Thursday, January 14, 2016

I Choose To Go The Extra Mile

I was discussing this blog with an acquaintance of mine not too long ago. One of my goals is to populate it with my own homemade dog treat recipes. While there are thousands of dog treat recipes out there, I want to create my own and include photos. I want to also add photos of our kids, and other people's fur-kids, enjoying them. I'm passionate about homemade dog treats. My voice was laced with enthusiasm.

After my verbal outlay of plans, and a few seconds of silence, I was asked, "Wouldn't it be easier to just buy dog treats and write reviews for those? Why go through the hassle of making dog treats? Seems like a lot of work to me. It's a huge time suck."

My head started spinning. I wasn't expecting this reply. It bothered me. 

I changed the subject and the conversation ended shortly after. Her scathing reply remained in the forefront of my thoughts.

"Wouldn't it be easier to just buy dog treats?"

Yes. It would be. I could skirt down the dog treat aisle of Walmart or Target and toss a weeks worth of treats into the cart. There. Done. Two minutes tops. Minimal effort required. Imagine the stuff I'd be able to cross off my to-do list with all the time I saved by purchasing store-bought treats.

Instead, I take the path less traveled and spend several hours baking homemade dog treats for our kids.

Pardon me while I smack my forehead with the palm of my hand.

Of course, buying dog treats at the store would be easier. And while we're on the topic of what our kids eat, I certainly could free up additional time if didn't spend several hours a week making fresh, homemade meals for our kids. That's a substantial time suck too.

I spend approximately 6-8 hours a week prepping, baking and cooking for our kids.

I'm going to go out on a limb and take it several steps further.

It would be easier to order take-out during the week instead of cooking dinner.

It would be easier to have Hello Fresh or Blue Apron boxes delivered to my door instead of searching online for inspiration, recipes and creating grocery lists.

It would easier to download a bunch of time management apps and use Google calendar instead of relying on the mountain of handwritten notes and reminders strewn all over my desk.

It would be easier to drop off our kids at the groomer to get their monthly bath, groom and nail trims.

It would be easier to stock our cupboards with pre-packaged snacks, jarred spaghetti sauce and store-bought cookies and muffins.

It would easier to buy new quilts and throw blankets instead of mending the tiny rip in the corners or seams.

It would be easier to buy $1.00 bags of treats and donate them to our local animal shelters instead of baking fresh, homemade dog treats.

It would be easier to hire someone to do our housework instead of spending time doing housework every single day.

I marvel at the amount of free time I'd have on my hands. I could polish my toenails, sip wine while catching up on posts from my favorite bloggers, tackle the pile of magazines sitting on my shelf. Concern myself with, what I typically consider, mundane stuff.

Fashion. Makeup. Hair. 

I'd be able to schedule lunch dates with friends I don't have. We'd casually stroll the malls. Shop. Douse ourselves with sample perfume at Macy's. Get a makeover. Buy a tube of $35 lipstick.


That's not the path I walk down. I take pride in doing a lot of things the old-fashioned way. I hand write notes. I mend blankets. I whip up loaves of homemade bread. I clean my home. Take-out is a luxury we enjoy maybe once a month. We don't rely on store-bought conveniences.


Our grandparents and great-parents didn't have a smidgen of the conveniences we have today. They wrote down recipes and passed down the heart and soul behind their way of life. My Grammy taught me how to crochet. My Great-Grandmother is the reason why I prefer hand-knitted scarves and mittens.

Times have changed. Yes. They will continue to do so, but evolution doesn't have to diminish what has been passed down from generation to generation.

Sadly, it has. 

Very few people take pride in going the extra mile. Why send a handwritten note when email and text is only a few clicks or taps away. Why bake a plate of fresh cookies when you can grab a bag of cookies at the grocery store bakery. Why bake homemade dog treats when you can buy a bag of treats at the store. Why mend a small rip when you can go out and buy another throw blanket for $5.

The list goes on.

Modern conveniences, apps, technology and a grease stained bag of take-out food doesn't trump pride. I take pride in what I do and what I make. I take pride in the food I serve my family. I take pride in our many mended blankets. I take pride in not having to rely on companies to provide snacks and meals for our kids.

I don't have to panic when there's a new dog treat or dog food recall.

Pride shouldn't be mistaken with riding a high horse or doing the Watch-Me-Whip-Nae-Nae dance atop a high-rising pedestal. I'm not sitting or standing on either one. I'm not looking down at those who serve their human kids soup from a can.

On occasion, I buy spaghetti sauce from a jar and a loaf of store-bought bread. Lisa has been known to sneak Hostess cupcakes in the grocery cart. 

Life would be easier if I cut corners and took the easy route. But, most of the time, I don't. I make sacrifices. Lots of them. Sleep is a big one. The amount of time I put in my appearance. I've lost count how many times I've answered the door in lounge pants and a shirt covered in flour. Most of the time, my hair is in a sloppy bun. No makeup. No jewelry. Unpolished nails.

The last time I polished my toenails was August of last year. A mere fraction of the polish still remains.

I choose pride. I choose to go the extra mile. At the end of the day, I could care less if my underwear and bra matched or what people thought about my tattered skirt and tangled hair.


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