Thursday, September 23, 2010

Things kids say and hear: 3

Monkey Bread

While sampling monkey bread at Trader Joe's, I asked my 4-year old if she would like to try a piece. If you're not familiar with monkey bread, it's fingerfuls of dough that have been dredged in butter, sugar, and cinnamon, then dumped into a pan and baked. It's not healthy at all, but oh-so tasty! (and sticky.) Here is a recipe from Pioneer Woman, if you'd like to try it. It's easy and kids love to help make it and eat it. Well, some kids don't.

So, I offered a piece to each my 3 girls, with the older two happily sampling. Child C, however, looked at me with wide eyes and insisted she did not want to try it, which surprised me. So I asked her, “Do you know what monkey bread is?”
Her: “Yep.”
Me: "You do? What is it?"
Her, in a shy squeaky voice: "Uh-uh."
Me: “Is it made of monkey toes?”
Her, giggling: “Nope.”
Me: “Is it made of monkey eyes?”
Her, giggling more: “Nope”
Me: “Well then, what is it made of?”

I guess I wouldn't eat it either, if I thought it was made from cat!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up: Starting up again

This is my first Weekly Wrap-Up, hosted by Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. I've been reading hers and Cheryl's (Adventures of a Somewhat Crunchy Mama) for quite some time and always think how I'd really like to participate, but don't necessarily want to show everyone just how forgetful I am. After all, in order to give a highlight of our week, I'd have to remember what we did during the week, right? Gosh, I'll give it a go and maybe even participate now and then. So, thanks for hangin' in there with me and seeing how we spent our week...

We spent Labor Day weekend at my in-law's, about 5 hours away. We wouldn't head home until Tuesday, so Monday was spent at my sister-in-law's house. She has a huge garden and a very giving heart. My husband is so very blessed to have such a loving and accepting family and I am blessed to be a part of it. So, on Monday, we picked green and wax beans and a few eggplants. I sorted through 2 tables of tomatoes, filling our cooler with 5 layers of tomatoes to bring home. Stephanie also gave us some squash, as well as some already canned goodies like pickles, jams, and salsa. Yum. She is amazing. Can you believe she works outside of her home and tends to this garden, picking and canning and freezing?

Tuesday we headed home. We didn't get on the road until about noon, so with 2 stops along the way for little bladders to empty and a brief scanning of available fruit at Fruit Acres in Coloma, MI, we made it home a little before dinner. I'm going to back up a minute and talk about Fruit Acres. I haven't been to their u-pick farm, but have stopped by their roadside stand a number of times. Depending on season and availability, they have a nice variety of apples, large selection of peaches, and plums. I always glance at the vegetables, but this time I didn't spend too much time because the van was already bursting with goodness from Stephanie. My family absolutely loves the various jams (blueberry, cherry, and jalapeno) from Fruit Acres. And did I mention they have boxes of fruit for sampling? My girls got to try an apple, pear, and plum. After selecting some delicious honey-crisp apples, sweet plums, and cherry & blueberry jams, we were back on the road. That was our last stop.

We made it home, unpacked, and got hubby packed and ready to head to Toronto for work on Wednesday morning. I wasn't really ready to see him go and be on my own with the girls for the rest of the week. I had planned on us starting school this week and look at all this produce in my kitchen!

Wednesday morning I woke up praying for the girls to be good and for God to be gracious to me and help the next few days be easy. Don't get me wrong. I love my girls. But they can be a handful. They are sweet to each other one minute and ripping each other's skin off the next. Well, not really. OK, sometimes they have. But that's what I'm talking about. And sometimes I just need a few minutes of quiet and I have girls, so that never happens. Are you following me here? Let's just say that God is so good to me. He knows exactly what I need and what I can and cannot handle with Him.

The girls woke up and wanted to help take the ends off the wax beans. They also wanted to get started on some school work. Admittedly, I wasn't ready for a full day of school and had planned to ease into it, so I excitedly gave them a verse to write (because if I show enthusiasm, they are more likely to want to do it), Child A in cursive (yes, despite some schools ditching cursive, I teach my girls a complete education, including cursive) and Child B in print. What was Child C doing during this time? I'm not quite sure, but it involved a couple Slinkies, emptying her purse all over the floor, and leaving a trail of clothes from one end of the house to the other. When they went out to play, I blanched the wax beans and froze them in dinner-size portions.

Thursday would be a close repeat of Wednesday, but more. The kids all worked together to take the ends off the green beans, then they wrote a new verse. While A and B were working on math and language, C was repeating scripture and stretching and exercising to Praise Moves. What a wonderful morning! I started blanching the green beans and some tomatoes. Twelve cups of tomatoes in the freezer, a whole pot in the fridge for spaghetti sauce to be canned... And 60% still to be canned or frozen on Friday or over the weekend.

Friday we went to the kickoff for one of our homeschool groups. It's a fun day that involves a park, picnic, and bounce house. We started reading from The Book of Virtues and getting ready for hubby to come home in the evening. Nothing special, but excitement brewed just because we aren't used to him being gone for days.

In the upcoming weeks we will have a little adjusting to do as we start our full schedule. We are doing things much differently this year than we have in the past, with more group reading and learning rather than each girl working independently and one-on-one with me. I can only do so much, y'know. So I think this will be better. Monday evening used to include gymnastics, which we aren't doing for the first time in 9 years. I can't believe it, but with finances being tight, something else had to be given up. And Awana will be starting up in a week. So, lots of changes, hopefully lots of fun, and lots more time in prayer for all of us.

This concludes my weekly wrap-up. I doubt future ones will be as long, but this week wasn't just about homeschooling. Hop on over to Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see how others wrapped up their week.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Walmart Chronicles part 2

I'm a coupon-clipper. In fact, recently, I have become one of those mega coupon-clippers. Yesterday, I bought toothpaste and two 8-packs of Aquapods for 25-cents each. (I don't normally buy Aquapods, but we often drink what we bring with us when we play at the park. It helps to have something I can keep in the van all the time. And for 25-cents for 8 bottles of water, I wasn't about to walk on by! Did you get that, 3-cents per bottle!) If the stores near me offered double-coupons, I'd be getting paid to grocery shop!

But that was all just to tell you how much I love my coupons and how much I use them. One day I was at Walmart buying paper towels with a coupon. The cashier scanned the coupon and nothing happened. She scanned it again and again and again. It just wouldn't scan. I guess, if it won't scan, it's not accepted. I personally think that's laziness and poor service. The manufacturer will still reimburse for it as long as it is completely in tact, and it was. But this particular cashier wouldn't do anything. She looked at me like I was supposed to come up with a solution, so I told her if she wouldn't take my coupon, I didn't want the paper towels. And I want my coupon back! I did tell her that she could enter the code on the coupon and it would still work, but she said she could only scan coupons. So, intending to write a letter, I asked for her name because her name tag was turned around backwards. She told me her name and that she was a customer service manager and not politely, I might add. Did I tell her she could use some additional customer service training? Yep, sure did. Did I ever write that letter? Not this time.

But I remembered who she was. Not that it mattered much, but I avoided her lane. I don't think it was personal; I had never even met her until that day. I just think she was lazy and not wanting to do anything out of her way.

One day I was buying canned cat food. My old man cat who passed away earlier this year at the nice age of 18-1/2 had to be hand fed for quite some time, so I bought his favorite: Nine Lives Super Super, in a combo pack that was shrink-wrapped. When I got it home, I went to open the shrink-wrap and one of the cans exploded. Yuck. It was still all contained in the shrink-wrap, so I just put it back in the bag, tied it shut, and hung it on the front door knob for next time I went to Walmart. Yes, I was going to take it back. I honestly can't tell you how long it was there. Not days, maybe a couple weeks... I couldn't smell it, but the bag seemed to inflate a bit. I was not about to open that bag, but it was still going back to the store.

Finally the day came that I was taking it back whether I had another reason to go or not. Child A and I hopped in the van and went to Walmart. I said I couldn't smell it in the house, right? Well, I had to open all the windows in the van and we still gagged all the way there. Fortunately, Walmart is only a few miles away.

When we walked into Walmart, I expected people to clear the way to avoid the contents of the bag. I wouldn't have been surprised if they had called the haz-mat suits. But no one seemed to notice. We were about the 27th person in the customer service line when someone told us that we could go over to Register #1 to be helped. Sounded great to me, until I got halfway there and saw who was opening up that lane. It was her. The same customer service manager (CSM) that refused my coupon. I looked back at the service line to take my place back and saw that my spot was gone and there were now about 40 people in line. Great. Oh well, here goes. This is the conversation that ensued:

Me: "In this bag is a 4-pack of cat food that exploded. I'd like to return it. Here is my receipt. I wouldn't open the bag, if I were you."
CSM: "Why would you like to return it?"
Me: "Uh, because it exploded when I tried to take it out of the shrink-wrap. I'm not going to feed it to my cat."
She's opening the bag.
Me: "I really don't think you want to open the bag."
She just looked at me and opened the bag.
I actually backed up two steps and pulled Child A back with me. I thought the CSM was going to lose her lunch! And the look on her face!!!
Then she says, "What am I supposed to do with this?"
What, I have to tell her how to do her job?
I just looked at her. So she repeated herself.
Me: "Give me a refund?"
CSM (gagging): "Well, how am I supposed to scan it?"
Me: "I don't know. What do you think?"
CSM: "Well, I need to scan it."
She's really stuck on this scanning thing, isn't she? Why does the customer have to come up with suggestions for the customer service manager?
I let her stew about it for a minute or so, during which time she gagged a few more times. {giggle}
Finally, I offered to go get another off the shelf and we'd just exchange it - she could scan the good one for both transactions. And she was OK with that.

But I sure enjoyed watching her gag a few times after I had warned her.

But, really, she couldn't have come up with the idea to go get one off the shelf?

Disclaimer: I really do love Walmart. I know not everyone does, but I do. I get some great deals at Walmart, save a lot of money, and can find so many useful things there. My only problem at my local Walmart has been with customer service managers who really should receive some additional training if they are going to carry a title with "customer service" anything in it.