Stop trying to find yourself. Create the woman you want to be.

2013- Happy Family from Taking Action

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Batty Banner Take Two

Batty Banner

I am still in the process of decorating my mantle because I simply love love love having the ability to start decorating for the holidays. Being low on cash I decided to use what I had on hand.

  • 3-4 cardboard boxes like frozen pizza or cracker boxes
  • stencils of a bat, rat and raven printed off the computer
  •  black paint -I used spray paint because that's what was on hand but acrylic will work
  •  electrical tape or string to tie your animals together and string on the mantle

I traced the stencil onto the cardboard boxes and cut them out. I ended up cutting out five bats and only one rat and one raven because they were just a real pain in the butt. Of course that could be because I only had kid scissors to cut them with.

My helper  here sprayed them all black.

Once they dried (mostly) I strung the bats together with electrical tape.

I decided that the rat and raven could be used elsewhere on the mantel.

Your imagination is your limit. You could do pumpkins or witch's hats. 

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Going Batty This Halloween

I'm guest blogging over at Doodles and Doilies about the awesome bat garland me and the 4 year old made together. Come check it out.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Awesome Recipes for Pumpkins

How to Roast and Use Pumpkins!
by Tawra Kellam

Peter Piper Picked a Profoundly Plump Pumpkin -- Now what does he do with it?

How to Roast a Pumpkin
You can only do this with a freshly carved pumpkin! Do not use on a pumpkin that has been carved and sitting out for several days.

To bake a fresh 6 to 7 pound pumpkin, halve the pumpkin crosswise and scoop out the seeds and strings. Place halves, hollow side down, in a large baking pan covered with aluminum foil and add a little water. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until fork-tender. Remove. When cool, scrape pulp from shells and puree, a little at time, in food processor or blender. Mix with a little salt.
To freeze pumpkin puree. Put 1-2 cups in freezer bags along with spices and use in pies.
To use pumpkin puree for recipes: Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth or a flour sack dish towel and let the pumpkin sit to drain out the extra moisture BEFORE cooking with it. Pumpkin is very moist, so in order for your recipe to come out correctly, you MUST strain it.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Boil seeds in water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt. Place a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 250 degrees. Stir after 30 minutes. Bake 1/2-1 hour more or until crunchy.
*Squash seeds may also be used.

Pumpkin Smoothies
1/2 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup milk or vanilla yogurt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. brown sugar
4 ice cubes
whipped cream (optional)
sprinkles (optional)
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into 2-3 glasses. Serve with a small amount of whipped cream on top. You may also add orange sprinkles if you like. Serves 2-3.

Pumpkin Crunch
1 package yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) solid packed pumpkin
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup nuts
1 cup butter, melted
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Then sprinkle with nuts. Drizzle with butter. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool, served chilled. Serve with whipped topping.

Homemade Pumpkin Muffins
1 cake mix (any flavor works, but chocolate is our hands down favorite!) 1 can pumpkin or 2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin
Beat together with electric mixer until smooth (It will be really thick). Add 1 cup mini chocolate chips and stir. Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups and spray with non-stick spray. Use an ice cream scoop to put batter into muffin cups (I can get 24 muffins from one box of mix). Bake at 350 degrees for around 20 minutes. Cool and frost if desired. My family likes them just as they are when they are hot from the oven.
Spice cake mix is great - add white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips.
I have made pumpkin muffins with white cake mix and yellow cake mix too. They have around 120 calories apiece with the mini chocolate chips and are virtually fat free. If you are on weight watchers, they only count as 1 point.
This is a fabulous way to sneak some vitamin A rich veggies in on the kids. Just don't let them see you put the pumpkin into the muffins and they will never know it is there. These are more moist than very expensive name brand double chocolate chip muffins.

Pumpkin Pancakes
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
Combine ingredients. Stir just until moistened; batter may be lumpy. Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with vegetable oil. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle. Cook until bubbles begin to burst. Turn and continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with Pumpkin Maple Sauce and nuts.

Pumpkin Maple Sauce
1 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cups pumpkin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice Mix together until well blended.
Visit for more easy recipes!

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit , sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How's That Working for You- 100 Day Checkup

Virtually everyone has heard Dr.Phil say "How's that working for you?". Well I'm asking you the same thing. Have you started implementing your changes so that your life is different at the end of the 100 Days Challenge? We've started with the routines, slowly adding 1-2 items in the morning and at night. My exercise routine is working out 30 minutes approximately 2-3 times per week. And I'm writing everyday to start boosting my business. There are still things to work on and I'm taking it one day at a time.

What have you done to reach your 100 Day goals? Even one small change is progress. The next 100 days will go by regardless of what you do or don't do. The question is do you want to be right where you are or worse at the end of this year or do you want to start the year as a better you than this moment in time?

Tomorrow I'll post the link to my Halloween craft project. I'm guest blogging with Doodles and Doilies Spooktacular this month. Oh and I should mention I'm learning to make furniture. Yes furniture. Thanks to Ana White and her awesome inspirations. So come back to see my attempt at a coffee table from scrap lumber.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

But it's All Their Fault

Keeping with our goals of creating better relationships with family and friends and our 100 day change your life challenge, I want you to take a look at how many times a day you blame someone else for what's going wrong in your day. I have noticed that I am where I am because I became good at blaming someone else for why things didn't go well.

This happens without our knowledge. We decide to hit the snooze button one too many times in the morning. Then we're running around making sure everyone's up, throwing on whatever clothes happen to be clean and throwing Pop Tarts or some other convenience food at our kids for breakfast. When Tommy has a meltdown or Sarah can't find her shoes then we start to fall apart. We begin yelling or complaining that we're going to be late because Sarah didn't put her shoes in the right place or because Tommy wants to throw a tantrum.

On your way to drop them off at school, because they missed the bus, you get behind someone driving the speed limit. You get so frustrated. Why can't they go faster? What's wrong with them? Don't they know your kids are going to be late to school AGAIN?

This only spirals from one thing to another. You are so wound up that it seems like everyone is in slow motion. The checkout person at the grocery store is taking way too long. You have to clean up dog pee and poop from the carpet because you didn't have time to take him on his walk before you left with the kids. You forget to lay out the meat for that night's dinner and have nothing to fix at four o'clock. Then you end up ordering pizza or going through the drive-thru.

All of this makes you extra cranky when it comes time to help with homework and bath time. Instead of enjoying your kids you are short with them and maybe even yell a few times. Why can't they just hurry up and finish their homework? Why do they have to hose down the bathroom?

All of this because you wanted an extra 15-30 minutes of sleep. Was it worth it? Did you feel you deserved it because of the crazy day you had before? See the cycle? Instead of blaming others for why you are overweight, in debt, stressed out, removed emotionally from your husband and children; take a good look in the mirror.

What daily tasks can you accomplish that will allow you to change those unwanted realities of your life? Get up that extra 30 minutes and actually have breakfast with your kids or even with just you. Creating a quick and healthy meal is possible and eating it in a relaxing atmosphere instead of in the car helps you with the peaceful time before attacking the world's demands.

Plan your meal for that night in the morning or the night before. Set out the clothes you want to wear the night before. Help your kids do this too. Those that can dress themselves won't be asking you where their socks are because you took 5-10 minutes the night before to prepare for tomorrow.

Know what you want in life and take baby step EVERY day in order to reach those goals. We're implementing routines at night and in the morning to help eliminate chaos. None of the kids likes picking out their clothes the night before but they are enjoying having them ready in the morning. Stop using "but it's all their fault" and start being proactive in your daily life.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

They Don't Make Them Like They Use To

A century ago couples married for life. The word divorce was rarely an option. That has transformed into the current state of at least half of all married couple getting divorced. What happened? Simply put; they don't make them like they use to. I'm not anti-divorce, anything but. Been there, done that. It does sadden me that there are many couples that concentrate solely on the wedding and not on addressing their future together. Some even have the thought process that "oh let's do it and if it doesn't work then we'll just get divorced". What?!?

As someone who lasted a mere year the first time and just passed her 14th wedding anniversary this time I have one thing to say. You have to work at it. Not only does it take adjusting to living with someone else, it takes learning to adjust as you both change and grow over the years. Love and marriage are not about the butterfly feelings. Those come and go like the rise and fall of the tides. Love in marriage is a decision. It's about learning to grow and change together. It's about deciding to stick with him/her through it all.

I'm not saying be a doormat. Simply learn the art of compromise and communication. Learn that if something isn't working you can't change your spouse but you can change yourself. On the same note, feel free to express love for them and tell them what they can do for you to make you feel loved.  Never feel ashamed to convey your feelings. If communication has fallen to the wayside then consider starting things up with daily 10 minute talks or a scheduled date night.

If you are truly disconnected then I recommend the books The Love Dare (from the movie Fireproof) and The 5 Love Languages. These are biblical based but have some very important life lessons in changing your heart and influencing change over your loved one. I loved The 5 Love Languages. It taught me about what actions or words people perceive as love. I am currently reading The Love Dare and it is teaching me a great deal about myself as well as what it means to truly love someone.

What do you do to make your other half feel loved?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Menu/Money Monday

Yes this is menu planning Monday but this week I'm adding in the money part. Why? Because planning out your menu saves you money so that you don't order pizza 3 times a week and stops you from wasting food. You aren't waiting until 4 or 5pm wondering what to fix for dinner. You aren't allowing vegetables to die because you "ran out of time" to create the meal you wanted to use them for. If you're trying to save money I believe it is essential to create at least a basic menu plan.

That being said I must confess that I didn't make my roast last week because we ended up getting takeout. So don't think that we are eating roast two weeks in a row.

bagels, fruit
grits and bacon
eggs and bacon
toaster strudels/toast
homemade chicken biscuits
english muffins-plain or with bacon,egg and cheese

Lunch: leftovers or sandwiches

Roast with carrots, potatoes, green beans and homemade bread
pork chops, steamed vegetables, jasmine rice
corn dogs with homemade french fries
chili and cornbread
homemade potato soup and homemade bread
theme movie night: viewing the newest TRON movie
leftover buffet

Because I was a slacker and forgot to list my movie night menu I am going to list it now.
Last week the movie was THOR and I made:

  • Mini Hammers: mini hamburgers with toothpicks inserted 
  • Lightening Bolt Brownies: I just drew lightening bolts on with icing but if you found a lightening shape cookie cutter that would be awesome
  • Frost Giant Slushies: the easiest way to do this is 2 cups of water, 1 koolaid package(I used blue colored), 4 cups of ice and 3/4 cups of sugar blended in a blender until the consistency of a Slush Puppy
  • Portal Traveling Staff: crispy bread sticks with hummus for dipping 
Now on to this week's movie night foods: TRON
  • Throwing Discs: giant pizza bagels 
  • Tron Cycle: vegetable tray arranged to mimic the shape of the TRON cycle(pics on Friday)
  • Game Portal Punch: Koolaid or Juice mixed with half seltzer water
  • Good vs. Evil Cookies: a batch of homemade sugar cookies, divide dough into two groups, use blue food coloring on one and red on the other before rolling into a "log" and refrigerating (the dough should be made at least 24 hours in advance)

I hope you enjoy!
OH if you are ready to start baking for the Fall then you need to check out Menu Planning Central's 90% off sale. YES, $100 worth of planning and baking ebooks for only $10. 
Special Fall Bundle (yes it's an affiliate link)

What are you planning for dinner?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Time Management Tuesday-How to Find 25 Hours in Your Day?

Before we get started I need to ask if you've created your 100 Days Life Challenge goals.If you haven't then get moving. Time doesn't stand still for you to get things done. This goes for grabbing the button (on the right over there) and putting it on your blog. Now back to work.

How to Find 25 Hours in Your Day?
The key to making the most out of your day involves numerous factors: determining what's important to you, creating focus, staying on task. All of these things work together to create more time in your day, not less.

  1. Determine what's important to you.
  •  If you are working on saving money or on creating healthy eating habits you come to a crossroads at least 3 times a day. Taking the time to pack your lunch for work will help you accomplish both of these goals. Don't tell yourself you don't have time. Sacrifice the sleep and get up and pack your lunch. Better yet, do it the night before. I am having to do this for my husband and my kids. I prefer the night before so that I'm not rushed and can make sure they have adequate meals. This is the same for the trip home every night. Stopping at the local fast food restaurant kills your body and your wallet. Use your crockpot or take a couple of hours on the weekend to cook several meals so that you can just reheat on those busy nights. This is crucial for me because my kids have martial arts and dance class during what used to be my dinner prep time. So now, if I'm not using my crockpot then I make dinner before the kids even get out of school. If I am having a particular busy work week then I will marathon cook on the weekend.
  • Which is more important to you: sleep or being able to get up a flight of stairs without breathing heavy? If your health is important to you then you will find at least 30 minutes a day to exercise. This means walking, running, aerobics, weight-lifting, or whatever else gets you motivated. If 30 minutes seems too hard then break it up into 3-10minute intervals. Get up earlier or go to bed a little later.
    2. Create focus. Write down a weekly goal list and break it down into a daily list. Make sure to write out time chunks for work and previous commitments. Once that is done write in your steps that need to be accomplished to meet your goals. For example: my list contains taking the kids back and forth to school and other activities. It also includes things such as:laundry, making meals, 1 hour daily exercise, weekly renovation project with daily steps and my top 6 to-do priorities for my writing business. 

    3. Staying on Task.
  • Don't multitask. Do NOT multitask. I'm not talking about paying bills or reading while waiting for the kids to get out of school. I'm talking about trying to talk on the phone to your mother and use your computer for work related correspondence. Have you noticed that food turns out much better when you had your entire focus on cooking? As a busy mom or dad this isn't always possible but if you start prepping meals when you have 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there then you can focus solely on your job during that time. Your mind is calmer, you are more relaxed and more things get done.
  • Having the list keeps you from being scattered. Knowing your primary goals helps you focus.Whenever an episode of NCIS or rerun of Charmed calls my name I look at my list and keep moving with it. That's what a DVR is for. The amazing thing is that one of two things happens: I either am too tired to watch television or I find that I accomplished everything on my list and I have extra time to pursue my own interests. Be sure to take time for yourself to meditate or pray at the beginning or end of your day. If you are too tired at the end then I recommend you doing it first thing in the morning.

As long as you tackle one step of your goal on a daily basis you will not only make amazing progress you will find that your spare time just magically appears. I've always thought of it as the universe/God rewarding you for doing what needs to be done. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Menu Monday-What Are You Eating this Week?

Here I am on our first day of the 100 Day Life Challenge and in order to save time during the week I am menu planning. As my days are not always predictable I am not planning specific meals on specific days. The idea is to write down a list of meals and plan the night before. Keep in mind that my kids eat lunch at school so lunches during the week are predominantly what I pack for hubby and what I grab at home.

-muffins(from box muffin mix)
-toaster strudel/toast
-bagels and cream cheese
-eggs and bacon
-homemade biscuits with sausage or bacon
-grits and fresh fruit
-homemade cinnamon rolls and fresh fruit

sandwiches and chips or fruit
corn dogs and sweet potato fries
homemade hamburgers, fries

-roast, potatoes, carrots, green beans, homemade rolls
-meatloaf, steamed veggies, baked potato, homemade bread
-spinach lasagna rolls, garlic cheese bread
-enchiladas, mexican rice, seasoned black beans
-thai pork stir fry with veggies and rice
-leftover buffet
-family movie night themed dinner (stay tuned for specifics)

While some of this stuff is homemade, the vegetables are normally canned or frozen and take no more action than to heat them up. If you have never made homemade bread I highly recommend it. Just follow the recipe and plan on making it in the morning for dinner that night. The hands-on part is not what takes so much time, it is the in-between allowing it to rise that takes a while.
I'm linking up to:

Desiring Virtue If you're interested in recipes, subscribe to our feed so that you can get updated as soon as they are posted.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

100 Days to Change Your life- Are You Up for the Challenge?

I realize that it is the end of the year and people normally try to make changes in their life at the start of a new year. Guess it's like a diet, "I'll start over on Monday.". Do you really want to wait around til "Monday" to change the things that make you unhappy now? I don't. We're going to officially start on Monday but these next few days are time for you to complete your prep work.

Prep Work for 100 Day Change Your Life Challenge
Decide what you want to change. You may be able to list a million things off the top of your head but for this challenge you are going to pick 5. Spend time thinking about what five habits or five specific parts of your life would make the most immediate impact on your life. Do not be general, determine a specific amount of money to save or a certain number of pounds to lose. Whatever it is must be measurable.

Write it down. Make a list of the fab five ideas that you are going to change. Now write down HOW you are going to change them.

Here's mine:

1. To lose 30 pounds. This will be accomplished by daily exercise of 1 hour and slowly eliminating junk food from my diet. I've already got a step up because I quit drinking sodas.

2. Creating/implementing morning, afternoon and evening routines in order to get the kids to help around the house more and eliminate constant chaos.

3. Renovating our basement so that our two oldest kids can move downstairs by the first of the year. **New for 2013** To finish the "living area" of the basement now that the kids rooms are 80% completed.

4. Creating a larger emergency fund.Goal of putting a minimum of $50 a week into the money market account. I plan on cutting back on eating out and making more meals from scratch. We will be doing a lot of free stuff for the holidays and I will keep an eye out on craigslist and freecycle for stuff I can repurpose.

5. Exploding my writing business by approaching local businesses with my copywriting services and devoting a solid 40 hours a week to promoting and working the business.**New for 2013** My writing business now involves less about local business and more about writing fiction and helping others publish their own works through being a editor and writing coach.

There you go. What are your five? Are you ready for a life change? Accountability offered here with weekly check in. Want some daily accountability help? I'm offering to do a daily check in via Instant Message. Drop me an email with your AIM, Yahoo, or Gtalk addy and I will connect with you. Send it to

I'll have a button posted on Monday for you to show your participation in the 100 Day Change Your Life Challenge. Til then, stay awesome!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's That Time of the Month . . .I Mean Year

Yeah it seems that it's about this time every year that I realize I have done nothing to plan for the holidays. It is also the time that I begin to panic and go into permanent PMS mode. Yes everything turns into crying or intense hissy fit. Come on, you don't have a royal melt down when you start getting notices about stuff to buy or send to school, buying Halloween costumes, making Thanksgiving dinner and getting ready for Christmas? Because I adore dragging four children under the age of 12 from one house to another and getting them loaded up on sugar just in time for the hour long car ride home. If that isn't something you've experienced then think of pulling four children out of their warm bed at 7 or 8 in the morning to eat breakfast and pack up the car with gifts for other people. The youngest are actually easier than the 12 year old, that is until it's time to brush their hair and teeth. You are then spending hours opening up one present after another (our families go all out) having them eat "just one piece" of dessert which turns into "just one piece" of EVERY dessert. Then you load all of the presents into the back of the car and cram the kids into the car hot and sweaty because they've been running around Grandma's house in the stifling heat. You then drive an hour home listening to "I'm hungry" because they spent less time eating and more time playing. And that's just Christmas, we won't discuss Halloween and Thanksgiving.

NO MORE! I'm calling a halt to it this year.

This year is a new house, new schools and new traditions. Real traditions. Guess what? I'm going to share them all with you right here. The next 100 days are about remodeling/decorating our new home, creating holiday memories with my family(instead of running around from one event to another) and making homemade Christmas presents. I may throw in a few furniture redos and creations just to mix it up. 

What are your favorite holiday horror stories memories?

Help out the local animal shelter by donating money through our donate money link on the right. My goal is to vaccinate 100 animals by the end of the year.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Update and New Exciting Things

I wanted to give you an update about our sickly puppy. He now has kennel cough which he is taking an additional antibiotic for. We are finishing up the Parvo meds and he is eating and drinking and chewing on the bone we bought him. He's still in the crate and we have to decontaminate everything for another 2 weeks to keep from spreading the virus to other dogs. But he pulled through!!!!

I keep thinking that if we hadn't adopted him when we did then not only would he have almost certainly be put down but that numerous other dogs would have been contaminated as well. I want to save another family from picking out a family pet and finding out that it's either shell out a ton of money or have your new dog put down. It has weighed on me so heavily that I am placing a donation link on this website to help vaccinate animals that find their way to shelters and help them find homes. A mobile vet travels to nearby shelters here in Georgia and gives reasonable rates. She estimated $50 per dog to give them complete vaccines and heartworm treatments. What do you say? Are you up for adding a couple dollars to help make animals healthier and for them to find a home? Tell you what, for the first 100 people that donate $10 or more I will send them a copy of my paranormal novel Gateways. The perfect gift for someone in time for Halloween.

Have a great day!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Are You a Builder or a Destroyer? Girl Drama at its Best

Yesterday my 7 year old, P, wanted help with her homework. No problem. Scratch that, problem. She wanted help right NOW and I still had two more articles to finish for my freelance client. So as she is throwing her little, Mommy you're not helping me!, fit I am trying to remain calm and work at the same time. After the inevitable flopping on the floor and claiming that I hate her because I won't stop what I'm doing to help her, I sent her to her room. What followed was of course the stomping down the hall and screaming, See I knew you hated me.

While her behavior was completely unacceptable and she knew that I began to wonder what it looks like from her prospective. Now keep in mind that I try my best NOT to be working when the kids get home, but sick puppy and Mt. Everest of laundry because of sick puppy has put me a bit behind. However, I started thinking about ways that I could have handled a bit better or perhaps prepared to meet her needs and still accomplished my deadline.

How does this equate to being a builder or a destroyer? Do you spend more time saying positive things or negative things to your kids? Think about it. How often do you praise your kids for simply doing their chores without being told? I know that I always tried to do what I was told when I was little and then was crushed when my younger brother was praised for his one day of not getting in trouble.

Building kids up is a 24/7 job. Start with your morning routine. Do you wake them up with a cheerful attitude or are you a sourpuss because you overslept? Take it from someone who is definitely not a morning person and has done both of these things, the kids respond much better to cheerful. I tell my kids to have an awesome day and I love them before they leave everyday. When I first started this they gave me funny looks. You know, the Mom you've lost it, sort of look. But now they just say love you and head off to school.

Do you make their homecoming in the afternoon a pleasant one or are you rushed like I was yesterday? If you are preoccupied EVERY day when the kids get home they may get the idea that they aren't really important to you or that they're a nuisance. I've noticed that with all of my kids in school for the first time this year how truly little time I spend with my kids during the week. So now the first hour after school is Spongebob and snack time with Mommy. Regardless of what time of the day you do it, take at least 10 minutes to speak to each of your kids everyday.

If you are just existing from day-to-day take a moment to look at how you are acting and reacting to your kids. Where is your focus when you're with them? Are you worried about dinner being finished or getting a million other things accomplished instead of listening to your little ones newest adventure? Or maybe your pre-teen has something to say and you're only half listening. It's time to organize your day so that you can focus on them when they need it and create special time so they know they will have time to talk to you everyday.

Oh and the girl drama? She threw herself on her bed, cried until she was tired then proceeded to demand I help right NOW. Needless to say it took quite a while to finish her homework. Sigh. But better 7 year old drama than teen drama. That's a whole other subject.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

All Things to All People

My son wanted a puppy for his birthday so we took a trip to the local animal shelter. What better thing to do than rescue a little furry dude? Right away T was drawn to this cute black lab puppy. We made him look at all of the dogs in the shelter and even offered to drive him to several different ones just so he was sure that THIS was the one he wanted. He refused to go anywhere else and said that the black one was what he wanted.

We did the whole trip to PetSmart to pick up puppy supplies and brought him home to meet our 4 year old Papillion. They ran around the back yard chasing each other and the three youngest kids. Then came the time to teach T (now 10 years old) to be responsible in crate training his puppy. It was trial and error for both him and the puppy. The whole first day it was nothing but playtime and cleanup. The puppy even made it most of the night before having an accident.

The next day the puppy, Shiloh, had a bout of diarhhea, then throwing up. We chalked it up to nerves and the change in environment. By Monday, Shiloh had lost his bounce and was throwing up every time he drank or ate. So come first thing Tuesday morning we were off to the vet.

I received the news by myself in the tiny exam room at the veterinarian's office. The doctor came in with operating scrubs and gloves on. He then began to rattle off that he believed our puppy had Parvovirus. Well I had no idea what that was but I agreed to the test. Moments later I am standing in front of two men I had only just met, with tears streaming down my face, telling me that our little Shiloh had Parvo and that without hospitalization or intense home care he should be put to sleep because no treatment and he wouldn't live to see the end of the week. So as I'm picturing my poor son's face in my head I am trying to focus on the $200-$400 a day in hospitalization and the rate of living even with care.

I relay as much as I can to my husband over the phone and pray for guidance on how this will work. Then I suck it up, listen to the instructions about giving an IV and the medications that he will need. I'm then told he must be quarantined from our other dog and bleach everything he has touched. In order to not spread the disease I must scrub my hands and change clothes after having dealt with Shiloh. These are only a few of the things I must do in order to make sure he gets the right treatment. I take mental notes and try to think positive.

I didn't tell the kids all of the details, just that Shiloh was sick and they had to wash their hands if they touched him. T's response was "so if he takes all his medicine then he'll get better?" I told him that that was the idea and he seemed to accept it.

As of right now we are just over 24 hours on antibiotics and he seems to be improving. This morning he popped his head up and wagged his tail. I thanked God for that moment. And for every moment after that. I am so grateful that he is showing improvement.

I was reminded of when T was 3 months old (about the same as Shiloh is) and he was so sick with RSV that he was dehydrated and had to be admitted to the children's wing of the hospital. He was so small and so weak. They had to stick him so many times to get an IV and he barely moved. I prayed so hard.  And now looking at Shiloh I think maybe God fated to put the two of them together.

The day we adopted him was the first day he was eligible for adoption. Had we passed him over and went somewhere else then the shelter would have most likely put him down or simply waited the virus out by himself in a cold, sterile room.

So if you have a moment, say a brief prayer for our puppy. And as I am bleaching and scrubbing I'll keep believing in miracles, fate and prayer.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Are You Lost in a Snow Storm?

You've vowed to change things around your home. To make things happen because you are tired of the way things are. Only it's a week later, or worse, a month or even a YEAR later and everything is the same. Okay, maybe not everything, but in reality, YOU are still the same. Let's face it. You can't change anyone except yourself.

What does that mean?

It means get off your butt and get moving. Take 20-30 minutes and remember what you want to change. This could mean your weight, your marriage, your relationship with your kids, or even your career. Create realistic goals and a workable plan as to how to make them happen. Don't overload yourself with tons and tons of things to do everyday when you have kids to take care of and a household to run. But if changing or launching a new career requires going to college or taking some sort of training then find out what steps you need to take in order to make that happen.

Embrace the changes and push overwhelming emotions to the side. You can't live in the future or the past. You must live in the present. Quit fighting the part of life that you are in. Too soon it will be over and you'll wonder why you wasted so much of your time waiting and even crying to make it to the next stage in your life. Accept where you are and say thank you for the blessings in your life.

No more feeling sorry for yourself. No more going through the day in a haze or stumbling from one thing to another just counting the hours until you can go to sleep. Make a decision that you will take babysteps to changing you and therefore changing your life.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Treading Water

As I sit and read through blogs of women older than myself, those in their 40s or 50s, I find a bit of a pattern developing. Those that no longer have young children at home, and some that do, are talking of how wonderful their lives are now that they've come through their divorce. They aren't saying that their divorce was wonderful, just that they are currently happier than they were in marriage.

Is that the way of it now? That you raise your kids then bail? Not on your kids of course. Yes, I'm rambling. When did it become acceptable to leave a 20 year marriage because the kids are finally grown? I don't know what went on in these marriages and it is none of my business. What is my business is what happens in my marriage. We celebrated our anniversary last week. 14 years. It came and went as often it does. We have become complacent and after reading one more blog about a woman succeeding at being single and 40 or 50 I decided that I had had enough. Enough of going through the motions of simply making it through the day. Enough of discussing the children but not each others hopes and dreams.

Every day is a gift. What if you were told that you had 30 days to live? Would you do the same thing you do everyday? Would you wait for your spouse or your children to say I love you? Would you wait to take that camping trip or to visit that national monument that you've always wanted to see? Make every moment count. Tell your family what they mean to you and start working together to create the bond you once had.

What is holding you back?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Procrastination Bites or You Can't Iron in the Dark

All week we've been in prep mode for back to school. I even had the kids lay out their clothes before they went to bed last night. This is awesome for me because Summer has been a little crazy.

Who am I kidding? Between having 4 kids home from school, working full-time FROM HOME and moving into a new house, I am surprised I'm still sane.
So why was I trying to iron in the dark?

The entire last few weeks have been nothing but doctor's appointments and school registration meetings. Work has been regulated to a couple of hours in the morning and in the middle of the night. I'm tired to say the least.

Soooo, last night, the night before the first day of school. I had some work to catch up on and figured I would work until 1 or 2am, crash, get up at 4 or 5am to pack lunches and iron my husband's work clothes. Made sense at the time.

Note to self: Check weather channel before pursuing lame ass plan.

Yes I awoke at 3am to a loud noise and the realization that the power was off. Not only was the power off, but it seemed as if the heaven's had opened up to release the wrath of Zeus. Lightening flashed so much that candles were only needed in rooms where there were no windows.

This is the point in the story where I'm praying that the power comes on before 5am and ready to beat my head against the wall because I didn't do all of my household chores before crashing. I wait til 6am and start fumbling in the dark for NurtiGrain bars and Pop Tarts. The true breakfast of champions.

Oh and those work clothes? Sorry hubby but you're stuck with jeans today. Sucks, but you can't iron in the dark and candlelight does no good because the iron is still cold. Who knew?

Thankfully we have power now, although all I want to do is sleep. If I give in to the sleepiness then I will procrastinate again. It's a double edged sword because I am very cranky and not being very patient. Then again I can't put things off because I have wet sheets in the washer right now. Procrastination will lead to some really nasty smelling sheets and my daughter sleeping on a bare mattress.

Ahh the joys of motherhood. And I thought most of my sleepless nights were over when my youngest turned three. Well, until my oldest is a teenager anyway. Oh hell, we all know that you don't sleep well until the youngest is out of the house.

Back to the point. Don't put things off because life will throw you a curve ball that will knock you in the head and make you see little tweety birds.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Divide and Conquer- Family Night Variations

A few weeks ago my kids wanted to see their "instructor" in an upcoming MMA tournament. Or rather, the boys wanted to go, the girls don't take Jiu Jitsu class. I decided that we would initiate our first ever boys and girls night out. My husband took the two boys to the tournament while the two girls and I settled in for Spaghetti, homemade brownies and 2 Redbox movies.

This may not seem like much but my two girls, ages 12 and 7, cannot stand each other. Every car trip is a headache. Even 5 minutes is an argument or consistent name calling. I allowed them to each pick a movie and then we settled in with our food for the night. The surprising thing is that the oldest actually sat through (and liked) the movie that the younger one picked out. AND they didn't argue the whole time. Almost four straight hours with no complaining. It was wonderful.

The deduction, other than loving having time with my girls, is that girls/boys night will become a regular monthly thing. While regular family nights are important, getting two siblings of the same sex to bond on their own time is essential also. This can be difficult for those with families larger than average family of four.

Set aside some time to divide and conquer sibling rivalry so that you can come together as a whole at a later time. Get creative, it doesn't have to cost a bunch of money. Our Redbox and dinner was less than $10. Get to know your kids again and help them learn about each other.

Most of all, HAVE FUN!!

What are your favorite things to do with your kids?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Life Changing Series- Starting Over

"Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." --George Bernard Shaw

Image: graur codrin /

When was the moment you realized that you hated the world? Or maybe it was a case of the world hating you? I remember the day I realized that the only emotions I ever felt any more were those of hate, anger and disgust. That was the day I looked in the mirror and stared into the eyes of a woman I didn't recognize. It was the same face that had stared back at me for my 30+ years. But something was different. Ahhh, yes. There was no joy, no happiness, only the shell of a woman.

The question was why?
I had four beautiful children who only occasionally tried to kill each other, a roof over my head, a husband who worked to support us and my health. Where had the spark gone? Why did I dread getting out of bed in the morning and count the hours until my kids would go to bed at night? Why did I dread dinner time and spend my days in constant frustration?

Reality Check
The answer was staring back at me in that mirror. What had become was what I had created. My current position in life, from my weight issues to my relationship with my husband and my children were all a direct correlation to every decision I had made in life up until that moment.

I am NOT a Victim
Sure, I could have allowed myself to wallow in self-pity and say that it was all the stress of having four children at home that made me eat. Or that my husband didn't help around the house enough. I wasn't appreciated for how much I did do. It was never enough. And for a while I whined about all those things. Do you know where it got me? Deeper in depression, a messier house, crankier kids, deeper in debt and a wider gap in my marriage. Hmmm, as Dr.Phil would say "How's that working for you?" So while I was gazing at this stranger in the mirror I realized that being a victim was slowly killing me and destroying my family. THIS was the turning point in my life.

Changing Your Life is All in Your Head
Before you can change your life you have to have this "lightbulb" or "come to Jesus" moment. You can't change your habits or anything about your life long term until you have the conscious shift in your mind that you are going to become the person you want to be and leave behind the person you were. This isn't about "finding yourself" it is about creating the life that you want and becoming the woman you want to be. Trust me, you only think you want to be that young and vivacious twenty-something.

In short:
  • Put up or shut up
  • Pee or get off the pot
  • Put on your big girl panties
There's nothing that anyone else can do for you until you are ready to change yourself. It's not about changing your kids or your husband. The only person that you can force to change is yourself. Once you have done that, the rest will fall into place.

What was the turning point in your life? Did this post inspire your midnight epiphany?