Category Archives: Thought~Casseroles

Future thinking.

Thinking for the future. Something I’m doing nearly constantly, like a well-oiled machine. I even wake up multiple times a night (every night) with my “future thinking” running on auto-pilot. The hell?!

But, when you think about it–pun intended –future thinking is somewhat useless; at least to the degree that my brain is doing it. Yes, it’s good to have a plan…some idea of where you want to be 2, 5, 20 years from now…what you want to be doing. It’s always a good thing to have goals & direction & determination. I just mean that I think my brain expends way too much energy on the future; a little bit would be good, but in my particular situation it’s counter-productive because I need to figure out what we’re supposed to be doing now. Maybe it’s because my brain is scared that in the future I’ll be in this same situation again, so it’s frantically trying to find the switch that changes the tracks of this destructive train.

I’ve never been so lost…wait, that’s a lie. Two other times in my life I’ve suffered this deep despair.
1) Trying to choose what to go to college for. I didn’t want to be any particular thing (ie: lawyer, nurse, President) so I became scared that I’d end up not having a job, being broke all the time, and my prime college years (as well as funding) would be wasted*. I eventually settled on being a preschool teacher (I know, I need my ass kicked) & went off and on for, oh, about 2 years total; then I dropped out because the child care center I worked for made me a teacher so I figured to hell with school! Ahh…what a non-planning dumbass I was. All of the uncertainty threw me for a loop, all the “Is this the right decision?”‘s bowled me over. I read once that Libra’s are full of indecision & I believe it to be true; I don’t like being told specifically what to do however loose guidelines on the correct thing to do is appreciated.

2) When my Mom was snatched away from me one bright, sunny & snowy morning…when all should’ve been well…and happy…and normal. If I allow those mental gates to open it all comes rushing back & I get caught in the undertow. I’m pretty certain I literally lost a piece of my mental capacity that day. To this day living without her fills me with despair (among other emotions); I was so lost, shocked numb…didn’t know what to do, didn’t know how to function. I was just a total blank blackboard. As time passed things began naturally working towards resolutions, whatever the situation called for…you know: the funeral process, her belongings (another rough spot for me), her “affairs” as they say, etc. Everything seemed to have a natural course to follow.

*Ironically (or maybe not) that’s exactly what happened anyway but I guess the upside is that I saved my Dad some tuition money.

I am lacking in many areas, some my own doing, some not. Lacking in guidance. Comfort. Choices. Understanding. Mobility. Financially. Intelligence. Security. Happiness. Emotional support. Options. Friendship. Smiling. Shopping. Fun. How do I rectify these things? How do I reverse the negative & increase the positive?? Without trying to get into a whole other -not written yet- post, I feel like I’m doing the best I can with what I have to work with right now. For example, I check the online job site daily, along with Craigslist & “cold” applications (when you pick a place & just apply); I apply for any & every job that I meet the qualifications for (which is not many because I don’t have a degree in anything so STAY IN SCHOOL!); I wait; I receive a decline email…if I receive anything. So I’m left asking myself…what else could I do? What am I doing wrong? What else can I do? Hell, I’ve even walked to some places specifically to apply.

And it’s that same set of questions that plagues me about everything these days. Income is the key to everything, but until it unlocks the door, all these problems keep piling up & are putting so much pressure on the door (aka my brain) that it’s about to splinter apart. And time! Time is running out and then…well, those will be dark times indeed, my friends. Too many eggs in this basket.

Ever have a shit storm hit yourlife? If so, how’d you muddle through it? I need all the advice I can get. Apologies if this post didn’t make much sense…I endured multiple interruptions & my brain is functioning in a lower gear tonight. Plus, almost none of my posts do make sense, so there’s that too.

Message in a bottle…

Ahoy!

I’ve been lost but I’ve (momentarily) found my way back…to WordPress anyway.

It’s terribly hard to pay your phone bill when you have no steady income, so I haven’t had the internet access people usually take for granted. On top of that, the internet/Wi-Fi at the house has been acting wonky…if the desktop had internet then the router wouldn’t & vice versa. I was finally able to straighten that out, so it all works together now, but the signal the router gets has been in & out for some reason the past few days.

You can’t win for losing, eh? More like ‘I’.

Hopefully everyone out there is doing well & enjoying nice weather. As for me, my life is still a jumbled, aggravating, lonely, heavy mess. I’ll spare you the details; at least in this post.

My clinical depression has come back swiftly & more intensely than before, when I was first diagnosed as a teen. The only thing(s) that saves me is my kids and I truly mean that. Dark thoughts are no laughing matter and the more you have the easier it seems to pull them off. I’m sure some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. I guess in one respect it’s a hidden blessing that I am broke right now, otherwise I’d have plenty of money to transform thoughts into actions.

Maybe I’m weird or selfish but it makes me so sad–to the point of tearing up–to think of not seeing my babies grow up, to not be there with them. So they really do save me; they’re handy for cheering me up daily & they’re also good at being annoying sometimes to help take my mind off of things (haha).

I feel bad about returning with such a depressing & dreary post but I had to clear my head a little….so, I’ll return you to your regularly scheduled programming after leaving you with a picture of this….

image
This always brings a smile.

You’re welcome. 😉

PS: don’t you just love the Ticket Oak & the retarded faces it makes?!
image

PPS: yes, I still use the word retarded to describe ridiculous, silly, funny stuff. So don’t judge me. It’s stupid for some people to make such a big deal out of some words.

Randomness for the sake of being random.

I haven’t been able to necessarily group my thoughts together under one subject so I figured to hell with it, I’d just post a bullet list of my recent tidbits.

~I’m pretty irritated that I’ve really developed an interest in the Google Newspapers app, and I’ve been reading lots of great articles…however…when I attempt to share them via WordPress, it fails every single time. And I don’t want to sit here & copy/paste, or write my own post for each thing–plus it’s not like I’d ever remember them all anyway, or the details! Leave it to an app to not work.

~I am SO over seeing these greedy bastards trying to sell their commonplace cell phones for triple the value simply because it has that damned Flappy Bird game! I’ve already devoted an entire post to this rant so I won’t open that kettle again…suffice it to say those people need to be punched in the face. A lot.

~I’ve re-developed an interest in “King of the Hill” & developed new ones in “Family Guy” & “American Dad”. I realize I’m a bit late to the ballgame but that’s just par for the course with me. I liked “King” when it first aired but after watching Adult Swim almost exclusively I’ve re-realized the humor & mostly heartwarming “life lessons” in each episode. If you’ve never given it a try, it’s never too late…give it about 3 or 4 episodes & you’ll see what I mean.

image

~So….no disrespect to any avid Olympics 2014 watchers out there…but…

image
Seriously!

I mean…coooome onnnn! First of all the disorganization irritates the living shit balls outta me. Why is figure skating/ice skating (you’ll have to pardon me if I use incorrect Olympic jargon) broken up into 7 different days/nights/times?? Why not do each category together, in a set, for however long it would take & then do a different category/set? Why all the unnecessary confusion? Second…I have respect & admiration for these athletes & their persistence, perseverance, self-discipline, motivation & endless hard work (just to name a few…); and I will freely admit they are doing inspiring things that I will never do…so I mean this in the best possible, most respectful way: why so long & why so much coverage & chatter?! Tone it down, Talking Heads. I know every news show wants to be the “main” source of America’s news but damn man! Too many chiefs, not enough Indians. Each channel should be assigned certain categories. The Olympics really needs some organization in it’s life…

~I can not pluck my eyebrows worth a crap. What is the secret that has somehow surpassed me on the road to womanhood?

~Below: I agree with this 100%…the only thing that bugs me is whoever made this also made a grammatical error near the bottom–I know I make mistakes–however if I were making a meme (or something like that) I would triple check it. Just sayin’.

image

Brutally honest.

This is shaping up to be one of the roughest weeks on our record. It seems like all situations in our life are at their most dismal point. And as usual it’s all or nothing…everything wrong at once.

My usually adequate powers of creating meals out of nothing have been particularly taxed lately. To be brutally honest we’ve been hanging on by a thread, feasting on popcorn for snacks & eating fried chickpeas for dinner. Embarrassing to reveal but I’m not too worried about it…
      -I doubt many readers will even see my revelations.
      -At least we’re eating something.
      -I’m sure we’re not the only people to endure times like this.
I truly envy the people who are able to go into a store & buy a loaf of bread and lunchmeat. Or the people who eat out as often as they like, never realizing how truly fortunate they are. I truly can’t remember the last time I was able to just stop & eat here or there, giving no conscious thought to how much it would cost, how much it would set me back, or what I’d have to give up in order to eat one meal out. I freely admit I’m jealous of those people…something so seemingly unimportant to most. They don’t know how fortunate they are; isn’t it often like that? When we’re able to have what we need (or want) we tend to take it for granted. Unfortunately money only goes so far, no matter what concessions you make to stretch it or how much you may scrimp. It is finite. And once you’re out…you’re out.

image
I dream of fast food. How pitiful.

I’ve also been feeling out of sorts physically & emotionally. I haven’t been sick per se, but I haven’t felt good. I think I have some sort of sinus infection (Thanks, genes from Dad). As far as emotionally…I don’t know if I’m still experiencing undercurrents of the Momiversary or just plain having a pity party but I’ve been feeling…unimportant. I have few people that I’m close to & that I actually talk to & I can’t escape the feeling that I’m simply uninteresting; forgettable; replaceable. Not an enjoyable feeling as I’m sure anyone would agree.

image

I miss my best friend so much it hurts. Back when life was normal we’d talk every day for about 2 hours, trading stories & stresses & woes & advice, as best friends are apt to do. Then through a series of phones being shut off & unavailability & various everyday reasons we’ve lost touch. It is truly a gaping hole in my soul…she always listened & always knew the right thing to say to set my over-anxious, paranoid, OCD ass straight. I often feel like C hears me but doesn’t listen…like he’s just waiting for me to finish talking so he can utter the standard responses & carry on his way. I realize that as a stay at home mom I don’t always have the most enthralling subject matter but I’m still human…I still require some true attention, I still like to feel important, included, needed. I know he loves me…he just doesn’t seem to care about what goes on in my head, what I have to say. It just feels like I almost have no one to count on as it is, and the few people I do have just don’t have time or interest or inclination or…care.

Maybe I’m just feeling sorry for my self. Maybe I’m just being a big cry baby. Maybe it’s the depression creeping in. Maybe it’s the dreary weather.

image

Maybe it’s my plethora of worries that I feel powerless to fix, stop or change. Maybe it’s the prospect of this current loop getting stuck on repeat. Maybe it’s all in my head, under the category of paranoia. Maybe it’s all the recent bad luck we’ve had…when does it end?

image

When does the good news arrive?
When do I get to feel normal again?

The Momiversary.

image
Christmas 2007, me, my daughter, Mom, my sister, my other daughter.

Yesterday marked the (unbelievably) 5th year since my Mom’s sudden passing. Unfortunately if I allow it, memories of that day & the following days (and weeks) haunt me until I’m literally so stressed out by it that I find myself suddenly waking from too-real nightmares, tears pouring down my face. I miss her so much I can’t even type that without getting that little nose tickle you get when you’re about to cry. And watery eyes. As most mothers are she was a huge part of my life, of my children’s lives. She was my rock, my cheering section, my voice of reason, my memory bank, my best friend…at the risk of sounding too “lover-ish” she was my everything.

Then poof…she was gone. What a cruel, cruel world it can be.

Luckily despite various paths in life, my sister & I have found ourselves living in the same town (not our hometown) & have therefore developed a much closer, deeper relationship than we ever had before. She is 6 years younger than me so there has always been a natural gap between our interests but now as adults we find ourselves on a lot of the same pages, which is nice. It’s extremely comforting to me to know that I have someone who has my back. We’re old enough now to surpass any petty fights, although we never have any. I can confidently say (and rest assured that it’s true) that we will always be there for the other, no matter what. Mom passing away helped bridge that age gap as well…we were both suddenly thrust into a forces membership in the “One Deceased Parent”‘s club, so we are together on a level most people can’t access until later in life.

For the past 5 years I’ve struggled to find an appropriate term for recognizing this terrible day in our lives. It’s not that I want to celebrate it; I just feel guilty if it goes unnoticed…like we’re forgetting her, or the worst day of my life wasn’t truly the worst day of my life. I’ve also struggled to think of a way to honor her: prepare a favorite meal of hers (although I’m ashamed to say I’m quickly forgetting what those were)? Buy some balloons & release them to the heavens, with other without letters attached? Exchange letters with my sister containing memories or thoughts on what our mother would think of us now? Get lost in memories by sifting through pictures & eventually sobbing myself to sleep? Nothing seems fitting. I have stumbled upon a name however…”Momiversary”. It doesn’t depict any depressing thoughts of death, yet it also doesn’t imply a joyous celebration. It is an anniversary, and it is for our Mom. I just happened to have a lightbulb this year.

I wish I had pictures to share…Mom was definitely a camera ducker but she was beautiful & when you were lucky enough to catch a real smile it is contagious…I can’t help but smile back. All of my photos are packed up or on the computer (to which Hubby misplaced the cord); I hate that I can’t post any here. I have no grand final thoughts on this post…I’m thankful for family & my sister…I ache inside for my Mom, I can feel my heart crumble when I think of her & the looming void now in my life…I urge all of you that still have your Mom to seriously cherish her, don’t let small things annoy you, remember that she won’t always be there, don’t take her life for granted because the cold hard truth is that you never know when her life might be gone…leaving you with open wounds, an unfillable void in your soul and more regrets than any human being should have to bear.

It finally snowed!!

Greetings! I figured I’d post a post about how one day the weathermen were actually right (they are currently basking in the warm glow of glory) & it snowed in Tennessee! Also, since I equated your time the other day with pictures of no snow I figured the least I could do to even things up would be sharing photos of actual snow. I know, I know…my thoughtfulness truly is a quality unparalled by others.

image
The porch. Dang mat was frozen!

image

image

PS: I do know what an actual snowstorm looks like. But here in Eastern Tennessee, this is what clears the shelves. 😉

My Michael Jackson post (years after the fact).

image

I would imagine it would be the rare person indeed who could claim nowadays to never have at least heard a Michael Jackson song, younger generations not withstanding of course. Almost all of us have had some contact with his genius whether through a movie, the radio, our own personal music collection, television, books/magazines…somewhere along the way we’ve heard or seen the King of Pop. Having recently read the biography about him by J. Randy Taraborrelli I have renewed my (recurring) mini-obsession with MJ. Don’t get me wrong….I’m not a super fan & I don’t claim to know every factoid about him. I just know what I’ve read/seen & have my opinions on it.
image

Michael’s attitude & actions
I’ve heard & read countless times that Michael was the type of person where if an employee/friend/family member told him “no” or wouldn’t get what he’d requested, they’d simply be “out”. He’d stop associating with them or they’d be fired. People were (apparently, according to the biography I read by Tarraborelli) fearful for their jobs. This is completely understandable & completely believable. Michael was treated-quite literally-like a king; he’d become accustomed to a way of life the majority of us will never live & therefore fail to grasp. He probably hadn’t been told “no” more than 8 times since the age of 5….long, long ago he acquired the luxury of people at his beck & call, staff to cater his whims, “handlers” (for lack of a better group term) to foresee & appease his wants & needs. I can understand the mentality of it all, even if I admittedly can’t fully understand what a life like that must be like (on either side of the fence). People were disposable….and that’s not implying Michael was some hateful, spoiled, crappy person who treated others badly (I’ve heard & read the exact opposite so much I’m beginning to wonder if he had a golden heart)….he was, plain & simple, rich as shit; he was free to do what he wanted; if one person wouldn’t do this or that then fine, this person over here will. That’s what I mean by disposable. There would always be someone, somewhere & he knew it.
The reason I flew off on this tangent is because during my mini-obsession I can’t escape the “what if” plague. What if his family would’ve intervened? After his death, everyones (EVERYONES) excuse is that they knew but couldn’t help MJ because he’d either fire them or kick them out of his life. I think we can all agree that most families will get along as well as have fights, stop speaking, be really mad at each other, all that jazz. However family should & usually does find their way back to each other & make up. I know not all families do that, I realize we don’t live in My Little Ponyville or Smurf-land. But the Jackson’s prior history certainly indicates that if there is a disagreement/fight, after some time passes everyone is welcomed back into the fold, hunky-dory. I can’t help but wonder if family-someone who Michael couldn’t get rid off & would eventually make up with-would have succeeded….if they would’ve just pushed & pushed until he went to rehab, then fought & fought to keep him there Do whatever it took. Michael would’ve been mad & resisted, I’m sure….but maybe-just maybe-he’d still be here today.

image
Michael, circa 1989

Michael’s appearance
Personally I think the time frame he looked his best was the last couple years of the 80’s. He was just starting his “King-ship” and getting a taste of financial freedom & making his own choices. He had a small amount of plastic surgery & turned out like the photo above. If he would’ve only felt confident enough to stay like that! Instead he had to keep pushing & tweaking, trying to achieve a certain look he had set in his mind. Unfortunately he ended up like this….

image
Michael's mugshot, date unknown/after the 90's

…which isn’t even the worst photo but definitely one of the creepier ones. I hate that he felt so insecure in himself that he literally turned himself into this. To be on top of the world financially, career-wise, health wise….yet to feel so badly about yourself that you reduce yourself to an unrecognizable shell. It’s sad, very very sad. Unbeknownst to him, by starting the surgery obsession he opened the flood gates for people & the media to start running their mouth. Then he probably felt the need to continue the surgeries, in a futile attempt to be normal again; all it ended up accomplishing was more negativity.

Michael & molestation

image
Michael Jackson & Jordie Chandler

Where to begin with this Pandora’s box? What is there to say–in support of either side–that hasn’t been said a zillion times before? That being considered, I’ll just stick with my personal opinion as opposed to trying to exonerate (or condemn) MJ. Nothing I say will convince anyone anyway, I don’t think…they’d have to research & read & discover just like I did in order to be convinced. For years I have been undecided as to whether or not all of the abuse allegations against him were true…now, after extensive reading, various sources and a better (aka adult) perspective on life, I can safely say that I don’t believe he molested anyone, anytime. It seems quite obvious to me that the Arvizo’s were after money: plain & simple. The Chandler situation seems to be the same way, although it seems like a bigger betrayal because they were much closer than the Arvizo’s. It would take a whole other post to specify each point so I won’t drag that up here. I think Michael was an easy target because he was lonely, insecure, had a soft spot for children (& animals, as many of us non-serial killer people do), was eccentric & rich…very…very rich. The media & the accusers picked up on these traits (though not in that order) and exploited them as long as they could. Today, Jordie Chandler enjoys his millions while living in a penthouse & apparently having a wonderful time shopping with friends…

image
Jordie Chandler today; spending his "hard earned" millions with a buddy.

I’m sure the Arvizo’s are also enjoying a largely enhanced lifestyle due to their “hard earned” millions as well. The truth is we will never know the truth. Even if MJ were here today & proclaimed his innocence (like he did before, yes) people wouldn’t believe him. There will always be a divide on this topic because there is no definitive, 100% proof either way. Instances such as this really gnaw at me because I want a firm, fact-backed answer, you know? It all comes down to what you believe & what you don’t believe. I used to lump him in with the majority of the media & society, but after my research I now understand all the different levels of this situation, and of Michael Jackson. I pity the poor man. This may be overdramatic but I truly wish I could rewind time for him & magically fix all the bad in his life….it just seems so unfair, once you absorb all the details (the same details from different sources-that’s what lends credibility to them), that he suffered as he did in so many ways.

image
Michael, 1988 Bad Tour, London

R.I.P. Michael Jackson.

image
In concert during the glory days.

Family football….it’s a contagious obsession….

My husband (otherwise known as C in this blog) has become quite the football fan over the past year or two. He’s always had an interest in it, but now that he’s desperately in love with Peyton Manning a huge Broncos fan he’s really into it. This fact inspired a rant post (currently a draft) by me yesterday but it has also inspired 2 other things:

#1-quality time with our children & nephew, which they (our kids) kind of needed after being “Daddy deprived” this past week while he was at work (something they are re-adjusting to)

#2-I have an excuse to post a couple cute pictures & attempt to post a video for the first time! I realize I’m about 4 years behind on the magic of posting videos online, and that normal people are like “What a douche….I’ve been posting vids online since I was in diapers”….but I don’t care, haha. I’m old & willingly use that excuse for my lameness.

So, here goes….marking a notable event in history (ours, anyway)….some cute football videos & photos. You’re welcome. 😉

<img android-uri="content://media/external/images/media/1936″ />

image
L to R: H, C, A, N(ephew), D

image

image

image
A apparently went out of bounds but it's a-okay because they're "training", haha.

Update: I attempted to publish my cute little family football post & received a message saying “To upload videos get Videodpress” (whatever that is); I clicked it but it did nothing. I searched for it in the Play store & found nothing. So….I guess I won’t be posting a video for the first time, haha. Oh well. 😦

Homemade Laundry Detergent 101

So here lately (aka approx. 6 months) we’ve been broke.  The husband would probably not appreciate me airing our finance issues, but I’m cool with it because I know we’re by far not the only ones, and I’m praying to sweet baby Jesus that it’s only a temporary set-back.  Anyway…being broke forces you into doing things & trying things you never have before, such as making your own laundry detergent because you’ve run out but there are zero dollars to buy more yet everyone still needs clean clothes because the world doesn’t stop turning & clothes don’t stop getting dirty just because you’re broke.  Right?  Right.

I have quite a few packages of bar soap…it used to be a ton & I acquired them during my coupon heyday.  I googled a recipe for homemade laundry detergent (found one that I almost had all the necessary ingredients) & got to work.  Let me tell ya…do not be daunted by the sound of this activity.  It’s very simple & cost effective & even better (as far as I can tell anyway): it actually works!  So whether you’re currently broke like myself (by the way…I don’t mean the kind of broke that some assholes claim they are yet they have all their basic needs met & then some, which in my opinion is not truly broke, it’s just lying for sympathy(?) or attention (?)) or just curious or trying to save a few bucks or maybe you’re just a Crafty Little McCraftster….try the recipe out & let me know what ya think!!

Broke People’s Detergent

image

You Need:
3 bars of soap (I used Ivory; you can use any kind on hand)
6 cups water
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup washing soda (Can be found with the laundry junk at the store; I had just run out so I upped my Borax to 1 cup as a substitute)
6 cups warm water
Large pot
Bucket (I used a 3 gallon-I think-plastic mop bucket)

You Do:
Add 6 cups of water to a large pot.  Stir in grated (I only chopped my soap & some of it didn’t melt completely so I’d definitely take the time to grate) bar soap; heat over medium high until melted.  Add borax & washing soda; stir well until dissolved.  Add 6 cups of warm water, mix well with a whisk.  Add 1 gallon (I used a freshly emptied milk jug) cool water, mix well.  Stir with the whisk every 30 minutes until completely cool (I bolded this because I was lazy & did not do this because it felt “cool enough” to me; I think that’s why I ended up with some chunkiness in the end. Don’t let laziness mess up your results!).  Cover & let it sit undisturbed overnight. 

image

In the morning you may have to break up some solidified soap on the top & stir well for a little bit just to mix it all up good. 

image

After that the mixture should resemble thinned hair conditioner

image

(aka Dollar Tree conditioner; aka you know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever experienced true broke-ness) & you can pour it into containers for storage & distribution (I used the freshly emptied laundry detergent bottle+the milk jug).  When ready to use just give it a couple good shakes, use 2 oz. for small loads/4 oz. for large loads (or just fill the detergent bottle cap up like myself) & you’re off!  See how clean your clothes can get & truly at a fraction of the price of commercial detergent.

Schooooooool’ssssss out…for…SUMMA!!

It totally snuck up on me.  I’ve had a lot on my mind lately & completely didn’t realize the end of school was upon us, until looking at the calendar one day & it was like “Oh, the last day of school is in 3 days.  Wait…whaaa??!”.  Anyway, now I’ve got all these random thoughts, tips & ideas floating through my head & taking up too much room.  So I figured well hell, why not blog about it?!  So here we go:
(This list may or may not evolve as I think up new crap…feel free to leave your own ideas in the comments!)

*Make ice cubes out of whatever non-carbonated drinks you have on hand, that way your drinks won’t get watered down in the summer heat yet will still be cold! For example: kool-aid cubes for kool-aid, lemonade cubes for lemonade, etc.

*Set up a lemonade stand & get your kids to “work” it.  It’ll teach them all kinds of great, valuable life lessons as well as earn them some summer spending money (plus 10% for yourself for raising them) & give them something to do to keep them out of your face for awhile. (PS: I have a great homemade recipe on this blog!)

*Water.  When it’s hot outside water is a great toy.  If you’re like us & don’t live somewhere that is flat enough for a cheap-o pool, give the kids water to play with.  Some people would worry it would run the water bill up too much but it really won’t & the few cents extra that it may cost will be worth it to keep those kids busy…trust me.  Invest in a slip & slide maybe.  Or water guns.  Or even just some water in one of those athletic type water bottles that you can squeeze & it streams out.  Hell, fill up a Rubbermaid tub & let them splash each other in the driveway.  Water amazes kids.

*Utilize your crock-pot & outdoor grill.  Grills are a summer staple but a lot of people tend to view crock-pots as being more of a winter time thing.  Not at all!  Using your crock-pot will save you time in the kitchen, therefore giving you more time with the family.  It will not turn your kitchen into a sauna, like the oven will.  Doesn’t suck a lot of electricity, which is important during the summer if you use central air & your bill is higher.

*At the risk of sounding like a Martha Stewart rip-off, try to plan 1-2 things to do with your kids every week.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a craft, but summer is a great time to keep in tune with your kids…they’re not gone at school all day & quality time is extremely important.  Something as simple as a walk or weeding the flower bed together counts.

*Two words: MOVIE.  NIGHT.  We do movie night pretty much every Friday & Saturday during the school year, & then during summer it’s usually every night.  Sometimes we do family movie night (self-explanatory) & sometimes we send the kids off to their room(s) to do their own movie night.  A lot of times we pop popcorn (from the kernels!) & have other snacks.  It’s just a cool yet cost effective way to get the kids out of your face watch a movie.

*Go to the local library.  At the risk of sounding like a complete After School Special (remember those?!) I highly recommend the library.  It is free(!), they usually will have at least 1 free(!) summertime kids program/event, & nurturing a love of reading early on provides soooo many benefits I won’t bore you with them all here (just think on it a minute & you’ll see). 

*Invest in bug spray.  Lots of it.  I don’t know about you but bugs irritate the living shitballs out of me.  Also invest in some itch relief cream/gel, sunscreen (wear it/put it on the kids every sunny day!), sunburn relief & it wouldn’t hurt to grab one of those to-go “boo-boo” kits….places like Hellmart Wal-Mart used to have them for, like, 98¢ but they’re probably $4.99 nowadays.  You could probably just build your own from stuff you already have.

*PoPsIcLeS!!  Up until this year I was totally one of those popsicle Nazi’s that despised them because when it’s hot out (of course) they get everything within a 2 mile radius drippy & messy & sticky.  Blegh.  However I have seen the light!  You can get a box of 100 (I think) for $3.80 at Hellmart Wal-Mart, the childhood-reminiscent Pop Ice brand.  They taste great & there are lots of them & they’re basically frozen sugar water.  Sure the kids may get a little hyper but in my opinion it’s a fair trade off for a little extra mopping & a chunk of time that I don’t have to hear “I’m bored”.  I’ve even stepped my game up to letting my kids have more than 1 in a five minute period.  I mean hell…it’s not like they’re filling or something, like a T-bone.

*Cook-out time, bitches!  We love feeding people (must have 1/4 Italian in us) & having a cook-out is awesome.  It’s relaxing (well…more so then preparing a regular dinner), you can have friends/family over, you can keep the menu relatively cheap, and everyone can just hang out & enjoy summer….coated in bug spray of course.  If you don’t have a grill just grab a bag of charcoal & go to a local park & utilize one of their built in grills.  If you don’t have a lot of budget then decide on cheap stuff & split the grocery list with whoever is coming (who said you had to be the one to always provide everything?! Plus true friends/family should be more than happy to pitch in, in my opinion).  All in all it’s a good time & one of our favorite things.

*Chores.  As a stay at home Mom I keep a pretty usual, mundane schedule of daily crap to do.  The kids have one or two chores to do regularly but during the summer they get a couple extra.  Why?  Because they’re there & perfectly capable of helping out.  Because there are more dishes to wash, clothes to launder & mess to continually clean up.  Because they can earn money.  Because it teaches them responsibility.  Because they’re good kids & usually don’t mind helping out.