Monthly Archives:September 2014


The Strategic Kid on Snack Money

24 Sep, 2014
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So for the past few years I have told my four school aged children that during the school year, if they are good all week long, I will give them snack money on Fridays. I would send them in with $1 each and never think about it again. It worked great or so I thought. But as the months passed it was harder and harder for me to actually have the cash since 1. I am always broke and 2. I never actually carry cash (because of number 1!). I would find myself scrambling to get to a store before school to buy something just so I could get four single dollar bills. What had become of me? Now I was spending money to well, spend money.  This was not good.

But then summer came and I did not have to think about it. Oh how I love summer! Except for the fact that I have ALL of my kids at home with me 24/7. Let me not digress though. :) Then it was blissfully August and all of the school paperwork started coming in. I got a note about how we could charge snacks. I think we were always able to do it but this was the first time I remember reading it and mulling it over. I liked this idea a lot. I would no longer have to spend money in order to get cash for snack money and I would no longer have to worry about having cash on me. Brilliant!

So the first Friday of school came and I informed the children they could “charge” their snack. They understood immediately, even the 4 year old, because kids nowadays seem to be a lot more in tune to these things than us adults. Go kids! So for the younger ones I had to fill out a piece of paper of what they wanted. The price was next to it and all of the sudden it began: I felt butterflies in my overstretched tummy, my face lite afire, and I was full on blushing. $.25, $.50 – OMG I am rich. I am saving money. Go me! Go!!! I kissed my brain and then I hit my head because what was I thinking the past 3 years?! Anyhoo, that first Friday was fantastic!

Then Monday came and I was unpacking my 6 year old son’s lunchbox and I saw something I hadn’t put in there: cookies. “Anthony, where did you get cookies?” I asked, to which he replied, “I charged it, Mom. It’s great, now I can charge whatever I want each day! Thanks Mom! This new system is GREAT.” GULP. OMG. My plan foiled. I immediately was overcome with a vision of dollar bills going down the toilet. “Nooooooooooooooo! You can’t do that!” I said and then I went into great detail about why he could not do that. He understood. WHEW. Thank you God for making Anthony put his leftover cookies in his lunchbox. THANK YOU!

At this point I was thinking to myself: Backpedal! Retreat! So I decided to revert back to the old plan. That was the safest route to take, right? So Friday comes and, as I tear up a bit, there I go handing out the cash. I ship the kiddos off to school and that was it until the following Monday. On that Monday I was cleaning out my 5 year old daughter’s lunchbox and what do you think happened? I find leftover snacks in her box that I had not given to her. “Maria, where did you get this?” I nervously asked, to which she replied, “I got it with the leftover money from Friday.” I take a moment to myself and ensure that I haven’t begun drinking and/or there is not something wrong with my brain. Nope, not yet. But I may need Chardy now because what just happened? So I asked her to explain to me in detail what she meant. “Well, on Friday I bought one snack and I had leftover money so I put it in the front of my backpack and I used it today.” All of the sudden the world completely stopped and I realized that I, queen of all-time sneakiness, had just been outwitted by my children! How did this come to be?  And the worse thought came after those thoughts which was: THEY ARE NOT EVEN TEENAGERS YET. I cursed to myself privately and quietly and then went for the Chardy. After all, it was five o’clock somehere. :)

Fast forward a few weeks and my eldest child and son who is 8 years old begins to talk to me about how he wants to buy minecraft for the computer. He has decided that he is going to take the dollar I give him every Friday for snack and he is going to skip the snack and save up money until he has $25 to buy minecraft. Why did I have to make such smart people, why oh why?!

Moral of the story: stick with giving only 4 year olds snack money because they clearly aren’t old enough to figure out how to buck the system just yet.

God bless,



Onward and Upward: Livin the Dream!

18 Sep, 2014
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So picture this…it’s way after 5 somehere, it’s like 5:35 p.m. and easily Chardy (aka the other BFF, Chardonnay) is way hanging out with me. And I’m just thinking to myself about the pressure my PR firm puts on me. I mean, hell (excuse the French), all I wanna do is write a book to make a buck but no, “she’s” got me doing all this stuff: do the blog, do the Twitter page, do the web site, do the Facebook page. In my mind “she’s” becoming “she was” but we’ll save that for another day. Ok, ok, just kidding. It’s a love hate relationship. She’s right. She’s making me work it and work for it but it basically SUCKS (sorry again for my French which is actually English if we are to be precise. lol!).

So I’m like, “Ok Twitter I get, but Facebook what do I do, how do I get more followers?” So I use my brain. Caution: if you are remotely like me, this may be a temptation to some. If you are in doubt call a Doctor asap! So joking… Anywhoo, upon using my brain I discover something major: ask the experts. And to me, my expert is Deva from She friggin rocks it to the core! I adore the woman (from a secure standpoint, mind you!). But again, another blog for that, too. Man, I am getting blogged out! lol

So I send Deva a Facebook message which is so dumb and ask her for basically a shout out because I am clueless and she is obviously way not. I am friendless on FB, she is not. So I send the message and step away from the iPhone. Again, my peeps or tweeps, Caution! If you are like me, this may be dangerous to your health. Joking again…of course, in case you did not know that and were ready to sue me for sumthing. :)

It’s now a few hours in and I never hear from my hubby but he decides to call me and says, “OMG! Deva tweeted to you!” So I, being the cocky Mom I am, I say, “Well,  yeah duh…it’s cuz I asked her to!” Immediately I hang up the phone and I am like, wait, what just  happened?! Never let the men see you sweat – no matter what man! So I go to my phone. OMG, she did, she really did and she EVEN sent me a private message with advice. WOW. “Heaven, I’m in Heaven…” At this point I don’t know who I am and where I am. I don’t care. I only know that MY HERO, MY INSPIRATION just recognized ME. Even if it was a small tweet or twit or whatever, yay!!!

So because I am crazy I push it up a notch. I write to her and I tell her THANKS and then I ask her if she would like to be on a show that I co-host which is called Parenting Matters. Well she said yes and the rest is history!

Yesterday I interviewed “her“. Her who stands on the high throne of all time parodies on Youtube! She, who has been seriously one reason I chose to accept the writing/blogging challenge. Deva. She is amazing and today I feel like a million bucks.

Onward and upward we go; we who don’t care…who don’t judge…who want to do something fun in our lives and yet make that fun tangible, meaningful, ENTERTAINING to others.

I feel so blessed. Thank you for making my day, Deva. Click here to listen to our interview.

God bless.



Homework Hell!

12 Sep, 2014
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Twas two weeks into school and I was feeling uber confident. After picking up the kids and allowing them to play on the playground I came home and gave them some down time while I made the lunches for the next day. I then called each child one by one to go through their backpacks with them. I decided I would give my husband a break from doing homework and I would get er’ done! So I started with the pre-k 4 kid, “Oh wow! Look at what you made today! Great job!” She didn’t have homework so after some high fives we were golden. Next! The Kindergarten kid comes up. “My, look at how well you are learning to write your name! Awesome!” She then sits down all excited to do her homework. We do it together in less than 5 minutes. The kid is actually beaming to do her homework. She loves it. She’s invested in it. Go you! I love girls. Girls are so easy (NOW!). Next!

Then it was the 1st grader’s turn. He would not budge from the couch. I kept calling and calling his name and like every male on the planet, I know he too suffered from selective hearing. Finally  I used humor. “Oh Anthony, your ROYAL hinny is being requested at the kitchen table!” I heard laughter but that was it. So I walk over and basically tickle the kid until he finally comes over. So we sit down and I pull out his reading book and there I see him with that finger in his mouth. The kid is almost 7 years old and still sucking his finger! He actually started reading with his finger in his mouth. So I look at him and tell him, “If you don’t take that finger out of your mouth I am going to bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep?!” (Sidebar note: For the fun of it I won’t tell you what I actually said but I will tell you that the highlight of what I said was a curse word which I NEVER EVER SAY curse words if front of my kids! :) The look on his face was PRICELESS. He looked at me, I looked at him. I was thinking in my head, “OMG did I really say that outloud?! Did he hear me?!” And he was looking at me literally like, “You’re the best Mom eva!” Well, my bad, I guess a curse word never hurt nobody! We both cracked up and a moment later he tried to put his finger in his mouth. I immediately took his two hands in my one hand and held them on his lap. I used my other hand to help him read the words on the page. We then read the book very slowly one word at a time. The chapter we were reading was maybe 10 pages with at best 4 words on a page. Finally we got to the end. And then I realized oh crap there is a q&a! Was he paying attention because I surely wasn’t?! As much as I heart Pam and her cat it was approaching five o’clock somehere. Lol! He was like, “Mom, we don’t need to do q&a” but I insisted we do it and I just hoped for the best since I live off a wing and a prayer all the time anywhoo. He actually knew the answers. Whew. Then onto Religion. I must be bias because I loved that part of his homework! That part was for me to read to him and then ask him questions. It was easy because the Chapter was on how God was His Father and loved him. He knew that already so it was a breeze! Ok, off you go laddy. Next!

Now the 3rd grader. If you thought the 1st grader was tough to get off the couch just wait! I called him, called him again, used the royal hinny shout out but nothing. I literally had to chase the kid around the house. He was running from me like the plague. The next thing I know he is under the kitchen table. No lie! The kid is almost 100 pounds mind you and now not only he but four other kids have joined him under the kitchen table. I’m not really athlehic nor do I have or make the time to exercise but I was not having it. Needless to say he was surprised that I actually got down and crawled under the kitchen table to get him. At this point the other four kids thought it was hysterical that big old Mommy was under the table. Oh great, now I have gotten a house full of hyper kids. Good move, JoAnne. Geez. My son, in the very limited space, is still trying to get away from me so I pull him back, tickle him and give him a semi-wedgie. He gets up hysterically laughing and hugs me. I remind him how just recently I tackled him in football and that just because he’s big and athletic doesn’t mean a thing. We sit down and I give him his choice of what to start with. He chose reading. Well if I thought Pat or Pam, whatever the heck her name was, with her cat Max was boring, I should think again. The title of the Chapter was Boom Town. Need I say more? So he started reading and I sat there trying to look excited as I learned about Boom Town and it’s pies. But all I could do was hear her…her, my BFF, Chardy, aka Chardonnay calling me because after all, did I mention it was five o’clock somehere? Stay focused, JoAnne (I kept repeating my head). Unlike the other kid’s story, this one was long – like 20 friggin pages long! OMG. Even the kid was getting tired from reading but he kept on keeping on. Finally we got to the end and I just could not get over it. It was so so SO SO SO boring! Why not read Lord of the Rings or a story about Knights and Princesses but this, come on, please! So I asked him, “Did you find that story enjoyable?” To which he replied, “Yes, Mom.” And then I asked him why because I just had to know. He said, “Because I love pies! Mom, can you buy me a pumpkin pie?!” Oh great, not only did I have to be tortured with Pat or Pam, then the pie peeps, but now I’m at a deficit because I have to go buy pie! O Joy! This homework business is not turning out how I expected it to. Next it was on to Math. We were doing just fine until we got to the part where it asked me to, “write the place and the value of the underlined digit.” Hmmm…I have not used this part of my brain in I don’t know how long. So even though I have killer confidence I was doubting myself so I actually called my husband. He confirmed I was right. Whew, I’m not so stupid after all. I asked him the second one and then he confused me. Argh! Dang it! I could feel the sweat on my brow and in my hands. Oh goodness, those evil post partum hormones are coming on all because of a friggin 3rd grader’s Math homework! That’s it. I quit! I hung up the phone with my hubby and joyfully told my son we were taking a little break. Never let them see you sweat! lol! Dad came home shortly thereafter and finished the homework with him and – THANK THE GOOD LORD – I was at last reunited with Chardy!

Needless to say I have gained a tremendous appreciation for my husband helping the kids with their homework! Major lessons learned today on my part, for sure! At least now I know my own limitations and to leave the homework to Dad! After all he’s in the education field for a reason!

God bless,



Sunday UN-day

7 Sep, 2014
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Yeah so for many of you Sunday is funday…for me, not so, oh not so! It’s simple. Sunday is not only a day of “rest” but it’s also game day (as in, football). Only Moms know that when a Mom rests the world crumbles and I mean that literally. The dishes pile up, the laundry overflowth, the house is in shambles. But hey, who cares because everyone is happy and rested? Save Mom.

Before I was married Sunday was funday. But now it’s UN-day. Un-day meaning all the work I did all week long is undone. And that is precisely why I call Mondays deep clean Mondays! I re-do all of the work that I did all week long that was undone so as to keep it all in order and oh yeah, myself SANE!

Today I had anxiety. The hour was approaching: 4 p.m. I knew it so you think I would have mentally prepared for it but alas I was in denial. Do they cancel NFL games? Will the power go out? SOMEONE SOS, SOS! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS GOOD SOS!

But there it was, facing me, dead on in the face, in my beautiful media room which I had created for my children but my husband overtook it for oh yes, football! There he was, my hubby all clad in 49ers clothing. I used to be a Giants fan like my Daddy but when I was at the altar I had to vow to be a 49er fan too. Oy vey!

So I try to act calmly. We straighten up the house which will be destroyed anyway. “I clean up to make a mess” is my new song. Everything is well. Kids are in their places: older boys in their bedrooms playing the PS3, girls doing dress up, and the little ones with me. Dad is in the media room. Not even a few minutes into it and my husband is screaming! Did someone die? Is everyone ok?! Oh, the 49ers scored a touchdown within the first 50 seconds. I look at him and say, “I’m going to check the rice.” I mean really, must we scream?

After I check the rice I decide to allow all the kids in one bedroom for fun. Ha! The twinkies (aka my 2 year olds) think it is fun to tear down the books one by one from the bookshelf. Maybe this was a bad idea. Then my hubby screams! “Honey, are you watching this?” “Oh yes, dear, I am watching 8 kids and a TV- all at the same time! Go me!” NOT. But the funny part is that my eldest child, a boy, age 8 said, “Don’t worry Mom, I got it, I’ll watch the kids, you go hang out with Dad and watch the game.” I give the kid credit for being selfless but I think to myself, “I’ll just go upstairs check the rice and, um, grab the chardonnay!”

All joking aside, Sunday may be an UN-day for me but in the midst of the un-doing it is also fun. At halftime we will join together to eat as a family and then we will finish the game together in the media room. After the sacred hour of football ends it is back to business for us: stories, bath time, prayers and bed.

Whether it’s an UN-day for you or a funday for you I hope you had a blessed one.

God bless,



Six Sigma in the home? Absolutely!

4 Sep, 2014
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So…the other day my former boss (who is now retired from Johnson & Johnson) called me. I was so excited! Though we send each other Christmas cards each year this was the first time we have actually spoken in years. It was as if it was just yesterday that I was there with her working around the bend from my cubicle! She was calling me because she got my email about this, my beloved online Camaraderie Mom. She wanted to tell me how much she enjoyed my Projectile Poop blog as well as to remind me that I need to let the world know that I do actually work, too. Oh! Yeah…right, um; I do! My husband is the main breadwinner but I help where I can…

So long story short, thanks to her, I found my niche in the workplace. She invested in me and I found out that I loved being a System Administrator. So my peeps (or tweeps depending on where you are reading this), in addition to being a Wife, and Mother of 8, I work part-time from my home as a System Admin for clients who need help with Learning Management Systems. My former boss hired me as a temp, as a Training Coordinator, but when a position in her group presented itself for another role she asked me to assist. I helped, wearing two hats at the same time as a lot of you working folk do, but in the end we had to choose just one role and I ended up with the System Admin role. I am so blessed because even though I loved working at J&J like my Dad and brother, I left the company only because I was offered a job to do the same exact thing FULL TIME (by a financial institution) from the comfort of MY OWN HOME. Need I say more? Nope!

But what dawned on me when she called is that I have done one thing I really wanted to do. I wanted to break the barriers. Meaning this:, people keep asking me what my demographic is. I joke and say, “Yeah, so easy; I am trying to reach people who are a Mom or know a Mom. Nuff said.” As you can imagine, I would gather that the main demographic is: Moms. And that is perfect! However, stay-at-home Dads can relate, too. Grandmas or Grandpas that take care of their grandkids can relate as well. My former boss, who does not have children but has to take care of her parents and in-laws, can relate. College students, I learned this week, can enjoy this and think about it seriously: DO YOU WANT TO BE ME? IN DA PEE? AND ALL… ha ha. Nannies, who are sometimes “the Mom” can relate. This site is not about me. This site is about YOU. I’m here simply to entertain, lighten up, and basically serve you by sharing my war stories. That is what Camaraderie is all about. I’m not online to compete. I salute my fellow Mom bloggers with PRIDE. The world is big enough for all of us to succeed TOGETHER. If you don’t like me, re-tweet me, share me; I honestly don’t mind a bit – I will still do all of that for others if I myself am invested in it. I get it, y’all! But my message is clear. And all who know me, know it. I have killer confidence. If you want to know what I mean, Google Kari Adams and her Killer Confidence Campaign.

With that, let’s get to Six Sigma. Thankfully, in my small roles, I was privileged enough to attend some Six Sigma Training. I will NEVER forget it. I do not know where I use it more; in the workplace or in the home. I am serious! And by the way, no one sue me; I paid my buck for it! LOL! I was on the radio recently and said that something as small as concepts learned in this training COULD CHANGE THE WORLD. And I believe that, especially for those of us rearing children in whatever capacity.

I will give you one example: the “lean” concept. This is how it was delivered to me. You go to make your breakfast; you go get your bread, you go get your butter, you go get your toaster, you go get your knife, you go get your plate. Wouldn’t it make sense if you put your toaster, bread, knife, and plate all in the same vicinity? Because, if you did that, you would save time, steps, energy. When they told me that, I was in! YES! I get it! And unless you are trying to get steps on your pedometer, it’s worth doing at home or in the workplace! So, on days when I don’t use the Six Sigma Methodology in my home I get upset. Today was that day. I knew it. I was making breakfast thinking, “I did it wrong.” But tomorrow’s a new day, so “lean” will be on the menu…

And, in order to fulfill my own Mom’s request, I just want to say one thing to you all today: May God bless you and reward you for all you are doing, no matter what it is!

God bless,