The BEST lunches of the school year!

Is it just me or does your house have that end of Summer “grime” all over. We also live in Charleston where its managed to rain, what feels like EVERYDAY and the humidity isn’t helping me feel any less “grimey”.  We’ve really been good about the kid’s chores this summer, trying to maintain organization. But August is always just a tough month for me- I feel like I’m in slow motion. This week in particular- right before we start back to school- always seems to be the busiest and I’m definitely trying to pack 20lbs of Sh*t in a 10lb bag. Adding to the stress, I’ve done a very poor job of saying “no” and setting any work or volunteer boundaries. So I've managed to over-commit. Then I'm exhausted at the end of every day and I tell myself that I just need to "Netflix & Sofa" because that is my form of "self care". In other words, not everything is getting done. However, I know it will all get done, and everyone will start the first day of school and then, there will be new challenges to tackle. 

So, here’s to that first week of school, where the lunches you pack are perfect, and hoping that you can have the discipline to get the summer grime off of the house!

Tilling tip of the day~

Grow a rose bush in a potato

Not as hard as you think! You can take the trimmings from other roses that you have cut, and stick them into potatoes. Yes, you read that right! Securing the trimming in the potato makes it easier to plant it. Simply dig a small hole in the dirt, stick the potato in the hole, and cover it back up. This avoids the need to buy a rose plant and follow all the rules that come with it.

Teenager tip of day~ Here are some “Back to School” suggestions from Psychology Today on what to say to your tweens & teens on starting a new school year! 

1. “The first tip I would give is to believe in yourself and to try to always do the right thing. Sometimes people will do what is cool as opposed to what is safe or nice.”

2. “Keep your focus on your school work. Pay attention in class and complete your homework.”

3. “Don't procrastinate when it comes to studying and homework.”

4. “Be selective with the friends you choose. Don't befriend someone who is not a good influence on you. Don't judge a person, but if someone makes you feel uncomfortable, or if their definition of right and wrong is different from yours, gently stop spending time with him or her. Surround yourself with people you can grow with in a positive direction.”

5. “Create joy in your life by not beating yourself up. If you’re not doing well with something ask for help. No one is perfect at everything, but everything is perfect about you.”

Decorating with Tweens & Teens

Whenever I go into a new clients "haus" to help them edit, accessorize, and add some new paint and furniture- the first thing we talk about is how they "use" the room. Are you going to entertain in the room, do you have in-door pets, children, wild friends?  My clients come to me because they have small children and want to know how I decorated while having destructive boys (they've gotten better) and a daughter who is STILL making that damn slime (its everywhere and makes me nuts). My decorating philosophy is definitely a mix of "high" & "low" pieces- i.e. buy the highest quality sofa you can, but maybe you get your throw pillows from Homegoods. I also love when people have meaningful collections- and we can display them in a way that has impact. If you look at ANY part of my instagram or facebook- you can tell I am a huge collector of blue & white ginger jars, I have a massive collection of Kentucky Derby glasses, and then I throw in a bunch of Buddha statues and heads. Somehow this eclectic mix has stayed intact (not broken or destroyed) for about the past 2 years. 

There is one item that I refuse to spend a ton of my decorating budget on, especially while there dogs & kiddos here. RUGS. I am sure there are those decorators out there that would EYE ROLL at my cheap rugs- but between 2 cocker spaniels, 3 children, and wine and vodka connoisseurs (and by connoisseurs I mean spills & refills)~   I refuse to invest in something that I'm going to cry over if it gets marked up in anyway. 

I have one AMAZING beautiful cowhide rug that was NOT cheap. It is in our formal living room, and children are in this room sparingly. Ironically, I get a ton of compliments on the rug in the den, all of the rugs in the bedrooms, and the rug in my office. I have NO problem letting them know that they are cheap- and can EASILY be cleaned. Even the HUBS spilled RED WINE on the office rug- and that sh*t came right up and I didn't have to hire a professional. 

For this stage in our lives- I'm keeping my cheap rugs- and I am A-OK with that decision. 

Tilling Tip of the Day~ 

I get asked this question- ALL OF THE TIME! 

Not all hydrangeas grow in the shade. Panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata)need sun for best flowering. Some top panicle varieties include 'Limelight', Little Lime, Vanilla Strawberry, and Bombshell.

 

Teenage Tip of the Day~ 

You might be asking yourself- "Lizz, where do you buy these rugs that you're not afraid to display but your teenagers don't destroy"

Here are my favorite places~ 

https://ruggable.com/?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PPC&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI0N-G__De3AIVyiaGCh2rrgknEAAYASAAEgIrVPD_BwE

https://www.wayfair.com/rugs/cat/rugs-c215385.html

https://www.rugs-direct.com/

Moms who rule the world!

*Short blog post today- we were with Charlie getting 2 screws and a ligament sewn up. Thanks to MUSC! 

I don't consider myself an expert at anything-but I consider my friend Amy an expert podcaster and she interviewed me about what its like to have been a business owner while having 3 kiddos for 15 years now! 

Yes I promoted the SH*T out of this on all of the social medias- but support Amy and take a listen!

 

https://www.momswhoruletheworld.com/single-post/2018/08/07/Southern-handbook-on-Business-and-babys

Making mistakes is better than faking perfection.

Tilling & Teenagers

Thanks to social media- it is easier than ever to get called out by the moms who want to judge your every move.  I have read all of the funny blogs that discuss various types of moms; the mom who overshares (NO ONE CARES WHAT YOUR 3 YEAR OLD SAID TODAY MARTHA), the mom who makes everything seem perfect (LIES), the mom who freaks out if you occasionally feed your kids non-organic hot dogs and kraft mac-n-cheese for dinner (GUILTY). 

So, in these time of perfection, oversharing, judgmental parenting styles that 2018 has brought us…. How do we, as parents of teens & tweens, deal with the inevitable situations where our kids are going to ask us; “Have you ever smoked a cigarette?”, “Did you ever drink at a high school party”, “Did you ever bully anyone?”  I usually say… “The 80’s and 90’s were a different time” 😊

I think Moms are afraid to ever admit that they once pushed boundaries, weren’t perfect teenagers and MADE MISTAKES. If you tell your children you have smoked pot does that justify the fact that then they can smoke up? Hell, even picking my clothes up- if my room isn’t picked up- why should they pick-up theirs. You LEAD by EXAMPLE right?? Or at least the old adage… “Do as I say, not as I did in 1997”

The 3 kiddos in my house have gotten older, and they have questions.  A lot of the questions are about what I was like in middle/high school. I mean surely, I was always perfect 😉?

Somewhere my mother’s eyes just rolled so far back in her head they may not return.

Full confession- I have not 1 but 2 tattoos (cannot be seen by a judge). When I was in 8th grade, I tried to smoke camel light cigarettes. I was in a sorority in college (Go Zeta’s) so, there was totally underage drinking going on.  I had someone who bullied me in middle school. Then I was kind of a bully to one girl in high school. I broke up with my college boyfriend in a “not nice way” to date a professional baseball player (full disclosure we’re totally cool now and keep in touch and he doesn’t hate me for being 20 and dumb). Here's the big confession~  I once didn’t take the kids to school when they were little because I was HUNGOVER. OH yea… that totally happened.

I mean the stories could go on…but we’ll save those for another blog day. 😊

So as an imperfect person & mother- how HONEST should I be with my Big Kids? And, if I’m honest about my imperfections, will these little sh*ts use it against me in future stand-offs that may occur? What happens if one of my kiddos does break a rule in Casa Schleifer?  

So here is my advice~ for what it's worth. 

Don’t tweens/teens deserve forgiveness if they do try something or make a mistake in life? It’s like touching a hot stove. You can tell them “watch out the stove is hot!” but they won’t always believe you until they touch it for themselves. I feel for my parents now, because I WAS DEFINITELY the kid who had to get burnt before she learned her lesson. I was a strong-willed child and I have 3 strong-willed children.  Being parents to them is not always easy. So, I’m trying to navigate these questions and life encounters that we have with honesty, humility and grace. In our house, we have mandated- if you tell me the honest truth, I will not yell (at first), and we will talk through the situation together.

I don’t have all of the answers (CLEARLY) but we’re really keeping this total honesty, no screaming (usually) open door policy going. Its pretty amazing what my teenagers are willing to share with me.

I’m sure we’re going to encounter many more life questions and challenges. Hopefully, by my admitting to my children that I have not always handled every situation perfectly, will let them know they can come to me and we will figure it out together. I also think that my honesty makes them come to me for advice versus jumping into situations.  Maybe this is going to BACKFIRE on me- but for now- this how we roll in this house...Honesty, and forgiveness- none of us are perfect.

Tilling Tip of the Day~ Did you know you can regrow a pineapple from a pineapple top? Here is  blog about it and I find it super fascinating! http://www.tickledred.com/planting-a-pineapple/

Teenager Tip of the Day~ I've been struggling with whether or not the boys should be allowed to work during school~ Here is some sage advice from the University of Portland...

High school students benefit from part-time employment, but they need time management skills

Learning to budget time and to use it well is a skill that many students don’t learn until they’re in college or in their actual careers. Yet knowing how to handle numerous responsibilities helps students prepare for the academic vigor of college.

Going from school to extracurricular activities and then to a job means having to do homework late at night, or, in some cases, working ahead during the weekends to ensure everything is complete for the coming week. It’s possible for students to overcommit themselves out of a desire to make more money or because they are not yet adept at time management.

While the line between how much work is too much may seem nebulous, experts have found that students who work more than 15 to 20 hours a week see a decrease in academic performance. Teens shouldn’t exceed the recommended number of hours at their jobs, nor should they spend sleeping or studying time at work.

 

 

 

The Dog Days of Summer

If I wanted to homeschool my children- I would.

This is a rant about the Summer math & reading packets. So… bear with me here.

Let me take you back to May 18th~

I remember the last day of school like it was yesterday. I was psyched. I needed a break from the school grind and so did the kids. It felt, almost, idyllic.  I was going to “tackle” this summer and make it “the most productive, best summer ever”.  We were going to keep a strict schedule and wake up early, start every morning with a few chores, eat 3 healthy meals that I made from scratch, and we were going to get a JUMP on that Summer math packet & reading.

It's August 2nd. School starts in less than 3 weeks. The Farmers Almanac defines the ACTUAL “dog days of summer” as the time between July 3rd and August 11th. Ohhhh my friends. We are DEEP in the damn dog days of summer at Casa Schleifer…

 Yesterday we ate pizza bites for lunch. I begged Lola to change her shirt- swear she had worn it for 3 days in a row (yes, even the daughter is lacking in motivation), I’m begging the boys to wake up before noon, even the dogs are going bat-sh*t because IT WON’T stop raining in Charleston. OH- and the Summer math packet and Summer reading- well motivating the children to do that is like trying to bathe a cat. Not Happening.  

Now, let me just make it CRYSTAL, I love the school we chose to send all three children to. However… I hate the Summer math & reading packet. I feel like a nagging teacher. Which is not fun. This is why I do not have the patience or where with all to home school my children.   I think its OK to let Summer BE SUMMER. Don’t quote me statistics about the knowledge they are losing..blah blah blah. I actually saw some Mom brag on the facebook about how they were done with the packet. A few choice words flew out of my mouth about that show-off, windbag. 😉

In the meantime. I’m too tired to make lunch again today, but I’m going to dig deep, and pull some kick ass parenting guilt trip that will get everyone to finish those Summer packets before the first day of school.

Tilling tip of the day~

August is the last month for heavy pruning of hedges and evergreens before they go dormant in November and December. Trimming too late could cause new growth that won't harden off in time for a freeze and will be killed

Teenager tip of the day~

The average amount of sleep that teenagers get is between 7 and 7 ¼ hours. However, they need between 9 and 9 ½ hours (studies show that most teenagers need exactly 9 ¼ hours of sleep). This tip is so I feel better about the fact that all three children are sleeping so much 😊

Tilling & Teenagers

Welcome to “Tilling & Teenagers”!

This is my blog. Finally. I have thought, at length, about it for a couple of years now.

My name is Lizz Schleifer, I have 3 children, Jack who is 15, Charlie who is 14, and Lola who will be 12 next month. This blog is going to be about raising “Big Kids”, being a business owner, a wife, and how I do it ALL… without daily valium & vodka… HAHA… just kidding.

A bit of background as to how I got here~

My office has always been a “home office”. The business that took off quickly, was being an event designer/coordinator for some of the South’s finest weddings 😉 Working while they were young was actually kinda great. They didn’t realize I was gone- their memories when I talk to them now- they think I was a “SAHM”- which is hilarious. Now that they are “Big Kids”- they KNOW that I am gone. Not only do my children need me, but I was killing myself owning/running a business that was physically and mentally demanding. OH, then I’d come home and work my other job that was physically and mentally demanding- having 3 children.

This is a milestone year for me. I am turning 40. I have decided to shut down a successful, event planning business. I have deemed myself (with years of experience) a “Haus & Garden Stylist”. Will I make money doing this? I have no damn clue. But at this point in my life- it’s worth my sanity.  I have decided to blog about this journey. I know there are other women, moms, who like me, are trying to hold it all together- career, marriage, children. Parenting is hard as hell. There are plenty of blogs that address that. I think that most of them focus on raising infants, toddlers, maybe even middle schoolers. I’ve been doing the “teenager” thing for a couple years now. Everyone makes sarcastic comments about raising teenagers. But GUESS WHAT? I LOVE HAVING BIG KIDS! I know, I’ve lost my damn mind, right? BUT- That doesn’t mean I don’t lose my shit once a day (occasionally). 😊

The name of this blog is “Tilling & Teenagers”. The definition of “tilling” is to prepare and cultivate the land. Which is pretty apropos to what we are doing with our teenagers, preparing them for life, cultivating their minds as they become the people they will be when they leave the casa.  This blog is for the mom’s who want to keep it real about the teenagers. I plan to tackle the hard subjects like; should I pay for braces or my botox this month? Have I had enough vodka to make me relaxed while my 15 year old is driving? Yes, my daughter is turning into to a mini me, and yes, I know it is payback.

So, I hope you will read, follow along, send me suggestions, and comments-BUT you can keep your concerns to yourself. This blog is to be taken light hearted, but bring insight into how I manage to not strangle my two, soon to be THREE teenagers while being a “BOSS MOM”.

P.S. I hate terms like “Boss Mom”… so know, that is supposed to be funny.

Tilling tip of the day! TEST YOUR SOIL!

 Locally we do it through Clemson and it rocks! 

https://www.clemson.edu/public/regulatory/ag-srvc-lab/soil-testing/index.html

 

Teenager tip of the day~ 

Keep your eye on the goal

It's easy to lose sight of the big picture when you're frustrated by your teen's most recent report card or you're flustered because your teen keeps neglecting his chores. But, it's important to keep your eye on the big goal—to raise a responsible teen who is equipped to deal with the challenges of the real world. Focusing on the long-term goals will help you let go of the little things that don't matter.