Tag Archives: family

Don’t Skimp on the Meat

Father’s Day is coming up and I want to share something important I learned from my dad:

Don’t skimp on the meat.

I remember the conversation between my parents when my dad said those words. I thought it was a silly argument at the time. My dad was a miner. He worked long, hard hours in a dangerous situation to keep a roof over our head, food on our table, and the bills paid. One of the few things he asked for in return was that my mother not skimp on the meat in his sandwiches. I remember him saying:

“I don’t want to be filled up with bread. I want a lunch I can enjoy and will keep me going until the end of my shift.”

That’s how my dad lives his life. He busts his butt to get a job done. Any job. Every job. He doesn’t slack. He doesn’t skimp on what he gives others. In return he wants lunch meat piled high on his sandwich. He wants dinner to include a decent-size hunk of meat.

As an adult, I look back and see that he takes that philosophy into other aspects of his life as well. He doesn’t skimp on meat of his life, so to speak. He enjoys his recreational time. He makes sure there’s something to enjoy on his vacation, during his family time, and in his home. He doesn’t skimp, but he’s smart about it. He doesn’t go overboard or put himself in debt to enjoy life. He simply refuses to skimp. Those are things  I equate to being wealthy – in all aspects of life.

I picked up that habit to a certain degree. I like my sandwiches with a lot of meat and when I make sandwiches for other people I don’t skimp on the meat. But unlike my dad, I have not made that philosophy a concrete part of the other aspects of my life. Particularly now that I have children. I skimp on my “Me Time”. I skimp on time with the kids.

I’m a single parent trying to earn an income as a writer so I can stay home to raise them. That’s a big responsibility I take seriously and I bust my butt every day working towards that goal. It’s easy to skimp on the meat in this situation. And that’s not fair to myself or my children.

Are there areas of your life where you been skimping on the meat? They are all important, otherwise what’s the point of working so dang hard? How do we get back on track so that we can enjoy those aspects?

… First, I’m going to make a sandwich. A big one with lots of meat. Then, I’m going to plop down on the sofa and spend time with my kids. I’ll tackle the rest one thing a time <3

5 Ways to Give to Your Community Without Spending a Dime

Looking for ways to get on Santa’s “nice” list? Maybe you’re looking for things for your Kindness Elf to suggest. Here are 5 Ways to Give to Your Community (without spending a dime).

5-ways-to-give | I Am Rosa

This article was originally posted on Hubpages 12/09/13

What to Do When You Can’t Volunteer or Give Cash?

Presenting a thank you certificate to a local volunteering business man who helped with the Haunted House Fundraiser for our local Boys & Girl's Club. Source: © I Am Rosa
Presenting a thank you certificate to a local volunteering business man who helped with the Haunted House Fundraiser for our local Boys & Girl’s Club. Source: © I Am Rosa

 

We always mean to do something to help improve our community, volunteer, or donate to good causes, but the time commitment or financial cost of helping others can knock the wind out of our sails. Here are five ways that we give without straining our budget or busy schedules:

 

1. Fill a Need at the Women’s Shelter

Women’s shelters are always in need of gently used clothes, socks and shoes for those who have fled without packing. They can also use gently used baby and children’s clothing, family games, movies and books to help pass the time.

If you don’t mind spending a few dollars, they always need toothbrushes and toothpaste, combs, and other toiletries that can be bought at the Dollar Store. Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving are always hardest time of the year, so little gift bags of toiletries and treats for the families spending their holidays at a shelter is greatly appreciated.

(Note: These things are also needed a men’s shelters, but so few communities actually have a safe haven for abused men … If you have one, please find a way to include them in your generosity.)

 

2. Books and Magazines

Bestow gently used books and magazines to your local library, doctor’s office and hospitals. But, not just to the emergency waiting room; all the departments have waiting rooms where people sit around for long periods of time, including the maternity ward where bed-ridden mommies need something to help pass the time.

 

 

Gently loved kids’ books are great donations for day cares and children’s clubs. Children’s wards and hospitals, Ronald McDonald House and other medical care facilities that focus on children would also be glad to have books and movies in good condition and age appropriate. Of course, a few family-friendly books and movies for the adults are also valued.

 

My daughter enjoying a
My daughter enjoying a “Wild Book” we found at the park. Source: © I Am Rosa

Surprise a Stranger

You could also surprise a stranger by leaving a “Traveling Book” or “Wild Book” in a clearly marked bag somewhere public, such as a local park, play ground, or restaurants. These are books left in the public for someone to find, read, and set lose again (aka Traveling Book) or to be found and kept (aka “Wild Book” ).

 

3. Coupons

I’m regularly inundated with coupons from various sources; coupon packets in the mail from marketing companies, flyers in the newspaper, even coupons and samples from companies that produce baby-related items and foods. I’m not a big coupon user. I prefer to buy generic brands which are often much cheaper than a brand name, even when using with a coupon. However, I know other people prefer name brands.

Clip coupons and leave them at the local welfare office (if they have a coupon drawer) or even at the announcement board at the grocery store. Coupons for baby and children’s items can be given to local Early Year’s Centres, child care businesses, and even Health Units.

 

4. Baby and Children’s Clothing

Most of us generally try to sell our unneeded children’s clothing via local Facebook “yard sale” groups or consignment shops. You could also share gently used clothing with a family member or friend with a child who would fit them. Local woman’s shelters, maternity wards or Early Year’s Centres also appreciate gently used baby clothes. Of course, toys and educational items in good condition are also desirable.

 

 

My daughter in the NICU was so well cared for! We were happy to leave some newborn pajamas for other families in need of them Source: © I Am Rosa
My daughter in the NICU was so well cared for! We were happy to leave some newborn pajamas for other families in need of them Source: © I Am Rosa

Newbie Needs

It surprised us to learn that the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where we delivered our daughter have a need for pajamas. Many parents, just like us, are caught off guard by their child’s premature arrival. And, just like us, many of them were from out of town without access to their baby supplies, including jammies. If you have spare newborn pajamas, hats or mitts, check with your local hospital to see if their maternity or NICU unit would like them.

 

 

 

 

Baby clothes for the 2013 Philippines relief efforts .... with love from our family. Source: © I Am Rosa
Baby clothes for the 2013 Philippines relief efforts …. with love from our family. Source: © I Am Rosa

Social Media Call-Outs

Keep an eye out for posts on local Facebook groups about families who have experienced loss and need help. This is a great way to help out your community. If you have what a family needs and can spare it, give what you can.

There is also the occasional call-out for clothing donations to help the relief efforts for the victims of the latest natural disaster. Don’t be shy! Contact the coordinator and find out what they need. If you have it to spare, box it up to be collected and shipped out to help those in need.

 

5. Pantry Items

We all have items in our pantry that we meant to use but never got around to it. If the items aren’t too close (or past) their expiry date and are in good condition, donate them to the local food bank.

What do we have to spare? Source: © I Am Rosa
What do we have to spare? Source: © I Am Rosa

 

If you’re really ambitious, you can host a get-together (or event through your church or other favourite non-profit organization) that requires guests to give canned or dried goods in exchange for entry, with the goods going directly to your local food bank. If you’re a little less ambitious, but still like the idea of mixing it up with others in your community, attend a local event like this and bring all you’ve got to share from your pantry.

 

[UPDATE: Since originally posting this, I've learned more about food banks. Apparently, they get a lot of food they can't use because there is too much of the same thing or they're really odd food items most people don't eat. The Vancouver Sun published a great article about it here which explains how food banks are able to get really good discounts from partners with the cash donations they receive and how you can better help your local food bank. If in doubt, call and ask what food items they need most.]

 

 

WWYD? (What Will You Do?)

Now that you have a few ideas to run with, what can you do to give back to your community?

Please, share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below for others to read and maybe even use in their community!

“Rules for Dating My Daughter” Memes …

Someone recently told me that this is the Year of the Offense. Everyone seems to be offended by every little thing going on around them, which is of course amplified by the media highlighting the most ridiculous and inane things to stir the pot. This includes some bloggers. So, guess what the big offender is now?  Well, the title should give you a clue, but you can humour me by making a few wrong guesses …

Okay, okay.  It’s those “dating my daughter” memes like this one:

dating-my-daughter-funny

For some idiotic reason, folks are missing the point that these memes are jokes; exaggerated caricatures of fathers wanting to protect inexperienced teenage girls who are (generally speaking) wrapped up in romantic ideals and fairy-tale notions.

In fact, one daddy blogger stated that these demeaning memes show that men don’t trust their daughters, have no confidence in them, and think their daughters are “weak and feeble creatures” (that’s a direct quote).  From his comments about over-bearing fathers bullying, intimidating future friends and dates, and his obnoxious choice to post this topic under the category of “bad parenting”, it’s obvious that he’s confused the satirical portrayal of fathers in movies and television with real life. As the rest of us know; very few people actually behave the way these memes portray. That my father greeted a young man at the door with a shot gun in hand was just poor timing and reinforcement that you should always call ahead before showing up at someone’s house (… that’s also an attempt at humour.)

For that daddy blogger and any others who struggle with this topic, here are some points to consider:

jmok1

 

1) When Dad screened potential dates, met them at the door, spoke to them on the phone, and/or “put the fear of God” in them, I never felt like he didn’t trust me. Know why? Because, *MY* behaviour wasn’t what he was worried about.

Dad trusted me to do the right thing, and then he empowered me to be able to make good choices by teaching me what to say, what options I had in certain situations, and if all else failed, where to strike if I needed to. He did that so I would never feel or be defenseless just because I was on my own.

Nor did I feel “owned” or like property by the fact that his primal instincts were to protect his offspring. I find the above mentioned daddy blogger’s suggestion of that ridiculous and, dare I say – offensive.

 

delicate

 

2) At no time did Dad’s (over)protective behaviour give the impression or make me feel like I was a helpless little thing that would collapse in a fit of vapours in a crunch. Instead, I feel important, precious, and worth protecting.  I also felt confident that Dad had my back if things ever went sideways. He taught me that family takes care of each other; I could count on him to step up if I got into a situation I couldn’t handle on my own as an inexperienced teenager.

 

Cartoon by Mark Parisi
Cartoon by Mark Parisi

 

3) My old-world Italian father was pretty blunt about men and dating, but he didn’t teach me to “fear” men by being (over)protective. You know who did?  Men (and boys) who didn’t respect me; mentally, emotionally, or physically. Those assholes really drove home everything Dad was trying to tell me about why he was so worried  and why he felt the need to teach me how to slam a fist into a man’s throat.

 

You know why fathers do and say these things? It’s not that they don’t trust their daughters or think they’re “weak and feeble creatures”.

 

 

Fathers act in a way to protect their daughters in dating situations, because they’re men and they’ve “been there”

 

To paraphrase Dad:

Not all parents raise their kids to know and do what’s right. Even those kids who are raised properly make mistakes. It’s a parent’s job to make sure everyone is on the same page – that there’s a mutual understanding and respect.  And, if there’s a lapse in respect, there is a knowledge that there will be consequences – obviously not Liam Neeson style, but real solid consequences to their actions.

Despite the “caveman instinct” to protect our young, these memes, and the “tough-guy” mentality that some people are sneering at, isn’t about feminism, sexism, lack of trust in our children, or “bad parenting”. It’s about teaching our daughters (and their potential suitors) that “Even when you’re by yourself, you’re never on your own.”

 


 

Is it Secured? Is it Safe? (Guns in the Home With Kids)

I came across an article titled, “Want to Schedule a Playdate? Let’s Talk About Gun Safety First.” As the title suggests, it’s about knowing how other parents deal with having guns in their home before allowing your kids to go over to visit.

Photo: Norm Bosworth
Photo: Norm Bosworth

I grew up in Northern Ontario (Canada). A lot of homes have hunting weapons and we never thought anything of it.  Our parents certainly never asked, “Do you have guns?  Are they locked up?” But, maybe they should have.  There weren’t any laws back then to make sure weapons were secured from little hands that may want to explore.

We lost a few school friends to gun accidents throughout the years, even ones that were taught gun safety. The grief and horror on the face of the “safety trained” kid who accidentally shot his best friend … it never left him.

My dad always kept his guns unloaded and hanging high up on the wall out of reach. He taught my brother and I at an early age that guns are weapons and weapons kill. It doesn’t matter if you’re an animal or a child, if a weapon is pointed at you, it can and will kill you. On purpose or by accident – dead is dead.  We’d seen enough dead animals to know we didn’t want that to happen to us or anyone we cared about.

We were allowed to handle Dad’s hunting weapons only when we were in a safe location and only when he was standing there with his hands on us and/or the weapon. We knew what it felt like to hold them, aim them, and fire them. We knew how easy it was for a gun or rifle to go off when we didn’t mean for it to and how easy it was to hit something we didn’t mean to. Seeing Dad treat every weapon (knives included) with respect went a long way. He was never casual with them:

 

“The moment you don’t respect a weapon, it will kill you.
Always treat it like it’s loaded and ready to kill.”

 

Neither my brother or I ever had an urge to touch/play with them or show them off to friends. In fact, we had friends ask us to take down a rifle or shotgun so they could see them. The answer was always no. On purpose or by accident – dead is dead.

Now, it’s law here that firearms must be unloaded and made inoperable with a secure locking device or securely locked in a container/cabinet that can’t easily be broken into. Plus, ammo must be stored separately or locked in the same container as the firearm.

Even though it’s required by law where I live, the playdate article makes a good point. We can’t assume that everyone actually follows the law. There’s always someone who figures it’s nobody’s business what they do in their own home and “What the law doesn’t know, won’t hurt me.”  And, for other places that don’t have these types of legal requirements, a conversation about guns between parents becomes more important.

It’s okay to talk about things that affect the safety of our children. If you have guns in your home, you can be the one to start the conversation with the parents of your child(ren)’s friends.  Tell them what steps you take to keep your guns secure and children safe in your home. Let them know it’s okay to ask questions. Keep the conversation light, yet respectful. You never know who’s life this simple, open discussion could save.

~*~

If you would like to know how to make your firearms safe in the home,
visit Project Child Safe.

For those in the USA, CLICK HERE to get a
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