Names have been changed to protect the innocent...and my husband...and me...but not the dog. His name is Dexter.

Monday, November 3, 2014

I'm Not That Great, Really

A few weeks ago I was invited to a small ladies lunch.  I was surprised by the invitation because....well, I'm generally surprised by any social invitation.  I'm not exactly drowning in friends and social invites in my neighborhood.  But I was excited to go.  Nervous, but excited.  The problem is that when I get nervous I tend to talk too much.  Mostly about nothing.  And it's annoying.  But that's another problem for another day. 

My RSVP was a solid maybe since I had been sick.  Oh my gosh, I had been sick for so long.  Bronchitis, then was really just ridiculous.  I am feeling better now, thanks for asking.  Since my attendance wouldn't be concrete, I didn't end up bringing any food contribution to the luncheon.  But every other member of the group brought something....soup, rolls, dessert, etc.  It was really a lovely afternoon and I quite enjoyed myself.  Except for the nervous talking.  That was lame. 

While we were eating lunch something happened that really stood out to me.  Something that has probably happened at just about every lunch or dinner party I've ever been to, but for some reason this really stood out to me.  And it made me sad. 

When the meal began, our lovely hostess apologized for not having a large enough matching set of dishes for everyone.  There were enough dishes for everyone to use, but they didn't all match.  Here she had graciously invited us all to her home, but felt the need to apologize for a super hero cup.  As each of the items were tasted and complimented, a similar thing happened. 

"Oh, it's just soup from a mix.  Nothing special."
"If I can make this, anyone can."
"It's just the three ingredient cookies.  It wasn't that hard."

These kind, talented, funny, dedicated, amazing women felt the need to essentially put themselves down when given a genuine compliment.  To explain how their efforts were nothing special.  There was only one woman there who simply smiled and replied that the soup she had brought was a family favorite and she hoped everyone would like it.  I can't help but think that the fact that she was not raised in the United States was a contributing factor to her being able to accept a compliment without letting you know how much she doesn't deserve it.

I'm certainly not pointing fingers here.  There is not a doubt in my mind that I would have done the exact same thing.....had I actually brought something to contribute.  (Other than my awkward over-talking)  I can't even begin to count the number of times that I've made some sort of excuse as to why someone shouldn't be complimenting me.  I'm not sure why we do it.  Is it so we don't appear prideful and arrogant?  Is it because we feel that we are too flawed in other ways to accept any kind of compliment?  Or is it because, as a society, we have trained our girls to not feel like anything they do is enough?    

I just don't know.  What I do know is that I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure my girls know that they can graciously accept compliments and not feel like they have to let the one giving the compliment know how they don't measure up.  I'm going to do my best to teach my girls that doing their best is good enough.  And I'm going to start by reminding myself (probably every. single. day.) that doing my best is good enough too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tip Tuesday--Another Use For Your Jar Lifter

I know I'm not the only one out there that still home cans food for storage.  And if you are a canner, then you have a jar lifter.  (If totally should...they're awesome.) 

Life has taken a turn from crazy to so crazy I can't remember what day it is.  In order to curb the crazy, I've been making and using freezer meals so that I have one less thing to wake me up in the middle of the night.  But sometimes those plastic bags full of raw meat and less than solid ingredients are all over the place.  Sometimes things get spilled.  And I want to avoid those sometimes. 

That's where the jar lifter came in!  Just yesterday I was making this recipe for Chicken Enchilada Rice (freeze the chicken, green chilies and melted butter and add the cream cheese and milk according to recipe directions) and needed to get the ingredients into a quart size plastic bag.  So I turned over the zip closure top and put it around the non-rubbery end and was able to put everything in the bag and close it up with nary a drip to be found. 

It probably won't work with anything bigger than the quart size bag but it works for that so it's all good.

Happy Canning Season!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Favorite--Simply Eden Lip Balm

A few months ago my cute little family headed to Ogden for the Earth Day Celebration at Ogden Nature Center....which I highly recommend you attend if you live anywhere within driving distance.  We had a great time! 

Along with the animals (alpacas are my favorite) and other exhibits, there were some local businesses.  One that caught our attention was called Simply Eden.  She sells various bath products made from goats milk.  From her own goats!  Plus, her name is Athena and to my Greek mythology obsessed children, it was amazing.  Of course I had to smell and test pretty much every single thing she was selling.  I wanted one of everything, but ended up purchasing a lip balm.  This lip balm.  The lip balm that is now known as "the best chap stick ever" or "my favorite chap stick". 

I may have almost cried when I realized that I lost it on our recent vacation.  Well, that's a little dramatic.  But I was pretty bummed.  I haven't replaced it yet, but I hope I will soon.  Plus with a flat shipping rate of $5.75 I should probably buy a few other things so I'm not buying a $10 chap stick.  The bar soaps and creams were seriously amazing so it wouldn't exactly be painful.  And if I buy six items (half of which will probably be chap stick....I have very dry lips) that means it's only $1 shipping per item.  That's just good math.  In theory, these would make great gifts, but then you have to give them away.  Maybe a "one for them, one for me" approach would work. 

And the best part about these items is they're all made of organic, natural ingredients.  Plus, her soap cake is adorable.  It literally looks good enough to eat.  I would probably just put it in my pretty glass cake saver and look at it everyday.  But I don't have the room for that so I'll have to admire it from the Internet. 

**Disclosure:  I was not compensated in any way for this post.  I just really love that lip balm and because I'm missing it, I've been thinking about it lately.  I like sharing the things I love.** 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Book of the Week!--Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple

This weeks edition of Book of the Week is brought to us by my fabulous book club.  My friend chose this book and it was such a fun read!  It was quirky and engaging.  I just loved it.

To be honest, I didn't love the ending.  It all seemed to wrap up into a neat little bow a little too easily.  It was kind of like one person wrote the entire book except the last couple of chapters and then someone else stepped in to finish it but was trying to sound like the original author.  It just lost it's flow.  That being's still a fun read and I would totally read it again.

Warning....there are some swears so if you don't like swears you might want to skip this book.  Or ignore the swears because it's a really fun book.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's The Little Moments That Make The Difference

Picture It......

The girls first time flying on an airplane.
Take off.  Land.  Take off.  Land.
Are we there yet?

Yes!  Finally we are!  We have landed in Orlando, a dream vacation that we had been planning and talking about for months.

We step off the airport tram...almost there!  Thank goodness since we've been up since 3 AM. 

Lolly: (raising her arms in the air) Ahhh!  What is that?  Can you feel it?  The air feels wet!  What is that?!
Me: (giggling) Sweetie that's humidity.  It's moisture in the air.
Lolly: I don't like this humility.  I don't like it at all.

A few days later....

Lolly: This humility isn't so bad.  I'm getting used to the humility.  I think I'm even starting to like this humility.
Me: (can't stop smiling....)

It may seem like such a small thing.  A desert girl's first experience with humidity.  But I have told that story countless times.  It's one of my favorites.  A story our family will enjoy for years.

As we count down the hours until we head to the Mom It Forward retreat at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, I'm looking forward to all these little moments that make our life so very full.

Monday, August 4, 2014

It's the Ugly Sink Contest from Mountainland Supply Company!

Last week I got to go to a fun event at Mountainland Supply Company in Orem, Utah.  They have a beautiful show room full of all the bathroom and kitchen plumbing fixtures you could possibly think of.  Like this beautiful tub that was asking to come live in my home.

And they are having an Ugly Sink Contest!  All you have to do is like Mountainland Supply Company on Facebook, share a picture of your ugly sink on Facebook and let them know why you should win! Then go here to enter in the rafflecopter giveaway!

They are also having a fun event this Thursday, August 7th.  Here are all the details:

Join us for an evening of fun and discovery. See our newly re-designed showroom, meet our friendly staff, and learn from factory representatives in our industry about the latest products and design ideas. Brand favorites like: Moen, Delta, Danze, Elkay, Insinkerator, Gerber, TOTO, Aquatic,  American Standard, and more.

Plus, join in our Social Media fun and post a picture of your sink on our Facebook page under the “Ugly Sink Contest” banner and you could win everything including the kitchen sink! How does a FREE Danze Faucet, Elkay Sink, ProSeries Disposal from Insinkerator and professional install from Mike Healey Plumbing sound?

We will be having catered food from Apple Spice, great raffle prizes and networking opportunities with customers, plumbers, contractors, designers and builders from all over the community.

When: Thursday, August 7th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Where: Mountainland Supply Showroom, 1505 West 130 South · Orem, UT 84058
RSVP: Jen Henry 801.224.6050 or

Link for the Ugly Sink Contest is:
Facebook Page is:
Pinterest Page is:
Instagram Link is:
Twitter Link is: @MountainLandInc
Hashtag: #mountainlandsupplyshowroom

Wouldn't it be fun if one of you win!  Let me know if you do!

**Disclosure--Although I did attend a blogger event at Mountainland Supply Company, I did not receive any compensation for sharing this contest.  I just really want one of my friends to win.**


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Recipe Swap Wednesday-Butterbeer for Harry Potter's Birthday!

This is a fun recipe that I've put together from various different recipes and is family approved!  We even served this at our family Halloween party last year and everyone loved it!  And since tomorrow is Harry Potter's birthday, it's the perfect time to whip up this easy butterbeer recipe.

2 liter cream soda
2 tablespoons butter extract
2 teaspoons rum extract

Add the butter and rum extracts to the bottle of cream soda and gently mix.  Put back in the fridge until ready to serve.

Cream Topping
1 7-oz container of marshmallow cream
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon of rum extract
1 teaspoon of butter extract

Mix in blender or electric mixer until smooth.  Poor over prepared butterbeer and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tip Tuesday--How To Get Chlorine Out of Hair and Swimsuits Naturally!

IT'S SUMMER!!!!  And summer means swimming.  Lots and lots of swimming.  And swimming lessons that seem to take over your life.  At least that's how it feels for me.  

This weeks tip is for dealing the all the chlorine in your life.  Both my girls have really long hair and if I wash it every single day it totally dries it out.  And we all get kind of cranky.  But I can't just leave all the nasty chlorine chemicals hanging out in their hair.  This is what we do and it works like a charm!

After swimming lessons we head home and the girls jump in the shower.  Depending on how tired and/or hungry they are there might be less jumping and more dragging.  Anyway.....I take their swimsuits (usually from off the bathroom floor) and soak them in the bathroom sink with warm water and a splash of vinegar.  Leave them to soak for a few minutes (no rinsing) and then hang them up to dry.  I learned the hard way to never ever wash swimsuits in the washing machine, even on the delicate cycle.  This pretty much gets the vinegar out.  I've found that after a few times, the vinegar alone doesn't seem to cut it so about once a week I add a tiny bit of our laundry detergent to the water, soak, rinse and good as new!  

While the swimsuits are soaking in the sink, I spray vinegar on my girls hair and they rinse it out at the end of their shower.  By the end of the week, their hair needs a regular washing but this works great for the everyday chlorine detox.  Plus it makes their hair soft and shiny.  Bonus!

If you have any awesome summer tips, please leave them in the comments!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ironic Chaos

That's the only term I can come up with to even attempt to accurately describe the last eight weeks at our house.  Before you get all worried (I know you care deeply), you should know that it has all pretty much been First World Problems.  Problems, for sure.  But of the First World variety so I'm able to cope pretty well and still be grateful because in spite of the ironic chaos, we are a happy, healthy family.  Yes, a broken bone is involved but I hear buckle fractures aren't as bad.

Let me begin in late spring of 2014......when our trusty computer refused to turn on.  Ever again.  It was done and would not negotiate.  That's a big reason for my Internet silence.  Well, probably not the biggest reason (we eventually borrowed my mother in law's seldom used laptop) but definitely a contributing factor.  We are no longer using that laptop since my father in law's  computer died.  And then his printer.  Apparently what we have is catching.

Now, on to the bigger, more fascinating things.  We had decided a while back to go back to renting out the basement.  About four years ago we had had enough of renting out our basement and were ready to expand!  And we were thrilled.  See here.  But here was the reality of it all.....we rarely used the space for family time and activities.  It mostly just stored stuff.  And boy does that excess stuff accumulate fast!  Don't know what to do with something?  Just put it in the basement.  We'll deal with it "later".  So we decided that we were going to rent it out again and use that money to do some extras that we wouldn't normally be able to afford, like fun vacations and buying CG the truck he's always wanted.  The key to our reasoning was to "get ahead" financially.  Remember that will be funny later on.

So we commenced with the emptying of our basement.  Phrases like "where did all this @#$% come from" and "are we done yet?" were heard frequently.  The basement required very little work (or so we thought) to get it ready to rent again so it was mostly just sorting through all the stuff that had accumulated for "later".  Later is a nasty, vengeful word.  It holds a grudge.  Big time.

We decided that since we would be putting up (semi) permanent walls in order to make the separate entrance for the basement apartment, we should probably re-do the kitchen floor beforehand so that it would all match, should we ever choose to take the walls back down.  Honestly, the kitchen floor has needed intervention for the last several years and there's no time like the present!  And it seemed so logical and responsible to have that taken care of before renting out again.  Given our time restraints and the accepting of our lack of DIY love, we decided to have the entire thing done by a flooring company.  Again, responsible and mature.

The flooring is selected, ordered and the deposit makes it all official.  But there were some issues with the ordering and the delivering.  And then the floor was finally installed two days before the walls were going up.  Mild panic.  But it was fine.  I watched the installer work (occasional glimpses....I didn't want to be weird) and it seemed a little....not like I was expecting.  But I'm not a flooring professional so I didn't bug him.  And it's not like he wasn't working hard, because he was.  I was just told that 3-4 layers of flooring should come off (he removed one) and there was a strong possibility of needing a new underlayment (he used mud) and it just didn't seem right.  But it was done in time and we rejoiced!  Until.....

Our brand new "luxury vinyl tile" was scratched to oblivion within the first week.  We did not rejoice.  We were mad.  And when I say "we", I mean "me".  I was ticked.  We just spent a significant amount of money and it was wearing worse than the cheap vinyl tiles we put in seven years ago!  So I called the flooring company and it seemed there were two separate problems.....the tile itself (which they are thankfully replacing even though they said the warranty says you have to have felt feet on chairs....psh) and the floor preparation which can be fixed once the floor is being replaced.

But what about those walls we put up for the basement entrance?!?  Yes.....exactly.  I'll come back to this later though.  I'm trying to keep it sequential so no one gets confused.

Also during this time, the van decided that the air conditioning no longer wanted to work.  Like at all.  And I have two girls who can't handle intense heat and a van that doesn't have back windows that go down.  It was a non-negotiable fix.  A $1600 non-negotiable fix.  Ahem.

As for the basement apartment, we replaced the disposal the last renters broke, replaced a bath fixture, cleaned things out (thanks to my saintly sister in law) and did some painting.  And it was ready.  Until they tried to plug in their dryer.

Turns out the "dryer plug" actually had a wooden stud in front of it, impeding access.  But it didn't matter anyway since it was the wrong plug AND didn't have any power running to it anyhow.  So we had to have a new dryer plug run to that room.  But in order to do that, we had to have the entire electrical panel replaced. And then replace all the breakers because they didn't fit into the new panel.  All very common and yet very bad timing.

Of course, this was all taking place during the last week of school, which everyone knows is a very calm and not at all crazy time.   But wait!  It gets better!  Or worse, depending on how you look at it.  During all of the electrical hullabaloo in the basement our upstairs oven locked.  As in, locked itself shut (like for a self cleaning cycle) and refused to open.  No matter what we did.  No Open.  We consulted the Google and learned many things.  First of all, NEVER use your self cleaning cycle because it causes problems like this pretty frequently.  Also?  Our warranty expired in April.  This was June.  The most helpful information was that there is a fuse at the back of the oven that may (or may not....didn't read any true success stories) undo this problem if you change it.  Just pull the oven out and take a look.  The thing is, we have a wall oven.  Wall ovens are super heavy and so they make sure that they are securely screwed into the wall so that it doesn't fall out.  All you have to do to get the oven out of the wall, is to open the door and take out the screws on each side.  Unless you can't open the door.  And then you're screwed.

We've heard different tips and purchased/returned tools that are supposed to help us, but 6+ weeks later I am still without an oven.  Yes, you read that right.  I don't have a working oven.  The girl who makes almost everything from scratch and bakes/cooks all the time doesn't have an oven.  Well, an oven that opens and is usable.  Still looks like new though!  I frequently point out to CG how well I'm coping with this and often request that he fully appreciates the lack of crying, yelling, nagging or complete melting down that has resulted in this lack of oven.  He looks at me like I'm crazy.  Six weeks and counting.......

In other news, Dexter has had this weird (kind of gross) growth that has been growing on his leg for a couple years now.  It never seemed to bother him so we didn't worry too much about it.  But then he got a growth by his eye that really seemed to bother him.  We took him to the vet and everyone was shocked at his age because he still acts like a puppy.  Which is both good and bad.  We opted to do the surgery and he's doing much better now.  But I really thought this was going to be what truly pushed me over the edge.

The Cone of Shame
Some dogs hate it, some hide when wearing it, some dogs probably do other things.  I don't really know.  What I do know is that Dexter opted to use it like a bulldozer.  You got in his way?  He would just push you with the big plastic cone until you got out of his way.  He used it in any way he could.  I'm not totally convinced he hated it.  By the way, having a cone of shame rammed into the back of your legs is surprisingly painful.  And he's a pretty strong dog.  He almost pushed CG down the back stairs.  The rest of us didn't have a chance, really.

Then this cute girl got glasses.

And then she broke her arm.  Dodge ball is a mean, mean game when you're half the size of everyone else.

Thankfully we have insurance and even though we have a fun deductible to pay before insurance will pay anything (so we pretty much will pay for it all), we still have it if we needed it.  Perspective.

Other than all that, we've been having a great summer!  Time is flying by way too fast and I have so many posts to catch up on....the end of the school year, dance recitals, swimming, glasses and all the other fun things we've been up to.  Even hiking!  We are the hiking family this year!

Also?  I cut off about a foot of hair.  I should probably post pictures of that.

But for now.....I'm going to bed.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What Superhero Mom Are You?

I admit it.  I'm a sucker for a good personality quiz.  I like know what my colors are.  And my letters.  I also like knowing what kind of girl friend I am and even what kind of roommate.  I love them.  So when I saw this little quiz about what kind of Superhero Mom you might be I HAD to find out.  I had to.

If you want to know what kind of #SuperheroMom you are then head on over here to find out.  And enter to win a Vitamix while you're at it.  And if you win it, but don't want it, then you can give it to me.

Back to the are my results!

Drum roll, please......

Although many of the Elastigirl traits do apply to me, one that certainly does not is the elasticity.  Trust look at my post baby stomach will prove it.  As a matter of fact, this movie came out at the end of my pregnancy with Lolly and I surprised CG with tickets to see it.  As we were watching the movie and Elastigirl was doing her stretching thing, I leaned over to CG and told him that I bet she didn't have stretch marks like I did.  They're epic.  No really....they bled.  But anyway....

I love the description and it really does describe me a lot.  I do wonder about my superpower though.  In my quest for simplifying my life I think my super power (multi-tasking) may actually be my kryptonite.

I loved this quiz!   If you take the quiz, come back and tell me what #SuperheroMom you got!  Maybe we can make our own X-Men team.  I mean, X-Women team.

**Disclosure.....I was compensated for this post but it did not in any way lessen the enjoyment of the quiz.  It also didn't do a thing for my stretch marks.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Favorite-Ogden Nature Center's Earth Day Celebration

A couple years ago was our very first time going to the Ogden Nature Center's Earth Day Celebration and we had the best time!  My girls didn't stop talking about it for months and have started talking about it again the last few weeks since it's coming up soon!  Tomorrow in fact!
We have the best time and at only $2 per person its affordable AND the money goes to a great cause!

Saturday, April 19, 12 noon - 4 pm
The Nature Center's outdoor glen will be filled with tons of earth-friendly ideas, a native plant sale, product booths, workshops and fun activities!  All of Utah's green gurus will be on hand with topics ranging from bee keeping, composting, and invastive weeds, to Llama cart rides and a climbing wall for kiddos!  Children always love the US Forest Service water trailer while adults enjoy taking home green ideas for their homes and gardens.  Read more for all the details.
Cost: $2 per person
The are so many activities.....face painting, wreath making, bubbles, workshops and presentations.  My particular favorites are the wool spinning and getting to feed the alpacas.  I'm not sure if the alpacas will be there this year but I sure hope so!

Side may or may not know that one day I want to live on an alpaca ranch and have chickens and spin wool and do all sorts of things like that.  Surprising, I know.

So!  If you're wondering what you and/or your family can do tomorrow that doesn't involve a gigantic bunny costume or bringing home tons of candy you don't need (trust don't need it) now you have a fun day planned for you and all you have to do is show up!

For more details on the activities go here.  And then I will see you there!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tip Tuesday-Easter Egg Decorating Tips for the Lazy

Last year was the first year that we decorated our Easter eggs with Sharpie markers and I'm pretty sure we may never go back. 

The girls get full access to all my colored Sharpie markers (which is a dream come true for them) and I don't have to worry about egg dye getting on everything but the eggs. 

Plus they get to create the exact designs they won't without the frustration of the limits of egg dye.  I'm not a fan of the egg dye.  Just say no.
And then pull those Sharpies out and actually enjoy decorating eggs with your kids!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Recipe Swap Wednesday-Gluten Free Granola

This is one of our favorite things for breakfast.  Everyone loves it so much I haven't even been able to get a picture of it.  It's great on its' own, with milk, sprinkled over yogurt, or any other granola ideas you might have.  I just recently started making again and it has not lasted longer than 48 hours.  It's that good.

Gluten Free Granola

3 cups gluten free oats
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 cup (or more) coarsely chopped nuts and/or dried fruit
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  You can use a tradition oven setting or a convection oven setting to make the cooking time shorter.

In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, coconut and nuts/fruit.  In a saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, water, salt, vanilla and cinnamon over a medium heat until the mixture is melted and bubbly.  Pour this over the oat mixture and stir well.  Let stand for 10 minutes.

Spread granola mixture evenly on a large baking sheet with space to allow for air circulation.  Place on the center rack in the oven.  The cooking time will vary depending on oven and setting.

For traditional oven baking setting:
Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir.  Place the baking sheet back in the oven to bake for another 15 minutes.  Continue this cycle until the granola is golden brown and completely dry.  It usually takes about three cycles.

For convection setting:
Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir.  Place the baking sheet back in the oven to bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir.  Place the baking sheet back in oven for just five more minutes (more if needed), until the granola is golden brown and completely dry.

And then enjoy for the next 48 hours because it disappears fast!

Helpful Hints
You can also add 1/4 flax seed to improve the nutritional quality
If you add dried fruit it gets pretty dried out during the baking progress.  I tend to use only nuts in the recipe and then add fresh or dried fruit when serving.
It's tempting to leave the granola in a great big clump for the first round of baking in order to make little granola clumps.  It's doesn't work.  Don't do it.

Friday, March 14, 2014

St. Patrick's Day....To Celebrate or Not To Celebrate

This.  This is something that has been on my mind for the last....oh, year or so. 

It all started with another judgemental blog how many things start these days.  I'm not going to post the link because, frankly, I don't think it deserves the click.  The basic gist of the blog post was bashing all the mom's who choose to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with their kids.  Now, you might be asking why someone would be so irrationally against how total strangers choose to spend their day.  And the answer makes perfect sense.....because it makes her look bad.  Yep.  That's it.  All St. Patrick's Day celebrations should be stopped because she chooses not to celebrate and therefore feels that strangers celebrations make her look bad.

Using this logic I should probably stop feeding my family healthy meals because I'm making the people who don't feed their families healthy meals look bad.  And I should probably have my kids wear dirty clothing so the mom's who are behind on the laundry this week don't feel bad.  And maybe I should park my kids in front of the television so that the mom's who are having a rough week and needed a little assistance from the TV to make it through don't feel bad.

Or maybe I should just do what's best for my family right now and not be so obsessed with what everyone else is doing.  As a matter of fact, my girls are playing on the iPad right now and I don't feel bad about it at all.

Back to the blog post.....  

This is not a small, unknown blog it was posted on but a big, popular blog.  So many people read it and many people shared it on Facebook, sometimes even accompanied with snarky remarks about how "those moms" need to get off Pinterest and get a life.

This made me sad.  It made a lot of mom's sad.  Personally, I started celebrating St. Patrick's Day with my little family long before Pinterest came along and this blog post didn't change my family tradition in any way.  But I know of quite a few mom's who felt really bad.  It stole the joy they felt out of celebrating with their kids.  It stole the joy out of the leprechaun trap making and rainbow cupcake baking and green milk drinking.   It made these women, who were just trying to make fun memories with their kids, feel dumb.  It Stole The Joy!

I can see how, in some negative condescending way, it may have been empowering to the women who don't like celebrating St. Patrick's Day or any other small holiday.  I can understand how Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and all the other social media platforms can make you feel like you are somehow not measuring up as a mother.  It makes all of us feel that way, whether it's holiday celebrations or perfectly clean homes or any of the other things where we feel we don't measure up.  But holiday celebrations are not what makes a good mother.  Crafts and treats and Instagram moments don't make a good mother.  It's the every day moments that don't make it to Facebook that decides our fate of Good Mother or Bad Mother.

BUT.  A very big but....If you make yourself feel better about your parenting choices by putting other women down it does reflect on who you are as a person.  As a woman.  And ultimately, that WILL influence who you are as a mother.

Honestly, I didn't see a single post from a Pro-Holiday mom proclaiming their superiority in motherhood for choosing to celebrate.  Some may argue that it is implied.  My personal theory is that a lot of those feelings (on both sides) come from insecurities.  Approximately 99.9% of mom's feel insecure about their parenting choices at some point in their lives.  It can be about holidays, school, chores, discipline, after school activities, clothes, screen time, hair styles, meals, snacks, pets, ANYTHING.  We've all been there.  But making ourselves feel better by criticizing another moms choices doesn't make us any better.  It just steals the joy.

So to all you moms out there who are celebrating St. Patrick's Day with wild Irish abandon I say, Great!  Have a great time!  You are a good mom! 

And to all you moms out there who are not celebrating St. Patrick's Day I say, Great! Have a great time!  You are a good mom!  


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sugar Free....

Dear Diary,

Today is day three of our no sugar month.  The first day wasn't so bad because Lolly, Babs and CG were all home so we were in it together and I was constantly supervised.  When everyone is gone and I only have my unending list of chores to keep me company it gets a little harder. 

I'm happy to report I haven't screamed incoherently at anyone due to my sugar detoxing.  So far.  And I have gained .8 pounds so things are going as expected. 

I might be feeling a tad cranky.  And a little snarky.  Because, as good as a pear is, it's just got nothing on the chocolate that I really need right now. 

It's going to get better, right? 


Yours Truly,
Lady of Perpetual Sugar Detox 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

May The Force Be With You 
This Valentine's Day

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Recipe Swap Wednesday-Sugar Cookies

I'm about to share with you the recipe for the best sugar cookies you will ever eat.  They are amazing.  And slightly addicting.  They're perfect for Valentine's Day or any other holiday requiring sugar cookies.  I usually make them for Earth Day.  Because I am a hippie that celebrates Earth Day!  But whatever reason you have for making these cookies, you will be happy you did.

Sugar Cookies

3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups flour, plus flour for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream eggs, sour cream, baking soda and vanilla together.  Mix in sugar and butter. Then add baking powder, salt and flour.
Roll out dough to 1/4" thickness and put those rarely used cookie cutters to good use.
Bake for 7-10 minutes, depending on cookie size.
Once they are cooled, frost and enjoy!  And consider giving some away (this recipe makes A LOT!) so you don't enjoy them too much.  They also freeze well (un-frosted) for later use.

Not the best picture, but definitely the best sugar cookies!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Confessions of a Sugar Addict

Growing up I was one of those kids....ya know, the weird kids who didn't really have much of a sweet tooth. I would give my leftover Halloween candy away just before Christmas, my Christmas candy away around Valentine's Day, my Valentine's Day candy at Easter, and so on and so forth.  A neighbor friend greatly benefited from my lack of sweet tooth.  Don't get me wrong....I did like some kinds of candy, but I was a little picky about it.  I liked chocolate.  And I liked it dark.  I would eat milk chocolate, but my life long love is for dark chocolate.  Don't even talk to me about white chocolate.  It's not chocolate.

I maintained this habit (and coincidentally my weight....couldn't possibly be connected, right?!) all through college.  After I was married I did notice that I tended to eat more sugar than I used to but it wasn't that bad.  It was something I could totally give up easily.  All those articles about sugar being addictive were for people who were really addicted sugar.  Which was totally not me.

Oh how the sugar buzzed have fallen.

A couple months ago, I decided I was going to go sugar free to see if it would help me feel better.  I didn't have a certain time frame in mind but I figured it would help me transition to sugar just being an occasional treat instead of a frequent "need".  My sugar fast lasted two and a half days.  And those two and a half days were hard.  Very hard.  I noticed that after a meal I would just crave something sweet.  I was shocked....had I really gotten into the habit of having sugar after every meal?!  Probably not, but I had gotten into the habit of having sugar entirely too often.

I know people who eat A LOT of sugar.  I don't eat a large amount, just small amounts throughout the day.  Which end up equally way too much.  It's funny how these bad habit creep up on you when you don't notice.  And how easily we use those bad habits to cope with the stress of life.  We all have our way of not-coping with life and sugar had become my best frenemy.

My original sugar free time was just before the holidays and I figured that I would be doomed to try to go sugar free again during the holidays.  The good news was that just a couple of days worth of sugar free did help decrease my cravings so my sugar dependency did go down somewhat.  After the holidays I wanted to do it again but was a little...hesitant.  It's a big challenge to tackle alone.  Especially with a house full of candy!  It's everywhere.  And I don't buy 99%.  It just manages to come to our house by the best of intentions of others.

After school started again in January, Babs started talking about some kids in her class that were doing a sugar free challenge.  I must admit that I found it a little surprising since she is only in first grade.  But I figure it was a healthy challenge and would be great for the kids.  And the $100 reward for completing it wouldn't hurt either.  Turns out there were six or seven kids doing it.  She talked about it almost every day.  And then I did it.....

I said, "Why don't we do a sugar free challenge as a family?".   

Lolly (my nine year old) was all for it!  She's never had much of a sweet tooth so it's an easier commitment for her to make.  Babs (my six and three quarter year old) was a little less enthusiastic.  She's my "eat my weight in sugar" child and this would be more of a sacrifice.  But we talked and negotiated and discussed and we all decided to go for it and picked a start date, time frame, reward and everything.

Start Date: February 17, 2014
End Date: March 16, 2014
Reward: Going to a restaurant for dinner AND ordering dessert (oh, the irony)

And then we told CG.

And he is humoring us and going along with it.  And let me tell you....he is thrilled!!!  (typed in sarcasm font)  I think it's safe to say that this sugar free challenge is going to be hardest for the grown ups.  With the kids I just put away their candy and treats and keep them distracted.  Unfortunately, since I'm putting away the treats that also means I can sneak back into the treats.

This is going to take epic will power.  Too bad I won't have chocolate to get me through it.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

An Afternoon in the Flower Patch

Last spring my Lolly girl and I got to have a girls day together at the Flower Patch.  We got to see where all the magic happens and take a tour of the facility.  The freezers are cold but the flowers are beautiful.

After the tour, we got to try our hands at making our own beautiful wrist corsages.  Lolly really got into it and even made one for her little sister.

At the end of this awesome event, the lovely people of the Flower Patch gave each of the bloggers a plant (I killed mine, somehow...I was so bummed) and two gift to keep and one to share.  And I thought to myself, "Self, I need to find the perfect moment to share this gift card".  

That perfect now.  

It's almost Valentine's Day and now is the perfect time for beautiful custom flowers from the Flower Patch. And a $25 gift card is going to make it so much sweeter. And to make sure you get your gift card in time, we're going to make this giveaway super fast!  A flash giveaway, if you will.  

The giveaway starts...NOW.  And goes until Saturday February 8, 2014 at Midnight.  I'll choose a winner and they have 24 hours to respond to my email before I choose another winner.  If you're feeling particularly confident, then go ahead and email me your address.  Sending it out into the Universe and all....

Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and cross your fingers!    

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Simple Organizing Tips!

Recently I wrote about my New Year's resolution to simplify my life.  In my quest for simplification, I (unfortunately) can not neglect the role of organization in my life.  When things are organized, life is just simpler.  It's a painful truth for those of us that secretly think we're destined for our own episode of Hoarders.  And while it might seem easier to just get rid of everything, that's not exactly a reality either.  We have to take the mess we have, get rid of what we can and organize the rest.

Here are some DIY tips for the New Year that give some great tips for organization and also for sprucing things up and making it fun again.  My favorite is the homework caddy.  We already have a homework caddy that gets used every day!  The only problem....the holes in the basket weaving just beg for things to fall out and get stuck.  But as you can see from the picture, this can easily solved by just sticking some cups in to corral the strays.  Now I have a good use for all those kiddie to go cups that my children insist on keeping because they are so very special.  Everyone wins!

**I was compensated for my time but all opinions and scattered writing utensils are my own.**

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tip Tuesday- All Natural Fruit & Vegetable Wash

We've all heard about or read about (or saw on Pinterest) a variety of fruit and vegetable washes that you can make at home or buy for a lot of money.  In my pursuit of simplifying my life, I've been using the simplest version of fruit and veggie wash that I have found.  And I'm happy to say that it works amazingly well! 

Here's the magical secret.....

Fill your clean sink with water and add a cup of vinegar.  Then let them soak for ten minutes.

That's it!!  You can wash a sink full of produce for about 30 seconds of your time.  I had heard that this particular fruit/veggie wash helps keep berries good longer and I can tell you, it really does!

These berries were purchased six days ago on super sale (which usually means "very ripe and needs to be eaten quickly"...I've learned this the hard way) and I washed them in the magical wash.  This is what they look like today.
This is amazing people!  And so easy!  One more simple step towards world domination.  Or at the very least, clean fruits and veggies.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

This New Year.....

I love New Years' Resolutions.  I really, really do.  I love making goals and working towards them.  I especially love enjoying the rewards from attaining these goals.

A lot of the time, my New Years' Resolutions are private and I work towards them throughout the year.  But I'll be honest....there has been a time or two that I have forgotten what my goals were half way through the year.  So, this year I decided that I would make an inspiration board for my goals.  Some people call them dream boards.  Some might call them a poster to mock your inadequacies.  But this year I made one.  And so did my girls.  My goals varied this year.  I have a goal specifically geared to the way I parent each of my children.  They are different goals because they are different girls.  I have goals about my home, family and my own personal development.  As I looked over my goals I did see an underlying theme.  And with that theme also came an unintended word for the year. 
Simplify my house by getting rid of things, simplify my finances by not buying things, simplify meals, simplify my clothes, simplify everything.  And this is hanging in my room to remind me everyday.  And hopefully, by simplifying my life, I can also learn how to be a little less hard on myself.  That particular goal is becoming increasingly more important as I watch my girls growing up and looking to me to learn how to become the people they are meant to become.  And I certainly don't want them to grow up and spend their lives trying to be unrealistically perfect and unkind to themselves.  We all know that children don't listen to what we say, they learn from what we do.  Which is too bad because every once in a while, I have a pretty good way with words.  But for now.....I will simplify.

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