Friday, October 19, 2012

A Letter to my Spirited Child

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Today you screamed for two hours because I wouldn't give you juice.

I try to be patient, I really do. I know deep in my heart that you don't hate me. That you aren't doing this out of spite. I understand that in toddlerland there is no such thing as moderation and the fact that you had already drank your juice quota for the day is irrelevant to you. I get that, in your head, the rules of possession state that apple juice in the fridge belongs to you and only you and that when you saw me pour a glass you saw that as stealing. Unfortunately after the first half an hour of screaming my nerves were shot and I was more short tempered than usual.

I cried.

Just a few tears of frustration. My body's natural release whenever I am stressed. I'm still puzzled by the fact that you continued screaming even after I broke down and finally gave you the juice. What's with that? I think at that point you had forgotten what it was you were crying about and were so worked up you were just crying for the sake of crying. Nice touch with the flopping onto the floor and kicking your feet by the way. Very dramatic. I might have been able to see the humor in it if you hadn't told me to f*** off when I picked you up. You remember? Right after you bit me?

I cried.

More tears of frustration. Some days it is so damn hard to not lose my temper. It takes every ounce of patience I possess to stop myself from yelling. It's not that it hurt when you bit me, certainly not as much as it hurt your sister when you bit her this morning, it's more that when I see you lashing out it makes me question my abilities as a parent. I should have been able to nip this whole biting thing in the bud a long time ago. I feel like I failed you. You can count to ten and sing "Twinkle Twinkle" in its entirety. How am I not able to get you to understand that biting hurts. As far as the language goes, well, you don't know what it means. You probably overheard me on the phone, dropping f-bombs while I chat to my friends. That my fault. I'm not punishing you for swearing. It's the biting. I couldn't just let it slide. That's why I put you in time out.

YOU cried.

I know you hate time outs. I wouldn't like them very much either. They weren't an option when I was growing up. I got a slap across the face when I misbehaved. Or a strap across the back of my legs. Neither was very effective but they sure gave me pause. Mostly I paused thinking about how much I hated my family. It never made me stop and think about what I had done wrong. Apparently I'm supposed to be biting you back. I don't quite get how this is supposed to discourage you from biting, especially since you model so many of your behaviors after me. This is why we do time outs. I gotta say though, the end result seems to be the same. Especially when you told me you hated me.

I cried again.

This time it was ugly crying. Body wracking sobs of pain. I don't know why. You don't even know what you were saying. You're two. What do you know about hate? Besides, of course, your hate for vegetables. I don't know where you picked that up from. TV? Do we need to be more careful of what we watch when you're around? When I am moaning about doing housework do I need to start spelling out my distaste for folding laundry? Especially when you grab a pile of your sisters neatly folded clothes and throw them over the railing.

I stopped crying.

I sat down with you on the couch. I got down to eye level with you and told you I was sad. You put your chubby arms around my neck and told me "Don't be sad Mummy". You went and grabbed your smelly blanket, the one you wont let me wash when you're awake. You climbed into my lap and put the blanket around us both. "Snuggle?" you asked tentatively, as if you were afraid of my answer. The smile that lights up your face when I say "Of course we can snuggle" is priceless. It is the look of a blind man seeing the sun for the very first time. We lay there on the couch, big spoon and little spoon, watching Dora the Explorer. I can smell the oatmeal and vanilla of your shampoo as I kiss the top of your head and breathe in deep. All is forgotten, all is right with the world. In ten perfect minutes we have erased hours of tension and frustration. In ten perfect minutes we reset the clock to zero. You reach your tiny hand out, grab my arm and pull it around you.

I cried.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Flying Spaghetti Monsters: Deliciously Irreverent.

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What do you get when Pinterest and Facebook collide?

Inspiration:)

I have been Facebook friends (and WTE message board friends) with a girl named Sara for a few years now. If you ask Sara what her religion is she will tell you proudly, FSM. Oh, you have never heard of the Church of FSM? Let me share with you.


Swedish designer Niklas Jansson created this interpretation of Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam


Back in 2005 Bobby Henderson, concerned with the addition of Intelligent Design to the curriculum, wrote an open letter to the Kansas School Board informing them that if ID was going to be taught then he wanted the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to receive equal representation. The theories are similar in many ways.

  • They both refute the logic of Science and Evolution.
  • They are both based on books, written by men.
  • They both have a (supposedly) fictional character at their helm

For the most part Pastafarians are a peace (and noodle) loving bunch. You will find the occasional one who gets upset when the noodles aren't al dente but as a whole they are very laid back. In fact one of the main tenets of FSM is that there be no dogma and, above all else, not to take themselves too seriously. Sign me up:)

Where am I going with all this?

One day I was putting off doing my housework looking up recipes on Pinterest when I saw this culinary abomination touting itself to be the best snack for kids ever.


Yum! Entrails.


Really? Have we lowered the bar so far that shoving dried spaghetti through tube steak and boiling it passes for a "nutritious" snack? It defies logic, it defies common sense. Calling it nutritious flies in the face of science. It is the Intelligent Design of kids cuisine.

Enter FSM:)

I have long been of the opinion that anything found on Pinterest can either be A) effed up beyond all recognition or B) adapted into something even more wonderful. I got to thinking about how I could make this recipe better. Hmmm, what goes with spaghetti that's healthier than hot dogs? Meatballs perhaps? I mean let's face it, if you can stick spaghetti through a hot dog then ostensibly you should be able to stick it through a meatball. I decided to pay homage to my FSM friends and create a dinner fit for Pastover, or Ramendan. I created my very own Flying Spaghetti Monsters.


...and FSM said unto them "Let there be dinner" and there was, and it was good.


These deliciously irreverent little meatballs can be made either as a snack or a full blown meal. Since there are roughly 6785439 different meatball recipes out there I won't bore you with my version. I will point out that using regular ground beef works a little better than leaner ground beef and spaghettini cooks a little faster than spaghetti. Other than that you're on your own. Use whatever meatball recipe you want, use whatever marinara sauce recipe you want. There is no dogma here. We don't judge.

Skewer the meatballs with pieces of spaghettini. You can use a little or a lot. It's your meal. Boil a big pot of water, add a dash of salt and a splash of olive oil. Once you have a good rolling boil going, drop your meatball/pasta combos into the pot. Let them boil for 7-10 minutes depending on how you like your pasta. The meatballs cook quickly, so don't worry about them. Once the pasta is done, they'll be done (provided you haven't made them too big). As you can see mine are roughly the size of golf balls.



I snap my pasta in half so that there is a hearty meat to carb ratio.


What I don't understand is how the hell the pasta inside the meatball cooks. Maybe its steam, maybe its meat juice. All I know is that it cooks perfectly. Every time. A scientist might be able to explain it but I am no scientist. Besides, science is irrelevant. Every time a scientific conclusion is reached, FSM just reaches out his noodly appendage and changes the results. We're not sure why he does this, we just know that he can. Being ineffable has it's privileges.

Toss the cooked meatballs in a skillet with marinara sauce.


So once you have your pasta strained toss it into a stir fry pan/deep skillet. Add your marinara sauce and toss everything together until the pasta is evenly coated and the sauce is warmed. That's all there is to it. Kids love it, grown ups love it, Pastafarians love it. Whats not to love? It's everything you love about spaghetti and meatballs wrapped up in a satirical little package. I promise you wont go to hell for eating them. Any god that would create the duck billed platypus MUST have a sense of humor. Enjoy.

R'amen:)




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Friday, August 31, 2012

Facebook Bullying: The New Normal?

Pin It ***Warning! Some links contained in this post contain graphic images that will undoubtedly be considered offensive to anyone with an ounce of common decency. I refuse to show the actual pictures (except for one) because it turns my stomach to have to look at them.***


At what point did it become acceptable to plaster the Internet with memes about disabled children? Did I miss something here? I love a good meme as much as the next girl. They can be hilarious and for the most part harmless. They poke fun at public figures, slacktivist causes and other pop culture icons. I'm especially fond of the Gene Meme. You've all seen it. A picture of Gene Wilder looking on condescendingly while pretending interest in everything from Kony 2012 to Northface Jacket wearing suburbanites. Funny shit, it really is.

It stops being funny when the memes turn to ridiculing a 5 year old girls disability.

IRONY!

Adalia Rose is a child with a disease called Progeria. It is a genetic disorder that mimics the effects of aging, causing hair loss (alopecia), thickened skin (scleroderma) and often results in a failure to thrive. It causes her to have an almost alien like appearance: Large head, small features and she is also bald, cause you know, she didn't have enough going on. She might have small features but she has a huge heart.

She told her mother she wanted to be a star. Her mother, like the good woman she is, set about to do whatever she could to make her baby girls dream come true. She hit the Internet running and within a short period of time she was able to drum up a huge following of supporters for this spunky little girl. She has her own website, her own YouTube channel and over 4 million likes on Facebook. Not bad for someone who hasn't even been alive long enough to remember what life was like before Facebook.


Adalia Rose

It's what any one of us would have done right? You have a kid, you do whatever it takes to make them happy. Especially when that kid has the odds stacked so hard against her. Unfortunately, for every story of inspiration on the Internet, there is some bottom feeder looking for their fifteen minutes.

Enter Bree.

Bree (I will only use her first name as she is a minor) created a page called Adalia Rose Memes (link contains seriously offensive...everything. Definitely NSFW). She thought it might be a nice idea to take pictures of Adalia and post them with funny captions. Whats funnier than calling a five year old a whore? Calling her an alien? Really funny, at least I'm assuming she found them funny. Personally I thought they were pretty ignorant and hateful myself but hey, I'm no "comedian" as Bree refers to herself. I'm just a mom.

A mom with a lot of friends.

As most of you know I am a social media enthusiast, everyone knows it. I have been involved with the same core group of moms for three years. I haven't met any of them face to face but I have been there, in our groups/message boards/chat rooms, for the births of their children, through divorces and marriages and sadly through the loss of loved ones. We are tight. We fight with each other like sisters but when the chips are down we band together. It's a beautiful thing.

Do you really want to mess with someone who has over 200 sisters?

One of the mommas brought it to our attention that this Adalia Rose Memes page existed. Immediately we all went over and a few of us had words with the followers. No big deal. The problem was they weren't even a little bit abashed by the fact that they had been caught out doing this awful thing. They were PROUD of it. They truly believe that Adalia's mother is exploiting her so in protest they have created this page. That's their story and they're sticking to it. It's not OK to create a support page for your sick child but it is apparently perfectly acceptable to steal their pictures, slap vulgar captions on them and poke fun at their disability. The logic is astounding.

Wanna hear something even more astounding? I know you do.

Facebook, in it's wisdom, thinks it is perfectly acceptable too!

Sure, post a picture of your child breastfeeding and they drop the hammer faster than an auctioneer at Barrett Jackson but bullying a five year old? That's just good fun. These photos have been reported by all of our group members, on the basis that it violates Facebooks policies against hate speech. According to Zuckerberg's minions there is no hate speech. None of the photos have been removed and the page is still open for business. Never mind that this is being perpetrated against a disabled child, never mind that some of these memes are racist in nature. It's the Internet. Suck it up. Freedom of speech. Yay first amendment.

Freedom of speech? How about common decency?

Not offensive or racist at all *eyeroll*


A friend of the family broadcast an appeal to the haters on YouTube, to no avail. There were hate pages and ugly memes about Bree, which ironically were taken down faster than whores drawers. While we got a kick out of the poetic (karmic?) justice, slacktivism isn't really our style. Why flame someone on a website when you can go national? We are currently in talks with NBC, CBS and other news affiliates. They were repulsed by the fact that Facebook has let this go unchecked for as long as it has. We couldn't get through to the creator of the page or appeal to her nonexistent sense of decency so we are appealing to you faithful reader. One thing about us Internet moms, we don't take this kind of thing lying down. Don't let them get away with this, for Adalias sake. Protest this.

Sign this petition.

Report this page.

Contact your local news.

More importantly, teach your children that this is wrong. Where the hell are this girls parents? Do they think this is acceptable behavior?

Do you?


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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

No Cure For The Summertime Blues

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I have always believed that summer is a time for relaxation. A time to relax your stringent rules and schedules and go with the flow. Wear floaty bohemian skirts and pile your hair on top of your head in a messy bun. Barbecue things wrapped in tinfoil. Splash carelessly in the surf with your flip flops in your hand. Embrace your inner hippy.

Then I had children.

I freaking hate summer.


"Why no, I don't have kids...How can you tell?"


Did you know that this is the first chance I have had to write in my blog since the end of July? I used to have a faithful following, now they have probably all forgotten me. I cant blame them. Who wants to re-read old blog posts. I wish I could return to those halcyon days when I actually had a spare hour once in a while to write. Now I'm lucky if I have time to have a shower.

Summertime is a never ending flow of visitors and visiting. We have spent a grand total of five minutes at home this month. Every weekend there is another round of relatives to visit, barbeques and trips to the park/beach/fair. A day at the beach requires planning, packing and all the tactical skills of a military manoeuvre. There are no spur of the moment trips when you have two toddlers. By the time you get the kids dressed and sun screened, the diaper bags packed, snacks made and car seats loaded half the day has passed. We are constantly rushing here and there and sometimes, when the stars are aligned just right, we are lucky enough to get the kids home before bedtime. Routines go out the window and are replaced with tantrums thrown by kids who are overtired and overstimulated. Packing the kids into the car after a day at the beach? Be prepared to have people in the parking lot look at you like you're the worst parent ever. It's a reasonable assumption when they see you wrestling your screaming child into a carseat, especially when darling daughter is screaming "No mommy, please, NOOOO" and you are standing there, red in the face with a vein on your forehead about to pop.


Quick, grab her before she gets away again.


I sometimes envy my single friends...the ones without kids that is. They are out there, making the most of the great weather. They are being spontaneous. There they are, sitting on the beach and BAM! A friend with a boat motors up near them:
"Hey, wanna go for a cruise up the lake?"
" Sure, why not. I don't have any plans."

Here's how that conversation goes when you have two toddlers:
"Hey, wanna go for a cruise up the lake?"
"Sure, let me find Mr. Zinga. I'm sure he'll watch the kids for a little bit. Crap, he's all the way out on the dock. I guess I could take the kids. Do you have any life jackets? Oh right, you don't have kids, why would you have kids life jackets. Tell you what, why don't you come back in half an hour, I might be able to get Mr. Zinga's attention and then I might be able to get him to watch the kids and..."
Friend with boat moves on to next group of friends.
"Hey, wanna go for a cruise up the lake?"

Number 67543 on the list of things they don't tell you about being a parent: Your single friends will suddenly abandon you faster than you can say "Someone needs a diaper change."


Hey, where did everybody go?


There are a lot of things that I hate about summer. The hustle and bustle, the stress and the heat. The tourists, the traffic and the overcrowded beaches. Long line ups at the market and longer line ups at the ice cream stand. The fact that I can never wear a two piece bathing suit again.

First world problems I know.

There are a lot of good things about summer too. I'm not a total hater. I like to garden, I like to barbeque and I am not averse to spending time suntanning in the backyard while my oldest daughter runs through the sprinkler. My family loves the summer and because I love them I put on a brave face and pretend to be enjoying myself. Doesn't stop me from eagerly awaiting the changing leaves of Autumn. I tolerate the heat and humidity, for three very good reasons.


CeeCee Zinga (Left), Parker Zinga (Bottom Right) and Mr. Zinga (Top) 


My crusty faced, sun loving babies and my wonderful (thankfully NOT crusty faced) husband.




All Stock Photos: Free Digital Photos
Bottom Photo : Mr. Zinga Pin It

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Magnet Puzzle Tutorial

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If you have been reading my blog regularly you probably remember the crafting disaster (of epic proportions) Fun With Magnets:Magnet Board Tutorial. Not my best work, that. It wasn't a total fail, I got some swanky new fridge magnets out of the deal, so there's that. I got those stickers from a coloring book I had bought my daughter. Now that coloring book has long since been abandoned, it's pages scribbled over and the best of the lot saved to the scrapbook. Left behind was a fairly pristine cover.

Can I just say, whoever thought of making tear out pages in kids coloring books is brilliant. CeeCee has the attention span of a gnat and if I gave her the whole book to play with it would be destroyed in minutes.

So anyway, here I am with a Sesame Street coloring book cover and a bunch of magnets left over from the magnet board fiasco when all it occurs to me: That part of the craft turned out OK. I'm good at cutting things out and I am good at sticking magnets to things.

Why not stick some magnets on a picture of Elmo and make a puzzle out of it?

Seriously, that's all you need

You Will Need:

  • A picture you want to make into a puzzle
  • Enough photo magnets to cover said picture
  • A pair of scissors



I don't think it is copyright infringement. After all I bought the book. I'm not making money from it. I'm just upcycling it.

 



Step One: Cut out your image

Furry little bugger was hard to cut out:(

I was pretty lucky here, in that there were two really nice options on this cover. There was a great picture of Elmo on the front and a cute pic of Cookie Monster, Zoe and Elmo flying kites on the back. Since I apparently grow Photo Magnets and I had time to kill I decided to do both. Cutting out Elmo was a pain in the arse, I'm not going to lie. Next time I will keep the shape simple. In retrospect I should have just cut a bubble around Elmo but live and learn. The Cookie Monster picture was way easier.







Step Two: Add the magnets

Cut  the basic shape first, then go back and refine it.
Magnet paper is sticky as hell. You want to make sure you get this part right the first time. If you find you have paper hanging over the edge don't sweat it, you can always add more magnet to it. Just cut some to fit and add it in the areas you need a bit more. The goal here is to have magnet sticking out around the edges so you get a nice flat finish. You don't want paper hanging over the edges, it will just get worn and look awful with wear and tear. Carefully cut out your finished shape.






Step Three: Make it a puzzle

Finished puzzle pieces
This was the fun part. All I did was cut the pictures up into puzzle shapes. That's it! I used a simple six piece puzzle shape and eyeballed it. Next time I might make it a little more complex, since CeeCee got the hang of this one on the first day. She still loves playing with it though, it has become part of our bedtime routine. She puts it together before bed and I mess it up again for her in the morning.






This was a really easy, fun and quick project. The cost was $2.50 and for that I got two magnet puzzles, with high quality images, that are providing hours of amusement and important hand eye coordination. Not to mention bragging rights. Maybe one of these days I will get around to making the magnet board too:) I hope you guys give this one a try and please, share your results with me.

Happy Crafting Everyone:)
Mamazinga Pin It

Friday, July 13, 2012

Avoiding the Grandparent Trap

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You guys ever had this happen to you?

You're having a great morning with your kids: cartoons are on, everyone got fed without incident, your oldest child is running around in a diaper with rubber boots on the wrong feet waving a magic wand (What? That only happens to me?). Everything is going swimmingly and then...BAM. The doorbell rings. Nana pops in for a visit on her way to work. You love her but you can't help but wince internally. There goes your peace and quiet for the rest of the day. She means well but she manages to wind your kids up like clockwork mice every time she see's them. Your children adore her because with her every day is a holiday, drum sets are perfectly reasonable gifts for toddlers and lollipops are one of the four major food groups.


It's not her fault. Her grandmother did it to her, her mother did it to you and one day you will get to do it to your grand kids. It's the circle of life. It is a grandparents privilege...no...it is their responsibility to spoil the crap out of your kids. She is under obligation to every generation of grandmothers before her to continue this time honored tradition, effing up your routines and systems. You see, when she was raising you, her mother made a half joking prediction. She said that one day you were going to grow up to be a handful, and that you were going to give your mother all the grey hairs that your mother gave her. Sound familiar? She probably said the same thing to you when your child was born.

Then she set out to make it a reality.

"I'm not spoiling them dear, I'm just being a good Grandma."

Being a grandmother means never having to say no. It doesn't make sense. She had no problem telling you no when you were growing up. It's as though she was given a finite number of no's and then wasted them all on you. Now everything is yes. Staying up past bedtime? Yes. Candy for breakfast? Yes. Dirt bikes for their birthday. Hell to the yes!!! Grandma is the toddler equivalent of a rock star. She gets to do all the things with them that she wished she could have done with you. The problem was she was too busy raising you and trying to keep you from drawing on the car with a rock and/or licking an electrical outlet. Now she is making up for lost time.

She doesn't have to do the whole disciplinarian thing. That's YOUR job. She gets to play now. They didn't have any of these cool toys when she had you. When you were a baby you had a rattle, a teddy bear and a favorite blankie. If you were really lucky you got a walker with wheels, guaranteed to send you headfirst down whatever set of stairs was closest. Thanks to the combined efforts of both sets of grandparents your kids have toys worth the GDP of a small country. Why the bounty now? Easy. She doesn't have to buy diapers anymore. She can afford the fun stuff. I suspect she might have stock in Toys "R" Us.

"An Xbox is a great present...Yes, I know she's only three, whats that got to do with anything?"


So, how do you avoid a rift in your relationship with your mother while ensuring she respects YOUR rights as a mother? The same way you eat an elephant. One bite at a time. You can't change her and you shouldn't want to. She might drive you batshit crazy but her heart is in the right place. Really, can you ever hold a grudge against someone who loves your kids so much that she is willing to let them use her as a jungle gym for hours on end? Not to mention enduring endless hours of "Ring Around The Rosie" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider". You can't change her but you can change the way you look at her. Here are a few useful suggestions to get the most out of her visits and get some precious alone time while you are at it.

Draw your line in the sand.

Let her know what's negotiable and what's not. She gave your kid a second helping of cake for dessert without asking you first? Meh...not the end of the world. She gave your child a big ice cream cone and a milkshake because she doesn't believe he's actually lactose intolerant, you are just overreacting? Ok, that's crossing a line. Remember that this is YOUR house and as long as she is under your roof she needs to abide by your rules. Just pick your battles wisely. Keeping them up past their bedtime probably isn't worth starting a family feud over. Causing them physical pain or discomfort, albeit unintentionally, is grounds for a showdown. In my house I can shrug pretty much anything off with an eyeroll and a glass of wine BUT when it comes to the safety and health of my children I will pitch a fit (out of sight of the kids of course, they don't need to see friction between the authority figures in their lives).


Make her bring food.

This is especially important if you have new babies in the house. This technique was perfected by my own mother, who realized early on that even the most unwelcome visitor will be graciously received...provided she has Indian takeaway and ice cream. Nothing says "Sorry for dropping by unannounced at the worst possible time." better than a big plate of Butter Chicken and a double scoop of Pralines and Cream.

Get her to babysit.

So, she want's to come for a visit, eh? That is a fantastic opportunity to go get your hair did, do some errands or even just take a shower for twenty minutes, uninterrupted. Shave something, for Pete's sake. After all, she knows how to take care of kids. She raised you didn't she? Granted it wasn't as stressful back then, before the internet made us all paranoid about our parenting skills. Just make sure she knows how to open the childproof locks on the fridge and garbage cans before you leave (trust me on this one)

Let her clean.

Are you like me? Do you shoo people away when they try to help? STOP THAT. Ok, so it is a little annoying when you open your dishwasher and the plates aren't how you like them and the dryer is stacked with a pile of towels folded the wrong way. Suck it up, put it all away and be grateful you didn't have to do it yourself. It's not as easy to bitch about how much extra work grandma visits are if you actually let her pitch in and help. Just because she wants to tell you the "right" way to sort cutlery doesn't mean you have to listen. Just smile and nod and take the help.

Stash the Toys.

She showed up at your house with yet another pile of toys for the kids, despite the fact that you have asked her repeatedly not to spoil them. Who says you have to give them all to the kids at once? Put your foot down. You might not be able to stop her from shopping but you can control how you dole out the gifts. Give the kids a couple and put the rest away in a closet. Wrap them up for Christmas, Birthdays, Groundhog Day. Whatever holiday you want. Did she bring a ridiculously age inappropriate toy? Tell her you will gladly hang on to that electric guitar until your infant is old enough to appreciate it. Make sure it's her name on the tag so the kids know who to thank and make sure there are no live animals involved. Decomposing hamsters make lousy presents.


"They're going to love her...Do you think we should have asked first? Nah, didn't think so"

Finally

Respect Her Wisdom

All jokes aside, as irritating as her behavior can be remember this; Whatever you are going through with your kids, chances are she went through it too. She might piss you off from time to time but she is a sympathetic ear. She understands why you have bald spots, she tore out a few clumps of her own hair when you were a kid too. She knows a home remedy for every complaint and, at the very least, will make you a nice hot cup of tea and listen to you vent. She knows how to get rid of colic, earaches and can diagnose chicken pox and slather your kid in Calamine lotion faster than you can Google the symptoms. She will never judge you, even if she doesn't understand you. She might be their grandma but she will always be your mom.

"You actually WANT my opinion? Really? Are you feeling OK?"

And she did a pretty damn good job with you!



All Images: Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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Friday, June 29, 2012

Stay At Home Mom vs. Working Mom. Who's Right?

Pin It I recently wrote an article about being a stay at home mom (SAHM). I thought it was pretty tame. I tend not to get overly judgmental over how other people parent...I got that out of my system when I was pregnant for the first time. No one is a better parent than someone without kids right? But that's a whole post for another day. Let's save that little chestnut, cause it's worth coming back to.

This article, which I thought was fair and balanced (and not in that icky FOX news kind of way), sparked some interesting discussion on a couple of forums. Some of the comments actually got pretty heated, mostly due to people making asshat assumptions about what being a SAHM is really about.

I was told it was intentionally inflammatory. Me? Inflammatory? No way.

Bitchy? Absolutely. Sarcastic and snarky? Sure, but never intentionally inflammatory.

I was told that it was biased, since it only discussed being a SAHM.

Really? I AM a SAHM. I wouldn't write an article, for example, about being a dolphin, or an astronaut.

All of a sudden, it's on like Donkey Kong.

Stay at Home Mom Vs. Working Mom.
Round 1675.
Ding, ding, ding.

Oh, hell no! Did she just say daycare is raising my kids?

This is a battle that will never be won, yet it still gets rehashed and reenacted more often than the Civil War. The thing you gotta realize about this particular catfight...some people are really touchy about their choices. When those choices involve how they parent...well, the gloves are coming off. There is also a certain type of woman who believes so strongly that she is right that anyone who disagrees must be, obviously, wrong. When these two traits meet in one person, head for your zombie apocalypse bunker. (What? You don't have one?) We are talking about a meltdown of nuclear proportions. In a perfect world we could all just live our lives the way it made sense for us, without all the judgement from other people.

The internet is FAR from a perfect world.

Having said that I thought it might be a hoot to actually BE intentionally inflammatory. Why the heck not? I have been branded as such and I would really hate to make a liar out of anyone. Besides, no one wants to hear the boring truth anyway. It is WAY more fun to use hackneyed stereotypes and gross generalizations. Before anyone decides to flame me I have to add this disclaimer:
    The following examples are composites of shameless stereotypes. It's called parody. If you are offended by satire I would suggest not reading further. It is bitchy, snarky and in poor taste. If you persist in reading and find yourself offended I would suggest rereading the first part of this disclaimer.
    You haz been warned:)

    That article was so offensive...where's my brain bleach?

    The Stay At Home Mom

    The SAHM is a better mother than you.
    Period.
    She is actually raising her kids, thankyouverymuch, and isn't afraid to denounce the working mother for "outsourcing" her children. She can take her kids to the park on a Tuesday afternoon if she wants to. She probably won't...but she could if she wanted to. She has the freedom and spontaneity to be as lazy as she wants to be, anytime, anywhere.
    She knows that her kids are going to grow up healthier and happier because mommy was around to watch daytime television them grow up. She judges mothers who look well groomed. In her eyes you must sport a ponytail with roots, yoga pants and a sweatshirt with spit up on the shoulder in order to be a proper mother.  Her husband sympathizes with her needs, like when she needs a night out. He has no problem watching the kids for a couple of hours so she can unwind after a busy day of doing...nothing much. Beats the hell out of listening to her nag about how she has no one over the age of three to talk to all day.
    She is the busiest person you will ever meet. She spends most of her day on the internet, whining about how hard her life is. She hasn't cleaned her house yet today, she just hasn't had time. She was too busy posting a never ending stream of "inspirational quotes" about motherhood to her Facebook timeline. Her Pinterest boards are jammed full of crafts she will never make and food she will never cook. Despite her lack of enthusiasm for all things domestic she is able to maintain an aura of smug superiority about her homemade laundry soap.
    It is SOOO tough being a Stay At Home Martyr Mother. Especially when all the major networks cut away from Channing Tatum's appearance on Live! with Kelly Ripa (NSFW) to cover the stupid President and his healthcare bill.


    "Tell me again how hard you have it. How's that indoor plumbing working out for you?"

     

    The Working Mom

    The working mom is a better mother than you.
    Period.
    She is setting an example for her children thankyouverymuch. She has drive, ambition and childcare. She went into labour at a board meeting and STILL managed to stick it out until the coffee and donuts ran out. Her kids are going to grow up knowing about responsibility and hard work. She is teaching them valuable lessons, that is to say, she hired the people who are teaching them valuable lessons.
    Same thing.
    She pities women who choose to be homemakers, they are so obviously lacking motivation. She manages to juggle 10 hour workdays, soccer games and still finds time to do Zumba three days a week. If she can do it, anyone can. She is climbing that corporate ladder and she doesn't care whose backs she has to step on, even it they belong to her family. It's for their own good. She scoffs at those who call her husband henpecked. It's just more efficient for her to make all the decisions. She is the CEO of their home. Someone has to keep the staff in line. It's hard work!
    She also spends most of her day on the internet whining about how hard her life is, the only difference is she logs on from her office. She schedules play dates around her conference calls and get her hair foiled on her lunch break, being a mother is no excuse for shoddy roots. She is a better mother when she doesn't have to spend the whole day with her children. Spending time with your kids is overrated. She needs more stimulation than that. She needs to interact with that cute guy in Human Resources grown ups. She plans on sending her kids off to boarding school ASAP. That way she can continue her career uninterrupted. She's going to miss them though. The company newsletter is coming up and they look great in her profile picture.
    Maybe she can hire a couple of stand ins?


    "Darling, the new Swedish nanny starts on Monday"

    I have painted a couple of pretty extreme and obviously fictional pictures here. No one really lives like that, right? Right? There are a million ways to be a mom, none of them right or wrong. Even if someone judges you for the way you parent just take comfort in the fact that someone, somewhere, is judging them for the way they parent. There are a lot of people in this world, blinders firmly in place, gathering stones to throw from the comfort of their glass balconies. Doesn't bother me. My house is made of rubber. Shit just bounces off.

    What is YOUR house made of?

    Photo Credit: All photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net Pin It

    Monday, June 18, 2012

    Going for...Launch?

    Pin It Happy Monday Y'all,

    Today was the big day. My mini blog on LHC went live. Since I am going to be featuring all original content over there I thought, maybe instead of writing an unrelated post HERE I would just direct you guys THERE, lol.

    http://santoshawellnessgroup.com/essentials-for-baby-warm-wipes/

    Check it out and I will see you guys later this week with my long anticipated "fringe" post. This time the subject is one near and dear to my heart:  Extreme SAHM vs. Extreme Working Mom. I am going to explore how the extremists in each case do their very best to make us sympathetic...for their husbands.

    Until them, take care and enjoy life...half crunched:) Pin It

    Friday, June 15, 2012

    The Island of Misfit Crafts

    Pin It So, do you guys remember me telling you I was going to be featured on Life Half Crunched? They featured one of my posts, Fun With Magnets - Magnet Board Tutorial, very exciting, especially since that was a crafting disaster of Titanic-esque proportions.

    Even more unexpected, I received the following message from Renee, one of the lovely ladies who founded LHC:
     "(the owner of Keleigh Belle Creations)...is going to feature your LHC guest post on the Crafters United page. That's a networking trifecta ladies. ♥"

    What? How is that possible? This was a crappy little craft that didn't even turn out. Why would respectable crafters, with actual websites, be interested in my crafting fail?


    I am guessing that for every beautiful object displayed on a website or Etsy page, there is another, slightly wonky craft displayed on that island of misfit crafts, Regretsy:  Hot glue oozing out of the sides, glitter haphazardly thrown at it and a silkscreened picture of Robert Pattinson/Taylor Lautner framed in LED lights.

    I can't take credit for this disaster. This was featured on Regretsy. Sadly, the original Etsy post is no longer available.
    I guess every crafter enjoys laughing/commiserating at the "craft that got away". That works for me. My lack of crafting ability, when coupled with my awful taste and inability to follow instructions, should provide MOUNTAINS of material:)


    So are you ready to hear my even MORE exciting news?


    LHC is going to be featuring me REGULARLY!!! That's right, I am getting my own mini blog on the network. It will feature all original material geared towards the crafty/frugal side of my personality, which is fantastic and will allow me to get back to using THIS blog for the purpose for which it was created.


    Making you all jealous of my gorgeous kids and amazing parenting skills. (Did I just say that with a straight face?)

    Oh yeah, and shamelessly self promoting my book. Did I mention I'm writing a book? (Ok, I'll shut up now.)

    Anyway, the launch date for my mini blog, MamaZinga's Melting Pot, is set for Monday June 18, 2012. Look for it on Life Half Crunched. Have yourselves a great weekend:)

    Thanks for reading,
    MamaZinga 

    P.S. If anyone can tell me how to make those annoying white squares go away I am all ears:)
    Pin It

    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    Stay At Home Moms: Worth Their Weight In Gold

    Pin It Any stay at home moms (SAHM's) in the room?

    C'mon, raise your hand, don't be shy. It is nothing to be ashamed of. I know how hard you work, I'm right there too. Complete with judgement from other people about how much I don't do every day. Apparently SAHM automatically conjures images of a slovenly woman lazing on the couch, eating bon-bons and watching soap operas. Oh how I wish it was true.

    I would love to be able to do nothing all day. I am lazy...There, I said it, someone had to. Anyone who knows me will tell you the same thing. I don't want to work. I want to win the lottery and spend the rest of my life in comfort in a big house with a staff of domestics to do all the heavy lifting. I want to have a luxury car and a driver to take me and the kids wherever we need to go. I want a cook to make me delicious meals every day, a housekeeper to manage my staff and a chambermaid to fluff up my feather bed. I would love to have an Au pair to keep my children pristine all day and wipe their runny noses...Le Sigh.

    Instead my life is filled with snotty faces, poopy diapers and seemingly endless piles of laundry. My work day starts at seven am and ends at eleven pm when I drag my tired, overworked ass to bed for a well deserved sleep...at least, until two, when Parker wants her nightly feeding. I work six days a week and I get one day off, where I get to dress up, fix my hair and go to my "real" job, as a hairdresser. Thats right people, going to work is my idea of a day off. I get to talk to grown ups, I get to make some money, I seldom get thrown up on and my clients are, for the most part, already potty trained.

    No matter how you slice it, as a SAHM I work my ass off. Oddly enough my house does not reflect this. It is frequently untidy, with a minefield of mega blocks ready to hobble you as soon as you set foot in my living room. This is life with a toddler. To those working mom's who don't get why it is so hard to keep up with housework I have one word. Daycare. That's right. If your kid is in daycare they aren't messing up your house. They are messing up someone elses house. Someone who is getting paid to clean up after them. Enjoy it, because the alternative sucks. I vacuum three times a day. Doesn't matter. I still find cheerios in the toybox. I feel like the guy in the circus who follows the elephants around with a broom cleaning up their crap all day. That's me. Cleaning up crap. All. Damn. Day. It's not always bad, some days are better than others. At least one day a week I just say screw it and leave the toys all over the place and the dishes in the sink. These are usually the days someone will drop by unannounced for a visit and then cut their eyes at the mess in my house. *Face palm*. I suspect this is how the stereotype of the lazy SAHM was born. Everybody and their dog has a cell phone these days. How hard is it to call and say "Hey I'm going to drop by in half an hour". I can make my place look presentable in ten minutes. With a half an hour I can make it sparkle, at least in the rooms that company sees. 

    Mommy, watch me throw these blocks all over the place

    Don't even get me started on the laundry. How two little people manage to generate so much laundry is beyond me. I am usually so busy doing their laundry that mine gets neglected. Thankfully Mr. Zinga does his own, it might not get folded and put away for a few days but he does it. Then there's the cooking. We choose to eat a lot of whole foods, some processed but mostly whole. I make our bread, four loaves every week. Three for us and one to give away. I cook from scratch most of the time. I made most of CeeCee's baby food and I intend to make the bulk of Parker's too. If I worked a full time job there is NO WAY I would have the patience for that. When I was working we ate take out all the time or threw some Hamburger Helper together at the last minute. I refuse to feed my kids that way.

    I also have to budget. We aren't poor but we are a one income family, well two if you count my Maternity Leave, which is still only a fraction of what I used to make. Also it runs out in November. A lot of times I hear the argument that "I can't afford to be a SAHM". In my case I can't afford not to be. In a good month at work I clear anywhere from $1400 to $1700. I am worth WAY more than that as a SAHM. Lets do the math.

    • Full time daycare for two kids. $1400 to $1600 a month
    • Cleaning lady. $15-$20 bucks an hour. Two six hour days a week would run $180 a week or $720 a month. And they don't all do laundry.
    • Laundry service $60-$80 a month
    • Take out three night a week for two adults one child, $240 a month

    I'm already over $2600 a month and I haven't even factored in the amount of overtime I should make putting in 16 hour days!

    Mommy, you need to learn to relax, like me:)


    It's OK though. I got to play with my oldest daughter for a solid hour this morning and she was being way too adorable. Then my youngest daughter woke up and I got to watch her and her sister interact with each other. After CeeCees nap we will colour, or read books. Maybe later we'll go play in the puddles in the backyard. I'll make us all a yummy dinner and as much as I whine about laundry I love the smell of baby clothes when they come out of the dryer. In between chores I get to write and do research for my book. Hell, I'm nursing Parker right now! One thing about being a SAHM. The pay sucks and it is back breaking work but the schedule is flexible.

    I am not trying to take anything away from full time working moms. Or work at home moms (WAHM's) for that matter. I think being a mom has to be the hardest job in the world, no matter how you choose to do it. I am only speaking from MY experience. In my experience I am overworked, underpaid and often judged. People ask me if I plan on working at a "real" job when my maternity leave runs out. I tell them I have a real job. I am an early childhood educator, cleaning lady, chef, chauffeur, nurse and referee. Why would I want a real job when I already have the best job. I am Mom. I wouldn't have it any other way.

    At least until those lottery tickets start paying off.





    Pin It

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Busy Little Bees

    Pin It Happy Monday faithful readers, I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. Mine was the usual craziness of my token one day of work on Saturday PLUS the added bonus of a double header of parties on Sunday. Somewhere in the middle we found time to play in the garden.

    Exciting development on the blog front, I have been chosen (along with several other super talented ladies) to be a guest blogger on the group blog "Life Half Crunched". It's a little Crunchy, a little Crafty...It's SO me:) Check out the link, there are tons of great articles. Who knows, maybe these gals will be a good influence on me. It would be fantastic to be good at crafts, instead of good at hiding and/or disposing of bad crafts.

    My new home away from home:)



    I only have time for a quick post today but I had to share my good news:) I am currently hard at work on my next post. Due to popular demand I am continuing Does the Fringe Make You Cringe into a serial. It is also a teaser for the book I am currently writing. I have been asked how I find time to do all of this AND raise two kids under two. It's really easy, people. It's called insomnia. Insomnia and copious amounts of coffee.

    In the meantime, enjoy your week and check out Life Half Crunched, you'll be glad you did:) Pin It

    Tuesday, May 29, 2012

    Facebook! Fighting The Good Fight Against...Mommy Blogs?

    Pin It Facebook could have spared me a monumental breakdown on the weekend.

    You see, faithful readers, the Facebook gods decided that Blogger blogs can be hazardous to your internet health. They took the somewhat heavy handed measure of blocking all links that end in blogspot.ca, just in case you happen across a blog that has been reported as "abuse".

    I don't know why, I don't even particularly care why. All I know is that it ruined my Saturday night.

    I am a creature of habit folks. I may not go to the extreme of flipping light switches seventeen times before leaving a room, but it's close. When I write a post I do it the same way every time. Visit my Facebook fan page, check my comments, log in through the hyperlink and voila! There is my shiny new blog just waiting to be written in. Except it didn't quite work out that way on Saturday.

    Oh no, instead it went a little something like this:
    • Pour cup of coffee, fire up computer. Wait interminably until ancient relic decides to cooperate.
    •  Check notifications and receive tons of great feedback on the new post. Give myself a high five on a job well done.
    • Cruise on over to my fan page. 3 new likes! Solo high five turns into smug asspats.
    • Check latest post link to see if there are any comments...Wait a sec...Where is my latest post link? Where are ALL of my post links?
    • Click on my hyperlink to see what is going on with my blog. Receive error message saying "The link you are trying to visit has been reported as abusive by Facebook users"
    • Grab chest and let out ungodly shriek.
    • Wipe away tears as I wonder who would have done this and why. My blog is inoffensive, right? Blunt sometimes and even occasionally off color but not abusive. Right? RIGHT?
    • Immediately assume that someone in one of my Facebook groups got a case of twisted panties over my latest post. Not unusual. I've seen debates about peeing in the shower turn bloody in minutes.
    • Muster my courage and go in guns blazing. Tell the coward who reported me to come forward and collect their virtual ass whupping. Realize as I say this that I do, in fact, sound a little abusive. At this point however am too pissed off to care.
    • Receive a message from a friend that it isn't just me, all Blogger blogs are kiboshed.

    Faaaaaaaaaaaacccccccckkkkkk!


    Needless to say I spent the better part of Saturday night apologizing to all the people I offended with my "Come forth you coward" rant. On the plus side I gained a ton of new readers who wanted to read for themselves the mommy blog that got banned. I guess it all worked out in the end but I still have a few questions. Questions that will probably go unanswered since more people have seen Charlie Sheen sober than have seen an email address for Facebook Help desk.

    Facebook Help Desk: Not actually helpful...at all.

    What the hell happened to make Facebook ban all Blogger Blogs?
    Is this because of marketing now that Facebook has gone Public? Are they trying to squeeze a few bucks out of us poor bloggers? 
    Did this have anything to do with viral blog "Buttered Toast" and it's beautifully written piece on Planned Parenthood and the Koch Brothers? Read it here, it is powerful stuff!

    I'll break it down for anyone who has been out of the loop this Memorial day weekend and didn't keep up with their favorite bloggers (shame on you).

    Marmalade Meg over at Buttered Toast wrote a fantastic piece about how she chooses to spend her hard earned money. It has garnered quite a bit of attention, partly because of her phenomenal writing ability and partly because it takes a stand against the Koch Brothers, Tea Party backers and multibillionaires whose prime purpose in life is to squash Obama and take control of the government. The irony of course being that Tea Party ideals call for a smaller government. I guess smaller is ok, as long as you're the guys running the show. These are the guys that bought the Republican party and are financing the War on Women that is underway in the states right now. Even as we speak I am sure some Republican lawmaker is rubbing their hands together with glee while they come up with a new plan to strip away our hard won rights.

     State Senator Judy McIntyre (D) holding a protesters sign.
    That's right, I said OUR rights. It doesn't matter that I'm a Canadian. I am a woman and this is an affront to all women. We are all sisters under the skin. The government has no business telling us how to manage our reproductive health. Thats between us and our doctors ladies. Besides you just know that Stephen "Sweatervest" Harper is in love with these new ideas. He's practically a Republican as it is. Tell you what, I'll trade you guys Obama for Harper and I'll even throw in Michael Ignatieff for free, just to get rid of him.

    Sorry, did I just jump up on a soapbox? I think I did. Back to the matter at hand.

    Whatever happened to make Facebook put the lockdown on Blogspot.ca one thing is for sure. A little heads up would have been nice. Like a million other amateur bloggers I use Facebook to share my blog. Now that avenue is closed down and we are left scratching our heads wondering what we did wrong. Not only is it limiting access to our blogs, it is preventing us from sharing other blogs...like Megs. Wait a sec.

    Maybe the two are related. I wonder how much Facebook stock the Koch Brothers own?

    Update: May 29, 2012 06:10 pm - Only blogspot.ca addresses are blocked, the dotcoms are fine. What did Canada ever do to deserve this, lol. Pin It

    Friday, May 25, 2012

    Does The "Fringe" Make You Cringe?

    Pin It I have been active on several message boards and chat rooms throughout my life, and I am an unabashed fan of social media. Facebook was a genius idea. Our lives will never be the same. The internet was my savior during both of my pregnancies so it was a natural progression to migrate into the world of pregnancy and parenting forums. I think it is a great thing that moms from all walks of life can get together and discuss their babies, pregnancy, parenting and kids in general without having to arrange transportation, pack snacks or even change out of their pajamas for that matter. Talking about our kids is awesome.

    Talking about anything BUT our kids is even better.

    99 percent of the moms I talk to are wonderful. We're all different, different politics, different ideals, different parents. We can agree to disagree and even tear each other a new hole in one thread and be totally on the same page in another. I have made some friends for life and even a few frenemies. Unfortunately, like any public forum, there is always "The Fringe".  Fringe moms can be nuts. They'll cut a bitch. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating (a little). They come in all shapes and sizes. Every mom I know has had a run in with one at one point or another. They make for entertaining reading.


    "This is called "pwning a bitch" sweetheart. Mommy's no newbie."
      I often run into disbelief from my friends when I tell them stories from "The Boards". They don't believe that moms really behave like that. I assure you, the following examples are real. Some of them are composites of a few different people but they are real. Chances are I'm not talking about you. Even if I was, you probably wouldn't realize it. Lets face it, crazy people never realize they're crazy. Sit back, grab some popcorn and enjoy.


    There are too many to go into in just one post so I am going to break this up into several chapters. Hell maybe I'll write a book about it. The Unreal Housewives of the Interwebz maybe. That has a nice ring to it. In the meantime if I do three at a time I should be done by next May.

    • The Activist - This mom posts articles about everything from the anti-vax movement to circumcision trying to raise "awareness". She is trying to change the world, one cloth diaper at a time, and wants to make disposable diapers illegal. She will unleash the beast on you if you admit to feeding your kid *gasp* non organic milk and didn't understand what all the fuss was about when Gisele Bundchen wanted to make breastfeeding mandatory. She wears her baby even when she's asleep, rejects medical authority, eats tree bark for breakfast and won't eat anything that casts a shadow. She claims to be "off the grid" but has an internet connection. I suspect her computer is made of bamboo. The activist is not to be confused with the crunchy or "green" mom. Crunchy, Semi crunchy and Eco Conscious moms somehow manage to hold on to their ideals WITHOUT looking like flaming idiots. They usually realize that each person has to make the decisions that best suit their family. They also lack the sanctimonious attitude that The Activist is known for.

    The Activist judges you for...well...everything.



    • The Zealot -  Repent sinners, for the Zealot has cometh. She is usually armed with a bible and claims to be Christian although there is nothing Christ-like about her. She hates "The Gays" and loves Pat Robertson. She burned her teletubbies dolls as soon as she realized, at the tender age of six, that Tinky Winky was a homosexual (because, you know, stuffed toys have sexual preferences). She can quote scripture from memory but always forgets the part about loving thy neighbor. Her kids aren't allowed to watch Harry Potter but she can recap the plot of every episode of All My Children for the last twenty years. Prefers the missionary position and would probably rather have sex through a hole in the sheet. Her answer to everything? "Because the Bible says so." Gets extremely upset when you mention that the Bible also says she can't wear cotton/polyester blends or eat shellfish Lev 19:19. 

    The Zealot hates you...but she's praying for you.



    • The Pro-Lifer - I'm talking about the crazy ones, the ones who can turn a conversation about fluoride in drinking water into an anti-abortion missive. Nothing Andy Dicks a good conversation like the arrival of the extremist Pro-Lifer. She comes equipped with graphic photos and propaganda videos and she's not afraid to use them people. She thinks Planned Parenthood should really be named Abortions "R" Us and that the Pro-Choicers get pregnant on purpose just so they can terminate the pregnancy. She lives in a world where unwanted children are immediately adopted by the likes of Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock etc...and people who don't want to have children should just never have sex...even if they're married. Tends toward republican politics however not all republicans believe as she does. 

      ..and then he told me he got condoms from Planned Parenthood. BURN HIM.





    These are just a few examples of the lunatic fringe. For every crazy broad I have met online there are a hundred really nice ladies just looking to discuss something a little more interesting than spit up and cradle cap. I can't blame them, I'm right there with them. The loons keep it interesting and remind us that even though we might not agree on much, at least we all have one thing in common.

    We're not batshit crazy.






    Photo Credits, all: FreeDigitalPhotos. Net

    Pin It

    Tuesday, May 22, 2012

    Parkerpalooza 2012

    Pin It

    This past May long weekend had a special significance for my family. We went on a group camping trip to honor a good buddy who passed away last year, Parker Summers. Parker was a special kind of guy, full of fun and laughter, who loved music and good times. His spirit lives on in all of those whose lives he touched. We honored him, and his parents Lori and Scotty, at Parkerpalooza 2012.


    Parker Summers



    It was a great weekend. There were about forty camps set up, not counting those who came for the day and ended up sleeping it off in their cars. Josh and Reina, Parker's brother and sister in law, drove up from the states. Mr. Zinga and myself borrowed his brothers tent trailer and stayed one night. Parker was on everyone's mind but in a good way. We shared stories and laughs and yeah, a few tears too but it was great. The whole point of the weekend was remembrance. Parker left a huge mark on our community and our family. We named our youngest daughter after him and his parents are her godparents. One local artisan presented Lori and Scotty with a carved stone inscribed with the word Parkerpalooza and a sun symbol. We all got a little choked up at that.


    I gotta say I was a little nervous about taking the babies to such a busy event but everyone was great. There were tons of kids for CeeCee to play with, lots of spaces for her to run around and if all else failed, daddy took her for a scooter ride. She loved the music, ate her own body weight in junk food and slept like a log even though the temperature dipped below freezing. Camping with a spirited child takes a LOT of patience. I definitely underestimated just how hyper she was going to be, despite the warnings from friends who said I was "insane for taking two kids under two camping in the wilderness". I also hadn't factored in how much all that trash food was going to affect her, live and learn for next time. By Sunday she was a total gong show. It wasn't all bad though. Mr. Zinga pulled his weight in the parenting department so I didn't have to spend the WHOLE weekend chasing her around and luckily baby Parker is small enough that she wasn't much trouble at all. I was even able to have a cocktail or two.

    Daddy, scooter ride. NOW!

    Now I'm off to clean up the camping gear and get it ready for our next wilderness adventure. In the meantime here are some more pics of our trip. Hope you all had a great long weekend.

    Cheers,
    MamaZinga
    Lori and Scotty
    Josh and Patrice enjoying a cocktail
    Waiting for SGAAG to perform

    The vocal stylings of Alex, front woman for SGAAG
    Josh and Reina, We'll forgive her for drinking Pabst beer since she was nice enough to let us use her pictures, lol.
    Pin It

    Friday, May 18, 2012

    Strawberry Fields Forever

    Pin It
    "Damn you Pinterest *shakes fist at computer screen*

    Just when I thought I had gotten over you, you had to come sneaking back into my life. Well, I am through with you. You hear me? Through! All you do is set me up so you can knock me down.

    I'm sorry baby, I didn't mean it. I love you, really. Don't be mad. I'll keep crafting."

    This was me a week ago. Something has happened since then that has solidified my relationship with Pinterest and made us stronger than ever.

    I made something that actually turned out good!

    Did it just get cold in here?



    Seriously people. This is a major accomplishment. I barely even hurt myself in the process.

    I have been wanting to grow my own strawberries for a while now, CeeCee eats her own body weight in them weekly. Really I would love to grow ALL of her food since most of her issues seem to stem from food sensitivities but I have been hampered by a lack of space and lack of skill.

    Enter Pinterest.

    I have been in love with the idea of repurposing pallets for a while now. They are so versatile it's ridiculous. I found this idea for a pallet garden on Pinterest. I liked it but flowers aren't really my thing. Then inspiration smacked me upside my head.

    I could grow strawberries!

    I could grow lots of strawberries!!

    I could become a strawberry farmer!!!

    After a reality check, I reined myself in and went to work gathering supplies. My landlord gave me a pallet, My mom gave me a bunch of ever bearing strawberries and I hit up my local Canadian Tire Garden Center for the rest.

    Supplies (minus plants, they came later)

    You will need:

    •  One pallet (preferably not too banged up but it doesn't have to be perfect)
    • 12 bags of topsoil (or a pile of dirt from your yard, no judgement here)
    • 28 strawberry plants ( I like ever bearing, they fruit all summer)
    • 3 meters of landscape fabric (you WILL have leftovers)
    • Sandpaper (doesn't have to be fancy, coarse grit will do)
    • Roofing nails and a hammer
    • Scissors

    Step One - Prepping your pallet

    Do yourself a favor, wear gloves. 
    The first thing you want to do is hammer in any nails that have worked their way loose or are sticking out at funny angles. Once everything is nice and tight take your sandpaper and give the front slats a light sanding, paying attention to the edges of each slat. Don't knock yourself out trying to make it perfect, it isn't meant to be. All we are going for with this step is preventing the need for either a tetanus shot or a pair of tweezers. Rusty nails and splinters tend to take the fun out of gardening.




    Step Two - Attach landscape fabric

    Note the use of a solar light, lol

    Fold the fabric in half so that you have a double thickness. Carefully arrange it over the back of your pallet so that the back, two sides and bottom are well covered. Cut to fit, carefully. If in doubt cut bigger than you think you need and trim off the excess. Landscape fabric is cheap like borscht so don't feel too bad about wasting a few inches. 

     







    Like a big ol' wooden envelope

    I used roofing nails to attach the fabric at the pallets thickest points, then I went around and sealed the edges. Be careful with the edges because there isn't a lot of wood there and you don't want to drive a nail through the front of your pallet. I like roofing nails because they have a wide head on them and I didn't want to worry about the fabric pulling free. You could probably use a staple gun if you wanted. Since I am not allowed to use dangerous power tools (for the greater good) I went the old fashioned route. I only smacked my thumb with a hammer once (ok, twice) . 





     

    Step Three - Fill it up:)

    The top eight are sad pandas:(
    Now that I had my garden box it was time to fill it. Word to the wise, put it exactly where you want it before you fill it because these suckers are HEAVY. Once I had it leaning in its happy place I just cut the tops off the bags and dumped them in from the top. I stuck two strawberry plants in each opening, shoved a couple of solar lights in the top (we really do have ENTIRELY too many solar lights laying around, I think they're breeding) gave it a good watering and that was that. Sadly I don't think some of the top eight are going to make it (transplants from momma's garden) but the rest are doing just fine.



    Once you have watered a couple of times the dirt will stay in better.


    Well there you have it people, proof that a complete and utter klutz CAN complete a Pinterest project without bloodshed (well, without MUCH bloodshed) and end up with a beautiful and functional garden feature in the process. Soon I will get to reap the rewards:)

    First fruit
    A happy baby with a happy tummy.


    Photo Credit, from top:
    Some creepy website
    All the rest, me and Instagram Pin It