Archives for July 2014

5 Cool Facts About IKEA + Win $100 Ikea gc

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Cool Facts About IKEA

I was recently blessed to attend a blogger event at IKEA, where we toured the store and learned about some super-cool new tidbits about the store.  In addition to getting to spend some time with my ahh-mazing local blogger pals (seriously, Atlanta has some of the very best!), we gained a deeper knowledge of the store -including the new catalog – and the kids had fun as well.

So, in my opinion IKEA items tend to sell themselves.  I mean, who wouldn’t want a house full of the super-slick items you see in the IKEA catalog, right?  So, I figured I would share some cool facts about IKEA, much like I did with recently Chick-fil-a.  Who knows, you may just learn something in the process.  (P.S.  Have you signed up for your IKEA catalog?  When you do, you’ll be able to download a coupon for a FREE entree at the IKEA restaurant!)

  1. Outreach – One thing I learned about the Atlanta IKEA store is their sponsorship of Wellspring Living.  This is an organization that serves as a restoration program for teenage girls who are victims of DMST.  They offer housing, therapy, and security to young girls, giving them hope and a fresh start – offering them lift skills, therapy, education, and confidence.  So knowing IKEA support such a great cause only makes me want to shop there even more.  Additionally, IKEA has partnered with over 30 other organizations around the world, as part of their IKEA foundation.IKEA - Wellspring Living logo
  2. “No Two Snowflakes are Alike” – Nor or any two IKEA home departments the same.  Each tailors their stores to the demands of its’ market.  The Atlanta store has researched its shoppers, and built home sets to reflect the needs of Atlanta area shoppers.  For example, there are pseudo-balconies in the Atlanta store (and they’re as tricked out as you’d expect an IKEA balcony to be!) – but you won’t find that in areas where a balcony wouldn’t be in practical use for much of the year, like up North.  Each store will have five “rooms” set up to reflect the current catalog, and that will be universal in every IKEA location, but the rest is customized for the store’s specific location.  So each store brings its own adventure!
  3. Mattresses – Okay, not to get all sales-pitchy or anything, but …..did you know IKEA sold mattresses?!?  Yep.  Mattresses.  At IKEA!  And they’ve got standard spring mattresses, as well as comfy-cushy foam mattresses.  Wanna hear cool?  Many of the foam mattresses come all rolled up, like a little burrito – so getting it home is a wee bit easier.  That means no more holding your hand out the window, holding on to that bulky mattress atop your car – while driving with the other hand, all while praying praying praying.  😉  Oh – and there’s this whole 25 year limited warranty, as well as a 90 day love-it-or-exchange-it policy.  Why wouldn’t you get your next mattress here, y’all?!?IKEA mattresses
  4. Family Matters – What’s the easiest way to enjoy deeper savings at IKEA?  Join, and then utilize their FREE membership service: IKEA Family.  In addition to discounts throughout the store (and each month there are new discounts), you enjoy membership perks like extra time for children in the Småland Play Area, you can snag a complimentary coffee or hot tea in the restaurant, BOGO frozen yogurt when you join, and a chance to win a $100 gift card when you swipe your card.  And an added, little known perk?  You get discounts to local events and attractions, like Cirque de Soule, Atlantic Station, and more.IKEA-family-kiosk_ProductReviewMom-com.jpg
  5. Good Grub! – So we’re all well-aware of IKEA’s wildly famous Swedish meatballs, right?  Welp, they’ve got an arsenal of other melt-in-your-mouth treats for you to enjoy, including their cinnamon rolls.  And the coffee – well, did you know it’s trackable?  Yep.  As UTZ Certified Coffee, you can trace it, so you know precisely where it came from.  Further, in keeping with IKEA’s philanthropic roots, for every healthy kids meal purchased, IKEA donates $1 towards Feeding America – and starting at $1.99, everyone wins there!

IKEA food collage

Now, would you like to enter for a chance to win a $100 gift card to IKEA?  The giveaway will run from August 1 through August 31.  It’s super-simple.  First, comment below, sharing what you would MOST like from the IKEA 2015 catalog.  Then, fill out the form below.

Good luck y’all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Little Free Library in Dunwoody!!

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



This summer, maintaining reading skills is of utmost importance for your kids, as well as for the adults, too!  One valuable resource I’ve seen around town lately is the utilization of the Little Free Library, which has multiple locations around the metro Atlanta area.  Since you may already know the sheer benefits of reading with your children AND you may also be familiar with a few great books you should read to your kids, then you’ll further appreciate and understand the concept of the Little Free Library.

Little Free Library logo

What makes the Little Free Libraries across the country so great?  It’s such a simple concept, based off the “take a penny, leave a penny” idea – except they call it “take a book, return a book”.  When you’re in need of another good book, visit a local Little Free Library and peruse the selection.  Pay it forward by adding books of your own, that you’re ready to pass on.  See?  Simple.

Little Free Library at Brook Run

You may have spotted a Little Free Library around town – they’re popping up ALL OVER the nation, and have almost 200 locations in Georgia alone.  My childhood neighborhood has one near the pool; there’s one on the way to my church.  And now, there’s one at a popular park: Brook Run in Dunwoody!  Super special thanks to Post Alpha-bits, for providing this box, and to Brent Walker and the City of Dunwoody, for their assistance in getting this installed!  And a million thanks, also, to Lauren Nolan of Hunter PR for her kind outreach to me, as well as patience and persistence in helping to get my Little Free Library installed.

Little Free Library contents

I recently got to visit the Little Free Library, and -while my son was excited to see “Superwhy” on the side of the library box, I was thrilled to see new books already turning up in the library.  Locating the Little Free Library at a park was strategic, as there are plenty of benches and other cozy spots for parents and kids alike to settle in with a good book and read.  And the park allows folks from all walks of life access to free books.

Little Free Library in Dunwoody

Would you like to put a Little Free Library in your neighborhood?  Find out how you can do so!  Have you been to the Little Free Library in Dunwoody?  If so, I’d love to know what books you got, or dropped off!  🙂

 

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Alpha-Bits Spelling collage

Alpha-Bits Snack MixAlpha-Bits Snack Mix - banner

15 Books You Should read with Your Kids

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Reasons to Read with Your Children

 

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Are you #NoseBlind? Febreze Coupons + giveaway

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



This review and giveaway was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Febreze. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, however, all opinions are 100% mine.

***Giveaway closed.  Winner announced below.***

So we’ve all seen the Febreze commercials over the years, where blind-folded “testers” smell a freshly Febreze’d space, remarking how lovely it all smells, only to take off their blind fold and see the nastiness surrounding them.  That would be the definition of “noseblind.”

Febreze-Prize-Pack_banner

Have you taken the Febreze #noseblind challenge yourself?  I recently put my parents to the challenge.  (And, sorry, my gruff dad and shy mom simply would NOT allow me to put their pictures on the blogosphere – sigh!)  First, we took a survey asking about the smells in my home.  …I, of course, didn’t really detect anything in my home, because it’s my home – I’m used to the smells.  Then, we popped some popcorn, and took another survey.  It was no surprise I thought the house smelled of popcorn, right?  Then, we enjoyed the popcorn, and had an extended playdate with my kiddos.  We took a third survey, about an hour and a half later.  The smell of popcorn was still there, slightly lingering, but we really had to …erm?  stretch to smell it.  Finally, we

Then we educated ourselves about the human olfactory system (that’s a fancy word for your sense of smell!), and how our nose can become “desensitized” to odors over time.  Hence: noseblind.  I experienced this phenomenon a few weeks ago, when I had the oh-so-lovely task of helping my husband haul off scrap wood at the dump.  (Don’t be jealous, y’all!)  If you’ve never experience the stench of a dump, be thankful.  I truly wish I had brought a mask, or a clothes pin, or …something.  (Febreze, perhaps?)  The first few minutes were agonizing, as the gagging smell was SO strong.  But after a while, things got a little less intense because my nose had become used to the odor.

However, once we got back home, my children IMMEDIATELY noticed the smell, because it had mingled in with our clothes.  Ugh. …wished I’d had a good ol’ bottle of Febreze then!  I may or may not have DOUSED myself in it after that ordeal.

I digress.  My long-winded point is this: we all become noseblind to the things we are around for extended periods of time, including the odors in our own household.  Febreze doesn’t just mask odors, it eliminates them, and offers a pleasant alternative to stinky odors.

Of course, I wouldn’t be Atlanta’s Frugal Mom if I didn’t offer you ways to SAVE on Febeze, right?  Make sure you print out these great HIGH-VALUE Febreze coupons, to stretch your savings further – print them now before they’re gone!!

 $1.00 off ONE Febreze Candle  $1.00 off ONE Febreze Fabric Refresher  $1.00 off ONE Febreze Noticeables Refill
 Febreze Coupons - $0.75 off ONE Febreze Air Effects  Febreze Coupons - $0.75 off ONE Febreze Set/Stick & Refresh  Febreze Coupons - $0.75 off ONE Febreze Car Vent Clip


Now, would you like to win this Febreze gift pack, along with a $60 AMEX card?  (Duh!  Who wouldn’t?!?)  The prize pack includes:

  • 1 Febreze Air Effects
  • 1 Febreze Fabric Refresher
  • 1 Febreze Noticeables with refill
  • 1 Febreze Candle
  • $60 AMEX card

Febreze-prize-pack

It’s simple, first, comment below telling me where in your life you’ve become “noseblind” and could use Febreze.  Then, fill out the form below – and make sure to comment, Tweet, or “share” on Facebook daily for extra entries!  Good luck, y’all!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

5 Cool Facts About Chick-fil-a

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Facts about Chick-fil-a

It’s no secret I super-big-fat-puffy-pink-heart LOVE Chick-fil-a, right?  I mean, I’ve made that clear in the past, right?  RIGHT?  So I wanted to tap in to some facts about Chick-fil-a that you may not have known – be prepared.  You may be shocked.  😉

  1. Cow Appreciation Day – Ok.  So unless you’ve been living under a social media rock, you may have already heard about Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-a.  It’s done every year -typically around the second week of July.  You can either dress in full cow garb, and snag an entire free meal at  most locations, or dress as a partial cow and get a free entree.  (Truth be told, depending on which location you visit, you may get an entire meal for even just a partial outfit.)  You can get your cow costume started with their cow costume starter kit – or check out these uber cute cow costumes for even more elaborate ideas.
  2. FREE Ice Cream – So perhaps “free” ice cream isn’t completely accurate.  However, did you know you can trade in a kids’ meal toy for a small ice cream?  Yep.  ‘sure can, with a choice of a cone or a cup.  And if you have an extra super-cute kid, they may even throw in extra sprinkles.  😉
  3. Recycle that Styrofoam – ….this, by far, has me the giddiest!  Around the metro Atlanta, you can recycle your styrofoam cups and other materials.  Until now, most styrofoam “recycling” I’d ever seen meant it was incinerated in a manner to release less nasty chemicals.  However, CFA actually has a company that takes the styrofoam and re-uses it to make other products!  You can learn about all the other ways Chick-fil-a is making strides in environmental responsibility.
  4. Secret’s in the Sauce – Ok, well not really a “secret”, but have you tried the new(ish) “Chick-fil-a sauce”??  It.  Rocks.  And I have it on good authority the sauce is a tasty combination of honey mustard, barbeque, and ranch.  Yeah, I would imagine some folks were playing around in the back, and *boom* concocted an -ahem!- awesome-sauce idea!
  5. Mom Valet or Mobile Ordering – Yes.  These things exist in specific locations!  For the “mom valet” you can order in the drive-through, and ask to have a table set up with your order – I’ve even heard stories of table clothes, and the kiddie placemats being in place, as well.  Then all do is schlep the kiddos inside, and *presto*, you’ve got your meal ready for you.  OR, order from your mobile phone, and pay from your mobile device, and they’ll deliver your order right to your vehicle, in designated parking spaces.  How.  Cool.  Is.  THAT!?
  6. BonusFreebies –  I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t tell you how to snag great freebies at Chick-fil-a, would I?  First, make sure you “like” your locations’ Facebook page.  (You can search for your location, if you’re not sure, then find their Facebook page.)  Also, some locations offer freebies via text.  So sign up for that with your local Chick-fil-a.  You can call or ask in person for your location – OR, once again, utilize your locations Facebook page.

P.S.  Please do not bring politics in to this post.  Please believe me when I say I love and support folks, no matter whom they love.  Period.  But my Southern heart (and Southern booty) has a super-soft spot for delicious waffle fries, ahhh-mazing chicken, and sweet tea.  Plain and simple.  You do not have to agree with me, nor with Chick-fil-a’s politics.  We are all entitled to our opinions and viewpoints.  If you disagree with CFA’s viewpoints, I respect that – but I do not wish for this blog (MY blog) to be used as a soundstage for one’s political stance.  Mmkay, y’all?

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Coupons.com

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Check out the latest printable coupons from coupons.com — all without leaving AFM! 🙂

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Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Signs of Kindergarten Readiness

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Kindergarten Readiness

My daughter starts Kindergarten in less than a month.  While I am not ready to let my baby enter the big world of Kindergarten, I am confident I have paved the way for this milestone, and am certain she is ready.  …but what exactly does “kindergarten readiness” look like, really??

Whether you’re sending your first or fifth child into kindergarten, it’s never an easy time. You have a lot of pressure on your shoulders to make sure your child knows certain concepts before you send them off. There are some things you can start doing now to prep your child for Kindergarten in the fall.

Signs of Kindergarten Readiness

  1.  Letter Sounds – Every child entering kindergarten should have practice with their letter sounds. You’ll want to start teaching them their letter sounds by making sure they know the alphabet first. Knowing the alphabet plus their letter sounds is one way a kindergartner starts the reading process. You can help your child learn their letter sounds by repeating them on a daily basis, using flash cards, hands on activities, and even playing educational computer games.  I started each of my kids with a simple ABC puzzle, and as they placed the letters in the puzzle, I would help them identify the letter, and it’s sound.  “Oh, ‘t’ says /t/ like ‘turtle’.”
  2. Reading & Writing – Kindergarten is all about learning to read and write. There are so many activities your child will do in kindergarten to help them learn these skills. However, there are also several things you can do as a parent to help prep your child for learning these skills. The number one thing you can do is always read to your child at every chance you get. Secondly, let them explore with writing. Their words might not always make sense, but they will increase their knowledge of writing as well as get their writing form down.  My daughter loves writing messages right now, and I interfere as little as possible with spelling.  We go through each sound and she writes out her words sound-by-sound.
  3. Independence – If there’s one thing your child needs to learn for kindergarten it is about independence and self sufficiency. While it may be common for you to help them with things now, it’s important that you let them learn how to do things on their own. To help make your child a little more independent, let him or her do small things on their own. You get to decide what the independence factor is as it’s your child, but it is time to loosen the reigns just a little bit.
  4. Relationship Building – For one of the first times in your life, you will be sending your child off to make his or her own relationships. Your kindergartner will form a bond with their teacher and classmates. You can prep your student for this by allowing them to be in situations where they can make friends on their own. You won’t always be there to help them make friends, so it’s important to let them learn to create this bond on their own.

These four tips will help your child learn a few basics before heading off to kindergarten. Just remember that it’s not just about the academics, but the social and emotional growth as well. What tips would you add to this list?

 

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Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Smartphone Apps that PAY – Get Paid to Shop!

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Smartphone Apps that PAY - Make-Money-from-Your-Smartphone

Did you know you can make money from your smartphone?  I have some AWESOME smartphone apps that PAY you for shopping: iBotta, Checkout 51, Shopkick, Berry Cart, Shopmium, Groupon Snap, and now Top CashBack!  All reward you for doing the shopping you already do!  And they’re pretty darn easy to use, and therefore to make money!  And the best part is ALL of these are free apps, available in the app store!

Disclosure: these links are my personal referral links or affiliate links, and you do support AFM if you sign up under me.

Smartphone Apps that PAY You to Shop
Smartphone Apps that Pay - Berry Cart

Berry Cart is the solution for those who think it’s just too expensive to buy fresh organic fruits, veggies, and other healthy foods.  Once you’ve reviewed the items eligible for rebate, scan them within the app, then upload your reciept.  Once your reciept is reviewed, your money will go in to your account.  You can cash out via PayPal or select a gift card, including Target, Starbucks, and more! [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Backyard Bug Repellents

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Backyard Bug Repellents

It’s summer time.  We all want to be outdoors, enjoying our great outdoor toys, but -let’s face it- we don’t wish to be attacked by various bugs while we’re out there, especially mosquitoes!  So take cover with these great backyard bug repellents.

Cutter Backyard Bug Control

Cutter Backyard Bug Control

To enjoy your backyard this summer, create a bite-free zone with Cutter brand Bug Control Spray. Kills mosquitoes and many other annoying insects and controls for up to 8 weeks.The 32 fl. oz concentrate treats up to 5,000 square feet. Easy to use, just connect to your hose and spray.

Off! Clip-On Starter Kit

Off! Clip-On Personal Bug Repellant

Off! Clip-On Starter repellent provides personal protection from mosquitoes. If you move, allow a few minutes for the unit to rebuild its protection. Protects against mosquitoes that may carry West Nile Virus. Unlike ordinary personal repellents, OFF! Clip-On repellent provides mosquito protection without putting anything on your skin.

Mosquito Dunks

Mosquito Dunk Tablets [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Orkin Backyard Explorers Kit giveaway

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Summer is here and Orkin has some amazing “Bug Wisdom” to soak in and a “Backyard Explorers Kit” to keep the kids busy at home!  My kids are definitely “bug kids”, and love to watch and explore the world around them.  I love that they both enjoy exploring the world around them, and aren’t afraid to get their pudgy little hands dirty, in the name of exploration.  Of course, when you’ve got too many unwanted critters, you can take care of them.

Orkin Backyard-Explorers-Kit-giveaway_Rob.png

When life hands you dung, just roll with it.

Orkin’s new “Bug Wisdom” video series is a reminder that some of life’s biggest lessons come from small places. Bugs are smart, curious creatures – we humans can learn a lot from their ways.

Take the quiz below to discover your “Spirit Bug,” and check out all the GIFs to soak in every nugget of wisdom that these bugs have to offer!

The Orkin Man always knows what to look for when he shows up at your home. If you want to get exploration down to a science, be sure and enter to win Orkin’s Backyard Explorers Kit!  (details below)

Would you like to nurture your child’s natural curiosity about bugs?  I am pleased to be able to give away one Orkin Backyard Explorers Kit to one lucky reader!

The Orkin Backyard Explorers Kit includes:
– The Orkin 9-Page Activity Bug Book
– Orkin Bugview Bug Catching Tool and Magnifier
– Red/Black Summer Wayfarer Sunglasses

Orkin-Backyard-Explorers-Kit_giveaway

Giveaway open to the U.S.  It’s super easy to enter.  First,  take the “What’s YOUR Spirit Bug?” Quiz and comment below with your result and bug wisdom.  Next, scroll through all the GIFs and share your favorite bug wisdom as a comment below.  (Yep, you can leave two comments for seperate entries!)  Then, fill out the Giveaway Tools form below.  Come back daily to Tweet and Share on Facebook for additional entries!

Best of luck y’all!  🙂

 

 

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Stick Figures, Hair Clips, & a Message From My Daughter

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



A-Message-From-My-Daughter_banner

The other day, I took my daughter to the gym with me.  Not for any super-compelling reason, other than convenience and lack of child care. My daughter is five, going on fifteen, and isn’t interested in playing with the “little guys” in the kids zone, where her 2-year-old brother goes.  So, got the green light from my instructor ahead of time to let her come with me to one particular class I take, Les Mills Body Combat.

What happened in the 48 hours during and then following that class, and the lessons *I* would learn continue to surprise me, even as I type this out.

I prepared her for the class, letting her know that it would be similar to the gym class she got to try out at UFC Perimeter Gym, but with grown ups.  I assured her she was welcome to join in with us, and that it was ok if she didn’t know all the moves.  None of us did, really.  But I also comforted her with the iPad (don’t judge me!), a pad of paper, and her markers.  On the drive over there, I tried pumping her up, getting her excited about doing “mommy’s class”, without trying to push her too far.  She seemed on board.

However, once we got in the room, and other people started coming in, her shyness kicked in, and she only wanted to set up camp and draw and play on the iPad.  Fine.  Mommy needed to workout, so I went about my ways, while keeping an eye on her.  She occasionally came over to me, to ask random questions, really just needing reassurance that I hadn’t forgotten she was there, and giving her attention.  I came over to her in between each track, grabbing a sip of water, planting a kiss on her sweet little noggin, and showing interest in whatever she was working on at the moment.  I continued to lightly encourage her to get up and try the moves, if she wanted.

Long story short, she hopped up a handful of times to try to participate.  The moves were complicated, and intimidating at any age.  But she tried.  She ran a lap with us, and the instructor gave her a high-five as she passed, just as she did for everyone else in the class.  She ran in place, holding my hand.  She attempted to do lunges and other complex leg moves.  My heart grew full watching her.

She was doing what her mommy was doing.  She was imitating me.  I was her role model.

During and then after class, she showed me two pictures she drew.  Both were stick figures of me kicking and punching, like I did in class.

A-Message-From-My-Daughter_Stick-Figures

She was watching me, her mother, work hard.  She was watching me, her mother, keep going, even if I wasn’t perfect.  She was watching me, her mother, do something to improve my health and fitness.  She was watching me, her mother, and taking notes.  She was watching me, her mother.  Period.

The following evening, which happened to be July 4th, I gave the kids a bath, put them in their PJs, and we whisked them out to see the local fireworks.  They’re kids, and they need to make memories.  After she got her PJs on, she insisted on taking out my hair clip and using it in hers.  I instead offered her a smaller one that would fit better in her hair.

A-Message-From-My-Daughter_Hair-Clip.jpg

She wanted her hair clipped up in the same manner I had been doing this summer.

She was watching me, her mother.  Again.

After securing her hair in a smaller clip, she held her head up, chest out proud and said “now we’re twins, mommy.  HAIR TWINS!”

That’s when the emotions began to overwhelm me.  I am my daughter’s role model.  I am my daughter’s example of what a mother is, what a woman is, what a girl is.

I.  Am.  Her.  Example.

I honestly just assumed, since she is such a daddy’s girl, and seemingly only has eyes for her sweet daddy, that she wasn’t really paying much attention to me.  That she was more apt to imitate him, not me.  Boy was I wrong – this couldn’t be further from the truth.  I’m getting a message from my daughter, loud and clear: daddy may be her prince and hero and ideal of a perfect man in her eyes, as he should be.  But, just as I viewed my own mother through childhood’s eyes, I am her image of beautiful.  I am her image of all-knowing.  (Yes, she’s told me she thought mommies are supposed to know everything about everything.)  I am her image of perfection, period.  She doesn’t see my flaws as flaws, but just part of my perfect-in-her-eyes package.

A-Message-From-My-Daughter_profile.jpg

It is up to me to show her what’s important.  Our mantra for several months now has been “pretty isn’t important“.  But those words mean nothing if my actions and my example don’t mesh with that mantra.  I have this amazing, bring-me-to-my-knees humbling privilege of teaching this smart little girl to love herself, to love herself enough to take care of herself.

It’s my job to BE the good example.  To live my life in an exemplary manner.  My words need to match my manners.  So while I serve my children milk and water, while I sip on (WAAAAY) too much soda or sweet tea, she is seeing my actions.  Although she’s not interested in drinking either, she’s taken a sip here and there, almost as if she wants to like them, because she sees her mother drinking them.  Or worse, when I serve my children a balanced dinner, yet sit down with nothing in front of me -or with some quick crap I grabbed from the freezer- she is watching me.

By the same token, she also sees me with a stack full of books at my bedside table.  She sees me reading frequently, and sees the spark in my eyes when I do so.  She sees me get up in the morning, and put on my workout clothes.  She sees me scrutinize and compare at the grocery store, coupons in hand.  She sees my husband and I discuss our meals if we go out, searching for good coupons or Scoutmob deals.  She sees her parents say prayers before meals, attend Mass every week, and putting our strength and trust in God.

My daughter needs to see me mess up, and watch how I keep trying, how I don’t just quit.  My daughter needs to see me defend myself, and not get pushed down and cower in times of adversity.  My daughter needs to see me handle adversity with strength and grace, with poise and self-assurance – even if I’m secretly cowering in my proverbial boots.

She has asked already if she can come to class with me again.  I will make certain she can do so at least a few more times before school starts back.  I will hold my head up high, knowing my example during class is shaping a little girls’ mind, a little girl’s schema for persistence, hard work, and self-confidence.  And perhaps I will even set us up with matching hair clips.

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Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

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