Thursday, September 29, 2011

When Zombies Attack

Austin's English teacher had the kids write letters to their parents, inviting them to the school's open house next week. The students were told to bring the letters home, get them signed by a parent, and return them to school. Austin thought that I'd be the only one reading the letter. He figured the teacher would glance at it to make sure it had been signed, and then he'd get the credit for it. He didn't realize the teacher was going to read the letter before he got to take it home and give it to me. Yeah. This is what he wrote.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Leave the Lipstick at the Door

I read an article on MSNBC today about how a school in England has banned the use of makeup for their 13 – 16 year old students. Not only have they made it against school rules for girls to wear makeup, but they’ve also removed the mirrors in the bathrooms to prevent vanity. Maybe they think that if they remove the mirrors, the girls won’t realize how they look without makeup. According to the article, John McNally, head teacher, says, “The mirror ban is to break a cycle where social groups started to emerge in the bathroom.” Oh my gosh, no, not social groups! At a school?! The horror!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Easy Money

I was sick last week and, as much as I wanted to blog, I just couldn't manage to stay awake long enough to compose a single sentence. Every day, after getting home, helping my kids with their homework, making dinner, and getting my little ones to bed, I lay down, coughed up a lung, and passed out asleep. I really needed the sleep. I needed to take care of myself, but, at the same time, I stressed over the fact that I wasn't writing. No writing = no income. But I'm happy to announce that I've now solved all my money problems! My spam filter catches a couple dozen emails a day. I generally just delete the whole bunch without a second glance, but today, for kicks, I decided to open one and read it. This is what it said.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Sound Out

From Orlando, where it's still a thousand degrees in the shade, it's your host, the woman whose son brought a snake in the house to show her, and who lived to tell the tale, Dawn Damalas Meehan!

This past week kicked my butt. I was so tired every night, I just didn't have it in me to blog. Not to mention the fact that there's not much to blog about when the only thing you do is go to work, then come home, clean up, and go to bed. Although I suppose I could've blogged about the morning I dumped a whole cup of coffee in my shoe. I didn't really care about the squishiness of my shoe, but I really, really wanted that cup of coffee. I was ashamedly tempted to slurp it out of my clog. Instead, I just slipped my foot in there and hoped I'd get a little caffeine through osmosis.

Anyway, here are the answers to this week's questions.

Dawn, Do you realize that counting up A’s, B’s, C’s etc. is a “mathy” thing? So, you do do “math!” You added the positive and subtracted the negative.
Ugh, don't remind me. I've done more math in the last month than I ever did in my entire school career! The students in my class need help with math way more than any other subject. And my eyes still bleed every time I see a new type of problem.

So Dawn, After a day helping kids with homework, what does that job feel like at home? Have you learned any tricks to get the job done there too? Keep up the good work!
Oh my gosh, it's a piece of cake! I have a whole new perspective on helping my kids with their homework. Even if they struggle with something, they're still eager to try. Too many of my students don't try and don't seem to care at all which is frustrating.

That is so LoL funny!!!! Did you laugh when you read it? [Clay's note about pooping] I can’t wait to show my kids this post- I know my 8 yr old son will especially find this hilarious!!!
I laugh at most everything Clayton says and does. That kid cracks me up regularly. It's hard being strict with him when half the time, I'm trying to choke back a laugh.

I call it “doing research” when I creep on facebook pages!! :-)
Research... that's good. My kids know that I regularly creep on, er, um, research their pages. The deal is that they have to friend me if they want to have an account. Besides, creeping on my kids pages is a good way to keep up with the latest slang and teen stuff.

Ahahaha! You still take your kids shopping? Do they still try to sneak Pokemon cards into the cart?

I try to avoid it at all costs, but yeah, they're often with me. Sometimes they try to sneak chocolate or cookies into my cart, but really, why on earth would I remove those items?

So this is what I havein store?! My 4 year old told me that if I ever have a vampire up my butt (?!?!), I need to go poop him out.
Oh yes, that's classic advice, to be sure. I told Clay what your four-year-old said, expecting him to laugh, but instead, he looked thoughtful and after a beat, said, "I would just reach in and grab the vampire out. Then I'd let him bite me so I could be a poop vampire." Yeah. This is what I live with.

Just one question, if Austin and Savannah have to take the bus at the ungodly hour of 6:15 — how early do you all guys have to get up, even if you skip showering, brushing your teeth, combing your hair, coffee…?
I'm not sure what time Savannah gets up, but she generally wakes Austin up 5 minutes before they leave for the bus. I set my alarm for 6:00, but generally play Snoozopoly until 6:30 at which point I wake up the little kids and make some coffee. I bring my cup of wake-up juice in the shower with me because I'm an amazing multi-tasker like that. I always shave my legs because I have an unnatural obsession with it. Oh, except for the other day when I only shaved one leg because apparently I can't be trusted with such complex tasks so early in the morning. Then, after we're dressed and fed, we all hit the road around 7:30. I drop off my littles and head on in to work.

Do you know that in some pictures Savannah is such a look-alike to the crown princess of Sweden? (completely not-interesting comment, I know…)
Oh yes, they're the spitting image of each other.

Victoria, princess of Sweden with a crown on her head. (Image: AFP)

Savannah, ordinary girl in Orlando with a monkey on her head.

So have you gotten used to Savannah driving yet?
Does it count if I still put my foot through the floor and clutch the dashboard? If not, then yes, yes, I'm used to her driving.

Did you buy the [BFF] bracelets? and will Austin wear it?
Sure, he wears it right next to his "I love my mom" bracelet. All the kids at school are jealous of that one.

I can’t believe how much you and Savannah look alike in that picture. So cute!
So technically, this means I look like a princess too! ;)

The Best Way to Camp

Over the years, my family has done a lot of camping. We used to load up our camper and join our best friends for a weekend of roughing it several times each summer. I loved time spent with family and friends. There's something to be said for unplugging and just hanging out without any work, school, sports, activities, or deadlines getting in the way. However, as much as I loved the uninterrupted time with my family, I really hated the "roughing it" part. Who wants to sleep out in the wilderness with no air conditioning? Who wants to get mosquito bites on top of mosquito bites? Who wants to cook like a pioneer? Crazy people, that's who!

So, my family now does this kind of camping. I still get to relax in the air conditioning, microwave a snack, and watch TV, while my kids get to sleep in a tent. It's all good.

On the new Subway site, Fresh Takes on Family Time, there's a good article on the benefits of camping in your backyard. Check it out! And while you're there, click the "tell your story" tab on top to submit your own story of fresh takes on family time! You'll be entered to win a $50 gift card from Subway, PLUS, every month, one family will have their story made into a video which will be featured on the site! Fun!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Subway Fresh Takes

Now that I'm working full-time, dinnertime with my kids, which has always been important to me, has become even more so. So, when Subway asked me if I'd be interested in partnering with them to talk about their new website featuring fresh takes on family traditions centering around the dinner table, I was really excited! Dinner is a time I look forward to every day. It's not because I love cooking (believe me!), but because I love hanging out with my kids and hearing all about their days. Especially now that I'm working and am no longer home to greet my kids when they get off the bus, I love sitting down to a meal where we can all relax, talk about our days, and inevitably be umm, entertained by Clay's songs about poop. (What can I say? He's a seven-year-old boy.)

Anyway, Subway's new Fresh Takes on Family Time site is full of cute stories, videos, tips, and ideas for enjoying that precious time with your own family. Subway even encourages you to share your own stories with other families who might benefit from your ideas. In fact, here's
a cute idea for saying goodbye to summer. From what I understand, summer is over. I wouldn't know it, living in Orlando where every day is still in the 90s. But from what I hear, some parts of the country have already fired up their furnaces and bid a fond farewell to the lazy days of summer. Go check out the site, look around and let me know what you think. In the coming months, there will be more seasonal videos and stories to make sure you never run out of fun ideas for spending time with your family. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Separated by a Common Language

I love learning about other cultures. I’m so fortunate to have readers from all over the world and they’ve generously shared post cards, letters, pictures, souvenirs, and other great items and information about their homelands over the years. I think it’s so cool how people in other areas of the world have such different traditions, clothing, housing, ideas, food, etc.. When I was at Target the other day, I took many pictures of some interesting English foods. I think it’s especially strange how a country that speaks the same language, can have such differences. For example, apparently “pudding” does not mean the same thing in the U.K. as it does in the U.S.

Campbell's Winner!

Thank you to everyone who commented on the Campbell's V8 VFusion giveaway! The randomly chosen winner is -

MAW said...
I want to try this bread, but budget is tight, so I haven't been able to justify the extra expense. Would be awesome to win it though!

Congratulations! Email me at with your shipping details so we can get your lunch kit sent out to you right away!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Few Moments Earlier

I limped down the hallway toward my classroom, my arms laden with bags, the keys around my neck jangling and reverberating off the walls with every painful step. I opened the door to my room, dropped my bags on the floor, and collapsed into the chair behind my desk.

A few moments earlier, I pulled into the parking and quickly realized it was full. I drove past my regular spot and kept driving and driving until I found a free space. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have thought twice about the walk from the farthest reaches of the parking lot to the front door. But today? Well, I looked at the clock in my car and sighed. I was so late which explained the full parking lot. And the full parking lot? Well, that was going to make me even later. I grimaced as I hopped down from my van and pain shot through my foot and up my leg.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sometimes You Need a Little Flip

I’m generally a “glass is half-full” kind of person. I see the bright side of any situation without too much effort; it comes naturally. I like other ”glass is half-full” kind of people. I tend to gravitate toward them because, well, who doesn’t like hanging around upbeat, positive people? Then there are those “glass is half-empty” folks. People who focus on the negative bum me out. I avoid them if possible. And finally, there are those people whose attitude is more like, The glass is half-empty. No, actually, it’s more like 2/3 empty. I don’t think you could call it half-empty. That’s not right. It’s more than half empty. And this glass is dirty. There are water marks all over it. A glass like this should really be washed by hand. And, come to think of it, this glass is outdated. It doesn’t really go with my plates. Great, now I have to find new glasses that go with my plates. Or I need to find new plates. And you know how long that will take me! It took me over an year to find these glasses! Fabulous! Now my day is ruined! RUINED, I tell ya! Not that I know of anyone personally who fits this description, ahem.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Check Yes or No

I thought about writing a post commemorating 9/11, but it just made me sad, and I don’t do sad. And really, every venue has thoroughly covered the topic this weekend, so I didn’t think anyone needed to read one more from me. So, instead, I’m writing about communicating with your kids. I’ve written about the importance of communicating with your kids many times over the years. It’s important to make the time to talk with your kids, starting when they’re babies. Talk to them, listen to them, and keep those lines open, ensuring them that they can come to you with any problem, at any time.

Earlier this week, I wrote about how my teenage son and I kept in touch via texting HERE. Today, my seven-year-old son, Clay, found a creative way to get my attention so he could ask me a question; a question of the utmost importance. It was so important, in fact, that he simply couldn’t go to sleep until I’d answered him.


Quaker Chewy Winner!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Quaker Chewy Superstar Search! I can't wait to find out who the winner is!

But the random winner of the giveaway is - Sasha! Congratulations! Contact me at with your shipping details so we can get your prize sent to you right away.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Campbell's Lunch Kit Giveaway!

I've done several giveaways for Campbell's over the years because I love their products. Here are some more cool offerings from Campbell's!

V8 VFusion is my family's absolute favorite juice! There's nothing artificial in V8 VFusion. It's made from fruit and vegetables, but tastes just like delicious fruit juice. It's a great way ensure your kids get enough fruit and vegetables every day. Now, there's a new VFusion flavor, Concord Grape Raspberry, and it comes in 8 oz. slim cans, perfect for your child's lunchbox.

And I love the new Pepperidge Farm Goldfish bread! It's too cute! Your kids will flip when they open their lunch bag and see their favorite sandwich made on adorable, goldfish shaped bread! It comes in 100% whole wheat, honey whole wheat, and white bread for the lunch that smiles back. :)

I have a great back-to-school lunch kit for one lucky reader. The kit includes:

* A six-pack of V8 V-Fusion Concord Grape Raspberry 8 ounce cans
* A green lunch tote
* Reusable Velcro bags, the perfect item for keeping sandwiches and snacks fresh
* Branded cards for moms to include notes for their children to read at lunch
* Branded grocery list notepads so moms can remember to pick up Concord Grape Raspberry slim cans on their next trip to the supermarket
* $25 Wal-Mart gift card
* A coupon for one free V8 V-Fusion, V8 V-Fusion Light or V8 V-Fusion + Tea beverage (46 ounce or 8 ounce 6 pack)
* A pack of NEW Goldfish sandwich bread from Pepperidge Farm, the perfect item to turn a boring sandwich into an exciting lunch item

To enter for a chance to win this fabulous lunch kit, leave me a comment here (include contact information). For another chance to win, tweet about this contest, linking here, then come back and leave me another comment, linking to your tweet. For yet another chance to win, share a link to this contest on your Facebook wall, then come back here and leave me another comment, linking to your Facebook post. Contest open to U.S. residents. I'll choose a random winner on Wednesday, September 14. Good luck!

I received a lunch kit from Campbell's to sample the new products before writing about them.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Just Ten More Minutes

I hit the snooze button four times this morning. Do you know what that means?! Let me put it this way – the first few days of school, I sprang out of bed when my alarm went off at 6:00, excited to go to school and make a difference in the lives of young, impressionable tweens and teens. By the end of the first week, I began to hit the snooze button. Just once, mind you. I wasn’t trying to escape the responsibility of work; just prolong the getting-out-of-bed part for a couple minutes. At the start of the second week, I was up to two hits of the snooze button. Who could blame me? I mean, it was still dark outside, for crying out loud! What kind of crazy people are up and about at that hour? Vampires racing home to their coffins, that’s who. Normal people are still in bed. But by the end of the second week, I was up to three hits of the ole snooze button. Still, I told myself it was no big deal. I wasn’t addicted to the snooze button or anything. I could stop at any time if I wanted to.


Monday, September 5, 2011

This is How Monkeys Text

The kids and I watched the movie Rio a couple nights ago. At one point in the movie, a monkey received a text from another monkey. It read Ooo ooo aah aah :(|) For some reason, this struck me as hilarious. (What can I say, I don’t get out much. My kids have warped my mind. I was tired.) I, being the completely mature, responsible adult that I am, immediately texted Austin Ooo ooo aah aah :(|)

On the couch next to me, Austin heard his phone buzz, looked at it, then turned to me. “Really Mom? Really?” was his not-so-amused response. Seeing his deadpan face made me laugh even more. I nearly fell off the couch laughing like some sort of maniac. (Yes, I’m aware that normal parents don’t snort and pee their pants after sending a monkey text to their kid. I’m just special that way.)-

Continue Reading Here!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Austin and Lexi get migraines. Austin doesn’t get them often, thankfully, but unfortunately, Lexi does. Today, she woke up with a headache. She walked into my room and collapsed on my floor in tears. I know if I catch it and give her medicine when the pain first starts, she can usually fall asleep for a couple hours and awake pain-free. If, however, we don’t catch it immediately . . . well, that generally involves vomiting and pain that lasts all day.


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