Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop - ...And Then I Panicked.

Mama's Losin' It

I'm a big fan of Mama Kat over at Mama's Losin' It! Each week she hosts a writer's workshop where she provides several prompts that help inspire you and make you think about something to write. To participate in the assignment, you can choose one or more of the prompts and use them to create a piece on your blog. Then, link up to share your piece on her site. This is my first time participating. The prompt I chose for this week is:

...And then I panicked.

When I was younger, my mom was really into sewing and craft-making. For a short period (during my tween years), she participated in a lot of craft fairs where she would go and set up a booth to sell her goods. My best friend, Anna, and I thought this was just the greatest because it meant one thing to us...we got to tag along and run around the craft fair scouting for cute boys. "Are there really that many cute boys at craft fairs?" you ask. The answer is yes. Because most of these craft fairs we went to were held in parks or on school/college campuses, we actually got to see quite a few cute boys. Anyway, one fair in particular stands out in my mind. It was being held at our local community college campus. Anna and I strolled around, checking things out. When we spotted the older brother of a boy we knew, we quickly began our pursuit. He was a high-schooler and we just wanted to quietly follow him and observe his hotness. It was all very harmless. Well, it started out to be very harmless. Now, I have to fill you in on my friend Anna before I go any further. Anna was always outgoing and brave. She wasn't a bit shy when it came to meeting boys. Me? I was content to slink around the corners and just watch. But, not Anna. So, on this day, she decided she was not just going to follow this boy and watch him. She was going to get even closer. Close enough to talk to him. I was so impressed with her brazen attitude. I was also a little scared; I mean, she was going to walk up to a high-school boy and talk to him! I stayed behind a bit, watching her do her thing. She met up with him near the doorway to the main campus building. She said something to him (to this day I don't know what they talked about). It seemed to be going well. As their conversation ended, she nonchalantly leaned against the wall as he walked away. Wow! She really did it. She talked to him. Then, suddenly I was startled by the blaring sound of a fire alarm. Anna, had accidentally leaned against the fire alarm on the wall, setting it off. She was quite shocked and her first instinct was to run...and then I panicked! Since Anna had taken off, I was the only person in the nearby vicinity of the fire alarm. I didn't know what to do. Our cute high-school boy totally threw us under the bus and yelled from across the room, "they did it!" Seriously? It was an accident but I knew I had to find somebody and come clean. By now, several minutes had passed and as I looked for some official person to confess to, the fire department began showing up. Man, they were quick. Finally, I was able to find a campus worker and let them know it was an accident that "my friend" had pulled the fire alarm. She didn't believe it for a second and gave me a good scolding. After the fiasco was finally over, I met up with Anna and we headed back out to the craft fair area. My mom asked, "what was all that commotion going on?" and "did I see a fire truck?"... I told her I didn't have a clue what was going on but "I think somebody accidentally set off the fire alarm."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

GIVEAWAY WINNER - $10 Starbucks Gift Card

Thanks to those of you who voted in my tagline poll. I appreciate your input in trying to help me choose a tagline for my blog. As a token of thanks, I'm going to give one random commenter a $10 Starbucks gift card...

The gift card goes to:  The Social Frog

True Random Number Generator


I will email the winner shortly. Thanks again to everyone for voting.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Movie Trailer Tuesday - My One And Only

This is a real gem of a movie! Part comedy, part drama, it tells the story of Anne Devereaux's (Renée Zellweger) cross-country adventure with her teenage sons, George and Robbie. After leaving her philandering husband (Kevin Bacon), she sets out to find a new husband and father for her boys. It's an adventure with plenty of twists and turns.

I loved everything about this movie. And, in the end, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the identity of her son, George.

Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chicken Soup for the Soul - A Book of Miracles

I'm a big fan of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. They are always full of uplifting stories. I especially like that these collections of short stories are something that I can pick up and read anytime I have a few extra minutes. The Chicken Soup books never fail to entertain - they make me laugh and cry and fill me with inspiration.

One of the latest in the series is called Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Book of Miracles. It contains 101 true stories of healing, faith, divine intervention, and answered prayers. Among these, you will read about:

*Warren Holland, who prayed intensely as his US Air flight landed safely in the Hudson River

*Kathleen Kardon, whose children were miraculously rescued from her submerged car by a mysterious man who immediately disappeared

*Kimberly McLagan, who put herself in God's hands after seven years of infertility and then had four children.

This is yet another great book from the Chicken Soul series. It's a wonderful book to read and to share. I'm giving a copy to my sister for her birthday next month. I know she will love it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chosen Child - Adoption Auction

I wanted to let you know about a benefit auction that will be going on Nov. 4-7, 2010. It's being hosted by Worthy of the Prize and proceeds will benefit adoption families. Do some Christmas shopping or even shop for yourself and at the same time you will be helping families who are trying to bring a precious child into their lives. It's sure to be a fun and worthwhile event!

Visit Worthy of the Prize for more details.

Aloha Friday - What's Your Ride?

Don't forget to vote in my blog poll - one random voter/commenter will win a $10 Starbucks gift card

Welcome to this week’s edition of Aloha Friday, hosted by Kailani over at An Island Life. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day to take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So, on Fridays we can take it easy on blog posting, too.

I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer - nothing that requires a lengthy response. If you’d like to participate, visit An Island Life where you can link up with your own question and also visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

What kind of vehicle do you drive?

I drive a 2004 Chevy Tahoe. We're a family of six, so we need lots of seating. I love it because it can seat up to nine people but it doesn't feel overly big to drive. It also has four-wheel drive, which comes in handy when we have snow.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Girls Trip - Franklin Tennessee

Over the summer, I took a weekend girl's trip with my mom and sister. We went to Franklin, Tennessee, which is just 20 miles south of downtown Nashville. This beautiful suburb of Nashville offers a charming historic downtown district that's full of antique shops, gift boutiques, and restaurants. You can visit historic battlefields or just enjoy strolling down main street taking in the shopping and sights. One of our favorite finds was a restaurant called Merridee's Breadbasket. We had lunch there both days of our trip. The busy, bustling atmosphere was a lot of fun and the food was delicious. Their pimento cheese sandwiches were one of the best things I've ever tasted!

There's also premier shopping at Cool Springs Galleria, a shopping mall that features over 150 stores. This is a great mall; my 14 year old daughter would absolutely love it. I'm actually hoping to take her there for some Christmas shopping later this year.

Here are some photos I snapped as we were walking around downtown in the historic district...

This church is really beautiful

One of the quaint little antique shops...

This was a cool piece of furniture I saw in one of the gift boutiques...

Another shopping find - a neat corkboard that was made out of a vintage window frame...aren't the fabric yo-yo's fun!

This was truly a wonderful trip and we had a blast! If you are looking for a unique place to visit that's hip and historic, I highly recommend Franklin, TN. It was even named in the top ten list of Southern Living's "Best Small Towns."

For more information, visit
You can also keep up with them on twitter @visitfranklin

This is not a sponsored post...just me telling you a little bit about a great place that I recently visited.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Treasured Possession - Antique Bow Front China Cabinet

One of my most treasured possessions is this antique bow front china cabinet that was passed down to me from my grandmother. And, when I say passed down to me, I mean passed down to me full of her collection of depression glass dishes and other glassware. For as far back as I can remember, she had this china cabinet in her house and I always loved it.

I've added some pieces of my own over the years. Here's a vintage milk glass punchbowl set that I found on ebay. Isn't it so cute! And, the reproduction Little Red Riding Hood cookie jar (above) was a gift from my sister.

Last week, I decided it was time to do some cleaning and rearranging of the contents of the china cabinet. I have some colorful old dishes that had belonged to my husband's grandmother. Since I didn't have the extra storage or display space for them, they have been boxed up in my basement for several years. I decided to get them out and place them in my china cabinet for awhile to brighten things up a bit. Here they are...I don't know anything about them. There are no names or markings whatsoever on these dishes. They are fairly lightweight and thin; I'm sure they were something inexpensive for their time. But, I sure would love to know what they are called so that I could look for a few more pieces. They are so pretty and colorful!

So, here's the china cabinet after the cleaning and addition of the colorful dishes. Nice and cheery and bright!



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Movie Trailer Tuesday - Remember Me

Don't forget to vote in my tagline poll - one random voter/commenter will win a $10 Starbucks gift card

I am a Robert Pattinson fan. While I remember seeing previews and hearing about this movie, for some reason, I didn't know anything about the premise of the story and I wasn't really eager to see it. I finally rented it on Netflix recently and wow! I wish I wouldn't have waited so long. As I mentioned, I didn't know anything at all about the storyline and I won't give anything away in case you are in the same situation. It was a touching story - Rob was beautiful as a somewhat tortured and lost young man. His relationship with his little sister was especially moving. As I got into the movie, I thought I knew what was going to happen. But I was wrong. I had no idea and never saw that ending coming.

Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, language and smoking

Monday, September 20, 2010

Help Me Choose A Tagline For My Blog (Poll With Giveaway)

I think taglines are such a fun and important part of your blog. And, yet, I don't have one. Taglines give an instant first impression to someone who has landed on your site. They might even make the visitor decide whether he/she wants to stick around and read more. Although I've devoted time and effort to thinking up a creative tagline for my blog, I just haven't been able to come up with something that I really love. And I have to really love it. My blog isn't focused on one main thing. I know they ("they" meaning the social media experts) say you should "define your brand" or "choose your niche" (do they really say that? I don't know but it sounds like something they would say). But, for me, blogging isn't about any one specific thing. It's about whatever thoughts or issues might be going on with me or my family at the time. Or, maybe it's about the great book I just read. Or, the cool new beauty product I just bought. Maybe I'll share a useful website that I found. I might even tell you about some silly thing my dog did. It's very personal to me. Parenting, family life, movies, books, shopping, product reviews, giveaways - these are all things you might find me yapping about on my blog. So, I want a tagline that expresses all that. In two short clever lines or less.

Below are a few ideas that I've come up with. A couple of them are kinda-sorta growing on me. But I'm not sure. Let me know which is your favorite. If they all sound lame, you can tell me that, too. Or, if you can think of something better, I would love your suggestions. Vote for your favorite in my sidebar poll then leave a comment to let me know you voted (comment can simply say "I voted" or you can offer other tagline suggestions, etc).  To show my appreciation for your help, how about a $10 Starbucks Gift Card for one random commenter...I'll close the giveaway at noon EST on September 28, 2010. Giveaway only available to U.S. residents.  Thanks for your help!

1) Mom-Blurbs from the Suburbs

2) * my {almost} always enlightening mom-chatter *

3) Reflections from my little corner of suburbia...I may not always know what I'm doing, but I'm always happy to be here. 

4) * mom-talk plus lots more *

5) a mom's blog about * family life * kids * movies * books * product reviews * giveaways * etc, etc, etc

6) a mom's blog that is * enlightening * random * thoughtful *

7) let's discuss... * family life * parenting * movies * books * product reviews * giveaways * life in general

8) * conversations with a down-to-earth mom *

9) Welcome to my mom-blog...a place to discuss * family life * parenting * movies * books * product reviews * giveaways * life in general

Friday, September 17, 2010

Experience American History with Mission US (a FREE Resource for Students)

Teens and tweens across the country will soon experience American history as never before! Mission US will feature a series of free online games that will “revolutionize” the way social studies learning takes place in classrooms and homes throughout the United States. On September 21, 2010, THIRTEEN (New York Public Media) will launch the first game mission, “For Crown or Colony?,” which focuses on events leading up to the American Revolution. The game, together with a rich variety of supplemental resources for students and teachers, will be available for streaming and download at This groundbreaking initiative is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with additional support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Mission US comes at the right time, as statistics from the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, “The Nation’s Report Card,” show that only 17% of eighth graders perform at or above the proficient level in American history.  The situation is even more dire for underserved students.  Mission US aims to stem the tide by reaching today’s tech-savvy kids where they “live,” inviting them to be “players” during pivotal eras in the country’s past.  The content helps students understand and appreciate multiple perspectives and gain a more nuanced view of history.  “For Crown or Colony?” provides kids with insight into the mindsets of both Patriots and Loyalists.

In addition to traveling through the past with your kids via Mission US, here are some tips on how to have fun and learn about history together at the same time:

* Make a movie!  Work with your kids to create videos about history in their lives - for example, their hometown or family history - and share them online at

* Get cooking!  Visit the library and find books about colonial (or even Civil War) cooking and get a real "taste" of history by trying out an authentic recipe or two.

* Learn about history first hand!  Have kids interview senior citizens in your town to learn about how they've lived through important eras of our country's past.

* Go explore!  Check out the historical sites in your area. You can look for information at your local visitors' center or do some digging online.

* Plant a family tree!  Map your own family history with your kids, going back as far as possible. Figure out how your own story intersects with American history.

Play Mission US online - a revolutionary way to learn history. To learn more, visit

This post was written for Mission US in conjunction with Grand Communications. They provided information used for this post. No compensation was received.

Aloha Friday - Sandwiches

Welcome to this week’s edition of Aloha Friday. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day to take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So, on Fridays we can take it easy on blog posting, too.

I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response. If you’d like to participate, visit An Island Life where you can link up with your own question and also visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

What's your favorite kind of sandwich?

My faves...
If I'm eating at home, I will always choose a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If I'm eating out at a restaurant, my favorite is a reuben sandwich.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

10 Things That Make Me Happy

We could all use a little more "happy" in our lives! Here's 10 things that have been making me happy lately:

1.  Hubby cleaning out the garage so that I have room to park my vehicle

2.  Cheese Curds from Culver's Restaurant. Yum!

3.  The upcoming fall TV season - I love that my favorite shows are finally returning. Can't wait to watch Parenthood, Survivor, and Grey's Anatomy.

4.  Candles from The Candleberry Co. My favorite right now is Cinnamon Broomstick, but they have lots of  scents to choose from. The Hot Maple Toddy and Kentucky Bourbon are also great. I have never found any other candles that are so highly scented - they truly make my entire house smell fabulous.

5.  Going to Starbucks for a tall Caramel Apple Spice

6.  Shopping for cool-weather clothes

7.  Sitting with my daughter and listening to her talk about school and boys

8.  The scent of Burt's Bees Naturally Nourishing Milk & Honey Body Lotion. I applied some of the lotion to my hands and arms yesterday right before leaving the house. About thirty minutes later, we stopped at Quiznos for lunch. The girl behind the counter smiled and said "whatever perfume you are wearing smells awesome" - it was the lotion! It smells so good and makes my skin feel great.

9.  Redbox

10. Working on redecorating my daughter's room (pictures coming soon)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Movie Trailer Tuesday - Frozen River

From Netflix:
On a Mohawk reservation on the Canadian border, Ray Eddy (Melissa Leo, in an Oscar-nominated turn) teams with widowed tribe member Lila Littlewolf (Misty Upham) to smuggle illegal immigrants into the United States. Though the work provides the women with much-needed money, each trip puts them in peril. Charlie McDermott and Michael O'Keefe also star in this riveting drama nominated for multiple Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature

This movie is sad, depressing, and difficult to watch - it's a heavy story. But, having said that, I'm still glad that I watched it. Melissa Leo gives such a moving performance as a desperate mom trying to keep her family intact. Watching their struggle, especially the older son, is heartbreaking. And, while the ending was not what I expected, it was a satisfying conclusion to the story.

Rated R for graphic language and violence

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ragu Feed Our Kids Well

Back to school time often means hectic schedules for those of us with children. As moms, it may also mean that it's harder to find the time to prepare nutritious meals for our families.  Ragú® can help us out.

To help make sure your kids get the veggies they need (and the meals they love) Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce now has 2 servings of veggies in every half cup! Available soon in major retailers nationwide, the healthy, great tasting Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional pasta sauce that is already a kitchen staple has a new, naturally thicker recipe.

Healthy, delicious and now with a naturally thicker taste the whole family will love, Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce is a perfect component to pulling together quick and tasty meals during this busy time. And Ragú® wants you to be among the first to try out their great new recipe! To be one of the first to taste Ragú® with 2 servings of veggies in every half-cup visit them on for more details.

Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a Ragú® prize package in exchange for this post. No monetary exchange took place.

Mystery Of The Airwaves

Downtown Chicago Illinois Nov05 stb 2461Image via WikipediaI keep a radio-alarm clock on my bedside table. Waking up in the morning is not always pleasant for me, especially if I'm waking up to the annoying blare of an alarm clock. I prefer to wake up to my favorite local AM radio station. As I'm gradually trying to make myself get out of bed, I can listen to the news, weather, and traffic. A few mornings ago, my alarm went off as usual, but, I was in a particularly sleepy state of mind and wasn't totally paying attention to what I was hearing on the radio. As I dozed in and out, I thought I heard the radio announcer talking as if he were broadcasting from Chicago. Very strange! I must be dreaming, I thought. I didn't really think much about it until last night when I was setting my alarm. I turned it on to test it out and was surprised at what I heard. It was definitely a Chicago radio station - they were giving traffic reports for the Chicago area and then proceeded to state the temperatures at O'Hare and Midway Airports in Chicago. The radio dial was still set to my local AM station, but, somehow, I was picking up a Chicago channel instead. (Just for reference, I'm in Kentucky) I thought this was pretty darn cool, especially considering the fact that I love Chicago and in my secret fantasy life, I would live in Chicago in a totally hip apartment right smack in the heart of downtown. I would take the Blue Line all the time, stroll around Navy Pier, and shop on Michigan get the idea. Anyway, I nudged my husband and told him to listen to the radio. I said,  "It's actually coming from Chicago" and "can you believe this?" He was less impressed and rolled over and fell asleep. After listening for a bit longer, I reluctantly turned off the radio and settled down to sleep. When the radio-alarm went off this morning, a sports news segment was being broadcast. It took only a few minutes for me to figure out that it was back to my regular local station. What a letdown! I was bummed that the mysterious Chicago airwaves were no longer present. I'm sure there's some logical technical reason for this, but since I'm not really a technical person, it will remain a mystery of the airwaves to me.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

You Might Be A Slacker Housewife If...

You might be a slacker housewife if you've had the following conversation with your husband...

HusbandDear, have you ever cleaned our coffee maker?

YouYes, I wash the coffee pot all the time.

HusbandNo, I mean have you ever ran the coffee machine on the "cleaning" cycle?

YouThere's a cleaning cycle on the coffee machine? Wait...what??

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Birthday Times

Yesterday, our youngest son turned 10 years old. I can't believe my baby is 10! Makes me a little sad to realize that all our children are now in double-digits age-wise.

Zachary has been sick this week so he really wasn't quite up for too much birthday celebration. We had Grandma over for dinner (Zachary requested tacos with all the fixins). Then we had cake and ice cream and opened gifts.

Here's a picture of all the kiddos. They absolutely abhor getting their photos taken, so, it's always a struggle to get them together, looking at the camera and smiling in sync. It's usually a battle that ends with me getting very frustrated with them.

Moments before that photo was taken, this was the in the background trying to direct everyone where to sit and repeatedly telling them to "sit down and get closer"....them not really paying attention to me or anything I was saying....hubby tackling our oldest son and instigating some wrestling fun...Emma the dog trying to insert herself right into the middle of things. Chaos!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Series Of Unfortunate Events

The past 24 hours have been one thing after another. It all started yesterday afternoon. My husband decided to take the kids to the arcade to ride go-carts. We hadn't really done anything much all weekend and since they had the day off from school, it was just something fun for them to do. When they returned home, our youngest, Zachary, immediately went to his room and got into bed. He said he wasn't feeling well; his stomach and head hurt. He lounged around the rest of the afternoon and I could tell just by looking at him that he really didn't feel well at all. He started to run a fever and I gave him some ibuprofen. That perked him up for a little while but not long. He was soon back under the covers, this time on the couch. His fever came back and by 10:30 last night it was up to 103.6 - yikes! It was too soon to give him more ibuprofen and I was out of children's tylenol. Our oldest son, Cam, offered to drive to the grocery and pick up some more medication (I knew I didn't have enough ibuprofen to get through the night and I wanted some Tylenol so that I could give them both in staggered doses).

I wondered if sending my son to get the medicine was really the best idea. You see, I'm a control freak and I like to be the one to do everything so that I can be sure it's exactly right. I know that's not a good thing, but I can't help it. It only proves my point when I say that my son returned home with Children's Tylenol...but, it wasn't the liquid I had asked for, it was some kind of melt-away tabs. "This will be fine" I said, all the while knowing I should have went and got the medicine myself. I administered the tabs to Zachary. He threw up immediately. Fever still blazing and now he's throwing up. I waited about an hour and by then it was time for more ibuprofen (which he was able to keep down). He had a very restless night and was sick one or two more times. His fever came back again this morning. Finally, he kept down another dose of ibuprofen and went back to sleep. So far, I'd had about four hours of sleep.

By this time, my other kids are awake and getting ready for school. Cam drives himself and our daughter to school each morning. They need to leave around 6:45 at the latest to beat traffic and get to school on time. At 6:50, they still have not left. Cam is piddling around and running late. This is a huge no-no. HUGE! It's a privilege that we let him drive to school and in return he must follow the simple rules of leaving by or before 6:45 and giving our daughter a ride to school. When he finally goes out to get in the car at 6:53, his car will not start! I'm thinking he accidentally left an overhead light on inside his car when he made the late-night medication run. ARGH! My husband is about to leave for work and proceeds to have a shouting match in the driveway with Cam for being late. I'm sure our neighbors love us this morning. They don't have time to try and jump-start the car. They're all running late now. Hubby takes them to school and gets to work with 9 minutes to spare.

So, finally, the kids are off to school, hubby is off to work, Zachary's fever is gone and he's sleeping. I'm going back to bed and try to catch up on a little sleep. After I've been laying in bed for about 20 minutes...

I hear the annoyingly loud sound of a bulldozer (technically it may not be a bulldozer, but, it's some kind of big digging machinery). Someone has decided to start digging a basement on the lot behind us. It's very loud and very annoying. Seriously? They have to start today? I guess I won't be getting much sleep after all.