October 30, 2015

I am SO done with Halloween. #forthelove

Disclaimer: Please don't think I am judging you if you celebrate or do not.  This is my family, my experience.  I love you whether you do or your don't.

I am going to steal from Jenn Hatmaker.  Let's get over ourselves for Halloween.  Okay?  For the love of sanity!

Many opt out of Halloween because of the dark side of it.  That never really rang true for me.  Maybe it is because I didn't grow up fearing all of that.  It was always a fun time to dress up, get a little spooky (but not too spooky), and gorge ourselves on high fructose corn syrup and red dye #7.  Aside from the occasional witch (gasp!), I was never really into the super scary side so I guess I never  thought it was so evil.  I know, spiritual warfare and all that...  Halloween just doesn't bother me.  My kids have done halloween since the first child was 3 months old.  We never do evil costumes, we don't do haunted houses, we pass the scariest yards in the neighborhood and opt to trick or treat before it gets dark.  I think we got it.

Here is my beef.  I resent the time, money, and energy that I feel pressured to spend on this "holiday" (what a misnomer- it is not a holy-day). I can spend hours on Pinterest trying to find an original costumes.  I can spend hundreds of dollars on new costumes at the store (even consignment sales and stores have costumes overpriced, in my opinion).  I can decorate my door with the cutest burlap wreath.  I can decorate my trunk for trunk or treat so cute that every already over-sugared child will flock to my car.  For what?  Who am I worried about impressing?  If my kids don't have great and original costumes, I'm afraid I will look like I am ruining their childhood Halloween experience (their only young once, don't screw this up!).  Hold the phone!! I want out!!

I came this close () to canceling Halloween for us this year.  I told the kids, I'd rather spend the money on Christmas decorations or clothes or anything really.  So if they want Halloween, they are going to have to come up with "Free" costumes of their own.

Mean Mom.

Or not.

I didn't get the whines and the but Moms I thought I would get.  Instead, they started talking about how they could create costumes out of what they already have.  In the end, the two youngest used some of their dress up clothes from the toy box (Elsa and Batman), and the two oldest completely invented their costumes from their own clothes.  I didn't feel ANY stress about running out to go buy this or that detail for someone's costume.  I still have not spent a red cent on Halloween, even though tomorrow is All Hallows Eve.  I will probably have to go get some treats tomorrow from Wally's world.  But I am not going in there thinking, "I have to have the best candy on the block."  Someone else can win that award this year.  I have a feeling this Halloween will be a great memory for my kiddos despite the lack of the perfect costume or handsomely decorated porch.  They will remember the year that they pulled together their own costumes and had a blast doing it.

And mom was not stressed or insane (maybe that could be my costume).  Win-win.

August 17, 2015

Technology Rules For My Family

Recently we had a family meeting.  This was a first for our family, I am ashamed to say.  We have had intentions of doing this for a long time but I finally decided to put it on the calendar and scrape together some things I was burning to talk about and get the meeting done.  The meeting was a success, if I do say so myself, even if it went WAY overtime and my kids ended up staying up WAY past bedtime.  Sometime during the meeting my husband decided to take a picture and post it to Facebook.  Then the comments started that led me to making this post.  I had several people asking for my technology rules, which were only slightly visible in the post.  I could have just posted some better pictures but I thought I needed more explanation than that.  So here I go!  

Disclaimer: We have only been putting these rules into practice for 24 hours at the time of this post, so it could still completely fail.  We are a homeschooling family with very different schedules/expectations than your family (even if you also homeschool) so tweak it to work for you.

Here was my problem (I'm pretty sure I am not alone here): my kids get too much time on technology.  We define technology as anything that plugs in.  All of these items are not inherently bad.  My big worry is that I will unintentionally raise my kids to forget what it means to play outside and explore the real world (i.e. things that don't plug in).   I recognize that some technology items are even educational and creative in themselves, which has made it hard for me sometimes to draw a line and limit time they use these items.

Our rules before Sunday's meeting: We had already set rules in our house that they earned their tech time in several ways.  30 min for completing chores.  15 min for having a clean room.  15 min for practicing guitar for 30 min.  Over the summer we even gave them an hour for reading for an hour.  The first problem was that I had a really hard time keeping track of who had how much time.  Another problem was that they often decided they didn't care about the clean room or chores, and opted to read or practice guitar and just not get the other time.  Or they would not do any of it and find a way to watch a sister use her time, or just ask if they could play an educational game that would make it hard for me to say no (yes, I know that I am essentially creating this problem).  We needed to reset the rules and draw very clear lines as to what needs to be done before they pick up the tech, and what is considered "for school" and what is not.  I also decided to use some language that helped them see that cheating on their time was the same as stealing, and the consequences would match the crime.

SO, I started looking for rules online.  I found a ton of tech rule posts (I knew I wasn't alone!).   But none really fit my family.  So I read through the posts for inspiration and came up with my own list.  I also found this free printable that I used to make technology punch cards from.   I LOVE free printables!! 

Here are our tech rules, nothing fancy and the only way they will work is if I actually enforce them.

  1. Technology is a privilege, not a right
  2. You will receive a punch card on Sunday night
  3. Once the holes are punched, your time for the week is up
  4. You may only use your card once your chores are done and your room is clean
  5. If you have any outstanding homework/schoolwork do not ask for time
  6. If you go over your time, you will punch another hole
  7. If you steal time you will punch 2 holes
  8. If you have no more time left, you will lose time on next week’s card.
  9. Watching your sibling means you punch your card too.
  10. We can take time away as a consequence for poor behavior
  11. You can get extra time for the following
    1. Practicing Guitar = 15 min
    2. Reading a non-school book for 1 hour = 30 min
    3. Reading to one of the non-readers= 15 min

Other things that we talked about in the meeting I think will reinforce our commitment to the rules.  We spent a lot of time talking about the big picture.  We talked about what kind of family we want to be, and we allowed the kids to have some input.  More about family meetings in another post.  I am really excited we have finally started these meetings and that everyone seems to be on board.   

Feel free to use any or all of this, you may want to browse around pinterest to find other tech rules and create a list that works for your family.  The key is consistency and enforcement.  Time to put on my Tech Cop hat!

October 2, 2014

Get Real: My children will learn to give eye contact

One of my pet peeves is when someone is using a cell phone at the check out or in the drive through or even sitting at a table in a restaurant.  I believe that Miss Manners would be appalled!
 We can't put aside a phone call or wait 5 min to make a call while we check out with our groceries or pay for our coffee order?  Well today I witnessed an unintended result of our over-phoned society.

The situation was this: I was in a waiting room at the pediatric dentist when a father and his 15 year old daughter walked in.  She never looked up from her phone and had her earbuds in her ears.  I watched as she could barely walk to an empty seat while staring at her phone.  The father pulled out his computer and a phone and started to work and make a phone call that was obviously business related.  The hygienist came out calling a name that nobody responded to.  After a few moments the man raised his hand while continuing his conversation.  The daughter stood up, still looking at her phone and not removing her earbuds.  The hygienist and daughter stood there, a little awkwardly, waiting for his phone call to be completed.  The hygienist then spoke to the father, while the daughter stood there doing something on her phone.  Then the hygienist started toward the door but had to back up and touch the girls arm to get her to move, she still did not look up.  Then she proceeded to pass the door that the hygienist had opened for her to enter.  The entire time, I never saw the girl look up from her phone!

So I have a new initiative in my house.  My kids will learn to put the phone down, and make eye contact.  We already have pretty strict expectations on all electronics.  Some may feel we are too strict.  We require that all chores have to be completed before they get their daily 30 minutes.  That is it.  We don't sit on phones in the waiting room or at restaurants or while purchasing coffee.  But my girls do tend to be shy so I think we need to work on the eye contact thing.  After what I saw today, I am sure that doing so will give them an advantaged over much of their generation.

How do you keep your kids eyes on the world around them and off their phones?

September 17, 2014


Life is getting crazy.  I have to admit, I usually like standing on the sidelines.  I tend to busy myself with support jobs rather than taking a leadership position because I don't want the responsibility of whatever the situation is.  But lately, I have begun to put myself out there more.  I'm taking more risks, more responsibility.  This is both exhilarating and scary!  It has also exposed my vulnerabilities.  
I feel a panic attack coming on:
What do I think I am doing? (The baby just put the thermometer in the toilet.) How can I keep this going? (She did WHAT to her hair?) Who am I going to let down today? (We need to do more writing practice in school today) What if I am doing it wrong? (I have to call that client and see how they are doing?)  What if I offend someone? (I lost another customer and I don't know why.)  I know I am doing it wrong.  (I have two doctor appointments today and somehow have to fit ancient history in between appointments.)  I am too weak to deal with this.  (no a paper cut never killed anyone.) Something is going to come crashing down on me.  (Why won't they LISTEN to me?)  I am sure that every other homeschool mom is getting twice as much done as I am, I know because I see their perfect blogposts.   I know that I should be doing more to get my business built.  (but I need more time!!)


Stop the madness!  Take a deep breath!  Have some tea!  <breathe> 

Somehow I will get to the end of the day and stand in awe of what I got done.   And collapse on the bed in utter exhaustion.  


March 8, 2014

Now lets talk Plexus Slim

Let's get real about the product.

Plexus Slim is the main weight loss product of Plexus wellness products.  But it is so much more than that.  DON'T think diet... think tool.  Plexus Slim is a tool for getting you on a healthy path.

Let's start with the history:
Slim was developed originally to help people with type 2 diabetes gain control of their glucose and lipid levels.  The developers also wanted to create a product that was natural and would not interfere with medications.  In the trials of the product, they noticed that not only did it accomplish those goals, but weight loss was a side effect.

The science:
Plexus slim is made of all natural ingredients.  These ingredients curb sugar cravings by normalizing glucose and lipid levels.  When these levels are normal, our brain isn't telling us we NEED sugar.  Without controled levels, we are stuck in the sugar cycle.  We crave sugar, so we eat sugar, which makes us crash, so we need sugar again, and on and on... All that sugar becomes unused energy that becomes fat.  I will be honest, on the science side of this product, I wish there were more information. A scientific study on the product itself would be helpful for those needing or wanting solid scientific information.  That being said, the proof is in the results.

The results:
For 5 years now Plexus Slim has been changing lives.  It has not only helped people with Type 2 Diabetes get off or reduce their insulin and other meds, but Plexus customers have seen improvement in other conditions as well.  Now, let me be clear that Plexus Worldwide does not claim that Plexus Slim will cure any conditions.  Testimonials are posted every day where people have reduced or eliminated their prescription medications because of the balance that Plexus Slim or other Plexus products have brought to their bodies.  And because of the safe, natural ingredients, doctors are encouraging their patients to try Plexus Slim.  There have even been some stories of childern and adults with ADD being able to get off of prescription drugs because of taking Plexus Slim.  People with chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia are reporting that the Pink Drink has helped them reduce their medications as well.  And of course, weight loss has been reported in case after case.  If you want to know more, seek out some of the Plexus testimonial groups on Facebook.  You will see stories from real people and their successes.  You can request to be in this one to read many testimonials.

I will end by saying that Plexus Slim does not work for everyone.  Every BODY is different.  It's just a fact that there is nothing that is going to work for 100% of everyone.  Plexus worldwide knows this, that is why they give you 6o days (TWO MONTHS!) to try the product out and see if it could work for you.

Don't wait another day to get started on your Plexus Journey, start today!  www.bauslaugh.myplexusproducts.com