Thursday, January 31, 2013


Me: "Oh my goodness, Mags! Look at what they did to the Halloween house!"
Mags: "They took down all the people, Mama, and made it look like a candy house."
Me: "Isn't that so sweet?  It's a gingerbread house for Christmas time. And you're right. No more creepy people. Now that house isn't scary anymore."
Mags: "Well, except that it looks like that witch's house in that story with the two little kids. You know, the one where she tries to eat them? It looks like that. So, it's still a little creepy, Mama."
Me: "Well, when you put it that way...guess we'll drive by real quick."


I'm in the running for this contest. I'd love any 
help you could give. It's simple! 

1. Click the frilly button below.
2. Scroll down to find According to Mags
3. Click "Vote". 

You can vote every 24 hours (per device). You can also vote for more 
than one blog at a time. My friend and co-writer of silly things, 
Michele at Old Dog New Tits, is currently hanging in the top 25.
 She's funny and would love your vote, too! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's a Balancing Act

This post is in response to FOUR different link ups. I love when their worlds collide and they all have a similar type theme running through them so that I can mash them all together into a compact 100 word post. The first link up is my tried and true, Trifecta, using the third definition for the word 'mouth'. The second is the classy, Velvet Verbosity, using the word 'crisis'. The third is my buddy, Lance, who gives a weekly song prompt. The fourth and final is one of my new favorites, the Speakeasy over at YeahWrite. They ask that we begin our prompt with their provided sentence and the given picture. 

I feel like the balancing act at the circus. Everyone is staring at me wondering if I can spin just ONE more plate on top of those sticks. Let's see how I do...

                            * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Credit: The Speakeasy
It's a Balancing Act 

“Who could that be at this hour?” she thought as she jammed the thumbtack that was puncturing the torn corner of a drink napkin into the cork board. She smirked at the smudged numbers written on it. A fresh start.

Another knock. She turned, slightly annoyed, and snatched up the half empty water bottle on the counter as she breezed by. The mouth of it offered a refreshing rinse.

The familiar, unwanted silhouette cast itself upon the door curtain. The desperate form swayed. She ducked back into the kitchen not wanting to be sucked back into his abyss.

Crisis averted.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Monday, January 28, 2013


Me: "Tuck! I need you in the kitchen to take your medicine."
Mags: "Don't do it, Tuck! It's SOOOO gross!"

Our house, like everyone else's this winter, has some sort of sickness in it. Lately, we've been in the throws of:

Acute BronchialHackUpaLungSnotEverywhere-itis 

Have you heard of it? It's quite popular this time of year. Due to all the extra snot and round robin coughing, medicine needs to be given to soothe their ailments every twelve hours. That equates to once in the morning and once in the evening. During these times of distribution, I see a distinct difference in how my children accept the soothing elixir. 

                             "Time for medicine? Okay."    "WHAT? MEDICINE? Are you 
                                                                                        kidding me?  Not AGAIN!
                                                                                       What flavor IS this? It smells 
                                                                                       like grape poop. Blech!"

                              "Glug, glug, glug, gulp."       "How about I just take one sip of it, 
                                                                                       then have a glass of chocolate milk 
                                                                                       with a cookie, then play Candyland,
                                                                                       then spin around 269 times and 
                                                                                       THEN take another sip of medicine?"
                                  "Thanks, Mama!"          "Oh (gag) my (gag) gosh (gag).
                                                                                    I'm not taking that again. (gag)
                                                                                    Never, ever, ever again. NEVER!"

Only 9 days and 18 doses to go!  

Have you noticed any differences between the kiddos in your house? 


I'm in the running for this contest. I'd love any help you could give. It's simple! 

1. Click the frilly button below.
2. Scroll down to find According to Mags
3. Click "Vote". 

Romantic Monday

My blogging friend, Hotspur, likes to remind us on Mondays to take a minute to celebrate the romantic side of ourselves in something called "Romantic Monday". As it turns out, I had a moment such as this while dropping my husband at the airport. After I shared the moment with my friend, Michele, (who wrote her RM post here) she gave me the idea to write it out and link it. 

Let me set the scene...

Airplanes taking off, cars haphazardly parking, people hugging eachother good-bye and tears flowing wildly from others around us (mostly Mags).  Chris pulling himself away from his adoring, clinging children, he says, 

"I love you" and "Be good for Mama." 

Then, turning to me and pressing his warm face to mine, I whisper in his ear,

"Good luck with the presentations. Have a safe flight. Oh! And don't forget to vote everyday in the Circle of Mom's contest!"

Through his hearty laughter, he tells me he won't forget and kisses me gently. He's a keeper, that one. No doubt about it. 


I'm in the running for this contest. I'd love any help you could give me. It's simple! 

1. Click the frilly button below.
2. Scroll down to find According to Mags
3. Click "Vote". 

Friday, January 25, 2013


January 19, 2012

Me: "Wow, Mags, where did you get that lipstick?"
Mags: "What lipstick?" 

January 24, 2013

Me: "Mags, did you use Mama's lipstick?"
Mags: "Lemme think about that."

You'll notice that her lipstick application skills 
have improved over the past year...
but not her fessing up skills.

To be honest, she really does rock that red! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Mags: "Hey! Why aren't you in your pajamas? It's dark outside."
Me: "I know, but I'm going out with some friends tonight."
Mags: "Nobody told ME about this."

Mags. She's also known as my pint-sized keeper. Saturday night, one of my friends called and asked if I wanted to go out to see a band that was playing at a local joint. It was very spon...spon....what's that word? Spontaneous! That's it. I haven't been that in so long, I almost forgot.

Anyway, it turned out that the band we were going to see was the Sugar Hill Gang. You know who I'm talking about, right? Rapper's Delight. Hip hop, hippie to the hippie....oops, sorry. Good luck getting that out of your head today. 

So, after big crocodile tears from my darling Mags and a sweet whistle from my husband as I was headed out the door dressed in stainless clothes, I was on my way. I met up with my friends and we drove over to the bar. Once there, we were transported back to the 80's. The music was thumping, the DJ was jumping, and the young women bartenders sported neon head to toe...complete with matching leg warmers. 

We wasted no time dancing around and singing to every word to every song that we now hear on the 'Oldies' station. It. Was. Awesome. Then, the Sugar Hill Gang took the stage...many years have passed, mind you. They actually put on a great show. One of them had to take a breather about 15 minutes in, but overall, they kept up their hip hop, hippie to the hippie to the hop pace. It was impressive. And then, my friends and I saw an opportunity from across the room. 

One of the trio was making his way down the ramp to the floor. We all made our way over there just as he headed back up the ramp (of course). But, no worries.  I got my camera phone ready and then...I worked up my nerve. I stood at the bottom and waved at him. He saw us, smiled, danced back down the ramp and gave my friends and I a hug and a photo op.  It was a blast and I was so glad I dusted off my spontaneous side.

If not only for the opportunity to meet this guy! 

Great! Now you have THAT song stuck in your head.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Because Who Can't Use a Little Help Getting Organized in 2013?

In our house, I'm the one between my husband and I that's considered "handy". If the faucet handle is broken, if the door is squeaky or if a framed picture needs to be hung on the wall, I'm your gal. However, don't ask me how to switch the wires around behind the TV to hook up the Wii or the DVD player. I have no idea. That's Chris' department. And we know our roles, our strengths and our weaknesses. We are like a fine tuned machine.

In fact, as I've grown, I've learned that any good partnership works along these lines. Appreciating what each of you has to offer and knowing how to work together to get the job done is invaluable. It's finding the partner that complements you that's the trick.

Over the past year, I've found a similar partnership in my friend, Michele, from the blog, Old Dog New Tits. We started by trading our short fiction pieces to proofread for one another. Then we started brainstorming ideas with one another. It has been a fun and productive collaboration with combined giveaways and a link-up we affectionately call, Ketchup With Us

That's why, when we were asked to contribute biweekly to the parenting column in the Lifestyle section of the Manilla blog, we accepted. In fact, Manilla, a site that helps you to manage and organize your home accounts, was recently named one of PC Magazine's Top 100 Websites of 2012 as well as an ABC News' App of the Week. 

Through this experience we have learned to work with each other in a whole new way. We've joked that we could be compared to curtain rods and curtains. Without the hardware of the curtain rod, where would the pretty curtains be hung? And without the curtains hung on the rod...well...the rods would be bare and lack pizazz and style. Besides, isn't that what a good partnership is all about? Making each other shine? 

As of this week, Michele and I have written five articles together. You can find all of these using the links below. Feel free to share them with others and thanks for your support!

Doable New Year's Resolution Ideas for Kids
Teaching Your Children To Appreciate What They Have 

And a big thanks to you, Michele. Coming up with titles for
 our articles is always my favorite part! 

Is one of your resolutions for the new year to be more organized? Manilla is a site that helps you manage any of your accounts — the babysitter, rent, the pool guy, the dog walker, a gym membership. You name it, you can manage it on Manilla. On January 1st, Manilla is launching their 'Get It Together Challenge', a New Year's promotion that will help you better organize your lives in 2013 . 

Learn more by clicking here. 

To register for Manilla's services click here.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mama's Fairy Dust

Mags: "Daddy just told me that's 'coffee dust'. Is that like 'fairy dust'?

Me: "Yes! That's a perfect comparison because they both make you fly!"

See the bag labeled "Black Dog Coffee"? 
It's our local coffee that is my personal favorite. 
You can get some of your very own on their site at:

Friday, January 18, 2013

'Hugga Bugga' Someone You Love

Mags: "Mama, please. I think I should stay home with you today."
Me: "No, Mags. Remember you get to see all your friends at school? And there's the sand table!"
Mags: "But, you'll be so lonely!"

Lately, Mags is experiencing some separation anxiety. As we are driving in the car to school and even as we are walking up the stairs to her classroom, she tries to come up with reasons to stay home with me. Her newest thing is coming out in the morning and announcing that she is feeling "very sick". Usually, it's her stomach that hurts. Once I tell her that it's just her belly reminding her she needs to have some delicious breakfast food, she gets lost in finding her Ariel bowl and picking out her cereal.

This turn around of my independent little woman really threw me. That's why I was happy when her beloved pediatrician, Dr. Tammy, told me at her five-year-old appointment that this is a completely normal stage in her development. She gave me some strategies to use in order to comfort Mags, such as warn her before I'm leaving,  let her know where I'm going and tell her when I'll be back. But the strategy I knew would be most useful was to give her a little something that she could visually see to remind her that I love her and will be back soon.

It just so happens that my friend, Michele is a mind reader and sent me an email about a great little bracelet. It is called the 'Embracelet' and it is simply a symbol of a hug that you wear around your wrist. I wasted no time in writing the creators and inquiring on how I could get my hands on one of these little trinkets.

The Hugga Bugga 'Embracelet' was created by two busy moms, Tina and Lisa. It is worn on the wrist and can be a reminder to give a hug, share a kind word or tell someone how proud you are of them. You can move the little ladybug charm on the bracelet over one bead each time one of these things is given to help keep track. There are twenty-five beads total on the bracelet, so the goal is to get through the whole bracelet of beads by the end of the day. 

What I have done for my situation with Mags, is move the bug on the bracelet two beads when I drop her off at Pre-K. That way she knows that when she needs a hug from me during the time I am not there, she can look down and see the one I gave her (and there's one to spare, too).

So far, this visual has made a big difference in how our mornings and drop offs have been going. After a week and a half, I'm not hearing "My belly hurts." or "I really want to stay home with you." She wears her bracelet all day and keeps it by her bed at night. It's such a simple thing that has made such a big impact.

And because of this, we want to share a hug with you. The Hugga Bugga Moms, Tina and Lisa, are giving Michele and me each a bracelet to give to our readers.

Simply enter by telling me the following in the comments:

Would you use the embracelet for yourself or 
give it to someone you love?

You can enter both here and on Michele's blog for TWO chances to win.
The deadline for entering is noon on February 1st.
We'll each be drawing a name randomly from our comments.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Run, Run as Fast as You Can

Mags: "Mama, what do you do when I'm at school?"

Well, Mags, I'm so glad you asked. It just so happens that I run around like a chicken with my head cut off. And that's why this question got me thinking. What do I do while she's at school? It's 3 hours from drop off to pick-up and the time FLIES! Yet, on days when we both have off of work, school and errands, the can sometimes drag. 

So, I decided to keep track of what I do for a few days. Here are my findings for Preschool Time vs. Non-Preschool Time:  

      Preschool Time
  • Get up
  • Feed her breakfast
  • Brush teeth
  • Get dressed
  • Get in car
  • Drop off preschooler 
  • Get in car
  • Notice her show-and-tell was left on her seat
  • Run back into school to give her the forgotten item
  • Get in car
  • Pick up prescription at drug store
  • Get in car
  • Drive to grocery store
  • Complete Supermarket Sweep type shopping
  • Choose the line that always needs three price checks
  • Put groceries in trunk
  • Get in car
  • Check the clock
  • Realize it's to pick-up the preschooler
  • Wonder how the time went so fast
             It's 11:30 AM

      Non-Preschool Time
  • Get up
  • Feed her breakfast
  • Brush teeth
  • Get dressed
  • Switch laundry from washer to dryer
  • Put in another load
  • Fold load from dryer
  • Clear off breakfast dishes from table
  • Wipe down table
  • Vacuum under table
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Fill dishwasher
  • Play Barbies
  • Play 16 rounds of CandyLand
  • Paint a box like a rocket ship
  • Give painted child a bath
  • Make a couch fort 
  • Answer 6 emails
  • Clean out the refrigerator
  • Wonder what time it is
             It's 9:15 AM

Does anybody else's time work like this? 

One of Those Days

Mags: "Mama, you know what you should do when you are driving to work today? Take 10 deep breaths and then blow 'em out real slow like this (insert demonstration of blowing (spitting) out deep breaths). Okay? So just do that. Then you'll feel better."

It was a hectic morning because we woke up later than usual. I blame it on the rain and the 12:50AM alarm that Mags had obviously set during her quiet time that afternoon. When she set it for this hour, she also cranked up the volume to full blast. That way, when it went off shortly before 1:00AM, I would not be confused in any way, shape, or form which direction to run to make the horrible noise stop. The kids stirred, as did BOTH the Furbies wrapped in their blankets on the floor. I'll be honest, I was more worried about getting the Furbies settled back down than the kids (the husband's extra solid sleep gene allowed him to sleep through all of this).  When I assured myself that all the buttons on the clock were in the "off" position,  I went back to bed with my heart pounding and my mind racing.

Crap. I was awake. 

This never bodes well for me. I fall asleep just fine, but once I'm up...dun dun dun. After much tossing, turning and writing a short story in my head, I finally drifted back into sleep.  And that's when I woke up to a tiny panic rising up inside me. I knew we were running late before my iPhone even told me.

So, of course, when you HAVE to get out in a short amount of time, the kids sense it and drag their feet. Tuck was eating at a snail's pace and Mags was challenging me on every wardrobe choice I made for her...including her hair bow.  My showering window was closing fast.  I'm not even sure what they were wearing when we finally got out the door.  There was silence in the car...and not a comfortable silence. 

When I walked Mags into school, she had the above quoted strategy for me. Everyone made it to where they needed to be on time. I even had five minutes to spare in getting to my first leg of "work". But I felt like I had failed at my real job this morning. But without failure...there's no room to learn and grow. Right? 


Overall, I took a lot of deep breaths today. More than 10x10, in fact. And I'll try again tomorrow. This time, though, I'll set my OWN alarm clock...for a decent hour. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Not-So-Surprise Birthday

Chris: "I wonder what Mama got me for my birthday."
Tuck: "Daddy! We aren't going to tell you!"
Mags: "Yeah, we aren't going to tell you. But it's DEFINITELY not the zombie comics you like. Definitely.Not.Those."
Me: (shakes head)

I've never, ever, been able to surprise my husband. Keeping secrets about something exciting has never been my speciality. Honestly, I'd be the worst spy ever. However, this has always been one of my husband's talents. He has genuinely surprised me on several occasions in our many years together. 

So, here's to you, MR. I CAN KEEP SURPRISES ALL TO MYSELF GUY. We hope your birthday is full of ice cream cake, zombie comics and hobbit themes. D'oh! See? I couldn't even make it through this post without spilling the beans.


Thanks for always keeping me on my toes!

Ketchup With Us - #10

Sunday, February 3 - 
Superbowl XLVII

I'm very excited for this weekend's final round of playoffs. I can't wait to see which two teams will be heading to the The Mercedez-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. It just so happens that my home team, the New England Patriots, is one of the teams fighting for the chance to be in the championship. And these battles to the finish got my friend, Michele, and me thinking about WHO and WHAT we are always trying to overcome in our own lives. As we talked about our own personal lists, we got laughing at the one that you'll find I have described below...

I asked so nicely year after year.

Please, put that seat down, Dear?

He obliged with a smile, trying to impress

But after a while, I’d have to re-stress.

Then we had a bouncing baby boy.

Seven years later I’m reliving that joy.

Lazy, manhood, getting lost in a tweet

Whatever it is, PUT DOWN THAT SEAT!

For a quick explanation of this link-up, click here. In short, Michele and I will post a picture or video with a writing prompt on the 1st and 15th of every month. You can write your entry in any form. We love creativity. And, with each prompt, we'll feature a writer from the previous link-up. Which reminds me...

Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer 

for today is ...

* * * * * * * * * * *


  1. Submit your entry using the linky at the bottom of one of our KWU posts.
  2. Follow us on Facebook (Michele /Mel).
  3. Follow us on Twitter (Michele/Mel) & tweet us your entry with the hashtag #KetchupWithUs.


ketchup with us
<a href="" target="_self"><img src=&#34" alt="Ketchup With Us" width="125" height="125" /></a>

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

'KETCHUP WITH US' - Prompt #10

In 57 words or less, tell us about WHO (or WHAT) 
you go head to head with every day.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Hubs and I doing P90X together:
Hubs: "Whew. 30 sec break. Get some water, babe."
Me: Runs to the kitchen, come back w/ water and chewing. 
Hubs: "Thanks." (does a double take at me) "Are you eating chocolate?"
Me: "Yes. My sugar was low?"
Chris: (shakes head)
Me: "Now that's putting the X in P90X!" 

Chris asked for that workout program called P90X for Christmas. Have you heard of it? It's a home fitness program that's been around a for a while. 
Being a good wife, I made his Christmas wish come true. He was really excited to start his 90 days of toruture strength training via DVD with the creator and instructor, Tony Horton. He was so excited, in fact, that he asked me to do it with him. 

Oh. Man.

What a sweet gesture. I tried to get out of it and convince him that I'd just slow him down. Then I thought about it. To be honest, my running could use a little power behind it. Then, maybe I wouldn't huff and puff so badly after two miles. Plus, I remembered how much better I felt when I had a partner that motivated me during my runs. And beyond all of that, my husband would do it for me. (insert my Catholic guilt here

So Chris and I made a plan and have stuck to it for the past 12 days. I've definitely seen some improvements which have included: 

1. I don't spend the hour before my husband gets home from work coming up with lame excuses to get out of doing the workout. But I SWEAR that hangnail was looking REALLY infected.

2. I don't want to yell profantities at Tony, the instructor, whenever he introduces a new move or lift. 

3. I don't whimper like The Poky Little Puppy whenever Tony tells me to bend down, give him one more, or lift my leg higher.

4. I don't shoot daggers at the TV every time Tony tells me to "bring it".

5. I don't feel like I've been beaten with a stick the day after doing the workouts. The mild ache has now spread evenly all over my body. 

I DO still keep my sugar in check during every workout.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


 Me: "Eww! What's on the iPad?"
Mags: "That? Right there?"
Me: "Yes."
Mags:  "Oh. That's a booger."
Me: "Boogers don't go on the iPad!"
Mags: "They go in my mouth?" (insert maniacal laughter)

An oldie but goodie that is safely tucked away in her "Bribery File".

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


This post is in response to three prompt writing link-ups. The first is Speakeasy over at Yeah Write, the second is 100 Word Song over at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog and 100 Words over at Velvet Verbosity. 

Credit picture: Speakeasy


The footsteps paused briefly at her doorway. She felt her jaw tighten like a rubber band ready to snap. She turned her head ever so slightly to acknowledge his presence, but not enough to give him permission. His pain was apparent as he took in a limp breath. She’d fought back. This time. Just like the ducks at the pond, she would stay a while for the benefits, but knew there was a better life for her beyond.  She’d build up strength. Then, just at the right moment and without warning, she’d spread her wings and take flight, leaving only dust.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

She Flies Through the Air With the Greatest of Ease

(insert 30 seconds of giddy squeals and screams)
Tuck: "You okay, Mags?"
Mags: "YES! Move it or lose it! Let's do that again."

Our front yard is a steady incline...or decline...depending on which way you're going. The kids love it because it makes for a great sledding hill. As soon as the snow covers the ground, our kids are raring to go. 

This year, we were treated to a white Christmas. And since then, the temperatures have hovered in the 30's...which means the snow hasn't melted much.

When my parents arrived the day after Christmas, the kids wasted no time filling them in about their sledding plans. My dad wasted no time getting them out there. He designed a smooth snow chute to keep their sleds moving with a little snow ramp at the end. 

After some trial and error runs while building up the ramp, we had success. In fact, a little more than we all expected. The kids FLEW. And I mean that literally...

After a few of these air defying feats, my dad and I planted ourselves at the bottom of the hill to catch the little speed demons. In between saving the kids' lives, he snapped some pretty great pictures with his camera. I thought I'd share one of the kids' runs he caught in consecutive order. 

I dare you not to smile. I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU!

And, okay. They aren't the only ones who had a blast flying down that hill. 
Thanks, Dad, for making me the kids a cool sled jump!

Chris and I wrote a story about one of these sled rides a few years 
back for our children's story podcast. You can listen to it 
by clicking on the link below. Enjoy! 

Sled Ride: (6:06)
A little boy tells of his exciting sled ride down the 
hill whiletrying to avoid a collision.
Free audio download: Sled Ride
Blog with activities: Sled Ride

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Trifextra: Picture Perfect

This post is in response to Trifecta's Trifextra Challenge. The following is what they are asking us to write about this weekend: 

As you'll recall from your elementary science class days, the structure of the earth can be divided most simply into three sections: core, mantle, crust. Give us 33 words from it.  Interpret the prompt however you wish--literal, metaphorical, or somewhere in between. 

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /

Picture Perfect

Pictures set purposefully on the mantle. Her family captured 
in perfect birthday smiles, passing school year poses
and cleverly positioned candids. Altogether, the 
crust of her life that makes up her very core.