Category Archives: Life

Taking the Small Moments for Granted

This morning, Cal told me I looked like I needed a break. So he took Numba 11 and me to the beach after dropping the teenager off at work. It was rather nice with the pelicans flying to and fro, a boat sailing lazily in the distance, and our son happily splashing in the surf.

I love looking out as far as I can see. I enjoy listening to the waves as they crash in around my feet. Even watching the tiny birds (not seagulls, the smaller ones) five for the minnow sized fish as the waves rolled in. All these things are just some of the little things that make the whole beach experience unlike any other.

While enjoying the morning, I happened to note two particular figures walking up the beach. It was a mother and her son. Normally, I disregard the Beach visitors. Living in a resort area, one tends to become inoculated to the tourists. However, this little boy and his mother, while obvious tourists, were different. It was one thing that he was a tad taller than his mother, who as all of four foot eleven, it was another that he was que ball bald. He was even sans eyebrows.

This child was fighting cancer.

He fooled to be about nine or ten years of age. I just found it amazing that he has come far enough to be able to enjoy a morning stroll down the beach with his mother. It was cute to observe them. They obviously been through a lot together and he adored his mother as much as she cared for him. The morning stroll, looking for shells, and splashing in the shallow water was a normal moment for them.

Moments like that are things the rest of us take for granted. It made me look at the love of my life and our youngest with exceptional love. In that moment, I appreciated everything that live had for me. I have a wonderful husband, great kids, and I am alive. I am healthy and able to do for my family.

It’s all too often that we take the small moments for granted. I was reminded, just for a moment, how wonderful life really is.

What do YOU think?

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Flavorholic Anonymous

As the idea for this came to me, I was eating my lunch. 260 calories worth of Grilled Peppercorn Beef and Vegetables paired with a goblet of refreshing fridge water, 2018. (The jury is still out as to whether that is a great year.) I was scraping the last bit of rice and peppers onto my fork and the decision was made. To no one in particular I said, “My name is Micaa. I am a flavorholic.” As the last syllable came out of my mouth, just for a moment, my inner fat girl surfaced and the tray I was scraping with my fork flipped out of my hands and bits of rice went down the front of my shirt, all over my lap, and down the side of the couch.

And just like that, she was gone.

Instantly, I knew without any speculation, what an alcoholic feels and precisely what those meetings are for. I knew, in the mess that the meetings were quite helpful and why they are life long missions for those addicted to drugs and alcohol. It really made me pause. Sitting there, covered in saucy rice, I thought: “You know? Food addiction is a thing and there should be some sort of program for people like me too.

So here it is: Flavorholic Anonymous.

A while back, a co-worker and I were losing weight and being quite supportive of each other. We did exceptionally well despite being states apart. We shared workouts, recipes, motivation, anything related toward that goal of not being called “overweight/obese” by the doctors. While she went farther than I did, and kept it off, she did say something to me once that resonated with me. I even wrote it down and that sticky note on my Monitor has a slight gathering of dust since it has been there so long:

“I know I am going to have to count everything I eat for the rest of my life.”

There is more truth in those eighteen words than anyone who has not known the struggle of changing to a healthier lifestyle forever will ever know. My view on food was that 1. I loved flavor. 2. I was a stress eater. 3. I am a member of the ‘clean your plat or else’ generation. And, 4. I viewed food as a fun/social thing instead of fuel for my body. These are things that can hurt anyone’s progress.

I had to almost start my journey over from where I started. With my coworker, I had went from 208+ to 148 over a period of 18 months. I counted every bite of food, every exercise. I worked out daily. It wasn’t easy. Once I got comfortable, I slowly slipped into some bad habits. I had a stressful period and, before I knew it, the scale yelled 181 at me.

I was devastated.

What I didn’t do the first time was change my mindset. The entire time, I would spend every extra second of my day planning and thinking and fantasizing about my next meal. It was horrible and tiresome to have my brain wired in such a way that food was the only thing there was when I was not focused on work or whatever. The day I figured out how to change that, my inner voice was totally silent.

The silence was so loud! Yet, it still spoke volumes.

I still have to count everything. I still have to do some physical activity every day. If I stop, the numbers will creep back up there and I am back to wearing those sweatpants with the fuzz balls on the legs. Similar to an alcoholic, they thank a greater being every day and set the intention…one day at a time. As a Flavor Hog, the intention is set when I honestly count everything and remember that food is fuel and not some reward for abstaining from throat punching someone.

There are days when it’s a struggle. I just want to cram my face with a Tasty Kake Honey Bun or two then sleep it off. These are like the days an alcoholic will sit in the parking lot of a bar wondering what’s on tap. While the AA person will call their sponsor, it’s not that simple for me. I have to convince myself that is not a good idea and take that bad intention and work it out. Am I really hungry or can I do something else until this yearning goes away?

I don’t know. I have to keep that demon I refer to ad my inner fat girl suppressed and sometimes, she’s a beast and gets the best of me. It’s a daily struggle.

I cleaned up my mess from lunch. Since I am not going anywhere, I think I will just keep my ricey clothes on as a reminder that the struggle is especially hard today and set the intention to work even harder at it. When I win these battles, tomorrow is better and I feel good about that.

You can join too. No judgement. We are all comrades. Remember:

My name is Micaa. I am a flavorholic.

What do YOU think?

Their Job is Important

I find it interesting to have epiphanies about things that have changed my line of thinking over the years. It has always bothered me to witness someone talking down to another person just trying to make a living. As a child, I often wondered why people did that. When we studied American slavery in elementary school, I remember thinking why did human beings treat other human beings in such awful ways? I never talked to my parents or family about those things. I observed and studied more than I asked questions when it came to people. Of course, I was curious about all kinds of things. I asked questions about things and how things worked. It was just people that I found I learned more by watching.

I don’t remember where or when, but at some point between the ages of seven and ten, I read a story where a father told his child to always remember the name of the janitor. To not only do that at school, but in life. Janitors are everywhere and they are an important part of living. Schools, apartment buildings, business offices, everywhere you go, there is always the person pushing around the cart or changing the trash. Their feelings and lives are just as important to the greater scheme of things as the CEO or Receptionist. After I read that story, I did just that.

My most memorable and favorite janitor has to be Ms. Georgia. She was the one at my first high school. She never seemed very friendly, but after I had asked her name and began saying hi to her when I seen her, she turned out to be a very sweet lady who loved her job and knew a lot of things. This stuck with me and I try to remind my kids to do the same.

Cal and I take this same token when it comes to cashiers. I mean, if someone is wearing a name tag, speak to them and use their name. You would be surprised the difference it makes. Today, for example, the Walmart cashier looked like she was a cardholder of the Slap a Bitch Quick club. Her name was Michelle. Now think about this. You will be standing in front of this cashier from 2-8 minutes depending on how much you are purchasing. I always greet the cashiers by name as soon as they start scanning my stuff. As soon as I stepped up and said “Good morning Michelle!” Her whole demeanor changed and she carried on small talk with me. I could never be a cashier by trade. However, some of these people like it and make a career of it. Don’t look down your nose at them or treat them bad. Their job is important. Further, there is absolutely no need to use these people as an example for your kids. It is downright cruel. Without these people, you would not have the convenience of shopping like you do.

Further, there is a way to tell your children that you don’t want them to grow up to be a stocker in a grocery store. Standing in front of the guy helping you find something in the pasta aisle at the grocery store and loudly telling your six year old “this is what happens when you don’t go to college” is not at all appropriate, respectful, or getting your point across. Do you know what you teach your kid in that moment? A lot more than “Go to college and make lots of money!” You are teaching them hate. You are teaching them disregard for humanity. You are teaching them that people are not important and, most of all, you are teaching them how to be an asshole…just like you. Nice. Plus one for the dumbass parenting skills there.

My point is, if the job was not necessary, it would not exist. The jobs are important. They enable you to live your life easier and they enable the cashiers, janitors, stickers, wait staff, and call center representatives to work. It gives those people a sense of stability, experience, and most often, livelihood for their families. Just because they are not from the gated community of millionaires like you does not discount their value or importance. If at all, if you have to look down upon them, they are richer than you will ever be.

I am not perfect. I still will be a nasty customer if I have to call customer service. However, I have worked in call centers and know these jobs are important. I will remember the name of the janitors and try to remember to call the cashiers by name. Besides, we see them more than just once. I will sometimes even choose a longer line because I see that miss Elsie is working today. It’s just respect and the fact that I do know their job is important. Not just in the scheme of things but to them too.

What do YOU think?

I broke it. I should fix it.

A few days ago, I got up for a 2A.M. puppy potty party (chihuahuas and their teeny tiny bladders won’t let me sleep a night through. Nothing like a cold nose boop on the forehead to wake you from sleeping in fifth gear at zombie in the morning… Ah, but I digress.) I had decided that I too will participate in the call of nature and headed to the bathroom after locking the rascals out. Normally, they give me an extra hour. Not that night.

In my groggy state, I take a seat upon the throne. Now let me stop and give you a back story, so that my line of thinking in my half conscious state will make sense. When my inner fat girl was, in charge, if I leaned over to reach for a new roll while sitting on the pot, the toilet seat would inch over and those little bumper things underneath would slide off the rim of the bowl and the seat would audibly tell me it had made an unsafe movement. Now, I have since lost quite a bit of weight and put that bitch back in the inner sanctum of my mind, hence her new title: “inner fat girl.”

Back to the present.

As I leaned over for a new roll (gotta love the monsters who don’t have any courtesy for the next potty master,) I heard that unsafe movement noise. Instantly, I was wide awake because that honestly hurt my feelings. Here I am feeling good about me because I am feeling good about my weight and stuff. Then Karma comes strolling along with a sense of humor and lets the toilet seat make that noise and hurt my damn feelings. 😡

So, I wrap up the throne business and stand up. As I teach to flush, by the light of the moon, (no pun intended. I love light filtering blinds sillies!) I see a line on the toilet seat. Knowing I was not making a mess, I turn the light on. Just…wow. The seat didn’t move after all. It broke.

Great. With payday ten days away, we had to suffer with a busted toilet seat. Really?

This morning I found a tenspot doing laundry. So guess what? Cal was dragged to the store for a new seat. When we got home, he was called into work. Well, I broke it. I should fix it. So I did!!!

I am a staunch believer that little girls need to be taught to fend for themselves. This includes fixing things. Cal was busy and I was quite capable. Now we all know how I feel about bathroom germs. So this was a super big deal for me as I had to step outside of my comfort circle to do this. Armed with one glove, a screwdriver, and an entire thing of bleach wipes, I set out to fix the toilet. I fixed it and I survived. And Cal was so proud!!

Remember, teach your girls to be able to work along side their man on house and car things. Tell your sons to teach their girls and find a good woman who can fend for herself. It’s a team effort and boy do Cal and I have the best team!

What do YOU think?

Happiness Challenge: What I Love About Me

Taking a moment to step outside the typical post here.

Most of my followers know I often post about Team Snoopervisors, sideways views on funny life happenings, or other random things. At work (the “nine to fiver”) the Wellness lady has initiated a Happiness Challenge for the month of June. She posted a bingo sheet, of sorts, of things to do for the month of June. Yes, there is an incentive, but that is not the important part. The learning that has to happen from this challenge is to do things to bring the happiness and stave off the depression bugs. It is also, I think, meant to teach us all there are things we can do, outside of our daily habits, to make happiness worthwhile. Also, they are things that are not terribly difficult.

I have found quite a few are outside of typical comfort zones for most people. While I started a few days late on this challenge, I am picking the activities that I find hard to do. This being one of them. Ah, but I digress…here goes.

Five things I love about me.

  1. I am all about my husband, family, and work. In that order. Yes, I know I should always put my kids over my other half, but you know what? Without him, there would be no kids and I would not be who I am. Cal completes my circle and he will still be there after the kids have grown up and chasing their own happiness. This is a lifetime and he is my world. The kids are next. I am who I am not only because of Cal but because of the kids. I have a lot of stories about them and oh the many things they have taught me. As parents, we often forget that our children teach us the most valuable things. Some of them being: Always view the world with awe, because it is amazing. Being an adult just numbs our senses to that. Also, they teach us that hate is not genetic that it is learned and love is exactly the same. This and a myriad of other things. Finally work. I love what I do! Yes, I have an education that far exceeds what I am doing right now but this works for me. I look forward to clocking in every day and that is not something many people can say. Collectively, these three most important things have taught me about loyalty and that is what I am. Loyal to my husband as my life partner. Loyal to my children as my family. Loyal to my job because well, I like what I do!
  2. My eyeballs. Well, that may be a stretch but it is hard to think about things you like about yourself! (Especially when there have always been self esteem issues!) I am not content with the fact that I am Thelma-like (reference: Scooby Doo) without my glasses. That is another thing all to itself. I like the color. They are blue. Not just blue but, like, different. I don’t know. I just like them. Secretly, I will stare at them in the mirror just because I like them so much!
  3. I am organized. That is one thing I have always been. While some of it may look like a mess to others, I have a “talent” for reaching into a pile of things and pulling out exactly what you are asking for without having to sort/dig through the entire lot. Ever since I was about 12 or so, I have carried a calendar or organizer book. This is where I got into the habit of planning out things up to a year in advance.
  4. I am mechanically inclined, sort of. As a kid, I would always follow Daddy out to the cars and berate him with questions. “Whatcha dooin?” “What is that for?” “What does this do?” “Why does it need that?” “Can I try?” There was even one time, Daddy told me I could sit in the car but to not touch the gear stick. Um, telling a 7 year old not to touch the gear stick is basically telling her “Go ahead. Try this. See what it does.” I nearly rolled the car off a 8 foot drop into the back yard before I got it back into park. I can fix things if I have to fix them when Cal is at work. I can hang a picture. I can change a tire. If I had to, I could probably fix the car. I always tell our kids. Boys: Get you a woman who can fend for herself. If she can’t, teach her. If she don’t wanna learn, you don’t need her. Girls: Learn how to be self-sufficient. Relationships are team work and nothing should be one sided. Especially working on the cars or fixing something.
  5. That I took the time to do this. I find it difficult to do self-reflection because I tend to go down the road of rattling off all the things that I loathe about me. I have always been like this. The fact that I can step in a different direction and do something like this shows that I can do something for me and appreciate, at least a little, something about myself. I don’t do things for me often as I would prefer to do for my family. (See number 1, the first two mentions.)

So, there you have it. A few things I like about me. That was more difficult than you think! Take the time to do the same for yourself. Warning: It may take a while and it may  prove to be difficult. But, it is something we all should do.

As always, What do YOU think?

Intelligence Taken Fur Granted

I have never been one to choose a plain dog. Being raised in a dog family, it is my experience that, when you choose a dog, especially a puppy, something about them stands out or is very special to you. I never gave a second thought to the plain dogs of the world. Over the past year, our Mollie (the Shadow Stalker) littered a total of eight puppies. All but one were chosen for their forever homes. This one we had decided to keep. Honestly, it was the next to last one to go that we had initially wanted to keep but how can you say no to the twelve year old girl who fell in love with a particular puppy at first sight? So we were left with Courage. Caption: Courage at seven weeks waiting for the masses to finish eating.

As a tiny pup, Courage wasn’t interested in much. He’s like his mother in that he would rather sit and watch the action instead of participate. Full of manners, he evens let the others get their fill at dinner time and then eat in peace. Just a totally different dog experience for me altogether.

Since the New Year, it has begun to show that there really is something special about this dog. For starters, he is nearly double the weight of his mother and just turned a year old last week! He loves it when I sit down to read, because he knows he is going to get a snuggle and an extended ear rub. Typical dog stuff, I know. Now he usually waits for one of the others to tell me that it is potty time. As you know, I work from home and Courage (and the rest of the pack) are my “Snoopervisors.”)

This particular Snoopervisor has started to show me that he can grab my attention exceptionally well. Sometimes, I will tell the dogs to give me a minute because I want to finish whatever task I am working on before letting them out. This particular day, Mr. Courage was not having it.

Courage has a body more reminiscent of a large weenie dog. Raised up on his hind legs, and still with his butt in the floor, he is tall enough to put his paws on my keyboard tray. Currently, said tray is in a bent track and if you push on it too hard it will jump the track making for a bad day. (Ok, small digression here, it’s bent because I am graceful. That is all.) So, I tell the “team” to give me a minute as I continued to do my work. I must have take a minute or three too long. Courage appears and puts both paws on my leg, Ensures that he has my attention, then proceeds to slowly move his left paw to the keyboard tray. Holding my gaze, this stinker proceeds to push mown on the tray and it pops in warning that anymore pressure and it will fall!

Appalled, I move his paw off the tray. I pop the tray back into place, tell him “Gimme a minute lovey boy!” Then turn back to my task. Without so much as a blink, he literally sighs loud enough for me to turn back to him (mind you, he still has his right paw on my leg.) When I do, again, as if it were a staring contest, he takes his left paw and proceeds to pull down on the keyboard tray. Yes, it popped again.

As I begin to become frustrated with the newly found smart tail gene Courage has tapped into, I remove both paws and put him back down on the floor. I told him that I was almost done. Apparently I did not get the message. Undeterred, Courage moves from the side of my chair to in front of me. All of a sudden, this dog face comes from under my desk and is now between me and the keyboard tray, facing the same direction as I am. Just as quickly, these two stubby legs wit paws come from the same place and proceed to forcefully push the keyboard tray to its resting place under the desk. Caption: That paw!

Courage then looks up at me with this look that says “I know you love me HumanMom!” Of course, it was all over at that point. Potty time it was. No gimme a minute, no wait a second. Right now. Happily, Courage led the pack out of the office to the potty door.

In the days since, other things have happened which show intelligence taken fur granted. I will eventually share some of these.

On a final note, plain dogs are more special than any dog with a special mark or blue eyes. Their special is inside. So far, the biggest dog we have not only towers in size but his heart has so much love and his brain continues to amaze us! I am also of the opinion that plain dogs are not chosen, they are bestowed upon special people!

What do YOU think?

Popularly Overlooked Huge Victories

Since I have left the carefree calorie days of the late twenties and early thirties, I have spent nearly all day, every day thinking about what I am going to eat next. I would fix the planned meal, usually for more than one person to eat, then, to avoid leftovers (as well as no one else eating the meal,) proceed to eat the lot of it. I always had to clean my plate. Then, almost immediately, I would begin to think about what to eat next. I tried to stay busy but not the right kind of busy, because my brain would continually think about food and what we had to eat in the house or what I was going to get at the store. It was frustrating and mentally exhausting.

Not only did it make me mentally tired, I was gaining weight and becoming physically lazy. I hated life. I hated me. Unbeknownst to me, I subconsciously hated my inner fat girl for taking over every thought and replacing it with the next plate of food to shovel into my mouth. I became depressed and it affected my entire family. My clothes were all too small and I was wearing the same three sweatpants and t-shirts all week. Working from home, I could do that. I had one pair of “fat jeans” that I wore every time I had to leave the house. That was it.

Two years ago, someone hurt my feelings in relation to my weight and I used that hurt and anger to drop from 208 to 148. I felt great and it was definitely a huge victory. I was proud to be asked for my license because it was me at my largest and I definitely looked different. What didn’t change was that inner voice constantly thinking about the next thing to eat. So long as I never became overly stressed, upset, sad, or any other negative feelings, I would do just fine. However, it prevented me from not overeating during those times and it was still a mental struggle. Again, all those bad feelings took over and I forgot how to direct the bad feelings constructively toward exercise and strength training. Of this 60 pounds lost in the course of approximately 15 months, I gained almost 40 pounds back.

This was when I discovered, for me, my problem was more mental than the physical. I had to prevent food from taking over every second of my waking day as well as the majority of my dreams. I did some research on the topic and, eventually that of my doctor. Armed with the tools to overcome the strength of my inner fat girl, I se out in a new journey to make some permanent changes. That was three months ago.

It is still a struggle. However, most days, I am allowed to think of things other than food. I have even begun to read, a lot, again. There are days that are exceedingly hard. When I win with any victory, no matter how small, I am proud of myself. Yesterday was one of those days. While the victories of yesterday were quite insignificant to most, they were exceptionally huge for me. Another thing that was a victory was, I still got my walk I. Despite having an off day. Definitely a victory for a day that would otherwise have been horrible and reminiscent of the 208 pound me. Here is an excerpt from my journal regarding other Popularly Overlooked but Huge Victories from yesterday:

Yesterday was a struggle that ended in a victory. I spent most of the day craving a chicken sandwich with cheese and bacon and mayo as well as any kind of milkshake. I was craving like a smoker wanting a cigarette. Living in a resort area, the activities of Memorial Day weekend are quite dangerous so we chose to stay home. After cabin fever se it, we did decide to walk to the store. I caved and did buy the lowest calorie Gelato I could find. (1. Ice cream was not on sale. 2. Other frozen treats were too many calories 3. I have always wanted to try Gelato.) While still not in the right direction, it was still a victory because I was thinking about calories. The draw back was the small box I selected contained seven servings. I ended up eating a little over half which was half my goal intake for the day. 😔 HOWEVER, I still ended the day under the maintenance suggested calories for the day. A small victory there. I also woke up not feeling like garbage for eating with reckless abandon on a cheat day. Overall, a win! Oh, also, I am proud I didn’t eat the entire container. 200 pound me would have done so in one day, if not one sitting. Yay for me!

While these victories may not seem like much it means a great deal to me because it is a win over overly destructive behavior. It gives me hope that I can do this again and again and it becomes a habit. It is victories like these that are going to shut that fat bitch up once and for all. Further, actively thinking about my food choices only when it is time to eat makes choosing to eat healthy and wisely a lot easier. While I have chosen to give up so many of the foods I love, I have discovered others I love and it is best to break up with things I know I cannot control myself around.

It is a struggle but still a journey and I feel I am winning, for the long haul, this time around.

Micaa 2 / Inner Fat Girl 1

What do YOU think?

You Think You Are Better Than Me

I went grocery shopping the other day. I am not homeless or poor. I am quite talented to be honest. I tetris’ed $200 worth of groceries into a wagon and pulled it the one mile trek home. No, I am not poor either. Know why I was walking? Because my family and I own two cars. No payments. Cal was at work and the other one is a project car. So it’s out of commission at the moment. So? I am not making payments on either one am I? No. I am not. You, on the other hand are paying damn near $400 a month for your car. Likely for the next 5-7 years. On top of having specific (expensive) insurance requirements; talk about ball and chain!

As I walk, I pull my iPhone out of my pocket to check the time. You are damn right I have an iPhone. Before you pass judgement, be awarded that while you forked out four digits for your iPhone 10 and probably have a plan with insurance that you pay dearly for every month…I don’t. You see, I have an iPhone 5s. All the bugs have been worked out and I paid less than 100 bucks. It is prepaid and I have unlimited data. Not that I need it because I work from home and use WiFi more than I do Data. Also, I pay a flat fee every six months for my cell phone service. So, once again Miss High and mighty, I own my phone. Hell, I even paid an extra five bucks to get product replacement/reimbursement if it breaks. No co pay for replacement. Just submit a claim. What? What do you say?? You pay monthly the same amount I pay every six months? I am so sorry. And you say you are better off than me? Hahahaha. I am sorry.

Everything inside our home is paid for. While you have your fancy furniture financed, it won’t last long. By the time you pay it off, you will be looking to finance some more. I may have had mine for a while and it may not be trendy but it is ours free and clear. Further, who gives a flying fur all that I live in “the hood.” Guess what? My house is paid for. We built this house and it is ours. So have fun you….in your credit card clothes that have put you in debt and your house with three mortgages. No wonder you have to work 60 hours a week and make 50,000 a year. I am just fine over here. I won’t be devastated if the stock market fails and I am not one lay off from losing everything I am MAKING PAYMENTS ON.

So before you pass judgement and look down your fake nose at me. Think about who literally has it all and who is working like a hamster in a wheel.

I am going to enjoy my walk. It’s good for the environment…my health…and I am not stuck in Facebook judging everyone without making sure my back yard is in order. Think about it.

What do YOU think?

Do You Feel Like a Stop Sign?

Today is my mother’s birthday. She is officially an Octogenarian….or however you say it. I called her this morning and asked her if she felt like one yet? I mean, it must be an honor right? Personally, I aspire to live as long as possible. Do I emulate that in my daily habits? No. Honestly, though. My mother smoke. She drank. She spent hundreds of thousands of hours inhaling second hand smoke in bingo halls and sitting in the same room as my father when he smoked his Vantage cigarettes.

And here she is…80. Quite an amazing feat to say the least. She is still living on her own. She drives herself. She travels. She does all the things a younger woman does. Certainly not anyone or many of anyone who are 80. Gosh I love that woman. She is nowhere near perfect but she is my mom.

On top of turning 80 this year, she has buried two of her children. No easy feat for someone her age. In the last decade, not only did one of her sons pass away in her living room. She watched my father collapse in the same living room…on more than one occasion. Talk about you don’t want to walk a mile in her shoes. For the frosting on the cake? She also buried one of her sisters. She certainly is one tough cookie. I admire her for that. This is why it was not funny (but it was) when I asked her if she felt like a stop sign yet. “Yo Mom, tell me, do you feel like a stop sign yet?”

If I were her, I would have seriously said yes. I mean it. NO MORE! Can ya dig? I can only hope the next decade brings her joy and happiness.

And Bingo. Lots and lots of Bingo.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!

What do YOU think?

Free Day

Raising multiple children on a budget is no easy feat. It makes for some creative ways to budget and provide entertainment for a variety of personalities. One of the things that I did when the kiddos were younger was something that I called “Free Day.”  Free Day  is just what it describes. If you pay close attention to the stuff your kids bring home from school and the things going on around you, you can have your very own Free Day.

To begin with, start with what the school gave ya! What do I mean by this? Often, your kids will bring home flyers for free events and other things. Often, when there are awards day or holidays and stuff, they will bring home coupons for free happy meals, a donut, or some other sweet treat from somewhere. All for free. Most of the time, these things do not have expiration dates so they are good to hold on to. Next, you want to look in local papers for free coupons or for local businesses having free give aways. One of the things I like are places like Denny’s. They will provide you a free stack of pancakes if you come in and purchase a drink. Fountain drinks at these places are generally about $2.50 after tax. Not exactly free, it is still a good deal when it is you and 3 kiddos. You can also find coupons for stuff that you can purchase at the grocery store for free or near free. Finally, we live in a resort area. This means that there are coupons for things like “with this coupon get a free shark necklace with your next visit” or “free seashell on your next visit.” These are especially popular with the younger kids.

Another thing that I liked to save up for Free Day was things like savings at the gas pump. We often shopped at Bi-Lo and I would save my gas savings for the first fill-up of the day. 30 cents off per gallon of gas up to 20 gallons could rake in some savings and provide enough gas to get us around to redeem all of our free stuff and still have about a half a tank left at the end of the day.  Also, because I was a mystery shopper, I could take the kiddos with me on some of my shops and be reimbursed for some of the shops I did. I could also take them on the shops I did at places like kids clothing stores, shoe stores, and food kiosks. I would get paid for the shop and possibly reimbursed for part or all of my purchase. It is a win/win!

Now if you do happen to have some extra change beyond gas money, then you can take advantage of buy one get one deals or locals discounts for those of you who live near places that do things like that. Now that you are armed with all of your loyalty cards and free coupons and certificates, you want to make your plan to ensure that you start with the furthest place away and work your way toward home. You pack up the kiddos and bring your bag and you start out on your Free Day.

The whole point of Free Day is to spend time with the kids and to go out and do things as a family. Often, I would take the kids to get our breakfast for the price of our soda’s and we would have a device free breakfast at a sit down restaurant. After that, it is off to the random stores armed with our coupons to get our free shark tooth necklaces, seashells, and other nick nacks. Sometimes we got things like silly bands and other stuff. We would try on the funny hats and people watch. We would also learn how women should NOT dress in public and have a teachable moment or two when we would see a homeless person panhandling on the side of the road. While riding in the car, we would laugh and giggle and sing at the top of our lungs. Most of the time, I would time our Free Days around events that are going on within the city. A parade. (Free Candy and beads.) A free family event. (Fire safety expos, family safety expo, boat show at the convention center (yes, turned out kiddos into convention junkies, we did.) You name it. My favorite was to have lunch with our free McDonald’s happy meals in the car and count the motor cycles going up the main street during Bike Week. We would see all kinds and joke and laugh. Good times.

If we didn’t have an event to go to, we would visit the local arcades and see how many coins we could find in the coin slots or pretend to play the games or even play games with the tokens we find. We would be on the look out for tickets people would walk away and leave hanging from the machines. Sometimes, the tourists would walk by and hand us tickets to turn in for whatever junk we could get before we leave. A great way to burn off energy and run around like crazy.

The library was always a good place to find something to do. They also had the hook up on free stuff to do and other things. It was also a good place to read or play checkers. Most days, we come home with our bellies full as well as a lot of junk that would last for the remainder of the weekend. We spent time together as a family and we had great laughs. My favorite times with the kiddos.

What kinds of things did you do with your kids that created lifetime memories on a budget?

What do YOU think?

 

 

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