Frogs, Worms & Mud Pies

I was inspired by an article from theatlantic.com called The Overprotected Kid. It got me thinking about my own childhood, and how I am now raising my own kids.

Looking back on my own childhood it consisted of playing outside a lot, whether it be with my sister, friends, or other kids in the neighbourhood. We would go to the park around the corner from our house by ourselves. As we got a bit older, we even ventured to the neighbourhood convenience store for the occassional slurpy and treat by ourselves. If the weather wasn’t nice, we’d play in our play room in our basement, playing house, school, etc.

At school, I can remember playing with my friends in one of the sandpits in the school yard. We carved out our “houses” and collected lids off tin cans and other little pieces of garbage from a near by alley way to be our plates and decorations. My husband and I were recently at the park with our own daughters, when I observed similar behaviour of playing with the garbage on the playground. My oldest found an empty fruit cup container and was filling it with gravel pretending it was cat nip for Puss N’Boots, played by my youngest daughter.

Before we moved out of the city, I can recall one of our neighbours who had a couple of boys. She would sit outside in her lawn chair reading a book while her kids rode their bikes up and down the sidewalk on our block. What happened to the days of letting the kids out to play on their own.

For the past couple of years, I have let our girls play outside on their own. My only rules are, they have to stay on the sidewalk, and they can’t leave our block. They have also spent countless hours playing in the back yard on their own.

I have found a stranded toddler stuck on the swing set ladder she tried to climb to do the monkey bars by herself. I’ve found another child heaped on the sidewalk as she had tried to ride her bike down 2 steps to the sidewalk. Am I a bad parent? Some might think so. I’d rather think I was helping to build character. Why not let the kids explore and learn for themselves what the consequences are?

Last weekend we let the kids have free range of our upstairs with some friends, while us adults were working in the basement. At one point, I had gone upstairs to find them working on crafts. They were making taborines with some paper plates they found and they wanted macaroni to put into them to make them noisy. They had also helped themselves to cookies left sitting out on the counter, and had poured themselves juice. Was I mad? No, at least they were playing nicely together.

Kids should be allowed a certain level of autonomy. Let them play!

The Attitude of Gratitude

American Thanksgiving has recently passed, although we should make sure we are grateful everyday, and not just one day a year. This week there have been serveral things I have been grateful for. We had a big snow storm roll through the prairies this week and with it the temperatures plumetted. I was grateful for a snow day, as my car (which I nicknamed Santa’s sleigh) was in the shop. We braved the weather and picked it up in time to have for our winter driving.

I was also grateful to have the majority of our basement insulation finished, and also grateful for our furnace. There are still many people in our community who are without at least insulation, and a few still without furnaces. I am also grateful to be in my own home.

Whenever I have felt like I’ve been dipping into a downward spiral I start going through a gratitude list. Even if it only one small thing I can think of, it can often times turn a bad day into a good day. A good friend of mine was really struggling this week and was heading deeper into that spiral. I told her to think of at least one little thing to be grateful for. Even if it is something silly one of her kids did. And it helps.

Too often we forget to be grateful for the simple things. Even being grateful for being alive. We are where we need to be in each moment of time.

Thank  you for following my blog.

Unless…

I was reminded lateley of one of my favorite quotes from the Lorax.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
In the aftermath of the flood, so many people have been trying to point the finger as to who was to blame. Who is to blame them when a town worker states that yes one of the communities was sacrificed in order to drain some of the other communities faster. Everyone is looking for answers, and everyone is looking for funding so they can start to rebuild their lives. Some people are covered by insurance or disaster recovery, while others are not.
 
I believe it is up to ourselves to stand up for what we believe in. As well, while we are waiting, it is best to do what you can for your family. It is important to stay on top of everything so any applications don’t fall through the cracks. It is important to ask questions, even if the answer is no. So many people have a deep fear of rejection that they are afraid to ask any questions. They are afraid of confrontation.
 
If  your home has contanimated land, why not pick up a shovel and start removing it yourself. Yes it may take awhile, yet anything can be accomplished in baby steps. Now it may not be as easy as it sounds, and many people do not have a lot of disposable income, especially after this disaster to start fixing everything on their own. Yet at the same time, we should not sit and wallow in self-pity, as that solves nothing. Be proactive and start looking for solutions.

Hard Knox

“I get knocked down, but I get up again, ain’t never gonna keep me down…” – Tubthumping, Chumbawamba

Sometimes you need to take a hard knox approach to life. If life knocks you down, you need to get back up and start living again.

To take a more zen like, compassionate approach to life, if someone does you wrong, you need to bite your tongue and move on.

Stop dwelling on what cannot be unchanged. Stop holding a grudge. Be grateful for the little bit of help you do receive, even if you have to re-do the work to your standards.

Move on, move on, move on!

“Don’t look back, you’re life is not going that way!”

Humble pie (or should I say Pulled Pork Sliders)

Earlier this year my husband opened a southern style BBQ business out of our house. He recently decided to branch into catering and has certainly had his share of humble pie.

He has always enjoyed cooking and got into smoking meat a few years ago. He then thought, there aren’t many people doing southern style BBQ in our area, let alone Canada. He did his due diligence, and we opened our doors for business in May.

Last night I helped him serve pulled pork sliders at a local charity event. We donated the sandwiches in return for a bit of free advertising. Needless to say they were a huge hit here in beef country, and many people were surprised to find out we were a local company and they hadn’t heard of us.

It was so humbling for both of us to see how appreciative the community was towards our BBQ. I was so proud of my husband, and so happy to see and share the success of this experience.

Here’s to great food and some humble pie.

What is the worth???

My husband and I had a conversation this weekend on worth. He was explaining he was having some difficulty figuring out worth. For example, we have decided to make a bunch of our Christmas gifts this year. He is struggling with that fact for are we making the Christmas gifts due to finances being tighter in our household; or is it simply out of love? I told him most of the gifts we are making, I still would have made regardless had he had a job or not. What do you buy the person who has everything? If you’re somewhat crafty, why not make something with love that may be of some use to someone instead of giving them just another toy, or a gift card, or something they really don’t care about and would turn around to exchange or re-gift, etc.

Another scenario explained to me was about our cell phones and other gadgets. Did we really need iPhones and an iPad, etc? We decided the iPad has been worthy for us, as Ryan uses it for his business, we’ve used it on trips, and have used it for those few times we needed to entertain the kids. Our phones on other hand, did we really need an iPhone or other smart phone? Not necessarily. I usually use my to check email, or my WordPress stats, or Facebook, along with the occasional call or text. Aside from calling and texting, I could easily use our iPad for the rest of it if I didn’t want to fire up the computer. So in essence, did I really need an iPhone?

Also, about our phones in general, we decided earlier in the year to get rid of  our home phone. We had found a cell phone provider that had a plan that suited our needs and would give us the long distance plan we needed. Now did we really each need a phone? Part of me said yes, for if we were to go to one, Ry would have to carry it, and then what would happen when I went out-of-town by myself, which happens usually once a month?

Then comes a question, what is your time worth? In a job, you’re asked to write a proposal and you bill yourself out at an hourly rate. Since you don’t have a lot of experience on this particular topic, you take your time, do some research, and ponder what you want to write. You bill this out at 2 hours. While someone who is more familiar with the topic, it may only take them a half hour to do the job. What is the worth? If you’re paid a salary, you’re generally paid for your 8 hours a day, or whatever your contract states. If one piece of your job took 15 minutes to do, while another piece took you several days to complete, you’re still paid the same.

How your time is split between family and work is another question? Do you quickly squeeze some work in on the weekend when that is supposed to be your dedicated family time? Or do you prioritize and make a decision the issue can wait until Monday to deal with, then make it a priority during regular work hours. Mind you if you are on call and being paid to look at the problem on the weekend, that is an entirely different story.

Are you worthy of receiving a gift you could not even imagine ever to reciprocate? Are you worthy of winning the lottery? Are you worthy of a second chance of life? What is worth? Is it monetary, or is it different for each situation and each person?

Some deep thinkin for you on this Monday morning!

The problem solver!

Another good insight from the Dalai Lama to share today.

As long as we live in this world, we are bound to encounter problems. If, at such times, we lose hope and become discouraged, we diminish our ability to face difficulties. If, on the other hand, we remember that it is not just ourselves but also everyone who has to undergo suffering, this more realistic perspective will increase our determination and capacity to overcome troubles. – Insight from the Dalai Lama

This is another wonderful quote, and one that suits my life right now. It is so easy to get trapped in having a pity party for yourself when things don’t go the way you expected them to go. The mind can easily twist and warp our perceptions into making situations seem far worse than they truly are. Remember you are not alone on your quest, and it is not always about you. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, we simply need to keep moving forward.

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