Karens Stuff

March 28, 2012

This is too good not to share! This morning I was taking my son to daycare. On the radio they were talking about a contest to renew your vows in AZ. They were discussing dating stories and marriage.

My son asks:
Son: Mom, what's Marry?
Me: Well it's when two people love each other and decide to stay together forever.
Son: Mom, I love you so can we marry?
Me:Well no, you can't marry family. Before I married daddy he wasn't part of my family.
Son: Mom, before daddy was family who was my daddy?
Me: Nobody honey, you weren't born yet.
Son: Mom, how do you marry?
Me: Well it's usually a judge or a priest.They say some words and you make a promise and sign some papers
Son: What's a judge or a priest?
Me: Well a judge is someone that makes decisions for the police (I really didn't know how to describe this one) and a priest works at a church.
Son: What's a church?
Me: It's like a community center.
Son: So mom, does the judge put you in jail with the bad guys?
Me: Honey it's time to go to school. (I was so grateful we arrived at school)

This just cracked me up. They are so literal and so honest..a clean slate..till we get a hold of them!

March 27, 2012

So I know I enjoy reading blogs that are witty and fun but today that’s not my mood. Today I want to write about guilt. I don’t know if it’s a female thing, something driven into us as children or if it’s just me but there are times (like today) that guilt is driving my behavior. Feeling guilty going home from work on time as there is so much to do and gee…what would they do if I didn’t work the overtime. Guilty that by the time I get home my husband has already made dinner and my son is 40 minutes away from bedtime. I choose to spend the time with my son cuddling on the couch while he watches Spiderman and his Amazing Friends on Netflix (by the way these are the 70’s episodes I watched as a kid). While I’m sitting there trying to be “in the moment” with my son I’m feeling guilty that my husband is doing the dishes and cooking his own dinner (I know how much he hates doing both). He doesn’t complain but I feel bad that I haven’t taken care of him or my son. After I get my son to bed I feel guilty that Michelle has been doing all the work on the blog lately so I start to work on some ideas. While I’m on the internet looking at ideas I feel guilty that my husband is loading the washing machine while he’s studying for his college class and I’m on the internet…

What a vicious cycle. I bet there are many women (and perhaps men) that feel this way as well. I admit I don’t let it get to me every day but today it is. It’s amazing how once you start to spiral it turns into more and more guilt.

So what to do…?
Disclaimer: I’m not a psychologist or trained in ANY way. These are just things I do to get out of my rut.

Ok, you ready for the big secret.  IT’S A CHOICE. I choose to stay late knowing that I won’t have time with my son or time to cook dinner. Yet I choose to do it.
  • Own your choices – If you make a choice, take responsibility for the effects of your choice. That doesn’t mean blaming or beating yourself up. That simply means be aware that YOU chose the behavior.
  • Recognize the payoff. For all your choices and the following emotions there is a payoff. My payoff for feeling guilty is self pity. Poor me! Consider how choosing behaviors that make you feel good give you a positive payoff like feeling proud of yourself. We get a payoff for all of our choices. Some more productive than others.
  • Choose how you are going to move forward. Next time will you make a different choice? Or will you make the same choices and find the good in what you've done. I got more work done which helps out my team. I put that TV time with my son in front of house chores and he went to bed knowing that mommy cuddled with him during his favorite show. Those are good things and I feel proud of that!
The same lessons can apply to other areas of your life.  Take money for example. How do you feel about money?
  • Do you always feel like there is never enough money? If you choose to believe you will never have enough money, then you never will. I know several people who constantly spend with no regard for how much things cost or how necessary their treasure is. What is that payoff? What are you getting from spending? The euphoria of feeling like you can have what you want? The confidence that no one is going to tell you what to do? What about a sense of control?(OK so I watch a lot of Hoarders episodes)

  •  Do you feel like you have just enough to enjoy the things that are important to you? If you decide that you have enough to sustain the necessary things and you make the best choices that you know how, you will find that you are just fine. Many times I find that money comes to me more freely the less I worry about it. I think that has to do with the type of energy I put out and the universe returning the favor.

So when you are feeling something you don’t like, STOP, Own the choice that got you there in the first place, Recognize the payoff and Choose how you want to proceed. Nobody can MAKE you feel anything. I am responsible for every emotion I feel.
OK, I feel better know, thanks for listening! I’m going to choose to clean the kitchen!! And I feel good about that. Woo hoo! 

February 9th, 2012
This is a true story, I was thrilled!

My mom and I made a store run tonight to get all their favorite snacks (remember my family are boring eaters). We went to Rite Aid and as you couponers know I get 20% off every purchase even without coupons with my Wellness+ Card. Like many of you I have gotten to know several of the employees pretty well. I always treat them kindly and I have patience when they are confused about the changes in Rite Aids policies. I have corrected them politely without embarrassing them and in a small way helped to train them. I can't tell you how many times I learned about a policy change from a coupon blog that the store employees were never told about. Anyway I've gotten to know the manager at my local Rite Aid pretty well. Her name is Kathy and she's always looking out for me. After Christmas I was checking out the 50% off candies and she whispered to me "those will be 75% tomorrow". She is great. Tonight my mom and I were in there grabbing treats and I asked Kathy if she could check stock on some of the Rite Aid brand 2pk Sonicare toothbrush heads. They retail for $29.99 and they are Buy One Get One Free. So that is a great price for 4 heads.

We chatted a bit about saving and she told me about her daughter whom I had provided a bunch of coupon websites to previously. I told her about the Sisters with Stuff blog. I gave her one of my awesome new business cards from Vistaprint. She asked for a second one for her daughter. After a few laughs I proceeded to shop.

While at the checkout I was being helped by another girl and Kathy was helping another customer. The customer was asking about the new policies. Kathy pointed at me and said "She is the expert" so I stepped over and explained to the lady how the new rules work. As I was putting my cart away I saw Kathy hand this lady one of my business cards, she said "go to this website and it will teach you how to save money". The woman was so excited and said "Oh Sisters with Stuff, what a cute name". I couldn't believe it. I went back and handed Kathy more of my business cards.

Shout out to Kathy at the Twin Lakes Rite Aid and shout out to the customer, hope you become a fan of Sisters with Stuff!! Looks like we'll hit 1000 fans before the end of February! Wow!

January 1st, 2012

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday. My New Year started with a HUGE wake up call. I feel very ashamed to share this but feel a responsibility to do so. Today we had a near miss with my son that could have been very bad. Fortunately he came out of it with just a bump on the head, we really lucked out.

So when you have a baby you read about all the things you need to do to properly "baby proof" your house. Although sometimes it seems like overkill, I've watched enough episodes of Oprah to know that securing your dressers and bookshelves to the wall is a smart thing to do. Before I had a child I always looked at the mothers featured on the show and told myself that they should have known better. My husband and I always meant to do it, we talked about it, we made plans to do it but we just never did. Now that my son is 4 and reasonably able to follow simple instructions I kind of felt like we were past the scary part as I've told him numerous times not to climb on the drawers... C'mon who am I kidding, I always knew in the back of my head that it was possible. I just kept telling myself we'd watch him and it could never happen.

Well today it did. He was getting his own clothes out of his newly remodeled "big boy" room. After all getting yourself dressed is part of the big boy process right? My husband and I heard a THUD and then screaming.

After assessing the situation it appears that he had opened all 6 drawers on the dresser (3 on each side) making it front heavy. Because the drawers were open it propped the dresser up and kept it from falling all the way to the floor. His new little TV wasn't so lucky and did fly to the floor hitting my little guy on the head in the process.

He is doing fine, was scared and had a knot on his noggin. My husband and I took a moment to breath and look at each other with that painfully ashamed look like "we knew better" "this is our fault". So my husband has spent the rest of the day securing all dressers and bookshelves to the studs.

I'm not looking to be dramatic or for any sympathy, this was a blatant case of laziness on our part. I'm telling you this so you don't make the same mistake. DO IT NOW!

2012 looks so far to be a year of Good Fortune! We are so fortunate that our little monkey wasn't seriously injured and Mom and Dad learned a valuable lesson in the process.


December 28th, 2011

True story, my husband called a buddy on the phone. This was the side of the conversation I heard
“Hey man what’s up?”
“Well I was thinking about going to a movie”
“No it’s not a joke”
They ended up going to some shoot’em up flick!

December 26th, 2011 

Hi there, I’m Karen, Sister #2 – I’m the younger one with the big mouth, a bit shocking sometimes but I am compassionate and always well intended, ok well not always but most of the time. I’m the mother to a very busy almost 4 year old boy. He’s so cute and amazes me every day, but let’s be honest…he makes me crazy, he’s a toddler, we nicknamed him “The Hurricane” at 2 years old. But that’s what we signed up for when we decided to be parents right. I work full time in a high stress job for one of the country’s largest companies. I do love my job but I’ll be honest, I’m way to stressed most days and really struggle to find that “work/life balance” everyone is talking about. I thrive on chaos so I’m sure I bring it all on myself. Then I come off my high horse and remember that I’m not the busiest person in the world and it brings me back to reality. 
I have a wonderful husband who is supportive, motivated and inspiring. He’s also a great father. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to choke him on a regular basis. But that’s normal right? 

My guilty pleasure is the casino. I'm sure that seems like an oxy moron... obessesed with saving money and then blowing cash at the casino, but as mentioned in the About Us tab, we save money whenever possible in order to feel less guilty about our frivolous spending. Let's get real, it is a total waste of money but I justify it by telling myself that I'm not at a bar blowing a $100 on drinks and I'm not a big "shopper" so it's my way of de-stressing. There's something about sitting there cocktail in hand pushing that damn button that allows me to escape all the STUFF I've got waiting for me at home or in the office. I don't even go thinking I might win big, just hoping that the money I've budgeted to bring will last for a few hours of mind numbing entertainment. 

I usually recognize things for what they are and say it like it is. It drives me crazy when people dance around answers and won't just say what they want. I also think that as wives, mothers and women we need to cut each other some slack. Why we kill ourselves to 'do it all' is beyond me. I go to a lot of toddler birthday parties and activities where the moms always seem to be in competition with one another. What is up with that? Why can't we just say, "I haven't showered in 3 days and I'm wearing the same clothes I wore yesterday" and have someone respond...me too! Instead the moms seem to try to 'One Up' each other telling you how bright their child is while you see him/her out of the corner of your eye eating their boogers. 

My child is perfect! A perfect toddler! He throws tantrums, licks the handle on the grocery cart and would rather pee his pants than miss the credits roll at the end of Go Diego Go! At the same time he makes me laugh, tells me I'm beautiful and uses cuddling as a means to stay up past his bed time. 

I think we should start a movement to get moms, wives and women to support each other and get to a place where it's OK that we're not 'Supermom', 'Superwife', 'Super Homemaker' or 'Super Chef'. Just that we're Super as we are! If you agree send in 10 pictures of your well dressed kids teaching French to Orphans in Africa while you cook a 4 course gourmet meal for your husband. Make sure you are dressed like Angelina Jolie and are in full make-up! Just kidding! Just be nice to your fellow mommies!

If you couldn't tell I love to use !!! and ... so deal with it!!!


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