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

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.

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.

Lock Down Update. . .

What a crazy world we live in. . .

What a crazy world we are living in these days. The government has told us to stay home unless you are doing something essential. What is essential exactly? Is it essential for your kids to have sleep overs? Does a family BBQ with fifty of your closest friends and family constitute essential? Is it essential for you to buy seeds to plant your garden that you and your family live on throughout the year? Who decides what is and is not essential? Who??

What is essential. . . I know you were wondering. . .

Apparently being essential depends on if the government sees your employer as being essential. Healthcare, grocery, take out restaurants, and hardware stores seem to all be essential. These are the places that are open and going strong around us. There was some talk of stores not allowing folks to buy seeds, art supplies, crafts, books, music or any entertainment. In my personal opinion all of those are essential. If moms and dads are staying home educating their kids they need access to all of these items. Books are essential for everyone no matter the age.

These two goofballs are why I stay home they are also why I keep them at home.

Why should you stay at home???

When you are on a stay-at-home order by the government it means you are suppose to stay at home unless your job is essential. The hubs and I have been on a self imposed stay at home since he was told to stay home by his company and I was sent home to work remotely by my company. That was about March 15th. We both work in healthcare so we see the ramifications of not staying at home. We both understand how these little buggers are transmitted and the obvious ways to curb transmission. We stay at home to protect our kids and our loved ones in other households.

This is my “Just Saying” moment. . .

This is not the time to go to the beach, this is not the time to have a sleep over for your kids because they are bored. You should be thinking about your health as well as those around you because you do not know who is and is not infected. I saw the statistics from the CDC on one of my first COVID 19 follow up webinars through work, one cab driver was connected to forty other cases in New York. This is how easily and simply this virus is transmitted. So please think before you plan that BBQ with your family and friends.

Stay safe and love your loved ones at a distance for now.

Here’s to Twenty-eight Years Together. . .

Twenty-eight years. . .

The hubbs and I have been married twenty-seven years this weekend. Together twenty-eight years, we met at my very first job right out of college, we were lab partners. Working third shift right out of college in a town I knew nothing about and the only person I knew was my roommate a friend from college. The hubbs and I were friends and lab partners first, we ran the same test in the lab.

Love at first sight. . .

It was love at first sight for me, not sure about my hubby. We hung out as friends those first several months and then we had a “date.” We still argue of what is and is not a date. He says what I considered a date was not really a date. I do love what he considered our first date. He took me to dinner and then on a horse and buggy ride in October, so we got to snuggle. A true romantic at heart, he will never admit that though and I am perfectly fine with that.

Hope for the future. . .

I hope that my husband and I have shown our boys what real love is about. We argue and we fight but we also compromise and make up. We work together to keep house and make our house a home. During this virus quarantine he has really come through with taking care of our family. I have been working night shift from home and he makes me dinner before I have to go downstairs to the office and log on. He also has been doing most of the cooking and making sure the boys are doing their school work.

Marriage and the quarantine . . .

We have been shelter in place long before the governor made it so. The hubbs and I knew it was the best practice to keep our family safe. These next few weeks will be trying, keeping the boys occupied and keeping ourselves from going stir crazy. Someone said that these circumstances bring out the true character of someone. It can make someone who is generous be more generous or it can make someone that is a jerk be more of a jerk. I have seen the true character of my hubby and it is someone that is generous, caring, and very talented in all that he does. I hope that my boys will follow his lead growing up and growing into young men.

Conclusion . . .

We will celebrate quietly tonight as a family our twenty-seven years together: no fan fare, no exotic trip, no large group of friends, just the four of us. That is what being on quarantine means. This is what you do to keep those you love safe. Please stay safe and stay at home to keep everyone safe.

We celebrated twenty-five years together in St. Lucia, WI.