Manic Motherhood at it's FINEST!!

Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"

Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"
click the volcano for the due explanation
"In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." — Gordon B. Hinckley
Exaggeration is the spice of life

Book I am Currently Reading: Peter and The Shadow Thief

Friday, November 9, 2012

Hyperbole - I'm more thankful for this than anything else, ever. ;)

Today I'm thankful for hyperbole, without which my ENTIRE LIFE would be a GIANT BALL OF BORING language.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Public Restrooms.

I'm thankful for public restrooms and stores that have several of them. This is because of my multiple children who always have to go at different times, and my bladder, which has been pregnant 5 times, and all you moms out there know what that means.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

I'm Not Brave.

I just finished reading The Help.

I love to read books that tackle difficult situations and bring attention to both the humanity and inhumanity of people. I might be able to chalk that up to my AP English teacher from high school. We all called her "Mama Squires" and were used to her regularly spewing from her pulpit "What is the meaning of life? SUFFERING!" I've always had a habit of looking to the other side and trying to see it from the "other' point of view, but she cultivated that habit.

"Mama Squires" books, as I like to call them, always make me think. They make me think about myself and my family, and what kind of person I am.

About 2 years ago, my tears stained the pages of a book called The Book Thief. It's about Christian Germans in the Holocaust, and the way that they suffered and feared and hid and shut their mouths out of fear.  It's a unique look at the other side from the viewpoint of Death. The ones we forget about while we're focused on the horrifying suffering of the Jews in the concentration camps. It's a look at the people who were just doing what they could and saying what they had to to protect their families. It's full of cruelty and blood and anger and violence. It's also full of family closeness, and charity and compassion and kindness.

The Help has become a movie recently, and has a lot of attention. It's written from the point of view of three different women. One is a young, educated white woman, the other two are black maids all during the integration controversy of the 1960's in Mississippi.  It's full of hate on both sides. Intolerance on both sides. It's full of violence and lack of choice, and the panicked feeling of being stuck, and just simple, sheer ignorance. Again, though,  it's also full of compassion and change and understanding.

And I wonder: What kind of person am I? Am I brave enough to refuse to join the Nazi Party? Am I brave enough to throw bread to the passing Jewish chain gang who are starving and wasting away? Am I brave enough to hide a Jewish person in my home and/or help them escape? Am I brave enough not to just sit with my mouth closed about unfairness going on against someone of a different race? Am I brave enough that I would have gone against what I had been taught my whole life and think for myself about what is right and wrong? Would I be brave enough to do something dangerous in the name of making someone else's life better? Am I brave enough to make an effort even though it might flop and harm a lot of people despite it's noble intention?

When I was young, I thought I was. I have always been outspoken. It gets me into trouble. I like to think of myself as open minded and modern in my views, and my parents taught me tolerance. I was in 3rd grade when I read Number the Stars and imagined myself as the main character and I was sure that I wasn't afraid of them. That they could kill me if they wanted to, but I would never let them think that I believed in what they were doing. I don't remember how old I was when I saw Corina Corina with Whoopie Goldberg and couldn't for the life of me understand the black/white controversy. My mother tried to explain. I just didn't get it. Race and Religion aside, would I be brave enough to stand up for women's rights, and my right to vote, to own land, to hold a job? Would I march along with those who were brave enough to speak out? I have read some awful stories about the interrogations and tortures that my fore mothers were put through to earn my rights for me.

I know now, though. I am NOT brave. I was very sorely mistaken. I have children now. And I would give my life to save them. And I'd probably very likely give someone else's life to save them too. That means, for me, that if I were a Christian in Nazi Germany, I'd join the Nazi party and keep my mouth shut, all the while praying for it to pass and for my children to not starve. My heart would break as I sobbed and told the hiding Jew through my tears that I could not hide them, I had babies to protect. I would grind my teeth in effort not to say anything while other people said racist things about people of a different race, because the truth is, there was nowhere to hide, and the damage, legal or illegal, could be done in a matter of minutes.

I am blessed today to live in a country and time where I am not afraid for my life to speak about anything I want to, be that politically or morally or religiously or whatever. However, the fears that plague me within that state of mind that I enter while deeply engaged in a  "Mama Squires" book are very pliable and real. It wasn't long ago that those fears were thriving. I have living grandparents that dealt with them. My own realization frightens me. I WANT to be that better, self sacrificing person. It seems ideal to do the right thing, even though it puts your children in danger, so that they can see goodness in something terrible and what is right when everything is wrong. But it's just not that easy to do what you know is right when you  have little eyes watching you, and you know that their safety is the first thing that you should take care of.

I DO know that I would never be the one who painted slurs on any doorways, or spit at anyone, or treated them badly.  I know that I would never perpetuate the bad behaviors or the ignorance. And maybe, in some ways, that makes me just as bad as the ones who did those things.

And honestly, I can't help but wonder what will be the next thing that we are afraid to voice out loud.  What will it be that terrifies me out of doing the WHOLE right thing so that I can protect them? I hope I never ever have to find out.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hunger Games

I'm late. I'm always late when it comes to the most current literature. I resist in order to get reviews from friends I trust. If you look at my book accounts on such sites as Good Reads and Audible, nearly everything I have read has 4-5 stars. That might make me seem easy to please, but the truth about it is, if I don't like a book, if I can't get into it, then I put it down and rarely pick it back up.

As a student, I read anything and everything. I once had a 6th grade teacher- not my favorite woman, but that's another story- who thought it would be fun to go around the room one day during our free time and announce what she thought of us as people. Some of the children she said she would never leave alone in her house, or that she would want to spend all day with them or, or, or....for some, it was obvious, for others, it was embarrassing. I knew she didn't like me, so when it was "my turn", she said "Brae, I think I could trust you with anything, but if I wanted anything done, I'd have to take any readable material out of the house because you'd just sit and read, read, read all day long." I don't know what her intent behind it was, really, but I was elated. I took it as a great compliment.

Indeed, I carried up to five books of all different genres with me at any given moment throughout my junior high and into the college years. I was never without a story. It didn't really matter if I cared about the characters or the plot or if I was interested. I prided myself on starting what I finished.

Now-a-days, though, I've got four kids, and one on the way, and while I am still an avid reader (read: Audio book listener.) I don't have time in my life to waste on things that I don't enjoy. That doesn't mean they're bad books, that they're not important or that they aren't well written. It just means I'm disinterested. And so, I wait until I hear enough about a book to know if it's "up my ally" so to speak. Not to mention,
Your Writing is Only as Good as the Last Book you Read.

I didn't read Twilight until 2010 because I grew up on Anne Rice and the "original" good vampire, Louis, whom I was in love with already. However, a dear friend of mine promised I would love them. I did enjoy them. I read them all in a weekend. But I am not now, nor will I ever be a crazy, sparkly Twilight activist.

When the same group of friends who recommended the mediocre Twilight started to recommend The Hunger Games, I sort of rolled my eyes and expected to maybe read it someday. I actually picked the books  (audio) up this last February when I finished the last published book of The Wheel of Time series and needed something life changing to take my mind off the emptiness that happened when I closed the pages, so to speak (those were audio too) on some of the oldest and best friends I've ever had. Since we already had it in our audio library, and I didn't happen to have money to spend, I started them. And I sobbed my way through a weekend of cleaning and listening. My house glittered like Edward Cullen.

I was also late seeing the movie, but that has more to do with being a mom of four with a husband that works 2 jobs out of town and pretty much being alone all the time..oh, yeah...and pregnant than it does with anything else. I did see it this weekend when the redbox miraculously had it in (and it's still sitting there on my tv. I swear, the cheapest way to rent a movie is often the most expensive when it comes to my family.)

Well, I saw it and I really liked it. Of course, the book was better. But aren't they always?

You can bet your sweet bippy, though, that I will NEVER pick up 50 Shades of Grey, and I want to make it perfectly clear that the baby in my belly is NOT part of the "50 Shades baby boom" that apparently is happening here.  The same Twilight/Hunger Games friends are starting to recommend those too. But I don't read illiterature. I hope to hell they never make a movie out of that one.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Your Writing is Only as Good as the Last Book You Read.

Sometimes I fear that this incantation means that, since I'm a mom of 4 little ones, the best I can expect from myself is the likes of  Fancy Nancy, PJ Funny Bunny, Frank Was A Monster Who Wanted To Dance, and The Spooky Old Tree. Blessedly, though, that isn't what this means. As a writer, you probably understand, as I do, that reading is so very important to your children and silly books like these are meant to develop that love.

What it does mean for you, though, is that you need to be reading things on your own time that are beyond the 1st grade reading level of Pinkalicious. Now, I'm a busy mom and I absolutely understand the lack of time. If you are a working mom, you have your job on top of housework and children. If you stay at home, you can't just read all day and ignore your babies and your housework. Everyone's got to eat, and you have to cook that too. Well, this might just be my opinion, but I believe that  a lot of my writer friends share it: TRY AUDIO BOOKS. They are the same as reading, and while you might worry about paying attention, I will promise that it's not as hard to focus on the story as you might imagine. The last book I actually picked up and read was The Book Thief, and that was nearly 3 years ago. My house went unkempt and my children unbathed for 3 days. Before that, it was Twilight. In one year, though, I have "read" over 30 ground-moving books on audio, and my life is the better for it. (I listen while I'm cleaning, I listen while I'm driving, and if I grocery shop alone, I listen while I shop.)

Writing as well as you read isn't just about reading though. For a child, reading whatever they're interested in is a good thing because it's fostering a love of reading. Assuming you're an adult and have a fluent grasp on reading the English language, it's important for you to choose books that reflect your own age, maturity, and the type of writing you would like to crate on your own. It does not mean that if you write science fiction, for example, that it is only acceptable for you to read science fiction. Indeed, it's important to read many genres and expand your horizons. Learning about new subjects only expands your expertise and might, in fact, give you something other writers don't have, and that makes you unique. Being unique is something that every writer must have in order to be remembered.

On the topic of variety, let me give you a tip: stash a book in every place where you might be caught waiting. I listen to my long books on audio, but I also keep other things stashed throughout the house. It's a little bit embarrassing to admit, but I am a crazy fanatic of the DC comic "Elf Quest", and I have an Elf Quest graphic novel stashed in my downstairs bathroom. In my upstairs bathroom, during the summer time, I have my favorite summer book Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, which is replaced by Something Wicked This Way  Comes, also by Ray Bradbury, in the fall. At the moment, I have two books in my purse. One is my notebook for writing down ideas, quotes and conversation snippets or observations in my travels, and one is The Princess Bride. Yes, I have read them all multiple times, but that just means that I won't get confused or lost or mind too much if I have to read them in short intervals. But it keeps  my mind working, imagining, and creating. Also, in the evening, after we read several children's books like the ones mentioned in the first paragraph, I read a chapter of a novel to my children. Right now, we are working on the Chronicles of Narnia. We are half way through A Horse and his Boy.

In addition to that, we read the scriptures daily. Scriptures, be it the Book of Mormon, the Bible, Torah, or any other religious book, I feel is pretty pertinent to any writer, religious or not. Ancient lore and myth were once someones religion, and one day, current religion may very well be considered lore or myth. Religion, or even religious undertones are one way that a writer can put symbolism into their writing and connect with their readers. Yes, you can create your own symbolism, but if you're writing in the historical fiction/nonfiction genre, you'll want to know your facts.

On the whole, though, we're talking about quality. Beware the "trends". Crap is still crap, even if  many of your friends recommend it. Of course, this works two ways. Your friends might recommend some wonderful insights. You will need to hone this realization in the same way a character in a book might hone their magic skills. Have you trusted a friend in the past who talked about how amazing a book was, and you read it only to discover a shallow plot, forced characters, and a cliche ending? Well, maybe she was wrong once, and once only. So, maybe don't discount her immediately, but if this is a recurring trend, just say thanks, and find your reading material elsewhere. On the other hand, if you have a friend (I am blessed to  have multiple) who continually offer you what I like to call life-changing or earth-shattering books that leave you laughing, in tears, or connected to the characters in such ways that you simply must refer to them as "old friends" (I do this with the characters from Robert Jordan and Brandon Sandersen's Wheel Of Time series) then you've got a great reference, and you should nearly always trust their judgement.

In essence,  you write what you read, and if you only read crap, your writing will be crap. But if you read excellence, thus will be your writing.

***For a list of some of MY favorite books, please visit my bookshelf on Good Reads by clicking the icon on my right sidebar! I will NEVER steer you wrong!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thursday's Writer's Prompt- A Vice I Can't Let Go Of

Thursday's Writer's Prompt

A Vice I Can't Let Go Of

Now, first thing's first: I am NOT a liar. As a matter of fact, I sometimes impress (and shock) myself with how  honest I can be. 

But, I have a flair for the dramatic. I'd like to think I am a natural story teller, and that this vice I have really just amplifies my abilities. I feel that "exaggeration is the spice of life."

I am an exaggerator. In my world,  this spider

becomes this spider:
and this mess

becomes this mess:

And my battered and bruised  (but generally okay) heart (ego):

becomes something ripped from my chest, thrown on the floor and stomped on until it's  a bloody pulp: 

This is probably not the WORST little tidbit about myself I could offer. Rarely does my exaggeration hurt anyone, and like I said, it's not lying...not exactly. 

And really, though my exaggerated descriptions of heated arguments, and people who I despise can leave me seething even though they're not worth the trouble, my vice has it's good points too. 

this humor:

becomes THIS humor:

This much love: 

becomes this much love:

And that, my friends, is that. 

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday WITH LINKY!!! (ANNNND Giveaway!!!!)

Wordless Wednesday- LINK UP BELOW!
Lilly's "Fairy Princess" hairdoo and cute new dress/jacket on Sunday


I Am Happy 
Children's CD Giveaway!

I ALWAYS love music, and it's a privilege to get to review any of it on my blog. This time, I have the pleasure of presenting "I Am Happy" by Sukey Molloy

I get to announce, now, that both my children and I thoroughly enjoyed this CD. All the songs were upbeat, funny, and/or encouraged activity, such as the first song on the CD "I Put My Scarf On My Head", which tells you to put your scarf on various parts of your body. All the songs encourage imagination as well, and for the whole length of the CD (40 minutes), my children ran around the room, dancing to this lovely music! 

I also think that this CD would be a great addition to ANY preschool teacher or homeschooler's collection. 

Recommended for children ages 2-5, I think it goes beyond that, and even older kids will enjoy it!!! 

Please enter the Rafflecopter below to enter to win!!! Good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Music Mondays!! (LINK UP!)


Happy President's Day!!!
Link up below!

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Foodie Friday!!!

Foodie Friday!
Cheesy Christmas Trees

Okay- I had requests for main courses, and "easy, fast" main courses. This is a problem for me, because if I'm making an easy or fast or....well, ANY main course, the recipe would be "Take tortilla, grate cheese, fold in half, heat for 30 sec. in microwave." Or "Put prepackaged ham and prepackaged rolls on pans, heat in oven and cook microwave birdseye veggies in microwave." THAT is how we roll around I just don't HAVE any easy \, fast main course  recipes. BUT, for the love of all my readers, I will work on finding some, and get back to you in Foodie Fridays to come!

I DID also get a request for an appetizer. 

Cheesy Christmas Trees

Now, this IS a "Christmas" recipe...but ONLY because it's from a Christmas recipe book. You don't have to make your toasts in the shape of trees. Instead, you could do any shape you can find a cookie cutter for, or, like my sister in law used to do when she lived with me, just make it on regular baguette bread, sliced, as a midnight snack while we watched movies late on the weekends. So, don't be fooled by the title!


 1/2 cup mayonnaise (The REAL kind. NO MIRACLE WHIP! EW!!!) 
1 tbsp dry ranch style salad dressing mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
12 slices firm white bread (This also works on sourdough, baguette, rye, and the best of all: PUMPERNICKEL - though, pumpernickel isn't terribly firm, just slice it thin)
1/4 cup red bell pepper strips (or diced)
1/4 cup green bell pepper strips (we usually use orange bell peppers instead. Or yellow. They are both TONS more delicious than green ones- which are only used in this recipe because of the festive color.)

1. Preheat broiler (We used our toaster oven.) Combine mayonnaise and salad dressing mix in medium bowl. Add cheeses; mix well

2. Cut bread into slices (or shapes if you're doing that.) Spread each slice with about 1 tablespoon mayo mixture. Adorn with bell peppers and  place on baking sheet.

3. Broil 4 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbling, serve warm.


Don't forget to link up below!!!! 

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thursday's Writer's Promp

Thursday's Writer's Prompt 
Mama Kat

Reverse Bucket List:
Stuff I NEVER Want To Do

10.  Run A Marathon. 
Uuuuuuugh. This sounds like a lot of pain. I'm disinterested. 

9. Parachute. 

Have you SEEN how high up they go? I mean, people who do that have a death wish. 

8. Hold A Tarantula.

There's this pet store near my house called "Rockstar Pets" and it's a really cool store- they have several of their own pets that kind of run around like they own the place. They have a giant tortoise that just moseys his way around the store, a couple of dogs, a cat,  and probably more. They even have those awesome rabbits the size of dogs that you can put a harness on and go for a walk with. They also have spiders. Tarantulas to be exact. They even have the BIGGEST species of spider- a Bird Tarantula...because it EATS BIRDS!!!! I mean WTF?!!!  I told my kids that if they EVER brought home a spider for a pet, I'd fry it live and make them eat it. 

7. Go To Japan, China, Or Any Other "Asian" Country.

Unlike what seems like the REST of the world, I'm not interested in exploring the country, learning about the culture, or becoming a martial artist. 

6. Loose My Teeth. 

I'm so scared of my teeth falling out in my old age. I don't care if I'm 99 years old and dirt poor. I will sell my children in order to get an implant before I'll wear dentures. (Don't call CPS. You all know me well enough to know that's an exaggeration. My husband, though....and the dog.....)

5. Have Triplets.

They always say that if you have multiples, you should have them first (because you won't know what you're getting yourself into, so you won't know anything different, and it'll be simpler that way.) or last (so that you have other people to help.

As a mom of 4, and a PRO at the "infant" stage,  I can honestly say I think I could handle two babies at once  with two  hands tied behind my back. Sounds like fun! But I do NOT want 3 at a time. (It goes without saying that I don't want 4, 5, or so on either.)

4. Give Birth Naturally. 

I heart my epidurals.

3. Die.

Yeah. I wanna live forever. 

2. Run Into My Ex Boyfriend. 

Nearly 10 years and 4 kids later, I'm still a hundred times more adorable than his new wife (who I saw because a mutual friend was tagged in one of his wedding pictures) and I wouldn't want to make him wish he wasn't an ass back in the day. 

1.  See ANY Of The StarWars Movies In 3D On The Big Screen.

We're going to Disneyland in 9 weeks over Lilly's birthday. My kids don't know. We're not going to tell them about it either, until we pile them in the car and drive PAST the school. I am so excited about this, I could pee my pants every single day. I even think that my elation exceeds that of my excitement to get married once I was engaged. 

My husband feels this exact same way about Star Wars, Episode 1 being on the big screen in 3D. He doesn't want to go without me. I think he'll never make it. Because, while I'm willing to suffer through LOTS of "his choice" movies I could care less about,  I'm not going to spend 7-10 bucks seeing a movie we already own that I don't even like, in 3D glasses that make me dizzy, just because it's in a theater. 

Don't forget to come  on over tomorrow and link up your yummy recipes for Foodie Friday!!!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday WITH LINKY!!!

Wordless Wednesday
Link up below!!!!!!!

Lilly and her box

Scarlet and her box

Mahone and his Valentine Box (And Teague- who didn't HAVE a box, but was trying very hard to get hands on some of Mahone's spoils.) 

Getting it all out!

Scarlet with the comic book, Super Friends of the 31st Century, that Brandon and I got her for  Valentines day (she's making a really weird face...not sure what's up with that.)

Mahone with his Flash comic book

Lilly with her Bat Girl comic book

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I HEART VALENTINES DAY!!!! (Touchy Topic Tuesday)

Touchy Topic Tuesday
Valentines Day, and Other Holidays- The Bitterness That Follows. 

I LOVE VALENTINES DAY!!! And isn't that all it's about? LOVE??? LOVE!!!! On top of that, I love St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, the Fourth of July, and so on- and all the ones I missed. All t he little holidays, like President's day, when my kids have the day off of school. Heck, I even love end of term holidays that only have to do with school. I LOVE holidays in all their forms.

I feel like Holidays break up the monotony of every day life. Today is Valentine's day. And for weeks, I have helped my kids create beautiful boxes to collect their valentines in. I have helped them write names on cards, and seal envelopes, and stuff them full of candy! Today, I curled Scarlet's hair, and sent Lilly to school with a lovely updo- something I don't usually MAKE time for before I send her off for a day of recess and other hair-destroying events. After today, we will settle back into our daily routine, until we're able to attend, very festively, the St. Patrick's Day parade, and after that, Easter, where we will happily, and joyfully both revel in our Savior's sacrifice and resurrection AS WELL AS have thrilling and wonderful Pagan inspired Easter Egg Hunts with our kids. The holidays give us something to look forward to!

And over the past weeks, I have seen an increasing bitterness about today's specific holiday. And it's NOT been from single people.

Believe it or not, though, today's controversial discussion ISN'T about Valentines day. It's about ALL holidays. For the last few weeks, several bitter individuals have spouted cynical quotes (on facebook) about how we shouldn't NEED one day out of the year to tell the people we love that we love them. In a few months, the same people will start making bitter accusations about Mother's day, and how we shouldn't need a  holiday to tell our mother's that we appreciate their efforts. Then will come Father's Day. And at the end of the year, they will both complain that Thanksgiving doesn't get it's fair attention and is overshaddowed by Christmas, as well as how we shouldn't NEED a specific day to be thankful- because we should be thankful EVERY day.

Along with all of this cynical, bitter complaining, there will be endless tirades about how overly commercialized it all is.

This really gets under my skin. EVERYONE KNOWS ALREADY that Christmas is over commercialized. And who the heck cares? If YOU don't want your Christmas to be commercialized, then don't buy your kid presents.  Personally, I LOVE buying gifts. And I overdo it with my kids. But that doesn't mean that my holiday (whatever holiday it might be) is ONLY about gifts.

Issues I have with this:

1. It's really just plain STUPID and utterly IGNORANT to think that people ACTUALLY think that a holiday, such as Valentine's Day, or Mother's Day, Father's Day or Thanksgiving is the ONLY day people tell their "valentine" that they love them, or their mother or father, or that they are thankful for all the blessings they have. I can see that in some cases, this may be true, but the MAJORITY of the BILLIONS of people on this planet to NOT ONLY say "Mom, I love you" on Mother's day. I'm 100% sure that the MAJORITY of people are thankful on a regular basis for their blessings. And the truth is, AS HUMANS, YES, the "natural" state of man is to be selfish, and we forget easily once our worries are settled. A reminder is nice. Not to mention, these specific people who are regularly and continually pessimistic about these wonderful reasons for celebrations will complain complain complain about having to buy their wife or children gifts....but how would they ACTUALLY feel if on THEIR day (Fathers/Mothers day) their children didn't do anything...because they shouldn't need a reason to. In MY mind, this is a cop out-  yeah, you don't NEED a reason to do it...but here you HAVE a reason to do it. It's not courteous to ignore it. What THAT says isn't that you feel you need to appreciate people every day- but that you don't appreciate them today.

2. Commercialism, like it or not, is GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY. Will it KILL you to buy a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates for the one you love for 15.00, because that's "normal", "traditional" and "expected"? Rebel because you have to prove you can't be controlled by the scum that is America, or make someone smile and boost the economy as well. Your choice.

3. As Batman's great nemesis says so often "Why so serious?"- Seriously, though- GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE. Celebrate! Because it's FUN. Because it makes life worth living! Because it makes those around you happier when YOU are happier, and because it's a battle you can't win. There are far more important things to rage against. Focus your bitterness on something you CAN change- that's WORTH changing.

Now, I'll go ahead and admit that my delight in the commercialism of EVERYTHING probably has a lot to do with my love language- gifts.

Those of you who don't know about love languages will probably think that sheds a terrible light on me- that I'm worldly, and shallow and just want STUFF. I'll say this flat out: YOU ARE WRONG. My love language isn't about STUFF. It's not about money. My husband will sometimes bring me a handful of creamers (half and half) from restaurants he goes to for lunch- I LOVE creamers. But I don't drink coffee, and I don't buy them. They're also incredibly fattening. It didn't cost him much - if anything, and it's not a "worldly" thing. But it shows that he loves me because he knows what I like, what I have talked about, what I have DONE. He pays attention. (BTW, for Valentines day this year, he got me a pair of TOMS!!! It's something I've wanted for a long time, but wouldn't EVER buy for myself- because I always put everyone else's needs first. AND a massage, which isn't JUST a luxury- I really NEED one. Deep tissue. I got him a "Lex Luthor for President" t-shirt. Because he loves Lex. And he has joked about writing him in. LOL. See? It's about noticing the little things.)

I buy my children things when I REALLY want to show them love. (Not that there is ANY lack of hugs and kisses and snuggles or verbal "I love you"'s, but, once again, because it's my love LANGUAGE.) I  take great pride in knowing that so-and-so will love THIS thing. That pink is so-and-so's favorite color, and so-and-so has been talking about this book for AGES. It's about details. It's about paying attention.

So, I'm a bit biased.  But gifts and all aside (no gifts on St. Patty's Day, the Fourth of July, or Thanksgiving)- I still love holidays!!!


Let us know. What do YOU think about holidays? Commercialism? Etc? PLEASE, tell us!

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Music Mondays!


Link Up Below! 

I usually only post one song, maybe two, for my Music Mondays
But, in honor of Valentines day, I'm doing something a little bit different.

It's no secret that music is a big part of my life- I think it is for most people. And I tend to attach songs and their meanings to my memories of people and events, both good and bad. It's easy for me to admit that music is the very embodiment of love to me. Love now, love then, and the opposite of it.

You shouldn't be surprised, then, to hear that I have a song for each of my kids. I didn't consciously pick these songs. I didn't sit down and pour over a list of them or anything.  They just evolved. Any mom knows that there are many nights spent rocking a baby, kissing their fat, warm cheeks while you try to get them to sleep. Every mom knows that as your baby grows, you begin to see a personality, and you don't shape and mold it as much as you behold and enable it.

These are songs that I ended up singing to them the most, and eventually, I sang them every night. Until I had the epiphany that these songs BELONGED to my children, and to me.

What if I Loved You, by Joey Gian is my husbands and my wedding song. As he is my OFFICIAL Valentine, I had to include it. I sing it in the shower, in the car, and as often TO my KIDS as their own songs. I ab-so-LUTELY LOVE this song. It is on the top of my favorites list. SO romantic.

Lilly's Song: L.O.V.E. - I chose Michael Buble instead of the original singer, Nat King Cole. I love Nat, and I sort of feel like a cheater. But the truth is, I like Michael Buble more. ~Wince~

What can I say about Lilly? Sheesh, she's a little mini me. And she makes me feel good about everything because she dances around this place like it's a stage, literally SINGING to me "Mooooooommmy, you're the very beeeeeeeeest mommmy e-e-e-e-e-everrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!" - while my other three children are all about daddy- you know, when daddy's home, I'm chopped liver- Lilly is completely MINE. She loves that daddy of hers, but, when the others fight over who is going to hold his hand in the store, she's already linked arms with me.

I love my girl!

Mahone's Song: Fly Me To The Moon.

EVERYONE has done this song. Well, all the lounge singers. And ol' Blue eyes does it best. THE best!!! NEVER heard a better rendition....EXCEPT for MAYBE the one from the movie soundtrack "Down With Love" (OMG, FAVORITE MOVIE EVER!) where it's a mash up of Frank and some other girl doing a really retro version. VERY cool.

Mahone's over it now, but when he was very little, he was determined to be an astronaut. Everything was ALWAYS about the moon and Mars. It was darling. We also sang Nat King Cole's "It's Only A Paper Moon" to him a lot, but this is the one that stuck.

Mahone is so sensitive. He has so much energy, and so much crazy in him that daily, he makes me want to pull my hair out. I always thought that was the dumbest expression from mothers. Why in the world would ANYONE want to pull their hair out? Well, Mahone solved that mystery for me. LOL. But he is SUCH a little gentleman. I look at him, and I know he'll be a wonderful, compassionate, sweet, and sensitive man. And I would LIKE to take the credit, but I don't think I can. That boy has it built into his very genes. He is my hardest worker. He is a storyteller, and can tell a tall tale to fool ANYONE, but he has NEVER lied to me, not once. He has a smile and a giggle to light up the whole wide world- and he has come up with the best one liners that I have EVER heard from a kid. He has me cracking up daily!

Scarlet's Song:  When It Comes To Love by  Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

I am in LOVE with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. FOR REAL. I was a total "Swing Kid" in high school, and spent many a weekend at the local dance club "The M.A.C" (Murray Arts Center) which, sadly, closed last year. The end of an era. Of course, when I sing it, since I'm a girl, I say "I'm just a small town girl with a handfull of dreams...."

Scarlet, oh how I love her. She's a typical 3rd child, I think. Right now, I spend a lot of time alone with her, because she is at home while the older two are at school, and Teague still sleeps a lot. What an ANGEL she is! She is quiet and sweet and polite...until the older two come home, and then she's hell on wheels. That girl, from the moment Lilly and Mahone walk in the door, she is picking on them like there's no tomorrow. She makes me laugh, she is responsible for every single one of my gray hairs, and she is independent, sassy, and such a REDHEAD!!!! So beautiful, so sweet.

Teague's Song: Beyond the Sea, and The Way I Am - I put up The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson a couple of weeks ago, so I'm putting up Beyond the Sea this time. Teague is still little and his song may change. I don't have a reason to be singing this song to him. I don't know why I started singing it, it just felt like a soft, but upbeat song late one night. But I'm leaning toward The Way I am more...something about the lyrics "sew on patches to all you tear" and "if you are chilly, here take my sweater"- such a lovely song for a mom to sing to her little boy.

Teague. What to say about him. Oh dear. He's the cutest thing this side of the universe. Already, this child is careful. He is gentle and specific. He loves trucks, and light sabers and pretending to sword fight with his brother. He loves our dog, Hunter- well, any dog at all really. And he sure loves his mommy. He is a happy thing, all the time, and always has a smile for me. My cuddly little man, just makes me think everyone should have one of him. He's the answer to world peace.

February's Weekdaily Flash Giveaways


Okay, friends. It's time for a chat.

 I have been doing giveaways for a grand total of about 3 months. At first, this was working really great for me! My numbers got up pretty high on my twitter, google+ and facebook accounts.

And then I noticed something. The number of visits I had to my blog PER DAY were going through the roof! Multiplying! BUT the people who were actually READING what I have to say was declining. I know, because  the comments that were made on a daily basis have declined by about 75%! (And my numbers aren't growing much now, because most of the people who enter already follow me.)

So, since I do about 2-3 giveaways per week (and have been doing these daily flash giveaways for 2 weeks now.) I added "Leave a comment" as a way to earn an entry.  For a day or two, this got my comments back up, but the majority simply stated "thanks for the giveaway!" - You know, you're all very welcome!!!!

The problem is, that's really hardly very genuine or thoughtful, though. I feel like I have much more provocative and wonderful stuff here on my blog than "thanks for the giveaway!" In truth, I feel a bit discouraged. Especially since, after a few days, the comments went BACK DOWN.

If you do giveaways on your blog, you know how long it takes, and how much work it is. If you don't do giveaways, trust me when I say that it takes a TON of time, sacrifice, and, when I do these sweater giveaways and these ring giveaways, MONEY- out of my own pocket.

So, since my Rafflecopter hasn't seemed to make it clear, I'm posting my own disclaimer: ALL ENTRIES ARE MANDATORY. Every one must be done, or the entrant is disqualified. That means comments, follows, and likes. (I WILL let such things as google+ or my linky friends follow pass here or there because I know not everyone has those accounts - BUT they are worth a lot more entries than others BECAUSE I know it's a pain to create an account.) PLEASE understand that I want these giveaways to work for everyone. You get your entries and your chances to win AWESOME products. And I need to be more than just a free for all blog that doesn't get looked at beyond what's free.

Thanks so much! Good luck to everyone! 
Ring size 8-8 1/2

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Foodie Friday, What I Want My Kids To Remember about their childhood

(Scroll down for Foodie Friday, AND the February Weekdaily Flash Giveaway!!!) 

What I Want My Children To Remember About Their Childhood

I have always had a good memory. Most people can't remember when they were very young, but I do. I recall sounds, smells, and even exact conversation from the time I was very young. I don't usually need a calendar to remember important dates or times, and, without looking, I still know my babies birth dates, times, and their size and lengths. 

My childhood was filled with summers spent catching snakes and throwing water balloons. Christmases, birthdays, baby brothers and sisters, giggling with friends, card games with my family, and lots of small details that made me who I am. 

Now I am a mother, and, while my childhood is behind me, my children's childhoods are staring me in the face. 

I'm sure every mother can identify with my emotions here. I am terrified that they will look back and remember every single moment that I yelled at them. I just KNOW they will remember the times I made them sit and eat the food they HATED (usually spinach lasagna.) or the times I didn't give them what they want. I am afraid that somewhere, I will, in the heat of the moment, say something I shouldn't and that, despite apologies, my comment will scar them for life and turn them into bank  robbers instead of award winning concert pianists (I'm kidding on the concert pianist thing.) I am afraid that, when they are with their friends, they will have nothing good to say about me. 

The truth is, I'm sure that in my past, my parents disciplined me plenty of times. I'm sure I received spankings, and no doubt they yelled at me and maybe said some regrettable things. I know, for sure, that my mother used to insist that I eat mushy green beans from a can (I still can't stand them), and, if my mother is as normal as any other mother out there today, she probably faced a lot of guilt  for it, just like we do. 

But do you know what? I don't remember those things with  any kind of vividness, and I'm not screwed up. 

When Lilly was born, my mom got me a baby book for her that is illustrated by Mary Englebreit (who I LOVE) - it is filled with darling pictures of babies, and families, and women in slippers with captions that read "Queen Of Everything." and "Life is just a chair of bowlies"


There is one picture, though, that captured my heart from the very moment I saw it. (And forgive me, I spent, literally, hours looking for a proper picture on the internet and could not find you get a snapshot from my camera.) 

I love this because, as this little boy is going off to school, all those hearts are floating out of his home while his mother kisses him goodbye. 

Despite my fears, I'm pretty sure that my kids won't remember the times they were grounded from television, or had to put their nose on the corner for time outs. Over the years, they will remember laughing late at night while we all snuggled together on the couch watching movies. They will remember family vacations, and holidays. What I really hope they remember when  they look back at their childhoods is a home so full of love that it hit them hard in the face whenever they opened the door after school. I hope they remember feeling safe and secure. I hope it's strong enough to follow them each day to school, and wrap them in a bubble on their way back home.  I hope it's enough that, when they go off to college or get their own apartments, little hearts float out their doors and windows whenever they open them too. 

THAT is what I want my children to remember about their childhoods. 


Foodie Friday!

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

 1 3/4 cup  flour
 1/2 tsp baking soda
14 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
4-6 large strawberries, chopped
1 bag white chocolate chips


Chop Strawberries- the smaller the better. 

Brown your butter. If you've never done this, don't be intimidated. It makes the cookies taste SO GOOD, and it's actually really easy.

The recipe calls for 14 tbsp of butter- take TEN (10) of those  and put them in a pan over medium-high heat. You'll need to swirl the pan around constantly until it's totally melted.

Once melted, continue to swirl it around until it's a dark golden brown and smells rich and a bit nutty. 

Pour the hot butter into a bowl, and add your remaining 4 tbsp. Swirl this around consistently until the 4 tbsp are melted fully. 

Add white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Add eggs and whisk them in until incorporated.  Let stand for 3 minutes, whisk for 30 seconds, and repeat twice.  

Your mixture will be smooth, thick and shiny. 

Use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix in flour and baking soda

Stir in all strawberries and all white chocolate chips. It looks like a lot, but your cookies will be cram packed with  flavor!!

Make your cookie balls SMALL- about a table spoon in size, maybe a tiny bit bigger. These cookies like to flatten and spread out. If you make them too big, they will melt together. They're still yummy, of course, but not as "neat" looking.

 Bake them at 375 for about 12-14 minutes, until edges are turning brown.

My kids LOVE these cookies- even more than regular chocolate chip cookies. 


February's Weekdaily Flash Giveaway!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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