Sunday, October 19, 2014


Michele: "Mags should be a Sunday comic strip."

I agree, Michele. Thanks for the great idea! And thanks to the fun and easy comic creating website,  Bitstrips, I was able to recreate a funny "Magism" that occurred last night. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Got InstaWave?

I'm not the most patient woman you'll ever meet. I think most of my patience was lost during the great sleep deprivation of 2005-2014. It's been a long haul. Needless to say if I'm trying a new product and it is not easy to use or truly does not do what it says it will within five minutes, I'll abandon it altogether.

Enter the Kiss InstaWave. This  product was ready to go right out of the box. I read the quick tips and tricks pamphlet and off I went. From the very first curl, I was completely entertained and amazed. I've always steered away from curling irons due to the fact that I never really achieved great results. The curls never seem to hold and the ends of my hair always look frayed. 

Not with the InstaWave

It was like a magic, twirling wand. By the end, I was able to use it with only one hand. The curls were instant, dramatic and long lasting. It took me ten minutes tops to have a head full of curls that lasted an entire night of dinner and dancing. I was so impressed.

And check out MY results. 

Want to win your own InstaWave curling iron? My friend Michele and I are giving one away to one of our lucky readers! Enter multiple times and ways below in the Rafflecopter. 

This contest closes at Midnight on October 15th.

Good luck!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Mags: "Tell me the Aunt El story again. You know the one."

It all started with a Snickers Bar. A seemingly insignificant moment turned memorable. So memorable, in fact, that I have told my children on multiple occasions. It's a surefire way to watch them build from a little giggle to rolling-on-the-floor laughter. 

A Snickers Bar. I never suspected it. I should have. The lurking. The shivers up my spine. The stare. It bore a hole through the back of my head. But I went for it. I was young and full of fortitude. My inexperience was glaring, just ripe for the picking. I moved with the grace of a newborn foal toward the closet door; the prize behind it calling to me like Pavlov's bell. Salivation dulled my senses and I lost all control. I threw the door open haphazardly and grasped at the familiar rectangular shape. The wrapping fumbled beneath my fingers...unaware. 

I heard the footsteps first before I realized what was happening.  I was captured, brought to the floor and stripped of my precious chocolate all in a matter of seconds. Her style. Her grace. They were unmatched. I couldn't deny her a smile as she devoured the bar in front of my baffled face.  

That day I was taught a very valuable lesson: 

Keep your mind on the prize...and your eyes on the competition. 
Or...offer to share your chocolate. 
Nah...just keep your eyes on your competition. 

Forever and always I will eat a Snickers Bar with a huge smile on my face...
and hunched in a corner looking over my shoulder. 

I love you, Aunt El, more than words could say. 

Monday, September 15, 2014


Well, friends, here we are. A day we knew was inevitable. Michele and I are putting the cap on #KetchupWithUs. It began as a quirky and fun idea that two friends would wear a ketchup costume in as many crazy situations and places as possible. Michele and I had some of our heartiest laughs coming up with ideas, especially when we were together to don the red bottle. 

We've had the honor of meeting some incredible bloggers in our two year journey. It's been quite a ride. 

In the beginning we were a little nervous. Would people link up and play along with us? Would they think we were stark raving mad? Would they spread the word? We soon found out that like any ride...

Sometimes you have to just throw your hands up in the air, trust in others and JUST. HAVE. FUN. And that we did, friends. We hope you did, too! 

In the end, we have a fantastic collection of bloggers who shared their ups, downs, twists, turns, laughter and creativity with us. We could not have asked for a better group of people! But, as they say, "All good things must come to an end." 

 However, we don't want to say "Goodbye." We'd rather say, "See you later." Because you never know what we have in store for the future. 

Keep writing. Keep creating. Keep laughing. 

Love, Michele and Mel

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Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer 
from last time is ...
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Monday, September 8, 2014


Mags: "What are you teaching this year?"
Me: "Well, I'm teaching English, Conceptual Physics, Chemistry and Reading Strategies."
Mags: "Whoa, whoa, whoa. You know about ALL of those things? I had no idea you were that smart."

This year I have an eclectic schedule. As a resource teacher in a high school, I team teach in areas where I am needed and qualified. Last year, I learned all about Conceptual Physics. Oh, the formulas, the labs, and the tears (from me). Kidding...mostly.  

This year, I was added to Chemistry. The teacher in there tells corny Chemistry jokes like...

You know what you should do with Chemistry jokes? 
<insert laughter>

Naturally, it's growing on me. The chemistry teacher also lets me help with demonstrations that include burning chemicals. Safety goggles are my new best friend. I'm totally gonna have Mags bling them out for me.  

And then, I have my comfort subjects; English and Reading Strategies. You know, like grilled cheese and tomato soup? These are familiar subjects that I've taught over and over again. They make me feel like I know exactly what I'm doing. Every teacher needs a few of those in their schedule. 

So, here we go, 2014-2015 school year. The first week is under my belt, I had a nap today, and my lunch is packed for the morning. 

I'm ready for you.  

(My schedule in visuals)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Where There's Winter...There's Hope

Me: "Man, I could use a break. I'm pooped." 
Mags: "Me, too!" <insert stifled giggling>
Me: "Are you laughing at pooped?"
Mags: "You betcha!"

We've been running ourselves ragged. Between visits to and from family, starting a new school year and still adjusting to a new area, we could use a break. Usually, in order to relax, we go to see a family-friendly movie.

Lucky for us, there's a sequel to one of our top family favorites coming to theaters this weekend! Dolphin Tale 2, starring the talented Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, along with the beloved dolphin, Winter, splashes into theaters on September 12th. The latest movie introduces a new and upcoming marine-life star, Hope. We cannot wait to see how this story unfolds.

Since I love to promote the positive, I joined forces with my friend and writing partner-in-crime, Michele, and Grace Hill Media to support this film. In fact, Michele and I became ambassadors. This gig landed us a sea of perks and promotional gear. 

My kids were quick to claim the Winter and Hope beach towel, books, t-shirt and sun hat. That's okay. They let me keep the tote bag, that now helps me to cart around all my class materials I need throughout the day! 

Below, check out the Dolphin Tale 2 trailer. If you're around this weekend, you should make a date with your friends, kids, grandparents, parents, neighbors or dog to go see this movie. What's not to love? Dolphins, people who love dolphins and Hope. ENJOY!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

An Open Letter to Summer

Every teacher everywhere: "Way too fast!"

Dear Summer,

You clever little fellow. Every year you get me. 

As the snow falls in February, the hint of your name soothes the savage beast inside of me raging with cabin fever. Your intoxicating scent is often brought through a burning flame of a candle fabricated to smell like the sand and lapping waves that welcomes my feet each and every time. I allow myself to get lost in daydreams of sunbeams and a delayed moon. Fireflies will often dance through my mind as I watch the snow flakes settle on the previously shoveled mounds. I long for extended hikes with mud underfoot and a symphony of birds all around me. Crystal, chlorinated water calls to me...welcoming a multitude of cannonballs and breath-holding contests. I love getting caught red-handed after discovering wild raspberries ripe for the picking. You are by all stretches of the imagination, an open door to new adventures and the promise of much needed renewal. 

And then you arrive. The wait is over. You always ease me in...slowly. Warming me up to the thought that you'll be around for a full nine weeks. But then something happens. A fast forward button is pressed, a time machine is altered, a worm hole is opened and POOF! You are gone. Before the raspberry stains are completely faded from my fingers, I hear the school bell ring.  Buses circle like flies as waves of backpacks race toward them. Bird harmonics have been replaced by alarm clocks. It's time. 

My internal conflict of carefree vs. the slight longing for structure is ever raging.  So, I bid you adieu. I thank you softly and often begrudgingly for the short time we had together. I start the countdown the moment you leave until we meet again. And I fool myself. Yes I do. I tell myself next year will be longer. It's better that way. 

So until we meet again, my tricky little fellow, I'll bask in your glow. Be well and be warm. 

Longingly yours,