Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Supper - Menu Planning

The past couple weeks have been absolutely crazy.  Last week, in particular, was nothing short of (slightly) organized chaos.  Most nights we were lucky to eat anything that resembled a home cooked meal and there were more fast food dinners than I care to recall.  Needless to say, when it came time to type up this Sunday supper post, I had no inspiration or good recipes to share.

Instead, I've decided to share how I menu plan.  The recipes are great, but with busy schedules no one has time to run to the grocery store at the last minute every single day once you have decided what to prepare for supper.  I certainly don't.  Therefore, I have to have a plan.  It needs to be flexible and sometimes it doesn't exactly work out, but I try my best and I think it really helps.  (Of course, I am very much a planner and an organizer.  I don't do spontaneity well!)  Another reason I like it, it seems that some nights, before I have even put dinner on the table, my kids are already asking what's for the next night.  (This is not an exaggeration, either.)  If I have my plan done, I can just tell them to go look at the list.  I keep it on the side of my refrigerator.

First of all, if you Google "Weekly Menu Planner pdf" you will get tons of sites and images.  I found a couple that I liked here, here, and here.  Some include breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Others include a section for a shopping list.  I'm sure you could also do it on your computer and there's probably an app for that, too!  You just need to find a system that works for you and the way you plan.  Me?  I only plan supper and use a plain old boring calendar page and a pencil.  I just print a blank page from iCal and use that!  Not cute or fancy, but super easy and functional.  Here's my calendar from March:

As you can see, I also filled in other events for the day.   This helps me plan.  For example, on days when I know we will get home late from a soccer game or piano lessons, I might try to plan a crock pot meal.  Or, if my hubby is out of town, I will do something a little simpler; maybe even vegetarian.  I also like being able to see the month as a whole.  Although I plan week by week, I can look back and remember that we had spaghetti the last two weeks in a row and, maybe, decide to change it up with tortellini or lasagna.

Here's my plan for this week:

Another part of menu planning is the shopping.  By having my plan done ahead of time, I can make my grocery list accordingly and make one big trip to the grocery store instead of running back and forth every day.  What works for me is planning on Saturday and shopping on Sunday, but for you, maybe the week starts on Monday or Thursday.  Whatever works is fine.  (By the way, I do my grocery shopping online which makes it even more convenient!)

So, there you have it.  It's nothing spectacular, but that's the method behind my madness.  Some weeks, like last week, we still end up with too many dinners on the run, but we do the best we can.  Planning helps and sometimes I even account for eating out when I fill in the calendar.

How about you?  Do you menu plan?  What's the method behind YOUR menu planning madness??


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Concerts, Conferences, and Canines - Oh my!

It's finally Friday in what has been a super busy and chaotic week for me!  I'm excited to end the week by, once again, combining Finish The Sentence Friday and Ask Away Friday!

Today, I'm swapping questions with my bloggy friend Tamara from Tamara (Like) Camera.  I am so happy that I'm going to get to meet Tamara and hang out with her in June at BlogU! Tamara writes with such emotion and depth in each of her posts.  She is also a photographer and, in her posts, she includes many photos.  They are all so incredible and wonderful.  Her photos convey as much meaning and feeling as her words do.  I should expect it by now, but I am blown away every single time.

Tamara is a contributing author to The Mother Of All Meltdowns as well.  Speaking of that, next week, MOAM is kicking off a HUGE Mother's Day Extravaganza!  I can't divulge too many details, but we are going to be giving away some awesome prizes that I assure you any mother would LOVE!!! See the graphic below for a few hints and be sure to follow us on Facebook so you don't miss out on your chance to win!!!!

And now, on with the questions!!  Here are my answers to the questions Tamara gave me.  After reading them, head over to her blog to see her answers to my questions. 

1. The FTSF sentence for this week is "I went to a concert. . . . . "  Do you remember the first concert you went to?  If not, tell me about your favorite you've ever been to.
I grew up in a small town, so there were no concerts close by.  I was in high school when I went to my first concert.  It was a Reba McEntire concert and I went with my friend Mitch.  I remember my mom being a little nervous to let him drive us to a "big" city (Charlotte) that was about two hours way.  We had fun singing along with the radio all the way there.  At the concert, we had lawn seats, but it was still great!   (Thanks, Mitch!)

2. We will meet this spring at BlogU! I can't wait! How are you feeling about the conference? Nervous? Excited? What is making you most excited or nervous?
Right now, I'm mostly excited.  I'm sure I will have some nerves as it gets closer.  This might sound corny to someone who doesn't blog, but I really feel like some of my best friends are bloggers that I've never met.  I am so eager to meet the ones who will be there, but I am an introvert and self-doubter by nature, so I hope everyone still likes me after they meet me in person! I'm also hoping to get some writing tips and learn more about how to get my writing "out there."

3. Can you share a recent photo and tell me the story behind it?
I took my girls spring shopping a couple weeks ago, but then the weather turned cold again and they weren't able to wear any of their new clothes - until last weekend.  The weather turned warm again for a couple days and they could not wait to slip into shorts and flip flops.  My youngest, Emily, is my little fashionista and was VERY excited to wear this new outfit.  I put her hair in the braids and she just looked so cheery and cute, I snapped this photo with my iPhone as we were heading out to my other daughter's soccer game on Saturday.

4. What profession would you most like to try? And what profession would you most hate to try?
Before I had kids, I was a preschool teacher in the public school system. It's been over a decade since I left that world, and, honestly, I have no desire to go back.

I would love to make a career out of my writing. As I mentioned, that's something I hope to learn more about at BlogU. I still hesitate to call myself a writer, but, as superficial as it sounds, I think getting paid to do it would make me feel validated. It would allow me to do something I love and receive tangible benefits from it.

On a completely hypothetical level, I would love to be a musician. I love music, but am not musically talented. If I could suddenly be gifted with a beautiful voice or a knack for playing an instrument, I would love to spend all my time writing, singing, listening to, and playing music.

What job I would hate? Sales. Which is ironic because that's what my husband does. I'm just too introverted and uncomfortable when approaching people. I would also loathe anything like accounting that deals heavily with numbers. Math is not my strong suit at all!

5. You started blogging around when I did! What is the most important thing you've learned about yourself from blogging?
This was a tough one, but I'm glad you made me think about it. I think the biggest thing I have learned about myself is that I have something worthwhile to offer the world. I spent a lot of my life fading into the background by choice because that's where I thought I belonged. I wasn't a fabulous musician or artist of any kind. I wasn't a star athlete. I'm certainly no beauty queen. I felt very plain and average. I felt that there was nothing very exceptional about me.

Now, when people tell me that my writing has touched them or made them smile or helped them feel better about their own circumstances in some way, I think to myself "I did that. MY words did that." That is a talent and a gift that I DO have and I'm proud of that. I'm glad that I have finally found my gift and the courage to share it.

6. I read about you being a picky eater, which is totally me too, and I'm actually afraid to travel to countries in which I can't drink the water or comfortably eat the food. What are your favorite foods?
I love pizza and pasta. I eat a lot of chicken, too. It is my protein of choice. I definitely have a sweet tooth as well and love chocolate, cheesecake, cookies, and candy.

7. Sophie is adorable! Tell me the story of how she came into your lives. And do you have any wisdom for the puppy stage? I'm going to need it!
Thanks! David and I both grew up with dogs and, shortly after we bought our first house, we went to our local animal shelter and got a dog of our own. Her name was Maggie and she was a GermanShepherd/Chow mix. She was great when it was just us adults, but if you know anything about chows, you know that they can be rather unfriendly and they aren't good with kids. So, when Maggie passed away in 2010, we thought long and hard about what kind of dog we wanted to get. For several reasons, we decided we wanted a border collie, but pure border collies are crazy expensive! I found some online for $1000 or more. While searching online, I stumbled across a litter of border collie mix puppies that had been rescued from a shelter. They had been dropped off at the shelter probably hours after they were born. At that stage, they require such intensive care, the shelter was going to put them down, but a lady who runs her own small rescue program saved them. We went to visit and saw all the dogs in the litter. My husband really wanted a boy dog since everyone else in the family is female, but when we got there, the only two males in the litter had already been spoken for. We petted them and played with them. At one point, my husband picked up one of the puppies and she nuzzled right up to him. He was hooked and we knew she was the one. We had to wait about three weeks before she was big enough for us to take her home, but, now, she is part of our family and we love her.

Oh, as for advice for you - crate train her. We had never done it before, but we are still so glad we did it with Sophie.

8. Other than BlogU, do you have any plans for travel this spring/summer (or even fall)?
We go in together with David's family and rent a big beach house every summer. We will be doing that in mid June. We are also going to Hilton Head for a few days with my friend Mitch (See #1) and his family in July. My hubby travels a lot and my girls want to travel more, so we might take a trip to a fun city somewhere, but don't have any definite plans yet.

9. What have you learned today?
Oy! It's been quite a day. Actually, it's been quite a week (and it's only Wednesday as I type this!). One thing I've learned today is how I will answer now anytime someone asks me question #5. I hadn't really thought about that before you asked. I was also reminded that it's o.k. to say "no." I was asked to join a committee today, but I'm kind of drowning this week and simply cannot imagine adding anything else to my plate, so I politely declined. I also told my daughter's middle school that I will not be leading the writing club again next quarter. I always feel guilty when I turn people down, but I simply cannot do it all. I learned that a long time ago, but sometimes I need the reminder.

10. I saw that someone had asked you about YOU, but I wanted to know about your husband. What traits of his do you see in each of your daughters?

For starters, they look very much like him, especially my youngest. When I shared my Twenty Random Facts I About Me, I mentioned that all my girls can roll their tongue like my husband. It's genetic and I can't do it. He is adopted, so it is really cool for him to see such an obvious genetic connection.

Personality wise, my oldest loves to build things and figure out how things work. That is totally my husband! My middle one is most like David. She is a ball of energy and she always seems to find the positive in any situation. She loves math and does not like reading. All of these are traits my husband has as well. My youngest is very witty, like him. She has made some quick retorts that have put us on the floor laughing.

He has high expectations for our girls and is hard on them sometimes, but he's a great dad and he has a unique, special relationship with each girl. They love him so much and I do, too!

This post is part of Finish The Sentence Friday.  FTSF is hosted by some wonderful blogging ladies.  Please give them a visit and check out all the other blogs that participate as well!
Stephanie at Mommy, for Real
Kristi at Finding Ninee

Ask Away Friday is a fun blog hop in which two bloggers trade ten questions, then answer them on their blogs.  It's a great way to connect and get to know other bloggers!  It is hosted by:
Amber from Bold Fab Mom

Sharing My view

I am honored to be guest posting today over at Dancing In The Rain.  In her series, The View From Here, Jennifer encourages other writers to share their unique voice; their view.  There are some wonderful posts in the series and I am happy to be included.  Please head on over and find out what watching my kids play on a tire swing has taught me about parenting.

Dancing in the Rain

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Year I Was Born - Tuesday Ten {Linkup}

Today's Tuesday Ten Topic was to research the year you were born and share the top ten headlines or songs.  This is very appropriate considering that Rabia and I both celebrated birthdays earlier this month!

My dad is a history buff and there's a bit of that in me, too, as you will see.  To be honest, once I started researching, I couldn't stop and there was no way I could narrow it down to only 10 headlines, so I have listed headlines from 10 categories! Don't worry - they're headlines, so they're short!

  • Den Xiaopng was restored to power in Chins as the "Gang of Four" were expelled.
  • The Nuclear Proliferation Act was signed by 15 countries aimed at curbing the spread of nuclear weapons.
  • Indian Prime Minister Indira Ghandi was defeated.
  • The first female Episcopal priest was ordained.
  • Presiden Carter pardoned Vietnam War "draft dodgers."
  • U.S. government ordered that all cars were to be equipped with seat belts by 1984.
  • Jimmy Carter was President.
  • Walter Mondale was Vice President
  • The Department of Energy was created.
  • The U.S. signed a treaty with Panama to relinquish control of the Panama Canal by the year 2000.
  • The median household income was $13, 572.
  • A first class postage stamp would cost you $0.13.
  • The average price of a movie ticket was $2.25.
  • Minimum wage was $2.30.
  • A gallon of gas ran about $0.64.
  • Steve Jobs and Steve Woznizk introduced th Apple II computer.  It was the first with a color monitor and had 4K RAM.  (I had to get my hubby to explain this in "layman's" terms.  Bascially, that means the Apple II had 4,000 bytes of RAM, or static memory.  Today's computers have about 2 BILLION bytes of RAM or more, depending on the type and model!)
  • Oakland defeated Minnestoa to win the SuperBowl.
  • The NY Yankees defeated the LA Dodgers in the World Series.
  • Marquette defeated North Carolina to take the NCAA championship.
  • AJ Foyt set a new record for consecutive victories by winning the Indianapolis 500 for the fourth straight time.
  • Star Wars hit theaters for the first time.
  • The TV miniseries Roots sired on ABC and surpassed Gone With The Wind as the highest rated TV program ever.
  • Saturday Night Fever sparked the disco inferno and made movie soundtracks popular.
  • the first episode of The Love Boat aired.
  • According to Billboard, the top five songs of 1977 were:
    • Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright) by Rod Stewart
    • I Just Want To Be Your Everything by Andy Gibb
    • Best of My Love by Emotions
    • Love Theme from "A Star Is Born" by Barbara Streisand
    • Angel in Your Arms by Hot
  • Because I listen mostly to country music, and I have never even heard of three of those up there, here are the top three country songs of 1977:
    • Lucille by Kenny Rogers
    • Lukenbach, Texas by Waylon Jennings
    • Don't it Make my Brown Eyes Blue by Crystal Gayle

  • Famous deaths in 1977 included:
    • Charlie Chaplin
    • Bing Crosby
    • Joan Crawford
    • Elvis Presley
  • Some people also born in 1977 who would later become famous:
    • John Mayer
    • Shakira
    • Kanye West
    • Tom Brady
    • Sarah Michelle Gellar
    • Liv Tyler
    • Orlando Bloom
There you go!!  The headlines from 1977, the year I was born.  Some people find history boring, I know.  But, I thought this was fun.  In fact, I think I might do it for each of my girls on their birthdays later this year!  It is truly amazing how much has changed in the past 37 years!

What was happening in the year you were born??  Look it up, write it up, and share!


Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:


The Teacher Wife
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Come link up again next Tuesday!  It will be April Fool's Day, April 1st!  We'll be listing things that always make us laugh! :-)

A little housekeeping:
Rabia has set up a web form where you can sign up to receive a weekly reminder about Tuesday Ten including a list of upcoming topics! (We have topics scheduled through June!)  If you would like to be added, just click HERE.

If you would like an invite to join our #TuesdayTen Pinterest board so you can pin your post to it, Let me know in the comments or send me an email.  I will need your pinterest url or the email address associated with your pinterest account!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Thirty Things - Post #1 - Twenty Random Things

I've been wanting to write this post for weeks, but life and schedules and busyness have gotten in the way. I first saw this on Tamara's blog, but I think it originated here.

Why have I been wanting to write it so much?

When I started this blog  a little over 4 years ago, I really had no idea what I was doing. I did not realize how big blogging was about to become. I simply had a funny story about one of my kids that I wanted to share, but it was too long for a Facebook post. I had heard of blogging, so I Googled it. I landed on Blogger and found that, even as tech-challenged as I am/was, I could set it up pretty easily. (If you're interested, this is the post that started it all.)

Back then, I posted sporadically and barely "promoted" anything. I blogged purely for my three girls. I had this vision of all my blog posts being bound into a book that they could read when they grew up and became mothers themselves. Everything I wrote was with that vision in mind. 

Then, about a year ago, I was bitten by the "my blog could make me famous" bug. I dove in head first - posting, promoting, re-designing - anything I could do to get eyes on my blog and get some recognition as a writer. I have gotten some of that recognition and I have also made some wonderful new friends in the blogosphere - a blogging benefit I had never considered, but am very thankful to have stumbled upon. In the midst of all that, though, I forgot my original vision. My writing, while usually about my girls and motherhood, wasn't for them anymore. It was for me.

When I saw this challenge to post 30 things about myself; things I want my girls to know; things they might wonder about if, Heaven forbid, I should leave this world unexpectedly - I knew immediately I wanted to do it. My hope is that it will remind me of why I started blogging in the first place and help me keep that purpose in focus. For a complete list of the thirty topics I will be using, click HERE. (You will also notice a new "30 Things Challenge" tab at the top of the blog. You can click there anytime to see the topics which will be linked to my posts on each one.)

The first topic in the challenge is to list 20 random facts about myself.  Twenty is a lot! Some of these are things my girls already know about me and others are things they may not realize.  They are all the little "quirks" that make me who I am and things I hope they would remember and appreciate knowing about me.

1. My favorite color is purple. Bet you never would have guessed that just by looking at my blog, huh?? :-) I also like green and pink. I'm not a huge fan of pastels or neon shades.

2. I complain about my kids being picky eaters, but, truthfully, I am rather picky myself. I don't like tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, or a slew of other things, most of which are vegetables. I am very hesitant to try anything new that might qualify as "exotic" or "gross." I have never eaten sushi because the idea a raw fish grosses me out. As an adult, I have learned to eat a lot of things that I wouldn't have touched as a kid, but I'm still far from adventurous.

3. I had no morning sickness with my first two pregnancies and only a tiny bit with my third. During my first one, I developed a craving for onions (which I previously disliked). I want them on everything from pizza to sandwiches to salads and I still like them. During my third pregnancy, I developed and aversion to seafood and still have not completely regained my taste for it.

4.  With my first two pregnancies, we chose not to find out the gender early.  We waited until they were born. With the third, we did find out early. I thought it was a boy because my symptoms were different from the first two which were both girls. I was wrong.

5. I cannot roll my tongue. My hubby and all of my girls can. Apparently this is genetic which is pretty cool because my hubby is adopted. He didn't have genetic ties to anyone (that he knew) until we had our girls. Aside from the fact that they look very much like him, this is one trait they most certainly inherited from him.

6. Even though I can't roll my tongue, I can do this with my feet:

7.  Those weird feet wear a size 8 shoe. (I used to be a size 7 or 7 1/2, but my feet grew during my first pregnancy and never went back to their original size.)

8.  In high school, I played sports year-round. I played tennis, basketball, and softball. I wasn't a superstar athlete by any means, but I enjoyed it and I miss it now. It used to make me sad that my girls weren't interested in any team sports, but I realize, now, that they are individuals and they have to find their own path. I am, however, thrilled, that my middle one has started playing soccer and my oldest is interested in softball.

9. My middle name is Elaine which is my mom's name. (It's actually my mom's middle name, too, but if I tell you her first name, she will disown me!)

10. I wouldn't say I have a fear of heights, but they definitely make me nervous and uncomfortable. I am also rather claustrophobic.

11. In college, I majored in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Birth-Kindergarten Education. (Sounds fancy, huh?) I taught special needs preschoolers in the public school system before I became a stay at home mom. I was a full time stay at home mom for over 11 years before I recently took a temporary, part-time job. I still love kids, but I have no desire to go back to the public school or teaching.

12.  I wish I was musically talented. I took piano lessons for years, but it never came easily for me. I wish I could play effortlessly and/or sing beautifully. I am always jealous of those who have the talent.

13. I was voted "Most Dependable" in eighth grade and twelfth grade. Boring, yes, but pretty much sums me up!

14. I always wanted to be a mom, but never envisioned myself with three girls. I always thought I would have two boys and one girl. I have no idea where I got that notion.

15.  David and I had a very small wedding in the church where I grew up and we had our reception in the fellowship hall with appetizers - no DJ and no alcohol. Today, I think weddings have gotten completely out of hand and I'm glad we didn't spend tons of money on a big party. I still remember my mom telling me that it didn't matter if everything else went wrong, as long as I was there, David was there, and the preacher was there, we would still be just as married. Then, the preacher was late! My dad literally walked across the street in his tux and knocked on his door to get him. He thought it started an hour later.

Sorry for the poor quality photo of a photo.  I couldn't easily get it out of the album.
16.  I am a grammar nazi. My mother was a high school English teacher, so I grew up learning and speaking with proper grammar (and being corrected when I didn't). Now, I correct my own family and when other people use improper grammar in spoken or written word it really gets under my skin and I have to bite my tongue to keep from correcting them. (that being said, I am a terrible typist and make typos frequently.)

17.  My love of words and grammar is equal to my disdain for math. I am terrible with numbers.

18.  I am also terrible with directions - completely opposite of my husband who seems to have a map and compass engrained into his brain. 

19.  My favorite animal is a giraffe. I think they are awkwardly graceful and they are physically incapable of making vocal sounds due to the length of their necks, which means they are also very peaceful and quiet.

20.  I never drank coffee until after my second child was born and Starbucks became popular. The first coffee I had was a white chocolate mocha and I was hooked. Although, I still take just a bit of coffee with my cream and sugar! 

Do you want to take the 30 things challenge?? Just click here to see the topics and play along as you are able!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Homework Stinks!

I'm not in school anymore, but I still have homework!  Well, actually they have homework:

And, when they do, they definitely aren't smiling like they are in these photos.

As a former teacher and the daughter of two teachers, I do understand the necessity of some homework.  I respect the teachers and I know they are trying to help my kids learn.  But, after a day of school and in the midst of busy afternoon schedules, homework is the last thing any of us want to tackle.  Even reasonable homework has become the bain of my existence most weekday afternoons.

The oldest is in 6th grade at a magnet school for advanced learners.  Because of the nature of the school, they often get "long-term" projects that are to be completed over a week or more.  She loves this and it certainly suits her learning style, but we have been on quite a time management learning curve since the beginning of the school year.  And, if she has math homework, she's on her own.   (Unless my hubby is home - Math is his parenting responsibility!) There have been many tears shed over the math this year.

The middle one is just a ball of energy.  She works hard to control it all day at school and, when she gets home, the last thing she wants to do is sit down and do more work.  She wants to play, ride her bike, anything that allows her to move and let loose all the energy she has kept harnessed throughout the day.  When I mention homework, her mood immediately changes for the worse and it seems as if I am torturing her.  You don't even want to know about the project she imposed upon herself a couple weeks ago!  (But, I'm going to tell you anyway.)  She has a list of spelling activities from which to choose.  What did she choose the night before it was due??  To find letters in magazines, cut them out, and use the letters to spell ALL 25 SPELLING WORDS ON HER LIST!!  Do you know how many individual letters are in 25 different words?  Despite my warnings that it was not a good idea, she stuck to her guns.  Over 2 hours, many tears, and some yelling later - she finished it.  Oy!

The youngest is in first grade, so, let's face it, her home work is not difficult.  However, this seemingly sweet and cuddly six year old is actually quite sly.  For her, homework becomes a reason to need mommy's undivided attention.  She apparently needs help with anything and everything.  She can't think of sentences to write with her spelling words, she simply MUST have mom do her addition flashcards with her and she drags out every answer.  Without my step by step guidance, she hems and haws and plays around.  What should take her ten minutes takes her twenty or more.  Getting her to complete her homework requires either my undivided attention or WWIII.

Then, there's the piano that I always forget to make them practice.  It seems they are incapable of remembering this on their own.  When I remind them, though, they sigh and act as if I have requested some monumental task.  And, heaven forbid I ask them to clean up anything.  This results in immediate whining, arguing, and mood swings from them and, therefore, from me.

Then there is MY homework like dishes, laundry, cleaning, making dinner, and making sure everyone gets to all their appointments, practices, and lessons.   I do have a part time job now.  I'm usually pretty good about leaving that at the office (because I really don't have a choice), but once in a while there is something that needs my attention "after hours."  Finally, there's this blog which I adore, but it require an enormous amount of my time and attention (kind of like my six year old).

When I graduated from college, I thought I was finished with homework, but I was wrong.  Even though I'm finished with school, I still have homework - lots of it - and it is exasperating!

This post is part of Finish The Sentence Friday.  FTSF is hosted by some wonderful blogging ladies.  Please give them a visit and check out all the other blogs that participate as well!

Stephanie at Mommy, for Real
Kristi at Finding Ninee

Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March Old School Blogging - RaNdoM!!

March Old School Blogging is full of fun and completely random questions!  Check out my answers and, then, feel free to copy the questions and write a post including your own answers to the questions.  Be sure you head over to visit the host of Old School Blogging, Elaine, at The Miss Elaine-ous Life and/or this month's co-host, Kim, at Co-Pilot Mom!

What is the last thing you watched on TV?
Last night (I wrote this on Friday, 3/14/14), my hubby was watching a movie called Now You See Me.  It's about four magicians who use their magic and magic shows to steal money.  One of the magicians is played by Woddy Harrleson and Mark Ruffalo plays a detective trying to catch them.  Morgan Freeman also stars in the movie that has a surprise twist at the end!

When did you last step outside?  What were you doing?
Just a couple hours ago (Friday, around noon) to see why my dog was barking!

What is on the walls of the room you are in right now?
I'm in my office.  On my right is a calendar with mages from Paris that my mom gave me for Christmas.  My hubby and I went to Paris in December 2012 and I loved it!
You will notice there are no appointments, etc. written on this calendar.  That's because all that stuff is on the other wall.  When this room was my husband's office, he created a giant whiteboard with some special paint.  Now, it's mine and I love it!  It helps me keep track of all the events of the week and all my blogging stuff!

If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?
First, I would pay of our house and put money away for my three daughters' college educations and weddings.  After that, I would spend a good chunk on some home renovations.

Tell me something about you that most people don’t know.
Michelle asked me this last week for Ask Away Friday and I had a hard time coming up with an answer!  Aside from what I told her, I was voted "Most Dependable" in both 8th grade and 12th grade.  I guess I'm nothing if not consistent - and dependable!

Who made the last incoming call on your phone?
On the home phone was our pest control company to schedule our quarterly service.  (Exciting, huh?)  On my cell phone, was the representative for the yearbook company my daughters' elementary school uses.  I am the yearbook coordinator and I had called to ask her a question, so she called me back.

If you could change something about your home, without worry about expense or mess, what would you do?
Either our master bath or the kitchen.  The master bath is tight and needs some repairs anyway.  The kitchen has wonderful countertops and appliances, but the layout is a little awkward and it's a bit small.

What was the last thing you bought?
A grande caramel macchiato at Starbucks!

Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving?
NEVER!  I don't like heights or anything dangerous.

If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be?
I honestly have absolutely no idea!  Maybe Ree Drummond because she should cook me something yummy and tell me how to become a multi-millionaire from blogging!

Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
White House Black Market.  I love their clothes, but they are pricey.  (Last time I went in there, my fashion conscious six year old said she wished they had a kids' version of that store!)

Is the glass half empty or half full? 
Most of the time, half-full.  I won't lie, though.  I've been a bit stressed lately and have probably had more of a half-empty attitude.

What’s the farthest-away place you’ve been? 
Paris.  It's the only time I have been outside the US.  As I mentioned, I went with my hubby in December 2012.  He had to go for a business trip and it coincided with our anniversary, so I went, too!
At the base of the Eiffel Tower

The Arc de Triomphe

Me on top of the Arc with a death grip on the "so you don't fall off and die" safety bars

Notre Dame - so amazing.

Locks on a bridge near Notre Dame

What’s under your bed?
Dust and probably a couple lost socks waiting to be found!

What is your favorite time of day?
Some days, after the rush of the morning, once everyone is off to school, I get to come back home and spend some quality time with the internet.  I read blogs, write blog posts, and try to schedule social media posts.  Some (like my family) find it a bit strange that such things soothe me - but if you are a blogger reading this, you understand.

Other days, when I haven't gotten that "down time," it's the evenings.  Once dinner is cleaned up and homework is finished.  The kids are in the next room quiet and/or laughing.  Hubby is home and all is calm.

I also wrote this post about how I love looking in on my sleeping children one last time before I go to bed.

What Inspires You?
Music inspires me.  I am not musically talented, but I wish I was.  I love the feelings music can evoke.  I am also inspired by other bloggers.  I am continually amazed by the quality and creativity of the blogs I read.

Don’t forget to tweet your post to @elainea and @copilotmom with the hashtag #OSBlog!

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