Friday, June 26, 2009

A Man's Point of View - I Wanna be a Mean Parent!

Every so often, I try to feature a male point of view. Lets face it ladies most of these posts are for women by women. I thought it would be fun and refreshing to see a males point of view once and while.

If you know of a male who would be willing to submit some of his thinking I would love to post it! E-mail me at!

The blogger featured today calls himself a friendly neighborhood nerd. :) He is a daddy for the first time and his thoughts were hilarious!! Hope you enjoy!

When I was a child, my parents were mean. Horribly mean. And, I hope that I will be just as mean as they were.

My parents weren't physically, emotionally, verbally, or psychologically abusive. That's not the kind of "mean" that I'm talking about.

When other kids had Oreos and ice cream for breakfast, we had to have eggs, toast, or cereal. When other kids had Pepsi and chips for lunch, we had sandwiches and carrots. While other kids had pizza and cake for dinner every night, my mean parents gave us healthy meats, potatoes, vegetables, and fruits. My parents were mean when it came to food.

We were required to be clean and wear clean clothes; other kids could wear the same clothes for days. We had to have normal, appropriate haircuts; other kids were allowed to be rebellious with their hair. We had to look “presentable.” Since I'm the oldest of their three children, I didn't have to wear hand-me-down clothes, but my mean parents made my brother and sister wear my old-but-still-good clothes, just to save money for other things like college. Can you imagine?

Our mean parents gave us bedtimes. And we had to stick to them! While other kids got to sleep until noon on the weekends and have no responsibilities, my parents completely disregarded child labor laws and gave us chores to do before we could play. We had to help with the dishes, set the table for meals, and keep our toys picked up. It was like they dreamed up chores for us to do in their sleep! Where did they come with these unreasonable expectations?!

Once we were in school, things got even worse. We had to walk to the bus stop, about a block away, for junior high and high school. Even in the rain and when it was cold. Other kids got to sit in their parents’ fancy car, even on nice days, avoiding the unrestricted socialization with the kids besides us with mean parents.

My brother, sister and I weren't allowed to be "sick" like our friends and miss school. Some other kids could stay home by themselves when they had a headache, hangnail or other critical ailment. Not us. In fact, I can distinctly remember my mother saying "You're not sick, you just have a cold. Get up and go to school." We never got pulled from school to go on vacations. "That's what summers are for," we were told.

They were mean about our grades, too. While other kids celebrated Cs and Ds and just passing classes, my parents accepted nothing less than As and Bs. Somehow they knew that if we got anything less, we weren't really trying. They had us figured out. They were actually involved in our education. They kept tabs on major projects, annoyed us about completing our homework, and constantly asked if we needed help. We were expected to speak properly, and write even better. It was horrible. Come graduation time, none of us were allowed to drop out and we were expected to go to college. Just awful.

Our mean parents made us go to church every week. We couldn't skip and stay home like some other kids. We weren't allowed to wear jeans or shorts and we had to look presentable. We had to pray, participate, and pay attention in our Sunday School classes and during the service. Unlike some of the other kids, we weren't allowed to climb on the pews, make noise, or fall asleep. It was completely unfair.

When we were older, my mean parents insisted on knowing where we were at all times. They had to know where we were going, when we were getting back, and who we were going with. If plans changed, we were required to call. If we were late, we had some explaining to do.

They set rules and boundaries for the three of us. They knew how to say "no" and weren't afraid to do so. Their "no"s were uncompromising and there was no negotiating the standards of behavior that were expected. Even if they didn't totally agree with everything, they worked as an unwavering team to set the bar high and expect the best from us, always.

Somehow, their mean-ness worked. All three of us grew up to be well-adjusted, polite and well-spoken. None of us have been arrested or talk like Valley Girls. We all hold college degrees (one of us, multiple!) and are now successful on our own. They taught us to be tough, smart, and strong. None of us are entitlement-minded or dependent on anyone or anything. We grew up to be honest, God-fearing, and self-motivated. And, we owe it all to our horrendously mean parents.

Now, with a child of my own, I hope to set the same mean standards and expectations. I can only hope to be as mean a parent as they were. I can’t wait to use one of my favorite phrases, “You’re not sick, you just have a cold,” and I can guarantee you that I will be filled with pride when my child finally calls me "mean."

So, if you're reading Mom and Dad, thanks for being so darn mean.

Giant Eagle bargain recipe ofthe week- Best Hamburger Ever!

Bargain Meal of the Week

I thought that I better start posting some summertime, grill out recipes! Forth of July is coming up and I want try some new burgers.... I don't know about you but I am tired of the bland patty that we always have! This recipe is said to keep your guests coming back for seconds. Make it a RED, WHITE AND BLUE burger by serving them with sliced tomato, white onion and blue cheese :) Happy Eating Y'all!

I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand. W/C means with coupon. To see the deals at Giant Eagle this week check them out here.

Best Hamburger Ever

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (On sale $1.99 a lb) $2.98
1/2 onion, finely chopped .50
1/2 cup shredded Colby or Monterey Jack cheese (On sale 3 for $5 Kraft) .41
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg .16
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix .60
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat a grill for high heat.

In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, onion, cheese, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, egg, onion soup mix, garlic, garlic powder, parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Form into patties.

Grill patties for 5 minutes per side on the hot grill, or until well done. Serve on buns with your favorite condiments.

Total Cost of meal ( with buns- on sale .85) $5.07

Add Chips ( Giant Eagle B1G1 ) Total Cost of Meal: $5.53

Finish up with Ice cream! (Giant Eagle Ice cream on sale 4 for $10) Total Cost of Meal: $6.15

For more great bargain recipes click on the icon above!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

WFMW - Making going away a little easier for little ones!

We are BLESSED to live by the nicest neighbors in the world. (Its also not too shabby that their daughter is a elementary school teacher ((and our babysitter of choice)) and the mom is a pediatric nurse!! )

My son thinks that their house is just an extension of our own. Often times I will see him start to head over there out of the corner of my eye. Other times they will come and get him to help walk the dog, water the flowers or just taste test some cookies out of the oven. Their worth is more than diamonds and gold.

So when they told me that they would be going to Florida for ~~gasp~~ seven days I started to panic a little. My neighbor smiled knowingly and said that she would make sure he was busy while they were gone.

The morning they left, I found a little package on my doorstep. Included was a activity packet with a day for everyday they were gone and a countdown calendar.
The countdown calendar had a map where they would be staying. It helped to explain to my little cherub where his "friends" had gone to. It also had a calendar marked with the time and day they left and the same for the return. Stapled to the top were stickers with a note to place a sticker on each day they were gone. When there were no more stickers they would be home!

The activity book was filled with activities each day they were gone. Each day had.. "Today I... " Today my sister...." "My favorite thing about today..." and then an activity. On Wednesday they had " find the watering can on our porch and water the garden" On the day of their return it was " Make a welcome home sign with markers and stickers."

I don't have to tell you what a thrill this was for my little guy. I thought it was a clever way to make a loved ones time away go by quickly and of course that works for me!

For more great WFMW ideas check out We are that Family!

Meijer bargain Recipe of the week- Baked Taco Chicken

Bargain Meal of the Week

I know, I know! Its summertime and I usually try to do grilling recipes. I thought this looked so good though! I could use some Spanish rice I purchased on sale and side it with re fried beans. When you have really little ones, sometimes chicken dishes are easier than ground beef. I hope its as yummy as it sounds! Happy Eatin Y'all!!

I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand. W/C means with coupon. To see the deals at Meijer this week check them out here.

Baked Taco Chicken

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 package taco seasoning (McCormick on sale .59 ) .59
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 eggs .16
1 tablespoons milk
1 pound chicken (On sale $1.99 a lb) $1.99

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, taco seasoning and salt. In a shallow bowl, beat eggs and milk. Dip chicken pieces in egg mixture, then place in bag and shake to coat. Place in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 55-60 minutes or until juices run clear.

Total Cost of Meal: $2.74

Add Salad ( Dole on sale .75) Total cost of Meal: $3.11

Add salad and Spanish rice (Knorr on sale $1) Total cost of Meal: $4.11

For more great bargain recipes click on the icon above!

Kroger Bargain Recipe of the week- Spaghetti Bake !!

Bargain Meal of the Week

I am always looking for recipes that are both kid friendly and easy! This one looks like a winner. Since my family will only eat about 1/3 of this I will half it and put the rest in the freezer! That reduces the costs by half which worked for me!. (Not to mention that is another night that big mama does not have to cook!!) Happy Eatin Y'all!!

I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand. W/C means with coupon. To see the deals at Kroger this week check them out here.

Spaghetti Bake

2 pounds ground beef (On sale $1.78 a lb) $3.56
1 medium onion, chopped (On sale $1.67 a 3 lb bag ) .25
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (7 ounce) package thin spaghetti, broken in thirds .80
2 eggs (On sale .98) .16
3/4 cup milk (On sale $1.98) .10
1 (28 ounce) jar meatless spaghetti sauce (On sale W/C .54) .54
3/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (On sale $1.50) 1.12
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (On sale $1.39) $1.39

In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. stir in salt and pepper; set aside. Cook spaghetti according to package directions; rinse in cold water and drain.

In a bowl, combine eggs and milk; stir in spaghetti. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Top with spaghetti sauce, beef mixture, mushrooms; sprinkle with cheese (dish will be full). Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly.

Total Cost of Meal: $7.92 (If you divide into 2 9x9 pans the cost is $3.96)

Add Dessert! Breyer's ice cream (On sale W/C .69) Total cost of meal: $4.19

For more great bargain recipes click on the icon above!

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Teachers View - Getting your little one ready for Preschool!

I am blessed to live next to a elementary school teacher who loves my kids and we love her!! She has multiple education degrees and is the first person I run to when I am worried about speech, development or anything learning related!! She has agreed to write a weekly post for me on some common concerns involving little ones. If you have a topic that you would like to see addressed, please e-mail me at

Preschool Part 3: Is My Kiddo Ready?

You’ve picked a preschool and your darling child is all registered and ready to go.

Congratulations! Here are a couple of tips for the weeks leading up to preschool.

Visit the school. Stop by while preschool is in session and let your child watch the other children playing outside. Build up your excitement – “I am so excited for you! Look how much fun you’re going to have! I can’t wait to see you go down that yellow slide/dig in the sand box/ swing on the tire swing.”

If you pass school in your daily lives, point it out. “That’s were Meredith is going to school!”
Read up on preschool. There’s a lot of great children’s literature about going to school. Some of my favorites: D.W.’s Guide to Preschool by Marc Brown (Arthur Books), We Love Preschool by Tim Warnes, Preschool to the Rescue by Judy Sierra, Little School by Beth Norling, and Little Bunny’s Preschool Countdown by Maribeth Boelts.

Start a routine. Just like school-agers, preschoolers need a schedule. Getting up, getting dressed, breakfast, out the door. Even if it’s just to run errands. You may want to make a picture chart to hang in your preschooler’s bedroom of your routine. Also helpful, the hanging “Days of the Week” shelves where you can store clothes for everyday and that stuffed dinosaur your child will need on Wednesday during “D” week.

On the first day of school, have a special breakfast. Resist the urge to cry.

As you’re driving to school on that first day, talk about all the fun your kiddo is going to have and tell them you’ll see them when school is over. Again, resist the urge to cry.

At school, take pictures, talk to the other moms and dads, hug and kiss your big kid one more time, and tell him you’ll be back soon and to have a great day. Don’t linger too long, especially if your child is crying. They’ll be ok, the teacher will make sure of that. Resist the urge to cry yourself.

Once you’re in the parking lot, let it out. Cry the whole way home, stopping at Starbucks on the way if necessary. My mom and a neighbor used to go to breakfast on the first day of school so they wouldn’t be home alone. They did this yearly until we were in college.

Pick up your preschooler and listen to them gush about all the fun they had and the friends they made. Ask questions and make them feel like they are a rock star. Have a special lunch or dinner to celebrate!

Menu Plan Monday!

Happy Monday! Last week I just played with my kids so I have no bargain recipes to use :( So I went back and looked at some of my recipes from last summer. There were so many yummy things that I used to fix that I forgot about!! ( Why do we get into a dining rut?? ) I hope you have a yummy week... happy eating Y'all!!

Monday: Angel Hair pasta with shrimp, garlic bread, salad

Tuesday: Herbed turkey Mignon's, ranch cheddar potatoes, green beans, crescent rolls

Wednesday: Turkey fried rice (using the leftover turkey Mignon's), egg rolls

Thursday: Leftover nights- If its not movin you can eat it !

Friday: Pizza Night!!

Saturday: BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, baked beans, salad

Sunday: Grilled London broil, asparagus, grilled red pepper