"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mothering Moment: Little Sister Vs. Earrings

If your eldest daughter happens to like silly earrings that are made from foam or modeling clay or some other non-metal substance, be sure to keep those earrings up out of reach of your toddler. Because when she's supposed to be sleeping, the toddler will actually pull all the backs off her sister's earrings. Then she'll decided that those bright orange dinosaurs look a lot like her fruit snacks.

And just in case...super glue will put the earring back together but isn't very good at filling in the tooth marks.

Monday, June 27, 2011

How to Prevent Exploding Heads

The honeymoon is over. The thrill is gone. The shine is off the penny. Familiarity breeds contempt. The female of the species is more deadly than the male. Oh, wait...maybe not that last one.

In other words, the kids are bored. Not going to school is no longer any fun. And they aren't shy about letting me know.

The other day, while I attempted to neuter the stack of papers, mailers, statements, and assorted credit card offers that seems to double it's reproductive efforts during the night while the kids lounge in the living room. The day had started on the wrong foot, possibly even the entire leg. Before breakfast ended, petty arguments and whining had taken over all conversation. By the time I began filing away financial statements, my happy place wasn't answering my calls.

"Mom, I'm boooooooooooored!"
"What can I dooooooooo?"

I slam my binder shut and shove my chair back from the table, the legs squealing their protest on the linoleum.

"No more!" I roar, sure my eyes are about to spout fire. "The next kid who even hints at having nothing to do, will make my head explode and then you'll be forced to clean my brains off the floor.  Do I make myself clear?"

Two pairs of very wide eyes stare back at me, nods barely registering.

"If you need something to do, then go clean your room. Sweep the kitchen floor. Empty Baby's diapers. Pull the weeds out of the flower beds. I have no shortage of work to get done, so unless you would like to become indentured servants to a brain-splattered woman, then I suggest you Go. Find. Something."

They scurry from the room, blurs of blonde hair and flailing limbs, not sticking around to see if there's brain fluid leaking out of my ear. Returning the chair to it's designated spot, I continue my task in relative peace. And silence.

Maybe a little too much silence. Soon, the silence becomes the kind of quiet that all mothers fear. Once again leaving the mounds of randy tree fiber products unchaperoned, I seek out the children.

Well, at least they found something to do.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

WWTK Wednesday...but not

Seems like I'm always doing this one a day late...


And if you have a minute, go read Mamarazzi's answers. It was her memory about a song that did me in. I've gotta put that in one of my books. This week's questions were provided by the seriously funny Seriously Shawn.

1.} What is the best, or worst, pick up line you have ever been given?
"Are you an astronaut? Because your butt is out of this world." And I'm sorry to say that I giggled in response, but he didn't get my number. I later used this line on the Man with much better results.

2.} What is your most and least favorite day of the week?
Least favorite is Monday. There's something about Mondays that leaves me feeling somewhat hungover, even though I don't drink. It's the day where I consume the most chocolate (unless I'm in charge of Sharing Time on Sunday). My favorite is Thursday. I don't know what it is about Thursdays, maybe it's a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel effect or that's the night when my favorite shows are on (even though I can't ever watch live television anymore and have to wait for the kids to go to bed before I get my turn with the remote).

3.} How many hours of sleep do you require each night?
Ummm...it varies. Mainly, it depends on when the Man goes to bed because I don't like sleeping without him. Unfortunately, he can function on a lot less sleep than I can. Getting in a good eight hours is rare. The fact that we need a new mattress probably doesn't help, either.

4.} Is there a song that takes you back in time? What is it and what memory is it attached to?

Me and my sister had a whole dance routine to this song when we were kids and we'd perform for anyone who came over to our house (parents' friends, siblings' friends, home teachers, random salespeople...). We weren't especially good dancers, just really liked this song. Listening to this makes me miss my sisters. And my brothers. And my parents. And the dog.

5.} What is your biggest guilty pleasure? 
Girls Night Out. Leaving the house without the kids is kind of a big deal but I'd rather go with someone. A few of my friends came with me to this lovely little dessert cafe and we got to hang out and chat for a while. Even though I make cakes and can duplicate their vanilla cake fairly well, I still like getting a slice with a mug of hazelnut hot chocolate. So nice...

Answer one of these questions in the comments!

*  And if you haven't already entered, get on over to the Savanna Hill jewelry giveaway

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Colors, Colors Everywhere

Hey, the packages are arriving! All the True Colors goodies are ready to share.

Since I had an uneven number of participants, I got two partners. Both are unique individuals, too, so it was pretty cool.

First to arrive was Odie's package. A fellow book nerd, Odie from The Simple Life lives on the opposite side of the country. And he's a dude. See? Proof that guys read my blog. But I think he might be the only one, besides my dad. Among the many things we had in common was our favorite color: blue.

Now, I think this is Odie's first swap so this is a pretty awesome first package. See those three books along the back there? Those are "Mr. Monster" by Dan Wells, "Changes" by Jim Butcher, and "Vanished" by Kat Richardson. They're also my top three picks for books I most desperately want to read. Cool beans! And who cares if they're not entirely blue? I certainly don't! The dolphin figure was immediately claimed by Boo. In fact, I had to get it out of her bed in order to take the picture. Thanks, Odie! Love it!

My second partner was Lynne from The Giggle Fest. Lynne isn't from the other end of this country; she's from Scotland. I was nearly giddy when I signed for this package. In fact, I made sure the kids were in bed before I opened it.

I got a thistle apron, drunken recipe dishtowel (I've never heard of "Clootie Dumplings" but it's pretty funny), lip balm, earrings (kooky, but I really like them), sassy girl (the quote says "If only men could read our minds, we wouldn't have to shout" - so true!), a lovely little painting of a nearby town, and a box of something called "tablet." Now, Lynne said that the tablet was for the kids but they were in bed so I tried some. Yummy! Has the consistency of fudge but tastes like caramel. Don't get all upset - I saved some for the littles.

Thank you, Odie and Lynne! You are both great partners and I've loved getting to know you better through your blogs!

Now it's your turn...post the link to your post about your True Colors Swap packages!

And if you didn't get in on this swap, no worries. You can still get something wonderful in the mail if you win my Savanna Hill Giveaway!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My current book is The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. Ms. Bender likes really long sentences that would be a nightmare if your teacher asked you to diagram them. Instead of two sentences, I'm gonna give you one that I think shows the style and tone of the book.

"This cake that my mother had made just for me, her daughter, whom she loved so much I could see her clench her fists from overflow sometimes when I came home from school, and when she would hug me hello I could feel how inadequate the hug was for how much she wanted to give."

And if you read this book, I'd love to talk about it with you!

What book are you currently reading?

* And don't forget to enter my Savanna Hill jewelry giveaway!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Savanna Hill Jewelry Giveaway!

One of my favorite things about having a blog is being able to host giveaways, encouraging all those lurkers to come out of the woodwork. And if I get to feature a talented new friend, then all the better!

Jenine is the creator of Savanna Hill Jewelry. I first met her at a local craft show, where she put together a lovely necklace charm for me with a watch pendant. Each subsequent visit, she's created another for me and I love them all! The watch pendant is by far the one that gets the most attention. On my recent cruise, I wore it everywhere, so I wouldn't get watch tan lines. Its easy enough to switch out the charms to coordinate with my outfit each day or wear them individually. And since she is so awesome, of course I have to share her with my blog buddies!

Here is one of her lovely Watch Pendants in a gunmetal finish. This same pendant is available without the extras along the chain but I think it adds to the unique charm.

She doesn't just work with charms and beads. This is one of her vintage Cameo Lockets. These are so pretty by themselves or you can layer them with other charms for a personalized look.

The Initial Necklaces are very popular because not only are they adorable but they're versatile. Wear by itself or clustered with others for that ever-so trendy layered look. Makes a fabulous gift, too! There are different finishes available for these.

Savanna Hill is also known for Temple Charms and pendants. This one is completely customizable and reversible. Normally, the back features the saying "Forever Family" but Jenine will create whatever you'd like, whether it be your family name or favorite scripture, for an extra charge. These aren't limited to just the Salt Lake Temple...pick the temple of your choice.

Now for the fun part!

Jenine is offering a 20% discount to DuckDuckCow readers! To use, send an email to sales@savannahill.com with the item(s) you'd like to order and mention that you are a loyal, devoted, semi-obsessed DuckDuckCow reader.

Enter for a chance to win a $40 gift certificate to Savanna Hill!

  • For the first entry, visit the Savanna Hill website. Take a look around the Photo Gallery, then come back here and in a comment tell me which piece you love.

  • Second entry, follow my blog. And if you're already a follower, let me know that, too. 

  • Third entry, update your status on Facebook and link to this giveaway. You can also do this on Twitter.

  • For a fourth and final entry, blog about the Savannah Hill giveaway, linking back to this post.

This contest will close on Wednesday, June 29th at midnight. I will use random.org to pick the winner from the valid comments. So go spread the word!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WWTK Wednesday

So here's my chance to tell you all the little personal things about me that you probably didn't really care about but hey, it's my blog.


1. You've been asked to give a 10 minute speech to teenage girls. What is it about?

Can I just text it to them? Because really, I don't think they're going to pay attention to what I have to say for a full ten minutes unless they can look at their phones. I would try to explain to them about their worth, how they are amazing creatures that should be valued, not silly things that no one cares about. If they feel like they are worth something, then chances are they will insist that others treat them as such, instead of putting up with possessive or demeaning boyfriends OR friends just for the sake of having them.

2. Do you have a pet? Tell us about them. No pets? Why?
I suppose my daughter's hamster counts as my pet, since I sneak into her room after she's asleep and play with him. But he's not really mine. I would love to have a dog, so much so that if you have a dog and I come to visit, chances are I will roll around on the floor with your pooch and wrestle and pet 'em instead of actually talking to you. Unless you have chocolate. The Man has never had a pet. Not even a goldfish. He's resisted pets but I put it in the marriage contract that one day, we would have a dog. If my father weren't so allergic, we'd probably already have a cat.

3.  What is the biggest inconvenience about the place you're currently living?
No backyard. I have a hard time sending the kids out to play because it means they pretty much roam the neighborhood, joining up with the other flip-flop-wearing hordes in search of more otter pops. Also? It's a big sticking point with getting a dog. He or she would have to be an indoor pet because there's just no place to leave a dog outside. I used to think that no fences meant more open spaces but now, I'm thinking maybe I should have valued my privacy a little more.

4. What do you think is the single best decision you've made in your life so far?
Almost all of the answers I've read for this one said marrying their husband. So I'm going to take it back a step and say that my best decision was to leave Texas. It was here in Utah that I not only found my faith again but also a sexy little piece of geekcake. Really, leaving home was what helped me realize my strengths and also that I needed to take off the rose-colored glasses and blinders.

5. What are the three "nevers" of your life? (things you would never do or have never done)
          - Never been drunk, despite trying my hardest that one time in college (sorry, Mom and Dad).
          - Never broken a bone in my body, but have had some demolished by doctors to make me Bionic.
          - Never matched up with a swap partner who didn't send a package. I have received some packages that were missing 50% of the donkey, if you know what I mean.

Answer one of these questions in the comments! (Or link up on your own blog and join in on the fun!)

Monday, June 13, 2011

FHE: Summer Chores

Now that the kids are older, it's time they earned their keep. No more free rides for these kiddos! I'm putting them to work.

Chores charts aren't exactly my strong suit. I talk a big game, have all these plans and determination. But the end result? Nada. Never makes it past the dream phase. To make things different this time around, I enlisted Boo and Boy in drawing up the system.

Opening Prayer: Baby (so dang cute that it's hard to keep from giggling)

Opening Song: Popcorn Popping

* I've read a lot of articles and blog posts lately that talk about instituting a different chore program for kids during the summer, complete with a reward system. Using different ideas, I came up with my own program. I presented my plan to the kids and let them give input.

Instead of giving them an allowance, they'd earn points redeemable for their favorite things. We discussed daily chores that I would expect them to finish six days a week. This is easy stuff like making their bed, keeping their clothes off the floor, and completing their dinner time assignments (Boy gets drinks ready and Boo puts plates on the table). This would give them six points every week. Then I added one little caveat: if they missed their chores on one of those days, then they would not receive any of those points. Gone. Poof.

Along with daily chores, they had weekly options. Four tasks that they needed to complete at least once a week. Each one is worth a point and includes vacuuming, smudge patrol, and tending the garden.

Just when I had them worried that their summer would be spent as my personal slaves, I showed them the last section on the chart. I left a space for Bonuses. These are for special projects or instances where they help me with Baby. Since they're spontaneous, the point values will be random. More points!

With images of points dancing in their heads, I pulled out the reward list. They could easily earn 10 points per week without any special bonuses so I started with 10 point prizes, like having a friend over to play. More intense rewards got higher prices, like a movie date with a parent is 50. I even set the bar pretty high with a tantalizing carrot: a new Wii game for 100 points. Boo has already decided which one she wants. And knowing her, she'll earn it, too. There were a couple prizes they wanted to add to the list but for the most part, they agreed with my suggestions. And I avoided rewarding them with sugar or cheap toys, going more for the experiences and activities.

BUT -- and I think this is where I went wrong all those times before -- they would also lose points for misbehavior, specifically one for every three time outs. Jaws dropped when I brought in this piece of fine print. I wanted them to take responsibility for their actions? What? I am really looking forward to this one.

Closing Song: Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam

Closing Prayer: the Boy

Treats: Milkshakes. The Man makes really, really good milkshakes.

Are you implementing chore charts for the summer?

* Image from PaintedGold.com, where there's some pretty good information on instituting chore charts.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Confessional: I am Dork, Hear me Roar


I confess...

I am a dork.

I've known about my dorkiness since junior high, when I first started watching Doctor Who episodes with my older siblings. Aliens are cool. So are bow ties.

I confess...

I denied my dorkside for years, all through high school, where I giggled over episodes of MTVs The Real World when secretly, I just wanted to read the latest Dragonlance or Xanth novel.

It wasn't until college that I truly embraced who I was. So what if I liked British humor and found Monty Python and the Holy Grail hysterical? So what if I read books about magic or vampires (before they were all sparkly and angsty)? And so what if my favorite movie is futuristic eye candy featuring Bruce Willis falling for a perfect, engineered woman? I love that movie!

I confess...

Sometimes, I still try to hide my dorkiness, but then I just come across as kinda annoying. I'm much better at being myself.

I confess...

I've learned that not everyone likes dorky stuff. That's fine. I don't always like trendy stuff (like ginoromous flower headbands on babies). But I'll still hang out with you.

Besides, more people need to drop the things that don't make them happy and embrace their inner dork. There's nothing wrong with dorks. There are a lot more of us anyway.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Teacher from the Yellow and Blue Lagoon

When I was in elementary school, I had very memorable teachers. Mrs. Bott taught me two different years: first grade and then again in third. She was loud and funny and got us excited when there was something new to learn. Mr. Moyle was my first experience with favoritism. Mrs. Smith turned my interest to theater and drama, something I would pursue through high school. Mrs. Colby was one of the most popular teachers, but for me, I'll always remember the time she went around the table during our after-school group meeting, belittling each and every one of us. She called me a liar. I wasn't. Mrs. Maske was the mean one, the teacher that glared and yelled and was just generally disappointed in our behavior. In fact, one of her glares stopped my hiccups cold. True story.

With hindsight working for me, I realized Mrs. Maske was one of the better teachers, where I felt like I really learned best in her class. But at the time, all we talked about was how mean she could be. She was very strict and rarely seemed to smile. Misbehavior was speedily and harshly punished, including time spent in the hallway (where the principal would see you and come over to discuss your mistakes) or missing out on recess. Mrs. Maske taught science to my fifth grade class and we were always plotting something to "get back" at her. Those plots fell through or we completely chickened out. Then came the day when I was continually patted on the back for the best executed prank of the year.

Since science was taught at the very end of the day, it was a time when we were most antsy, especially during good weather. Punishments abounded. My plan formed early one afternoon. We quickly organized, spreading the word during after-lunch recess and reminders whispered on our way into the classroom. Mrs. Maske would make her entrance later, after everyone was seated. My clever plan was to have everyone in the class do something really annoying, all at the same time so just one person wouldn't get in trouble. Kinda like everyone dropping their pencil but much, much grander. Instead of clattering writing instruments, we all sat with our hands on our desks, twiddling our thumbs! Genius, I tell you! Her head would explode with frustration at our antics! This was going to be awesome...

Moments before her arrival, everyone was in on the plan, even the kids that never did anything out of line. Thumbs twiddling like the windmills of freedom of expression.

Mrs Maske walked in the door and to the front of the room. The room was silent, except for the daring movements of our posable digits. Her bugged eyes swept the room as she picked up the chalk, preparing to begin the lesson outline on the board. The chalk faltered mid-word.

"I just can't do this," Mrs. Maske declared, turning to face her new oppressors.

We smiled in triumph, snickers breaking out as we anticipated the rant of anger that would be unleashed.

"You all are so quiet and well behaved!" She continued. "I can't let such good attitudes go unrewarded. Instead of class, you can go out to the playground."

Jaws dropped and thumbs halted. She was giving us...an extra recess? Sunshine and fresh air instead of lessons on plant cell division? And she wasn't...angry? Chairs scraped on worn linoleum and shoes scurried for the door before the teacher could realize her mistake.

What I thought would be an eyeball-smoking scene of naughty kids, ended up looking like smiling faces, hands quietly folded on desks, eagerly awaiting new knowledge and an improved future. She never even noticed the thumbs.

Tell me about one of your memorable teachers!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bouncing through the years

Hey, so I have three kids. Sometimes I have to remind myself of that...seems that I keep forgetting one or the other. And we're not just talking about getting their names confused. My mom used to call us by every name (even the dog's) before she got the right one. What I mean is that the Boy had a birthday and I never even mentioned it.

When I was LARGE with child during Boo's 6th birthday, we let Build-A-Bear host it for us. A bit on the pricey side, yes, but so very worth it to a woman giving birth in a few weeks. Since the Boy's birthday was wedged between our Spring Break camping trip and my departure for a cruise, I needed something on the easy side. The Boy began campaigning for a local collection of bounce houses as his dream location. Kangaroo Zoo has always been popular with my kids. They have rooms for parties and offer special packages so I decided it might be worth it. Turns out that the party packages are much cheaper on a weekday and I found a $20 off coupon. That put it within my budget! They even provided custom-made invitations, complete with waivers for parents to sign before the kids could jump.

(And here's where I'm going to rant for just a moment...if your child is invited to a party, please call and RSVP! If your child is invited to a party at Kangaroo Zoo, Build-A-Bear, or another locale where the parents are forking over some serious cash in exchange for your child's entertainment, an RSVP is absolutely mandatory!! While we only had two kids who told me they were coming, we also had one kid that never responded and never showed. Since the party is for a set number of kids, it costs me the same if not all of them are there. So please drop this terrible habit that society has engendered of not responding to an invitation and call the hosts! Okay, rant over... for now...)

The party guest ran around like crazed baboons, jumping, sliding, and bouncing on every inflated surface. There was even a "party host" provided that chased them, taught them games on various structures and showed them the new attraction they recently installed:

Blaster guns! These are air-powered guns that shot foam balls. The goal was to get them in the black net bag in the middle of the room. That was soon abandoned in favor of other targets, such as the party host or the birthday boy. I got in a few good shots, too.

Then we had presents! Each party room has a special throne for the guest of honor. 

And just to make singing "Happy Birthday" a little more fun, I had the kids sing it as loud as they possibly could. The Boy loved that! For another picture (and explanation) of the cake, go to here.

A good time was had by all and the kids were very whiny when it came time to leave, which I always take as a sign of success. Added bonus? No after-party hurricane debris for me to clean up!

Happy (BELATED) Birthday, Boy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

We Want To Know - even if I am a day late

So this was supposed to go up yesterday but I wanted to post Boo's photo instead and since I'm the boss, I get to do what I want. Hmmm...I think I need another piece of fudge before continuing this post...hehehehehe...


Okay, now on to the questions!

{1} If the blogging world had a talent show, what would your act be?

Going days without posting and causing my readers to lose interest. Alright, I'll be serious. I'd have to show off my cakes first. Then maybe I'd regale you with my endless supply of knock-knock jokes.

{2} What's the most likely reason you might become famous?

Honestly, my fame would probably come from having hiccups for ten months straight or being the innocently oblivious bystander that gets hit in the face with the game ball. Really, I'd like to one day be known -- if not famous -- for my published writing, but only if it's the good kind of famous.

{3} What question are you repeatedly asked that you are tired of hearing?

"Are they twins?" I get asked this nearly every time I have Boo and Boy together out in public. And no, they're not twins; they're 2 1/2 years apart. They definitely look like they're closely related because -- and here's the shocker! -- they ARE!

{4} What's the last thing you broke?

A nail. This morning. On my toothbrush. Talented, I know.

{5} Finish this sentence. I can't believe I used to ________.

Line dance. It wasn't just the line dancing but the wearing of tight jeans, boots, and such out in public while performing these atrocities against polite society. The Texas heat can do crazy things to a person.

Answer one of these questions in the comment! (Or make fun or mine...whichever...)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wordful Wednesday: The many uses of the Boppy

Since I'm not exactly "wordless" I decided to change it up a bit.

Did you have a Boppy when you had your baby? You know, those C-shaped pillows that you tucked around you to aid in nursing the baby? They came in pretty handy with all three of my kids. With Baby at the halfway mark between 2 and 3, I haven't needed it for it's intended purpose in quite some time. I've found other uses. When my newborns were required to lay on their tummies, I'd fit the Boppy underneath them so their little faces weren't squashed to the floor. Swaddling them in blankets and tucking them into the curve of the pillow soothed them, also. Then, during the sitting phase, propping the pillow behind them helped them keep their balance...and then provided for a softer spot for them to topple onto.

Surely, the Boppy's usefulness was at an end. That's when I saw a picture of a friend working on her laptop. She had her Boppy on her lap, with her computer perched on top. The pillow protected her legs from the heat (or maybe that's just my computer) and gave her wrists a better angle for typing. So now the Boppy is back in the living room. This means it's also fair game for when the kids get a touch of the sillies.

Boo calls this her Queen Amidala costume. All she needs is white face makeup with red dots on her cheeks.

** The True Colors Swap is accepting participants until Friday! I'd love to have you join in! Email me if you have any concerns or questions. Duckduckcow@gmail.com

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