Archive for May, 2011

Energy Efficient

Mama’s Got Gas!

Sure, after a fill up to the tune of $66.

It’s trendy to be “green” and frugal, yet for me, I feel like I’ve been forced.  Not kicking and screaming, though, because of the increasing costs of daily consumable items (fuel, food, etc), change in household income, I’ve had to make major lifestyle changes. I never used to be that aware of what gas station had the cheapest price of gas, but these days, I challenge myself to find the lowest per gallon price.

It’s reported that right now in our area, gas prices range from $3.70 to $3.95, up $1 from last year at this time.  (Here’s a random, yet related question: What’s the deal with the 9/10ths of a cent?)  Read more…

For the past couple of months, I’ve been frequenting and filling up at a newer station called Solo.  I’ve seen only one other one in town.  Interestingly, they typically charge between 10 & 15 cents less than the gas station kiddie corner from it.  Well, it doesn’t take long to figure out, in part, why…Half the time, a receipt doesn’t crank out after you finish your transaction, so you’ve got to run in and have the clerk print one up.  Inconvenient.  You get what you pay for, and I went for cheap gas, not for the convenience of the receipt spitting out like it should.

Oddly enough, this past week, their price is identical to their diagonal competitor and the next closest gas station is trending about 10 cents less than the Solo corner.  That’s where I got the fill up at $3.73 (9/10), which was comparatively a great price.  Of course, now that’s changed.  Which leads me to my next question…What other industry could get away with changing (usually increasing) their product prices daily?  And of course, there always seems to be some bogus reason as to why.

On top of comparison shopping for my gas, I’ve turned into the “one trip wonder”, strategically planning my outings so that I can knock off as many errands and stops as I can fit into each car trip.  I truly get a sense of accomplishment when I get a lot done in one outing.  I guess I can compare it with couponers, who become euphoric when they add up (or subtract) their savings.

Speaking of couponing, I am slowly but surely, looking through the Smart Source inserts (along with other fliers) when we receive them, cutting relevant items out,  filing them, then using them.  It makes me feel good when I save a chunk of money.  And the fact of the matter is, I need to save money.  Gotta fill up the tank after all!

Saving is contagious and it’s all the rage!
Have you got gas?  Share your cheap fill up here in comments, or with other mamas (and papas) on Just Add Kids Facebook.


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Rule of Thumb

Banned, again!                   

I walked in the door yesterday, and as usual, noticed something new added to the pile of whatever on the kitchen peninsula counter top.  Along comes the next new phase in the silicone rubber jewelry phenomenon, and this time, it has nothing to do with “boobies”.

(For those of you who are newer to JAK Happenings than last summer, you can read “Wrist vs. Risque” here:

What sat on my counter was the most clever marketing campaign item I’ve seen come along since the “Livestrong” bracelets: Read more

A little red thumb ring, embossed as pictured…



According to my now licensed, textaholic, 16 year old daughter, some kid was passing those little gems out at school.  Fashionable?  Well, this mom seems to think so.   I wore it last night.  And it is mighty comfy.

Effective? Well, we’ll see.

It’s obvious that you cannot help but see the bright wrapping (hers is red, though when picture was in color, you could barely see any embossing) around the thumb.  Yet, will it stop the pending perpetrator from tapping out just one little message?

The state of Wisconsin’s anti-texting ban went into effect just this past December,  which outlaws texting  while behind the wheel at the time.  Fines for first-time violators range from $20 to $400, with 4 points against the drivers license.  Most tickets cost violators $188, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.  Texting is considered a primary offense, allowing officers to pull over and cite violators for that reason alone.

I don’t know about you, but geeesh $188 is so not worth it to me.  Sparing a  life on the other hand, is priceless.  I say break out the cheap little thumb rings.  They might not stop someone from breaking the law, but perhaps serve as a fashionable constant reminder of the dangers of text messaging  while driving.

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You’re Grounded!                     

I hate disciplining my children.  Unfortunately, we as parents, cannot get away from it.  And the worse thing is, you’ve got one method that seems to work in modifying or correcting one kid’s behavior, that doesn’t work for the other.

Truly, I believe that there are some kids that are just downright sassy.  It’s woven into the fabric of their being. That no matter if you’ve been consistent in setting the ground rules, redirecting them, time-outs, groundings, and withdrawing privileges and/or possessions, that they resort back to their misbehaving during the disciplining or soon thereafter. Read more…

We are all created similarly, yet it’s visibly obvious we all have differences: different skin tones, body shapes, hair color, etc.  So, of course, our personalities and behaviors are going to differ as well.   Even within our own family: one kid strongly takes on some of my side of the family’s physical traits, while another one of our kids totally gets her looks from my husband’s side.  Their personalities certainly are different: their behavioral, temperamental, emotional and mental characteristics  are unique.

We have one child that follows rules to the letter.  She has been pretty respectful to the rules and respectful of my authority. With that said, she also corrects me when she observes me toeing the line or breaking the law.  Take swearing,  for example.  There are many words that are banned in our house.  One of them is the word “shut up”.  While it’s not necessarily considered a “swear word”,  in our home or car, it is not acceptable.  I will correct visiting minors if they use that word.  At the same time, if my child/ren push to me a certain point, I will tell them to “shut up”.  Sometimes, it’s the only way to let them know that I mean business: I have had it!  I suppose she can’t deal with it, when I break the same rule I hold her accountable for upholding.  I get it.

Misbehaving is defined or measured against some kind of societal benchmark.  Keep that thought in mind.

Moving onto another one of my kids.  This child is so headstrong.  This child breaks rules time and time again.  This child throughout life has been subjected to hundreds of  time outs, groundings, continuously has privileges and possessions taken away.  It doesn’t seem to matter.  I consider this child to be, in general, sassy.

While I type away here, I look up the word sassy.  One online dictionary defined it as “lively, bold, and full of spirit; cheeky”.  That’s interesting, I think.  That certainly does describe this child, yet it puts her in a whole different light.  Not to say that she should get away with being disrespectful and/or rule breaking, it’s part of her “make up”.  She’s unique in that way.

So I guess I need to take some time out here and digest all this.  I can’t change the physical traits given to my kids.  (Not that I really need too, they’ve been blessed in that regard.) Certainly, looks can be modified through grooming and dressing.  Can we change the way our kids behave?  Again, I think with firm, consistent direction and discipline, we may be able to modify their behavior.  We cannot change their personality.

So you just wonder, after all of the work you put into raising your children: praising or rewarding them for good behavior (easy, when you remember to do so), and disciplining them when their behavior needs to be corrected (difficult, on-going, never ends)…how are they really going to turn out?  You hope, in consideration of their uniqueness, that they end up being a gosh darn good adult, like you,  because you never gave up on them.

Stay “grounded”, parents,  in doing what’s right for them, even if in the short-term, it’s so dang hard.  I need to take my own advice.

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Mum’s the Word

Mom’s the Focus                          

I am just going to keep “mum” (well, I’ll keep it really short) this week as we focus on the upcoming day of celebrating mom.

Over the course of the last few weeks, Just Add Kids has received quite a few entries for our 2nd annual kids coloring contest in celebration of Mother’s Day.  Please take this time to check out the portrait gallery here: Color Mom Beautiful

If you’re featured here, and you are on Facebook, please “tag” yourself.  Better yet, use the portrait as your profile pic.  At least for Mother’s Day!

Have a beautiful day moms and families!

JAK loves MOMS

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