Monthly Archives: October 2011

And now I turn political.

I can’t believe I’m going to write this. I never thought I’d write a blog that would contain political thoughts, but here goes nothing…

Yesterday, I watched this video supporting Occupy Wall Street. You should watch it (especially if you want to really understand my writings below). It really is creative.

But I don’t agree with the statement it makes: Send back stuffed postage paid envelopes to cost big banks money and piss them off. Because big banks caused the current economic crisis by approving mortgages that were above and beyond what the consumer could really afford.

I agree that big banks – no, all banks approve absurdly high mortgage amounts for consumers. I have been a HUGE advocate that banks NOT be allowed to do this – that they be held accountable for telling consumers they can afford more than a feasible mortgage payment.

But here’s where I stray: Consumers are responsible too. Just because a bank approves me for a $300k mortgage doesn’t mean I should actually have one for $300k. And that’s where it’s MY responsibility to do my own homework. To look at my income and all expenses and determine what size mortgage will feasibly fit into my budget.

BANKS ARE FOR PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS. They want you to have a higher mortgage because their fees are a percentage of your mortgage. Obviously, it’s in their best interest to give you the biggest mortgage they think is possible for your income to support.

But only you know your true expenses. It is YOUR responsibility to determine what your final mortgage should be. NO ONE signs your name on the mortgage docs for you. You do that all on your own.

There are even non-profit organizations that help people determine a reasonable mortgage for consumers and help guide them through the entire purchasing process. There are FORTY just in the state of Indiana. (You can find them on HUD’s website here.)

Here’s my other issue with this call to send your stuffed envelopes back: Those banks? Well, they’re just going to pass along that extra cost to the consumers. They’ll increase your bank fees, mortgage origination fees, late credit card payment fees, etc. And they’ll increase them whether or not YOU participated.

To me, it all comes down to taking responsibility for yourself. And that starts with parents teaching their children to be responsible for his/her own actions. If it’s always someone else’s fault, then those kids will grow up to be adults who continue to make bad choices and blame the consequences on others.

Take charge of your life. And own your decisions. And if you’re unsure about something (like whether or not you can afford a mortgage), ASK FOR HELP.

Any polite conversation? I’m game to hear your thoughts and discuss, whether you agree with me or not. Seriously. But I am NOT game for nasty comments. So don’t leave them.

Easy Pumpkin Seeds

My favorite part about Halloween is carving pumpkins. Not because my kids get super excited to design the carvings or seeing them lit up after all the hard work of carving those crazy designs.

It’s the seeds.

I absolutely LOVE pumpkin seeds. I crave them the second we start carving those pumpkins.

The problem? Each year I can’t remember how I roasted them the prior year. You’d think I’d learn and write it down, wouldn’t you?

Well, this year I am. Why? Because I tasted the best seeds at my mother-in-law’s last week and I don’t want to forget this recipe. She told me she got the recipe from a radio talk show YEARS ago. (Now, this isn’t a healthy “pack ’em in your kid’s lunch as a snack” recipe. It calls for 1/2 a stick of butter. But that’s why it’s SO. DARN. GOOD.)

And I’m sharing. Cuz I’m nice like that.

  • Easy Pumpkin Seeds

    Easy Pumpkin Seeds

    Ingredients

    • 1.5 to 2 cups pumpkin seeds
    • 1/2 stick butter
    • 1 tbsp season salt
    • 1 tsp garlic powder

    Instructions

    1. Rinse pumpkin seeds in a colander and lay out on a towel to dry a bit. (I patted mine down and then left them there for about an hour.)
    2. Preheat oven to 350*.
    3. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat.
    4. Turn off burner and add season salt and garlic powder. Mix well.
    5. Add pumpkin seeds and stir until completely coated.
    6. Spread in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet.
    7. Bake until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
    8. Now, the recipe says "lightly browned" will take 40-45 minutes. Mine were too toasty in 35 minutes, so I would suggest stirring at 20 minutes and then checking every 5-10 minutes for doneness.
    http://katieunscripted.com/2011/10/easy-pumpkin-seeds/

I hope you love them as much as I do. This will be my go-to pumpkin seed recipe from now on.

Do you have a recipe for pumpkin seeds that you’d like to share? You know, because if it sounds really good, I’m sure my kids would love to carve another pumpkin. 🙂

 

I’m linking up with Things I Love Thursday over at The Diaper Diaries.

Crayon hearts

We have so many broken crayons that I’m going crazy. I don’t want to just throw them away, but I hate keeping them around since they just don’t get used.

Then I came across this DIY crayon hearts craft on Pinterest. But just the pic. No written directions linked to the picture. So we thought we’d give it a try and write down directions for you all.

Have your kids go through all their crayons and pick out all the broken ones. Have them unwrap each one.

While they are unwrapping, chop the crayons into small pieces.

Place all the chopped pieces into a bowl.

Have your kids fill mini heart-shaped tins. No need to grease the pan. Just put them in as-is.

Don’t overfill, just to the top.

Bake at 230* for 15 minutes. (Be careful pulling them out. They will be complete liquid.)

Let cool and solidify for a few hours on your stovetop or cooling racks. Once solid, they’ll pull away slightly from the edges of the pan, just enough to pop out with your fingernail.

And here’s the final product!

Seriously, these were SO easy to do and the girls had a blast. And believe me, I’m not the craft mom I imagine all kids want. THIS is easy. And fun.

(I think this would be super cute for Valentine’s Day. Or if you have tins for Halloween! Or any other holiday for that matter. What a great gift for classmates that doesn’t cost a thing.)

For other great Valentine’s Day ideas, look here and here. Also linking up with Angel’s Homestead.

nostalgia

yesterday i drove to my parents’ with the kids. the 2 hour drive always prompts me to remember my 19 years growing up here before i left for college my sophomore year.

this drive made me think about who i was when i lived here. and who had a hand in molding who i am today.

and i thought of you.

i sometimes do this even when i’m not making this drive. you know, where you are. how you are. who you are.

i don’t wonder about you in a lustful way. or even in a “what could have been” kind of way. i know i married the right man for me. that i am sure.

but you did mean a lot to me for a period of time. and like all my close friends from long ago, i wonder if you’re okay. i hope you are.

i hope you are successful. and happy. and in a good place. because i really have no idea who you have become. and it makes me nervous, honestly, because i remember wondering what choices you would make as you got older. (because i wondered what choices *i* would make as well.)

i haven’t seen you in probably 14 years. it’s been 10 years since we’ve spoken. i remember the night you called my parents’ house on a whim and i was actually there. alone. you were in town (i guess you had moved away) and thought you’d try to call just to see if i was around. you found out i was married that night. and for the rest of the phone conversation you only called me mrs. white. i don’t know why i remember that.

that was the last i heard from you.

it feels odd. kinda. like i should talk to you more often for some reason. i’m not sure why i feel that way. but you were a friend. one that i won’t forget.

i am successful. and happy. and in a good place.

just in case you were wondering too.

this is me, just writing, a day late.

Remembering. And wondering.

Last night my mom uploaded all the pictures from Lucas’ birth for me. She was the only one who took pictures right after he was born, and I’ve been wanting them for awhile now.

It had been 11 months. Exactly.

I was already nostalgic. Lucas will be one in just one short month. This third baby’s life has gone by so much faster than the girls’ it seems. Alaina is already NINE. I swear Lucas will be nine tomorrow considering this first 11 months has flown by so quickly.

As I looked at the pictures this morning, I was remembering, really remembering, how happy I was when he was born. I was fairly positive he was our last child. But now I’m wondering.

Wondering if I’m ready to never birth another child. To never have this feeling again:

First sight.

It makes me sad thinking I may never do or feel this again. But I also don’t know that I want to raise another child. You know what I mean. Darn babies. They get me every time.

So I’m not going to rule it out. I did that after #1. And #2. And look where that got me?

With two more kids. 🙂

 

Today I’m linking up with Heather of the EO for Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments.

We need each other.

Here I go, ranting again, but this time about this whole “Who has it easier” crap I’m reading on the internet. Stay at home moms or working moms?

WHO CARES?!

Seriously, I’m about to blow up.

(Now, I’ll stop for one minute to say I have not read this book (Welcome to My World). But just the fact that there is a BOOK that is written by bloggers debating “who has it easier” is total crap.)

I’ve been on both sides. I worked 25-30 hours a week for 8 years while being a mom. I’ve also been a SAHM for almost a year now. And let me tell you – one is not easier than the other. Some days it’s easier to be at home and some days it’s easier to be at work. There are different stresses on each side.

What works for you might not work for me. But both of our choices are right. And both are hard.

Being a mom is hard. Hard enough without other women making you feel bad for making the best choice for your family.

I just don’t get why moms would even enter into that debate. Is it to get published or to attract more viewers to your blog? All it does is make the other side defensive and hurt. And feel like she needs to prove her choice was best. Or easier. Or harder. Or the right one.

You don’t need to prove anything.

I did this for a long time – tried to prove to SAHMs why I worked. And then I found myself trying to prove to working moms why I decided to stay home. And all it did was drive me bat crazy.

Why do we do this to each other? Why do we alienate each other? Wouldn’t it be EASIER to just support each other as women and moms?

Get it together ladies. We need each other.

Is community enough?

The question has been burning inside of me for close to a year now.

Yesterday, I posted on Twitter and Facebook that I was starting to feel a pull out of urban living. And that I was conflicted.

Adam and I bought our first house on the southeast side of downtown Indianapolis over 11 years ago. The main reasons we chose downtown centered around proximity to work and loving the architecture and originality of historic homes.

But as time went by, the reason to STAY downtown changed for me. I started coaching gymnastics at Jireh Sports. We made our church home at Redeemer. I was on the board at The Harrison Center for the Arts. We sent our children to The Oaks Academy. I was working for Herron High School. I felt called to live urban – to live in a diverse setting and take whatever tagged along with it.

We are now in our second home downtown. I love our double lot and the style of our home. It really is beautiful. But it’s not ideal for our family: no central air and only one full bath. These are both things I can live with in the grand scheme of things.

But then I drive 4-5 miles north and see big, sprawling yards. And ranches. And people waving to me while I drive through their neighborhoods. And homes that aren’t vacant for 6 years and falling apart and housing homeless people and their cats. And kids riding bikes on driveways and on cul de sacs. (Riding bikes on STREETS! Can you even imagine my fellow urbanites?!)

And I start to want it.

Now here’s where I start to feel conflicted.

Because really? I want both. I want to live in a traditional neighborhood like I grew up in as a child. And I want to experience a diverse life. I want my kids to not just go to a diverse school, but LIVE a diverse life.

But why can’t this happen if I live 4 miles north?

I can’t answer that question. People 4 miles north need Jesus too.

I’m not coaching at an urban gym, not on the board of an urban arts organization, not working at an urban high school. I’m just living downtown.

My heart aches because my COMMUNITY is here. My closest friends. My church. My school.

But is that enough? Can’t I still have that community and not live in this neighborhood if I’m intentional?

Your thoughts please.