Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Supermodel Plan (aka - how exercise is gonna kill me)

In January, I made my annual resolution – lose weight. Yeah, I know, real original. Generally, this resolution lasts until about January 2nd, give or take a day. This year, however, I’ve stuck with it. Or maybe I haven’t exactly stuck with it, but I haven’t completely given up on it either. I’ve been making careful food decisions, choosing vegetables over cookies, fruit over pasta, sawdust bars over chocolate. Despite that, the weight has been coming off pretty slowly so I finally came to terms with the fact that I can no longer count brushing my teeth and fastening my sandals as exercise. I need to add actual exercise – the kind that makes you sweat and scream in pain – to my repertoire.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Oh Clay, I'm so Proud (For Real This Time)

This morning, I attended an Honor Roll Breakfast at the grade school my kids attend. Clayton got straight As last quarter so we celebrated his success today. When the principal called the kids’ names, they walked on stage to accept their certificates. The teachers were standing alongside the principal and most of the kids either shook their teacher’s hands or gave them hugs. When it was Clay’s turn, however, his teacher reached out her arms to give Clay a hug but instead, he did some weird-looking, double high-five type maneuver. He may be a straight A student, but he’s still my Clay.

Monday, April 23, 2012

I Don't Feel Bad When I Throw up on my Dentist

My kids were eating Airheads yesterday and asked me if I wanted one. Repulsed by the idea, I adamantly refused to try the sticky, sweet stuff, insisting it would likely pull out my teeth. I used to have good teeth, I did! Then I had kids. And now my teeth are the consistency of sandstone; they crumble apart at the slightest pressure. So I was a very good girl and didn’t eat any garbage that could damage what’s left of my teeth.

Ironically, not ten minutes later, I was washing
dishes and felt like there was something stuck in my tooth. I used my finger to dislodge the particle only to discover it wasn’t a piece of food at all. It was a filling. Or part of my tooth. Or something that was definitely not supposed to come out. Which is just another argument in my growing list of reasons why doing dishes is bad for your health.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Taste Takes Flight for Wings

As you know, I was one of the contributing authors for Margaret McSweeney's book, Pearl Girls (available here). 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this inspiring book are going to Hands of Hope and Wings, two very worthwhile organizations. I've done book signings for Wings (Women In Need Growing Stronger) and I love what the organization does. Wings provides safe houses for women and children fleeing domestic violence, job training and placement, transitional housing, hope, and so much more for those in the Chicagoland area.

Wings is holding a fundraiser, Sip, Sample, and Shop on Friday, April 27th at The Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows. Tickets are $50 each. I wish I was back in Chicagoland for this because it looks like it'll be a DELICIOUS time! I mean, there will be wine, chocolate, and tasty fare from local restaurants like Chessie's/111 Grille, L'Eiffel Bistrot and Creperie, and Wild Asparagus so what's not to like, right?

Aaaaand, Katie Workman, founder of the super-popular fabulous website with great cookbook recipes and a phenomenal search engine. You can type in ingredients from your fridge and pantry and voila--- recipes will pop up!) will be there doing a cooking demo and signing copies of her new cookbook: The Mom 100 Cookbook! In fact, my dear friend, Margaret McSweeney recently interviewed Katie on Kitchen Chat. You can check it out HERE!

If you're in the Chicagoland area, check out the event! And have a glass of wine and some chocolate for me. Oh and give Margaret McSweeney a hug for me. (I hate having to do these things by proxy!)  You can get your tickets online HERE. Want a chance to win a ticket to the event? You're in luck! I have one ticket (a $50 value) along with a copy of Katie's new cookbook to give away to one lucky winner! Just leave me a comment here in order to be included in the random drawing on Wednesday. Make sure you include your contact information. Good luck and thank for supporting Wings!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Twelve Tips for Your Online Dating Profile

Many of you know that I joined eHarmony recently. If you don't know, you're clearly not reading my blog often enough. You know who you are. (pointed, raised eyebrow stare) Anyway, I'm not sure that online dating is for me. I'm not in a rush to find a husband or anything. If God leads me to a good man, that's great. If not, then I know I'll be supplied with the tools I need to survive and be happy on my own. It's all good.

That said, I've learned a few things from my foray into the world of online dating and I feel the need to share them here. There are a LOT of you who need help with your dating profiles. In fact, I'd venture to wage that most of you could stand some help. If you think you don't fall into this category, ask yourself - How much interest is my profile generating? Am I getting emails, winks, icebreakers, and messages from possible matches? Are people even taking the time to look at my profile? If you aren't receiving the attention you desire then perhaps your profile is making potential matches think you're an uneducated troll not that desirable. Allow me to elaborate.

Monday, April 16, 2012

When You're Mom and Dad

Lexi came home with a flyer advertising the first annual father-daughter dance at her school last week. She showed me the paper and asked, “Should I just throw it away?”

My throat closed up. What do I say?


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Those Kodak Moments

I love to take pictures. I’m not necessarily good at it, but I enjoy it nonetheless. Besides, if I’m behind the camera, then I won’t be caught on film because I hate getting my picture taken as much as I love taking pictures. I’ve put thousands (literally, thousands!) of pictures on flash drives and CDs. I’ll probably never have the time or money to print them and put them in albums, but now and then I like looking through them on my computer. I really like looking at other people’s pictures also. It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is, I just truly enjoy looking at pictures. If that description fits you, please feel free to take a look at some of my better photos here. I’m happy to share!

One Small Act of Kindness - Week Six

Today, I treated myself to an iced coconut coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. As I pulled my car up to the drive-thru window and paid for my coffee, I told the cashier I’d like to pay for the person’s order behind me. I do this now and then and the good feeling I get from doing it never gets old. It spreads throughout me, warms me, and makes me smile. I drove away grinning, but got stuck in traffic. The woman whose order I’d just paid for drove up next to me, honking, waving and smiling like crazy. I nodded and smiled in return and continued my commute to work.

There are so many great things about doing random acts of kindness for strangers. For one, you get to make someone else’s day! That’s a powerful feeling. Another amazing thing that stems from your act is that the person who benefitted from your kindness is likely to pass it on in some way to another person. It really is the gift that keeps on giving. (Now I’m thinking of Clark’s Jelly of the Month Club gift on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation!) And, one of the coolest things that comes doing something nice for someone else is that it pulls you out of yourself. We get so wrapped up in our own problems and agendas that we end up unintentionally alienating ourselves from the rest of the world. We’re so focused on ourselves that we forget there’s a whole world of people out there with their own struggles.

Don’t take my word for it; try it yourself! Do something for someone else and see how it brings you out of yourself and makes you feel really good for the rest of the day!

As always, please leave me a comment with your ideas for random acts of kindness. It’s not bragging about how awesome you are; it’s sharing ideas that can benefit everyone who reads this.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Now THAT'S How You Stretch a Dollar!

I absolutely love looking at little kids’ schoolwork. I admire their drawings and I’m fascinated with the way their minds work. Reading what my little kids have written is one of my favorite things to do. Hmmmm, maybe I should include that on my eHarmony profile under how I like to spend my leisure time – deciphering the phonetic spelling of a little kid.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

God's Trains Run on Time

A reader recently asked me why I don’t write funny stories about the stuff my kids get into anymore. The answer is simple – my kids don’t get into all manner of things anymore. (I'm at a different stage of my life now. These days I write about my son's hobo career goal, and getting back into the dating scene after 20 years.) As with everything, the mess-making was a phase my kids went through when they were younger. At the time, it was frustrating. But take heart, you parents of young ones, this too shall pass. It won’t last forever. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Or, as my dear friend and author, Margaret McSweeney always says, “God’s trains run on time.”


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

When Your Son's Greatest Aspiration is to be a Hobo

My youngest three kids get out of school a couple hours before I get home from work. I’d been having Austin watch them after school while Savannah is at water polo practice. However, Austin’s idea of watching them and mine were a little different in that Austin didn’t actually watch them. Or maybe he did. Watch them make messes, that is. I finally got tired of coming home to Austin asleep on the couch while the little ones played this game called, “Let’s move every item in the house into another room for no apparent reason”. (Thanks, Ilene, for the name of that game. It’s very fitting!)


Monday, April 9, 2012

Mr. Sandman, Bring me a Dream

I’ve been having some strange dreams lately. They’re either stress-induced or I have some serious mental issues. I’m going with the stress theory. I’m pretty good at managing stress during the day. At least I think I’m pretty good at it. Any day I don’t wind up on the floor, rocking back and forth in a fetal position is good in my book, anyway.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Go to Bed!

If someone told me to put away my work and go to bed at 8:00, I’d leave tracks as I ran upstairs and flung myself onto my bed. I’d probably be asleep before my head hit the pillow as well. I don’t know any adults, given the chance, who would pass up the chance to get some rest. But kids? Well, kids are nothing like adults!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

One Small Act of Kindness - Week Five

I’ve been horrible at updating my blog with my weekly small acts of kindness. It’s not that I haven’t been doing the acts, but I find myself so busy in the evening that I’m having a hard time writing about them. In the next couple weeks, I’m going to try to catch up because this really is important to me.

The week before spring break I did something fun with all my classes. Many of my students have some unimaginable situations at home. They have some very real problems, much more than just the drama over who’s dating who, and what grade they got on their history test. When I’m having a pity party, I find that doing something nice for someone else makes me forget about my problems and focus on someone else. It’s excellent (and cheap) therapy! I wanted to give my students the chance to do this too.

Then, some of my students had asked me about the shootings a few weeks ago in Ohio. I told them, “You never know how your actions are going to affect another person. The person you insult today may snap and come back to school with a gun tomorrow. Conversely, the person who is contemplating suicide may be so cheered up when you invite them to sit at your table during lunch that they go home and choose not to carry out their deathly plan.”

So, I decided to have my students participate in some random acts of kindness. I bought several bags of lollipops and attached notes to them. One side of the note read, “You’re important! :)” The other listed five things the recipient could do to pay it forward. Things like Walk your neighbor’s dog, Open the door for someone, and Clean your room were listed.

I had each of my students take a handful of lollipops with the instructions to pass them out to random people in the hallways. I didn’t want them just giving them to their buddies, but giving them out to a lonely looking sixth grader or a favorite teacher, or a kid on crutches, etc.

It was fun watching them hand them out during passing periods. They were reluctant and self-conscious at first, but soon they were running around, passing the candy out with a smile. Now and then, throughout the day, I’d see kids walking around with the lollipops. It was pretty cool. I think I’m going to make that a regular activity.

As always, please add your ideas for random acts of kindness here. We can all benefit from hearing what you’re doing in to make a difference in your lives!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Check Yes or No

I'm not sure I like the whole concept of online dating. At first I thought it was a great idea. No jumping in, but slowly getting to know a person over time before even actually meeting them sounded ideal. I mean, I might think differently if it was just me, but with kids, I have no desire to date multiple guys, trying one after another until I find someone who can stand my um, idiosyncrasies. After being on eHarmony for a couple weeks, however, I've decided to forget about dating in all forms. I'm simply going to get a dog. (If you read this Jackson, no, I'm not really getting a dog so stop before you start!) And these are the reasons why . . .


Goodnites Bed Mat Winners

Thank you to everyone who commented about the new Goodnites bed mats! And congratulations to the three random winners!

Chris, Tara, and Rebecca!

You have 48 hours to email me at with your shipping information.


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