Want to follow my blog?
Pick a way to do it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Questions and Answers

For the new people who are just starting to read my ramblings, every now and then I ask people on my facebook page to ask me questions, and then I answer them. It's fun to do and sometimes sparks some really interesting conversation.

So these are the questions that were asked tonight (oh, and I copy and paste these, so if there are typos, they're not mine!)..... 

Brad asked:  When is The Dude going to do another guest blog? Nor that there is anything wrong with UR posts. I just really like hearing what he has to say. As much awesome craziness comes out of UR head, he's got U beat in random craziness dept. Also, I'd like to see another "deeply personal" blog. The last one U did was great & I'm ready for another peek inside the woman that is Non-Stop Mom!! 

As for The Dude doing a guest post, we've been tossing that idea around for a month or more. He's willing to do one - it's just a matter of forcing him to sit down and do it. Maybe if enough people started nagging at him.... *hint hint* Seriously though, he is an awesome writer, and I would love to have him do one soon too.

The "deeply personal" posts - yeah, I don't do those very often. They can really take a lot out of me, and it's usually when something has been brewing for a while. However....I know I keep hinting around about this, but Friday will be a much deeper post than usual. I'm collaborating with someone on it, and it's an important message. So watch for that one for sure.

Laney asked: As a Mom, what do you think your biggest success has been? Your biggest failure? 

Good questions!

Let me start with the biggest failure, because it's always easier to criticize ourselves than it is to say something positive. What's ironic is that I was just thinking about this today. I honestly think that my biggest failure is that I couldn't save not just one, but two marriages. My kids went through hell throughout both divorces, and it still makes life difficult at times. I wish that they didn't have to go through that - but they did and I can't change it. The only thing that we can do is to move forward.

Which brings me to the biggest success, and I truly think that would have to be that I finally allowed myself to fall in love again. Finally allowing those walls to come down and to show both my strength and my vulnerability has made me a better person, both for myself and for my kids. I can now show them what a real honest-to-goodness relationship is supposed to look like, and that's something that they haven't really ever seen from me.

Kristie asked: You already have the work of ten normal people every day - I don't know how you do it, but its awesome! Any tips on how (logistically) to work in time for the beautiful walks you take those pictures of? If you go in the mornings does it help keep your energy up? And thank you so much for everything you share. You've brought much laughter and inspiration to my husband and me! :) 

First of all, thank you so much for the kind words - I really really do appreciate them so much! As for the time for the walks, I seriously have to schedule it. I put them in my datebook and I work everything else around them. I've been slacking lately and haven't been out for a couple of weeks, but I'm going tomorrow no matter what happens. I do try to go first thing in the morning because if I don't (like today) I get distracted and then I don't go. I do feel so much better when I go (after I get over the initial pain from my joints) and when I go regularly.

Wendi asked: When you do your monthly grocery shopping, do you do a meal plan for the month first, or do you just wing it? And what is your monthly food budget for you and 5 hungry ones?

Perfect timing - I'm sitting here with my grocery list in front of me, because tomorrow is the day! I try to plan out meals for the month. I figure the days that I have to cook (when all 5 kids are here) and plan a meal for each of those. I don't usually plan a meal for the nights when it's just me and the younger two because we'll eat leftovers or sandwiches, or make something super-simple. Having the older 3 kids here only half of the time significantly cuts down on my grocery bill. Once I have the meals laid out on the calendar, I make my grocery list, and then go through my cupboards and cross stuff that I already have off of the list. So far it seems to work fairly well - as long as we stick to the menu. I also try to stock up on the staples - macaroni & cheese (*barf*), canned tomatoes/sauce, spaghetti sauce, tons of flour and sugar, etc.  I can usually do it for under $300 - but I buy very little prepared food and make *almost* everything from scratch, which is way cheaper.

Jenni asked: How do you handle the kids getting violent with each other? My girls have been doing this more and more lately and it's driving me crazy. 

Million dollar question right there. It seems to be getting worse with all of mine too, and sometimes seems totally unprovoked. About the only thing that has worked so far is physically separating them and distracting them with something. Make one go get something (make something up) out of another room and make the other one go pick up [insert random object] off of the floor. Anything to get their minds off of beating the crap out of each other.

Jennifer asked: What are some of your easiest go to recipes for a quick dinner? I struggle figuring out meals...... 

The kids love macaroni & cheese (*barf*) and fish sticks. It doesn't get much easier than that, but I think it's gross. The other easy ones *looking at my list in front of me*....sloppy joes, burgers, tacos. I've also started *trying* to make 2 meals at a time when I have the stuff available. If I'm making a chicken pot pie, for example, I'll try to make 2 and stick one in the freezer. Then sometime in the future when I know I'm going to have a crazy day, stick it in the fridge the night before then just pop it in the oven the next night and BAM. Supper. So much easier, but it does take planning.

Sandi asked: How do you maintain your friendships? I only have two kids and am frustrated that I've lost touch with many wonderful friends. 

Facebook is my lifeline. I hate to admit that, but it's the truth. It's the best way for me to keep in touch, but at the same time, I don't have a lot of local friends. Geographically, most of my closest friends are about 30 miles from here so it's hard to just "pop in" to visit. I'm also in a mom's group (of course it's on facebook) for local moms and the group organizes playdates and such - but again, I don't live in the city so it takes some planning for me to be able to attend those.

Greg N Jessica asked: Do you have any picky eaters? Tips on getting one to eat? I have one on the spectrum and he. eats. nothing. It's driving me insane. Do you an The Dude go out on "dates"? If so, where have some of your favorite "dates" taken you/led you to do? 

Ugh. They are all so picky. I hate it. I don't know what it is with kids these days because when I was growing up, we weren't allowed to be picky. We ate what was on the plate and we didn't get an option. To some extent, I'm the same way with my kids though. I make supper, and if they refuse to eat it - that's their problem. Keep in mind - that's only if they *refuse* to eat it. If they try it and legitimately don't like it (I can tell when they're faking) I will get them something else - usually leftovers. If they're just being stubborn, I don't bargain with them. They aren't going to starve to death if they refuse to eat one meal - and usually they end up eating at least part of it by the time the meal is done.

As for The Dude and me going on dates - it doesn't happen very often, but occasionally we do. Our dates are usually during the day when the kids are in school though. Sometimes they're as fun and exciting as going grocery shopping together! Seriously though, we try to at least go out to lunch about once a week or so. We're on a mission to try all of the local eateries in town (instead of the chain restaurants) and we have found some wonderful little places to go to. Sometimes, we get to go out at night by ourselves, but that's very rare - between his work schedule and my kid schedule, finding the time to go and do anything alone is hard. Most of the time, we end up on family dates with all of the kids - and we have a blast!

Amanda Diane asked: Any tips on potty training? I have an autistic 6 year old boy and a NT 4 year old boy. Neither are even slightly interested in the potty or anything to do with it. Yay me. lol 

That's a toughie. I have no idea what to tell you other than (and you probably know this already) try to find something that's going to "click" with each one of them. Let each one pick his own potty seat or chair or whatever he wants to use, and pick what kind of underwear he wants to wear - things like that. Make it as much their choice as you can. And I would also suggest talking to their pediatrician to see if he/she can give you any ideas. Good luck!

Jennifer asked: How badly did The Dude curse you for photoshopping his Cowgirls jacket? Also, If you could have one thing for Christmas, what would it be and why?

Haha! I hadn't posted that picture on here yet, so you just gave me the perfect excuse to do it! He's said some pretty mean stuff and has threatened to "get even" with me - but he hasn't made good on his threats yet. I'm sure he will at some point though. I can't help it that his team sucks....and got stomped trashed trampled beaten by the Redskins on Thanksgiving Day. I guess all of that trash talking finally caught up with him. Darn.

Now, one thing for me for Christmas. Honestly, you have me totally stumped there. I really don't want anything. But if money were no object, I would love to get back to Pennsylvania for a few days over Christmas break to spend some time with my parents. However, since that's not going to happen we just have to start saving our money for TMOART:13.

Kim asked: So do you have a quilting machine or a regular sewing machine.. The one you use for your quilting contraption..lol 

That is just a regular sewing machine. It sits on a platform that moves along the quilt in order to do free-form quilting. I have a video of me actually doing it....somewhere. I just need to find it and post it.


So that's it for this round of questions. Always remember, you can ask me just about anything. If you stray into "forbidden territory" I'll let you know. But honestly, that territory is pretty small.


Now, on a totally different note - I would like to ask that you keep Sam and his family in your thoughts and prayers. He is in Jared's third grade class, and he has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. I just found out about this last night, and I don't know any other details other than the family sent out a request for extra prayers tonight. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like for his family right now.....so please, say a prayer or send a happy thought or do whatever it is that you do for this little boy.


  1. Sloppy Joes & Tacos is something I wouldn't have thought about! Don't ask me why, because Joe & I love both, and I'm sure Ava would too....I am going to have to dig out my recipe for sloppy joes......

    1. Psssst..... a pound of meat and a can of Manwich. Problem solved.

  2. Manwich? Are you rich? Mix some 2 parts ketchup to 1 part mustard. ;)

  3. my sloppy Joe recipe: 1 lb ground meat, 1/2 chopped onion, 1 can tomato paste, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp white vinegar, 1-2 squirts of yellow mustard, 1 -1 1/2 c ketchup. Saute onions, brown meat, add remaining ingredients let simmer 10 min on low heat. Much better than Manwich and very easy and tasty. Less expensive also.


I have only two rules - don't reveal anyone's personal information, and be respectful. It's not difficult, honest. Now, go on and play.