A Mother’s Prayer

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This is one of my favorite poems. It is simple and sweet and makes a big impact when I am having a day on the struggle bus.

WP_20160729_17_16_40_SmartA Mother’s Prayer

Give me patience when wee hands

Tug at me with small demands

Give me gently smiling eyes;

Keep my lips from hasty replies.

Let not wariness, confusion or noise

Obscure my vision of life’s fleeting joys.

So when in years to come my house is still–

No bitter memories its rooms may fill.

                                                        -Anonymous

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5 Ways to Save Big on School Supplies

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School supply shopping, for me, is a real drag. Not only is it a dark reminder that school is 2175909SchoolSuppliesjust around the corner but it’s all extremely expensive, especially if you have more than one little darling to buy for. Over the years I have learned a few trick that save me big this time of year, and saving money makes me feel a little bit better since I despise school SOOOOOO much.
1)  Get the list and stick to it-  Make sure you get your children’s school supply list as early as possible and that you don’t add anything to your cart that isn’t on the list. School supply lists can be found online at the child’s school website long before school starts, and as soon as those school supplies hit the stores (usually just after July 4th) you can also often find them at your local conglomerate such as Target or Walmart. Once you have the list you can start adding things to your cart.

2)  Buy off brand- One thing our school does that drives me crazy is to tell us exactly which brand of school supply to bring. For example they want Crayola everything and Ticonderoga Pencils, just to start.  In my humble opinion this is BS and supply racist. I honestly don’t really care if they get the brand name they want if I am paying for the supplies.  So when our budget is really stretched, I grab the off brand names and feel a little better for sticking it to the man.

3)  Shop online- One reason to get those supply lists early is to allow yourself time to shop online. Often websites have more variety and better deals if you are willing to wait for the supplies to be delivered. It is also worth it to check out websites like Ebates and SwagBucks These sites require membership but are great ways to save BIG.  Once you signup you can sift through hundreds of retailers that give you a percentage back on your purchase just for shopping online! For example, if I wanted to buy items at Target I would go to Ebates or Swagbucks and check how much cash back they are offering. If decide the money back is worth waiting for my items to be delivered, I simply click on the link. A new window will open to the Target website and also serves as my “ticket” for Ebates or Swagbucks and will track my final purchase amount. Once the items ship, I will acquire a balance for my cash back in my account.  Ebates sends out check monthly for all cash back you have acquired while swagbucks simply accrues your balance as “swagbucks” until you are ready to cash them in for gift cards to popular retailers.  I will include the links to join these sites below and will also be doing another post about the features of the websites soon. Shopping online only really works to your advantage if you can get free shipping, however. I you have the Target Card you get free shipping and 5% off your purchases, and Walmart offers free site to store on many items.  Also, if you have enough items to buy, most retailers have free shipping after you have reached a certain amount on your bill.

*to join Swagbucks follow this link:  http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/Karowyn
*To join Ebates follow this link:
http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=uZjRucDg4ytZbVBO88Upuw%3D%3D&eeid=28187

4)  Shop around- Another way to ensure that you are getting the most supplies for your money, is to shop around. Of course, this is also more time consuming so you have to weigh the desire to save money with the desire to have a little more time.  Start shopping around at home.  Sift through your local retailers’ weekly ads and see who is offering sales on items you need. You can also check out your local news stations as they often post links to weekly ads on their website. For example Channel 7 News in Denver at thedenverchannel.com posts “this weeks circulars” halfway down their homepage. If you have the time to hit up a couple different retailers to compare value, that’s awesome too. and don’t be afraid to purchase a cheaper item at another store even if you already bought it once. Returning items is relatively easy and saving the money is worth it! Just don’t forget.

5)  Coupons- I don’t always have time to shop around for the best outright deal, not to mention I don’t always have the energy to drag 5 kids to 4 stores.  However, I do have time for coupons! Target Cartwheel is a great way to save money.  Just go to https://cartwheel.target.com and sign up, then search “school supplies.” I always organize the page from the biggest discounted item to the smallest, this way I tend to only add offers with the best price. Click on each item you would like to use and it will automatically add it to your  “cart.” If you have a smartphone you can get the Cartwheel app or just login in from your phone and go to “checkout.”  This will bring up a barcode that the cashier scans. If you don’t have a smartphone just go “checkout” from your computer and print out the barcode, you can laminate it with some clear tape and use it each time you go to Target.  Another great way to find coupons is to check out http://thekrazycouponlady.com/ and of course take a look at all that junk mail, there are often coupons in there!  Ebates also offers coupon codes and shows discounted items for each retailer.

Go forth and shop! Save money and Prosper!

(image courtesy of intervalhome.communitygiftshop.com)

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I Judge You If Your Kid is Fat

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For a few years now, when picking up my children from school, I have watched a little girl follow her thclassmates out the door to meet her mom. She is very sweet, as is her mom. The little girl, however, never seems to have many friends. She exits the school alone, she sits on the bench at the park, alone…and she is morbidly obese. This poor child can barely walk; she waddles, and she never plays, the slightest physical activity makes her pants like she might pass out. I judge the hell out of her mother.

Lets step back for one second and define obesity.  I am not talking about the small children who wander around with a bit of chub, or baby fat.  Kids are not meant to be grossly skinny; neither are they meant to horribly fat.  A child is considered overweight, or even obese, when their weight far exceeds their height to weight ratio and overtakes their growth patterns.  Frighteningly, in 2014 studies showed that 1 out of every 12 children age 2-5 were overweight or obese and 17% of children up to 19 years of age were obese in 2012, according to the CDC. These numbers are atrocious! I know, I know, “my kid has a special health issue that causes her to gain weight.” I call BS. Only in rare cases, again, according to the CDC, are children’s weight issues caused by a medical problem. Stop making excuses and own up the fact that you screwed up.

I understand that it’s easy to let your kid play video games or watch shows all day rather than fight to get them outside….actually, NO, I don’t understand. No matter how much my kids whine and moan that they want to play games, I make their butts go outside. As soon as they get outdoors they start having fun, my sanity is returned, and they get great exercise, vitamin D from the sun, and a million more health benefits that come from using their bodies, developing their muscles during activity, etc.  Being and staying active is important for everyone, at every age, and for children it sets a precedent for their future lifestyle.

I don’t understand how you can so easily capitulate to your child’s whims. They are children, you are the parent….you make them go outside. You sign them up for sports and go on walks and bike rides, which are fun family activities anyway so it shouldn’t be that hard!  Just say no. NO to too much video game time, NO to watching another show, NO to staying inside on a beautiful day.

You also need to say no to constant snacks, constant eating and huge portions.  My children drive me crazy with the amount of food that they want to consume. “Can I have another doughnut? I am hungry, can I have chips?” If I let them they would eat junk food all day.  And I know they are growing and need calories and fat to support this process. However, they will also eat just for the sake of eating because they really like doughnuts and cheeseballs. So when they ask for a snack and have already had a treat, I offer them cheese or fruit, lunch meat or crackers. Everyday my children and I walk home after school and follow a group of overweight kids who each always have a bag of Fire Cheetos; not a lunch pack bag, a full size bag. Fun snacks are absolutely fine for children, in moderation and the correct proportions. No one needs to eat a full size bag of Fire Cheetos everyday, especially not a child.

Also, 3 square meals and 2 snacks (at most) should be more than enough for children. It’s ok to say “No, you cannot have another snack.” If they have just had a meal or a meal is an hour and a half away, they don’t need to eat again. You have to teach children parameters for food consumption. They should be eating at meals not eating constantly all day. I don’t understand how you can just hand your child a bag of Cheetos or cookies because they bug you that they are hungry for five minutes.
Never in a million years should a child be allowed to eat and sit until they are grossly fat. Until they literally can’t walk a block without needing to catch their breath. You have made a horrible mistake, you have created a child who will now struggle for the rest of their life. Children who are obese are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, Metabolic syndrome, High cholesterol and high blood pressure, Asthma, sleep disorders, Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and Early puberty or menstruation. Not to mention the emotional and social toll that being obese takes on a person.  Let’s face it, kids are freaking mean.  And if you think that your child isn’t more at risk for bullying, harassment, and the embarrassment that comes when you are the last one picked for a team, then you are dumb as well as a bad parent.

The Mayo Clinic states that overweight children are more at risk for bullying and low self esteem, behavior and learning problems stemming from social anxiety, and depression.  I can’t imagine why a parent would want any of these things for their child, especially when the cause is so preventable. At the very least, you can help your child reverse their weight gain.

When you go to the doctor and they tell you that your child is overweight and that you need to address this issue with diet and exercise changes immediately; how are you not embarrassed that you let your child get that way? How are you not concerned about their wellness and their future?  Either you are truly a terrible parent or you are ridiculously lazy to not take the steps to make your child healthier.  Their are parents out there with children struggling with horrible, unpreventable diseases like cancer, who would give anything for their child to be healthy.  And the parents of obese children are over here just allowing their child to be unhealthy, to sign up for early death by heart disease or any other number of issues that are side effects of being too fat!

So I’m sorry, but if your child is overweight or obese, I absolutely pass judgement on you. You are doing something horribly wrong and it is effecting your child’s ability to live a full life.

You have made a terrible mistake in allowing your child to constantly indulge and become overweight or obese. The good thing is that mistakes happen, and, luckily, this one can be reversed. You have to buck up and get used to telling your child NO. More than that you have to set a healthy example and go for bike rides, prepare healthy meals and snacks, etc.  You have to let them cry their hearts out if they really want a whole bag of Cheetos and you only let them have a cup. Suck it up and PARENT.

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Your Dog is NOT Your Child

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Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are days to celebrate the people who have brought life into the world, and also those who choose to raise the crotch-fruit of others as step-parents. These people dedicate their lives to children; sacrifice constantly for tiny sociopaths; hemorrhage money and time into little people in the hopes that one day they will be functioning members of society.

It’s HARD work! Terrifying work, actually.  So when I go to the store to pick out a Mother’s Day card for the woman who managed to create a decent human being out of me, and later, a Father’s Day card for my husband, I put a lot of thought into the card I choose. I want something that says how they amazing they are, how much i appreciate their love and time.  So when I see an entire section dedicated to “Pet Moms” and “Pet Dads,” it, quite frankly, pisses me off.

I know you people love your animals. I love my dog too; she is part of our family, but she is a DOG! I didn’t squeeze her out of my body after multiple hours of labor and countless days of miserable pregnancy. I can put her in her kennel for the day if absolutely required with a bowl of food and water, and she will be quite content. Her dog bed cost $30 and she still prefers to sleep on the floor, under our bed.  If my dog gets cancer and it’s going to costs $6000 to put her through chemo and she only has a few years left of her 10 year life expectancy anyway, I can put her out of her misery and buy a new dog. And YES, I know that sounds cold, but it’s true.

Just to be clear, I cannot leave my children unattended for an entire day in a kennel much less roaming freely. Not only would they probably kill themselves but the entire neighborhood would probably be on fire. Oh, and there is that thing about it being ILLEGAL. The police would take my children away for neglect.  As opposed to the dog, my children’s sleeping supplies are obnoxiously expensive, just like everything else they need to survive. They have 8 million colorful blankets, pillows and stuffed animals that they sleep with and will wake me up all night to find them if they lose them. And lets not forget the amount of time parents spend thinking of and putting together nutritious meals  for our kids. My dog on the other hand, is fed by my 5 year old with a scoop and bucket of whatever doesn’t make the dog throw up this month. If my child is terminally ill, I would sell my house and all my wordly possessions to find a cure and I would be permanently damaged if I failed. I could not buy another child to replace the one I lost.  Plus: LABOR!!! That incredibly painful experience that follows 9 months of misery in order to produce our bundles of joy that you “Dog Moms” do not endure.

I put labor last, despite its incredibly memorable, excruciating pain, only because a StepMother doesn’t endure this trauma, and neither do Dads, StepDads, or adoptive parents, but are no less parents for it. Step Parents, when they take the job seriously (and lets just face it some are seriously lacking), are just as responsible for molding the lives they have married into as the biological parent. The same goes for adoptive parents. All parents of CHILDREN are responsible for teaching the little curmudgeons how ditch their sociopathic tendencies and function in the real world someday. Whether biological, step, or adoptive, all us parents spend hours cooking, cleaning, planning birthday parties, hosting playdates (hate that phrase), juggling activities, helping with the mound of homework that comes home from Kindergarten forward, and in the time left over we try to find time to cuddle and simply enjoy the lives we have created.

While we wade through the incredible list of responsibilities that come with having children we are also in constant state of fear for their well being and their future. Because lets. face it, if our kids aren’t raised right they aren’t going to make it very far in this world. So, on a daily bases I fear for my kids safety and shape their future, and therefore, the future of the WORLD!!!! Our kids will run the earth after us so if we mess up it is literally a devastating failure. The “Animal Parents” out there have to worry about their dog getting out of the fence or pooping in the house.  Yes you teach your animals to pee outside, sit and stay, to not bite.  And those are all great tricks, but it is nothing compared to the weight and joy of raising a child that will one day turn into an adult you can be proud of, that you can be friends with, that can create it’s own tiny people and lend them to you….

I am not saying pet owners are not important so stop typing your furious rebuttal. Loving animals is an important indication of whether a person is good or should be avoided at all costs.  And i am glad that you love your animals so freely and find so much joy in them; they are incredibly lucky to have you as owners, and you may truly feel like their Pet Mom or Dad. However they are not your children, and if you ever have your own children you will realize this. Creating cards for “Pet Parents” on Father’s and Mother’s Day is insulting to those of us who give our entire lives to the joy and pain and insanity that is parenting a human. There are 363  other days of the year, pick one of those and make it your day to celebrate cleaning up dog poop and cat puke or whatever else. But give us our 2 days to gloat and feel important for making babies and keeping them alive….cause that shit is harder than you think.

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The stereotypes of “Fit Mom”

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We have all been there, walking behind the mom with the great bod, perfect hair, immaculate make-up, nice clothes, pretty, manicured nails….where the “F” does she get the time!? The energy? Let’s get one things straight, that mom is NOT me.  I don’t care much about my make-up and when I do, I put on mascara and call it “natural chic;” my closet consists of yoga pants, jeans with knee holes from overuse and about 5 shirts that I cycle through, and my nails are done about twice a year by an overzealous 7 year old who loves rainbows….But I am fit. And I get some rather annoying feedback about that fact at times. I have discovered that being a fit mom comes with a list of stereotypes….some true, some dumb and some just plain petty.

The one I hear the most is that fit people spend too much time working out and, therefore, can’t be a good parents. We must be selfish. Obviously there are a small percentage of people that probably take their fitness to a level of obsession and let it dominate all their time, however, I, along with the majority of fit moms, am not one of those people. I work out because I like to be strong and healthy, not because I am having a great freaking time and want to do it all day. My max workout time is about 40 minutes, 5 days a week. Usually during nap time for my littles and chore time (or school) for the big kids. That comes to a maximum of 3.33 hours away from my kids each week. I don’t go out on my own or have girl time or get my nails done, so this is literally all the me time I ever take. Judge away. In my opinion this is healthy; it sets a good example to my children that taking care of their bodies is important, that being strong is a good thing, and that doing things to make yourself happy is ok.

I also get a lot of people who say, “Wow, you must never eat anything fun. I couldn’t live off vegetables and fruit like you must….” Biggest BS ever. 50% of my workout goes into an imaginary but important account for food, because ice cream after dinner is a must. I don’t count calories or adhere to any obnoxious fad diets. I LOVE to eat.  And I have five kids so we aren’t eating crazy organic expensive food or even chicken breasts every night. We need to eat on the cheap and, therefore, love pasta and burritos, quesadillas and ALL desserts. Granted, I make everything from home and from scratch which makes it way more healthy than going out to eat, but the point is that everyone in our house EATS. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are required for each person and nothing is off limits. We eat good food in decent portions. Done. I am not a bunny, I need cookies dammit.

I have also heard snide remarks that I must have body issues because I focus so much on fitness.  Let’s take a step back from that one and explore the idea that maybe I just enjoy being strong and healthy?  A morning workout sets me up for a more productive and emotionally stable day. It literally releases stress before it even occurs. Also, there is a huge difference between a woman who is fit, with muscle tone and all the curves that come with strength development, and a woman who is emaciated, desperately trying to widdle her body down to nothing. I enjoy looking the way I do, I have lots of curves and booty and thighs like a woman should. I  also take pride in my abilities to lift weights and do workouts that are incredibly difficult. That doesn’t mean that I have body issues.

Some people have asked if I workout just because my husband does. To some degree, yes.  While I enjoy working out and always have, I also enjoy how he sees me. I like that he still looks at me with longing after 12 years of being together and, even more, I love that he is proud of my accomplishments and can brag at his crossfit gym that his wife can deadlift a certain amount of weight or complete a workout with a certain score. My husband and I are a team in this game of life and for us, fitness is just one aspect of that.

No matter what, people are always gonna judge other people, I am certainly not innocent of some judgement myself. But perhaps we should all spend a little more time just hoping people are happy and healthy in their exploits, such as fitness, and less time worrying that something must be wrong just because what makes them happy doesn’t apply to you.

JENerally Informed

Domesticated Momster

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