Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Treasure Hunt

One of our family 'traditions' is Penny Smashing. Whenever we go somewhere together, we check to see if they have those penny smashing machines. When we find someplace that has them, we add to our collection. As we've gotten more experienced, we are learning a few things. Copper pennies are the best ones to use. Copper was used in pennies dated before 1982. If they aren't shiny, clean them with some lemon juice. When you're planning a trip, you can check ahead of time to see if they have penny smashers there. Just go to www.pennycollector.com.

We're going to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry on Friday, so the Waffle checked the website and found that there are 28 different designs there! So, tonight, he and the kids went on a 'treasure hunt' for copper pennies. We're going to be prepared with lots of copper pennies and plenty of quarters! I'll post pictures when we get home.

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Time Wasters

One of my biggest pet peeves is wasting time. I like to be efficient, and I don’t like to wait. I have realized, however, that part of who I am conflicts directly with this statement. You see, every morning I wake up and spend around 45 minutes to 1 hour ‘getting ready.’ This entails shower, clothes (ironing, if needed), hair, face, teeth, etc. My stepdad used to call it “primping,” which I always hated. It made me feel prissy, which I am definitely not. But, I like to look presentable when I go out in public. Over the years, I’ve tried different tactics to pare down the time spent on these daily tasks, but to no avail. I tried cutting my hair thinking that less hair = less time. Turns out shorter hair actually takes longer, at least in my case. And although I have threatened to get a crew cut style on more than one occasion, I know that I would never be comfortable with hair cut so short. I tried showering at night, but I don’t like going to bed with wet hair. And the nature of my hair is such that I have to wash it again in the morning anyway! I tried changing my makeup routine – different types of powder or foundation, less eye makeup, etc. I was just never pleased with the way I looked, and some of it made my face breakout, which is definitely not good. About the only thing that has saved me time in the morning is if I pick out my clothes the night before (and iron, if needed). So, I have resigned myself to the fact that I need to leave around 60 minutes every morning to get ready (primp).
So, I was figuring it up this morning (I am a numbers girl), to see how much time in my life I will end up spending in the bathroom in front of the mirror. Estimating 1 hour per day, 365 days a year (because truly, don’t you leave the house almost every single day of the year?), for an approximate 85 year life span. I subtracted 33 years from that number because I know that I didn’t start spending an hour a day until my teen years and I don’t expect I will still be spending 1 hour every day after I retire. So 1 x 365 x (85-33) = 18,980 hours of my life in the bathroom! UGH! Now I start thinking about what I could do with that time. Even at 7 hours a week, I’m drooling. I could read a book, I could work out, I could dedicate more time to my new blog, I could SLEEP . . . I truly envy those people who can get up 30 minutes before they walk out the door. I’ve just learned to accept that I will never be one of them! And although it feels a bit like ‘wasted’ time, I know that feeling good about yourself is important to your success and self-esteem, so I will continue my daily routine and try to find time elsewhere to fit in my workout . . .

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The 5 Day Weekend

For our family, Saturdays are somewhat sacred.  You see, six out of seven days of the week, we are slaves to the alarm clock.  But not on Saturdays.  Saturdays are for sleeping late, watching cartoons, staying in our 'jammies' (sometimes all day!)  Of course, for me weekends are also for chores and errands, so it's not unusual to hear the kids say, "Do we have to go to the store, Mom?" They just want a day to lay around and veg - and I don't blame them.  After all. do you think I really like going to WalMart on Saturday?

The Waffle recently heard a talk radio program where this guy was advocating for the 5 Day Weekend.  Seriously.  His thoughts on the subject were that American families, ours being no different, spend way too much time being busy and not enough time relaxing.  The idea that weekends are for relaxing is just that, an idea.  Especially in families where both parents are working outside of the home and the children are in school.  He says that there isn't enough 'down time' on Saturday and Sunday for anyone to truly relax.  He also said that we, as workers, would be more productive if we were more relaxed and refreshed when we were at work instead of so tired, stressed and worn out.  

I don't know if his ideas would really work, and I probably never will because I can't see them ever truly catching on . . . but, BOY could I go for some 5 Day Weekends!  After I spent the first of my 5 days cleaning the house and running errands, maybe the next day I could repaint the computer room (I bought the paint 3 months ago), I might also find the time to read a book, and then maybe the Waffle and I could go away for a long weekend without missing work.  On another 5 Day Weekend, we could hang out playing games for a day, go visit some friends or family out of town and still get back in time for the 2 day workweek.   

I know, some of you are saying, isn't that called a vacation?  Well, yes.  But haven't you ever gone on vacation and tried to cram so much in that you needed another vacation to recover when you got home?  I know you have, especially if you have vacationed with children!  

Last March the Waffle and I went away for a few days - just us.  We dropped the kids off at school on Thursday morning, then got in the car and drove to Gatlinburg, TN.  We arrived at our cabin just in time to see our favorite TV show.  Then for two full days we didn't do much else but sit around and watch movies, cook when we were hungry and sit in the hot tub.  Oh, and sleep. Of course we slept!  On Sunday we got up and went to church, then drove back home.  It was sooooooooooo relaxing!  (And almost a 5 Day Weekend.)  When some friends of ours were planning a trip there this past fall, they asked if we had any suggestions of places to eat. We didn't because we didn't eat out.  We cooked all our meals in the cabin, except lunch on our way home Sunday.  They just laughed, but that's ok.  Everybody's idea of a vacation is different.  

I can't wait to do it again . . .

Thursday, March 26, 2009

And so it begins . . .

Here it is, folks. The first post on my new blog. I must say, it's not something I ever thought I would do, but I learned something the other day. While reading some posts on another 30 something mom's blog, I was relieved, comforted and not so . . . alone. It was at that moment that I realized the value that so many before me have already discovered. In a culture where we are so busy, so transient, so electronic, blogging is a way to stay connected.

About the Title . . .

I heard about this book called Men Are Like Waffles Women Are Like Spaghetti (by Bill and Pam Farrell), and although I now own it, I have not yet read it. BUT, I do understand the concept behind it: Men are able to process their lives (and their emotions) in little boxes, much like the boxes of a waffle. Each box, being separated by this 'wall.' Women, on the other hand, are more like a plate of spaghetti. Each individual strand being one 'item' (or emotion) in their life that is unwillingly intertwined with all the other strands of spaghetti on the plate.

So, the gist of it is this: your kid is struggling in school. The teacher sends home a note and the principle has requested a meeting. Father: Ok. So there's a problem. How do we fix it? Mother: A problem? What? How bad it is? It must be because I'm working too much. Or because he's not challenged enough. Or because he sensed the tension between his father and I for 30 minutes two weeks ago on Monday. Or maybe it's because I didn't breast feed him long enough. Or maybe it's because I wasn't breast fed. You get me? One simple little event intertwines itself all around your entire life and absolutely, positively CONSUMES you until the issue is resolved. This phenomenon, however, does not happen with Father. He meets with the principle, goes back to work, comes home and does homework with the kids, and wants a little lovin' later that night. Waffles. Not Spaghetti. I am like Spaghetti . . . and if you don't believe me now, just keep reading and get to know me a little bit!