August 31, 2007

Friday Feast

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Who is the easiest person for you to talk to?

My best friend Roni...she knows and understands me like nobody else. She loves me for who I am and would never do anything to hurt me.

If you could live in any ancient city during the height of the quality of its society and culture, which one would you choose?

Rome, only because its beautiful and I loved the clothes they wore.

What is the most exciting event you’ve ever witnessed?

Hmmmmm, well, giving birth was pretty exciting...I dont know if I witnessed it as much as I experienced it.

Main Course
If you were a celebrity, what would you do for a publicity stunt?

I dont think I would do anything to draw attention to myself. Look at Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Nicole Richie......enough said.

What do you consider the ideal age to have a first child?

Between 25 and 30. Although, I was a mother of 2 by 25:)

August 30, 2007

TT #26

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13 ways to determine if you're older than dirt. What do you remember?

1. Blackjack chewing gum

2. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water

3. Candy cigarettes

4. Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles

5. Coffee shops or diners with tableside juke boxes

6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers

7. Party lines (I use to have so much fun on those)

8. Hi-fi's

9. Blue flashbulb

10.S&H Green Stamps

11.45 RPM records

12.Metal ice trays with lever

13. Howdy Doody

August 28, 2007

The Cleaning Poem

I asked the Lord to tell me
Why my house is such a mess.
He asked if I'd been 'computering',
And I had to answer 'yes.'

He told me to get off my fanny
And tidy up the house.
And so I started cleaning up...
The smudges off my mouse.

I wiped and shined the topside.
That really did the trick...
I was just admiring my work..
I didn't mean to 'click.'

But click, I did, and oops I found
A real absorbing site
That I got SO way into.
I was into it all night. Sigh

Nothing's changed except my mouse
It's very, very shiny.
I guess my house will stay a mess...
While I sit here on my hiney.
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Its a contest!!!

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It's Baaaack! Yes, that's right, Tea Time Ramblings is doing a knitted dishcloth give-a-way once again. Her last winner was Shelly from This Eclectic Life. This give-a-way will consist of 5 knitted dishcloths in various colours and patterns.

The contest will be open until September 7, 2007 at 12:00 PM Central Standar Time. A random draw will be made from all entries.

To Enter: Leave a comment at Tea Time Ramblings, then post about the contest on your blog. She will pop by your blog to check out your post and enter you automatically! How easy is that?

Where have all the single people gone??

People that are single these days sometimes find themselves asking, "Where have all the single people gone?" You go to restaurants, to movies, to amusement parks and it seems that everyone is coupled up. Sometimes its a relief, especially if you are just getting out of a bad relationship, but sometimes it's a very lonely feeling. I did some research of the top places to live in the US that have the highest single population and here is what I found:

1. San Francisco
2. New York
3. Los Angeles
4. Atlanta fourth
5. Chicago fifth
6. Washington
7. San Diego
8. Seattle
9. Fort-Worth Texas

Denver, meanwhile, the top-ranked city from 2004 to 2006, has dropped to 16th place. A few new cities have been added, they are Jacksonville, Fla., Memphis and Baltimore. With the holiday season quick approaching, maybe its time to think about relocation or checking out the single sites in those areas. Ive done the holidays both with and without someone in my life and I would have to say, sharing special moments with someone special would have to be my choice. There are several options to chose from but sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself isnt one of them. Its not easy, but nothing worth while in life is. Look at what your community has to offer. Surf the internet for single's sites. I've done alot of internet dating and I would have to say, Ive had more good dates than bad. You meet so many different types of people. You have to be careful and dont invite them to your house on the first date. Use common sense and dont give out your house telephone number as there is a way to do a reverse look up and anyone can get your home address (unless you're unlisted). If the guy is a freak, the last thing you want is him showing up on your door step. Cell phone's are much safer. When you look at the alternative though, what do you have to lose???
Mr. Right wont come knocking on your door. You're going to have to do a little work and put yourself out there.

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August 27, 2007

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Raising teenagers can be hard, especially if you’re a single parent.

It's no question that raising teenagers is a challenge no matter how many parents are living in the home. Especially the ages between 12 and 16, which are marked by mood swings, defiant attitudes and attempts to push limits set by parents. During this time, teens try their hardest to gain adult independence, which is a normal part of growing up. So, this is the time to help them learn lessons and find their way to adulthood, despite the fact that it sometimes makes us feel like we are raising aliens from another planet. My oldest son took me to hell and back. As a single parent, I cried many times trying to figure out what I did wrong and why my child was doing the things he did. Their father lives in Tennessee and has only been in their live via telephone for the past 8 years. Although, he wasn’t dependable when he was here to begin with so I felt very alone. If it weren’t for the help of my sister and mother, I probably would have had a mental break down. I read a lot of books and articles that got me through the tough times. Here are a few suggestions that some of the experts say may help you get through the power struggles and turmoil that we all face as parents of teenagers.

Create Realistic and Enforceable Boundaries
The earlier this is done the better. Let your teen know that some boundaries you will negotiate and some you wont. Curfews, schoolwork, appropriate behavior, are some typical boundaries to set. Also, you can let your child come up with ideas so that they will be more apt to comply.
Dress Codes and Hairstyles
This is a good place for negotiating. The job of the teen is to shock their parents more than her parents shocked their parents! Most of the time, their desire to wear extreme clothing or hairstyles is directly correlated to the parent's vulnerability to the shock value. If you are horrified that your son wants to wear pants 4 sizes too big and then use a belt to hold the baggie jeans off their hips, just compromise and go with 2 sizes too big. I know that sounds silly but teenagers are so stubborn, they don’t care how ridiculous we think they look, it’s all about the style and what their friends think. If your daughter wants to dye her hair purple, don't freak out. Encourage her to buy non-permanent dye and allow her to do it for a weekend. Compromise a little and don't let your shock show — the motivation for the extreme will probably wane.
Non-Negotiable Health Issues
When it comes to alcohol, drugs, smoking and other obvious health risks, there should be no negotiation, and your child needs to know this. They say you should let them know they are responsible for their own behavior and should take themselves out of situations that could lead to trouble…lol…I have to laugh at this concept though. It’s really good in theory but I had a teen that did all three and had continuous problems with the law. That was my life for 2 years. Its amazing how good teenagers get at lying. Put the rules out there and follow thru when they are broken. You can get real tired of dealing with this day after day but its better than having no rules at all. Some parents give up…at one point, I can see why, but you can’t give up. As soon as they think you have, they will walk all over you and you might as well forget ever gaining that control back. You may need help if you have a troubled teen. Doing it as a single parent is more than challenging, its life altering.

Create an Inviting Environment
Make your home a safe haven for not only your own child, but for your child's friends as well. This means being approachable and available, even if the teens don't have much to say. Teenagers love to laugh, and they love to tease — learn to laugh at yourself and with them. My kids and I always cut up with each other. They are two of the funniest people I know.
Show Respect for the Other Parent
Even though you may have different rules, respect the other parent's opinion and explain to your teen that you are each entitled to make different rules for your separate homes. This has worked really well for other single parents that are friends of mine but I never had to deal with this. My ex was out of state so everything fell on me.

The bottom line is, don’t give up. I never thought Id survive with my oldest but I did and now he is in the Navy and I am very proud of him. Who’d of thought? At one point, rehab or prison were the only places I thought he would end up. In the end, he apologized for putting me thru what he did and thanked me for being such a good mother. Now, I just need to follow my own advise with my youngest, who will be 16 in October. So far, this appears to be going much easier then the first time around. They are two different kids, thank God, and my youngest witnessed everything the oldest put me thru so I’m hoping he will think twice any time he is faced with a difficult situation.

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August 25, 2007

Beep Beep Bon Appetite'

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30 Minute Shepherd's Pie

2 pounds potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons sour cream or softened cream cheese
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup cream, for a lighter version substitute vegetable or chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 3/4 pounds ground beef or ground lamb
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock or broth
2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it
1/2 cup frozen peas, a couple of handfuls
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. Combine sour cream, egg yolk and cream. Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth.
While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef or lamb. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. If you are using lamb and the pan is fatty, spoon away some of the drippings. Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas.
Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned. Top casserole dish with chopped parsley and serve.

August 24, 2007

Friday Feast

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Say there’s a book written about your life. Who would you want to narrate the audio version?

Sam Elliott of course...he has a sexy voice.

Take the letters from your favorite kind of nut and write a sentence. (Example: Perhaps every avenue needs understanding today.)

Caring and sharing heed endless wonders...

If you could go back in time and spend one week in another decade, which decade would you choose?

The 70's were very cool...I was young but Id like to be groovy again at this age.

Main Course
Name a song that brings back memories for you.

There are so many songs that bring back memories, its hard to chose one. I think "We've only just begun" but the Carpenters is the one that comes to mind first.

Do you prefer to wash your hands in cold water or warm water?

I work in a hospital.....warm and warmer...You have to KILL those germs!

August 23, 2007

Traffic…no wonder there is road rage.

I don’t know how many of you live in Southern California, but I am here to tell you, the traffic sucks! They recently added a new lane to the freeway I take home, which everyone thought was “GREAT”, then they took another lane away. The longer I sit in traffic, the more I think about the things that need to be done, and the angrier I get. I have seen congress pass bills that are suppose to help our traffic nightmare yet nothing appears to be getting better. I wonder how much of our life is wasted sitting in a car, inhaling the exhaust fumes from someone else’s tail pipe?? I'm a single parent and I'm a Mom. The list of things that need to be done is never ending, yet daily, I find myself wasting time waiting…always waiting. I remember 10 years ago when traffic was only something that happened in Los Angeles, now, it's everywhere. You know, the people that really irritate me the most are the cell phone talkers. 9 times out of 10, when I'm driving behind an idiot in the fast lane doing 55, they are on the cell phone. I spent 45 minutes going about 15 miles yesterday thanks to traffic. Where is all of our money going to improve the roads?? I looked onto the California website to see what is being done and here is what I found:


• Makes safety improvements and repairs to state highways; upgrades freeways to reduce congestion; repairs local streets and roads; upgrades highways along major transportation corridors.

• Improves seismic safety of local bridges.

• Expands public transit.

• Helps complete the state’s network of car pool lanes.

• Reduces air pollution.

• Improves anti-terrorism security at shipping ports.

• Provides for a bond issue not to exceed nineteen billion nine hundred twenty-five million dollars ($19,925,000,000).

• Appropriates money from the General Fund to pay off bonds.

OK...So, when are we going to notice a change?? I realize this was only devised last year but they have been making our lives miserable for at least 5 years trying to fix what we have. I thought propositions were suppose to expedite the process. There are more people living here now that there was before and it’s not going to get better. I have multiple errands to run on any given day and where do I find myself?? Sitting in traffic!! I cant wait until I can move out of California…this place is WAY too overrated!! The pic below was taken today on my way home from work.

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TT #25

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13 signs that your teenager may need help.

1. You find visine in their pocket on more than one occasion.
2. Lighters come out of no where and end up in the dryer after doing laundry.
3. The screen on their window is busted from sneaking out and the rose bush outside their window is trimmed down to nothing.
4. When they come home, there is always a wad of gum in their mouth to try and cover up the smell along with a strong dose of cologne.
5. They refuse to look you in the eye.
6. They lie about anything and everything (some teenagers get pretty good at this).
7. Your child is tardy from school on a regular basis, even missing days of school. (You won't find out about it until the school calls the next day).
8. They are hanging out with new kids and they dont want you to meet them.
9. They start getting in fights in and out of school. Their fuse becomes really short with everyone.
10.Getting in trouble with the law.
11.They become disrespectful to you, family, friends, and teachers.
12.Their personality changes.They become someone you know longer know.
13.Your younger child starts acting funny, avoiding any and all questions about their sibling.

If I left any out....feel free to enlighten me and future parents of teenagers. And on a happier note, the child that put me thru this is now in the military and doing wonderful. There is always hope just be aware and know your child. Did I mention he was a straight "A" student too??

August 21, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

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Don’t blame the child, it’s not their fault!

Being a single parent is very challenging, to say the least. I’m not sure if there is a particular age that is harder than another, it all seems like an up hill battle at times. I work in a hospital and I have noticed quite a few child abuse cases that come in to single mothers and the abuser tends to be the boyfriend, new husband, or sometimes, the babysitter. When we give birth to our children, they depend on us for safety and guidance. A father plays an important roll, but over all, it’s the mother that is the protector and nurturer. However, its not always a significant other that lays hands on the children, it’s the parents. I know that kids can try your patience….LORD how I know, but you need to walk away. If you have a stubborn 2 year old that refuses to obey or a baby that is crying and you cant seem to find the cure, walk away. Take a breath….count to 10….walk outside…call a friend, but don’t take it out on the child. I came from a household (which I am sure many did that are from my generation) that believed in spankings. “Spare the rod, spoil the child”, I think was the justification for the abuse. I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be that way. My Mom was a single mother that had a short fuse and my sister and I paid the price. I am not saying that my mother was bad, she did the best with what she had, but what she lacked was patience. I swore that when I had children of my own, I would never hit them…and I didn’t. Hitting isn’t the answer. You have to remember, your child did not ask to be born. When you bring a child into this world, you make the decision at that point for a life long commitment. Children are 24/7 and they are forever. I know doing it on your own isn’t easy, especially when you have a baby that doesn’t sleep at night, but this too shall pass. They grow up, they go thru stages and some are easier than others. If you hit a child out of anger or when you’re not in control, you have no idea of the damage you can do until it’s too late. Here are a couple of resources to help you or if you know about a child that is being abused please call the number below:

Child Help USA Hotline - This is general information on child abuse and related issues. Referrals to local agencies for child abuse reporting. Crisis counseling. CALL: 1-800-422-4453 (24 hr)

Prevent Child Abuse - They provide workshops, literature, and child abuse prevention information. The aim is to prevent child abuse (not for reports of active abuse situations!)

CALL: 1-800-244-5373

August 20, 2007

America's Funniest Home Video

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Yesterday my DBF Michael and I took Brad to see the taping of Americas Funniest Home Video. This was the 3rd taping of a T.V. show that we've seen in a month. I have to say, I liked this one the best. The people at the studio were super nice, the taping went quickly (we were only there 2 hours), and they told us exactly when it was going to air (Oct 14th). Not to mention, there was a funny guy giving out T-shirts and they gave us chocolate while we were waiting for the final tally on the votes for best video. Bradley totally enjoyed it and we got to watch the videos on a big movie screen, which was kind of cool. It was in Manhattan Beach, which is about an hour and a half from where I live (Santa Monica Area), but we didn't hit traffic there or back. If you live in California or are planning on coming out here on vacation some time soon, here is the link for tickets. This is the perfect family excursion for single parents or people with minimal cash flow.

Surviving Divorce and Seperation

Going through a separation or divorce is one of the most traumatic events a person can experience in a lifetime. Here are a few tips that may help:

MANAGE THE EMOTIONS - Stop the turmoil by using stress management techniques. Move from feelings to rational thinking.
AVOID MAKING LIFE ALTERING DECISIONS until you are thinking more clearly. This may not be the time to relocate or change jobs.
REASSURE KIDS THAT FAMILY LIFE WILL CONTINUE, just in a different way. Go to the bookstore or library to find age appropriate books to explain separation and divorce to children.
ASK "AM I ACTING IN THE BEST INTEREST OF MY CHILD?" - Keep arrangements as simple as possible and don't put kids in the middle.
MAKE A SCHEDULE - make a list and target dates to help you feel more in control and less stressed. Delegate as much as possible.
ASK FOR HELP FROM SUPPORTIVE FAMILY AND FRIENDS - be specific about how they can help. Get professional help if you need it and dont be ashamed. I think going to a counselor was the best thing I ever did. Sometimes it's just too hard to get through this by yourself.
BE REALISTIC - It's important to have realistic expectations and not to expect too much from yourself and everyone else when you are feeling so bad.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF - get adequate sleep, eat healthy, exercise. Give yourself a break - you deserve it. Be protective of your need for solitude.
ONE DAY AT A TIME - It gets easier. It gets better and hurts less as time passes. Spend time with others who understand what you're going through.
GRIEVE THE LOSS - separation and divorce is devastating and it takes time to recover.

I hope these simple tips help you to get thru the tough times. This will be a life altering process but you can always look at it as a new beginning.

August 18, 2007

Beep Beep Bon Appetite'

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Quick Chicken and Noodle Soup

2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
Salt and pepper
6 cups good quality chicken stock
1 pound (the average weight of 1 package) chicken breast tenders, diced
1/2 pound wide egg noodles
A handful fresh parsley, chopped
A handful fresh dill, chopped

Place a large pot over moderate heat and add extra-virgin olive oil. Work close to the stove and add vegetables to the pot as you chop, in the order they are listed.
Add bay leaves and season vegetables with salt and pepper, to taste. Add stock to the pot and raise flame to bring liquid to a boil. Add diced chicken tenderloins, return soup to a boil, and reduce heat back to moderate. Cook chicken 2 minutes and add noodles. Cook soup an additional 6 minutes or until noodles are tender and remove soup from the heat.
Stir in parsley and dill, remove bay leaves and serve. This is a thick soup. Add up to 2 cups of water if you like chicken soup with lots of broth.

August 17, 2007

Friday Feast

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Describe your laundry routine. Do you have a certain day when you do it all, or do you just wash whatever you need for the next day?

Every day is laundry day!!

In your opinion, what age will you be when you’ll consider yourself to truly be old?

All depends on the day but we'll say 75 for now:)

What is one of your goals? Is it short-term, long-term, or both?

To finish raising the last kid I have left in the house, then, it will be Mama's time to play and live her life the way she wants to.

Main Course
Name something unbelievable you’ve seen or read lately.

That the cost of Social Security Services for Illegal Aliens since 1996 is $397,450,739,563.00

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how happy are you today?

11....its Friday and Im having steak with my honey tonight:)

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What do you look for in a man??

When I was young, I dreamt of a knight in shining armor riding in on a horse that would sweep me off of my feet and take me to this beautiful house surrounded by a white picket fence. He had to be tall, dark, and handsome, funny, and most of all, he had to be rich. We were going to have 2 kids, a boy and a girl (of course) with one dog and one cat. Then, I met this boy in high school. He was tall, with curly blonde hair, and green eyes (very cute). He stole my heart. He didn’t have a horse, (or even a car for that matter but rather a skateboard), he wasn’t rich (he didn’t even have a job) but I feel in love. We dated thru high school and ended up married. That ended in divorce shortly afterwards and so did my ideals of the perfect man. The older we get and the more emotional baggage we retain along our journey modifies they way we think. For a long time I always focused on what I wanted, but now, its what I don’t want. He can’t be like this, he can’t look like that, no crazy ex wives or girlfriends, and kids are optional. I think the things we go thru in life definitely shape us into the adults we become, but is that a good thing? I want to believe in Mr.“Right” and not just Mr.“Right Now.” I want to believe that life will be easy some day and that I wont have to worry about finances when I get older. I want to grow old with someone that I like, and who makes me feel good as a person. I think divorce and break ups force us to form barriers around our hearts and keep us (at one extent) from growing as people. I’ve dated a lot in the past 5 years and I’ve come to the conclusion, there is no such thing as the perfect man. What there is are men, some with more baggage than others. Some with better personalities than others, and some that make more money than others. What you need to do is ask yourself, even though this man isn’t perfect, he is someone that I like?? Can I live with his faults and take him the way he is or would I be jeopardizing my ideals by settling for the sake of not being alone? Dating as a single parent (or person for that matter) isn’t easy but don’t rush and certainly, don’t settle. You might never find the man of your dreams who is perfect in every way (the odds are against it) but you may find someone you can live happily ever after with. Looks don’t last a lifetime. If you don’t like him as a person, it’s going to be a very lonely future. Try to love like you’ve never been hurt and that might help to determine a better future.

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August 16, 2007


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13 reasons kids give for not doing their homework.

1. I forgot, is the most popular excuse in my house.

2. I swapped folders and I must have left it in the other one.

3. I left it at school overnight so I couldn't do it.

4. It was in my pocket and my Mom washed it.

5. My Mom thought it was trash and threw it away.

6. The sink was full of water and it fell in.

7. Someone told me there was no homework.

8. The dog ate it.

9. I thought it was due tomorrow.

10. It was put in the paper shredder by accident.

11. It's here somewhere, I can't find it right now.

12. It must have fallen out of my folder/bag.

13. And last but not least, What homework?

August 15, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

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Men, until they are sleeping in the back seat of the car....then, they are my little boys again!!

August 14, 2007

Back to School Money Blues

Money, the root of all evil and you never seem to have enough. Twice a month I sit down to pay bills and I always end up depressed. I work so hard for my money but there never seems to be very much left over. The price of gas is killing me. My last gas (fuel) bill was over $300 for one month. Good God!! I don't get it and I don't understand how people that make minimum wage can afford to raise their kids. I make decent pay and I get a little child support monthly but still never really have much room to breathe. Now, its back to school and I'm trying to figure out how to rob Peter to pay Paul. Lets see...what bills can wait?? And what bills can't? I know that this is a dilemma for all people but try doing everything on one income, well, sometimes you have to perform miracles. I do my best not to let it get me down and it is alot better now that I only have one child to buy for instead of two, but things are so dam expensive. First there is new shoes, pants, shirts, undies & socks...then add a back-pack, paper, pencils, pens and folders...before you know it, your $400 dollars down. The best thing to do in this situation is look for sales. I'm lucky, my youngest son isn't as picky as my oldest. I can still buy his shoes at Payless and he prefers wearing Dickies to jeans so that saves some. If I hit a sale for buy one, get one half off on shirts...I should be good. I cant get over how expensive underwear is. I'm going to shop at Walmart for that. I definitely have a plan, and the majority of my bills will be paid but its going to be another month before I have breathing room. Its all good though. I have a roof over my head, love in my life, the utilities are paid, and there is food in the fridge. Not to mention, Ive been much worse off and survived. So all you parents out there going thru the Back-to-School Blues, I'm just letting you know, I feel your pain!!

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Is there really a problem or is it just what society thinks?

A lot of people like to talk about single-parent family problems and their disadvantages to children. This can lead some single parents to think there is little they can do to have a successful family. That's not true. Not all children growing up in single-parent families experience negative consequences. Focusing on the weaknesses and problems doesn't help single parents and their children become strong. The acceptance of responsibilities and challenges neither minimize nor exaggerate problems, you need to seek solutions. Parents need to acknowledge the difficulties (lack of personal time, restricted social life, sole responsibility for meeting multiple needs, financial stress) without self-pity or bitterness. The commitment to family often means putting the needs of the child first. Single parents genuinely like and enjoy their children, sacrificing time, money and energy for the sake of the children. We try to be supportive, patient and help the children to cope. Having 2 boys can be challenging when you don’t have a positive male role model in their life. Like other effective parents, we are consistent and non-punitive. This type of discipline gives children choices, uses natural and logical consequences and provides structure. It’s a good idea to encourage clear and open expression of thoughts and feelings. I’ve always been very open and honest with my boys about everything. I’ve also noticed, by giving them independence and responsibility, they are more mature than most of their friends. For someone as young as my oldest son (19) is, he really has his stuff together. I don’t know if I can take credit for that or the military, either way, he is taking care of himself and the responsibilities that come with being an adult without having to be told to do so. As a single parent, you need to be well organized, dependable and work hard to coordinate schedules. You just have to remember to take care of yourself through physical, spiritual, emotional and/or social means. You need to maintain a tradition, whether it be a bedtime routines, special family time together or holiday celebrations. When a family has been disrupted, maintaining traditions becomes a stabilizing force, something that can be depended on. Since my kids were so young when I got divorced, I think it was easier for them to adapt. The older kids have more of a problem, I think, unless the family situation is out of control. Then, it may be a relief. All families, including single-parent families, have strengths. Achieving success as a single parent is difficult, but it can be done. As with any family, you can have the quality of family life that you want, if you are willing to pay the price.

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August 13, 2007

Things you should consider when you're going through a divorce.

1. Retain a paralegal service to prepare the Court document. This can save you money. That's what I did and the cost is nothing in comparison to an attorney.
2. Make the decision not to fight and stick to it.
3. Keep a record of all expenses. This helps resolve any discrepancies that come up when negotiating a settlement.
4. If you chose to hire an attorney, use the attorney appropriately. Don't use your attorney as a therapist - they're not qualified and they'll charge twice as much. Not to mention, they really don't care. Its all about the bottom dollar for them. Hire a real therapist.
5. Take a class to improve yourself, learn to cook (if you’re a man), sew, change your own oil, how to use a computer, and even parenting classes can help.
6. Learn to live within a budget.
7. Settle for more. Mediate, don’t litigate.
8. Get a job. Some women are stay at home Mom’s. Its better to have an income of your own rather than relying on someone else.
9. Save Money. This isn’t always the easiest thing but every little bit helps.
10. Establish credit, especially if everything you have are joint accounts.
11. Notify all bankers and credit card companies.
12. Open a checking account of your own.
13. Keep a journal of all expenses with receipts, especially kid's.
14. Make copies of all records detailing your finances (3 years is suggested).
15. And last but not least, Line up your support system - family, friends, people at your church, or support groups.

August 12, 2007

Beep Beep Bon Appetite'

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Bacon Jack Chicken Sandwich

8 slices bacon
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
4 slices pepperjack cheese
4 hamburger buns, split
4 leaves of lettuce
4 slices tomato
½ cup thinly sliced onion – optional
12 slices dill pickle

Preheat a grill for medium heat.

While the grill preheats, place the bacon in a
large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook
until browned on both sides. Remove from
the pan, and drain on paper towels.

Rub the poultry seasoning onto the chicken
pieces, and place them on the grill. Cook for
about 6 minutes per side, or until no longer
pink in the center. Top each piece of chicken
with 2 slices of bacon and 1 slice of
pepperjack cheese. Grill for 2 to 3 more
minutes to melt the cheese.

Place each piece of chicken on a bun, and top
with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle slices
before serving with your favorite condiments.

August 11, 2007

Boys vs Girls

The differences between boys and girls is one of life's greatest mysteries, and the debate as to whether these differences are hard-wired or result from gender bias in the way a child is raised, is the big question. Some of the research I've read has made a compelling case. It states that just as there are clear-cut differences between boys and girls, there are differences in brain chemistry as well, differences that influence behavior. Even as babies, (so I've heard) girls are more volatile than boys, who seem more apt to go with the flow. Actually, all thru adolescence my boys were very adaptable. My oldest, however, was more head strong but nothing like what what Ive seen with girls. I thought it was interesting that the more fetal testosterone there is, the faster the right side of the brain develops and the slower the left. This may account for the fact that baby girls often speak earlier than baby boys. Boys are rough and, at my house, it always seemed that one child would end up bleeding. Funny, but it was usually my oldest and that was only because his nose was sensitive from allergies. I've seen what some of my friends have gone thru with girls and, I must say, I am totally glad the Lord blessed me with boys. My boys have always been very protective of me and do what I say, (most of the time, but not always when I ask). Although, my grocery bill has been off the charts for quite some time. However, it went down a little when my oldest son left, but I still end up going to the store 2 to 3 times a week. I would chose that any day over the hormonal roller coaster you get with females in their pre-teen and teenage years. Sometimes I cant even deal with myself let alone another female, and heaven forbid us both being hormonal at the same time!! Having to deal with their girlfriends is hard enough. Single mom's can be successful with raising boys just like single fathers can be with girls. I actually think single mothers do a better job of teaching their son's how to be good men and the deadbeat Dad's teach them how NOT to be when they become parents themselves. It all depends on the kid but they are definitely two different species.

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August 10, 2007

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Top 10 ways to help you save money

1. Go to the Library
Buying books and movies gets expensive, and even renting can add up. Take a trip to your local library; and you'll find all of the latest books and movies available free of charge. Still like the idea of renting? Then, sign up for Netflix or Blockbuster. With plans starting at $5, the damage to your budget will be mimimal.
2. Clip Coupons
Take the time to clip coupons for the grocery items that you buy regularly, and shave an easy 25 percent off of your weekly grocery bill. Want to save even more? Find a grocery store in your area that doubles coupons, and make that your store of choice.
3. Eat Out Less Often
Eating out is fun, but far more expensive than eating at home. Challenge yourself to eat at home more often--even if it's just once more a month, and watch your bank account grow. Then, find ways to minimize the cost of eating out when you do decide to treat yourself.
4. Switch to Online Bill Pay
Save yourself a stamp, and avoid late fees by paying your bills online. You can pay direct to your creditors, or set up automatic bill pay with your bank; and take yourself out of the equation entirely.
5. Group Errands
Reduce your gas bill by grouping your errands and only driving when you need to. For even more savings, consider biking or walking when you don't have far to go.
6. Make Your Own Cleaners
Homemade cleaners work just as well as store-bought cleaners and at a fraction of the price. Stock up on basic cleaning agents like vinegar and baking soda; and you'll be ready for any cleaning task that comes your way.
7. Seek Freebies
Freebies are fun and budget-friendly. Look online for a wide-array of free offers, and enjoy a mailbox bursting with goodies. Like to try new products? Then, this is a particularly good savings strategy for you.
8. Wash in Cold
Cut your electric bill substantially by washing your laundry in cold water. Your clothes will still come out clean, and your hot water heater won't have to work nearly as hard.
9. Flip a Switch
Reduce your electric bill even further by turning off lights and other electronics when they aren't in use. It may seem like a small thing, but you're sure to see the difference on your next electric bill.
10. Change Your Own Oil
Skip the quick lube, and change your own oil. You'll reduce your tab to the price of oil and a filter. If this isn’t an option as a single mother, look for coupons in your local paper. That’s what I do!!

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August 9, 2007

TT# 23

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Thirteen things you’d like to say at work.

1. I can see your point, but I still think you're full of crap.

2. I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to see it my way.

3. I'm out of my mind at the moment, but feel free to leave a message.

4. I don't work here - I'm a consultant.

5. Nice perfume, but must you marinate in it?

6. I like you. You remind me of myself when I was young and stupid.

7. I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.

8. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.

9. What am I? Flypaper for freaks?

10. It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of karma to burn.

11. Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.

12. Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.

13. Oh, I get it. Like humor. Only different.

August 7, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

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Another U.S. soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq, the military said Thursday, pushing the four-year death toll for American forces to 3,501.

Top reasons for getting a divorce

I was doing some research on the internet and came across this list of top reasons couple get divorced. They are as follows:

*A couple has conflicting personal beliefs
*A couple’s marital satisfaction decreases
*Adultery (once bitten, twice shy)
*Cruel treatment
*Bigamy (I was shocked at this one in today’s society)
*Spousal Indignities (humiliating treatment)
*Irretrievable Breakdown of some kind

I believe that reasons for wanting or going through a divorce usually come from some sort of occurrence, behavioral pattern, and/or change in the viewpoint of the marriage itself. One of my pet peeves (but was not the cause of my divorces) is lying, and that has made me end more than one relationship before it even got to the marriage aspect. To me, if a person lies to you, they can’t be trusted. Truth is the foundation for every relationship and without a foundation, you can’t build anything that will last. I don’t understand a grown persons need to lie unless its habit. Considering I have major trust issues already, this type of behavior would be a red flag for me in my search for a prospective husband candidate. Anyway, we're talking about divorce not "How to find a mate and what to look for" order to really make a smart decision, you should first list the reasons that you have for wanting a divorce, and then examine those divorce reasons for true viability. Give it a couple days until the anger or “heat of the moment” passes and then come back to that list. Chances are you will be able to scratch a few of those reasons for wanting a divorce off because they were identified purely from an emotional viewpoint rather than logic. If you are thinking about getting a divorce, and haven't clearly identified what reasons you have for feeling the way you do, you'll be doing yourself a 'dis-service' if you act without carefully examining the situation. Everyone has their own reasons for wanting a divorce, make sure that you are certain that your reasons are truthfully viable to you before you act on them. Take it from a girl that had to pay for 2 divorces, think before you overact. If the answer in the end is that you are truly not happy, don’t second guess yourself, do something about it.

August 6, 2007

Pregnant and Single, it happens...

Being pregnant and single means going through all the struggles of pregnancy alone. Some are minor, like not having anyone to rub your back or fix a midnight cup of tea. Others are more complex, like waiting for the results of your amniocentesis. Most mothers feel the same way and that is that it would have been nice to have a partner to share those feelings with. However, we all know, it doesn’t always end up that way. Many single moms have the added pressure of financial problems. After all, babies are very expensive, and it’s harder on one income than two. You can seek government assistance during you pregnancy if your unemployed but you will end up standing in lines to sign up for Medical and WIC as an “unwed, unemployed pregnant woman” for what can seem like an eternity. That can be very humiliating. I remember when I lost my job 5 years ago because the place I worked for was bought out from an out of state company. I made too much on unemployment (never mind the bills I had going out) to qualify for financial aide but I did qualify for health insurance (Medi-cal) for my kids. I cried the whole drive to the Welfare office, while standing in line, and the drive home. I felt like a failure. Fortunately, I was only unemployed a short time (8 weeks) but its very hard to try and access your next move when you don’t have emotional or financial support. While more and more women are choosing to have babies on their own, a large majority of single moms were in relationships when they became pregnant. In addition to the normal adjustments of pregnancy, they are coping with a breakup. And even for a woman who chose donor insemination and knew she would face pregnancy alone, society’s focus on couples during this time can lead to loneliness. It’s important to fight these feelings. Women who can count on other strong sources of support, such as close family and friends, will do well. Also, pregnancy is a great time to turn the focus inward. Women should concentrate on themselves and their pregnancies during this time. It wont be easy, but you have to think about your unborn child first. Your emotional and physical health matter, not only for you, but also your baby. Do what you can do before the baby is born. Get resources in place. If your unemployed, chances of finding a job are a little harder but not impossible. Once the baby is born, it’s 100 times harder. I don't think having a baby on your own would be my choice (well, almost everyone's choice) but it happens. Don't take it out on the baby, and if you really don't think you can do it alone, adoption is always an option. There are places to turn so do your research. It will benefit you and your unborn baby. It’s not an easy road but it can be done!!

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August 5, 2007

America's Got Talent

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Since my son is home on military leave, Michael suggested taking both boys to a taping of "America's Got Talent". It was a nice time for the whole family. It will be airing this Tuesday and we're hoping that one of us made it on camera. Even though we had to wait in the sun for an hour and a half to get in, and were separated just shortly after the show started to be the "Fill In" audience, we still had a great time. Another FREE family trip and it was fun for everyone. If your interested, and live in the L.A. area, here is the link to get tickets for this show and many others. Its a great way to have fun and perfect for single parents because all you pay for is the gas. I suggest eating lunch first and taking some water with you. You never know how long you will be there.

Beep Beep Bon Appetite'

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Cheesy One-Pot Chicken Cacciatore

1 tsp. oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
2-1/2 cups water
2 zucchini, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 pkg. (14 oz.) KRAFT Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes, drained

HEAT oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 5 min. or until browned.
ADD water, vegetables, oregano and Pasta. Bring to boil; simmer partially covered, 12 min. or until pasta is tender.
STIR in Cheese Sauce and tomatoes; cook until heated through.

August 4, 2007

Im soooooooo tired.....

I dont know how many of you are single parents but I just wanted to take a minute to vent. Im tired. I work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week...then, come home to my second job. I make dinner, do the dishes, laundry, water the lawn, weed eat, vacuum, and thats after the 15 errands I had to run when I got off work. Im not sure if being married or in a live in relationship actually changes any of this (its been 5 years since Ive lived with someone besides my kids) but man, it sure would be nice to take a weeks vacation from having to do EVERYTHING. I still have one child at home, he's 15. He will do the lawn but not much of anything else. Its not that he cant and wont, its just that, when he does it, its not up to par. There is food left on the dishes, parts of the carpet still has stuff on it after he vacuums, and, lets just say, he uses an awful lot of furniture spray and has yet to learn the art of spreading it evenly. I have a house that sits on 1/2 an acre...I think, when my youngest son is gone, im moving to a condo. I remember a time when I couldnt wait to live in my own house, now, its just too much work. I wish I could get paid for my second job. It would be so nice to hire a house keeper but the thought of someone going through my nooks and crannies just doesnt work for me either. When does Mom get to relax?? 1/2 an hour before bedtime? Some how, that just doesnt seem fair. I love my son, and I would never change the events or circumstances that lead up to my place in life. However, I do wish I could be him for a week....thats all!! Can anybody out there relate to what Im saying????
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August 3, 2007

I now pronounce you Chuck and Larry

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My DBF Michael and I watched this movie Tuesday night. I thought it was very funny. However, if you're a member of the gay population, you might find it a bit offensive. Go to see this movie with an open mind. Adam Sandler and Kevin James are two of my favorite comedians/actors and I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion. This movie also shows how prejudice people can be, which I believe is very true to life. I dont think this is a kid flix because of the sexual innuendos, but if you want a good laugh, go and see the movie. Two thumbs up!!


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Ways to help your child get through divorce

1. BE HONEST. Don't lead your child to believe "Dad's away on business" or "everything is going to be wonderful". Children are very perceptive. They know if a parent is trying to hide something, even if the purpose is to spare their feelings. Children need simple straightforward answers they can understand, without blame or making anyone wrong or bad.

2. LET YOUR CHILD KNOW IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT. All children assume they may be responsible for their parents' break-up. Children need to be gently reassured repeatedly over the first couple of years that the divorce is an adult decision having nothing to do with them or their behavior.

3. LISTEN QUIETLY. Children have many questions, feelings, assumptions and concerns about divorce. Many parents find it difficult to just sit quietly and listen to their children talk without trying to interrupt with a "fix-it" statement. Children need to feel heard with quiet patience and undivided attention.

4. LET YOUR CHILD KNOW however they respond to the divorce is OK. Many children hide their feelings of sadness, grief, anger or confusion because they are afraid expressing these feelings will upset their parents. Children need to know all their feelings are acceptable.

5. LET YOUR CHILD KNOW IT IS NORMAL for them to want their parents to get back together again. Children can feel ashamed about this very normal wish. You can explain to your child that once divorced, it is very unlikely that people ever get back together, but their wish for reconciliation is very normal.

6. REASSURE your child of personal safety. Many children are concerned if their parent’s divorce there will not be enough food or shelter or clothing for them. Children living with single mothers may also need reassurance that she has a plan to protect them in case of fire, "burglars" or "ghosts".

7. ASK YOUR CHILD about friends of theirs whose parents are divorced. This is a good way to learn of your child's fears and assumptions about divorced parents, and gives you the opportunity to clear up any misconceptions and remind them that other children have gone through what they are now going through.

8. SPEND TIME with caring friends. Having a supportive network can protect your child from becoming your confidant and feeling responsible for your emotional well-being. It can also give you a higher frustration tolerance for the
normal everyday things kids do.

9. READ TOGETHER and talk about a book on divorce for children. This will help you explain important facts to your child and help your child formulate questions they might otherwise not have words for.

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August 2, 2007


Thirteen Helpful Home Remedies.

1. Budweiser beer conditions the hair.

2. Pam cooking spray will dry finger-nail polish.

3. A Slinky will hold toast and CD's!

4. Mayonnaise will KILL LICE, it will also condition your hair.

5. Crayon on the wall - Colgate Toothpaste and brush it!

6. Shiny Hair - use brewed Lipton Tea.

7. Sunburn - empty a large jar of Nestea into your bath water.

8. Minor burn - Colgate or Crest toothpaste.

9. Burn your tongue? Put sugar On it!

10. Arthritis? WD-40 Spray and rub in, kill insect stings too.

11. Bee stings - meat tenderizer.

12. Puffy eyes - Preparation H.

13. Peanut butter - will get scratches out of CD's! Wipe off with a coffee filter paper.