Tuesday, March 26, 2013

For God's Sake. ...No seriously, for His Sake.

For God's sake, can we just agree to stop?

For God's sake, can we all just get along?

For God's sake, can we pick back up the Golden rule?

For God's sake can we say nothing if we don't have anything nice to say?

For God's sake, can we all just take a moment and think?

For God's sake.

With all that is going on as we speak about homosexuality, we all need to just take a moment and step back. EVERYONE has an opinion on the matter, be it for, against, or they truly don't care because it's not a priority of their life.  Sadly, it is probably those who truly don't care that I love the most, even though I am for equality.

Those people who don't care rarely get involved in the debates.  Rarely interject, comment, create a blog post, or concern themselves in matters that are extremely controversial, especially right now.

It's a hot button topic at the moment.  And y'know, it should be.  Some equate this equality to the same thing as racial equality, and most people against homosexuality say that it's COMPLETELY different.  Truthfully, it's not too far off.  But, probably in different manners than you're thinking.

When you think the fight for racial equality you probably consider that your god made everyone.  To quote the song "Red and yellow, black and white, they're all precious in his sight..."  You think that the battle lines were drawn much more drastically, with different restrooms, seating sections (if allowed in to sit at all), schools, etc.

Homosexuals aren't that alienated, right?  Besides, it's their CHOICE to be a homosexual, they're choosing to live in sin.  People didn't CHOOSE to be black, that wasn't something they could help.  So really, homosexuals have brought this on themselves.  This isn't anything like the civil rights movement, right?


People are feeling alienated.

People are being bullied.

People are receiving threats.

People are feeling unsafe in their schools and communities.

People are being treated subhuman.

People. Are. Dying.

Matthew Shepherd and Lawrence King are the Emmett Till of our current civil right battle.

People are using the word "normal" in regards to every day things that homosexuals want to be a part of and can't.  A NORMAL marriage.  A NORMAL medical benefit.  A NORMAL family.

Normal.  I don't even know what that words MEANS in today's society.

  • Interracial marriages
  • Step and adopted children
  • Men wearing eye liner
  • Women wearing overly revealing clothing
  • The goth fad
  • Amish colonies
  • Looking to Hollywood to set the bar on beauty regardless of how unrealistic
  • Seeing bloodshed, heartache, death, drugs and thievery in our evening news instead of uplifting reports on all the beautiful things in our world that occurred that day.  

Are these things normal?  What defines normal?  All these things were thought to be different when they first came to be.  Shoot, the Amish are still considered different because they haven't "evolved."  How is it these things that were once "different," have come to pass as normal?  Is it just time?  Society being worn down?  Do we have a difference in tolerance?

With all the negative attention the world is giving to being a homosexual, it's easily becoming a problem in our society.

No, not being gay.  Being gay is not the problem.  Being who you are is NEVER the problem.

Teaching our children to discriminate is the problem.
Being an example of hatred, nonacceptance and narrow mindedness is the problem.
Not teaching acceptance is the problem.
Hating the sinner rather than the sin is the problem.

I'm not asking everyone to vote for marital equality.  I am asking everyone to vote for equality as a whole.

Why is it that kids are being attacked for being gay?  Teenagers are killing themselves because of being bullied and harassed for their sexual preference.

Because their peers are looking to the adults for how to respond to these scenarios.  And instead of seeing adults showing to agree to disagree and still love thy neighbor, they're seeing people like Westboro Baptist Church.  They're seeing their parents openly talk about the disgust of the homosexual lifestyle without ever seeing that it's the acts within the lifestyle that aren't approved, not the person themselves.  They're watching their pastor and youth leaders condemn homosexuals to hell and preach that it's such a wrong decision.  They're looking to the people of authority in their lives to show them how to handle something different than they know, and WE ARE FAILING THEM.

From a Christianity stand point, these children are seeing all that is wrong with other lifestyles without ever being taught how to be a better witness.  We're not teaching them to hate the sin and love the sinner.  To show Gods love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and acceptance through their own actions.  About how to reach out to these children.

From a Christianity stand point, for the sake of your god, PLEASE consider how you're representing Him.  Consider what kind of example you're being.  While wanting to be an example of a great Christian to your fellow Christian is all fine and dandy... your fellow Christians know God.  Consider the example you're being to those who don't know God yet.  If you live your life as an example to those who don't know Him, you will be a shining example to both.  If you assume that anyone worth being an example to already understands the foundations of Christianity, you are losing SO many lives.

Religion aside, it is our RESPONSIBILITY to help the children of our generation to feel safe, feel accepted, feel they have a friend, an ally, someone to stand with them.  THIS is what we need to be teaching our kids at home.  When they get older they will eventually decide for themselves what they believe.  We need to teach them things that will stay with them.  Regardless of if they believe homosexuality to be right or wrong, they should believe in a personal equality for everyone.  EVERYONE should be able to walk the halls of their schools, their streets, their library, their community center, and not fear being beaten up or shot.  Nobody should ever feel so alone they want to kill themselves.  NOBODY.  We need to teach our children how to be a friend.  How to not care what the rest of the world thinks.

Forget just in the aspect of homosexuality.

That child in their class who obviously comes from a financially struggling home?  That child who sits at a table alone at lunch, wearing the same clothes as yesterday, with only a half a sandwich, who's stomach is growling ferociously by recess because it was barely enough to hold him over.  Who doesn't have a jacket that fits for winter.  We need to teach our children to reach out.  To share their lunch.  To come home and ask their parents for help making sure that for everything we've been blessed with, we're responsible enough to help the less fortunate when we're able.

The child who is the target of all bullying.  You know who I'm talking about.  The one ANYONE will pick on because they're different, they matured faster than the rest, they're smelly, they spend half their school days in the resource room, they're deaf, they're blind, or...heaven forbid, they're homosexual.

WHY do our children think it is okay to partake of the bullying?  Why aren't we setting an example at home?  No.  Why aren't we setting a STANDARD at home that explicitly shows our children this is not okay?

And with social media now-a-days it's even worse.  Not only is the bullying able to follow the kids home from school, but now the examples we set as adults are able to stretch like a wild fire across our friends of friends in hardly any time at all.

That stand you just took against equality.  Against homosexuals rather than the act of homosexuality?  Against someone rather than in support of someone?  That stand you just took could have been the last thing they saw before killing themselves.  The last words they read.  Yet another person, who doesn't even know them, judging them and saying how wrong, how disgusting, how subhuman they are.

Is that the mark you want to leave on this world?

The mark you want to leave on their hearts?

I IMPLORE you, to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE think before you speak on these issues.

I don't care if you don't agree two people of the same sex should marry.  That is your call.  I honestly don't think that anyone else really cares too much either.  Don't get me wrong, they want it, but when all is said and done, I think an over all equality and tolerance are far more worth fighting for than just marriage equality.

I am so tired of seeing our generation lose innocent lives to this unnecessary hatred and bigotry.  To ignorance.  But most of all, I am sick of losing innocent lives because we, as adults, didn't stop to consider who was looking to US to set the example.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Super simple, DIY, recipe organization.

Alright, I have been using SO many different forms of recipe organization over the past 7 years it's not even funny.

  • Tried recipe cards, too small.
  • Tried printed 8.5x11 recipes in sheet protectors, effective to keep grease and oils off of it, but since it didn't take up an entire page there was a lot of wasted space and a HUGE binder.
  • Tried  LOVE it, but I'm a firm believer that everything should have a hard copy, especially after my external hard drive crashed holding L's first year worth of pictures (HUGE props to a forensic data recovery team who got them for me).
  • Tried  Again, effective (less effective than pepperplate), but I could only house something like 100 recipes before paying monthly to hold them all.
  • Hoarded recipe books, but for the amount of recipes I'd actually use out of them, they're taking up a lot of space.
  • Pinterest.  That seemed REALLY effective for a while, until I found a million and one recipes I wanted to try.  Now, searching across 14 boards that each house at least 150 recipes for one that I'd pinned a while back is almost painful.

So, I started gathering my recipes (name only) on 1/2 note cards in preparation of printing them on paper and binding them, or inserting them into a program online and building my own book.  Not a bad idea, but I was still bothered that I couldn't add to it over time since, at 25, while my recipe collection is more extensive than most I know, I'm sure there will be LOTS I add to it over the years.  In due time I would like to still do this, but for the mean time I'm looking for a solution that's fun, organized, and appeases my OCD.

In comes Staples.  Yes, the store, Staples.  This has got to be one of the best solutions I've come up with yet...I hope :)

Grand total?  $12.39 as I already had 2 reams of their multi color bright paper in 2 different sets of colors.

So, here we go.

Go grab yourself some bright, fun, colorful paper.  Seriously, once you make one of these you'll be addicted (I have 3 so far).  So, you might as well just go buy a ream of paper you like.

I used 20 sheets of each color.  I realized for the amount I liked to cook, I might as well make 2 cook books so I can give myself a little more room to store recipes.  The first book is broken down into the following 4 sections.

  • Appetizers and Snacks.
  • Breakfast, Bread and Pastries
  • Dessert to eat with fingers
  • Dessert to eat with forks

Side note, I seriously wish more recipes books would break their desserts into these 2 categories.  Because, anything with fingers is great to bring to parties, fund raisers, send to school with your kids, etc.  You know the stuff I'm talking about.  Brownies, cookies, fudge, puppy chow, the list goes on and on.  I clumped these 4 together because they get pulled out once and a while. You don't go all out for desserts every night, breakfast and things might only be on the weekends...unless you're Betty freaking Crocker, at which point you can suck it.  And appetizers and snacks will probably only be dug out if entertaining or attending a party.  Seemed to make sense.

Book number 2 includes...

  • Soups Salads and Sandwiches
  • Meat and Pasta Dishes (pretty much your main course)
  • Side Dishes (because if you're cooking dinner, if it's not a casserole, it'll probably be more than just a piece of meat on a plate...
  • And 1 section left over...I'm thinking for crockpot recipes, regardless of what it is.  Because, let's face it, if I know I'm going to be out of the house all day, I don't want to search 8 categories of 20 cook books for crock pot recipes, I just want all that stuff in one handy spot.  I know I'm cooking in a crock pot already, so I don't need to scan the rest of it.  Likewise, if I want to actually put some handy work into making dinner, I'm not interested in looking over crock pot recipes.

So, 8 categories in all.  You can make 2 identical cook books, I made them a little different since I had all the extra paper that's hung out in my daughters nursery closet for the past 2 years without use.

So, back on track.  20- 8.5x11 inch pages of each color, 4 colors to a binder.  Clip your 2 different stacks together and march your tushy right on over to Staples.

Ask them to be so kind as to cut the pages in half (so you're left with a 8.5x5.5 sized notebook.)  Ask them to keep your colors together, so you'll have 40 pages of green, 40 pages of blue, 40 pages of purple, and 40 pages of pink (for example.)  I asked them to put a piece of card stock between my colors, and they accommodated, but told me that in the future I need to provide them the cardstock as I wasn't getting anything printed.  And, request a plastic front and back cover.  I had them bind it with a spiral binding.  I normally hate them, however Staples spiral binding is this springy plastic material that doesn't get all warped and stuck together like those horrid metal ones (Yea, I'm talking to you 5 star notebooks!)  And then, you're going to have them bind it on the long side (the 8.5 inch side).

So, here we go, according to my receipt.

1 notebook binding, $4.49 each.  Multiply by 2, $8.98.
4 pieces of card stock @ $.20 each, $.80.
1 Cutting charge (I think she said 1 cut is anything under 250 pages) $2.00
Subtotal: 11.78
Tax @ 6.25%
Grand total, $12.39

I also happened to have some of the handy little tabs sitting around my house, so I put those in and stuck them to the white paper that divides my colors.  If I can help it, I'm a huge fan of putting tabs on the top of a notebook instead of the sides.  When you store a notebook usually the opening face in towards the back of a shelf.  If your tabs are sticking out, further than your covers, they get bent and destroyed.  But, on the top, you can accommodate for them and nothing gets damaged.  Unless you stack your books, then I don't know what to tell you other than, come to the dark side and see the light :)

So, now as I try recipes and love them, I can write them down in their categories.  I have 40 pages, 80 sides, of each color which should be MORE than enough room to get me started and keep me going.  And, when I finally opt to REALLY bind them and put them in a cook book, there will still be the hand written versions to pass on to my daughter :)

And, if you're really needing a "to try" book to write down recipes you have yet to try but haven't officially made the cut yet, create a 3rd (if you're as in love as I am and don't want to use a regular notebook) and have another spot to jot them down!

Happy organizing, hope this works for someone else the same way it does me.  There is nothing worse than hunting for a good solution and not being able to find one, anywhere.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Candy Free Easter Basket for a 1 year old

Alright ladies and gents, it's one of the several times of year where store isles are LINED with candy in preparation for celebrating yet another holiday.  As if we don't have an obesity problem enough in this country, let's add to it be pushing candy for a different holiday each month it seems. Having a 1 year old, I would LOVE to let her partake in the typical Easter celebration, however I'm not real fond of shoving candy in her face.  So, I set out over the past few weeks to put together an Easter basket that is candy free, and I think I've come up with a pretty spectacular one without spending an arm and a leg.  The entire thing, basket included, cost me $21.99 and tax.  So, let's get started, shall we?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

So, as we start to head to warmer weather, I find myself "stocking up" on some things from last year, even buying some repeat outfits because I loved them so much, and realizing that L has some "essentials."  I thought I'd share a few of our favorite things with ya'll!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cozi Calendar Review

While we're on this organization kick, let's talk about keeping schedules.  Because seriously, it feels impossible now and I only have a 1 year old. Can you imagine when school functions and fund raisers and dead lines, etc come into play?  I don't even dare to think about it just yet.  Anyway, I think I've found a pretty awesome solution to keeping our family's schedules straight, and with any luck this might even carry through for some years to come.

Cozi Calendars.  I tried using this a few months ago and hated it.  Mainly because I was stupid enough to sign up for Fly Lady who spams EVERYTHING at all times.  While her theory is great, if it's designed for someone on a busy schedule, that means I don't have time to read the 12 e-mails you send me a day.

I digress.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Organized OCD? Maybe

So anyone who has ever had young kids can empathize with how hard it seems to keep things in order.  Your thoughts, your house, your to do list, etc.  And, anyone who can offer anything that is quick, easy, and efficient with keeping your brain in order is pretty well your god send.  I don't assume to be anyone's god send, but, here are some of my few favorite organizational items right now that keep me sane.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Updated Toddler Food List

So in my previous post you'll see I mentioned the "1 protein, 1 starch, 1 fruit, 1 veggie" method of feeding L.  This is my updated toddler food list now according to that.  I've put a breakfast set of lists, as well as a lunch/dinner set of lists.  Hope this helps someone.  I'll keep searching to see if I can find that blog post I found this on so I can at least give credit where credit is due.


 Scrambled Cheese Egg 
Yogurt (chobani/greek yogurt is a great source of protein)
Cottage Cheese
OatmealSaussage links?  Lyla and I don't care for them but Jeff loves them so to each their ownBacon slices (they make some awesome precooked microwave bacon that heats up in a minute or so and you can just heat a few pieces instead of having to cook an entire package of it.