Monday, December 24, 2012

Dear Santa

Dear Santa, 

I know this is last-minute, but I'm sure you'll understand that I've been a bit busy lately, what with the working and baking and cleaning and shopping and wrapping.  But I have a feeling that you work well under pressure and last-minute demands. 

I've been a really good girl this year. I've hardly gotten into any trouble at all and I've done many good things. Remember when I listened for an hour to Brooklyn singing her made-up song that only contained the lyrics do be do be do? And this year I've done 748 loads of laundry. That alone has got to count for something, right? Maybe a new pair of jeans for myself? I not only washed, dried, and folded the laundry, but I got almost all of it sorted into the right piles for the kids. (Although it was pretty funny when Savannah tried to put on Jackson's jeans and thought she'd gained weight overnight.)


Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Top Ten Christmas Movies

One of my favorite holiday traditions is watching Christmas movies with my kids. There's just something about all those old classics that puts me in the Christmas spirit.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Need Last Minute Ideas?

1. LAUREN'S HOPE This medical id jewelry is gorgeous and functional! With such a huge variety of styles and colors, there's something to suit everyone's tastes. They're the perfect gift for anyone who has a medical condition like diabetes, asthma, allergies, etc. Use code "6PACK" at check out to save 10% now until December 31st!
(Starting around $12.00 and up.)
2. EOS LIP BALM These make great stocking stuffers! EOS (evolution of smooth) makes these lip balms in a variety of flavors like strawberry sorbet, sweet mint, and pomegranate raspberry. I love the packaging! The sphere shape makes them glide on beautifully. And you'll smile knowing they're 95% organic, 100% natural, paraben, petrolatum and phthalate free, and packed with antioxidant-rich vitamin E, soothing shea butter and jojoba oil. At retailers near you.
3. LANDS' END DOUBLE CANVAS WINE TOTE Order a few of these to have on hand because they make perfect hostess gifts. You can order these totes plain or have them monogrammed with whatever you'd like. After enjoying the bottles of wine (and really, who doesn't like wine?!), your hostess can reuse this sturdy tote again and again. Choose from red or navy trim and save $12 when you order four! Lands' End has fabulous lists of Christmas gifts to make it easy to shop for everyone on your list. Order by December 17th and you can still get guaranteed Christmas delivery with monogramming or gift boxing.
(Available at Lands' End for $25.00)

4. TIME for kids: THAT'S STRANGE BUT TRUE  My kids (especially the boys) love this hard cover book. Anything that talks about weird or bizarre facts is right up their alley. And when these oddities are accompanied by full color photos, that makes it even better! I'm forever hearing, "Mom, did you know . . .?" My kids could probably win a game of Jeopardy with all their random knowledge!
(Available at retailers like for less than $15.)

5. STICKYGRAM Turn your Instagram photos into cute magnets! It's super-easy to do! Just upload your favorite Instagram pics, choose which ones you wanted made into magnets, and voila! Instant fridge or locker decorations! These make great stocking stuffers and gifts for grandparents! Just click the Stickygram link to get started! If it's too late to ship, no problem! Order a gift certificate instead. Use code: FRIENDFJGX to receive $2.00 off your order!
($14.99 for a sheet of 9 with free international shipping.)
6. 4. WHEEL OF FORTUNE and JEOPARDY FOR XBOX So much fun for the whole family! Even my little kids like to play Wheel of Fortune and have fun guessing the words. Next family game night, ditch the board games and gather around the TV to play these interactive games! Just like the TV show (except you don't actually win any money, unfortunately.) Both games are available at retailers near you.
(Retails for about $30.00 each)
7. SAFETY TATS These should be in every parent's stocking on Christmas morning. They're such an awesome mom-invented way to keep your kids safe! Simply write your cell phone number (or other information) on the tattoos and place them on your small child's arm when you're at an amusement park, zoo, shopping mall, or other place where you could get separated. Safety Tats give you peace of mind when you're out and kids love to wear them too!
(Prices start at $9.00 a pack)
8. GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS    My kids love this hard cover book! And this year, the 2013 edition comes with a free download of an augmented reality app that lets you see records in amazing 3D.  There are about 4000 records with great photos and interesting facts throughout the book that will keep you entertained for the year. Or search the book for ideas on setting your own record!
(Find it at retailers like Target, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon for less than $20.)
9. BECAUSE I SAID SO & YOU'LL LOSE THE BABY WEIGHT Of course my books should be on everyone's Christmas list! You can't help but laugh with gems like these:
 • I was a little at a loss. I mean, those parenting books don’t tell you how to break up a fight over an imaginary friend.
• Moms aren’t allowed to get sick more than one day a year. Single moms aren’t allowed to get sick ever.
• Before you have children you can’t imagine yourself saying things like “Don’t put chocolate milk in your pants,” “Take the hot dog out of your nose,” or “Because I said so!”
If you’re a mom-to-be or a mom in the trenches, you’ll love knowing that you’re not the only one out there who sometimes just figures it out as you go along—and sometimes can’t figure it out at all. But in the end, Dawn has these words of encouragement just for you: “Enjoy this time. Even when they make you crazy, these are the best days of your life.” And they really are, aren’t they?
(Available on Amazon)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why you Should Never Play Dolls with your Brother

This weekend, my 6-year-old daughter pulled out the doll house and asked her 8-year-old brother if he'd play with her. He was perfectly willing to play dolls with her. A cool thing about having boys and girls is that we have a variety of toys with which the kids can play. Now and then, the boys like to check out the "girl toys" and now and then the girls like to check out the "boy toys". So, yesterday the kids were playing with this doll house while I was baking (and eavesdropping on them). Here's a transcript of the conversation they had while playing:

BROOKLYN: Here, Clay, you can be the dad and the boy. I’ll be the mom and the girl.

(Clay grabbed the dolls and held the boy upside down by his feet.)

BROOKLYN: No, Clay. You have to hold him this way. (demonstrating the proper doll-holding technique that’s inherent to little girls)

CLAYTON: (acquiescing to the proper doll-holding technique) Can the boy have super-powers?

BROOKLYN: (authoritative) No.

CLAYTON: (flying the boy around the family room) He can fly! He’ll save you from eeeeevil!

BROOKLYN: (annoyed) Clayton! You’re not playing right! They’re going to have breakfast now. (in the requisite high-pitched ‘doll voice’) Come here and sit down, honey.

CLAYTON: (obligingly sitting down) Can I have ice cream?

BROOKLYN:  No, you have to have a healthy breakfast.

CLAYTON: (making crazy gulping, chomping noises) I’m done! Now it’s time to go to work. (putting his doll into the bathtub and making engine revving noises) Get out of my way! I’m driving to work!

BROOKLYN: That’s not a car! It’s a bathtub, Clayton.

CLAYTON: No, it’s a car and it shoots bullets too. (holding shower head like a gun and aiming it at Brooklyn while making shooting noises like every boy is apparently born knowing how to make)

BROOKLYN: (giving him her best ‘I am not amused’ look) Stop shooting, Clayton. That is not a gun. You have to get ready to go to the dance. (in the ‘doll voice‘) Let’s get ready, honey. Pretend like you’re putting on fancy clothes.

CLAYTON: (firing off a few more rounds with his shower head gun while speeding around the house in his bathtub) Woo Hoo!

BROOKLYN:  Clayton!

CLAYTON:  Parkour, parkour! (taking the boy doll and making him jump off the roof)

BROOKLYN:  Clayton!

At this point, Clay took off with the doll, running through the house like a gibbon on crack, and Brooklyn fired him, replacing him with Lexi, who understands the concept of talking in a ‘doll voice’ and getting ready for dances instead of shooting people with a bathtub.

Christmas on a Budget

Christmas carols are playing, there's a nip in the air (well, except here in Florida where it still feels like summer), the scent of gingerbread and eggnog fills the air, and lights are twinkling on trees and houses everywhere. There's no denying that Christmas is in the air. But the tight budgets that many of us are on this year can put a real damper on Christmas spirit and cause a lot of stress, wondering how we're going to be able to shop with limited finances. I've compiled a few tips below to help take the stress out of holiday shopping and to stretch that holiday dollar just a little bit further.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Weebles, Sea Wees, Spirograph, & Other Hot Toys from the 70s & 80s

When I was looking through the Target catalog at the top 20 toys this season, I thought of the hot toys back when I was a kid. I tried explaining some of these to my own children, but they had a hard time understanding the concept of some of my old toys.

"Weebles? But what do they DO? They just wobble?"

"Yes!" I said excitedly. "But they don't fall down!"

sound of crickets


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Why Increasing School Hours Won't Solve the Education Problem in America

Kids (and I bet a fair number of parents) in Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee are groaning tonight. These five states will be adding another 300 hours to the school year in 2013. The reason? To make U.S. schools more competitive on a global level. Now I'm no expert, but I don't believe that adding another 300 hours is going to do much to help American students to compete with their Indian and Asian peers. I do, however, see how this is going to tick off a lot of teachers.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

An Interview with my Daughter About Christmas Joy

I awoke with a sense of doom. I grabbed my phone and checked the date. December 2. Whew! It was only a dream (or rather a nightmare). In my dream, it was Christmas morning and my kids were all disappointed because I had failed to buy presents for four of them. I had been waiting until I had money with which to shop and before I knew it, it was Christmas day. I ran around like crazy, trying to find a store so I could get my kids something, but no place was open. It was an awful feeling. After I got up, I decided I'd better get an idea of what my kids want for Christmas, so I asked Brooklyn. 

ME: Do you like Christmas? 

BROOKLYN: Yes! It’s my favorite. 

ME: What do you like about Christmas? 

BROOKLYN: Because Santa comes and brings presents. And everyone loves the Christmas joy. 

ME: What’s the Christmas joy? 

BROOKLYN: When everyone sings. Oh Christmas joy, oh Christmas joy, jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock. And bring us fiddy pudding, bring us fiddy pudding or we won’t go home.


Surviving the School Year: Taking Care of Yourself

I wrote about some of my top tips for surviving the school year HERE. And when I checked out the Tyson Any'tizers Snacks School Year Survival Guide, I found a couple other tips to try. The Facebook page suggests making time for yourself. As parents, we tend to center our lives around our children (which, in my opinion, is how it should be), but now and then we need a little break. Doing something for ourselves is an important step that so many of us overlook. I know I do! The thing is - if you find a few minutes for yourself every day, it renews and rejuvenates you so that you can be at your best for your kids.

The Tyson page suggests making a list of your favorite activities and then doing them. In fact, most experts agree that parents need to make time for themselves and they suggest things like taking ballroom dancing lessons, scrapbooking, joining a gym and working out several times a week, etc. They're great ideas, but I know that (here in the real world) these things aren't always possible. For those of us living on a tight budget, joining a gym or signing up for lessons, for example, isn't feasible. But even though you may be limited on possibilities, you can still take time for yourself. Here are a few low-cost/free ideas.

1.  Create a dinner swap group. Get a group of friends together. Each of you cooks a dinner entree with sides that will feed however many people are in your group. For example, if you have 6 people in the group, you might make 6 lasagnas, while another person makes 6 batches of Swedish meatballs, and another person makes 6 pans of enchiladas, etc. Then once a month, get together and swap your dishes.. You can do this on whatever size scale works for you. The once a month (or once a week) get-together can be a fun outlet to break open a bottle of wine, pop some Any'tizer Chicken and Bacon Bruschetta in the oven, and enjoy the company of your friends. Meanwhile, you're only spending the money you would ordinarily be spending on feeding your family. Plus, you're gaining a variety of dinners that are easy to pop in the oven on a busy night!

2.  Instead of joining a gym, buy an exercise DVD and lock yourself in your room (so your kids can't laugh at your lack of coordination and groaning) and take half an hour to take care of yourself. Or recruit a friend or two to go for a walk with you after the kids are in bed.

3.  Escape into a good book. Take time to read. After helping your child with their ABCs, enjoy disappearing into a story of your own choosing. It's great to unwind with a couple chapters of a book that doesn't including green eggs or ham.

4.  Meet a friend for a cup of coffee or a drink. It doesn't take a lot of time or money, but it can be highly enjoyable to get together and talk and laugh and just unwind.

5.  Laugh! Go see a comedian, watch a funny DVD, or read a humorous story. Laughing is such a great way to forget about your problems and melt the stress away, even if only for a little while.

For more ideas on surviving the school year, check out Tyson Any'tizer page HERE. And add your own ideas!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Now That's Cooking with Gas (or um, a Lightbulb)!

I remember the Easy-Bake Oven I had as a kid. It looked like one of those fancy new inventions called microwaves, and it was in the hottest colors of the era - harvest gold and poop brown. It was at the top of my Christmas list back in the day and I was thrilled when I woke up Christmas morning and discovered that Santa had delivered! I remember playing with this toy often. Sure, it took like half a day to bake a cake with a 60 watt lightbulb, but how awesome it was to bake my very own dessert! After I frosted my amazing confection, I would cut it into 4 pieces, each roughly the size of a nickel, to share with my family.


It's Okay to Freak out with Xbox 360 + Kinect

I was sitting on the couch, laptop open, staring at my screen while trying to come up with something brilliant to write. I couldn’t focus on my task at hand, however, because my teens were playing a video game and I found myself constantly looking up at the TV.

“Are those zombies?” I asked, incredulously. “You’re killing zombies?”

“Yeah,” they answered as one of them shot a slowly advancing zombie in the head.

“I want to play!” I said excitedly, “I want to save the world from the walking undead!”


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The New War on Men and Why Women Are to Blame

So I was reading this article by Suzanne Venker on Fox News here. The article was in response to a report from the Pew Research Center showing that women ages eighteen to thirty-four that say having a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their lives rose nine percentage points since 1997 – from 28 percent to 37 percent. For men, the opposite occurred. The share voicing this opinion dropped, from 35 percent to 29 percent.

Suzanne has written three books on the American family and its intersection with pop culture. She claims that many men she has talked to over the years have told her they’re never getting married because “women aren’t women anymore.”

Gee, ya think?


Sunday, November 25, 2012

I'm "Tired" of This

I walked outside this afternoon, planning on running to the store to buy some goodies for one of Lexi's friends who is in the hospital with congestive heart failure (prayers for Kristin are appreciated). I ordinarily would've gotten in the car and driven away without a second thought. But because I had cleaned out the garage this week and had a mountain of garbage on my driveway, I walked around my van in order to drag everything down to the curb and that's when I noticed that one of my tires was flat. I mean, FLAT.

My first instinct was to pretend I hadn't seen the tire and go ahead with my plan to run to the store, but I was pretty sure that would be a bad idea and people would yell at me for being stupid when I finally took it to a car shop. My second thought was - Whew, at least it wasn't on the driver's side or I'd worry that the tire went flat because of excess weight on the driver's side. That thought was immediately replaced with - Uh oh, I've been sitting on the passenger side pretty often while the kids drive! That thought was instantly replaced with - Is it even possible to flatten a tire because you're too fat? Then I thought - I'm hungry; I think there's a Dunkin' Donuts next to a tire shop. Finally, that thought was replaced with - I need therapy.


Friday, November 23, 2012

I Bet I Got Better Black Friday Deals Than You Did

After my kids and I got the Thanksgiving dinner all cleaned up and the leftovers put away, we shot some zombies, then watched a couple movies. In fact, Savannah and I stayed up until 2:00am watching movies. So, today while all the deranged people were fighting with the rest of humanity over bargain-priced electronics, I was sleeping in my nice, toasty, comfy bed. No one banged their cart into my ankles. No one grabbed the last 3-pronged thingamawhoozit out of my hands. I didn't stand in any lines for hours. I wasn't arrested for cutting in line. No one threatened to stab me. I didn't inhale a cloud of pepper spray. I didn't witness anyone getting trampled.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Time Flies!

It's hard to believe I've been blogging for nearly 5 1/2 years now. Man, has time flown! It's hard to even remember back to when I first started. So many things have changed since then. When I wrote my first blog post on June 29, 2007, my kids were 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, and 12 years old. They're now 6, 8, 11, 14, 16, and 18. I was a married stay-at-home mom. Now, I'm divorced and working full-time out of the house as well as working from home. I lived in Chicagoland when I started my blog. Now, I'm living in Orlando.

Back when I began blogging, I was dealing with things like yogurt painted on the TV, marker on the walls, a baby playing in the toilet, and lots and lots of baseball games. Now my life is filled with things like looking at colleges, teaching kids how to drive, football, water polo, teens working and dating.

However, many things have stayed the same. I still love spending time with my kids. I still like laughing and enjoying the lighter side of life. My kids may not get into as much mischief as they did when I first started writing, but they still make me laugh and smile (and yes, shake my head) every single day.

I know it's hard to take the time to enjoy the little things when you're in the thick of the day-to-day "stuff". Sometimes we just get so wrapped up in all the things we need to do. Some days we find ourselves saying, "Not now. I'm too busy. Maybe later." But in a few years, when we look back at how our time was spent, will we say, "Boy, I'm sure glad I put off spending time with my kids so I could pay those bills or watch that TV show, or do those errands!"? No. I guarantee you won't be saying that.

Do you want to remember that time you baked cookies with your kids and it took you guys an hour to clean up the kitchen afterward, but it was worth it when you saw the smiles on the kids as they happily munched on the warm goodies? Do you want to remember the times you played with and read to your kids before bed, and the times you packed a picnic and rode your bikes to the park? Or do you want to live with the regret that comes when you realize your kids are nearly grown and you said, "Not now" just a few too many times? Go through old photo albums or home movies with your kids tonight and remind yourself of how fast they grow. Then give them a big hug!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Just Five More Minutes

My alarm went off this morning as it does every morning. Instead of simply turning it off and getting out of bed, however, I played my game. It's the same game I play every day. It's the same game I've played every day of my life since I can remember. Oh, the words might have changed a little over the years, but the game is the same. I run through various scenarios in my head in an attempt to buy myself some extra time in bed. I wonder what I can give up in order to sleep for another 5 minutes.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Shopping (and Avenging) at Target this Holiday Season

I do almost all my shopping at Target. I LOVE that store! So when they asked me if I wanted to talk about the hottest toys this holiday season, I jumped at the chance! Sure, you can do your Christmas shopping at Target, but I love that you can also get your groceries, clothes, household items, Christmas cards and decorations, bath towels, lightbulbs, laundry detergent, pretty much everything! I don't have time to run around from store to store and I love the fact that I can usually get everything I need at one place - Target.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

On Second Thought, Maybe I Will Start Dating

I had the most awesome date Friday night! I know, I know, I said I didn’t have time to date and wasn’t interested in getting to know anyone who would undoubtedly just wind up annoying me anyway. But I couldn’t resist this guy. He was just so darn cute! Seriously, he’s one of the cutest guys I’ve ever seen. So I figured, why not? My kids could handle making dinner and cleaning up by themselves one evening, right? I reasoned that I deserved an evening out since it had been many months since I’d had the chance to do something for myself. So I agreed to the date.


It's November. You Know What That Means!

It means that Christmas is just around the corner! As soon as Halloween is over, I start freaking out about Christmas shopping. It's also when I start getting the inquiries from friends and family, "What do your kids want for Christmas?" Although my younger kids could come up with a wish list longer than War and Peace, I don't generally get them a bunch of smaller, less expensive toys. Why? Because most of those toys get played with for only a couple weeks before they're discarded and abandoned, relegated to the corners of their rooms and closets. I personally prefer getting one nice family gift than a bunch of smaller ones that won't have the same longevity.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

School Survival Guide

As a single mom to six kids, I feel like an expert on surviving the school year. Actually, we don't only "survive" the year, but we thrive! Here are some of my tips for getting through the school year intact (and dare I say, even enjoying it)!

1.  PLAN
I have a big calendar that nearly takes up an entire side of my refrigerator. It's color-coded which may sound a little anal, but it makes it easy to see at a glance which kid has what activity. By putting ballet lessons in pink, baseball in blue, church meetings in red, etc., anyone who looks at the calendar can easily tell what's on the agenda for any given day.

I limit my kids to one activity each for many reasons. I can't afford to put them in multiple activities, I don't want to spread myself too thin, and I don't want my kids to be overloaded with commitments. Everyone needs downtime and I try to make sure we all get enough by keeping a balance of activities, sports, homework, family time, fun time.

Set aside time for homework every night. Even if the kids don't have assignments, they can use that time to study and read. My younger kids do their homework at the YMCA before I pick them up, but when I was a stay-at-home-mom, they would gather around the kitchen table and do their work while having an afterschool snack that would tide them over until dinner. Especially when you have a lot of sports practices going on in the evening, it's important that you have some designated homework time so grades don't start slipping during sports season.

I'm a big believer in having dinner together as a family. In off seasons, we all sit down together to break bread. When my kids have sports going on, we don't usually have dinner together. But that's okay because, with a little improvising, we still find time to eat something together. During football, for example, we tend to grab quick snacks that will get us through practice. Warm, filling Tyson's Any'tizers are perfect for this! And when we're all back home, we gather around the table for a late meal or even just a bedtime snack. It doesn't matter if we're eating a 5 course dinner or munching on some chicken wings, or even having a bowl of cereal. It's still time spent together as a family.

I make sure backpacks are ready to go before I retire for the night. This makes the morning rush so much easier. Have all permission slips and homework journals signed. Have all homework checked and put back into backpacks. Make lunches the night before. Even having the kids pick out their outfits for the next day, makes mornings less stressful.

For more great school survival tips (or to share your own!), check out the Tyson Any'tizer School Survival Guide on Facebook!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Parkour, Parkour!

"Gray hair, wrinkles, heart palpitations, frequent flyer card at the local ER."

"What is 'life with boys', Alex? "

"That is correct!"


Monday, November 5, 2012

Yield for Idiots

I completely understand why my car insurance nearly doubled when I moved to Florida. People drive like idiots down here. It’s probably why every other billboard and radio commercial is about accident injury lawyers. Before learning Old MacDonald or The Itsy Bitsy Spider, kids down here learn the 411-PAIN jingle.

I try to be calm and make allowances for the other drivers on the road. I remind myself regularly of the sage saying - What would Jesus do? But, you know what? Jesus didn’t have to drive on I-4. If He did, there would surely be another chapter in the Bible with a colorful description of how Jesus went postal on the other drivers, much like the money changers in Matthew 21, but you know, with guns.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Can You Get a Degree in the Art of Being a Hobo?

I attended "senior night" my kids' high school last night. The evening was designed to give parents of seniors heart palpitations and cold sweats as the reality of college was drilled into our heads. The woman presenting the information must have said, "your kids will be graduating in only 26 short weeks" a dozen times.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lauren's Hope Jewelry

Those of you who follow my blog regularly, know that I had a pulmonary embolism (blood clot that went to my lung) this summer. It wasn't the first clot I've had. I have a genetic clotting disorder that makes me more prone to develop life-threatening blood clots. In fact, further bloodwork revealed I may have a second clotting disorder, a lupus anticoagulant, as well. Because of the disorders and the fact that I've developed a number of clots, my doctor has put me on blood thinners and I'll most likely have to continue taking them for the rest of my life. 

Blood thinners could save my life. Of course, they could also kill me if I was ever badly injured, as I could bleed to death. This is why I went online and searched for medical ID bracelets. My doctor recommended I wear one so medical personnel would be aware of my condition should (God forbid) I ever get in an accident and end up unconscious.

Most of the sites I looked at offered plain, silver link bracelets with plain, silver tags. They were not something I wanted to wear for a day, let alone the rest of my life. I started having second thoughts about my medical alert jewelry idea. Then I found Lauren's Hope. They offer medical alert jewelry in a zillion different designs for men, women and children. The only drawback is that you'll have a tough time choosing between their cute, creative, beautiful, fun, and flirty designs. And Lauren's Hope has even taken care of that problem with their interchangeable tags! You can easily remove the tag and attach it to different bands!

The wide variety of styles at Lauren's Hope is especially awesome for kids! If you have a child with autism, diabetes, or a life-threatening allergy, medical alert jewelry can give you great piece of mind. But it only works if your child actually wears it. And if they think the jewelry is stupid and ugly, they won't want to wear it. From cute bracelets to popular silicone bands to dog tags, and more, you're sure to find something your child will love!

I especially love the fact that Lauren's Hope was founded in 1994 by two women. Originally, they sold their mother's bracelets at craft fairs. What started out as a "fun little business" has now grown into a thriving enterprise that offers an incredible selection of jewelry that is both functional and fashionable. I just love stories about women who start up a little business that takes off into more than they ever dreamed of! In fact, Lauren's Hope has even donated over $100,000 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

If you or a loved one has a condition like: diabetes, pacemaker, food allergy, Penicillin allergy, bee sting allergy, allergic to contrast dye, on blood thinners, gastric bypass patient, Alzheimer's, cancer, asthma, stroke, autism, organ transplant, seizure disorder, manic depressive, on multiple medications or any other chronic medical conditions, you should really consider getting a medical ID bracelet for them. My friend who is an EMT says that's the first thing they look for. Having this essential information about health problems can help medical professionals take care of you/save your life.

Right now, Lauren's Hope is offering my readers a discount just in time for Christmas! (These would make terrific presents, btw!) Just enter the promo code:  6PACK to enjoy 10% off now until December 31, 2012!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Fail

I used to be a good mom, I did! I used to start brainstorming ideas for creative Halloween costumes during the summer. I made awesome costumes for my kids year after year. (My sister is really the creative one as you’ll see from the pictures, but I held my own.) I was the room mom for my kids’ classes every single year. I organized great parties with the best games and I made homemade goodies that would turn Martha Stewart green with envy. The mom I am now would hate the guts of the mom I was back then. I would call that mom an overachiever and a stuck-up Miss June Cleaver. And that hatred would be fueled by pure jealously. As I’m sure you can tell by my posts over the last year, I’m having issues and struggling with feelings of inadequacy. I know on an intellectual level that I’m in a different place and simply cannot do all the things I used to do as a married, stay-at-home-mom. I know this. But still, there’s this little part of me that cannot help but lament the mom I once was (even while wanting to punch her face in at the same time). Yes, yes I know I probably need psychiatric help.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

It Started with a Rug

I've become obsessed with decorating and it all started with an area rug. I saw this rug at Home Depot and decided it would look nice in my house. I liked the burgandy in this rug and arrived at the conclusion that I must put touches of burgandy throughout my house. The burgandy curtains in my kitchen were not nearly enough, so I got some wine-colored paint.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The One in Which I'm Mistaken for a Homeless Mental Patient

This week kicked off the start of Red Ribbon week at my school. Red Ribbon week is the time of year when we celebrate being drug-free. Each day there's a different theme. For example, there's Red Ribbon Day when students, staff and faculty wear red. There's Friends Don't Let Friends Do Drugs Day when students, staff and faculty dress like twins with another friend. And then there's Drugs and I Don't Mix Day when we wear mismatched clothes that don't mix (aka Wacky Tacky Day). Today was Wacky Tacky Day. Being a fun staffulty member, I of course, participated. The only problem? I forgot I had a doctor's appointment before school.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Mid-Year Resolutions aka: Making Peace with my Inadequacy

Okay, so I guess it’s not technically “mid-year”, but “a-little-more-than-three-quarters-of-a-year resolutions” just doesn’t have the same ring. And maybe it’s against the rules to make resolutions at any time other than January 1st. But since I’m a rule breaker anyway, I figure you can make resolutions in October and call them “mid-year resolutions”. So here are my sorta, but not quite, mid-year resolutions.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fun with Spam

I love getting comments on my blog. It means that people have taken the time to read it, and that something I wrote struck a chord with them in some way. That’s pretty cool. But among all the insightful, funny, interesting, and/or supportive comments I receive, there is also a fair amount of spam. At least I hope it’s spam. Because if these are genuine comments from actual people who have read my posts, then I’m scared for the future of humanity. Very scared. Let me share some examples with you . . .


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Clay's Limeades for Learning Project

It's time to vote! I talked about Sonic's Limeades for Learning HERE. (Teachers, it's not too late to register a project!)

Want to vote for a project to be funded? Just go to Limeades for Learning to vote. You can vote once a day, every day from September 24 through October 29! And if you purchase anything from Sonic, you'll receive two extra votes. Not only that, but for every 10 votes you place, you'll be emailed a code for yet another two bonus votes.

This is a very easy way to help some hard-working teachers give their students a terrific learning environment! It only takes a minute of your time to vote and there are so many schools, teachers, and most importantly, students that could really benefit from the funds! Please take a minute and vote everyday!

I spoke with Clayton's teacher about the Limeades for Learning program and asked her to help her class brainstorm some ideas on how to use the money. This is what the class came up with . . . (Man, I love second graders!)  

*  Legos to build ideas which support our themes in reading, science, math, and social studies
*  IPads or laptops
*  A visit from a very famous person
*  A tablet
*  Game systems
*  Give money to charity
*  Puppy for our classroom
*  IPod 5th generation
*  6 kittens because my cat died
*  A ship trip
*  18 Apple Fives
*  A trip to Washington D.C.
*  Go to an Orlando Magic Game
*  Whoopy cushions for the whole class
*  Silly putty(the farting kind)
*  Headphones
*  A never ending bottle of cold water

BWAAAA HAAAA HAAAA!!! That's great! Whoopy cushions for all my friends!

The class decided on computers since there are several students who don't have computers at home and there are only two working computers in the classroom.

A big thanks to Sonic for funding Clay's classroom project and a big thanks to all the money they have donated to classrooms across the country!

Friday, October 12, 2012

What's a Card Catalog? And Other Technology Our Children Will Only See in Museums

Yesterday, I told a student to use the computer in my classroom to Google the answer to one of his questions. His response was to flop over on his desk and dramatically whine, "But I'm too tired and the computer is all the way over there!" He indicated the computer which was located approximately three feet from his desk. Being the nice, supportive person that I am, I compassionately responded, "Are you kidding me?! You know what I did when I was a kid and had to answer a question? I waited for my parents to drive me to the library where I used a card catalog to find a book and then I searched for an answer by actually reading it!"


Monday, October 8, 2012

Is Football Season Over Yet?

I sat on the bleachers, watching the eighth football game of the season. Glancing at the scoreboard, I sighed. The score was 21 - 0 at halftime. The other parents and I cheered as the boys took the field. "Come on, boys! Let's go! You can do it!" Then we turned to each other and said, "Oh please, let them at least score. One touchdown, just one touchdown! A fieldgoal! A safety! Anything!"


Friday, October 5, 2012

ADHD: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? How You Can Decide

“Bring me your progress reports,” I called to my kids as they walked in the door. I’d been checking their grades online for the past five weeks so I knew they were all getting As and Bs. Still, I wanted to make sure the progress reports accurately reflected the grades I’d seen online. And, of course, I wanted to see if the teachers had made any comments about my kids’ behavior or performance in class.

When I got to my 8-year-old Clayton’s report, I looked over his grades then paused at the comments section. This is what I read:


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