Thursday, January 30, 2014

FTSF and AAF - Round 2

It's Friday again!!!  Yippeee!!  A couple weeks ago, I had so much fun linking up with Dana to do a combination Finish the Sentence Friday and Ask Away Friday post, that I decided to do it again today!!  
Today I am partnering with Rabia from the Liebers.

The Liebers
I first met Rabia when we were both contributors to The Mother of All Meltdowns.  I have gotten to know her even better over the past couple months as we have teamed up to bring you our new Tuesday Ten Linkup each week in 2014!  (If you haven't joined us yet, we would like to invite you now.  Just click HERE to see this week's post that includes the topic for next Tuesday!  Then, write your post and come link up!  We read and share the posts that are linked up - pinky promise!)

Here are the my answers to the questions.  To see my questions for her and how she answered them, head on over to her blog

1.       Finish this sentence: A funny thing happened on the way to…
The first thing that comes to mind is this story that I shared on my blog back in May 2012.  Basically, my youngest (who is now 6) is absolutely terrified of bugs.  We were driving somewhere and she started screaming.  I honestly thought she was in some kind of terrible pain.  My heart was racing as I tried to drive safely and find a place to pull off the road.  When I finally did, I jumped out of my minivan, opened her door, and she pointed to the tiniest spider I have ever seen crawling on the roof above her.  At the time, it wasn't that funny, but I laugh every time I think about it now.      
2. What is your favorite room in the house and why?
Hmmm. .   That's a tough one.  I would probably have to say our bedroom (get your minds out of the gutter) because it is where I relax.  Plus, I like my sleep!!  My other choice would be our den.  Some days, I want to paint over the paneling and update the space.  Other days, I like the coziness of it and it is where we all spend time together as a family.  (Plus, I have NO interior design skills at all, so I am terrified that if I painted it would look horrible and then I would regret it!)


3.       Would you rather have a rewind button for your life or a pause button?
One reason I started this blog was to record memories for my daughters and I am very nostalgic.  However, I don't think I would want to hit rewind and go back in time.  What if going back changed things?? I could definitely use a pause button sometimes just to take a breather from a crazy day or to savor a special moment for just a little longer.
4.       What is the funniest thing one of your girls has said or done this week?
One night, my youngest asked me if she could have a teaspoon of salt and then take a bath.  When I asked why on earth she needed a teaspoon of salt, she was very coy.  "I'm just doing something," she said.  After asking many questions and practically prying information out of her, it turned out she had watched a video on her Kindle that supposedly demonstrated how to make yourself a mermaid.  She was very disappointed when it didn't work.  She thought she had done it wrong and wanted to try again.  I had to explain that there was no way to turn yourself into a mermaid and that they did it in the video using special photography tricks.  Eventually, she was placated, but still declared, "Mermaids ARE real!"  I need to add that to the list of "Conversations You Never Dreamed You Would Have."
5.       How does your oldest being a vegetarian affect the way to prepare meals?
She decided when she was 7 to become a vegetarian.  I'm not going to lie - when she first started, it was really tough.  My hubby is a "meat and potatoes" kind of guy and my youngest is SUPER picky.  Trying to come up with meals that will please everyone is really, really frustrating.  I have learned some tricks that make incorporating her vegetarianism easier, though.  For example, there are actually some pretty good meat substitutes out there.  If I make chicken for the rest of us, I can heat her up some "vegetarian chicken" to go with her meal.  If I am making pasta, I just keep some sauce separate for her without the meat.  With practice, it has gotten easier and I honestly admire her for her dedication to something she really believes in.  
6.       What is your most comfortable sleeping position?
I always fall asleep lying on my right side, but when I wake up, I am always on my back!
7.       Tell us about the most recent book you’ve read or movie you’ve watched.
I am currently reading "7" by Jen Hatmaker with a Bible study group form my church.  Jen and her husband started a church in Texas and, in this book, she is "experimenting" with cutting back on the excess in her life in hopes that it will open up more space for God and spirituality.  Each month for 7 months she focuses on one area of her life.  For example, the first month she focuses on food and allows herself to only eat 7 foods for the entire month.  She can eat as much as she wants  but only those 7 things.  She also tackles media, clothing, spending, and stress.  It is very eye-opening and really makes you think about the thing in your own life that are truly necessary!
8.       What’s the oldest post in your “draft” folder and why haven’t you finished it?
I had to look this one up!  The oldest draft I have was started on August 21, 2011.  It is titled "The Blankie Situation: An Update."  It was supposed to be a follow up to this post about my youngest daughter's attachment to her blankie.  I had intended to spend that summer trying to decrease her dependence on her blankie.  I had promised my readers an update at the end of the summer.  I never wrote it because there was nothing to update.  My attempt to squelch her habit failed miserably.  In the past 2+ years, however, I am pleased to report that we have made improvement!  This is mostly due to the fact that she is not allowed to take it to school and, since she is in first grade, has been spending weekdays blankie-free for the past two years.  She is still very attached to it at home, though.
9.       If you could go 100 years into the past or 100 years into the future, which would you pick and why?
I would pick the future.  As I said about the rewind button, I wouldn't want going back to the past to change my present.  I would love to go into the future, though, to see what my girls are like as adults.  What careers did they choose, did they marry, did they have children???  If I went forward 100 years, I could meet my great-great grandchildren.  I am also curious what the state of the country would be by then.  Technology would be amazing then, I'm sure, as well.  They would probably think my iPhone was obsolete and they would probably equate Twitter to something ancient - like we think of hieroglyphics!    
10.   Do you have a favorite charity or non-profit that you support?
Most of the charity we do as a family, whether it is monetary or giving our time, we do through our church.  Having taught special needs children, many of whom were from very low socioeconomic conditions, I always have a soft spot in my heart for children's charities - particularly ones that help abused children or underprivileged kids.  Also, before we had our own children, we and a foster child.  There is a local news station that collects toys every Christmas for foster children in the county.  We received some toys from them for our foster child, so we always make a point to donate toys ourselves every year.

**Ask Away Friday is hosted by The Real Housewife of Caroline County and The Bold Fab Mom.
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This post was written as 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
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Since Rabia and I are both contributing authors to the Mother of All Meltdowns, I also wanted to share with you that the book is currently on sale!!!

You can get the print version for 50% off thru Valentine's Day by visiting our Createspace (see below) and using password: moam123.
The Kindle version is also available thru Amazon for only$.99!!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Daily Blog Post Themes

One of my biggest challenges as a blogger is consistently coming up with new content for my posts.  Once I have inspiration, I love to write and the words just seem to flow.  However, finding the inspiration can be tough.  Let's face it - motherhood can be rather redundant.  People only want to read about my picky eaters or my messy playroom so many times before they are bored out of their gourds.  The fact that I am one of about 5,387,442,678,321 many, many mommy bloggers who are also writing about similar topics makes it even more difficult to find original topics or, at least, put a fresh spin on an old one.

For those reasons, I really like to have some sort of writing prompt or theme.  Now, there are plenty of sites out there that give you blog post topic suggestions.  I even did a post on it once!  Another idea, however, is coming up with some daily themes.  For example, I do a Tuesday Ten every week.  I started out doing it by myself, but have now teamed up with my blog friend, Rabia, to make it a link up.  I also do a Sunday Supper post every other week.  Having a focused direction a couple days a week has really helped me to post more consistently and has made finding something to post about a little easier.

Several months ago, I sat down and brainstormed several daily themes before deciding which ones I wanted to implement on my blog. I thought I would share my ideas with you!  Maybe adding one or two of these themes to your blogging schedule will help you as well!



Monday
Monday Matters - Write about a current event or hot topic
Music Mondays - Write about a song that is inspiring you (or driving you crazy)
Monday Minute -Write a short post about what's coming up for the week or a quick weekend review.
Manic Monday - Same as Monday Minute.

Tuesday
Tuesday Ten - Come link up with our Tuesday Ten (we give you the topic) or come up with your own list
Tasty Tuesday - Share a recipe.
How to Tuesday - Do you DIY??  Are you tech savvy??  Write a "how-to" post to help others!
Twitter Tuesday - Keep track of your favorite tweets and share them on Tuesdays.
Toddler Tuesday or Tween/Teen Tuesday - Write about toddler antics or issues (i.e. potty training) or share advice on parenting tweens/teens.
Tuesday Tunes - Share a music related post.
Truthful Tuesday - Begin every Tuesday post with "The truth is . . . " or play "two truths and one lie."

Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday - This one has been around for a long time.  Just share a picture - no words necessary!
Wishful Wednesday - Start every post on this day with "I wish . . . "
Works for me Wednesday - Share a tip, a product, a parenting strategy - anything that works for you and might work for others!
Whatever Wednesday - Write about whatever is on your mind.
Wednesday Weigh-in - Write a post "weighing in" on a current event or hot topic.  Could also be a fitness post or a weight management post.
The Wednesday Word - Choose a single word as your theme and write whatever that word inspires. 

Thursday
Thoughtful Thursday - This could really be anything you want.  What are you thinking about??
Thankful Thursday - Share something you are thankful for.
Throwback Thursday - Share and old post or share an old picture and tell about it.
What Do You Think Thursday - Write about a hot topic or "controversial issue."  Share what you think and invite readers to share, too.

Friday
Flashback Friday - Repost or link to an old post that needs some love.
Friday Free For All - Write about anything you want!
Friday Funny - Share a funny story form the week.  You could also share a joke or a funny meme.
Friday Favorites - Show other bloggers some love by sharing some of your favorite reads form the week.
Foodie Friday - Share a recipe.
Feel Good Friday - Share a story of inspiration - a "feel good" story.
Friday Lie-day - A play on the "two truths and a lie" game.  Post three facts/stories - two are true, the other is not.  Invite readers to guess the truth!
Feature Friday/Friend Friday - Invite other bloggers to be "featured" by guest posting for you.

Weekend
Saturday/Sunday Summary - Share a review of the week.  Include your posts, your favorites from others, favorite tweets, etc.
Saturday/Sunday Silly - Share a funny story, joke, or meme.

These, of course, are just some ideas.  You can really take anything you think of and turn it into a theme.  Also, if there is a day that you particularly want to add to your schedule, you can spin one of these to make it work.  They certainly don't have to by this rhyme-y either!  Just come up with your own catchy title.  Remember, you can do it every other week or even once a month.

Any Day Ideas
Pinterest Party - Share some favorite pins you have seen.
Random question - Ask readers a questions.  Share your answer and invite them to share their answers in a comment or in a blog post.
Blog Tips- Share tips about blogging.  This could include social media, writing, scheduling, etc.
Let Readers Ask Questions - Invite readers to submit questions to you, then, answer one a week in a blog post.
Perspectives of a girl/boy mom - Are all your kids the same gender?  Share perspective of raising them vs. raising the other gender.
Book Reviews - Pick a day to review books you've read.  Invite others to submit reviews, too.

Another idea is to join a blog hop/linkup - a theme that someone else has implemented.  I mentioned our Tuesday Ten.  I also participate in Finish the Sentence Friday and Ask Away Friday.  Both are linkups hosted by other bloggers.  There are honestly blog hops for any and every day of the week.  You might just have to do a little research to find one that fits your style and your schedule.  (You could also take almost any of these and begin your own linkup!)

What ideas do you have to add to this list??  If I added one of these to my blogging schedule, which one would you most like to see??

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Ten Linkup - Things I Should Say More Often

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Have you heard of the Kid President??  He is pretty funny, super cute, and his YouTube videos are pretty inspirational.  I saw this one a couple months ago in which he is sharing 20 things he thinks people need to say more often:
Naturally, it got me to thinking about that things I say and some things that, maybe I should say more often.  We thought it would make a fun Tuesday Ten list!  So, here are ten things I should say more often:

1.  "No." - Did you read this post of my Top Ten Sign You Might Be A Volunteeraholic??  I used to be one.  I am learning to say no more often, to really think about what I am commitng to.  IT's getting easier, but my first instinct is usually to say "Sure!"

2.  "Let it go!" - Cue the frozen soundtrack . . . .
I tend to worry about things and overanalyze some situations.  I don't like things to be unresolved.  Sometimes, I just need to Let. It. Go.

3.  "I'm proud of you!" Of course, I'm proud of my daughters.  They are beautiful, smart, good people.  I find myself being a little nit-picky sometimes, though.  Instead of saying, "Great job on your spelling test!" I say "You didn't use your best handwriting, did you?"  I think they know I am proud of them, but I need to tell them more often.

4.  "Yes!" or "Why Not?" - Obviously, this is in contrast to my #1, but I mean it in a different context.  I'm not big on trying new things.  I tend to be apprehensive.  Recently, we took my daughters ice skating.  They wanted me to get on the ice and I immediately said "No!  Mommy doesn't skate!  I just like watching you!"  I should have said "Yes!"  I might probably would have fallen down, but my girl would have loved it!

5.  "Please!" - Sometimes, I feel like a drill sergeant barking orders.  "Eat your breakfast.  Brush your teeth.  Get your coat on!"  I'm certain I could speak a little more kindly by simply adding a "please" to many of my requests.

6.  "Slow Down." - I feel like I am always rushing - dashing to get here and there, speeding to get dinner on the table so bedtime remains on schedule, hurrying to my kids out the door.  I need to work on preparation so that I can say "Slow Down - we have plenty of time!" instead of "Hurry, hurry!  We've got to GO!!!"

7.  "Because I said so!" - My kids like to whine - the two youngest in particular.  When they are told "no," they whine/argue back.  "But, mom {reason/whine/reason/whine}.  I put up with it too long and admit that, occasionally, I just give in.  I need to be better about putting my foot down.

8.  "You have my undivided attention!"- Last week, we listed the things that distract us.  With all of those distractions, my husband and kids rarely have my complete attention.  I am typing while talking or cooking while helping with homework.  Even when I am typing a blog post, I am drawn away by Facebook or email notifications.  I need to be able to say "Kids/Hubby/Blog, you have my total attention!" and completely focus on them when they need me.

9.  "Hi! How are you?"- My hubby can strike up a conversation with anyone.  Me - not so much.  I am an introvert.  I rarely speak to new people unless I am spoken to first.  I am a little uncomfortable in unfamiliar social situations.  I need to be more relaxed.  Sometimes, I need to be the one who says "Hello!" to the other person on the elevator!

10.  "I Love You!"- I tell my kids and my husband I love them every day.  I tell my extended family members.  I do - I promise.  However, there can simply never be too many "I Love You's!"

How about you??  What things should you probably say more often??  Link up a post and tell us!

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Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:

TheLiebersThe Teacher Wife

We hope you have enjoyed our Tuesday Ten Lists!  If so, please link up one of your own and share using #TuesdayTen!
Rules:
1) Link up a post, old or new, pertaining to the Tuesday Ten topic for this week and add our Tuesday Ten button to the post or to your sidebar.
2) Please do not link up contests, product reviews, or sponsored posts.
3) Visit your hostesses and follow them on social media.
4) Visit as many other linked posts as you can and show those bloggers some love by commenting and/or sharing!

Come link up again next Tuesday, January 28 when the topic will be Ten Superpowers I would Like to Have.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Does Being a Stay At Home Mom Set a Good Example for my Daughters?

People can be either traditional or non-traditional.  I am most definitely and without hesitation traditional.  In fact, I'm what most people would consider "conservative" (which is not always a popular description of a person these days).

I am certain that my "traditional" upbringing and beliefs had a lot to do with my decisions about career and motherhood.  I always wanted to be a stay at home mom.  I did go to college and got a degree.  I was a teacher of special needs preschoolers in the public school system (and a darn good one if I do say so myself) before I had my own children.  That job was fulfilling and I honestly gave it my all.  However, that job was just that - a job, not a career.  I never intended to do it long term.  It was a filler until I was able to do what I really wanted to do - be a stay at home mom.

I have been blessed with three beautiful daughters.  They are currently 11, 9, and 6.  I DO NOT regret my decision to make motherhood my primary only occupation.  Somedays, though, the weight of the influence I have on these precious girls is almost too much to bear and I question if being a stay at home mom is setting a good example for my daughters.

On the one hand, I hope they see that they are my everything.  I hope they see that my world revolves around them and that there is absolutely nothing on this earth more important than loving them and teaching them and being with them.  I am happy to be the classroom mom, and the mom who goes on field trips, and the mom who leads a middle school writing club because my time is not spent climbing proverbial ladders elsewhere.

On the other hand, though, I also want them to know that they can do ANYTHING they want to do.  They can be architects or astronauts; doctors or chefs; lawyers or businesswomen; actresses or designers; engineers or teachers.  I want them to know that there are no limitations on what they can achieve.  I wonder, though, how will they know they can do anything when they see me, their #1 female role model, doing nothing.  Nothing from a career perspective, at least.

If you ask my daughters what they want to be when they grow up, you will get three very different answers:
  • The (vegetarian) 11 year old has said for a few years without faltering that she wants to be a zoologist.  She is fully aware of the difference between a zoologist and veterinarian.  She has even researched colleges with a veterinary program.  Recently, she has also added the possibility of becoming and architect to her answer.
  • The 9 year old wants to become a teacher.  End of story.  She comes home form school and goes to the playroom to play school.  She shares every.single.detail of her day at school with me.  She knows which college she plans to attend and which grade she wants to teach.  And, she once told me that she actually doesn't want to be a mom because it's "too much work!"
  • The youngest, 6, wants nothing more than to get married and have lots of kids.  At last check, her plans included having about 20 children and purchasing a RV to take them places.  She, at this point, has no "career" aspirations.
It certainly appears that they "get it."  They know they have options other than "just being a mommy."  They don't have to choose the same path I chose.  But, still I wonder if they see (or will someday see) my lack of a formal career as an expectation of who they should be as adults as well.

I honestly have to say that, although I have certainly heard and read about the "Mommy Wars," the stay-at-home vs. working mother debate, it has never been a big factor in my life.  I have never had a "war" with another mom about which choice is best.

The only "war" I've had about it is with myself.  However, if I listen to what my daughters have to say about their futures, perhaps that internal war is unnecessary.

My most favorite post I have EVER written is called Lessons I Want To Teach My Daughters.  Fourth on the list is this:


4)  Do What Makes You Happy.  If you want to play sports, play sports.  If you want to play music, play music.  If you want to be a doctor, study hard and be a doctor.  If you want to be a teacher, give it your all and be a great teacher.  Do what makes YOU happy - not what all your friends are doing; not what will earn you the biggest salary.  Friends and money are worthless if you are miserable.  Do what makes YOU happy; what brings you joy.  You will receive rewards much greater than money or fame.

There's a great chance that my daughters' happy will be different from mine.  There is a great chance that their path will be less traditional than the one I have chosen.  Or, maybe it won't.  Only time will tell.


In the end, what I really want my daughters to know is that they really can do anything they choose, whether that's having an illustrious, fast-paced career, being a stay at home mom, or finding happiness somewhere in between.  The most important thing is that they have the courage to make the decision that is best for them and their future families -whatever that may be.

For some additional perspective on this topic and a comment thread that inspired my post today, check out this post from my blog friend and FTSF hostess, Stephanie!

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This post was written as 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, January 22, 2014

OPEN

If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, you have probably heard me mention the ladies I do Bible Study with at my church.  Our group is called GIFT (Growing In Faith Together) which is very apropos because this group has certainly been a gift to me.  The women are some of my best friends.  Our studies and discussions are inspiring.

Currently we are reading "7" by Jen Hatmaker.  Have you read it??  Basically, she becomes overwhelmed by the excess in her life.  She decides to focus on one area per month and pare down to 7 items - and only 7 items - in the monthly category.  For example, the first month she focuses on food and allows herself on 7 different single ingredient foods (chicken, sweet potatoes, avocados, eggs, whole wheat bread, spinach, and apples).  Her other months are spent focusing on clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress.  the idea behind the whole "experiment" is that getting rid of the excess opens room for other things - primarily God.

Even if you are not religious, I think there is an idea here that we can all use.  You see, Hatmaker is OPEN to the possibilities that making changes can create.  She is open to seeing opportunities to try doing something differently.


I'm a lot like my grandmother and my dad - I am uncomfortable with change.  I like things the way I like them and, as the old saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" right???  But, that's not being OPEN.

A few weeks ago, I wrote this post about my blogging goals for 2014.  I admitted that I'm not really sure what my goals are exactly.  Although I have had this blog for over three years, I threw myself into it last spring because I was searching for something - an opportunity, perhaps - to do something more; something bigger.  I'm glad I did because I love writing and I have made some wonderful connections with other women.  However, I have been so incredibly focused on it that I haven't been OPEN to other opportunities.

Just last week, though, not ONE, but THREE opportunities practically fell into my lap.  I decide to be OPEN - to accept them and the possibilities they present.

First of all, I had heard of a thing called Listen To Your Mother.  It's a "show" in which writers (or non-writers) submit pieces they have written.  A certain number are selected and the authors read them aloud during the "show."  Kind of like a poetry reading, I suppose, except they are not necessarily poems.  I was contemplating submitting, but hesitating.  Then, some other women shared some very encouraging words through a Facebook group I'm in and gave me the confidence to be OPEN to the opportunity.  I just hit "send" on my submission.  I don't know if they will like it or accept it, but I'm glad I was OPEN to the possibilities.

Secondly, I went to a parent meeting at my daughter's middle school.  At her school, the students participate in clubs once a week, but she had complained that there weren't many clubs from which to choose and she had not gotten the assignment she wanted this past quarter.  On a whim, I mentioned to the principal that I would be willing to lead a club if they needed some additional offerings.  "What kind of club did you have in mind?" she asked.  "Creative Writing," was my answer.  Maybe this doesn't seem like a huge deal, but I still hesitate to call myself a writer (even though I've been published in an actual book!).  The idea that I could teach writing to someone else - CrAzY!!  Especially middle schoolers - a far cry from the preschoolers I taught so long ago (or maybe not!).  Still, I sent an email and got an enthusiastic response from the staff member who coordinates the clubs.  Maybe no students will sign up for my club (except my daughter, bless her).  Maybe they will hate the activities I plan.  OR, maybe they will enjoy it and develop a love of writing, too.  Maybe I will get to spend some time with my daughter and maybe I will get to know some of her friends a little better.  I'm nervous and excited and OPEN to the chance that it might be great!

Finally, I was offered another opportunity to work for just a couple months in an interim position at my church.  I will be working to coordinate Sunday School for the preschoolers, chapel for the preschool, nursery workers, and a few other things.  When I was first approached, I hesitated.  I haven't earned an actual paycheck in 11 years, y'all!!!  Eleven years!!!  I'm not doing it for the paycheck, but the idea that I am responsible for things other than my family, my house, and my blog is a little scary.  What if I don't do things the right way?  What if I don't have time to blog??  What if??  What if??  OR What if it's great?  What if I realize that I enjoy having a job outside of being a SAHM??  What if I find new talents I didn't know I have??  After the initial hesitation, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of "Yes!" and I decided to be OPEN to trying something new.  I start soon and I think it's going to be fun.

All of these things happened in the same week.  At the same time, I'm reading this book.  Also this week, I read this awesome post from my bloggy friend and Tuesday Ten co-host Rabia.  It was like everything was saying "Just Do It!  Be OPEN!"

So, I'm stepping out of my comfort zone just a little, trying some new things that I am really excited about, and hoping it all goes well.  What if it all goes wrong??  But, what if it all goes right??  I'm OPEN to finding out and that is a good feeling!

When is the last time you were OPEN or do you prefer to maintain your comfortable routines??

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday Ten Linkup - Ten Things That Distract Me

Welcome to our 3rd Tuesday Ten Link Up party!

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Did you know that today is National Squirrel Day!!  Yep - No kidding!

Credit for Squirrel Photo
If you have children, and probably even if you don't, when you hear the word "squirrel" you will remember this scene from the Pixar movie Up!


Of course, Dug the dog, and some other dogs in the movie, are highly distracted by squirrels.  So, we thought it would be fun on National Squirrel Day, to talk about the things that are most distracting to us!

  1. Of course, #1 on the list is my kids.  It doesn't matter if I'm at my desk, cooking supper, or in the shower, if they need something, they will interrupt without a second thought.  "I need this," or "Can you help me with that" are words that are constantly pulling my attention away from doing other things.
  2. Not far behind the kids is my husband.  When he is traveling for work, he is gone 24/7.  But, when he is home, he works out of a home office and it is the complete opposite -he is home 24/7.  He isn't quite as needy as the kids (after all, he can scoop his own ice cream), but he frequently wants to ask me a question, or have me proofread an email, or asks me to make him some lunch.  He doesn't hesitate to come into the bathroom while I'm showering or "otherwise indisposed."  Sometimes, though, the distractions are good - like when we go out for a Friday lunch date.  (And, yes dear, I know you could say the same thing about me interrupting you!)  
  3. I can't put my kids and husband on the list without adding the dog as well!  Our border collie, Sophie, is a good dog most of the time.  However, especially this time of year, she wants in the house and then back out and then back in again.  If she's in, she will begin to pace until someone lets her out.  She barks at anything that moves in our front yard and stalks me when I'm in the kitchen just waiting for me to drop a morsel of food.
    "Me?  Distract you??  Never!  Squirrel!!!"

  4. My family would say that my blog is one GIANT distraction.  It is something that is extremely important to me, but I do admit that it is just an all-consuming hobby.  After all, I have yet to make one single dime from my blog or my writing, so I can't call it a "job."  I spend an enormous amount of time writing, reading, commenting, sharing on social media, and planning.  I suppose I could spend all those hours making my house completely spotless or at the gym making myself all skinny and buff, but I love my blog and the friendships it has helped me to make, so it is a distraction I don't mind.  (Just don't ask my hubby and kids how they feel about all of that!) 
  5. Another thing that distracts me is email.  I can be sitting at my desk typing a blog post and my phone or computer will "ding" with an email notification.  It's almost like an impulse to stop what I'm doing and check it.  I always have to check my phone one last time before I go to bed, too.
  6. Facebook is another big distraction.  Often, if I find I have just a couple minutes to spare I'll think, "I'm just going to check Facebook super quick" and then, several minutes later time has gotten away from me and I'm running late.  If I really need to focus on something, I have to make Facebook off limits.
  7. Music can also distract me.  Just this morning, I had showered and gotten dressed.  I had the TV on CMT (yes, I love country music - don't judge).  It took me far too long to throw my hair in a ponytail and slap on some mascara because I kept stopping to watch videos when I heard a song I liked.  I do the same thing when I'm cooking.  I turn Pandora on my iPhone and, if I hear a song I like, I'll stop to sing along or read the lyrics.  
  8. The phone can also be a distraction.  I'm not a big phone talker.  In fact, I don't call people as often as I should and actually avoid making phone calls sometimes.  However, I cannot control who calls my house.  A lot of times, it's a recording from the school or a telemarketer.  Still, I stop what I'm doing to answer it.  If it is a friend, I tend to lose all track of time.  Before I know it, we've been talking for an hour and I've gotten nothing else done!
  9. I tend to be a very distractible housekeeper, too.  For example, if I'm cleaning the den and I find something that belongs in one of my girls' rooms, I take it to that room.  When I'm in their room, I find another mess that needs to be cleaned up.  In that mess I find something that goes in the kitchen, so I take it to the kitchen and find something else that needs to be cleaned.  So on and so on.  All the while, the original mess in the den has never been completely cleaned up.    Yes, messes are very distracting!  (Did that paragraph make anybody else think of "If you Give A Mouse A Cookie?")
  10. Finally, I would have to sum up what distracts me by saying it is ALLTHEHTINGS!!!  Everything I have listed and more.  Motherhood is chock full of distractions!  Some are self-imposed (like blogging) and others are not (like the kids), but they all work together to make me a very distractible person.  On any given evening, you might find me cooking supper while listening to music.  Then, a child comes in needing help with homework, the phone rings, and the dog starts barking.  The phone call is my husband and, while I'm talking to him, I get an email that someone has left a new comment on my blog post.  Then, the oven timer goes off and one of the other kids comes in to ask when supper will be ready because she is apparently dying of starvation.  All of that occurs in a span of thirty seconds, maybe sixty.  Then, my head is spinning and I can't focus on anything because I am focusing on everything!  I am constantly pulled in many different directions and distracted by all the things and people around me.  Such is the life of a mom, right??!?
What are your biggest distractions??  Share in the comments or link up a post!!!
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Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:

TheLiebersThe Teacher Wife


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Come link up again next Tuesday, January 28. 
 The topic will be "Things I Should Say More Often" based on this Kid President video!

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Supper - BBQ Chicken

For today's Sunday Supper, I'm sharing a dish that is one of my "go-to" dinners.  It is soooooooo easy and it only requires 2 ingredients!!!  I make this at least a couple times a month.  Everyone likes it and I always have it on hand.

Easy BBQ Chicken

You only need two things:

Chicken
(I use boneless skinless breasts.)

 Your favorite BBQ sauce
(This is the one we like.)

All you do is put the chicken in a baking dish, pour the BBQ on top, and cover with foil.
Pop it in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  

Add a couple sides and DONE!  Like I said, could not be easier.

(Several months ago when I wrote this post, my blog friend Stephanie shared that she does this in the crock pot, then shreds the chicken to make sandwiches.  I've since done it that way, too, and it's great- especially if you add some slaw or cheddar chess melted on top!  Just put the chicken in the crock pot, pour BBQ sauce over it, and cook on low for about 6 hours.)

There you have it - the easiest dinner recipe ever!!

What are some of your quick and easy "go to" meals???

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Kissing Lists, Answering Questions, and Finishing Sentences!

I have been participating in Finish the Sentence Friday for several months now.  I love the prompts and I have connected with so many other wonderful bloggers by participating.  However, I have recently been seeing many bloggers doing some Ask Away Friday posts in which they exchange questions with each other and then answer them in a blog post.  I love reading these posts and learning more about my friends from the blogosphere, but was torn because of my love for Finish the Sentence Friday as well.

So, when Dana from Kiss My List emailed me and asked if I would like to COMBINE Finish the Sentence Friday and Ask Away Friday, I thought she was a genius and was immediately on board!

Honestly, I cannot even remember how I found Dana and her blog.  I think it might have actually been through FTSF.  She is also a contributing author to The Mother Of All Meltdowns, but I'm certain I knew her before that.  We both have an affinity for planning and making lists.  Plus we are actually going to be roomies at the BlogU conference in June!  





Ask Away Friday is hosted by The Real Housewife of Caroline County and The Bold Fab Mom.









Here are my answers to Dana's questions for me.  To see the questions I gave her and read her answers, head over to her blog by clicking HERE!



1. This week's Finish the Sentence Friday prompt is "I once saw the biggest..." I'm going to tweak it. Finish this sentence: "I have the biggest..." Collection of music boxes.  Well, it's probably not the biggest, but I have about 30 of them.  I used to collect them when I was younger.  I always got a new one for Christmas and sometimes on other occasions.  I don't get them as much anymore, but I still love them.  Here are a few from my collection:
The old timey phone in the bottom right corner is the first one I ever got.  It was a Christmas gift from my grandmother and it plays "Music Box Dancer."
These are some of my favorites.  L to R: Mother and baby Pagasus given to me by my mom and plays "Wind Beneath my Wings;" Church that plays "Amazing Grace;" Snow globe that plays "Winter Wonderland;" Birds also given by my mom that plays "You Light Up My Life."

2. Tell me something quirky about yourself.
Well, here's something that I never thought of as quirky until I started dating my husband and it totally freaked him out.  You won't understand unless you actually do it, though.  If you sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and the back of your knees pressed flat against the floor, can you bend your toes all the way straight down to touch the floor? I can.  My husband says its weird and I have never found anyone else who can do it.

3. You and I are going to be roommates for Blog U in June. What kind of roommate will you be? Do you snore? I guess I should have asked that earlier! :)  
I will be wonderful roommate!! :-)  I am an introvert by nature and sometimes a little uncomfortable when faced with meeting a large group of new people.  However, I feel like I know many of the conference attendees even though I haven't met them in real life.  I am NOT a party animal and I need my sleep to function.  I am terrible with maps and directions, so might need some assistance there.  According to my hubby, I only snore when I am pregnant and I can assure that will NOT be the case in June (or ever again)! 

4. What are three things that you love to do, just for you?
First on the list would be blogging.  My family is supportive of it, but I'm not really sure they completely "get it."  I love writing and I find inspiration in reading other blog posts as well.  Plus, the connections I have made with others are so wonderful.  I feel like I have a whole group of friends that I have never met, but who would still drop everything to help me out.  I also love to shop.  I don't do it that much because I always feel guilty for spending the money on myself.  However, a new outfit or purse can do wonders to lift my spirits.  The third would probably be listening to music.  I rock out in my minivan and listen to the music I like even when my kids and my hubs don't like it so much.

5. Did you ever think about the genders of your future children when you were younger? Did you see yourself having three girls? What has surprised you about having three daughters?
Ha!  I did not see myself having three girls.  I always wanted to be a mom, though, and  planned to have two boys and then one girl.  Obviously, we don't get to decide and I actually love having three daughters.  I think what surprises me most is how different and unique they are.  You might think that three children of the same gender raised by the same parents in the same house with the same rules, morals, etc. would be quite similar.  However, all three of my girls are very different from each other in the personalities, their abilities, their interests, and their styles.

6. One of your New Year's resolutions is to read more. What type of books do you enjoy reading? Do you have any all time favorites?
I like stories that have a little drama, a little romance, and a maybe a little history.  I don't like SciFi or scary stories.  I like love stories, but not too sappy or too trashy.  Three of my all time favorites are Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts, Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls, and Fireproof by Wilson.

7. Do you miss teaching? Do you think you'll ever go back, or will you try something new?
Is it bad if I say no, I don't miss it??  I used to teach special needs preschoolers and, when I was doing it, I loved it.  However, I have been a SAHM for 11 years now and public school has changed so much.  I don't think the kind of class I taught even exists anymore as it did then.  While the job was very fulfilling in many ways, it was also draining emotionally because I became so attached to the kids I taught.  I'm honestly not sure I could do it and, now, come home and have anything left for my own kids and husband.  I am really working on my writing and finding fulfillment in that now.  I am hoping to find ways to make that a new "career" of sorts, but I'm still figuring out how to make that happen.  In the meantime, I'm going to be combing teaching and writing as I coordinate a creative writing club for kids at my oldest daughter's middle school during the next quarter.  I'm nervous about teaching middle schoolers, but excited about sharing my love of writing with them.

8. You share with your readers the unique personalties of each of your girls. Who is most like you, and who is most like your husband? 
My oldest is most like me.  She is stubborn, but creative.  She's a planner, but often sees the big picture without considering the details.  She is compassionate and loves younger children and animals.  Yet, she is rather stoic and withholds her emotions.  We have our differences and we butt heads occasionally, but we are very much alike in may ways.  My middle one is most like my husband.  She is a ball of energy and she loves to be silly.  She is really good at math and puzzles.  She almost always finds the positive in any situation and is not afraid to try new things.  

9. If my family came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare? And what can I bring?  Hmmmmm.. I like to cook, but my family is a conglomeration of picky eaters.  If you were to come for dinner, we would probably grill steaks or chicken if the weather was good.  We would likely add some baked potatoes, salad, and of course, dessert.  If we had to be indoors, I would probably make lasagna.  I wouldn't ask you to bring anything but yourself! 

10. Let's end on something silly. My kids and I love to play "Would You Rather?" Let's play: Would you rather have hiccups for the rest of your life or feel like you have to sneeze, but can't (also for the rest of your life)? Credit goes to my daughter for that challenging question.
My kids love "Would You Rather" too!  That's a tough one.  I already tend to sneeze a lot and, when I sneeze, it's not just once - it's like 5 or 6 times in a row.  Therefore, I'd probably have to go with hiccups.  They would definitely be annoying, but I'm already tired of sneezing! :-)


This was so much fun!!  Big thanks to Dana for inviting me to participate!!  Please head over to her blog and check out the answers she gave to my questions!
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