Tag Archives: Friendship

Ten Commandments for Being a Great Volunteer

Volunteers make the world go round. Whether you work with your kids’ school, your church, the local Boy Scout Troop, the animal shelter, or even with an international organization like [email protected], your time and efforts makes all of the things possible.

Buuuuuuuutttttttt . . .

We all know—especially those of us who have been chairpersons—that not all volunteers are cut from the same cloth. There are the fakes, flakes, and troublemakers who make volunteering as painful as a Brazilian bikini wax administered on a fire ant hill. Volunteers need to work as a hive and if too many bees go rogue, the honey is just not getting made.

Don’t worry, we’re going to stop with the insect analogies there. Shifting gears, to completely illustrate our commandments for proper volunteer etiquette, we have created this entirely FICTIONAL school event—The Annual Penguin Craft Party.  Once again, this event is entirely made-up, but if something strikes a chord, perhaps it is time for a little reflection. We’re going to be honest, failure to follow these simple rules will rightfully earn you the title “Monarch of the PITAs“.

Volunteers make the world go round, but not everyone is a good one. Heed this advice for being a GREAT volunteer. Psst, a sense of humor helps.| Ten Commandments for Being a Great Volunteer | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Without further ado, we bring this meeting for The Annual Penguin Craft Party to order.

1.Respect the planning period! If while setting up for an event that has been planned for months, you try to push in another direction because of the idea that just popped into your head . . . DON’T!

Count to ten. Think of something completely relaxing and indulgent . . . you, know, like sitting down after the penguin party is over. DO NOT utter your brilliant thought NOW. That ship has sailed. Here’s a little example to illustrate our point. Say, you are in the gym hanging streamers for the Annual Penguin Craft Party. Now is not the time to rally support for the idea that this shindig could be so much MORE if it just had an actual dogsled race and the kids worked together to carve a true-to-scale igloo.

 

2. But don’t be an idea killer DURING the planning period! Nothing breaks hearts and quashes spirits more than the simple phrase:

“But we’ve always done it this way.”

DO NOT let these words leave your lips during a PLANNING meeting. This is the time to let the creative juices fly! It really might be fun for the kids to toss live mackerel into the penguin’s mouth! Builds hand-eye coordination and deadens olfactory sensitivity! Give every dreamer her (brief) moment. Every golden idea was a dusty little nugget at some point.

 

3. Execute your own ideas!  If you throw an idea out there, be ready to catch it, and run with that ball. DO NOT expect your vision to magically happen. If your brilliant idea is going to take 50 million woman hours to pull off, you should think about putting in a lot of those hours yourself, not just patting yourself on the back for how creative you are.  Start Googling how to make that igloo!  Look up dry ice dealers!  Be ready to drag that dogsled yourself.

 

4. Just worry about yourself!  Everybody is a volunteer. Nobody is getting paid, and everyone has someplace else to be. You’re hanging with the heroes. If you spend more time complaining about all the people who never volunteer than you do making those papier mâché penguins, you are bringing us all unpleasantly down. Stop griping! Get pasting!

 

5. Follow the 10 second rule! If you have called your event chair four times in the past hour, take a deep breath and put your cellphone down. Perhaps you can solve this problem yourself!

We believe in you!

Think for 10 seconds! Remember you are competent and bright. Acknowledge that your chairperson, though in charge, is still just a volunteer. Envision your sweet little cherub’s face and remember why you’re volunteering in the first place. Use the time you just saved NOT making that phone call to cut out some more penguin bills.

 

6. Keep any urge to cat fight to yourself!  If you start a spat worthy of a middle school cafeteria (even if you ARE standing in a middle school cafeteria) in the midst of the snow cone booth, you are a PITA. Period. It is NOT proper etiquette to squirt blueberry syrup down your fellow comrade’s shirt no matter how many eye rolls she gave you or how satisfying it may feel.

 

7. In fact, bring a great attitude. Chances are that inspirational posters promoting just this very thing are lining the school halls. If it applies to the kids, it applies to the adults. You don’t have to whistle while you work, but don’t swear, moan, or gossip. The penguins don’t like that. Makes ‘em cranky.

 

8. Do what you say you are going to do!  There is no credit for great intentions. We’ve heard there’s a pathway to hell paved with these. The only thing that matters is results. Nobody cares if your uncle is the Chief Penguin Wrangler at the local zoo unless you get him there. If you volunteer him to show up and talk to the kids, he better be there with some of his feathered friends even if you have to drive him to the event yourself. In a dogsled. It’s all about the follow through.

 

9. Clean up after yourself.  We all have kids. That’s what got us into this mess. When our kids leave a path of destruction in their wake, we feel like kicking a kitten. When you do it, we just feel like kicking you. You’re not royalty. Don’t act like it.

Nothing tarnishes your “Volunteer of the Year” crown awarded for cutting out 200 snowflakes like leaving your confetti scraps on the floor for someone else to sweep up.

 

10. Keep it up. Don’t be a One Note Nelly. Consider doing a little something to make EVERY event a success. Every time you put down that glue gun, another volunteer has to pick it up with the third set of hands she doesn’t have.

Volunteers make the world go round, but not everyone is a good one. Heed this advice for being a GREAT volunteer. Psst, a sense of humor helps.| Ten Commandments for Being a Great Volunteer | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

But, seriously, every hour you donate makes your kids’ schools, churches, youth groups, teams, and world better. Thank you and keep up the good work!

-Ellen and Erin

 

Hey! Want to buy our new book? I Just Want to Be Perfect brings together 37 hilarious and relatable essays that showcase the foibles of ordinary women trying to be perfect.

I Just Want to Be Perfect

You can follow us on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

 

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How to Create a Carpool

If you’ve got school-age kids, chances are extremely good they’re involved in sports. If you have more than one child, yeah, those practice schedules and games are NEVER going to weave together in copacetic harmony. Unless you have a chauffeur, a nanny, or a flux capacitor to split yourself in two, you’re going to need a carpool. And if you do have the luxury of a staff or a futuristic gizmo, what the hell are you doing here reading this advice? Go get yourself a nap, a merlot, and a pedicure.

In the land of youth sports, it’s the luck of the draw who you get to hang with for the season. Chances are they won’t be your dear friends, but you need to swim in the pool you paid for, so to speak. The kicker? You’re floating in a sea of strangers when you’ve never needed help more. When older brother has to get to fencing, your Pele-in-the-making needs to get to the play-offs two towns over, dad is trapped at work . . . in Dhubai, and the cat is puking out its pancreas, you need someone to have your back. A carpool takes this situation from doomed to doable by at least taking Pele to soccer. You’re on your own with the hurling feline.

The secret to the carpool is to choose wisely and develop it early.

How to Create a Carpool | Got kids in sports? You need to create a carpool! Tips to put together your own sanity saver because friends don't let friends drive both ways to practice two days in a row! | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

1. Preparation starts at home. The first practice is not the time to be rocking your best boots, manicure, and perfect blow-out. It makes you look like you don’t really need the help. If you’re self-sufficient, then rock it out, Sister, but if you do need help, you might want to dial down the mom glam for now.

But don’t let the pendulum swing too far the other way. Holey pajama pants and grungy slippers gives off the impression you feed your kids PopTarts for dinner, your entire family is sharing one towel, and most importantly, you don’t have your shizz together enough to transport someone else’s precious babies. Remember, the carpool is all about reciprocity. Aim for approachable–best yoga pants, snazzy top, and neat ponytail. We’re not suggesting being Ms. Fakety-Fake, just don’t let it all hang out until, let’s say, practice six.

2. Get to the first practice early. With carpooling, safety comes first. Watch the other parents roll up in the parking lot. If a driver doesn’t at least slow down to 5 mph before opening those minivan sliding doors to eject her spawn, then you might want to mark her off the potential chauffeur list.

3. Follow the herd. When everyone is sitting together like ducks in a row, line your chair up too. If the group decides that selling blood is the best way to pay for the team’s new warm-ups, roll up a sleeve and offer a vein. On second thought, you may want to run, but in most cases now is not the time to be the Lone Ranger. Your kid’s not the only one who joined the team. Every time you make an effort, you’re upping your carpool potential.

4. Start chatting parents up to see where they live. Carpooling only makes your life easier if it doesn’t take you a tank of gas to take the extra darlings home. Try not to be creepy scoping out addresses, though. If you feel like you can’t ask where someone lives without being awkward enough to trigger a background check, work that smartphone. Take a picture of the team and show it to your potential carpool comrade, “Look how cute they are!” If she just grunts, consider the screening process successful and move on from that dud. If she coos, say, “Hey, are you on Facebook? I could tag you in it.” If you become friends on Facebook, you are golden! You not only have access to location, you can make sure they don’t participate in demonic goat square dancing . . . or at least they’re discreet enough not to post about it.

WARNING: Do not scroll through and “Like” every one of her pictures once she friends you because you’ll be taking a hard left into Creepytown. Remember, you were trying to avoid that?

5. Work your kid. Carpooling will go a whole lot smoother if you correlate your connections with your kid’s buddies. Don’t fall into the trap of setting up a carpool with the second baseman who wipes his boogers on your son’s bat. Building friendships is not just good for crafting carpools, it’s good for your child, too. You may not want to hear it, but nothing builds friendships faster than sleepovers: buck up and send out an invite. Just make sure your bathrooms are clean and you remember to feed the kids. Passing out bananas for dinner doesn’t put you at the top of any carpool lists.

6. Be the carpool member you want to attract. Offer to help a mom you see in distress, carry that über fantastic first aid kit so you can save the day, create the hang-out spot for the kids on your snazzy waterproof picnic blanket, hand puppies out from the back of a van . . . wait, scratch that last one. Heading into Creepytown again. Just be a team player.

7. Send up a flare. If subtle action fails, don’t be afraid to beg. In fact, lay out your situation in an email or just work it into a conversation during that 3 hours on the sidelines. It’s time to tamp down that pride, put on your big girl panties, and ask for exactly what you need. The people who respond when they know your chips are down are just the type of people you want in your life anyway.

Bottom line:  Carpools are the secret of experienced moms for making all these extracurriculars possible. So hitch up your britches, get out there and make a carpool buddy today! You may not only save your sanity, but you may make some forever friends. Remember: Friends don’t let friends drive both ways to practice two days in a row!

How to Create a Carpool | Got kids in sports? You need to create a carpool! Tips to put together your own sanity saver because friends don't let friends drive both ways to practice two days in a row! | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

-Ellen and Erin

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Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

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Talking Politics with Friends



Talking Politics with Friends: The art of talking policies, plans, and ideologies seems to be on life support. It doesn't have to be that way. | Life experience | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

In this election year, the art of talking politics, policies, plans, and ideologies seems to be on life support. Name-calling and mudslinging are the opening volleys to “discussions” that are frequently ended with broad brushstrokes like “All Republicans/Democrats are insert-your-go-to-insult-here.”

Why are opposing opinions met with such venom? Take a moment to think about it. We mean really think about the end game. Do we want everyone to agree with us? There can’t be checks and balances if everyone is kumbaya-ing, and that can lead to some scary ideas breeding and gaining momentum.

Would it surprise you that we align along different party lines? That we have discussions and disagreements, yet we still run a business together and maintain a friendship? We’re going to guess, or at least hope, you’re not that surprised at all. We know sensible discussions have to be taking place around the kitchen tables and fire pits of America far away from the click bait media headlines and sensational commercials.

So which parties are printed on Erin and Ellen’s voter registration cards? You’ll have to click over to the podcast because we gathered around the microphone to have our own conversation.

What else do we discuss?

Happy listening! But beyond listening, we welcome your opinions. We have started a Facebook Group so that you can not only hear our conversations, but be a part of them. Click here to join.

-Ellen and Erin

Find us on iTunes! Listen to us on Android! We like the Podcast Addict App. Or click here to see a catalog of all of our episodes! Follow our podcast board on Pinterest where we pin our episodes!

To Listen to the Podcast

 

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5 Things To DO to Help a Grieving Friend

It is so overwhelming and painful and devastating and heart-wrenching to grieve over a loved one. When my mother was killed in a car accident a little over two years ago I learned this lesson all over again. But it is also hard to watch someone go through this heartache, and you just want to DO something to lessen the pain.

The key to comforting is acknowledging grief lasts beyond the funeral. Company abounds at the time of the funeral, but it doesn’t take long for a mourner to suddenly be alone. Fast forward several months, and while your friend may be going through the normal motions of school, work, and church, grief is still a sodden blanket tangled around her legs making each step just that much more difficult.

But at say, seven months out, it can be daunting to find the right moment to ask your friend how she is doing. Do you snag her in car line? Call her during her son’s basketball practice? Grind book club discussion to a halt with a “How are you doing with your grieving process?” One thing to remember, though, is you’re not in danger of “reminding” her of her grief. It is always there.

So what do you do?

The key to action is good intentions that are simple enough for you to carry out. Suggestions such as “go clean their bathroom” are all well and good, but let’s be honest. This is awkward except with your best of friends or your family. Even during the worst depths of my grief, I didn’t expect the woman whom I chat with regularly in Pilates to show up at my door with Comet and a toilet brush. The group of friends I would feel comfortable doing intimate chores for is small, but the circle of people I care about who I would want to do something for is wide.

And let’s not forget we are a far-flung society. What if you friend is across the state or even across the globe?  You want to comfort in some way especially since you can’t put your arms around her.

With a loving heart, a little time, and these five suggestions, you can show you care in very doable ways.

5 Things TO DO to Help a Grieving Friend - Just don't mean well, do well. It is such a gift to acknowledge that mourning lasts far beyond the funeral. These suggestions are easy enough, but mean so much. | Friendship and loss | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

1. Food

This one is nothing new, but I charge you to put some extra thought into it.

Timing. Food tends to be overflowing in the first couple of days after a funeral. There are always those casseroles from efficient “first responders,” sandwiches left over from the service, and things that were already in the fridge. Takeout pizza hasn’t lost its charm yet. But in a month, when the autopilot wears off, feeding everyone is just as hard, if not harder. Remember, when you take food, you not only spare the family from cooking, but from shopping, putting away groceries and cleaning up, too.

Even if you brought food around the time of her loss, schedule to bring a meal around the four to six week mark. It is about this time that all of the turmoil of activity has leveled out, people have stopped calling, and people even start to avoid her because they feel uncomfortable. This is the perfect time to come bearing food and offering a listening ear.

Menu. There is some shared characteristic among “first responders” that compels them to bring pasta dishes. And who can blame them? They’re easy, freeze well, and most people like them. And those first five lasagnas are delicious, but pasta/red sauce/meat every night becomes a little tiresome. Break convention and bring something different; you’ll be promoted from hero to superhero. We have a menu all worked out for you.

Meal Idea for a Friend in Need: Easy Oven-Baked Cheeseburger Sliders, Mom's Best Macaroni and Cheese, Balsamic-Mustard Vinaigrette Pasta Salad, Oreo and Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

 

Scheduling. This little act can be such a gift to someone who is grieving because even simple tasks can be overwhelming, like finding space in the freezer when four meals show up at once. Using tools on the free Meal Train website, you can invite friends via email and Facebook to schedule a day to bring a meal. What’s great is favorites, dislikes, and special dietary needs can be listed, and everyone can see what food is scheduled. With minimal effort on your part, you can make a huge difference in the burden on your friend.

5 Things TO DO to Help a Grieving Friend - Just don't mean well, do well. It is such a gift to acknowledge that mourning lasts far beyond the funeral. These suggestions are easy enough, but mean so much. | Friendship and loss | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

2. A Year of Cards

One of the kindest things a friend did for me after my mother’s death was send me random cards every month for about a year. Sometimes they were sweet, sometimes they were funny, sometimes they were St. Patrick’s Day cards in November. It’s that acknowledgement thing again. She let me know she knew I was grieving.

Buy the cards all at once and address them immediately. I send them on random dates so it is more of a surprise and not something to be expected like “Ellen always sends me a card on the first of the month.” The cards have to stop sometime, so if they are not scheduled on specific dates, they will leave less of a void when they are no longer coming.

5 Things TO DO to Help a Grieving Friend - Just don't mean well, do well. It is such a gift to acknowledge that mourning lasts far beyond the funeral. These suggestions are easy enough, but mean so much. | Friendship and loss | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

3. A Box of Comfort

I have a hard time sending flowers to a grieving person. Having gone through the deaths of both of my parents, each time the flowers overwhelmed me. I had no place to put them and the cloying smell reminded me of standing in the receiving line at the viewing . . . that is until they started to die and the stink of decay and moldy water took over. I had dead petals and pollen everywhere. Throwing away a bouquet took up an entire trash bag and triggered a vacuuming session.

I opt instead to send a box of comfort: chocolates, tea, and cozy socks or a scarf. And as you would guess, I don’t send it immediately. I wait at least a month or more to acknowledge grief doesn’t have an expiration date.

Comfort Box for the Grieving: 5 Things TO DO to Help a Grieving Friend - Just don't mean well, do well. It is such a gift to acknowledge that mourning lasts far beyond the funeral. These suggestions are easy enough, but mean so much. | Friendship and loss | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

4. Remember the Anniversary

Immediately, if not sooner, add the anniversary of the death to the calendar on your phone and set an alert for a week before. Check in with a call or text in the days leading up to and on the actual date to empathize that this is a hard time. If you need help understanding why this is so important, I wrote about what the tsunami of anniversary grief was like for me. My friend, Kathy at Kissing the Frog, uses the term “crapiversary” to describe the day because it doesn’t deserve a word that even hits at celebration. She also makes a good point that it is such a comfort when people remember beyond the first year.

5. Pray

The old standby. It may not seem like the grandest action because it is so easy to do, but it will have the biggest effect.

In all, if you approach your friend with thoughtfulness and an open heart, you can’t go wrong. Never leave them alone because you’re afraid to bother them. Assume your friend is smart enough to let your call go to voicemail if it isn’t a good time. I always include in a text or message “don’t worry if you don’t have time to get back to me, I just wanted you to know I was thinking of you.” If you do make contact, never pass judgement on a grief journey or timeline. It is different for everyone.

Finally, never let fear of reminding her about her grief stop you from reaching out. It is always with her. Doing something wins out every time over doing nothing.

Books about Grief and Loss and Hope---Sisterhood of the Sensible MomsSome books you may find helpful.

-Ellen 

You can follow us on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

 

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You Will Miss Them When They are Gone

I love being part of the village helping you raise your kids. Herds of small or even not so small people trampling through my yard, messing up my house, and eating my cookies makes me deep down soul level happy. I may not love them when they raise the decibel level around here or pick a fight or take the last cookie, but make no mistake, your kids are my kids too. These kids who I have fed and sheltered, who have teased me and tested me, who I learned to love even though they will never belong to me, are part of my parenting story. If you are really helping to raise a village, you need to know just how much fun it is to watch these kids grow along with yours, how much angst you might feel at their missteps, how much pride in their success. You also need to know just how much you will miss them when they are gone.

Guide to parenting through college | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

I may be used to the idea of my kid being in college, but I have yet to stop scanning soccer fields and hallways for his friends’ familiar faces. Old habits and fond feelings die hard. All of those kids who used to hang around my living room teasing and talking and eating are now safely nestled on college campuses miles from here. I appreciate now more than ever how those kids lead me to the parts of my kids that I’m not privy to in my role as my mom. Through these kids, I saw my own brood as the friends, confidantes, soul sisters, and even “brothers from another mother” that they are. They were the keys to answering the question of who my kids really are without the lens of blind parental devotion. Sure, they also trampled my gardens, ate me out of a retirement plan, and sometimes broke my kids’ hearts, but they were important parts of our story. Through them and their relationships with my kids, I could almost see what lay around the corner, the hints of who my kids would become. Of course these kids, the ones not of my loin, also served up some stellar opportunities for me to exercise patience at a semi-professional level, but that’s just how this village works.

This is also how this village works: I was invested in their future selves. Sure, my stake was not situation critical like with my own crew, but I wanted then and still want now the best for these kids. I held their Mommas’ hands while they worried themselves sick over each and every one of these crazy kids. The one who tried to feed her friends dog pop at a tea party, the boy who jumped off the roof to test a theory he had about spontaneous flight, the girl who almost killed my son when she showed him how to make a model rocket: I was there for those stories, I brought band-aids and washed up and attended to those crises.

And the one who had a special diet of only dairy despite her mother’s entreaties and the one who slept at her parents’ bedside until middle school and even the one who wet the bed for so long he took 2 sleeping bags on campouts, I was privy to all those stories too. I made time to hear their moms pace and worry. I listened, loved, and listened some more.

“Surely, they’ll outgrow this by college,” we all reassured each other, because their moms have the goods on my kids too. Childhood is a string of bad decisions, weird obsessions, and difficult questions punctuated by birthday parties, playdates, and vacations. Good villagers stick together, pray novenas, answer worried phone calls, and deliver baked goods and bon mots to calm each other’s fears. So much of early parenting is wishing you had a time machine or some kind of lens to see into the future. We were all just hoping that this all turns out all right in the end despite the growing evidence to the contrary. So we did what villagers do best: we circled the wagons, we held hands, we lifted each other up, and we hoped for the best.

Well, you know what? These kids did outgrow most of their crazy by college. The verdict is not totally in yet, but things look positive. Each and every one, despite the long nights, deep worries, uncertain outcomes, and problematic episodes, is walking a path to somewhere. They are all in different colleges—some fancy, some not as fancy—and they are all doing the thing we hoped they’d do, the figuring out who they are when we aren’t around.

I loved being part of the village that nurtured and grew these young people. Heck, I still love it even though our time together is shorter, my windows for seeing them narrowed greatly. I love the glimpses I get of each one of them every so often. There they are in all of their beautiful young hopeful selves poised mid-transformation right on the cusp of that chrysalis change. I love seeing the early seeds that were planted start to bear some fruit. Huh, I think, that one really did make it to play college soccer.  Aw, I say, look at him still playing his music in his college band.

Guide to parenting through college | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

One of our villagers performing in his college band

For their part, these young people are doing what kids do if things go well: moving up, moving on, moving away. But they will always be part of my parenting story, part of my village, part of my life.

I am immensely proud of my villagers and what we have accomplished launching these kids out into the world. And I am even more proud of these kids, but I do miss them now that they are gone.

-Erin

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Meal Idea for a Friend in Need

It’s really weird when you think about it. Being in need doesn’t have to mean a disaster has befallen you. A helping hand is just as needed when your world is spilling over with joy, like when you have a new baby or move into a new house, as when your life is contracting, like during a death in your family or surgery.

Even though these events represent two sides of the coin of life, they all are times when grocery shopping and meal prep can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. That’s when friends can swoop in to the rescue.

Nothing says “I love you” like a home cooked meal. Most people default to lasagna or baked ziti when taking a meal to someone, but why not ditch the red sauce and really wow them? A well planned meal shows you’re a lover and a thinker.

Meal Idea for a Friend in Need | Nothing says love like food, and in desperate times and overwhelmingly joyful times these easy and yummy recipes will be welcomed.| Meal Plan |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

You can pick and choose between the following recipes or be a rockstar and make them all. I personally like to provide enough food for lunches and leftovers. I also always like to supplement with a salad kit and cut-up fruit. It’s a luxury to have that healthy freshness without any of the chopping.

And this isn’t all about giving, if you double the recipes you’ll have your own meal preparation done for days. Give a little, get a little.

Main Meal

If you want to really floor them with some some real comfort food they would never be expecting, these Easy Oven-Baked Cheeseburger Sliders are just the ticket. The emphasis here is on the “easy.”

Crave some tavern goodness without the drive? Make Easy Oven-Baked Cheeseburger Sliders! Perfect for a party OR a busy weeknight! This recipe is the best. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

Another option is this Zucchini and Ground Turkey Cheesy Casserole. It’s filling, but with a healthy freshness you don’t often find in casseroles. This is also a great one if you think they might have to stick it in the freezer.

Zucchini and Ground Turkey Cheesy Casserole | This a healthy, yet hearty, casserole recipe using zucchini and ground turkey. It's delicious, easy, and freezes well. What more could you want? | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

Main Meal for Picky Eaters/Side Dish/Lunch

Forget politics, here’s the real eternal debate: is mac and cheese a main dish or a side dish? The world may never know, but many picky eaters sure do love it. If a household has kids, I like to include some helpings of Mom’s Best Macaroni and Cheese.

Macaroni and Cheese FB

 

Side Dish

Think pasta salad is only for summer? Try Balsamic-Mustard Vinaigrette Pasta Salad and think again! The mustard and olives in the dressing provide a tang and depth of flavor that makes it perfect for any season. It also makes a perfect lunch. Your friend will enjoy snacking on this rather than a bag of chips or cookies.

Looking for a side dish with a remarkable depth of flavor? Balsamic-Mustard Vinaigrette Pasta Salad is it! The mustard and olives provide the unique tang that gets this recipe rave reviews. This is a pasta salad that can be served all year round. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

The Sweet Stuff

Be it good times or bad times, there’s always room for brownies and these Oreo and Peanut Butter Brownie Bites more than fit the bill. Don’t fret about having time for these though; they’re easy to make too. Being a champion isn’t always hard work.

Yummy Oreo and Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

 

I can’t name the number of times my friends have taken care of me, so I jump at every chance to pay it forward. If this helps you spread the love, then my work on the internet is done for today.

What is your go-to dish to take to someone?

-Ellen 

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What Type of PITA Are You?

What's a PITA, besides funny fodder? Well, if you have to ask, you might be one of the worst offenders. But anyway, it's "Pain in the A**." No matter how great you are, everyone has that little sliver of their personality that occasionally rears its ugly head and causes much eye rolling. So . . . What Type of PITA Are You? | Humor | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

You can just stop blinking with that doe-eyed innocence right now. We’re talking about Pains in the Asses–PITAs–and we’re talking to you!

Yeah that’s right, but rest assured we are not singling you out as a bad person. Each and every one of us has our own brand of pain in the assery–that little sliver of our personality that rears its ugly head from time to time and makes the ones nearest and dearest to us roll their eyes with abandon. We’re just asking you to embrace yours.

Now for those of you who are COMPLETE PITAs? You’ll never acknowledge who you are which is one of the reasons your flavor of PITA is in the “complete” category. Just know that if every phone call you make goes straight to voicemail, you might be a Complete PITA.

For the rest of us, here are some of the types of PITAs we’ve observed during our time on Planet Earth.

Perfectionism PITA

This is Ellen’s brand and it’s usually triggered by work standards. She can walk by a sock crumpled in the middle of the floor for a week, but darn it, anything she creates–blog posts, graphics, foot washing stations, cakes, balloon towers, life-sized zombies–makes her perfectionism kick into high gear and sends her exacting PITAssery into a collision course with whomever is closest. But really that’s only fair because it’s usually the person closest who deserves the fallout. Erin gets splattered with it all of the time. Just sayin’.

There may be other things that trigger it, but you never have to wonder because it is always direct . . . and mostly always annoying. “Let’s cut the crap and get this wrapped up” is her battle cry.

Stealth PITA

Erin likes to describe herself as a Labrador puppy–all happy go-lucky, brimming with sloppy kisses and enthusiastic tail wagging. A good portion of the world views her as easy-going. And that is true . . . until it’s not. Then it’s “Surprise! I’m going to grind everything to a screeching halt!” Ellen is always amazed by what triggers Erin to dig in her heels. There really is no rhyme or reason.

While her PITAssery is so random, it’s like waiting for a shooting star, there is a way to ignite it. Just start putting foods she loathes on her plate and watch her “You get what you get and you don’t get upset” turn into actual gagging. Or just try the magic word “cantaloupe.” That should be enough to see her undercover PITAssery bubble to the surface.

The Rules Aren’t for Me PITA

For this PITA, all of the world is a sapling ready to bend to her will, or be transplanted, or be completely ripped out by its roots and replaced by a birdbath.

She’ll sign on or up for anything because she knows conditions and plans are for other suckers, not her. No photography during the show? Well, that doesn’t mean she can’t take a picture of her princess! Open bar only has wine or beer? She will have her liquor! Of course she’ll select the fixed price menu because it’s the cheapest option but . . . “Yes, I know it’s a fixed menu, but could you replace the bruschetta appetizer with mussels, and the chicken penne with pad thai? That would be great.”

Monopolizing PITA

If you’ve ever wished you could visit the sun, just hang out with this person because she is the center of the universe. She’s the person whose sentences you feel like you can complete because YOU CAN. You’ve heard each and every one of her stories at least eleventy times plus three because she has never met a conversation she couldn’t hijack.

Oh, so you think you’re going to finish your conversation with your friends about editing software? WRONG! You’re hearing about the time Monopolizer thought she was running a 5K, but it was really a 10-miler, with her friend, Betty–“who is a hoot”–but you’re never going to meet because she now lives in Dubai and that makes Betty soooooo much more interesting than you. But rejoice that Betty is some obscure perfect friend who is halfway around the world because if she were here right now, you would be tempted to stab her in the toe with a steak knife just to give Monopolizing PITA a new story to tell.

Stir the Pot PITA

This PITA is also a conversation stopper, but instead of grinding girls’ night out to a stop from boredom, she lights it on fire. If the previous PITA’s MO is monopolize, this one’s is sabotage, and her arsenal is a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of everyone’s emotional vulnerabilities. She is a master of mercilessly digging into Achilles heels like a pair of Jimmy Choo slingbacks bought on clearance one size too small.

Enjoying silly chit chat and mojitos with your girlfriends talking about how you should all live together on a commune when you are old and retired? Not when Stir The Pot PITA marches you down the memory lane of all the squabbles everyone has had that would make living together IMPOSSIBLE. Forget fantasy living arrangements. You’ll be lucky to leave the restaurant speaking to one another.

My Problem is Your Problem PITA

This is another sneak attacker. You may not have heard from her since the calendar flipped its page, but clear your schedule now because now she has a problem and she expects you to drop EVERYTHING to solve it.

The PITAssery usually starts creeping up on you with an innocuous request: “Could I call your babysitter for Friday night?”

Easy enough. But when that sitter is unavailable, you find yourself peppered with calls, buried  in text messages, and tangled in a web so sticky, you cave and cry, “I’ll just come over and babysit for you!” Just. to. make. it. stop.

“That’s great! Do you think you could bring dinner, too, because I’m swamped. Remember Billy has allergies to Swiss cheese, peanuts, and mangoes, and Sally is a vegan, tofu hating, junkfoodivore who gags over anything green.”

Superior PITA

This is probably the same as a Complete PITA. You know the one who can find everyone else’s personality hiccup without ever turning the searchlight on herself?

Wait, what?! Don’t you go labeling US with this moniker. Remember we kicked this all off roasting ourselves? Don’t be a Stir the Pot PITA.

What Type of PITA did we miss?

-Ellen and Erin

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Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

 

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You Know You’re a Mom When

Motherhood is synonymous with joy. No, make that pure joy. In fact, imagine a double soy non-fat latte wrapped in a rainbow and delivered directly to your lips by a flock of butterflies and you might be able to touch the joy of motherhood.

Bwahahahahahahaha!

Mothering is the best gig on earth, but you have to sift through a lot of everyday detritus to get to the happy nuggets. So. much. sifting.

So to mark us as a Band of Mothers slugging through it day in and day out, we thought about printing up silicone bracelets with “YKYAMW”–you know you’re a mom when–but then realized they were totally unnecessary. Mothers are pretty easy to spot from the bags under our eyes, the spit-up on our sleeves, and the laundry piles blocking our halls.

YKYAMW bracelet
Plus who wants their battle cry to have “YAM” in the middle of it?

So bracelets? We don’t need no stinkin’ bracelets. What we really need is commiseration, and we here at The Sisterhood can deliver!

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

You can recognize us by our laundry skills.

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

House TalkN

 

 

You know us by our home decor.

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva

 

 

You can tell us by our cleaning standards.

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Honest Mom

 

 

You can identify us by the contents of our fridges.

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 House TalkN

 

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 Let Me Start By Saying

 

 

You can peg us by our photo albums.

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

You Know It Happens At Your House Too

 

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Hollow Tree Ventures

 

 

You can sniff us out by our hygiene.

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Frugalista Blog

 

 

You can spot us from the vehicles we drive.

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

The Mom of the Year

 

 

You can pick us out from the company we keep.

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Binkies and Briefcases

 

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

The Bearded Iris

Read the “Diary of a Sexually Maturing Leopard Gecko” here. It’s HILARIOUS!

 

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Our Small Moments

 

 

You can discern us by our relationship with toilet paper.

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Frugalista Blog

 

Motherhood is more than a job, it's a way of life. Looking at the lighter side of what defines us. You know you're a mom when . . . Like this? Click the post to see more! | Parenting humor |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Kissing the Frog

 

So what gives you membership in the Band of Mothers?

-Ellen and Erin

 

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Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

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Pain is a Hot Potato

Pain is a Hot Potato: What are the consequences of avoiding emotional pain? How can you truly help a friend in pain? Sisterhood of the Sensible MomsThis podcast could also have been called “The One Where We Saw Glennon from Momastery During a Blizzard.” Seriously, four inches fell in about forty-five minutes. We had to hightail it out of there before we could meet her, but not before we heard her little nugget on emotional pain. In any case, her talk gave us lots to talk about!

Wanna hear about it?

Click the podcast at the bottom of the post to hear what we learned in that terrible snowstorm!

In the podcast, we talk about a bunch of things, including Glennon herself and her blog, the book club Erin joined to get ready for the talk, grief, and how to help friends and family who are in the midst of it.

Here are all the links for your easy reference along with some grief resources you might find helpful.

Jessica Watson writes at Four Plus An Angel, and among writing about other things like parenting and parenting a child with autism, she also writes about her grief after losing her daughter Hadley, a triplet, shortly after her birth. Her post, The Stone, is the one Erin references in the podcast.

Here is the TedTalk that Erin watched at the beginning of her book club. You can  see for yourself what a dynamic speaker Glennon is.

And here is Glennon’s book that Erin read in the book club. It was also given to us at the talk.

Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life

Looking for a great book? A discussion about a great book? A greaet discussion? Check this one out--Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Ok, we didn’t mention this in the podcast but we probably should have: we have a booklist for grief. Books help us and they might help you or someone you love. Also, Ellen mentioned that her mother died two years ago. She wrote about her loss here and here.

You can follow us on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

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