Month: May 2014

Social media…what has it become?!

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Facebook. Twitter. Whatever else is out there. Social media has gripped human society so tightly. For some reason we have all become voyeuristic  of each other’s lives. Gone are the days of the phone call or a handwritten letter. When my phone rings I barely recognize the sound since I hardly hear it. That is a really sad commentary.

For most of us in our 30s and older, we had a childhood free of social media. We lived in a world where you had to use pay phones to call someone or to respond to a beep. We lived in a hashtag free world (unless you were copying down your homework and needed to know which problems to do). Our childhood and adolescence were free of being tied down to a mobile device to get our latest news. Was there bullying? Yes! I can definitely be honest and say that I was bullied quite a few times in my younger years. However, the idea of bullying has been taken to the next level.

This article was so eye opening and scary at the same time. Bullying is on the rise. Suicides in young teens is on the rise. There is a section of the article that talks about a young man who was being treated for depression. He later went to a site that explained how to commit suicide and then he did. How horrific! This poor soul just needed help. But social media and the internet had a negative impact on his cry for help.

I fear for my son when he gets older. I do not want his life to be ruled by a social media account. I don’t want him to think that the number of friends you have on Facebook tells him how important he is. I don’t want him to take someone’s status and think that what someone else has to say is the truth. I want him to live in a world where people are unique and are free to express that uniqueness.  I would be lying if I said I never used any social media. At one point I was constantly on one form of social media that it consumed my life. I have definitely stepped back and have tried to become more digital free. It is definitely an addiction that, if not taken control of, will spiral out of control and make society a bunch of useless robots who just stare at a screen.

Those who use social media to attack others and to spread hatred should be held 100% responsible for their actions. They need to know that what they are doing is wrong and that it is a coward’s way. The old adage ” If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say it at all” definitely is important in this day and age. Children need to be taught young that bullying and hatred are wrong. Unfortunately, children are a product of their parents. It all starts as us, the parents, to be good examples. To show them how to be decent people.

I know it is very hard not to be connected in our daily lives. With work and day to day activities, we need to have some source of communication with the outside. However, I think we all need to start putting aside a few hours a day where we have real conversations. Perhaps starting at the dinner table. Discuss the day’s events. Bring up something new you might have learned. Compliment someone around you. I think it will have a huge effect in the long run.  Getting to know your children ( and your children getting to know you) is the first step in this whole process. Be open with each other. Talk and listen. It is, perhaps, our only saving grace.

Tell us how you try to become digital free. Comment below!

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

A penny saved is a penny (in this case, 1,000s of pennies) earned

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“A penny saved is a penny earned.” I learned this phrase as a young child and it has stayed with me. Let’s be honest: Who doesn’t like a good bargain?! If you happen to be among the money elite in this world and you are reading this, well, I applaud you. However, I think I am pretty sure most of us would like to save a dollar or two now and gain.

One of my favorite places to shop is the dollar store. The most important thing you can buy from the dollar store are birthday/holiday cards and gift wrapping supplies. I went to my local drugstore last week to buy Mother’s Day cards and I almost fell over when I saw the prices. One card was $8.99. $8.99!!!!!!! For a piece of paper!!!! And I needed to buy 8 cards. You can do the math. It would have cost me a fortune. Don’t even get me started on the prices of the gift bags and tissue paper. Here is a picture of the card’s price so you know I am not making it up.

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The drugstore was an easier choice at first since it is 5 blocks from my house. I put my son in his plastic car and we took a leisurely stroll to buy cards. Well, we left with nothing. The only thing we gained was a nice walk (and I taught my son a lesson: never buy cards at a drugstore!!!).  We came back home and headed over to the dollar store. As we walked down the aisle with the Mother’s Day cards,  it was as if a chorus of angels was singing Alleluia. These cards were 2 for $1. Ahh….definitely more along my lines of a bargain. Buying 8 cards didn’t seem so bad this time around. We also headed over to the gift bags. They were 2 for $1 as well. And they weren’t the plain colored ones. They had designs, as well as the tissue paper (which was $1 for an 8 pack). My son had a birthday this past weekend, so we also purchased a birthday gift bag and tissue paper. I left the store spending less than $30. That is over a 50% savings from the cards I would have purchased at the drugstore. Here is part of my purchase (not too shabby, huh?):

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Lesson to be learned: Buy all of your cards and gift wrapping supplies at the dollar store. Some other key items to buy are tape (my dollar store sells the 3m brand 2 for $1), tissues, paper plates, napkins, seasonal/holiday decorations, and dish towels (believe it or not, some of the best dish towels I have are from the dollar store!).

Some may call me cheap. I don’t mind. It gives me peace of mind knowing I got a good bargain though! Give it a try. I think you’ll like it :).

What are some of your money saving tips? Comment below!

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

A different Mother’s Day perspective

I read this amazing post yesterday. It showed the perspective of Mother’s Day through the eyes of those who have suffered loss. Perhaps you may know one of these. A woman who is struggling to conceive a child. A woman ( or man) who has lost a mother either through illness or old age. It talked of the raw emotions and how this holiday is just another reminder of what they can’t grasp.

If you happen to be one of them, always remember: you are not alone! As mothers, aunts, grandmas, nieces, cousins, friends we all stand together. Know that you always have a shoulder to cry on or a friendly smile to laugh with. We are here to listen. We may not always know what to say. However, we will be there for you.

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I wanted to pass this article on so that we all become more aware of comments we may make. Or how we are quick to judge. One of my favorite things to teach my students was to try “walking in the other person’s shoes” before you say something. You never know what someone is going through. Maybe giving a smile instead of a rude comment will make a difference in someone’s life. You may not realize it is a rude comment. So, think before you speak.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post! See you all tomorrow :).

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

A sweet moment

I’m a little late to the game but how sweet was Kevin Durant’s MVP speech?!  Here is an excerpt in case you missed it:

“I don’t think you know what you did. You had my brother when you were 18 years old. Three years later I came out. The odds were stacked against him. Single parent with two boys by the time you were 21 years old.

“Everybody told us we weren’t supposed to be here. We moved from apartment to apartment by ourselves. One of the best memories I have is when we moved into our first apartment. No bed, no furniture, and we just all sat in the living room and hugged each other because we thought we made it.

“When something good happens to you, I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to look back to what brought me here. You woke me up in the middle of the night in the summer times. Making me run up a hill. Making me do push-ups. Screaming at me from the sidelines at my games at eight or nine years old.

“We weren’t supposed to be here. You made us believe. You kept us off the street, put clothes on our backs, food on the table. When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You’re the real MVP.”   –Kevin Durant

 

I have been looking at it through many perspectives.
As a child, you have many fears and worries as a kid. But having the constant support and foundation of a parent, whether it be one ir two, is extremely important.
As a mother, to hear those words after years of comfort, years of worry, years of fears.  Those words mean the world. They bring you back to those moments you held your little one on the couch and looked into their infant eyes. You promised them the world. And one day the world gave back to them.
After hearing Kevin Durant speak, he is the type of guy you want your daughter to marry. And the type of man you want your son to grow up to be.  He is such a great role model for young people to look up to. It’s very refreshing in a world where media and ugliness tends to take hold.

What are your thoughts on his comments?  Comment below!

You can contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

You can have your cake (err…Goldfish) and eat it too!

Goldfish-Crackers

I finally made homemade Goldfish! I wrote this post over a month ago and just found the time to make Goldfish this weekend. It was such a simple recipe and they tasted delicious! ( I made these three days ago and they are pretty much gone.)

There are five ingredients for this recipe. You will need:

  • 8 ounces, weight Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, Cut Into Cubes
  • 1 cup Flour
  • ¾ teaspoons Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Cold Water

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The directions say to use a food processor and mix all of the ingredients, except the water, together until it looks like coarse sand. I used my stand mixer and it still came out like the described texture. When it came time to add the water, the pictures show the mixture to look like a ball of dough. Mine was still sandy and loose. I’m not sure if that has to do with using the mixer or not. However, I was able to shape the ingredients together in plastic wrap and refrigerate it.

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When it came time to roll the dough out, it was still loose on the edges.  But I was able to work around that. I used 2 inch cookie cutters because it was the smallest I had. They suggested using the aluminum from a soda can to make a shape.( I do not have soda cans in the house. Nor would I be able to fashion a fish shape. I am definitely not that crafty.) Every time I made shapes and ran out of places to make more crackers, I would just roll everything back together and roll out the dough again. The coarseness of the dough eventually went away.

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I was able to make about 70 crackers. If the cookie cutter was smaller, the dough would probably make around 100 crackers. I also would make the dough thinner when I rolled it out. The crackers tasted just like a real Goldfish. However, they were a little soft in the middle. I missed the crunchy effect!

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All in all I would say this recipe deserves two thumbs up! It was very easy to follow and took less than an hour to complete. My son loves snacking on them and my husband sneaks one in every time he passes the container in the kitchen. For that reason, I know they are good!

Let us know how your Goldfish adventure turned it!

You can contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

Mother’s Day Project

May is always a month filled with birthdays and fun almost summer celebrations. Not only is my mom’s birthday in May, but my mother-in-law’s is in May as well (their birthdays are a day apart!). Their birthdays also happen to be about a week before Mother’s Day. So, when it comes to finding cute projects made by my little guy, I need to find them in one fell swoop. Grandma’s love homemade projects from their grandkids.

Today’s post is an easy, but really cute, project that any child can do. This is even young toddler easy.  Since Mother’s Day is this Sunday, this could be an activity that you and your little ones can do this week. You can even do it on Saturday  (the day before) it is that simple. I found this on Pinterest and tweaked it a little bit.

Here are the supplies you will need:

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1. Paint ( I used washable since it involves fingerpainting)

2. Thick paper (you can use cardstock or I used Watercolor Paper)

3. Letter Stickers or Masking tape

4. Picture Frame

The steps are as follows:

1. Choose what you want the picture to say. I chose to have it say “Love You Grammy”. The picture on pinterest  shows it says “Love”. Once you have chosen the saying, arrange the letters on the paper. You can get crafty in how you want to arrange them. Since this was my first time trying this, I took the easy route.

**The directions on the site said to use masking tape and create the letters that way. I tried and I couldn’t get the letters right. If you can do it, by all means use the masking tape. I decided on the stickers.**

2. Here is the part your child will love! Choose however many colors you want on the paper (we went with two). Then pour some on a paper plate and let your child dip their hands in the paint. Then let them fingerpaint away all over the paper.

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3. Once they have finished painting, let it dry. The paint I used took about an hour.

4. When the paint is dry peel the stickers off and you have an amazing painting created by your little one. You can choose to frame it like I did. Or you can leave it as is. (The site showed the project being done on a canvas. That may be something you choose to do.)

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There you go! This was such an easy project but extremely cute. Grandmas (and Moms) will love to display this in their house!

I hope you have fun with this project. Let us know if you changed the project in any way. And let us know of any other cute projects you may be doing for Mother’s Day. See you tomorrow!

You can contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

Mrs. Z’s Kitchen Tip Fridays!

           I want to wish my mom a very Happy Birthday!!! Thanks for all that you do and hope your day is super special!!

 

Here is Mrs. Z’s Kitchen Tip Fridays. Who’s excited? !
My family has taco night….a lot!  Not only is it yummy but it’s super easy to prepare. In the past, I would use packaged taco seasoning to spice up the meat. If you have ever looked at the ingredients on the package, it isn’t pretty.  Here are some examples:

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I found a quick and easy recipe for making your own taco mix. Here it is:
Ingredients
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
Pinch of salt

Just mix all of the ingredients together and that’s it. You can adjust the amount of chili powder depending on your spiciness meter. Simple and not a bit of processed gunk in it :). Here is another recipe that is slightly different, along with some other good information.
Enjoy!!

You can contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

In honor of #tbt

Sometimes the littlest thing triggers a memory. It will stop you right in your tracks. You are present, however, your mind takes you to another time.

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Perhaps this place your mind takes you to is a long concrete front yard. One side has grass and the other is the patio per say. There is a charcoal grill warming up in the corner. (That smell is the trigger of all of this.) Webbed folding chairs line the yard in hues of orange, green, yellow, and blue. A red, wooden, old school picnic table is filled with “the old folk”. A few “youngins” are part of the group as well. A poker game is being played. Even though the bets are in pennies, this game is being taken pretty seriously.

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On the grass are the rest of the “youngins”. Young ones. Old ones. They just blend in a sea of togetherness. A ball is being kicked around. Hide and seek is well underway. A laugh here. Conversations mingling there. And then a creaking sounds breaks the conundrum. More visitors have come through the black wrought iron front gate. Conversations stop. Hugs ensue. Smiles and handshakes everywhere.

In the midst of all of this, a face. A smile. That knowing look of “This is my family and I love it”. The glue that bound us altogether. That glue still holds to this day. Miles and miles may separate us. Life may take us in different directions. But there is that togetherness. The knowledge that you are part of something that is bigger than any of us.

Over ten years have come and gone since that face and that smile were with us. Wow! More than ten years. Life goes on. But the thought of living a full life without the voices. Without the laughter. It seems unfair at times. The stories will endure. The togetherness will be there. However, there is that presence that is there but isn’t.

Then life reels you back in and you are taken out of the memory. It slips away as quickly as it appeared. Hold on to the memories. There will be another trigger that brings them back. You hold the key to the past. Just keep it close to your heart. You will never be without :).

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You can contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.