Election Thoughts

election flags
election flags

Is it me or is everybody else in the United States over this election too?

When this first started, a long time ago and in what seems like a different universe, I was a little excited to see what the candidates would bring.  Now, I just wish that somebody would call a do-over and we could all have a chance to start from the beginning … and do it right this time.

I guess I should start with my own perspective on this.  I’m not happy with the current state of affairs and I’m not particularly unhappy either.  I wish I made more money, I wish I paid less taxes, but I do manage to survive and I feel as safe as any of us can in this day and age.  Of course there are things that I would change, things that I wish for.  However, I’m not delusional enough to think that all of my problems will be solved with the election of either one of the presidential candidates or state representative, etc.   My biggest hope is that we can proceed forward in the best interest of our country as a whole.  I know that no matter what bill is passed, whatever law is changed, whatever decision is made, somebody is going to benefit and somebody is going to lose.  There is nothing in this world that will be the best choice for each and every one of us.  I think most of us adults understand this.  Why, then, has this months-long process turned so ugly?

At this point in the election cycle, I’m so disturbed by every single candidate’s behavior, literature, and rhetoric that I would probably vote for anybody else that I haven’t seen or heard about yet.  I was looking forward to hearing about the choices that we were presented with, what they represented, what they had to say.  Sadly, I did hear it.  I have voted in lots of elections and never before have I been so disheartened.  I have heard some of the candidates’ views, but had to do a LOT of research to find out what I needed to know in order to make a solid decision.  I heard a little more about the topics in the presidential race, but honestly I’m guessing 99% of what I heard from the state level candidates was about the OTHER person.  All of them chose to criticize the other candidate over expressing their own views. I have heard so much negativity this year that it has reached a whole new low.  I have honestly never heard such derogatory things being said by an adult, let alone a presidential candidate, with no repercussions and I can’t believe it has gotten to this point without somebody putting a stop to it.  To hear adults, the potential leaders of our country, say the things that I’ve heard recently is horrible to me.  I’m embarrassed for us as a country.  I’m confused by what we, as the people, are supposed to have learned from them, and I’m finding that, as I try to stay involved and learn more, my mood is becoming more and more depressed about our future.  I’m no longer optimistic about any of the choices or what the future holds for us.  This isn’t how this is supposed to work!  Our candidates are supposed to energize us, inspire us, and instill hope & promise for our future.  What happened?  How did we get to this point?  What can we do about it?

I wish a third-party presidential candidate, one that wasn’t a bully, a liar, or a hypocrite, had popped out of the woodwork a few weeks ago.  We could use one with no baggage or special interest; one that would run a positive campaign.  We probably all would have elected them at this point.  From the state level, I now understand why my state is one of the worst ones to live in anymore and why we’ve had so many politicians put in jail.  I can’t even begin to express how disappointed I am in the amount of literature that I’ve received and how poisonous the tone was.  It’s disturbing to me that we’ve come to accept this as part of political campaigns.

Is it naive to expect the leaders of our communities, our states, and our government offices to be respectful, decent human beings?  Is it wrong to assume that they will behave like adults and the role models that we expect them to be?  We are literally putting our life in their hands.  I don’t think it’s too much to expect that they at least act like they take it seriously.

Tips for a Happy (and Safe) Halloween

happy halloween
happy halloween

As always, Halloween is one of the best times of the year if you’re a kid!  You can be anything you want for the day…a superhero, a villain, a star, or a witch.  You get to go out with other kids and collect candy from all your neighbors, check out all the other children’s’ costumes, and likely have a party at school.

There are always scary stories about things that can happen on Halloween.  Most of these stories have been around for decades.  There’s a big difference between a scary story and a scary reality, though.  We have to be diligent for our kids and for our neighbors’ kids, particularly in this day and age.  I think we’re all aware of the scary clowns that have been sighted in several areas.   Kids aren’t going to know the difference between a Halloween clown and a clown with more sinister motives.  Sometimes, neither are you.  It’s up to us to keep kids safe this Halloween.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Always go in groups and stay together.  Keep an eye on each other.
  • Young children should always be accompanied by an adult.  It’s a great opportunity to get to know the other children and their parents; bring along some apple cider and enjoy the afternoon!
  • Keep your costume safe.  Be sure that you’re able to see well and short enough that your costume doesn’t drag on the ground and trip you.  The costume material should be flame-resistant.
  • Dress for the weather.  It somehow always seems to be cold and rainy on Halloween.  Make sure you are dressed warmly (either under or over your costume) and carry a hat and/or gloves in your bag in case you want them.  If it’s darker out when you go, don’t forget to bring a flashlight with you!
  • Make sure there’s a light on and don’t go to houses without light.
  • Don’t ever go into somebody’s house!  Stay on the porch to get candy.
  • Don’t eat that candy until you have an adult check it.  There’s always a risk ­of somebody tampering with candy, so always let an adult check it out for you before you eat it!  ­­­­­­­­­
  • Be very careful crossing the street.  Look both ways and don’t try to rush in front of cars.  If you’re the one driving, please be extra cautious and drive very slowly and carefully.
  • Keep an eye on your surroundings.  Be aware of what’s going on around you.  Notice if there is somebody that doesn’t belong near you.  If you see anything suspicious, let somebody know.  You can either tell an adult at a house you are near, phone home, or phone the police (911) if you believe you are in danger.

Have a Fun and Safe Halloween!

Happy Taco Day!

taco day
Taco Day

I LOVE LOVE LOVE tacos!  There are so many ways to fix them that it can work for everybody.  As a busy mom, you can throw these together in seconds.  I always keep 1# packages of taco meat in the freezer.  You simply thaw and heat, add the toppings and you’re ready to eat.

Depending on what you put in them and how you fix them, it can be a gourmet meal (think lobster and melted butter or prime rib) to casual (ground beef, turkey, shrimp, etc.).  You can fix the base of the tacos (shell, meat, cheese) ahead of time and let people add to them if they want or set it out as an all buffet meal. Nothing gets easier than that, especially for a team dinner or family get-together.

An added benefit to tacos is that you can sneak in some healthy ingredients without anybody being the wiser.  For years, I used a half-and-half combo of ground beef and ground turkey for all my recipes and nobody ever knew it.  You can shred some veggies and add them to your tacos.  One of my very favorite ways to eat now them is to saute some red, orange, and yellow peppers and some onion in coconut oil, add some black beans and seasoning, and roll it up into a corn tortilla.  YUM!

Any way you fill them, roll them, or eat them, tacos are a great thing. Happy Taco Day to you!

Kids, like our seasons, change too fast!

enjoy the season
enjoy the season

Children, like seasons, should be enjoyed in the moment.  Isn’t it funny how fast time seems to go by?  With kids, it seems like we just keep waiting for them to do the next thing, like going from a baby to a toddler, from playing in the park to playing in the schoolyard.  The seasons seem to follow this same pattern.  We keep waiting for the next holiday season to roll around before we’ve even enjoyed this one! I refuse to be pulled into this.   I want to enjoy each stage and each season while I’m in it.

I just now saw a commercial on TV for Christmas tree lights!  It’s still September, right?  We have the two major holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving before Christmas rolls around.  I absolutely love the fall season and I am going to continue to enjoy it without thinking about Christmas.  In fact, I’m not even thinking about Halloween or Thanksgiving yet.  I’m going to enjoy the colors, the smells, and the beautiful changes of this season while it’s here, without thinking about the next three holidays coming up.  I’m almost ready to include Halloween and, in fact, I bought candy yesterday but that’s mostly so that I can eat it myself over the next 4 ½ weeks.

Similarly, when you have a baby and you’re sitting in the dark silence of the night, you’re waiting for the time when he sleeps through the night.  Once that happens, you’re waiting for him to crawl, then to walk.  Stop, though, and take a moment to enjoy each one of those stages of his life.  It doesn’t seem like this middle of the night crying or exhaustion would leave much for you to appreciate, but you will never be that close to your baby again.  It’s just you and him.  Nothing else in the world matters but that.  Enjoy that time.  Very soon, you will be just a part of their world, not their entire world.  Hug him, love him, and appreciate those quiet (and loud) moments between just the two of you.  Keep doing that through every single stage.  Enjoy each and every season of his life for what it is.

To me, it seems like these three holidays coming up are a lot like children going from your arms to going to school; it seems like it happens so quickly!  Take the time to appreciate each and every step.  Try not to rush it along or let it pass you by while you wait for the next milestone.  I liken the long, cold, dark stretch of winter between Christmas and Memorial Day to the adolescent stage of kids.  If any of you have had teens, I think you’ll know why.  That time seems like it will never end!  Have faith; just like the seasons this, too, will pass and continue on as it has forever.  Try not to rush it along; work to create some of those moments that you will want to remember for years to come.  This season is just as important, if not more so, than any other.  Celebrate it with them and enjoy the moments because this season, too, will pass.