Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Things I'm Thankful For (that's a lot of t's)

In honor of Thanksgiving, I'd like to make a list of the top ten things I'm thankful for. And since it's Tuesday and I'm a big fan of alliteration, I'm going to call this Top Ten Tuesday.

**Disclaimer - obviously the top things I'm thankful for are my family, our friends, our health, and the love we all share - this blog is lighthearted and fun and those things are not.**

1. The fact that my kids are no longer babies.  I mean, sure, there are times when I miss the feel of a warm, squishy, baby in my arms. And there's really nothing like a baby's laugh. Babies are great.  But I am so glad I'm done with my baby stage. I love that I'm not worrying about car seats and day cares and most of all, mom judgement.

Not to say there's no mom judgement when your kids are over the age of 10, but I guess you just kinda stop caring what other mom's think as much. I mean, I've been doing this a while and so far, so good. I don't care if you think my kids watch too much TV or if they smell a little funny (when did you last take a bath?) or if they eat too much Halloween candy. They're cool. I've kept them alive this long.

When your kids are babies and toddlers you are always worried what someone is thinking of you and how you're raising your child. Breast feeding guilt (did you? how long? did you pump? did you do it in public?) is at the top of the list. Followed by how long your child was in a rear facing car seat and whether they watched Baby Einstein or you read Goodnight Moon to them every night as they fell asleep. Seriously, new moms. Let all that go. As long as you're not hitting the crack pipe and leaving your babies in the care of convicted felons so you can work your shift at the Eager Beaver - you're doing fine. (And no disrespect to those stripper mamas out there. Work it, girl. Money makes the world go round.)

Did you know that babies aren't supposed to eat purees anymore? Yep, that's a thing. I don't know why and I don't care to research why - but the food that all three of my children ate when first started to eat is evidently a big, fat, mom judgey no-no. I guess you're just supposed to give them a banana and hope they don't choke to death.

2. My minivan. Our old minivan wasn't doing so well, so earlier this year we got a new to us minivan. It's an upgrade from our old minivan in that it has no dents, doesn't smell like cheese, and doesn't require me to add water to it before every trip. There are no dummy lights on, all the windows work, the AC works and it even has heated seats that I use almost every day even though I live in South Florida. I like a toasty tush. It's pure luxury, y'all.

Originally when we bought The Man's SUV we made sure to buy something that had third row seating because we figured when my van finally died (this was like 5 years ago and we thought the old van was on her last legs then - nope) I'd take the new SUV and The Man would get a car.  The Man's SUV is nice. It's got all the bell and whistles and it drives nice and all that junk.... but I loved my van and when it boiled down to it, I didn't want to not have a minivan.  There's something magical about the amount of stuff you can fit into a minivan, the amount of legroom every passenger gets, and the fact that it drives like heaven.

I'm pretty sure this will be our last minivan. The next time I have to buy a car the kids will be old enough that I won't be carting them around everywhere and they'll be starting their own lives. So I'll probably buy something smaller, a little sportier hopefully, perhaps something with a sun-roof and a trunk.

3. Coffee. I don't drink coffee every morning. I used to, but I've tried to wean myself off of it, actually.  Still, there are those dragging days when I'm just so happy it's there. People are weird about their coffee, too. Have you noticed this? Whether it's flavored or black or two sugars or a pinch of sugar or no cream or soy milk. People are really particular.

I'm not so particular. I dabble with different flavored coffees (right now I'm having Blueberry coffee - it's smells like the inside of a Dunkin Donuts and tastes delicious), get excited when the International Delights creamers are BOGO at Publix, some days I like it a little sweeter, some days I put almost no sugar in there. A caramel macchiato at Starbucks is my ultimate coffee but I only splurge on it maybe twice a year (that's what makes it special, though - $5 for any coffee beverage that is non-alcoholic is really ridiculous). I think being a barista would be a kinda cool job only in that I'd like to learn to make all the fancy coffees.

I'll drink coffee pretty much any way you give it to me and I can appreciate it every way. Super strong, super weak, lots of milk, black. Cuban, Italian, and my personal favorite - Irish - they're all a-okay with me.

4. Parenthood - the show. Do you watch this show? Y'all, I have gone through all 6 seasons with The Bravermans and now we're down to just 4 episodes left. I am so sad it's ending. It may be harder on me than the series finale of Friends. (The Man had to take the kids and leave the house to give me alone time for that one.)

I wish I didn't watch it so I could start from the beginning and watch it with fresh, new eyes. It's a heart-wrenchingly beautiful show and I really love all of the characters. Somehow this family makes you feel as though you are a part of them, like they're your family.

I get excited for them, my heart breaks for them, I get angry at them, and I want to defend them against other people. They are my TV family and I can't tell you how much I'm going to miss them.  Last week's episode about killed me. If you watch it, you know what I'm talking about.

Please Parenthood writers, please don't make anyone die. I know you're going to, I know you kinda have to - but please, please don't.

5. Costco.  I used to make fun of Costco people. You know what I'm talking about. They're always telling you what great thing they got at Costco. They have square milk jugs in their fridge. There is some sort of weird trail mix in their pantry and they have a lifetime supply of paper towels in their garage. Going to Costco is an activity for these people - a place where they actually want to spend their Saturdays. They spend $300 on a cart full of "necessities" and eat free samples for lunch. Or maybe a hot dog and soda for $1.50.

Now I am those people. Sort of. I mean, I'm a careful Costco shopper but I have seen the light. They've got me. They got me with their $3.29 ground beef in whopping six pound packages. It's so lean you almost don't have to drain it at all. They got me with two loaves of bread for $4.29. A rotisserie chicken all cooked for $4.99? Yes, please. Costco is now a twice a month adventure. I don't trust that everything at Costco is a good deal - sometimes it's not - but I do find that shopping at Costco shaves a couple hundred dollars a month off of our food budget. And who am I kidding? It's nice to be part of the club.

6. People with Type A Personalities. Because seriously, where would this world be without them? We'd have nothing, y'all. We need these people to make sure the world keeps running smoothly and on time. Can you imagine if there were no Type A people to make sure things opened on time and laws were followed (and laws were even made no less)? The world would be chaos - pure anarchy!

I long to be a Type A personality, actually. I longingly look at their clean houses and their perfectly manicured nails and their children that smell clean and have recently had haircuts. How do they keep it all together?

But as much as I wish I could be a Type A person, I think deep down I'm glad I'm not and that they are. Because I don't handle constant pressure well. I mean, sure, if you give me a deadline for a project I will stress out two days before it's due and make it happen and I'll say something like "I work best under pressure" - but in reality, I can only handle that pressure for a small amount of time. If I pressure myself like that for two days, I need a week of doing absolutely nothing to recover. It's probably what made college such a challenge for me.

7. Amazon Prime. I don't actually have an Amazon Prime membership - but one of my BFF's does. And she's awesome and lets me piggy-back right on that thing. It's kind of amazing. You can have pretty much anything you need, anything you want, anything you can think of shipped free and on your doorstep in 2 days.

For real. Goober wanted the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. He wanted me to order it from his school's Scholastic book flyer. Do you know how long a kid has to wait for a Scholastic book to come in? Weeks! I ordered that baby from Amazon on Thursday night (kinda late even) and it was delivered Saturday afternoon. Bam! (Goober read it in about 3 hours like a ravenous beast. And then it was over and he was kinda sad.)

Amazon Prime has saved my ass more than a few times. Munchkin gets invited to a birthday party this weekend with no time to go out and buy a gift? Amazon delivers the day before the party. The Man gets an order for twenty Minnie chalkboard heads and we're out of red polka dot ribbon? Amazon delivers before he's done cutting those babies out. Bug tells me he has to read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for school and his book report is due in a week and a half? Amazon delivers him a copy with plenty of time for him to read it and write a Grade A report. BAM.

8. Revlon Colorsilk Hair Dye. Y'all, I do not like going to the salon. I do not like it one little bit. I don't like being trapped there for hours while my hair gets done. I don't like having to make small talk with the hair stylist. (Seriously, I don't know you. Why do you care what I do for a living or whether my kids like the school they go to? Just don't screw up my hair, okay?) I don't like being touched and I don't like paying hundreds of dollars for the privilege of doing all these things I don't like.

Especially when I can pay $4 for a box of Revlon Colorsilk Hair Dye in #61 Dark Blonde and cover up my incessant grey roots in the privacy of my own home. It works great, it costs next to nothing, and I never look like I just dyed my hair. It's so much better than going to the salon I can't even tell you. Maybe it doesn't work this awesomely for everyone, but it does for me. Time saved, money saved, sanity saved, it's a no-brainer.

9. My cat. We have two cats actually and a dog. And I love them all. But one of them loves me the most. That's Mr. Baggins. He's a tuxedo cat and he's a bit of a wuss. He gets his ass kicked on a daily basis by our other cat, Smeagol. (Yes we're geeks, what of it?) Mr. Baggins runs from the kids (especially Munchkin - he is scared to death of her) and hides on our bed most of his life. He is afraid of pretty much everything - I guess you could call him a scaredy-cat - except he's not afraid of me. Well, only if I sneeze or make a sudden movement and then he runs away. I don't know where he's running to, exactly, since he's afraid of pretty much everything in the world.

Baggins loves to be pet. He will longingly look at you with big green eyes at silently open his little mouth to meow a plea. "Pet me, please, it's all I really want."  He will watch your hands as they move around because he sees hands as nothing other than petting machines.

He is always there for me. With a couple little clicky sounds, Baggins is running to me wherever I am. I know he's only wanting to be pet, but lucky for us, me petting him is usually what I want to do. He's so soft and squishy and fluffy and warm. He rolls around and turns upside down with joy that he's being pet, his claws going in and out with utter pleasure and his whole body vibrating with happy purrs. He's a hedonistic little bugger, but I love him.

And the most exciting, biggest thing I am most thankful for this year is....

10. My phone. Don't look at me that way. Read the disclaimer above. Judgeypants.

I love my phone. I didn't know how much I would really love it before I got it - but seriously, I love it. I've had smartphones for a while, but this one I think I love the most. It is fast, it looks pretty in it's purple Speck case, it has lots of games and fun stuff to do, my calendar is updated on it, and it keeps me connected to the people I love the most (and many of the people I just sort of like and unfortunately several of the people I really don't care for at all).

I use my phone for pretty much everything from a calculator to a camera to a flashlight to an alarm clock. I keep coupons on it, I look up anything I'm remotely kinda curious about on Google, I use it in the kitchen to look at recipes. It reminds me what I need to be doing and when, it plays music to lift my spirits, and it tells me when I'm not moving around enough and to get my ass up out of the chair. My phone is totally my friend. It's blinking at me right now. Hey there, pretty lady.

I don't know if this Top Ten Tuesday thing is going to actually be a thing so I'm going to refrain from making some pretty little graphic that I'll never use again. If you're a long time reader of my blog you know what I'm saying. We'll see what happens next week, shall we?

Friday, November 21, 2014

My amazing, hormonal, genuinely out of her mind daughter

Munchkin turned 13 this year. She's truly one of my favorite people in the world. I mean, all my kids are my favorite people in the world, but Munchkin and I have a connection that is very different than the connection I have with my boys. There's something about a mother and her daughter.

That being said, she's turning into a very difficult person to live with. She's diving hormone clouded, wrought with tears, Bath & Body Works scented head first into her teenage years. 

My wise dad once told me "Honey, there's nothing stupider in this world than a teenage girl."

And he should know - he made it through raising three of us. Have I told you how amazing you are lately, Dad?

Munchkin has always been an emotional child. But before there was a certain degree of predictability to her emotional outbursts. Like, she didn't get her way and she threw a fit. I was prepared, I could see it coming.

But now. Nope. She'll lose her ever-loving mind over the stupidest crap you can think of. 

Munchkin: Where are all the Cheerios??
Me: We're out of Cheerios, Goober ate the last of them. Do you want me to make you an egg?
Munchkin: Why does HE always get what HE wants??! I REALLY wanted CHEERIOS!!! Why does everyone in this house HATE ME!??!

Queue Munchkin storming to her bedroom in tears, slamming her door when she gets there. 

And then, the weirdest thing is that she'll come out ten minutes later, all smiles, offering to make me eggs.

This stuff actually happens, y'all. I'm not even exaggerating.

Send in reinforcements. I'm not sure I'm going to make it through the next 5 years.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I sure hope he'd charge a lot more than a nickel.

So yesterday while driving home in Betsy (Betsy is my minivan), Goober said "Mommy, don't be mad if you get a call from school tomorrow."

Um, what? What could I possibly be mad at, my perfect, perfect little delicious boy? (It's here that I am channeling my inner Beverly.)

"Well, yesterday on the bus I said something and Ricky said he was going to get me in trouble for it."

What could my beautiful boy have said that could possibly get him into any trouble?

"I said 'If you give me a nickel, I'll tickle your pickle.'"

Y'all, I just about slammed on Betsy's brakes right there in the middle of the damn road.

"You said, what??!"

"Well, see, I just thought it was a clever rhyme. But then Ricky cleared that up for me. And then he said he was going to get me in trouble."

Oh, Ricky. You're messing with the wrong 5th grader, Ricky. 

"Where did you hear this phrase?" I wondered.

"Some kid at school said it. I'm never gonna look at pickles the same way again."

Neither will I, son. Neither will I.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Playing until my fingers bleed. Or are just really, really sore.

In between working on our websites and trying to navigate social media, I've adopted a new hobby.

What? You might ask - how on earth have you found the time to take up a new hobby, Beth? Surely there is no time in your life for tennis or skeet shooting or scrapbooking. You'd be right. There is no time for all that noise.

Nope, my new hobby is Guitar Hero.

Okay, so it's not exactly quite a new hobby as it is a resurrected hobby. Back in the day - you know, like 2010 - I was pretty handy with a Wii Guitar. That's right, I unlocked ALL the songs in easy mode on our GH World Tour game.

But somewhere along the way I gave it all up. Broke up the band and moved on to other interests. That was until last weekend when I did an epic cleaning of the TV room and found the disc.

Oh, my long forgotten friend. You've been drifting around for the past few years, case-less, neglected, unloved, your guitar companion collecting dust in the corner of the room.

Our original Wii actually died a little while back but last Christmas Goober received a Wii U from good old Saint Nick and so I popped that disc right in there.

The feel of the guitar was so natural in my hands. It only took me one or two songs before I was right back in that zone. That was, until the disc was unable to be read.

Halfway through Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle" it just stopped, leaving me feeling desperate and wanting more. I felt lost, like a junkie who was out of crack and facing a long dry spell. We tried to get the disc to read - the Man using weird techniques he'd learned to resurrect old CDs - but it just wouldn't play any more songs beyond the ones I had already played. It was heartbreaking.

I ran to eBay for a replacement disc and hastily ordered. But it won't be here until Thursday! I have to wait DAYS to get my fix!

Luckily, while browsing the local Goodwill yesterday we did happen upon the Guitar Hero Aerosmith game for a whopping $2.99. Score! It's no World Tour, but it will have to tide me over until Thursday.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Where to get the most awesome Christmas gift EVER! For real.

It's done! I think. I hope.

Our new site selling The Man's absolutely gorgeous (and perfect for holiday gifts!) signs is completed. (Oh, please go check it out. Pin some stuff! Tell your friends! Like us on Facebook! Let me know this social media thing actually does work!)

When Etsy put the kabosh on our store, we really went into high speed with finishing the actual site. It's been a labor of love necessity, y'all.

We still have products to add, and a few special things I'm still working on finishing that will need to be photographed and added to the site, but our best sellers are up and ready for ordering.

To celebrate our Grand Opening, we put our absolutely most popular sign on SALE for $10 off it's normal price! What? $10 is a lot of dough! That's TWO Starbucks Spiced Pumpkin Lattes or over three gallons of gas (you can drive for like 50 miles on that!). For $10 you could buy yourself a relatively nice bouquet of flowers at your local grocery store (stay away from those roses, we're talking gerber daisies here). The Fitzgerald sign makes a fantastic gift for your difficult to buy for in-laws, your little sister who just bought a house with her new husband, or your best friend who just celebrated her tenth wedding anniversary. Seriously, best gift ever. It's traditional and beautiful and everyone loves stuff with their name on it. It's true.

Last year we made this with my lovely sister, B2 in mind. She's a classy chick and so I knew she'd want a classy sign to grace her home. Since we made this design it has been our biggest seller of all. 

The Man is meticulous about the wood he chooses to use for this sign. And really all of his stuff - when I say he lovingly picks the materials he uses, I really mean it. You should see him in the lumber aisle of a Lowe's one day, pulling out boards, checking them for defects, laying them on the ground to ensure their flatness. It's serious business.

For this particular sign, he actually applies a strong tea to red oak and then uses a vinegar solution to ebonize the wood. After all that, he goes over the wood with a rich ebony stain to really make it as dark as possible. It's then that he carves into the piece of wood and the beautiful deep red wood color shines through.  He sands it by hand and finishes it with a wood conditioning oil and coat of sealant. The Man puts a lot of himself into each sign, y'all. It's on sale until the end of November. 

Not your style? That's cool, we do lots of other designs and The Man loves the challenge of custom orders. :) Let us know if you want something totally different. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Listen here, Laura, who posts on BabyCenter - You're wrong. And this is why.

It's just after 5 AM and I'm awake. I knew as soon as I posted about how awesome my new schedule was something would happen to screw it up. That something was me being evidently exhausted somewhere around 9 pm and falling asleep fully clothed - in my bra. 

So when The Man came to bed around 4 (yep, that's what time he goes to bed every night/morning), I was wide awake.  But that's not what I'm planning on blogging about this early morning.

I was reading this blog over on BabyCenter. I don't normally read BabyCenter as they don't have a whole lot of advice for moms of kids over 5, but someone posted it on Facebook and it was a funny read so I checked it out.

If you take the time to read the blog, it's a pretty accurate representation of what it's like to have three young kids. It does get better once they get older and their world doesn't completely revolve around you (but that's bittersweet all in itself), but reading that blog put me right back into those trenches. 

My favorite quote is this one: "And you will never really finish doing anything. Just to get the full effect of what this frustrating reality is like, stop reading this post about three quarters of the way through, and scrape something sticky off a sofa, or a rug."  

Because that.is.so.true. Someday I might show y'all all the half-written posts I've made over the course of this blog. This doesn't really get too much better when they get older. Sorry to say. I'll probably only finish this post because it's 5:23 in the morning and no one else is awake.

What struck me most about this blog was all the bitchy, self serving comments that followed it. All the moms chiming in to talk about how awesome they are and how their kids are amazingly well-behaved and their lives are just full of tender, blissful moments of mother-child bonding. Get over yourself.

The comment that really hit me the most was this one:

It seems like people who have more than one child are really unhappy having more than one child because every single blog is about how chaotic and awful their life is. I get that it’s a joke, but most jokes have a shred of truth in them – it’s what makes them funny.
Listen up, Laura. Yes, it is chaotic and yes, there are times mothers of multiple children wish they could just hit the pause button for a second to catch their breath and take a nap - but I have never been unhappy I had all three of my babies. 

My life is not awful because of my children. They are my life. They are the reason I keep going when things get hard, they are what motivates me to be better. Raising three children who are truly awesome little people is my proudest accomplishment thus far in my life. When I have the opportunity to watch one of them do the right thing - whether it be a big deal like earning 1st chair in the most advanced band at their school - or a little thing like running to open the door for the girl pushing her mom in a wheelchair at the bank - I feel a sense of pride and joy I can't even explain to someone who hasn't had children. 

I have given the world not one, not two, but three absolutely amazing people. There isn't a damn moment in my life I'll ever be unhappy about that. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hello, Morning.

I was reading a post by The Happy Hausfrau (do you read her blog? you should, she's wonderful and I love her) and she was talking about how with her new job, two of her kids are now fully responsible for getting up on their own and getting out the door in the mornings. And I thought, OMG I need to tell the blogosphere that I, too, have started forcing the kids to get up and out the door in the mornings on their very own.


The boys are so good at getting up and getting out the door. Bug and Goober both get up, get dressed, and get out the door without me even opening my eyes. This is the first year that this has happened. For the last decade I have woken up at some unholy hour and driven at least one child to at least one school. Because of my night owl schedule, waking up before 8 am has always really been painful for me. So I would wake up around 6:30, wake the kids up, drive kids wherever, drive home and then go back to sleep for a couple more hours. It was so painful and so unhealthy and ended up forcing me to actually sleep more than necessary because I wasn't sleeping straight through.

But now that the boys are getting themselves up and out of the house I've had the luxury of sleeping a full 8 hours every night. It has been like heaven, y'all. I'm so darn refreshed most of the time. (And if not, a little coffee does the trick.)

Munchkin, however, sleeps peacefully until I wake her. And if I don't wake her, she doesn't wake. It's a curse that we both have - this inability to wake up in the mornings. When I was a teenager it was so hard to wake me up that my dad bought me an alarm clock that literally said "The World's Loudest Alarm Clock" on the package (and yes, it really WAS the loudest alarm clock.)

Munchkin doesn't have to be at school until after 9 am because middle school starts ridiculously late in our district (which also means it gets out stupid late, which is a whole other blog post). Since the boys are already out of the house before she even opens her princess eyes, she would peacefully slumber until noon if I let her.

So I wake up every morning by 8 am and I pitter patter across the house to wake up my sleeping beauty. It's actually really a good thing because I'm sure if I didn't have to wake her up I'd just sleep all day and nothing would ever get done around here. But this new schedule we've been on is pretty perfect. Get this, I'm even waking up around 8 on weekends. What??? Seeing the mornings is a whole new experience for me y'all. It's enlightening.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Personal Fitness, Trash Hands, Cold Fronts, and Etsy Sucks

Raising three children is a full time job. Double full time, really. In fact, I don't have time to write this post because I should most definitely be doing other things.

But procrastination is my middle name, so here goes.

This morning I learned that Bug is failing Personal Fitness. Yep, failing P.E... this is happening. Because P.E. isn't just running around the track and doing some sit-ups anymore. Now there are tests and quizzes and homework. A lot of them, in fact. And I guess Bug must think they are total BS, too, because he hasn't done many of them.

Bug has quizzes to take about flexibility and muscle endurance and what he should eat. I guess it's like Health class and P.E. all wrapped into one. His teacher says in her email this morning that Bug needs to make Personal Fitness his priority. Somehow I think his Algebra and Language Arts teachers might disagree but I'm not responding to that.

The other night raccoons got into the garbage in front of the house. Yesterday morning I woke up to little nasty pieces of our trash all over the front yard. Naturally I had the kids clean it up because, ew, I'm not touching it and if I can't get these kids to do the dirty work for me then what did I have them for?

Two minutes after the three of them were sent out to do the nasty job of picking it all up, Munchkin came in crying because Goober had "rubbed his disgusting TRASH hands all over me!!" So I excused her from doing anymore and sent her to take a shower.

The Man told me that she gets out of doing everything and I told him that if someone rubbed their disgusting trash hands all over me I'd be done, too.  Gross.

At dinner last night, Goober smiled and said it was worth it even if she did get out of picking up the rest of the trash. So I guess it was a win-win.

This past weekend South Florida experienced its first real cold front of the season. I had to put on socks and drag out my hoodie. That's cold for us down here. To celebrate we had our first fire of the season and I discovered Johnny Walker on the rocks is a nice sipping drink if it's cold outside.

Speaking of scrap wood, we had a bit of a hiccup this weekend with The Man's business. Since our primary income from his beautiful sign making business came from Etsy, we were sort of at their whim. I don't know if you remember back in the day when I was selling Fifty Shades of Grey shirts on Etsy, but they didn't take kindly to that and shut my store down. They didn't just shut that store down, though - they shut down that store and the store where I sold Girl Scout shirts down, too. Because they didn't even want to be associated with the likes of me. Geesh, Etsy.  

So when The Man started making his beautiful signs (check them out on Facebook for the time being!), we were a little nervous about putting them on Etsy. We put them in The Man's name and his bank information and for a long time everything seemed to be fine. Until we woke up Friday to a nice note from Etsy telling us to piss off. No appeal process available.

It's been a bit of a bummer, but we've been through this kind of thing before, obviously, and come out the other side even better. My Girl Scout shirts sell way better on our own site than they ever did on Etsy so we know that with a lot of hard work and marketing, The Man's beautiful signs will do just fine on their own site, too. 

So that's what we've been up to the past several days - just building our brand new site to feature our beautiful signs. It's not entirely ready yet, we still have a lot of editing to do and products to add - but it is functional and technically it all works. It's a labor of love, I guess. :) 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Where the Spaz just about reaches the end of her fundraising rope

I'm deep in the trenches of fundraising. Deep in the trenches and losing air, y'all.

In the past month I feel like all I do is peddle one thing or another to support schools, bands, trips and scouts. We're peddling candles, popcorn, nuts, candy, magazines, wrapping paper, cookie dough, and garbage bags (yep, not kidding - garbage bags). There's probably more I'm not thinking of because at least one fundraiser packet just went directly into the trash - all of it overpriced and none of it necessary for your existence... well, except maybe the garbage bags but at the price you'd hate to throw them out.

This is the time when the Girl Scouts do their annual nut and candy sale. We call it Fall Product and it's an alternative to back in the day when they used to sell calendars (something people actually needed). Typically, our troop isn't big on the fall product sales but we do sell cookies after the holidays. This is also the time when Boy Scouts are selling popcorn for the unheard of price of $10 a bag.

Though this year I'm seriously considering just throwing my hands up to all of it.

Maybe it's because I have three kids and there's a lot of fundraising to be done, maybe it's because I'm just burnt out, maybe it's because people are starting to run the other way when they see me coming - but I have had enough, y'all. ENOUGH.

I have given my weekends to sitting outside of grocery stores and banks urging my sweet little children to smile and say "have a nice day" even when people rudely avert their eyes and walk past them in their scout uniforms. I have sent out the emails, I've posted the facebook posts, I've called my friends and family.

At least with some of these products a decent amount does go back to the kids, but the worst of all returns is the Girl Scouts. GSUSA and our council, GSSEF (and please, know that this organization has my heart for what the individual troop leaders do for these girls) literally has girls working for pennies on the dollar while their CEOs take six digit salaries. Our girls barely make enough money to plan a nice field trip.

Like I said earlier, we typically sell cookies. They're kind of a tradition and yes, the cookie sale does teach Munchkin some business skills. (FYI - our girls get 60 cents out of that $4 you shell out for cookies, a 15% return). However, we typically pass on this Fall Product sale.

This year Munchkin is in 8th grade which puts her in her final year as a Cadette. She wants to earn her Silver Award this year and she, and her Silver Team of three other girls have come up with a great plan of action. Today I was told that if Munchkin doesn't participate in the Fall Product sale she won't be eligible for her Silver Award.

I'm still chewing on this big fat wad of black venom.

If I find this to be true there may be a whole other post coming up.

At any rate, if you need anything - anything at all - and you feel like overpaying for it, leave me a comment and I'll probably be able to sell it to you for a highly inflated price. :)