1.21.2017

Not Just any Chicken Salad: Sometimes Parents Just Have to Pick their Battles

The other day I posted the following to my personal Facebook feed. 

"Often times, I pull into the garage, the kids get out of the car and go into the house. I stay in the garage for a few minutes looking at my phone because it's quiet. I relish the quiet. It's hardly ever quiet in my car. Shortly, I hear chaos inside. Yelling. Screaming and sometimes crying. It usually happens within three minutes of my kids going inside. I so often want to just back out of the garage. They eventually find me and my peace is gone. That is is parenting reveal for today."

As parents, I think it is important to realize that we are not perfect. We are human. And it's OK to have these thoughts. It's just not OK to act on them. Therefore, I never back out of the garage, but that certainly doesn't mean I didn't want to do it. And I'm OK with admitting these feelings. I think we need to verbalize our feelings for us to be healthy as parents. 

I've been working to archive some of my older posts, updating posts and photos. Folks, this little blog is  like a time capsule. There are six years of personal stories mixed in with recipes and other miscellaneous stuff.  While doing so, I came across a post I did when I was looking at magnet schools in February 2011 for my son to start kindergarten.  

Guess what? I've come full circle with a big loop of deja vu. We are back again looking at schools, but this time it is middle school. 

This time. I think he's ready, but I'm not sure I'm ready. We have loved our elementary school experience and its' size. The school we've applied to this time has more than 1,000 kids and the 6th grade is half the size of his current elementary school. 

But, I know it's the right fit. It's time for him to grow and have even more opportunity. I took him to every school we were considering, not once, but twice. I really wanted him to pick where he wanted to go to middle school.  In kindergarten, we didn't do that. It was our choice. 

Now things need to be differently. He has his own interests. He has own comfort level and feelings. 

We are all in agreement of where he would like to spend his next three years in school. But, it's not up to us totally. It's still a lottery system, but we are going into this magnet pool with some weighted priority so we're hopeful that it will all work as planned. 

On one of the days we were touring, I decided to take him to lunch before taking him back to school for the day. He's my foodie in the family. I thought this would be a good opportunity to explore all of those downtown Raleigh restaurants that we never explore with his sister who is more of a cheeseburger and chicken tenders cuisine type of gal.  The plethora of restaurants would be ours on this day. Just me and him. We could do, Asian, Sushi, Italian, Greek, German, Southern Chicken and Waffles. You name it. We could do it.  It would be fun. 

He couldn't decide.  He finally came up with the idea that chicken salad would be nice for lunch. 

I said, "I know the perfect place. They have great soups, sandwiches, salads and chicken salad." 
We went there. He looked at the menu. The chicken salad was the gourmet kind with grapes and pecans. 

"But, it's good," I said exasperatedly.  I was not liking his attitude. 

He was being stubborn and refused to look at anything else on the menu. He had wanted chicken salad, but he had his own idea of what that chicken salad would taste like to him, and it did not contain pecans or grapes. He wanted nothing fancy about it. 

In front of people, I snapped, "Fine. I'm taking you back to school." And we walked out with my pushing him out the door. I think I even mumbled how ungrateful he was because I'm sure other kids his age don't have his opportunities. 

"Don't take me back. I don't like chicken salad with pecans and grapes. I just want to eat plain chicken salad," he exclaimed. 

"Well, where do you like chicken salad?" I was annoyed because my whole idea of lunch was going down the tubes rather quickly. 

"I just want some plain chicken salad." he stated. 

I'm not sure what made me come to my senses. Perhaps, I realized that my goal was to spend quality time with him. It shouldn't be about the menu or even chicken salad. Instead, it should be about being together. Sometimes, we have our own set ideas that it can make it difficult to see through the forest when trouble comes along. 

Maybe an angel helped me come to my senses, but I must have had some divine intervention because I very quickly realized that this day was about him deciding his future.  I didn't need to win this battle. 

I said, "I'm taking you to the perfect place to get chicken salad. There is no place to sit, we will make do. I used to love getting their chicken salad." 

And we went to Snoopy's, a Raleigh institution since 1978. We parked on a side street and walked to the little drive-in that only takes walkers. 

We loved our lunch on a little bench outside the restaurant. It was the perfect city picnic. 

It turned out to be a beautiful day. There was not a pecan or grape in sight. 



Snoopy's Chicken Salad in Raleigh, NC. An institution since 1978.


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1.10.2017

Frozen Raleigh: Parents Work to Survive Another Day Home with Kids

The younger your children are hen the worse off you have it when it snows and ices.  I sympathize with you. I remember.

Trust me, my children are no picnic on snow days either, but younger kids have to be entertained and it's so tiring. It's beyond draining.

Preschool moms, I really feel for you.You can't get anything done. It now takes you an hour to do what would normally take you ten minutes if you were alone.

And it's so cold outside. Mother Nature is not your friend. You have to spend a half hour bundling those kids up and then you take them outside for just ten minutes.  Yes, ten minutes, if that.  I think I remember my child wanting to come in after five minutes. It's not worth all that prep. Nope, it's not.

I remember those days. I really tried to limit my children's electronic and TV use when they were in those crucial preschool years. I was a better mom back then. Now, I'm more like Elsa, and just let it go. They can go at those electronics all they want.  It's not going to hurt them for a few days. They're happy. I'm happy. I'm giving us all a break. During our normal routines, we are never home enough to use electronics and if we are, it's usually less than an hour at most in use.

I think back to all the junk I watched on snow days in my youth. TV was different back then. We had soap operas. I watched people in bed one minute and arguing the next. I lived through ten of Erica Kane's marriages.

My kids, in contrast, watch a silly dog on their snow days barking songs. But, that's not enough. They want to show me the silly dog barking a song.

The tiny, fluffy dog barked the "can-can" yesterday. It is one of his better numbers. Unfortunately, I can't get that "can-can" barking song out of my head now. The dog has a name. It's Gabe. I think I know way too much about that Pomeranian-American Eskimo mix. In reality, I'm trying to figure out how that mix happened at all.

Watching Gabe bark doesn't tire them out, though. I noticed that Jack was running in place last night. It sounded like something was coming through the ceiling.

And sibling bickering picked up a little today. Well, it has been four days of togetherness.

Tomorrow has to be last day. We have just one more day now to be lazy, wear mismatched clothes and act as if we have nothing to do in the world.

I kind of cherish these times now at their age until it is way past their bedtime then I just don't want to see them anymore.

Truthfully, we are no longer iced in at our home near Downtown Raleigh, but when schools are out, I still pretend like we are snowed in, too.

Here's a photo I snapped of my street and of our new house on the day the storm came through. It's our first winter event here. How do you pass the time during snow days when there is no school?

Raleigh Snow



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1.01.2017

Personal: Cheers to 2017 and a Little Daily Inspiration

We all feel a little recharged on the first day of January. Don't we?  I even made a new "keep me on task" printable download. You can use it, too if you like. I felt as if it got to the core of what I need to remember as this new year goes on.







The first day of January is like a brand new beautiful baby to us.  It's so fresh and new.

I love it because it's a brand new start. Yes, we can wipe that "old 2016 slate" clean.

When January comes, we all have great ideas to boom our businesses, lose weight around the middle, and have more fun. We have good intentions to laugh more, fuss less, and get enough shut eye so that coffee is not a necessity, but rather a luxury perk.

Then after a couple of weeks, this little new little new year baby even though still fresh and fun starts to aggravate you a little just like past years. There are meetings. Housework to work.  PTA meetings to attend. Children continue to have homework and projects due. Bills need to be paid. And there is no telling what Trump will tweet. You almost dread to see your Facebook page to see what your friends are selling, who is on a glamorous vacation or who has died. (Y'all know I have a sense of humor I sell things just like the rest of them.)

Oh yes, it may be a new year, but over time, the scenarios repeat itself.

How many of you have had this little drama unfold?

It's Sunday night at 7 pm and your child just so happens to remember the following important information, "Hey, Mom. I am supposed to bring cupcakes to school tomorrow."

"Now you tell me. You could not think to tell me when we passed the cupcake aisle at Harris Teeter five hours ago.?"

Or this one?

I ask a 5th grader at 3:50 pm on a Thursday. "What type of homework do you have tonight?"

Response. "Just a quick worksheet."

Wonderful. He plays on the computer because the silence is golden.

Fast-forward to 10 pm at night. "You need to go to bed now. It's really late."

Panic sets in.  It escalates. "I have a test tomorrow. I forgot. "

Yep, that's called Parenthood.

Our word for every year is usually chaos.

But, we wouldn't have it any other way. Chaos is pure joy to parents even in the weirdest way. Just when you feel like you want to drop them off at the fire department or maybe it would be less hard to send them to a really good boarding school, they do something that makes your heart melt.

As chaotic as our life is, our children make our lives worth living.

We just all wish for a child-free escape every now and then.

Happy New Year!!! If you can, tell me your funny child scenario that will ring in your chaos in 2017 and where you would like to escape to on any given week.

As you daydream, don't forget that you can book your stays with Marriot.com off my site as well as Hotels. com, Living Social and Expedia. 

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