Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This is the day...

This is the day the teddy bears have their picnic...

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Bucket List

Today my family is doing our "Bucket List" as a joint effort.

One head in the bucket at a time according to the "puke" list. Hence the term "Bucket List" (You thought I was talking about skydiving and wrestling an alligator, huh?)

Seems everyone in the house has the stomach bug at the same time. At least we are learning to share. That means bucket duty, lysol duty, sprite and crackers duty and major laundry duty for Mom. (Yay Me!)

It started yesterday with the 2yo. She made her grand debut in front of my "puke sensitive" dad who had just come over to visit. My parents helped me get everything cleaned up and hung around until my husband (Mr. Reinforcement) showed up to help. Then they were gone faster than an ice cream cone on a 100 degree day. The 2 yo is a fast learner and in no time learned to just sit on the edge of the sink to do "her business" and use the sprayer to clean it up.

3 hours later the 4 yo started. She is the Meryl Streep of The Puking Academy. High pitched screaming, arms flailing, foot stomping and no regard what-so-ever for aiming. She is best suited to be strapped down on a tarp.

30 minutes into the award winning performance of The Pukemeister, the baby started. No fuss was made, just a surprised "Hey, look what I just did...OH...I can finger paint with this"

The husband made some kind of remark about his super immune system and how he hasn't been sick a day since 1991.

Insert Karma, Murphy Law or God just laughing at you.

Now everyone is laid out in the floor and it looks like some kind of cult ritual or hangover party from the day before.

I am prancing around the bodies with cans of Lysol, cups of Sprite for re hydration and a new found respect for triage teams.

Did I mention the baby is also teething?


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dear Reader,

These past couple of weeks have been a doozy and I thank you for sticking with me through it. I am behind on my blogging, guest blogging, commenting and that's not even mentioning the piles of "to do" I have here at home. I am going to have to ask you to be a little bit patient with me again through this week. The female Gray (Mother-in-law, to my newer readers) is having her surgery this week to put a stent in, so I am not sure what may be required of me that will keep me off the computer.

In the past 14 days (give or take) I have:
  • done numerous doctor appts with the female Gray getting her ready for surgery
  • had bronchitis and a sinus infection that had disguised itself at first as an allergy attack.
  • Caught a stomach virus
  • Bitsy popped in two teeth and a new level of insomnia
  • Belly caught the stomach virus
  • officially got my photography business off the ground
  • watched and hurt for the division and fall of a "family"
  • had a massive "hurt" of my own
Did you notice that basic cooking, cleaning and laundry weren't mentioned there...um, yeah...my husband noticed too.

Like I said, I will try to remain as consistent as possible with my posting, blog obligations to others, etc. but if I falter or seem to be MIA; please believe that I am not sitting on the couch and eating bonbons.

Thank you again...

OH...and to that special group of men out there that rocked the house on my Tasteful Selections Recipe Contest...I love each and every one of you (which is probably illegal in most states) and glad that my bacon wooed you.

**edited for massive typos - ACK!

Friday, August 27, 2010

5QF - Vlog

Five Question Friday with Mama M

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Reminder VOTE!!!

Just a reminder to vote for my video entry for the Tasteful Selections Contest. I was not specific before, but you HAVE to be a REGISTERED YouTube user for your vote to count. Tomorrow ends the contest!!!!

Here is the link: Video Entry

Thank you!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Honestly Authentic

The past few weeks I have had the honor of several podcasts and interviews. Most are still in that post-production stage, but here is where I talked with Geek Girl Wife on her podcast. I had a great time talking with her about blogging! She gives a great interview!

One thing that came up time and time again was what advice did I have for other bloggers? The main advice I gave was to be authentic and real. Don't pretend to be someone you are not just to gain a "following" because sooner or later that act will be seen through.

Not long after that interview we had a discussion come up in The Pit concerning what you put online. Whether it is pictures or personal stories, it has been discussed for years...how real is too real?

So how do you be an authentic blogger without being too real?

A blogger is a personality. Yes, whoever is writing is a real person but whatever they are writing is their personality. When you are reading what the blogger wrote, you are reading the work. So look at it as a work environment. How much do you share about yourself in the workplace? You may have pictures of your kids, a collection of clown masks, whatever; but how much of who you really are do you share?

That's my rule of thumb when it comes to my online personality. It is my real authentic personality, but I don't share things online that I don't want to be talked about around the water cooler.

Another thing that I have talked about that ties into this is the "hate" mail. Once you have put yourself out there and especially if you have been authentic; there will be people who don't like you. Some of the biggest mom bloggers out there right now have "hate" sites dedicated to them. Luckily, you and I probably don't have a hate site yet, but we may have run into people who seem intent on destroying us for whatever reason. So how do you handle the "hate"?

Ignore and move on.

Seriously. Have you ever had someone attack you verbally in real life? The more you defend yourself, the more you try to fight...the worse it gets. There is a saying that "if you play with snakes, you are going to be bit" Totally true. The best thing to do is virtually walk away from the fight and move on. You may need to defend something and that is up to you with how far you want to take it. Personally, if you catch me mad...I'll stand toe-to-toe all day; but if I have a chance to think, I'll walk away and wash my hands of it. I learned a long time ago that we should be constantly working on self-improvement. If we have time to tear down someone else, we aren't improving ourselves and those who spend hours, day, etc. plotting the demise of another will never learn how to better themselves.

So my blogger friends...that is my advice. Be authentic in your blogging, be real! Don't put stock in those who let you know they don't like you and never change who you are for anyone. Know that there will always be someone who is bent on destroying you and no matter what you do they will say you did the opposite. Enjoy your online personality and have fun with it, but most of all....just keep blogging!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Friends Vs. Babies - Guest Post

The following is a guest post from the wonderfully brilliant "Freelancerforhire" She has a honest look at motherhood and loves to share her views. I stumbled across her and feel in love with the authentic feel of the way she "talks"

Friends VS. Babies
If the title makes you think of your girlfriends in a wrestling ring pinning toddlers, good. That's often the way my life feels - an endless tug of war. But in a different way than I would have imagined.
I noticed the shift begin to take place soon after I got engaged during college. Where I hadn't a problem "fitting in" and making friends for years, suddenly I felt awkward - like Junior High school all over again. I couldn't figure it out. Did I have "PISS OFF" written on my forehead? My family told me I just needed to "get out there." I tried that. I joined the clubs and organizations, and ate in the student cafeteria. But I was still the odd girl out with no girlfriends to hang out with in my dorm room.
Then my husband and I got married and I got pregnant. That was the final nail in the coffin. Any existing relationships I had before college started to fizzle out. Some started acting strange, some were blatantly hostile, and others stopped returning phone calls. I maintained one relationship from my previous life through the change.
I couldn’t help but wonder, why? I knew I'd changed, but had I changed for the worse? I could understand if a couple people perhaps felt they couldn't relate to my new lifestyle, but all of them? And "all of them" numbers at least 10 significant relationships that bit the dust from engagement to birth (and not-so-significant relationships number in the dozens).
It was the most bizarre and depressing thing. Was I the only one that had experienced this? Is this just a part of motherhood? Maybe it's not the "mom" thing at all, maybe it's just me? I reasoned that some relationships just aren't meant to last forever and maybe this was just for the best. It's not like I had the time to devote to these relationships with a new baby anyway.
That lasted until my little one was a month old. I was craving the company of other women. I joined a few online moms’ groups, and attended a couple playgroups in my neighborhood. My first experiences were not good ones. I was still having trouble meeting women that I clicked with. I stuck out like a sore thumb in these groups. For awhile I stopped going altogether - convinced that the other moms in my neighborhood were stuffy, snooty, hags. I didn't need them. I would do just fine on my own. I didn't have the time anyway. I would just concentrate on my classes and writing.
I was only kidding myself. I wanted friends. The one friend who stuck with me even after engagement - God blesses her - lives in another state. I was lonely. My husband works long hours. It was just me and the baby. And while he's a great guy and all, his vocabulary is still a bit limited for an interested exchange.
I kept wondering why I couldn't just be content with me. Isn't loneliness just a problem being alone after all? When I'm happy with myself then I won’t be lonely and the friends will come. Or at least that's what I read somewhere. Just be content with you. My husband kept wondering why I'm so "needy." He didn't have a problem being alone. Except he was never alone, so how would he know?
Then someone talked to me about humans being created to live in relationships. Think about it - from birth babies crave love and affection - we thrive on it, in one way or another. Nothing was wrong with me for wanting friends. But - was something wrong with me for not being able to make friends? No.
Friendships are just different after marriage and motherhood. It's not the same as the cafeteria in 6th grade when you could just sit next to someone, strike up a conversation with the girl next to you and be best friends forever. As adults I think relationships just become more complicated; the same way your relationship with your husband is way more confusing than the one with your 9th grade boyfriend. There are many more lifestyle factors at play now than when we were in school.
I have one good mommy friend I met online, she lives 5 states away, but we talk on the phone pretty frequently. I have found my "cafeteria" on Twitter chatting up other moms like Crayon Wrangler. And for now I'm fairly okay with that. I think. Maybe.
I blog about writing. It takes my mind off the isolation. You can check it out at www.FreelancerForHire.wordpress.com

Monday, August 23, 2010


10 years ago I couldn't boil water without burning it. Mac & cheese was a gourmet meal.

Oh the times have changed!!!

Today starts the voting round for the Tasteful Selections Potato Recipe Contest. I actually made the finalist round and showed some mad boiling water skills.

Here is how you vote:

Visit this link and show your support by selecting the "LIKE" button.


You can vote once a day so be sure and come back!!!

I really want to win this because the prizes are

  • 1st - $500 Williams Sonoma gift card
  • 2nd - $250 Williams Sonoma gift card
  • 3rd-5th place - $100 Williams Sonoma gift card

Those prizes are cool huh? Bet you wish you could win in don't you? GUESS WHAT?!? YOU CAN!!! Whatever I win, I am putting it back on my blog in a contest for you to win. Thank you for watching my video and voting for me to win!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Some of the photos from the wedding shoot yesterday. I love all the candids!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

5 Question Friday

5 Questions with Mama M at My Little Life

Macro Friday

I hadn't gotten a chance to participate in Macro Friday in a couple of weeks and I MISSED IT!!!!

Here is this week's submission...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Top Twitters Thursday

I did a Best of Twitter where I showcased my funniest tweets. It went over so well that I decided to bring it back for a weekly post to also include some of your tweets that I found funny, inspirational or educational through the week.
  • Dear 4yo, (sniff sniff) are you sure you didn't (sniff sniff) play in Mommy's perfume (sniff sniff) Is that REALLY your final answer?
  • Husband complained the mashed taters were 2 dry at dinner. I poured a cup of water in his plate. Can't figure out why he didn't say thank u.
  • I don't see the glass as half empty or half full. It's just another dang glass to wash and someone probably wants a refill.
  • One more mosquito bite and I will have hit the max. limit of blood donation recommended by the American Red Cross.
  • Why on earth would you ask if I am mad? I am just grateful you only used half a bottle of nail polish on your sister.
  • God invented moms because He was tired of being the only one not listened to.

Your Tweets:

@parenthacks You know what's sexy? Watching your husband sneak up on your unsuspecting kids while holding a full water balloon.


New blog post: Monday Mom Moment - vlog - I give you permission, but don't tell anybody http://bit.ly/aKRdOV


It's true that we don't know what we've got until we lose it, but it's also true that we don't know what we've been missing until it arrives


Sometimes I eat ice cream just as an excuse to eat chocolate syrup.

Since I didn't plan ahead for this post; I can't find a lot of the tweets that cracked me up (Mental note: make notes next week)

Who do you like following on Twitter and what Tweets did you find funny, educational or inspirational?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mommy Milestones Up To Two Years

Just as babies progress through developmental milestones, so do mommies. The following is a comprehensive list of the Standard Mommy Milestones through age 2.

2 weeks -

When a mommy has hit the Functioning Zombie milestone, she has achieved the ability to appear and function totally normal in a half awake/half asleep stage. The mommy can perform basic tasks but months from now she will have no memory of these tasks. This milestone is usually brought on by around 2 weeks of little to no sleep. The shuffling foot movements and drooling is usually a good sign that the milestone has been achieved.

4 months -

Mommy seems to be a bit more rested and at peace with being a mommy. The child the mommy is attending is now social but not mobile, giving mommy a break before the next round of chaos hits. Mommy is this milestone appears to be very happy and may even laughingly talk about another baby, since this "Mommy Business" is so easy.

8 months -

Mommy is probably back to the Zombie movements and has a pamphlet in her purse about birth control. Baby is now putting mommy through the mill with being both mobile and probably beginning to teeth around this time. Mommy is constantly "throat sweeping" the baby, putting cords up high, searching the carpet for pennies, applying Ora-Gel to baby, yanking on her waistband of the pants the baby keeps pulling down and feeling nauseated from the strained pea casserole that she tried before she was going to feed it to the baby.

1 year -

Mommy is past the Zombie movements, but is now caring for a walker/talker. Mommy may have developed an eye twitch and a jumpy nervous condition that comes from hearing "babababababa gagagagagagag" for at least 5 hours straight at any time. She has also perfected the baseball "sliding in the home" movement for catching a toddling child before it falls and pulls over the china cabinet. During this milestone, mommy is sharp and always on her toes. She is ready to move in a moments notice.

2 years -

Mommy can be identified by pulled out hair, gritted teeth and a look that says "I dare you to say anything" These are the moms who are accompanied to all retail areas by a tiny being that is screaming "NOOOOO" and rolling around on the floor. Moms in this milestone appear to have lost all sense of humor and sanity. During this milestone it is very important to never tell the Mommy that it will eventually get better. After a screaming fit about which shoes to wear, what shirt is OK and that they can't have chocolate and marshmallows on their PBJ sandwhich; mommy is not going to believe you that it will ever get better.

What milestones do you feel all moms go through during these years or the next years?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Things "What To Expect" Didn't Teach me

I have heard tales of pregnant women everywhere settling in for another sleepless night with their bowl of peanut butter ice cream, Cheese Whiz and their new copy of "What To Expect When You Are Expecting". I believe the purchase of this book is almost a requirement when a new baby is on the way. It's a book filled with tons of information about all aspects of pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care and newborn baby stuff. At times the information is a little too much and parts of the book can be downright scary. You add your knowledge from that along with what Google can teach you and you shall spend 9 months in paralyzing fear of a twitch that doesn't seem normal and you decided to look it up.

I assume because of the sale of this book was so popular, they have put out others covering infant/child issues. Once again, don't look up a bump on a child's arm and try to diagnose it using the book or Google. Your brain has enough to do without freaking out over a misdiagnosed mosquito bite. There is a book that needs to be written, as some things weren't covered.

Things To Expect When You Were Least Expecting

Chapters in this book will cover the following topics:

  1. Ghostly kid cries. This is when you are working around the house or sleeping and you swear you heard your baby cry. There is no TV or radio on, but you distinctly heard a baby cry. It's possible that it is a possessed doll somewhere in your house that you haven't allowed your child to take in the bathtub to short it out yet, but it happens in doll-less houses as well.
  2. Missing table spoons. This is a common complaint from moms of every age, location and every other demographic. It's not unique; you are not alone. Table spoons will disappear in the house of the young child. About every 3 months you will need to purchase new flatware. Good thing is you can now just purchase the spoons you need separately. Even the flatware departments understand this phenomenon. Don't bother trying to look for them. Trust me as someone who has bought no less than 15 sets of spares in the past 4 years, they are gone. Nothing to recover. (This phenomenon also affects baby/toddler socks. Random disappearances)
  3. Parental speech patterns. Once you become a parent your speech changes. This is difficult to rid yourself of and quite annoying at those dinner parties that your husband has made you attend or any other social event for adults only. You will find yourself announcing your every move out loud and speaking in third party. "Mommy is going to the drink station", "Mommy zipped her dress all by herself" "Mommy will be nice and not yell at that nice man that daddy works with" "Mommy knows you are always nice to others and you never push or bite"
  4. Forgetting the names of those who matter. This is especially true if you have more than one child. You won't remember anyone's name that you meet, but you can list off every character in Yo Gabba Gabba, Thomas the Train or Dora. If you have more than one child, you have a tendency to say everyone's name in the house (including pets) as fast as you can until the child you are talking to recognizes their name and responds.
  5. Kids are weird. No matter how smart Suzy is or how well behaved Johnny is; you can bet your buttons that there are times that they are just plain weird. It's those moments that you cock your head like a dog with a silent whistle and just observe the weirdness. You will self talk about "Is this normal?" You will probably google it and hopefully it led you here to my blog. No doubt about it, kids do some really messed up stuff. It's all part of learning, exploring and entertaining us (which is why we have kids anyways, right?)
What were you not expecting?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Your View

I found this wonderful writing prompt over at Deva Coaching.

I am going to show you a picture of an item and I want to know what "Your View" of that object is. Does it make you think of phrase? Does it conjure an emotion?

What's Your View?

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I saw this giveaway today and was asked the questions:
  • What if you gave yourself permission to really consider that dream?
  • What if it wasn't a pipe dream, but a dream you could begin taking action on?
  • What if you had the right kind of support to make this happen?
It was all based on a wonderful post by Nirvana_Mamma about choosing a career with no worries.So let me tell you about my dream!
(insert dream sequence music here)
I have two passions, two loves and if I could combine them into my ultimate dream job...Oh, how happy I would be.

I love taking photographs of things people pass everyday and just may not notice...

Almost a "stop and smell the roses" mission in photography...

I also love to take pictures of things, pets and people that are loved...

In addition to that I love to write about the things that I see. To not only present you with a visual, but a story behind it and sometimes an analogy.

My dream would be to make a career of the two. To travel to places passed by and capture them.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Five Question Friday

5 Question Friday with Mama M.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Little White Lies

I was reading the new Real Simple Family magazine that came today and found the most hilarious article with reader submissions about what little white lies do you tell your children.

Even though we try to teach our children the importance of honesty, we all have probably slipped out a little white lie in favor of the truth.

Little white lies that I have told:

No, Dora the Explorer does not come on today so we will go outside and play.

You don't want those white cookies, they taste yucky. (actually they are mommy's favorite that she doesn't want to share)

If you pee in the pool it will set off an alarm and everyone will know.

I have a teleconference with Santa today to go over how you are doing this year.

So what little white lie have you told their children?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Butterflies and Moths

Got my new best friend, Nikon D80; a few days ago and went outside to give it a test run.

I'm very happy.

This is why we can't have nice things...

Between having kids, dogs and Murphy Law there is no way that we can ever have nice things.

These are not my kids. My kids would be dead or at least military school. This is from Google Images.

I have learned many lessons about this type of thing with my kids.
  1. A toilet bowl will effectively flush up to 16 squares of double-ply before running over into the floor.
  2. A plastic Wonder Pet is equal to 17 squares of double-ply.
  3. A couch cushion will temporarily hide a nasty pull-up from a mother who thought potty training was almost over.
  4. Sitting on couch cushion will squish the pull-up like a mustard packet.
  5. A ziplock baggie full of plastic toys is a rare treasure that must be hidden from siblings
  6. A 2 year old thinks that a cold oven is the best place to hide the treasure.
  7. A mother must learn to check the oven for treasures before preheating to 450.
  8. Plastic figurines will melt at 250 and will become dripping molten lava at 450.
  9. If you choose to purchase a 25lb of flour and 25lb of sugar make sure they can be locked up and away from kids.
  10. 50lbs of dry goods will fill up 3.5 vacuum bags.
  11. Dawn dish washing liquid makes excellent bubbles for a bubble bath.
  12. Small children understand the mechanics of turning a faucet on but not off.
  13. An upstairs sink is the best place to try out "The Great Fountain and River of Bubbles 2010"
  14. Peanut butter, honey and jelly should all have child proof tops like prescription drugs.
  15. Spoons magically disappear from the drawer.
  16. Dogs like the taste of plastic blocks, Little People and paper towels
  17. A paper towel roll showed by a dog will actually spread evenly over 2500 square feet.
Why can't you have nice things??

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Beauty or Beast

We had a guest show up today, that after some inquiring; has become a member of our family. I want you to meet "Tick" She got her name from Buzz who apparently heard me over and over again mumbling about all the ticks I was trying to get off of her. Buzz has taken to her immediately and her humble spirit has won even The Head Wrangler over.

She has got to be the ugliest dog I have ever seen. Her legs are so short and bowed that her belly almost doesn't clear the ground. She is probably about 3.5 feet long and only 1 foot high. Her tail is bent sideways, her nose appears to be crooked and that's just the start of the funny things that make Tick unique.

There is a lesson in this adoption though. No matter what your inadequacies may be, funny appearance, etc. there is someone out there who will accept you and love you just the way you are. The key is to keep looking for that person and be humble when they do accept you. Don't doubt your place in their heart. So whether you are Beauty or a Beast your chance at love is equal.

Humor In Blogs

I have two quotes that I live by.

"A day without laughter is a day wasted." - Charlie Chaplin

"If you can't laugh at it, you can't live with it" - personal quote

I read from my BlogFrog buddy Holly that she was sitting in the BlogHer10 (still bitter about not going) conference watching the "Humor Panel". I sent her a message mumbling about the fact that I miss all the good stuff. She sent one back saying I should be on it next year. That got the old, rusty cogwheels turning; I should be on it next year. (Told you I had a sense of humor) I will be on it next year. (Power of positive thinking towards getting on the panel next year) I can do humor. Frugal living, coupon clipping, finding the best way to whiten my fingernails or current events are not my strongest points. Laughing, however; is something I do every day.

Humor is something that I try to introduce daily on my blog, but sometimes there are things that are no laughing matter. In order to be successful as a humor blog, you have to know the limits and your own personal style. So I am going to talk about the different styles of humor and the rules of humor on a blog.


  • Knock Knock Humor - You love sharing jokes, videos or pictures. This is the best kind of humor for a blog that everyone appreciates. There is no misreading or misinterpreting intentions.
  • Hit and Run Humor - You deliver most of your punches in one line. This kind of humor is great for interjecting throughout your blog, but works best for Twitter and FB (notice I don't mention MySpace because if you are there, it's not funny)
  • Out Of Breath Humor - These are the long winded stories or jokes that take a long time to set up. This can work for a blog if your writing skills can keep propelling your reader from the beginning to the end. This one is a little more tricky and I would suggest you never hit publish right away on these posts. Save it for a day or two, reread and make sure it makes sense and no part of it can be misread.

  • Everything is fair game in the humor field as long as it is presented as entertainment and not a rant.
  • Never make fun of a person (especially true about family members!) You can make fun of their actions, but stay away from what might be misread as a personal attack.
  • Understand and accept the fact that everything you write may not be funny.
  • Stop TRYING to be funny, you either are or you are not.
  • Always have fresh stuff. It's not often a person will truly laugh at the same thing twice. (That second laugh was just being polite)
  • Shock value or crudeness does not equal funny.
Now that you know my personal opinions on styles and rules, what do you think makes a truly successful humor blog?

I am also looking for sponsors to the next BlogHer11 conference and Bloggy Boot Camp conferences so help me out!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Guest - Kari from The Dating Divas

Today I have a guest post from Kari and The Dating Divas. I am super excited to have her write over here, because I think the world of their site and what they are teaching us married people about love, dating our spouse and having fun!!!

Hello everyone! I am super excited to be guest blogging here at the Crayon Wrangler!! My name is Kari and I have been married to a handsome Basque stud for 7 years now. I absolutely adore my husband, but as the years have gone by I have also realized that I am getting less and less invested in making our dating life fun and exciting. We would definitely be considered as the "dinner and a movie" kind of a couple. Not that we don't enjoy having fun together, but it definitely gets harder to put in the effort of thinking up a fresh date idea when you have so many responsibilities coming down on your shoulders. I felt like we were doing good if we got in dinner and a movie date a couple times a month! (Sad, I know!) So when my good friend, Tara, decided to start up this amazing dating blog - I was all in! I knew this would be a great motivator for me to get out of my dating rut and I have to say that it has drastically changed how my husband and I spend our dating time together. In fact, in all honesty, I would say that it has drastically changed how we communicate with each other on a day-to-day basis. The spark is definitely back in my marriage and I am loving it!

A little about us Dahling girls'...The Dating Divas is a 12-member blogging team that love to date our husbands and have a lot of fun coming up with original, inexpensive and fun dating ideas to do just that. We love what we do and it shows! We have fun creating new dating ideas, crafts, giving marriage tips, ideas for holidays, and SO MUCH MORE! We enjoy dating our hubby's so much that we want to share our ideas with YOU. We love to show him the love!

We know that life can get pretty crazy once you get passed the "honeymoon" stage. We've all been there. It seems that life can take over pretty quickly and get in the way of the most important relationship of all..your marriage! Between careers, kids, church responsibilities, family and friends, home projects and everything else that seems to get in the way, it is hard to take the time to really DATE your spouse. I recently posted an Adventurous Amore date that involved camping out in our backyard. Sometimes it is really hard to find a babysitter or to make your date inexpensive. My date is really centered around the kids being involved for part of it (before bedtime) and also being super inexpensive. I brought back a few of our dating memories and even included a Kiss-a-thon game.

If you aren't in the mood for a camp out, there are plenty of other Adventurous Amore dates for you to try out! Like Lisa P.'s Surprise Date that involves a spinning wheel and miniature golf or Wendy's Spring Olympics which is sure to give you and your honey a good laugh! We have plenty of great date ideas ranging from Kiirsten's ol' Hijack & Kidnap Date (if you really want to give him a good surprise!) to Kristen's Discover a New Town Together Date.

I truly hope that each of you will take a moment to check out our blog. We are full of fun ideas to make dating your spouse exciting and fulfilling. We are all a part of this blog, The Dating Divas, to make your marriage get better and better as the years go by.

Happy Dating!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Finishing Writing A Novel - A Novel Idea

This post is at the request of a friend Nirvana Mamma, who is just the coolest person ever. She has a passion for writing and had some questions about finishing a novel that you have written. So, lady...this post is for you.

Writing, Finishing and Publishing A Book (Fiction)

So you have an idea for a book and want to put pen to paper. More accurately, you are probably going to type it since we have moved into the computer generation and forgotten what the #2 symbolizes on the yellow stick. The first stage of writing is to actually have a story in your head complete with characters and plot. Often times I have a character that I really like and I work a plot around the character. If you have ever written a fiction book you know that your characters really have a life of their own and a story that is their to tell. (If you have never written a fiction book, that sounds downright creepy)

It's best to write down everything about your character first. Age, location, personality, family member, etc. Get to really know your character before you start working on the plot. Sometimes the plot you think will work for your character, doesn't work at all in the end. If while writing you feel your character going in another direction, go with it. Always finish every plot line that comes to you. This can always be another book later that you can go back to. Some things I always consider when giving my character their story:

  • their purpose
  • conflict
  • resolution
  • torture (sometimes I torture my character for the sake of seeing them pull through it)
  • Character growth
  • cause/effect (what does my character's choice do to those around them)

Now you are writing your character's story. Once you are writing in this manner, you will find that your story just starts flowing. This is where writers become famous for late nights, lots of coffee and a jittery personality. Night after night your character's story starts growing and "fleshing" out. You will find yourself starting dinner only to have a wonderful idea and go back to the keyboard for more. Your family will probably begin to dislike you at this point, but its all going to be worth it in the end.

So you are coming to the end of your character's story and you think now what? Often times you have put so much into getting to know your character that it is almost sad to see it end, but it needs to. Unless of course you are going for the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest book ever written. You have resolved all the conflicts and its time for your character to ride into the sunset. Let it go peacefully. As I mentioned before, if there was another storyline for your character; feel free to write a sequel or another behind the scenes storyline.

So you just typed "The End" and now what? There are so many options now for publishing that range from almost free to high end marketing/publishing. I'm not going to give you a suggestion here, because it is going to be at your preference and budget. The biggest thing is that you have breathed life into this character and story. This is an accomplishment in itself. Bravo!!!

If you have any questions about writing/publishing a book; feel free to ask. I am in no way an expert, but we can always find the answer together.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Get Your Own!!!

An opinion is a subjective statement or thought on an issue based on perspective, beliefs, desires and understanding that is a result of emotion or interpretation of fact.

So why do we ask someone else for their opinion on our opinion?

Although an opinion can be changed with an introduction to new facts presented, does it really change our base opinion?

If I buy a pink dress that I really like and feel like it looks good on me, why would I ask my husband for his opinion? If I am the one that likes it and it makes me feel good, does his opinion really matter?

If he tells me it makes me look just like Ms. Piggy and I take it back, is it because he changed my opinion or because my opinion wasn't that strong to start with; it was wavering?

As women our opinions fluctuate with this little thing called "peer acceptance". Our opinions are not really our own, but rather based on what we feel others think about it. This is especially true in the areas of fashion, relationships and self-worth. It takes someone who has a unwavering opinion to set the precedent for what is "normal" in these areas. Someone decides that the "little black dress" is the must have and millions of women adopt that opinion as their own because it is a "proved and safe" opinion to have. You feel as though you will not be judged for wearing that "little black dress" because someone else said it was OK.

What do you think? Are your opinions your own or are they influenced by others?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

On My Soap Box

That’s right, I am on my soapbox and I am going to talk about violence in today's society.

It all (to me) boils down to one word: responsibility.

Responsibility? Why that is a weird choice of word, isn’t it?

It branches off to so many different aspects of the way today’s society is going though. It falls on these people’s shoulders and it is being shrugged off as we have become a nation of excuses and passing the buck.

  • Parents – “I don’t have the time to teach my children right and wrong, the schools will do that”
  • Educators – “We can’t teach children right and wrong without mentioning God and morals, the government has to tell us how to teach them.
  • Government – “We must show diversity, sensitivity and tolerance above all else, it is up to the individual to educate themselves. We will let the media show them the truth.”
  • Media – “It’s all about the ratings, shock and sensationalism, what will attract the viewers?”
  • Child – “watches the “truth“”

The responsibility of guiding morals has been shirked. Add to that a relaxed system of justice, entertainment industry that counts its dollars on every drop of special effects blood and it is no wonder that our society has become so violent.

Instead of Pac-Man, we have video games that gives you points on how many innocent people you kill or steal from.

Instead of “Andy Griffith”, we have “The Shield” where beatings and torture are OK as long as it is justified.

Instead of that horrible teeny bopper music of chewing bubble gum, we have songs about killing cops and beating up women.

Criminals are no longer held accountable for their actions, they need not fear the lynching mobs of old…there are 3 meals waiting for them and someone who will try to reassure the public that they are reformed.

Crimes can be easily committed because law enforcement is stretched thin and generally makes reports instead of preventing. Also because the officers who do want to prevent acts are held back by someone’s delicate rights.

Domestic abuse is put on the back burner until there is an actual documented incident.

Family is becoming a non-existent term as we are allowed to chose whether or not we want the child that was conceived and walk in and out of marriages that are just too much work.

Yet, we sit and wonder why the headlines are so full of violence and devastation.

As parents we have the ability to instill the moral values in our children that will prevent them from following in the bloody footsteps that our society has deemed to be commonplace and unavoidable. Mayberry was onto something…

Barney Fife: Well, today’s eight-year-olds are tomorrow’s teenagers. I say this calls for action and now. Nip it in the bud. First sign of youngsters going wrong, you’ve got to nip it in the bud.
Andy Taylor: I’m going to have a talk with them. What else do you want me to do?
Barney Fife: Well, don’t just mollycoddle them.
Andy Taylor: I won’t.
Barney Fife: Nip it. You go read any book you ant on the subject of child discipline and you’ll find every one of them is in favor of bud-nipping.

Nip it in the bud. Stop it before it starts. Put your foot down and say “Heck NO! Not in my house, not in my family!” Do not trust someone else to teach your children what is right and wrong, look at the blaring voices from the T.V. and listen to what they are trying to convince us. Do not allow those video games and violent movies. It does not have to be this way, it is up to the consensus of your “Round Table” (kitchen table) of how you are going to raise your children and what you are going to teach them is normal and acceptable behavior. Take the responsibility to make a change. No, we can’t change the world and the headlines tomorrow will not be about hearts and butterflies, but we can make a difference in our own house. In that difference, you are showing your neighbors, co-workers, family and friends that it is no longer accepted or approved. Perhaps a chain reaction will start occurring? Perhaps Obama will have to reverse his statement about this no longer being a Nation of Christians? Perhaps good and wholesome will become fashionable again?

Until that day, do not get discouraged about the headlines. Look at it as an opportunity to renew your faith and trust in God, instill those morals in your children as well and have a conversation over the water cooler/checkout line/etc. about how “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Frying an Egg on Pavement - Truth or Fiction?

Country Picnik

B & W Wednesday

Growing Up
Leaving a friend behind, but knowing he will be waiting for you when you need him again.

This photo was submitted to Long Road To China

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Getting Kids To Listen

Please pick up your toys, my darling child.

Pick up your toys, please.

Hey you! Pick up these toys NOW!


Getting kids to listen to you is like being a one armed wallpaper hanger. It can be done, but its darn near impossible. The funny thing is that your kids are listening to you. Ever slipped out a "naughty word" and thought nobody heard you? Yup, that's getting repeated at church next week. Ever mentioned that you are thinking about making cookies? Yessire, you are going to hear that repeated to you for the next 6 hours in 45 seconds intervals. So see, they ARE listening to you. Children are equipped with selective hearing though. It has a neat little filter that catches phrases that are directing them to do something "Not Fun" and tossing it in the brain garbage.

So, how do you talk so kids will listen?

Make listening fun! It bypasses that little filter and you have effectively tricked your child into listening to you.

Ways to make listening and following directions fun:

  1. Talk in a whisper like its a secret. Kids find listening to secrets incredibly fun!
  2. Make the chore a game. "Race mommy to pick up the most toys" Turn on the radio and challenge them to see how much they can get done before the song is over.
  3. Give options instead of demands. Instead of "Brush your teeth or else..." try saying "Do you want to brush your teeth first or put on your pajamas?" Giving kids choices helps them do what you want, but they believe it was their idea.
What are some ways you get your kids to listen?

Monday, August 2, 2010

I've collected the whole set

The next challenge on the 31 Days To Build A Better Blog was to find a blog buddy. Because I believe there is more strength in numbers, I have built a team. An indestructible force. I have always loved working with other bloggers! It's kind of like we speak the same language, love the same thing; so why on earth not work together?

*Disclaimer: Despite what you may have heard; none of these bloggers are being held against their will. Just ignore the screams that you might hear. It's a TV program I have on. I swear!

I want you to meet my new BBFFs (that's super duper secret code for "Bloggy Best Friends Forever") Each one of these bloggers will be doing a guest post for me real soon. (Oh yeah BBFFs I forgot to warn you of that part! Better get crackin'!)

In no particular order

Twitter handle: @Wishfulme

Her blog is "Start Dreaming" That link will land you on her "About Me" page.

Twitter handle: @spitfireworld

You know...I am not going to bother with giving you all of the links to her blogs. Yes, I said blogS. The girls has 6 of them. Overachievers make me feel bad!

Twitter handle: @Mofthesea

This link right here...I mean HERE...NOPE HERE will take you to a confessional page for moms. We've all done something not so stellar and consumed way too much chocolate because of the guilt. This gives us a chance to unload it anonymously for everyone to read.

Twitter handle: @gnomeangel

Her "About Me" page is wonderfully written and I feel as though she is an old friend, even though she is brand new to me. Oh...and her photographs...to. die. for.

Twitter handle: @thefunsucker

This lady is crazy funny!! Check out her "About Me" page. She is a newbie to me too, but she keeps me laughing!

Last but not least...

I almost didn't include her, because I was nervous to approach her (kidnap her...whatever) about being in my baseme...I mean, being my BBFF. She's like the Twitter goddess and ringleader of #31dbbb. She has a wealth of info for blogger on her blog (HERE) and even has a giveaway going on for blog designs! Go check her out...just remember to bow in her presence and kiss her baby!
Now that you have met my "posse'" You will be seeing a lot more of them as we continue to...


Best Of Twitter

I am really loving the list posts from the 31dbbb challenge. They are fun, easy and organized. So I thought I would bring you a "Best Of" list from my updates on Twitter in case you missed them.

  • I have just been told that "No. Mermaids cant get out of the bath because they have no feet." Guess my kids have never seen a harpoon...

  • If I had dreamed of being a short order cook when I grew up; I would be living a dream right now.

  • Why wait for Calgon to take me away, when Southwest Airlines could do a much better job...

  • Dear God, If I have been plucking the same eyebrow hairs for the past 15 years, can't you just "poof" them from existence? Much obliged.

  • I am officially the High Priestess of Botanical. I have sacrificed many houseplants.

  • Don't buy the fresh squash in my local grocery store...the 2 yo was licking them. #fail#parenting

  • Just changed all the presets in my husband's truck #evilwifelaugh

  • How did they know I was hiding in the closet eating a brownie? HOW?!?

  • Just cleaned out the freezer and organized. Give that girl a Klondike bar...never mind, found one.

  • My 2 yo is showing amazing creativity skills...I would have never thought to use peanut butter for body paint and the floor for a canvas.

  • Domestic Bliss...About as easy to find as a leprechaun or unicorn.

  • Thank you for pointing out my infant screaming...I really couldnt hear her with the bleeding eardrums and all.

  • Dear Self, telling the two year old that her fish fillet is Nemo...not smart, not smart at all...

  • Having to be out in this cold is violating my basic human right of "pursuit of happiness" Going to sue global warming...

  • Just gave both girls a horsie-back ride at the same time. Horses are under-appreciated.

  • Today is brought to you by the letter "C" and the number 12. Crazy starts with "C" and I will be there in 12 seconds...

  • Dear Child, Do not eat bars of soap or crayons. They have no nutritional value and other kids are going to point and laugh at you. Love, Mom

  • I dont know who she is, but if that "Mom" woman that the kids keep screaming for doesnt show up and cook dinner...we are all up a creek.

  • Dont you hate when you put something down and cant remember where it is....until it cries?

  • Garbage bag contents...meet floor. Floor...meet mop. Wet floor...meet dog feet. Dog...meet mad woman.

  • Dear Dog, Those who dont wear pants and dont wipe are not welcome on my couch or bed. Bad boy...bad boy.

  • Dear Self...undereye dark circle concealer. Use it...liberally. Tomorrow we need to talk about those laugh lines.

  • Dear makers of Tylenol, Toddler dart gun dosing applicator...just saying...

  • Dear XM radio, your kids station is awesome, but one more 80s pop song sung by helium huffing chipmunks and I will get my rifle.

  • Dear 2 yr old, Screaming and throwing your toys at me...not wise, baby girl. Can you spell "disinherited" Love, Mom

  • just got done clearing the kids leftover pancakes from breakfast...with my fork.

  • Aint it cool how a 4 yo knnecap fits perfectly into your eye socket? Thanks for the black eye baby girl...this is going on your record.

  • The oldest just helped herself to grahmn crackers and fudge icing while I was busy with Bitsy. I sent her back to get me some.

  • I dont know why I dreaded taking all 3 to the doctor. Once the kicking, screaming and biting stopped; it was just fine.

  • dear husband: please do not leave my van on empty or I shall leave your stomach the same way. Thanks, Your loving wife.

  • Dear Unborn Child: Your living quarter rights are hereby revoked. Please use the nearest exit and evacuate in a timely manner.

  • Nothing says good morning like busting a bag of trash on the carpet. Force Flex, you have failed me. Resolve Foam, we are still good!


Related Posts with Thumbnails