Sunday, December 30, 2012

Final Book Post 2012

64 books read in 2012!

I've always loved reading!  For many years, though, the only reading I did was on vacation or to my children.  And I've always read to the boys, since they were infants.  Two years ago, I decided that I would get back into reading and made that a resolution.  I accomplished that resolution, however, I really only read one genre, mostly one author.  Having accomplished that and learning of so many other books out there, I decided to branch out.  I cut back on the amount of time I purposelessly spent on the computer.  I cut back on some of the TV shows I watched and I devoted that time to reading.  I wrote down title after title after title and ordered book after book after book from my library.  This year, I've read 64 books.  I find that to be amazing!  And I still have a long list of books!  I am hoping to achieve the goal I kinda set last year for the upcoming year:  a book a week, or 52 books during the year.  Care to join me on my reading adventure in 2013?  Share some titles with me as I will continue to do with you.

The final 3 books I read in 2012 were romance novels, and contained short & sweet Christmas stories.  I read Glad Tidings by Debbie Macomber which I thoroughly enjoyed, of course. I also read Christmas Getaway and Christmas Weddings both featuring various authors.  The latter was so-so but the former was entertaining.

Friday, December 28, 2012

52 Weeks, 52 Resolutions, 1 Mom

I did it!  52 weeks, 52 resolutions, 1 mom.  I am a part of just 8% of the population that keeps their resolutions.

For week 52, contemplate, pray, meditate on where you want to be next year.  That's what I am doing!

A few of my favorite things...

Think the tune, give me grace.

Cookies and candies and fro yo and truffles,
Pudding and stuffing both made with cornbread,
Broccoli casserole, smashed potatoes,
These are a few of my favorite things...

Rich egg casserole filled up with bacon,
pineapple pudding and cinnamon rolls,
appetizer parties and coffee with cream
These are a few of my favorite things...

When its Christmas, I start cooking,
I start eating too,
I simply remember my favorite things and
then I eeeeeaaaaatttttt them up.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Top 12 List 2012

1.      The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma – changed how I thought about reading to my emerging reader and inspired me to start a book club with my son’s friends.

2.      Pampered Chef Mix and Chop – I was sold initially on how well it breaks down ground meat (beef, turkey, sausage) when you are cooking it.  But the possibilities are endless!  Mixing meatloaf, chopping chicken for chicken salad, making guacamole!  It is a favorite kitchen tool.

3.      My Keurig Coffee Maker.  I am so much richer this year as I am not handing over dollar after dollar to Starbucks to get my morning going.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my Starbucks, but now that I’m headed quickly to 50, that morning java has gone from enjoyable to mandatory!

4.      Bracelets by Give Jewelry - What started as a traveling surfer's promise to a child in an orphanage in Bali Indonesia became an international movement.  Please don't forget about us!  It was the plea of an older child as the surfer was leaving for the airport after an extended stay.  "Don't worry; I won't," came the answer, steady and sure.  And he didn't. And he hasn't.

I’ve given these bracelets as birthday and graduation gifts this year.  My favorite style is the charm bracelet but there are some many choices, something for everyone.  1 bracelet – 1 child – 1 week of nutritious food 

5.      Momastery – It is a blog where Love wins and We Can Do Hard Things.  It’s a place to go to love and be loved.  A safe haven.  Read this: and then click the link at the top Momastery which will give you the whole picture. Women need this place.

6.      Emerald Natural Walnuts & Almonds in 100 calorie packs.  Yummy on the go.

7.      Skweet Sport Bottle Wash – An all natural and non-toxic way to clean and deodorize sports bottles without the soapy after-taste.  Necessary for college students that may not even have a sink in their room.

8.      . - Renewing a love for the Saints, artist Ann Burt paints Retablos.  Retablos are small devotional paintings of the Saints or other Holy Images.  Got one for my Goddaughter for her confirmation; not only did she like it, but her mother messaged me also that it was beautiful. 

9.      Arbonne  Feeling Fit Kit – The 30 day fitness challenge helped me to lose 6 lbs and 1.5 inches from my waist and hips.  I’ve managed to keep it off for more than 6 months.

10. Katie – The new Katie Couric show is really good.  Okay, so I don’t watch all of every episode, but I love how she bounces from topic to topic both within a show and from day to day.  It makes me smile.

11. Ghiradelli Dark and Orange Filled Chocolate Bar – I can actually stop after just one square and be so very happy (sure I wish I could eat it all in one sitting, but at $4 a bar…)

12. Blogging – I love it.  I love sharing my thoughts and ideas and the books I’ve read.  I never thought of myself as a writer before (and some would say I still shouldn’t!  LOL)

Top 12 Books

I wanted to fill my top 12 list with books, but stuck with the one that has impacted my day to day life.  However, here are the 12 ten books I would recommend from 2012 (and I read more than 60 this year!)

1.      Bloom by Kelle Hampton (memoir)

2.      Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza (memoir)

3.      I Will Carry You by Angie Smith (memoir)

4.      Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (Historical Romance)

5.      The Girls from Ames Jeffrey Zaslow (nf, memoir-ish)

6.      Bossypants Tina Fey (memoir)

7.      Muriel’s War:  An American Heiress in the Nazi Resistance (biography) by Sheila Eisenberg

8.      The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (fiction)

9.      Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jaime Ford (fiction)

10. Cedar Cove Series by Debbie Macomber (romance)

11. Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich (mystery)

12. A Dog Named Christmas by Greg Kincaid (fiction, xmas)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

51...51...52 NOT YET!!

Although the week is almost over, I resolved on Monday to finish my Christmas shopping this week.  And ship off the gifts.  Shopping accomplished needs to be compared to checklist, but I'm awful close!  Gifts, shipped off prior to blizzard attacking me.

On another note, this holiday season I am embracing the BE IN THE MOMENT to the fullest.  Others might say I'm embracing it to the CRAZIEST!  That would be because FIRST, I gave Teen Boy permission to have a New Year's Eve Party and invite the band from school.  Yes, that's right, the ENTIRE BAND, some 90 kiddos.  No sex, drugs or rock and roll!  OOOOPS, I mean no sex, drugs or Al-Co-Hol... rock and roll permitted and encouraged.  I am not that mom that is going to pop champagne for all to share at midnight.  I had a friend in high school, LJ, and I spent the night at her house for a New Year's Eve party.  Her mom was the "cool mom" that gave us a toast at midnight of Asti Spumanti.  Just typing that brings up stomach bile these many, many, many, many years later.  It probably wasn't the Asti as much as the drinks we'd concocted all evening long in her basement.  Not really a good memory for me... moving on...

SECOND, I agreed to have the LRHB's school holiday party at my house last night.  I invited the entire class, all 27 sweeties.  I mean, the LRHB was so bummed that we had a snow day on the last day prior to holiday break.  I'd say it was the most poorly received snow day that I've EVER seen in my parenting life!  Now teen boy takes exams in January!   So I got permission from the class teacher to host it here and emailed out an invitation to parents to bring their kiddos by for their holiday party!  Their teacher came and they had the best time so it was worth the two hours of crazy.  Only 21 classmates were able to make it and we had several moms stay to help, so it really went great. 

However, there is a bit of CRAZY going on in this household and I am EMBRACING IT!

I got a text from my Turquoise friend that her grandbaby was visiting.  I hadn't met this sweet boy born a month ago, so I dropped all I was doing this afternoon and dashed over to hold that piece of heaven for nearly two hours!  I love my baby snuggles.  Wonder what I was supposed to do today?  I guess I'll remember tomorrow. 

Grab yourself some crazy and enjoy while I ponder 52.

Reading Promise Update

I’m a bit behind on my Reading Promise Book Club updates so forgive me for that.  In November, we met to discuss From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler written by E.L. Konigsburg and watch the movie based on the book, The Hideaways.  This group does love their books for the details that they provide.  “Way more details than a movie” commented one young reader.  “I like picturing it in my mind” responded another.  Our group were horrified by the idea that running away would make anything better, much to the delight of their parents.  They found the movie a bit lacking as it failed to hold their attention at times, but gushed enthusiastically about the book.  When my older boys were younger, we were able to watch the movie version with Lauren Bacall with the same title as the book, however my library no longer carries it and I found it on for a mere $180.  Ha!

Our holiday read was A Dog Named Christmas written by Greg Kincaid.  Our family did this one backwards:  last year we watched the movie and this year we read the book.  It is a great family tale and I highly recommend it!  The other three families (yes, we had another one join our group!) thoroughly enjoyed the story and the kids loved watching the movie tonight, snuggled under fleece blankets and cuddled up with stuffed animal friends.  One thought the cougar scene was too detailed in the  book and liked it better in the movie. The rest thought the book was better, of course.  We’re choosing a favorite for next month, Matilda by Roald Dahl.  Many have seen the movie, but not read the book. 
It's that time of year to consider your resolutions for 2013.  Make a resolution in 2013 to read to your children if you aren't currently doing it.  Older children, younger children, it doesn't make a difference... they love a good story!  If having a movie to watch afterwards makes it better, then go for it!  There are so many!  Scholastic makes picture books into videos as does Reading Rainbow.  Just order up the books from the library and the accompanying DVD and you are in book heaven!  Also, my blogging & Reading Promise buddy Mrs. Hartman provided me with the following link to help me find books made into movies:

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Can't

  • The news from December 14, 2012 came over my cell phone.  I quickly logged onto my computer and discovered the horror.
  • I was crying and I threw up.  Then I pulled myself together and headed to work.  I squelched the urge to run to LRHB's classroom and pull him close; fearful that I would lose my grasp and break down in front of sweet kiddos who didn't know.  I shared the news quietly with those that had been supporting students without access to the outside world.  I loved on my kiddos.  I smiled my smile to share joy in each moment of safety and happiness.  Inside, my heart was weeping for those families, those babies.
  • I shut out the world all weekend.  I didn't read, didn't Facebook, didn't blog or read blogs.  I sheltered myself from their pain, selfishly loving my boys and the daughter of my heart and being in the moment with all of them.
  • I surfaced on FB yesterday and in my blogs today.  So I've cried.  And cried.  And I've been out of the moment with LRHB.   Many beautiful things were written and here are links to a couple of the best: and and and this one which I'm sure you've read:
  • As we endure a snow day that no one wanted on the day that was supposed to be the last day before break filled with parties and finals, I am now done with this tragedy.  I've read, written and cried.  I'm done.  I will pray, taking a page from Glennon's book with my own 26 day prayer cycle.  I will stay out of the political discussion.  I will love my children and thank God for every day He gives me with them.  But, I'm done with the rest. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Spreading the Word...

As I stand on my corner each morning and afternoon, I do different things to entertain myself during the 20-25 minutes I am sometimes there waiting to cross kiddos and parents.  I pray the Rosary.  At least I now know to only do five decades as opposed to the seven I was doing last winter, however, I still haven't memorized the mysteries so I usually dedicate each decade to someone or someones instead.  (Is it worth mentioning I also haven't memorized The Apostles Creed or Hail Holy Queen?  If I'm mentioning what I haven't memorized, I should throw out there that I now say the Oh My Jesus prayer that I didn't remember needing to pray and wasn't praying last winter during my swim laps.  Growth!)  I like praying the Rosary in the morning to start my day off right or in the afternoon to refocus my energies before the afternoon and evening crazies.  I now sing Christmas Carols on my corner.  Since the weather became frightfully cold this week, no one has their windows down; therefore they cannot hear me.  I do wonder though if they are wondering why my lips are moving.  Either of these activities bring me peace during what is sometimes a frustrating time.  Today, however, my energies were focused on what I would tell people if I could about driving through a school zone.  I mean it drives me CRAZY!  There is very little stopping at the STOP sign.  Many yield right on through it, through my crosswalk and around the corner.  Some even do that WHILE I AM IN THE CROSSWALK.  I watch people speed right through the school zone.  Many will hit their brakes and slow from the 45 to a 35, but few slow all the way down.  And so, below is the essay I wrote (and rewrote) this morning while working my corner (see the funny way I refer to my job!):

If I could tell you one thing to share with your neighbors this holiday season or perhaps to choose as a New Year's Resolution, I would ask you to SLOW DOWN, especially in my school zone.  Yes, it drives me crazy when you yield the stop, however, if you are going SLOW enough, you see me in my crosswalk and actually stop.  Yes, it drives me crazy when you park on the far side of the street and cross illegally setting a poor example to the school kids, however, if drivers are driving SLOWLY, even you rule-breakers would be safe.  Yes, it drives me crazy that you drive up the wrong side of the road because the line is so long leading to the school, but if you do it SLOWLY (and you don't usually do it slowly), then it would be safer for those people crossing illegally OR more importantly, safer for those driving down the road towards you.  Yes, it drives me crazy that the people stopped at the stop sign think they have the right to turn left in front of those waiting to turn left from the main thoroughfare and those that are going straight on the main thoroughfare, however, if those on the main road were going SLOWLY then there wouldn't be a near miss collision EVERYDAY.  Yes, it drives me crazy that VERY FEW people seem to know that the entire street is has a speed limit of 25 mph and that the school zone is 20 mph, therefore, there should not be such a marked acceleration in speed when turning the corner (in either direction, but there is!). That is why I am asking you to resolve and to spread the word, in 2013 DRIVE SLOWLY.  I promise you, if you think you are late, you probably are, but speeding through the zone just means you get to the back of the line faster... cause there is ALWAYS a line.  I promise you, if you think that speeding in the school zone is necessary, the hefty ticket, points on your license and increase in insurance should convince you otherwise.  And I promise you, 80% of those speeding through my school zone are parents coming or leaving the school.  The other 19% are neighbors and maybe 1% are teens.  Maybe, cause usually they do slow way down.  Workers slow way down - I guess cause the name on the side of their vehicles makes it easy to write them up.  I can do that you know... write you up.  Take your plate number, fill out a form and turn it into the police.  But that's not what I want.  What I want is a safer world, for our kids.  To teach our kids that safety comes not just by buckling in, but by going slowly.

Happy 2013 from your Friendly Neighborhood Crossing Guard!

PS.  Turning right out of the school and going around the block is faster LEFT TURN FOLKS! 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Books 60 &61

More Than Words, Stories from the Heart featured my favorite author Debbie Macomber which is why I got it without knowing anything about it. I HIGHLY recommend this book. It has three stories each featuring someone involved with an organization that is truly out there helping people. The story by my girl, Debbie, wasn't even a romance. I loved it as it featured characters I'd met in her Blossom Street series and the organization Teens Living with Cancer. Ironically, it was the only organization I didn't know, however, I've filed it away; I'm in the high school all the time and one day it will unfortunately be a useful piece of information to pass on. The other two organizations I was familiar with as they focus on healthier eating for young people, something my show Top Chef is always getting involved with, and Memory Box Artist Program, which I learned of when my friend's baby died. This was a quick read and during the holidays when we're in the spirit of giving, these stories remind of us groups that help all year long.

Mistletoe Wishes features three holiday romances in one book by three authors I didn't know.  But I took a gamble and thoroughly enjoyed reading these simple (unrealistic) stories about love and the holidays.  Were they tough on the brain?  No way!  A little more smut than I like? Perhaps, but I could skip on by the part where she massaged his... (you get the point).  Did they end happily ever after?  YES!  So if you're looking for a brainless read, go for it.  It was perfect in front of a fire on a snowy day!

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

I've spent most of the day under an afghan knitted by my mom, listening to/watching football, in front of a fire while the first appearance of snow this fall covers the ground.  I read and ate.  And ate and read.  My boys surrounded me coming and going.  Games.  Reading with LRHB.  All is calm, all is bright.  It has been a lovely day.  The rat race will begin anew tomorrow, but for today, we kept it at bay.

On Friday, I came home from work and discovered NEW CHRISTMAS LIGHTS hanging from our home (and they WORK!) and the tree put up in my family room.  We've taken turns all weekend long decorating it and decorating the home.  It does look a bit like Christmas around here!  Not as much as some years, but I'm okay with that.  This week, I am going to make a list of all the things I want to do with my family during the holiday break.  It may be work (clean out the top of closets) or fun (go look at Christmas lights with cocoa in cups with tops) or inspirational (a college graduation) or devotional (a Christmas pageant).  But if it isn't written down, it won't get done.  And it might not all get done, but the first step in accomplishing a goal as I have discovered this year is writing it down.  I'm also going to have the boys make a list.  I know College Boy will list finish his MCAT prep class, but hopefully something fun as well.  I know that Teen Boy will list sleep, but hopefully he'll include the name of a novel he wants to read for fun and get away from his computer.  LRHB will probably list Risk.  UGH.  And Xbox.  Double UGH.  And playing football... better! I'll let you know the highlights and lowlights and if my predictions are on track.  Take some time and make a list before the Holidays pass you by!  Resolution 50. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Or not.  I'm not sure what happened to last weekend and decorating for Christmas, but it didn't happen.  Not a bit.  So I think the plan will be for the big boys to put the tree up tomorrow afternoon and hopefully a nice Friday evening at home will result in a decorated house.  Note to boys...

I love the holiday season and the only thing keeping me sane without my beautiful Christmas all around is being present in the moment.  Sure, when College Boy went to pick up Teen Boy from swim practice the other night so I could put LRHB down early due to a late night the night before, I could have gotten some things out and started.  However, I started reading to LRHB when CB left and I was still reading when they got back 45 minutes later.  I loved every moment of it and didn't think to myself that I should have used the time "better".  As far as being "present", I was and it was wonderful.

Let me be clear, I have insane moments as well.  I came home from Lowe's with cute light up Candy Canes to put in the back yard to add to the holiday decorations that seem to grow each year in our BACKYARDS (that are in a big group together).  There I was in the dark, hammering in stakes and attaching lights and pulling out extension cords.  I was tired, cold and (probably- I don't remember for sure but it makes sense) hungry, but in this exhaustive state I thought, before I finish, I should plug these in and make sure they work.  No.  They don't work!  THEY DON'T WORK AT ALL!  In disgust, I left the stakes in the ground, the extension cord circling our patio and the lights themselves in a pile in front of the back door.  UGH!  Teen Boy packed it all up for me after confirming my original diagnosis.  Sweet boy.

Last weekend, I decided to do an impromptu cooking weekend.  Oh, THAT is why no decorating got done.  Step 1 - decide on recipes.  Step 2 - shop (3 different stores).  Step 3 - prepare for cooking (LOL - that didn't really happen, well it sorta happened, I printed the recipes and gathered most of the ingredients in one place, but not into organized stations).  Step 4 - Cook.  We prepped 26 meals on Sunday Sweet LM and I; I did two others the day before also.  My freezer is filled with wonderful meals many of which College Boy requested.  I just have to remember to THAW them!  So I asked Hero Daddy last night what he wanted tonight for dinner.  He, of course, listed a meal I didn't make.  So I took him out and showed him the plethora of choices!  He was impressed.  Still not thrilled that he couldn't have spaghetti and meatballs, but he found something else.

What prompted the cooking day was an intensified work schedule.  Now that I can sub in our building, I was booked in a vacancy spot for this entire week, afternoons.  By the end of Monday, I was booked ALL DAY the rest of the week.  And by last night, I am now booked EVERY AFTERNOON for the rest of the year as I was hired to fill the vacancy spot.  But afternoons were already crazy, so meals are essential for sanity.  It was time well spent.

Additionally, LRHB and I did spend Saturday evening preparing for Advent with our sister family in Fusion.  We enjoyed a meal and created Advent wreaths (that's right, non-crafty me was cornered into being crafty!) and shared fellowship.  It was such a wonderful evening with a lovely family and just the perfect way to start Advent.  Perhaps, we'll actually light it and pray one night this week.

Finally, today is the Feast of St. Nicholas.  I have tried to share this with my boys each year as a way to tie the Christmas season to our faith.  And I have gifts for the two big boys, but with working, I didn't manage to get the book ON St. Nick for my LRHB.  So, I am now going to scrounge around for an appropriate St. Nick gift (in our house they are gifts to help us celebrate the season) and give myself a break.

Resolution 49:  Prepare the home for Christmas
(I went back and did have  2 resolution 47's so I am skipping right along to 49... just three more left!)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Have I mentioned that I'm BLOND...

Today I mistook a second grader for a fifth grader.  What was I thinking?  Oh yeah, I'm blond. 

Last week I had resolution 47.  The week before I declared resolution 47.  What was I thinking?  Oh yeah, I'm blond.

Still working out that morning routine.  How come LRHB got up at 7 on the nose every day this year and last (just about), but now that I have to leave for work at 8 he's sleeping still at 8?

I've created some lists to be organized for the holidays, so 47 resolution number 1 is going well, yet not complete.  Which is making me feel a bit crazy.  What am I thinking, blogging when there is work to be done?  Oh yeah, I'm blond.

And resolution 47 number 2 was being PRESENT.  Totally knocked that one out of the park all of last week.  Now to resume normal life and be present. 

Well, I'm thinking that I don't need 48 if I have 2 resolutions for 47 and since this week is half over and I'm working full time the rest of the week, I will postpone 48 for now. 

Happy Week!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Time Flies...

I cannot believe that my kiddos go back to school tomorrow and that I go back to work!  Getting organized, washing/folding laundry, thinking about dinners as the end of the week I work all day.  Where did Thanksgiving break go?  It makes me so sad that it is gone.  The house is got cleaned, we played games, read books, watched LOTS of football, went to the movies, went to a hockey game, enjoyed being with the grandparents and Uncle Big Billy Goat Gruff, went out to dinner, ate and ate and ate.  It has been so fabulous!  So why am I so sad?  Cause we have to close the book on this chapter and it went too fast.  I enjoyed being in the moment!  Sweet LM's breakfast casseroles came in handy!  So did some freezer meals!  But I am pensive.  One more day and then the grandparents leave.  sigh.  At least I have College Boy home for the next 38 days!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Book Review... I cannot believe it's been a MONTH

I just finished, not 10 minutes ago, have mother, will travel by Claire and Mia Fontaine.  As I pulled up my blog, I was horrified to discover that it took me a MONTH to finish another book.  Some of it was the book, which wasn't as compelling as their first book.  Some of it was that my month has been wicked crazy busy.  Some of it is that it is a sweeps month and TV has been really good.

This story is told alternating from each of their points of view as they spend a summer travelling and reconnecting.  They find themselves, explore their relationship to each other and as women.  It was a really good book to read if you have a daughter.  I felt somewhat bereft as I don't have that relationship with a daughter.  I do with my mother, my joy, my example, my everything.  My Purple Friend lost her mother this week which hurts my heart so much because she was my Purple Friends's everything.  Fortunately, PF has a daughter that thinks that my Purple Friend is her everything.  Circle of life.

I think this is a book that at times gave me pause to consider where I am in life, where I am headed, what is my example that I follow and that I am setting.  As women, are we raising a less confident generation?  Was that the generation we just finished raising and is this current generation going to benefit from a backlash?  We are starting to focus on women being women, loving ourselves as we are and concentrating less on being a different version of ourselves.  Being in the moment, in the pictures, happier.  We're focusing on "Carpe a couple of Kairoses a day".  Thanks, Glennon.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

The upside to my new crossing guard job is that I can substitute in my son's building as an aide.  Last Friday, I filled in for my Twilight Friend and was an aide in Kindergarten.  It was party day for the kids as it was the last day before the Thanksgiving break (we get the entire week... yahoo!) and it was controlled chaos all morning like Kindergarten can be.  In the afternoon, we shifted back into regular school gears.  As they were sitting at carpet time, doing calendar, I was listening to their FABULOUS teacher, Ms Red, explaining past, present and future.  As she was trying to get them to remember "present", I wanted to give a reminder clue of "gift".  And I had an epiphany...

Our present is a GIFT that we often overlook.  Our PRESENT is a GIFT we often OVERLOOK!  That is my RESOLUTION for week 47:  Accept the PRESENT as a GIFT and enjoy every moment of this holiday week with my family.  Don't get caught up in the small stuff (car breaking down, again and no luggage for my brother).  Enjoy the present.  Happy Thanksgiving.

(FYI, up til that point my resolution was going to be clean the doors in your house because they often get overlooked in the regular cleaning process.... how glad are we now that I had that epiphany!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sick Day

LRHB is home on a sick day today.  The reality is that he had a migraine yesterday, his first.  And since Teen Boy and I both suffer from them, I am pretty certain that is what it was.  However, before leaving school yesterday, he puked which means mandatory 24 hours home.  I'm fine with it.  I had a list of stuff to do today, but we can hang out.  Because he feels fine, however, I am a one woman entertainment committee.  Just lost at Risk.  We've read 30 minutes.  Now to trick him into some chore time.  In one week, College Boy comes home.  In 2 days, my home boys will be done with school until after Thanksgiving.  In 4 days my folks arrive and 6 days my brother.  Many things to do, but getting motivated to do them with JOY in my heart!  Happy Wednesday! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Some yes. Some no. And #47.

30 - Fix a routine:  the morning one.  Just when we get it down, I go and get a job and we have to reevaluate.  But one part is better for sure and that is breakfast.  I have almost eliminated prepackaged breakfast for homemade.  I make it in advance on the weekends and freeze it for all week long.  I am REALLY PROUD OF THIS!  And you should be proud of me too.
31 - Prepare for a new school year.  Yes.  And no.  So, some of the stuff that is left over from last year is in a box that needs to be put away.  However, we were ready to go with new shoes, school supplies and four gazillion checks.
32 - Okay, MY school year motto is "Jesus, I trust you."  Not sure it is really anyone else's but that is okay!  I would rather have LRHB working on being a good friend.  And Teen Boy learning to navigate new social situations.  And College Boy learning to manage a job with classes.  I trust Him to watch over my boys as they navigate through their school year growing up and away.  (sigh) When I start to worry, my mantra is, "Jesus, I trust you."  I have really been using it on the new job (please stop car, Jesus I trust you)!
33 - Talk to your kids about dangerous situations.  Yes.  And it is ongoing.  With several high publicity child abductions, we have continued this conversation. 
34 - Make a new friend.  Bring someone new into the fold.  I've been trying.  Do I have a new BFF?  No.  Have I had friends this fall that I may not text daily with need me and was I there for them.  Yes.  And the LRHB seems to have been welcomed back into the fold.  Time heals.  Yet, we continue to make different choices to avoid putting him in a difficult situation.  Different is good.  Growth and all that stuff.
35 - Clear off a book shelf.  Sure, I cleared it off.  The stack of books is still sitting in front of it. 
36 - Clean out the garage.  HA-ha-ha!  Hero daddy has taken off several days this fall.  Mostly Mondays when I go to bible study and Fridays when I volunteer at school.  Or the Friday we went to the movies.  It's not going anywhere.
37 - Clean, mend or toss.  Yes, yes, yes.  In fact, used the Dawn on grease stains about an hour ago.
38 - Get the mail regularly.  No.  And that's all I have to say about that.
39 - Clean out the filing cabinet.  Work in progress.
40 - Clean the refrigerator.  Yes.   And no.  I have 2.  I did one and discovered that many things in the back of my fridge freeze or are empty jars of what used to be olives and pickles.  Teens.  They eat stuff and leave the empties behind.
41 - Clean the baseboards.  Yes I did.  Okay, not all of them in the entire house.  But all of them in the living area and halls.  I even moved stuff.  But then, I got busy and cleaning fell to the wayside until this week when I hosted bunco and "had to clean" (remember, someone coming so it must be time to clean).  Mostly I needed to straighten up.  And now I have a huge box filled with half done stuff that I must get done.
42 - Get in the picture.  I did.  I cannot wait to see it.  I got in one with the LRHB and his baseball team.  I tried to hide.  Even after saying I would be in the moment, I tried to hide.  UGH.  But then I got in the picture.  And one with Teen Boy at band senior night.  That one I'll get this week and I cannot wait because good or bad, I will put it next to the one College Boy and I took (with Hero Daddy and LRHB) 2 years ago.  They're in this one, too!  And with Thanksgiving next week, I will be making sure I am in pictures and that my MOM is in pictures (and not just the ones we usually take of each other taking pictures which I guess is better than nothing!).
43 - Prep the yard for winter - no.  Ha. 
44 - Window - no.  Ha.
45 - Try something new - LOVE my new job.  But I am so sad to discover how few people respect me doing my job.  School zone speeders were one thing, but on Friday I had three drivers ignore me and my sign IN THE CROSSWALK.  Not in danger, but it scared the bejebuz out of me!  Resulting in me crying.  And this really great mom was so nice to me!  She even called the school to tell the principal what a great job I do!  I'm still needing to improve on my timing.  Once last week I was late and had to holler out the window of my car to waiting kids that I was coming.  Humiliating.  This is a new week of early arrival.
46 - Survive... someone I knew survived a marathon.  Someone else survived the visit of family members that don't value them.  I survived the bazaar.  It was bittersweet.  I took time and enjoyed it this year instead of stressing about it.  Part of that was better planning.  Part of that was realizing that I was done with it.  I mean I don't dislike it as much as I pretend to because I do love being with the kids and watching them enjoying helping others.  But it isn't good for me.  I hurt all over today.  I don't sleep.  I need a few more chiefs and a few less braves.  I will spend a bit of time this week trying to pass it on in better shape, easier to implement shape, than I received it.
47 - Holiday lists.  Whether you are into downsizing or love the craziness or travel or celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, we all enjoy the holidays more when we are prepared.  So this week (while finishing items on this list and prepping for Thanksgiving family visits and making a turkey for school and adding some extra work hours into my week and getting a car fixed and maybe a new car), I will be making some lists to help my holiday season go more smoothly.  I am already listening to my Christmas carols so I am in the mood.  Join me!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

week 46

SURVIVE BEING IN CHARGE OF ... IN MY CASE IT IS A HOLIDAY BAZAAR.  You have to understand, I'm not a bazaar girl.  My friends learned not to ask me along each year, cause I would rather stay home and clean.  Really.  Truly.  So how is it I find myself in charge of something I care so little about, it's for the kids.  It is.  It raises money for the instrumental music program which I have watched sprout wings and fly during my 6 years at our high school.  But UGH.  I cannot wait.  In 48 hours it will be done and I will be drinking. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Resolution #45


I don't know if this is a repeat, nor am I going to double check because for me this week is all about trying something new.  I got a job.  It kinda happened quickly and as of Monday I am employed as a Crossing Guard for my son's elementary school.  I will also be picking up some extra hours as a sub.  I am really excited to be a part of the staff, again.  Cause I used to be a sub in the building prior to LRHB coming into our world.  So many observations about this new chapter in my life:
  • I love being part of something BIGGER.  I serve my community and it gives me immense pride.  I stand there on the corner smiling this enormous grin and feel like it my job to welcome everyone that drives by to a new, wonderful day.  I do wonder a bit what they think of this grinning crazy person, but hopefully it touches someone's heart.
  • I didn't anticipate it being such a change for LRHB which makes my heart hurt a little.  We'll get there, I know, but I didn't mentally prepare for it.  I mean, we go to school every day and go home everyday.  The only difference is we have to go earlier and stay longer, which we did many days in the afternoon.  The morning piece... I mean we're up.  It's just about opening our hearts to making some changes. Now I know.
  • I love the smiling faces and friendly waves.  I never really did that when we were in the car for the previouse guard.  Maybe it is just cause it is new and it will die down.  I feel like I'm in my own parade each morning waving left and right!  But I have one sweet girl who puts her window down and shouts in her own quiet way, "Good Morning!"  and my heart just sings.
  • I am learning.  The Lord has some qualities He wants me to work on and this is how he is doing it.  Patience.  There isn't a lot of foot traffic at my corner so I wait patiently.  Those of you who know me know that quiet waiting isn't really ME!  Tolerance.  Most people DO NOT DRIVE THE SPEED LIMIT IN A SCHOOL ZONE!  I don't recognize the same folks racing through my area each day, so each day I tell myself that they didn't slow down not because they are rule breakers, but because their hearts are breaking.  Their mind is with their heart and I need to TOLERATE that all people are not perfect and give them GRACE.  Forgiveness.  See above bit on Tolerance.  Kindness and generosity (again see the tolerance part). 
  • I am praying.  Yes, I sit there on my corner and pray for those headed to work.  And those headed to school.  For my family.  For my prayer list.  TWICE A DAY.  He wanted me to have more time with Him; that's why I landed this job.
So this is my something new I am trying.  I've needed to get back into the workforce and this is a small step in the right direction.  Your something new doesn't need to be a new job.  Maybe it is a new recipe.  A new route to work.  A new drink or exercise routine or new machine at the gym or new top or a new show.  Happy Week!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Crew, My Boys, My Heart

We've been rather busy this month, my boys and I!  I was fortunate enough to pick up College Boy and take him to a band competition earlier this month.  Weather was lousy, he was super helpful, Teen Boy was surprised and we had a really great half day together.  He and I had lunch together, just the two of us and it was really special.  Fast forward a five days and LRHB and I were back visiting College Boy.  This time he took US to lunch at the food court on campus... his meal plan comes with guest meals.  I told him he shouldn't have told me that cause I'm never taking him out again if he gets 10 meals a quarter for guests!  He played air hockey with LRHB in the "honors lounge". LRHB had only been there once 6 weeks ago and he told me on the car ride up that he wanted to play; I'd forgotten all about it.  College Boy is doing great again this school year and is enjoying being an RA.  He was Desk Agent of the Moment so I took a picture of the bulletin board advertising that which I think slightly embarrassed him.  I'm a proud momma; that's what I do... celebrate!  Last night, I got up at 3 am and texted with him for 45 minutes.  He had been ill and I wanted to check on him, but knew over the weekend he was working and sleeping and studying for the next round of tests.  At 3 am he was working so I knew that he'd be up and free to "chat".  It was nice catching up with him, but I'm sure I'll be cranky later!

Teen Boy is having a fabulous senior year.  I do realize that this time next year he'll be a College Boy but he'll still be a teen so...  I had a MOM moment last week.  I sent him away to visit a college solo.  Big Billy Goat Gruff (somehow that name for my brother came to me on my way home today - probably because I have 3 brothers and there are three billy goats gruff) asked why I was stressing about it?  Didn't I remember how much fun we had when HE came to visit ME in college.  YES I REMEMBER!  THAT'S WHY I AM STRESSING!  Loads of laughs from him.  Oh, he'll get his.  He's got daughters!  Teen Boy's meeting scholarship and application deadlines, keeping up mostly with schoolwork (what can I say, he hates Wuthering Heights) and is rocking the marching band which is headed to state again, woo hoo!  He even went (stag) to the Homecoming Dance and came home a big, hot sweaty mess proving he was cutting a rug!  Wish I'd been a fly on that wall.  We're waiting our first acceptance which could come anytime now.  AND after failing a test in his college math class, he said that he'd follow MY IDEAS about how to succeed in that class.  It is still possible for him to get an "A", but he's gonna have to work his butt off.  It is an exciting time and I am already teary at the idea that Friday night is his last football game.

LRHB is all boy, all the time.  He played fall baseball and in spite of being not one of the oldest kids on the team, he was one of the strongest players.  He enjoyed himself and after winning only 1 GAME in the regular season, they killed it in the tournament placing 1st runner up and earning a tshirt.  In the end, it was so cool, but playing three straight nights was stressful!  In his spare time he's been swimming and rocked it at the swim meet this past weekend cutting time in every race and NOT DQing!  YAHOO!  This after attending practices with 6 different coaches in 2 months due to baseball conflicts.  So flexible sometimes.  So mouthy other times.  Although he does go to school, he'd prefer to be outside playing football all day long.  He's actually doing really well in school and loves his teacher.  Teen Boy had this same teacher 10 years ago and she's just improved with time.  Totally committed to what's best for her kiddos.  I love volunteering in 2nd grade in his classroom; makes my week fantastic!

I feel like I had more to say, funnier stuff to say, but can't remember exactly what it is.  Hero Daddy is keeping up with LRHB when I'm off to band stuff, enjoying the Race for the Chase (NASCAR) and trying to dominate in all of his Fantasy Football leagues.  He continues to support me in my raising of the brood, but is hoping I'll find a job soon.  Suggestions?

Yes, another book review!

I read The Language of Flowers in 2 days finishing it this morning about 445.  Really, I started at LRHB's bedtime on Sunday night and didn't read it all day until his bedtime last night.  I really would have slept better if I'd just finished it last night, but I thought I could wait.  My subconscious was telling me, "not so much on the waiting!".

Vanessa Diffenbaugh writes this incredibly fascinating tale about a young, angry girl aging out of the foster care system in San Francisco.  As we learn about Victoria, we learn that she'd once had a chance at a family and had thrown it away out of guilt and fear of love.  That family taught her about the meaning of flowers; that during Victorian times (see the symbolism stuff there, her name is Victoria and she learns about Victorian times) each flower was said to have a meaning, therefore bouquets of flowers had meanings.  She parlayed this knowledge into a career, inadvertenly crossed paths with her past and learns many lessons along the way about love. 

I chose to read this book because of a post on Momastery.  In fact it is our Monkee Book Club read and on November 8th, the night before my crazy Holiday Craft Fair with 100+ vendors that I AM IN CHARGE OF, we are having a national live-stream book club session.  I think it is so cool.  I think I have something else that night, but I better not.  If you want to read the post, click here:

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is committed to help youth aging out of the foster care system.  This is a huge national issue!  Yet, no one is talking about it!  (you're right, I am trying to get Katie Couric to talk about it... any minute people from her show are going to show up at my door and arrest me for stalking, sort of).  You can learn more here:

As I was getting ready to write this post, I looked it up to be sure that I heard about it on Momastery; I am blonde, you know.  And when I googled the author I thought, I know her!  Actually, I do not, it's just that I read so much about her 3 weeks ago that I recognized her picture.  Then, I clicked on the home page for the book on the publishers website and read a quote about the book... it was by JAIME FORD!  That must be where I got the book title Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet to read!  I love how things just work themselves out sometimes!

So get this book fast, read it and join me on November 8th for adult book club!  I'm returning my copy to the library today!

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

No, that isn't someplace I've been to visit.  It is the title of a Jamie Ford book that I just finished.  Facinating tale combining the facts of being Japanese in America during WWII, with a treasure hunt and a love story (although I doubt the author would want it classified that way as it would be less appealing to men).  Although the story bounces back and forth between between the mid-1980's and WWII, the tale was easy to follow, the characters were flawed, but identifiable and overall it reminded me a bit of Forest Gump as the author touched on several issues current in the time. 

I am trying to remember how I found this book, but for the life of me I have no idea.  However, I would definitely recommended it!

Happiness is...

Are you a happy person?  I have friends that fall into both categories!  And I've really been thinking about this HAPPINESS thing over the last week. 

At Bible study yesterday, I revealed to a group of ladies that I take an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety pill and I call it my "happy pill".  They seemed surprised.  I think that because I am a naturally happy person (that glass is definitely half-full), that the fact that I suffer from Depression catches people off guard.  Yes, I think I can be diagnosed with Depression AND be a naturally happy person; they are separate issues.  One is a chemical thing while the other is a state of mind.  I remember when I was first diagnosed with Postpartum Depression.  I cried every day.  Sometimes several times a day.  I didn't want my boys to grow up with the mom that cries all the time.  So, I started medication.  And later I went off, but then life happens so now I'm back on.  Does the pill really make me happy? No, it allows me to be who I am. But I wasn't really sure after the discussion if I'd completely conveyed that idea. Do over!

Another thing that happened was that I have a young friend that is just accepting that she suffers from this illness. She's been coming to terms with it because it often is perceived as such a negative thing. It is a label for someone who is crazy. NOT! As she said, "It does not come from, what many people think, not enough prayer," and "It is not because I had terrible parents." I wondered if she had known that I had suffered from both postpartum and regular old depression/anxiety? I wondered if I can help?  So I reached out; I was OPEN to her so she might feel like she can be OPEN with me. 

Then I watched the Katie show all about Happiness.  It was about finding or creating a job that makes you happy; she had an expert speak to what really makes people happy; and she interviewed two ladies, one of whom was Gretchen Craft Rubin. She wrote the Happiness Project... and her book is my very next read! As I understand it, she spent a year chasing happiness in her life and this book tells the story. I went to the Katie Couric show website and took the Are You Happy Quiz. No surprise, I was impossibly happy with my life.  Finally, something else on the show clicked with something that happened last week. Everyone kept asking me last Wednesday how I did IT. I baked 4 cakes, 4 dozen cookies, made 3 main dishes (one for my family); I drove my high school student to volunteer, then to a picnic and then to school;  I volunteered all morning at the elementary school and 5-6 hours in the afternoon and evening with the high school band. On the show they talked about what really makes people happy is doing for others.   It makes me happy to fix meals and desserts for the teachers who work so hard teaching children. It makes me happy to volunteer.  It makes me happy to serve my family.  That's how I got IT done! 

I try to live my life OPEN about my depression because I want to remove that "label" or "stereotype" of crazy. I am a great person, who cares for others, loves my life, volunteers, and I suffer from depression.  I know friends who battle their depression with exercise or diet or yoga. But sometimes, THAT'S NOT ENOUGH. MEDICATION IS OKAY. MEDICATION IS OKAY. I think I feel strongly about that. I really want to live my life openly because Brooke Shields helped me through her book about postpartum depression. And my depression didn't look like hers and yours won't look like mine. But she really helped me and I have a pay it forward mentality.  Everyone travels their own road.  Along mine, I sing a little Bobby McFerrin song, "Don't worry, be happy!  Don't worry, be happy now!"

Katie Couric

I started watching "Katie" this fall.  I've always been a fan of Katie Couric and had I ever watched the evening news, I would have watched her.  But I don't watch it.  So for a few years, I missed my Katie girl.  Now I can get her daily and I'm really enjoying it.  I have a gazillion topics I want her to cover.  I hope she's around for a long time because I find her format refreshing and not the same old thing.  Let's get this straight, she keeps me company as I clean baseboards and bathrooms, while I fold laundry and clean the kitchen.  I don't sit around eating bon bons watching her.

She sometimes focuses an entire show on a topic like she did when she interviewed Barbra Streisand or covered Internet Safety.  Sometimes she has on several people that may or may not relate to each other or that relate to a theme such as Happiness.  I am rarely up-to-date on the shows and currently have 8 Tivo'd as yesterday I watched other stuff.  Monday afternoon is my catch up on TV day and fold laundry day.  I find myself thinking of all kinds of things to blog about when I am watching her show.  Like, I've never watched any Barbra Streisand's movies and I'm wondering if I am "too young" like my friend who'd never seen When Harry Met Sally which I consider a classic of MY generation of movies and if it is because I wouldn't call my mom a Barbra fan.  So I find myself wondering if others have watched them and what your favorite would be.  Or the day they discussed Internet Safety.  My boys weren't allowed to have computers in their rooms until their senior year of high school and even now, when they're in the shower, I'll check their history.  And it really is a hot topic and should be like drugs, drinking and sex, an ongoing discussion.  Since I have old children, I felt while watching the show that day that I should blog about how I've kept my kiddos safe so far on the internet.  All I've got is those two things:  keeping tabs and keeping them in my presence.

The next two shows may have their own blogs.  One is about Happiness, a topic that I've been pondering all on my own.  The other show is about the mom that inspired last week's goal of being in the pictures, in the moment.  I cannot wait to see her in person because I did find her blog inspiring.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Not my journey, not my journey

As I read Kisses for Katie, I had to repeat the mantra "not my journey, not my journey," so that I wouldn't be consumed with Catholic guilt.  This beautiful young woman gives up the "traditional American dream" of college and marriage to her high school sweetheart and having babies down the road from mom for FOLLOWING JESUS.  Seriously, she FOLLOWS JESUS in all of her decisions. 

Her story is a little like the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie book.  If you send Katie to Uganda to teach, she's going to want to feed her students.  And after she feeds them, she's going to want to give them medical care.  And after getting them medical care, she'll find many more that want to go to school and need to figure out how to send them.  And after sending more and more children to school, she's going to find little souls that need a mommy.  So she becomes a mommy.

In every endeavour, she prays.  She actively seeks Him and teaches about Him and lives her life for Him.  Wow.  It's her journey.  But, I am thinking more about how MY journey which doesn't involve going to Africa could look a little more like He would like. 

I totally recommend this book if reading about someone who has dedicated her life to God is your thing.  It isn't everyone's thing and if it isn't, you'll hate this book.  It took me months to get the book from the library, like 3-4, so put your name on the list now.  One reason is it isn't a quick read, not that it is boring either.  Maybe it is just me, but I kept getting her daughters and their stories mixed up and I needed a timeline, also, to help me follow her story.  But she's amazing.  Her 501C is Amazina found here:  I cannot wait to go on her blog and attempt to get caught up; here is her blog:

Happy Reading!

If you give a mom a cloth, she's going to want a mop!

If you wipe down the baseboards, you're going to realize that the window sills need serious attention, not a quick wipe with the cloth like you've been doing all summer.  And if you wipe down the window sills really well, you're going to discover that the windows need cleaning.  And if you clean the windows on the inside, you discover you're going to need to clean the outside.  And if you clean the outside, you will discover your flower beds need weeding and the lawn needs fertilizing.  And when you go into the garage to get the fertilizer spreader, you discover that weeks ago you pledged to clean the garage and it still hasn't happened.  So you go in the house to get a drink (cause don't ya deserve one) and wash your hands when you see the cloth that you were using to wipe down the baseboards and remember that you haven't finished that job so you go back to it only to discover that the walls need to be wiped down, too.  So Resolution 43 is WINDOWS.  Resolution 44 is prepping the yard for winter before it arrives (again) on Friday. 

Happy Monday!

Oh no! It's Monday already!

I will probably post several times over today and tomorrow because (imagine this) I have A LOT to say!  I've finished 2 books, started a third, sent my son on a College Trip, watched several Katie shows which really get my brain going on stuff I have to say AND I want to update you on the resolutions!

For now, I am thinking of you and hoping you are thinking of me too.  Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hot Topic and I'm Guilty, but It is Resolution 42

That is a link to a blog that has gone WILD this week even landing the writer on Katie Couric's show.  It is about being in the pictures, not just behind the camera.   I'm guilty.  I had to hunt and search for a picture of me to post on my blog and you saw what I chose.  It is from our family vacation to Big Bear Lake in the summer of 2010.  I have another one from that same trip as my FB pic.  Now, I had some pictures taken of me since them, but none I want to be posting and not that many to choose from.  Today, we took my senior out for his senior pictures.  Do you think that we could have taken one of the two of us together?  Sure.  Did we?  NO!  Guilty, guilty, guilty.  At the bottom of the blog there is an option to submit a picture of you with your kids.  No, I didn't send one in but another blogger I read did:  And she ended up on the EVENING NEWS when they were discussing this same blog.  Probably because in her case, it helps her to remember her son and is unlike the other side of the story (we want our kids to see us in the moments with them).

I have many moments in this next year.  And I am going to try to document them in front of as well as behind the camera.  I want my kiddos to remember me in the moment.  And I'm not going to wait until I've dropped my baby weight.  LOL.  My baby is nearly 8.  Make someone take a picture of you in the moment or moments this week.  Resolution 42. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

And the resolutions roll on...

Fall has truly arrived.  And just like a mother gets nesting urges prior to delivery, fall brings cleaning urges to my soul.  It could just be guilt because I've had a cleaning epiphany:  I'm a lousy house cleaner.  And I came to this enlightenment in this way...

So resolution for this week was going to be clean the baseboards.  And as I was cleaning baseboards yesterday, I thought how it would be a good resolution and how I could go through the entire house and clean them (see how that worked?  I was doing something and decided to make it a resolution which is how they come about some weeks).  And then I thought to myself, what is my resolution journey supposed to be about? (because when you are cleaning baseboards, you have a lot of thinking time!)  Perhaps, if I list cleaning baseboards as a resolution people will laugh because this is something they do all the time.  Perhaps everyone else in the world (or at least everyone who lives in houses with baseboards) cleans their baseboards weekly or monthly, not annually.  Do they?  Am I like the worst housekeepper ever?  And as I am actually cleaning the mirror (being short means I often will wipe down counters without ever cleaning the mirror), I thought, "I bet people wash their mirrors more frequently, too."  And the spiral downward began.  I mean, I still haven't created that cleaning chore list... why?  Perhaps I know deep down inside that it is because I will not actually follow it.  I am a need-to-clean cleaner.  Dinner guests coming?  Need to Clean.  Someone coming to stay?  Need to Clean.  Spill copious amounts of sticky icky stuff on floor?  Need to Clean.  See the pattern.  I do want to clarify... I don't live in a pit.  I start nearly every day out sweeping the floor and every evening wiping down counters.  I know where the vacuum is and I've been teaching the LRHB how to use it. I have trained Teen Boy to wipe down bathrooms in advance of people arriving.  I just surface clean, ya know?

But as I finished cleaning the baseboards in my big old bathroom (see not even the whole house, just one room), I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment!  Then I got on FB and discovered my Sweet LM was trying to get motivated to clean.  And apparently so were many of her FB friends commenting that when she finds said motivation, to pass it along.  So how can I motivate?  Start a challenge?  It being the beginning of the month (okay so its the second week), perhaps if I work really hard and get the entire home into a place of cleanliness, maintaining it will be easier with a program.  And perhaps if I am doing that, my Sweet LM will get on board with me!  And perhaps then her friends will too!  And I will realize my LIFELONG DREAM to be QUEEN OF HOUSECLEANING!  or not.

Resolution 41 - Clean the baseboards.  Anything more than that will be gravy.  Yesterday's gravy was my master bathroom.  Minus the shower cause that's another project.

Suggestions welcome!

Laughing and Laughing and Laughing...

A book I waited for several months came in at the library and I was going to read it next.  Until I found out another book had to be returned so I stopped reading book one and began reading Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich about my favorite bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.  It was a super fast read; a holiday book in fact (which did have me dreaming of holiday music, but since my family already thinks November 1st is too soon, I think October 7th would completely freak them out).  The premise was completely unreal, superhero based which is not my thing (not a spiderman, or any other superhero movie watcher) and so funny!  It was Stephanie the bounty hunter at her best/worst (same thing) along with her crazy family without the suspense and sex drama of the other books (don't get me wrong, I still love the other books).  This was by far my FAVORITE book in the series.  Hands down.  Looking for a fun holiday read, put this on your list of to-dos!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Follow-up to Resolution 28 and Resolution 40

I thought it might amuse you if I recapped some of the things I found in my freezers when I cleaned them out...
  1. Mystery brown liquid #1 - I think it might have been broth, but just not sure.
  2. Mystery brown liquid #2 - beer.  Mike didn't like it so I froze it to use while cooking.  This just happened over labor day weekend, so I will probably make cheddar beer soup this weekend and get it used up.
  3. Mystery red stuff - pretty sure it was tomato paste, but I usually freeze tomato paste in 1 T dollops so I ditched it.
  4. Apple pie leftover from last Thanksgiving.  Looks fine so we'll probably eat it. 
  5. Bag of sweet potatoes from last winter.  Those look good too so I will probably try to work them into the dinner rotation soon(ish).  Before Thanksgiving for sure.
  6. Jam we made last year.  Need to give it out because I'm in the process of making more. 
Resolution 40 is to clean out the refrigerator.  Who knows what I'll find!

The latest Debbie read...

On the front of the book it states "a vintage novel".  I didn't mind the lack of cell phones and computers.  I did find the poor characterizations and irregular plot line to be disheartening.  Undercover Dreamer was not a good Debbie Macomber read.  I think this is twice that I've picked up her older novels only to be disappointed.  Hopefully, I'll remember next time to JUST SAY NO.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Okay, folks... it is time for a book update.  I have officially exceeded the weeks of the year with the books I've read as this book update will discuss 4 BOOKS (50-53)!

So, I get my book titles in many, many ways.  Back at the beginning of the year, I'd gotten some book titles from Sally Lee, editor-in-chief of LHJ.  One of those titles was a novel, Room.  So when I typed it into the library database to reserve it, many titles came up.  After reading a few of them, I ended up with Room and three others.  They were all very different stories by different authors and I enjoyed them all, though some more than others.

Up in Honey's Room by Elmore Leonard was about a German spy living in Detroit as a butcher during WW II and married to an American, Miss Honey Deal who leaves him on their first anniversary.  Fast-forward a few years, add some other spies, some escapees and a rugged US Marshall and we have a funny tale of espionage.  I wouldn't say it was a thriller, but entertaining.  Will I read more of his works?  Probably not.  Mostly, I wanted to know how it would end and the ending was satisfying and a bit surprising.

The next title that I found interesting was Twelve Rooms with a View by Theresa Rebeck.  It was filled with eccentric characters, themes of regret and deceit and had a LOT of drama.  After the beginning which I found to be very compelling, I got bogged down in the middle.  However, the ending proved to be delightful.  I actually intend to try her novel, Three Girls and Their Brother, (although I have no idea what the story is about) because I did enjoy the ending and the characters.

Then I read the title that got it all started:  Room by Emma Donoghue.  It reminded me of the Jaycee Dugard memoir that I read earlier this year, but this was fictional and not as horrific for many reasons.  Some of the most compelling parts came in section 3 when issues arose that I wonder now if Jaycee and her daughters faced.  I actually found myself comparing the situations and then reminding myself that this was FICTION and what happened to Jaycee was REAL.  It was a captivating story and I do intend to try other books by this author.

The final book with room in the title that caught my attention was The Amber Room by Steve Berry.  Although fiction, it is based on an actual artifact that was truly stolen by Hitler during WWII.  He weaves fiction and fact together creating a captivating thriller.  Out of these four books, this was by far my favorite and the most difficult to put down.  I enjoyed the characters, the plot and the ending as it even had a bit of romance in it!  He reminds me very much an author I read some years back, Nelson Demille.

So ROOM has been the theme for the last few weeks of reading.  Now onto a quick Debbie Macomber and then Kisses for Katie a novel I've been waiting for from the library for months.

Do you have some good books for me to read? 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Glad September is wrapping up...

Several times over the last week it has occurred to me that September is a month of mourning for me.  I mean, yes the kids went back in August, but there are all those back-to-school things to be doing and seeing friends that have been doing their summer thing.  But September really means back to school.  End of summer.  No more pool or lazy summer days.  Another year, another grade passed.  Perhaps it is because I have a senior that I have been waxing nostalgic.  Yes, the fall colors are pretty.  But the reality is the leaves are dying.  Cooler nights.  Okay, the snuggling part is nice do to the cooler weather, but wearing a sweatshirt... depressing.  Perhaps it is doing all the stuff to get ready for all of the fall things that is overbearing.  Or addressing all of the chores that fell to the wayside last month whilst we were cramming in one more pool trip.  But, I can tell from my clothes, that I have been eating my way through September.  Emotional eating, yeppers, that's me. 

However, like all good things, the mourning must come to an end and I must embrace FALL and the good things it brings.  Starting tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Filing Cabinet Renovation...

Still working on previous resolutions... update to come soon.  Since the shredder has overheated, I'm taking the moment to tell you Resolution 39:  clean out the filing cabinet.  Seriously, in this age of onlineness, why do I even have a filing cabinet?  Okay, then, why do I have two?  Not sure.  If I figure it out while purging through, I will let you know.  Do you have a filing cabinet?  Box?  Folder?  Does it need purging?  Revamping?  I have 3 file boxes also.  DOWNSIZING!  I'll let you know how it goes...

On another note, yes, I'm still reading.  I've got a reading thing going that I'll tell ya about when I'm all done and I'm halfway through.  Ooooh!  Aren't ya curious now?

Funny story... Stina posted on FB that she was roaring at small people in her house trying to get out the door to Bible Study (see the irony, here).  I so got it.  Cause that was me on Monday.  Sad, but true.  HOWEVER, I got in the car and words of a certain redheaded bible study member popped into my head:  "I have been trying to pray in the car on the way to school with the kids."  So I said to LRHB that I thought after the morning we'd had that we needed to pray.  He really looked unsure in the rear view mirror, but I PLUNGED forward and started the Our Father... and I paused a few lines in and he picked it up.  We were so filled with peace when we arrived at school.  Amen.  So, there's a tip for the week.  I wanted to share it with Stina on FB, but due to her circumstances, she wasn't ending up in the car so I didn't think it would work. 

And what is about rainy days that make us so unproductive?  Boy I got NOTHING done yesterday afternoon when teen boy was home.  He napped.  I watched some TV and read.  And we did none of the things on our to-do list.  I wish I was kidding, but... today is another day.

Off to shred; Happy Wednesday.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Well, it must be fall if I've got kiddos home from school sick.  One or the other or both ALL week long except for Friday.  And Friday I went on the field trip with the second graders and held a tarantula (ewwww).  So Teen boy was struck down last weekend with illness.  A trip to the doc on Monday didn't confirm strep, but sinusitis in the extreme.  By Tuesday, LRHB decided he too wanted to be at home so he came up with the mysterious tummy ailment.  That was pretty real all night long Tuesday night/Wednesday morning resulting in a MOMMY CANNOT TAKE WATCHING YOU IN PAIN ANYMORE moment and a trip to the ER to rule out the mysterious appendicitis.  Not appendicitis.  TIP:  If they can jump up and down, they don't have appendicitis.  "Wish I'd known that an hour ago."  I actually did say that to the very nice ER doc.  Sometimes I need a mouth filter. 

What did I accomplish this week... hmm.  umm.  hmm.  Well, I was a one woman entertainment committee.  And for a mom, that is A LOT.  And I can live with that.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Why I Didn't Prep for Bible Study

Why else?  A book.  Instead of doing any of my resolutions, instead of interacting with my sick teen (who quite frankly was relieved I was leaving him to his own devices), instead of doing some household chores or prepping for bible study, I picked up a book, read it all day long, and finished it.

This is another title I got from the back of I Will Carry You and I really need to figure out some other books to read besides heart wrenching memoirs.  comeback:  a mother and daughter's journey through hell and back was a compelling story of a mother helping her daughter survive the pain of incest and drug abuse.  It made me cringe in horror.  It made me so thankful for my life, my upbringing, my husband, my choices, my GOD.  After all, HE played a role in all of these things that have brought me to this point, a journey far different from this family.  Interestingly, unlike I Will Carry You there is only a slight faith reference (from this Jewish mom) throughout the book, but what is there, is true.  I couldn't put it down.  From each step forward, backward and sideways, I needed to see this story through to the end; not unlike the protagonist who needs to see her daughter back into her life.

Now, from the title, you can ascertain that she does come back, so I'm not ruining the story.  There were times that alone kept me going.  Today, I did some research into where they are now, 6 years later and have discovered a new book by them that I need to investigate.  It looks at the evolution of their relationship and also a global perspective of mothers/adult daughters.  In fact, they were just in Huffington Post less than a month ago and are having book signings over the next month ( and  Come on Katie Couric... add them to your show cause theirs is a journey of survival!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Resolution 37 - Mend, Clean or Toss

DAWN DISH DETERGENT.  That's what I used to get the grease stains out.  I was getting ready to do a multi-step process with Goo Gone, but saw on Yahoo something about tough stains or laundry or something.  Click, click, click and there was the solution in black and white.  I glanced over my shoulder at the sink... yep, I actually had DAWN.  So I covered the stains with the DAWN.  And I waited the hour (or so).  And I washed them.  And then I rinsed again cause I had also used laundry detergent and there were still soap suds in the washer after round one.  CLEAN!  GONE!  AMAZING!  Apparently, if you draw on the grease stain with chalk, that also will get it out, but I've not got chalk.  I've got the POWER OF DAWN!  I've also got clean shirts to wear!  Happy me!

Famous! Well, not really, but sorta!

Last week I blogged about our Summer Book Club.  Which I really need to start calling our Book Club because we are continuing it.  One reason I blogged about it was as prep work for this:

I was asked to Guest Blog on a reading promise blog site and I said yes.  The above is my Guest Blog and I am really proud that I someone else wanted to print what I had to say!  It is very similar to what I wrote on my site last week, but has some additional information included for those folks that don't know me.

The other reason I blogged about it was because I am proud that this group is continuing.  And as I shared my story about being a guest blogger, "others" (some that I invited the first time around) acted like this was such a great idea.  Perhaps next month, I will extend my invitation to the "others" (again).  In the meantime, happy reading!

47, 48...

Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich.  Still enjoying the series.

Two Kisses for Maddy: a memoir of loss and love by Matthew Logelin was compelling and at times moved me to tears, but not the emotional read I feared.  I got the title off of the back of the Angie Smith book.  The after thoughts, however, those are emotional.  What would Hero Daddy do without me?  What would my boys do without me?  My photos are a mess, there is still tons to clean up and out and I have so many commitments to so many things.  What would happen if I were to die suddenly?  So, I love on my men, I put one foot in front of the other and I'm making of list of things I just need to get done.  In life.  Not a bucket list, but a how would I leave my life better than it is now list.   Today, after reading this book, I am concerned about my mortality.  So if you feel you need to be motivated to improve your life, perhaps this is the book for you.