Weekly Wrap-Up: The Double Extra Special Edition

miss meHi there!  Did I miss anything while I was gone?  I DID?  Crap!

I didn’t have a wrap-up last week because I was off the grid, sort of speak.  So this is a double wrap-up, just in case you missed something the last two weeks!

Monday Extreme Parenting, What the Books Never Prepared Us For  A group post that I participated in along with seven other bloggers.

Tuesday  Twisted Mixtape Tuesday:  Dude You Must Chill!  Music to relax with.

Wednesday  Celebrating #14, The Clean Anniversary  It’s was the ivory anniversary, therefore I guess I was supposed to receive a bar of soap…

Then I had other folks take over my blog, and it was WONDERFUL!!!!!

autumn-leavesThursday  The Squirrel Whisperer by Marcia of Menopausal Mother  Marcia starts off my Week of Guest Bloggers with a, um, chatter? Acorns and peanuts for everyone!

Friday Why You Should Never Scrimp on Salon Services by Dani of Cloudy, With a Chance of Wine  This has been the most popular post on my blog ever!  I guess I know how I need to get high views-have guest bloggers all the time!

Monday  If It Wasn’t For Her, I’d Be That Chick With That Blog by Jen of My Skewed View  I still think she needs her head examined for this post, but I’m glad she loves me so!

Tuesday  If You Fall Through the Cracks… Mom Will Catch You by Karen of Baking in a Tornado  Such a personal post by a wonderful lady!

Wednesday All That is Wrong With Me, I Blame on Catholic School by Terrye of The Adventures of a Misplaced Alaskan  Terrye tells about being bullied and how it changed her perspective on life.

Thursday Cable Makes Me A Better Person by Melissa of Motherhood is an Art  I just got my cable back recently as well.  I’m sure there are ways it makes me a better person too!

Friday  Don’t Be That Tree by Amy of Funny is Family  A post that could quite possibly double as a motivational poster.  You saw it here first!

Don't worry, I don't think Amy is moving in to a van down by the river any time soon.

Don’t worry, I don’t think Amy is moving in to a van down by the river any time soon.

Best and Most Disturbing Search Terms

What should I get my husband for our millionth anniversary?  Wow… you must be really old to be married a million years.

Batman with boobs  Batman hanging out with boobs or batman with breasts?  Interesting…

Laundry mat nudists  Time to get a little more organized for laundry day!

I bleed glitter and fart rainbows  You have a problemYou might want to go see the doctor for that.

funny dogs waiting for texts  How many dogs have cell phones???

Does Dave Grohl like Incubus?  I don’t know, why are you asking me??

What is the mood of the sadder but wiser girl?  Happy but a little tired.  Who looks this stuff up?

I really hate looking up stuff on Google  Then why are you?

Next Week

This evening I will be part of a round-up through Moms Who Write and Blog.  It’s a Halloween special.  I shared my experience from last year’s Halloween party.

Then ironically, due to weird coincidence I’ll be spending time over at OTHER people’s blogs the first part of the week! The first two posts I’m a little vague on when exactly they will be published.  I am on The Epistolarians with my School Supply List From Hell, as well as being featured on Cloudy, With A Chance of Wine‘s Priceless Mom Moments series.

Tuesday’s Twisted Mixtape Tuesday is music from soundtracks.  I’m trying to feature stuff I know and love, but ones that not everyone else in the world will feature.  I’d rather not show the one scene from Pulp Fiction that everyone and their dog has already seen!

On Wednesday I’m on Menopausal Mother wondering what would happen if we actually had a rewards points system for marriage.

Friday is The Secret Subject Swap!  I have a very interesting prompt this month.  I can’t wait to share it with you!

I have so much to do that I’m totally overwhelmed today… maybe I’ll just take a little nap first…  Hope your weekend is fun and maybe somewhat productive as well!

cat nap

Right? I think I’ll pencil mine in this afternoon.

Don’t Be That Tree

The final entry in my week of guest bloggers is my friend Amy from Funny is Family.  I can’t think of a better person to lead this to the finish line!

I’m not sure how exactly I found her blog.  I think I was looking for some humorous family blogs for inspiration and happened upon hers.  I was hooked.  Her sense of humor and the way that she interacts with her family really spoke to me, and I have been a fan ever since!  Since I started following her she has become “famous”, being published in not one but TWO blogging compilations!  I’d like to think it was all because I started reading her blog.  Right? 

This post really fits in with the fall theme too, isn’t she smart like that? 

don't be that tree1One of my favorite things about living in Connecticut is watching the leaves change color in the fall. The phenomenon is gorgeous, and an entire industry is built here in New England upon “leaf peepers,” or people travel for the express purpose of viewing the fall foliage.

My favorite trees are the ones whose leaves turn a deep red color, but I love the yellows and the oranges, too. I adore the clean green tree that clings to its original hue when its neighbors are changing color all around, and the way the infrequent evergreens shine after all of the reds, yellows, and oranges have fallen to the ground.

The very best time is when every tree is a different shade; when they look different, and they are making the shift to winter trees on their own time.

I see people in the same way. I love when those around me act as individuals, allowing their leaves to be whatever color they are meant to be. How boring would it be if we were all green trees? If we all grew at the same rate, and lost our leaves at the same time?

All I want for my kids is for them to be safe, healthy, and themselves. I adore my kids’ quirks, and I hope they wear their uniqueness with confidence always. I struggle with the desire to conform, because sometimes it feels good to slip into the shadows, unnoticed. I find myself mimicking behaviors, or believing something if I hear it enough, or even trying to write like someone else if I read too much of their work. In these cases, I am not being true to myself, and I have to take a step back and find my center again.

Parents: Let your kids be their own tree. They aren’t a bonsai tree for you to clip and mold into exactly what you want them to be. Also, follow my tree metaphor to its obvious conclusion, won’t you?

I’m not saying conformity is always bad. Following social norms makes for a peaceful society, and we can’t all do whatever we want. Sometimes a line of matching trees looks nice. Uniformity has its own beauty, and I can appreciate that. Sports teams would look strange if they didn’t match. Soldiers present a united and powerful front when they look the same. To me, that’s different than letting our individual freak flags fly when we can.

Like people, I’m thankful for trees that look different. I appreciate trees that bloom in the spring or stay green all year long. I see beauty in trees with white, flaky bark or thick, rough bark. I appreciate trees that will bend with the wind and trees that are sturdy enough to hold a six-year-old or even a tree house.

Be your own tree. Lose your leaves when it’s your time. Don’t worry if you’re blooming at a different time than all of your other tree friends. Stand tall on a mountain or stoop gracefully over a river. Grow quietly in a backyard or wildly in a forest. Be whatever tree you are meant to be, and don’t stay green just because everyone else is.

Don’t be that tree.

Amy and her husband made two kids, a four-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy. She does not consider herself a housewife, as she owns no pearls and only one apron. Amy is a Huffington Post and Families In the Loop blogger, has been featured on BlogHer, Aiming Low, Mamapedia, Scary Mommy, Bonbon Break, Mamalode, and In The Powder Room, and is a contributor to the books, “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth”, and  I Just Want to Pee Alone. You can find Amy laughing at the absurdity of parenting on FacebookTwitter, and Google+, and pinning things she’ll never do on Pinterest. She writes embarrassing stories about her family and herself at FunnyIsFamily.com.

autumn-leavesThank you so much for joining us for this fall’s Week of Guest Bloggers!  In case you missed anything, I’ll have a round-up of all the wonderful posts I had this weekend!

Cable Makes Me A Better Person

autumn-leavesI really think I need to make a new award.  It would go to the person who is not related to me or knows me in real life that has followed me the longest.  Melissa from Motherhood is an Art would totally get that award if I created it.  Amongst all of the people who followed me from the start, she was the first blogger who truly read and commented on my posts!  I love her blog-I wish we were neighbors because I would love to be able to hang out with her (and her family)!  

This post is especially relevant for me because we recently were able to reclaim paid-for TV.  It’s not as extravagant as it sounds, since we just happened to find a local company that we could get cable AND internet for the same price as we were paying for just internet!  Read on to see why Melissa thinks cable improves her life:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe recently subscribed to cable again after a 2 year hiatus from it. We cancelled it because it was so overpriced and the customer service is absolutely atrocious. Any one of my three children would be more gracious and helpful than most of the morons they have working for them.

But…..

I feel shallow for saying this but cable and the addition of the DVR (digital video recorder) option makes me a better person.

Today I thought I would share with you why cable has tickled my pickle:

  1. I usually miss every broadcast of the news. It is nice to record it and find out what is going on in the world.
  2. Speaking of finding out what’s going on in the world, everyone keeps talking about this Duck Dynasty show. It will be nice to know what they are talking about.
  3. Before cable if my children got hurt while I was watching a show they had to rate their pain and blood spewing amount on a scale of 1-10 to determine if I could wait until commercial to tend to them.
  4. On the subject of commercials…commercials work! Without cable I had to watch every commercial and let me tell you every time I saw an ad about any restaurant I was suddenly starving. Perhaps I can lose some weight now that I can fast forward through the commercials.
  5. The rewind feature is very important to me. Often times my kids are so noisy and I find myself wondering if the main character has just screamed, “I’m dying” or if it was just “I’m trying.” This can really change the whole story line.
  6. I really missed Mrs. Duggar, you know the lady with 19 kids. Sometimes I feel like torching the television when I see her and her sunny disposition all while keeping 19 kids in line. Other times it gives me the push I need…if she can put up with 19 kids and Jim Bob every day I can certainly handle my brood.
  7. Some days just require a Lifetime movie marathon complete with pajamas and endless chocolate.
  8. If I would have had the record feature on May 6, 2004 I could have avoided one of my biggest regrets. I saw every single episode of Friends except for the very last one. Talk about major bummer. When The Middle decides to call it quits I should be good even if I decide to go out that night.
  9. I actually have a lot more time on my hands. Instead of wasting an hour watching Dr. Phil so I can feel better about myself because I’m not the weirdest person in the world, I have shaved that time down to about 30 minutes with the fast forward feature.
  10. And the biggest reason I love cable is because sometimes you just need a laugh and the pause feature does that for me. I randomly hit the pause button when people are talking so I can see images like this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_1623Melissa is a mother to 3 kids living in Wisconsin. She navigates the triumphs and perils of motherhood using creativity and humor!

Like the post?  Now LOVE the blog.  Go visit her blog by clicking HERE!

All That Is Wrong With Me, I Blame on Catholic School

autumn-leavesToday’s guest blogger comes by way of Alaska with a slight detour through Arizona.  Terrye is a fellow redheaded blogger who appreciates great geekery and possesses a unique sense of humor. However today’s post reflects her more serious side:

Hopeful Expectations

I still remember the thrill of going to the special stationary store in Del Rio, Texas with my mom and dad (my annoying little brother might have been there, too) to pick up my school supplies, leather satchel, and most importantly, my school uniforms. I had just gotten over my bout of the latest off the beaten path, freakish illness; this time it had been Mycoplasma pneumonia that I had contracted from one of the many coughing, sneezing, runny nosed immigrant farmers’ kids whose families followed the seasonal harvests and typically didn’t have medical coverage.

My parents, acting on the advice of other parents in the neighborhood whose children had also run the gantlet of bizarre, non-typical childhood illnesses, pulled me out of the public school and enrolled me in the nearest parochial school; the one and only Sacred Heart Catholic School (I swear, there is a ‘Sacred Heart Catholic School’ in almost every state I’ve been too – heck, there’s one down the street from me – like it’s a franchise or something – “Do you want a blessing with that?”). As my father was a product of a Catholic school in upstate New York, he was sure it would be the best thing for me, or as he was fond of saying, “it builds character.” If only he knew how true that would turn out to be, just maybe not the kind of character he was hoping for.

And So It Begins

The first week went smoothly, I made a friend (Maria), I was getting the routine down, and life was good and funky disease free. But being the only redheaded, pale white (or translucent, depending on the season) kid in a small, Texas border town, it wasn’t long before the school bully took notice of me like a tick on a bloodhound. Lucia was in the 3rd grade, the size of a small over-pampered pony or a PBR bull in training. The first time she walked up to me, she made my world go dark, literally. She blocked out the sun as she towered over my skinny little 1st grader body where I knelt on the ground playing cars (yeah, I’m a tomboy, so what?). I remember standing up when she asked me my name and I responded, “Terrye.”

Apparently, she didn’t like my answer, because she slapped me across my freckled face and knocked the toy out of my hand. I vaguely recall bending over to pick it up and then groggily being led to the school nurses’ office by a playground monitor. Lucia had been kind enough to teach me about the hockey hip check when I had bent over. A move I’m pretty sure isn’t typically popular among Mexican-American elementary school girls. When I got home, mom opened the door to greet me and immediately launched into orbit around Pluto. We spent the next hour and a half scrubbing the gravel, sand, dirt and dried blood off of my face. A very perturbed 4 foot 11 inch momma bear, visited the school the next day. Apologizes were extended from an extremely innocent looking Lucia for introducing my face to the sun baked school yard and from the staff for not notifying my mom of my injuries.

Licking My Wounds

The rest of the day, Lucia stayed away from me. I was actually beginning to get my hopes up that this might all turn out well. But destiny is cruel to naïve first graders. I wish I could say that through some act of witty retribution, that I got revenge on her butt. I’m sorry, I’m afraid I can’t. I spend every recess after that hiding out in the alcove that housed the statuette of Mary until we got the news that dad was being transferred back to Alaska and we would be moving to upstate New York until he secured housing. Which, for me, meant going to my dad’s old school, Saint James Academy, but that’s a story for another day. During my thankfully limited time in Del Rio, I did learn some very important life lessons.

1. Turn the other cheek. If you take your eyes off of your enemy, even for a split second, they will slam dunk your butt into the basketball hoop of life. And, it’s a waste of time to carry a grudge against someone. It only gives them power over you. I would rather spend my energy on more constructive activities like crossing things off of my bucket list.

“Living well is the best revenge.” George Herbert, English clergyman & metaphysical poet (1593 – 1633).

2. Forgiveness. Asking a bully to apologize is like asking the sun to stop shining on a sunny day. Just because I forgave her, didn’t mean that I left myself open to more of her torture. And as my mom (who was ¼ Cherokee) used to so fondly repeat, “Don’t get mad, get even.” She just left out one very important part; the how.

3. Respect. Never underestimate the evil genius lurking in a 3rd grader’s mind and respect their far superior physical mass. Since my introduction to bullies, I have had my fair share of being picked on and being bullied and I have always respected their cunningness at being cruel.

“Respecting your opponent is the key to winning any bout. Hold your enemy in contempt and you may miss the strategy behind his moves” ― David H. Hackworth, Decorated Soldier, Military Journalist and author (1930 – 2005).

4. Bullies. Hiding from a bully rarely solves the problem. The best solution I have ever found for dealing with a bully was to stand up to them. Typically, it required one of them to “flip my bitch switch” before I developed the nerve to man up and face them. I was forced, by my parents, to practice patience and understanding, something I still work on daily, but when it comes to being pushed around, the best solution I’ve found has been to show the bully I am not their personal whipping boy.

“Some people won’t be happy until they’ve pushed you to the ground. What you have to do is have the courage to stand your ground and not give them the time of day. Hold on to your power and never give it away.” ― Donna Schoenrock.

5. Pray. When all else fails, a little prayer may just pull your butt out of the fire.

Misplaced-AK-buttonTerrye Toombs is a writer, blogger, trophy mom, taun taun wrangler, ankle model, and five time Naked Twister North America Champion (Southwest Division).  Occasionally she also finds the time to do other things, like sleep and make furniture out of used instant pudding boxes.  Currently you can find evidence of her sentience at http://www.bubblews.com/account/27350-ttoombs08 and http://misplacedalaskan.com

If You Fall Through the Cracks… Mom Will Catch You

autumn-leavesToday I am honored to have Karen from Baking in a Tornado as my guest blogger.  I recently guested on her blog with my post She Who Microwaves.  I still think it was meeting up with Karen that really got me going in this great big world of blogging! 

I don’t think she needs much introduction.  Karen is the mastermind behind such things as The Secret Subject Swap and the Fly on the Wall series.  If you are interested in finding out more about these or how to participate, don’t hesitate to go to her blog to find out more or ask the lady herself! 

I won’t keep you waiting any longer.  Here is Karen’s post!

I hate Guest Posts. Probably not the best way to start a Guest Post. Maybe I should have started with “I’m sorry, Sarah”. But Sarah’s known me for close to a year now so she knew what she was in for when she asked me.

I think I hate them because I’m really possessive of my blog. I want to control everything that goes on it. Even when the words aren’t mine, I feel that they reflect on me.

On the rare occasion that I’m the Guest Post writer, I’m just as possessive of my own work. Writing a piece, making a graphic, baking, taking pictures, writing out a recipe, I want that post to go up exactly as I intended. Anything less is like going out in public and forgetting to wear a bra. No one’s gonna die, but the possibility for extreme embarrassment is there.

Baking in a TornadoMaybe I better start over:

I’m sorry, Sarah.

OK, moving on. I asked Sarah what she wanted me to write about, and she said she’d like to hear more about my younger son. Oh, and dessert.

I think Sarah wanted to hear about my younger son because “J” has a lot of the same traits as her son The Professor. But J is a Senior in High School, so it’s kind of a look into the future. I’m walking a thin line here because I want to speak to the issues but I also want to protect J’s privacy.

So lets make it all about me, shall we? Here’s what I’m willing to say about J. He has fine motor issues and when he fights for fine motor control he has a tremor. His handwriting now is the same as it was in Kindergarten and the school system repeatedly refused to work with him (don’t get me started). He has visual-spatial issues so when he was little he used to orient himself by standing on my feet. Walking into walls happened more often than not. He has some gross motor inefficiencies. Not enough to affect his life, but he’s not going to be a pro athlete. When he puts his mind to something, like I saw with skiing, his stubbornness serves him well. There’s so much more but you get the picture.

Here’s the “all about me” part: From the name of my blog, Baking In A Tornado, you probably have guessed that I take refuge in the kitchen. And J has a Hyperactive Gag Reflex. Take a minute. Think about it. Yes, it’s what you think it is. Any time he doesn’t like the taste, texture, look, smell of anything new he . . . well . . . releases the offending morsel. And I don’t mean that in a pleasant way. He has never “objected” to a single thing I’ve baked but I will say this: I will never again, when in my dining room with 25 guests on Thanksgiving, insist that he just taste the turkey. Smores

Smores 2 S’mores on a Stick

The other piece? J has a disorganized brain. He doesn’t process like we do (like categorize information). I had to spend hours with him coming up with organizational tools and strategies so he wouldn’t be overwhelmed by multiple class assignments and deadlines. And now he can do it himself. He has over a 4.0 GPA, including Honors and AP classes, top 5% in a class of over well 600 students.

I was trying to figure out how many FB “likes” I’d need per day to get to 5000 by my page’s 1 year anniversary: “J, what is 5000 minus 4220 divided by whatever number of days there are from now until August 13th”? And he told me. Yes, I nonchalantly grabbed the calculator and went into the bathroom so he wouldn’t think I was questioning him and yes, he got it. Imagine what he’d be capable of if the schools had ever agreed to help him reach his personal optimal capabilities instead of their minimum requirements.

So he is left brained, which makes him concrete and literal. The all about me part? I am dry and sarcastic. He didn’t get me. At all. He couldn’t read facial cues or see subtext. A meal is for eating. Period. I had to teach him to look up, make eye contact, converse, that if someone at school offers you one of his cookies, chances are good he wants you to offer him one of yours; all the mechanics of social interaction. Seeing him now laughing with his friends can almost bring me to tears. So does the fact that he “gets” me. He gets me!

It can all be very frustrating. But over the years when my boys have grown exasperated with the things that challenge them, this has continuously and consistently been my answer:

Everyone in this whole wide world has something and this is yours. If it’s not fatal, we’ll take it.

Karen

S’mores on a Stick

Ingredients:

12 Graham Crackers

3/4 cup plus ¼ cup chocolate chips

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 cup Mini marshmallows

Multicolored sprinkles or nonpareils

NOTE: You don’t need to put these on a stick, but if you want to, you’ll need craft sticks.

Directions:

*Carefully break the sheets of graham crackers in half along the perforation.

*Place 3/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/3 cup heavy cream into a microwave safe bowl and microwave 45 seconds, stir and repeat at 10 second intervals until completely smooth.

*Add mini marshmallows and stir. Let cool slightly.

*Put half of the graham crackers onto a piece of wax paper or parchment paper.

*Put 1 TBSP of the chocolate mixture into the middle of the flat side of one graham cracker half. Gently press the flat side of the other half on top just barely pushing the chocolate mixture out towards the edges of the cracker.

*Holding a hand on the top of the graham cracker sandwich for stability, gently press the craft stick up into the center of the chocolate mixture. Repeat until all of your sandwiches are made and your craft sticks are inserted.

*Melt the remaining chocolate chips in the microwave. Drizzle over the s’more sandwiches. Immediately sprinkle with nonpareils or colored sprinkles.

*Do not touch them until they have set (may take a few hours, but you can speed up the process in the fridge.

Welcome to blog therapy. I’m Karen, a semi-sane Mom; a baking, blogging, beach, ballet, Boston and booze fan. I bake to relieve stress, take pictures as proof, and blog to vent.

baking in a tornadoWasn’t that an awesome post?  Be sure to go over and visit Karen’s blog.  Your tastebuds and funny bone will thank you! 

If It Wasn’t For Her I’d Be That Chick With That Blog

autumn-leavesMy guest blogger today is an example of just how cool being an online blogger can be.  You meet people that are amazing.  Jen and I are cut from the same cloth.  We get each other, so much so that sometimes it’s kind of creepy (I mean that in the nicest possible way)!

Jen is the mastermind behind both the Twisted Mixtape Tuesday segment on her personal blog My Skewed View , as well as the creator of Raised on the Radio, a new blog dedicated to the days when you couldn’t just find the song you wanted by clicking a few keys on a computer.  She also homeschools her son, who has one of the most infectious smiles I have ever seen!  So you can say she’s a little busy. Yet she took the time to guest for me today and I think that is swell.

I was told I was not allowed to edit this…  Here is her guest post:

I remember the first time I ever read this blog, Sarah’s blog. She was anonymous then, she was The Sadder But Wiser Girl. I remember the first time I addressed her, I addressed her as Sadder But Wiser. I remember thinking then, she must be really wise because look how many awesome bloggers are guest posting for her! That was this time last year. She took a week off and she had an amazing blogger guest posting everyday.

Fast forward 6 months and we had become real friends by then. Sarah was guest posting for me while I was on vacation and I was trying to think of an intro, and of course, asked for her help. She jokingly suggested I mention how I was stalking her. This is what I told her:

I did start stalking you and blah blah blah. I just said to my sister, “You know that blogger Sarah, The Sadder But Wiser Girl (she stared at me blankly) You know the one I thought was so awesome and totally stalked and then found out she liked me too? (still blank stare) Well she’s guest posting for me tomorrow. (more blank stares) That’s when she does a post for me on my blog because with vacation I am being lame and not posting.” Then she perks up “What about that Friday thing you do?” Dude. I am so misunderstood, but maybe now I have my intro!

Sarah has absolutely no idea how wonderful she is,

and when I was having a serious blog identity crisis, she was the one I went to for help. At midnight on May 10th I lamented to her that I felt I had completely lost my blog identity, I guess I just wanted a little sympathy and maybe a little encouragement. I got way more than I had hoped for. She agreed that my identity had been washed out (not what I was looking for) and then offered to “put our heads together” to find a solution (way more than I was hoping for!)

Sarah Almond named my blog.

Sure we had a lot of back and forth. I couldn’t come up with anything original or worthwhile. I was stuck in a Douglas Adams loop and suggested names like “Life the Universe and Everything,” “Slotty Bartfast,” and “Goodbye and Thanks for all the Fish.” She suggested I might run into some copywrite infringement, but my brain was fried.

Then she started thinking…

I mentioned I felt the humor for my blog was lost so she suggested Pictures from my Life, Scenes from my Life, Jen’s Scene’s from Life…. but still, I said, no humor. And then she said it. My blog’s interim name had been The Way I See It, that was OK but it was the name of my photography blog and I couldn’t get past it. And so…. she said…. Instead of The Way I see It, how about My Skewed Point of View.

Didn’t I tell you? She’s a genius.

But wait, there’s more.

Then she said, ” Then maybe you could have one of the silly pictures of your son. Maybe the one with the dynamite?” Oh, you mean like this one?

My Skewed View by Jen Kehl

Yes folks. Sarah Almond the WISER Girl, created my blog’s new identity.

And then I had another dilemma.

You see a few months later I was going to BlogHer, (and by the way, if you haven’t read Sarah’s post I’m Not Going to BlogHer and I Feel Fine, it’s a must read) as I was reading all of the “what you need to bring to BlogHer” posts, I realized I needed to bring something to BlogHer that I didn’t have. I needed to bring a short description of my blog that I could tell people in under a minute. What?! Impossible. I was at a loss, so who did I turn to? I turned to The Wiser Girl and this is what I said: OK, so you already know I’m freaking out. And since you are my blog crush that I get to know in real life because you are actually normal and pretty much just like me. I am coming to you for advice again. ESPECIALLY because you were SO AWESOME and came up with My Skewed View. I will love you forever just for that. So here’s my current struggle. I need a short way to tell everyone about my blog. Somehow I have to say in a succinct way, that I am a parenting a crazy child with issues, music lover critic fiction/memoir writing blog. How do I say that and not sound like a gypsy?

And this is what she said after thinking for maybe 30 seconds:

IN the third person, because Sarah Almond thinks best that way…

Mom, writer, homeschooler, maven of music, self-proclaimed sensory processing expert, photographer, controller of chaos, John Cusack aficionado and all around interesting person who refuses to put herself into any one category ( because that’s boring). Jen Kehl shares what is important to her in the blog My Skewed View.

Well, you’re reading Sarah’s blog, so that means you may have no idea who I am. But if you make it to my blog and click on “About Jen” or you check around the interwebs, you’ll find that my bio for every guest post I’ve ever done is that paragraph. From Scary Mommy to the book of essays in which I’m about to be published, Sarah succinctly summed up my blog on two sentences.

Sarah Almond, the infinitely gifted Wiser Girl is more than any publicist or agent or blog consultant.

Sarah has a gift. Her gift is not only creativity but it is also the ability to be a true friend. Someone who will put aside a migraine and forget about the kids that are driving her nuts to help you with anything you need. She will never say no, maybe in a minute, but never no. And she will never give you only half of herself, she gives you everything.

I have never met Sarah in real life, but I am fairly certain we would have been best friends had we grown-up together. (she would have gotten the short-end of that stick) And you know what I know for certain? I know Sarah is a real friend.

Now you know how cool she is, check out her blogs… The button for her personal blog is above, here is the link to her brand spanking new blog!

Raised on the Radio

The Squirrel Whisperer

autumn-leavesAll right!  Let’s get this guest blogging party started!  We start our week of fun with Marcia from Menopausal Mother!  Marcia is one of my best blogging friends-she previously led off the last week of guest bloggers with her post Cleavage and Kilts!  Without further ado-I give you her post:

photo-1It started with a bag of peanuts. I was relaxing in my garden with a good book and a handful of nuts when I heard an impatient clacking noise above me. It sounded like an angry woman with loose dentures arguing with someone in a Walmart line. Assuming I wasn’t going to find a Polygrip wielding woman perched on a tree limb above me, I scanned the branches until I found the source of agitation. A gray squirrel was barking her displeasure at my peanut popping habit, so I tossed a few nuts in her direction. She timidly approached me, then scooped up a peanut and tore through it faster than a Chipper Shredder.

And I was smitten.

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Photo credit: Jon Whiting

The squirrel became a regular visitor to our yard and was easy to identify because of a little notch in her left ear. Her arrival peaked my interest in squirrels and motivated me to entice more of her rodent friends to my home. I stocked my yard with enough feeders to rival a petting zoo. It wasn’t long before my husband noticed the exorbitant amount of money I was spending on mega-sized bags of peanuts and bird seed. The peanuts I could pass off as something I needed for cooking purposes, but I had a hard time convincing him that bird seed muffins were a necessary source of grain in our diet.

Within a few months I had colonies of squirrels camping out in my yard, making me single handedly responsible for the increased squirrel population in our town. I became their main food source, and over time they trusted me enough to eat right out of my hand. This is what earned me the title of “Squirrel Whisperer” by my friends, much to the dismay of my kids.

Ever since that first squirrel encounter, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time studying the fuzzy little rodents (yes, I know I need to get a life but this is what happens when you hit middle age). I consider my “research” a hobby, but my husband has another name for it: OBSESSION. He begged me to join a five step program and tried to teach me the squirrel serenity prayer, but I was immune to his pleas.

photoI’ve never thought of my love for the furry critters as an obsession but there must be some truth to it since my home is decorated in Early Americana Squirrel. Yes, I have it all: squirrel rugs, blankets, pillows, paintings, clocks, light switches, lamps, wine glasses and dozens of figurines. They litter my yard as well —resin squirrels that have multiplied in my garden faster than their plastic bunny counterparts.

I’m fascinated by the aerial acrobatics and nut-gathering work ethic of the squirrels. In many ways, we share similarities with these rodents: sibling rivalry, the gathering and hoarding of food (so typical of some teenagers I know) and their frenzied activity (think of a houseful of preschoolers cracked out on Kool-Aide and Halloween candy). The agitated “barking” that occurs when one squirrel warns another that a threat is nearby reminds me of the sudden bonding between children when one feels threatened and the others step in to support and protect.

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Photo Credit: Jon Whiting

Not everyone on my block is thrilled with my furry friends. One complained that squirrels damaged his phone lines while another expressed his frustration over the abundance of peanut shells clogging his pool filter. And it appears that more sunflower and peanut plants are popping up in everyone’s yards these days.

The squirrels entertain me while reminding me of some simple truths. Life need not be so difficult—-stick to the basics of gathering and storing of food for the young, take time to play in the garden and steer clear of the animals in this world that are harmful.

I no longer need to buy mulch for my garden due to the excessive amount of peanut shells dropped by my little “pets.” However, we have so many squirrels to feed now that we’ve taken out a second mortgage on our home to buy their food and the peanut farmers in Georgia send us a thank you note every year.

I think it might be time to hire a contractor to build a squirrel condo in our backyard…..are we nuts???

marciapropicMarcia Kester Doyle is the author of the humorous blog Menopausal Mother, where she muses on the good, the bad and the ugly side of menopausal mayhem. Give her some wine and a jar of Nutella and she’ll be your best friend.  Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, In The Powder Room, The Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Mamapedia, Bloggy Moms, Messy Moms Radio, The Woven Tale Press, the Life Well Blogged series and was voted top 25 in the Circle of Moms Contest 2013. You can find her at: http://www.menopausalmom.com. http://www.facebook.com/MenopausalMother, and http://www.twitter.com/MenoMother

Weekly Wrap-Up: The I Can Barely Contain My Excitement Edition

omgIf you’re reading this you probably missed something this week?  Or my search engine terms are just that entertaining to you?  Did I mention I’m behind?  I’ve actually made some strides to catch up but not nearly as much as I need to.  But… I have news here at the other end of this post, so let’s get through this, k?  Here is what you might or might not have missed this week.

Tuesday  Twisted Mixtape Tuesday:  Acoustic, Schmamoustic  It was an anything goes week and I chose acoustic versions of songs I liked.  I got lots of great compliments on this one.  If you haven’t given it a listen, you might find some new favorites!

Thursday  Expectation Versus Reality:  A Morning in the ADD Household  Pretty self explanatory.

Friday  September 2013 Fly on the Wall:  The Frozen Thumb Edition  So it was Fly on the Wall and I wasn’t even around to read all of the awesomeness.  I’m getting caught up now.  If you’re also playing catch up, please go read some of the other fly posts by following the links at the bottom of mine!

What I Loved This Week

Big Bang Birthday: Pars Unum and Big Bang Theory: Pars Duo Starr Bryson The Insomniacs Dream  How about the coolest birthday party EVER?

A Survivalist Guide to Loving a Writer-Starr Bryson (The Insomniac’s Dream guest posting on Menopausal Mother)  Starr continues her awesomeness for a third consecutive day in a row by posting something that made me laugh and cry in the same place!  This post is something that anyone who blogs can relate to in some way!

(Starr didn’t pay me to like three of her posts this week.  She’s just that awesome!)

It Could Have Been Worse, I Could Have Been Wearing A Thong-Vikki Claflin Laugh Lines  This is one that I apparently missed the first time around.  Vikki is the mistress of poking fun at herself and making it hilarious!

Best and Most Disturbing Search Terms

naked life  Not here!

how to dive with no money  Probably the same way you dive when you do have money.

mummy pee  As in Halloween mummies or as in English mummies?

suspicious observers  There’s always one that I wonder how the heck this led people to my blog…

Next Week

Next week is going to rock!

Monday  I am partaking in a “group post” about the things they don’t tell you about in those parenting books.  What????? What’s a “group post”?  Guess you’ll have to wait and see!

Tuesday  Twisted Mixtape Tuesday “slow jams”.

Wednesday  It’s my 14th wedding anniversary.  Be scared, be very scared.

Thursday through the next Friday-This is where it gets really exciting.  Remember my week of guest bloggers this past spring?  I’m taking a few days off for my anniversary and my husband’s twentieth high school reunion and have rounded up some of the best people on the internet to share their talent!  I have been dying to share this news and am so excited I’m about peeing my pants over here!  The schedule of lovely ladies is as follows:

Thursday-Marcia from Menopausal Mother

Friday -Dani from Cloudy, With a Chance of Wine

Monday-Jen from My Skewed View

Tuesday-Karen from Baking in a Tornado

Wednesday-Terrye from The Adventures of a Misplaced Alaskan

Thursday-Melissa from Motherhood is an Art

Friday-Amy from Funny is Family

I hope you’ll join me next week to read some of the great guest posts (and other things too!).  There will be no weekly wrap-up next week since I’m going to be gone doing all the celebrating.  Enjoy what’s left of your weekend-I’ve got a lot of blog reading yet to do!

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It’s so exciting!

I Know What I Did This Week: Week in Review

This week was busy.  I finished a two month long term sub job, got to see what my husband REALLY does at work (besides ignoring my texts), and sent my daughter to kindergarten roundup.  I also concluded that I’m never going to afford to be able to self host my own blog after doing some sort of careful research.   I looked up two things and then begged for advice from my fellow Bloppy Bloggers.  I received some input from the fabulous Julie from Julie Deneen 2.0 and Fabulous Blogging, two sites that you really should visit. That’s thorough, right?  Anyone want to donate money?

This is what Evil Genius wishes he could do at work right now...

This is what Evil Genius wishes he could do at work right now…

Oh, I also wrote some posts.  Remember I said I was going to not do as much?  Yeah that didn’t happen, at least this week!

Monday  From Preschool to Kindergarten Cop:  What I Got Out of Subbing  Yes, teachers learn things too!

Tuesday  I guest posted an oldie but a good over at Go Cheap or Go Home, because mamas help other tired mamas out.

Wednesday  Never Judge A Mom By Where She Tries To Read Her Book  I received my coveted copy of “Please Just Let Me Pee Alone” in the mail.  I may have to move to Alaska to be able to read it all.

Thursday  Theme Thursday:  Dear Self At Sixteen, Get A Life!  I wrote a letter to my 16 year old self.  I don’t think she’s going to listen to me.  When you’re done reading, click on the link and go read other people’s letters to their selves.  Interesting schtuff, not to mention some fabulous big hair.

Friday  Princess Constipation and the Case of the Petrified Poop  Apparently I have poor judgement in selecting subject matter for my posts.  Folks, you should be used to it by now, after all my most famous posts have to do with pee…

Best and Most Disturbing Search Engine Terms of the Week (Strange Ways That People Find My Blog)

Chad Knaus house for sale Why am I not surprised?  At least he’s not naked in this one (because there are pervs looking for naked pictures of him).  And Knaus and house rhyme!  How about that?

Star Wars characters eating  Look who’s coming for dinner!  Which made me think of this…

Is this not the dinner they were looking for? (Careful if kids are nearby, there's an obscene gesture)

Is this not the dinner they were looking for?
(Careful if you watch the link with kids nearby, Han Solo and Boba Fett gesture “obscenely” at each other…)  Star Wars Robot Chicken “Dinner With Vader” [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cuebj4kVOy4%5D


Next Week

Save for a couple of important appointments, it’s back to life as usual for this blogging lady.  I’ve got lots of ideas and did lots of writing, we’ll see what comes out of my little head.  I promise there will be no petrified poop this week!  I’ll also be popping up all over the internets in the weeks to come, returning some favors from my week of fabulous guest bloggers as well as getting a couple of posts up (hopefully) over at The Epistolarians.

Oh yes, and Happy Easter to those who celebrate!  Happy Weekend!

I don't think that's where they come from...

I don’t think that’s where they come from…

Weekly Wrap-Up: All Good Things Must Come To An End…

HA HA HA!  Wish I had seen this one before my Secret Swap post...

It kind of goes with the end.  HA HA HA! Wish I had seen this one before my Secret Swap post…but that really has nothing to do with this now does it?

Now that other people are done doing the work for me, I guess I need to get on the stick and start writing some posts.  I am done with my sub position in two days, or two weeks, or whenever anyone actually knows that I’m done.  I have yet to be told the official word.  I hope that if I’m supposed to stick around, they’ll let me know because otherwise I won’t be there!

I had a whole eight days of people posting their stuff for little me, in other words a week of women who rock!  My week of guest bloggers did the following:

These posts made me…

…want to go to a Renaissance Fair REALLY BADLY!  Cleavage and Kilts

…realize just how creepy Waldo is.  Where’s Waldo?  Answer:  Creepytown

…reminisce about Prom.  Briefly.  St Patrick’s Day and the Prom Date Snatcher

…think about all of the wonderful friendships I’ve made through blogging.  Friendship is the Best Ship of All

…know that Jenn has ALL the answers to any question Google throws at her, and have Haddaway stuck in my head for several days now.  Google Has the Questions, Jenn Has The Answers

…feel smug that I really haven’t done much Facebook stalking.  Dear Facebook:  I Am Not A Stalker!

…recall all of the reasons why I AM NOT still teaching in the system.  The Reality of Education

…smile and be reassured that I am not the only blogger who isn’t so savvy with today’s electronics.  Analog Girl Stuck in a Digital World

Please be a dear and check them out when you get a chance if you haven’t already!  Please go check out their blogs as well.

I loved all of the posts...

I loved all of the posts…

I’d like to thank all of the ladies who came to my aid when I needed some time to garner brainpower.
Marcia from Menopausal Mother
Lisa from Ranting Seriously
Ginger from The Wild and Wonderful World of Gingerssnaps
Darla from Mom’s World
Jenn from Something Clever 2.0
Denise from Go Cheap or Go Home
Stephanie from When Crazy Meets Exhaustion
Tamara from PenPaperPad

What’s extra cool about this is that we are connected outside of the blogging sphere in one way or another. We chat on Facebook, tweet back and forth, email each other back and forth, and are huge supporters of one another.  You will never meet a better group of people than women who blog!  I hope we continue these friendships, and maybe some day we might even get to meet in person!

BlogFriends

I’d also like to thank my readers.  I was told time and time again about what a wonderful group of people I have that follow my blog, that they had never seen such a welcoming, loyal group of people.  Thank you for being you, and I hope you keep coming back!

Other Stuff That Happened To Me
This week I was followed by someone with the same maiden name as me, just a little bit different spelling, and followed by a blog with a similar name.  Weeeeeird…  I hope I’m not stalking myself!

I also wrote an actual post too.  I wrote it awhile ago, but I was the one that wrote it!  Michael Bolton not included.  Fly on the Wall March 2013:  The Michael Bolton Edition

Best and most disturbing search terms this week:
Exploding legos They make those?  Or I wonder if this person was actually looking for this?

legos

Is it sad that I knew right where to find this?

Pornstache girl  Um, ok. Wasn’t that on an episode of Raising Hope?  No?

McDonald’s iced coffee poop Huh?  I swear people type these in just to see if I put them on here…

Coming Up
This next week I’ll be trying to get back at it.  Monday I’m sharing some of the things I’ve learned.  Tuesday I have an oldie but a goodie over at Go Cheap or Go Home.  Thursday I write a letter to my 16 year old self for Theme Thursday.  Who knows what else I’ll come up with-I have a new episode or two of The ADD Mom…series in the works  as well as a post about the childcare/education system.  And Evil Genius got a smartphone-the possibilities with this post are ENDLESS!  😀

zits4

I love Zits!

I hope you have a most excellent week!  😀