sad.

Sadder is that this is a practice that is not only common but not questioned.

We should not judge anyone.  Period.  I own that I am in fact judging people who are raising their children in a tax bracket that is not their own.  It is in fact none of my business.  I am not really speaking about haves and have nots…I am speaking about the “better” and the “bests”.    When your “reality” is better than most American families, and you insist on using your children to portray that your “reality” is in the top 2%.

Full Disclosure:  I have 100% done this at times.  My crew has a yearly picture taken in various Burberry plaid items.  Then the pictures come back and I am too paranoid that it looks “showy” (which it does), so I never post them!   I tell myself that because not every kid is getting a new “something” and they are wearing hand me downs it is not that bad.  I thought better of it this year, and we took our pictures while they were all playing in the leaves.    Which is a better example of my family’s reality, not because we can’t afford to foolishly outfit our kids in over priced British clothing…because my family is playful, goofy, and loves to be outside.

Spend your money how you want really, but the practice of your off-spring being the definition of how you want to be thought off is just as bad as leasing a Mercedes to appear wealthy.

I have seen it catch up with people in the form of having a sit down with your Prada wearing new car driving teen about how they can’t go to the college they want to go to because they have no money to send them.

Remember when paying for your kids to go to college was a status thing back in the 90’s.

 

 

3 Strikes and We Are Still Out

I live about 30 minutes from the capital of the world, yet I still need to go to multiple stores to get everything I would like for the week.   Do I have to feed my family a mostly organic selection, of course not.  It is my choice to do this to myself, however with the new “clean eating” obsessions I really never thought it would still be so tough.

Making things even more challenging is the simple fact I do this on Sundays.   I have no idea why.  I grew up with my mother making her largest grocery shop on a Sunday afternoon, and then doing smaller shops for (meats and things that have a minimal shelf life during the week).  When my husband and I were first married and it was just the two of us, it was a tradition that we would do the weeks shopping on a Sunday as well.

So here I am, with every flocking suburban domestic engineer on the planet.  Only this Sunday my husband says “why don’t we all go?”.

Inner Thought: “Why don’t I go to the dentist in a bathing suit for a drug free root canal?”.

Game On I Say.

Store 1: Whole Foods

So everything is actually not Organic here.   The things I obsess about being organic is the fresh fruit and veggies more than the pasta and snacks.   I also love a good short cut, because I am in one word: Lazy.  Pre cut fruit for the morning…game changer.   Yes they have plenty to pick from, however it is easily $1.00 more and not organic.  The same selection of organic veggies and fruits is at my main store (The One and Only Super Stop and Shop).   So after roaming the store I have the following that I believe I can only get at WF:   Organic Fish Sticks (Winning), Organic Red Potatoes,  Flowers (impulse purchase), and some Flax, Coconut, Chia combo back that I can add to the smoothies that I believe I will make each week and don’t.

I actually wanted to just give up at half way through, because I did not even think any of these items deserved a charge on the credit card.

Off to store #2.

Store 2: Trader Joes

I feel the need to keep a steady stash of organic pre sliced apples.  Everyone likes them.  They don’t brown when you buy them this way.  It is 100% a waste of money…and I 100% don’t care.    Shockingly WF does not have them…TJ’s always does.   So off we go for the one item.

Yep…I don’t “need” them.  However see above.

So I am given the perk of just running in ALONE, since I am only getting one item.   Everyone knew I would be back in 25 minutes with two full bags.

In record time I returned with my apple slices and: Mac N Cheese Balls (oh those are healthy), chocolate covered pretzels filled with peanut butter, body wash, pretzel bread, spinach ravioli, and some organic potato puffs.

None of these items are truly needed, however the spinach ravioli can be a meal when my husband is working late.

Also, the those pretzels…are worth the trip every time.

Store 3: Super Stop and Shop

Everything else….and tons of organic or natural things that I passed at WF, only here they are slightly better priced.   The biggest difference is there are not as many options with other items (cleaning supplies, pet foods, meats).  However after today I think I can limit WF trips to only special times when I am making something unique (and that almost never happens).

Also WF and TJ do not have People and Us Weekly…and that is just as important as the apple slices.

I have actually thought about asking my SSS to order the organic apple slices Motts even makes them, and they used to sell them!

My cousin is my guru on doing a better job keeping some of the nasty chemicals out of the house, and she has been looking into some delivery services.

I will say that the Diapers.com brand of Casa.com, SOAP.com, and Vine.com are pretty amazing with their selections, and if I could just get over my need to have things instantly I would be much more satisfied.

Anyone else go to multiple stores in a given day just to get the food/supplies for the week?

Total Mom fail: I left my list in the car at Super Stop and Shop…so I will be back tomorrow :-(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Final Countdown.

Who remembers this little tune from The Muppets?

“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat

Please do put a penny in the old man’s hat

If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do

If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!”

Since 7:20 this morning I have been singing in my head the following version of this little tune:

“Christmas is over, and Mommy feels fat”

We have been “Christmas-ing” for the better part of three weeks, and the last two involved everyone being home…together.   I started transforming my home the Friday after Thanksgiving, and I stopped at 11:45pm on Christmas Eve (my cousin had just given me a Cookies for Santa plate…clearly I had to display it).  I should share that on that Black Friday I made the statement “I am not going all out this year with the decorations”.  Now that I have been taking it all down for 4 hours, I would say I spoke an un truth.

Typically I only go all out on Christmas Decorations when my in laws pop in for a 120 minute “visit”.  So basically ever other year I feel the need to make our home look like it could potentially be chosen by Traditional Home magazine as a featured holiday house.   I like to think that doing this allows my in-laws to think that I totally have my sh*t together.  My own family is well aware that I am a certified lunatic around the holidays…and tries to act un interested in the 37 DIY decor projects I completed over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.   I pretend they act this way so I stop being a lunatic…which makes me more looney.

We have had an endless cycle of gatherings with family and friends, yet in short I totally feel like we spent too much time in the house and really did nothing.

I should not say we did nothing…we ate like champs.   Just when I thought we had turned the corner on the endless craptastic eating, I came downstairs this morning to find my husband making Blueberry Pancakes.  Some women may  enjoy this, even give their husband one of those odd Facebook shout outs “Who is the luckiest girl in the world….”  My first thought was “F*ck, I cleaned the kitchen before I went to bed.”, and then my next thought was “Seriously Dude!  We all need a detox cleanse, or at the very least bran cereal”.   I said nothing and ate one lonely pancake while standing up and thinking about how I will need to skip lunch.

I often think about how lucky my Mom was to parent pre social media.  After all if we sat around and did nothing over our vacations (which never happened anyway), she did not have to see the Travel Magazine worthy pictures and posts of what everyone else in town was doing.   If she were still alive and I made this statement to here she would be quick to say that EVERYTHING was different back then…but you still knew what everyone was doing.

I had a good list going in my head before Santa came as to what we would do over the break. We have 24 hours left and thus far we have done only two things.   The first was clean out the extra bedroom (which was not so much a “we” adventure as it was a “me” adventure), the second was go see Alvin and the Chipmunks, which was completed today.

I wanted to make some wonderful home cooked dinners with all the extra time, I think we ate out or had meals at other peoples homes most nights.  Now with Sunday night looming in the distance I feel the need to go all out.   Would Onion Soup and Grilled Cheese be going all out?  What about if I used real Onion Soup bowls?

I find I get more done in general when I am the only person in the house, I don’t like audience participation.   I am tired of explaining to everyone why I like to keep the Today Show on in the family room while I go about my morning.  Not one complaint when I made the cookies that were featured on the Today Show on Wednesday!   Oh wait, I did do something MOTY-like.  I never self promoted it on social media, so did it even happen?

Ironically I did do one thing of LARGE importance over the last half of the break.  I started researching summer camps. :-)

Now where did I hide the lunch boxes and school bags?