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I only think/do, like 8.3 stoopid things a day…

Ha!  When looking over these 15 things I could give up to be happy (according to some random yahoos on the internet), I thought the first one was my biggest struggle – then I read the 2nd one… and the 3rd one… then I was convinced it was the 4th one… then I realized I’m pretty much guilty of all of them and should probably relax a little!!!  Except #7 – No way am I giving up criticism!! That is WAY too much fun!!  Then I realized I was thinking “sarcasm” and should probably crawl my stupid butt into bed….zzzZZzzZZZ  Which ones do you struggle with the most?

15 Things You Could Give Up To Be HAPPY!!

  1. Give up your need to always be right.
  2. Give up your need for control
  3. Give up on blame.
  4. Give up on your self-defeating self-talk.
  5. Give up on limiting your beliefs.
  6. Give up complaining.
  7. Give up the luxury of criticism.
  8. Give up your need to impress others.
  9. Give up your resistance to change.
  10. Give up labels.
  11. Give up on your fears.
  12. Give up your excuses.
  13. Give up the past.
  14. Give up attachment.
  15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations.

How great is this message?!  Which one do you struggle with the most?

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You have to!! Because Jesus said!! Out of the mouths of babes…

As an Educational Consultant for Usborne Books – I get to do LOTS of fun things with kids.  In fact, that is one of the reasons I became a part of the company 2 years ago.  I started college thinking I wanted to be a teacher – however – being a “teacher” in Texas isn’t all it is cracked up to be…  In my opinion, teachers in Texas do not have the ability to teach children the way that they need to be taught.  There are so many rules and regulations that as a parent it is often hard for me to help my children with their homework because it has to be done a specific way.  That doesn’t make sense to me…but I digress.  I could go on for hours and hours about that.

The point is that with Usborne, I get to go into schools, preschools, daycares, libraries and community centers and hang out with the coolest kids!!  They are always saying the funniest things that make me smile, make me laugh and always make my day.

Today I spent the day with over 50 kids ages 3 and up.  I read them the story of ‘Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster’, which is one of my absolute favorites.  The message it carries is one every child (and adult!) should hear and believe.

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After the book reading I sat with each child and painted their face with something unique to their personality.  I spent the day painting smiley faced suns, flowers, butterflies, heart shaped ladybugs, snakes and Hello Kitty.  One little boy asked me to paint the yellow bird from Angry Birds!  I told him I had never done that one, but that I would try.  When I was finished I took a pic and showed him and he LOVED it…although I thought I had done a terrible job!  All of the kids told them how much they liked it and it made me so happy to know I put that smile on his face…and the angry bird… ;)

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Another little boy sat down (after I had just finished a dinosaur on another little boys face) and asked if I could do a dinosaur for him.  I told him I could and showed him the picture of the one I had just done.  He said, “Well actually, my favorite dinosaur is the Brachiosaurus.”  I laughed and told him I wasn’t sure I could quite do that specific dinosaur justice.  He then spent a solid minute explaining to me what it looked like.  I finally got it across that it wasn’t an option.  Then he says, “Well, actually my favorite animal that is alive in the world we live in today is…is….is…the giant gorilla.  Can you paint the giant gorilla on my face?”  The only thing I could think to say while trying not to laugh was, “I’m not sure it would fit on your face.”  I tried to explain that since there were so many kids and only one of me that to make it fair to each of his friends that he would need to pick something from the list.  He finally picked the snake.  My example picture is a little green snake with brown triangle spots and a black tongue and eyes.  As I dipped my brush in the green paint he says, “Well actually, snakes are my very favorite animal in the world and I especially like the poison ones.  The ones in Texas aren’t poisonous and can’t bite you, but I like the ones that can.  Can you paint a really poisonous snake?”  This one scared me because I felt the need to explain to him the truth about Texas snakes!!  However, I wound up doing a green snake with black and red triangles and a red tongue.  This seemed to make him happy…finally.

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After I painted their faces I stamped their little hands with our Usborne signature mascot – the duck!  They all loved that and a few even walked away saying quack quack. :)

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The last class of the day was the school aged kids.  These are kids ages 5 and up that are in public school but are out for Summer vacation.  Because this room was more advanced, they had pop music playing on the radio while the kids were playing in various centers waiting on their turn to have their face painted.  There was this one little boy that really just made my whole day.  After listening to the local pop station, the teacher put in a Michael Jackson CD.  I wouldn’t have thought these kids knew who he was, much less enjoy his music.  This one little boy just absolutely made my day.  He stood in front of the stereo and danced to every single MJ song.  When I say he danced I mean he literally danced the dances MJ did in his videos for each song.  He had to have been about 7 years old and was just awesome.  He even did the crotch grab, which was funny, cute and awkward all at the same time.  I wasn’t quite sure how to feel about it, but his talent kept me entertained and in awe for sure.

I was finishing up my last face of the day (another Hello Kitty) when they started setting up for lunch.  Little Michael Jackson Jr. began to help set out the plastic ware and plates.  Just as I finished my last duck stamp and began to clean up my paint area, he walked up to the teacher as she was about to start dishing out food and said, “You have to serve me first, it says so in the Bible.”  I couldn’t help but come to a complete stop and watch the scene play out.  The teacher didn’t even know what to say and just looked at him, completely speechless.  He realized she was not on the same page as him so he continued, “The Bible says that the last person to get served should be the first person to get served and I got my plate after everyone else, so you have to give me food before anyone else.”  Now the teacher had caught up and without missing a beat says, “Didn’t you get a spoon before anyone else?”

The whole exchange just made me laugh and think about what his home life is like.  I envisioned his Sunday mornings started with Bible Study, then Church Service, followed by lunch and an afternoon of Michael Jackson dance moves training.  It’s so interesting to think about what types of lifestyles each child has.

I am lucky that the future I have planned for myself includes a company that puts me in front of children like this everyday.  The daycare was so impressed they decided they’d like for me to come back (possibly quarterly) and do book fairs for them that often as well. :)  I can’t wait until I get to go back.

Have you experienced a child doing or saying something hilarious (or in some cases embarrassing to you but funny to someone else)?  I would love to hear your stories below!!

As a final note I’ll leave you with a short (very embarrassing) story from when my Mini Me was 3.  It was mid October and we still had no idea what she was going to be for Halloween.  I was doing a little late night grocery shopping and thought I’d flip through the costume rack while I had the time.  The only people on the isle were me, my daughter and another woman.  Now the size or race of a person would NEVER make it in my blog unless it was relevant to the story – and this is totally relevant.  The other woman was an older, black woman that was fairly heavyset.  She was on one side of the isle and we were on the other – baskets side by side.  I kept pulling things from the rack and showing them to the Mini Me: “How about a fairy? A princess? A witch? A pumpkin fairy princess?”  She just kept shaking her head no and was becoming increasingly more irritated.  As I was about to give up, I sighed rather heavily and said, “Ok then, if you don’t want to be any of these costumes what do you want to be?”  I suppose she was irritated because I didn’t already I know what she wanted to be.  So she responds with a very exasperated and very loud comment, “I WANNA BE A TITTY!  A BIG BLACK TITTY!” Oh. My. Goodness.  I am a redhead so when I blush its pretty obvious.  I went red from head to toe and turned to apologize and that poor woman was about to pee herself because she was laughing so hard.  Thank goodness she had a sense of humor – I was mortified!  Now every Halloween the Mini Me waits until we are in the middle of Walmart and with an evil little grin says, “Hey mom, know what I want to be for Halloween this year?” :o)

 

 

 

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Geocaching Adventures 7.12.14

Hey there! I headed to downtown Fort Worth today to do some research for my new blog project at the Central Library. While I was out and about I decided to check out what local GC’s were around.

**WARNING-SPOILERS** – If you geocache (in the DFW area especially) be warned: This post does show pictures and give specific tips that will pinpoint some geocaches.  Please do not use this blog as a way to find the cache’s.  The point is to showcase our geocaching journey and to grow the desire in others.

First I came across #GC46Y3F: What a “birdseye” view.

Whovian101 (AKA – the MiniMe) was with me last time we tried to find this one. Unfortunately, we were in the wrong corner of the building.  I followed the clues and looked at old pics to find my error and made my way right to the cache.

This is the view I should have been looking for and finally found.

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Here is the cache:  The hint said it would be hanging upside down – so I was looking for a cord or rope of somesort…. Nope.  I soon figured it out though. :)

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I found a really cool geocoin:  I love geocoins and trackables. I love the idea of sending something on a journey and being a part of it’s stop in my corner of the world. This one has a patriotic meaning to it which is always kind of cool.  The Mister served in the Navy for 8 years so I love finding stuff that has to do with the military – especially the Navy.

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Swag:
There were several cute little pieces and had Whovian101 been with me she might have wanted a thing or two.  Since it was just me I chose the foreign currency for #OJATW (you can click that hashtag and follow our awesome project!!  It will open in a new window and then you’ll need to log into your Facebook account to see it – but it’s totally worth it. :) ) and the geocoin to pass along. I left some kid friendly swag and a quarter. If I am correct about the value of the currency it is worth about $.16 American cents right now so the quarter did trump the value – but certainly not the coolness factor.

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I signed the log and took a pic of the bottom of the container so I could remember where to pick up some for my own caches.  This one was from Ikea…good to know!

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Then it was over to another is been eyeing: GC1KR38 Masonic Temple

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Mostly just a log but there was room for a few tiny kid friendly trinkets.  According to the past comments and logs this one has disappeared a few times.  My guess is because it is right next to an apartment complex and any muggle (especially the young ones) would be curious if they found someone lifting that skirt.

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Then I hopped a few blocks over (after maneuvering through the one way streets – which are a real pain in the rear.  They honestly don’t make sense to me!  Why not make them ALL two way streets and then no one is confused!!) and found GC4PDRV Lucky Clover.

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Fun find.  It was a clever container and a cute little hide.  They guys that work nearby are friendly and as you can see from my log, get very excited when someone finds it.  Hopefully, this cache has instilled an interest in some of them and they can start geocaching with their families and friends.

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Took my little monkey traveler to visit this one.  He was too big to leave in the cache. Still looking for a home big enough (and worthy enough) to send him on his journey.

Then I figured I would grab one more. Checked the logs. It was just found yesterday – which is generally a good sign!  Phone led me to GZ in a parking lot.  Just a few feet away was a tree with a perfect little hiding place in the trunk.  From all of the posts left before I am pretty certain this is supposed to be the site.  Unfortunately, there was nothing there.  I looked around and there were other places a GC could be, but none that really fit the past logs.  My guess is someone saw the person putting it back and then came and took it.  That stinks. :(  I squeezed my phone into the hole and took a pic with my flash just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything and this is all the picture shows…. :( Bummer.

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All in all – 3 smilies and 1 sad face. Muggles suck.  However, there were a few fun finds and I got a few ideas about what I want to do with our first cache.  I want us to place our first cache before school starts this year in August – so we’ve been looking for the right container and the right place.

I’m off to go work on a painting for the Big Kid.  Hope you enjoyed my finds and I hope you’ll share this post with anyone that has children or an adventurous side of their own.  Geocaching rocks…just sayin. ;)

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It’s my birthday!!!! I’m 29…..again!

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Sooo….a few years ago my friends celebrated my birthday by decorating my “office” with “Cat is 29 AGAIN!!” banners. I was turning 31 that year and didn’t feel old at all. I decided that until I felt old I was going to celebrate being 29 every year on my birthday.

I love holidays! All of them!! Although I absolutely friggin LOVE birthdays!! Not just mine, everyone’s!! I think you’re birthday is what makes you…you! I mean whether we are talking astrologically or in regards to the time period you were born in…if you had any other birthday – you would be different. At least I think so. For me, my birthday is the single most important day of my year. Not “the” year – I’m not selfish. I enjoy everyone’s birthdays and other holidays. However, my birthday is the day I reflect on the past year. What I’ve learned, who I was on my last birthday and who I am now, what’s the difference and why. Then I make my resolutions for the following year. I know most people do that on January 1st…I do it on June 1st. It just seems like that is the day for me to make my plan on being a better person through the next year.

So, here I am…29 again. Later today I am getting together with friends throughout the day. I am having brunch with some of them at 11, catching a movie with some of them at 2, doing a Painting With a Twist party with some of them at 6 and then playing darts and singing karaoke until the wee hours of the morning. :) I planned all of these events because my big resolution this year is to make more time for my friends. In this day and age of technology…it should be easy to keep up. Unfortunately, I think it is a little too easy. You read someone’s statuses on Facebook often enough and you feel like you are all caught up. I can’t even remember the last time I picked up a phone to call a friend to just chat. This year I plan to try and work on that. And on my special day today… I challenge you all to do the same. Pick a friend you haven’t talked to in ages today and just call. For no reason. Just to chat. I bet it will make their day…and yours.

What are some of your special birthday memories or traditions?

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Testing…testing…

Here I sit outside in shade,
Watching them pass, as hours fade.
Some to their own test to pass.
Their fingers crossed on the way to class.
The knowledge. Is it there? Did they study enough?
What grade will they get? Will the teacher be tough?
The wind blows high as the leaves float by.
A squirrel with full cheeks pauses to say hi.
One by one people start to head out.
Some heads held high, others full of doubt.
Late hours and caffeine didn’t come through.
They waited too long to study, it’s true.
Here I sit outside in shade
Happy. At ease. I know my grade.
I did my part. I played along.
I got an A. Only 2 questions wrong.

What was the hardest test you have ever taken? Was the teacher a generous grader? Did you study or wait until the night before to cram? Why is that test so memorable for you?

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Gross or Not?

20140425-125936.jpgOften times I feel cheated by fast food chains.  I know that I accept the responsibility of getting possible bad service and semi-decent food at most fast food chains.  Lets face it – there aren’t people with Doctorates floating around the local Taco Bell and McD’s.  Most general employees of fast food places are either really young, really old, using it as a second  (or third) job to supplement their families income or live in a demographical area that is typically lower income.

Now before I get tons of hate comments – let me be clear.  I am in no way undermining a job at a fast food position.  When I was a teenager I worked at Long John Silver’s (I still cannot stand the smell of that red cocktail sauce – ugh!).  Many of my friends worked at the fast food joints all over town.  As we got older several of my friends had to take on an extra job and went back to fast food because it was easy to get hired and usually had semi flexible schedules.  A few of my friends actually became managers of a couple of the local joints.  Not to mention my Big Kid is 14 1/2 and will be looking for employment very soon and may wind up with a fast food position (Keeping fingers crossed for Chick-fil-a because they have the best lemonade EVER!).  I do love me some fast food.

However, because jobs at fast food chains are typically very easy to get – the quality of employee isn’t always superb.  I once drove up to a McD’s and ordered a Happy Meal for my Little Man and two Big Mac meals with sweet tea for the Mini Me and Big Kid.  I’m not a huge fan of McD’s (although I do LOVE their soft serve icecream with a side of hot french fries!!) so I didn’t get anything for me.  I might have ordered a little something but the tone of voice and demeanor in which I was being spoken too was irritating.  After ordering each item, the young guy on the other end of the brightly lit box (full of pictures of food that doesn’t come close to resembling what actually comes out at the end of the line) says, “Is that all?” and I would politely say, “No, I also need…”. When I asked him to repeat the order please, I could literally hear him let out a big sigh and repeat it with a voice that told me that his mother is making him work this job but he would much rather be home with his PS3. I drove up to the window and handed him my card with a smile.  As he snapped it out of my hand I took a deep breath and counted to 10.  I was either going to crawl out of my car window and punch him in his little teen-aged face (I’m a redhead – I have a short fuse – don’t judge me) or I was going to try and make his day better.  So I say with a smile, “Bad day or do you just hate your job?”. He took a double take my way, started to say something and obviously thought better of it.  Handed me my receipt and bent down with both arms on the window and let it all out.  “It’s my second week here, my second day on the window and they just keep telling me I need to go faster!  What do they want from me?!  I can only do what I can do.  I can’t go any faster.  If they want the orders right and the customer happy then I have to go the pace that is comfortable for me.  Ugh! It just makes me so mad!”. I smiled and I said, “Don’t worry, it gets easier as time passes.  But taking it out on the customers won’t make you feel better.  Just ignore them and take pride in knowing you are sending the customers home with the right food.  I promise you that would make me happy.  And if they continue, there are a hundred other places to work – you don’t have to work here.”  He smiled and said thanks and I pulled up to pick up my food feeling very happy that I didn’t punch the poor kid in the face. (For the record, I can’t remember the last time I punched anything, let alone a person.)

We go to Rosa’s Cafe almost every Tuesday night for Taco Tuesday.  You get 3 tacos (soft or crispy and your choice of beef or chicken), rice (that is “oh so yummy”) and refried beans all for under $4!!  When you are feeding a family of 5 that is nice!! :).  It is a good thing their food is so tasty – otherwise I wouldn’t bother going.  The price is so great that they get CaaaRAZY busy on Tuesdays, as you would imagine.  I have to pull into the parking lot and go through my order every week to see what they forgot.  They ALWAYS forget something.  It is because there are too many hands in the bags and no one to do quality control at the window.  The staff isn’t unfriendly at the location we go to, but I wouldn’t say they are friendly either.  This is the standard they set and are obviously happy with because it never changes no matter how many times I complain.

This brings me back to today.  I work a part time J.O.B. (which someday when I become a rich and famous writer I won’t have to do anymore) and the shift is 9 or 10 hours long and since I am the only employee – I get no lunch break.  If I eat before work I am starving by the end.  So I usually swing through a quick fast food place and grab something to eat once I get to work and get everything set up for the customers that day.  It is usually pretty slow for the first hour, so I can usually get at least half of my lunch in before it is too cold to enjoy.  One of the places I frequent is the local Braum’s.  This particular location has the big thick crinkle cut fries that I love and their ice is that soft crunchy kind you can eat after your soda is all gone.  The service is bad for the most part, but the place is inexpensive, convenient and fast so it’s worth the toss up.  I usually only order one of three things there: Chicken strip meal, Chili meal or the Kid’s meal.  The chili is my favorite but they often times forget to turn the warmer on and the chili is cold.  No one (especially in Texas) can eat cold chili.  Once I get to work and find out it’s cold there is nothing I can do but call and complain.  I don’t have time to go back and even if I did the chili still wouldn’t be cold.  It happens about half the time.  So I’ve learned that when I pull up and I hear, “Welcome to Braum’s.  Would you like to try our blah blah blah today?” I come back with, “Is your chili hot today?” …which is irritating.  Who should have to ask that?

So today I pull up to the window and get to the question and the response was, “uuuh, yes, it will be.”  I thought for a second and said, “It will be or it is?”. He said, “Yes ma’am, it is.  I just asked.”  So I took the plunge and ordered the chili meal with a Dr. Pepper. (Which I was really excited about because I gave up soda’s for lent in support of my Catholic friends and 40 days and nights is a looooooong time to go without DP!!)  The voice then asks if I would like cheese, onions or sour cream with my chili.  They very seldom actually ask and I usually forget to ask for it because all I can really think about is hoping the chili is hot!  So I say that yes, I would like cheese on the chili and sour cream on the side.  “That will be six oh five at your first window ma’am.” Ok, this must be a manager on the window today.  I pull to the window and see the badge “Shift Manager” – that makes more sense.  I hand him my card and wait for my receipt and tell him to have a good day.  I get to the window to get my food and see the girl filling my soda cup.  She turns and opens the window and hands me my drink and a big bright pink straw (I love their straws).  She closes the window and walks away.  Then it happens.  I see a woman at the counter with a small pint size container of Braum’s sour cream.  The plastic lid is off and the foil top has been peeled back.  It was obvious this wasn’t fresh sour cream.  Then she gets a small styrofoam container and sticks her fingers in the sour cream and pulls out three “scoops” of it and puts one after the other in the To-Go container.  With. Her. Hands.  No spoon.  No fork.  Not even a straw or using gravity and pouring it in.  She scooped it out with her fingers.  Now, before I say anything else I need to say – she was wearing a glove.  To me – that didn’t matter.  Watching her pull the sour cream I was going to put in my mouth, with her fingers made me sick.  I immediately visualized those poor little kids from other countries that scoop rice into their little dehydrating mouths as flies land on their tiny little noses and hands.  I got to work and threw the sour cream out.  I just couldn’t eat it.  It actually didn’t look fresh and creamy anyway – you can see that in the picture above.  Honestly though, I threw it out because she served it to me with her fingers.

Gross or not?  What are your thoughts?  Am I over-reacting?  Should I have said something?  Is it really no big deal?  What are some of your fast food stories?