August 2012

Wasting time waiting

Time never needs to be wasted; here are some ways to spend your waiting time.

We live in such a rush-rush world that we often consider time spent waiting time wasted. If I tell anyone that we waited for something somewhere—it doesn’t even matter when or where, or for how long—they often reply with strong sympathy that my time was wasted.

I have to laugh at this, though, because I’m trying to be more mindful, enjoying each moment, and part of that includes waiting time. My daughter and I were going to have to go to the library a couple of hours early before a field trip this week, and one of our friends wouldn’t hear of it! She kindly offered to pick us up and take us before our field trip and we did appreciate it very much.

That said, I was looking forward to a bit of quiet time at the library. My daughter loves to explore there and play on the fire truck a local Boy Scout homeschooler made for the children’s section, and I would have enjoyed meditatively organizing my things or even watching her play. We don’t get to do that in different scenery often—we, too, are a busy family with many things to do—and I enjoy it when I do.

When family throws you under the bus

Though I never thought it would happen, here’s what I’ve learned from it.

I’m not going into specifics, but in a nutshell, I have a few family members who have been working some kind of strange smear campaign behind my back, something I’ve only become aware of this week. It feels so surreal because not only is most of it false—no one has ever called to confirm anything with me, let alone to check in or see if I need help on the area they’re condemning me for (I know this is vague and confusing; bear with me!)—but I’m also so anti anything like this—gossip, “drama” for lack of a better word, and simple lack of courtesy—that it doesn’t feel like it could possibly be happening to me. But it is.

I recently saw a quote that read, “A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at her” (Unknown). That is exactly how I’m looking at this, and I wanted to share with you the few lessons I’ve learned this week alone. (Who knows what else I’ll gain from this experience?)

The best family eateries

These restaurants are family and budget friendly.

Here are just a few of the restaurants that my family and I like to go to when we want to eat out. Like most Americans, we are on a budget, so these are both friendly on your wallet as well.

Cici’s

Cici’s is a restaurant chain offering a full buffet featuring salad, pasta, soup, pizza, bread sticks, and desserts. Normally you pay one low price and get anything you want (you can even request a pizza if it’s not on the buffet and have it delivered to your table), plus the cost of a beverage; however, if you find out when your local kids’ night is, you can get a free kids’ meal and eat there for less than $15. If you all get waters, I’d say it would even be around $10; my husband can’t eat out without a Dr. Pepper so I wouldn’t know for sure! But you really can’t beat that deal, and there are healthy options—like the salad, which features the tomatoes my daughter loves—too.

Awesome websites for kids

Online places to make children think.

It's no secret that kids spend a lot of time, maybe too much, plugged into technology. Thankfully there are a ton of excellent and fun sites for them to spend that computer time on. These sites are educational without being boring, so the kids won't even know they are further cementing and furthering the education they receive at school.

Create your own tribe

Family isn’t necessarily about blood.

Many people grow up in tight-knit families that fully support and unconditionally love one another. Some grow up in godfather-like families where the word of the patriarch is final and the family honor is even more important than love. Others grow up in an open free range family where everyone is encouraged and loved and valued. Most, I think, are somewhere in between. No matter what, every family has its skeletons in the closet, and sometimes this can be a big burden to bear for all of its members.

The thing that we must remember is that we can choose our families once we are grown. Sure, you might have to put in the obligatory tense hours at a holiday meal and be criticized for who you are and what you’re doing with your life—or do you? The choice is really yours. We can grow and assemble our own tribes based on what we need and who we want in our lives.

Personalized fun for families

Flattenme customizes fun!

If you’re anything like me, then you’ve got a special place in your heart for mothers who have started businesses. By filling a void in the market, they manage come up with the cleverest products for kids and families. You know what I mean. Products like the Lolla CupPaci-Plushies, and DaysAgo timers were all created by extra innovative mothers. Now there’s a new name to add to the ever-growing list of made-by-mom products.

I was recently given a personalized storybook by flattenme, and the company is quickly become one of my favorites. Flattenme has a wide array of items for kids and parents alike. Fun has many forms at flattenme.