On Being the Weird Girl

I'm the Weird GirlDo you remember the weird girl in school? The girl that moved to her own drum beat. The one that wore stripped socks with her flowered sweater and didn’t seem to care. The girl that doodled in her notebook and didn’t worry about being a cheerleader. That did her thing, completed extra credit homework, and loved what she loved regardless of what was popular. Do you remember her?

I think we all had one or two in our classes in school. She might have been your friend or your science lab partner or rode your bus. Maybe she was you?

Regardless, she was there. You probably didn’t think much about her. She minded her business. But sometimes she would talk about something at lunch or in class and you would look at her and think “what is she talking about?” You just couldn’t relate to what she was saying at all.

When you got into college, the weird girl would have these life events or experiences that she would share, or perspective that she would imply, and you would figure she must be from another planet.  How could she even think that way, right? Of course, she’s probably running a Fortune 500 company now but, hey…everyone starts somewhere, right?

I was never the weird girl – well, maybe I was and just didn’t know it, I mean i did play in the band and do the school play and love what I loved. And it’s ok to be the weird girl, many of them were my friends. (Again, maybe I was…hmmm?) But I tried to be conscious about fashion and the latest trends. I read what everyone was reading and talking about what everyone was talking about. I wasn’t the most popular girl in junior high and high school but I certainly could sit at their table in the lunch room.

But this past year, as I have been working this past year outside the home, returning to the workforce after leaving it for the last 5 year for a brief stint, I was the weird girl.

Yes, I’m the weird girl.

I’m not saying I didn’t have friends or anything, in fact, I had lots of them. Plenty of coworkers to chat with and socialize with and lunch with.  However, I found myself the weird girl in many conversations.

If we were talking about babies or vacations or weekend plans or work, it was all fine. But if we started on other common workplace topics like kids school, dining out, grocery shopping and meal planning, or anything related to money, I was the weird girl.

I knew this based on the side cocked heads of my coworkers. The furrowed brows as they watched me talk. The confused and befuddled looks on their faces as I mentioned coupons and best prices and meal planning – frugality! Who knew that would make me weird in the corporate world.

Anything related to frugal living was like speaking a foreign language to my fellow workers. I was the weird girl here in my workplace because I’m conscious about money. Because I consider a budget and don’t always opt for convenience.

It first started when we were talking about sunscreen one day. The conversation started out about the beautiful weekend and sun. Kids and sunscreen. Simple enough.

One colleague mentioned that they ran out of sunscreen and tried something new that they borrowed and didn’t like it. What type do we use? I was asked.

And so it began…..
“I make my own sunscreen,” I said.
“What?” says colleague with head tilted to the side and wrinkled up nose.
“I make my own sunscreen,” I repeat. “It’s easy to do, costs much less, and is more natural and better for my kids. We use it after they have had 15 minutes or so in the sun getting their Vitamin D time.”
My colleague looks at my face with a stranger still expression. “Hum, well, I certainly could never do that. Too time consuming and I wouldn’t know the first thing to do. Plus, I love that spray stuff, can you make it spray?”

Well, as you can imagine the conversation didn’t get any better from there.

Speed along to another ‘water cooler’ conversation where I mentioned going to two different grocery stores to complete my shopping list. The side cocked head, squinty eyes look was prevalent, and my remark met with the response of “my time is more valuable than going to multiple stores to shop.” Apparently mine is not, right?

When I explained that these trips are planned out along with the meal plan and sales the subject was changed. Meal planning? What is the point of meal planning? When I explained what my family feels are the benefits, I was met with responses like “We like to decide on our mood each night.” or “It takes too much time to plan with the ads, it’s not worth it.” or, my personal favorite “I don’t meal plan because we aren’t sure which nights we like to go out and when we like to eat leftovers.” What?

But of course, my “what?” with squinty eyes and furrowed eye brows is confusing to the person with this response. They can not fathom why I’m confused!

And I haven’t even MENTIONED what happened when homeschooling was brought up. You what? How do you do that? Why do you do that? What do you have against public schools? I didn’t know you were so religious? That’s not something my family could ever do. I can’t imagine not working and being with the kids all day. My kids need to be around their friends. And, my personal favorite in this category, I could never do that, my kids get bored at home.

So, I’m a penny-pinching, frugal living, homemade product making, homeschooling mama who apparently has 2 heads and is from the planet Mars. right? At least that’s how I feel. So, I’m the weird girl.

-The weird girl that doesn’t have a new outfit every day.
-The weird girl that watches her money and doesn’t go out to eat every night.
-The weird girl that brings her lunch most days to eat better and not spend $120 per month on fried foods.
-The weird girl that goes home and does homeschool with her kids instead of watching prime time television.
-The weird girl that plans out her families meals and checks the grocery sales for the best deals.

I’m the weird girl.  I just didn’t realize how weird I was until I went back into corporate America and visited those that have 2 incomes, live above their means, can’t imagine being home with the kids all day, and eat out every day because its takes WAY too much time to plan and pack a lunch.

And I have to say, I’m totally good with being the weird girl.

Have you ever been the “weird girl (or guy)?” Did you know it? I would love to hear about your experiences.

4 Nature Walk Projects

nature walk

In our family, one of the best things about the weather change is the increase in family walks. We walk all year long; however, in the good weather, we are ALWAYS taking walks and planning outdoor activities.

Another of our favorites is to incorporate a “nature walk” into our day. A nature walk, by definition, is a walk in nature – learning about nature, noticing nature, capturing nature. We do these differently every time. Sometimes we simply slow down and talk about what we see. This is usually child led and we stop and discuss anything they find interesting.

Another way to make our nature walks fun is to collect things we find in nature and bring them back home to create a project. This usually furthers the discussion as well as spurs our creative side.

If you would like to be a little creative and turn your next nature walk into craft time, here are some suggestions on what to collect and some ideas on the craft you can make with what you create.


One of the easiest and most common nature walk projects is for your child to collage various flowers and plants along your walk. You can then take these home for a variety of projects.

Dry your flowers – If you take the time to dry your flowers and plants, you can either make a picture with the dried collection or a framed picture of your collection. Lastly, potpourri is a great project if you have some very fragrant items in your collect.

Decorative arrangement – If you collect mostly flowers and there are plenty of them, you can head home to play with flower arranging. This can be fun to see how they look and discuss sizing and placement. Remember to water your flowers.

Live plant picture – Those obviously not drying your flowers will limit the “life” of your picture, you can make a lovely picture with live flower petals.

nature walksCOLLECT STICKS

A fun thing to do while you are taking a nature walk is to collect various sticks. Find ones of different sizes and shapes.

When you get home with your sticks, put them in piles.
Get construction paper or a large piece of art paper.
Arrange the sticks to spells names or make a heart. You can make many different shapes with the twigs.
Once you find what you would like for your picture, glue the sticks in place.
Hang on the wall or frame.

Something the kids have always found fun is to take a piece of paper and crayon with them on a nature walk (backpack or in a pocket or the bottom of the stroller) and make tree and plant rubbings. We usually use those big crayons for little kids or we use the crayons we made out of scrap crayons and melted together.
Take the paper and lay it on the bark of the tree or over a plant leaf and then lightly rub the side of the crayon over the paper with the bark or plant under it
You can label it or use it for a print or drawing.
The kids think this is fun and we usually do a bunch of them.
Be sure to take lots of paper!

Another favorite is to collect rocks. The kids will collect rocks along the way and bring them home to paint. This is fun because they know they are going to paint them. However, if they find something really unique, we don’t paint it, it goes into our rock collection box for later. You might be surprised what kinds of rocks you find along your way.

Remember, in the end, the goal is to enjoy nature and have fun with what your children collect. Let them be creative. There is no one way to make something with what they collect. Simply collect some things and let their imaginations carry them. You might be surprised what they will create.

The Importance of your Kids Helping Around the House

kids chores clipartWhether you have one or many children, if the kids are helping around the house they aren’t just helping you but they are acquiring lifelong skills that will help them as they get older. This is important for every mom and dad to realize. And yes, my Type A personality sometimes just wants to “get it done” and not work with my youngster on the task at hand but taking some time to help my kids learn to do a task and help around the house helps in many ways besides getting the room clean or the laundry put away.

Life-Long Skills

Doing chores or helping around the house helps a child build lifelong skills that are important to their success. They learn to function outside your home. Helping you cook develops math skills (measuring), critical thinking (following directions and substituting and doubling recipes), and just plain culinary skills. What mother isn’t proud and less anxious knowing their child will be able to take care of herself or himself and their future families because they can cook, clean, and do the laundry properly.


Being able to help around the house develops self-confidence in your children. Your children will feel better about themselves when they can complete a task and know that it was done to your satisfaction. They will feel good about fixing your breakfast in the morning, doing their own laundry, or helping care for the baby. As the kids get older, they will develop a heightened sense of confidence when they know that they can take care of the house or the car or budget. All these things can be taught at home by helping mom and dad buy the groceries, change the car oil, and fix a broken door jam.

Sense of Accomplishment

Your little one will develop a sense of accomplishment as he successfully cleans up the playroom or helps you rake the leaves in the yard. Having the kids weed the garden helps them feel a part of the bigger picture of growing the vegetables and providing for the family and they will feel very accomplished that they were able to weed the garden successfully. A sense of accomplishment is important to continue to be motivated to help and feel confident to do it themselves later.

Sense of Purpose

Another things that can be developed by the kids helping around the house is their development of a sense of purpose. Knowing they have duties can give them a sense of knowing what they need to do to be a part of the family – a contributing part of the household.  Giving them chores and duties to help out is a way to develop a child’s sense of purpose. And as the kids get older, they will continue to have this sense of purpose and this will translate into their own homes someday.

There are many reasons to have your children help around the house, the least not being that they should. But imagine all the other reasons that they should help around the house and why you should enforce them helping around the house. Remember – they aren’t just getting their chores done but they are learning valuable skills to help throughout the rest of their lives.

What chores do your kids do around the house?

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