Friday, July 14, 2017

Bewildered: Use Your Words

Today’s post is a monthly writing challenge. If you’re new here, this is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once. All of the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the recipient will take them. Until now.

Use Your Words, a multiblogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I'm using: bewildered ~ messy ~ scrub ~ swanky ~ five
They were submitted by Simply Shannon.

I am bewildered by my sons. Don't get me wrong, "somewhat confounded" is my norm, these days anyway but the blame squarely falls on those damn aforementioned sons.

We all try to raise our kids the best we can. We want them to grow up to be independent, hardworking, fun and happy, safe, productive, kind, thoughtful . . . Besides the basic morals and values, there are other lessons we hope they learn as well. We teach them with our words, but also as role models through actions, through the environment we create. Parents are human though. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes not so much. 

As I observe my boys and how they interact in the world with increasing independence, I see the ways in which my influence manifests itself. And, conversely, those concepts that just did not take.

Five impacts I didn't make:

1) Bed making.

I make my bed. Every day. If I am sick, even so sick it takes half an hour to crawl out of my room and sit my way down the stairs, I make my bed before I do it.

College Boy at least pulls the comforter over the unmade bed. Not really made but points for doing something.

PurDude? That kid will not make his bed. He will not. When he comes home I ask him to please just make his bed in the morning. Nope.

Last summer he'd often get home from work at 8:00 or 9:00 pm. He was a head lifeguard at a city pool so he rarely ate until he got home. Although I had already made, served, and cleaned up our family dinner, he'd text me, starving, when he was heading home and ask me to make him something. I always did. 

One day I told him that if he can't even make his bed in the morning, he should stop asking me to go out of my way to make him dinner at 9:00 at night. He did. Make his bed? No, he stopped texting me to make him dinner.

This summer he's doing an internship at Honeywell in Ohio. They put him up in a very nice apartment. I asked him to send me pictures when he first moved in. Kitchen looked nice and he'd already put some fun magnets on the fridge. Dining room, living room with a wide screen TV. Spare bedroom he set up as an office, master bedroom with another wide screen TV. And an unmade bed.

2) Money.

I am frugal. Not to be confused with cheap. In my mind anyway. I've tried to make that distinction with the kids as they were growing up. I will spend a lot of money on something if I've assessed the situation and feel it's worth it. I do love a deal though and I coupon and price match on a regular basis. It's not about the money you spend, it's about spending it wisely.

I have access to PurDude's bank accounts. He works over the summers for his school spending money. It doesn't last through the year and I watch his accounts, transferring money into them as he starts to run low. Towards the end of the school year as I was not only giving him spending money but had to replace his two flat tires, he decided to spend over $40 for a t-shirt. But it was a rare shirt, worth the money, he was lucky to get it . . . {{he may have said something else too but I didn't hear it, may have gone into shock at that point}}.

College Boy throws his change onto a table in the basement. Often it falls onto the floor below the table as well. When the cleaners come, I ask him to pick it all up and put it away. We were arguing, last week, as I've asked him not to leave it there in the first place. He's decided this is the most convenient place to leave his change. I told him to go downstairs, gather up his change and find a more suitable place. Next thing I know I hear a clunk in the kitchen. He'd thrown all his change in the trash.

3) Food.

I like to try new things, develop new recipes. Sometimes they're completely new ideas, other times I experiment with a new twist on an established recipe. When it comes to desserts, I've always had many taste testers. The boys, the neighborhood kids, half of the school would be here when I was trying a new dessert. 

Meals, however, were a different story. The boys were always picky eaters. This created an untenable dichotomy. I'd make dinner and they'd refuse to try it. Not really a dynamic that works.

It's not all bad, though. Sometimes they do inspire me, get me thinking about new and inventive ways to make foods I already know they like. Macaroni and Cheese and Sloppy Joes, for instance.

Taco Mac and Joe Casserole, taco seasoned mac and cheese baked with a sloppy joe layer. Flavor packed dinner for any night. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

Taco Mac and Joe Casserole
Taco Mac and Joe Casserole, taco seasoned mac and cheese baked with a sloppy joe layer. Flavor packed dinner for any night. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

4) Style. 

When the boys were young I dressed well. Not swanky, casual but fashionable. At the very least, my clothes at least matched. Both kids had large wardrobes and always looked well put together. Now, of course, my boys have their own style. Although I've truly loved watching them express themselves through clothing choices, I do not know how the concept of matching has completely escaped them.

College boy's style is pretty much DeadHead meets Cheech and Chong. He does actually have great individual pieces, but seems to go out of his way to mismatch them. I think this is just to drive me crazy.

PurDude's sense of style is quite confusing. He is either dressed preppy or gangsta. He likes expensive clothes and always dresses well, but again, doesn't always match. Or matches too much. 

Bewildered, kids' style, someties they don't match, sometimes they match too much and sometimes I just don't want to talk about it. | | #funny #parenting

5) Neatness. 

I am a neat fanatic. Too neat, really. Everything is pretty much always in its place. I'm not talking about clean here. I'm not one to scrub already clean surfaces. My house is clean, it's professionally cleaned, but it's the neat part that's all me.

Messy could be my boys' middle names. In fact, I'm thinking of changing them. Both of them. Yeah, yeah, boys, bla bla bla. College Boy seems to have a closet aversion. All of his clothes are in piles all around his room. They're on every surface, including the floor. Need a sock? Check the floor. Shirt? On the desk. Shorts? On the window sill, of course.

PurDude. When he moved into his dorm, I set up his room with him. You know, pens in the desk drawer, books in the bookcase, toiletries on a shelf in the closet.

When he moved himself into his frat I had him send me pictures. I was so excited to see his room and how he'd set it up. He'd raised his (unmade) bed and set up his fridge and comfy chair in the gained space beneath. On one wall, above his futon, I noticed a decorative shelf. Cool. Great for pictures, school mugs . . . And I see that he's already got a number of items on that shelf. Wait. Is that a toothbrush? Deoderant? Ummm, laundry detergent, a few pens, a protein bar and his sunglasses?


Here are links to all the other Use Your Words posts:

Taco Mac and Joe Casserole

Printable Recipe
1 # package elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese 
3 tsp taco seasoning
2 eggs
2 cups sloppy joe, cooled 
1/2 cup chopped or shredded queso fresco cheese

*Grease a 9 X 13 baking dish. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
*Cook the macaroni to al dente. Rinse with cold water 3 to 4 times. Drain well.
*Mix in the half and half, cheddar and colby jack cheeses and taco seasoning. Last, mix in the two eggs. Pour into prepared pan.
*Dollop the sloppy joe onto the macaroni mixture, sprinkle with the queso fresco cheese and paprika.
*Bake for 35 minutes. Cover loosely with foil and allow to sit for 5 - 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.


  1. OMG I am laughing so hard I can't breathe. Oh it hurts. He stopped texting so he didn't have to make his bed. Then those clothes matching pictures.

    1. Yeah, he's a challenge that one. Both of them, actually. Thought they'd outgrow that but not so much.

  2. Um..., Im going to have to side with the boys here-bed making is not on my priority list! I love cleaning...and will do it all, but when it comes to making my bed I really just would rather burn the sheets and quilt. For the record, I do it...but it begrudgingly...

    1. For me it's more about the discipline and respect. Making their bed (although the neat freak in me does not like the look of a messy room and unmade bed) is about so much more than just a bed.

  3. He stopped texting to ask for his dinner, hahaha, at least he's consistent! I wonder if he'll start making his bed when a girlfriend is in the picture. Just a thought. How does he like his job at Honeywell?
    Throwing coins in the trash? Now that hurts my values.
    They're good people, though, and I am sure a lot of it is thanks to you!

    1. No, no change with a girlfriend around.
      About the job, he's so hard to read. Says he likes it but he doesn't really get excited or enthusiastic about much (thanks for asking).

  4. I can totally relate! Of my children, though, five of six are total neatness freaks. Unfortunately, none of them married the same.

  5. My kids are the same way! Unorganized and SO messy! It drives me crazy. My daughter comes over and whatever she was drinking out of is sitting wherever she was sitting. Shoes in the middle of the floor. Kills my OCD heart! I don't know how she got to be so unorganized when she didn't grow up that way. Go figure!

  6. Sadly I think it's boys. I could have easily written this. Oy


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