No Cell Phones for the Kiddos

I took a lot of crap on this one. . .

A little back story; most if not all of Sprat’s friends got phones by the time they were in middle school, some even had them in elementary school. The hubby and I were of the mindset that phones are a need for adults not a toy for children. During this time I was a stay at home mom and the boys were either at school or with me. No reason for either of my boys to have a phone. There are some cases where I understand a child would need a phone to reach a parent if both parents worked and there could be transportation issues. Let us not forget how many kids went through the school system before there were phones and survived just fine. Even parents can fall in to the trap of peer pressure.

One of the main reasons my boys did not get a phone until it was a need. . .

Cell phones give people access to the internet and all sorts of communication. For adults cell phones are a necessary evil to be productive in their jobs. Children do not need that kind of unlimited access to the internet or their friends. Giving a child a cell phone is like inviting their bully from school into your home, the pedophile that was just released from prison or has not been caught yet into your home. Yes, I am being very serious there is so much out there that children should not have access and you cannot be there all the time to watch over that interaction. Kids are bullied every day in school, both of my boys were and you would not believe by who. If they had phones during that time those bullies would have had access to my boys at home where they should feel safe and secure.

Yes, adults/parents can fall victim to peer pressure. . .

Determined I would not fall victim to peer pressure with my boys. Sprat in fifth grade and Big T in third grade, Big T jumps in the car and reports Sally has an iPhone. I have changed the names to protect the overindulgent parents. LOL!! I simply replied Ok, and how was everyone’s day? I tried to gloss over that because I knew that would set Sprat off because all he could talk about was how he needed a phone. I always laughed and told them both a phone was not a need for a child. I have to ask why a third grader needs a phone and an iPhone to boot? It has to be peer pressure, no normal parent would say; hey, let’s spend $800 on a new phone for our special little third grader.

You would think my children were the most deprived. . .

To hear my oldest tell about his phoneless sophomore year of high school you would think we shoved bamboo shoots under his finger nails every night after dinner (liver and onions). By Sprat’s freshman year in high school all of his friends really did have phones, but many of them bought them with their own money. I have no problem with a kid that has a job buying a phone and paying for his service and phone himself . In fact, I thank that is awesome and kudos to the parents that have kids that are that industrious. Mine were not that industrious, Sprat thought his dad and I printed money in the basement.

The straw that broke the camels back . . .

When Big T was finishing up sixth grade my very sweet hubby was re-organized out of a job. Yep, two weeks shy of twenty-five years with the same company my sweet hubby was laid off. He looked for work and after six months with no luck I decided to look for something part time to help with insurance once his severance ran out. I found a great job that I could work part-time with insurance benefits. This was very exciting, but this meant that days I worked Big T would be riding the bus. The boys did not mind riding the bus, they had ridden it a couple of times before. The problem was that being part-time I could get called in at the drop of a hat. This meant that Big T’s transportation could change with very little notice.

Need to back track here just a bit, at this point Sprat has his license and yes a phone too (not an iPhone). Sprat got a flip phone not a smart phone for his first phone when he started driving. I do believe kids that are driving do need a phone for just in case. Now Big T a seventh grader is going to get a phone (not an iPhone). When Big T got a phone I broke down and Sprat did finally get a smart phone. Let all the horrible mama talk begin. . .

In Conclusion. . .

I have laid it all out here, you must in the end make the decision that best fits you and your child. Just remember once you open Pandora’s Box you cannot close it.

A Little More Advice for Mom’s

These are few things I wish I had done sooner. . .

I found this on Pinterest many years ago. You can find neat things to do with and for your kids on Pinterest. You write your child letters and enclose money in each letter, not a lot of money a five, a twenty, whatever you have extra. According to Pinterest you are supposed to write one letter each year and give them to your child at their high school graduation.

Did not find this one until the boys were older, so I wrote to the boys more frequently throughout the years. Sprat got his letters when we left him at school his freshman year in college. I did give him direction on opening them, he was told he could only open one a month. When he realized there was money in them I was afraid he would tear through them and not really read what I had written. My goal here was to give my child something that I had written in my own hand that told him how much he was loved when he was growing up and how I felt when we argued and that no matter what his Dad and I were very proud of him. Let’s face it, teens do test their parents to the very end.

The picture is a little dark but those are Sprat’s letters in his hand as we get ready to leave him in Boston.

School teachers and your kids. . .

I saw this one on Pinterest too. I did not do this one personally but I thought it was neat and had I found it when the boys were younger I would have done it. Take one of your child’s favorite books and each year have their favorite teachers write a note to them in the book. Pinterest suggested books like Dr Seuss or the Berenstain Bears. When your kids graduate high school they have a book full of positive notes from their favorite teachers throughout their school years.

A little garden stone. . .

Throughout your child’s school career they will make hand print turkeys, footprint I love you notes, and cut out hearts with their pictures for mom. Hobby Lobby and other shops of that nature sell make your own stepping or garden stones. We purchased two when we moved to our new house in 2006 and the boys created their very own stones to put in our flower bed. These stones still adorn our front flower bed today. They have their hand prints and some shards of glass and the date they were joyfully created. I wish I had done a few more at different times I could have my own garden path made with their little hands and feet.

Big T’s stone, you just barely see his little hand print.

Pinterest is a neat little library of ideas. . .

Pinterest holds a wealth of information from everything to job searches to recipe ideas. I found many little things to do with my kids to enhance their education and expand their horizons. Check out my Pinterest boards for yourself. https://www.pinterest.com/pamperedpage

Advice for New/Young Moms from an Old Mom. . .

I do not like people giving advice either but. . .

These are the things I wish someone had told me when I was waiting on my first bundle of joy. Here is the background on this “old ” mother. I am not really that old, I am the mother of older children. My oldest is twenty-one and the youngest getting ready to turn eighteen, so I feel like I know a few things about raising kids/boys. I had a lot of on the job training. What I am going to share with you are some of my regrets and some of what I feel are my greatest accomplishments as a mom, the later will be a short list.

Sprat and I when he was just a few months old.

Number one: You are a good mom, always remember that

This is an honest post on motherhood, this is merely my opinion and you know what everyone says about those. One of the things I did but did no do as much as I wanted, was hold my babies. Everyone says; do not run to your baby and hold them every time they cry. Let them cry themselves to sleep they need to comfort themselves. Hog wash, you hold that baby and snuggle that baby there will be plenty of time for them to learn self soothing later on. There is not one mother on this earth that will say they regret they held their baby too much. Not one, I promise. I did hold mine a lot and snuggle and one of my favorite things was to take naps with them when they were babies. There is no better sleep when you are mom than laying beside your baby and snuggling.

Christmas with your newborn and older. . .

Your little one will not remember what material things you gave them, they will not remember how you tried to make everything perfect for their holiday. They are too young, save your money and put that toward their college fund. I also started buying the boys Christmas ornaments each year. These boys will have the best decorated trees in their early lives of any boys out there. They may or may not remember those trips to see the grandparents and the visits with Santa so take lots of pictures. LOTS of pictures!! You can help them remember those experiences with your pictures. Did I say take pictures, lots of pictures. No mother has ever said, I wish I did not take as many pictures as I did of my baby or my kids. Not one, I promise.

The Polar Express 2007

Start saving for college as soon as you see those two lines. . .

When I mentioned above about “scrimping” on Christmas, I just meant on silly things that the kids will not remember or that will break. Save your money and start them a college savings fund, it does not necessarily have to be for college it could be for them to go out on their own after high school. Younger kids are happy to open a gift and play with the box they do not care what is inside the box. Save your money and put it away for them when they are older. This is one I wish I had done a little more aggressively. I had an empty water cooler jug, one of those five gallon numbers, we put our change in and started a college/savings fund for Sprat even before he was born. We joked when anyone came to see him after he was born they had to put some change in the jug. I charged for visits with the baby. My parents loved it and graciously added dollar bills to his stash. Later we opened a true college savings fund. We slacked off on our contributions and that I do regret. Start that college fund and keep up with your contributions.

Seal a time capsule. . .

This one is probably more for the parents than the kids but Sprat really enjoyed his. We sealed a time capsule on his first birthday to be opened when he turned eighteen. When we sealed that capsule, eighteen years seemed like an eternity. Those eighteen years flew by like lightening streaking through the night sky. I think Sprat was probably older than eighteen when he opened his, I let him open it after high school graduation at a family get together. Everyone in the family had contributed to it, there were things from both sets of grandparents and from older cousins. Sprat loved it, he was amazed at all of things that were included and the list of things that were going on in the world when he was born. I bought an official time capsule, I think Gerber may have made it. Big T will be getting one made out of an old popcorn tin, a little less official but still holds many memories. Big T will be opening his this year, I cannot wait to see what we put in it.

Sprat getting ready to open his time capsule. . .

Take lots of pictures. . .

I cannot say this one enough, take lots of pictures of your babies and of you with your babies. These pictures will be your diary of their lives. They can look back to these pictures and be reminded how much they were loved and all the cool things they got to do. My kids get so tired of me taking pictures of them, yes I still take lots of pictures of my kids, my husband and sweet Basil. I have recently looked back at pictures that my parents took of us kids and I love them. The pictures I have of my mom and dad before they had me and of my grandparents who passed away before I was born are true treasures. I have a few pictures of my maternal grandmother when I was little, she passed when I was in third grade. My hope is that my kids will treasure ALL of the pictures I have taken of them over the years.

Sprat on his first beach trip 2000
Mommy was being silly with Big T and put him in the laundry basket.
Big t and Sprat being silly together.
The hubbs and the boys at Seaworld 2007
Tubing down the river.

You will get a lot of unsolicited advice when you are planning your wedding, when you first get married and especially when you find out your are expecting. Listen to all of it and then pick and choose what to use. I hope you find some of what I shared useful. Remember you are a good Mom!!

How Did You Get Through 2020?

We began a new fitness routine. . .

Mid year last year I invested in this little gadget called a Bellaleaf. It is one of those fitness/wellness trackers(no I am not being paid for any of this post nor do I get kick backs for my posts). I detest Apple products, I always have and always will. Looked at those fit bit things many times but did not care for them. Fell is love with this Bellabeat Leaf. http://bellabeat.com you can check it out at this link. I always encourage folks to do their own research.

Started waking last year to help me cope with my stress and anxiety. I wanted a way to track my steps, that is when I found the Bellaleaf. This little device pairs with an app on your phone, it tracks: sleep cycles, steps/activity time, you can add your hydration, and it even has a meditation portion that helps you do focused meditation. Have never been one to do meditation but I will admit I tried it out and it does help with stress. Found such a release with my walking and the meditation that I was walking three miles a day at least three days a week sometimes four.

Something always seems to get in the way. . .

I suffer from plantar faciitis, which is quite painful when walking. Mine had not flared in many years. All of a sudden I had hit a grove with my walks and it flared up again. The hubbs and I decided I needed an alternative for my walks especially if it was raining so we bought a stationary bike, nothing fancy, not a Peloton. It does have a digital screen and you can choose different workout options. Have not been able to go walk in several months but I have been riding, I ride about six miles in thirty minutes, it is not as soothing as my walks were but it does help burn off stress. The hubbs has also been riding the bike and he loves riding. The bike was the one thing he could do after his knee surgery almost five years ago.

The Boys are even getting in on the fitness kick. . .

Sprat has jumped in to the weight lifting and healthy eating routine. I am so proud of him, he works out for two hours a day with weights and is in an eating routine that would rival Schwarzenegger in his Mr Universe days. My sister dated a body builder in college so we watched all of the bodybuilding movies and my Dad always had Muscle and Fitness magazines laying around. I am glad he is watching what he eats and I hope he stay with the good eating habits. Big T is even getting in on the fun, he is starting to go and lift weights with Sprat. The eating well, Big T is a lot like his Mama, he likes the sweets. I have decided if I am going to eat sweets I will just have to walk or ride a little longer. My motto, I exercise so I can eat my sweets when I want. I think I need that on a T shirt. Anybody out there do T shirts??

What is your means of survival for this year?

What are you going to do to keep your sanity this year? Will you choose something to get you healthy or will you choose something destructive? A little tidbit, not doing anything can be destructive. My husband and I laughed when all of this started, we said people will either come out of this super healthy and fit or fat as mud and miserable. Just telling it like it is. I am opting for being fit. I am working from home so that has cut out most of my fast food eating that I was guilty of. Please comment and let me know how you are coping with the stress. I am open for suggestions.

Year in Review . . .

Review of our year 2020, what a doozie it was. Mom recovered, they got a new house and the boys have survived being on lock down for the pandemic.

2020, Let Us Look Back. . .

2020 was a whirl wind of ups and downs for our family. My mom recovering from hip replacement and she and Dad staying in an apartment while the basement of their home was being renovated for one level living. I say renovated I should say gutted and re-built because that is what really happened. My sister, her husband, and my brother worked tirelessly to get everything up to date and code. We moved them back home in November and we celebrated Thanksgiving in the newly renovated basement. Mom and Dad could not be happier in their house and familiar surroundings.

Sprat Came Home. . .

Sprat came home from College in Massachusetts early and his lacrosse season was cut short. A strong finish for the Sophomore year with Academic All Conference award. He continued his College courses from home remotely. He is heading back to Massachusetts in a week to start his Spring semester and fingers are crossed for a lacrosse season.

Family pictures over the Christmas break, this will be Sprat’s Jr year of College picture. Such a handsome devil.

Big T had a Banner Year . . .

Big T had his Junior year lacrosse cut short by the pandemic and he completed his Junior year of school from home. This Senior year has also been a remote year for Big T. We found out that if he completes his course work that he is on track to complete that he will not only have his high school diploma in May but he will also have an Associates degree in business administration from our Community College. We are very proud of him for this huge accomplishment. This is not only big for him but big for us, this will be a savings on his Bachelor’s degree and if he chooses to go for a Masters it will not take as long.

Big T, this will be his Senior portrait since I hated the ones that the school took. How hard is it really to get a decent picture of a kid???

Apparently it is harder than I thought to get that good picture I was hoping for.

The Hubby and I Survived. . .

Finally, the hubbs and I survived being shelter in place for the better part of 2020, with two boys teen and twenty, due to the fact the hubbs company sent him home and my office sent me home and we kept the kids home. Sprat was more angry about being at home than Big T, Big T is of course the hypochondriac of our group and was thrilled to learn he could complete school at home. Sprat was not so happy, he wanted to visit with his friends once he had returned home. We kept them on lock down to start with and then we gradually let them start going out with masks and only to certain places.

Love these goofy boys to the moon and back!!

Would not Have Survived without this Guy. .

Love this guy too! Do not know what I would do without this one.

This guy has been our rock through all of this mess. He has done the shopping, the cooking and even some of the cleaning. He cooks for me when I am working and cannot go up stairs to grab a bite and he brings it to me sometimes with a little special treat. (chocolate) Always making sure I have plenty of caffeine cold in the fridge and will even go out in the worst of weather if I need some.

Stay Focused, Stay Positive

Trying to stay positive. . .

Trying to stay positive in all the drama. We planted the cut flower bed a few weeks ago and now it is so hot and dry that my flowers just look pitiful. My hope is that later everything will be established and be able to weather the Sahara of Arcadia. It could be pouring rain all over the County and in our neighborhood it will dry as the desert. Hence my comment on the Sahara.

The Mandevilla bed…
The hubbs beautiful tomato plants
Zucchini plants are all a bloom.
The celery was really good

Updates on everything. . .

Updates on everything: the hubbs and I are still working from home, the garden is feeding us very well, and the boys are doing their thing too. I am so proud of myself, I have made and frozen three pots of cabbage enchilada soup and two loaves of chocolate chip zucchini bread and a pot of potato soup and I do not want to forget the mountain stew. Last night I made a lemon zucchini pasta that was to die for. I will share that recipe later in the post. If it were just the hubbs and I we could live out of our garden, sadly the boys want meat and I cannot grow that in our garden. I am not a vegetarian or a vegan or anything like that I just do not have to eat meat. In fact, I prefer not to eat meat just because I do not like the texture.

I am dazzled. . .

I am dazzled by my hubby’s green thumb. Our garden is going like gangbusters this year and I know it is because we are blessed. Our peas did not do as well as we expected but I did enjoy those fresh little pearls of sweetness. I have high hopes for cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon this season. Our cucumbers and zucchini are just starting to mature. My goal, is a full freezer by Winter.

Recipe for lemon Zucchini pasta:

  • 2 medium Zucchini thinly sliced
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed
  • 2 peppers sliced (jalapeno, banana, green, red what ever you like)
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh oregano leaves
  • fresh lemon thyme
  • olive oil
  • white wine
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • Parmesan cheese
  • whole wheat pasta

Saute onion, peppers and garlic in olive oil then add Zucchini and a splash of white wine. While that is cooking, cook your pasta. I like the whole wheat angel hair pasta personally. After your Zucchini is soft add your fresh herb leaves and your lemon juice and cover and let simmer, if it seems dry add a little more white wine. Once your pasta is done top with your Zucchini mixture and a little fresh Parmesan.

Stay tuned I will share my enchilada cabbage soup recipe next time.

Enchilada Soup

Random Thoughts. . .

Uncertainty . . .

Some many things are uncertain right now, this pandemic has reeked havoc on everything. We do not know one day to the next what new limits will be imposed on us. We have imposed some limits on ourselves. The hubbs and I have weekly calls with our managers and co-workers to stay up to date on this ever changing environment. The boys have meetings with their teachers and coaches weekly too. We still do not know if schools will be back on campus in August. This is the end of Big T’s junior year of high school and we normally would be planning college visits. Not sure how all of this is going to play out but we will attack it as a family.

Thankful Tuesday. . .

I am very thankful for my husband, there is not anyone any better than him to have to endure this “thing” with. He is my rock, my love, and my best friend. The other day I was working and we had been very busy so I had not had a break for food. My very sweet husband had fixed dinner for the boys and brought me a plate downstairs to the office so I could eat. When I am working the boys will come down and visit with me, if I am not on the phone. Big T has entertained me with his Ukulele on numerous occasions. Did I mention that he is teaching himself how to play the Ukulele?

Awww the Ukulele. . .

The Ukulele is an interesting little instrument, it is small and has a twang to it’s sound. I am not sure where Big T got the idea to learn to play the Ukulele but he is actually pretty good at it. He has been teaching himself via YouTube and other online tutorials. He is also learning to play the electric guitar. My hubby played the guitar many moons ago and so we still have ALL of the equipment. I love listening to Big T play his Ukulele he is quite talented, he gets that from the hubbs. I could not carry a tune if you strapped it to my back.

Big T and the Ukulele

The Garden Grows. . .

The garden is growing and we are so thankful the frost we got in this early May did not kill anything. Our peas did not come up as well as we had hopped, luckily though I still have some in the freezer. We had some volunteer Tomatillos come up and those will be a blessing since the ones we bought have not done well.

Recipe Flops and Recipe Wins. . .

Trying New Recipes. . .

I love trying new recipes, they do not always work out they way they should but I always learn a lesson. The other day I learned coconut oil does not always fry up the way you want. I love falafel but I have never made it and wanted to try my hand at making it. I found a good recipe on Pinterest https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/the-best-falafel/

My Mistake. . .

My mistakes usually start with leaving parts of the recipe out. This was no different, I used can chick peas instead of dry and I did not add near enough fresh herbs(I used dry herbs) or flour. The flour was really my biggest problem. I had everything mixed up, my balls formed and oil heated to 350. I dropped 3 balls in the oil and with in seconds they disintegrated. The oil bubbled up and almost out of my pan and I almost set the house on fire. I tried to bake my falafel in the oven and they also flattened out and some fell completely apart.

Looking Back. . .

Looking back, I should have added all of the flour but I thought it had enough. The flour was the real problem and the coconut oil. The ones that did well baked were very tasty. You bake at 375 for 30 minutes and flip them half way through. The recipe itself was very good, they had a great taste, I need to work on my baking. I will try these again, I do love falafel!

My Recipe Win. . .

My recipe win was deviled eggs, I decided to try a new recipe with horseradish. https://bevcooks.com/2012/08/horseradish-deviled-eggs-for-jennys-baby-shower/ These little devils are very good, the horseradish adds that extra kick. The hubbs and Sprat liked them and I got to use my fresh dill.

We Have Timbers. . .

The hubbs found cedar timbers. . .

The hubbs found the cedar timbers for the flower bed. Big T and the hubbs built my new cut flower bed. I am so excited, we have to wait for my peony to bloom before we can move forward with the dirt, this is going to be very cool. I have said many times how much I love fresh cut flowers and now I am going to have my very own bed to cut from.

What a very talented hubby I have. He did such a good job on this bed.
this is the celery that the hubbs planted. the brown paper bag is wrapped around it to protect the stalks from sunlight so that they do not get “woody” and tough.

Now to figure out what to plant in the bed. . .

Both peony plants will be in there and I was thinking maybe some tulips too. I have never tired to grow tulips in a bed, we planted some in the edge of our woods one year but the soil was so bad they did not grow. Some Gladiolus, Dahlias, Queen of Sweden English Rose, Clemantis, Zinnias, Dutch Iris, and some Ranunculus. That sounds like a lot right?

One day last year our neighbors were moving and they had put on the curb some things they were getting rid of, they had a wooden head board out there. My hubby comes home and tells me he is going to get the head board to put in my cut flower bed when he builds it. I told you I have wanted a cut flower bed for a long time. Funny thing about that head board, I had seen it too on my way home from work and thought the same thing. He went down and picked it up and brought it home. We are going to stain it and it will go at the top of the flower bed, I figure some Clemantis or even some type of rose would run well on that.

Stay tuned. . .

Stay tuned for more interesting things happening in the yard. The hubbs has a bug now about building and fixing things. He may put another bed around our Crepe Myrtle tree in the back yard. Tell me what you would put in your cut flower bed if you had one or if you already have one what is your favorite flower.

the Garden Grows in the COVID. . .

the Hubbs has been busy. . .

My husband has been very busy in the COVID pandemic. Our garden has been plowed and planted, he added tomatillos and some peppers yesterday. My cutting flower bed also has a good start. I was told we will take a trip to Lowes to get some timber to build up the bed. There is nothing like the smell of fresh cut flowers.

This was my herb garden last year. The hubbs built this little raised bed. This is similar to what my new cut flower bed will look like.
This was the herb bed yesterday. Sage, lemon Thyme, chives, Rosemary, and some Oregano hidden by the Rosemary, oh and Lemon balm. I also have Lavender and garlic planted here. It has grown nicely.
This is where my new cut flower bed will be. The hubbs has been busy during the stay at home order. You can see I already have a peony in place, it will be fixed in a better location in the bed. There is also another peony behind that one that will go in the bed eventually.
The garden: onion, cabbage, potatoes, peas, lettuce, spinach, and newly planted peppers, tomatillos, cucumbers, and zucchini.

There is a lot going on in our yard this year. Spring will be all a buzz at our house and I cannot wait.

I was able to talk the hubby into buying some flowers for my pot on the front porch, since my flower bed is not quite ready. We could not find any cedar timbers yesterday anywhere in town. Everyone must be building flower beds and raised garden beds. For now this will be my cut flower garden and my few peony plants I have in the front and the back.

What are you doing in the stay at home order to keep your sanity? Tell me how you are dealing with school for your kids and keeping everyone happy.